Sunday, March 29, 2009

Arganese ML3 robusto

Wow. Arganese's ML3 has a smooth, but powerful Dominican corojo blend inside a Brazilian maduro wrapper. The ligero is a great team player in the blend, lending a quiet strength to the cigar, with a moderate amount of nicotine.

For $5 you won't find many stronger cigars. I'd give the ML3 a solid B+.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cruzado Dantes: A Cigar Lover's Cigar

I've smoked a couple of these, and while the $9 shelf price goes beyond my usual ceiling, it is quite a cigar.

The blend was unusual, in that the herbal notes and floral notes were predominant. At times, I tasted sage, tarragon, and the earthy, floral notes didn't strike me as over the top, "grandma's gardenia perfume." The gentle spice that held it all together was nice as well, like cardamom. It was not the more common black or white pepper flavor, or the red pepper heat of corojo. It was an unusual blend.

At $9, plus local taxes, it's not an inexpensive cigar, but you do get your money's worth from a captivating and exotic blend.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oliva Connecticut Reserve robusto

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Through the first half, the Connecticut Reserve is a mild cigar, but at the half, Oliva flexes some medium strength leather and earth. Another great cigar from Oliva.


I'm sitting here, enjoying a fine cigar, just thinking out loud:

As much as they can try to make them the same, no two hand-rolled cigars will ever be EXACTLY alike. There will always be subtle variations in the fillers, wrappers and construction, even in the best cigars. Each cigar should be both enjoyed and judged as if it were a unique individual.

Reviews are a funny thing. If a cigar tastes good or bad to an individual is really secondary for me. What I'm tuning in for is overall quality; was the cigar well made, with care and craftsmanship. If a review is negative, I'd like to know how many the reviewer smoked before rendering judgment. Any cigar maker can have a poorly rolled cigar slip out, but if 2/3 are too tight, or fall apart, that's worth noting.

Ratings are a funny thing too. While I don't put much creedance into any one source, like Cigar Aficionado or, I do pay attention to the aggregate, especially in the cigar's contruction quality area. Taste is one thing, but if a good number of reviewers notice that the cigar puffs up and splits after 30 minutes, I pay attention.

I don't chase after the expensive brands, or the latest hits, unless I've got some decent reason for doing so. A good reason might be that I like many of the maker's previous releases, so I give the new stick a shot, especially if it's in my price range. If it's not in my usual price range, I may buy one or two for a very special occasion, and then only on recommendation from a mate whose palate reads similar to mine. I'm not gonna blow $15 on a cigar if I'm gonna hate it after the first inch. That's just stupid.

I don't smoke all the time, only 3-4 per week, which lets me smoke slightly better cigars than if I smoked every day. I also spread it out a bit: cheaper smokes($2-3) mid-week and Friday nights, better cigar ($3-5) on Saturday night, and something nice ($6-10) on Sundays. Something that the cheaper cigars and the premium sticks have in common: I manage to enjoy them all. I am just as excited to hit the garage with a 5 Vegas Series A and a cup of coffee, as I am with a Fuente Hemingway or Camacho Triple Maduro. Well, okay, I may be a LITTLE more excited to get the Triple Maduro smoking.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joya Cubana Habano robusto

A new cigar from a little-known company. Tastes pretty good, but construction may be an issue:

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rocky Patel Winter Collection robusto

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It takes a little while for cigars to get to Nebraska cigar shops, as evidenced by the Rocky Patel Winter Collection showing up the first week of March. So, I snagged a pair and smoked them both only days apart.

The first half-inch is magnificent, like my favorite maduros (Camacho Triple Maduro, Oliva Serie O maduro), bold, spicy and earthy. The rest of the cigar is more akin to RP Edge maduro or even RP Vintage 1992, which isn't bad, but it's not near as good as the beginning of the cigar.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Upcoming Reviews

Man, I've got a serious backlog of cigars to be reviewed. if this warming trend continues, I can get cracking on:

Joya Cubana, habano-wrapped and barber-pole versions, courtesy of Roger Toledo
Don Francisco Custom Blend and Pilo
Rocky Patel Winter Collection (just finally getting to Nebraska, in time for spring :-\ )
Arganese ML3 and CL3 (Maduro Ligero x 3 and Corojo Ligero x3)
Willy's Cigars (Ha, let the jokes commence)
CAO LX2, courtesy of Cigar Inspector and CAO's Jon Huber

I can't wait to get smokin' on these fine sticks..