Tag Archives: Norteño

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,










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Padilla, Byron, Cohiba, Norteño, Gurkha and BG Meyers Cigars

Padila_ReservaCorojo_RobustoI hope everyone out there who celebrates it had a peaceful and nutritious Thanksgiving! Ours was small, with a delicious dinner followed by a good cigar. Lets remember how fortunate we are this time of year and consider that there are those who don’t have great cigars or even a good meal. Throwing a little something to your local food bank now and then won’t hurt.  That’s enough of the public service announcement portion of the blog post, what did I smoke this week?  Last week I mentioned the new Reserva line from Padilla, so I  lit up the Padilla Reserva Corojo 99 robusto this week, since Criollo is generally not one of my favorite wrappers I saved it for last.  The Corojo was another really nice cigar, with a unique flavor in the background, not unlike its San Andrés sibling. I’m looking forward to trying the Criollo 98 version now.  As I am prone to do, I feel the need to criticize the Padilla website. It’s just white, literally nothing there, and has been for a couple of weeks.


Byron_Serei SigloXIX_GrandPoemasWednesday I decided to celebrate the end of the holiday shortened week with a Byron Serie Siglo XIX Grand Poemas, a 6″ x 56 toro, with undisclosed filler, wrapper and binder. These are made in Costa Rica (Same factory as MBombay and Vegas de Santiago I believe), under the watchful eye of Nelson Alphonso. Some of come in cool Humiditubes, like the Atabay line from the same company, but this was a sample/gift from David Garofalo, who distributes the company’s cigars. I can see why smokers like Dave, who likes milder cigars, loves these and puts them at the top of their all-time favorite lists. It’s absolutely perfectly constructed, in every way. Burn is straight as an arrow, draw is ideal, and it’s got a very pleasing flavor in the medium bodied range. Obviously every detail was attended to in the making of these cigars, and the quality shows, and it should since it’s not a cheap date. Personally, there are quite a few cigars I consider expensive that I’d buy two or three of before buying one of these, but it’s a special cigar, for sure, and I’m very glad for the opportunity to have smoked them. There are three series in this line, the XIX, XX and XXI, and the significance is that the XXI (19) is how they imagine the cigar was blended in the 1800s, when the Byron brand originated, with the XX symbolizing the 1900s and the XXI the 2000s. Who’s to argue?


Cohiba_SigloIIIAfter a delicious and satisfying Turkey dinner on Thursday, I was rummaging through one of the humidors when I came across a Cohiba Siglo III in a yellow cardboard box which was a gift from a friend several years ago. It seemed like the right time to smoke this, and I haven’t smoked a great many Cuban Cohibas in the past.  I had no idea the age of this cigar prior to it being in my possession, which can be an issue with Cuban cigars, but I considered the source, and figured it was ready to go. 20 years ago Cuban cigars were considered very strong, but I think they are more on  the mild side now. Back in 1999 I went to a cigar breakfast in Vegas where Bolivar Belicosos Finos were the featured cigar kind of as an irony, as that cigar was one of the strongest cigars out there at the time.  This Cohiba reminded me of the Byron in a way, it was mild, subtle and sophisticated. The cigar was a nice size too, 6.10″ x 42 and burned well. I think it was a great way to end the day.  I am certainly thankful that one of the harder decisions I have to make is what cigar to smoke.


Norteno_EdicionLimitada2015After dabbling in the mild, subtle and complex end of the cigar pool for a few days I wanted to switch gears and go for a cigar I knew would be a heavy, rich, uncomplicated flavor factory.  The Norteño Edicion Limitada from Drew Estate practically jumped into my hand.  This is a Churchill sized cigar with an oval-shaped box press, measuring 7″ x 48, with a San Andrés wrapper, Honduran binder and fillers from Jalapa and Esteli. This is one of those cigars I mentioned above that I’d buy two of over one Byron, just because it has the sweet, cocoa, espresso flavor I really like in a cigar. This is another winning blend from Willie Herrera, pretty limited and exclusive, and $14 too, it’s definitely worth a try.


Gurkha_RoyalChallengeMaduro_ToroYesterday I tuned into the afternoon Flyers vs. Rangers game on my tablet and say in my back porch and smoked a cigar while I watch the second and third periods. A Gurkha Royal Challenge Maduro Toro caught my eye, the colors in the band were what did it, and the dark, oily wrapper. I would have liked a little more resistance in the draw on this one, it was very open, and I worried that this would overheat the cigar and ruin it, so I was careful not to overdraw.  I started out with a little bit of a bitter flavor, not the sweetness that the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper would normally have. It was almost dirty tasting at the start, sometimes I like that. I was initially regretting my choice, but after an inch or so it settled into a pretty tasty smoke that got me midway into the third period, which allowed me to watch the dramatic conclusion on the larger screen (tablet battery was about to die anyway). This was from that orange boxed sampler from the IPCPR show (gave one away here), and was the only true 6″ x 50 toro in the bunch.  There were some things I liked about this cigar, but there were also things I didn’t.  The game turned out great though, the Flyers have had trouble scoring goals and winning in Madison Square Garden, and didn’t have either of those problems yesterday.


BG Meyer_StandardIssue_ToroI finished the day off with a  BG Meyers Standard Issue toro, which was in The Cigar Authority Care Package. This was 2 Guys Smokeshop/The Cigar Authority’s Cigar of the Year last year, and I have to say that I kinda get why. I smoked it while listening to the show, I got one right for a change!  It seems like I either forget I have the cigar, don’t pay attention to which cigar is on the show, or something. I think I still have one cigar from each of the last two care packages leftover because of my lack of focus (to be fair, one wa a Tortuga Cedros No.5, and I have a bunch of them and have smoked them before).  Anyway, the BG Meyer is from Camacho, in their Board of the Bold series with Mat Booth, that football guy (Mike Ditka), and this one which is fronted by Rob Weiss, who created the TV show “Entourage”.  It didn’t burn as well as the other cigar I smoked this week, but it wasn’t crazy bad, just needed a couple touch-ups.  It was meaty, savory and pretty darned good. Camacho did some pretty good things last year, and this line might well be one of them. Again, not unlike the Room 101 line, finding a website to reference was impossible. You’d think the folks at Davidoff would understand that.


Enough from me, have a great Sunday and I’ll be back later.  Until the next time,








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