Arturo Fuente Solaris Cigar Review

June 4, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 1 Comment 

Full Disclosure: I received two of these cigars from Smoke Inn for this Review. All reviews are my own.

Smoke Inn has done a number of special releases from big name cigar companies including: Tatuaje, Padron (Maduro and Natural), My Father Cigars and now a special offering from the Fuentes. The band is the same as the Fuente’s Gran Reserva line but with the addition of a second band that says “SOLARIS.”

When I first heard the name I immediately thought of the most recent James Bond movie. Solaris is just one of those names that sounds high brow and cool but you don’t really know what it means, which might be a good thing in this situation. Why? Because the top search result on Google for the term “solaris” is for a computer operating system. The second? A sci-fi story.

Since most of you don’t care about cigar name rants I’m going to segue into the actual review now. Here’s what Smoke Inn has to say about this cigar:

For this Microblend installment Smoke Inn played no part in the creation of the size or blend. When Smoke Inn Proprietor Abe Dababneh approached the Fuente Family about making a Microblend, they decided this would be a perfect project for a small batch of cigars made over 6 years ago. Carlos Fuente Sr. had produced a small batch of belicoso cigars made from Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper that was uniquely light in its complexion. The cigars sat and aged for over six years. When smoked, we found the flavor mellow yet complex. One could definitely taste the quintessential Fuente flavor profile behind the elegantly aged smoke. Solaris will delight the palate of Fuente fans and collectors; especially those who like to age their cigars.

Oh, and there are only 5,500 of these cigars. That’s it. When that last stick is lit there will be no more of these.

This cigar has a mottled medium reddish brown wrapper with some veins. Not a very oily cigar and there are a couple of soft spots in the middle.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: torpedo
Length: 60″
Ring Gauge: 49
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: ????
Filler: ????
Price: $89.50/Box of 10 | $44.75/5 Pack

Barsoom Fire Bomb!

It starts out very woody and the texture is creamy. The woodiness is light and leaves a dry feeling on my tongue after each puff. A slight amount of spice begins to show up in my nostrils a few minutes after lighting this cigar up.

A little bit of nuttiness comes through during the second third. The woodiness does begin to take on a not-so-enjoyable burnt quality.

The final third is much like the second third. Overall, this is a good cigar. While there isn’t a ton of evolution or complexity to this cigar the flavors are, for the most part, enjoyable. It isn’t a cigar that is in my wheelhouse but for others who like mild-meduim bodied cigars it might be worth checking out. The draw and the burn were both excellent.

89 points

Padilla Miami Cigar Review

January 18, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · 6 Comments 

Last year during my trip to the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic I had the great opportunity to make some cigars. Ten to be exact. I have smoked some of those cigars since then and they actually aren’t awful. But one thing is consistent about those cigars: their inconsistency.

Everything about the construction of those cigars is inconsistent. The packing is varied with myriad soft and hard spots, the cigars are different lengths and different ring gauges (this somehow happened even though we used cigar presses to create some uniformity in shape) and many of the cigars have slight tapers one way or the other. First try or not it is obvious to me that the art of making a hand rolled cigar is not something that anybody can pick up over the weekend. It takes years of hard work and dedication to master that craft.

That is why I love smoking cigars that have a unique shape. Take the Miami Salomon as an example. It is a perfecto, which means the head of the cigar is shaped like a torpedo, the ring gauge increases as you near the foot until that last half inch or so where it tapers down dramatically. It’s a very impressive cigar to behold but these cigars do have one major potential problem.

The draw can be a little tight before the burn line crosses the shoulder (the shoulder being that part of the cigar where it tapers down from a rather large ring gauge to a relatively small ring gauge at the foot). After the burn line does cross that point I have found that it is smooth sailing with the Miami after that.

You already know that I am fond of the shape of this cigar. A couple of points working against the appearance of this cigar are the two smallish holes, one near the head and the other at the midway point of the cigar, and that lone vein that mars the the otherwise placid wrapper.

Cigar Stats
Perfecto
Length: 7 ¼″
Ring Gauge: 57
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $95.00/Box of 5

Cyclopedia Torch!

One happy note about the price. If you lurk long enough on some of the deal sites you can get extremely good deals on this cigar (usually it will be paired with the Padilla 1932 Salomon, which is just as good, or better, than the Miami Salomon).

The draw is almost perfect from the outset, which shouldn’t be expected from a perfecto. This has been a common occurrence for me with these cigars; after all, they are expertly fabricated. Likewise, the flavors are expertly fabricated, if that’s the right term to use in this situation. Almost from the instant when the foot was done being properly toasted I was able to pick up an extremely dry and pure spiciness. The image that this spiciness conjures up for me is the desert floor. In other words: it’s wonderful. As the first third progresses there is an oak flavor that begins to come through. It augments the spice very well.

Progressing into the second third it is obvious that this is a special cigar. It is less a symphony of flavors than it is an extraordinary guitar solo. No, that’s not right; it’s more like a rock super group like Cream than it is a solo. The spice is the lead in this case with oak and some grassy sweetness coming on strong during the middle third. It has a perfect draw and a passable burn. Even though it is a moderately full bodied cigar the flavor is only enhanced by the strength and not overshadowed in any way.

A little after the halfway point this cigar kicks it up a notch with its flavor profile. All the aforementioned flavors are there but there is more now. A creaminess has come on board along with some nuttiness.I’m pleased to note that the remainder of this cigar never loses its greatness. It’s one of those cigar that I have truly loved smoking.

95 points

Tatuaje Anarchy Cigar Review

November 30, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 3 Comments 

I won’t lie, I was excited when I received a couple of samples of this cigar from Abe “MING” Dababneh’s Smoke Inn, which is a cigar retailer in Florida with six different B&Ms and an online presence as well (link). Accompanying these samples is a letter with a brief description of this limited edition cigar:

The wrapper used is a very special proprietary crop of Ecuadorian Habano leaf that Pepin & Pete [you know who they are] personally chose for the project. The binder and filler is Nicaraguan, and blended to perfection.

Want a little more info? Watch this video with a post-apocalyptic feel to it from Pete Johnson.

Spooky, I could almost sense the marauding band of disheveled twenty-somethings throwing shopping carts through the windows of Pete’s house during that video.

Alright, enough with the sideshow, let’s talk about this cigar.

It truly is an interesting cigar to look at. The foot tapers off a little and the bulge, which at its thickest is a 52 ring gauge, is not that far off from the narrowest part of the cigar, which is a 48 ring gauge.

What is really unique, for me at least, is the cap. It looks like a miniature cinnamon roll without the frosting. Basically, I think the way that they did it was that “miniature cinnamon roll” was constructed out of a pigtail and then they twirled it on the foot.

Beyond all of that stuff the wrapper looks awesome. Dark brown in complexion and without a lot of veins to get in the way. The cigar is, however, a little hard to the touch. I have smoked one of these so far and I can tell you that the draw required a small amount of effort but, other than that, it didn’t affect the flavors.

Cigar Stats
Perfecto
Length: 6″
Ring Gauge: 48-52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $49.95/Box of 5 | $149.85/Box of 15

Anarchy Light!

It starts out like the good kind of rugged. You know the kind. John Wayne walks in from the desert to save a town that doesn’t really want his help kind of rugged. A parchingly dry spice is the first thing I noticed followed by a wisp of sweetness and a strong background of leather.

Copious amounts of cigar smoke are dancing around my head right now and I am liking this cigar even more than the first time I tried one. With the burn line a half an inch from the foot I cannot honestly say that this is a smooth cigar. Like I said, it’s rugged but it’s rugged in a way that augments the flavors. Spice and leather need a bit of wildness to them, I think. Obviously, as all good things, spice and leather can get a little too out of control. Fortunately with this cigar there is that sweetness that is lingering in the background and it does provide something of a restraint for that wildness.

After an inch I knock off the ash and the sweetness seems to be developing some. There is a hint of caramel there but it is way in the background. One interesting development is that the spice has moderated some and there is a definite smoky flavor that is coming through. This smokiness continues from the midway point to the end of the cigar.

With about three inches left on the cigar there is a nutty flavor that comes through a little bit and the main flavor present has become more earthy than anything else. Both are a nice addition to the overall flavor profile of this cigar and adds to the complexity as well.

There is a great review of this cigar on the Stogie Guys‘ website and in this review they noted a somewhat ragged burn line. The first one I smoked, shortly after receiving it, also had that problem. But with the extra couple of weeks in the humidor the burn line is just fine. The draw is good as well and it is a full bodied cigar.

All in all it is a great cigar. The flavors never disappoint. Get some while you still can.

94 points

Calibre Cigar Review

November 10, 2010 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

According to the little card that Miami Cigar & Co. sent with these samples (yes, that’s the full disclosure part) “This 100% Nicaraguan Puro was initially created as a personal house blend of Miami Cigar to be used exclusively for promos but, due to the demand, we were forced to release them.” These cigars come in two sizes, both will be reviewed here, and in both rosado and oscuro wrappers, I’ll be smoking the former. Oh, and these things are Nub short, just so you know.

Wrapper: Nicaragua | Binder: Nicaragua | Filler: Nicaragua | Price: $4.60

The Robusto (4 x 58)

It really is a good looking cigar in the same way that the Nubs are. The wrapper has some oils on it, is well made and it is perhaps too solidly packed. There are a couple of medium sized holes in the wrapper but there really isn’t a vein issue.

Dwarf Flame!

The prelight draw is easy and sweet while the foot has a spicy sweet smell to it. The first third of the cigar is really complex. Nuttiness, hay, a quickly diminishing sweetness and some bitterness. While that bitterness does add some contrast to the flavor profile it is almost overpowering the other flavors, which, in this case, isn’t a good thing.

Entering the second third now and that blasted bitterness has largely dissipated. With bitterness performing at a diminished capacity other flavors are shining. Sweetness and cashew lead the way with some spice. One area of worry is that a crack has formed at the midway point of the cigar. So far it isn’t growing much and is being consumed by the burn line, which is fairly even. The draw has been a smidgen tight at times but that is me just splitting hairs, really.

I’m going to go ahead and peg this as nominally full bodied. For some reason, the strength seems to be getting to me. Now, I’ve smoked a few of these before and I don’t remember this happening before. I’ll chalk this one up to sleep deprivation.

Nearing the end now it’s now a predominantly earthy cigar. There is some sourness present on the periphery. But it’s not a deal breaker at all because it is just a minor nuisance. Really good cigar.

88 points

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The Torpedo (4 x 58)

Of the two vitolas I like this one the most; well, at least I have liked it more. Very well made cigar with an oily wrapper and no notable blemishes.

Acula Torch!

Spice is the first thing you notice with this cigar. That and the great draw. Nuts and woodiness are in the background. Intriguing flavors. I can taste a little bit of that bitterness coming around the corner.

Bitterness, for this cigar, is actually a wonderful development. I’m not sure what the difference is between this vitola and the robusto but there seems to be a difference to me. The bitterness here is developing into a cocoa bitterness that I really like.

Rich flavors abound with this one. What is especially good with this cigar is that the flavors are refined and work well with each other.

Over halfway through now and this cigar has settled down into being a medium-full bodied cigar with plus flavors. Nuttiness, some sweetness and a somewhat bitter cocoa flavor remain. Spice really wasn’t a major player after the first half an inch or so.

Good draw and burn with this cigar. Overall, it is an enjoyable cigar and there is a decent amount of complexity too. Enjoyed smoking it.

91 points

Cain F Cigar Review

November 10, 2009 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Cain Maduro and, even though I do think it is a solid cigar, it is not worth all the hype. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about the Cain with the Habano wrapper since I have yet to have the pleasure of smoking one of those stogies. But I have smoked a few of the Cain F, which is only being offered in five packs right now (either as an incentive to buy a box of the two other Cain lines or to be sold on its own).

On a side note, over the past week and a half I have been sick (not H1N1) and didn’t have much of an opportunity to smoke any cigars. After a couple of days of recuperation I have smoked a couple of good cigars and now feel ready to really delve deep into another cigar. From what I have seen with the Cain F series is that they are above average cigars in terms of both flavor and strength, better than the Cain Maduros for sure. The only bit of advice I can give is that if you do get some of these cigars let them rest in your humidor for at least a month because they need the extra time.

All the Cain Fs, which are only being offered in one size right now, come unbanded. A dark wrapper glistening with oils holds together a lot of ligero tobacco. According to the box from which these cigars came from the tobacco in every Cain F is 32% Esteli Ligero, 25% Condega Ligero and 25% Jalapa Ligero.

For those of you paying close attention that means the percentage of ligero tobaccos is equal between all the Cain lines but each region imparts its own flavor. According to the educational booklet that came with my Cain cigars Esteli Ligero is a ball buster, Condega Ligero is strong but not insanely so and Jalapa Ligero is smooth (which would explain the smoothness of the Cain Maduro).

Beyond the genetic makeup of this cigars it does look and feel like it is very well made. The only soft spot is near the foot and even though it has its fair share of veins none of those veins are too pronounced and should not cause too many problems for the burn of this cigar. Having as much ligero as this cigar does can turn out to be a problem though and I do expect having to do a couple of touch ups throughout the course of this cigar.

Cigar Stats
Robusto
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Fuerte)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua Ligero (Esteli, Condega and Jalapa)
Price: ???

21 Lights!

The pre-light draw is nice, maybe a little too loose. As a prelude of what is to come, my tongue is still stinging 30 seconds after my first draw. Should be interesting.

As expected, there is an onslaught of aggressively tasty spice. For my taste, it’s not on the edge of being too strong at all. The spice has a tinge of sweetness to it and is predominately a black pepper kind of flavor. I like it very much.

Unlike with the maduro wrapped Cain, the Cain F does not have a very smooth finish. That does not mean that I don’t like it though because I really do. It isn’t a complex cigar the first couple of inches but it is getting better. The spiciness is calming down and other flavors – nuts, oak, peppermint and earth – are coming into the mix.

The burn is surprisingly even with this cigar. With some of the others that I have smoked I have had to do a couple of touch ups. The draw is perfect. It is a full bodied cigar but not overly so.

I am somewhat conflicted about this cigar. Even though I did like it I just think that it was lacking in complexity. Working in its favor is the fact that the flavors that are there are very good, it burns well enough and the draw is quite good. In the end I can comfortably say that it is better than the maduro version of this cigar and I will not hesitate to smoke more Cain Fs if the price isn’t too extravagant.

90 points