January 31, 2012

Cigar Review: XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado

XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado
I am going to skip formal introductions with this cigar and get right to it. For the past couple months I have been smoking my way through the XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitado cigars that I have, and I have been finding that I am enjoying the cigar more and more. Does this have to with how I have stored these cigars? Maybe, maybe not, but I will say that they have been getting better and better. When I first smoked this cigar I found it to be very entertaining, but nothing mind blowing. Well, that time has past, and these cigars have been nothing but extraordinary as of late. They have smoked beautifully, produced great flavors, and left me nothing but satisfied afterwards. (that sounds bad.) With that being said, let me break down my experiences with these cigars that past times I have smoked them.

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January 30, 2012

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Seleccion De Cazador 7th

7th
In 2010 to honor seven successful years of the Seleccion De Cazador line Pete Johnson released a new size in the line, and made it available in two different wrappers. The cigar is known as the 7th, and since then Pete has added a third option in terms of the wrapper, but has kept the filler and binder the same. The line is the first line by Pete Johnson, and the cigar finds its home on Calle Ocho in Little Havana of Miami, Florida. Calle Ocho is alive with Cuban tradition, and one of those traditions is found in the small and yet worldly cigar factory of El Rey de Los Habanos. Don Pepin’s first factory, the factory produces wonderful cigars for the Garcia Family along with Pete Johnson, and like almost everything on Calle Ocho, the cigars are made in the Cuban fashion.

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January 27, 2012

Cigar Review: Warlock Robusto

Warlock Robusto
When one thinks of cigars by Altadis, the Warlock line is not your typical line. More often than not one will think of Montecristo or Romeo Y Julieta. There is nothing wrong with those lines, but the Warlock captures something a little more special. The great aspect of the Warlock line is that it has always captured those great qualities of a boutique brand while having the backing of a large cigar manufacturing company. When the cigar was initially released in 2010 it captured the eyes of smokers like myself, who is a boutique smoker, and it also caught the eyes of those who loved the lines Altadis had. Unfortunately, like most cigars after several months, I lost attention to newer products, but when the cigar recently got the Number 9 Ranking by Cigar Aficionado, I began to pay some more attention again. I am fortunate enough to be able to be in touch with Altadis, and when they offered me some samples to review, I was more than glad to try them out again and review them.
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January 26, 2012

Cigar Review: Davidoff Puro d'Oro Sublimes

Puro d'Oro Sublimes

Packaged in the same manner as Davidoff Cigars from the 1940’s, the Davidoff Puro d’Oro is meant to capture the heritage of the Davidoff brand, and also provide a fabulous cigar with that. Tied with a silk ribbon around the cigars, inside a paper covered box, the Puro d’Oro is a classic cigar. This is the first cigar of the Puro d’Oro line that I have ever smoked, and I have heard nothing but praise and positive reactions from those who have smoked them. The Davidoff brand has always stood on the condition of excellence, and with every cigar I have smoked of theirs they have lived to their strict standards and guidelines. 
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January 25, 2012

Cigar Review: E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2011 Bombones

Short Run 2011 Bombones

When I see what E.P. Carrillo is doing in the industry right now, I am left feeling excited. I have discussed his releases with many fellow cigar smokers, and I have always related it to how Habanos S.A. releases products. They both have cigars which are limited editions for that year, and also have a “Short Run” smoke that is limited as well to that year. I look at those “Short Runs,” and compare them with the Regional Edition program that Habanos S.A. uses. It is a very exciting program, because every year, you as a consumer are going to be getting a lot of new products. Whether he releases a new line that will be in constant production, or merely releases a Short Run and Limited Edition smoke for that year, you are going to be smoking some great cigars. I think that E.P. Carrillo is doing all the right now, and 2011 was a great year for him. Looking back on 2011, there were many great releases that he had, and one that I just came back to is the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2011 Bombones.
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January 24, 2012

Cigar Review: Ideology Corona by 262 Cigars



2012 has been a good year for me and 262 Cigars. Well, I have always enjoyed their smokes thoroughly, but this year in particular I have sampled some amazing smokes of theirs. Along with them producing some great cigars, the cigars of theirs that have really caught my eye are the vitolas that typically most people are not drawn to smoke. The Paradigm Lancero has been smoking fabulous in my opinion, and in all honesty every one of them that I smoke gets better each time. With that being said I am know sitting down to smoke a cigar in the Ideology line, the Ideology Corona.
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Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill

Prensado Churchill
When the cigar you are reviewing just received the title of "Number 1 Cigar of the Year" by Cigar Aficionado, then you really don't need to write up an introduction. Being honored with that ranking is always a challenge, but when the honor is given, the reward is great. I know that the Prensado Churchill's have been moving since the rating, and I am glad to see that. I have always enjoyed the line, actually loved the line, and I always thought that it was deserving of such a high rating. Since the lines release in 2009 I have found the line to be my favorite of the Alec Bradley brand, and the Gran Toro vitola, which I reviewed here, has always been a personal favorite. In 2010 the Gran Toro vitola came in at Number 20 in Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of 2010, and as I said in my initial review I believe it deserved to be a little higher than that. Either way, the line has been in the Top 25 list by Cigar Aficionado for two years in a row, and I will now begin my review of Cigar Aficionado's Cigar of the Year.

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January 23, 2012

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Natural (2008)

Don Artuo Gran AniverXario - Natural
Founded in 1912 by Arturo Fuente, Arturo Fuente Cigars is now celebrating its 100th birthday. They have undergone many experiences, some great, and some poor, throughout the years, but no matter the experience the company has always been family run. They are currently headed by the grandson of founder Arturo Fuente, Carlito Fuente, and still making incredible cigar to this day. The family is currently on the cover for the February 2012 Edition of Cigar Aficionado for their 100th birthday, and what an achievement. I have smoked almost all the lines that the company has offered, including the Don Carlos line meant to honor Carlito's father and Arturo's son, Carlos Fuente, but I just recently had the opportunity to smoke a cigar that was made to honor Carlito's grandfather Don Arturo Fuente, the found of Arturo Fuente Cigars.
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January 20, 2012

Cigar Review: La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan

Air Bender Matatan
With so many fabulous lines it is easy to forget about one of them when choosing a cigar from the La Flor Dominicana brand. Over the years I have gone back and forth on certain lines they have released, but right now I go back and forth between all of them so much it is probably about equal. I will say that the company released some great cigars in 2011, and the Colorado Oscuro was one of them, and the line has been nothing but phenomenal. I have been smoking a lot of their recent cigars, and I do look forward to trying out the new Double Claro line, but in the meantime I am going to be enjoying a great cigar that came out in 2010, the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender.
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January 18, 2012

Cigar Review: Ashton ESG 22 Year Salute (Estate Sun Grown)

Ashton ESG - Estate Sun Grown
2011 was an incredible year for Ashton Cigars, there is no doubt about it. When you have two lines, well a line and a brand, make it into the Top 25 Cigar list by Cigar Aficionado you know you are on the right track. The company has been in the business for many years now, and besides having several successful cigar brands and lines, the company has branched out into humidors, pipes and humidification products. One of the first non-Cuban cigars I smoked was actually an Ashton Classic, and the name is appropriate for the cigar. As years have passed I have smoked their entire portfolio, and I eventually found my favorite with the Ashton Estate Sun Grown. For a long time the San Cristobal brand, original line, was my favorite, but I cam back to these and found a winner.
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January 17, 2012

Cigar Review: Four Kicks Corona Gorda by Crowned Heads

Four Kicks band
I know I recently reviewed the Robusto vitola in the Four Kicks line, click here for the review, but I am back again to review another great size in a fabulous line. I am really loving the smokes by Crowned Heads right now, and though they have one line, it is a great line! I am very happy to see that they are doing well as a company and getting great press, but I am happier that they are making a great cigar. The Four Kicks line is their first, of what I hope is many to come, great lines and it is phenomenal. Initially limited to release between 30,000 and 35,000 cigars the line has been moving well from what I have heard, and I imagine they will be putting out more of these smokes. I have heard nothing but great things about the cigars so far from fellow bloggers and your everyday cigar smokers, and I have said nothing but great things as well. I believe Crowned Heads has done everything right so far as a cigar maker and without further adieu I will begin with my assessment of the Corona Gorda vitola.

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Cigar Review: Litto Gomez Diez Americano

Litto Gomez Diez Americano
When it comes to full bodied cigars Litto Gomez and La Flor Dominicana leads the pack. They have been making strong cigars for years now, and his company has actually been given the title "Home of the Ligero." With that title though Litto Gomez takes no steps in sacrificing flavor for strength, and always delivers a product that is strong yes, but definitely flavorful. I find that I typically don't smoke his cigars that often because of the cigars strength and very powerful flavors, but when I do start smoking some of his product, I get on a La Flor kick. His Small Batch No. 4 is so powerful and flavorful, that it is a cigar you smoke one and you are done for the day. Just recently I was up in Bethesda, Maryland at W. Curtis Draper's and there turned out to be a La Flor Dominicana event while I was there. Well I couldn't help myself from picking up some of their cigars that I can't get in North Carolina, and when I cam to purchase I had enough La Flor smokes to qualify for two free Litto Gomez Diez Americano's. What a treat!

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January 15, 2012

Cigar Review: Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Torpedo (Maduro)

1964 Anniversary Series Torpedo Maduro
I have said it countless times with their cigars, and I will say it again. "There are three things certain in life. Death, taxes, and a great smoke when you pick up a Padron 1964 Anniversary Series." These cigars have been nothing but great since their original release date in 1994 to commemorate their 30th Anniversary. The cigars possess so many rich and complex flavors with a great body that leaves the cigar balanced and flavorful throughout. You can not go wrong with a box purchase of these cigars, and I always have tons of these in my humidor. The family makes some of the best Nicaraguan puro smokes available, and they are well known worldwide. More often than not I have to send them to my friends internationally in exchange for Cubans, and I think it is a fair trade. Although they do not make many tapered head vitolas in their lines that I smoked a lot, the Torpedo in this line I truly enjoy. Just recently it was announced that the Exclusivo size of this line made it into Cigar Aficionado's Top 10 Cigars of 2011, and it really deserves that rating and placement.
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Cigar Review: Illusione Maduro ~cg:4~

~cg:4~ Maduro

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

These are the words from Revelations, in which Dion Giolito refers to when naming his Corona Gorda vitola ~cg:4~. The cg stands for Corona Gorda, and the four stands for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He follows the name up with the title The White Horse, which was one of the four horsemen given the name Conquest. Conquest rode a white horse, held a bow, and wore a victor's crown. There is debate on whether or not the White Horse represents good or not, and the others represent evil, but all I can say is that this cigar, the ~cg:4~, is definitely a great one, and beyond good and evil.
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January 12, 2012

Cigar Review: Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu Habano

STK Zulu Zulu Habano
When you first look at the boxes for the new cigar by Gran Habano Cigars, the STK Zulu Zulu, you might wonder why they put pictures of children soldiers on the boxes and individual bands of the cigars, and the answer is that the cigar is meant to bring awareness to the fact that there are children being used as soldiers in Africa, and throughout the world. George Rico of Gran Habano Cigars has always felt compelled to be an active member of the Invisible Children Charity Fund, and with this cigar he is donating proceeds to the fund. The boxes are graphic and are hard to see, but they are not doing it because it looks cool, but because they are trying to deliver a message. The S.T.K. stands for "save the kids" I believe, and I am glad in purchasing this cigar that I am donating some to a noble cause. I must say on an unrelated note that I tend to find cigar manufacturers being more open about their donations to causes then any other companies, and at the same time it is them that are being attacked by the government. Thank you George for recognizing issues on this planet, and being part of the solution. Visit the Invisible Children Charity Foundation and get involved and make a donation! Or, buy the cigars at Smoke Inn and make a donation that way!
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January 9, 2012

Cigar Review: Davidoff Colorado Claro Special R

Colorado Claro Special R
When a limited edition cigar is released it automatically draws attention among smokers. I guess you can say that falls with about anything. When something is special, rare, and limited it becomes an automatic desire. It's like being named Number 1 Cigar of the Year by Cigar Aficionado. What possibly sat in cigar shop humidors undisturbed is now moving faster than anything else. Limited Edition cigars typically consist of rare and aged tobacco, and more often than not feature a special vitola that the manufacturer does not typically use. More often than not they are more expensive than typical cigars, and that is because of the reasons listed before. This is not always the case, but you see it more often than not. I am stuck in the middle of the debate when it comes to limited edition cigars. I love the concept of limited edition cigars, but at the same time I am one that wants the manufacturer to make an awesome cigar all the time, not annually, or on special occasions.  

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Cigar Review: Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Robusto

Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Robusto
In the later months of 2010, J.C. Newman released the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser. The cigar was initially limited to Diamond Crown Lounges, but recently it has been working its way into stores such as Havana Phil's Cigars. The cigar was meant to honor the company's 115th birthday, and the founder Julius Caeser Newman's 135th birthday. Like a majority of cigars made by J.C. Newman it is made by the Fuente Family in the Dominican Republic at Tabacalera A. Fuente. The cigar captures the success of the family, and the family business, reemphasizing that it has been run by four generations of the Newman Family. An interesting piece of information on the company is that in 1895 there were 42,000 cigar manufacturers listed in the United States, and J.C. Newman is the only one of those that is still family operated. I know that the cigar has done incredibly well by Cigar Aficionado, and for this review I chose the robusto vitola.      

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January 8, 2012

Cigar Review: Paradigm Lancero by 262 Cigars

Paradigm Lancero by 262 Cigars

Last Friday, I had the fortune of sitting down with Clint Aaron of 262 Cigars and Phil of Havana Phil's, and enjoy the new Paradigm Lancero. The cigar has been out for a couple months now, but this was my first time smoking it, and from what I have heard, it has been a huge hit. The Paradigm line has been great for me, and I have been enjoying the Torpedo vitola quite frequently. I know the line has had great feedback at Havana Phil's, and elsewhere, and the cigar came in at No. 21 in my Top 25 Cigars this year. It is a cigar that has always delivered wonderful flavors with a nice medium strength for me, and is simply wonderful. As a company, 262 Cigars is relatively new to the industry, but they have been growing in popularity and deservedly so. Clint Aaron was smart and fortunate enough to team up with the Plasencia Family when he first started out, and he has developed a close relationship with the family since, making it possible to have two great cigar lines, and another on the way. The 262 Cigars brand gets its name from the story of JFK and the Cuban Embargo that was signed into action in February of 1962, and rather then repeat myself I have attached the link to the previous review of the Paradigm Torpedo and the story of JFK and his H. Upmann Petit Coronas. Click here.
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January 3, 2012

Cigar Review: La Palina El Diario Torpedo

La Palina El Diario Torpedo
I know I just reviewed the Robusto vitola of this line, but when I was sent the Torpedo vitola in the mail by La Palina Cigars I could not contain myself, and I had to review it. I put them in one of my humidors like two weeks ago, but when I opened it up today and saw them I had to smoke them. If you pay attention to my site then you know how much I love the El Diario line by how well it does in my ratings, and you would also know how much I enjoy and love La Palina Cigars as a whole. I think they are making some of the best cigars on the market in their two lines, and every single one of them has been fabulous. I actually placed the La Palina El Diario Gordo in my Top 10 of 2011, and it came in at number nice with 95 points. I recently rated the La Palina El Diario Robusto in at 94, and that is automatically in the Top 25 running for this year. I am positive in the fact that the La Palina El Diario will make another appearance in the Top 25 Cigars of 2012, they are just that good!
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Cigar Review: My Father "S" Special Robusto

My Father "S" Special
Back in 2007 Don Pepin Garcia released his limited edition cigar, El Centurion. The cigar was limited to three sizes of 850 boxes each, and the tobacco used for the cigar was of the highest and limited quality. The cigar was very popular among smokers, and some considered it his best work to date. It was a personal favorite of mine, and I still have a few left hidden from sight, and when I smoked one in May of 2011 I gave it a 96. Click here for past review.  Anyways, as to be expected a lot of smokers were upset when the cigar was no longer in production, but a couple of years ago when they released the My Father blend they decided to do something special. They created a robusto cigar measuring 5" with a 50 ring gauge that they called it My Father "S" Special Robusto. The cigar had a band that was very similar to El Centurion, and it was later told that the cigar was to be comparable and very similar to the original El Centurion line. The cigar is typically only available at My Father Events, or with box purchases of My Father Cigars from some companies, but some companies are selling the three count boxes individually. Either way, I have had the fortune to try the My Father "S" Special Robusto, and was able to with my purchase of Smoke Inn's My Father El Hijo. I should say the My Father El Hijo is awesome on its own, but the three pack is definitely a treat.
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January 2, 2012

Cigar Review: Illusione Maduro ~hl~

Illusione Maduro ~hl~
In October of 312 AD at the Battle of Milvian Bridge it was said that Constantine I saw a vision of the Christian Cross in the sun, and from that moment he took on Christianity as his own religion, and established a tolerance of Christianity in his Roman Empire. From then on it was said that Constantine contained the Holy Lance that pierced the body of Christ, and that it traveled with his army carried in his personal standards. Whether that story is true or not, the story of the Holy Lance has continued on for many years, and has led to the name of the Lancero vitola in the Illusione brand, the ~hl~. The ~hl~ has always been a great Lancero, and though I do not smoke it often or have many in my humidor, I always find the time to enjoy the smoke. I have found them often to be very light in terms of strength but very enjoyable in terms of flavor, where it really matters. When it was announced that Dion would be making a Maduro line extension to the Illusione line, my thoughts and hopes were that he would make the ~hl~ vitola, and he did.

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