December 14, 2017

VILLIGER CIGARS TO BRING THE CUELLAR CONNECTICUT KRĒMĒ UNDER THE VILLIGER BRAND UMBRELLA



(Miami, Florida) December 14, 2017—In continuing efforts to streamline branding, Villiger Cigars has added the Villiger name to the Cuellar cigar brand. Known now as the Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Krēmē, the company looks forward to consumers better identifying the Villiger family of products.



Villiger North America President Rene Castañeda stated: “Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Krēmē is one of our most popular cigar brands. It’s extremely creamy profile, combined with just a hint of spiciness, has made the brand a hit with consumers. This small change of adding the “Villiger” name on band and packaging, will help consumers better identify it as a Villiger brand.”

The Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Krēmē is a mild to medium cigar, made in the Dominican Republic. Creamy and smooth, typical of most connecticut shade cigars, the Villiger Cuellar sets itself apart, with solid construction and more flavor nuances, which include notable hints of spiciness throughout the smoking experience. The connecicut shade wrapper houses choice binder, and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic. The Villiger Cuellar Connecticut Krēmē is expressed in four sizes. MRSP is $6.00 to $7.00.

Robusto 5 x 48

Toro Gordo 6 x 54

Churchill 7 x 50

Torpedo 6.25 x 52



ABOUT VILLIGER SONS LIMITED AND VILLIGER NORTH AMERICA: Villiger Sons Limited was established in 1888 by Jean Villiger in the small town of Pfeffikon, Switzerland, where Villiger remains headquartered to this day. The company manufactures and sells more than 1.5 billion cigars annually, world-wide. Today, under the leadership of Heinrich Villiger, the company prides itself in its commitment to quality, in all their products made in many countries around the globe.

Villiger North America was established to service the premium cigar enthusiast primarily in the United States. With production from some of the most respected manufacturers in Dominican Republic, Central America and elsewhere, it is the goal of the company, to introduce the finest smoking experience a premium handmade cigar has to offer. Today, and in the future, one can rest assured that when they choose a Villiger cigar, the quality of the leaf, the manufacturing, and even the packaging will be second to none.

Follow the NEW Villager Cigars North America on social @VilligerCigarsNorthAmerica #TheOriginalClassic

December 13, 2017

VILLGER CIGARS TO UNVEIL THE NEW LOOK VILLIGER LA LIBERTAD


(Miami, Florida) December 13, 2017— In a continual effort to engage consumers and loyal supporters, Villiger Cigars announces that the highly rated Villiger La Libertad has been repackaged in a new and much sleeker box. The new Villiger La Libertad packaging will boldly sport the red and black colors that were previously only expressed on the cigar band. The Villiger La Libertad in 2016 ranked amongst the Top 25 Cigars in CigarSnob Magazine and was included in Cigar Aficionado’s “Best Buy” list while receiving a rating of 92.



Villiger North America President Rene Castañeda said: “The Villiger La Libertad has a loyal following and has always been highly rated by consumers and media alike. We felt that this brand needed a fresh new look, that was worthy of the cigar, as well as meeting the expectations of the consumer. “

The Villiger La Libertad is made in the Dominican Republic. Medium in strength, this cigar is known for its complex flavors. The fillers are a Dominican and Nicaraguan blend, housed in a Brazilian wrapper. The Villiger La Libertad is expressed in four vitolas with an MSRP of $5.10 to $6.60

Robusto: 5x52

Torpedo Box Pressed: 5.5x52

Churchill: 6.5x50

Masivo: 6x60

ABOUT VILLIGER SONS LIMITED AND VILLIGER NORTH AMERICA: Villiger Sons Limited was established in 1888 by Jean Villiger in the small town of Pfeffikon, Switzerland, where Villiger remains headquartered to this day. The company manufactures and sells more than 1.5 billion cigars annually, world-wide. Today, under the leadership of Heinrich Villiger, the company prides itself in its commitment to quality, in all their products made in many countries around the globe.

Villiger North America was established to service the premium cigar enthusiast primarily in the United States. With production from some of the most respected manufacturers in Dominican Republic, Central America and elsewhere, it is the goal of the company, to introduce the finest smoking experience a premium handmade cigar has to offer. Today, and in the future, one can rest assured that when they choose a Villiger cigar, the quality of the leaf, the manufacturing, and even the packaging will be second to none.

Follow Villager Cigars North America on social @VilligerCigars #TheOriginalClassic

December 11, 2017

2017 Best of the Year recap



Video review HERE.


This was another good year for new cigars. For the most part there were quite a few in my wheelhouse. In total I reviewed 75 cigars. All are listed below but I am highlighting the top 10.
The name of the cigar is shown, size, score, and date reviewed. Click the name of the top 10 to go directly to the original blog post. My reviews differ from other reviewers because I concentrate on new releases. So, let's get to it.




Protocol Probable Cause Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) [96] 6/17/17


This cigar held the top spot for 1/2 of the year. It was simply head and shoulders above the rest.

The initial flavors (which I got almost immediately after lighting the cigar) were a candy-like orange citrus, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, black coffee which could almost be called an espresso. One inch in (12 minutes) the flavors are mixing so well. They are almost like a fermented mixture. Now there is the addition of cinnamon. As the cigar ended (1 hour 9 minutes) the only thing that changed in the flavors were the citrus notes decreased slightly but the other notes of brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and black pepper remained very good.




No. 2
CAO Amazon Anaconda (6 x 52) [96] 9/10/17



The initial flavors were a sweet, rich orange citrus and blackberry preserves. Quite a combination. There was also butter and lots of brown sugar. About 1/2 inch in (11 minutes) you can add cinnamon to the mix of flavors. There are a lot of sweet notes popping in this cigar right now. At the midpoint (40 minutes) add chocolate notes to the mix. The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. The flavors continued very much as they were to the end. This is a pretty consistent cigar after the midpoint.




No. 3
Protocol Lancero (7 1/2 x 38) [95] 2/18/17


The initial flavors at light up were a massive amount of black pepper which I rated at a 9. When you retro hale you really get a blast! There was also a nice orange/apricot mix combined with brown sugar and cinnamon. At, or just past the midpoint (28 minutes) the flavor notes are now orange citrus, brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon. The cigar lasted 54 minutes which is about normal for a lancero. The brown sugar and cinnamon really came out in the latter stages. The citrus and caramel remained very good, as did the black coffee base.




No. 4
Viva Republica Advanced Warfare Lancero (7 x 35) [95] 3/18/17


Note: 3 of my top 4 cigars are lanceros. I am not a lancero guy but there was simply no denying how great these cigars were. The flavors were amazing in these small ring cigars.

The initial flavors were a very sweet cedar and loaded with brown sugar and sprinkles of cinnamon. There was also some caramel mixed in. The cigar is almost buttery rich. 1 1/2 inches in (11 minutes) I am changing my mind on one point. There is so much tangy sweetness in the cigar I am now saying it is an orange citrus instead of a cedar. 2 inches in (19 minutes) there is now chocolate and black coffee. At the midpoint (35 minutes) the caramel notes are really coming out. The main front end flavor may be orange citrus or it may be cedar. There is plenty of brown sugar, caramel, and cinnamon. The chocolate and coffee continue to round out the cigar and add depth. The cigar lasted one hour. The main flavors now are massive amounts of caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon.




No. 5
Nomad Martial Law (6 x 50) [94] 1/26/17


The initial flavors were cinnamon and brown sugar mixed with orange citrus. About one inch in there seems to be a dark, sweet flavor of caramel. At the midpoint there is a smoothness to the cigar. There seems to be a buttery flavor in the mix now. Shortly after the midpoint orange citrus, brown sugar and cinnamon continued to be the lead flavors. Not much changed to the end, which was just fine with me. The combination of citrus, cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel were amazing. The cigar was very sweet and the cinnamon notes were very intense. The caramel gave a smoothness to the cigar and the coffee gave it depth.




No. 6
The T Toro by Matt Booth, A. J. Fernandez, and Robert Caldwell (6 x 52) [94] 11/11/17


The initial flavors were a sweet orange citrus, brown sugar, a dollop of whipping cream, chocolate, and black coffee. 1 1/2 inches in (24 minutes) the whipping cream notes are gone but now there are cinnamon notes. Close to the midpoint (38 minutes) you still have the citrus, some brown sugar, some cinnamon, and now the chocolate has changed to a dark chocolate and it's quite prominent. Throughout the cigar there are nice nutmeg notes that accentuate the overall cigar.




No. 7
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrel Fermented Robusto (5 1/4 x 52) [94] 3/12/17


The cold draw had tons of hickory smoke flavors. The initial flavors at light up were marshmallow cream with brown sugar, caramel, and a ton of black pepper rated at an 8 1/2 to 9. You really get a massive amount of pepper when you retro hale. 1 1/2 inches in (17 minutes) there are some sweet cedar notes and hickory smoked flavors. With about 2 inches remaining (36 minutes in) this is the first time I got coffee notes in the cigar. You still have plenty of the marshmallow cream, brown sugar, caramel, and cedar. With about 1 inch remaining (47 minutes) I'm into the Tapa Negra wrapper. The flavors are now heavy with black coffee, or you may even call it espresso. The cigar ended at 55 minutes. There were still heavy coffee, or espresso notes at the end with more sweet cedar. It increased in the final inch or so. It has some nice sweet brown sugar with it.




No. 8
Guardian of the Farm Campeon (6 x 52) [94] 2/11/17


The initial flavors at light up were the typical Arganosa vegetable like flavor combined with a sweet orange citrus and brown sugar with a light black coffee base. One inch (20 minutes) in the vegetable flavors have become very manageable. There is still a nice orange citrus and brown sugar but now there is also a touch of cinnamon and dry cocoa. The light black coffee holds a nice base. The cigar is very sweet; almost candy-like. The cigar is medium bodied. At the midpoint (43 minutes) the flavors are in equal proportion; very balanced. At the end (1 hour 30 minutes) the cigar continued to be very balanced but I noticed flashes of butter here and there.




No. 9
Serino Royale Medio Petite Sublime (5 3/4 x 54) [94] 7/22/17


The initial flavors were a nice orange citrus central flavor surrounded by honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, cream, light leather, and light black coffee. Close to 2 inches in the flavors are mixing very well. The flavors are very even.The honey notes give a very thick sweetness to the cigar. The leather and coffee notes are at a perfect amount. Just beyond the midpoint the cigar continues to be very balanced. The amazing flavors continued right to the end. The cigar was consistent and balanced.




No. 10
CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto (5 x 50) [94] 6/18/17


The initial flavors were a sweet, pink grapefruit citrus, brown sugar, and an earthy black coffee. About 1 1/2 inches in you can add in chocolate notes and a dash of whipping cream flavor. As I approached the rope band (50 minutes) the whipping cream has morphed over to a sweet caramel. As the cigar ended (1 hour 6 minutes) the chocolate notes became elevated. The cigar had a good mix of flavors. It ended medium to full bodied.


The remaining cigars with scoring from 11-25 shown.

94 Rated
11 Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Corona (5 5/8 x 46) 9/30/17
12 Viaje Ghost Pepper (4 7/8 x 51) 4/8/17
13 Serino Cigars Wayfarer The 109 (6 1/4 x 50) 10/28/17
14 Villiger La Flor De Ynclan Torpedo (6 x 52) 7/1/17


93 Rated
15 Tabernacle by Foundation Cigar Co. (6 x 52) 1/28/17
16 The Judge Toro (6 x 56) by My Father Cigars 1/7/17
17 H. Upmann Nicaragua by A. J. Fernandez (6 x 54) 5/27/17
18 Warped Cigars Lirio Rojo (5 1/2 x 44) 3/4/17
19 H. Upmann Banker Ingot Rose' (6 3/4 x 48) 10/21/17
20 Protocol Probable Cause Churchill (6 1/2 x 48) 3/11/17
21 Las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2017 LC46 (5 5/8 x 46) 7/9/17
22 Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Robusto (5 x 54) 8/26/17
23 Viaje Stuffed Turkey Edicion Limitada 2017 Dark Meat (5 x 58) 11/24/17
24 Protocol Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) 4/9/17
25 Viaje Friends and Family Edicion Limitada Le Joueur (5 x 52) 1/22/17
Nestor Miranda Collection Corojo Robusto (4 1/2 x 50) 1/15/17
Viaje Zombie Super Shot 2017 (3 1/4 x 54) 8/6/17


92 Rated
Partagas Maduro No. 1 {Aug. '16} (5 1/8 x 52) 1/14/17
La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006 Corona Gorda (6 x 47) 1/29/17
Partagas Serie D no. 6 (3 1/2 x 50) 2/19/17
La Aurora 1903 Cameroon Robusto (5 x 50) 4/2/17
Crux du Connoisseur No. 1 (7 1/2 x 38) 4/14/17
Serino Royale Connecticut Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52) 4/29/17
San Isidro Toro by HVC Cigars (6 x 52) 5/20/17
2017 Viaje Zombie Antidote (6 1/4 x 50) 5/29/17
Viaje Pina Mahana (6 x 52) 7/2/17
Monte by Montecristo AJ Fernandez Toro (6 x 55) 7/8/17
Hoyo La Amistad Silver Robusto (5 x 50) 7/29/17
Gispert Intenso Toro (6 x 50) 7/30/17
La Gloria Cubana Coleccion Reserva Torpedo (6 x 54) 8/19/17
Todos Las Dias Toro by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (6 x 52) 9/16/17
Macanudo Inspirado White Robusto (5 x 50) 9/24/17
Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 53 (5 1/4 x 42) 11/26/17


91 Rated
Villiger 1888 Robusto (4 7/8 x 50) 1/8/17
Nomad SA-17 Toro (6 x 50) 1/21/17
Gotham Heroes Alec Bradley Robusto (5 x 50) 2/12/17
La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro Robusto (5 x 52) 3/5/17
Romeo 505 Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 4/15/17
La Palina El Ano 1896 Oscuro Belicoso (6 1/2 x 52) 4/22/17
Cohiba Blue Robusto (5 12 x 50) 5/21/17
Protocol Themis Robusto (5 x 52) 6/11/17
Romeo y Julieta Belicoso by A. J. Fernandez (6 x 52) 6/25/17
Viaje Birthday Blend (6 x 52 Belicoso) 7/15/17
Serino Royale Maduro XX Sublime (6 1/2 x 54) 8/5/17
AJ Fernandez New World Puro Especial Short Churchill (6 x 48) 8/20/17
Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 9/17/17
Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) 10/1/17
Partagas 1845 Extra Oscuro Rothschild (5 5/8 x 46) 10/14/17
Macanudo Inspirado Black Robusto (4 7/8 x 48) 10/21/17
Partagas 1845 Classico Robusto (5 x 50) 11/12/17
La Aurora ADN Dominicano Toro (5 3/4 x 54) 11/18/17


90 Rated
Casta Cigars Pre-Embargo Puro (5 1/2 x 44) 4/1/17
Hit & Run Robusto (4 3/4 x 52) by Matt Booth and Robert Caldwell 10/8/17
LJZ Robusto by Emilio Cigars (5 x 52) 10/15/17
Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged Toro (6 x 50) 12/2/17


89 Rated
All Out Kings Smash by Caldwell Cigars (5 x 52) 3/25/17
Viaje Exclusivo Leaded Double Edged Sword (5 3/4 x 52 Perfecto) 4/23/17
Caldwell Cigars Lost & Found Backdoor Bambi (5 1/2 x 46) 7/16/17
Diesel Grind Toro (6 x 50) 9/23/17
El Gueguense Maduro Toro Huaco (6 x 56) 11/25/17


88 Rated
San Cristobal Quintessence Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) 11/19/17


87 Rated
Esteban Carreras Mr. Brownstone Speed Ball (5 x 54) 10/22/17


86 Rated
Casta Cigars Fusion (5 1/2 x 44) 4/30/17
My Father La Opulencia Toro (6 x 54) 11/5/17


85 Rated
Partagas Heritage Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50) 5/28/17



And there you have it. Every cigar reviewed this year with it's rating. Overall, a very good year. As you know, next year will have a new scoring system but even if that system were used for this year the overall results would pretty much be the same. The top 10 would still be the top 10.

So, with that we end 2017. I am already looking forward to 2018 and a new batch of great cigars!

December 07, 2017

ROBAINA TOBACCO FAMILY PARTNERS WITH THE BURMESE TOBACCO TRADING COMPANY



(Miami, Florida) December 7, 2017— Burmese Tobacco Trading Company announces collaboration with the world renowned Robaina tobacco family.  The Burmese Tobacco Trading Company plans to roll out the Don Alejo Robaina Cigar brand in 2018, with plans to distribute in Europe, North America, and Asian markets. The Don Alejo Robaina brand will be dedicated to the memory of the “Godfather of Cuban tobacco”, Don Alejandro Robaina.



The Burmese Tobacco Trading Company is the brainchild of the Huang family, a prominent Chinese-American group of business owners.  Together with Robaina family engineers, they discovered promising land in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar (Burma) that is very similar to the tobacco farmlands of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. The now established farm: “Myanmar Farms” boasts close to 80 acres, and has been supervised and managed by select members from the Robaina family’s team.



Jimmy Huang stated:” The Robaina team members are extremely excited with the quality of tobacco that has been produced at Myanmar Farms. The altitude, climate, and rich virgin- soil in Burma was an undiscovered treasure until now. We look forward to the roll out of our premium cigars in the near future.”



The Robaina family is globally known for growing some of the highest quality tobacco worldwide, from their plantations in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Alejandro Robaina, the longtime family patriarch was globally recognized by many as the “Godfather of Cuban tobacco”.  After his passing, the Robaina family continues to carry out his legacy in Cuba. They are endeavoring to further the Robaina surname, in this case, by working with the Burmese Tobacco Trading Company. The Robaina family looks forward to producing a truly unique cigar using the time honored practices of Alejandro Robaina.

December 04, 2017

Altadis U.S.A. Expands Distribution Montecristo Epic Craft Cured



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Altadis U.S.A. is proud to announce a national distribution expansion of the latest extension of the Montecristo Epic portfolio: Montecristo Epic Craft Cured. Developed and produced by the well-respected Plasencia family in Nicaragua, Montecristo Epic Craft Cured is the result of choice Nicaraguan tobaccos having undergone a long-forgotten, unique curing process, ensuring one of the most flavorful cigars ever offered.

Handcrafted by the Plasencia family, this Montecristo selection exudes complexity and elegance; comprised of rare tobaccos, 100% from Nicaragua, and featuring a vintage 2006 Rosado Oscuro wrapper. To achieve Montecristo Epic Craft Cured’s incomparable flavor, a notable aging method was utilized, which has been employed for generations by only the most skilled cigar artisans. This distinctive technique specially cures each tobacco component of the cigar within small pilones. The meticulous process unifies all the components, allowing the flavors of the cigar’s wrapper, binder and filler tobaccos to marry into a more harmonious profile. The result of this special curing method is a well-balanced, and far more flavorful cigar.
Montecristo Epic Craft Cured boasts a luxuriant medley of Esteli, Jalapa and Condega filler tobaccos, carefully wrapped within a unique Ometepe binder. This exquisite release is beautifully finished with a vintage 2006 Rosado Oscuro wrapper, grown and harvested by the Plasencia family. This ultra-premium leaf has been carefully aged since it was harvested in 2006, from a batch regarded by many in the industry as some of the finest of crops grown in the region’s recent history.

With Montecristo Epic Craft Cured, the Plasencia family sought to create one of the most inspired and flavorful blends under the prestigious label, prompting the talented team to resurrect and hone an age-old curing practice, exclusively for this sophisticated release. Montecristo Epic Craft Cured promises to be a benchmark of taste, creativity, and construction. From more experienced palates, to the contemporary young adult smoker, Montecristo Epic Craft Cured’s profile is aimed to please; imparting a balanced array of warm spices, cocoa, nuts, and coffee nuances, within each flavorful draw.


Montecristo Epic Craft Cured is a timeless masterpiece that no polished connoisseur should miss. Craft Cured will be priced between $14.65 and $16.50 a cigar, and presented in boxes of 10. Full distribution to trade channels is expected to begin on December 15, 2017.
For more information regarding Montecristo Epic Craft Cured, please contact Joseph Fernandez at JFernandez@altadisusa.com.

Sizes:                           52 x 5
                                     52 x 6
                                     52 x 6 1/8
Box count:                   10
MSRP:                         $14.65 – $16.50 USD

December 02, 2017

Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged Toro (6 x 50)
















Video review HERE.


The Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged is the third installment of Camacho’s Master Built Series. The series launched two years ago with the Camacho American Barrel-Aged. The Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged builds a blend around a corojo leaf that was aged in hand-selected old Flor de Cana rum barrels. 

The Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged uses a proprietary bunching process that was geared to create a more robust and intense flavor experience. 


Blend Profile

The Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged includes tobaccos from five countries. The filler consists of Estelí Corojo, Honduran Corojo Ligero and the Piloto Cubano. The cigar is produced at Camacho’s new Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A. factory located in Danlí, Honduras.

Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Negrito San Andres, Mexico
Filler: Honduran, Corojo ’99 (Nicaragua), Piloto Cubano, San Vicente (Dominican Republic)
Country of Origin: Honduras (Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A.)



Vitolas Available

The Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged is available in four frontmarks. Each is packaged in 20-count boxes.

Robusto: 5 x 50
Robusto Tubos: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50 REVIEWED TODAY
Gordo: 6 x 60



The cigar is well made and has an average feel in the hand. It is a medium brown in color.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were cedar, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, and black coffee. The pepper is a course ground black pepper rated at an 8 to 8 1/2. You get a nice amount of black pepper on the finish even at this early stage. The finish is rather bland and almost tasteless. It's a low level or weak chocolate with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The caramel gives the cigar some high pitched sweetness while the other flavors are rather dark noted. 




2 inches in (28 minutes) there is a small amount of whipping cream in the flavor mix. The pepper is still very good especially on the finish. The finish is still weak and bland. It's now one of a weak chocolate and caramel. The cigar is medium bodied. There seem to be some aspects of rum flavor in the cigar but could that be my mind playing tricks on me because I know some of the leaves were aged in rum barrels? Or, is it the brown sugar and caramel giving the faux rum taste? Who knows. 




A little past the midpoint (40 minutes) a new flavor entered the picture and it's holding down the sweetness. I describe it as nutmeg. It seems to be a dry nutmeg and it's acting as a blanket over the sweeter flavors making them subdued. It also appears that the subdued flavors on the finish could be due to the nutmeg notes. The cigar is still medium bodied leaning toward medium to full. The pepper on the finish is still very good. The finish is a minor amount sweeter. The cedar on the front end is more of a dry cedar. The caramel notes are still there but the nutmeg is holding them down. The brown sugar is weak. The cigar still has chocolate notes. And, black coffee holds the base. At this point the cigar is usually at it's peak but the blanket of nutmeg is holding it down. 




The cigar ended at 1 hour 8 minutes. Rather short for a standard toro. The cigar pretty much followed the pattern of the last segment with the sweetness moving up only slightly. You have dry cedar, touch of brown sugar, and the caramel is hard to detect. The whipping cream notes are still there but they are also faint. The chocolate notes are still there and coffee is at the base. The pepper is very good on the finish. The finish is a little sweeter and more of a cream with some notes of nutmeg. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The cigar started out nice and went a little downhill with the heavy nutmeg notes that blanketed the sweeter flavors. These are available now and if you want to try them you can get them HERE.


Score: 90 (current scoring)
2018 scoring system: 85



November 30, 2017

New rating system coming for 2018

Video description HERE.


Lately there has been a push to have reviewers scores more closely related. So, I am making a slight adjustment in my scoring. It's not a big change but it may actually help me. As you know if you follow my scoring and watch my Youtube reviews my baseline score for "would I have/buy this cigar again" has been 90. In my opinion that's where all cigars start and either move up or down from there.

Beginning in 2018 my baseline score will change to 85. While this is not a big change it will make a typical 90 score in today's reviews an 85. It will also free up some scoring space with a bigger range above 85. This will take a little mental adjustment on my part but as I have always said the score is not the biggest part of my reviews, the description of flavors is. I want to describe the cigar accurately so that you can decide for yourself if you want to invest in the cigar or not.

Current scoring         New scoring
96                              95
95                              93
94                              91
93                              90
92                              89
91                              87
90                              85
89                              84
88                              83
87                              82

There is still the possibility of a cigar scoring above a 95 so stay tuned!

Since a cigar can change from beginning to end I will also implement a rating at 1/3 intervals. I will score the cigar shortly after light up, at the midpoint, and the final third. The overall score will be a compilation of all 3 with some influence from "floating factors". It will not necessarily be the average of all 3 scores but in most cases it should be close.

Another change, which should not really be a change at all, is all cigars received through the mail will sit a minimum of 14 days before reviewed. Anything purchased locally from a brick and mortar shop will be reviewed as soon as I have time with no set resting period  unless the shop received the cigars less than 2 weeks ago.

Thank you.


November 26, 2017

Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 53 (5 1/4 x 42)







Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)
Inside the Warped Cigars booth during the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show was a brand new line started by owner Kyle Gellis and his younger brother Devin.

Named Edition One, the brand was showing off its debut line, a regular production Nicaraguan puro named Cloud Hopper that uses only AGANORSA tobacco. The cigars were shipped to retailers in August packaged in 50-count cabinets and are being produced at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Kyle Gellis explains the brand name:

My younger brother Devin and I both travel a lot, we constantly share stories of our times traveling, in the air, etc. So Cloud Hopper was a term we used to describe our journeys, it was something we both share, the love of travel but sometimes travel doesn’t go as expected.


Cloud Hopped is available in two sizes:
Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 53 (5 1/4 x 42) — $6.30 (Boxes of 50, $315) REVIEWED TODAY
Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 485 (5 x 48) — $6.50 (Boxes of 50, $325)


Blend:
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.



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





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were sweet pink grapefruit and white chocolate. There was a black coffee base and a lot of black pepper which I rated at an 8 1/2. The sweeter flavors are light and airy but the black coffee bursts onto the scene. Nice start.



1 1/2 inch in (15 minutes) the nice, sweet notes of pink grapefruit and white chocolate are still there but the earthy black coffee is in massive amounts and dwarfs the sweet flavors. The black pepper is also very high and powerful and is now up to a 9 rating. The earthy black coffee all but engulfs the sweet pink grapefruit and white chocolate. It's massive! In the midst of all this chaos there are hints of brown sugar and nutmeg. The finish is one of a sweet cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied but I expect it to move up. The cigar made a massive change and it happened rather quickly after light up. Being a fan of black pepper it's just fine with me.




2 1/2 inches in (33 minutes) the overwhelming black coffee that I had at the one inch point has toned down. The front end flavors now have cinnamon and brown sugar to add to the pink grapefruit (seems to be a kinda-sorta citrus flavor that may be called a light cedar) and white chocolate. While the earthy coffee has toned down there are still quite a bit of them. There are also still a lot of black pepper notes. You get massive amounts of black pepper when you retro hale. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is leaning toward medium to full bodied now. 




With about 2 inches remaining (56 minutes) I noticed (during the video review) that I had not mentioned the nutmeg notes, which are becoming more obvious. So, this segment is to say there are nice nutmeg notes which actually started way back at, or close to the beginning but I failed to mention them with all the other notes all over the chart.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 8 minutes. The flavors continued to the end with large amounts of earthy black coffee and pepper. The sweeter flavors were pretty much white chocolate, cinnamon, and brown sugar. There were minor amounts of pink grapefruit at this point but that was not enough to kill the cigar. The finish, however, had citrus notes to go along with the sweet cream. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. I enjoyed this cigar very much. The flavors are rather light and airy initially but the massive amounts of earthy black coffee and pepper snap you into another dimension. Since I am a big fan of black pepper this cigar was in my lane. The sweet notes made it even more enjoyable.

Score: 92

November 25, 2017

El Gueguense Maduro Toro Huaco (6 x 56)







Video review HERE.



(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Nick Melillo’s El Güegüense brand now has a maduro offering. At the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company launched “The Wise Man” Maduro. The cigar becomes the first Mexican San Andres cigar to be released by Foundation Cigar Company.

In addition to the Mexican San Andres wrapper, The Wise Man uses a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos from Condega, Estelí, and Jalapa. The line will feature the same original five vitolas as El Güegüense: Robusto, Corona Gorda, Toro Huaco, Churchill, and Torpedo. As with the original El Güegüense, the cigar will be made at the TABSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

“We are overwhelmed with how El Güegüense has been received in the marketplace. It is an honor for people to recognize a project that personally means so much to me and the Nicaraguan people,” says Melillo. “I was looking to create a line extension with a whole different level of complexity and the San Andrès wrapper brings just that. The blend encompasses bold flavors of black pepper, dark roast espresso and cacao. Medium plus in body and strength and rounded out with a nutty finish. I have always been drawn to San Andres, Mexico and have been buying tobacco there since 2003. The wrapper is one of my favorites, not to mention one of the oldest seed varieties in the world, which predates even Cuban seed. The combination of this unique capa and Nicaraguan fillers makes for an amazingly flavorful smoke”.

The original El Güegüense translates to “The Wise Man”. It also represents one of the oldest literary works in Nicaragua. The new Maduro offering does feature the name “El Güegüense” on the packaging, but the English translation is emphasized.


Pricing will be $9.00 to $13.00 SRP.


Blend Profile
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Corojo ’99 (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. – TABSA)


Vitolas Available
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
Toro Huaco: 6 x 56 REVIEWED TODAY
Torpedo: 6 1/4 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 48


The cigar lacks nothing in beauty. It looks like a large piece of dark chocolate. It's very well made and has a decent feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a tangy, sweet orange citrus surrounded by blackberry notes, dark chocolate, and espresso. There was black pepper in an average amount. I rated it a 7. The espresso and dark chocolate are your main flavors, followed by the blackberry notes and then the citrus. 




2 inches in (31 minutes) you no longer have any orange citrus notes. You now have cedar, nutmeg, blackberry, unsweetened dark chocolate, and espresso. The cedar, nutmeg, and blackberry form a very unusual flavor. The espresso continues to be very prominent. The dark chocolate is also quite noticeable. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. The finish is one of unsweetened dark chocolate with a decent amount of lingering black pepper. The finish does not stand out very much. 




A little past the midpoint (51 minutes) the nutmeg notes are starting to be the dominant flavor. The blackberry notes are almost an afterthought. The dark chocolate and espresso remain quite high. The black pepper is up a bit. The finish is unchanged. The lingering pepper is up a little also. The cigar is medium to full bodied now. The cigar is low in sweetness. The sweetness the cigar has comes from the blackberry notes. The cigar is now very dark noted with little sweetness.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 30 minutes. I expected it to last longer based on the initial look and feel. By the end the cigar reached full bodied. The espresso and unsweetened dark chocolate notes are very prominent, followed closely by the nutmeg notes, and the blackberry notes are almost undetectable. The pepper seemed to get better as the cigar went along. The finish did not change at all; unsweetened dark chocolate.  But, the lingering black pepper did move up somewhat. I purchased this cigar at my local shop and it has been doing well there as the box was missing quite a few cigars. For me, it would have been a fantastic cigar if it had a large amount of sweetness to go along with those massive dark notes. Many people like dark noted cigars with minor sweetness so if that sounds like something you would like give these a try. You can purchase these cigars HERE.


Score: 89

November 24, 2017

Viaje Stuffed Turkey Edicion Limitada 2017 Dark Meat (5 x 58)






Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
After a one-year hiatus, Viaje’s Thanksgiving seasonal release, the Viaje Stuffed Turkey, is making a return – but this year with a twist. This year’s version has been dubbed the Viaje Stuffed Turkey Edición Limitada and will feature box-pressed versions of the White Meat (Natural wrapper) and Dark Meat (Maduro) wrapper blends.

The Viaje Stuffed Turkey made its debut in 2011 as a Nicaraguan puro. Measuring 5 x 60, it also marked the company’s first 60 ring gauge cigar. It was originally released as a part of the “White Label Project” line. This line is a mechanism for Viaje to release experimental blends and sizes, factory errors, etc.

In 2012, the Stuffed Turkey was expanded to two blends. The original 2011 blend was rebranded as the Stuffed Turkey White Meat, and a San Andres Maduro wrapped version was added and dubbed the Stuffed Turkey Dark Meat.

The Stuffed Turkey White Meat and Dark Meat versions returned in 2013. For 2014, the sizes were changed to 5 x 58 cigars. In addition, the Stuffed Turkey White Meat and Dark Meat versions were moved out of the White Label Project series and received its own banding and packaging.

The 5 x 58 White and Dark Meat versions returned again in 2015, but for 2016 the line was given a year off.

The new Viaje Stuffed Turkey Edición Limitada White Meat and Dark Meat versions feature the same tobacco components as previous versions, but use a different vintage of the tobaccos. Both blends are packaged in 25-count boxes.


Stuffed Turkey Dark Meat Edición Limitada

Wrapper: Maduro San Andres
Binder: Nicaragua AGANORSA
Filler: Nicaragua AGANORSA
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Gordo: 5 x 58 (Box Pressed)



The cigar is a very dark brown and box pressed. It has a nice oily wrapper. The cigar looks like a large piece of chocolate. Even the shot of the foot shows dark tobacco.





The test draw after cutting the cap was a bit firm but workable. The initial flavors were a sweet dark chocolate, caramel, lots of black coffee, and lots of black pepper which I rated at an 8 1/2. There is a minor amount of black licorice noted. There is also a small amount of underlying cedar. 




About 1 1/2 inch in (35 minutes) the flavors are about like they were except I no longer get the black licorice notes. There are, however, now some nutmeg notes but they are not intrusive. The coffee and pepper are still very good. The cedar notes are very faint. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is rather short and one of dark chocolate with a minor amount of lingering pepper. 




2 inches or so in (54 minutes) the caramel notes are really coming out. The nutmeg notes are also quite noticeable. The sweet dark chocolate notes are still very enjoyable. Of course, the black coffee and pepper are still there although the pepper has toned down a bit. The cedar is still noticeable but in small amounts.  Overall the cigar is a nice mix of flavors. There is a lot of sweetness in this cigar. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish is still one of dark chocolate but there is more sweetness now. There is also a little more lingering black pepper.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 36 minutes. A very nice burn time for a 5" cigar. The ash dripped once during the entire burn. Very impressive. At the end the dark chocolate and caramel notes were once again dominant. The cedar was barely detectable. The coffee and pepper notes remained good. There were low levels of nutmeg. They decreased from the midpoint on. The cigar reached medium to full bodied. The finish had the addition of caramel to go along with the dark chocolate. There was a minor amount of lingering pepper. The finish is also longer than it was initially. This is a very good maduro cigar. I enjoyed it. These are on shelves now and available online. Since they are a seasonal release they will be in short supply so grab them while you can.


Score: 93