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First Smoke: Montecristo Espada Estoque

30 Jul 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.

monte-espada-estoque

As a follow-up to last year’s all-Nicaraguan Montecristo Espada line, Altadis USA announced the limited Montecristo Espada Estoque at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show. The one-size blend (6 x 50 torpedo) is made by the Plasencia Family in Nicaragua and only 5,000 boxes of 10 will be made. The cigar uses a 2013 Jalapa wrapper, a 2002 Criollo Jalapa binder, and three filler tobaccos from Esteli (Corojo 2009), Ometepe (Criollo 2013) and Condega (Criollo 2013).

Once lit, the cigar has a notably sweet edge, along with a nice balance of coffee bean, earth, baking spices, and leather notes. It starts off medium- to full-bodied, although towards the second half it develops a gritty edge as it ramps up to full-bodied with some black pepper on the finish. Despite a slightly jagged burn line, construction was good with a firm draw and sturdy ash. While I found the first half more enjoyable than the more one-dimensional second half, the Estoque ($14.50) is an interesting cigar that is worlds away from the Dominican Montecristos that most Americans are familiar with.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: A. Flores Serie Privada Capa Habano Robusto

26 Jul 2015

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

Serie Privada

I think Abe Flores is one the better cigar makers around, so I’m very excited to review the new Connecticut Valley Reserve from Pinar del Rio, which sports a dark Broadleaf wrapper. To tide myself over, last night I fired up a cigar he released in 2012: the A. Flores Serie Privada Capa Habano. It features the oldest tobaccos in the Pinar del Rio factory, including a Habano Ecuador wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano binder, and Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Corojo filler. The softly box-pressed Robusto (5 x 52) retails for an affordable $7. Once lit, I find a medium- to full-bodied profile of cinnamon, dark cherry, leather, and black coffee. Highly enjoyable, well-constructed, and a good value.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: Drew Estate Undercrown Shade Robusto

25 Jul 2015

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

Undercrown-shade-robusto

My colleague reviewed the Gran Toro size of the new Drew Estate Undercrown Shade (a cigar we exclusively revealed) a few days ago and called it a “well-constructed standout smoke at a reasonable price.” Today, I’m smoking the the Robusto (5 x 54), which also features an Ecuadorian wrapper, Sumatran binder, and Nicaraguan and Domincan filler. The cigar is mild- to medium-bodied with cedar, sweet cream, and just a hint of spice, plus some lingering vegetal notes. It’s not nearly as balanced or complex as the Herrera Estelí, which was also blended by Willy Herrera, but it is still a solid smoke with flawless construction.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: JFR XT Corojo 654

12 Jul 2015

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

JFR-XT-Corojo-654

The 654 (6 x 54)  is the only normal-sized cigar in the JFR (“Just for Retailers”) XT line made by Casa Fernandez; the others are 660 (6 x 60) and 770 (7 x 70). Billed as the most full-bodied JFR, the XT features a Corojo wrapper (there’s also a San Andrés maduro version) around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The box-pressed smoke starts out with a surprisingly tame combination of leather, sawdust, and roast nuts. As it progresses, mild spice is added to the medium-bodied smoke. Construction is superb, and the price ($6.92) is reasonable. But that describes many Casa Fernandez smokes. This one, while not unpleasant, isn’t a standout.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Movement TAA Limited Edition

11 Jul 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.”

Full body, full flavor, and full enjoyment is the only way I can describe this 2013 Avo release for shops in the Tobacconists’ Association of America. A pressed toro (6 x 52), the Movement fits with quite a few Avo limiteds by presenting a stronger and spicier cigar than many may still associate with the brand. It begins with a shot of pepper and a sugared-coffee sweetness. Along the way, the pepper rises and falls, as numerous other flavors weave in and out. It’s a bargain at $11.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: N/A

Quick Smoke: Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil Toro

5 Jul 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.”

angels-anvil

This year’s Crowned Heads’ exclusive for Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) retailers is a gorgeous Toro (6 x 52) with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. Said to be a bit stronger than last year’s TAA limited edition, there’s a nice deep, earthy, and nutty beginning that makes some transitions along the way, including a bit of spice and sweetness. I certainly enjoyed The Angel’s Anvil and thought it worth the $10.50 price, but I find several other Crowned Heads offerings to be more impressive smokes.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Crowned Heads Las Calaveras EL 2015 LC52

4 Jul 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.”

The second annual release of this limited edition—sporting an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper instead of last year’s Habano Oscuro over Nicaraguan filler and binder—seems certain to be another hit for Crowned Heads. I found it to be a deep, complex smoke with a great finish reminiscent of cigars of yesteryear. It’s immensely satisfying, especially in this 6-inch, 52-ring gauge format. I was a fan of the 2014 and like this one even more. With only 90,000 coming out of My Father Cigars, these will surely be snapped up quickly. Make sure you’re among the lucky smokers.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: N/A