If you weren’t in the midwest, you probably had not heard of Tom Lazuka when Asylum Cigars was first announced. He was a former sales representative for Colibri and then Camacho, and was part of one of the plethora of announcements made as part of Christian Eiroa’s return to the cigar market. By now, you probably know about Lazuka. He heads the successful Asylum brand, which has almost certainly had more national success with 70 and 80 ring gauge cigars than any other in the last two years. Over the last year, Lazuka has made it clear, big ring gauge cigars won’t be the only thing Asylum does. There’s been a lancero, a sweet-tipped cigar, a barrel-aged cigar and more coming.


Tom Lazuka

This portrait was taken at No Label Brewing Co. during the Big Damn Cigar Jamboree & Wingding put on by STOGIES World Class Cigars using a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24mm f/1.4 lens set at f/1.4. The shutter speed was 1/125 second at ISO 1600. There were two main sources of light: ambient incandescent light from bulbs behind Lazuka inside the building and two incandescent video lights used to light his face and cast a shadow on the door behind him that are being held on stage right. The photograph was color corrected in Adobe Lightroom and adjusted for color, contrast and sharpness.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.