Tag Archives: cigar

Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Cigars Smoked (Part 2 of 2)…

For some of the previous posts on this trip to the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, please use the following hyperlinks:

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: A Beautiful Escape in Montego Bay…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Food Fit For a King…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Pirate Beach Party and Local Flair…”

And so, continuing on from my previous post about cigars from this trip

6.  Trinidad Fundadores.  Dic 2009 “OUS”.  Now this one was a bit of an experience to be had!  Had a loosely-packed foot, dark ligero-loaded head upon cutting, and some soft spots throughout that became more pronounced as the cigar progressed, due in part to the format interacting with the conditions that day (29 C and 79% RH, 19 kph wind, and right poolside).  Heavy residual salty taste and feeling in my mouth and nose at the start of this cigar, from snorkelling with Erin in the Caribbean Sea earlier.

But a perfect draw on this cigar.  It had a wonky burn to start, but with a slightly firm ash (1-1/2″ groups).  Not much smoke off the foot “at idle”, but loads of smoke when drawn on.  Heavy tones of leather and dark tea, saddled onto toasted tobacco.  Hits of shortbread cookies and honeydew melon – that’s right, folks, honeydew melon in there too!  LOL.

It held up very well in the heat and the humidity overall – the wrapper had some slight unravelling near the end of the experience.  No harshness or sour tinges, right to the stubby end.  A solid 93; would have perhaps been slightly higher if not for the slight construction and burn issues.

An elegant and classy smoke to start that particular day for me.  And to lead me into an ass-kicking afternoon of drinking triple-tequila margaritas.  Had a dinner reservation that night for 8:30 pm, but instead, went up to the room at 6:15 to have a nap prior to, and instead slept right through until 6:30 am – aside from having Erin shove my ass over in bed at 11 pm after she spent the evening reading.  LOL.

7.  RA Gigantes.  Nov 2013 “MUL” – from a gorgeous box found during my Feb-Mar 2015 trip to Havana, Cuba.  Enjoyed this with “Wata” and local Blue Mountain coffee.  And nope, that’s not a typo – it’s “Wata” down there, with an “a”.  Not “water”.  “Wata”.  As I was told, “It’s spelt as it’s said”.  LOL.  Awesome.

As for the cigar itself, it had flavours of cherry-red coffee beans, nougat, cooked red apples (a slight deviation from the atypical “RA flavours” of “stewed fruit”), and with strong molasses and wet leather tones.  Lots of relights.  Could have been much better if not for burn issues – 87 points.

Other notables…

RA Extra 2011 EL.  Ago 2011 “RUE”.  Okay, I guess.  Not the best one I had, but lots of tones of burnt brown sugar and leather, with some molasses.

Partagas Lusitania.  Dic 2009 “STA”, Czar’s PSP stick.  Awesome.  Just awesome.

Diplomaticos No. 2.  Jun 2008 “EMA”.  A perfect match for Grey Goose screwdrivers.

Trinidad Robustos T.  Jun 2009 “OUS”.  Kinda uninspiring that day, but my palate was zapped from spicy and strong foods, coffee and drinks from that morning and the previous day.  Still pissed that these were discontinued so early into their release by Habanos S.A. though.

And lastly…

The resort itself had a nice little cigar lounge there, Hemingway’s.  While I didn’t actually bother to visit it for a smoking experience, I did know it was there and wanted to check it out; it appeared to almost always be staffed during normal hours, and had a pleasant-enough looking selection (which did mostly appear to be legitimate stock, rather than some of the fake cigars being peddled by some of the shops in the resort’s plaza area).  The staff seemed attentive too, but it was just too nice of weather outside and such a gorgeously-designed resort for me to sit inside and smoke.

Perhaps on a future trip I’ll check it out more.

Cheers all.

Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Cigars Smoked (Part 1 of 2)…

For some of the previous posts on this trip to the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, please use the following hyperlinks:

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: A Beautiful Escape in Montego Bay…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Food Fit For a King…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Pirate Beach Party and Local Flair…”

So, as I’ve done with previous trips, instead of doing full-on reviews, here’s a bit of an abridged version of what cigars smoked well, and where they were seeming to perform for me when on this trip last spring to Jamaica.  The smoking weather was comparatively perfect at a slight plus-or-minus variance of 28 degrees Celsius and 74% RH right at the mid-afternoon point daily almost.  And, as an added plus, the resort itself was a smoking-friendly resort (which I worry about a bit, when looking at resorts or hotels in “Americanized” locations in the Caribbean), and I smoked on our room’s terrace relaxingly, as well as quite a number of cigars being smoked poolside, with ashtrays supplied by staff, and no funny looks or questions about the “stinky cigar smoke” from either staff or other resort guests.  Frankly, when I did puff away, most were intrigued, and not a single nasty look or comment was noted (nicely enough).

1.  Quai d’Orsay Imperiales.  Oct 2012 “MUR” coded.  Enjoyed this with a Bacardi 8 & Coke, then with some Red Stripe beers.  Smoked well.  Lots of light cedar wood, cream, loads of vanilla bean, almost a hint of sweet almond nuttiness, and a heaping of refreshing citrus zest.  Delicious, with a wonky curve too.  Solid 94.  What a start!

2.  La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 2.  Ago 2008 “TEB”.  Light black tea base tones.  Light herbal / floral essences waving in and out.  Rosemary with roses.  Then, carnations and dill almost (wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating in the heat or not, LOL).  Very fragrant combos.  Waves of dried cut grass in there.  EXACTLY what I love about nicely aged LGC sticks – like a spring breeze a day after the lawn was cut, and the yard work was satisfyingly done.

Excellent draw.  The ash held on in one-inch groups, but was very lightly compresses and easy to flick off.  Razor-sharp burn, no need for relights aside from one cosmetic touch-up.  A solid 93-point smoke.  Not an overly “filling” cigar, per say, or potently flavourful in an overpowering style, but an extremely nuanced and mature-tasting smoke, with a subdued finesse…PERFECT to start that particular day off.

3.  Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH Release.  May 2012 “MUR”.  An awesome mid-day smoke.  This one seemed a bit more muted than previous I’ve had, but I have high hopes for this particular box code.

4.  QdO Corona.  Ago 2008 “TEB” coded.  Like most of these cigars, another one of Czar’s HQ / PSP offerings.  This one was slightly tight with a restrictive draw – due, in part I think, to me accidentally leaving it out of my travel humidor during the evening before, and sucking up a bit more humidity than I like to store my sticks at (62% RH).  That said, potent flavours of leather, orange zest, and rich demerara sugar.

Mild burn issues throughout (again, like the slightly tight draw, something that’s tied in with over-humidifying it), and needed multiple touch-ups and relights.  Could have been better and was a bit unfortunate.  An 86.

5.  Cohiba Siglo IV.  Oct 2013 “POU”.  Wow – what an ugly cap this thing had.  This was enjoyed wholeheartedly with several piña coladas with double-shots of Appleton 12-year dark rum…and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Unfortunately, this cigar was one with another slightly tight and restrictive draw, and thin whispy smoke therefore.

That said, it had STRONG flavours of smokey honey and lemongrass tea, damp hay, and some buttered toast.  Rich flavours, but a bit of a paradox in that there’s just slightly closed-in about them.

I was thinking this may also be because this cigar is just not quite ready yet (just over a year-and-a-half old; baby-aged for Cohiba almost).  Will be amazed to see what these are like at 3- and 5-years, and how they may develop then.

More to come on this…

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Punch Sir John 2012 RE Germany, Unk. Code, 2012 Production; Final Score – 94

So, a review from this past weekend then, and then we’ll get “back to the future” with other posts…

Punch isn’t a big brand fave of mine.  Punch as a brand is also not readily available in Canada, due to a particular distribution arrangement that doesn’t bring the Punch brand within our borders much – so I’ll admit that may definitely play a bit part in my impressions of the brand.  That said, I used to love the older Punch Punch and Punch Black Prince sticks.  So, with me trying to keep that in mind, I was actually looking fairly forward to trying this stick.

This cigar is a Punch Sir John 2012 Regional Edition out of Germany, a Hermosos No. 4. gifted stick from Ute / “Perla”, a kind friend from Germany whom I’ve done a number of trades and “cigar bombs” with now.  Again, like many people in the online cigar world, I haven’t had a chance yet to meet her in person (but have a good friend who meets up with her regularly for cigars), but she seems like an absolute first class person, and is generous and ever thoughtful.  In that, she passed this one along for me to try…

Reviewed Cigar:  Punch Sir John 2012 Edicion Regional Alemania (Germany)

Box Date:  Unknown (2012 production)

Factory / Manufacture Code:  Unknown

Packaging:  Dress boxes of 25-sticks

Price per cigar:  Regional retail of ~11 Euros a stick (unk. cost though; gifted stick)

Length:  5″, or 127 mm

Ring Gauge:  48

Format:  Hermosos No. 4 / Corona Extra

Weight:  Shit, forgot to do this…

Construction / Appearance & Pre-Light:  Well, to set the stage, this cigar was smoked on my 10th wedding anniversary day this past weekend (no pressure, Ute – it’s just a piddly little 10th wedding anniversary cigar, lol).  I was able to enjoy the cigar on the back deck after watching my daughter play only her 2nd soccer game, crank up her goals to 4 already, and get player-of-the-game.

Due to everything else we had going on that day (as we just recently got back from St. Lucia, a trip for our 10th anniversary, and to the exact same resort we spent our honeymoon at), my sitting and smoking this cigar was a bit of a “gift” from my wife, as she wanted me out of the damn house, so she could get “things ready for an adults night”.  Hmmmm.  I gladly obliged!  And, as you can see from the pictures, I had a paired wine bottle and a half with this smaller cigar, LOL!  It was a wine gifted from my Mom and Dad, back just prior to our wedding – not really an aging type of wine, but something that was sort of aged and theme-appropriate for the evening.  But damn-hard to fit into the stinkin’ fridge…

The cigar itself (oh yeah – THAT thing, LOL) was an absolutely beautiful stick.  Flawless construction, beautiful coloured wrapper, which was kinda thick but not too much, and still was somehow silky smooth and flexible.  A quick cut, a light, and I was rockin’ and rollin’…


Opening Impressions, then First, Second, and Final Thirds:  Well, not too many notes.  Except that this cigar was EXCEPTIONAL.  I was totally revelling in the experience.  I was revelling a bit in the backyard revamp work being basically done now after two years.  Unfortunately (perhaps), the wine was less than stellar – it had a dry / cracked cork, and the wine itself had a dark beautiful colour but with no “pop” of flavour really; kinda tasted alcohol-free, and was extremely buttery and mellow, with no fruitiness really (all in all, kind of the OPPOSITE from what I was hoping for and expecting with this wine).  HOWEVER, that said, the wine seemed to pair extremely well with this cigar.  It only seemed to better accentuate the cigar’s positives.

The cigar had fairly viscous smoke, and was definitely on the lighter side of medium.  Some main elements of buttered toast, slight sweet spice, and with a smoky honey sweetness.  Each third had me correct a slightly wonky burn.  Throughout, I was thinking of maybe a mild cinnamon-raisin toast, buttered and with a dark honey drizzle.  I kept getting some light tones of leather through the middle, and the odd mild smoky woodiness too, though not from cedar or the usual suspects; to me, it almost seemed like a mild apple wood, or even a nice apricot tree wood, but smokey – almost kind of like using chips of that wood on the BBQ to slow rotisserie a nice roast.  Mmmmm!

And all the while, I was making faces at Erin, trying to get her to lose her concentration while she was “trying to fly” while playing Alto’s Adventure on her iPad (it’s a VERY addictive but simple snowboarding game that’s smartly animated).  Her concentration (and forced smile) was at it’s finest, while I was trying to distract her and type my notes…

Near the end of the stick, the smoke was lightening up even more in viscosity and density – while the flavours steered back to medium in the middle, the cigar was now becoming lighter…but more focused and refined in those flavours.  I know – it’s a weird paradox, but for those of you who have had quality aged cigars in similarly-developing profiles (La Gloria Cubana, Quai d’Orsay, some Trinidad, etc.), you know what an absolute treat this is.

And to cap it off, my wife surprised me with a nice little gift certificate for cigars, just an “added little something” to go along with a few other things, as well as our recent trip to St. Lucia too.  Very cool little added surprise to cap things off…

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  Wow.  What an under-the-radar cigar for me.  I was really looking forward to trying it, for the gifting nature behind it, and the different experience it might give.  But, I was not really expecting to have my attention focused so well by this stick, and so exceptionally rewarded for my time.

To me, this particular stick was a solid 93-94.  There were some ever-so-slight hints of carbon on the aftertaste at the occasional point throughout the stick.  But, it was strong, or really deviating from the main experience.

I was only disappointed…that the experience was too short, LOL!  I know it was very much the blend and the format working together in harmony that gave me the experience that I had.  But if this stick was a Churchill-sized smoke, with this same profile/blend/performance that I got, it would have been an ABSOLUTE shoe-in for a 96-97.  And I don’t think I’ve ever gone over 95 or so before.  It’s only a pity that these Sir John’s are on the pricier end of the spectrum for this format / size of cigar.

Final Score:  94

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 9 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  June 17th, 2016; lit up at 8:35 pm, done at 9:44 pm

Paired Beverage:  2003 “Gaetano D’Aquino” Garganega-Pinot Grigio wine, a giant 1.5 L cobalt-blue bottle, gift from our wedding

Last Meal:  Can’t remember, but woulda been about 5:15 pm

Smoking Conditions:  On the back deck, 23 degrees Celsius and 53 % RH outside, with an 11 kph slight breeze.

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Havana Trip, Nov 2015: Cigars Smoked…

Yup.  Cigars were smoked, ashtrays were filled, villages were pillaged and plundered.  As per the norm, some cigars were good, bad, or great.  Here’s some brief rundowns, particulars, and photos where available…

1.  SCDLH La Fuerza.  Feb 2009 “OPM” coded.  A stick I brought from home, my first of this particular trip.  After only getting checked into the Habana Libre at 12:30 am, and with the girls being zonked from the travel that afternoon, John and I went to smoke on the back terrace at the Hotel Nacional at 1:30 am our first night there, with mojitos and Cubano sandwiches.  So simple, and nothing special, yet such a decadent start in the overall experience.

2.  LGC MdO No. 2.  Unknown code, a 2012 stick gifted from Tom back home.  With cappuccinos for “breakfast” at the Nacional – another great Havana treat to experience.  You just can’t beat the satisfaction of smoking a “La Gloria Cubana” while in Havana, Cuba!

3.  RA Club Allones EL 2015.  My box code – Aug 2015 “RAE” coded; John’s box – Jul 2015 “OPG” coded, all priced at $8.30 CUC per stick (at Habana Libre LCDH).  John and I found a number of boxes at the LCDH at the Habana Libre, and decided to sample from two stellar looking boxes from two various codes (there were 3 different codes, spanning a 3 month production window, with 8 or 10 boxes there).  Which was a GREAT idea – the RAE code from Aug 2015 were ABSOLUTELY stellar, and a 92-93 smoke right from the start, buy, buy, BUY! – but then our plan went to shit a day later when we went back there to buy up the rest, and some Asian fellows were walking out with what was left.  We did, however, hit gold later on in the week when we found 6 more boxes at the Hotel Saratoga – all of which had the same Aug 2015 “RAE” code, and were as dark, oily, and aromatic as the first boxes.  Home run cigars, as much as they can be with the recent cost increases in these new releases.  Even the “lesser” sticks that we had over the course of the week were 89-90’s.  Buy, buy, buy!

4.  Montecristo 80th Anniversario.  I was gifted one of these at the start of the week.  While I did enjoy it’s creamy, golden nougat and cafe creme flavours, mixed with some hay and leather, it also was a fair bit damp and had some harsh tones and needed LOTS of relights.  I didn’t stumble across a box during that week, but it’s something that did pique my attention.  Hard to say – need to try a couple more sticks, and seemed to get good thoughts from most down there.  Night and day from the Montecristo Anejado sticks.

5.  Cohiba Piramides Extra.  I was given a few of these, unbanded, from during the Habana Libre LCDH’s welcoming cocktail night.  Though unbanded, they were told to me by a couple of people that they were “actual current production” CPE’s, and not just customs rolled in that style / impersonation.  Well – they smoked like relative crap.  Completely “ugh” cigar – tons of relight attempts, no flavour, pitched two different ones barely a third into each.  So, to me, they had nothing special in them, did NOT smoke like a Cohiba at all, and definitely just seemed like a custom roller’s impression of them, while not using any proper Cohiba-intended tobacco.  That said, I have no way to 100% know.  I’m 90% sure they were unbanded custom imitations, but if they were actual current CPE sticks (even “seconds” that they didn’t waste the bands on), then I would steer clear, folks.

Then again – it was the Habana Libre LCDH.  Slight of hand wouldn’t be surprising!  LOL.

6.  Custom cigars.  Fuck yeah.

Be it Jorgito’s Monsdales or robusto largos (@ Club Habana LCDH), Yolanda’s piramides (@ Melia Habana LCDH), Reynaldo’s various goodies (@ Conde de Villanueva), or the plethora of other custom rollers that are still around at the various LCDH shops (Alex @ Commodoro, Juanita @ Melia Cohiba, etc.), or other random custom Salamones or unbanded Seleccion Privadas, THESE are the experience to enjoy, cigar-wise, when in Havana.  Fresh off the rollers’ tables, I can never have enough of them while down there.  They just hit the spot.

Every.  Damn.  Time.

The irony – went through the better part of about a half bundle each of Monsdales and robusto largos, as well as a bunch of random other customs singles.  And how many pictures did I take of those?  LOL – none.  Just the one picture, from before “the slaughter”, LOL.  Shows how great the company, the food, drinks, and times were, that I didn’t take any “action” shots while smoking these customs, huh?



Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Ramon Allones Mille Fleurs, Nov 2002 “EAR” box code; Final Score – 92

As I carried on in the same evening from my previous review on the H. Upmann Monarch tubos, I took a quick rest inside the house (the winds were picking up), and then with my wife joining me in the hot tub, I got to enjoy Round 2 of my cigars that night, a stellar example of a Ramon Allones Mille Fleurs.

I love Ramon Allones.  Yup.  That I do.  So, I figured I’d enjoy this stick, regardless of….gasp…being a dreaded “machine-made” variant.

Okay.  I tried to say that with a straight face.

I personally don’t get the disdain that some have for certain machine-made cigars.  Granted, I definitely have a grumpy experience with some of the “lesser brands”, or “cheap and cheerfuls” as many refer to them as well.  But a machine-made can still be a beautiful thing.  While it misses that certain human-touch in its artistic quality, if the tobacco itself is good, it can still be a top-notch experience for a relatively inexpensive cost.

This stick is a beautiful example.  A cigar from one of the multitude of trades that I’ve been able to do with great BOTL Chris / “chanceschmerr”, a fellow CF member who’s across-the-pond at a special navy offi-sure school right now, this was a special cigar he sent for me to enjoy.  These RA Mille Fleurs are cellophane-wrapped lovelies which he snagged from a nice little shop in Andorra on a past mission rest-stop.  These are solely machine-made sticks which were discontinued in 2005.

Reviewed Cigar:  Ramon Allones Mille Fleurs

Box Date:  Nov 2002

Factory / Manufacture Code:  EAR

Packaging:  25-count dress box of cellophane-wrapped cigars

Price per cigar:  Unk. (traded stick)

Length:  5 1/8″, or 129 mm

Ring Gauge:  42

Format:  Petit corona

Weight:  9 grams / 0.3 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  The overall tobacco quality and finish on this cigar wasn’t bad.  A smaller stick, I’m impressed that something like this can be done as efficiently as they are with the type of older machines that Cuba has.

Nice wrapper colour, and no soft spots throughout the cigar itself.  With a this machine-made stick, I noted that the cap had a fair bit of a wrinkle / crease to it, and the triple-cap was horribly sloppy.  As these machine mades are hand-finished, it’s a bit of a sloppy finalizing, though the rest of the wrapper was applied very well, and the band was finished well (and I love the older / smoother / less-refined RA bands too).

The cello had a nice very slight yellowing to it, and the foot (as can be seen in the below pictures) showed that the bunch was packed amazingly tight on one side, but fairly loose and with holes on the other.  Again, no soft spots or issues there, but just an example of how a machine-made stick can’t have that artistic-finishing quality that human hands can.

After a cut and at cold, not too shabby.  Slight caramel sweetness, a bit salty, and with a fragrant aged tea tone.

Other construction notes?  Wife was sporting a new(er) bikini – me likey!

Opening Impressions:  A wonderfully aged smoke.  This thing just started right in.  Caramel flan tones to start – caramel, creme brulee, vanilla, breadfruit doughy-ness.  Loving it.

First Third:  Into the first third, light leather with burnt caramel edge.  Not a lot of the stewed fruit aspect that I normally get in Ramon Allones’ sticks though.  Some brown sugar, hay, and well-aged toasted tobacco.  Very refined toasted tobacco tones coming through full volume.

Second Third:  Into the second third, a lot of the same.  Swaying back and forth with the burnt caramel, and bready, toasted tobacco.

Final Third:  Into the final third, creme brulee coming to the forefront again.  Vanilla, burnt / carmelized brown sugar, and bready goodness.  Almost a bread pudding kind of flavour tone (you know – that traditional kind of bread pudding, made with eggs, milk, bread chunks, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.); just wonderful.

Still unfortunately not getting the heavy stewed-fruits / Christmas fruitcake tone that I so love with RA.  Kind of wished it was there, but this stick, for its fair size, was still giving me lots of performance value.

A good cigar to go along with a great view.  😉

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This cigar burned impeccably well for me too.  Burn was relatively razor sharp, and did not require any relights that I recollect.  The aged refinement that this cigar had was wonderful.  The slightly perfumy, aged, toasted tobacco tone throughout, along with the tag-team of a caramel, creme brulee hit, made this just a great little cigar to enjoy.

I know Habanos has got rid of machine mades.  While I don’t necessarily disparage that, it would be nice if this Mille Fleurs blend was still offered in a handmade.  Hell, even if a handmade, “luxury” version of the RA Mille Fleurs was offered perhaps as an RE from a cunning distributor, I think it’d be quite a hit – I’d LOVE to see that done, a box of 25 cellophane wrapped sticks to bring back that vintage look, and in a size format where a 25-count box wouldn’t make it beyond the reach of many.

Dollar value, these are excellent – inexpensive machine-mades can definitely be worth an addition into someone’s smoking stock, provided it was a good quality run.  Though these are all discontinued, the fairly extensive age on any remaining at vendors will make it well worth the search.  That perfumy aspect of nice aged cigars are a great taste to experience.

Final Score:  92

Total Smoking Time:  42 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  February 18th, 2015; lit up at 8:58 pm, done at 9:40 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Haddock and chip dinner w/ coleslaw, 5:20 pm

Smoking Conditions:  In the hot tub, continuing chilly and fairly windy night, -12 degrees Celsius and dropping rapidly, 68% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – La Flor de Cano Siboney 2014 RE Canada, Sep 2014 “OEP” box code; Final Score – 82

So, when down at last week’s Encuentros Partagas, I and a number of other Canadian bloggers, vendors, and passionate consumers got to participate in an invite pre-release tasting panel of the “new” 2014 Edicion Regional for Canada, the La Flor de Cano Siboney.  I say “new” in that it’s the 2014 RE, yet it still hasn’t been released to market (expected release date to the Canadian market, per Havana House personnel there at the event, puts the release date somewhere in the January-February 2015 timeframe).

A few weeks before we went down for this event, I was able to get teed up with Damarys and Roger from Havana House (the official Habanos distributor in Canada), and they were generous in their invite details and planning in letting myself and a number of other Canadian travellers to participate in this event.  No matter the outcome of the cigar tasting, Roger and others there were generous hosts, and we had a great roundtable discussion on some various points that afternoon.  It was nice to see a number of the other ladies and gents there that day, including seeing Jose Lugo again after a number of years (formerly with Havana House in Canada).

But for the cigar – it wasn’t a good day…

Our tasting took place in the Piano Bar room at Club Habana, in the Miramar area west of Havana.  I’ve gone to Club Habana before but mostly for shopping trips to the LCDH store there to see Jorge and load up on Monsdales, or to have a beach-side lunch with the international menagerie of trouble-makers.  But for this private tasting event, the Piano Bar room made for a great setting – ornate carvings and artwork throughout, giant Caribbean full-frame throw-open windows, and a beachfront view.  The tasting setting could not have been in a more tranquil and wonderful setting.

The day itself was the exact opposite however.  Prior to the tasting event, while at a great lunch at a new-to-many-of-us paladar in the Playa neighbourhood, the torrential rains had begun.  It became an exercise in Cuban perseverance to obtain a private cab to the function, with the weather what it was, with the driver not even having a clue what or where Club Habana was, and with me and my travellers having to explain to him in our poor and broken Spanish (due to him not speaking a lick of English).  Then the amazing feat of 1950’s vehicles maneuvering through flooded streets truly began – driving in those conditions, never before have I felt such an urge to put on a seatbelt in vehicles that just simply don’t often have them.

These conditions, super rainy, humid and damp, actually began a number of days previous to the tasting.  It was an incredibly constant and rainy couple of days, and with the cigars barely a month-and-a-half young, no doubt led to the tasting being what it was, unfortunately.

This was obviously the first of these, and one of only a very few handfuls of LFDC cigars I’ve even smoked.  I don’t really have a “brand profile” for these in mind, so I’d like to think it was as neutral of a one-up tasting for this cigar that I was able to do, without this being a fully-blind tasting.

Reviewed Cigar:  La Flor de Cano Siboney, 2014 RE Canada

Box Date:  Sep 2014

Factory / Manufacture Code:  OEP (we were informed that these cigars were rolled at the old Montero factory.)

Packaging:  25-box, semi-boite natural box, numbered boxes (box # 0000 of 2000)

Price per cigar:  Expected Canadian retail price quoted to be in the $18-$19 per stick range

Length:  4 3/8″, or 110 mm

Ring Gauge:  42

Format:  Minutos / shortened petit corona

Weight:  Unknown (felt extremely light for the size)

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  I was handed my sample by Roger of Havana House, and was also given a tasting sheet, and we were off to the races.  This particular had a somewhat rustic-looking wrapper.  Nice, mild Colorado colour tones, but missing what I like to see with this tone of wrapper – it was lacking a good sheen of oily richness.  Overall though, the cigar itself was actually quite beautiful for how small it was.

This cigar was a very firm cigar.  The cigar, for it’s size and light weight, was extremely firm with a well-packed foot.  After clipping the head, taking some cold draws, and gaspingly, not in a good way, the draw was incredibly easy for how tight and firm the cigar itself was.  All of us at the tasting were somewhat taken aback by this.  Raisin flavours at cold.

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the opening had an easy burn and draw.  Very light wispy smoke.  Not viscous in it’s consistency on the palate at all.  Sour tinge.  Wrapper didn’t want to get going.  Touch up with the torch a bit, and keep on carrying on.

First Third:  Into the first third, the story continued along, unfortunately.  Thin smoke.  Big, giant, gaping expanses of smokey mouthfuls when pulled on, but faint wispy smoke.  As one of the other gents stated, “much ado about nothing”.  Sour raisins.  Some white peppery notes in the background.  Very flat finish on the palate.

Looking for something to be hopeful there, we were all unfortunately getting very similar hits of one main element – sour raisins.  A bold, strong flavour, but with no underlying complexity or “goodness” about it, and something that just landed flat on the palate without a carrying-tune of accompanying flavours or viscous, creamy smoke.  Not what any of us were hoping for or expecting.

A few relights / touch-ups, but the burn was quite nice overall – wasn’t actually burning like it was a “wet” cigar.

Second Third:  Into the second third, getting a fairly big nicotine hit.  Continuing with the one-note sour raisin core.  Tart, potent, and too much strength for the lack of depth.  One gent said it very well – take the label off, and this seems like a cheap, power-bomb, non-Cuban cigar.  Tangy coffee tinge sliding in and out ever so mildly.

At the start of the second third, I really tried to slow down my smoking of this cigar.  Some tasters really noted that the cigar “seemed to burn itself”.  My example didn’t seem too bad in that respect – I honestly wanted it to be done sooner, in that it was such a bold sourness and unfavourable tasting cigar.  So, I did my damnedest to slow down my smoking it, to almost smoke it like a PL Montecarlos or a LGC MdO 1 or 3, etc., to try and “weaken” the flavour profile somewhat, and to make it more palatable.

Nope.  Then…

Final Third:  Further nope.  Just couldn’t do it anymore.  Had to set it down to die.  Honestly, if not for the tasting / review, this thing would have been chucked into oblivion within the first 10 minutes or so, only into the beginning third.  This cigar was simply too harsh, nicotine filled, and heavy-handed strong with a sour single-note song to play.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This LFDC Siboney just either isn’t ready, or isn’t blended right.

Though I slowed my smoking rate for it right down, the 40-minutes it took me to go through the first two-thirds of this stick was a long voyage.  It unfortunately wasn’t worth the time investment.

The sour raisin tones, non-Cuban twang, and other aspects of this made for a quite unpleasant cigar for us.  As of now, this is a definite no-go, for me at least.  Granted, I freakin’ hate trying to make a sure guess when a cigar doesn’t even have 6 months of age on them.  However, when such a treat in Havana-cigar-smoking is smoking cigars with 6-weeks or less of age on them, such wet cigars like fresh-from-the-rolling-table customs, it’s also hard for me to think it’s 100% the cigar’s lack of performance.  Maybe it just simply is not a good blend.  As it currently sits, the blend, if that’s what it is, frankly sucks.  I smoked quite a number of other sticks that week, with lots of age and none, and everything smoked how it should, wet and humid conditions or not.

I’ll give it another go in 6 months.  For whatever reason, I just can’t completely write it off – most Canadian RE’s have been quite great, with some very well reputed (Boli Simones and B2’s, VR Anniversarios, etc.).  I’m truly hoping that it was just a bad couple sticks that we (all) had, and is perhaps a too-fresh or too-wet thing, and not a bad-blend thing.  So, I’ll try another one in 6 months or so.

As it currently stands, I gave it an 84 at the event, but upon further thought and re-reading my own review, it only maybe deserves an 82 – and I believe I’m being generous there.  But honestly, if not for the overall strength of it, and hoping that it could perhaps develop into an 86-89 cigar in the future maybe, I indeed would have chucked it at the one-third point, and only given it a 76-80.  Frankly, this cigar, blend improvement or not, does not have much of a future I’m guessing.

It’s a minutos.  It’s going up against other minutos and perlas, such as Party Short, RASSC, Monte 5’s, SCDLH El Principe, Trini Reyes, etc.  When you have that kind of a flavour variety, and for such reasonable prices, why in the hell would you pay the Canadian expected market prices of $18 to $19 a stick?!  IF this cigar improves in either blend or performance in very short time, with this thing focused on those looking for a very short cigar for a quick little flavour bomb in colder-weather-months, it’s STILL going to be a hard sale unless that price point is changed.  Hell, one of my favourites, the RA Extras EL 2011 retail for roughly $22 CDN a stick.  With a special vintage-look band.  And aged / special EL tobaccos being used.  And a much larger smoke (probably about double the overall amount of tobacco used per stick).  Why in the hell would anyone want to pay $18 to $19 a stick for this cigar, in normal boxes, with nothing special to offer, and seemingly with such a bad blend???

Gawd, fingers crossed, I’d love to see this succeed.  Cigar smoking in Canada, much less the world, doesn’t need any more shots across the bow to dissuade any interested newfound smokers – tasting this cigar as a new smoker, you’d think all us cigar veterans are crazy.

I also want to stress that a bad review of the cigar does not reflect my opinion of the event itself, or of Havana House graciously hosting us all.  We had a great time nonetheless, and Roger and the other Havana House and H S.A. personnel there also were courteous in doing a little sit-down to answer some of our various questions about the RE program and such.  So, I truly hope that when I do a revisit of this cigar in six months’ time or so, I’m able to eat crow on this review, and it scores much better.

Final Score:  82

Total Smoking Time:  40 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 20th, 2014; lit up at 4:40 pm, done at 5:20 pm

Paired Beverage:  Mojitos

Last Meal:  “Tic-Tac Boquitas”, hamburger-bacon-and-onion and shrimp-and-blue-cheese bocazas, 2:10 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Super humid, windy, rainy, 26 degrees Celsius, 92% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Partagas Piramides EL 2000, Nov 2000 “RAR” box code; Final Score – 88

Got another review here today.  This is a traded stick from a great BOTL, and a fellow CF member to boot.

He and I have done a number of trades now, and these were included a couple times before.  These Partagas Piramides were the first of H S.A.’s Edicion Limitada program, and as was the standard at the time, were cigars that were not in the normal portfolio of the brands chosen (the top 5 Habanos brands), and were made using wrapper leaves aged at least 2 years (which is longer than normal, and in later years of the program, this changed to being all leaves being used aged to this minimum).

Past their prime though?  Let’s see…

Reviewed Cigar:  Partagas Piramides LE 2000

Box Date:  Nov 2000

Factory / Manufacture Code:  RAR

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  N/A (trade; from Bahrain Ritz-Carlton)

Length:  6 1/8″, or 156 mm

Ring Gauge:  52

Format:  Piramides

Weight:  14 grams / 0.5 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  These are a slightly rustic, mangy looking cigar.  They have that circa-early-2000’s Partagas wrapper – leathery, wrinkled, bark-like in appearance, but with a lovely toasted tobacco aroma.  These early EL’s don’t seem to have quite the level of wrapper that’s been used in more recent years.  That said, the wrapper on this one wasn’t too bad – it was slightly dull and matte-looking, but this piramide was nicely symetrical and had some beautiful bunching to it.  There were some slighly veiny spots, but no soft or hard spots – the weight and construction of it felt quite nice.

After clipping the head, the draw on this was slightly more resistive than I wished for.  At cold, there were hints of old wood, all-spice, and a tinge of anise root / black licorice.  Hmmmm – interesting…

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually quite nice when lit.  There wasn’t a ton of smoke with this, and it wasn’t overly viscous on the palate.  Slightly citric-acidity there on the taste profile.  Smell of fine and overly-dried herbs burning.

First Third:  Into the first third, this showed some hints of pepper on the couple of retrohales I gave this cigar, but it was extremely finite.  This cigar was very minimal on the powerhouse presence of pepper that my last one of these had (to the best of my recollection – my Cigar Dossier is packed up somewhere).

Frankly, I was already a bit disappointed with this cigar at this point.  I was hoping for a bit more.  It seemed to be looking at me, longing to be smoked, leaving me eagerly anticipating that which would come to pass.  But…meh.  There was a dark, old wood tone in there – almost like an old chunk of walnut wood was slowly being burned.  A fragrant-ness that was there, but not of the blowing-your-socks-off-kind.  And, since that wasn’t there, that aged refinement that some cigars get, gloriously aged LGC, QdO, old-school Monte or HdM, this cigar just simply didn’t have that there either.  Almost like the seco leaf, which imbibes that in a cigar that’s aged for a decade or longer, almost like it was forgot to be put in this cigar.  There was none of that perfumey, tea-like, aromatic class to this cigar.  And, being a Partagas, I was really hoping for one or the other.

Second Third:  Into the second third, things somewhat continued.  I began to notice that the burn was not impeccable.  I had to do a number of relights, and if I left the cigar alone for more than a minute, it easy petered out.  Got me thinking it was kinda like a hot date gone wrong – and if I left her alone for more than a moment, she’d wither away and die on me.  Got to be that feeling that it was almost a chore to keep her entertained.  Gawd, I hate that!

But then…

Some improvement!

About mid-way through the cigar, started to get a tinge of candied orange peel.  That citrus, sour, orange rind tone, being smacked back and forth on my palate by some wet, aged, old leather.  The smoke’s lack of viscousness continued.  Beautiful, rich, white ash.  Minimal smoke between puffs, but a decent amount with each pull.

And suddenly…

White pepper.  Ahhhhhh!  Just a few hints of it, fading in and out, but it was there.  Not the dense pepper that I was hoping to get, but it was showing up for the event finally.

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept growing and carrying on from the middle of the cigar.  White pepper, sour preserved orange rind, dark walnut wood smoldering in the fireplace, some wet leather drying over the hearth.

Damn, this was starting to get better and better.  Then…it was done.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  I wish the whole cigar was like the 2nd half.  This was almost a night and day cigar; like two cigars wrapped in the same wrapper.  I was thinking in the first half about how 14 years might have been too much for this blend, how it’s Partagas essence might be all but evaporated into the hands of time.  But then, the 2nd half of the cigar made me a believer again.  If it was all like that, man, with the aged refinement hopefully coming into play more, it could have been wonderful.

Alas, it was just what it was.

Final Score:  88

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 35 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 9th, 2014; lit up at 3:50 pm, done at 5:25 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Meat & cheese cracker plate lunch, w/ elk meat summer sausage, 12:20 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 21 degrees Celsius, 72% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Ramon Allones Grandes 2008 RE Espana, Oct 2008 “TEB” box code; Final Score – 93

So, as I needed to get the swing of things rolling again, I’ve got another review here – a wonderful stick, the RA Grandes, which was the 2008 Regional Edition for Spain.

It’s a delicious behemoth…

I enjoyed this during a visit with some good ol’ buddies of mine.  A couple of guys that I’ve known for more than two decades now – we all go way back, grew up separately initially but found each other in high school, have since stood up at each others’ weddings, have got into WAY too much trouble together, etc.  I’ve always been told to make sure I have good friends outside of my work environment – guys that I don’t have to worry about “talking shop” with, and moaning about little things, etc.  Guys that I can rely on to get my headspace out of the sights, sounds, and smells from work, and get me back to civilization / “normal” reality in my off hours.  Guys that I can just be myself with.  Guys that help keep me grounded and sane (yes – it can be a full-time job sometimes).

Some great buddies.   Its always great times when we’re hanging out together.  And we shared some wonderful cigars…

Reviewed Cigar:  Ramon Allones Grandes, 2008 RE Espana

Box Date:  Oct 2008

Factory / Manufacture Code:  TEB

Packaging:  10-box, varnished 8-9-8 box, numbered boxes (box # 8888 of 12000)

Price per cigar:  $22.50 USD (online vendor, 2012 purchase)

Length:  7 1/8″, or 180 mm

Ring Gauge:  49

Format:  Pacos / double corona

Weight:  16 grams / 0.6 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This is my first of these.  Bought these a few years ago, and honestly forgot about the box until recently.  Picked the first one I saw, middle at the top.  This cigar was just amazing looking.  A beautiful cigar.  Oily, dark silky wrapper, stellar looking cap, wonderful bunching at the foot.  There appeared to be a few veins, but it seemed to be just some oil streaking to the wrapper leaf from the bunched up folds of the binder leaf below.  There was a noticeable soft spot, right smack dab in the middle of the cigar, about an inch in length.  I was going to keep my fingers crossed, therefore.

After clipping the head, noticed that there was that impeccable “divot” that are frequently present in well-rolled larger-format cigars.  The draw at cold was dead on and with just the firm resistance I was hoping for.  Soft spot be damned!  Tasty too – at cold, there were hints of fresh leather, rich, dark molasses, and extremely dense rich tobacco tones.

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw continued to be just perfect when lit.  This thing belched out loads of fragrant smoke – wow, what a wonderful experience on the first puffs!

First Third:  Into the first third, the story continued along, building like a grand orchestra crescendo.  The smoke had a dense, velvety texture on the palate, almost like a creamy Greek yoghurt that coated your taste buds with a tangy sweetness.  This thing was full body, full flavours.

Looking for that RA core of “stewed fruit” or christmas / rum cake.  Not quite there.

Getting hits of damp leather, rich tobacco.  Some fruitiness there, maybe???  A few relights…

Second Third:  Into the second third, the burn was wonderful.  Needed some cosmetic relights here and there, but the smoke quality and flavour cornucopia was spot on.  Just wonderful.  This was gearing up to be a wonderful experience.

Then, a few hints of a carbon, or pencil-lead tone.  Yuck.  Realized I was smoking my way through the soft spot.  Smoke volume and creamy density was still nice.  Some more touch-ups with the torch.  Thankfully, this sour spot was only fleeting in time and negative flavours…

At the halfway mark, once through the soft spot, it really opened up.  Started to get a sweet wood tone, almost like a nice cherry-wood smoked meat.  Just a richness and voluptuousness to this cigar that was hitting the spot for me.  Even my smoking companions were saying, “Damn, that smells good, what is that?!”

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept building.  Smooth, rich, dense, and flavourful.  Big bold hits of rich leather.  Started to feel the sweetness almost blend with a light cocoa tone – almost rolling into a cherry-tinged chocolate truffle.  Cream flavours and texture rolling around again.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This thing was a long voyage, and well worth the price of admission.  I took my time and really savoured this cigar, smoking it right now to the spicy and hot nub, until I was forced by the heat to put it down.  The creamy texture and flavour to this, with the leather and woody sweetness, made me savour the time that I spent with this, accompanied by my buds.

It took me forever to get through it, but never did I feel like I was rushing it, nor taking it too slow.  This was a cigar that kept giving in spades, and let me truly get to my chi place and “become one with the tabac”.  It was great.  These are harder to find now, and are a princely-costing stick.  But, the enjoyment, the size, the sheer smoking time enjoyed out of it, makes every part of it worthwhile.

These already have some great age on them, but with the richness that’s there, the oily-squishiness that’s still exhibited in these sticks, these have the legs for many, MANY more years to come.  I think it will be amazing to see what these do at the 10-year mark, and think they’ll be epic once they’re in that 12-15 year timeline.

Final Score:  93

Total Smoking Time:  3 hrs and 5 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 8th, 2014; lit up at 9:15 pm, done at 12:20 am

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal: Hamburger helper & garlic bread w/ cheese, 5:30 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 23 degrees Celsius, 68% RH

Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – RyJ Coronitas en Cedros, Nov 2007 “URO” box code; Final Score – 91

So, I’ve got my first review here for this blog.  Since I decided to get this blog off the ground and running, I’ve been thinking over what cigars I’d like to review first.  No pretentiousness, no pressure, minimal bells-and-whistles, and just about the cigars themselves.  Well, I picked my initial three that I’m going to do, and it’s all about simplicity and roots for me – Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedros, RyJ Romeo No. 2 tubos, and Montecristo No. 4.

These three cigars were among my main introduction to cigars back in ’97 when I first got into fine Habanos.  I didn’t know or care enough at that time to make any detailed notes or whatnot on what I was smoking, so I’m not 100% sure exactly what were my actual first cigars.  But I do remember that these three were always in there for me at the start, with the two RyJ sticks being my main ones at the time.  Then, after stepping away from cigars in 2002 when I quit smoking cigarettes, and once I got back into cigars in 2004/2005 or so, these three were my main ones to get started with again.  They were my comfort smokes.  Inexpensive and not overbearing, these RyJ cigars were my first box purchases in the late 90’s, and again in 2005.  And, as I’ve said before to people, these three varieties of cigars will always have a place in my humidor.  That cherry element with the RyJ profile, and the light chocolate and coffee-with-cream elements in Montecristo, just worked so well for me and my palate at the time.  But, it’s actually been a while since I smoked any of these particular RyJ, so let’s see how it rolls along…

On to the review:

Reviewed Cigar:  Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedros

Box Date:  Nov 2007

Factory / Manufacture Code:  URO

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  $3.95 USD (online vendor, 2008)

Length:  5 1/8″, or 129 mm

Ring Gauge:  40

Format:  Petit Corona

Weight:  Forgot to weigh this one particular cigar first, but they average about 7.5 to 7.6 grams

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar comes from a box I bought in 2008, and is from one of the first orders that I started keeping a log of my purchases to track box codes, prices, retailers, etc.  As I mentioned earlier, while I don’t smoke a lot of these anymore due to changes in my tastes over the years, I still will keep (good, hand-picked) boxes of these in my humidors.  These are always good for a core hit of RyJ flavours for me, and the presentation of these are always nice.

A cedar-wrapped cigar always has an added bit of presentation appeal to it.  Up until 2002, these Coronitas en Cedros cigars were machine made (along with many others in the cheaper end of the RyJ lineup) so I have no doubt that the decision to cedar-wrap them was to both help with the visual appeal of usually-unappealing-looking machine-made sticks, and to also impart additional cedar aromas and flavour.  I also remember these being cellophane sleeved back in the late 90’s when I had them then, and part of me is nostalgic for that too.

This particular smoked cigar was very nice.  Quite stellar looking honestly, when you consider the inexpensive nature of the cigar, and the crap that can come out from the RyJ lineup as well.  One decently annoying vein down the one side though.  This cigar’s wrapper was a very lush reddish-tinged Colorado maduro – my pictures hopefully illustrate that well (no photo trickery in my pictures, as I’ve stated here in the About My Reviews page).  Slightly veiny and bumpy, the triple-cap and construction was quite nice overall.  The cigar is decently firm as well, with nice bunching and construction showing at the foot.

After clipping the head, the draw was just a bit more free-flowing than I like to see for a petit corona.  Almost too wind tunnel-like.  Taste at cold?  DAMN!  Huge hits of a sweet cinnamon, lots of rich cedar wood, and a light fruity sweetness (not quite cherries, but a sweet bite of a juicy red apple perhaps?)

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually just perfect when lit.  As soon as the flame and heat hit the tobacco, it firmed up enough to let the draw restriction be just spot on for smoking.  As it was a cool and damp night, and I was stepping into the hot tub to enjoy this, I’ve got no doubt that the heat combined with the high humidity in the air to slow the restriction up on it.  The body / density of the smoke wasn’t as thick and viscous as I usually like, but there was a light silky wispiness to it on the mouth-feel.

First Third:  Into the first third, this thing started to hit its stride right off the bat.  BAM!  Flavours of sweet cinnamon candy, with some sugary butter cookies there on the edges as well.  Rich, dense cedar wood, with a core fruity sweetness.  Still not getting my cherry tinge though…

No relights needed in this third; burn was going very well.  Smoke was getting a bit lighter almost in its density, but just right in the volume of the smoke itself.

Second Third:  Into the second third, and got what I was looking for – cherries.  Although, not the usual “stewed-fruit” cherries that I usually get (think of cooked cherries in a saucepan – cherry pie filling, but without all the sugar and fake stuff).  I was getting more of a spicy cherry, with that cinnamon edge and woody sweetness.  Almost like…hmmm…

Needed a slight cosmetic relight at the start of the second third.  Burning well.  Very humid in the air, especially sitting in the hot tub.  Trying to figure out the “what is that flavour peeking around the corner” aspect, while laying back and watching the night sky, the jetliners and satellites floating by on a crisp and super-clear starry night.  Kids in bed, soaking a severely injured leg since the stitches are all now out (stupid mistake on my part just over two weeks ago), and enjoying a nice strong drink.  Past the midway point on the cigar, needed an actual full-on relight.  A few more puffs, hitting the middle stride of the second third, when…


Full-on flavour, and it was a winner – dark, bittersweet chocolate, cedar smokiness, and all highlighted by a strong, unsweetened cherry aspect with a brandy richness to it.  Think…chocolate brandy beans, those Christmastime chocolate goodies filled with booze.  But filled with cherry brandy instead!  That’s what I was getting – a smoked cherry-brandy-filled chocolate brandy bean candy.  Not overly complex – very bold, in-your-face flavours.  But a great profile for this cigar for me, and very enjoyable.

Last Third:  Into the last third – the chocolate pulled back a bit.  Still had the faint cherry brandy aspect there, but mixed with more of a rich old leather tone, in there with the cedar aspect, and some fragrant but light toasted tobacco tones.

Now, I will state here that usually a laugh to myself a little whenever anyone, or myself for that matter, uses “toasted tobacco tones” in describing a cigar’s flavour (LOL – seriously dumbass?  “Toasted tobacco tones” on a lit cigar?!?!  Fucking DUH!!!).  But it really was in play here.  Kind of how actual toasted-bread smells one way, but tastes another, and how that’s different from plain untoasted-bread – how toast has that sweet, lightly charred, baking flour simplicity that warms your belly.  Well, this “toasted tobacco” was letting me know it was nearing the end, that the sweeter tones were leaving the mix, but that it had been an enjoyable experience.  Well worth the smoke.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This is how I remember and think of these.  Cedar, unsweetened stewed cherries, and light leather, with hints of candy / chocolate goodness.  The cherry brandy and chocolate brandy bean flavours were a bit surprising, but very welcome as well.

This was great.  Aside from a few relights into the final third as well, which I definitely attribute to the excess humidity, this was great.  Didn’t nub it exactly, but came pretty close for this cigar…

I was a bit back and forth on the score for this, as it’s not an overly complex flavour profile, but it brought a lot to the table for what it is, and showed the marca’s blend characteristics in spades.  Very happy with this smoke, all things considered.

Final Score:  91

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 1 minute

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke Zero

Last Meal:  Three-cheese lasagna Hamburger Helper, 4 hrs previous

Date & Time Smoked:  September 22nd, 2014; lit up at 9:27 pm, done at 10:28 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Cool, clear night, faint breeze, 7 degrees Celsius, 89% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.