Quick Smoke: MBombay Habano Gordo

21 Aug 2016

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.”

20160817_025749571_iOS

The five-vitola MBombay Habano line made its debut in 2015, joining several other blends from Mel Shah’s house-brand-turned-national-release. It is made at Tabacos de Costa Rica with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Ecuadorian Criollo binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Peru. The Gordo (6 x 60, $12.50) has a balanced bouquet of flavors ranging from warm tobacco and roasted nuts to cream, caramel, and a gentle woodsy spice. It smokes OK, though the burn line tends to meander and the draw is a tad tight, especially for such a thick cigar. I suspect I will appreciate the other MBombay Habano vitolas considerably more; my enjoyment of this cigar is limited by its excessive girth.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

Quick Smoke: Avo XO Legato

20 Aug 2016

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.”

Avo

This toro-sized (6 x 54) smoke has the kind of salty flavor I sometimes crave, though I think that same saltiness also makes it unsuitable under certain circumstances. Fortunately, I knew what to expect before lighting up and prepared accordingly, keeping myself within arm’s distance of light sipping rum and a glass of cold water. I was rewarded with a satisfying experience: a medium-bodied profile with a salty taste that’s accented by notes of sweet cream, cedar, café au lait, and traces of trademark Davidoff mustiness. Construction was solid (notably, the Legato burns with an ultra-thick mascara). The Avo XO—which features an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut-seed wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos—may not be for everyone all the time, but it’s a good asset to keep on hand if you know how to use it correctly.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 493

19 Aug 2016

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.

JudgeMehta102715_crop1) The cigar industry can cheer what is the first of hopefully many wins in lawsuits challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco regulations. This week U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta (pictured at right) ruled a tobacco product shouldn’t be considered new—and therefore re-subject to FDA approval—simply because its label changes. “The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed last year by subsidiaries of Imperial Brands, Reynolds American Inc., and Altria Group over FDA guidelines clarifying what changes to a tobacco product require regulatory approval under the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products,” reports Reuters. Judge Mehta did find, however, that changing the quantity of cigarettes included in a product does amount to a change that would require the new product to submit to FDA approval. The lawsuit specifically challenged how the Tobacco Control Act was being applied to cigarettes, but has significant implications for how the agency can apply its rules to cigars.

2) On Wednesday, Patrick S was interviewed on KOH 780 AM, a news talk radio station in Reno, Nevada. The conversation, which focused the FDA regulation of cigars, is an excellent resource if you’re looking for the basics and need to get up to speed. You can listen to his segment here (beginning at the 20-minute mark).

3) In partnership with expert tobacconists and mixologists, and in association with Cigar & Spirits magazine, online retailer Famous Smoke Shop has released a new cigar and spirit pairing guide. The interactive tool helps determine recommendations on what cigars to pair with different spirits. Once you get your suggested pairing, there are recommended articles to read, including an article from StogieGuys.com.

4) Inside the Industry: One of the more anticipated new releases from Tatuaje is the Reserva Broadleaf Collection, which consists of 100 cigars, 10 of each size. The collection features Brown Label blends with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. In addition to the six original Brown Label sizes, also included are the Tatuaje Reserva SW, Tatuaje Reserva J21, the new Tatuaje K222, and the Tatuaje Cojonu 2003. The 100-count collection retails for $1,200. As Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson noted to us in an email ahead of the release, to differentiate the original Reserva blends (which use an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper) from the Broadleaf versions, you’ll start to see “Broadleaf” noted on secondary bands.

5) From the Archives: In 10 years, only 53 cigars have earned our highest rating of five out of five stogies. What was the first? The Davidoff Grand Cru No. 3. The review praised the cigar’s “explosion of delicate toasty notes, particularly hints of sweet hay… [with a blend of tobaccos that] yielded a unique, harmonious flavor pleasing to the whole palate.”

6) Deal of the Week: Just $27 will land you this Lucky 7 Sampler. Included are three each of the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown and Oliva Serie O, plus a Punch Gran Puro, and a free cutter thrown in for good measure. Be sure to add the coupon code “stogie” for 10% off.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Wikipedia

Tip: Help a Service Member Enjoy a Good Smoke

17 Aug 2016

The other day an email landed in my inbox from a U.S. Army captain stationed overseas. He wondered if it would be possible to get some cigars for his soldiers.

Troops PhotoCapt. Justin Foster’s unit, whose mission is providing sophisticated communications support, shipped out about three months ago from its home in the Baltimore area.

“I have many soldiers in my 51-man formation that enjoy a great cigar,” he wrote. “I do like to give care packages as much as possible and send nice things out to the soldiers.”

StogieGuys.com has been pushing for cigar donations to the troops for years. Sometimes it’s reminding readers to check out Cigars for Warriors. Sometimes it’s urging you to assist individual units like Capt. Foster’s. And sometimes we suggest you to contribute to a program at your local shop.

Let’s face it, with considerably fewer troops overseas now than there were in the recent past, there’s not as much attention focused on soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines as there was. It’s easy to forget.

But that’s exactly the time they need a boost the most. Their jobs aren’t any easier, their risks any smaller, or their chances to get a good cigar any better.

I asked Capt. Foster if he could send me a photo of some of his troops enjoying a cigar, and he did. They may be sitting at a picnic table, but I don’t think it’s much of a picnic where they are. I’m sure a cigar break is more than welcome.

So, dig into your humidor. I’m sure you can find a few good sticks to send along for inclusion in Capt. Foster’s care packages. The address:

HHC 392ND ESB
CPT Justin Foster
APO AE 09330

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys/Capt. Foster

Cigar Review: Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro

15 Aug 2016

FSG

Earlier this summer, I reviewed the Robusto format of the new Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown line. I mentioned that, in addition to the four Brazilian-wrapped standard vitolas, there is also a Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro with its own unique blend, and that’s the subject of today’s review.

FSG Trunk-Pressed ToroTo bring you back up to speed, two years ago we broke the news that, for the first time since 1977, long-filler cigar tobacco was being grown in Florida. Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of the Corona Cigar stores and a partner in the Sindicato cigar company, began growing tobacco on land he had purchased—out of love of the leaf, and to avoid paying residential taxes on the land, which is outside Orlando.

At the time, while we knew Drew Estate had been selected as Borysiewicz’s partner, it was unclear how the tobacco would be incorporated. In May, we learned it would be used in a blend from Drew Estate aptly called Florida Sun Grown (FSG). Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera paired the Floridian filler tobacco with Nicaraguan leaves, a Mexican binder, and a Brazilian wrapper.

As I mentioned above, however, the Trunk-Pressed Toro (6 x 52) sports a different blend. It has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Mexican binder, and filler tobaccos from Florida, Nicaragua, and Honduras. It retails for $15 and is packaged in boxes of 10 (the standard four vitolas retail for $11.50 to $15 and come in 20-count boxes).

The FSG Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro has a beautiful exterior leaf that’s dark, moderately oily, slightly reddish, and covered in a network of (mostly) thin veins. The foot exudes pre-light notes of green raisin and cocoa powder. The cold draw is smooth and clear. Just like the standard vitolas, it is adorned by a handsome band of teal, orange, and gold that interestingly makes no mention of Drew Estate, nor does it designate the cigar as a limited edition in any way.

After establishing an even light, I am immediately struck by how much more Mexican-tasting the Trunk-Pressed Toro is than the regular-production Robusto. This is a gritty, dirty cigar with a highly chalky texture. Background notes include espresso, black pepper spice, and a touch of the sweet grassy sensation that’s prevalent in other Broadleaf-wrapped smokes from Drew Estate. Full-bodied from light to nub, the profile picks up some creaminess at the midway point, only to grow spicier and more intense down the home stretch. Cayenne heat fades in and out throughout.

The gentle box-press renders the Toro almost oval in shape, which I find very comfortable and unique. Combustion qualities are superb, including a straight burn line, solid ash, and an easy draw that yields above-average smoke production.

For now, FSG is only available at Corona Cigar stores, or at Corona Cigar’s retail website. However, rumor has it Borysiewicz would like to see FSG go national. If that happens, the exclusivity at Corona Cigar will likely be remembered as a soft launch.

Either way, you need to get your hands on this cigar. It’s expensive yet highly enjoyable and supremely satisfying, especially if you’re not averse to Mexican tobacco. The Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro is a joy to smoke and worthy of an admirable rating of 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: E.P. Carrillo Original Rebel Rebellious 52

14 Aug 2016

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.”

EPC-Rebel

Considering most of the rest of the revamped E.P. Carrillo offerings feature classic packaging, upon inspecting the band of the brand new Original Rebel maduro line, I thought this must be a new value or bundle stick. It isn’t. The 5.5-inch, 52-ring gauge cigar sells for just under $10. Rebellious is the name given to the maduro blend, as opposed to the Maverick, which features an Ecuadorian wrapper. Rebellious has a dark Broadleaf wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and Nicaraguan filler. The result is a rich cigar full of earth, powdered cocoa, subtle wood, and just a hint of red pepper spice. When it comes to flavor and construction, I was impressed.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Aging Room F59 Quattro Maestro

13 Aug 2016

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.”

Aging

Last year, Boutique Blends introduced the Aging Room F59 Quattro, the follow-up to the F55 Quattro (very highly rated by my colleague in a 2012 review of the Concerto size). The F59 Quattro is a Dominican puro that’s marketed as medium- to full-bodied. It’s comprised of Cuban-seed tobaccos that are aged for ten years. The box-pressed, torpedo-sized Maestro (6 x 52) retails for about $10 and features solid combustion qualities with rich, oily flavors of black pepper, cream, coffee, and peanut with cayenne spice on the finish. The strength is evident in the first third, impactful down the final stretch. Pick up the Maestro if you’re looking for a heavyweight companion to a high-proof sipping bourbon after a full meal.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys