Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Emilio Cigars announces agreement with Cigar Federation

Gary Griffith of Delaware Cigars and House of Emilio, announces an official online cigar store for the House of Emilio brands.
Cigar Federation already serves as the online store for our 27 Delaware Cigars retail locations. If we were going to have an “officially endorsed” online home for these special brands, this was the place.” noted Griffith.


House of Emilio currently distributes 9 boutique brands: Ezra ZionRodrigo CigarsNomad Cigars1502 CigarsGuayacanEpicurean CigarsHerederos de RobainaBodega Cigars, and Griffith’s own Emilio Cigars.
Cigar Federation is owned by Kyle Hoover and Chris Kelly of Ezra Zion Cigar Company. The site is managed by Logan Lawler and Rob Rasmussen.
“Being in the House of Emilio family as one of the distributed brands, we are honored to serve our brothers and represent their cigars well.” said Kelly.
“The notoriety around these cigars has caused a groundswell of demand around the country. We are inundated everyday with calls, emails and Twitter DMs from folks who want to get their hands on them but may not have a retailer that has them within a 5 state radius.” noted Hoover.
“I don’t want any of our brick and mortar retailers to worry about competition. I’m a B&M retailer just like them. These cigars are price protected just like they were sitting on a shelf in any of my 27 retail locations. Our goal is to make these available to those who don’t have shop close by that carries them just yet.” added Griffith.
To purchase all the House of Emilio cigars online, please visit the Cigar Federation Store.

Sol Cubano Artisan

Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Barbados (multiple)
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 7.1”
Ring: 58
Cost: $15.00


Appearance (0-20):  There is no denying that the Sol Cubano Artisan looks really cool.  The uniquely twisted wrapper makes it look like a barber pole with its design, showing some real attention to detail. The band it bold enough to proclaim its name and on the back it states “totalmente a mano” – aka totally made by hand. There were no visible issues at all. I’ll note, I received this via a trade with someone, but I have been tempted to pick it up before. The major thing that held me back was the $15 price, as I didn't want to pay for what could be an expensive “gimmick”.
Score: 19


Construction (0-20): This stick was a bit flexible and felt really well made. No obvious gaps. I cut it and… no debris. This one was very well wrapped. The end lit up well and the first buffs were nearly the perfect draw. The ash held on for a little less than I would have preferred, however, overall one
to two inches at a time isn’t bad either. For the most part, it was a light gray ash.
Score: 19

Strength (0-20): Where the information on this bad boy points to it being a medium strength cigar, I felt it actually began in the lower medium scale and at times scaled into the full range slightly. It’s quite broad given the smoke.
Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): Lighting this opens up with earthy flavors and a nice light toast. Its really mild and understated until you are almost an inch in, where the earthiness picks more fully. Enter additional tobacco and cedar flavors along with some chocolatey hints. Moving beyond, it becomes creamier and eventually picks up some light spice. In the final third it remains both creamy and a little nutty but is enhanced further by a little pepper. It’s not utterly complex overall, but it’s got a decent fusing of elements and its certainly not bland.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): $15 = absurd. Be honest here folks, for a stick like this you hope to pay nothing more than $6 or so. And at that price it would be worth it. But the pricepoint is absolutely way too high, even for a limited stock cigar like this.
Score: 13

Additional Notes: Paired with water on the deck.

Overall (0-100):  I’m pretty glad I was able to give this one a whirl, as I don’t think I would have picked it up via the MSRP (which I find to be overkill). I've spoken to a few people about this one in particular and it’s been seen on cbid at times for anywhere from $3-$8. At that price range it’s a lot easier to handle. But, as noted, it really isn't just a gimmick of a cigar as its well wrapped, packed, etc. The flavor profile is certainly there and it fuses very well, though the complexity isn't top notch. For a medium smoke it delivers, but it’s a little all over that range at the same time. I wouldn't recommend picking one of these up at full price, but if you can snag one cheap its worth trying once.
Score: 83



Thursday, November 7, 2013

PDR AFR-75


Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper type: San Andres Maduro
Filler: Dominican Habano, Connecticut Broadleaf, and Nicaraguan criollo 98
Length: 5"
Ring: 56
Cost: $14.75

Appearance (0-20): Initial impression just by looking at the cigar, is quality.  The wrapper is a beautiful chocolaty brown color, with tons of grain all throughout.  The grain gives a rustic look to the cigar, which correlates over to the flavor as you smoke. The band looks ornate by the overall design colors and elements.  Black and gold come off as royal, with elements that remind you of Cohiba (the good ones) and the L'Atelier brand. There is a small pigtail at the end, which tops of the beautiful smoke.

Score: 19

Construction (0-20):
During pre-light inspection, the cigar was packed well throughout and didn't have any noticeable flaws. The cap snipped off smoothly with no debris, and lighting up was a breeze.  As you get into the heart of the cigar, we are firing on all cylinders.  The draw was excellent, the burn line stayed even throughout, and the ash coiled nicely for almost 2 inches before I tapped it off. You can tell that quality was put into this cigar.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Listing as medium-full, I think PDR came in spot on with the AFR-75.  While not overpowering, there is definitely strength behind the blend.  I think the overall balance was very well done in moderation.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Flavor bomb? Yes sir!  Start to finish, the flavor was excellent.  From the first few draws, the flavors start to build up.  Starting off, you'll notice underlying earthiness and sweet molasses and chocolate.  The background has small dashes of spice with give an excellent balance.  One of my favorite qualities in a cigar are sweet and spice in the same blend, and this is moving into that area. Personal preference, I wish there was just a bit more spice.  As you move throughout the smoke, the consistency really hold true.  Flavors stay relatively the same, but the flavor profile will increase. More cocoa, sweetness, earth, and bits of spice build as you smoke down to the nub. Believe me, you will smoke to the nub.

Score: 19

Value (0-20):  Coming in at around $15, I think there is some room for improvement. If we were down in the $10-12 range, I think this is a homerun.  Once you get into the $12+ range, there are some strong players out there like Padron and Liga Privada. The cigar was excellent in its own right, but starts to move out of the value factor for me.

Score: 17

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International

Overall (0-100): PDR was kind enough to send out a sample, and this cigar totally took me by surprise.  There are a few PDR smokes that I enjoy, but this is a game-changer for them.  If this is the kind of cigar that they are moving towards, I think they will grab the attention of a lot of cigar smokers.  The cigar looks the part, flavors were consistent start to finish, and the overall experience was very enjoyable. PDR, well done and keep them coming!


Score: 90

Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Vegas Limitada 2010

Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habana 2000)
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6.2”
Ring: 52
Cost: $6.00

Appearance (0-20):  Many of the Limitada line carry the same style of dual banding with the Limitada band separate from the year. This cigar is no exception. Silver, gold, red, and white grace these bands and look solid on the light landscape of the Habana 2000 wrapper. It’s a decent looking stick for the most part, thought here are a few larger veins that are a little concerning. Thankfully they seem to be closer to the cap. Otherwise, it looks decent, though if it were not a limited run, I may never have picked it up.  
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): Slightly soft to the tough, the cigar feels perfectly packed. The cut and burn completely verify that feeling. The cut (as shown in the picture) reveals nearly no excess tobacco and (also shown) the ash held on very well. There was some slight deviation on the burn, but it was slow and cool with a great pull. No complaints on this one.  
Score: 19

Strength (0-20): Marked as a full strength sort of cigar… its close. Consider this one closer to the full range, but only tiptoeing into it.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): Initially it’s a little on the bland side, but within just a few puffs there is a nice pepper blast that intensifies with each draw. The backdrop of cedar has some slight bitterness to it, but it works decently well. As it progresses, the bitterness fades a bit and leather and toast notes poke through. But the taste is quickly reversed, bringing back the bitter nature, though it was a bit more on the earthy side. Not quite one dimensional, but close.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): $6 for a stick like this isn’t too bad. Its solid overall with some decent (though somewhat one dimensional) tastes.
Score: 16

Additional Notes: Paired with water at in my garage. It’s all about ambiance!  

Overall (0-100):  5 Vegas typically does a pretty good job with their Limitada lines, though this one in particular didn’t do it for me. Overall it’s a solid cigar with an outstanding construction, but I would be looking for something a little more flavorful… whereas this one is very much a one trick pony. The pepper and slight bittery tobacco flavors actually play well on each other, but there is little more than that aside from some nuances. For the price, I would veer toward some other sticks but all in all the price isn’t terrible. My advice – put an extra couple of bucks aside and upgrade to a better stick – the 5 Vegas Limitada 2008. That is the year you want.

Score: 84






Emilio Cigars adds another Master Retailer (Smokin' Joes of TN)

Knoxville, TN

Smokin' Joes named House of Emilio Master Retailer

Nathan McIntyre, House of Emilio National Sales Director announced today the addition of Smokin Joes in Knoxville, Tennessee as a Master Retailer. 

"Mike and Cody Hicks have been an amazing supporters of House of Emilio, and passionately love our cigars. It's an honor to work with a tobacconist such as Smokin Joes" says McIntyre. 

Cody Hicks, General Manager added "We have always done well with boutique brands, but Emilio took off like a rocket. Everything under this umbrella is top notch and the people behind the scenes are some the best in the industry. We're very excited for what the future holds for our relationship with all the greats involved here. The partnership between ourselves and House of Emilio just seems natural."

Customers with questions may call (865) 584-9010 for more information, or visit Smokin Joe's three locations at:

Alcoa:
737 Louisville Road
Alcoa TN 37701

Papermill:
6110 Papermill Drive
Knoxville TN 37919

Knoxville:
120 South Central Avenue
Knoxville TN 37902

Friday, October 4, 2013

Outland Cigars (North Carolina) Joins House of Emilio Master Retailer Family

Nathan McIntyre announced today the addition of Outland Cigars, Charlotte, NC as a House of Emilio Master Retailer.

"Tom, Mark, and the staff at Outland supported us early on," says McIntyre. "They've been dear friends and great supporters, and as House of Emilio grew, they grew with us. It's an honor to have them in this special group."

"Outland Cigars is thrilled to be recognized as one of a handful of retailers nationwide to be awarded Emilio's distinguished "Master Retailer" program," says Mark Boley, Outland Cigars Manager. "House of Emilio is one of the most prominent boutique lines in the U.S. They are one of THE companies to watch in the coming years. Great cigars, great people!!"

For more information, find Outland Cigars at 14185 Ballantyne Village Way, Charlotte, NC 28277 or 4625 Piedmont Row Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210. Interested customers may also call (704)369-5500.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon

Information:
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Cameroon
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
Length: 5.5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $8.00

Appearance (0-20):  The shiny navy and white dual bands give this cigar a nice initial look to cover a decent looking stick. Coloration of the tobacco is consistent with some minor imperfections. There are some smaller veins of note, though nothing that would be a cause for too much concern. It’s not a cigar I would be implicitly drawn to, though I wouldn’t walk away from it either.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): A lot of people tend to swear by RP and his standards for cigar manufacturing, but I find that it doesn’t always implicitly hold true. This stick is an example of that. The initial cut was a bit messy, and the draw was very loose. While it burned cool, it was rather flakey and inconsistent in terms of keeping a decent line. The ash, however, did hold on for over an inch at a pop. It was really quite disappointing, as through three different sticks, I had the same issues with each of them.
Score: 12

Strength (0-20): Medium to full billing it stands up to that relatively well. No real complaints here.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Initially there is a sweet caramel and rich leather taste to introduce you to the smoke. It’s really well balanced and there are nuances of spice, earthiness, and cedar. The blend remains relatively unchanged with the exception of the earthiness, which begins to ramp up slowly and finally peaks around the 2/3 point of the cigar. From time to time there are hints of pepper, but nothing overpowering in any way.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): $8. Hmm. not quite the price I want to pay for something like this. I felt like it should hover closer to the $5 range, and even there might be a bit of a stretch. It’s not out of this world for the pricing, but it also isn’t great.
Score: 13

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  I know a lot of people who will swear by Rocky Patel, but I personally have found the majority of his smokes to be on the boring side of things. There are some asides, of course, but this one is no exception. There are some decent flavors held in the Vintage 2003 Cameroon (caramel, earth, leather, cedar) but they more or less are the same throughout. Aka no real complexity. It’s still pleasing to the palate and has its place… just not when I’m looking for something with more flavor. There’s some nice strength behind it but with both an alright appearance and some construction issues… I would likely steer clear for its retail price.

Score: 76


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More news from Emilio Cigars

Wooden Indian Tobacco Joins House of Emilio Master Retailer Family




Nathan McIntyre announced today that Wooden Indian Tobacco of Havertown, PA has received the designation of “Master Retailer” by House of Emilio. 

“Master Retailers are a special group of brick and mortar tobacconists,” says McIntyre. “It is our desire that each be known not only as a fine tobacco shop, but also as an expert resource on the House of Emilio lines. Dave and his staff at Wooden Indian have been supporters of House of Emilio for a very long time, know our cigars, and we are honored to name them a Master Retailer.”

In order to qualify, retailers agree to not only carry a broad spectrum of House of Emilio facings, but their staff must undergo training to assure consumers they are fully familiar with all the blends in House of Emilio.

"Over time, more Master Retailers will be announced," according to McIntyre, "in various markets around the country."

Wooden Indian Tobacco is located at 95 South Eagle Road, Havertown, PA 19083, and interested consumers may call (610) 449-7001 for more information.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

News from Emilio Cigars

Lots of interesting stuff is coming out of Emilio Cigars these days... heres a couple of the highlights:



Emilio Announces Master Retailer Program

Gary Griffith announced today that House of Emilio, which includes the Emilio, 1502, Ezra Zion, Nomad, Epicurean, Rodrigo, Guayacan, and Bodega Premium cigar brands has created a "Master Retailer" program.

Participating retailers receive training for their staff on all House of Emilio brands and blends so as to best serve the consumer. Qualifying retailers carry facings from every brand in the line, assuring consumers the best possible selection from a well-informed and educated staff.

In addition consumers can be assured that Master Retailers have the earliest access to new product releases, and enjoy the benefit of extra allocation of limited edition products.

"This is an important step for us," says Griffith, "in that we are able to be certain that retailer staff is well versed on the profiles of each of the blends in order to appropriately make recommendations to consumers."

Over time this program will be expanded to include additional enhancements that will have value for both the retailer and consumer.

Interested retailers may get additional details by contacting Nathan McIntyre, National Sales Director.

Gary A. Griffith



Emilio Cigars to release Draig Cayuquero


Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars announced today that the second release in the Draig series, Cayuquero, will begin shipping to retailers within the next few weeks.

Each year Griffith creates a new blend in the series, and production is limited to however many cigars can be made from the selected tobaccos.

This years release will be available in four sizes: Corona, Robusto, Toro, and a small run of Torpedo. Total production is 1600 boxes, with quantities per size varying based on how wrapper graded out.

The cigars feature a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, enveloping a delicious blend of sweet Jalapa, and spicy Esteli ligero, and are packed 10 to a box.

As always, the cigars are dedicated to Griffith's Welsh heritage, and feature the Welsh dragon on both the boxes and bands.



Guayacan Cigars expands offerings

After meeting with Guayacan Cigars owner and blender Noel Rojas this morning Gary Griffith of the House of Emilio is pleased to announce size extensions to the original Guayacan blend.

The original Guayacan with an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper will be available soon in two new sizes: Corona and 6x60.

In addition, there willl be 4 sizes released in a new blend featuring a San Andres maduro wrapper and entirely different filler.

These new products will give Guayacan a stronger market presence, and fill niches that consumers have requested.

According to Griffith the new vitolas should be available around the end of the year.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oliva Serie V


Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper origin:  Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Habano Sun Grown
Filler: Jalapa valley ligero
Length: 6"
Ring: 56
Cost:  ~ $7

Appearance (0-20): The Oliva V has a beautiful dark brown wrapper.  There are a few lighter brown veins as you move towards the foot, but nothing of any substance.  Turning the cigar around, you will notice how nicely wrapper the cigar itself was rolled.  Everything comes together nicely, finishing off with a triple cap of the torpedo. The band has a combination of gold, brown, and red with various embossing.  The overall combination gives an elegant look.

Score: 18

Construction (0-20):  
Start to finish, this cigar performs very well.  The burn was a bit wavy at times, but always corrected itself to straighten out. The ash was a beautiful gray coil, with small white dots from the grainy wrapper.  The ash consistently held on for 1-2" before I tapped it off.  The draw was smooth, releasing the perfect amount of smoke with each puff.

Score: 18

Strength (0-20): The strength is prevalent as you get into the heart of smoke, but nothing to knock your socks off. I would put it in the med-full range, with a strong focus on the flavors.

Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Flavor bomb each and every time.  Chocolate, espresso, nuts, woods; what else can you ask for?  You will notice a flavor transition about halfway through the cigar, and the Oliva V does it very well.  The beginning had a hair of spice, intertwined with some woodiness and hints of chocolate.  I was reading at the time, but halfway through I noticed a definite move towards a much richer flavor of chocolate and espresso.
Score: 19

Value (0-20): For around $7.00 for a torpedo, you will be hard pressed to find a more polished cigar.  There are a lot of solid smokes out there for $5 to $7 in my opinion, but Oliva consistently produces a great smoke in the series V.  If you've never had one, go out and grab one. If you have smoked one before, make sure you have another one!

Score: 19

Additional Notes: Smoked on my deck

Overall (0-100): The Oliva V continues to impress, and I have never been let down.  I have honestly only smoked a few of them, but this should be in everyones humidor.  If you need a consistent go-to cigar, the flavors and construction will always be there.  Couple in the fact that the "price is right," and you have a great smoke. Oliva does it again!


Score: 92

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chicago Area Cigar Smokers - Tequila and Cigars, Presented by ‘Casa de Puros’ and ‘Demetrio Premium Tequila’



What: Puros and Pours Night: Tequila and Cigars, Presented by ‘Casa de Puros’ and ‘Demetrio Premium Tequila’
When: Thursday, September 5th, 7pm – Midnight
Where: Casa de Puros, 7410 Madison St., Forest Park, Illinois 60130
Details: $30 per person gets you a tequila flight: 2oz Blanco, 2oz Reposado, 2oz Anejo and two premium cigars.
Attention Herfnicks!

When you think of pairing cigars, the first thing that comes to mind is probably bourbon or whiskey or at least a craft beer. Discover how stogies and this fascinating and often misunderstood spirit go oh so well together. 

Experts will be on hand to explain the history of tequila, the unique aging process, the complexity and patience it takes to make one single bottle, where the margarita got started, and why tequila is a perfect companion with a slow burning torp.

Join Brian McGuire and staff from 7pm until the party ends!


Worried about missing the first game of the NFL Season when the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens visit the Denver Broncos? Don't be! Watch the game on the massive flat screen. Kickoff at 7:30pm. Be the first of your friends to taste Demetrio Premium Tequila, proudly part of the Maverick Wine and Spirits portfolio. Try the award winning Lowlands Blanco, nine-month aged Reposado and 18-month aged Anejo. 100% agave. Small batch, bourbon barrel aged. A true gentleman's tequila that you'll want to take home with you. Beer and other beverages on hand for purchase as well. http://demetriotequila.com/

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

El Primer Mundo La Hermandad Costa Fuerte


Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazil
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 60
Cost: $9.00


Appearance (0-20): First look and I would likely have passed this one by. The extremely long named La Hermandad Costa Fuerte sports a white and black design that leaves a little to be desired. With all of that white, it felt like there was a lot of wasted space or perhaps it should have been broken into a normal band and one on the foot. At the same time, its simple design (and follow-up to the original La Hermandad) is a nice touch. Peeking at the bottom showed a nice swirl of ligero, and the wrapper was a nice oily shade. Not the cigar I would personally look at immediately, but still well above average.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): The stiffer outer layers of tobacco reveal very little give. It’s well wrapped, with only a few small veins throughout. As mentioned in the appearance section, there is a nice visible swirl of ligero when looking at the foot. The cut had almost no residue in it, and smoking this was a dream. The draw was spot on with just the slightest resistance. The burn was extremely cool with a razor sharp edge. 2+ inches worth of ash point to the quality of the tobaccos and the tightness of the roll.
Score: 20

Strength (0-20): With a medium to full body on this, I was actually surprised at how mellow it smoked from a strength perspective. It begins on the low and mellow and then builds until it finds the medium range. Once there, expect it to peak and settle. So in the end – its closer to a full bodied smoke with only a medium strength.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Initial puffs from this put me into the earthy spectrum with some minor bitterness to it. Flavors were brought in quickly to meld with the strong tobacco undertone where it had a nice kick of spice (think black pepper) and leather. The spice didn’t stick around for more than 1/3 of the cigar, and gave way to some more subtle hints of coffee and a nice rich tobacco flavor. Entering the final third I found some chocolate flavors that were dropped in alongside some of earthy tones. It seemed like the spice on the front end was nicely balanced with sweet on the back end (think a nice salty appetizer before dinner with a sweet dessert to follow). It was complex enough to please a sophisticated palette while not being confusing. The flavors worked well. The one downfall I found was that there were a couple of points where I ended up with a lot of tar buildup (and by that virtue a very bitter taste. The flavors were there... its just a question of execution at that point.
Score: 15

Value (0-20): $9.00 seems to be the correct ballpark for the blend and size.  
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with a varietal red wine (dry) on my deck. A thank you goes out to PDR Cigars for sending one of these out for review. It’s much appreciated, and it would likely not have been a blend I would have picked up before.




Overall (0-100):  Premier Mundo Cigars has got a good one on their hands here, and if they can work out the slight tar buildup issue, they will have a knockout. The stick has well melded flavors (earth, spice, sweetness, leather) and a dynamite construction, but could benefit with a little better packaging around the edges. Overall it’s a pleasing smoke that will likely appeal to a lot of audiences. The $9.00 price shouldn't be prohibitive, given the quality of the cigar.


Score: 88

Friday, August 16, 2013

Romeo by Romeo Y Julieta

Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic
Length: 7”
Ring: 56
Cost: $8.00



Appearance (0-20): Perhaps what’s most interesting about the Romeo is that they don’t follow the standard model for how they have been doing things. The majority of Romeo y Julieta cigars out there have similar banding, etc. This one sports a bolder new design, proclaiming it the “RO-ME-O”. While it retained much of the coloring of a lot of the normal Romeo blends (red, white, gold) – it truly does differentiate itself. The wrapper is also extremely nice, using a dark Ecuadorian wrapper with very few flaws. I like what im seeing.
Score: 19

Construction (0-20): I don’t think I have had any major concerns about the construction of a R&J offering in the past, and it doesn't seem to be one now either. It’s wrapped nice and tight and it seems the prelit draw is dead on. The exterior is slightly spongey but no issues there. After lighting - the draw was burn, the burn was both cool and relatively straight, and the ash held on for more than 2 inches at a time. Zero pitting, canoeing, or issues that required a relight. Absolutely flawless.

Score: 20

Strength (0-20): In comparison to most other R&J cigars, this is indeed more full bodied and is much higher in strength. Medium to full is the correct range for both, as it teeters between the two quite well, though I would place it closer to full.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): The Romeo is rich and delicious from the first puff, dropping a combination of leather and peppery spice. A lot of more subtle flavors begin to creep in (earthiness and slight sweetness leading the pack), that eventually transform this into something more complex. There are also notes of a bitter dark chocolate that pop through. And those flavors then continue through the rest of the smoke. While it balances it well, I’d say the final third was a little underwhelming as the flavors remain stagnant.
Score: 17

Value (0-20): While this wouldn't be a “go to” cigar for me, it’s absolutely worth its price.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  Let’s begin with speaking to the elephant in the room – Cigar Aficionado did indeed rate this as the #3 cigar of 2012. How? I have no clue. Then again looking at their listing, there’s a few I would have open debate about. However, I do think this would fall in the top 25 overall. It’s a bold new look for the R&J blend and a bold new taste too. Where milder tastes normally prevail, this is a full bodied stick with absolutely fantastic construction. Oddly enough the only real rub to it is that the complexity that is there in the beginning fades and it becomes somewhat boring in the home stretch. Still, it’s a damn good stick with flavors that will keep your interest (leather, pepper, chocolate, etc) even if it isn't melded perfectly. I give it the old thumbs up - this is worth trying, especially if you are someone who doesn't typically like their lines.
Score: 92




Thursday, August 8, 2013

L’Atelier Surrogates Bone Crusher

Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 5.25”
Ring: 54
Cost: $7.50


Appearance (0-20): The Surrogates line (from L'Atelier) comes forward with a simple design to their bands, and the Bone Crusher is no exception. The two bands are both set in a matte black with a simple white design (one says “Surrogates” and the other “Bone Crusher" with a white bone in the center). Cigar oils along the outside gave this stick a slight sheen, with a lot of nice rich colors to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. There are a few more minor imperfections that are easy to spot, but nothing so adverse that I would be afraid to smoke it.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): Glancing at the bottom reveals a nice, tight wrap job. No excess debris in the initial cut. The prelight draw was a little tight, but upon lighting it loosened up to nearly a perfect airflow. Burning cool throughout, it was a hair off with its lines but kept a decent ash (1.5 inches per). The ash itself was a hair flakey, but overall, solid.   
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Listed as full, I’d say it does very well to stick near that mark. It begins with a heavy smack, teeters toward medium, but tends to sit in the full range overall.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): The initial blast from this brings a huge amount of pepper that is quickly melded with a slight sweetness and a slightly bitter coffee. Those same flavors mingle together with a bit of wood as you progress, with the pepper slowly fading. But be ready for another shot of smokey pain, as the pepper comes back (harder than before) and takes over for a bit in the middle. The nicety is that when you think you’ve hit your limit on the spice, it drops and is replaced with some creamy and chocolaty notes that help to stabilize your palate. The last bit adds just a hair of leather and smoothed out nicely while fading to cream.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): $7.50 is a reasonable price for a stick like this. While it isnt an outright bargain, the Bone Crusher won’t disappoint.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with water on my broskie’s deck.

Overall (0-100):  To this point I have been impressed with the L’Atelier offerings. The Surrogates line is especially fun. This is the type of cigar that has the capacity to knock you straight on your ass with its power, but also has a nice complexity to back it up. Look for coffee, leather, wood, pepper, pepper, pepper pepper pepper (yes I meant to type that over and over), some cream, and a little chocolate too. The pricepoint is right for what you’re getting, it’s well-constructed, and they didn’t go nuts on the branding. You’ve got my seal of approval on this one (which isn’t worth much, but hey, you’ve still got it). Pick one of these up for sure.

Score: 90







Monday, July 29, 2013

Legado de Pepin

Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 52
Cost: $8.00


  
Appearance (0-20): While there really isn’t anything to scoff at when approaching the Legado De Pepin, there is also very little that jumps out at you and says “BUY THIS CIGAR NOW!”. The band is relatively unremarkable, and the cigar itself shows a multitude of smaller veins on a medium brown colored Nicaraguan wrapper. But it doesn’t have any major knocks against it either. It’s more or less unremarkable and one I may have passed over if I didn’t notice it was a Pepin blend, which I’m typically partial to.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): The only constructionary (yeah, I made that word up) complaint I had would revolve around it being a little tight on the draw. The cut was beautiful and contained almost no debris, it felt slightly spongey to the touch, and burned both straight and consistently. The ash held for two+ inches at a time and didn’t flake at all.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Listed in the full range, I can tell you it definitely has the kick to be there, but I didn’t think it actually had that sort of longevity. If anything this is more a medium stick that peaks into the full realm from time to time. I was slightly disappointed by this.
Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): Before even lighting up, it’s easy to taste some hey and sweetness on the draw. Post lighting there are some wonderful earthy tobacco tastes that are mixed with some slight bitter coffee. The bitterness isn’t overpowering, but is well balanced quickly with some delightful dark chocolate notes that follow. As the stick progressed, there is more of a spicy pepper flavor that ends up being present. Unfortunately, there is also a bit of a grassy flavor that’s distracting from the core flavors. Even more disappointing is that the stick remains stagnant with the same flavor through the rest of the smoke.  
Score: 16

Value (0-20): $8.00 feels like I am more paying for the Pepin name than an outstanding cigar. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to justify buying another at said price.
Score: 14

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  This Pepin blend is one that may have fallen by the wayside for me if I hadn’t seen his name on it. The actual look of the cigar gave no real pop, and it was actually kind of indicative of the experience overall. Nothing really shined for me here – the price is a bit steep, the strength is weaker than expected, and the flavor mixture is solid but is both one dimensional and a little distracted by the grassy flavor that comes through. I guess I expected more of Pepin. It’s not the worst blend I have had, but I would likely pass on buying one at retail price.
Score: 80




Monday, July 8, 2013

CAO Concert Roadie



Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf, Honduran, and Nicaraguan
Length: 5.5”
Ring: 54
Cost: $6.75

Appearance (0-20): CAO cigars typically have the same general design to their bands, but it looks like they are making small moves to diversify a bit. The last couple of offerings from them have showed some variance, the Concert included. This band has a combination of black and gold on it with a small ampage bolt at the top. It’s simple and uncluttered. The particular stick that I have has some nice rich colors to the wrapper, with just a slight discoloration at the bottom. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, just noticeable. Some small veins exist, but it’s mostly issue free otherwise.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): The feel of the cigar is a bit stiff but there are no lingering questions about if it is packed well [hint, it is]. The initial cut revealed nearly no debris, which is an absolute plus. The prelit draw was perfect, and after lighting it retained that slight resistance that it needed while also maintaining an excellent burn line. The ash was extremely white and aside from a small bit of flaking, it held very well. Unfortunately about a quarter of the way into the smoke, the thin wrapper tore a bit (though it didn’t affect the smoke very much at all).
Score: 17

Strength (0-20): Medium to full in billing, the Concert stands up to that rating very well. The smoke begins in the medium realm and slowly amps up until it hits the full range by about ¾ of the way in.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): There are a lot of good things that are readily evident when lighting up – namely the slight pepper with a really deep leathery and woodsy taste. The flavors are intensified by some smaller nuances as you move through the smoke which give it a creaminess that is delicious. There are undertones of a dark roasted espresso that you can catch from time to time and something akin to a slightly charred toast. It’s superbly intriguing and delightfully complex while still not being overpowering.
Score: 19

Value (0-20): With the complexity and beauty of this stick, paying roughly $6.75 per isn’t a shabby price at all (though under $4.50 per in a box of 24 makes it almost adaily smoker)
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with Glenfiddich 12 at the lakehouse.
 
Overall (0-100):  CAO seems to be coming around with a lot of their recent offerings and really has a solid stick on their hands here. Everything about the stick is in the very good category, with some small issues here and there that dropped it down a few points. The one area it shines for me is the flavor since it melds multiple different flavors (leather, pepper, espresso, wood, etc) into a nice complex arrangement that fits in an almost perfect union. Its worth trying to grab a stick and its honestly nearly box worthy (thought I would recommend trying one for yourself first!)
Score: 89

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Help the Chicagoland Cigar Company Contest / Raffle

Help the Chicagoland Cigar Company Contest / Raffle
With 34 days left on clock for Chicagoland Cigar Company, we at The Cigar Broskies wanted to throw out a little bit of a contest / raffle to try and help them out. We have already contributed with some cash, but we want others to do the same to help get them off the ground. They are less than $1000 from their goal and we would like to help them reach it. So here’s the deal, you gain entries for contributing monetarily to their campaign. If you don’t have the means to chip in a few bucks [or even if you do], you can still get in on the raffle by posting something on Facebook or Twitter encouraging people to check it out.
If you want to know more about their story, check the posts out here on Indiegogo and / or our write-up here and of course there is a really nice post from SecretAgentMang.
The entry breakdown:
With two different ways to enter the contest, we decided the best route would be to use a rafflecopter giveaway for those who are trying to spread the word. See below in this post...
For those of you who are contributing monetarily (or who have already contributed to the campaign), you should receive a thank you email from Indiegogo that confirms your support. The email will look like this. Either forward that email on or take an edited screenshot and send it to lyricsninja@gmail.com with the info. Each dollar contributed will grant you one entry into the prize raffle.
So what’s the prize?
Two prizes actually. One prize will go out to the rafflecopter winner, and one to the monetary winner. The monetary prize winner will be be chosen at random using a random number generator. Each prize will be a pack of 10 cigars of our choosing. You can expect some delicious stuff in there. No Ron Mexicos in there, we promise.
The fine print:
This print is fine. And when we say fine, we mean fine. So fine that uh... well. Yeah. That. Winning one raffle doesnt stop you from winning the other, so feel free to enter both! This contest is open to everyone, 18 and older of course. The contest ends when the campaign ends. Lets help Jim, a member of our /r/cigars community, reach his goal!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tatuaje La Casita Criolla


 Information:

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper type: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Connecticut
Length:  5.6"
Ring: 46
Cost: $6.00

Appearance (0-20):  One thing that I love about a quality cigar is the grainy, bumpy wrapper.  They are little "flavor pockets" of the oils from the cigar from aging.  This offering from Tatuaje has a super grainy broadleaf wrapper.  It is quite dry to the touch, but very inviting to say the least.  The band is fairly simple on the outside, but holds a solid smoke underneath.

Score: 17

Construction (0-20):  
The cigar itself performed well overall.  While I had the cigar aging properly, the wrapper was still somewhat dry.  There was a small crack in the middle of the stick, and it seemed as part of the middle was unraveling   Luckily, neither of these had an effect on the smoke.  I tried take a good picture of the ash, but it wouldn't focus correctly;  it had an almost pure white ash, with speckled graininess in the ash as well.  It had some flakiness, yet overall was solid start to finish.


Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Nothing over the top here, just a solid medium cigar.  There is no real heft present, and it may have actually been a touch under medium.

Score: 17

Flavor (0-20):  After some quick reading, it seems as though broadleaf tobaccos were used as the wrapper, binder, and filler.  You generally don't get that, and it had a unique flavor profile.  I received a blast of spice in the beginning, and then some additional spice from start to finish.  As I smoked further down, there was some solid notes of cedar and sweet molasses.  The flavors complimented themselves well, and had some complexity and transitions.

Score: 18

Value (0-20):  For around $6.00, you definitely get what you pay for.  It's an above average cigar for the price, and the price point does it justice.  I would like to smoke a robusto/toro size, yet I don't see it offered.


Score: 18

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International

Overall (0-100):  Somewhat unsuspecting, the La Casita Criolla was a solid cigar.  The flavor profile was very solid, as Tatuaje incorporated using all broadleaf tobacco.  If you are looking for a fair priced cigar that has some solid tasting notes, this is one that you might want to check out.


Score: 88