I received this cigar from Cigars Direct; as always, all reviews are my own.
Wrapper: Maduro Especial | Binder: Nicaraguan | Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduras | Box of 20: $139.00; Single: $8.20 | Robusto | 5″ x 52
0/3: It’s a pretty flat looking cigar with bowed out sides (hence, the “oval”) with a smooth and oily dark wrapper. I have previously reviewed the San Lotano Oval and the San Lotano Maduro; both were good cigars.
1/3: Wonderfully dark flavor profile in the beginning. Earth, dark sweetness and general goodness.
2/3: Dirt, in a good way, plays a pretty big role during this third. Creamy texture. The dark sweetness takes a little step back.
3/3: The flavors coalesce into a good mixture of the flavors I’ve already mentioned. It’s still interesting.
4/3: Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar doesn’t really have any drawbacks but it’s not overly impressive either. All of the flavors were good but they didn’t pop either. It’s pleasant, which is a plus but it isn’t enough.
3.5 points – Solid cigar that most everyone will like but won’t love
I received this cigar from La Palina; as always, all reviews are my own.
Over the last month or so I have watched the whole White Collar series, which is mainly about this FBI agent and conman extraordinaire who bust white collar criminals. If you don’t think about it too much it’s a fun show to watch. But there’s something interesting about cons in general, especially cons of the counterfeiting variety. If you want to counterfeit something done by a person (i.e. a painting) or something else natural then it’s best not to be perfect.
Perfection is a clear sign that there is something unnatural about an object. Straight lines? Unnatural. Perfectly proportioned body? Unnatural. Uniformly colored wrapper (especially one that is very dark)? Probably unnatural.
With, say, a painting, you would have to be perfect in mimicking the imperfections of the original. With a natural product it’s better to not try mimickery.
Basically, all the preceding was a setup to say that this wrapper is definitely natural (no dyes and the such); and, truthfully, I never really questioned this wrapper’s authenticity. It was just one of those times that something popped into my head – counterfeiting in this instance – and I needed to indulge myself a bit. Thanks for sticking with me.
Not only is there some variation in the color of the wrapper, from blackish areas to chocolaty browns but there are also some bumps, a small tear near the foot (maybe my fault) and there is a network of small to medium sized veins crisscrossing the surface of the cigar like all those aqueducts on Mars. There’s a certain amount of oiliness on the wrapper (not a lot but it’s there) and the cigar smells nice.
One last thing: I have liked all the La Palina cigars I have smoked in the past; click the link to check them out
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Honduran (x2)
Price: $171.00/Box of 20 | $47.50/5 Pack
Detecting Antifragility Flame!
Slow burning cigar with a core group of rich flavors including earth, dark sweetness and oats. The juxtaposition of the earth and the dark sweetness is very nice. There is some complexity early on.
Dark sweetness is still hanging around during the second third with some earth popping up every once in a while. The other major flavor is oats and there is a toasted quality that is permeating the whole flavor profile now.
Charred meat comes on during the final third and that earthiness comes back. It’s a good mixture but not as good as the first third was.
Medium bodied with a good draw and a decent burn; this cigar starts off with a mixture of intense flavors and evolves into a toasty stew of flavors that are mostly enjoyable. The major drawback of this cigar, something I touched on earlier in this review, is that it burns slowly; too slowly at times. If you don’t keep at it then this cigar is liable to burn out.
I smoked two cigars for this review and the one that I kept on top of burned well. My suggestion would be to smoke this cigar when you have the ability to dedicate some time to it because it is worth the effort.
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.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
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.
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.
For whatever reason I had assumed that I had reviewed this cigar for some time now. I went on reviewing other cigars and then, one day, while smoking another Namakubi, I decided to see what my review said. To my surprise there was no review. I mentioned this at the end of my Top 10 Cigars 2012 post and now I am rectifying that oversight.
This one is the very short vitola, called the Roxxo, and it is easily my favorite in the line. It doesn’t look perfect, perhaps a little rustic. There’s some bumps and veins and the color of the wrapper is a lighter than medium brown color. It has a little bit of oils on the wrapper and looks well made (well made at the Camacho factories by the way).
Although in many ways long gone, Samurai culture is believed to live on in spirit within certain groups. In ancient times when two Samurai clans would gather for competition there was a great deal at stake. Normally, the losing party would die as a result of wounds sustained in battle or be executed upon defeat. The Namakubi, or freshly severed head of the losing party would be prepared on a wooden tray then tagged in a regimented manner and presented to the leader of the winning clan as a gift. We, as modern day samurai, present to you our own Namakubi.
Animal Farm Blast Furnace!
I don’t get to say this much about cigars but this one has a refreshing flavor profile. Bright flavors but also very strong. Visceral spice, which could be too strong and unruly on its own, is retarded by what I can only describe as minty effervescence (I spelled “effervescence” correctly on my first try! Now if I can only learn how to spell “occassion” [sic]). With the larger vitolas I think the flavor profile skews too far towards the minty pole but with the smaller ones the balance is just right.
During the second third the spice gets notched up a peg or two and vice a versa for mint, which is fine by me. There’s also some oak that comes on during this third. Basically, this is still a bright and refreshing cigar. Very enjoyable.
The final third isn’t refreshing but it’s still enjoyable (to a lesser degree than the first two thirds however). The spice has fallen into this milieu of mint, bread and perhaps a little meat and earth as well. Unfortunately, more flavors doesn’t always mean that the flavor profile has improved; this is one of those times. Still good, I just preferred the refreshing profile from the first two thirds.
Full bodied (just barely) with a good draw and burn; this cigar was a definite joy to smoke during the first two thirds and finished unspectacularly. In no way is that a condemnation of this cigar because even if the cigar had only had the flavor profile of the final third it would have been a very good cigar. Add in the first two thirds, which were excellent, and we have a great cigar.
I received this cigar from the maker. All reviews are my own.
A closed foot and a pigtail; what more could you want? The pigtail actually looks more like a fan – no, wait, it looks more like a very small guitar pick. The closed foot looks like what you would think it would look like with the extra tobacco from the wrapper draped over the foot protecting the filler and binder tobaccos from the elements.
It is a bit soft to the touch, which I would think would mean that this cigar is going to have at least a somewhat loose draw. Somewhat oily to the touch, the wrapper does not have much in the way of imperfections save for a little bit of bumpiness near the head.
From Table 36:
Constructed at the famed Raices Cubanas factory [which is known for making Alec Bradley cigars], the filler is a mix of Honduran leaf grown on Raices own farm in Trojes and Nicaraguan leaf from the Jalapa valley. These long filler tobaccos are all tied together with a Honduran Criollo 98 binder and wrapped in a rich Honduran Habano “Colorado Subido” leaf. The result is exactly cigar we intended: a medium-bodied cigar (OK, so it might cheat a little on the fuller side…) that connoisseurs and occasional smokers alike can appreciate.
Vitola: corona gorda
Length: 5 ½”
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Honduran Habano
Binder: Honduran Criollo 98
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Price: ~ $7.00/Single MSRP
Jiro Dreams of Sushi Laser Burn!
Initially it is dull and bland, the flavors tasting like aged wet paper. Fortunately, that passes and I am left with something really enjoyable. There’s a definite heaviness to the flavor profile and even though it’s been a while since I last smoked an Alec Bradley cigar this heaviness seems to ring a bell.
Heaviness can definitely get bad if the flavors aren’t that enjoyable but they are enjoyable in this case. Spice (understated but powerful especially since it’s lingering in my nostrils for quite some time), earth and this rich, doughy bread. It’s an interesting mixture.
The second third is nice as well. Soft spice with a tinge of sweetness added in for balance is the major force in the flavor profile. Earth (that dry, clay kind of dirt that has some character) is the other dominant flavor. Bread is out.
Going into the final third and the spice is still present. It has never been strong but, rather, pleasant and flavorful. Oak seems to be peaking through the fog and making its presence known. I was able to pick up hints of it throughout but it has become a player during this final third.
Medium bodied with a good draw (requires just a bit of effort to get a good draw, which is more effort than I expected) and burn; this cigar was very good. There was some evolution to the flavors from beginning to end and it was always enjoyable. Good mix of flavors and it’s probably a cigar that will appeal to most everyone.