Thursday, September 30, 2010

Liga Privada T-52

6x52 TORO

I feel it is only fair to start by admitting that my past experiences with the Liga Privada world have not exactly blown my socks off. There is a lot of chatter about these sticks, and having smoked a few No. 9s in the last, I wasn't really impressed. Good cigars, yes. But not quite worthy of the hype. I has been a few months though, and the Ligas are back on the shelves at the moment, so I'm going to give them another fair shot. This is my first experience with the T-52 blend, and at first glance, this is a really nice looking cigar. It has a super oily, super toothy wrapper that is applied with such correct technique that I am tempted to just photograph it, and frame it, rather than smoke it. Now, when I say the wrapper is super toothy, that isn't quite fair. It is beyond toothy. It almost has a hairy appearance. It is pretty wild actually. The seams are really tight, and the pack feels dense, and even. The cap is applied so well that I have to look really closely to see where the shoulder begins. The aroma is very unique, almost aromatic. I'm not talking about the oils and what not that Drew Estate uses for their ACID lines, but rather, it has a strong, earthy, floral character that is downright herbal in nature, and very interesting. Off the foot there is an added element of cocoa and spice that really rounds everything off nicely. The cold draw is PERFECT. Just a slight tug of resistance, and it gives a heavy chocolate flavor, with a slight spice following behind that is downright delicious. Maybe I was too quick to write off these cigars... We'll see...

Lit at 6:10pm

Initial flavors are a bold pepper and spice, followed by a smooth, steady lingering chocolate, sweet, not bitter. The finish is slow and smooth, leaving a tingling black pepper burn across the tongue, and down the throat. Definitely a powerful start. This thing also burns like a bonfire. Sitting on the edge of my ashtray, it burns steadily, giving off great tufts of blue smoke, as much as a minute and a half after the last draw taken.

Settling into a good rhythm in the first third, the chocolate has mellowed out a bit, and the flavors have become very meaty and leathery. Pepper still is present on the long, smooth finish, tingling still. The ash is a dark gray and black, with a loose look to it. Not tight and firmly packed, but rather, each ring (the stacked quarters effect is present) seems to want to pull apart from the next. Not a problem though, as one inch in, it doesn't look like it's going to fall. Through the nose there is a big black coffee flavor. Meaty and leathery on the draw, coffee through the nose, and pepper on the finish. Very complex and delicious.

Rolled the ash in the tray at the one and one half inch mark, out of fear that it was about to crash into my lap. The burn is not RAZOR sharp, but it is definitely straight enough to call straight. Still giving off massive amounts of ambient smoke. The flavor remains bold, like steak au poivre. Meaty, with a black pepper bite. Through the second third to just about the halfway point I have started to get hints of that cocoa coming back, with a touch of sweetness. The leathery, meatiness is still the dominant flavor, but it dances into a pleasant touch of chocolate, then jumps headlong into the black pepper bite that mellows evenly through the course of the finish.

Starting to get a hint of musty aged tobacco flavor on the lips near the start of the final third that is just one more step towards the overt complexity of this blend. Very enjoyable so far, as a smoke to sit down and pay close attention to. The flavors are starting to swing to a more coffee based profile, roasted beans, slight bitterness, and a deep earthy feel. The black pepper on the finish has increased, having smoothed out in the second third, now ramping up with a bit more heat. The ash has gone from a dark gray and black to a dark brown and black color. Not something I have seen before. Pretty cool.

Starting to get a bit of strength from this cigar with about an inch and a half left. It has been gradually building, medium at first, but now approaching the fuller side of the medium-full spectrum for sure. Not unpleasant or anything, but noticeable. Everything has sort of come full circle, and I'm getting a little bit of everything, leather, pepper, cocoa, coffee, all of it at once, mingling together. Nothing muted, and as such, a little overwhelming.

Ended at 7:46pm, when the nub finally became too hot and harsh to keep smoking. This is definitely an impressive, very complex smoke. Call me a skeptic going into it, but I am definitely now a believer. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Graycliff G2 Turbo

6x60 Torpedo

This big fat torp is a bit of a departure for Graycliff, as it was blended by, and is produced by A.J. Fernandez, and uses Nicaraguan tobacco, unlike the regular lines produced for the Graycliff company at the Graycliff resort in Nassau. The wrapper is billed as a maduro, which is mind boggling, as this cigar looks more like a light colored Cameroon wrapper. Maybe a Colorado Claro shade at most. Very strange... It has no heavy veins to it, and has a slick, velvety feel, that I most often associate with Connecticut Shade wrappers. The foot has a slightly barnyardy aroma, with a touch of cedar on top. The cold draw is slightly firm, and has a dry, woody flavor to it.

Lit at 1am.

The initial flavor is a powerful and very enjoyable cedar. It is fairly light on the palette, with no spice. It is a little on the sweet side. The finish has a slight pepper, red pepper.

In the first third, the burn is wavy, but not uneven on any particular side. The flavor remains woody, with a mild pepper finish. This is a surprisingly mild start for a cigar blended by AJ Fernandez, who tends to have a somewhat heavy handed approach to ligero and heat in his smokes. The mouthfeel is generally smooth, and creamy. There is a slight cream flavor actually becoming apparent about one inch in. Very pleasant. The draw and smoke production aren't great. A little firm, and not a lot of smoke. Ash at this time is firm, solid even, and a bright white in color.

Rolled the ash off in the ashtray a little over an inch in. It stays together in one big chunk. I decided to stick a poker a little way into the head and see if I might open the draw a little bit. Sure enough, between smoking a little way in, and hitting it with a poker, the draw has opened up very well. The smoke production increases a bit, and the draw is well enough loosened that it is much better generally now. The flavor remains creamy, and woody. Cedar flavor has taken a turn for the sweet. What has me most impressed at this point is that fact that despite being a 60 ring gauge cigar, it continues to burn evenly, and without the need of a single touch up or any other maintenance.

A shirt way into the final third there is a sweet spiciness that comes up on the draw following a brief cedar flavor. It is not quite cinnamon, but more like nutmeg with a peppery heat to it. This is definitely a good development on an otherwise less than exciting (but good in its simplicity) cigar.

Starting to get pretty hot and a little bitter with about an inch and a half left. Going to go ahead an end it, because it is sort of becoming unpleasant in its bitterness.

Ended at 2:39am for a total smoke time of one hour 39 minutes. Overall, this was a milder smoke than I expected, and not overly complex, however it has a few favors that are present and deliver in spades. I am shocked that I never felt any strength from this cigar at any point, despite its use of Nicaraguan tobacco, blended by AJ Fernandez. Overall I had a pleasant experience with this cigar, and needed to basically pay it no attention to have it perform perfectly (once the draw opened up). Good smoke!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Camacho Corojo

5 1/2 x 44 "Nacionales"

This gorgeous corona by all accounts seems to be the standard mainstay by which all Camacho products should be judged. While the limited releases like the Liberty and the P.E. garner a fair amount of hype and chatter, lines like this one are really what most of us are smoking from Camacho regularly, and with good reason. This Honduran masterpiece features a dark milk chocolate wrapper, with both an appearance and even texture reminiscent of cocoa powder in its raw form. There is a toothy roughness to the exterior of the wrapper that feels and looks great. The vein structure is only visible to a very scrutinizing gaze, and is certainly not able to be felt at all. There is a good hand-made lumpiness as I like to think of it to the pack of this cigar. It isn't overly firm, but seems properly balanced and built, with no soft or hard spots to be found. The aroma off the foot the really something to be savored, and reminds me of (I know this is nuts) a peanut butter and chocolate candy, something like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. The cold draw is perfect in terms of how tight or loose it is. Just a good resistance, but it draws well. The flavor pre-light is kind of a mix of cocoa and earth, with a little nuttiness. Makes sense with the peanut butter cup aroma. Delicious start!

Lit at 11:01 pm.

Initial flavor is heavy on espresso, toasted nuts, and pepper. There is a sweetness present with the espresso and nuts that fades as the powerful pepper comes on, and lasts for quite a long time. Great finish.

Through the first third, the flavor remains earthy, with a slight nuttiness, and cocoa sweetness. Pepper is still present after the draw, but has smoothed out a bit and is no longer as biting, rather it has a lingering tingling feel to it. The body is pretty big on this one. Small stick, but bold, and a noticeable strength even in this first section. The pepper flavor is black pepper, but lingers and zings more like red pepper, and even feels like it is going to give me heartburn later (ha!). Ash holds for about an inch before it starts to lean really far to the left and gets rolled into the ashtray for the sake of my lap.

Getting into the second third I surprised that I have to give the wrapper a touch up more than once to keep it burning evenly with the filler. Not something that I expected. Not a big deal though. Hopefully this is a one time thing here. At the half way mark something magical happens. For a few draws now, the peanut butter cup flavor present on the cold draw has become powerfully noticeable. Really great. Where both nuts and cocoa were present early on, this is more like a milk chocolate and peanut butter flavor that is dessert like as can be. Through the nose, a powerful spice is still dominant, and sort of overwhelms the delicate Reeses flavor. But on the draw it is awesome!

In the final third the flavor starts to get a little bitter and hot. Performing well still though. After a few touch ups in the second third, the burn has straightened itself out, and all tunneling has been avoided. In this third I am suddenly starting to really feel the strength. Not killing me, but I'm getting a little buzzed and sweaty. So this one will treat you full strength junkies well. Stomach might be doing some flips too.

Ended at 12:50pm for a total burn time of one hour 50 minutes. WOW. Really long time for a corona sized cigar. Despite a few burn issues in the middle, the overall experience is fantastic. Strength is full, especially in the last third. Flavors are just really interesting and unique. Very good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Diesel Unholy Cocktail

5x56 Belicoso

This has been one of the most raved about blends from AJ Fernandez since he came into the spotlight recently. It is a strong Nicaraguan blend that focuses on body, and the super toothy, thick, nasty PA Broadleaf wrapper it makes use of. It has a rough, sandpaper look and feel to it, but is a dark chocolate in color, and even (to some extent) in aroma. The seams look great, visible, but tight and straight, and there are only a few small veins visible in this otherwise tooth coated wrapper leaf. The aroma off the foot is sweet and earthy. The pack seems even, and full, giving the stick an overall firm feel. The cold draw is a little firm, but not problematically so. It features a light pepper, and deep earthy tobacco flavor with a touch of sweetness.

Lit at 9:50pm.

Right away there is a great coffee flavor, roasted and nutty. There is a very very slight pepper that moves around on the finish.

In the first third the coffee notes of various types continue to dominate. There is a roasted nuttiness, and even a little bit of a mocha flavor. The finish is earthy and a little peppery. Nothing overpowering yet, just solid. About an inch in, and the ash is holding well. It is thick and white, mottled with black spots, and a lot of visible tooth. The strength has already become apparent, hitting me in the gut just a little. Flavor really does coat the palette, and is well balanced between the sweetness from the wrapper, and the slightly bitter, roasted coffee flavor. It works really well.

Just getting to the start of the second third, and a great chocolate flavor, like sweet milk chocolate (of a high quality) comes on through the nose really well, and it is great mixing with the coffee flavor. The burn line is slightly uneven, and has been off and on since the beginning. It corrects itself well, but as soon as one point straightens out, another point moves. Nothing problematic. Rolled the ash for the first time at about two inches for fear of getting nailed with it if it fell (which it seemed it would soon do) into my lap.

As the final third opens up, the finish has become a little spicier, and leathery. The sweetness has dropped a good deal, leaving everything earthy, rich, and heavy feeling. The mouthfeel has gone from oily and smooth to a little harsh, not unpleasantly so, just a sign of more strength to come. The coffee is still present in a bitter expression, which leaves things a little unbalanced, having lost the sweetness. The overall palette experience at this point of bold enough though that the lack of sweet stimulation isn't really bad, just a change.

Ended at 11:21 for a total smoke time of one hour 31 minutes, which is a perfectly good time for this size cigar. Nothing overly complex going on here, but it is certainly a flavorful, powerful smoke. Oh and did I mention that these run about $3 US in boxes of 30? Can't beat that price! These would make a fantastic every day smoke for fans of fuller bodied cigars, and the flavors present.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta

Apologies for the recent lack of updates. Taken ill in the sinus region... Back and smoking...


This is certainly a VERY unique cigar, being that it has two wrappers applied to it, an Ecuador grown Connecticut shade wrapper from foot to band, and from band to head, a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper leaf. The Ecuador is light tan in color, very smooth, silky in texture with no tooth or veins visible. The Nica wrapper is, in contrast, dark, and very toothy, and leathery tough to the touch. This should prove to be an interesting combination. The foot smells like fruit and nuts, raisins particularly. Almost a pastry like quality to the aroma, which is very pleasant. The draw is fairly firm. Hopefully not problematically so. The cold draw flavor is sweet and spicy, and actually reminds me of some of the higher end Fuente sticks. There is a dessert spice flavor (ie. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and Sweet nuts like Hazelnut) element that is very nice.

Lit at 10:51pm.

Flavor initially is of rich sweet tobacco, with a very mild spice on the finish.

Through the nose there is a good cinnamon that lingers on the palette through the finish, mingling with the pepper. The burn line is great, not perfectly straight, but slightly wavy. Performing well so far. The mix of flavors typical of lighter milder sticks, characterized here by the Connecticut wrapper, including creamy nut flavors, and the dark Criollo wrapper, like rich earth and pepper is very interesting.The draw unfortunately is resulting in somewhat poor smoke production.

Currently the ash has held on through all of the first third and into half of the second third which is unbelievable frankly. The flavors have remained constant, but nthe mouth feel has gotten very creamy, literally leaving a sweet film like sensation coating the mouth, like drinking... well... cream.

At roughly the halfway point the draw has suddenly opened up significantly, with smoke production increasing appropriately. The pepper on the finish has also risen a bit, which I find slightly unusual for this point in the cigar. Usually pepper changes occur at the begging or end of smokes, in my experience.

The ash finally falls, in one big log, right at the band point, which basically means the ash held on for just shy of 4 inches, naturally, turned sideways, etc. Unbelieveable! As the burn line moves closer to the transition from light to dark wrapper, the taste also starts to change from caramel sweet to cocoa or even coffee flavor, which is no surprise.

In the final third this stick becomes a bit of a powerhouse. The strength ramps up a bit as the Criollo wrapper starts burning too. Looking closely, it is clear that the light wrapper actually covers the whole stick, and that the dark wrapper is simply applied to the final third OVER the light. Interesting what that does, as the nutty cream flavor present early on is still fully present despite the addition of some much heavier flavors, like the toasted coffee and cocoa that the Criollo delivers. Very delicious combination. I would be interested to see what a "double wrappered" cigar would do... The peppery finish is still getting stronger as it burns, but with the sweet cinnamon flavor, it has basically turned this stick into a tingly, spicy cinnamon bun, which is... decadent (haha!) This final third has really blown me away with its intensity of flavors, and is certainly the best part of this cigar, despite the jump in (nicotine) strength, which anyone who has read my previous write-ups knows I am not a huge fan of.

Ended at 12:35am, for a total smoke time of one hour 44 minutes, which is a really long time for a Robusto. Very interesting smoke, not initially overly complex, but as the second wrapper begins to have more effect, it becomes very rich, and definitely VERY complex on the palette. Highly recommended. I am pretty sure these are reasonably priced as well, which just makes this an even more appealing smoke. Amazing job!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alec Bradley Prensado

5x50 Robusto

The Prensado is a new, all box pressed line from the makers of the enormously successful Tempus, Alan Rubin and his company, Alec Bradley. What first catches my eye is the very attractive band. Alec Bradley sticks can definitely be easily identified by their gorgeous graphic work on the bands, often very ornate, and refined looking. I am a big fan of their visual appeal, and the Prensado is no exception. The cigar itself seems to be beautifull constructed. A little firmer than many, but that seems likely a result of the box pressing process. The wrapper is a nice dark caramel brown, with a slightly reddish, ruddy hue to it, which is very nice. It is slightly oily, and is silky smooth. I actually even have a hard time finding any veins at all, much less large or ugly veins. The cap reminds me of the slightly wrinkly, ugly wrappers that the less expensive Padrons have (not a bad thing, purely an aesthetic observation) and it seems well applied. The seams are difficult to even see they are so tight and even. There is a spicy cedar and very... Nicaraguan aroma off the foot. My understanding is that the wrapper is Honduran Corojo seed, but the filler is mostly Nicaraguan, which makes sense, and sounds delicious. The pre-light draw is smooth and woody, with a slight pepper bite to it.

Lit at 12:00am

Initially present are flavors of chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and a little wood, followed by a medium pepper on the finish. The finish at this point is not particularly long or bold. Flavors are good though.

Burning a little fast here in the first third. Ash is a dark, almost black color, very cool looking. Flavors have simplified a little to a roasted mocha type flavor, with a pretty big, long, tingling pepper finish. Very delicious. Just before getting into the second third a small tear has developed in the wrapper, from the burn line towards the head, about 1/4 of an inch long. Hopefully not an issue. We'll see.

Shortly into the second third the mocha has diminished a little, replaced by an earthy wood flavor, not a sweet airy cedar, but a heavy oaky flavor. The peppery finish remains, and continues as before. The second third remains entirely consistent the whole way. The burn is great. The small tear burned through just fine. The flavor has been impressively bold.

Getting into the final third, a small split has developed rear the shoulder line. The wrapper is the only thing torn, not the binder though. No big deal. There is a heavy, oily quality to the smoke now, it has gotten just really deep and thick. A few draws later a great sweet chocolate flavor comes back, really rich and creamy.

Ended at 1:25am, for a total burn time of one hour 25 minutes exactly. I am impressed that I didn't have any real burn issues, which I ten to get fairly often with box pressed sticks, including the box pressed Tempus. This one, however, burned flawlessly to the end. Very good. Rich flavors of cocoa and earth dominate throughout. The strength has come to a medium-full by the end. Not unpleasant, but present. Overall I think this is a really solid smoke. If it were priced better than the Tempus, I would consider it a brilliant alternative, however, as it is priced about the same, I would say it equally good as a smoke of similar profile, in the same price range.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet

6 1/2x44 "No. 1"

The Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet was one of the first blends that Abdel "A.J." Fernandez worked on upon departing Cuba and setting out to create a name for himself as a blender and producer of cigars. The idea (as seems to be a pretty common one these days...) was to mimic the profile of Cuban cigars from the golden age of Habano production. Whether or not this cigar has anything in common with classic Habanos remains to be seen, but it is rolled in quite a few classic vitolas, including the massive 'A' and the squirrely Culebra. The No. 1 is a lonsdale, with a light caramel colored wrapper that has a silky smooth feel to it. The vein structure looks good, with only one good sized vein running the length of the wrapper leaf. Shouldn't be a problem hopefully. The foot has an aroma that I would call cedary, but otherwise is mostly just a medium tobacco smell, with a slight spice to it. The cold draw is spicy and woody, very similar to the aroma (cedar, medium tobacco flavor, and tingly spiciness)

Lit at 10:44pm.

Immediately the flavors are strong and have a kick to them. There is a strong, sweet cedar flavor, followed by a good wash of hot pepper across the palette, finally resting and lingering on the back of the tongue. Lit without a hitch, though the burn line is a little wavy.

Through the majority of the first third, the flavor has remained consistently woody with a mellow pepper finish (after the first few draws, it fell back to a smoother pepper sensation and flavor). The burn line straightened out quickly, and has been pretty much straight ever since. Finish is not particularly long, but is satisfying enough. The draw is just fine, maybe a little tight. Overall, this stick is performing well, but just not blowing me away with flavor or anything. Ash holds just over and inch before falling. It is very tight and firm, and stays together after crashing into the glossy china tray. One interesting, though irrelevant note is that the ash seems to lean to one side as it burns. I'm not sure what causes this phenomenon, but it is certainly very obviously present in this cigar. Cedar flavor has really come up to the front, and has become very sweet just over two inches in.

In the middle of the second third (so I guess the halfway point of the cigar) the cedar flavor takes on a slight floral note through the nose that is very pleasant and adds some welcome complexity to this otherwise good, but not very exciting smoke. This faintly floral perfume continues through the rest of the second third. Cedar and pepper continue unabated.

As the burn approaches the band (which is large, gaudy, and kind of flat out ugly in that it is entirely metallic and glossy) there is a little cinnamon, which is pleasant but not very powerful. The cinnamon flavor fades gradually, and eventually the flavor remaining is simply cedar and pepper, with a little sweet tobacco.

Ended at 12:26am for a total smoke time of one hour forty minutes, which is a perfectly good time for this size. My final thoughts on this cigar as as follows... While lacking in complexity, the flavors here are pleasant, and consistent, and the price is downright piddly, so these would make for an excellent every day, or social smoke. The strength is medium full at most, and in this particular stick, closer to medium. The one real saving grace, and notable plus to this cigar is how flawlessly it performed. I could set it down for two or three minutes, and almost forget about it, and the following draw would still be perfect, which again, is why I think these would make great party smokes, or yard smokes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Petite Tatuaje Reserva


I am immediately surprised by how perfectly this stick is constructed. It is a small cigar, or even a large cigarillo in size, and has perfectly straight, tight seams, very few veins in the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, and even has a triple cap (it seems) applied on it, which is ridiculously amazing for a cigar this size. The foot has an aroma that is earthy, and slightly sweet, almost floral. The color is like dark chocolate. Fantastic. The pre-light draw is very smooth and sweet, with a very vegetable and herbal quality to it. Reminds me of the aroma from dried chopped herbs.

Lit at 10:53pm.

Very bold leather flavor, with a slight cinnamon, and a peppery finish dominate right away. Not going to break this review down into thirds, but rather, I will just break things up as flavors change. Smoke production is out of this world, producing as much or more than most larger ("full sized") cigars do or would.

Ash holds for half an inch, sometimes further. Pretty impressive. Hasn't gotten hot or anything. Draw is a little tight, but not bad. Ash looks beautiful as well. Burn line remains flawless. Leather and pepper continue to be the dominant flavors at the halfway point.

Kind of shocked how long this little cigar is lasting. Coming close to the end, there is a good deal of pepper tingling across the burn, and the mouth feel becomes increasingly creamy.

Ended at 11:31pm, for a total burn time of 38 minutes, which is absolutely shocking. I expected this to be a 20 minute smoke, tops, but this cigar burns slower than some cigars many times its size. Very good value, and great flavors.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Viaje Oro Chico

5 1/2x44 "Chico"

This chubby corona will be my first experience with Viaje cigars, though their reputation and much hyped blends are certainly the reason that I jumped when a local B&M was getting rid of these at a low low price. Construction looks great. Almost invisible seams, only a few medium sized veins protruding, and a classy looking triple cap on top. The wrapper leaf is a fairly dark Corojo '99 that is slick and oily to the touch, and smells faintly spicy and woody. The foot has an aroma of chocolate, sweet tobacco, and a mild spice. The cold draw is smooth, and earthy, with a slight sweetness. It has just the right amount of resistance, maybe slightly loose.

Lit at 12:35.

Initially there is a deep earthy sweetness very reminiscent of cocoa, slightly raw and bitter. Smoke is voluminous, and oily on the palette. The finish is lengthy and features alternating chocolate and pepper flavors and sensations. Burn looks good within a few draws. Good start.

In the first inch or so the taste is rich, full of chocolate earth flavors. There is a considerable pepper zing, and flavor which lasts a very long time on the finish. The mouth feel continues to be oily and full. The smoke production has increased further. The ash is mostly black, with a little bit of gray and white here and there. It holds for 3/4 of an inch or so.

Just entering the second third the burn line needs a slight touch up, as it seems the wrapper is not burning quite fast enough to keep up with the filler unfortunately. Not a big deal. One touch up seems to have fixed this just fine. Flavors are still oily and rich, quite earthy in their overall impression. The cocoa is complimented by a slight espresso bitterness, still followed by a considerable peppery finish that continues to linger for quite some time still. Consistent in flavors perhaps, but certainly not lacking in boldness. Flavors have also become more refined, where things sort of blended into one another in the first third, they are starting to become more defined and singular in their presentation, which is nice, and adds a complexity to the overall taste that I was not expecting based my early impressions.

And just as soon as Stellan SkarsgÄrd begins talking about cinnamon in Von Trier's film DOGVILLE (which I am watching while smoking), a bit of sweet spice, not unlike cinnamon creeps in on the draw, and especially through the nose, which is a pretty funny, and interesting coincidence. Delicious none-the-less!

As the final third draws in there I have just noticed a slight musty aged flavor that is left on my lips, sort of reminds me of a flavor I have gotten from some of the Tatuaje brown label cigars. The strength is also starting to come up a bit, not hitting me in the stomach so much, but rather just a slightly buzzy nicotine flutter. Not overly unpleasant or anything, but hopefully, as a non-fan of nicotine, it won't grow... The cocoa flavor has become slightly muted, while the pepper has become bolder. It stays this way through the finish.

Ended at 2:10am. Total burn time of one hour thirty five minutes. Good time, great strong, full flavors, and a good deal of body overall. Not overly complex, but certainly a good cigar. I hear the limited releases from Viaje are even better, so they will certainly be on deck for future smokes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Arturo Fuente Sun Grown

4.5x50 "Chateau Fuente"

This Rothschild sized cigar, I will admit from the get go, is one of my favorites from Fuente before even going into this review. It has been my experience that for the price they are a fantastic every day kind of smoke, that lasts just the right amount of time for my usual smoking period in the evening. It features a Sungrown sumatran wrapper from Ecuador, which gives it a bit more strength than the regular Fuente lines, which is fine by me. The wrapper is slightly oily, and very toothy as a result of the sungrowing process, which allows the leaf to spend more time sucking up nutrients from the soil and the sun, uninhibited by the half shade that a lot of wrapper is grown under. Construction is, as expected from A. Fuente, flawless. Veins are nice and smooth. The aroma off the foot is earthy, and slightly spicy. There is a strong cedar smell too, as the sungrown line comes cedar wrapped. The cold draw is smooth, and woody, with just a slight tug of resistance that is nice. The pack is firm, with just a slight give to it.

Lit at 6:21pm.

Initially there is a strong cedar wood flavor, with a slight earthiness to it, followed by a mellow pepper zing on the finish, which is not particularly long.

About an inch into the first third the burn line is kind of crooked, leaning to one side. Draw is perfect, smoke production is great. Flavors have strengthened as it has burned down, including a bold cedar wood flavor, and a deep earthy pepper that lingers in the back of the throat. Ash holds, but is slightly flaky, falling for the first time around 1.5 inches in. Just prior to the start of the second third there is a strong cinnamon flavor on the finish, towards the front of the palette, which goes wonderfully with the pepper that lingers on the back of the palette.

In the second third the flavors have not changed at all yet, still an earthy cedar, with a cinnamon and pepper that linger on the finish. The finish was short initially but has become quite long and creamy, lingering, and moving around on the palette a good deal. No real changes develop in the second third. It remains consistently creamy and woody.

One thing that I've noticed as I get just into the final third is that the strength normally present in sungrown wrapped cigars is not really apparent yet, which surprises me a little bit. I recall other Fuente SGs being stronger (though not this vitola specifically.) With a little over an inch left it is starting to get pretty soft and warm. The pepper has jumped massively, but not much else is going on anymore.

Ended at 7:30 for a total smoke time of one hour nine minutes. Not a short smoke like a cigarillo or anything, but certainly not a lengthy one by any stretch. This is about the same as the smoke times I have gotten from this vitola in the past. Overall, not a super complex cigar, but a well made, and tasty smoke, that is surprisingly inexpensive, and definitely perfect for a lunch hour smoke. Good stuff.