Archive for July, 2009

The hype – “Macanudo Alternatives are manufactured in the Dominican Republic. Though these cigars are not manufactured by Macanudo they are extremly similar in taste to Macanudo, with impeccable construction and quality. Same mild flavor at a fraction of the price.”
The review – I purchased a bundle of these from after I heard from a friend that they were a good deal. These are handsome sticks, they are very well made and feel heavy in the hand; firm and smooth. The prelight aroma is alfalfa with a hint of pepper. The cigar lights easily and the first puff is light and clean. Smoke is medium-bodied gray that smells like my Macanudo Duke of Windsor cigars. Ash is tight dark gray and burn very evenly. The ash falls off quicker than the original Macanudo, but it’s not sloppy. After getting half-way through the cigar, I noticed the ash was burning unevenly towards the middle and I was able to see that there was a mass of stems – this was surprising as I’ve never seen it on any other cigar before. I ignored that aesthetic issue and focused on taste…The stick stayed mellow throughout. Flavor was cedar, leather with a white pepper that became more intense towards the end – minor lip tingle and pepper sensation on the tongue.  This is definitely not Macanudo quality, but it’s a decent smoke. At $1.68/stick, these are worth keeping around.

The Hype – “Corojo Cubano is a handmade combination filler cigar in a delicious Corojo wrapper for less than what you’d expect to pay for a machine-made drug store cigar! Yep, that’s right. Read the ingredient list and drool. This handmade cigar is made from a delectable blend of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Olor combination fillers, Dominican binder, and a beautiful and oh-so-rich smoking Honduran Corojo wrapper. The effect is nothing short of mesmerizing.

No, our supply of Corojo Cubano didn’t fall off a truck. Let’s just say I happened to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of this special deal, and the best part is I get to pass the saving on to you.”

The review – I try not to be a cigar snob, but I’ve been burned by Thomson before. So I went into this review with some trepidation while trying to be objective and open-minded…

The cigar is not a well-built as I’d like to see. The covering leaf seems awfully thin and I’m worried it will tear apart. Prelight aroma is very mild alfalfa, quite pleasant. This cigar lights very easily and the first puff is bland but nice. The burn is very uniform and ash is white that flakes way too much and drops off after about 3/4 inch. The cigar actually tastes quite good. Flavor is simple, with leather, coffee, cream and a  hint of spice. I noticed a very gentle tingle of white pepper half-way though, and I smoked it comfortably to the nub without excessive bitterness or harshness.

I’d definitely smoke these again – It’s not a high-end premium cigar, but for the price you can’t do much better.

The hype – “The Exodus Silver is an addition to the extremely successful Exodus 1959 series. Offering a well-aged filler combination of Costa Rican, Honduran and Mexican tobaccos, the Silver is a round, rather than square-pressed. The wrapper is notable: instead of a dark, milky Habana 2000, it’s a gorgeous, dark and enticing Criollo ’98 leaf. Overall, the flavor is medium-bodied and very smooth thanks to the extensive aging, with a satisfying finish and cedary, nutty taste.”

The review –  Carlos Torano’s family handcraft many of the famous brands like Ghurka and CAO, so I was certain that this cigar would be good.I took this one on a road trip in my travel humidor which didn’t do a good job on maintaining humidity, so it was a little dry. The robusto is solid and well made. Regardless of the humidity problem, the Criollo wrapper looked good and the vitola has a great prelight aroma; alfalfa and slightly nutty. Being slightly dry, this cigar lit very easily and the smoke smells wonderfully fresh and clean. I love Criollo leaf, so perhaps I’m biased, but it has a great fresh smell that I really enjoy. Draw was a little tight on this stick, but not unpleasant, it helped me take time to contemplate the unique and complex flavors. Each draw seemed slightly different…I tasted nuts, cedar, espresso and even a slight hint of citrus. The burn was uniform with a tight white ash for the first third, after which it got gray and flaky.  I smoked this one right down to two fingers until it finally got too hot. This was my first Exodus Silver and I was very pleased. Definitely worth getting a box.

The hype –These are full-bodied cigars and are not recommended for a beginning smoker. The wrapper is an oily Nicaraguan Corojo leaf, described as cinnamon in color. The cigars come packed 25 to a cedar box, uncelloed. The band is blue with gold lettering. The center has “Don Pepin Garcia” in gold on a blue field inside a round red and gold border, with Don Pepín’s signature (reduced) below the name. Each wing has the U. S. and Cuban flags within roundels, overlapping.”

The review – This is a well-constructed robusto cigar. The wrapper is velvety smooth and has a very appealing sheen to it. The prelight aroma was earthy and nutty with hints of alfalfa. This cigar lit very easily and burned uniformly. The frist puff was sweet and aromatic and white smoke emanated in billowing clouds. After the first few puffs, the flavor became more complex, with spice, leather and a hint of pepper. About half way through this one, an espresso aftertaste began to permeate which was a little strong for me, but I soldiered on. The smoke has a strong but pleasant aroma, but it definitely smells like an “old-school” cigar and will fail the spousal acceptance factor. I began to sip Sprite on ice while smoking this one, which helped soften the full impact of the espresso. Approaching the 2-finger point, the flavor became overpoweringly bitter and I called it a day. This certainly is a stronger cigar than what I usually smoke, but reports of it “knocking you on your ass” are exaggerated. I now own a box of these, but this isn’t one I’d consider an everyday smoke or to give to beginners. This is a cigar for the adventurous, and those who enjoy a full-bodied smoke.

The hype – “Believe it or not, organic tobacco has started a very small and loyal niche following within the cigar market for its genuine (albeit) unique flavor. It all began with OneOff, a highly rated, uber-expensive blend once made with 100% organic tobaccos, and continues today through Verdadero Organic.

Verdadero begins with a flawless Connecticut wrapper gown in the misty valleys of Ecuador. Oily and seamless in appearance, this plush leaf combines an entirely organic mixture of rare Nicaraguan long-fillers grown in Granada on a proprietary farm at the base of the Mambacho volcano. These tobaccos have been triple-fermented and patiently aged, to truly promote this uniquely earthy and robust, yet smooth, creamy volume of flavor. The cigar itself is mild to medium-bodied, but offers a full-flavored bouquet that stands apart from anything else you’ve tried before. If you’ve never experienced organic tobacco and are open to trying new and interesting blends of the highest caliber, check out Verdadero Organic.

Every box of Verdadero Organic comes with a genuine certificate of authenticity signed by the Granada mayor, approving and certifying the organic nature of each filler leaf within this blend.”

The reviewI was naturally skeptical when I heard about these. It seems like everyone is jumping on the “organic” bandwagon these days. I did some googling of reviews and it seems like some people love them, others hate them and many ar just indifferent. I saw them on cigarbid at a deeply discounted price, and though I’d buy the sampler pack & give them a try.

The stick looks like it is very well constructed, it is firm in the hand and feels slightly heavy. Prelight aroma is pretty strong. It has a strong ammonia smell, with a hint of fresh-cut grass. It lights easily and the smoke smells most pleasant, not unlike a CAO Gold. First draw is spicy and effortless. Ash is a beautiful white-gray that holds its form until about 1.5 inches. The smoke is entirely uniform until the last third…smooth, mellow, creamy with notes of spice and leather and a slight hint of nuttiness. At the 2/3 mark, it becomes harsh and a quick purge cures it. Down to the nub, there is a medium tingle on the lips and tongue that isn’t entirely unpleasant; black pepper is the closest match.

I like this cigar, definitely worth keeping a few boxes around.

The hype – “Premium tobaccos aged for 5 years, wrapped in a silken Connecticut Shade Wrapper leaf and blended to perfection make 5 Vegas Gold a stellar, smooth and mellow cigar. Upon lighting these cigars you will experience creamy, nutty and woodsy tastes that are enhanced by a delightful aroma produced from the billowing white clouds of smoke. The unique, handsome “gold bar” boxes that house these delicious cigars are handmade in Honduras.”

The reviewThis is my first 5 Vegas experience, and I was quite excited to explore the nuances of this brand. This was part of a “triple-nickel sampler” that I purchased from the Tinder-box last year and I’ve been waiting patiently to try them. I like to let a new cigar sit for at least 90 days in my humidor before trying it. I don’t know why I do it, I guess it has just become another part of my increasingly complex cigar ritual.

The wife is out of town and I have the house to myself, so I decided to watch Grand Torino and enjoy a bottle of Wild Turkey tonight. I put in the movie and approached the cigar…This is a very solid box-pressed cigar. It is velvety smooth and perfectly straight. The cigar band is a huge gold-embossed beauty that makes it look a little flashy, but still relatively classy. It compresses ever so slightly without being mushy and is quite  heavy in the hand. Prelight aroma on this one is very pleasant, it has the faint ammonia notes with alfalfa and fresh-cut grass. Classic tobacco goodness. The cap has a very slight tingle to it and tastes neutral. The cigar lights easily and produces voluminous light gray smoke that is spicy and almost sweet-smelling. The first puff is bitter but it immediately mellows to a toasty spice that is uniformly good. This is definitely a mild cigar.

Ash on this little beauty went on forever; it measured almost 2.5 inches before it fell. Ash was gray/white with slight flakiness on the edges. The burn was uniform until the first ashing, after which it was slightly uneven but still completely manageable. I noticed a tar accumulation bitterness as I approached the 2/3 point, but blowing through to purge it worked fine and the pleasant spiciness returned until I reached the 2-finger point where the toast became quite pronounced and it was time to ditch it.

Overall, this was a satisfying experience. I smoked this one faster than I normally would; I took about 1 hour instead of the usual hour and a half the I usually take with a robusto. I’m not sure if that’s testament to the mildness of this stick or that I was just so engrossed in the great movie that I was puffing too fast.

This is a good mild cigar. I still prefer the CAO Gold robusto, but this one is definitely worth keeping around and I imagine I’ll be enjoying many more of these in the future.

The hype “Full, rich, creamy and strong. Ernesto Carillo knows his craft well. When it comes to full-bodied, well-constructed cigars, La Gloria Cubana has a great reputation. La Gloria Cubanas offer a delicious balance of Brazilian, Dominican, Mexican, and Nicaraguan filler, together with a dark Ecuadorian wrapper. The La Gloria Cubana Serie R utilizes an Ecuadorian grown Colorado shade wrapper, or Connecticut Broadleaf maduro, concealing an extensively aged blend of Mexican, Dominican, Brazilian, and Nicaraguan filler leaves. The result is a richer, spicier, fuller bodied version of the regular La Gloria Cubana line. Using thicker ring gauges, the Serie R helped pave the way for today’s thicker, bolder cigars.”

The review – This is a darker robusto cigar. The brand has a very good reputation, with this vitrola classified as a full-bodied smoke. Prelight aroma was almost completely neutral, there was a barely discernable odor of grass, but nothing else. The cap tastes like tobacco with no additional flavor. Lighting this cigar is very easy and it burns uniformly. Ash is a light gray/white. First puff is slightly harsh with a hint of bitterness. Flavor mellows to tobacco, toast and leather after a few puffs. Smoke is light gray to blue and is not particularly voluminous. Draw is completely effortless (one of the big reasons I like the robusto profile so much). There is a hint of pepper in the aftertaste. Drinking reverse osmosis purified water to cleanse the palate realy helps to bring out the flavor of this one. Slight spice approaching the end of the 1st third. Into the second third, the spice intensifies and the smoke changes in profile. This certainly smells like a classy smoke…Very gentle tingle on the tongue through the middle of the cigar with toast and spice predominating the flavor profile. Approaching the last 3rd, the tingle reaches a white pepper creschendo and the initial bitterness returns for a slightly harsh finish. At $4 – $6 per stick at retail, this isn’t one I’d recommend as a primo smoke, but still very good and worth keeping around.

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