Tag Archives: Avo

Gurkha, La Palina, Avo and a Quick Draw Cigar


I took the easy way out on Wednesday with the La Sirena video, so I have a bunch of cigars to talk about this week. Not unexpectedly, the video is now in the number three spot in views on my YouTube channel, behind a La Sirena interview from the 2012 IPCPR. That shows something, I have to figure out what that is…Anyway, I started the week with a teeth cleaning followed by a Gurkha Founders Reserve in the Rothschild 6×58 size.  That’s what the box (of 10) that they gave me at the IPCPR show says, Gurkha_FoundersReserve_RothschildI initially thought it was the XO size, 6″ x 60, like there’s a huge difference between 58 and 60…and usually reliable sources list the sizes as   Robusto (5 x 50), Rothschild (6 x 55) and XO (6 x 60), yet it says 6 x 58 right there on the box, and I measured one and it was close enough to the 60 hole to make me think it was a 60 (my ring gauge checker is old, it jumps from 56 to 60 and doesn’t go any larger). Gurkha fails to list the sizes on the website too, which is frustrating. I’ve bitched about it before, but the manufacturer’s website should be the last word in specifics on a cigar, not blogs of retailers. I’m worked up now, maybe I need to smoke another of the Gurkha Founders Reserve  whatever size it is, because it was a really tasty Connecticut shade wrapped cigar. I really enjoyed the crap pout of the cigar, it was a really tasty medium bodied cigar with a great burn and draw. I suspect this is a brick and mortar exclusive, like the cellar reserve line, and is in the $10 price range, but it very enjoyable. Here’s a few pictures I took a the Gurkha booth at the show.



LaPalina_Nicaragua_OscuroMy eye was drawn to the La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro robusto next. La Palina’s website gives the sizes and nothing else. This is a 5″ x 52 Robusto, made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, and wrapped with a Ecuador Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan fillers. I’m not sure what “Ecuador Oscuro” exactly means, and the rest of the make-up is vague. Again, it hardly matters as it’s a tasty smoke. It’s up my alley with the rich, coffee/cocoa flavors I like, with a hint of spice. It burned well, had a good draw and was a very nice experience. I smoked a prototype of this a few years ago I think. On a side note, I’ve been obsessed with the Adorini Double Punch cutter, and have been using it all the time. It features two punches, 9mm and a huge 13mm. I find myself using the 13mm (which is about a half an inch, or 32 ring gauge) almost all the time, it opens up the cigar almost as much as when I use a guillotine cutter. It’s sharp and has a strong magnet that keeps the three pieces together. It’s a quality piece and I’m using it a lot. The La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro is a good smoke, I look forward to smoking the Nicaragua Connecticut.


Avo_SouthAmericaRitmo_SpecialToroNext up was a new offering from Davidoff’s Avo line, the Ritmo in the Syncro line. I’ve smoked a few Avo cigars, most aren’t in my wheelhouse, frankly, I don’t “get” a lot of them. Some people love them, everyone has different tastes, most of the Avos don’t do it for me. This one, on the other hand, was delicious. This cigar boasts a seven country blend, Ecuador wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers from Peru, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Honduras. Yep, that’s seven, I counted. I really enjoyed this cigar, it was very good. Did I mention the size? It was the 6″ x 60 Special Toro, and the box press was very comfortable. It was creamy, with some wood and citrus notes, as well as some spice and bitter chocolate. This was definitely my favorite Avo ever. It’s sad that Avo isn’t with us any longer, and I hope Davidoff continues to pay homage to him by creating great cigars in his name.


SouthernDraw_QuckDrawPennsylvaniaFinally, I got home late last night and took a quick dog-walk with a Quick Draw Pennsylvania Petite Corona from Southern Draw. This is a 4½” x 44 cigar with a pigtail cap and a covered foot. This was perfect for my late walk. The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper really has some oomph! It’s grown about 20 miles from where I live, so I’m drawn to cigars with Pennsylvania tobacco in the blend. Since this one had the pigtail cap, I skipped the punch and lopped off the cap with a Palio, and took torch to foot without toasting to get that blast of the PA Broadleaf that the covered foot offers. This was an hour of bliss, it had a nice kick, certainly satisfying and really quite a cigar. This is another cigar from Tabacalera AJ Fernandez. I don’t think I’ve had a Southern Draw Cigar that I didn’t like a lot. I’m sad that I missed Robert Holt on his recent swing through PA, I need to hurry up and become independently wealthy so I’m not stuck at work when all the fun stuff is happening!  This little cigar has a big flavor and had an impressive burn time, I think I spent about an hour with it!


That’s all for now. Thoughts continue to be with our friends in the Houston area, as well as the many friends we have in Florida,  which is being pummeled by mother nature as I write this. I hope everyone get through safely and with minimal destruction. Give what you can for the relief efforts, people need help.


Until the next time,




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La Aurora, a Cornelius and Anthony Event, Avo and a CAO Cigar

Don’t forget to go back to Wednesday’s post and enter to win a ticket to the Philly Cigar Festival being held on June 3, 2017! I will select a winner on Wednesday, so if you think you can make the trip to south-eastern Pennsylvania, put your name in the hat! This promises to be a very cool event!


So, I smoked a few cigars this week, I’ll mention a few of them, there were some I won’t mention either because I’ve talked about them before, or there was something strange going on…for instance, one cigar I really enjoyed in the past had a very strange and awful flavor about mid way through akin to burning plastic. My guess is that a piece of the plastic string they use to tie the hands of tobacco together in the fermenting process may have gotten mixed in the bunch somehow, at least that’s what I want to believe. It’s easier to wrap my mind around that explanation than think of what other foreign objects might have made their way in there. Stuff happens and it’s just unfortunate that it was my last example of this particular cigar. Fortunately, there are plenty of other great cigars to choose from! Mi Queridas seem to be smoking very well, and a 2015 LG Diez Lusitano from La Flor Dominicana was a real treat this week.  Another treat was a La Aurora 1903 Cameron robusto, the third new cigar from La Aurora’s Time Capsule series, following the LaAurora_1903Cameroon_Robusto 1987 Connecticut and the 1962 Corojo. This has a Cameroon wrapper, Ecuador Sumatra binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. I have a special affinity for the La Aurora line, it’s special to me personally, but that’s not to say I enjoy a great many of their cigars. I half expected this one to remind me of the first box of cigars I bought back on 1996, the La Aurora Bristol Especiale (I think it was around $40 for the box). I never really took to those, they seemed to have a vegetal flavor that I didn’t care for. I didn’t find that to be the case at all with the 1903 Cameron, it had that unique Cameroon sweetness (Camerooniness, I call it), and was a very pleasant cigar. I know I’ve enjoyed the Connecticut in the past, but that’s coming up in the rotation real soon, I think, as I somehow failed to make mention of smoking it in the past. Good stuff from La Aurora and thank you to Jason at Miami Cigar and Co. for keeping me up to date on these.


stevenbaileyFriday evening I finally made it back to Cigar Mojo in King of Prussia, PA for a Cornelius and Anthony event where I finally met Steven Bailey, the owner of the company.  I’ve been pretty high on this newer brand for the better part of a year now, with the Cornelius toro making an appearance on my end of year memorable cigars list, and will be the subject of my Cigar Notes feature in the May/June issue of Prime Living Magazine (due on Texas newstands in May). I learned a few things about Steven, who has a successful cigarette CorneliusandAnthony_Meridian_torocompany which basically bankrolls the premium cigar start-up. Steven has experience with the FDA, having one of two cigarette brands that has been approved by the FDA, out of something like 12,000 applications. He has the experience (and the financial wherewithal) to keep his four excellent lines on the market. Of the four lines, I like the Cornelius the best, with the Meridian a close second, with the Daddy Mac close behind.  I haven’t smoked enough of the Venganza to make a good judgement yet. The Cornelius is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami with the other three coming from Eric Espinosa’s La CorneliusandAnthonyTableZona factory in Esteli. As I sat chatting with Steven, Todd Vance and Jose Galvez (Steven’s faithful minions), I smoked a Meridian toro, which I liked better than the robusto, and I liked the robusto a lot. In the toro I think the strength was tempered a little, and there was an interesting cinnamon note midway through. I think buying a box of these is in my future. It was a great time at Mojo, great cigars, and very happy to meet Steven and his crew. Cornelius and Anthony is a brand to watch, and is high on my list.


AvoSyncroYesterday I smoked a little Avo Syncro  robusto since Avo Uvezian passed away on Friday at the age of 91. I never had the pleasure of meting Avo, but many people I know knew him and spoke highly of him. The Avo line (not unlike many of the La Aurora cigars) doesn’t line up with my particular tastes all the time, but he’s certainly left a legacy with many fans of his cigars. I do like the Syncro, perhaps the Nicaraguan component works better for my palate than the Dominican. Not only did Avo lend his name to cigars, but he also wrote “Strangers in the Night” for Sinatra and was obviously an accomplished musician. I never shook the man’s hand, but he was beloved by many, another cigar industry icon has left us (at an advanced age if that says anything).


CAO_AmazonBasinLast night I finally got around to smoking a CAO Amazon Basin. I recently picked up the last one in a box at a local shop, and this is from the second generation of the line I would think. These got rave reviews, it’s certainly unique in its presentation, with a band made from what I guess to be twisted tobacco coiled around the cigar. CAO is another brand that I really love a couple of their lines and other’s are just “eh”, sadly this one fell into the second category. Give me any Flathead over this any day of the week. Not that it was a bad cigar, although it took a bit of coaxing with the lighter to get lit right, then tunneled a little on my at the midpoint. I didn’t find it to be spectacular, although the last third was getting there and by the time I peeled off the band it was pretty hard to put down. Not sure if  I got a flukey one or it need more time in the humidor or what. I am an optimist when it comes to cigars, and it takes a lot for me to give up on a cigar, usually seeing it through to the end, with worked in this case, because the cigar redeemed itself, but it’s sometimes tough to poser through when a cigar starts out questionably. CAO’s Rick Rodriguez was in the area Friday night at another of my favorite shops, sadly I missed him this time around.


That’s all for today, don’t forget to enter the contest! Until the next time,




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Avo Syncro, RoMaCraft Cigars at SMoKE Manayunk and a Tatuaje

Avo_SyncroNicaraguan_RobustoThere are so many cigars out there, it’s really hard to smoke them all, yet I keep trying!  I’ve smoked the Avo Syncro Nicaraguan in the Short Robusto and Toro size and, like many Avo cigars, I found them enjoyable, but isn’t really get what the hype was. Perfectly good cigars, but nothing particularly special to me (I really liked the XO though). A couple of weeks ago my friends at Famous Smoke Shop send me some of the Avo Syncro Nicaraguan and I was excited as I really want to like these and appreciate the opportunity to try them in another size. The robusto is a box pressed 5″x 50, with a milk chocolate-brown wrapper, which is actually Ecuador Connecticut,  and it has some Nicaraguan Ometepe, Dominican and Peruvian fillers. It’s a solid smoke, medium bodied with some balanced and interesting flavors. So far, this might be my favorite in the bunch, it’s got a little sweet, and a little spice, quite entertaining. I may try to sneak another one of these in today, the Short Robusto might fit my walk today from the Philadelphia Art Museum to the Kimmel Center for the Philly Pops concert. Thanks, once again, to Cory at Famous Smoke Shop for sharing the Avo Syncro Robusto with me.


Friday evening we went down to SMoKE Manayunk to visit with Skip and Mike of RoMaCraft Tobac as they have been on a tour of Philadelphia cheesesteak purveyors and have been taking breaks to have cigar events. First, a little about SMoKE and Manayunk. Manayunk is a very hip main street area in Philadelphia, with loads of bars and restaurants, so there were a ton of younger 20-SMoKE Manayunksomething folks around, and it was pretty impressive how many came in to hang out and smoke cigars. SMoKE is BYOB, so many people brought in their own beer, wine or liquor and they have refrigerators behind the bar. Kosta is the owner, and has a very good staff headed up by Spencer McGuire, who recently left his post as brand manager of Emilio Cigars.  The staff is attentive, constantly emptying ashtrays and seeing to the customer’s needs, as well as helping people in the large and well stocked humidor. The lounge is 3000 square feet, has a very industrial, distressed feel to the decor, and is welcoming and comfortable. The only downside is the parking. I found out the hard way that on street parking can cost $26 if you exceed the 1 hour limit, which I guess I was supposed to know without signing close by (oddly, the “Parking Enforcement” vehicle was parked a car ahead of me and was there longer than I was…I hate double standards!). So the $10 lot nearby would have been a better deal it turns out. It was starting to get crowded when we left, which is pretty cool for a cigar lounge.


FomarianSo I perused the selection of RoMaCraft cigars they had, and settled on a couple of the Candela Fomorians (I spelled that wrong elswhere), a Neanderthal  Shallow Gene Pool, and a couple of CroMagnon Atlatl lanceros, since I like lanceros and Kosta has probably the best selection of that vitola in the area, so when in Rome…anyway, I lit up a Fomorian (along with Mike and Skip) and proceeded to hang out. I’ve known these guys since 2011, which is about when they launched the CroMagnon line, and they make some outstanding cigars. The Fomorian is the CroMagnon blend of Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan fillers, with the Broadleaf wrapper replaced with a fragile Candela wrapper in the 5″ x 56 EMH size.  The combination is really quite amazing, there’s the sweetness of the Cameroon, the depth of the Nicaraguan, with that refreshing flavor of the Candela. Along with the long ago discontinued Camacho Candela, this is the best representation of a Candela cigar I’ve had the SGPpleasure of tasting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a few, but this one has some giddyup to it, great cigar.  I followed that with a little Neanderthal Shallow Gene Pool, the smaller (4½ x 52) sibling of the Neanderthal HN, which I absolutely loved. This cigar has a San Andrés wrapper and a Pennsylvania Double Ligero, which is unusually high in nicotine. You wouldn’t know it, the cigar is very smooth with a great flavor.  If these weren’t in the $11+ range, I would smoke these all the time, so good. Interesting to note, lots of nicotine before bedtime makes for a restless night with crazy dreams, at least that was my experience. It could be that, as Skip pointed out, I’m the oldest young guy he knows, which I took as a compliment since I’m pretty old…anyway, it was a great night, smoking great cigars and hanging out at a great place with great folks.


Tatuaje_Reserva_J21Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, and after getting some things done around the yard, I relaxed on the porch with a Tatuaje Reserva J21. These are made in Miami with a Habano Ecuador wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filer. This is a 5″ x 50 robusto and is quite an attractive cigar, listed as a full strength offering. This was exactly what I needed after working in the yard and running errands. It started out with some spice and moved to espresso, which we all know I like. It was refined and elegant, and I really liked it. I smoke fewer Tatuajes than I really should, because whenever I smoke one it’s a treat. For some reason, in my mind, it’s a cigar that’s special, in much the same way an Opus or Padron Anniversary is. I don’t why I feel that way, but it’s in my head for some reason, and I don’t end up picking them up as often as I should. I’ll work on changing that.


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





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An Avo XO, Some Sobremesa Cigars at Famous and a My Father Connecticut

Avo_XO_LegatoI smoke a lot of different cigar across a wide spectrum, I try not to discriminate based on size, country of origin or manufacturer. So in the latter part of the week I found myself leaning toward the milder end of the spectrum for some reason. Maybe it;s the onset of Spring, I don’t know. Anyway, I started off with an Avo XO Legato, the toro in the line. It was Avo Uvesian’s  90th birthday this past week, so I thought it would be appropriate. This cigar came in a sampler from Davidoff from last year’s IPCPR show, which included some other Avo cigars, some Camacho, Room 101 and BG Meyer cigars.  The Avo XO Legato is 6″ x 54 with an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. The rest of the cigar is Dominican, and it was a nice, creamy cigar with a bit of sweetness. I’ve not been a huge fan of a lot of the Avo lines, but this was a really nice, well-balanced and enjoyable smoke. I see some more Avo sampling in my future.


Sobremesa RobustoLargoFriday evening my wife and I took a trip up to Famous Smoke Shop‘s Leaf Cigar Bar in Easton, PA.  It was about an hour and a half drive, but Steve and Cindy Saka were in town visiting, and we wanted to stop in and say hello. I purchased some of Steve’s Sobremesa Robusto Largo and El Americano cigars as I hadn’t yet sampled the Robusto Largo size yet. Over the course of the evening I smoked said Robusto Largo and a Cervantes Fino generously gifted by Cindy, and thoroughly enjoyed them both, as well as the Sobremesa CervantesFinocompany. Both of the cigars were superb, with the Robusto Largo (5¼ x 52) having rounder, smoother flavors, much like the El Americano toro, and the Cervantes Fino (6¼ x 46) having a little sharper edge.  The Leaf bar and restaurant was hopping, with excellent service. The place is in the same building as Famous Smoke Shop’s enormous warehouse (which I’ve been promised a tour of one day), and it’s located outside of Easton in an industrial park, it’s an odd location for a retail store and lounge, but it still draws a crowd. It was noisy, which taxes my ability to hear conversation, but we had a great time catching up with Steve and Cindy. Later this year it will have been twenty years since the first time I talked to Steve on the phone, back when he was holding the Monthly Officious Taste Test on the alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group, of which I was a part.


Yesterday I relaxed on the porch after a busy day with a cigar that has a special meaning to me, at least over the last year. I selected a My Father Connecticut robusto. From the website (which has music that plays automatically, which I really don’t like):

My Father Connecticut is going to be an extension of the already existing line My Father and My Father Le Bijou; the cigar is blended by Jose “Pepin” Garcia and his son Jaime Garcia at the My Father Cigar Factory in Nicaragua : It features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Nicaragua Corojo 99 Binder and Nicaragua Habano-Criollo filler, all the tobacco coming out of the Garcia’s farms with the exception of the wrapper which comes from Ecuador.

MyFather_Connecticut_RobustoThis is one of my favorite Connecticut wrapped cigars, not that the list of favorites is really short. There are a bunch that I enjoy, but this one is one I purchase and enjoy having in my humidor.  As a matter of fact, there’s a My Father event this week at one of my local shops that I might stop in on and pick up a few more.  It’s creamy, but flavorful and satisfying. I should make a note to buy some larger sizes, as this robusto was nice, but was over too soon. The band and overall presentation is really classy too.


That’s all I got, off to making a big breakfast for the family and eventually getting some nice cigars in this afternoon. Until the next time,





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Avo Syncro, Padilla, La Flor Dominicana, Gurkha and Alec Bradley Cigars

It’s been another busy week, lots of great cigars smoked, and making some progress putting together this year’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways. It should be another good one this year!  I’ve smoked about eight cigars since my last post here, and you may notice I am only featuring five here today. If you follow my Instagram account (here) you can get a pretty good idea what cigars I smoke during the week. There are a few reasons I may not feature a cigar here, sometimes it’s one of my favorites that I go to often, other times I either feel like I need to smoke more to get a handle on the cigar, or the cigar just sucks (to me, every cigar is somebody’s baby, who am I to crap on it just because I don’t like it?). Anyway, that’s a little glimpse into some of my process, which is basically just to unwind with a great cigar in the evenings, not much more to it than that!


Avo_SyncroNicaraguan_ToroLast Sunday I capped off the weekend with the new Avo Syncro Nicaraguan in the box pressed toro size.  This is a great looking 6″ x 54 cigar, and was in the Davidoff IPCPR sampler.  I had previously smoked the Short Robusto, which was featured on The Cigar Authority show, so I was looking forward to a couple of hours of enjoyment from this toro. I received the enjoyment, and I was a little worried because my Avo track record isn’t great. This one is different with the inclusion of tobacco from Ometepe  (the volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua), with the darker Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, Dominican binder and other fillers from the DR and Peru. I found this to be a great smoke, although I cant really say that there’s anything that would send me back to the store for more, there are other cigar in that priced range that have something special to offer. Again, I have a record of not “getting” Avo cigars, so there’s that, but it was a very good cigar, just not particularly notable.


Padila_ReservaSanAndres_RobustoTuesday I took a walk with something new from Padilla, the Reserva San Andrés in the robusto size. I had never met Ernesto Padilla until Victor Vitale introduced me to him at the IPCPR this year. The Reserva also comes in a Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 version, and they are made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, along with some other of my favorite cigars.  Of the three cigars, of course I had to smoke the San Andrés first. This was a very well constructed and slow burning robusto. At one point about half way through the cigar I got an interesting exotic spice flavor that I found quite unique. It didn’t have the tastes I expected, but was excellent anyway, this is one I would buy the next time I see it in a store, and they are priced in the $6 range, so they are quite affordable. Maybe one or both of the other others will get smoked today.


LaFlorDominicana_LG Diez_2015_LusitanoNext up was a La Flor Dominicana LG Diez Vintage 2015 Lusitano which was in a bunch of cigars I received a few weeks ago from Jonathan Carney, VP of Sales at LFD.  The unique thing about this line is that it’s a Dominican puro, and to take it one step further than that, all the tobaccos are grown on La Flor Dominicana’s own farms.  I don’t know what they do at LFD, but their Dominican cigars are unlike any others, in my opinion. I often forget that they are Dominican, they are full-bodied and spicy for the most part, and I really enjoy them. This also comes in a new robusto or Rothschild size that I look forward to sampling. These are pretty awesome cigars that are quite relaxing and satisfying.


Gurkha_Heritage_ToroFriday I went with the new Gurkha Heritage in the Toro size. This cigar comes in a cedar sleeve, and has a Rosado Ecuador Habano wrapper, does it seem like Connecticut Shade wrapper just because of the green ribbon at the foot of the cedar sleeve? I guess I’m just conditioned to see green ribbon on a cedar sleeve and think Fuente Chateau (or Tortuga Connecticut) and expect a milder cigar. This was a solid medium cigar, and it was loaded with  pleasant mellow woody flavors and was a really enjoyable smoke. I expected a mild cigar, and wasn’t in any way let down. Good construction, nice draw and burn, and good flavor. Say what you want about Gurkha, but they do make some great smokes, and this is a winner in my book.


AlecBradley_Post Embargo_ToroFinally, yesterday I smoked the new Alec Bradley Post Embargo in the Toro size. This is a box pressed toro which measures 6¼” x 54, but the box press makes it seem a little thinner.  I smoked the lancero last week and liked it, but wanted to compare it to the larger ring gauge. These have a Honduran wrapper, which in my experience, isn’t the most flavorful of wrappers. I enjoy the flavors in this cigar, it’s a medium bodied, just plain good smoke.  I only picked up a handful of these a week ago, so I’ll be revisiting this as well as the lancero and Robusto in the future, but it seems like another solid line from Alec Bradley. They did a complete makeover of the packaging and bands on the line, and the finished product is quite classy. I’ve been a fan  of Alec Bradley since the Trilogy line back in the mid 2000’s, they continue to produce good cigars, with all but the Fine and Rare series in what I consider the “reasonably priced” category.


That’s all for now. I also smoked a great CAO Flathead Steel Horse and another Sobremesa, this time in the Corona Grande size, and all I can say about the Sobremesa is that I wished it was longer, great cigars that deserve the accolades they are receiving. I hope all of my US readers have a great Thanksgiving celebration with your families, and pick out some great post turkey smokes! Until the next time,





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