I started out the second half of the week revisiting the Arandoza Blue Label Robusto from Arandoza Cigars. This brand is made at Erik Espinoza’s La Zona factory in Esteli, it’s a Nicaraguan puro with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I smoked some of these last year and enjoyed them quite a bit, as I enjoyed this one again. They’ve fancied up the bands on these, making them harder to get a good picture, but the cigar is a really nice, well balanced smoke, with a little sweetness. Now that I’ve smoked a few cigars from La Zona, I’m quite confident that I’ll enjoy just about anything made there. The Arandoza is a little known gem.
Friday evening I got off to a late start, so I went for something on the smaller site for my evening walk. The Rosalones from Joya de Nicaragua was a surprise find last year at Cigar Safari. None of the assembled bloggers I was with had heard of this, and we were told it was for the European market. Not too long after that these showed up at Cigars International, which is where I picked up a few of these well priced, really tasty little cigars. The 448 is 4¾” x 48 and it’s another Nicaraguan puro. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Habano Criollo and it’s a medium bodied little flavor bomb. Of course, as just about everything from JdN, it’s perfectly constructed. For a couple bucks a piece, these are really quite excellent cigars, and if you look back at some of my blogger brethren’s trip reports from last May, you’ll see that these were the talk of the trip. These are a bargain, and I’m not sure, but they may be a CI exclusive.
Saturday was a pretty nice, spring day, although a bit breezy. After getting some much needed yard work done (it’s never really done, but I was done!), I picked out an Alec Bradley Nica Puro for my afternoon walk. I’ve exclusively smoked the robustos in this line up until now, and it’s one of those cigars that I can grab and enjoy the heck out of on those occasions where I need a solid, no-nonsense cigar that I can just love and not have to think about much. A few weeks ago at the Filthy Hooligan event at Cigar Mojo I picked up some toros just to change it up a little. Lucky for me, it’s the same great tasting smoke in a longer format. Unfortunately for me, it was a bear to keep lit, for some reason. I’ve had this happen in the past when I’ve picked out the cigar about an hour prior to smoking, took my pictures (because I’m nutty that way) and put it in an aluminum tube for a little later. Ironically, I’ve also had burn problems when I’ve taken a slightly different route than I normally take. It’s hard for me to believe that the route has any effect, but I’ll abandon the tube for the Black Delrin Transporter Tube in the future (check out the Indiegogo campaign and get behind this guy, these are really nice tubes! Time is running out.). I remain a fan of the Nica Puro. It gives me a satisfying smoking experience the majority of the time, and the flavor is yummy.
Today I decided to pull out all the stops. Last June, on the occasion of our second granddaughter’s birth, we happened upon Black Cat Cigar‘s shop on our way home from the hospital. I picked up the Asylum 13 Ogre there, it was fairly new on the market, and I figured I should smoke it some day anyway. It’s an absurdly large cigar, 7″x70, and is a barber pole wrap of Habano maduro and Candela. I really like the green and brown appearance of this, but it’s size kept it buried in the humidor until such a time as I could devote a few hours to it’s smoking. For those who don’t know, this is made at Fabricas Unidas, which is Christian Eiroa’s factory in Honduras. I’m thankful that these are being released in more manageable 6″ x 60 and 5″ x 50 sizes, because I really enjoyed the flavors in this cigar. The Candela gives it a little bit of that refreshing flavor, and the maduro (the best I can tell, the candela is an over wrap on top of a completed maduro cigar) gives it the coffee/cocoa flavor I like. The draw was very free, and it actuallly burned a bit quicker than I anticipated. Apart from a little bit of flaking of the delicate candela leaf, the burn was pretty even. I used my Xikar MTX scissors on this, because I don’t think any of my cutters would accommodate the ridiculous girth of this cigar. As I said, I’ll be on the look out for the robusto size in this line. I really got a lot more flavor than I thought and it certainly isn’t a novelty cigar. (note: The websites for Asylum Cigars, Fabricas Unidas and CLE Cigars all return a message stating that they “encountered a fatal error” at the time of publication, perhaps Christian forgot to pay the bill? 🙂 )
I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome Black Cat Cigars to the CigarCraig family of supporters. Click the link on the right sidebar and check out their Mayhem Deals. The first time I came across Black Cat was an evening long ago when we met a friend in Philly for dinner. We stopped in the little shop on Sansom Street on our way to the Sam Adams Brew pub, where we ended up running into another couple friends and smoking cigars with them all night. Their new shop in East Norriton, PA is pretty nice, stop in if you find yourself in that area.
That’s it for today, back to enjoying a relaxing Spring Sunday. Until the next time,