Archive | September, 2011

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 258

30 Sep 2011

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.

1) The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest universities in the country, may be on the verge of adopting an outdoor smoking ban, which would include such spaces as the Quad (pictured). The restrictive regulation is supposedly intended to “promote healthier living” but, as the Daily Illini reports, “it is not the University’s role to force faculty members and students to quit…Non-smokers are exposed to smoke outside for just a few seconds. The inconvenience and health risks are minimal.” At least 530 U.S. colleges and universities enforce a complete campus ban, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.

2) We’ve written before about why we love premium tobacco. Gordon K. Hurd of has a new piece about why he smokes cigars and why you should too. Among his reasons: cigars are pleasing in a fundamental way, they’re challenging, and they have a finite start and finish. Check out the article here.

3) Inside the Industry: Prometheus is introducing the 2011 Limited Edition Fuente Story Humidor featuring an impressive selection of 50 Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars. Living up to it’s new name, the Toraño Family Cigar Company announced the hiring of family member Jack Toraño as the marketing and customer relations manager.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limited. Nice Tight Ash checks out the Illusione MK Ultra. Smoking Stogie lights up the Oliva Master Blends 2. A Cigar Smoker smokes the Room 101  LTD Namakubi.

5) Deal of the Week: Just $45 gets you a nice selection of classic CAO cigars. Included are two each of the Brazilia, Gold, Cameroon, Italia, and MX2, plus a five-pack of little MX2 “Daggers” and a CAO hat.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: UIUC

Commentary: My Life without Cigars

29 Sep 2011

Last Friday I did something I should have done a long time ago, something most people take care of while they’re in high school or college. I had my wisdom teeth yanked out.

I didn’t really have anything against these three impacted bastards per se. For years I was aware that they were in there, and for years I was told by dentists that the choice to leave or remove them was my own. Since I’m no fan of oral surgery, I decided to let them be. That is until I started to get headaches in my temples and pain in my jaw. That’s when I (eventually) manned up and scheduled the same procedure that so many women and children have survived before me. How courageous.

Now, five days after D-Day for the wisdom teeth, my mouth is starting to heal. The headaches persist, but I expect them to subside as my jaw slowly gets used to all the extra space in my face.

As the healing process runs its course, I must abstain from cigars. There are certain things all post-extraction patients must avoid for at least a week, including straws, tortilla chips, booze, and popcorn. But top of the list is smoking. Smoking in the days following oral surgery can cause complications the likes of which I want no part.

I knew this ahead of time. That’s why, in the days leading up to the surgery, I lit up some of my favorite smokes, including the Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8, Tatuaje L’Espirit de Vérité 2009, Tesa Cabinet 312, and the PG 15th Anniversary.

I haven’t smoked anything in a week now. So far that’s going fine. Cigars are nothing like cigarettes when it comes to addiction (or anything else for that matter). Would I love to spark something special right now to celebrate my reemergence into the world of premium tobacco? Of course. But that would be premature. I’m holding off until I’m back to normal.

But this run of consecutive cigar-free days brings up some interesting questions: What’s the first cigar I should light up when the hiatus is over? What’s the longest you’ve gone without a cigar since becoming a true cigar enthusiast? What other cigar related activities should I engage in while I’m not smoking—organize my humidors, catch up on reading, etc.? I’d love to see your feedback in the comments below.

Patrick A

photo credit:

Cigar Review: Sencillo Black Double Robusto

28 Sep 2011

Not long ago I, like most people I suspect, identified Prometheus with two things: high-end cigar accessories and limited Fuente smokes (first the God of Fire line then Angelenos). But in 2010, Prometheus introduced its first cigar line not made by the Fuentes, called Sencillo.

Sencillo Black Double Robusto

The first Sencillo (Spanish for “simple”) was the Platinum, made by Christian Eiroa of Camacho Cigars in Honduras. Prometheus founder Keith Park tells me that blend came about when he asked Eiroa to replicate a particular cigar he had given Park back in 2008.

Next came the Sencillo Black, which features filler from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico (San Andreas) surrounded by Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. It’s made by the prolific Nestor Plasencia Jr. in Nicaragua and comes in five sizes, including the 5.75-inch by 52-ring gauge Double Robusto that is the subject of this review.

The dark Habano Colorado wrapper is oily with a few veins, and the cigar has a nice firm feel that foreshadows excellent construction. It retails for around $8 per cigar. A pre-light draw reveals rich cherry notes with some earth.

The cigar’s dominant flavors are leather and earth. It’s a full-bodied smoke with enough balance to let you appreciate secondary flavors that include cocoa, black pepper, and sweet cinnamon.

Construction is superb, with a solid ash and an even burn that produces an abundence of smoke that coats the palate. The powdery smoke makes for a lingering finish and the cigar mellows slightly in the final third as it settles into a medium to full body.

It’s an enjoyable smoke, and my favorite Plasencia-made cigar since at least the original Casa Magna. With interesting, solid construction, ample complexity, and a fair price, the Sencillo Black Double Robusto earns a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Face-Off: Tatuaje Fausto vs. La Casita Criolla

27 Sep 2011

[Editor’s Note: “Cigar Face-Off” is a new feature where we compare and contrast cigars that share at least one important attribute. Please let us know what you think about the new feature in the comments below, and feel free to suggest two cigars for a future Face-Off.]

Pete Johnson and Don Pepin Garcia continue their buzz-heavy collaboration with the recent release of the über-potent Fausto and the intriguing La Casita Criolla U.S. broadleaf puro.

Fausto FT 150 Toro

I found the strength to live up to the hype. Even so, it snuck up on me the first time because the blend is very smooth with the sort of deep, rich flavors common to Tatuajes. Kicking off with heavy pepper, there were also some hay notes that I tend to associate more with Connecticut than Nicaragua, which is the home for the filler and binder. Perhaps they came from the Ecuadorian Habano maduro wrapper.

About one third of the way down the six-inch stick, the pepper lightened up a bit, allowing some dark fruit to come through. And in the final third, there was a thick woody component. With a 50-ring gauge the Toro is a comfortable smoke. At about $8.50 a stick, it’s slow burning treat.

La Casita Criolla HCBC Corona Gorda

This is a cigar about which I expect most smokers will have a strong opinion. It certainly stands out, from the rough, thick wrapper to the dark, gray ash. Not to mention the taste, which I found to be earthy, somewhat sharp, and occasionally harsh.

I’ve only smoked a couple and don’t know if I’ll go back for more. At around $7 for the Corona Gorda (5.6 x 46), the price is reasonable.


These two new releases are a result of Tatuaje’s willingness to experiment and create new tastes and experiences for smokers. I think that’s great.

Of course, every cigar isn’t going to please everyone. But you’ll be missing out if you don’t give these a try. I preferred the Fausto, though its power will probably make it an occasional choice. La Casita was more unusual, and I thought it lacked the depth and nuance of most Tatuaje smokes.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Spirits: Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon

26 Sep 2011

Haven’t heard of Corner Creek? Neither had I until I came across it on sale for $29 at my local spirit store. With an attractive bottle and a reasonable price, I decided to take this 88-proof bourbon for a spin.

The product is described on its website: “A selection of the distillery’s finest barrels. Smoothed to perfection with pure Kentucky limestone water. Full-bodied, but without any harshness.”

Further information on the brand wasn’t easy to find, but eventually I was able to determine that Corner Creek is made by an elusive Bardstown, Kentucky, outfit called Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Ltd. Some of the other bourbons they make include Jefferson’s Reserve, Noah’s Mill, Rowan’s Creek, Pure Kentucky, and Kentucky Vintage.

But enough of the background. The bourbon, which uses wheat and rye, in addition to the required corn, is ultimately what I was interested in. It’s a slightly hazy amber color with an inviting nose of vanilla, toffee, and cherry notes.

Once I tasted Corner Creek I found nut, rye, and lots of oak. Dryness is the most pervasive element to the flavor profile and that continues in the finish, which includes some pine. You can definitively taste the rye in the blend.

Ultimately, it’s a good bourbon but not great, at least if you plan on drinking it straight or on the rocks. I don’t plan to buy more soon, though I don’t regret my impulse purchase. Given the dominant rye flavors, I think it would be an excellent component for a Manhattan. As for cigars, the Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon is pretty versatile. Both a mild Connecticut cigar and a full-bodied Nicaraguan smoke went well.

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Pinar del Rio Liga Especial Reserva Superior Torpedo

25 Sep 2011

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.”

This new cigar from Pinar del Rio will be a limited release, only available at select Pinar del Rio retailers. Designed to be a full flavored smoke, the filler is all ligero, and the wrapper is strikingly oily and jet black. The torpedo is well constructed with a sturdy white ash. The Liga Especial Reserva Superior features roasted notes with lots of coffee, chocolate, and earth. It’s tasty and worth a try.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

24 Sep 2011

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.”

Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

While no one enjoys trying new cigars more than I do, I’m trying to make a more concerted effort to routinely revisit some of my favorites. The Flor Fina 8-5-8 from Arturo Fuente is one such favorite that I hope to get back in touch with. This affordable, accessible smoke has a wonderful profile of pine, herbs, toast, and roasted nuts, and the Cameroon wrapper adds a nice sweetness. With excellent construction, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better everyday cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys