Tag Archives: La Amistad

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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Another Crossfire, a New Toraño, a Cordoba & Morales and a New Hoyo

Crossfire_SanAndres_ToroI’m off to a late start today, my apologies. I typically get up early on Sundays, but I had a late nap last night that kept me up in to the wee hours, then a migraine put me down for a few more hours. Not that anyone is likely siting around on a Sunday morning waiting me to post this nonsense. I selected another Crossfire cigar this week, this one was the San Andrés in a toro format. Sadly, I can find very little info on these new offerings, the card that was in the bag with the samples has background info and outdated pictures, and the website is behind the times as well. The only thing I can say is that this has a dark, Mexican San Andrés wrapper, at least that’s what the name on the band would imply. I tend to believe it, as this was a tasty smoke, although it started out a bit differently than I’m used to a San Andrés wrapped cigar starting. This cigar was nice, smooth and medium bodied, and I’m accustomed to a “dirtier” start. About halfway through the cigar I had to stop and remind myself I wasn’t smoking a Padrón of some sort, but it took some time to get to that point.  Damn fine cigar, I think I’ll get to the one banded Arapiraca next, it looks tasty.


Torano_Exodus_RobustoFriday evening I took a walk with a Toraño Exodus Robusto, the new iteration of the Exodus from General Cigar Co.  Exodus has been around a long time. I can remember enjoying Toraño Exodus cigar in the early part of the 2000s, and especially enjoyed the Exodus 50 years which came out a few years back (was it ’09?). The new version has some interesting components. The wrapper is a lower priming Honduran leaf from the San Agustin Valley, reminding me of the CAO OSA Sol s little, although darker. The binder is Connecticut Broadleaf, and the filler blend is Mexican, Dominican and Honduran. There is a lot going on in the blend, and the cigar is quite nice. It’s got some nutty, leathery qualities and a bit of pepper. It was quite interesting. I haven’t had a chance to try the colorfully packaged Vault line yet, it shares the same easily-mistaken-for-another-brand bands and bright colors as this new Exodus. Good cigar despite the band, which would have been a brilliant idea if someone hadn’t come out with it a couple of years ago.


CordobaMorales_ClaveCubana_RobustoYesterday I spent the morning putting insulation in our living room, an unpleasant job, but far less unpleasant than tearing down drywall (I am NOT looking forward to taking the ceiling down…). After getting cleaned up from that, and getting everything back in place, I sat down with another cigar from the IPCPR show, the Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca robusto. This was a great looking little box pressed robusto, with a dark San Andrés wrapper (another one!  Yay!). I wasn’t expecting this to be as strong as it was, perhaps the “white label” name associates with mild to me, I don’t know, but it was a strong cigar for a before dinner cigar. No bother, I loved this cigar. It had a great black coffee kind of flavor, which I love, and it really hit my palate the right way. Great box press, and a wonderful little cigar. Besides the Mexican wrapper, the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan, with Jalapa, Esteli and Ometepe represented in the blend.


Smoking the new Hoyo de Monterrey made in partnership with AJ Fernandez - @hoyocigars @ajfcigarsAfter dinner yesterday I just had to try the new Hoyo La Amistad, another IPCPR show sample. This is another interesting new offering from General Cigar, and another collaboration with AJ Fernandez. Hoyo was traditionally a Honduran cigar, this one is made in Nicaragua. The wrapper is Ecuadoran Habano, binder is a Nicaraguan leaf cultivated by AJ Fernandez in Esteli. The filler blend features tobacco from Esteli, Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa. A pre-light sniff of the 5″ x 54 robusto had that distinctive “barnyard” aroma, and the flavors were very unique and interesting. This was another cigar I really enjoyed, it had some “bright” flavors and was almost full bodied. It did have some dried fruit sweetness and a little spice. Hoyo_La Amistad_RobustoThis is a winner cigar for me, It’s different from what I usually like, but very tasty. If you’re wondering why there were a couple of collaborations with General Cigar and AJ Fernandez this year, think about who AJ Fernandez has been making a ton of cigar for over the last few years, Cigars International, right? Now, think of who owns Cigar International, Swedish Match/Scandinavian Tobacco, which also happens to be the parent company of General Cigar. Its more complicated than that, but you get the jist. It doesn’t hurt that Abdel Fernandez grew up near the Hoyo de Monterrey farm in Cuba, so he has that connection to the brand.  So far, out of the new releases from General Cigar this year, I haven’t found one I don’t like yet, Foundry Time files is a winner, Partagas Ramon y Ramon is a winner, and the Toraño Exodus and Hoyo La Amistad are also winners.


That’s plenty from me today, until the next time,




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