Saturday, June 27, 2009

On the Road: Ohio

I'm traveling with the family, taking the wife and kids to see in-laws and grandparents. I took the opportunity to put together a couple herfs with friends from various cigar sites, and while visitng my wife's kin, I herfed at Woodland Cigar Company, in Delaware, Ohio.

A comfortable and well-stocked shop, Woodland is a great place to meet up and spend an afternoon in smoky luxury. My friend, Brian, from Social Cigar, suggested Woodland, and I'm glad he did. It's a great place to smoke and visit.

I lucked out, and showed up at the same time as a sizable shipment of Perdomo cigars, including the new Grand Cru. I bought a pair of the Grand Cru maduros, as well as a pair of the ever-delicious 10th Anniversary Maduro. Scanning the shelves for things I haven't seen in Nebraska, I also scored a pair of Isla de Cuba maduros and Roxor Deluxe maduro robustos.

The lounge areas at Woodland are quite comfortable, and the owner's a hospitable and friendly guy. Next time I'm in this stretch of Ohio, I'm sure to drop in again.

My wife's kin are mostly in Wooster, Ohio, and we spent a majority of the time there. In Wooster, there's a shop called 'The City News', which has a nice assortment of Fuente cigars (including Hemingway), Romeo y Julieta, Rocky Patel, and Montecristo. I picked up pairs of RyJ Habano Reserve and RP's Cameroon Especial to provide some economic stimulus to the local economy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

La Bonita Purple Band robusto

Sometimes, you come across a quiet treasure, something wonderful that few people know about. I'm starting to believe that Dulce Vida's cigars are just that quiet treasure. I smoked their 'La Bonita' orange-banded, maduro cigar last weekend, and it was a pleasant shock.

The purple band is no less tasty:

I still have a couple more blends to sample from Dulce Vida, and I'm looking forward to them with eager anticipation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CAO Black Bengal

Cigars Direct sent me a load of CAO cigars, and half of them cigars I hadn't tried yet. CAO Black is one of the lines I had yet to try, so this checks off one more from the 'try' list. The 6 x 50 CAO Black Bengal is a cedar-sleeved, majestic looking cigar, akin in color to an Altadis Montecristo. At about $6 per cigar, it's not terribly expensive.

CAO cigar's Ecuadorian shade-grown Connecticut wrapper was light brown, had fine veins and an aroma of light hay and leather. This jacketed a blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Mexican fillers. The draw had a nice, smooth resistance to it, and the cigar burned darned near perfect.

The first 3 inches of the cigar featured the same general flavor of toasty, woody leather, with a barely perceptible spice in the finish. just a notch shy of medium bodied. Spice/black pepper flexed a bit near the nub, but not enough to make me consider calling this cigar "spicy" at all. Still, it had a little more gusto than your run of the mill Connecticut shade-grown-wrapped cigar.

Like a well-worn, comfortable pair of shoes,this cigar isn't flashy, but it'll get the job done. CAO Black, and a cup of coffee or couple fingers of a good bourbon, and you're good to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dulce Vida 'La Bonita' robusto

I love finding, and smoking, cigars that come from off the beaten path of most cigar shop shelves. All it takes is an ear to the ground, and a willingness to try something new.

I first heard of Dulce Vida Cigars on Social Cigar, and contacted proprietress Paula Pia Ventunelli for a sampler. a couple weeks later, the sampler arrived in a unique box with cameo, and the cigars with ribbon bands. I would have smoked it sooner, but seasonal allergies had me plugged up for quite a while.

Being a maniac for maduro, the 'Orange Band' La Bonita is what I dove for first, and I'm glad I did. Here's the description from Dulce Vida's website:

A blend of Peruvian ligero, Dominican Sumatra, Dominican Peloto with a San Andres Morron Limpio binder. The wrapper is a Dominican Sumatra sweated maduro.

The dark brown wrapper was soft like velvet, unlike any cigar I've touched before. It was resting in the humi a month, but still felt like it was either super oily or just wet. Just in case, I threw it into the dry box for a couple days. After the dry box, the wrapper felt like soft, Egyptian cotton terrycloth.

The cigar felt hefty in the hand and well packed, and I got flavors of earth and spice on cold draw.

Once toasted and lit, I had first impressions of earthy leather, Black coffee with nice spice lingering. Definitely in the medium to full-bodied category. Rich, earthy flavor. Lots of smoke. After first inch, flavor shifted a little to an earthy cedar with the spice still singing back-up.

I got the same feeling as when I smoked my first Illusione, like I had discovered a wonderfully complex, yet well-balanced blend. If you like Illusione, I have a strong hunch that you'll like this cigar as well.

Two inches in, and the cigar still was packing a solid medium-bodied punch, and spice still lingered on the palate. This cigar is fairly slow-smoking too, with 2 inches taking at least 30 minutes, so we're looking at an hour-long robusto.

The Dulce Vida 'Orange Band' may have a feminine touch to the exterior, but the blend is no shrinking violet.

Thanks to roller/entrepeneur Paula Pia Ventunelli for the samples. It isn't easy for a small biz to get noticed, and the people with the dream are wagering their backsides to succeed. Boutique cigar fans, best jump on these before they get discovered!

CAO MX2 Robusto

CAO's MX2 is a delicious, Western Hemisphere blend of Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Dominican and Peruvian tobaccos. I reviewed the MX2 Dagger cigarillo in my winter short smoke shootout video series, and have smoked a couple of the regular-sized models as well. This sample came via Cigars Direct, so props to the sponsor!

There are certain moments when a cigar becomes a magical experience, and this MX2 got to participate. I was out camping with my son's cub scout pack, and after dinner, I found myself in a quiet stretch of the lakeshore, looking across the water at beautiful sunset. Cigar smoldering at hand, it was a peaceful hour, despite the roving bands of "indians" (aka cub scouts) scouring the lakeshore for rival barbarians (aka other cub scouts).

MX2's dark, Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper had a nice, oily gloss to it, the cigar felt firm, and the draw had a nice resistance to it.

Right away, The MX2 fronted a bold, leathery flavor with some cedary spice and black coffee. After the opening notes, I also detected a bitter, dark chocolate flavor, like those spendy 85% cacao chocolate bars. Heading for the nub, a harsh, ashy spice stared building up on the palate, so I let it go. The cigar was a solid medium-bodied smoke, waxing towards full at the nub.

The first 3 inches of the CAO MX2 robusto are the best, and offer a complex and tasty flavor profile for the maduro fan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oliva Omaha Event and Nub Maduro 460

Good things come to those who wait, baby. Boy howdy, do they. Oliva Cigars had their first ever Nebraska event at Ted's Tobacco in Omaha, and it was a blast. A special thanks goes to Cory Horinek, our region's Oliva rep, whose enthusiasm has really been a shot in the arm for Oliva fans here in the Plains.

I had the pleasure of tagging along with Social Cigar pals Ditch Digger, Liriel, and internet cigar veteran Uncle Booga, and we made the roadtrip a party on wheels. We made some purchases, scored some killer swag, and smoked some wicked tasty cigars:

The Nub Maduro 460 is another shining example of killer Nicaraguan maduro, sweet and smooth. Though there's no info on the Maduro on the Nub site, several sites are claiming the wrapper is Brazilian. The wrapper tastes less peppery than the wrapper on the CAO Brazilia or MX2, and tastes more like the maduro Nicaraguan wrapper of the AB Maxx.

The wrapper's that delectable dark brown that bodes sweetness, and the cigar felt fairly firm, but also felt a little light in the hand. The draw was a little loose, so I had to pace myself when drawing on the cigar. Despite the loose draw, the cigar burned fairly evenly, only requiring a minor touch-up.

Once lit, the flavors are immediate; Leather, cocoa, a touch of cedar, and a mild spice in the finish. The flavors don't change much, except maybe in intensity, over the duration of the smoke. But, with such pleasant flavors, that's not an issue for me.

At $7, this is a tasty smoke and a great addition to the Nub line.

Friday, June 5, 2009

CAO Black VR Totem

This dark and tasty toro came to me from Cigars Direct, so hats off to the sponsor!

I admit it; when I'm cruising the cigar store's humidor, I usually look at the prices on the CAO cigars, then keep walking. I'm not cheap, but I am cautious, and when I see a robusto priced at $8-9 I pass. I've smoked the CAO Brazilia Gol! and Amazon, and the Italia Ciao because they're a better price at $5-6. The Black VR can be had online for about $6/each, so it fits better in my budget.

The Black VR shares the Brazilia's deliciously dark maduro Brazilian wrapper, but harbors a blend of Nicaraguan and Mexican tobaccos in the core.

My cigar felt well packed, and drew with noticeable resistance. Before lighting, I caught a musty leather aroma coming from the wrapper, and a light spice on the lips during a cold draw.

Lighting it up, the first inch was a great blend of leather, earth, with some peppery spice in the finish. I would call it solid medium to medium-full, and tasty as well. Getting farther into the cigar, the spice dialed back (as most blends do)and settled into a nice earthy leather with occasional nut flavor.

In the end, I'm left with ashes, and empty coffee cup, and a stupid grin on my face. What more can you ask for?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Partagas Cigar Cave

Help me out, vote for my not-so-sobby sob story!

Partagas Cigar Cave

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