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Quick Smoke: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso

30 Aug 2015

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

ladc-ma-belicoso

Even before Ashton transitioned its La Aroma de Cuba blend from Plasencia to Pepin, I felt the line was a bit under-appreciated. That feeling has only been strengthened by the subsequent additions to the line, including the Mi Amor, which uses a Mexican wrapper. The cigar produces thick, rich smoke with dark earth and chocolate flavors in abundance. It is medium- to full-bodied and is expertly constructed. Even as someone who, as a whole, isn’t a big fan of blends featuring Mexican wrappers, I find this to be a very enjoyable smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Classic No. 2

29 Aug 2015

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

Davidoff recently made some major changes to its Avo brand, including price reductions, price protections, new packaging, and the elimination of the Maduro and Signature lines. The Avo Classic line may look different, but the new iteration has the same Connecticut-seed, sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The toro-sized No. 2 (6 x 50, $9) 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

 

First Smoke: PDR Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve

27 Aug 2015

First Smoke is a new series of Quick Smoke reviews, each evaluating a single pre-release cigar. Like the Quick Smokes we publish each Saturday and Sunday, each First Smoke is not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.fyr-cvr-robusto-sq

fyr-cvr-robusto

At the Pinar del Rio booth this year at the IPCPR Trade Show, the focus was on this new super-premium offering. I’m a fan of Connecticut Broadleaf, so I’ve seen a lot of them, and in terms of dark, oily wrappers, few are as impressive as this seven-year-old wrapper. It surrounds dual binders from Nicaragua and Ecuador and filler consisting of Dominican Corojo and Nicaraguan Criollo. The cigar comes in four sizes (priced $16-19) and I smoked the Robusto (5 x 52).

The cigar starts off with slightly grassy notes, but soon settles into a more interesting combination of sourdough bread, light spice, and oak. It’s medium-bodied and well-balanced. Construction is excellent from the first draw to the final ash. Given the price, I wouldn’t rush out and buy a box of 15 when it is released later this fall. But fans of cigars with Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers shouldn’t hesitate to pick one up at their local shop.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Smoking Jacket Favoritos

23 Aug 2015

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.”

smoking-jacket-fav

Smoking Jacket is made at Hendrik Kelner Jr.’s Kelner Boutique Factory in the Dominican Republic. The line consists of four sizes each with a unique blend (in part because two sizes use a Brazilian Cubra wrapper and two, including the  Favoritos (6 x 46), use a 9-year-old Dominican Cotuí grown on Kelner family farms). The cigar starts out leathery and spicy, but settles into a medium- to full-bodied blend with cedar, earth, and a feint sweetness. It isn’t the most balanced smoke, but with lots of flavor and excellent construction it is enjoyable.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: MBombay Habano Churchill

22 Aug 2015

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

MBombay Habano Churchill

My first MBombay was quite a pleasant experience. I was impressed with the cigar’s sweet spiciness and thick, rich smoke. The Churchill (7 x 48) exhibited several changes, keeping it interesting all the way. The wrapper and binder are from Ecuador, while the filler is a combination of Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco. My only complaint on the $13.50 stick was a not-so-hot burn that required numerous touch-ups, especially in the second half. Still, I look forward to sampling other lines from MBombay.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: MBombay

First Smoke: Nica Rustica Short Robusto

18 Aug 2015

First Smoke is a new series of Quick Smoke reviews, each evaluating a single pre-release cigar. Like the Quick Smokes we publish each Saturday and Sunday, each First Smoke is not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.Nica- Rustica Short Robusto

 Nica- Rustica Short Robusto

Whether by design or not, Nica Rustica has always seemed like sort of a discount version of the immensely popular Liga Privada No. 9. (Think of it as a second wine from a top Bordeaux producer.) Both feature Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers (Liga uses “Broadleaf #1 Darks” while the Nica Rustica uses a “Broadleaf Medium”), and both debuted in just one size, a Toro, before expanding to multiple vitolas. Continuing to follow in Liga’s footsteps, Nica Rustica is expanding with two new sizes this year: Belly (7.5 x 54) and Short Robusto (4.5 x 50).

The Nica Rustica Short Robusto features powdery smoke that coats the mouth in oak, earth, bread, grass, and pepper. Although the final Nica Rustica blend doesn’t use a wild Nicaraguan strain of tobacco that pre-release test blends included, the rustic, gritty characteristics are still evident, which is exactly what Nica Rustica intends. Construction is excellent and features Drew Estate’s trademark smoke production. You won’t mistake it for Liga, but with a $5.95 MSRP, the Nica Rustica Short Robusto delivers good value.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Maraya Tano Toro

16 Aug 2015

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

I have no idea where I got this cigar or how long it’s been sitting in my humidor. But I’m pretty sure I won’t be smoking another. Not because it was bad, but because it seems that Maraya Cigars is out of business. Its New York shop closed earlier this year, the phone is out of service, and a website on the reverse of the band calls up an error page. And that’s a shame because it was an interesting smoke. The Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo ’98 filler combined for a spicy, milder cigar with some sweetness and a light hay in the background. If you see one, give it a try.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: N/A