Liga Privada Papas Fritas Cigar Review

July 10, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

I think the name of this cigar alludes to its snacky characteristics as “papas fritas” means french fries in some language. It’s definitely a small cigar, which means it’s meant for those short times you get during a busy day where you want to smoke but don’t want to break out a normally sized cigar. Also, this cigar has short-filler tobaccos in it and that means they’re not long-filler and that means not “super premium” and that should mean less money and that’s sort of true at least for the Liga Privada line of cigars (it’s actually part of the Liga Privada Único Serie of cigars). Basically, the guys over at Drew Estate realized that they were throwing away a bunch of expensive tobacco they use for the Liga Privada No. 9 line and figured out a way to use that excess tobacco.

(Basically, that’s the reverse of the story behind the culebra vitola, which came about as a way for the torcedores to take three cigars home instead of the customary one cigar that pre-revolutionary Cuban cigar manufacturers allotted for them each day. If you don’t know what a culebra is, it’s basically three cigars wrapped around each other. And the Papas Fritas is the opposite of the culebra because the cigar manufacturer is making more out of something whereas with the culebra the cigar manufacturers were getting less.)

If you want to look at that as Machiavellian then do so. And maybe it is a bit Machiavellian to basically create a whole new segment in the cigar market: what calls “semi-premium.” In the end, all that matters is how well the cigar tastes. It looks well made, is oily and has a couple of medium sized veins. I’ve smoked a few of these now and I have not noticed any deficiencies in the basics (burn and draw) so all that’s left is the review.

credit: Drew Estate Facebook Page

credit: Drew Estate Facebook Page

Cigar Stats
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 44
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $152.00/Box of 28 | $22.00/Tin of 4

Medici Torch!

A touch of sweetness, a good deal of earth and some smoky wood. This cigar is starting out very well. There’s a bit of heat that lingers through the retrohale and it is nice.

There’s a great depth of flavor with this cigar. Vivid, dark flavors are bouncing around my palate and linger for a good deal of time. In addition to the flavors that I previously mentioned there’s also this mixture of coffee and chocolate that is awesome. Good deal of complexity with this cigar.

The final third was similar to the second third but with more earth and chocolate. It’s a good finish to a very good cigar.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this is a surprisingly good cigar. I don’t know why I didn’t think this cigar would be good but I did have that thought. Maybe it’s due to its small size and it did have something to do with the fact that the filler is basically recycled No. 9 parts. Weirdly enough, I liked this cigar more than the long-filler No. 9.

92 points

La Flor Dominicana Limitado V Cigar Review

July 3, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

Nope, no relation to the Oliva Serie V, which, by the way, is an awesome cigar. Very awesome. Loads of flavor with a decent amount of strength…. But this review isn’t about that Oliva cigar, or any Oliva cigar for that matter, it’s about a La Flor Dominicana cigar: the Limitado V.

This cigar is a bit larger than I normally smoke, which is a tidbit that doesn’t necessarily have any significance to it. The chocolatey brown wrapper is undeniably rustic looking with a maze of veins all over the place and the wrapper is very oily to the touch. I’ve smoked a few of these so far and I’m going to review it now so let’s get it started.

La Flor Dominicana Limitado V

Cigar Stats
Vitola: toro
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $475.00/Box of 48 | $55.00/Pack of Five

Red Rum II Fire!

Wow. This cigar starts out with very strong flavors ranging from earth and chocolate to floral notes and woodiness. There is a bit of heat that lingers on the retrohale, which is nice, but it doesn’t overtake the flavors in any way. It’s a very interesting mix of flavors; a mix that is also unique. In certain ways it does remind me of the original La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero natural but with a nice twist. If you’re a fan of the Fast and Furious series, this cigar is a souped up Supra and the regular LFD is stock. (Okay, that’s a pretty extreme analogy since the regular LFD DL is a cigar I love and this isn’t necessarily better but is definitely different. Maybe a better analogy would be to say that the LFD Limitado V is a black swan and the regular LFD DL is a white swan.)

There’s a bit of sweetness that comes on during the second third but it’s definitely a background flavor; it’s nice. The earth and chocolate slowly dissipates during this third and is replaced by notes of oak and toast. Maybe not as good as the first third but still very good.

The final third is much the same as the second third but with more toast thrown in the mix. Maybe not as good as the second third but still very good. Don’t read too much into those “not as good” phrases.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; it’s an excellent cigar. There are a ton of flavors that all work well together and build off of each other. What really surprised me about this cigar is its absence of spice, which is something that I usually get in a cigar and something that I like. It’s absence was not noticed by me until near the end of the cigar, which says something good about the flavors present. The Limitado V is a very good addition to the La Flor Dominicana line of cigars.

94 points

Casa Magna Domus Magnus II Cigar Review

May 15, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

A little less than a year ago I reviewed the Domus Magnus I and I liked it but I didn’t think it was anything earth shattering. That’s fine; few cigars (few things for that matter) are. But what about the second coming of the Domus Magnus?

According to SAG Imports, the company that distributes Casa Magna (and other) cigars, the same two sizes that were available in the original are available in the sequel. There’s the Optimus, which I am smoking, that is 5 ¾” x 52 and there’s also the Primus at 6 ½” x 55. These are Roman names and since I talked about this with my review of the original Domus Magnus, I won’t repeat myself here.

It’s a good looking, slightly box pressed Nicaraguan puro. According to Halfwheel, the main difference between this version and the previous Domus Magnus is that the wrapper is a different vintage this time around. Oh, and there’s that pigtail, which I twisted off and (surprisingly to me) it leaves a perfect hole in the cap and it actually is supplying me a pretty good draw. I will try it with this small little hole and if the draw starts to get tight I can always cut the head properly. I’ll tell you how it goes.

Domus Magnus II

Cigar Stats
Vitola: toro
Length: 5 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Sun Grown Jalapa 2007 (Nicaragua)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $80.00/Box of 10 | $9.40/Single

Marble Hornets Torch!

Even though I was able to get a decent draw from the hole I got by twisting off the pig tail I quickly decided to cut the head to produce more air flow. I suppose it was worth the try to make it work but… oh well.

The flavors are amazing from the very first puff. Strong flavors circling around the sweet spice spectrum. Backing up these is wheat and some floral notes as well. Very dry flavor profile, which works wonderfully for these flavors.

Granular flavor bits are all about and they all taste good. It’s a very interesting cigar and even though the flavor profile is a bit on the dry side, which I don’t normally favor, it works for these flavors. Sweet spice, oak with a tinge of char and there’s a faint chocolate flavor hovering about.

There really isn’t that much of a difference between the final and the second third (and not that much of a difference between the final two thirds and the first third) but that is okay because the flavors are enjoyable.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar has much to recommend it. The flavor profile is very creamy and the flavors are pretty smooth; even in the final third. While there is some complexity in the overall flavor profile what I am liking about this cigar the most is the clarity of the flavors and how they mix well with each other. It’s an excellent cigar.

94 points

Casa Magna Colorado Short Cigar Review

April 9, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

Wrapper: Nicaragua   |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua   |   Box of 27: $150.00; Five Pack: $28.95  |   Lancero   |   8 ½″ x 40

0/3: Got this from one of my cigar smoking buddies; thanks buddy!

This cigar is extremely long, is rather rustic looking with all those veins and bumps but it does have a pigtail cap and the wrapper covers the head. And there’s a little bit of oil on the wrapper.

Casa Magna

1/3: Pretty strong flavors from the beginning: pepper and a general hot spice, some chocolate in the background. There’s also oak and wheat. Lots going on.

2/3: Oak and nuts are the big flavors during this third. Spice is gone and so is the chocolate (wheat is sort of still around).

3/3: Still tastes good with oak and nuts being the major flavors at the end. There’s a bit of spice coming back.

4/3: Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar is consistently good from the beginning to the end.

4 out of 5 – Definitely worth a try

PS: I have reviewed this line of cigars four times in the past: short robusto, corona and robusto (double review!) and the torpedo. All scored very well.

Emilio AF1 Cigar Review

February 18, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

I received the cigars used for this review from Emilio Cigars; as always, all reviews are my own.

The blackish-brown wrapper is almost completely devoid of any inconsistencies except for a smallish vein that runs the length of the cigar. It looks well made due to its uniformity of shape and the lack of any hard or soft spots.

“Who’s it made by?” you may be asking. Well, it’s made by the wunderkind A.J. Fernandez, that’s who. If you buy cigars online with any frequency then you are probably familiar with his other works (Man O’ War and Diesel he makes for others and San Lotano is his own, which you can find at many brick and mortar shops). Enjoyable cigars all.

I remember getting some of these AF1s about a couple of years ago and immensely enjoying them so I am hopeful for this go around. The vitola I’m using for this review is the ubiquitous robusto.

Emilio AF1

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $120.00/Box of 20 | $6.00/Single

Rorschach Mask Videos Flame!

It starts out strong with notes of cutting spice, chocolate and earth. Even though it’s still early in this cigar’s flavor evolution, the flavors I’m experiencing right now are pretty complex. And although there is a lot going on with the flavors and the strength in flavors (but not necessarily body) I can easily say that the flavor profile maintains an elegance to it; it’s reserved but not boring.

Chocolate, earth and a pervasive, yet restrained, sweetness are the main components of the flavor profile during the second third. Spice doesn’t play much of a part during this third except for during the actual process of retrohaling the smoke through my nose, where spice is evident for a brief moment. Normally, I would like more spice with chocolate and earth but the flavor profile is working well for me here.

Dry earth with spice is a good description of the final third’s flavor profile. Chocolate is still lurking around in the background and the overall strength of this cigar has increased to a point where it is now safely in the full bodied spectrum.

Full bodied with a great draw and burn; the Emilio AF1 has flavors that never flag and they are pretty tasty too. The main change in the flavor profile can be experienced during the transition into the final third with the darker chocolate and earth nexus giving way to a bolder dry earth and spice mixture. It’s an impressive cigar and I hope it sticks around for a long time in its current configuration.

94 points

PS: Right before hitting the publish button on this post it occurred to me that this cigar’s flavor arc is reminiscent of a lot of Western movie heroes. Take, for example, Shane. Shane, like this cigar, is a good guy trying to do right be his adopted family and town. Things go smoothly for a while but then, when the situation requires it, he goes off and saves the day.

While this cigar won’t save any days it does solidly go on in a pleasant fashion for the first two thirds or so. And then – BAM! – you are hit by an abrupt change that is impressive. If this cigar’s total flavor contribution had remained relatively constant throughout that would have been great. The fact that it had that extra element at the end is a bonus.

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