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  1. This was a great idea for a review weekend. Nice to see faces to put with names. Finished snow blowing the foot of snow we got Saturday night, cooled down, and decided I deserved my favorite for a job well done. Reached for an un-opened box of Esplendidos. All of the cigars in the box have perfectly uniform appearance including wrappers, size, and band locations and orientation. I love it when a new box looks perfect. On to the cigar, construction appears flawless, no hard knots, beautiful golden brown wrapper. Aroma at cold is pure barnyard wet straw, just what I expect. Opens medium body smooth and tangy, light citrus, very slight white pepper, slightly sweet, and undried straw. If you've ever been in a horse barn and smell a straw bale when it's busted open, that's what I'm getting here. Mid-point is much of the same but sweetness comes forward, slight lemon citrus, pepper almost disappears, and that barnyard twang is still very prevalent. The combination of barnyard and sweet gives that sensation of honey that I've heard and seen described by others. Maybe just over medium in body with lots of white smoke. Cigar finishes without much additional evolution but that's kind of the way Esplendidos roll. They just start out great and stay that way for 2 hours. Needed one re-light with a third to go but no other burn issues at all. Nubbed it of course. Solid A+ If the cigar apocalypse happens, I will be hoarding these. Pretty pictures first ?
  2. There are certain cigars that just work. They give us a sense that this is what cigars were made for. They draw effortlessly, they billow with volumous clouds of smoke and make our palate sing with every puff. This is the experience I have when I smoke the last of these gorgeous Royal Robustos from a box of UPE NOV 12. At first sight, I knew these had potential when I bought them three years ago and laid eyes on the dark, oily wrappers. But it wasn't until I lit up the first sample that I realized what I was holding. The first third starts out with an immediate note of nuts and shortbread. Not just notes mind you, but deep roasted nuts. Sprinkled with a touch of cocoa. There's a hint of pepper in the background that lingers for maybe ten minutes, before settling off for the night. The flavor is rich and just a touch over medium. The nuts become pure hazelnut in the second third with cream and a little salt thrown in for good measure. Its time like these that I remember why smoking a cigar shouldn't be accompanied by your phone or a book or even another person. You have all you need right there in front of you. Take the moment for what it is, because you won't have another one exactly like this again. The final third is all class. The cigar becomes nutella, with cocoa joining the party and the shortbread coming back in. When I think to other cigars I've had, I realize, you can keep the Connie A, or the B, or heck, even your Coros. I just want another box of these, and an hour or two to bathe in the pure delight that comes from enjoying a hand-crafted piece of art that tastes so damn good. Score: 96
  3. Last year I won cardbox with 5 of Romeo y Julieta Petit Corona. They are from '08 but I don't know the box code. The cigar has spent four months in box with other single marevas. I used puncher to open and triple-jet to light up. Perfect draw. First puffs were amazing. Perfectly balanced cigar. I've never smoked RyJ PC before (I had few RyJ MF) and that one was very pleasant. A lot of cedar, floral notes, bread and just a bit of cherry note typical for Romeo y Julieta. However almost for all the time I had burning issues. I needed to touch up every 10 minutes. Second third was a bit bitter but it took few minutes to got back that well seasoned tabacco. Last third had more earthy hits. I got box of RyJ Petit Princess from '07 and both cigars have the same profile. It looks like they passed their prime. Anyway I prefer typical cherry-bomb RyJ from Wide Churchill or Churchill. Even Cazadores have it. In my personal ranking it was marked as 83/100 because of burning issues.
  4. Leading with the important part, 49's win 28-27 Short review, nice construction, mostly got light spices and some coffee with cream. Back to the party, enjoy the game all!
  5. One of my late year smoking goals was to revisit some of the really memorable cigars from 2019. So I am late... as usual! Enter the Monte Esp. #2 vintage 2001. I have noticed a few near '01 vintage cigars showing up in this review series. So, lets talk a little about these cigars. Over and over again I see 99 to 01 vintage cigars maligned over the internet. I realize that I am an 'anti-establishment' smoker, but I have to wonder if any of these people parroting such rhetoric have actually smoked any of these cigars. In my time smoking Cuban cigars, I have to say that year over year, 01 vintage cigars prove themselves over and over as being some of the most complex, memorable cigar experiences. I covet mine... Considering how much I read about rH and temperature and storage from those without a clue, representing that they do have a clue, it would not surprise me that this is another case of internet puffing of knowledge not actually had. You don't have to go far to find an expert of everything here on the net. A recent thread about trying to tie cigar condition to aH tickles me as a recent example... I digress! I have smoked several of these this year. Look at what is left in the box. I hate to see them go, but I am not big on storing largely empty boxes. In this case I am making some exceptions. These cigars are so good, that I really don't want to commingle them with a bunch of nameless, homeless singles. They are simply too special for that. These cigars, including the one that I smoked this day, epitomize what I consider to be the Cuban cigar. This is a rich, firm drawing robust cigar. As you likely know, I store cigars rather dry. As a result, these have little bouquet. This does not mean the cigar is finished, over the hill, nor any of the many other prejudices that follow with 'nose' and a fine cigar. If you passed up on this cigar over your nose... you made a grave error. There was no 'foreplay' with this cigar! It opened, and opened to what might well have been the last third. It just turned on and stayed on. This was a rich, unctuous, high mouthfeel, lush and 'thick' tasting cigar. While the cigar had a moderately stiff draw, she breathed, thick, viscous, white smoke. The smoke was heavy and lingered. You could almost see it fall... The taste was bursting with stone fruit, plumb and peach but not sweet. Dried fruit is more accurate. Dense and lightly oily describes it best. The mouth feel is worth mentioning. While the last one of these was more complex with a bit more character, this slightly lesser sibling was no runt. I did not time my smoke. I enjoyed the beautiful weather, my wife and dog's company. The interesting elements from the cigar varied as if with the conversation and the music that we listened to. The tastes of spices, fruits and nuts all came to the table to serve me. This was a sublime smoke. I say this over and over. It was not the missing 22 ring of shallow filler that made this cigar what it was. You don't need 50 plus ring cigars to deliver like this. You need quality tobacco of the proper blend and a roller who knows and cares about what he/she is doing. If that is magic, well this cigar had that... Thanks for reading and sharing my experience. Cheers! -the Pig
  6. In the spirit of the holiday season, let me quote from the classic movie "A Christmas Story" as related by our hero Ralphie: "Now it is well known throughout the midwest that the old man is a turkey junky, a bonafide golly turkacnis freak." It may be well known in the Southeast, or at least on my street, that I am a Partagas Short junkie. A bonafide party minuto freak I do truly love these things. This is from my oldest box, which as you see is dwindling. After the FOH video this year about dipping in water, I've taken to doing that with ones that seem a tad ... dry. Maybe not as dry as the turkey that Catherine made in that other holiday classic "Christmas Vacation", but dry nonetheless. So this one got a dip, and you can see a prelude to the flavor with my crock of sourdough on the counter. Partagas. Pepper, spice, sourdough. A wonderful 30ish minute smoke in the out of doors a mere few days before Christmas. A tad squishy under the band, but a nice even burn and excellent smoke. I've found that the size of the ash is directly related to me getting my phone ready to take a picture (the longest ash ALWAYS falls right before the pic), but I also find that dipping in water tends to make super long ashes more rare. Which I suppose makes sense. I've yet to get a 50 cabinet of these, my two holy grails (are you listening Santa?) are a cab of these and a cab of the PLPC's. Someday. I've bought so many damn cigars this year that I feel like the cabs will come in time. But I know that I will be smoking these shorts until I'm done smoking cigars. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all! My wife and I will be on an anniversary trip through Europe in a few days, so expect some reviews or notes about shops in Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and/or Vienna. I'll keep my eyes peeled for any RE's, and may buy a party short to smoke there, but my coin mostly comes here nowadays.
  7. PSP example from a quarter box bought here last November. I'm a big fan of Partagas, although I have many more shorts than D4's usually. Nice construction, good aroma (I love opening a tupperdor and getting that waft of cedar and cigar). Typical for me V cut, toast and start the smoke It starts out fairly sweet, which surprises me. Not something I often get from Partagas, but I enjoy it. Short lived, it's just the first third, maybe even a little less. Probably just the first third. Adjusts to more typical cedar, wood, spice and a little bit of pepper perhaps. But about halfway through it got quite harsh and overpowering flavors. Not awful, at least not until the nub, but certainly the sweetness and lighter flavors totally gone. This cigar was a journey, you'd have thought it was at least two different ones, maybe three. Good complex smoke, interesting, overall I'd give it a 89 or 90. I still favor shorts, but I'm curious how these will taste in a couple of years. Guess I'll bury at the back of the storage and let them age and enhance.
  8. The one where our hero froze his arse off - it's 33 in Georgia this morning. But a nice clear morning, I'm over the cold I had, and what better way to celebrate a Friday? Who am I kidding, I usually smoke a cigar Friday morning, it's just colder today Picked this up from an HQ sampler last October, been sitting in the tupperdor for about a year waiting for a day like today. Good construction, a bit squishy up around the band, but overall well made, nice color and smell. V cut, toast it a bit and start. Bit of an uneven burn at the beginning, but blame that on me. Hands may have been shaking a bit when I torched it lol. Lighter than I'm used to with Bolivar, not as much of the bitter chocolate or guiness, this is more ceder, some earth, some spice and leather. Fairly consistent throughout, and nothing bitter in it for being fairly young. First half/two thirds would all be leather, spice, even a bit of hay maybe. Perhaps I'm all chocolated out after eating candy last night (the trick or treaters didn't get all the stash, hooray). Great billowing plumes of smoke, and at just under an hour it was a very pleasant smoke. I don't smoke enough Bolivar, I need to get a box. I've been holding out for a box of CJ's, but I may look into a box of these - Bolivar always impresses me and I really liked this smoke. Call it a 90-92ish level smoke. Would happily smoke these often.
  9. Who doesn't like marshmallow? I'll admit I had been eager to give one of these a try. I added this single among others when I picked up the Blind cigar lot, so no idea date code on it. Had a nice sheen to it, seems well constructed, nice smell. V cut, toast and here we are smoking. I didn't get the marshmallow. Perhaps a bit in the first third, there was some lightness to it, I wouldn't call it marshmallow flavor, but had that hint. Of course that's what I always hear about these, so may be biased to that. But after the first third it was pretty harsh to me, and that lightness went away. Didn't help that it started raining so had to adjourn to the garage. I'll try one of these again, but not so eager to grab a box unless the next one I try is much better. Wouldn't call it bad, just not great and I'd choose many other cigars over this one. 86-87 maybe?
  10. My first Medio Siglo, and I have to say overall I'm a fan. Good flavor throughout and while perhaps a bit fat, overall the time/size I typically look for. Lots of travel last couple of weeks, and after getting in past midnight last night I was ready to have a coffee and cigar on the porch this morning. Debated a CoRo or Siglo I/II, but decided to try my first of these. Stiff construction, but excellent aroma. V Cut, toast, and right from the beginning honey and hay. Burn got a bit wonky at times, and at first I thought I might have a tunnel, but it wasn't that bad. The initial hit of honey faded, maybe even a little bit of floral the beginning, and it settled into hay and coffee (although I was drinking coffee). Last third got a bit uneven, but the ash held on a tremendous amount of time (ALWAYS when I think "this ash is huge, I'll get a pic" it falls off immediately). Great billowing plumes of smoke, very nice mouth feel, great overall taste. Aside from tad uneven burn I'd say 91. Looking to pick up more of these.
  11. My first Trinidad, and I've been eager to try these. I got three boxes from a sale here earlier in the year. Been resting for 4 months or so, and a good time to try one out. Love the actual tubo, it's distinctive and attractive to me. In the world of bands, to me, the Trinidad band is just ok, but the tubo is lovely. Good construction, wonderful smell, firm but not too firm. V cut, toast and away we go. Initial thoughts are some lightness, perhaps some almonds. Good billowing smoke, great even burn, no problems on draw or burn. Didn't time it, but did enjoy it. Overall profile would be almond and some coffee/touch of sweetness. Not overpowering, but a nice coffee almond smoke throughout. Looking forward to smoking the rest and dipping my toe more in the Trini line. The 12/24 throws off my OCD need for evenness, but I think it's definitely a marca I'm going to try more of. High 80's for me, if a tad thick. 87-88. Good morning smoke
  12. I've been dryboxing this Punch Punch for last 10 days. Today was the perfect moment to light its up. I need to say, it's my third from the box. Today I was seeing with one of my friends, manager in local LCDH. Spontaneously this meeting has grown to local CA meeting (here in Poland we have forum, like FOH but smaller, it has 13 years; we were laugh that it's our small FOCSA, stand for Forumowe Ogólnopolskie Spotkanie Cigar Aficionado - Forums Cigar Aficionados' meeting. Punch Punch is defienietly what I'm looking for when we are talking about size. I prefer under 50 RG. It's started with typical tabacco/cigarette flavour. I was a little suprised but after five minutes it gave me what stands out Punch Punch from habanos portfolio to me. It was something like baked bread. In the second third it showed its strength. Rich woody, herbal and earthy profile with baked bread crust. I think I would always find that profile in blind tests. The last third was mostly dominated by earthy notes. I smoked this to the nub. I saw in the past that people finds vanilla. To be honest, I've never felt that in cigars. Anyway, it was very pleasant 90 minute smoke. In my personal reviews it's got 90 points! Very nice
  13. El Rey Del Mundo Kon Tiki 1973 Los Andes Regional Production Vitola: 109 Ring gauge: 50 Cigar length: 184 mm / 7.24' Since I haven't seen many reviews on this special edition, I decided to have a go at it. This cigar was produced in a suitcase-sized box of 50. If you don't have a large humidor, that would cause a problem. The packaging was impressive, but perhaps not as elegant as one would expect for a cost of over $2,000, with a limited run of only 1200 boxes. As I opened the box the odor of fresh grass struck me. The enticing smell made me decide that I couldn't wait 6 months while it aged in my humidor before I tried the first stick. With a factory stamp of LGR MAR 19, it certainly hadn't had much time to age. Throwing caution out the window, two days right off the truck it would be! With what I hoped to be a good cigar, I paired it with Ron Zacapa XO Solera, Grand Reserva Especial Rum. The wrapper was nice, few veins, but not baby bottom smooth. I loved the feel of it in my hand, the weightiness and the length promising to engage me for at least the next 90 minutes. I loved the slightly rounded tip. To me the narrowing of the end of this vitola would intensify the flavor of the smoke. I retreated to my front deck, set up my drink and ashtray, and was ready to rock. Ignition! Personally, I don't care for an in-your-face overpowering cigar. Nor do I want one that tastes like I'm puffing air. I've always been a fan of El Rey. The El Rey genetics were there in the first puff. Just under medium in strength by my estimate. Grass, wet soil, a hint of strength, a bit of a pleasant after taste. I enjoyed the flavor, the pleasant aroma of the smoke, and breathed a sigh of contentment. This wasn't a complex cigar, but the simple, satisfying taste alone was enough. The draw was perfect. Goldilocks would have been happy with this, as the draw wasn't too tight, nor too loose. It was just right. Firm and satisfying. First Third: I expected to experience some harsh notes because of the youth of the cigar. To my unexpected pleasure such wasn't the case. The intensity of the flavor increased, but the strength did not. The taste continued to be medium in intensity, conveying grass, vanilla, with a background of pleasant woodiness. The burn was even, without irregularities, again, somewhat surprising for such a young cigar. Second Third: The cigar continued in much the same manner as the first third. A hint more of strength and intensity as I passed the half-way point at an hour into the smoke.. Some slight complexity developed, with a hint of molasses. The second third could be summed up with one word. Yummy. Third Third: Unfortunately, no cigar can last forever (with the exception of a Monte A stick). There were no inconsistencies. No surprises. No set-backs in draw, or burn, or taste as I neared the end. The grass taste, to me, was reminiscent to of a Siglo. Earthiness and molasses increased slightly, reminding me I was nearing the end. I found myself already looking forward to the next one, wondering how long I would force myself to wait before I'd try another? How would it develop with age? Normally, I wait at least a year after the production date to smoke the first one. But in this case, with 50 sticks, I figured I could be adventurous, and I'm so glad I did. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, boasting the medium intensity and profile I enjoy most. Overall Rating: I understand everyone has different taste preferences. For me, this one hit the ball out of the park. This was an effortless, relaxing smoke. If you want a complex cigar, this may not be for you, but for me, I couldn't ask for anything better. Perhaps a hint more complexity with aging could further improve the profile, but I'd have a hard time otherwise finding a way to improve it. At $40+ US per stick, I understand it might be a might expensive. But at least for that money you're getting a stick that will bring you two hours of enjoyment. I would rate it 94/100.
  14. I picked up a sixer of these back in June, so they're young, only been acclimating for a little over a month. PSP stick from our lovely Aussie hosts. (speaking of, Tokyo is soon, should there be some sort of wager on aquatics?). I've been trying to avoid Robusto and big thick cigars recently, but this I don't have much else Hoyo and didn't want to go digging around to find something else. V cut, construction good, I dinged up the foot a tad. As is usually the case with PSP sticks from here, the heaviness is there. Maybe not as much sheen now, but heaviness is my term for it. Not dry at any rate. Toasted, and then lit, which started out decent. A tad uneven, and I did have to relight once. Overall good ash, and didn't let it get super long. For flavors, in my experience Epicure 2's tend to be mellow. I got some toasted tobacco (ha ha), some woodiness, little bit of cedar. I paired with a nice cuba libre, so perhaps the sweetness of that washed some flavors out, but there were no stand out in your face flavors for me. Some light cream, but nothing like my monte 4's, light cedar, perhaps some nuts to it, but mostly just a nice smooth, mellow smoke. Total smoke time was just over an hour twenty, longer than usual for me, but had wife out on the porch and we were talking as well. Send half of cigar was paired with an american Amber Ale, Copperhead from local place. Ratings are harder for me. Certainly a nice smoke, will smoke more of them, but not earth shattering. high 80's, perhaps 87 or 88. I'm hoping more time down will let them just get better, but if I had to smoke the other five like this I wouldn't complain.
  15. Awesome review weekend, Tonight i had the absolute pleasure of smoking this cigar. I kept it at 64/65 since its original purchase in 2016. Amazing burn, heavenly aroma and one of the smoothest sticks I have ever had. The aroma just smelled exactly how a cigar is supposed to smell to me at least. It’s nearly impossible fo Rome to put into words. 1/3-The beautiful stick started with a light coffee and cohiba classic grassiness. Maybe a touch of white pepper on the finish but the only lasting flavor was the light coffee. 2/3-More coffee progressing in intensity with a light slowing of salted caramel. 3/4 I cant help but thinking this has to be one of the “easiest” cigars to smoke. The flavors are pronounced and distinct. The finish was deep dark roasted coffee, light caramel and a touch of dry roasted nuts. I couldn’t help but noticing that the coffe started light and progressed in intensity through the entire cigar. When the coffee flavors hit a medium plus body the salted caramel kicked in and stayed for quite a while. It was comparable to a caramel macchiato. Heavenly. I found the stick to be pretty complex but the favors were bold and in your face. I don’t think the box of these will last very long as they are smoking heavenly. 9.5 out of 10. Why not 10/10? Well it left me wanting more. I wanted it to last longer and wished it was a longer lasting. Total smoke time was about 1 hour and 55 minutes but I honestly could have smoked this stick for much longer and been quite content. When i get a stick this good i just don’t want it to end. This is easily one of my top 10 cigars I have ever smoked. I only notice light to moderate strength but a full flavor experience. (The forum is not letting me post pics tonight...sorry)
  16. A recent smoke, of which I thought I'd jot down a few unsorted lines to share, although I smoked this one without a review in mind and didn't take detailed notes. So, this is rather from memory. The Clásicos - despite bearing a name exuding class and elegance having never really become popular in its rather short life - has always been a favourite of mine (for me, the best of the line, together with the DA). And when they were announced to be disced a few years ago, I bought up what felt like the remaining stock off all suppliers I could get my hands on. However, this stick here comes from an older box, from '01. This box had been consistently good to great, and although stemming from the 'difficult' period, never incurred any construction issues whatsoever. As the young Marca had still been rather new at that time, perhaps they were yet putting a bit more care and effort into its making. But that's just a theory. Tobacco quality had always been above reproach for that period and Vitola as to my experience. This particular stick presented itself as being preserved in perfect condition under my TLC. Nice, smooth and supple hazelnutty-brown wrapper with a very slight hue of red. Not oily, but still displaying some matte, silky sheen. After cutting - a perfect draw, with a noticeable, not too firm resistance, just how I like it. Off the box, the 15-year old came with this characteristic smell that Ken would so aptly describe as "Old lady's handbag" (always pleasing to me, while surprisingly unpleasing to my female family members). After a while in the open, this smell made a wonderful and miraculous transition into a sort of fruity vanilla note, with hints of anise or fennel (with that ever so slight liquorice tone) and alder wood. Interesting, to say the least! After firing up, the cigar started remarkably tannic and slightly bitter in the first draws. Actually, for me, usually not a bad sign, as this was showing it was still lively. Not that I was expecting different, since the previous ones from that box had been on a steady upswing and had always been indicative of a good aging potential. In the following, the cigar turned out to slowly evolve into a truly remarkable smoke. Even better than what I had in memory, with a unique aromatic profile. The tannic notes disappeared after about half an inch in (or I got used to it by then), and then there remained a taste, as banal as it might sound, of plain, gracefully aged tobacco. Yes, simple as that - tobacco! But still special and unique and hard to describe. No pronounced flavours of chocolate, no nuts, no honey, no stonefruit or the like: Tobacco, in all its fine complexity. Actually, that very taste and the reason for why we all are smoking. From the foot there was emanating this everlasting note of vanilla and fennel, that had already been present in the cold aroma of the wrapper. So great and so pleasing. Just mesmerizing. I attribute that in part to the fine wrapper from one of the best Vegas. The cigar developed nicely, with a good smoke volume and excellent burn. Without thinking too much about it, I was simply enjoying it. So much, that I didn't care about taking notes or being analytic about it. In restrospect, there were always transitions back and forth with slight floral and herbal, some more distinct Assam notes - again and in itself a complex flavour - and perhaps some woody notes on top of that pronounced tobacco taste, of which I'd be hard pushed to pinpoint to a certain specific aroma or flavour. The compexity was so great, the aroma components so nicely interwoven, that it was impossible for me to dissect and cast in words what I was tasting. All I can say is, it was fantastic! About midway into the second third, the smoke volume became a little muted. The taste, however, was always there and even intensified. But it seemed as if the smoke just wasn't so 'visible' anymore. You taste it, but you don't really see it. Having started outdoors, I now moved inside, as I was keen to see how the room note of this cigar would be like: Just. So. Great. The room soon smelled of what I tasted, with that slight vanilla-fennel note on top, but with a certain leathery hue (was it really leather? again, I can't really say...), a hue that got completely lost outdoors. I stayed in the house for about an hour before moving out again for ending the stick. In the last bit, I had to slightly correct the burn, but the cigar always stayed in great form. As usual, becoming a bit stronger, more intense, with more dark notes added towards the end with the concentration of condensates. But still velvety, with notes of fresh ground coffee and walnut (perhaps?) appearing. Delish till the end. Smoked it almost to the nub, and eventually sat there feeling left with complete satisfaction! When I finally checked the time I was amazed to realize how slow I had smoked that stick: This cigar took me on a continuous 130 min (!) journey into great Cuban tobacco artistry. During the whole time it had been interesting and entertaining, not for a second been boring. Final thought This was a prime example of what the Cubans are being capable of, and what proper aging can do to a stick when the quality is there. This one surely hadn't reached it's "expiry" date yet, and I am happy to know that I am still in hold of another untouched box of the same code. Having slowly smoked through this box over the years confirms once again to me that there is a distinctive difference between a six, seven years aged stick and a 15-year old or older one. There were aroma notes and a complexity that hasn't been there before, and which you'll never find in a freshy. Beyond that, it was another bright proof for the fact that it doesn't need double bands or 'exclusive' pricing for making an exceptional cigar. Too sad, and what a big, big shame again, for HSA killing such a wonderful cigar in its teenage years from its portfolio. Cheers, Goo
  17. Smoked my first La Trova the other day to check out this new release. Will give a brief account: Despite it's ring gauge of 52, this is a release I was really looking forward to. Because I love the complex Trinidad profile, and current Trinis are smoking exceptionally well. The blend is always spot on with great consistency, tobacco of top notch quality and wrappers mostly, too. The La Trova turned out no different, and this time (unlike e.g. for the Monte Dantés), I wasn't disappointed. This is only the second time this format is being utilized. First instance been in the famed Cohiba 1966 EL of 2011, when the Cañonazo Especial (52 x 166) made its debut. For me, girthwise really on the top end of what I can handle with aplomb and enjoyment. This release appears really well made, and Tabacuba seems having put much care into its making. Let's hope it will continue that way with follow-up production! Good, even bunching and beautiful wrappers of high standards. The complete row in the box is a sight to behold, and - if you ask me - is looking even nicer than the 1966 EL, due to their silky-smooth wrappers. Wrapper shade is typical Trinidad, of a lighter colorado-claro, smooth, supple and showing just a few, mostly finer veins, despite the comparatively large wrapper leaf necessary to clad this stick. When looking at a well-made Trini, it almost inevitably elicits in my mind that sound of the 3/4-4/4-time theme of The Stranglers' all-time hit.... "Golden brown, texture like sun" - this is how Trinidad is meant to be... in look & feel & impact This particular stick had a more open draw than I prefer. An initial fear I was having with this format, that it might turn out to be another windtunnel version of its regular production breed. But, seems not! - Still manageable for me, and I guess this will be in favour of many "wide-girth" smokers. Checking the weight distribution of sticks revealed a spectrum between slightly below 16.0 g and 20.2 g in a single box (- the official charts stating a mere 15.24 g for this vitola, a mass I would consider way too low for the format). In the attempt to see where we are standing here I intentionally chose the lightest one for this first trial, but the heavier ones will surely suit me better. Was still ok, no issues of overheating when the right cadence had been found, though the result was a comparatively quick smoke. This smoke was going from slightly under medium to full in body, lasting me a 90 min (not long, considering that a good, firmly packed Reyes already lasts me 60-70 min, ocassionally up to 75 min, a Fundi easily beyond 2 hrs....). A more properly filled exemplar will surely go for up to two hours. Towards the end you could feel the cigar's youth and its potential for further development. But right now, already a true pleasure to smoke. This specimen I had prepared prior to smoking by keeping it for about a week out of the box in the open in the storage room, at about 61-62 % rH. There is no reason to wait and not dive in immediately. Box code RAG AUG 17. General thoughts - While I thoroughly enjoyed this stick, actually the format and all the extra tobacco doesn't bring any extra advantage - for me personally - over a Fundadores. But I can see how this will appeal to the Robusto / Double Robusto smoker. This release is a clever move to attract new smokers and/or bring back those who had been lost to the marca with the (foolish) discontinuation of the Robusto Extra. It is producing much more 'steam' compared to its skinnier brethren, while tastewise being very similar, also in its evolution. It looks like they compensated for the bigger volume by shifting the blend a bit more towards the seco/volado side. My go-to, the Reyes, is providing me a similar if not slightly more intensity. But, this here is far from being a "volado roll", and smoking this first specimen it appears blenders did a pretty good job keeping the general perception of body and strength very similar to the regular formats. Which is nice actually. Would I smoke these more often in the future? Sure. But I'd only pull such a stick for special occasions. And for me, as an avid indoor smoker, this is a classic patio smoke due to its voluminous smoke production. Also, a general issue I am having with sticks of such formats going along with huge smoke production is that at times I tend to feel a certain palate tiring during the last third, so that I am not able to enjoy them as much as I am enjoying a skinnier stick towards its end. Still, this is a clear winner in my books. And it seems HSA managed to bring out another great LCDH release with This Luscious Thing, TLT aka Trinidad La Trova.
  18. So here's a Punch Punch (how many times can I get punch into this review?) 5 5/8 x 46 Good construction, somewhat rustic looking. No draw issues and a good burn. Dark grey ash that came off after the first few inches. Smoking time came in at just over an hour. 1/3 - Starts off smooth as butter. Beautiful aroma with a delicate, creamy flavour. 2/3 - Cream is still there but starts to be overtaken by wood. Still smooth. 3/3 - Things start to heat up in the final third. The cream is gone and pepper starts to come to the front. Definitely not an over powering pepper. Would rate this 3.5/5. Is the Punch a knockout? No, but it definitely throws a good jab. Would I buy it again? Probably, for the right price. The Punch Punch would make a good morning smoke but nothing to rave about.
  19. . My first JL1 SRO Jul 17 - HQ from this box, has been resting for about 3 months, I've been experimenting with different drink pairings other than my usual Whisky or Rum and found Tea's to be quite a good pairing. I've normally had Earl grey teas but have recently tried Taiwanese Bubble Milk tea and the combination of sugar and tea often works quite well with a lot of the cigars that I enjoy. Getting back to the JL1, cold draw is light, has notes of cedar and light straw notes and great draw, I keep my cigars at 65% RH 1st Third, - Smooth, creamy notes, with a bit of pepper spice and some slight sour notes - Medium to full, the sugar in the BBT helped mellow out the sour notes and make it a little sweeter 2nd Third - Has improved a lot and has more toasted almond nutty notes and is still very smooth with great ash and great burn. The BBT is now highlighting the nutty notes and make it very enjoyable - Medium to Full - The pepper & sour notes have gone Final Third - Has kicked up a notch and is now full bodied, the pepper is back and the nutty notes have died down, it has almost taken on a different character but its still enjoyable and smooth enough that I smoked it down to the nub. Overall Rating - 87/100 Was an excellent cigar for such a young smoke and plenty of development and the BBT helped round out the pepper spice and young sour notes at the beginning. Glad I have a cab and think these have great aging potential and will be worth trying again in 3-5 years.
  20. Cigar, beer and rum session review. Pairing the Partagas D4 with Mountain Goat Summer Ale then moving onto Dipolomatico reserva exclusiva rum. Cold draw gives a light spicy peppery feel on the lips. · 1/3 – light white pepper, cinnamon with an underlying light sweetness. The Summer ale is an easy drinker with subtle noise of tropical fruits and has subtle citrus bitterness which helps to not over power the flavours of the cigar. I like to refer to it as a can of 'fanta' due to the orange colour of the can. · 2/3 – Pepper has packed it's bags and left the show, cinnamon burnt caramel, nutty cedar profile kicking on. Another can of summer ale 'fanta' put away during this area and then onto the rumbo. Oh how the rumbo bought out that nut and burnt caramel feel. Bloody heavenly. · 3/3 – Voluptuous smoke content is like a dream. Beautiful balance of the flavours from 2/3rd. A light harshness as got toward the end which took me by surprise as to be honest I wasn't ready for it to be at the end, was obviously enjoying it too much and started to take it down a little quick. There's more rum left in the bottle damn it, another cigar need. Overall impression is that this cigar is a beautiful medium bodied cigar which would pair with a lot of drinks. From start to finish this cigar had an easy draw which was well defined and delivered balanced flavours with plenty of smoke.
  21. Unknown box code because I never bothered to peel the copious amounts of stickers these boxes come decorated in. This cigar is just special... I've found myself reaching for it a little more freely since buying a couple of more boxes. I've had several different experiences so far with it so bear with me but... First one I had this year was a huge burst of citrus out of the gate. Then came the chocolate. These flavors were quite pronounced. Nothing muted here. The last few I've had have teetered more on the chocolate side than the citrus. Regardless, these are very well constructed cigars. For regionals, yes they're a bit expensive... But it's like anything in this world, if you can smoke it and you like it then enjoy it. The last two boxes I bought...I decided I'd open one of them up and let me tell you that things look amazing. The stix look like they've been dunked in oxblood. I can't wait to experience these.
  22. 1999 Saint Luis Rey Lonsdale (REO EP00) This was just excellent. First half was like a high class s'more. The predominant flavors vacillated between marshmallow, milk chocolate, graham cracker, espresso, black pepper and paprika. There was always a light, peppery, toasted tobacco base. As one might expect from a lonsdale of any marca, the body and intensity gradually built as I progressed through the length of the cigar. That’s not to say, however, that it started out mild. No sir. I ran into some significant burn issues in the middle, which required some touchup and cost me some tobacco. I consider this a more-than-fair price of admission for the show I was about to receive though. Angels’ share. Second half was ALL cream. Like frikkin heavy whipping cream. The smoke coated every nook and cranny of my mouth. Even my teeth felt like Elvis’ suit. Crushed velvet, baby. Sublime. Complementary flavors varied throughout the second half. Nougat, nutmeg, chocolate, caramel, chile, clove, citrus, and something I can't put my finger on. Sort of a bittersweet savory thing. Maybe like a nicely marbled steak marinated in cocoa and molasses. I dunno. It escapes me. On the whole, the second half was like the olfactory sensory overload of a German christmas party. I burnt my fingertips trying to get ‘just one more...!’ draw before having to finally let it go to the Gods. The development of flavors wasn’t quite as subtle and elegant as that of an aged 898. If the 898 is a tasteful literary classic, this lonsdale was ‘Road Warrior’. One minute all is peaceful, and the next, a mongrel marauder is running over a shopkeep with his motorbike. The twists and turns on the flavor ride were like that of a roller coaster. It kept me more on the edge of my seat, than melting into it. It was very exciting. I’ve smoked a lot of good cigars this year, but this one is one of the greats. 2008 898; 2013 PCE; 2011 OR RG Perlas; 1999 SLR Lonsdale - these guys stand out as legends among heroes. I won’t soon forget this cigar.
  23. Smoked a rather interesting one tonight and was thoroughly surprised. Cigar: La Diabla Manufacturer: Traficante Cigars Purchased for $9.50 Size: 4x52 Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra maduro (Cuban Seed) Binder: Equadorian Filler: Dominican from Santiago Construction Not the prettiest looking thing. A weird lumpy rustic looking pentagonal shape. Medium brown wrapper with a nice oil sheen to it. Evenly packed with a good draw. Cool metal band/tag that came with the cigar. Prelight Wrapper smells like licorice and the cold draw also tastes of licorice. I'm pretty sure this was transferred over from another cigar that was shipped with the La Diabla. Shouldn't be an issue once I ignite. First Third As I suspected, the licorice was a foreign scent from another cigar. No licorice to be found in the tasting notes. Excellent smoke output and a smooth retrohale. Tasting notes are milk coffee, chocolate, shortbread, and a hint of baking spices. Body is medium. Very nice. Second Third Body picks up to medium-full. The flavors from the first third have become richer with hints of graham cracker coming through. Hopefully it becomes more prominent as it smokes through. I love graham cracker in my cigars. Burn is razor sharp. Halfway through the second third, the graham cracker develops further. The milk coffee has switched to dark coffee. Final Third Body stays at medium-full. No strength. Some nice honey sweetness comes in. Combines well with the dark coffee, chocolate, and shortbread flavors. As I get towards the half inch nub, the flavors become much simpler and finish out as dark chocolate and dark coffee. Thoughts For a 4x52 size cigar, $9.50 is not cheap in my opinion. However, this was an excellent cigar. I usually don't like the taste of Dominican cigars, but this was pretty damn delicious. Honestly, if someone gave this to me with no band and said "This is a Upmann Maduro No .1", I'd probably believe them. So much of the flavor profile just screamed Upmann to me. In short, this cigar was like smoking the last third of a Connie 1 or A with lots of chocolate laden into the flavor profile. La Diabla? No, this is chocolate Upmann. I would recommend you folks to try this if it sounds interesting to you. Anyone else try Traficante cigars before? I don't know if they ship outside of the US. I'll give this a 91/100. Very enjoyable.
  24. Hoyo De Monterrey Le Hoyo Des Dieux 2011. Sorry, forgot the full box code, I'll head back to the B&M to have a look. Prelight stuff: Stiff and dry wrappers, rustic looking claro. Draw is perfect from a punch cut. Faint aromas from the stick, with a little standard floral grass and hay from the cold draw. 1st Third: Cashews. Cedar. Cream. Spicy cajun finish that lingers around the back of the throat. Retrohale is peppery but not aggressive. Ash is holding on for almost at inch. Solid and chunky, zero flakes! End of first 3rd brings on some coffee. Spice fades off. Roasted almonds appears with the coffee 2nd Third: Roasted almonds and coffee are the top dogs here. Dat Cuban twang finally makes an entrance. Dried fruits hinting about. End of the 2nd, dominate notes are now light cocoa and dry Cubanesque critussy grass (you know what I'm talking about), flowers, fruits and dat twang. Retrohale is all twang. No pepper. Wow.... Last Third: Prominent notes are of cacao, like those really pure, raw form of cocoa, due to the hints of sour-floral Cuban twang. Coffee wafts in and out, also with sweet wood. Pepper and spice hints around the finish and tingles the back of the throat again. Slightly dry but.... Not complaining, just drinking alot more San Pellegrino. Orange peel then jumps in. What the [email protected]? Retrohale is getting too complex, can't decipher. I'm just going to enjoy it without thinking too much. Last inch or so: Wood and a little spice comes back to play. And then twang comes back strong. Retrohale is still complex but light dry cocoa powder is the main dish. My brains are tired, what a journey.... Final smoke time, 90mins or so. Towards the end of the cigar... each draw gets me different notes, and I'm stunned. What a contrast from the Petit Edmundo I had just this morning, great flavours, but consistent without much complexity. The young 'Prince' beside the aged 'God'
  25. Hello everyone. I brought up a question/discussion in the thread below and found some interesting responses. It seems that there was a general consensus that Cohiba represents the flavor profile discussed in that thread, namely grass and hay. So, I've decided to light up a CORO and see what I thought. This is my first ever Cohiba, so this should be interesting regardless of the results. Box Code: ABR 13 PSM Appearance Nice looking medium dark brown wrapper with a perfect triple cap. Pack is a little on the hard side, but even Draw Very tight draw. Had to do a double V cut, but did not help too much. I'll just have to make extra love to it. Prelight A little hard to make out any obvious flavors. What I do get is a slight sweetness with a woody note. I'm blaming the tight draw for this. First Third I can only describe what I'm tasting as a vegetal sweet taste. There's some kind of characteristic that makes me think "sharp", but it's not in a bad way. It's almost like if I bit into an orange peel and I'm tasting the sharpness from the oils coming out of the peel. Strange/new experience, but I don't hate it. Would not describe the flavors as rich or deep at this point. Second Third The draw has improved thank god, but unfortunately, the wrapper burst a bit. I'm thinking it might be due to the overpack. The flavors are still similar to the first third, but has become more mellow. The sweetness has turned into a more honey-like sweetness on the retrohale, which is very much welcomed. As I'm smoking down the second third, the flavors are intensifying. Final Third I'm getting hints of graham crackers here and there. I don't know where this came from, but I'm not complaining. Overall, this cigar reminds me of a La Gloria Cubana #4, but with none of the fruity characteristics I get with the LGC. Reaching the nub, the flavors have become richer and darker. Final Thoughts This CORO was interesting to me. The beginning was pretty frustrating due to the draw, but thankfully it resolved itself by the second third. As for the flavor, it's honestly not my most favorite, but I didn't hate it either. It was just different from what I've had in other cigars. The final third was where I really loved this cigar, when the flavors became richer and more pronounced. Would I buy a box? Probably not because they are a bit expensive. For premium priced cigars, I think I lean more towards Trinidads rather than Cohiba. I don't think I tasted anything that made me go "THIS is grass and hay", but I think the closest I got was from the citrus and vegetal notes.

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