Tag Archives: La Sirena

IPCPR 2017: La Sirena Cigars

This is my last video from the IPCPR show, I had the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes with Mariah Ditkowich, the new face of La Sirena Cigars. What has been announced since the show is that Mariah’s sister, Arielle, who founded  the brand in 2008 with Nestor Miranda and Miami Cigar and Company, along with her husband, Max, is expecting their first child later in the year. I’ve been a fan of the whole portfolio for a lot of years, from the original La Sirena made by Don Pepin Garcia, then by La Zona, the Merlion made by La Aurora, and the Oceano made by the Quesadas. While they didn’t have anything new at the show this year, Mariah, along with her mother and father were manning the booth. Give the video a watch, it’s already my most watched video from the 2017 show, and number six on the all time list on my YouTube Channel. Of course, best wishes to Arielle and Max, and continued good luck to the folks at La Sirena, a great family run cigar company!

 

 

That’s all 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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Merlion Maduro, Arandoza Defcon and Norteño Edicion Limitada Cigars

The cold I managed to get after traveling to California somehow morphed into a sinus infection mid-week, so I took a few days off from cigars. In truth, smoking was the last thing I wanted to do. But before that all set in, I smoked a Merlion Maduro robusto from La Sirena Cigars. These are made at the La Aurora Factory, and are the maduro version of the Merlion made at the same factory. This was Merlion_Maduro_Robustoa sample from the 2016 IPCPR show where I got to spend a little time hanging out with Arielle and her family, who are all involved in the brand. Previous to this release, the only glimpse we had at what a Merlion Maduro might be was the single maduro version that was in the limited edition Sea Lion box. The Sea Lion is a cool little perfecto cigar, and I finally smoked the maduro version last year and was amazed by it (which was my fear, considering these were impossible to come by). Luckily, this years Sea Lion release, although limited, is the opposite, with nine maduros and one with the original Ecuador Corojo wrapper. So I was excited to smoke the Robusto, and put a box of the toros in the humidor anyway.  The maduro wrapper in a San Andrés from Mexico, and the Brazilian Sumatra binder and Brazilian, Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers from the original release stay the same. To be honest, I liked the Ecuador Corojo Merlion, but about as much as I like a lot of the La Aurora output, which is to say I want to like them, but most don’t suit my preferred flavor profile. However, slap a San Andrés wrapper on it and I’m in. I found the smoke to be milder than I thought it would be, but that could have been the impending nose condition. I love the sweet earthy flavor and  look forward to smoking this in the toro size with healthy sinuses and maybe  warmer weather. I have almost filled the top shelf of the cabinet with La Sirena cigars, I haven’t found one I didn’t like yet. I still have some of the old My Father made Churchills and Salamones hanging out there too, and I need to get some of the new Connecticut Shade to have on hand as well.

 

Arandoza_Defcon_SuperToroMy first cigar back after the sinus thing eased up was an Arandoza Defcon from the 2015 IPCPR show. This was too strong a cigar for having taken a few days off, but it’s a great smoke and I really like Robert and Pilar Arango, they are super nice folks and it was great spending some time with them at the show last summer. They are dog people too! The Arandoza line is made at La Zona, and it I had been smart and motivated, I might have taken a drive up to CI in Hamburg where Erik Espinoza was doing an event. I needed a home day though.  I love the Arandoza line, especially the Red, which is also quite strong, but I think it’s sweeter than the Defcon, with the Defcon having more savory flavors. As I said, it was a poor choice for the first cigar back after a few days hiatus. Maduro Broadleaf wrapper on this cigar.

 

HerreraEsteli_Norteno 2015 LEYesterday I went with another  San Andrés wrapped cigar, the Herrera Esteli Norteño 2015 Edicion Limitada, a pressed Churchill from Drew Estate. The Norteño line has the Mexican wrapper, a Honduran binder and fillers from Esteli and Jalapa. It’s got a flat, tongue depressor, kind of feel to it, comfortable and fun to smoke. Again, perhaps my taster is off, but this one struck me as “savory” more than sweet. It was a really satisfying cigar though, nice amount of smoke, rich and tasty. I’d smoke more of these if they weren’t so darned pricey.

 

As I’m getting ready to head in to Philly today to see the Philly Pops play Sgt. Pepper, and probably stop by Holt’s, I’m going to keep this brief.  I’ll probably look  for some of their exclusives, the Tatuaje Maduro that is a Holts exclusive looks very interesting, or the San Cristobal or La Aroma de Cuba. I tend to default to either Tatuaje or Fuente when I’m at Holt’s for some reason. Anyway, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

 

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Charter Oak, Oceano and 1881 Perique Bold Cigars

I know, I slacked off and didn’t write a mid-week post! Seems traveling to California in the winter increases the likelihood that one will get a cold, and I’ve been plagued with an annoying sinus thing this week. When that happens there’s no use trying new cigars and having any hope of giving them a fair assessment. When I do feel up to a smoke, I generally select something  familiar and plentiful, the lone Partagas 150 from the ’90s in my humidor is just going to have to continue to sit for a while longer. That being typed, I did smoke a couple of cigars that were new to me this week on my better days.  The first of these was  the Charter Oak Connecticut Broadleaf CharterOak_CTBroadleaf_Rothchildfrom Foundation Cigar Co. in the Rothchild size.  This was a sample from the IPCPR show last July, so it’s been resting comfortable ever since, along with its sibling with the Connecticut shade wrapper. These have a covered foot, which gives a blast of flavor on the light, that is, if you skip the usual toasting part and just go for it. This is a cigar I want to smoke again, honestly, I hadn’t smoked it until now because of its short stature, but it fit into my time schedule this week. It had some horsepower to it, with lots of rich flavors of strong, black coffee. I think I expected more of a mellow hot cocoa in this one, but was surprised and delighted. Now I’m very interested in trying the Connecticut Shade variant. I believe these are reasonably priced, making them a no-brainer. I still have some of Nick Melillo’s Upsetters to try, I admit I’m not as excited about those as his traditional lines.

 

Oceano by La Sirena_AtlanticThis next cigar falls into the “revisit” category, I cigar I really like, but have been waiting for the box to be “ready”. They are ready! The cigar is the Oceano by La Sirena in the Atlantic size.  I wrote about the Indian size in Prime Living Magazine back in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue (has it been two years?) and really took a liking to the blend, which is made at the Quesada’s factory in the Dominican Republic. It’s pretty potent for a Dominican cigar, it does have a Nicaraguan viso, but the majority, including the wrapper, is from the DR. When I first got this box a year ago they were on the wet side, the great flavor was there, but it took some coaxing to get out. These have settled nicely on the top shelf of the cabinet (furthest from the Cigar Oasis) and are now smoking really well.  The Atlantic is a huge belocoso, 7″ x 52, and I chose this size because I really like the Nica Rustica Belly in the same size, although that’s where the comparison ends. I like to have all different sizes available to me as the time I have available dictates the size cigar I smoke. This is a tasty combination of earth and spice, not at all what you’d expect, but delicious. I’m a fan of the La Sirena line, this one is near the top for me.

 

1881PeriqueBold_TorpeditoFinally, last night after a nice dinner out with my wife and son, I decided to give an 1881 Perique Bold Torpedito a try. I posted about Tabacalara Cigars in the Philippines in November, noted that I hadn’t been a fan of the Philippine cigars in the past, but their offerings changed my mind. So I ended up with some more to try from these guys, via their US distributor, Daughters and Ryan.  I picked out the 5″ x 54 figurado because I wanted a shorter smoke, and I still am not sure if this is the natural or maduro version. I thought it was the maduro, but the regular, non-bold, 1881 Perique Maduro has a secondary band saying “maduro”. I don;t care at this point, because it was damn tasty! It had that unique Perique spice with some more ooomph than the “normal” line. I was truly entertained for nearly an hour and a half by this well made, great tasting cigar. I hope these guys get some traction in the US market, because the cigars are good. It’s hard to get people to stray from what they know and try new things sometimes. There are some great cigars from places outside of Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Cuba (and the US, but I don’t feel like cigars that are made in the US, ie.: some Tatuajes, some La Palinas, etc. are perceived as US cigars). These cigars from the Philippines are tasty, and I love some cigars from Peru, Costa Rica and other places.

 

That’s all for now. Hopefully I won’t be a lazy slug again this week and skip my mid-week post.  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Merlion, Undercrown, Rocky Patel, Viaje and RoMEo Cigars

Pre-IPCPR post, by the time you are reading this I’ll be either on my way to Las Vegas, there already, or home, depending on when you happen to read. I’m anticipating a busy show, and have made some appointments, but there’s literally no way one can schedule meetings and get to visit everyone one wants to visit, there’s not enough hours in the day. I’ll do my best to bring you something different than my esteemed colleagues in the cigar blogosphere, whom I’m hoping to commune with as well. I’ve got packing to do, so I’ll try to keep this brief! Here are some interesting cigars I smoked this week:

 

Merlion_Sea Lion_maduroOne of the cigars I’m looking forward to at the IPCPR show this year is the release of the Merlion Maduro from La Sirena Cigars. A few years ago I got my hands on one of the limited edition boxes of the Merlion Se Lion, which came in a box with nine Sea Lions and one Maduro Sea Lion. The Sea Lion is a unique shape, it’s a 5½” x 47 perfecto with a shaggy foot and a very pointy head. It was all I could do not to smoke this when I go them, as you can well imagine.  It has not gotten tot he point where they are releasing a regular line of the maduros, so I figured it was time. These are made at La Aurora, and the cigar smoked beautifully. It was rich and full of all the great flavors I look for in a cigar. I can’t wait to smoke this is other sizes, but the Sea Lion size is unique and interesting to smoke. They only produced 500 boxes of these, so I imagine the chances of getting more are nil.

 

Undercrown_ExclisivamenteI have been playing around withe the Drew Diplomat app, and I just don’t get it. I can’t figure out how to really interact with people, find people, or anything. I think there are much better “community” apps out there, and I get that this is a marketing tool. So I’ve been choosing Drew Estate cigars to smoke and log on the app a little more lately, which I suppose is the point of the app anyway. I picked out the Undercrown Exclusivamente, which is a square pressed toro exclusive to Corona Cigar Co.’s Drew Estate Lounge in Orlando. There are several cigars presented in this form factor for the lounge, including a Liga 9, a couple of the Tabak Especiales, Natural and Herrera Esteli. In addition to being sharply pressed, they have a flat cap, which lends itself well to punching with a reasonably large-bore punch.  I’ve smoked a lot of Undercrowns, and I think this was my favorite size/shape of the bunch. Sure the Corona Viva is the stand out in the line to me (better yet, the larger Dogma, a Cigar Dojo release that’s long gone. I haven’t smoked a Manifesto yet), but I think this surpasses even those. It’s a terrific smoke, a fun shape, and quite worth picking up if you find yourself in the Orlando area (or on the Corona Cigars website).

 

RockyPatel_Edge_SumatraMonday evening I went with a cigar that was gifted to me last week by one of our friends who joined me for Desnudo Sunday. Nik is a noted local (Wilmington, DE) singer/songwriter/performer who is a cigar nut as well. It was a very generous and unnecessary thing for him to do, but I understand and appreciate his eagerness to share something that I hadn’t smoked yet. I can probably count the number of Rocky Patel Edge cigars I’ve smoked on one finger. Why this is, I have no idea. I’ve seen them on the retailers shelves for years, I just never picked any up. He gave me his favorite, with is the Sumatra 6″x 52 Toro, and it was very good with a savory, woody, leathery flavor with a little sweetness. It was well-behaved, and a very satisfying smoking experience. I’ll have to make an effort to further explore the Edge line. Thank you, Nik, for the great cigar!

 
Vieje_SummerfestI’m finding I have more to say than I thought, the downside of skipping my mid-week post.  I smoked a Viaje Summerfest 2015 that I bought last year at J. Shepherd Cigars in Louisville, KY. This cigar was interesting in that the first inch or so is without wrapper, so you smoke binder and filler only for the first 15 minutes, then there is a noticeable change. Viaje is another one of those brands I don’t follow closely, but I seem to recall the first release of theirs being the 50/50, which was designed with two distinct blends merged together in the middle. I never smoked one, but it sounded intriguing.  So this limited edition cigar was very nice, and it really did showcase the amount of flavor the wrapper gives a cigar. It smoothed out noticeably when the wrapper started burning. Fascinating. Of course, these are only released in the summer, and I don’t recall seeing anything about one coming out this year. I don’t think this was too awfully expensive either (or I probably wouldn’t have bought it!, and I bought two and smoked one there I think).

 

RoMEo AnejoFinally, last night I grabbed a cigar that I had been siting on for a year or more. When the RoMEo Añejo cigars came out I really wanted to like them. 2010 Connecticut Broadleaf for a wrapper, a 2008 Olor from the DR for a binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers from the 2009 crop.  The first few I smoked seemed over moist, they tasted great, but the steamy quality to the smoke and associated difficulty with draw was off-putting and frustrating. So, like a dummy, on the hottest, most humid day of the year, I forgot all that and decided to give this cigar another try. I was encouraged with the initial draw, but after a few minutes on the porch in the humidity, it started getting that steamy feel to it again. That thick broadleaf wrapper is like a sponge, I suggest putting these in your humidor if you have a humidity spike, as they will suck the moisture out in a short amount of time.  I still love the flavor, but one must be very careful about conditions in which these are smoked. I’ll keep trying as I’m a sucker for broadleaf.

 

That’s all for now, I’m off to Vegas, so watch for reports from the show here, and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope for up to the minute reports. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

 

 

 

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