Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apokalyptic Rating System

Okay, so I don't really give quantitative ratings to the cigars I smoke. I don't really believe in the numeric ratings system used by the big mags, but I guess I should give some sort of indication of how much I like a given cigar. So, I've developed my own system.

Four Horsemen Rating: An excellent cigar in Construction, Flavor, and Value.

3.5 Horsemen Rating: A great cigar in all areas.

3 Horsemen Rating: A good cigar, may have a drawback, but generally good.

2.5 Horsemen Rating: An alright cigar, may not be perfect, but satisfactory in most respects.

2 Horsemen Rating: Eh. So-so. I was hoping for better. you get the point.

1 Horseman Rating: I want my money back. What was I thinking. Never again.

So, I'll be gradually adding these to past reviews, as well as reviews going forward.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Esteban Carreras 10 Años robusto

Walking through the local cigar shop has become painful. I see the cigar prices on the shelves, and I wince as I continue walking towards the bundle cigar section. I love a good cigar, but the prices are getting unbearable.

So, when I plunked down more than $20 for a pair of the Esteban Carreras 10 Años, I had this queasy feeling that accompanies any lightening of the wallet. But, once I got one of these fugly, but tasty sticks lit, the flavors chased away that ill feeling:


Nice flavors, fairly consistent.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Esteban Carreras' rep for the entire middle of the country, Kris Booker. We had a smoke at a local shop, and I got some nice background into the company and the cigars.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Troya Clasico robusto

Ladies and gentlemen; sometimes, a recommendation can get you in trouble. My friend and colleague, Uncle Booga, had the good fortune to be a reviewer for the Winter '09 Cigar Magazine, and one of the cigars to smoke was the Troya Clasico. On his recommendation, and against my better judgment, I picked up a pair of them at the shop.

"Holy crap!"
" $9.60!?"
" Plus tax?!"
" EACH!?"
"For a ROBUSTO?!"

I paced the walk-in humidor. I held the pair of robustos, almost putting them back in the box. Damn, Booga said these were good. How good could they be? Hell, Pepin's got a new cigar out as often as I fart. How good could they be? The La Aroma de Cuba was pretty good, and that was $8, and I still felt it was overpriced.

So, I went ahead and bought the pair of Troya and headed home, wondering if I've just thrown away good money. How good could they be?

So here it was, a month later, and I fished one out of the cooler. (Heh, "Hogan! 30 days in the cooler for you!")

The Troya Clasico robusto has a nice, medium brown Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper sporting moderate veining on an otherwise smooth surface with light tooth. This 5x54 cigar felt hefty in the hand, like it was decently stuffed with Pepin's Nicaraguan fillers, and the draw had some moderate restraint to agree.

The cigar started off with Pepin's trademark white & black pepper blast. Okay, Holt's 'Old Henry' started off this way too, and it only costs half that of the Troya. Great. La Aroma de Cuba, all over again.

And then, after the "Pepin is in da Hizzouse" beginning, the cigar changed. Wow. The flavors were simple: Cedar and leather with a thick, creamy white pepper alfredo sauce. So creamy, that it really coated the palate with a smooth pepper spice. I'd say this cigar was medium to full-bodied, and I didn't notice any outrageous nicotine content.

It was delicious. All the way to the finger-burning nub.

The flavor didn't change much the rest of the cigar, but that was fine with me, as this was a lovely blend. I didn't really want to like it, as I hate falling in love with expensive cigars. But, despite my resistance, Pepin's reeled me in on this one. I hate when that happens.


If the price were a buck cheaper, this would be a solid 4 Horseman stick.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CI Legends Purple - Graycliff

Well, the University semester has started, so I've been taking my Calculus III exercises to the garage for some smoky cognition. Tonight, it was Cigars International Legends series, the Purple label, a nice and inexpensive cigar from Graycliff.

I had this cigar in the humidor for almost a year, if not longer, and so it's had plenty of time to chill out. The Habano wrapper was a tawny grey/brown color, with some moderate veins and a bit of tooth. A nice nut/leather aroma was faint, but pleasant, and more leathery near the foot. The cigar felt a little on the light side, with a little give to the gentle squeeze, but not spongy at all.

The draw was good for the first half, but then closed up, with the burn getting funky about halfway through. After powering through what seemed like a knot in the fillers, the final third of the cigar smoked as fine as the first.

This cigar sports Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and has an unusual flavor profile. On first light, there was a medium-bodied presentation of leather and sweet coffee, with an nutty undertone. At times, I caught a fruity/citrus note, the coffee and leather would interplay a bit. Getting toward the nub, and nice, smooth spice eased in, like fine Dominican ligero.

The flavors were nice, sweet, never harsh, and not very earthy either. The cigar flirted with medium-bodied, but was more on the mild side of medium than anything else. Maybe a function of the age of the cigar?

Still it was a nice smoke, and eased the pain of advanced mathematics quite a bit. Plus, at $5 each (less if by auction), these are a good glimpse at more expensive Graycliff blends.


Good flavors, most of the time, and decent construction with a palatable price.