Tag Archives: Enclave

Diesel, H. Upmann, Hoyo and Enclave Cigars and Groovy Guy Gifts

Diesel_Grind_RobustoI got on another one of my thematic kicks this week, smoking cigars from different companies, all made at the same factory. Coincidentally, I generally enjoy cigars from this factory, which fits in with my desire to smoke cigars that I like! Hedonistic, I know, but I avoid eating food I don’t like, so smoking cigars I don’t like doesn’t make much sense. Fortunately, there don’t seem to be many cigars I just can’t stand, but there are cigars that hit my palate just right and I like spending my daily vacation time with. Anyway, I started this experiment with a Diesel Grind, which has been around for a while but, as of this year, is being distributed be General Cigar, where it was previously distributed by Meier & Dutch, which is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco, who owns General. It’s confusing, I know, but M&D is basically mail order for retailers, where distribution by General is supported in person by their excellent sales force. Anyway, I almost wasn’t going to even mention the Diesel, except it fit in with my theme. Not that it was a bad cigar, it wasn’t, it just didn’t “wow” me. It has a Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler, and was a great size for my late start, and watching the Flyers on the porch. The robusto is a shade under 5″ by 50 ring and the burn was perfect. For $6 this is a nice cigar, maybe my palate was off (I had attended a presentation earlier that evening that left a bad taste in my mouth!) I have some of the original Diesel Unholy Cocktails that I should revisit, I really liked that cigar, although I really never explored the whole line.


H.UpmannAJChurchillFriday I try to end the week with a cigar I really like, so I went with the new H. Upmann AJ Fernandez (are you catching on to the theme?). I had picked up a few in the Churchill size a month or two ago and have really enjoyed the blend. Unfortunately, there are precious few cigars in Altadis line that I really like. I’ve had abysmal luck with the Yarguera H.Upmann, and the Banker doesn’t do it for me. Havana H. Upmanns have been a different story. I do like a number of the Montecristos, especially the White Vintage Connecticut oddly enough. The new RoMEo 505 I really like, the rest of the line I can take or leave. I keep trying their cigar though. Anyway, the Upmann AJ Fernandez is really good, it appeals to me on several levels. the wrapper is Ecuador Sumatra, the binderis Corojo 99 and the fillers are Criollo 98 and Piloto Cubano, It’s sweet, a little nutty, a little bready, very well-balanced and delicious. I’ve smoked a couple of sizes of this and need to smoke some more. The Churchill is a beefy 7″ x 54, burned well, drew well, overall was a great cigar to wrap up the week.


Hoyo_LaAmistadSilver_ChurchillI switched back to General Cigars for a Saturday afternoon smoke. It was a beautiful day on the porch, for late October it was comfortable and sunny. Today is the opposite, I’m afraid. Anyway, I selected the Hoyo La Amistad by AJ Fernandez, again in the Churchill size. I really hope you’ve picked up on the them by now. Hoyo’s interpretation of the Churchill is slightly more traditional, this one was 6-7/8″ x 48. I’m not sure why people can’t make a Churchill 7″ x 47 any more…but this one was close. I really like the size of this cigar, actually, very elegant and comfortable. This is the second blend in the La Amistad line, the “gold” came out last year, and the “silver” is this year’s release. It has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano binder and fillers from Estelí, Condega. This is another winner, although I think I prefer the “gold” over the silver. Maybe the “silver” is a little more refined or something, not that that’s bad. I also think these needed some more humidor time as the example I smoked yesterday got acrid at the band.  The La Amistad Gold is an exceptional cigar, the silver has the potential to me exceptional also.


AJF_Enclave_ToroLast night, after spending a great few hours with the grand-daughters while their parents went out to dinner, I headed to the porch with the Flyers on the iPad for a cigar. I was torn between a Hoyo La Amistad Gold, a Foundry Time Flies and a RoMEo 505, when I spied a lonely Enclave Habano. So I figured I’d wrap up the AJ series with a cigar AJ Fernandez made for his own company instead of someone else’s.  I’ve been on the lookout for the Enclave Broadleaf, just haven’t come across them in the wild yet, I’m very interested in sampling that one. The Enclave Habano is a nice cigar, it’s got a Habano wrapper as the name implies, a Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan fillers. I usually find that cigars with Cameroon in the blend have a disincentive flavor,  but I didn’t get that in this one. I found it to be rather earthy and woody. I smoked the 6″ x 52 Toro, when I should have smoked a shorter cigar, but what the heck, right? Burn was perfect with a flat burn, and I love a closed foot. I like the Enclave Habano, but I’m really jazzed about trying the Broadleaf. Flyers won, spent time with the grandkids, it was a good evening.


FireintheHoleIf you find yourself in the market for personalized gifts, I came across a nice site for such things. Groovy Guy Gifts offers a wide variety of guy stuff that they personalize and turn around with surprising quickness. they have several cigar related goodies, and I came to possess their “Fire in the Hole” triple jet lighter this week. From order confirmation to delivery was only three days, impressive FireintheHole2considering that it was engraved. I’m well familiar with the maker of the lighter, it’s a slim, powerful three jet lighter with a nice heft and a small flip-out punch on the bottom, far smaller than I’d be inclined to use (7mm?), but serviceable in a pinch. The engraving is crisp and clear and it’s presented well in a gift box. Groovy Guy Gifts does a nice job, has quick and reasonable shipping and is a pleasure to deal with.


That’s all for now, although nothing new here really. I felt like I had to make up for a lazy Wednesday post. As I thought about it, I gotta disagree with the bit about deferring to the regulars, I think in a retail environment every customer should be welcomed and afforded the same level of customer service. That long-term customer who spends lots in your store was once the guy walking in for the first time. If I walk into a shop for the first time I don’t expect to have the red carpet rolled out, but I don’t expect the clerk, owner or whatever to finish his conversation with his regulars before acknowledging me. Common sense is key for all parties involved. Until the next time,






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An Enclave and Cigars on a Friend’s Deck in February: Kristoff and La Flor Dominicana

AJF_Enclave_ToroThe weather has been unseasonably warm here in SE PA, 70s in February? I love not having to bundle up for my evening walks, or thaw my fingers with the propane heaters when I get home.  I can’t help to think we are going to pay for what has been a mild winter with little snow in March, but I’ve enjoyed this great weather! Any way you look at it, Spring is on its way, and that’s a great thing. So Friday evening’s cigar was an AJ Fernandez Enclave Toro, a 6″ x 52 covered foot beauty (the covered foot was this weeks trend as it turns out). I’ve been abusing myself lately, last week  I tripped and fell, and Friday I burned the crap out of my mouth biting into a pizza roll. Pizza Rolls, when microwaved according to the directions, attains internal temperatures approaching that of the sun. Not exactly a high-brow menu choice, granted, but a guilty pleasure that just needs to be handled a little more carefully. So, I didn’t want to smoke something unfamiliar and miss something with a compromised palate ( not that my palate is anything to write home about).  The Enclave is a familiar cigar, known to have excellent flavor, burn and be strong enough to taste, but not so strong as to do further damage. Did I know this came in a broadleaf wrapper too?  One more cigar for my shopping list, I suppose, because the Habano wrapped version is a great smoke, an easy choice for a “go-to” list.


Kristoff CTSaturday I decided I wanted to get out for a smoke, so I dropped my amigo Mike a note and he invited me over to have cigars on his deck. He told me the cigars would be on him, which is weird for me because I’m accustomed to being the one to provide the smokes. Mike only lives a few miles away, and we met when he won one of the presents in a 12 Days of Spectacular Giveaways a couple of years ago and got together at a local shop. We’ve become good friends since.  So I selected a cigar from Mike that I hadn’t had before, a Kristoff Connecticut Robusto. Kristoff is a brand that I hear about all the time, but I haven’t smoked a great many of their offerings. I don’t know why that is really, they look great, I love the Epic line of cigars that is made in the same factory as the Kristoff, and they have a huge portfolio of cigars with yummy sounding names, like San Andrés and Cameroon and Habano. Also, a lot of them have a pigtail cap and a closed foot, both features I like. It doesn’t get much better than sitting outside on an unexpectedly warm, sunny day enjoying a great cigar with a friend.  This Connecticut was a medium bodied smoke with nice flavors, not really heavy on the typical grassy Connecticut shade flavor, but a nice, mellow smoke. As the wind kicked up a bit with a front coming in, the burn stayed even and this was a very satisfying cigar.


LFD FirecrackerMike generously offered me a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Firecracker, from 2 Guy’s Smoke Shop‘s Firecracker series. Last fall I had the opportunity to smoke the Cro-Magnon version in this series, with was quite awesome (read about it here, ironically, I also featured the Cigar Prop in the same post, and look forward to hearing Kevin talk about that on Kiss My Ash Radio that aired yesterday). The Firecracker is a 3¼” x 50 with a long tail that makes it resemble an M80 firecracker, and the blends are generally on the stronger side to go along with the theme. 2 Guy’s usually has these in time for the 4th Of July, and this year’s iteration is made by Fratello Cigars. I think Mike was willing to part with this cigar because he was a little intimidated by it, having heard that it was unbearably strong. This one also had a covered foot, making it the third cigar in a row for me with that particular feature. The cigar started off with a burst of strength, and some extra flavor from the wrapper. I kinda feel bad for smoking this cigar, because while it was strong, I don’t think it was too strong that Mike wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I do greatly appreciate the chance to smoke this great little cigar, which timed out perfectly as a front rolled in dropping the temperatures and bring a thunderstorm. Again, thanks to Mike for his generosity and hospitality (don’t forget to check out Mike and his daughter’s site, WineadorArt.com, to customize the glass on your humidor, cabinet or wineador. I’m thinking of commissioning a piece for my cabinet…).


I guess I’m going to have to reach out to John Budka, the winner of last week’s contest, as I haven’t heard from him yet and want to get the goodies mailed out. That’s all for today, until the next time,





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Ora Vivo, La Aurora, Atabey, AJ Fernandez Enclave and New World Cigars

It’s been such a busy week, ran the 5K without dying, tried to cut off my thumb, colonoscopy,  and a birthday, along with having our bathroom renovated and working on remodeling thee downstairs powder room.  If only I didn’t have a 9-5 job taking up valuable time during the day! (I’m looking for a new job,mine’s going away in a few months, so careful what I wish for, right?). Anyway, I still managed to get some great cigars in starting with  a Nica Rustica Belly after the 5K. I bought a bundle at the release party in Kentucky last month and the extra few weeks in the humidor has done well for them. I though maybe it was a bit wet in July, although it OraVivoEurope_CoronaGordamay have just been the cigars that handed out at the event.  They seem to be ready now and was a great two-hour warm down after the run.  Sunday afternoon I started the powder room project, and after getting some stuff done I took a walk with an Ora Vivo Armand Assante European edition, a generous gift from Kruk in New Hampshire. Kruk is probably a bigger fan of Victor Vitale‘s work than I am, and apparently  bought many boxes of the European Edition when they became available. He very generously sent me a couple, and I did my best to compensate him with a few cigars.  Anyway, the European edition comes in a Coronaish size, 5 ½” x 46ish, not too far off the 5½” x 48 Cedro No.5 size I like a lot.  This cigar burned perfectly, it had a smooth, refined Nicaraguan flavor and was very elegant. This is a great cigar for any time of the day, but I can easily see sparking one up with a morning cuppa joe.  I don’t have many negatives to say about this line in general, but this corona may be the best of the bunch.


LaAuroraUntamed_Extreme_RobustoMonday’s evening walk was accompanied by a new offering from La Aurora, a line extension to their Untamed line, the Extreme in a robusto.  I  really likes the Untamed, it was bold, had some strength, and was very satisfying. This Extreme takes it up a notch, with some more of the heavy, espresso and cocoa flavors and a kick. I would venture to guess that this also has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, with was beautifully dark and oily. It’s a powerhouse, and I can’t find a lot of info on it at this writing.  I loved it, and I really liked the regular Untamed line as well. These may be my favorites in the La Aurora line (although the Preferidos are pretty good too…and the Puro Vintage…and the Corojo…).


Atabey_RitosI celebrated  a successful colonoscopy with a special cigar, the Atabey Ritos, the newest size in the line, a 6 1/8″ x 55 cigar that has what appears to be a beautiful Connecticut shade wrapper. These are made in Costa Rica under the careful supervision of Nelson Alphonso, the man responsible for the Cuban Cohiba Behike packaging as well as the designer of the Padrón 50th anniversary humidor. This was a trade show sample from David Garofalo, who distributes the brand. It’s not a cheap date, MSRP is around $33,  but it IS a spectacularly good smoke. It simply could not have burned better, the burn was straight with a flat ember and perfect draw. It had sweet woody, earthy notes and was quite the elegant cigar.  Often times high-end cigars are lost on me, I really don’t have a sophisticated palate, but this was a great smoke.


AJF_Enclave_RobustoI  followed that up on Thursday with a new cigar from AJ Fernandez, the  Enclave in a 5″ x 52 robusto size. This cigar has a Habano Rosado wrapper, Binder from Cameroon and fillers that are described as AJF Piloto Cubano and AJF Select Nicaraguan, which leads me to believe they were grown on the company’s own farms and are top-secret varieties. Is the Piloto Cubano Dominican?  Don’t know, bit what I do know is that this was a stout, powerful cigar with great flavor.  It was spicy and woody, and I really liked it. I think this is a winner, and AJ Fernandez has his share of winners in my book.  I will certainly sample other sizes in this line, there is a Figurado that looks really cool.


AJF NewWorld_NaveganteWithout even thinking on Friday I grabbed a New World by AJ Fernandez for my evening walk.  This one was in the 5½” x 55 Navigante size. While this isn’t a new cigar, it’s a good one, maybe not quite as powerful as the Enclave, but a super tasty blend of tobaccos from Esteli, Condega, Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua.  this one had the coffee/chocolate flavors I really like in a cigar.  I want to say I remember this, as well as the Enclave, being a collaboration between Abdel and his father Ismael, and there are certain similarities, chief being I really like both of them!  The New World Connecticut is a winner in my book too, but that really doesn’t mean a lot considering I really enjoy most cigars from this factory. Abdel is a tobacco genius and is only in his thirties.

DECSCCBlend2013Saturday was my birthday (thanks in advance for any well wishes) and after a nice afternoon with my granddaughters and family, I picked one of my last three cigars I blended on my 2013 Cigar Safari trip.  These had a San Andres wrapper, Cameroon binder, and fillers from Brazil and Esteli if I remember correctly.  I thought it from the beginning, and it remains true, but there are just too many flavors going on in the blend, it’s very busy. That’s not to say I don’t like it a lot, and it always brings back memories of a great trip, as well as providing a relaxing celebratory smoke. I’m going away for a few days and packed some favorites to relax with, it will be nice getting away with no events or other things to do, it’s been a long time since we just went somewhere to be human beings instead of human doings.


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




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