Strength can be Subjective

December 2, 2011 · Posted in Cigar 101 · 4 Comments 

You have a friend who is asking you about this or that cigar. You know that this cigar is right smack in the middle of the medium bodied spectrum and that is what you tell him. But then, much to your chagrin, your friend doesn’t like the cigar because it is too strong. What happened here?

One thing that could have happened was that your friend is a newer cigar smoker and their idea of medium bodied is your idea of mild. After they have smoked more cigars and become accustomed to the strength of different cigars their perceptions might also change.

Another thing that might have happened here is that your friend just hasn’t had enough to eat throughout the day. Cigars, like liquor, affect you differently based off of how much you have had to eat during the day. If you are smoking a Joya de Nicaragua Antano in the morning and on an empty stomach you are not going to like it all that much unless you have some serious amount of tolerance built up. Even then, it is the rare person who can smoke a cigar with that kind of heft without feeling much if any of its strength.

On the other hand some cigars just affect people differently. Some people might be able to smoke a Camacho Coyolar without any problem but when they light up a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel they tend to get a little queasy. My guess is that there is something unique going on with a person’s physiology to account for a difference like this. Some people can drink a lot of whiskey but when they drink a little vodka they get sick, same thing with cigars. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the only way you are going to be able to find out about these differences for yourself is by smoking more cigars.

So, what is the point of all this? Well, I guess the first point would be to be self aware. If you know how you react to different kinds of cigars you will know what cigars to pick in the future. This would hopefully prevent you from picking a cigar that is just too strong or too weak for your taste.

Having a better grasp of strength in cigars will also help you give better recommendations to your friends. For example, your friend asks you about this cigar you know to be in the medium-full bodied range. You like it and it is comfortably within your strength range but your friend, who has been smoking a couple of cigars a week for a couple of years, probably would not like this cigar because he sticks with cigars medium bodied or milder. What you could do in this situation is tell your friend to smoke this medium-full bodied cigar after dinner; hopefully, the meal will help ameliorate the affects of a strong cigar.

Basically, the moral to this story is that the more you know about your and your friend’s cigar smoking preferences the better the smoking experience for everybody.

Fonseca Cigar Review

March 22, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

Lately I’ve found myself going for more full bodied cigars; Diesel and Padilla’s Dominus to just name a couple. While those cigars are great – and they are in every sense of the word – it is nice to shake things up a bit every now and then. So, I went to my humidor and eyed this light brown cigar with the simple band.

Construction is nearly perfect. Manuel Quesada, the pater tobaccoist of this cigar, is truly a craftsman. My only quibble, if you can even count it as such, is that there are some minor inconsistencies with the coloring of the wrapper. The wrapper has a nice sheen of oil on it and the tobacco is snugly packed into the cigar.

The cigar that I am smoking, the Fonseca 5-50, comes in a natural or maduro wrapper. For this review I am smoking the natural wrapper version.

Cigar Stats
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Shade)
Binder: Mexico
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: Box 25 – $95 | Fiver – $25

Midday Flame!

I accidentally forgot about this cigar a number of months ago and, as a result of that accident, this cigar has had lots of rest and it seems to have aided in the flavor of this cigar. Oak, berry sweetness and some burnt hay. Overall, I’m liking the flavors. Unfortunately, this cigar does have an aversion to staying lit; that’s a pain!

It’s a mild cigar, probably too mild for my liking. The draw is nice and the burn is even (as long as it stays lit!).

After about an inch that sweet berry flavor goes up a couple of notches on the flavor-o-meter. Honestly, this is a weird cigar for me. I guess I like these flavors, they are pleasant, it’s just not exactly my concept of what is a great cigar.

It is a good cigar though. Very, very laid back. And the flavors are surprisingly strong for such a mild cigar. This is definitely one of the better mild cigars that I have ever had.

Nearing the end of this cigar and, despite the occasional burn problem, it is a good cigar. The flavors are enjoyable but I’m still not sold on this cigar. If you like oak and sweetness in your cigar then you will most likely enjoy this one. If you normally go for something a little spicier and full bodied then you will probably only be an occasional smoker of these Fonsecas.

87 points

Carlos Torano Casa Torano Cigar Review

March 4, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 3 Comments 

From the Torano website:

Casa Toraño appeals to all the senses. The Ecuadorian-Connecticut wrapper is delicate, silky, and smooth. The binder is especially selected from the Toraño farms in the hills of Nicaragua; and the filler is a combination of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and a family blend of Central and South American tobaccos. Originally the Toraño´s private family blend, the Casa Toraño was made available to the smoking public and has received an enthusiastic reception.

Honestly, I am looking forward to a treat with this cigar. If it really started out as the “family blend” then this must be something that is truly astonishing. Or, what they consider to be a good cigar differs from what I think is a good cigar. I hope that is not the case.

Anyway, the wrapper is light but I do have to say that it is rather veiny. Furthermore, the foot seems a little misshapen. Finally, there is a soft feel to the cigar. Other than that, all is well.

Cigar Stats
Length: 6 1/4″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Price: Box 25 – $128 | Single – $6.35

Lost Flame!

Creamy cigar smoke leads to a couple of strong flavors. First of all, there is a strong grassy flavor. No, scratch that, it’s more like bitter, leafy greens. Beyond that there are some cherry and oak flavors. It really is an intriguing mix of flavors that I’m not altogether convinced tastes all that great.

And then after the burn line crosses the one inch mark the flavors begin working in harmony. I guess since it is such a complex cigar that it takes a little while for the metaphorical engine to warm up but oh am I glad that it has warmed up.

Oddly enough, the flavors aren’t usually what I would go for. I like my cigars spicier than this one is. I also like leather and meat, neither of which is in this cigar. Even though the flavors present aren’t my normal cup o’ tea I find myself really enjoying this stogie.

In addition to the multitude of flavors I have already mentioned there is a milky flavor. It’s not as rich as cream but it’s definitely whole milk.

It burns well, the draw is great and it is a mild bodied cigar. Couple this with the great flavors and it’s a real treat of a cigar. Can’t say that I’m going to go back to it all that often but it is undeniably a great cigar.

91 points

Purchase as Part of a Torano Variety Sampler

Another view from Cigar Jack

Ashton Classic Short Cigar Review

October 22, 2009 · Posted in Asides, Short Cigar Review · Comment 


The Connecticut Shade wrapper is marred with a couple veins and a few discolored spots. It is an oily cigar that feels soft in some spots. I will be smoking the lonsdale vitola, 8-9-8 (6 1/2″ x 44), for this review. Besides the US Connecticut Shade wrapper the binder and the filler tobaccos are from the Dominican Republic. This cigar retails for around $8.00 per cigar.


Mild cigar with a good draw and a good burn. The first big flavor is oak with some sweetness as well. There is also a graham cracker flavor that comes along after an inch or so.

After the halfway point the draw tightens up and the flavor profile definitely takes a turn for the worse. In addition to a ghastly burnt flavor the overall affect is harshness. Those good flavors are still there but they are almost completely masked by the bad ones.


Let me put it this way: the first half of this cigar was like a good movie (think more The Fast and The Furious than The Godfather). The second half of this cigar is the equivalent of the horrendous sequel; you don’t want to smoke it but you feel obligated to give it a try since you liked the first movie, I mean the first half of the cigar.

Even with that said, this cigar is, at its best, very vanilla – I just couldn’t get excited about it. It’s kind of flavorful but it lacks soul. And it is somewhat expensive.

2 points

Cu-Avana Short Cigar Review

September 20, 2009 · Posted in Asides, Short Cigar Review · 1 Comment 


This cigar comes with a maduro or a Dominican grown, Connecticut seed wrapper. The one that I am smoking is the latter. It looks good, doesn’t have any significant imperfections and is somewhat oily. This Cu-Avana feels a little soft to the touch. I am smoking the Toro (6″x50) vitola that retails for less than $3.00 for this review.


Oak, some spice and a lot of burnt tobacco flavors. It is a mild cigar with a good draw and an even burn. Vanilla and some sweetness are also present.

The flavors are not very strong nor are they complex. There are more negatives with this cigar than there are positives.


It is just a boring cigar; mild and flavorless. Well, not completely flavorless. Beyond the slight spice, the faint vanilla, awful burnt tobacco  and sweetness there is this grotesque aftertaste that comes on near the end. At first I wasn’t able to pinpoint at first. And then memories of childhood illnesses came flashing back once I realized that the flavor that I hated was exactly like taking some liquid antibiotic.

In a couple of hours I am going to post a review of the Alec Bradley Medalist, which, if you buy ten or more, will cost you only slightly more than this cigar. Plus, it’s better.

1 point

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