Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery 2012 Maduro BP Cigar Review

January 28, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

If you look at the bands on this cigar in a darkened room you would be forgiven if you thought they were just plain, black bands. But they’re not. These bands have the same logo replete with skull and cross bones along with the necessary titles on them as all the other Viaje Skull and Bones cigars; they’re just a different shade of black than the rest of the bands. It’s interesting and a little different, so that’s cool.

In the past I have reviewed a couple of cigars from the Viaje Skull and Bones line including:

The cigar is box pressed and short but fairly thick. It has an aggressive, sweet tobacco aroma about it and the wrapper is fairly oily. As far as I can tell there aren’t any but the slightest cosmetic imperfections and it looks like it is well made to me. I’ve smoked a couple of these in the past and I can’t recall having a problem with any of them.

Viaje Cigars Logo

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $254.00/Box of 25 | $10.25/Single

Limerence Torch!

Very complex from the beginning with notes of hot peppers, chocolate, earth and, generally, a smoky presence to it. There is a little bit of a kick present here and I would nominally put it in the full bodied spectrum; but that’s not this cigar’s point. Its major point is its complexity (at least during the earlier stages).

The second third of this cigar takes on more of the savory and sweet notes. Earth, chocolate and some charred meat flavors have come on during this third. Very dark flavors that keep me interested.

The flavors do begin to flag a bit during the final third but I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that the flavors were pretty consistent during the final two thirds and, perhaps, my palate just got a bit too familiar with them. That’s fine if the flavors are good and they are good here.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar features a very dark flavor profile. During the beginning the flavors were bolder and during the final two thirds the flavors were richer. Personally, I did enjoy the beginning more because of the presence of that hot pepper flavor. It added a bit of variety and spiciness almost always improves chocolate and earth flavors for me.

This is a very tasty cigar with a decent amount of complexity, especially in the beginning. There are enough different flavors present throughout to keep you interested and this kind of cigar should appeal to a wide swatch of the cigar smoking public. The price tag, on the other hand, probably won’t.

91 points

Undercrown Cigar Review

December 7, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

What the heck is an “Undercrown” anyways? As far as I can tell, before Drew Estate got it’s hands on the name the only other time in the history of mankind this term was used was for the creation of a clothing company that is “The brand for champions.” Alright, that is kind of disappointing. I was hoping that the term Undercrown had some sort of medieval history about it; maybe the Undercrown could have been an English king in exile. Even though there is no link for this name to anything historical I think it still makes sense.

According to the Drew Estate legend this cigar is the product of the creativity of their torcedores who were told they could no longer smoke as many Liga Privada cigars as they wanted. So, they did what any other enterprising employee would do and used the same tobacco to make a different cigar: the Undercrown. My only problem with this story is that just because the torcedores put the tobacco in a different cigar doesn’t mean they are smoking any less of that tobacco. I wonder what new cigars the torcedores will come up with once the bosses over at Drew Estate cut the torcedores’ personal supply of Undercrowns.

They’re solid cigars. The first one I smoked was at a cigar lounge in Fullerton and even though the air was more smoke than oxygen the cigar was pretty amazing. And it makes sense that it would taste so good when you look at it: perfect shape, the wrapper is smooth to the touch, it’s oily, evenly packed and no raised veins. Another reason why it isn’t a shocker I liked this cigar is because those industrious torcedores over at Drew Estate were Wile E. Coyote enough to put some of that delicious T52 Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut tobacco into it. And I loved the T52.

Cigar Stats
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Otapan Negro Último Corte
Binder: T52 Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Habano
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
Price:$167.00/Box of 25 | $35.50/Pack of 5

Coronal Mass Ejection Torch!

Isn’t all tobacco that is used to make a cigar cured? Don’t know why that was put in there but, hey, I just report in Cigar Stats.

When a cigar produces a tactile experience akin to smoking a pixy stick I love it. It’s almost like the flavor molecules have granulated and you can pick out each individual flavor granule. This is one of those cigars and some of the flavor granules I am picking up include: somewhat sweet spice, meat, yeasty sweetness as well and some cherry.

Pretty much the same during the second third but with some chocolate added into the mix. And that is fine. The flavors are still very good and the Undercrown is one of those easy going smokes that provides a lot of flavor.

As you near the end of this cigar the spice retreats into the background and leaves an earthy tableau in its place. Chocolate, meat and some sweetness for character. Each puff reveals some nuances to the flavor profile that puts a nice spin on the flavors I mentioned. Sometimes the flavors are more chocolaty and then at other times they are more meaty. I hate to say that the granulated effect has worn off now and in its place is creamy smoke, which is better than fine.

Ironically, this was the cigar that my friend found too strong when he first started smoking it. Personally, I think this is right in the middle of the medium bodied range. Keith, over at Tiki Bar Online, pegs this as a full-medium bodied smoke, which I think gives more credence to the thesis that strength is subjective. The draw was good and the burn was good as well, requiring a couple of minor touch ups at the end. Drew Estate’s Undercrown is a complex cigar with good smoking characteristics and enough variability in the flavor profile to keep even the most jaded cigar smoker interested for a couple of hours.

92 points

Padron 1964 Anniversary SI-15 Natural Cigar Review

April 14, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 4 Comments 

A couple of years ago I fell over myself praising a Padron 1964 Anniversary with the natural wrapper. I absolutely loved everything about it ranging from its flavors (spice, earth, cocoa and a bunch of others) to just the way it smoked. I gave it 95 points at the time.

A couple of months ago I fell over myself praising the Tatuaje Anarchy, which was the love child of Pete Johnson of Tatuaje and Abe “Ming” Dababneh from Smoke Inn (I received that cigar as a sample and have since bought some more). It was all about the spice and the strength, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That cigar received 94 points from me.

Now here comes the newest edition of their fifteenth anniversary celebration from Smoke Inn: the Padron 1964 Anniversary SI-15, which is also a sample. Here’s their sales pitch:

In commemoration of our 15th Anniversary this year, we commissioned the Padron Family to make a special size exclusively for our stores. Jorge Padron’s face lit up when we told him our idea of a 6×60 Anniversary Cigar. What’s better than a Padron Anniversary Cigar, A BIGGER Padron Anniversary Cigar! This monster stick bellows smoke like a chimney. The sheer amount of tobacco used in this cigar creates a bold experience differing from the other vitolas in this line. All tobacco used in this limited production series is aged for four years, creating a smooth and complex flavor. There was less than 500 boxes produced of this limited edition, so don’t waste a second and get a part of cigar history today!

My major reservation about this cigar is that it has a gigantic ring gauge. 60/64ths of an inch is pretty thick for a cigar but, on the other hand, the Padron 1964s that I have had in the past have always delivered pretty good to great flavors. It’s obviously well made, it doesn’t have any imperfections on the wrapper and it does have a slight box press, which, I think, gives it a little extra elegance.

Cigar Stats
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 60
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $92.50/Box of 5 | $277.50/Box of 15

Pinch Flame!

It has a decent start to it. The flavors I’m picking up are dark chocolate, coco powder and some other flavors that all revolve around the unifying “earthy” flavor profile. While the flavors are all enjoyable during this third they are not extraordinary and I am hoping that they pick up in intensity.

The second third does show some improvement in the intensity of the flavors. The coco powder flavor is still present and so are the earthy flavors as well. Chocolate is the leading flavor so far. It’s a very soulful kind of chocolate flavor, the kind that you get in a good chocolate bar. It’s subtle and not bitter at all. This is also the third when this cigar starts moseying on over to being full bodied as well.

As the end of the second third came to a close and the beginning of the final third began the flavors do pick up quite a bit. The main flavors have shifted towards being earthy with a little bit of pepper in the background. It is a medium-full bodied cigar that has had a good draw and burn.

Overall, it was a pretty good cigar. If you are looking for a long lasting cigar with subtle but good flavors ranging from chocolate to earth then you should think about getting some of these cigars. And if you are into getting exclusive cigars then this would definitely be up your ally. For more info on how to buy these cigars head on over to Smoke Inn.

90 points

Felipe Gregorio Pure Cigar Review

October 21, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

The sample I used for this review comes from Felipe Gregorio.

I think that the marketing people at Felipe Gregorio picked “Pure” and not “Puro,” which this cigar is, because they feared Americans wouldn’t understand what Puro means. And maybe that is a fair assumption. After three years of Spanish in high school I still get a little nervous ordering a few tacos at Taco Bell. So, if you have the chance to translate something from Spanish to English then by all means do it for us monosyllabic types.

This Felipe Gregorio Pur0 Pure Corona is a very small cigar. It comes with a cedar sleeve adorned with a little band of red fabric around the foot. After the sleeve has been safely removed a beautiful cigar is revealed. Oily, one medium sized vein, expertly crafted. A little soft to the touch near the foot.

Cigar Stats
Petite Corona
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 44
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: ~$10.00/cigar (I think)

Angel Flame!

Wow, this cigar starts off amazingly. It’s a bracing cedar spiked with the occasional dash of sweet spice. There’s also a healthy helping of leather mixed in. Light flavor profile with some power behind it.

During the second third a thin floral presence comes through. A light earthiness also comes on at this time and remains for the remainder of the cigar.

The first flat flavor comes on during the final third. It doesn’t last long nor is it that bad but it is there. One of the flavors that has been there on the retrohale throughout, but I couldn’t quite peg, is this dark, fruity flavor. Even though it is fleeting, it is very good.

Both the draw and the burn were very good for this cigar. It is a medium-full bodied cigar, maybe a little stronger than that. The flavors are great and this cigar is well worth a couple of tries at this price.

92 points

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel Maduro Cigar Review

August 19, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 3 Comments 

A very impressive cigar to behold. Oily, dark wrapper. Probably a bit too hard to the touch. There are some veins that run throughout. But, even though it does have some negative aspects to its appearance it is just looks like a cool cigar. Plus, it smells like one. It smells aggressive.

The prelight draw gives off a distinct chocolate flavor along with some spice, which was to be expected. For the couple of Chisels that I have smoked their draws have seemed a little tight before I lit them up. But after I have lit the cigars the draw for each cigar has been perfectly fine.

Cigar Stats
pyramid
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuador Maduro
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $75.00/Box of 10 | $8.50/Single

Smoke

Sure enough, this cigar starts out very aggressive. Spice and a grassy earthiness. The chocolate flavor is there as well. They mix together wonderfully well and the flavors are fantastically alive. And the draw is great as well. All is good!

In addition to the aforementioned flavors there are some sweet flavors. Toffee, anise and some leather as well. There are a ton of flavors going on in this cigar and they mix together very well.

Full bodied? Sure – but the strength makes sense with this cigar. In no way is it harsh or obnoxiously strong. Exquisitely smooth cigar. Oh, and the burn is even. Yeah!

Slow burning gem of a cigar. A little over an inch in and the flavors are still wonderful. Leather and meat are taking over as the major flavors but all those other flavors are still there and they are great.

While the flavors do not match up perfectly there is a smoky-woody flavor grouping that seems right for this LFD. But just because the flavors do match up perfectly I do not see that as a problem. This is a very complex cigar, there’s bound to be a flavor or two that I don’t think matches up perfectly.

At the halfway point now and meaty/salty flavors are taking the lead. Really complex cigar.

Somewhere around the two-thirds mark the flavors do begin to lose some of their luster. It’s still a very good cigar but just not as much. And that, unfortunately, brings this cigar down a notch. A very, very small notch since this cigar after losing a bit of its “luster” is still better than most anything out there in my book.

94 points

Another View from Cigar Jack.

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