La Sirena Cigar Review

June 14, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

I received the cigars I used for this review from Miami Cigar & Company. As always, my reviews are my own.

La Sirena cigars have a good pedigree as they are made in the My Father Cigar Factory. And you can tell that these cigars are made with capable hands. It has that perfect parejo shape to it, the wrapper feels rough to the touch and the color has a good consistency to it: dark brown. There are a couple of small holes near the head of the cigar and there is something about it that is a little odd.

As I rotate the cigar the light catches on the wrapper in multiple places. It’s not glitter but it has that kind of look to it. When I run my finger over one of the spots that reflects the light the light goes away. Is it possible that what is reflecting the light is oil? I doubt it but there’s something there that is causing this. Weird. Maybe it is the oil from the cigar….

My one bone of contention about the look of this cigar is that when you have something as pretty as this cigar you should not want to cover it up, which is exactly what this over-sized Frankenstein of a band does. If you want to picture this band in your mind think of the ratio between shield and Grecian hoplite and then shrink it down to a five inch cigar. Presto! You have a covered up cigar. Well, at least it’s not as prudish as that Obsidian cigar I’ve seen on some website or another (let’s save that one for another time).

Cigar Stats
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo ’99
Filler: Nicaraguan Corjo ’99 Viso and Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 Ligero
Price: $8.20/Single | $155.00/Box of 20

Siren Torch!

I need to make a quick note about the makeup of this cigar. When I originally received the samples a few months back a little card came with it talking about the makeup of La Sirena Cigars. Since then I have come across this that shows the blend has changed. Well, I am putting up the blend info that I got along with the samples, things may have slightly changed since then.

What I love about cigars that utilize Nicaraguan tobacco is the combination of flavors that ranges from dusty earthiness to bold spice and some meaty flavors as well. This cigar has those flavors wrapped up pretty nicely. It’s a little more spicy than it is dusty earthiness, which is better in my opinion. Those meaty flavors remain a little underdeveloped during the first third of this cigar, they might not improve much at all during the subsequent two thirds. Sweetness is barely noticeable after the retrohale, it’s almost an afterthought.

Bold, I think, is the best word to describe the flavor profile of this cigar. Still have not finished the first third of this cigar and I am absolutely loving it. Looking back at my notes from the previous samples I have tried and, if anything, I think this cigar has gotten stronger with the extra time it has spent in my humidor. The flavors are also more well rounded, which is of paramount importance, as always.

During the second you are able to get a better understanding of the flavors. The spice has a ferocity like that of a fox on fire. It tastes one part sweet and four parts intensity. As if scared by the fox on fire spice, the earthiness has shrunk a little too much into the background. A pity, really, because it did add something nice to the overall complexity of the cigar. Picking up the slack for the scared earthiness is a mildly sweet force of flavor that weaves everything else together and increases the likeability of this cigar a great deal. Wood, leather and some meat, sparingly salted, are also present.

With renewed courage the dusty earthiness has picked up again and is riding a close second to the spice, much subdued in its vigor now that I’m in the final third, I might add. Sharpness is the main impression I am getting from this third. Not sharpness as in “The flavors are all sharp” but sharpness as in “The spice has a sharp quality to it” (think sharp cheddar). It’s not bad but it could be better. The sweetness is still there taking on an herbal affectation but it’s a shadow of its former self. While it would be unfair to say that the flavors have crumbled during this final third it is more than accurate to say that they have lost some of their zest for life. Either they are tired or my tongue is tired thanks to the amazing first two thirds of this cigar. Either way, I’m not displeased.

Bold. I still think that is the best way to sum up this cigar. Bold strength and bold flavors; impressive mixture. Obviously full bodied (but not like a Joya de Nicaragua Antano) and one of the best cigars for draw and burn around. No matter how you judge this cigar it is a winner – except for the band, which is ridiculously ostentatious.

95 points

Ashton VSG Cigar Rights of America Special Edition

August 2, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 3 Comments 

Here we have another one of those Cigar Rights of America Special Edition cigars. So far I have not been disappointed. Heck, to be honest, joining CRA is enough for me – the cigar sampler is just icing on the cake (Is there a cigar-related analogy that can be substituted for that? I don’t think so!).

This particular cigar is the Ashton VSG, Virgin Sun Grown. It has a dark wrapper, a slight box press and it feels a little loosely packed. There aren’t any serious veins and the ones that are there are very few indeed. It is an oily cigar.

Even though the pre-light draw was a little tight the draw after being lit is just fine. Even more, there is a lot of flavor coming through. But before I start describing the flavors of burning tobacco in a colorful way I need to mention that this is a dry cigar from the get go. It’s a good dryness though.

I think the best way to describe the flavor profile of this cigar is to compare it to beef jerky, perhaps even the best beef jerky you have ever had. It’s meaty, has a good mixture of spice and has a distinctly smoky flavor to it. There is also a slight cherry flavor underneath.

It starts out as a more full bodied cigar then settles down nicely in the low full bodied range, maybe even medium-full bodied. The flavors are pretty consistent, which I’m thankful for. Love these flavors. The burn is even and the draw is very nice.

After the halfway point the flavor profile does begin to change. The meatiness of the first half begins to fade away and is replaced by a smoked woody flavor. Still an excellent cigar.

I know that there are some people out there who absolutely love Ashton cigars but I cannot honestly claim to be one of those people. They are very good cigars though and well worth smoking.

As is the case with all of the Cigar Rights of America sampler cigars that I have smoked I will refrain from giving this one a score.

Liga Privada No. 9 Cigar Rights of America Special Edition

December 18, 2009 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

I was getting ready to watch the final episode of Oz the other night and I realized that I needed to make it a special occasion and, as I am wont to do, my mind quickly drifted to cigars. As I walked to my humidor I got to thinking about the cigar sampler I bought from Cigar Rights of America: Padron, Rocky, CAO and all the others. Once I got to my humidor there was this cigar that was gently resting at the top of the pile that was begging to be smoked.

But then my mind raced back to the other cigars from this cigar maker and how they are all infused with flavor. It didn’t take long to recall my horrible experience with the Acid Kuba Kuba – how it was sickeningly sweet and how I swore to myself never to smoke one of those cigars again. But this cigar is different.

The Liga Privada line isn’t infused with anything. So I picked it up, slid it out of its cellophane wrapping and took a look.

It’s a beautiful cigar – one of the cigars from the special Cigar Rights of America sampler, in fact. The jet black, oscuro wrapper, is just dripping with oils. Upon further inspection I can feel that it is nicely packed but I see a number of veins marring the cigar’s look. I smell it and, to my mild consternation, it smells sweet. Not sickeningly sweet like the Acid KK but sweet nonetheless.

Fighting my reservations I take the Liga Privada No. 9 and sit down to watch the final episode of one of the greatest television series I have ever seen.

The cigar is cut. My nose keeps on screaming “It’s sweet!” but the prelight draw says otherwise. It’s earthy and there may even be a hint of cocoa. My hopes are lifted.

I take out my lighter and put the flame to this cigar right after I hit the play button on my laptop (I do have to smoke outside after all). The draw is good and….

On the retrohale there is a noticeable sweetness that is a lot lighter than the Kuba Kuba but also reminds me of it. And then, as if God himself decided to save this cigar, the sweetness gracefully falls into a supporting role. Hopefully, my expectations for this cigar won’t be shived by a major return of this sweetness.

Earth and cocoa quickly take over on the flavor front. It’s a nice, full bodied cigar in the beginning with lots of promise. Hopefully the Oz finale works out as well as this cigar is shaping up.

Doing a little research I find that this is the same length as the Liga Privada No. 9 Parejo, six inches. Don’t know whether or not it has the same ring gauge but I am guessing that since the length is the same that it is similar to what that cigar offers. CRA claims that the cigars in their sampler are special blends but I have no idea how special they are. Whatever the case, it starts out great.

Full bodied with a great draw and an even burn; so the fundamentals are good. And, while everyone is singing like stool pigeons on Oz this special Liga Privada No. 9 is also singing along with great flavors.

Chocolate and a small amount of spice start to come through about an inch-and-a-half of the way through. Nice additions both. Furthermore, shortly before reaching the halfway point that chocolate flavor becomes one of the leading flavors, perhaps the leading one.

Oddly enough, the strength of the cigar is subsiding the longer I smoke it. Usually, it is the other way around but this one is now medium-full bodied. Still an above average, flavorful cigar.

Besides a weak ash this Liga Privada No. 9’s flavors aren’t the most evocative ever but they are well above average. The finale of Oz is better.

At the commencement of the final third of the Liga Privada No. 9 a salty meatiness starts to emerge. And it’s good. It adds to the overall complexity of the cigar and the meaty flavor is a plus on its own.

This cigar is not as complex a tapestry as Oz is but the LP has it’s moments. Upon reflection, it was a pretty good match for the series finale. Oz didn’t leave me asking for more, it was one of the better finales I have ever seen. This cigar didn’t leave me begging for much more either.

Tatuaje Series P Short Cigar Review

November 30, 2009 · Posted in Asides, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Pre-Smoke

The Tatuaje Series P is significantly cheaper than the other lines from Tatuaje. The robusto costs between $3.00 to $4.00 per stick, depending on how many you buy at one time. So, is it as good as it’s much higher priced brethren?

Just based off of looks and feel I would have to say no. It looks like a dried out leaf with only a slight sheen of oils. Beyond that, it does feel a little squishy to the touch. Not a good start for this Nicaraguan puro.

Smoke

With a good draw and burn and a medium body this cigar is starting off alright. While I don’t think it measures up to the premium Tatuaje lines (which is an unfair expectation considering the price) it is actually a somewhat enjoyable smoke at the beginning. A slight amount of spice, a decent helping of maple sweetness and woody flavors.

Working against it is that it is not a smooth cigar and the flavors don’t meld all that well together. In fact, as the cigar progresses it does get harsh and then it gets better and then it gets harsh all over again. Basically, it’s an inconsistent cigar that does have a couple of kind of good moments.

In addition to the aforementioned flavors there is a nuttiness and meatiness to it.

After-Smoke

Upon reflection, the best way to describe this cigar is that it is dry. The flavors are there but they are intermittently harsh. It’s a cheap cigar and it shows.

1.5 points

Alec Bradley Maxx Traditional Toro Short Cigar Review

October 10, 2009 · Posted in Asides, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Pre-Smoke

The most obvious difference between the original Maxx line and the Maxx Traditional line is that the Traditional line has smaller ring gauge cigars. Other than that, the traditional cigars are suppose to impart the same bold flavor as the oversized Maxx cigars.

I am smoking the Alec Bradley Maxx Traditional Toro (6″ x 50), which costs around $5.25, for this review. The wrapper has a good sheen of oils but it also has a number of veins. Furthermore, the wrapper color is not consistent but rather a mottled assortment of milk and dark chocolate colors with the occasional black spot.

AB Maxx Traditional Page

Smoke

Coffee flavors without any of the bitterness. There is a lot of chocolate, it just coats my mouth and won’t leave – not necessarily a bad thing. As this cigar progresses I’m afraid that coffee and chocolate will be all you get from it (and the coffee is relegated to a minor role in less than half an inch).

On the bright side it is a mostly sound cigar. The draw is great but the burn is somewhat uneven and the flavors (um, flavor – so far) is strong. It is a medium bodied cigar. This is all up to the halfway point.

After that point a saltiness comes on. It’s definitely a negative flavor but it is in no way overpowering or even a large enough part of the flavor profile to significantly take away from my overall enjoyment of this cigar. In conjunction with the saltiness a meaty flavor starts coming on. The chocolate is still the major flavor though.

After-Smoke

Now that I have finished this cigar I feel let down. Chocolate is a fine flavor as long as it is, at most, a secondary flavor. Making it the leading flavor, for me at least, is a mistake. It is a decent cigar but could have been much better considering its lineage.

2.5 points

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