September 25, 2016

Foundry Tobacco Co. Time Flies 550 (5 x 50)

Video review HERE.

The mavericks of Foundry Tobacco Company are proud to unveil a unique collaboration with boutique cigar maker AJ Fernandez. Time Flies was conceived to encourage cigar lovers to live in the moment and experience the new and unique. This line delivers just that -- a rich, muscular smoke derived from tobaccos grown in the Quilali region of Nicaragua.

To bring to life his vision of a bold cigar that demands the smoker’s time and attention, the Foundry Tobacco Company team commissioned AJ Fernandez to create the blend and produce the cigars in his namesake factory in Esteli.

The full-flavored experience of Time Flies begins with a Habano 2000 Ecuador wrapper, and is bound and filled with Nicaraguan tobacco cultivated by AJ and his collective of Nicaraguan farmers.

Available in four top-selling sizes with price points of less than $10, skull-themed packaging completes the appeal of this provocative new release from Foundry.

Wrapper: Habano 2000 Ecuadorian
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Available sizes:
550 – 5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $7.50 REVIEWED TODAY
526 – 6 x 52; SRP per cigar is $8.00
54725 – 7.25 x 54; SRP per cigar is $8.50
606 -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $9.00

The cigar is a medium brown and nice looking. It has an average feel in the hand for a cigar of this size. 

The test draw after cutting the cap was a touch firm but workable. The initial flavors were orange citrus, boysenberry, marshmallow cream, and a lot of black pepper rated at an 8 1/2. Those are the flavors you are met with at light up.

About 3/4 inch in the flavors are changing. The boysenberry notes are gone but the orange citrus is still there. It is heavily laden with brown sugar and butter. There is a touch of a coffee base; not a lot but something to give it a bottom flavor. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is a buttery cream with some nice lingering black pepper.

Somewhere around the midpoint it is almost a toss up between citrus and sweet cedar as to which the flavor is. The reason is there is so much brown sugar and butter they disguise the other flavor. This is not a bad thing. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged.

With about one inch remaining there is definitely sweet cedar, brown sugar, and the buttery notes are toned down. There are now flashes of nutmeg. The coffee is elevated. The cigar is close to full bodied at this point.

The cigar ended much like the last segment. This is a good cigar and if this is the last cigar Michael Giannini will collaborate with Foundry it is one of his best. I enjoyed this cigar very much. It had several changes and wound up pretty much full bodied. Look for these on shelves anywhere that handles General Cigar products. Very good cigar.

Score: 93

September 24, 2016

Stack Cigars Lancaster Toro (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.

Stack Cigars has just introduced Lancaster. This cigar features a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper on Nicaraguan binder and filler. It is blended by AJ Fernandez's father, Ishmael, and produced in the AJ Fernandez factory. It is available in 4 sizes. Earlier this week I had the corona version and it was a pepper bomb! Let's see how the toro stacks up.

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Boardleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraugan

Available in these sizes:
Corona - 5x42
Robusto - 5x50
Gordo - 6x60

The cigar is very dark with little oily shine. Here is a shot of the foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a little firmness. The initial flavors were an orange citrus with cream and dark roasted coffee. There is a massive amount of black pepper which I rated at a 9 1/2. There is a nice sweetness in the citrus and cream but the black pepper overshadows them. The finish is a sweet cream at this early stage.

About one inch and you need to add 5 minutes to all the times shown. I forgot to start the timer! There is so much black pepper it is a little hard to pin down the flavors but they seem to be as I described. You can also add some dry cocoa at this point. The cigar is medium to full bodied. Black pepper fans should take note of this cigar!

Close to the midpoint there is a nice brown sugar that has appeared. It is very sweet and nice. The cigar is still medium to full bodied and I expect it to hit full bodied soon. The other front end flavors are still in play but the brown sugar is very nice.

With about 2 inches remaining the citrus notes are becoming subtle. In their place the cocoa has blossomed into full blown chocolate with the nice brown sugar. The coffee may be interpreted as an espresso since it's so deep flavored. The black pepper may have toned down just a tad but it's still very prominent. The cigar is pretty much full bodied at this point. The finish is unchanged.

This has been a very good cigar. For a new cigar to hit the market it's a bit of a crap shoot but this one passes my test. There is a massive amount of black pepper with nice sweet flavors, starting with citrus and cream but transitioning into chocolate and brown sugar. The cigar ended at full bodied. I enjoyed this cigar very much. Black pepper fans will love this cigar. Go to their website and give them a try!

Score: 92

September 20, 2016


EASTON, PA – Famous Smoke Shop, the leading online distributor of discounted premium cigars, specializing in offering the web’s biggest selection of cigars at the lowest prices, has announced the release of "Seven Deadly Sins," a new, handmade premium cigar line blended and manufactured by Plasencia Cigars S.A. in EstelĂ­, Nicaragua. The brainchild of Famous Smoke Shop Vice President of Operations and Marketing, Michael Vandenstockt, and Nestor Plasencia, Seven Deadly Sins represents the online cigar retailer's most ambitious premium cigar marketing project to-date.

Offered in all seven sins – "Lust," "Gluttony," "Avarice," "Sloth," "Wrath," "Envy," and "Pride" – each vitola has been given its own unique blend. As a whole, the Sins comprise filler and binder leaves from Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico, and Pennsylvania, while the wrappers, listed in more specific detail below, are from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Cameroon. Seven Deadly Sins also comes with its own story. Presented on each cigar's canister in graphic novel form, Seven Deadly Sins tells the story of Drake Scolari, "a good-natured, Midwestern farm boy" with a golden voice who arrives in Las Vegas seeking fame and fortune. His dream is soon realized as he goes from street corner crooner to the sin city's most esteemed Elvis Presley impersonator. Empowered by his newfound fame, Drake's success eventually takes a turn for the worse as he undergoes a gauntlet of trials and tribulations that lead to his tragic demise.

"Each Seven Deadly Sins cigar represents a piece of Drake's rags-to-riches-to-rags story," says Famous Smoke Shop's senior marketing copywriter, Gary Korb, who co-wrote the narrative with fellow marketing copywriter, Jonathan Detore. "Though he shares some things in common with the real life Elvis, we took Drake's story to a much darker and more sinister extreme."

The cigars range from medium to medium-full in body, offering a rich-tasting, complex, and well-balanced smoke in a wide array of sizes. A seven cigar sampler was created to try one of each size available. Additionally, each Sin is presented in refillable, vacuum-sealed humidor canisters of 10 to 20 cigars as follows:

“L” - 6½" x 46 / Cameroon

“G” - 7" x 70 / Nicaraguan Jalapa Habano Rosado wrapper

“A” - 7½"x 50 / Honduran Talanga Connecticut seed wrapper

“S” - 4" x 60 / Nicaraguan Jalapa Habano Rosado wrapper

“W” - 6" x 54 / Nicaraguan Jalapa Habano wrapper

“E”- 5" x 52 / Honduran Talanga Connecticut seed wrapper

“P” - 6" x 52 / Nicaraguan Jalapa Habano wrapper

MSRP per jar ranges from $84.90 to $142.20 (U.S.)

"Nestor Plasencia did a fantastic job in blending these cigars," said Mr. Vandenstockt. "Somehow, he found a way to define all seven deadly sins in the most wickedly satisfying way possible."

About Famous Smoke Shop Famous Smoke Shop is the nation’s #1 discount retailer of premium cigars online, offering one of the largest selections of handmade cigars, machine-made cigars, cigar humidors and accessories. Famous offers the web’s lowest prices on a wide selection of cigar brands including Acid, Davidoff, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, Ashton, Padron, Oliva and Perdomo cigars, and many more. Famous offers their customers the best prices on all premium cigars as well as friendly and knowledgeable customer service.

September 13, 2016

Crowned Heads Las Mareas Olas (6 1/8 x 46)

Photo from

Video review HERE.

Well, here I am in beautiful Ocho Rios, Jamaica, at the Couples Sans Souci resort and today I reviewed the new Crowned Heads Las Mareas Olas cigar. Although I took pictures of the cigar none of them came out. So, my review will not have the usual pics before and during the review. The above pic was taken from the website. However, if you want to see how the cigar transitioned you can click the video review tab above. In this case I highly recommend watching the video because it includes running commentary from two friends who accompanied me on this trip. Let's say, it is interesting!

Las Mareas is the first time a Crowned Heads cigar has been made of 100 percent Garcia tobacco. Las Mareas, which is Spanish for The Tides, is meant to pay homage to surf culture. It uses all-Nicaraguan tobaccos featuring a Criollo ‘99 wrapper and comes in four surf-themed sizes: 

Olas, 6 1/8 by 46 REVIEWED TODAY
Tuberia, 4 1/2 by 48
Rebeldes, 5 1/2 by 52
Ciclopes, 6 by 54 

The cigars will available in boxes of 20.

The cigar is a medium to dark brown and has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were orange citrus with whipping cream and brown sugar. The black pepper was rated at an 8. 

About one inch in the flavors are about like they started. The whipping cream gives the cigar a touch of butter. The pepper remains very good. The finish is a tapioca pudding flavor with a touch of lingering black pepper. The flavor mix is very good. The citrus notes are equal to the brown sugar notes. The whipping cream give it some smoothness and richness. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.

At about the midpoint the flavors are still in play but the brown sugar is the lead flavor. The whipping cream is the secondary flavor followed by the citrus. The cigar is moving up a little in strength to a little above medium bodied.

In the final third there is still a lot of pepper. The burn is even. The flavor notes are about the same.

The cigar ended with the flavors staying true. The pepper remained very good on the front end. There were a lot of sweet notes in this cigar. The cigar topped out just a tad over medium bodied. I found this to be a very good cigar and a must try for all Crowned Heads and Pepin lovers. 

Score: 92

September 05, 2016

Joya Black Double Robusto (5 x 56)

Video review HERE.

The Joya family is proud to present Joya Black, a follow up to the very well-received Joya Red launched in 2014.

Both Joya Red and Joya Black were engineered by the youngest executive team in the industry, along with the most senior Master Blenders of Nicaragua. 

"This is Joya de Nicaragua’s first cigar to feature a Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper. We have had these wrappers available for some time and we wanted to create a blend with rich Nicaraguan tobacco, yet without the overpowering strength. The result is a balanced, rich and pleasant smoking experience - the type of experience the new JOYA brand is known for as demonstrated by the release of Joya Red" said, Mario Perez, Factory Manager.

Joya Black will be available in 20 count boxes and will be priced similarly to Joya
Red, ranging from $5.50 to $8.00 per cigar. It will be available in the following sizes:

• Robusto (5 ¼ x 50)
• Toro (6 x 52)
• Doble Robusto (5 x 56) REVIEWED TODAY
• Nocturno (6 ¼ x 46)

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Joya de Nicaragua SA)

The cigar is very dark; almost black. The wrapper is somewhat oily and the cigar is very well made. It also has a dense feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a touch of firmness. The initial flavors were dark chocolate, cream, underlying black licorice, espresso, and black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. There is quite a bit of sweetness in this cigar which was surprising.

Close to an inch in the licorice notes are gone. There is now a lot of brown sugar and a buttery cream which adds a lot to the flavor profile. The chocolate notes are being challenged by the heavy brown sugar and buttery cream. The pepper has moved up to an 8. The finish is a straight sweet cream with a little lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. 

2 inches in the burn is perfect The ash is very white with a sprinkling of black specs. I struggled with what the new flavor was as it seemed to change from time to time. I settled on a white chocolate, which is mixing with the brown sugar and buttery cream. The regular chocolate and coffee notes are somewhat subdued and hold a narrow base. The sweet notes on the front end are very nice. The cigar is still medium bodied and the finish is unchanged.

The brown sugar and buttery cream are the stars of this cigar. The white chocolate gives it a little richness and the regular chocolate and coffee hold a narrow base. For a maduro cigar this is quite a departure from the average cigar. It ended up on the upper end of medium bodied. I found this to be a very nice, pleasing cigar that would appeal to just about anyone. Brand new and on shelves now!

Score: 93

September 04, 2016

Hoyo de Monterrey La Amistad Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

This blend was developed by AJ Fernandez, the Cuban expat cigar maker best known for producing highly-rated cigars in Nicaragua.

Named for the camaraderie forged when creating this exciting new release, La Amistad means friendship in Spanish.

Alan Willner, vice president of marketing for General Cigar said, “AJ Fernandez embodies the same ethos as the Hoyo brand. His passion for the craft of cigar making is what led us to collaborate with him on La Amistad. This collection combines AJ’s love of tobacco and blending with the knowledge of Hoyo’s cigar makers in Honduras and Nicaragua.”

AJ Fernandez noted, “I grew up very near to the Hoyo de Monterrey farm and I have always had a love for the brand. When it came time to develop this blend, I put my heart and soul into it. To me, this project represents how far my family and I have come since Cuba, and how our expertise in tobacco continues to be recognized. This cigar represents the best of me and my factory and I am proud to be a part of this collaboration.”

The wrapper is a bold Ecuadoran Habano, bound with a Nicaraguan leaf cultivated by AJ Fernandez in Esteli. The blend features powerhouse Nicaraguan tobacco from Esteli, Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa.

La Amistad is handcrafted at the AJ Fernandez cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Available sizes:
Rothschild – 4.5 x 50; SRP per cigar is $6.49 REVIEWED TODAY
Robusto – 5 x 54; SRP per cigar is $7.59
Toro – 6 x 50; SRP per cigar is $7.79
Gigante -- 6 x 60; SRP per cigar is $7.99

The cigar is a beautiful reddish brown and the wrapper is very oily. The cigar is well made and has a nice feel in the hand for a short cigar.

The test draw after cutting the cap was perfect. The initial flavors at light up were a sweet pink grapefruit, leather and underlying cream. There was black pepper rated at an 8.

About 3/4 inch in the flavors have changed to a nice orange citrus, brown sugar, and heavy leather notes with a black coffee base. The pepper remained very good. The finish is a leathery cream with significant lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. The flavors have settled down to a very good combination. The cream is not really there anymore but may show back up. 

About 2 inches in there are now nutmeg notes to go along with the other flavors. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. I am enjoying the flavor mix in this cigar. The sweet flavors balance out the heavy leather notes. The finish is sweeter. It is more of a sweet cream with some leather aspects and nice lingering black pepper.

With only about 1 1/2 inch remaining there are some light butter notes that add a little something to the front end flavors. The other flavor notes are still in play. The cigar is full bodied now.

The cigar ended much like the last segment with heavy leather notes and nice sweet flavors. The coffee notes were elevated. This has been a very enjoyable cigar It ended full bodied. The price point of this cigar make it all the more enjoyable. I was impressed with this cigar and will have more. I previously had the gigante size but this ring gauge was a little better. Look for these at any shop that sells General Cigar products.

Score: 94

September 03, 2016

Caldwell Cigars The Last Tsar Toro (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
The Last Tsar is a cigar that pays homage to Emperor (Tsar) Nicholas II, who was the final monarch of Russia.  In 1917, he was forced to abdicate his throne during the Russian Revolution. One year later, Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

The wrapper on The Last Tsar is the same tobacco leaf that is found on the Caldwell Eastern Standard. The difference is that for The Last Tsar, the wrapper is fermented a little longer and processed differently. While the remainder of the blend is not disclosed, Caldwell disclosed to Stogie Geeks that the blend includes Carbonell tobacco. Carbonell is a tobacco that was featured on the Falto 20th Anniversary Los Procesos.

Wrapper: Araparica Connecticut Shade Hybrid Maduro
Binder / Filler Not Disclosed, but includes Carbonell Tobacco.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera William Ventura)

The wrapper is oily and dark brown. It's very nice to look at. The cigar has a nice, dense feel in the hand.

The cap is finished in a small pigtail.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were sweet cedar, brown sugar, chocolate, and earthy coffee. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2.

One inch in there is a cocoa type flavor that interchanges with the chocolate flavor. Otherwise the flavors are about the same. The finish is a cream with a light touch of cocoa influence. There is a little lingering black pepper. This is not as peppery as their other cigars. The cigar is medium to full bodied even at this early point.

Around the midpoint the sweetness has increased. There are also dry roasted nuts mixed in the flavors. The finish is  unchanged. The cigar is at the top of the medium to full bodied range. The cigar is not making major changes.

The sweet notes stayed consistent to the end. There was nice sweet cedar with a touch of brown sugar. The chocolate/cocoa notes were secondary. The earthy coffee was quite prominent. The pepper moved up a tad but not significantly. The cigar is a low grade full bodied. There were not a lot of major changes in this cigar from beginning to end. This was a good, solid cigar with some nice darker notes.

Score: 92

August 28, 2016

MoyaRuiz Dim Mak (5 x 54)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Dim Mak – The Death Touch is the third limited edition cigar to be released by MoyaRuiz Cigars. The limited editions from MoyaRuiz have all had a common theme – they have been a tribute to the Cigar Dojo community. MoyaRuiz has attributed the Dojo community to much of its success it has had. As such, each of the limited edition cigars have had an Asian or Martial Arts theme. With the Dim Mak, MoyaRuiz has said that given the pending FDA regulations, this could very well be the last limited edition it releases. This is an outstanding cigar and continues what has been a very strong 2016 for the company owned by Danny Moya and Nelson Ruiz.

Dim Mak refers to a mythical martial arts technique, which is said to cause delayed death due to a single blow by the hand (thus the name “The Death Touch”). It typically is used by grandmasters as a last resort when death becomes the only option. This theme has what MoyaRuiz calls a “not-so-subtle message to the FDA and their overbearing regulations.

Dim Mak has the most traditional look of the three limited edition releases. The first limited release was 2014’s La Jugada Nunchuck, for which the company received a patent. What is unique about this release is that it joins two cigars with a fuse similar to an actual Nunchuck. This was followed in 2015 by the,The Chinese Finger Trap – a somewhat controversial release incorporated the novelty game theme.

Dim Mak incorporates an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler. This is the first MoyaRuiz cigar to utilize Dominican tobacco. As with all MoyaRuiz cigars, Dim Mak is made at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)

Vitolas Available

The Dim Mak will be produced in one size – a 5 x 54 Robusto. The cigars are packaged in ten count boxes with total of 700 boxes produced.

The cigar has a nice feel in the hand. Here is a shot of the foot.

The cigar also has a triple cap.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The cigar has a dense feel but the draw was perfect. The initial flavors at light up were a cream and boysenberry mix. There was a nice amount of black pepper. I rated it at an 8. This cigar produced a ton of smoke as you can see in the video review. There is almost a white chocolate flavor but I'll stick with a cream description.

About 3/4 inch in the cigar has greatly changed. This may sound a little odd but the flavors remind me of strawberry preserves. There are butter notes, some brown sugar and cream. The flavor combination is very nice. There is black coffee at the base. The flavors are full flavored and work well together. The cigar comes across as medium to full bodied. The finish is a nice cream with ample lingering black pepper.

At the midpoint I lost some of the buttery notes. There is still that high pitched strawberry flavor along with cream and brown sugar. The cigar is now full bodied. The pepper has moved up on the finish. There is quite a bit of lingering black pepper. The finish is still a sweet cream with some toasted notes; a toasted cream.

The cigar ended much like the previous post but I noticed here and there some dry roasted nut flavors. They were quite faint all through the cigar but at the end they came out much more. The cigar is still full bodied. The finish is unchanged. Losing the buttery notes did not ruin the cigar. I enjoyed this cigar and the strawberry-type flavors, cream, brown sugar, and coffee. The black pepper was very, very good in this cigar. I suggest you scoop these up if you find them as there were only 7000 made!

Score: 93