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Quick Smoke: Paul Garmirian Soirée Robusto

13 Sep 2019

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

About a decade ago, PG launched Soirée. The line is the result of company patriarch and cigar legend Paul Garmirian’s quest for “new blends reminiscent of the great Cuban cigars [he] enjoyed in the 1950s and early 1960s.” Soirée sports a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. It is full-bodied, in a somewhat sneaky way. Yet it’s also smooth, exquisitely balanced, and well-aged. In addition to the trademark PG mustiness, it boasts good combustion qualities and interesting flavors ranging from cedar spice and white pepper to toffee and floral notes. The Robusto (5 x 50) retails for $306.40 for a box of 25 ($12.26 per cigar) at the PG website. It’s obviously not inexpensive; it’s also obviously worth every penny.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: Villiger La Vencedora Churchill

8 Sep 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.”

Produced at Joya de Nicaragua’s factory, La Vencedora (Spanish for “the victor”) is a Nicaraguan puro that employs a dark, oily Habano Oscuro wrapper. It has developed nicely with over a year of aging, featuring bready notes, oak, and cocoa along with hints of citrus fruit, licorice, and smoked meats. Construction is excellent on the $10 medium- to full-bodied cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: REO Robusto

6 Sep 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 remember smoking REO and Vibe 15 years ago, shortly after the two were introduced by EO Brands (before EO teamed up with Don José “Pepin” Garcia for its 601 line). REO is short for the blend’s original collaborators: Rocky Patel, Erik Espinosa, and Eddie Ortega. Later, after EO was split between its founders, the REO mark (along with Vibe and Cubao) became Ortega’s, who brought back REO a couple years ago as a bundle offering. The cigar features an oily Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper around Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. After fruit notes pre-light, the cigar reveals medium-bodied tastes of oak, black coffee, and sweet earth. With adequate construction and a most approachable price (bundles of 20 Robustos sell for around $2 per cigar), it’s perfect for budget-conscious cigar smokers.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Neanderthal HoxD

5 Sep 2019

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

This little (4 x 46) cigar punches way above its weight class. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Neanderthal has a reputation to uphold, after all, and smaller cigars tend to be the most potent in a line. The Neanderthal recipe calls for a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a filler blend from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Pennsylvania. The latter is the real kicker, as the Pennsylvania Ligero leaf, known as “Green River Sucker One,” is said to have two-to-three times the nicotine as Estelí-grown Ligero, which might strike some as borderline insane. You can find HoxD for less than $7, especially when bought by the box of 15. But I recently grabbed a single for about $8 at a Chicago tobacconist. It is well-constructed with notes ranging from damp earth and char to black pepper and espresso. A bit of sweetness helps to add balance. Neanderthal isn’t for everyone. Personally, I love the blend, and I really appreciate this compact, concentrated size. Add some sipping rum into the mix for a sugary contrast between puffs.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: Big Johnny by Oscar

1 Sep 2019

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

I’m generally not a fan of absurdly large cigars, and this one (8 x 66) seems to qualify. But I’ve been impressed by Leaf by Oscar. So when I recently had a few hours to kill I decided to give this over-sized beast a try. It features a dark Nicaragua Jalapa wrapper around Honduran binder and filler tobaccos. The profile includes nutty notes, rich earth, milk chocolate, and light oak. It’s a pleasant profile, even as it becomes monotonous when spread out over close to three hours. Given the girth (my Palio cutter was barely big enough) I was impressed by the construction. Still, I have to stop short of a full recommendation.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: La Gloria Cubana Spanish Press Robusto

30 Aug 2019

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

Spanish Press is the latest line from General Cigar Company’s La Gloria Dominicana brand. It is made at the El Credito rolling gallery within the General Cigar Dominicana factory. “There, artisans place the freshly-rolled cigars into wooden trays with dividers that apply uniform pressure,” reads General’s website. “The trays are then pressed to define their shape. Once pressed, the cigars are placed in specially sized boxes that apply slight pressure to maintain their shape. This process is reminiscent of the old Spanish-press technique used in pre-embargo Cuba where the boxes were used to create the cigars’ distinct form.” The Spanish Press recipe calls for a dark Nicaraguan wrapper from Jalapa around a Mexican San Andrés binder and a filler blend from Nicaragua (Jalapa), Brazil (Mata Fina), and the Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano and Olor). The Robusto (5.5 x 50, $6.29) is one of three vitolas. It starts with a hearty dose of black pepper spice, leather, and cereals, and a background hint of black cherry. Along the way, the pepper recedes, and the Robusto takes on a creamier composition with standout notes of roast peanuts. The combustion properties are solid (the draw starts a bit tight but quickly opens up). This is my first experience with Spanish Press, though it certainly won’t be my last. I’m impressed, especially for the price. I plan to test drive 3-4 more of these and will report back with a full review. Until then, don’t hesitate to pick up this new La Gloria Cubana.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: La Palina No. 1 Robusto

25 Aug 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.”

No. 1 is a four-country blend: Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Costa Rican binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos. The $9 Robusto is well-constructed with a even burn, easy draw, and sturdy ash. It features a medium-bodied, well-balanced combination of leather, pepper, oak, and cream. Pleasant though hardly overwhelming, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by the La Palina No. 1 Robusto.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys