Friday, March 30, 2012

La Aurora 107 Review

Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Length: 4.5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $8.50

Appearance (0-20): The wrapper of the 107 has a really nice band that greets you, with the lion showing prominently. Gold and reds are the main colors that shine against the rich looking habano wrapper. The robusto size is a small one, and the outer wrapper looks very rugged. There are some small imperfections and some areas where the wrapper doesn’t feel quite flush with the rest of the cigar.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): Not surprisingly, the small size packs what feels like the perfect amount of tobacco. It’s wrapped tightly, but has enough give to allow for a good draw. The initial cut revealed only a small amount of tobacco excess, which was expected just from the initial feel. Lighting went perfectly, helping to keep the burn extremely even. I was also very happy to say the cigar held its ash well throughout, spanning about an inch and a half each time.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Noted as a medium bodied cigar, this one does hit strikingly close to it. This begins as a very mild cigar, with the strength slowly building. Once you hit the halfway point, it will sit right in the middle of the medium range. Through the last half, the 107 only slightly increases.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Small hints of spice greet the palette along with a slight sweetness and even a little bitterness. The flavor clashes perfectly with a charred wood flavor. As you progress, there is a distinct shift in the spices and they become more pronounced, leaving cinnamon and something close to oregano in your mouth and yet it still holds to the sweetness it had before. As you hit the homestretch of the final third, the 107 becomes more leathery, and the spice fades back from the forefront, giving away to the sweetness yet again.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): For $8.50 it’s a little on the pricey end of things, especially for a robusto. There are other cigars I would readily pick up for half of the price over this one/
Score: 14

Additional Notes: Paired with coffee at Cigars International.


Overall (0-100): This anniversary blend (107 years of production) is a good one when it comes down to the flavor alone. It billowed out smoke for me, which of course I enjoyed. The construction was solid, but the appearance could use a little work. For the price I would much rather grab something else, but admittedly my preference is for more substantially sized smokes. If you are looking for a medium bodied cigar with good flavor and about an hours worth of smoke time, give this one a shot, but do your nest to get this for less than retail to get the most bang for your buck.
Score: 83

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Puros Indios 2012 Series Review




Information:
Country: United States, Miami
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Length: 6”
Ring: 52
Cost: $8.00

Appearance (0-20): The initial inspection is very eye catching. The Puros sports a dark, oily wrapper.  This vitola is a beautiful box press, that is similar to the La Herencia Cubana Core.  The band is somewhat simple, that boasts some bright writing over a dark black band.  Overall, it’s pretty inviting.

Score: 17

Construction (0-20): Before lighting this bad boy up, there was one interesting fact I noticed; the cigar is quite springy or spongy.  It is well packed, but not as hard like some other well packed cigars.  This made me think that it might burn fast, but there were no issues at all.  After clipping off the cap, which left absolutely zero debris, I took a few draws.  The draw was easy, smooth, and produced a significant amount of smoke.  The ash held on for about 1.5 inches.  The only flaw was a somewhat uneven burn on two occasions, but it correctly itself without requiring any touch ups.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Boasting a medium-full bodied smoke, the 2012 series was exactly that.  The mainy attraction to this stick was definitely the flavors, yet the strength profile was spot on.  Overall, a stick to really sit back and enjoy.  If anything, it could have used a bit more heft.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Each and every puff was super flavorful.  From start to finish you will encounter a smoothy and creamy draw each time.  The overpowering profile belongs to sweetness.  Toasted nuts, leather, and cocoa will leave you satisfied.  Even the retrohale will give off sweetness, and here is where you can find small bits of spice.  After about halfway through, you will find the sweetness hanging around on your tongue.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): This is where I am a bit torn.  The single stick price comes in at $8.00.  Once you get into the realm of around $10, there are so many premium cigars to choose from.  While the price tag isn’t bad, you might question picking it up the first time.  I actually grabbed these on cigarbid for $3 each, which was quite a steal.  If I had any suggestion, I would grab a box or 5-pack, which would reduce the price per stick significantly.  Read the offer below under Additional Notes.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked on my porch, paired with water.

There are only 3 master rollers selected to prepare this cigars, and they are limited to a total of 100 cigars each per day.

For a limited time, there is an offer that includes a free 5-pack and pretty nice ash tray. Quite a temping offer: http://www.cigarsinternational.com/prodDisp.asp?item=C5-PIG7049&kc=CI1722&zmam=66622730&zmas=1&zmac=1&zmap=C5-PIG7049

Overall (0-100): From having no experience with this, I was quite happy with my purchase.  If you’re looking for something different to try, you could reach for this stick.  It is totally different that the previous Puros Indios (bright green band), and a much fuller smoke.  As stated above, the best part is the sweetness of the tobacco.  Luckily I picked up 5 of these, so I will be saving a few to see how they age. Happy herfing!

Score: 87


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Carlos Torano Vault Review




Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Colorado
Filler: Nicaragua
Length: 5”
Ring: 52
Cost: $7.25

Appearance (0-20): Torano seems to always put out some nice looking sticks.  This one is no exception to the rule, and hit the mark again.  The medium brown Colorado wrapper has no physical flaws, and has a somewhat glossy look to it.  While it’s not oily, it does have a sheen to it.  The band is a vibrant silver and black, with various symbols and branding.  The secondary band on the foot is used to denote which blend Torano decided to use for this particular cigar.

Score: 18

Construction (0-20): Running my fingers around the wrapper, I did notice that there were two different soft spots.  Luckily these didn’t affect the smoke, but I did have that in the back of my mind as the ash approached them.  The ash held on for a solid 1.75 inches, and had various shades of gray.  The draw was easy and cool.

Score: 16

Strength (0-20): The strength was nothing unexpected, and it sat right in the middle of the scale at medium.  Not much else to report other than the medium heft.

Score: 17

 
Flavor (0-20): There starts off with a quick bit of spice, but that quickly subsides.  The next handful of draws will yield some earthy and woody tones.  The main flavoring that I was getting was a strong cedar, yet you’ll find hints of sweetness that could be compared to espresso.  The hints of spice will move in and out, but nothing like the first ½ inch.

Score: 17

Value (0-20): Right around $7.00, Torano dropped this in the right price range.  While I didn’t feel as though this was a “wow” stick, it could be a repeat purchase.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked on the deck, paired with Dr. Pepper

Overall (0-100): Personally, I haven’t smoked many Torano cigars before.  I would like that to change, as I have heard some very good things about the Exodus line.  As mentioned earlier, I didn’t feel anything amazing about this cigar, but it was still a solid smoke.  After not having many smokes from this manufacturer, it clearly gave me a reason to go out and buy some more products from him.  Overall, well done.

Score: 85


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Victor Sinclair Connecticut Yankee Review


Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper type: Connecticut
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
Length: 4.5”
Ring: 52
Cost: $2.25

Appearance (0-20): Looking at the Connecticut Yankee reveals some rough patches, especially along the seams. There is a slight bit of discoloration near the cap, where it is much darker than the rest of the cigar. Like other Victor Sinclair cigars, this has the normal band, colored with blue to designate this as the Yankee line. There are no additional tears or anything to speak of.
Score: 15

Construction (0-20): The feel of this is pretty solid for the most part, but under the band there is an area that feels like it’s a little slim. Cutting this reveals more debris than I was hoping for, but not a ridiculous amount. The draw is a little tight to begin, and continued to be that way throughout the smoke (that is, until I hit the pocket with a little less tobacco in the last third). The burn remained extremely even, although the ashes flaked off very randomly.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20):  This nears the area that it is said to be, being a medium to full strength There is a lot to like about it, in fact, since it isn’t harsh in any way but still has some decent power to it.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): The beginning of this small wonder is filed with woody and spicy tastes that didn’t quite match up well, but they seemed to quickly fade for me into something more of a creamy variety. Mixed in with this were hints of coffee and chocolate, but it still held a small bite. Really though that’s where it ended. The flavor sticks with much of the same throughout the rest of the smoke, and ended up being slightly bitter at the end.
Score: 15

Value (0-20): $2.25 isn’t much to ask for a cigar, and as an everyday kind of smoke, this is absolutely worth the money and then some. I have seen them go even cheaper than this price, which is again absolutely worth it.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with iced tea on my deck. This has been aging about 36 months.

Overall (0-100): Victor Sinclair hasn’t done anything to wow me in the past, and this one didn’t either. However given the price, and the possibility of getting these cheaper in a bundle, this is a solid cigar. The construction had some small issues, and the flavor was one dimensional after the initial puffs, but it was still a relatively pleasing cigar. If nothing else, this could easily be an everyday sort of smoke that you wont feel guilty about mowing through multiple of.
Score: 81


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gurkha Seduction Review


Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Wrapper type: Hanana 2000
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 55
Cost: $7.00

Appearance (0-20): The first thing that pops out with the Seduction is the band. It’s sleek and sexy, with an off-white backdrop and lush deeper reds coming to the forefront. A large S plays prominently in the middle, laid over the normal Gurkha label. The cigar itself has a gorgeous wrapper that was very neatly slipped around it, with no large veins (only a few smaller ones of note), blemishes, or any kind of adverse issues of any kind. There was even some nice aging on it, considering the cigar was only put out in 2010.
Score: 19



Construction (0-20): The Seduction feels just right. I’ll try to keep the sexual innuendo here, given the name. The tobacco isn’t bunched at all and I can’t locate any areas that would be loose. The wrapper feels like it has a little give, being slightly squishy to the touch. Upon cutting there is literally no debris or residue to speak of, and the initial draw is just a hair tighter than it should be. The ash stuck on the cigar for nearly two inches at a time, and the smoke was thick and luxurious.
Score: 19


Strength (0-20):  Everything I have seen previously points to this being a medium bodied cigar, and I have no gripes with that assessment. From the first puff through the end, the Seduction is nearly smack dab in the middle of the spectrum.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): Both slightly complex and enjoyable, the Seduction has some nice things to offer the palette. I’m guessing they really went all in with the idea of seduction, as there are some spicy tones on the first draw that mix well with the woody backdrop. But as this is smoked, you will find very subtle hints of cocoa and coffee, especially on the finish. In the second third of the cigar you will find more of the rich cocoa flavors becoming more prevalent, but it will be enhanced by an almost malty sweetness. As you enter the final third, those same flavors seem to continue as planned, sticking mostly with the sweetness with underlying wood.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): Bang for your buck, this is absolutely one of the better Gurkha cigars I have smoked.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with Guinness on my dad’s porch. The cigar was purchased earlier that day at a small local B&M.

Overall (0-100): With Gurkha having so many lines out there, it’s often hard to tell which ones will be the hits and which ones will be the misses. Gurkha scores big here with the Seduction.  On top of being a great looking cigar, it’s well constructed, at a very good price point, and has a great flavor to match. There is very little to dislike about this cigar, and really… I plan on smoking many more. The real question is how this will age over time?
Score: 93



Gurkha Legend Vintage 2001 Review



Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin:
Wrapper type: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican Republic
Length: 6.5”
Ring: 58
Cost: $10.50

Appearance (0-20): And here we stand again, looking at another Gurkha.  This is fairly appealing to the eye.  The medium brown Connecticut wrapper has a few small seams and veins, but otherwise there are no issues.  The band is another work of art, which includes resounding colors and embossing.  There is also a secondary band to denote the Vintage 2001.

Score: 18



Construction (0-20): The construction was very solid.  I personally have never really had any issues with Gurkha construction, other than the occasional bad burn on a double perfecto.  This lit up easily, burned even, and has a great ash.  The ash was a tight coiling light gray, and held on for a little over 1.5 inches.  The burn was cool down to the nub.  The draw was smooth and easy, yet allowing the cigar to burn slow.

Score: 18



Strength (0-20): Listed as a medium to full bodied smoke, I would say that the mark was missed.  This review is based off of one stick, so perhaps after more smokes I will get a better feeling.  The smooth smoking Gurkha gave me a solid medium profile, and nothing over that.  I was not disappointed by this, because upon initial impression that is what I was expecting.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): I’ve smoked a lot of Gurkha cigars, and this is definitely in my top 3 tasting sticks right now.  The flavors were so rich and smooth, the experience was great.  From start to finish, you will get very strong notes of butter and cream.  During the middle section of the smoke, there will occur hints of chocolate and espresso.  Everything in the flavor profile was nicely done, and never once did I get a bitter draw.  Well done with the flavor profile Gurkha.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): One website lists $10.50 for a single stick, with another listing a 10-pack for $65.00.  I will rate this value based off of the single stick price, but bear in mind that you can snag these for easily half on some websites.  Coupling all of the categories together, I was pretty satisfied with the stick.  $10 is too high, as you could choose from a plethora of cigars at the price range.  For $6.50, it really is a good value. Points off for MSRP, but grab one at $6.50.

Score: 15

Additional Notes: Smoked on the porch, paired with Blue Moon Valencia Amber Ale.

Overall (0-100): I know there are a lot of Gurkha haters out there.  Personally I enjoy certain cigars by them, but would never pay retail.  If you are on the fence, I would urge you to find a decent sampler pack (which can drop the single stick price to about $3.00), and give them a second look.  The whole cigar was quite a surprise for me, and left me with a very solid 1.5hr smoking experience.  I am very curious to see how the next Vintage 2001 goes, and I will report by my findings.


Score: 86


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pinar del Rio Exclusivo Reserva Limitada Review



Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper type: PA Broadleaf Maduro
Filler / Binder: Corojo, Dominican Republic, Havana 98 Criollo, Nicaragua, Brazil
Length: 6”
Ring: 54
Cost: $4.50

Appearance (0-20): The leathery exterior of the Reserva Limitada is very inviting. It’s a really smooth cigar with almost no blemishes, veins, etc. The band is also very well done with silver, bronze, and black being the excusive colors on it. This is done in very modest taste, and compliments the cigar overall. From the appearance alone, Pinar hit a home run on this.
Score: 19



 
Construction (0-20): I’ll keep this relatively short for you – it’s pretty well constructed. The tobacco was nearly evenly wrapped; it burned close to even throughout, little debris on the cut, and ashes that held on for an inch and a half or more at a time. Minor flaws were about all that could be found, but again it was solid.
Score: 18


Strength (0-20):  Billed as medium to full, I thought it fell below the full range, setting solidly in the medium range. It was very pleasant and balanced for where it sits.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): I have smoked 3 of these to give you the flavor profile, and the best I can get is it’s inconsistent. All three trials of this yielded an underlying taste of wood and leather.  However one cigar gave me secondary notes of chocolate and coffee, a second with coffee and pepper, and a third with chocolate and pepper. It was a good taste in all forms, but I wish there was a little more in terms of consistency. The first one I had (that gave notes of chocolate and coffee) also had a peppery finish to it that was very much understated. Honestly, that was my favorite of the 3 cigars.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): At $4.50 (or less in a pack), these are a damn good cigar for a fallback smoke / everyday smoke. I like the price, but of course would always be happy to see it for a hair less.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with iced tea on my deck.
Overall (0-100): There isn’t too much to dislike about this Pinar. I personally have had much of luck with the brand in the past, but this one seemed to be a good quality everyday type of smoke.  I consider this one to be a candidate for a low price bargain, given the flavor profile is a good one, even if it is a little bit inconsistent. I have seen these go for about $2.75 per stick for a box, which I think really is an awesome price. Regardless, its worth giving this Pinar del Rio a shot.
Score: 88


Sunday, March 18, 2012

La Floridita Limited Edition Review



Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper origin: Brazil
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan and Mexican
Length: 5”
Ring: 50
                                                              Cost: $5.00

Appearance (0-20): The overall look was simple.  The wrapper was medium brown, and covered with tons of very small veins.  It was well packed, and somewhat spongy to the touch.  I smoked this a day after receiving it, so it could have been over humidified for shipping purposes.
The band was nothing special, with simple writing and various colors.

Score: 15

Construction (0-20): For a cheaper stick, this really surprised me.  The ash was a vibrant white color that I generally only see in more premium sticks.  The ash construction was great too, as there were almost no coils or crack.  Additionally, it stood tall and straight for close to 2 inches. Nicely done.

Score: 18


Strength (0-20): This one is listed as a full cigar.  After smoking the whole thing, it really seemed like a sick joke.  If this is a full cigar, than a Padron has no flavor.  I think you get what I mean.  The first ½ inch has great flavor and heft, and then it shoots straight down to mild or mild-medium. Definitely disappointed.

Score: 13

Flavor (0-20): From the first few puffs, I was pretty happy.  It begins off earthy and spicy.  Most of these flavors subside after the first 1 ½ inches.  For the remainder of the stick, there are strong notes of earthy, cedar, and cream.  The final 1 ½ inches were somewhat bitter, but they went away after a quick purge.

Score: 15

Value (0-20): The single stick price is $5.00, and $15.00 for a 5 pack.  For a cheaper stick, the $2.00 price difference is huge.  I would certainly not recommend this for $5.00, but $3.00 makes it acceptable.  This still would not crack my top 5 smokes under $5.00 unfortunately.

Score: 13

Additional Notes: Smoked on my porch, paired with Dr. Pepper


Overall (0-100): When I first began smoking this, I was pretty excited.  The flavors and fullness were surprising and I was expecting them to continue for much longer throughout the smoke.  The real downfall was that they subsided so quickly.  The rating would have been much higher if the heft lasted at least half of the stick.  Would I recommend this cigar to someone for retail? No. Would I pay $3.00 for it? Possibly. Would I smoke it again? Yes, for free or very cheap.

Score: 74


Friday, March 16, 2012

San Miguel Churchill Review


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Wrapper type: Sumatra
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua and Honduras
Length: 7”
Ring: 48
Cost: $6.00

Appearance (0-20): A Sumatra wrapper isn’t always my style, but this one looks really good. It’s got a nice sheen to it, but is into the medium brown color frame. Its box pressed and has a nice shape with everything looking crisp - few small veins, tight wrap job, etc. And the band is really badass. The San Miguel band features an angel stomping down on a demon that is being held at spear point. It has an olden style feel with the black and white background that it etched in gold and bronze. Again – just really awesome.
Score: 19




Construction (0-20): I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but was happily surprised to find it was very well done. The wrapper was super smooth and had a little give, but was very solid overall. Distribution of the tobacco was consistent throughout, but the amount of debris upon cutting was a little troubling. It lit up very easily and burned nearly evenly throughout, holding the ash (for the most part) for over an inch and a half at a time.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20):  Beginning with a medium body, this one waivers slightly between being medium and medium to full. It’s around the normal expectation for an unknown Sumatra wrapper.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Color me surprised. I had no expectations going into this since I literally had no knowledge of it. But when smoking it there is a nice creamy sweetness that just plain old works. There is some inherent spice that compliments and balances the sweetness fully, giving you a peppery finish. There are subtle nuances of wood, coffee, and even chocolate as you traverse through this one, giving some slight complexity. The smoke billows out of this in insane amounts, which was really awesome. The only drawback I really found (aside from a slight lack of complexity) would be that it came off as a little dry tasting.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): For $6.00 I have no complaints with this cigar. It has the right upsides with little in terms of negatives. If this stick was put up against any other cigars in this price range, I would likely have to give it some heavy thought before making any purchase.
Score: 17


Additional Notes: Paired with coffee in my garage. This has been aging about 9 months.

Overall (0-100): The San Miguel is a solid offering from (after doing some research) A.J. Fernandez. It’s got impressive artwork and a really nice overall look, while still scoring high in all other categories. Small complaints may seem to nickel and dime the score down a bit, but I feel this one is still not only worth the money but is also worth a try at least once.
Score: 87

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rocky Patel Edge Maduro Review



Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper origin: Costa Rica
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan
Length: 6”
Ring: 52
Cost: $5.80

Appearance (0-20): This stick has been sitting in my humidor for 5 months, and I’ve been wanting to smoke it each time I opened it.  It has a beautiful oily, dark brown maduro wrapper.  There are zero veins running down the wrapper, and it has some marbling of different colors.  There is a bit a tooth, but it isn’t very pronounced.  The band lies at the foot of the cigar, and is quite simple.

Score: 17

 


 Construction (0-20): Everything about the construction was done correctly.  The cap clipped off very easily, without any excess debris.  The draw was easy and smooth, which allowed it to give ample amounts of smoke.  The ash was tightly coiled and held on for about 1 ½ inches.

Score: 17





Strength (0-20): The marketing for this stick gives it a pretty full rating.  The CI website mentions to be sitting down when smoking this powerhouse.  While I was sitting, I never really felt that it moved into the full category.  It starts off with a full spicy beginning, but it moves backwards towards medium.  I do smoke a lot of fuller maduro cigars, so that could have played into the rating.

Score: 15

Flavor (0-20): Boom. Straight into strong hints of pepper and woodiness.  After the first inch or so, the spice is almost nonexistent.  The remaining portion of the stick will give off strong hints of woodiness and notes of cedar.  You’ll find small notes of spice and sweetness that move in and out, but it remains fairly smooth.

Score: 17

Value (0-20): For under $6.00, you’re getting your money’s worth.  While the flavor profile isn’t amazing, the other categories are pretty solid.  Compared to some of the other Rocky Patel cigars, this one is pretty fairly priced.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with water

Overall (0-100): After much anticipation from seeing this in my humidor, I guess it was about average for me.  It didn’t really wow me, but then again I wasn’t disappointed.  I felt like the cigar was lacking in the strength department, but the construction and flavors were pretty solid.  Couple those categories with the value, and you do have a pretty solid stick.  I suppose 83 might not sound very flattering, but the strength really killed this one.  I would like to smoke another one soon for comparison, and hopefully revisit it.

Score: 83