Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Indian Tabac Classic Corojo Review


Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper origin: Honduras
Wrapper type: Corojo
Filler / Binder: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras
Length: 4.5”
Ring: 52
Cost: $1.75

Appearance (0-20): A light corojo wrapper envelops this Indian Tabac offering and it really doesn’t look too bad at all. The band is likely the best part as it has the classic IT chief faces on it, utilizing a nice array of oranges, yellows, and black. There is nothing flashy to the band, but it gives it an authentic feel.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): Here is where we have our first issues. Actually so much that it screams out “Danger Will Robinson!” at you. Feeling across the cigar revealed that there seemed to be some pockets that were missing the full tobacco needed. What’s worse is that it cracked along the wrapper, revealing that it was extremely thin and brittle. The cut left a lot of tobacco mess and the top of the wrapper cracked. I honestly pondered not even lighting it up at this point, but instead pieced the wrapper together as best as I possible could and trudged on.
Score: 4



Strength (0-20): While being billed as a medium bodied cigar it never came anywhere near that strength. In fact it was a solid mild bodied wonder. There was literally no point that I even thought it took a step from that realm. Very disappointing.
Score: 6

Flavor (0-20): Ugh. When I begin with a word like that I can straight out tell you that this isn’t going to be good. The flavor is, well, nonexistent. There is almost literally no flavor at all. Total dog rocket.
Score: 1

Value (0-20): I don’t want to go deep into the logistics of this decision, but you couldn’t pay me to smoke another one of these.  
Score: 1

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100): This is by far my worst rating to date. Really, I don’t think I have ever had a worse cigar. The construction of this was awful, there was no strength… but the wretchedness of those categories is only surpassed by the flavor and value. Absolute thumbs down. Avoid this one at all costs.
Score: 28



Victor Sinclair Vintage Select Review


Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Brazil
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler / Binder: Brazil, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Length: 4”
Ring: 56
Cost: $2.75

Appearance (0-20): The Vintage Select, by Victor Sinclair, looks inviting. It’s got the normal Victor Sinclair branding, right down to the matching footband, with the color denoting the type of cigar. There really is nothing flashy about this cigar at all. As can be seen in the picture, there are some major veins that seem to take over the wrapper, which doesn’t bode well for the VS. The wrapper itself looks rich but its one of the lighter maduro wrappers I have seen.
Score: 13

Construction (0-20): The wrap job on this one could show some improvement as it seems a little sloppy. The saving grace would be that the cigar is well filled and it leaves minimal debris upon cutting. The draw is nearly perfect, and continued to be that way throughout. When smoking this I was reminded of Nubs, although it didn’t stand up to a Nub-stand test. Regardless the ash held on very well and despite the veins, it burned pretty close to evenly.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): The maduro nature would make me think it might be heavier, but I also know Victor Sinclair cigars… meaning they typically aren’t heavy at all. So the expectation was actually something of a medium bodied cigar. Unfortunately this one fell a bit short, possibly touching on medium bodied for a little bit during the cigar but typically staying toward the light end of things.
Score: 13

Flavor (0-20): I will be straight out honest here – it’s utterly one dimensional. When smoking this I was reminded of roasted nuts. That’s it. It’s creamy and smooth, while being consistent to a fault. No complexity here, but also it’s not a bad taste to it. Just… roasted nuts.
Score: 12

Value (0-20): Even though this one goes for about a  $2.75 retail, there are much better cigars for just a little bit more. I would much rather spend less (~$1.75) for a Garo than to spend $1.00 more for what I consider to be an inferior smoke.
Score: 8

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100): The moral of the story here is that a cheap cigar doesn’t mean it’s automatically value packed. The construction was decent on this stick. However, strength, flavor, and even appearance are mediocre at best. Still – if you are into light smokes that taste like roasted nuts, this one might be for you. But that’s one hell of a small niche market to be hitting.
Score: 62


Savinelli Dos Campeones Coraje Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler / Binder: Nicaraguan
Length: 6”
Ring: 54
Cost: $10.00

Appearance (0-20): The Coraje has an interesting shape to it with a very pointy torpedo topping it off. The label looks really interesting with the creamy brown, gold, and white draped across it, complimenting the rich habano wrapper. Since I wasn’t quite sure of the reason it was called the “Two Champions” I did a little research – the box of these comes with two separate cigars, the Coraje and the Sixto, as the blender couldn’t make a final decision on which one to put in the box… and instead put both! There are some minor veins that are noticeable as well as an imperfection or two around the cap. Nothing that’s too detrimental thankfully.
Score: 17


Construction (0-20): Going through my normal ritual – the cigar felt perfect from the perspective of how it was packed. There was a little bit of a ridge near the cap that was a cause for concern when looking at the wrap job. Upon cutting I had nearly no debris at all. I took a peek at the foot and it looked pretty nice, with the ligero standing out a bit. Upon lighting it was a slightly tight draw that continued throughout, and the cigar burned slightly unevenly. Ashes on the Coraje lasted about an inch and a half each. Construction wasn’t perfect, but it was still pretty darn solid.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20): So giving in to the habano thoughts, I figured this would sit in the medium to full range, and it surely is that. I might even say it tips to the full range for much of the last portion of the cigar. It made me really wonder if the smaller sizes would immediately have the full strength or if they too would build like this one did.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): From the get-go there is a lot going on with the Coraje. The first few puffs brought back something of a coffee flavor with some really leathery tones layered with it. There is some warm spice when exhaled through the nose that’s almost peppery, but it is really slight.  As you progress through the stick you’ll find the leathery tones morphing into wood tones, and the coffee is supplemented with what I would call a cinnamon sugar. It’s slightly sweet and yet slightly bitter, making for an incredible combination. This seems to walk the line between being complex / delicious and complex / confusing. Yet, it stays on the delicious side of things.
Score: 19

Value (0-20): The price isn’t outlandish for this stick, but it would be contending with some real heavy hitters. I would say it’s decently priced. Slight bargain perhaps, but not so much that I feel the need to buy a box right this instant.  
Score: 16

Additional Notes: Paired with St. Pauli Girl Special Dark in my garage with a few buddies. The cigar was given to me by my broski.

Overall (0-100): Appearance and construction have some minor issues, but nothing I’m going to say is detrimental. In fact, they are solid scores. The flavor jumps out as one of the best parts of this cigar – being both complex and tasty – but it also is a bit on the pricier side of things. Now while $10.00 may not be a huge price for a cigar, consider the alternatives around the same price range – Liga Privada Undercrown, Man O War Ruination, Drew Estate’s Java, Ave Maria, etc etc. Overall it’s a good cigar that I would smoke again, but the price would give me a little pause given the other choices that exist.
Score: 87





Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Graycliff Double Expresso



Information:
Country: Costa Rica
Wrapper origin: Costa Rica
Wrapper type: Costa Rican (Habano?)
Filler: Cuban Seed Corojo & Ecuadorian Ligero
Length: 4.5”
Ring: 54
Cost: $14.00

Appearance (0-20): The initial impression is that this one is going to be tasty.  The wrapper is rolled very nicely, without any noticeable flaws.  The wrapper has quite a bit of tooth on it, and is somewhat bumpy to the touch.  The bands around this cigar are beautiful, and very appealing. The first is gold embossed, with a deep black base. The second denotes that it is a double expresso. Very impressive.

Score: 19

Construction (0-20): As I began smoking this down, the first thing that jumps out is the ash. It is almost pure white, and very noticeable.  The ash held on almost 2 inches, or half the cigar before I tapped it off.  The burn was even, but the draw was somewhat tight.  On a quick note, this cigar was really packed full of tobacco.  With two quick draws, I did get a nice amount of smoke; I would have enjoyed it more if the draw wasn’t so tight though.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): This one was spot on for a medium stick.  It is marketed as one of their fullest cigars due to the extra long ligero leaves used, but I didn’t really get a strong kick from it.  If anything, it might tip the scale into medium-full.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Here is where the money is for this cigar.  The flavoring was great from start to finish.  The first ½ inch will give you a quick bit of spice, and then it rapidly transitions into full on coffee and chocolate.  The flavors are similar throughout, with a ton of chocolate flavor the closer you get to the end.  I did get small hints of spice on occasion, but the overpowering taste is clearly quite rich.

Score: 19

Value (0-20): These sticks can range anywhere from $14 to $18.  For my personal taste, I think that is a little bit high, yet not unreasonable.  It is also a limited release cigar, and roughly only 6 dealers carry them.  If you don’t mind infused cigars, I would grab a Drew Estates Java instead of this for half the price.  If you are more turned on to a classic boutique cigar, then this is the stick you want.

Score: 15

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with water.

Overall (0-100): From start to finish, I really enjoyed the flavors.  They really boomed out of the smoke, and tasted great.  The only real gripe I have is the price, but that is what you get on a premium stick.  This is far and away my favorite stick by Graycliff so far, and this is one that they got absolutely right.  I would choose this as a definite repeat stick if you can grab it in a sampler pack to subsidize the price a little bit.

Score: 88


Cigar Fest - Is Cigars International Making a Big Buck?


I have heard some chatter about Cigar Fest and how Cigars International is making big bank on it. There seems to be a common opinion that they are just raking in the money through both the auctions for the early session as well as having expanded the festival to two days instead of one. A few thousand tickets each day at $100+ a piece… plus sales at the event… plus… yeah, you get the picture as to how that can add up rather quickly. And yet, if you think Cigars International is making a lot of money on this, you couldn’t be more wrong.

One of the major things that doesn’t get a lot of publicity is that the money generated from Cigar Fest goes to charity. That’s right – ticket sales, any sales the day of the event, and even the raffles are all done in the name of charity. That’s thousands of dollars that are being taken in that immediately gets turned around and put to a good cause. In fact, going a step further, throwing this event actually costs Cigars International money. They take care of ticket administration, have to supply the people to be able to run the event, set up the convention center the way it needs to be, etc. That’s a lot of man hours that they are paying for from their own pockets.

So why even throw the event if it’s going to end up costing you money? There are some simple logical conclusions you can draw here.  
  • Any kind of charitable donations give you some nice tax breaks. Cigars International gets tax breaks too you know.
  • The positive publicity of the event has people talking about it months after the event is held and the talk ramps up months before the next year’s event.
  • Cigar Fest brings in some major players in the cigar industry, which helps Cigar International’s relations with them in the long run.

Taking aside the corporate reasoning, there is one other major reason - it’s a thank you to the many customers of Cigars International. It’s their way of passing on the goodness. Honestly speaking, where can you get 60+ cigars, an ash tray, humidor, cutter, posters, liquor, beer, BBQ lunch, etc while being able to meet some of the guys who put together your favorite blends for $150 or less? Nowhere. It really is a treat to be able to attend. If you ever get the chance to attend – do it. You will get tons of awesome swag while helping to give money to charity.

FYI – I am in no way affiliated with Cigars International, it’s simply my B&M.




(Just wanted to show 4 of the metal posters that I recieved last year at Cigar Fest)

A quick edit for you - it was asked what charity CI donates to. In the past few years they have been donating to LifePath - http://www.lifepath.org/aboutus.html. The charity is located in the Lehigh Valley and was set up for helping those with special needs.

Man O War Ruination



Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Equador
Wrapper type: Habano Ecuadorian leaf
Filler: Cuban-seed Honduran and Nicaraguan
Length: 5.7”
Ring: 56
Cost: $11.00

Appearance (0-20): As usual for an AJ Fernandez cigar, it looks like a premium cigar.  The medium brown wrapper is rolled well, and his one smaller vein.  The thing that really jumps out is the amazing cigar band.  The Spartan helmet is the centerpiece of the band, with many other intricacies all around it.  There are a multitude of colors that are involved which gleam in the lighting of CI.

Score: 19

Construction (0-20): This was probably the best draw that I’ve ever had on a cigar.  It was super tightly packed, but it drew so easily.  The best part about the draw was that the cigar did not burn quickly at all.  It absolutely billowed smoke from just one quick pull.  After about an inch, it started to burn a little bit uneven, but then it very quickly fixed itself.  That is another good sign of a premium cigar.  The ash held on over 2 inches, and fell on the table as I tried to get it to hold on longer.

Score: 19

Strength (0-20): I have smoked many of these sticks since they were released.  The first crop was an absolute ass-kicker.  You would really feel like you smoke a full cigar, and just finished a boxing match.  This newer crop seems to be not as full as it used to be.  I would rate it in the medium-full range, and still gives you a decent feeling.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): There are many different notes that come through the smoke here.  There is a lot of spice, but it is greatly balanced with notes of sweetness.  You’ll find strong notes of cedar or oak, with hints of earthiness and nuts.  From start to finish they will transition back and forth, which leaves you with a quite enjoyable experience.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): Coming in at around $11, I would say that it is aptly priced.  If this was the old crop of cigar, and I run to your B&M store and buy 10 boxes.  Unfortunately, the crop has changed a bit and they aren’t as strong anymore.  With that being said, it was very well packed and had tons of flavors. 
Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with water

Overall (0-100): As usual, I haven’t found an AJ cigar that I didn’t enjoy.  It holds it own in the market, and I always look at CI to find out if he has released anything new.  I don’t even question what it is, because I know I will love it.  As for the cigar, there are many complexities in the flavor department that will leave you pleased.  Look for them in sampler packs to drive the price down, and you will be a happy customer.

Score: 90


Monday, February 27, 2012

Savinelli 2006 Special Selection


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler / Binder: Nicaraguan
Length: 5.5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $6.80

Appearance (0-20): Well hello there Savi. And how are you? Looking good I see. This Special Selection has a really nice looking habano wrapper with only a few small veins. The band itself looks prefect too – it has rich red, gold, and white that makes it look almost regal.
Score: 19

Construction (0-20): This robusto looks good from the outside and as I'm feeling around I can tell there is going to be no issue. Its well packed and I cant wait to light it up. But before I cut, I noticed there is a triple cap on this little stinker. So, quality absolutely matters here. I cut and there is almost no debris. Very nice. Upon lighting I encountered some slight issues with the burn, but it was a minimal amount of unevenness. It held together very well as I didnt have to ash through almost half of the cigar. The draw was slightly tight, but otherwise... yeah it was damn good. Outstanding.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): From the original look of this I thought it would be somewhere in the mild to medium range and it was pretty spot on. Although I would say this is almost literally in the middle of the medium range. It's not in any way light, but also not overpowering. Not quite what I expected, but very well balanced none the less.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Upon first light its got a really woody taste with quite a bit of vanilla sweetness. Theres some slight hints of roasted nuts and some light notes of some sort of fruit. So needless to say its one that has a nice natural sweetness. The vanilla flavor sticks with you throughout, but it is in no way overpowering as compared to the other flavors. Thankfully you can consider this to be consistent throughout the entire stick. Personally I would have liked a little bit more complexity, but the flavors present played well with eachother.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): I have had a lot of cigars that are around the $7.00 range that were dogs compared to this one. Its absolutely worth the price to pick one up and hell, its absolutely worth picking up again and again.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100): This is the third of this particular Savinelli I have had, and each and every time I have enjoyed it. There are some great naturally sweet flavors that come out while smoking the 2006 Special Selection. The outstanding portion of this, though, was the construction and appearance. I would absolutely recommend this cigar to any smoker as it falls right in the medium range where almost anyone can handle it, and it is priced very well for the stick you get.
Score: 90

Nub 466T Cameroon



Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Africa
Wrapper type: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan
Length: 4”
Ring: 66
Cost: $6.75

Appearance (0-20): This is the first Nub I’ve smoked in quite a long time, and it looks beautiful.  It’s a small stick, but it comes together quite nicely.  It sports a nice medium brown wrapper with no veins.  The band is very simple, with just a few lines and the Nub branding.  Unless I knew about these cigars, I probably wouldn’t pick it out of a crowd.

Score: 16

Construction (0-20): As with most Nubs, you will generally think that it’s just a quick smoke because of how small it is. Wrong.  This has a huge 66 ring gauge, and is absolutely packed.  My prelight draw was fairly loose, and it was the same during the smoke.  One quick puff, and you draw large amounts of smoke.  I do generally enjoy box pressed cigar, but this was somewhat awkward.  The burn and draw were perfect, and the ash held on very long. I ashed it right after about the halfway point, and it probably would have stayed on the whole cigar.  

 In hindsight, I should have kept the ash on, because it started to burn hot once I tapped it off.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): The Cameroon wrapper was a different touch for me, and it right in the middle of mild-medium.  It’s a bit fuller than the Connecticut wrapper, but nothing too heavy that will have you clenching your teeth. Overall, very relaxing.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Upon lighting, there was a huge blast of spice and pepper.  This flavor quickly dissipates, and it moves into a creamy smoke.  The main flavor throughout was very buttery, with small notes of sweetness and cream.  This was another one of those smokes that isn’t overly complex, and allows you to kick back and enjoy.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): Whenever you buy a cigar at the “single stick” price, its always a bit more expensive.  While this was enjoyable, I would have liked a bit more flavor for the price tag.  One strong point for this cigar is how much tobacco is rolled into it.  The smoke was very long for only a 4” cigar, and does somewhat offset the pricing.

Score: 16

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with Sweet Tea

Overall (0-100): Oliva produces comes quality sticks.  This was an experiment for them a few years ago, and it has a niche in the market that no one else has.  I am happy with the sampler pack that I picked up, and looking forward to the rest of it.  I am very interested in the Nub maduro and double maduro to really tell how I feel about this line. This is a great 2nd cigar, or just a nice enjoyable smoke for someone to try.

Score: 85


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990



Information:
Country:
Wrapper origin: Honduras
Wrapper type: Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Length: 6.5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $8.50

Appearance (0-20): The cigar presents itself with a beautiful dark brown wrapper.  There are no identifiable flaws, and it is covered with tons of smaller veins.  The wrapper comes together seamlessly, and is very smooth from top to bottom.  The typical Rocky band is wrapped around the cigar; one that signifies the brand, and another to tag the 1990 vintage blend. Overall, simply done.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): The ash was a light gray, very close to white. I’ve read that these can require multiple touch ups, but I didn’t need to touch my lighter once.  The draw was great, and it really burned for quite a long time. I don’t often smoke Rocky Patel’s, but I recently bought a sampler pack. So far, so good.

Score: 19

Strength (0-20): This one borders the bottom of the scale for a medium bodied stick.  Nothing here was unexpected, and it fits the bill.  This is another one of those cigars that you can sit back and enjoy.  I was expecting possibly a bit of a stronger stick with the quality maduro wrapper, but I wasn’t disappointed.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): During the smoke, I caught on to multiple different flavors at various points.  The main overpowering flavor was a strong cedar note.  The first 2 inches give off a flavor that I couldn’t particularly place, but I would mostly compare it to flowers.  Continuing on, there are more notes of cedar and woodiness until we get near the end.  The final inch or two will punctuate with some nuttiness. One more quick note; the maduro wrapper will give you some hints of sweetness that give a well rounded taste.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): The wrapper is 12 years aged, which tells you about the quality that Rocky puts into his sticks.  I would say this is aptly priced, and right in line with his other sticks.  Return purchase—Most likely yes.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with Sweet Tea.

Overall (0-100): As this was my first RP in quite a long time, I was quite pleased with the smoke.  Nothing overpower, and it has strong flavorings.  Sometimes you have a bad experience with a cigar, and can be hesitant to try another one in the future.  This is just another reason why you can’t judge a cigar based off of one experience.  Looking forward to trying the rest of my sampler pack from RP.

Score: 89


Nub Habano Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 4”
Ring: 60
Cost: $5.50

Appearance (0-20): This small, plump little wonder has a spectacular wrapper on it. It’s dark and oily and overall looks inviting. There are very few veins on the outside of this one, but the few that are there are hardly noticeable. The design of the band is simple and is in no way overwhelming.
Score: 19

Construction (0-20): Packed almost perfectly, the Nub Habano feels great. The initial cut left me with only a small amount of tobacco residue, which is always good. Throughout the smoke the cigar burned completely evenly, with the ash holding on through almost the entire thing. Very well done.
Score: 19

Strength (0-20): Medium to full. When I began I got the distinct feeling that this Nub was going to be medium, but it slowly bumped up as I moved along. I felt like it was a slide that began at the bottom in the medium range and as it was traversed and climbed I was able to hit something close to being full.  
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Hmm. When I began all I could really taste was something of toast and earth with faint hints of wood. The flavors stayed as a base as the Nub continued, but added some sweetness… almost a malty flavor. The malty flavor continued to build when moving into the last bits of the cigar, finally finishing off with something of a spiced coffee taste. This had great complexity for such a short cigar, although it didn’t blend in completely seamlessly.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): If this was marked at $3.50, I would consider it to be a steal of a deal. Unfortunately I am not much of a fan of smaller cigars. As such, I would see this as adequately priced for what it is.  
Score: 16

Additional Notes: Paired with coffee at on my deck.

Overall (0-100): The 4”x60 is not typically something I would gravitate toward as I’m not a fan of smaller cigars. However, this one in particular was intriguing to me due to a great looking wrapper. Unfortunately I personally found the taste of it to be slightly muddled and the price to be a little high. The complexity of taste does, however, work in its favor. I would absolutely be willing to pick up another one of these.
Score: 88

Gran Habano Corojo 2002 Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Corojo
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
Length: 7”
Ring: 50
Cost: $2.50

Appearance (0-20): The first thing that strikes me is the nice cedar packaging with the vintage stamp on it. It’s really very nice looking when combined with the green, red, and gold of the band. Upon unwrapping this from its cedar shell, I saw a very nice looking corojo wrapper. However, there was a bit of an issue that was immediately apparent – there were multiple large veins that dominated the outside with many other small veins throughout.
Score: 12




Construction (0-20): The Vintage 2002 seemed like it may have had some small gaps of tobacco. That would be nothing that I consider major, but it was enough to give me some pause with fear that the cigar might not burn quite right. My fears were put to rest though as in spite of the potential tobacco issues and veins, this burned only slightly askew. The draw was absolutely a positive, and the ash itself held for about an inch and a half at a time.
Score: 15

Strength (0-20): I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, as I haven’t had much experience with Gran Habanos. However based on it being a corojo I would have guessed about medium. Well, I was right. You can expect this cigar to sit almost right in the middle of the medium range.
Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): There are two major flavors that take over in this and have a little tug of war – leather and roasted nuts. While the flavors seem to veer back and forth between then, other things pop up in much smaller quantities which include pepper, cedar, earthy flavors, and some other small spices. It’s extremely tasty with some small complexity.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): There aren’t a ton of 7”x50 cigars out there that you can find for $2.50. There’s even less that you can consider to be a good cigar. This fits in those categories.
Score: 20

Additional Notes: Paired with Turkey Hill Green Tea on my deck.

Overall (0-100): There are some construction and appearance issues that I personally wasn’t  a big fan of at all, but its really hard to beat this size of cigar, with the flavor it has, at the $2.50 price. Honestly speaking if you have the money to pick one of these up, and I surmise you can find that kind of cash under your couch cushions or in your car somewhere, do it. It’s worth a smoke. If you can’t stand spending the whopping $2.50, there’s a 5”x50 for $2.00. Being absolutely honest, this isn’t a top of the line cigar for me… but it’s a perfect second cigar or a perfect cigar for someone on a budget.
Score: 80


Friday, February 24, 2012

Alec Bradley Black Market Review - DUAL BROSKIES!



Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler: Panama and Honduras
Length: 6”
Ring: 60
Cost: $8.50

Appearance (0-20):
Lyricsninja: With a cigar that looks like this, it almost feels like it should be illegal to have it. The first thing that jumps out about this gordo is its massive 6”x60 size. This thing is legit. Its got a solid looking wrapper with an outstanding oily dark coloring. Unfortunately there are quite a few smaller veins throughout. The band structure is an interesting one with the huge band that when pulled off reveals that there is a second smaller band partially hidden below it. Tricky tricky Mr. Baldwin. A few points docked for the combination of the slightly overboard wrapper and abundance of smaller veins.  Score: 16/20
Kollarism: This is one big stick, measuring in at 6x60.  This size is fairly common now, especially with Gurkha.  The beautiful dark maduro wrapper gleams in the lights, and is oily to the touch.  There are two bands on this particular stick; one small band donning the Alec Bradley name, and another large 2” paper wrapper with some additional branding and Black Market name.  There was a MONSTER vein running almost the full length of the cigar that had me worried. Score: 17/20

Construction (0-20):
Lyricsninja: Right off the bat you can feel it is a firm cigar, no doubt about that. From end to end, there are no issues with the way it feels. The wrapper is well done and stays perfectly fine upon cutting. Further, there was minimal in terms of what was cut. This one burned almost completely evenly for me. I was pretty damn impressed. Score: 19/20
Kollarism: For a 6x60, this thing is loaded.  From my experience with 6x60 smokes, the tobacco really loosens up once you begin to smoke it.  This stayed very well packed, and still had a nice easy draw with large amounts of thick smoke.  The large vein actually played no role in the smoke, and the turn was perfect the whole way down.  After ashing at about 1.25”, the warm tobacco remaining formed a nice cone shape.  The cone shape is generally a good sign, as the ligero tobacco in the center of the cigar is burning the warmest. Score: 19/20

Strength (0-20):
Lyricsninja: Typically with a wrapper from Nicaragua you’ll find things that have some real power behind them. That wasn’t quite true here. While the flavors were full, the actual strength of the cigar was barely touching the medium to full range. I would put it slightly above medium, but barely so. Although I expected more… the medium profile works for this particular blend. Score: 18/20
Kollarism: I’d say this is a solid medium, as there wasn’t any overbearing heft to it.  With that being said, it was quite flavorful and enjoyable throughout.  I would be wary to smoke a super full 6x60 cigar….I would probably be lying on the floor.  I’m also curious if the small sizes of the Black Market have any extra kick to them? Score: 18/20

Flavor (0-20):
Lyricsninja: So the Black Market got me. I give in. From the first inch in I could taste something of a bitter coffee. But the entire time there was also something of a spicy wood taste to counterbalance it. Mixed in was some sort of natural cocoa sweetness. It was nearly bewildering… but you can absolutely find earthy tones that seem to bridge the chasm between the bitter, sweet, and spicy notes. It’s like the cigar shows you an odd combination and then solves it for you. Score: 19/20
Kollarism: I really got strong notes of cedar and earthiness.  There were some small hints of chocolate that came out in certain stages, but the smell of chocolate was more prevalent before I lit the cigar.  From time to time you will also find notes of sweetness or fruitness on your tongue.  I wouldn’t say this is an overly complex stick, but the flavors that were present were great. Score: 19/20

Value (0-20):
Lyricsninja: A $9.00 gordo like this is absolutely worth the price. It is on the higher end of my personal normal price scale (I tend to stay around the $6 range if possible) but I was glad to hop out of my comfort zone for this one. Score: 18/20
Kollarism: As mentioned earlier, this is a big smoke and the price point is probably spot on.  The Black Market really packs in a ton of tobacco, and it lasted me close to 2 hours of smoke time.  I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another one and enjoy it again. Score: 18/20

Additional Notes:
Lyricsninja: Smoked at CI with my broski.
Kollarism: Smoked at CI, paired with water. Given to me by my broski

Overall (0-100):
Lyricsninja: The Black Market is simply impressive. This one was imposing, complex, and generally an all around good cigar. To be absolutely honest, I prefer this one over the Prensado (which had been rated the cigar of the year). Pick one of these up, it’s absolutely worth your time and money! Score: 90/100
Kollarism: Alec Bradley really has made a name for himself most recently.  His Prensado just became Cigar of the Year, and the Tempus is a very strong stick as well.  The Maxx product line is another fabulous product that sports some large ring gauges and fuller strength.  For this stick in particular, I think it was another job well done.  Very consistent from start to finish, and it really just adds to an impressive resume.  Score: 91/100

Looks like a 91 overall score!