Tag Archives: davidoff

Undercrown, Winston Churchill, Mombacho and Exactus Cigars

Undercrown_ChurchillFirst, I was going to announce a winner of the Exactus Super Coloso and Ashtray contest, but I figured I’d give it a couple more days. If I don’t post a winner on Friday, it’ll be in my regular Sunday post.  I smoked a few cigars this week I wanted to talk about. I started out following the Drew Estate Barn Smoker with a new size in the Undercrown line, a Churchill. This is a 7″ x 48 cigar (a Churchill is traditionally 7″ x 47, but they run from 47 to 50 ring gauge in the US). I like the size, it’s a nice, long smoking cigar with a great burn, typical of Drew Estate’s output. It’s got the same make-up of the Undercrown line,  Otapan Negro Último Corte wrapper, T52 Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Habano binder and Select Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan Cuban Seed filler. As we learned in my last post about the Barnsmoker, that T52 leaf may be in short supply in a few years, due to the hail damage to that poor five acre plot at the farm. The Undercrown Churchill was full of flavor and complexity and is a great addition to the line.

 

Davidoff_WinstonChurchillTheLateHour_ChurchillAnother Churchill I smoked this week was the new Winston Churchill the Late Hour from Davidoff, in the Churchill size. This is another 7″ x 48 cigar, made with tobaccos that are aged in Single Malt Scotch casks for six months. Since I have no frame of reference for flavors imparted by the barrel aging, I can’t speak to that, but I can say it was a spectacular cigar, and for what they get for these, it should be. It has an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and is made in the Dominican Republic. It was smooth and rich and very flavorful, maybe that little different flavor that made it interesting was the Nicaraguan Viso aged in the Scotch Barrels.  I smoked a Robusto at the IPCPR show, Davidoff had a Media reception in their booth, followed by the Golden Band Awards, which they usually had in a ballroom after hours with tuxedos and all sorts of glitz and glamour. The Robusto was great, it’s just that I can’t really get a good handle on a cigar at the show, I don’t know how anyone really can. Anyway, These are pretty darned tasty cigars, if you have the means, give them a try.

 

Mombacho_Tierra Volcan_ToroLast night I went with the Mombacho Tierra Volcan from Mombacho Cigars in Granada, Nicaragua. I had my first real experience with these guys at the IPCPR show, attending their media party at the house they rented in Las Vegas. It was a beautiful place with a pool, I didn’t bring my suit and skinny dipping was frowned upon for some reason.  While there I smoked their Cosecha 2012 limited edition, which was an amazing cigar although in the harsh conditions of outdoor Las Vegas, it didn’t hold up particularly well. That was my first experience with the brand, and later in the week I smoked one of the Tierra Volcan toros on the show floor. I wanted to give it a smoke under better conditions so I grabbed one yesterday. This is a Nicaraguan puro, something the company is dedicated to, paying homage to the country that host their factory in the first city in the Americas. The Tierra Volcan is a medium bodied, smooth and flavorful cigar, well-balanced with sweet cocoa and earthy flavors. Fortunately, a Mombacho lounge is coming to SMoKE Cigar Lounge in Manayunk, PA, not far from me. Below is a video I did with Claudio Sgroi, the president of the company and master blender, an Italian among Canadians (thanks to Rob Rasmussen, their director of Marketing, for doing the camera work!).  Definitely a company to keep an eye on.

 

 

Exactus_Maduro_ToroTonight, because we are in the midst of an Exactus contest, I figured I’d smoke an Exactus Maduro toro. I’ve smoked and enjoyed the Ecuador Connecticut wrapped Exactus in the past, but wanted to try the maduro (as is my way). By the way, don’t be surprised if a couple “normal” sized Exactus cigars fall into the box when I’m packing up the Super Coloso to ship out. This was a tasty Dominican maduro cigar, 6″ x 50 with 3 year-old Dominican Maduro wrapper,  Dominican Wine Fermented Criollo 98 binder (again, no frame of reference for me)  and fillers of Dominican Criollo 98 & Pennsylvania. I found it to me on the milder side of medium, with a sweet maduro flavor. It was well made and worked well, burning even all the way, and providing a nice experience. You’ll be hearing more about the cigars from El Artista here in the coming weeks. Get on over to the contest and enter if you haven’t already.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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An Old La Gloria Cubana, and a Cigar PSA: Father’s Day Specials at Holt’s and Davidoff

lgc adtI’ve been slacking off this week not really paying attention to what cigars I’ve been smoking, sorry about that! I made my IPCPR reservations this week, I was going to skip it this year, but changed my mind. I hope to bring another perspective this time around.  I did select a well aged La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Tabaqueros one evening that was fantastic. This was from 2011, and I was just bout to grab a Serie R Esteli when the Artesanos poked its head out and said “smoke me!” I have a precious few of these left, on;y one of which, to my great dismay, is an event only version with a Connecticut broadleaf and Sumatra wrapper. I was in the mood for something lighter, so I went with the production version (I don’t think they make these any more), Ecuador Sumatra and  Connecticut shade in the toro size. This starts off with a creamy Connecticut wrapper on the first third, and segues into the Sumatra. It’s funny in that the band covers the transition between the wrappers, and is closer to the foot than the head. This cigar aged beautifully, it was smooth and still had a load of flavor, and the transition between the wrappers is prominent. I only have a couple of these in the humidor and will  be sad when they are gone! I love most LGCs, this was among my favorites. I especially wish I had more of the broadleaf versions!

 

The folks at Holt’s contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me to put something together about their Father’s Day specials, and I dropped the ball, failing to send them a draft for approval, so I hope they don’t mind if I just point you toward their web page with the specials. I looked through and was tempted to spring for their special on the Xikar XO cutter, which I’ve lusted after since seeing it at the IPCPR last year. Dropping coin on the IPCPR trip cooled my jets on that, and I have so many cutters it’s not funny. They have a lot of great stuff there, so head over to Holts.com and check out what they have!

 

I was also directed to Davidoff of Geneva’s Father’s Day page. They have a lot of great stuff for the discriminating dad, cutters, lighters, cases and humidors, as well as some of their great cigars in handy sampler packs. Davidoff always offers the highest quality accouterments and cigars. I can’t imagine any father that wouldn’t be elated at opening a gift from Davidoff from under the Father’s Day tree on Father’s Day morning (everyone does that, right?).

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

 

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La Sirena, Davidoff and a Room 101 Cigar an News from Veritas Cigar Co.

 

 

La Sirena Trident SidebySideHappy Easter Sunday to all who celebrate! Every year I think I should let a cigar dry out for a while then re-humidify it and report on the process, but that seems like it could be sacrilegious to some, so I don’t do it. The first reason I don’t do it is because I don’t want to commit a sin against cigars, and then there’s the whole resurrection comparison that wouldn’t float with some people. So completely unrelated to that, Friday I found myself in the mood for something from  my friends at La Sirena Cigars, and I went deep into the dwindling supply of the original La Sirena Tridents, the ones made at the My Father factory. Now days they are made at La Zona, and are still excellent, and here’s how to tell them apart if you come across them in the wild: the new one’s have the second, thin band that’s under the enormous band centered on the primary band, and on the old ones you can see the thin band before you remove the large one. I strongly recommend buying all you can carry of the old ones if you come across them, they have aged spectacularly.  This four-plus year old cigar burned perfectly, had great savory flavors with a bit of a spice in the beginning and hints of sweet tobacco throughout. If I could go back in time I would, at a minimum, leave this box alone for four years, and, ideally, stock my humidor with boxes upon boxes of La Sirenas. That’s not to say that the current production of La Sirenas aren’t great too, and I’ll be interested in seeing if I’ll be kicking myself for smoking most of the box of Devines before the four or five-year mark. I wonder how the five-year old Dubloons I have in the humidor are faring?

 

Davidoff_Chefs EditionYesterday I smoked another of the Davidoff Chefs Edition cigars as I will be featuring that in an upcoming Prime Living Magazine article. If you feel so inclined, you can see  my articles in the Gentlemen’s Room section of the Prime Living Website.  I wrote put a lot of information about this cigar in last week’s post about the event at Davidoff of Geneva in NYC, so I won’t reiterate it here, except to say that some additional research has turned up that the wrapper is Ecuador Habano. There are some places you might find it listed as Dominican Habano, but that would be incorrect based on credible sources. Anyway, after smoking this cigar in a crowded social situation, and relaxing in private, I maintain that it is an wonderful cigar, not without some strength, loaded with flavor and I can see where it would pair well with food. I was going to snap a picture of me smoking the cigar with one of our chickens on my lap and say it paired well with chicken, but I was too busy enjoying the cigar. Every cigar should smoke this well, of course, every cigar doesn’t have a $30 price tag.  Good smoke for a special occasion, which for me was a nice Saturday afternoon.

 

Room 101 Big Payback HuesoLast night I took a walk with the Davidoff’s cousin, a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 Nicaraguan Puro. This cigar is a bit of a polar opposite of the Chefs Edition, it’s one sixth the price at around $5, it comes in boxes of 50 for less than the price of a box of ten of the Davidoff. It lacks the finesse, sophistication and nuance of it’s fancier relative, but it’s still a pretty darned tasty cigar!  My example had a burn that was very good, I had to re-light it a couple of times because I wasn’t paying enough attention to it, but that’s on me. In this particular instance I would have been better served with the Robusto size version of this, the Hueso smoked for about 2 hours, not that I didn’t have the two hours to spend, I guess maybe, as the second cigar of the day, I was just ready to do something else after about an hour and a half. Davidoff is selling down the Room 101 lines, and they will no longer be in production, which is a shame, as there are several blends I’ll miss, and this reasonably priced line is one of them. I only have a handful in the humidor, I guess I should grab some more before they are gone.

 

Finally, I constantly receive press releases with the request to pass them on, and you know that I m not the guy who posts a press release the minute I receive it. Plenty of people do, nothing wrong with this, if it fits with your style, go for it. I don’t feel the need to repeat what other people do if I can help it.  That being said, I did receive this from the folks at Veritas Cigars and something makes me think they are based in my general vicinity someplace, I remember running into them at the Delaware Cigar Festival back in 2011 or 2012. Now t’s my mission to go out and find some of their cigars.

 

Veritas Cigars proudly announces that Chris Weber has become the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Veritas Cigars. “Like anything worth doing, this has been a labor of love for all those who have brought the brand to its current state of excellence, and I stand behind this cigar line, made great by the challenges I’ve faced, and I am poised to bring the brand to new heights,” stated Mr. Weber. To facilitate the continued evolution of the company, Veritas is moving Nicaraguan production to the fabled Black Label Trading Company’s factory, Oveja Negra, and the innovative expert cigar master James Brown. “In working with James I came to love his passion for blending and am excited to be working together to bring Veritas Cigars to the next level,” stated Chris. When asked about the new addition to his factory James Brown stated, “this is a tough industry for small companies. It’s hard to get the attention you need to create a premium product. Our goal is to help support other boutique brands and grow the premium-cigar market.” The transition will take time to complete with new product being scheduled to hit retailers at the end of July of this year.

 

Oddly, I have not smoked many cigars from the Black Label Trading Company lines, which is something else I’ll have to work on. That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Davidoff of Geneva, Partagas and Arturo Fuente Cigars

Thursday I had the privilege of attending a media event at the Davidoff of Geneva Brookfield Place shop in New York City for a meet and greet with Davidoff’s Global CEO,  Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. We were instantly greeted by the attentive staff as well as Laura Peet, whose company handles the media relations for Davidoff. The shop is gorgeous, of course, only being about a year old, and Davidoff of Geneva NYClocated in a mall in the financial district with views of One World Trade Center from the comfortable lounge. I spoke with Hans-Kristian for a bit, but was unable to pry any secrets out of him. I asked about future Davidoff Lounge locations in the US and he was tight-lipped. When he spoke to the assembled crowd he said that they had just opened their 78th lounge, with seven of those in the US. The cigar of the evening was the incredible Chef’s Edition, which is a 6″ x 54 toro with a Habano 2000 wrapper, Ecuador Connecticut binder and a filler blend of San Vicente Mejorado Seco, San Vicente Mejorado Viso, Piloto Viso, and San Vicente Viso.  This cigar is a  collaboration between Davidoff of Geneva’s master blenders and six of the world’s most renowned chefs,  Peter Knogl, Cheval Blanc of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (Basel, Switzerland),  Renato Wüst of Bad Ragaz Grand Resort (Switzerland),  Ali Güngörmüs, of Le Canard HH Pageou (Münich, Germany),  Léa Linster of Restaurant Léa Linster (Frisange,Luxembourg),  Michel Trama of Relais & Chateau (Puymirol, France) and  Maria Marte of Club Allard (Madrid, Spain),with  nine Michelin stars among them. Amazingly, only four of the six chefs are cigar smokers. Here’s what Davidoff has to say about the cigar:

The Davidoff Chefs Edition is Davidoff’s version of a culinary masterpiece. Just like the perfect meal, it begins gently with complex layers of subtle flavors and builds up to a sublime and unforgettable crescendo. The wrapper is oily and smooth and everything about it, from its flawless composition to its elegant color, whets the appetite for the cigar’s initial aromas, both nutty and sweet. The flavors become richer and more uplifting in the second third, with hints of citrus, bloomy fruit, sweet corn and a refined aftertaste that is both oily and creamy. In the last third, the cigar’s beauty and vitality erupt into an intense, peppery yet meltingly sweet and gratifying Grand Finale, just as a gastronomic experience is crowned by a superb dessert.

Davidoff_Chefs EditionI smoked the cigar at the event and it was spectacular, and they had a spread of chocolates and hors d’oeuvres there that did compliment the cigar nicely. Some of the chocolate treats were amazing on their own. I missed the corn component in the cigar, granted a cigar event isn’t exactly best place to pick up subtleties, but I was talking with Greg Mattola of Cigar Aficionado who explained to me that to him it was more of a corn flavor one would get in a bourbon, something I have no frame of reference for. They were also sampling some Camus Cognacs, which I passed on, but they also had some very good coffee on hand. I am looking forward to smoking the Chef’s Edition again when I can really sit down and concentrate on it. Hans-Kristian did say that the next limited edition Chef’s Edition would feature input from American and Asian chefs. Davidoff has some very interesting thematic cigar lines. Rudy and his staff at the lounge were very attentive and this is a must visit if you find yourself in lower Manhattan. Prices were high, but it is New York, and it is Davidoff. It was a quick trip to the city for my wife and I, but we met a bunch of great folks including Ted Hoyt from Smoke Magazine and John Nubian of YRB Magazine,  and had a very nice time. My wife even enjoyed a Davidoff 2000 while there.

Partagas_Heritage_Rothschild

 

I could probably stop here and nobody would complain, but I did have a couple of cigars yesterday worth noting.  Yesterday I watched the second period of the Flyers game on the back porch with the new Partagas Heritage Rothschild, a 4½ x 50 cigar with the rosado colored OSA wrapper from Honduras, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a filler blend of Honduran Jamastran, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Mexican San Andres. This is is a cigar that is going to age well, not that it isn’t ready to go now. It has a spicy, tannin flavor that really wakes up the palate. The burn and draw are excellent, and the rounded head, a signature of cigars made by General Cigar, allows for pinpoint control of the cut, allowing a punch-like cut with a guillotine or scissors. I liked it, it was different from every other Partagas cigar I’ve had. The band could be better, a simple, red band with Partagas Heritage on it, from a distance it might look like the Partagas Serie D No.4 Habano, which is probably the point. Recommended, along with the Partagas Ramon y Ramon.

 

Fuente_HemingwayClassic_MaduroLast night I grabbed a lonely Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro from the humidor. I was going to smoke a regular old Hemingway Classic Cameroon, but this Maduro had a couple of cracks that were concerning, so it had to go. I got a few of these on a visit to Holt’s in Philly last fall some time, and it traveled home with me on the train in a baggie and might have gotten dinged up a little. To the Fuente’s credit, these cracks, the most concerning of which ran from the band to the cap, caused absolutely no problems. I feared and explosion, and the only explosion I got was that great Hemingway flavor with the sweet broadleaf wrapper on top of it. It’s amazing that a cigar can taste the same year after year, which is why I feel compelled to pick up a few Hemingway maduros when I see them at Holt’s, which seems to be every time, and for the $6 or 7 that they cost it’s a no-brainer.  What put the Fuente bug in me yesterday was reading about the theft of a 40′ container of Fuente cigars, which really takes some planning, I would think, how does a whole container get stolen? Fuente’s are going to be in short supply for a while, I think, but the company has faced adversity before, and will overcome.

 

That’s enough out of me for today. Looking forward to another nice spring day, so we’ll see what gets smoked today!  Don’t forget you can follow @cigarcraig on Instagram and Twitter to see what I’m smoking, not that anyone should really care…Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Davidoff 702 Series Special R Cigar

Davidoff_702Series_Special RObviously Davidoff of Geneva has been synonymous with high-end, very mild cigars, but in recent years they have been blending more to the palate of those who prefer a little bolder cigar. Because I’ve fallen into the category of those who like stronger cigars, as well as being careful with the finances, I don’t have a great deal of experience with  the brand, but lately I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to try some of the recent blends. Following the Davidoff Nicaragua, and the Yamasa, they have released a new cigar recently with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, called the Davidoff 702 Series. They have stuck with classic Davidoff sizes on this line, the special T, the Double R, Anniversario No. 3, Special R and 2000 Corona. I managed to get my hands on a 2000 and a Special R robusto and chose the robusto for this evening’s cigar.  The 702 wrapper is a hybrid of three Cuban Habano varietals, and is grown exclusively for Davidoff in Ecuador in the Andean foothills.  As far as the appearance goes, it’s a beautiful cigar, milk chocolate-brown with a light oily sheen. Davidoff’s website suggests a smoking time of 45 minutes, and I think that if one were to suck one of these down in that amount of time one would be squandering an opportunity to enjoy a really great tasting cigar. I’m not one to pick up a lot of complexity in a cigar, but this one had a lot of great flavors, and there was an enjoyable (to me, at least) sweet flavor, like if you ate a handful of those little candy hearts a couple of hours before, it’s subtle, but popped up once in a while. Leave it to me to taste something so low-brow in a $20+ cigar! It had some coffee and earthy flavors too that were really quite nice, along with a little pepper bite here and there.

 

Davidoff_702_Special RI thoroughly enjoyed smoking this cigar down until my fingers were getting hot, I’m sure Zino would not have approved, having been a proponent of leaving the cigar at the band. Too much goodness to waste putting it down that soon, in my humble opinion. On a cigar of this size, the band is the halfway point, perhaps that’s where the 45 minute figure comes from. I bet I enjoyed this cigar for nearly twice that amount of time. It goes without saying that the burn and draw were perfect, they better be at this level.  The Davidoff 702 Series Special R is a great special occasion smoke, even if the special occasion is a Wednesday evening! The only downside to this is the price, but the upside is definitely there. I have the 2000 in the humidor waiting for the next special occasion.

 

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

 

CigarCraig (feeling fancy)

 

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