Archive | January, 2010

Quick Smoke: My Father Le Bijou 1922 Petit Robusto

31 Jan 2010

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”


The Le Bijou 1922 was created to honor Don Pepin’s father. Featuring a smooth, dark brown Ecuadorian habano oscuro wrapper, the Petit Robusto (4.5 x 50) is a beautiful cigar. Construction is flawless with no soft spots and a perfectly applied triple cap. The cigar offers an easy draw that produces a good volume of smoke and flavors of earth, pepper, and a hint of mint with a sweet, creamy finish. But while nice, the taste isn’t very deep, leaving something missing. I also had to maintain the burn with my torch a couple times to keep the cigar from tunneling. At $7 per stick, this particular My Father Le Bijou Petit Robusto seemed promising but was ultimately disappointing.

Verdict = Sell.

Patrick M

photo credits: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: God of Fire Carlito 2006 Double Robusto

30 Jan 2010

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”


With a brand name that harkens the gift of fire to mortals and a price in excess of $20, this Cameroon-wrapped cigar has a lot of live up to. It delivers. The well-constructed blend, crafted by Carlito Fuente, sports a smooth and chalky flavor of roasted cashew, sweet cedar, and tangy leather. Its top-notch balance makes the God of Fire Carlito 2006 Double Robusto a treat for rare occasions.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CLXXIV

29 Jan 2010

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.

Gov. Deval Patrick1) This week, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced plans to drastically increase tobacco taxes across the commonwealth. He aims to boost taxes on cigars from 30% to a whopping 110%. Patrick, a Democrat, is up for reelection this year, and Republican candidate Charles D. Baker criticized him “for relying on one-time revenues to help plug the [state budget] gap.” The tax hike still requires legislative approval, however, and the IPCPR said in a press release that it will deploy lobbyists in the State Capitol and “launch and disseminate a Legislative Action Alert.”

2) The Daily Caller, the new website of Fox News  commentator Tucker Carlson (formerly of MSNBC and CNN), now features weekly cigar reviews and occasional news commentaries written by the editors of Click here for our first contribution: a review of the CAO La Traviata Divino.

3) Inside the Industry: Camacho is expanding its Room 101 line with a stronger four-vitola blend called the “Room 101 LTD.” New Ashton VSG and ESG tubos have begun arriving in cigar shops. The “New York Tobacconists Association” has been established to fight against the many anti-cigar laws of New York State and City.

4)Around the Blogs: Nice Tight Ash lights up an Ashton VSG. Keepers of the Flame reviews a Declaration by Jameson. Cigar Inspector smokes the Diplomaticos No. 2. Stogie Review checks out the My Father Le Bijou 1922. A Cigar Smoker fires up the Joya de Nicaragua Dark Corojo.

5) Deal of the Week: Cuban Crafters is having a Super Bowl Sale on some of our favorite smokes. Included are bargains on Cuban Crafters Cameroon, Cubano Claro, and Medina Miami 1959. But the best buy is box of 25 Cupido Criollos for just $47. Grab yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Commentary: Obama’s Tobacco Tax Job Killer

28 Jan 2010

Last night, during his State of the Union address, President Obama spent a fair amount of time speaking about how to restore American jobs. He even touted various “targeted” tax cuts that he signed into law.

obamaSOTUObama said in his speech that he would visit Tampa, Florida, to have a townhall on the issue today. I can think of no better place for such an event. Tampa, after all, has been ground zero for the devastation caused by the SCHIP tobacco tax increase.

In a decision that Altadis USA directly attributed to the SCHIP tobacco tax hike, the Hav-A-Tampa factory, which began producing cigars in 1902, made its last cigar and closed its doors in July of last year. The move left around 500 employees without jobs.

One of Obama’s first acts in office was to sign the SCHIP tax hike into law. That bill increased the tax on small cigars to $50 per 1,000 (up from $1.80) and increased the tax on “large” handmade cigars a whopping 750%—from 5 cents to 40 cents per cigar.

Such a massive new tax burden has a real impact, and the 500 jobs lost at the Hav-A-Tampa factory near the site of Obama’s appearance tomorrow are just the most visible example of the many thousands of jobs eliminated by the tax on tobacco users, a group that already pays more than their fair share of taxes.

So today, instead of heading to a sports arena to hold a meeting with politicians and well-connected activists, Obama might want to visit the now-empty Hav-A-Tampa cigar factory and talk to the 500 workers who lost their jobs because of the tax increase on tobacco the president so proudly signed into law.

Patrick S

photo credit: Telegraph

Stogie Reviews: Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro Churchill

27 Jan 2010

Cuban Crafters Cubano Claro ChurchillSince I reviewed it in May, the Cubano Claro Toro has been a staple in my humidor for its affordable price, unique flavor, and solid construction. Now it seems appropriate to examine another size in this blend: the seven inch by 48 ring gauge Churchill.

It, too, is made by Cuban Crafters from desflorado tobacco, a difficult and finicky leaf that’s often reserved for rare and expensive cigars. The desflorado process requires the buds on tobacco plants to be cut off before they flower to give the leaves a rich, smooth taste. Then, in the case of Cubano Claro, 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.

But don’t let the phrase “Connecticut wrapper” fool you. With a relatively dark complexion and a reddish-yellow hue, this cigar doesn’t look, smell, or feel like a traditional Connecticut leaf. It is highlighted by a clean cap, few noticeable veins or seams, and a pre-light aroma of salty hay.

Like the Toro, which also has a slender physique, the Churchill’s dimensions allow for 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. This must have been a conscious strategy when the nine Cubano Claro sizes were chosen; the widest vitola is the 50 ring gauge Torpedo.

I sampled five Churchills for this review. This size, which retails for $6.50 apiece when bought by the cedar humidor box of 20, starts with a flourish of onion, olive, and bread after an easy light. Each medium-bodied puff produces ample tufts of cool smoke.

Then, as was the case with the Toro, the midway point is characterized by a creamier taste of nuts and milk chocolate. While the overall profile is slightly subdued here, the Churchill is still flavorful with a well-balanced, somewhat dry profile. Truly a pleasure to smoke.

The cigar’s combustion, all the while, remains outstanding. My samples all included a razor-sharp burn with a shiny mascara, a firm white ash, and an easy draw. These set-it-and-forget-it physical properties enable you to focus on the development of the taste without interruption.

Overall, like many other Cuban Crafters creations, the Cubano Claro Churchill is an excellent value that won’t disappoint. It demonstrates superb aging potential and, for now, earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Commentary: The Most Unkindest Cut

26 Jan 2010

Recently, I got a perfect lesson in what drives cigar smokers to the internet. I tagged along with my wife to a nearby town. She met up with some friends and I went to a cigar shop adjacent to a restaurant to smoke and watch the playoffs.

nocigarI’m not sure what the first hint of trouble was, but I think it was seeing the TV tuned to an All in the Family rerun. I asked the young clerk if he’d mind putting the game on, and he immediately asked me what game and if I knew the channel. He flipped the remote while I explored the humidor.

Now I can’t be sure, but the smell I noticed was more like cedar chest than Spanish cedar. Ignoring that, I eyed the wares. Quite a few sported hand-written notes pointing out price reductions of 25 to 50 cents, thereby putting them about 10% over MSRP.

I chose a robusto, since I was to meet the group for dinner, and went to pay for it. The clerk didn’t know the cost. Fortunately, I remembered. (I was struck by this later when a couple of customers came in to buy a half-dozen or so sticks each and the clerk asked them to go back and check the prices.)

I picked up the cutter and it was so dull it didn’t really cut the head of my cigar. It just sort of tore a piece off. Lousy cutters are one of my pet peeves at cigar shops.

I know I could avoid this by bringing my own cutter, but I rarely remember. And anyway, why should I have to? Do you bring silverware to a restaurant in case they forgot to wash it? Or a needle to the doctor’s office so they won’t have to re-use one to draw blood? It’s hard to have confidence that a shop owner who has so little regard for tools has much more for his cigar inventory.

The shop did have two leather chairs and the TV worked once the clerk found the game. Since it was the only shop in town, I returned after dinner for the second game. No customers were there either time. After an hour or so, the clerk announced that he was closing up—this after saying earlier that the shop stayed open until 10 p.m. on Saturdays. I made a grumpy remark and walked outside, standing under an awning to avoid the rain while I tried to figure out how I was going to kill an hour or so.

That’s when the most positive event of the evening occurred. A woman from the restaurant came out and asked if I was coming back in. I said the kid had closed the shop, at which point she reopened it and let me back in.

I consider myself a big fan of cigar shops. I’m also lucky to have quite a few first-rate shops close to my home. But if all I had to frequent was a shop like that one, I think I’d be ordering my sticks online. At least my cutter’s sharp and my back deck doesn’t close early.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

Stogie Reviews: Davidoff Colorado Claro Short Perfecto

25 Jan 2010

The Davidoff Colorado Claro is a limited edition line using the same blend as the Davidoff Special, but featuring a darker, richer “Colorado Claro” wrapper. While it was originally released way back in 2002, it hasn’t since been available until its re-introduction in late 2009.

DavidoffCCShortperfectoFor this review I sampled a few Colorado Claros in the Short Perfecto (4.9 x 52) which, at $13 each, is the most affordable size. These are truly very limited smokes, with only 300 boxes of 10 cigars having been made. There are three other sizes of the Colorado Claro, each made in similarly limited numbers: a “Special R” robusto ($16), a “Special T” torpedo ($18), and a “Double R” double corona ($27).

The blend features a unique Colorado Claro Ecuadorian wrapper. It’s a lush brown leaf with nice sheen and, upon close inspection, impressively few veins.

The Short Perfecto starts off with a burst of savory saltiness, which will be the dominant flavor throughout. There is also a underlying core of slightly sweet cedar. As it progresses, it grows from a medium- to a full-bodied smoke with pleasant caramel notes and an aromatic sweetness. It puts off a good deal of smoke, and has Davidoff’s characteristic excellent construction.

The Colorado Claro has a subtle peppery finish, particularly in the second half when the saltiness fades slightly, even though it never goes completely away. Near the end a coffee bean flavor emerges for an exciting and more medium-bodied conclusion.

One of the most remarkable and defining characteristics about this blend are the salty flavors. In so many cigars, saltiness is a sign of a lack of balance—but here that flavor contributes to what makes it such a distinct and enjoyable smoke.

The perfecto shape does an excellent job focusing all those flavors on the palate and helping along the subtle yet striking shifts in the 50-minute smoke. The interesting flavor, combined with superb construction and an approachable price, is what earns this cigar the year’s first rating of five of stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here. A list of other five stogie-rated cigars can be found here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys