This was a week of smoking where I smoked a ton of cigars that have been on the market for sometime. They are not new cigars, but they are great cigars. Some of these were limited editions that I have been holding on to, and some are smokes that are still in production. It is great to see limited edition smokes age and see how the time has changed them, but it is also great to see how a cigar that is in constant production smoke after it has been on the market for sometime. There is definitely going to be some variation in the cigar since the first vintage, but is it still fairly similar to the original release? I think some manufacturers do better than others at keeping consistency to the cigars over the years, and I can say that the cigars I smoked this week are very similar and enjoyable. I was also fortunate enough to smoke a pre-release from Miami Cigar & Company and the cigar was Casa Miranda Chapter 2 Robusto. I think the cigar needs sometime to age and settle before I can really make a solid assessment, but I also have a Gordo version of the cigar to smoke.
|E.P. Carrillo Edicion Limitada 2010|
In 2010 E.P. Carrillo released their Edicion Limitada 2010. I believe it is the best cigar that they have released in the Edicion Limitada series. In fact it was so successful they released it into a core line production cigar, Elencos Series. The cigar was not as successful as a core line product, but I believe that was because of the price point that came with the cigar. Compared with the other core line cigars it was too pricey for the E.P. Carrillo fans. Whether you look at the cigars success or lack of success as a core line product, the cigar is one of the best cigars the company has ever produced. It shows incredible flavors from the beginning to end, terrific construction and a nice balance between strength and body throughout. I would say the strength and body level is at a medium full throughout. It is a cigar that you end the day with though because the flavors will remain and dominate your palate for sometime afterwards.
|XIKAR HC Series Salomon Limitada|
XIKAR is a company that is known for its lighters and cutters, but they are also a company that makes some solid smokes too. I went back to their limited HC Series Salomon Limitado from 2011 this week and was pleased with the aging on this cigar. The construction on this cigar is terrific and it offers a great flavor profile that shows rich earthy characteristics. I think XIKAR did a great job at making this an affordable limited salomon, and Jesus Fuego did a great job blending the cigar. I think you could find these in some stores that they list on their site, and if they still have them in a box do yourself a favor a buy one. They come in boxes of ten and they are great smokes for when you want something different in terms of your standard vitola offering while showing those great rich flavors.
|J, Grotto Silk Series Gran Robusto|
There are tons of Connecticut Shade cigars on the market, and there is a reason for that. They are the most smoked cigars on the market and the reason for that is because a majority of cigar smokers do not smoke cigars to the degree that you and I do. We have to be realistic that while cigar smokers are in the minority, we, online cigar folk, are the minority cigar smokers. Connecticut Shade cigars are typically cedary and creamy, and can sometime be one dimensional for smokers like myself. I feel that you can make a good Connecticut Shade cigar, but it takes some great blending to make a tremendous one. Paul Joyal of Ocean State Cigars has made a terrific smoke with this J. Grotto Silk Series Robusto. The cigar shows all the characteristics smokers love in a Connecticut Shade cigar, but has some depth and complexity along with that. This is a Connecticut Shade cigar for the advance smoker.
|San Lotano Oval Robusto|
A.J. Fernandez is a manufacturer that is not afraid to try out different types of tobacco. His blends are often composed of tobacco that originate from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and also tobacco from regions within countries that others do not use. He offers smokers the opportunity to experience a tobacco leaf that they typically have not had, and offer tobacco in a way that they may not have had in the past. When he released the Oval, and I first smoked it, I was excited because he did two things. The first thing he did was create a blend in a unique vitola offering that I think is terrific. It offers some round characteristics, but also has some press to it that I love in cigars. The other great thing he did was bring back my interest in Habano 2000. It is a wrapper that I struggled in enjoying beforehand, and he showed how great it can be when used correctly. I know a lot of guys are crazy about the Oval Maduro, but I think the Oval is a terrific and consistent smoke.
|La Palina 1896 Robusto|
La Palina has always been known as a super premium cigar brand and they are a super premium brand that does it well. Their cigars may be pricey, but they are worth every penny. One of their best cigars to this date is their first release. The cigar was a limited edition smoke called 1896. The cigar honored the company’s beginning in 1896 and was their resurrection cigar after many years of no production or anything for that matter. The short robusto shows so many old school Cuban qualities in a cigar and is composed of a variety of tobacco. The flavor profile is really all over the place and it shows great characteristics from the tobacco and that tobacco’s country of origin within. There are some stores that may have some of these left, but it is not many if any. If you do see these lying around my suggestion is that you buy them all up.
|Pinar Del Rio Liga Especial Reserva Superior Gran Toro|
The Pinar Del Rio Liga Especial Reserva Superior is and was a cigar that I believe was too powerful and young when released. It was showcased at the 2011 IPCPR, and when I smoked some in the fall they were just too young and rough for me. Maybe some other guys liked them, but I found them not excelling to the nature that they should. Well, it has been two years and I can say that this cigar has definitely improved with age. The tobacco in the blend has settled down and married with one another to produce a cigar with balance and depth. I still think this cigar shows some kick for the amount of time it has rested, and I believe it will get even better in future years. This cigar was similar to some Cubans that are released in the sense that it was a cigar that you needed to put away for sometime before smoking again.
|Tatuaje Gran Cojonu|
Of the all the 60 ring gauge cigars on the market the Tatuaje Gran Cojonu is probably the best. The cigar was blended with the sole intention of being a 60 ring gauge cigar, and was blended in one vitola offering. I always enjoy seeing cigars being released in one vitola offering because I believe it truly shows the intended blend. When you have several vitolas in a line you are going to see some tweaks throughout. There is nothing wrong with modifying the blend to have a similar taste in a different vitola, but with one size you can focus entirely on that cigar. This massive cigar shows wonderful balance and has depth and complexity that many large ring gauge cigars do not have. They are hard to come by, but if you do stumble across them buy them without hesitation.
|L’Atelier Maduro MAD56|
L’Atelier is a company that has done well for me in every release. There is something about the company that I find awesome and it goes beyond the cigars being released. I love the idea of four guys working together on a cigar. There are going to be disagreements, that is no question, but at the end of the day the group proceeds forward with a release after being smoked by multiple palates. Their flagship line is L’Atelier, and last month they released the second smoke in the flagship line, L’Atelier Maduro. The cigar features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Pete is the King of Broadleaf, and has a unique blend to the smoke. They still use that terrific Sancti Spiritus tobacco in the blend, but in a completely different way. Each vitola in the line has a unique quality to it and after smoking through them all I found the MAD56 to be incredible. It is a bigger cigar than I typically pick up, but it shows so much depth from beginning to end. This is a classic example of a terrific Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.