Friday, October 31, 2014

Padilla Reserva Habano

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 54
Cost: $8.00

Appearance (0-20):  The tobacco used for the wrapper gave this stick a nice uniform look with no visible blemishes to the leaf color. There were some small veins, though none that would appear detrimental to the smoke. The bands may not initially grab you, but it’s well done with the lion’s head logo and secondary band to notate the reserve. The foot appeared to have a nice rich blend of tobaccos.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): There was a slight oily sheen to the outside. Feeling along the stick, there were no spots that lacked or had excessive tobacco. The cap is night and tight and the initial cut revealed very little debris. Airflow was nearly perfect, though I would consider it slightly tight on the draw. After smoking it for a bit, the airflow opened up that slight bit that it was lacking and was virtually prefect. The same can’t be said of the ash, which did not keep consistent lines. Still, the ash itself did hold on for nearly two inches each time, so the overall packing and rolling of the cigar was on point.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20): Most information on this cigar points to it being in the medium range, and I 100% agree. If you want a cigar that falls squarely in the medium scale, this is it.
Score: 20

Flavor (0-20): The main flavors in this are leather, wood, and pepper. They were found throughout the entirety of the smoke, with small variations as to which one of the flavors wanted to be the star at the time. Intermingled within is a sweet / nutty kind of flavor that appears initially but fades off, only to return in the final third to act as a counter balance to a coffee taste. There are some earthy tastes that are evident too at random points, though not enough to consider it a major factor.
Score: 15

Value (0-20): The unfortunate reality of the Padilla Reserva Habano is that it’s a good stick, but not quite great for the price.
Score: 15

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  This particular Padilla, the Reserva Habano, has a really nice flavor profile (wood, leather, pepper) and sits solidly within the medium range in terms of strength. It’s well constructed with a pretty solid appearance. So it seems like it’s doing all the right things to be noticed. Unfortunately, the complexity just isn’t quite where it needs to be to be able to step up from the “getting noticed” range and into the “powerhouse” area. And at a price of $8.00 per stick, it’s got a lot of competition that outperforms it. I would still rate this one as being a safe buy, an old-reliable if you will, but it may not be the home run you are looking for.
Score: 85

Garo Maduro Especial

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Special Blend / Indonesia
Length: 6”
Ring: 58
Cost: ??? 

Background:  Garo Cigars has made the move away from their original branding to something more modern in an effort to create a powerful brand image. Their original lines that we sampled here at The Cigar Broskies were the Garo Double Habano and the Garo Habano Vintage. Both were stand up smoked for a bargain price.

However they wanted to go in a new, bolder direction. So they moved out of the shared space they were using within another factory, got their own place, and elevated Dr. Garo’s son and daughter as the leaders / face of the company going forward. This transformation brings in a new, fresh feel to the brand but it also allows them to have more control over their product offerings. Their social media presence has increased via twitter, Instagram, facebook, and Pinterest. They have even revamped their own website

In the end it gives Garo Cigars a new identity and a new outlook. We expect big, bold things from the rebranded Garo Cigars.

Appearance (0-20): 
Lyricsninja: A nice, richly colored maduro wrapper greets you on this stick. Its silky exterior shows some great quality, with nice even coloration. Along the band was a small noticeable imperfection of note. The banding, as pointed out in the background section, is completely revamped to give a new image to Garo Cigars. While it may not be one I would immediately gravitate toward, it’s simple and sophisticated enough that it can provide a backbone to the future offerings and won’t turn off perspective buyers. This one is black banded with the silver embossed logo, surrounded by the fleur-de-lis.  Score: 17/20
Kollarism: If you’ve had a Garo before, then you will notice the new band and branding that is associated with their current line.  While there is nothing flashy about the branding or cigar appearance, you will note the different direction that they are moving in.  The cigar itself is a dark brown color, with some a few large veins in the wrapper.  Personal preference, I would have liked to see a more elaborate band to grab someone’s attention. Score: 16/20

Construction (0-20): 
Lyricsninja: Obviously the small imperfection along the band takes a hit in the construction area, but thankfully it didn’t have an adverse effect on the smoking experience overall. It has a double cap that looks good, no excess debris on the cut, and only some small veins throughout. The one note I do want to make is my stick wasn’t tightly packed at a few points, and it was noticeable when giving a light squeeze to the cigar. It had no effect on the draw, which was perfect, but the ash at times was inconsistent when pertaining to how long it would hold on. Score: 17/20
Kollarism: Aside from the initial looks of the smoke, the rest of the cigar was overall pretty darn good.  While the wrapper had some veins in it, they played no role in how the cigar burned.  Actually, the burn was as close as you can get to perfect.  The burn line stayed straight the whole time, the ash coiled tightly and didn’t fall off until I tapped it off, and the draw was right on point.  Very good indeed. Score: 19/20

Strength (0-20): 
Lyricsninja: Most information on this cigar points to it being in the medium range, and that’s primarily where it sits. At its peak, you will see a slight poke into the full realm, but for the most part it sticks down the middle. It really works well when balanced with the flavors. Score: 18/20
Kollarism: This one probably sat right in the medium med-full range, depending on your tolerance.  There was some heft, but this smoke was more about the flavors than the power. Score: 17/20

Flavor (0-20): 
Lyricsninja: Honest disclosure, the tobacco, when smelled before lighting, smelled a little young. It didn’t hurt the flavors, though I imagine some aging might help to enhance them even further. Upon sparking it up, there is a blast of pepper that remains for about the first half inch and fades quickly into a slightly bitter coffee flavor. The coffee becomes slightly sweeter and takes on a hazelnut profile, keeping a bit of spice on the retrohale. The majority of the stick keeps the same coffee-esque backbone, but there are slight nuances of leather, chocolate, a little creaminess, and eventually a more pronounced bitter element. Everything works well in unison and transitions without issue. Score: 18/20
Kollarism: My initial reaction to the cigar was, “is that pepper oil?”  I’m not sure if the cap of the cigar was cured with pepper oils similar to how the Cu-Avana Punisher is, but it was quite spicy on the tongue even before lighting the cigar.  The spice stuck around for the first ½ inch or so, and then subsided into a bitter chocolate flavor, complimented with nuts.  As the cigar progresses, the flavors mellow out with a bit, and add in a leathery element.  The final third really ramped back up into the chocolate flavors, and was quite good. Score: 17/20

Value (0-20): 
Lyricsninja: Its tough when you don’t have the pricing to give a fair review of the value, but I can confidently say if this fell in the $6-10 range, it would be something I would pick up on occasion. It’s a decently big stick at 6x58 and can contend well with others at that pricepoint. Given that our guess on the pricing is right… Score: 17/20
Kollarism: This one is tough to judge, as I have not seen pricing on it.  I would probably place this in the $6-8 range for a strong value. $8-10 would be something that I might pick up, and anything over that would be hard to justify due to the sheer amount of quality smokes at the price point.  Scoring is based off of $6-8. Score: 17/20

Additional Notes: Smoked at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  
Lyricsninja: The new look is sophisticated and sleek and it gives a nice starting point for Garo Cigars. Where there was a minor construction issue or two, the flavors worked well enough to make up for it. The core bitter coffee flavor works well with the hint of nuts that you get when smoking it and is well balanced with the cream, spice, pepper, leather, and chocolate. The only real variance we have is the value question, which could shift the review up or down a few points. It’s a solid buy regardless though, and worth a try. Score: 87/100
Kollarism: Overall, I think this is a very good start for Garo with their new direction.  The cigar was very well put together, flavors were there, and there were no glaring problems.  Again this is personal opinion, but I wish we had something a little flashier for the new branding.  I’m not one to pick up a smoke only because of the looks, but I do believe it is subconsciously a factor with novice and veteran smokers. Score: 86/100

Combined Score: 87/100
The final word: Garo has worked to revamp their image into something much more powerful and this stick is a move in the right direction. The flavors are solid, construction and strength are on the money, and the new marketing is there. We look forward to giving the Garo Adamas a whirl for next week’s review, and can’t wait to see what other smokes Garo Cigars has in store for us.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Emilio Cigars releases Mia Dora

Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars announced today yet another addition to the ever-growing portfolio of cigars available through the House of Emilio.

Mia Dora is produced by AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua and features an Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder.

The Robusto and Toro are available in 21 count boxes, and the Coronita comes in a 40 count box.  The boxes are embossed in gold, while the cigar bands feature a theme dedicated to the town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy, birthplace of the ancestors of the love of Griffith's life, Dora.