March 29, 2015

E. P. Carrillo La Historia El Senador (5 3/8 x 52)





Video review HERE.


La Historia received high praise last year in several year end reviews. Since I did not have a chance to review it last year I am reviewing it today.

Wrapper:  Mexican San Andres
Binder:     Ecuador Sumatra
Filler:       Nicaragua

Available in these sizes:
El Senador 5 3/8 X 52 (REVIEWED TODAY)
Doña Elena 6 1/8 X 50
E-III 6 7/8 X 54


The E. P. Carrillo La Historia cigar is a dark, chocolate color and well made. Here is a shot of the foot.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were black pepper rated at a 9, espresso, and dark chocolate. 


About one inch in the flavors are about like they started but now you have some nutmeg. The black pepper has toned down a bit to an 8 or 8 1/2. The finish is sweet cream with some dark chocolate notes. There is also some lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied and I expect it to move up.



At the midpoint nothing has changed in the flavors but the cigar is now full bodied.



Even here at the end of the cigar the flavors are still unchanged. The minor sweetness you have is from the nutmeg and somewhat from the dark chocolate. Other than that it's all about black pepper and espresso. This is a very different cigar from the other E. P. Carrillo cigars I've had. As you've heard me say before, if you like dark noted cigars this is the cigar for you. For me, it lacked any significant sweet notes to balance out all those dark notes. Therefore, while this is a good cigar and has a definite place in any rotation I would not have this cigar every day. For me, it's an after dinner type cigar. Apparently my opinion differs greatly from last year's Cigar Aficionado's. 

Make up your own mind. Give these cigars a try for yourself. You can purchase La Historia cigars HERE.


Score: 90

March 28, 2015

Perdomo Small Batch 2005 Connecticut Toro Especial (5 1/2 x 54)






Video review HERE.


The Perdomo Small Batch 2005 is the newest edition from Perdomo and they are a limited edition. The cigar features the same binder and filler as the 12 Year Double Aged cigars. Only the wrapper is different. These cigars are only available to Perdomo's top accounts, just like the 12 Year Double Aged cigars were.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

There will be two other wrappers available in the coming months; Nicaraguan Sun Grown and Nicaraguan Maduro.

Available sizes:
Half Corona: 4 x 46 (SRP $4.99)
Rothschild: 4 1/2 x 50 (SRP $5.99)
Belicoso: 5 x 54 (SRP $6.49)
Toro Especial: 5 1/2 x 54 (SRP $6.99) REVIEWED TODAY


The cigar has a very light brown wrapper and has a pretty nice feel in the hand.




After I cut the cap the test draw was very good. The initial flavors were citrus and white chocolate. The flavors are very sweet. The citrus is sort of an orange citrus. The pepper is a black pepper rated at an 8. The cigar comes across as mild to medium at the outset. I have found that with Connecticut shade cigars you need to smoke them very slowly or they tend to get bitter.


About one inch in the only thing that has changed is there are now brown sugar notes. There is just enough orange flavor to call it an orange citrus. The white chocolate is very think and pasty, The finish is a sweet cream with a lot of lingering black pepper. I am a huge fan of lingering pepper, no matter what type!



1 1/2 inches in the cigar is burning almost perfect! Look at that burn line. There is a bit of earthiness at the lower level. The other flavors are still intact. The earthiness gives the cigar depth.



I have removed the lower band. There are some dry toast notes just above the earth notes. Other than that the other flavors are about the same. The cigar is medium bodied now and I don't expect it to move upward. The black pepper remains nice on both ends. The cigar continues to burn very evenly.



The cigar ended consistently from the last segment. The white chocolate is the star on the front end and the lingering black pepper is the star on the back end. These are a limited edition cigar so get them while you can. This cigar had typical Perdomo Connecticut flavors and the white chocolate was nice and thick tasting. Very good cigar.

Score: 92

March 27, 2015

ESPINOSA CIGARS UNVEILS ESPINOSA ESPECIAL


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ESPINOSA CIGARS UNVEILS ESPINOSA ESPECIAL

Hialeah Gardens, Florida (March 26, 2015) - Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Cigars, has announced the release of a new cigar line, the Espinosa Especial. "It's a new line, a new blend, a new cigar, but it’s everything you have come to expect from Espinosa Cigars and La Zona", said Erik.

Available in three vitolas:

No. 1 - 6-1/2 x 48

No. 4 - 5 x 52

No. 5 - 6 x 54

Espinosa explained that, "the Especial has a Mexican Capa Negra wrapper and its binders and fillers are made up from the four main cigar growing regions of Nicaragua (Esteli, Jalapa, Condega and Ometeppe). Unlike our existing Espinosa Maduro, the Especial is a new concept, with its own distinct personality which allows us to offer our customers an exceptional new smoking experience. Aside from that, it is an exceptional cigar, I just love the taste of this blend from the minute we created it.”



The Espinosa Especial will be packaged in 10 count boxes and will be available nationally by the beginning of April 2015.


General Cigar Celebrates an Icon with Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150



General Cigar Company will debut Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150, the first and only cigar to feature a proprietary Habano Shade wrapper tobacco, the first ever grown in Esteli.


Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150 is a 6” x 54 box-pressed offering handcrafted in Honduras. The blend features a classic Ecuadoran binder and a spicy combination of Nicaraguan filler leaves representing the best of the country’s tobacco growing regions. The cigar is a study in contrasts, with a hearty, well-oiled leaf that burns to a strong, yet sweet smoke for an unparalleled taste experience.

To celebrate the heritage brand’s 150th anniversary, General Cigar is releasing just 4,000 boxes of this commemorative cigar. In a nod to the future of the brand, the cigars will be housed in a sleek, 15-count box bearing a modern interpretation of the Hoyo de Monterrey logo.

The suggested retail price per cigar is $7.99, with a box price of $119.85. Hoyo de Monterrey Edición de Cumpleaños 150 will be available at retail beginning on April 1, 2015, while supplies last.

March 25, 2015

COUNTERFEITERS OF COHIBA, MACANUDO AND PARTAGAS CIGARS SHUT DOWN ACROSS FLORIDA IN SERIES OF SEIZURE RAIDS AND ARRESTS




For Immediate Release March 24, 2015

Richmond, VA--General Cigar Company Inc. announced that teams of special agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (“ABT”) conducted a series of raids and arrests throughout Florida relating to the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit versions of the Company’s COHIBA®, Macanudo® and Partagas® cigar brands.

Since February 28th, ABT has seized counterfeit cigars with an estimated retail value in excess of $100,000. In addition to the banded counterfeit cigars, ABT has also seized tens of thousands of counterfeit cigar bands and boxes. Given the large volume of counterfeit materials seized, ABT has not yet completed a precise calculation of the total retail dollar value, but the Company expects the amount could reach the high six figures or greater. ABT has also arrested numerous individuals, charging them with felony forgery or counterfeiting of private labels and related offenses under Florida law.

The events leading up to the recent seizures and arrests began more than a year ago when, at General Cigar’s request, the Tampa office of ABT commenced an investigation into certain entities and individuals suspected of involvement in the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit cigars. As the facts developed, special agents in other ABT offices commenced investigations of counterfeiters located throughout Florida. These investigations which remain ongoing have led to numerous seizures and arrests in cities and towns throughout the state, including Clearwater, Davenport, Fort Myers, Hollywood, Lutz, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Tampa and Weeki Wachee.

The largest of the recent seizures involved Island Cigars Corp, a licensed cigar distributor and retailer. Raids conducted at Island Cigars Corp’s Weeki Wachee headquarters and Oldsmar retail store resulted in the seizure of tens of thousands of counterfeit cigars and related materials, including cigar bands and cigar boxes. ABT also seized the company’s business records, computers and printers. Rolando Gruart, president of Island Cigars and Constanza Sanchez, secretary and treasurer of the company, were both arrested during raids that took place in late February.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “We remain fully committed to anti-counterfeiting initiatives that protect consumers and greatly appreciate the efforts of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco and its special agents. The Company will continue to vigorously defend our trademarks and support criminal investigations and prosecutions relating to the distribution or sale of counterfeit versions of our cigars.”

About General Cigar Company General Cigar Company manufactures and markets premium, handcrafted cigars of the finest quality. The company’s artisans produce Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana®, Punch®, CAO®, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading brands in its Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. The company also manufactures and distributes Dunhill cigars and Dunhill pipe tobacco. Based in Virginia, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends. General Cigar recently launched Foundry Tobacco Company, an innovation platform created to bring excitement to the premium cigar category. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2014, General Cigar Company acquired the Torano Family Cigar business and brought the Leccia Tobacco Company brands into the company. For more information, please visit www.cigarworld.com.

® Macanudo, Cohiba, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Punch, CAO, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

March 22, 2015

Punch Signature Robusto (5 x 54)






Video review HERE.


The new Punch Signature starting hitting shop shelves this week. To create the Punch Signature, Master Blender Agustin Garcia and his team kept true to the original Punch blend by using tobaccos from the same countries as the original. Development of the Punch Signature began in 2012.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Proprietary Connecticut Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican

Available sizes:
Robusto; 5 x 54 $6.79 (REVIEWED TODAY)
Gigante; 6 x 60 $7.39
Rothschild; 4.5 x 50 $5.39
Torpedo; 5.75 x 52 $6.99

The cigar has a very dense feel. This usually means we'll have a long burn. The cigar is a reddish brown color. 




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a licorice/cedar combination. There was a lot of sweetness and coffee at the base. The pepper was a black pepper rated at an 8. The finish has a lot of influence of the licorice with a lot of lingering black pepper...at this early stage.


About 1/2 inch in the burn is a little off but it's a very humid day today. The flavors are about like I described previously but now I have some buttery notes and richness in the cedar and licorice flavors. The pepper is very explosive on the finish, which has now changed over to a sweet cream. The cigar is medium bodied and I feel it will ramp up very soon.



About one inch in the burn is improving. The licorice notes are moving to the lower level of flavors, along with the coffee. The cedar is still very buttery rich and sweet. There is a touch of brown sugar giving the cigar even more sweetness. The cigar is very close to medium to full bodied now. The finish is unchanged. The lingering black pepper on the finish is amazing. It tingles continuously.



Somewhere around the midpoint the licorice is very subtle. The cedar is still very sweet and the buttery notes have tailed off just a bit. The cigar is now full bodied. The finish is unchanged.



You will get a nice long smoke out of this robusto. The sweet, buttery cedar is still the main flavor and there are some to toasty aspects. The licorice is gone. The brown sugar is still nice. The pepper remains very good especially on the finish. 
This has been one of the best Punch cigars I've ever had. I very much enjoyed it and imagine how long you'll get out of the 6x60 Gigante! These are on shelves now and well worth trying.

To try Punch Signature cigars for yourself go HERE to purchase.


Score: 92

March 21, 2015

Romeo Anejo Toro, by Romeo y Julieta (6 x 54)






Video review HERE.


The Romeo Añejo  by Romeo y Julieta is a new addition to Atladis USA's Romeo y Julieta line. Three years ago, Altadis USA launched a new blend under the Romeo y Julieta line called Romeo by Romeo y Julieta. The Romeo Anejo is the second new blend from RyJ that is designed to move away from their historic milder cigars. 3 years ago I reviewed the first Romeo cigar. Today, I review the newest edition.

The packaging design to the Romeo Añejo is similar to the first Romeo.  The big difference is the color scheme is brown and white, and the Romeo Añejo features a secondary band.

The cigar will be available in three sizes and will carry a price point of $8.75 to $9.25.

Sizes:
Piramdes: 6 1/8 x 52
Robusto: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54 (REVIEWED TODAY)


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf 2010 Vintage
Binder: Dominican Olor 2008 Vintage
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran 2009 Vintage
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic


The cigar screams chocolate by it's looks. The bright foil bands make the cigar even darker looking. The wrapper is a brown, chocolate color with a nice dense feeling in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a combination of a sweet cedar with boysenberry, dry cocoa, milk chocolate, and black coffee. There are almost an even split between the sweeter flavors and the chocolate and cocoa. The coffee makes a nice base. The pepper was a white pepper rated at a 7. The finish is a dark chocolate and cream. There are a lot of chocolate notes in this cigar.



3/4 inch in I am satisfied with my initial assessment except that I would now drop the dry cocoa notes. I still have the sweet cedar and boysenberry, milk chocolate, and coffee. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.



1 1/2 inches in the cigar is losing the boysenberry notes but you are left with a very sweet cedar and milk chocolate, with coffee. You can't mistake the chocolate notes.



A little past halfway the cigar is burning very slowly. There are notes of dry wood that pop up just before the coffee base. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish is about the same but there are more cream notes than chocolate. There is a small amount of lingering white pepper.



The cigar ended very consistent. You still have a lot of sweet cedar and sweet milk chocolate. The pepper may have moved up a tad. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. The coffee made a nice base. These cigars are on shelves now. I enjoyed this cigar and it's well worth trying for any of you RyJ fans. The chocolate notes are very nice.


Score: 90

March 18, 2015

ROBERTO P. DURAN PREMIUM CIGARS & AZAN TOBACCO GROUP ANNOUNCES ITS PARTNERSHIP WTH INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL ERIC PIRAS‏



(Miami, Florida) March 17, 2015— Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group proudly announces its partnership with Eric Piras. Roberto Pelayo Duran continues to make aggressive moves to further expand Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars.




Eric Piras has a high public profile, significant management experience in the tobacco trade and a strong global expertise in sales and marketing for premium cigars. Based in Hong Kong, Eric has almost 20 years’ experience in the cigar industry in Asia-Pacific, and is one of the highest profiles in this sector. Prior to him partnering with Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group, Eric Piras, a French national, joined Altadis (later acquired by Imperial Tobacco Group) in 1999. He then travelled the globe setting up, and strengthening distribution channels for the world’s number one cigar maker.



Prior to joining Altadis, Eric was the Regional Director for the Pacific Cigar Company, Habanos S.A.’s exclusive distributor in Asia-Pacific and Canada. It was during this era that Eric and Roberto Pelayo Duran struck up a lifelong friendship that culminated in them working together, again under the Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar & Azan Tobacco Group umbrella.



Roberto Pelayo Duran said,” I am thrilled to have Eric Piras on our team. His Global network is enormous and diverse. I am very confident that with Eric on board we will be able to expand Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group brands into new markets around the World.”

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and manage distribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars & Azan Tobacco Group, please visit www.Robertodurancigars.com. For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at info@creativasgroup.com.

March 14, 2015

Epicurean Carnavale Toro (6 x 52)





Video review HERE.


The Epicurean Carnavale is the newest addition to the Epicurean line-up. Epicurean Cigars are part of House of Emilio. This is the second Epicurean cigar that I have reviewed. The first was the Gonzo Vintage 2007 Trajabador (5 x 56) which I reviewed last April.

This cigar uses a Colorado habano oscuro wrapper grown in Jalapa, Nicaragua, American broadleaf and Honduran binders and three ligero fillers, which include tobaccos from the Jalapa region as well as ASP Estelí ligero, one of the more prized Nicaraguan filler tobaccos at the moment.

Four sizes will be released, each factory-pressed: 
Lancero (6 1/2 x 38, $8.60)
Petite Corona (5 1/2 x 48, $9)
Toro (6 x 52, $10) REVIEWED TODAY
Trabajdor (5 x 56, $9.60)

Each size will be limited to 1,000 boxes of 20 cigars annually, double the amount originally planned. In addition, the project was originally known as Carnivale, which is also the name of CAO Brazilia release.

The cigars are made at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua and distributed by House of Emilio.


The cigar is very well made and box pressed. It has a nice feel in the hand. Here is a shot of the foot.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The cigar had nice sweetness immediately at light up. The first flavors were sweet cedar, cinnamon, boysenberry, dry wood, and coffee. The cigar is very sweet. The pepper seems to be a mix of black and red pepper. I rate the pepper at an 8+.



About one inch in the flavors have settled down into sweet cedar, white chocolate, dry wood, and coffee. The white chocolate gives the cigar a thick sweetness bordering on richness but not quite. I still get red and black pepper but it seems to be settling down into one soon. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is a toasted cream with nice lingering red pepper.



2 1/2 inches in the burn got a little weird but it shows signs of evening out soon. The flavors are, in order of prominence, sweet cedar, dry wood, cinnamon, white chocolate, and coffee. The finish is a toasted cream with a lot of lingering black pepper. The pepper has settled down into only a black. The cigar is medium to full bodied now. 



With only about 2 inches left the white chocolate has changed to a brown sugar. The other flavor notes are still intact. The cigar is still medium to full bodied and the finish is unchanged.



I have enjoyed this cigar a lot. I like a cigar that has numerous changes. The dry wood played a big part in this cigar. The pepper was very good starting with red and black and settling into black. Look for these anywhere that sells House of Emilio cigars. Very good cigar.



Score: 93