Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick Impression: Ambos Mundos

Mmm, nice woody Pepin-esque flavors minus the pepper and spice. Starts mild, and flexes to almost-medium near the end. This would fit somewhere between the Tatuaje P-Series and Havana VI in terms of strength, but paying $6 off the shelf, I'd rather spend the extra buck for a Havana VI.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nub Habano Torpedo

This cigar is so fat, the band has stretch marks.

Sam Leccia's brainchild, the Nub skips the customary cigar introductions, and gets straight to the sweet spot. Judging from the reviews I've read, and the amount of Nub events I hear about, Oliva Cigars have backed a winner.

Cigars Direct sent me this particular specimen, and I'd been itching to try the Habano line. The Nub Cameroons I had smoked last summer were good, but mild, and didn't wow me.

This cigar is so fat, when I clipped the torpedo's point, the open area looked as big as the foot on a churchill.

The Habano's wrapper is a rich brown hue, with fine veins and an aroma of earthy leather.

First light: Nice, earthy leather tones, with a mild spice on the lips and in the sinuses. Hints of nuts occasionally too.

The earthy leather flavor continued, along with the mild spice for the duration of the smoke. The burn line was a tad wobbly, but I didn't fret about it until the cigar extinguished 1/2" after getting started. I'm glad I filled my lighter before starting out...

This cigar is so fat, it wants Kirstie Alley to be its "skinny friend".

The smoke wasn't particularly thick, and the cigar needed lots of torch touch ups to stay well lit. Maybe with a couple days of drybox time, this stubby cigar would stay lit better.

In the end, as much as I liked the flavors, the high-maintenance factor turned me off. I'll smoke others another time and see if the assessment changes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita

This chubby rothschild from Punch is like a Toyota corolla: it isn't fancy, but you know you'll get where you need to go whenever you get in.

The sun-grown Honduran wrapper was a nice medium brown, lightly veined, and put a spicy tingle on the lips while getting it lit. Drawing on this cigar was easy, without being loose, and the cigar held a nice inch or more of ash, even today's gusty wind.

Once lit, the Gran Puro gave a solid earthy leather flavor, complemented by a mild spice. The flavor and body stayed fairly constant through the 45 minutes I was smoking it. Toward the nub, the leather flexes with a return of the mild spice. Overall, this is a medium to medium-full cigar.

Neither an expensive cigar nor terribly exciting, the Punch Gran Puro is a dependably good stick for those on a budget.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More from Cigars Direct

Okay, so, some of you might remember that I had agreed to write reviews for and link to Cigars Direct. I had agreed to it, then thought better of the whole venture, and e-mailed them to cancel the arrangement.

Four weeks after asking them to cancel, I got a box of 5 cigars. Well, two weeks after that, I come home today to find ANOTHER box of 5 cigars. If it didn't come with loaded expectations, I'd be dancing in the aisles.

So, I feel obligated to smoke these fine cigars, and write my unique brand of critic pap about them. Oh woe is me. [In case you didn't catch it, I'm being facetious.] I guess that we'll soon be seeing some reviews for CAO Brazilia, Italia, MX2, which are some long-time favorites of mine, plus CAO Black and Black VR, which are newcomers to my humidor.

Once again, thanks to Cigars Direct for the cigars! Maybe I should send them cancellations more often.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles

Pepin Whore (/pɛ,pin hɔr/or /pɛ,pɪn hoʊr/) noun,

1. A cigar smoker that smokes many cigars made by Don Jose "Pepin" Garcia.
2. A cigar smoker that irrationally extols the value and/or quality of said cigars.

Okay, I'm not a complete Pepin Whore, but I'm pretty damn close. It all started with a Tatuaje P-Series, followed by San Cristobal, and then snowballed with Tatujae Havana VI, DPG Serie JJ maduro, 5 Vegas Miami, DPG Black Label, Cigars International Yellow Label, DPG Blue, Benchmade,Vegas Cubana, and La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial. I've smoked all but the most expensive cigars by Don Pepin Garcia, and I've managed to enjoy them all.

The Tatuaje Havana VI (aka Red Label) is a Pepin-blended cigar made for Pete Johnson, and a tasty cigar with a personal parking stall in my humidor. This Nicaraguan puro is a flavorful experience.

The lightly toothy, sun-grown Corojo wrapper shows some mild veining, an has a light oil sheen as well. An aroma of cedar and leather rose from this moderately packed cigar, and a pinch revealed a light spring to the fillers.

On first light, I caught an explosion of dry, crisp pepper and cedar flavors. The finish, at first, was crisp and short, but a leathery flavor lingered on the palate as I smoked farther. After an inch, the flavors settled into a dry cedar with leather lingering on the palate. There was a moderate amount of smoke, but being so dry, I'd hesitate to call it creamy.

Smoking to the nub, a spicy pepper rejoins the cedar and leather for a rewarding finish. All through the cigar, the draw was immaculate, and the dove-gray ash held for over an inch.

At $5-8 each, depending on how you get them, the Havana VI line are a great quality smoke, and well worth the expense.

Thanks to Cigars Direct for providing a familiar friend in the sampler.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cigars Direct

A few weeks ago, under the delusion of grandeur, I accepted an advertising deal with Cigars Direct. After some soul-searching and ego tamping, I decided that my calling is not to be a bloviating sack of cigar opinions. I e-mailed Cigars Direct, and informed them that I was going to ice the blog and pursue humbler aspirations.

Well, sure enough, 7 weeks after accepting the offer, and 4 weeks after informing them to cancel, a box of five fine cigars shows up on my doorstep. So, being a man of my hastily-given word, I'll be placing copious links to Cigars Direct's website from the reviews of the cigars they've sent me.

I've already reviewed the Rocky Patel Fusion, so I've added appropriate linkage within that review. Some of these other cigars I have not reviewed, so those reviews will be forthcoming as well.

Tatuaje Havana VI is a personal favorite, though I haven't written a review for it. Nub Habano and CAO Gold will be new experiences.

As for the Sherpa toro, I've already reviewed once, but am willing to try another. A man can't be dragged through grassy hell TWICE, can he?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fuente Anejo #55, and other thoughts

Well, I made it through another busy semester of work projects, class, kids, cub scout meetings, late night lab sessions, and teeth-grinding exams. I was oscillating between D and C for much of the semester, thanks to a couple disastrous exam results. My lab work an homework assignment grades were my upwards lift.

The final exam consisted of circuits and problems that gave people the most grief of previous exams. The final semester grade came back as 3.0, meaning I did pretty good on the Final Exam. So I felt like rewarding myself, and fished out a Fuente Anejo #55 that I bought before New Years.

Mmmmm, smooooooth. Aside from some irregular burning, the Anejo smoked great, and the flavors were a chorus of leather, cedar, coffee, and mild spice. What a cigar.

I've noticed something about the super-premium cigars that I've been fortunate enough to smoke: the flavor profile seems to be a true blend.

To borrow a musical analogy, I'd explain it as the difference between a small singing group and a choir. Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Charles and the Raelettes, or the Bee Gees are all great singing groups, but there are some dominant voices, and others that sink way into the background. That's how I see the flavors of many premium cigars, where there's one very obvious flavor at the moment, with a couple others lurking in the background. The foreground flavor may change here and there, but there's always someone in front, and the others back in the background.

The choir analogy for the super-premium cigars speaks to the complexity and character of the blend. There's a harmonic richness, and individual voices are more difficult to single out. The overall experience is one of smooth, rich texture, without having to be 'strong' enough to kick you in the teeth.

The Anejo #55, Padron Anniversary 1964 maduro, and Oliva Master Blends I strike me as choral masterpieces of cigar blending.

Okay, enough blathering for now..

Friday, May 8, 2009

Isabela Miami Esplendito

Heh. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and, at times, it shows bold and obvious. I reviewed the Isabela Miami robusto not too long ago, and the sweetness of the cap befuddled me. I usually associate sweetened caps with Swisher Sweets, but a commenter here set me straight about the construction of the Isabela, and how it follows Cuban cigar tradition. So, here's my mea culpa and obligatory self-effacement:

The Isabela is as good a smoke as it's shorter sibling. Vicente Ortiz and Prime Cigar Co. have a winner on their hands.