Sweet Jane, Cornelius and Anthony and Partagas Cigars

Sweet JaneIt’s still cold here in Pennsylvania, so instead of taking my cigar for a walk, I’ve been walking Macha first, then relaxing on the porch in the glow of the propane heater. Monday I felt like I was in the mood for something unique, so I selected a Sweet Jane from Drew Estate and Deadwood Tobacco. The Deadwood “Yummy Bitches” line is basically a variation on the Natural (or soon ” Larutan”). This line, along with the Natural, uses tobaccos from Syria, Turkey and Louisiana, wrapped in a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. I don’t recall the Sweet Jane having as much of the saccharine sweetness on the cap that the Natural ( I should get used to calling it Larutan, I’ll blame dyslexia), which for me is a plus. The Cigar has tons of interesting flavor with exotic spices and richness. Like Drew Estate’s Swamp Thangs, I like the variety and change of pace.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Aerial_ToroLast night I did take a cigar as it wasn’t bitter cold. I chose a Cornelius and Anthony Aerial Toro, it seems that I like the Toros across the Cornelius and Anthony line the best. One might think that an Ecuador Connecticut Shade wrapper would crack in the cold, but I had no such problem. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the brand in general, my least favorite in the line i like more than maybe 80% of cigars out there. As far as shade wrapper cigars go, the Aerial is up there with my favorites. It has loads of flavor and a great burn. Later in the evening I was honored to take part in Developing Palates Cigar Media 2017 Recap show, with Aaron and Jiunn, Charlie from Halfweel.com, Will from Cigar-Coop.com and Eric from CigaDojo.com. Obviously my style is quite different from the rest of the panelists, but I’ve known all these guys for several years. I hope I had some positive contributions. If you missed it live, check it out on Developing Palates or their YouTube channel, or listen to the podcast version (like I will). There was a lot of interesting discussion.

 

Partagas_Heritage_RothschildTonight I returned to my walk first, smoke later plan, fingers get cold trying to smoke even with gloves on. I gotta get some electric gloves or something. The upside of doing it his way is I get to smoke some of the robusto and Rothschild size cigars that used to be my go to size, but more recently I’ve had more time to enjoy larger vitolas. I’ve been wanting to revisit the Partagas Heritage Rothschild, so tonight presented a perfect opportunity. What’s interesting to me about the blend is the Olancho San Augustin wrapper ( CAO OSA Sol, Cohiba Blue) over a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, with fillers from Dominican Republic, Honduras and Mexico. This another tasty little bugger, rich, chocolaty with some spice. It has a fairly long finish, which I’m still enjoying as I type. The Honduran wrapper is fairly neutral in my opinion, but the rest of the blend is where the flavor is.

 

That’s all for now, I can’t think of anything else to drone on about. Until the next time,

CigarCraig

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Review

A Tortuga Reserva Maduro, a Providencia El Padre and a Joya Black Cigar

On New Years Eve I stopped in to CigarCigars store near my house for a smoke and picked up a handful of Tortuga Reserva Maduro “El Coyote Negro” in the Cedro No. 500 belicoso size. These were, sadly, marked down, and I’d seen this box on the bottom shelf in the past. I think the right thing for me to do is to go back and grab some more.  Of course, Victor Vitale’s Tortuga line has been a Tortuga Reserva Maduro No. 500favorite of mine for several years, and I like to keep a bunch on hand, and this is nowhere near the first time this brand has come up on these pages. I was checking, and I think the first mention of Tortuga was early in 2012, in a piece I wrote after visiting the Reading Terminal Market in Philly, Victor’s home town. The El Coyote Negra No. 500 had some age, the cello was amber, and the cigar was awesome. These have a Brazilian Oscuro wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder, and are made in Honduras.  I’ve been hoping to catch up with Victor as it’s been way too long, but the last I heard he was working on another Ora Vivo Armand Assante cigar, which is exciting as I really enjoy those too. I think I’ve liked all of Victor’s cigars since launching Tortuga and Ora Vivo, as I mention in the article from six years ago, I wasn’t overly impressed with his ORTSAC line, although it certainly wasn’t bad (Dave Garofalo owns the ORTSAC brand now). I look forward to catching up with Victor again soon!

 

Providencia_El Padre_TorpedoOdd thing: I can’t remember having dreams about cigars, but yesterday morning I awoke from a dream that was very specifically about Providencia cigars. I’m not sure how that particular brand slipped into my subconscious, perhaps I spotted one or two while rummaging in the humidor recently. I took this as a sign that I should smoke one, so I rummaged again and found an El Padre Torpedo.  This is a very small brand, of the retailers listed on their website, none are in Pennsylvania, which is odd because something makes me think one of the owners of the brand has a Philly connection too.  The torpedo is a 6″ x 52 with a Nicaraguan grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers and is a really tasty shade cigar.  Their website mentions “mature cigar smokers”, I’m not sure how to take that…I’m old, but I hardly consider myself mature…but it is a great tasting and performing cigar. I had a short, stocky Providencia El Santo (with a Sumatra Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper) on deck for after dinner, but decided that I posted about these two cigars together back in July.  I found the El Padre to be a very nice, full flavored, medium cigar.

 

JoyadeNicaragua_Joya Black_RobustoHave you ever had a cigar that you want to like? You really should like it, because it’s from a company that makes a lot of cigars you really like, and have visited and know some of the principles.  In addition to that, it has one of your favorite wrappers. The Joya Black from Joya de Nicaragua is that cigar for me. I know it’s been highly rated, made lists, and all, I just keep trying this cigar and keep being disappointed. I’ve had a selection in my humidor for the better part of a year, and keep trying them and keep having problems. It’s nothing to do with the flavor, it has more to do with getting the flavor, as there always seems to be a draw issue with the samples I’ve smoked. It’s funny, to me, at least, of Joya’s “Modern Line-Up” including the Red, Black and Cabinetta, I only really like the Cabinetta, and I’ve enjoyed that cigar for a long time. The Red never really did it for me, and now the same with the Black. I’ll keep trying, because, like I said, I want to like this cigar, but if it comes to choosing between the Black and an Antaño of any kind, I’m smoking the Antaño.  Joya de Nicaragua is one of my favorite factories, I’ve visited twice, I know the major people there, and love most of what’s produced there (Fratello, Sobremesa included), so it pains me to not like a cigar from there.

 

A quick rant about top <insert number here>, I’m probably missing out by not doing a formal list.  I see social media posts by many popular cigar makers when their cigar makes a list. By not doing a Top 10 or whatever list that included those who I know would spread it around, am I passing up good exposure?  I post the memorable cigars of the year for me, and I’m comfortable with that. I’m thrilled when my posts get shared (thanks to those who do it!), but I’m here just doing whatever it is I’m doing because I love cigars, certainly not for fame and fortune. I don’t mean this as a criticism of people posting lists, but maybe it sounds that way (I have been called a cynical, sarcastic bastard).

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

Share

3 Comments

Filed under Review

Enclave Broadleaf by AJ Fernandez

AJ Fernandez Enclave BroadleafFirst off, I updated my last post on the Dominion Cigars Black Lotus, it turns out that it was the natural wrapper version, and not maduro. I suck, let’s move past it!  It was a good smoke, whatever it was!  Anyway, Tonight I smoked a cigar I picked up a week or so ago at one of my local Cigar Cigars stores (there are no less than 6 within a 10 mile radius of my house), one I had been anxious to try. I smoked one there the day I hung out for a while and loved it, and very much enjoyed the one I smoked tonight. The cigar, as the title of the posts suggests, is the Enclave Broadleaf by AJ Fernandez.  I picked up a couple of the toro size, a hefty 6½” x 54, with a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler. This is a fantastic broadleaf cigar with some weight to the smoke, it’s dark, has some sweetness and strength. It burned well, although tonight’s example required one minor touch up as one side burned a little faster than the other. This will be yet another cigar I’ll keep in the humidor, it’s right up my alley and fairly priced in the $8 range.  I remember a time not long ago when I’d bristle at spending that much for a cigar, but it seems like the norm now.

 

If Podcasts are your thing, check out Cigar-Coop’s Prime Time Episode 37 with Jack and Charlie Toraño. It’s an enlightening interview, Will and Aaron get to the bottom of the sale of Toraño Family cigars. I’ll be making an appearance on Aaron’s Developing Palates show next week as they do their 2017 recap.  Should be a lot of fun, although this time of year I think I’ll be doing it from in the house sans cigar, much to my dismay.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

Share

3 Comments

Filed under Review

Dominion Cigar Black Lotus Maduro and the Contest Winner

Dominion_Black Lotus_RobustoIt seems like I haven’t smoked many cigars since my Wednesday post, and I guess I’ve only smoked three, two of which weren’t worthy of mention for various reasons. My back porch is relatively cozy with the propane heater going, considering evening temperatures have been in the single digits. The cold still has an adverse effect, I had a Nub Habano 464T that was several years old that just didn’t work right, and a Toraño that I will revisit as I’ve heard great things about it, but it was lost on me.  So, as usually happens this time of year, I’ll focus on one particular cigar, in this case, it’s an IPCPR show sample from a Canadian company called Dominion Cigar.  Their first cigar offering was the Black Lotus, made at Tabacos De Oriente in Honduras, came out in 2014, followed by the San Andrés maduro version last year, which I smoked yesterday.  The band, as well as the dark wrapper, are rather appealing in appearance, the band features a purple lotus flower. I have to admit, I’m a little confused about what this cigar actually was based upon the information on the website. It looked and tasted like it could be the maduro, but the website states that the maduro only comes in a Toro size, this was clearly a robusto. There is some ambiguity in the description, I’ll just quote it here and let the reader decide if it makes sense:

In mid 2016 Dominion launched a maduro version of its very successful Black Lotus cigar. The blend itself is very similar to the natural, but features a Honduran six priming Sumatran binder, and a Nicaraguan habano maduro wrapper. The outcome is a cigar with smooth rich flavours of dark molasses, and creamy tobacco. In late 2016 Dominion also launched a maduro version of the Black Lotus featuring a Mexican San Andreas wrapper. The Black Lotus maduro is available in one vitola, a 6 X 52 Toro.

BLack LotusMaybe I smoked the original “natural” ( I guess), wrapper, but I don’t think so. The wrapper looked darker than pictures of the Honduran Habano wrapped version. I suppose an explanation could be that the robusto is a new vitola in the line and the website hasn’t been updated yet (in the six months since the trade show?). I’m going with my original impression that this is a maduro, maybe not San Andrés, but maduro, for sure. There were hints of the molasses as indicated in their blurb, with a bit of dark dried fruit sweetness. I found it to be rather mild, but a very nice cigar, well-behaved after an initial uneven burn, which could just as easily have been a lighting issue on my part. I’ll reach out to the folks at Dominion and hopefully they will clarify some things for me, but it was a really nice cigar that I would happily smoke again. I have one each of their Flor de Claro and Dominion Classic in toro size that I’ll smoke when the temperatures climb above freezing.

 

***Update:  I received the following clarification from the folks at Dominion Cigars:  “Some clarity on the Black Lotus blends, as the website says, the original Black Lotus is a natural, and comes in three vitolas as mentioned, 5 X 52 Robusto, 6 X 50 Toro and 6 X 60 Gordo. The colorado shade wrapper is darker, but it is still a natural not a maduro, so what you smoked based on the picture you posted in a natural. The Black Lotus maduro only comes in one vitola as mentioned on the website, in a 6 X 52 Toro. You can tell the difference between the maduro and natural, as the maduro has a secondary band that says maduro on it, you wouldn’t know that unless you actually had one of course. As far as what wrapper is in the maduro, their are two different wrappers, but only one in the United States which is the Mexican San Andreas.”  Thanks to Bernhard for setting me straight. Now I am very interested in smoking the maduro!

 

Contest!

DE Contest2017Today is going to wrap up the third in the series of Holiday contests.  I know I’ve put a lot more work into the contests in the past, but I like to think the goodies I’ve been able to give away have been unique and worthwhile. These unauthorized contests are my way of sharing my good fortunes. This final edition featured some great stuff from Drew Estate, stuff that the DE collectors might drool over, and maybe isn’t out there everywhere. I love it, but I love to share even more.  So, I’ve consulted with the Random.org random number generator, and it pointed me to Kirk.  If I don’t hear from Kirk this week, I’ll e-mail him or otherwise track him down! It’s amazing to me the number of names that appear on every contest, going back several years, I thank you all for reading along as I enter the ninth year of doing this! Many thanks to Drew Estate for the goodies, great cigars and good times they’ve provided me over the years!

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

Share

7 Comments

Filed under Contest, Review

La Flor Dominicana La Volcada Cigar

LaFlorDominicana_La VolcadaIt’s been uncomfortably cold here in PA, so smoking Churchill size cigars hasn’t really been the best idea, but Jonathan Carney of La Flor Dominicana sent me a few of their newest offerings, the La Volcada (TYJC). This is only available in the 7″ x 50 Churchill vitola and had a neat coiled pigtail cap. The name comes from a Tango dance move, popular in Uraguay, where Lito Gomez grew up.  The La Volcada has a beautiful dark San Andrés wrapper, Ecuador Corojo binder and Dominican fillers grown on Lito’s farm in La Canela.  I braved the elements a couple of times, but really can’t wait for warmer weather to enjoy this cigar again (in truth, I can’t wait for warmer weather period, winter’s just started and it’s been way to cold and snowy for my liking already!).  This cigar is everything I want in a cigar.  It’s got my favorite sweet, earthy, cocoa, espresso flavors, and is very well-behaved, burning cool and slow for a nice two-hour vacation.  I haven’t seen these in stores yet, and they appear to me listed at online retailers, but out of stock at the places I saw, but when these are available, I recommend sampling them if you like the same cigars I like, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

 

I’ve taken to walking Macha bundled up (she has a coat too), and enjoying a smaller cigar on the porch with the propane heater, smaller cigars are harder to deal with while wearing gloved (and any cigar is impossible with mittens!).  I seem to have a ton of robustos and coronas, so this is a good time of year to smoke some of them. My usual procedure is to walk Macha with a large cigar and finish the cigar on the porch, so this times out about the same. This evening, for example, we bundled up and took a walk, then I came back and lit the heater and a CroMagnon Mode 5, a delicious little perfecto, and last night it was a LG Diez from La Flor Dominicana, which was equally delicious.  They are predicting another snow tonight, and I see where a lot of places in the south had snow that don’t usually get it. My condolences, I’m getting too old for this crap…

 

I still need to hear from the winner of the La Gloria contest, and the giveaway for the cool stuff from Drew Estate is ongoing, so get over there and enter!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

Share

2 Comments

Filed under Review