Quick Smoke: My Father The Judge

11 Jun 2017

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.”

A successful cigar line almost always spurs line extensions. The positive reception to the Garcia family’s My Father line has meant many new variations over the years. The Judge tweaks the blend by using a dark brown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around dual Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo binders and filler the Garcia’s farms in Nicaragua. Available in two sizes, I smoked the longer one (6 x 56), as opposed to the shorter version (5 x 60). It has lots of coffee notes along with roast nuts, earth, leather, and pepper spice, with just a little bit of creaminess. It’s a medium- to full-bodied smoke, and even though it isn’t my favorite My Father blend, it is still a very good smoke.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

Quick Smoke: Aging Room Pelo de Oro Scherzo

10 Jun 2017

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.”

As regular StogieGuys.com readers know, I’m a big fan of Aging Room cigars. So when I spotted Pelo de Oro Scherzo on the shelf, I had to try it. Released last year, the single-size smoke gets its name from a finicky tobacco strain susceptible to disease. A.J. Fernandez grew it on his Nicaraguan farm and rolled the cigars at his factory. I was expecting a golden experience, but this was the rare Aging Room cigar that didn’t wow me. The Pelo de Oro tobacco certainly gives the cigar a different profile, but I found it a bit strong, with some sharpness and a very long finish. I’ll likely try it again, but for now I can recommend it only if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Camacho Introduces Nicaragua Barrel-Aged, Davidoff Debuts Master Selection Series, and More

9 Jun 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 534th in the series.

1) On Tuesday, Camacho announced Nicaragua Barrel-Aged, a new four-vitola line that will launch in the U.S. on June 22. The blend includes and Ecuadorian wrapper, Mexican binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. “We began working with intense Nicaraguan-grown Corojo fillers, painstakingly aging them in extra-old Nicaraguan rum barrels for five months,” explains Dylan Austin, vice president of marketing at Davidoff, Camacho’s distributor. “To hit the mark, our master builders worked with the team at Flor de Caña in Nicaragua to hand select these barrels for optimal humidity, some of which had been filled with rum for 25 years. The result is a powerful new blend that invites aficionados around the globe to stare down the barrel of Nicaragua’s true spirit.” Camacho Nicaragua Barrel-Aged will retail in the $10 to $12 range.

2) Davidoff is releasing the new Master Selection Series, a collection of cigars from longtime master blender Eladio Diaz that were previously distributed non-commercially (and only in very small quantities) in celebration of Diaz’s birthdays. Six different cigars will be available—a toro from the years 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2016—each with a retail price of $35. Three will head to Davidoff merchants, and three will be relegated to Davidoff stores.

3) Inside the Industry: Cubariqueño Cigar Company announced the release of three Protocol-branded coffees—Protocol Azul, Protocol Rojo, and Protocol Oro—in partnership with Layne Coffee Company. Black Label Trading Company is once again releasing Morphine, a limited release sporting a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, made at the Fabrica Oveja Negra  factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

4) From the Archives: Our Cigar University page is a collection of articles handpicked for cigar smokers who want to expand their cigar knowledge. The 100-level articles cover the basics, while the 200-, 300-, and 400-level articles provide more advanced suggestions for understanding, caring for, and appreciating cigars.

5) Deal of the Week: Monday’s review praised the Padrón Serie 1964 Prototype Natural as “a compact, concentrated iteration of a blend we all know and love that delivers exactly as expected.” The cigar is available only at Smoke Inn and is currently still available. Make a purchase today and use the code “StogieDeal” at checkout to land a free triple-flame tabletop lighter (a $50 value).

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Davidoff

Cigar Tip: Buying Cigars for Weddings or Other Big Groups

7 Jun 2017

If you’re a regular StogieGuys.com reader, there’s a good chance you’re the go-to cigar guy (or gal) with some of your friends or family. As someone who has written about cigars for over a decade, I certainly find myself in that that situation, which is why I recently provided cigars for a family wedding attended by 200 people. (It was at least the fifth wedding for which I’ve provided this service in nearly as many years.)

The experience got me thinking about some good rules for buying cigars for big groups,  be the occasion a large bachelor party, a wedding, or something even bigger. Next time you get the call to provide cigars for such a group, here are five things to consider:

Don’t Underestimate Numbers

Celebrations are when the very occasional cigar smokers smoke their occasional cigars. So make sure you have enough cigars for everyone who may want to have one. There’s nothing worse than running out of cigars at a festive occasion. If you’re unsure how many to buy, buy an extra, affordable box you’ll be happy to smoke by yourself if you don’t need to open it and put it aside just in case.

Figure Out a Reasonable Budget

If you are buying two boxes or more, costs can add up quickly. It isn’t hard to spend $200 or more on a box of 20 or 25 cigars. Buying cigars that cost an arm and a leg will probably be wasted on most people, so think about a price point where you get something you are proud to share but is also reasonably priced.

Know Your Crowd

Continuing on the point above, remember that, statistically, it’s unlikely many (or even any) of your guests smoke cigars frequently. Even fewer spend lots of time reading about them. Frankly, lots of cigars will probably be lit then abandoned half-smoked (or worse). So don’t buy anything you will be sad getting wasted. I find, if you shop around, you can get a fine box of 20 or 25 cigars in the $80 to $125 range.

It’s Not About You

Many StogieGuys.com readers tend to smoke boutique, more obscure cigars.  But that doesn’t make these smokes ideal for a gathering of highly infrequent cigar smokers who will likely take comfort in a mainstream brand they recognize. So give them something they’ll have heard of. Introduce them to your favorite boutique brand when its a smaller, more personal experience.

Make the Choices Easy

Infrequent cigars smokers tend to believe the darker the wrapper the stronger the cigar. This may be totally incorrect but, unless you are giving a speech explaining the choices or handing out every cigar yourself, you are better off making these biases true when providing cigars for a group. Buy a mild, Connecticut shade-wrapped cigar for the smokers who want a mild smoke, and make the maduro offering the most full-bodied. Again, it’s not about you, it’s about making the experience enjoyable for everyone, which means mostly people who may only smoke a handful of cigars a year.

Patrick S

photo credit: Voodoangel (flickr)

Cigar Review: Padrón Serie 1964 Prototype Natural (Smoke Inn Exclusive)

5 Jun 2017

There’s a lot to admire about Padrón Cigars. Like the company’s status as arguably the pinnacle of excellence in the industry. Or the dedication displayed by Cuban émigré José Orlando Padrón to labor as a carpenter until he had the capital to establish a cigar factory.

Another admirable trait is the company’s focused portfolio. Instead of coming out with a new cigar line every year, Padrón only makes a few different blends—lines that are crafted well and almost universally celebrated. As the company likes to say, “When Padrón is on the label, quality is a matter of family honor.”

One of those well-crafted lines is the Serie 1964, also known as the 1964 Anniversary Series. It was launched in 1994 to commemorate Padrón’s 30th anniversary (there’s also a 1926 Serie that honors the year of José Orlando Padrón’s birth.) The Serie 1964 has 12 box-pressed vitolas, each available in either a sun-grown Natural wrapper or a dark Maduro leaf. All of the tobaccos in the Nicaraguan puro are aged for four years.

The newest of the 12 vitolas, Hermoso, was added in 2016. “When Padrón first began toying with their new 1964 Anniversary Hermoso cigar (4 x 56), they first came to us with a more manageable (4 x 50) vitola,” reads the Smoke Inn website, which refers to the 1964 Prototype as “an exclusive pre-release cigar.” The specifics of this arrangement between Padrón and Smoke Inn are unclear, but it seems reasonable to assume the 1964 Prototype is a one-time release and that supplies are very limited.

I recently bought a 5-pack of Prototype Naturals for $59.75 ($11.95 per cigar). At the time of this writing, 5-packs and boxes of 20 of both the Natural and Maduro are still available at Smoke Inn.

As you would expect given the pedigree and price, the Prototype Natural is stunning in appearance. It sports the familiar 1964 double-ring. In my mind, those two bands are very reassuring; they reinforce the only thing that’s “prototype” about this cigar are the dimensions. Everything else—the quality of the tobacco, the craftsmanship of the construction, etc.—should be up to the high Serie 1964 standards.

Once lit, nutty, creamy pre-light notes transition to a complex, well-balanced profile of oak, almond, sharp cedar spice, and vanilla. Background notes of powdery cocoa and cream help add balance. I would best describe the texture as silky.

Given the cigar’s stature, the settle-in mode arrives quickly. This slightly mellowed midway point is characterized by a creamier taste and the emergence of notes like peanut, warm tobacco, and cinnamon. There are very few changes in flavor thereafter. Throughout, the combustion qualities are superb, including a straight burn that requires no torch touch-ups, a sooth draw, above average smoke production, and a white ash that holds well off the foot.

I don’t think I’m going to surprise anyone when I say the Padrón Serie 1964 Prototype Natural is a terrific smoke. It’s a compact, concentrated iteration of a blend we all know and love that delivers exactly as expected. That’s ultimately why, in my book, this exclusive vitola from Smoke Inn earns four and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Davidoff Colorado Claro Anniversario No. 3

4 Jun 2017

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.”

Box

It’s been some time since I last had a Davidoff Colorado Claro; far too long, judging from my enjoyable experience with his toro-sized vitola. The cigar, which is a regular release with somewhat limited availability, features an oily, reddish-brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The supremely balanced profile showcases charred oak, moss, bread, and graphite flavors. With excellent construction and a medium-bodied taste, it is highly recommended, even if the $25 price tag means it may only be an occasional luxury. It reminds me of a cross between the Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary blend and the Avo Limited Edition 2008 “Tesoro,” which both happen to be excellent cigars also made at Davidoff’s Dominican factories.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Black Label Trading Company NBK

3 Jun 2017

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.”

Over a year of rest in my humidor has not mellowed this full-bodied power-bomb in the slightest. Right off the bat, the Ecuador Habano Oscuro-wrapped NBK (6 x 46) greets me with a strong, bold profile of espresso, warm tobacco, roasted nuts, and black pepper spice. Just as I think I have the cigar figured out, though, it eases back a bit, and the powdery smoke cools. Still, the soft box-pressed NBK packs plenty of punch through to the end as secondary notes of cocoa add complexity. With excellent construction and a $9 price tag, this creation from Black Label Trading Company has a lot going for it.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys