Friday, December 30, 2011

Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estate

While this isn't my first No. 9, I believe this is the first one I've jotted some notes down for.  It's no secret that one of my favorite cigars is the LP T52.  While that cigar is stalk-cut, the No. 9 is not.  It is, however also very rich and meaty.  When I can't get my hands on the 52's, I certainly don't mind smoking the 9's.  If both the 52's and the 9's are unavailable, the Undercrowns are another nice option by Liga Privada (Drew Estate).  While Drew Estate is most well-known for its flavor-infused lines, the Liga Privada line (traditional cigar blends) are truly outstanding.

The wrapper on the No. 9 is beautifully dark and oily.

1/3: One inch in, and the burn line is perfect.  That familiar rich and hearty flavor is ever-present.  There's really no spice or pepper.  This stick is more earthy in flavor.  Notes of unsweetened cocoa.  The No. 9 produces thick clouds of smoke, and even at rest, lots of smoke is pouring out of it.  The ash is mostly white.

2/3: Consistent and smooth.

3/3: More of the above...again, quite consistent.

These cigars look great, are well made, and taste exquisite.  I recommend any of the Liga Privada lines, however beware: a developed palette may be required to truly enjoy what this stick has to offer.  

Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Oscuro
Binder: Brazil
Filler: Honduran/Dominican

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fuente Opus X Forbidden Heart of the Bull 1957 (100th Anniversary Blend)

What luck?!  I walked into my favorite local B&M, and found that a shipment of Opus X Forbidden had just arrived in a few sizes (limit 1 per customer, of course).  I haven't really done any homework on this one, so I'll just share what I know (or believe to be true). 

First off, the cigar is a nice brown shade.  The double band is pretty cool, with the clock tower face showing XIII.  I could be mistaken, but it appears to have a quadruple cap.  This stick smells leathery, and with a cold draw I get lots of black pepper.  After clipping, there was a 1/4" stem sticking out - no issues though after pulling it out. 

1/3: Heavy pepper up front.  Did I say heavy pepper?  An inch in after lighting, and the pepper has toned itself down a tad, however the cigar is definitely full-strength.  It is slightly harsh on the roof of my mouth, but tolerable with my bottle of water.

2/3: Still strong and crisp.  I'm surprised by the consistency.  Picking up some spice and raisins at the midway point.  The HotB (Heart of the Bull) has thusfar required several touch-ups to correct the burn line, and at around the middle, required a partial re-light to keep it going. 

3/3: This cigar is great for cigar enthusiasts who enjoy pure strength.  For me, not so much.  There's slight sweetness in the final third, and the nicotine is more noticeable now. 

Glad I got a chance to smoke one, but I doubt I'll be joining the masses in stockpiling these, although admittedly, they'll probably do better after some time in storage. 

Total burn time, ~1 hour, 20 minutes.

Size: 5-1/4 x 50
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

(*Not a lot of information is available about these, so if I have misstated anything,  please let me know.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where have you been, Jeremy Bloom?

I've been fighting an illness for the last couple of weeks.  Hope to be back soon.

Planning to sample the Four Kicks by Crowned Heads here in short order.

Also, a potential interview with J.C. Newman's president, Eric Newman scheduled for 12/15 at local favorite cigar hotspot, Cigars & More in Libertyville, IL. 

Stay tuned!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Liga Undercrown Robusto by Drew Estate

My friend Kris has been inquiring as to why I haven't sampled this new release from Drew Estates yet, as he knows that one of the top sticks in my rotation is the Liga Privada T52.  The price point is a bit lower than the LP #9 and T52 lines, and I'm thinking that these might be a little easier to get your hands on too.  The Undercrown has a beautiful dark chocolate colored wrapper and a prestigious looking navy blue and gold band.  It appears to be fully packed with no soft spots.  It smells nice and rich, reminiscent of those T52's that I love.

The story here is that the torcedores (rollers) were smoking up the Liga Privadas, which are limited in production.  A similarly dark Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper was used instead of the stalk cut Connecticut on the LP blends.  I read that Jonathan Drew describes this line as an "inverse Liga Privada" because the Undercrown blend shares many of the same tobaccos as the No. 9 and T52, but put together in a different way.  The T52's wrapper serves as the binder in the Undercrown, and while the leaves are the same, different primings and vintages are used. 

I've paired this smoke with a bottle of water.  Straight clip, toast the foot, and here we go.

1/3: Perfect draw.  Cedar notes on the light.  There's a nice visual contrast between the white ash and the dark wrapper.  As I continue, I'm presented with notes of peppercorn just before the taste shifts to mild and creamy.  As you can probably see in the photo below, there is plenty of "at rest" smoke. 

2/3: Very good burn so far, and the smoke is quite plentiful.  The ash dropped at about 1.5".  In the 2nd third, I would describe the experience as full-bodied and medium strength.  Notes of roasted coffee beans are present.  It's starting to smoke a little on the hot side, so I will reduce my speed for a little bit.

3/3: In the final third, some spice is present.  It is now back to near full strength.  For a brief time, the smoke is what I describe as "icey."  There's some spice on the tongue, and the draw has gotten just a little difficult.  The cigar has not gone out, but a relight has certainly brought it back to life.  With an inch and a half to go, the heat and the oiliness of the wrapper make their presence known, as my fingers feel almost wet (they're not though) due to the silkiness of the oily wrapper.  Total time: ~1.75 hours!

Verdict:  Good cigar!  With the popularity of the other Liga Privada lines, this cigar gives some of that taste and quality, but at the lower price point (around $7). 

*A special thanks to Mr. Jonathan Drew, who checked out this post, and left a comment faster than I could post the review to go along with the photo!

Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
Binder: T52 Connecticut stalk cut & cured Habano
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Avion Perfecto

Pete Johnson (of Tatuaje) brings us the Avion.  This perfecto is box-pressed with a tapered foot, much like the Fuente Hemingway cigars.  There's plenty of information out there about the Avion line, which I believe was introduced this year at the 2011 IPCPR as an extension of the Fausto line.  The Avion is a partnership with Jaime Garcia at the My Father factory in Nicaragua. 

It is smooth, oily, and gives off a nice, rich scent of wood and caramel. 

I gave it a clip, and torched it up with my Xikar.  The draw is loose with some slight resistance. 

1/3: Spicy kick at the start, certainly a reminder that this is a "Garcia" stick.  My taste buds tell me that there is some cinnamon and a faint spice taste to start things off.  As I get further into the Avion Perfecto, the strength becomes more evident.  I wouldn't recommend this stick for newbies or lightweights.  The light gray ash held firm, but crooked at 1.5", so I gently knocked it off. 

2/3: Faint black pepper appears in the 2nd third.  The cigar still lets you know it is there, however its power has subsided somewhat.  Smooth, peppery smoke.

3/3: More pepper here.  Some strength returns. 

I picked up this vitola because they didn't have my normal preference of robusto or toro sizes.  Occasionally, it's nice to try something out of one's comfort zone.  Different vitolas provide a different experience, even with the same blends.  I'd like to get my hands on one of the aforementioned sizes for another go. 

Size: 6-3/4 x 48/52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa/Esteli Ligero)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Curivari El Gran Rey Emperadores

So, I've had a few different Curivari cigars now, and while I've enjoyed them, they (for me) haven't been anything all that special.  Good, just not amazing.

As recommended, I paired my El Gran Rey with coffee.  I clipped it with my Xikar guillotine, and toasted the foot.  It lit up quite easily, without me needing to puff, check, blow, torch, etc..

1/3: Thick, creamy smoke right off the bat.  Nice!  I pick up toasted walnuts.

2/3: The draw has been nice and easy.  Flavors of mellow, aged tobacco.  It certainly is good with a strong cup of black coffee.

3/3: Starting the final third, there's some slight bitterness.  I chose to purge, and that seemed to do the trick.  I'm still getting nice clouds of thick smoke.  Some spice has been introduced.  Also now present is a little Vitamin N (nicotine).

Aside from the purging activity, I didn't need to touch up the cigar at all.  It burned well.  Decent smoke. 

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
*From website: Authentic Cuban Seed Criollo and Corojo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Namakubi Tiburon by Room 101 LTD

Matt Booth and Camacho have again teamed up to create this limited line under the Room 101 brand.  Namakubi, which translates to "freshly severed head" in Japanese is the Samurai theme here.  Definitely a different type of marketing at work.

This particular stick sat in my humidor for over a month.  Pre-light gave hardly any scent at all.  I gave it my typical clip and toast, and fully expected to enjoy this baby.

1/3: For me, I best describe the initial flavor as musty (but in a good way).  The burn line was jagged.  Predominant flavors of pepper, and very dry.  I'm a bit underwhelmed here.  I figure that this cigar might go better with some spirits, however with a planned wine tasting after this, I'm going to keep this review free of alcohol.  Instead, I don't think I can go further without some water.

2/3: Water is helping me stay in the game here, but I'm just not enjoying this smoke.  It is dry, and I'm not finding much in the realm of flavor.

3/3: Same thing.  Didn't even bother finishing it though, as I've run out of time.  Doesn't matter to me, really, as this cigar hasn't shown signs of greatness since the first 60 seconds.

I recognize that in nearly every batch of good cigars, you can find one that isn't so great.  I'm not rushing out to try another one of these though, since at $8.00 a stick, there are just too many other greats out there to buy.  If someone was to drop one in my lap, I'd smoke it (and review it) again.

Final ruling: No box purchases in my future.

Size: 6 x 44
Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Honduras "Generoso"
Filler: Dominican & Honduran "Vuelta Abajo"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Patel Brothers Torpedo

Rocky Patel teamed up with his brother, Nish to blend this line of cigars under the Patel Bros. label.  I've heard some mixed reviews, so I decided to give one a smoke and decide for myself.  Rocky seems to have so many cigar lines out there, I wonder if he's diluted his brand.  Well, I guess he's not the only one to do it. 

This stick has a nice dark, toothy PA Broadleaf wrapper.  It smells rich and robust.  No soft spots.  Clip and toast....  Pepper on the light, with some thick puffs of smoke.  I've chosen to pair it with a bottle of Fat Tire.

1/3: Right off the bat, I'm having some minor burn line issues.  A quick touch-up with my Xikar torch, and the jagged edges are mostly fixed.  The taste is of a bold espresso.

2/3: The 2nd third starts with a somewhat tighter draw.  There's some oil seeping towards the head, so I choose to clip a little further down, and this vastly improves the draw problem.  Notes of dirt.  What is advertised as a full strength experience is so far medium in strength and body for me.  It is consistent and rather uneventful.

3/3: Same.  Relatively no increase in strength, and no real changes in flavor.

This cigar was okay.  Not great, not bad. 

Size: 6-1/4 x 52
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ashton ESG 23-Year Salute

A thoughtful gift from the charming Mrs. Bloom.  There are several cigars by Ashton that I haven't yet reviewed, including the VSG (which is residing in my humidor).  This ESG is a first smoke for me today.  It comes with a hefty price tag, so my expectations are fairly high.  It is a puro that has been blended by master blender, Carlos Fuente Jr.

The pre-light smell gives off a hint of coffee.  Clip.  Toast.  Easy draw and some nice clouds of smoke on the light.  I've chosen to pair up with a nice glass of Boulevard Bully! Porter. 

1/3: Dried leaves and almond.  Mild and smooth smoke in the 1st third.  The ash is quite nice looking.  It is practically seamless and light gray in color.  Good burn line.

2/3: Some cedar is apparent here.  The start of the 2nd third is ultra mild with some nice complexity, but as I get into this third, it kicks itself into medium strength and body.  I'm noticing coffee bean flavor, and at one point, a touch of rum.  The ash is a little flaky at this time.

3/3: Similar flavors in the final third, with the addition of nutmeg.  The cigar is strengthening some too.  Nice, crisp finish.

Size: 6-1/4 x 52
Wrapper: Dominican (grown on the Chateau de la Fuente farm - exclusive to this cigar)
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic 1979 (robusto)

DPG's Cuban Classic is a nice looking stick, at a reasonable price. 

Pre-light: chocolate scent, nice draw

First few puffs have some mild spice, and despite what others have said, this cigar didn't give me any pepper up front. 

1/3: I would describe this cigar as Cuban-esque.  Very good burn line here, and notes of leather are most prominent.  Maybe this particular stick has been aging for quite awhile at the B&M, but I am not recognizing the DPG power that I expected.  That's not something negative necessarily, but an observation nonetheless.

2/3: More leather and some woodiness.

3/3: Consistent.  More of the same recognized in the previous two thirds.  I've read about some interesting flavors including berries, pepper, etc.. however I didn't taste them.  Cigars can smoke differently based on a number of variables both limited to the cigar itself (how long ago it was rolled, how long it has been stored and in what conditions) as well as the human factor.  I may be coming down with a cold, so my sense could also be a little off.

Regardless, I enjoyed this cigar - yet another of Pepin's that has smoked quite well.  No surprise there. 

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tatuaje Outlaw 2010

Somehow, I completely lost track of this one from back in August.  Unfortunately, my full review seems to be M.I.A., although I found some chicken scratches that I can post...  I received this cigar as part of a "bomb," and it turns out that it was a single store limited series by Pete Johnson, exclusively made for Outlaw Cigars in KC, Missouri for their "Bad to the Bone" event.  While the cigars for this event apparently came unlabeled and in cello, mine was without cello and had (obviously) a band on it. 

The stick showed some veins, and had some "tooth" to it as well.  I found that the draw was tight.  It did maintain a fairly even burn, with a white-ish ash.  I noticed that along the burn line, there were small sparks from time to time.  Interesting phenomenon. 

Sadly, this is where my handwritten notes end.  The rest of the post is gone...  Probably a casualty of my Blogger Android app.  Oh well.  Bottom line: This cigar wasn't what I would expect from Tatuaje.  Nothing about it was anything to write home about.  Here are a few photos of it:

Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Diesel Shorty

Here's another cigar that I've been patiently waiting to try.  It is from a line by AJ Fernandez.  Then there's the whole storyline about it being made for and blended with help from Shorty from the tv show, Pitboss.  Anyways...  to the smoke.
Typical clip and toast.  I must say, this is a handsome looking thing.  It has a very strong pre-light smell of barnyard, and the foot has a distinct chocolate smell.  The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has a nice oily sheen, and the wrapper is coffee bean-colored.  With a ring gauge of 60, it is certainly a mouthful.  Some veins are noticeable, but the only issue I had was that one protruding vein could be felt on my upper lip.  Easy fix, rotate 10 degrees.  Problem solved.  Paired with Boulevard ZON.
1/3: Toasted almonds on the light, which led to graham cracker.
2/3: Nice, tight ash!  Good burn line too.  Similar flavors to the first third.  Nice, medium bodied smoke.  I was expecting a real powerhouse, but while the flavors are good, it is not what I would call a "flavor bomb." 
3/3: Woody notes and some mild cinnamon here.  I smoked this one down to a tiny nub, a little further than I do with most cigars because I am not a big fan of the bitterness and charred tastes.  The Shorty, however, smoked smoothly to the last puff.  

I'm glad I have a few more of these aging in the humidor.


Size: 4-1/2 x 60
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua

Saturday, September 17, 2011

5 Vegas Miami M5

I've been looking forward to trying the 5 Vegas Miami M5 for some time now, as it came highly recommended by a smoking buddy.  The cigar is definitely attractive.  It has a box-pressed shape, and has a nice, chocolate-colored wrapper with a classy looking bronze/navy label. 

Clip.  Toast. 

1/3: White pepper and spice on the light, followed by notes of mocha.  I've chosen to pair this stogie with Boulevard Single Wide IPA.  They go well together.  The flavors very quickly transition to what I'll call a smooth, campfire taste. 

2/3:  Bakers' chocolate.

3/3: Mild tar.  Pepper.  Some spice on the tongue.

I would certainly like to smoke one of these again.  It had some uniqueness to the flavors, and it is always a good idea to give a new smoke at least two tries.  Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable smoke. 

Size: 5-1/2 x 55
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petit Robusto

 I've really enjoyed the My Father core line, so it was just a matter of time until I sampled the Le Bijou 1922.  I was told that kicks up the strength a few notches.

I cut and toasted this handsome cigar, and here's what I thought:

1/3: MAJOR power up front with plenty of black pepper.  After about a 1/2" or so, it settled in nicely.  There's still plenty of power, but it has less bite than the first few puffs.  Notes of wood, with a faint sweetness are present.

2/3: At 4-1/2 inches long, I get to the 2nd third fairly quickly.  The cigar is still bold, yet smooth.  The wood is still there, and I notice that the faint sweetness lingers a bit too, kind of like cherries or something of the like.  I enjoy the strength, and while it is not overpowering for me, it lets me know it's there.

3/3: Much of the same here.  The MF (My Father, that is) didn't go out, but it did need some help from the flame.  As is the case with most cigars, it got stronger in the final third, but it certainly was at its strongest when I first lit it up.

These are nice smokes.  I wouldn't recommend one to a beginner, as it would be too much for a novice to handle.

Size: 4-1/2 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro (Pelo de Oro)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig

Aging in my humidor for the right moment...and that moment is now!  Beautifully constructed, packed solid, with a dark, oily wrapper, and an intricate pig tail.  Clipped.  Torched.  Sweet smoke to start.  Pairing this cigar with a glass of Guinness.  This is unquestionably, a cigar enthusiast's cigar.  I referenced this particular stick with a photo sometime last year.  Ken P. at Neumann's Cigars & More in Libertyville gave this to me from his personal stash, allegedly given to him by Steve Saka himself (the big cheese at Drew Estate). 

1/3: Smooth, hearty smoke.  Rich and creamy.  This stalk-cut tobacco is really where it's at.  Spot on burn line going here.  Mild coffee notes with a touch of cocoa.  

2/3: Notes of raisin bread, and some spice through the sinus.  The ash is holding on strong, tilting slightly to one side.  A nice black, oily ring surround the burn line.  I tell you, these are some of the classiest looking bands, and they look extra cool against the dark Habano wrapper.  The burn line is waving around a bit here.  I wonder if it'll correct on its own.  Approaching the halfway mark, some cedar taste is present.  I just felt like ashing, so I did, but it took some effort.  This certainly speaks to the quality construction. 

3/3: Still getting the velvety and heavy smoke.  Vitamin "N" has decided to join the party, but he's being nice. All in all, a great cigar if you can get one.

Size: 4-1/4 x 60
Wrapper: Stalk Cut Habano
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fine
Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Curivari Reserva Limitada Classica Epicures

This Nicaraguan puro is another in a line of boutique cigars that I am sampling today. The Curivari website gives this description (misspelling and all): A dark oily wrapper, with a full-bodied, this cigar offers toasty flavors with notes of coffee, leather and spices

To me, there is a faint tobacco smell, pre-light.  It is firm and a little oily.  A clip and a toasted foot, and we're off.  Perfect draw here.  I've chosen to pair this smoke with a black coffee, although the subject of a future entry will involve the Cafe 52, which was practically designed to go with coffee. 

The 1st third shows medium strength, and while the Curivari description suggests coffee, leather, and spices, they are not so distinguishable for me.  The smoke is certainly pleasant though.  I do get some spice through the sinus.  Earthiness is what I seem to be getting, but overall just a smooth aged tobacco flavor is what I am experiencing.  An inch into it, and I'm seeing some uneven burn, but while not razor straight, it does correct itself.

The 2nd and final thirds really produced more of the same.  Certainly, no new flavors come into the picture, but the aforementioned ones have now gained some strength.

The Curivari RL Classica is a nice, relaxing smoke.  It is pretty consistent, so it would make for a good "social" cigar or one to enjoy while tinkering or just chilling out.  Don't expect any twists and turns here.   

Size: 4-1/2 x 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Authentic Cuban Seed Criollo and Corojo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bahia Gold No.2 Belicoso

Gifted to me from my buddy, Amos, here we've got a nice looking torpedo by Tony Borhani.  After the clipping and toasting ritual, I get a slightly loose draw, and some nice billowy, light smoke. 

The 1st third is peppery with a hint of cinnamon.  A flaky, white ash is present.  You can literally see the oiliness in this cigar, because there is about a quarter-inch of "black" above the burn line.  Both my cigar, and my buddy's are burning with a lot of waviness.  There are actual curls along the burn line.

The 2nd third continues the wavy burn line, and I pick up more leather.  Medium-bodied stick all the way. 

The final third shows much of the same as the rest of the stick.  Mine was pretty enjoyable, however Amos's was not.  His humidor has been running a bit hot though, so I wouldn't hold too much stock in his lack of enthusiasm for this stick. 

Size: 6-1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Monday, September 5, 2011

Don Pepin Garcia Blue Invictos

I picked up a blue label DPG and a black one (Cuban Classic 1979).  I plan to review the black at a later date.  I like a lot of Pepin's stuff, and the lines put out by his son, Jaime Garcia, so I felt it only fair to check out some of the lines I haven't tried yet.

This Invicto has a sweet taste on the lips pre-light.  After clipping and toasting, I certainly taste the classic Pepin spice.

The 1st third was predominantly spicy and peppery.  This is a well-constructed cigar.  The cigar itself looks and feels nice, and the band is classy as well.

The 2nd third led to notes of earth and coffee, and at times I picked up some milk chocolate.

The final third was smooth and creamy.  The cigar at this point was producing some thick, puffy smoke.  Notes of leather are evident here.  As I get to about an inch left, I do experience some bitterness and dryness.

I recently read a review that stated that the black label is more reasonably priced and better tasting than the blue one, and having enjoyed this cigar, I look forward to taking that Cuban Classic out for a spin.

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo

Sunday, September 4, 2011

CAO LX2 (robusto)

Not the biggest CAO fan here, but I happen to have a very nice humidor with the LX2 logo on it, so I figured, why not?  I'm glad I did, as this is a pretty decent smoke.

Initial thoughts are that this is an attractive, chocolately looking stick, that is firmly packed.  A very solid cold draw after the clip.  We're toasted and ready to go.

The 1st third revealed spice.  Good draw and burn.  This cigar is smooth and medium-bodied so far.  Good flavor to be had here. 

The 2nd third continued smoothly, with quality tobacco flavor.

The final third strengthened up a bit, with some nicotine making its presence known.  I've got a slightly wavy burn, but no issues to speak of.  The spice appears again, but stronger.  With a little over an inch to go, it is starting to burn a little hot.

I think I'd smoke one of these again sometime.  Probably not my first choice for a box purchase, but definitely worth a smoke if you see them in the local B&M.

Size: 5 x 48
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaraguan Ligero

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

K.A. Kendall's 7-20-4 (robusto)

Here is a brand that existed a long time ago, and has more recently been revived by K.A. Kendall.  It has a larger than normal cap with a small pig tail.  The wrapper is chocolate-colored and oily.  After clipping it, the cold draw provided some "tobacco dust," which was fortunately washed away with the Boulevard Amber Ale that I've chosen to pair it with.  

I toast the foot, and get to work, quickly noticing a nice white, wispy smoke.  This stick produces a meaty, chocolatey flavor, which lasts throughout the length of the smoking experience.  The ash is white in color.  

Flavors remain very consistent throughout the first two thirds.  As I hit the final third, there is a slight change which increases the flavor and strength a little bit, and adds roasted nuts.  

I'm usually not a guy who smokes a cigar so far down that it burns my finger tips, but I nubbed this one.  I'm not planning to purchase a box of them, but I really don't have anything negative to say.  It was a pleasant smoke, for sure.  I'd be interested to try one of their Dog Walkers.  

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Columbia
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Liga Privada T52 (toro)

I was excited to review the T52.  As posted earlier, I was given the T52 Flying Pig by the owner of Cigars & More in Libertyville, and as of this date it is still aging in one of my humidors.  I guess I'm just waiting for the perfect time to smoke it.  In the meantime, I had the good fortune to come across a few boxes of the T52's, and I snagged a toro size, and let it sit for a month.

This cigar looks amazing.  It is dark, oily, and firm.  Right when the No. 9 came out, I picked one up in Atlanta at the Highland Cigar Co., and while it was good, it just wasn't that memorable.  What I do remember is that the ash split down the center, and it looked like a big, two-pronged fork.  Anyways, back to the T52.  This blend has apparently been around since the 1800s (or so I read).  I decided to pair this up with a nice summer brew, ZON, by Kansas City's own Boulevard Brewing Company.

I clipped and toasted, and immediately recognized a thick, creamy smoke.  I could tell right away that this was ultra premium quality.  My review won't be as detailed as I'd like it to be, because as luck would have it, a friend came outside with his laptop, needing some assistance, and so any comments I have to make are based on memory alone (which isn't as sharp as I'd like it to be).

The thick and creamy smoke lasted the length of the cigar.  The taste was really enticing, and while descriptions weren't exactly flowing for me as to the particular tasting notes, I'd have to say that predominant flavors were that of premium tobacco, espresso, leather, and wood.  Now, the tobacco plants are harvested differently for the T52.  They are "stalk cut," which, according to the same friend I was helping out, are much trickier to harvest.  He used to farm tobacco in Kentucky years ago, so I believe him.  Apparently, the entire plant is stabbed with spiked sticks, 6 to a stick, and are hung intact.  What this process does is keep the leaves from drying out and losing their oils and nutrients.  Instead, with the whole plant hanging as it cures, the leaves continue to draw from the rest of the plant, allowing the leaves to maintain their oiliness and richness.  Trust me, you can taste it, and it is robust and awesome.

The T52 maintained an excellent balance and consistency throughout.  While the pre-light draw was a bit loose, once lit the draw was perfect.  While a little pricy, and not always readily available, this stick is worth its weight in gold in my opinion.  I can't wait to sit down with that more than ever!

Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: U.S.-grown stalk cut Habano-seed oscuro
Binder: Brazil
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kristoff Sumatra (Robusto)

 I've been letting this stick sit in the humidor for several months now.  I tend to enjoy Sumatra wrappers, and this one is leathery and very oily.  The foot is a little shaggy, and there is a long, tight pigtail (as seen below).  I clipped off the artfully done pigtail, and toasted the foot with my Xikar Crossover. 

The first third of this cigar gave me notes of rye toast.  I paired it with some red table wine (The Big Red Monster).  Excellent burn.  This cigar is full-bodied, and I picked up plenty of rich leather.  A slight numbing of my gums was evident.  As I approach the 2nd third, the Kristoff mellows out a little, and flavors and strength head towards a medium body.  The ash was going strong at an inch long before I disconnected it.

At the halfway point, things are smooth and pleasant.  The flavors are blending well with those of the wine, giving the smoke a thick mouth feel. 

The final third grew stronger again, with flavors seen previously in the cigar, just a bit heavier.

All in all, and enjoyable cigar.  Can't seem to go wrong with the Sumatra wrappers.

Size: 5-1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Brazilian
Filler: Dominican/Nicaraguan

Curivari Seleccion Privada (robusto)

Today, I'm smoking a newer boutique brand.  It looked like there were 6 lines to choose from at the B&M, with something like 3 vitolas per label.  Barnyard smell pre-light.  After toasting it, it lit right up, with a little snag in one spot that looks like a shark's tooth.  It didn't take long to correct.

Tobacco taste, with nothing really standing out for me. The taste and burn are quite reminiscent of a Cuban cigar.  During the 1st third I'm able to pick out wood and dry leaves.

In the 2nd third, I taste nutmeg and honey. Flavor and strength profile are both medium-bodied.

Flavors remained the same, but strengthened a little bit in the final third.

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Graycliff Professionale PG

Pulled the Graycliff out of my humidor after 9 months of aging.  I started with a pair, having smoked the first one last November to an odd-flavored start, which I recall had recovered nearly an inch into it.  No issues like that this time around.  A beautiful looking stick here.  A clip and a toast, and we're off.

The draw is firm, and the taste is grassy.

In the 2nd third, I pick up dry leaves.  My mouth is a bit dry, so I continue to trade off between puffs of the Professionale and sips of my red wine.  I see what they did here (nod to Avelino Lara) - this cigar could easily be mistaken for a Cuban.

Final third was very good.  Hard to put down, really.  The cigar did require a relight with about an inch and a half to go, and it struggled to get relit.  The last inch or so is hit or miss with me when I smoke.  Sometimes a great cigar goes bitter near the end, and other times it just wow's me.  This was closer to the latter.  I enjoyed it down till my fingers were burning.

The price of these make it tough to consider buying a box, but when purchased in sampler packs, these can really be worth the cost. 

Size: 5-1/4 x 50
Wrapper: Indonesian
Binder: ?
Filler: Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zino Platinum Z Class 546 P

The Ashton rep gave me this to try, which is great because I had planned to give it a taste anyways.

After doing the usual clipping and toasting, I picked up flavors of toasted almond.  A handsome walnut-colored wrapper with some veins and bumps (and one greenish spot).  Good burn.

Not great, not bad really.  I didn't notice many changes in flavor throughout. 

At the start of the final 3rd, the draw tightened up a bit, and and oily kind of resin appeared on the head, which tasted nasty.  I had to wipe it off to continue smoking.  Not hugely impressed, considering the price tag, but it didn't cost me a dime, so not too much disappointment here.

Size: 5-1/4 x 46
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Peruvian "Pelo de Oro"
Filler: Nicaraguan/Honduran

San Cristobal Elegancia (robusto)

Brand new from the 2011 IPCPR, this cigar is the newest from Ashton & Don Pepin Garcia.  This one is made in the My Father factory. 

First inspection reveals a rich cocoa scent to the wrapper.  The foot smells of coffee.  Clipped the cap, and toasted the foot.  Initially, I get some real bite with pepper.  It's a surprisingly strong start for connecticut wrapper, but I was told that this one isn't what you might expect.  It does taste young to me, so I'm sure it'll be even tastier after some humidor time.

Predominant flavors of wood, nuts, and toast at the 2nd third.

Much of the same in the final third.

Personally, I like the core line better, but again, these are brand spankin' new.  I'd be interested in smoking an aged one after 6-12 months in the humidor.  

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Thursday, August 4, 2011

La Flor Domincana Air Bender Chisel

So, I've not had much experience with anything from the LFD brand.  Jason at C&M suggested this one for my first real look at what Litto Gomez has to offer.

At first glance, this stick has quite an unusual shape.  It has a flattened figurado appearance, and smoking it sort of felt like smoking a big Tiparillo - but that's about the only thing it had in common. 

The cigar smelled pretty good.  It wasn't real strong, but I could tell that it had some strength and some sweetness.  I clipped the tip, and toasted the foot before I began with my Xikar Inpress torch.  Right off the bat I could sense the power that this cigar had to offer.  Quite bold.  The draw was on the loose side, but created no problems with the burn.  Construction seems to be top notch.

As I approach the 2nd third, things seem to mellow out a little bit.  I'm picking up some sweet berry notes, which are quite pleasant.  This cigar really takes you through some twists and turns as far as flavors go.  I'm digging it.  Midway through, I'm getting copious amounts of creamy smoke.  Flavors continue to switch up, and all in a good way.

Hitting the final third, there's still some sweetness, along with notes of caramel and wood.  I'm given a nice buzz here as well.  Burn line has been pretty darn good.  At one point, while I stopped to jot down some notes, the cigar went out with about 3 inches to go.  With the torch, it quickly lit back up with no issues and no bitterness.  Notes of cedar showed up in the nub.

I really enjoyed this cigar.  The unusual shape and length are not what I usually grab, however I would definitely smoke this Air Bender again.  The flavor complexity and variety is really quite intriguing.  If you like when a cigar takes you on a "flavor journey," this stick is for you.

Before posting my review, I decided to see what other people were saying about the AB.  Turns out that in 2010, Cigar Aficionado placed it in the top 25, with a No. 10 ranking.


Size: 6-1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Monday, August 1, 2011

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro (robusto) 4-7/8 x 49

Rob at Cigars & More recommended this one by Jesus Fuego.  New this year, I believe, Sangre de Toro translates to "bull's blood."  A nice chocolate-colored wrapper here, the band moving around a little loosely, and not entirely stuck at the end, leaving somewhat of a flap.  As a collector of my bands, I think they could have done a little better on this one, which is cheaply glossy.

Enough about the band.  This smoke was described to me as a heavy medium.  I think I agree with that assessment.  Draw is a little loose.  Flavor is a nice, earthy tobacco with a hint of floral.

Hitting the 2nd third, the smoke has gotten thicker and more plentiful.  The Sangre de Toro seems to go well with black coffee.  No real pepper or spiciness to comment on.  Great burn so far.  At this point, the ash is a little flakey and light, but it's not causing me any issues.  Some woody taste is noticeable, and the smoke is creamy in the mouth.  Speaking of that, there's an almost warm mouth feel to it, if that makes sense.

In the final third, I'm sensing some nicotine, but no real pepper or spiciness still - odd for any cigar in the final third.  Still, absolutely zero burn issues.  I taste that the woodiness is increasing, but I'm surprised at how this cigar hasn't gotten even remotely harsh.  The last few draws gave me a sweet pepper (both a pleasant surprise and a nice finish).

I think it's safe to say that this J. Fuego cigar has progressively gotten better third by third.  I'm nubbing it for sure.  Good smoke for the price. 

I'm going to see about adding some of the stats I haven't posted in previous reviews.  Let's see if I can maintain it.

Size: 4-7/8 x 49
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Colorado
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
Price: $6.00 +tax

Sunday, July 31, 2011

E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut Divinos (6 x 52)

So far, I've liked all of the E.P. Carrillo cigars I've tried.  The New Wave Connecticut bears a Connecticut wrapper which signals that this is a milder smoke.  To me, it was more in the medium bodied/strength range.  I picked up notes of roasted cashew and possibly some graham cracker.

While it strengthened at a nice pace, it never got what I would consider to be "strong," and the flavors didn't change in any major way as I progressed down to the nub.  It was interesting enough, however to be more enjoyable than many of the "mild" cigars out there.  The burn line was acceptable, and the construction in general was pretty good, as I would expect from E.P. Carrillo. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alec Bradley American Classic Blend (robusto)

Smoking a new Alec Bradley that was released in late Spring.  It started off with some bite, and smoothed out after a 1/2 inch.  Toasted bread and raisins are what I picked up throughout the first half.  While the band is a departure from the typical AB branding, I found it to be quite annoying as the jagged top kept catching on my fingers.  The cigar itself looks quite nice, with a light brown, coffee and cream color.

As this cigar progressed, it gradually strengthened.  Sold to me as mild to medium, I would say that it fit the description, finishing up on the stronger side of medium.

While certainly not at all a bad smoke, it didn't really do much to entice me to run out and buy more.  With so many other smokes on the market today, this one didn't have that "wow" factor.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cabaiguan Guapos RX Natural 5-1/4 x 50

Tonight, I have the pleasure of smoking one of Pete Johnson's lines.  I'm a fan of the Tatuaje cigars.  This is one beautiful cigar.  It's got a pigtail cap, and is oily with a perfect hand feel.  Amazing blend of tobacco in the 1st third.  I'm drinking a cup of steaming hot black coffee.  Great burn line, white, velvety ash.  I love the color of the wrapper.

Hitting the 2nd third, woody/grassy flavors show more pepper, and I get strong cedar through the nose.  My ash fell off past an inch and a half, and I just noticed a 1/2" split on the underside of the wrapper a few paces north of the burn line.  Not affecting anything yet, fortunately.  Letting it rest for a bit.

The final third gave way to increased strength, nicotine, and lots of pepper.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tatuaje Havana VI Angeles (Petite Corona) 4-5/8 x 42

Had a short window of time to grab a smoke, so I dug this one out of the humi.  The Havana VI's are medium bodied, and this one was no different.  I don't normally smoke many sub-50 gauge sticks.  The Angeles was medium strength and bodied, picking up a bit in the final third.  Admittedly, I had some distractions while smoking this one, but I wasn't able to pick up any distinct flavors besides a nice, classic tobacco. 

Decent cigar, however between this one and the Tatuaje Noella Cabinet Reserve I had a few weeks ago, I much preferred the Noellas. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial by My Father Cigars (toro) 6x54

I've been waiting for a perfect evening to sit out in the backyard and get familiar with this stogie.  It is a beautiful cigar with a dark, oily wrapper that smells of chocolate, and is topped off with a triple cap.  Notes of barnyard on the unlit foot.  

On the light: mild pepper, black cherry.  Easy draw.  

Paired with Boulevard Brewing Co.'s ZON Belgian-style Witbier.  

1/3: After the initial pepper, things quickly went mild.  Nice leathery notes.  Slight dry mouthfeel, with which the ZON helped to fix.  Resting smoke is present.  The appearance of the ash is like a flannel gray.  With 1-1/2 inches of ash hanging on, the smoke is velvety in the mouth.  I'm getting some floral through the nose.

2/3: I ashed just past 2 inches to find a little bit of "coning" underneath.  No big deal though.  At this point, it's medium in strength, body, and flavor.  Spice makes a brief appearance before mellowing out again to that velvety, creaminess.

3/3: In the final third, the cigar transitions to a full-bodied profile.  The heat has caused the oils to surface noticeably.  Some noticeable nicotine in the final minutes.

This cigar was worth the wait.  It is much gentler than its appearance might suggest.  These are box-worthy smokes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cain Daytona (robusto)

Heavy pepper on the light, leads to a flavorful, but smooth draw.  Visible veins, yet not protruding.  Woody and cedary notes with the retrohale.

When I'm using my mobile to upload, I tend to keep things short.  This Daytona stayed pretty much the same throughout, with the exception of the spicy start.  I enjoy the ligero.  The wrapper was lighter in shade in comparison to the other Cains.  While it was a good smoke, I enjoy the Cain Habano better, and probably find more complexity and flavor in the Cain F. 

I found myself without a proper lighter or cutter.  Wooden matches made it easy, however the box cutter I used to clip the cap didn't do such a good job.  Sometimes it's the little things that can ruin an otherwise pleasurable smoke. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tatuaje Noella Cabinet Reserve (5-1/8 x 42)

Good burn line.  Triple cap.  Oily, toothy, and "dusty" chocolate-colored wrapper. Espresso and black coffee notes.  Perfect draw.  Not sure what year this was because it was gifted to me with the humidor I received a couple months ago.  Seeing these for around $130-$180 for a box of 25.  These would be excellent "break time" cigars because the burn time was about 25-30 minutes for me.  I sure wish they were a little cheaper, considering they are a smaller vitola.  I don't typically smoke the small ones, but the quality of this stick was every bit as good as the larger ones.  Really impressed. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

EP Carrillo Short Run 2011 Canonazos (5-7/8 by 52)

Here I've got the 2011 Short Run by EP Carrillo in the Canonazos size.  Nice looking cigar with a triple cap and some minor veins.  I had an unusual combination of food beforehand, so hopefully my palate didn't play any tricks on me.  Nice cold draw, and good burn after fully toasting the foot.  Some spice on the light led to a smooth, kind of almondy-leathery flavor profile. 

Personally, I found the strength to be medium up until the final third where it kicked things up a notch to near full strength.  Burn line was pretty decent throughout; not perfect, but by all means not bad.  It never got hot, and fortunately I didn't pick up any of that carbon taste that I'm not such a fan of. 

I definitely notice a different flavoring than in the EP Carrillo core line.  This was a pleasant smoke. 

Thanks to Fenton for picking this one up!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cain F 550 Habano (5 3/4 x 50)

Ahh, the reasons why and why not to make sure you grab the right stick when you reach in.  Thought I was buying the newer Daytona, and at the clip realized I had the F ("F" for Fuerte).  Good thing I ate first!
Great taste so far, and the construction and feel are exactly what I've come to expect from Cain (and the Oliva family).  Beautiful oily wrapper.

Predominant flavors of pepper and spice, very pleasant.  I don't tend to search out cigars with that combination, however I really thought the flavoring was nice and mellow, while maintaining some good strength.  The 2nd third mellowed out a little bit relative to the 1st, but the flavor was still quite nice.

Approaching the final third, the cigar required a few relights and touch-ups.  Some of the initial strength returned for a final showing.  Good smoke (not for beginners). 


Keeping my eye out for these.  Interested to know how they're smokin'...

Speak Out! Keep the FDA out of your Humidors!

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Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve - Corojo (toro)

Here, we've got a Rocky Patel OWR that I acquired last September on the Smoke on the Water cigar cruise in Chicago.  It's been kept perfectly since then, and yesterday having been a "perfect weather" day, seemed like a good time to light 'er up.  I haven't really seen many of these around in the B&Ms, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  The box-pressed cigar was well constructed, and it had a decent weight in-hand.  Predominant flavors of chocolate and aged tobacco, and overall it was smooth and medium to full bodied.  Another cigar with consistency rather than complex twists and turns.  I enjoyed it with some beer, both while kicking back and throwing the frisbee disc around the yard. 

I don't think I'll be scouring the shops in search of this cigar, but I did enjoy it.  Should one fall onto my lap again at some point, I'd probably keep it around for another lazy day around the house. 

*Speaking of RP cigars, I had the Edge Sumatra again on Saturday, and it was very good.  Seems to find a nice middle ground (strength-wise) between the Edge and the Edge Lite, with some flavors of its own.  Definitely a must try. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HC Connecticut Shade (robusto)

I haven't been smoking many mild sticks lately, but it is Father's Day morning, and this cigar is going great with my coffee.  Smooth and velvety smoke, great draw.  The construction in these is quite nice. 

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