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