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
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