Monday, September 28, 2015

La Gloria Cubana Serie RF No. 21

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habana 2000
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 50
Cost: $7.24

Background:  If La Gloria Cubana feels like it’s been around forever, its likely because it has been. Originally created back in 1885, the LGC brand has withstood the test of time while under various overarching labels. As is with Romeo Y Julieta, LGC has made a consistent product and worked to reinvent their image while still keeping to much of the history that brought them to present day. The LGC RF No. 21 is no exception to that rule – released in June of this year as an exclusive for Famous Smoke Shop.

But what’s the “F” stand for in RF? Fibonacci. The cigar is an ode to Fibonacci – making a cigar that is equivalent to Phi (the perfect number. Making a cigar that, in essence, captures a perfect balance and structure to make for an incredible cigar experience.

Appearance (0-20):  The La Gloria Cubana has a nice rich look to the wrapper. It’s rustic to some extent, with some minor veins but nothing too overassertive and no real discolorations to note. The band follows the traditional style for LGC, but adds some additional yellow and red coloration below the Serie RF branding. It’s enough to catch your eye without being obtrusive. Overall it’s the kind of cigar I may gravitate to from a casual look standpoint, though it wouldn’t be the first one I would look at.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): We have already established there are no real issues in terms of veins, so there’s a plus to begin already. The stick is firm to the touch with no discernable gaps… again a plus. Now the cut - zero residue of any kind with a completely clean edge (as shown in the picture), which means huge positives. The draw was tight initially, but loosened up a bit during the smoking experience. The ash held on for about an inch and a half per clip, so it was adequate though not outstanding.
Score: 18
Strength (0-20): Listed as medium strength, I would personally see this one as closer to the medium to full range. It definitely creeps up on you.
Score: 16

Flavor (0-20): Pepper. I thought about leaving that as the only flavor comment but it wouldn’t actually do this justice. From initial light until about 1/3 of the way in, the cigar is a concentrated pepper bomb that will awaken your senses for sure. Ever eat way too much horseradish or wasabi in one bite? It’s that kind of nasal blast that you can expect on the retrohale. Thankfully, that’s not the only flavor here, but simply the predominant one. As the first third begins to conclude, the pepper that was so aggressive drops back and this becomes a smooth, creamy, and sweet smoke. There is a slight bitterness with a coffee flavor and woodsy hints that will pop up from time to time. This continues through the entire remainder of the cigar, but the pepper returns again in the final third to add a sense of coherence and completion.
Score: 18

Value (0-20):  As a 6x50 with good flavor, construction, etc… the $7.25 is spot on the money, with some real upside. 
 Score: 17

Additional Notes: Provided by the folks at Famous Smoke. Paired with water.

Overall (0-100):  Scoring an 86 doesn’t inherently make a stick bad for any reason, and this exclusive from Famous is an exact example of why. It may not be the prettiest stick in the cigar shop, hit the strength perfectly, or quite reach the value where it would be a complete bargain… but honestly it’s a solid smoke from all fronts. If you like a well-constructed cigar with some interesting (but aggressive) flavors – this one may be for you. The pepper blasts surely aren’t for everyone, but if you can weather the storm through the first third, you’ll find a delightfully well balanced smoke with a lot of interesting flavors that meld well together. Truth be told, I plan on picking up a few more of these…
Score: 86

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Asylum Straight Jacket

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 5”
Ring: 50
Cost: $8.99

Background:  The Straight Jacket is a really interesting addition to the Asylum line – it’s bold, strong, and a little bit of madness all mixed into one. But that’s what you might expect from a concoction made by Christian Eiroa and Tom Lazuka. With a more limited production than other lines on the Asylum board, it’s already one that has the potential to be sought after. Add to that that it’s a Nicaraguan puro – and there’s a good chance this one will become hard to find. The question as always is… will it be worth the price?

Appearance (0-20):  Asylum gets the first look right, there is no doubt about that. The first thing you are going to see is the unique band - a straight jacket being “pulled” around the cigar. The ruby red highlights draw in the eye as a focal point against the white jacket. It’s really an inventive idea to use the cigar as a canvas to hang your artwork on like the folks at Asylum did. The cigar beneath is nothing to scoff at either. A nice looking Nicaraguan wrapper flanks this out well with a rich color, with very few veins, and what appears to be a triple cap. No blemishes or inconsistencies to note other than a small notch in the top.
Score: 19

Construction (0-20): So let’s begin with what you can see – very little to complain about when it comes to impurities, veins, etc. The whole cigar feels firm and well packed with no gaps to mention. The cut was clean and the draw, pre-light, was spot on. As the pictures show – it held together masterfully.
Score: 20

Strength (0-20): Full. And yes, it’s exactly as you might have expected out of a Nicaraguan puro. It reaches that in spades.
Score: 20

Flavor (0-20): Before lighting this up, I was a bit worried about it coming off like a pepper bomb that would simply be one note throughout. Thankfully that wasn’t the case as the prelit draw showed signs of cocoa. That same bit of flavoring served as a basis post lighting up, to go along with the peppery spice that I had expected. There are notes of wood and earth to make it slightly complex, and small touches of things like nuts or a natural sweetness that will pop up from time to time. But predominantly this stick is a strong peppery kick in the teeth with other flavors mingled in to make it a pleasurable smoke.
Score: 15

Value (0-20):  At just under $9.00 for a stick, this is a solid smoke. However, like most that fall around the $10 price range, there are a bevy of other smokes that might instead tickle your particular fancy. Still, not a bad price for the stick you are getting.
Score: 16

Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100):  People that are looking for a very straightforward and power packed smoking experience – this one is absolutely for you. The Straight Jacket has some wonderful heft to it and has the capacity to knock even experienced cigar smokers on their butt. The complexity, however, is lacking. There are some nice complimentary flavors that help to bring things together (earthiness, sweetness, wood notes) but really it’s a one stop pepper shop. It’s good, mind you, but I would have liked just a bit more out of it.

From the outer look and overall construction, this one can’t really be beat. It has the right stuff to be able to draw in your attention with a unique band, but keeps you there with a good feel to it. When smoking, the draw was absolutely perfect and the ash held on for almost the entirety of it. The cost is just a slight hair high for my liking (since it inches close to that $10.00 area) but I think anyone who picks this up will be happy with what they get. Especially those who snag the 5 pack from Famous to help drop the price under $8.50 per stick.

Score: 90

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Drew Estate Announces Six New Exclusive Sizes For The Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar

Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today their plans to release six new exclusive sizes for the Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar Company’s Sand Lake, FL location, beginning in early September 2015. The new sizes include vitolas in the Herrera EstelĂ­, Liga Privada No. 9, Undercrown, Natural, and Tabak Especial brand families.

The new sizes are all presented in a 6x50 vitola, with three of the sizes featuring a soft press and the three remaining sizes featuring a square box press. The details pertaining to each blend are below:
  • Tabak Especial Negra (Soft Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar
  • Tabak Especial Dulce (Soft Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar
  • Natural (Soft Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar
  • Herrera Esteli (Box Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar
  • Liga Privada No. 9 (Box Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar
  • Undercrown (Box Press) Exclusively for Drew Estate Lounge at Corona Cigar

When asked about the new vitolas, Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Corona Cigar Company, stated: “The introduction of the world’s first Drew Estate Lounge has been a rousing success at Corona Cigar. We have a large contingent of diehard Drew Estate fans among our customer base and the addition of the new Drew Estate Lounge has caused quite a bit of excitement around the shop. These exciting new offerings from Drew Estate will add another dimension to the cigar smoking experience in Corona's Drew Estate Lounge and guaranteed to excite our customers. We can’t wait to receive the first shipment this week!”

Drew Estate President Michael Cellucci commented, “Jeff and Corona Cigar Company have been a long-time ally and business partner with Drew Estate. We’re proud to call Corona Cigar home to the first ever Drew Estate Lounge, and we’re looking forward to Corona Cigar’s consumers trying these exclusive new sizes.”

To purchase the new Drew Estate exclusive sizes, head to Corona Cigar Company’s Sand Lake, FL location at 7792 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819. To stay up to date on all of Drew Estate’s latest news, follow them @drewestatecigar on Twitter and Instagram.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Drew Estate Announces Alliance Cigar Exclusive Kentucky Fire Cured Fightn’ 69th

Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced the release of their new Kentucky Fire Cured Fightn’ 69th today. The new cigar is being produced exclusively for Alliance Cigar in Hauppauge, NY.

The new Fightn’ 69th is based upon the popular Kentucky Fire Cured blend, featuring Kentucky seed tobacco, grown and fire cured in Kentucky. The new size is a 5 ½ x 52 parejo that will be presented in the typical Soft Pack 10 packaging the Kentucky Fire Cured line is known for.

When asked about the new cigar, Alliance Cigar CEO and Founder Tom Sullivan stated that, “We are honored to have been given this opportunity by our friends at Drew Estate. I’ve worked with Kentucky Fired Cured tobaccos for many years but never in conjunction with a premium cigar. Jonathan and his team have shown once again that their creativity and ability to create new and innovative products is second to none.”

Jonathan Drew, Drew Estate Founder, added, "Everyone knows that DE is a pioneer and brand champion for the FIRE CURED segment of cigars. What people may not know is just how special the new Fighting' 69th is to DE as a company. The Fightn' 69th KFCC size was created for one of the company's closest friends and mentors, Tommy Sullivan, so we had to make sure that it blows people's minds when they smoke it. The Fightn' 69th is like a fire cured explosion of taste and aroma. It's Fire Cured beyond the acceptable limits!"

The Fightn’ 69th will begin shipping in October 2015 and will have an MSRP of $74.95 per Soft Pack 10. The cigar will be available to retail accounts exclusively via Alliance Cigar’s distribution network. For more information on the new cigar, visit Alliance Cigar’s website at