87

Kristoff Sumatra

Perdomo Champagne Sun Grown Torpedo: Cigar Advisor Review Panel

byCigar Advisor Staff

Perdomo Champagne Sun Grown Torpedo Country of Origin: Nicaragua   Size:  7" x 54 Strength:  Medium-Full Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Sun Grown Jalapa Filler: Nicaraguan Binder:  Nicaraguan Presentation: Boxes of 25 / 5-packs / singles Gary Korb Here we have a wonderfully rich-tasting and peppy medium-full bodied cigar with plenty of flavor and aroma that hold on to the very end. The Jalapa wrapper is somewhat veiny, but I liked its even light brown hue, and the construction was superb all around (it was hard to find the seams on my second sample). I used a V-cutter on the first cigar, and a double-blade cutter (cut to 3/8ths of an inch) on the second. Each cigar draw equally well and burned clean with a firm, dark grey ash. Pre-light-wise, I picked up earthy, woody, and leathery flavors. The cigar toasted and lit well, offering an earthy-spicy aroma. The first few puffs were smooth, creamy, and mostly woody, while the base flavors settled into a well-balanced mix of cedar, earth, coffee bean, some nuttiness, and spicy pepper. ZOWIE! On the retrohale...if you want to clear your sinuses, hold on! Both cigars were consistent on practically every level. Nick's goal was to create a cigar that was as smooth and creamy as his Champagne Connecticut, but with more BALLS, and the Sun Grown certainly lives up to its expectations. *  *  * Lou Tenney Even though it's part of the Champagne line, this cigar's tawny wrapper and large size give it an imposing look. After cutting and lighting, I noticed that the draw was kind of tight. After 30 seconds, it opened right up to deliver plenty of pepper, both on the retrohale and on the palate, especially toward the back and middle on the tongue and on the throat. I noted an appealing sweetness in the aroma and on the finish. 1/3 through, the peppery flavors peaked, especially the white pepper sensation. The sweetness deepened into a rich, well-aged tobacco flavor. The profile became somewhat leathery. Halfway through, the intensity of flavor curiously diminished, and the cigar really "settled in." I didn't note many transitions after that. It burned beautifully, although by the end I noticed it had become deceptively strong. My hands were actually sweating, which is saying something. This cigar is recommended for those who prefer a full-strength cigar with a smoother profile. True, it does show some of the pepper characteristic inherent in so many Nicaraguan cigars, but once it settles in, it can really sneak up on you. *  *  * John Pullo I came to this cigar with a bit of a bias: (a) I love the Champagne line and (b) I had already tried this cigar out in Vegas at IPCPR. The cigar is a solid stick, and adding the Sun Grown wrapper turns the flavor dial up to 11. The wrapper has a beautiful color and a silky appearance (reminds me of a Carmelo bar). There were a few large veins, but they didn't distract from the attractiveness of the cigar. The cigar had an excellent draw with an earthy pre-light flavor and a slight hint of citrus (think clove-orange). Once lit, KAPOW!...a powerhouse right out of the gate. Pepper, spice and a bit of citrus were the base flavors, later giving way to something more akin to a strong Cuban coffee, and much creamier, too. The aroma? Let's just say this is what being dealt Blackjack 10 times in a row smells like. The burn offered a sharp line and a firm white ash with no flakes that held on for about an inch. What I liked about this cigar: It was mouthful; consistent as a metronome, bountiful in its smoke production, had out-fucking-standing balance, and an incredible spicy citrus flavor that marries the sizzle to the steak. What I didn't like about this cigar: While most of the cigars we review on the Panel are what I would consider “anytime” smokes—meaning, at home in the morning or the afternoon—I would tend to lean more towards the afternoon on this one; not because it’s overpowering, but you have an opportunity to really savor the flavors with more typical afternoon/evening activities. There are a lot of nuances here thanks to the wrapper; it would be very easy to overlook them by rushing through them. *   *   *   Jonathan Detore The light up was a little spicy, but not overpowering. Black pepper was present, giving way to an earthy flavor. The cigar constantly went out on me. I had to relight 3-5 times throughout the smoke, even after big billowing draws just 20 seconds before putting it down. To me, the Sun Grown Champagne Torpedo was a medium-full bodied smoke packed with some powerful tobacco, which may explain why it kept going out. Just like every other Perdomo cigar, the flavor was consistent throughout, with the pepper fading out and earthiness taking over for the remainder of the smoke; no sweetness, just true tobacco and earthy taste. I also have to give credit to the balance, which was perfect. Overall, the cigar wasn’t harsh nor too light. It's a true cigar smoker’s cigar. *   *   * Tommy Zman Okay, let’s not beat around the proverbial bush...this is just a phenomenal smoking experience and Nick Perdomo is a god-damned genius. Last year he bangs us right between the taste buds with the Perdomo 20th Anniversary masterpiece, and now he ramps up a cigar that was already a great one, with a Sun Grown wrapper that delivers ample amounts of oomph with every puff! First off, the construction of this cigar is flawless, from the silky wrapper to the clouds of smoke that fill your every mouthful. For me, I put this in the medium to full category as it intensifies while it burns. Now, if you judge a cigar by flavor alone, this is every grand slam, touchdown-filled cliché in the book. The two most notable taste components I got were nutty and black licorice/anisette flavors, and to me they were both very pronounced. Having smoked several of these, I have to say it’s a very satisfying stick and a real cigar smoker’s cigar. It’s one of those cigars that’s meant to be savored while sitting on your patio or deck on a clear night where there’s just nothing in the world but just you and your cigar. So, if you thought that perhaps the original Champagne was a bit too light for your tastes, well, Mr. Perdomo went and fixed that for you. This new Sun Grown is a delicious, full-flavored treat I am making an important part of my regular rotation.
MORE
 

La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill: Cigar Advisor Review Panel

byCigar Advisor Staff

La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill Country of Origin: Honduras Size:  7" x 52 Strength:  Medium-Full Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero & Viso Binder:  Honduran Presentation: Boxes of 18 cigars / 10-packs / 5-packs / singles Lou Tenney I was excited to try this brand new La Gloria blend because I'm a fan of the brand, and I suspect many of our readers are too. La Gloria has been a trusted staple of heavier-bodied cigar smokers for over a hundred years. The cigar didn't disappoint. At 7" x 52, it's a nicely-sized Churchill packed well and, in each of my samples, flawlessly rolled in a dark, smooth wrapper with small to medium veins. The transitions weren't earth-shattering, but then, that's not really what La Gloria is known for. Gilded Age has what I consider a real "classic" profile: medium to full-strength with ample body; woodsy, cedary flavors formed the base, and a honey-like sweetness lingered in the background. The aroma had a sweet cedar component to it, as well. Lots of Cuban cigars match that description, and although on paper such a comparison might seem warranted, a better comparison would be the original La Gloria Cubana natural. The two share an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, although Gilded Age's is badged as an “Oscuro,” and the interior blend differs slightly. Much like the original line, Gilded Age is a cigar that ought to appeal to a wide swath of cigar smokers. It's big enough to please ligero lovers, but not so big as to turn occasional aficionados green. John Pullo It’s just…tasty. Nice to have a solid smoke that doesn’t swing wildly from flavor to flavor. You know how you can get a hint of something pre-light, then it falls flat in the opposite direction? Not here. Nicely applied cap, no major veins. Nice little bumps on that Sumatra wrapper. Excellent draw, but could've been a tad tighter. Lighting took a little extra effort due to amount of ligero – but once it caught fire, look out... Sharp burn with a nice whitish-grey ash and a whiff of creamy coffee. The cigar had a decent smoke output, not a ton, and didn’t overpower the taste buds. Flavors changed nicely throughout: pre-light had a little almond and hay, plus mild, mild cedar; light it and get creamy and earthy with a bit of spice. Enter some pepper and a woody/grassy flavor, transitioning to creamy and toasty, then a full-flavor blast of roasted nuts and cappuccino to round it out. Citrus makes a play from time to time. Some will call this medium-full, I say straight-up medium. I could smoke this at 10am, as it’s more lush than harsh. The fuller La Gloria's you smoke can give you the sensation that they want to follow you into a dark alley and assault you to steal your pants – this one’s going to sweet-talk you out of your britches instead. *   *   *   Jonathan Detore I have smoked all four sizes of the La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age, with the Churchill being the last size I needed to smoke, so I was happy to learn it was the size we would be smoking for this review. For each review, we smoke two cigars and then pass judgment, and thank God for that, because if I typed up a review on the first one alone, I would have trashed the Churchill with extreme prejudice. I was plagued with construction and draw issues the entire way through to the point where I had a kink in my neck from drawing so hard (please hold all sexual innuendo for the end). However, compared to the second sample, it was like night and day, and I'm all "thumbs-up," as I also felt about the other sizes. The draw was just right, the burn was level-even, and the flavor was outstanding. I got a great nutty flavor from this cigar; almost like almonds throughout the smoke with sweet subtle grassy, almost wheat-like notes. I think this cigar is a real home run and a true premium cigar. The moral of the story: Never judge a cigar by just one smoke. *   *   * Tommy Zman I think Michael Giannini of La Gloria Cubana outdid himself as this is one of the most flavorful new cigars that I've had in a long time. It's a very solid, weighty stick, an attractive cigar with a dark reddish brown oily wrapper. Right off the bat from the moment you light up the rich flavor hits your taste buds. It starts out with a nice medium body as I get a kind of amaretto / dark cherry flavor.  I think that flavor profile stays pretty consistent all the way through, but intensifies becoming a more bolder smoke when you get half way into it. It is extremely well rolled and produces a ton of smoke. The Gilded Age is a very flavor packed smoke, I've smoked a ton of them in the past month, and I am definitely making it a part of my regular rotation. *  *  * Gary Korb This is what I call "a real cigar smoker's cigar." The La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age Churchill has an attractively dark, coppery color with excellent construction and seamless rolling. The cigar feels heavy in the hand, too, almost like a nunchuk. However, the band was so-so; a lack of gold embossing on such a long band left something to be desired. Of the two samples I smoked, the first was on the tight side, while the second drew perfectly (and that's why you sample two), with a sweet, earthy and leathery pre-light flavor. The smoke is thick, smooth, and creamy right out of the gate with a rounded, roasted almond-like aroma. The burn started out a little off, but within the first inch found an even keel, exposing a black and grey marble ash. The base flavors were primarily woody with some sweet tobacco and light pepper, which ramped-up considerably AND consistently in the second half. With its rich flavor, excellent balance and complexity, I feel that as more experienced cigar smokers get a crack at the Gilded Age, they will return to it. Kudos to Mr. Giannini.
MORE
 

Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13: Cigar Advisor Review Panel

byCigar Advisor Staff

Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13 Country of Origin: Nicaragua Size:  5½" x 52 Strength:  Full Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Filler:  Select Honduran and Nicaraguan Cuban-seed Binder:  Plantation-grown Brazilian Mata Fina Presentation: Boxes / 5-packs / Singles Lou Tenney The UF is a good-looking cigar right from the get-go: I actually had difficulty finding the seams on the dark, impressively even-hued Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers, and the cap was flawlessly applied with a fanned-out pigtail flourish. The cold draw produced an agreeable sweetness. After a short toast, it was producing ample smoke of medium flavor intensity, strength, and body. One thing that really stuck out was the surplus of smoke coming from the foot, even at rest. On the retrohale, there is black pepper and what I consider to be "dark" tobacco flavors, including sweetness encased in charry, woodsy flavors, and an earthy dustiness. That charred wood note also characterizes the UF-13's room note. The finish reveals semi-sweet chocolate notes mixed with the mouth-tingling presence of chilies. By an inch into the cigar, its body, strength, and flavor intensity have ticked up to full. The burn is not perfect, but is razor-sharp and self-correcting. Midway, the smoke takes on a creamy texture and a leathery aroma. The sweetness picks up fleeting, subtle dried fruit notes. Just when you think it can't get any stronger, it does, complete with an increasing tingling in the back of the throat. Another cigar recommended for experienced smokers only, as I get the feeling it might leave a newbie green-faced on his ass. *   *   * Jonathan Detore J-Dizzle did it again! The UF-13 is the perfect addition to the wildly successful Unico Series that has been a massive hit throughout the industry and promises to live up to that reputation. The cigar starts out bold with a bit of spice which mellows dramatically through the first inch. Once you start getting into the sweet spot, the cigar takes off. In almost every draw in the sweet spot I tasted a rich, creamy, sweet smoke that is simply outstanding, along with subtle undertones that come and go almost at will, all with a full-bodied punch. A lot of cigars I smoke are rather one dimensional so I don’t pay attention to it while I’m here at work, but this certainly put a dent in my productivity, and because of its long smoke time (1 ½ hours!), lets just say my supervisor will be looking over my shoulder for the next few days  - ha-ha-ha. Anyway, good job on this one. *   *   * Gary Korb When you smoke a cigar with a Drew Estate Liga band on it these days, your expectations are a bit higher than usual. As I picked up my Unico Serie UF-13, I admired its oily Maduro wrapper and fancy pigtail at the head. It's one of those cigars that's so aesthetically appealing, you almost hate to set fire to it. Additionally, the cigar was well-packed with no soft spots along the barrel. I twisted the tail off exposing a respectable cold draw with sweet tobacco and pepper notes. The cigar lit evenly, quickly producing lots of thick, creamy smoke. The first few puffs were very rich in flavor with a note of sweetness in the mix and a peppery retrohale. During the first act, the cigar offered a smooth, medium-bodied, earthy-woody flavor that surprisingly faded into hardly any flavor at all. But by the halfway mark the cigar bloomed into a full-bodied smoke revealing woody-charry flavors with hints of sweet spice and pepper on a long, earthy finish. The flavors ebbed and flowed, but I liked wondering what was coming next. Frankly, the UF-13 is not my favorite of the series (I'm more of a Flying Pig guy). But for all you other Liga fans, especially if you liked the Dirty Rat, go for it! *   *   * John Pullo Construction and Overall Appearance: Nice and dark. Felt a little dry, but no real issues. Twisted cap reminded me of an exploding belly button with that crazy fantail. A few veins, but overall nice. Nice big cap – more like a ski mask. Draw: Nice and easy. Pre-light flavor: Had very mineral-like elements. Toasting & Light: A bit harsh to start; again, very mineral-laden, but it mellowed out to the point of mild, almost zero flavor. Base flavors: Hay, followed by grilled meat and cinnamon raisin toast. Seriously! Aroma: Pleasant, especially toward the second half Burn / Ash Quality: White as a ghost. A beautiful ash that would tap-off at about an inch. Burn line was so sharp I could split wood with it like a goddamn lumberjack. Balance: First half didn’t have much flavor to speak of, yet as flavors came to life in the 2nd half it was very well-balanced. Consistency: What I finished with was not what I started with – a bit of a rollercoaster. Not much to it in the first 1/3 to half. Went out on me, but when I relit, WHOA. Round, medium, and wholesome with thick smoke you'd need a machete to cut through. When I smoke a Liga I always get this recurring steak sensation – which gets me hungry. Eventually tapered-off to a smoke that was more medium, like my steak was magically transformed into beef pot pie. *   *   * Tommy Z So it’s another bold statement from the minds of Jonathan Drew and Steve Saka - another in the Liga series to drive you full bodied freaks to the pinnacle of good taste. Let’s not beat around the tobacco bush, people, I loved this oily little bastid from the moment I set it a blaze. I haven’t heard too many people say this, but I think the UF-13 is kind of a cross breed between the Liga #9 and the T52 as far as flavor and strength are concerned. And since I am in lust with both of those sticks, it’s obvious that I find this cigar to be most desirable for my discerning Polack palate. For me, it started off on the medium side, then the flavors started to intensify turning this stick into a full bodied beauty. One of the clear tastes that jumped out at me was cinnamon, along with a woody, slightly charry element. The roll is impeccable, the draw is perfect, and the smoke pours off this thing like a fire on a deep sea oil rig. Did I mention I love this cigar? Just wondering if it was obvious. *  *  *
MORE
 
87

Romeo Y Julieta 1875

94

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero

SWAG South Beach Edition "Lavish": Cigar Advisor Review Panel

byCigar Advisor Staff

SWAG South Beach Edition "Lavish" Country of Origin: Dominican Republic Size:  5x54 Strength:  Full Wrapper: Dominican Cuban seed Filler: Dominican Ligero Binder:  Dominican Presentation: Boxes of 20 / 5-packs / Singles Jonathan Detore Rafael Nodal did some good work with this cigar. The South Beach did feel very hard on the pre light making me think all kinds of draw issues were imminent. After I cut and lit my cigar, all of my concerns with draw were erased from my mind, meeting a relaxing, very easy draw with a great deal of smoke coming off of the cigar. Prepare for a blast of white pepper in the first half an inch which mellows dramatically to the 1-2 inch mark into a smooth and enjoyable smoke. Definitely not a smoke to be had on an empty stomach as this is made with pure Dominican Ligero tobacco, so wait until the evening after a hearty meal. The Swag South Beach Lavish was a great smoke overall, and I love just about everything Nodal comes out with; aside from the peppery taste up front, it mellows into a home run of a cigar. Gary Korb What we have here is a Dominican puro with a straight Ligero blend. The wrapper is gorgeous; it's a little thicker in skin, naturally oily, and has a even-hued, dark Colorado color. For my sample, the triple cap clipped-off in a perfect circle revealing a very good draw. Due to the ample amount of Ligero, it took a little longer to light, but on the upside, the cigar had a very slow burn rate. It started out with a spicy kick, and I remember noticing a distinctive cocoa aroma in the smoke in those first couple of puffs, but it soon rounded out to what I would call a "nondescript" tobacco flavor. Once I got past the first couple of inches it bloomed into a creamy smoke with a mostly dark tobacco flavor laced with notes of sweetness and spice. It also stood up well to several re-lights without turning bitter. Suffice it to say, the Swag South Beach Lavish is not a very complex cigar, but the smoke was full-flavored, consistent, and well balanced. Lou Tenney Add Lavish to the small-but-growing list of impressive heavy-bodied Dominican cigars. It's got a beautiful wrapper, with a pleasantly sweet pre-light aroma and flavor. After a long, slow toast, it was finally glowing. First impression: WOW, that's a ton of pepper - like retrohale-at-your-own-risk pepper. It's medium-bodied, but noticeably strong. The pepper soon throttles down, yielding sweet, leathery flavors and a cinnamon-like aroma. I note that the cinnamon note crescendos sharply, while the leather fades. After an inch, the cinnamon disappears and the leather is back with a vengeance, although it quickly morphs to a mildly-sweet, yet rich, tobacco flavor. The body has become very full. The burn isn't the best, but that's not surprising, given the cigar's strength. The flavor profile didn't change much after that. Like a veteran pitcher, its game is not dazzling with a multitude of transitions, but settling-in and pounding the strike zone with exceptional consistency. Final thoughts: this is a strong cigar that demands the steady, respectful approach of a veteran. Smoke it too fast, and you'll pay the price; too slowly, and it will go out. But smoke it just right, and it will reward you with plenty of flavor, aroma, and vitamin N. John Pullo This cigar had a moderate amount of smoke output to start. Not a lot, but more than none, and started roasting better at 21Ž2 inches in. Flavor-wise, it started off with a full head of steam. There was an almost acrid blast to start with some molasses in there, then trended toward a more medium body. Considering it’s supposed to be inspired by the Miami Heat’s NBA title in 2012, let’s say that, upon lighting, I was charging the lane and took a hard D. Wade foul. In yo' face! Burn-wise, I couldn’t let my attention wander, or it would go out, which it did twice. Flavor-wise, it was kind of like a movie; a bombastic opening…the story starts off a little slow…it’s a little hard to follow…you know the car chase is coming up, so you’re anticipating it, and it’s a payoff when it happens. The smoke was woody, somewhere between oak and cedar; maybe even birch? Past the first third, the smoke was tastier, like steak dunked in black coffee. That might sound bad, but they're actually 2 of my favorite things. The good news is that the SWAG gave me nothing to cry about – relighting with little fight or aftertaste. Tommy Z The SWAG is a very well made stick with a nice oily wrapper. The appearance definitely says, “Smoke me, Beotch” so the last thing I want to do is be rude to my little Dominican amigo. Right off the bat this solid stick is full-flavored with a nice woody taste. The draw produces a hell of a lot of thick smoke. You can tell that an experienced roller worked on this one as the construction produces a very nice even burn. About half way thru the strength seems to intensify a bit as it begins to develop a more of a charred wood taste. I’m not the biggest fan of this flavor profile, but I know a lot of you guys are. It’s a bit one dimensional in the fact that this flavor stays constant throughout – not much complexity - but I’m not saying that like that’s necessarily a bad thing as a lot of decent smokes produce one straight flavor. I personally wouldn’t gravitate to this on a regular basis but if you dig that charred component, you might want to pair it with a Starbucks and get yourself all burnt-out. *  *  *
MORE
 

Saint Luis Rey Gen2 Toro: Cigar Advisor Review Panel

byCigar Advisor Staff

Saint Luis Rey Gen2 Toro Country of Origin: Honduras Size:  6" x 54 Strength:  Full Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Rosado Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan Binder:  Nicaraguan Presentation: Boxes of 21 / 5-packs / singles John Pullo This smoke is the balls! A little heavy upon lighting, but it quickly mellowed out becoming a blast to enjoy. I’m a sucker for Sumatra wrapper, and this one didn’t disappoint. Appearance-wise, I found it beautiful with zero defects, though I didn’t like the design of the secondary band; it seemed to stand out awkwardly. The pre-light flavor was mostly that of cedar and dark tobacco, but when toasted I got a whiff of dark chocolate. The overall burn was excellent with firm ashes that averaged about 1½ inches. The base flavors consisted of caramel and wood with a nice, earthy aroma; not overly sweet as the flavors would suggest, as this is no Baccarat – but more of a “chewy” smoke in a way that’s different than “creamy.” As for the balance, the cigar was a little more robust to start (medium-full) but mellowed a bit once the flavors took over (mild-med at its lowest point) I don’t normally enjoy Honduran tobacco as much as I do Dominican (my #2) and Nicaraguan (my #1). Blending it with the Nicaraguan filler was a good move. The cigar burned solid as a god-damned rock with no relights or touch ups, which surprised me given its size. Suffice it to say the SLR Gen2 was right in my wheelhouse, and so freaking good I’d buy a box. *   *   *   Jonathan Detore St. Luis Rey 2nd Gen – The SLR Gen2 can be wrapped up in one word: powerhouse. And yes, that is one word, not two. This cigar is certainly an after dinner smoke. Maybe even an after dinner and dessert smoke. The smoke starts out with a touch of spice that fades, yet remains somewhat present throughout the smoke. I got a lot of leather and woody flavors, which were good, but the cigar was not well-balanced considering the power dampened my enjoyment of the cigar. Since the Toro has a large ring size, I think I would have enjoyed it more in the Robusto, which would offer a lot more flavor while cutting down a little on the power-side of the smoke. *   *   * Tommy Z This is a beautifully handcrafted cigar with an incredibly attractive Ecuadorian Sumatra Rosado wrapper. Right off the bat I get a medium bodied sweetness with a kind of anisette / black licorice flavor. At about a quarter of the way in, the cigar shifts into full gear as the flavor and strength intensify and the anisette flavor grows even stronger. Halfway through, this cigar turned into one bold son-of-a-bitch. The draw is great as smoke billows from each puff. Then the flavor shifts for me but stays with the after dinner liqueur theme as I start to get a kind of dark cherry/amaretto taste. (Wow, hope I don’t get too shit-faced.) As I get to around the two-thirds mark, there’s no mistaking this for a full-bodied Saint Luis Rey. It starts to get more woody and charry and I realize this is a wonderfully made complex smoke! This marriage of flavors makes it a really nice cigar – and I would definitely make the Gen2 a regular in my arsenal, while making sure it stays way clear out of the hands and mouths of the novice smoker, because it’ll confuse ‘em, then kill ‘em! *  *  * Gary Korb I liked the complexion of the new Saint Luis Rey Gen2. The Sumatra wrapper looked like fine briar wood with hundreds of tiny burls running through it. The packing was solid throughout, and when clipped, offered an easy cold draw with a distinctive leathery note. The cigar toasted well, and when lit, the first few puffs were mellow, creamy, and a little sweet, with a shot of pepper on the finish. A retrohale at about the 1/2-inch mark offered a light mix of pepper, nutmeg, and some chariness. To start, each puff was smooth, flavorful, and well-balanced, as thick, chewy, aromatic smoke flowed freely from both ends. The burn was clean, revealing a white-gray ash with very tightly packed grains. The base flavors consisted of sweet wood, nutmeg, and light pepper. As the cigar opened up, the smoke became sweeter with a more distinct presence of nutmeg. At the midpoint, some pepper returned with hints of cocoa. Later on, the smoke intensified, while the sweetness had all but faded and turned more charry in the last two inches. I found the Gen2 very smooth and creamy with sweet-spicy notes, and excellent balance. More experienced smokers will appreciate the complexities of this exceedingly rich and flavorful cigar. I'm ready for another. *   *   * Lou Tenney If nothing else, the SLR Gen2's name and bold, modern-looking secondary band promise a new twist on an old favorite. Its beautiful, slightly reddish Ecuadorian Habano wrapper certainly looks the part, although I did find a soft spot in two of three samples. Taking a cold draw, I detected a strong taste of figs before noticing that my lips were tingling. Despite that, it took the flame well. Right off the bat, I got some dried fruit sweetness in a basically-earthy smoke. There's some pepper in the mix, but it's not overwhelming. The smoke is medium across the board: body, strength, and intensity. The ash taps off in solid, one-inch nuggets. I observe a sweet, leathery aroma, and by the second half, it has become more peppery on the retrohale. The burn, while not perfect, never quite requires a touch-up. Not a deal-breaker for me, especially given that it's an Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed wrapper. Despite the promise of a modern, bolder experience, this was still a classic cigar to me: not especially strong, full-bodied, or intense, with just a bit of nuance to keep things interesting. Definitely recommended for smokers who enjoy flavorful medium smokes, or even as an evening cigar for smokers of milder cigars.
MORE
 
82

Te Amo

Cigar Review: Blanco "Liga Exclusivo de Familia" Double Corona (Nat.)

byGary Korb

Bla Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize:  7 x 54Strength:  MediumWrapper: U.S. Connecticut-seed (Honduran Talanga Valley Shade grown)Filler & Binder: Nicaraguan (various regions)Presentation:  Presented in boxes of 20 and SinglesLocation smoked: OfficePaired with: Spring water Construction and Overall Appearance: Pristine. A lovely, Honduran-grown Connecticut wrapper with an attractive Colorado hue, and a very silky feel. The cigar was well-packed, and comes in a cedar sleeve appointed with a green silk ribbon. Draw: Perfect.Pre-light flavor: Sweet and toasty. Toasting & Light: Excellent. Triple cap clipped-off easily and in a near perfect disc. The foot took completely in about 5 seconds. The first puff was very creamy, woody, and nutty in flavor. Lots of thick, creamy smoke, too. Base flavors: Roasted nuts and sweet cedar. Retrohale: Picked up a sweet woodiness and a nip of light pepper. Aroma: Excellent. Very rich and savory. Burn / Ash Quality: Ultra-clean with a soft, grey & black stippled ash. First ash dropped-off at about 1/2 an inch, leaving a perfect cherry. As for the remainder of the cigar, I haven't had a cigar that burned this well in a while. Just about every ash revealed a nice cone when tapped. Balance of flavors: Excellent. Consistency: Very good.General Observations: I was really impressed with this cigar. Looks like the Blancos went all-out here. The smoke was sweet, nutty, and creamy smooth. I liked the silkiness of the wrapper leaf, too. Some wrappers are described as "silky," but this one really feels like silk. The cigar was more mild than I expected at first, but by the end it was a solid medium-bodied smoke. This cigar put out a lot of smoke, too. One interesting observation was that, in the middle of smoking this cigar, I had to do a phone interview with someone, and I left the cigar in the ashtray saddle. The interview took about 20 minutes. When I came back to my desk, the cigar was still lit! During the last act, the flavors settled into a primarily woody character, while the retrohale turned somewhat sweeter with hardly any palate feedback.Summary: This Double Corona smoked smoothly and maintained a consistent body and character pretty much through the cigar's entire length. In the last two inches it got a little hot and bitter, but some extra rest in the saddle took off the edge. Then, at 7" x 54, this is a lot of cigar, so you would expect it to get juicy. What made this cigar complex for me was the combination of the flavors in the smoke and aroma. Very well done. After discovering how much I liked the Connecticut Shade, I'm looking forward to smoking the Lancaster, Pa. Broadleaf Maduro version. Note: Blanco Liga Exclusivo de Familia cigars are sold primarily in retail tobacco stores.Rating: ???? =============== Rating scale ? = Fair to Middling ?? = Good ??? = Very impressive ???? = Excellent ????? = Spectacular!
MORE
 

Cigar Review: My Uzi Weighs a Ton "Baitfish"

byGary Korb

Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize: 4" x 44Strength: FullWrapper: Mexican San Andréas NegroFiller: Brazilian Mata Fina Oscuro, Nicaraguan Estelí Ligero, Jalapa Seco, and Condega VisoBinder: Connecticut Broadleaf MaduroPresentation: Package of 25 / 5-packs / singlesLocation smoked: HomePaired with: Offley Tawny Porto Construction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. Beautifully rolled and capped. The tobaccos are densely packed inside a dark, toothy, and flawless wrapper. (A purty lil' thing, it is.) Draw:  Perfect Pre-light flavor: Sweet and earthy Toasting & Light: The cigar toasted quickly due to its smaller ring, but with all those dark tobaccos, took a little longer to light. Once it got going, it put out a lot of thick, creamy smoke. The first puff was sweet and creamy. Base flavors: Sweet, woody and earthy. Retrohale: Nice and creamy; not too peppery; mostly earthy. Aroma: Sharp and robust. Burn / Ash Quality: The cigar burned razor clean and very slowly. The ash was almost solid grey in color, quite firm, and took awhile to let go. If you're careful, I'm certain you could smoke this cigar from end-to-end with the ash entirely intact. Balance of flavors: Perfect. Consistency: This cigar was the second of two I had for this review. Not only was the smoke itself consistent in body, flavors and aroma; both cigars were identical in every way. General Observations: Dark woody flavors and plenty of natural sweetness. What I really liked about this cigar was it burned extremely clean and put out a LOT of smoke and flavor. Each puff was very smooth with dead-on balance. Due to its petite dimensions, once I got to the mid-point, I didn't want to draw on it too hard or too often. I even waited as long as 2-3 minutes between puffs. Even more impressive was that, despite its size, this cigar burned for well over an hour. This is NOT a "quick smoke," so don't confuse it with similar-sized cigars that usually last only about 20 minutes. Summary: A very solid, definitively Nicaraguan smoke that's great right out of the gate. I don't usually smoke cigars this small, but the Baitfish was so impressive in terms of flavor, balance, and consistency, I can see having a decent number of these in my humidor on a fairly regular basis. Yeah, they're a little on the pricy side, but I would testify in this case that you get what you pay for.Rating: ????½ =============== Rating scale ? = Fair to Middling ?? = Good ??? = Very impressive ???? = Excellent ????? = Spectacular!
MORE
 

Cigar Review: 601 La Bomba Atom

byGary Korb

601 La Bomba "Atom"Country of Origin: Nicaragua / My Father FactorySize: 5¼" x 46Strength: Extreme FullWrapper: Nicaraguan HabanoFiller & Binder: NicaraguanPresentation: Boxes of 10 cigars Appearance and feel: Dark, silky and moderately veiny wrapper. Pigtail trails down from the head of the cigar.Paired with: Spring waterDraw: Very goodPre-light flavor: Woody and pepperyToasting & Light: Lit well and evenlyFirst puff: Peppery, but not overpoweringly spicy with a hint of sweetness Retrohale: Very pepperyBase flavors: Earthy, semi-sweet, woody and red pepperAroma: Sweet and a little sharpBurn / Ash: Decent burn, flaky ash General Observations: Very stealth. Erik Espinosa told me this cigar was quite potent. I could tell it was strong in nicotine, but it was also very smooth which made the strength very stealth and hard to tell. The flavor is mainly of dark tobacco with mostly woody flavors and a spicy-peppery character with scintilla of sweetness in the mix. Summary: This is a cigar that truly lives up to its name. It is made for the experienced smoker who has developed a taste for this kind of cigar. I'm not normally a fan of strong spicy cigars, but in this case I have to make an exception. Well worth adding to your wish list.Rating: ???½ See all 601 La Bomba cigars. Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Guillermo Leon Signature Gran Corona

byGary Korb

Guillermo Leon Signature Gran CoronaCountry of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize: 6" x 47Strength: MediumWrapper: Habano (Ecuador)Filler: DR, Peru, Nicaragua, BrazilBinder: Cameroon & Dominican CorojoPresentation: Box of 20 cigars & 5-packsLocation smoked: Friend's houseAppearance and feel: Very attractive, even in color, virtually free of veins, well-packed, velevety to the touch.Paired with: Bolla MerlotDraw: ExcellentPre-light flavor: Earthy, woody and a little sweetToasting & Light: Toasted up evenly and lit well.First puff: Very creamy, woody with a note of sweetness.Retrohale: PepperyBase flavors: Sweet wood, nutmeg, hint of white pepperAroma: Sweet and very appealingBurn / Ash: Burn was a little uneven at times, but the cigar held up nicely to several touch-ups and relights (from going out). The ash was very fine, milky in color, somewhat firm, and not flaky. General Observations: This is a size I have really come to love. It's virtually the same size as one of my all-time favorites, the Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina, which got me into this size. The smoke was well balanced, semi-sweet with a predominantly woody flavor. Some spicier notes appeared in the second half as well as nutmeg and a note of espresso. It was also at this point that the cigar became much more complex. With this many different tobaccos all chugging at once, it really delivers a lot of flavor, and I would classify it more as "medium-full."Summary: The first time I smoked this cigar (same size) was with Jose Blanco and Guillermo Leon in Señor Leon's office during ProCigar 2011 last February. I liked it instantly and paired it with espresso. It wasn't until I bought a box a couple of months ago that I got into this blend. The cigars have settled nicely, and I would classify this cigar as more of an after-dinner smoke. You should smoke it under conditions where you can really relax and concentrate on it, or you may miss a lot of its finer qualities. As you can see from my photo, I smoked it down to about an inch, yet this nubber never became bitter, even with all the touch-ups and relights. For me, this is the sign of a really well-made cigar. The only negative was the slightly irregular burn, but past GLS Gran Coronas I've smoked did not exhibit this. I think pairing it with espresso or a dark liquor might make for a better match, though. Highly recommended for smokers at all levels of experience. Rating: ??? See all Guillermo Leon Signature cigars. Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Berger & Argenti Entubar Robusto

byGary Korb

Berger & Argenti Entubar RobustoCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize: 5 3/8" x 54Strength: MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut (Desflorado)Filler: NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 20 cigars and 5-packsLocation Smoked: Leaf Cigar Bar Appearance and feel: Very attractive; nice silky wrapper, well packed. The black and yellow "ADVISORY" band at the foot does take a little away from the appearance, but there's good reason for it.Paired with: Svedka Citron & tonic; Pepsi; Pulled pork & chicken chiliDraw: Just rightPre-light flavor: ToastyToasting & Light: Excellent (See my General Observations comments below for details)First puff: Creamy and bready. You can almost feel the thickness of the smoke on the palate.Retrohale: Smooth and woodyBase flavors: Woody, earthy, well-balanced. semi-sweet, with some sweet spice.Aroma: SweetBurn / Ash: Excellent burn. No re-touching required. Ash was quite firm and held on for just over an inch before dropping off. General Observations: The first thing I learned is that when a company puts a black & yellow "advisory" band to draw your attention to something about the cigar, READ IT. I started to light this cigar as I would a perfecto by starting with the fuse. Got a puff or two, then it would go out. Hmm...Then I remembered the fuse is a ligero leaf, which does not take well to fire. So, I picked up the black & yellow label. "THOROUGHLY TOAST THE ENTIRE CIGAR FOOT BEFORE LIGHTING" were the instructions. Once I did that, the cigar lit in a snap! (Now why didn't I think of that.) The first few puffs were exceptionally creamy, toasty, and a little nutty with some sweet spice flavors mixed in. As the first ash burned, a smaller ash from the fuse remained. I thought that was sort'a cool. The smoke was primarily medium in body, very well balanced and consistent in flavor down to the last inch. I think I could like this cigar a lot. I smoked the cigar right through my meal and never had to re-light. This may have to do with he entubar rolling, since the air-flow is better. Summary: This was my NFL Championship game cigar, so I decided to take it to Leaf Cigar Bar yesterday, and smoke it there. In case you don't know what "entubar" rolling is, it's an old Cuban cigar rolling technique where each filler leaf is carefully rolled into itself creating delicate scrolls (or tubes) that make up the bunch. The result is a much better draw and richer flavor. The sweetness comes from the Desflorado priming of the wrapper leaf. Because the flowers are removed from the plant prematurely, the leaves make more sugar, thus the aroma and flavor are also sweeter. This cigar was really enjoyable on all levels, and in the last half exhibited more complexity, which was a nice surprise, and the smoke never turned bitter. Rating: ??? See all Berger & Argenti Entubar cigars. Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 
91

Kristoff GC Signature series

87

Davidoff

Popular Cigars for Poker Junkies

byGary Korb

By Paul Davis | PokerJunkie.com When many people think of the game of poker, especially poker games of the past, they think of men in smoke-filled rooms sitting around the table with a good drink and smoking fine cigars.  For many poker players, a fine cigar is still an indulgence, but one that can no longer be enjoyed in many casinos. Let's look at a few brands that poker players commonly smoke. Surprisingly, a brand that you will often see being smoked are Phillies Blunts cigars. This blend of mild smoking Dominican and Honduran tobaccos seem to be a big hit with the 35 to 45 year old crowd.  Part of that may be due to the brand being very popular during the 80's. Many of them grew up hearing about, and maybe even sneaking a few puffs of these classic machine-made cigars from their fathers. Before you ask, "Why the hell would they smoke a cheap-ass Phillies?" consider that many times these players do not have a lot of time to enjoy a good cigar. Many times, the breaks are no longer than 10 minutes.  This doesn’t leave a lot of time, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to waste, say, a Fuente Fuente OpusX.  Save those for your home games or your dinner break. Now, a lot of the younger poker crowd that likes to smoke cigars tend to lean towards the Swisher Sweets Black cigars. The combination of both air and fire cured tobaccos tends to offer a sweet taste and an aroma that doesn't overpower you like some cigars. Another reason Swishers tend to be popular is the price. Swisher Sweets tend to be on the lower end with regard to price, making them ideal for young poker players whose bankrolls go up and down more often than the Dow Jones Industrial average. If you happen to run with some of the higher rollers who smoke cigars, many of them prefer Don Diego's or the Kristoff GC Signature Series. Don Diego is a mid-to-high-end cigar that is famous for its smooth and mellow taste. You won't see as many poker players smoking these, but your higher rollers, or "more sophisticated" poker players tend to lean toward the Kristoff GC Signature Series. Why? Because they are high-end cigars that come in a variety of top-grade wrappers and various blends of Dominican and Honduran tobaccos.  Moreover, some players like giving off the "baller" image at and away from the tables. Granted, not all poker players fall into such a small range when it comes to the brands of cigars they smoke. Take, for instance, Paul McKinney, the player known as "Cigar."  McKinney won the 2005 World Series of Poker Seniors Event at the age of 80! He listed his hobbies as moonshine, cigars, and young women. (Go Paul!) Though he was always seen with a cigar in his mouth at the poker table, McKinney reportedly did not have extravagant tastes in cigars. While nobody actually asked him directly, some reported he smoked Phillies, while others said that he enjoyed King Edward Cigars. As a result, McKinney may not have been considered a "high-roller" based on the cigars he smoked, but he sure looked like one after the Seniors event.  He took home $202,725 in prize money and most every photo you see of him, including the winner’s photo, he's chomping on his favorite cigar.As for most poker players, they love to gamble, enjoy a good drink, and enjoy the pleasure of a great cigar, even if some of them are not regular cigar smokers.  They may not be able to sit in their favorite casino and smoke them as in old days, but that doesn't stop them from lighting one up after the game. However, there are many home games where players can enjoy a good cigar while trying to "stack" their opponents. For those situations I would recommend the following cigars: Padron 1964 Anniversary MaduroArturo Fuente Don CarlosLa Flor Dominicana Premium LineAshton Cabinet SelectionIf you have a favorite poker cigar that you smoke during your weekly home game or on breaks during live events, please share them by leaving a comment.(_{CA]__{{{~ For more information on poker websites, tournaments, news, hand evaluations & rankings, poker chat, etc., visit  Poker Junkie on Facebook.
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Kristoff Ligero Maduro Robusto

byGary Korb

Kristoff Ligero Maduro ToroCountry of Origin: Dom. Rep.Size: 5½" x 54Strength: FullWrapper: Brazilian MaduroFiller: Dominican & Nicaraguan Cuban seedBinder: Dominican Cuban SeedPresentation: Box of 20 cigarsLocation: My carAppearance and feel: Nice, oily-looking, evenly-toned wrapper. Well packed. Finished with a pigtail cap and a semi-bushy foot (tucked under).Paired with: Water and Starbuck's Mocha Frappaccino Draw: PerfectPre-light flavor: Woody, nuttyToasting & Light: Peeled-off the shaggy tobacco at foot, toasted up nicely and lit well. First puff: Creamy with a sweet woody flavor.Retrohale: Smooth, lightly peppery, not sharp.Base flavors: Wood, sweet tobacco, hint of nutmegAroma: SweetBurn / Ash: Needed a slight touch-up in the first half-inch. (Apparently, I hadn't lit it all up. After that, it burned perfectly with a very firm and fine grey ash. General Observations: Extremely consistent. The smoke was particularly thick, creamy, very smooth, and well-balanced. Though it's labeled "full-bodied," I found it more medium-to-full; medium in the first half, full in the second. Flavors of sweet tobacco, cedar and nutmeg prevailed, while during the second half, the smoke revealed flavors of cocoa and espresso. I let the cigar rest longer during the second half. Smoke never turned bitter and burned perfectly to the nub. Never needed a relight.Summary: As I continue to smoke thruogh their selections, the Kristoff brand is becoming one of my favorites. I don't think I've smoked one yet that I didn't like. The construction is excellent, the pigtail perfectly coiled, plus, I really enjoyed the combination of flavors. There was nothing negative about this cigar. The only problem I had was taking a photo of myself smoking it because I was driving. If you like full-flavored Maduros, add this cigar to your wish list.Rating: ??? See all Kristoff Ligero Maduro cigars. Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar Review: 90 Miles Reserva Selecta Sublime

byGary Korb

90 Miles Reserva Selecta "Sublime" (By Flor De Gonzalez)Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize: 6" x 54Strength: Medium - FullWrapper: Ecuadorian-grown Habano 2000 RosadoFiller: Dominican and Nicaraguan aged 3-5 yearsBinder: Nicaraguan HabanoPresentation: Box of 20 cigarsAppearance and feel: Nice looking Colorado wrapper. Well packed throughoutPaired with: Hot cocoaDraw: Very light and easyPre-light flavor: Nutty, breadyToasting & Light: PerfectFirst puff: Very creamy and sweet with some oakinessRetrohale: smooth and slightly pepperyBase flavors: sweet tobacco, oak and white pepperAroma: Earthy and semi-sweetBurn / Ash: Very good. Firm. Nice and clean. General Observations: The cigar started out nice and creamy with a rich, dark tobacco flavor. As the cigar reached the one inch mark, notes of white pepper entered the mix. The smoke remained relatively creamy, well-balanced, and offered lots of flavor in every puff. By the midpoint, I picked up some notes of orange peel. During the last half the cigar remained smooth, revealing even more flavors, and never turned bitter.Summary: The 90 Miles Resrva Selecta blend is notably more complex than the original 90 Miles selection, yet maintains the sweet, creamy medium-bodied character of its first cousin. Best way to say it would be this blend has more of an edge. Had one relight along the way and it survived. The second half of the cigar offers darker tobacco flavors and a little more pepper, but the spiciness doesn't linger at the back of your palate. Puff slowly and you'll get the most out of this cigar. Another fine cigar from Flor De Gonzalez. Rating: ???See all 90 Miles Reserva Selecta cigars. Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 
91

Montecristo White

87

90 Miles by Flor De Gonzalez

Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2011 Dark Rituals

byGary Korb

E.P. Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2011 Dark RitualsCountry of Origin: Dom. Rep.Size: 6½ x 56Strength: FullWrapper: Brazilian MaduroFiller: NicaraguanBinder: Ecuadorian SumatraPresentation: Box of 10 cigars and 5-packsNOTE: The following review is based on a sample given to me by Señor Carrillo last February at his factory during the ProCigar Festival in Santiago, The Dominican Republic. More on that to follow...Appearance and feel: This wide-bodied beauty has a beautiful dark chocolate sheen with some toothiness on the wrapper.Paired with: Svedka Citron & Tonic with a splash of Rose's Lime JuiceDraw: Perfect Pre-light flavor: Earthy, somewhat dark and spicyToasting & Light: Took a little longer to light this cigar properly for an even burn, but it lit well and evenly.First puff: Surprisingly flinty and bitter. I was a little nervous at first. Maybe I over-lit it? By the third puff it rounded right out.Retrohale: A real tingler!Base flavors: Dark tobacco, espresso and a hint of semi-sweet dark chocolate.Aroma: Sweet and spicyBurn / Ash: Burn was just slightly off after the first inch, but once ashed, evened-out and never presented any further burn issues.General Observations: This is a LOT of cigar. It is definitely full-bodied, but very smooth and creamy. Though it started-off funky, the base flavors came through shortly after. By the midpoint it turned a little sweeter, more complex, and remained consistent right down to the nub.Summary: When Ernesto handed me this un-banded cigar in February last year (see photo at right), he said, "Here's something new for you to try, but it won't be released until November." So, I decided to take it home and let it rest until the cigars were released last Fall, but I didn't smoke it until a few days ago. On the whole, the Edicion Limitada Dark Rituals offered excellent balance and plenty of flavor. I enjoyed it immensely, and IMO, this cigar is best suited for more experienced cigar smokers who will appreciate the myriad nuances in the blend. There is a lot going on in this cigar. The Brazilian wrapper was not as spicy as I expected. Its ZING comes from the combination of the wrapper and the Nicaraguan ligero, while the sweeter, milder Sumatra binder keeps it from being too overpowering. Overall, a real treat that burned for well over an hour. This is one cigar you don't want to rush.See all E.P. Carrillo Cigars.Rating: ??? Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Xen by Nish Patel Robusto

byGary Korb

Xen by Nish Patel RobustoCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5" x 50 / MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut seedFiller: CONFIDENTIALBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Boxes of 20 cigars and 5-Packs Appearance & Feel: Cuban-style box press. Wrapper was silky and even in color, and the tobaccos were well-packed. Paired with: Svedka Citron Vodka & Tonic with splash of lime juice. Cap: Well made and clipped nicely. Pre-light: Spicy, but flavor-wise, nondescript. Foot: Lit easily and evenly without having to apply too much flame. Draw: Just right. First puff: Smooth and creamy with a note of wood and a trace of sweetness. Smoke: Creamy, woody and very aromatic. Burn & Ash: Burn started out a little uneven in the first third, but not enough to complain. It eventually righted itself. Ash was mostly gray with a marble-like grain, and was semi-firm. Aroma: Really up there. Very redolent, which added a lot to the experience. Retrohale: More pepper than flavor, but not overpowering. General Observations: Smoke was primarily woody, earthy and semi-sweet. As the cigar reached the midpoint, more spice emerged with a hint of coffee bean. The cigar was closer to medium in body than full, but the flavors were consistent and well balanced.  Summary: For his debut blend, I think Nish did a really good job. I would like to try a larger size like the Toro or maybe the chunkier Short Robusto for comparison. To be perfectly honest, I had a little palate burnout at the time I lit it up, so I may have missed a few things in terms of flavor. I think cigar smokers who like good Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, a decent amount of strength, rich taste, and a marvelous aroma will appreciate the Xen selection.Rating: ??½ Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = ExtraordinarySee all Xen by Nish Patel cigars.
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Alec Bradley American Classic Blend Toro

byGary Korb

Alec Bradley American Classic Blend Toro Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 6" x 50 / MediumWrapper: Honduran-grown Connecticut seedFiller: Nicaraguan Estelí and CondegaBinder: Nicaraguan JalapaPresentation: Box of 20 cigarsNote: This review is based on 2 samples I received from ABC.Appearance & Feel: Attractive, chocolate brown Connecticut seed wrapper. A bit veiny. Packing was firm with no significant soft spots.Paired with: Coffee (1st sample) Spring water (2nd sample). Cap: Triple style. Clipped nicely.Pre-light: Grassy, hay-like aroma. Draw is somewhat sweet with a leathery flavor.Foot: Lit well and evenly.Draw: Easy with plenty of creamy smoke.First puff: Mild, creamy, earthy, and woody with a pleasant amount of sweetness. Smoke: Thick, plentiful and sweet from start to finish.Burn & Ash: A little touch-up was needed on the second sampler early on, but the cigar burned well for the most part. The ash was marbled and relatively firm breaking-off in 1/2 to 3/4-inch nuggets.Aroma: Very appealing. somewhat earthy and sweet. As the cigar smoked the aroma became even more inviting.Retrohale: Peppery, yet smooth passing through the olfactory senses.General observations: Reminds me of one of the Avo Anniversary editions. Extremely smooth and creamy. Excellent balance. Long finish. Not all that complex in the first third. Cigar burned well overall. Flavors are predominantly nutty and woody, with an underlying sweetness like that of caramel or vanilla. By the halfway mark, the flavor and strength began to pick up. In the second half more peppery spice flavors begin to emerge. Summary: A really well made and flavorful blend. Fans of Alec Bradley cigars such as their Family Blend selection will like this cigar. One interesting note: At the start the aroma was more complex than the overall flavor of the cigar. But by the third act, the flavor was much more complex and full-bodied than the "advertised" medium body. Final Rating: ???Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = ExtraordinarySee all Alec Bradley American Classic cigars.
MORE
 

Cigars of the Week: Famous Nicaraguan Connecticut

byGary Korb

Cigars of the Week: Famous Nicaraguan ConnecticutCountry of Origin: NicaraguaStrength: MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian ConnecticutFiller: NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Bundles of 20 cigars Are you wiped-out from all your holiday gift shopping? Sure, you'd like to buy more cigars, but your wallet's now thinner than your credit card - but at least you still have a credit card. So, what if you could buy some top-quality closeouts that just arrived from one of Nicaragua's leading tabacaleras for well under $2 a smoke. (The original boxed edition was selling for well over $100 at the regular price!) The filler & binder core are all first-grade, hand-selected Nicaraguan longfillers rolled in silky, sun-kissed Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrappers. Depending on your palate, the cigars are mild to medium in body revealing an earthy, well-balanced smoke with flavors of sweet cedar and notes of coffee bean in the mix. If you're looking for a well-made, smooth-smoking "everyday" cigar with a dose of Nicaraguan spice, the Toro (shown above) is a terrific value and among the most flavorful in the line. The burn is clean, the ash firm, and the aroma, heavenly. If I was allowed to tell you the source, you'd jump on these in a nanosecond. Suffice it to say, they're available in four sizes, and at these prices you're getting a helluva deal. See pricing and applicable offers for all Famous Nicaraguan Connecticut cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

My Most Memorable Cigars of the Year

byGary Korb

By Gary KorbHappy holidays readers! Since we're just about out of 2011, I thought I would reflect on some of the cigars I enjoyed most this year. This is not a "Best Cigars of the Year" column; there are plenty of those for you to chew on. Since I didn't get to smoke all of the new releases this year (I still have some yet to smoke), what follows is a list of 10 cigars, some old, some new, that I personally found most memorable. If you haven't smoked them, think about adding some of them to your humidor. E.P. Carrillo Elencos Series "Don Rubino" (5¼ x 50)When you're already a legend, how do you follow yourself? Ernesto P. Carrillo doesn't think about such things, he just keeps making great cigars. The Don Rubino from his Elencos series has a woody base with a hint of sweetness. Later, the cigar blooms into a full-bodied, well-balanced, and complex smoke laced with notes of extra-dark chocolate and espresso. A real "finger burner. Fuente Anejo Reserva No.50 (5 ¼ x 50)This cigar really blew my mind. I will be posting a more in-depth review on this cigar soon, but this rare treat really hit on all cylinders. It was relatively medium-bodied with a base of rich, woody flavors and plenty of sweetness. The balance, burn, firm ash and overall flavor made this one of the most memorable cigars I've ever smoked. In a word: WOW! I'll be back for more of these. Guillermo Leon "Gran Corona" (6 x 47)I smoked my first Gran Corona with Jose Blanco and Señor Leon, himself, in his office at the La Aurora factory while I was at ProCigar last February. I was immediately impressed. The smoke was rich, smooth and very flavorful. Comprised of tobaccos from multiple nations rolled in seamless Ecuadorian Habano wrappers, there's some Cameroon in there for sweetness, some Peruvian and Brazilian for spice, and talk about complex, this cigar makes a marvelous after-dinner treat with espresso or Port. Gurkha Seduction Toro (6 x 55)I haven't smoked all too many Gurkhas over the years, but I recently discovered the Seduction Toro in a sampler I received. The smoke is thick, creamy, well-balanced and chock full of sweet, woody flavors. I also like the 55 ring because you get a good taste of all the flavors going on in this cigar. Moreover, the burn is great, and the cigar keeps its bouquet right down to the last inch. A truly outstanding smoke. (Note: This selection is sold only in retail cigar stores.) Liga Undercrown Gran Toro (6 x 52)I just reviewed this cigar and was surprised how fantastic is was. Despite all the rave reviews I read, which heightened and thankfully met my expectations, I was blown away.  Everything about this cigar was right on the money. The balance of flavors was perfect, intensifying a bit at the midpoint, where some sweet-spicy notes are introduced. If you're expecting something similar to the Liga Privada No.9, this cigar is much more tame, yet sacrifices nothing in terms of flavor and complexity. I gave it 4-stars. Nestor Miranda Art Deco "Robusto Grande" (5½ x 54)Since I've always had an affinity for art deco design and architecture, I was immediately drawn to this cigar. The Art Deco line was created by Nestor Miranda & José Pepin Garcia, and boy did they get this one right. Rolled in vintage Nicaraguan Corojo '06 wrappers, this medium to full-bodied smoke is creamy, nutty, perfectly balanced and splendidly sweet. I liked the Robusto Grande so much, I bought a box. My Father Le Bijou 1922 Grand Robusto (5 5/8 x 55)I had a little extra cash on me one day, so I splurged and picked up this cigar. It was worth every penny, too. The Le Bijou selection is Don Jose Pepin's homage to his father, who was born in 1922. The rare Pelo de Oro wrapper leaves are naturally sweet and dovetail with its full-bodied blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos. A sweet, creamy start builds to a complex smoke rife with sweetness, spice, and dark tobacco flavors. Definitely one for your "must-smoke" list. Perdomo2 "Epicure"  Maduro (5½ x 54/Cuban Box Press) I haven't stopped raving about this cigar since I had my first about a year ago. The smoke is ultra creamy, draws easily, and offers great balance. What I like most about the Perdomo2 Epicure Maduros is how  naturally sweet they are, and I've recommended them a lot. Notes of caramel and toffee present themselves up-front, as light spice flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon surface during the course of the smoke. Highly consistent, too. I've yet to have a bad one. Room 101 305 Robusto (5 x 50)I didn't catch-on to this highly-rated brand until this year, but it was worth the wait. The pre-light flavor has some fruitiness in the cold draw, and when lit, the smoke is smooth, creamy, highly complex, and aromatic. The 305 Robusto offered a cool, medium-bodied and full-flavored smoke with an appealing sweetness. I only wish I had gotten one of these in my hands sooner. Winston Churchill by Davidoff "Lancaster Mini Belicoso" (4½ x 46) I was already a fan of the Winston Churchill by Davidoff cigars, when this little number arrived.  Though I don't usually smoke this size, this Mini Belicoso was creamy, full-flavored, aromatic, and very relaxing. The smoke really opened up in the last couple of inches and never turned bitter. I enjoyed it so much, I nubbed it. Well worth trying and reasonably priced for this brand.Well, that's my 2¢. Please feel free to comment on my list or add a short list of your favorite cigars this year, and enjoy the rest of the holiday season.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
92

Alec Bradley Connecticut

Cigar Review: Liga Undercrown Gran Toro by Drew Estate

byGary Korb

Liga Undercrown Gran ToroCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize: 6" x 52Strength: MediumWrapper: Mexican Otapan Negro Último CorteBinder: T52 Connecticut stalk cut & cured Habano binderFiller: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan longfillerPresentation: Boxes of 25 cigars and 5-PacksAppearance and feel: Dark, even-toned wrapper; somewhat toothy. Excellent rolling and packing, plus an attractive cap. One of the cleanest cigars I've ever seen. Draw: ExcellentPre-light flavor: lightly leathery with sweet cedarToasting & Light: Perfect.First puff: WOW! Very mellow, creamy, woody and lightly sweetRetrohale: Very smooth and cedary.Base flavors: Sweet cedar, oak, nutmeg.Aroma: Sweet, oaky aroma. Very appealing.Burn / Ash: Even Steven with a firm gray ashPaired with: Gray Goose & Bitter Lemon General Observations: This cigar looks stronger than it is, but don't let that gorgeous Maduro wrapper fool you. If you're used to the more robust Liga Privada No.9 and T52 cigars, by comparison, the Liga Undercrown Gran Toro is surprisingly mellow and much sweeter overall. The balance of flavors was perfect. Not as complex as the full-bodied Liga Privadas, but there's a lot more going on here than you might suspect. As the burn crossed over into the second half of the cigar the flavors intensified slightly and some sweet-spicy notes crept in. There wasn't a bitter note to be found in this cigar.Summary: Even with all the hype I've heard about this cigar, it still exceeded my expectations; IMO it's one of the best cigars I've smoked all year. Another great job by the Drew Estate team with compliments to their torcedors, who originally created this blend for themselves. The flavors caramelize beautifully as the cigar burns. Moreover, the flavor, burn, ash, aroma were phenomenally consistent. This cigar was so delicious I smoked it as far down as I could handle it (click photo at left). Even at that last 1/2 inch, the smoke was still smooth and flavorful. You can tell that a lot of love went into making this edition. It paired well with the vodka and bitter lemon, though I would also like to pair one up with a good Tawny Port. If I had to sum up this cigar in a word, it would be "flawless." Final Rating: ????Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = ExtraordinarySee all Liga Undercrown by Drew Estate cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Mi Barrio ''El Forro''

byGary Korb

Mi Barrio El ForroCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 7" x 48 / FullWrapper: Nicaraguan HabanoFiller: Nicaraguan Estelí & JalapaBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 20 cigars This week's selection is a cigar that is quite close to my heart. The Mi Barrio El Forro is a Churchill-sized, Nicaraguan puro made in limited edition by Don Jose Pepin Garcia. These cigars were originally distributed by E/O Brands (Espinosa/Ortega) at which time, they were very upmarket in price. The first Mi Barrio I ever smoked, The Puro, went for $250.99/box. The blend consists of perfectly-aged Nicaraguan longfiller and binder tobaccos from Estelí and Jalapa expertly rolled in a dark, oily, and even-toned Habano wrapper that's finished with an attractive triple-cap. The smoke is full-bodied, yet not overpowering with a sweet-woody base that stays true down to the nub, which I attribute to the excellent balance and ultra smoothness of this cigar. The cigars used to be presented in handsome boxes that featured original artwork by Cuban artist, Edin Gutierrez, exclusively for this series (see photo at right). Each painting told a story, too. If I remember correctly, "El Forro" is Cuban slang for "the cheater." Click on the photo to zoom-in and notice the little cartoon balloon over the table. Unfortunately, the painted boxes have been replaced with plain brown boxes, but the cigars haven't changed a bit. I consider the Mi Barrio El Forro, as well as the entire line, one of the best cigars Pepin has ever produced. They make a great gift for yourself this Holiday Season, too. Speaking of which, it might behoove you to check 'em out. As you'll see, times have changed, and so have the prices. See pricing and applicable offers for all Mi Barrio cigars.** Current pricing is always subject to change. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
91

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real

94

Jameson Red Label

Retro Smoke: La Gloria Cubana Serie R No.3

byGary Korb

Here's a cigar I haven't smoked in a very long time, a La Gloria Cubana Serie R. I'd have to guess that it's been at least two years since I had my last. (I moved to the EPC Cigars line when Ernesto Perez-Carrillo started his new company.) In terms of flavor and blend, both brands are excellent, but have little in common other than the fact that Señor Perez-Carrillo was their original creator. All that aside, the Serie R I smoked recently was the stout little No.3, rolled in an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper leaf. To their credit, Yuri Guillen (GM), Leo Perazza (Master Roller), and "Team La Gloria" Director, Michael Giannini, have kept the La Gloria Cubana name strong and the quality high. I remember when La Gloria Cubana Serie R cigars were considered among the strongest on the market. They still pack a nice punch, but nothing close to some of the stronger cigars that have come out since the Serie R made its debut in 1999. To be fair, my No.3 did have a lot of time to mellow a bit in my humidor. The construction of this cigar was first-rate with a perfectly-formed cap that clipped-off in a neat round disc. The cold draw was very leathery and somewhat sweet. The cigar lit perfectly and never required any touch-ups or a relight. The smoke was very smooth and creamy with a woody base of sweet and dark tobacco flavors. Due to its 4½ x 56 dimensions, it's not far off in size from a nub cigar, so the cigar doesn't take long to warm up. This cigar also had great balance and never became overpowering or turned bitter, even in the last inch. Suffice it to say, the La Gloria Serie R is still a great smoke and reasonably priced for a box of 24 cigars. (The No.3 tends to dip below $100/box when on sale, too.) If you're a newer cigar smoker, and haven't had the chance to smoke a classic, full-flavored cigar, I think you'll be mighty impressed with the la Gloried Serie R selection, and the No.3 would be a good vitola with which to get acquainted. For more information and current pricing on La Gloria Cuban Serie R cigars, click here.* (__[GK]___{{{~ * Prices are subject to change since this posting.
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Iron Horse Robusto

byGary Korb

Iron Horse RobustoCountry of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize/Strength: 5" x 50 / MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra MaduroFiller: Dominican Cuban-seed Criollo '98 longfillersBinder: Dominican OlorPresentation: Boxes of 20 cigars & 5-Packs Feeling impulsive? Sometimes it's fun to take a chance on something new, especially if the risk is low. Just off the boat from the Dominican Republic is the latest edition to our stable, Iron Horse cigars. Starting at under $48 a box* for the Robusto, Iron Horse offers superb quality and value. If you're looking for a good everyday cigar with plenty of flavor throughout, you'll find it in this selection. The wrapper is a Sumatra Maduro from Ecuador, which adds some nice sweetness to the mix of Cuban-seed Criollo '98 longfillers bound in a Dominican Olor binder. The result is a medium-bodied smoke with a good draw, clean burn, and enough complexity to keep it interesting. The modest little tabacalera where Iron Horse are made produces some pretty darn good cigars, but only time and word of mouth will tell whether this new three-shape selection will be a prince or a pauper. I would suggest smoking one right out of the box, or waiting until they settle, then putting a few away for a couple of months. My gut tells me these will age up nicely and provide an even smoother and more flavorful smoke. See pricing and applicable offers for all Iron Horse cigars.** (Prices are subject to change.) (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar Review: CAO OSA Sol Robusto

byGary Korb

CAO OSA Sol RobustoCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize: 5 x 50Strength: MediumWrapper: Olancho San Agustin (from a proprietary 2008 crop)Filler: Nicaraguan & HonduranBinder: Connecticut BroadleafPresentation: Box of 25 cigarsAppearance and feel: Nice looking cigar. Lime green, black and white band looks nice against the light brown wrapper. Feels good. Nice and solid.Paired with: Hazelnut coffeeDraw: Very goodPre-light flavor: Creamy, light and a bit sweet and somewhat leathery.Toasting & Light: ExcellentFirst puff: Somewhat leathery with a hint of nutmeg.Retrohale: Earthy and smooth through the nose with a dollop of white pepper.Base flavors: Woody and nutty with floral notes, sweet spice and a smattering of vanilla.Aroma: sweet and woodyBurn / Ash: Mostly even-Steven with a somewhat flaky gray ash. General Observations: The cigar had a nice creamy texture on the palate but the finish is a bit dry. Flavors mostly of oak, cedar and nutmeg. Cigar went out on me three times,but picked up right where it left off with no bitterness. Had to let it rest more between puffs in the final third. Summary: The Olancho San Agustin wrapper comes from a 2008 crop in which the climate led to the forming of essential oils on the leaf. According to General Cigar, these oils contribute to the cigar's "robust and earthy flavor and full-bodied aroma." I found the Robusto to be a well balanced cigar with a mix of mellow, nutty, woody and semi-spicy flavors from end to end. The smoke was especially creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. This is an ideal smoke if you're looking for a right down the middle medium-bodied cigar with a lot of flavor. The flavors spiced up a bit in the last inch, and as you can see by the photo, I nubbed it.Final Rating: ??? See all CAO OSA Sol cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~ Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar of the Week: Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real RobustoCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5" x 52 / MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian ConnecticutFiller: Dominican, NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 25 cigars This is one of those cigars that's become (IMO) a modern classic. Not only is this particular Romeo y Julieta blend among my all-time favorites, it seems to be a favorite of a lot of other cigar smokers, too. I haven't met a cigar smoker yet who doesn't agree that the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real selection is tremendous smoke. Moreover, the Robustos come 25 to a box, which is rare these days. The blend consists of a perfectly balanced mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan longfillers, Nicaraguan binder and a silky, Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrapper. The smoke is medium-bodied - definitely a notch up in fullness from the Romeo 1875 selection - and super creamy. I generally pick-up flavors of toasted nuts, sweet spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and caramel toffee. The cigar also offers a clean burn, firm white ash, and an appealing aroma. I view this cigar as "Rocky Patel meets Davidoff." The Dominican/Nicaraguan blend is something Rocky has used often to his credit, while the appearance and aroma of the wrapper remind me of a Davidoff. This is a first-class smoke that has something for everyone. You'd do your collection justice by having at least a 5-pack of these in your humidor. (Check out the other sizes, too.) See pricing and applicable offers for all Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Famous Value Line Nicaraguan #300 Toro

byGary Korb

Famous Value Line Nicaraguan #300 ToroCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 6" x 50 / MediumWrapper: Nicaraguan CorojoFiller & Binder: Nicaraguan HabanoPresentation: Bundle of 20 cigars At last week's Famous Cigar Expo "Cigarnival" I was asked to help handout some cigars to the attendees. One of them was a Famous Value Line Nicaraguan #300 Toro. Fortunately, I also had a chance to smoke this puro, which is made at Tabacalera Protalasa. As I handed them out I noticed that the construction of these cigars was excellent. The wrappers were all even in color and feeling along the length of each cigar, I also noticed how well packed it was. There were hardly any soft spots and the caps were nicely finished. "Impressive," I said to myself. The blend consists of an all Nicaraguan Habano core rolled in attractive Nicaraguan Corojo wrappers. I didn't get to smoke the cigar until this past Monday. Even knowing that Protalasa makes some excellent cigars, I kept my expectations neutral. However, the cap clipped-off neatly, the pre-light draw was earthy and sweet, and when lit, the smoke was pleasantly smooth with flavors of sweet wood, roasted nuts, plus a hint of nutmeg and coffee bean. In was not only well-balanced, it was surprisingly complex, too. I looked up the price of the cigars and it was even more surprising. (They're currently on sale for $29.95 through September 30.)*"What a great everyday cigar this would make," I thought, "Especially at a price like this." The smoke was smooth, solidly medium-bodied, and burned nicely. If there was any downside to this cigar, it did turn somewhat bitter in the last couple of inches. But to be fair, it had to withstand a number of relights, because I had to put it down at times and it would go out. That said, this is a terrific value, especially for cigar smokers who have to keep an eye on their budget. Definitely worth a try, since IMO you have little to lose, and a lot to look forward to. See pricing and applicable offers for all Value Line 300 Nicaraguan cigars (_[GK]__{{{~* Price shown at date of posting. Prices are subject to change.
MORE
 

Signature Litto Gomez Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Dominican Republic Size 6 x 50 Strength Full Signature Litto Gomez Toro cigars mark a fantastic first for Famous Smoke Shop. Litto Gomez, creator of La Flor Dominicana cigars, has blended a cigar exclusively for us. Seamlessly handcrafted with a full-flavored blend of choice Nicaraguan longfillers and Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed binders rolled inside dark, shimmering Nicaraguan wrappers, you'll enjoy a creamy smoke teeming with rich, earthy tobacco flavors augmented by an underlying sweetness in the mix. Order your box of these rare, "must-smoke" cigars now.Read more about Signature Litto Gomez Toro cigars. "Excellent construction and interesting flavors"Cigar maker Litto Gomez is best known for establishing La Flor Dominicana and growing the brand from its humble roots as one of many cigar boom upstarts to a widely recognized, highly successful company. He did so through slow, methodical growth and by building a loyal and passionate following for his strong, innovative smokes. As his own recognition increased over the years, Gomez also lent his name to a number of smokes made under his direction. Most notable are the Litto Gomez Small Batch cigars that were released between 2008 and 2010. The Small Batch No.2 and Small Batch No.3 both received high ratings at StogieGuys.com—particularly the former, which earned a perfect rating in August 2009. You'll also find Gomez's name on a blend crafted exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop, an internet retailer based in Pennsylvania. According to Famous, these cigars are "seamlessly handcrafted with a full-flavored blend of choice Nicaraguan long-fillers and Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed binders rolled inside dark, shimmering Nicaraguan wrappers." They produce a "creamy smoke teeming with rich, earthy tobacco flavors augmented by an underlying sweetness in the mix." Three traditional sizes are available: Churchill (7 x 50), Robusto (5 x 50), and Toro (6 x 50). They range in price from $8.75 to $10.13 per single, not including the price breaks you can get if you purchase a 5-pack or a box of 20. The Toro is a firm, heavy cigar with a highly mottled, heavily veined exterior leaf. A closer inspection reveals several soft spots, but the oily cigar seems to be otherwise well-constructed. A muted aroma of leather and cocoa is evident off the foot, and the cigar cuts cleanly to reveal a smooth draw. Once lit, the Famous Signature Series Toro starts as you might expect from any Litto Gomez creation: lots of bold pepper and spice. Leather is dominant with hints of black cherry in the background. The aftertaste isn’t as sweet as advertised; instead, it has a cayenne kick. Towards the midway point, the Toro makes the transition from spicy powerbomb to a more medium-bodied profile complete with roasted nuts and cream. The finale is characterized by a reprise of the bold flavors that dominate the outset. With excellent construction and interesting flavors that change enough to keep the cigar interesting throughout the duration of the smoke, the Famous Signature Series Toro will be a welcome addition to La Flor fans’ humidors. But I would recommend buying by the box since the price for a single ($9.50) is too high in my opinion. All things considered, this Litto Gomez smoke is worthy of three and a half stogies out of five. Find more cigar reviews at StogieGuys.com
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Tabacos Baez Favoritos

byGary Korb

Tabacos Baez FavoritosCountry of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5½" x 52 (Mini Belicoso) / MediumWrapper: U.S. Connecticut ShadeFiller: NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 20 cigars A few months ago I was fortunate enough to snag a box of Tabacos Baez Favoritos on CigarAuctioneer.com at a pretty decent price. Though I'm not a regular smoker of tapered head cigars, the Favoritos have a beautifully finished cap, and since the taper is a little shorter it has a more consistent draw; at least that's been my experience. This was also my first box of Tabacos Baez, and so far I've been very impressed by this Don Pepin-blended selection named for the Cuban city where he was born.The blend consists of Nicaraguan longfillers and binder rolled in a silky, yet slightly veiny U.S. Connecticut-grown wrapper. The natural smoothness, sweetness and lack of bitterness in this domestically-grown leaf takes some of the edge off of the smoke; consequently, this cigar is more medium in body and less spicy than Pepin's typical peppery fare. The smoke is creamy, earthy and primarily woody with excellent balance and some sweet notes on the finish. It's also mighty consistent. I've smoked through more than half the box to-date and have yet to find a clunker; moreover, it's not surprising given Pepin's reputation for quality construction. The strength and flavors ramp-up a little in the last act, making this more of a medium to full cigar. Whether you're a fan of Pepin's oeuvre, or have a fondness for Nicaraguan blends, you would do well by having a stash of these in your humidor. See pricing and applicable offers for all Tabacos Baez cigars.(Note: This series should not be confused with the Tabacos Baez SF selection, which is made with a mix of medium and short fillers.) (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
76

JM's Dominican Connecticut

88

Alec Bradley Prensado

Cigar Review: Winston Churchill by Davidoff Lancaster Mini Belicoso

byGary Korb

Winston Churchill Series by Davidoff "Lancaster Mini Belicoso"Country of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize: 4½ x 46Strength: FullWrapper: Ecuadorian Special Sun Grown ConnecticutFiller: 5 diverse Dominican Cuban-seed longfillersBinder: Dominican Yamasá Cuban seedPresentation: Tin of four cigarsAppearance & feel: A good-looking short figurado. Wrapper has an attractive reddish hue and silky feel with a few bumps. Neat cap. Well rolled with a nice feel all around and no noticeable soft spots. Cutter used: V-typeDraw: GoodPre-light: The cold draw was very mild and nondescript.Paired with: Mocha coffee and smoked in the morning.First puffs: Very mellow and creamy with a nutty flavor.Aroma: Sweet and mellowRetrohale: Very light with virtually no sting in the nostrils during early stages. Had a little more zest near the middle, but still creamy. Like passing a cloud through my nose. Once into the second half it turned much more pepper, but was not harsh.Burn & Ash: The cigar lit perfectly across. The burn was very clean, forming a firm grey/black marble ash.Base flavors: Cedar, cream and sweet tobacco. The sweetness was likely enhanced by the Pelo de Oro. (Spanish for "golden hair," this is a wonderfully sweet-tasting leaf when cured right.)General assessment: The cigar started out extremely mild at the start; very smooth, but nothing "powerful" about it at this point. It went very well paired with the coffee. At its midpoint the cigar started to ramp up a bit in flavor revealing earthier and sweeter flavors with some sweet spices in the mix. Summary: Overall, a nice smooth, relaxing smoke that's very creamy and aromatic. The last act offered the most flavor, which was mainly that of sweet cedar. I expected this cigar to be a little more complex. However, the juices didn't really flow until the last couple of inches, which is where it hit its full-flavor mark. Though I don't usually smoke small cigars, this was one of the better cigars I've had in this size. Moreover, I enjoyed it enough to smoke down to the last inch and can definitely recommend it. The price is not all that unreasonable either.Final Rating: ??? See all Winston Churchill by Davidoff cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~ Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding????? = Extraordinary
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: El Cobre by Oliva Double Fuerte 5x50

byGary Korb

El Cobre by Oliva Double Fuerte 5x50Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5" x 50 / Extra-FullWrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf MaduroFiller: NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Bundle of 25 cigars I hadn't smoked my first El Cobre by Oliva cigar until recently. All I heard was how strong these cigars were: "You better be sittin' down when you smoke that one." "Oh man, that thing's a powerhouse." "It was so strong my head was reeling." So, even though I had an El Cobre Double Fuerte 5x50 in my humidor, I kept avoiding it. Finally, I took the plunge and was pleasantly surprised. Though I was sitting in my lounger while smoking it, I had no problem getting out of the chair. That's not to say it wasn't strong, but it didn't live up to the hype I'd been hearing about its uber-potency. The El Cobre boasts a dark, even toned, and toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that encases an all Nicaraguan longfiller core. The cap clipped perfectly and the draw was nice. Once lit, I expected a blast of pepper, but to my surprise it was quite smooth, creamy, and dare I say, mellow. The base flavor was mostly woody from start to finish. Moreover, the cigar burned evenly with a very firm ash. Every now and then it would lean back and hurl a peppery fastball at me, but even in the last couple of inches the cigar, though much fuller in flavor at that point, never went bitter or overpowered me, to which I attribute its excellent balance. Now, I can only speak for this one particular cigar. Perhaps the other sizes are more like spice bombs, or I got a freak that somehow didn't have as much ligero, or it mellowed a bit in my humidor. Or maybe my palate has finally become so accustomed to full-bodied cigars they don't affect me that much anymore. Whatever the case, if full-bodied cigars with lots of dark tobacco and wood flavors does it for you, check out the El Cobre 5x50. I'd be curious to see if you had a similar experience. See pricing and applicable offers for all El Cobre by Oliva cigars. P.S. One other interesting thing happened while smoking this cigar. Translated from Spanish El Cobre means "the snake." As I was trying to get the band off, it tore a bit. Then, for some reason I pulled the band apart from the center, and check out the photo at the left! (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
89

Padron

Cigar of the Week: Oliva Cain F Nub 460

byGary Korb

Oliva Cain F Nub 460Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 4" x 60 / FullWrapper: Nicaraguan Habano NaturalFiller: Nicaraguan (32% Estelí Ligero, 25% Condega Ligero, 25% Jalapa Ligero)Binder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 24 cigars Recently, I had an Oliva Cain F Nub 460 in the lighter natural Habano wrapper. Like the original Oliva Cain cigars, the F series is made with an all-Nicaraguan "straight ligero" blend, but uses a little more Estelí ligero and a little less Jalapa to give it more ZING. Usually, when a manufacturer assigns an "F" to a line extension, it stands for fuerte, or Spanish for "strong." Though this cigar lives up to its "F" nomenclature, I didn't find the smoke exceptionally strong or overpowering. Actually, it so smooth it that if I had to testify to the cigar's strength, I'd say it was more medium in body. Even the 60 gauge ring, which is not my usual preference, felt comfortable. The smoke is thick and creamy with base flavors that are herbal and woody. Down the road apiece, notes of mocha and sweet spices enter the picture with more intensity and a remarkable balance. Almost as remarkable was the ash; it just didn't want to let go, even with some light tapping on the inside of the ashtray. By the end, it left three 1-inch-plus nuggets in the bottom of the bowl. Though the Oliva Cain F cigars are generally marketed to those who prefer extra-full-bodied fare, I think a novice cigar lover with a discriminating palate would enjoy taking a swing at this cigar that hits on all cylinders. See pricing and offers for all Oliva Cain F cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Amilcar Perez Castro Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Amilcar Perez Castro cigars (APC) come by way of the man behind some of Rocky Patel's best cigars. Now you can enjoy these full-flavored cigars created by, as Rocky calls him, "The Master," in an affordably-priced, 3-shape edition handcrafted with Nicaraguan & Honduran longfillers and binders rolled in rich-tasting U.S. Broadleaf Maduro wrappers. The smoke is ultra-creamy with a base of earthy, woody and spicy flavors on a long, semi-sweet finish. Try a box of these scrumptious new cigars now.Read more about Amilcar Perez Castro Robusto cigars. I really dug these!This is going to be a fun interview. Fun because I'm an early fan of Amilcar. I grabbed up, probably, the first box of "Vudu" cigars from Famous Smoke when they came out. I had never heard of them. I couldn't find anything about them, so I bid on a box at www.cigarauctioneer.com...the auction house of www.Famous-Smoke.com I really dug these little beauties which turned out to have a love it or leave it customer base. I was definitely in the "love it" base. I also discovered that he blended Famous' Signature Series by Rocky Patel and Patel Brothers:Next Generation. Famous sent me all 3 sticks to review and they were very positive reviews. I have to tell the truth, I'm a fan of the Garcia spicy blend. And Amilcar found his own Garcia...as well as his own signature. When the APC's came out, I was all aflutter with anticipation and it was deja vu all over again like Vudu. I was the only one bidding on them and got them at base price. This will change. My buddy Scott was over my house the day I got the APC's. Scott is a neighborhood cigar mooch. As I walked back downstairs, with the package in my hands, Scott was all, "Ooh..what's that? Is that more cigars? Are you going to give me one? Can we smoke one now? I'll do your laundry. I promise to wear underwear when I drop by....Please!!!" I emitted a heavy sigh. In my experience, all the Amilcar sticks were good to go right out of the cello. But a few months changed the profile by smoothing the corners and finessing the flavors. I handed Scott a stick and he ripped into the cello and then grabbed my Xikar cutter. He didn't bother to smell it (chocolate hay) or admire its construction (solid as rock but draws very easy). I did do the pre-light and felt up the cigar like my first high school girlfriend. Amazing the things you can do with Kleenex. Scott, being the aficionado that he is, smoked his robusto in about 15 minutes. He got the spins. And spent the next hour on my front lawn in a supine position. I smoked one but while it was great to the nub, I decided I'd wait a week or so before reviewing one. The APC definitely has its own character. The pepper mellows out after the first inch. And a sweep of cedar and sweet tobacco showed up. By the first half, it became a creamsicle. The cigars are Nicaraguan & Honduran longfillers and binders. The wrapper is a very nice U.S. Broadleaf Maduro. The smoke is ultra-creamy with a base of earthy, woody and spicy flavors on a long, sweet finish. I still have some Vudus on hand and comparison smoked them. These are two different animals. While I really like the Vudu, I like the APC even more. And that's because of the aged taste and feel to the cigar. Just past the halfway point, the cigar becomes very rich. The Vudu doesn't quite attain this richness. There is nothing wrong with that, like I said, both have their own character. I can boil the experience down to a very rich cigar with flavors of wood, a small amount of almonds in the second half, a spicy overtone that is its signature, very creamy, a light cocoa finish, and a sweet tobacco essence. Back to Scott...He never came back into my house. He went home, licking his behind. I saw him a couple weeks later and invited him in. I felt bad about him spraying my lawn with human effluence. Only this time, I showed him how to enjoy the APC. For once, he listened and described the flavors back to me perfectly. I'm sure all of my readers have a friend or acquaintance like Scott in their lives. They can smell the UPS truck before it rounds the corner. The price point is excellent. $90.99 for a box of 20.* I paid less at cigarauctioneer.com. I want to thank the folks at Famous for sending me a sample to add to my humidor and for review. I plan to let these marinate for a few months and see what Dr. A. Castro had in mind. - Katmancross in Wisconsin *Note: Price per box quoted at time of review. Prices are subject to change.
MORE
 
87

90 Miles Reserva Selecta

90

601 La Bomba

Cigar Review: Zino Platinum Z-Class 546 P

byGary Korb

Zino Platinum Z-Class 546 PCountry of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize: 5¼" x 46 figuradoStrength: Medium - FullWrapper: ominican Republic (Yamasa Rojiza) Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa Especial Ligero, Esteli Ligero & Honduran LigeroBinder: Peruvian "Pelo do Oro"Presentation: 20 cigars in brushed metal casesAppearance and feel: Dark chocolate brown wrapper. Supple, silky, even in tone with no unsightly veins. The cigar was also well-packed all around, and finished with a nice cap.Paired with: CoffeeDraw: Excellent. Even with a less than 1/4-inch wide cut.Pre-light flavor: Mostly leathery. Not as grassy as the mainline Davidoff cigars. Toasting & Light: The cigar didn't light all that evenly. It may have been a bit too moist, and I didn't want to kill it before I got started. First puff: Robust, yet very smooth, with a spicy kick.Retrohale: Spicy and woody. Left a long tingling in my nose.Base flavors: I picked up mostly strong woody flavors with some nutmeg and light pepper notes in the mix.Aroma: A little sharp, but very appealing. One of the finer attributes of this cigar. (It's important to note that the aroma of Davidoff cigars has always been a very important trait) Burn / Ash: Burn started out a bit uneven. Dark grey ash, somewhat marbley. Cigar canoed during the first inch. I was tempted to touch it up, but wanted to see if it straightened out on its own. One relight at end of first 3rd. Thankfully, the cigar did even out just into the middle half.General Observations: According to the Zino Platunum Z-Class sell sheet, this new line has a "Zesty start, cultured finish." I would agree with the zesty start, though I'm not sure what "cultured finish" is other than marketing speak. That aside, I found the smoke very woody, full-flavored and exceptionally smooth, providing just enough spice on the finish to keep it interesting. The diverse Nicaraguan/Honduran core does a lot for this cigar as does the piquant Peruvian binder. Those elements, plus the gorgeous Yamasa wrapper revealed a well-centered balance. Summary: I found this Pyramid a little too "one note" for me. Ironically, the finish was more complex than the smoke itself. Maybe that's what they mean by a "cultured finish." Personally, I would have liked a little more sweetness in there, but that's just me; though I would like to try one of the other sizes for comparison. You can tell this is a very fine cigar, and at $9/stick it ought'a be. Suffice it to say, this particular Z-Class frontmark is probably better suited for cigar smokers who prefer robust, peppery tobacco flavor. Final Rating: ??½ See all Zino Platinum Z-Class cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~ Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = Outstanding
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Alabao by Perdomo Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar of the Week: Alabao by Perdomo Robusto Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5" x 54 / MediumWrapper: Nicaraguan CriolloFiller: NicaraguanBinder: NicaraguanPresentation: Box of 20 cigars Alabao cigars have become one of my personal everyday favorites. Handcrafted in Estelí, Nicaragua at Tabacalera Perdomo, the base flavors are earthy, creamy, nutty and naturally sweet - just the way I like my morning smoke. The core consists of diverse Nicaraguan longfillers rolled in a silky Criollo Colorado wrapper. I also like the 54 ring gauge. It feels good in the hand and the sticks are well-packed, giving them some welcome added heft. The burn is clean exposing a firm grey marble ash, while the smoke is medium-bodied, full-flavored, and turns complex in the latter stages. Notes of cedar wood, almonds, sweet spices, espresso and cocoa keep your palate entertained during the journey, and the aroma enticing. I suggest pairing the Alabao Robusto with rich coffee or espresso. Try using as little cream & sugar as possible, or none at all. The natural sweetness in the smoke melds perfectly with the rich flavor of dark premium coffee. The cigar is also flavorful enough to enjoy late in the day or after dinner with a good scotch or Tawny Port. Highly recommended for newer smokers looking for a more flavorful step up from mild cigars at an affordable price, and a nice change of pace for veterans who want a cigar that's less potent yet still full-flavored. See pricing and offers for all Alabao by Perdomo cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Honduras Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto cigars add to our already-enviable stable of Rocky Patel value brands. A Nicaraguan/Honduran core is framed in Honduran binders and wrapped in reddish Ecuadorian Sumatra leaves. The smoke is medium-bodied, medium to full in strength, but most definitely full-flavored. A baseline of woody and espresso flavors lays an impressive foundation, heightened by flourishes of pepper and natural sweetness. A head-turning aroma and affordable prices make this an absolute winner. Try a box today!Read more about Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto cigars. "A well-made, satisfying smoke"One thing’s for certain about Rocky Patel: He makes a heck of a lot of cigars. Rocky’s flashy website doesn’t even bother to mention many of his blends, be they seasonal, limited editions, retailer exclusives, or what have you. It’s safe to say that some cigar enthusiasts are perturbed by Patel’s ever-expanding lineup. They lament his seemingly countless blends and claim that over-expansion has deteriorated the excellence of the core cigars that made Rocky famous, including the Vintage ’90 and ’92 cigars. But many others couldn’t be happier with the variety of tastes, sizes, and price points offered by Patel. For them, any stick with Rocky’s name on the label is worth trying. These are two extremes. Whether you’re in either camp or (more likely) somewhere in-between, you may have heard of Xtreme Sumatra, a “value brand” that Rocky produces exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop. This line features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper with a Honduran binder and a two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and Honduras. It is available in three traditional vitolas: Churchill (7 x 48), Toro (6 x 52), and Robusto (5 x 50). I sampled three Robustos for this review. This frontmark is strikingly attractive with a reddish, silky wrapper, no soft spots, a nice cap, and a beautiful cross-section of tobaccos at the foot. The pre-light aroma is of sweet earth and hay and the draw is perfect. Patrick's review continues at StogieGuys.com
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

byGary Korb

Country of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize/Strength: 6" x 47 / MildWrapper: African CameroonFiller: DominicanBinder: DominicanPresentation: Box of 25 cigars The Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 cigar is a true classic. Mellow, flavorful, flawlessly constructed, and amazingly consistent from box to box. Plus, it's one of the few cigars that still comes in boxes of 25. I can't tell you how many cigar smokers (yours truly included), that list this cigar among their top favorites. I started with the Cameroon, shown here, then moved to the Maduro. Though I tend to order the Maduro more often for its sweeter taste, the two blends are pretty much interchangeable; you can't really miss with either of them. For my next 8-5-8 purchase I was planning on going back to the Cameroon, too. It has a mild, sweet-woody character with notes of nutmeg in the mix, and the aroma is incredibly alluring. Here's a little cigar trivia for you, too. Do you know how this cigar got to be called the "8-5-8?" "...My father showed me how to blend the tobaccos into a shape which later became known as the Flor Fina 8-5-8®. And when my father passed away at the age of 85, as a way of honoring him and as a means of expressing our eternal love for him, we called it 8-5-8 so that the number would be legible from both directions. It became very well accepted almost immediately. Since he was instrumental in originating this cigar, I am sure he would be delighted to know that the 8-5-8 is still our largest selling shape." - Carlos Fuente Sr. The Flor Fina 8-5-8 is one of those "must-smoke" cigars. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, get your hands on one - and quickly, too - they don't stay in stock for very long. See pricing and offers for all Arturo Fuente cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Flor De Oliva 550 Natural

byGary Korb

Country of Origin: NicaraguaSize/Strength: 5" x 50 / MediumWrapper: Sumatra (sweetened cap)Filler: NicaraguaBinder: NicaraguaPresentation: Bundle of 20 cigars Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later…This week I present to you one of my all-time favorite everyday cigars, Flor De Oliva 550 Natural (Sumatra). Those of you who've been following me for a while already know this, and I've lost count as to how many cigar smokers I've recommended them to over the years. If you're looking for a well-made, budget-friendly cigar with a rich, dark, and sweet tobacco flavor, this little number from Oliva Cigars has served me well over the years. I've even tried them in different sizes, and I always come back to the 550 (though the 6½ x 44 Lonsdale was pretty darn close). The caps are lightly sweetened with a natural sugar base. IOW, they don't have that heavy artificially sweet taste you find on a lot of flavored cigars. Actually, in a conversation I had with Jose Oliva a while back, he said the caps are so lightly sweetened, some smokers don't even notice. These are also the only cigars in the line that have the sweetened caps, too. You won't find them on the Maduro, Corojo, or Gold selections. The base flavors are earthy, woody, plus some natural sweetness, which I presume may come from some Jalapa that may be in the filler. They also have a nice little spicy edge on the finish. Moreover, the Sumatra wrapper not only balances nicely with the Nicaraguan core, it offers a really nice aroma, too. All in all, a well-made, medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar. Almost as impressive as the flavor is the price on these cigars. It's pretty tough to beat considering the quality of these bundled firsts. When I first started buying them, they were under $35 for a bundle of 25. They're now up to $45.99 for 20; that's still impressive, but if you can grab these cigars on sale, you can really make out nicely. Bargain hunters who go through a lot of cigars and don't want to sacrifice flavor for cost should definitely give these shot. See pricing and offers for all Flor De Oliva cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
85

JM's Dominican Corojo

Cigar of the Week: CAO Italia "Ciao"

byGary Korb

Country of Origin: HondurasSize/Strength: 5" x 56 / FullWrapper: Honduran HabanoFiller: Italian-grown Habano seed, Nicaraguan, PeruvianBinder: Honduran HabanoPresentation: Box of 20 cigars & 5-PacksThis is one of those cigars that I'm really nutty for. First, I like its 5" x 56 dimensions. I also love its unique blend, which includes Italian-grown Cuban seed longfiller, Nicaraguan, and a spicy Peruvian leaf. The smoke has great balance, lots of caramelized flavors, and one of the most impressive aromas ever to infiltrate your olfactory senses. The CAO Italia edition has been around since 2004, and what made this cigar unique at the time was the Italian filler leaf. The back-story is, the Cuban seeds from which the filler leaves are grown were brought to Italy about 46-plus years ago. This has given them many generations to perfect. The tobacco is also grown in the southern Benevento region, popular for growing grapes used to make some of Italy's finest wines. Due to its ideal soil and climate, the tobacco lends an earthy sweetness to the smoke and balances well with the heartier Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Honduran leaves. The Honduran wrappers are buttery smooth and have a rich oily sheen. The smoke has a very earthy base underscored by flavors of spice, some herbal and leathery notes, and an appealing sweetness that lingers throughout the entire journey. The Ciao also improves nicely as it smokes, moving from a medium-bodied start, to a more full-bodied smoke just past the halfway mark. It's also so well-balanced you don't get that bitterness that tends to sneak in during the last act in so many cigars. IMO, this is one of CAO's best cigars for its marvelous mix of tobacco flavors, aroma, and consistency. I've smoked a lot of these since their debut in several sizes, too, and never had to put one down prematurely. I would also recommend the Italia Ciao to newer cigar smokers who are ready to move up to a real major league cigar. This one's got it all. See pricing and offers for all CAO Italia cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Solo Café Toro

byGary Korb

Size: 6" x 50Strength: MildWrapper: SumatraFiller: DominicanBinder: Dominican Since I haven't featured any flavored cigars for this column, I thought I'd go with a good coffee flavored selection this week, the Solo Café Toro. The cigars are made in the Dominican Republic with a mild Dominican longleaf core rolled in sweetened Sumatra wrappers, and offer a mellow mocha java flavor. Since coffee is the #1 non-alcoholic drink among cigar smokers, these cigars make a tasty companion, especially in the morning or afternoon. Some may find more coffee "flavor" in the aroma than on the palate, but either way, if you're into coffee-infused cigars, or just looking for a nice "change of pace" smoke, the Solo Café Toro offers a smooth, relaxing  experience at a reasonable price point. Moreover, the quality is superb, and though they were originally offered without bands, they now boast attractive collars, so they're more easily identifiable. As is the case with any cigar, they're not for everybody, but if you're curious about flavored cigars at all, the Solo Café Toro is an affordable place to start. Enjoy. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Connecticut

byGary Korb

Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary ConnecticutCountry of Origin: HondurasSize: 5½" x 50 (box-pressed)Strength: FullWrapper: Proprietary Connecticut-grown CorojoFiller: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Honduran, NicaraguanBinder: Connecticut BroadleafPresentation: Box of 25 cigars(Note: This review is based on smoking 2 samples) Appearance and feel: Gorgeous, even tone with a neat box pressing.Paired with: Spring waterDraw: Decent. A bit tight on the first sample, very easy on second.Pre-light flavor: Not much flavor in either sample.Toasting & Light: Cigar toasted and lit evenly across on both.First puff: Extremely creamy and smooth with slight hints of nuts. Retrohale: Very peppery. Whew!Base flavors: Creamy, smooth, earthy and a little nutty with some toffee-like flavors.Aroma: Sweet, not too overpoweringAsh/Burn: In the first half inch the ash was sharp, firm and marbled in color. The burn was pretty even, and the first ash fell off at about the 3/4-inch mark on both samples.General Observations: Notes of pepper and cream in the first inch. Into the second inch, I picked up a little nutmeg flavor. For some reason I expected this cigar to be a little sweeter. Into the second half, both cigars really started to sizzle with more spice, dark tobacco flavors, and a trace of espresso in the mix. My second sample turned bitter in the last act, but the first tasted good down to an inch.Summary: Sort of mixed emotions here. I have a feeling this cigar met all of General's expectations in terms of what they wanted to do with the 10th Anniversary blend. I also feel this cigar has a lot going for it, but, speaking from personal preference, I think I like the original Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf better. Definitely a must-smoke for Punch fanatics and those who like a spicy, complex smoke with a very full flavor. Final Rating: ??½To see all Punch Rare Corojo cigars click here.Rating scale? = Fair to Midland?? = Good??? = Excellent???? = Outstanding
MORE
 
82

Baccarat

89

Java Mint

Cigar of the Week: Nicaraguan Selection 3000 Torpedo

byGary Korb

Size: 5 1/2" x 54Strength: FullWrapper: Ecuadorian Habano (Dark Natural)Filler: NicaraguanBinder: Nicaraguan With the weather finally warming up, that can only mean one thing - you can now smoke more cigars! Since a lot of cigar smokers will be picking up some bundles for their everyday summer smokes, I wanted to go with a bundle cigar this week. The Nicaraguan Sel. 3K Torpedo isn't just any bundle cigar, it's just an awesome cigar. Made by one of Nicaragua's leading manufacturers, (who prefer to remain anonymous), these cigars boast superb quality and really put out in robust, spicy flavor. The filer & binder consist of diverse Nicaraguan tobaccos (Estelí, Condega, Jalapa) box-pressed inside dark, Ecuadorian-grown Habano wrappers. This cigar starts out with a spicy punch, then rounds out offering earthy, woody, and nutty flavors. The smoke is very smooth and well-balanced, which keeps these cigars from seeming too overpowering. Once you hit the halfway mark, the flavors begin to caramelize, becoming much spicier with a dash of espresso in the mix. The last act is all flavor bomb. Take your time with this cigar and you'll appreciate it much more, too. If you're into milder cigars, you may want to pass on these, but if you're the adventurous type, go for it. Based on my experience, the Torpedoes will shed a little spiciness with some extended home aging. Enjoy. (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Avo XO Intermezzo

byGary Korb

Size: 5½" x 50Strength: MediumWrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut-seedFiller: Dominican (six varieties)Binder: Dominican Havana-seed This is one of my all-time favorite cigars, and one of the reasons I made the Avo XO Intermezzo my pick this week was I had one this morning after a much too long hiatus. Not surprisingly, it was rich, creamy and as flavorful as ever. One of the reasons I enjoy this particular Avo is, outside of Avo's annual Anniversary editions, the XO is the most complex and well-balanced of the main lines. (Between you and me, Avo, himself, once told me the XO Intermezzo is one of his daily smokes.) The core consists of no less than six different Dominican-grown tobaccos, which remain anonymous. The binder is a Dominican Havana-seed leaf, and the wrapper is a slightly darker than usual Connecticut-seed leaf grown in Ecuador. The result is a full-flavored, medium-bodied cigar. The pre-light is a bit grassy, but the first thing you notice after lighting up are the flavors of sweet cedar, nutmeg, and roasted nuts. As the cigar smokes, the flavors build slightly offering a dash of espresso on the finish. Like most Avos, the aroma is pretty seductive, too. The Intermezzo can also be paired with just about anything from sweet Port to single malt Scotch, or even a good micro-brew beer. They're not the cheapest cigars in the world, but well worth the investment, as they will age beautifully over time. If you've taken a recent interest in so-called "luxury cigars," you may want to start with the Avo XO Intermezzo. See pricing and offers for Avo XO cigars. ([GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
90

Natural By Drew Estate

Cigar of the Week: Alec Bradley Overture Corona Gorda

byGary Korb

Size: 5 5/8" x 46Strength: FullWrapper: Honduran Trojes VisoFiller: Honduran Trojes & Nicaraguan JalapaBinder: Honduran Having just released their latest series, American Classic Blend, Alec Bradley Cigars has achieved some of the highest rating scores for their cigars over the past four years, and to their credit, have really found their groove. It all started when their Tempus Centuria received a 94 "outstanding" rating in Cigar Insider, which brings me to my pick of the week: the Alec Bradley Overture Corona Gorda. What I like about this cigar is it's very similar in character and blend to the Tempus line. And when you compare it by size to the Tempus Inceptio (5 5/8" x 46) you may be impressed at the difference in price point, as well. To be fair, both blends have their own distinctive set of flavors, but if you're a fan of the Tempus cigars, or Alec Bradley Cigars in general, the Overture Corona Gorda is worth checking out. Moreover, I really like how this particular length-to-ring size smokes. The Overture blend consists of Honduran Trojes and Nicaraguan Jalapa longfillers bound in a Honduran leaf, and rolled in a dark, shimmering Honduran Trojes Viso wrapper. The smoke offers great balance with a creamy, woody and subtly sweet base that builds to a complex banquet of sweet spices, espresso and a shot of pepper in the mix. Due to it's complex nature and full-body, this cigar is probably better suited for the more experienced. However, if you’re the adventurous type, go for it, plus, this cigar will also improve immensely with some extra time in your humidor. See pricing and offers for Alec Bradley Overture cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar Review: EP Carrillo Elencos Series "Don Rubino"

byGary Korb

E.P. Carrillo Elencos Don RubinoCountry of Origin: Dominican RepublicSize: 5 1/4" x 50Strength: FullWrapper: Dark Brazilian HabanoFiller: NicaraguanBinder: DominicanPresentation: Box of 20 cigars Recently, I was sent a couple of new release samples from EPC cigars (a.k.a. E.P. Carrillo Cigars). One of them was the E.P. Carrillo Elencos series "Don Rubino," a 5¼ x 50 Robusto. My notes follow, with a tip of the hat to Señor Carrillo. He's still got it. Appearance & Feel: The wrapper was a bit rustic, somewhat veiny and a little bumpy. The cigar was also a bit over-humidified, so I was nervous that it might not smoke well. However, it was well packed all around. No noticeable soft spots. Paired with: Spring water. Draw: Just the right amount of pull. Pre-light: Flavors of grass with a note of anise. Toasting & Light: The cigar toasted and lit evenly across the foot. Never required a relight. First puff: Woody and sweet on the palate. Lots of thick, smooth, creamy smoke. Retrohale: Smooth, spicy, not too peppery. Base flavors: Dark, woody, and earthy with a note of sweet caramel. Aroma: Very appealing; earthy and somewhat sweet. Ash: Marbled and somewhat flaky with excellent staying power. General observations: As the cigar worked its way toward the middle it intensified in strength and flavor, while maintaining is woody base, laced with a hint of sweetness. As the cigar continued into the final act, flavors of dark bitter-chocolate and espresso notes began to emerge. Some sweetness remained, but was obscured by the dark chocolate and espresso flavors. This cigar also showed excellent balance and remained smooth sailing all the way to last inch, when I was forced to let it go. A real full-flavored "finger burner." Though some bitterness did creep into those last couple of puffs, the cigar never became too harsh nor lost its core flavors. Suffice it to say: Very enjoyable. A great after-dinner smoke that I'd like to try next time with a good Port. Final Rating: ??? See all E.P. Carrillo Elencos cigars. (_[GK]__{{{~ Rating scale ? = Fair to Midland ?? = Good ??? = Excellent ???? = OutstandingRelated info: Read my interview with Ernest Perez-Carrillo.
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona

byGary Korb

Size: 6¼" x 44Strength: MediumWrapper: Nicaraguan Sun GrownFiller: Nicaraguan Estelí & Jalapa longfillerBinder: Nicaraguan How about something completely different this week? If you've never smoked cigars made entirely with organically-grown and cured tobaccos, you've been missing something really special and tasty like these Plasencia Reserva Organica Coronas. Rolled to more of a "Cuban Corona" length and diameter, these 100% "Certified Organic" cigars are created from tobaccos grown in two regions of Nicaragua using pre-Colombian farming methods. Nestor Plasencia Jr. developed this creamy-smoking, medium-bodied blend that's aged three full years before shipping. The smoke is primarily earthy, nutty and woody with a hint of sweetness on the finish. Give 'em a try, and let 'em age up a little longer at home for an even more marvelous treat. See pricing and offers for all Plasencia Reserva Organica cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar of the Week: Gran Habano Triple Lancero

byGary Korb

Size: 7" x 40Strength: FullWrapper: Nicaraguan CorojoFiller: Colombian, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan LigeroBinder: NicaraguanWhen I first got into premium cigars, the size I liked to smoke was the Lancero. Not necessarily because I liked the way it tasted, but because I thought I would look cool smoking it. (I remember them being called Panatelas at the time.) As I became more experienced, I learned to appreciate other shapes and sizes, but I still enjoy a good Lancero occasionally like the Gran Habano Triple, and fortunately, the Lancero is back en vogue. The Gran Habano Triple Lancero is blended by Guillermo Rico with Colombian, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan Ligero longfillers bound and rolled in Nicaraguan-grown leaves of which the latter is a pristine Corojo wrapper (virtually identical to the Gran Habano Aztec selection). Though listed as "full-bodied," to my taste, the blend has more of a medium-bodied character. Like most Gran Habano cigars, the smoke is thick, creamy and aromatic. An earthy-toasty flavor kicks it off, then builds to an impressively complex smoke offering flavors of cocoa, almonds, and sweet tobacco, making this slim jim quite a treat. Moreover, due to the Lancero's narrow ring gauge, you get a lot of flavor from the wrapper, which balances well with the all-ligero core. Coincidentally, a few years ago George Rico, Don Guillermo's son and the man behind G.A.R. cigars, once gave me some Lanceros that are made only for him. Although he wouldn't divulge the blend, he obviously likes this shape. If you think the Lancero is a "girly" cigar, or doesn't supply enough tobacco for your buck, you just might want to think again and give the Gran Habano Triple Lancero a try. See pricing and offers for all Gran Habano Triple cigars.(_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 
86

Sancho Panza

Cigar of the Week: CAO CX2 Toro

byGary Korb

Size: 6" x 54Wrapper: African CameroonFiller: NicaraguanBinder: African Cameroon With prices suddenly shrinking on CAO cigars of late, I thought I'd roll out one of my favorites, the CAO CX2 Toro. If you happened to catch our most recent Cigar Buying Guide email that featured all Cameroon-wrapped cigars, you may have noticed the Guide Sampler #9 includes a CAO Cameroon. That cigar is pretty nice on its own. Now, take it up a notch. The CAO CX2 gets its name from the fact that in addition to the naturally sweet African Cameroon wrapper on this cigar, the blend also uses a Cameroon binder. The CX2 edition is also round, rather than box-pressed like the regular Cameroon series. The CX2 Toro is a luscious candy bar of a smoke, brimming with sweetness, yet it packs a nice, full-flavored, yet medium-bodied punch from an all-Nicaraguan longfiller core. I also like the dimensions of this cigar. At 6"x 54 you get a lot for your money, plus the wider size offers excellent balance and creaminess. I usually pick up flavors of sweet wood, coffee, and a note of nutmeg in the mix. Just about all the reviews on the CAO CX2 Toro are raves, too. If you love the naturally sweet flavor of top-grade Cameroon leaf and a little zing, check it out. It pairs up great with coffee, Tawny Port, or a good Single Malt Scotch, too. Enjoy!   (_[GK]__{{{~
MORE
 

My 25 Favorite Cigars of 2010

byGary Korb

By Gary Korb It's the end of the year, that time when everybody is posting their "Best Cigars of the Year" lists. And since readers seem to love lists, I figured I might as well chime-in, too. Because I wasn't able to attend the IPCPR in New Orleans this past summer, I missed a lot of the new cigars. However, several manufacturers were kind enough to send me their new releases, for which I am extremely grateful. Rather than list them in order of preference (to me they're all good), or by rating score (it's so subjective, anyway), I've listed my "Top 25" picks alphabetically. Plus, I included links to related articles on many of the cigars so you can find more information. But I'd really like to know what new cigars impressed you this year, so please leave a comment with some of your own picks. Alabao ToroAlec Bradley New York 'Six Two'  (More info)Artisan Honduran Connecticut ToroAvo LE10  (More info) Cain F 550 Habano  (More info) Capoeira AlunoCargo by Rocky Patel Super Toro  (More info)Carlos Torano Exodus 1959 50 Years Robusto  (More info)Davidoff Puro d' Oro Notables  (More info)E.P. Carrillo 2010 Limitada Elencos  (More info)E.P. Carrillo Short Run Delirios  (More info)Famous Signature by Litto Gomez ToroFamous VSL Nicaraguan ToroFinal Blend Toro90 Miles Churchill by Flor de Gonzalez  (More info)Guillermo Leon Gran Corona  (More info)Hoyo De Monterrey Reposado en Cedros SueñoLa Flor Dominicana Air Bender Guerrero  (More info)La Floridita Fuerte Robusto Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Perfecto  (More info)Pinar Del Rio Reserva Limitado 2010 TorpedoFamous Private Selection Signature by Rocky Patel RobustoToraño Single Region Robusto  (More info)VUDU ToroVueltabajo Lonsdale (_[ca]___{{{~
MORE
 
92

Java By Drew Estate

89

Montecristo Platinum

My favorite Rocky Patel cigars

byGary Korb

By Gary Korb And now for something completely different. Since cigars by Rocky Patel & Amilcar P. Castro are "the flavor of the month," I thought it would be apropos to publish a list of my favorite Rocky Patel cigars. Of course, I'll have to give equal time to my other favorite cigar makers going forward, but while we're on the subject... ...I can't say that I have a specific "#1" Rocky Patel favorite, because they all stand out in their own unique way, but if I were facing the firing squad, I would probably request the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Toro. Reason being, I've smoked this cigar the most and the longest, so it's usually the first Rocky Patel cigar that comes to mind. The Vintage 1992 Toro has a long-aged Dominican/Nicaraguan blend pressed in buttery-smooth, perfectly-aged Sumatra wrappers. I also love the way this leaf has been cured. It offers an appealing caramel-like flavor and aroma. Plus, the box-press shape gives you a longer smoke. It's creamy, earthy, sweet, nutty, and these medium-bodied cigars have never failed me.Another favorite is the Rocky Patel Sun Grown in the Robusto and Toro. These cigars have a 7-year-aged Brazilian, Dominican & Nicaraguan core rolled in 5-year-aged Ecuadorian Sun Grown Rosado wrappers. I was privileged to be among the first to smoke these when Rocky introduced them in 2004. (I even remember Nish Patel handing it to me.) They start off with a little shot of spice that rounds out to a creamy, woody smoke with a little spice remaining on the finish. I find them especially enjoyable after dinner. Rumours to them having a traditional "Cuban-like character" should not be discounted. A cigar that I wrote about as far back as January was the Rocky Patel 1961 Toro. This is one of Rocky's cigars blended by Amilcar P. Castro. One of the things I like about this cigar is its wider 52 ring. The cigar is perfectly packed, rolled and capped, plus the dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper lends a great aroma to the mix. The first few puffs are quite peppery, then the smoke settles down to an earthier smoke with some roasted nut and sweet wood flavors. It packs quite a wallop, too. For pairing, I suggest a good sweet Port to tame some of the spiciness. As "everyday cigars" go, I've really taken to the Conuco Robusto. This medium to full-bodied blend was created by Rocky Patel in Honduras. They're affordably priced and pair well with my morning coffee. A dark Habano wrapper caps a well-balanced blend of Honduran, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan, and Panamanian tobaccos with an ample amount of ligero. The smoke has semi-sweet, woody base with hints of coffee in the finish, and they improve nicely with age. Sometimes you discover something great by accident. Such is the case with the Rocky Patel Decade Short Robusto. Rocky gave me one of these 4 x 54 box-pressed beauties at an in-store event. It was my first and really blew me away, making my all-time best list. The blend is all vintage Nicaraguan with a drop-dead gorgeous Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. This is a deliciously creamy, sweet, and ultra complex smoke that should be smoked slowly to really appreciate its more subtle nuances. Because they're made in such limited edition they're not sold as online cigars. The Rocky Patel American Market Selection Toro has become one of my top "go-to" mild cigars, and I've probably recommended this edition more often than any other cigar in its class over the past two years. Blended with long-aged Nicaraguan & Honduran longfillers rolled in silky, Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers, the smoke is medium-bodied, creamy, and very aromatic with subtle caramelized flavors of sweet cedar and spice. Here again, I've never had a bad one. Some might argue that Rocky's The Edge is his most potent cigar, but if you're looking for a really "heady" smoke, the Rocky Patel Honduran Classic Toro is pure dynamite. I prefer the Corojo wrapper, but the Maduro will really rock your world. A ligero-studded blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran longfillers lies at the core offering a creamy, earthy, semi-sweet character with dark, spicy tobacco flavors. Ideal after a big meal, this is a really stealth smoke, so don't be surprised if its potency continues to affect you even after you've put it down. Finally, I was so impressed with the new Signature by Rocky Patel edition I had to include it here. Here we have another Rocky/Amilcar creation blended with long-aged Nicaraguan longfillers and a dual Mexican binder rolled in dark Habano wrappers. A shot of pepper opens the first act, then rounds out to a mix of wood and sweet tobacco with some coffee and spicy notes on the finish. The smoke is complex and highly consistent down to the nub. Experienced cigar smokers should relish these, plus the price is extremely reasonable for this level of quality. So there you have it. I'd be curious to read your take on any of the aforementioned cigars, or some of your own favorite Rocky Patel cigars, so please leave a comment. (_[ca]__{{{~
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Alabao Toro

byGary Korb

By Robustojoe Country of Manufacture: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Perdomo)Size/Strength: 6 x 50 / MediumWrapper: Nicaraguan CriolloFiller: NicaraguanBinder: Nicaraguan Okay, let’s cut to the chase…I REALLY like this cigar. Now let’s flashback to seven years ago when I first started smoking. Back then, cigars were a mystery to me.  Some were too strong, some had no taste, and others were just, well, bad.  Then I smoked a Perdomo Lot 23 and it was love at first puff.  But this is a review of a new cigar, Alabao. So why am I reminiscing about a cigar smoked so long ago?  Flashback to five years ago: By this time my love for the Lot 23 had led me to other Perdomo blends: Champagne, Cuban Parejo, and the Habano. All of these shared a common element, a smoothness the likes of which I had never experienced before.  This was my first foray into “triple fermentation.”  Since then I’ve discovered more and more cigars from other cigar manufacturers that have utilized this extra fermentation, and now it seems to have become a standard practice of blends like Illusione, Cain, and many others.  I don’t mean to imply that Perdomo started this trend, just that it was my first experience with the wonderful smooth quality associated with this process.  Now fast forward to the present: Perdomo has expanded its line and has produced more varieties of cigars since the introduction of the Lot 23 (some of which I do not care for).  Luckily I read an issue of Cigar Advisor that introduced this [exclusive] Perdomo line.  Certain “code” words got my attention: hints of almond, cedar, cocoa, and sweet spice sounded like a cigar I would enjoy.  The fact that I had not tried a Perdomo in a while, served to convince me to take a leap of faith.  Four sticks later I’m still looking for the opportunity to smoke another. The Alabao has the familiar Perdomo smoothness that I’ve loved since the beginning, but with the addition of a bolder, more complex flavor profile that serves like a topping on a great sundae.  For a cigar that leans towards the strong end of the spectrum, the Alabao is surprisingly easy going and relaxing to smoke.  It doesn’t challenge you with overpowering spice, yet has just enough to give the cigar character.  Additionally, the extra fermentation isn’t so pronounced as to compromise it’s complexity, and all the vitolas I smoked were equally good.So to bookend this review I’ll say again, I REALLY liked this cigar.  Smokers who enjoy Nicaraguan puros should appreciate the Alabao, and because of its smoothness, adventurous novice smokers might like it as well.*   *   *
MORE
 

Cigar Review: Maroma Dulce Toro

byGary Korb

By Bob "The Reverend Hurricane" MeynMaroma Dulce ToroCountry of Manufacture: Honduras (Plasencia)Size/Strength: 6 x 50 / MildWrapper: Connecticut ShadeFiller: Mixed Nicaraguan & Honduran fillersBinder: NicaraguanPrice: $45.99/box of 20* This is the time of year in New Orleans when I frequently find myself on the back deck first thing in the morning enjoying the pleasant zephyrs of late spring and sipping on a fresh steaming cup of café au lait. And if you like to pair a cigar with your coffee like I do, let me recommend you try the Maroma Dulce for both its flavor and reasonable price.Maroma Dulce cigars are a Honduran mixed filler blend wrapped in an attractive light-brown Connecticut shade wrappers that reveal relatively few veins and surprisingly few flaws considering the price of the stick. On clipping and cold draw, the Toro had a significant straw/grassy taste to it with just the slightest hint of lemon.  The draw, as you might expect from a mixed-filler, was very easy and just a bit more airy than I prefer but certainly not so much that the cigar would burn too quickly and hot.The cap of the cigar is sweetened which I actually like in a cigar that I’m pairing with coffee. Based on the mildness of the cigar and the sweetened cap, I would probably not pair the Maroma Dulce with anything alcoholic but would select coffee or even a cup of hot tea.On lighting, the cigar had a smooth toasty character that blended well with my accompanying coffee. As I continued through the first third, I could taste very subtle hints of caramel and cream.  The cigar provided ample amounts of smoke and the burn was reasonably even although I did have to give some attention to rotating the cigar to keep the edge straight.Like most mixed filler cigars I smoke, the flavor didn’t develop much through the course of smoking and I occasionally had to deal with small bits of the mixed filler that the cigar surrendered, but since the Maroma Dulce Toro costs less per stick than most cups of coffee from your favorite shop, I’m willing look past such distractions.  I would recommend this cigar as a very good bargain and comparable in profile to the more expensive Gispert or Baccarat cigars. Scores:Appearance: 8Construction: 8Burn: 8Draw: 9Flavor: 8Aroma: 9Total Score:  8.3 Become a Fan of The Rev’s “NOLa Church of Smokes” on Facebook*price shown may be subject to change since date of publication.
MORE
 
92

Arturo Fuente Hemingway

Cigar Review: Capoeira Graduado

byGary Korb

By Barry Stein | A Cigar Smoker's Journal One of the biggest gripes I hear about my blog other then the fact I need an editor to address spelling and grammar issues, is the fact that I don’t review anything outside the mainstream arena. To be honest I wasn’t in a rush to fix that for no particular reason at all. But then my good friend Gary Korb from [Cigar Advisor] approached me a few weeks ago. He informed me that he thought we had a similar tastings on various brands and he asked if I would like to review some [private label cigars]. Without thinking I said yes, after some thought I was hopeful that I didn’t risk ruining a friendship if I didn’t like the cigars. Well the first cigar they sent me I never heard of which didn’t surprise me. According to the [description], this cigar features one of my favorite wrappers a Brazilian Mata Fina, and the correct pronunciation is kapu’era. The cigar comes from Jesus Fuego and utilizes mostly organic fertilized tobacco. Cigar: Capoeira GraduadoSize: 5 x 50 (Graduado/Robusto)Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina (Aged 4 Years)Binder: Costa Rican CorojoFiller: Honduran & Nicaraguan Corojo, Mexican San AndreasStrength: FullTwitter: @CigarMonster Appearance and Construction: At first glance there is no mistaking this is a Brazilian Mata Fina. The gorgeous looking wrapper is blemish free with minimal thin veins and a very oily sheen to it. Despite feeling a little light to the tough this exquisitely rolled stick has no soft spots and a well packed foot. The triple cap is perfectly formed and almost a sin to snip. The gold and black band has a military feel to it with the font used and star as Capoeira is a Afro-Brazilian art that joins martial arts, music and dance that is sometimes known as the "Dance Of War."Flavor & Notes: Prior to lighting up the cold draw of the cigar is rich with flavors that remind me of sambuca with a touch of espresso, while the foot of the cigar has a nice tradition mocha to the nose. The cigar has my interest piqued at this point and I am hoping it fulfills my need for a good cigar. Once lit there is no question this is a cigar from J. Fuego as there is some similarities to his other lines. The first third has some spicy notes of pepper and a nuttiness to it but the short finish has a sweet mocha. As we enter the second third of the cigar some coffee notes begin to emerge along with continued nuts, some wood. As we conclude the final third of the cigar the notes begin to fade some and we are left with a nice wood finish with a subtle sweetness. Smoking Characteristics: The first thing that caught my attention was how much smoke this cigar produced when lit especially when resting when a wisp of smoke continued from both end of the cigar on a regular basis. Not sure if it is a good thing or bad thing so please comment but personal I liked it as it created a nice aroma. The cigar burned perfectly even although the first third was a little fast before the cigar slowed down, or perhaps it was me. The draw was exquisite and the medium colored ash held on well. Conclusion: I didn’t expect much out of this stick because well I am a cigar snob. But hey, admitting it is half the battle, right? I was impressed by this stick and if you are a fan of J. Fuego this might just be worthy a box purchase. Me personally I will hold off on that, because well I'm still a cigar snob, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.. does it?Rating: 89*   *   *
MORE
 

A rather interesting cigar

byGary Korb

Cigar Review: Plasencia Reserva Organica CoronaCountry of manufacture: NicaraguaSize: 6¼" x 44Strength: Mild Wrapper: NicaraguanFiller: NicaraguanBinder: Nicaraguan By Matthew | ToastedFoot.comThis 100% certified organic cigar from Nestor Plasencia, Jr. is a mild-bodied Nicaraguan puro. Utilizing pre-Colombian farming methods, these tobaccos come from two regions of Nicaragua and the cigars are aged for a minimum of three years. A simple triple cap footed with a cedar sleeve and topped with a bright yellow and blue band, this cigar has a striking appearance. The medium brown wrapper is solid throughout with no soft spots, a slight plume, and minimal veins that sit flush with the wrapper. There are a couple of color spots toward the middle of the cigar, but overall this is an elegantly clean cigar. The aroma is of sweet peppermint while the pre-light pull reveals a syrupy flavor that is surprisingly thick. The draw has a pleasant resistance and pulls very cleanly. There is not much to say for the burn – the well colored white ash stacked very evenly and the draw was consistent. I did not pick up my lighter but to fire it up and it kept an even burn line from start to finish. The Reserve Organica begins with a muted sweetness and the overall flavor is mostly bland with some unidentifiable harshness, though there is an antiqued cedar and floral profile that arrives in the second third. The final third has a mint note and the undertone that I had trouble placing identifies itself as charcoal or a burnt profile which lends to the harshness identified. At over $6 a stick, there are certainly other cigars I’d turn to first, but this is still a rather interesting cigar with a great burn and a decent flavor profile. If you’re curious about an organic cigar, I don’t think you’ll feel cheated by trying this one out.Scoring NotesBurn: 9Consistency: 9Draw: 9Appearance: 8Flavor: 8Construction: 8Total Score: 8.5 Follow Toasted Foot on Twitter
MORE
 

Journeys Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 6 x 50 Strength Medium Journeys Toro cigars are a new affordably-priced, premium selection from the makers of Flor de Gonzalez Cigars. Handmade in Nicaragua, each Journeys Toro boasts a medium-bodied blend of all 5-year-aged Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos, Sumatran binder, and lush Connecticut wrappers. After rolling, the cigars are aged six months to assure a smooth, rich-tasting, and well-balanced cigar. The smoke is earthy, sweet, and nutty, with notes of herbs, some spice, and a suggestion of mocha java on the finish. Nice trip!Read more about Journeys Toro cigars. A very well-made and flavorful medium-bodied cigarThe Journeys Toro is made exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop by Flor De Gonzalez. It has a filler blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Sumatra tobaccos aged for five years. The well-aged Connecticut wrapper is a very smooth, khaki brown, and has minimal veins with perfect seams. The cap is well applied and cuts cleanly. The whole stick feels firm and medium in weight, while the bunching is even and clean. During the pre-light inspection I found this smoke to have slightly fruity flavors and notes of earth. The aromas were of well aged tobacco with a clean, fresh top note, like the smell of a tobacco field on a breezy day. The mouth feel was pleasant, the draw was slightly firm but not excessive. There is a lot of tobacco in this stick, let's try it out... At light up, the Journeys began with a sweet honey like flavor wrapped around a rich, big tobacco taste, the mouth feel was creamy; not surprising for a well aged stick with a Connecticut wrapper. The smoke had a velvety feel to it. These flavors lasted through the first third or so. The burn was spot on and the cigar ash was light gray and firm. The aromas were soft and easy going. Pleasant notes of oak and light tobacco were present with a slight hint of brown sugar. In the second third the flavor shifted around a bit, becoming lightly sweet as notes of almonds appeared. There was a background of light leather and delicate notes of clean earthiness. The burn was still even and the cigar tasted cool and fresh. The last third of the Journeys Toro it picked up in intensity a bit; not aggressive or bitter, just a little more fullness of flavor. I paired this with a hoppy golden ale. It was the ideal match for the light bitterness of the hops, and the malty sweetness of the ale resonated with the sweetness in the Connecticut wrapper. Overall, I found it quite nice for a medium-bodied cigar. I gave it very high scores and would easily recommend it to my friends.
MORE
 

Value Line 400 Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Cigars and cigar manufacturers come and go, but Chin Alvarez is here to stay. A relative of the Olivas, he patiently oversees the manufacture of Value Line Nicaraguan 400 cigars in his Estelí factory. The cigars offer a lip-smacking, gum-tingling smoke chock full of unique Corojo sweetness. Beneath the dark wrapper is a full-bodied blend of Nicaraguan longfillers. Mexican binders add an earthy twang to the mix, for a smoke can't possibly be this affordable...but it is! Smoke big for less coin!Read more about Value Line 400 Robusto cigars. Famous Value Line Nicaraguan 400 Robusto CigarScore: 9.4By Tom BullockThe Value Line Nicaraguan 400 Robusto is just that, a value! This cigar shows careful rolling and finishing, something I would come to expect from a master blender, who, I am told, is related to the Olivas. The cigar is firm and slightly heavy in the hand, perfectly bunched and has nearly invisible seams - a real show stopper. The wrapper is a brindled deep chocolate brown with light veins and an attractive, clean cutting cap. This attention to detail is good to see, too. It makes me expect a quality experience.The pre light aromas were of rich clean tobacco and an earthy, barnyard essence. The flavors I got up-front were deep tobacco, hay and brown sugar. I am very impressed at this point.At light-up there were big notes of cedar, ginger and peppery aromas, very bright and tingly. My palate was full of clean earth, oats, toasted oak and there is a nice light saltiness. The finish had a lingering oaky, leathery mix with a hint of salt, and these characteristics lasted well through the first third. This was surprisingly complex for a "Value" cigar.The second third remained earthy and the leather lingered. The oak was still present, the aroma very spicy with ginger and cedar, and while the pepper started to fade away, the intensity of the leather and earth notes became quite pronounced. My palate was completely filled by this stick.The final third started to get creamy, as the earth, salt, and leather flavors melded into a delightful caramel smoothness. The aromas were milder at that point, while cedar, coffee, and mature tobacco remained. There was quite a broad spectrum of flavors here. The burn stayed perfect from the first, the pale gray ash was firm, and when I had to roll it off, it never got flaky. The overall draw was firm, but not difficult.This cigar was a real surprise. Again, I didn't expect all of this complexity from a "Value" cigar. Maybe I should try "Value" sticks more often, certainly those from Famous. Very tasty and intense, the big flavors and excellent aromas were a treat, I will get as many of these as I have room for and hand them to my friends to see their faces when they try them. They are in for a treat.Scores Appearance  - 10Construction - 10Draw  -9Burn -9Aroma -9Flavor -10Balance - 9 Total Score: 9.4
MORE
 

Artisan Nicaraguan Connecticut Robusto Review

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 5 x 50 Strength Medium Artisan Nic Conn Robusto cigars are handmade in Nicaragua by the gifted hands at Tabacalera Protalasa. The cigars contain all choice Nicaraguan longfillers rolled in your choice of three wrappers: Brazilian Maduro, Ecuadorian Habano, and Ecuadorian Connecticut. The Maduro is medium-bodied, revealing a smooth, chocolaty character with some sweetness, while the Habano is medium to full-bodied with nutty flavors and spice. The CT is surprisingly full-bodied, with a crack of pepper transitioning to woody essences.Read more about Artisan Nic Conn Robusto cigars. Artisan Nicaraguan Connecticut Robusto CigarNicaraguaBy Walt White (Stogie Review)The Artisan - Nicaraguan Edition is a product of Famous Smoke Shop. Produced by Tabacalera Protalasa, these cigars feature three wrapper varieties which include Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade, Ecuadorian Habano, and Maduro. Binder and filler of all varieties consists of Nicaraguan grown tobacco.Each wrapper variety is available in three vitolas which include a Robusto (5" x 50), Toro (6" x 50), and a Churchill (7" x 50). The cigars come packaged in boxes of twenty and carry a manufacturer suggested retail price of between $83.99 and $90.99.Pre-LightPrior to lighting up my Nicaraguan Artisan Connecticut Robusto, I gave it a quick once over to find any obvious problems. The first thing that struck me as off was the placement of the band. Frankly, it seemed so high on the stick that it appeared to be a mistake in the factory. To my surprise, the band placement was consistent on all of the other cigars I have safely stowed away in my coolidor.After pulling my attention away from the band placement, I first looked at the coloring of the wrapper leaf. It was consistent from head to foot and exhibited the hallmark tanish color of Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade. Veins were small and thin leaving a smooth texture when handled.Giving the cigar a gentle pinch down the length of the stick, I found it to be evenly packed with tobacco. There were two small soft sections but the bulk of the cigar felt well packed with just a slight bit of sponginess.Before moving on to the lighting process, I reached for my Palio cutter and clipped the head of my Artisan Connecticut. The cold draw was fairly loose but did not raise any concerns. The pre-light flavor was delightful with sweet notes that immediately popped against the palate.First ThirdAfter a quick and painless lighting session, I had my Nicaraguan Artisan Connecticut evenly lit and producing an ample amount of dense smoke. As the smoke passed across the palate, I was left with a sticky-sweet taste that I found interesting. The body was a bit surprising coming out of a Connecticut wrapped cigar and easily fell within the Medium range in this early stage of the smoke.The initial flavor produced by this cigar was a mild sweetness that mingled near the soft palate. After a moment of sweetness, the flavor shifted to an aggressive Nicaraguan tobacco taste that presented itself on the rear of the palate and tongue. Through the sinus a slight cinnamon-like spiciness was easily distinguished.The burn line was a little wavy but remained relatively thin. The draw was a little loose for my liking but produced plenty of smoke without the feeling that I was overdrawing on the cigar. The ash which formed was light in color and very flaky. Before reaching an inch in length it easily fell from the cigar as a result of a gentle tap.Second Thirdam really enjoying the direction that the Famous Nicaraguan Artisan Connecticut is going. Generally Connecticut wrapped cigars are thought of as a mild cigar best suited as a morning smoke paired with a cup of coffee. In this case, you are getting a solid medium bodied stick with plenty of flavor, which makes it more than enough for a afternoon smoke and possibly even something to be smoked in the evening.The body has picked up slightly but remains steady in the medium range. The finish is easy on the palate and produces a sticky-sweet aftertaste that rounds out the flavor nicely. Through the sinus, the smoke presents a stiff heat-like sensation, much like you would get from eating horseradish or Chinese mustard.The flaky ash seems to be correcting itself a little as I smoke along. The strength of that ash remains fairly weak and does best if an ashtray is kept handy. The only minor irritant that I am seeing at this stage is that after spending two to three minutes resting in the ashtray, a touch-up is required to keep things burning properly.Final ThirdAfter getting down towards the band on my Famous Artisan Nicaraguan Edition Connecticut, the flavors of the smoke began to get unpleasant. The loose draw allowed the cigar to heat up rather quickly. In an attempt to allow the cigar to cool in the ashtray, the extended rest time forced me to touch-up the burn more than I would have liked.Despite the added work and bitter flavors caused by a warm cigar, I was enjoying the last third of my cigar. The flavors turned to more of a bitter flavor with a Nicaraguan tobacco base. When heated, the base flavor turned chalky and unpleasant.The body remained firmly planted in the medium range with the flavor intensity in the full range. The burn line was relatively even while producing an ash that was becoming more solid as the stick grew short.Final ThoughtsWhen it was time to set my cigar down for good, I was pretty happy with the overall experience. The bold flavor and medium body made for a Connecticut that was right up my alley. While mild Connecticut Shade cigars have their place, I have a fondness for those that can easily be smoked later in the day without loosing out due to a mild flavor profile.After having read this review, you are probably wondering how I would see this cigar if paired head to head with the Oliva Connecticut Reserve? Both cigars are full flavored and medium bodied, but the flaky ash makes the Artisan Nicaraguan Edition loose a few points in the construction department. Those few points are all it would take to reach for the Oliva Connecticut instead of the Artisan. This is mostly due to their similar price points. However, if you are an Oliva Connecticut smoker, I think you will enjoy this cigar.In the event that the Artisan Nicaraguan Edition Connecticut popped up on Cigar Monster or Cigar Auctioneer for somewhere in the neighborhood of $65.00 to $70.00 per box, I think you would be crazy to pass them up.* * *
MORE
 

Siboney Reserve Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Siboney Reserve Robusto cigars are blended and handcrafted by the Don Pepin Garcia family at the My Father cigar factory in Esteli. A blend of Nicaraguan Jalapa and Condega Corojo longfillers, plus Nicaraguan Criollo '98 and Honduran Habano binders are rolled in plush Nicaraguan Habano Rosado wrappers with a gorgeous triple cap. Oozing with dark woody flavors accented by light peppery notes, the smoke is full-bodied and perfectly-balanced. A truly stunning cigar at remarkably affordable price. Order your box now!Read more about Siboney Reserve Robusto cigars. Siboney Reserve Robusto CigarScore: 8.8By JJ (ToastedFoot.com)The Siboney Reserve Robusto is produced for Famous Smoke Shop by the Don Pepin Garcia family at their My Father cigar factory in Esteli. This full bodied cigar employs some excellent tobacco, including a Nicaraguan Habano Rosado wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran binders, and Nicaraguan filler. Don Pepin is certainly known for his peppery blasts from Nicaraguan tobacco and he continues this tradition with the Siboney Reserve; most noticeable however is the value of this smoke, and the fact that none of Pepin’s blending brilliance is forfeited as the dollars are knocked off.The light to medium brown wrapper was in decent shape with a little tooth to the touch. There were a few noticeable veins and a patch that deterred from the aesthetics of the smoke, but the triple cap was constructed nicely at the head. The weight was spot-on, but based on the appearance and weight, the tobacco was not as firm as I anticipated. The pre-light aroma was barnyard toward the head with a sweet note toward the foot. The Robusto produced a blast of spice on the cold draw that nearly caused my eyes to water.   Toasted and lit, the cigar produced mouthfuls of smoke with an excellent draw. The burn was very even at the beginning, though the ash did not hold much past a half inch and, at the second-third mark it began to flower. I would recommend that you not let the cigar rest too long between puffs; I am a slow smoker and the Robusto nearly extinguished itself a few times. The first third produced flavor notes of tobacco and cedar, coupled with a spicy finish. Moving toward the middle, the Siboney Reserve was subdued with a smoother flavor profile and finish. The final third was woody and airy at times, and had a medium finish. The flavor profile was pleasing to the palate and, while somewhat spicy, it was never overbearing or uncomfortable.This Don Pepin blend is pleasant - not super complex, but not a bore either. The price per box makes this a decent smoke at a great price. Just like the band on the shoulder, simple but solid, the Siboney Reserve is a good and consistent smoke. ScoresAppearance: 8Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 8.8*   *   *About the ReviewerToasted Foot's two review partners, Mike ("MM") & Jed ("JJ"), have been smoking cigars for over 20 combined years and love nothing more than sitting down together each week to smoke and catch up on life. You may visit Toasted Foot online and follow them on Twitter.
MORE
 

Alec Bradley Sungrown Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Honduras Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Alec Bradley Sungrown Robusto cigars are a new addition to Famous Smoke Shop's ever-expanding repertoire of private labels. These affordably-priced cigars have a full-bodied blend of Nicaraguan Esteli & Jalapa plus Colombian longfillers, Honduran binder and dark, mouthwatering Brazilian Mata Fina wrappers. In the Alec Bradley tradition, expect a creamy, complex smoke with plenty of depth and a savory aroma. Try a box today and taste why Alec Bradley Cigars have received some of the industry's highest rating scores.Read more about Alec Bradley Sungrown Robusto cigars. Alec Bradley Sungrown Robusto CigarScore: 8.7By Gary KorbBoasting a dark, oily wrapper and an ornate band, the Alec Bradley Sungrown Robusto looks similar to its Tempus and Overture cousins. An attractive Brazilian Mata Fina leaf surrounds a blend of Nicaraguan Esteli and Jalapa, plus Columbian longfillers, with a Honduran binder. Moreover, this combination told me that the smoke was going to have some muscle behind it.One of the most distinguishing features of Alec Bradley cigars are their shimmery wrappers, and the Mata Fina on the Robusto was no exception. The cap clipped off easily exposing a lot of dark tobacco at the head. The cold draw was effortless with a mostly leathery taste.After lighting, as expected, the first few puffs were very hearty. This is what Alec Bradley president Alan Rubin calls "frontloading", which is designed to give you a lot of flavor from the cigar at the get-go.Watch this video to learn more about frontloading:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrXKjYDsKf0The flavors at this point were primarily that of earth and sweet tobacco with a little flintiness.The aroma was very impressive, as was the ash, which hung on well past the first inch. There was still some flintiness on the finish, but as the cigar headed into the second inch, it took on a darker, woodier character underscored by some sweetness from the Jalapa. It was at this point that the cigar become much spicier, too, but not in the peppery sense. During the last act the cigar really juiced-up; the wood and spice flavors intensified as some subtle espresso nuances materialized on the finish. Although I drank spring water with this cigar, a good Port would have improved the experience for me by adding some sweetness, and may even have helped reveal some of the more intricate flavors that lay hidden in the blend.Overall, a very robust and complex cigar that makes a good fit for more experienced cigar smokers, or for those who have a preference for bold tobacco flavor.ScoresAppearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw 9Flavor 8Aroma 9Balance: 8Total Score: 8.7Grabs your attention immediatelyBy Jed from ToastedFoot.com The Alec Bradley Sun Grown Robusto grabs your attention immediately, as the multicolored double bands pop against the dark Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. The Sungrown is smooth with no veins, has a well constructed cap, and is very firm. The pre-light aroma and draw produces hints of barnyard, damp earth, and a bit of spice. Setting the flame to the foot, the burn proves to be even throughout, though the ash was a bit loose. The draw is medium and the temperature doesn’t heat up until I reach the nub of this Robusto. Working into thirds, the Sungrown begins with a very fresh tobacco taste coupled with a hint of sweetness. The second third has a livelier flavor profile with interesting notes of fruit in the body and spice in the finish. The final third brings a dash more spice but mostly remains consistent with the second third. The entire cigar is full on the palate, smooth, and, at times, creamy – a very enjoyable smoke. This Famous exclusive is another excellent offering from Alec Bradley and Famous has done well to secure it. Priced at just under five dollars a stick, this is a solid value. The Test Flight is a great way to sample the Sungrown; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
MORE
 
84

Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

90

Joya De Nicaragua Celebracion

Final Blend Churchill

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize7 x 50StrengthMediumFinal Blend Churchill cigars are the result of a marathon cigar sampling session held in Nicaragua, and as so often happens, the very last blend is what earned these uber-flavorful, medium-bodied cigars their name. The 'final blend' is...a core of Dominican, Colombian and Indonesian tobaccos rolled in dark, oily Brazilian Mata Fina Oscuro wrappers. Earthy, sweet, and spicy flavors weave in and out as notes of cocoa and coffee bean surface for a deliciously complex, MUST-TRY cigar. Available ONLY at Famous, too!Read more about Final Blend Churchill cigars. Final Blend Churchill CigarScore: 9.1By Bob "The Reverend Hurricane" MeynLook y’all, the Rev has had a joyous, event-filled couple of weeks. New Orleans celebrated the Saints winning the NFL Championship, which flowed straight into the final week of Mardi Gras where all us "Who Dats" whooped it up with more gusto than usual straight through until Wednesday morning when we all got in line for ashes. Of course, my celebrations included fine cigars including one of my new favorites, Final Blend cigars.I enjoyed the beautifully constructed Final Blend Churchill, its oily wrapper possessing a dark patina with streaks of copper just like the ancient pipes running through the French Quarter.  The stick was generously rolled and had nice weight to it. On cold draw, I tasted a mix of earthiness and peat with just a hint of dark tea and raisin.The cigar happily welcomed my trusty Vector Thundra cigar lighter and started right out of the gate with a significant amount of spice. Generous clouds of white smoke emitted effortlessly from the stick, and the ash was predominantly white with hints of light grey. Additionally, no touchups were ever required to keep the burn even.By the middle third of the smoke I noticed a diminishing of the spice with an emergence of dark tea and raisin (remember the cold draw?) with just a slight hint of sweetness I found similar to a good Gin.The balance of the cigar reminded me of a stereo system with the treble turned up and the bass turned down. To be fair, I'm sure with a little hibernation time in my "Katrinador" (an Igloo Marine 94-Quart cooler), the balance will improve. My preference is to have a little more richness in the undertones, but the overall flavor range lent itself to paring with a sweeter beverage such as a Port or one of my stand-bys, a Sazerac.The final third of the cigar saw a return of the spice elements with no harshness, even as I smoked it down to the nub.To my palate Final Blend is a medium-bodied blend; to a less experienced smoker, perhaps more medium-full. If you have occasion to celebrate like The Rev did these past few weeks, I wholeheartedly recommend the Final Blend be a part of your party plans, or even some good relaxation time.ScoresAppearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 10Draw 10Flavor 8Aroma 9Balance: 8Total Score:  9.1Become a fan of The Rev’s “NOLa Church of Smokes” on Facebook.
MORE
 

Perdomo Alabao Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 6 x 54 Strength Medium Alabao Toro cigars are handcrafted with Nicaraguan longfillers rolled in lush, savory Criollo wrappers. The smoke is medium-bodied, full-flavored, and marvelously complex. Rich, earthy flavors enhanced by notes of cedar, almonds, coffee bean, cocoa, and sweet spice abound! Order your box now.Read more about Perdomo Alabao Toro cigars. Delivers the Goods!Let me get right to the point: The Rev is a HUGE fan of Nick Perdomo’s work, so I was thrilled when I received some of the new and exclusive Alabao cigars from Famous Smoke Shop to test drive. The Alabao Toro is a gorgeous cigar wrapped in a cocoa-colored Criollo wrapper. The cigar feels solid in my hand and produces a rich, toasty cold draw with just a hint of the spice to come. Of course, I had to use my trusty Perdomo Vector Thundra lighter to start the proceedings and the stick accepted the flame readily. For the first couple of draws, the cigar released a very substantial spiciness coupled with a solid undertone of cocoa. The first third also had a fairly toasty character, which is definitely to my liking. The cigar had a perfect draw for my preference – just the slightest bit of resistance but not enough to restrict the flow of smoke – and a white grey ash that held up well to the wind I experienced on the back deck. The smoke was thick and abundant as I worked my way through the section. The character of the cigar changed dramatically in the middle third with some cocoa essence remaining, but the spice was replaced by an interesting black currant essence and an aspect of cedar. The complexity of the favors was far beyond what I expected from a house brand. The burn thus far was perfect requiring little effort to keep it even. The final third saw the flavors turn heavily to charred oak, reminding me of the aroma of a bourbon distillery aging room. The finish on the palate was long and satisfying. The Alabao Toro can also stand up to any strong spirit with ease. I enjoyed a high-end Bourbon on the rocks during my evening with it, but a good port or sherry would also accompany this cigar equally well. In the final analysis, this cigar delivered the goods. I found Alabao not just a fine house brand, but a superior cigar by any standard, and exactly what I’d expect from Nick Perdomo and Famous.
MORE
 
91

H Upmann 1844 Reserve

Spanish Rosado Ramon Y Ramon

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Dominican Republic Size 6 1/2 x 45 Strength Full The Partagas Spanish Rosado Ramon Y Ramon is a Lonsdale size cigar blended for the cigar smoker seeking a medium bodied, full-flavored cigar. Partagas' flawless hand craftsmanship, plus a rare Honduran wrapper and robust 3 nation blend, make this extra-smooth cigar extra special.Read more about Spanish Rosado Ramon Y Ramon cigars. Partagas Spanish Rosado Ramon Y Ramon CigarScore: 9.5Kudos to Daneil Nuñez and the other people behind the making of this marvelous cigar. Everything about this cigar was right on the money. The smoke was consistent from start to finish with a very full in flavor and body yet never turned bitter or overpoweringly strong. The aroma was also sensational, a big feature for me. Now, this blend is also more of an Honduran than the typical Dominican Partagas we've all come to know and love, which is probably another reason I was so seduced by this cigar. The wrapper has a beautiful glow to it and an inviting dark reddish color. it burned almost perfectly with a solid, silvery white ash. UI say "almost," because this San Augustin wrapper is a little thicker than usual and it  did tend to angle, but it righted itself simply by rotating the cigar. The smoke is thick and creamy and every puff was teeming with complex, earthy-spice flavors that left a long finish on my tongue and tickled my nose. I could find practically no flaws in this cigar and I didn't want it to end. In fact I was so surpirsed by this cigar I had to smoke another one just to make sure and the second was equally as enjoyable. Based on my experience, I would put this cigar in my top ten. I'm giving this one a 95.
MORE
 

Value Line 600 Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Honduras Size 5 x 52 Strength Medium Value Line Honduran #600 Robusto cigars are a great way to get a top quality handmade cigar at a low, 'everyday cigar' price. The flavor is rich, toasty, and earthy with a sweet note of spice on the finish. They may look a little rustic without bands, but they make up for their appearance in taste.Read more about Value Line 600 Robusto cigars. Famous Value Line No. 600 Robusto Cigar(Honduras)By Gary Korb I was so impressed with this cigar, I couldn't believe it was being sold as a bundle; it could have easily been sold by the box. So, like finding that special great-tasting wine for under $10 a bottle, the same can be said for this tasty little, high-quality find that sells for just under $2 a stick. Made by STC Cigar, the tabacalera that produces Guillermo Rico's excellent Gran Habano cigar lines, the Value Line No. 600 Robusto is a bit rustic in appearance, which may account for its bundle-class status. The cap was well made and popped-off nicely. The wrapper, filler and binder are all Honduran, and the cigar was also very well packed. The cigar drew easily with a nutty pre-lit flavor. Once lit, the cigar was dominated by toasty, earthy, and sweet wood flavors laced with a note of nutmeg on the finish. The strength is mild to medium in body (depending on your palate), and perks up a bit at around the halfway mark. The burn is clean with a nice, semi-firm grey ash. I've smoked a lot of these with my morning coffee over the past month and they've been incredibly consistent, too. The one fault I've found is, some tend to turn a little bitter in the last two inches, but most I've been able to smoke down to about an inch. My instinct tells me these cigars are going to age-up really well. So as an experiment, I've stashed some away in my humidor, and I plan to try one of those in three months, then another in six months. Overall, a solid, well-balanced cigar that will appeal to even the more discriminating palates out there looking for a much better than average everyday cigar. Appearance: 7Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.5
MORE
 

Troya Clasico LIV Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Nicaragua Size 6 x 52 Strength Full Troya Clasico LIV Toro premium cigars capture the soul, spirit and character of fine Cuban cigars in a luxurious Nicaraguan puro blended by Jose Pepin Garcia. This full-bodied blend is patiently handcrafted using only the most select Jalapa-grown Corojo and Criollo tobaccos rolled in dark, oily Corojo Oscuro wrappers that are finished with Cuban-style triple caps. The smoke is robust and well-balanced, enticing the palate with earthy, sweet, and spicy tobacco flavors on a rich, woody finish.Read more about Troya Clasico LIV Toro cigars. Troya Clásico LIV Toro CigarScore: 9.2A luxurious Nicaraguan puro blended by Jose "Pepin" Garcia. Senor Garcia is a hot commodity right now, so expectations were high when I opened the box. Appearance-wise, the wrappers had an appealing, dark-chocolate color with a lush, oily patina. Construction-wise, the cigar was neatly rolled and well-packed, giving it a nice heft, which felt good in the hand.The pre-lit draw was easy, earthy and somewhat peppery. The blend consists of Jalapa Valley-grown Corojo and Criollo filler and binder tobaccos with a Corojo Oscuro wrapper topped by a Cuban-style triple cap. Once lit, the smoke was thick, creamy and robust with a peppery finish. Shortly after, the cigar rounded out to a very well-balanced smoke that bloomed into a mélange of earthy, woody and leathery flavors laced with an appealing sweetness.Although I expected the cigar to intensify even more as it neared the end, it held fast retaining its robust character without becoming too heady. However, I think smokers who are not used to full-bodied cigars of this caliber may find it a bit much. Note that I'm writing this review based on having smoked three LIV Toros over a period of four months, and the cigar improved dramatically, even during this relatively short home aging period.So, it looks like another great job by "Pepin" Garcia. If I had to compare this cigar to some of his other creations, I'd say the Troya Clasico comes closest to the Don "Pepin" Garcia "Blue Label" series. Still relatively new to the marketplace, the Clasico series could easily put Troya in the running as a major contender among the top full-bodied cigars. It's much more upmarket in price then their previous selections, but well worth it. Recommended as a rewarding, full-flavored evening cigar.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.2Suggested retail price: $8.80 U.S./cigar
MORE
 

Padilla Hybrid Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Dominican Republic Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Padilla Hybrid Robusto cigars present a luxurious, medium to full-bodied smoke highlighted by an exclusive hybrid Ecuadorian wrapper leaf that caps a complex and well-balanced blend of rich-tasting tobaccos from 3 nations. This fine cigar received a 90 in Cigar Aficionado. A must-smoke!Read more about Padilla Hybrid Robusto cigars. Padilla Hybrid Robusto CigarScore: 9.2First, a little background on this cigar. It features a genetically hybrid wrapper developed from two different wrapper seed strains, which also gives it much more flavor. As a result, the leaf is also more resistant to disease, so the growers can also get a higher yield at harvest time. On my samples, the wrappers were even in color throughout. Although they were somewhat veiny, which detracted a little from their appearance, they were attractively oily with virtually no seam in the rolling. The cap popped off cleanly, and the pre-lit flavor was somewhat earthy in taste. The cigar lit evenly across the foot and drew well producing thick smoke through the head. The wrapper flavor had an appealing sweetness to it, and burned with an aroma of sweet wood. As I continued to smoke, the word that kept cropping up was "sweet." Not in the sugary sense, but in the way the flavors seem to lay on the palate.In the early stages, the cigar is not particularly complex. But as it rested in the ashtray while I typed this review, the aroma was quite inviting and sweet as well. The ash was somewhat firm with a mostly solid gray color interspersed by a few fine black rings.Early on, at about the 1/2-inch mark, I was forced to put the cigar down and it went out. It passed the re-light test with flying colors. I noticed that when I tapped off all the ash before relighting, there was no tunneling. All the tobacco had burnt at the same rate. Plus, the cigar picked-up right where it left off in flavor and strength, primarily medium in body. So far, a very "solid" smoke. At the halfway mark, there was a little increase in strength, but not enough to put the cigar on tilt. This is a very well-balanced cigar. Certainly medium to full-bodied in flavor, and in no way overpowering. I can confidently recommend Padilla Hybrid to those who have acquired a palate for the so-called "luxury" cigar brands, as it holds its own with the best in the category.Appearance: 8Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final score: 92
MORE
 

Master Blends 2 Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFullOliva Master Blends 2 Robusto cigars are a limited-edition release blended with vintage Nicaraguan Habano tobaccos usually reserved for private family use, and a rare Ecuadorian sun-grown Sumatra wrapper. The smoke is perfectly balanced with loads of full-bodied flavor, but not overpowering.Read more about Master Blends 2 Robusto cigars. Oliva Master Blends 2 Robusto CigarScore: 9.5Nice-looking wrapper; evenly colored in a milk-chocolate hue, and delicately branded with a laser engraved insignia just beneath the band. Somewhat veiny, which is not unusual with Sumatra wrapper, but attractively oily with a virtually seamless roll. Well-packed and slightly pressed, but more oval than square. When clipped, the cap popped off cleanly, and the pre-lit flavor was somewhat earthy, typical of Nicaraguan tobacco.The cap clipped perfectly and lit evenly revealing a firm, light grey ash. The draw was effortless with a light wisp of smoke oozing from the head. Surprisingly smooth at first with an appealingly spicy aroma. The burn at the 1/2-inch mark was perfect. Peppery notes were prevalent in the finish; not overbearing, but just spicy enough to warrant a chase with a sip of water. So far, it had a very "pure" tobacco flavor like good Cuban cigars, and in this regard, the consistency and balance were perfect. As the cigar reached the midpoint, the aroma took on an earthier dimension. Surprisingly, for a short cigar - and in true Oliva blending form - the smoke improved dramatically in flavor without increasing in strength. The second ash dropped off leaving a perfectly-formed cone dead center, another sign of experienced handcrafting. (I doubt the Olivas would entrust this series to none other than their best rollers.) Even at 2¼-inches from the head, the cigar continued to smoke smoothly, maintaining a rich, full-bodied, and even-toned flavor. Far exceeding my expectations, I smoked it until it literally burnt my knuckles. If I removed the band and told you it was a Cuban, I'm confident you'd believe me. Truth be told, I'm not that comfortable comparing it to a Cuban. This cigar really doesn't need any comparisons; it stands on its own.I was so impressed with the Master Blends 2 Robusto, I nominate it is as one of the best cigars of 2006, and recommend it to anyone who has acquired a taste for full-flavored blends, particularly those who smoke "luxury" cigars. Since these were made in very limited edition, I suggest the collectors among you reading this, take note. I'm certain it will become a quite valuable cigar down the road.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 10Draw: 10Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.5
MORE
 
97

Ashton Estate Sun Grown

86

Alec Bradley American Classic Blend

Rocky Renaissance Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar Attributes Country of Origin Honduras Size 5 x 50 Strength Full Rocky Renaissance Robusto cigars were introduced in 2008 to nearly universal praise. This medium to full-bodied blend consists of premium aged Nicaraguan and Honduran longfiller and Nicaraguan binder tobaccos, flawlessly cloaked in a reddish-brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The creamy smoke delivers a buffet of rich flavors, including wood and espresso. A dash of pepper and some sweet notes of spice round out an absolutely stunning smoke. If you liked Edge Sumatra, you'll LOVE Renaissance!Read more about Rocky Renaissance Robusto cigars. Rocky Patel Rennaissance Robusto CigarScore: 8.0By Humberto GonzalezPre-LightAppearance is dark and dirty. Shiny wrapper with a few spots and veins. Construction is solid. Appears to be packed well and no well-defined soft spots. Cap is on tight and clean with no ridges. Examining the foot, I see plenty of dark leaf (ligero) so I'm glad I decided to smoke this after lunch as it will undoubtedly be a powerhouse. The top of the cap sliced off easily, leaving the remainder intact, confirming my initial "good construction" evaluation. I also noted that there was no crumby residual tobacco falling off. (I hate when that happens.)Draw was a little on the tight side but reasonably easy to drag. Taste was peppery and rich. Considering I usually smoke milder cigars, I was shaking in my boots.ToastingAllow me to digress for the newbies who are reading this: The proper way to light a cigar with a torch lighter is to hold the cigar away from your mouth and thoroughly singe the foot of the cigar using just the tip of the flame(s). In this case, I used a triple flame model. Once the foot of the cigar glows like an ember, blow on it once to make sure it's ready to smoke. I follow this ritual religiously. This cigar was no exception and went off without a hitch.First PuffIf I had to rate the cigar on first puff alone, I'd give it six "Whoa there, babies!" It started out as a powerhouse smoke, as I had originally predicted. Very potent and rich with tons of smoke and pepper. I immediately developed a knot in my throat and my mouth and eyes began to water. Blowing through the nose only intensified the effect. First half Overcoming the initial jolt, I was now entangled in a very flavorful cigar. What flavors, you ask? Well, tobacco was one of them. The others were indescribable. The aroma was sublime. I turned to Anne, my sometimes timid roommate coworker and asked of her opinion… "Smells nice.", she said. Which is a very good sign because she is not short on words when she doesn't like something. Ash was solid, gray, with a few black streaks. Ash remained solid but I tipped it into the ash tray because, IMHO, I believe long ashes affect the cigar's taste negatively. It came off easily and the cigar began to run up the side a bit. I let it go to see if it would correct itself, and it did. Flavors were still there but mellowed out a tad.I noted a slight bitterness after I did a quick touchup from a second miniscule burn issue. When I dropped ash again, the bitterness went away. I began to taste a little tin, but it was not unpleasant.Second half This is where the cigar became extremely interesting. It got a little harder to draw on, but a relight somehow fixed the problem and it OPENED UP for the remaining 2 inches. The flavors changed dramatically. I now had a very complex, far more enjoyable smoke. Flavors were almost barbeque-ish but it soon started getting bitter. Refreshing the cigar (blowing out through the cigar from the head 2 or 3 times) improved the taste tremendously. I nubbed it off enjoyably. Can we still use the word "nub?"Closing thoughtsI would not buy this cigar for myself. It's far too strong for my palate. Yet, for posterity's sake, I'll say this powerhouse smoke was well-made, full of flavor, refined yet not for the feint of heart and downright enjoyable. On the power meter, I'd give it an 8 out of 10. For the true cigar connoisseur, I'd gladly recommend it as an after dinner smoke for enjoyment in your den or a quiet place while reading a book or newspaper.Appearance: 7Construction:  8Burn (ash, etc.): 8Draw:  9Flavor:  7Aroma: 9Final Score:  8.0Please note: This brand is currently avaiable only at retail cigar stores. Call 1-800-672-5544 for information on how to order.
MORE
 

Cohiba Black Robusto Crystal

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 1/2 x 50StrengthMediumCohiba Black Robusto Crystal cigars are wrapped in a hearty U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf aged on the plant to produce an exceptionally rich, dark tobacco taste. The filler is Dominican and Mexican with a sun-grown Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf, all of which are aged in palm tercios for three years. The result is an incredibly smooth, espresso-like smoke with a complex, medium-bodied flavor. If you already enjoy the natural COHIBA® cigars, this selection should be a welcome addition to your humidor.Read more about Cohiba Black Robusto Crystal cigars. Cohiba Black Robusto Crystal CigarScore: 9.0Backstory: Developed by distinguished cigar master, Daniel Nuñez, Cohiba Black premium cigars are made by hand in the Dominican Republic. Each cigar sports a U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf aged 50% longer on the plant for a bolder taste. The fillers are hand-selected Dominican and Mexican tobaccos that have been tercio aged in palm leaf bales, with a "sweeter" tasting, sun-grown Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf binder, also tercio-aged for three years.Señor Nuñez does it again. A beautiful, dark, oily U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper makes this cigar really easy on the eyes. The pre-lit experience was particularly sweet taste and scent. Now there are certain things you just expect from a Cohiba, and those expectations are generally high. So here goes:My Cohiba Black Robusto Crystal sample had superb construction all-around. The foot lit perfectly and the first few puffs were surprisingly mild to this smoker's palate. (Did they mistakenly mislabel a Macanudo Maduro? ;-)  The cigar burned well, too. The smoke was exceedingly  smooth, creamy, and full-flavored, yet medium in body with a soft finish. The flavor was primarily cedary with some sweet spice and caramelized flavor undertones.Overall, a relaxing cigar that maintained a perfect balance of flavor throughout. Due to its extra long-aged mellowness, this cigar should appeal to cigar smokers of all experiences. I think I prefer this Cohiba Black series to the original Cohiba Dominican with the Cameroon wrapper.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Value Line 300H Lonsdale

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 1/2 x 44StrengthMildThe Famous Value Line Honduran 300 Lonsdale is a sensibly-priced "everyday cigar" wrapped in a smooth-smoking Ecuadorian Connecticut-shade wrapper leaf. It burns well and smokes with a mild, yet rich-tasting woody flavor and a sweet aroma. A good alternative to Astral, and one of our best buys.Read more about Value Line 300H Lonsdale cigars. Value Line #300 Honduran Lonsdale CigarScore: 8.5By Gary KorbAppearance: 8Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 8Aroma: 9Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.5 At first light, a nice toasty, nutty flavor. Aroma was sweet, draw very good and the cigar burned evenly. Overall taste was woody, nutty with a little of herbs on the finish. Maintained its flavor to the end at which point the cigar had a deeper body. A very pleasant, high-quality smoke that really delivers on value.
MORE
 
90

CAO Gold Maduro

82

Macanudo Cafe

Rocky Patel Vintage 99 Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 1/4 x 52StrengthMediumRocky Patel Vintage 1999 cigars are the latest edition to this marvelous series that's become a hit with cigar smokers 'round the world. Each Rocky Patel Vintage 99 Torpedo cigar has a perfectly-balanced blend of Dominican & Nicaraguan longfiller tobaccos - all aged 7 years - highlighted by a mild, 1999-vintage Connecticut wrapper. The cigars are aged 120 days after rolling, and unlike the Rocky Patel Vintage '90 & '92, are NOT box-pressed. A sensationally smooth, toasty, medium-bodied cigar that hits on all cylinders.Read more about Rocky Patel Vintage 99 Torpedo cigars. Best New Cigars of 2006The Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is among of the best new cigars of the yearIt's been another banner year for many of the top cigar makers. All of these cigars were introduced at RTDA 2006 Las Vegas in July, and are now available for purchase. There were so many cigars that impressed me, I had to break my list into two parts, the second of which I'll post in the next issue. So here's my take on the first batch, and I hope you soon have the chance to smoke them yourself and compare observations. Please note that I have listed the cigars alphabetically, not in order of rating or preference. I will also be posting more detailed reviews of these specific cigars in the very near future.C.A.O. Vision Robusto - A rich and spicy cigar that's incredibly smooth. This all Dominican-grown tobacco blended cigar will give the notorious Fuente Fuente OpusX a run for its money, maybe even its life. Plus, you can't beat the outstanding effort CAO put into the presentation - a humidified box that lights up when you open it, plus a carrying bag to ensure they stay fresh and tasty. The cigar lit well and the first puff exuded a thick billow of smoke charged with a scent of coffee. The cigar was consistently spicy throughout, and when I put it down, I was also able to fully appreciate the wonderful aroma this cigar puts out, too. Recommended for heavy-hitters.Final Score: 9.0(Note: The release of this cigar has been delayed by the manufacturer until late January/early February of 2007.)Alec Bradley MAXX - A super smoke in every sense of the word, blended with tobaccos from Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Costa Rica. Creamy, smooth and potent, yet not overpowering. Each draw was incredibly creamy, complex, and smooth with oodles of caramelized flavors. The cigar served-up some peppery notes, and sweet cedar on a spicy finish. I also enjoyed the aroma of this cigar - a big plus with me. I found the cigar modestly similar in character to the Alec Bradley Medalist line - some of the same tobaccos are in it - yet with a much more refined depth of flavor and aroma, and more sweetness to the tobacco. Final Score: 9.5** Please Note: My critique was based on a 6" x 50 Toro sample that was a made exclusively for the RTDA show, and is not part of the selection, although the closest to it would be The Ego at 9¼" x 50. Now that the cigars have arrived in stock, I will publish a more detailed review on one of the five MAXX frontmarks very soon.Partagas Cifuentes Winter Blend Enero - Another amazing example of great teamwork by master blender Daniel Núñez and the gifted Benji Menendez. Ultra-smooth, medium-to-full in body, with a perfectly balanced blend of all Dominican tobaccos grown in three different regions of the country including a 1994-vintage Habano wrapper. A puro among puros!Final Score: 9.3Perdomo Lot 23 - Perfect in almost every way. From the Connecticut wrapper right down to the perfectly balanced core of all Nicaraguan tobaccos grown in a single field (Lot 23) that's rife with some of the most naturally fertile soil in which the Perdomo family has ever planted. For my complete review on the Belicoso, which has already been published, click here. (I recently purchased a box of Lot 23 Toros, and they're equally enjoyable.)Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Connecticut Torpedo (pictured at top) - Everything the phenomenal Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 and 1992 selections have going for them, but with a milder Connecticut shade wrapper from an outstanding 1999 harvest, and one other major difference - it's not box-pressed. The smoke is toasty, with notes of cedar and nutmeg on the finish, and a wisp of caramel in the aroma. It was wonderfully smooth, creamy and quite flavorful all the way down, with a great ash, too. Highly recommended for smokers of every experience. Final Score: 9.0 Look for more of my "Best cigars of 2006-07" coming soon.~ GK
MORE
 

Tesoro Plumpo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthMildTesoro Plumpo cigars are mild to medium-bodied value cigars with an agreeable woody taste that comes from a blend of premium Dominican Cuban-seed fillers and natural, Connecticut shade wrappers. The reviews are mixed because the blend has changed over the years, but they're still OK for everyday.Read more about Tesoro Plumpo cigars. Tesoro Plumpo CigarScore: 6.3By Gary KorbAppearance: 7Construction: 6Burn: 4Draw: 8Aroma: 7Flavor: 6Final Score: 6.3 A mild to medium body smoke with a woody taste. Burn was poor and uneven requiring several re-lights. But once it got going again, the taste was better than average. Not recommend as an evening smoke, but will do you justice as a "throw-away" everyday cigar.
MORE
 

The Griffins Lounge Shirt Med

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginSize5 x 50StrengthIf cigars are your thing, then declare it loudly and proudly with this Griffin's Lounge polo shirt. This medium, rugged polo is made of 100% cotton, and features the Griffin's logo embroidered on the front. Be the envy of your cigar-smoking buddies with a shirt that says it all: Griffin's Lounge.Read more about The Griffins Lounge Shirt Med cigars. Rocky Patel Decade Robusto CigarScore: 8.6By Hayward TenneyImpressive-looking box-pressed stick. Interestingly the wrapper is a little short, revealing about a milimmeter of filler/binder at the foot. PERFECT draw. Blasted lots of black pepper up front, along with flavors of flint/charcoal when passed through the sinuses, although at this point it's not very complex. After an inch the flavor opens up to reveal bitter chocolate and dark-roast coffee flavors with an earthy base, the faintest touch of sweetness, and a medium finish. The aroma is predominantly leathery and spicy.  Halfway through, the burn has really straightened out and the flavor has mellowed, taking on dry texture that causes me to salivate - not unlike the tannins in a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. After a purge, the flavors renew, revealing strengthened leather and sweetness. The flint and charcoal flavors have also returned, and I sense the cigar is reaching its coda. Smoked to the nub, I'm entirely satisfied with this cigar.  Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 10Flavor: 8Aroma: 8Final Score: 8.6Please note: This brand is currently avaiable only at retail cigar stores. Call 1-800-672-5544 for information on how to order.
MORE
 

Rocky Factory Selects Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 1/4 x 52StrengthFullRocky Patel Factory Selects Torpedo premium cigars have a full-bodied blend of long-aged Dominican & Nicaraguan premium long-filler tobaccos and long-aged Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrappers. OK, they have some minor flaws, but at these prices, who cares! One of the best values going.Read more about Rocky Factory Selects Torpedo cigars. Rocky Patel Sun Grown Factory Select Torpedo CigarHondurasI finally succumbed to Rocky. I gotta be honest. I've always been more than a little reluctant to purchase Rakesh "Rocky" Patel's cigars. When his Indian Tabac first came on the market in the late '90s, I bought a couple of boxes, 'cause I thought the marketing was clever. The cigars, however, didn't impress. I think I've still got an unopened full box, almost a decade old. When I inquired about Patel's manufacturing facility, I was duly informed that Rocky contracted for production; that he actually didn't make cigars. He marketed and sold cigars made by others with his brand. Apparently, the cigars in which I didn't find any favor were virtual clones of Astral and Don Tomas from U.S. Cigar. So I've stayed away until recently, after hearing a multitude of glowing reports of Patel's latest creations.It's pretty clear that Rocky Patel has learned a heck of a lot in the last decade. Recently, with buyer's resistance gone numb, I finally bought a bundle of Rocky Patel Sun Grown Factory Select Torpedos from Famous. (Rumour has it that these were made in Nestor Plasencia's factory.) After delivery, I put them to rest, to stabilize for a couple of weeks.Last night and this morning, I randomly grabbed a stick from the bundle. The ad copy reads that these are covered with a five year old sun grown wrapper from Ecuador, Rosado in color. I think cigar ad copy and the tooth fairy have 10 points of commonality. (Get the drift?) I don't know if these wrappers are five years or five months old. Rosado? Rosado to me indicates a definite reddish hue. These cigars are deep dark; not maduro deep dark, but the color that you really want sun grown to be.I don't know what Factory "Select" means. They came in a bundle with no bands; yet they're not advertised as Segundos. The wrappers were applied as cleanly and neatly as any cigar I've smoked over the past 4+ decades. And these cigars were heavy with tobacco, rich delicious, full bodied tobacco. Down to the nuts, this is a terrific full bodied cigar. Kudos to Patel and whomever actually manufactured this smoke.- RSteve (Herfers Paradise)
MORE
 

Perdomo Habano Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 1/2 x 54StrengthFullPerdomo Habano Toro cigars are worth every penny. Nick Perdomo Jr. created this special, full-bodied blend using Cuban-seed tobaccos grown in the Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua. 'The beautiful Cuban-seed Corojo and triple-fermented Nicaraguan Maduro wrappers complement this unique filler blend by adding rich, bold flavors with a smooth, satisfying finish', says Nick. And tasting is believing. Whichever size and wrapper you prefer, one thing is certain: these cigars will enthrall you.Read more about Perdomo Habano Toro cigars. Perdomo Habano Toro Maduro CigarScore: 9.3By Gary KorbOne of the most beautifully detailed cigar bands graces one of the most beautiful looking cigars. A nice FAT cigar too. The Perdomo Habano Maduro has a deep dark chocolate color with a slightly reddish patina. The Maduro wrapper leaf is grown and cured in Nicaragua, making it a true Nicaraguan puro.The pre-lit taste was sweet and earthy with a wisp of Scotch whiskey. The draw was perfect, too. The cigar lit evenly across the foot. Thick, creamy smoke emerged from the head as the room filled with a sweet aroma. The flavor was primarily woody and sweet with a trace of spiciness on the finish. Passing the smoke through my nose I also caught a hint of licorice.The smoke was extremely smooth and full-flavored without the heaviness of a full-bodied cigar. The ash burned a little off in the early stages, which may have been because I clipped the head a little too shallow. I opened the cigar up a little and it began to even out. I love rich, creamy, sweet-smelling cigars, and this baby's got it.This cigar was also so aromatic I enjoyed it as much just letting the smoke waft up toward me from the ashtray, as I did when I puffed on it. I just let this honey do her thing, while I sat back and watched a good part of the time. But each puff was consistently rich, flavorful, and the cigar never turned bitter or spicy.I love it when a new cigar lives up to its advertising, and the Perdomo Habano Maduro strikes a perfect balance of fine construction, proportion, flavor and aroma. I nubbed it down to the bone. A definite "must-try" that even newer cigar smokers will be able to handle with ease.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 10Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.3
MORE
 
89

Ashton Aged Maduro

Padron Corticos

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize4 1/2 x 35StrengthFullPadron Corticos cigars are patiently handmade with long-aged Cuban seed tobaccos grown entirely in Nicaragua. A true classic and unique-tasting cigar whose outstanding quality defies its affordable price. Distinguished by their square-pressed shapes, dark, oily wrappers and medium-to-full bodied flavor, these perfectly balanced puros brim with complexity and the essence of coffee and cocoa bean. Their consistency is attributed to limited annual production, which keep them at the peak of flavor.Read more about Padron Corticos cigars. Padron Cortico Maduro CigarScore: 8.0By Gary KorbAppearance: 7Construction: 8Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 7Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.0
MORE
 

Perdomo Grand Cru Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 54StrengthFullPerdomo Grand Cru Torpedo Maduro cigars present an extremely well-balanced cigar blended with Nicaraguan Semilla Habano (Cuban-seed) tobaccos. These exquisite 2004-vintage tobaccos have been carefully hand-selected and well-aged as the 'Grand Cru,' or the best-of-the-best yield from Perdomo's farms. Presented in elegant boxes of 20 cigars, the Corojo offers you a rich, earthy full-flavored smoke, the Maduro a hearty, yet sweeter smoke, and the Connecticut, a milder, rich-tasting experience. Another must smoke!Read more about Perdomo Grand Cru Torpedo cigars. Perdomo Grand Cru Corojo Torpedo CigarScore: 8.5By Tom BullockThis Perdomo Grand Cru Corojo Torpedo was a real surprise to me. The profile is much bolder and spicier than the rest of the Perdomo line.This torpedo has a medium brown, oily Corojo wrapper. The seams are very clean, the stick is well bunched, firmly rolled and heavy. The pre-light exam shows mature, spicy tobacco aromas, and a sweet, tingly tobacco taste.The first third of this smoke is a treat. Caramel-like flavors with a dry, flinty finish, herbal aromas, notes of oak, roots, deep and complex flavors.The second half kicks it up getting very robust with a peppery ligero twang and a stony, dry finish. Big aromas of spice and clean cedar, with a bold and very big Perdomo, creamy overtones, complex and compelling.The final third smoothes-out; there is a nice saltiness, still a dry finish, caramel notes, a slight fruitiness, very firm on the palate, a lingering finish.The burn was good and self correcting when called for. This smoke was a real treat, very big and bold, but not aggressive. Easily the most powerful Perdomo I've tried, this is a real find. Nick Perdomo has a solid winner in this blend; complex, bold and totally compelling. You will not lose interest in this cigar; it will grab you and...hang on!I rate this cigar 8.5 out of 10 in strength.ScoresAppearance-8Construction-8Draw-9Burn-8Flavor-9Aroma-9Total Score: 8.5
MORE
 
88

La Fontana Vintage

90

Ashton Heritage Puro Sol

Graycliff Chateau PG Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginBahamasSize5 1/4 x 50StrengthFullGraycliff Chateau PG Robusto cigars were noted as one of the best new cigars by attendees of the 2005 Retail Tobacco Dealers Association trade show who compared its deep, seductive tobacco flavor to premium Cuban cigars of yesteryear. Donned in 2 purple bands, Graycliff Chateau PG Robusto cigars are handmade with the most select, long-aged tobaccos from Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. This full-bodied cigar offers excellent balance, complex flavor, and just enough power to satisfy experienced cigar smokers who love rich, spicy cigars.Read more about Graycliff Chateau PG Robusto cigars. Graycliff Château Gran Cru PG Robusto CigarScore: 9.0Nice, oily Costa Rican natural wrapper. Somewhat veiny, but not too distracting. Although its chocolatey color was appealing, it was not even throughout, as one might expect for a cigar of this class. This Robusto sample I was given had a bushy foot, which is how Graycliff likes to offer them. It's impressive, but they're not presented this way in the box.I clipped off the excess tobacco. The cap was well formed and after clipping the draw was superb with a leathery pre-lit flavor. The cigar toasted-up nicely and the first few puffs were quite flavorful. Quite complex actually with a shot of spice on the finish. Since the cigar drew so easily the smoke was very creamy and became a little spicier with each puff.The ash was somewhat flakey with a dark grey & silver pattern. After the first inch the cigar settled down a bit. The flavors became much earthier, and noticeably sweeter while maintaining that zesty finish.As I continued to smoke this cigar, what really impressed me was the aroma. An ambrosial fog of earth, spice, and sweet-cedar. I also noticed that if you let the cigar breathe a little between puffs, it's not as spicy. The smoke never became too overpowering but by the halfway mark I was convinced this cigar was made to be spicy, like a piquant salsa.The cigar burned very well for the most part. At times it started to angle but quickly righted itself. Certainly one of the most complex cigars I've had in a while.I think this cigar is very much dependent on how sensitive your palate is. I would prefer to refrain from mentioning any specific flavors other than those I've already alluded to. This is one cigar you really have to smoke for yourself to appreciate. If you like very spicy luxury cigars not unlike the Fuente Fuente OpusX, I'd say this Chateau Gran Cru PG Robusto is a must-try.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 10Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0Suggested retail price: $18.00 U.S./cigarTo see all the photos from our Graycliff cigar dinner that was held on April 20, 2007 at Silvercreek C.C. in Hellertown, PA, please click here.
MORE
 

Macanudo Vintage 2000 VIII

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 1/2 x 50StrengthMildEverything about the Macanudo Vintage® 2000 cigars is sublime, right down to the pristine 2000-vintage Connecticut wrappers - only the 6th crop in 27 years deemed worthy of the series. The filler is high-priming Dominican Piloto Cubano with a longer ripened, medio tiempo Mexican San Andreas binder. All of the tobaccos are double-cured and tercio-aged to ensure the richest, smoothest flavor possible. A luxurious and seductively aromatic 'must-smoke' created for the true cigar aficionado.Read more about Macanudo Vintage 2000 VIII cigars. Macanudo Vintage 2000 VIII CigarScore: 9.3Another phenomenal cigar that takes its rightful place among the renowned Macanudo Vintage Series. Ultra-smooth, seductively aromatic, and remarkably flavorful. Everything about the Macanudo Vintage VIII was perfect, right down to the seamless rolling of its pristine, 2004 vintage Connecticut wrapper.As it smoked, this Robusto just got better and better. I didn't want it to end, and I was still within the first inch! The cigar was velvety smooth all the way down. Consistently flavorful, with a marvelous cedar-aged sweetness, and it never turned bitter. Just great, great, great from foot to head.If you don't smoke milder cigars, then stay away from this cigar. Of course, then you won't know what you're missing. If you have an appreciation for fine cigars, this current Mac Vintage series is a real standout. If you have the means, buy two boxes and save one for long-term aging. They should be mighty fine by the time the next Macanudo Vintage series debuts. But it's going to be hard to follow this act.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.3Suggested retail price: $14.20 U.S./cigar
MORE
 

Montecristo Serie C Belicoso

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 1/2 x 52StrengthMediumMontecristo Serie C Belicoso premium cigars feature a rare, ultra-premium Cameroon wrapper that encases a full-flavored blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian longfiller tobaccos with a rich-tasting Nicaraguan binder. The cigar offers you a creamy-smooth, perfectly-balanced smoke brimming with earthy, sweet, and woody flavors that caramelize into an even more complex smoke with a savory finish. Plus, the aroma is to die for. A stunning, 'must-try' luxury cigar in the true Montecristo tradition.Read more about Montecristo Serie C Belicoso cigars. Montecristo Serie C Belicoso CigarScore: 9.0Let me start out by saying that I'm pushover for great Cameroon wrapper, and the leaf on this cigar looked absolutely enticing; dark, even in color, and smooth with an attractive, oily patina. The wrapper also had a deliciously sweet aroma. The cigar was well-packed, and what I could tell from observing the foot, neatly bunched, too. I actually spent a few minutes admiring this cigar before lighting-up.The pre-lit flavor was leathery and sweet absent of any bitterness or spicy elements. The foot lit well and evenly. The draw was easy and produced a good head of creamy smoke; great aroma, too. Although I find it hard to put my finger on any specific flavors, the smoke was, for the most part, earthy, sweet, woody, and very well-balanced. The cigar burned well with a firm white and grey marble ash.I took my time with this cigar. I also enjoyed the sweetness of the aroma that wafted toward me as the cigar rested on the ashtray. Once I picked up the cigar again, each puff was every bit as flavorful as the one before, and creamier, too. As the cigar burned toward the halfway mark, it acquired a black pepper-like component, which gave the finish a little added spiciness. From that point on, the cigar picked up more strength. However, it remained smooth, creamy, well-rounded and aromatic without ever becoming overpowering.Final impression: A stunning, luxury cigar in the true Montecristo tradition that exceeded my expectations. This was also one of the most consistent cigars I've had in recent memory. Highly recommended with a good brandy or cognac to complement the sweetness of the tobaccos.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0 Suggested retail price: $10.00 U.S./cigar
MORE
 

Jameson Red Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 x 52StrengthMediumJameson Red Toro cigars are handcrafted with a medium-bodied blend of Dominican longfiller tobaccos, Honduran binder and finished with silky, sweet-smoking Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrappers. Blended to be smooth and flavorful, these cigars will satisfy new and seasoned smokers alike. Try a box of these new boutique cigars today.Read more about Jameson Red Toro cigars. Jameson Red Toro CigarScore: 8.5By Gary KorbThe Jameson Red Toro sports an attractive Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a buttery, latte-hued patina. My sample was virtually devoid of veins except on one side, but it didn't detract all that much from the overall appearance. The packing of the cigar was impressive (hardly any soft spots), while a neatly-affixed triple cap tops the cigar with a somewhat flat head. The cap clipped-off cleanly, exposing a good portion of tobacco, and permitted a very easy draw. The pre-light flavor was somewhat nutty and toasty, which is why the Mac immediately came to mind. Once lit, the smoke was mellow and creamy with an earthy-woody base and a pleasant aroma. The toasty-nutty flavors seeped though with a hint of sweetness on the finish for an enjoyably mellow first act.By its midpoint, the cigar peaked to a medium-bodied character, while the creamy, toasty elements remained steady. The ash had a fine grain and held firm for close to an inch before each ashing. I also gave the cigar high marks for balance, roundness and aroma. During the last scene of Act III the smoke began to turn a little sharp, which soured the experience a little for me, but since it was so late in the game, I gave it a pass. So, can I recommend it? Absolutely, if you're a mild cigar smoker looking for a high-quality, medium-bodied cigar with more flavor (and kick) than you're used to. ScoresAppearance: 8Construction: 9Burn (ash, etc.): 9Draw: 9Flavor: 8Aroma: 8Final Score: 8.5
MORE
 

Flor De Oliva 6 X 50

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 50StrengthMediumFlor de Oliva cigars are handmade with 100% all long Nicaraguan filler and Maduro wrappers by the renowned Oliva Family. They have a hearty, nutty taste and the quality is comparable to premium cigars costing four times the price. One of the best, by far!Read more about Flor De Oliva 6 X 50 cigars. Flor de Oliva Maduro Toro CigarScore: 7.5By Hayward TenneyHere is a bundle cigar, with an equally "bundle-looking" band from the Oliva family. On initial inspection, I notice a dab of what looks to be gum adhesive by the band. The stick has a considerable vein running vertically along the toothy Maduro leaf. The wrapper is somewhat unevenly colored, ranging from milk chocolate to dark chocolate in hue. Otherwise it appears well constructed; the cap cuts off easily, revealing an easy draw. The prelit taste is strongly barnyard, while the body smell is almost acrid. After toasting, it's readily producing a moderate stream of semi-sweet smoke. The burn is already inconsistent after a few puffs, with a half-inch variance, mostly alongside the vein. The cigar's aroma and flavor pick up some sweetness by the first half inch, although the barnyard smell is still present, making up the flavor profile. Interestingly the ash's range in color parallels that of the wrapper color. Despite this, the ash is firm, making inch-long tater tots of ash that are brilliantly white at its best, and mottled charcoal at worst.  While the aroma is pleasantly sweet, the flavor lacks a tremendous amount of depth and has a short finish. The flavor is surprisingly feeble, given the medium-bodied smoke. Because I love the Olivas' regular lines, from Serie G to Master's Selection, I find myself desperately hoping it picks up.And pick up it does. At  4 inches remaining, the aroma is consistently pleasant, and a second plunk in the ashtray has revealed a conical cherry and even burn line. The flavor has shifted immensely to a foundation of medium roast coffee with mild notes of leather and semi-sweet chocolate, delivered in more robust, velvety smoke. The ash color has improved to a baseline of white-gray. While the flavor profile has become decidedly more complex, the finish is still somewhat abrupt. Notes of aroma of leather become much more pronounced in final third, although the cigar's base flavors remain the same. The cigar burned well from the second third to the nub. It became too hot to handle comfortably with less than 1 inch remaining.Overall, I'd say this is a decent smoke, especially at less than $2/stick. I get the feeling that the burn issues contributed to the lack of flavor in the first 3rd, and a better-constructed stick would yield a better flavor profile and more initial depth.Appearance: 6Construction: 8Burn: 7Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 7Final Score: 7.5
MORE
 

Famous Dominican Corona

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 1/2 x 42StrengthMediumOur Famous Private Selection Dominican cigars represent the culmination of top talent from Tabacalera Tamboril, one of the D.R.'s most respected cigar factories. The 4-nation blend boasts Peruvian Seco and Ligero, Dominican Piloto Cubano Seco and Ligero, Dominican Criollo '98, and Nicaraguan Ligero longfillers, nestled snugly in a classic Dominican Olor binder, then wrapped in an oily Ecuadorian Connecticut capa. A uniquely aromatic and complex smoke, Famous Dominican Coronas can be enjoyed any time of day.Read more about Famous Dominican Corona cigars. Famous Private Selection Dominican CigarScore: 8.0By Rick Pate (a.k.a. "tachammer" at www.cigarzilla.net)Appearance: 6Construction:  8Burn: 9Draw:  9Flavor:  8Aroma: 8Total Score: 8 on the tac-o-meter!Upon taking the first puff you realize this isn't a run of the mill dominican cigar.The complex flavors tantalize your taste buds from the start and continues to build throughout the cigar. I have to say that I was delightfully surprized with the flavors this cigar produced.  Having the word "Dominican" writen on the band gave me the preconception of dull, mild, flavorless and boring as many Dominican bundle and even box cigars have turned out to be in the past. Then I looked at the website and was astounded at how many different kinds of tobaccohas been blended into this cigar. The only thing that would prevent me from buying this cigar in the future is the $60 a box pricetag. This cigar rounds out with morning coffee better than most and I would love to always have some on hand. I will keep my eye open for sales.Reprinted by permission.
MORE
 

Fonseca Cubano Belicoso Corto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 52StrengthFullFonseca Cubano Limitado Belicoso Corto cigars have a robust blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican Cuban seed longfiller tobaccos capped in dark, oily, Honduran-grown, Cuban-seed wrappers. The smoke has plenty of earthy depth and strong cedar flavors laced with sweetness on a long, peppery finish.Read more about Fonseca Cubano Belicoso Corto cigars. Fonseca Cubano Limitado Belicoso Corto CigarScore: 9.0A nice looking little Belicoso - extremely well-packed. The wrapper is attractively dark and oily with a sweet scent and mostly even in color (the sample I had was noticeably darker near the cap). Cap clipped clean. The pre-lit draw was very good with a relatively sweet taste and no spiciness.The foot lit easily revealing a nice little swath of dark ligero in the middle. The smoke was medium-bodied and quite smooth with a well-balanced mix of earthy and sweet tobacco flavors, and a spicy aroma.About an inch in, the cigar began to intensify in flavor while remaining smooth and producing a very firm, light grey ash. The smoke was thick, creamy and enveloping. The ash finally broke free after two inches.At the halfway mark, the cigar became stronger and spicier, yet not overpowering enough to make me want to put it down. If anything, I was more interested in what was coming next. What came next was a rounding out of the flavor, the spicier elements had all but disappeared.Overall, the smoke had a lot of depth with primarily strong notes of cedar, a hearty dose of earthiness, and rarely strayed off its smooth course. Moreover, the cigar burned so solidly it produced only two ashes during the entire smoke. I can see why they call it the Cubano Limitado, too. By and large, it did have a very traditional "Cuban" flavor. By the end, I found the Belicoso Corto a very enjoyable and heady smoke. This new Fonseca line shows a lot of promise.Appearance: 8Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0~ Gary Korb
MORE
 
92

Padilla La Reserva

82

Saint Luis Rey

G.A.R Corona Gorda

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 46StrengthFullG.A.R cigars come from the hands of George A. Rico known for his flavorful Gran Habano Cigar blends. Now, George has created his own line of cigars and he's got the perfect initials, too. G.A.R is a box-pressed selection made in Honduras with a medium to full-bodied blend of Nicaraguan longfillers, Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and a lush, Ecuadorian Corojo-seed wrapper. The smoke is creamy and earthy with woody notes of oak, sweet cedar, hickory and a note of caramel. Well worth a try!Read more about G.A.R Corona Gorda cigars. G.A.R by George Rico Corona Gorda CigarScore: 8.8By Herman S.Koppisch at 10-7 Habaneros Aficionados ClubAppearance: 8Construction: 8Burn: 9 Draw: 9Flavor: 10Aroma: 9Total Score: 88.3Caught by surprise by the storm".   Upon roasting the cigar, immediately a spring floral aroma, with a smooth draw, strong taste, revealing a bit sweet caramel, peppery with a slow burn. The early flavors were in the medium to full range. A dark gray ash with some flake. Reposted by permission.
MORE
 

Famous Nicaraguan 4000 Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 50StrengthMediumFamous Nicaraguan 4000 cigars are handmade at a small, out-of-the-way factory somewhere in downtown Nicaragua. Blended with robust Nicaraguan longfillers tamed by silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers, these medium to full-bodied cigars offer-up superb construction and burn. Each Famous Nicaraguan 4000 Toro offers you an earthy, spicy smoke with a breath of sweetness and toasted nuts on the finish. Order a bundle and try this hot new blend that's one of the best buys on this site, or any cigar website for that matter.Read more about Famous Nicaraguan 4000 Toro cigars. Famous Nicaraguan 4000 Toro CigarScore: 7.8By Tom BullockThe Famous Nicaraguan 4000 Toro has an attractive khaki green smooth and oily wrapper, perfect seams, and is firm and well made. I have come to expect this from the Famous line of smokes, they do excellent work. The cap is flat and cuts perfectly. The pre-draw shows a sweet tobacco taste of mature tobaccos, and has caramel and honey aromas. It makes my mouth water just tasting it.At light up there are big flavors of rich, mature tobacco, I really enjoy Nicaraguan cigars, the flavors are full and the aromas are captivating.The flavor profile in the first third includes light leather, oak leaf, and caramel. There is a honey note that I find very enjoyable. The aromas are of brown sugar and cinnamon, with notes of cedar in the background. The finish is slightly lingering and tasty.In the second third there is a note of toasted oats, along with a touch of coffee. The aromas are deep and satisfying, the finish gets more pronounced, a bit tart, but not annoying.The last third grows more intense, there are big flavors of oak, leather notes, and spice aromas, primarily cinnamon and cedar. The finish is fuller, slightly sweet, with rich, lingering tobacco flavors. I am enjoying it even to the nub. The burn is nicely even, construction is excellent. Overall, this cigar is medium in strength, and richly flavorful.Although this cigar is very good right now, it would be worth aging for a few months, I think it has potential to improve.ScoresAppearance - 8Construction - 8Draw - 8Burn - 9Flavor - 7Balance - 7Aroma - 7Total Score: 7.8
MORE
 
93

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos

Don Lino 1989 Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthFullDon Lino 1989 Robusto cigars are handmade in Santiago, the Dominican Republic. The U.S. Connecticut-wrapped style is medium in body, employing Brazilian, Dominican, & Cameroon longfillers in an Indonesian binder leaf. The smoke is creamy with nutty, toasty flavors. The box-pressed Maduro-wrapped version has a core of Colombian, Mexican, & Nicaraguan fillers in an Indonesian binder, yielding thick, full-bodied smoke that is sweet, with well-balanced flavors of coffee and chocolate.Read more about Don Lino 1989 Robusto cigars. Don Lino 1989 Connecticut Robusto CigarScore: 8.6By Gary KorbA well-packed cigar embellished with a rich-looking, red and gold embossed band. The outer wrapper sports a silky, even toned U.S. Connecticut leaf that's virtually flawless and a shade darker in color than most Connecticut.The smoke was equally silky with a wonderfully rich, creamy, medium-bodied, yet full flavor that was nutty, toasty, and naturally sweet with excellent balance.Overall the smoke was very consistent, never turning bitter or hot, and I smoked as much of it as I could short of burning my thumb.A very impressive cigar that's been flying under the radar since its release, and well worth trying.ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 9Draw - 9Burn - 8Flavor - 8Aroma - 9Total Score: 8.6
MORE
 

Famous 70th La Aurora Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 x 50StrengthMediumWhile medium-bodied, La Aurora's entry in the Famous Private Selection 70th Anniversary is full of rich flavor and aroma. Of course, you'd expect nothing less from the company that brought us Cien Años and Preferidos. Under its flawless Connecticut wrapper resides a blend of Dominican, Brazilian, and Nicaraguan tobaccos, aged to perfection. The result is a creamy, rich-tasting smoke dominated by sweet spice and cedar flavors. Add this affordable limited-edition cigar to your collection today!Read more about Famous 70th La Aurora Toro cigars. Famous Private Selection 70th Anniversary by La Aurora Toro CigarScore: 8.0By Tom BullockThe Famous Private Selection 70th Anniversary by La Aurora Toro is a toothy, khaki brown with very clean seams, firm and well made; nice to hold and look at. It is heavy in the hand, and has tasty aromas of bright tobacco and a slight earthiness on the cold draw. The first third is smooth tasting; almond and buttery notes, pleasant and almost floral aromas followed by a clean dry finish. It has notes of oak leaves and light leather. The second third gets chewy with flavors of leather, oak leaf, a slight nuttiness, and a bit more intensity. The finish is dry, with some dusty notes. The aromas are subtle, lightly cedary, and smooth. The final third is still chewy, leathery and oak-leafy with lightly sweet tobacco notes, lightly salty, and fragrant. The finish is lingers nicely on the palate, and is clean and tasty. A mild to medium body in this smoke would be a good choice with morning coffee or a pilsner type beer after work. I rate this cigar 5 out of 10 in strength.ScoresAppearance-8Construction-8Draw-8Burn-9Flavor-7Aroma-8Total Score: 8.0
MORE
 
94

Kristoff Maduro

90

Kristoff Criollo

Famous Nic 1000 Lonsdale

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 1/2 x 44StrengthMediumFamous Nicaraguan 1000 Lonsdale cigars are a well-made, medium-bodied blend of rich-tasting Nicaraguan longfiller tobaccos handrolled inside mild, sweet-tasting Indonesian wrappers. The smoke is well-balanced and earthy with notes of caramel and sweet spice. One of our best-tasting best-buys!Read more about Famous Nic 1000 Lonsdale cigars. Famous Nicaraguan Selection 1000 Lonsdale CigarNicaraguaAs far as the toboaccos in this cigar all I have is: made in a top Nicaraguan plant, it's medium bodied, with Nicaraguan Long Fillers, and an Indonesian Wrapper. I smoked the Lonsdale (61/2 x 44), and the cost is $20.65 per bundle of 20. These cigars are from Famous Smoke Shop. This is a real good smoke for the price, in fact you put rings on em and box em up they would easily be a $6.00 per stick cigar. The wrapper is smooth with very small veins and has a sweet flavor, lots of smoke, great draw, and a sturdy white ash. What a roller coaster of a smoke (it is the old Swisher Sweet with an attitude!): It starts out with a medium-full spice (Punch style spice) for the 1st 1/3rd of the smoke, then gradually the spice turns to medium for the middle 1/3rd, and for the last 1/3rd just a hint of spice and the mild-medium flavor of the wrapper. This is one cigar I could smoke down to the nub with no harshness. I would rate this cigar a 8.5 and highly recomend buying a bundle.- Review courtesy of "DRB1" at Cigarzilla.net
MORE
 

Cugine Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthFullCugine Robusto Maduro cigars offer you an exceptionally creamy and well-balanced smoke dominated by dark woody flavors with sweet and peppery accents on a long finish. The cigar blooms into a much richer and spicier smoke with a dash of espresso. A wonderful new blend well worth trying.Read more about Cugine Robusto cigars. Cugine Robusto Maduro CigarScore: 8.3This cigar had an appealing, woody pre-light flavor with a hint of tea. Overall, the smoke was exceptionally creamy and well-balanced, dominated by woody flavors with a trace of sweetness. During the second half, the cigar blooms into a much richer, spicier smoke with a note of espresso on a peppery finish. The cigar burned clean and maintained its creamy consistency through the final couple of inches.If you're looking for a medium-bodied, full-flavored Maduro with a little more bite to it, this cigar will do it for you.Appearance: 8Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.3 See my review of the Cugine Robusto Connecticut on the Cigar Advisor blog page.~ Gary Korb
MORE
 

Davidoff Diademas Finas

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 3/4 x 50StrengthMediumA very rare and special treat! Davidoff Diademas Finas celebrate the 100th anniversary of Zino Davidoff in a Junoesque perfecto specially created to duplicate the look, flavor, and aroma of Mr. Davidoff's 1948 Diademas cigar. Presented without bands in a unique collector's box of 10 cigars.Read more about Davidoff Diademas Finas cigars. Davidoff Diademas Finas 100th Anniversary CigarScore: 9.0This special, limited edition anniversary cigar was issued to celebrate what would have been Zino Davidoff's 100 birthday this past March 11th. The presentation is right on par with Davidoff's detail to fine packaging. The box, which contains 10 cigars, features a vintage, sepia-toned photo of a dapper, young Zino Davidoff standing in the doorway of his Geneva shop ca. 1940 on the top. Inside you'll find a booklet with an illustrated biography of Zino Davidoff. Very classy.Being that this is an unusual perfecto shape, specially rolled to recreate Zino Davidoff's 1948 Diademas, I give it props for it's flawless construction. Moreover, unlike other Davidoff cigars, the Diademas Fina does not wear the familiar white oval band.From the start, the cigar burned perfectly and drew well, producing a very long, firm ash. Plus, it smoked very smoothly and trouble-free for well over an hour with an appealingly sweet aroma. Over the years, I've ascertained that Davidoff cigars have a distinctive tobacco flavor that I would describe as woody (in the cedar wood sense) with a subtle sweetness.Davidoff has not released the blend of the Diademas Finas for reasons of their own, but I'm 99.9% certain the wrapper is Grade-1 U.S. Connecticut. The fillers and binder are almost certainly Dominican-grown tobaccos grown among their myriad plantations. As there was no bitterness at all to this cigar, I'd add that all the leaves have been very long-aged in cedar rooms, which may also account for the prominence of this cigar's woody, medium finish.That said, the Diademas Fina was "conservative" in flavor. Personally, I would have liked a more complex smoke. But what continues to amaze me about Davidoff cigars is how they tend to "lock-on" to a particular flavor and strength (in this case mild to medium in body), and rock steady from start to finish. That in and of itself is a testament to the kind of tobacco selection and craftsmanship that goes into their cigars. Did I enjoy this cigar? Yes, and I do recommend it. Is it worth $22? I'd say that if you're accustomed to the Davidoff lines or similar luxury-class cigars that lean toward the mild side, it probably is. Look at it this way: the Diademas Fina is one of those rare, "special" cigars. So, if you're a collector, you may want to add it to your list.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 10Flavor: 8Final score: 90
MORE
 

Davidoff Maduro Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 52StrengthMediumDavidoff Cigars presents a company first: A luxurious. full-flavored maduro cigar unlike any other. Blended by Henke Kelner, he used specially selected Dominican filler and San Vicente binder specifically to complement the unique flavor of its wrapper - a dark, Cuban seed, Nicaraguan leaf sun-grown in the Jalapa Valley to create a 'natural maduro.' Presented in boxes of 25 cigars, the Robusto Maduro R is currently the only shape available. A must-smoke cigar for the cutting edge aficionado.Read more about Davidoff Maduro Robusto cigars. Davidoff Maduro Robusto CigarScore: 9.1By Gary KorbIt's hard to find visible flaws when it comes to Davidoff cigars, and the 5" x 52 Maduro Robusto is no exception. What's unique about this cigar is that Henke Kelner chose to use a Cuban-seed Nicaraguan leaf sun-grown in the Jalapa Valley to create a dark, velvety "natural" Maduro, while the core comprises a blend of perfectly-aged Dominican longfillers and San Vicente binder.The cigar was very well packed with virtually no soft spots, and when clipped, the cap popped off cleanly leaving the shoulders intact. The pre-light taste was somewhat sweet and woody with an excellent draw. I toasted the foot as delicately as I could. The tobacco took evenly to the flame, and off we went as I paired it with a glass of Taylor Fladgate Reserve Port.The smoke was thick, creamy, highly aromatic, and mild at the start with a sweet, cedar wood flavor base. I expected the smoke to be more robust, but for the most part, the cigar continued to smoke smoothly and gradually picked up in flavor as it burned.The Port complemented the cigar perfectly, but it wasn't until the 2½-inch mark that the cigar showed its true colors. The second half offered significantly more sweetness and cedar flavor, while I also attribute a much "earthier" dimension at this point to the Jalapa wrapper. It was like someone had suddenly turned on the lights. The smoke was more robust, while maintaining a medium-bodied strength, and the sweetness continued to build right down to the last inch-and-a-half, when I finally let the cigar expire gracefully.Although this was not a complex cigar, I do like naturally sweet cigars, and Mr. Kelner did a terrific job on the Maduro Robusto. It's a wonderful mix of sweetness, rich woody essences, and dark tobacco. Maduro lovers, take note!ScoresAppearance: 10Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Flavor: 9Aroma: 9Final Score: 9.1
MORE
 

Diablo Gran Fuego

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 x 60StrengthMediumDiablo Gran Fuego cigars are devilishly delicious Torpedos expertly handcrafted with a robust blend of Dominican & Nicaraguan fillers and a tantalizing, dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. As smooth as it is zesty, this well-balanced, medium-bodied cigar presents a lot of treat and no tricks.Read more about Diablo Gran Fuego cigars. Diablo Picantes Grand Fuego CigarDominican RepublicEditor's Note: The following review was originally posted at The World According to Stew.Today’s cigar is the Diablo Picantes torpedo. This is a nice cigar to look at and has a great band which is black, gold, and red. The cigar leaf is jet black and the smell of it before pre-light is very nice. The cigar measures 5×40 and the wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra, the binder is Connecticut broadleaf, and the filler is Dominican and Nicaraguan. On inspection the cigar wrapper was nicely wrapped and I saw no imperfections. OK, the toasting phase was awesome and this baby produced large amounts of grey smoke. The flavors which I tasted during my smoke consisted of various spices which keep you interested throughout the smoke. The ending on this baby produces and more spices which I felt was pure pleasure. This is a medium smoke and will please just about any level cigar smoker.Smoke time: Over and hour.Drink of choice: Coffee.Like it? Yes indeed.Buy it again? Yes.Price: Approximately $13.75 for a five pack.Hint: I scored these from famous smoke shop for seven dollars in the auction.Suggestion: House them in your humidor for a few months and you will not regret it.Take Care,Stew(Check out Stew's blog for more cigar reviews.)
MORE
 
89

Aging Room Small Batch

Conuco Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 52StrengthFullConuco Toro are medium to full-bodied, full-flavored cigars made by Rocky Patel. Their 4-nation blend, wrapped in a lush, oily Habano leaf, produces an exquisitely smooth, complex smoke brimming with dark, earthy and sweet tobacco flavors. A 'must-smoke' available ONLY at Famous Smoke Shop!Read more about Conuco Toro cigars. Conuco Toro CigarHondurasFirst things first: this is one "drop-dead-gorgeous" cigar, it has one of the oiliest wrappers that I have seen in a long, long time. Excellent construction here, this cigar has a great draw that produces billowing clouds of dense smoke, and burns clean and straight for quite a long time for a Toro. (I became so wrapped-up in the experience that I lost track of time.)The flavor starts of with a kick, but it's not overdone or the least bit "raw" like a Joya Antaño, etc. (though I have to admit that I like a cigar that's a little on the 'brutal' side), the flavor just keeps coming.I am an avid fan of fine tea, and while tasting this cigar a comment from my tea experiences came to mind: "the harder it is to describe the flavor of your tea, the chances are that it's of superior quality." Consequently, this cigar is one hard cigar to describe. Yes, it tastes like tobacco, but it doesn't taste like anything else out there that I can summon in my faculties: all I can say is that this is a very unique and generously complex cigar that seems to "have it all." Totally blew-away the Padron 2000 Maduro that I smoked the other day, and the Padron was excellent. This cigar is well-balanced, has earthiness, sweetness, spice, and the "mouth-feel" is full; you really know that you're smoking something when you're smoking one of these. It's satisfying like a five-course meal, a total "turn off the telephone and don't answer the door" kind of smoke. It is full flavored with ample strength, but is never out of control, and each draw makes you crave the next. Maybe I'll time the burn-duration and count the draws next time. The only downside of these is that I only have a few left, and I can't wait to get my hands on them (and I don't want to run out, but there's just no way I'm going to be able to keep my hands off of these), and I can't stop thinking about the next time I get the opportunity to smoke one again!- Jeff K. in CaliforniaConuco Toro CigarScore: 8.6By Clarice Save (Cigars4Women.com)First, I would like to thank Famous Smoke Shop for so generously agreeing to help out with our Group, "The 5 Pack Rat Pack," at Cigars4Women. Our group is dedicated to selecting a cigar for the month, but rather than smoke only one and review, we decided to get a better feel of the cigar by testing it out in a 5 Pack and then offer our reviews.When the 5 Packs came in the mail, I was puzzled by the Conuco name. I hadn’t heard about Conuco before, but I was like, “Wow, this is a beautiful cigar.” Its wrapper is an oily Habano, shiny and silky, and the construction of this cigar firm, smooth but yet tender to the touch.After researching the cigar, I found out that the Conuco is a Rocky Patel blend, which baffled me even more, and made me go, “Hmmm…either this cigar was an undiscovered gem, or was hidden at the bottom of the barrel out of site."Pre light:  Beautiful in appearance - deep dark and oily. Its construction was smooth and solid, with just enough sponge to indicate a good draw was imminent. I loved the sweet aroma. It was slightly caramel, a kick of spice with just a slight taste of cocoa on the head. So far, so good, and I was beginning to really look forward to smoking this cigar. I snipped the tip and tested the draw. The pre-draw was smooth, and I tasted an earthy note with a touch of caramel. The smoke:  From the very beginning of this cigar, there was a billow of white smoke. Its draw was thorough. It was a mild and easy for the first 2 thirds. The burn slightly wavered at points but didn’t cause me any great concern as it evened itself out after we reached midway. I was impressed with this cigar. I thought it carried some complexity with its flavors. Earthy notes of cocoa, caramel, and a kick of spice every now and again.I smoked the Conuco down to its nub, and enjoyed spending the time smoking it. This was a no fuss, no worry, and easy-going cigar. The band popped off with ease,too!Conuco is a cigar that’s economically priced, and a good quality smoke. I didn’t have to pay much attention to this cigar’s performance at all. I was able to relax and let the flavor of the smoke come to me. Conuco get’s this Lady’s nod.Appearance:  9Construction: 9Burn (ash, etc.): 8Draw: 9Flavor: 8Aroma: 9Total Score: 8.6About Cigars4Women.comCigars4Women.com was created by Clarice Save for women to demonstrate unity, credibility and knowledge of the premium cigar culture, and the spirit of SOTL ("Sisters of the Leaf"). The site features cigar reviews, blogs, forums, chat, videos, events, and other cigar-related information.
MORE
 

Conuco Double Corona

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize7 1/2 x 50StrengthFullConuco Double Corona cigars are an exclusive premium cigar selection handcrafted for the cigar smoker who wants a full-flavored cigar at a sensible price. Pronounced koh-noo-koh, a lusciously oily Habano wrapper caps a blend of Honduran, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan, and Panamanian tobaccos with a healthy dose of Ligero. The smoke is sweet, creamy, and balanced, blooming into a savory pastiche of earthy, caramelized flavors with a dash of coffee on the finish. Be sure to add these to your 'must smoke' list.Read more about Conuco Double Corona cigars. Conuco Double Corona CigarScore: 8.6By Tom BullockThe Conuco Double Corona has a lovely smooth, oily, dark chocolate colored wrapper, it is very well made and firm. The cap is flat and cuts cleanly; the cigar is heavy in the hand and the draw is perfect, medium-firm. The pre light gives deep flavors of sweet, mature tobacco, slight fruity notes, and aromas of earth and cocoa.The first third is rich with sweet tobacco flavors mingled with caramel and cocoa, honey sweet aromas, plus floral and slightly musty notes of vintage tobaccos; a wonderful surprise for me. The finish is lightly lingering, clean and dry, with dusty notes. There is a faint essence of herbs; really tasty and enjoyable.The second third provides caramel and deep tobacco flavors, hints of coffee, and lightly oaky notes. There is a light saltiness in the taste that I enjoy a lot. This is an interesting and complex flavor profile, very compelling. There are intermittent flavor notes of dark chocolate and brown sugar aromas well integrated into the overall presentation.The final third picks up in intensity. The flavors are very bold and tasty. Big aromas of oak and cocoa, leather nuances, coffee and caramel on the palate. The light mustiness is still present toward the end; very enjoyable. It is rare to encounter this particular characteristic in a young cigar. It generally only shows up in vintage cigars of great age. I am totally impressed with this Conuco selection.The overall package is a huge winner for me. It has an excellent complex flavor profile, wonderful aromas, great balance and very compelling. The burn was very even, the cigar stayed cool and fragrant; a well made example of a double corona. I rate this cigar 7 out of 10 in strength.ScoresAppearance-8Construction-9Draw-9Burn-9Flavor-9Aroma-8Total Score: 8.6
MORE
 

Chateau Real Gran Templar

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 52StrengthMediumChateau Real Gran Templar cigars were created for cigar smokers who want a refined premium cigar reminiscent of the pre-embargo, Clear Havana blends. Each Chateau Real Gran Templar is handmade with a well-packed blend of Nicaraguan Criollo & Dominican Piloto Cubano long-filler tobaccos, Brazilian binder, and golden, mellow Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade or Mexican San Andreas Oscuro (Maduro) wrappers. The smoke is creamy, toasty and well-balanced with an appealing sweetness throughout. Nice clean finish, too. Well worth a try!Read more about Chateau Real Gran Templar cigars. Château Real by Drew Estate Gran Templar CigarScore: 9.0A really beautiful-looking cigar. I liked the stoutness of its 52 ring and the firmness of the packing which gives the cigar a nice heft. Feels like you've really got something solid in your hands. The color of the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper was even in tone throughout; non-veiny, nice and silky with a sweet aroma. The cigar is well-packed with a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican long-filler tobaccos bound in a dark, San Andrean Negro Oscuro leaf. The cap popped-off in a perfect circle, exposing almost the entire head of the cigar. Once lit, the cigar drew and lit well expelling a thick cloud of mild, sweet, and creamy smoke.The first ash dropped-off off at the 1-inch mark leaving behind a perfectly-formed cone. The flavor at this point was a mix of toasty-woody-nutty flavors with a little more earthiness, sweetness and a nuance of hazelnut. (This cigar was also a little more complex than I suspected.)By the end of the first third, I was really enjoying this cigar. The ash was semi-firm, the burn even-Steven, and by the midpoint the flavor had broadened into a rich-tasting and exquisitely smooth, mild smoke with an appealingly sweet woodiness on a short, clean finish. I smoked it in the morning with coffee, and the combination of flavors and aromas was perfect.Speaking as a mostly "medium-bodied" smoker, if the intent by the Drew crew was to create a "mild" cigar, I found it right in the pocket; maybe even closer to medium-bodied as the cigar neared the end. All in all, I think this series shows great potential for the mainstream cigar smoker market.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 
96

Arturo Fuente Sun Grown

88

Padilla Crianza

Conuco Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 x 50StrengthFullConuco Robusto cigars offer you a medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar at a sensible price. Its 4-nation blend, wrapped in a lush, oily Habano leaf, produces an exquisitely smooth, complex smoke brimming with dark, earthy and sweet tobacco flavors. A 'must-smoke' available ONLY at Famous Smoke Shop!Read more about Conuco Robusto cigars. Conuco Robusto CigarScore: 9.1By Barry Stein (acigarsmoker.com)Introduction: The Conuco cigar is actually a Rocky Patel-blended cigar, which had me worried, because a lot of his mail order only cigars are real duds. So it was with great trepidation that I put this cigar in my shirt pocket and went down to the bay to smoke. Yes I changed my location a little as it is getting colder out and the Bay offers nice views with some protection from the winds.Pre-Smoke: On appearance this is one beautifully constructed cigar. The wrapper is chocolate in color with some veins, but nothing that stands out. The cigar was full of oils, and was firm to the touch with just enough sponge to let you know it was properly humidified. The scent of the wrapper has some wood notes, while on the foot there were some strong caramel notes with just a trace of cocoa.You can say at this point I was pleasantly surprised and I was looking forward to smoking it. So with my idiot-proof cutter in hand, I snipped the cap, and after taking a sip of water, I checked the pre-light draw which was nice and easy. It offered notes of caramel that were easily identifiable.Smoke: This cigar smoked nice and slow with absolutely no burn issues whatsoever. The 1st third of the cigar offered notes of nuts with a touch of earth and the occasional coffee. You can say I was definitely enjoying this cigar. The 2nd third of the cigar the coffee notes really came through with the caramel I got on the pre-light. The cigars final third was coffee with notes of cocoa right to the nub. When I was done with my smoke I was left with a nice coffee finish accompanied by a subtle sweetness.Overall: This is a cigar that proves you do not have to spend a lot of money to find a good cigar. It was enjoyable throughout on all the samples I smoked and they were all consistent in terms of the notes of the cigar. I was so impressed that I plan to order some as soon as I free up some room in my humidor or break down and purchase a furniture piece.Final Rating: 91Reprinted by permission of A Cigar Smokers Journal. Conuco Robusto CigarHondurasBy Brian Hewitt (StogieReview.com)A few weeks ago, the guys over at Famous Smoke Shop did what a lot of folks in the cigar world did around the same time: They published their take on the top cigars of 2008. While browsing their list of favorites, I noticed one I didn’t recognize. Some stick called a “Conuco.” Normally, I’d plug that right into Google to get the scoop, but I decided to leverage the power of the “cigar twitterpedia” instead. If you don’t know what the cigar twitterpedia is, don’t worry, it’s a term I just coined now for my favorite source of quick cigar information: All the cigar smokers on twitter.So I asked the all-knowing cigar twitterpedia “anybody ever heard of this Conuco, and is it any good?” In short order I was informed that the Conuco is a Famous Smoke Shop exclusive, made for them by Rocky Patel. Though not many people could tell me if it was any good, as they’d never had one. Fortunately, Hayward Tenney from Famous, who is very active on twitter, saw my question and decided to answer me with a five pack so I could form my own opinion.But before I evaluate the cigar, a little background. As I mentioned before, the cigar is made by Rocky Patel. It’s made in El Paraiso, Honduras and the name is pronounced “koh-noo-koh”. Conuco comes from the Taino word Conu’co, which is defined as farm lands, or gardens for planting. According to Famous Smoke Shop’s press release for the cigar, a Conu’co was “…a small plot of land an estate owner would grant deserving workers to cultivate their own tobacco crops for profit.” Which is all very interesting, let’s see if the cigar itself is equally interesting.The Pre-SmokeAs I was looking over the cigars and getting ready to take some pictures, I noticed that these cigars differed significantly in appearance. One of the cigars was considerably darker and more mottled than the rest, which tended to be slightly reddish natural. The darker stick had a small wrapper hole near the foot, and a larger one at the head. I also noticed a there was some fine toothiness to some of the wrappers, and the stray water spot here and there.Aside from a few superficial imperfections, there didn’t seem to be any other flaws in any of the cigars, no soft spots, reasonably sized veins, and nicely firm to the touch.The wrapper had a fruity compost scent, and the foot smelled strongly of hay with a bit of chocolate. In the cold taste, I noticed a bit of fruity sweetness and faint chocolate.The BurnWhen I timed the first smoke, I thought I made a mistake. No way this robusto took me two hours to smoke. But then I timed the next one. Two hours again! This is one slow burning smoke! It’s a good thing Hayward didn’t send me the Double Corona, I might still be smoking it now. Almost as impressive as the slow burn was the ash and the burn line. The ash is as firm as a rock, and the line nearly perfect, most of the time anyway. One cigar needed a touch up at one point. And I did have to relight one of the cigars a couple of times.The FlavorThe Conuco starts off very sweetly. The sweetness seems to focus after the first few puffs and become very cherry in nature. It’s so prominent, it was a little difficult for me to pick out any other flavors. But I did start to get caramel, cocoa, and some coffee as the sweetness mellowed a bit toward the end of the third.By the beginning of the second third the sweetness had scaled it back a notch and became more like a sweet pear than cherry. In this third I also detected wood notes, chocolate, coffee and some cinnamon. A couple of times the flavors came together and tasted very much like those Boston Baked Bean candies I used to eat occasionally as a kid. (Ever try those? They’re great.) In the final third the scales tipped toward the chocolate over the sweet. The sweetness that had been so prominent earlier, was now more of a pear-like finish that followed the chocolate and coffee flavors.The PriceIt’s hard to find fault with the price, the Conuco is definitely a budget-friendly smoke. There is one detail about the price that I found amusing. Usually you expect to pay more per cigar when you buy them by the five pack as opposed to the box. That’s not the case here. This cigar is $3 per stick when you buy a fiver, and $4 per stick when you buy a box. It might be a mistake, or it might be because the folks at Famous really, really want you to try them out.*The VerdictIt’s funny, but without planning to, I have smoked some incredibly, naturally sweet cigars recently. This had me thinking about what I’m eating recently and if something might be responsible for skewing my palate toward sweetness. I can’t think of a single dietary or drink change that might do it, no more or less sweeter foods than usual. In fact there haven’t been any significant changes in my diet recently at all. I guess it could be a coincidence. Or maybe it’s a new trend towards sweeter cigar blends and I’m just noticing it. Or hey, I could just be nuts.Fortunately, I do have a bit of a sweet tooth when it comes to cigars. I often enjoy naturally sweet cigars, and this time is no exception. Though I have to say the first third of this smoke was pushing it just a little bit. I was happy that the cigar toned down the sweetness a little bit and became more balanced by the second third. And taking into account the good burn and wallet-stimulating price tag, I have to give this smoke the thumbs up. I can really see this cigar being the smoke du jour at the next poker evening. And really, who doesn’t love a cigar that reminds them of Boston Baked Beans candy?Liked It: YesBuy It Again: Very likelyRecommend It: Only if you enjoy sweet cigars.See Brian's "trademark tower of burn" for the Conuco Robusto.For more cigar reviews and news visit StogieReview.com.* The "$3 per stick" 5-pack price Brian refers to in his review is part of the "5 cigars for the price of 3" promotion featured in the Famous Smoke Shop catalog, and applies only to the Conuco Robusto. - G.K.Reprinted by permission.
MORE
 

CAO Italia Positano

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 50StrengthFullCAO Italia Positano cigars are made with Italian Habano longfiller tobaccos grown exclusively for CAO cigars from seeds that were brought to Italy from Cuba over 40 years ago. Grown in the southern Benevento region of Italy between Rome and Naples, this tobacco lends an incredibly unique, earthy sweetness to the blend. Fillers from Nicaragua and Peru are also used, plus a rich-tasting Honduran Habano seed binder and wrapper, for a robust, yet remarkably smooth, medium to full-bodied smoke. Un fumo favoloso!Read more about CAO Italia Positano cigars. CAO Italia Positano CigarScore: 8.8By Hayward TenneyOn the docket today is a CAO Italia, which has been described as a unique, aromatic, must-try type of cigar. Skeptic that I am, I guess I'll have to find out the old-fashioned way. Boy, is my job tough....Will it live up to its reputation? Or will my Friday afternoon suffer from un Rocket di Doggi? Will Superman reach Lois Lane in time? Read on to find out.The Toro is visually impressive. Its smooth Honduran Connecticut wrapper is a rich, reddish-brown, with minimal veins. I find no soft spots, and the head and foot seem to be in order. It clips easily, revealing a round patch of sweet-smelling longfillers. While the cold draw is tight, its unique sweet tobacco flavor echoes the aroma from the head and foot. The cigar lights up nicely, producing a steady, if slightly anemic, stream of smoke. By no means are my neck's blood vessels bursting, but neither am I bathing in a stinky, creamy cloud (my personal preference).A couple puffs in, its aroma is unlike anything I've smelled from a cigar, and for once in my life I'm at a loss for words. The best comparison I can muster is sweet, damp earthiness...think poppy seed filling. Maybe there's something to be said for Italian tobacco - this cigar's aroma is absolutely intoxicating. As the tightly rolled tobacco fades into evenly mottled white and grey ash of about an inch, I'd call the cigar medium-bodied. While its well-balanced flavors mirror its aroma, I'm left wishing I could draw more smoke. But by the beginning of the second third, things are really getting interesting. The flavors have caramelized, and in addition to this enhanced complexity, an easier draw rewards me with more smoke. The burn line has improved to a razor-sharp ring, working its way down nice and slow (another personal preference). Just before the final third, I'm greeted by notes of coffee, a perfect complement to an already dynamite flavor profile. At the last 2 ½ - 3", the smoke has settled in the medium to full-body range. Its unique sweetness has deferred to the caramelized coffee flavors accenting its baseline earthiness. The cigar burns perfectly right down to the nub.If nothing else, I find the cigar an accurate portrait of the Italian lifestyle: aesthetically pleasing, deliberately indulgent and down-to-earth, yet free-spirited. I will likely pick up a box of these. If you haven't gotten the chance to try one yet, I highly suggest you do so soon.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 8Aroma: 10Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.8
MORE
 
92

La Gloria Cubana Serie R

A Fuente Hemingway Signature

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 x 47StrengthMediumHemingway Signature Maduro cigars are the rarest Hemingway cigars due to the perfectly-cured Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrappers, which are produced in very limited quantities. Filled with the finest vintage Dominican tobaccos, the smoke is rich, ultra-smooth and sweet! Don't pass them by.Read more about A Fuente Hemingway Signature cigars. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Maduro CigarHard to come by, but not extremely rare.Limited to be sure and always a treat! I have stored about 10 or so for about 2 years.Easy to light. Great draw with a "V" cut. Good, long lasting, and consistent burn. I have taken to inhaling a bit "too" much through my nose simply because of the outstanding aroma and depth. (Need to taper off from that practice..."Yum.") To quote a quote: "A real finger burner." A great finish without harshness (results may vary with cutting and smoking technique). Recognizable, but well blended notes of earth, chocolate, some wood; a bit of charcoal and perhaps some good old fashioned fine-aged Maduro tobacco.If you have the fortitude to locate some, they'll cost you around $10.00 each or about $175.00 a box, tops. Picking some up and aging them would be a great investment (and would last me all year and then some.) - Gene McCann
MORE
 

Zino Classic #6

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthMediumRe-blended by Henke Kelner, this new Zino Classic #6 uses the finest Honduran Jamastran tobaccos for their earthiness, further enriched by select Dominican and other Central American tobaccos, while maintaining a true Honduran flavor. The smoke is rich, balanced, toasty, and laced with spicy notes, plus there's that sweet Davidoff aroma. Designed to satisfy smokers at every level of experience, these fine luxury cigars offer a wide choice of sizes and are reasonably priced in their class.Read more about Zino Classic #6 cigars. Zino Classic No.6 CigarScore: 9.0An attractive, well-packed Robusto with a light brown natural wrapper. As expected, the cap snapped-off in a perfect little circle. (I don't think I've ever had a Davidoff-made cigar that didn't clip perfectly.) Since the only tobaccos Davidoff has "advertised" in this blend are the Dominican and Honduran filler, I'm guessing the silky wrapper is either Ecuadorian Connecticut or U.S. Connecticut Shade.The draw was easy, and the prelit taste was primarily Dominican, like most of the mainline Davidoff cigars, with a subtle toastiness to it. The foot lit evenly across. The first puff came through the head in a thick, creamy wad of very woody, toasty, and peppery smoke. The cigar soon rounded out to a more full-flavored smoke, and the very smoothness of its nature kept it on an even, medium-bodied course.By the end of the first inch, the taste was deeper and earthier in flavor, underpinned by a rich, uncomplicated woodiness that remained consistent to the end. I was also impressed with the sweet and spicy aroma of the No.6.Having had many of the now extinct, Zino Gold, which was considerably milder, I like that Henke Kelner has cranked-up this new Zino Classic blend a few notches. In the true Davidoff tradition, here is another luxurious cigar well-suited for enjoying late in the day or after dinner. Highly recommended.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 10Aroma: 9Flavor: 8Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthMediumTatuaje Havana VI cigars are produced under the direction of renowned master blender, Jose Pepin Garcia, in a luxurious, six-shape puro selection. Patiently made by hand in Señor Garcia's Nicaraguan factory, the cigars are blended to impart the flavor and aroma of fine, medium-bodied Cuban cigars. Each Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles cigar comprises the most select Nicaraguan long-filler and binder tobaccos seamlessly rolled in an attractive Nicaraguan wrapper that's finished with a traditional, Cuban-style triple-cap.Read more about Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles cigars. Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles CigarScore: 9.0By Gary KorbThis Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles came in a Pete Johnson Collection sampler purchaed from Famous Smoke Shop. It's an all-Nicaraguan blend with an attractive and oily Colorado-hued wrapper. The triple cap is superb and clipped-off perfectly, followed by a nice, easy draw.Pairing it up with a glass of Smoking Loon Pinot Noir, the pre-light had that wonderful earthy-cocoa flavor I normally associate with Padron cigars. But once lit, it was nothing like that at all.ACT I: The cigar started out with a smooth, medium-bodied character. The smoke was especially creamy with a mostly earthy-woody flavor underpinned by some toasty-nutty notes.ACT II: By the 2-inch mark the cigar had changed-up to a much more full-bodied smoke. The core flavors were still there, but now heavier and spicier with a note of sweetness in the mix. Another impressive feature of this cigar was the burn. The ash was firm, flawless, and held on for at least an inch between ashing.ACT III: In the final two inches, the cigar held-up nicely even after an unexpected re-light. The spiciness picked-up somewhat, but the smoke remained creamy, woody and spicy with that little glimmer of sweetness. Not a complex cigar IMO, but really solid, and left me wanting more, though I might opt for a single malt on the next go-round.The Tatuaje Havana VI cigars have been compared to the classic Cuban cigars in flavor, and I can see now where that comparison comes from. Highly recommended for the full-bodied fan.ScoresAppearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Tabamex Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginMexicoSize6 x 50StrengthMildThe choice of many Famous Smoke Shop customers for years. Tabamex is a mild, flavorful and low-cost cigar with a smooth draw and a light, herbal taste that blooms into a pleasant cedar flavor. They may look a little rustic, but light one up and it will surprise you!Read more about Tabamex Toro cigars. Tabamex Toro CigarScore: 8.3By Monkey Dan (CigarMonkey.com) After smoking a Te Amo many years ago, I was very reluctant to try any other Mexican smoke. In short, the Te Amo was one of the worse cigars I ever had to consume. However, I won another auction and picked up a bundle of 25 Tabamex Toro for just $17.00. Needless to say, my expectation of this smoke was very low.  After firing up this Tabamex, I was quickly surprised. This maduro wrapper had a pleasant mild cedar taste. It was well constructed with an even burn. It measured 6 x 50 and the draw was painless. This Tabamex Toro has given me new hope that Mexican cigars are improving. Again, these smokes only cost $0.68 and make a nice everyday smoke. If you want to broaden your humidor to include some smokes south of the border, you may want to try Tabamex Toro.MonkeyDan Rating: 83
MORE
 
84

Zino

Tabamex Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginMexicoSize5 x 50StrengthMildThe choice of many Famous Smoke Shop customers for years. Tabamex is a mild, flavorful and low-cost cigar with a smooth draw and a light, herbal taste that blooms into a pleasant cedar flavor. They may look a little rustic, but light one up and it will surprise you!Read more about Tabamex Robusto cigars. Tabamex Robusto CigarScore: 7.5By Gary KorbAppearance: 6Construction: 7Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 7Flavor: 7Final Score: 7.5 Rustic in appearance, but surprisingly smooth and tasty with an light, herbal quality. The overall flavor was cedary and id not get much stronger or turn bitter in the last 3rd. Last inch had a menthol-like taste, which suffered its taste rating, but this is a good everyday value cigar in a Mexican blend of higher-than-average quality.
MORE
 

Santiago Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthMildSantiago Robusto cigars are handmade with a blend of mild Dominican mixed-filler tobaccos rolled inside an attractive natural Sumatra wrapper that burns clean with a bright white ash. Made in the La Aurora factory, so you're assured a well-made cigar. Try this decent, everyday stogie now.Read more about Santiago Robusto cigars. Santiago Robusto CigarDominican RepublicWhen I read some of the negative reviews about this cigar, I can only wonder what planet they are from. I've bought at least eight of these bundles and from the very first Santiago cigar I smoked, I could not believe how excellent it tasted!I prefer Maduro cigars most of the time, but when I tasted the Santiago, I was extremely impressed with its flavor, and I'm not easily impressed! All my Santiago's have burned fairly well and each had a nice firm white ash. With one of my Santiago's, the ash stayed very firm all the way to the band. I haven't had a premium cigar that held together like this cigar.This is a short filler cigar so everyone should keep that in mind. There will be minor inconsistencies from time to time, but the flavor and value of the Santiago out-weigh all that! I hope these never run out. For those of you who want to throw your Santiago's out, call Famous and I will take them off your hands. - Kelly Frizzell in Arizona
MORE
 
88

Rocky Patel American Market Selection

86

JM's Dominican

Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 52StrengthMediumRocky Patel Edge Lite Toro cigars have a robust blend of high-priming, 5-year-aged Nicaraguan & Honduran ligero tobaccos tamed by a mild Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. These medium-bodied cigars are rich, creamy, perfectly-balanced, and brimming with earthy, complex flavors. Great aroma, too!Read more about Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro cigars. Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro CigarScore: 8.3By Gary KorbHere's a cigar that I hadn't smoked in quite a while; a Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro that must have been in my humidor for at least a couple of years.The cigar was in excellent condition. The Connecticut wrapper had darkened some and was still oily. I decided to smoke it on the beach, and With the easterly ocean breeze blowing right at me I only got half the cigar lit. That said, the cigar showed-off its excellent construction, as within a few minutes it was burning perfectly. Moreover, despite the breeze, the ash burned so firmly it held up almost two inches before it gave in to the wind (see my cell phone photo at right).Although this cigar is supposed to be a milder version of the Rocky Patel The Edge cigars, the smoke was abnormally peppery and strong. I've had enough of these cigars in the past to note that I didn't remember them being so spicy. In any event, I paired it with a bottle of Poland Spring water, while enjoying its sweet aroma.Overall, the smoke was dominated by a strong woody flavor with a hefty dose of black and red pepper from start to finish. I smoked it down to about the two-inch mark, by which time the wind had begun to reek havoc with the wrapper.Although I've enjoyed this cigar in the past and recommended it often, this particular Edge Lite left me a bit wanting. To be fair, my faith in Rocky's consistency over the years, especially with his Edge lines, caused me to think that maybe it was just an oddball.ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 9Draw - 8Burn - 8Flavor - 8Aroma - 8Total Score: 8.3
MORE
 

Rocky Patel Rosado Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 50StrengthMediumHearty, extra-long-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos, balanced by a lighter Dominican filler and binder, rolled meticulously in blushing Rosado wrapper leaves grown under Ecuador's naturally cloud-filtered sunlight. The smoke is medium bodied, very smooth, complex, and delicately spicy with a sweet aroma.Read more about Rocky Patel Rosado Toro cigars. Rocky Patel Rosado Toro CigarScore: 9.0by Hayward TenneyToday I have the privilege of reviewing a cigar that I once smoked frequently, but which has since fallen off my radar screen in favor of more full-bodied fare. The Rocky Patel Rosado sports an Ecuadorian Rosado leaf that serves to temper the muscular contents tightly packed within, including a core blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers and Dominican binder.I'm impressed by the look of this cigar. Its simple band looks classy against its blushing Rosado leaf. The head is perfectly capped, and the wrapper has some small veins with no noticeable flaws. It reminds me somewhat of the Partagas Spanish Rosado.Once clipped, its cool and flavorful draw sends me back in space and time, and I recall why I loved this cigar so very well. There is an earthy and spicy aroma on the light, and it starts off in the mild-medium body range. After about 1", it settles into medium-bodied, where it will remain.I notice into the second third that the aroma seems to be constantly evolving, keeping things interesting. I detect nutmeg and spice, and complex earthy flavors with a medium finish. The burn line is razor thin the entire length of the cigar. I guess my only complaint is that toward the very end, it took some coaxing to stay lit. I can't recall this in my previous experiences, so this could be a function of an overly moist humidor. There's certainly enough here to intrigue the most seasoned palates, though as a truly medium-bodied cigar, I suspect it won't be full-bodied enough for some.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final: 9.0
MORE
 

Rocky Patel Rosado Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 1/2 x 50StrengthMediumRocky Patel Rosado cigars are a sensibly-priced, all-premium selection blended with long-aged Nicaraguan longfiller tobaccos, balanced by milder Dominican longfiller and binder tobaccos. Each Rocky Patel Rosado Robusto is meticulously finished in 7-year aged Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf grown under natural, cloud-filtered sunlight to bring out its appetizing Rosado radiance. The smoke is smooth, medium-bodied, fairly complex, and delicately sweet 'n spicy with an inviting aroma. A smart buy, made with quality you can trust.Read more about Rocky Patel Rosado Robusto cigars. Rocky Patel Rosado Robusto CigarHondurasBy Jerry Cruz (StogieReview.com)This is a video cigar review: You can watch it by clicking here.
MORE
 
87

Jameson Black Label

Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 52StrengthFullTalk about your Cuban missile! The Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Torpedo has a potent blend of Honduran Ligero tobaccos rolled in mouthwatering Maduro wrappers. These heady cigars are bold, spicy, and smooth with a zesty aroma. Your best weapon against high cigar prices if you love full-strength cigars.Read more about Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Torpedo cigars. Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Torpedo Maduro CigarHondurasI purchased a 5 pack of these cigars on the recommendation of a few of my friends at Cigarzilla. I smoked one when I first received them and I was put off by some bitterness. I normally let cigars rest a while after receicing them but sometimes I can't resist. I put the rest away and let them sit for a couple of months in the depths of my big humidor. What a differece a couple of months made. All the bitterness had disappeared and was replaced with a deep rich full flavor with hints of espresso, cocoa and cedar. No bitterness what so ever. Smooth and rich, this cigar ranks up there with Rocky's best. The draw was firm but good, burn was even and ash was a firm dark gray. I love full flavored smokes and this is definitely full flavored and full powered. I would highly recommend letting these cigars settle in the humidor for at least a couple of weeks after receiving, and the longer you can stay away the better they will be. This blend has gone from a questionable purchase to one of my top 10 smokes.Review courtesy of "Fletchman" at Cigarzilla.net
MORE
 

Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 x 52StrengthFullRocky Patel Cuban Blend Toro premium cigars are handcrafted with a potent, long-aged blend of Honduran Ligero tobaccos rolled in mouthwatering Maduro wrappers. The smoke is bold, spicy, complex, and exceptionally smooth with a heady aroma. A great buy if you love full-bodied cigars.Read more about Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Toro cigars. Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Toro Maduro CigarHondurasHey...there was no way I was going to write a review without scoping out everyone else's opinions first. Mamma didn't raise no fools. (Well, maybe one, but not me.). As I've written in a few other Famous reviews, for years I avoided Rocky Patel cigars. I always thought of Rocky as a Milwaukee attorney who got an ingrown hair in his nether region and decided to make some cigars. His early Indian Tabacs reminded me of those Indonesian boom sticks without the odor. Remember those? You had to wash your hands with Ajax to get rid of the smell.Anyway, I bought several of Rocky's The Edge, when they were first released, based on the recommendation of several of my cigar junkie friends. I was stunned. The cigars were extraordinary. How could this be? And, of course, the answer was that Rocky had contracted with another manufacturer. Simple answer. Next stop was a bundle of Famous' RP Factory Select Torps. Incidentally, these are Sun Grown, and in the Famous listing of cigars it just says, "RP Factory Select." I guess you're supposed to guess the wrapper until you click your mouse?Truthfully, I thought the first bundle I received had been anointed by the Cigar Gods. Every cigar was bee-yoo-tee-full and smoked wonderfully. So, I thought it was time to try a few more of Patel's sticks. I ordered a 20 stick sampler of RP blends that Famous had in their summer '07 sales sheet. That's when I had my first Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Toro in maduro.Boys and girls, in some of the other folks' reviews that I read, these sticks are panned pretty emphatically. All I can think of is that some people have a totally different perception of what a medium to full bodied cigar should taste like. After I smoked one Cuban Blend, I thought, "Steve, treat yourself and have another." And, I did. No B.S., no hyperbole: These don't taste like Cuban cigars. Okay? Why Rocky and Famous decided to name them Cuban Blend is beyond me. I'd guess that neither Rocky nor Famous actually know the blend of this cigar, so it became the "Cuban Blend." If you read the description, all it says is that it contains "Honduran Ligero". Hmmm....maduro wrapper, Connecticut Broadleaf? Brazilian aparica? Mexican San Andres? Maybe an H2000....Hey...it's a Cuban Blend! I enjoyed the cigar(s) and frankly, think a lot of the wrapper, binder, filler descriptions are little more than promo copy. I've got a box of Cuban Blend Toros on order. If they're anything like those in the sampler, I'll enjoy all twenty, except for those mooched by friends.- RSteve (Herfers Paradise)
MORE
 

Puros Indios Piramide #2

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 1/2 x 50StrengthFullPuros Indios Piramide #2 cigars are one of the most asked for and highly-rated Honduran cigars made today. Plus, they're available in a vast array of shapes and sizes. Rich Ecuadorian Sumatra or Maduro wrappers, plus fillers from Brazil, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic dominate the blend, offering some of the most flavorful cigars on the planet. You won't find many cigars of this caliber at these prices either. Try a box today!Read more about Puros Indios Piramide #2 cigars. Puros Indios Pyramide #2 Maduro CigarScore: 7.8By Hayward TenneyThe Puros Indios Pyramide #2 Maduro is impressive to behold; one of these cigars you're tempted to smoke publicly, just because. While listed as a 6½" x 50 ring, I measured it more like a 56 ring at the foot. Regardless, its mass makes for a hell of a first impression.It's well rolled with slightly visible seams and a spongy spring that's not too soft. There are a couple moderate veins in the wrapper, which has an oily sheen and chocolaty hue. I initially went with V cut, but about halfway through ended up making a flat cut to draw more smoke (the ability to control smoke volume being a nice feature of pyramids, IMO). On lighting, I detected base flavors of mild pepper with some woody notes. These notes of wood strengthen somewhat, but the cigar actually maintained a consistent, if relatively uneventful, medium-bodied presence. Hints of aged leather accented the aroma, and the cigar produced a strong, brindled gray ash that I tapped off regularly in 1" nuggets. The finish was short with just a tang of sweetness. I laid it to rest with slightly less than 2” remaining. As it doesn't require too much attention and burns evenly for over an hour, I would recommend it with a few cold ones. It's a good, long smoke that neither over- or underwhelms, and for this flavor profile, would sit well alongside a pilsner or amber ale.Appearance: 9Construction: 7Burn: 8Draw: 7Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 7.8
MORE
 

Primos Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 1/2 x 52StrengthFullHandcrafted according to the high standards of the Blanco family, Primos are the only bundles made with a 3 year aged wrapper. The quality of tobacco used sets Primos apart from other "bundled" cigars, both in quality and in value. Honduran, Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobaccos and a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder are at the core, creating a rich flavor and sweet aroma. The Rosado wrapper imparts subtle nuances in a medium-bodied smoke, while the Maduro is fuller-bodied with balanced complexity.Read more about Primos Torpedo cigars. Primos by Los Blancos Torpedo Maduro CigarScore: 7.5By Hayward TenneyPrimos cigars, made by Los Blancos ("cousins" of the Plasencias, which is also where the name comes from), claims to be the only bundled cigar employing 3-year aged wrapper leaf. To the Blancos' credit (and despite one prominent vein), this is a good looking wrapper with a mottled dark Maduro color and smooth texture. There's something rustic about its appearance, yet it's clearly well-made. The length of the stick is firm, although the band looks like something right off a Caribbean treasure map.After clipping, the dry taste was primarily earthy, i.e. I knew I was consuming an agricultural product grown in rich soil. It toasted and lit nicely, revealing earth, wood, some spice, and a shot of pepper, which faded almost immediately. Once it rounded out, the draw was medium to tight, but succeeded in producing a decent volume of fragrant smoke.The flavor profile wasn't especially complex, but it didn't need to be. The wrapper told me to expect an earthy baseline, and the smoke didn't disappoint, adding an occasional pocket of sweet spice. Very subtle notes of bitter chocolate appeared into the final third, complemented by an almost minty presence in the mouth.The burn followed a sine wave pattern, and required one touchup. I tend to smoke slowly, and so was disappointed with the constant puffing required to keep it lit. Despite the relighting however, it never turned bitter or sour on me.It's in a different class than many super-premium cigars, but to be fair, I've smoked far worse out of a box. At its price point, this is a fine cigar and would be a good every day smoke. I'm excited to try the Rosado wrapped version, and will report back after having done so.Appearance: 8Construction: 7Burn: 6Draw: 8Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 7.5
MORE
 

Arturo Fuente Petit Corona

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 38StrengthMediumWhen in stock, Arturo Fuente Petit Corona cigars don't last very long - and rightfully so. The legendary Fuente family has been making some of the world's finest cigars for generations, living by the credo, "We will not rush the hands of time." Arturo Fuente cigars are handmade mostly with Cameroon wrappers, while the Chateau Fuente selection features Connecticut wrappers with cedar sleeves. Be sure to add these VERY popular cigars to Your Favorites page so you won't ever have to miss them.Read more about Arturo Fuente Petit Corona cigars. Plasencia Reserva Organica Robusto Cigar(Nicaragua)This review is as much about the Cuban Cohiba Robusto, as it is about the Plasencia Organica Robusto. Fact is, the Cuban Cohiba Robusto used to be in the number one position of my personal top ten cigars in the world today. The problem is the Cubans have changed something in the original make up of the cigar. The Cubans have successfully taken one of the world's best cigars and reduced it to less than many budget cigars available today. My impressions of the new Cuban Cohiba, "total disappointment."The best piece of advice I could give any premium cigar smoker is this: The next time you're at a "Pacific Cigar Shop," or at any of the duty free outlets in the international airports today, and are seriously considering laying down the 750 bucks for a box of these cigars, you should consider saving your money, and buy a box of the Plasencia Organica Robustos. The Placensia's are the closest thing I have smoked to date that actually compare to the former "Cuban Cohiba Robustos."Personally I think virtually every cigar in the world is a little hit and miss. The Plasencia's are no exception. But when you hit on a good box of these cigars, you really hit, and when you miss, there still pretty good cigars.~ Kent SurrattPlasencia Reserva Organica Robusto CigarScore: 9.0By Robert "The Reverend Hurricane" MeynPastor, The NOLa Church of SmokesThe Rev’s wife is always bugging him about being "green:" reuse, reduce, and recycle, etc.  To do my part for the planet, I decided to go organic in everything I possibly could, so naturally I turned to the only certified organic cigar I could find: the Plasencia Reserva Organica selection; more specifically, the Robusto.This is a gorgeous looking cigar with a rich, brown, flawless wrapper. The pre-light draw was clean and sweet with the slightest hint of citrus. "Clean" is really the one word that keeps coming to mind about this smoke. On lighting, the cigar burned clean and crisp with very subtle flavors of sweetness and spice.  The edge remained sharp and level throughout the 45 minutes of smoking.  About mid-way through this cigar, a very slight nuttiness joined the mélange of flavors as the spice kicked up just a bit as well. I smoked this stick down to the nub and never did it turn harsh or bitter. Clean and smooth again all the way to the end. The ash, while a bit on the grey-side, held up for a good 3 ½ inches before falling off which is incredible for me as I have no skill at keeping long ashes attached to my cigars.For my palate, this is a mild-bodied cigar that would be perfect for a beginning smoker or an excellent coffee cigar for experienced smokers looking for a nice change-of-pace morning selection. I wouldn’t pair this with any strong alcoholic beverage, as the cigar's subtleness would be overshadowed.All in all, I rated this cigar a very solid 9-of-10 and will certainly keep some in my humidor for times I want something on the lighter side. I enjoyed the Plasencia Reserva Organica thoroughly and felt good about being nice to the planet at the same time. ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 10Draw - 10Burn - 9Flavor - 8Aroma - 8Total Score: 9.0To watch a video with Nestor Plasencia Jr. on how these cigars are made, click here.Want to hear more from the Reverend? Visit his page at SocialCigar.com
MORE
 

Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 1/4 x 44StrengthMildPlasencia Reserva Organica Corona cigars are handmade in Nicaragua from 100% organically-grown tobaccos the way the Indians did 500 years ago. These rare, smooth-smoking cigars are mild to medium in body, offering a marvelously PURE tobacco flavor that must be smoked to fully appreciate.Read more about Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona cigars. Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona CigarNicaraguaI just got my order from Famous Smoke yesterday. I had won these in an auction. The look of this smoke is very well made.At first glance, to see the darker wrapper, you would think a medium flavor. On the contrary, it is a mild, smooth and extremely tasty smoke. I made myself wait til this morning to enjoy one. I had it with my morning coffee. It tasted much like the cigars of old, like the ones I would sneak from my dad's stash over 30 years ago. Burns even and cool all the way to the last puff. At a great price on Famous Smoke. Everyone should give this stick a try- Review courtesy of "Dogs2bird1" at Cigarzilla.netWatch a video with Nestor Plasencia Jr. on how these cigars are made:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lRWDjPj7AM
MORE
 

Perdomo Lot 23 Belicoso

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 3/4 x 54StrengthMediumPerdomo Lot 23 Belicoso premium cigars present a high-quality, medium to full-bodied smoke at a fair price. A 4 to 5-year-aged Connecticut wrapper leaf, plus long-aged tobaccos grown in virgin Nicaraguan soil, give these unique cigars a hearty, wholesome, and well-rounded flavor. A must-try!Read more about Perdomo Lot 23 Belicoso cigars. Perdomo Lot 23 Belicoso CigarScore: 9.3By Gary KorbBefore I get into my review of this new Perdomo cigar, here's some of the backstory from a Perdomo press release:Perdomo Lot 23 is named for one of Tabacalera Perdomo's highly fertile farms located near its factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Perdomo Lot 23 is blended with Cuban-seed binders and fillers grown exclusively on Lot 23. "My father and I selected a plot of land near our factory that was untouched," said Nick Perdomo Jr. "We cleared the entire field, ran thorough soil analysis and carefully prepared the grounds." Planted in September of 2000 then harvested in January of 2001, the crop was fermented for a year between January of 2001 and January of 2002, bale-aged for over three years, then rolled into cigars in 2005.The color of its dark, virtually flawless Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper was so even in hue and buttery in appearance and texture, if it didn't have a band I would have sworn it was a Cuban Montecristo No.2. I clipped about 3/8 inch off and the draw was perfect. I didn't have to shave off another slice or bite down on it to get it to pull as is often the case with Torpedos and Belicosos.In the pre-lit taste, I picked up a note of woodiness, but no peppery taste whatsoever. My gut reaction was that this cigar was going to be very smooth, creamy, and complex. Was I right? Let's see...The foot lit up evenly and glowed perfectly across light a traffic light. The first puffs were smooth and toasty. There was some spiciness on the finish, but there was also something inherent in the flavor of this cigar that I couldn't pin down in terms of a specific flavor (which drove me crazy), but it had a soft, creamy earthiness that really appealed to my palate. Maybe something like nutmeg? I was pretty sure it was coming from the wrapper, but whatever it was, I wanted more and I got it.One half-inch in and the ash was burning bright white and perfectly. By the second inch, the cigar just came alive with flavor and increased somewhat in spiciness. The draw was so easy I had to be careful not to over-puff. Moreover, the smoke was so thick and creamy it was going right up my nose. The aroma was rife with a sweet spiciness and a barely imperceptible note of anise.The cigar soon rounded out to a perfect balance of deep, rich tobacco flavors. The words that come to mind, are "creamy," "toasty," "earthy," and "mellow." Just an amazing cigar. Maybe one of the best I've smoked of the new releases that will make my Top-10 Best Cigars of the Year. What was that other cigar I mentioned from Cuba? Gee, I've suddenly forgotten all about it.Appearance: 10Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.3
MORE
 
89

Ambos Mundos

88

Humo Jaguar

Perdomo Habano Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 52StrengthFullPerdomo Habano Robusto cigars are worth every penny. Nick Perdomo Jr. created this special, full-bodied blend using Cuban-seed tobaccos grown in the Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua. 'The beautiful Cuban-seed Corojo and triple-fermented Nicaraguan Maduro wrappers complement this unique filler blend by adding rich, bold flavors with a smooth, satisfying finish', says Nick. And tasting is believing. Whichever size and wrapper you prefer, one thing is certain: these cigars will enthrall you.Read more about Perdomo Habano Robusto cigars. Perdomo Habano Corojo Robusto CigarScore: 9.0By Hayward TenneyTo look at the Perdomo Habano Robusto is to see near-perfection in a handmade cigar. The bands are tastefully ornate, and though they take up a lot of real estate, aren't distracting. The smooth, milk-chocolate hued Corojo wrapper seamlessly winds around a core of firmly-packed Nicaraguan fillers and binder. There are no soft spots, leaf imperfections, and no prominent veins to speak of: in short, beautiful.I will say that it's more like 4.5" than the 5" advertised in Perdomo's site and the rest of the internet. At a 52 ring, there was a nice heft, and it felt good on my hand. The pre-light revealed rich tobacco flavor with bold, lip-tingling black pepper flavors. I knew immediately I was in for a full-bodied treat.The cigar toasted and lit nicely with a medium draw producing thick, flavorful smoke. When passed through my sinuses, I was blasted with pepper. After about a half inch, the smoke had rounded out with well-aged flavors of wood and some spice, leather on the nose, and a little sweetness on a short-medium finish. The ash was light grey with an oddly uniform texture - no "stack of quarters" effect here. It held for about an inch before falling off, so while it looks nice, it won't win you any long-ash contests.The burn was mostly even, showing an occasional, self-correcting variance of 1/8". Given the large ring, the smoke was abundantly thick and cool. I did notice that I needed to keep tabs on the cigar to ensure it remained lit.Halfway through, the cigar mellowed considerably to produce more sweetness and less pepper. I also noted more pronounced flavors of spice, and more nicotine. After an hour, I nubbed this cigar, which was the first bitterness encountered. All in all, this cigar impressed me. Our customers feel the same way, rating it 9.1 at Famous-Smoke.com. Reasonably priced for a box of 20, this is a value up there with the very best.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Olor Nicaragua Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFullThe Olor Nicaragua Robusto is a full-bodied, smooth-smoking cigar that hits on all cylinders. Their well-balanced blend of diverse Nicaraguan-grown Habano long-filler tobaccos neatly packed inside dark, spicy, Ecuadorian Habano wrappers, offer you a bold and aromatic smoke with a complex finish.Read more about Olor Nicaragua Robusto cigars. Olor Nicaragua Robusto CigarScore: 8.5By Rick Pate (a.k.a. "tachammer" at www.cigarzilla.net)These cigars start out with the typical spiciness of Nicaraguan tobaccos but with a little smoothness added. I couldn't quite put my finger on how to describe it. It's almost like a little of the edge was taken off. Perfect draw and burn and the wrapper was beautiful. I like Olor Fuerte but these are even better. The cigar built as it got shorter but never to the point where it kind of burned your tongue. It is a good, rounded but full bodied cigar.Appearance - 9Construction - 9Burn - 8Draw - 9Flavor - 8Aroma - 8Final Score:  8.5 on the "tac-o-meter"Reprinted by permission.
MORE
 
89

Don Tomas Clasico

Oliva Serie V Double Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5.000 x 54StrengthFullOliva Serie V premium cigars continue Oliva's fine tradition of blending perfectly balanced, full-flavored cigars. Each Oliva Serie V Double Robusto has a hearty blend of Nicaraguan Jalapa Valley Ligero longfiller and Nicaraguan binder capped in one of the most gorgeous and flavorful Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown wrappers you've ever tasted. Blended to deliver a full-bodied taste while maintaining a non-overpowering smoothness, the smoke is complex with accents of rich coffee and dark chocolate on a long finish. YUM!Read more about Oliva Serie V Double Robusto cigars. Oliva Serie V Ligero Double Robusto CigarScore: 9.3By Hayward TenneyI have heard some very good things indeed about the Oliva Serie V Ligero. They're released in such limited quantities that it's been difficult to find one, so today's cigar comes from a very generous BOTL. Special thanks go out to "Baboruger" from Cigarlive.com.To start with, this is an especially impressive-looking cigar. The body is smooth and oily with no pronounced veins to speak of. A triple cap flawlessly adorns the head, and the wrapper is a beautiful, deep shade of brown.The cigar was very well packed and had that sweet, barnyard aroma. After clipping it with a double guillotine, I found the initial draw almost alarmingly loose. It was sweet, with a toasty hint of nuts. This cigar takes a while to light, but I did so slowly. With all the extra oils in these dark tobaccos, there's no sense in overheating them to the point of bitterness.With a name like "V Ligero," you would expect a big blast of pepper. So imagine my surprise when it started firmly in the medium-bodied range, with very creamy smoke. The initial flavors were sweet, with notes of black pepper. Moving into the 1st third, the draw tightened up to provide some good resistance. The cigar's strength developed very quickly thereafter, with the pepper becoming more pronounced, and the smoke stinging my nose a little more with each pass through my nose. By the 2nd third, it had rounded out into a flavorful heavy-hitter, yet remained remarkably creamy – indicative of careful fermenting and masterful blending. I did encounter some sharpness moving into the middle portion of the cigar, but in a good way; like semi-sweet dark chocolate splashed with dark-roast coffee and nuts on a long, luxurious finish. The ash was nearly shock white, with the cigar producing a thick could of wonderfully aromatic smoke. The cigar burned true through its entire length, with all those nutty chocolate and coffee flavors developing and strengthening. With less than 2" remaining, the wrapper developed a tiny crack, so I let the cigar expire with dignity. All-in-all, I'm very impressed with this cigar. It's not often that a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar can retain such smoothness, yet that's exactly what I experienced. With all the talk about the Lancero vitola, I would LOVE to get my hands on one soon...keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review!Appearance: 10Construction: 8Burn: 9Draw: 10Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.3
MORE
 

Oliva Serie O Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFullOliva Serie O is designed for the seasoned palate. This unique-tasting, full-bodied blend is achieved by growing the same Cuban-seed Habano tobaccos in different regions of northern Nicaragua - producing a distinct flavor variation in each of these rich filler, binder and wrapper tobaccos. After a carefully controlled fermentation process, the tobaccos are aged a full five years. That's why every Oliva Serie O Robusto cigar presents a hearty, complex, and aromatic puro that's so smooth, it's never overpowering.Read more about Oliva Serie O Robusto cigars. Oliva Serie O Robusto CigarScore: 8.0By Craig NelsonI love this cigar. If I were limited to using three words to describe it, the words would be dreamy rustic candy.This Nicaraguan puro made entirely of Cuban seed tobacco features a beautiful, sun-grown wrapper that looks like it was stained by hand with an oil-based chestnut wood stain. On closer inspection, you’ll see that a super-fine tooth completely covers the surface, which I’m guessing adds to the great taste and aroma of this cigar.Earthy and woody throughout, it started off with a blaze of cedar that made my sinuses dance with joy and sweet spicy undertones that made my mouth water. About an inch or so into it, the sweetness and spiciness become even more prevalent, reminding of a sweet molasses and spice cookie baked by an old-country grandmother. A bit further down, that sweet spiciness remains but rounds out to become exquisitely smooth and mellow, like creamy toffee. At this point I’m on Cloud 9 because of the flavor and character, and because the experience for me is on par with cigars (often with the word Vintage in their names) that cost several times more. The construction was equally amazing. It consistently provided an easy draw and even burn.I’ve smoked a wide variety of cigars for about 12 years. For my money, the Oliva Serie O Robusto is the best 3-buck cigar I’ve found. I discovered them by trying a 5-pack sampler from Famous Smoke Shop and haven’t looked back.Thank you Oliva. Thank you Famous.Scores:Appearance: 8Construction: 7Draw: 8Burn: 7Flavor: 9Balance: 8Aroma: 9Total: 8.0
MORE
 

Oliva Serie O Petit Perfecto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize4 x 49StrengthFullOliva Serie O is designed for the seasoned palate. This unique-tasting, full-bodied blend is achieved by growing the same Cuban-seed Habano tobaccos in different regions of northern Nicaragua - producing a distinct flavor variation in each of these rich filler, binder and wrapper tobaccos. After a carefully controlled fermentation process, the tobaccos are aged a full five years. That's why every Oliva Serie O Petit Perfecto cigar presents a hearty, complex, and aromatic puro that's so smooth, it's never overpowering.Read more about Oliva Serie O Petit Perfecto cigars. Oliva Serie O Petite Perfecto CigarScore: 9.3I'm particularly partial to the double perfecto shape, and was very impressed with the balance of flavor and smoothness the Serie O "Petit Perfecto." It was flawlessly rolled and perfectly packed, resulting in a very clean burning cigar that, despite its four-inch length, burned well close to an hour. Every puff was rich, earthy and sweet with a toasty finish, and I held on to it as long as I could before finally letting it go out with about a half-inch remaining. Even at that point the smoke never turned bitter. Highly recommended.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 10Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.3
MORE
 

Oliva Master Blends 3 Churchill

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize7 x 50StrengthFullThe crème de la crème from The Oliva Family. The Master Blends 3 'Liga Maestra' series presents a limited-edition, artisan-crafted cigar of private estate selection quality. Specifically blended to deliver the richest characteristics of Nicaraguan Ligero longfillers and Nicaraguan sun-grown Broadleaf wrappers, each Master Blends 3 selection is a complex, full-flavored, and aromatic cigar created to enthrall the senses. If you're a smoker with a well-developed palate, so much the better!Read more about Oliva Master Blends 3 Churchill cigars. Oliva Master Blends 3 Churchill CigarScore: 9.0By Gary KorbAppearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma:9Flavor:9Overall Score: 9.0Very attractive wrapper. Somewhat toothy with nice medium-brown color. No laser engraving on the wrapper as last two editions. Tastes very much like the Oliva Series O. Much bolder in flavor than the Master Blends 2. Spicy and very full-bodied, yet very smooth. Flavors of aged cedar, dark, earthy flavors. Burly in flavor and aroma. A heavy cigar.
MORE
 

Medalist by Alec Bradley Cuban Belicoso

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 1/2 x 52StrengthFullMedalist by Alec Bradley Cuban Belicoso cigars are full-flavored premium cigars enriched by a mouthwatering Costa Rican wrapper that surrounds a complex blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and U.S. Connecticut tobaccos. The construction, earthy flavor, and aroma are all first-rate. Highly recommended.Read more about Medalist by Alec Bradley Cuban Belicoso cigars. Alec Bradley Medalist Cuban Belicoso CigarScore: 9.0Produced in Honduras, this cigar sports an attractive, oily, Costa Rican wrapper. The filler is Nicaraguan Jalapa, Nicaraguan Esteli, and Honduran Jamastran with U.S. Connecticut binder. Dark and virtually void of veins. Expertly rolled, well-packed, and quite beefy. Upon lighting, the foot lit evenly across. The cigar drew easily and smoothly producing a thick, creamy smoke. Aroma is a big factor with me, and this cigar really put out. The scent was strong and earthy with a discernable trace of sweetness.The cigar was well-balanced in flavor throughout, and did not get stronger or turn bitter well into the last half. For the most part, the smoke was loaded with dark tobacco flavor underpinned by notes spice, hazelnut, cedar, and semi-sweet notes of dark chocolate. However, I did find one thing that I would have to list as a caveat: Due to the thickness and texture of the wrapper leaf, the cigar tended to angle at times. Or, if left alone too long, it would go out. Although this cigar falls into the "full-bodied" camp, by today's strength standards, more experienced smokers might argue that it leans more toward the top of the medium-bodied scale. Less experienced smokers will very likely find this cigar full-bodied, but I prefer to use the term "full-flavored." Moreover, due to its 52-gauge ring, there's a lot of tobacco to smoke. This cigar will get into your system and can be quite heady. Therefore, I suggest you take your time with this cigar by letting it "breathe" between puffs. In closing, I found the Medalist Cuban Belicoso a luxurious smoke that can be enjoyed by cigar smokers whose palates have adapted to robust, multidimensional cigars, as well as those who may be ready to move up to a much more flavorful cigar that's not too overbearing.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 10Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 
76

Xen By Nish Patel

89

Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon

Liga Privada No. 9 Parejo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 52StrengthFullLiga Privada No. 9 Parejo cigars were originally created for the sole smoking pleasure of Drew Estate president Steve Saka. Exquisitely blended from 7 different tobaccos from 7 different farms, it is handcrafted only by the factory's absolute best torcedors. Each cigar is flawless in construction, flavor and character. Rich, complex and full-bodied without being harsh, this Liga Privada ("private blend") is best described in one word: Satisfying. Try some today and taste the other side of Drew Estate!Read more about Liga Privada No. 9 Parejo cigars. Liga Privada No. 9 Parejo CigarScore: 9.7By Hayard TenneyWord about Drew Estate's Liga Privada No. 9 has spread like a virus, ascending the "must-try lists" of cigar smokers everywhere (including yours truly). So imagine my utter delight in being asked to review it. Legend has it that Steve Saka was looking for a cigar to smoke daily and share with industry insiders (ironically, Drew Estate's Presidente doesn't like infused cigars). After 50-some blends, they finally achieved "Private Blend No. 9". It features tobaccos grown from 7 different farms, or vegas, including one of the most stunning Maduro wrappers I've had the pleasure of putting flame to. Though originally envisioned as strictly an estate cigar, Liga Privada No. 9 is now for sale, thanks to word-of-mouth and skyrocketing demand.The finely veined capa is almost jet-black, an impressive color considering its all-natural fermentation. A perfectly symmetrical cap adorns the head, and when pinched, the cigar's length is firm, with considerable heft. As if to confirm the hype surrounding it, the cigar simply feels substantial. I take a sniff and am immediately drawn back to my lunchbox: it's not coffee or nutmeg or earth I detect, but (don't laugh) a Fruit Roll-up. I can't believe it myself, but the smell is sweet, round and citric. The cigar cuts beautifully, exposing firmly packed, well-aged tobaccos. The test draw is easy and earthy, with hints of bitter chocolate. It takes a while to light, but once glowing, full-bodied Maduro madness ensues. A base of earthy, sweet flavors drenches my palate, accented with black pepper, rich leather and some spice. To add to the cigar's remarkable complexity, I also notice char and some saltiness. After 1/4" it rounds out, the pepper giving way to a more pronounced sweetness in the aroma. 1/2" in, the smoke has formed a leathery core laced with earth and salt. The wisps of resting smoke are white and deliver a deeply satisfying aroma. The burn meanders a bit, though never more than 1/16". I'm struck both by its balance and its power.A column of light, matte gray ash begins to form which taps off neatly in 3/4" nuggets. The smoke's texture has turned creamier, shaking off the saltiness. I note intensified leather and earthy, citric notes at the 2/3 point, plus the reappearance of some spice. By halfway through, the leathery character has intensified. The bitter chocolate redoubles as well, and through the final third, these flavors crescendo to a harmonious buffet of richness. After 1 hour. 45 minutes, I'm spent. This outstanding cigar has become, in my mind, a meter-stick: what full-bodied Maduro cigars should aspire to.Appearance: 10Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 10Aroma: 10Flavor: 9Final: 9.7
MORE
 

La Floridita Limited Edition Magnum

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 x 60StrengthMediumLa Floridita Limited Edition Robusto cigars offer you a smooth and rewarding full-bodied smoke brimming with bold, complex flavor. A well-balanced, four-nation blend is seamlessly rolled in a dark, savory Brazilian Mata Fina leaf for a much more refined and luxurious smoke at a sensible price.Read more about La Floridita Limited Edition Magnum cigars. La Floridita Limted Edition Robusto CigarScore: 8.2By Barry Stein of A Cigar Smokers JournalI was rather surprised by this cigar, as I am not generally a fan of big ring cigars. The draw was pleasant enough, and the notes were of mocha, wood, leather and some licorice. This full bodied cigar was a great editon to the cold winter day and was more satifying them glass of hot choclate. A great winter smoke!Appearance: 8Construction: 9Burn (ash, etc.): 8Draw Rate: 8Flavor Rate: 8Aroma Rate: 8Final Score: 8.2For more cigar reviews by Barry Stein, please visit acigarsmoker.com (A Cigar Smokers Journal).
MORE
 

La Campina Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthMediumLa Campiña cigars were inspired by the name of the quaint countryside inn where Arthur and Hal often stay in Esteli, Nicaragua. Spanish for 'countryside,' these relaxing cigars are handmade at Plasencia's Esteli factory using a medium-bodied blend of Esteli Ligero, Jalapa Viso and Honduran Jamastran Seco leaves rolled in silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers. The smoke is smooth, balanced and creamy with accents of nutmeg, toasted almond, and hint of white pepper. Order your box now.Read more about La Campina Robusto cigars. La Campiña Robusto CigarScore: 7.5By Rick Pate (a.k.a "Tachammer" at Cigarzilla.net)Smooth, mild to medium bodied. First one cracked up to the band after ¼ the way in. After some humi time, the second one made it to the end with no cracking. Since the cracking seemed to have more to do with humidification than construction, I didn’t consider that should affect the score.Burn for both was a little uneven but no runners or tunneling and never needed correcting.  Nice finish even though a little faint lasts a long time.Flavor was the only part that was difficult for me to rate. Though it wasn’t bad, there wasn’t much to remember about the taste, which I would best describe as "neutral."Appearance - 7Construction - 8Burn (ash, etc.) - 7Draw - 9Flavor - 6Aroma - 8Final Score: 7.5 on the "tac-o-meter."Reposted by permission.
MORE
 
93

Acid Subculture

89

Ashton Cabinet Selection

La Aurora Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthMildThe La Aurora Robusto is expertly handcrafted with La Aurora's mild, yet rich-tasting blend of select, premium Dominican tobaccos surrounded by a flavorful African Cameroon leaf. Often found in some of our samplers, the Robusto draws well and burns clean with a savory aroma.Read more about La Aurora Robusto cigars. La Aurora Robusto CigarScore: 8.5By The Reverend Dr. Hurricane MeynEvery year when the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival rolls around, I find myself faced with the same quandary: what cigar should I smoke while enjoying the plethora of musical acts and the incredible food choices?  (As usual, I couldn’t decide between Crawfish Monica and the fried soft shell crab po-boy – so I had both.) I’m sure many of you have faced the same dilemma. You don’t want to stroll around smoking your lawn-cutting throwdown cigar, but neither do you want to risk having any of your highly treasured and expensive sticks drenched by tropical rains, snuffed by gale force winds, or knocked from your hands and trampled by some inebriated tourist who’s had a few too many Sazeracs on his first trip out of Enid.For such events, and there are plenty down here in The Big Easy, I stock my humidor with a cache of premium cigars in the medium price range that won’t make me cry should tragedy strike. At the top of my Festival Cigar List is the tried-and-true La Aurora Robusto.Confession time y’all. I’m an all day sucker for anything wrapped in the rare, toothy Cameroon leaf, but the La Aurora Robusto, at about $3 per stick from Famous Smoke Shop, is consistently as good as - if not better than -  much more expensive Dominican cigars with the same wrapper.  On this particular day, the La Aurora in question displayed the high quality construction I’ve come to expect from this Dominican gem. The wrapper had no major flaws and was thinly veined. The cigar had a very pleasant aroma and just a slight give when pressed between the fingers – a very important characteristic in a cigar that is going to be enjoyed walking about al fresco. The roll must not be so loose as to burn unevenly or too quickly when fanned by gusty winds. The stick clipped nicely with by Wenger Swiss Army Knife cutter, and the flame was accepted easily upon lighting.The Cameroon wrapper supplied just the right amount of spiciness as the Dominican filler fueled the flavor of the mild-medium bodied smoke that suggested subtle hints of vanilla and toasty wood.Brothers and sisters, this is an understated cigar, not one that will wallop you over the head with any particular essence nor overpower anything you might be eating or drinking. The La Aurora Robusto is an accompanying smoke that enhances food and drink. The ash was more white than gray, and the burn was even despite a gusty wind.To sum it up, The Rev says you can believe that the La Aurora Robusto will make any outdoor event even more enjoyable.Peace, Love and Smoke,The RevAppearance: 8Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 9Final Score: 8.5Also visit: The Reverend's NOLa Church of Smokes at SocialCigar,com
MORE
 

Kristoff Criollo Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 1/8 x 52StrengthMediumKristoff Criollo Torpedo cigars contain a well-aged blend of Dominican Olor and Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos, wrapped in Nicaraguan Habano Criollo. Packaged in a cedar box and surrounded by loose tobacco, this Kristoff has a beautiful pre-embargo feel. With an oily, medium brown wrapper, pigtail and shaggy foot, expect a medium-bodied smoke featuring notes of toasted almond, hints of spice and a sweet finish. Kristoff Criollo cigars embody the taste and richness sought by the true aficionado.Read more about Kristoff Criollo Torpedo cigars. Kristoff Criollo Torpedo CigarScore: 8.6By Gary KorbThe Kristoff Criollo Torpedo is rolled to 6 1/8" x 52, and a very handsome cigar, as well. The blend consists of Dominican Olor and Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos wrapped in a buttery-smooth Nicaraguan Habano Criollo wrapper leaf with a semi-shaggy foot. (The tobacco is tucked under the foot, instead of loose.) The cigar was well packed, and I used a V-cutter to clip it. The pre-light flavors were somewhat woody and nutty.Once lit, the cigar took nicely exposing a clean burn. The smoke at this stage was rather mild and predominantly woody in flavor. I found the smoke to be very mellow and so smooth that I smoked it dry during the first few inches. The flavor was highly consistent through the first act with a base of wood and nut flavors, a hint of almond, and just a trace of sweetness on the finish. During one drag I tasted a note of anise, but for the most part the cigar did not gain much in the way of strength.During the second act, it turned into a true medium-bodied, yet extremely mellow cigar. I should also note here that this cigar displayed one of the best ashes I've seen. It was firm, and when tapped-off revealed a beautiful oval-shaped cherry. Although the woodiness intensified a little, the smoke did not exhibit any additional flavors.Overall, it was quite enjoyable. I only drank spring water while smoking it. The water allowed me to better assess the cigar's flavors, but next time I'd like to smoke it with a good Port.ScoresAppearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.6
MORE
 

GH2 Corona Gorda

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 5/8 x 46StrengthFullGran Habano GH2 cigars are full-bodied factory closeouts, which means if you want robust Honduran flavor at deep discount, you're in luck. Presented in bundles of 25, all of the cigars sport lush Habano wrappers that surround a savory core of diverse longfiller tobaccos. The smoke is exceptionally creamy with dark, earthy flavors and a spicy finish. As you would expect from Gran Habano, the quality is top-shelf, which makes this selection an even greater value. Get 'em while they last!Read more about GH2 Corona Gorda cigars. GH2 by Gran Habano Corona Gorda CigarScore: 8.3Review by Hayward TenneyGran Habano Cigars seems to be one of these under-sung companies that make good cigars at very reasonable prices. To their enviable stable of cigars they've added the GH2 series, which is currently available only at Famous Smoke Shop. Recently, I had the opportunity to smoke the 5 5/8" x 46 Corona Gorda. I immediately noticed that it was very well constructed - well-packed with no soft spots, and had a nice, balanced feel in the hand. The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper is dark, smooth and oily.GH2 shows a flavor of cocoa-dusted nuts on the pre-light. Once lit, mild spice, pepper and cocoa form the base of the flavor profile. The burn required a couple of touchups, but this is unsurprising, given that it's a Habano wrapper. There's a pronounced sweetness in the aroma that I also found very appealing.The 2nd third built noticeably in body, revealing deeper flavors of earth, some complex sweetness, and a nutty aroma. At this point I would call it medium to full-bodied, but very full-flavored.The final third builds to a full-bodied smoke. Some notes of bitter chocolate peek through, and the aroma becomes burly, like a punch in the face that actually makes you smile a bit.In addition to some touchups, the cigar went out once. Although I had to relight, I didn't encounter any bitterness. That being said, I would definitely store these cigars at a lower RH, and maybe even "dry box" them before smoking. The white and dark gray ash is medium firm and holds a respectable 1" before falling off.Overall, this was an enjoyable smoke. If you appreciate Gran Habano's fuller-bodied offerings, GH2 cigars certainly present a value that's well worth checking out.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 9Draw: 7Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.3
MORE
 

Famous Nicaraguan Habano Churchill

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize7 x 50StrengthFullFamous Nicaraguan Habano Churchill cigars are the perfect cigars for bargain hounds seeking full-bodied flavor at an affordable price. Their 5-yr-aged blend of dark Nicaraguan tobaccos, offers you a smooth, spicy and complex smoke that hits on all cylinders.Read more about Famous Nicaraguan Habano Churchill cigars. Famous Nicaraguan Habano Churchill CigarScore: 8.4By Bob "The Reverend Hurricane" MeynBrothers and Sisters, lean in close to the screen because The Rev has a little secret to tell you, but I don’t want to say it too loudly because the news could start a buying stampede on my all-important everyday cigars, the Famous Nicaraguan Habano selection. I can’t say enough about this Nicaraguan puro. The Churchill I enjoyed preparing for this sermon (obtained via Cigar Monster.com - bless you Hayward!), displayed the typically good construction I’ve come to expect from this exclusive Famous offering. The dark, luscious wrapper showed only the minor imperfections expected from the sometimes fragile Habano leaf.On the cold draw, this cigar had a mouthwateringly clean and fresh essence. Once I put my trusty Vector Thundra to this 7" x 50 behemoth, a full-bodied spiciness immediately revealed itself in a satisfying billow of thick creamy smoke. Make no mistake, the body and flavor of the cigar is definitely full, yet neither overpowers in any respect during the course of smoking. Superbly balanced hints of spice and cedar gradually evolve into notes of coffee and nuttiness. The cigar burned evenly for over 70 minutes (giving me time for to enjoy a couple of Maker’s Mark’s neat), and produced a pleasing whitish-grey ash. Never did it turn harsh, even as I enjoyed it to the nub.Try the Famous Nicaraguan Habano Churchill and judge for yourself.  But don’t tell too many people or you might have to settle for a lesser smoke!Peace, Love and Smokes...The Rev.ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 8Draw - 8Burn - 8Aroma - 8Flavor - 9Balance - 9Total Score: 8.4To read more of the Rev's cigar reviews and more, visit his NOLA Church of Smokes page at SocialCigar.com.
MORE
 

Famous Nicaraguan 5000 Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 50StrengthFullFamous Nicaraguan 5000 cigars are another gem handmade in the same 'secret' little factory as our Famous Nicaraguan 4000 cigars. If full-bodied flavor floats your boat, this is one cigar that's hard to ignore at these prices. Each Famous Nicaraguan 5000 Toro dons a dark, sweet 'n peppery Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper that surrounds a core of robust Nicaraguan longfillers and Indonesian binder. The result is a perfectly-balanced cigar with superb construction and burn. Add a bundle of this hot new blend to your cart now.Read more about Famous Nicaraguan 5000 Toro cigars. Famous Nicaraguan 5000 Toro CigarScore: 8.7By Tom BullockI was really looking forward to trying this Famous Nicaraguan 5000 Toro, the Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper is a dark chocolate brown, oily and toothy; the cigar is firm and heavy in the hand. The foot shows a well bunched and solid cigar. The pre-light exam provided aromas of well aged and spicy tobacco, the flavors are sweet and earthy. The cap is flat and cuts perfectly, showing no stems.At light up there is a distinctive Nicaraguan burst of spicy cinnamon followed by rich tobacco flavors. The aromas are enticing and mouth watering. In the first third of this cigar there are flavors of caramel and light cocoa, toasted oak and fine leather. I had to look again to see what I was smoking; this tastes too good to be a bundle cigar. The flavors I tasted were light cedary notes, cinnamon, and gentle, rich tobacco. The finish is smooth and slightly lingering, very tasty and pleasant.In the second half there are increased flavors of leather, traces of oak leaf, and a lovely tobacco sweetness. The caramel notes are pronounced with a note of pepper on a lingering finish. I looked again to be sure what I was smoking. I wasn't prepared for the depth of flavor in this cigar. The aroma became much more pronounced as tasty and very satisfying layers of spice and cedar mingled with oak and leather notes.The last third of this smoke was amazing! Very intense, concentrated flavors and a creamy note rounded this cigar out with some slight earthiness making for a wonderful experience. The pepper and caramel both blended nicely, plus there was a salty note that lasted to the end. This cigar has a big flavor profile, intense aromas, and a well rounded palate that immediately made me want to light up another one. The burn was perfect all the way to the nub. I have seldom been this surprised and delighted by a bundle cigar. You can be sure I will recommend this one to my friends.I strongly suggest getting some of these and aging them, I can tell they will be amazing with a little humidor time. Thank you Famous for letting me review this blend.ScoresAppearance-9Construction-9Draw-9Burn-9Aroma-8Flavor-8Balance-9Total Score: 8.7
MORE
 
90

Gispert

Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Torpedo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 1/2 x 54StrengthFullYou've heard of the Cuban missile crisis? Well, this is the Nicaraguan missile niceness. A high caliber Torpedo pressed into a dark, oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that blasts-off with a spicy salvo of earthy Nicaraguan flavor, yet won't annihilate you. A great buy if you love full-bodied cigars.Read more about Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Torpedo cigars. Famous Nicaraguan Selection 3000 Torpedo CigarNicaraguaI had wanted to try this smoke for some time, and I am glad I finally did. At first glance you can tell this is a very well made cigar. The deep brown wrapper has good oils and is smooth with few veins. The draw was just right, the burn was sharp and the ash was white and firm. The taste was full, spicy and rich but not overpowering. It smoked cool and smooth. I love full bodied spicy smokes and this vitola fit the bill perfectly. It will be tough keeping these in the humidor.- Review courtesy of "Fletchman" at Cigarzilla.net
MORE
 

Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Toro

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5.500 x 54StrengthFullAn amazing value for the full-bodied cigar smoker. Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Toro cigars are made with a robust blend of diverse Nicaraguan tobaccos draped in dark, oily Ecuadorian-grown Habano wrappers. The smoke is spicy, earthy, complex, yet not overpowering, for a flavorful, satisfying smoke.Read more about Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Toro cigars. Famous Nicaraguan 3000 Toro CigarNicaraguaI am currently on the last third of my first [Famous Nicaraguan Selection] 3000 Toro and I'm thoroughly enjoying this stick! Great flavor that I agree is similar to the Padrons I've smoked and it also reminds me a little of the Reo. Handsome wrapper, firm construction, the ash holds to about an inch and a quarter, but remember I'm a clod. Looking into the ash, you can clearly see the variation in color, the wrapper and filler ash are both light gray and the binder ash is more of a charcoal color. Another thing I liked is that this one tasted good from first light, unlike the Flor De Olivia that takes me an inch or two to begin to enjoy. When I first clipped it, the draw seemed a little tight and that combined with the firm feel had me a little worried that it may be a tough draw all the way but it was not. The draw was just fine and every one produced generous amounts of thick white smoke.I had the misfortune of being standby tech guy at work today for a senior management meeting at a remote site and I thought I'd be bored to death. I went out at lunch and picked up a Romeo y Julieta 1875 Bully 5" X 50 that helped a lot. But, I actually think I enjoyed this smoke more. Andconsidering I paid $4.75 for the R&J and it had burn issues and developed a crack, this Famous is IMO a better stick.- Michael Weiner (ClubStogie.com)
MORE
 
87

Vega Fina

92

Room 101 Connecticut

Famous 70th Anniversary Perdomo Churchill

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize7 x 50StrengthFullFamous Pvt. Sel. 70th Anniversary by Perdomo Churchill cigars offer you a full-bodied blend of 3-year-aged Nicaraguan longfiller tobaccos. Seamlessly rolled in silky, Cuban-seed Nicaraguan Corojo wrappers, the cigar reveals a luxuriously smooth smoke that's rife with complex woody-nutty flavors.Read more about Famous 70th Anniversary Perdomo Churchill cigars. Famous 70th Anniversary by Perdomo Churchill CigarScore: 8.8By Barry Stein (www.acigarsmoker.com)Appearance and Construction: The wrapper on this Corojo stick has the delicious appearance of milk chocolate. The wrapper has a fairly significant amount of veins and a lot of tooth to it. The foot and the cap appear to be loosely packed despite the cigar having a nice weight to it. The band of the cigar denotes it is part of the Famous Private Selection and the back side denotes the 70th anniversary. There is a secondary band letting you know the cigar is produced by Perdomo.Flavor & Notes: The pre-light offers an amazing pre-light draw of caramel and nuts with a touch of raisin. The notes of raisin are more abundant off the scent of the foot of this stick. I was eager to light the cigar at this point and the first third offered notes of wood with a hint of raisins that was joined by nutty notes as we entered the second third. The second third the nutty notes took over with easily defined wood in the background. The final third of the cigar is a really smooth mix of wood and nutty notes.Burn/Ash/Draw: The cigar has a pretty jagged burn line, but it never hinted that it would get out of hand. The ash has some flake to it and was light gray in color. The draw has a slight resistance to it that helped this cigar approach a 2 hour burn.Overall: The cigar had two strikes against it to start: 1) I am not a fan of the Churchill size, and 2) I am not a fan of Perdomo cigars. So, with two strikes I was surprised that this turned into a bloop base hit. While not a home run, this cigar was enjoyable enough where I might visit them in the Robusto size.Appearance and Construction (20%): 16Flavor & Notes (30%): 27Burn/Ash/Draw (25%): 24Overall (25%): 21Final Score: 88 To read more of Barry Stein's cigar reviews visit www.acigarsmoker.com.
MORE
 

Famous 70th Anniversary Garcia Family Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFullFamous Private Selection 70th Anniversary Edition commemorates our 70 years of success. This limited-edition installment comes from the Garcia Family (yes, THAT Garcia family). It is flawlessly handmade in Nicaragua with premium Nicaraguan longfiller and binder tobaccos, and a Nicaraguan Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper. Whichever size you prefer, you can expect a medium to full-bodied cigar made in the Garcia tradition, with a rich, well-balanced profile complemented by notes of pepper. A must-try!Read more about Famous 70th Anniversary Garcia Family Robusto cigars. Famous 70th Anniversary Garcia Robusto CigarNicaraguaBy Patrick Semmens, Stogie Guys (July 4, 2009)Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar. - P.S.I managed to procure this smoke, created by the Garcia Family, in celebration of Famous Smoke Shop’s 70th Anniversary at their Cigar Expo event. It features a slightly rustic habano rosado wrapper and a firm feel. Starting with a singular taste of intense cedar, it progresses to a full-flavored profile where rich earth and pepper weave in and out. With excellent construction, the Famous 70th Anniversary Garcia Robusto is a good cigar now, but I get the feeling it could be better with some age.Verdict = Buy.For more cigar reviews and other news, visit StogieGuys.com.
MORE
 

EP Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 3/8 x 52StrengthMediumEP Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009 cigars are an all-new blend from Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, creator of La Gloria Cubana cigars. Only about 2,500 boxes of these limited edition cigars will be available per month from December '09 to April 2010. 2-5 year-aged Nicaraguan and Dominican Piloto Cubano tobaccos, plus 2 binders, are deftly rolled inside an exclusive 3-year-aged Ecuadorian-grown Habano wrapper. The smoke is medium-bodied, characterized by rich, creamy flavors. Sure to be a collectors item, pre-order your box now!Read more about EP Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009 cigars. E.P. Carrillo Edición Inaugural 2009 CigarScore: 9.0By Tom BullockThe long-awaited E.P. Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009 cigar is officially here. Rolled to a 5 3/8 x 50 Robusto, the cigar is very firm, heavy in the hand, and consists of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos all aged 2 to 5 years. The wrapper is a rare Ecuadorian leaf grown in limited quantities, light brown, very smooth, and slightly shiny with almost invisible seams. The bunching is excellent, the cap is clean and cuts evenly. This is not a cheap cigar, but is it worth the price? Let's see.The pre light was full of nuances of rich, mature tobacco with aromas of honey and cedar. The flavors were that of sweet tobacco and a clean taste of light earth; the draw was medium-firm. There were such good flavors I spent several minutes just experiencing them before lighting-up.The first third began with a blast of cedar, pepper and earth, smooth rich tobacco flavor, and a totally delightful aroma of nutty, almost cashew-like essence, toasted oak and fine fresh leather. I am instantly reminded of the smell of the old La Gloria Cubana cigars from the late 80's and early 90's. WOW! What a treat! My mouth was watering.The second third stayed very rich and full tasting, more fine leather, toasted oak, cedar, and a delightful nutty aroma. The finish was very clean with a light lingering taste of mature tobacco, with almost a velvety feel on the palate. The ash was light gray, almost white, and firm. I am astonished by the depth of flavor in this smoke, since it is still a "young" cigar.The final third the cigar became a bit creamier, the flavor intensity built slightly, and the aromas were very engaging. The taste was almost chewy, while the finish remained surprisingly clean - absolutely no bitterness or ashy taste at all. The burn was very even all the way to the end. It was sad when I had to put it down, but the overall experience was excellent. I'm convinced this cigar will improve even more with age. It's terrific now, but I will not revisit it for several months (it should be awesome in six months to a year). I hope you have the patience to wait as it will be worth it. Moreover, I recently smoked a 14 year old La Gloria I had saved from 1995. It was incredible.Trust Ernesto Carrillo to deliver a top notch product. He and his family can be very proud.ScoresAppearance-9Construction-9Draw-8Burn-9Aroma-10Flavor-9Balance-9Total Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Don Pepin Garcia Black Robusto 1979

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFullDon Pepin Garcia Black Robusto 1979 premium cigars are handcrafted in the classic Cuban puro tradition with an all Nicaraguan-grown tobacco blend highlighted by a dark, flavorful Habana Rosado wrapper. Produced at Don Pepin's factory in Esteli, Nicaragua using a diverse blend of Nicaraguan longfillers and binder, the smoke is thick and creamy dominated by a strong cedar flavor. The cigar becomes more complex as it smokes, revealing notes of spice and coffee on a long finish with a rich, sweet tobacco aroma.Read more about Don Pepin Garcia Black Robusto 1979 cigars. Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic CigarBy Dennis Camacho at thecigarspy.comAs far as I know, this was my first foray into the world of Don Pepin Garcia’s line of cigars. Read on to see how the Cuban Classic fared in my most recent review.Hearing the name of Don Pepin Garcia, most cigar smokers will automatically recognize the name, even if they are not familiar with his lines of cigars. Being that I fall into the category of recognition but not having the opportunity of smoking any of his cigars, I decided to do a blind target with his line and ended up with his Cuban Classic.Like many of the cigars I have had the opportunity to review, the Cuban Classic had excellent construction with zero construction issues. The textured, smooth feeling brown wrapper really helped highlight the slightly oversized band.Using a punch and wooden match to light the cigar, I was immediately greeted with a strong burst of spicy, peppery notes. Accompanying the pepper were also hints of coffee, which is interesting because about 30 minutes into the cigar, my wife brought me a cup of coffee. The cup of coffee paired very well with this cigar, almost like this cigar was made specifically to be matched to each other. I did notice that once the peppery notes did subside about 20 minutes in, the flavors of the cigar did dip a bit throughout the rest of the cigars smoke, even though this is a more medium to full bodied smoke. It wasn’t anything that was a deal breaker for the cigar but I can’t help wonder if letting the cigar age a bit would help heighten the flavors.I did find that in using a punch, I had a slightly tight draw throughout the whole of smoking this cigar. There was also a slightly uneven burn at the start of the cigar but it did even out within 10-15 minutes. Another high point of this cigar that I was found was the almost solid, attractive white ash that stayed with the cigar until I found it necessary to flake it off.Recommendations: While I would buy this cigar again, I think there are others out there that I would select first over this one. If I was drinking quite a bit of coffee on a regular basis, I would no doubt have a number of these on hand. Again, I have a sneaking suspicion that a box of these aged for a year or two could make these middle-of-the-road cigars move up closer to the head of the line. Still, if someone offered me a stick, I would happily accept with a gracious “Thank You”.Reposted by permission of the author.
MORE
 

Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthMediumCusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto's toothy, dark brown wrapper is flawlessly wrapped around a filler blend that incorporates a Dominican wrapper leaf. The burn and draw are perfect, delivering an abundance of sensationally sweet smoke on the full side of medium-bodied. Even with some power behind it, the rare Cameroon leaf remains the star, revealing well-balanced notes of spice and an equally seductive aroma. The cigars are named for Cusano co-owner Joe Chiusano's birth-year.Read more about Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto cigars. Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto CigarScore: 9.1By Bob "The Reverend Hurricane" Meyn Happy New Year Brothers and Sisters!  As I contemplated what cigar to bring to the uptown Bulldog beer tavern to enjoy while watching my beloved Saints play (and subsequently drub) the Cardinals, I got to thinking: the Saints being in the playoffs is rare, so why not turn to the Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto? Let me explain why I couldn't have chosen more wisely. The Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon cigars are beautiful to behold, dressed up in The Rev's favorite wrapper: a dark, oily, and toothy Cameroon leaf. The Robusto had a clean, fresh cold draw, and I lit it up with my ever-present Vector Thundra cigar lighter as easy as Drew Brees picks apart secondaries. Perfectly humidified after a dormir in my Katrinador, the stick had just the right give between the fingers with nary a hint of crackling. The flavor was a terrific combination of spice with a trace of leather in the first half inch of the stick. This mellowed to a coffee-leather interplay that lasted for the remainder of the smoke. For my palate, the taste was a little on the uncomplicated side, but solid and never overpowering. The burn was sharp and even throughout the duration of the smoke, and the draw was perfectly balanced - neither too much air nor too much resistance. Voluminous smoke was readily surrendered with little effort. Never was the cigar harsh or bitter. The Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon is, by my palate, a spot-on medium-bodied beauty. As good as it tastes, where this particular stick really shines is in its construction. Now, it rains a little bit in New Orleans, and sure enough the skies opened up in the second quarter of the game sending the "Who Dats" on the patio to seek shelter. Unfortunately, cigars can't be taken inside the bar, so I took refuge under the small overhang of the side entrance (along with two fellow herfers) where I could see both the game and still be reached by Mrs. Rev who graciously passed me pints of Franziskaner Hefe Weiss expertly poured by Jennifer, our regular barkeeper. Despite the substantial rain, wind, wild gesticulating during multiple Saint touchdowns (and substantial beer consumption by yours truly), the Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto held its stunning gray-white ash well over three inches and never required a re-light. Outstanding performance to say the least. The Rev's playoff MVP is the Cusano 59 Rare Cameroon Robusto.  ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 10Draw - 9Burn - 10Aroma - 9Flavor - 8Balance - 9Total Score: 9.1 To read more of the Rev's cigar reviews and more, visit the NOLa Church of Smokes at SocialCigar.com.
MORE
 

Cruz Real Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 x 50StrengthMediumCruz Real Robusto cigars present a high-quality, mild to medium-bodied premium cigar. Made exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop by Nestor Plasencia in Honduras, the 3-nation filler & binder blend offers you plenty of smooth, earthy flavor enhanced by a silky, sweet-smelling U.S. Connecticut wrapper.Read more about Cruz Real Robusto cigars. Cruz Real Robusto Connecticut CigarScore: 8.0By "TacHammer" (www.cigarzilla.net)Cruz Real cigars are blended by Rocky Patel and Famous [Smoke Shop] proprietor Arthur Zaretsky with long-aged Dominican and Nicaraguan longfillers rolled in your choice of U.S. Connecticut or savory dark Sumatra wrappers. I'm typically not a fan of Connecticut wrappers, and this cigar is a little weak to me for an after meal desert, but it makes for a great morning cigar with coffee. The rich flavor really melds with java in a way that is hard to describe. The stick felt just a little soft up and down it's length but I never had any draw or burn issues. It burned evenly and supplied ample smoke with a firm gray ash.I would definitely like more. Rocky and Arthur are to be commended. Get's an 8 on the "tac-o-meter.""Fletchman" at Cigarzilla.net added this comment: I was very impressed with this cigar. The longer I smoke cigars the more I am coming to appreciate delicate flavors and complexity. I found this cigar to be extremely smooth, creamy with hints of vanila, carmel and a slight nuttyness. A really fine smoke. I would think this cigar with a one of the lighter single malts would be outstanding. I found them to be mild in body but with lots of creamy smoke and alot of flavor. This is the second famous exclusive cigar I have tried in the last few months. The Conuco was outstanding and although this cigar is a totally different blend it is equally as good. Burn was sharp and draw was excellent.Cruz Real Connecticut Robusto CigarScore: 8.5By Patrick A. (StogieGuys.com)You’d think cigars produced by an industry superstar would display his name prominently. But there’s no trace of the Rocky Patel name on the Cruz Real black and gold band, a not-quite-value, not-quite-premium brand that’s sold exclusively by Famous Smoke Shop.Launched early this year, Cruz Real is handmade under the supervision of Nestor Plasencia in El Paraiso, Honduras. “We worked long and hard on getting it just right, and finally came up with a decadent, creamy blend that’s still affordable,” says Rocky. “You’re really gonna enjoy this cigar.”The five Connecticut vitolas—Corona, Lonsdale, Churchill, Robusto, and Toro—sport a U.S. Connecticut wrapper, a Mexican binder, and longfiller tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican. Each size is also available in a darker Sumatra wrapper.The classically sized five inch by 50 ring gauge Robusto is smooth and clean with a crisp prelight aroma of sweet hay. Soft to the touch, it sells for $104 per box of 20 and is supposed to be a toasty, medium-bodied smoke for those with an eye for quality and value.The initial blast of salty spice is enough to catch me off-guard. I just don’t expect such power from this delicate, unassuming stick—at least not from the very get-go. The flavor quickly mellows, though, to take on a mild profile of oak, butter, and onion. Smooth and gentle.The dry saltiness diminishes significantly after the first third, leaving a well-balanced taste. This is where the Cruz Real Connecticut is at its best, before an unwelcome bitterness creeps in during the last inch or so.With an excellent burn, a great ash, and a clear draw, this 50-minute smoke has physical properties that far exceed those of many pricier sticks. If only the taste offered more of the complexity or character I was hoping for.Still, if this young cigar doesn’t improve with age, it remains an affordable, reliable golf course companion.I give the Cruz Real Connecticut Robusto a respectable rating of 3.5 stogies out of 5.Read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews.Reposted by permission.
MORE
 

Cohiba Lonsdale Grande

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6.250 x 47StrengthMediumCohiba Lonsdale Grande cigars are flawlessly handmade in the Dominican Republic with specially selected Cuban seed tobaccos and Indonesian Jember binder, surrounded by a vintage, aromatic Cameroon wrapper. The experience is a rich, smooth, and satisfying smoke that lives up to its famous pedigree.Read more about Cohiba Lonsdale Grande cigars. Cohiba Lonsdale Grand CigarScore: 8.5By Gary KorbAppearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.5 First light: A nice warm, woody mellow flavor. Nice firm, light grey ash. Near the end of the 1st third a rich, woody, earthy taste began to present itself. Incredibly smooth and consistent in flavor throughout, yet considerably stronger by the last inch.
MORE
 
90

Asylum Premium

86

Arturo Fuente

Casa Torano Churchill

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize7 x 48StrengthMildCasa Toraño Churchill cigars have a mild, well-balanced blend of Honduran & Nicaraguan filler tobaccos selected for their unique richness. Encased in a vintage Ecuadorian-grown, Connecticut seed wrapper for extra character, this is a luxurious cigar suited for both new and experienced cigar smokers.Read more about Casa Torano Churchill cigars. Casa Toraño Churchill CigarScore: 8.8Attractive light brown wrapper, evenly rolled with very few veins. Good cap. Tobacco is evenly packed throughout.Cigar lit up evenly and burned clean exposing a white & light grey marble ash that was a little on the flaky side. The smoke was very creamy and drew easily starting out with a sweet, mild taste, very much like a Macanudo but later bloomed into a very flavorful medium-bodied cigar. The cigar smoked consistently down the line. My sample burned a little less evenly than I expected at first (the cigar was a little on the moist side), but evened out beautifully by the 1/2-way mark. Overall, this cigar was well-balanced, and improved in flavor as it smoked, with a long, semi-dry finish and rich cedar wood aroma. Excellent. I give this one an 88.(Tasted at the 2004 RTDA Show)
MORE
 

Carlos Torano Virtuoso Forte

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5.500 x 56StrengthFullToraño Virtuoso Forte cigars present a unique-tasting, full-bodied blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Panamanian tobaccos enhanced by a dark, oily, Nicaraguan sun-grown wrapper with a delectably spicy flavor and aroma. Rife with complex flavors, the smoke is smooth and bold yet not overpowering.Read more about Carlos Torano Virtuoso Forte cigars. Virtuoso Toraño Forte CigarScore: 9.3I was originally going to review the Virtuoso Maestro, the 7" x 50 Churchill-sized cigar that Charlie Toraño gave me back at RTDA, but about halfway into the cigar I was called away, and never got to finish it. So, Charlie was kind enough to send me several Virtuoso Fortes, which now I'm glad he did. I was able to smoke more than one, which helped me form a more accurate opinion.Let's start with the centerpiece of this Virtuoso Toraño cigar that was officially reintroduced at the 2005 Retail Tobacco Dealers Association (RTDA) trade show in New Orleans. It's what they call a "proprietary" wrapper leaf, grown exclusively by the Toraño family on their own Pueblo Nuevo plantation in the Condega region of Nicaragua. What's even more interesting is that Toraño was originally trying to create a high-quality filler leaf from this tobacco. It's a beautiful, dark-brown wrapper that's mouthwateringly oily, very flavorful, and even-toned from head to foot, which gives you some idea as to why they decided to use it as a wrapper.The foot lit cleanly across. The resulting smoke was thick, creamy, and rich-tasting with a sweet, full-bodied flavor and aroma, and a long finish. Due to its hefty dimensions, I didn't push it. I let the cigar smoke itself, taking soft easy puffs to keep it on the cool side. Soon the ash exposed a bright white marble pattern. Each draw delivered a thick stream of smoke, aswarm with flavors of cedar, leather, spice, and a just a hint of brown sugar. At this stage, I was only about 3/4 of an inch into it!  And with this cigar weighing-in at a 56 ring, I had a feeling it was going to get very heady, and very soon. The cigar burned somewhat unevenly; not unusual in a wrapper of this type, which is thicker by nature. I should also note here that the second sample burned perfectly from the get-go.At about one-third in, the cigar continued to smoke smoothly. It was certainly full-flavored, yet pleasantly not overpowering. (So far, so good.) At this point the wrapper was burning evenly, too. (A sign of good construction, when the burn corrects itself.) By the halfway point, the cigar was still extremely smooth, and to my surprise, did not intensify in strength. Rather, it maintained its balance and complexity. Although I would rank this cigar as being somewhat more powerful than what I'm usually comfortable with, it was incredibly satisfying.Whether or not you're familiar with the many other fine cigar lines the Toraño family produces, the Virtuoso Forte is a testament to the outstanding quality and wide range of flavors they have so successfully produced throughout the years. One of the reasons for this is they have such a wide variety of tobacco at their disposal. This cigar, with its Honduran, Nicaraguan and Panamanian filler, plus its unique Nicaraguan sun-grown wrapper, is a prime example. Save this one for after a big meal as a special dessert treat.Appearance: 10Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final score: 93
MORE
 
85

Nub Habano

Carinos Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 x 50StrengthMediumCariños Robusto cigars are constructed using a blend of aged Panamanian and Honduran fillers, a Brazilian Sumatra binder, and top-grade Nicaraguan Jalapa Seco wrapper leaf. The smoke is medium-bodied with a baseline woody flavor, complemented by notes of leather a hint of spice on a sweet finish.Read more about Carinos Robusto cigars. Cariños Robusto Natural CigarScore: 9.0By Hayward TenneyAfter resting in my humidor for a few days, my morning got off to a great start courtesy of the Cariños Robusto Natural. The cigar is impressive to behold: its creamy coffee-colored Nicaraguan Jalapa wrapper is seamlessly wrapped around the uniformly-packed body. There are some very fine veins, implying high quality wrapper leaf, and its medium-heft has an oily feel in my hand.Details of what's under the hood are sparing; what I do know is that there are Honduran Jamastran and Panamanian longfillers bound in a Brazilian Sumatra leaf. The foot is evenly colored a dark brown and exudes a slightly sweet tobacco nose.After clipping, the cold draw is sweet. It lights easily - my guess is there's not too much Ligero in the mix. Despite that, I'm greeted with a blast of pepper through my nose. This quickly fades, revealing a baseline of woody flavors with sweet nuances on a medium finish. The cigar is producing plenty of thick, aromatic smoke, thanks to a freely flowing draw. Its burning characteristics are impressive, burning slowly on a dead-even, razor thin burn line. I tap 1.5" nuggets of ash into the tray, and although it probably could hold on longer, I'm not willing to risk ash in my lap to find out.At mid-point I notice that pockets of spice have emerged, suggestive of clove and nutmeg. The wood baseline has developed into an ever-developing leather characteristic. Further in, the spice matures into a deep tobacco sweetness. The smoke has settled firmly in the medium-bodied range, and is dry in texture. A splash of water on the palate reawakens the sweet notes mentioned earlier. The aroma is pleasant, if a little "bready."With an inch remaining I let it expire. Overall, I'm impressed. I would smoke this cigar again, and its superior construction makes it an easy recommendation for those who appreciates this flavor profile.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 10Draw: 9Aroma: 8Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0Cariños Robusto CigarScore: 8.1By Barry (A cigar Smoker's Journal)The cigar has some sweetness to it in the pre-light phase, but upon lighting I was hit with some coarse pepper that felt like it singed the back of my throat. The cigar did smooth out after this though, and it felt like it was a Don Pepin wannabe or reject. The notes of the cigar were of nuts and spice throughout. None of which stood out very much. This cigar fit what you would expect the pricing profile to be.Appearance: 8Construction:  8Burn (ash, etc.): 10Draw Rate: 9Flavor Rate: 7Aroma Rate: 7Final Score: 8.1Reprinted by permission of www.acigarsmoker.com.
MORE
 

Carinos Corona

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 1/2 x 44StrengthMediumCariños Corona Maduro cigars are constructed using a blend of aged Panamanian and Honduran fillers, a Brazilian Sumatra binder, and top-grade Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper leaf. The smoke is medium-bodied with pockets of spice, notes of leather, and a sweet smack of earthiness on a medium finish.Read more about Carinos Corona cigars. Cariños Maduro Robusto CigarScore: 8.5By Tom BullockThe Carinos Maduro Robusto cigar from Famous Smoke Shop are a real treat! I have reviewed a lot of cigars lately and this one really stands out from the rest. The wrapper is silky and oily; it is a nice chocolate brown; the cigar is firm and well packed; the head is flat and cuts cleanly.It is fragrant with aromas of cocoa and well aged tobacco, sweet and enticing.There is a nice taste of caramel, mature tobacco and earth on the cold draw.The first third offers caramel and black pepper,fine leather and toasted oak flavors; the aroma is of mature tobacco, light cedar and ginger, smooth and complex. This is a very tasty smoke! Cocoa and leather blend in the second half, there is a light saltiness, and a lingering sweet-dry finish that coats the palate.There are notes of caramel and oakiness,very rich but not harsh,delightful! This cigar keeps your attention easily.The final third is very bold and rich,leathery and chocolatey; firm tobacco flavors, cocoa with caramel notes.The light saltiness comes and goes, altogether a broad and complex blend of flavors that I find totally delicious and satisfying. I burned this cigar to the nub!This is a surprising cigar; not only is it complex but very well integrated.The burn is excellent, the ash is firm and hangs on well.You should get some of these before the price goes up,they are a super deal for the money. I highly recommend them. Smoke some now and age the rest; this will be something special in a few months. A fabulous offering from Famous!! Construction - 8Flavor - 9Appearance - 8Burn - 8Aroma - 9Draw - 9Final Score: 8.5
MORE
 
93

La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor

90

Onyx Reserve

CAO Mx2 Gordo

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize6 x 60StrengthFullDesigned for the 'seasoned' cigar smoker, CAO Mx2 Gordo premium cigars (Maduro times 2) use TWO aged Maduro wrappers with a rich, complex and seductively smooth blend that combines the best tobaccos from six different countries. The outer wrapper is a well-fermented Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro, while the inner wrapper (the binder) is a zesty Brazilian Maduro leaf. They surround a sweet and spicy mix of exquisite tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru and the Dominican Republic. One of CAO's BEST!Read more about CAO Mx2 Gordo cigars. CAO MX2 Gordo CigarScore: 8.8The CAO MX2 Gordo has an oily, dark chocolate colored-wrapper with tiny veins in a well-rolled, firm and hefty 6" x 60 Gordo size. The pre-light displayed a wonderful taste, medium draw, and the aroma of spicy, mature tobacco. Additionally, the cigar had a nice texture and pleasant feel. Notes of cocoa, earth and honey were also present. Upon  lighting, it offered instant spice and cedar aromas with a broad, rich and even tobacco taste for a very full palate. The first third produced flavors of cocoa, fine leather and ginger, and a whiff of cedar. My mouth was watering; this was a treat! The cigar burned evenly and clean while offering a compelling flavor and richness.The second third produced hints of dark chocolate, tasty oaky notes, a smooth chewy taste, and aromas of cinnamon, brown sugar and cedar, which made the smoke agreeably harmonious and well-balanced. This cigar really kept my interest, it was so good.The final third built up showing a big and intense character; leathery and rich. This cigar was totally enjoyable with earthy and rooty notes, and stayed good to the point where I either had to put it down or burn my fingers.I liked every thing about this cigar; the appearance, construction, the flavors and aromas were all thoroughly enjoyable. CAO can be proud of this cigar, as it was excellent in all respects. The burn was perfect, the cigar was full and flavorful, but not too strong, very rich and satisfying. Make sure you allow at least an hour-plus to enjoy this wonderful cigar.ScoresAppearance-9Construction-9Draw-9Burn-9Aroma-8Flavor-9Balance-9Total Score: 8.8
MORE
 

Avo Companero 2009 Limited Edition

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize6 x 54StrengthFullBlended by Avo's long-time compañero, Hendrik Kelner, Compañero is a full-bodied symphony for the senses. Diverse Dominican Ligero tobaccos, plus a Peruvian leaf, Dominican binder, and a tawny Ecuadorian Cuban-seed wrapper offer a creamy, robust and spicy masterpiece. One of his best LE's to-date.Read more about Avo Companero 2009 Limited Edition cigars. Avo Compañero LE09 CigarScore: 9.0By Gary KorbEvery year, around the time of his March 22nd birthday, Avo Uvezian unveils a new limited edition cigar. This year's selection, the Avo Compañero (Spanish for "companion"), not only commemorates the renowned musician and cigar epicurean's 83rd birthday with another stunning cigar, but the camaraderie with his long time "compañero," Hendrik Kelner, who's been blending Avo's cigars since 1982. What I like about these annual "LE" releases is that they're a nice departure from the mainline Avo selections like the Classic, Maduro, XO, Domaine, and Signature. Those cigars are so consistent that these special edition cigars give you a chance to discover another side of Avo, plus the fact that they're also collectors items.The blend consists of mostly of several different Dominican-grown Ligero tobaccos, plus a Peruvian leaf, Dominican binder, and according to the company, "the wrapper is a Cuban-seed grown in Ecuador," which I suspect is sun-grown. I received my Compañero in April when the cigars made their official release, and put it away in my humidor to let it settle. This wasn't easy for me, since I confess that I'm of somewhat of an Avo groupie. But last week, my curiosity finally got the best of me and I said, "It's time."Since I wanted to smoke this cigar under relaxed conditions, I called my good friend and smoking buddy, Richard, and we lit-up out on his deck with coffee and a bottle of Offley's Reserve Port. First of all this, was an incredibly well-packed cigar. Solid as a rock from head to toe, yet when clipped had a very good draw. Its 6" x 54 size gives it lots of heft making it feel really good in the hand. During the pre-light, I noticed that the wrapper on my sample was darker than others I've seen in this series; more of a Maduro color with a beautiful chocolately hue. (This is why I believe the wrappers are sun-grown). Once clipped, the cold draw flavors were grassy, earthy and leathery. When I bit down on the cigar, I expected it to be chewy, but due to its firm packing, the cigar offered considerable resistance. Once lit, the predominant flavors were that of sweet grass, sweet wood, spice, and a subtle hint of coffee. The finish left a little sting of red pepper on the back of the throat, while the aroma was redolently sweet. As the cigar burned it exposed a firm ash, which I tipped off at about the 1-inch mark, but it probably could have gone at least another half inch or more. I paired the first half of the cigar with coffee, and switched to the Port for the second half. At that point, the cigar transitioned to a more peppery character, while the undercurrent of sweet wood and grass flavors continued to flow. By the third act, the cigar bloomed into a much more robust and spicy smoke, and I finally put it down at the last inch-and-a-half.Overall, I found this cigar to be creamy, robust, peppery, yet also rather sweet. As a whole, I found it to be on par with Avo's past LE editions. As after-dinner cigars go, the Avo Compañero with its long, portly shape, was a real treat that I can highly recommend.Appearance: 10Construction: 10Burn: 8Draw: 8Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 9.0
MORE
 

Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Nova

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize5 x 50StrengthFullAlec Bradley Tempus cigars (Latin for 'TIME,') boast a lusciously dark, rare, 7-year aged Honduran Criollo '98 Viso wrapper that surrounds a perfectly-balanced Nicaraguan/Honduran blend of Criollo '98 & Corojo '99 Ligero and Viso tobaccos for a smooth, enticingly complex smoke brimming with robust tobacco flavors on a long finish. Having received rave reviews from the top cigar magazines, Tempus is destined to be a classic. Try a box or a 5-pack of these luxurious Alec Bradley cigars today.Read more about Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Nova cigars. Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Nova CigarHondurasBy Jesse (www.CigarJack.net)The Tempus is the new premium cigar from Alec Bradley Cigars. Alan Rubin discovered the wrapper in 2001 at a small farm in Honduras. Since 2001 they’ve been aging tobacco and perfecting the blend. Tempus is Latin for time and because of the time it took to perfect this blend they thought the name suited the cigar. Construction: The wrapper has a unique look to it. It is dark brown with a slight reddish hue, with a touch of toothiness to it. The one I photographed from the review had some tiny darker spots all over it. The other one I had they weren’t as noticeable. Definitely well made, the cigar is firm throughout and had a good draw to it.Burn: The Tempus burns fairly slow, I was surprised how long the cigar lasted. The burn line was pretty good and the ash a dark gray. My only problem is the cigar would occasionally go out on me. I was probably neglecting it a bit though.Flavor: Right off the bat you can tell this cigar isn’t for someone who hasn’t smoked many cigars. It hits you with some definite pepper before some coffee and a rich robust earthiness comes out. Around the second third the spice mellows out a touch and I was able to pick out a bit of nuttiness. I also noticed that distinctive Corojo flavor I really enjoy. The final third really starts to put on the heat with some more spice until I finally set it down. The cigar never got overly harsh; it was the strength that really made me sit down with just over an inch to go.Verdict: The Alec Bradley Tempus is going to be one of the hotter cigars this year. It is reasonably priced under $10, which is pretty good for a premium cigar. Don’t smoke it on an empty stomach, the Tempus creeps up on you. I didn’t really notice the strength until about midway through and by the end of the smoke I was pretty light headed. I’d probably compare this cigar to the Camacho Corojo Diploma or the Camacho Corojo 10th Anniversary in flavor and strength.Reprinted by permission.See the original review with Jesse's photos of the cigar as he smoked it.
MORE
 

Alec Bradley MAXX The Culture

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginHondurasSize6 1/2 x 54StrengthFullNeed that big tobacco fix? MAXX 'The Culture' sport a heady blend of rich-tasting tobaccos from Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica rolled in dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrappers. A well-proportioned, full-bodied cigar, The Culture is teeming with luscious caramelized flavors.Read more about Alec Bradley MAXX The Culture cigars. Alec Bradley MAXX The Culture CigarScore: 9.5By Tom Bullock (Pleasant Garden, NC)The pre-smoke displayed a wonderfully shiny, dark chocolate colored wrapper in a firm and very heavy 6½" x 54 Double Corona-class vitola.The draw was medium ,yielding a sweet, mature tobacco taste, the aroma gave hints of honey, the texture and feel are pleasant and promise good things to come. I lit the cigar by match. The burn was even, and the initial rise was sweet and rich, with notes of cedar and cinnamon.The first third offered several layers of flavor, I detected honey, light leather aromas and taste, hickory nuts, all in a rich and palate-filling smoke. The second third was even more enjoyable. The flavors developed into alternating caramel and chocolate notes, some light pepper on the tongue, a brief note of licorice, all wrapped in a velvety smooth palate and aroma; very rich and satisfying. The final third was remarkably like the second, adding a light salty taste, some cedar and light spice. The flavors built to a peak, staying full and in harmony, until the point where I was forced to put it down.My overall impression of this cigar was completely positive. The diverse flavors were harmonious and multilayered, and the aromas were a symphony; always very full and rich, never harsh or over powering,. The burn on this cigar was the best I have ever seen on a vitola of this size; perfect all the way.I give this cigar top marks, the experience was  extraordinary. I would give this a strength rating of 7.5 out of 10, and gave the cigar an overall rating of 9.5. I will certainly get a good supply of this cigar, and I look forward to trying it every six months or so as the cigars mature.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn (ash, etc.): 10Draw: 9Flavor:10 Aroma: 9Final Score: 9.5
MORE
 

601 Maduro Box Pressed (Blue) Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5.250 x 52StrengthFullThe 601 'Blue' cigar series are slightly box-pressed, medium to full-bodied premium cigars created by Don Pepin Garcia with an exquisite recipe of perfectly-aged Nicaraguan longfillers finished in a dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. Precisely blended to offer a rich, well-balanced medley of dark and naturally sweet tobacco flavors enhanced by an arousing aroma, if you prefer taste over strength, this is the 601 for you. Make sure you have a box on-hand for those very special occasions.Read more about 601 Maduro Box Pressed (Blue) Robusto cigars. 601 Blue Maduro Robusto CigarScore: 9.2Here’s a square-pressed Maduro from 601 Master Blender José ‘Pepin’ Garcia, by way of United Tobacco. This cigar’s dark, oily wrapper is so toothy that Ray Charles could probably read it. There are some moderate veins, par for the Maduro course, and the gold and blue band looks especially regal against the dark chocolate wrapper. I find myself eminently impressed with its class. At a sniff, I find a barnyard smell with some sweetness. The body is solid with some slight give, indicating that it’s well constructed with proper humidity. The head is enclosed neatly with a triple cap that obliges me with a clean cut, revealing an earthy prelight taste through an easy draw. The box press feels comfortable in my mouth. Toasting and lighting takes a little effort, but once lit I am rewarded with aromatic clouds of sweet, creamy, smoke.The flavor profile initially consists of sweet cocoa and coffee. Settling into the first half inch, the cocoa sweetness matures into rich, dark chocolate. The burn, while not perfect, requires no correction. By the end of the first third notes of leather have developed, balancing the chocolate and coffee flavors in a complex, medium to full-bodied smoke. The ash is a firm, granite gray, though it hangs precariously at about 1 inch. After 1 and 2/3 inches, I find that the initial sweetness has returned and is trading call-and-response choruses with some spice. Further into the second third the complexity deepens, and I find the smoke becoming ever-stronger.As I begin the final third, I’m having some trouble getting the band off. In fact, the warmth of the cherry seems to have no effect on the band's gum, did they seal this thing with epoxy? A serious crescendo in strength has made this a full-bodied smoke, though it retains its complexity. After finally setting it down, four nuggets of ash, < 1" of stogie, and a beaming Hayward are the only evidence it ever existed. An excellent cigar, rated 9.2 overall.Appearance: 10Construction: 9Burn: 8Draw: 9Aroma: 9Flavor: 10Final Score: 9.2
MORE
 
91

Alec Bradley Black Market

601 Habano (Red) Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFull601 Habano (Red) Robusto cigars are full-bodied premium cigars created by Don Pepin Garcia with an exquisite blend of perfectly-aged Nicaraguan longfillers topped with an attractively oily Nicaraguan Natural Habano wrapper. The 601 'Red' is blended for the experienced cigar smoker providing a stunning mosaic of well-balanced flavors, while maintaining its complex flavor profile from start to finish with an enticing aroma. A 'must-have' cigar if you love robust and peppery Nicaraguan puros.Read more about 601 Habano (Red) Robusto cigars. 601 Habano (Red Label) Robusto CigarScore: 8.6By Gary KorbThe "red label" designation for this cigar probably comes from the brick-hued patina found in the shimmering, yet toothy surface of its Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. The head has a classic, Cuban-style triple-cap (a Don Pepin hallmark), and it clipped-off in a perfect little disc. The pre-light flavor was somewhat leathery, and I could taste the pepper as soon as my tongue touched the exposed head of the cigar. Now, I'm not a big fan of very spicy cigars, but someone's got to do this job, so, I fired it up and the first few draws were surprisingly smooth and far from peppery. However, that changed rather quickly.By the first quarter inch the pepper was flowing like lava, but in fairness to the cigar, it was not completely overpowering, and as the cigar continued to smoke it turned somewhat sweeter. Just past the midpoint, I noticed the cigar had a sort of ebb & flow to it: dark, spicy tobacco flavor followed by an enjoyable rift of sweetness, with a nice aroma, too.By the third act the cigar was a real powerhouse, yet remained smooth and well-balanced until I finally had to put it down with just over an inch to go. Fortunately, I paired the cigar with a glass of Taylor Fladgate Reserve Port 2001, which has a sweet finish, and helped tame its red hot chili pepper aspects. Burn-wise, the cigar offered no significant problems, a firm ash, and kept on an even keel.If you like cigars with a lot of muscle, don't pass these by. The construction is first-rate all around, and the flavor you will not soon forget. New cigar smokers may want to hold-off on these for a while, too. Just be sure you don't smoke one on an empty stomach.Appearance: 9Construction: 10Burn: 9Draw: 8Aroma: 8Flavor: 8Final Score: 8.6
MORE
 

10 Cigar Connoisseur's Collection from La Aurora

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginDominican RepublicSize5 x 50StrengthVariesLa Aurora's 1495 Connoisseur Collection is designed to illuminate your palate by demonstrating how the wrapper alone can create a totally unique cigar smoking experience. Each cigar has the same muscular Nicaraguan, Peruvian & Dominican core capped in its own distinctive wrapper leaf. A must-try!Read more about 10 Cigar Connoisseur's Collection from La Aurora cigars. Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Collection CigarDominican RepublicA few months ago I received a care package from my good friend José Blanco at Tabacalera La Aurora. Inside were five Robusto cigars, all from the Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Collection that debuted at last summer's Retail Tobacco Dealers Association Trade Show in Houston. Now available at most retail cigar stores, the concept behind the 1495 Connoisseur Collection is to answer the question regarding how much the wrapper leaf affects the flavor of a cigar. The answer? A lot!To make their point, La Aurora took the core of their 1495 selection, a robust blend of Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Dominican longfillers, and created four unique new blends using a Brazilian Maduro, a Cameroon, a Connecticut, and a Corojo wrapper leaf. Being very familiar with the Aurora 1495 cigars selection in the original Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper, I was anxious to taste how these four additional wrappers would pan out on my palate. I smoked the four new cigars over the period of a month and paired them with a bottle of spring water so as to not affect any of the flavors. Rolled to a 5" x 52 shape, all of the cigars were well-packed, looked gorgeous, and drew well. So how did they stack up on taste? Here's my 2¢ (in the order I smoked them).Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Connecticut - Much like the Ecuadorian Sun Grown, the smoke was earthy, spicy and full-bodied. The smoke was very well-balanced, very smooth, somewhat woodier in character, and offered an outstanding aroma. For me, the big difference here was the smoothness of the smoke and the aroma. Final score: 9.0Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Cameroon  - The aroma on this cigar topped the Connecticut. It was full-bodied, but not as heavy or nearly as spicy as the Ecuadorian Sun Grown. I'd even go so far as to say it  had a very "Cuban character" that was more on the mellow side. The smoke was primarily rich, earthy and very sweet - all perfectly balanced. The cigar also produced a 1½-inch ash to start. The finish was a bit shorter, too, until the last third when even more flavors kicked in. Final score: 9.3Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Corojo - This wrapper also offered a sweet aroma, but the spiciness was back. The smoke was smooth, earthy, balanced, and overall, much more heady, dominated by strong woody and peppery flavors. Certainly the most complex so far, and perhaps the closest in flavor to the original Ecuadorian Sun Grown. Final score: 8.8Aurora 1495 Connoisseur Brazilian Maduro -  This thick, toothy wrapper was the most rustic in appearance and had an unappealingly salty taste. The pre-lit draw was sweet and spicy, but once lit the cigar gave off a very burly aroma. Unfortunately, I had some burn problems with this sample, too, and although the cigar was well-balanced, the flavors were even heavier than the Corojo. If I had to describe it in one word, I'd say "strong." This was a really dark, spicy, peppery powerhouse that was just too overwhelming for me. Final score: 8.0Learn more!You can also watch a short video of José Blanco describing the concept behind the 1495 Connoisseur Collection that I took at last year's RTDA Show in Houston:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SI9XGIDxTo
MORE
 

601 Connecticut (Black) Robusto

byGary Korb

Cigar AttributesCountry of OriginNicaraguaSize5 x 50StrengthFull601 Conn. Black Robusto cigars are handcrafted by Don Pepin using perfectly-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled in lush, oily Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers cured for richer and more full-bodied flavor. You'll experience a deep, earthy and woody smoke brimming with spicy goodness. Order your box now.Read more about 601 Connecticut (Black) Robusto cigars. 601 Black (Connecticut) Robusto CigarScore: 8.8Sometimes all it takes is one look at a cigar to know you’re in for a real treat. Such was my experience with this offering from Don Pepin Garcia, creator of such other highly-rated brands as the eponymous Don Pepin Garcia, Tatuaje, and Cabaiguan, by way of Eddie Ortega of United Tobacco.  This robusto exudes all the visual hallmarks of a well-constructed cigar, from head to foot. Its Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf sports some fine veins, the consistently tight body glowing an evenly matted, creamy coffee tone.  A rich tobacco smell greets me when put to the sniff-test. The cap clips off cleanly, and although my pre-lit draw is almost too easy, the flavor is of pleasant black pepper and sweet tobacco. I fire up, and am rewarded with a large plume of somewhat dry smoke, which becomes slightly sweet and markedly creamier, then rounds out into a solid foundation of well-aged tobacco with notes of leather and black pepper by the middle of the first third. By the third or fourth puff, the draw has tightened up considerably to create ideal resistance. Leather dominates the aroma for the first two thirds of the smoke, interchanging with sweet notes of butter and nuts, with the body and aroma kicking up a notch in strength toward cedar at the end of the second third. From there the flavor profile remains consistent through the un-bitter end. The ash is a very light, aluminum grey, although not consistently firm. As a result, it tends to fall off instead of creating solid little nuggets of ashtray-food. The burn line was not perfect, but never required correction, and by final third had evened out. To conclude, I’m impressed with the elegance and understated complexity of this cigar, rating it an overall 8.8. To drink, I savored a cold glass of agua and a hot cup of Peruvian coffee, not because these were exceptional pairs mind you, because I'm writing this from work. I’m guessing that my boss wouldn’t be to happy with me if  I had my druthers, which would be an equally elegant red wine, perhaps a heavily fruited Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Sauvignon.Appearance: 9Construction: 9Burn: 7Draw: 10Aroma: 9Flavor: 9Final Score: 8.8
MORE
 
95

Kristoff Ligero Criollo

91

Oliva Connecticut Reserve

Our Most Impressive Cigars of 2009

byGary Korb

By Gary Korb Rather than compile a list of what I thought were the best cigars of 2009, this year I thought I'd take a different tack by noting some of the cigars that made big impressions on me and some of my colleagues last year. I could mention dozens of more new cigars that impressed us, but space just won't permit, so... ...I'll start with the Alabao Robusto. From the magic hands of Nick Perdomo, this medium-bodied, full-flavored treat hit on all cylinders. Gobs of caramelized flavors with notes of almonds, cocoa, spices and more. I'm on a mission to turn cigar smokers on to this exclusive brand in 2010. Another cigar that caught my attention was the Oliva Cain 550 Maduro. The smoke was creamy, smooth, aromatic, and more medium to full in body. In my online review on the Cigar Advisor blog page, I also called it "a perfect cigar." If you haven't already smoked either of the two Cain cigars, make sure you do this year.There were two other cigars that impressed me, as well. First, the Flor De Gonzalez 15th Anniversary Robusto. The smoke was creamy and well-balanced with a nice mix of earthy and sweet herbal notes. The cigar also took on a satisfying complexity in the last act. Finally, the Davidoff Limited 2009 Toro Especial Seleccion 702. A full-bodied, complex buffet of sweet, woody flavors with subtle notes of raisins, cocoa and espresso on the finish. As luxury cigars go, they don't get much better than this. The Humidor at Leaf Manager, Jeff Brown, was impressed with the Artisan Nicaraguan Habano Robusto. "The cigar has a diverse, all-Nicaraguan longleaf filler core rolled in a spicy Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and smokes like a full-bodied dream." Artisan Nicaraguan cigars are also offered in Connecticut and Maduro wrappers. Another one of Jeff's picks was the Nicaraguan Selection 4000 Robusto: "If you enjoy a rich and spicy smoke, this is it. It's got a great bloodline, too with an outstanding value price point." Buyer and Merchandiser, Mike Klingerman was taken with the Journeys Robusto: "I like creamy smokes and this one had more than a Creamsicle." Mike also liked the Perdomo Grand Cru Robusto Connecticut saying it was"a zippy full-bodied smoke with a hint of creaminess." Marketing Analyst, Scott Shemtov really took to the Nicaraguan Selection 7000 Super Toro Maduro: "WOW. I fell in love with this cigar at first whiff! The cigar is very well constructed and flavorful with an attractive chocolaty color. I like the Super Toro size, too; it has a nice heft in your hand, and the flavor and aroma stayed consistent from start to finish." (Check out Scott's cigar review blog, Cigar Stogies, too.) Marketing Copywriter, Hayward Tenney was impressed by the Value Line Nicaraguan No.100 Corona: "The Corojo wrappers are scrumptious, and the construction is first-rate, as it should be. After all, they come from one of the hottest cigar makers in Nicaragua." Also on Hayward's list was the GH2 by Gran Habano Corona Gorda: "I love the spicy-sweet Habano wrapper on this cigar, and for a budget smoke you can't beat 'em all day long." Director of Marketing, Mike Vandenstockt fell for the Nicaraguan Habano Lancero: "It's not a size I usually smoke, but the complexity of the blend really comes through, and the smoke is especially smooth and creamy." Mike also enjoyed the Pvt. Sel. 70th Anniv. by CAO Toro: "The African Cameroon binder adds some natural sweetness to this cigar, and the flavor is full, complex and non-overbearing."Finally, the Humidor at Leaf Asst. Manager, David Zayas selected the Pvt. Sel. 70th Anniversary by Plasencia Toro: "This cigar was smooth, rich, and creamy, with great flavors and an excellent burn. In my opinion, it's the closest thing we offer to a genuine Cuban." David was also impressed with the Final Blend Robusto: "A rich-tasting, well-balanced cigar with just enough of everything; lil' spice, lil' sweet and very smooth. The tastiest maduro I've smoked in quite a while."So there you have it. Check these cigars out. Start with a five-pack or a few singles if you prefer. In any event, you might want to add them to your wish list for this year.Happy Smokes!Gary(__{GK}_____{{{
MORE
 

My Thanksgiving Cigar: Cabaiguan Guapos RX

byGary Korb

I wasn't sure I'd get to smoke a Thanksgiving cigar yesterday, but miraculously the weather cooperated with no rain and a temperature of about 60 degrees. As last year, I spent the holiday with my family at my brother's house in New Jersey. I arrived about 3:15 PM with a Cabaiguan Guapos RX, and didn't waste much time getting outside to light-up, since the sun was already positioned just above the horizon. The Cabaiguan Guapos RX is a 5¼" x 50 Robusto that came in a Pete Johnson Collection cigar sampler (below) I bought this past summer. The difference between the Guapos RX and the Cabaiguan Robusto Extra is that the Guapos has a Cuban pigtail cap. The core is all dark Nicaraguan longfiller with a silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, and beautifully handcrafted by Don Jose Pepin Garcia.Pairing it with a glass of The Macallan 12 year single malt, the cigar cued-up perfectly offering some sweetness and a short blast of pepper. At about the half-inch mark, the smoke rounded out to a very smooth, sweet, woody smoke with a medium body.The ash was also impressive, hanging on for well over an inch before falling off. From that point on the smoke was very consistent, not wavering too far from its sweet-woody base. However, by the end of the second act the smoke acquired a distinct nutmeg flavor with some grassy notes, which remained into the last third.I would classify the Cabaiguan Gaupos RX as a medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar with a mix of woody, sweet-spice and herbal flavors. The Macallan helped bring out some of the more complex elements in the smoke, too. Overall, an extremely enjoyable cigar, and highly recommended.ScoresAppearance - 9Construction - 9Draw - 9Burn - 10Flavor - 9Balance - 9Aroma - 8Total Score: 9.0By Gary KorbHow was your Thanksgiving cigar?
MORE
 
91

Romeo Y Julieta Vintage

Cigar Advisor's Best Cigars of 2008

byGary Korb

By Gary Korb & Hayward Tenney 2008 was a great year for new premium cigars. Hayward and I were originally going to do a "Top 10" list, but there were just too many more good cigars that qualified for our "best of" list, and we wound up with 18. Of course, we wish we could have sampled all of the new cigars that debuted last year, but it just wasn't possible. So if you're wondering why a cigar that you felt should be on our list is missing, that's the most likely reason. Moreover, choosing a "great cigar" is so subjective we decided to list them alphabetically as a group instead of by tasting score. In the end, I think we came up with some genuine "keepers." - G.K. Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Novo (5" x 50)A creamy, full-bodied delight with a savory Honduran Criollo '98 Viso wrapper, that hits on all cylinders. Perfectly-balanced, dark, woody flavors with a note of espresso on a long finish. A great "after-dinner" cigar that improves with every puff. CAO LX2 Robusto (5" x 48)A smooth, medium to full-bodied smoke dominated by deep, woody flavors with an appealing spiciness and a note of semi-sweet cocoa in the mix. Another winner from CAO they can notch into their gun belt, proving that a  hearty Ligero blend doesn't have to be strong to be good. Conuco Toro (6" x 52)A rich-tasting, complex cigar comprised of Honduran, Costa Rican, Nicaraguan, and Panamanian tobaccos. The smoke summons up a marvelous mix of flavors that range from sweet nuances to dark, earthy tobacco flavors, to hints of nuts and spice along the journey. Camacho Triple Maduro 11/18 (6" x 56 Figurado)A big, bold figurado with deep, dark flavor and profound complexity. It took years to get this all-Maduro cigar to burn correctly. For best results, smoke it between 60-65 RH. I suggest pairing it with a small-batch Bourbon. Cubao No.1 (7 1/8" x 49)A full-bodied "Don Pepin"-blended cigar that starts out very spicy, then rounds out to a predominantly dark, woody smoke with a long finish. Very smooth, well-balanced and chewy. Great with a good vintage Port. Cusano Rare Cameroon '59 Preferido (5¾" x 58)A wonderfully smooth, flavorful, full-bodied cigar in a great shape that blooms into a full-bodied, yet non-overpowering smoke. Sweet woody flavors prevail with notes of cedar and caramel on the finish. A "class act" all the way. Don Lino 1989 Robusto Maduro (5" x 50)A marvelously creamy and complex cigar rolled in a dark, oily wrapper. Laced with sweet, chewy flavors of nuts, cedar, caramel and coffee. A full-flavored smoke that builds to a very memorable experience. Famous Private Selection Dominican Lonsdale (6½" x 42)With plenty of complexity and sweet spice accenting a creamy, woody base, this cigar is really only Dominican in name. The Lonsdale shape delivers a toasty medium-bodied smoke that's perfect any time of day. A value that's off the charts. El Triunfador Lanceros by Pete Johnson (7½" x 38)Seems like Pete Johnson can do no wrong. A hearty, Pepin-born Nicaraguan Lancero, El Triunfador sports a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Rich is an understatement, as flavors of cocoa, coffee, and pepper accent its woody and nutty base. Creamy and bold, yet never overpowering, this is a must-try cigar. G.A.R. by George Rico Rico Grande (6 x 54 Torpedo)Bolstered by a Ecuadorian Corojo-seed wrapper, this cigar builds from a creamy medium-bodied start to a well-rounded, full-bodied third act dominated by most earthy, oak-wood flavors with some sweetness in the mix. Well packed with rich-tasting Nicaraguan longfillers, and a clean burn from end-to-end. Jesus Fuego Gran Reserva No.1 Robusto (5" x 52)A top-shelf Robusto from a guy who clearly knows his stuff. Expect a tasty, medium to full-bodied smoke frontloaded with sweetness and a little spice. It quickly rounds out to reveal rich notes of leather and spice. A phenomenally constructed cigar! Nestor Miranda Special Selection Robusto (5½ x 54)A remarkably smooth, full-bodied cigar, handcrafted by Don Pepin, with a predominantly toasty, earthy, and spicy character. Thick, creamy smoke spreads rich, nutty flavors on the palate with dash of nutmeg and a sweet note of caramel on the finish. Oliva Serie V Lancero (7" x 38)A sleek, full-bodied Nicaraguan puro that's predominantly creamy, woody, and earthy. The cigar becomes much spicier in the second half for a rich-tasting smoke that, in many ways, exceeds the larger sizes in the line. One of Oliva's finest masterpieces to-date. Perdomo 10th Anniversary Cuban Criollo Robusto (6" x 54)Capped by a Cuban-seed Criollo wrapper, this medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar is impressively complex and very "old world Cuban" in taste. Flavors of sweet cedar and oak prevail, underpinned by  a rich, earthy character, with a trace of white pepper and almonds. Perdomo2 Maduro Torpedo (6½ x 54)A smooth, creamy and robust box-pressed figurado. Gobs of earthy, caramelized flavors including espresso, dark chocolate, nutmeg, aged oak, sweet cedar and more melt on the palate like butter. One of the most amazing encores the cigar industry has ever seen. Reyes Family Premier Maduro Gordo (6" x 60)A hefty "herfer" loaded with earthy and woody flavors. Exceptionally creamy, somewhat dry on the finish, and not as sweet as some Maduros with an excellent balance of flavors. Medium-bodied at first, building to a much more robust smoke. Rocky Patel Decade Short Robusto (4"x 54)A box-pressed beauty blend offers a long, full-bodied smoke in a short cigar. Loaded with dark, earthy complex flavors, each puff is smooth, creamy, well-balanced, and finishes with a note of sweetness on th palate. Winston Churchill Marrakesh by Davidoff (6" x 50)A creamy, toasty medium-bodied cigar highlighted by a pristine Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper. The smoke is dominated by a rich woody flavors, with traces of nuts and sweet spice in the mix. The final act reveals much more depth of flavor and spiciness on the finish. Until next year, happy smokes! £ 
MORE