Sunday, July 13, 2014

Supremo EXL (toro)

This is a cigar that hadn't been on my radar.  It was given to me by an acquaintance who said that they are at the very top of his rotation.  A search online yielded very limited information, so I contacted the tobacconist who imports them exclusively.  

Jim Simon is the proprietor of Hill & Hill Tobacconists in Grosse Point Woods, Michigan (outside of Detroit).  Jim explained to me that SupremoEXL is not a private label, but that he owns a factory in the Dominican Republic with 10 rollers and 1 master blender that have been making this line for the past 14 years.  The tagline of the brand, if you will, is that they're "rolled like no other cigar."  Jim claims that this it the best cigar he's had in 48 years in the business.  Apparently, part of the secret behind this special roll is that the filler tobacco is used in wider widths.  These cigars are designed to burn longer than similarly sized cigars from different brands.  There are currently 6 sizes.  They are as follows: 4-1/2 x 45, 5 x 52, 6 x 52 (which was the cigar I sampled, and the #1 seller), 7 x 52, 7 x 60 (torpedo), and the newest size which has been sold for only the last 20 weeks, is the 6-1/2 x 60.  Both the torpedo and the newest size are rolled with 7 long filler leaves, as opposed to the 5 that go into the other sizes.  The cigars are true maduros, unlike several out there that are treated with dyes to get their dark appearance. 

Jim mentioned that nearly two years ago, a man and woman entered the store looking specifically for the SupremoEXL.  While that's not uncommon at Hill & Hill, when pressed for information about the gentleman they were shopping for, they explained that they were President Bill Clinton's Press Secretary and Pilot, who were sent to the store to buy two units of SupremoEXL for the former President of the United States.  

So, how does it smoke?  I've only had this one stick so far, so hopefully Jim Simon sends a couple sizes (vitolas)  my way for me to try out.  The cigar came surrounded by a cedar wrapper and cellophane.  It has a simple gold and black band, and a nice dark brown colored wrapper.  The sweet pre-light scent of molasses and raisins raised my expectations.  I used a punch cut and one of my trusty Xikar torches. 

1/3: The cigar started off very pleasantly.  Lots of smoke present.  The burn line is quite decent.  Some veins are noticeable, but no problem for the burn.  The wrapper has a nice oiliness to it.  

2/3: I picked up some spice in the 2nd third.  The cigar is medium-bodied, medium-strength.  

3/3: In the final third, the SupremoEXL gets meatier.  The burn line started to get slightly jagged, and the ash turned a bit flakey.  

Flavors throughout were a little muddled, but definitely pleasant.  I certainly wish I had a few more to spend some time with, as it was a little challenging to point out specific flavor notes.  All in all, it was a good cigar that I look forward to trying again sometime. Thanks to Mr. Simon for spending the time with me to explain the background of this particular brand of Dominican cigar. 

5/21/15 UPDATE: I never heard from Jim Simon again.  He never sent me those samples, and I don't plan on heading up to Michigan to buy cigars.  I'm interested to hear about others' experiences with this smoke, so hit me up if you get to experience one.

Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: unknown
Binder: unknown
Filler: unknown
Price: $10.95

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Alec Bradley Black Market (toro)

I'm surprised at myself that I'd gone this long without trying the Alec Bradley Black Market.  I'm not the biggest fan of Alec Bradley cigars, but these are big sellers, which suggests that there are plenty of people out there who enjoy them.  I've got no problem investing an hour and half with a new cigar (at least one that's new to me). 

Note:  I sometimes hear people referring to Alec Bradley as "him" or "he."  Many know this, but Alec and Bradley are Alan Rubin's two son's names.   The new Lineage cigar (an offshoot of the Family Blend) is a tribute to the both of them.  I happen to enjoy both the original Family Blends and the Lineage. 

The cigar comes with the band you see below, which is underneath a large piece of paper with branding on it.  Pre-light scent of rich chocolate.  Minor veins are seen in the wrapper. I used a punch cut on the triple cap, and sadly it caused the cap to split a little bit.  It fortunately did not turn out to be a problem for me.  I toasted the foot with a torch, and readied myself for the experience of a new stogie.

1/3: The flavor of cedar is what caught my attention first.  Medium in body and strength, the 1st third is quite pleasant and smooth.  There's a small wave in the burn line, but hey, they can't all be razor straight.  Unfortunately, the cigar tunneled a bit, but nothing too bad that wasn't able to fix itself eventually.  Near the end of the 1st third, I picked up mild pepper and a light citrus or lemon grass flavor.

2/3: The 2nd third saw the shift from lemon grass to orange peel.  The smoke also seemed to get thicker.  Mild pepper showed up again as it transitioned into the final third.

3/3: The cigar strengthens in the last third.  I also noticed more of a presence through the nose.
Size: 6 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Panamanian and Honduran

Saturday, July 5, 2014

La Antiguedad by My Father (robusto)

I can describe this cigar very simply.  While similar in build and appearance to its older brother, the Flor de Las Antillas (both made by My Father Cigar Co.), it is stronger and bolder.  That's precisely what I wanted when I smoked the Flor de Las Antillas, which was the #1 cigar in Cigar Aficionado in 2013.  The FdLA was consistent, but a little boring to me, and it lacked some strength.  La Antiguedad provides the solid construction that the FdLA has, but it packs more power.

The cigar is oval box-pressed.  Like the FdLA, it has a beautiful appearance, and an artistic, detailed band.  I paired this stick with a nice cup of black coffee.  I cut with a punch, and lit up with a torch.

1/3: Lots of dry smoke right from the get-go.  The draw is very good.  Unlike many in the My Father series, there is absolutely no sign of a pepper burst to get things started.  As I said before, there are similarities to the FdLA, but it's fuller-bodied.  My palate picks up notes of leather, cocoa, and coffee.

2/3: Still plenty of smoke to be had in the 2nd third.  The coffee flavor is dominant here.

3/3: More flavors of black coffee, and the introduction of milk chocolate make their way to my taste buds.  With just under 2 inches left to go, the cigar went out, which was disappointing.

This cigar is worth a try.  I know I'd like to try another sometime.  I've recommended it to friends who liked the FdLA, and nobody's complained.  

Size: 5-1/4 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua (Criollo & Corojo)
Filler: Nicaragua
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