Tatuaje Avion 12 Cigar Review

September 16, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 2 Comments 

Size does matter.

Tatuaje’s Fausto line is becoming one of my favorite line of cigars with the Fausto Avion 11 being my favorite cigar of all time – by far. I gave that cigar 98 points and I would still give that cigar that high of a score. It just fits right into my preferred flavor profile and, I think, due to the fact that it’s a larger figurado, it just worked perfectly for me. I have found that figurados, in this case a perfecto, smoke better for me and the reason why I think this is the case is because they must have to use more experienced torcedores to make these kind of cigars.

So that’s why I was excited to try the Fausto Avion 12. It’s also a perfecto and it’s just a smaller version of the Fausto Avion 11. The diameter is the similar with the same high and low diameters (it’s not the same because the cigar is shorter, I think my math is right here). Smelling it I get a large whiff of liberally spiced hay. Looks perfectly made with a slight box press.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: perfecto
Length: 5  5/8″
Ring Gauge: 48/52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $42.50/Pack of 5 | $152.95/Box of 20

Orangutan & Dog Torch!

Spice, leather, hay and some sweetness. The same, basic flavors are here that I found in the Avion 11 but the Avion 12 just isn’t holding up to the 11, which I know is a tall order. With this one the flavors are a little wild and almost harsh. Both the draw and the burn are great. Even with that being the case, I’m loving this cigar.

During the second third the flavors do calm down a bit and any hint of harshness is gone. Spice is still present but it’s a secondary flavor to the hay and leather and, now, there’s also some nutty flavors coming through. It’s a really strong cigar in my book but nowhere near as good as the Avion 11.

One of the interesting things about the Avion 11 was that the final third wasn’t as good as the first two. That isn’t the case here. Spice and sweetness have combined to create a wonderfully delicious flavor profile. Leather and hay are gone now but I’m liking this spice and sweetness mix a lot.

Full bodied with a great burn and draw this cigar may not be as good as its bigger brother, the Fausto Avion 11, but it’s still damn good. The flavors are really clear and, for me at least, they work really well together. I think that if you are worried about smoking an Avion 11 this would be a good alternative because at no point did it make me even the slightest bit queasy. It’s strong but not overly so. Great cigar.

Interestingly, I’m pegging this cigar’s score right around the same score I would have given the final third of the Avion 11. It’s just an inch shorter but that inch did make a big difference. Still a great cigar but I’ll stick with the Avion 11.

94 points

Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years Maduro Short Cigar Review

February 12, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Nicaragua   |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua   |   Box of 8: $250.00 | Single: $31.00   |   Perfecto   |   6 ¾″ x 54

0/3: That price for a stick is misleading. I paid about $40 for this one at a local B&M and I’d bet that there are places around the country that charge more than that for one of these special edition Padrons. But that’s the way it works, right? When you limit production and create scarcity the prices will necessarily rise; this only happens if the cigar is good, of course.

It is a beautiful cigar to look at. The perfecto shape is one that I particularly like in a cigar because they look special and I have had a lot of luck with this vitola. It has a box press and the wrapper is toothy. There are no raised veins and the wrapper has a chalky, dark brown color.

1/3: After lighting this cigar I am immediately hit by just how much is going on. Bold spice with a light complexion starts off but then fades some during the first third. Rich earthiness with some chocolate takes over. Sweet mint note as well.

2/3: Very complex flavor profile with an above average level of evolution. It has gone from strong yet balanced spice to deep earth and chocolate and now, during this middle third, leather and acute beef notes. A dash of sweetness is lurking in the background like a scared kid at a playground where a bunch of older kids are playing but even with that tertiary role the sweetness does provide some balance to this cigar.

3/3: The flavor profile becomes a bit drier during the last third. A little bit of spice coupled with a faint woody note. It’s an interesting ending that I’m not quite sure was as excellent as the first two thirds of this cigar. Still good, just not as excellent.

4/3: It is a great cigar and a worthy tribute to Jorge Padron. Medium-full bodied with nary a moment of rest for the flavors. The burn and draw were both perfect. This is a special cigar and I cannot imagine many cigars being better.

5 points

PS: For an alternative opinion check out this.

Tatuaje Avion 11 Cigar Review

January 18, 2012 · Posted in Cigar Review · 5 Comments 

The Tatuaje Avion 11 is a perfecto shaped cigar, which means it’s tapered on both ends. Chances are if you are looking for the Tatuaje Avion 11 in a search and happened upon this review you already know that, but I just wanted to make sure.

As the special edition Tatuaje Fausto for 2011, this cigar is a looker. And it tastes really good too, even better than the normal Fausto line, which still managed to place very well in my recently (and tardily) published Top 10 Cigars 2011 list.

Solidly and evenly packed. It does look like it got a little smashed (don’t look at me, Tatuaje did this on purpose since it is a box pressed cigar after all) but no bother, it’s not like it’s smashed like a pancake. The wrapper is a dark mahogany brown color webbed with insignificant veins. While it’s oily to the touch what really gets to me is the smell. It’s one of those cigar smells that is the equivalent to that Dirty Harry (paraphrased) line: “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Just the smell of it is aggressive.

Cigar Stats
Length: 6 ¾″
Ring Gauge: 48/52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $45.00/Box of 5 | $180.00/Box of 20

Game of Thrones Flame!

I’ve smoked a number of these so far and the only reason I have yet to do a review for one is because I just enjoy smoking them too much. This one is no different.

Sure, it’s a very strong cigar; definitely in the upper echelon of strong cigars. But that isn’t what I’m getting from it. To me, the Avion 11 is this full throttle study in spice, leather, oak, mesquite and very old tobacco flavors. It’s like a flamethrower of flavor enveloping my tongue’s taste buds. The retrohale is also very enjoyable.

During the second third the flavor profile transitions into being more of an oak and dry earth mix. Sure, spice and leather are still strong flavors but, with this cigar, they are relegated to being merely excellent backup flavors.

Besides the flavors being truly amazing this cigar’s smoking characteristics are exceptional. Every one of these I’ve smoked (this one is the seventh) has had an absolutely perfect draw and the burn line progress at a steady and even pace.

A couple of days ago I was watching Clubhouse Confidential, which is a baseball show that focuses on statistical analysis, and a question was posed. The gist of this question was, “What if there’s a player who was near the top for statistical ratings for eight or so years but since he played for twenty years his average statistics weren’t all that brilliant, should this player merit consideration for the Hall of Fame?” This question popped into my head again as I was progressing through the final third of the Avion 11.

It’s not as if the final third is bad. No, it’s much better than that, but it just is not quite as good as the first two thirds. The flavors have turned towards singed hay, earth and spice, which has come on exceptionally strong during this third.

From my point of view, the final third doesn’t mitigate my enjoyment of this cigar. I don’t think, in this situation at least, that what is a truly exceptional cigar should receive any demerits for lasting too long. What is the alternative? If they had made this cigar shorter the flavors during the first two thirds would be different and probably not for the better. It’s just that by itself the final third would not be Hall of Fame worthy. However, taken in its totality, this cigar is definitely Hall of Fame worthy. If anything, the final third should be considered as a highly deserved victory lap for an excellent cigar.

So, what am I to do? This cigar is not perfect and since I have been lauding this cigar from the beginning you would be right to surmise that I think this cigar is one of the best that I have ever had the pleasure of smoking. At the risk of being overly enthusiastic about this cigar I cannot do anything other than give this cigar an extremely high, and well deserved, rating.

98 points

PS: I feel I need to elaborate a little on why I did not weigh the final third as much as I did the first two thirds. If I had stopped smoking this cigar after the first two thirds, to be honest, it was a little bit into the final third when I noticed the differences in the flavors most fully, this cigar would have earned 99 points. It’s not a perfect cigar in my mind, the strength is a bit too much, even during the first two thirds, and can have the effect of lessening the impact of the flavors if you aren’t completely concentrating on the cigar.

During the throes of the final third the strength overpowers the flavors a little bit more. In my opinion, if the final third were to be segregated and given its own rating, that would make this a 94-95 point cigar. Still excellent but just not as excellent as the whole cigar is.

The reason why I am treating this cigar differently than other cigars is because the first two thirds were so extraordinarily good and it is those first two thirds (probably more like three quarters or four fifths) that has lead me to downplay the ending. It may sound trivial but I think there is a world of difference between a 98 point cigar and a 97 point cigar, which is what I’d given this cigar if I simply averaged the scores out.

Well, that’s enough babbling on for me. If you want a more sober review of this cigar head on over to Tiki Bar’s excellent review.

PPS: The picture on the band is a flying cigar.

Don Pepin Garcia Black Edition Cigar Review

July 23, 2011 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

It’s a perfect looking parejo in almost every way. Construction is nearly perfect, almost absolutely cylindrical. There are a couple of minor veins that I am not worried about. Also, these cigars are very oily. This particular one that I am doing the review on is very oily as well.

The prelight draw is easy and gives off light tones of spice and sweetness. On the other end, the foot smells like tobacco and sweet spice. It looks like a solid cigar and, hopefully, this will be a solid cigar to smoke as well.

Cigar Stats
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua – Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $7.50/Single | $125.00/Box of 20

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Torch!

From the very beginning of this cigar the flavors are strong and well balanced, which is not something you can say of a lot of cigars. This good start is peppered with what feels like a healthy dusting of spice ranging from sweet spice on the tongue and black pepper through my nostrils. Cedar is a secondary flavor in the early goings as is a slight amount of citrus on the aftertaste.

Personally, I’m not one of those people who would get bored if my favorite team was winning the same way all the time. Let’s take the Lakers as our example. They have won a lot during the last 13 years or so by doing the same things. You have the triangle, they many of the same players, etc. In many ways, this cigar is the same way: consistent and excellent.

The flavors during the final two thirds of this cigar are pretty much the same as the first third but those flavors are excellent. I love the interplay between the sweet spice and cedar on my tongue and the lingering pepper in my nostrils. It’s not a complicated cigar but it’s an excellent cigar.

Now, if you want complicated in sports you would have to look at the Rays. Oh sure, it’s exciting watching every night and seeing them win with pitching one night then with a contribution from some platoon guy another team basically gave away. The next night they will win with defense. It’s exciting and will keep people interested (even in that hotbed of baseball fandom known as Tampa Bay) but, if I had my druthers, I will take the perennial contender with the tried and true formula. Yes, you would not be wrong in saying that I am a boring person.

Consistently great cigars are definitely fine by me. Actually, they’re better than that. This is one of those cigars where you can pick it up and know that you are going to get a perfect draw, a great burn, a medium-full bodied cigar with a great group of flavors every time.

91 points

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

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