Tag Archives: Natural

Drew Estate Swamp Thang and a Natural Box Pressed Toro Cigars

Swamp Thang RobustoI’ve been waiting to get my hands on the latest in the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured line, the Candela wrapped Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat cigars. These were featured at last year’s IPCPR show, and I only recently received some in a care package from Drew Estate. The Swamp Thang is available in Robusto (5″x54) and Toro (6″x52) sizes, and I started with the robusto. I’ve been hot and cold on the Kentucky fire Cured line, when I first sampled it in Nicaragua in 2013 I wasn’t a fan, it was too “camp firey” for me. I’ve found with some humidor time these are much better and I actually really enjoy them now. As a fan of the occasional candela, I was anxious to see what the blend did with that wrapper. I believe these are made at Joya de Nicaragua, and they are rolled in the style of the Joya de KFC_SwampThang_RobustoNicaragua Cabineta, with the candela cigar made in the traditional way, and then, in this case, the dark fire cured leaf is added in the final two inches, making a striking contrast. This is used on the regular Fentucky Fire Cured line, but it’s much less apparent since the San Andres wrapper is similar in color to the Kentucky. I found the grassy flavors typical of the candela to be quite understated, and the robusto was a very tasty and well made cigar. It burned perfectly, drew perfectly and was a really nice smoking experience. I was so enthralled with the cigar that I tried the Swamp Rat, the 6″ x 46 size a couple of nights later. I’m going to reserve judgement and not talk about that one now because it wouldn’t burn right and aggravated the heck out of me. I will say that the Candela flavor was more present in the thinner ring gauge, but I’ll come back to that vitola at a later date. Thumbs up on the Robusto though, I really liked that one.

 

Natural_Lounge Exclusive ToroTonight I toyed with the idea of trying the Swamp Thang Toro, but the Swamp Rat scared me off for now, so I went with a cigar from a couple of years ago, a Natural Soft Box Pressed Toro that was a Corona Cigar Company Drew Estate Lounge Exclusive. I’ve had good luck with the Natural line, it features a bunch of non-traditional tobaccos, from places like Syria, Turkey and Perique from Louisiana, which make for a very interesting and pleasing flavor. There are loads of unique spices that work really well together, at least to my palate. I’ll have to see if my friends over at the Wooden Indian have the lounge exclusives or if they are still exclusive to Corona. Wooden Indian has a Liga Privada lounge. the lounge exclusives are all box pressed, the Liga Privada No.9, Undercrown and Herrera Esteli are all sharply square pressed, while the two Tabak Especial varieties and this Natural have a soft press. I’ve smoked most and they have all been quite good.

 

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

 

CigarCraig

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Natural from Drew Estate, Imperia, Don Juan Urquijo and Padilla Cigars

Drew Estate_Natural_NDBAll I really wanted to do this week was smoke some old favorite cigars, you know how everyone has that comfortable old shirt that is worn out but you can’t get rid of, and wear every chance you get?  I have one, I wore it yesterday. Anyway, I wanted to, but I ended up smoking cigars I hadn’t smoked before instead, I kept thinking, if I just smoke familiar cigars, what am I going to blather on about in my Sunday post? So I started out with a Drew Estate Natural “NDB”, a cool 7″x 44 shape. I’m sure I had smoked something from the Natural line in the past, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t infused or anything, but I knew it used some unique tobaccos. It looks like there’s tobacco from Syria, Turkey and St. John’s Parrish (Perique) and Nicaragua. Toar Campbell of CigarSmoke.net made a comment on Facebook, simply saying “desert?”, which I found a very fitting description for this cigar. It had a sweet cap, which doesn’t thrill me, but I can get past it, and the overall flavor of the cigar was rich and sweet in the sense that a German Chocolate cake is rich and sweet. I quite enjoyed the cigar to tell the truth, I can see this working itself in to my “go-to” list. The flavors were varied and interesting and I found it to be a satisfying cigar. It looks like the blend varies by size, so perhaps some more sampling is called for, but I liked the 7″x 44 size. I think I have a couple in a robusto size floating around somewhere. This was probably my pleasant surprise of the week.

 

Imperia_PitaFriday night I ventured into another new-to-me cigar which came courtesy of George, my secret Santa this year. George has been healing from a surgery and part of me feels bad for smoking his cigars while he has been taking a break to heal, but part of me thinks he’d want me to enjoy the cigars so he could enjoy them vicariously. I prefer to think the later, because it would be douchey to throw it up in his face and I try not to be a douche.  Anyway, I had really been looking forward to trying the Imperia by Mike Belody, of MLB Cigar Ventures, since I hear it advertised on quite a few podcasts, and have heard Mike on some shows and almost feel like I know him. Unfortunately, our paths haven’t crossed yet, but I hope they do soon. Anyway, the Imperia was a corona size, which was perfect since I was getting a late start, forgoing my evening walk for just sitting on the porch. Unfortunately, winter decided to make a return and it was cold and windy, and I don’t like walking in the wind with a cigar. The porch is enclosed, reasonably warm and windless. The Imperia is made at the Quesada factory, with  High Priming Dominican Havana Vuelta Arriba (HVA) wrapper, Dominican binder and
fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.  This was an amazing cigar! Full of great flavors and performed perfectly with a punch cut,  giving me a very relaxing hour of delicious smoke. For a cigar with a blue band this was pretty darned great! I got some dark coffee flavors with a little pepper and or citrus zing. Quite a great cigar and I thank George again for sharing it with me! Have to vent a little about one of me pet peeves though, please, manufacturers, put the available sizes on your website! I searched for this information for too long and almost gave up (couldn’t find an online retailer with it either) but I did finally find a 2014 Halfwheel post with the sizes, the corona is called the Pita listed at 5½” x 44.

 

DonJuanUrquiro_Perique_toroYesterday I selected a Don Juan Urquijo Perique from a recent sampler from Daughers & Ryan, the US distributor for Tabacalera in the Philippines. I really like the 1881 Perique blends from this company, and I was surprised with the Don Juan Urquijo Pyramid I smoked last November. So I figured this Don Juan Urquijo Perique toro might be a good bet. Let’s circle back to preconceived notions for a bit. I had a bias against Filipino cigars for a long time, but I gave them another show and found these, at least, to be pretty darned good (the Don Juan Urquijo and 1881). In what I’m told was a factory error which has been addressed, this Don Juan Urquijo Perique came in cellophane with a convenient tear strip, which, to my admittedly jaded and cigar snobbish mind signals a less than desirable cigar. Is it wrong to feel this way?  I don’t know, but perception is reality to some, and for me it was hard to get past, despite reassurances that this it was a premium, hand-made product wrapped by machine. I hate to admit that it took me some time to talk myself into pulling the ripcord on this one (literally and figuratively), but I did. Just goes to show how much packaging and presentation can play into one’s perception of quality. Anyway, I kinda liked the cigar,  not quite as much as I liked the 1881 Perique or the Don Juan Urquijo Pyramid, but it was a pleasant cigar with that little bit of an extra exotic spice the Perique tobacco adds.  Not bad…not bad at all.

 

Padilla_small batchI found myself with an hour to kill last night so I went searching for another shorter smoke and came across the five-pack of Padilla Single Batch Perfectos that I bought several months ago when  Cigars International offered them for $1 delivered. That’s right, this was a 20¢ cigar, how often do you admit to smoking a 20¢ cigar? I’ve bit on a couple of the five cigars for $1 deals, I can’t figure out why they do this since it obviously costs more than $1 to ship the things to me, heck it costs them way more than that to pay someone to put them in a box, not to mention the cost of the box…this is a loser for CI for sure,  and since they are out of stock of these my mentioning them here isn’t doing them any good. Either way, it’s worth a dollar to me to see what these are all about, if I lit each one with a dollar bill I’d still be ahead of the game. The little bowling pin shaped perfecto burned better than some $10-15 cigars I’ve smoked, it had a perfect draw and straight burn. Very impressive. The flavor was OK, I found it to be on the “floral” end of the spectrum, I’ve tasted a lot worse. Surprisingly, the blend is an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Honduran binder and Brazilian, Dominican, Honduran, and United States fillers.  So, it is possible to get a pretty good cigar cheap! I feel a little guilty buying these, like I’m stealing…

 

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now, stay tuned for another contest coming up featuring a ticket to an upcoming Philadelphia area cigar festival!  More on that later, but until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Cigarnival 2014 at Famous Smoke Shop

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Famous Smoke Shop‘s Cigarnival. It’s a 2 day, multi-vender event held at their Easton, PA location.  I spent several hours there hanging out with the cigar folks and enjoying a few cigars.  I attended this event last year, and they’ve made quite a few improvements in my opinion. They constructed one massive tent this year, as opposed to the multiple tents they had last year.  The food was also stepped up. At dinner time they  brought in some pigs. I swear I saw a woman walking around with a roasted pig head.  Not my thing, but the food I had was good (hotdogs and hamburgers).  There were a bunch of cool things going on at the Cigarnival, besides 800 attendees smoking their brains out, and all the great vendors whom I’m glad I got to spend some time with. Flor de Gonzales hosted a cigar rolling competition throughout the day. Attendees had the chance to put wrappers on pre-made bunches. I thought this was a great way to give consumers a glimpse into the skill it takes to make these great cigars.  There were raffles throughout the day, lots of cigars and humidors and goodies, and someone may have won $100,000 from La Gloria Cubana.  There was also a Drew Estate sponsored Casino in the evening. Last year I remember watching Rocky Patel cheat like crazy, but I didn’t hang around long enough to see if he did that again.  As I had a hour and a half drive home, I cut my visit short. Famous really puts on a great event. The vendors they had were great, the food, the cigars, the people, all top notch.

 

This is going to be a short post, with a bunch of pictures and a video, as I’ve had a busy day going on a motorcycle ride with over one hundred bikes benefiting our local SPCA.  I also had a nice Drew Estate Natural Shorty in the pool this afternoon to commemorate the occasion (the SPCA run, not spending the afternoon in the pool, the water wasn’t cold!) We ended up going back to the SPCA and adopting a new member of the family, Macha, a 3ish year old American Staffordshire Terrier (who are we kidding….she’s a Pitty). We already took a short walk with an Acid Shorty, in honor of Shorty Rossi’s Pitbull rescue efforts.  I actually like this Acid, it’s not overly infused, and once you get past the sweet cap, like the Natural, it’s a nice smoke. She did great on the leash, fortunately nobody told her she had her back left leg amputated three weeks ago. Apparently she was brought in having been found on the side of the road with a badly broken femur. She looks small in this picture, but she’s about 6o pounds. I’m looking forward to many walks with her in the future. I didn’t think we’d adopt another dog so soon, but this one was too special to pass up.

 

Busy weekend!  That’s it for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Snow, a La Vieja Habana and CigarSafari – Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It’s snowing here in South-East PA and I wanted to smoke something to celebrate the fact that I booked my son Corey and myself on a Drew Estate Cigar Safari in March.  Considering the snowy weather, I was hesitant to dip into my meager supply of Liga Privadas, I didn’t want to squander a Dirty Rat or a Flying Pig.  I couldn’t see smoking a No. 9 or a T52 in the cold and wet.  Chateau Real Maduros hold up nicely in the slop, but I’ve been smoking a bunch of them recently and I didn’t want to bore you more than normal.  I came across a La Vieja Habana Cuban Corojo Rothschild Luxo that I received at the booth at the IPCPR show last July.  I’ve always enjoyed the La Viejas for what they are, which is a mixed filler, budget cigar, certainly a good value cigar at somewhere around $50 a box.  Anyway, the cigar was quite enjoyable and burned well.  It was spicy enough to stand up to the brisk evening.

As I mentioned, my 21 year old son Corey and I will be heading to Esteli, Nicaragua in March to experience the Drew Estate factory, the Joya de Nicaragua factory and all that goes with it.  I’ve been eager to book this trip for some time, and can’t wait.  I’m not a huge Acid fan, but I’ve smoked a couple and haven’t died, and Corey has smoked a few and really enjoyed them, but we both have loved everything Liga Privada we’ve smoked, and I have a soft spot for Chateau Reals.  I even like a coffee infused Tabak Especial once in a while, and the Natural line is a very interesting change of pace.  I hope this trip will provide some interesting subject matter for this space as well!  I’m sure I won’t be able to shut up about this for a while!  I think I’ll spend the next 2 months packing..

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

CigarCraig

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