Archive | November, 2007

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler LXXII

30 Nov 2007

In our ongoing effort to make StogieGuys.com as entertaining and reader-friendly as possible, each Friday we’ll post a selection of quick cigar news and stogie-related snippets. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

Padron 801) According to reports, the new Padrón Serie 1926 cigars are finally hitting stores. The “Padrón 80” – which we initially reported on in September – is the first ever perfecto released by the company. If you’re fortunate enough to find them, they will cost you $30 each.

2) Remember that sad case of eminent domain we told you about in September? You know, the one where the city of San Diego seized and destroyed the Gran Havana cigar lounge to make way for a Marriott? Well the Union-Tribune reported yesterday that city officials are “now voicing regret over using eminent domain powers in the first place,” and the hotel’s developer is trying to short the former owner of the lounge by almost $3 million for his land.

3) Around the Blogs: Cigar Jack smokes a Camacho SLR Maduro. Leafy Times smokes three Macanudos. Velvet Cigar puffs a 5 Vegas Miami. Cigar Beat tries the Olde Word Reserve Maduro. Cigar Monkey reviews the Ashton VSG. And finally, on a sad note, the cigar blog community loses one of the good guys as Jerry from The Stogie Review steps down.

4) Deal of the Week: This “World Famous Sampler” from Tinderbox.com includes ten cigars from the biggest names like Cohiba, Montecristo, Macanudo, La Aurora, Don Tomás, La Gloria Cubana, and Arturo Fuente. And at just just $34, you get all ten for what it would normally cost for any five of these. Grab yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Photobucket

Stogie Commentary: A Test of Taste

29 Nov 2007

The next time you snicker at someone recounting some exotic taste he encountered in a cigar, consider this: There are apples that taste like roses. Others are reminiscent of popcorn or fennel, while some gave forth the aroma of tin or cat urine. And there were lots of other flavors recounted by food writer Harold McGee, who recently was able to munch a vast array of fruit.

Tobacco PlantMcGee, in a New York Times column, described many of the apples he tried at a U.S. Agriculture Department facility that maintains “the world’s most extensive collection of apple varieties and relatives.” He also spoke to scientists involved in experiments on apples for new tastes.

Now I like apples as much as the next guy, but it was the varied flavors McGee described that really grabbed my attention. He explained that some apples contain the cis-rose that creates the smell of roses, while other chemicals created different aromas in others.

So, is it really a stretch that some cigars may have a taste of, say, licorice? If apples can contain anise, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t be found in some tobacco strains. They’re all plants.

My point is the next time you’re rolling a mouthful of smoke around your tongue and you think you detect something new, don’t be surprised. Just keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t cat urine.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Reviews: Château Real Belicoso Favorita

28 Nov 2007

From Drew Estate, purveyor of the Acid, Sauza, and Kahlúa lines, comes Château Real, a real old-school Havana that the manufacturer calls “the new standard by which all other mild, traditional cigars will be judged.”

Château Real Belicoso Favorita1The building blocks of the series include an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Mexican San Andreas Negro Oscuro binder, and Nicaraguan Criollo and Dominican Piloto Cubano long-fillers.

The Belicoso Favorita is six inches with a 50 ring gauge, and it retails in the $6 to $8 range. It is a golden, almost candela-tinted brown with a few wrinkles at the seams that provide some nostalgia and whimsy. The red and gold double band is simple and understated, but there’s more than meets the eye.

On the flip side of the top band you’ll find an inscription that directs smokers to the Drew Estate website under the heading of “The Rebirth of Cigars.” I find this advertising technique to be creative, and I’m surprised more manufacturers haven’t adopted the approach.

As I toasted the foot with a few wooden matches, I found a wonderful aroma of toast and hay. Thereafter, the first few puffs set the tone with a warm, buttery flavor. The creamy smoke reminds me of one of my favorite bargain cigars: the Ybor City Handmade.

Another familiar taste is also present, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s dry, hollow, and a little spicy. Contrary to my predictions, the spice doesn’t pick up into the final third, keeping the Château Real soft and mild for the full hour.

Doughy to the touch, this stogie sports a fairly even burn and a clear draw. The ash, while holding firm at times, can fall off unexpectedly.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I call this a real fine morning to mid-afternoon smoke. It successfully accomplishes what many cigars attempt: taste and complexity in a mild format. Still, it’s a bit overpriced, so I’m giving the Château Real Belicoso Favorita three out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Video: Presidential Hopefuls Talking Smoking Bans?

27 Nov 2007

As the 2008 Presidential election gears up, some candidates are weighing in on an issue that could affect cigar smokers in a big way: a national smoking ban.

Leading Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, along with a majority of their Democratic peers, have already pledged to sign a national smoking ban for “public places” (by which they mean any space where the public is welcome, even if it is actually owned by a private citizen). Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, known for increasing tobacco taxes as governor of Arkansas, has also pledged to sign and push for a national ban.

But other than Huckabee, we havent seen much from the Republican candidates about smoking bans. It isnt hard to imagine that Congressman Ron Paul – known as “Dr. No” for his votes against any federal law not explicitly authorized by the Constitution – is a strong opponent of smoking bans.

Talk on this important issue has been lacking so far in the campaign, but we’re hoping that changes tomorrow night at the CNN/YouTube debate where questions are submitted by anyone with a webcam.

Ultimately, while Id like to see more in-depth talk about these senseless bans, the following question, submitted by a YouTuber from Minnesota, would be a good start:

Patrick S

 

Stogie Reviews: Graycliff Château Grand Cru PG

26 Nov 2007

As far as cigar brands go, Graycliff can be pretty hard to come by. Sure, you’ll be able to find them at the occasional B&M or online retailer, but not nearly as frequently as you’d expect, especially from a brand that has received some glowing praise.

Graycliff Château Grand Cru PG1Various Graycliff lines – from Crystal and Profesionale to Espresso and Emerald – have earned high marks at publications like Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine. With a limited production, though, the brand still seems to waver in obscurity.

Perhaps that’s a testament to Graycliff’s humble beginnings in the entranceway of a Bahaman restaurant. The company was founded by Enrico Garzaroli, a restaurateur who wanted to produce a high-end cigar to compliment the cuisine of his dining establishments in Nassau. Judging by the few Château Grand Cru PGs I’ve smoked recently, I think he hit the nail on the head.

Advertised as full-bodied with dominant flavors of leather and spice, this particular line was introduced to rave reviews at the 2005 RTDA trade show. It is composed of tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica and retails in the pricey $12 to $19 range.

The PG is a robusto-sized stick with dimensions of 5 and ¼ inches and a ring gauge of 50. The wrapper is a bit granulated and veiny, but not unattractive, and the band is a shiny purple and gold (which, as you can see by the picture, is very difficult to photograph). Innocent-looking enough.

As unthreatening as the appearance is, though, the taste is quite full with well-balanced notes of raisin, vanilla, and roasted nuts. The aroma produced with each easy puff is bountiful and reminiscent of the Davidoff Grand Cru series.

But this stogie is stronger, especially into the halfway point as a spicy pepper flavor comes into play. With all these tastes and an even burn, the cigar is a real pleasure from light to nub – a memorable journey that takes a little over 75 minutes.

My only complaint is that the ash is a little frail and unpredictable. I was surprised by this, particularly since the filler is packed very tightly.

When it’s all said and done, however, this is a fine, well-balanced, expertly crafted, complex smoke. Too bad the cost gives me sticker shock. If the price were closer to the $8 to $10 range, I’d be willing to give the Graycliff Château Grand Cru PG an even higher rating than four out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here. Cigars for this review were provided by CigarsDirect.com, and can be purchased here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Guest Quick Smoke: Gurkha Special Edition Cameroon Boer

25 Nov 2007

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar. The following is a quick smoke submitted by a reader. If you’d like to submit your own for publication, please contact us.

The Camaroon wrapper was smooth and just about perfect. It was nice and creamy from start to finish. It had a very delicate balance of woodiness and floral scents. The underlying taste of cedar was less than the Ancient Warrior, but every bit as enjoyable. It produced a clean gray ash and burned even to the green Boer band. I like the draw of a thicker cigar and found this one to be right up my alley, producing lots of thick smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

Submitted by Toby of Uniontown, PA.

Quick Smoke: Toraño Virtuoso Forte

24 Nov 2007

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

http://www.stogieguys.com/sg-content/uploads/2007/11/virtuoso.thumbnail.jpg

The most prominent feature of this cigar is the dark, oily Nicaraguan sungrown wrapper. Don’t stop there, though. Be sure to appreciate the earthy, vegetal aroma before lighting. Toraño advertises this as its most full-bodied stick, with a filler mix from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Panama. But the five inch by 56 ring gauge stick I enjoyed seemed more medium than full. It began with a spicy touch for the first half-inch or so, then moved to a smooth, rich mix of coffee, cocoa. and leather. My guess is these would age well and I look forward to smoking more from this line.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys