Al Capone is always top of mind when we think of Chicago. In the heart of Chicago’s Norwood Park neighborhood is the midwest’s largest 1,800 square foot humidor, at Norwood Royal Cigars, owned by Vick Shah, aka “The Don.” Vick has been selling cigars for over twenty years; he knows the game, the players, and the cigars! Long-time customer, John Dzailo, refers to Vick as “the most Italian-Indian man I know.” In fact, all of Vick’s loyal customers know him as The Don, which is a gentleman or mafia leader, but in this case, a cigar industry leader.
Norwood Royal Cigars is the place to visit in Chicago for cigar aficionados of all levels. Near O’Hare International Airport, on the northwest side of Chicago, located at 6046 N. Northwest Hwy, the number of cigars in the oversized humidor can be overwhelming. It’s like being a kid in a candy store for cigar lovers. You simply have to see it to believe it!
Among the hundreds of cigar brands featured in Vick’s shop, Oscar Valladares Tobacco is one of his favorites. Vick has collaborated with Oscar Valladares to produce his cigar line, called The Don V. Vick said, “my customers call me ‘The Don,’ so it made perfect sense to acknowledge that by calling my cigar The Don V.” Vicks personal goal with his Don V cigars is to make sure his customers “Light it, Smoke it, and Love it!”
Vick’s original Honduran Puro blend was introduced to the market in the fall of 2021, the red-labeled Don V Corojo. This sun-grown Corojo tobacco is grown exclusively in the Jamastran valley of Honduras and aged for two years. Corojo tobacco was used extensively as a wrapper for many years on Cuban cigars, with the tobacco’s spicy “punch” becoming a commonly associated trademark of the country’s tobacco products. The cigar’s consistent medium boldness and flavor profile is exceptionally creamy, with hints of fresh hay and sweet cocoa. There are nice subtle transitions to berries, banana, and darker cake battered chocolates, with a nice surprising white chocolate spicy punch on the retro-hale. Produced at Oscar Valladares’ “creative lab,” this cigar is a personal favorite and was named Whiskey Network Magazine’s Cigar of the Year in 2022. You simply have to smoke it to believe it!
Vick’s follow-up next-level blend is the blue label Don V Maduro. Introduced to the market in the fall of 2022, this cigar features a dark brown Maduro wrapper from Jalapa, Nicaragua. With its classic Honduran fillers and Nicaraguan binder, we get nice transitions from sweet leathery white chocolate to creamy dark chocolate truffle notes, with addictive creamy baking spices over fresh French bread on the retro-hale. Its consistent medium bold flavors mellow to yellow, vanilla cream-filled bundt cake over classic Honduran tobacco notes. This trip to the chocolate factory cigar is “like sex in the mouth.” Again, you have to smoke it to believe it!
Oscar Valladares is a consumer-focused cigar maker that is always thinking about the future of his company and making incredible cigars that everyone will crave. Vick is simply the best in the industry! His heart is humble and entirely focused on his customers. To be transparent, Vick took me under his wing as a newbie to cigars nearly two years ago and has helped develop my palate and knowledge of cigars. He also sponsors the iconic and globally rebranded Great Cigar & Pipe Show that has absorbed me, “Joey G,” as a monthly co-host for live cigar pairings. I recently had the honor to meet Oscar Valladares live on the Great Cigar & Pipe Show during the fall 2022 release of their new Don V Maduro. I also had the privilege to visit the Oscar Valladares Tobacco Factory with Vick and his NRC crew in February 2023. That was a once-in-a-lifetime, life-changing experience.
Both cigars are reasonably priced at only twelve dollars per cigar and can be purchased exclusively at Norwood Royal Cigars or online at NRCIGARS.COM. Also, Vick is a proud supporter of our Military and First Responders via daily 10% and 20% Wednesday discounts. In fact, Vick says the red label Don V Corojo represents Fire/EMS while his blue label Don V Maduro represents Police. Vick and NRC Co-Owner, Asmita Kamdar also sponsor many local fundraising events in support of the community, Military, and First Responders.
Personally, Norwood Royal Cigars is a very welcoming environment. When you are there, you are family. It’s like the Cheers of the cigar industry; if you “want to go where everybody knows your name,” head over, grab a Don V, and join the rest of the “Loyal Royals!”
LIGHT IT! SMOKE IT! LOVE IT!