Monday, April 2, 2018

Black Works Studio Killer Bee

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 4.5
Ring: 46
Cost: $7.50

Background: The Killer Bee from Black Works studio is a smoke that I received as a gift from a fellow brother of the leaf. Admittedly it’s kind of cool to see a boutique blend like this that only comes in one single size – the corona extra.

Appearance (0-20): The most striking thing about this stick, aside from the label, is the cap. The deep Maduro wrapper is accented at the top with a swirl to give it the look of a bee. The bottom of the cigar features a closed foot, which is also not the typical that you would see of most other cigars. The band is also striking with a black backdrop, a green design across it, and gold embossed “KILLER BEE” and a large gold bee.
Score: 19
Construction (0-20): With such a small stick, I would expect that the construction would be pretty good, and from the first feel, it was. No issues of under or over packing are evident, and the initial cut was pretty close to being clean. The draw both pre and post light were perfect, with a burn line that stayed consistently straight throughout. The ash held for about an inch and a half at a time but was a bit on the flakey side.
Score: 18
Strength (0-20): Listed as medium to full, the Killer Bee does hit within that range. It actually begins a bit on the fuller side of things and tapers down slowly while smoking, ultimately resting in the medium or medium to full area.
Score: 17
Flavor (0-20): Light up and you’re going to be hit with black pepper immediately. The intensity of it drops back a little, giving way to cedar and a creamy chocolate. That black pepper doesn’t completely disappear though, sticking around on the retro throughout. The thing that makes this cigar interesting and kind of unique though is the citrus notes that come through and give this a real vibrancy.  All of the flavors continue to be prominent at different points of the cigar, transitioning back and forth and giving a very nice smoking experience.
Score: 19
Value (0-20): Size wise, I’m not really a fan of paying $7.50 for a corona, but this one makes it worth it. You are going to be paying a premium price for a premium smoke.
Score: 18
Additional Notes: Paired with water.

Overall (0-100): There is literally nothing in this smoke that I dislike. The presentation is one that stands out, construction is well above average, and the strength sticks where it should for a cigar of this caliber. At $7.50, you may question if the corona extra size is really worth it – and once you hit the flavor profile with full force you will realize it absolutely is worth every penny. Pepper, cedar, chocolate, and citrus are the stars of the show but work so well together that you won’t be able to help being satisfied with how this tastes. A lot of thought and care went into this stick, and it comes through.

Score: 91

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Famous Smoke Shop Unleashes the Upgraded Cigar Monster 2.0

Press Release:

EASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, 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 website. The release marks 10 years of growth and success for the company’s beloved sister site and price eating monster. Famous Smoke Shop has now utilized its advanced technological offerings to make using Cigar Monster easy and fun, all while saving its customers money.

Features Improved

Aside from a dynamic new look, cigar smokers will find several new and improved features, chiefly “Make Your Offer’, ‘Featured Monster Deals’ and ‘Daily Deals’. Formerly known as ‘Name Your Price’, Make Your Offer brings a little excitement to shopping for deals with new animations. Customers will get three attempts to make a deal, so they must choose wisely. The Cigars page is now simpler to use and features the daily deal as well as all featured deals. “Visiting the page is like a never-ending trip of deals. Monster lovers are going to love this new site,” says Fred Lunt, copywriter for Famous Smoke Shop.

A Farewell to the Cigar Monster App

Like all good things, they must one day come to an end. Due to imposing restrictions in the app market, the Cigar Monster App will no longer be active on IOS and Android app stores. While the app, debuted in 2015, has been a faithful companion to customers everywhere, it was time to move on. However, Cigar Monster’s mobile site received a generous bump and is now better than ever for customers who shop on smart phones and tablets.

To see Cigar Monster 2.0 click here:

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.

Crowned Heads La Careme Robusto

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler / Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra, Nicaragua
Length: 5
Ring: 50
Cost: $8.85

Background: Another day, and we have another Crowned Heads smoke to give a review to. This one was created as an homage to a chef who helped to popularize the soufflĂ© – Marie Antoine Careme. As such, I would expect this one to be a rich decadent smoke.  

Appearance (0-20): E.P. Carillo took over the production of Crowned Heads a while back and it’s somewhat evident in terms of the appearance. That isn’t always the best thing in the world since he often chooses function over form. The La Careme is an example of that – the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper looks to be on the rugged side of things with some ridges and major veins along the stick. The foot has a nice swirl of tobaccos and looks to be well packed. The band is simple but elegant – a white backdrop with a large blue “C” and La Careme beneath it. There is gold embossing to finish off the look with gold emblems flanking the sides.
Score: 14

Construction (0-20): I have already noted my issue with the veins in the appearance, but otherwise everything feels pretty solid. The pack job feels consistent throughout, so that’s a good sign. Giving this a trim on the cap and it ended up with very little debris. The draw was nearly perfect, if not just a slight bit tight on the initial draw. Once it was lit though it was perfect and remained that way throughout. The burn line also remained straight the entire way and the ash held for multiple inches at a time. So despite any reservations that I had initially the cigar performed well.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): This stick is listed as a medium strength cigar and pretty much hits that.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): Immediately after lighting up there is a strong earthy base to the cigar. You will find a nice bit of pepper on the tongue and retrohale along with a sweetness to balance it. The sweetness reminds me of a caramel flavoring. About halfway through there’s a nice cocoa flavor that joins the mix and melds in perfectly. All the flavors remain and continue the entire time.
Score: 19

Value (0-20): At close to $9 there are a lot of cigars on the market that this has to compete with. And compete it does. The flavors are enough to keep this one in the game.
Score: 17

Additional Notes: Paired with green tea. Cigar provided by Holt’s Cigar Company.

Overall (0-100): The La Careme comes through with a really solid smoke, despite the fact that it doesn’t look very pretty. Everything about this cigar otherwise is good. The construction is great, a medium strength profile that it hits almost to a T, and flavors that are hard to beat. While it isn’t an overly complex cigar, Crowned Heads is able to layer flavors that play well together – an earthy base, pepper, caramel sweetness, and a nice cocoa. With the $8.85 price, it’s got a lot to compete with but its worthy of that.
Score: 87

Black Works Studio announces the S&R

Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) is pleased to announce the upcoming release of S&R: Hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragaua at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

January 31, 2018— Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) is pleased to announce the upcoming release of S&R: Hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragaua at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

S&R will be available at select BLK WKS retailers for a limited time. This offering will add to the BLK WKS portfolio consisting of the Killer Bee, Green Hornet, NBK and Rorschach.

“S&R is an elegant smoke with complex flavors and a rich, refined finish. This cigar represents a lot of firsts for us. It is the first BLK WKS cigar to use Dominican tobacco, the first to be a softer medium profile and the first production cigar we have made with a Sumatra wrapper. I find the result to be a perfect combination,” said James Brown, creator of BLK WKS and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

S&R will be available in limited quantities at select BLK WKS retailers in February 2018.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sumatra with a pigtail cap
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican
Lancero6.75 x 42 (20 count) MSRP $9.50
Corona Gorda5.5 x 46 (20 count) MSRP $9.50

BLK WKS cigars are an expression of art showcasing the talent, technique and tobacco behind our boutique cigar factory; Fabrica Oveja Negra.

BLK WKS cigars are available for purchase through Boutiques Unified. For more information contact

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

E.P. Carrillo Dusk Solidos

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Broadleaf)
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua, Ecuador
Length: 6
Ring: 60
Cost: $8.60
BackgroundRated as one of the top 25 cigar of 2017, EP Carrillo has put forward a product that is a tribute to his favorite time of the day - Dusk. This comes with a rich Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan filler, and an Ecuadorian binder.

Appearance (0-20): There is kind of a bait and switch happening here with the Dusk. When I went to pick the stick up it looked great. The gold, blue, and red on the band all work well together and give it a nice contrast against the stick. The Connecticut broadleaf on there looks rich and flavorful, and really quite beautiful. That is until I turned the stick over to reveal a couple of large ridges in the wrapper. Seeing this I picked up a couple of others from the same box and found there are a decent amount of imperfections across all of them. Not a great way to start things off, but hopefully it wouldn't cause any issues with the actual smoke. Strike one, regardless.
Score: 14
Construction (0-20): Strike two happens pretty quickly after looking at the stick. I can actually feel a couple of pockets close to the foot that are... lets say poorly filled to be nice. By putting just the slightest amount of pressure there, it created a divot that can be see in the picture showing the burn line (its along the wrap itself). Yet the issues didn't really have any affect on the way it burned (which was even), how it held (multiple inches at a time), and how it drew (just slightly loose).
Score: 14

Strength (0-20): Listed as a medium to full stick - this hits the mark pretty well. It begins solidly in the medium realm and builds ever so slightly as you progress through the smoke, eventually falling just short of full. It avoids the strikeout for now...
Score: 18
Flavor (0-20): With nothing more than a puff, strong cedar and bitter coffee flavors come through. There is something sweet that I can't place, but it works well to balance the bitterness. there is a hint of pepper on the retrohale but nothing too crazy. As it progresses further there are some hints of chocolate and a little nuttiness. The chocolate continually amps up and takes over, leaving the rest of the flavors as a mere footnote (pun intended) in comparison. Honestly, the melding of those flavors in the background is superb and continues through the remainder of the smoke.
Score: 19
Value (0-20): This is a big stick at about an $9.00 price - and from a flavor standpoint its worth it. However, its still a bit on the high end given the overall makeup of the cigar and some of the issues I noted with both the appearance and construction. I'm not willing to call strike 3, but it was a close call.
Score: 15
Additional Notes: Paired with water.
Overall (0-100): If we are talking flavor and flavor alone - this cigar my be worthy of being a contender for one of the top 25 cigars of 2017. Personally I don't get it. There are so many missteps from Carrillo in terms of quality control that I just can't brush under the rug. Cigars, by their nature, are going to be imperfect beasts. That doesn't mean they need to look completely rugged though, which is how the Dusk seems to have been made. I am completely unimpressed with the overall look and feel of the stick, but the redeeming point to it is the strength and flavors are on point. This medium to full smoke has great flavors of chocolate, cedar, nuts, bitter coffee, pepper, and an inherent sweetness. I feel like this is one I will revisit in the future because of its flavor alone - but is it really worth the top 25 rating it received?

Score: 80

Friday, January 12, 2018

Crowned Heads Luminosa Toro

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Filler / Binder: ???
Length: 6.5
Ring: 52
Cost: $8.50

Background: A friend of mine recommended giving this as a try for the first cigar of the day. His exact words were, “this is the perfect cigar to prime your palate, and goes great with a coffee or tea.” Where most Crowned Heads selections are a little more on the heavy side, this was specifically made to cater to the lighter end of the market.

Appearance (0-20): No qualms with the appearance here. The Connecticut shade wrapper is one that will show imperfections pretty easily but this one only has a few minimal veins of note. The wrap job looks well done as it’s all clean. Crowned Heads went with a simple band with a nice orange backdrop, a circular design on the band, and Luminosa in a bronze color across a brown swatch.
Score: 18

Construction (0-20): The Luminosa sports a soft but dry wrapper. The foot looks pretty good with what looks to be an even pack job. Feeling along the length of the cigar there are a couple of areas that I have concerns with because it’s under packed. My hope is it wouldn’t affect the overall smoke. The cut was a bit messy. When smoking though, it held together decently with about an inch at a time between ashes. The draw was perfect, and the burn line held close to straight.
Score: 16

Strength (0-20): Mild to medium in strength and it sticks there. It begins a bit more on the mild side and builds, though it never gets out of the mild to medium range.
Score: 19

Flavor (0-20): The first few puffs of the cigar have just the slightest bit of bittersweet chocolate with a really creamy base. Quickly you will find that a light cedar flavor works its way in and sticks around. It’s not overpowering by any means. As it continues there is a milk chocolate and maybe a slight bit of vanilla. The flavors pretty much continue along with the same ones that have been noted, melding seamlessly. The smoke is not absurdly complex, but everything works together very well.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): At a price of $8.50 per stick, it’s priced appropriately. This is a solid boutique cigar for the lower strength scale that’s well balanced.
Score: 18

Additional Notes: Paired with black tea. The cigar was provided by Holt's Cigar Company.

Overall (0-100): Admittedly, I am not too much of a lighter cigar smoker but if it’s one that is well done, I am willing to give it a shot. The Luminosa is one of those aforementioned cigars. It’s a great smoke for any part of the day, but I could see this one falling into a normal rotation for me as a beginning of the day cigar. The flavors are harmonious with milk chocolate, cream, cedar, and vanilla with a mild to medium strength that matches it very well. Again, this has an appropriate price for what it is.
Score: 89