Tag Archives: bolivar

Villiger, General Cigar, and Drew Estate Cigars

Since I posted the contest Wednesday (go enter if you haven’t already!), I have a fee more cigars than normal to post about. Bear with me, it was a pretty good week!  We’ll start off with Villiger‘s newest release, the La Flor de Ynclan. A couple of months ago a package arrived at my door that weighed about 12 pounds and I thought “what the heck is in here?” It turned out to be a little box with three La Flor de Ynclan cigars in Churchill, torpedo and robusto sizes, and a bottle of Zaffra Rum, a very generous gift, many thank to the folks at Villiger and Creativas! Most of my loyal readers know that I don’t drink, so one of these days (and I should have done it while the weather was warmer!), I’ll have to have some people over and have them sample this rum and put out a spread of Villiger cigars. From the Villiger website:

 

The La Flor De Ynclan is a special cigar, diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic.

Heinrich Villiger, chairman of the board of Villiger Soehne AG, came across a young ambitious Cuban native 22 years ago in the Dominican Republic. That Cuban, Jose Matias Maragoto was an unknown cigar maker, who was beginning a new life in a new country. Fast forward two decades, the once untested Matias Maragoto is the overseer of all Villiger made product made in the DR. The Flor de Ynclan cigar, is the fruition of a bond between two different men from different backgrounds, over the love of tobacco.

The La Flor De Ynclan is a cigar that presents a distinct full-flavor experience, due to the extended aging of the tobacco. Choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobacco, along with a true Indonesian binder, wrapped in a beautiful Ecuadorian wrapper make the La Flor De Ynclan a cigar that has been worth the wait.

FlordeYnclan

 

I started with the Churchill, a beautiful 7″ x 48 (close enough), with the above-mentioned components. I thought this was a terrific cigar. It was solid medium, and had a quality that I though would suite the European market well. It was complex with some citrus sweetness and a twinge of spice. There have been some Villiger cigars that I really liked, some were so-so, but this one stands apart, I think. It was very tasty, worth a try. I am disappointed that they discontinued the Trill line (made at Tabacalera Palma), although the name is kinda dumb, the cigar is good. I bought a box while I had the chance.

 

BolivarMoving on, I found myself at The Wooden Indian Tobacconist once again where Sean Williams, the Cohiba Brand Ambassador, was appearing for a meet and greet with the lounge membership. I first met Sean at the 2011 IPCPR show, in his El Primer Mundo booth. Ironically, Willie Herrera was hanging out in the booth with him at the same time, so it was also when I met Willie. I got there early and bought some General Cigar Co. cigars that I hadn’t smoked before, as well as a couple of the newer Sean_CohibaBolivars that I’ve enjoyed in the past. The only Cohibas that they had in stock were the Macasar, and I had a couple of those in the humidor already (and they are really pricey!). I was in the mood for Broadleaf, so the Bolivar 652 Toro was the smoke of choice. I know, I know, the Bolivar has a Connecticut Habano Maduro wrapper, not Broadleaf, but it was as close as I was going to get, OK?  This was released at the 2015 IPCPR show, and was Michael Giannini’s project re-imagining the Bolivar (and Ramon Allones). I like the box design, but I can’t say I love the band, it could have been classier, not Rami_Generalthat my opinion counts. I wonder what Mr. Giannini is up to? The Bolivar cigar is great, to my palate. I dig the closed foot and pigtail cap on these and they are very well priced. Anyway, it was a great evening at the Wooden Indian. Dave and his staff are top-notch and it was nice catching up with Sean ( and Rami, the area sales rep, another cool dude).  One last thing about this cigar. It’s neither on the Cigarworld.com or the Foundry websites, the only info I have is from the General Cigar Co. press info from the show.

 

LigaPrivadaSerieUnico_AI slipped back and forth between General Cigar Co. and Drew Estate this week, but I was probably heavier on the DE. I had to smoke another of the Florida Sun Grown toros since I bought a few more at the Wooden Indian charity event, and it was pretty darned tasty. Friday I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to smoke, and decided to go big and smoke a Liga Privada Serie Unico “A” that came from the Connecticut Barn Smoker. I probably should have swapped it for one from the 2014 two count box, but I was too lazy.  An “A” is a traditional Cuban size, it’s 9″ x 47, two notable examples being the Cuban Montecristo and the Sancho Panza Sancho. I took a walk with this cigar and when I got home an hour later I was just hitting the 6″ mark.  It was delicious, but due to its length, was on the milder side for a Liga Privada. It’s a good cigar, no doubt, and actually burned faster than I would have thought, I was finished in a little over two hours. From what I can tell, this is more of a T52 blend as it has the Connecticut stalk cut Habano wrapper, so I guess I’m still looking to satisfy my Broadleaf desire. I’ll find something today. These are only available at events, and are probably considered something of a unicorn in the Liga Privada world. I loved it, I thought it was delicious, but if I had ponied up a bunch of $ on the secondary market I’d have felt a little let down.

 

AcidKubaCandelaSince the current contest features a Drew Estate Acid KubaKuba Candela, I was kinda challenged to smoke one. Fortunately, I had one, as well as a couple of the little Blondie Candelas. I could have wimped out and went with the Blondie and gotten it over with, but why not just go for the gusto?  The regular KubaKuba is just distasteful to me, can’t even stand the smell.  I smoked a Kuba Maduro once in Nicaragua after about eight cigars and it was enjoyable. I entered this with as open a mind as I could muster, and, to lend credence to that, I didn’t take a spare cigar on my walk. I was committed (or should be). Happy to report that I enjoyed the cigar. The Candela wrapper has some bitterness that counters the sweet floweryness of the infusion. If one doesn’t like Candela cigars, I don’t imagine this one is going to change that opinion, because the grassy candellaness (my made up word for the day) is apparent. But, like it’s siblings in the Acid line, it’s well made with quality tobaccos. If you like the Acid line, try this, it’s probably going to be interesting. If you like Candela wrapped cigars, try this. If you don’t like either Candela or infused, I don’t know what to tell you…maybe this one would be a good change of pace, open your mind!

 

I was going to add one more cigar in here, but it’s getting long, I’ll circle back to that cigar. It was good and came highly recommended, I want to smoke another one and pay a little more attention to it before writing about it. Also, I bought a ticket to a Meet and Greet with Ernesto Carillo at the CigarCigars King of Prussia Mall store (smoke while your wife shops!) on Wednesday, October 11 which seems like a good deal, $25 for three cigars, booze and hors d’oeuvres and the chance to talk to a legend in the cigar business. Interestingly, this is a General Cigar event, featuring the new La Gloria Cubana Colleccion Reserva.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time, when we’ll select a contest winner,

 

CigarCraig

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CigarCraig’s Holiday Contest Number Four: General Cigar Co. and the Tommy Bahama Winner

Davidoff GolfI hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. As JJO suggested in his comment on the last post, it turns out I did have better things to do yesterday than post the winner, including having a big breakfast at our daughter’s house with the granddaughters and our kids, then taking a drive to visit more family in New Jersey. While at my bro-in-law’s in Jersey I got to smoke a glorious Sobremesa Short Churchill, which was wonderful. Christmas Eve I managed to smoke a Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition, a gorgeous 6″ x 55 toro. These are presented in a five pack, ostensibly four cigars for your golf foursome, and one with a gold secondary band for the winner. These carry a pretty hefty price-tag , $114 for 5 at CI, who starts off the description with “Some things Bolivarare matches made in heaven – like bacon and eggs, mac and cheese, and of course, golf and cigars. “, which I find to be a rather pedestrian way to start a paragraph about a pretty expensive cigar! Anyway, it was a spectacular smoke, even though I don’t golf. It had loads of creamy, spicy flavors that were quite entertaining. It turned out to be pretty hard to find something suitable to follow such a stellar smoke, so I went with a Bolivar Royal Corona that had been floating around the humidor for 5 years or so. It was up to the task and was a great smoke, on the milder side, on par with the Davidoff. It was a pretty great couple of cigars on a reasonably nice winter’s day.

 

Contest!

GCCLet’s keep it going! I have some goodies from General Cigar for today’s giveaway!  There’s a Punch Bobblehead, a tin CAO Flathead Steel Horse sign, a pair of very nice La Gloria Cubana Cigar Scissors, and a Macanudo Inspirado Colibri Grip cutter, which is rubberized with orange blades, very sharp-looking. It’s hard to say what else might fall into the shipping box while I’m packing it up too, it’s been known to happen. Anyway, usual rules apply, leave a comment to enter,  I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday!

 

Winner!

 

Island LifestyleI almost forgot to announce the winner fo the Tommy Bahama ashtray and travel humidor, and Island Lifestyle Cigars!  I wore my blue check Tommy Bahama shirt yesterday with my blue check Vans, it was quite the look.  Many thanks to Ryan at Island Lifestyle Importers for providing this wonderful present! I can’t say how much I like the Tommy Bahama branded stuff, my wife told me I was crazy to give it away! But, giving is so much fun, so it’s off to Random.org to find the winner!  I’m not sure how this happened, but the winner is Andy Klueber.  Every once in a while someone calls their shot, but Andy chose the opposite, pessimistically entering saying he wasn’t going to win, several times! His number came up this time, and I’ll be sending him some great stuff!

 

That’s all for now! I got some chicken harnesses for Christmas so I can try taking chickens for a walk instead of Macha, that should get the neighbors talking….until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Welcome to 2016 with Sobremesa, CAO, Bolivar and Joya de Nicaragua and Tops of 2015

It’s 2016 already!  It’s hard to believe we’re now in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century! Hopefully everything remains status quo in the cigar industry with the pending FDA nonsense and all. Today wraps up an almost two-week vacation for me, I have to summon the will to get up and go to work tomorrow! But I managed to squeeze a lot of fun in that two weeks.  My wife and I celebrated New Year’s by ringodriving to Cleveland, OH to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there.  We got there Wednesday afternoon after driving all day, wandered into the casino around the corner from our hotel, and it smelled funny. I expect casinos to have a smokey aroma, and this one smelled clean.  Very strange, apparently Ohio has a pretty strict indoor smoking law, so we didn’t spend very long there. It was damned cold there too, so smoking a cigar outside wasn’t happening either.  Luckily, on the way back from visiting the Hall of Fame, which was great, cousinsBolivar_550although it seems like the singers and guitar players get all the glory, very few drum sets on display, we visited Cousins Cigars.  This shop had a smoking area, was ringed with cabinet humidors, and had a very nice classic selection. I picked up some of the new Bolivars and lit one up, and it was very good.  Is still don’t care for the bands, but the cigar is right up my alley, rich, dark and full flavored. It was a great way to end 2015, and the gentlemen in the lounge were very friendly and welcoming, and Sam, the shopkeeper was excellent as well.  I’d say this is a place to visit if you find yourself in Cleveland.

 

Sobremesa_El AmericanoMy first couple cigars of 2016 were pretty great. I started off with a Sobremesa El Americano Friday after driving home, mostly through snow.  As I’ve come to expect, this is a complex and delicious cigar with subtle and nuanced flavors.  Definitely a special occasion cigar. I still want to try the Robusto Largo size, but so far this is my favorite of the sizes I’ve tried. Yesterday I took a nice walk with a CAO Flathead Steel Horse Apehanger, ironically, the subject of the last giveaway CAO Flathead Steel Horse Apehangerof 2015, the winner of which will be announced in a bit. I really like the Flathead line in general, and I like what they did changing the wrapper from the Connecticut Broadleaf on the box pressed line, to a Connecticut Habano Oscuro on the round Steel Horse line. I  can’t imagine whoever wins these will be unhappy as they are a really good smoke to my palate. I still can’t figure out why the Steel Horse line extension isn’t listed on their website though, JoyadeNicaragua_CuatroCincoReservaEspecial_Toroyet the fact that the 660 Carb was Cigar Aficionados number 3 is noted (as it should be).  I finished off the day with a Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial Toro. This cigar was released at last year’s IPCPR show, a tweaked version of the 2013 Cuatro Cinco that celebrated the companies 45 year anniversary. I guess Cuatro Siete was awkward. To me, this is reminiscent of the Antaño Dark Corojo with the rough edges knocked off. Its much more refined and smooth.  This is another great smoke to wrap up the New Years holiday.

 

While everyone else in the blogosphere is posting their lists of favorite cigars of the year, It was a very weird year for me, and with everything that went on for me personally, I will continue my tradition of not making a list. It gets easier every year not to make a list!  There were a lot of great cigars, and everyone’s palate is different. Kudos to everyone else for putting forth the effort to complete these lists.  For me, once again the important thing is the interaction with the readers. I resolve to do a better job of responding to the comments here, I appreciate every one of them and will do better at following up.  So my top five list is my loyal commentors:

 

Top5Commenters2015

 

Somehow Dan missed  commenting on 28 posts this year, as I hit an even 100 posts in 2015. So there’s your goal for 2016, make the list! I really do appreciate everyone reading along with my nonsense, thank you!

 

SteelHorse_LROn the contest results! This one actually got more entries than any of the 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways this year. Maybe I need to rethink the way I do the December contests!  I have a few months to think about it.  The random number generator gave me 38, which corresponds to Bob Langmaid!  Please send me your address Bob! Hopefully you’ll share some of these with the other Langmaids I’ve seen entries from in contests over the years!  🙂  Once again, many thanks to Victoria at General Cigar Co. for sending this great box along to give away, and to Ricky Rodriguez and Ed McKenna at CAO for making great cigars. Please don’t expect another contest for a while, I’m all giveaway’d out!

 

That’s it for today!  I’ve got a Prime Living article due this week that I have to finish up this week, and some Christmas cleanup yet to do around the house, and a lot of “last day of vacation” stuff to get to, including taking a nice cigar for a long walk!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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A Gurkha, a 1502, New Bolivar and Ramon Allones Cigars

Gurkha_CellarReserve_Platinum_HedonismThursday I dug into the sampler pack that Gurkha gave me at the trade show, and came out of it with the newest addition to their Cellar Reserve line, the 12 year aged Platinum in the 6″ x 58 Hedonism size. This is a nice perfecto shaped cigar with a Ecuador Oscuro wrapper (and I can’t guess what actual varietal that might be, couple be a Connecticut fermented to a dark color, or something else…hard to tell). The band boasts a “blend strength” of 98%, again, not sure what that means as it was a perfect medium in strength to my palate. It also has a Nicaraguan binder and 12 year old fillers from Esteli, Congega and Jalapa in Nicaragua. It’s made in the Dominican Republic. Aside from all the marketing buzzwords and vague information on the blend, what I found it to be was a very good tasting cigar. It was creamy and smooth and quite nice.  There was no shortage of flavor, it was by no means mild, and was probably my second favorite of the four blends in the Cellar Reserve line, second to the maduro Limitada with the Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. I owe the Edicion Especial with the Corojo wrapper another shot as I smoked one in New Orleans outside in hot, soupy weather and it wasn’t the best representation of that cigar I don’t think. There are quite a few Gurkha cigars I like, and this happens to be one of them.

 

1502_BlackGold_ToroFriday I wrapped up the work week with a 1502 Black Gold toro that I had in the humidor for a couple years.  This has always been my favorite in the 1502 range, it’s got a deep, dark maduro wrapper that I want to say is San Andrés from Mexico if I recall.  I like the way the wrapper leaf is folded around the foot off the cigar on all the lines, it’s a nice touch, and you get a little bit more wrapper flavor on the light. It has to add cost to the process though.  Anyway, it was 1502 owner Enrique Sanchez’ birthday Friday, so I thought it seemed appropriate to smoke one of his cigars. I had some trouble keeping this one lit for some reason, but it has the dark and dirty black coffee and earth flavor that I really like. All of the 1502 cigars are great smokes, this one, when it burns right, is always a favorite. Oddly, when I smoked the 1502 line in the Lancero size last year, I think the Emerald was my favorite, and the same with the coronas. Maybe the flavor I really like from the Black Gold wrapper needs to be tempered by more filler, too much of a good thing, you know.

 

Bolivar_550As usual, when I toured General Cigar‘s booth at the IPCPR show, I had no idea what to expect from their Foundry division. I knew that  Sam Leccia was working under that umbrella, but one never can tell what’s going on in the creative mind of Michael Giannini.  I was surprised to find that his latest project was the re-imagining of the Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands.  I sparked up the Bolivar first in the 550 size. This has an unfinished foot and a curly-q pigtail cap, and is a nice, dark cigar. As is the custom with Foundry, all we know about the blend is that it’s  six country blend. If FTC_Bolivar_LRI had to guess, I’d say this has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, based on the delicious and lush espresso/cocoa flavor. As you might guess, I really liked this cigar, it had the dark, bitter flavors I like, with a hint of sweetness.  It burned perfectly and that uncut foot gave a huge blast of wrapper flavor on the light. The box art is pretty sharp, featuring images of the bands that Bolivar has used over the one hundred or so years it’s been on the market. I am not over fond of the bands on the cigars, though, I am afraid it makes the cigar look like an inexpensive bundle instead of the fine premium cigar that it is.

 

Ramon Allones_550The Ramon Allones 550 shares the same sizes as the Bolivar line, but is a Nicaraguan puro, and that’s all the information available on the blend.  The presentation follows the same theme as well, with the Ramon Allones having a blue band where the Bolivar has red.  I will never forget the first Cuban Ramon Allones I ever smoked, a “Specially Selected” robusto back in the late ’90s. This cigar was so peppery that I could still feel the tingle on my tongue the next day.  I’ve had others since and never had that much pepper, but still enjoyed the cigars.  The new version Michael Giannini has put together has FTC_Ramon-Allones_LRnone of that. Once again, the uncut foot showcases the dark Nicaraguan wrapper upon lighting, and it’s a blast of what I can only associate with sourdough bread.  The sourdough flavor persisted throughout the cigar. Again, the construction was perfect, and it burned and drew great.  I have to say, I would lean toward the Bolivar if I had to choose between the two, I’m not a fan of the sour flavors, but there are those who are, and the Ramon Allones is a very good choice if that is your preference.  I look forward to trying both of these in the other sizes to see how they differ. Again, I’d like to see a classier band, but that’s just me, there’s no denying that they will stand out on the shelf.

 

One thing I’ve noticed as I’m writing this article is that companies are still slow to update their websites to reflect the new releases. It’s now almost two months after the IPCPR show where some of these cigars were released and the only information I can find are on media sites. I should think that should be a priority in 2015, and it’s not that difficult to expensive to do, like the old days when they would have to re-print a catalog or something. It’s just something that continues to befuddle me. On another note, since my wife is going to be selling books at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention near Baltimore this weekend, I am going to be looking for cigar shops to waste time in. The Humidour in Cockeysville, MD is first on the list, but if anyone is in the area please let me know, I will be down there Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That’s enough from me, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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4th of July Cigars, an Oliva, a La Gloria, and Hoyo De Monterrey Reposados Contest No.2

As I mentioned in my previous post, the 4th of July was my 25th wedding anniversary, so special cigars were in order. I have a humidor that my wife had custom made for me for our 10th anniversary in which I keep a selection of “special cigars”, some Opus X and Ashton VSG, a couple of specially rolled cigars that I can’t see ever smoking, and a handful of Havanas collected over the years. It’s my custom to select from this humidor on my anniversary.  I selected an old favorite, a Bolivar Belicosos Finos for my first celebratory smoke. I know what you’re thinking, this is usually a breakfast cigar!  OK, that’s an old joke most won’t get.  The Belicosos Finos, or BBF, or Boli Beli, has a reputation as a strong cigar.  The Havana Bolivar line has long been a favorite of mine, but more for the interesting flavors than the strength.  I once had a Coronas Gigantes that tasted line cinnamon, the first and only time I remember tasting that in a cigar.  Anyway, this Boli Beli was enjoyed after a dinner out with my wife for our anniversary.  It had been in my humidor over a year, and I have no idea how old it was when it came into my possession, but I suspect that it would have been ready to go.  I can see that this cigar would have been fine if I had waited several more years to smoke it, but it hit the spot.  I will say that every Cuban cigar I have smoked over the last few years really proves the point that cigars from the rest of the cigar producing countries have caught up and in many ways surpassed Cuba.  There still remains a flavor, a “twang”, if you will, that sets Havana cigars apart from the rest.  An awesome cigar to celebrate a wonderful day.

 

We can watch our town’s fireworks from our front porch, which is preferable to  battling the crowds in my opinion.  Sure, there are some trees obscuring the view of some of the lower altitude fireworks, but it’s still nice to be at home for the show.  I went back to the anniversary humidor and selected a little Ashton Virgin Sungrown Tres Mystique for the show.  This cigar has been in that humidor for well over 5 years, I honestly can’t remember where it came from, certainly in a trade or something like that.  It’s a 4 3/8 x 44 petit corona with a beautiful dark brown wrapper that glistens with oil.  I have to describe the smoke as lush and meaty, like a great steak.  I wish it had been a little longer, as I had to put it down before the show ended.  That’s OK, it was a stellar cigar, worthy of the moment.  I forgot to snap a photo of it before I lit it up, so the photo here is from Ashton’s website (which will explain it’s superior quality!).

 

Thursday, after a delicious sausage, peppers and pasta dinner made by my wife, and a relaxing swim in the pool, I came home and dug out an Oliva Serie G Belicoso and took the dog for a walk.  The last natural version of this cigar let me down a little, but this one had Camerooniness all over the place!  It burned well and tasted great. I don’t think I would have wanted to smoke this in the pool, the wrapper is a little too delicate for that, but it was perfect for relaxing after.  Nice cigar and quite reasonably priced.

 

Friday evening I had La Gloria Cubaba Serie N on my mind, and dug out the last one from over a year ago, a 5½” x 54 JSB.  I love the dark, oily wrapper on these, and I’ll never forget getting to see the “N” being painstakingly applied in the factory when I visited. They have a punch, like a paper punch, that punches the “N”s out of light colored leaves.  The “N”s are all over the benches and the poor ladies have to carefully apply them just right on the cigar.  It’s a neat touch that sets this cigar apart from the rest.  Another thing that sets it apart are the rich and dark flavors. This cigar is darned tasty!  It’s dark maduro Ecuador Sumatra wrapper is delicious, but mine didn’t want to stay light as well as I’d like.  Still, a nice smoke, I’d buy a box in a heartbeat (and the box is way cool too).

 

Contest!

 

Once again, it’s contest time!  I have another two (2) three-packs of Hoyo de Monterrey Reposados en Cedros cigars for one reader who leaves a comment on this post.  I got a timely response from last week’s winner, Allen, and his cigars will be heading out to his duty station where ever that may be next week.  So, leave a comment, tell your friends, win some cigars courtesy of our friends at General Cigars.  If you haven’t already, head over to HoyodeMonterreycigar.com and enter to win a box of these.  They are giving a box away every day through the end of the month!  (note: There is still the CAO Last Stick Standing contest going on at lss.caocigars.com too!)  Please note, the prize is the two 3-packs.  The photo here has a display representing of the special “Inmersion” process used to age these cigars, not part of the prize.

 

That’s all I have for now! Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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