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Quick Smoke: San Cristobal Ovation

23 Apr 2017

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.”

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. My colleague took an Ovation for a test drive about a year ago and found it underwhelming, especially for the $15 price tag. I tried my first one a few days ago. Whether it’s a difference in taste preferences, the additional age on the tobacco, or some other variable, I found the cigar highly satisfying with 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 would absolutely recommend buying an Ovation if you come across one.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Gloria Cubana Rabito de Cochino

22 Apr 2017

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.”

LGC-Rabito-de-Cochino - 1

A few years ago, La Gloria Cubana released Rabito de Cochino (6.5 x 46), which was packaged in bundles of three tied together with yellow ribbon. I missed the release when it came out, but recently secured a three-pack. With an Ecuadorian wrapper around Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, Rabito de Cochino seems like a well-aged version of the classic Serie R blend in a lonsdale format with a pigtail cap. The profile is full-bodied with heavy leather flavors and lots of wood spice. Construction and combustion are flawless. This was originally around $15 for a bundle of three; currently, you can find these for around $3 per cigar if you shop around. That’s outstanding value.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Viaje Summerfest 2010 Robusto

16 Apr 2017

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-Summerfest-2010 - 1

Today I smoked a cigar you could consider a bit of a unicorn. Only 50 boxes of 30 cigars were ever made of the Robusto edition of the debut 2010 Summerfest cigar, which, according to Viaje brand owner Andre Farkas, was a factory mistake. (Other Viaje Summerfest vitolas, including the 2010 Torpedo, which was the non-mistake version of the 2010 release, are known for having a shaggy unfinished foot.) The Nicaraguan puro features sourdough bread notes along with cinnamon, light spice, and buttery notes. It’s well-balanced and medium-bodied, though there is a peppery spice that builds in the final third. Well-constructed, this is an example of a well-made, well-executed smoke that was good when it debuted and has improved with age.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Crémo Capa Caliente Toro

15 Apr 2017

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.”

Cremo Caliente Toro

In September 2013, I reviewed this Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped, Miami-made cigar and found it to be full-bodied with bold, salty spice and flavors of espresso, black pepper, and charred steak. Back then, I thought it was decent but lacking in balance. Almost four years of humidor time has done wonders for the Crémo Capa Caliente. Now, instead of raw power and a heavy-handed profile without much depth, the Toro (6 x 52, $12) is more medium-bodied with ample sweet cream and roasted nuts to balance out the spicy, savory core. My recommendation? Take this El Titan de Bronze-made cigar for a test drive; if at first you don’t succeed, let the cigars rest and reap the rewards later.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Joya Red Robusto

9 Apr 2017

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.”joya-red-sq

joya-red-toro

Introduced in 2014, Joya Red represented a new profile for Joya de Nicaragua, and a move away from the longer “Joya de Nicaragua” branding in favor of just “Joya.” The Nicaraguan Habano wrapper has a nice shine that looks good with the gold and red band. Flavor-wise, it’s tasty with toasty wood, cappuccino, and just a touch of pepper. Joya de Nicaragua has always been known for full-bodied Nicaraguan puros, but I’ve always felt their versatility was demonstrated by the mild Cabinetta series. Joya Red continues to show off that versatility with tasty medium-bodied flavors at a fair price.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: CAO La Traviata Maduro Luminoso

8 Apr 2017

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.”

Luminoso

In 2012, General Cigar expanded the La Traviata Maduro line by adding the Luminoso format (4.5 x 50). This particular specimen had been resting in one of my humidors for nearly five years. It sports a thick, dark, toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around a Cameroon binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Once lit, pre-light notes of cocoa and musty earth transition to a medium-bodied, well-balanced profile of black coffee, oak, pepper, and cherry sweetness. Construction is excellent. The CAO La Traviata Maduro Luminoso is a solid choice if you seek classic maduro flavors but are short on time.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Rum Barrel-Aged and Nicaraguan Tobacco Experimental Blend

2 Apr 2017

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.”

GCC-fuma-exp - 1

So here’s a cigar you’ll never smoke (since only one was ever made). One of the best parts of the many factory trips I’ve been on is experimenting with blends. Generally, a dozen or more types of tobacco are laid out. You pick out a combination and hopefully a skilled roller is there to turn your concept into a smokable fuma. It’s a humbling experience that gives you real appreciation for the difficulty of creating an enjoyable blend. A few months ago, I did this on a visit to General Cigar’s Dominican factory, which has some of the largest tobacco stocks in the world. One fuma I created used two types of rum barrel-aged tobacco (Dominican Piloto Cubano and Estelí ligero), which I combined with Seco (ASP and Estelí) and Viso tobaccos from Nicaragua. I had the blend draped in an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The some of the tobaccos from the rum barrels were a little too wet at the time, so I decided to wait to smoke it until now. I’m not going to say the experiment turned out amazing, but with a little sweetness and lots of wood spice, I actually would smoke this again. That’s the low bar against which I judge this experiment a success.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys