September 19, 2018

Liga Privada Unico Pork Beli Ships to Hyde Park Cigars, Chicago

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the shipping of the Liga Privada Unico Pork Beli, an exclusive to Hyde Park Cigars in Chicago, IL.

The Liga Privada Unico Pork Beli features a rich Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf wrapper, a spicy Brazilian Mata Fina binder and all Nicaraguan filler. Connoisseurs of Liga Privada will appreciate the depth of flavor and aroma, illustrated in this yearly offering. Master Blender Willy Herrera chose to use the same rare tobaccos as the Feral Flying Pig, providing a powerhouse of flavor in the short Belicoso vitola.

From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew, President and Founder of Drew Estate, “Hyde Park Cigars has been an key partner and true friend in Chicago for many years.  The Liga Privada Pork Beli is a sizzling mega blend, based on our Feral Flying Pig blend vitola bursts with leveled flavor. I am excited for our people to head to Hyde Park Cigars and get down with this limited yearly release.”

The Liga Privada Unico Pork Beli measures 4.75x50 and is packaged in a 10-count soft pack with an MSRP of $139.60/pack and available at the following locations:

                                                            Habano Cigar Lounge
                                                            13033 W 143rd Street
                                                            Homer Glen, IL 60491

                                                            Habano Cigar Lounge
                                                            7615 W 159th Street
                                                            Tinley Park, IL 60477


                                                             Habano Cigar Lounge
                                                             6416 N. Lehigh Ave
                                                             Chicago, IL 60646

                                                             Hyde Park Cigars
                                                             5220 S Harper Ave
                                                             Chicago, IL 60615

September 16, 2018

La Gloria Cubana Esteli Robusto (4 1/2 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Once again, La Gloria Cubana goes to Central America. At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, the La Gloria Cubana Estelí had its debut. According to General Cigar, it’s a blend that represents the best of Central American tobaccos and deepens the profile of the brand’s original ‘white box’ blend.

“We named this collection in honor of the artisans of our factory in Estelí who did a fantastic job creating the blend and bringing a deeper taste profile to the La Gloria portfolio. We’re confident that fans of La Gloria Cubana will enjoy the modern flavor of ‘Estelí’ and recognize the spirit of Nicaragua in this exciting new collection,” commented Steve Abbot, senior brand manager for La Gloria Cubana, in a press release.

The cigar features a dark wrapper from the Jalapa Valley of Nicaragua, a binder from the Jamastran region of Honduras, and fillers from both La Estrada and Jamastra. The cigar is available in three sizes.  The Estelí name comes from the fact that this cigar is made at General’s STG Estelí factory in the city with the same name.

The La Gloria Cubana Estelí should not be confused with the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí, which is a different line that is available in Natural and Maduro options.

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Nicaragua: Jalapa
Binder: Honduras: Jamastran
Filler: Honduras: Jamastran, La Entada
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (STG Estelí)

Vitolas Available
The Robusto and Toro sizes are available in 20-count boxes while the Gigante is packaged in 20-count boxes.

Robusto: 4 1/2 x 52 (SRP $4.99) REVIEWED TODAY
Toro: 5 1/2 x 54 (SRP $5.99)
Gigante: 6 1/4 x 60 (SRP $6.99)

The cigar is short and dark. The band is metallic and brightly colored. Here is a shot of the cigar foot.

This review is coming to you from Ocho Rios, Jamaica and the Couples Sans Souci Resort. I chose this robusto because it's quite hot in Ocho Rios and since we're filming the review in the sun I didn't want to spend the time for a toro or longer. 
I had some help from my friends Mark, Larry, and Russ. I urge you to watch the Youtube video review. It's a little longer than normal but there are some good comments from the guys.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were a tangerine citrus, quite a bit of leather, earthy black coffee, and mixed in all those flavors are hints of raw almond. The pepper is a black pepper which I rated at a 7. 

About 3/4 inch in the flavors are settling down nicely. The tangerine flavor is now more of a cedar with brown sugar. The leather and earthy black coffee are still prominent. I don't have the raw almonds on the front end any longer but I do get them on the finish. I also got cream on the finish to go along with the raw almond with a modest amount of lingering black pepper. 

The first third (20 minutes) had the same basic flavors as the last segment except the main sweeter flavor is now a citrus/cedar combination. There is still nice brown sugar. The leather is not intrusive. There is still an earthy black coffee. The flavors are mixing very well. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is unchanged. I rated the first third at an 89.

At the second third (40 minutes) the flavors are balanced. The cigar is the best it's been so far. The citrus/cedar flavor is very nice with a slight emphasis on the citrus. The leather is creamy. I'm not sure if that is due to some nutmeg influence but I don't taste nutmeg in this cigar. There are still nice brown sugar notes. The black coffee is not as earthy now. The finish is pretty much unchanged but I got hints of citrus also. The cigar is still full bodied. I enjoyed the second third more than the first so I bumped the score to a 90.

The cigar lasted about one hour. In the final third I lost a lot of the leather notes. I also saw a decrease in the citrus/cedar and brown sugar notes. The black coffee was about the same. The cigar is no longer in balance. It is still full bodied, however. The finish has the citrus flavor, a leathery cream, and more lingering black pepper. That's the one area where the cigar improved. With the loss of sweetness and leather on the front end I lowered the score to an 88. If you would like to purchase these cigars you can go HERE.

Overall Score: 89

September 03, 2018

Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet Monarch (6 x 54)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website.)
Hiram & Solomon Cigars has added a limited edition toro size to its Veiled Prophet line.

The new vitola is a 6 x 54 parejo called Monarch that will come in 20-count split top cabinet boxes that are similar to other cigars in the company’s portfolio. A total of 500 boxes are being produced by Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua. Pricing is set at $10.50 per cigar.

It retains the same blend as the rest of the line, with an aged Brazilian Arapiraca colorado wrapper, Indonesian binder, and a filler that includes Nicaraguan habano from Estelí, Nicaraguan habano ligero from Jalapa, as well as tobacco from Paraguay. The line had previously been available in a 7 x 60 vitola called the Grand Monarch.

The cigar is dark and has a nice weight in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were citrus/cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, leather, nutmeg, and black coffee. There is a meaty flavor and feel to this cigar. There was black pepper which I rated at a 6 1/2 to 7. There are quite a bit of dark notes in this cigar. 

About an inch in I decided to nail down the flavors a bit more. They are: citrus peel, a touch of brown sugar, some cinnamon, quite a bit of leather, nutmeg, and black coffee. The cigar still has a meaty flavor and consistency. The finish is a combination of nutmeg and cream with a continuation of that meaty undertone. There was a nice amount of lingering black pepper. At this early stage it's already coming across as medium to full bodied in strength with a heavy leaning toward full bodied. 

The first third (42 minutes) had the same flavors as they were at the one inch point. There continues to be a meaty presence to the cigar. There are a lot of nutmeg, leather, and black coffee notes. The only sweet notes are orange peel, a touch of brown sugar, and some cinnamon notes but they are much less than the darker notes. I am very interested to see where the cigar will go. For the first third I rated the cigar at a 90.

As I reached the midpoint I got some notes of chocolate/fudge but it did not have a lot of sweetness. There seems to be a little more sweetness from brown sugar. There continue to be a lot of dark notes in the cigar but there are some sweeter notes to go along with them. The breakdown is about 65/35 dark notes to sweet notes. The cigar is very full bodied at this point. The finish is unchanged. The cigar seems to be moving in a positive direction.

At the second third (1 hour 27 minutes) I had a burn issue; a runner developed. I will let the cigar try to even out on it's own. I still had a lot of dark notes; leather, chocolate, nutmeg, and coffee. The orange peel and brown sugar are still there but they are dwarfed by the darker notes. I got flashes of caramel but surprisingly they did not add sweetness, just the flavor of caramel. The cigar continues to be very full bodied. The cigar is burning very slowly. The burn issue is not from going too fast. My score for the second third lowered to an 89 but I deducted a point for the burn issue so the second third score is actually an 88.

The cigar lasted a whopping 2 hours 3 minutes. An amazing burn time for a 6" toro. In the final third the cigar actually improved. The caramel notes came out more and there was a little more brown sugar. There were still plenty of chocolate, leather, nutmeg, and black coffee notes. The burn also improved to a manageable point. The cigar is very full bodied and I suggest you have something on your stomach when you smoke this cigar. The cigar had a very meaty presence throughout. This is very much a steak-like cigar. The finish was unchanged. I was surprised the cigar improved in the final third. So much, in fact, that I raised the final third score to a 91. The overall average is 89.67, which I rounded up to a 90.

Overall Score: 90

September 02, 2018

Black Label Trading Co. 2018 Morphine Robusto (4 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Morphine line. As a result, there will be three versions of the Morphine: Corona (5 1/2 x 42), Robusto (4 1/2 x 50) and Lancero (7 1/2 x 42) The big changes are the Robusto will be a box-pressed (the first in the Morphine line) while the Lancero will be a barber-pole that is a combination of San Andres and Ecuadorian Maduro.

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan

The cigar is almost jet black. It has an average feel in the hand.

The cap is finished in a small pigtail.

The test draw after cutting the minimum from the pigtail cap was good. The initial flavors were a barely detectable citrus which is overwhelmed by anise, dark chocolate, and earthy espresso. There are very light brown sugar notes but don't expect a lot of sweetness. The initial black pepper was massive at an 8 1/2 to 9. This is a very dark noted cigar that comes across with a lot of power right out of the gate. While it may be too early to call it full bodied it is very full flavored and it will hit full bodied in the next minute or two. I decided to break the cigar down into halves.

The first half (37 minutes) proved extensively this cigar is all about power and darkness. There is very little, if any, sweetness. I lost the anise, most of the brown sugar, and there is no citrus to be detected. What you're left with is espresso, dark chocolate, dry cocoa, and a lot of black pepper. The cigar is full bodied. The black pepper has toned down to a 7 1/2 to 8. This is a powerhouse that is dark noted with little to no sweetness. This is not an every day cigar for me but it has a place. The first half is rated at an 89.

The Morphine robusto lasted 1 hour 4 minutes. It continued to be very dark noted with hardly any sweetness to be found. It is very full bodied. You can really feel the ligero. In the final stages I got hints of the anise again but it was faint. This is a cigar with specific applications. It is not something I could have every day or that often for that matter. But I respect it for the powerhouse it is. The second half is also rated at 89. If this cigar sounds like something you'd like or if you would like to try them you can purchase them HERE.

Overall Score: 89

September 01, 2018

Espinosa Las 6 Provincias LHB (6 x 54)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
The LHB is the first of six limited editions that Espinosa Premium Cigars calls its “reminiscent tribute to Cuba, before its post-revolution decline.” Each of the lines will pay tribute to Cuba’s six original provinces, with La Habana being the first (thus the LHB on the band). The debut installment is being released in two formats, 10-count dress boxes and a limited edition 20-count swing box, which Erik Espinosa Jr. said was an attempt to do something different but that wasn’t simply a traditional jar release.

 It’s being produced by A.J. Fernandez in Nicaragua. (I found this odd and wondered why La Zona, Espinosa's factory, did not make the cigar. I wonder if AJ will make the other 5 in the series.)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Espinosa Las 6 Provincias LHB (6 x 54) — $16.50 (Boxes of 20, $330; Boxes of 10, $165)

The cigar is a beautiful sharp box press. It has a very dense feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The cold draw had lots of sweet notes. The initial flavors at light up were a prominent, sweet pink grapefruit, brown sugar, cinnamon, leather, nutmeg, and black coffee. There was black pepper which I rated at a 7 1/2. The nutmeg is not intrusive and the leather is clean and new. Nice start.

In the first third (32 minutes) the flavors of the LHB are the same but the intensity of each flavor has changed a bit. The sweet flavors are about 45% of the total flavor and the nutmeg/leather are about 55%. The coffee makes a nice base. The cigar's flavors give a taste of power although the actual strength of the cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is a nutmeg and cream combination with a touch of brown sugar and a modest amount of lingering black pepper. The front end flavors are very good. The percentage breakdown lend to a very tasty cigar. My score for the first third is a 94.

The second third (1 hour) had the brown sugar rising and cloaking the pink grapefruit. The cinnamon notes are still there. The nutmeg and leather are a little more elevated. The coffee is unchanged at the base. There is more lingering black pepper on the finish. There are also some citrus notes on the finish. The cigar is full bodied. With the slight lowering of sweetness and elevation of nutmeg and leather I lowered the second third score to a 93.

The LHB lasted 1 hour 28 minutes. The nutmeg notes became more and more elevated causing the pink grapefruit to taste like a generic citrus. They also muffled the brown sugar a bit but the cinnamon still came through. The leather was light. The coffee was manageable. The cigar is very full bodied. The finish is unchanged. I love nutmeg in the proper amounts but they exceeded my optimum range a bit in the final third. For that reason I lowered the final third score to a 92. This is, however, a very good cigar that should be on your must-try list. You can purchase these cigars HERE.

Overall Score: 93

August 31, 2018

Cornelius & Anthony The Mistress Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) Quick Review


As a quick comparison to the toro which I reviewed recently I decided to give The Mistress another try. While riding around visiting customers I sampled the corona gorda. This is a smaller ring cigar and I immediately noticed the flavors popped much more.

There was a very sweet cedar, brown sugar and lots of sweet chocolate notes. There was black pepper  which I rated at a 7 1/2. Lots of earthy black coffee.  There were light nutmeg notes that were not intrusive. I even got some sweet BlackBerry notes. There was a nice richness to the cigar. The Finish was on the par of a sweet chocolate and dry Cedar. With nice lingering black pepper. I would rate the first third at a 93.

The second third continued with the same sweet flavors, Rich sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon,  chocolate, light nutmeg and black coffee. The nutmeg is not really noticed except between the nice sweet flavors and the coffee base. The nutmeg is not intrusive in this cigar. The cigar is medium to full bodied at this point leaning toward full bodied. I would also rate the second third at a 93. Very good cigar at this point.

Although I did not have a timer on the cigar the burn time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. The final third had the same nice flavors but I lost some of the richness. The nutmeg notes seem to come out a little more and that could possibly have taken away some of the richness. I was a little surprised that cigar stayed at medium to full bodied. This cigar is far superior to the toro that I reviewed previously. With a slight downturn and richness I would lower the final third score to a 91 but this is still a very good cigar.

OVERALL SCORE: 92 (92.33)

August 28, 2018

Liga Privada No. 9 and T52 Line Extensions ship to Drew Diplomat Retailers

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today that the IPCPR Release of line extensions to the Liga Privada No. 9 and T52 Brand are shipping to Drew Diplomat Retailers nationwide this week.

The No. 9 and T52 Corona Viva, Short Panatela, and Petit corona are being introduced as core sizes of the No. 9 and T52 lines, featuring the Liga Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf and Stalk Cut Habano wrapper, over plantation grown Brazilian Mata Fina binders, and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.

Liga Privada No. 9 Corona Viva 152 mm x 46 parejo, 24 CT, $290.40
Liga Privada No. 9 Short Panatela 114 mm x 40 parejo, 24 CT, $220.32
Liga Privada No. 9 Petit Corona 108 mm x 46 parejo, 24 CT, $240.24
Liga Privada T52 Corona Viva 152 mm x 46 parejo, 24 CT, $290.40
Liga Privada T52 Short Panatela 114 mm x 40 parejo, 24 CT, $220.32
Liga Privada T52 Petit Corona, 108 mm x 46 parejo, 24 CT, $240.24

From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew President & Founder of Drew Estate, “The introduction of these smaller ring gauge expressions of Liga Privada will be a highlight for Liga connoisseurs across the country, satisfying a huge demand for smaller rings within the lines. These sticks are jam packed with flavor,  most notably from the wrapper due to their smaller ring intensity”


Only 500 25-count boxes of each of these line extensions were produced.

(Miami, Florida) August 28, 2018— Villiger Cigars reports the newly announced Villiger La Flor De Ynclan Lanero Especial and The Villiger La Vencedora Gordro (6X60) is on schedule to be shipped this week. Both products are line extensions that were showcased at the 2018 IPCPR in Las Vegas this past July.

About the Villiger La Flor De Ynclan: Diligently crafted by Heinrich Villiger and master blender Jose Matias Maragoto of ABAM Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic, the Villiger La Flor De Ynlcan was a cigar 10 years in the making. Villiger Cigars produced a small batch of La Flor De Ynclan over a decade ago. Unsatisfied with the final result; the decision was made to cease production. The tobacco was set aside and aged, while Matias meticulously tweaked the amount of the Indonesian, Dominican, and Nicaraguan tobacco within its Ecuadorian wrapper. Present day, the La Flor De Ynclan is what both imagined it could be. The result was a smashing success as it received numerous accolades after its re-launch in 2017. The highlight being a 93 rating and being named the 2017 number 10 cigar in world by Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

The limited production Villiger La Flor De Ynclan Lancero Especial comes in 25 count boxes with an MSRP of $11.00.

About The Villiger La Vencedora: The Villiger La Vencedora which translates to “The Victor” is the first ever full-bodied Villiger cigar, and carries a special meaning to Villiger Cigars chairman of the board, Heinrich Villiger.

The Villiger La Vencedora or “The Victor” represents to Heinrich Villiger the arrival of Villiger Cigars to the premium handmade cigar segment. It was time, in his opinion, to push to the envelope and create a legacy cigar that will serve as a proper follow up to the acclaimed Villiger La Flor De Ynclan brand. This Nicaraguan puro wrapped in a beautiful Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro, boasts a potent full-bodied smoking experience, featuring highly seasoned, hearty flavors.

The limited production Villiger La Vencedora Gordo (6X60) comes in 25 count boxes with an MSRP of $10.50 per cigar.

August 26, 2018

Cornelius & Anthony The Mistress Toro (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.

This wound up being a very interesting review. I suggest you read it fully to get the whole scope of what happened, or watch the Youtube video.

(Description taken from website)
Cornelius & Anthony has released The Mistress. It is one of two limited production releases being offered by the Virginia-based company that were only available for retailers attending the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show. It’s a cigar that showcases U.S. grown tobacco.

The Mistress is produced at the La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The cigar utilizes both a U.S. grown binder,  fillers from Pennsylvania, and is finished with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.  The Mistress will be available in four sizes. The company describes the profile of The Mistress as full in strength.

The company has also announced another limited production offering IPCPR attendee exclusive offering called The Gent.

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: United States
Filler: Pennsylvania
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)

Vitolas Available
Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 46 (SRP $8.95)
Robusto: 5 x 52 (SRP $9.45)
Toro: 6 x 50 (SRP $10.00) REVIEWED TODAY
Gordo: 6 x 60 (SRP $10.95)

The cigar has a very dense feel in the hand. It is very weighty in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was a bit firm but I decided to give it a try. The initial flavors at light up were a bit odd. They were cedar, tart apple, touch of brown sugar, light chocolate notes, and earthy black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 6 1/2 to 7. 

At the first third (41 minutes) the cigar is burning very slowly. That is a tremendous burn time for 2 inches of a toro cigar. It was at this point that I decided to touch up the burn as the cigar was canoeing badly. Here are shots of what the cigar looked like just before I touched up the burn line.

I gave the cigar ample opportunity to catch itself up on the burn line but it simply would not. Another thing I had to do was use the PerfecDraw tool to open up the draw. It was a bit firm initially and it only got worse. As far as the flavors go at this point I no longer had much of the chocolate notes. I still had the cedar and tart apple and much more brown sugar. There were also light caramel notes giving the cigar some added sweetness. There was a low level coffee base. The cigar is medium to full bodied and will no doubt move up. The finish was tart apple with cream and a modest amount of lingering black pepper. The score for the first third, which are for the flavors only, was rated at a 91

As the second third ended (1 hour 22 minutes) the flavors were nailed down precisely. They were tart apple, some cedar, brown sugar, caramel, light chocolate notes, and light black coffee base. The cigar is very full bodied now. The finish is unchanged. During this segment I had another setback. The cigar went out. I have not had a cigar do this during a review before but this one did. I relit it and continued. I am hoping this was a fluke, just as the burn issue was, but I judge the cigar on taste first and will deduct for the burn issues later. For the second third, for flavor only, I raised the score to a 92.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 51 minutes. A crazy long burn time for a toro. The dense feeling at the beginning was confirmed in the long burn time. In the final third the cigar lost significant sweetness. I still had the same flavors but the sweeter notes were weak. The semi-sweet chocolate and black coffee really took the lead making the cigar dark and quite unsweet. The cigar remained very full bodied. The finish, surprisingly, was unchanged. With the huge downturn in sweetness I rated the final third 88. That would give you a raw overall score of 90.33.
But, I have to take into account the burn issues. I am deducting 2 points for the burn issues.
This cigar had nice flavors and I believe another sample may have different burn results. But, I judge each cigar on it's own.

Overall Score: 88