Monday, August 12, 2013

Riverside Cigar Shop and Lounge, Jeffersonville, IN

 I finally made the trip across the river to this cigar shop. Ever since Louisville banned smoking in bars/lounges, there has not been a 'legal' place to buy and enjoy a good cigar. Not only is this a cigar shop, but they have added the Match Cigar Bar to buy a great meal and drinks to enjoy along with your cigar. The cigar shop had a reasonable assortment of the main cigar brands and a few I had not heard of.(Reviews coming on some of them). They had generic wooden matches for those without their own lighters. I was disappointed they did not have some nice custom cedar matches, but ehh, if you did not bring your lighter to a cigar bar, whose fault is that. Pic of the walk in humidor is below. The Match bar and grill had plenty of seating. I thought it could have used more air flow and the vent fan they had did not seem to pull smoke out even though I was sitting right next to it. They feature a changing menu and a lot of different bourbons. The burger I had was excellent. See that picture below. There is another dance bar next door, so if you are looking for a night out with some friends then this is a great stopping point.
Just minutes from Downtown Louisville at 201 Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Phone number is (812) 284-6198. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m Friday-Saturday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

We have an intern at work that wants to enjoy the finer things in life.  He is from Ecuador, very young and impressionable.  He likes good Scotch, bourbon and food, but he thinks wine in a box is a technical marvel and loves it.  He is going to throw a party for his friends and wants to add cigars into the mix, so he has been asking a lot of questions on what a bunch of newbies should smoke.

In comes his brother with a box of Cuban Cohiba Esplendidos.  I offered to store them in my humidor since they have been sitting in an office for "a while".  We opened the box when he brought them into the office, and they looked really good, for a while.  I wanted to be sure of what he had, so I took them down to my buddy Steve's cube.  He noticed right off the label on the outside was not positioned where it should be.  Steve pulled up websites where we could compare and what we found was the inside label had white showing, not a good sign.  And the little piece of paper was missing the tobacco leaf.  And to put another nail in the coffin the bottom had no stamp for manufacture date.

My Ecuadorian friend wanted me to smoke one to see what I thought.  Hey, I am here to help.  All signs are that it is Memorex (fake), but it was a very nice smoke none the less. The ash was a decent grey, the smoke was relatively think, but I did have to touch it up a couple time where it wanted to burn uneven and it smoked a bit fast for a Churchill (1 hr 15 mins).  Then the final nail, the band was a little thin and virtually no embossing.

After revealing my findings, my good buddy Steve brought in one of his, pictured in this blog as being given to him by a Cuban friend.  He wanted to know if his were real, so he offered it to me to smoke so I could compare.  Hey, still in a helping mode, so I took another one for the team.

Yet another very fine smoke, but with some differences.  Even being in a humidor for just 3 weeks after 5 years of sitting in a box dying, this cigar smoked for more than an hour and a half and burned even, no touch-ups necessary.  The smoke was thicker, heavier and the ash was a little darker grey.  And this one was stronger and grew as it went along where the first one was very mild throughout.

Very interesting experiment and I was more than happy to assist.  One is counterfeit and one is real and you can tell the difference.  However; not sure it would have been so noticeable if there was a couple weeks between them.  As it was, I had 3 Cuban cigars in 4 days and one turned out to be Memorex, but I think my friend and all his buddies will still enjoy it and probably better for a first smoke.

Thank you Luis and Steve and do not hesitate to call on me again. :-)

Oh yeah....The band on Steve's Cohiba was wider, better quality, slightly heavier paper and it was embossed.

Here is the bands for you to compare, they are actually starting to get better than they used to be.
Which one is fake and which is real?  Scroll over the letters hidden below with your mouse to see.
The one on left is real, notice the comma after Habana and the squares are more consistent.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Winston Churchill and sacred rite to smoke

Found this story, thought I would share. 

While visiting King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Winston was informed he could neither smoke nor drink, Whereas Roosevelt had respected the king's
wishes and refrained from smoking in his presence,
Churchill did the opposite. As he wrote in his memoirs,

"If it was the religion of His Majesty to deprive
himself of smoking and alcohol I must point out that
my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite
smoking cigars and also drinking alcohol before, after,
and if need be during all meals and in the intervals
between them." He puffed cigar smoke in the
king's face.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Friends in Island places

So one of my friends who is from Cuba says "I have some old cigars that I have had in a box for 5 years, would you like them?"   I will have to keep these in the humidor for long while to rehydrate, but should be good.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Aging Room M356 review

Yesterday was a nice, crisp 55 degrees in Louisville and seemed to be a good time to enjoy a cigar and a glass of wine on the deck.  I pulled the M356 from my humidor and headed outside with the dogs to enjoy the pleasant evening.  This cigar drew exceptionally well and was spicy from the start.  It was not mild, but not too strong either.  Not long into it there was a change, the flavor dropped the spice and could notice the strength a little more, definitely more full, but still not too strong and maybe a little smoother even.  And it reamined a nice smoke till the end, burning evenly and slowly throughout and the ash was fairly firm, although I knocked it off when I bumped into the deck railing.  I hate when that happens.  It was not the best pairing with the sweeter wine I was drinking, but was not bad either.  Probably would have been better with a nice Pinot Noir or a nice smooth bourbon with a little bite.

I liked this little cigar, which was about 40-45 minutes to get 2/3rds or a little more smoked.  Thanks to my buddy +Steve Medved for throwing it my way to try.  I would smoke it again and I always need cigars of this size to have around.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rookie Rantings -- San Lotano Oval

Wow!  That about sums-up my experience with this cigar.  I'm glad I've had several other prior to smoking this bad boy because if I'd had this first, nothing would compare.  I read this was the #2 rated cigar last year and then found it in a sampler pack.  I had to get it.  This was a wonderful cigar experience! 

Right out of the wrapper it had a wonderful smell.  My initial draw (which was very easy) was light and flavorful.  The smoke had a wonderful aroma.  From the first draw to the end, it was very balanced and did not get bitter.  The ash was very compact and probably would stay intact for a long time, but I'm a bit paranoid about the thing dropping in my lap.  I sat outside in freezing weather to finish this cigar.  I didn't want to put it down.  This is, officially my #1 favorite cigar and I would smoke it anytime.

  • Made By:AJ Fernandez Cigars
  • Wrapper:Habano 2000 Wrapper
  • Binder:Nicaragua
  • Filler:Nicaragua / Honduras/ AJ Fernandez Secret Filler
  • Monday, March 25, 2013

    Rookie Rantings -- Padilla Miami Robusto

    I originally began enjoying cigars because on a couple occasions my buddy Kevin shared with me his Padilla cigars.  This was one he had given me.  I think the first third of the Miami Robusto is a very flavorful cigar.  After that it does get stronger and I could only get about half way through it before I'd had enough.  Since I'm still a rookie I can't 'man up' like my buddy. It burns well, and has a very nice ash.  Now that I've experienced a few different cigars, I'd say it draws a little harder than others.

    I'd have this again, but I'm looking forward to trying the Oscuro Kevy's been raving about.

    Size: 5 x 54
    Binder:
     Nicaraguan
    Filler: Nicaraguan
    Strength: Medium to Full
    Body: Full
    Flavor: Full

                                                                                

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Rookie Rantings - Obsidian Robusto

    I'm not sure my buddy Steve knew what he was doing when he gave me the reins to his log, but since I have them...let's ride this thing!  :-)  I'm new to cigar smoking so many of you may completely disagree with my opinions.  That's the great thing about opinions, they're ours and we're right (until convinced otherwise).

    Last night I smoked an Obsidian Robusto (5.5" x 54).  It was part of a sampler I purchased (that's about all I'm purchasing right now).  The Obsidian had a nice aroma. It burned well and had a very nice draw.  The ash was kind of funky.  Many of the other cigars I've had the ash stayed together.  This cigar kind of "splintered" and I could see the leaf "veins."  I don't know what that means, but it was interesting.  I consider this a medium bodied cigar with a decent flavor.  I don't know Steve's rating scale well enough to rate this cigar, so for now I'd say I'd consider having this again (unless something better is available).

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Montecristo

    Made my way to Cromwell to visit Up In Smoke cigar shop across from lowes. " Honey, I have to run and get a few things at Lowes, I will be back in two hours".  I will post some pictures on my next visit. Bought a Montecristo Epic Premium Selection 07, in maduro. Medium to full bodied, wonderful draw and excellent grey ash. Just as the three feet of snow started to wear on me, I can stop here on the way to work to smoke and relax before another non stressful day of teaching the youth of America a interesting trade.

    Sunday, January 06, 2013

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Size does matter

    I sent truguru some Nub cigars to try out. He said he never tried them because " why pay for half a cigar" . I find that as the weather gets colder I need to find places to smoke. I like to smoke when I drive, so I have found that the size of my cigar, ring x length, is an important aspect to decide what and where to smoke.

    My drive is twenty two minutes if I drive straight to work, but I stop for my Starbucks, then I park down by the river to read a newspaper, then off to work. My job is second shift by the way, I don't like to smoke until I have eaten lunch.

    So remember that if you are buying some cigars,  maybe grab several sizes and brands and you can pick the  one that matches the situation when and where you can light up.

    Monday, November 05, 2012

    NUB cigars

    OK Have been hesitant to try the nubs but got this little gift from my brother so will be blogging about them shortly

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    Quesada Oktoberfest 92.6725


    Jason at J Shepherd Cigars , www.jshepherdcigars.com had a great cigar tasting last night, see information below.  If you want to keep up with information go to his facebook page and 'like' it.
    This new cigar was milder than I expected to go with Octoberfest beers , however, it seems that these beers are not so much 'hoppy' as they are a little sweeter.  We did have 3 different beers to sample from to test this cigar.  Everyone that attended rated the cigar as very good and many boxes were sold, including the one I bought, not that the free lighter, cutter, hat, and 3 free cigars to go with it was an encouragement. :-)  
    Anyway this cigar did indeed get better as you smoked it and was a well made cigar.  Will have to see how it goes with bourbons and ale-8-one also.


    We would like to invite you to a very special evening with 5th generation cigar maker Terence Reilly of the legendery Quesada cigar family. Join us Thursday August 30th, 5pm to 8pm as we host The entire family of SAG Imports cigars; Fonseca, Cubano Limitado, Cubano Viso Fuerte, Quesada Tributo, Casa Magna, Domus Magnus, and featuring the world renowned Oktoberfest.
    Although this cigar is great on its own, it was specifically blended to be paired with the flavorful Marzen-Style beer produced for Oktoberfest. As luck would have it, we will also be offering a complimentary tasting of three different types of Oktoberfest style beers.

    Best wishes and keep living the good life,

    Jason

    ACIGARSMOKER.COM had a great review of this cigar also: Appearance and Construction: The Quesada Oktoberfest features a dark looking wrapper that Matasa calls, “Cibao”. To the naked eye, the cigar looks like a dark oily maduro. There is one medium-sized vein that stands out, but otherwise this is a gorgeous leaf. There is some tooth present, and in the hand the stick has a nice weight and is very firm to the touch. The band features the Quesada Q and the colors of Germany. Overall, one very attractive smoke.

    Flavor & Notes: The foot of the cigar of the Quesada Oktoberst fest is smoky to the nose, with some subtle spices. The cold draw serves up some notes of earth, and smoked wood. For the purpose of the review I paired a sample with Samuel Adams Oktoberfest. I will add that I smoked a couple without the beer, and while good the OKT beer really brings the nuances of the cigar out. Once the cigar is lit a subtle bitterness that fades with the first sip of beer. What remains is a nice dark chocolate note and some wood that boarders on oak. As we enter the second third of the cigar there are some leather notes that join a mix of dark chocolate, and nuts. Each sip of beer really bring the notes out. The last third of the cigar becomes the smoothest and richest part of the smoke. The dark notes of chocolate become slightly sweeter and the notes of nuts extend into the nice finish of the cigar.

    Smoking Characteristics: This slow burning cigar burns like a dream, with a nice medium to dark color ash that holds fairly well. The draw was perfects with a nice toasty aroma to the nose. The cigar burns

    Conclusion: I figured the name Oktoberfest was just a marketing ploy, but this cigar is no gimmick. As stated in the review one can enjoy it without the beer, but to truly experience the cigar it should be paired with a hearty beer, preferably, an Oktoberfest style one.

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Foundry new STEAMPUNK Cigars

    OK you have to check out this youtube video from ICPR on the new Foundry cigars made for the steampunk genre.  It comes with a gear on the label that you save and next year they are going to have
    a suprise use for them.  Love the idea and steampunk is cool anyway.  Check out the link here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wust14eErJk&feature=youtu.be

    Will be buying and rating when they are released in late October.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Savenelli ELR Maduro 93.925


    Picked up this Maduro cigar at J.Pauls Smoke Shoppe in Oxmoor in Louisville a couple of weeks ago.  Was hugely surprised at its great flavor of this robusto.  It kept its flavor all the way thru and was more mild than I expected.  It had the Conneticut wrapper and Dominican binder and filler.  Will have to stock up on more of these for aging in the humidor.
    Some info from web is below:

    In 1994, Savenelli released a cigar that was made by the master blenders at Tabacalera Arturo Fuente, entitled the Savinelli ELR (Extremely Limited Reserve). Available in both Natural and Maduro, the Savinelli ELR was received well by the cigar community, getting a 91 in Cigar Aficionado and a 9.6 Superior Rating in Smoke Magazine. Using Cuban-seed tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic, the Savinelli ELR is the culmination of four years of testing to make sure the cigar was exactly what Savinelli and Fuente wanted. In fact, in Cigar Aficionado, the Savinelli ELR received the same rating as the Opus X Fuente Fuente of the same size, at half the price. Both these cigars are made in the same factory, too! Using either a delicious Connecticut Shade Grown Wrapper on the Natural cigar, or the Connecticut Sun Grown Wrapper on the Maduro cigar, the Savinelli ELR is a steal at its price!




    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Bad To the Bone - Cigar Outlaw 88.09



    This is the 3rd brand custom cigar from outlaw cigar in Olathe, KS.
    Not 'bad to the bone' but more like 'mild to the end'.  For a mild cigar, this is not a bad smoke actually.  Nothing to write home about, but was not dissapointed.   The ash ended up holding out well after what I would have expected, so was a pleasant suprise.
    From their website at http://www.outlawcigar.com/:
    Rolled right here in the Outlaw humidor, the Bad to the Bone cigars are made with the mild cigar smoker in mind. Great, creamy flavor, right to the finish. With the addition of the Corojo wrapper, the blend takes on a slightly spicy flavor.


    Tuesday, April 03, 2012

    Casa Fernandez Arsenio 93.50

    Picked up this from the Casa Fernandez event at Outlaw Cigar.  I am a sucker for buy 2 get 1 free.  This turned out to be a pretty good cigar.  Lots of flavor and smoke.  I had comments from people that could smell the smoke on me later in the day that it smelled nice.  Here is a review from toastedfoot.com about the 2009 Aresnio:
    Hand-made in Nicaragua by the team of Paul Palmet and Eduardo, and utilizing Aganorsa leaf, the Casa Fernandez is another offering by the team that has produced Illusione and Cruzado. The name of their company is Tabacalera Tropical and they have been producing premium smokes for almost three decades.  The Arsenio is named after master blender Arsenio Ramos, who works for Tabacalera Tropical.  The double banding of this smoke is an eye catcher off the bat. The medium brown wrapper is well packed with minimal veins and has a beautiful cap that has a distinguished finish. The cigar has good weight but I am a little concerned that the draw may be tight due to the tightness of the roll. The pre-light aroma is of typical Nicaraguan tobacco with a hint of fruit. The cold draw follows the above trend but I pick up some spice on the finish.

    The cap pops off clean and this cigar seems to be constructed very well with a nice draw that produces tons of smoke. The cigar canoes a bit at the very beginning but corrects itself for the most part by the time I am ¾ of an inch in. The ash holds well and is varied in color.
    The first puff on this smoke produces solid notes of woody tobacco, no spice, and a nice finish. Moving into the first third, the tobacco becomes a bit earthier, spice is present in the form of pepper, and the finish is heavy and long. The second third finds the flavor of the smoke picking up as the rich Nicaraguan tobacco opens up a bit more. The notes remain constant but at one point I pick a bit of mint for just a few draws in the second third. The last third transitions into an even fuller smoke with an excellent balance of tobacco notes and spice.
    This is an excellent Nicaraguan puro for the money. The blend is complex, it transitions well, and besides the uneven burn at the very beginning, the construction seems to be solid. The cigar is full bodied and full flavored in my opinion. The strength snuck up on me into the last third but that is not a bad thing, as it shows movement in the smoke. If you get a chance I recommend picking a few of these up.








    Monday, April 02, 2012

    WTF Outlaw Cigar 90

    Another cigar from Outlaw Cigar in Kansas City.  This one actually was not too bad at all. 
    Good mild cigar that kept it's flavor till the end.
    It was also very well rolled and the ash held up quite well.  This cigar was created by Casa Fernandez. Not sure if it is slightly overpriced at $7.50 for Toro, but worth trying at least once to see if it suites your taste.  If not, WTF.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Gunslinger Outlaw Cigar 86.3325

     
    This if the first of the custom cigars made exclusively for Outlaw Cigar in Kansas City.  Unfortunately this smokes about the equivalent of a 'Itsaboy' cigar.  Very bland, maybe even a little on the harsh side.  Not on my will by again list.  You can see more information like the below at gunslingercigar.com.

    Still under development the Gunslinger will be the flagship cigar of The Outlaw Cigar Co... Many trips to Nicaragua and Honduras working with several different manufactures such as Jesus Fuego, Plasencia, Joya de Nicaragua, Rocky Patel, Arsenio, and Pepin Garcia in order to produce the greatest cigar possible. What we call the greatest House Blend on the planet. Outlaw has engaged passionate cigar smoking enthusiasts from all over the country to become part of the journey of tasting, and providing feedback on each of the developmental blends created as we work our way to the greatest house blend on the planet. The reviewers will be tasting these blends and submitting reviews to help tweak the flavor and body as we go along. Reviews will be posted on this site for the cigar community to view. This should give you an idea of how the blend is changing throughout the selection process. Outlaw will be utilizing strong Nicaraguan tobaccos, a Mexican Maduro wrapper and a few undisclosed unique tobaccos, Outlaw is patiently and persistently developing a flavor profile like no other cigar. A rich, thick deep, heavy cigar with earthy, dirty flavors, like a good Dutch Chocolate.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    BRICKHOUSE 92.425

    I have smoked about 6 of these now.  And have given several to friends to try.  They have been very consistent each time.  These are Nicaraguan made by the Newman family. They have a website at http://www.brickhousecigars.com/
    Leaf&Ale website had this review( http://www.leafandale.com/ ).
    The original Brickhouse cigars were Cuban puros, handmade with the finest Havana tobaccos. Third-generation cigar makers, Eric and Bobby Newman, have recreated this vintage cigar brand by blending specially aged Nicaraguan tobaccos with hearty Havana Subido wrapper leaves to match the rich, well-balanced flavor of their grandfather's Brick House cigars. Handmade in Nicaragua, these flavorful cigars are designed to be enjoyed and shared with friends - just like J.C.'s friends and family would have done 150 years ago in the original Brickhouse. Brickhouse cigars are made in the same factory as J.C. Newman's El Baton cigars.




    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    IDEOLOGY 262 92.0075

    Size: 6×50, Toro (box pressed)
    Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado (Jalapa)
    Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
    Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero, Mexican Ligero (San Andreas), Dominican Republic Viso (Piloto Cubano)
    Strength: Mild

    I saw this in J. Paul's(Oxmore Smoke Shoppe),  one of the tobacco shops I frequent, and had not heard
    of it yet.  Evidentally released in 2009.  This cigar is named 262 to honor JFK who passed the Cuban embargo in Feb. 1962.  The cigar is made by revelution cigars, website http://www.smoketherevolution.com/.  I hate rating a cigar when I have only smoked one, but was not sure about this one off the shelf and just wanted to try one.  It is a decent smoke.  Looking at the list of fillers above, it appears they like to reach out and join countries across Central America.


    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    The Outlaw Cigar Company, Kansas City

    Whenever I am in Kansas City I always stop by The Outlaw Cigar Company and check out their store and selection of cigars.  They are now selling their own branded cigars also, so will be smoking a selection of them and rating them on the blog shortly.  You have to love cigars named 'WTF' and 'Bad To The Bone'.  And also got hold of their annual calendar and had it autographed by the March Calendar model, Jennifer(Misnamed as Jessica in the calendar, WTF?).  The big gun out front was on display that weekend also.  I think it smokes pretty well, but I did not test it personally. :-)

    Black Market 90.84


    This cigar from Alec Bradly was a good cigar, but nothing stood out flavor wise.  The label reflects the trend I am seeing however, in large sizes that either have lots of information on them for advertising, or just to protect the cigar better.  I believe I ordered this one from cigar.com catalogue.  They have this to say on their web site:

    The first thing you'll notice about Black Market is the plethora of smoke it releases. From first puff you'll be able to create billowing clouds of thick smoke that exude a pleasant, earthy aroma. This is due to the 4-country blend. Inside you'll find a filler consisting of Panama and Honduran long leaves all masked with a zesty Sumatra binder. Finished with a premium Nicaraguan-grown maduro wrapper, Black Market expells notes of spice and pepper as the cigar slowly builds in strength. With a dry finish, this is a great blend to enjoy with your favorite hearty libation.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    Perdomo Event

    I went to Joe's Cigar in Rocky Hill today for a cigar event and to smoke some cigar's!
    Do you need a reason to smoke cigar's?? I bought a box of 5.5 x 54 Limited Edition Cuban Boxed Pressed Maduro Epicure, Aged 5 years!!!  Once again I am into the boxed press shape that fits my big front teeth better.
    The flavor was medium to full bodies with those special notes of something or other that the pro smokers can define. Me, i just smoke 'em.. Sorry Steve, I don't rate cigars with that fractal math that you use. I will say that they were yummy and had an excellent draw all the way down to the Nub!
    Upon purchase I was given a free Cutter, as seen above, can never have to many accessories, or knives or guns, MRE's Bomb shelter prep, beer,, Oh sorry, I was just thinking out loud. Anyway the weather here in the East is warming right up and there might be a few more Cigars smoked this weekend.

    Remember that it takes less muscle's to smile than to frown, and even less to smoke with.


    Pete

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Working the night shift



    Usually the winter blues and or the five feet of snow keeps me from enjoying a good cigar, but my second shift instructors job has made a huge dent in my cigar time. Well the weather here on the East Coast has been on the very warm side, no signs of snow to relocate, and I do have most of the day before work. So I decided to bite the bullet and smoke a Rocky Patel "THE EDGE SQUARE", and went outside in the 44 degree weather and get off my butt and enjoy a smoke.
    And it was nice, quiet, no birds or salient noises to disturb me. It is a short cigar, about a 35 min. smoke. I was thinking about upcoming events in my life, and house projects, and it was good...
    The above picture shows my sparse humidor so I will have to remedy that through mail order, Holts cigar out of Philly is one of my favorites, and I have been using and visiting them for 20 years. Spring is almost here, and I have been neglecting my few rewards. Also it is Armageddon 2012 anyway, so live it up!!!!!

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    What Makes a Cigar Good?

    Great Article by Gary Manelski on his about.com blog.
    By Gary Manelski, About.com Guide


    Is flavor the main factor that determines whether a cigar is good or not, or is that just too simple of an answer? Other factors such as a cigar's construction, strength or nicotine content, draw, burn, feel, appearance, etc. all contribute to the overall enjoyment of a cigar, but the majority of cigar smokers consider flavor to be the single most important factor. However, there are many aspects of flavor that require further analysis. For instance, we must not only consider the various tastes and flavors in cigars such as spice, pepper, sweetness, salt, etc., but the texture, smoothness, fullness and intensity of the smoke also contribute to the overall flavor. The coolness of the smoke is also an important aspect of taste to some cigar smokers. If this is the case, then consider smoking cigars with larger ring gauges. And let's not forget aroma, which is 75% of flavor, at least according to our Contributing Writer, Dr. Mitch Fadem.

    We can delve further into the aspects of taste, but I believe that there is a certain intangible that makes a particular cigar great, and this certain x-factor cannot always be accurately defined or explained. However, you know it when you taste it. I can tell you that complexity and balance are also important factors that some smokers do not always consider. Those factors can also help to make a cigar great, as well as give cigar reviewers something more to write about. However, complexity may not be a significant factor when it comes to evaluating smaller cigars. If a cigar lasts for about 30 minutes or so, then the flavors do not have to morph several times to make the cigar enjoyable. But if a cigar lasts for an hour or two, then the smoking experience will eventually become boring if a cigar's flavors do not transform, develop or change as the cigar is smoked.

    Price Doesn't Matter

    Some cigar smokers' perceptions may be affected by the price they pay for a certain cigar. If a cigar costs an arm and a leg, there is probably a high expectation that the cigar will automatically be good. However, there is not always a direct relationship between price and enjoyment, and I think that most smokers would greatly prefer to discover a value priced cigar that they really like. Be critical of expensive cigars. Some cigars may cost more than others, but will they taste better to you? Not always. The flavor you taste in a cigar is mostly about the blend – how the different tobacco leaves work together to produce an enjoyable smoke. There are a number of reasons why some cigars cost more than others, but some of those reasons have nothing to do with how the cigars actually taste.

    Not to get too far off the subject, but it is important to be able to distinguish a good cigar from an expensive cigar. There are a number of legitimate reasons why some cigars cost more than others, such as scarcity or rarity of the tobacco, expertise of the blenders and rollers, where the cigar is made (it costs more to make a handmade cigar in the U.S. or the Bahamas than in Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic), the quality control procedures in place at the factory, how long the tobacco and the cigars have been aged, plus many other factors. However, there are also a number of other factors having little or nothing to do with the cigar itself that could raise the price, such as high advertising and promotional expenses, too many middlemen, and high profit margins. (I'm not even going to get started on government taxes and regulations.) Also, some small-batch boutique cigars are limited in production and targeted to an upscale market. That does not automatically make them better, only more expensive (and more exclusive, but on purpose).

    Other extraneous factors besides the price may also affect a cigar smoker's perceptions. Almost every new cigar has a story behind it now a days, but many of these stories are really just a part of the marketing strategy to get you to buy the cigar. All that should really matter is how much you enjoy a cigar for the cigar itself, and not for any other reason. It is true that some cigar makers put their heart and soul into the cigars that they produce, but does that really matter if another passionate cigar maker can do it better?

    The Elusive "Perfect" Cigar

    Did you ever smoke just one particular cigar and find it so enjoyable that you went out and bought an entire box of those same cigars, but were disappointed to find that none of the cigars in the box could compare to the one cigar that you initially enjoyed so much to begin with? Absent any inconsistencies in the production of the cigars, maybe there is another y-factor that could affect the condition of your palate at a particular time of day, or after eating a particular type of meal. Or could it be the different conditions under which you smoke cigars, such as room temperature, humidity, atmospheric conditions, accompanying beverage, scenery, surroundings, camaraderie, or any number of other external factors? I believe the answer to that question is YES.

    It is helpful to read what others think about a particular cigar before deciding whether to buy it and try it for yourself or not, but everyone's palate is different, and we all have our own preferences. That is why it is important to sample a large variety of cigars before deciding on a favorite or favorites. If you already have a cigar that you like, you will always eventually be able to find another one that you like even better. And if you are a new cigar smoker who had a bad experience with one or two cigars, do not give up and assume that you just don't like cigars. Believe me, there are cigars more suitable for beginners that will change your mind. All you have to do is find them, and of course, make sure you know how to smoke cigars properly.

    There is one last caveat to consider in the search for the ideal cigar. As you continue to smoke, your palate will develop and change over time. There is a very good chance that sometime after you find the perfect smoke, your tastes will change, and you will then have to resume the quest for that perfect cigar all over again. After all, change is what keeps the cigar world spinning around.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Cu-Avana Intenso Churchill not yet rated

    A mild smoke that I enjoyed, however at a $6.00 stick price point, not a go to cigar.  I usually smoke 2 cigars before I rate tham to make sure their is consistency, however only had one of these and cannot make a good judgement yet.  I will have to pick up another to make a rating.
    Origin: Nicaragua
    Size: 7 x 48
    Ring: 48
    Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
    Binder: Nicaragua
    Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero
    Body: Full
    Price: ~$6.00 each
    Smoke Time: 1 hr 5 min


    From bluenotecigars.com:
    A departure from the mild blends that currently make up the Cu-Avana line; Intenso is an excellently blended, full-bodied powerhouse comparable to Oliva Serie ‘V’ and Joya de Nicaragua.

    The idea behind the Cu-Avana Intenso cigar was to create a blend that offered an exorbitant amount of flavor, while maintaining a smooth character and a mild body. Recently, enthusiasts across the globe have been seeking out stronger, more robust cigars and therefore it was time to add a full-bodied blend to the Cu-Avana line. To complete this feat, the reigns were passed to Nestor Plasencia, who developed a tasty, full-bodied treat originating from Honduras.
    Cu-Avana Intenso is not for the faint of heart. This blend is incredibly powerful, offering a ton of complex, spicy flavors with a very long finish. The name suits the power of the blend perfectly, as the initial light is robust and only continues to become more intense as the cigar burns. The filler consists of Nicaraguan ligero tobaccos and some exotics, all long-leaf, which are concealed by an oily, toothy Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper.
    This combination provides a massive amount of spice, pepper and earth with only a hint of cocoa that rests in the back of the throat. Make no mistake, Intenso was blended with the full-bodied enthusiast in mind and is a fantastic, long awaited addition to the Cu-Avana brand.



    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Padilla Miami 91.76

    As usual, Padilla cigars live up to their reputation.  I enjoyed this one, however it did lose a little flavor at the end.  Was a nice enjoyable smoke with an aroma that was commented on by people around me.

    Here are some specs from cigars international site:
    Behold, the 94-rated masterpiece from Ernesto Padilla.
    The Miami has turned the industry upside down. Hand-crafted in exceedingly limited quantities, this cigar has been named one of the top 50 cigars in the world to accompany a handful of 90+ ratings.
    The blend is extraordinary. Each leaf of tobacco hails from the dark, fertile soils of Nicaragua and is grown from 1st generation Cuban seeds. The wrapper is a dark, reddish-hued Corojo. The filler, a robust mixture of Criollo and Corojo tobaccos. Three caps are applied to the head of this cigar in true Cuban fashion. Production is low and costs are high, yielding a very low number of cigars each year. But those that are produced are exemplary. Toasty hints of wood, cocoa and coffee smack your taste buds at various points throughout the smoke, while each is finished by a peppery aftertaste that coats the palate like syrup. Extremely complex and masterfully balanced, the Padila Miami is truly one of the finest cigars made today and re-establishes the hand-rolled cigar as a work of art.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Padilla Miami Churchill 94.095


    This was a highly enjoyable smoke.  I only had one of these.  I usually smoke at least two before I rate them.
    It must have been an impulse purchase.  These sell for around $10.00 a stick, so that might explain why I only picked up one.   This is a medium to full body cigar, and had great flavor from start to finish.  Not peppery like some cigars, but more smooth.  My sweet taste buds were really liking this cigar.  Will pick up more of these if I see them in the future.

    Cigar.com had this on the cigar:
    Padilla Miami is a very limited production boutique blend that has received high marks from several industry publications. In fact, in April 2009, Padilla Miami earned a '94' rating by Cigar Aficionado!

    Ernesto Padilla is among the top ten blenders in the cigar business. He is known for producing such incredible cigars as Padilla Series 68, Padilla 1932, and Padilla Habano, in addition to many others. Due to his impeccable blending abilities and his love for the art, Ernesto Padilla has produced multiple 90+ rated blends, all of which were well met by fellow enthusiasts. Due to the exclusive tobaccos used in these cigars and their popularity, Padilla Miami is extremely limited.
    Padilla Miami is among the finest blends ever created by Ernesto. Using all Cuban-seed tobaccos from Nicaragua, the blend is similar to the most popular Cuban cigars. Upon its debut in 2005, it received a 92 rating from Cigar Aficionado magazine, one of the highest ratings awarded that year. Each cigar is constructed immaculately with a triple cap, then aged to ensure a well-rounded aroma and enticing flavor. Each cigar is finished with a Corojo wrapper, giving these smokes a full-bodied and robust taste. Availability of Padilla Miami is “hit or miss,” so be sure to pick some up while they are in stock.
    This brand recieved a '94' rating by Cigar Aficionado in April, 2009

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    cifuentes partagas 1845 spanish rosado 92.425



    This was a great cigar with a nice sweet taste that lasted from start to finish.  I definitely liked this cigar and would highly recommend for those that like a nice mild smoke.  I have reviewed the red label of these some time ago and liked it very much also.  Now I need to find a black label.
    From cigar.com:
    The Partagas Spanish Rosado is medium bodied with a rich full flavor that derives from its unique San Agustin wrapper. This cigar is complex and well balanced.

    From the legendary brand that originated in Cuba comes the Partagas Spanish Rosado. The Spanish Rosado name is derived from the wrapper that is grown exclusively for General Cigar in the San Agustin Valley in Honduras. "Spanish" refers to the country of Spain's influence in Honduran history, while "Rosado" refers to the reddish hue found in each wrapper.
    The Partagas Spanish Rosado offers a unique taste that consumers have come to expect from Partagas. The Honduran-shade wrapper offers a rich, oily appearance with a consistent dark reddish-brown color. Because of the uniqueness of the soil, the wrapper provides a spicy taste with hints of cinnamon that burns white, leaving a beautiful ash. A Connecticut Broadleaf binder with a blend of Dominican, Honduran, and Mexican tobaccos combine to make this medium to full-bodied cigar a must-have for serious cigar enthusiasts.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Punch Limited Edition Toro 94.76


    Finally got around to smoking one of my FREE cigars from Cigar Rights of America for joining for my 3rd year.
    If you enjoy cigars, please consider joining this group that is looking out for our rights.
    This cigar shocked me at first because of how easy the draw was.  I have smoked some cigars that take a little bit to settle down and develop a good flavor, however this was a great cigar from start to finish.  A very mild smoke that was easy to enjoy.
    Nicaraguan Wrapper, Honduras 6 x 52
    Good review also from zencigar.com:
    This is a great rustic looking cigar. The wrapper is a tawny brown with minimal veins with lots of tooth. It gives a little to the touch in the middle, which makes me wonder if this is going to burn and draw well all of the way through.

    It clips great, I light the cigar easily and the first thing I notice is quite surprising – no harshness. Usually cigars made by the two big guys, General and Altadis, are sub par compared to other premium handmades. They are usually rushed out of the factory and quite young and unbalanced. But this was very nice!
    There was lots of wood and leather from the onset with a rich hearty core of tobacco. Initially I got lots of smoke, but the burn was progressing too quickly for my liking.
    About halfway down, it began to tunnel – that soft spot I mentioned earlier – but quickly corrected itself. The burn was relatively straight and even throughout the smoke, but it did require some occasional “touch-ups”.
    The last few inches were rich and intense, full-bodied but not strong, tons of coffee, leather and wood abound. There was also a nice lingering cocoa note on the finish, which was long.
    Not only was this cigar good – it was great! This was one of the best cigars I have ever smoked from General, and one of the best tasting cigars I have tried in some time. It had the perfect balance of flavors and strength, the only detractor was the construction and it was not that complex. After this, I can’t wait to try the rest from the sampler!
    Rating: 90 (A-)

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Benchmade by Ashton Don Pepin 85.4975

    Smoked this one today, and the cigar looked nice and had high hopes for it since it was a brand I had not really heard a lot about.  However, I was very unhappy with this one.  Definitely off my future purchase list.
    The outer wrapper had a very bitter taste to it that lasted for quite a while.  The burn was reasonable as would be expected of a hand made cigar.  The flavor was just not there, no good blending of leaves or anything to be detected.  I was almost like smoking bad burley.  The cigar discounters offer this because of its low price and try to talk it up for the price, around $2.60-$3.00 a stick.  It might as well be $3 a box.  Sheesh, sorry Don Pepin, try again.
    Wrapper and Filler Nicaragua, Robusto 5x50, Medium to Full strength.