Archive for May, 2009
The Hype – “The Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 is a medium to full bodied blend that uses an Ecuadorian wrapper that has been aged a full 10 years. This wrapper, combined with a 5 year old filler and binder, make a true vintage cigar unlike any other. The aroma is very earthy with hints of wood and nuts and has a moderate finish. Highly rated and considered a great value for its age and quality, the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 comes packaged in wood boxes of 20 and the cigars are box pressed for a sharp presentation. The Rocky Patel Vintage line is among the most popular cigars of today. “
The Review – “My new home theater was completed today, and I figured I deserved a celebration. I opened my box of Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 to enjoy one of these dusky beauties. The striking thing about these cigars is that they’re just beautiful; the flawless box-press appearance reminds one of colonial times and it smells delicious. Earth, alfalfa and hints of coffee. I popped in my blu-ray version of Grindhouse, grabbed some Guinness and sat down in my Berkline theater recliner for some ‘alone time’. While toasting the foot, I savored the aroma of cedar and oak with a hint of almond. Draw was a little tight, but very manageable. I love the flavor profile of this cigar, smooth, nutty and earthy, with an very slight hint of white pepper. This cigar produces a wispy white smoke that is reletavely diminutive for a monster like this. I noticed after about 15 minutes that I was smoking to fast…it was so good, that I was puffing about every 30 seconds! I had to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. I slowed things way down and finished the stick after a total smoking time of about 2.5 hours ! – A very satisfying experience indeed. The flavor continued to be uniformly mellow until about 2/3 through where the pepper became more pronounced and it hinted at espresso. Approaching the nub, the flavor became far more concentrated and I called it quits. – I really enjoy the vintage 1992’s. My only negative to this particular one was that it burned somewhat unevenly and required 3-4 touch ups to maintain uniformity.”
The Hype – “One of the fuller-flavored cigars by CAO, the Criollo is a classic mix of Cuban seed tobaccos from Central America. CAO is one of the most well known names in cigars. It seems anywhere there is a celebrity smoking a cigar, there is CAO. It is the fastest growing, trendiest, and most popular brand on the market, appealing to a new generation of aficionados and seasoned veterans of the hobby alike. Top ratings and awards have brought this boutique brand to the top of its game. The word “Criollo” literally means native seed. The Criollo ‘98 was an experimental hybrid seed grown in Cuba when they were searching for a solid tobacco strand to fight mold and other agricultural difficulties. It was later picked up by CAO and debuted as the CAO Criollo. Immediately it was dubbed a cigar that could compete with the finest Cuban cigars on the market. Grown and cultivated in Nicaragua and matched with Cuban seed Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, the Criollo has a medium to full-bodied damp and earthy aroma. The CAO Criollo is another solid addition to the CAO family and a Nicaraguan masterpiece.”
The Review – “Everyone left the BBQ and I needed something fun with flavor. I broke out the CAO Criollo Pampa and two glasses: Glenfiddich 21-yr old and chilled Smart Bottle empowered water. I’m experimenting with purified and filtered water during my cigar smoking experiences and it is really interesting to observe how mouthfeel and flavors can change with high quality water as compared to my favorite spirits or even a good coffee. The Criollo is one of my solid standbys, full of flavor with a reasonable smoke time. I keep at least one brick of these fun little cigars in the humidor.
Prelight aroma is very pleasant. The alfalfa scent is prominent, but there are notes of bread and coffee in the background. Lighting this cigar is effortless and the smoke is very pleasant. It smells like a mix of cigar and pipe tobacco and has a sharp sweetness to it that is unique to Dominican puros. The first draw is spicy and tangy with a strong white pepper mouth feel; attention grabbing and a warning to smoke this one carefully and slowly. This particular stick had a slightly tighter draw than other Criollos that I’ve tried before, but it wasn’t out of control and helped to remind me to take it slowly on this one. Like a Davidoff, the Criollo seems to have a higher nicotine content, so the head rush and slight nausea is inevitable unless I pace myself.
Ash on the pampa is light gray and ran to about 1.5 inches before diving off the end of the stick. I enjoy the profile of this cigar; it starts strong mellows out for about 40 minutes and then ramps back up again approaching the nub and round things off. From previous Criollos, they can sometimes burn irregularly and if they slow down too much, the tar flavor becomes pronounced, so I did blow through this one about 2/3 through to keep it even.
The Hype -“This is Paso Doble and because it’s so good and so affordable, it’s likely to become your next everyday cigar. Now the reason it’s so good is its tobacco. The filler is a pleasing blend of Dominican and Costa Rican, the Central American tobacco that smokes so light and mild. Here it is perfectly matched with the medium bodied Dominican. Together they produce an airy richness rarely found in cigars made anywhere. Combine this blend with the Connecticut-Ecuador wrapper and the result is pure magic. Paso Doble tastes as good as, smokes as good as, but costs much less than better known cigars”
The review – “I’m done with flavored cigars for a while. I’m going to stick with good natural tobacco flavors to heal the pain. A friend gave me a 25-pack of Thompson Paso-Doble robusto cigars for Christmas 2007. Knowing that most Thompson house cigars are not the best, I hoped that a good year and a half of aging would help things along. I just got a shipment of CAO Brazilia’s in and had to make room for them in the humidor, so I figured it was time to see if these were any good…
We hosted a barbecue today with a bunch of work friends and some customers, so I figured I’d be a generous host and share the robustos with everyone. It was interesting to get their responses. Most didn’t know the Paso Doble brand, so there were no preconceptions about taste or quality. My office friends who smoke were generally satisfied with the mildness of the smoke and my plumber was the only one who thought it was “too dry”. He knows his stuff, he was quick to remark that there must be Cost Rican tobacco in the filler. He says the Costa Rican adds dryness – I’ll have to do more research into this…
My personal observations – Prelight odor is quite pleasant, with a pleasant alfalfa aroma. The vitola light easily and burned evenly. I was mingling and socializing at the BBQ, so I had the thing lit for about 2 hours, taking occasional puffs. The cigar maintained it’s light very well and didn’t require relighting at all. Initial draw was peppery and a little harsh, but it quickly mellowed out into a generally pleasant smoke. The flavor was consistent right down to the label-point, where it started to get harsh again. Harshness remained all the way to the two-finger point where I finally tossed it into the fire. Talking to some other brothers of the leaf who’ve tried new Paso Dobles, their experience was quite dissapointing, so I suspect the 17 months of aging must have done the trick.
At a retail value of approximately $2 each, I really can’t complain about these. I certainly wouldn’t smoke one of these on my own during my alone time. If you’re needing to share at a party and don’t want to unload the good stuff then grab a bundle of these cheap sticks, chuck them in the humidor for at least a year andyou’ll still be a decent host.
The Hype – “The CAO Cherrybomb line is constructed from a Cameroon wrapper and Dominican binder and filler. These mild cigars are then infused with a mixture of flavors including, cherry, black currant, and vanilla. CAO makes some of the best flavored cigars on the market. The CAO cherrybomb is available in Corona, Mini, Petit Corona, Robusto, and Tubo shapes. If you enjoy a blend of flavors from both natural tobacco and fruit infusion the CAO Cherrybomb is the choice for you.”
The Review – “After the Eileen’s dream, I tried the CAO Cherry bomb. Upon opening the cellophane, I detected a very strong cherry/currant aroma, reminding me of cherry cordial I drank as a child. It was so strong that I have doubts it is “all natural” as claimed. I lit the thing and it smelled even worse; like burned candy. In the interests of science, I drew a few from this little petite corona and was repulsed. The sickly sweet cherry and burned sugar filled my mouth and left a horrible aftertaste. I washed my palate with some purified empowered drinking water and tried again…no joy. After a few sips of Talisker, I let it violate my mouth for one last time – even worse!
I crushed the horrible little ofender underfoot and retired to the safety of a CAO Brazilia Gol and tried to forget the entire experience – Never again!
The Hype – “Eileen’s Dream is a combination of Irish cream and white chocolate truffles. Our Irish cream is made from superior Irish whiskey, frothed cream and fresh coconut milk. White chocolate truffles subtly blend hazelnut paste, ground almonds, cocoa and vanilla extract. These flavors mix with mild Dominican tobaccos and a grade-one Cameroon wrapper to complete this five-star treat. Relax in the tranquility of Eileen’s Dream, and let it lead you into an idyll of green grass and smiling emerald eyes.”
The Review – Eileen’s dream is another in CAO’s “flavored” series. I got the Eileen’s dream as part of a CAO sampler from the Tinder Box. The one I tried was in th petite corona size. Well packaged with a cedar wrapper in cellophane, this little cigar has a delightful aroma, the irish cream is quite evident and smells delightful. Light is easy with a crisp pre-draw. I noticed that the smoke had a slight green tint to it. I thought it was the Talisker telling me tales, but I got confirmation from a few of my mates that the smoke definitely had some a green hue. – I need to bring a few of these on the next St. Patrick’s day pub crawl…Flavor is mild, with a slight bitterness when drawing too quickly. I noticed less pleasant flavor than the moontrance, so I still prefer the moontrance over this one. The burn was very uniform as is my experience with most CAO offerings. Ash was dark gray with a light edge and it ashed very well. Overall I was satisfied, but I wouldn’t keep an entire box in the humidor, just a few for novelty purposes.
The Hype – “CAO Gol! cigars present a big, beefy and bold blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled into dark, juicy Brazilian wrappers with an oily texture that’s so tempting you want to bite right down on ’em. The smoke captivates and teases the palate with notes of cedar, exotic spices, and an enticing aroma.”
The Review – I’ve had a 5-pack of CAO Brazilia Gol cigars in the humidor for the last 6 months and it was time to try this maduro for the first time. The band is very well designed and makes for a very attractive cigar, it contrasts well with the dark maduro wrapper. This stick feels hefty and well-built, the wrapper has no veins and smells very good~ hay, cedar and a hint of flowers. The Brazilian leaf wrapper tastes very pleasant and lights easily. Draw is light and effortless with an even burn…
I started drinking Amstel light with this stick in anticipation of the “full-bodied” taste, but found that the Brazilia tasted great without the hopps, I switched to purified iced water instead and felt like it helped to cleanse the palate far better than the beer. The 1st third of this cigar had a definite dark chocolate overtone, with a very pleasant natural tobacco sweetness that I really like. I had this stick and it’s brothers in their cellophane while in the humidor and I think it was slightly too moist, as I needed to warm it up with my lighter to maintain an even burn. for the first couple of inches; after that it burned very evenly and ashed up to 2 inches. Time stood still while smoking this one – I smoked it for 2 hours without even realizing, I really enjoyed the bue/gray smoke and the flavor notes as the cigar progressed from chocolate to cedar and spice flavors. Once I reached about an inch before the band, the madure wrapper began to flake, but it certainly didn’t affect the quality of the smoke. I took this one to the nub and enjoyed a very mellow finish, slight pepper, more cedar and creamy spice that was a pleasant surprise. The aftertaste wasn’t harsh and I wanted to savor the flavor as long as possible. I’ll be getting more of these.
The Hype – “The Griffin’s represents the high quality and excellence one expects from its maker, Davidoff. The three unique tobaccos, all grown in the Cibao Valley of the Dominican Republic, are carefully aged and blended to create a perfectly balanced, mild bodied cigar. A Connecticut wrapper adds to the Griffin’s smooth taste and rich aroma. True cigar aficionados will appreciate the quality and flavor of Davidoff’s Griffin’s cigars. When Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1492, he wrote with great reverence: “This island (which he later named La Hispaniola), is a wonder of nature. The mountain ranges and the hills, the valleys and rivers, the meadows and fields, all hold a unique beauty and charm. The grounds are unusually fertile. Anyone who sees it once, will never want to leave”. Later, Spain gave this land the name Santo Domingo; today it is called Republica Dominicana.
The tobacco plants for the Griffin’s cigars are harvested in the Cibao valley, the most fertile area on the island. For over 500 years the tradition of tobacco cultivation has been carried on and thanks to the excellent climatic conditions, guarantees impeccable quality cigars. The name The Griffin’s is a guarantee of fine premium cigars from the Dominican Republic. The superior quality of these handmade cigars is ensured through careful checking and selection processes covering everything from the tobacco seeds to the finished cigars. The cigars from the Cibao valley sporting the characteristic griffin logo, with their filler consisting of three different Santo Domingo tobaccos from different harvests, are hand-rolled by torcedores. Cigar compositions from The Griffin’s exert a fascinating attraction – just like the mythical heraldic beast on the cigar band. A warranty seal on the boxes vouches for quality and authenticity.“
The Review – I’ve smoked a number of Davidoff cigars over the years, with generally good results. I bought this single from my local tobacconist on a whim, as I had never tried The Griffin’s before.
I opened the tubo and saw a hand-rolled masterpiece. This robusto was just beautiful! The wrapper was a flawless leaf and the stick had a pleasant alfalfa aroma with a nutty hint of things to come. My Xicar lighter made short work of toasting the foot and I was soon enjoying the smooth mellow aroma of this cigar. As with any Davidoff, it drew easily and burned uniformly. The light ash maintained itself at about 3/4″ through the entire smoking session which lasted my about an hour. The flavor was consistently creamy with a smoky nuttiness throughout, and I noticed a definite “sweet spot” as I approached the final third. The wrapper started to loosen as I approached the last 1.5″, but I was still able to enjoy this fine smoke “to the nub”. I always have a few Davidoffs in the humidor for special friends, and special occasions – they never dissapoint.
The Hype: “Patiently awaiting the soft flicker of flame from you. Ringed in shimmering gold, ACID holistic cigars are a worthy tribute to all that is refined and elegant in life. Every Atom Maduro is a carefully measured, distinct blend of the finest cigar tobaccos touched with the softest kiss of our most secret herbal infusions. These are the acid cigars of choice for the epicurean palate and soul.”
After the c-note fiasco, I was not excited at all about violating my pie-hole with another acid product. I called around and after finding comfort from my friends, I grabbed a Guinness lit the Atom and relaxed on the deck…
What a pleasant surprise, the atom maduro lit easily and drew effortlessly producing copius quantities of white aromatic smoke. The Dominican maduro wrapper was a mellow compliment to the filler and the “infusion” was very subtle. The aromatic smoke enveloped me in a dreamy haze as I spent the next hour savoring every inch of the dark robusto. I smoked it almost to the nub when it started to become harsh and overheat. After letting it rest for about 3 minutes I drew again and enjoyed a pleasant peppery finish. I’ll definitely be adding a box of these to the humidor.
The Hype: “Acid C-note cigars are handmade cigarillos ‘developed to raise a lot of eyebrows in a mere 20 minutes’. Rolled inside delicately spicy Sumatra wrappers, the smoke is mild to medium bodied and presented in 20 baggies, each with 5 cigarillos, for a total of 100 great-tasting little smokes!“
I took the day off today, so after breakfast I dug further into the Acid sampler tin and discovered a little bag of five twig-looking cigarillos labeled “c-note”. The little cigarillos are about 5″ long and about 25 ring gauge in diameter. They smelled interesting and I though “what the hell” and lit one up. What the hell indeed….this little stick must be the vilest monster that I’ve ever tried. There is so much sugar on the thing that I watched it boiling off in spots at the tip! The c-note did raise my eyebrows – in disgust! The smoke was excessively hot and harsh, it was decidedly unpleasant. My mouth actually felt like it had been burned after about three puffs.
The only redeeming quality this cigarillo had for me was that the smoke actually smelled good, reminiscent of a Belgian waffle-house; coffee, confectionery, and good cigar smoke.
NEVER AGAIN! – These vile twigs are not welcome in my humidor.
The Hype – “Now that you have tried the rest, it is time to try the best. Be prepared to experience a heavenly feeling when you inhale the first puff of Acid Nasty. Drew estate are famous all over the world for their premium quality herbal & floral flavored cigars, but this one is really the best of the lot. Unlike others whose promises end before they start, Acid Nancy keeps up with its promise of consistency till the last puff. In fact you will feel sorry when the experience ends. The oily wrapper sheathing the cigar assures that its original flavor remains intact and you will find it out the moment you take the first puff. The rose scented rich blue smoke has a hint of cocoa in just the correct proportions to make all the difference the way you enjoy a smoke. Prepare yourself for a heavenly feeling with an Acid Nasty.”
The Review – I ordered an Acid Sampler Box from my local tobacconist, and it arrived today. The picture on the box didn’t give me any hope at all, some long-haired hippie leaning against his bike…hardly the image I expect of a cigar smoker, but maybe I’m just showing my age. I opened the tin and was assailed by numerous strange odors, somewhat reminiscent of a bordello in Morocco – earthy, musty, floral, patchouli, rosewater, cinnamon and who the hell knows what else. Not a good start at all~ I disgorged the contents of the box and wondered where to start…I was immediately drawn to the “Nasty” with its odd shape. It tapers down from approx 64 ring to about 20 ring in a pyramid shape. The dark wrapper smelled good and it didn’t seem to have that teeny-bopper aroma the the others in the box had.
The covered foot lit very well and I toasted through it to warm the filler. First draw was quite effortless and the smoke was very pleasant. This particular wrapper has hints of dark chocolate and a definite sweetness to it. Burn was uniform and it ashed a blue/gray color that kept the smoke temperature uniform. It took me approx 45 minutes to work my way through this while sipping on iced filtered water from my new Enhanced water filtration system installed by my friend Greg and his associates in Utah. I’ve always enjoyed talisker and other fine spirits with my cigars, but I’m learning that filtered water cleanses the palate and definitely enhances the flavor of a cigar.
The Nasty definitely doesn’t live up to its name, there is no nastiness here; just a pleasant, earthy flavor, somewhat primitive but not too harsh. I enjoyed the shape of this stick, the “rough” construction made me feel more connected to the tobacco and I could imagine sitting on the verandah of a plantation in the Dominican enjoying one of these and watching the sun go down. Very pleasant indeed.
The Hype: “The CAO Moontrace is an intricate and unique blend of 100% all natural exotic fruit and bourbon vanilla extracts. Bourbon vanilla, a type of vanilla bean renown for it’s caramel-like sweetness, is married with ripe Georgia peach nectar and then mixed with other organic fruits. A splash of white honey from Hawaii is added, chosen for its tropical essence. This well-rounded blend is complemented with an exquisite blend of mild and rich tobaccos featuring a Grade One Cameroon wrapper. Moontrace is a flavor that is unique and complex and promises to captivate the palate. Medium bodied, mellow, and a great change of pace!“
I am not a fan of “flavored” cigars, since they usually smell much better than they taste. I was quite hesitant to even try the CAO Moontrance, but a good friend gave me one of their cigarillos and I didn’t want to be rude…
The cigarillo – Smells great, strong vanilla overtone with a comforting earthiness. It lit easily and ashed very well. I enjoyed the vanilla background since it didn’t overpower the natural tobacco flavor. The cigarillo lasted me about 20 minutes and didn’t overheat at all. The finish was good, with none of the expected bitterness or “mouth-burn” that I expected from a flavored smoke.
Petite-corona – The cigarillo was so good, I ordered a box of petite-coronas to keep me entertained when I wasn’t in the mood for a long smoke. The petite corona is a 4″ long, 40 ring stick with a blue ring, cedar wrapper and blue ribbon to protect the end – all enclosed in a folded cellophane. I like the CAO humidipack that is included in the box of 25.
The petite-corona smelled more “normal” than the cigarillo, and I might have been satisfied smelling it all day long…I lit one up while driving back from the airport today. The light was easy and draw effortless for a smoke of this size. I immediately tasted the vanilla and peach infusion, but noticed a hint of leather on the exhale. Flavor of the cap was very pleasant, and had none of the sour or sickly sweet that one comes to expect from a flavored cigar. The moontrance burned evenly, and produced a uniform gray ash about 1 inch long, which kept the smoke cool and definitely enhanced the experience. The final 3rd of this little cigar was peppery and I enjoyed the tingle.
I am very pleased with CAO’s flavored cigars.
Hi, welcome to our world. My friends and I love smoking good cigars.
There are few things in this world as relaxing as sitting on the porch with a fine cigar, enjoying the taste, smell and appearance of a high quality hand-rolled cigar.
This Blog is dedicated to the mystique, ritual and experience of smoking fine cigars.
We’ll post reviews on cigars we’ve smoked, links to good deals we find and information about cigar lore and tobacciana. So pull out a stick, light up and enjoy!