Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rocky Patel Nicaraguan Toro

Information:
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 52
Cost: $5.20


Background:  Rocky Patel’s cigars have performed decently for the 4 reviews we have done on them, with the Vintage 1990 sitting at the top of that lot (overall score 89). The others fell in behind that with the Edge Maduro (83), Sun Grown (77), and 2003 Cameroon (76). Construction and value tend to be the categories where the most points were knocked off in those reviews… will the trend continue with this Rocky Patel  exclusive from Famous Smoke Shop?

Appearance (0-20):  With Rocky’s namesake being, well… his name – its posted on the label in a brighter green color with gold writing, and below it is a black and gold band to point this out as being the Nicaraguan blend. Good choices to begin, as they stand out pretty well in a sea of his other bands. The wrapper itself has nice coloration and lines, seems to be wrapped well, and is light on the veins. The cap is a hair sloppy, but it looks alright overall. The total appearance would be enough to get you to take a look at this one if you were in the Rocky section… but I’m not sure it would be enough if intermingled with other brands.
Score: 16


Construction (0-20): There were some small gaps that could be felt along the stick, though I could have been being hyper vigilant given my former experience with shaky construction on Rocky Patel’s other cigars. Aside from that though, there were only minor things to note here. The ash held for multiple inches at a time, the burn was relatively straight minus one or two points, and there was only a small amount of debris on the initial cut.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): Listed as full strength, it definitely reaches that with quite a nicotine kick,.
Score: 19


Flavor (0-20): There is a heavy cedar element right off the initial light, but it’s a charred flavor that comes off of it. An inherent sweetness resides along with some deep earthy flavors, and there is a hint of bitterness in the background. As it progresses, pepper amps up to meld in with the other flavors, along with a bit of a nutty flavor. By the final third, the charred cedar and earthiness becomes the most prominent with almost all other flavors fading away completely.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): The price point may be the best selling feature here, with a 6x52 that falls just above $5.00. Minor issues aside, it’s a bargain given the quality and flavors.
Score: 19

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International. Cigars provided by Famous Smoke Shop.

Overall (0-100):  So back to the original question – would construction and value be an issue for this Rocky Patel offering? Turns out, it wasn’t. The cigar is constructed relatively well, with only a small few issues. And the value proposition is almost absurd considering what you get for the small price of $5.00. The smoke has a good look, a nice powerful strength, and the flavors work well together. While there isn’t a ton of complexity, it does touch on a lot of different areas – charred cedar, sweet undertones, earthiness, pepper, and nutty flavors. All in all, this one this one is worth picking up a 5 pack of to try if you are into full bodied smokes. I consider the Rocky Patel Nicaraguan to be the kind of cigar I could smoke on a daily basis. Give this one a whirl!

Score: 86


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Famous Smoke Shop Announces the Release of their Newest Exclusive Cigar - Immortal



Easton, PA -- Famous Smoke Shop is a leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars. The company specializes in offering the web’s widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices. Famous has just released a new cigar line in collaboration with the esteemed Plasencia cigar company. Plasencia was formed under the watchful eye of Nestor Plasencia who is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on tobacco and blending cigars. The new release is the highly anticipated Immortal Cigar, and they will be exclusively available at Famous Smoke Shop. The first shipment is on the way to the company’s warehouse and is currently available for pre-sale on their website. The company has expressed that the new brand will be available in limited quantities, but is not a one-time release and will be a consistent offering for the foreseeable future.

The Immortal Cigar is the first release under the new brand’s umbrella, with a new blend designed to provide sophisticated and complex flavors to satisfy every cigar smoker’s taste buds. This blend will be made in small batches and production on the brand will be limited.

Immortal cigars utilize a heavy hitting blend consisting of a complex mixture of all Nicaraguan tobaccos, from its mix of longfiller tobaccos, binder, and habano wrapper. But perhaps the real story lays in its utilization of all Ligero tobaccos in its core. The result of this blend is a full strength cigar with complex flavors, with a rich and slightly spicy flavor to round out a customer’s smoke. Already hailed as a home run under the Immortal name, it seems as if this cigar will soon take the industry by storm.

“Wow, is this ever a flavor bomb,” exclaimed Famous Smoke Shop editor and cigar reviewer Tommy Zarzecki. “I mean, I’ve smoked strong cigars in the past, but this one is close to taking the cake. The utilization of all ligero tobaccos is something that is rarely done in this industry because it’s typically so heavy. But the blender was able to find tobaccos from all over Nicaragua, more specifically the three main regions of Esteli, and the Condega and Jalapa Valleys, and combined them in a way where you get a strong cigar while allowing a true tobacco flavor shine through. It’s complex, it’s flavorful, and it’s strong. In my book, that’s the perfect recipe for a cigar that offers pure relaxation after a full meal or at the end of the day to help unwind.”

Immortal cigars are available in four sizes – a 7 x 50 Churchill, a 6 x 60 Magnum, a 6 x 52 Toro, and a 5 x 54 Robusto. With Famous’ full box discount pricing, customers can enjoy this new offering with individual retail prices which range from $2.60 to $3.12 per cigar. People interested in learning more about Immortal cigars or Famous Smoke Shop should visit Famous-Smoke.com or call 800-564-2486.

Famous Smoke Shop Announces the Release of their Newest Exclusive Cigar Carnage



Easton, PA -- Famous Smoke Shop is a leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars. The company specializes in offering the web’s widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices. Famous has just released a new cigar line under the esteemed Plasencia cigar company. Under the control of master blender and cigar connoisseur Nestor Plasencia, this incredible company is an industry leader in growing the highest quality and most widely used tobaccos in the world. The new release is the highly anticipated Carnage Cigar, and they are exclusively available at Famous Smoke Shop. The first shipment will be arriving at the company’s warehouse very soon, preordering is currently available on their website. The company has expressed that the new brand will be available in limited quantities, but is not a one-time release and will be a consistent offering for the foreseeable future.


The Carnage Cigar is the first release under the new brand’s umbrella, with a new blend designed to provide sophisticated and complex flavors to satisfy every cigar smoker’s taste buds. This blend will be made in small batches and production on the brand will be limited.

Carnage cigars utilize a blend consisting of a complex mixture of Nicaraguan Habano Seco, Viso, and Ligero filler tobaccos, a Honduran Connecticut Talanga binder, and an incredibly flavorful Habano wrapper. The result is a medium strength cigar with complex flavors, with a rich and slightly spicy flavor to round out a customer’s smoke. Already hailed as a home run under the Carnage name, it seems as if this cigar will soon take the industry by storm.

“When you take price into consideration, there’s no comparison. This is the best cigar in this price range. I can easily see this selling for five dollars or more at any retail operation,” said Famous Smoke Shop editor and cigar reviewer Gary Korb. “I’m a huge fan of medium to full bodied cigars, so this is exactly in my wheelhouse. So having smoked plenty of similar cigars, I can say with confidence that this is a cigar I would reach for time and time again. The masterpiece is created through the blender’s solid understanding of how to blend tobaccos properly, so with that in mind, the use of Seco, Viso, and Ligero tobaccos gives you a perfect balance of mild, medium, and strong tobaccos respectively, and draws flavor from all over the tobacco plant. So with that, I tip my hat to the blender. That person has a firm grasp on tobacco and has earned me as a true fan.”

Carnage cigars are available in four sizes – a 7 x 50 Churchill, a 6 x 60 Magnum, and a 6 x 52 Toro, and a 5 x 54 Robusto. With Famous’ full box discount pricing, customers can enjoy this new offering with individual retail prices which range from $3.46 to $4.62 per cigar. People interested in learning more about Carnage cigars or Famous Smoke Shop should visit Famous-Smoke.com or call 800-564-2486.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oliva Cigars, Drew Estate and CAO Boast New Editions at IPCPR 2015


July 21, 2015 10:00 ET

Oliva Cigars, Drew Estate and CAO Boast New Editions at IPCPR 2015

EASTON, PA--(Marketwired - July 21, 2015) - JULY 21, 2015 - Famous Smoke Shop is a leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars. The company specializes in offering the web's widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices. Among the hundreds of premium cigars exhibiting this week in New Orleans at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Trade Show 2015, three manufacturers will be introducing some welcome additions to their stables.

Oliva Cigars, whose Serie V Melanio Figurado took the #1 slot in Cigar Aficionado's 2014 Cigar of the Year, have released a Serie V Melanio Gran Reserva Limitada 2015 humidor. Just looking at this limited-edition, genuine mahogany chest is enough to make any savvy cigar smoker salivate. Only 1,000 humidors, each individually numbered, will be available for sale at retail cigar stores. The humidor is lined in Spanish cedar, includes a complete humidification system, and comes packed to the gills with Oliva Serie V Melanio cigars in the Figurado, Torpedo, and Robusto shapes. If you want one, it will cost you a mere $900.00 (US).

Drew Estate has added the first line extension to their popular Undercrown brand, which they've dubbed "Undercrown Shade." Created for Drew Estate by Willy Herrera, the man behind the critically-acclaimed Herrera Norteño cigars (among others), Undercrown Shade is a medium-bodied cigar blended with Nicaraguan & Dominican long-fillers and an Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra binder rolled in a gorgeous, Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrapper. Shipping to retail cigar stores this Fall, Undercrown Shade will be presented in boxes of 25 cigars in the following sizes: a 6"x52 Belicoso, a 7"x54 Corona Doble, a 6"x60 Gordito, a 5 5/8"x46 Corona, a 6"x52 Toro, and a 5"x54 Robusto. Retail prices will range from $7.50 to $9.50 (US).

Ever since Rick Rodriguez took over the blending reigns for CAO Cigars, he continues to outdo himself. For this year's IPCPR, General Cigar Co. will bow two new Rodriguez creations: CAO Pilón and CAO Steel Horse.
CAO Pilón features Nicaraguan long-fillers and binders with a Cuban seed wrapper leaf that's grown in Ecuador and fermented in a round pilón; essentially, a circular stack of carefully arranged tobacco leaves. Created by both Mr. Rodriguez and General Cigar's Tobacco Operations Manager, Agustin Garcia, this fermentation technique dates back to Cuban cigars made as early as the 19th century.

"We experimented with pilón fermentation for several years," said Mr. Rodriguez. "It's a very labor-intensive process and we took our time perfecting it. We thought it was the right time to create a line around this classic technique because it does such incredible things to the tobacco."

CAO Pilón cigars will be presented in three sizes: Churchill (7"x48), Corona (5½" x 44), Robusto (5½" x 52), and will range in price from $6.00 to $7.25 (US) at retail.

The CAO Flathead series is also getting two new stable mates. Like the first CAO Flathead cigars, which catered to vintage car buffs, Steel Horse pays tribute to motorcycle enthusiasts. What also sets Steel Horse apart is its lower priming, proprietary Connecticut wrapper that General has named, "Connecticut Habano Grueso." Moreover, it's not box-pressed, though the flat cap remains, and below the wrapper is a Brazilian Arapiraca binder bunched around a core of Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan long-fillers.

Made in only two wide-body sizes, "Bullneck" (6½"x66), and "Apehanger" (5½"x58), the cigars will retail respectively at $9.99 and $8.99 per cigar, and should be arriving at retail cigar stores next month.
The CAO Pilón and Steel Horse cigars are already available at Famous Smoke Shop, while the others will arrive per their scheduled shipping dates. Those interested in learning more about these new cigars, or Famous Smoke Shop, can do so by visiting www.Famous-Smoke.com.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Famous Smoke Shop Releases New & Improved Cigar Monster App



EASTON, PA--(Marketwired - July 17, 2015) - Famous Smoke Shop is a leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars. The company specializes in offering the web's widest selection of cigars at the lowest prices. Famous has just announced the release of its new and improved Cigar Monster App for smartphones. The release marks yet another occasion where Famous Smoke Shop has utilized its advanced technological offerings to make cigar and cigar accessory buying easy and fun, all while saving its customers money.

Cigar Monster is an easy to use website under the Famous Smoke Shop name where customers can log on to view hourly deals on some of the cigar industries best brands such as Drew EstateRocky PatelAlec Bradley, and seemingly hundreds more. Included in the Cigar Monster website is a weekly Monster Mashup where the best deals of the week, usually along with added bonus items, go back up for purchase at heavily discounted prices. The Name Your Price function is also included in the new launch of the Cigar Monster app that allows customers to name the price they want to pay for a wide variety of cigars from Famous Smoke Shops large inventory of cigars and accessories.

"The concept is simple: we want to make cigar buying easy and fun," said Famous Smoke Shop Vice President Michael Vandenstock. "We looked at the facts, and realized customers are on the go more and more now more than ever. With the advancements in smartphone and app technologies, it only makes sense to create an app that everyone can use with ease so they can take part in every hourly deal Cigar Monster offers so they can get in on the action without having to rely on getting to a desktop or laptop computer. The app works across all tablet and smartphone platforms. With this app, we feel like we're taking yet another step into the technological age with push notifications that inform our customers of each hourly deal and when the Monster Mashup is active. We're sure our customers will love the easy to use, new and improved Cigar Monster app."

The Cigar Monster app is immediately available for download for free right now through the iTunes app store and most other major application sites. People interested in learning more about the Cigar Monster app or Famous Smoke Shop should visit www.CigarMonster.comwww.Famous-Smoke.com, or call 800-564-2486.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drew Estate Releases Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla As DDRP Exclusive


Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that the Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla would be launched as a limited release to retailers participating in Drew Estate’s Drew Diplomat Retailer Program.

The Ratzilla is one of the most sought-after blends in the Liga Privada Único Serie line and has only seen a handful of retail releases to date. The Ratzilla, presented in a 6 ¼ x 46 parejo vitola, is a favorite among collectors and this new launch will mark the largest release to date.

From the Dominican Republic, Jonathan Drew stated, "There are many blends of diverse tobaccos that have been created throughout the years, which have never been sold nationally. Ratzilla, Velvet Rat, Piglets, Black Rat, Royale with Cheese, are just a few examples of hundreds that we have on file - to be used when the time is right, or to be left as relics of the past. The think tank energy at Drew Estate continues to evolve like killer bees around the hive.”

The Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla, produced at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua, features a Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano Wrapper, a Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina Binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran Fillers. The new batch of Ratzillas will be available in 10-count boxes, emblazoned with the Único Serie branding. The MSRP for the 10-count boxes will be $154.50, and the first shipments are slated for August of 2015.

When asked about the new Ratzilla release, Drew Estate president Michael Cellucci stated that, “our fans clamor over Ratzillas, trading for them on various cigar forums and doing anything to get their hands on them. We’re happy to be able to bring more Ratzillas to market and allow some of our fans that haven’t tried Ratzillas in the past to experience them for the first time. This new release also gives long-time fans more accessibility to our historically hard to find cigars, which is something we are working hard to accomplish across the board.”

To learn more about the Liga Privada Ratzilla and all of Drew Estate’s IPCPR releases, visit http://drewestate.com/ipcpr.

Broskies note: The Dirty Rat, Pigs, and much of the DE line is highly sought after... especially right after its initial release. Some take a year or more to get your hands on due to the limited batches that are made. If you can get your hands on these, they surely will be worth it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drew Estate Debuts New Nica Rustica “Belly” & Short Robusto Vitolas



Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they would be introducing their new Nica Rustica “Belly” and Nica Rustica Short Robusto sizes in stores nationwide starting in August 2015. The new cigars will be displayed in Drew Estate’s booth (Booth #15407) at the 2015 IPCPR Tradeshow in New Orleans, LA.

The new sizes include the 7 ½ x 54 belicoso-shaped “Belly” (MSRP $7.95) as well as the 4 ½ x 50 Short Robusto (MSRP $5.95). The new sizes will be available in 25-ct black craft paper bundles similar to the current Nica Rustica “El Brujito” offering. They will ship in the same fashion as the current Nica Rustica lines, in bundles as a refill to the dress boxes and new display trays, which will only be available for retail use.

In addition to the new sizes, Drew Estate will be offering a new 75-count Display Tray, which will hold one bundle of each size of the Nica Rustica line. This display tray will be available exclusively to stores that carry all three vitolas of Nica Rustica.

Jonathan Drew, from Managua, Nicaragua stated, "Nica Rustica is a tribute to Estelí's hard working cigar culture. Behind all the glitz and glam, there are thousands of factory Buncheros and Rolleros who keep their game strong and consistent to maintain Estelí, Nicaragua's respected stature of ‘Mecca of Cigars’.”

The Nica Rustica blend features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Mexican San Andres binder and Nicaraguan fillers from the Jalapa and Estelí growing regions. The strength is medium-full and flavor notes include creamy cocoa and earth with light pepper notes on the finish. Fans of Liga Privada, Undercrown, and MUWAT are sure to enjoy this blend.

To learn more about the new Nica Rustica products and all of Drew Estate’s IPCPR releases, visit http://drewestate.com/ipcpr

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Drew Estate announces the following news for Herrera Estelí – Release of Norteño Edicion Limitada Churchill, Additional Norteño Packaging Configurations, and Herrera Estelí Tubos


Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they would be releasing a new Edicion Limitada in the Herrera Estelí Norteño line. The new cigar will be displayed in Drew Estate’s booth (Booth #15407) at the 2015 IPCPR Tradeshow in New Orleans, LA.

The new Herrera Estelí Norteño Edicion Limitada will be presented in a 7x48 Parejo Prensado Churchill vitola and will be packaged in 15-count boxes. The “Norteño” blend showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, coupled with a spicy Honduran binder and a rich, bold Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. The MSRP will be $14.00, and the cigars will ship to Drew Diplomat Retailer Program stores beginning in September 2015.

When asked about the new cigar, Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera stated that, “the Norteño has been one of my favorite blends for many months now, with its meaty, spicy flavor; it just fits my palate perfectly. This new Edicion Limitada is based on the same Herrera Estelí Norteño blend profile with a few changes here and there. Any fan of our Herrera Estelí lines will definitely enjoy these sticks. Pick them up soon as they’re sure to sell out quickly!”

In addition to the new Edicion Limitada, the Herrera Estelí Norteño line will offer new packaging configurations available to DDRP retailers:

  • 28-count Refillable Display Tray Boxes for all existing vitolas 
  • 75-count Refillable Display Tray for the Toro Especial, Robusto Grande & Lonsdale Deluxe sizes of the Norteño line
  • 25-count Refill Bundles for all existing vitolas, available for the new display trays 
Drew Estate has also created a 50-count Humidor Cabinet for the Toro Especial (MSRP $575.00), Robusto Grande (MSRP $600.00), & Lonsdale Deluxe (MSRP $550.00) sizes of the Norteño line, which will include built-in Boveda pack storage in the lid of the humidor. There will be a limited number of Herrera Estelí Norteño Humidor Cabinets available.

In the Herrera Estelí line, Drew Estate will be introducing Herrera Estelí Tubos in the 6” x 52 Toro size (MSRP $11.50), presented in 10-count boxes. This new packaging option will begin shipping to DDRP retailers in October 2015. To learn more about the new Herrera Estelí products and all of Drew Estate’s IPCPR releases, visit http://drewestate.com/ipcpr.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Drew Estate Appoints Grant Batson To Head Up Pipe Division



Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they have hired renowned American pipe maker Grant Batson to head up their pipe division, which includes their Drew Estate Classics pipe tobacco line, along with their Drew Estate Pipe Collection by Tsuge. Drew Estate is also the exclusive North American distributor for Tsuge Pipes out of Japan. 

Grant Batson has been a pipe enthusiast since 1994 and has been making handcrafted tobacco pipes out of his Nashville workshop since 2012. During this time, Grant has gathered an in--‐depth knowledge of the American pipe market. He has garnered respect from some of the top pipe makers in the world and will now bring his talents to Drew Estate.

When asked about his new role at Drew Estate, Batson said, “I’m humbled and excited to be a part of the Drew Estate team. I’m a huge fan of Drew Estate’s cigars and have been a Drew Estate smoker for many years, so I was naturally excited to hear they would be getting into pipe tobacco a few years ago. It’s hard to imagine that I’ll be part of the team now. I can’t wait to hit the road and meet some of the good folks out there and talk pipes.”

Drew Estate entered the pipe tobacco market in 2013 with the introduction of their Drew Estate Classics line of pipe tobaccos, featuring eight unique blends consisting of six aromatic blends along with an English blend (“Meat Pie”) and a Virginia pressed flake tobacco blend (“Gatsby Luxury Flake”).

In May of 2014, Drew Estate announced that they would become the exclusive distributor of Tsuge Pipe in the US and Canada. They followed this news up in July 2014 with the announcement of the “Drew Estate Pipe Collection by Tsuge”, a new line of Drew Estate-designed pipes made by Tsuge Pipe in Japan. Drew Estate announced at the same time that they would be distributing eight new Tsuge pipe tobacco blends, which include four aromatic blends named “The Four Seasons” and four traditional blends named “The God Series”. This release marked the first time the Tsuge brand would be featured on a pipe tobacco blend.

Drew Estate President Michael Cellucci, who had an integral role in leading the development of Drew Estate’s pipe division, had this to say about Grant Batson: “Grant is a very talented individual, with a background in marketing and sales. He is an incredibly skilled craftsman who knows the pipe market well, and his talents will be well received at Drew Estate. When I met Grant last year, I knew he’d be a good fit at Drew Estate, and I’m glad we had a chance to bring him on board.”

When asked about Grant, Jonathan Drew stated that, “If you look historically at the talent pool of Drew Estate, both in Central America and the USA, one shouldn't be surprised to see the addition of Grant Batson to the team. It was time for DE to activate some Southern Blood to the diverse mix of current Dirty Rats.”


Grant Batson will appear at Drew Estate and Tsuge pipe events nationwide. Check the Drew Estate events page at http://drewestate.com/events to see when Grant will be visiting a store near you. Also, follow @grantbatson on social media to see his work and learn more about Grant.  

Agio Announces Balmoral Añejo XO For Release At 2015 IPCPR Show


In 2014 Balmoral introduced their flagship cigar Añejo 18, which was an impressive success globally. The cigar was rated with 93 points by Cigar Journal, collected 5 cigar rings in the French magazine L’Amateur de Cigare (Cigarscope) and claimed a 12th position in the Cigar Journal top 25 of best cigars from the Dominican Republic. It has been a wonderful year for Balmoral. The rare 18--‐year old Arapiraca wrapper is very limited and to continue the success of Añejo, which in fact is based on aged tobaccos, Balmoral now introduces its successor Balmoral Añejo XO

Boris Wintermans, 4th generation in the family business and CEO of Royal Agio Cigars, stated that, “In my quest for the perfect Añejo blend, I have had the privilege to be able to work with the finest and most exquisite tobaccos in the world. The most recent creation to come out of this journey was, of course, the Añejo 18, crowned with an 18 year old Brazilian ‘Sungrown’ Arapiraca wrapper, and made by hand at our own factory in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. After careful selection and tastings, I daresay that I have succeeded in finding a truly worthy successor: the Balmoral Añejo XO.” 

Only this Balmoral Añejo XO can compete with the Añejo 18. All tobaccos used have been thoroughly aged and create a sophisticated and complex aroma that is said to be beyond compare. Medium to full bodied, Royal Agio Cigars describes the Añejo XO’s taste as an explosion of aroma’s and complexity, with notes of cedar wood, spices, cacao and an underlying sweetness. Wintermans is convinced that the XO rivals the Añejo 18’s taste for complexity and subtlety and even ads a bit of extra sweetness and creaminess. 

The Añejo XO will come in three ´vitolas´. Next to the already existing models, Rothschild Masivo (MSRP $9.90) and the torpedo shaped Mk52 (MSRP $10.95), a Petit Robusto FT (MSRP $8.50) will be added to the Añejo range. FT, short for Flag Tail, comes recommended as the short smoke alternative for the Rothschild Masivo and the Mk52. This Petit Robusto FT has a ring gauge of 48 and carries a lower price than its brothers, making the Añejo taste accessible to a wider audience. Such splendid cigars should be treasured, and in that spirit Balmoral designed a grey box that matches the Añejo XO cigars in both quality and style. 

Wintermans: “I would like to remind yo you that, as we have limited stock for the 18 year old wrapper tobacco, the Balmoral Añejo 18 will be very limited in volume. The Añejo 18 was a limited edition, it now became even more scarce and it will run out soon.” 

Balmoral’s partner Drew Estate has again selected a very limited number of premium retailers to introduce the Balmoral Añejo XO. All three vitolas are available now at Drew Estate Diplomat stores. 

To learn more about the new Balmoral Añejo XO products and all of Drew Estate’s IPCPR releases, visit http://drewestate.com/ipcpr.

Drew Estate Unveils “Undercrown Shade”

Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that they would be launching a new line
extension to their Undercrown line - “Undercrown Shade”, a Connecticut Shadewrapped
cigar brand that will join the original San Andres-wrapped line. The new
“Undercrown Shade” brand will be displayed in Drew Estate's booth (Booth #15407) at
the 2015 IPCPR Tradeshow in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“Undercrown Shade” marks the first release blended by Drew Estate Master Blender
Willy Herrera not to fall under the Herrera Estelí brand family. Herrera's continued
involvement in blending and brand development within Drew Estate is evident with this
new blend, as Herrera worked extensively with the Undercrown roller team who blended
the original Undercrown line to develop this new Connecticut blend.

When asked about the new cigar, Willy Herrera stated that, “since day one, Drew Estate
has demonstrated that no premium cigar company better understands its team, and that the
heart of the company is the production floor and factory. This is why I chose to work
closely with the rollers responsible for the original Undercrown blend, and challenged
them to create a Connecticut blend that would satisfy my palate. It was a long road, taking
more than a year to develop. In the end, it was a very rewarding process, as finding a
Connecticut blend to fit my palate wasn't easy. We finally found a marriage of Drew
Estate's unique tobaccos that we believe is really special, and we're excited to share the
new blend with everyone at the IPCPR show.”

Featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Sumatran binder, as well as Dominican
Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo fillers, the new “Undercrown Shade” line
will be presented in six vitolas, mirroring the San Andres-wrapped Undercrown core line
that you've come to love. These sizes include a Belicoso (6 x 52, MSRP $9.00), Corona
Doble (7 x 54, MSRP $9.50), Corona (5 5/8 x 46, MSRP $7.50), Gordito (6 x 60, MSRP
$9.95), Gran Toro (6 x 52, MSRP $8.25), and Robusto (5 x 54, MSRP $7.75). The new
Undercrown Shade will be available in 25-count boxes and most sizes will begin shipping
to stores in Fall 2015.

The final blend is medium-bodied, lush & ultra-smooth, flavors that only a shade grown
wrapper can deliver. And so it is with great bravado that we share “Undercrown Shade”,
and the continuing story from our factory floor.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Romeo Y Julieta Media Noche Toro

Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Mexico
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic
Length: 6”
Ring: 52
Cost: $7.50

Background:  Romeo Y Julieta is another one of those companies that has stuck in the cigar business for what seems like an eternity, and for good reason. They have been consistent with their blends and for the most part have stuck with what brought them success for over 100 years. While all Romeo Y Julieta cigars may not be on our favorites lists, we have found that some of their newer offerings, such as the House of Montague, the Havoc, and the Romeo to be pretty outstanding. It’s nice to see a company with such a rich history embrace the ever changing cigar market instead of simply standing pat.

Appearance (0-20):  The wrapper on the Media Noche has nice rich coloration but does have some slight derivations to the color. There are some slight veins and an almost rustic look to it, which to a small extent concerns me since the wrap itself appears a little loose. However that rustic look is complimented well with the gold and purple bands that scream royalty. When I first saw this particular stick among the other cigars around it, I was drawn to it to at least scope it out.
Score: 17

Construction (0-20): I picked this up from the rack and it was immediately evident that Romeo Y Julieta did a great job with how the filler and binder is placed in there. It was firm to the touch and there were no areas where it felt over or under packed.  There is a slight silkiness to the wrapper, but as noted in the appearance the wrap itself isn’t the prettiest job in the world. I was cautiously optimistic though, since there is very little debris on the cut. It turned out to be pretty well founded with the draw being perfect and the ash holding on for multiple inches at a time. However I did want to note that the burn ended up hot in the last inch and a half.
Score: 17


Strength (0-20): Medium to full, and it sits very tightly in that range. I had some small derivations from that toward the end but primarily it was closer to full.
Score: 18

Flavor (0-20): Make no bones about it; this thing smacks you with a blast of black pepper and bitter coffee immediately. The flavors are intense to begin but slowly fade back during the first third and allow others to meld in, like leather and roasted nuts. There is a very slight undertone of sweetness that just lingers on the back of the tongue that becomes slightly more prominent as you enter the second third. It begins to almost resemble a coffee and cream setup, with a little chocolate intermingled. It’s a really nice combination of flavors that transitions to a cedar flavor in the last third.
Score: 19

Value (0-20): $7.50 is a pretty good price on something that has this kind of flavor.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.

Overall (0-100):  The Romeo Y Julieta Media Noche is a powerful and flavorful cigar, no doubt about it. While the appearance and construction have some points where it slightly lacks, it forges ahead in both strength and flavor. The smoke is complex, bringing in pepper, bitter coffee, sweet cream, nuts, leather, earthiness, and cedar – all to varying degrees. The transitions are effortless and clear, the ash holds for an adequate amount of time, and the price is right around the correct mark. Romeo did a fine job on this one.

Score: 89





Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Garo Adamas


Information:
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Habano 2000 Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Habana and Corillo 98
Length: 5.5”
Ring: 64
Cost: ???


Background:  As we noted in a previous post, Garo has worked hard to bring a fresh and new splash by rebranding themselves. They have always had solid cigars, but were a step behind on the marketing and appearance. These particular offerings from Garo showcase the new face of their company.

Appearance (0-20):  The Habano wrapper on the outside looks pretty good, though there are a couple of small ridges in it. It’s got a decently silky exterior with no discoloration in any areas. The banding is revamped from the original to give a new image to Garo Cigars. The band is simple and sophisticated enough that it can provide a backbone to the future offerings and won’t turn off perspective buyers. This one is green banded with a copper embossed logo, surrounded by the fleur-de-lis.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): The small imperfection along the wrapper speaks to the construction but it is by no means the final say in the making of the Garo Adamas. This thing is an absolute monster with a size of 5.5x64. A nice double cap with only little debris was a positive note. This one felt well packed overall and would be seen during the smoking process. No relights were needed and the burn was extremely sharp, with the ash holding on for a long long time.
Score: 19

Strength (0-20): Mild to medium in strength, it’s about right where it sits. At the most it tips into the lowest end of the medium profile.
Score: 17

Flavor (0-20): The first light dropped a nutty flavor across almost immediately. There were some notes of light spice and coffee, giving it a nice and light flavor profile. Moving further along, there were some tobacco flavors that gave way to mocha and some floral notes, though the bitter coffee flavor continued also, increasing in intensity. The final bit saw the bitterness fade and fall back toward a simply nutty flavor again with small variations on the background.
Score: 16

Value (0-20): It’s 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 $6-8 range, it would be something I would pick up on occasion. It’s a pretty big smoke at 5.5x64 and can contend well with others at that pricepoint. Given that my guess on the pricing is right
Score: 17
 
Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International. Cigars provided by Garo Cigars.

Overall (0-100):  Just like the posting on the Garo Maduro Especial, the looks of this cigar really do give it an initial leg up. Again, a minor construction issue brings up questions but this one turned out to be really well put together. The strength was more in the mild spectrum than anything, which really isn’t my cup of tea per say. However it is mammoth stick for sure, so if you enjoy something mild it’s a lot of cigar to smoke. The flavors are light and include light pepper, coffee, tobacco notes, mocha, and coffee. There are a number of variations of those but all in all its not super complex – but it is a pleasing flavor with decent transitions.The only real variance we have is the value question, which could shift the review up or down a few points. Depending on the price – this could easily be a “yes buy it right away”, or a “give it a try if you are a mild fan…”

Score: 85