E.P. Carrillo E Stunner Short Cigar Review

October 7, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra    |   Binder: Nicaragua   |   Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican   |   Box of 24: $139.95; Pack of 5: $50.50   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

This is a picture of the Borgia Bull. Nothing to do with this review but it is a bull and there is a bull on the band. (click image to go to E.P. Carrillo Facebook page)

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

Quesada Heisenberg Cigar Review

October 6, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I liked Breaking Bad. It was a different kind of show; a good mixture of smarts, drama and enough comedy, especially during the earlier seasons, to make the show work very well. Even though it’s by no means my favorite show it’s a show I wouldn’t mind watching again in five or ten years.

The cigar I am reviewing here, the Quesada Heisenberg, shares its name with the nom de cuisiner of the main character, Walter White, in Breaking Bad. Is that intentional? Well, I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that no information about the tobacco used in the blends for this cigar was ever publicly released. Why do this? Quesada did this to make it easier for the cigar smokers to just focus on enjoying the cigar instead of focusing, for example, on how the Dominican leaves played with the Nicaraguan and Honduran leaves.

So what does this Heisenberg thing mean? Heisenberg was a scientist who came up with the popularly (that’s a relative term) named “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.” Without going back to look at my notes, what I remember of this principle is that it stipulates that when you are measuring one thing with great precision you cannot measure another thing with increasingly less precision. And I think it has something to do with quantum mechanics. But I don’t want to waste too much of your time on this so if you want more information on this click the equation below.

Click image to get educated

Click image to get educated

The cigar itself looks pretty gnarly. There are some pretty serious veins, stretch marks and bumps all over the place. It feels like the cigar is slightly underpacked and the wrapper has some oils on it.

Cigar Stats
Vitola: petit corona
Length: 4 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 40
Wrapper: ???
Binder: ???
Filler: ???
Price: $49.95/Box of 10 | $5.50/Single

Uncertainty Principle Torch!

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer's site)

Quesada Heisenberg cigar (click on image to go to manufacturer’s site)

It is an interesting flavor profile. A host of flavors including cappuccino, oak and cherry supports a sweet floral core. The draw is very nice right from the start and the flavors, without getting into whether or not I like them, are strong and clear. Even though there are a lot of positives here this isn’t my favorite combination of flavors.

During the second third there are some bright citrus notes that cut through to the foreground of the flavor profile providing an extra element to this cigar. Even though this may not be my favorite combination of flavors they do seem to work well together and if you are a fan of these flavors I’m sure you would like this cigar thus far. Personally, I would like it if the cappuccino and oak flavors played more of a role in this cigar but it is mainly about the sweet flavors – cherry and floral – with the citrus providing a little extra excitement.

As if this cigar knew what I was thinking, the cappuccino flavors do come further into the fore during the final third. The sweeter flavors recede a bit but are easily noticeable and, in my opinion, are better served as secondary flavors. A bit of an edge comes on during the final third in the form of barbequed meat. By itself that would not be a great flavor but with the other flavors present it does add something positive to the overall experience. I should note that the barbequed meat flavor came on during the second third for one of the three cigars that I smoked for this review but twice in the final third.

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Quesada Heisenberg is an interesting cigar with a good deal of evolution to the flavor profile. During the first two thirds I would put it firmly in the sweet profile camp but during the final third it migrates over to the grittier side with meat and cappuccino. What you will find with this cigar are good examples of the flavors featured and all those flavors work decently well with each other. Personally, I don’t think I will make a concerted effort to buy any more of these cigars but I am glad that I smoked the few that I did.

88 points

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Cigar Review

September 18, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

I reviewed the Oliva Serie V Melanio a little while ago and I enjoyed it. I mean, it wasn’t the best cigar I’ve ever had but it was pretty good. Better than that really. Will the wrapper change make a difference for the better… or worse? (Technically, I guess there could be a push.)

With a darkish black/brown wrapper, which is velvety to the touch, this box pressed torpedo (the only vitola they offer according to their website) looks expertly put together. Firmly packed with a bit of oil on the wrapper, I can’t see much wrong with the way this cigar looks. Sure, there’s that one rogue vein near the head of the cigar but that’s not going to cause a problem for the draw or anything else that actually matters in terms of taste and whatnot. The prelight draw is a bit tight but, based off of the other one I smoked, that will not pose a problem.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro Cigar

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro (click picture to go to Oliva’s site)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: torpedo
Length: 6 ½”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Price: $110.95/Box of 10 | $58.00/5 Pack

Better Call Saul Flame!

A hard, bright spice is the first I noticed when I started this cigar. There’s also a strong peppermint flavor going on, which is unique in my cigar smoking experience. In the background we can also find some cocoa and some other complimentary flavors. It’s really an interesting mix and it wasn’t what I was expecting when I first tried this cigar.

It’s weird but in that good, Memento sort of way. (I would try to wring every last drop out of the Memento comparison but I don’t think a cigar review would be that enjoyable to read backwards.) Peppermint is the main flavor I’m getting during the second third followed by spice, some dark (but definitely background) wood notes and a bit of rich earthiness on the aftertaste.

Peppermint basically disappears during the first part of the final third as an ascendant barbecued meatiness takes over. Some sweetness does come on at the tail end but it would have been better if it had been around for the full third to provide a nice counterbalance to the somewhat off putting barbequed meat flavor.

Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a worthy addition to the Melanio line extension. It was a very interesting cigar during the first two thirds and I sincerely enjoyed how the peppermint played off of the other flavors. The final third, on the other hand, was a bit of a dud. Still, I think the first two thirds are worth it and, with some age, I’m sure the final third will round out nicely. Did I like it more than the original Melanio? Yes, but barely.

91 points

Ashton VSG Short Cigar Review

September 14, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review, Short Cigar Review · Comment 

The cigar for this review was provided by Cigars Direct; As always, all reviews are my own

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown    |   Binder: Dominican Republic   |   Filler: Dominican Republic   |   Box of 20: $214.95; Five Pack: $54.95   |   Robusto   |   5″ x 50

Ashton VSG cigar picture

Picture: Ashton’s Website (click picture for more information about this cigar)

0/3: Very good looking cigar with a dark, chocolatey brown wrapper and not very many veins. The cigar feels firmly packed. Oh, yeah, and it smells like manure… literally.

1/3: It may smell like crap but it doesn’t taste like it. Not by a long shot. A strong, somewhat sweet spice leads the way and is backed up with some oak and a dark sweetness akin to red wine.

2/3: Cedar comes on during the second third but that spice still remains. The spice is strong but it’s a well developed flavor that has a few different sides to it.

3/3: The spice’s intensity has dissipated some but the flavor is still there. Perhaps, this dissipation has made it possible for this floral flavor I’m getting to come through. Also, toffee is coming through now; I really like this flavor. It has lost that darkness of flavor but in its place there’s a lightness and clarity to the flavors that’s good change of pace.

4/3: Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; this Ashton VSG was a great cigar. Good complexity in flavor and the flavors are very enjoyable. Must try.

4.5 out of 5 points – Lots of good, strong flavors with this cigar

Carlos Toraño Casa Toraño Maduro Cigar Review

September 13, 2013 · Posted in Cigar Review · Comment 

The cigars for this review were provided by Thompson Cigar; as always, all reviews are my own

As you may know, I studied Spanish in high school for three years so I’m pretty good at it now and that is why I know “Casa” means “home.” I think. Well, that’s not really important. Or maybe it is! Here, from the Toraño website:

Casa Toraño appeals to all the senses. The Ecuadorian-Connecticut (or USA Connecticut maduro) 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.

So it was the family’s private blend; that’s cool. One could even say it was their “house” blend.

Looking at it you wouldn’t necessarily think it was anything particularly special. While it feels uniformly packed and there are a decent amount of oils on the dark brown wrapper it isn’t a smooth cigar. I’ve referred to cigars that look like this in the past as being “rustic” and that applies here. Lots of noticeable veins, some peaks and valleys and there are some stretch marks on the wrapper.

Carlos Toraño Casa Toraño Cigar

Picture: Carlos Toraño Casa Toraño Cigar (click to buy this cigar from Thompson)

Cigar Stats
Vitola: toro
Length: 6 ¼”
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: USA Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduras & S. and C. American Friends
Price: $75.00/Box of 20 | $6.36/Single

Grace Potter’s Stars Conflagration!

This cigar starts out very well with notes of woodiness, mint and an overarching savory sweetness. It’s a good mixture of above average flavors that isn’t abrasive in the least.

Usually, when someone makes a point of saying there isn’t anything offensive or “abrasive” about something that is usually immediately followed by some variation of “but it’s boring.” This isn’t a boring cigar as the second third makes some pretty nice progressions. For example, the sweetness and woodiness have melded together very nicely and some mesquite is now coming through.

With the final third you will notice a pretty significant change. A dark earthiness starts to come through and it crowds out that savory sweetness that was such an important part of the first two thirds. Mesquite is the other major flavor at the end as well. (And, yes, I know that mesquite is a type of wood but earlier on in the cigar the woody flavor was more of a general woodiness.)

Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Carlos Toraño Casa Toraño is an enjoyable cigar featuring primarily savory sweet flavors until that earthiness kicks in during the final third. Interesting cigar and I’m glad that I smoked it.

89 points

Next Page »