Quick Smoke: My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo

24 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

My Father Connecticut

When My Father introduced the Connecticut in 2014, Janny Garcia told Cigar Aficionado that it was “the one cigar that was missing in our lineup.” Apparently, it still is. It didn’t show up in the listing of “our brands” on the My Father website. Nonetheless, it’s well worth checking out. With a beautiful light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and binder and filler from the Garcia’s Nicaraguan farms, it’s a mild cigar that has plenty of taste, even starting with a little pepper. The blend is creamy, smooth and well balanced. I smoked the 6×60 gordo because it was the only vitola available at the shop I visited. I’d prefer a smaller ring gauge (like the robusto pictured), but it certainly wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Galera 1936 Box Pressed Chaveta

22 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Since seemingly no one in the cigar industry can resist commemorating an anniversary, it’s no surprise that the La Galera 1936 Box Pressed was introduced in 2016 to celebrate 80 years since the Blanco family opened its factory in the Dominican Republic. With an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Dominican binder, and Dominican Piloto Cubano and Criollo ’98 filler, I thought the Robusto (5 x 50, $7.50) offered promise. But it began with a bit of harshness and didn’t begin to smooth out until roughly the midpoint, when I picked up light spice and earthiness. The harshness returned in the final third. Construction was fine, with a solid burn and good draw.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Spirits: Ardbeg Drum Committee Release (2019)

20 Mar 2019

As whisky grows in popularity, limited edition whisky releases grow even faster. You’d be hard-pressed to go a week or two without multiple new bourbons, ryes, or single malts being announced.

Increasingly, I don’t bother trying to track down these limited releases. The price and/or rarity makes it not worth it, with only a few exceptions: either because they are reliably good for the money, or because something about the offering is particularly interesting.

The latter is the case for Ardbeg Drum Committee Release. Each year, Ardbeg puts out two variations of their annual releases that is a unique twist on Ardbeg’s peat-forward style. (The Committee Release is a higher ABV offering that is more limited, while a standard issue release is priced slightly lower and bottled at a more traditional ABV, usually around 90%.)

Given my appreciation for Ardbeg’s Uigeadail (a high-proof release that shows off the results of Ardbeg’s peat in sherry casks), I was particularly interested in Drum, which for the first time put Ardbeg Single Malt into American rum casks (reportedly rum casks from the Guyana distillery where El Dorado is made).

This year’s Ardbeg Committee Release ($120) weighs in at 52% ABV. Exact aging details aren’t disclosed except that the whisky is aged in ex-bourbon casks for a period before secondary aging in rum casks. The resulting sprit is pale in color and slightly murky in appearance.

The nose is a hint of what’s to come with light smoke, brown banana peel, and red hot candies. The palate is a classic Ardbeg peaty profile (gritty smoke and petrol) with added lavender, anise, pear, and hints of pineapple. The finish is long and complex with pine smoke, cinnamon, lemon, and leather.

It’s a complex offering that shows off a subtle complexity from the rum barrel finish. Frankly, while I enjoyed it, I was hoping the rum element would be a little more prominent, but that is more because of my affinity towards single malts that combine peat and sweet (more traditionally from sherry casks).

For fans of the entire Ardbeg line, this (or the forthcoming $100 non-Committee Drum release) is an offering worth seeking out. For those just dabbling in Ardbeg’s offerings, I’d recommend trying Uigeadail and Corryvreckan, which are both more complex and more affordable ($70-80).

Like most peaty single malts, a mild cigar will get lost next to Drum, so stick with something more flavorful. I particularly enjoyed the My Father and Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary paired with the Ardbeg Drum Committee Release.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Curivari Café 52

18 Mar 2019

For years, my colleague has praised the Buenaventura line by Curivari as not only an excellent smoke, but an excellent value. The cigars—which sport a classic, Cubanesque presentation and have been wellreviewed at StogieGuys.com on numerous occasions—also retail at a very refreshing price point. To this day, when people ask me to recommend an inexpensive cigar that punches above its weight, Buenaventura is usually on the short list.

Still, Curivari doesn’t seem to receive the attention it deserves. Perhaps this is due to its (seemingly purposeful) low profile. In stark contrast to many other boutique brands that employ social media to create a personal connection to between their customers and cigar makers or owners, Curivari’s owner—Andreas Throuvalis—operates behind the scenes, rendering the brand almost faceless.

And Curivari’s spartan website doesn’t help matters. There, you won’t find much more background info than this: “In all our cigars, we use only the traditional Cuban cigar making process with authentic Cuban Criollo and Corojo seed grown in Nicaragua…. Curivari cigars are made with 100% Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobacco. We blend for a classic Cuban flavor profile that we enjoy, not with focus on strength, but more looking for flavor and aroma in a right balance. All cigars are finished with a triple-cap.”

The Curivari Café line is described as “medium- to full-bodied… with lots of coffee and cocoa undertones.” It is offered in three sizes: Petit Café (4.5 x 42), 60 (5.5 x 58), and 52 (5 x 52).

The 52 retails for $8.25. This Nicaraguan puro boasts soft notes of hay and cedar at the unlit foot. It is spongy to the touch with moderate oils on its smooth, seamless surface and an understated band of sepia and gold. Notably, the filler and binder extend a bit beyond the wrapper. The cold draw is easy with a hint of oaky sweetness on the lips.

After an even light is established, the initial puffs are salty, dry, and loaded with spicy cedar and cinnamon. The spice, while still present, backs off quickly, leaving behind notes of café au lait, cocoa powder, and a little cashew.

But one characteristic of the profile that doesn’t recede is the dryness. The Curivari Café consistently hits my palate in a dry, salty way. For this reason, when it comes to pairing, I’d recommend a citrusy cocktail with a bit of sweetness, as opposed to coffee or a neat finger of bourbon or scotch. Some, including the folks at Curivari, will disagree with this; they call the Café line “a perfect compliment [sic] for coffee.”

Throughout, the burn line is less than stellar, and several touch-ups are needed to keep things even. Every other aspect of combustion, however, is admirable. The gray ash holds pretty well off the foot, the draw is clear, and the smoke production is generous.

The final third of the Curivari Café 52 isn’t much different than the rest. Expect cedar spice, cocoa, some cinnamon, coffee, and dry earth. The next time I try this robusto I may sample it with a limoncello gin martini, a citrus rye and ginger, or simply a Cuba libre. On its own with nothing but water, it earns three stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Caldwell Long Live the King The Heater

17 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This corona (5.75 x 46) employs Dominican Corojo wrapper and binder tobaccos around Peruvian Pelo de Oro and Nicaraguan Habana Ligero filler. The medium- to full-bodied cigar has notes of dried dates, oak, black pepper, coffee, and leather. For $9, you get a well-constructed cigar full of complex flavors.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Caldwell Cigars IG

Quick Smoke: Drew Estate Unico Serie Nasty Fritas

15 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Last summer, Drew Estate unveiled three smaller vitolas for Liga Privada No. 9 and T52 lines—Corona Viva, Short Panatela, and Petit Corona—plus the Unico Serie Nasty Fritas. “The Nasty Fritas utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro wrapper and a plantation-grown Brazilian Mata Fina binder over Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers,” read a press release dated from July 2018. “Like the Papas Fritas, the Nasty Fritas filler tobacco incorporates leftover tobacco leaves that are short cut through the manufacture of Liga Privada No. 9 and Liga Privada T52 cigars.” Nasty Fritas is a “conical vitola” measuring just shy of 4 inches long with a ring gauge of 52 at its widest point. It is sold in 50-count boxes for $325, or $6.50 per cigar, and features a pigtail cap and closed foot. The burn line is a bit temperamental, but the flavors—cocoa, coffee, and the hints of sweet grassiness that are (to me, at least) synonymous with Liga—are enough to merit a recommendation.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: My Father Connecticut Robusto

13 Mar 2019

Few brands have earned the across-the-board high ratings as My Father Cigars. Launched in 2008, My Father is owned by the Garcia family and showcases the cigar blending skills of Don José “Pepin” Garcia and his son, Jaime Garcia.

In 2014, the brand announced a new addition, its first-ever cigar featuring a Connecticut wrapper. My Father Connecticut (or “Edition CT”) features a Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian wrapper. The Nicaraguan binder and filler it surrounds are grown on the Garcia family’s farms.

My Father Connecticut comes in four sizes: Robusto (5.25 x 52), Toro (6.5 x 54), Toro Gordo (6 x 60), and Corona Gorda (6 x 48). I smoked three of the Robustos, which retail for around $8 each.

The tan wrapper with few visible veins surrounds a cigar that is neither overly firm, nor particularly spongy. The draw is open and the cigar’s combustion qualities are superb, with a even burn and ash that easily holds for an inch.

The cigar features a combination of leather, hay, butter, hints of fresh clipped grass, and a white pepper spice. As it progresses, the spice fades as wood and earth notes become more prominent in the complex, medium-bodied profile. Coffee, cinnamon, and cedar spice linger on the finish.

My Father Connecticut is another well-made addition to the My Father portfolio, though its occasionally unbalanced flavors lack the sophistication and complexity of many of the My Father blends that came before and after. Hardly your grandfather’s mild, bland Connecticut-wrapped cigar, the My Father Connecticut Robusto earns a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys