Posts Tagged ‘review’

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“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.

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