Tag Archives: CAO

New CAO, La Gloria Cubana and Partagas from General Cigar Co.

Every year at the IPCPR show I make sure to make an appointment to tour the General Cigar Co. booth. I have a lot of great friends there and am a fan of many of their cigars. They had a lot of new cigars, and I’ll talk about three of them today, the others will have to wait until I smoke some more samples or, in a couple cases, find the cigars in my local shops.  I’ve included some relevant photos below, I should have rolled video, but I was having audio issues and didn’t want to waste valuable time. The first cigar I was eager to try after I got home was the third cigar in the CAO Amazon Trilogy, the poorly named Anaconda. I tried the Amazon Basin  few months back and was frankly CAO_AmazonAnacondaunderwhelmed, then the Fume em Corda came along and I really liked it. Now the Anaconda, a 6″x52 toro with a twisted cord of tobacco in place of a band is the third and last member of the family.  The cigar has a beautiful dark Brazilian Bahiano Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Colombian, Dominican, Brazilian Braganca, and Fume em Corda fillers made in Honduras. I found it to have loads of flavors that I like, the dark, heavy flavors, and for having only spent a week in my humidor it burdened perfectly. I liked it so much I had to smoke a second one in as many days, which I very rare do.  I suspect I need to try to find another Amazon Basin to give it a second chance, although that may not be easy, I understand they went fast, and I regret not sampling it in its first run.  I always enjoy spending time with Ricky Rodriguez.

 

LaGloriaCubana_Colección ReservaOne of the surprising news from the La Gloria Cubana area of the booth was the introduction of the Coleccion Reserva which is a collaborative effort with Ernesto Carrillo and is actually manufactured in his Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in the Dominican Republic. It has an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler, which came as a surprise to me. The cigar had a drying effect on my palate that led me to believe there was some Dominican leaf in the blend. Shows what I know. The presentation is beautiful, classic La Gloria hardening back to the days Ernesto owned the brand and made them in Miami. I’ll be giving these some more humidor time and trying them again, I didn’t dislike the cigar, I just think i dug in to the samples a little prematurely. Always a fan of the Lady…always enjoy seeing my buddy Yuri at the show. I first “met” Yuri Guillen when they launched the Serie N and had a webcast that I was lucky enough to take part in back around 2010. I met him in person in 2011 when I visited the factory. He’s a great guy and has done a great job with the La Gloria Cubana brand.

 

Partagas1845_ExtraOscuro_RothschildPartagas reworked their already very good 1845 line putting them in slick black boxes and redoing the blends. They also seem to be putting all three blends in both the brick and mortar and catalog channels, a change from when we saw the Extra Oscuro and Extra Fuerte split between the two (and I can’t remember which went to which…). I selected a Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild for my afternoon cigar yesterday. Oddly, the Rothschild size is more of a Corona Gorda, 5.63″ x 46, which is a really col size. This smoked wonderfully, with heavy dark chocolate and espresso flavors from the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Honestly, I’d have to try the old and new side by side to see if I could tell the difference, but the “new” was pretty darned great and will age spectacularly I think.  I’m looking forward to trying out the Extra Fuerte and Clasicos as I always enjoyed the 1845 line in the past.  The presentation is excellent and will be hard to miss on the store shelf. The General Cigars booth was all about the new releases, and largely the Macanudo Inspirado (more on that later), but the classic “back catalog” is still available. The Partagas “yellow box” and Black, tons of La Gloria marques and CAOs vast array of cigars obviously aren’t going anywhere. I was very excited by several of these new releases. More on Macanudo Toraño, Hoyo, Punch and Cohiba later.

 

That’s all for today, time to get it together, I’m replacing my garage door today, and it’s a job that kinda has to be finished in one sitting, ya know.  If you’re in the area and want to stop buy and lend a hand, I’ll provide cigars! 🙂 Until the next time,

CigarCraig

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Punch, CAO, La Gloria, Macanudo Goodies Contest Winner

I smoked a handful of great cigars since we spoke last, but I just enjoyed most of them without giving them much thought. I did pick up a handy new gadget that I heard about on KMA Talk Radio last week, called the Poke and Smoke. it’s a handy tool on a key ring that has poke and smoketwo little prongs you can impale your cigar with and smoke it without burning your fingers. It was an impulse buy, and resembles the little handles one pokes into the ends of your corn on the cob to hold it with, and I’ve used it twice now and it works fine. I did notice that it stinks the next day, so I suppose I’ll have to keep tabs on that.  Anyway, I bought a couple and the winner of the contest may find one in with the goodies from General Cigar Co. courtesy of your’s truly.  Before we get to the winner, here’s a little news from General Cigar Co. about their new Cohiba release:

COHIBA BLUE

The world’s finest tobaccos create the most enduring experiences. Cohiba Blue is indeed the cigar for all who desire to live the good life.

Cohiba has always been synonymous with luxury smoking experiences. The brand’s latest collection, Cohiba Blue, takes this to an entirely different level by introducing the notion of inclusive luxury.

Andres Maturen, brand manager of Cohiba said, “With Cohiba Blue, we present collection that speaks to the ethos of the Cohiba brand. Made with a curated selection of tobaccos, handcrafted by renowned artisans, and created for all those who seek the indulgence of a fine cigar, Cohiba Blue symbolizes a life well lived.”

cohibablue_open_left_hrThe Cohiba blending team created a velvety, medium-bodied cigar with a rich, complex taste and enticing aroma. To achieve the desired flavor, they began with a silky, rosado-hued Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA) wrapper and took a unique approach by selecting Honduran OSA for the binder as well. The layered wrapper-binder deepens the smoking experience and imparts subtle, earthy notes. The blend consists of Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Ometepe and Dominican Piloto Cubano to provide hints of cocoa and caramel, with a light touch of sweetness. The unique, three-country blend represents the world’s most revered tobacco growing regions and delivers a sophisticated, memorable smoke.

The cigars are protected hand-painted bright blue wooden boxes, each containing 20 flawlessly handcrafted cigars.

Churchill (7.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $10.99

Robusto (5.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $9.99

Rothschild (4.5 X 50); SRP per cigar $8.99

Toro (6 X 54); SRP per cigar is $10.49

 

ContestMore on the Cohiba Blue in the coming weeks, but you want to know who won the goodies!  The random number generator spit out the number 23, which corresponds with Olie. It turns out Olie is a very long time reader, and a guy I met face to face at a herf in Reno back in 2009, and had “known” for years before that on the old alt.smokers.cigars Usenet group! Congrats Ted, er…Olie, please send your address so I can get this stuff out your way!

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Toraño, CAO, Punch and Hoyo Cigars and a Contest!

Torano ExodusI kind of got stuck in the General Cigar tray of the humidor this week and revisited a few cigars that I may not have really liked the first time around (or subsequent times as it turns out). I started out with the Toraño Exodus on Sunday, not even thinking that it might have been the only cigar in my humidor that was seasonally appropriate. Someone brought this to my attention and I quipped that I had passed it over several times over the past few months since I didn’t really like it the first time I smoked it last summer. Age has benefited this cigar, that was an IPCPR show sample in the 5″ x 54 robusto size. This latest version of the Exodus, the first since General Cigar bought the brand, has a Honduran San Augustin wrapper, Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Dominican, Honduran and Mexican fillers. I didn’t care for this the fist time I smoked it, but this one six months later was pretty darned tasty, it still started off a little sour, but it was greatly improved.

 

CAO_ConsigliereI followed that later in the day with a CAO Consigliere Associate, the robusto in the line that is basically the return of the Sopranos line, without the licensing fees that went along with the original. This is a 5″ x 52 robusto, and the first time I smoked this was in Las Vegas the night before the trade show opened when I ran into Rick Rodriguez and Ed McKenna of CAO at the Circle Bar in the Venetian Hotel. I had not previous experience with the Sopranos line, and I was told that this used the same blend as the original, Brazilian wrapper, Honduran binder and Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan fillers. I like sweetness in a cigar, and this cigar doesn’t have much sweetness, but it’s a god smoke if you like cigars on the savory end of the spectrum, which will come up again.  Monday I went with one of my favorites from CAO, the Flathead in the v660 Carb size, the one that placed high in Cigar Aficionado’s list a couple of years ago, I really like the Flathead line, although the 770 is a bit unwieldy.  I still liked the Consigliere, it was a nice cigar.

 

Punch_Signature_PitaLast night I went back to the Punch Signature Pita. I’ve liked a lot of Punch cigars, I should like this one too, but it’s another one that doesn’t hit my palate right, I’m afraid. It’s a classic 6″ x 50 toro, with a Ecuador Corojo wrapper, Connecticut Habano binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, what’s not to like?  I’ve smoked this in this size and the Robusto size, neither of which tripped my trigger unfortunately. It was lacking any sweetness and was very leathery to me. Certainly there are people who like this profile, it doesn’t thrill me. I can’t tell you how many Punch Rothchilds I smoked in the 90s!

 

Hoyo_RobustoTonight I picked out a year old Hoyo Robusto, the first couple I smoked last year I had draw problems with, I’ve also enjoyed a great many Hoyo de Monterrey cigars over the years, and the newest Hoyo La Amistad General Cigar made with AJ Fernandez last year is a really good smoke. This Hoyo has a Habano shade grown wrapper from Esteli, an Ecuador Sumatra binder, and Esteli, Ometepe and Pennsylvania fillers. I enjoyed this cigar a lot more now that it draws right, although it’s another cigar on the savory side, but it smoked well and I enjoyed it.  I think I would still lean toward the La Amistad when making a choice, but the Hoyo exceeded expectations.

 

Contest!

ContestSince I smoked a bunch of General Cigar products this week, and I have some goodies still hanging around, it’s a great time for me to have another giveaway! This is the last of the goodies I received a few months ago, we have a cool CAO Flathead Steel Horse metal sign, a Punch bobblehead, a Macanudo Colibri cutter (similar to the CAO cutter I used all week which worked great!) and a pair of La Gloria Cubana Cigar Scissors. As sometimes happens around here, I get sloppy when I’m packing the box and cigars fall in, previous winners can attest to this.  Usual rules apply, leave a comment on this blog post to enter, I’ll select a winner next Wednesday, April , 26, 2017.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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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,

 

CigarCraig

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CigarCraig’s Top Five Memorable Cigars of 2016 and A Contest Winner!

Happy New Year to everyone and thanks for another great year at CigarCraig.com. If you all keep reading, I’ll keep writing! Heck, I’d probably be writing this if nobody was reading.  I’m posting on a Saturday instead of Sunday for a couple reasons, mostly because I don’t feel like getting up early tomorrow to post something when nobody will be around to read it, and I slacked off and missed my Wednesday post, it happens. So I figured I wrap up the year with some of the cigars that were memorable to me this year,  and my criteria was simple, the cigar, no matter how many I smoked, made a positive impression on me to the point where I really want to smoke more of the cigar. These are presented in no particular order, and I know this keeps me off of Halfwheel’s annual conglomerate list, but so be it, why break the streak?

 

Maya Selva Flor Mayade Selva Grand Pressé Box Pressed Toro. This really shouldn’t be included as it was an IPCPR sample smoked on the show floor, and I typically think this is a bad place to properly evaluate a cigar. However, my approach was that I only smoked one cigar on the show floor all day, and I practically did smoke this all day. I would let the cigar go out while talking to someone, and relight it and it was still amazing. This was a brand that I had heard of but not tried, and was very impressed. Sadly, I don’t see these around the stores here, but I have to hunt some down. I know this is only based on one example, but it was memorable and fits my criteria!

 

RoMa_Neanderthal_HNRoMa Craft Neanderthal HN. Technically I smoked this cigar at the end of last year, but since I smoked it’s little brother, the Shallow Gene Pool, later in the year I’m going to mark it down as Memorable. I really did love the candela wrapped  Fomarian ,  and smoked more of those this year than the Neanderthal, the Neanderthal stuck out in my mind as memorable. It had some strength, but most of all the flavor was exceptional and left a definite impression. The pricetag keeps it out of this cheap bastid’s rotation, but it competes favorably with other cigars at similar prices, such as a Padron 94 Exclusivo or similar. Bottom line is, there aren’t a whole lot of cigars I’d pay $12 for, but the Neanderthal is one of them.

 

Mi Querida_GorditoIt should be fairly common knowledge by now that Steve Saka and I go way back and I consider Steve a friend. Actually, in March it will be 20 years since Steve and I met face to face. So if that puts a bias on my inclusion of the Mi Querida Gordito (as well as the rest of the sizes) in this list, so be it. It could be argued that knowing Steve shaped my palate and preferences, and if that’s the case than I’m pretty lucky. I first smoke the Mi Querida Ancho Larga (toro) at the IPCPR show at the insistence of Stace Berkland, who was working in the Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust booth, and my initial impression was good, but that age would benefit the cigar, which might have been construed as saying I didn’t like it, which wasn’t the case at all. I’ve smoked several sizes in the line now, the Ancho Corto (robusto), the Muy Gordo Grande and the Gordito, which I am listing here as the most memorable. Hey, I love them all, they are exactly my style of cigar, I like the mellowness of the Muy Gordo Grande, but the punch that the little 4″ x 48 Gordito has really made an impression. I was going to include the Sobremesa Elegentes en Cedros in my list, as I found it to be an awesome cigar, with a slight edge on the also awesome Short Churchill, but I didn’t want to appear totally biased! Unfortunately the Mi Querida Gordito size might be hard to find as I think it’s fairly limited.

 

CorneliusandAnthony_Cornelius_ToroI’ve developed an affinity for milder, more complex and sophisticated cigars lately, and one new one that I find myself going to frequently is from Cornelius and Anthony, and is the Cornelius. This is a cigar that’s made at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, and is just a really tasty cigar with a lot of subtlety and class. I’ve smoked several of the sizes and think the toro suits me best, although the corona gorda certainly has a lot going for it if you want a little bit of an edge to the flavor. The Cornelius and Anthony  Daddy Mac is a great smoke as well, but not nearly as memorable as the Cornelius. It’s another cigar in the over $10 range that I think is worthwhile. I put it in the same category as the Sobremesa, Davidoff, or some of the Havanas, it’s “clean” and delicious. There are some times that I chose to smoke this cigar that I remember fondly.

 

Fratello_Bianco_TheBoxerFinally, the cigar that was most memorable for me this year.  I was tempted to number this list because I knew this was number one, but really couldn’t assign numbers to two through five. At the time I said about this cigar “This was the best cigar I’ve smoked in recent memory” and I stand by that. Of course, the cigar Im referring to was the Fratello Bianco The Boxer. This is a box pressed torpedo, with  San Andrés Negro wrapper, binder from the Dominican Republic, and the fillers are Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian and Peruvian. I dig the Bianco blend, and this tweaked version was just off the charts in flavor, and again, hit my particular flavor preference on the nose. Friggin yummy. Omar de Frias made news this year by quitting his day job at NASA to concentrate on the Fratello brand, a bold move given the whole FDA nonsense. What an amazing cigar.

 

That’s five, right?  There were a lot of runners up, the Hoyo La Amistad, the Foundation Tabernacle, the Foundry Time Flies, Leccia Des Nudos (it should have been in the top five…so close).  There were a lot to choose from but these were the most memorable.

 

Contest Winner!

 

GCCThe last contest of the year was some great stuff from General Cigar Company. We had a Flathead sign, a nice Macanudo Colibri cutter, some La Gloria Cubana scissors and a Punch bobble head. Maybe I should have included a cigar from each brand from my humidors in the contest, because that’s what I intend to include. Many people who have won my contests before can tell you that things often fall into the box when I’m packing it up (has anyone seen my keys?). The FDA says that manufacturers cant give away cigars for free, but they don’t have any say over my personal collection and what I do with it! The winner of the last contest of 2016 is Timmc71. Please send me your info so I can get these goodies out to you!  

 

That’s all for today!  Happy New Year again, and here’s to a successful 2017!

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

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