Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Diesel Wicked







Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: PA Broadleaf
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6.2”
Ring: 56
Cost: $12.00

Pre Review Notes: Knowing my particular taste in cigars, one of the guys at the new Cigars International store in Hamburg, PA recommended the Diesel Wicked to me. Now anyone who knows me well also knows that I’m an avid reader and that this cigar would likely have pulled me in anyhow. The phrase “something wicked this way comes” is plastered on the box and on the cigar wrappers. For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s a line right out of Shakespeare, and more specifically from Macbeth.

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes. [Knocking]
Open locks,
Whoever knocks!



Appearance (0-20): Where do I even begin? The box is a nice black box with wicked inked in red to make it stand out all the more. Popping the box open revealed 7 beauties on the top row. Taking appraisal of one alone led me to a gorgeous and oily PA Broadleaf wrapper that has a nice rich color that feels somewhat rugged. A black band stretches across the top with Diesel written in red. The large foot band has wicked written out in cursive, with “something wicked this way comes” written along both the bottom as well as in a glossy background writing behind the word wicked. Taking a look at the foot, it looks nicely wrapped with decent chunks of ligero throughout. I’m betting I will be in for a pepper blast. There is one small blemish to note, which is a pinhole sized hole in the wrapper. While its nothing major by any means, it is the one thing that keeps this from having a perfect appearance score.
Score: 19


Construction (0-20): Tobacco is tucked pretty well into this beautiful belicoso. The initial cut gave a very small amount of debris to the point where it was nearly perfect. The prelit draw had just the right amount of resistance, and upon lighting it retained that pull. The burn was excellent through the first inch and a half, but unfortunately it began burning unevenly in the midrange of the cigar. I didn’t try to touch it up at all and let it burn and it eventually righted itself. The ash was nice and thick and held together well, with a charcoal gray tint to it.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20):  This one is listed as full, and it’s got the balls to back it up. Its full-bodied, full-flavored, and packs a spicy punch on top of it. When I am looking for something with some power, this one is the type of cigar I’m looking for.
Score: 20


Flavor (0-20): Light this one up and take a few puffs. Retrohale through the nose and be greeted by red and black pepper tastes and burns. It’s an outright slap to your senses to begin but before you know it, its faded into the background and is busy intermingling with other flavors. Rich tobacco flavors make this an almost juicy smoke, with wonderful roasted coffee flavors pushing the envelope. As you progress, Wicked tends to give a leathery taste with some additional spices entwining with it to create a really wonderful flavor. There are even some peaks and valleys of a woodsy flavor – much like campfire kind of taste. Superb complexity that is woven perfectly.
Score: 19


Value (0-20): $12.00 is the price for a single stick, but let me be honest here – its even more of a value when you buy it in the box of 13 to drop it to under $8.00 a stick. Still, I have paid much more than $12.00 for a cigar and it came nowhere near this one. Absolutely worth the price. 
Score: 19

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International, paired with water.

Overall (0-100):  Quickest way to put it – I smoked one cigar and before I was even halfway done, I purchased a box. This is rich, full flavored, and has quite a kick to it. Diesel went above and beyond with this blend for anyone who likes something that falls heavily into the full range of cigars. But don’t be fooled, this one absolutely has its wicked undertones.  
Score: 94


Post Review Notes: For anyone who is buying a box, you’ll find a little bonus in there. Hidden in the middle of the box is a small coffin that has written on it “open locks whoever knocks”. A cigar waits inside with no banding more than a simple red band at the bottom. Say hello to the next Diesel cigar. For buying a box of the Wicked, you get your hands on a prerelease - a wicked little surprise. If that doesn’t help you justify buying these in a box format… I don’t know what will.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Review



 Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Maduro
Filler: Esteli, Jalapa, and Condega
Length: 6”
Ring: 56
Cost: $8.50

Appearance (0-20): Let me start off by saying that I generally don’t purchase or smoke Permodo’s.  Nothing against them, but I was never really “wowed” to go back to them.  Walking around Cigars International, they had a new stick that jumped out to me right away.  The wrapper is absolutely beautiful.  I chose the maduro over the sun-grown for now, as I like the richer flavors of maduros.  The wrapper is a deep, dark brown color that looks like on solid piece of tobacco leave.  You literally can almost not even see a seam from when it was rolled.  The band isn’t flashy, but catches your attention with the intricate gold, reds, and blacks.

Score: 19

Construction (0-20): The cap clipped off easily, and yielded a nice easy draw.  The burn was even all the way down and didn’t require any touch ups during the whole smoke.  The ash held on about 1.5 to 2 inches, while sporting a bright white color ash.  If you check out the picture, you can see the beautiful speckled white ash, along with the subtle box press shape.  Well done.  After some additional reading at CI, you will see that the wrapper extra fermented and placed in old bourbon barrels for 14+ months.

Score: 19

Strength (0-20): The smoke was more full flavored, then full strength.  Probably about medium to medium-full, it was well done and well balanced.

                                 Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Initially there is some spice, but that rather quickly subsides.  The most prominent flavors were rich chocolate and coffee.  The flavors were strong and robust, and very consistent.  There are some small bits of woodiness, leather, and additional spice that show their faces here and there.  Personally, I would have like some additional spice due to the sweetness of the chocolate and coffee, but it was still well done.

Score: 18

Value (0-20): $8.50 starts to move in some more premium sticks, yet still doesn’t break the bank.  I think when you get close to $10, you need to offer something that is very well done.  Overall, everything was consistent and there were no real stumbling points.  As mentioned before, some additional spice would help with the balance, but still a strong value.

Score: 18

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International, paired with coffee.

Overall (0-100): While Perdomo isn’t generally my cup of tea, I can honestly say that I was very impressed.  This is a cigar that I would buy a box of and not think twice.  I’d like to smoke the sun-grown wrapper for comparison, but the 20th Anniversary maduro was an excellent stick.

Score:  92


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Partagas Cifuentes Enero



Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Honduras
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 54
Cost: $4.50


Appearance (0-20): Not the prettiest stick in the world, the Cifuentes has quite a few larger veins across it. The tobacco does look well cured though, and the label is simple but conveys the name well with use of gold, white, and red. I can’t help but wonder how this is going to turn out, given its mediocre look.
Score: 14


Construction (0-20): The veins, of course, are a bit of a concern, and when looking at the top of the cigar, it seems some of it has become unwrapped slightly. The tobacco on the foot also sticks out slightly beyond the wrapper – not a huge deal, but odd when this isn’t a shaggy foot cigar. The initial feel is decent but there are some small pockets that feel a little less pressed than they should be. On the positive side it cut easily and with little debris, lit up well, and the ash (though slightly flaky on the end) held well despite an uneven burn.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20):  Medium to full. Strikes nearly the perfect balance in the range, not particularly teetering either way too much.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): I think I was a little taken aback by this blend, as immediately it came off extremely smooth with some nice earthy flavors and a hint of pepper on the back end. There was some cream that mixed in at about the halfway point, with additional wood flavors. All in all… it was an enjoyable smoke.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): A $4.50 price isnt bad, but as you buy more (a box for example) the price comes down steadily and tops off around $3.50 per stick.  
Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked on my deck and paired with a delicious Centennial IPA from the Cape May Brewing Company out of Cape May, NJ

Overall (0-100):  While the look of this would lead you to believe it’s a mediocre cigar at best, it turned out to be pretty decent. The Cifuentes has a small amount of kick to compliment the earthy and woodsy flavors and benefits heavily from being a smooth smoke. The price point of $4.50 for this isn’t bad, though it wouldn’t crack my top 10 list of great cigars for under $5. However if bought in a box at the price of $3.50 per, it might just sneak on there. If you are looking for a bargain with some decent flavors, I’d pick some of these up and give them a try. For me it amounts to the perfect second cigar – a little cheaper but with some good flavors.
Score: 83


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfection X Review



 Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper type: Rosado
Filler: Dominican
Length: 6.25”
Ring: 48
Cost: $16.00

Appearance (0-20): Generally when looking at an Opus X, it is under a glass case or behind the counter.  The first thing you notice is the incredibly intricate band.  There is a great amount of embossing and detail work, using the colors or red and gold to complement each other.  It really is an eye-catching band, and gives you a great feeling about the cigar to come.  There is also a cigar wrap, which is about ¾ the length of the cigar.  Pulling off the cedar tube reveals a lighter brown wrapper, with no physical flaws to speak of.  I’ve had this stick aging for over a year now, and am pretty excited to light it up.

Score: 19

Construction (0-20): Upon inspection, everything felt pretty solid.  No soft spots, odd wrapper seams, or any water marks or veins on the wrapper leaf.  Upon lighting, everything started off smooth sailing.  The draw was very nice, and the ash gave off a bright white color.  The ash also held on fairly well, except when the burn was very uneven.  It corrected itself on occasion, but required multiple touch-ups throughout the smoke.  Even worse, was that the cigar completely went out on two separate occasions.  Being my first Opus X, this was a huge let down.  Touching-up and re-lighting a cigar is something that shouldn’t have to be done during your experience.  Hopefully this was an anomaly for this stick, but definitely disappointed.

Score: 16

Strength (0-20): While most of the cigar sits in the medium range, it does pick up some intensity.  Depending on your smoking experience, you will find this in the range of medium or medium-full.  I think it was well done, and well balanced with the flavors incorporated.

Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): The flavor was super smooth, even right off of the initial light which can sometimes be harsh.  I encountered small bits of spice, but the overall flavor was sweet cedar and cocoa.  It filtered in some great creaminess that gave the Opus its smooth characteristic.  The second half of the cigar introduced some pepper, which was a welcome balance to the sweetness.  Overall, the whole stick was nicely balanced, flavorful, and smooth.  Well done.

Score: 19

Value (0-20): There is a lot of hype around Opus X cigars, and some people live by them.  Unfortunately for me, my first experience was good and bad.  For around $15.00, I think the price is actually a fair value.  Setting aside the fact the burn was absolutely horrendous; everything else seemed to work well.  I am wary to spend the money on another one, but I may in the future just to revisit the burn issues that I had.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked at CI, paired with water

Overall (0-100): After waiting a year to smoke this cigar and having a lot of hype surrounding it, I have mixed feelings for sure.  Just about every category was done nicely, but I keep coming back to the burn factor.  While there was no issues with the draw of a plugged stick, which can 100%  ruin a cigar, the burn did hamper me from sitting back and relaxing the whole time.  From a flavor standpoint, the profile was nicely balanced and flavorful.  Let’s hope the next cigar I purchase from Fuente has better construction.

Score:  89


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

G2 Turbo Edicion Limitado 2010 Super Toro


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua & Honduras
Length: 6”
Ring: 60
Cost: $6.00



Appearance (0-20): Graycliff was spot on with making the G2 Turbo Edicion Limitado. The Ecuadorian wrapper has a very nice sheen to it and there are very few veins to even note on the exterior. It’s slightly oily and definitely has a nice richness to it. The color of the wrapper is well complimented by the almost rustic black and gold that was chosen for the bands. The banding is simple but has some slight ornate flair, differentiating it from the G2 and G2 turbo lines.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): First touch impression left me happy with the construction. Slightly weighty in the hand, I could feel that the cigar was well packed. No issues with the wrapping, and the cut revealed very little excess tobacco. The initial draw was a bit on the tight side, and unfortunately it remained that way throughout the smoke. That’s not to say it was unenjoyable, but it was certainly a detriment. The initial light went perfectly and the burn lasted for 2+ inches at a time.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20):  Medium to full is where its rated, though I believe it fell a tad short. The cigar begins a little more on the stronger side of medium, but I found it was all downhill from there, landing in the lower portion of the medium scale by the conclusion. Unfortunately I was hoping for more heft.
Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): The initial light brought in some wonderfully buttery flavors with deep tobacco richness on the back end. Some spice lingered on the tongue and through the retrohale, but more of a toast flavor becomes prevalent as you move through the smoke and mixes in with a leathery touch. The unfortunate thing is that the toast flavor is a little overpowering and lingers over the woodsy flavors that come in the final third.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): The $6.00 price (in a 5 pack) is a little bit on the steep side of things for this particular super toro, but it isn’t completely absurd either.
Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked on my father’s deck and paired with water. 

Overall (0-100):  Breaking this one down honestly – it could have scored a bit higher in the construction area, but it was a little bit too tight to enjoy it to its fullest. That being said, if you catch one that’s got a good draw, youre onto something pretty damn good. It’s a solid stick with some good complex flavoring, but unfortunately the flavors do get a little muddled at times. It looks good, has some decent strength, and isnt too pricey, but all the same – the G2 Turbo Edicion Limitado 2010 doesn’t do anything to explicitly stand out. While its worth a smoke for sure, I don’t think I would go out of my way to hunt one of these down. Would I smoke one again? Yes I would. Would I do anything I could to get one? No. Still, it’s a solid smoke worth mentioning.  
Score: 84

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Alec Bradley Maxx Brazil Review




Information:
Country: Brazil
Wrapper origin: Brazil
Wrapper type: Habano
Filler: Colombian, Nicaraguan, Mexican, and Honduran
Length: 5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $5.25

Appearance (0-20): Something new for Alec Bradley, the Maxx Brazil has a different look.  The odd green band is the first thing to catch your attention.  Both the band and cigar are quite simple, which can be a blessing and a curse.  Physically, the cigar appears to have no real blemishes, except a few small minor veins.  The wrapper is a quite oily, sporting a medium brown body.  Overall there are no flaws, yet there is also nothing too catchy about it.

 
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): No soft spots or anything else funky going on.  The burn was very even all the way down, and the draw gave off pretty nice amounts of smoke.  The ash held on very well, tightly coiling for close to one-third of the cigar.  All in all, I was happy with how everything held up for a low priced stick.

Score: 17

Strength (0-20): Coined as a medium-full cigar, this one sat much closer to medium for me.  There are a large variety of fillers incorporated, but I didn’t really get much heft from the cigar.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): From start to finish, the Maxx Brazil really gives off some nice, consistent flavors.  Starting off with some strong notes of nuts, the cigar moved into sweet and creamy.  I also caught some flavors of cocoa and woodiness in the middle portion, and they blended together fairly well.  While I didn’t notice all of the flavors at once, they did show their face at different times.

Score: 17

Value (0-20): Right around the $5 mark, you really can’t go wrong here.  There are a lot of bad smokes out there that really don’t have the quality and flavoring that the Maxx Brazil has.  Great smoke any time of day.

Score: 18

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International, paired with seltzer

Overall (0-100): For a change of pace, I think this stick did pretty well.  There were some nice flavor notes, consistent burning, and the price was right.  I didn’t really notice anything that caught my eye or made me say “wow”, but nonetheless the cigar was good.  For right around the same price, I enjoy the AB Maxx Freak a little bit better, which has some fuller and more robust flavors.

Score:  85


Friday, November 2, 2012

Fighting Cock Robusto



Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Length: 5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $1.50


Appearance (0-20): Okay guys, let’s just get this out there right away… This is called the Fighting Cock. Please feel free to make the obligatory jokes about having some Cock in the mouth, smoking some Cock, inserting Cock, cutting the Cock, holding the Cock in your hands, massaging the Cock, etc etc. Good. Now you all know the bevy of first thoughts when I saw the name of the cigar. Now to the review. Wait… for $1.50, that’s a cheap Cock! Okay, now I’m ready. After you get beyond the initial pre-pubescent jokes and giggles, you’ll notice the cigar has a nice Colorado Claro colored wrapper. It appears to be decently well made from the first look, with a few smaller veins of note and one slightly larger one. the label sports a rooster who is in attack mode, and uses some muted colors to give the band an older style feel. All in all, there’s not a lot to complain about, although maybe you would prefer a bigger Cock since size matters… with cigars. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): The Fighting Cock (there really is no good way to say this without it sounding terrible) feels great. Its firm (heh), seems packed rather well, and has no discernible gaps. Upon cutting (suppress your giggles people!) there was very little debris. The initial draw is a bit tight, though once it was lit it opened up pretty well. The ash held very well (around 2 inches at a time), but the burn ended up being uneven.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20):  Medium on this one. The Fighting Cock has enough strength that its not to be completely overlooked, but doesn’t really traverse beyond that point. I think it sticks right in the expected strength given the type of cigar.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): The most interesting thing about the Cock is how uh… damn it. This isn’t even fair. The taste is wonderful. It’s very creamy and smooth (I hate you guys) but has some nice peppery power to it. There’s some other notes that hit on coffee and woodsy flavors, though they are not nearly as pronounced. There is a hefty tobacco backdrop that seems to work well with the other flavors. While I believe everything works pretty well in unison, this isn’t extremely complex, though it does have some complexity to it.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): For $1.50 you would expect this would be a mediocre cigar at best. I’ve got to tell you, you would be dead wrong. This is an absolute bargain. Although I am guessing a lot of people felt that way since the link here to Cigars International appears to have them listed as being backordered in the Robusto size.
Score: 20

Additional Notes: Smoked by the firepit and paired with water.

Overall (0-100):  If you can put aside the fact that your friends are going to rip on you for putting the Cock in your mouth, this is a damn good purchase. It has very little wrong with it in terms of appearance and construction issues. The strength works very well given the creamy flavors that are paired with pepper, coffee, and wood. And the price of $1.50 is just absurd. I’ve had sticks cost 4 times that much that this one easily surpasses. Honestly the Fighting Cock is a cigar that you can pick up very cheaply, and enjoy as a good second cigar of the night, yard cigar, or hell… as a decent first cigar. Regardless, it’s absolutely worth the money, and it’s extremely fun trying to find new Cock jokes.
Score: 90