La Flor Dominicana Litto Gomez Diez 2012 Cigar Review

October 9, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 
Litto Gomez Diez cigar (click image to go to manufacturer's site)

Litto Gomez Diez cigar (click image to go to LFD site)

I have a little bit of history with this brand as I named the 2012 Chisel as my top cigar of 2012 and, frankly, that’s the best cigar I have ever smoked. It’s so good that if I had to only smoke one cigar for the rest of my life I would quickly choose that one and have no qualms about it. Well… nah, no qualms.

Also, I’ve been reviewing a lot of lanceros lately and liking most of them. Since this cigar is a lancero and made from the same blend as my favorite cigar I have high hopes for this cigar.

There really isn’t anything like the smell of a Litto Gomez Diez cigar; it smells of spice and a barnyard. The construction looks good, there are some stretch marks around the foot though. It is a very oily cigar and there is one of those darling little pigtails on the cap. And now I’m going to cut that off.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: lancero
Length: 7 ½”
Ring Gauge: 39
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $178.95/Box of 20 | $8.80/Single

Bizarro Flame!

It wants to be good but I have my doubts. The draw is very tight and that is wreaking havoc on the flavor profile, at least in the beginning. What flavors are able to get through include dark fruit and some fleeting spice. Basically, my impression of this cigar is that the flavors are there but they are hidden by the bad draw. The previous (two) LGD ’12 lanceros I smoked had the same problem.

A bit further into the first third the draw does open up a bit but it will probably be a problem throughout; I hope not but that was the case with the previous two. As long as you concentrate on bringing in enough of the smoke you will get pretty strong flavors including the aforementioned dark fruit and spice (but they’re much, much better now that the draw has opened up a bit) and there’s also barnyard and cedar.

Meandering is nice when it’s a warm, sunny day and you are walking through a park but it isn’t very nice with a cigar. I really want to like this cigar and there are some very good moments at the end of the first third and the beginning of the second third but then it just kind of wonders off again shortly after the halfway point has been reached. Earth, spice and those dark fruit flavors are kicking around and they are pretty good but are not as good as they should be. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that all the ingredients for a great cigar are present except for a good draw, which significantly hurts the performance of this cigar.

This cigar has all of the flavors that I like in a cigar but they just don’t get the opportunity to shine. My problem, which is not getting solved in the final third, is that the draw is making the performance inconsistent. Pretty much the same flavors going from the second third into the final third.

Medium-full bodied with a poor draw and good burn; the La Flor Dominicana Litto Gomez Diez 2012 lancero’s major problem is a poor draw. This problem undercut what should have been a wonderful group of flavors and made them pretty blah. This happened with the three cigars that I smoked and I would be surprised if this problem were isolated to the three cigars that I smoked.

87 points

La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Cigar Review

July 29, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

This is a bit of a departure for me as this is the Air Bender Villano, which is a lancero measuring in at 7.5″ x 38. Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with this size but, probably for a multitude of reasons, I don’t usually smoke this vitola. Is that a mistake?

Maybe.

The reason why I picked up one of these is because I wanted to compare it to the similarly sized Cain F lancero.

As I noted earlier, this is a long, thin cigar and I think that fits well with its name: Villano. I think it was in Nip/Tuck where they talked about babies not getting parts in commercials because they had thin, villainous lips and, if this cigar were a baby, it wouldn’t be getting commercial roles either. But this isn’t a baby and, unlike a baby, smells like spicy tobacco with a hint of barnyard thrown in for good measure (do babies have a “barnyard” smell to them?). It does feel a bit soft in places, with a slight amount of oils and veins on the wrapper. There’s also a pigtail.

I have done two reviews of Air Benders before with my review of the Chisel, which I really liked, and another of the corona gorda, which I thought was alright. (Read both as you’ll get to see how different vitolas can lead to much different levels of enjoyment.)

Photo: La Flor Dominicana website

Photo: La Flor Dominicana website

Cigar Stats
Vitola: lancero
Length: 7 ½”
Ring Gauge: 38
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $169.00/Box of 20 | $42.00/5 Pack

How Star Wars Ep 1 Should Have Been Flame!

It starts out as aggressively as a bull elephant in musth with a combination of spice, leather, dark fruit in the background and it all goes perfectly together. From the first puff this is a very strong cigar and I can already tell that it wouldn’t go great for people who are either new to cigars or who do not like full bodied cigars. And this isn’t the online retailer “this cigar will blow steam out your ears if you smoke it!” kind of full bodied either; it’s legitimately full bodied.

Usually, things do calm down as the cigar progresses and, in a fashion, it does here as well but not a whole lot, which I like. In addition to what was there in the first third there is oak. So, in order of most prominent to least prominent flavors: spice, leather, oak, dark fruit and it’s still full bodied.

The final third sees a change in the spice: it’s drier. The dark fruitiness has lost some of its zip and is now more of a run of the mill kind of sweetness. Overall, though, this is still an excellent cigar.

Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Villano is a must try for cigar smokers who do not dislike full bodied cigars. Even if you don’t normally smoke stronger cigars I think you should try at least one of these as it does have an amazing amount of flavor. So far, this is the best Air Bender I have smoked.

95 points

La Sirena Merlion Cigar Review

October 5, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

The band features a… oh, that’s what a Merlion is. This is a line extension to the La Sirena (which I loved, giving it 95 points and the #2 spot on my 2011 Top 10 list) stables and is made by La Aurora. I love La Aurora cigars and I toured their factory a couple of years ago. The La Sirena blend, on the other hand, is made by My Father Cigars.

It’s a very average looking cigar with the brown being on the lighter side and there being a few decent sized veins sticking out here and there. I will say that this cigar does have a fairly robust tobacco and spice smell coming from it. The construction is solid; evenly packed, very consistent shape, no stretch marks on the wrapper and those sorts of things. It also has a decent amount of oils on the wrapper.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Brazilian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Corojo & Criollo, Nicaraguan Ligero & Brazilian Mata Fina
Price: $158.00/Box of 20

Watch Firefly… Fire!

Before I start the actual review I have to note that it’s pretty damn cool seeing a former cigar blogger and friend, Barry Stein in this case, being cited on Cigar Aficionado’s website. As many of you know, Barry is the Assistant Director of Marketing for Miami Cigar, which distributes La Sirena cigars.

[Now back to the review.]

Sweet spice and oats make up the two main flavors for me during the first third. Good mix, a little unusual, but definitely interesting.

During the second third the sweet spice adds on a dark fruit sweetness to it as well, which is nice. The oats are still there. There’s also a bit of maple in the background. So, this cigar is partly sweet and partly oat flavored with some rough leather mixed in as well.

Near the end of the second third and throughout the remainder of the cigar the sweet spice fades but does not disappear. In it’s place is a combination of oats and nuts. While not my favorite mixture of flavors it does seem to be working well in this cigar.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn, the La Sirena Merlion is a good cigar. Even though it does not have the flavors that I enjoy the most the flavors that are here work together very well. This is the kind of cigar that will appeal to a lot of people because of the sweetness mixed with the savory flavors. Personally, I like the La Sirena line better, but that’s just me.

89 points

Litto Gomez Diez 2012 Cigar Review

September 19, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

A couple of months ago I reviewed the Litto Gomez Diez 2010 Chisel and thought that it was a good cigar and gave it 90 points. For me, the flavor was a little muted during the first two thirds but that last third was pretty awesome. It’s a good cigar and I would suggest smoking one if you get the opportunity. But what if you had to choose between the 2010 and 2012 LGD Chisels?

Fortunately for you, I am going to give you some advice because I’m about to start reviewing the LG Diez 2012 Chisel… Right now.

Normally, I do not comment on the way the cigar smells unlit but this one just exudes this spicy, hay-infused aroma. It’s a very dry smell and only adds to my anticipation of this cigar.

It’s a Chisel, it looks flawless, it doesn’t have any veins, is fairly oily and has a slightly loose pack. Enough with this prelude to a smoke, let’s smoke.

LFD Litto Gomez Diez Chisel (click picture to go to La Flor Dominicana's site)

LFD Litto Gomez Diez Chisel (click picture to go to La Flor Dominicana’s site)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: Chisel ~ robusto
Length: 5 ½”
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $265.25/Box of 24 | $11.05/Single

Hallucinatory Scorching!

During my review of the Litto Gomez Diez 2010 Chisel I basically likened the final third flavors to a dream come true. That’s good but it was only that good for a third of the cigar. The LG Diez 2012 is starting off like a dream with this amazing spice flavor that is both bitter and hot all at once and there’s also dark fruit, dry hay and some savory notes that most closely resembles a fine steak.

If I were forced to identify something negative with the first third, or at least something others might not like about the first third, it is that the flavors are extremely intense; intense to the point that they might overpower some people’s palates. I’m okay with it, I loved it. It’s also very full bodied, which is another matter altogether for some people (this is not an admonition, it’s just that some people do not like full bodied cigars, that’s all).

The second third ameliorates any concern I have with this cigar’s flavors being too powerful for some people (the strength of body is still there, if not a tick higher than during the first third). And it has increased my enjoyment of this cigar a bit because the flavors seem to have more freedom and life to them. What I’m getting now is a ton of spice, which is a combination of cinnamon and heat. Dryness is the name of the game here, this is a very dry cigar. And that is perfect for this flavor profile, which, during this second third, is, as aforementioned, spice and, mostly, meat with some sweetness added in almost as an afterthought.

After finishing the final third I am still supremely impressed by this cigar. Heck, I was extremely impressed with the three others that I smoked before this one (two of another vitola, forget which, and a Chisel). During this third I predominately got that very dry and intense spice along with some oak. All signs of sweetness and meat have disappeared. The previous two thirds were better but the final third was great in its own way.

Definitely full bodied with a great draw and a decent burn, this cigar is a treat. It is too full bodied for those who don’t normally go for full bodied cigars but, for those of you who do, this is one of those cigars that you must try at least once.

97 points

PS: I did wrestle with the score quite a bit. I’m guessing that more people will probably like this cigar more than the Fausto Avion 11, which received a 98 from me, but I could be wrong. Initially, I was going to give it a score of 99 points (one point off 100 due to the burn) but then the burn acted up a little too much and the final third wasn’t perfect. This is most definitely not a criticism but, at least the way I see it, when I am deciding which cigar is my favorite I have to go after every last detail.

The other LGD 2012 Chisel I smoked also had some burn issues but the other vitola, which is a normal parejo, didn’t have those burn issues. Part of the problem with the LGD 2012 Chisels is that I may have just let the cigar rest too long in between puffs but, if I had done that, I do not think the cigar would have performed as well flavor-wise. It was better that I smoked it slowly and corrected a few burn issues, which included the cigar basically going out, than to have risked the flavor profile turning bad by smoking it too quickly.

Tatuaje Cigar Rights of America Special Edition Cigar Review

February 14, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

Note: This cigar came from the CRA Sampler Pack #1.

It looks old, worn. Older than Clint Eastwood, an Afghan goatherd and the Sahara combined. Leathery valleys are punctuated by veiny mountain ranges that jut upwards harum-scarum. The excess tobacco is not cut off at the foot but is folded over completely hiding the filler tobaccos.

Even though the picture looks bleak I am holding out a lot of hope for this cigar. It’s a Tatauje, which is usually a good thing. It’s oily, which is, again, usually a good thing. And it smells like it is going to be a robust cigar.

The rough outward appearance and texture suggests, to me at least, that Pete Johnson’s crew used an older wrapper that grew at the top of the plant. More sun exposure may mean a meaner look but it also usually leads to a lot of character as well. Hopefully that comes through loud and clear.

A syrupy sweetness is the high note for the pre-light draw. It’s also a surprisingly open draw as well – with tobacco hanging over and covering the foot I expected a lot more resistance than I got. There is some spice that reveals itself in the aftertaste but it is not a lasting flavor. The sweetness is low in acidity and reminds me of a darker, fruity flavor.

I decided against circumcising my cigar before I lit it and that did not cause any problems. The initial flavors run the gamut from plum, which bears little resemblance to the “syrupy sweetness” of the pre-light draw, to dried out leather. In a way it does taste like it looks – complex.

In between plum and leather there is spice, salt and a saccharine sweet aftertaste that lingers on the tip of my tongue for way too long. Other than that last flavor this cigar is very enjoyable. It will probably reach the full bodied spectrum, or at least barely so, as the cigar continues to burn. And the draw and the burn are relatively good (the burn being the better of the two) an inch in.

While I was smoking this cigar (and writing this post) I decided to go online and see what others were saying about the Tatuaje Black Label and I found this thoughtful review from Matt’s Cigar Journal. Great review.

At the halfway point and I don’t think my prediction of a full bodied cigar is going to come true. No bother, it is medium-full bodied and tastes great. The big change from the first half is a strengthening of spice – black pepper. A nutty flavor also presents itself. Sweetness disappears.

It ends with an intermittent raggedness maybe even some harshness. Taken in its totality, this cigar is still a very good one. Well worth the price of the CRA sampler. (No score given to CRA Sampler cigars.)

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