March 6th, 2014
Ted’s Patron infused cigars are another of the company’s stogies that come flavored with premium liquor. The unique “seasoning” process that goes into every stick imparts a unique flavor into the profile that can’t be found anywhere else. In many cases, when a cigar is flavored, it comes off fairly weak, but the tequila comes through clearly in this blend. Like the brand’s other smokes, each stick comes in an individual glass tube, so a humidor is not needed for them.
This cigar comes with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder and Dominican and Mexican fillers. It is seasoned with the tequila giant’s Añejo tequila, which brings some sweetness to the profile. During the crafting process, the tobacco leaves are suspended above the tequila, so the aroma works its way into the blend. It is available in a single format, a 6 x 50 Toro and features a band that looks almost identical to the tequila company’s own label.
The initial third of Ted’s Patron infused cigars start with a bold combination of tequila, wood, cedar and natural tobacco flavors. Reviewers note that the tequila is the primary note and is bolstered by the wood and cedar flavors. In the second-third, the tequila remains the boldest note, with the cedar and wood still providing the bulk of the background notes. There is also some honey in this part of the stick, imparting some sweetness into the smoke. During the last third, the tequila moves back into a secondary role while the cedar, wood and a bold spice take the lead position. The smoke ends with a nice refreshing smoothness.
Patron infused cigars are medium bodied and medium in strength and are perfect for an enthusiast that normally likes a nice liquor with their sticks. The burn and draw are both strong and help make this unique experience an enjoyable one.
February 28th, 2014
New tobacco companies are joining the industry all the time, but Ezra Zion Cigars manages to stand out with its incredible attention to detail with each of its blends. The company derives its name from two children that the founders lost, remembering them through the company their parents founded. The company owners are the same people who created Cigar Federation, a social networking site geared toward tobacco enthusiasts. As a result, they know what smokers are looking for in their blends.
Since the brand’s beginnings, it has released four blends, each of them well received by the community. These include the Jamais Vu, Tantrum, FHK and Eminence. All are produced out of Nicaraguan factories and emphasize a minimalistic look.
The Jamis Vu comes with a Corojo wrapper, a Criollo binder and Cuban Tiempos, Visos and Ligeros. This blend is still among the most popular Ezra Zion cigars and evokes strong floral, earth and wood notes, backed up by a balance of sweet and spicy flavors.
The Tantrum’s name was inspired by the surprise a new parent experiences when their tiny newborn cries for the first time. This smoke is only available in a small vitola, a 4 2/5 x 44, but it packs a flavorful punch. Among these flavors are some cedar, cocoa, pepper, nuts and salt.
The FHK stands for “fathers of Hoovers and Kelly,” which pays homage to the founders’ rich genealogical heritage. It comes with a San Andreas Maduro wrapper, a binder from Indonesia and fillers from Brazil and Nicaragua. It produces leather, oak, cocoa, cream, earth and espresso flavors.
The Eminence is the fullest stick the company offers and has a rough, rustic appearance. With a lot of tooth, veining and several visible seams, it is not going to win any beauty contests. However, it offers a strong mix of earth, nuts, leather, chalk and caramel flavors.
Ezra Zion Cigars is just getting started and isn’t even two years old yet, but it already has the success of many brands much older than it.
February 27th, 2014
When the existing Oliveros brand launched Boutique Blends Cigars, they hoped to focus on creating fresh, complex smokes for the knowledgeable connoisseur. Since the formation of this new production and distribution branch, they have done just that. The exciting announcement came just in time to correspond with the 10th anniversary of the original company’s industry beginning and the continued leadership of Rafael Nodal, Alina Nodal, and Hank Bischoff.
Prior to the original start of the brand, two award winning smokes were introduced and later transferred to the company’s new spin-off. The first was the complex Swag Puro Dominicano in 2010, which was followed up by the full-bodied Aging Room Small Batch M356 in 2011. The brand has since seen numerous line-ups added to the brand in addition to the original restructuring that took place across the board.
The spring of 2012 brought the very first stogie to Boutique Blends Cigars since its initiation. The Aging Room Havao Connecticut was released as a limited short batch smoke constructed of Ecuadorian bred Connecticut Seed and Dominican Havano Criollo leaves. The complex flavors of cream and lumber are detected from the pre-lit draw on through to the end. The Aging Room line saw the addition of its flavorful Small Batch Sumatra Quattro Prensado shortly after, while new masterpieces have continued to be released ever since. They include Aging Room’s AR Maduro, M356, and M21, while the Swag collection added the South Beach and Swag S sticks to its line-up.
Not only has Nodal and his brand achieved their primary goal of constructing innovative smokes, they have created a diverse array of stogies to acquire. From the straightforward Swag to the contemporary Aging Room, the Oliveros born brand continues to expand and keep smokers coming back for more.
February 4th, 2014
Some stogies stand out for their look or flavors, but the Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve cigars are most likely to get attention for their price. At $900 a stick, there may be a little sticker shock, but these stogies are the iconic status symbol in the tobacco industry. Much of this flavor is derived from a rare cognac that has been aged for several decades.
The Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve cigars come with a Connecticut maduro wrapper that’s been aged for 15 years and 12-year-old Dominican binder and fillers. Only 75 boxes of 20 stogies each are released each year, and every one is infused with a bottle of Louis XIII cognac. This cognac is aged for at least 40 years (some bottles are aged for around 100 years) and is harvested from the iconic Grande Champagne region of France. The stick itself is milk chocolate in color and is silky smooth to the touch. Reviewers detected a combination of leather, chocolate and cognac flavors on the pre-light draw.
The first third of the smoke starts off with a strong pair of cognac and nutty flavors. Some aficionados also tasted some sweet sugary notes and a little black pepper in the profile. During the first third, though, the cognac and nut flavors are the most apparent. In the second third, the nutty and cognac flavors are backed up by some black pepper and chocolate notes. Near the halfway mark, the chocolate and pepper take control of the profile. During the last third, the pepper, nuts, chocolate and cognac produce a unique combination of flavors that holds strong until the finish.
In addition to the delectable flavors, the smoke performs extremely well, with a sharp burn and a comfortable draw. The Gurkha His Majesty’s Reserve cigars are limited in number and can be difficult to find, so any aficionado that wants this memorable experience will need to purchase them before they’re gone for the year.
February 4th, 2014
The RoMa Craft Intemperance EC XVIII cigar is the brainchild of Skip Martin and Michael Rosales, both accomplished blenders who have joined forces under their own brand. So far, Martin and Rosales have launched a few major successes, including this blend. The follow up to the much lauded CroMagnon, this stick is designed to be more accessible with its milder strength and also comes with a unique look.
This smoke is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut and includes a binder and fillers from Nicaragua. It has a rustic look with an exposed foot, which gives the smoker a different feel and taste, unaffected by the wrapper. The stick is available in four formats, including Charity (4 x 46), Virtue (4 1/2 x 52), Faith (5 x 50) and Industry (5 1/2 x 54). Reviewers detected a combination of pepper, grass and barnyard notes on the cold draw.
The initial third of the RoMa Craft Intemperance EC XVIII cigar starts off with some strong spice, cedar and cream notes. Before long, the spice fades a little into the background and is accompanied by some honey, vanilla and sugary sweetness. In the second third, reviewers tasted more of the same, though the cream takes charge in this part of the stick. The cedar and spice are still noticeable in the back, along with the vanilla and honey. During the last third of the stick, the cream and spice are the strongest, backed up by some leather, vanilla and honey.
With a medium body and mild strength, this blend is ideal for smokers looking for strong flavors without an intense nicotine punch. It is also put together immaculately, which helps produce an excellent burn and draw. In all, this is a stick that all aficionados should add to their humidor.
February 4th, 2014
La Gloria Cubana, The Twin Series cigars, are a reimagining of one of the company’s most popular blends. The release is broken up into two boxes of 10 stogies each. The first is known as Lady La Gloria (LLG) and comes with an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper. The second is called Rival Twin (RT) and comes with a Connecticut Broadleaf. There is a narrative focus behind the blend that concerns a pair of sisters striving to outdo the other in tobacco blending. Representatives from the company have stated that this is just the first part of the story.
Both smokes have a rustic look with some veining and an oily feel. They are available in a single size, a 7 x 58. Both have identical band designs, yet are produced with different color schemes to differentiate them. The LLG is a bit lighter than the RT, though both are dark brown in hue. Their prelight draws are similar and produce sweet tobacco, coffee and leather notes.
The first-third of the La Gloria Cubana, The Twin Series cigars, begins with some clean and fresh tobacco notes that remain dominant throughout the initial third. Some reviewers detected a little citrus and most agreed that there are coffee and sweet notes in the background. The RT also packs a little black pepper into the profile and is a bit punchier. In the second-third, the black pepper becomes more prominent in the RT while the LLG rides the same combination of tobacco and coffee flavors. During the last third, the tobacco is still the dominant note, but the coffee and some leather flavors play strong secondary parts. The black pepper in the RT is very bold near the end of the smoke, and the LLG produces some sweet syrup notes that resemble maple syrup.
The La Gloria Cubana, The Twin Series cigars, scored high among aficionados in burn and draw, and are both around medium in body and strength. The RT is noticeably stronger than the LLG, however. Aficionados may have some trouble finding these, though, because they are only available in limited quantities, most of which will be sold on the west coast. For this reason, enthusiasts around the country will likely have to go online to find them.
February 4th, 2014
Michael Giannini’s Foundry cigars are a bold collection of steampunk inspired stogies. Giannini has long been a fan of the genre and has brought the look and feel of steampunk to his smokes. Currently, there are three lines in the brand, including the Original, the Elements and Compounds, and the War of Currents. Also, each of the blends is named after an iconic author, scientist, inventor or natural element. In most cases, the blend details have been withheld, ensuring a pleasant surprise for the aficionado.
There are four blends in the Original line, including Talbot (5 x 60), the Wells (6 x 50), the Lovelace (6 1/2 x 54) and Caylay (6 1/2 x 60). Each of the four is named after an important science fiction author and comes with a one of a kind band fitted with a gear, a classic steampunk icon. Each of the blends is close to medium in body and strength, and notable flavors include oak, earth, espresso and leather.
The War of Currents is dedicated to the historical competition between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla regarding their implementation of electricity. There are six blends in the line, each associated with an important location in either inventor’s life. These include Menlo (5 x 60), West Orange (5 1/2 x50), Shoreham (5 1/2 x 54), Auburn (6 x 50), Madison (6 x 54) and Belgrade (6 x 60). This line of Foundry cigars produces a range of flavors including tobacco, cream, pepper, caramel and nuts.
The Elements and Compounds line is the latest and extremely ambitious addition, with 18 blends in total. Each blend is named after a natural element or compound and comes in a unique form of packaging. For example, the Plutonium blend comes in a case shaped like a bundle of dynamite. All but two of the blends (Carbon and Uranium) are on a limited release and will be gone once exhausted.
Giannini’s interesting and flashy projects are sure to generate a lot of buzz in the industry, but they don’t just stand out for their looks. Each of the Foundry cigars is built extremely well and comes with a delicious set of flavors to please any aficionado.
January 31st, 2014
The Davidoff brand is made up of many products and some of them, like the Cusano M1 Bundles cigar, often go unnoticed. However, there are some hidden treasures deep in the Davidoff portfolio, and this blend is among them. It is a value priced stogie, but is an ideal smoke for aficionados who enjoy a flavorful Macanudo. This fits into the Davidoff mantra of providing a range of premium level stogies at reasonable prices.
A Connecticut Shade wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and fillers are all used in this blend. It is medium brown and is a bit dry to the touch, but has a silky feel. The band features the name of the brand and stick in black lettering on a white background. The stick is available in five formats, including Robusto (5 x 50), Torpedo (6 x 53), 606 (6 x 60), Corona (6 1/2 x 42) and Churchill (7 1/2 x 50). Reviewers detected a number of flavors in the prelight, including pepper, tobacco and cream notes.
The initial third of the Cusano M1 Bundles cigar hits hard with some bold black pepper that quickly tails off. In its place, a sweet creamy flavor takes over the smoke. Some mocha coffee and toffee is also present, but both remain in the background. In the second-third, the cream flavor remains the dominant taste while the mocha note maintains a strong secondary role. The pepper is on the retrohale at this point and the toffee bounces from background to foreground a few times in this part of the stick. During the last third, the cream is still the strongest, though it isn’t quite as sweet. The toffee and mocha flavors are strictly tertiary at this point, but some leather notes help fill out the profile.
The Cusano M1 Bundles cigar is mild to medium bodied and mild in strength, making it highly accessible to new smokers and aficionados that like a laid back smoke.
January 30th, 2014
J.C. Newman Company first showed off the El Reloj cigars at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, but they have garnered little press since then. This isn’t too much of a surprise, though, because this manufacturer is rather private. Founded in 1895 by Hungarian immigrant Julius Caesar Newman, the company is the oldest family owned stogie manufacturer in the country. It got its start in the Newman family barn, where Julius spent his time creating his own blends. About 50 years later, the company relocated to Ybor City in Tampa, Florida, long a haven for cigar crafting. The factory he moved into, the Regensburg factory is the last operating stogie factory in Tampa, making it an historic landmark.
The El Reloj cigars are a tribute to the Regensburg factory, which is nearly synonymous with the company itself. These smokes come with a sun grown Havana Seed wrapper from Ecuador, a Dominican binder and several fillers from Nicaragua, the Dominican and Honduras. It is only available in a single format, the El Ocho (8 x 53). It is a value-priced stogie and though it has some short filler in it like most value smokes, they are taken from the same excellent, aged tobacco plants that Newman’s premium sticks use. This aged tobacco gives the El Reloj cigars a classic flavor and strong performance, both of which are hard to find in a value stick.
The J.C. Newman Company has pushed the industry forward several times with its innovations. Among these include the use of cellophane cigar tubes to keep cigars fresh, and the introduction of Cameroon tobacco after the beginning of the Cuban embargo. Because it is family owned and not run by a board of investors, it is also active in community charities, raising more than $3 million for the construction of schools, farms and medical clinics in the Dominican Republic.
A stogie manufacturer with a conscience and history of excellent blends, the J.C. Newman Company is a brand that most aficionados regard with great respect.
January 28th, 2014
Sindicato made its first major appearance at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show and released its Casa Bella Bundles cigars during the event. The company is young, having been established in March 2013 by a group of 45 retailers. They believe that their knowledge of customer preferences and market trends will make Sindicato one of the most popular brands on the market. This blend is just one of a small handful of releases this year for the company and is a value-priced mild smoke that is ideal for people who have just been introduced to the hobby.
This smoke is available in five sizes, including Robusto (5 x 52), Corona (5 1/2 x 44), Toro (6 x 54), Gran Toro (6 x 60) and Churchill (7 x 52). It is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut and finished with a binder from Indonesia and fillers from the Dominican and Nicaragua. The Casa Bella Bundles cigars are light tan in color and come with just a little veining. The prelight produces tobacco, grass and nutty flavors.
The initial third of the stogie evokes the same flavors present in the prelight, but adds a bit more depth to them. The tobacco note is the strongest and maintains its dominance throughout the first-third with a slightly sweet edge. The grass and nutty flavors show up about a half-inch in and settle into the background. Reviewers stated that the nutty flavor was close to almond. During the second-third, the tobacco and almond taste share top billing in the profile while the grass notes fade out completely. A touch of black pepper is noticeable on the finish. In the last third of the Casa Bella Bundles cigars, the tobacco notes step into the background as a sweet cedar emerges and takes over. The almond and pepper hang in the background with the tobacco notes and fill out the rest of the profile.
It can be difficult to find a value smoke that offers excellent flavors and performance, but Sindicato managers to do just that with this blend. If this is any indication, there should be many good things coming from this company in the future.