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Quick Smoke: Illusione Cruzado Elitas

18 Feb 2018

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.”

This particular Illusione Cruzado Elitas (6 x 44) had been aging for at least four years, which is why it features the original band, as opposed to more recent packaging that highlights the connection to the Illusione brand. The Cruzado blend, launched in 2008, is a Nicaraguan puro that heavily utilizes Criollo ’98 tobaccos, as opposed to the corojo tobaccos that are predominant in the original Illusione blend. The full-bodied smoke is characterized by leather, wood spice, coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and black pepper. It’s an excellent, if perhaps frequently overlooked, blend.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: San Cristobal Quintessence Belicoso

17 Feb 2018

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.”

Another line in the collaboration between Ashton and cigar master Don José “Pepín” Garcia, the Quintessence quickly announces its heritage with a nice pepper blast. That dials back after about an inch as a fruity sweetness comes forward. The two flavors shift dominance throughout the rest of the Belicoso (6.5 x 54), joined on occasion by wood and leather. The smooth Ecuadorian Habano wrapper covers Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. As you’d expect from a Pepín-produced cigar, performance is excellent. There’s a lot to like about Quintessence—the Robusto was Cigar Journal’s 2016 cigar of the year—especially with a price tag under $10. (By the way, if you’re curious about the differences between belicosos, torpedos, and pyramids, check out this page from StogieGuys.com friend Doc Stogie.)

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Ashton

Quick Smoke: Gran Habano #1 Connecticut Robusto

11 Feb 2018

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.”

The Gran Habano #1 Connecticut is a cigar I often see sold at golf courses near me, where they may have, at most, five or six different cigars. The Robusto (5 x 52) uses a Connecticut wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The well-constructed cigar features hay, cedar, earth, and some pepper spice. It’s not particularly complex, but the medium-bodied smoke has more flavor than your average Connecticut -wrapped cigar. Available for under $5 each, it isn’t hard to see why this is an excellent pick for the golf course.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Moolah by Perdomo Toro

10 Feb 2018

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.”

Made for the Two Guys Smoke Shop chain in New Hampshire, Perdomo’s Moolah is a mixed filler Nicaraguan puro with a small price tag. The Toro (6 x 50) sells for $3.59 (or $69.99 for a box of 25). Performance is fine, with a good draw, straight burn, and a great deal of smoke. It’s flavor where Moolah falls short. Few are discernable. The cigar is generally sharp, dry, and has a scratchy back-of-the-throat finish. But Moolah isn’t masquerading as something it’s not, so the buyer should be well aware beforehand of what’s in store.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Porthole by La Sirena Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro Corona

4 Feb 2018

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.”

Porthole is a value-oriented line by La Sirena cigars made at the La Zona factory in Nicaragua. The line consists of two blends, one of which utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler and comes in two sizes, including this 5-inch, 44-ring gauge Corona. The cigar features damp earth and black coffee flavors. Construction is excellent and, although the cigar had pleasant flavors, it lacked any significant complexity or nuance.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Robusto Grande

3 Feb 2018

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.”

Last summer, we reported that Joya de Nicaragua’s Antaño series would be expanding with a new line called Antaño Gran Reserva. The main difference between Antaño 1970 (a Nicaraguan puro featuring a Habano Criollo wrapper) and Antaño Gran Reserva is that the filler tobaccos on the latter have been aged for up to five years. I paid about $13 (including outlandish Chicago taxes) to take the Robusto Grande (5.5 x 52) for a test drive. In my book, this cigar exhibits an incredibly rich, balanced, full-bodied flavor with notes of dark cherry, espresso, black pepper, and roasted cashew. And, in typical Joya de Nicaragua fashion, it has superb construction. This is one you shouldn’t miss.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: 601 Green Oscuro Tronco

28 Jan 2018

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.”

When the 601 Green was first introduced in 2007, it was made by José “Pepín” García for United Tobacco and distributed by Miami cigars. All those details, plus the packaging, have changed since then, some more than once. Today, the Nicaraguan puro is made at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory. The full-bodied smoke features heavy earth, coffee, and pepper spice. It’s a well-made cigar that, as with the original 2007 release, will appeal to fans of full-bodied Nicaraguan smokes. That said, at least based on my memory of the Pepin-made 601, this lacks some of the complexity and intensity that made the original one of my favorite cigars at the time.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys