April 26, 2017

Drew Estate Ships Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp Thang & Swamp Rat

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 — Miami, FL – Drew Estate announced today that the Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp Thang & Swamp Rat will start shipping in April 2017. Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat were formally introduced at IPCPR 2016 and soft released at the 2016 Kentucky Barn Smoker.

This thing should not be, and it's a deeply disturbing yet pleasing smoke. Deep in the swamps it is lurking, waiting to be discovered. By pairing this deliciously sweet candela wrapper with the smoky & tasty Kentucky Fire Cured tobaccos, an eerie mystery has been revealed for a unique and powerful experience.

From his Wynwood safehouse, Jonathan Drew stated “We continue to demonstrate our leadership in the Fire Cured Tobacco segment, making history as the first company to blend Candela and Kentucky Fire Cured Tobaccos in the premium segment. It is sure not to be like any other Candela cigar you have ever smoked.”

Pairing the smokiness of Fire Cured Tobacco with the sweetness of Candela wrapper, Kentucky Fire Cured Swamp creates a uniquely balanced, complex and savory cigar; perfect for fans of both Fire Cured and Candela tobaccos.

The release includes three sizes: Swamp Thang Toro (6 x 52), Swamp Thang Robusto (5 x 54), and Swamp Rat (6 x 46). The new sizes will be available in soft pack 10 count bundles similar to the current Kentucky Fire Cured lines, as a refill to the new display trays, which will only be available to retailers. Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat are Drew Estate’s first foray into Candela wrapped cigars.

Cohiba Blue

The world’s finest tobaccos create the most enduring experiences. Cohiba Blue is indeed the cigar for all who desire to live the good life.

Cohiba has always been synonymous with luxury smoking experiences. The brand’s latest collection, Cohiba Blue, takes this to an entirely different level by introducing the notion of inclusive luxury.
Andres Maturen, brand manager of Cohiba said, “With Cohiba Blue, we present collection that speaks to the ethos of the Cohiba brand. Made with a curated selection of tobaccos, handcrafted by renowned artisans, and created for all those who seek the indulgence of a fine cigar, Cohiba Blue symbolizes a life well lived.”

The Cohiba blending team created a velvety, medium-bodied cigar with a rich, complex taste and enticing aroma. To achieve the desired flavor, they began with a silky, rosado-hued Honduran Olancho San Agustin (OSA) wrapper and took a unique approach by selecting Honduran OSA for the binder as well. The layered wrapper-binder deepens the smoking experience and imparts subtle, earthy notes. The blend consists of Honduran Jamastran, Nicaraguan Ometepe and Dominican Piloto Cubano to provide hints of cocoa and caramel, with a light touch of sweetness. The unique, three-country blend represents the world’s most revered tobacco growing regions and delivers a sophisticated, memorable smoke.

The cigars are protected hand-painted bright blue wooden boxes, each containing 20 flawlessly handcrafted cigars.

Churchill (7.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $10.99

Robusto (5.5 X 50); SRP per cigar is $9.99

Rothschild (4.5 X 50); SRP per cigar $8.99

Toro (6 X 54); SRP per cigar is $10.49

About General Cigar

General Cigar Co. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. The company is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group. 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 in the U.S. and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, visit www.cigarworld.com.

April 24, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                
April 24, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

(Miami, Florida) April 24, 2017 – La Aurora is pleased to release the La Aurora 1903 Cameroon. The 1903 Cameroon is a line extension of the “time capsule” series, which also boasts the 1962 Corojo and 1987 Connecticut.  These blends are dedicated to the years in which they began working with the type of respective wrapper used on each. The La Aurora 1903 Cameroon will begin this week.

The La Aurora 1903 Cameroon is a special blend, as it celebrates the year in which the Cameroon wrapper was first used, (which also happens to be the inaugural year of the company itself). The 1903 Cameroon features a beautiful Cameroon wrapper, housing Sumatra Ecuadorian binder, and Dominican & Nicaraguan fillers. The Leon family which is celebrating 113 years in the marketplace has created this “time capsule” series, as a “thank you” to the consumers, which have helped them, reach this milestone. For this reason, the La Aurora 1903 Cameroon just like its predecessors, the 1962 and 1987 will be offered at the same consumer friendly price, $5.75 - $6.25.

The La Aurora 1903 Cameroon will be offered in 4 sizes: Robusto 5X50, Toro 5.75X54, Churchill 7X47, and Gran Toro 6X58

Click HERE for my review of the new La Aurora Cameroon 1903 cigar.

About La Aurora Cigar Factory

La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. Masters artisans elaborate manually the best handmade cigars, since 1903, almost 113 years ago, today. Located in Santiago de los Caballeros, world capital of Premium cigars, in the center of the best tobacco-growing area in the world, El Valle de Cibao, La Aurora Cigars is a family-owned company chaired by Guillermo León. He represents the fifth family generation at the forefront of the company and a symbol for all Dominicans. La Aurora is the leading company of the Dominican tobacco market and is present in more than 60 countries – among which United States, Spain, Russia, France and Germany

Follow La Aurora on Social Media: Facebook: La Aurora Cigars, Instagram: @LaAuroraCigars

Founded by Nestor and Mariana Miranda, Miami Cigar & Co. has become one of the premier distributors of premium cigars, boasting a portfolio which includes Tatiana, Don Lino and the Nestor Miranda brands. Miami Cigar &Co. also serves as the exclusive United States distributor for La Aurora, S.A, Viva Republica, and Toscano brands. For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at info@creativasgroup.com.

April 23, 2017

Viaje Exclusivo Leaded Double Edged Sword (5 3/4 x 52 Perfecto)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Viaje Cigars is releasing a new size of its Exclusivo Leaded blend. The company has begun shipping the Viaje Exclusivo Leaded Double Edged Sword – a 5 3/4 x 52 perfecto. This marks the second size to use the Exclusivo Leaded blend.

Viaje’s Exclusivo blend started out as a personal blend for Andre Farkas. Eventually Farkas would release the blend to consumers in small batches in various sizes. Last year, four sizes of the Exclusivo were made regular production. In 2014, special small batch offshoot known of the as the Viaje Exclusivo Leaded  was released in a 5 x 52 Robusto size.. The Exclusivo Leaded differs from the base Exclusivo line in that it incorporates medio tiempo tobacco into the blend. Medio Tiempo is one of the highest priming leafs that only grows on a small percentage of tobacco plants – so releases incorporating this tobacco are often quite limited.

The cigar is beautiful to look at.  You almost don't want to cut the cap. But, in order to enjoy the cigar you have to cut it and smoke it. The foot is equally impressive.

The test draw after taking the very minimum from the pointed perfecto cap was very good. The initial flavors were distinctively divided into to camps; in the sweet camp you have sweet orange citrus, brown sugar, and white chocolate. In the second camp you have a very heavy vegetable presence with black coffee at the base. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. The cigar is medium bodied at this early stage and it feels like it will move up.

1 1/2 inches in (22 minutes) the ash is pretty tight and light in color. The flavors are still intact. The percentages have slightly changed with the vegetable flavors decreasing somewhat to give way to the sweeter notes. The citrus notes are now tasting more like a sweet cedar. There is just enough white chocolate to give the cigar thickness. The black pepper remains good. The finish is a sweet cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied.

At the midpoint (37 minutes) the cigar has gone almost completely to the vegetable and coffee side. You can barely detect any sweet notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is cream and some of the vegetable flavor. The lingering black pepper is very good. 

As the cigar ended (1 hour 9 minutes) the sweeter notes made a little surge forward. The vegetable flavors are still the lead flavor but you can clearly taste the sweet cedar and brown sugar. I no longer got any white chocolate notes. The vegetable notes are the lead flavor with the coffee notes secondary. The sweeter notes follow. The black pepper seemed to stay about the same. The cigar reached full bodied somewhere after the midpoint. The finish was still one of vegetable notes, cream, and now there are some cedar notes to go along with the black pepper. This cigar has a heavy influence of the vegetable notes, especially at the midpoint. While I generally like vegetable flavors this cigar was a little too heavy on them without the matching sweeter notes.

Score: 89

April 22, 2017

La Palina El Ano 1896 Oscuro Belicoso (6 1/2 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, La Palina Cigars unveiled its first box-pressed offering known as the La Palina El Año 1896 Oscuro. The cigar is the latest collaboration between La Palina Cigars and Abe Flores’ PDR Cigars in the Dominican Republic.

The significance of the 1896 is that it was the year that original La Palina brand was launched by Samuel Paley, the grandfather of current La Palina owner Bill Paley. It isn’t the first time La Palina has used the 1896 year on a cigar. Back in 2010, the company released the limited edition La Palina 1896.

The La Palina El Año 1896 Oscuro consists of a Mexican San Andres wrapper over Dominican binder and fillers. The cigar is being launched in three sizes, each launched in 20 count boxes. The packaging features the new alternate La Palina “LP” logo.

Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (PDR Cigars)

Vitolas Available

Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50
Belicoso: 6 1/2 x 52 REVIEWED TODAY

The cigar comes in a long sleeve with El Ano 1896 printed on it. The cigar band is attached to the sleeve so when you slide off the sleeve the band comes off too leaving a bare, dark brown wrapper. The cigar is well made and box pressed.

The test draw after taking the absolute minimum from the belicoso tip was very good. The initial flavors were sweet cedar, brown sugar, and cream. There was quite a bit of black coffee as well. There was black pepper rated at an 8. The finish was coffee and raw almonds. It's early so I expect that to change. There was some nice lingering black pepper.

2 1/2 inches in (26 minutes) the flavors have changed to a sweet strawberry preserve, chocolate, and coffee. It reminds me of a chocolate covered strawberry. The pepper remains very good. The finish has changed to a buttery cream with lingering black pepper. I would call the cigar medium bodied. 

With 2 inches remaining I noticed the cigar going dark. The chocolate and coffee notes have increased quite a bit while the strawberry preserve notes have decreased. The pepper has increased, especially on the finish. The cigar is still medium bodied with slants toward medium to full.

The cigar ended (1 hour 12 minutes) with the same dark notes. The black pepper continued to increase. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied but it took to the end to reach that point. The order of the flavor notes would be coffee, chocolate, strawberry preserves. There were touches of cream here and there also. The finish was unchanged. Good cigar.

Score: 91

April 17, 2017

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April 15, 2017

Romeo 505 Robusto (5 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Altadis USA is once again teaming up with the Plasecnia family. At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Altadis USA showcased the Romeo 505 Nicaragua by Romeo y Julieta- a new Nicaraguan puro offering being made at the Placencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

While the Romeo 505 Nicaragua is a 100% Nicaraguan offering, it is not the first Nicaraguan puro under in the Romeo y Julieta Nicaragua puro. That honor goes to the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta which was released in 2013. However, the RyJ was produced in Honduras while Romeo 505 comes out of Nicaragua. At the same time, this is the second collaboration Altadis has done with the Plasecnias as two years ago the Espada by Montecristo was also done with them.

“With its rich volcanic soil and variety of microclimates, it’s only fitting that we chose Nicaragua as the single source for our boldest, spiciest addition to the Romeo, by Romeo y Julieta family,” said a company spokesperson in a press release. “We’re devilishly thrilled to introduce the Romeo 505 Nicaragua—the ‘rebel child’ of the family—for its notoriously Nicaraguan zest.

In addition to utilizing all Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler, the Romeo 505 Nicaragua is available in four pressed sizes. Each size is available in 20 count boxes.

Blend Profile

Wrapper: Habano Jalapa
Binder: Habano Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Placencia SA)

Vitolas Available

Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50 (SRP $10.00) REVIEWED TODAY
Toro: 6 x 52 (SRP $10.25)
Churchill: 7 x 50 (SRP $10.50)
Piramides: 6 1/2 x 54 (SRP $10.75)

The cigar is dark and oily. It is a sharp box press. It has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a sweet orange citrus with some brown sugar, lots of nutmeg, lots of leather and black coffee. There was black pepper rated at an 8. 

A little over an inch in (15 minutes) the ash is very dark with sprinklings of salt. The flavors are like they started. I would call the cigar in balance at this point. You get everything in an even distribution. I would call the cigar medium to full bodied at this early stage. 

2 inches in (27 minutes) the cigar is no longer in balance. The leather and coffee notes have really jumped into the lead. I would say the split is 60/40, leather and coffee to sweet notes. The cigar is still medium to full bodied. The finish one of a cream/nutmeg combination with some lingering black pepper. 

With about 2 inches remaining (45 minutes) the flavor notes continue to go darker. Now it's a 70/30 split; leather/coffee to sweet notes. The cigar is full bodied now. The cigar has pretty much gone dark.

As the cigar ended (1 hour 3 minutes) the sweet notes made a resurgence. They are back to the 60/40 split making the cigar much better. The cigar was a bit of a roller coaster, starting off in balance then transitioning to a very dark noted cigar and back to a fairly balanced cigar. I enjoyed the first third of the cigar much more than the middle section when the cigar turned dark. The rebound sweetness in the final third got the cigar back to a nice score. These should be on shelves now just about anywhere.

Score: 91

April 14, 2017

Crux du Connoisseur No. 1 (7 1/2 x 38)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Crux Cigars was formed by Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers, the owners of Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove Minnesota. The duo has looked to build on their experience on the retail end as they enter the world of manufacturers. The company partners with the Placencia factory in Nicaragua. 

The “du Connoisseur” name can be derived from the fact that all three vitolas in the line are what are typically called “connoisseur” sizes – namely 38 ring gauge and under. 

Blend Profile

The Crux du Connoisseur consists of a Nicaraguan wrapper and binder with Honduran filler.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Placencia SA)

Vitolas Available

The Crux du Connoisseur comes in three sizes. Each are 38 ring gauge and under. Each of the three sizes are packaged in ten count boxes. The No. 1 and No. 2 are essentially lancero-sized vitolas that differ in length.

Crux du Connoisseur No. 1: 7 1/2 x 38 REVIEWED TODAY
Crux du Connoissuer No. 2: 6 1/2 x 38
Crux du Connoissuer No. 3: 5 5/8 x 35

The cigar has a slightly oily wrapper and is well made. Here is a shot of the foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was firm so I worked the cigar by rolling it in my fingers to loosen up the draw. After getting an acceptable draw I lit the cigar. The initial flavors were tangy, sweet orange citrus with white chocolate and brown sugar. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. There is light black coffee at the base. At the immediate end of the front end there are raw almond notes. You especially notice them once you expel the smoke but prior to the finish. In fact, you also get raw almonds on the finish along with some lingering black pepper. 

Just past the midpoint (35 minutes) the white chocolate notes are decreasing and the brown sugar notes are amping up. The main flavors are now the orange citrus and the brown sugar. There are still whiffs of raw almonds. The finish has gotten a little sweet with help from the citrus notes but there are still raw almond notes also. The lingering black pepper has increased a little. The cigar is medium bodied. The cigar is still very sweet but it's a different type of sweetness from when it started. At first it was a candy-like sweetness and now it's more like the sweetness from a baked treat. Both very sweet but different kinds of sweet.

With 2 inches remaining (50 minutes) the coffee notes are coming out more. They are even with the citrus and brown sugar. The coffee has ramped up from the start. The heavy coffee makes the cigar seem a little fuller in body. You might say the cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied. 

As the cigar ended (1 hour 6 minutes) the notes of citrus, brown sugar, and coffee continued. There were even notes of chocolate at the very end. The raw almonds popped in here and there. The cigar ended at a low grade medium to full bodied. For the most part you get a medium bodied cigar but it goes up very slightly in the final third. The finish was still one of citrus and raw almonds with a generous amount of lingering black pepper. This cigar was good and it came very close to very good. I will smoke these again but it fell just short of something really special. A good cigar that should be tried.

Score: 92

April 09, 2017

Protocol Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
On February 18, 2017 I reviewed the lancero version of the Protocol. Today I am reviewing the next biggest size, the Corona Gorda. The lancero received a fantastic score of 95. How will this larger size stack up?

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona SA)

Vitolas Available

For the Protocol Lancero, it will offered in ten count packages. The Corona Gorda and Toro have both ten count and twenty count offerings.

Lancero: 7 1/2 x 38
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46 REVIEWED TODAY
Toro: 6 x 52

The cigar has an average feel in the hand for a corona gorda. Here is a shot of the foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were massive amounts of black pepper which I rate at an 8 1/2 to 9! The pepper on the retro hale is ridiculous. It is again...massive. There is a lot of lingering black pepper also. This cigar has a lot more nutmeg notes than the lancero had. There is a light tangerine citrus that has some sweetness. At the beginning you will get massive amounts of black pepper, nutmeg, and light tangerine citrus.

About one inch in (16 minutes) and already there are massive changes. The tangerine citrus is gone. In it's place is sweet cedar. The nutmeg is still hanging around but it is toned down. There are also brown sugar notes and whipping cream notes. The cigar has a good bit of sweetness. The pepper has toned down also to a 7 1/2 to 8. There are light coffee notes at the base. The finish is a sweet whipping cream with some coffee influence and nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. 

At the midpoint (33 minutes) the brown sugar is coming out much more. There are also a lot more sweet cedar notes. The whipping cream notes have toned down as well as the nutmeg notes.  There remains light black coffee at the base. The finish is more of a toasted cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. 

As the cigar ended (57 minutes) the coffee notes made a surge. This happened with about 1 1/2 inches remaining. You still have the sweet cedar, brown sugar, and light whipping cream. I also noticed some light caramel notes. The pepper remained very good. The cigar ended medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged except there are some light caramel notes added. I found this cigar to be very different from the lancero. The flavor notes are different but overall the cigar is very good. Another good cigar in the Protocol repertoire. 

Score: 93

April 08, 2017

Viaje Ghost Pepper (4 7/8 x 51)

Video review HERE.

(Description take from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Two years ago, Viaje launched a cigar called the Viaje Jalapeño. Now there is a bolder, spicier sequel coming as the company has announced the Viaje Ghost Pepper.

Also known as bhut jolokia, a Ghost Pepper is hybrid chili pepper grown in India. In 2007, it was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s hottest chili pepper.

How this translates to the Viaje Ghost Pepper, it is unknown. Much like the original Viaje Jalapeño, details of the Ghost Pepper blend are unknown. The Ghost Pepper will have the same 4 7/8 x 51 figurado format as the Jalapeño. It will be packaged in 25 count boxes. The cigar will have a red covering on the lower portion of the cigar.

The cigar is well made and feels dense. The figurado shape is beautiful to look at. The foot is always cool looking on the figurado.

I cleansed my palate with a nice, crisp apple prior to sampling the cigar along with a little water. The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a very sweet, candy-like orange citrus along with some brown sugar. The main sweetness at this point is from the orange citrus and it truly is candy-like. There are also underlying sweet chocolate notes and some black coffee. With a name like Ghost Pepper you would expect there to be a massive amount of pepper in the cigar. While there is quite a bit I would rate the coarse black pepper flavor at an 8. The lingering black pepper is also very good to go along with a dull caramel-like flavor. The flavors give an impression of a medium to full bodied cigar at this early stage.

About one inch in (23 minutes) the cigar is burning fairly even. Since this is the largest ring-size of the cigar it is burning very slowly. The orange citrus is still there but it is matched or surpassed by the sweet, sweet chocolate and brown sugar. The coffee continues to hold the base. This continues to be a very sweet cigar. It is making a turn toward a darker format but still very sweet. Imagine an orange chocolate cake. It's very much like that. The finish is a straight caramel with nice lingering pepper. The cigar is a solid medium to full bodied.

Close to 2 inches in (38 minutes) the cigar continues to move to the dark side. As the cigar burns the ring size gets smaller and smaller. As it does the chocolate and coffee notes come out more and more. The citrus notes are barely there but the brown sugar, dark sweet chocolate, and black coffee are quite dominant. The cigar is still medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. 

As the cigar ended (1 hour 12 minutes) the heavy chocolate notes continued. The brown sugar and coffee were also very good but the citrus notes are completely gone. The cigar remained medium to full bodied and the finish was unchanged. This was a very good cigar. It made massive changes from start to finish. The initial extremely sweet orange citrus was great and as it transitioned to a sweet, dark chocolate was very nice. The black pepper was very good throughout the cigar but not overwhelming, as it's name might imply. Very good cigar that you should grab when you find them!

Score: 94