Tag Archives: Padilla

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,





Filed under Review

Padilla, San Lotano and Nestor Miranda Cigars

Padilla_Reserva_SanAndres_RobustoWinter has set in here in Pennsylvania, with the first snows over the last couple days, thankfully only an inch or two each time. I’m good with basically sweeping the snow off the driveway as opposed to the two foot heavy wet snows we get now and then.  Anyway, I smoked a few good cigars over the past couple days, although not all new to the market. I broke open a pack of Padilla Reservas that Ernesto Padilla gave me at the IPCPR show, which was the same pack he gave me at the previous year’s show, I think. I selected the San Andrès of course, there was also a Corojo, Criollo and Connecticut to choose from. This is a 5″ x 54 robusto made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras, with the San Andrès wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and filler.  I mentioned this cigar in a post last November, but I feel like this cigar was “dirtier” than the one I smoked before, or else I just didn’t mention that last year. It was like an espresso, strong, with some bitterness that was really enjoyable especially in the cold winter air. Loads of flavor for sure, and I liked it a lot. As I said last time, this is a cigar that’s priced right and well worth picking up if you like that in your face, down and dirty kind of cigar now and then.


SanLotano_Bull_ToroLast week I was in a local shop and picked up a few cigars that I hadn’t tried yet, but have been around a while. The AJ Fernandez San Lotano Bull caught my eye as  such a cigar. I love the San Lotano line, and am a little mystified that I hadn’t tried the Bull yet. So I picked up a couple and took one as my Friday smoke. This was the 6″ x 54 toro size, and the binder and filler are “AJF Select” Nicaraguan with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper. As you can see in the picture, the cigar comes with a cedar sleeve with a bull on it, this must be removed prior to lighting (hard to believe, but I’ve seen it done!). This was another fairly strong cigar, lots of nice, sweet, creamy coffee and cedar flavors. Why, oh, why did I take so long to try this cigar?  I’m glad I bought more than one.  Again, nothing new here, I think AJ Fernandez released this in 2013.


NMCCorojoThis cigar is new this year!  I have enjoyed all of the Nestor Miranda Collection Robustos I’ve smoked, and I really should try other sizes, but the Coffee Break 4½” x 50 size is really appealing to me. It’s perfect for those nights when it’s too cold for a walk, but an hour on the porch with the propane heater is pretty comfortable. Such was the case last night.  This line has previously been offered in Connecticut, Maduro and Habano, all excellent, and all made in Don Pepin Garcia’s My Father factory in Esteli. This year they released the Corojo, which might just be the best in the line to my palate. This little cigar has a lot going on, a little sweet, a little coffee and a little nuttiness, in a perfect burning package. I smoked one a couple of weeks ago and was interrupted by something and had to put it down and it made me sad. This one was enjoyed until fingers started burning, so good. I’ve acquired some new tools from the Tommy Bahama line that I’ve been playing with, and so far I’m happy with the cutter and lighters. I used the table lighter to light this and holding the lighter about eight inches from the foot of the cigar made the foot look like an Apollo space capsule on re-entry. lots of horsepower in a large, quad-jet lighter. More on those tools later, but I’ve become a fan of the Tommy Bahama cigar accouterments from Island Lifestyle Importers. I just wish I were sitting on a beach lighting my cigars…


That’s it for now. Keep an eye on the CigarCraig.com Facebook page for the next contest, I’m going to try something a little different to mix things up. Until the next time,






Filed under Review

A Padilla, a Gurkha, an Alec Bradley and Cigar Box Speakers

Padilla_VintageReserve_BoxPressedPerfectoGetting back in the swing of things here, and rooting through the IPCPR samples for some interesting cigars to smoke. I decided that one cigar that I had been looking forward to smoking was ready to go, the Padilla Vintage Reserve in a 6″ x 50ish  box pressed perfecto shape. I can’t really find any information on this shape, it was an IPCPR sample handed to me by Ernesto Padilla and all I can say is that it has a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. As far as I  know, these are made in the same factory in Honduras where some of my favorite cigars are made, notably the Tortuga line, and the quality is excellent. The cigar had a distinctive flavor that I can only categorize as “meaty”, and I don’t think that’s because I had just eaten meat for dinner. It was savory, delicious and an all around wonderful cigar that I look forward to smoking again. This was a terrific cigar.


Gurkha_HeritageMaduro_ToroFriday I went with a Gurkha Heritage Maduro from Gurkha’s IPCPR sampler. Of course, this was the first cigar I smoked from the sampler, which should surprise nobody. Sure, I could have chosen the Ghost in the chubby perfecto size but I smoked a Ghost not too long ago.  The Heritage Maduro has a  Mexican San Andreas wrapper, a Brazilian Arapiraca binder and Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers. The one I smoked was a 6 ½” x 54 toro with a cedar sleeve.  It was a beautiful wrapper, dark and oily with some tooth, and had great dark chocolate and espresso flavors. It hit a rough spot about half way in, perhaps a void in the filler, or maybe a spot with a little too much moisture in the leaves there, but I soldiered on and it worked out to be just a temporary annoyance. I was not disappointed in the evening’s selection.


Saturday evening with an Alec Bradley Nica Puro Diamond Eough Cut - @alecbradleycigar @alecbradleycigarsSaturday’s cigar was not a new cigar, but one that I hadn’t smoked before in this shape. A couple of years back Alec Bradley released the Nica Puro blend in a unique diamond-shaped box press, calling it the Nica Puro Diamond Rough Cut. Since the Nica Puro is my favorite blend in the Alec Bradley line-up, I was happy to come across some of these in a local shop a few months ago. Not sure why it took me so long to fire this one up. The shape kind of brought back memories of the triangle pressed Trilogy line, which put Alec Bradley on the map for most people. I smoked a bunch of the Trilogy cigars back around 2004 or thereabouts, I really enjoyed everything about them. I wonder if we’ll see them again as they are pre-2007 and I believe they have been available in round versions at a catalog retailer or two over the years. Anyway, the Diamond was a great cigar, it had the familiar delicious flavor of the Nica Puro in a fun shape. The cigar measures 6 ¼” x 54 and has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers (duh, with a name like Nica Puro, it better be all Nicaraguan!). It has a lot of earthy, nutty flavors with some spice. I may be wrong, but I think it’s made in the same factory as the above-mentioned Padilla, and, looking through some older posts on my site, there have been several occasions where I’ve smoked Padillas, Alec Bradleys and Gurkhas in the same week.  Weird coincidence.


In the “what will they think of next to do with cigar boxes” department, James Watt of California is making guitar amps and Bluetooth speakers out of cigar boxes. Looking through the Leucadia Sound Etsy store I can see that there are a few of these that would work well for my son’s guitar box guitar that he built a while back. I like the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli speaker, not only because I love the cigars, but the shape of the box is unique and might have some nice resonance and warmth due to the thickness of the wood. Here are some pictures, and there’s a lot more at his Etsy store. Nice work James!









That’s all for today, Until the next time,





Filed under Accessories, IPCPR, Review

A CAO Cigars Event, an EP Carillo and a Padilla IPCPR Release

IMG_3694[1]Thursday we went to G & G Cigars in downtown West Chester, PA to see Ricky Rodriquez at a CAO event.  G & G changed hands in the last couple years, and while the selection in the  humidor changed a bit, it remains a very nice shop managed by Mike, who keeps a clean and inviting lounge.  I picked up a few Flatheads in the 660 size and the Steel Horse Apehanger size and wandered into the lounge and sat down next to Ricky, who was deep in conversation with another patron.  I have known Ricky since probably 2010, having spent some time with him in the Dominican Republic in 2011, and seeing him at the IPCPR show just last month.  My son and I actually hung out with him and Ed McKenna the first night we were in Vegas at the Circle Bar in the Venetian, where he shared the new CAO Consigliere with us (the re-release of the Sopranos).  I sat next to Rick smoking my Flathead 660 for close to ten minutes before he got up and my wife “introduced” us…it was a very IMG_3697[1]amusing moment.  It was fairly quiet in the lounge, so we had a great time talking about the cigar world, and the world in general with Ricky.  He had been at another location about two miles from home that afternoon, but who among us working folks can make a 12-3 event on a Thursday? It worked out well, the Flathead line remains one of my favorites, and the one I smoked was quite satisfying and lasted until the parking meter expired.  Ricky knows his tobacco and is always a treat to hang out with.  If he comes to your area don;t miss the opportunity to hang out with him.


EPCarillo_Dusk_ObscureFriday I opened the IPCPR sample humidor (which, by the way, is a reasonably large Psyko Seven humidor that my wife won on a Best Cigar Prices Facebook Contest, totally legit and above-board, I checked! It’s a pretty darned nice humidor that can be had at a very reasonable price. It’s been working very well with Boveda packs. Enough of the commercial, and there will be more on Psyko Seven in the near future. Please note that nobody asked me to say anything about this) and pulled out an EP Carillo Dusk Obscure, the largest in this new line at 7″ x 54. The Dusk has a US grown wrapper, clearly a Broadleaf, an Ecuador binder and Nicaraguan fillers, made at Ernesto’s factory in the Dominican Republic. Having been a fan of Ernesto P. Carillo’s work over the last 20 years, it was a treat to finally sit down with him and meet him at the trade show. I don’t get starstruck by many in the cigar world anymore, but Ernesto was one of the people who I was nervous about meeting.  The Dusk was a great cigar, and another cigar I will seek out to further sample.  It was sweet and had the dark flavors I prefer.


Padilla_Anniversary_ChurchillSaturday I wound up a busy day with another IPCPR sample. Remember I said there seemed to be a lot more larger sized samples at the show this year? Well, I’ve been selecting the larger cigars as the weather allows, I’ll have plenty of robustos to get through the winter. I selected the Padilla Anniversary in the 7″ x 50 Churchill size. I’m not entirely clear which anniversary this line celebrates, the company has been around for about 14 years, but I don’t suppose it matters as special anniversary releases will be severely limited moving forward thanks to the FDA regulations. The Padilla Anniversary is a  Nicaraguan puro made at Raíces Cubanas in Honduras. It’s got a Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo binder and fillers from Esteli and Jalapa.  This cigar started out pretty smooth and built in strength, ending up to be quite a powerhouse. The burn and draw were perfect, with a good amount of smoke.  The band is really beautiful, with the Padilla signature lion holding a trident. It’s quite stunning, and the presentation is completed by a cedar sleeve. This will be a regular release, although limited. It was quite a nice smoke for a Saturday evening.


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





Filed under IPCPR, Review

Yargüera, Tatuaje, Padilla and La Palina Cigars

Yarguera_TorbustoI’m not  going to rail on about the FDA thing, although I will continue to make comments about it. I’m afraid if I start every post with a rant it will get old and the message will be lost completely. So I’ll continue to talk about the cigars I’m smoking, even though many of them won’t be available in a few years, and the people who made them will be destitute thanks to our government’s lack of anything resembling common sense. The first cigar I want to talk about is maybe the only one that could weather FDA regulation because it comes from Altadis, the Yargüera H. Upmann in the Torbusto size, a 5 ½” x 56 short torpedo with the same cinnamon bun cap like the Toro and Robusto in the line. The wrapper is shade grown in Honduras from a hybrid of Criollo 98 and a seed that came from Cuba in the 60s.  I was told when I picked this cigar up that the Toro and Robusto were perceived as better by the shop patrons, I suppose I need to try them now too. This wasn’t a bad smoke. It had some trouble staying lit, even though I had it in the humidor for about a month.  It had a pleasant enough flavor, which, combined with the fact that I paid $9 and change, kept me interested. As I said, I’ll give the other sizes a try, maybe the folks at the shop were right in saying the Torbusto wasn’t as good as the others. I will admit that there really hasn’t been much released under the H. Upmann brand over the years that had really excited my taste buds.


Tatuaje_TAA2015Friday I made a momentous life decision, which I’ll talk more about as things progress. No offense, but there are a few other people I need to tell before all of you! It doesn’t involve cigars except that I wand to smoke some great cigars to celebrate. So I grabbed the Tatuaje TAA 2015 that was a generous gift from reader Dan C. I was glad to have a chance to try this cigar again. I smoked one last year right after they hit the shelves when I found myself hanging out at The Humidour in Maryland for an afternoon. I really enjoyed the cigar, but, like the Henry Clay Tattoo I smoked there, it was a little bit wet, and they were both reasonably new releases at the time. So I was happy to smoke this after six or so months rest, and I have no doubt Dan keeps his cigars right.  What a perfect smoking cigar, a nice flat ember, and straight burn with an even burn, requiring no touch-ups. The flavor was wonderful, with that initial blast of broadleaf from the closed foot, through the espresso and cocoa flavors I love.  The only way to improve upon this cigar would be to offer it in a double corona size,  it was gone too soon.  Than you again to Dan for sharing this with me, it’s much appreciated. If the FDA gets its way, no more TAA cigars. Tatuaje cigars are working their way into my rotation.


Padilla_LaPilar_noSaturday was a rainy mess of a day, so instead of napping the day away I had a cigar on the porch. I’ve been making plans to go to the IPCPR show, and I realized I still had some samples from last year’s show, so I grabbed a cigar that Ernesto Padilla gave me when I met him. Funny I hadn’t met him before, so Victor Vitale introduced us as they are good friends and make cigars in the same factory. The cigar is a Padilla La Pilar Series No. 4 Robusto, a 5″ x 54 Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapped, slightly box pressed little beauty. I enjoyed this cigar quite a bit as I sat in my enclosed porch listening to the rain and dreaming of a day with sun and warmth, it’s been a crazy spring here in PA.  This cigar was well-behaved and had a nice, nutty-woody flavor.  These are reasonable priced at about $5 a stick, even though it has two bands!  Don’t visit the Padilla website though, there’s something funky going on there, Ernesto is a graphic guy, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t have that squared away.  I linked to Famous’ website if you want further information.


LaPalina_Nicaragua_prereleaseLast night I lit up a pre-release cigar  that Clay Roberts of La Palina Cigars gave me a month or so ago when I met him at a Wooden Indian event. La Palina has been a great friend of the site for several years, and while I haven’t smoked a bunch of their higher end cigars (because I’m a cheap bastard), I really enjoy a bunch of the “normal” priced lines, especially the Maduros. So the unbanded cigar Clay gave me is a new La Palina Nicaraguan, which, I believe, will be released at the trade show in July. I hope so, because this was a spectacular smoke.  It had a dark and oily wrapper, and that’s about all I can tell you about the blend. I can tell you that it was loaded with dark flavors, the usual espresso/cocoa that I love, along with some spice and maybe some dark fruit. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of these. It will be a monumental shame if cigars like this one can’t be produced, or cost a fortune if they are, thanks FDA.  This new La Palina Nicaragua was exceptional. While I’m thinking about Nicaragua, when all the people in that country are left jobless due to regulation, who do you think their government is going to turn for aid? The US, or, worse, China, who is already putting a canal through Nicaragua to compete with the Panama Canal.  Should a Government Agency have the right to destroy foreign economies?


That’s it for now. I have a lot of things to worry about over the next few weeks, thank goodness I have a few cigars to distract me. We’re off the a Philly Pops show in Philly today, not sure if a Holt’s visit will be on the schedule or not, but we always have fun.  Until the next time,





Please, if you haven’t already, go to the following links and sign the petitions.





Filed under Review