Archive | September, 2009

Stogie Reviews: Nub Maduro 460

30 Sep 2009

Sam Leccia was a popular guy at last month’s IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans. That wasn’t surprising. He has an approachable personality, a sincere passion for cigar innovation, and a growing portfolio of tasty smokes—a portfolio that now includes Cain and a new maduro-wrapped version of his popular Nub series.

Oliva's Nub Maduro 460The concept for Nub was born of Leccia’s appreciation for the “dedication, passion, and manpower it takes to create a cigar.” It was during his time at Oliva, circa 2006, that he hatched the idea for “a high quality cigar that developed its optimum flavor extremely quickly.” He ultimately concluded that a short, stubby format provided for a cooler, tastier smoking experience.

So Leccia, a Pittsburgh native, left his position as a sales representative at the Oliva Cigar Company to found his aptly titled Nub brand. After getting his former employer on board (Leccia reportedly rolled the prototype himself), Nub launched as an Oliva product in early 2008 with three blends: Connecticut, Cameroon, and Habano.

Like the cigars in that original Nub lineup, the new Maduro features Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. It is wrapped in an oily and toothy Brazilian maduro leaf that’s marked with some hefty veins and spotted with a sandy discoloration.

Packed tightly with tobacco, the four inch by 60 ring gauge “460” clips to reveal a slightly stiff draw and some sweetness on the lips. That sweetness is misleading, however, because the initial taste is anything but sugary. It includes notes of spicy black pepper and bitter coffee beans.

The draw opens up and the flavor evens out around the quarter inch mark. Leather, peanuts, and cream are added to the mix. Compared to the heavy-handed outset, this development enables more nuance and balance, which renders the Nub Maduro more interesting and less abrasive.

The slower I puff this stubby stick—I spent over 60 minutes with each of the two samples I smoked for this review—the better it performs. The medium-strength, full-bodied taste stays on an even keel if the tobacco is cooked at the right temperature. Impatient cigar enthusiasts might find the Maduro 460 to smoke too coarse, hot, and sour.

If you take your time, though, this cigar turns out to be rich and fairly multifaceted. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better constructed stick that sells for $4.50-6. While some age will likely help round off the Nub Maduro 460’s edge, for now it earns three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Reviews: Graycliff Double Espresso

29 Sep 2009

Graycliff Double EspressoEven harder to find than most of Enrico Garzaroli’s Graycliff Cigars, the Double Espresso is a limited edition, one-size extension of the Espresso line.

The four and a half inch by 54 ring gauge cigar features double the ligero found in the regular Espresso line. And like most of Garzaroli’s cigars, the it isn’t cheap, with a suggested retain price of $15 per stick.

The Double Espresso sports a milk chocolate-colored Costa Rican wrapper with a filler that is a mixture of Cuban-seed corojo and Ecuadorian ligero. It is slightly spongy, which I have found to be common for most Graycliffs.

Overall, the appearance is a little rugged with a cap that is less than perfect and a couple of knots in the wrapper near the head.

For a short cigar, it packs quite a punch in the taste department with a well-balanced core of coffee, chocolate, and spice. As a coffee lover I find the aroma of this stogie quite intoxicating, reminding me of a cup of nice French vanilla.

With its voluminous creamy smoke, this cigar really hits its stride about an inch in when the saltiness fades and the sweetness is amps up a bit. It is quite the treat with an even burn and fantastic balance.

Unfortunately, given the hefty price tag, an ash that was quite flaky, and some appearance issues, I can only give the Graycliff Double Espresso three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Guest Commentary: Cigar Appreciation through Distraction

28 Sep 2009

[Editors’ Note: The following is a guest commentary from Chris Verhoeven, a friend of who is studying at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.]

Initially, the concept of “cigar appreciation through distraction” sounds like a contradiction in terms. How can one further enjoy a cigar by distracting oneself from the experience of smoking it? Let me explain.

Distraction for your cigarI recently embarked on the journey that is getting a master’s degree and have found that I have more reading to do than ever before. This includes a good deal of things that I would not regularly consider enjoyable reading, too, and it started to eat away at my free time—a time usually devoted to cigar smoking.

I decided that I should simply combine the two. Pick out a cigar and head for my university’s smoking lounge to light up and power through some material. Since I assumed I would be consumed by the task of reading, though, I continually reached for my lesser sticks. Good sticks in their own right, but not ones I would otherwise pick for an all-out smoking experience. These include Don Lino’s Africa line, Padilla Hybrids, and the Tatuaje Angeles.

But something strange happened. I found that I started to enjoy these sticks, cigars that I smoked regularly back when I couldn’t afford the high-end stuff, more than ever before. I was falling in love with them again. This got me thinking.

Awhile back, published an article that evinced that the average cigar was only meant to be puffed once or twice per minute. What I found was that by distracting myself, I smoked at a slower, more relaxed pace and generally enjoyed the cigar more while picking up on its subtleties.

So, with this in mind, I suggest you give it a try. Pick out a book, trudge through some Sudoku puzzles, or do anything else that you enjoy. Much like fine liquor, these activities can actually complement the cigar and add to your enjoyment of the smoking experience.

That said, I’ll still probably continue to horde my Opus Xs, Anejos, and Padrón Anniversaries for special occasions or moments of blissful smoke emersion. But at least now I’m giving myself a chance to fall in love with some of fine, cheaper sticks that simply require me to slow down and give them a chance to shine.

Chris Verhoeven

photo credit: Flickr

Quick Smoke: Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 9

27 Sep 2009

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

Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 9

From the first puff, this Nicaraguan puro displays all the nuance and depth of a Michael Bay film. That’s about what I was expecting given the hearty pre-light notes of cocoa and raisin and the appearance of the dark corojo leaf. But the Verocu No. 9 (4.5 x 49) quickly settles into a medium-strength, full-bodied profile of coffee beans, dark chocolate, and nutmeg. Sold exclusively at Holt’s Cigar Company for $130 per box of 20 or $36 per 5-pack, this Pete Johnson creation would have been an easy recommendation if not for its occasional bitterness and surprisingly frequent burn problems.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Lancero

26 Sep 2009

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


With its oily yet rustic wrapper and plenty of pre-ight aromas, this cigar seems like a winner. The lancero starts out with a burst of woody spice, but soon fades into a singular earthy flavor that’s medium- to full-bodied. Construction is problematic, as the burn has a tendency to go out and the ash seems to be constantly falling off. I’ve smoked and enjoyed many different sizes of the La Flor Double Ligero line, and while not a bad smoke, the lancero lacks the depth and complexity of its larger ring gauge counterparts.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CLX

25 Sep 2009

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

Manuel Zelaya1) Manuel Zelaya, ousted as president in July, is back in Honduras, holed up within the Brazilian embassy. He had been in exile for seeking to change his country’s constitution to end presidential term limits, presumably so he could remain in power. According to Cigar Aficionado, his presence is disrupting cigar exports as officials seek to restrict movements across borders.

2) As the tobacco industry braces itself for the ramifications of the FDA’s new sweeping powers, the fallout for cigars remains ominous yet unclear. The Wall Street Journal reports the agency recently issued a memo claiming the new ban on flavored cigarettes “applies to all tobacco products that meet the definition of a ‘cigarette’ even if they aren’t labeled as cigarettes or ‘are labeled as cigars or some other product.’” One company, Kretek International, is suing the FDA to protect its “clove cigars.”

3) Inside the Industry: Tomorrow over 150 cigar shops are participating in the “Rock for Democracy Smoke Out” where smokers will be encouraged to join Cigar Rights of America and enjoy some giveaways. Be on the lookout for “Operation Hope” events at your local shop taking place to raise money for the Montecristo Relief Fund, which  supports victims of natural disasters. Following an industry trend, La Aurora is launching its first branded cigar lounge at Tobacco Plaza in Great Neck, New York. Fuente God of Fire is introducing two sizes in its 2007 line, the Don Carlos Toro and the Carlito Double Corona.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review sparks a Warped Private Blend. Cigar Inspector looks at a Griffins No. 500. Stogie Fresh smokes a Fuente Hemingway. Cigar Spy tries the 5 Vegas Relic. Keepers of the Flame fires up a Particulares Robusto.

5) Deal of the Week: Robustos are the most popular size in all of cigardom, and this “World Class Robusto Sampler” includes of ten them for just $45 (free shipping). That price gets you a Cohiba, Rocky Patel Vintage ’90, Don Pepin Cuban Classic 1979, Toraño 1916 Cameroon, CAO Gold, Gran Habano 3 Siglos, Padilla Hybrid, Fonseca, and others. Grab yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Spirits: Rhum Clément Premiere Canne

24 Sep 2009

You might not have heard of of rhum agricole, but if you’re a rum lover, you probably should have. Agricole, which is traditionally made in countries that were formerly French colonies, is made from pure sugar cane juice, while most rums are made from distilled molasses.


Using fresh sugar cane juice is a more expensive process. Unlike molasses, which can be created anytime, rhum agricole can be made only when the sugar cane crop is at the peak of maturity, meaning it is limited to a short period of time each year. After harvesting the sugar cane, it is  naturally fermented into wine over a few days, before being distilled into agricole rum.

Rhum Clément Premiere Canne is such a rhum agricole. Made in Martinique, the white rum is a crisp, delicate spirit that sells for around $30 per bottle.

Clément Premiere Canne has a nose unlike any other rum I’ve tasted. Grass, vanilla bean, melon, and citrus are all apparent. On the palate, it is smooth and tastes much like it smells: sweet sugar cane, cantelope, and lemon. The finish is long with vanilla and plenty more sugary sweetness.

I enjoyed the Rhum Clément on the rocks, but I think it it really shines in a cocktail. The refreshing flavors made for an excellent mojito with very little simple syrup needed.

As for cigars, Clément Premiere Canne requires a delicate touch. Stick to mild cigars like the Cuban Crafters Medina 1959, Ashton Classic, or a Cuban Por Larrañaga Panetela.

Ultimately, Rhum Clément Premiere Canne is not a classic sipping rum. At first I had mixed feelings about this spirit, even thinking that it reminded me more of a fine tequila than a rum. After a few nights of sipping it, though,  I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy its unique nectar-like qualities. So if you’re a rum drinker looking to expand your horizons, I can confidently recommend Rhum Clément Premiere Canne.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys