What’s new, trendy or just plain cool

Tuesday, July 29, 1997

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Dean Spagnoli takes a puff on a li hing mui cigar
from Baldwin's Sweet Shop and pronounces
it a decent smoke.

That distinctive li hing
flavor goes up in smoke

What DOESN'T have the sweet-sour plumminess of li hing mui flavor added to it these days? Li hing acidophilus milk? Li hing dental floss? Li hing cigars? Li hing tetanus boosters?

Three of the above don't -- so far. Baldwin's Sweet Shop of Aiea is selling "Li Hing-Dipped Cigars," along with their own special cigar-band label, and they're doing "surprisingly well," said owner Francis Nakakura.

The cigars are bought in bulk, mostly from Mexico, and are "aromatized" with cognac and a li-hing dip made of commercial syrup.

They go for $2.25 and $2.50, and Nakakura said that customers like the sweet taste.

"They're among my best-selling cigars," he said.

We asked cigar buff Dean Spagnoli, 28, a broker with Dean Witter, to smoke-test the li-hing special. "Hmmm," he said, eyeing it. "It's aged well, it's dark and oily and well-wrapped -- that's good -- and it's very aromatic."

He lit up and puffed.

"Fruity," he mused. "Almost perfume-y. Not woody like many cigars. Almost sugary on the lips. Easy draw. Good drag. Light-bodied. Burns unevenly. Wouldn't be bad to smoke while playing golf or something."

Bottom line?

"Not bad -- for a cheap cigar."

By Burl Burlingame, Star-Bulletin

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