May 29, 2012 — “I was test-smoking samples for our new J. Grotto Connecticut boutique cigar, the latest addition to our two previous cigars in the line” states Paul Joyal, founder and president of Ocean State Cigars.  “Suddenly, the word ‘Silk’ came to mind.  I realized it was the perfect name to describe this cigar … the wrapper’s silky smooth feel and appearance, along with its flavor … fragrant and delicate, but with a surprising fullness of lush flavor nuances.  Combined with the superb burning character of today’s strains of Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut-seed tobacco, you have a superlative smoke.”

J. Grotto Silk follows the original J. Grotto and J. Grotto Reserve, introduced over the past two years.  Their ratings and reviews remain on the Web, for anyone curious as to third-party critiques.

Silk is available in 4 shapes: Gran Robusto (5” x 52), Gordo (6” x 60), Gran Toro (6” x 52), and Churchill (7” x 50) … “a great golf-course cigar,” reports Joyal.  When queried about the popularity of the series’ 6″ x 60 Gordo, he believes it to be the fastest-growing new shape … not only in the J. Grotto portfolio, but with several other cigar makers, as well.

Silk’s Connecticut-seed tobacco is grown under Ecuador’s high, thin overcast, which offers the perfect substitute for expensive shade netting.  To meld and mellow the flavors, the wrapper, filler and binder tobaccos have been aged a full 3 years.  The finished cigars then rest another 8 months at Ocean State Cigars’ warehouse, before shipping to retailers.

Like fine silk, the sleek and lustrous wrapper possesses a tissue-like delicacy and virtually unnoticeable veins … producing a razor-thin burn zone that progresses evenly to the band.  The filler combines tobaccos from the Trojes region of Honduras and Jalapa, Nicaragua.  The binder is a double leaf of Indonesian and Criollo 98 tobaccos, and Joyal states Silk routinely grows a 2″ ash.

J. Grotto Silk is individually cellophane-sheathed, and presented in boxes of 20 cigars each.  The striking bands and artwork on the substantial Spanish-cedar boxes bespeak opulence.  Joyal is supporting retailers with regular ads in SMOKE and the now-national Cigar Snob consumer magazines.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing for the J. Grotto Silk range from $6.75 (Robusto) to $7.50 (Gordo), and the cigars will be available at better tobacconists nationwide in August … for a list of retailers by state, visit http://oceanstatecigars.com/index.php/retailers.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.