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AJ-Booth-Caldwell, Hamlet and Todos Las Dias Cigars

AJF-Booth-Caldwell_ToroI smoked three cigars from the IPCPR show this week so far, and I’m not entirely sure any of them are on tobacconist’s shelves yet. I started with one of the cigars Matt Booth had at the show. Let me express my disappointment that the video I did with Matt had no audio, and what fun is that?  Not that Matt might or might not have visual aids, but his booth was a collection of arcade games and nothing else, and interviews with Mr. Booth are always informative and hilarious. Sad that the audio wasn’t there, I wish I had known.  Anyway, one of the cigars he had at the show was a collaborative effort with AJ Fernandez, Matt and Robert Caldwell, which was supposed to be called “Truth”, but a late trademark issue got in the way, and the samples he was handing out had the simple band pictured. I’m just going to call it ABC in the interest of brevity. So this is a nice box pressed 6″ x 52 toro and is a Nicaraguan puro, with a dark maduro wrapper. Upon lighting the cigar I quickly realized that if I Booth Swagwere to blend a cigar, it  would taste very much like this one. Regular readers will know that I love a cigar with loads of rich cocoa and coffee with a bit of spice. This one had some strength also, which was a perfect complement to the flavors. I loved it, I can’t wait to see what this evolves into. It’s a shame they had to abandon the name and packaging, but Matt is a creative guy, he’ll come up with something fantastic, like this cigar was.

 

Hamlet_25thYearLast night I tried the Hamlet 25th Year robusto from Rocky Patel. I liked the 5½” x 50 robusto, the slightly longer length appeals to me. This is totally different from the Tabaqueros that Hamlet produced a year or so ago for Rocky Patel, that cigar was Hamlet’s first foray into blending a cigar that wasn’t all Cuban tobacco, for those who don’t know, Hamlet Paredes was an ambassador for Habanos S.A. and traveled the world ding rolling events. I guess it’s accurate to say he defected from Cuba and found a home working with Rocky Patel. I loved the Tabaquero, and this new offering is very different, but very tasty. It has an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Pennsylvania Broadleaf binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. I thought it was, dare I say, Cubanesque in that it was on the milder side, but had a lot of good flavors, some vanilla creaminess, light fruit and chocolate. This is yet another cigar I look forward to trying again.

 

TodosLasDias_RobustoTonight I got an unexpected phone call from (I’m going to name drop here), Jose Blanco, who was in the  general area, but I wasn’t able to met up with him. In our conversation about cigars from the IPCPR show he mentioned Todos las Dias from Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust and how he thought it was the best cigar Steve Saka had made so far. I’ve had a single robusto from the show that Steve gave me as he was testing the internal humidity (see the video here), and I assumed it was from the “passed” pile. I figured tonight was the night to smoke it, it had been in my humidor since the show in July, the same humidor all the IPCPR samples were in and have been smoking well. The Todos las Dias is Saka’s first Nicaraguan Puro, with a Sun Grown wrapper and fillers from Jalapa and Esteli, rolled at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I noted a couple ironies. First, the Dunbarton website lacks detailed information on this cigar, the Sobremesa and Mi Querida are detailed quite nicely, with only a passing mention of this and his other lines. This is very un-Saka. The second and more important irony was that this cigar smoked like it was over-moist. The humidor this has been in is at 68%, and I saw first had that the internal humidity of the cigar when it came into my possession was under 12%. Steve wasn’t handing out cigars that weren’t going to smoke perfectly. My only thought is that the heavy tobaccos in this cigar sucked up the ambient humidity when I took it out. It had rained here and was very humid outside. Flavor-wise, I see where this is a great cigar when it burns like it should, and as son as I see some in the wild I’ll grab some and try them under the right conditions. I’m particularly interested in trying the Double Wide Belicoso, which appears to use the same molds as Joya de Nicaraguas Gran Consul (I have some Rosalones in the same size too). Flavor was full, lush and yummy. I have to defer to Jose on this one for now, a Sobremesa El Americano I smoked Sunday was perfect.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Fourth of July Cigars, a La Flor Dominicana and a Caldwell

Monday was the Independence Day Holiday, and my wife and my 29th wedding anniversary. I know, Independence Day, getting married….it’s a bit ironic, but we figured at least we’d always have the day off, and Montecristo_No2there would always be something somewhere to do. over the last 15 or so years I have made a point to smoke a Havana cigar as a form of  celebration and of civil disobedience. I like to think the founding fathers would be pleased if they stopped rolling in their graves long enough to notice. Sometimes this works out great, other times it’s a disaster, and this time was somewhere in the middle. I’ve smoked some fantastic Montecristo No.2s over the last 20 years, and I’ve smoked some sucky ones. This one fell in the middle somewhere, as it was just a good cigar. I had been given this cigar last year, and I don’t know what the vintage was, so maybe I should have left it in the humidor for another four or five years. Most of the problem was with the draw, the flavor was good, although milder than I recall. It had the classic “twang” and a hint of citrus I expect from a Montecristo I could have dug a little further and found a Havana or two with sufficient age, but I was lazy, and the classic Monte 2 called out to me. After a great dinner out with my bride, I enjoyed the heck out of a Padron Anniversary Exclusivo Maduro that is the quintessential dessert cigar!

 

LaFlorDominincana_AirbenderMaduro_ChiselLater in the week I was moving humidors around and spied a La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Maduro Chisel. I assumed it was the maduro because I think by this point I know the difference, and the natural Air Bender is quite a bit lighter. This is a 6½” x 54 cigar with their patented (or is it trademarked, I’m not certain) Chisel shape, like a torpedo, but with a flattened head, not unlike a pipe mouthpiece. I’ve had success squeezing these to open them, but this time I tried a V-cut across the head. It looked pretty cool, but wasn’t giving me the draw I wanted, so I ended up lopping an eighth of an inch off to open it up a little. While the Air Bender isn’t quite as full-bodied as the Double Ligero line, it’s still a reasonable strong cigar, with rich flavor and a bit of a kick. La Flor Dominicana makes some awesome cigars, and this is one of them. They are almost always satisfying. the Air Bender uses a binder and fillers grown on their own farms in the Dominican Republic, and a very pretty, dark Habano wrapper. These are a treat every time I light one up.

 

Caldwell_TheKingisDead_DiamondGirlFriday I wrapped up another week with a cigar I had some trepidation about.  Las year I caught up with Robert Caldwell at a local shop and bought a handful of his cigars to try. I’ve enjoyed his Blind Man’s Bluff line, but I had so much trouble with the Long Live the King cigars that I was worried I’d have similar problems with The King is Dead. the Long Live the Kings I smoked had such construction problems that they just pissed me off, both because I hate it when a pricey cigar doesn’t work right, and I hate wasting my valuable smoking time fighting with a cigar. It’s just not relaxing for me to have a cigar that doesn’t work right. So I decided to try this the Caldwell King is Dead Diamond Girl, a 6 ½” x 42 pigtail cigar. The blend information provided on the website is exceptional, it’s listed as: Capa (that’s the wrapper): Negrito Dominicano – 2008, Banda (that would be the binder, sometimes called “capote”): Corojo Dominicano – 2006, Tripa (filler…think tripe, yuck): Corojo Ligero Dominicano 30% – 2006, Tripa: Negrito Viso Dominicano 20% – 2008 and Tripa: HVA 20/20 50% – 2010. I think Steve Saka is the only cigar maker who is more specific in his blend information. This cigar smoked great, with some wood and cocoa flavors and solidly medium bodied to me. I’m glad I finally smoked this one.

 

That’s it for now. As you can see, I still seem to be grabbing shaped cigars here and there, not sure what that’s all Hemingway Classic SGabout, but I like torpedos and perfectos.  Sunday I stopped by Holt’s in Center City Philadelphia and enjoyed a Fuente Hemingway Classic Sungrown, another pefecto. It was a fantastic cigar, and while I was there  I had the pleasure of meeting and smoking with former Phillies player and broadcaster Gary Matthews, who I saw play countless times in my youth. He was a super nice guy, and apparently a regular visitor to the store. I would have figured him for just a regular patron if he hadn’t been wearing his huge World Series ring, with was hard to miss. I guess I should have gotten a picture with him, but he was such a “regular guy” it didn’t occur to me. Anyway, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Burn’s Tobacconist Exclusive Blind Man’s Bluff Corona from Caldwell Cigar Co.

I recently received a couple of the Blind Man’s Bluff Coronas from David Jones at Burn’s Tobacconist in Chattanooga, TN. David is an old friend, we traveled together in 2011 to General Cigar Company’s Dominican factory as a part of a blogger’s trip with about 13 other bloggers.  David is one of the nicest guys out there, and I’m not just saying that because he sent me some cigars.  Burn’s is one of the great shops that is on my list to visit one of these days, and I always want to attend their Chattanooga Tweet-up, but it always seems to fall too close to the IPCPR show for me to manage. It sounds like a great event.

 

BlindMansBluff_CoronaThe Blind Man’s Bluff line is from Caldwell Cigar Co. and is made at Davidoff’s Honduras factory, Agroindustrias Laepe S.A.,  the same factory that makes Camacho. It comes in three sizes normally, Robusto, Toro and 6×60 Magnum, and I’ve smoked the toro before and enjoyed it, I might be so bold as to say that this is my favorite in the Caldwell portfolio, although I haven’t smoked them all.  This Blind Man’s Bluff Corona is actually a corona gorda, 5¾ x 46, a size that I really like.  It’s got the same Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Honduran Criollo binder and Dominican and  Honduran fillers as the regular line. This size is exclusive to Burn’s.  I smoked the two samples this week, and it’s unusual that I smoke the same cigar twice in a week, but I really enjoyed the cigar. It’s a solid medium in strength, and in tonight’s case, was a great follow-up to an Italian dinner (OK, Olive Garden). There’s a sweetness to go along with the earthy tobacco flavor that I enjoyed. I used the 9mm punch on both, which gave me a perfect draw, and the burn was perfect. These come in a shade over $7 each, and I think that’s a reasonable price for a cigar with this flavor and construction.  It gets two thumbs up from me.

 

Thanks again to David for sending these along to me. When he’s not selling cigars at Burn’s you can find him reviewing cigars at LeafEnthusiast.com. That’s all from me for today, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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