Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Montecristo Platinum Series (Vintage 1999) Toro Review

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Mexico
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Peru
Length: 6
Ring: 50
Cost: $9.40 

BackgroundMontecristo is one of those companies that has an immensely rich history in the cigar industry. Oddly enough, even with such a storied past and so many years of cigars on the market, this is only the second Montecristo we have reviewed. The first of which was the Montecristo White Belicoso. That doesn't mean that we haven't smoked them, of course. It just meant we haven't always reviewed them. As for this one, the platinum is listed as being a luxury stick. Lets see if it stands up to that marketing.

Appearance (0-20):  The matte silver banding on the Montecristo is set odd with red and gold embossing. Along the top of the main band, Montecristo is on the top in red, with the "Platinum Series" on the bottom half of the circle in gold. In a somewhat redundant move, a secondary band again lays out the same platinum series. Beneath those bands is a milk chocolate colored wrapper with no visual blemishes. There are, unfortunately, a number of larger veins that are visible. Not a great start...
Score: 15

Construction (0-20): Aside from the aforementioned vein issues, the rest looks and feels pretty good. The entire stick feels silky and well packed. From the look at the foot, its well packed and running along the entirety, I wasn't able to find any areas of concern. The prelit draw was perfect and it continued that way throughout the entirety of the smoke. Unfortunately for this one, the ash flaked often and the vein did cause an issue with how the burn, as it left it less stable when smoking.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): Medium - and it actually hits that directly on the head. Actually I don't think it could be a more straight and narrow shot down the center.
Score: 20

Flavor (0-20): The initial puffs are sweet and woody, and distinctly so. Its the kind of sweetness you find in a good semi-sweet chocolate. The flavors stay pretty prevalent until around the second third. At that point an earthiness takes over for the wood, while the chocolate remains a central figure. There is a slight bit of leather and some nuttiness that show up, but they are mere side flavors. The final third sees the earthiness fade back again and the wood come to the forefront. It is balanced by the sweetness of the chocolate. The flavors work harmoniously but it is not terribly complex in its changes. Still, it is a very good stick in terms of flavor.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): At nearly the $10 mark - the flavors are there. But it has to fight with other contenders that put out a much more consistent product. It hits more than it misses, keeping this from being a dud on the value perspective - but that doesn't mean its scoring highly.
Score: 14

Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100): Ugh. These are the reviews that I dread. I want to be able to give it a better score based on the flavor being so pleasing (chocolate, wood, earth, nuts) and the strength being directly on the medium mark. The problem is that it lacks in the construction and appearance realm. I had 3 of these and all had the same sorts of issues - which you don't like to see at all when paying almost $10 per stick. It just doesn't work, meaning this one falls short of expectations. While it isn't an outright avoid, I see this more as a stick that I may pick up from time to time in order to catch the flavors, but I wouldn't stock up on them.
Score: 83

Friday, June 16, 2017

Oliva launches 3 new Inferno cigars with Famous Smoke Shop

EASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the largest American-owned distributor of discounted premium cigars online, has announced the extension of their Inferno line with three new cigars. Made in collaboration with Nicaragua’s Tabacalera Oliva, these new premium cigars will be made in Oliva’s factory and are available exclusively at Famous Smoke Shop, in store and online.

The new additions include Melt, Scorch, and Singe, representing the fourth, fifth, and sixth additions to the Inferno cast. Oliva and Famous Smoke Shop have been collaborating on the Inferno brand since 2012 with the debut of the original blend; subsequent releases have included Inferno Flashpoint and 3rd Degree premium cigars.

These new lines run the gamut in vitolas, strength, and the types of tobaccos used: Melt is a true Nicaraguan puro, box-pressed in a sun grown Broadleaf wrapper, Habano binder, and ligero filler. This premium is geared toward the connoisseur’s palate; full-bodied, full flavored, and complex with notes of cocoa, leather, earth and spice.

Scorch brings a mellow and complex profile to the table with a medium-bodied blend of Nicaraguan Habano filler, a Cuban-seed Habano binder, and a decadent African Cameroon wrapper. “The Cameroon wrapper has a unique flavor that really complements the Nicaraguan filler in a way that’s almost too good to be true,” says Jim Charnley, Director of Purchasing and Merchandising at Famous Smoke Shop.

Singe, also a Nicaraguan puro, brings more full-bodied flavor to the smoker’s palate with a Sun Grown wrapper and a hearty, yet sweet profile. “One of my new favorites. Singe is a solid, full-flavored Nicaraguan puro, loaded with sweet, spicy and nutty flavors. Oliva’s outdone themselves once again with another great smoke at a great price,” says CigarAdvisor.com Executive Editor, Gary Korb.

Just in time for summer, Inferno has turned up the heat while Famous Smoke Shop has kept the prices low on these new premiums. Each cigar is available in Famous’ exclusive 20 count humidor jars, a cigar storage system introduced in 2016 – and known now for their ease of use, stylish look, and eco-friendliness. All of the new Inferno selections are also available as 5-packs and singles.

Churchill 7 x 50 ____________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50 _____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Torpedo 6 ½ x 52 ___________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar
Churchill 7 x 50 ____________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50_____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Toro 6 x 50 _______________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar
Churchill 7 x 50 ___________________________________ $8.75 SRP per cigar or $99.99 per jar
Robusto 5 x 50 ____________________________________ $7.95 SRP per cigar or $90.99 per jar
Toro 6 x 50 _______________________________________ $8.25 SRP per cigar or $94.99 per jar

About Famous Smoke Shop 
Famous Smoke Shop is the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web’s lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

Famous Smoke Shop
90 Mort Drive
Easton, PA 18040

Ventura Cigar Company acquires Cuban Cigar Factory

The Tradition of high-quality craftsmanship continues
Ventura Cigar Company Acquires Cuban Cigar Factory and plans for increased distribution in 2018
June 2017 Ventura Cigar Company is pleased to announce the acquisition of Cuban Cigar Factory, a boutique, craft cigar business based out of San Diego, CA. The family-run Cuban Cigar Factory has been creating exceptional products for over 20 years, hand-making their cigars with unique blends that have made them local favorites. Ventura Cigar Company plans to increase distribution of these blends through their well-established sales channels, introducing the products to new audiences.
“We’re excited about bringing Cuban Cigar Factory into the fold of Ventura Cigar Company,” says Benjamin Winokur, Marketing Manager at Ventura Cigar Company. “Their reputation in the industry is admirable; we’re pleased to breathe new life into their blends and release them on a national scale.
Already known for crafting top-quality cigars, Ventura Cigar Company welcomes the premium blends from the Cuban Cigar factory into their portfolio of offerings. The first of these predicate blends is expected to be introduced in early 2018.
Mark Cassar, CEO of Kretek added, “We’re always looking for those hidden gems, there are amazing cigar-makers out there, but without distribution, they go largely undiscovered. We’re pleased to play an integral part in bringing new experiences and expertise to our customers, along with the traditions of exploring and savoring unique blends.”
Once launched, the blends will be distributed through Phillips & King, along with Ventura Cigar Company’s other brands and products. Additional information about the products and launch dates will be announced in the coming months.
We invite you to visit VenturaCigar.com for more information about the company’s present and future offerings.

About Ventura Cigar Company
Ventura Cigar Company (VCC) is a unique cigar brand born in sunny Southern California that is on a mission to create memorable, complex cigar blends that excite the senses and reward discriminating palates. Their flagship Archetype, Case Study, Project805, and PSyKo SEVEN brands offer multiple award-winning blends that earned 90+ ratings in Cigar Aficionado, Cigar & Spirits, and Cigar Snob. Ventura Cigar Company also distributes the 4th Generation and Comoy’s of London line of pipe tobacco products, extending its reach and tradition of offering top-quality tobacconist products. Pipes and blends under these brands are cultivated through generations of craftsmanship, making them longtime favorites of pipe tobacco enthusiasts.
About Cuban Cigar Factory
Established in 1995, in San Diego California, Cuban Cigar Company is a boutique brand that specializes in manufacturing premium cigars. Hand-rolled by master cigar makers from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Cuban Cigar Factory cigars have a long-standing reputation for quality, using the finest Cuban-shredded tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. They are a local favorite, sought after for their craftsmanship and enjoyable smoking experiences.