Friday, November 30, 2007

Cusano to Expand

Cusano is gearing up another production facility in the Dominican Republic, to be called DR Global,and primarily for Cusano's newer cigars.

In the first quarter of 2008, brothers Mike and Joe Chiusano will open a global distribution hub in Santiago, Dominican Republic, complete with a rolling gallery for making some of the company's newest lines.

Among the new lines to be rolled at DR Global will be the Cuvée Blanc and Cuvée Rouge. Cusano's cigars had previously been produced at Tabacos Dominicanos, Dominican Republic, by Hendrik Kelner. These include the Cusano Celebrity Series bundle cigars, enjoyed and reviewed here previously; M1, P1, MC, and CC. I seriously doubt I'll get to enjoy the fruits of this new venture, as the Cuvée range are well out of my budget.

h/t Cigar Aficionado

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Favorite Cigar Smokers, no. 1

G.K. Chesterton: Writer, philosopher, and cigar smoker.

" Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar."

—G.K. Chesterton

from “On American Morals”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

National Brand

National Brand toro
$2.35, Size: 6", Ring:50
Honduran wrapper, binder, and fillers

The National Brand cigar is a long-filler Honduran cigar at a short-filler price. The stick has a triple cap, and a mildly veined wrapper, which is pretty brittle. The cigar burns fairly straight, with a dove-gray ash, and medium draw. The cap area is sweetened, somehow, and so really tries to mask the fairly mild and non-descript Honduran filler. The sweetness makes me think that the makers are trying to hide a skanky blend, or make the smoker think that this is a long, fat Swisher. Which isn't bad for a poker game. Overall, this is an unexceptional cigar, but the sweetened cap may put some off.

Incoming Cigars for Christmas

I've got some new cigars heading my way, and I'll try and review one or two before Christmas. It's been cold out, and hard to get a chance to really smoke in comfort.

Here's what's coming:

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 toro
Perdomo Lot 23 maduro churchill
Indian Tabac Cameroon Legends maduro toro
Sherpa toro
Pirate's Gold no. 2 maduro toro
Tierra del Sol (by Perdomo) maduro robusto

Th Rocky Patel cigars, and the Perdomos, would be priced $5 to $7 single retail, but they're much cheaper when bought by the 5-pack online or via CBid. They ran about $4/each including shipping.

The Sherpa, Pirate's Gold, and Tierra del Sol cigars would be in the $1 to $3 range, which is right up my usual alley.

If anyone has a preference of what they want to hear about first, let me know. I'm probably going to dive straight for the Vintage 1992 first, followed by the Tierra. The Perdomo churchill may have to wait for spring, unless I can get a local micro-herf together during the Holidays.

Cigar Review Contest

Ladies and Germs, start your cigars!(and don't forget to write a bit about them)The Cigar Inspector is having a cigar review contest, with the grand prize being a St Dupont X-Tend lighter! Smoke if you've got 'em.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cusano CC

Cusano CC robusto

$3.50 , Size: 5", Ring: 50
Equadorian Sumatra wrapper, Dominican filler

This is a good, solid example of a cigar: Well made, easy draw, and good flavor. The CC has a smooth, medium wood/cedar taste, with a faintly peppery finish. It never gets overtly spicy, and consistently maintains it's flavor from foot to band. While a shade darker than a Connecticut wrapper, the CC's wrapper has a full-bodied flavor of its own. It reminds me of a Monticristi Cohiba (Dominican).

Cusano, with the assistance of Henke Kelner, is making some nice bundle cigars. They're as good as many in boxes, and are a good smoke for the price. There's a spot in my humidor for these.

Gurkha G-Series, Blend no. 44

Gurkha G-Series, Blend no. 44 cigarello
$16 for a tin of 10, Size: 4", Ring: 24ish

It's getting cold outside, so it's time to look for quicker smokes. I found a tin of these Gurkha cigarellos at the local shop and decided to give them a shot. These are long-filler, which isn't quite a challenge for such a short cigar.

The first one out of the tin had a draw tighter than slurping a milkshake through a coffee stirrer. The inch I smoked before abandoning hope was nicely flavored, medium-bodied with cedar and cocoa notes and subtle spice. The second cigarello from the tin was as tight as the first, even after a light massage and poking through it with an unwound paperclip. I smoked about an inch of it before giving up. 'Tis a shame, as it was a flavorful smoke, what little I could get.

The third time's a charm, and finally got one out of the tin that would draw. It's a nice-bodied, robust smoke that lasts about 20 - 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Quorum toro
$1.25 , Size: 6", Ring: 50
Nicaraguan wrapper, binder, and filler

You get what you pay for with this stick: A very mild-mannered Nicaraguan cigar with a Connecticut wrapper, which makes for a tepid smoke. I won't call it a a dog rocket, as I've had much worse, but the best I can say for the Quorum is that it doesn't taste bad. When toasting the foot, I noticed some areas that burned quicker, leading to an uneven burn through much of the cigar. I'd take it over a Ditch Dutch Masters.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf

Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf robusto
$2.75, Size: 5", Ring: 50
Maduro Ecuador-Grown Broadleaf wrapper, U.S.A. Connecticut Broadleaf binder, Piloto, San Vicente and Peruvian fillers

Wow. Okay, the review's over, isn't it? Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf is is a gem of a cigar, made in Henke Kelner's D.R. facility, and distributed by Alec Bradley. Bradley sells higher shelf cigars than this, and the Double Broadleaf is a great cigar for the money.

The wrapper's a rich, deep maduro that's got the slightest oil sheen. Smelling the wrapper presents one with a nice aroma of cocoa and oak. Despite it's dark look, this cigar smokes smoothly, but not too heavily. The wood/cedar flavor starts mild but gets increasingly spicy in the last third, with a peppery finish by the time you smoke down to the bands. It's like a spicy 'bon voyage' that makes you eager to return.

It was a great complement to the coffee I was drinking at the time, and I've stocked a few in the humidor.

Cusano MC

Cusano MC robusto
$3.35, Size: 5", Ring: 50
Connecticut wrapper, Dominican binder and filler

This is a good smoke, a cigar that lets you know you're smoking a cigar, but without hitting you over the head with it. Like the rest of Cusano's bundle cigars, the MC is decently constructed, though the wrapper was a bit crispy. The flavor is medium-bodied, smooth, with a lightly woody finish. The MC also has a fair nicotine kick. This is yet another good cigar from Cusano that won't break your wallet.

Current Denizens of THotA

Currently in The Humidor of the Apokalypse:

1. Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf robusto
2. Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf toro
3. Cusano CC robusto
4. Cusano M1 robusto
5. Arturo Fuente Brevas Royale
7. Indian Tabac Camaroon Legends maduro toro

I'm also trying to chase down some Sherpa toros and some Perdomo Lot 23 maduro cigars.

Occidental Reserve

Occidental Reserve robusto

$2.25, Size: 5", Ring 50
US Connecticut wrapper, Indonesian binder, Dominican filler

This is a decently constructed, mild cigar. With an even draw, it burns fairly evenly, holding over 2" of silvery white ash. The flavor is mild and uneventful, with slight spice creeping in mid-way into the cigar. It's not a bad cigar if you're not looking to be distracted by bold flavors. All in all, a nice, mild smoke for a good price.

Cusano P1

Cusano P1 robusto
$3.00, Size: 5", Ring: 50
Broadleaf maduro wrapper, Dominican filler

I've had fairly good luck with Cusano's M1 and CC cigars, so I decided to delve further into their line of bundles. The P1 has a maduro wrapper with a medium, milk chocolate color. The cigar is decently constructed, has an easy draw and holds a nice, silvery ash. The flavor is a mild autumnal earthiness, smooth without being heavy, and has a faint spice to it. This flavor is steady from the first kiss to the last, getting only slightly stronger as I smoke past where the band was.

The P1 is another nice bundle cigar from Cusano, and one I'd make sure to stow a couple of.

A. Fuente Curly Head Deluxe Maduro

Arturo Fuente Curly Head Deluxe maduro
$2.15, Size: 6.5", Ring: 43
Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, long and short Dominican fillers

This is a cigar usually recommended for those new to hand-rolled cigars. Though they look rougher than Eli Wallach in 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly', they smoke fairly well. The flavor starts mild and smooth, with a mellow, earthy flavor and faintest hint of spice. The flavor is mild the whole time, but half-way through the cigar, a grassy aftertaste starts in gradually. It's a poker game cigar, and not really a cigar that you smoke for the experience. Once again, you get what you pay for.

Cusano M1

Cusano M1 robusto
$3.50, Size: 5", Ring: 50
Connecticut shade-grown wrapper, Dominican filler

The M1 is the mildest of Cusano's Celebrity Series of bundle cigars, and is supposedly a clone of a more expensive cigar, a Macanudo. Sporting decent construction and an easy draw, this cigar burns fairly straight and had an inch and half of silvery ash. The ash reminds me of a paper birch tree.

As for the flavor, the M1 starts mild, with a nutty undertone. There's a subtle spice flavor that saunters in, but never really establishes itself as a center of attention. In essence, it's a cigar for when you don't want to be too distracted by the cigar. The M1 is a nice, mild smoke at a nice, mild price.

Montecristi Cohiba

Cohiba (Montecristi) robusto
$4, Size: 5", Ring: 50
Connecticut wrapper, mixed Dominican fillers

Cohiba's a big name in cigars, both in Cuban and non-Cuban cigars. The cigar I smoked is from the Dominican Republic, and flotsam from the trade dispute between Montecristi and General Cigar. The band is black and yellow, with several rows of white dots on the black ring, and says 'La Republica Dominica' on the yellow portion.

While at an economy price, but didn't cut corners. This stick is put together well, without any serious soft spots, the wrapper was not overly veiny, and has a triple cap like it's better-heeled cousins from Cuba. When smoked, this cigar holds almost two inches of the whitest ash I've seen on the sub-$4 cigars. As for the taste, this cigar is simple, sporting a pronounced woody, cedar note and some light spice in the finish. Not a bad smoke, though most aficianados poo-poo the cigar as a fake.

The controversy over the branding, and the higher price versus the flavor, leaves me preferring the Cusano CC. The flavor is almost identical, but the price lower for the CC.

A. Fuente Brevas Royale

Arturo Fuente Brevas Royale
$2.25, Size: 5.5", Ring: 42
Connecticut shade-grown wrapper, Dominican filler and binder

This is a good, cheap cigar. The construction is good, for a short-fill cigar; the wrapper is smooth, not too veined, and burns fairly straight. This stick has a mild flavor coupled with a subtle spice that eases in as you smoke. The Brevas Royale makes a nice golf cigar, either on the fairways or at the 19th hole.

About the Humidor, and me

I'm a working joe, and I set some limits on my creature comforts according to my station in life. For example, I like to play golf, but I play courses where I can afford to play. I'm not terribly good, so it's a waste to play Pebble Beach once a year, when I can play the local muni course once a month.

Same goes with cigars, so I generally stick to the $5 and under rule. And, as you would surmise, I've found a few nice cigars in that range, perfect for a Friday night treat or while puzzling out a tricky mathematical proof.

I've also got a palate that's about as sensitive as a catcher's mitt, so I'm not going to get too florid in describing a cigar.

So, with that, I bid you welcome to The Humidor of the Apokalypse! [dramatic music here]

(most of the initial reviews were things I had on my other blog, but didn't really belong there, like using a cigar band as a bookmark in your Bible.)