Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro Toro

24 Feb 2018

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 Ecuadorian oscuro-wrapped blend from La Palina starts boldly with a strong pepper blast befitting its Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Though it never goes away, the pepper backs down somewhat after an inch or so as flavors like coffee, leather, and cedar move forward. Introduced in 2016 in three sizes, Nicaragua Oscuro is rolled at A.J. Fernandez’s Nicaraguan factory. I paid about $8 for a single Toro (6 x 50), though you can find them online for just a shade over $5 each in a box of 20. It is a satisfying smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: La Palina

Quick Smoke: San Cristobal Quintessence Belicoso

17 Feb 2018

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.”

Another line in the collaboration between Ashton and cigar master Don José “Pepín” Garcia, the Quintessence quickly announces its heritage with a nice pepper blast. That dials back after about an inch as a fruity sweetness comes forward. The two flavors shift dominance throughout the rest of the Belicoso (6.5 x 54), joined on occasion by wood and leather. The smooth Ecuadorian Habano wrapper covers Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. As you’d expect from a Pepín-produced cigar, performance is excellent. There’s a lot to like about Quintessence—the Robusto was Cigar Journal’s 2016 cigar of the year—especially with a price tag under $10. (By the way, if you’re curious about the differences between belicosos, torpedos, and pyramids, check out this page from friend Doc Stogie.)

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Ashton

Cigar Review: MBombay Classic Torpedo

14 Feb 2018

This new vitola in the Classic line from Bombay Tobak won’t be crowding the shelves at your local B&M. In fact, it is intended to be available only as one of five cigars in MBombay’s new Sample Pack, though some retailers may split them apart for individual sales (MSRP $11.95).

The Torpedos have a smaller production level than other MBombay Classics. According to brand owner Mel Shah, there are two primary reasons for this: (1) the difficulty and time required to properly roll the shape, and (2) the fact that the cigars are aged for more than 14 months before heading to market.

So, the bottom line is you may have to do a little searching to find this cigar. Judging from those I’ve smoked, it will be well worth your while.

The tobaccos include an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and filler from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. The Torpedo, a 6-inch cigar with a ring gauge of 52, features an unfinished, closed foot. As with other Bombay Tobak cigars, it is rolled in Costa Rica.

There’s not a lot of differences from the original Classic—which received four stogies when we reviewed it in 2016—but that little bit is notable.

While both are smooth, the Torpedo is a bit stronger, especially in the second half. (Overall, I’d rate the strength as mild in the first half, medium thereafter.) And both are creamy with cedar notes, but the Torpedo also evokes some citrus and other fruity sweetness for added complexity.

On the other hand, they were identical in performance. Excellent burn, excellent draw, and great smoke production.

If you purchase the sampler, the other four cigars are the Mora Toro, Habano Robusto, Corojo Oscuro Robusto, and a Gaaja Toro.

The Classic Torpedo is a welcome addition to the MBombay line, and I think any cigar smoker will enjoy it. It earns four and a half stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Moolah by Perdomo Toro

10 Feb 2018

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.”

Made for the Two Guys Smoke Shop chain in New Hampshire, Perdomo’s Moolah is a mixed filler Nicaraguan puro with a small price tag. The Toro (6 x 50) sells for $3.59 (or $69.99 for a box of 25). Performance is fine, with a good draw, straight burn, and a great deal of smoke. It’s flavor where Moolah falls short. Few are discernable. The cigar is generally sharp, dry, and has a scratchy back-of-the-throat finish. But Moolah isn’t masquerading as something it’s not, so the buyer should be well aware beforehand of what’s in store.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Crux Epicure Robusto

24 Jan 2018

The first thing that stands out about this cigar is the wrapper, a beautiful light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf stretched over Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The large band around it has Crux’s trademark medieval-reminiscent typface on a red background balanced by a white strip below with the cigar’s name in gold. It is an impressive presentation.

The next strong impression comes after lighting up. There’s none of that typical Connecticut grassy characteristic. Instead, the dominant flavors are natural sweetness and toast. Around the second third, light pepper and cedar mingle in and remain through the rest of the Robusto (5 x 50, $10).

Though it will certainly appeal to the large segment of cigar smokers who prefer milder cigars, Epicure is by no means an old-school Connecticut. Rather, it’s what I think of as a “millennial Connecticut”: a blend that manages to create smoothness and flavor without a significant grassy component in a mild- to medium-bodied smoke.

Like other Crux cigars, this one is rolled by Plasencia. Performance is first-rate. In both of those I smoked, the burn was slow and straight, the ash held tightly, and there was a lot of smoke production.

The line was introduced in 2016 but didn’t ship widely until last year. It comes in three sizes in addition to the Robusto: Corona Gorda (5.375 x 46), Robusto Extra (5.75 x 54), and Toro (6.25 x 52).

With a milder blend, Epicure fills a spot in the expanding Crux lineup that’s been highly praised, including numerous strong ratings at for many of their smokes.

This one is no exception. And I would urge anyone to give Epicure a try, even if you primarily smoke high-powered cigars. With the right circumstances and attention, I believe this cigar will satisfy most smokers. I rate it four stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: CruxStogie Guys

Quick Smoke: A.J. Fernandez Habano Enclave Robusto

20 Jan 2018

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 flawless Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and a partially covered foot, this cigar makes a great first impression. This entry also features something of an unusual combination for A.J. Fernandez: a Cameroon binder covers his Nicaraguan filler. It’s a medium-strength cigar with lots of flavor, including cedar and nuts. The Robusto (5 x 52) retails for around $7. I would have liked greater smoke production and a little better burn, but, overall, this is an enjoyable cigar and worthy of a recommendation.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Robusto

10 Jan 2018


I approached this cigar with trepidation. I’m a huge Cornelius & Anthony fan. I recently awarded the Aerial robusto five stogies, and I’ve rated others highly as well.

I’m not, however, a fan of Mexican San Andrés tobacco, the leaf used as wrapper on the Señor Esugars line. But there have been a few cigars with San Andrés in the blend that I’ve enjoyed, usually because they haven’t had what I think of as the tobacco’s typical taste.

So, I had to wonder how this would turn out.

The line comes in four sizes, ranging from a Gordo (6 x 60) down to a Corona Gorda (5.5 x 46). The Robusto has an MSRP of $9.75.

Aesthetically, this 5-inch, 52-ring gauge robusto is stunning. The dark wrapper is virtually flawless with a slightly gritty feel. Its pre-light aroma did seem pretty typical of Mexican tobacco.

That was confirmed when I lit it up; along with a bit of spice was the dirt taste I so often associate with San Andrés. As I smoked down, there was also some coffee, nuts, and, occasionally, spice and sweetness. At about the halfway point, the Mexican dominance dropped a few degrees and the flavors became more balanced.

The filler is Nicaraguan and the binder is an undisclosed U.S. leaf. Like other Cornelius & Anthony smokes, they’re rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua, at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory and feature double bands.

And, like other C&A cigars I’ve smoked, Señor Esugars perform flawlessly. The two I tested burned evenly, had excellent draws, and produced lots of smoke.

The cigar’s unusual name has a somewhat winding origin. Brand owner Steven Bailey’s dog is named Oscar, but nicknamed Mr. Sugars. Señor Esugars evolved from that. The cigar box showcases a fine line drawing of Oscar (sporting a derby and holding a cigar lengthwise in his mouth) and a smiling Bailey in the background.

This, for me, is the toughest sort of cigar to review. It’s definitely well made and utilizes quality tobacco. For someone who’s a fan of San Andrés tobacco—and, obviously, lots of folks are, judging by the leaf’s popularity boom in recent years—I think Señor Esugars should definitely be on the try-it list.

But, for my palate, the flavors just aren’t quite there. I rate it three and a half stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: C&A CigarsStogie Guys