Defcon from Arandoza, El Gueguense, and Epic Maduro Reserva

Arandoza_Defcon_ToroNo events this week! I was going to stop at a local shop that was having a Rocky Patel event, but I wasn’t feeling particularly well and wanted to spend the evening at home.  I have been able to get back to smoking some trade show samples and really enjoying them. I admit, as I’ve been going through the samples looking for something to smoke there are some cigars I come across that I don’t remember getting!  I suppose I’ll have to  do some research when I decide to smoke them.  So far I haven’t run across any duds, but I try not to select bad cigars if I can help it.  Thursday evening I grabbed a cigar that I’ve been looking forward to trying. I’ve been quite enamored with the Arandoza line, and made a point to meet Robert Arango and his wife, Pilar, at the show.  They are really nice people and they are responsible for some really nice cigars. They debuted their fourth cigar in the Arandoza line, Defcon, at the show and after loving the Arandoza Red last year, I was excited to try this one. The cigar has a rustic Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I really enjoyed the cigar.  It may have been a little bit less refined than the Red, which is a powerful smoke on it’s own, but it had the power accompanied by some bitterness with a hint of sweetness that I really like.  This is a really nice addition to a line of cigar that I really appreciate. One more to add to the list of great cigars from Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory. If you find yourself in the Easton, PA area this Thursday, there is an Arandoza event at Famous Smokeshop.  If it had been Wednesday, I would have gone, but it’ll be hard for me to get there Thursday. Tell Robert I said hello!


El Gueguense_ToroAfter working my first 5 day work in a month due to travelling to the  IPCPR and then the Drew Estate Nica Rustica Belly release event in Kentucky, I needed a great cigar to close the week. This is when I would normally shy away from an unknown, and smoke a tried and true favorite, but the lure of a new cigar from a cigar blender who’s previous work many times falls into the “tried and true” category was too much to resist.  Nick Melillo brought his new cigar to the show,  El Güegüense, which took me some practice to pronounce (and even remember)  It’s pronounced something like”Gway gwen say”, and means “The Wise Man”, which is also on the classic and ornate band depicting these wise men from Nicaraguan folklore.  El Güegüense was actually the first literary work from Nicaragua after it was “discovered” by Columbus, and was a dance/drama protesting colonial rule and poking fun at the conquistadors.  I found this cigar to be quite different from what I’ve sampled before from “the chief of broadleaf”, it was quite a bit more delicate and refined, with some earthieness, maybe a bit of fruity sweetness, nicely balanced and flavorful, but not overpowering. Solidly medium. Although this sample maybe could have used another month or two in the humidor, as it’s burn was less than perfect, this is going to be a really great cigar when it hits the shelves in the next couple months.  I smoked the 6″ x 56 Toro Huaco vitola, and I think I still have a Robusto floating around. This cigar is loaded with Corojo 99 from Jalapa, and is made in the same factory as Casa Fernandez, along with Dion Giolito’s Illusione cigars.  Interestingly, they all shared the same tradeshow booth (they were at either end, and, in my opinion, overshadowed the Casa Fernandez offerings). This cigar rate’s another thumbs up from me, very enjoyable and worthy of a Friday evening.


Epic_MaduroReserva_LanceroYesterday, after once again moving furniture (this time in and out of the garage as we tried our hand at a yard sale. We sold a good bit of stuff, but much remains…anyone need some really nice oak and glass display cabinets? We have three, but that aren’t going cheap…), and grabbing a bite at a local place, I, once again, craved a satisfying smoke.  I met Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars last year at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival in Colorado, and tried and enjoyed his cigars.  You really have to admire a guy who serves Altadis with a cease and desist order for using “Epic” on their Montecristo line, and coming away a winner! He played pro hockey too!  Anyway, when I saw Dean at the trade show he handed me an Epic Maduro Reserva lancero, a new size in the line. I almost always enjoy the interplay between a maduro wrapper (in this case, Arapiraca from Brazil) and a Cameroon binder, and I was not disappointed. As happens with the smaller ring gauge, the flavor is a bit sharper and more focused, and you get more from the wrapper and binder as there’s just less filler (Domican Piloto Cubano seco and ligero and viso from Nicaragua).  For what it’s worth, this lancero felt like more of a 40 or 42 ring gauge, but it was still a cool and elegant size and I enjoyed it to a finger-burning nub. This hit the spot after eating a tasty Italian Oval, which is  basically a personal size pizza that’s not perfectly round). I love the dark, rich flavors, like an after dinner espresso.


I don’t know what today will bring, but there will be a cigar or two involved for sure.  Don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter to win a huge General Cigar sampler!  I’ll be back this Wednesday to announce the winner.  So until the next time,






Filed under IPCPR, Review

7 Responses to Defcon from Arandoza, El Gueguense, and Epic Maduro Reserva

  1. I can’t wait to get my hands on the El Gueguense.

  2. Donald Santos

    They all sound good

  3. lonniemarci1991

    Great review Craig, the Defcon and the El Gueguense took promising to say the least, I hope they reach my areas so I can try them. Have a great day brother!

  4. Charlie H.

    I’m really looking forward to the “Way-When-Say” (is how its pronounced)..I already have $ set aside for a box of the corona gordas! I’ve heard different things from many people who went to the IPCPR, some say it was ready to smoke and some say they taste youth in the blend…either way we know why Nick is waiting til the end of September to release them…

    • Güegüense doesn’t exactly lend itself to English pronunciation. As I said, the only real youthful aspect I found was the burn. Tasty smoke and I look forward to seeing it’s in the shelf and smoking a few more.

      • Charlie H.

        The only reason I know exactly how to pronounce Gueguense is because Nick was just on Cigar Chat and they went over it for about 10 minutes LOL Logan absolutely butchered the name and used the “g’s” when sounding it out…I love Aganorsa leaf (my favorite Nica grower) so these are a must..thanks Craig!

  5. The Defcon sounds like a good cigar – I’d love to give that one a try. Thanks for these great reviews!

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