Archive | May, 2009

Quick Smoke: Montecristo Edmundo (Cuban)

31 May 2009

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

Montecristo Edmundo

The Montecristo Petit Edmundo has been one of my favorite cigars for some time now, so I was excited to see what the longer Edmundo format had to offer. While a tad soft to the touch, the Edmundo has the same good looks as the Petit version, and later I found the construction to be outstanding with an even burn, ideal draw, and dependable ash. The smoke is a pleasant combination of cedar, leather, and toasty flavors. I’d agree that it isn’t as complex as the Petit format, but that doesn’t mean the Montecristo Edmundo isn’t a fine Cuban cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: El Tiante Corojo Belicoso

30 May 2009

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

El Tiante Corojo Belicoso

First my colleague gave this new Belicoso (6 x 54) a good review in March. Then, just a few weeks ago, we gave away a Savoy humidor signed by baseball legend Luis Tiant and filled with 23 El Tiante Corojos through our email newsletter contest. It was high time I tried one of these for myself. When I did, I encountered admirable construction and loads of flavor—including cedar, herbs, and sweet spice. You can pick up this wonderfully balanced, slow-burning treat for around $6-8.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CXLIII

29 May 2009

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 items of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

Washington Nationals1) With baseball’s worst record and third-lowest average attendance, the slumping Nationals seem intent on reviving the old saw of Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.” We can’t help but wonder what might have been had the team accepted our 2006 proposal to create a smoking section in the stands of their old home at RFK Stadium. Is it too late to reverse a bad call for the new Nationals Park?

2) Liz Klein, an assistant professor at Ohio State University, recently published a “study” that purports to downplay the impact of smoking bans on employment in restaurants and bars. But as our friend Jacob Grier points out, the methodology Klein used amounts to little more than fuzzy science. That’s why, he says, “The applicability of her paper to public policy is very limited.”

3) Inside the Industry: Camacho Cigars, best known for their full-flavored smokes, is releasing a Connecticut-wrapped cigar. Cigar Rights of America is further enticing membership, this time with an a sampler of 20 cigars made by industry leaders exclusively for CRA and available only to members.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review lights up a Punch Rare Corojo. Fire Up That Cigar sparks a Don Pepin Garcia JJ. The Weekly Cigar smokes a Marco V Gold. Cigar Inspector inspects an ORTSAC 1962. Keepers of the Flame torches up an ITC 10th Anniversary.

5) Deal of the Week: With full-bodied spice and Cuban-like depth, people are turning to Nicaraguan smokes more and more, and this Nicaraguan Blends Sampler shows why. Included are two each from Padilla Habano, Man O’ War, Rocky Patel Fusion, and Gurkha Park Avenue, all for under $40. Grab yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Spirits: Talisker 10 Year Single Malt Scotch

28 May 2009

Ever wondered what peat tastes like? Scotch is often described as having “peatiness,” but an exact description of the flavor is hard to come by. It seems some things are easier to taste than to describe, and that’s where the Tasliker 10 Year Single Malt Scotch helps out.

Talisker 10The Talisker 10 Year is dominated by peatiness, which makes it a Scotch that not everyone will like, but some will love. The peaty flavor comes from the distinctive terrain that surrounds the Talisker, the only Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye in West Scotland.

Talisker, located in Carbost, has been making Scotch since 1830. The distillery, which is owned by the spirits conglomerate Diageo, makes Single Malt Scotch with ages varying from 10 to 30 years.

The Talksker 10 Year is the youngest Talisker single malt available and is available for $35-40 for a fifth. It has a golden amber hue and a vibrant nose filled with peat, pepper, and vanilla.

On the palate you get more of the distinctive peatiness, with plenty of salty ocean flavor and an underlying sweetness. The finish is deep, peppery, and tapers off to a meaty charred flavor.

It is a great scotch to pair with a cigar, but not any cigar can stand up to the intense flavors of the Talisker. I’d suggest going with a  strong, full-bodied stick with plenty of pepper, earth, or cedar.

I enjoyed the Talisker with the Padilla 1932 and the Cubao.  I’d also recommend the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial, the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992, or the EO 601 Serie Oscuro.

No matter what cigar you choose, you’ll find the Talisker 10 Year Single Malt to be a distinctive pairing. While that distinctive peatiness isn’t particularly approachable for the novice scotch drinker, those who love powerful,peaty single malts will find the Talisker 10 to be a little slice of heaven.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro Toro

27 May 2009

Desflorado tobacco, from what I understand, is difficult and laborious to grow, which is why sticks that use this finicky leaf are relatively expensive and hard to come by. Our friends at Cuban Crafters, however, have come out with an affordable lineup of cigars that make use of this rich tobacco.

Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro ToroThe process of cultivating desflorado tobacco requires a watchful eye and arduous attention to detail. By definition, the buds on these plants are cut off before they flower to give the tobacco “an extra rich and smooth taste.” Then the best leaves are hand selected from the tops of each plant to create the Connecticut desflorado wrapper for this line, a project that was four years in the making.

You can tell this cigar is different right out of the box. With a dark complexion and a reddish-yellow hue, it certainly doesn’t look like it comes from the Connecticut lineage. But, thanks to its neat cap and a clean appearance, it does look like it was rolled with care.

I sampled four or five Toros for this review, and I think this is a smart vitola for the blend. Its slender, six inch by 48 ring gauge physique allows more of the wrapper—the highlight of the blend—and a little less of the Cuban-seed long-filler from the Cupido tobacco fields to shine through in each puff.

Not surprisingly, the Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro doesn’t taste like your average Connecticut, either. It starts with a peppery flavor of olive, clove, onion, and bread, and the wrapper adds a bit of spicy tingle on the lips. Well-balanced, if not slightly dry.

A creamier backdrop of nuts and milk chocolate shifts to the forefront after the first few inches, making the overall taste slightly milder. Seasoned cigar veterans who normally steer clear of Connecticut stogies should take note that there’s still a lot of flavor going on, even when this cigar is at its mildest.

Like many other Cuban Crafters cigars, this blend features excellent construction, including a very even burn, a solid white ash that holds well, and an effortless draw that produces thick smoke.

The Toro sells for $6.30 apiece when bought by the box of 20. I think that’s more than a fair price, especially considering the quality of this cigar and the fact that it’s packaged in vintage cedar humidor boxes.

So, if you’re looking for something a little different, the new Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro Toro should be high on your wish list. It earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Tips: Keeping Your Cool

26 May 2009

With summer fast approaching, the temperature isn’t the only thing going up. Cigar smokers level of fear for the nasty cigar beetle increases right along with it.

coolidorWhile most cigar makers have taken dramatic steps in recent years to control and eliminate the voracious pests, there’s no question that they remain a potential danger. For example, one of my Stogie Guy colleagues had beetle problems with some Cubans recently, and last year our friend Chris Verhoeven wrote about his sticks coming alive.

There’s so much information, and so much misinformation, about beetles that  it’s nearly impossible to sort it all out. Suffice it to say that their eggs, laid in tobacco, may begin to hatch when the environment is very warm and moist. Once free, the little pests just start burrowing, eating, and reproducing.

So, here are some tips for keeping your cigars out of harm’s way during the hot summer:

1) Make sure you have a good digital thermometer and hygrometer. Put in a fresh battery and check the readings frequently.

2) Depending on the nature of your home, simply moving the humidor to a cellar, basement, or cool spot can do the trick. Avoid putting the box too close to an air-conditioning duct to protect the wood and the cigars.

3) A simple remedy is a coolidor (if this isn‘t familiar, just Google it and you’ll find all you ever wanted to know). You can lower the temperature cheaply with freezer packs. Some experimentation will likely be necessary to figure out how many packs you need and how long they last. Also, even though they don’t melt, they may sweat, so keep them in a container or suspended tray to remove any possibility of cigars getting damp.

4) For a more permanent solution, you can try a thermoelectric wine cooler. It’s what I use year-round here in the Sunshine State.

George E

photo credit: StogieFresh

Stogie Reviews: Perdomo ESV 1991 Vintage Regente

25 May 2009

On the heels of its successful Perdomo Reserve line, which later evolved into the 10th Anniversary Reserve line, Perdomo released the highly-anticipated Perdomo ESV 1991 Vintage line in 2005. ESV stands for “Estate Selección Vintage,” and the line was an extension of the regular Perdomo Estate Selección line, which is no longer in regular production.

Perdomo ESV 1991This Perdomo ESV Vintage  is comprised of vintage 1991 Nicaraguan fillers purchased by the late Nick Perdomo, Sr. in 1995. According to the Perdomo website, the tobacco was “stored in a bodega on the outskirts of Estelí” and “the existence of these rare tobaccos was discovered after Nick, Sr. passed away on July 2, 2004.” It’s far more believable than most of the stories of suddenly found caches of wonderful aged tobacco.

Around the vintage Nicaraguan filler is a Nicaraguan binder and a U.S.-grown Connecticut shade wrapper. The thick 5 inch by 54 ring gauge Regente has a flawless, slightly pale, cinnamon-colored wrapper that is remarkably vein-free and velvety to the touch.

I find the cigar naturally gives off subtle coffee flavors. After clipping, I notice a perfectly easy draw that will continue throughout the smoke, which lights up easily with just a few matches. I’d also encounter similary impressive construction with an attentively even burn and a solid ash.

The Regente has a complex profile that combines dry wood, leather, and roasted  coffee beans. Underneath there is a bit of cinnamon that provides subtle spicy sweetness. The dryness of the finish dominates the back end of the cigar’s flavors.

Overall, the Perdomo ESV has great balance and complexity until the finish kicks in, which is so singly woody and dry that it distracts from the great flavors this cigar has to offer.

Still, it’s a nice medium-bodied cigar with the excellent construction you’d expect from a stick that sells for $9-10 apiece. That combination earns the Perdomo ESV 1991 Vintage Regente a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here. Cigars for this review were provided by Cigars Direct. You can purchase Perdomo cigars from Cigars Direct here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys