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Cigar Review: My Father Connecticut Robusto

13 Mar 2019

Few brands have earned the across-the-board high ratings as My Father Cigars. Launched in 2008, My Father is owned by the Garcia family and showcases the cigar blending skills of Don José “Pepin” Garcia and his son, Jaime Garcia.

In 2014, the brand announced a new addition, its first-ever cigar featuring a Connecticut wrapper. My Father Connecticut (or “Edition CT”) features a Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian wrapper. The Nicaraguan binder and filler it surrounds are grown on the Garcia family’s farms.

My Father Connecticut comes in four sizes: Robusto (5.25 x 52), Toro (6.5 x 54), Toro Gordo (6 x 60), and Corona Gorda (6 x 48). I smoked three of the Robustos, which retail for around $8 each.

The tan wrapper with few visible veins surrounds a cigar that is neither overly firm, nor particularly spongy. The draw is open and the cigar’s combustion qualities are superb, with a even burn and ash that easily holds for an inch.

The cigar features a combination of leather, hay, butter, hints of fresh clipped grass, and a white pepper spice. As it progresses, the spice fades as wood and earth notes become more prominent in the complex, medium-bodied profile. Coffee, cinnamon, and cedar spice linger on the finish.

My Father Connecticut is another well-made addition to the My Father portfolio, though its occasionally unbalanced flavors lack the sophistication and complexity of many of the My Father blends that came before and after. Hardly your grandfather’s mild, bland Connecticut-wrapped cigar, the My Father Connecticut Robusto earns a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Oliva Master Blends 3 Torpedo

4 Mar 2019

When first reviewed this line (both the Churchill and Robusto) almost a decade ago, Master Blends 3 was the latest iteration of a limited edition that greatly enhanced Oliva’s standing among cigar enthusiasts.

Now, while Oliva still refers to Master Blends 3 as the third in “a series of limited artisanal blends,” you can find them almost anywhere.

The lightly pressed Torpedo (6 x 52)—one of a trio of available Master Blends 3 vitolas—has a list price over $14, but I’ve seen them as low as $4.25 per stick online when bought 20 at a time.

Master Blends 3 remains a fine smoke, worthy of the strong ratings it garnered in both previous reviews. It kicks off with a burst of cedar that recedes after about a half an inch. Soon, other flavors advance. Along the way I enjoyed tastes of nuts, leather, and sweetness that moved between syrup and cinnamon. The Nicaraguan ligero filler provides a kick and some pepper, especially in the final third.

My only complaints include a fairly flaky ash and several touch-ups being required on each of those I smoked. Not that that was surprising, given the thick, oily nature of the dark sun-grown Broadleaf wrapper that encompasses the Nicaraguan Habano binder.

Each line in the Master Blends series sports a different wrapper. I never smoked the first, but I fondly recall Master Blends 2 as a terrific smoke. There’s been an occasional rumor that Master Blends 4 is on the way. So far, however, rumor is all that’s come out.

And with the sale of Oliva a few years ago (in 2016, Oliva was acquired by the Belgium-based J. Cortès Cigars N.V., a family-owned business focused primarily on machine-made cigars) and former CEO José Oliva stepping down this year to devote more time to politics, it’s even less clear whether anything will happen.

Hopefully, at some point there will be a Master Blends 4 release. I’d like to smoke one. Until that time, though, we can enjoy the Master Blends 3.

For me, the Torpedo is equal to its siblings and also rates four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Patina Habano Bronze

25 Feb 2019

I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of Patina before wandering into Casa de Puros, a retail tobacconist and lounge near my home in Forest Park, Illinois. Despite the shop’s well-appointed selection, the Patina Habano caught my eye almost immediately. Something about the beautiful, uniform, milk chocolate-colored wrapper—and the way that wrapper is contrasted by the classic, understated band of white, bronze, and mint—helped differentiate this cigar from its competition.

I used a double-guillotine to neatly clip the head off one of the Patina Habano Bronze specimens I bought for $12.95 apiece and settled into one of the chairs in the lounge. Notwithstanding the cigar’s firmness, the cold draw was fortunately smooth. I took note of the pre-light aroma of green raisin before setting a wooden match to the fragrant foot.

Once fully lit, the combination of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania yield a spice-forward, full-bodied profile of leather, macadamia, and black pepper.

There’s a gentle sweetness—especially on the aftertaste—that I’m tempted to call cherry-like, but that’s not quite it. Maybe it’s more like cream soda? It’s a tough flavor to put my finger on. I enjoy it nonetheless. The taste adds balance and complexity to what might otherwise be a somewhat monotone cigar.

As I work my way towards the midway point, I read up on the brand. Mo Maali, currently national sales manager at Mombacho Cigars, partnered with Mombacho to launch Patina back when he was the store manager of Casa de Puros. Patina is handmade at Mombacho’s Casa Favilli factory in Granada, Nicaragua. (The staircase on the band is at Casa Favilli.)

Patina’s two lines, Connecticut and Habano, debuted in May 2017. Both are offered in four sizes. In the case of the Habano line, those formats include Rustic (5 x 52), Copper (6 x 46), Oxidation (6 x 56), and the toro-sized Bronze (6 x 52) I’m smoking for this review.

Around the midway point, the sweetness recedes as earth, hay, and a bready texture emerge. While the smoke production, solid white ash, and draw are all excellent, the burn leaves something to be desired. I had to touch-up and re-light a few times to keep things even.

The Bronze is a slow-burning cigar. It took me two hours and twenty minutes, to be exact. And that marathon comes despite puffing with a greater frequency than usual to ward off the need for more re-lights—a practice that renders the smoke a bit hotter than I would normally like. That probably contributes to the intensification down the home stretch. In the final third, the flavors don’t change much, save for the introduction of cayenne heat and peanut, but they do become spicier.

I don’t regret purchasing a few Patina Habano Bronzes. That said, I can’t see myself going out of the way to buy more in the near future. I will give the Connecticut line a try, though. If you’d like to experience this (or any other) Patina, you don’t have to travel to the Chicago area; a full list of retailers is available here.

In my book, the Patina Habano Bronze earns a rating of three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R 54

19 Feb 2019

When Fuente introduced this line almost a decade ago it went with one trend and against another.

Cigars at that time were starting to get bigger, and Magnum R included four vitolas with ring gauges above 50, including a then-monstrous cigar (6 x 60).

Many cigar makers were also gravitating toward more powerful blends, seemingly competing to see who could get farthest up the Scoville scale. Not Fuente, at least not with Rosado Sungrown Magnum.

The blend of a thin sun-grown Ecuadorian wrapper and Dominican binder and filler was designed to be a flavorful smoke with medium strength. For my taste, they got it just right.

From the wrapper’s pre-light floral aroma to some light pepper in the final third, Rosado Sungrown Magnum is a most enjoyable smoke. The first note I registered was a sweetness at the start. Within a short time, leather and nuts began to intermingle with the sweetness.

As with many Fuente cigars, flavors in the Rosado Sungrown Magnum are nicely balanced.

Rosado Sungrown Magnum is not a highly complex cigar, and changes along the 6.25-inch frame were fairly subtle. Frankly, though, I wasn’t eager for the profile to morph too much because I found the overall experience so pleasant.

For this review, I smoked four Magnum R 54s. (The number denotes the ring gauge for all but the 44, which is named for the number of smokes per box; it has a 47 ring gauge.) Each burned slowly and evenly. Smoke production was excellent, with a light finish. The draw was near perfect.

At a retail price of around $8.50, I consider it a bargain. For those of you who favor Fuente’s more high-profile cigars such as the various Opus iterations or the elusive Shark, give the Rosado Sungrown Magnum line a try. I think you’ll be pleased.

I rate it four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Epicure

11 Feb 2019

When I started smoking cigars, the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur was my first real go-to smoke. I went through lots of them. I was captivated by the smooth, creamy texture and strength that seemed ideally suitable for my palate. Some years later, in 2006, I reviewed the Excalibur Epicure and gave it four stogies.

In that review, I remarked that I could remember the first one I smoked. I still do. It was at Signature Cigars in Rockville, Maryland. Although I’d had other cigars, this was the one that really made an impression and let me know smoking cigars could be something special.

I think it was recently enjoying the Tatuaje Verocú that got me to thinking about other cigars I hadn’t had in a while. So I bought a five-pack of Epicures, a robusto (5.25 x 50). They retail these days for a little under $8, but I picked them up online for under $3 each. Quite a bargain.

At first glance, Excalibur looked exactly as I remembered with a smooth, golden brown Connecticut shade wrapper. When I lit one up, I felt I could have been back in that Maryland cigar lounge.

The tasty blend of Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan filler inside a Connecticut Broadleaf binder hit the spot. It started with a bit of pepper mixed with sweetness. For a few more puffs, the pepper increased then faded as I tasted some wood and coffee.

There weren’t a lot of changes, but that was by no means a negative, as the Excalibur was satisfying from beginning to end. Each of those I’ve smoked burned evenly, produced lots of smoke, and had an excellent draw.

When Excalibur was introduced in the early 1990s, it was designed to be a bit less powerful than the regular Hoyo do Monterrey line. It was a hit during the cigar boom and continues to sell.

These days there are 18 vitolas, including Natural and Maduro. They range in size from a 3-inch miniature to the 7.25-inch No. 1.

I recommended them before. I recommend them again. Excalibur is a fine cigar still worthy of four stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse Regency

6 Feb 2019

La Aroma de Cuba was first relaunched in 2003 by Ashton, which secured the rights to the old Cuban trademark. Back then, the line was made at the Flor de Copan factory in Honduras. But starting in 2008, Ashton partnered with Pepin to revamp the line.

The first Pepin-made La Aroma was the Edición Especials, introduced at the 2008 IPCPR Trade Show, with the revamped regular La Aroma blend debuting the following year. In 2010 came the Mi Amor line extension, followed by the Mi Amor Reserva in 2012.

We’ve reviewed every blend in the line (including the pre-Pepin original), except for the newest, the Noblesse, which debuted in 2014. Over the years, Ashton has added two new sizes to the blend, which is produced each year in limited quantities.

Like the others it’s made at Pepin’s My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua. For this review I smoked the Regency, the robusto-sized (5.5 x 50) follow-up to the debut Toro size. Far from the discount origins of the line, it’s a premium-priced offering that will run around $13 per cigar.

The cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper around dual Nicaraguan Habano and Criollo binders. The aged filler tobaccos reportedly use tobacco from the Garcia family’s farms in Estelí, Jalapa, and Namanji.

The cigar starts out with roasted cashew, cedar, and leather notes. There’s plenty of spice with white pepper and cayenne, and a finish that includes wood and slight citrus peel.

This is a full-flavored cigar with plenty of spice. Smoked slowly and it will show some balance, but when rushed, even a little, it quickly develops slightly sour notes. The draw was overly tight on one of the samples I smoked, but otherwise the combustion was solid, if not excellent.

I’ve been a big fan of La Aroma de Cuba over the years, but I have a hard time recommending the Noblesse over the earlier and more affordable blends in the line. Still, the Noblesse Regency is a solid and enjoyable offering that earns three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 55

22 Jan 2019

In 1998, Hurricane Georges swept through the Dominican Republic. In its wake it left 380 casualties and over $1 billion in damages. The hardest-hit areas included those involved in crop production—including, of course, tobacco.

Not long after the hurricane, Arturo Fuente experienced a predictable and critical shortage of its prized Fuente Opus X sun-grown wrapper leaf. Instead of postponing production until more wrapper was ready, the Fuentes wrapped the Opus X cigars in a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that had been aged in cognac barrels. With that, the Añejo line was born.

When most people think Añejo, they’ll likely conjure images of the No. 77 vitola—more commonly known as The Shark. This unique format is best described as a tapered pyramid that morphs from a round head to a sharply box-pressed foot.

I didn’t find The Shark at my local shop; it’s rare, so that isn’t surprising. But I did find a box in the No. 55 size, which is a torpedo measuring 6 inches long with a ring gauge of 55. I bought a couple for this review. Not including crazy Illinois taxes, they cost me $15.25 apiece.

In my book, that price tag makes the Añejo No. 55 a super-premium. Expectations are elevated. Fortunately, the cigar comes dressed to impress. In addition to its toothy, rustic wrapper leaf and regal band of red, gold, and white, the bottom two-thirds is embraced by a cedar sleeve and a red foot ribbon.

I used a double-guillotine and found a smooth cold draw. After putting the cedar sleeve to work lighting the foot, pre-light notes of earth, chocolate, and (yes) cognac transition to a medium-bodied profile of cocoa, black coffee, dried fruit, and white pepper. There is body, but the smoothness validates the message on the cellophane that this cigar is “Xtra Aged.”

At the midway point and beyond, the body and spice intensify—though perhaps not to the degree some might expect, especially those who spend a lot of time with Nicaraguan cigars. The white pepper becomes black peppercorn. The black coffee becomes espresso. Dried fruit (think raisin, apricot, fig) and cocoa remain core to the profile.

I never had to go back and adjust the burn in any way after setting an even light with the cedar sleeve. The other physical properties are also exemplary (and appropriate for a cigar of this cost). The white ash holds well off the foot. The smoke production is voluminous. And the draw is clear throughout.

Perhaps, like me, it has been a long time since you fired up an Añejo from Arturo Fuente. Might I recommend you reacquaint yourself? The No. 55 is another stellar smoke from the world’s great tobacco family. It earns a fantastic rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys