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Quick Smoke: 601 Red Label Habano Robusto

19 May 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.”

The entire 601 line has gone through many twists and turns over the years—from new distributors and new packaging, to the migration away from Don José “Pepin” Garcia as cigar maker. The current iteration, while hard to compare to the original Pepin-made cigars, is definitely better than some of the previous post-Pepin 601 Red Labels I’ve smoked. It features red pepper spice, leather, and woody notes. The medium- to full-bodied smoke is well-constructed, enjoyable, and reasonably priced (around $7).

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Gran Habano Cabinet Selection Robusto

17 May 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 found this cigar deep in my humidor and have no idea when or where I got it. An internet check appears to show that the line is no longer in production, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few remain on retailers’ shelves. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with a light brown Corojo wrapper in a mild press. It started with an earthiness that soon gives way to a medicinal/mineral taste that’s not particularly pleasant. Strength was medium at most, and there was little of the pepper and spice typical of so much Nicaraguan tobacco. The draw and smoke production were fine, but the burn required several touch-ups. Not one to seek out.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Flor Dominicana “Event Only 2018”

12 May 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 purchased this cigar, labeled “Event Only 2018,” for $9 at a local shop. Details about this highly limited offering are not known, though I expect there’s lots of Dominican filler from LFD’s La Canela farm. The thick toro, with a nipple-shaped head, is a full-bodied, balanced cigar. It opens up with dried fruit notes followed by spice, leather, and brown bread, and finishes with oak and red pepper spice. Well-constructed, flavorful, balanced… it checks all the boxes for a favorable recommendation.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: San Cristobal Ovation Decadance

10 May 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.”

Ovation

In 2015, Ashton introduced a super-premium limited edition extension to its San Cristobal line called Ovation. Presented in a single format (6.5 x 52), only 3,000 boxes of 22 were made for a total run of 66,000 cigars, each selling for about $15. Since, two sizes have been added—Opulence (5 x 50) and a torpedo-shaped Eminence (5.75 x 54)—and the original size was given the name Decadence. I really enjoyed the cigar when I first tried it a few years ago, and I still do today. It boasts a complex, full-bodied taste. The San Andrés wrapper marries well with the Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos to deliver rich flavors of coffee, cayenne heat, cocoa, white pepper, and cream. With good combustion characteristics, I absolutely recommend the Ovation Decadence.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Henry Clay Stalk Cut Robusto

5 May 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.”

The storied Henry Clay line started its 2.0 rebrand/relaunch with the 2015 limited Tattoo release, a collaboration with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars (an admitted longtime admirer of the Henry Clay mark). That was followed up with the 2016 regular production Henry Clay Stalk Cut, featuring a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Dominican binder, and three filler tobaccos: Dominican Piloto, Dominican Olor, and Nicaraguan Criollo. The box-pressed Robusto produces medium-bodied flavors with notes of roasted cocoa, espresso, almonds, and leather with an earthy finish. It’s an above-average cigar at a not unreasonable price ($8.25). If you’re just getting into Henry Clay, though, try the original (still produced, pre-rebrand) Henry Clay first.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: E.P. Carrillo Encore Valientes

3 May 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 was the first Encore I’ve seen since the robusto-sized Majestic was named Cigar Aficionado’s top cigar of 2018, thus creating a shelf-clearing demand. I hope it won’t be my last. It’s an excellent smoke. The Valientes is a 6.125-inch torpedo with a ring gauge of 52. It is dark, rich, and robust, a treat from first puff to finish. The flavors are balanced and smooth, with one surprise, given that it is a Nicaraguan puro: There’s little of the pepper that’s often common to those tobaccos. Another point worth noting is that the Encore line follows Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s tradition of producing top-flight cigars without sky-high prices. I paid $12.25 for the Valientes. And while the four-vitola line follows La Historia in what’s called the Perez-Carrillo Series, the cigar itself is second to none.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: E.P. Carrillo

Quick Smoke: Tatuaje 10th Anniversary Selección de Cazador Noella

28 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.”

tatu-brown10-noella

The Tatuaje Brown Label (officially called “Selección de Cazador”) has long been a go-to cigar for me, despite the fact that I haven’t smoked it as regularly lately. This particular stick (5.1 x 42) features the 10th Anniversary band, although the blend is unchanged from standard Brown Label offering. (Tatuaje celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013 with special packaging for all the vitolas in the Brown Label line.) The blend, featuring an Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler, produces rich earth, coffee, and cedar spice. There’s good reason why I’ve bought many boxes of this cigar over the years. The combination of an easy-to-enjoy size, top-notch construction, and full flavors makes this a recommended standby.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys