E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Natural Cigar Review

October 11, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I’ve smoked a few of these over the last few months and my recent review of the E.P. Carrillo E Stunner reminded me that I haven’t posted a review of the Cardinal Series (this is for the one with the natural wrapper and the maduro review will happen in the future). Even though I didn’t particularly care for the E Stunner I do have higher hopes for this cigar.

It looks like a well made cigar but there are a number of stretch marks around veins. Not really a particularly good looking cigar but it does have a waxy feel to it.

Before getting onto the review I need to direct your attention to the picture below (click it to go to the E.P. Carrillo Facebook Page). Like the E Stunner, this cigar (and its maduro brethren) are billed as being full bodied cigars. Personally, I prefer full bodied cigars over medium bodied or lighter cigars when all else is held equal. But the strength of the cigar isn’t the only thing, it’s not even one of the three or four most important things I look for in a cigar.

Without giving away big spoilers, this cigar’s performance is better than the E Stunner and the full bodied sales pitch (seen below) is just that, a sales pitch. Which is fine.

E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Natural (click image to go to their Facebook Page)

E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Natural (click image to go to their Facebook Page)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $130.50/Box of 20 | $34.50/Pack of 5

Puttin’ on the Ritz Conflagration!

It’s a pleasant cigar with a good mixture of flavors; pretty refreshing actually. Initially, you get oak and some fruit-tinged sweetness. And then you are hit with a clean and sharp red pepper sensation through the nose on the retrohale and on the tongue as well. There’s also cherry going on here and it closely resembles the cherry I experienced in the E Stunner.

The flavors are good and they’re pretty clean, so I’m liking it. Cherry, oak and a hint of spice are the main things going on now. It’s reminiscent of the E Stunner but better.

Cherry dissipates a bit during the final third but so does all the brightness and cheer that was evident during the first two thirds. Cherry is still around but it progressively plays a lessened role as earth and coco ascend to the top of flavor mountain. It’s become a dark and gritty cigar and I just don’t know what to think about it. I’ve had five of these now and the flavor profile seems simple but there’s also a great deal of evolution going on with the flavor profile at the end. Interesting? Sure.

Medium bodied with a good burn and draw; the E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Natural is an interesting cigar but it just didn’t work for me on a couple of levels. Yes, I liked it more than I did the E Stunner but, from what I can tell, the flavor profile is very similar. This cigar’s flavors worked well together but it just isn’t what I’m looking for in a cigar.

88 points

P.S.: After writing this review it occurred to me that maybe I’m just not a Sumatran wrapper fan and, after looking through my previous reviews, that’s mostly true. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the La Flor Dominicana Limitado V, which has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper just like the cigar in this review.

E.P. Carrillo E Stunner Short Cigar Review

October 7, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra    |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican   |   Box of 24: $139.95; Pack of 5: $50.50   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull and there is a bull on the band. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

0/3: If you just hear the name “E Stunner” you might think it’s an electronic thingamajig or… maybe something else. It’s none of that; it’s a cigar put out by the much respected EP Carrillo cigar company and I think they promise that this cigar has a good amount of kick to it. Well, lets see.

After picking up one of these cigars the first thing you will notice is that it is a very oily cigar. Visually, it’s nothing spectacular. It’s a mottled combination of medium to dark brown colors with some very light areas running along the veins. This combination of colors makes an ashy visual impression.

This is not a tightly packed cigar but the packing is consistent. It looks and feels like it was put together well (it is a Carrillo after all). Right before I lit this cigar I noticed that there’s an image of a bull’s head on the band, which, when coupled with the name, all points to this being a very strong cigar. I’m just hoping it tastes good.

1/3: There’s grass and red pepper going on in the beginning. It quickly progresses into including cherry and my overall impression of the cigar’s flavor profile is sweet spice. Pretty straightforward but nice all the same.

2/3: Cherry takes on more prominence during this third but there are still some red pepper notes through the retrohale and a bit of oak as well.

3/3: Cherry, earth and some coffee are coming through during the final third. The cherry is the strongest flavor and it’s good but everything else is pretty average.

4/3: Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the E.P. Carrillo E Stunner is a decent cigar but it doesn’t have the level of refinement that other Carrillo cigars are known for, like their Elencos cigars. It wasn’t even a full bodied cigar, which is something they were going for. This is a cigar you can miss.

2.5 points out of 5 – It’s a quality cigar but it just never hit its groove

Quesada Heisenberg Cigar Review

October 6, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I liked Breaking Bad. It was a different kind of show; a good mixture of smarts, drama and enough comedy, especially during the earlier seasons, to make the show work very well. Even though it’s by no means my favorite show it’s a show I wouldn’t mind watching again in five or ten years.

The cigar I am reviewing here, the Quesada Heisenberg, shares its name with the nom de cuisiner of the main character, Walter White, in Breaking Bad. Is that intentional? Well, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that no information about the tobacco used in the blends for this cigar was ever publicly released. Why do this? Quesada did this to make it easier for the cigar smokers to just focus on enjoying the cigar instead of focusing, for example, on how the Dominican leaves played with the Nicaraguan and Honduran leaves.

So what does this Heisenberg thing mean? Heisenberg was a scientist who came up with the popularly (that’s a relative term) named “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.” Without going back to look at my notes, what I remember of this principle is that it stipulates that when you are measuring one thing with great precision you cannot measure another thing with increasingly less precision. And I think it has something to do with quantum mechanics. But I don’t want to waste too much of your time on this so if you want more information on this click the equation below.

Click image to get educated

Click image to get educated

The cigar itself looks pretty gnarly. There are some pretty serious veins, stretch marks and bumps all over the place. It feels like the cigar is slightly underpacked and the wrapper has some oils on it.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 40
Wrapper: ???
Binder: ???
Filler: ???
Price: $49.95/Box of 10 | $5.50/Single

Uncertainty Principle Torch!

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer's site)

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer’s site)

It is an interesting flavor profile. A host of flavors including cappuccino, oak and cherry supports a sweet floral core. The draw is very nice right from the start and the flavors, without getting into whether or not I like them, are strong and clear. Even though there are a lot of positives here this isn’t my favorite combination of flavors.

During the second third there are some bright citrus notes that cut through to the foreground of the flavor profile providing an extra element to this cigar. Even though this may not be my favorite combination of flavors they do seem to work well together and if you are a fan of these flavors I’m sure you would like this cigar thus far. Personally, I would like it if the cappuccino and oak flavors played more of a role in this cigar but it is mainly about the sweet flavors – cherry and floral – with the citrus providing a little extra excitement.

As if this cigar knew what I was thinking, the cappuccino flavors do come further into the fore during the final third. The sweeter flavors recede a bit but are easily noticeable and, in my opinion, are better served as secondary flavors. A bit of an edge comes on during the final third in the form of barbequed meat. By itself that would not be a great flavor but with the other flavors present it does add something positive to the overall experience. I should note that the barbequed meat flavor came on during the second third for one of the three cigars that I smoked for this review but twice in the final third.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Quesada Heisenberg is an interesting cigar with a good deal of evolution to the flavor profile. During the first two thirds I would put it firmly in the sweet profile camp but during the final third it migrates over to the grittier side with meat and cappuccino. What you will find with this cigar are good examples of the flavors featured and all those flavors work decently well with each other. Personally, I don’t think I will make a concerted effort to buy any more of these cigars but I am glad that I smoked the few that I did.

88 points

Asylum Straight Jacket Short Cigar Review

October 1, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Nicaragua    |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua   |   Box of 10: $79.95; Single: $8.05   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

Asylum Cigars One Year Anniversary Facebook Banner (click on picture to go to their Facebook page)

Asylum Cigars One Year Anniversary Facebook Banner (click on picture to go to their Facebook page)

0/3: I have smoked some of Asylum’s stuff in the past and, while I haven’t posted any reviews yet, I can tell you that they’re really good cigars. Checking out their Facebook page I see that they are celebrating a year in business, which is impressive and I think they will be around for quite some time yet.

Great construction to this cigar with some oils on the wrapper. Solidly packed with some bumps and other minor imperfections evident on the surface. They tout this cigar as being very full bodied so we’ll see what we have.

1/3: It definitely starts out with a zing with the heat being particularly strong in the back of your nasal cavity. Cherry, oak and spice are the main flavors but there is also a little tanginess going on. I can’t say this cigar is insanely strong but it does have some strength to it.

2/3: Some sweetness starts peeking through during this third. That tanginess is very evident during this third and it’s not bad as it adds an extra element to the flavor profile.

3/3: Cherry seems to be the main flavor during this third with a good helping of spice. It’s still a full bodied cigar but I never thought that the strength of this cigar was too much to handle.

4/3: Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Asylum Straight Jacket is a good cigar, especially for those of us who like full bodied cigars. The flavors are all pretty concise and they work very well together. Even though I didn’t come across this info in my search on this cigar I think it’s got a healthy dose of ligero tobacco coursing through its veins.

3.5 points – Good flavor and full bodied cigar lovers will appreciate it most of all

My Father Cigars Flor de las Antillas Cigar Review

June 27, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

Image Credit: Cigar Aficionado

I received the cigars for this review from Thompson Cigar; as always, all reviews are my own.

I’ve reviewed this cigar before and I remember liking it. Actually, the first time I ever tried one of these cigars I thought it was an amazing cigar. Full of flavor and life and pretty much everything else I want from a cigar. But I smoked them a few more times and, while I still enjoyed them, these cigars did not maintain their lofty status in my estimation. Great cigar, just not one of those cigars perched at the uppermost reaches of my all-time top list (which is firmly ensconced in my head).

This is the robusto; oily, box pressed with rounded edges, twice as wide as it is deep, great construction, not much in the way of imperfections, a pleasure to look at. A lot is going on in the band, paintings of some sort, which I like. There’s also a cloth band around the foot (I guess that’s in case it gets cold… (I’m leaving that in because it’s such a horrible joke)).

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $118.80/Box of 20 | $32.20/Pack of Five

Borgia back on Netflix Conflagration!

I’ve gotta admit, the way this cigar is starting out reminds me a lot of that first experience I had with one of these cigars. It has loads of flavor with a decent amount of intensity. There’s this really unique spice that enhances everything that it touches. Oak, cherry tinged hay and some other bright flavors. The texture to the smoke feels almost like mist.

During the second third the spice greatly dissipates, which isn’t a great development but it could be worse. Oak and cherry still around. There’s a light dusting of coco in there as well.

The final third features a great deal more coco and there’s also a floral flavor too. That floral flavor was probably in there the whole time but buried behind the other flavors.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Flor de las Antillas is definitely a tasty cigar with a lot to recommend it. Like I said earlier, when I smoked my first one I thought this was one of those truly special cigars; and maybe you’ll think so. It sure started out exceptionally well this time but it quickly dropped off from Olympus down to mortal status. And yet, much like everything My Father Cigars makes, I think this cigar is worth a try.

90 points

Next Page »