Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Toro Corojo (6.5x52)

It's not that I'm not smoking them, trust me, I've been enjoying more than my fair share of good cigars recently, I've been busy and although that is a great excuse to use in explaining why I haven't been posting my reviews - the bottom line is I've not made the time necessary to get posted my notes and thoughts on the cigars I've been smoking.  The funny thing is when I click into my pending posts, I've got about half a dozen reviews started that need to be finished, but heck, rather than work on those I'll run with this one and get my thoughts up and placed out there for your review and consideration.

The Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Toro Corojo (6.5x52) (RPOWR) is the subject of today's conversation.  For those who read when I post, you'll remember a prior review of a Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Torpedo Maduro that really wasn't that glowing a recommendation to run out and buy that cigar.  I stated in that review I wouldn't be spending my hard earned money to purchase that cigar again, so in fairness of full disclosure I did spend my money to buy this cigar, however it was a part of a sampler pack of cigars that I wanted to try, so by default this cigar made it into my humidor.

And I'm glad it did.  This RPOWR was a solid smoke and I really enjoyed it.  Certainly not my favorite cigar ever, but it smoked really well and was very enjoyable.  I paired this cigar with a sweet red wine that I think went the distance to really enhance the flavor profile of the RPOWR.  Upon lighting the cigar, initial draw was on the strong side of the spectrum, there really was a heavy pepper on the draw.  

To the cigars defense, I was using a simple butane lighter, and against my normal lighting protocol (due to a breeze that refused to let the lighter stay lit), I drew on the cigar with flame on it to get it lit correctly, so by default the cigar was "hot" from the onset.  As soon as some ash was formed, the cigar did cool down, and at that point the heavy pepper really settled down, and a very nice raisin essence with some tea leaves on the finish was evident in the smoke.  

The wine I was drinking did suggest some sweetness to the smoke, however with the glass of wine out of the equation, I don't think there was any sweetness present, however the suggestion of raisin and tea made the cigar enjoyable.

As the evening continued and the cigar matured into the second and third phase, the strength of it got stronger.  Having finished the first bottle of wine we had opened, a less sweet red Pinot Noir was opened, and it offered up a different tasting perspective of the RPOWR.  Make no mistake, the RPOWR was gaining strength with me starting to feel a little light headed from the cigar.

The finish graduated from the tea leaves to a much stronger spicy pepper, I'd call it almost borderline cayenne in strength, and as a result I found myself drinking more wine.  More wine, ever stronger cigar equals very light headed me, and with about 2 inches left I tossed the cigar into the fire pit and just sat and watched the fire burn for about 10 minutes.  I really had a decent buzz going on, and I just needed to sit and let it pass.

I don't know about you, but my buzz runs a very specific course, slight nausea followed by extreme thirst followed by hunger - so I did what my body was telling me to do, drink a lot of water and then consume some food.

Here's the deal, would I smoke this cigar again - Yes.  But, I say yes because as we speak I have one sitting in my humidor, again having been part of the sampler pack I bought.  Last night I had a chance to enjoy a cigar while the kids ran around the backyard, but the RPOWR was not the cigar I selected.  I think I'm going to save that for an evening that has a BIG dinner on the front end, this is a big cigar that deserves to be enjoyed after a big dinner.

On this one here, I'm not going to suggest running out and buying it, but neither am I going to discourage you from buying and smoking either.  I'm on the fence with this one, if you like what I had to write and want to give it a go, go for it.  If you pass it by for other selections, I'm good with as well.  Perhaps the RPOWR is a paradox, good enough to be smoked and enjoyed, but not great enough to be at the top of your "to smoke" list.

I'm always interested to hear what you have to say, so check in below in the comments and let me know your thoughts on this or any other cigar you may have enjoyed.

Until we smoke again...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Drew Estate Acid Kuba Kuba (5x52)

My sister and her husband recently (after our visit in July) took up cigar smoking on a regular basis, and several times now she has sent me text messages either commenting on a cigar she was currently smoking, or sending a picture of a cigar they were in the process of smoking.  Several of their recently smoked cigars have been of the flavored variety, and I quite frankly got intrigued and decided to seek out a flavored cigar to try.  It's been a while since I've had a flavored cigar, so what better a time than now to give one a try.

I did a little research online reading some reviews, and I finally settled on getting a "infused" cigar made by Drew Estate.  My local cigar shop had the Drew Estate Acid Kuba Kuba in stock, so during a recent trip their I picked up one and added to the humidor.

The weather has been fantastic the past week, and on Monday the kids really wanted to go outside and ride their power wheels, so I grabbed a magazine that had come in the mail earlier that day and a cigar along with a drink and went outside to watch the kids have fun and enjoy a cigar in the process.

I used my punch to open the head and toasted the foot and got the foot toasted and took the first draw.  The initial taste was one of overwhelming sweetness from the sugar tip.  The smoke and flavor absent the sweet sugar tip was one of tea with a slight mint finish.  

The flavor of the smoke was really tasty, it really reminded me of a herbal tea again with a slight mint finish.  The finish was really fresh and light and unlike any cigar I've smoke before.  Sadly however the smoke was overwhelmed by the sugar tip, and I really had a hard time overcoming how sweet the tobacco was, and I for one believe it detracted from the infused flavors that where there.

I'd love to smoke this cigar without the sugar tip and see how it tastes, I really think it would be a good smoke.

I only smoked about half the stick before I let it go out, I couldn't get past the sweetness.  And so it goes, the cigar was finished and the experience done.  It will probably be a longtime before I actively seek out a flavored cigar, but in the meantime the memory of what could have been a great smoke will remain.

I seriously wonder what my sister's opinion would be of this cigar, perhaps if she'll smoke it and give me her opinion it will offer me insight as to her smoking profile preferences.  Let's see if she'll take me up on the suggestion.

Until we smoke again...

Corona Cigar Company Dominican Selection (6x52)

So last weekend was my birthday, and my wife had asked me a week or two prior what I wanted to do for said birthday.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do, break bread with friend and then smoke cigars with friends.  As the day drew near, I told my wife I wanted to go to Old Chicago for deep dish Chicago style pizza and then plan on cake and other treats back at our house.

I invited a few of my friends, their wives and kids and the plan was set into play.  Saturday evening arrived and we met at the restaurant and enjoyed a good time of fun and food.  It meant a lot to me that everyone I had invited took time out of their lives to come celebrate with me, and I knew the fun was just beginning because as dinner finished up we headed back to our home for round two of the celebration.

As a present to myself, I purchased a cigar sampler from Corona Cigar Company that included 2 each of 8 different cigars.  Seeing as I recognized a few of the sticks in the sampler package as brands I have tried and enjoyed before, it seemed like a fair gamble for what amounted to a $3 per stick cost.

Unbeknownst to my wife, the day before I headed over to the Home Depot and bought retaining stones that I used to build a fire pit in our backyard.  Again, realize the plan for my birthday was something I had actually been working on for a while, and the fire pit was a pivotal piece of the puzzle.  Saturday morning I awoke and went on a 10 mile bike ride first thing in the morning the ended with me coming home soaking wet as it started to rain during the ride, a byproduct of the cold front that was suggesting temps in the mid-sixties for evening time - perfect weather for a fire in the new fire pit.

When we got home, I threw a match into the already stacked wood in the fire pit and immediately we had a hot blaze going.  I elected to smoke a Corona Cigar Company branded cigar, in this case a Dominican Selection (6x52) Connecticut wrapper cigar that was part of the previously mentioned sampler pack.

As I've written in the past, I'm not a huge fan of the Connecticut wrapper as it normally is not a terrible strong cigar, and in this case it held true as well.  The cigar lit easily and the immediate flavor was one of a smooth mellow creamy flavor.  The smoke had some subtle hints of butter with a slight nutmeg on the finish.

The cigar was good, but honestly given the big bold dinner I had just enjoyed, a stronger cigar would have been a better choice for the evening.  None the less, I had my family and friends around me enjoying our new fire pit while smoking a cigar and sipping on a glass of red wine.

All in all, it really was a good situation I had going.  The cigar smoked really well not requiring any touchups to the cherry, and the flavor while good remained consistent throughout the stick not offering up too much other flavor other than that previously mentioned here.

This (like all Connecticut wrapper) really would serve well as an early morning cigar enjoyed with a cup of coffee.  This is not a cigar I'd go to after enjoying a big dinner, be it pepperoni pizza or steak or just about anything else.  Perhaps the redeeming situation for this cigar was the birthday cake my wife had made that actually went quite well with the cigar.  The sweetness of the cake actually went quite nicely with the buttery creaminess of the smoke, and the nutmeg I noted earlier on the finish I do believe was further enhanced by the cake.

I enjoyed this cigar to about the base of the wrapper, and by that point it was showing signs of carbon buildup on the draw so I offered the cigar to the fire and let it drift into cigar memory.

As this cigar was finished, another one of my friends showed up carrying with him a couple CAO Gold cigars.  I'll post that review here as well, but I'll tease it by stating that it was not as good as previous CAO Gold cigars I've had in the past, but I'll deal with that in that review.

In the meantime, as I sat and smoked this cigar, I couldn't help but think to myself that this would be a good cigar to suggest to my sister to try.  She is a newer cigar smoker and as such isn't into the big bold cigars I tend to go for.  Of course it helps that she lives only a few minutes from the Corona Cigar Company Lounge and as such has access to their massive inventory to try.  I think this is a cigar worth trying, even if it doesn't end up being your favorite.

Until we smoke again...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Diamond Crown Maximus Double Robusto No.6 (5x56)

I'll admit it, I'm pining for an audience bigger than what I currently have.  Don't get me wrong, those of you who humor me by stopping by and reading my ramblings are truly appreciated, but darn it, I want more.  Don't we all?  Isn't more what it's all about.  More of this and more of that.  When I left Florida and my sister's house last month I wanted more time to spend with her and my brother in law.  The fact that they've become cigar smokes making several trips over to the Corona Cigar Company to procure more smokes excites me, but makes me sad at the same time as I'm not there to enjoy a good smoke with them.

Of course, the good news is they'll be visiting on a whirlwind trip in December, so I'm confident we'll find time to enjoy at least one cigar together while they are here.  However, while we are on the subject of more, today's cigar becomes an item that I want more of.  The Diamond Crown Maximus Double Robusto No.6 (5x56) was picked up a few weeks ago while I was in California visiting some business clients I have.  My brother in law and I went out in search of a decent cigar bar and stumbled upon a cigar store that had one heck of a humidor.  Maxamar Ultimate Cigars is where I picked up the Diamond Crown Maximus Double Robusto No.6, and although a bunch of guys where sitting around in the front of the shop smoking cigars, no food or drink was available so we elected to seek out other places to sit, drink and for me to enjoy a cigar.

California is one of those ridiculous states with so many restrictive laws, finding a suitable location was impossible so we ended up at a small bar near his house, had a few drinks and he went home and I went to play poker into the wee hours of the morning.  For the record, I came home with more money than I went with, all thanks to my masterful skills at no limit Texas Hold'em.

Now, back to the cigar.  

The DCMDR (my fingers are tired already from typing out the full name) promptly went into the humidor upon my return home from California, and last week saw an opportunity present itself wherein I'd get to sit outside and enjoy a smoke while the kids played in the yard.  For the record, last week also saw me start an extremely aggressive weight loss / life style change as I work to get back to lighter, healthier, more fit me.  In a way, the cigar was my reward for a first successful week in that journey.  I've gone cold turkey on the Coca-Cola intake, Coke has always been my nemesis, it's like heroin in my blood stream, no wimpy diet or Coke Zero for me, nope, I'm a full bore kind've guy who easily consumes 3-4 cans a day.  Going cold turkey has been hard, but the results will be worth it.

The DCMDR was punched and the foot lightly toasted.  The initial tasting was of a spicy pepper, but with some hints of oak and leather on the finish.  I think a portion of that initial spicy pepper can be attributed to the fact that the cigar was burning really hot initially as it took a few attempts to get a really even burn across the foot which meant a lot more exposure to flame than what I normally prefer.  The spicy pepper was gone within a minute or three however, replaced with a well defined cinnamon spice on the finish.

The oak and leather lent itself to a very dry smoke, I was thirsty throughout the entire cigar, however this was not a bad or undesirable trait at all.  As the ash started forming, a very distinct raisin started to develop, and honestly it was quite nice as it balanced perfectly with the cinnamon spice I was picking up on the tail end of each draw.  The DCMDR was not sweet, it was the subtle nuances in the smoke giving off those impressions, and it was very enjoyable.

I started this post by stating I wanted more, and honestly I wanted more of this smoke.  I found myself drawing on it every 20-30 seconds versus every 45-60 seconds as I normally draw, it's as if I couldn't get enough of it, and the truth be told I couldn't.  

As the cigar passed the halfway mark, it picked up some strength to it.  It was getting stronger and the supposed "sweet spot" you'll hear about introduced some real strength and boldness.  The only way I could describe it to you is as such, go take a good long inhale of cinnamon into your nostrils and then exhale.  That sensation was something the cigar was offering up, but again it wasn't overpowering or detracting in any way from the cigar.

This truly was a great cigar.  I smoke it down to the nub, and even then it pained me to put it down as I wanted more.  Had I had another of the same cigar in the humidor I would've gone to get it and started the process all over again.

It was bold, it was spicy, and it was distinct.  Definitely a cigar I'd smoke again.  Which brings me to the price point.  This cigar cost me $12 in California.  I have not seen it on a retail shelf here in TN yet, so I don't have a comparison to show how much the tobacco taxes are out there.  The guy at the cigar shop apologized for the pricing being so high, he blamed California taxes and he's probably right.  At $12 this is a special occasion cigar, not one that can make it into my regular routine, however it in TN it is only a $6-7 cigar, it certainly will become a regular smoke for me.  I'll have to do more research to find out for sure what the price is locally.

Either way though, I'm glad I had a chance to give this cigar a smoke, I've read numerous articles about Diamond Crown Maximus cigars, and now I can contribute an article myself and make my suggestion to you that if you get a chance and your wallet will allow it, give this cigar a try.

I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Until we smoke again...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rocky Patel Nording (Toro Grande 5x58)

In my last entry I mentioned the Rocky Patel sitting in my humidor and this is that cigar.  A Rocky Patel Nording Toro Grande 5x58 that I had the pleasure to enjoy the other evening while we sat in the backyard and the kids ran around.  I posted 2 pictures, the first showing the ash that got to almost 2 inches prior to falling, the second pic was my first picture I took and my son insisted his hand be part of the picture, so there it is, my son Ethan's 6-year old hand helping his dad frame the perfect lit cigar shot for this blog I write on here.

This was a big flavor cigar that at times left me a little lightheaded, but it was a very enjoyable cigar.  After getting it lit, the initial taste was very strong and bold, bitter black coffee was my first impression, but the initial bitter that I noted very quickly diminished and settled into a relatively smooth but strong taste.  There are hints of pepper on the finish and some notes of leather worked their way into the taste profile as well.

It may just be me, but this cigar seemed to get stronger the deeper into the stick I got, and on several occasions the black coffee I noted seemed to take on a slightly burnt taste.  It reminded me of coffee that has sat in a coffee maker for hours with the heating element on, but not enough liquid to heat thereby causing a burnt taste.  It wasn't a bad thing per se, but certainly isn't a taste I look for when choosing my cigars.

The construction of the cigar was excellent, Rocky Patel I think puts together the world's best constructed cigars, the wrapper was flawless, the cap beautiful, and the length of ash I was able to achieve spoke to how well the leaves were bound to create this cigar.

I made the comment that the cigar left me a little lightheaded, something that doesn't happen too often, especially considering I was coming off a fairly stout dinner of meatball sandwiches that I had made for the family.

I started off drinking some iced tea and it was of no offense to the cigar, but my wife managed to crack open a bottle of red wine and pour herself a glass which she shared with me, and honestly the cigar really was complimented by the red wine, so I ended up smoking the cigar with the red for the better part of the evening.

I noticed that the deeper into the stick I got, the stronger and more defined the pepper on the finish became.  The pepper really reminded me of a black table style pepper, and on one draw it actually made my nose tickle to the point that I thought I was going to sneeze.  Thankfully I didn't, but the pepper was a flavor that hung around throughout this cigar.

I smoked this cigar for about an hour and the time came to take the kids inside and get them ready for bed.  I could easily have smoked for another 15-20 minutes, but time was getting away from us.  The cigar burnt evenly and needed only one minor touchup right after I ashed the first time, most likely caused by knocking off a portion of the cherry.

While this was a good cigar and one that I enjoyed, it's not a cigar I'll probably buy again.  There are cigars I smoke that I look forward to smoking again and again, and this cigar is not one of the those cigars.  That doesn't mean it's bad or that I didn't enjoy it, it just wasn't one that knocked it out of the park for me, and as such is not a cigar I actively seek out again to smoke.

Does that mean you shouldn't give it a try?  Of course not, cigars like wine are about finding what you enjoy and then seeking options that fit the bill as far as your tastes are concerned.  If what I described above makes you want to try it, TRY IT, I don't think you'll be disappointed.  It is a good smoke and an incredible value for the money, this stick only cost me around $7, and at that price point it is a value especially considering the care that went into making it.

As for me, I'm off to California for a few days, going to try to check out some cigar bars out there and hopefully bring back some new stories to share with you.  Until I return though I encourage you to go out and find a cigar and share your experience.  Use the comment area below if you want, and of course if you find something you think I should be trying, by all means share it with me as well and I will try to find your recommendation and give it a smoke.

Until we smoke again...

Monday, August 6, 2012

CAO OSA SOL LOT 50 (5x50)

I tend to have a love hate relationship with CAO cigars.  There are some that I absolutely love and then there are others I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy.  Offered for your consideration today is the CAO OSA SOL 6x54 Toro that not only would I suggest you try, if we were out together I'd offer to buy one for you to smoke with me.  It really is that good.

The opportunity to enjoy some mexican food with my wife and kids along with some good friends of ours was too good an offer to pass up, and knowing there was a great cigar bar right next door with a great outdoor seating area only sweetened the deal knowing the kids could run around and burn some energy while the ladies talked and the men smoked.

The Nolensville Cigar Bar was the destination, and just like the old television show Cheers, I was greeted by name upon entering the shop, a fact that my friend refused to let me live down with constant jeers of "oh, I see you've been here before" and other sarcastic comments.  Sarcasm aside, we ordered some drinks and headed back onto the patio to enjoy a smoke.

My buddy ordered a Jack and Coke and I ordered a seven and seven, both drinks I think pair well with this cigar, my preferred Woodchuck was not available hence the mixed libation.  The foot was toasted and the cigar drawn upon, and the initial taste was very smooth, slightly creamy but with a nicely defined sweetness to it.  The wrapper itself aside from being very nicely constructed tasted delicious.

The smoke offered up a nicely defined sweetness reminiscent of hard candy, but finished with a nice earthy cedar that complimented the draw perfectly.  I stated to my friend after only 2-3 draws on how good a cigar this was, and while not bold as I normally tend to go, especially after a big mexican dinner, it was very flavorful.

I actually had several bites of the desert my wife had ordered, fried ice cream which did nothing to detract from the cigar, and maybe even complimented it a bit.  The cigar burned really nice although didn't hold a terrible long ash, I got about an inch and half out of it before it fell.  One thing I noticed about this cigar was how good the smoke smelled, it really reminded me of a pipe tobacco, and held a defined sweetness that was absolutely delicious.

If it seems like I'm starting to gush a bit about this cigar, perhaps it is because I am.  This was a fantastic smoke, I really enjoyed it as did my friend who enjoyed the same cigar.  He's not strong and bold cigar smoker, and he told me he really enjoyed the CAO and found it to be really balanced.  There was no harsh notes to the cigar that I tasted, and the burn was even not needing any touch ups throughout the smoke.

I enjoyed the cigar for close to 45 minutes before finally allowing it to retire in the ashtray, and if it weren't for a lack of time combined with pure exhaustion I seriously would have smoked another one back to back.  I'm going to look into buying a whole box of this cigar - yes, it's that good.

So, in case you missed it, I would highly recommend this cigar, in fact I suggested it to my sister to try along with her husband.  This may become my new go to cigar replacing the NUB's and CAIN's I typically choose when I want something I know is good.

The smoke was not one dimensional, and the flavor profile built upon the sweetness on the front with the cedar on the finish.  It matured and got better, like a fine wine aerating itself.  It didn't change, there weren't multiple dimensions to cigar, just one smooth consistent flavor that simply got better the deeper into the stick you got.

With that being said, I'm already hankering for a cigar, I haven't had one since enjoying this CAO, maybe tonight I'll take the kids out back and let them run around while I crack open a Rocky Patel I've got sitting in the humidor.  Maybe you should consider doing the same as well, isn't that what Monday nights are for?

Until we smoke again...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cohiba Black Corona (5.5x42)

One of the fun things about journaling the cigars I smoke is the ability to look back at my notes and accompanying pictures and remembering a specific experience.  This is a great example of what I am talking about, the Cohiba Black Corona (5.5x42) that I'm featuring here today was actually enjoyed by me back in March, but due to my life going on it's taking me this long to get around to posting my review of this fantastic little cigar.

I got this cigar from a buddy of mine who owns Motor City Cigars in Detroit having come highly recommended by him.  The first thing you'll notice if you have a chance to smoke this cigar is the fact that it is BLACK.  The picture above really doesn't do the cigar justice in showing not only how dark the wrapper is, but just how well constructed it is.  I'd actually had this cigar in my humidor for a little over a year prior to actually smoking it, primarily because it is a little smaller than what I normally smoke.  I tend to avoid cigars that are less than a 50 ring gauge and at 42, this is definitely small for what I prefer.  The other reason I held off on smoking this cigar was based on my buddy bragging on how good a cigar it is, I figured a little age on it couldn't hurt, and most likely would help enhance the flavor.

The evening I finally lit this cigar up saw temperatures in the mid 70's, not bad for a March evening in Middle Tennessee, of course we had a vey warm winter so nights like this weren't the rarity it may seem.  I punched the head and toasted the foot drawing on it after it was fully lit.  The Maduro wrapper immediately offered up a warm bread flavor with a very pronounced hazelnut on the finish.  Very bold, but smooth.

I was reminded of the Cain Maduro that I've smoked in the past, but not with the strength of boldness that the Cain has, but this was truly a fantastic cigar.  The ash I show in the picture above is actually about 1/2" short of the final length before it finally fell, a indication of how well the cigar was put together.

The sad thing about the cigar was how fast it was gone, but that partially is attributed to the fact that I smoked it like a big cigar, and since it is such a small cigar it just got consumed faster.  I blew through this cigar in about 25 minutes, and I am not a fast cigar smoker at all.

The flavor started to add some additional elements as it got into the halfway point hinting at some raisin overtones with a slight pepper that started to be noted on the finish, a taste that would get slightly stronger as the cigar was enjoyed.

This was a great cigar, and I literally smoked it to the end with about 1" left before I finally let it expire. This cigar was so good, it's actually on my short list of cigars I will smoke again, however I am going to try out some of the larger sizes offered, I'm eyeballing the 6x54 Supremo that is currently being made.

This is a strong cigar, but not overpowering.  I think taken in moderation it is a cigar even a novice can enjoy without too much worry, and I think this cigar can serve as a great gateway cigar introducing a newer smoker to a fuller flavor experience without knocking them off their feet.

Sadly, as I stated earlier this cigar was gone almost as quick as it started, but left in its place is a memory of a great cigar enjoyed while spending time with my wife and kids.  As I often do, I take the band off as the cigar reaches the halfway point, and my daughter used the band as a "ring" on her little fingers.  I'd encourage you to give this cigar a smoke, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Until we smoke again...