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Quick Smoke: Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 (2010)

25 Sep 2016

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.”

viaje-vor-no-5

This Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 is the cigar that put Viaje on the map for many people when it landed at number two on the Cigar Aficionado cigar of the year list for 2010. Today, I’m re-tasting the six year old cigar to see how it has aged. (The VOR No. 5 was reissued in 2012 and 2013, but those can be differentiated because they featured a secondary band marked “Oro” and the Reserva band on the foot.) The cigar features wood, earth and leather along with light cocoa and mild spice (cinnamon and nutmeg). The result is a cigar that over the years has become even more perfectly balanced, but still flavorful. Six years later you can still see why this was so sought after.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Leccia Tobacco Luchador Frogsplash

18 Sep 2016

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.”

luchador-frogsplash

At the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, Leccia Tobacco, then distributed by General Cigar, debuted the rotund (wrestling fans should think more Rikishi than Rey Mysterio) box-pressed Frogsplash (4.5 x 79) as an addition to the Luchador series. In case you’re unsure, check out this demonstration featuring Sam Leccia of what a Frogsplash wrestling move is. The cigar, made at the American Caribbean Tobacco S.A. factory in Nicaragua, features a dark Nicaraguan wrapper, Habano binder from Nicaragua, and Ligero filler from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. Despite the awkward size, the flavors are enjoyable with black coffee, cedar spice, and cinnamon notes. The medium- to full-bodied smoke features excellent construction, although I had to search a while to find a large enough cutter. Those looking for Leccia Tobacco cigars should note that Sam Leccia has recently launched direct-to-consumer sales though his updated website.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Spirits: Compass Box Hedonism Quindecimus

14 Sep 2016

cb-hedonism-quindecimus

If you know anything about scotch grain whiskey, you probably know the lack of grain whiskey is what makes single malts so sought-after.

Put another way: Grain whiskey is the less flavorful filler that is blended with single malt to make blended whiskies like Dewar’s, Bells, Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, and Chivas Regal, which make up 90 percent of all scotch whiskey sold.

For the most part, that characterization is correct, as most grain whiskey is aged only a few years and then blended with single malt to make blended whiskey. And yet, what if instead grain whiskey was left to age properly, perhaps even for decades? How would it taste?

The answer is found in Compass Box’s Hedonism Quindecimus, which is certainly one of the most unique whiskeys I’ve ever tasted. To celebrate the company’s 15th anniverary, they created a blend of grain whiskies, all of which are at least 20 years old.

The Compass Box website can no longer legally disclose the components of this blend due to some ridiculous rules. But, fortunately, we know what makes up this unique blend:

  • 17.6% North British 20-year-old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 36.6% Port Dundas 25-year-old from rejuvenated hogsheads
  • 8.4% Dumbarton 28-year-old from American standard barrels
  • 19.4% Port Dundas 20-year-old from first-fill American standard barrels
  • 18% 32-year-old Loch Lomond mystery blended grain from American standard barrels

The resulting whiskey is bottled at 92-proof, with just 5,689 bottles made. Expect to pay $125 to $180, if you can find it.

The nose is quite light with hay, honey, shortbread, and floral notes. On the palate, the immense depth and complexity reveals itself with lemon cake, creaminess, tea, custard, light oak, and citrus. It’s the kind of flavor you want to let linger as long as possible. The finish is clean and elegant with more creaminess, cake batter, and light spice.

Considering the price, this isn’t a whisky for everyone. But I don’t think it was ever meant to be for most people. It’s an extraordinary experiment in what a grain whiskey can be in the right hands. Single malt fans should jump at the opportunity to try a glass if they find it on the menu.

The complex flavors go well with a cigar, but it takes a milder smoke to not overwhelm the Hedonism Quindecimus. Try an Ashton Classic, Davidoff Grand Cru, Illusione Epernay, or Paul Garmirian Gourmet.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: J. Fuego Pennsylvania Broadleaf (PBL) Robusto

11 Sep 2016

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.”

jfuego-pbl-robusto

Made by Jesus Fuego, this affordable cigar ($32 for a bundle of 12) shows off a nearly black Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. Beneath are Nicagauan binder and filler  tobaccos. The result is a medium- to full-bodied cigar with charred earthy notes along with toast and a very clean finish. Despite some soft spots, the cigar burns fine. An above-average maduro at a fantastic sub-$3 price makes this an easy cigar to recommend for Broadleaf fans in search of a good value.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: L’Atelier Imports MAD 44 Maduro

4 Sep 2016

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.”

IMG_20160903_234353

This Broadleaf wrapper blend from L’Atelier Imports features classic maduro flavors. Beneath the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is a Sancti Spiritus leaf  around Nicaraguan binder and filler. The result is an earthy, toasty blend with rich earth, cedar spice, and lots of sweetness. When it comes to Broadleaf maduro cigars, lately this one has become a go-to, especially when the price can be under $5 per cigar when purchased by the box.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: CroMagnon Breuil

31 Aug 2016

CroMagnon-Breuil

In 2014, RoMa Craft introduced El Catador de las Panetelas, a sampler featuring two each of four cigars all in a panatela (5.5 x 37) size. Included were two different Intemperance blends, along with an Acquitaine and a CroMagnon blend, all made at the Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño.

More recently, each blend was sold separately by the box as a limited editions, with the Intemperance cigars coming boxes of 12 and the Acquitaine and CroMagnon coming in ten-count boxes ($7.50 MSRP per cigar).

I smoked three of the CroMagnon Breuil cigars for this review from a box purchased recently. Like the rest of the CroMagnon line, the cigar features a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Cameroon binder, and Nicaraguan filler from three separate growing regions in Nicaragua: Estelí, Condega, and a small farm north of Estelí on the Honduran border.

Initial flavors are what I’ve come to expect from CroMagnon: powdered earth, cocoa, and spice. But there are also some unique additions to the flavor profile with a slightly metallic taste and flora notes. The flavors held steady from beginning to end.

Construction was excellent on the hour-long smoke, which is particularly impressive given that the small size can sometimes prove challenging. The cigar featured a sturdy white ash and an even burn.

While I found the Breuil (the name comes from a French archeologist who documented many early human cave drawings) enjoyable, I didn’t think it was better than the larger sizes of the CroMagnon blend. Although generally I prefer smaller ring gauge smokes, I think this shows why the original CroMagnon cigars were almost all thicker smokes. The wider format shows the best of this strong, full-bodied blend.

All told, the RoMa Craft CroMagnon Breuil earns a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credits: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: E.P. Carrillo Capa de Sol Sultan

28 Aug 2016

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.”

EPC-CapaDelSol

This new blend from the new lineup from E.P. Carrillo is part of what they deem their “Elite Series.” It sports an Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler. The large Gordo (6 x 60) was noticeably under-filled, resulting in a uneven burn that required multiple touch-ups. I found an interesting medium-bodied combination of almond butter, toast, earth, and cayenne spice. Flavor-wise, there is a lot of potential here, but the construction issues just detracted from the upside too much. When I try this blend again, I will probably be more inclined to go for a smaller ring gauge size.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys