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Archive for August, 2009

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Cigar Review: The Cigar God

22 Aug

Cigar Name: Orishas Robusto (5 x 50)

Orishas Robusto

Orishas Robusto

Cigar Description: Costa Rica with Cuban filler (made in Canada)?

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: When I was in Halifax and perusing through Smoke On the Water, I decided to try this cigar since I had never seen it anywhere else before and it wasn’t too expensive like many of the name brands were. When I got back I couldn’t find anything online about it — at least not at first. This took quite a lot of digging but I eventually found them (or, at least a page that mentions them).  I have to admit, there is still a lot about the cigar I don’t know (so if anyone knows of it, let me know).

The wrapper is a nice reddish brown (rosado?) and generally well constructed. There were some prominent thin veins that flowed through the wrapper along with occasional bumps from the tobacco inside. After punching the cap, taking the sliver of it off and then lighting it I got to enjoy a deep sweet nutty flavour that I had been smelling from the tobacco itself. It burned a little lopsided but tried to even itself out. The ash was a flaky, lopsided calamity that I kept tapping to keep from falling all over. But even with the tapping, it remained fixed to the end of the cigar with only little bits flaking off. The draw was simple but rich and creamy. As I continued into the first third, I noticed a tickle of pepper fighting to get onto my taste buds.

As I got into the middle third of the cigar the peppery/spiciness began to come through more but it was still the sweeter creamy taste that dominated. It reminded me of Guinness ale in the sense of that it was a meal in itself, that’s how robust the taste was. Although the construction wasn’t meticulous the flavour more than made up for the little bits here and there that weren’t “perfect”. The more I continued into the cigar, the spicier it got. The white pepper taste started to come through more as I removed the simple band off the cigar with a gentle tug.

The last third began with a bang into rich creamy leather and sharp roasted nut flavours. This wasn’t just some run of the mill cigar. It’s almost like finding that little known micro-brewery (e.g., Mill Street out of Toronto) or unique whiskey (Glen Breton Ice) that few know about but that everyone should experience at least once. Although this cigar didn’t have the near perfect outside, the inside was awesome. I’d definitely recommend that you eat first before having this one as it’s definitely a full cigar that packs a silent, finishing wallop. Now, if I could just find them outside of Halifax..

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 9.1/10

Tidbit: The Orishas were Santeria Gods. An Orisha would claim you at birth (kind of akin, I think, to the animal spirits of Aboriginals in North America).


 

Cigar Review: The Whites, Part One — Connecticut Shade

20 Aug

blancos-03

The Connecticut Shade

Cigar Name: Los Blancos Premiere Connecticut Shade Robusto (5 x 52)

Cigar Description: Nicaraguan Connecticut Shade Wrapper around Nicaraguan Filler

Cigar Strength: Mild-Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: I do like trying new cigars or at least, things I haven’t tried before. When I saw the four pack of Los Blancos on Famous, I figured why not and splurged on them. I figured I could do a review on each, starting with the mild (Connecticut, then Sumatra and Maduro) and finishing off with the full (Criollo). As I eyed the oily wrapper, I could see the fine line of it but barely. This was a well-wrapped cigar with minimal veins and blemishes on the body of the cigar. Near the head, however, I could feel a sharper, prominent vein under the wrapper. Hopefully this won’t interfere with the cigar itself. Punching the cigar resulted in just a small circle of the cap coming off and keeping the cigar intact. A good start to say the least.

blancos-02

Close look at the band..

I decided to pair up this “white” with a dark: a Yuengling Traditional Lager. First draws after lighting the cigar were a bit tight but this was resolved with a little rolling of the head. This is definitely a mild cigar. The aroma was a mild burning wood scent. It didn’t give off a lot of smoke and the bare amount it did, dissipated quickly, almost as if it was an inconvenience to be around. The cigar burned fairly straight and would occasionally correct itself if it did happen to stray here and there. As I continued through the first third, I got the distinctive taste sensation of … well.. red wine. It lasted briefly but it was that nice combo of dry and sweet at the same time.

The ash remained solid as long as I let it be. It also had a peculiar box-like shape to it. I suspect it may have been slightly packed too tight at one point but it didn’t prevent the nice roasted wood taste from coming through. Eventually, thought, the ash had enough and decided to jump. Thankfully, it landed on a clear patch on my desk and was easy enough to clean up. It was my own ego and pride, attempting to get as long as I could, that caused that. In the end it was better since it meant I wouldn’t have to worry about it as I went into the middle portion of the cigar. I noticed that as I got into the second portion I got whiffs of roasted peanut.

Dang.

blancos-01

End of a sweet evening..

I knew I should have picked up some today. Getting the body band off was just as easy as the foot band. Both were had enough glue to keep them in place but not hold on to dear life onto the cigar. The nutty taste remained a constant throughout the cigar although it did fade as I got into the last third. By then the cigar had gotten very mild but the odor remained a nice roasted nut scent throughout. Made for a very pleasant evening while I was breaking ice for my girlfriend (she had a tooth extracted today and wasn’t a happy camper by this evening).

Enjoyed with: water and Yeungling Traditional Lager

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8.4/10


 

Cigar Review: Sometimes, some are best not to be smoked..

19 Aug

Egg in it's nest

Egg in it's nest

Cigar Name: Drew Estate Egg Maduro (6 x 42)

Cigar Description: Maduro wrapper around Nicaraguan filler

Cigar Strength: Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: Sometimes ya just gotta try something because it exists. Kinda like deep fried oreos, coke or snickers. You know it’s bad but… When I saw the Egg on sale at half off with free shipping, I figure “What the hell”. It looked neat and the wrapper was a dark oily black oak colour and the tobacco aroma was a faint sweet scent. I was going to use the punch on this but the head was small and it was easier to cut it. Lighting it was fairly easy and the draw was surprisingly good.

It really is big!

It really is big!

Just.. no flavour. It took a few puffs before it really got going and then the flavour — a mild wet cedar taste — start to appear. The odor from the smoke seemed reminiscent of the Natural Dirt cigars. Those aren’t too bad if  you have a sweeter tooth. The ash was a very light gray and seemed to have faint lines dissecting it. It generated quite a bit of smoke as long as it was going quickly. With this kind of cigar, it’s really important to ensure that you continuously puff it every 20-30 seconds, particularly once you get into the egg. I had to relight it a few times and it made me think of an Olympic torch once.

egg-3

Dance of the smoke

I think the bulbous egg diffuses the normal dirt flavour and gives it a more wetter taste. Even as I go into the egg portion itself, the flavour didn’t get any better. Not that it got any worse but it left me wanting. As I tried to get through the egg itself, there was a point — about halfway through the egg itself — where I couldn’t take it any more and actually stopped. While it is a novelty and such, as a cigar — ya. Not so much.

Enjoyed with: water and coffee

Smoke time: approximately 60 minutes

Final Review Rating: 4/10


 

Quick Review: Amazing what you forget about in the humidor

17 Aug

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- in white

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- in white

Cigar Name: El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro (6 x 54)

Cigar Description: Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers surrounded by dark oily Oscuro wrapper.

Cigar Strength: Medium-Full

Review of the Cigar itself: I had planned on doing a review of the Felipe Gregorio Power cigar that I had gotten with my CI cigar of the month order but before I realized it was all gone. So today I figured I’d a review of the El Rey del Mundo that has been sitting in my humidor for quite a while. It’s unusual because of the paper that it’s wrapped in. The plus is that the band doesn’t get stuck on the cigar but it does make it hard to see the cigar this way. It’s a decent sized with a bit of heft to it. While overall well constructed it did have a couple of prominent veins on it. That had me somewhat cause for concern.

As I lit the dark chocolate cigar, I immediately got a deep espresso flavour from it. This was good since I was having a late coffee while doing some work. This very smokey cigar — a lot of greyish smoke — also had a nice mix of white and black pepper in it. The ash was nearly white and burned so straight I could have used it as a level. At least at the initial. It then started to tugboat a bit thanks to a particularly prominent vein but I was able to adjust for that. While the flavour can be full at times, it doesn’t seem to pack — at least during the first third — a punch.

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- naked!

El Rey Del Mundo Larga Oscuro -- naked!

As I continued in the cigar, a nice slightly sweet cocoa taste came through. Although it still did burn as perfectly as it had started it still remained pretty consistent. At one point, the ash dropped unexpectedly. Thankfully, it was on clear portion on my desk. It was easy enough to clean up but made me be more aware of that the ash was more fragile than I realized. The taste didn’t really change much into the middle third but by the end I noticed a nice creamy leather taste starting to make it’s appearance. As it whittled down to the nub, the creaminess continued along with definite cocoa flavouring.

A good cigar to say the least and best paired with an espresso or a mocha coffee, with neither of those having a sweet flavour to them.

Enjoyed with: water and coffee

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8/10

Tidbit: Originally created around 1850s, this was once the most expensive cigar brand in the world.

 

Cigar Review: Nothing is taboo on a Saturday afternoon.

15 Aug

Cigar Name: Taboo Limited Reserve Havana Torpedo (7 x 52)

Cigar Description: Nicaraguan  wrapper around Dominican filler

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: After schleping to the post office with some goodies for others, including the winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd place), I came home soaked from the heat and humidity. This past week had been a challenging one and definitely was in need of a break from work. After watching a bit of Archie with my girlfriend, I picked up some parcels. One included my new “Cigar of the Month” package from Cigars International. I had been getting regular shipments from Thompson’s but found that there wasn’t too much variety with it. So I figured I’d try CIs for a bit and see if they were better. So I put those aside for now into the humidor and picked out a cigar I had gotten earlier in the year but hadn’t had: my last Taboo.

The Mystery of the Taboo Limited Reserve

The Mystery of the Taboo Limited Reserve

While the construction isn’t as detailed oriented as other manufacturers it still was good. The wrapper was a deep, dark chocolate in colour and had minor veins in it. The cigar has been in the humidor since the beginning of the year. And it showed in the oils sparkling on the wrapper. The tobacco had a sweet mild cocoa/coffee scent to it. I clipped the pointed cap off the end and lit it very easily. A nice spicy scented white smoke wafted from the foot. The near solid white ash was fragile and somewhat gentle. I kept the cigar close to the ashtray to prevent any stray flakes from escaping.

Whenever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something vitalizing. Taboos after all are only hangovers, the product of diseased minds, you might say, of fearsome people who hadn’t the courage to live and who under the guise of morality and religion have imposed these things upon us. — Henry Miller, 1891-1980

As I smoked the cigar I puttered around my home office, updating my Blackberry, sorted through the Humidor and just general organizing. Amazing how when life gets busy this can become out of sorts. The only thing that isn’t are my cigars. I decided to read one of my favourite authors, Jeffery Deaver. I had gotten The Cold Moon recently from PaperbackSwap and my pile of books has been growing. As I started into the murder mystery, that would ultimately be solved by Lincoln Rhymes (I always picture Denzel Washington who played the character in the 1999 movie The Bone Collector) and his female love interest Amelia Sachs (played by Angelina Jolie), I quietly puffed through the first third of the cigar. The spiciness, hinted with toasted almond flavours, added a nuance and ambiance to the afternoon as I turned the pages.

I was into the middle third as I continued into the mind of the killer. Or rather, killers. One was complicated while the other simplistic. The cigar, however, was a nice mix of complexity and simplicity. The spiciness continued while the toasted almonds faded in favour of a more creamier leather taste. I got so much into the start of the book I didn’t see the lengthy ash forming at the end of the cigar. As I looked at it, I noticed the fine lines of different colours and wondered if one could tell the age of the cigar by the lines, much akin to those of a tree. (You can’t; the effect is more likely from taking a draw and cooling the ash down).

As I got to the second crime scene in the book, I looked at the cigar. As it neared the top of the last third, it had begun to tugboat a bit. Sigh. This always annoys me when this happens. I put the book down and gently burned the unburned side to adjust the cigar a bit. Hopefully it was enough to keep the piquant stogie on the straight and narrow for the rest of the investigation. The sharp pepper continued to gain momentum, almost as if to race me to the nub of the cigar. Unfortunately, the cigar still insisted on it’s lopsided dance with it’s own wrapper. The ash had become more uniformed and lost it “rings” as I continued to smoke it and the killer continued to develop.

By the time I had gotten almost a hundred pages into the book, the cigar was down to a milder spicy tasting nub. The ashtray was a flecked sea of greys and whites. A good cigar with a oomph of flavour in the middle, to say the least. The book would need a few more to get through it all. If I only had a few more Taboos..

Enjoyed with: water

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 8.2/10

Tidbit: Jeffery Deaver has 26 books to his name. 8 of them are specifically Lincoln Rhyme novels.

 

And teh weiner is..

11 Aug

And the Weiner is...

And the Weiner is...

The variety of stories I got were great. I even got one from Peter (Canada) from Facebook. But it’s hard to compete against DJ’s paperclip story. I gotta say that’s a long route to get to one’s favs. So he’ll get a Fiver including a WOAN and one of the 2005 Opus X, along with 3 others. In 2nd place, Dan and his endless search for his favs when his forgetful friend put him in this place (he’ll get a WOAN along with three others). Peter, in Canada, who contacted me directly about taking risks with bringing his favs back over the border will take 3rd. I’ll be sending him a triple (a WOAN and two other cigars). The cigars will be sent out on Saturday (teaching this week so no chance to get to the post office before then)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer. It is amazing what we do to answer the call of favs.

 

Cigar Review: Sometimes a Good Cigar is more than a cigar, it’s full blown novel.

09 Aug

woan1

Work of Art Natural & Glen Breton Ice

Cigar Name: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art Natural (4 7/8 x 56)

Cigar Description: Cameroon wrapper around Dominican filler

Cigar Strength: Medium

Review of the Cigar itself: Back in October, I got to enjoy a Short Story. When I wrote about it someone had suggested that I find out about the Work of Art, either in Natural or Maduro. This became a bit of my white whale search to find some WOAN, even a single one. The other day I lucked out on Famous having them and decided to fork over for a box of them along with a box of Opus X Journey to Chateau De La Fuente Brown Box (it was a $99 special). Like a kid I opened both to see the delicacies inside. I set the Opus X aside for later and eagerly had a WOAN right away. It was heaven. I figured I should enjoy it again and write about what I enjoyed and found. Even now it’s hard to stop from enjoying to write. I poured a glass of Glen Breton Ice over the rocks to enjoy with this.

This has the smoothest flavour I’ve ever had, consistent all the way through. I had no cigar magazine to amuse me this time but enjoyed the antics of the Simpsons while perusing Book in a Month by Victoria Schmidt. I may not be Hemingway but I do enjoy writing about life and the fancy of the mind.  The

USPS brings wonders..

USPS brings wonders..

cigar is well constructed and solid. I did find the head to be a bit tight but cutting it a little farther down (from an 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch) resolved the tight binding of the filler. This made the draw far easier and made the cigar feel as if it was as light as a feather. The ash quickly became an inch and a quarter long after 30 min. It was amazing how quickly the time passed as I savoured this.

I switched to Law and Order: Criminal Intent (season finale!) as I got midway through the cigar. I’ve always liked the series because of the story they tell. It’s often an interesting puzzle that shows all the things, good and bad, about people. And really, when you think about it a cigar is nothing more than a story on it’s own. It tells about how it’s made, the care that goes into the making of it. As the ash got longer and it felt light. I tapped it off before it

Something worth sharing..

Something worth sharing..

accidentally dropped down. This cigar burns evenly and consistently. I looked at it and pondered what it would be like to be an author in the time of Hemingway. You could savour life and write about what you saw or experienced. Granted it wasn’t always perfect for him and I don’t doubt without pain but still, the world was still a mystery and open for exploration yet to be.

Perhaps today it isn’t as much as the locations as it is who is there to enjoy it with you. While I only got to enjoy it this evening with Bobcat, my manx cat, I will be sharing a good portion of the box with others including my mini-contest winner (to be announced Tuesday morning — I moofed on the date and allowed for entries to continue until Monday at midnight). As for the cigar, I ended up using a toothpick to hold the sliver of a nub to get ever last bit of flavour out of it. Well worth it.

Box is big but oh, what it protects!

Box is big but oh, what it protects!

Enjoyed with: Glen Breton Ice on ice

Smoke time: approximately 80 minutes

Final Review Rating: 10/10

Tidbit: Ernest Hemingway quote: “I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

Tidbit #2: Linus quote: “I never feel bad after a cigar therefore it must be moral.”

Watching: The Simpsons and Law & Order: Criminal Intent

 

Quick Post/Contest: What would you do for Favs?

05 Aug

I’m very excited. I should be getting some Work of Art Naturals and an Opus X sampler later today. I’ve been wanting both for a while now. It did make me wonder what some do to get their favourite cigars or the one cigars they haven’t tried but want to. So what would do you to get your favourite/most wanted?

For the most interesting response I’ll send out a special fiver of my favs including a WOAN and an Opus X (you have until Friday August 10, 2009 midnight to submit your story/comment).

 

Quick Review: Something to Celebrate With

02 Aug

Davidoff Limited Edition 2009

Davidoff Limited Edition 2009

Cigar Name: Davidoff LTD 2009 Toro Especial Seleccion 702 (6 5/8 x 48)

Cigar Description: Ecuadorian sun-grown wrapper around Dominican Piloto, Olor, and San Vicente fillers

Cigar Strength: Full

Review of the Cigar itself: After a successful week in Alexandria, VA I thought I’d celebrate (after doing work expenses). So I took out the Limited Edition Davidoff I had gotten a couple of weeks ago. Much like many Davidoff’s it is well constructed. It was difficult to see where the cap ended. The wrapper is a nice rich chocolate colour, darker than dairy chocolate but not as dark as dark chocolate (kind of in-between the two). The tobacco scent was a mixture of sweet and nutty sensations. Eagerly lighting this up resulted in peppery scent wafting forth.

As a treat, I decided to enjoy a small glass of Glen Breton Ice that I had recently purchased in Halifax (You can order it online here or go to Nova Scotia and get it there). The sweet peat taste, mixed with a rich wooden flavour, was a nice match with this well-made cigar. Within the first third I got hints of chocolate mixed with a nutty flavour and deep creamy leather. I sat back, enjoying the animation exploits of the Justice League: Paradise Lost (2002) dvd that NetFlix had sent me. A perfect way to enjoy a cloudy, drab Sunday. One of the things I like about Davidoff is how easy it is to enjoy their cigars. In fact, it was so easy what I thought was the end of first third was nearly the end of the 2nd third.

The leather remained a nice hidden flavour that would creep in and out throughout the cigar as I continued towards the nub. As I got closer to the end of the cigar lush cocoa (almost a dutch cocoa) taste came through with an espresso hit. While the cost of this cigar would preclude it from being an every day kind of cigar, the flavour definitely puts it up there as one of those ones to get to impress or celebrate with.

Enjoyed with: Water and a Glen Breton Ice on ice

Smoke time: approximately 70 minutes

Final Review Rating: 9/10

Tidbit: Glen Breton Ice was the first Single Malt to be made in ice wine barrels (giving it a bit of sweetness)

Tidbit #2: Glen Breton Distillery was sued over the use of “Glen” by the Scottish Whiskey Association, who used the claim that “Glen” is only to be used by those from Scotland. SWA lost the lawsuit.

 

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