21 Aug 2007
Atop this page is a picture of all three members of the StogieGuys.com staff. Taken circa December 2006, it shows George E., myself, and Patrick S. in front of a cigar factory in the heart of Ybor City.
Since Patrick S. and I live in Washington and George lives in Florida, this gathering was a rare occasion – but it sure was memorable. We spent an afternoon walking from cigar shop to shop, visiting several cafés for Cuban coffee and good eats.
Among our stops was King Corona Cigars, a bar/restaurant B&M owned and operated by a fifth generation cigar family. It had an impressive selection of name-brand stogies, but also carried four house brands.
One of them, simply called Ybor City Handmades, has been a staple in my humidor ever since the trip. The Torpedo, my favorite vitola, is a six inch by 52 ring gauge stick with an ultra-smooth Connecticut wrapper. I’m glad it comes naked because any band would only detract from its simple beauty.
The smoke begins with a very unique, enticing mild aroma that’s tough to put your finger on. After several puffs, I was able to conclude the taste is primarily one of butter and almond, not unlike the conclusion my colleague reached in this Quick Smoke.
At the halfway point, some spicy clove and sweet honey notes enter the equation, giving this cigar a pleasant texture. Still, it’s definitely on the mild side and not one for those who only value knock-you-on-your-ass smokes.
Like many house blends that are made in small batches with good attention to detail, Ybor City Handmades feature excellent physical properties. The draw has some (but not too much) resistance; the burn is straight or self-correcting; and the ash is sturdy and white – great for a long ashes contest.
While these gems are sold exclusively at King Corona, you can still purchase them online. At only $60 for a bundle of 25 (less than $2.50 apiece), they’re an absolute steal. What you won’t get is a cigar with name-brand recognition; what you will get is a delicious cigar with great construction at a bargain price.
Since this has been my favorite go-to cigar for mornings and early afternoons for about a year, and since I’d be willing to pay three or four times the asking price, I have no qualms about giving the Ybor City Handmades Torpedo four and ½ out of five stogies.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]