Epic Cigars: Maduro Reserva, Corojo Reserva and Habano

When we were out in Colorado last month for the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, we went to an event the night before at Havana Manor in Longmont, CO. with Pete Johnson and Janny Garcia.  It turned out to be a cigar industry who’s who, and we ran into a bunch of friends. While there my buddy Storm Boen (Op: Cigars for Warriors) introduced us to Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars. Dean is a hockey player from Newfoundland (the Canadian province where they make the enormous dogs) who relocated to the Caribbean and got into the cigar business. Sounds like a logical progression, right?  I decided to sample his wares this week, so I could slip in this video from the festival.

 

 

Epic_MaduroReserva6x60As if you’d expect anything else, I started out with the Epic Maduro Reserva 60×6. Brazillian Arapiraca wrappper with a Cameroon binder. Just now reading that I know why I was totally blown away by this cigar. I love that combination of wrapper and binder, you don’t see it every day. It had a very unique (and delicious) meaty flavor, like smoking a perfectly cooked steak.  Just enough fat, pink in the middle, mouth watering!  This is a flavor bomb of epic proportions, and certainly aptly named.   This is a cigar I’ll be looking for as it really performed well in all departments, it was a hat trick, great flavor, burn and draw. It was a beautiful looking cigar too!

 

Epic_CorojoReserva6x54Friday I selected the Corojo Reserva 54×6. I appreciate the clever names Dean has given each vitola!  This cigar has Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers like the Maduro, with a Corojo Ecuador wrapper over a Dominican Piloto Cubano binder.  This was another great burning cigar with excellent flavor. It didn’t have the uniqueness I was hoping for, but it certainly was a solid, satisfying cigar in the medium to full flavors range.  An interesting side note, Dean was telling us that he sent Altadis a cease and desist letter over the Montecristo Epic when it came out, and instead of the giant company crushing the little guy with litigation, they signed a coexistence agreement!

 

 Epic_Habano5x52Yesterday I smoked the third cigar in the Epic line, the Habano.  This was released at this years IPCPR show, and it has a n Ecuador Habano wrapper, a Cameroon binder and the Dominican/Nicaraguan fillers like the rest of the line. Once again, the construction on these was perfect. The burn never needed correction, and the draw, while a little snug, was acceptable. I thought it has a nice spicy and earthy flavor. Perhaps if I had smoked the maduro last, I would have enjoyed this and the Corojo more, but the Maduro set the bar high and similar flavors I was looking for in the Habano and Corojo weren’t there. I think the Epic lineup plays a full three periods, for sure.

 

I may smoke some goodies from Michael Giannini’s Foundry line this week, then next Saturday I’m going to attend The Smokin’ Goose, a multi-vender festival hosted by Goose’s Tobacco Outlet and Cafe.  This is being held at the historic Sunny Brook Ballroom & Convention Center in Pottstown, PA.  It’s only a few miles up the road and I’m looking forward to seeing this inaugural event succeed so close to home. So, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Review, Video

Asylum and CLE Cigars, a Leccia Luchador and News

Asylum_Premium_ToroThis week  I decided to smoke a couple cigars from Fabricas Unidas, Christian Eiroa’s company, mostly because I wanted to slip the video I shot with Christian at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, but the cigars are good too. Christian was one of the guys I became acquainted with through the old alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group back in the ’90s.  That being said, I’ve purchased just about every cigar that he’s been associated with that I’ve smoked.  No mooching off this guy! Anyway, I had an Asylum Premium Toro that I purchased the end of last year (literally, it was December 31 of last year when I went to a local shop to meet a friend for a smoke). I’ve really enjoyed the Asylum line, it’s Nicaraguan and hits my palate just right. I’m glad they made the Asylum 13 Ogre line in more reasonable sizes than the 7″ x 70, although that was a tasty smoke too. The Asylum Premium Toro is a tasty, medium bodied smoke with perfect construction.  This is a perfect after dinner cigar that was quite satisfying.  I think there was a short Torpedo in the goodie bag from the Rocky Mountain Festival that I’m looking forward to smoking.  Tom Lazuka and Christian have a hit with the Asylum line.

 

CLE_Corojo_coronaLast night I dug out a CLE Corojo Corona that I had purchased at Corona Cigar‘s Sand Lake location back in 2012 when the IPCPR show was in Orlando. At the time I found both the Corojo and the Cuarenta had a mineral taste that was quite off-putting to me. Apparently two years in the humidor has alleviated that problem. The Corojo is a Honduran puro and their corona is 5¾” x 46, which is just about the perfect size, actually a corona gorda in traditional terms.  I thought this was a smooth, flavorful smoke with a good draw and burn. I used a V-cut which worked very well. I can’t find a thing wrong with this cigar now, and I may have to pick some more up and smoke one “fresh” to see if I get that flinty taste and these just need humidor time.

 

Here’s the short video.  Christian had apparently stepped on some glass somehow the night before and was limping around. I think there were some spirits involved. I believe Rafael Nodal knows the story…

 

 

News

Leccia_Luchador_ElHombreOnce again we have big news, General Cigar Co. has brought Sam Leccia on. Barry Stein broke the news this morning on TheCigarAuthority.com. From the press release: ” General Cigar Company is excited to announce today they have hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General Cigar has also acquired the Leccia Tobacco Company cigar brands, as part of the Foundry Tobacco Company, and will market and distribute the Black, White and Luchador lines, effective today.” I’m actually less surprised by this than I was with the Toraño acquisition, but I am a little surprised that Sam relinquished his independence.  In honor of this occasion, I selected a Luchador El Hombre robusto for this evening’s walk. I maintain that the Luchador is one of my favorite new cigars this year. It’s like jalepeño dark chocolate with it’s spice and semi-sweet chocolate flavor. For me, it’s the ideal combination of flavor and performance, and always makes me with it was longer. I smoked this one until my fingers burned. Best wishes and congratulations to Sam in this new chapter in his story, I hope it works out well for everyone involved!

That’s it for now! Until the next time,

CigarCraig

Share

4 Comments

Filed under News, Review, Video

A Toraño Vault, a La Flor Dominicana 1994, A Perdomo Event and a Gunslinger Cigar

Thursday the news broke of the acquisition of Toraño Family Cigars by General Cigar Co., which came as a surprise to many, none more than the employees of Toraño Family Cigars, some of whom are actual family. Many saw this as a small company selling to a big company to save the brand before the FDA regulations put them out of business. I’ve been a fan of both companies, and have or had friends in both. I can’t help to feel let down by Charlie Toraño in the way he, from an outsiders perspective, let his employees, sales force, even employees bearing the family name down by not preparing them for this eventuality. From the outside looking in, based on conversations both public and private, it looks like Charlie was the big winner in this transaction, and the rest of the company is out on the street, so to speak. Oddly, this isn’t the first time Charlie’s done this. Several years ago he let his sales staff go when he entered into distribution with CAO, without warning and right before Christmas. I have to admit, I had a pretty good opinion of Charlie up until Thursday, and now I’m not so sure.  General gets a reasonably good line of cigars out of the deal. From what I understand, Leccia Tobacco wasn’t included in this deal, and Sam has several options available to him. He’s in a good position as he’s probably a pretty attractive property in the market, a hard working guy with a quality product.  Anyway, I grabbed a Toraño Vault D-042 robusto for my Thursday walk and reflected upon all of this. This cigar started off with a void in the center, which I found ironic.  I’ve enjoyed these in the past, it’s got a Habano wrapper that’s very oily looking, and features a leaf of Pennsylvania tobacco in the filler. Once it burned past the tunnel, about an inch and a half of the 5″ length, it behaved nicely. Rich and tasty. General Cigar Co. says they aren’t planning to make any changes to the manufacture of the Toraño line, and there’s a few that I really like and hope they leave alone.  I’ve had a good relationship with someone at Toraño for most of the past tern years, I’m sorry to see the company leaving the industry, so close to their centennial too.

 

Friday I grabbed the La Flor Dominicana 1994 Rumba that I bought at Cigar Mojo on my birthday a couple weeks back.  This is what The LfD website has to say about the 1994:

LaflorDominicana_1994_RumbaWe have set aside tobacco for years in anticipation of this very special blend to commemorate our 20th anniversary. The complex and powerful flavors of the 1994 originate from the best fillers and binder grown on our farm in the Dominican Republic and are complemented with a sweet and savory Mexican San Andrés wrapper. This blend is as special as the occasion it serves to commemorate and is symbolic of the quality and pride with which La Flor Dominicana has built its name.

I gave this a snip with the Xikar XV cutter, then opened it up a little with the scissors after a few moments of less smoke production than I wanted.  The Rumba is a 6½” x 52 toro and burns really well, once it’s opened up all the way, that is. Here’s a thing:  This has a San Andrés wrapper, but it’s not you’re standard maduro processed San Andrés wrapper. This appears to be the elusive natural San Andrés wrapper, which doesn’t have the familiar cocoa/coffee grounds kind of flavor. This is more refined, and silky smooth.  This was an enjoyable cigar, and as I dig back into the LfD lines after many years of neglecting them, I find this to be a winner.  I think it was under $8, which is also a plus!  Good smoke.

 

Yesterday I went up to a local cigar shop, Cigar Cigars’ Light’n Up Glenmore cigar store (I’m still a little hazy on what they are calling it since CigarCigars purchased the location!) for a Perdomo event.  Joe Winder, our local Perdomo rep was there, and I was greeted by him and Steve, who was the previous owner of the store, and now manages the shops. I picked out some cigars, a couple of the 20th anniversary in the Corona Grande size, which is a great 6½”x 48 size, and the new Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage, which I promptly lit up.  This is a unique cigar, the cigars are made using tobaccos from a 2001/2002 vintage crop, aged in bales for 10 years followed by an additional 2 years aged in wood barrels. I smoked the Connecticut wrapped version, and very much look forward to the Sun Grown and Maduro Versions.  It was very smooth, and was a great choice for a pre-dinner smoke.  It has tasting notes right on the band, so I really didn’t have to work to hard. It was indeed creamy with hints of caramel and cedar. Thanks to reader Kevin Shahan for putting this one on my radar!  It was a great smoke, and as a bonus, my old friend Jeff, who I grew up with, stopped by and enjoyed a 10th Anniversary Champagne with me.

 

Gunslinger_Perdition_ToroToday was a bit of a whirlwind. Long story short, we had scheduled a cleaning service this morning, and planned to have an open house this afternoon. The cleaning service canceled on us at the last minute, leaving us to rush around scrubbing and dusting and hiding all of our clutter.  My brother-in-law Jeff and his girlfriend ran over and helped us out. The open house was a failure anyway, but at least the house is clean! I can’t thank Jeff and Karen enough for coming, and I owe Jeff a nice cigar! When it was all over, I sat on the back deck with a cigar I got at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, a Gunslinger Perdition Toro, from Kendall Culbertson of Outlaw Cigar in Kansas City, MO.  I’ve included the video of my brief interview with Kendall below, but he’s a passionate cigar man to be sure.  The cigar was terrific.  It’s made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Esteli, and features Nicaraguan, Honduran and Broadleaf (origin unspecified) fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and a San Andrés wrapper. I rarely have a cigar smoke so perfectly. It was a very rich smoke with smooth,flavors. I’m very glad I chose this cigar to cap off a less than satisfying day. I will be looking forward to sampling more of these, even though at $9 each they are on the high side of my price preference.  It was a treat meeting Kendall, I look forward to visiting his store one day, the next time I am in Kansas City will be my first.

 

 

That’s it for now, sorry the post is late, but it’s been a long day. Time to get some dinner and think about an evening walk with a small cigar. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

Share

3 Comments

Filed under News, Review, Video

A Tortuga, a Couple La Palina Cigars and Some News

First, let’s get some news out of the way.  I know you all like contests, and my friends at Joya de Nicaragua are having one.  From Sept. 9th to Sept. 24th every 4 days they will draw a winner for a box of the new Joya red.  They are giving away a box of each size over the two week contest. I’ve had the good fortune of smoking several of these in the toro, robusto and corona size and they are terrific cigars. Head on over to JoyaCigars.com/winjoyared/ or click the graphic on the top of the right sidebar and enter to win.

 

TortugaReserva_ElCoyoteNegro_600Monday evening I selected a cigar I picked up on my birthday at Cigar Mojo, who was recently selected as an appointed Tortuga Cigars merchant. I had smoked the Tortuga Reserva Maduro “El Coyote Negro” with Victor Vitale a few months ago, but it was my second cigar and I wanted to give it a re-do.  I smoked the Cedro No. 600, which is a 6½” x 56 toro.  This has a dark Brazilian maduro wrapper, and it’s a shame to cover the majority of this beautiful wrapper with a cedar sleeve!  I think this may be my new favorite Tortuga, and I do love them all. It had a great balance of strength and flavor, exhibiting the dark, cocoa flavors I enjoy.  I’m so glad I smoked this with a clean palate, as I failed to properly appreciate it the first time. Thank you to Trae at Cigar Mojo for making a birthday present of this cigar, I would happily have paid for it with the rest of cigars (and a Xikar Ashtray Can) I bought.  Great cigar, no question.

 

LaPalina_Classic_RobustoTuesday I enjoyed a La Palina Classic Robusto. This is a 5″ x 52 robusto made in the PDR factory in the Dominican Republic. This also has a Brazilian wrapper, but this time it’s a Habano, with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.  I was torn between the robusto and the lancero in this blend, and decided to go with the robusto since it’s starting to get dark earlier, which I hate. This cigar has a nice, nutty and earthy flavor with a bit of sweetness. It’s perfectly constructed, the draw and burn were excellent, it behaved very well. I gave this one a straight cut, I tend to rotate between cutters, and happened to have a double guillotine on me this time.  Tasty smoke.

 

While I was at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival I talked to Bill Paley and got this video. I tried using iMovie on the iPhone to create this one, I’m nit sure I’ve gotten the hang of it yet.  While I’ve been using the iPhone and iPod Touch to take the videos for the last couple years, I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker. I thought I’d give this a try.

 

 

La Palina Maduro Petite LanceroTonight I took my evening walk with a La Palina Maduro 40, which is a 6″ x 40 short lancero.  this cigar is made in Honduras, and has my favorite San Andrés maduro wrapper.  It also has a double binder form Honduras and filler from Nicaragua. I love this cigar, it’s sweet and spicy, flavors of bitter sweet chocolate and coffee, and quite satisfying. It had a great burn and draw, this time I happened to have a punch in my pocket, the first generation ScrewPop punch, which was the perfect size for this cigar. It was a nearly perfect smoke which has been in my humidor since the end of last year.  I think I enjoyed this more in the warmer weather than the one I smoked back in January. Whether it was the age of the cigar, or the difference in weather, I don’t know. I just know I like it.  I smoked a couple La Palina cigars because the article I wrote on the Mr. Sam for Prime Living magazine was published this week. You can read it at Prime-Living.com (page 53 on the online version).

 

 I’d like to welcome CigarSmokes.com to the CigarCraig family. This Spain-based company caters to my non-US audience providing Havana cigars.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

Share

5 Comments

Filed under Review, Video

Aging Room, Black Abyss, and Señorial Cigars, and a Contest Winner!

AgingRoom_M356_ForteAfter staring the week smoking the newest offerings from Villiger Cigars, I figured I’d continue a trend and smoke some other cigars originating from the same factory in the Dominican Republic, Tabacaleras Palma.  This seems to be the hot factory these days, and they are, no doubt, making some tasty smokes.  I started on Thursday with the Aging Room M356 Forte. This is a really cool shaped perfecto, measuring 5 7/8″ x 40-56-40, tapering on both ends.  This is a classic, old-school shape, I like it.  The M356 has a Habano wrapper over Dominican Binder and fillers and is NOT a mild cigar. As a matter of fact, every example in the M356 line I’ve smoked has given me a little bit of a butt-whooping, and that doesn’t happen to me often.  That being said, it’s a terrific smoke, it burned perfectly and was loaded with rich flavor.  I wouldn’t smoke these on an empty stomach!  One thing that confuses me about lines which use number in their naming is that I just can’t remember them!  It’s a darned good thing they put it on the bands.

 

Senoreal_Corona GordaFriday I finally got around to smoking José Blanco‘s new cigar, Señoreal, in the Corona Gorda No. 5 size.   My daughter doesn’t buy me a lot of cigars, but she lives a stone’s throw from The Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA, I asked her to grab me a few last week.  This is another cigar made at José’s cousin Jochi’s Tabacaleras Palma.  When José suggests that this may be his strongest blend to date, you can take that to the bank. This is a full flavored cigar with a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos wrapped in the Ecuador Habano wrapper.  This is, perhaps, the perfect size for a cigar, 5½” x 46, and was recommended to my daughter by the tobacconist (I gave her very specific direction…and that was on my list).  There must be a leaf in common with the M356, becuase this cigar also threatened to put a hurtin on me, I needed some sugar after I was done. José has a winner here, his first true solo effort is awesome.

 

BlackAbbys_Hydra BlackAbbys_BansheeI’ve smoked a couple of the sizes of JR Cigars new brand, Black Abyss.  This is a San Andrés wrapped cigar made for them by Boutique Blends/Tabacaleras Palma.  This week I smoked the Hydra (toro) and the Banshee (robusto).  I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this cigar from the start, and I was right. These have a down and dirty, bold sweet and earthy flavor that I really like. It’s a no-nonsense smoke, and is priced very well staring in the $3 range. Both burned perfectly, the toro I smoked on a walk with the dog mid-week, and the robusto was smoked while waiting out a thunder storm in the garage. I got a lot of pleasure form these cigars, and would probably keep some around if I had room for more cigars. I think there’s a torpedo and a 6×60 left in my humidor, I’ll be interested in smoking those to see if one size stands out over the other. I think the toro and robusto were a tie.

 

AgingRoom_Havao_SharpLast night I sat down with an Aging Room Haváo Sharp (Torpedo). I had my reservations, but I wasn’t going anyplace, so if I found another Aging Room cigar that was going to do a number on my I was ready. This line has an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, although it’s by no means mild. It’s full of flavor.  Actually the website lists it as “Mild Plus”, but I think it’s a pretty big “Plus”.  I loved the silky, creamy smoke that poured off this cigar, and the dead even burn. One reason I despise this time of year is that it’s getting darker earlier, which makes it hard to see my cigars!  In this case, I stared to get a papery flavor then realized I was burning through the band. I hardly ever do that!  I thought this was a great smoke, and can’t help comparing it to the Villiger Cuelllar Connecticut Krēmē made at the same factory.  Both are bolder than usual Connecticuts and both are loaded with flavor. This is a “must try”.

 

Here’s a video from the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival with Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends. If you ever get the chance to meet Rafael, you will come away with the impression that you’ve just caught up with an old friend. He’s a tremendously nice gentleman.

 

 

Contest

CAO_Signs Contest_3Monday I promised that I’d select a winner today for the CAO Flathead tin sign and Flathead 554 Camshaft and Sparkplug cigars. there were some great pairings, and some of you threw my count off with replies to replies!  No big deal, I can manage!  So Random.org’s random number generator selected 21 out of 44 entries. By my count, Ray Holthaus is the winner!  Ray, send me your address so I can pack these goodies up and send them along!  I hope you watched and enjoyed the video, I thought jum and Bruce did a fine job of describing their experiences. Thanks to everyone for entering and stay tuned for more contests!

 

I have some yardwork to do today, and we had a PODS container dropped off so we can start getting ready to move sometime in the future!  Plenty of stuff to move, plenty of weeds to pull! I’ll provide cigars to anyone who wants to help! :-)

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Contest, Review, Video