Friday, December 8, 2017

The Griffin's Nicaragua Toro Review

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Honduras
Length: 6
Ring: 50
Cost: $12.50

BackgroundThe Griffin's may not be a brand that a lot of cigar smokers are acquainted with, but they should be. If you didn't already know, the Griffin's cigars are more or less a more affordable version of Davidoff cigars - considering that is exactly who makes them. Typically seen as a premium blend in the more mild and creamy realm of things, Davidoff has been (in the past couple of years) taking steps into having some more full body smokes in their arsenal. Logically a Griffin's version would follow - and this is set to be it.

Appearance (0-20):  The Nicaraguan habano wrapper on this stick is light in tone, which actually hurts the rating a little because it shows a lot of smaller imperfections and nicks that may have been hidden otherwise. On the foot you can see a nice swirl of different tobaccos, giving some very distinct lines for the Dominican piloto cubano binder, Dominican San Vicente seco, Dominican piloto mejorado seco, Honduran Olancho seco, and Nicaraguan EstelĂ­ ligero and Ometepe viso. The wrap job is also a little wonky toward the top, along the band. Inverted colors on the band do stand out pretty well. Instead of the standard white backdrop to the band with black writing and a gold embossed griffin, this one sports a black backdrop with white writing and a red embossed griffin. Kudos on the color selection there.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): I can't be mad at how this one is constructed. The first feel of the stick is the soft and silky wrapper. After giving some pressure throughout, it is evident that the cigar has evenly distributed and there shouldn't be any issues there. The initial cut was completely clean and the prelight draw was spot on. As I smoked through the stick, it remained nearly perfect on the draw and there were only small variations in the burnline.
Score: 19

Strength (0-20): The strength is listed at a full, and in that respect it absolutely lives up to its name. Between the pepper and the nicotine kick, it peaks into full with just the right punch.
Score: 20

Flavor (0-20): Right off the bat I am a little thrown off. There is a really grassy flavor on the tongue when drawing in that mixes with the flavors and leaves an almost bitter aftertaste. I can still discern some minor cocoa notes but the predominant flavor is pepper, especially on the retrohale. This continues through the majority of the smoke, with a few minor touches of sweetness, but overall its straightforward and consistent - pepper with a bit of an odd grass / floral / veggie kind of taste.
Score: 13

Value (0-20): I wont even beat around the bush on this one. I am not fond of the $12.50 price associated with this cigar, but it is still $6.00 less than you would pay for the Davidoff version of nearly the same smoke.
Score: 10

Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100): There is so much I am torn about with this cigar. On one hand, its got the strength (full) and spice (straightforward pepper with slight spice and bitterness) that I really enjoy in spades. The construction is on the money and overall it stays very consistent throughout. However, I am not wild about the appearance of the wrapper (even though the band is pretty cool)... and I am much much less wild about both the grassy flavor associated with the experience. Factoring those things together and I really do not see this as the type of cigar that I want to put over $10 into. Is it a bargain based on the fact that Davidoff cigars run close to $20 each? Meh. Maybe. But are there better cigars for a cheaper cost? Absolutely.

I may be in the minority on this one in the long run, but I didn't love it. While I wont turn down giving this one a second chance in a few months, I also wouldn't run out and buy one immediately. I mean hey, maybe the time resting will help the flavor a bit.. but only time will tell that.
Score: 78

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The elusive, ever-popular dreamstate - from Ventura Cigars

Archetype Dreamstate, a Favorite from Ventura Cigar Company is out of stock, but can still be found!
August 2017 Ventura Cigar Company (VCC) is pleased to announce the sell-through of their Archetype Dreamstate Toro and Churchill. With a reputation for high quality and a thoroughly enjoyable smoking experience, Archetype Cigars have been a top choice by critics since it first appeared at IPCPR in 2016. At the 2017 IPCPR, Dreamstate continued the Archetype success story with a strong performance at the show, with many tobacconists stocking this uniquely-blended cigar, which has earned a 95-rating by Cigar and Spirits Magazine.
“We are amazed by the support of our retail partners,” says Benjamin Winokur, Brand Manager for Ventura Cigar Company. “We’re excited that Dreamstate cigars have been stocked in so many stores across the country. It’ll be a bit of a treasure hunt for consumers, but they’ll be well-rewarded at the first puff. The good news is that we’ll be replenishing our supply shortly, so increased accessibility is just around the corner.”
The Dreamstate cigar offers the opportunity to fully relax and drift away into the subconscious, with a smooth, mild-to-medium-bodied smoke that rewards with a complex bouquet of fruit, vanilla, and white pepper. Dreamstate features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Dominican San Vicente binder surrounding a multi-country filler blend.
Customers currently searching for the Archetype Dreamstate cigars should be able to find them at,, and, and other premium tobacconists nationwide. Ventura Cigar Company will be restocking the Dreamstate Cigars soon, so more tobacconists will be able bring inventory (and Archetype fans) into their stores.
For more information about Archetype cigars, or other products from Ventura Cigar Company, please visit
Dreamstate, a flavorful experience that is not to be missed.

About Ventura Cigar Company
Ventura Cigar Company (VCC) is a unique cigar brand born in sunny Southern California that is on a mission to create memorable, complex cigar blends that excite the senses and reward discriminating palates. Their flagship Archetype, Case Study, Project805, and PSyKo SEVEN brands offer multiple award-winning blends that have earned 90+ ratings in Cigar Aficionado, Cigar & Spirits, and Cigar Snob. Ventura Cigar Company also distributes the 4th Generation and Comoy’s of London line of pipe tobacco products, extending its reach and tradition of offering top-quality tobacconist products. Pipes and blends under these brands are cultivated through generations of craftsmanship, making them longtime favorites of pipe tobacco enthusiasts.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Famous Smoke Shop introduces Cuban Cigar Hub

The past few years of politics have changed the cigar landscape in many many ways. One such way is how Cuban cigars are treated when it comes to import laws and purchasing, etc. For people in the states, that's a good thing because it means we may be able to get our hands on them without having to possibly find ourselves on the wrong side of the law. 

Famous Smoke Shop has put together a hub of information about Cuban cigars that you may want to check out, as it helps to chronicle some of that information -

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Montecristo Platinum Series (Vintage 1999) Toro Review

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Mexico
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Peru
Length: 6
Ring: 50
Cost: $9.40 

BackgroundMontecristo is one of those companies that has an immensely rich history in the cigar industry. Oddly enough, even with such a storied past and so many years of cigars on the market, this is only the second Montecristo we have reviewed. The first of which was the Montecristo White Belicoso. That doesn't mean that we haven't smoked them, of course. It just meant we haven't always reviewed them. As for this one, the platinum is listed as being a luxury stick. Lets see if it stands up to that marketing.

Appearance (0-20):  The matte silver banding on the Montecristo is set odd with red and gold embossing. Along the top of the main band, Montecristo is on the top in red, with the "Platinum Series" on the bottom half of the circle in gold. In a somewhat redundant move, a secondary band again lays out the same platinum series. Beneath those bands is a milk chocolate colored wrapper with no visual blemishes. There are, unfortunately, a number of larger veins that are visible. Not a great start...
Score: 15

Construction (0-20): Aside from the aforementioned vein issues, the rest looks and feels pretty good. The entire stick feels silky and well packed. From the look at the foot, its well packed and running along the entirety, I wasn't able to find any areas of concern. The prelit draw was perfect and it continued that way throughout the entirety of the smoke. Unfortunately for this one, the ash flaked often and the vein did cause an issue with how the burn, as it left it less stable when smoking.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): Medium - and it actually hits that directly on the head. Actually I don't think it could be a more straight and narrow shot down the center.
Score: 20

Flavor (0-20): The initial puffs are sweet and woody, and distinctly so. Its the kind of sweetness you find in a good semi-sweet chocolate. The flavors stay pretty prevalent until around the second third. At that point an earthiness takes over for the wood, while the chocolate remains a central figure. There is a slight bit of leather and some nuttiness that show up, but they are mere side flavors. The final third sees the earthiness fade back again and the wood come to the forefront. It is balanced by the sweetness of the chocolate. The flavors work harmoniously but it is not terribly complex in its changes. Still, it is a very good stick in terms of flavor.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): At nearly the $10 mark - the flavors are there. But it has to fight with other contenders that put out a much more consistent product. It hits more than it misses, keeping this from being a dud on the value perspective - but that doesn't mean its scoring highly.
Score: 14

Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100): Ugh. These are the reviews that I dread. I want to be able to give it a better score based on the flavor being so pleasing (chocolate, wood, earth, nuts) and the strength being directly on the medium mark. The problem is that it lacks in the construction and appearance realm. I had 3 of these and all had the same sorts of issues - which you don't like to see at all when paying almost $10 per stick. It just doesn't work, meaning this one falls short of expectations. While it isn't an outright avoid, I see this more as a stick that I may pick up from time to time in order to catch the flavors, but I wouldn't stock up on them.
Score: 83

Friday, June 16, 2017

Oliva launches 3 new Inferno cigars with Famous Smoke Shop

EASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the largest American-owned distributor of discounted premium cigars online, has announced the extension of their Inferno line with three new cigars. Made in collaboration with Nicaragua’s Tabacalera Oliva, these new premium cigars will be made in Oliva’s factory and are available exclusively at Famous Smoke Shop, in store and online.

The new additions include Melt, Scorch, and Singe, representing the fourth, fifth, and sixth additions to the Inferno cast. Oliva and Famous Smoke Shop have been collaborating on the Inferno brand since 2012 with the debut of the original blend; subsequent releases have included Inferno Flashpoint and 3rd Degree premium cigars.

These new lines run the gamut in vitolas, strength, and the types of tobaccos used: Melt is a true Nicaraguan puro, box-pressed in a sun grown Broadleaf wrapper, Habano binder, and ligero filler. This premium is geared toward the connoisseur’s palate; full-bodied, full flavored, and complex with notes of cocoa, leather, earth and spice.

Scorch brings a mellow and complex profile to the table with a medium-bodied blend of Nicaraguan Habano filler, a Cuban-seed Habano binder, and a decadent African Cameroon wrapper. “The Cameroon wrapper has a unique flavor that really complements the Nicaraguan filler in a way that’s almost too good to be true,” says Jim Charnley, Director of Purchasing and Merchandising at Famous Smoke Shop.

Singe, also a Nicaraguan puro, brings more full-bodied flavor to the smoker’s palate with a Sun Grown wrapper and a hearty, yet sweet profile. “One of my new favorites. Singe is a solid, full-flavored Nicaraguan puro, loaded with sweet, spicy and nutty flavors. Oliva’s outdone themselves once again with another great smoke at a great price,” says Executive Editor, Gary Korb.

Just in time for summer, Inferno has turned up the heat while Famous Smoke Shop has kept the prices low on these new premiums. Each cigar is available in Famous’ exclusive 20 count humidor jars, a cigar storage system introduced in 2016 – and known now for their ease of use, stylish look, and eco-friendliness. All of the new Inferno selections are also available as 5-packs and singles.

Churchill 7 x 50 ____________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50 _____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Torpedo 6 ½ x 52 ___________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar
Churchill 7 x 50 ____________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50_____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Toro 6 x 50 _______________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar
Churchill 7 x 50 ___________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50 ____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Toro 6 x 50 _______________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar

About Famous Smoke Shop 
Famous Smoke Shop is the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web’s lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

Famous Smoke Shop
90 Mort Drive
Easton, PA 18040