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Quick Smoke: Illusione Epernay Le Petit

15 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.”

illusione-epernay-petit

I’ll admit upfront that for me the rating on this particular Quick Smoke was never much in doubt. The Illusione Epernay La Petite comes in boxes of 50, which is a substantial investment, but I’ve smoked through multiple boxes over the years and it is always a cigar I like to have on hand. The small (4.5 x 44) petite corona Nicaraguan puro features a Corojo ’99 Rosado wrapper and Corojo and Criollo filler. The cigar produces an exquisitely balanced combination of coffee, wood, and creamy notes in the mild to medium range. This particular sample, like so many I’ve smoke before, has excellent construction. Shop around and you can find it for about $5 per cigar, and at that price it is hard to beat. Just how much I enjoy this cigar is hard to explain, so I’ll put it this way: If you told me I could only buy one cigar for the rest of my life, there’s no question this one would be on the short list of candidates.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: CAO Concert Amp

9 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.”

CAO unveiled Concert at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, but now you don’t hear much about it. Only a few boxes were on display at the most recent convention, and I’ve always got the feeling the line failed to live up to some high expectations from the team behind it. The Amp (5.5 x 46) features medium- to full-bodied flavors with breadiness, cafe-au-lait, and cedar. The blend uses an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper around Nicaraguan and Honduran filler. It’s solidly made, tasty, and affordable at $5.75.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: J. Fuego Connoisseur Corpulent

8 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

jfuego

Released a couple of years ago, this line from Jesus Fuego was an early adopter in identifying its use of Mexican San Andres tobacco (binder). The other components are an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and filler half Nicaraguan Corojo and half Honduran Corojo. And, as you’d expect from the name, the 5-inch smoke is fat, with a 60-ring gauge. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much flavor or smoke, and the draw was too tight. I couldn’t help but wonder if one of the smaller vitolas would produce better performance and results.

Verdict = Sell.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

First Smoke: Davidoff 140 Years (1875-2015) Limited Edition

4 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.davidoff-140-sq

davidoff-140

When Max Oettinger opened a store in Basel in 1875, he never could have imagined 140 years later it would grow into Oettinger Davidoff AG, one of the largest and most storied cigar makers in the world. To celebrate that anniversary, Davidoff has created a special limited cigar. Details of the blend of the thick toro aren’t available, nor is it known if it will go on sale, although a limited release along the lines of the 2013 Davidoff of Geneva 25th Anniversary seems likely.

I received this cigar at a media event hosted by Davidoff in their booth at the recent IPCPR Trade Show. It starts out very subtle with cedar, bread, cafe-au-lait, and just a hint of distinctively Davidoff mushroom notes. About a third of the way in, the cedar increases and there is a slight white pepper spice. Construction is excellent. If it goes on sale there is no doubt this will be an expensive smoke, but for fans of Davidoff it will meet every expectation, with subtlety and balance along with a restrained medium-bodied intensity.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Warped Cigars Flor de Valle Gran Valle

2 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

Flor-de-valle

This Nicaraguan puro is made for Warped Cigars at Casa Fernandez (TABSA) from 100% Aganorsa tobacco. The Gran Valle (5.5 x 50) is made with a Cuban triple-cap and entubado-style filler bunching. It starts with a burst of salty and savory flavors but settles into a medium-bodied smoke with coffee notes and just a hint of sweetness. Construction is flawless with a perfect draw and razor-straight burn that produces a sturdy ash and thick smoke. From start to finish, this cigar impressed me.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Oliva Serie V Special V Figurado

1 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.

seriev-fig

I’ve long enjoyed Oliva Serie V cigars, but I hadn’t smoked this exquisite vitola until recently. Quite simply, I think the figurado is the best of the line. From the first light of the tip, when it explodes with pepper, to the leathery, sweet end, it’s a terrific cigar. Smooth, powerful, tasty, complex, typical first-rate Oliva performance. The tapered body—6 x 60 at its largest—seems to focus the flavors. At a bit over $10, it is truly worth every penny, and more.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Oliva

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