Archive | November, 2008

Quick Smoke: Graycliff Château Grand Cru PG

30 Nov 2008

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

When I reviewed this 5 and ¼ inch by 50 ring gauge cigar one year ago, I found it to be a “well-balanced, expertly crafted, complex smoke.” It still is. But the last twelve months in my humidor seem to have worn away much of the original taste of raisin, vanilla, and roasted nuts. What’s left is an empty, lifeless flavor profile that’s too mild for its own good—and not nearly worth the $12-19 price range. I plan to hold onto the rest of my Château Grand Cru PGs to see if they improve.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Don Pepin Cuban Classic Belicoso

29 Nov 2008

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

After having a pleasant, though not fantastic, experience with the Robusto from this line, I’ll admit it has been a bumpy road with these Cuban Classics. Some that I’ve smoked have tasted unrefined and not up to Don Pepin’s usual standards. Others, like this lovely Belicoso (and the others from the same box), have been magnificent. It has delicious peppery spice and a core of cedar earth. To top it all off, the physical properties were also superb.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CXVIII

28 Nov 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.

Contest1) Want to win a dozen of Rocky Patel’s finest cigars? Want to try the Rocky Patel Decade Torpedo that received a rating of 95 from Cigar Aficionado? Enter our “What Do Cigar Rights Mean to You?” contest and these fantastic prizes can all be yours.

2) According the Cigar Association of America, the industry’s manufacturers trade group, cigar imports were down over the first 9 months of 2008 when compared to 2007. The decrease is almost entirely dues to a drop in cigars from the Dominican Republic, as imports from Honduras and Nicaragua are up or even. These three countries account for 99 percent of the cigars imported into the U.S.

3) Inside the Industry: A number of new releases first announced at the IPCPR have recently been shipped to stores. Felipe Gregorio’s newest line, a Dominican Puro called the “Petrus Prestige,” is in stores now. Rocky Patel’s Renaissance and Cameroon Especial have recently shown up at retailers. And Don Pepin’s “My Father” line has been released, although reportedly only 50,000 will be made this year.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews Azul Luna Polo. Cigar Jack smokes the Tabacos Baez. Keepers of the Flame torches up a Romeo y Julieta Vintage Maduro. Stogie Fresh tries a Los Blancos Sumatra.

5) Deal of the Week: Turkey day may have come and gone, but Cuban Crafters still has a number of Thanksgiving Specials online. Included are favorites such as Cabinet Selection and La Carolina. Get yours here while the deals last.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Tips: Have a Happy Thanksgiving…With Cigars

26 Nov 2008 will be taking tomorrow off to enjoy that most American of holidays: Thanksgiving. (We will return Friday for your regularly scheduled Friday Sampler.) Known for an abundance of great food, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to enjoy cigars with gathered friends and family.

As we did last year, today we’re listing the one cigar we’ll each be firing up after the big meal.

Patrick A: Call my pick corny or contrived, but this year I’m picking the CAO America Monument. Other than the obvious patriotic connection to our nation’s greatest holiday, this torpedo-shaped behemoth packs enough coffee, pepper, and spice to help me make room for coffee and pumpkin pie. I just hope I can stay warm long enough to enjoy this twice-wrapped cigar’s fine physical properties and well-balanced smoothness.

Patrick S: While not quite a U.S.-made cigar like last year’s selection, I’m still going for a stick with a significant American pedigree: the PG Gourmet 15th Anniversary Blend Belicoso Extra. The last time I had one on a full stomach following an good meal it served me very well. Tomorrow, this balanced yet full-flavored masterpiece will be paired with a some fine American small-batch bourbon for a fantastic post-turkey pairing.

George E: I’m planning to light up a powerhouse puro that will easily cut through the afterglow of any large meal and leave its own lovely memories. The Serie 601 “Red” from EO Brands, reviewed nearly two years ago, continues to satisfy with complex, smoothly blended flavors and Nicaraguan strength that pleases rather than overwhelms. Whether your after-dinner routine revolves around a cup of coffee and quiet contemplation or friends and football, this cigar will enhance any experience.

All the best from the family to you and yours for a happy, cigar-filled Thanksgiving!

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Reviews: Romeo y Julieta Aniversario Toro

25 Nov 2008

I thought I’d tried almost everything made under the extensive Romeo y Julieta label, not excluding some fantastic Cubans. It turns out, however, that one of the standard Altadis-made RyJ blends has, until now, managed to stay off my radar.

Introduced in 2003 to celebrate 130 years of Romeo y Julieta cigars, the Aniversario series features a light and oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and a three-nation filler blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian tobaccos. It comes in five typical vitolas ranging from Churchill to Robusto and is packaged in lacquered boxes of 25.

The two six inch by 54 ring gauge Toros I smoked last weekend seemed firm enough and big enough to use as weapons. But a closer inspection revealed more nuance. Wrought with veins, wrinkles, and crannies, the light brown wrappers had the look of age and frailty, almost akin to an antique map.

That’s why I was worried when the delicate head exploded when I clipped it with my double guillotine. Fortunately, when the shards cleared, what remained was a clean cut, a smooth draw, and a tight cross-section of tobacco that smelled of mixed nuts.

Like the other sizes in this blend, the Toro ($6-7 apiece) is supposed to be a “hearty and memorable smoke.” I found it neither hearty nor memorable. Medium in flavor and light in strength, the simple and straightforward taste is of roasted almonds, straw, and damp firewood. Don’t be surprised if you lose interest after the midway point; the flavor is consistent to a fault, even for those of us who appreciate milder cigars.

The Toro’s set-it-and-forget-it physical properties, though, are excellent. The burn is straight and slow and the ash holds up to stiff winds throughout the 80-minute smoke.

In the end, this agreeable yet less-than-sensational cigar doesn’t deserve your full attention—and, depending on your taste, it may not be worth the money. But if you’re looking for a well-built companion to guide you through your morning coffee and newspaper, the Romeo y Julieta Aniversario Toro isn’t a poor choice. I give it three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Contest: What Do Cigar Rights Mean to You?

24 Nov 2008

In this week of giving thanks, is pleased to announce our “What Do Cigar Rights Mean to You?” contest. Simply leave a comment answering that simple question, and you may be selected to receive the Ultimate Rocky Patel Cigar Rights Sampler. Pictured below, it features a dozen of Rocky’s finest cigars, three punch cutters, and Rocky’s new five-torch Diplomat table lighter.

Included are two of the difficult to find and highly-rated Rocky Patel Decade Torpedoes, plus two ITC 10th Anniversary Torpedoes, two Olde World Reserve Corojo Robustos, two Nording Robustos, two Java Maduro Wafes, and two of the brand new Rocky Patel Cameroon Especial Toros, all generously provided by the Duque Cigar Company.

Duque Cigar Company owner Thomas Hunter was kind enough to sponsor this contest to highlight the importance of protecting cigar rights and of the important work being done by groups like Cigar Rights of America. Describing what Cigar Rights mean to him, Hunter says:

“As the owner of a very small retail, mail order, and online cigar shop, cigar rights mean life or death for my livelihood. But as an aficionado of the hobby of cigars, they mean much more than that. For me, the hobby is a lifestyle going all the way back to watching my grandfather light a cigar on the back porch or remembering that every time my dad would bend over, a cigar would fall out of his shirt pocket. To think that we as Americans claim we are a county of rights, liberty, and freedom, it makes me sick to my stomach to think that there may be a day when I can’t smoke a cigar with my son to celebrate the birth of a grandchild.”

For your chance at the fantastic prize, leave a comment giving us your answer to the question, “What do cigar rights mean to you?” (We aren’t looking for an essay on the subject; one to three sentences will do nicely.)

In December, our esteemed panel of judges will select one top response to receive the grand prize. Just follow these rules for a chance at winning: You must be 21 or older to win. One entry per person. You must live in the continental U.S. Use a valid email so we can contact you if you win. Many thanks to the Duque Cigar Company for sponsoring the contest, and good luck!

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Guest Quick Smoke: H. Upmann Coronas Minor (Cuban)

23 Nov 2008

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 Guest Quick Smoke, submitted by a reader. If you’d like to submit your own for publication, please contact us.

After smoking the Upmann Magnum 46, I found that I was looking for a similar flavor profile in a shorter format that would be more suitable for winter smoking. Luckily I found it rather quickly with the Coronas Minor, a coronitas size that comes in tubos. Expect to discover a pre-light draw of beans and cocoa that develops into sweet herbal notes of tea and rich earth. The classic Upmann mustiness and twang becomes more pronounced after the midpoint. The burn is very good, especially for the cigar’s rather diminutive size (4.6 x 40). These wonderful little sticks can be found for around $5 each.

Verdict = Buy.

-Submitted by John Fury of Severna Park, MD