Archive | May, 2008

Quick Smoke: Camacho Select Churchill

31 May 2008

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

One year ago, I wrote about this Camacho line as a fine cigar but nothing special. Since I’ve been enjoying many Cameroon wrapper cigars lately, I thought I’d give it another try. This time I had a 48 ring gauge, 6.5 inch Churchill. Quite honestly, I am less impressed than before. The smoke and finish are unusually dry, there are few of the enjoyable Cameroon flavors I’ve found in other sticks, and I encountered harshness at several points along the way. All in all, I think you can easily find far better Cameroons.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CII

30 May 2008

In our ongoing effort to make as entertaining and informative as possible, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other snippets of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy. Playboy Cigars

1) U.S. Coast Guard agents seized 28,000 Cuban cigars and 42 bottles of rum in a single smuggling sting in Florida. Two Fort Myers men were indicted for the illegal imports this week. No word yet on what the agents will do with the confiscated goodies.

2) You’ve still got time to get in on the Stogie Guys’ efforts to keep the Memorial Day spirit going all week long with cigar donations to the troops overseas.

3) Inside the Industry: To launch its revamped Playboy line of cigars (not to be confused with Playboy by Don Diego), Altadis is having events all around the country hosted by Playboy Playmates. Cuvee cigars, made by Cusano, has re-blended its 151 and Rouge lines only one year after they were introduced at the RTDA.

4) Around the Blogs: Cigar Jack checks out the Gispert Robusto. Stogie Review fires up the CI Legends Copper. Keepers of the Flame tries an Ancient Warrior by K Hansotia. Stogie Fresh reviews a Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro.

5) Deal of the Week: This “21 Gun Salute Sampler” includes 21 cigars from the biggest names in the business including Rocky Patel, CAO, Gurkha, Cohiba, La Flor Dominicana, Toraño, Bolivar, La Gloria Cubana, Hoyo, Partagas, Perdomo, Arganese, and more – all for just $59. Get yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Altadis USA

Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel Fusion Natural Torpedo

29 May 2008

Rocky Patel launched his Fusion line with a blend of his Vintage 1990 and 1992 tobaccos. This ambitious cigar earned an impressive four-stogie rating from Patrick S. back in July of last year. Recently I came across the latest Fusion offering – a natural and Connecticut combination – and simply had to give it a test drive.

Rocky Patel Fusion Churchill This handsome, 6.2 inch by 52 ring gauge torpedo comes wrapped in an oily, soft Habano wrapper with an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and a blend of Nicaraguan, Cameroon, and Honduran fillers. At roughly $9 per stick, it’s not exactly a bargain. But, as with many Rocky Patel products, you’ll get fairly high quality for your dollar here. (The Churchill size is pictured at right.)

Construction is solid, if a bit tight. The exterior is almost flawless, with small veins and a nice double cap. The stick is extremely firm to the touch – to a degree that scared me at first. Fortunately, a firm but manageable pre-light draw eased my concerns.

Upon lighting the RP Fusion, the first thing I noticed was a copious amount of thick, creamy smoke. So much smoke, in fact, that clouds of it hung over me for nearly the entire 90 minutes that I enjoyed the cigar. I don’t know how to blow smoke rings, but I imagine smoking a few more of these sticks would be a great way to learn.

The initial flavor and aroma are of lightly burnt wood, pepper, and earth. These notes give way to an intensified peppery taste, and a dash of butter and walnut, as the cigar progresses into its second third. By the finish, the cigar mellows out and allows its initial woody and peppery notes to take center stage. The body is a light to medium, with subtle cedar and pepper flavors lingering on the tongue after each draw.

My burn remained even throughout the experience, with two or three minor touch-ups required. The ash was a tightly coiled, beautiful white that hung on for at least two inches at a time. I imagine the ash would have held even longer had I not tapped it off.

Ultimately, the new RP Fusion is a fine cigar. I enjoyed nearly every minute of my experience, but I was underwhelmed – ever so slightly – by the complexity of the flavor profile. For these reasons, among others, I give the Rocky Patel Fusion four out of five stogies.

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

Jon N

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: Arturo Fuente Opus X Fuente Fuente

28 May 2008


I’ll be honest: I couldn’t really go into this stick with neutral expectations. While I always try to mentally erase any pre-conceived notions about a cigar before I light up for a review, that’s simply too much to ask when it comes to Arturo Fuente’s storied Opus X blend.

Maybe that’s because Arturo’s flagship line is so rare. Some retailers call Opus X “inarguably the rarest cigar in the world” (a claim I haven’t taken the time to refute). Still, I think many of us can relate to the fact that these can be pretty difficult to track down and, when you find some, odds are the retailer will limit your order. (more…)

Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Robusto

27 May 2008

This cigar was part of a free nine-cigar sampler I got from Famous when I ordered a box of another cigar. It’s one of several that Rocky offers only through the Pennsylvania retailer, which promotes it as “almost like getting a fine Cuban cigar without the Cuban price.”

To be honest, I’m no expert on Cuban cigars. But this five and 1/2 inch Robusto did remind me of a couple of Cubans I’ve smoked. Unfortunately, those were machine-rolled sticks I wouldn’t want to try again. I’d have to say the same for this 50 ring gauge cigar.

First, the positives: The draw is good, the cap well-applied, the burn straight, and the ash tight.

The negatives: A severe harshness led me to believe the Honduran ligero filler and the Corojo wrapper were too young. A bitter chemical/medicine taste in the last third was truly awful. The combination completely overwhelmed whatever flavors were present. Altogether, an unpleasant experience.

One interesting aspect I discovered thumbing through the Famous catalog fwas that a box of 20 sells for $87.99 while a five-pack is $16.50. That means you pay almost $22 less if you purchase four five-packs! Intrigued, I spot-checked the catalog and found similar deals on a number of other Famous exclusives, though I didn’t notice this with regular brands.

So, if you plan to order a box of any cigars from Famous, I’d highly advise double checking the five-pack prices first. (And, no, they don’t make up for it on shipping charges. Ground is based on whether the total is over or under $40, and air is one fee regardless.)

As for this cigar, I wouldn’t recommend it. Because of the construction quality, I upped my rating a little and give it one and 1/2 out of five stogies.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Commentary: Cigars and Memorial Day

26 May 2008

With today’s celebration of Memorial Day to honor those who died in our nation’s service, I have a proposal: As cigar smokers, let’s extend the recognition of service to a week-long effort to provide cigars for the troops overseas, particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you win cigars this week, donate them. If you’re planning to send a bomb to a friend or cigar board acquaintance, give the cigars to service men and women instead. If you receive a bomb, pass it along to the men and women in uniform who can’t go out and buy cigars but would truly enjoy the opportunity to smoke one. Stop by a local B&M to see what sort of operation it has for sending cigars to the troops (many shops do) and make a contribution. Check the programs several manufacturers have to give cigars to the troops when you make a purchase.

Choose whatever way you’d like to contribute. Just think how great it would be if everyone who reads this made just a small contribution and got a friend or two to do the same.

I first wrote about making cigar contributions back in November. Then, as now, I said such generosity has nothing to do with support or opposition for the war in Iraq or any governmental policy. It’s simply a good and decent thing to do for the cigar-loving men and women in uniform.

So, make this Memorial Day one to remember – for you and for our heroes overseas. Cigars, after all, are among the most requested items by the troops, and they have earned a well-deserved break.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Guys in the Media

25 May 2008 will be featured on the Livin’ Large with Geoff Pinkus radio show on WIND 560 AM in Chicago today. The show runs from 5-7 pm Central (6-8 Eastern) and Patrick A is scheduled to be on around at 5:35 pm Central.

Geoff’s show is about “cigars, cars, spirits, wine, beer, restaurants, music, sports, hot chicks, jets, Harleys, guns, bikes, and fishing.” You can call in at 877-560-WIND to ask a question on the air. If you’re not in the Chicago area, you can listen live here (and if you miss it, a podcast will be available here). You can listen to previous appearances here.

The Stogie Guys