Quick Smoke: Tatuaje La Vérité Churchill 2008

22 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

“Much like a single vineyard wine, La Vérité showcases the soil where the tobacco was grown… The seed varietal varies from year to year based on the crop planted and the tobacco yielded.” That was the pitch for La Vérité when it was introduced, and the original 2008 edition featured tobaccos all from the Garcia’s La Estrella farm in Estelí. A decade since the tobaccos were grown, the Churchill (7 x 47) features notes of graphite, leather, oak, cinnamon, and pepper spice. I’m not certain it’s continuing to improve with age, but the well-constructed cigar is certainly enjoyable.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda

21 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

If appearance were the standard, the Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda (6 x 46) could compete in any contest. Rich, oily Ecuadorian Corojo ’99 wrapper. Perfectly placed triple cap. Nicely done band. Even the first few puffs are pleasing. Unfortunately, the rest of the cigar doesn’t measure up. This was primarily due to a sourness that, while not overwhelming, was too prominent to allow other flavors to make their mark. The sour note also lingered on the finish. I plan to try one or two more in the line, perhaps different sizes, because I feel like there’s promise. But until that promise is better fulfilled, it’s difficult to recommend a buy.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente Announced, Bishops Blend 2018 Ships, and More

20 Apr 2018

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 575th in the series.

1) Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate are collaborating to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) by launching a TAA-exclusive cigar. Called Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente (6.75 x 50), the box-pressed Nicaraguan puro is made with five-year-old tobaccos and is Joya de Nicaragua CEO Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca’s favorite vitola. “When I requested the Gran Reserva blend in the Presidente size, it immediately became my private smoke,” he said. “I decided to share it only for special occasions. I can’t think of a better opportunity than this shared celebration of five decades of perseverance and companionship between TAA, its members, and Joya de Nicaragua.” Presidente is expected to ship next month and will retail for $12.50.

2) Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) this week announced the shipment of the 2018 vintage of Bishops Blend, and two-vitola line made with an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper, Ecuadorian Habano binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Connecticut (Broadleaf), and Pennsylvania (Broadleaf). “I’m very excited about the third release of Bishops Blend,” said BLTC creator James Brown. “This is one of our most anticipated releases of the year and the 2018 vintage will not disappoint. The 2018 boasts big, bold flavors of anise, pepper, raisins and a sweet earthiness on the finish. It is very complex and extremely refined. As with the past vintages, the Broadleaf fillers shine at the forefront and are perfectly balanced by the Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.” The cigars—a Corona Larga (6.25 x 46, $11.50) and a Robusto (5 x 48, $11)—are made at BLTC’s Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.

3) The largest tobacco producer in Central America, Plasencia Cigars, is moving to create a natural forest at one of its farms in Estelí. “When Plasencia Cigars’ CEO Nestor Andres Plasencia stumbled upon a 2014 TED Talk by the founder of Afforestt, he was immediately inspired,” reads a press release. “In it, the founder and president, Shubhendu Sharma, speaks about a methodology used to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere, in a tenth of the time it would take a natural forest to grow.” Plasencia owns and operates over 3,000 acres of land in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama. The new project calls for planting 40 trees in the shape of the Plasencia logo at the company’s Estelí plantation.

4) Inside the Industry: Michael Giannini has been promoted to the position of general manager at Ventura Cigar Company, and will also retain his current role of creative director. “I am so proud and honored to accept my new responsibilities…,” he said. “As we continue to receive top ratings for our Archetype, Psyko, and Case Study brands, we’re also forging bold, straight paths toward new products and steady growth. This move is really a natural progression of my career and will be a seamless transition as the brands evolve.” Giannini joined Ventura in November after 17 years at General Cigar Co., where he landed after Swedish Match bought Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s successful boutique brand that made La Gloria Cubana. Giannini is perhaps best known for his work at the helm of Foundry Cigar Co., a subsidiary of General that launched in 2012 and operated as a boutique with exotic packaging, obscure brand names, baroque themes, limited editions, and elaborate stories about the tobaccos.

5) From the Archives: Cigars may be our forte, but we can also help in the kitchen. Back in 2012, we offered up some suggestions for picking and cooking a an excellent steak.

6) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, shaving kits, workout gear, and more) delivered for just $45. Of note is the Churchill box, which features four exclusive cigars, an ashtray made of reclaimed wood, an odor-eating candle, cedar spills, and a cutter. Once you are signed up, there is no obligation; you can skip or purchase each month. Sign up now to be eligible for the May box.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Joya de Nicaragua

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Hermoso No. 4 Añejados (Cuban)

19 Apr 2018

The premise of Habanos’ new Añejados line, first introduced in 2015, is simple: Cuban cigars aged for at least five years in their box before being released. The appeal is obvious, too.

Cuba’s national cigar maker has a reputation for distributing cigars that, even if not obviously under-aged, benefited from extended post-purchase aging. Now, rather than age the cigars yourself, you can pay a premium for cigars with five to eight years of age.

The Hoyo de Monterrey Hermoso No. 4 Añejados was introduced in early 2016, along with the Partagás Corona Gorda Añejados. (In 2015, the original Añejados offerings consisted of a Romeo y Julieta Píramides and the Montecristo Churchill.)

The Hoyo de Monterrey Hermoso No. 4 Añejados is a new size (5 x 48) for the Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey lineup. I purchased two samples for about 18 euros each, including taxes.

The cigar features solid construction despite it’s slightly spongy touch, a frequent characteristic of Cuban cigars. But combustion is excellent, with a open draw, even burn, and solid ash.

The dominant flavors include balanced cedar and café au lait. There’s also hickory notes along with subtle clove, especially towards the second half of the cigar.

This is a good Cuban cigar, with medium-bodied flavors, though it’m not sure it is far better than a standard Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey that has a year or two of age.

Ultimately, you pay a premium for an assurance of a cigar that isn’t underaged, but the balanced, rich flavors of Hoyo de Monterrey Hermoso No. 4 Añejados still earns it a very solid rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Habanos/Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Fable Fourth Prime Sapta

16 Apr 2018

Back in October, I reviewed the Fable Fourth Prime Mersenne (5.25 x 56), an intense, flavorful cigar that’s a highly enjoyable experience. I made it a point to try other sizes in the blend. Next up is the gran toro-sized Sapta (6.25 x 54), which runs about $11 (not including horrid taxes here in Chicago).

For the uninitiated, Fable comes from RoMa Craft’s home factory in Estelí, Nicaragua: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. The brand debuted in early 2016 and is made for owners Sean Kremenetski and Mitul Shah.

Fourth Prime is Fable’s inaugural release. (There is only one other line listed on Fable’s website, Fourth Prime Limited Production; but, again, the brand has only been around for about two years, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a small portfolio, especially if that portfolio is really solid.) The line pays homage to “the story of the number seven and the significance it holds in our world.”

Fourth Prime is described as “medium to full strength” with “full flavor” and “full aroma.” It is available in four sizes: Sapta (6.25 x 54), Mi (5.75 x 46), Doc (4.25 x 52), and Mersenne (5.25 x 56). The recipe includes a dark Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper, an Ecuadorian Habano Ligero binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The name “Sapta” is “derived from the Indian cultural term Saptarisi, or Sapta Rishi, meaning ‘Seven Sages’—prominent religious figures that parallel the traditional saints of mainstream religion. This size has a personal connection to Mitul Shah through his roots in Indian culture, religion, and tradition.”

Like Mersenne, Sapta is toothy and textured yet devoid of anything but the slimmest of veins. It is rectangle-pressed and fairly firm to the touch. Despite that firmness, though, the flattened cap clips easily to reveal an ultra-smooth cold draw.

Unlike Mersenne, which starts full-bodied, full-strength, and spice-forward with a meaty texture, Sapta is more airy, almost marshmallow-y, in texture. It tastes of nougat, cream, dark chocolate, and coffee bean. There is little spice or heat. This makes it possible for the aforementioned flavors to shine through in a balanced, harmonious way.

My comments about the construction of Mersenne can be repeated verbatim for Sapta: “The combustion properties are impeccable, as one would expect from NicaSueño. The burn line is perfect, the white ash holds well off the foot, the draw is super-clear, and the smoke production is ridiculously voluminous.”

The key differentiation between these sizes is the thick meatiness and grittiness of the Mersenne profile. Sapta is lighter, sweeter, airier, and—in my option, at least—more complex, better balanced, and more enjoyable. I recommend the Fable Fourth Prime Sapta highly and award it four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Illusione 888 Maduro

15 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

All things being equal, I’m not a big fan of cigars that employ Mexican San Andrés wrappers. But this Churchill-sized Illusione, which has over three years of age and also uses Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 tobaccos, is no average Mexican Maduro. It features a medium-bodied combination of oak, cocoa, slight clove, wood, and leather. The complex smoke has a flawless burn, including a sturdy ash that holds for a full two inches.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Black Label Trading Company Killer Bee

14 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Killer Bee (4.5 x 46) retails for $7.50 and sports Nicaraguan tobaccos beneath its dark, clean, oily, and moderately veined Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. Its closed foot, beautiful “linear cap,” and eye-catching band of black, gold, and green makes this a striking petit corona from an appearance perspective. The flavor is bold and powerful with notes of spicy cedar, char, oak, and molasses. Construction is impressive. I’ve had this particular specimen in one of my humidors for nearly 20 months. Time seems to have smoothed it out a bit, resulting in a more complex, balanced experience. Thinking back on my review from September 2016, I enjoyed the Killer Bee more this time around.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys