Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: La Galera Maduro Chaveta

26 Apr 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

From the start, there’s no question this cigar features a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. And for my palate, that means dirt, or an unpleasant, thick taste that more or less overlays everything else. I did detect some of the typical maduro flavors like coffee and chocolate trying to fight their way to the surface. The Chaveta (5 x 50) and features Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Draw and smoke production were good, and the ash held on tightly. Construction was marred slightly by a small amount of unraveling wrapper about halfway down. If you’re a San Andrés fan, this maduro is worth a try. Otherwise, though, I’d leave it on the shelf.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Diesel Hair of the Dog

15 Apr 2019

The latest Diesel cigar is a single-vitola limited edition with a price tag that belies its quality. With more and more cigars moving toward the $20 and up range, it’s a pleasant surprise to find one this large and this good for only $10.

Hair of the Dog is a lightly pressed, toro-sized (6 x 54) smoke with a smooth, golden brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around an Ecuadorian Habano binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. Sweet hay dominates the pre-light notes.

While the cigar, overall, is in the medium-strength range, it begins with a strong pepper blast reminiscent of some of Don José “Pepin” Garcia’s early smokes. That tapers off after the first few puffs.

Other flavors along the way include cashew, white pepper, toast, a bit of cinnamon and, in the final third, a little licorice.

The cigar’s performance was tops in all respects. The burn was sharp and even, the ash held tight, smoke production was voluminous, and the draw exhibited just the right amount of resistance.

One small complaint: The paper bands, sporting the distinctive lower-case “d” that identifies the brand, were glued so tightly that removing them became quite a chore.

The cigars are rolled at A.J. Fernandez’s factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The original Diesel was one of the cigars that helped Fernandez rise to prominence through its initial sales by online/catalog giant Cigars International. The line—and its availability—has been expanding. Last year, for example, saw the release of the Diesel Whiskey Row that incorporated tobacco aged in Rabbit Hole Bourbon barrels.

Hair of the Dog is a production with General Cigar (part of the same conglomerate that owns Cigars International) and that guarantees wide release, even with the limited-edition production ceiling.

The name is a bit hard to fathom. Using a phrase that commonly refers to having a day-after drink to ward off the effects of a hangover seems pretty far removed from tobacco. But in these days of odd monikers and trademark lawsuits, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by almost any cigar name.

If you see one, give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Hair of the Dog checks in at four out of five stogies.

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

George E & Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Montecristo Nicaragua Series Toro

5 Apr 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Yes, this cigar is another collaboration involving the ubiquitous A.J. Fernandez and is handmade at Tabacalera A.J. Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua S.A., in Estelí. Yes, you should give it a try. Added by Altadis as a full-production line last year, the Montecristo Nicaragua Series is a puro that bears little resemblance to the brand’s other core lines. From the peppery start to earthiness, floral notes, and cedar along the way, the slow-burning Toro (6 x 54, $12.50) is a finely balanced and well-performing treat. Well worth lighting up.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Cameroon Merlin

1 Apr 2019

The Excalibur Cameroon line seems to be among the least heralded offerings in the vast General Cigar catalog. I think that’s a shame because it is, for my taste, among the most enjoyable.

It makes a fine first impression. The band, featuring a subtle green addition, is a classy variation on the regular Excalibur presentation. And the thin African Cameroon wrapper gives off a pleasant pre-light aroma that blends spices and sweetness.

From the initial puff, the spices are at the forefront. They’re light spices, not peppery. After about half an inch, sweetness begins to mingle. A little farther into the robusto, I noticed some leather, an occasional citrus note, pepper here and there, and a bit of espresso.

The flavors are balanced nicely from beginning to end, and the finish is long and smooth. I’d place the strength squarely in the medium range.

Construction was generally good in the half-dozen or so I smoked for this review. I did experience a little tightness in the draw at times in a couple of Merlins, though it worked itself out in each instance. Smoke production was excellent, as was the burn line. My only real complaint is the often flaky white ash.

It’s an interesting, multi-national blend. The binder is Connecticut Broadleaf and the filler combines leaves from Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.

The Merlin, for which I smoked about a half-dozen for this review, is a slightly long robusto: 5.25 inches with a ring gauge of 50. There are three other vitolas: Lancelot (7.25 x 54), Galahad (6.75 x 47), and King Arthur (6.25 x 45).

While the Merlin carries an MSRP of $7.79, bargain hunters can find it for much less. I bought 10 for just a shade over $2.60 apiece.

I’d recommend this cigar to a smoker at any level of experience. I rate it a solid four stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: 2012 by Oscar Connecticut Toro

29 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

There’s no mistaking the Connecticut nature of this smoke, from the light brown wrapper to the first draw. The grassy flavor dominates from the start, receding only a bit in the second half to allow a little spice and leather to come through. The box-pressed cigar from Oscar Valladares, who became known with Leaf by Oscar, features a Honduran binder and filler from Honduras and Nicaragua. The burn and draw are fine. But even Connecticut fans may find the overall experience to be too much a single-note performance.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: Mysteries of the World of Cigars

27 Mar 2019

Like the late Andy Rooney, we all occasionally wonder about things that have no real significance but just seem puzzling. Lately, I’ve been mulling a few of those topics related to cigars.

Do cigar makers really believe we want more baseball caps?

I understand that every company likes to get its name out there, especially with virtually free advertising. And I realize that a few years ago baseball caps seemed to be de rigueur as a fashion accessory. Mercifully, that trend seems to have gone the way of mullets. But cigar companies continue to offer branded caps as an “inducement” to buy their cigars. When we moved last year, I must have pulled a dozen or so unworn caps from the back of the closet and dropped them off at a local thrift shop (where they probably went into the trash).

Why do cigars end up connected to scandal after scandal?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in hot water amid allegations of corruption. And what is among the most mentioned illegal gifts he supposedly received? Boxes and boxes of Cohiba Siglo V. One story even estimated how many hours Netanyahu would have spent smoking the storied Cubans through the years. No doubt the most famous cigar appearance in scandal history was with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. More recently, cigars have come up in the ongoing Mueller investigation. Where did then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, his deputy at the time, and Konstantin Kilimnik meet in the summer of 2016? Where else but New York’s Grand Havana Room.

Why aren’t names like robusto and Churchill good enough?

I never cease to be amazed at the “creative” names cigar makers come up for the different sizes of their cigars. Sometimes weird, sometimes funny, sometimes just odd. But whatever the monikers are, does anyone ever actually speak those names? I can only surmise that they are adapted because the urge to be “creative” is overwhelming. Believe me, though, robusto, Churchill, torpedo, etc., have worked fine for years and years—and they still do.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo

24 Mar 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

My Father Connecticut

When My Father Cigars introduced the Connecticut in 2014, Janny Garcia told Cigar Aficionado it was “the one cigar that was missing in our lineup.” Apparently, it still is. It didn’t show up in the listing of “our brands” on the My Father website. Nonetheless, it’s well worth checking out. With a beautiful light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and binder and filler tobaccos from the Garcia’s Nicaraguan farms, it’s a mild cigar that has plenty of taste, even starting with a little pepper. The blend is creamy, smooth, and well-balanced. I smoked the Toro Gordo (6 x 60) because it was the only vitola available at the shop I visited. I’d prefer a smaller ring gauge (like the Robusto pictured), but it certainly wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys