It’s October, ant the weather is crappy and everything’s starting to change. I finally got fed up enough with my 6-year-old laptop
Sunday after wasting a whole day waiting for webpages to load and writing my posts, that I ran out and bought a new one. So now I’m working on getting all my files copied off the old one and trying to get used to this Windows 10 nonsense as well as the new keyboard. I’m happy with it so far, I just have to find the graphics program I’m used to and install it and how it works, and generally get used to it. To celebrate, I grabbed a favorite cigar in a size I’ve never had. This 64 ring gauge La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli was a gift from Mark last week when we met up in Maryland. I love the flavor of this cigar, and while I probably wouldn’t have chosen this size, it was a spectacular smoke and it was just what the doctor ordered after a hectic day. I find the Brick & Mortar only Esteli a richer and more flavorful cigar when compared to the Serie R Black that came out at the same time and is only found in the mail order sites (and their B&Ms if you’re lucky enough to visit one). The 6¼” x 64 Serie R Esteli smoked very well for a god 2 hours. I’m a LGC fan in general, but this line is my favorite of the bunch.
Monday I learned a valuable lesson, don’t select a mild cigar to smoke after eating Cajun food. OK, this is something I already knew, and one of the pitfalls of smoking trade show samples that are unfamiliar. The Marrero Tesoro Mio 6×60 is an Ecuador Connecticut wrapped cigar with an Indonesian binder and Costa Rican/”Proprietary” fillers. The second half seemed to cut through the damage done by the Cajun spices a bit better, either due to the cigar picking up strength or the spices from the food wearing off, but it turned out to be a very tasty mild cigar. Marrero was a new brand to me this year, I never heard of them before, but there have been so many really great cigars being made in Costa Rica lately I wanted to give them a try. I’m impressed so far, I say give them a try if you come across them.
Since I already smoked one cigar out of the sampler I got from Davidoff, I figured there’s no reason not to start smoking my way through it. The next cigar in there that sparked my curiosity was the new American Barrel Aged Toro from Camacho. This one got a lot of hype at the show, they had a large flaming display at the booth, I suppose having to do with aging the tobacco in charred bourbon barrels. It took me a bit to make that connection, since I don’t drink and really don’t have the knowledge base in that area anymore. On a side note, did you know there was alcoholic ginger beer? We went out to eat yesterday at a local pub, the Flying Pig Saloon, which has hundreds of beers on the menu, but also has pretty great sandwiches. I ordered a ginger beer since I knew they had it, and was brought an alcoholic ginger beer which I, not knowing any better, poured and took a sip of before looking at the bottle. Had I known, I would have been specific, but I suppose it being a bar and all I shouldn’t have been surprised the waitress jumped to the conclusion she did. They probably only keep the non-alcoholic ginger beer for mixers, and I’m probably one of the few who orders it as is. Anyway, I had a great sandwich with all the food groups: chicken, beef and bacon. Where was I? The Camacho American Barrel Aged Toro. This is a unique cigar in that it uses a bunch of USA grown leaf, a Broadleaf wrapper and binder (noted as “American” in the literature, but one can assume Connecticut), more American Broadleaf in the filer, as well as Pennsylvania Maduro (probably more broadleaf) and the Corojo that they age in the bourbon barrels. I really enjoyed the cigar, it would have been a better choice to follow the spicy Cajun dinner, it was a bold, full flavored cigar. I don’t have the frame of reference to pick out any bourbon flavor as it’s probably been 30 years since I had a sip of whisky (or whiskey, I know there’s a difference, I just don’t know what it is), and then it was something like Old Granddad. I enjoyed it, I’d smoke it again, and I’d certainly keep some on hand, it was quite enjoyable and a bit different from what I expect from a Camacho. A cigar that lives up to the hype.
Thursday I grabbed the new Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial. It’s no longer the company’s 45 anniversary, and the Cuatro Cinco that they came out with last year (or the year before? I lost track), was spectacular. I went into this year Reserva Especial with expectations of a better version of the original, as unreasonable as that seemed. This is another cigar that employs barrel aging, and the major difference between this cigar and the original seems to be that they used a Dominican binder where as the original release was a Nicaraguan Puro. One geek note here, I find it interesting that they refer to the binder as “a carefully selected volado Dominican binder”. The term “volado” sticks out to me. In Nicaragua, the primings are generally referred to as Seco, Viso and Ligero, going from the bottom of the plant to the top. In the DR, they use the terms Volado, Seco and Ligero, which really goofed me up the time I took part in a blending session in the DR. So to translate from DR to Nicaragua, Volado=Seco, Seco=Viso and Ligero=Ligero. I guess my point is that a lower priming Dominican binder technically shouldn’t have a lot of flavor, and maybe that what I found missing from this cigar, at least in comparison to the original Cuatro Cinco. If the Cuatro Cinco was a more refined version of the Antaño Dark Corojo (which is my impression), then this Reserva Especial is a more refined version of the Cuatro Cinco. It was smooth, elegant with a rich, but never overpowering flavor. I enjoyed it once I got past my preconceived notion of what I thought it would be.
I wrapped up the week with a visit to a newer local shop, Cigar Brothers in Berwyn, PA. Jon Lipson from Alec Bradley was there doing an event, so I dropped in for a smoke. It was too rainy and crappy for a walk anyway. I picked up a couple of the new Sanctum in Toro and Gordo which I had yet to try. I was looking for Coyol, which I’ve heard good things about, but they didn’t have any. The Sanctum has a Costa Rican binder and fillers from Columbia as well as Honduras and Nicaragua, which give it a little different flavor. It’s got a nice looking Honduran Corojo wrapper as well. Both Cigar Brothers were there, Craig and Chuck, and I enjoyed a pleasant evening smoking a tasty cigar and chatting with these fine gentlemen. It would have been nice to have seen more people there, and as much as I like the set up of this store, with a large, fully humidified sales floor downstairs, and small, intimate lounge areas upstairs, it doesn’t lend itself to events too much. If the weather is nice and they put up a tent in the parking lot it’s great, and if you want to meet s couple people for a quiet smoke and conversation, this place is great. The selection is very good too. I enjoyed the heck out of the Sanctum, as I do many of the Alec Bradley offerings. I missed visiting the booth at the show, they were busy whenever I walked by, but I came home with a couple of the new offerings too which I look forward to trying.
The Monte Pascoal brand from Brazil is once again being distributed in the US by Multiverse Commerce in the Boston Area. I have a couple Double Coronas on deck that you will hear about soon, and they will be announcing some specials that will allow my readers to get some great discounts and specials in the near future. I’ve wondered what became of this line, as I have been a fan for several years now, but I think the Double Corona is about the only size I never smoked so there won’t be any comparisons. Monte Pascoal was rather known for blending each size a little differently too, with the larger vitolas being a good bit milder than the smaller. I’m looking forward to revisiting this old favorite anyway, so stay tuned for more info and some discount codes. Also, The Smoking’ Goose multi-vendor event which was supposed to have been yesterday in Limerick, PA was postponed until Saturday, October 17, so there’s still time to get tickets at TheSmokinGoose.com.
That’s about it for now, until the next time,