October 23, 2016

Dunhill Aged Maduro Short Robusto (4 x 54)

Video review HERE.

Dunhill proudly presents the Dunhill Aged Maduro which debuted at this year's IPCPR. 

Dunhill Aged Maduro cigars begin with sungrown ligero primings left for late harvest to ensure maturity and robust flavor. When this hardy dark-brown wrapper is draped over the classic Dunhill Aged blend, the cigar delivers a supremely robust smoking experience. Extended aging in rooms lined with fragrant Spanish cedar helps to achieve a harmonious, balanced taste, one that is the hallmark of Dunhill Aged Maduro Cigars.

Dunhill Aged Maduro cigars became available beginning in September and are presented in 10-count boxes.  The collection will feature three sizes:

Marevas– 5.13 x 42; SRP per cigar is $9.45
Short Robusto -- 4 x 54; SRP per cigar is $10.45 REVIEWED TODAY
Short Churchill – 5.5 x 54; SRP per cigar is $11.95

The cigar is a dark brown and it has a nice looking oily wrapper. It has a nice density for a short cigar.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were dark chocolate, licorice, brown sugar, slight buttery notes, and black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. 

About 1 1/2 inches in there are quite a bit of dark chocolate notes with some nice sweetness. There are also a lot of coffee notes. The licorice notes are gone. The finish is a chocolate cream with a modest amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.

At the midpoint not much has changed. It continues with the dark chocolate with modest sweetness and buttery notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied now. The finish is unchanged. If you have something chocolate flavored before you smoke this cigar the chocolate notes burst out nicely. Today I went with my pre-review apple. I still get the chocolate notes but try a piece of chocolate before having this cigar and see the difference.

The cigar ended with heavy chocolate and coffee notes. It continued to have modest sweetness and buttery notes. It ended at full bodied. I liked this cigar even though it did not have overblown sweetness, which is what I like in a good maduro. This cigar worked well with the modest sweetness. It had a very good mix of chocolate to coffee. Look for these and give them a try. It makes a good, short smoke.

Score: 92

October 22, 2016

The Hurdler from Hurdler Cigars (6 x 58)

Video review HERE.

The Hurdler is from Hurdler Cigars and Iliana Graibe. This cigar is manufactured in Esteli, Nicaragua  by Karen Berger at the Don Kiki Factory. It uses Cuban seed Nicaraguan tobacco. Iliana wanted to have her own cigar that paid homage to her two loves; cigars and horses. When she was a little girl in Cuba she would tend to her horses while her grandfather tended to his cigars. Part of the proceeds from the sale of her cigars will go to the SFSPCA, and organization dedicated to abandoned and rescue horses.

The graphic artist that did the horse design of The Hurdler is Neal Wollenberg.

Initially The Hurdler is available in only one size but Iliana is considering bringing out some other sizes later.

Hurdler Cigars are spreading out from Florida. Currently these cigars are available at: Don Kiki Cigars Superstore, Daytona Beach Florida, Cuban Crafters, Miami, Florida, Art Districts Cigars, Little Havana, Florida, The Trading Post Cigar Shop, Chicago, Illinois, Vaporized Me, Florida and soon in Kansas City. 

This is the only sample I have so this review will be my initial impressions.

The cigar is a medium brown and has a fairly light feel in the hand for a cigar of this size.

The test draw after cutting the cap was effortless. The initial flavors were citrus, caramel, brown sugar, and coffee. Black pepper was rated at an 8. The flavors are in an even mix at this point.

About one inch in the cigar is mild to medium. The flavors described are in a moderate amount. They do not jump out at you. They are all somewhat subdued. The finish was one of roasted almonds and caramel with a small amount of lingering black pepper. So far, this is one of the milder Nicaraguan cigars I've had.

About 2 inches in the burn is very even. The sweeter flavors have increased in intensity. Caramel is now the lead flavor. There are now roasted almonds on the front end. The cigar is still mild to medium. The finish is unchanged.

Close to the midpoint the ash was still intact. The citrus notes and brown sugar notes are now the lead flavors. The caramel and almond notes are secondary. 

The cigar ended at medium bodied. For the most part this has been a mild to medium Nicaraguan cigar. The flavors have been very good and they did intensify somewhat around the midpoint. The cigar lasted about one hour which was shorter than others of this size. This cigar has some nice flavors but was a little milder than I typically smoke but sometimes you want a milder cigar. So, give these a try. Check the listed stores and online. 
Thank you Iliana for sending this cigar for me to review.

Score: 89

October 20, 2016

Drew Estate and Pappy & Company Announce Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented Churchill and Pappy Drew Limitada for the Holidays

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 — Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today the exclusive release of the Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented Churchill and the Pappy Drew Limitada to Pappy & Company, the online store of the Van Winkle Family located at www.pappyco.com.

From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew, “I just checked the shipment in the Miami Warehouse yesterday. We really went out of our way to make sure that people could order them, and receive them in time for this year's holiday season.  The Pappy Drew Limitada is an extremely limited release, featuring the barrel fermented ‘Tapa Negra’ style wrapper, in a barrel head shape vitola that’s similar to the Feral Pig.”

The Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented cigar is a 100% long-filler, premium cigar made totally by hand in very small batches at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua. This historic cigar features a “barrel fermented” “tapa Negra”-style wrapper over a Mexican San Andres base wrapper, as well as aged Nicaraguan Filler tobaccos, personally selected by John Drew. It is the perfect choice for pairing with any of the Van Winkle bourbon and rye products.

The Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented Churchill is presented in 7 x 48 vitola and packaged in 10 count boxes with an MSRP of $17.00 each, while the Pappy Drew Limitada is presented in a barrel head 4 7/8 x 60 vitola packaged in 3 count soft packs that are only available as a gift from the Van Winkle Family when you purchase a box of the Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented Robusto, Toro, and Churchill together.


(Miami, Florida) October 20, 2016— Miami Cigar & Co. unveiled a fourth unique cigar blend to the Nestor Miranda Collection at the 2016 IPCPR in Las Vegas. The NMC Corojo was a hit at the show and many have been clamoring for its National release.

The newly redesigned Nestor Miranda Collection was launched during the company’s 25-year anniversary in 2014. The collection featured three different cigars (NMC Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro.) The sleek packaging and cigar blends were well received but Mr. Nestor Miranda himself felt the portfolio was not complete. Nestor finally decided it was time to create an NMC blend featuring his favorite wrapper, the Corojo.

The Nestor Miranda Corojo is a medium to full bodied Nicaraguan puro which comes in 20 count boxes. The blend is expressed in the four sizes below.

Robusto 50 X 4 1/2

Corona Gorda 46 X 6

Toro 54 X 5 1/2

Gordo 60 X 6

MSRP: $7.50 - $9.50

Vice President of Miami Cigar & Co. Jason Wood said, “Nestor has been adamant about introducing his beloved Corojo wrapper to the Collection. We would have loved to introduce it sooner but we decided to wait until the blend was perfect. The reaction from the retailers at this year’s IPCPR solidified our thoughts on the blend.

About Miami Cigar & Co. Founded by Nestor and Mariana Miranda, Miami Cigar & Co. has become one of the premier distributors of premium cigars boasting a portfolio which includes Tatiana, Don Lino and the Nestor Miranda brands. Miami Cigar &Co. also serves as the exclusive United States distributor for La Aurora, S.A, HfBarcelonda, Toscano Cigars, Viva Republica, and The Upsetters.

Follow Miami Cigar & Company on Social Media here: Facebook: Miami Cigar & Company, Instagram: MiamiCigar, Hashtag: OneLife

For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at info@creativasgroup.com.

October 16, 2016

Macanudo Mao No. 10 (5 x 50)

Video review HERE.

The evolution of Macanudo continues with Macanudo Mao, a limited edition release featuring heirloom Dominican seeds from the 1960’s.

Reflecting a previously-untouched science, Macanudo’s team of agronomists regenerated the seeds over eight growing seasons, breeding the plants in two different countries to deliver improved leaf shape, color and combustibility, while preserving the rare tobacco’s true flavor. 

In just four years, the agronomists have replicated the taste of a bygone era for the sheer enjoyment of today’s discerning smokers.

The regenerated Dominican tobacco comprises the lion’s share of the blend, which also includes Nicaraguan and Colombian long filler and a Mexican binder. The wrapper is a silky Connecticut Shade selected solely for Macanudo Mao.

Jhonys Diaz, master blender and vice president of operations said, “Macanudo Mao is one of our finest examples of tobacco expertise to date. We began our regeneration experiments more than five years ago, and are extremely proud of our team of agronomists for bringing this exceptionally-flavored tobacco back to life.”

Named for the growing region in the Dominican Republic where the seeds were cultivated, Mao delivers a new dimension of strength, flavor and sweetness to the brand, while retaining the smooth-smoking characteristics of all cigars bearing the Macanudo crest.

This exceptional cigar is handcrafted in the D.R. and will only be available until the limited release of 1,800 boxes per size is depleted.

Wrapper: Connecticut shade
Binder: Mexican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Colombian

Macanudo Mao will be available beginning in September in three frontmarks, each protected in individual coffins and presented in 10-count boxes. They are:

No. 10 -- 5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $16.00 REVIEWED TODAY

No. 11 -- 7 x 50; SRP per cigar is $17.00

No. 12  -- 6 x 57; SRP per cigar is $18.00

The cigar is a darker brown for a Connecticut wrapper. It has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were a sweet cedar with a buttery chocolate. The pepper was black rated at an 8. There are also some coffee notes at the base. The chocolate flavor reminds me of a chocolate icing on a cake but not quite as rich.

About one inch in there are now obvious brown sugar notes. The other notes are still in play. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is a sweet cream with some influence from the chocolate. There is a little lingering black pepper. This is very untypical of your basic Macanudo cigar.

At the midpoint the ash is still intact. At this point I got a wee amount of a tangy flavor coming from the Nicaraguan tobacco, I would assume. It has citrus notes and it's not overwhelming. It is quite faint. By and large you still have the other noted flavors but there is a definite addition of a citrus flavor.

Look at this ash! Over half of the cigar.

As the cigar ended the chocolate is almost a dark chocolate flavor at this point. The citrus is sort of the flavor you have in a piece of chocolate candy with orange filling. The brown sugar is subdued and you get more chocolate notes at this point. The pepper remained very good. Coffee continued to hold the base. The cigar ended medium to full bodied. This was a good cigar and if you can stand the price point you should try them. 

Score: 91

October 15, 2016

Partagas RyR Robusto (5 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

Partagas honors its heritage with Ramon y Ramon, a collection encompassing rare tobaccos and vintage seeds from a time when Cuban cigar legend Ramon Cifuentes oversaw tobacco growing for the brand. 

This vintage tobacco is paired with Nicaraguan Jalapa and Dominican Piloto Cubano grown by Partagas’ team of agronomists. Partagas Ramon y Ramon is bound with a Dominican leaf, also grown by Partagas’ agronomists.

With a rich and opulent high-priming Cameroon wrapper from the Belita region, the blend of Ramon y Ramon builds upon the essence of Partagas, yielding an exciting smoke that is at once sweet, strong and unmistakably sublime.

Partagas Ramon y Ramon will be sold exclusively at brick and mortar cigar shops, beginning in October.

Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa and Dominican Piloto Cubano

Robusto – 5.5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $7.49 REVIEWED TODAY
Maxim Grande -- 6 x 52; SRP per cigar is $7.99
Gigante -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $8.49
Fabuloso  -- 7 x 54; SRP per cigar is $8.99

The cigar is nice looking but feels soft in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was a bit firm. The initial flavors were deep, sweet orange citrus with brown sugar notes and buttery sweet caramel. The caramel aspects are very high. The pepper is a low grade black pepper rated at a 6 1/2 or 7. You don't notice the lack of pepper as much as you notice the sweetness from the citrus and caramel. The sweet flavors are about a 50/50 split.

About one inch in the main sweet flavors are the caramel. The citrus notes have morphed into a sweet cedar but it is secondary to the buttery sweet caramel. The pepper has moved up a little and it is nice on the finish. The finish is a sweet caramel. Cameroon wrappers typically have caramel aspects and I hoped this one would and it certainly does.

At the midpoint the caramel is going along nicely. There is still some nice brown sugar. The cedar is almost an afterthought. The buttery caramel is very nice. The cigar is still medium bodied.

As the cigar ended it felt very soft. The flavors continued with the nice buttery sweet caramel with brown sugar. The cedar pretty much went away. The cigar moved up to medium to full bodied. The finish was unchanged. I am scoring the cigar on the flavors and not the fact that it was soft. Perhaps this was not typical of the others in the line. The flavors alone are very nice. I loved the buttery sweet caramel.

Score: 92

October 14, 2016

Obama lifts restrictions on Cuban rum, cigars (USA Today)

(from USA Today website)

MIAMI — Attention U.S. travelers going abroad: You now can bring home all the Cuban rum and cigars you want.

The Obama administration announced Friday a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with the communist island. And this is the one many Americans have been waiting for — no more restrictions on the island's famed rum and cigars.

Under the new rules, which go into effect Monday, travelers can purchase unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars in any country where they are sold so long as they are for personal consumption. Sorry American couch potatoes: You can't order Cuban rum and cigars online and have them shipped to your home.

The regulations issued by the U.S. departments of Commerce and Treasury will make it easier for U.S. companies to import Cuban-made pharmaceuticals, U.S. agricultural companies to sell their products to the island and Cubans to purchase U.S.-made goods online.

The changes follow a series of steps taken since President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced on Dec. 17, 2014, that the Cold War foes would normalize relations after more than a half century of enmity.

On Friday, Obama added to the regulatory changes with a presidential policy directive that outlines his Cuba strategy thus far and lays out the future course. It includes a call for Congress to rescind a 50-year-old economic embargo on the island, something lawmakers have been unwilling to do so long as the Castro regime suppresses political and other freedoms.

The goal of the new regulations and policy directive are to make Obama's Cuba policy "irreversible" by establishing so many relationships with Cuba that a future administration wanting to scale back those ties would face widespread opposition from U.S. businesses and citizens.

"Challenges remain — and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights — but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values," Obama said. "The progress of the last two years, bolstered by today's action, should remind the world of what's possible when we look to the future together."

The most noticeable — and likely most welcome — change for most Americans is the removal of the five-decade ban on Cuban rum and cigars. The Obama administration partially lifted that ban in January 2015, allowing Americans traveling directly to Cuba to return home with up to $100 in rum and cigars in their carry-on luggage.

Now, that monetary restriction is removed and U.S. citizens can purchase as much Cuban tobacco and alcohol as they want from anywhere they find the products abroad. That means all those Cuban bottles and boxes at duty free shops in foreign airports are fair game. The only restriction, according to Treasury: "Normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply."

Other changes announced Friday:

Cuban pharmaceuticals can receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and be marketed, sold and distributed in the U.S. American scientists will be allowed to work on joint medical research with their Cuban counterparts.
Cargo ships can visit U.S. ports immediately after departing Cuba. Vessels previously were barred from loading or unloading freight at a U.S. port for 180 days after docking in Cuba.
Americans can award more grants in larger amounts to Cubans.
U.S. businesses can work in Cuba to develop the country’s civil aviation security system. U.S. airlines recently began regularly-scheduled commercial flights to Cuba, which has raised concerns among some in Congress that Cuba’s airports are not equipped to secure U.S.-bound flights.
Cubans can purchase U.S.-made goods online, although the Cuban government tightly restricts Internet access.
“Already we’re seeing what the United States and Cuba can accomplish when we put aside the past and work to build a brighter future,” White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a speech in Washington on Friday “You can now celebrate with Cuban rum and Cuban cigars,” she joked.

Some U.S. businesses said Obama didn’t go far enough in what may be the last round of relaxed rules during his presidency.

John Kavulich, president of the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, said businesses were hoping to see a variety of other changes, including an expansion of exports to Cuba and the ability of Cubans to establish bank accounts in the U.S.

“Boardrooms and offices across the country are gratified that President Obama has made meaningful changes to regulations governing commerce and travel with Cuba,” he said. “However, the President has again chosen a less-than-dynamic regulatory path, and, as a result, challenged his legacy-building efforts with Cuba.”

October 08, 2016

Cohiba Macassar Toro Grande (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

Distant from even the most primitive modes of transportation, Indonesian Macassar is arguably the most difficult ebony in the world to procure and one of the world’s most beautiful exotic woods. In a fitting tribute to this extraordinary work of nature, the artisans of Cohiba have created Cohiba Macassar, a new collection that lends itself to extravagant smoking occasions as readily as it does to life’s most treasured moments.

Only the finest leaves were selected to meet the exacting standards of taste and aesthetics set forth for Macassar. As such, this super-premium expression is made solely of proprietary tobaccos, each aged for more than four years including a year of finishing in Dominican rum barrels. 

The blend of Cohiba Macassar is centered on a supple Connecticut Havano wrapper grown in a micro climate that helps to achieve a richer, more flavorful tobacco, yet with far less yield than  traditional plants. To deliver a refined wrapper with barely perceptible veins, only the finest seco leaves are chosen for Cohiba Macassar.

The blend is made with a proprietary Dominican seed cultivated by Cohiba’s agronomists in Mao, complemented by a Nicaraguan Jalapa leaf grown exclusively for Cohiba. The Connecticut Broadleaf binder is aged six years to impart a mellow flavor and optimal combustibility. 

Handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, Cohiba Macassar will make its debut fine cigar shops nationwide beginning in August. This remarkable collection will be a full-time addition to the Cohiba portfolio and will be launched with three sizes, each protected in 10-count boxes.

Toro Grande -- 6 x 52; SRP per cigar is $21.99 REVIEWED TODAY

Gigante -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $23.99

Double Corona  -- 7.25 x 54; SRP per cigar is $24.99

The cigar is well made with no veins. It is a dark brown and has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a touch of firmness. The initial flavors were a tangy, almost orange citrus with sweet chocolate notes. There was quite a bit of black coffee and black pepper rated at a 7 1/2.

A little over an inch in the citrus notes are now more like a sweet cedar. The chocolate notes are still there with some buttery notes. There is also dry wood. There is a slight butter cream to mellow out the chocolate notes. The finish is a chocolate cream with a little lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.

At the midpoint the flavors are consistent. There are elevated coffee notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged.

This was a good dark noted cigar. There were a lot of sweet notes. There was a touch of buttery notes and the pepper was good throughout. The were quite a bit of coffee notes. The cigar got close to full bodied at the end. This was a good cigar and if you can get past the price point you should like this cigar. Available anywhere that carries Cohiba cigars.

Score: 92

October 06, 2016

Lucious Lyon Cigars

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (October 6, 2016) – In keeping with its strong tradition of innovative cigar goods and merchandise, Meier & Dutch is pleased to announce a limited edition line of luxury cigars and cigar accessories, inspired by the hit FOX television program, EMPIRE, with a strong focus on the show’s charismatic lead, Lucious Lyon.

Fans of the award-winning series will instantly find appeal in these lavish offerings, as each piece has been designed with the utmost attention to detail, drawing from the shows iconic imagery and stylish, eye-catching elegance. Each of the high-end cigars are hand-crafted utilizing premium, aged long-leaf tobaccos and pristine wrappers. Presented in glass tubes, and nestled within dress boxes of 10, no expense was spared in creating the cigar worthy of the Lucious Lyon name. Yet as impressive as the cigar is, it does not stand alone. Joining forces with this handmade is a full lineup of premium accessories, including a crystal ashtray, stunning high-gloss humidor, razor-sharp cutter, and a lighter designed by Xikar, a company with a renowned reputation for making the highest quality accessories in the cigar industry. The new wave of high-end cigars and accoutrements has landed. Contact Meier & Dutch Wholesale Distributors for further details (www.meierdutch.com).

“The characters of EMPIRE personify a lifestyle associated with success, luxury and an insatiable appetite for only the finest things. Creating a compelling, limited edition offering of premium products around Lucious Lyon came naturally and the project literally took on a life of its own from day one”, explains Steve McDevitt, Director of Sales for Meier & Dutch.

Lucious Lyon cigars are handmade in Honduras and available in three sizes.

About Meier & Dutch

Meier & Dutch is the US industry leader in premium cigars and is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the world largest producer and purveyor of cigars and pipe tobacco. Meier & Dutch services thousands of brick and mortar tobacconists nationwide offering over 20,000 products including the world’s most popular brands as well as a collection of exclusive, innovative, boutique brands.

October 02, 2016

PerfecDraw Cigar Accessory

Video review HERE.

The PerfecDraw is a cigar tool designed by Dr. Rod Kurthy, a dentist and cigar lover, who was tired of having cigars with a tight, or poor, draw. Sometimes a cigar has a tight draw that you cannot draw through and sometimes it has just a firm draw that needs improving. This tool is designed to eliminate that problem.

When you look at the tool it looks like something that a dentist would invent. It looks very much like a dental instrument. The tip is very pointy and sharp with the first inch or so having barbs. 

Rod noticed that in many instances the draw problems are found near the cap where the cigar is the most compressed. Using the tool you penetrate the cigar about one inch, twisting as you go, and when you retract the tool the barbs pull out a small amount of tobacco which should improve the draw. After you test the draw you can go a little deeper, if necessary Each time you pull out the device it will pull out a little more tobacco until you have  perfect draw!

His website has several instructional videos which are very helpful. I suggest you go there and watch them to get a full explanation of how to use the device.

I used the PerfecDraw on several cigars, including a torpedo which is seen in the video review. It worked just as described. I found this to be an excellent addition to my cigar tools and I would call it a "must have" addition for anyone.

Rod stands behind his invention with a one year satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

The device sells for $39.95 with free shipping in the U.S.A.

Go to his website, www.perfecdraw.com for all the details on how you can get your own PerfecDraw.

Image from PerfecDraw website

Score: BUY