Tag Archives: fuente

A Short Story, a Big Payback and a Couple Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Cigars

Fuente_ShortStory_MaduroFinally over the sinus thing for the most part, I trust my taste buds again, without question, and I know this because I smoked a Fuente Short Story maduro Thursday that was just a wonderful little cigar. I’ve had this in my humidor for a while, I figured since I just got some maduro Best Sellers, and I got off to a late start, this 4″ x 49 perfecto would be perfect. The Short Story has been around for as long as I can remember, which, in cigar terms, is a little over 20 years. It’s a cigar my wife would smoke when she enjoyed cigars. Back then it was just in the Cameroon wrapper, and is still a delicious cigar. The maduro has a broadleaf wrapper and has a little “dirtier” flavor to me, which I love. It’s rich, earthy and dark chocolaty. I have various Hemingways in my humidor, it seems I buy the maduros when I stop in Holt’s, they always seem to have them. It’s amazing how the Fuentes can make a cigar that tastes the same over the last  years! One odd note on the Short Story: while the rest of the Hemingway line has “Hemingway” on the boxes, the Short Story does not, yet it’s listed under that line on Fuente’s website.

 

BigPaybackFriday I was in the mood for a substantial cigar, so I went with a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. I picked some of these up last summer when I was at Cigars International’s downtown Bethlehem store when Matt Booth was hanging out there. Ironically, I was listening to Matt on Kiss My Ash Radio while enjoying this cigar. I was a little bit behind, so the episode was two weeks old. Any time Matt appears on any show it’s a treat, full of surprises, he’s a hoot. Unfortunately, Matt is leaving the cigar industry and Davidoff is reportedly selling of the cigar under the Room 101 brand. the Big Payback line is/was a budget friendly line, a Nicaraguan Puro rolled in Honduras. I really like these cigars, in both the Nicaraguan wrapper and the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, it’s a solid cigar that I find very appealing. I just got a box (10) of the Uncle Lee, I suppose I need to put some more of the Big Paybacks on the shopping list before they are gone for good. It’s a great cigar for a little over $6.

 

Yesterday my wife and daughter wanted to do some shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest malls in the country and only fifteen minutes down the road.  One of my favorite things about shopping with my wife is that I can let her shop while I go to International Tobacco and sit and have a cigar. It usually ends up being a very costly cigar, but that’s OK.  Yesterday the selection was RP 55 Coronakinda slim, and the humidor tends to the classic side, without a lot of boutiques, they do have Davidoff, Padron, and many of the usual suspects. They have a coffee bar with soft drinks and are generally quite hospitable and friendly. I usually look for something I haven’t had, of course, so I picked up a couple of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five, a “Corona” (4″ x 55) and a Toro for later. Since the Fifty-Five is inexplicably not listed on the website, I linked to Famous Smoke Shop’s listing for this, and would like to direct you to the new ad in the right sidebar. If you make a habit of shopping at Famous, click through the ad and maybe I’ll make a little dough on the side to support my “research”. They also offer a discount code, so we both win. Anyway, I lit up the pudgy little perfecto and was intrigued with the flavor. They say this cigar has Nicaraguan fillers and wrapper, and a Costa Rican binder, which you don’t see every day. RP 55 Corona-damageI got a mintyness throughout the smoke that was different and enjoyable. Unfortunately, there was a bit of chip at the cap of the cigar that I didn’t notice which resulted in the wrapper coming off completely with about an inch and a half left. I probably could have gotten a replacement if I had let the shopkeeper cut it for me, but I’m a DIY kinda guy and carry my own tools, so I didn’t press the issue. I haven’t had this kind of thing happen in a very long time, and I don’t expect it from a $9+ cigar. (As I write this, I think of the last time I wrote this and it was about another RP cigar….bad luck, I guess). Verdict: loved the flavor, hated the fact that the wrapper came off and I had to mess with it at all.

 

RockyPatel_Fifty-five_ToroSo intrigued by the flavor of the little 4″ x 55 “Corona” was I  that I look my evening walk with the Toro version of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five. I suppose I should get one of these for my own 55th birthday in a year and a half, these were made to celebrate Rocky’s 55th birthday. As 55 is an unusual ring gauge for a cigar, I suspect a lot went into making these with special molds and all. The Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Toro is 6 ½” x 55, and has the same make-up as the little guy, both cigars have a bit of a taper at each end, which in my mind puts them into the perfecto category. I gave the Toro a much closer inspection, I certainly didn’t want to repeat the experience I had earlier in the day. I was pleased to find no flaws in this cigar, although the draw was a little on the restricted side until it got going. I found the same mintyness, with an occasional minty-cinnamonyness here and there. It was very intriguing to me, it’s so rare that I encounter an unusual flavor in a cigar any more.  While I wasn’t thrilled dropping north of $11 on a cigar, this one really didn’t bother me, I found it so interesting and special. I also don’t mind spending a few bucks in a local shop that provides the service of “husband day-care” while the better half shops, if people don’t spend money there it won’t be around!

 

In some news, I received an e-mail from Gaby Kafie of Kafie 1901 Cigars announcing that they are opening, or have opened, their own factory,  “Tabacalera G. Kafie y Cia”,  in Danli, Honduras. They were previously working with the Reyes family’s factory, having their cigars made along side such classics as Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados. Last year, Dr. Kafie introduced the Kafie 1901 Coffee with proceeds going to Cigar Rights of America.  Best of luck to Dr. Kafie and his family, I know he has a strong passion and hope he has few obstacles to success. Also of note is General Cigar Company‘s announcement that they will be adding Temple Hall Estates to their Foundry division’s FTC Heritage Series. the original Temple Hall Factory opened in Jamaica in the ’40s, and the Connecticut shade wrapped cigar will pay homage to that factory. This line joins the re-imagined Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands in the Foundry line-up. Will Cooper has the full story here.

 

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

 

CiagrCraig

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Psyko 7 Maduro, Fuente, CroMagnon, Gran Habano and Punch Cigars

Here we are on July 5th already. It seems like the summer is flying by and it’s barely started.  In two weeks I’ll be in New Orleans at the IPCPR show, doing my best to collect information about the newest and greatest products.  I don’t think I’ll do too many of the video interviews this time around, but I do have a little something special planned. We’ll see how that all turns out. I managed to smoke a few cigars this week, let’s have a look.

 

Ventura_Psyko7Maduro_RobustoI received some Ventura Cigar Co. Psyko 7 Maduro Robusto samples a couple of weeks ago, and was really looking forward to trying them out. I had first smoked the natural wrapper Psyko 7 back when I was a guest on The Cigar Authority show back in November of 2013 and was really quite impressed.  This is another impressive cigar, right up my alley.  It’s got a San Andrés wrapper, an Ecuador binder, and an interesting blend of fillers including ligero from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania, some Honduran and Dominican and Pelo de Oro from Peru!  How can I not like this cigar!  The samples I smoked burned perfectly and had great, complex flavors of espresso, cacao with a nice sweetness. I appreciate the extra half-inch on this 5½” x 50 robusto. This is right up there with the Fratello Bianco as one of my newbies of the year so far.  Very nice smoke.

 

Fuente_DoubleChateau_SungrownAfter I had some more dental work done Monday I celebrated after with an Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Sungrown.  Boy, is this a tasty cigar!  It’s 6¾” x 50 with a cedar sleeve (which I removed before lighting, of course) and a black foot band.  The standard Cheateau series is more common in the Connecticut Shade wrapper, and I’ve enjoyed my share of those over the years, but this Ecuador Sungrown wrapper is quite special. It was solidly medium, but it had loads of great savor flavors.  I would definitely say that in the Fuente line, save for the Hemingway, Don Carlos, Opus, etc, the sungrown wrapper is my choice.

 

RoMa_CroMagnon_Mode5When I visited Holt’s a couple weeks ago I picked up some of the CroMagnon Mode 5 perfectos from RoMaCraft as I’d yet to smoke that shape and have heard so many great things about it.  It’s not a huge cigar, 5″ x 50 in a perfecto format, tapering at either end, your old school, 40’s Warner Brothers cartoon shape. It was quite the fun cigar to smoke, and it was loaded with great, meaty flavors that really made me smile.  Burn was perfect, it was well-balanced and not the powerhouse one expects from the name.  I look forward to seeing Skip and Mike at the show this year, it’s been too long and they are really making great smokes.

 

GranHabano_Gran Corojo No5 Maduro 2011_GranRobustoThe folks at Gran Habano send a few samples a couple of weeks back, and the Gran Habano Corojo No.5 Maduro 2011 Gran Robusto caught my eye.  This is a 6″ x 54 toro with a dark Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper, Costa Rican grown Habano binder and fillers from Jalapa and Costa Rica.  This was a great spicy cigar with some bitter dark chocolate that was really to my liking.  It burned well, the draw was good, and it was a cigar I’ll smoke again.  I find the banding to be a little too close to Cuban Limitada bands, that’s probably what they were going for but I think a little originality from a company that definitely has some original products would be better. I’m not going to mistake that beautiful dark wrapper for any Habanos cigars, and I would probably choose this flavor profile over most Havanas as well.

 

Punch_H&F1999_ChurchillYesterday was the 4th of July.  My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary that day, as the US celebrates another birthday. I always choose a special cigar to mark the event, and there’s generally an element of civil disobedience involved that I’d like to think the founding fathers would approve of. Yesterday I selected a Havana Punch Churchill that was a gift from a friend a few years ago who serves our country and will remain nameless to protect the guilty!  This particular cigar had the distinction of bearing a “Vintage 1999” secondary band which denotes that it was selected by Hunters and Frankau (the UK importer of Habanos cigars) as an exceptional cigar. I agree with their assessment, it was an exceptional cigar. While the draw was a bit more snug than I like, it smoked very well, needing no corrections, and the smoke had a delicate flavor that was quite delicious. It had a bit of the unique Cuban spice, and was a milder, but very special cigar.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a special day.  I wish I could be as complimentary about the Rocky Patel Freedom I smoked later in the evening, there was a sour component to the savory flavor that didn’t do it for me, and I wished I had chosen better, but the red white and blue band seemed appropriate for the occasion. The Punch Churchill was sublime though, and I’m fortunate to have had the chance to experience it.

 

That’s about it for today.  We’re heading in to Philly again today for tea, then maybe a visit to Smoke in Manyunk after. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Brick House, Leccia Luchador and Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Cigars

I continue to have trouble NOT reaching for maduros and darker wrapped cigars! I guess it’s a winter thing, I’ll try to reverse the trend, but, honestly, I’m loving most of the cigars I’m smoking lately! The My Father Connecticut I smoked a week or two ago was a really good change, but I have to wonder how I would have felt smoking it outdoors in the cold. The darker, heavier wrappers just seen to hold up better both structurally and in flavor, when the mercury drops.
BrickHouse_MightyMaduroSunday’s cigar was a Brick House Mighty Mighty Maduro from the folks at JC Newman. This is a Nicaraguan puro, manufactured at their factory in Esteli. This is a large cigar, 6¼” x 60, and very well built. The burn and draw were perfect. I haven’t been screwing around lately experimenting with various cutters, I’ve been using a straight cut on most (exceptions being punching small ring cigars sometimes). I can’t tell you how tired I am of bundling up then making sure I have all the tools I need before I walk out the door to have a smoke. It’s taking me 15 minutes to do all the prep needed, grabbing a cigar, tools, taking a picture, posting on Instagram, then I always forget something….anyway, this was a good smoke, and these are reasonably priced. It’s got a thick, rich flavor of cocoa from the dark brown and oily Brazilian wrapper. I think it’s a darned good cigar.

 
Leccia_Luchador_ElHombreThe lure of the Luchador was too strong for me to resist this week, so Monday had to feature the Leccia Luchador El Hombre for my attempt at an evening walk. It’s still too cold, barely getting a mile in in this weather, but the porch provides shelter from the worst of the elements. This cigar is one of my absolute favorites from last year, and continues to be right up there on my list of favorite cigars. It’s not overpowering, but full of flavor, and I still get some jalapeño and dark chocolate in the flavor profile. It’s entertaining and satisfying and I dig it. Happy to say a box of these will be moving into the cabinet humidor when it finally shows up in a couple weeks.

 
AFuente_858_SungrownA few weeks ago one of my vendors at work sent me a pile of cigars from Fuente. His story was that a friend or business associate of his is friends with someone in the Fuente family and regularly sends him care packages. This bag he sent me had some Opus, an Añejo Shark (a cigar I haven’t smoked yet) some Hemingways, a Don Carlos, and a couple Sungrowns. It was a very impressive selection, even for someone as jaded as myself. I figured I’d dig into the bag last night and came out with the 858 Sungrown. Of course, I’ve smoked a bunch of the 858 in natural and maduro, but it’s been a dozen years easily. I always enjoyed the cigars, so I was looking forward to this one. The difference is the Ecuador Sungrown wrapper with is nice and dark, and a cedar sleeve with a black band and ribbon (the regular line is still green on the band, right?). I love the size of this cigar too, 6” x 47, which makes it chunkier and longer than a corona gorda, but not quite as big as a toro. I ended up having a very nice time smoking this cigar. There was a nice sweetness and it burned pretty well. These tend to be in the $6-$7 range from what I can recall, and I think that’s a good price, or at least it’s a very good cigar for that price. It’s certainly a cigar I would revisit often if I had them in the humidor. Tasty!

 

That’s about it for today. Look forward to a contest in the near future, as well as some cool news next week.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Flor de Gonzalez, Gurkha and Opus, Countdown to the 2014 12SDoCG

This will be my last post before kicking off the fourth annual CigarCraig’s 12 Spectacular Days of Cigar Giveaways!  This year may just be the best yet! I have an absurd amount of cigars in the  2014 12SDoCG coolerdor!  Stay tuned for the big kick off on Thursday, December 11 (yes, a day earlier than I originally announced).  Tell your friends and neighbors, subscribe to the e-mail list, keep an eye CC_Logo_xmas_son Twitter and Facebook!  Don’t miss the chance to win some goodies from our generous sponsors, listed here in no particular order: Drew Estate, Joya de Nicaragua, General Cigar Co., Miami Cigar and Co., Arandoza Cigars, Nomad Cigars, Smoke Inn, 2 Guys Smokeshop, Gurkha Cigars and Tortuga Cigars. Thanks to all these great friends for their contributions and support!  For those of you who don’t know or remember, the rules are simple!  Leave a comment on  the day’s blog post to enter. After day one, I’ll announce the winner of the previous day’s giveaway, and the current day’s present. It makes my life  easier if the winner e-mails me with their address, instead of me having to track them down, but no need to send your address proactively!  Once you’ve won, you’re done! All decisions are final, you’d be surprised at how difficult is can be to count through thousands of comments to find the winner! OK, hundreds, but in the pre-dawn hours it’s tough! I will throw a new twist in asking a question each day about that days sponsor, let’s try to give these brands a little useful feedback for their troubles.  So that’s the deal, have fun with it!

 

90Miles Reserva SelectaI have managed to smoke a couple cigar over the last few days, starting with a Flor de Gonzalez 90 Miles Reserva Selecta in a pigtailed 5 ¾”x 48 size they call Natural Robusto.  It’s a very comfortable size for me, almost a corona gorda, but a few ring gauges fatter. This cigar has been in the humidor since the 2013 IPCPR show.  It’s a nice, medium bodied cigar with a refined, well aged sweet tobacco flavor.  I have long been a fan of the Flor de Gonzalez offerings, and this is probably my second favorite in the range, second to the San Andrés wrapped 1980, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything from the 90 Miles line-up.

 

Gurkha_Seduction_robustoFriday my wife and I trekked up to New York City to go to the 34th Annual John Lennon Tribute at SymphonySpace on the upper west side. This tribute featured Debbie Harry, David Johanson, Marshall Crenshaw, Kate Pierson and Ben E. King, among others. It was a great show with the performers singing John Lennon ad Beatles songs.  We would have liked to meet up with any cigar friends who were still in town from the Big Smoke Thursday night, but we got in a little late and ended up walking down Broadway, smoking a Gurkha Seduction Robusto.  This cigar is one of the last few from a box I got in 2011.  These have been a favorite of mine, as they aren’t too mild or too strong, the flavor is sweet and spicy and they just do it for me.  I think I have two left, time to keep an eye out for more, I guess!

 

Opus X Fuente FuenteSaturday was an ugly, rainy day, spent working on more home renovation projects.  By the end of the day I just wanted an hour or so of relaxation, so I picked out a special cigar that has been hanging out in my humidors for at least ten years, a Fuente Fuente Opus X Fuente Fuente.  This is a classic, in one of the original sizes released back in 1995.  The Fuente Fuente is 5 5/8″ x 46, a corona gorda and one of my favorite sizes. I am always hesitant to smoke a cigar like this, I’m afraid of being disappointed, I suppose. This cigar was excellent. The years in the humidor really smoothed it out to a nice, medium bodied cigar with nice flavors.  It burned with the grace that a well aged cigar burns with, no draw or burn issues at all, just about right.  I didn’t find it to be overly complex, but I rarely do. I’d like to get a couple more of these someday, one to smoke fresh, and another to forget in the humidor for a while and compare notes.  It’s amazing that these cigars, after being on the market for nearly 20 years, still sell for ridiculous prices (I remember seeing them in a shop in Vegas in the late ’90s for $110 each, I tried to sell them one of mine!), but Holt’s is right down the road and they sell them for MSRP. It’s not a cigar I’d spend more than a little over MSRP on, but it’s a classic, and worth smoking now and then.

 

That’s it for now. Don’t forget to check in Thursday for the 12SDoCG!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

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