Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduro Short Cigar Review

November 20, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

I received this cigar as a sample from Cigars Direct; my reviews are my own.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan   |   Binder: Nicaraguan   |   Filler: Nicaraguan   |   Box of 24: $100.00 | 5 Pack: $24.00   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

0/3: To me, Don Pepin Garcia is the Samuel L. Jackson of the cigar industry. You know that he is great but he doesn’t get the credit that he deserves from some people. Don Pepin Garcia makes some delicious cigars and the DPG Series JJ Natural is one of them. But what about this cigar?

Well, it feels tightly packed and it looks good enough with only a couple of largish veins marring the appearance of the wrapper. A fair amount of oils gives the dark brown wrapper a nice sheen. The triple cap (just like the Cubans do it!) looks solid.

1/3: I like puros not because I’m some sort of tobacco supremacist – far from it – but because it gives you a better idea about how the tobacco from a certain area will normally taste. Sure, I know, there are many variations within countries and the kind of tobacco leafs you get from one farm can be significantly different than the leafs from another farm a few miles away. But, still, I think that there are some trademark differences between countries; like with this Nicaraguan puro with its bold spicy notes that relentlessly remind the nerve endings in my nasal passages that they recently blew by.

There are also notes of nutmeg, barley and maple. The first parts of the beginning third were amazing but it begins to slide backwards a bit by the end of the first third.

2/3: Even though it has regressed somewhat from the beginning the plateau from which it started was very high. Spice is still the main flavor but now the biggest supporting flavor is a sweet floral flavor. And then at about the halfway mark my enjoyment of the cigar picks up again.

Deep, soulful flavors centering around maple with a fringe of spiciness that sticks around all over. It has a lot of complexity to it – other flavors include floral notes, earthiness and cocoa – and the flavors work extremely well with each other.

3/3: And there is a change back towards that floral flavor, which, while disappointing, still isn’t a bad flavor. But that floral flavor is not all there is. There is mesquite, which is not a flavor I get all that often. It doesn’t end amazingly though, with the flavors dying somewhat.

4/3: “Perplexing” is the best word to describe this cigar. One moment I am in love with it and the next I am confused. Alternating between the great and the merely good is something that I have not encountered too much but, still, this medium bodied cigar with a good draw and burn is a cigar that you should try. Personally, I think the version with the natural wrapper has the edge.

3.5 points

Patel Brothers Short Cigar Review

August 10, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

0/3: It looks like a fairly well made cigar. A little hard to the touch but it is still a visually appealing cigar. Not a lot of oils on the wrapper.

On a separate issue, is the point of the name – Patel Brothers – supposed to evoke longing memories of Mario Bros? Maybe whilst lighting the cigar you will be brought back to that time you ate the mushroom and squashed the spiked turtle – digitally, of course.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf   |   Binder: Nicaraguan   |   Filler: Nicaraguan   |   Box of 20: $80.00   |   Torpedo   |   6″ x 52

1/3: Starts out enjoyable even though the flavors are borderline harsh. By that I mean there is a separation between the flavors, which are earth, smokiness, and bitter cocoa; and the overall smoking experience, which is bitter.

2/3: A mild sweetness has started to come through during the second third. Strong and dark is the name of the game here but, so far, I am enjoying this cigar more than I thought I would. An extremely earthy cigar.

3/3: The sweetness is still a background flavor but it has grown in prominence and it is providing a decent counterbalance to the robust earthiness that is evident in this cigar’s flavor profile. The sweetness is a little odd: it’s closer to straight, natural sugar than to anything else I can think of.

4/3: Unless you want an extremely earthy experience this probably is not a cigar for you. It also at times harsh and, because of that, the flavors can come off as being overbearing and not good. Personally, I would smoke this cigar again but I will not be seeking this cigar out. If it’s part of a deal I wouldn’t balk at it though.

3 points

Litto Gomez Cigar Rights of America Cigar Review

April 18, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

Large cigar (5 ¾” x about 53) with a fairly dark, chocolate brown wrapper. There are a couple of instances of large veins with this specimen. One of those veins intrudes upon the cap and seems to me like it portends something bad.

On the bright side, and this side does have a considerable size to it, it is an oily cigar that is packed nicely. The shape looks and feels almost spot on and there are no bumps, dips or valleys to speak of. My pre-light draw is effortless and reveals a hint of spice followed by what I’m taking as cocoa. I like this combination of flavors so my hopes are high.

I need to also mention that this is one of the Cigar Rights of America Special Edition cigars.

At first, there is a grassy flavor that floods the palate. This is superseded by a chalky cocoa flavor that is a fairly good flavor in my estimation. Spice isn’t a major player in the beginning. And then, almost like this Litto Gomez is playing a trick on me, a pleasant spicy flavor burns at the back of my throat and through my sinuses. The spice is there, it just takes a minute or two to introduce itself.

Around the two inch mark the cigar gets plagued by some poor burn issues. I have to do some major touchups and the ship is righted, for now. On the flavor front, it’s pretty much the same. Spice is still present (it’s a screeching, in your face kind of spice), the chalky cocoa flavor is still kicking and the grassy flavor is mulling around in there.

After the halfway point the chalky cocoa flavor morphs into a clay-like earthiness. The burn is still being stubborn, one side acting as the hare and the other the tortoise. The draw continues to be excellent. Grass is the dominant flavor I’m getting on the retrohale. It’s really a nice cigar with a decent amount of complexity to it.

Sometime during the last third of the cigar a floral flavor starts to come through. It is not sweet as is the case most of the time when I experience this flavor, it’s just floral. The earthiness has gone but the spice has picked up. Spice is especially present in conjunction with the grassiness during the retrohale. This Litto Gomez is a nice, medium-full bodied cigar with a goodly amount of flavor.

This Litto Gomez was a good cigar with some enjoyable flavors. As is the case with all the other cigars from the Cigar Rights of America sampler I will withhold a rating because I am only smoking one.

Diesel Unholy Cocktail Guest Cigar Review

November 22, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review, Guest Cigar Review · 9 Comments 

From my cigar buddy TriMarkC comes this great review of the Diesel Unholy Cocktail.

Diesel Unholy Cocktail, made by A.J. Fernandez

Size: 5×56, Belicoso torpedo

Wrapper: USA/Pennsylvania Broadleaf

Filler: Nicaraguan Long Fillers from Jalapa, Condega and Esteli region

Binder: Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium-to-Full Body

Price: Box of 30, $100 ($3.33/stick) or about $6 each in local B&Ms

The Diesel Unholy Cocktail is a cigar made by AJ Fernandez which was released mid-to-late in 2009.  Since I had heard that these were full-bodied (read: full strength) cigars, and I tend to like mild-to-medium strengthened cigars, I’ve been a little hesitant to smoke one for fear of getting blown out of the sky.  So I’ve had one sitting in my humidor for most of a year, until, as my friend “IronMikeCW” from @CigarWorldcom who gifted it to me, “my cigar palate grows some chest hairs”.  Well, its time!

For this review, I smoked two Diesel Unholy Cocktails in one weekend, which only come in one size – a big, beefy belicoso torpedo that’s 5” by 56 ring gauge.  The first had been resting for nearly a year, and the second was purchased about a month ago.  I paired my first cigar with a great cup of good strong coffee, and the second cigar was matched to a Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale beer. I’m a big fan of pairing cigars with whatever you feel like drinking … I’m not a snob about the pairing, since I find it much more enjoyable when your palate tells you what you’re in the mood for.

Let me say right off the bat that I love the look of the Diesel Unholy Cocktail’s band! It has a single band, at the foot, that has an antique look to it, with a medium brown old English-style text spelling out “Diesel” against a light tan background and some gold script crosses. With that band drawing your initial attention, and getting your mind thinking “old world,” I felt that the cigar itself looked rustic but elegant. It has a very dark wrapper, dark brown like dark chocolate, with a few veins visible but still smooth to the touch. Holding the cigar while inspecting it, it has heft. Its already a big cigar, but it feels densely packed – there were no soft spots at all, not even at the foot. There were no tears, holes or other irregularities to mar its appearance, even when I slid the band off the end. The cap is well wrapped, with no pinching or unusual overlapping.

As for the aroma, it was spicy and earthy, with a touch of cocoa. The foot had more of those, but also with green fields, and a strong caramel smell that wasn’t sweet. I also picked up a slight fruity aroma that I couldn’t place.

For torpedoes I tend to snip the end twice using my favorite double-guillotine cutter, since it has a backstop to prevent over-cutting.  The pre-light had a perfect draw, with a spice and caramel flavor present, too.

First Third:
After lighting the Diesel Unholy Cocktail, I was immediately hit hard and fast with spice!! I mean everywhere – my lips, my tongue, the back of my throat and on the retrohale into my sinuses!  Its not unpleasant at all, but you know its there, let me tell you!  That spiciness calms down a bit, or perhaps I got used to it somewhat, after about 5 minutes.  Then, the smoke fills your mouth with that caramel flavor – again, its not sweet, its just a nice pleasant flavor. I also picked up some coffee flavors.

As I continued on through the first third, that spiciness continued in the background, mellowed and not so in your face. That unusual fruity flavor is gone, but now I swear I was picking up a “beefy” flavor – just barely teasing me as it came and went. Still got the flavor of coffee too, sometimes sweet coffee, sometimes black coffee – very interesting!  I could feel the strength of this cigar building as I worked into it; I’d say it starts out as a medium-bodied cigar and builds from there. The burn was a little wavy on both cigars but nothing that ever required a relight, and the ash was solid with black and white bands.  In fact, the ash stayed on very solid, a testament to the construction of this cigar!

Second Third:
The Diesel Unholy Cocktail’s second third changed things up, and not always in a good way for me. There was still the spiciness that varied up and down as I progressed, and was most noticeable on the back of my throat.  The caramel flavor picked up, adding in just a touch of some sweetness now. And the coffee flavor occasionally, too. But there was this off-putting flavor in one cigar that I haven’t been able to place, kinda like the smell of rubber cement, which startled me enough that I checked to see if perhaps I had laid the burning foot on something unexpected somehow. It would go away, and then shock me again. I eventually knocked the lit cherry off and touched up the light, which worked to eliminate that problem. But, on the other cigar, not only didn’t I have that strange problem, but my ash stayed on well past the half-way point (see picture)!  The strength of still building, and it is now medium-to-full, but is still not a killer, even for me (remember, I tend to smoke mild-to-medium bodied cigars).

Diesel Ash

Final Third:
In the final third, the Diesel Unholy Cocktail’s strength is still increasing, and I can really feel it in my sinuses. Not enough for me to feel dizzy, but I know its there. Strangely, unlike any other cigar I’ve ever had, the draw got a little tighter in this last third; normally, I’ve experienced cigars’ draw opening up at the end. The burn has remained slightly wavy throughout this entire cigar, but has not caused any problems. The spiciness has been replaced with the cocoa I picked up in the very beginning, with some vanilla, and the caramel flavor that has been throughout. As I nubbed this cigar down to its last, it was that caramel flavor that I most enjoyed and remember.

Overall, I not only liked this cigar – a lot – but I also felt that it wasn’t as strong as I had expected it to be. Perhaps I had listened too much to the hype, or perhaps my palate has matured since its release. Either way, I found that I really enjoyed the flavor changeups that Mr.Fernandez has created in his Diesel Unholy Cocktail. Like the Joya de Nicaragua Celebraciòn, another Nicaraguan puro, this cigar was spicy and full-bodied. BUT, knowing that, even a newer cigar smoke can still enjoy these stronger cigars by slowing down! I found that when I’m worried about the strength of a cigar, I slow down, which allows me to really pay attention to and enjoy the flavors more, too!

In summary, I will be looking to add more of these cigars to my humidors and to my rotation. With its great flavors and complexity, a solid feel and heft that makes you feel like you’re smoking a real cigar, and a fantastic box price (come on! 30 cigars for under $100!!), this cigar is worth buying a box or two.

91 points

Calibre Cigar Review

November 10, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

According to the little card that Miami Cigar & Co. sent with these samples (yes, that’s the full disclosure part) “This 100% Nicaraguan Puro was initially created as a personal house blend of Miami Cigar to be used exclusively for promos but, due to the demand, we were forced to release them.” These cigars come in two sizes, both will be reviewed here, and in both rosado and oscuro wrappers, I’ll be smoking the former. Oh, and these things are Nub short, just so you know.

Wrapper: Nicaragua | Binder: Nicaragua | Filler: Nicaragua | Price: $4.60

The Robusto (4 x 58)

It really is a good looking cigar in the same way that the Nubs are. The wrapper has some oils on it, is well made and it is perhaps too solidly packed. There are a couple of medium sized holes in the wrapper but there really isn’t a vein issue.

Dwarf Flame!

The prelight draw is easy and sweet while the foot has a spicy sweet smell to it. The first third of the cigar is really complex. Nuttiness, hay, a quickly diminishing sweetness and some bitterness. While that bitterness does add some contrast to the flavor profile it is almost overpowering the other flavors, which, in this case, isn’t a good thing.

Entering the second third now and that blasted bitterness has largely dissipated. With bitterness performing at a diminished capacity other flavors are shining. Sweetness and cashew lead the way with some spice. One area of worry is that a crack has formed at the midway point of the cigar. So far it isn’t growing much and is being consumed by the burn line, which is fairly even. The draw has been a smidgen tight at times but that is me just splitting hairs, really.

I’m going to go ahead and peg this as nominally full bodied. For some reason, the strength seems to be getting to me. Now, I’ve smoked a few of these before and I don’t remember this happening before. I’ll chalk this one up to sleep deprivation.

Nearing the end now it’s now a predominantly earthy cigar. There is some sourness present on the periphery. But it’s not a deal breaker at all because it is just a minor nuisance. Really good cigar.

88 points


The Torpedo (4 x 58)

Of the two vitolas I like this one the most; well, at least I have liked it more. Very well made cigar with an oily wrapper and no notable blemishes.

Acula Torch!

Spice is the first thing you notice with this cigar. That and the great draw. Nuts and woodiness are in the background. Intriguing flavors. I can taste a little bit of that bitterness coming around the corner.

Bitterness, for this cigar, is actually a wonderful development. I’m not sure what the difference is between this vitola and the robusto but there seems to be a difference to me. The bitterness here is developing into a cocoa bitterness that I really like.

Rich flavors abound with this one. What is especially good with this cigar is that the flavors are refined and work well with each other.

Over halfway through now and this cigar has settled down into being a medium-full bodied cigar with plus flavors. Nuttiness, some sweetness and a somewhat bitter cocoa flavor remain. Spice really wasn’t a major player after the first half an inch or so.

Good draw and burn with this cigar. Overall, it is an enjoyable cigar and there is a decent amount of complexity too. Enjoyed smoking it.

91 points

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