Thursday, September 3, 2015

Punch Bareknuckle Belicoso

The Punch Bareknuckle is an attractive looking cigar.  That said, I wasn't expecting to be impressed.  Between the lower price point and the lack of that "something special" that I've failed to get from Punch cigars over the last several years, I didn't think this cigar would be at all memorable.  I moved the label from the foot to the top.  The wrapper has a nice, oily sheen to it, but it is not moist, and the belicoso vitola just has a nice look to it.  I opted for a straight cut and torched the foot to get things moving.  I chose to pair this cigar with a Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat beer.

1/3: Nice draw with good resistance.  Billowing smoke is protruding from this stick, and I like that most of the time.  It's medium in flavor and in body.  Very pleasant, and woody notes in the 1st third.  The burn line got slightly jagged, but never got too bad.

2/3: At this point, I'm browsing the auctions for a box.  I haven't noticed any pepper or leather in the Bareknuckle, however notes of wood and dirt are dominant.

3/3: Good cigar to the finish.  I'll be looking for another sometime soon.

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Sun-Grown
Binder: unknown
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fuente Fuente Opus X Angel's Share

I was lucky enough to be in my B&M on the right day and at the right time to have an opportunity to pick up an Angel's Share.  They tend to sell out fast.  The Angel's Share is a Dominican puro like others in the Opus X series, however the primings are different and lead to a lighter, milder smoke.  I used a straight cut and a single flame torch, and I've chosen to pair this stick with a cup of black Colombian coffee.  There is a nice aroma pre-light, and once cut, an easy draw.

1/3: The dominant flavor from the get-go is cedar.  The smoke is light and crisp, yet smooth and enjoyable.

2/3: This cigar is really quite good!  It's certainly consistent so far.  The wrapper cracked beneath the 2nd, smaller label.  I've also got myself a jagged burn line, but corrected it with the flame.

3/3: The wrapper has cracked under the 1st, larger label now too.  It's started to unravel a bit here, but still maintains a good smoke and equally pleasant taste.

Size: 5-5/8 x 46
Wrapper: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Filler:  Dominican

Friday, May 22, 2015

Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC550 by Crowned Heads (robusto)

I bought a couple of these cigars at their 2014 release.  I had smoked one in the shop that day, and I put the other one away to let it settle for awhile, and today seemed like a great day for Round 2. 

I've had a handful of cigars produced by Crowned Heads.  None of them have been crazy awesome, but they've all been good, and none so far have been a bad experience.  This particular line was made in limited amounts, specifically, 1,000 boxes of 24 for each vitola.  So....  this cigar is one of 24,000 made in the robusto size.  The Las Calaveras theme refers to "skulls" which reference the Mexican holiday, Dia de Los Muertos or "Day of the Dead."  It is essentially a holiday which celebrates loved ones who have passed away.  Future editions are supposed to be forthcoming, with different blends for each release.  These cigars were made in the My Father factory. 

The weather is gorgeous, so I've got my tunes, my coffee, some good company, and an hour or two to kill.  I opted to use a straight cut and a torch to get things started.

1/3: The initial taste is slightly sour, but not in a negative way.  It makes me think of citrus.  My black coffee goes well with it.  There are prominent veins visible, and the wrapper has an oily, leathery appearance with some varying shades of brown.  It's certainly an attractive looking stick.  I pick up notes of spice and pepper, before it drifts into a mellower flavor and strength.  From this point on, I'm getting more leather and cream.

2/3: This cigar is very smooth, which is in contrast to the off-the-shelf experience last year when I smoked the first of the two I bought at the time of release.  It was decent then, but the cigar has really improved with age.  The burn line has been decent, with the one exception of a flap that quickly disappeared when I touched it with a flame.

3/3: I nubbed this baby.  Good to the very last draw.  

Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler:  Nicaragua

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gurkha Centurian Double Perfecto

So, I don't normally smoke Gurkha, nor do I find myself getting into all the Gurkha-hype.  I've seen the ridiculous boxes they make, and often wonder if the box has a greater value than the smokes inside of it.  Still, I'm not a Gurkha hater or anything, I just don't go out of my way to buy them.  My personal opinion is that you never know what you're going to get with the brand.  It seems that they are all over the map in terms of quality and taste.  That said, I was given a Centurian Double Perfecto from someone who had jumped on the $39.99 for 12 deal.  

I looked around a little bit beforehand so I would know what to expect, and the comments I saw were overwhelmingly positive.  I kept seeing remarks such as, "This is the best cigar I have ever tasted!"  I figured, this may not end up being my favorite too, but it's got to be at least decent.  I was wrong.  

Several suggested that even though the head and foot are both open, a clip with the trusty Xikar cutter was still a good idea.  I took a quarter inch off, used a single-flame torch to toast the foot, and got ready to enjoy an ultra-premium smoke on my back porch.  

Pre-light: Smells like rich molasses. Prior to the clip, I noticed a perpendicular slice about a third of an inch long coming up from the foot.  

1/3: Pleasant taste from the initial puff.  The draw is decent, somewhat firm.  Creamy.  Then it goes downhill from there.  A few more minutes go by, and I'm needing to bring the torch to it again.  At the 5-minute mark, it gives me the sense that it's starting to open up to a silky smooth draw.  The burn line, however is uneven.  Next, comes the dry mouth feel.  I finished off my pilsner, and immediately reached for a bottle of water.  As the 1st third comes to a close, I'm reaching for my torch...again.

2/3: I really want to enjoy this cigar, but the draw issues and relights are quickly becoming a nuisance.  The "dry mouth" is pretty awful.  

3/3: I give up.  The draw is poor.  Cutting it again led nowhere, and I'm tired of re-touching this POS. 

I haven't been this disappointed in a cigar in quite some time.  Admittedly, I've only smoked the one, but the guy I got it from wasn't happy with his experience either.  Could it be this particular 12-pack?  I don't know, but I'm not spending a dime to find out.  For those out there that love this stick - none for me means more for you. 

Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Connecticut
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
MSRP: $30+ (can be obtained cheaper via CI deals)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Regius Exclusivo U.S.A. (Fat Perfecto)

From Regius Cigars of London, we have the Exclusivo U.S.A. Fat Perfecto, purchased at Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois (one of the only places stateside that this cigar can be bought). These are rolled in the Plasencia Factory.  

The Fat Perfecto is a classy looking cigar.  It has a pig tail cap, and a nice leathery wrapper that is fairly light in shade.  I went with a straight clip and a torch to start things off.

1/3:  Good draw.  Right from the get-go, I recognize an unusual, grassy after taste.  I can't put my finger on it, but it seems to be muted roughly 10 minutes in to the smoke.  At this point, the draw has gotten a little more loose, but there is still some resistance.  The cigar seems to be well-constructed.

2/3: That funky, grassy aftertaste is still present.  While this vitola is dubbed the "strongest in the range" of the Exclusivo U.S.A. line, I find it to be mild to medium both in body and strength. 

3/3: The cigar is advertised as one where the "bouquet of flavours and aromas really open."  Not so much for me.  I found the cigar to be quite consistent.  It was pleasant, but the slightly unusual flavor has me debating whether or not I want to try another Regius, possibly in a different vitola at some point.  The burn line was slightly jagged, but resulted in no issues besides cosmetics. 

For me, the best part of the smoke with the final 2 inches.  At this point, I picked up a fullness that I hadn't noticed previously. 
Size: 5-3/4 x 60 x 5
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler:  Nicaragua

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Asylum 2012 (torpedo)

Here we have an Asylum cigar from Tabacaleras Unidas, who also runs CLE, amongst a few others.  Christian L. Eiroa and Tom Lazuka founded the Asylum brand in 2012 (as evidenced by text on the band itself, which either references the founding year or the release I'm smoking).  There are 4 sizes of this cigar, however I've chosen the torpedo to sample on this occasion. 

Pre-light, there's a scent of molasses.  The wrapper has a leathery brown appearance, and some veins are visible.  I cut it with a V-cutter and used a torch to toast the foot before putting it to my mouth.

1/3:  The first thing I notice is the great draw.  Notes of mild pepper, and plentiful "at rest" smoke.  The 1st third is pleasant and consistent, although I find the flavors are difficult to identify besides a typical, quality tobacco taste.

2/3: The burn line (as evidenced in the photo) is a little uneven, but not awful.  During the 2nd third, it developed a crack in the wrapper just below the band.  Fortunately, these things didn't translate into draw issues.

3/3: In the final third, the draw has remained good.  The cigar did start to come apart a little towards the end.  It maintained a medium body and medium strength from start to finish. 

This stick certainly had consistent flavor, and I'd say it was a decent smoke.  Others have been able to hone in on more specific flavors, however this particular stick didn't behave that way for me.  This can be due to the humidity/temp it's been kept at (usually 65/65 in my humis), or it's even possible that my palate has weakened as a result of my decrease in cigar smoking since pneumonia a few months back.  The weather is improving, so there's no doubt I'll give another Asylum a try sometime soon.

Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Latitude Zero (torpedo)

I haven't seen this cigar in stores, however while purchasing a gift for someone on cbid, I couldn't pass up the chance to try one of these for just a couple of bucks.  While many of us know about Oliva Tobacco Company, others still don't realize that they are unrelated to Oliva Cigar Company.  This cigar comes from the former - Oliva Tobacco Company - and it claims that the tobacco used is only the top 1% of all their tobacco.  The Oliva Tobacco Company supplies tobacco to ultra-premium brands, and from what I've heard, has their tobacco in most of the quality cigars available today. 

I let this one sit in my humidor for around 6 months.  I maintain a 65/65 setting in my humidors, so I was surprised to have this cigar fall apart on me practically from the get-go.  To further disappoint, especially after reading many positive reviews, I found that the tobacco was nothing special.  It's a shame that I only had one to smoke, because it's not a great idea to base an opinion off of a single experience, but the one Latitude I tried was a far cry from what I had expected.

The cigar band was comprised of two bands.  In order to smoke the cigar, I had to remove them both.  The bottom one is the larger of the two, and is a foil map.  The top label (closer to a normal size) has a slit in the middle, where you can see through to the foil map, focusing on, yep, you guessed it: Latitude Zero.

I tend to use my V-cutter for torpedos.  I torched the foot, and got ready to enjoy the top 1% that Oliva Tobacco has to offer.

1/3: Things start of pleasantly.  It went downhill from here.  I noticed a small crack in the wrapper.  It was more of an annoyance when it brushed up against my lip.  I picked up some mild spice through the nose.  Medium-bodied at this point.  Before I am even halfway through the 1st third, the wrapper began to fall apart.  

2/3: By this time, I've had to remove the wrapper entirely.  It looked ugly.  So, here I am smoking the cigar with the binder fully exposed, and no wrapper, which obviously impacts the flavor and the experience.  Some Vitamin N is noticeable (nicotine), although due to being recently sick with pneumonia, I've not smoked many cigars lately, so my tolerance may be a factor here.  

3/3: I didn't get far into the final third before laying this stick down.  The aftertaste was decent, but I was just underwhelmed by the lack of complexity, flavor, and the poor construction.  

I would be willing to try this one again sometime, but the bottom line is that I was very disappointed in this smoke.

Size: 6.5 x 52
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador (R13E grade aka Angel’s Cut)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua (Vintage 2010)
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