September 21, 2014

Illusione Fume D'Amour Viejos (5 x 50)






Video review HERE.


Dion Giolito of Illusione says the name is French with Fume D’Amour translating roughly to "love smoke". The blend is based on the Illusione Corojo (Original Document), although this cigar uses a different wrapper.

It’s made entirely of Nicaraguan viso and seco, meaning no ligeros are used. This should make for a lighter blend in strength given the fact that higher priming ligeros are usually stronger than its seco and viso counterparts, which fall lower on the tobacco plant. Giolito indicated that he’s been able to find enough strength and flavor from the mid and lower priming tobaccos in AGANORSA’s tobacco inventory. 

Available in 4 sizes:
Caprastanios (6 x 56)
Clementes (6 1/2 x 48)
Lagunas (4 1/4 x 42)
Viejos (5 x 50) REVIEWED TODAY

All sizes are sold in boxes of 25, except for the Lagunas, which will ship in 50-count cabinets. Prices are between $6.50-9.50.


The cigar is light brown and dense feeling in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap had a slight amount of firmness. The initial flavors were graham crackers, sweet cedar, cream, black coffee and black pepper rated at an 8. The finish at this point is a bit hard to nail down.


1/2 inch in I am satisfied with the initial flavor assessment. The cigar is mild to medium bodied. The finish is a very light cream. It's just above a clean, or dry finish. There is very little lingering pepper. The cigar is burning evenly with a salt and pepper ash. The front end flavors have a nice flavor mix.





About 2 inches in the front end flavors are about the same. There might be a little citrus influence to the graham cracker/cedar flavors because there is a bit of tartness now. The cream notes are still around with coffee as a base. I noticed that the finish now has some bread notes to go along with the light, sweet cream. I do not notice any bread notes on the front end, however. The cigar is medium bodied now and I do not expect it to increase.





With less than 2 inches remaining I have lost the cream notes. The graham cracker notes are faint. The cedar and coffee are your main flavors but there are now some dry oak notes connecting those two. The finish has more sweetness in the cream with the bread notes. The cigar is medium bodied. It seems like the lack of ligero is affecting the cigar somewhat at this point.





At the end the flavor notes from the last segment still apply. I started noticing that the lack of ligero affected the cigar at about the midpoint. The cigar does not have the pop I like. The graham cracker notes are still faint. The cedar is still nice but now it seems to be missing something. This has been a pretty good cigar but not as good as other Illusione's I've had.


Score: 90

September 20, 2014

Ditka Signature Toro by Camacho (6 x 50)






Video review HERE.


This is a brand new cigar which debuted at this year's IPCPR in Las Vegas.

(from the Camacho website)
Building on the success of recent limited edition releases, Camacho Cigars is proud to introduce the first core Ditka by Camacho line, the new Ditka Signature.

Mike Ditka, a member of Camacho’s “Board of the Bold”, is one of the most iconic and unapologetic cigar loving personalities in the world. This new cigar was developed hand-in-hand with the legendary Coach and is the perfect embodiment of Iron Mike’s optimal flavor profile. “A balanced and pleasurable medium-bodied smoke with just the right amount of spice. The Signature is one of the best cigars we’ve made so far, I’m proud of how my tastes were really brought to life with this project. If it carries my name it’s got to be good and the new Signature is damn good,” said Mike Ditka.


The new Ditka Signature comes in a five cigar line and uses a Honduran criollo wrapper, Nicaraguan corojo 99 binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic. 

Robusto (5 x 50, $8)
Toro (6 x 50, $8.50) REVIEWED TODAY
Churchill (7 x 48, $9), 
Figurado (6 1/8 x 54 x 52, $9.50)
Gordo (6 x 60, $10)

The Ditka Signature is packed in boxes of 20.


The cigar is dense and well made. It is a medium brown in color.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The dry draw had sweet notes which I'm hoping carry over to the smoking of the cigar. The initial flavors at light up were interesting. They were a sweet orange citrus, light leather, brown sugar, and an effervescence in the leather. The pepper was a black pepper rated at a 7.5


About an inch in the orange citrus has transitioned over to a mix of cedar and orange citrus with influence of cherry. The leather is subtle. There are some dry wood notes. The effervescence has toned down. The black pepper is unchanged. The finish is a sweet cream with a touch of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied.



About 2 1/2 inches in there are really no major changes. The cherry notes have toned down. The other front end flavors are very sweet and they remind me of a cake icing. There is a touch of richness. The finish is unchanged. The strength is still medium bodied.



About 2 1/2 inches remaining. The cedar has made a slight move to the lead flavor. The cigar is still very sweet. The cigar is also still medium bodied. The finish is now a toasted cream.



The cigar ended with the sweet cedar as the lead flavor followed by the orange citrus. The dry wood notes were again somewhat prominent along with some of the effervescence. The light cherry notes popped in from time to time after the midpoint. The cigar made a move toward medium to full bodied but it never really got there so I'm calling if medium bodied. The front end flavors remained sweet like cake icing. This was another great cigar in the Ditka line. A tip of the hat to Mike Ditka and Camacho.



Score: 93

September 17, 2014

CIGAR DOJO SARSAPARILLA CIGAR ANNOUNCED




Hialeah Gardens, Florida (September 17, 2014) – Sarsaparilla was very popular drink in the old west and was often believed to be a remedy for a number of health conditions. Sarsaparilla remains popular to this day because of its distinct and complex flavor.

Eric Guttormson, AKA Master Sensei, owner and operator of the popular Cigar Dojo app, has collaborated with Erik Espinosa from Espinosa Premium Cigars to create a cigar that pays homage to the warm, full, complex flavor of the old-west Sarsaparilla.


Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla is a 5.5” x 52 Belicoso cigar that is draped in a gorgeous San Andreas maduro wrapper and filled with a secret blend of some of the most flavorful and interesting tobacco you will ever smoke. Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla is a full-bodied, complex cigar with just enough strength to balance the intense flavors.

“We wanted to come up with a cigar that had a unique flavor. We wanted a cigar that took the cigar smoker through a journey from start to finish. We wanted a cigar that evolves as you smoke it”, stated Sensei.

He continued, “It’s easy to get a cigar produced, but we were not looking to create just any cigar, we wanted a full-flavored cigar that would grab your attention and not let go - which is why we are working with Erik Espinosa and the guys at the La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. They produce the full-flavored types of cigars we were shooting for, so it was the perfect match.”

Erik Espinosa added, “Working with the Dojo crew is great, they came to us with a vision of bold flavor and bold flavor is what we do best. Creating a cigar that evolves as you smoke it is an art form and I think we really created something unique with the Sarsaparilla.”

Sensei’s Sensational Sarsaparilla will be a limited run of 10-count bundles and sold online exclusively through Famous Smoke Shop in Pennsylvania. 10 pack bundles of Sarsaparilla will retail for $79.00 and will be available to the members of the CigarDojo app first in early November and then opened up to the general public shortly after.

GENERAL CIGAR HIRES SAM LECCIA AND ACQUIRES BRANDS



Richmond, VA -- General Cigar Company is excited to announce today they have hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General Cigar has also acquired the Leccia Tobacco Company cigar brands, as part of the Foundry Tobacco Company, and will market and distribute the Black, White and Luchador lines, effective today.

Sam has built a strong reputation in the premium cigar category through his non-traditional approach to cigar making and brand building.  He is best known for developing contemporary blends that put a unique and exciting spin on the tradition of premium cigars. In his new role at General Cigar, Sam will continue to develop his brands while leveraging the company’s vast tobacco resources, premium cigar blending expertise and creative talent. He will also bring new, innovative products to the premium cigar market.  As an ambassador for his brands, Sam will continue on his quest to share his passion for premium cigars with retailers and consumers across the country.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “I am impressed with what Sam has achieved.  He broke into the industry, worked tirelessly for years, and made a name for himself by developing interesting cigar brands.  Sam will provide additional creative talent to complement the expertise of our existing team, enabling us to build on the success of his and our current brands. I look forward to his contributions in helping us accelerate our plans for Foundry Tobacco Company, and to the personal perspective he will bring to our entire brand portfolio.”

“To say that I am thrilled to be joining General Cigar Company is a gross understatement,” said Sam Leccia. “Even before I began my career in this business, I experimented with different tobaccos to create new flavors and smoking experiences. Having creative freedom, access to the resources of General Cigar, and the ability to work with the company’s master blenders and tobacco experts is like a dream come true. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to take my passion for this business and my love of delivering the unexpected and put them to work for General Cigar.”

About General Cigar Company
General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit www.cigarworld.com.

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

September 16, 2014

GENERAL CIGAR ACQUIRES TORAÑO BRANDS




Richmond, VA -- General Cigar Company today announced the acquisition of the Toraño Family Cigar Company brands. This acquisition will strengthen General Cigar’s market position and enhance the company’s product mix to deliver greater value and innovation to its retail customers and consumers. It will also allow General Cigar to further expand its exceptional portfolio of leading brands by offering opportunities within the company’s international footprint, while presenting significant growth potential in the domestic market.

Spanning almost 100 years, Toraño Cigars has a vast history that encompasses every area of the cigar industry, from growing to manufacturing, to ultimately the creation of their own brands.  Production of Toraño’s portfolio including the popular Exodus, Reserva, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collections will remain unchanged.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio. Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”

“There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba. There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise,” said Toraño president Charlie Toraño.
The transaction will take effect on September 11, 2014.

About Toraño Family Cigar Company
Headquartered in Miami, Toraño Family Cigar Company was established as a leaf growing company in Cuba and spans over four generations. Following the Cuban revolution, the Toraño family grew tobacco in the Dominican Republic and later began manufacturing handmade cigars across Central America. Since the 1990s, Toraño developed its own portfolio of brands, best known for having complex blends featuring tobacco from many different countries of origin and taste profiles.

About General Cigar Company
General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit www.cigarworld.com.
® Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, CAO, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

September 11, 2014

Jericho Hill OBS (4 3/4 x 52)






Video review HERE.


(from the Crowned Heads website)
John R. “Johnny” Cash is widely considered to be one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. His legacy continues to inspire many, including Crowned Heads. Jericho Hill was inspired by Cash’s rendition of “Cocaine Blues,” found on Cash’s 1968 live album, “At Folsom Prison.”

Jericho Hill is a hedonistic blend of the best Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, resulting in a rich and robust taste profile that is focused, potent, and complex. The smoke is a full-throttle experience that assaults your palate at break-neck speed, races around your mouth for a hundred miles, and leaves your taste buds in a cloud of power, intensity, and excitement. Manufactured at My Father Cigars S.A., Esteli, Nicaragua, and distributed by Crowned Heads, LLC.

You can find Jericho Hill in the following vitolas:
44S - 5 1/8” x 44
LBV - 6 1/2” x 46
OBS - 4 3/4″ x 52
Willy Lee - 6″ x 54

The cigar is very well made and dense feeling. It is box pressed.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were brown sugar, graham cracker, cedar, and dry wood notes, 


About 1 1/2 inches in the cigar picked up in sweetness. The pepper is a white pepper rated at a  7.5. The finish is a brown sugar and sweet cream with very little lingering white pepper. The ash is very tight and the cigar has an almost perfect burn line. The cigar is medium bodied.





At the band the basic flavors are about the same but there are coffee notes at the base. This may have been missed earlier but they're there. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish is about the same but there are light notes of graham cracker on the finish also. There is still very little lingering white pepper on the finish. The cigar is very smooth and seems to be very consistent.




With about 1 1/2 inches remaining you get a lot of the sweet cedar followed by the graham cracker and brown sugar.  The coffee notes and white pepper are unchanged. The finish is very pleasing in this cigar.





At the end the flavors remained very consistent. You'll get about an hour out of this cigar. The strength ticked up to medium to full bodied at the 2/3 point. The pepper intensified to an 8. There is still not much lingering pepper on the finish, which has a few notes of graham cracker to go along with the sweet cream and brown sugar. This has been a very good cigar and priced around $9.50 or so.


Score: 91

September 02, 2014

Sosa Cigars Press Announcement‏



ANTILLIAN CIGAR CORP. TO DISTRIBUTE THE CIGAR CORK AND ARANDOZA, HEADLINES AND DOÑA NIEVES CIGAR BRANDS

MIAMI, FL - August 29, 2014 -

Antillian Cigar Corporation, owner of the popular cigar brands Sosa, Underground and 60 by Sosa, is happy to announce that it will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for The Cigar Cork, Arandoza Cigars, Headlines Cigars and Doña Nieves Cigars.



"We are excited to bring these boutique brands under the umbrella of the Sosa family," stated Arby Sosa, creative director and sales manager for Antillian Cigar Corp.  He explained, "With this being the year of our 50th Anniversary, the Sosa family looked at the cigar landscape and realized that 'strength in numbers' is the future.  Why did I choose these brands to distribute? If you know me, you know I'm a simple guy.  Each product had something different and interesting to offer, and I believe this collaboration with innovative concepts will allow all of us to remain competitive in this business."



Under this arrangement, the Antillian Cigar sales staff will bring The Cigar Cork and the Arandoza, Headlines and Doña Nieves cigar brands to market while each company will continue to focus on its own product development, brand expansion, and manufacturing.

About Antillian Cigar Corp:

The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920's, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan's son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. In 1964, Arturo and Juan opened their first factory in Miami, FL.  The factory closed in 1980 and moved operations to the Dominican Republic. In 1996, Juan B. Sosa began with the Fuente family and manufactures various lines of cigars of out the Fuente factory.  Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews.



About The Cigar Cork:

The Cigar Cork is a patent-pending division of Maine Lobster Steamer, LLC, a registered 100% Veteran Owned Company.  The Cigar Cork is a re-usable cigar humidification/flavoring system that stores and humidifies cigars in an airtight pressurized tube designed to give you years of use.  Each closing of the Cigar Cork tube reseals and pressurizes the tube ensuring an unsurpassed cigar preservation environment.  Each tube can fit up to a 7 x 60 cigar or hold smaller cigars.


About Arandoza Cigars:

Arandoza Cigars is owned by Robert Arango and makes the Red, White and Blue Label cigar lines out of the La Zona factory in Nicaragua.  The wrapper used for these cigars is Habano, Habano Oscuro and San Andreas Capa Negra and will be available in 9 sizes.  The strength of these cigars is medium to full-bodied.



About Headlines Cigars:

Headlines Cigars is owned by Dee Aguasvivas and Ulises Delgado.  The cigar is a 100% Dominican cigar using Andullo tobacco and made out of the Tabacalera Real Tamboril.  The wrapper used is Pennsylvania Seed and Habano Oscuro grown in the Dominican Republic.  It will be available in 6 sizes, and the strength of this cigar is medium to full-bodied.



About Doña Nieves:

The Doña Nieves brand of cigars is made in Nicaragua in the factory of El Galan owned by Felix Mesa.  It is a medium to full-bodied cigar.  The wrapper used is Habano and will be available in 3 sizes.

August 31, 2014

1875 Romeo y Julieta Bully (5 x 50)






Video review HERE.


This cigar is fresh off the 2014 IPCPR in Las Vegas. This version of the RyJ consists of:

Wrapper: Indonesian Shade (TBN) Select Vintage 2010
Binder: Aged Dominican Piloto
Filler: Aged Dominican and Olor

The TBN stands for "Tembakau Bawah Naungan" which translates to "Tobacco Under Sheet" or "Shade Grown Tobacco".

(from Cigar Coop's website)
1875 represents the year that the Romeo y Julieta brand was established in Cuba and pays tribute to the Shakespearean tragedy. While there are cigars branded in the Romeo y Julieta line with 1875, this is a different cigar. (This is noted by the 1875 appearing before the "Romeo y Julieta" name as opposed to the existing lines where 1875 appears after the "Romeo y Julieta" line.

The 1875 Romeo y Julieta is being launched in five sizes plus a cigarillo-like offering.

Dos: 5 1/2 x 44
Bully: 5 x 50 Reviewed Today
Tres: 6 x 50
Churchill: 7 x 50
Gordo: 6 x 60
Petit Bully: 4 x 38 (cigarillo)


These cigars will be available only in  brick and mortar shops.


The cigar is well made and dense feeling in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap had a touch of firmness but it was very workable. The initial flavors were a tangy orange citrus with hickory and cream tones. The citrus seems to also have cedar mixed in with it. The pepper is a black pepper rated at a 7.5. The cigar is very sweet. There is a nice mix of flavors, in fact. The creaminess filters over to the finish. You get it immediately. Cream goes straight from the front end to the finish seamlessly. There is a touch of lingering pepper on the finish but not much.


Close to an inch in I am satisfied with my initial flavor assessment. I am very surprised at the orange citrus notes in this cigar since it is Dominican. I am use to those notes in the typical Nicaraguan cigar but not typically in a Dominican. I'm not complaining, mind you; just surprised. I am noticing aspects of red pepper in the cigar now but I want to see if it continues. The cigar is mild to medium at this point. The sweetness of the citrus/cedar is very nice!




At the lower band there are now some roasted nut flavors on the front end. The hickory is somewhat subdued but the citrus/cedar is still going strong. The red pepper did continue and is very nice. The finish is still a heavy, thick sweet cream. There is more lingering pepper now on the finish which is also a black/red combination.



In a nutshell, this is the best cigar Altadis has put out in years. Here at the end the same notes apply; sweet orange citrus/cedar, roasted nuts, red and black pepper, and cream. All of them are still in play. The finish continued with the sweet cream with lingering red and black pepper. The cigar ended as medium bodied. This is not a powerful cigar. It is a tasty cigar. If anyone of you have a similar palate as mine you should try this cigar. It is very, very good. I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar. They should be on store shelves now or very soon so look for them! I was very impressed.



Score: 94

August 30, 2014

Cubanacan Habano Piramide (6 1/8 x 52)






Video review HERE.


Cubanacan Cigars are part of the Tarazona Cigar empire. The Habano is the second edition from Cubanacan following their successful Connecticut cigar. 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaragua

Available in the following sizes:
Chato (4.5 x 42)
Rothschild (5 x 50)
Piramide (6 1/8 x 52) Reviewed today
Churchill (7 x 50)
El Gordo (6 x 60)


The cigar is a beautiful shape. The wrapper is oily and has a well made piramide cap.




The foot:




After cutting the cap the test draw was a bit firm but workable. The initial flavors were freshly tanned leather, sweet cedar with cream undertones, and quite a bit or roasted nuts. The pepper is a black pepper but not a strong black pepper. I rated it at a 7.5. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. The finish is a toasted cream with some influence of the roasted nuts. There is also an average amount of lingering pepper.



At about one inch in the leather notes have really picked up. This is a very meaty cigar and it reminds me of a steak! The cedar is the secondary flavor but it's far behind the leather notes. The cream is tailing off but the roasted nuts are holding the base. 



About 1 1/2 inches in the burn is a little off but I am letting it self-correct. The meaty leather notes are the main flavor but the sweet cedar has made a resurgence. It is really moving up. There are also a lot more roasted nuts. The cigar is better tasting now, to me. The heavy leather notes without much sweetness was a bit much.



With about 2 1/2 inches remaining the cigar's burn issues did self correct. The primary flavor is still the leather but the sweet cedar and nuts have pulled almost even with the leather. The flavors are almost in an even split. The roasted nuts are also developing some creaminess to them. The cigar is still medium bodied and I thought it would have moved past that by now. The finish is about the same as before.



At the end the flavors remained fairly even but I give the nod to the leather notes. The cigar ended medium bodied. The finish remained about the same but the roasted nut flavors had more of an impact at the end. This has been a good, basic habano cigar. Had this cigar had more richness and possibly some buttery notes in the nut flavors it would have been better to me. However, this is a good cigar and I would buy more of them.



Score: 90