E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Natural Cigar Review

October 11, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I’ve smoked a few of these over the last few months and my recent review of the E.P. Carrillo E Stunner reminded me that I haven’t posted a review of the Cardinal Series (this is for the one with the natural wrapper and the maduro review will happen in the future). Even though I didn’t particularly care for the E Stunner I do have higher hopes for this cigar.

It looks like a well made cigar but there are a number of stretch marks around veins. Not really a particularly good looking cigar but it does have a waxy feel to it.

Before getting onto the review I need to direct your attention to the picture below (click it to go to the E.P. Carrillo Facebook Page). Like the E Stunner, this cigar (and its maduro brethren) are billed as being full bodied cigars. Personally, I prefer full bodied cigars over medium bodied or lighter cigars when all else is held equal. But the strength of the cigar isn’t the only thing, it’s not even one of the three or four most important things I look for in a cigar.

Without giving away big spoilers, this cigar’s performance is better than the E Stunner and the full bodied sales pitch (seen below) is just that, a sales pitch. Which is fine.

E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Natural (click image to go to their Facebook Page)

E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Natural (click image to go to their Facebook Page)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $130.50/Box of 20 | $34.50/Pack of 5

Puttin’ on the Ritz Conflagration!

It’s a pleasant cigar with a good mixture of flavors; pretty refreshing actually. Initially, you get oak and some fruit-tinged sweetness. And then you are hit with a clean and sharp red pepper sensation through the nose on the retrohale and on the tongue as well. There’s also cherry going on here and it closely resembles the cherry I experienced in the E Stunner.

The flavors are good and they’re pretty clean, so I’m liking it. Cherry, oak and a hint of spice are the main things going on now. It’s reminiscent of the E Stunner but better.

Cherry dissipates a bit during the final third but so does all the brightness and cheer that was evident during the first two thirds. Cherry is still around but it progressively plays a lessened role as earth and coco ascend to the top of flavor mountain. It’s become a dark and gritty cigar and I just don’t know what to think about it. I’ve had five of these now and the flavor profile seems simple but there’s also a great deal of evolution going on with the flavor profile at the end. Interesting? Sure.

Medium bodied with a good burn and draw; the E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Series Natural is an interesting cigar but it just didn’t work for me on a couple of levels. Yes, I liked it more than I did the E Stunner but, from what I can tell, the flavor profile is very similar. This cigar’s flavors worked well together but it just isn’t what I’m looking for in a cigar.

88 points

P.S.: After writing this review it occurred to me that maybe I’m just not a Sumatran wrapper fan and, after looking through my previous reviews, that’s mostly true. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the La Flor Dominicana Limitado V, which has an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper just like the cigar in this review.

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

E.P. Carrillo E Stunner Short Cigar Review

October 7, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra    |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican   |   Box of 24: $139.95; Pack of 5: $50.50   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull and there is a bull on the band. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

0/3: If you just hear the name “E Stunner” you might think it’s an electronic thingamajig or… maybe something else. It’s none of that; it’s a cigar put out by the much respected EP Carrillo cigar company and I think they promise that this cigar has a good amount of kick to it. Well, lets see.

After picking up one of these cigars the first thing you will notice is that it is a very oily cigar. Visually, it’s nothing spectacular. It’s a mottled combination of medium to dark brown colors with some very light areas running along the veins. This combination of colors makes an ashy visual impression.

This is not a tightly packed cigar but the packing is consistent. It looks and feels like it was put together well (it is a Carrillo after all). Right before I lit this cigar I noticed that there’s an image of a bull’s head on the band, which, when coupled with the name, all points to this being a very strong cigar. I’m just hoping it tastes good.

1/3: There’s grass and red pepper going on in the beginning. It quickly progresses into including cherry and my overall impression of the cigar’s flavor profile is sweet spice. Pretty straightforward but nice all the same.

2/3: Cherry takes on more prominence during this third but there are still some red pepper notes through the retrohale and a bit of oak as well.

3/3: Cherry, earth and some coffee are coming through during the final third. The cherry is the strongest flavor and it’s good but everything else is pretty average.

4/3: Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the E.P. Carrillo E Stunner is a decent cigar but it doesn’t have the level of refinement that other Carrillo cigars are known for, like their Elencos cigars. It wasn’t even a full bodied cigar, which is something they were going for. This is a cigar you can miss.

2.5 points out of 5 – It’s a quality cigar but it just never hit its groove

Quesada Heisenberg Cigar Review

October 6, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I liked Breaking Bad. It was a different kind of show; a good mixture of smarts, drama and enough comedy, especially during the earlier seasons, to make the show work very well. Even though it’s by no means my favorite show it’s a show I wouldn’t mind watching again in five or ten years.

The cigar I am reviewing here, the Quesada Heisenberg, shares its name with the nom de cuisiner of the main character, Walter White, in Breaking Bad. Is that intentional? Well, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that no information about the tobacco used in the blends for this cigar was ever publicly released. Why do this? Quesada did this to make it easier for the cigar smokers to just focus on enjoying the cigar instead of focusing, for example, on how the Dominican leaves played with the Nicaraguan and Honduran leaves.

So what does this Heisenberg thing mean? Heisenberg was a scientist who came up with the popularly (that’s a relative term) named “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.” Without going back to look at my notes, what I remember of this principle is that it stipulates that when you are measuring one thing with great precision you cannot measure another thing with increasingly less precision. And I think it has something to do with quantum mechanics. But I don’t want to waste too much of your time on this so if you want more information on this click the equation below.

Click image to get educated

Click image to get educated

The cigar itself looks pretty gnarly. There are some pretty serious veins, stretch marks and bumps all over the place. It feels like the cigar is slightly underpacked and the wrapper has some oils on it.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 40
Wrapper: ???
Binder: ???
Filler: ???
Price: $49.95/Box of 10 | $5.50/Single

Uncertainty Principle Torch!

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer's site)

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer’s site)

It is an interesting flavor profile. A host of flavors including cappuccino, oak and cherry supports a sweet floral core. The draw is very nice right from the start and the flavors, without getting into whether or not I like them, are strong and clear. Even though there are a lot of positives here this isn’t my favorite combination of flavors.

During the second third there are some bright citrus notes that cut through to the foreground of the flavor profile providing an extra element to this cigar. Even though this may not be my favorite combination of flavors they do seem to work well together and if you are a fan of these flavors I’m sure you would like this cigar thus far. Personally, I would like it if the cappuccino and oak flavors played more of a role in this cigar but it is mainly about the sweet flavors – cherry and floral – with the citrus providing a little extra excitement.

As if this cigar knew what I was thinking, the cappuccino flavors do come further into the fore during the final third. The sweeter flavors recede a bit but are easily noticeable and, in my opinion, are better served as secondary flavors. A bit of an edge comes on during the final third in the form of barbequed meat. By itself that would not be a great flavor but with the other flavors present it does add something positive to the overall experience. I should note that the barbequed meat flavor came on during the second third for one of the three cigars that I smoked for this review but twice in the final third.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Quesada Heisenberg is an interesting cigar with a good deal of evolution to the flavor profile. During the first two thirds I would put it firmly in the sweet profile camp but during the final third it migrates over to the grittier side with meat and cappuccino. What you will find with this cigar are good examples of the flavors featured and all those flavors work decently well with each other. Personally, I don’t think I will make a concerted effort to buy any more of these cigars but I am glad that I smoked the few that I did.

88 points

Asylum Straight Jacket Short Cigar Review

October 1, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Nicaragua    |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua   |   Box of 10: $79.95; Single: $8.05   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

Asylum Cigars One Year Anniversary Facebook Banner (click on picture to go to their Facebook page)

Asylum Cigars One Year Anniversary Facebook Banner (click on picture to go to their Facebook page)

0/3: I have smoked some of Asylum’s stuff in the past and, while I haven’t posted any reviews yet, I can tell you that they’re really good cigars. Checking out their Facebook page I see that they are celebrating a year in business, which is impressive and I think they will be around for quite some time yet.

Great construction to this cigar with some oils on the wrapper. Solidly packed with some bumps and other minor imperfections evident on the surface. They tout this cigar as being very full bodied so we’ll see what we have.

1/3: It definitely starts out with a zing with the heat being particularly strong in the back of your nasal cavity. Cherry, oak and spice are the main flavors but there is also a little tanginess going on. I can’t say this cigar is insanely strong but it does have some strength to it.

2/3: Some sweetness starts peeking through during this third. That tanginess is very evident during this third and it’s not bad as it adds an extra element to the flavor profile.

3/3: Cherry seems to be the main flavor during this third with a good helping of spice. It’s still a full bodied cigar but I never thought that the strength of this cigar was too much to handle.

4/3: Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Asylum Straight Jacket is a good cigar, especially for those of us who like full bodied cigars. The flavors are all pretty concise and they work very well together. Even though I didn’t come across this info in my search on this cigar I think it’s got a healthy dose of ligero tobacco coursing through its veins.

3.5 points – Good flavor and full bodied cigar lovers will appreciate it most of all

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