Archive | October, 2011

Quick Smoke: Room 101 One Shot, One Kill (Pre-Release Sample)

30 Oct 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.”

Matt Booth’s Room 101 is on a tour of the country that he’s calling “Cigarmageddon.” Featured at the events is the small perfecto called “One Shot, One Kill” (the band reads: “pre-release sample”) which is apparently destined to become a three-size line. The little figuardo is well constructed with an ash that lasts nearly half the length of the four-inch smoke. It’s medium- to full-bodied but remarkably smooth with earth, leather, and a hint of citrus. Without knowing the price it’s hard to give a full recommendation, but my initial takeaway is that this is a great little cigar perfect for when you only have 30 minutes but still want something complex and tasty.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: San Lotano Maduro Robusto

29 Oct 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 A.J. Fernandez cigar has been my go-to maduro in recent weeks. Sure, I’ve enjoyed it since it was launched in 2010, but a year of age has improved this Mexican-wrapped smoke, making the chalky taste of espresso, black pepper, and cayenne spice more balanced and sweeter. Expect more chocolate and nuts from the first generation of San Lotano Maduros, and expect them to be quite tasty. That makes the Robusto (5 x 52) a good investment at around $6 apiece.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 262

28 Oct 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) Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s newest annual edition is called Dark Rituals. The cigar, which is shipping to stores now, features a maduro oscuro wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and Nicaraguan filler. Only a week ago, boxes were still being made in General Cigar’s box factory in the Dominican Republic. (Click the photo right for a better view.)

2) In last month’s “Question of the Month,” we asked readers how much a “daily cigar” should cost. The sub-$3 range topped the poll with 29% of the vote, followed by $3-4 (27%), $4-5 (23%), $5-6 (13%), and $6 or more (8%). Be sure to weigh in on this month’s question by voting in the sidebar to the right. And feel free to contact us if you’ve got suggestion for a future poll.

3) A web advertisement for presidential hopeful Herman Cain went viral on Monday night, but it’s not necessarily the content of the ad that has people talking. The video shows Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, taking a drag from a lit cigarette. As reported by The Atlantic, the ad “serves as a reminder that Cain used to lead a lobbying group that fought tobacco rules” like smoking bans and taxes.

4) Inside the Industry: The J.C. Newmann Cigar Co. opened a factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, that is expected to turn out over 20 millions cigars per year. On October 30, Miami Cigar and Co. is hosting their second annual Cigar Inn Halloween Party in New York.

5) Around the Blogs: Stogie Fresh lights up a Room 101 Connecticut. Smoking Stogie smokes a Liga Privada Unico Series A. Cigar Fan fires up the Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor. Stogie Review reviews a E.P. Carrillo Maduro.

6) Deal of the Week: Churchill lover’s will want to check out this weekly special from Corona Cigar: $35 gets you five Playboy and five Romeo y Julieta V Maduro cigars.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale Club

27 Oct 2011

Back in July, was in Las Vegas for the 79th annual IPCPR Trade Show. We reported on two new releases from General Cigar: the highly anticipated CAO OSA Sol and the La Gloria Cubana Retro Especiale.

The Retro Especiale just started to ship in late September, which makes this a good time to review the new line. It is comprised of a Honduran-grown Connecticut-seed wrapper with dual Nicaraguan and Mexican binders around filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The wrapper, according to a press release, was specifically cultivated to allow “each of the cigar’s components to enjoy equal bearing on the overall taste of the cigar,” rather than having any one part dominate.

Packaged in attractive art deco wooden boxes that were inspired by an antique humidor found at the El Credito factory, Retro Especiale is available in four sizes: Taino (7 x 52), Habanero (6 x 52), Cubano (6.5 x 58), and Club (5.75 x 47). Each carries an MSRP between $7 and $8.15.

The Club has faint pre-light notes and a light exterior leaf that’s far from intimidating. Despite its golden hue, though, General Cigar says “the blend is brash in its full flavor and engages the entire palate.” That’s certainly true upon first light, where the cigar has a powerful, somewhat salty taste that’s characterized by dry wood.

I don’t find overt saltiness particularly appetizing, so I’m pleased to report that the profile becomes much less abrasive after only a few puffs. Core flavors like peanut, cedar, cream, black coffee, and citrus emerge. The result is a more balanced cigar that stands firmly in the medium- to full-bodied range. Each puff produces large volumes of smoke, and the resting smoke is aromatic and sweet.

I really like the taste of this cigar, even if some stale notes waft in and out in the final third. All the while the construction is what I’ve come to expect from General Cigar creations: a straight burn line, a clear draw, and a solid ash that holds well.

At $175 per 25-count box, the Club is a solid buy. This young cigar, which I think shows good aging potential, is a nice addition to the La Gloria Cubana portfolio and worthy of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Face-Off: Montecristo Open Eagle vs. Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009 (Cubans)

26 Oct 2011

[Editor’s Note: “Cigar Face-Off” is a new feature where we compare and contrast cigars that share at least one important attributePlease 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.]

Here’s a face-off between two thick Cuban cigars. Each has a ring gauge of 54 and sells for around $20. They both also happened to be featured in the September selection of the Diamond level of Canadian Cigar Company’s cigar-of-the-month club. (All their recent cigar club selections can be seen here.)

Montecristo Open Eagle

Montecristo Open Eagle and Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009

I didn’t have high expectations for this cigar, which was introduced a few years back as a premium Cuban for new cigar smokers. For that reason, I had avoided the entire Montecristo Open line until I smoked this 5.9-inch cigar.

What I found was pretty much as advertised: a mild smoke, with pleasant flavors and flawless construction that would probably suit a beginner nicely. Even though the flavors were a bit mild for my tastes, it had excellent balance and sweet cedar notes, and towards the end it added in some characteristic Cuban earthiness. Think of it as a tamer version of the Montecristo Edmundo.

Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009

Without a doubt, this is one of the best looking Cuban cigars I’ve seen in awhile. It has a dark, oily wrapper and perfectly squared triple cap. The 5.5-inch smoke was generally well-constructed,  except for needing multiple touch-ups to keep the burn even (which is disappointing for a cigar that can cost in excess of $20 each).

As for its flavors, the cigar reminded me of the 2007 Romeo y Julieta Escudos, with coffee, oak, and cocoa notes all apparent. Unfortunately, there was also a sourness that came and went throughout the cigar. Still, there was much to enjoy in this medium- to full-bodied Cuban.


The Montecristo Open Eagle was better than I thought, but ultimately I don’t like the Open blend as much as the regular Montecristos (the Petit Edmundo and classic Monte No. 2 both offer more flavor for less money). Meanwhile, the Romeo y Julieta Duke demonstrated some real potential and more interesting flavors, but was held back by the sour notes and inconsistent construction.

I fully expected to come out of this cigar face-off proclaiming the Duke the unanimous victor, but my ultimate conclusion isn’t so clear-cut. Ultimately, with some age, I think the Romeo y Julieta Duke will be the far superior cigar (particularly if you prefer a fuller-bodied smoke). Right now, though, the Montecristo Open is slightly better due to its balance.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Perdomo Habano Corojo Robusto

25 Oct 2011

I have a lot of respect for Tabacalera Perdomo. When politicians raised federal taxes on “large” cigars by 700% for SCHIP, the folks at Perdomo responded by dropping their prices and absorbing the tax hike on most of their portfolio.

“We’re all in this together in these tough economic times,” said Nick Perdomo, the company’s president. “You should be able to afford great cigars at great price points.” So, in 2009 and 2010, Tabacalera Perdomo made many of their best-selling brands more affordable. Today, Perdomo creations are, generally speaking, a great value given the quality of the tobacco and the fine craftsmanship.

The Habano Corojo Robusto (5 x 52) is no exception. One of seven sizes in the line (which is also available in Maduro and Connecticut varieties), this smoke retails for $4 to $6 apiece. It comes adorned with ornate double bands, the larger of which honors the three different growing regions of Nicaragua: Estelí, Condeda, and Jalapa. This is, of course, a nod to the fact that the cigar is comprised of Cuban-seed tobacco from each of these regions.

The Robusto has a matte exterior leaf with several light-colored veins. Consistently firm from head to foot, the cap is applied nicely and it clips easily to yield a moderate draw. The pre-light notes are potent and reminiscent of earth, caramel, and peanut.

Once lit, the cigar has a medium-bodied flavor of spice, oak, and a tart taste on the finish. A gentle sweetness is also present that contributes balance. The overall effect isn’t terribly complex, but it’s satisfying and straightforward.

Don’t expect too many changes in flavor along the way, but you can count on the physical properties to be excellent. All three samples I smoked for this review displayed straight burn lines and solid ashes. The draw is tighter than most other 52-ring gauge cigars, but not to the extent that it causes smoking difficulties.

While I don’t foresee seasoned cigar veterans being blown away by the Habano Corojo Robusto, you can’t deny the value this Nick Perdomo creation brings to the table. I always seem to have at least a handful of these in my humidor to fill the need for a solid everyday smoke. That’s ultimately why this Perdomo earns three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

News: Behind the Scenes at General Cigar Dominicana

24 Oct 2011

Last week I was in the Dominican Republic touring General Cigar’s facilities, where La Gloria Cubana, Macanudo, Partagas, and a number of other well-known cigars are made.

Even though it’s not the first cigar factory I’ve visited, it still amazes me how many people are involved in the creation of just one cigar that sells for under $10 (often far less than that). Here are just a few of those steps:

La Gloria Cubana (and El Rico Habano) are rolled in a separate room from Macanudo and General

A La Gloria roller cuts the wrapper before rolling it around the bunched cigar.

Cigars are pressed after bunching (and before rolling) to create a solid shape and even draw. Wooden molds used to be used, but now almost every factory relies on plastic molds which last longer and are more uniform.

Production numbers are kept and quality checked. As you can see, in just three days over 60,000 cigars have been rolled.

One of the most impressive things I saw was one of their tobacco warehouses, where tobacco ages and is stored. In this particular warehouse, they estimated there was $50 million worth of tobacco. At any given point General Cigar says they have $120 million dollars of tobacco stored.

Each bale in the warehouse has a label with key information about the tobacco. This particular label features Connecticut wrapper leaf from 2008.

Curing tobacco is what begins its process from plant to cigar. Here aged tobacco is cured in a heat controlled room with misting water and plenty of airflow.

Wrapper leaves are sorted according to size and color. Size determines the size of the cigar that can be rolled, while color is more of an aesthetic consideration. For example, Genral Cigar won

Fermenting tobacco is what takes it to the final stages before it can be rolled. Fermenting tobacco generates its own heat and must be watched closely or else it can be ruined. Tubes are used to take the temperature of the tobacco.

That’s just a few of the many steps that it takes to produce a handmade cigar. Next time you smoke one, be sure to take a moment to consider the many steps it took and the attention to detail that was necessary to produce a fine cigar. A mistake in any step in the process can ruin what would otherwise be an excellent smoke.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys