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Quick Smoke: Paul Garmirian Soirée Robusto

13 Sep 2019

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

About a decade ago, PG launched Soirée. The line is the result of company patriarch and cigar legend Paul Garmirian’s quest for “new blends reminiscent of the great Cuban cigars [he] enjoyed in the 1950s and early 1960s.” Soirée sports a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. It is full-bodied, in a somewhat sneaky way. Yet it’s also smooth, exquisitely balanced, and well-aged. In addition to the trademark PG mustiness, it boasts good combustion qualities and interesting flavors ranging from cedar spice and white pepper to toffee and floral notes. The Robusto (5 x 50) retails for $306.40 for a box of 25 ($12.26 per cigar) at the PG website. It’s obviously not inexpensive; it’s also obviously worth every penny.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Cigar Review: Powstanie Broadleaf Toro

9 Sep 2019

Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been a huge fan of RoMa Craft Tobac for years. In my estimation, the entire RoMa portfolio is well-made, expertly blended, and relatively easy on the wallet. The Intemperance BA XXI A.W.S. IV, especially, has long been a favorite of mine.

I tend to think of the RoMa Craft Tobac family extending beyond the core RoMa blends (Intemperance, CroMagnon, Neanderthal) to all cigars made at Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. in Estelí. While technically inaccurate, this frame of mind is not wholly inappropriate since, in my experience, I’ve yet to run across a NicaSueño cigar that wasn’t satisfying, tasty, and well-constructed.

Fable is one non-RoMa cigar made at NicaSueño. Powstanie is another. It is made for Pospiech Cigars, a distributor owned by CigarHustler.com owners Mike and Greg Szczepankiewicz. The name (pronounced poh-stahn-ya) honors the Warsaw Uprising—a 1944 underground operation aimed at liberating the city from German control. It comes in three blends: Habano, SBC16 (barber pole), and Broadleaf.

The Powstanie Broadleaf is available in four vitolas: Toro (6 x 52), Perfecto (5 x 50), Robusto (5 x 50), and Belicoso (5.5 x 54). In addition to a Broadleaf wrapper, these cigars feature Indonesian binders and a filler blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos (Estelí Ligero, Jalapa, and Pueblo Nuevo).

The Toro retails for about $10 and is packaged in boxes of 21. It is an oily, firm cigar with zero soft spots and attractive dual bands of red, white, and silver. The logo and colors are clearly a nod to the “anchor emblem” of the Polish resistance. The thickness of the Broadleaf wrapper results in noticeable seams and a few prominent veins.

The cold draw is slightly stiff with a pre-light flavor of dried apricot. At the foot, there is surprisingly little aroma, save for molasses and an earthy mustiness.

It’s amazing how quickly the draw opens right up as soon as an even light is established. The ensuing smoke production, which is voluminous, has a medium- to full-bodied profile of cereals, roast cashew, green raisin, and some warm tobacco sweetness on the finish. The texture is bready. As the finish lingers, I notice black pepper spice on the tip of the tongue.

As the Toro progresses, the spice remains somewhat muted, yet the body swings more decidedly towards the full-bodied spectrum. The fundamental flavors remain unchanged. Throughout, the combustion properties are solid. I would only add that the ash tends to fall off a bit prematurely, and the burn line does require a touch-up here and there to stay even.

Whatever minor shortcomings the Powstanie Broadleaf Toro has in the physical department, though, are more than made up for in flavor. This cigar has balance and complexity, and—despite the 90-minute plus smoke time—does not overstay its welcome. And here’s the kicker: For over a decade I’ve said the highest compliment I can pay a cigar is wanting to smoke another once I finish it. I feel that way about this one, which is ultimately why I’m awarding it four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Neanderthal HoxD

5 Sep 2019

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

This little (4 x 46) cigar punches way above its weight class. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Neanderthal has a reputation to uphold, after all, and smaller cigars tend to be the most potent in a line. The Neanderthal recipe calls for a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a filler blend from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Pennsylvania. The latter is the real kicker, as the Pennsylvania Ligero leaf, known as “Green River Sucker One,” is said to have two-to-three times the nicotine as Estelí-grown Ligero, which might strike some as borderline insane. You can find HoxD for less than $7, especially when bought by the box of 15. But I recently grabbed a single for about $8 at a Chicago tobacconist. It is well-constructed with notes ranging from damp earth and char to black pepper and espresso. A bit of sweetness helps to add balance. Neanderthal isn’t for everyone. Personally, I love the blend, and I really appreciate this compact, concentrated size. Add some sipping rum into the mix for a sugary contrast between puffs.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Cigar Tip: Control Temperature and Humidity with the NewAir CC-300H Humidor

3 Sep 2019

When the folks at NewAir inquired with me about my interest in checking out the CC-300H (yes, they sent me one free of charge to make this review possible; no, their generosity in no way impacts my opinion of the product), I decided to take them up on the offer. I’ve often longed for a large, centralized cigar storage system to help me get over the complications of managing many small- to medium-sized humidors. I was hopeful this unit would be solution that finally motivates me to donate many of my other humidors to family and friends. I’ve only had it for a couple weeks—I’d like to see how it fares through a Chicago winter before rendering a final verdict—but so far so good.

The CC-300H retails for $549.99 and arrives in a big-ass box (22.6 inches x 25.6 x 32.3, to be precise). It boasts a 400-cigar capacity (I believe this claim) and has a power consumption of 70 watts. Other features include a cooling/warming system for a range of 54-74°F, a lockable drawer, and Spanish cedar shelves.

Fresh out of the box, there’s virtually zero assembly required (which is great). There are, however, several steps needed to prepare the CC-300H for your cigars. First, it’s recommended you wipe down the interior with lukewarm water and a mild detergent (not the Spanish cedar) to help get rid of the “factory odor,” which is basically a plastic-like smell. Next, the unit needs to remain upright for several hours before first use. Finally, you need to bring the device up to the proper humidity level, which can take up to three days. After that, you can select your desired temperature and add your cigars.

First, the PROS: The seal on the door is tight, and the unit holds its humidity well, as long as you’re not opening the door often. The temperature also holds steady and is easy to change. The cedar drawers and shelves provide ample space. These are the main things you look for in a large, temperature-controlled humidor, and the CC-330H checks those boxes well. Oh, and it has a blue light!

And now for a few CONS: Since it cannot be stored in a garage, basement, or in direct sunlight, finding a place to put this contraption is likely to yield several hot-tempered conversations with your wife. It includes no humidification device, save for a plastic tray for distilled water (as you can see above, I’m employing several Boveda packs and anticipating they will last a long, long time, given the aforementioned seal). It includes no hygrometer (I borrowed a calibrated one from another humidor and positioned it so I can see the readings without opening the door). Finally, while it comes with a lock and two keys, the door can still be pried open at the top when locked, which is not ideal.

Overall, I’m quite happy with my new humidor and its home in the living room, nestled out of sight between a piano and a wall (compromises, folks). Assuming the humidity holds well in the winter (I’ll report back in a few months), the CC-330H should be a welcome addition to my cigar setup for years to come.

UPDATE: If you’d like to invest in the CC-330H, NewAir is offering StogieGuys.com readers $100 off the retail price. Please use this link and enter “PATRICK100” as the discount code.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press Robusto

30 Aug 2019

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

Spanish Press is the latest line from General Cigar Company’s La Gloria Dominicana brand. It is made at the El Credito rolling gallery within the General Cigar Dominicana factory. “There, artisans place the freshly-rolled cigars into wooden trays with dividers that apply uniform pressure,” reads General’s website. “The trays are then pressed to define their shape. Once pressed, the cigars are placed in specially sized boxes that apply slight pressure to maintain their shape. This process is reminiscent of the old Spanish-press technique used in pre-embargo Cuba where the boxes were used to create the cigars’ distinct form.” The Spanish Press recipe calls for a dark Nicaraguan wrapper from Jalapa around a Mexican San Andrés binder and a filler blend from Nicaragua (Jalapa), Brazil (Mata Fina), and the Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano and Olor). The Robusto (5.5 x 50, $6.29) is one of three vitolas. It starts with a hearty dose of black pepper spice, leather, and cereals, and a background hint of black cherry. Along the way, the pepper recedes, and the Robusto takes on a creamier composition with standout notes of roast peanuts. The combustion properties are solid (the draw starts a bit tight but quickly opens up). This is my first experience with Spanish Press, though it certainly won’t be my last. I’m impressed, especially for the price. I plan to test drive 3-4 more of these and will report back with a full review. Until then, don’t hesitate to pick up this new La Gloria Cubana.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Cigar Review: Protocol Official Misconduct Corona Gorda

26 Aug 2019

The Cubariqueño Cigar Company introduced itself to the cigar world in a way that was both humble and, by virtue of its association with a longstanding veteran, firmly grounded. In 2015, the small outfit came on the scene with a nondescript table at Erik Espinosa’s booth at the IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans.

Back then, Cubariqueño founders Juan Cancel and Bill Ives, both police officers, were not entertaining delusions of grandeur. They set a goal to open 20 accounts and produced at one factory (Espinosa’s La Zona in Estelí). Before the show was over, they had sold their inventory.

Flash forward to today and Cubariqueño is still very much a small, boutique outfit. But, in an indication of their continued success, they’ve just launched a new size of their fourth blend—Official Misconduct.

The blend sports an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Estelí and Jalapa. Originally, it was only available in a Toro (6 x 50). As of this summer, though, you can also find it in a Corona Gorda format (5.6 x 46). The retail price is $9.95 and the cigar is packaged in boxes of 10.

Beneath the Corona Gorda’s two silver bands and silver foot ribbon is a Colorado-hued, dry wrapper with more than a couple sizable veins. There are no soft spots; the feel is moderately firm throughout. The well-executed cap clips cleanly to reveal a smooth cold draw. At the foot, the pre-light notes are reminiscent of molasses.

Once lit, the initial flavor is chalky, papery, and dry with considerable black pepper spice. The effortless draw seems to contribute to the airy, papery sensation. Fortunately, after half an inch inch, the profile assumes a more interesting stance with the additions of cocoa, black coffee, and peanut. The next transition, which occurs within the first third, is even more welcome: a replacement of dry, airy notes with a creamy richness and more pronounced peanut. From here, there are few changes before the Corona Gorda is complete.

Construction is solid from light to nub. The burn line is straight, the draw clear, the smoke production voluminous, and the white ash holds well off the foot. None of this should be surprising. Cubariqueño might be new, but La Zona is an experienced, well-respected operation.

I’m looking forward to trying additional blends and sizes from Cubariqueño. And while I like the Protocol Official Misconduct Corona Gorda, the way this cigar starts—which was consistent across the several samples I smoked for this review—gives me some pause. That’s ultimately why I’m awarding it a score not greater than three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Classic No. 2

23 Aug 2019

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

Avo Classic 2

The Avo Classic line sports a Connecticut-seed, sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The toro-sized No. 2 (6 x 50, $10) features the familiar musty, mushroomy notes that are typical of Hendrik Kelner creations, along with white pepper spice, cream, and macadamia nut. Construction isn’t perfect—the spongy smoke has a meandering burn line and a flaky ash—but the balanced, interesting taste is more than enough to earn my recommendation.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys