Full Disclosure: I received some of these as samples from Famous Smoke Shop. All reviews are my own.
I received this cigar (and four of its buddies) from Famous Smoke Shop a few months ago and they have stayed on my mind to some degree or another ever since. It’s not that this is either a great or a horrible cigar, it’s just not exactly what I had expected.
Vindicator is made by Oliva; and we all know that they make some excellent cigars. For example, an Oliva Serie V made one of my Top 10s one year. While not exactly as prestigious an honor as, say, winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom or a Blue Ribbon at the County Fair, it’s still something. So, at least the Vindicator has a good lineage.
But why “Vindicator”? It sounds like a cigar Dirty Harry would smoke in between killing punks. Without going too much into the review this cigar is nowhere near as hard edged or intimidating as Mr. Harry. What it is is a decent looking cigar. The wrapper isn’t too vivacious, rather a dull shade of brown, but it looks well made and there isn’t too much visually displeasing about this cigar. Even though it’s not particularly oily it isn’t dry either. For such a cheap cigar it does look like some effort was put into it, which I like to see.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Price: $60.00/Box of 20 | $5.00/Single
Twitter Stock Predictor Torched!
It starts out alright. There isn’t much in the way of complexity but the flavors that are there are decent. Ranging from wood to hay these flavors aren’t very strong.
In addition to the wood and hay during the second third a bit of nuts is added into the flavor profile mix. It’s a good mix but I would appreciate it if the flavors were stronger. If the flavors do not get stronger this cigar’s flavors will just feel watered down… and a little burnt.
During the last third things do get better. A floral note gets added to the mix and it gives the wood a nice sweetness. Overall, there isn’t much special to this cigar but it is serviceable.
The draw was good and the burn was okay only requiring a couple of minor touch ups and it was a medium bodied cigar. None of the flavors were above average but, for the most part it was an okay cigar. The flavors were a little watered down for most of the first two thirds but came on a little more after that. If you are looking for a cheap alternative that is medium bodied, has good smoking characteristics (draw and burn) and some good noticeable flavors, this cigar is worth a try.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sungrown | Binder: Nicaraguan | Filler: Nicaraguan | Box of 10: $81.00; 5 Pack: $45.00 | Robusto | 5 ¾″ x 52
0/3: This vitola, modestly named “Optimus” (which either is a nod to the Transformer character or, more likely, is just the continuation of the Roman name theme for the Domus Magnus line), is a Nicaraguan puro that is box pressed and has a pigtail. Well, actually, the pigtail looks more like a bobbed dog’s tail but when you have that little bit of extra on the cap it’s always called a pigtail (don’t check me on that). So, that’s that.
It’s a good looking cigar. The dark, chocolate brown wrapper has a good deal of oils on it and feels evenly packed.
1/3: It starts out well. Deep flavors. Smoky meat, nuts and earth. Very good mixture. Some complexity evident.
2/3: During the second third the flavor profile does change. It takes on a more floral tone and the flavor profile becomes lighter. The earthiness is still present.
3/3: With the final third comes a resurgence of that smoky meat flavor and that has become the leading flavor.
4/3: It’s a very good cigar. The flavors are enjoyable and are well balanced. The draw is good and the burn is, for the most part, good. There was a little bit of a burn problem near the end but was quickly rectified. I would peg this in the medium bodied range.
4 points – It’s a good cigar that you will enjoy. I don’t think it will become your favorite cigar but is one that you should try.
I have reviews for the original Man O’ War, Man O’ War Ruination and the Man O’ War Puro Authentico. In short, I liked the latter two, with a slight edge going to the Puro Authentico, more than I liked the original. I have yet to review the Maduro wrapped Puro Authentico (decent), the Armada (underwhelming), Virtue (don’t get it) and there are three “Side Projects” that are being offered now: the Little Devil, Phalanx and the one I am reviewing for this post, the 52-C.
Personally, my feelings on the name for this cigar – “Side Project 52-C” – is that it is a little odd. It doesn’t fit with the whole Roman Centurion (Is it Spartan?) motif like the “Phalanx” name literally does or like the “Little Devil” name that tracks well with the “Ruination” line naming convention. 52-C, on the other hand, evokes, for me at least, images of Groom Lake and shadow operations where names are chosen randomly, like Duchess.
Whatever the rationale behind the naming of this cigar it is an interesting enough looking cigar as it has that chisel shape that I love. (On a side note: Why don’t more cigar makers utilize the chisel shape? This vitola is probably more difficult to make but the draw is usually better and the shape makes it easier to smoke as well.)
I take off the bands, which includes the large Man O’ War band replete with menacing looking galea and a pair of gladiuses and a smaller band indicating what side project this is. The muted brown wrapper is virtually free of all but the most inconsequential of veins and the wrapper itself has a nice coating of oils. Soft spots can be found at either end: the foot and the head.
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
Price: $80.00/Box of 12 | $9.00/Single
Hunger Games Pyre!
Alright, I don’t know how accurate the wrapper, binder and filler information actually is but that is the best information I could find; I think it’s right.
Spice, oak, nuts and there is this certain warmness to it that is inviting. When I first smoked one of these cigars (this is my fifth) I did not think I was going to like it all that much… but, I was wrong. It’s not a high brow kind of cigar with a long pedigree but it does have flavor.
A short time after the halfway point this cigar starts to get really heavy. Earthiness makes an entrance and takes over the flavor profile but what is really getting to me is that this cigar has metaphorically downshifted and is going up a steep hill made primarily of wet earth. It’s not a horrible change but I would definitely have preferred it to shift up a couple of gears and go racing around with more spice and oak corners.
This isn’t one of those “must try” cigars but it does have its place. It’s heavy enough and tasty enough to be a good go-to cigar for when you are out on a walk or driving. Unfortunately, the price prevents it from being that kind of a cigar (unless you are lucky enough to get it on one of the Cigars International/Cigar.com deal sites for around $4-5 a stick). Basically, that puts it in the No Man’s Land of the cigar market for me.
Working in its favor is the first half, which was very enjoyable, and the good draw and burn. A medium bodied cigar with ups and downs; it has its moments but the price lessens the impact of those moments. Yet, I can’t imagine I will never smoke one again.
First, I need to thank Keith from Tiki Bar for gifting me this cigar. Thanks buddy!
Wrapper: Honduran Ecuador | Binder: Nicaragua | Filler: Nicaragua | Box of 24: $182.00 | 5 Pack: $42.50 | Toro | 6″ x 54
0/3: I’ve heard a lot about this cigar and have read a little bit about it. It’s the first blend from the guys who created CAO, sold it off and then split to create their own brand again. At the helm of this new venture, Crowned Heads, is Jon Huber and, at least according to some, the Four Kicks is his best cigar yet.
This cigar had been resting in Keith’s humidor for a while and then it was resting in mine for a while longer. It’s a little banged up but not much. What really gets me is that it’s bumpy. It looks rustic and smells like it had recently been rolling around a barn; like a pig. It’s somewhat oily.
1/3: It’s definitely an interesting cigar with good, clean flavors. Sweet spice, which isn’t something I get all that often. There’s also this graham cracker flavor in the background.
2/3: There’s a slow move towards a stronger graham cracker flavor along with coffee bean. Honestly, there’s a lot of things going on here. The spice is still around; lurking in the background like Gollum in The Fellowship of the Ring, more sensed than really noticed.
3/3: The final third takes on a more woody/nutty flavor profile. The spice is pretty much gone and so is that graham cracker flavor.
4/3: It’s a really good cigar. It’s medium bodied with a good draw and burn. The flavors are all pleasing and they work well together. If you’re reading a book, lounging about on a nice summer day this would be an excellent cigar to smoke.
Disclaimer: I received some of these as samples from the manufacturer many months ago. All reviews are my own.
I have smoked the maduro and the habano varieties of San Lotano and even though I do not have a review up for the habano wrapped variety I have to say that I do like it quite a bit. The maduro is a good cigar – just not something that really got me going. What about the Oval?
Due to its name the first thing you are going to think about is its unique shape. It’s oval and I do think that aides in the comfort level of this cigar. One of my favorite cigars of all time is the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel Maduro and while the shapes aren’t exactly the same they are similar. In both cases the top and the bottom of the cigar are flat and that helps create a better seal with your lips. Does this actually improve the cigar though?
The chocolate brown habano wrapper for the Oval is nearly flawless. There are some very thin veins but they are few in number. Oily to the touch, the cigar does give a little when squeezed on the flat sides but not so much when I squeezed the rounded sides. How do A.J. Fernandez’s torcedores roll this cigar?
Length: 5 ½″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Habano 2000
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras & Redacted
Price: $156.00/Box of 20
By “redacted” I mean it’s a secret. Not my secret but Mr. Fernandez’s secret. And since it is a secret it can be from anywhere your imagination can take you. Maybe you are thinking that this unnamed filler tobacco could be from someplace where it is illegal for Americans to buy cigars from. Could it be?
The initial flavors are good. Nuts, buttery pound cake and some spice that lingers on the outskirts of the retrohale. It’s different and the flavors are more than capable of keeping your attention. There’s also this toasted flavor that permeates every last inch of the flavor profile; not a disagreeable flavor characteristic in this setting. While I’m at it, there’s also a sweet, creamy flavor going around as well. Anything else?
Slowly but surely the flavors migrate towards buttery toast, which is more a combining of the flavors than a transformation. Spice is mostly gone but the nutty flavors are sticking around. Is the shape making a difference?
I don’t know. It feels better, that’s a plus. And the cigar is very enjoyable. Plus, the final third does evolve somewhat. Singed wheat and oatmeal make a pretty good mix. How good?
It’s a medium bodied cigar with a good draw and burn. The flavors do have some evolution, especially at the end. While it isn’t exactly the type of cigar I normally go for I thought it was still a very good cigar. So, how good?