The next series of retailer driven reviews are brought to you by Cigars International. I was approached by Scott, a web guy at CI, and he sent along some of their exclusive products. Of course, my CDO (that’s OCD in the correct, alphabetical order) makes me worry too much about the order that I smoke the cigars, so it’s a constant battle. Should I smoke them alphabetically? Lightest to Darkest? Shortest to longest? I decided to smoke them in the order of my own personal interest level. I hadn’t previously smoked, nor in most cases even heard of most of the included cigars. So I started with the one which intrigued me the most.
The Alec Bradley MAXX Brazil was a beautiful, dark robusto. Whether I’ve ever stated it publicly or not I don’t know, but the robusto is my default size. 4”-5½” x 49-54, although a rather broad range, is the size range I find myself reaching for regularly. I rarely have the time to commit to a larger cigar, although I do like toros, and torpedos. I love the occasional corona or lancero too. I guess it would be safer to say my favorite size range is 4” to 7” x 38 to 60 ring. I’ve gotten silly and I digress. The MAXX Brazil was a fantastic smoke. It had that nice balance of flavor and strength. it’s not a heavy smoke, but very tasty and very satisfying. I loved the dark and rich cocoa flavors. This cigar suits my palate just about perfectly, and they are quite fairly priced, going for $3.00 to $5.00 each.
The next cigar I selected was a Punch Bareknuckle, this example being the Belicoso, weighing in at 5” x 50. Where the MAXX was smooth as butter, this Punch was a powerhouse. Despite the fact that the picture on the website shows a cigar with a smoking ¾” ash and an uncut cap, and I don’t care for footbands (another inconsistency in said photo) this is also an outstanding cigar. If you like the standard Punch line, this will appeal to you as well. It’s got a little more oomph, maybe a more concentrated flavor. Burn and draw were perfect and the belicoso shape was fun and interesting. Another winner.
Third up was the Man O’ War Side Projects Little Devil. This was a corona which fought with the previous two for my interest, but something in my head told me that this would be a tasty smoke, it being from A.J. Fernandez. I can’t think of a cigar from A.J. that I haven’t liked. I lit this cigar up and BAM!, there was a blast of loamy, musty, earthy tobacco goodness from the uncut foot. All that extra wrapper folded over the foot really shows how much flavor that Habano wrapper has. This cigar also burned very well and was very nicely presented with the unfinished foot and the little pig-tail head. These are still fairly priced at around $4. Steve Saka once told me that coronas cost almost as much to make as larger cigars, but they have to be priced quite a bit lower because of the perception that a smaller cigar has to cost a lot less than a larger one. So the people who buy larger cigars actually subsidize those of us who buy smaller ones! Anyway, this was a fun cigar to smoke.
I have two more cigars to smoke, I’ll cover those in Sunday’s installment. Tomorrow evening I’m going to visit International Tobacco in the King Of Prussia mall. This mall is one of the largest in the country, and it’s nice to have a shop in the mall where one can stop and smoke a cigar. They are having a Camacho event and I certainly like Camacho cigars. Probably an uninteresting fact, but the very first cigar I reviewed online was a Camacho Monarca back in 1996 when Steve Saka held a blind taste test on the alt.smokers.cigars news group, which eventually ended up on the now defunct CigarNexus website. I loved the Camacho, but one of the other cigars in the test was a Havana Montecristo No.2 that I called a dogrocket because it was so terrible. Anyway, thanks to Scott at CI for letting me try these cigars, they were all new to me and I think I found some gems. Is this post a big CI commercial? Maybe, but the cigars are good and well priced, worth a look if you have the chance.
Until the next time,