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Quick Smoke: L’Atelier Imports Extension de la Racine ER13

12 Aug 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.”

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Released in 2013, this cigar from Pete Johnson’s L’Atelier Imports was built to have the same dimensions as the Cohiba Siglo VI (5.9 x 52). That said, its makeup—a Nicaraguan sun-grown Criollo wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos—doesn’t yield a flavor profile that resembles the famed Cuban smoke. Still, it’s good in its own right, with excellent combustion qualities and a balanced taste of rich caramel, cream, and dry oak with a bready texture. It originally sold for $9.25. If you can track one down, pick it up.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Heritage Toro Tubo

10 Aug 2018

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.”

Introduced last year, this Avo Heritage vitola can be tough to find. It doesn’t seem to appear on the brand’s website, and a lot of shops don’t have it in their inventory. That’s a shame. It is a terrific cigar, and a near-prefect example of what Avo set out to accomplish with the Heritage line: a stronger smoke that retained the best of Avo. With a sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler tobaccos, it begins with familiar notes of grass, mushrooms, and a hint of spice. Along the 6-inch, 50-ring gauge frame those flavors wax and wane as they interact with sweetness, a little chocolate, and some pepper. I found it stronger and bolder than other Heritage sizes I’ve smoked, but Davidoff assured me the blend is the same. At $10, the Heritage Toro Tubo is a bargain.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Flor de las Antillas Toro

5 Aug 2018

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.”

My Father’s Flor de las Antillas blend is a Nicaraguan puro from the Pepin family featuring a sun-grown Nicaraguan wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The cigar has garnered high ratings from both Cigar Aficionado (which named it the top cigar of 2012) and Stogie Guys. The 6-inch, 52-ring gauge, box-pressed Toro features notes of coffee, earth, nutmeg, bread, and a hint of damp cardboard. Combustion is excellent, but I can’t help but feeling that this cigar doesn’t fully deliver compared to past editions.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: E.P. Carrillo Capa de Sol Sultan

3 Aug 2018

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.”

Until a few nights ago, this specimen had been resting in one of my humidors for about two years. Part of E.P. Carrillo’s “Elite Series,” the Capa de Sol blend sports a dark Ecuadorian leaf around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. In its three other sizes, which range in ring gauge from 52 to 54, I suspect the line is significantly stronger and denser. The Sultan (6 x 60) format, however, renders the blend cool, airy, and slightly subdued. Flavors include sharp red pepper, chalky earth, sweet cocoa, and a bit of black pepper spice. Expect the price to be in the $9 to $10 range. I’d like to try some of the other Capa de Sol sizes because my main reason for not fully recommending this cigar has to do with construction (flaky ash, somewhat burdensome burn) and the fact that it tends to overstay its welcome. If you’re a fan of the gordo size, however, take my criticism with a grain of salt; this just might be up your alley, and there’s a lot to like here flavor-wise.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Diesel Rage Corona

29 Jul 2018

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’ve long heard from Diesel fans who say the line offers strong, full-bodied flavors at a discount price. Today I’m checking out the Diesel Rage blend in the Corona size, which is made by A.J. Fernandez with a dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The cigar features deep earth and black coffee with malt, cinnamon, and graham cracker. While I’ve found other Diesel cigars to be full-bodied yet one-dimensional and unbalanced, this is a more complex smoke. That, combined with excellent construction, makes it worth a try.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Plascencia Reserva Original Cortez

27 Jul 2018

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.”

Plascencia grows lots of tobacco and rolls lots of cigars, mostly for other brands. Through the years, the company has also released a number of its own products, including some using organic tobacco like the Reserva Original. The Nicaraguan puro came out last year and is available in seven sizes, each adorned with three bands. The Cortez is a handsome figurado that measures 5.75 inches long with a ring gauge of 56 and a reasonable retail price around $9. I was excited to try it, but disappointed with the results. I knew it was a relatively mild cigar, so I wasn’t looking for power or punch. But I was expecting more than I got: a fairly bland smoke with little in the way of interesting flavors, spice, or complexity.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: JFR Corojo Robusto

22 Jul 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.”

Casa Fernandez’s JFR (short for “Just for Retailers”) was originally known for its over-sized vitolas. This 5.5-inch, 50-ring gauge format is a welcome addition for those, like me, who are generally not a fan of 60+ ring gauge cigars. The Nicaraguan puro features a Corojo ’99 wrapper and Aganorsa binder and filler tobaccos. The result is a classic, medium-bodied Nicaraguan profile with sourdough bread, wood spice, and earth flavors. Excellent construction and a reasonable price ($5.50) makes the Robusto easy to recommend.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys