Tag Archives: Alec Bradley

A Partagas, an Alec Bradley and a Big Papi Cigar Contest Winner!

It was a rough week for me, as the last week of August always is. Not to complain or anything, but growing up having an end of summer birthday sucks almost as much as a Christmas birthday, at least for me. It signals the end of summer, and as the years progress time passes faster and faster, so summer went by in the blink of an eye. I guess if you don’t like summer, it’s not a big deal, but I love summer. On top of all that, I was plagued by migraines for some reason. So it wasn’t a great week, no reason to dwell any further on that, it’s time to move on. I managed to smoke a couple great cigars this week, and I need to pick a couple Partagas_SeriePNo2winners of the Big Papi by David Ortiz cigar prizes.  So, for my birthday I was conflicted, should I smoke a known favorite cigar or smoke a “special” cigar and risk disappointment? I took the risk and went with a Partagas Serie P No. 2 Havana that probably came home with me from a wedding we attended in London in 2006 (this very weekend, actually, (Happy Anniversary Karyn and Mitchell!). The Hunters and Frankau rep was  handing these out, and the grooms father stuffed a few in my jacket pocket. So this Havana cigar had been in my humidor for 11 years, should have been plenty of time to recover from its journeys! I was quite surprised by the floral qualities this cigar had, it was really delicious and entertaining to smoke as it was never boring with the interesting flavors that it presented. It burned perfectly too, with a great draw, which is a plus. It turned out to be a great choice and a very good smoke, quite different from my regular fare as well as being different from what I remembered and expected.

 

 

AlecBradley_BlackMarketEsteli_RobustoYesterday I was migraine free for the first time all week, so I dug into the IPCPR samples and found the new Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli, their newest edition to the Black Market line. This cigar comes in  Churchill, Gordo, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo sizes, of which I smoked the 5″ x 52 Robusto. It has a Nicaraguan wrapper, a double binder of Nicaraguan and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. I need to further explore this line, but this just might replace the Nica Puro as my favorite Alec AlecBradley_BlackMarketEsteliBradley cigar. It was very rich and satisfying, the burn and ash were simply beautiful, and it had unique and interesting flavors that appealed to me. There was a sweet spice that I rarely taste in a cigar and it makes me smile when I do. I smoked a few other cigars this week, a little CLE corojo from 2014 that wasn’t appealing, and a Mombacho Liga Maestro that was very leathery, too much so for my taste, I’m afraid. These are both lines that I feel like I should explore further, on the CLE side, even though I’ve known Christian for 20 years, the cigars I’ve smoked from CLE haven’t tripped my trigger, the Asylum line I like, but I guess I just haven’t smoked enough of the CLEs. I’m late to the party with Mombacho and need to smoke more of their cigars. As far as the Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli, that’s a winner for me! See below for some pictures from IPCPR of their latest offerings.

 

Alec Bradley has added some nice accessories this year too, as well as some small format cigars. I’m looking forward to checking out the new Prensado Lost Art as well.

 

Contest!

Big PapiOK, it’s time to wrap up the series of contests featuring cigars from El Artista Cigars, we had a huge Exactus Super Colosus, the Pulita 60 Aniversario and finally, the Big Papi by David Ortiz, which I’ am about to announce the winners! Thanks to Carolyn and Keith for making all this possible! We will have two winners, one gets a five-pack of Big Papi cigars and a lighter, and the grand prize is a box of 20 Big Papi cigars! The runner-up is Matt Hopper! The grand prize winner is (drumroll please)… Randall Simon! I’ll need both of you to send me your addresses so we can get these out to you!  Thanks to all who followed and congrats to the winners! Stay tuned for more contests coming up! 

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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A Padilla, a Gurkha, an Alec Bradley and Cigar Box Speakers

Padilla_VintageReserve_BoxPressedPerfectoGetting back in the swing of things here, and rooting through the IPCPR samples for some interesting cigars to smoke. I decided that one cigar that I had been looking forward to smoking was ready to go, the Padilla Vintage Reserve in a 6″ x 50ish  box pressed perfecto shape. I can’t really find any information on this shape, it was an IPCPR sample handed to me by Ernesto Padilla and all I can say is that it has a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. As far as I  know, these are made in the same factory in Honduras where some of my favorite cigars are made, notably the Tortuga line, and the quality is excellent. The cigar had a distinctive flavor that I can only categorize as “meaty”, and I don’t think that’s because I had just eaten meat for dinner. It was savory, delicious and an all around wonderful cigar that I look forward to smoking again. This was a terrific cigar.

 

Gurkha_HeritageMaduro_ToroFriday I went with a Gurkha Heritage Maduro from Gurkha’s IPCPR sampler. Of course, this was the first cigar I smoked from the sampler, which should surprise nobody. Sure, I could have chosen the Ghost in the chubby perfecto size but I smoked a Ghost not too long ago.  The Heritage Maduro has a  Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a Brazilian Arapiraca binder and Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers. The one I smoked was a 6 ½” x 54 toro with a cedar sleeve.  It was a beautiful wrapper, dark and oily with some tooth, and had great dark chocolate and espresso flavors. It hit a rough spot about half way in, perhaps a void in the filler, or maybe a spot with a little too much moisture in the leaves there, but I soldiered on and it worked out to be just a temporary annoyance. I was not disappointed in the evening’s selection.

 

Saturday evening with an Alec Bradley Nica Puro Diamond Eough Cut - @alecbradleycigar @alecbradleycigarsSaturday’s cigar was not a new cigar, but one that I hadn’t smoked before in this shape. A couple of years back Alec Bradley released the Nica Puro blend in a unique diamond-shaped box press, calling it the Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut. Since the Nica Puro is my favorite blend in the Alec Bradley line-up, I was happy to come across some of these in a local shop a few months ago. Not sure why it took me so long to fire this one up. The shape kind of brought back memories of the triangle pressed Trilogy line, which put Alec Bradley on the map for most people. I smoked a bunch of the Trilogy cigars back around 2004 or thereabouts, I really enjoyed everything about them. I wonder if we’ll see them again as they are pre-2007 and I believe they have been available in round versions at a catalog retailer or two over the years. Anyway, the Diamond was a great cigar, it had the familiar delicious flavor of the Nica Puro in a fun shape. The cigar measures 6 ¼” x 54 and has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers (duh, with a name like Nica Puro, it better be all Nicaraguan!). It has a lot of earthy, nutty flavors with some spice. I may be wrong, but I think it’s made in the same factory as the above-mentioned Padilla, and, looking through some older posts on my site, there have been several occasions where I’ve smoked Padillas, Alec Bradleys and Gurkhas in the same week.  Weird coincidence.

 

In the “what will they think of next to do with cigar boxes” department, James Watt of California is making guitar amps and Bluetooth speakers out of cigar boxes. Looking through the Leucadia Sound Etsy store I can see that there are a few of these that would work well for my son’s guitar box guitar that he built a while back. I like the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli speaker, not only because I love the cigars, but the shape of the box is unique and might have some nice resonance and warmth due to the thickness of the wood. Here are some pictures, and there’s a lot more at his Etsy store. Nice work James!

LeucadiaSound3LeucadiaSound2LeucadiaSound1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for today, Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Sobremesa, Alec Bradley Prensado, and Tatuaje The Jackel Cigars

PopLast Sunday my wife and I spent the day in  Philly, it was a Pops day. We went to the Art Museum for a Pop Art exhibit, and then to the Philly Pops concert. On the walk from the Art Museum to the Kimmel Center I enjoyed the heck out of a Sobremesa Corona Grande, the smallest in the line at 5¼” x 44.  For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, here is the blend details of Steve Saka’s freshmen release: Capa (wrapper): La Meca Ecuador Habano #1 Rosado, Capote (binder): Matacapan Negro de Sobremesa_CoronaGrande_ArtMuseumTemporal, and Tripa (filler): Nicaraguan Gk Condega C-SG Seco, Nicaraguan Pueblo Nuevo Criollo Viso, Nicaraguan La Joya Esteli C-98 Viso, Nicaraguan ASP Esteli Hybrid Ligero, and USA Lancaster County Broadleaf Ligero. I wish every cigar maker provided half the blend information that Steve does. This little guy was a great cigar for wandering the streets of Philly, it burned well, has the same refined, nuanced flavor of its larger siblings, but with a little sharper “Pop”, which was appropriate for the theme of the day. Stopped by Holt’s on the way back to the train after the concert and picked up a couple of cigars for no real reason, it was nice to see Zack again. It was a good Day.

 

AB_Prensado RobustoLater in the week I smoked the Alec Bradley Prensado Robusto which was the subject of last week’s The Cigar Authority show, and part of their Care Package. I smoked it while listening to the podcast, as I never seem to catch it live.  This cigar had a couple year’s age on it, and was quite smooth and flavorful, but I didn’t get the “cinnamon roll” flavor Dave Garofalo got.  For the last few weeks Dave has been finding obscure song snippets to play when he finds the flavor, one week it was Poptarts and butter, we can only hope he doesn’t find a peanut butter and jelly flavor, or we’ll have to hear the incessant “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” bit…if this shows up on the show I’ll know he stole the idea from me!  Anyway, it was a good smoke, to bad it gave me a head cold…

 

Tatuaje_TheJackel_CDMThis is the first head cold I’ve had in a long time, and it moved through pretty quick, thankfully. It was annoying enough that I didn’t want to smoke anything I wanted to mention here, so I smoked a few favorites that I have a handful of, and the were good. I still have a little congestion, but yesterday I was ready for something a little bit special.  I selected the Tatuaje The Jackel, an exclusive to CDMCigars, and Casa de Montecristo in Chicago. This is a big torpedo, 6¾” x 56, with the wrapper coming up short on the foot by about ¾”. I had a good time with this cigar. It started off pretty bold with some sweetness and spice, then when the wrapper started burning it got a bit creamier. The Sancti Spiritus wrapper leaf really tamed this down from the brash start. It was very enjoyable, burned well enough only requiring an occasional touch up, and was hard to put down. I’ve been trying to broaden my limited Tatuaje experience as of late, I’ve been missing out on some great smokes, so prepare to get bored with my new-found attention to this brand.

 

That’s all for today, I’ve got a Noon appointment with my TV, the Flyer’s try to avoid elimination once again. I’ll need a great cigar after the game either way, I think. Before I forget, give a listen to The Stogie Geeks lastest show with Glynn Loope of the CRA. they give a lot of great information on the looming FDA regulations. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Alec Bradley, 1502, Something from Leccia and Lars Tetens Cigars

Today is the first day of Spring and they are talking about snow!  That’s some crap, isn’t it?  Anyway, just like everyone else, I suppose, I smoked this years iteration of the Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan on Saint Patrick’s Day. I like the idea of snakes being banished as we have a couple in our back yard now that my wife is fond of photographing for what I figure is solely to terrify me. I. Don’t. Like. Snakes. As long as they stay outside, I’ll stay in and it’ll be OK, I guess, but I’m rooting for the hawks on this one, eat them slithery bastards up please.  Anyway, the whole Saint Patrick and snakes thing is BS anyway, but I appreciate the notion. I’ve AlecBradley_2016FilthyHooliganquite enjoyed the previous Hooligans, but this year’s version was a twist on the original, fairly literally. They took the candela cigar and applied a maduro stripe to it to create the barber pole effect. This manufacturing technique became apparent as I was attempting to remove the secondary band, which, like the primary band, was affixed nearly permanently to the cigar. I only mentioned last week how easy band removal enhanced the experience for me.  The one benefit to this was that I was able to smoke about an inch of the middle of the cigar as the original candela, and it’s rather amazing to taste how much difference that little strip of maduro makes in the flavor. the maduro takes the chlorophyll-like edge of the candela and smooths it out. I had been looking forward to trying this cigar, I like a candela once in a while, and I liked the similar looking Asylum Ogre line for many of the same reasons, the blending of the candela and maduro wrappers make a unique tasting smoke.

 

1502NicFriday evening we went out to grab a bite, and I stopped for a haircut afterwards and brought along a 1502 Nicaragua Churchill for the walk home.  I picked up a few of these when I saw Enrique Sanchez at the Wooden Indian for the 1502 XO launch event.  The folks at the shop told me it was one of their best sellers, so I figured I’d give it a shot. This is a Nicaraguan puro, a  tribute to Enrique’s young son.  The last time I smoked a 1502 Nicaragua I was underwhelmed. I think the Black Gold, the Ruby and the Emerald were so darned good, each in their own ways, that I didn’t originally “get” the Nicaragua.  Whether it was the vitola or just the cigar, I don’t know, but after a slow start of not “getting it”, it grew on me. It developed into a rich, sweet, dare I say “Cubanesque” cigar. The wrapper color reminds me of many Cuban cigars, which might have influenced that comparison, it burned MUCH better than a Havana!  This was another great smoke from Global Premium and Enrique Sanchez, keep up the great work, amigo!

 

LecciaSaturday afternoon I sat down to watch the Flyers vs. Penguins game on the tablet out on the porch so I could smoke a cigar. For those who don’t know, this is a heated rivalry, us Flyers fans don’t much like the cross-state Penguins, and it’s usually a great game. I selected a cigar that Sam Leccia gave me when I saw him a few months back at Cigars International’s midget wrestling event. This was a cigar that Sam said he found a cache of aging in a factory somewhere (he declined to divulge any details), and was working on bringing to market. The shape of the cigar reminded me of the Cuban Partagas Presidente, the Cuban Vitola de Galera name of which is “Taco”, a 6″ cigar that tapered to around 48 ring gauge, then came to a perfecto foot. Whatever this was, it was pretty special, there were some sweet notes and it had a really clean tobacco flavor, obviously this had a great deal of age. If this cigar never sees commercial release by Sam, I’ll just assume he smoked them all, as I would be tempted to do, great smoke. Too bad the game wasn’t as good as the cigar, the Flyers turned in a lack-luster performance when they should have done the opposite. I still like Sam, despite his being a Penguin fan.

 

LarsTetens_SerieDSaturday evening I took a walk with a cigar that’s been intimidating me from the depths of the humidor for several months. Back in the fall I met Lars Tetens at the Smokin’ Goose Event at Goose’s shop in Limerick, PA. Going back 20 years or so, to the cigar boom of the 90s, I remember seeing (and smelling) the Lars Tetens cigars in my local shop. They were the precursor to the Acid line, and there’s some controversy over whether one had anything to do with the other. There’s no doubt that parallels can be drawn between the cigars, as well as the apparent eccentricities of Lars and Jonathan Drew. It’s not for me to judge, they both seem to have done well for themselves. Lars gave me a couple of cigars, one of which being this large Serie D. It’s a 6½” x 52 toro, and was the least scary of the bunch. The unlit aroma didn’t offer any hints of flavoring or infusion, as the “Tropical Candy”, “Brief XTC” and “1980” cigars did, they smell very sweet, and I’m nervous about smoking them. I believe Lars told me that the “1980” was rolled by him in 1980, which would be pretty amazing but the aroma off the foot makes me skeptical  (I wouldn’t expect any strong aromas off a 36-year-old cigar). The Serie D was a very good smoke, one I’d smoke again. It burned well, had a sweetness that I liked and was solidly medium bodied, despite the word “full” on the band. Once I screw up my courage, perhaps I’ll smoke on of the others in the coming weeks. Lars Tetens cigars are still out there, I’ve seen them in a couple of my local shops, and I know he visits Goose’s regularly. I hope to have another opportunity to hang out with him one of these days and pick his brain a little.

 

That’s all for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Smoking Alec Bradley, CAO, Macanudo and My Father Cigars

AlecBradley_Post Embargo_ToroFinally it’s here, the day we’e all been waiting for (me at least), it’s Daylight Savings Time! I don’t even really mind losing the hour, it’s a good trade-off for the extra evening daylight hours. It also means spring is coming, which means summer’s coming, which I like.  I’ll try to find a good cigar to smoke to celebrate today, but for now, I have a few cigars I smoked this week to discuss. I found myself a bit torn between smoking something “new to me” and smoking an old familiar friend, so I did both. Balance is the key to life.  Thursday I lit up an Alec Bradley Post Embargo in the 6½” x 54 Toro size. This one falls into the “new to me” category as I have only smoked one before back in November of last year around the time they were released. I stand by my original thoughts that the wrapper isn’t the most flavorful, but it was a very nice, medium bodied smoke, with some leather and earth, no real sweetness to my palate.  I don’t know that 5 months in the humidor did anything to this cigar one way or the other, but I think it’s another solid Alec Bradley cigar, of which they have many. Their Nica Puro still remains my favorite in the brand.

 

CAO_Flathead_CamshaftThis week was a beautiful week, weather wise, which made for a long week in the office, stuck behind a desk while it was sunny and in the 70s outside. As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to take two wheels to work this week, which makes the commute a little more bearable, but by the time 4:30 hit on Friday I was ready for a sure thing to wrap the week.  After a delicious diner featuring corned beef, I grabbed my final CAO Flathead 554, which was probably a leftover from samples I received when they were first released. I punched this with my ScrewPop 2.0 punch (the website lists a 3.0 now, I’ll have to find out how they improved this already fine tool) and lit it up. This must have had one vein in a leaf near the foot with a lot of oils left in it, because I got a runner that got nearly an inch ahead of the rest of the burn. This didn’t have any effect on the flavors of dark, black coffee and cocoa, which I love in this Broadleaf wrapped beauty. At some point in the future there’s going to be a box of Flatheads in my humidor, I’m just now sure which one.  CAO has just announced the release of two smaller sizes in the Connecticut Habana wrapped Steel Horse line, the Handbrake (4.5” x 50 – SRP per cigar is $6.99) and the Roadkill (5.5 x 54 – SRP per cigar is $7.00) which I’ll need to try before making a decision. I might just have to load up on singles of all the sizes just to have variety.

 

macanudovintage1997Saturday afternoon I took a walk with a Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997.  I bought a handful of these a few years back at my local shop, they were reasonably priced, and there were only a few left in the box, which I wanted as I had seen them making these boxes in the factory when I was there in 2011. That box sits on my desk holding things like cords and flash drives and is  a pleasant reminder of that trip. I’ve had this cigar floating around the humidor for about four years now, and with the big metal band it has, it’s always been a bit awkward. I worried about it damaging other cigars, or having the 1997 Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper damaged by something else since it’s uncello’d. So I smoked it, and it was good. This has a Honduran binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Brazil and the DR, and is a really nice maduro cigar. Macanudo’s are often dismissed as mild and flavorless, I’ve not found that to be the case with the maduros. This was a refined blend with some sweet and spicy notes, quite entertaining. I think these are still around and worth trying if you like a good maduro. One thing that was very surprising on that trip back in 2011, by the last day my palate was pretty fried after smoking cigars nonstop for several days, so I grabbed a regular old Macanudo Maduro and I  could taste it!  Now, I just need to figure out what to do with the metal band (and where I stashed my other ones…), it reminds me of my old Boy Scout neckerchief slides, although I hardly think that would be tolerated in this day and age.

 

MyFather_NicaraguadeOro_RobustoLast night I was in an exploratory mood, so I selected a cigar from CDMCigars.com‘s exclusive collection, the My Father Oro de NicaraguaRobusto. Holy crap was this a great cigar! There’s not a lot of information about the blend on the website, as I’ve complained about before, so I can’t tell you what differentiates this from the regular My Father line, but I can tell you it’s very good. It’s smooth, rich,  loaded with a bunch of flavors and is interesting right down to the nub.  If I’m not craving a sweet, mocha maduro, this is exactly what I want a cigar to be.  It wouldn’t be a My Father cigar without a little spice right at the start, and this one had it, although it was far more subtle.  I’m going to have to pick up some of the regular My Father line , or rummage through the humidors to see if I have one, which happens more than I’d like to admit…Thanks to Craig at CDMCigars.com for sharing this great smoke. I imagine they have these in the Casa de Monteristo store in Chicago?  These also come in a bunch of cool sizes.

 

That’s it for now, I have somethings that need doing today that I’m going to try to get out of the way early, then find something good to smoke this afternoon, and maybe something this evening to celebrate the extended daylight!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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