Tag Archives: Piramides

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 – Cuaba Piramides EL 2008, Sep 2008 “USE” box code; Final Score – 93

I love me some Cuaba…as long as they’re not regular production Cuaba.  LOL.  As the general discussion usually goes with Cuaba, most of their regular stuff (Divinos, Exclusivos, etc.) are generally crap.  If the flavour / blend ends up being anything worth tasting in a particular stick, it’s usually shitted up by having horrid construction leading to draw and burn issues.  The main thought is that the perfecto / figurado format that leads to bad construction and draw issues – I myself don’t think it’s necessarily that, as I love me some various perfectos, but, it’s definitely an issue where the roller’s skill is way more relevant to the success of these sticks.

With this being a relatively newer brand (started in 1996), they definitely need to pick up their feet with this brand, and start infusing Cuaba with some much needed love and attention.  The slightly peanut-laced flavour profile could make it more of a winner, if some care was taken.  And while being a perfecto / figurado might hinder the construction/performance of the cigar, the classic double-tapered appearance is definitely a unique thing (reminding most of the classic cigars seen with Groucho Marx and in the old Looney Toon cartoons).

So, all in all, most Cuabas I’ve tossed and haven’t stocked…save for a few coffin-boxed giant Diademas, or the EL Piramides.  Hell, these Piramides shouldn’t even have the Cuaba name on them, as they’re so different from the rest of the brand.  Well, maybe that’s what makes them so damn good!!!

These EL Piramides were part of the 2008 releases, along with another favourite of mine, the Montecristo Sublimes.  These carried along the change implemented in 2007 to the EL program (which was started in 2000) of having all the tobacco used in the cigar being aged for a minimum of two-years prior to rolling (compared with it only being the wrapper for the 2000 to 2006 EL releases).  Compared with normal cigar tobaccos (generally, 6 months for seco leaf, 9 to 12 months for volado and wrapper leaves, and 12 to 18 months for the stronger ligero leaf), these EL’s with the added-aged tobaccos used makes for some interesting, non-usual format smokes.

Reviewed Cigar:  Cuaba Piramides EL 2008

Box Date:  Sep 2008

Factory / Manufacture Code:  USE

Packaging:  10-count dress box

Price per cigar:  $17.50 USD (online vendor, 2009 purchase)

Length:  6 1/8″, or 156 mm

Ring Gauge:  52

Format:  Piramides / Pyramid

Weight:  17 grams / 0.6 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar was awe-some.  This particular stick was one of three left in one of my original boxes of these, with another 3 boxes marinating away in the humidors yet.  And these just keep seeming to get better and better with time, so my fingers were definitely crossed with this one, being a bit of a celebratory smoke for me.

Nice bands and presentation with these, and I’m definitely a fan of the piramide format.  Really nice heft in the hand, and good bunching and overall construction.  No soft spots or overly hard areas either.  Hard to say any cigar can be “just about perfect”, but this one felt that way.  The wrapper was dark and light maduro, but wasn’t oily though – a slight hinderance for me.  However, the ever so slight tactile feel of the “tooth” of the wrapper with these always makes them feel nice in the hand.

At cold, strong dark fruit and brown sugar.  Sweet wood (cedar and/or maple perhaps?) and dark earth.

Opening Impressions:  Upon lighting and initial puffs, just enthralled.  Creamy and thick smoke.  Rich, coated mouthfeel with a sweet viscous smoke.

First/Second/& Final Thirds:  Yup.  Another delayed review here from the early spring, and surprise surprise, my tasting notes went sideways a bit.

What I do have down here is that this thing went stellar right off the bat with heavy tones of raisins.  I always seem to get that with these Cuaba Piramides – raisins, dark wood, molasses, and leather.  Well, my notes were spot on, with tastes noted of raisins, brown sugar, wet cedar, and old leather.  The cigar had a couple of tunnels noted about a third of the way in, but smoked well regardless.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  Puff after puff, I remember wholeheartedly enjoying this cigar.

Also, this was enjoyed in the hot tub after a freak ice and snowstorm. While it was in late winter / early spring for us, it was 8 degrees celsius the day before I smoked this (with that day being at 0 degrees C / freezing), and then a temp of 18 Celsius expected in only another two days.  Tons of sea gulls were flying around – even those “shit hawks” were confused by the early spring weather.

It’s amazing what we’ll do to enjoy a good smoke.  Hell, we’ll even try a Cuaba from time to time!

Final Score:  93

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 2 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  March 31st, 2015; lit up at 10:08 am, done at 11:10 am

Paired Beverage:  Two big mugs of Cubita dark roast molido coffee, double-double

Last Meal:  Cereal breakfast, 8:15 am

Smoking Conditions:  In the hot tub, 0 degrees Celsius freezing, 94 % RH, 14 kph breeze

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.