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Quick Smoke: H. Upmann Legacy Toro

23 Jun 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 colleague reviewed this release from Altadis when it was introduced. From the one I smoked recently, I largely agree with his conclusion that the H. Upmann Legacy is “a solid smoke at a fair price.” I found the Ecuadorian Sumatra-wrapped Toro to be medium-bodied with woody, roasted, and salted notes, and a little spice. It’s not a tremendously complex cigar, but it provides pleasant enough flavors and nearly flawless construction.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Tip: Rediscover the Cigars You Used to Smoke

19 Jun 2019

Here’s an easy suggestion for anyone who has been smoking handmade cigars for more than a few years: Revisit those that were your favorites but you don’t smoke as often anymore.

If you’re like many cigar smokers (including me), there were certain cigars you used to smoke frequently that you just don’t anymore. You probably haven’t even thought much about why they aren’t in your regular rotation anymore. They just aren’t.

There are lots of good reasons why you no longer smoke certain cigars. Maybe your tastes have evolved. Maybe the blends have changed. Maybe your cigar budget changed.

All those are true for me. But this year I decided to make an effort to smoke more of the cigars that were go-to smokes back when I really got into cigars well over a decade ago. The results are interesting.

Some were disappointing, or at least not as good as I remembered. Despite my colleague’s recent high praise, I found the Gurkha Regent underwhelming. The Rocky Patel 1992, a cigar I often cited as a favorite back in 2005, was pleasant but not as interesting as I remembered. Same for the Maria Mancini, which was the first box I purchased nearly 20 years ago.

Others have stood the test of time. Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 is still an excellent full-bodied smoke. The Ashton Classic remains a well-made, mild smoke, even if that profile isn’t one I turn to as often. CAO Brazilia, another go-to from long ago, is still enjoyable, even if it isn’t as full-bodied as I thought it was at the time.

In other words, the result of my exploration of the cigars I used to smoke is a mixed bag. But the exercise was thoroughly enjoyable. Some I plan to smoke more often, others I’ll probably leave alone.

Your experiences may vary, but revisiting cigars from your past is a fun, interesting exercise. Go ahead and try it out and let us know how it goes.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana Suave Maceo

16 Jun 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.”

I don’t think I’ve smoked this blend from La Flor Dominicana since it was called the Premium line. (That was two names ago; it was briefly renamed “La Flor Dominicana Light” in 2012.) Long associated with fuller-bodied, ligero-heavy offerings, the truth is Litto Gomez and La Flor Dominicana started off with milder offerings, including this cigar, which features a pale golden Connecticut Shade wrapper and Dominican filler tobaccos. This robusto emphasizes balance and mildness, though it does have honey sweetness with cream, subtle cut grass, and light cedar. It’s not my preferred flavor profile, but it’s a flawlessly constructed example of a premium, mild-bodied cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Robusto

12 Jun 2019


Last year Diesel debuted Whiskey Row, an A.J. Fernandez-made cigar featuring tobaccos aged in bourbon barrels from the Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. This month the follow-up collaboration arrived: Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask.

Like the original, the binder has been aged in Rabbit Hole’s barrels. But this time the casks has been used to age Pedro Ximenez Sherry before being filled with bourbon for a brief finishing period to make Rabbit Hole PX Sherry Cask Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey. (Look for an upcoming Cigar Spirits article on this bourbon.) Unlike the Mexican San Andrés binder used in last year’s Whiskey Row, this cigar uses an Arapiraca barrel-aged binder from Central Brazil’s Alagoas region.

Like the original Diesel Whiskey Row, the filler is all Nicaraguan. (No word on whether it uses the same three-region combination.) The most visible change from last year’s line is a dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper.

Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask comes in three sizes priced from $8.49 to $9.49: the Robusto (5 x 52) I smoked, plus a Toro (6 x 50) and a Gigante (6 x 58). Construction on the three pre-release samples I smoked was outstanding with an even burn, sturdy ash, and flawless draw that had just the right amount of resistance.

Pre-light you can pick up the hints of the barrel-aged tobacco with deep char notes with caramel and dried fruit. Once lit, the charred notes remain and combine with classic earthy Nicaraguan flavors, light pepper, and lots of chocolate and espresso.

As the cigar progresses, there isn’t a whole lot of variation, though some dried fruit notes come and go. The cigar has a finish that lingers on the roof of the mouth, and has a notably cool smoke that seems to temper those full flavors just slightly.

It’s impressive to think how far the Diesel brand has come along: from a catalog house brand (albeit a notably well-reviewed one) to a full line of cigars now with multiple blends in regular distribution. (Read the original Diesel Whiskey Row review for more on that history.) Without a doubt, handing the reins to the prolific and talented A.J. Fernandez is a large factor in that success.

There’s little reason to believe Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask won’t be another success for the blend. Priced fairly, well-constructed, and with deep, rich flavors the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Robusto earns an impressive rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Corojo Limited Edition 2008 ‘A’

9 Jun 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.”

Some cigars sit in your humidor for years unsmoked. In this case, it’s because I rarely have time to smoke an ‘A’ size, which is generally 8-9 inches long with a ring gauge of 50. Thanks to my email account, I can see that I picked up a “Rocky Patel Limited Edition 2008 ‘A’ Sampler” (16 cigars) back in April 2009 for about $5 a cigar, though I’m sure the suggested retail price was quite a bit more. The decade of age hasn’t mellowed this full-bodied smoke, which was subsequently cancelled only to be brought back in 2018. The cigar features an especially oily (age may be a factor here) Honduran Corojo wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler. The flavors are heavy in leather and oak with light spice.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Cordoba & Morales 19th Hole Torpedo

2 Jun 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.”
This cigar had been in my humidor for years, probably since I received it as a trade show sample. It features a dark Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The Torpedo (which isn’t box-pressed, as later versions of this cigar are) features oak, chocolate, sawdust, and fresh cut grass. There’s a raw tobacco element. Construction is excellent but, at the end of the day, this cigar lacks balance.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Spirits: The Real McCoy 12 Year and Doorly’s 12 Year Rum

30 May 2019

Today we’re looking at two 12-year-old Bajan rums that, on their face, are quite similar. Doorly’s 12 Year and The Real McCoy 12 Year are both distilled at the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados and aged for a dozen years.

Foursquare has produced some classic rums, both high-end limited offerings and more widely available rums. The brand is known for its straightforward style that rejects additives and embraces honesty with its consumers, including when it comes to age statements (e.g., the rum in these bottles has been aged a minimum of 12 years, whereas many other rums market the age of the oldest distillate in the bottle).

So given that they are both produced at Foursquare, what exactly is the difference between Doorly’s and The Real McCoy (beside the price; the Doorly’s costs under $30, The Real McCoy costs around $50)?

Well, for one thing, Doorly’s discloses on its label that it is made at Foursquare, along with the fact that Doorly’s rum has been made on Barbados since 1908. Meanwhile, The Real McCoy traces its name back to prohibition, but the brand isn’t nearly that old, and the distillery name is nowhere to be found (even though The Real McCoy is distilled in Barbados and widely linked with Foursquare). They are undoubtedly similar rums, but each features its own twist.

Doorly’s 12 features notes of ginger, lighter oak, ripe fruit, and green banana. The finish is long but not overly sweet, with more dried fruit notes (apricots and dates).

The Real McCoy 12 is woodier with heavier spice, figs, vanilla, cigar box, and orange peel. It has a long and woody finish with a silky mouthfeel.

Both are fantastically flavorful (but not overly sweet) rums that are in the classic Bajan style. I have a slight preference for The Real McCoy, but factoring price into consideration I suppose they are equally impressive, especially as a pairing with a cigar.

The full flavors of The Real McCoy call for a medium- to full-bodied cigar, while Doorly’s balance suggests something more mild- to medium-bodied. Either way, both are exceptional rums to sip neat, paired with a cigar or otherwise.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys