Tag Archives: Merlion

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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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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Midweek Special: La Sirena Cigars Contest!

Got all the coolers emptied. Now it's just a matter of organization...I wanted to respond to Craig from CA’s question in the comments of the last post about how the new cabinet humidor is working, and I figured I’d throw another contest out too. I know everyone like a contest!  Anyway, the LeMans Cabinet humidor (Prestige) from First Class Cigar Humidors (http://www.cigarhumidors-online.com/) has been maintaining 65% RH, more or less, like a champ, with the twelve old fashioned green foam humidifiers and a little Cigar Oasis XL. The trouble is that the Cigar Oasis XL is too small for this application, so I bought the Cigar Oasis Magna, which was delivered yesterday.  I suppose that will do the job just fine without the need to augment it with any other devices. The large Magna even has remote fans and I’ll be able to use the WiFi module to monitor and adjust it. If I had a complaint with the humidor, it would be that the shelves are not adjustable, the top three shelves are angled, so I can either place one of the six trays on the angled shelf with maybe a hundred cigars per tray, or put boxes on it. I have several of the trays stacked on one of the bottom flat shelves, as well as some boxes I like to look at on the angled shelves. I like it so far.  More on the humidor, as well as the CigarOasis Magna, as things progress.

 

Contest!

 

I have another pack of goodies from the folks at La Sirena Cigars!  The prize is a sampler of cigars from the La Sirena portfolio: there’s a couple of the new Oceano, a Stixx, a Jaxx, a Jaxx LT, a Merlion, a new La Sirena Trident, and I’ll probably include an old La Sirena Trident (made at My Father) so you can compare the old with the new (the new being made at La Zona, and very good as well). There’s a cutter and a box of matches too. These are all exceptional cigars, there’s something in this lineup to satisfy every palate.

 

LaSirena Contest

 

 

Same rules as usual, leave a comment for an entry. I’ll pick a winner midweek next week, at which time the contest will be closed.  Let’s just say it ends on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. I’m going to go smoke a La Sirena right now while I take a walk with the pup!

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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La Sirena Cigars Contest!

I’ve had some unexpected family issues arrive which require my attention so instead of my regular Wednesday post you’ll have to settle for a contest. I’m sure you all will cut me some slack. The giveaway this time is sponsored by my friends and site sponsors at La Sirena Cigars. The prize is a sampler of cigars from the La Sirena portfolio: there’s a couple of the new Oceano, a Stixx, a Jaxx, a Jaxx LT, a Merlion, a new La Sirena Trident, and I’ll probably include an old La Sirena Trident (made at My Father) so you can compare the old with the new (the new being made at La Zona, and very good as well). There’s a cutter and a box of matches too. These are all exceptional cigars, there’s something in this lineup to satisfy every palate.

 

LaSirena Contest

 

 

Everyone is eligible to win, just leave a comment here to enter, one per person please, must be over 18 to win, usual rules apply. I hope to pick a winner on Sunday, March 22, 20015.  Thanks to everyone at La Sirena for making this contest possible, and if you could send positive vibes our direction, I sure would appreciate it.  I’ll share more later for those who are curious.

 

Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A 1502 Ruby Cigar, a MUWAT and a Merlion Sea Lion

1502_ruby_robustoCold and snow, but fortunately not any where near the snow that was predicted or our neighbors to the north got! I can’t complain too much about this winter so far.  It’s only really dissuaded me from taking my evening cigar and Macha walks a couple times, and the enclosed porch has been fairly comfortable.  If we can get through the next six weeks or so without too much bad weather I’ll be happy. I still look forward to basking in the warm sunshine with a cigar! On Sunday evening I came across a 1502 Ruby robusto and immediately wanted to smoke it.  I actually passed on watching the NHL All Star Game, who puts the game on at 5 PM? That didn’t fit my schedule! Judging by the score it wasn’t a good game for the goalies, so I don’t feel like I missed much.  I did enjoy the heck out of the Ruby.  I love the box press and the semi-closed foot on the line, and this was a stellar smoke. Medium bodied and rich in flavor.  It’s very hard for me not to smoke these when I run across them in the humidor. They are really very good cigars.

 

MUWAT_NightcrawlerMonday I took a night off, just wasn’t feeling it, so Tuesday I grabbed a  MUWAT Night Crawler. This cigar was given to me by Dave Lafferty of Drew Estate at an event several months ago, and I put it in the bedroom humidor and kinda forgot about it.  I definately favor the smaller sizes in the MUWAT line, I’ve enjoyed the 60 ring sizes, but they lack the punch I look for. This 4½”x 50 cigar had the punch.  You could tell it had a San Andrés wrapper, and it delivered big in the flavor department. This may now be my favorite size, second to the Digital Son 6 and the Baitfish. It was still smooth and rich and chocolaty, and had a perfect burn one expects from Drew Estate cigars.  Are these still made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory? Not sure, but it doesn’t matter as either factory makes great smoking cigars on a consistent basis. I’d smoke this again in a heartbeat.

 

I finally placed an order for a cabinet humidor so I can get out of the coolers which have been my mass storage solution for the last 15 years or so.  Of course, it’s back ordered, which is my fault for not placing my order back in December, but stuff like moving and the holidays happen. So far, my experience ordering from 1st Class Cigar Humidors has been positive, look forward to play by play in March when it arrives. I’m so looking forward to not having to rummage through the coolers and playing humidor Tetris trying to fit in new arrivals, and my wife looks forward to something more aesthetically pleasing than blue plastic.  My plan for now will be to use my Cigar Oasis in conjunction with the dozen traditional humidification units and see how it goes from there. I look forward to the adventure.  1st Class Cigar Humidors has been an advertiser here for a few years, and this is an item purchased by me. I shopped around and decided on this unit.

 

Merlion_Sea LionTonight I went with a Merlion Sea Lion from La Sirena Cigars.  This is a cool shaped cigar which is a lot of fun to smoke. It’s a 5½” x 47 perfecto of sorts, with a shaggy tail sticking out of the foot, making lighting quite easy. These are made at the La Aurora factory in the Domincan Republic, there were only 500 boxes of ten made, and one in each box has a San Andrés wrapper, and the remaining nine have the same Ecuador Corojo wrapper as the rest of the line.  In an odd twist, I still have not smoked the maduro, and I’d generally smoke that one first.  In this case, I’m quite sure I’ll never see another maduro, and I’m afraid I’ll love it. I’ll get to it when the time is right. Tonight the time was right for the Sea Lion and a great tasting smoke it was. Very smooth and creamy, and the shape concentrates the flavor more on the palate than the parejos in this line, I think, and it’s just a damned tasty smoke. As I said, it’s a fun shape, and a great size.  I don’t think I mention often that my favorite size might be the classic Corona Gorda, 5 5/8″ x 46, and this comes very close, but the shape causes changes in the flavor as the fattest part is near the beginning and as the diameter of the cigar narrows, the flavors intensify. It’s practically a cigarillo by the time it’s finished.  Try one if you see one on your tobacconsits shelf.

 

Quick little terminology refresher, since I was mentioned on last weeks Cigar Authority radio show (thanks Mr. J, if you don’t listen, you should, it’s a hoot!) as Dave Garofalo was confusing the term “vitola” with “parejo” once again.  I had pointed out to him some time ago that “vitola” is a generic term for the basic size of a cigar, robusto, torpedo, Churchill, perfecto are all vitolas. The Cubans have a list known as Vitolas de Galera, which give very strict definitions of what each shape must be. Where a Robusto can be just about anything from a 4½” x 50 to a 5½” x 54 or just about anything in between, in Cuba it’s ONLY 4 7/8″ x 50, a 5″ x 48 is a Hermosos No. 4, and so forth. “New World” cigars take liberties with the vitola names, so in our usage it’s a generic term for the size.  Vitolas are then broken down into two classes, Parejos, or straight sided cigars, or Figurados or shaped cigars such as the torpedo, diadimas, perfecto, etc.  Really a mater of semantics, but something that should be known when jerks like me through the fancy schmancy terms around all willy nilly.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

 

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