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

Davidoff Nicaragua Cigar Review

September 9, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 4 Comments 

I’ll be honest here: I have not smoked a lot of Davidoffs in my life. And that is probably to my detriment because I have heard a lot of good things about them. For example, one guy I know said that he used to exclusively smoke one of the Davidoff brands almost exclusively because there was something about the taste that was addictive. I understand that feeling as I have it from time to time with cigars I have smoked. Interesting thing, with me at least, is that the cigar doesn’t have to be “spectacularly good” in order to be one of those cigars that I go to a lot; it just has to have that something special that keeps me hooked (at least for a while). But there’s so much on the market (new brands, line extensions, different wrappers on old brands, resurrected brands, etc.) that it’s pretty hard for me to stick to one cigar for a long time.

This cigar is the newest release from Davidoff, which is simply called the Davidoff Nicaragua, and, as the name would suggest, this is a Nicaraguan puro. As you probably know, this is a departure for the company in that they have always used Dominican tobacco to make their cigars. In the grand scheme of things is this a big deal? Probably not but it’s cool and interesting and it shows that the company is being creative. Sure, they could have done what they have been doing for years and still met with a great deal of success but why not try something different?

For this review, I picked the smallest size: short corona. It’s a good looking cigar with what appears to be good construction with some minor veinage. Light brown wrapper with an elegant band (hint: when it comes to cigar bands, simpler is almost always better). Let’s light it up.

Davidoff Nicaragua Short Corona Cigar

Picture: Davidoff Site – click picture for more info

Cigar Stats
Vitola: short corona
Length: 3 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $132.00/Box of 14 | $49.50/5 Pack

M60 Flame!

It starts out with some notes of grass and nuts. There’s also buttered toast and some oats as well. Well developed flavor profile; everything is working excellently together from the start and it’s only getting better as the burn line progresses. Also, there’s a great creaminess to the smoke that accentuates all the aforementioned positives in this cigar.

Since this is a diminutive cigar I am going to dispense with the customary review by thirds and do it by halves. The second half is good with the addition of some more toasted flavors. It’s still a nice, elegant cigar with a good deal of flavors mainly revolving around nuts, oats and some woody sweetness coming through in the background.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Davidoff Nicaragua is a good addition to their stable of cigars. There are a lot of good flavors milling about here and they are all tasty. It’s an elegant cigar from an elegant company.

90 points

Cain F Cigar Review

August 26, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

In a way, this review of the Cain F lancero is pretty much a followup of a review I published a while ago of the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender lancero. The LFD Air Bender lancero was, without a doubt, one of the best cigars I have ever smoked; tons of flavor and strength.

The Cain F lancero looks and feels perfect. These cigars come in tubes and is one of the special offerings from Oliva’s Studio Tobac, which is basically their version of the cigar equivalent to Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. There’s a bit of oil on the wrapper, the wrapper feels smooth and this cigar has a bit of give to it, which I appreciate because cigars that are packed too tightly tend to have a tighter draw.

So, is it better than the LFD Air Bender? Will it become one of my favorite cigars? Let’s find out.

Click the picture for some more info on the Cain F Lancero

Click the picture for some more info on the Cain F lancero

Cigar Stats
Vitola: lancero
Length: 7”
Ring Gauge: 38
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $42.95/Box of 10 | $6.48/Single

The Red-Headed League Flame!

Spice and sweetness are the main flavors at the beginning. These flavors aren’t overly aggressive, actually, they are quite mature and refined. Even though this cigar is full bodied right now it probably wouldn’t overpower most cigar smokers. There are also light and bright barnyard flavors going on. Hay and grass add a subtle dimension to the flavor profile that I appreciate.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this flavor profile is how unique it is. It definitely has some strength to it but there’s also a lot of elegance as well. If this cigar were a person he would be able to knife a bad guy in an alley and then, ten minutes later, play a high stakes poker game whilst drinking a martini.

Vanilla – Is that right? Yes – enters the mix during the middle third. The spice and sweetness are still present without any diminution of force but the vanilla does provide a nice accent to the overall flavor profile.

Oak makes a brief cameo during the final third and I have to say that I am really enjoying this cigar. I have liked the Cain F series in the past but this one is by far my favorite of the series.

Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Cain F lancero is an excellent cigar with a great deal of refinement. Do I like it more than the LFD Air Bender? No, I like the Air Bender a bit more but I have a distinct feeling that the Cain F lancero would have a broader appeal as it is less full bodied than the Air Bender, which is very strong. For another look at this cigar head on over to Halfwheel.

94 points

E Doble by Erik Espinosa Cigar Review

July 27, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

Full Disclosure: I received a couple of these from Smoke Inn.

The first thing you should know about this cigar is that it is cheap. Just look at the Cigar Stats for this thing. Yeah, that’s really cheap. So it’s one of those cigars that if it tastes alright and you want to stock up on cigars for when you’re walking the dogs or doing yard work then this might be a good choice.

It’s not a beautiful looking cigar – scratch that – it’s a pretty gnarly looking cigar. There are stretch marks around a couple of the veins and the cigar itself is hard to the touch. The shape itself is pretty good and the wrapper is medium to dark brown.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: robusto
Length: 5”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price (MSRP): $50.00/20 Pack | $16.25/5 Pack

Freezing Hot Water Flame!

Not bad. I wouldn’t say that the flavors are awesome but they are enjoyable. A little bit of spice and oak and grass. The mixture is nice and as long as this cigar doesn’t break bad then it’ll be a good cigar.

Dark chocolate, raspberry and cappuccino come through during the second third. It’s really quite exceptional for a cigar this cheap. The flavors aren’t amazing but they are very good.

Entering the last third and the flavors move towards the berry flavor more. The other major flavor is still chocolate.

This cigar did have some problems. Unfortunately, the draw was a bit tight but there was still enough airflow to not hurt the flavors too much. The burn was good and this is a medium bodied cigar. While the flavors weren’t great they are very good for the price point. It’s definitely worth a try if you are looking to fill up on cigars you smoke while doing a moderately physical activity.

87 points

Iron Horse Cigar Review

May 8, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 3 Comments 

Full Disclosure: I received samples to use for this review. All reviews are my own.

My impression of cheap cigars is that most of them are not worth it. When I say “cheap” I mean the kind of private label cigar you can find on many websites being sold as an “everyday” kind of cigar. Basically, that translates into “It’s not a great cigar but if you smoke it while mowing the lawn or picking up dog crap you won’t think the cigar is bad by comparison.”

That was why when I received the Iron Horse from Famous my cigar id put on the brakes. Even though it doesn’t look like a bad cigar, with it’s nice maduro wrapper and few imperfections, I just couldn’t shake that feeling you get when you enter a dark room and you just know that there’s a monster you won’t be able to kill waiting to rip you open and use your intestines to do some knitting.

Oh well, let’s see how this cigar smokes.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: churchill
Length: 7″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $50.00/Box of 20 | $19.00/5 Pack

Hilux Inferno!

It starts off well sticking mainly in the chocolate and earth flavor-sphere. The earthiness is tinged with a bit of grass and I think the best way to describe this cigar so far is by saying it’s pleasant. Being “pleasant” isn’t a bad thing but that limits the kind of role it can play. If you’re watching an episode of Top Gear then this cigar would work. If you’re outside doing something then it would probably lack enough oomph to make an impression.

During the second third the flavor goes more towards chocolate, which, while not my preferred option, isn’t horrible either. It’s a very dark chocolate flavor too; kind of chalky.

It slags off a little during the final third but, I have to admit, this cigar did perform better than I thought it would. Even though it won’t be a cigar I will ever seek out again I wouldn’t be aghast if I had to smoke another. And for those of you who want a pleasant cigar with earth and chocolate flavors this might be something you find you like.

It was a medium bodied cigar with a good draw but the burn was a little off. You pretty much already know what I think about this cigar but I do have one last piece of advice. Do not go out and buy a box before trying any of these. I have made the mistake of buying a box of cheap cigars off my experience with one or two. Try a five pack before you commit to any larger purchases not because $50 is a big outlay but because if you find you don’t like the cigar after the third or fourth stick you will be stuck with another 16 or 17 you will have to smoke (or throw away).

84 points

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