Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana Suave Maceo

16 Jun 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.”

I don’t think I’ve smoked this blend from La Flor Dominicana since it was called the Premium line. (That was two names ago; it was briefly renamed “La Flor Dominicana Light” in 2012.) Long associated with fuller-bodied, ligero-heavy offerings, the truth is Litto Gomez and La Flor Dominicana started off with milder offerings, including this cigar, which features a pale golden Connecticut Shade wrapper and Dominican filler tobaccos. This robusto emphasizes balance and mildness, though it does have honey sweetness with cream, subtle cut grass, and light cedar. It’s not my preferred flavor profile, but it’s a flawlessly constructed example of a premium, mild-bodied cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Drew Estate Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial

14 Jun 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.”

The intense pre-light floral aroma from this cigar’s Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper is a quick tipoff that it isn’t a typical maduro. And that plays out from beginning to end. There’s not a lot of the usual coffee, chocolate, or cocoa frequently associated with other maduros. The Brazilian Maduro Toro (6 x 52, $9.68) opens with a shot of pepper that yields to notes of light spice, some sweetness, and leather in a smooth, well-balanced blend. Strength is firmly in the medium range. It burns slowly, produces lots of smoke, and has an excellent draw. With a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, you might expect more complexity, but I found it to be a fairly straightforward smoke. That’s not a criticism; I thoroughly enjoyed what it presented. This addition to Drew Estate’s Herrera Estelí line was introduced last year. It comes in five sizes, all in boxes of 25. I suggest you pick one up.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Robusto

12 Jun 2019

 

Last year Diesel debuted Whiskey Row, an A.J. Fernandez-made cigar featuring tobaccos aged in bourbon barrels from the Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. This month the follow-up collaboration arrived: Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask.

Like the original, the binder has been aged in Rabbit Hole’s barrels. But this time the casks has been used to age Pedro Ximenez Sherry before being filled with bourbon for a brief finishing period to make Rabbit Hole PX Sherry Cask Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey. (Look for an upcoming Cigar Spirits article on this bourbon.) Unlike the Mexican San Andrés binder used in last year’s Whiskey Row, this cigar uses an Arapiraca barrel-aged binder from Central Brazil’s Alagoas region.

Like the original Diesel Whiskey Row, the filler is all Nicaraguan. (No word on whether it uses the same three-region combination.) The most visible change from last year’s line is a dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper.

Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask comes in three sizes priced from $8.49 to $9.49: the Robusto (5 x 52) I smoked, plus a Toro (6 x 50) and a Gigante (6 x 58). Construction on the three pre-release samples I smoked was outstanding with an even burn, sturdy ash, and flawless draw that had just the right amount of resistance.

Pre-light you can pick up the hints of the barrel-aged tobacco with deep char notes with caramel and dried fruit. Once lit, the charred notes remain and combine with classic earthy Nicaraguan flavors, light pepper, and lots of chocolate and espresso.

As the cigar progresses, there isn’t a whole lot of variation, though some dried fruit notes come and go. The cigar has a finish that lingers on the roof of the mouth, and has a notably cool smoke that seems to temper those full flavors just slightly.

It’s impressive to think how far the Diesel brand has come along: from a catalog house brand (albeit a notably well-reviewed one) to a full line of cigars now with multiple blends in regular distribution. (Read the original Diesel Whiskey Row review for more on that history.) Without a doubt, handing the reins to the prolific and talented A.J. Fernandez is a large factor in that success.

There’s little reason to believe Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask won’t be another success for the blend. Priced fairly, well-constructed, and with deep, rich flavors the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Robusto earns an impressive rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro Robusto

10 Jun 2019

La Palina has accomplished a lot in the decade since the brand was launched, or technically re-launched. (The original La Palina was introduced in 1896, and later developed by the vision of William S. Paley, who went on to found CBS.)

We attended the La Palina launch event in 2010 when the company introduced its first cigar, made at Graycliff in the Bahamas. If you had told us then where this brand would be now, we would have been both impressed and surprised.

Since 2010, La Palina has debuted a steady stream of new cigars, many of them highly rated here at StogieGuys.com. One of the latest, introduced in 2016, is La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro. Like its sister blend that was launched the same year, La Palina Nicaragua Connecticut, it—along with so many other brands—aims to capitalize on the industry’s growing fascination with all things Nicaragua.

La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro is crafted at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. with an Ecuadorian oscuro wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. It is available in three vitolas, each packaged in boxes of 20: Gordo (6 x 58, $9.50), Toro (6 x 50, $8.50), and Robusto (5 x 52, $7.99).

The Robusto is a beautiful-looking cigar with handsome double bands of white, cream, black, and gold. Beneath is a dark, slightly reddish wrapper leaf with abundant oils and a few prominent veins. The cap is a bit sloppy, though it clips easily enough to reveal an effortless cold draw with some faint sweetness on the lips. The foot exhibits a relatively loose packing of filler tobaccos and dry pre-light notes of oak and syrup.

The Nicaragua Oscuro has the look of a full-bodied cigar, and the introductory profile lives up to that expectation. Espresso, leather, almond, and black pepper comprise the core, while notes of sweet cherry and cream add balance. As the cigar progresses into the midway point, the flavor remains consistent (save for the black pepper tasting more like white pepper and the cream becoming more prominent), but the body settles into the medium spectrum. The mouthfeel is thick and chalky.

From there, I find few changes; the final third is more of the same, which is fine by me. I like the profile from the get-go, and the only major shift (from the first third to the second) is an improvement: less body, but a more balanced taste. Fortunately, the physical properties only add to my enjoyment. The burn line is straight, the white ash holds well off the foot, the smoke production is voluminous, and the draw is smooth.

A.J. Fernandez makes many fine cigars, and La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro Robusto is no exception, especially when you consider the sub-$10 price point. In my book, this fine cigar is worthy of a box consideration and a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Corojo Limited Edition 2008 ‘A’

9 Jun 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.”

Some cigars sit in your humidor for years unsmoked. In this case, it’s because I rarely have time to smoke an ‘A’ size, which is generally 8-9 inches long with a ring gauge of 50. Thanks to my email account, I can see that I picked up a “Rocky Patel Limited Edition 2008 ‘A’ Sampler” (16 cigars) back in April 2009 for about $5 a cigar, though I’m sure the suggested retail price was quite a bit more. The decade of age hasn’t mellowed this full-bodied smoke, which was subsequently cancelled only to be brought back in 2018. The cigar features an especially oily (age may be a factor here) Honduran Corojo wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler. The flavors are heavy in leather and oak with light spice.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Ventura Psyko Seven Robusto

7 Jun 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.”

When I reviewed the Psyko Seven Robusto back in the fall of 2013, the just-released offering from Ventura Cigar was making a splash for its unique presentation. (You can’t see it in the “action” photo above because the enormous outer band needs to be removed before you can fire up the cigar, but you can see it here; and by “it” I mean a white prescription form enticing you to “medicate your mind” with a six-country blend of tobaccos, signed by “El Diablo Blanco.”) But this Dominican-made product from the legendary Henke Kelner has substance to back up its style. Six years of age hasn’t changed the Robusto (5.5 x 50) much, but that’s fine by me since it had performance and flavor from the get-go. The balanced, mild- to medium-bodied profile is bready with notes of cream, almond, oak, and some cinnamon spice. The original asking price was $7, but now you can find it for a bit less if you shop around. That makes it an easy cigar to recommend.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Cohiba Connecticut Robusto

5 Jun 2019

General Cigar labels its latest Cohiba a “super-premium release” and continues to expand the range of the U.S.-only line. The Cohiba Connecticut would seem to be aimed at luring high-end smokers attracted to cigars such as those produced by Davidoff, Ashton, and God of Fire.

It is a legitimate contender.

The first impression comes from the wrapper, a nearly flawless Connecticut-seed leaf grown in cloudy Ecuador. The pre-light aroma is sweet and floral.

The binder is Mexican San Andrés, which, fortunately for my taste, seemed to have little impact on the cigar’s overall flavor. The filler comes from Brazil (Mata Fina), the Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano and Olor), and Nicaragua (Jalapa).

At first, there is a touch of the typical Connecticut grassy flavor. It is barely a hint, though, and quickly subsides as other tastes come to the fore.

There’s some spice and a deep, bread-like taste to the thick smoke. Other flavors I noted along the way were a citrus tang, an almost syrupy sweetness, and leather.

Construction and performance were first-rate in each of those I smoked. Strength was in the medium range.

Cohiba Connecticut comes in four sizes, including two different Robustos. The tubo Crystal Robusto (5 x 50) lists at $20.99. The Robustos (5.5 x 50) I smoked have an MSRP of $19.99. The other two vitolas are a Toro (6.25 x 52, $21.99) and a Gigante (6 x 60, $22.99).

Some cigar enthusiasts disdain the non-Cuban Cohiba, viewing it as an overpriced, crass attempt to exploit Cuba’s incredibly successful cigar line originally produced for Fidel Castro. Unlike other Cuban brand names used in the U.S., Cohiba is a post-revolution cigar. Legal wrangling over the trademark between Cuba and General Cigar, initiated more than 20 years ago, continues.

While relatively few of us light up $20 cigars on a regular basis, if you occasionally reach for a high-end smoke I’d suggest you add Cohiba Connecticut to your list of possibilities. It’s a worthy smoke, and one that I rate four stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys