June 30, 2011

Pinar Del Rio Habano Sun Grown Liga Cubana No. 5

Pinar Del Rio Habano Sun Grown Liga Cubana No. 5

Out of the humidors I have, I keep one for the cigars I have yet to review. I find that this humidor is always filled and I mean that in a good way. Sometimes when looking for a cigar I get into the mood of "I don't want that," but with my review humidor I have tons of stuff in there I haven't had in a long time or just have not had. I was moving some cigars around in there when looking for a cigar and I stumbled across this particular smoke. I have enjoyed it on several occasions and have only reviewed the company’s portfolio a couple of times. I am a big fan of the Pinar Del Rio Cigar Company and haven’t had a cigar of theirs that was dull. They have really been getting a lot of publicity lately and with the batch of cigars they are making it is no surprise. The Habano Sun Grown Liga Cubana No. 5 is an incredible smoke and probably tied for second among this line and third among their entire production. Like the rest of the cigars in this line the fillers are a mixture of Nicaraguan and Dominican with a Criollo 98 binder from the Dominican Republic. The wrapper is a Cuban-seed tobacco that has been sun grown. I am a big fan of Habano wrappers and I am a major fan of sun grown tobacco as well. You don’t see many Habano wrappers from the Dominican Republic but when you do they are pretty damn good. Whether it be the Cien Anos, Opus X or Ashton ESG,they are all great. I chose the toro vitola in the lineup which is your standard 6” by 50 ring gauge size.      
Liga Cubana No. 5
With a reddish brown wrapper the cigar is very appealing to the eyes. The wrapper is not very oily but silkier. The aroma of the cigar is of spices and wood with hints of coffee beans as well. Upon lighting the cigar shows lots of leather, spices and wood notes and is medium in body. The cigar is burning perfectly and is producing a good amount of smoke. As I enter the second third of the cigar earthy and chocolate notes begin to emerge and it is accompanied by hints of spice as well. There are still a lot of wood notes present and the cigar is really beginning to show all of its flavors. I would say this cigar is full bodied but because of the balance and wonderful flavors of the cigar it is smoking wonderfully and remaining very smooth. Still burning evenly the cigar is perfect in the smoking characteristics category and I am looking forward to the final third. When I think of the final third abundance is the word that comes to mind. Whether it is in body or flavors, the cigar really shows everything in the end. From chocolate to spice and coffee to wood the final third has it all. I would love to smoke the final third of this cigar three times in a row and then one more time.
Liga Cubana
I am giving this cigar a 92 and this is the best one of the several I have had. The wrapper is fairly delicate on the cigar so when removing the bands be careful not to tear the wrapper. I love the cigars that Pinar Del Rio Cigar Company is making and I am looking forward to future blends. They have a cigar that every type of smoker would enjoy and whether you prefer milder or full bodied smokes, every one of them has a tremendous amount of flavor and complexity to it. Available at exceptional values you can’t go wrong with a box purchase of this smoke but if I were you I would get a collected works sample from Cigars International or Cigar.com and enjoy all these wonderful smokes. Along with a cigar for everyone they offer a variety of vitolas giving you the opportunity to choose a vitola you prefer. I am looking forward to reviewing the next two and the next one I choose is my favorite.  

June 27, 2011

La Flor Dominicana Double Press

La Flor Dominicana Double Press


I smoke cigars often, and though I smoke full bodied cigars they do not often sneak up on me and really catch me off guard. I will tell you one thing though; La Flor Dominicana cigars always seem to have the strength that can get to me. Litto Gomez has become well known for making some incredibly flavorful smokes in the past years but those cigars have also had tons of power to them as well. I am not sure why it is but I can always feel the power inside Litto’s smokes. Good for him I say. The Double press by Litto is definitely one of those cigars and then some. There isn't much information on this cigar on the company website but I do know that it is made up of Dominican fillers from Litto's La Canela farm with a Dominican binder and an Ecuadorian wrapper. I am not sure if it a Sumatra or Habano leaf but it definitely has some spice to it. The cigar is incredibly pressed, hence the title of Double Press, and measures 6" with a 52 ring gauge. The wrapper has no veins present and is rolled perfectly. The aroma on the cigar is of cedar, spices and leather.

The cigar begins with tons of strength and some nice notes of cedar, pepper and leather. The flavors are present but not overly complex but the strength of the cigar is incredibly powerful. The cigar is burning very well and even producing lots of smoke. So far the cigar is not going the direction I would like it to go, but it is still early. As I get into the second third of the cigar the flavors begin to increase showing some coffee and nutty characteristics, with lots of pepper and cedar still there. The power is still easily full and I think for one point half way through the cigar the flavor and strength are balanced. The cigar is burning very well still and the flavors are increasing but I feel that it is still lacking in some ways. For one thing, I feel that this cigar is lacking balance and depth, and is merely meant to be strong. I have entered the final third and the cigar and it is back to the beginning with lots of pepper and cedar and strong tobacco. I put the cigar down with about an inch left.

I wasn't able to finish this cigar because it wasn't really giving off that much and I just felt it wasn't worth the remaining time. I would give this cigar a rating of 86 and probably not recommend it to others. If you are a guy who likes strength in cigars and that is it then this would be perfect for you, but I just don’t see the flavor in it, and that is what it is important to me. I know a lot of people love full bodied cigars, and so do I, but I feel it is more important to have a flavorful and enjoyable cigar rather than just strength. I think if the blend was tweaked some and there was some tobacco put in with more flavor then strength this could be a great cigar. Sorry LFD but this is not your greatest achievement.
Double Press

June 25, 2011

My Father - No. 1

My Father
There are some cigars with amazing stories and may I say that this is one of the best. The story begins with Jaime Garcia, Don Pepin's son in Central America making and blending a new cigar. No one knows what the cigar is and who it is for but there they are working on this new blend. Jaime did not want his father knowing what he was working on but as most things happen new eventually leaks from the factory in Esteli to Miami where Don Pepin is. The cigar was currently being made without the permission of el jeffe. Of course Don Pepin goes down to the factory and asks his son what is going on and there is a lot of hush hush but eventually Don Pepin asks for three sizes of the blend and goes to smoke them. The following day Don Pepin asks what he is smoking and his son tells him that this cigar is being made in honor of him.

And so that is the history of the My Father line and nothing but success was to come. As great as the story goes it would not be as great if the cigar was not as good as it is. The cigar begins with Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler and a Nicaraguan binder as well. The cigar is covered with a habano wrapper from Ecuador that was grown by Oliva Tobacco Company. Now let us not confuse the Oliva Tobacco Company with Oliva Cigars because the two are complete separate, but the Oliva Tobacco Company has been involved with almost every cigar manufacturer as much as Nestor Plasencia. Since the success of this line their new factory in Esteli has taken on the name and so has the company.

The No. 1 rates as the third highest cigar of 2009 and has always done well by Cigar Aficionado. I think the size is great and the cigar is just amazing. The cigar measures 5.2" with a 52 ring gauge and is constructed perfectly. The triple cap is gorgeous and there are no soft spots on the cigar as well. The factory limits only the best torcedores to work on this cigar and it truly shows. The wrapper is just beautiful and has an even red clay color to it. There are no veins present on the wrapper and it is just perfect to look at. The cigar has wonderful aromas of red pepper, leather and wood, and is just amazing.  

The cigar begins with a powerful and elegant blast of red pepper and cream. It is medium-full in body but really has wonderful flavors and balance to it. The red pepper is definitely present but there is that cream on the finish that brings it down. After the first inch the cigar really opens up more showing lots of leather and coffee bean notes as well. The cigar is burning perfectly and producing wonderful amounts of smoke. As I enter into the second third of the cigar the flavors definitely grow more and more and I begin to pick up some dark cherry notes as well. The cigar is still smoking with full flavors and a full body and is just incredible. The burn is perfect and I am loving this cigar. The final third really brings back the flavors from the intro with lots of cream and red pepper but also tons of leather and coffee as well. There is this cedar flavor that is present throughout the whole smoke that increases in the final third.

This was just an incredible smoke and absolutely enjoyable. There are very few cigars that really do well in every category and this cigar is one of them. I would give this cigar a 95 rating and I would give every one of these I have ever had that high of a rating. This is a cigar that really delivers all the time and that does not happen all the time with cigars. This is truly an amazing cigar that all cigar lovers will enjoy. I think this is one of the best cigars that is made in the My Father Factory and I even think it is better than the Limited Edition Series as well. I know that sounds crazy but I just love this cigar. This cigar has a great size to it, great flavors, perfect construction, great body and great in every other category as well. Pick this cigar up and you will not be disappointed. 
No. 1

June 23, 2011

Gurkha Signature '101' Maduro - Robusto No. 4

Signature '101' Maduro
 When thinking of opposites I think of Manchester United and Liverpool, New York and Los Angeles and Gurkha Symphony and Signature ‘101’ Maduro. Two are completely different but in my opinion go head to head. I would say Gurkha Cigars has that as well with Beauty and Beast, but this is the original match. Symphony and Signature ‘101’ Maduro were both released in 2004 and at the time were K. Hansotia’s two cigars of choice.  Both cigars are made incredibly well and if I had to choose between the two I would choose Symphony, but I am here to review this cigar and not tell you which I prefer. I have been told that the cigar bears the name of Signature because this is the preferred cigar of Kaizad, and it would not surprise me giving the smoke. The Signature ‘101’ Maduro begins with a maduro wrapper from Costa Rica that is very oily and toothy to the touch. The binder is Nicaraguan with fillers from Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua. The cigar has aromas of coffee, rich earth and spices. The only size that is really still in production is the Robusto No. 4 which measures 6” with a 50 ring gauge. I haven’t had a cigar with Jamaican tobacco other than this cigar and I would really be interested in trying it on its own to see what the flavor profile it offers truly is but I can tell you that this cigar is very nice. 

The cigar begins very rich showing lots of earth, chocolate and spice notes. The cigar is medium in body and producing a thick amount of smoke. The spices are really balanced in this third by the natural sweetness from the maduro wrapper and thus leaving the smoker with wonderful flavors circling on their palate. When I get into the second third of the cigar more flavors begin to emerge and I begin picking up lots of leather, coffee and malt notes. There is still a presence of spices and chocolate but with all the flavors playing off one another the cigar becomes very complex. The strength has increased somewhat in this part of the cigar and the smoke is much thicker than the first third. 

I am really enjoying this cigar, it definitely has a nice body to it with great flavors but it is blended so well that it smokes very smoothly. Looking at my progress in the cigar so far the burn is still perfect and the ash is staying strong on the cigar. If you are halfway into a cigar and having an ash that is still staying there you are smoking a well-constructed cigar. I am the final third now and the flavors really have grown in strength and I am picking up bits of everything from before. The cigar still is showing lovely spices but with the sweetness as well it is incredibly balanced. This was a well-constructed cigar that was never disappointing in flavor and strength leaving me craving another one afterwards.

I would give this cigar a 92 and really consider it my favorite among Costa Rican wrappers. I am not a gigantic maduro fan to begin with and I know Costa Rican maduro wrappers are well made but they are typically not my cup of tea. This cigar however shows all the flavors you could look for in a maduro and at the same time remain balanced and nor overwhelming from the maduro wrapper. This is a cigar that definitely gets better with age and I think in five years will be much better and even better in 10.  
Signature '101' Maduro Robusto No. 4
  

June 22, 2011

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial (Cuban)

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial
Hoyo de Monterrey is not a common brand I smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I love the vitola’s in the lineup, but it is just not a common smoke for me. I love the Hoyo Double Corona but when I am going to put that amount of time into a smoke I want something more along the lines of Partagas, Punch or my Ramon Allones DC’s. Though the cigars are very flavorful they are bit too mild for my taste and I find that these are great cigar for the morning time with a nice cappuccino. The only problem with that is that I don’t have time in the morning for a cappuccino and cigar that often. I would smoke a cigar most mornings if I had the time but I find myself working out and rushing into my workday or busy weekend. The Epicure Especial is a very popular vitola in the lineup and has really grown in status since its initial release in 2008. Originally released with the H. Upmann Magnum 50 the cigar probably found itself struggling to keep up with the big and bold H. Upmann.  After some years though the cigar grew and grew and lo and behold it is now loved by some of the finest of cigar smokers. I am not sure what I mean when I say “finest of cigar smokers,” but it sounds good.

The cigar measures 5 ½” with a 50 ring gauge and has a beautiful triple cap. The wrapper is very light and silky, similar to a Connecticut Shade and has wonderful aromas of caramel, honey and leather. I am picking up a slight bit of cinnamon in the aroma but it is a mild spice.  I have seen this cigar with a darker wrapper and much oilier but it is not uncommon to see variance in color shades on Cuban cigars. A lot of my friends out of the US who smoke Cubans prefer certain cigars with different colored wrappers because of the variance in flavors they can have. I am not sure if the cigar falls into the robusto extra family or corona gorda, but I really believe that if the ring gauge is above 49 you can’t put the word corona in the title or vitola size so I am going to refer to it as a robusto extra.

The cigar begins by showing a lot of the notes from the aroma but with a nice wood and cream presence as well. The cigar is very mild in body but burning very evenly. I would say there is some spice present but not very noticeable. As the cigar progresses into the second third there in an emergence of floral notes with leather, but I am also still picking up the honey and cream that was present in the first third. I haven’t had any relights or burn problems with the cigar so far and the amount of smoke the cigar is producing is very nice. When I get into the final third the cigar becomes much more rich then I expected with wonderful notes of chocolate and cinnamon, but it still shows mostly wood and floral flavors to it. I would say the cigar ends medium in body but the first two thirds are definitely mild. 

I would give this cigar a 90 rating for its flavors but overall I was not that impressed with the smoke. I think there are other vitola’s in the line which are better, being more complex and flavorful, but I know some love this cigar. If you are a fan of mild Cuban cigars with wonderful flavors and cigars measuring in this area, then this is your cigar. I think the Hoyo de Monterrey line is quite enjoyable but I would prefer the robusto or double corona format over it. The cigars are just a little too mild for my taste and lacking the strength that I look for. I prefer cigars that have more complex flavors that you can get with stronger tobacco. With that being said these are incredibly flavorful mild cigars and a treat to those who prefer something soft.
Epicure Especial

June 20, 2011

Foseca Cubano Limitado - Belicoso Corto

Fonseca Cubano Limitado
In 2007 SAG Imports, also known as Matasa or Fonseca, launched a cigar that was a departure from their typical smokes. Known for making milder Dominican cigars, SAG Imports decided to launch the Cubano Limitado, which is a full bodied and full flavored cigar that is the opposite of their everyday smokes. I haven't had lots of these cigars but the ones I have had are definitely a nice change of pace compared with their everyday cigars. They are sold at an exceptional value and really deliver some great flavors. The cigar features a Honduran Cuban seed wrapper that is incredibly oily and has a wonderful reddish hue color to it. The binder is Dominican and has filler tobacco from the Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero. The Belicoso Corto measures 5" and has a ring gauge of 52. With an aroma of leather and spices this cigar sits beautifully in hand showcasing its wonderful oils.

The cigar begins right off with lovely spices and leather notes. It is burning beautifully and producing wonderful clouds of smoke. As I get into the second third the cigar becomes much more complex becoming really rich giving off lots of toast, nuts, unsweetened dark chocolate and floral notes. It is definitely medium-full in body but very smooth with each puff. I am still getting a nice even draw with the smoke and no work is needed on it. In the final third and the cigar is really showing some great flavors now. There is a lovely amount of spice and leather but I am still getting lots of chocolate and floral notes as well. The final third is definitely the highlight of this smoke and makes it hard to put it down.

This is a great everyday cigar that is friendly to all smokers out there. It has wonderful flavors, great pricing and perfect for a range of cigar smokers. I think that milder cigar fans could enjoy this from time to time and full bodied fans could enjoy this in the morning or afternoon. If this SAG Imports best cigar? No, but it is definitely in their No. 3 spot in my book. I think the Casa Magna Colorado is a truly amazing smoke with wonderful vitolas and the Quesada Tributo line is also enjoyable, but this is definitely their No. 3. I would give this cigar a 90 and wonder what the other sizes were like. I love this size for a cigar because it reminds me of the Bolivar Belicoso Fino and I can tell you that this cigar is more consistent then that. You should definitely give this cigar a shot, heck, it might become your everyday smoke.
Cubano Limitado - Belicoso Corto

June 17, 2011

Cigar Review: Graycliff Château Gran Cru Pirate

 Château Grand Cru
When you give a cigar the title of Château Grand Cru, it is safe to say that it will be a high quality cigar. It is also safe to say that it is probably not going to be your everyday cigar as well though. I will continue with that thought though by saying that there is nothing wrong with a cigar not being an everyday cigar. I have thousands of cigars and have had thousands, and there are some cigars which are meant to be enjoyed regularly, and those that are meant for special occasions. You don’t smoke a $5 cigar on your wedding day and you don’t smoke a $30 cigar every day, well you can if you make a lot of money, and more power to you. The more you smoke cigars, and the more you fall in love with them you begin to have cigars in your humidor for all purposes. I have cigars for everyday and I have cigars like the Château Grand Cru for those special occasions. Graycliff Cigars in general are not every day cigars for me, in fact I don’t have a  lot in my portfolio, but when I enjoy them I try and experience them in the Graycliff fashion. The cigars are high end smokes and contain lots of unique tobacco to make a truly superior smoke. The Château Grand Cru was released in 2005 and I believe it to be one of their finest cigars. The cigar features Costa Rican Habano wrapper with an Ecuadorian binder. The filler is a tri-country blend with tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

I chose the Pirate vitola which is 6” by 52 figurado. The wrapper is fairly veiny but has wonderful aromas of wood, pepper and raisins. Within the first puff of the cigar I was picking up lots of cedar notes. There was some black pepper along with it and a little bit of earth but overall it begins very smooth with cedar notes. When I got into the second third of the cigar I began to pick up a lot more flavors and I can tell the cigar is growing stronger also. I am getting lots of raisins, almonds, cocoa, earth and pepper, but I still have that cedar flavor finish. There is an obvious growth in the cigar from the first third to the second third and I have to admit this cigar really is impressive. The cigar is burning perfectly producing lots of smoke, and the ash is staying strong on the cigar. Growing still, the final third of the cigar is the best part, showcasing a full body with a plethora of complex flavors. From raisins to chocolate and leather to almonds there are tons of flavors present. I can’t pinpoint exactly all the flavors because they are bouncing and playing off one another but I must say it is truly incredible.

This was a terrific cigar and so far the second best Graycliff I have had, behind the Double Espresso. This is a cigar that really grows in every department, and the further you get into the cigar the better it gets. I give this cigar a 94 and would give it a higher ranking if it had had a better wrapper on it. I loved the second and final third of the cigar of the smoke, and if the first third had a little more depth it would definitely have gotten a higher ranking as well.  With that in mind, this is a great cigar that grows more and more giving the smoker the preparation for a full bodied cigar. It does not hit you right off the bat but lets you work your way into it. Graycliff’s Château Grand Cru is truly a unique and flavorful cigar that will be remembered for those certain times when you want something a little more special.
 Château Grand Cru Pirate

June 15, 2011

Alec Bradley Prensado - Gran Toro

Prensado by Alec Bradley
When you create a cigar like the Tempus, it is hard to follow that up. It was a cigar that really put Alec Bradley on the map and is still revered to this day. But Alan Rubin really showed us his skills with the Prensado. Prensado is Spanish for box-pressed so as you can guess the cigar comes box-pressed. The cigar features a unique and rare 2006 Corojo wrapper from their farm in Trojes, Honduras that was harvested in 2006. Since that date the cigar has been aging and undergoing fermentation until mid 2008 when it was ready to be used. The blending stage took a long time but when they finally found the perfect blend they were dead on. The binder on this cigar is Nicaraguan and the filler tobacco is from Nicaragua and the Trojes farm in Honduras.

Alec Bradley Cigars have really been utilizing tobacco from Trojes, Honduras in their newest blends and anything they have put this tobacco in has been incredible. The cigar, like most of Alec Bradley Cigars, is made in Honduras at the infamous Raices Cubanas factory. I think this factory is producing some killer smokes and probably some of the best lines on the market. I have smoked all the vitolas in the line and all are just incredible and rich and for this review I selected the Gran Toro. On a side note, their Corona Gorda vitola in the lineup is amazing and probably my favorite. I don't care for bigger ring gauge cigars because I really love to taste the wrapper of the cigar and with this cigar, it is truly amazing. The Gran Toro measures 6" and has a 54 ring gauge. It recently did incredibly well in the Top 25 Cigars of the Year by Cigar Aficionado coming in at 20, but I would have had it in the Top 10.

(Not blaming Cigar Aficionado though, they have many excellent reviewers on their panel and it is a group decision and not the opinions of a sole person.)

The cigar features a beautiful triple cap and is constructed perfectly with a dark brown wrapper. The aroma is amazing giving off notes of coffee, leather and almonds. Upon lighting the first puffs are very elegant giving off notes of cinnamon, anise, dark chocolate and roasted coffee. The first third continues with these wonderful flavors but leather notes begin to emerge and become more dominant. After a minor relight I find myself in the second third and loving life. There is an abundance of flavors from chocolate to coffee, spices to nuts and leather to wood. Smoking around full body this cigar is definitely for an experience cigar smoker just because of the amount of flavors it has. The cigar is burning very evenly to this point and besides my minor relight in the first third it it smoking perfectly. In the final third now and the spices have returned but come back and forth leaving you with intense spices and then a tranquil mellow experience as well. I am picking up lots of coffee, nuts and chocolate in this third and when I come to a close it is still cool in my hand.

This is an incredible cigar and probably my favorite of the Alex Bradley portfolio. This is a cigar that has flavor and body in full force. I would give this cigar an easy 94 and in some cases higher. Everything about this cigar is great from construction, aroma, flavor and smoking characteristics. If you have never tried an Alec Bradley Cigar I strongly suggest you try this one, actually smoke all of his cigars, you won't be disappointed with any one of them. 
Prensado Gran Toro

June 13, 2011

Cigar Review: Graycliff Professionale Presidente

Professionale
The Graycliff Resort has an incredible history and you can trace it back through the foundations of the resort, which are built on top of  and close to the ruins of old English buildings from the 17th and 18th century. The location is home of an English Church from the 17th Century, a Naval Base by the American Colonists from the 18th Century and throughout the 19th and 20th Century it went back in forth between private residency and hotel/inn. The Garzaroli Family purchased the property in 1973 and it was then that they turned it into the Graycliff Resort. The resort is noted for its beautiful wine cellar, and if you look at their selection you would be in awe as well. It was in 1997 Enrico Garzaroli grew tired of looking for the perfect cigar for his restaurant so he launched Graycliff Cigars. It was in the late 1990's that the company hired Avelino Lara to run their factory and blend their cigars for them. Lara had just retired at this time from El Laguito Factory in Cuba, and he was the original blender and roller for the Cohiba line for Fidel Castro. The Professionale line was the second creation from the Graycliff Factory and some consider it to be their finest. The cigar features tobacco from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Brazil in its filler with a binder from Ecuador and an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper. The wrapper is marbled brown with some veins present throughout. It is a well rolled cigar despite its appearance and has aromas of sweet spices, pepper and nuts. The line is available in several vitolas but I chose the Presidente which is 7" with a 48 ring gauge.        

The cigar begins with lots of nutty characters with a definite plethora of pepper as well. There is also some sweet spice present with the smoke and it has a finish of cedar. The cigar is medium in body with a nice long finish and an even burn. As I enter the second third of the cigar I begin to pick up some creamy notes along with coffee and the pepper from earlier has faded. I still have some sweet spicy wood notes and the cigar at this point has a very soft medium body. The burn is still perfect on this treat and and there is a nice amount of smoke with it. Finishing the cigar the spice level returns and so does that nutty character from the beginning. I am still picking up some coffee and cream notes but they are all playing off one another making a very smooth complex finish. I had no trouble with this cigar throughout and I can tell that it was rolled incredibly well.

I was debating my overall impression with this cigar for sometime and I am going to give this cigar a 93 rating. I thought the flavors were great and it was constructed beautifully but it just lacked points in my overall impression category. I always try to put aside the price range on any expensive cigar when I go to review them because pricing differs from person to person and it is unfair to give a cigar a poor rating because of price. If money was no issue with me I would most likely smoke more Graycliff Cigars, but with that being said there are very few retailers who carry them because smokers can't afford them often. If you ever have a chance to buy these cigars when they are on sale I strongly recommend it. I know I always look for specials on these sticks because you can save yourself a lot of money and get some great smokes.

In all reality Graycliff Cigars grow on me the more I smoke them and I really would love try more of their lines. I would also love to visit the Graycliff Resort to see the factory and have a wonderful time, but that is kind of out of the question. Do yourself a favor and grab a Graycliff if you can. 
Professionale Presidente

June 12, 2011

Rocky Patel Decade (Toro)

Rocky Patel Decade - Toro
So last night was the grand opening of Havana Phil's, and what a great time it was. There was food, drinks, cigars and of course Nish Patel. The event was lovely with excellent deals and great cigars. Throughout the evening I was smoking several of their newer smokes but it made me remember some of their cigars that have been around for sometime and I loved back then. I smoked some 15th Anniversaries, Decades, 1961's and a new smoke was the Renaissance with the new Sumatra wrapper. I will review that later on but let me say it was a great smoke and possibly one of the best Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapped cigars I have had. Following the event I could not pass up reviewing a Rocky Patel Cigar and that is why I thought the Decade would be perfect. The Decade has been a smash hit for so long now, deservedly so, and I believe it is the cigar that really gave them credit in the industry. There were a lot of people who did not believe Rocky Patel could make it in the industry and I think after the Decade he proved them wrong. I have had every vitola in the Decade line and each one of them has unique traits but today I will be reviewing the toro vitola. The cigar measures 6 1/2" with a 52 ring gauge and comes covered in a beautiful dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The cigar filler and binder are secret but I have heard and read from many that it has a Honduran binder with Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is made in Honduras at Nestor Plasencia's factory, El Paraiso Cigars. 

The cigar has a wonderful aroma of dark cherries, coffee and pepper, with a wrapper that is absolutely stunning. It is vein free and has a beautiful dark brown color to it, just beautiful. The cigar begins with a blast of pepper but within a half inch it mellows out and becomes very creamy with notes of cherries, almonds, cedar and cocoa. This is an amazing first third of the cigar and if it continues this way I will be buying many more tomorrow. I am in the second third of the cigar now and the pepper flavors from the beginning have returned and there are also notes of wood and leather present. I would say the second third of this cigar is the strongest part and around full bodied while the rest of the cigar is closer to medium. Cream, that is the word that comes to mind in the final third of the cigar. Along with the cream I pick up a lot of dark cherries and nuts in the final third making the cigar finish incredibly smooth and complex, quite a treat.

The burn on the cigar was dead on throughout the smoke with only a couple relights necessary throughout. This is definitely one of Rocky Patel's best cigar, along with the 15th, and definitely the most complex. I was speaking with Nish the other day and he agreed saying that the Decade was more complex flavor wise while being medium in body and the 15th was a cigar that had lots of power with pleasant flavors throughout. I would give this cigar a 94 and think it the third best in the lineup following the Lonsdale and Torpedo, in that order. I am a big fan of the Decade and I have heard nothing but positive feedback on the cigar. This is a cigar that everyone will enjoy and I have even known a lot of guys who weren't fans of Rocky's smokes fall in love with his stuff after this cigar. What I am trying to say is that this is a cigar where you can buy a box of them and love every one of them and not be disappointed.
Decade Toro
 

June 11, 2011

Cigar Review: Padron 1926 Serie No. 9 (Natural)

Padron 1926 Serie - No.9
When Cigar Aficionado gave this cigar a 97 rating, it was deserving of that score. In fact, this cigar would often get a 97 rating by me because of how great it is. The 1926 Serie by the Padron Family is a great line and each vitola is wonderful and unique but the No. 9 is definitely my favorite. The cigar has everything you would want in a cigar and so much more. The line has been incredibly popular since its release in 2002, and I believe that it will continue to be for years to come. The cigar features tobacco that is aged for five years before being even worked with, giving it time for the tobaccos to really mature on their own before being blended with other tobaccos. I think that because of this the cigars really age wonderfully and truly get amazing after some time because before each leaf was rolled they were ready to be. The cigar measures 5 ¼” with a 56 ring gauge and is beautifully box-pressed. The wrapper is very light on this particular cigar, compared with others I have had, but still really beautiful.  Holding it to my nose it has wonderful aromas of nuts, toast, wood and coffee, and I can definitely pick up the spice on it as well.

The cigar begins with a prominent amount of wood and nutty notes with a lot of cedar and hickory being picked up. The first third lacks a lot of flavors, but the cigar is burning very evenly and is producing a great amount of smoke. I am in the second third of the cigar now and notes of coffee are beginning to emerge, but are very subtle. There is a nice amount of spice in the smoke and it is definitely full in body. I am still getting notes of cedar and nuts, predominantly walnuts. I am also slightly picking up some meaty and toasty flavors as well. I am in the final third now and the cigar is now really showing its great flavors. I am picking up some heavy spices with coffee and cocoa notes with a finish of toast and nuts. The final third of the cigar was just incredible and if I had to rate that as a section I would give it a perfect score while the first third I would give a 90 and the second third a 92. Though the flavors were not top notch in the first two thirds the cigar showed its greatness in the end and that is what I remember.  The burn was perfectly even and the production of smoke was great.

Although this is not the best Padron 1926 Serie No. 9 I have had it finishes great and is worthy of a 95 rating. I know if you add up my ratings mentioned earlier the mean is not this score but there are other factors. The cigar has really nice flavors and has a nice spicy full bodied feeling to it, and because of that it is a great evening smoke. I could smoke this cigar everyday but it is just a little out of my daily price range so I save it for certain times. One of the best things the Padron Family did with the 1926 Serie is that you can buy them in boxes of 10 or 24. This cigar was rolled perfectly and beautifully and would have easily gotten a 100, but this particular one lacked a little bit of the great flavors that these cigars can have early on. A must buy cigar!
No. 9

June 10, 2011

Pinar Del Rio - Oscuro Liga Cubana No. 2 (Toro)

Oscuro Toro

So lately I have been reading more and more about Pinar Del Rio Cigars and I understand why. I have been sampling all their cigars on the market and I can tell you they are all delicious. The factory in which the cigars are made is quite small and run by three men, Abraham Flores and the Rodriguez brothers. The factory has been around for over 80 years but it is just recently that it has become independent. I am a huge fan of the PDR 1878 lines, but it is just recently that I have started enjoying their core line. The core line features four different wrappers giving the smoker a different experience with each line. For this review I am going to choose the Oscuro Liga Cubana No. 2. The cigar features filler tobacco from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with a Criollo 98 binder from the Dominican Republic. The wrapper on this particular cigar is a Brazilian Bahia Oscuro. It is incredibly oily, dark and just gorgeous to look at. Moving the cigar in my fingers I can feel the oil on my fingertips and I am looking forward to the smoke. I chose the toro version which measures 6” with a 52 ring gauge.

The aroma of the cigar is very rich showcasing wonderful notes of chocolate, wood, leather, and spice. The first inch of the cigar is rather enjoyable giving off this unique dark chocolate and bacon flavor with lots of pepper and spices. So far the cigar is burning pretty even but not perfect. The second third of the cigar really increases in flavors with notes of heavy meat, dark spices, leather, and wet wood. The cigar at this point is still showing a decent burn but the smoke is going out occasionally and I have had to relight a couple times, possible because of all the oil on the cigar, but with the flavors this cigar has I have no other issues. I am in the final third now and the cigar is incredible with lots of dark coffee, earth, wood, leather and spice present. The burn has become better in this part and it is smoking beautifully. The cigar ends wonderfully with a nice rich medium-full body experience.

I would give this cigar an 89 rating and believe that it will be much better in a couple years. I would store this cigar at a lower humidity than the rest of your cigars and let it sit for some time. I don’t leave the humidity of my cigars that high anyways. I know most keep their cigars at 70% but I keep mine closer to 68%, and I leave my Cubans closer to 66%. For those looking for a rich cigar with amazing flavors that definitely has power to it, this is your cigar. In some ways this cigar reminded me a lot of the La Flor Dominicana L400 Oscuro Natural. 
Pinar Del Rio - Oscuro


Available at Cigar.com and Cigars International 

June 9, 2011

Wine Review: Ropiteau Pouilly Fuisse Les Villages (2006)

Bottle of Pouilly Fuisse from 2006
Burgundy, a name that needs no introduction for wine lovers. One of my favorite lines about wine is in the TV show Chuck, when Chuck says the wine is a "beautiful Burgundy from Bordeaux," leading to all the Frenchmen present to correct him rudely saying "that is not possible, they are both regions!"

Ropiteau Wines was founded by Jean Ropiteau in 1848 and has been making incredible wines since then. The winery works closely with local growers so they have a major influence in the growing process and select only the best grapes from vineyards throughout Burgundy. The winery pays close attention to details in every process of the making and it shows with their wines. This wine is 100% Chardonnay and comes from grapes harvested in 2006. 

Holding the glass to my nose the wine has wonderful aromas of Anjou pears and lemon peels. The color is a very light almost clear yellow and is beautiful in the glass. With the first sip I immediately pick up flavors of vanilla bean and lemon with a finish of honey, grass and pear. The finish is very smooth and semi-long with the taste of honey on the back of my palate. It is a very dry Chardonnay that is incredibly balanced and not too oaky.

I would give this wine a 91 rating and it definitely has been one of the better wines I have had lately. It is definitely an upper class Chardonnay and really shows great flavors. I feel that Chardonnay's are one wine that can be incredibly butchered but not this one. Goes great with fish and vegetables but more importantly is great on its own.  A must try Chardonnay. Looking back on the wine, I am not sure why my wife and I used some it in the sauce for our seafood pasta dish, but oh well.
Glass of Ropiteau - Pouilly Fuisse

La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial - El Jocko (Maduro)

El Jocko

El Jocko is not your everyday name for a cigar so before reviewing the smoke I went in search of its origin. Turns out that in the late 90’s a man by the name Jacko Headblade visited Litto Gomez’s farm and factory in the Dominican Republic to check out upcoming products and tobacco.  While on the farm Jacko attempt to ride a neighbor's donkey, Gomez commemorated the harsh event by naming both the donkey and the cigar El Jocko. As awful as the event was the ending result has been a great hit. The perfecto is gorgeous to look at and is rolled perfectly. The cigar is only 4 ¾” in length and has a ring gauge of 54 at its fattest point. The cigar is covered in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and Dominican fillers that are piloto cubano. The cigar is beautiful in hand with a dark oily wrapper and has aromas of raisins and cedar.

As I light the smoke it begins out very peppery and spicy but as the cigar gets wider the further into the middle I get it begins to show more leather and woodier notes that are accompanied by fruity and meaty characteristics. At the midpoint the cigar is definitely medium-full in body and has really rich flavors. Spice is very prominent but it has a nice raisin finish that balances it all out. As I begin to enter the second half the wrapper flavors become more prominent and there is a return in spice but still lots of leather.  Cigar burned perfectly and I was more than half way through before I had to put out the ash.

This cigar has a long finish and is quite entertaining for a small perfecto. I would have to give this cigar an 88 but thought it was rather enjoyable. The cigar packed some great flavors into such a tiny smoke and it also packed a little punch as well. This would be a great cigar if you only had about 45 minutes to smoke and you were a fan of cigars that had dark flavors and a heavy body. I am interested to see how the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper is, but in the meantime this cigar gets a 91.
El Jocko Maduro


Available at Havana Phil’s.       

Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Elencos Series - Acto Mayor

Elencos - Acto Mayor
Well, I have finally completed my review of the Elencos Series by E.P. Carrillo and let me tell you that this line is impeccable. If you want a cigar that deliver incredible flavors with a great body look no further. This is one of the most complex cigar I have had in some time and every bit of it was enjoyable. As I have mentioned in my earlier blogs on the line, the cigar was made into standard production after having the Edicion Limitada 2010 be so revered and wanted in high demand. I can say that every cigar I have had in this line has been enjoyable and worth every penny. Like the rest of the cigars the cigar features a Brazilian Habano wrapper with a Dominican binder, and fillers from Nicaragua. The torpedo measures 6 1/4" with a 52 ring gauge. The torpedo is just incredible, it is rolled perfectly with no visual faults in the wrapper, and has a wonderful aroma of caramel, leather and coffee beans.

The torpedo begins very smooth showcasing wonderful flavors of wood, dark chocolate, coffee and citrus notes. I would say the body is around medium, possibly fuller, but it is so smooth and balanced that it can be deceiving. As I enter the second third the wood remains prominent with rich earth present and a finish of caramel. This cigar is just kicking butt with tons of great flavors. I was reading up on other peoples thoughts of the cigar and found that some were saying this cigar is a "last cigar of the day." It just really conquers your palate and afterwards you won't be able to really handle anything else. I would say that this cigar is so good you won't want to smoke anything else afterwards. This is a cigar where I could understand a smoker saying "I just smoke these cigars because they are what I love in a cigar, and I don't need anything else." I usually look perplexed when someone says that but I understand this circumstance. I am in the final third now and there is a lot of earth and leather present with some orange peel, and it has a caramel and coffee bean finish. Great smoke that as just beautiful in all ways.

Having no smoking problems with this cigar, the construction being beautiful with wonderful flavors it is hard not to give this cigar a high score. This cigar easily gets a 95 rating in my book and in my opinion one of the best new releases. Looking at the three sizes in this line it is hard to pick out which one dominates. Most likely I would just say choose which size you like the best or how much time you want in a smoke. If you like torpedoes grab the Acto Mayor, if you like smaller cigars gran the Don Rubino and larger ring gauges grab the Elites. This is really a great cigar and definitely box worthy. I wouldn't smoke this everyday but I would definitely make it a weekly smoke. I can tell you now that this cigar will be in my Top 10 of 2011, no doubt.   
Acto Mayor
Available at Havana Phil's, Milan Tobacconists, W. Curtis Draper and Empire Cigars

June 8, 2011

Padron 1926 Serie 80th Anniversary

A couple days ago in Havana Phil's I lit up one of my favorite cigar of all time and took some pictures with my phone. I did not offficially review it, but I will shortly. What an amazing smoke.  This is a cigar that really captures high quality and incredible flavors. Check out my review now at Padron 80th Anniverary Maduro Review!
Pre-Light

Not quite at first third

Towards the end of the second third.

June 7, 2011

Toraño Exodus 1959 - 50 Years

I love how the picture came out on this one.
Looking over manufacturers that I have  review and have not I noticed that one in particular stood out, Toraño Cigars. Toraño Cigars has been making cigars for themselves and others for some time and have had some incredible blends. One of my favorite of their blends and possible in my Top 25 is their release from 2009, the Toraño Exodus 1959 - 50 Years. The cigar is meant to commemorate 50 years in exile from their home nation of Cuba. It is the third cigar in their lineup that bears the title Exodus and I think their finest. The cigar showcases a Brazilian Arpiaraca Sun-grown wrapper with a Honduran binder. The fillers are all Nicaraguan and come from Esteli and Pueblo Nuevo. Pueblo Nuevo is a remarkable area for tobacco and seems to be a resource that is not fully tapped into, or limited. The Toraño Family is quite incredible and I have met Charlie on several occasions and he was incredibly well spoken. I feel like Toraño Cigars has had a rebirth in recent years and is on the rise once again, and I truly hope so for them and passionate cigar smokers. I believe they make incredible blends that are very unique and complex. For this review I grabbed their robusto which measures 5" with a 50 ring gauge. I have had Short Churchill and Box Pressed version as well and both are absolutely great, but I would probably reach for the robusto size most often. The cigar has a gorgeous dark and oily wrapper that has wonderful aromas of berries, chocolate, leather and spice.
Toraño Exodus 1959 - 50 Years

When you have a cigar made with tobacco from all of these great regions, it is no surprise that this cigar is going to be a flavor bomb. The cigar showcases wonderful flavors from the get go with a long pleasant finish. I am picking up some toasted wood notes with rich earth and a finish that is very reminiscent of a Zinfandel; it is very jammy and fruity. I have had many cigars that show fruit notes and similarities with wine but this is the one of the few cigars that has this distinct wine taste to it. In the second third of the cigar there is an emergence of nutty characters and it pairs nicely with the wood. I am also picking up some chocolaty sweetness and spice along with it. The cigar is burning incredibly even at this point with only one relight, which is my fault, and really a treat. Getting into the final third I am beginning to pick up hints of raisins, chocolate, spice and nuts, making me think of a candy bar. I smoked this baby all the way down to the nub and lit up the next one directly afterwards. Great smoke with tons of flavors.
50 Years Robusto
This is a cigar that I believe is incredibly now, will be great in two years and will be even better in many years after that. Medium in body with a great amount of rich flavors this cigar is deserving of a 94 rating. Those looking for an example to give others on rich medium body maduro cigar would be wise to recommend this. Available at a great price for a single cigar and/or box it is hard to turn down this cigar. I have about a ten of these in one my humidors and I have had them for about a year so I am looking forward to these in the near and distant future. One of the finest blends Toraño Cigars has put it out in sometime. 

If you have skimmed down here and not read anything else, read this. Go buy one of these cigars immediately. 

Available at Cigar.com, Cigars International, Empire Cigars, Milan Tobacco and W. Curtis Draper

June 6, 2011

Rondel Pura Raza Semi-Seco (Cava)

Bottle of Semi-Seco Rondel Cava
I know, it has been a while since I talked about wine but I just haven't been drinking much lately. Why you may ask? That is a good question and I ask myself that everyday as well.


Cava, the word, came about as a result of a legal conflict between France and Spain over Champagne. The Spanish translation of Champagne is Champagn, and the French weren't to happy with them using it so they decided to use the word cava. Cava is the Spanish word for "cellar" so it seems fitting that the Spanish would use that word for their version of Champagne. Most of the Spanish Cava's are made in the Catalan region of Spain and are made by the Methode Champenois in order to qualify with that name. Macabeo, Parellanda and Xarel-lo grapes are often used for Cava but there are some made with Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir. The winery Rondel, which is where my Cava is from, was created in the 1950's and has been successful ever since. Semi-Seco is a term used to determine the amount of sugar in the wine. Semi-Seco is one of the sweetest of Cava's and has between 33 and 50 grams per liter.

The wine has a lovely aroma of flowers and citrus fruit  and is very light in color, almost a clear hay. The Cava has hints of wood, lemon and melon in the taste while being very smooth. It is made in an extra-dry style but has a nice sweetness to it as well. It finishes very smooth and is a very balanced wine and great for the summer time.

I would give this cava an 89, and though it is not one of my favorite it is still very enjoyable. I was hesitant at first to see how sweet it would be but it was actually really balanced and very enjoyable. Cava's are one of my favorite sparkling wines followed by Prosecco and are great all year round. I know a lot of people are lovers of Champagne but for such great prices Cava's are hard to not pick up. I always leave a couple bottles of Prosecco and Cava on the wine-rack and more importantly keep a couple bottles in the fridge also.

Trinidad Reyes - 24 count box


Too beautiful not to share, I am looking forward to these smokes.

June 5, 2011

Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon - Churchill (old band)

Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon (old band)
If there is one cigar wrapper in the industry that I am never to sure of, it is the Cameroon wrapper. I have had some cigars with Cameroon wrappers that are great and some that are bad. The leaf itself is very difficult to work with because of its delicate texture and in the blending process. Most everyone who has smoked a cigar has had a Cameroon wrapper whether they know it or not, but to make things more complicated there is a difference in authentic Cameroon wrappers and not. Most of the time the manufacturer will tell you it is an authentic Cameroon wrapper but does it mean it will be a great cigar? Some of the best Cameroon wrapper cigars I have had are La Aurora's but Rocky Patel has a great Cameroon wrapper cigar that he sells in bundle as well. One of the most recent releases with a Cameroon format is the Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon.

The cigar features a genuine West African Cameroon wrapper in a cigar that is medium-full in body. Like all Cusano Cigars the cigar has two wrappers, the outer being Cameroon and the inner one being a Dominican Sun-grown wrapper. The binder and filler tobacco are all Dominican and feature some of the best Dominican tobacco. The cigar was originally designated the number 59 because Joe Chuisano, the brother of Mike who founded Cusano cigars, was born in that year. Since both brothers are no longer with Cusano Cigars and it is owned by Davidoff the name has remained the same but the packaging is different. I imagine the blend will remain the same if not be better, because Davidoff does wonders with cigars. I have smoked this cigar before and have somewhat a recollection of what it is like but I am going in with no assumptions. I picked up the churchill size to smoke and it measures 7" with a 50 ring gauge. With Cameroon wrappers I tend to pick up a smaller ring gauge and the reasons for that is because I want to get as much of the wrapper in the flavor profile as I can. The 50 ring gauge is the smallest gauge in the line so why not pick up a churchill over a robusto, it is summer time after all.

Holding the cigar in hand it has a fine wrapper that is not very toothy but incredibly oily. There are very few veins present in the cigar with some small water spots in the wrapper. Water spots usually leave almost a white spot in the wrapper and that is from where rain water has been sitting on the leaf and damaged the chlorophyll in the leaf, because of this it affects the curing process. I know a man who calls that "angel's kisses." I find it very entertaining and when I say that in front of others they look at me like "are you okay?" The aroma of the cigar is pleasant giving off hints of nuts and toast, with a spicy sweetness to it as well. Upon lighting the cigar I am greeted with a pronounced lemon peel aroma that is accompanied by sweet wood. Further into the first third I begin to get notes of apricots and nuts that pair wonderfully with the wood and lemon from earlier on. As I enter the second third the apricot and nut flavors are still present but I am also picking up heavy spices and earth. The cigar is really showing great flavors and is burning incredibly well. The cigar is a lot different then what I remember it being, better. With the final third the cigar begins to show lots of earth and wood notes with a nice spice level to it. The cigar is definitely medium in body and one of the fullest Cameroon wrapper cigars I have had. I think having a double wrapper on the cigar really gives it much more flavor and depth and prevents any one flavor from overpowering another. Great churchill.

What a wonderful cigar this cigar was. I found it was packed with nice flavors and a great body that is perfect for the summer time. I am not sure if the blend has changed since Davidoff has started making them or not but I am loving this smoke. This is an 89 point cigar and a great value at the same time. If you are a big Cameroon wrapper fan then I would reach for this cigar next time you enter your shop or make an online purchase, you will not be disappointed. Cusano Cigars really makes a great amount of smokes and every time I potentially rule them out I grab for one of their smokes and understand why I continue smoke them. Whether you prefer full bodied or mild cigars they have something for everyone, and each cigar is packed with great flavors.
Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Churchill
Available at Cigar.com and Cigars International    

 

June 4, 2011

Leon Jimenes - No. 2

Leon Jimenes No. 2
If you have had a cigar on the market since the 1970's and you're still making it, then people obviously enjoy it. The Leon Jimenes line has been on the market for that long, and most likely will be on the market for as many years to come. Covered in a beautiful Connecticut Shade wrapper this cigar is packed with tons of great Dominican tobacco for the filler and binder. This churchill is made by La Aurora in the Dominican Republic and is their oldest and one of their most reliable in weapons in their arsenal. I have found this cigar to be loved by so many and I have heard it is one of the top selling cigars in the United States. If I were thinking of a cigar to buy for a novice smoker who was looking to not spend more then a $100 on a box I would recommend this smoke. This is a very easy and enjoyable smoke that can be enjoyed by all. I picked up a 5 pack in a deal on Cigar.com and I am happy I did. I love La Aurora Cigars and I am ecstatic with some of their most recent releases and look forward to future releases. The churchill measures 7" with a 47 ring gauge and has a beautiful bronzed silky Connecticut Shade wrapper. The aroma is of tobacco, coffee beans and cedar, and fits great in the hand.

The second I light up this cigar I begin to pick up notes of cedar, toast and coffee and it has a smooth creamy finish. The draw is just perfect and the flavor is great. I am sitting out on my pergola drinking a Vinho Verde, which is a Portuguese white wine, and loving life. As I get further into the first third I begin to pick up some caramel notes along with tobacco and it is still beautiful. The ash has is perfect and standing strong on the cigar and I am loving this smoke. I am into the second third of the cigar, and second bottle of wine, and the flavors are still sublime and subtle. The coffee and caramel notes are stunning in this cigar and I am also beginning to pick up a hints of nuts on the finish as well. Even at this point the ash is still going strong on this cigar and I wish I had a camera to take a picture of it or my phone because I am trying to hold this to the end. I enter the final third, still sober, and the cedar and cream in the cigar are really at the forefront and it is absolutely divine. This is a perfect time right now because the cigar is great, the wine is great and the weather is just perfect. As I get to the last inch of the cigar the ash has finally fallen off and I am okay with it because this has been a great smoke.

What a treat this cigar was and I am wondering why I don't have more of them in my humidors. Actually, the reason I don't have more of a lot of cigars in my humidors is because I would need my humidors. I am giving this cigar a solid 88 and looking forward to my next. I am trying to think about how to word this and it might come out poorly but this is really a great cigar for a novice smoker. I wouldn't recommend it to an experience smoker but I do find it rather enjoyable. I would actually love to give this "blind" to another smoker and get their opinion. Most novice smokers pick up Macanudo's, Montecristo's or Romeo Y Julieta's but forget those and grab one of these. I love curve balls from time to time and this one of those. Now I have to leave this review for the hockey game. Go Canucks!
Leon Jimenes

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