Archive for the ‘Cigar Reviews’ Category

The Hype:A novel concept in handmade cigars from Oliva….a substantive blend that will make you rethink the cigar experience.

Nub started as a theory. Born in the Oliva factory, a cigar maker was hell-bent on proving he could capture the essence – the core – of a cigar’s flavor immediately upon lighting and throughout the duration of the smoke. Well, they nailed it.

Click here for a quick reference guide to Nub.

Rather than wait for a cigar to develop and evolve, which typically occurs an inch to two inches in, the idea behind Oliva’s Nub was to specifically blend it to hit its sweet spot right off the bat and remain at its peak right through to the end. Each size is short and stout in stature. That’s by design – not for novelty – as blends and sizes were worked and re-worked a thousand ways from Sunday in order for Nub creator Sam Leccia and the Oliva family to capture the essence of each Nub blend. Anyone can create unusual shapes, each of the Nub blends and accompanying shapes was instead created to summon and deliver the blend’s sweet spot. Sample one today.

Nub comes in three varieties. Each variety shares three common sizes, as well as a special vitola specially crafted to accentuate the blend.

Cameroon – dark and leathery to the touch. A sweet, cedary smoke with an intriguing spice. The aftertaste is dry and toasty. Intense pepper through the nose. A medium to full-bodied cigar that’s toasty and complex, yet smooth.

Connecticut – smooth, silky wrapper. Mellow and creamy to start, with a rich, somewhat sweet core. The aftertaste is toasty, but crisp. Toasted cedar through the nose. Medium-bodied with a rich, milky texture.

Habano – glossy, milk chocolate-brown wrapper. Rich tobacco core with a smoky aftertaste. Hints of peanuts are supported by a baked bread component. Spice through the nose. Medium to full-bodied with a rich, creamy character throughout.

Maduro – dark, thick, and oily Brazilian wrapper. The smoke is rich and toasty with a deep series of chocolate and nuts. The aftertaste is spicy with natural sweet tones. Medium in body with a toasty, full-flavored finale.”

 

The Review: This is Oliva’s maduro nub. Prelight aroma is aromatic and pleasant: earthy and oakey with hints of leather. On initial light, this vitola produces copious clouds of white/gray smoke. The smoke is not harsh and generally pleasant, but quite as aromatic as the CAO Brazilia. Flavor hits you right in the palate after the first draw, it really lives up to its reputation of providing full flavor throughout. Flavor is definitely typical of most maduros; spicy, earthy, and peppery. Flavour of this stick is almost identical until right at the end where it mellows out and then begins to become ever so slightly bitter; but not unpleasantly so. This is a short cigar, so it does burn rather hot, almost unpleasantly so. I had to pace myself on the draw to keep the smoke smooth enough to enjoy.

Very nice cigar, but I wouldn’t keep it in my daily rotation. – Only for unique occasions.

The Hype: The Excalibur 1066 is an extension of the popular Hoyo Excalibur line. The 1066 features an utterly smooth and complex blend of Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos along with absolutely beautiful true Cameroon wrappers.”

The Review: This cigar looks good, it is consistently firm and the cameroon wrapper is uniform and slightly veiny. There were a few water spots on the wrapper but they didn’t detract from the beauty of this stick.  I like the embossed band also, making it look like a gentleman’s cigar.

Pre-light aroma is grassy and slightly sweet with a faint hint of ammonia in the background.

After a good toasting, the foot light easily and glows red hot with a cedar aroma instantly noticeable. After the first puff, the stick begins emitting wispy gray smoke that smells like any other cigar of the type, nothing striking.

Mouth-feel and flavor is gentle to start, toast, coffee, and a faint hint of pepper.

This cigar burns well, albeit slightly ragged & unevenly.

Ash is medium gray with darker bands. It doesn’t hold ash for quite as long as I would like, averaging about 1″ before falling off.

After reaching a mid-point, flavor begins to intensify with black pepper becoming more dominant but not at all overpowering. The smoke color is becoming more blue and less voluminous.

Approaching the last third, the flavor concentrates and becomes slightly bitter – a short rest fixes the bitterness and the flavor continues as pepper with espresso. Mouth-feel is richer now leaving a pleasant aftertaste of toast and coffee.

Approaching the three-finger mark, the wrapper is beginning to even out on the burn making the ash look more aesthetically pleasing.

Smoke aroma is changing again, hints of cedar are becoming stronger and a faint sage smell permeates in the background – not unpleasant, but different…

This is a good cigar. I rate it in the medium-strength category for my palate. Not to mild and not too bold, just right for a daily smoke or one to share with friend new to the brotherhood of the leaf.

 

This cigar has been taunting me for the last year and a half as it languished in my humidor. The Edge is a typical ‘strong’ Rocky Patel cigar, but the Lite version is designed for neophytes and those who prefer a smoother smoke. I enjoy strong sticks from time to time, but I invariably stray back to something milder for regular use.

I decided to smoke this little beauty today while on holidays in Alaska; I brought my trusty herf-a-dor and new colibri lighter along for the ride.

The Edge Lite is very nicely built; it feels solid and even. The Approx 5.5 – 6″ long 52 ring torpedo is like a long robusto, which makes for my ideal smoke lately, with my taste leaning towards the longer Churchills when time permits.

Prelight aroma is alfalfa and ammonia. Lighting thit vitola brought pleasant gray smoke. The Edge Lite is an easy smoke with an effortless draw the at time felt airy but not to the point of being irritating.I had to relight once due to high wind conditions, there was no bitterness at all. Ash was tight and dark gray.

Flavor is similar to a CAO Gold, just slightly stronger…Cream, coffee, and a mild peppery finish to remind you that this is indeed  a good cigar.

I ordered a box last night from the boys at CI.

 

 

 

I recieved a box of Victor Sinclair Primeros churchill cigars as a gift from a special friend. She told me there were her late husband’s favorite because they were so mild and pleasant.

I’ve left this box languising in my large gumidor for at least a year and today is the day to try one…

Packaging and presentation is classy and elegant, the cigars are all uniformly smooth with very little veinage. The ecuadorian connecticut wrapper is beautiful.

Prelight aroma is grassy with a hint of ammonia, like a milder cousin of the CAO gold. The stick is firm in hand and punches easily.

Toasting the foot liberates a pleasant and comforting blue smoke that immediately hints of the flavor profile; creamy and spicy.

First draw is quite effortless, smooth flavor fills my mouth and the cigar begins to yield a medium volume of white smoke as I continue to draw on it.

1st and 2nd third are identical, almost boringly so.

Final third of this cigar begins to concentrate flavor with a peppery infusion; leather and spice permeate with a hint of woodsmoke.

Overall smoking time is approximately 1 hour to the nub.

This is a nice mild cigar, it is probably too mild for some, but Isee this as a pleasant change of pace.

Alta Gracia Irish CreamThe hype:A wee bit of Irish goodness!  Alta Gracia means “High Grace.” Appropriately so because these little cigarillos are heavenly little smokes. Made in Ireland – the land of Saints & Scholars (not to mention Jameson, Guinness and Riverdance) – Alta Gracia cigars are one of a kind ’in-betweener’ smokes. They burn a tad hot toward the end but all the while exude a creamy tobacco flavor with a naturally sweet finish. Choose between Natural or Irish Crème and savor Alta Gracia’s smoothness. Perfect for a 10 minute smoke….besides, at under 40 cents apiece it’s hard to go wrong.”

The review: I bought a few boxes of these from my friends at Cigars International last year and they’ve been waiting patiently in the humidor for me. Just arrived home from a trip to Europe and the UK, looking for a quick smoke made me think of these little cigarillos.

I like having cigarillos on hand for a quick smoke when I don’t have the time to devote to enjoying a full-size cigar. I am often disappointed by little cigars because they tend to burn too hot or they have faux flavourings that can overwhelm the natural tobacco flavor and aroma. These little cigarillos appear to be very well made and are rolled in the traditional ‘cigarillo’ shape.

Prelight aroma is very pleasant; there is definitely a hint of whiskey, along with the grassy tobacco aroma of a well-cured cigar. I never did smell these when originally purchased so their aroma could also be a product of 12+ months of maturation in my well-stocked cedar humidor.

Lighting this cigarillo is easy with a torch lighter and it would light without problems if you just had a bic or a matchbook. The initial smoke smells very pleasant and hearkens to mild cigars like Ashton. First puff is mild and well-rounded without the bite that I would expect from a little stick like this.

It took me no more than 15 minutes to “slowly” puff this little beauty. Smoke aroma remained very pleasant and smelling it on my hands & clothing was not harsh or acrid at all. I was careful to slowly puff this one since I didn’t want to overheat it. It did get warmer towards the final third, but taking a moment to stop and let it relax was enough to get it under control.

A very enjoyable smoke and definitely one to keep on hand for a ‘quickie’.

The hype – “Welcome to the Golden Era of 5 Vegas (pronounced “cinco vegas”). Made with a hearty blend of premium tobacco leaves from Honduras that have been aged a full 5 years and a satiny Grade A Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf, the 5 Vegas Gold is your answer for a full-flavored cigar that’s mild in strength. Light one up and experience a joyride of smooth flavors. It opens with some zest, a combination of toasted nuts and subtle spice, then develops a soothing creaminess that coats the palate, making the initial spice an afterthought. Not a harsh note can be found as the cigar burns, and each puff releases a velvety cloud of blueish-white smoke. The Honduran-made 5 Vegas Gold is just right. Mild enough for everyone to enjoy, and enough character to please palates of all levels. Overall, this welcome addition to the steadfast 5 Vegas name is a wonderful cigar that just may become a part of your every day rotation.

The review – I went to visit my sister in California this week. She and her family live on a golf course in Malibu and are typical SoCal yuppies. She thinks tobacco is evil and despises the odor. It is a constant point of contention between us. She wouldn’t even let me bring my cigars into her house! I had to leave them in my Jag inside the travel herf-a-dor which performed flawlessly.

I finally tired of the domestic menagerie and went for a walk along the golf course. I took a 5 Vegas gold robusto with me to keep me company.

The 5 Vegas gold robusto is a well-built cigar. The connecticut shade wrapper is smooth and flawless, adding a touch of class to this Honduran beauty. Prelight aroma is alfalfa and clover, with a hint of cut grass. I toasted the foot and drew gently on it to entice the first flavors.

The initial draw was bitter with a slight pepper tingle. I drew a few more and let it rest for a minute. The process continued over 10 minutes before I felt any improvement in flavor, which is rather disappointing.  Once I passed the initial roughness, the flavor mellowed and was quite enjoyable. While described a full-flavored, I found the flavor to be rather mild and creamy. I really enjoyed the aroma of the smoke, it smells like a higher end cigar. I smoked this one to the nub and had a nice nicotine buzz. So the 5 Vegas robusto is a mild flavored cigar with a full-bodied kick – not too shabby and good value for the money.

The hype“Bagatelle is a wonderful example of the art of the Dominican hand roller. They start with a super delicious blend of double-aged San Vicente Olor fillers and binders. When a manufacturer is serious about the taste of his smoke, he gives the binder serious consideration. This combination of long fillers and mild-tasting binders is topped off with a magnificent Sumatra wrapper. Under different labels, Bagatelle is the exact same cigar that brings $3 to $4 in stores. You’ll likely find Bagatelle virtually indiscernible from cigars for which you’re accustomed to paying much more.”

The ReviewI try to always let my palate guide me when reviewing a cigar. I don’t care if it was free, or cost me $100/stick; all I care about is flavor. This Bagatelle was free to me, but I still treated it well and allowed it to rest in my humidor for over a year to help it mature. The cigar feels good in hand and has a comfortable weight to it. Firm with a little give it looks and feels like a well-made smoke. Prelight aroma is pleasant with a hint of barnyard and clover. I punched the cigar, toasted it and then lit it. The cigar produced a voluminous cloud of very pleasant gray smoke and I took my first puff…First draw was rough and bitter. After a few puffs, the flavor mellowed and reminded me a little of a CAO gold. Draw was a little tight, but not unreasonable. Ash was loose gray and slightly uneven, The first third was enjoyable, but after that the stick took a dramatic turn for the worse. Bitter aftertaste, acrid smoke and strange odors permeated. I blew through it, let it rest for a minute and tried again…Still horrible. I gave up on this one and tossed it. Very disappointing experience, but I guess I can’t complain for the price.

The hypeThe Macanudo Gold cigar is a limited edition line of Macanudo cigars that adds an exclusive, innovative flavor to the nation’s best selling first-class cigar trademark. The Macanudo series is famous for its smoothness and consistency, whereas at the same time presenting diverse flavors to satisfy all tastes. The latest Macanudo cigar, the Macanudo Gold cigar, employs an exceptional golden Connecticut Shade wrapper to generate a characteristic, new flavor for first-class cigar smokers. The Macanudo Gold cigar is hand made with a golden wrapper from the first and second priming of Macanudo cigar’s especially grown Connecticut Shade crop, Macanudo Gold cigars are set apart with a natural sweetness. The wrappers are gracefully slender, however extraordinarily supple with superior veins. Their quality is particularly smooth, with no a hint of graininess. “Capa Especial” is the Spanish phrase for this wrapper of unusual tastes which, when mixed with filler and binder tobacco of harmonizing character, results in a premium cigar that lives up to the tradition of superiority that is a Macanudo cigar.”

macanudo logo

The review – This cigar has a blended filler of Dominican and Mexican tobaccos that are wrapped in a Connecticut shade wrapper. Macanudo carefully ages all their leaf

This is a very handsome cigar indeed. I’ve had a box of these beauties languishing in my humidor for about 3 years. Today was the day to see how well they have aged. I poured a glass of filtered water from my Smart Bottle system and settled in with my morning paper and this delightful robusto.

This is just a beautiful vitola, from the brown wrapper with delicate veinage to the firm texture and delightful prelight of alfalfa and cedar this one just oozes quality and class.

This cigar lit very easily and draw effortlessly while enveloping me in a beautiful haze of smoky delight. The smoke from this cigar is just classic goodness; gray and billowing while slightly acrid yet very comforting and soothing. The Duke of York yielded a delightfully spicy creamy flavor that  intensified after the 1st third. After 40 minutes of mildness, approaching the middle of the cigar I detected a hint of pepper that just added to the pleasure of the experience. After an hour, the flavor turned to toast and earth while still maintaining a pleasant mildness.

This is a great morning cigar that everyone should enjoy.

ci_MONTE_No2The Montecristo No.2 Piramide is a great Cuban cigar. After I left England and came to the USA, my access to these little beauties became somewhat limited. Our firm recently completes a labor-intensive project for a client in Canada and I was pleasantly surprised to have a box arrive via FedEx today. A hand-written thank you card was attached to a beautiful box of 25 of these Habana beauties.

The sticks slightly moist from storage, but I decided to indulge in one immediately to satisfy my hunger for Cuban goodness. The stick is well-constructed, firm and beautiful. This one was a little spongy from the extra humidity, but not moist enough to preclude me from smoking it.

Prelight aroma is moist earth and alfalfa with a hint of chocolate. I clipped the cap with my Xicar cutter and then fired it up. The cigar took light easily and created a light gray smoke that smelled great. Draw was effortless and I was soon surrounded by thick gray/white smoke and enjoying a mild spicy flavor that brought back  pleasant memories of my misspent youth. The cap produced a pleasant tingle and was quite neutral in taste. This particular cigar burned quite evenly and went out after about one inch, which is something that I attribute to the excessive humidity. After cutting off the first 1.25″ I lit it again and babied it the rest of the way, which resulted in a more even burn and an impressive gray ash that lingered over 2″ before dropping off. The flavor certainly intensified after the first half, more so than I remember. The smoke delivered overtones of cedar, spice and dark chocolate with increasing pepper until I was well into the final 3rd. Approahing the end, the draw became slightly bitter for a few moments and I noticed tar accumulation at the tip – I’ve never seen that on a No. 2 before so I suspect the excess humidity is again to blame.  I’m glad I had my trusty filtered water available to cleanse the palate as the bitterness lingered for a while. I let the stick rest for  a few minutes and tried again, blowing through it gently and snipping the cap slightly to remove the accumulated tar. The flavor improved significantly and I smoked this one down to the nub with great pleasure. Total smoking time was almost two hours, further evidence of a great experience. I’ll let the rest of the box normalize in the humidor for at least 6 months before I try another just to be safe. No sense in wasting these beauties. If you can get genuine Montecristo No. 2’s then don’t hesitate – you will not be disappointed.

The Hype“Occidental Reserve cigars are handmade, long-filler cigars created by Hendrik Kelner. Occidental Double Maduro is made from gorgeous double maduro Broadleaf wrappers grown in Ecuador, along with a Connecticut-grown Broadleaf binder and a long-filler combination of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Dominican Olor tobaccos. Naturally fermented for an extensive period, this wrapper combines to create an exceptionally rich, sweet and creamy taste. Medium-bodied.”

The Review – The Occidental Reserve Double Broadleaf  is a unique looking cigar. Veiny, toothy, and slighly irregular I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a good experience with it. I noticed the filler appeared to be a few shades lighter than the wrapper so I wasn’t expecting it to be too harsh. The Churchill felt slightly spongy in hand, but that’s probably just because I keep my Maduros around 72% in their own little humidor.  The prelight aroma was mild but intriguingly complex with hints of alfalfa, chocolate and a slight ammonia undertone.  I punched the cap with my narrow bullet cutter &  lit it using my new Colibri jet lighter and I was soon treated with delightful blue smoke cloud that smelt delightful. Very old-world.

The first puff was slightly harsh, but not disturbing to me. I kept puffing on it, but the draw was very tight. I pulled out my larger diameter punch that I use on my Robustos. This punch is barely 1/8″ wider than my narrow punch, but that did the trick. The cigar suddenly opened up to an effortless draw and yielded an intense coffee flavor. The 1st third of this cigar was delightful with pepper and cedar highlights. Ash on this stick was a medium gray that ran about 1.5″ and was flaky and irregular, but not so much that it was distracting or unpleasant.

Coming into the middle, the flavor mellowed even further and was leathery with oak and spice that smelled even better and was very satisfying. The finish of this cigar was so pleasant, I almost burnt my fingers on the nub. This is definitely one I will add to the list of “must-haves”.

The hypeArturo Fuente Anejo is one of the world’s rarest cigars. It features a dark maduro wrapper that is aged in cognac barrels. The Fuente name is no stranger to cigar enthusiasts both at the novice and aficionado levels. For generations, they have been producing the best tobacco and the best cigars in the Dominican Republic. After the hugely successful launch of their coveted Opus X cigar, a new idea was born. This idea was for a cigar that uses the very best Dominican filler and binder, but adds a 5-year-old Connecticut maduro wrapper aged in a cognac barrel. The cigar became known as Fuente Anejo (extra Viejo). Fuente Anejo is a full-bodied Dominican cigar with unique aging process that leaves a very distinct finish on the palate. Typically, only available around Fathers Day and Christmas, this cigar is one of the hardest to find and exclusive cigars in the world. While this line features several different sizes, it is also home to one of the world’s most famous shapes, the No. 77 or shark as it is commonly referred to. It was the first torpedo shaped cigar ever rolled so it progresses from a rounded parejo shape to a square press. This size is particularly rare.

The review – I visited the Casa Fuente store in Las Vegas today. Although not as large as my local tobacconist, it definitely has a well-stocked humidor and has an inviting atmosphere that is friendly to smoker and non-smoker alike. I spent way too much money there, but hey when in Vegas…I decided to smoke the Anejo Reserve in their enclosed patio area while waiting to meet some friends. My drink of choice was bud light.

This cigar is simply beautiful, it has a firm feel in hand and smells fantastic, with hints on cognac and aged-tobacco. The cigar lights easily and has a delightful aroma – earthy and nutty while enveloping me in a cloud of earthy goodness. The cigar burns evenly and draws uniformly. The maduro wrapper imparts a unique sweetness to this cigar and definitely gives it a strong taste and mouth-feel. The first few puffs are harsh and take a minute to become accustomed to. After a few minutes, the flavor mellows out beautifully and has a definite sugary overtone, almost like molasses. Like a good woman, this cigar certainly gets better over time. The flavor profile is definitely complex, invoking a blend of nuts, aniseed, coffee, and leather. Ash on this cigar is textbook – firm white and lingering well over an inch and a half. Smoking time exceeded an hour as I sat in the emporium watching the world go by, enjoying the Fuente family’s exquisite craftsmanship. The nub is slightly harsh, but still very enjoyable. Friends whisper that this is the same as an Opus-X. While the Anejo Reserve does taste a lot like the overpriced Opus-X, I think it is actually better and a significantly different flavor profile that warrants keeping a box of these around.

The hypeThis well constructed churchill is 7 inches long and 48 ring gauge. The Rocky Patel Vintage Connecticut 1999 Churchill is aged seven years and is a smooth multi – country blend. The genuine Connecticut wrapper finishes off construction made from a Nicaraguan binder, and a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. The Rocky Patel Vintage Connecticut 1999 Churchill presents flavors of nuts, mild spice, wood and a creamy finish tops it all off and makes the flavor enjoyable for hours. The mild strength and good flavor make this a great morning cigar. The Rocky Patel Vintage Connecticut 1999 Churchill is a good choice for smokers of every preference.”

The reviewI bought a box of these from texcigars.com and I decided to share them with some of my friends today. These, like every Rocky Patel are very well-packaged and look as inviting as any premium cigar should. The cigar is firm and well-made with a delightful prelight aroma that hints of the mild goodness that awaits…This stick lit very easily and I was enjoying billowing clouds of white smoke in no time. The draw was effortless and the first puff was mild and nutty, coating my palate with creamy goodness. I found this cigar to be very mild, safe for a beginner but flavorful enough that any aficionado would enjoy it. While some of my friend disagreed and though this was more medium-bodied, one thing that my friends and I agree on is that while tasty, this cigar lacked the complexity one would expect from a Rocky Patel. The flavor of this stick was leathery, nutty and creamy throughout – all the way to the nub. I don’t mind that it had such a uniform taste, I’m just a little surprised. Great cigar, good for any occasion or experience level.

The Hype – “Just when you thought you’ve tried them all, CAO goes and does something like this…the CAO Black ’VR’, a delicious extension to the insanely popular CAO Black line. Dark, daring and downright delightful, the CAO Black ’VR’ boasts a jet-black Brazilian wrapper to generate a wealth of flavor. An initial burst of coffee bean smacks the palate only to be tamed by a rich, super-smooth aftertaste. Midway through, a zesty note hits the tongue and nose while the finish becomes slightly sweet. And then, the inevitable nub. Medium to full-bodied and loaded with toasty, rich flavors. The burn is razor sharp, producing a bright white ash and volumes of thick, blue smoke. Truly amazing.”

The Review – I won a box of these off CigarBid.com at an insanely good price. I’m a big fan of the CAO brand and enjoy the quality of their products. This is a corona-sized flavor explosion that I definitely underestimated!

The cigar is firm in the hand and prelight aroma is earthy and nutty with hints of ammonia. Once I got rid of the irritating foot band, this cigar lit very easily and burned uniformly for about 45 minutes. First draw was smooth and the blueish smoke quickly enveloped me in earthy goodness. The smoke is strong, definitely not high on the spousal acceptance factor. The first taste was burnt toast, but as a puffed at it, the flavor mellowed to a firm espresso that was quite enjoyable. Half-way through, a hint of pepper emerged and flavor started to intensify. Approaching the final third, I had to put it down and let it rest as the flavor had intensified to the point of being slightly unpleasant. After a few minutes I resumed and enjoyed a strong, but satisfying finish. Firm gray ash maintained about 3/4″.

I tasted this one in my mouth for hours after and even into the next day, but it blended well with my breakfast cappuccino, so I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed this one and I’ll be trolling the CB for more good deals!

The Hype – “One of the cigar world’s highest ranked and most difficult to find cigars, C.A.O. Italia (when it can be found at all) is always limited to the purchase of one or two sticks at a time. Only because we have been begging for them, buying all we could get, hoarding the minuscule number we were allotted for the last twelve months, we have a very modest amount for sale. We’re now making the C.A.O. Italia available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The incredible secret to the C.A.O. Italia is the Habano seed brought to Italy forty years ago and carefully nurtured in the Benevento region of southern Italy. The result of this is the production of a unique earthy-sweetness in the seed. It is this remarkable seed that is transported to Honduras where it is meticulously cultivated. With its New World-Old World origins, this wrapper is perhaps the most unique in any cigar today. Certainly it produces a cigar that the renowned Robb Report includes among the “Best of the Best” for 2005.

Few cigars have burst on the scene with as much fanfare as the C.A.O. Italia, and few have garnered the attention of the cigar cognoscenti, captivating their highly cultured palates. Now it is your turn to experience the cosmopolitan flair of the C.A.O. Italia with its Italian, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian blend of long fillers.”

The review – I bought a box of these from Thompson Cigar last year and they’ve been maturing nicely in my large humidor. I figured today was as good a day as any to try one…The cigar is truly beautiful, with a dark wrapper that shows minimal veinage. The stick is solid and a little heavy in the hand. Prelight aroma is decidedly strong alfalfa with hints of ammonia. The cigar was a little difficult to light, even though storage humidity was carefully controlled. Once lit though, it maintained a good burn with uniform gray ash at about 1″.

The smoke on this cigar is a billowing white/gray that smells like my grandfather’s study…cedar and oak. The cigar is definitely full-bodied, and I was glad that I was drinking Sprite with this one to keep the palate clean. Others have mentioned a stiff draw, but I found this one to be quite pleasant. I smoked this cigar for almost an hour and a half without even realizing it. The first third of the cigar was strong and woodsy, but still quite enjoyable. I noticed a slight nicotine buzz after the first hour and saw changes in the flavor profile at that point also. The flavor started to mellow into a peppery creaminess that was a great finish to this fine cigar. CAO has again delivered on their promise of premium cigars. I’ll be ordering another box…

The hype – “Cuban Honeys are one of the best-selling flavored lines in the country. Cuban Honeys are entirely handmade with premium long-filler Cuban-seed leaves from the Dominican Republic.

Cuban Honeys Label

Cuban Honeys Label

The review – This much-hyped little cigar sat in my humidor for a long time before I gave it a chance. The label is a kitchy  yellow with a sketch of a “Cuban Honey”. Prelight aroma definitely hints of almonds and the tip has a sweet amaretto taste. This stick lit very easily and was an easy draw. Smoke smells quite pleasant and doesn’t smell artificial at all. First draw was a little harsh and it took a few puffs to mellow enough to discern distinct flavors. I noticed a distinct earthy overtone, with hints of leather and sweet spice. The amaretto flavor didn’t really come through to my mouth as flavor, but the smoke did start to smell like burnt biscotti after a while. This stick smoked for about 40 minutes and held a firm gray ash that peaked at about 3/4″. Like most flavored cigars, the finish was a little harsh, but not unbearable.  This little honey wasn’t particularly exciting, but was pleasant enough that I’d definitely smoke one again.

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 tntcigars.com 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.

I got my new Jaguar today, Stock photo-new xjso I just had to go for a drive. I figured a British car called for a “British” smoke, so I broke out some of my new John Bull Prime Minister cigars for the trip. I also brought along the Bobkin travel ashtray I recently purchased from Heartfelt.

The hype – “Mellow but flavorful Connecticut-wrapped lovelies….for an incredible price. The best part about this cigar is the quality-to-price ratio. There are better cigars out there and there are far more pricey cigars out there….but if you want a good quality, mild handmade at a tremendous price, this is an ideal ’everyday’ option.
Oh my! John Bull combines a silky Connecticut Ecuador wrapper with an aged combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Together this holy cocktail delivers a pretty smooth, mild to medium-bodied bouquet. The cigar billows with thick, creamy, voluminous clouds, consuming the palate in rich fashion and leaving behind pleasant notes of cedar and toast. Hey, for an everyday mild handmade, John Bull is an enjoyable and satisfying solution, brother. Packed in big, chunky, cedar boxes of 30 cigars….all at a price that’ll keep you coming back for more, a dozen times over.”

The review – I had never heard of the John Bull brand, but I saw a good deal on cigarbid and thought I’d buy a 5-pack and “see what happens”. This Presidente sized vitrola is a full 7.2″ long in approx 54 ring size that feels substantial and looks like any high quality stick. Prelight aroma is definitely grassy with an an ammonia undertone, much like any other mild cigar. This stick lit easily and the draw was uniformly easy. Flavor is surprisingly good for a “cheap” cigar. There is a creaminess that is quite enjoyable with hints of nuts, leather and vanilla. This vitrola ashed very evenly (light gray) and ran about 3/4″. The smoke from this cigar is most enjoyable, smelling like any of my “top-shelf” cigars. The flavor was consistent to the nub, which is unusual, especially on a discount cigar. I took this one down to the nub and then imediately lit another… I smoked four of these today over the course of a 230 mile round-trip and over lunch. This is an excellent mild cigar that I’d be comfortable giving to anyone, from a novice to advanced smoker. It tastes good, smells good and is decidedly pleasant. I just ordered myself a full box!

The hype – “Half cigar, half amazing. Drew Estate cannot be touched when it comes to top-caliber infused cigars with deliciously unique aromas. With Tabak Especial they’ve taken the coffee-infused cigar to bold new heights that thrill the taste buds. Jonathan Drew has carefully influenced Esteli-grown long-leaf tobaccos with the robust nuances of Nicaragua’s finest coffee beans. The result is a rich tobacco core layered with savory espresso notes and a touch of milk chocolate, all perfectly balanced by by a sweet, velvety aftertaste. The regular Tabak Especial is available in two varieties. Dulce, which employs a silky shade grown Connecticut wrapper; Negra, a dark broad leaf maduro-wrapped beauty.  The special Cafe Con Leche blend fuses these two into one spectacular offering….highly recommended!” – Cigars International

The review – This is another Jonathan Drew creation. Although I’m not a huge fan of the Acid series, I certainly do admire the man’s passion for tobacco as well as the innovations he has made in infusion technologies. Prelight on this one is certainly unique. It smells like mocha coffee with hint of cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate. This cigar seems to hold more moisture than others;  it is “squishier” and appears moister (probably a byproduct of the infusion) like the acid series. The labeling style makes it look exotic & alluring with an old-world flair. The filler extends past the wrapper, hinting of the foam layer on top of a cup of espresso. The stick is uniformly firm and the maduro wrapper is almost flawless with slight veinage. The cap is sweetened and has a very pleasant coffee taste with a slight tobacco tingle. Draw is slightly tight, but not unpleasant, bringing the first puff with a volley of strong tobacco flavor. The aroma of the wispy gray smoke is magnificent with all the best of a pipe tobacco and a fine cigar. I’m impressed. The cigar tastes great, with the meaty goodness of a maduro and the coffe infusion providing an undertone of flavor that isn’t overpowering like so many other “flavored” cigars. There is a note of white pepper that reminds you that you’re smoking a medium bodied cigar. Ash of a firm white mass that lasted to approximately1 inch. My drink of choice is Smart Bottle filtered water from my home system; I find that this is consistently my favorite palate cleanser when trying a new cigar, especially the infused ones. After the 1st third, the flavor tended more towards a burnt coffee flavor which was a little too bitter for me. The bitterness mellowed after a few minutes and it went back to maduro goodness. At approximately halfway I went more than 90 seconds between puffs and she went out, confirming my suspicion of excessive moisture. I relit again at 2/3 which was a little irritating as like to “get in the moment” when I’m smoking and not have to get my lighter out after I light the vitrola the first time.Towards the 3-finger mark, flavor started to get bitter again but it relaxed again after a few strong puffs. The lip-tingle intensifies as I smoke this, and by the 2-finger mark I feel like I’ve just downed a strong thai curry; not unpleasant, just very noticeable. I snuffed this one afer a total smoking time of 1 hour, which was fast for one this size – I think I was puffing faster than ususal to keep it alive. Good cigar, not on my personal a-list but worth keeping around. Best price I found was from Cigars International.

The hype “Gold Honey by CAO distills the essence of the highest quality orange blossom honey in the world. Each spring these flowers secrete sweet nectar from the lushest orange groves in Florida. We compliment this floral honey with well-aged tobaccos, creating a fusion of heavenly perfume and subtle earthiness. Let the sweetness of Gold Honey warm your heart and renew you like springtime”.

The review – I got this little stick as part of a CAO flavors sampler from the Tinderbox.  So far the CAO Moontrance is my favorite CAO flavor, and my impression of flavored cigars is less than stellar based ont he other that I’ve tried.  I was bored today after lunch and thought I’d take crack at this little corona. The prelight aroma is pure orange blossom honey with a hint of alfalfa, smells wonderful. The stick lights easily and the draw is effortless. The cap is sweetened and smoke smells great. Smoking this little cigar was surprisingly pleasant. I drank still mineral water throughout as a palate cleanser. This was an enjoyable smoke that was consistent all the way down to the nub. There was a lingering white pepper tingle mingled with the honey and spice. I would definitly smoke one of these again.

The hype“The Camacho SLR (Special Limited Reserve) is a fantastic blend made with a hefty dose of corojo filler and wrapped in beautiful Honduran grown Cuban seed wrapper. This superbly balanced blend offers a ton of flavor, with noticeable coffee and woodsy notes. The superior construction leads to a consistent burn every time, each producing a perfect draw, a long firm ash, and a room full of pleasing and voluminous smoke” .

The review – I’ve had this SLR in the humidor for about six months tempting me each time I open the door.  I decided to enjoy it tonight and so I retreated to the deck with my bullet cutter, butane lighter and a pitcher of Smart Bottle filtered water. The prelight aroma is woodsy with a hint of ammonia indicating that this one has been well aged. I toasted the foot and immediately smelled the Corojo filler; it has a pleasantly acrid note that is easily recognizable. I took the first puff and enjoyed an easy draw that was FULL of flavor. Camacho advertised the SLR as full-bodied and they weren’t wrong. My palate was engulfed in a myriad of classic tobacco flavors with strong cedar and leather. As I continued to smoke this little beauty, I began to enjoy an espresso aftertaste and the aroma of leather. Smoke produced from this little gem was a billowing gray cloud that engulfed me in singularly pleasant aroma. At the halfway-point, I noticed a slight tar taste so I blew through to burn it off and it faded. I smoked this one right down to two fingers while enjoying the water and fresh mountain air. Ash was a tight white/gray thatextended to about an  inch. This is a delightful cigar – highly recommended.

The hype – “The Edge by Rocky Patel is a full-bodied cigar with a great deal of flavor. The edge is considered to be one of the most robust cigars on the market. With a full-bodied and full-flavored aroma, this cigar is anything but simple. Each cigar is hand rolled in Honduras and passes through thorough quality control process that ensures only the best cigars are put out onto the market. The Edge remains the hottest cigar in the country based on its strength, price point and fresh-from-the-factory box packaging.”

The review – I bought a box of these from cigarbid.com at a price that was too good to refuse, and they’ve been sitting in the humidor for the last 6 months beckoning to me. I was a little apprehensive, so so many people say this is a very strong cigar, and Rocky’s “smoke while sitting down” warning didn’t help either. I finally cast caution to the wind and extracted on of these to enjoy with a glass of Guinness. This is certainly a beautiful cigar. The dark wrapper is almost flawless with an oily sheen and distinctive aroma – earthy and aromatic. This one was difficult to light; I might have the humidity a little too high in the humidor it was in. Once lit, it emitted billowing blue/gray clouds of smoke that smelled good, but had a hint of turpentine to them. The draw was a little tight on this one, but nor unreasonable at all.

Flavor profile is peppery and slightly bitter with a definite espresso aftertaste that is quite pleasant. After about an inch, the turpentine aroma intensified and my palate was assaulted with a petroleum aftertaste that I didn’t enjoy at all. This went on for about 10 minutes and I chucked it in disgust. I’ll try another on tomorrow and see if this is a fluke.

The hype – “As one of the most famous brands in the world, this Dominican version of the Montecristo has a golden Connecticut wrapper that encases a medium bodied blend of premium Dominican long filler tobaccos. In old Cuba, it was common place for cigar rollers to be entertained with the reading from stories and books to break up what was typically a long day. One such story that was a favorite among the factory workers was the tale of the Count of Montecristo. Legend has it, that the reading of this story is what paved the way for the Montecristo brand. Relatively speaking, Montecristo is a newer brand, making its start in Cuba in 1935. The Dominican version debuted in the United States in 1995, during the peak of the cigar boom. They are medium bodied with a moderate finish. As one of the most recognizable names in cigars, this newer Dominican version lives up the prestigious reputation, combining an enticing aroma with flawless construction. This cigar is an icon in the cigar industry. Also available is Montecristo’s Habana 2000 (H2000) cigar. The wrapper used in the H2000 was produced by blending Cuban Corojo and Connecticut shade tobacco seeds. Grown in Nicaragua, the cigars have a medium body with spicy and earthy undertones.

The review – “Beautifully packaged in its yellow wrapper, this 5×40 corona is very inviting. This vitola behaved more like a maduro than a classic shade conneticut; prelight aroma was chocolate and leather. The light was easy and drew effortlessly producing delightful gray smoke that had a lingering leather/spice scent. This is definitely a strong little cigar, with a tingle that dances in the mouth. Smoking time ran about 70 minutes and the ash was dark gray, holding together very well to about an inch consistently. I need to get a box of these for special occasions.

The Hype –  “Cusano 18 should be on everyone’s list to try. Its complex and appealing aroma make it a favorite among all aficionados. RATED 91 BY CIGAR INSIDER! Mike Cusano has always made giving the cigar enthusiast a great value his top priority. His mission has carried over to his premium lines, where hand rolled premiums with big ratings can be had at everyday low prices. Each cigar he makes has a special attribute, be it the filler or the wrapper, and every cigar is expertly rolled by hand in the Dominican Republic.  Rich, creamy, and packed with flavor, Cusano 18″s filler is composed of Dominican Oro harvested eighteen years ago. The extraordinary flavors of this rare filler are blended with a potent Cuban Piloto and a mouth watering San Vicente Olor. A creamy Connecticut Shade Binder leaf and a second, very flavorful Connecticut Shade wrapper produce an incredible volume of richness and an exquisite creamy finish.”

The Review – I got a few of these from Cigar.com about six months ago. I threw them in the humidor and didn’t think about them until today…I drove to Las Vegas today with my business partner, so we had a little time on our hands to think, and smoke.  The Cusano 18 is a tightly-packed, uniform beautiful cigar. Prelight aroma is woody and earthy with a slight nuttiness – very nice. The vitrola lights easily and has a distinct espresso odor.  My first 5 or 6 puffs were a little bland after which the flavor intensified and continued the earthy theme, with hints of cedar, leather and a little wood. The smoke smells good and almost smells like an infused cigar, but still has the “real” tobacco scent.  After I was halfway through this cigar, it becan to exhibit some white pepper, which was just enough to tingle and excite the palate. Leather permated throughout to the nub. I smoked three of these during the trip, drinking Pepsi and bottled water. All three were uniformly good, with relatively consistent flavor profiles. Mouthfeel was good and aftertaste was a toasty coffee that I can still taste. Well, off to dinner and a Drew Estate Tabac Especial….

The Hype -“Showing off the milder side of CAO, CAO Gold is a mellow blend that was counted among the first premium lines in the CAO portfolio of blends. Introduced in 1996, CAO Gold features an Ecuadorian shade-grown, Connecticut seed wrapper with an aged Nicaraguan binder and fillers. While it is one of the only mild Nicaraguan cigars on the market, its taste is still full of flavor and has been rated as one of the best cigars from Nicaragua by Cigar Aficionado Magazine. CAO is a home run brand. Every line they have produced has been very well received by even the most critical aficionados in the industry. From top blends to trendy and cool packaging, they have created a completely new image for cigars. CAO Gold was one of the first brands in the CAO lineup, helping CAO get on the map and earn its esteemed reputation. It is a mild to medium-bodied Nicaraguan premium. While the cigar is not particularly strong, it lacks nothing in the flavor department. The Gold goes head to head with brands like Ashton and Perdomo in terms of taste and strength, but it is in a league of its own when it comes to price. In addition, CAO Gold Maduro offers a slightly more robust flavor and a strength that remains mild to medium in body, with a rich aftertaste that fills the palate with notes of cocoa and espresso. Don’t miss your chance to try the cigar that helped lay the foundation for one of the most famous cigar makers today. CAO Gold is one of the nation”s best selling boutique cigar brands. CAO Gold is loaded with creamy textures of vanilla and nutmeg, top-noted with a subtle nuance of sweet spice.

The Review – I’ve enjoyed the CAO gold series for a while, and thought today was a good excuse to smoke one  and write an actual review.  I’m in Toronto today, sitting watching a storm roll in and drinking Hennessy cognac with this cigar.

This particular robusto is from a box I purchased about 1 year ago and has been aging nicely in my humidor. It made the trip to Canada in my nifty new otterbox cigar case.  Prelight aroma is alfalfa, with a light hint of ammonia; an aroma I have come to enjoy, as it is usually the promise of a very pleasant/mild smoke. I punched this one with my larger punch and toasted the foot. The foot darkened nicely from the torch and lit after a few moments. First few puffs were almost too easy and I quickly inspected the stick to see if I had any damage..no damage, just an exceptionally easy draw on this one. The first few puffs are nutty and leathery as the ash begins to build around the tip. After the ash has grown to 1″, the flavor becomes slightly stronger, but is still creamy and mellow;  leather, vanilla and mild spice permeate throughout with a very pleasant espresso aftertaste on the exhale. The smoke smells very good, not stinky at all. Past the half-way mark, flavor is uniform and quite delicious, with the faintest of pepper in the background, just barely enough to tickle the tongue, but no tingle. approaching the 2-finger mark, there is a slight alcohol taste, reminds me of ketone solvents – not unlike a mature shiraz wine. I ran this one to the nub until it was too hot to hold, enjoying every puff until the last.

The CAO gold is a mainstay in my humidor and I always keep a box or two on hand, especially if I have a neophyte to introduce to the brotherhood of the leaf. I have a box in the humidor that I purchased in 2000 that I’ll smoke next year, I’m looking forward to taste the benefit of an additional 10 years of aging.

The Hype – ” Drew Estate’s Acid Remi line holds within it the cigars most widely desired by Acid aficionados, including the renowned Blondie. Ringed in metallic blue, this line is the careful combination of mild cigar tobaccos deliciously infused with all natural herbs, essential oils and an extra touch of their floral botanicals. These cigars are the smokes of choice for those seeking total relaxation from the daily rigors of life.

The review – Another Drew Estate creation from my Acid Sampler tin. I removed the cello from this one and really enjoyed the aroma; ginger, citrus, jasmine very exotic without smelling artificial. I cut the cap and toasted the foot. There must be a small amount of sugar on this one (like the c-note), since it blisters and crackles around the edges when exposed to the torch. Smoke is light blue/gray and wispy. Smoke aroma is quite pleasant and would be quite socially acceptable around non-smokers.  Draw is effortless and this little petit corona cigar tastes better than most other flavored cigars I’ve had the displeasure of smoking.  Although many say this is a 20 minute smoke, it took me about 45 minutes to run it to the nub. The infused flavor lasted throughout, but got slightly peppery during the final third. I like a cool smoke, so I favor larger ring sizes, but this one didn’t overheat until about 3/4″ from the nub.

I still prefer real cigars and although certain infusions are fun like Tabac Especial, I just can’t take the Blondie seriously. It’s not bad, it’s just not good…I won’t be buying this one again.

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 HypePatiently 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.”

The Review:

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 HypeAcid 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!

The Review:

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 HypeThe 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!

The Review:

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.

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