[A note from Travis: This is one of the cigars that will be featured in my cigar dinner on December 1st. If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to smoke some great cigars, eat excellent food and meet a great group of people go here for more info!]
I started seeing this cigar online during the spring or summer and finally pulled the trigger and purchased some a couple of months back. Lo and behold, I get my new issue of Cigar Aficionado and this cigar gets a rating of 94 points. And it was the same vitola that I bought a box of. Crazy, right?
The genesis of this cigar is interesting since it started out as the personal blend for the patriarchs of the AB dynasty.
Alec Bradley Family Blend cigars were created expressly for the fathers of the company’s three principal executives, Alan Rubin (President), Ralph Montero (Vice President), and George Sosa (National Sales Director).
Based off of my mediocre memory of cigar history, it is usually a good omen if a cigar starts out as the personal blend of the head of the company and then gets released to the public. (Some of the Fuente’s cigars and Drew’s Liga Privadas come to mind.) I’ve smoked a few of these Alec Bradley Family Blend cigars now and they continue that trend.
The Alec Bradley Family Blend T11 is a very well made torpedo. There can be some stretch marks on the wrapper and there are some minor veins; ho-hum. The Honduran wrapper has a nice chocolate brown hue to it and it is accompanied by a good allotment of oils.
Besides the good appearance the most striking thing about this cigar, besides the actual smoking of it, comes right after you pull it out of the cellophane. A potpourri of tobacco, sweet spice and leather greets you with a warm embrace.
Length: 6 1/8″
Ring Gauge: 52
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
Price: $7.25/Single | $125.00/Box of 20
The flavor parade starts right after the cigar is lit. What I smelled after taking it out of its cellophane cocoon is pretty much what I am tasting. A restrained sweet spice, a background of leather and some tobacco flavors round out this little flavor parade. Add to that a pretty great draw and an even burn and it is shaping up to be a great cigar during the first third.
What is the most refreshing thing about this cigar, for me at least, is that it is a superb medium bodied cigar. This is a cigar that every cigar smoker will at the very least enjoy, probably much more than just “enjoy.”
During the second third and especially during the final third there is a distinct woody note that comes through. Also during this time the sweetness and the spice grows a little bit. The sweetness slowly morphs into a nuanced dark fruit and the spice deepens into a warm spice, something like cinnamon.
If you are looking for an excellent way to spend a couple hours of your time then you should definitely give these cigars a try. The Alec Bradley Family Blend T11 is a laid back cigar with a ton of flavor and well above average level of complexity. A must try.
This is another cigar I received from Felipe Gregorio (full disclosure and all that).
The best intro for this cigar has already been done by the Stogie Guys during their coverage of the 2010 IPCPR:
Felipe Gregorio is releasing the rosado-wrapped Minotaur at a price point of $15 a cigar for the only size in the line. Minotaur is sold in boxes of 15 and was made at the request of a prominent cigar distributor in France. It is blended to approximate the profile of Cuban cigars to make it more marketable in Europe.
The cigar itself looks beautiful. The rosado wrapper doesn’t have any raised veins, has some oils, evenly packed well and no visible imperfections. Looking forward to it.
Ring Gauge: 55
A tidy group of pleasant flavors great you from the start. Mild fruitiness, tobacco, earth and some burnt hay. My one reservation about these flavors is that, at least in the beginning, they are not as strong as I would like.
As the cigar progresses the flavors do gain in strength to a certain extent but not in complexity. A lack of complexity, or, to be more exact, a lack in the evolution of the flavors over the course of the cigar, is not a big problem for me as long as those flavors are enjoyable. And they are.
Nearing the end now and the flavors are getting stronger, which is definitely a good sign. Good flavors.
The draw is a little tight and the burn requires some pretty sizable touch ups. It is a medium bodied cigar. My problem with this cigar is that the flavors are a little weak until sometime around the halfway point. That problem is somewhat overcome by its improved performance after the halfway point.
A cursory inspection reveals a couple of raised veins that almost run the length of the cigar and, upon further inspection, that sums up all the negative things I can say about the look of this cigar. The construction is near perfect, it’s oily, there are no soft/hard spots and it even smells good having that kind of aroma that is powerful, yet refined.
Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to smoke a number of these cigars over the last month or so and I have even done a Short Cigar Review for this Camacho Corojo Monarca. My major complaint at the time revolved around my perception that this wasn’t an overly complex cigar. Spicy? Sure. Some other flavors? Yeah. But it just didn’t catch me as being well rounded enough. And it can be a harsh cigar at times.
My subsequent experiences with this cigar have been better than when I did my initial review where I gave this cigar 3 points (roughly 85-88 points or, to put it another way, an average cigar). It may be a little bit better than that and, who knows, this cigar could be awesome, but I am guessing this cigar will fall into the 89-91 point range.
This cigar has the natural wrapper. It also comes with a maduro wrapper. For more information on all the sizes go to the Camacho Corojo Page.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Honduras Corojo
Binder: Honduras Corojo
Filler: Honduras Corojo
Just finished having steak and mushrooms, which, now that I think about it, fits perfectly with this cigar. (What cigar doesn’t go well with steak?) It is a very rich cigar that overflows with white pepper, deep caramel, meat and a chorus of other flavors that meld wonderfully together. I know I said in my previous review that this wasn’t a overly complex cigar but this one definitely is.
The draw is absolutely perfect and the burn is relatively even. I’ll probably have to touch it up at some point. The slightly uneven burn can definitely be attributed to the fact that I am smoking under a patio cover in the rain so the humidity is probably pretty high right now.
While it started out as a medium-full bodied cigar after about an inch it has come off the fence and become full bodied. This may not be one of those cigars that will knock you out but it will let you know you are smoking a cigar.
My only major complaint about the Camacho Corojo Monarca is that the flavors do not meld together completely. For example, the sweetness from the caramel clashes with the white pepper creating a touch of harshness. It isn’t enough to significantly detract from my overall enjoyment of this cigar but it is noticeable.
That deep, caramel slowly morphs into a candied sweetness that is not altogether that bad. Oddly enough, I think it may actually meld better with the spice than the deeper caramel flavor.
Other flavors that begin to really come onto the scene after the halfway point include: earth and tobacco. Very good cigar.
Ah, finally! A torpedo. It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve had one and, since the torpedo vitola is my favorite, I’m excited about this cigar. Well, I’m excited because it’s a torpedo but, slightly more importantly, it’s a Tatuaje. I’ve smoked a handful of Pete Johnson’s creations (Tatuaje Havana VI Nobles and Tatuaje Reserva J21) and I’ve loved them all. Hopefully this cigar, which is made in Miami by master rollers from that island south of Florida, will be just as good.
From the Tatuaje site:
All Tobacco is 1st Generation Cuban Seed Grown in Nicaragua.
Cigars are rolled in classic Cuban tradition by Master Rollers in Little Havana Miami, FL U.S.A.
Headed by Maestro Tobaquero Jose Garcia.
Cigars are rolled with a beautiful Cuban triple-cap and are Medium to Full in flavor.
Now onto what matters; the cigar itself. The Tatuaje Cojonu 2006 is a beautifully crafted torpedo that has a substantial coating of oils on its medium brown wrapper. Well packed and the shape is just spot on. Many torpedos tend to be a little lopsided because it is a more difficult shape to roll (I’m told – I’ve never actually rolled a cigar). My only qualm about this cigar are the two medium sized veins that are located right around where I’m going to be cutting it. Hopefully it does not turn into a big deal – that would be a shame.
Length: 5 1/2″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
An effortless draw reveals some really solid flavors. There is some spice, hearty wood and a syrupy caramel flavor that is the most dominant flavor. Another sweetness joins this group after about halfway through the cigar; it’s close to a floral sweetness.
During the last half of the cigar some tobacco flavors do come on. It’s a very good cigar that is thoroughly enjoyable. Medium bodied with a balky draw at first that, thankfully, evens out after the first inch, inch and a half.
This cigar perplexes me. I’m enjoying it but there is just something missing. Maybe it has to do with the flavors not being as robust as I would have liked. Not quite sure actually but I just wanted something more.
Despite all the rosy projections for the cigar industry I have read and heard about for the last couple of years it looks like Cuba is going to cut back production by 30%.
Cash-short Cuba is slashing the amount of land devoted to growing its famous tobacco by more than 30 percent as the global recession and worldwide spread of smoking bans bite into sales of the country’s prized cigars.
Demand for Cuba’s cigars fell 3 percent in 2008 and earlier was reported down 15 percent in 2009 because of the recession and the smoking bans adopted in a growing number of places as a public health measure.
Cuba’s National Statistics Office, in a report posted on its web page (www.one.cu), said land to be planted with tobacco for next year’s crop had dropped to 49,000 acres (19,800 hectares), down from 70,000 acres (28,200 hectares), which was in turn less than 2008.
The theory from some of the cheerleaders in the cigar industry (Ahem, Cigar Aficionado) was that higher taxes and smoking bans would not affect premium cigar sales too much because, well, we will still buy expensive cigars despite all the roadblocks erected in front of us… just because we like premium cigars so much and our wallets are always full of money.
It is probably true that the Cubans are cutting back production of their lower level cigars; so Montecristo, Bolivar and Cohiba will not be affected as much – I’m guessing. It’s also true that the recession is having a significant impact on cigar sales. Actually, now that I think about it, according to Greg Mankiw’s blog:
The consumption of high-consumption households is more exposed to fluctuations in aggregate consumption and income than that of low-consumption households in the Consumer Expenditure (CEX) Survey.
Basically, what this graph shows is that during a downturn there is less cigar money; especially amongst the wealthier cigar smokers.
I don’t think it’s too controversial to claim that the goal of governments all over the world is to create a permanent recession in the tobacco industry. Through increased taxes and more aggressive smoking bans, governments are in the process of destroying the cigar industry. It will take time but, with small, incremental steps, governments all over the world are working overtime to make cigars too expensive even for the so-called wealthy people who smoke them.
Cuba cutting back tobacco acreage may turn out to be a reaction to the global recession. Or it could be a harbinger of more serious cutbacks to come.
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