Sunday, November 21, 2010

262 Paradigm Torpedo

Since I left the red-light district of cigar blogging, I've been busy with other projects, but quietly been enjoying some excellent cigars. Most recently, it has been the 262 Paradigm. These showed up in one of my local haunts, I bought a couple, then threw them in one of my coolers and forgot about them.

Well, I found them again a couple weeks ago, and the first one was pretty tasty. I smoked one again a couple days ago, and with burnt finger, was sad to find the cigar was finished. I set myself to smoking the third to review not because someone gave me cigars expecting me to fluff for them, but because it's a cigar that was well worth what I paid.

Start to finish, this cigar is delicious. What, you want me to blather more about it? If you insist...

On first light, there's a solid, mildly earthy leather flavor with light floral and spice notes. The first inch really echos the beginning, with added mild cocoa and coffee flavors combined with the predominant leather. The mild spice eases out during that first inch, but don't worry, it'll be back for the big finish.

The midsection of the cigar features a sweet leather flavor, with alternating harmonies of cocoa and coffee.

The prime spot on this cigar is the last 2 inches, where the leather flavor gets sweeter, the coffee tone gets bolder, and the spice comes back in for the grand finale. It is really hard to let this cigar go at the end, the flavors are that good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

De La Guardia Cigars

I love making connections with people, and my involvement with Social Cigar has allowed me many contacts. So, the marketing director for the new brand, De La Guardia Cigars, joined Social Cigar and got my attention, since they're just an hour away in Omaha. Omaha? Cigars? That's right.

So, I referred her to the guys that run two of my three local B&Ms, and a couple weeks later, received a nice promo/sample pack in the mail! Three cigars, a cutter, a package of mints (perfect for de-smoking the breath) and a kick-ash beer cozy!

Well, onto the important stuff; cigars. DLG offers two varieties of cigar in Natural(shade-grown Dominican wrapper and filler, Nicaraguan/Honduran Binder) and Maduro(Cubano Piloto (Dominican)Filler, Dominican Binder, Honduran Wrapper). They also offer to flavor the aforementioned cigars.


The DLG Natural gave an aroma of sweet, green hay from cap to foot, and the wrapper was fairly smooth and mildly toothy. Once cut, the cigar drew nicely and readily lit. The cigar was fairly mild, with the predominant flavor being the sweet hay noticed before lighting. The draw was good, and the cigar held about an inch of silvery ash.


The DLG Maduro is just an earthier version of the Natural. The wrapper was a bit rougher, showing veins and lumps from veins or wrinkles in the binder underneath. The wrapper exuded the aroma of dirt and sweet hay. Another great draw was there, and the cigar held about an inch of ash while being smoked. The flavors were very similar to the Natural, with the predominant notes being hay and a little dirt, and not much spice at all.

Smoking either cigar, I felt that in a blind taste, I'd guess that these were blended by Rolando Reyes Sr., that they just have a flavor profile I associate with Puros Indios or Reyes. Flavoring these, as De La Guardia offers, is a great approach to these cigars.

Friday, August 6, 2010

First Impression: Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary

I unexpectedly stumbled into a Rocky Patel event at one of my local haunts this week, and bought a small handful of the new Fifteenth Anniversary robustos. Go me!

The Fifteeth has an aged Habano wrapper, which was nowhere near the black pepper spice of the Perdomo, Oliva, or Cain Habano wrappers. In fact, instead of the typical Habano tingle on my lips, I tasted a more earthy citrus, which screams Rocky Patel anyway.

The cigar lit readily, and burned straight, the draw was excellent on this box-pressed robusto. The flavors start with citrus and coffee, with only the mildest spice in the background. After the first inch the coffee notes became more pronounced. The spice as really mild through the whole cigar. I drank my morning coffee with this almost medium-bodied stick.

The smoke was creamy and plentiful.

The Fifteeth Anniversary is a signature Rocky Patel cigar, and though I may balk a bit at the cash register price of $11.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writing Style?

There's a web site that analyzes your writing style, and this is the result I got after feeding the preceding cigar review into it:

I write like
Raymond Chandler

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Great, now I'll actually have to go out and READ some Raymond Chandler.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial

These are great days to be a cigar lover, as the variety of cigars right now are only matched by their quality, especially if you like Nicaraguan cigars. Oliva, Perdomo, Padron and, lately, Don Pepin Garcia have been rolling stellar cigars the past few years. The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial is a blend from the son of Pepin. 'Son of Pepin' sounds like a horror film, right? But this cigar is dark and forebodes nothing but a great cigar experience..

Being an enthusiast of Nicaraguan cigars, and having had great luck with cigars associated with the Garcia family, my heart skipped a beat when these showed up at one of my local shops, and I bought a pair straight away.

The Reserva Especial sported a dark, oily, Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper, with any veins being as low-profile as the seams on the wrapper leaf. And not only smooth, but giving an earthy aroma to the nose and a peppery spice to the lips. The draw through the cigar was free, but without feeling too loose.

Prominent flavors at the start were earth, cedar, and a nice spice. So far, very reminiscent of an Oliva Serie O maduro (one of my go-to cigars), with a touch more wood in the flavor profile, but very close. Gotta love Nicaraguan fillers. After the first inch, the intensity of the earthiness dialed back a notch.

By the middle of the cigar, the spice seemed to drop back a ways, yielding the stage to the earthy wood flavors. The Kona blend coffee I was drinking in tandem seemed to work well with the cigar, and I noticed some coffee flavors in the mix toward the mid-point of the cigar as well.

A bitter cocoa flavor also flirted with the palate after the mid-point, and the last third carried on with a solid medium-bodied presentation. Soft spice highlighted the earth and wood flavors to the end.

If I were given this cigar blind, I'd have said it was an Oliva at the beginning, but by the middle I would have been doubting the call. At $8 a pop for the toro, these cigars are fairly priced for the quality of the experience. Another hit from Nicaragua!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cain Nub Maduro

In the history of the world, there have been several meetings of disparate elements that formed something amazing; Barley, hops, and yeast to make beer, tungsten and electricity to make light, and peanut butter and chocolate to make peanut butter cups. Well, Sam Leccia has done it again, this time combining the Nub Maduro with the Cain ligero blend to make the Cain Nub Maduro.

The wrapper on the Cain Nub Maduro was a rich brown color, with some minor veins. There's a nice spice left on the lips, maybe a little spicier than the habano version's wrapper. The first cigar I tried seemed a little over stuffed, giving a substantially firmer draw than others in the Nub line, even the new Cain Nub Habano. The second was freer, but still had a nicely resistive draw.

Upon lighting, the serious spice starts, along with bold flavors of earth, leather and coffee. This maduro version is still powerful, but a touch milder (or smoother, maybe) than the Habano; I was able to run the smoke through my sinuses with more comfort than the Habano version. The flavors stay pretty steady from the beginning to the end, only varying a little in intensity; Bold start, mellows a little into the mid-point, and then a little spicier into the nub.

The Cain Nub Maduro is another fine, fine cigar from Sam Leccia and Oliva.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ashton Majesty

I'm basking in the afterglow of an excellent cigar tasting, courtesy of our local cigar bar, Jake's Cigars & Spirits. Tonight's featured guest was Ashton Cigars' Bill Rectenwald, with a great lineup of Ashton cigars and some great pairing options of cheeses, nuts, and vodka. My cigar for the evening was the Ashton Majesty, upon the urging of a great friend, MMK, earlier in the day.

Now, I know what you might be thinking; "Jimbob, you don't really like shade-grown Connecticut wrapped, Dominican cigars." Aye, I usually take a pass on the blondes, but both MMK and Bill thought the Majesty was a must-try, so I gave it an introduction to my torch. I can say that I didn't regret it for a moment.

From what I was told, the Majesty is the fillers from an Ashton VSG, but with a shade-grown Connecticut wrapper, rather than the sun-grown variety. The substantial body and smooth and steady spice definitely backed up that claim. While most mild blends that sport shade-grown wrappers leave me with little but the sweet, grassy flavor of the wrapper, the Majesty was a much better balanced cigar. The first couple inches were mainly toasty tobacco and spice flavors, with just a little of the sweet-grassy tone from the wrapper.

At the mid-point of the cigar, I noshed a handful of nuts, and went back to the cigar to taste the difference. It was a remarkably different flavor, mostly an earthy, dry leather set of flavors, with the spice muted in the background. After another inch, I tried a cube of medium Cheddar cheese, and the flavors underwent another twist. After the cheese, the spice was almost gone, and I could single out the sweet grassy flavor of the wrapper.

Pulling into the nub, the great tobacco and spice flavors carried the cigar until the end. It was an outstanding smoke, as one would expect from a $12 cigar. Hats off to Ashton and Jake's for putting on a great tasting. The Ashton rep tells me that the Aged Maduro #56 is the same fillers, but with a maduro wrapper. I'm definitely going to scout for a couple of these next.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cain Nub Habano

Well, the Fourth of July weekend found me in possession of some powerful fireworks: Cain Nub, in both Habano and Maduro. Saturday night, while the citizens of my neighborhood were engrossed in some July 3rd premature ecrackulation, I was in the garage with the short powerhouse Cain Nub Habano.

The greyish brown wrapper had some demur veining, and lefts a little peppery tingle on the lips. Earth and leather dominated the pre-ignition aroma.

After clipping the cap, I noticed that the draw seemed fairly free, like most in the Nub series. A free draw might seem to be an invitation to suck this cigar down with all speed, but with a ligero-heavy blend, do this at your own peril.

So, I got this cigar lit and took a couple introductory puffs. Mmmm, earthy leather, nice spice. I took another puff, and went to jet it through my sinu..WHOAH! I felt like someone socked me in the nose. There's some spice in that smoke. In short, the Cain Nub starts off hitting you with both barrels.

After the first inch, it got easier to get the smoke through the sinuses, either because I got acclimatized to the amount of spice in the smoke, or that it mellowed out a bit. I think that it mellowed a little, but still kept up a bold flavor with a smooth spice riding shotgun.

I purposely paced myself slowly on this smoke, and enjoyed it immensely.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5 Vegas Cask Strength

Oh, three years ago, I caught a handful of 5 Vegas Cask Strength cigars, smoked one, and then so carefully set aside the rest that I didn't find them again until this past weekend. I was so impressed with the first, that I was sad to see the line disappear, and also a little miffed that I couldn't find the ones I had. Well, three years of unintentional aging later, here I am enjoying another of these fine cigars.

Sure, in the last couple years, I've really taken to Nicaraguan filler, maduro-wrapped cigars. So, this mostly Dominican, shade grown wrapped cigar was a change of pace from the recent affairs.

The Dominican wrapper was a bit darker than typical, shade-grown Connecticut seed, and a bit veined as well. A pass under the nose brought a soft aroma of hay and leather, with a little earth nearer the foot. Clipped, a respectably firm draw ensued.

The first inch of this toro was a complex weave of leather, earth, and a smooth and subtle spice. I was instantly reminded about how this cigar first thrilled me. Hints of vanilla and sweet leather were also in the silk-smooth finish. This had all the hallmarks of a premium, even for a catalog cigar.

After the second inch, the complexity of the flavors settled into a pleasant sweet hay and leather, with the mild spice continuing. Definitely a solid medium in flavor and strength to that point.

The final third of the cigar continued with the substantial flavor of leather, sweet hay, and the subtle spice to the very end. A glance at the clock confirmed that this slow-burning toro lasted me about 90 minutes.

Anyone fortunate enough to have a cache of these discontinued cigars should count themselves fortunate, and should break them out occasionally. They have aged well and still retain respectable body and power enough to validate the title 'Cask Strength'.

Monday, April 5, 2010

El Titan de Bronze - Redemption Maduro

Maybe I'm a sucker for theology, but the 'Redemption Maduro' practically jumped off the shelf and into my hands as I was browsing the local shop. A chocolate brown wrapper, with demure veining, is the hook for me. It turns out that the Redemption is using a San Andres, Mexican, wrapper to jacket a Nicaraguan binder and fillers. Hey, that combo sounds familiar... oh CAIN MADURO, and I love that stick!

Unlike the Cain, Redemption is not billing itself as a ligero bomb with a fratricidal reputation. However, the flavor profile is similar, minus a good deal of the spice; Predominantly earthy flavors, with hints of coffee and bitter, dark chocolate. There's a little spice in the finish, and gives the impression of being a medium-bodied cigar. After an inch or so, earth and leather flavors are the most noticeable.

All in all, the El Titan de Bronze 'Redemption Maduro' is a tasty, decently made cigar. It tasted better than the Petrus cigars (Felipe Gregorio) I had. But, I can't knock the Petrus; I know who holds the Keys to the Kingdom.