Gallo Pinto cigars are produced by Guayacan, a company out of Esteli, Nicaragua and owned by Noel Rojas. The Gallo Pintos sport a tobacco combination of Honduras and Nicaraguan also bound by a Nicaraguan binder. This is all tightly packed and wrapped in a medium brown Indonesian wrapper. The stogies are currently available in the five distinct sizes of Churchill (7” x 50), Gordo (6” x 60), Robusto (5” x 50), Toro (6” x 50), and Torpedo (6 1/8″ x 52).
The cigars tend to be labeled as a medium to full body with some strong, hearty flavors. The cigar’s name translates to “beans and rice”, which serves as an inspiration to its flavors. Upon lighting, aficionados describe the stick as quite peppery before transitioning to its actual first stage. The first to middle burn is where the smoker experiences the widest range of flavors with hints of sweetness such as molasses and cacao, along with more hearty flavors like bean and rum. As the stick comes to an end, it gives the strongest, full tones of beans and rice with previous flavors taking the sideline.
The Gallo Pinto Cigars prove to be an incredible bargain for any enthusiasts. They feature a classic look, bold flavors, a nice burn, and an overall worthwhile experience. They are a great addition to an already great company and should be a must-try to anyone who can handle its strength.
For years, aficionados admired the story and personality of Grace Sontolongo, but after her abrupt departure out of the industry, all that’s left of her influence is the Hechicera Maduro cigar, and a couple of other blends. Her brand, which is maintained with the help of CLE Cigars, will continue under the watchful eye of Christian Eiroa, and it doesn’t appear that Eiroa will let it fade out. On the contrary, this blend has obviously received some targeted attention and performs extremely well, even with the recent turmoil facing the company.
The Hechicera Maduro cigar is produced with a Mexican San Andres wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from Nicaragua as well. While the wrapper has a healthy espresso brown color to it and the nice layer of oil disguises the veins, what stands out visually is the band. It’s red, green, blue and gold, and produced by famed Cuban artist Ninoska Perez. It features bold lines for a sort of stained-glass effect.
Flavors in the stogie include aged oak, dark chocolate, barnyard, earth, leather, cream, dark cocoa, coffee, and black pepper. The oak and earth are the dominant flavors in the mix, but the profile is well balanced from start to finish. And because it’s a touch under medium in strength, it should appeal to smokers of all types.
Ernesto Perez has continued his Short Run series with his EP Short Run 2015 Cigars this year. This time up the stogies are sporting a darker, more fermented Nicaraguan Criollo 98 leaf wrapper. Conveniently, the binder and a portion of the filler also hail from Nicaragua, with the other half of the blend being of Dominican descent. The series of medium to full body sticks come in three sizes, Imperios Gordo (6 x 60), Napolean Robusto (5 x 50), and Vencedores Toro (6 x 52).
Aficionados describe the trio as having a variety of flavors including wood, cinnamon, licorice, brown sugar, nutmeg, dried fruits, and hints of other flavors that are up to individual interpretation. Each stick features roughly a two hour burn time. The first section of this cigar eases one into a light and airy flavor, with aromas of cinnamon and brown sugar, while touching on nutmeg and subtle hints of licorice. The second third is known as the heaviest section of the stick, with strong earthy flavors emerging while the spices are settling down. The final third is where a more fruity and licorice profile is noted.
Beyond the specs and flavor of the cigar, simply put, the EP Short Run 2015 Cigars just look good. The wrapper is a deep and dark color that despite an occasional leaf vein, is quite smooth and attractive. The tightly packed wrapper is wearing a classy black, white, and yellow band displaying its name proudly.
This is a delightful stick that should be featured in everyone’s humidor.
Though the company has recently undergone some big changes, the Cubanacan Mederos Oscuro cigar is still the same respected stogie that has always been a major fixture in the brand. The stogie is named after the company founder, Carlos Mederos, and celebrates Carlos’s family history with tobacco. Like many eventual tobacco mavens, Carlos got his start working the fields with his grandfather and father before leaving Cuba in 1983 and starting his own company more than 20 years later.
This remarkable blend is made with an Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper, an Ecuadorian binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. The Cubanacan Mederos Oscuro cigar is the color of pitch, even purpling in a couple of areas. Its veins and seams are hidden well, and the band, which is red, black and gold, is a complex, brilliant affair which has a lot of abstract ornamentation. There’s a secondary band at the foot that repeats the name of the stick and does so with stamped gold lettering.
The flavors in the stogie include a lot of cedar, which remains dominant throughout the smoke, along with some black pepper, dark chocolate, dried fruit, and cherry. The black pepper and cedar provides the spice and heat, while the dark chocolate and fruit flavors offer a touch of sweetness. In all, it’s a medium full stogie that performs just like a flagship stick should. In short, that means that the flavors, the burn, and the draw come together in this one to produce a blend worthy of carrying a tobacco legend’s name.
Though the brand has a number of releases to its name, the Cubanacan Soneros Habano cigars are one of the few that the company believes deserves extra attention. That’s because it has always been considered one of the company’s best executed blends, and with the company’s strengthening position in the industry, the hope is that it will reach more aficionados than ever before. And with the often forgotten but extremely talented Omar Gonzalez-Aleman pulling the strings, it’s no surprise that the stogie is executed so well.
The Cubanacan Soneros Habano cigars are produced with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. It’s a dapper looking stick, smooth and featuring just a couple veins providing texture. The band is just as sharp, with a stamped gold on black design that features the blend’s name in bright serif font.
Though the cold draw consists of grass, earth, nuts and wood, the stick makes a hard left once it’s lit up, producing white pepper, toast, cedar, tropical fruit, nuts, sugar, wood, and leather. In all, it’s a professionally executed smoke from start to finish, with a full body and complex flavors that any aficionado will be able to appreciate. And with the company’s more aggressive approach to growth, more smokers will soon see why so many have already stashed it in their humidors.
The Gurkha Xtreme cigar follows the recent trend of stogie makers using bold marketing and packaging to show off their more powerful blends. The band features a leaping cobra, fangs bared, and the box looks like it was beamed in from the future. Unsurprisingly, it’s a stronger stick that punches harder than the company’s standard. It’s still a premium smoke through and through, though, and offers the developed flavors and excellent performance that aficionados expect from the company.
The fillers in the Gurkha Xtreme cigar are a secret, but the wrapper and binder are both from Nicaragua. It’s a rough looking stick, likely by design, with a wrapper the color of dark chocolate that’s scored with veins. It’s also available in a trio of large ring gauges, further selling the rough and tumble look. Specifically, they come in a Grand Robusto (5 x 54), a Toro (6 x 56) and the XO (6 x 60).
The flavors in the stogie have been described as including grass, earth, spice, pepper, coffee, leather, and a meaty taste that reviewers described as sweet jerky. It’s the earth, coffee and sweet jerky that form the core of the flavor profile, and though the stick has an extremely loud and bold appearance, it stops just short of full bodied. But with the well-developed flavors and precision performance, it’s worth the premium reputation.
The Cubanacan Soneros Maduro cigar is inspired by the family in charge of the brand, a family that has been in tobacco since the early 19th century. From the fields to the factory, the brand has complete control over its production, which allows for precise execution of its blends. That’s the case with this blend as well, which is tasked with carrying the family name. Fortunately, it handles the job with ease and provides a strong mix of flavors.
The Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper is the color of fresh roasted coffee and is even darker in some spots. The Cubanacan Soneros Maduro cigar is finished with an Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan fillers. It has a slightly rustic look and features a black, red, and stamped gold band that features the name of the stick in regal lettering.
Reviewers noted the flavors in the stick to include a lot of cedar spice, sweet cherry and wood, along with some black pepper, cocoa, and floral notes. The cedar and wood are the strongest notes throughout, though the cocoa and cherry play dominant roles at times. It’s a medium smoke overall, and with its excellent burn and draw, it is a highly accessible stogie that should be featured in humidors around the world.
Esteban Carreras, a storied manufacturer of high-quality stogies, have introduced a truly groundbreaking product with the Bloodline Habano Cigar. While the tobacco hails from the esteemed Oliva family in Florida, this stick is manufactured in Nicaragua and comes with a few surprises. Namely, the process of pressing the leaves for the build of the stick has been given the name ‘soft crush’, a rendering process that is also used for the production of a tobacco perfume.
This soft crush technique isn’t a gimmick, however, as the overwhelming majority of reviewers have remarked that the floral tones that permeate the smoke throughout add a touch of sweetness. This helps to round out the other spices that are introduced later in the burn though the floral notes never overpower the overall flavor profile. The Bloodline Habano Cigar is of medium full-bodied construction, with many reviewers commenting on the soft nature of the hold, something that is a bit unique for a full-bodied stick such as this one.
The binder is orange and blood colored while the foot is wrapped in a ribbon-like material rather than the typical paper bind. The filler is also from Nicaragua where the construction of the stogie takes place. Another proud product in the O.P.A. series, this Carreras creation has introduced a new and unique method in delivering all sorts of one-of-a-kind flavor profiles.
The short history behind the Charlie Torano Captiva cigar is a confusing one, mostly because the stick was still in the blending stage when General Cigar Company bought up the Torano brands. It was a major acquisition that raised a lot of questions, but where this stick would end up did not feature among them. However, GCC stated more than once that they were working on the smoke, and in March, they finally came through on their promise to pay homage to the former company president.
The Charlie Torano Captiva cigar is rolled with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. It’s a dark tan color with many small veins coursing through its surface, which works well with the clean blue, white and gold band. The stick comes in four sizes, Robusto (5 x 52), a Toro (6 x 50), the BFC (6 x 60) and a Churchill (7 x 47).
It’s a medium to medium-full stogie that is generally relaxed on the palate. It offers a combination of cedar, leather, nuts, tea, sugar, grass, bourbon, wheat, floral, fruit and pepper notes making up the profile. These flavors dart in and out, keeping the profile interesting from start to finish. And with the strong construction, it’s a happy surprise for a stogie that many aficionados thought had been abandoned.
Fred Rewey claims that he eventually turns his hobbies into businesses, which is how Nomad Cigars came to be. He acknowledges that he wasn’t the most knowledgeable boutique owner at the outset, but he’s made up the ground in a hurry, and his brand is gaining respect for its blends. The company has four major releases to its name so far, and they have grown in complexity over time. Now, Rewey is comfortable enough as a blender to test his abilities, and his latest releases offer excellent depth and performance.
The Renegade, the Connecticut, the C-276 and the S-307 are the four releases in the Nomad Cigars portfolio. In terms of strength, they range from the mild-medium of the Connecticut to the medium-full of the S-307. In general, the company’s sticks are on the sweeter side, with cream, cinnamon, chocolate and fruit flavors. However, every blend has a distinct profile, which suggests that Rewey’s team likes to play around with the plants it has access to.
Construction is another strong aspect of the company, as it works with Tabacalera Fernandez, known for its excellent production processes. Reviewers haven’t had any problems with the burn or draw with any of Rewey’s smokes, which is something he has claimed, is a primary focus of the young company.
Rewey may not have the decades of experience that many tobacco mavens do, but what he lacks in tradition he makes up for in skill.