I haven’t posted a review in a couple of weeks so I decided to do one on a cigar that I’ve been looking forward to for a while: the Litto Gomez Diez Small Batch No. 4 Oscuro. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean this is going to be a great cigar, it might, but it’s just one of those that has piqued my interest mainly because my favorite cigar is a LGD 2012 Chisel. I know it has a different flavor profile than the normal LGD cigars, I smoked one prior to this review, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This cigar is seven inches long, which is a bit longer than I normally smoke, but that’s fine. Very dark wrapper but still brown. More of a chocolate brown really and, if I were to break out the thesaurus, Roget could probably come up with a better description. Rough texture to the wrapper with a good amount of oils and not many veins. There is a small tear at the foot, which may have been my fault, but there are also three small slits about two inches from from the cap; hopefully this won’t cause any problems.
Vitola: Double Corona
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $1,500.00/Box of 105 | $17.35/Single
TAA sounds like it might be related to the TSA but it isn’t. TAA is an acronym for something like “Tobacconist Association of America” or something like that. I’m not completely straight on what the story behind this organization is but what I do know is that every year a handful of cigar makers will make special cigars for the brick and mortar retailers who belong to this organization. It’s a way to say “thank you” for carrying their products, I guess.
If memory serves, and it’s doing so with less regularity nowadays, I have liked TAA edition cigars in the past and, yes, that is true as I did like the Tatuaje TAA 2012. That was a tasty cigar and, unfortunately, it’s gone now. Moving forward….
This TAA exclusive is a thick, dark brown parejo that comes adorned with a band of black, white and gold. One unique thing about this cigar is that it comes with a closed foot, which looks cool and I think there’s some practical purpose to doing that as well.
Length: 6 3/8″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Price: $197.95/Box of 20 | $55.00/Pack of 5
One of the local shops I go to, Embassy Cigars in Brea, has the uncanny ability to have a good selection of limited edition cigars. For example, take the Viaje Satori, which I will review shortly. Viaje Cigars only makes cigars in small batches and, according to Halfwheel, there were only 3,750 cigars made for each of the three Satori vitolas. FYI: I am smoking the un-box pressed perfecto released in 2012, the Zen.
Of course, just because there weren’t many made doesn’t mean you or I will like them but it does usually mean the cigar will be expensive, which this is. Expect to pay more than $10 a stick and potentially a lot more if you can still find them. Well, that is a lot of money for one cigar and even though I’m not a huge fan of Viaje cigars I did like a couple of their cigars, i.e. the Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD 2012.
The Satori is a cool looking cigar. Halfwheel refers to this vitola as a double torpedo, which is an apt description of how it looks. The foot has a very small opening and, as such, the cigar will take a bit of time to get going. The wrapper is dark brown, almost black and the cigar’s construction looks good. Personally, I’m always impressed when I see a shaped cigar because rolling a normal parejo vitola is difficult enough.
For what it’s worth, Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term that means awakening or enlightenment. Will I become enlightened? (Probably not, but I won’t be able to fault the cigar on that accord. Or will I?)
Length: 6 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Price: $265.00/Box of 25 | $11.75/Single
Citrus, cedar and meat are the first batch of flavors that I am getting from this cigar and they work pretty well together. The citrus, especially, is an interesting flavor as it provides a nice accent to what could be an overbearing flavor profile that would weigh you down if given half the chance.
Cedar and fruit flavors come through during the second third. It’s not a great flavor profile, in my opinion, and what is there tastes watered down. And then, about halfway through this third, a nascent burnt flavor comes through; not good.
Wood and meat are the main flavors for the final third but, unfortunately, these flavors are accompanied by a very off-putting burnt flavor, which has only gotten more obtrusive. I was hopeful for this cigar but the two that I have smoked have all been borderline bland, nay, bad.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; I did not like the Viaje Satori Edición Limitada. Even though it did start out with some promise with the interesting combination of citrus, cedar and meat it just fell apart during the second third. Maybe you would like this cigar but, unless you are a fan of Viaje cigars you can skip this one. Oh, and don’t expect enlightenment either.
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.
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
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.
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.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra | Binder: Nicaragua | Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican | Box of 24: $139.95; Pack of 5: $50.50 | Robusto | 5″ x 50
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