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Archive for the ‘Cigars’ Category

Origin : Cuba

Format : Corona Gorda

Size : 5.6” x 50

Wrapper : Cuba

Filler : Cuba

Binder : Cuba

Hand-Made

Price : $19.85

Hoyo de Monterrey was established in 1865 and is currently classified as a Global brand by Habanos S.A. The Epicure Especial was released in 2004 as an Edicion Limitada; however, the popularity of this cigar precipitated a re-release in 2008. The wrapper is beautifully blemish free with only a few small veins. The foot smells herbal and earthy with a bit of spice. An initial light reveals a rich earthy flavor with wood undertones. A developing complexity exposes notes of leather, cocoa, black cherry, and a lingering spice. The spice slowly builds to a climax in the final third. Toward the end the spice gives way to a pleasant herbal character as the cigar winds down. This Corona Gorda is well constructed and burns evenly.

92 points

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Origin : Dominican Republic

Format : Figurado

Size : 4” x 46/49

Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Filler : Dominican Republic

Binder : Dominican Republic

Hand-Made

Price : $6.50

 

The Arturo Fuente Short Story Maduro is not your typical cigar. Originally, only 200 cigars were given out at the 1999 and 2002 Cigar Family Celebrations combined. Surprisingly, the Short Story Maduro was shown at the 2011 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Convention (IPCPR) earlier this month. Keeping with tradition, Arturo Fuente is only releasing 1,000 boxes of the cigar to select retailers that purchased twenty or more boxes of Arturo Fuente cigars at the trade show.

The Short Story has a very dark brown blemish-free maduro wrapper with a light tooth. The wrapper leaf is beautiful and absolutely free of any noticeable veins. A graceful taper toward the head along with the pressed nipple foot give this diminutive cigar an elegant figuration. Yielding only very slightly to a gentle squeeze, it is evident that this Hemingway is rolled tightly and evenly. The prelight aroma is a dusty chocolate.

 The flawless draw on this perfecto facilitated a well-defined harmony of flavors. This cigar is characterized by its dominant slightly sweet and creamy flavors. Other flavors include hints of earthy chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, and nuts. The Hemingway is smooth, well balanced, and refined; however, it is conspicuously lacking some complexity.

 With a smoking time of just under an hour, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Maduro provided a refreshing set of distinct flavors well worth the modest cost. Get them while you can as a limited number are being released.

 

Appearance/Structure – 14/15

Smoking Characteristics – 23/25

Flavor – 22/25

Overall Impression – 33/35

Total – 92

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Dupont X·tend

When engaging in any hobby it is necessary to be equipped with the required accoutrements. Golfers must bring clubs, tennis players must have a racquet, and cigar smokers must have a lighter. While a Bic would get the job done it lacks the elegance and precision that a fine hand rolled cigar deserves. S.T. Dupont of Paris has been perfecting man’s discovery of fire since 1941 through their line of luxury lighters. Bargain shoppers should look elsewhere as Dupont’s most economical model is priced at over $100, and their most expensive sells for $85,000. Nonetheless, buyers accepting of the high price point will be rewarded with a cleverly engineered, precisely manufactured, and stylish showpiece that looks at home in the pocket of even the most formal piqué waistcoat. The Dupont X·tend is no exception.

The X·tend feels like an extension of the hand thanks to the gently contoured body with rounded edges. Depressing the large button on the side simultaneously opens two crescent-shaped doors covering the nozzle, starts the flow of butane, and ignites the fuel with a piezoelectric ignition. The action is smooth and positive. Of course, a tight blade of blue flame is emitted every time the button is pressed. An inconspicuous fuel window in the bottom of the lighter lets the owner see when a refill is required. Lighting even the largest ring gauge cigars is a breeze with the X·tend; the flame is powerful enough for a fast light but has the precision required for touching up the burn on a delicate wrapper leaf. If you appreciate precision instruments and want an elegant lighter look no further than the S.T. Dupont X·tend.

I would like to thank a certain cigar rep for the ridiculously absurd (practically giveaway) discount. 😉

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No, this isn’t another Cuban Montecristo; this is a domestic cigar distributed by Altadis that contains tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru, and Mexico. The No. 3 is a corona with large unsightly veins running through the blotchy wrapper. The bouquet of the unlit tobacco is slightly woody but fairly bland. After lighting, the cigar is bitter and papery from the first draw and shows no signs of improvement throughout the entire 5 1/2 inches. The smoke given off by the Montecristo Platinum is thin, astringent, and unpleasant. Shortly after the half way point the cigar becomes soft and nearly collapses. Almost unsmokable and not recommended.

-72 points

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El Sublimado

It isn’t every day that a long out of production cigar hearkening back from the boom years of the ‘90’s falls into your lap. The Texas Cigar Brothers company of Bedford, Texas recently stumbled upon a long forgotten stock of El Sublimado and El Incomparable cigars in the warehouse of a Honduran cigar factory and is making them available on a limited basis. The El Sublimado brand launched in 1993 and is unique because the tobacco used to make the cigar was cured in rooms with 50 years old Noces d’Or Cognac.

This cigar does not possess an overpowering aroma of cognac; the spirit’s scent on the wrapper is unmistakably present but is well balanced by the natural aroma of tobacco. The prelight aroma is a subtle mix of vanilla, toffee, spice, cedar, and tobacco. Deftly rolled with a beautifully uniform look and feel, it is clear that the El Sublimado was manufactured with care. The Connecticut seed wrapper remains rich in appearance and sill exudes a modest amount of oil.

Unlike the majority of infused cigars, the El Sublimado’s flavors are nuanced and delicate. The flavor of the Cognac is even less pronounced while smoking than it was in the aroma of the unlit wrapper. It remains rich and full of undertones but strikes a refreshing balance with the other flavors one would expect to find in non-infused tobacco. The smoke tastes of nuts, vanilla, and spice with a lingering finish of cedar. The 50 ring gauge robusto burned very evenly with a draw offering modestly firm resistance.

At around $17 per cigar, the El Sublimado is not inexpensive; however, it is very unique and worthy of purchase due to the unusual flavor combination. Lovers of an elegant cigar brimming with vivid flavors and a mellow texture should consider purchasing a package of five while they last. I would like to thank Texas Cigar Brothers for submitting this cigar for review. Additional information on these cigars can be found at http://www.texascigarbrothers.com/.

– 90 points

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This classic Cuban torpedo is arguably the gold standard of cigars. At 6 1/8 inches long with a 52 ring gauge this cigar feels sizable in the hand; however, the tapered head guides the smoke onto the palate in a nice concentrated stream. The milk cholocate-hued wrapper is smooth and rolled to perfection.

Even with seven years of box age, the Montecristo No. 2 remains a complex powerhouse. This cigar is brimming with notes of cedar, dark chocolate,  roasted coffee, and cinammon with an earthy, yet spicy finish. It’s a very rich and full bodied cigar but is balanced with a mellow and supple texture. This Montecristo No. 2 easily ranks among the best cigars I have had.

-96 points

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Getting the Right Cut

Novice cigar smokers quickly learn the value of a properly executed cut. A haphazard cut can cause an uneven draw, leave unsightly bits of tobacco in the mouth, and can even split the wrapper badly enough to leave the cigar unraveling in your hand. A proper cut from the deft hands of an aficionado will leave a perfect draw, a smooth head that feels satisfyingly rounded in the mouth, and a cigar that will stay firmly together for the duration of the smoke.

There are several tools that can be used to cut a cigar, but the double bladed guillotine cutter is by far the most popular – and for good reason. These cutters make a straight, even cut across the cap that almost always results in a lush draw. Slowly close the blades of the cutter until they just touch the shoulder of the cigar. The secret to a perfectly straight cut is to push on the cutter slightly as you close the blades. Pushing against the curve of the cigar will keep the blades from sliding off the rounded shoulder and making a crooked cut. Now bring the blades through the cap in one fluid and assertive stroke. A top quality cutter is a smart investment for any cigar smoker. Blades that are not properly sharpened, deburred, and hand-polished tend to crush or pinch the cigar before the cut is made. Try out the cutter before you make the purchase. It should feel comfortable in the hand and should be balanced so that the blades can be closed without excessive movement of the aperture. A fine hand rolled cigar deserves an equally impeccable cut.

Remember, a dry cigar will crack no matter how well it’s cut. Beginning with a perfectly humidified cigar is essential.

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