May 22, 2015

ESPINOSA CIGARS TO RELAUNCH MURCIELAGO

Hialeah Gardens, Florida (May 22, 2015) - Six years after its initial release, Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars has announced that the "Murcielago" will fly again and should be landing in humidors nationwide after it is re-debut at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July.

The Murcielago (which is Bat in Spanish) was first released at the 2009 IPCPR by EO Brands. It had a short production run due to the split with the original makers of the blend. "Once the partnership with the manufacturer dissolved, we kept the name, but they kept the blend" says Espinosa. Shortly thereafter EO Brands (Erik and his partner Eddie Ortega) went their separate ways with Erik keeping the rights to Murcielago in hopes of re-launching the brand.

Says Espinosa, "It was one of my favorite cigars. It took us three years, but myself along with my staff, painfully dissected all the Murcielagos we could find, tasting test blend after test blend until we got it right. We couldn't rush it, there weren't that many surviving Murcielagos out there to begin with but we managed to reverse engineer the cigar. I am very happy with the results and to me they are even better than the originals, because I am making them myself in my own factory at La Zona in Esteli, Nicaragua."

The Murcielago logo and band have been modernized with a sleeker look and a cutting edge box design; the cigar itself remains a medium to full-bodied blend that is semi-box pressed and wrapped in a beautiful Capa Negra Wrapper from Mexico with Nicaraguan filler. The initial release will be in three vitolas, the Noir (5 x 52), the La Lune (6-1/2 x 54) and the Nocturne (5 1/2 x 56). Pricing will be announced prior to the IPCPR.


May 17, 2015

Cigar Bundles of Miami Made in Miami Habano Robusto (5 x 50)



Video review HERE.


These cigars are made in Little Havana in Miami with tobacco from Esteli, Nicaragua. They are made with long filler aged 6 years. The wrapper is a sun grown Habano.

Available in these sizes:
Robusto 5 x 50 REVIEWED TODAY
Corona 6 1/2 x 42
Churchill 7 x 48
Double Corona 7 1/2 x 50
Box Press Toro 6 x 52
Torpedo 6 x 52
Super Toro 7 x 60
Sublime 6 1/2 x 54
Pigtail Habano 6 1/2 x 56
Big Boy 6 x 60
Salomon 7 1/8 x 58
Lancero 7 x 38


The cigar is slightly oily and well made with an average feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was effortless. The initial flavors were light boysenberry, roasted nuts, and light coffee notes at the base. The cigar has a light sweetness.


About one inch in the cigar is burning evenly. The biggest change is the sweetness is elevated. The boysenberry seems to be changing over to a sweet cedar. The roasted nuts are in play and there are now dry wood notes. The light coffee notes act as a base. There is a white pepper rated at a 7 1/2. The finish is a toasted cream with just above average lingering pepper. The cigar is medium bodied and I do not expect that to change.



With about 2 inches remaining the flavors are subtle, including the sweetness. All the flavors are there and now they included cream and butter but they too are subtle. The roasted nuts are not subtle, however. They are a little more prominent. The dry wood is very subtle, however.



The cigar ended with the flavors continuing to be subtle but nice. I like the flavors but nothing jumps out at you. The sweetness is subtle also. This is a nice, average Nicaraguan that would be suitable at any time of day. These are nicely priced at $100 per bundle, any size! Check these out and give them a try!
Score: 90

May 16, 2015

Room 101 El Mas Chingon #3 (Double Toro) (6 1/2 x 60)





Video review HERE.


Famous Smoke Shop has teamed up with Room 101 Cigars to produce the new El Mas Chingon. Each cigar is a 60 ring gauge. They are a blend of Dominican, Mexican, and Honduran tobaccos with a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. 

Available in these sizes:
Rothschild 4 1/2 x 60
Robusto 5 1/2 x 60
Double toro 6 1/2 x 60 REVIEWED TODAY
7 1/2 x 60

Retail price is $6.50 to $8.00 per cigar


The cigar is quite dark and well made. It has a fairly dense fell in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was effortless. The initial flavors were blackberry, graham cracker, coffee, and brown sugar. The pepper seems to be a low grade black pepper rated at an 8. The finish is toasted cream with touches of butter and a little lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.


About one inch in the flavors have changed. I lost the blackberries. There is a combination of sweet cedar, dry wood, coffee, and dark chocolate. The finish is unchanged. 



About 1 3/4 inch in the cigar is burning very evenly. The blackberry notes are back! They remind me of blackberry jelly. There is still sweet cedar and brown sugar. There are a lot of dry wood notes. There seem to be some buttery notes present. In the last segment the dark chocolate notes may have been the blackberry notes in disguise. There is still coffee notes at the base.



Approaching the final third the cigar is consistent other than the dry wood notes which are very prominent. They seem to detract from the sweeter flavors. 



With only a couple inches remaining it is apparent that the dry wood is overpowering. It is taking away some of the sweeter notes. I am losing the ability to distinguish between the blackberry and cedar. They are there but becoming subtle. At this point it's all about the dry wood.



At the end the dominance of the dry wood continued. There is a subtle sweetness of cedar and a low grade blackberry note. There were still coffee notes at the base. The pepper ended at a 7 1/2. The finish was still a toasted cream with lingering black pepper and a minor amount of butter. The cigar started very nicely but tailed off with the massive amount of dry wood. I would like to try the Rothschild at 4 1/2 x 60 to see if the main flavors were more prominent in a shorter cigar. The El Mas Chingon cigars are now available at Famous Smoke Shop and I would urge you to give them a try to see what you think. 


Score: 88

May 10, 2015

Perdomo Small Batch 2005 Sun Grown Belicoso (5 x 54)




Video review HERE.


This is the second in the series of the Perdomo Small Batch 2005 cigars; the Sun Grown. All of the cigars have the same binder and filler. The wrappers are the only difference. I previously reviewed the Connecticut wrapper. Today it's the Sun Grown. This is a short belicoso; only 5" long.

The tobacco is aged 10 years and the wrappers are bourbon barrel aged.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Available sizes:
Half Corona (4 x 46, $4.99)
Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50, $5.99)
Belicoso (5 x 54, $6.50) REVIEWED TODAY
Toro Especial (5 1/4 x 54). 

All sizes are limited to 3,000 boxes per vitola, per wrapper for a total of 1.08 million cigars.


The cigar is well made and has a fairly nice density.




The test draw after cutting the cap was effortless. The initial flavors were a boysenberry/pink grapefruit combination and roasted nuts. I feel this cigar will make some changes so let's see where we go from here.


About 1 inch in the roasted nut flavors quickly changed over to leather. The boysenberry notes now combine with a sweet cedar with cream aspects. There is a lot of sweetness in this cigar. The leather undertones are prominent. The pepper is a white pepper rated at a 7 1/2. The finish is a toasted cream with a small amount of lingering pepper. The cigar is medium bodied and I feel it will move up.




About 2 inches in the flavors are about the same. The sweetness is amazing. At the tail end of the sweet flavors you get a pop of dry wood. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged and it's a long lingering finish. The pepper is a little better on the finish.



About 2 inches remaining. The dry wood have switched over to a dark roasted nut and they are prominent. The are right behind the sweeter flavors. The leather remains good. 



The cigar lost a little of the boysenberry notes at the end. You mainly had the sweet cedar with cream tones, roasted nuts, and leather. The finish was unchanged. The cigar remained medium to full bodied. This has been a very tasty offering from Perdomo which I loved. Great flavors that worked well together. These are in limited supply so get them while you can!


Score: 93

May 03, 2015

Ezra Zion Honor Series Reagan 40th (6 x 52)






Video review HERE.


The Ezra Zion Honor Series is devoted to Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Some of the vitolas are the traditional round shape and the "40th" is box pressed. It is also the size I am reviewing today.

BLEND:
Grade "A" Nicaraguan Tobaccos Aged 5 to 6 Years

WRAPPER: 2006 Cuban Seed Sun Grown Habano
BINDER: 2006 Cuban Seed
FILLER: 2007 Cuban Seed Seco, Viso, and Ligero


VITOLAS:
"President" 54 x 6.75
"40th" Box Press 52 x 6.00
"The Great Communicator" 50 x 5.50
"Peace by Strength" Box Press 48 x 7.00
"Wall Down" 46 x 6.00


The cigar is beautiful. The box press shows up nicely in the picture below.



The wrapper is a dark brown. The cigar is dense also. Here is a shot of the foot.




The cigar is beautiful. The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were semi-sweet boysenberry, dry wood, and earth with some black coffee notes at the base. There was white pepper rated at a 7 1/2.


About one inch in the flavors are about like they were at the beginning but now there is the addition of sweet cedar. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is a toasted cream. There is a small amount of lingering white pepper. The burn is pretty much even.



About 2 inches in the flavors are changing quite a bit. I have lost the boysenberry but the sweet cedar has some buttery notes with brown sugar. The earthiness is fading away. The dry wood is still there but subtle. The cigar is medium bodied and moving up. The finish is now a straight sweet cream. 














With about 2 inches remaining the cigar is medium to full bodied. There is strong presence of sweet cedar, brown sugar, dry wood, and coffee, in equal amounts. Everything else is about the same. There is a touch of  brown sugar creeping over to the sweet cream finish. The lingering white pepper has intensified somewhat on the finish.










The cigar ended the same as the previous segment. The dry wood made a jump in the final segment. There was still a touch of buttery notes that hung around but never achieved significant richness. I wish it had the richness in the buttery notes. This is a very good cigar and Ezra Zion fans will probably like it. Another House of Emilio brand available in shops that carry House of Emilio.



Score: 91

May 02, 2015

Nomad C-276 Toro (6 x 50)





Video review HERE.


(from the Nomad website)
With FIVE different filler leaves (and two Ligeros), the Nomad C-276 cigar is something flavorful and complex.

The name C-276 also has a back story. The “C” is for Concepción, one of two volcanoes on Ometepe Island. “276” is the square kilometers of the island.

Matter of fact, Ometepe was such a key ingredient at one point in the blending – I named the cigar after the mysterious island.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Factory: Tobacalera AJ Fernandez

Box Pressed. 21 Count Box.

Sizes…

Toro (6×50) REVIEWED TODAY
Robusto (5×50) 
Torpedo (6 1/2 x 52) 
Toro Grande (6 x 58) 
Corona (5.5 x 46)


The cigar is absolutely beautiful and very well made. It has an oily wrapper that shines in the light. The cigar is box pressed and looks much like a stick of chocolate. The dark oscuro wrapper is beautiful.



The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a candy like orange citrus with a nutmeg undertone, espresso, and a massive amount of pepper. There is a touch or red pepper and a tremendous amount of black pepper rated at a 9+. Great start!


A couple inches in and add about 5 minutes to the timer in the pic. I forgot to start my timer when I started the cigar! Oops! Now, the flavors continue to be orange citrus with red pepper mixed in along with whiffs of nutmeg. The black pepper continues to be very good. The finish is a straight sweet cream with some lingering black pepper. The cigar is the top end of medium bodied and will probably achieve medium to full bodied.



At the midpoint the flavors are getting darker. There are now molasses notes mixed in with the orange citrus. The coffee is now a straight dark roast The pepper dropped back to an 8+. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. The finish is a sweet cream with some brown sugar influences.


At the band the brown sugar notes are really coming out. They mix well with what appears to be a sweet cedar which also has some dry cedar notes. The nutmeg has gone away. The finish is about the same and the cigar is still medium to full bodied.


You will get about 1 hour 15 minutes out of this cigar. I got a few buttery notes on the brown sugar in the final quarter. The other notes remained about the same. I really liked the red pepper and the massive amount of black pepper in this cigar. Very nice flavors and well worth trying. Great cigar.


Score: 93

Gary Griffith, Founder of Emilio Cigars brand, retires

photo taken from Gary's Facebook page
(portions of this story taken with permission from original post by William Cooper)

Gary Griffith, who was a founder of the Emilio Cigars brand, and then built a nine company distribution arm with House of Emilio has departed.  House of Emilio issued a statement on social media announcing Griffith's retirement from House of Emilio, Emilio Cigars, and his retail responsibilities at Delaware Cigars.

In a statement by House of Emilio on their Facebook page:
Today’s post is to inform our friends in the cigar industry about the retirement of Gary Griffith from Emilio Cigars, House of Emilio, and Delaware Cigars.

Gary was a visionary and a social media marketing pioneer. His time with us was filled with laughter, caring, and many great cigars.

Going forward, his legacy will continue through the brands he’s helped, the distribution company he led, and the cigars that he blended.

We wish him all the best in his future adventures!

While House of Emilio continues to operate as a distribution arm, it has scaled back to six companies as Rodrigo Cigars, Bodega Premium Blends, and Herederos de Robaina are no longer distributed by them.

As all of you know I have reviewed many, many cigars from House of Emilio brands. Gary introduced all of us to some great cigars from boutique factories in Esteli that we would probably have never heard of without him. I am truly grateful for his efforts to bring such great cigars to the forefront. I wish him nothing but happiness in his retirement. He truly deserves it.

April 26, 2015

Nomad Esteli Lot 8613 Robusto (5 x 50)





Video review HERE.


Estelí Lot 8613 marks the 5th full-production cigar for Nomad.

From the Nomad website: I fell in love with the flavors and richness of Estelí Lot 8613 at the blending table but the big question was how would it marry and age?

When checking it a year later to see how it was aging, I was more than happy with the result. It was definitely time to release it.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Factory: Tobacalera AJ Fernandez

21 Count Box.

Available in the following sizes…

Robusto (5×50) (REVIEWED TODAY)
Coronita (5.5×46)
Toro (6×50)
Grand Toro (6×58)
Churchill (7×48)
All sizes MSRP under $9.00


The cigar is very well made. It has a good density. Here is a shot of the foot.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. It had just a touch of firmness to let you know you're drawing through a cigar and not a straw. The initial flavors were orange citrus with graham cracker, black pepper rated at a 9 especially if you retro hale. These flavors jump out initially.


About 1/2 inch in the flavors have settled down into the ones above but add in black coffee. The cigar is medium bodied and seems to be moving toward medium to full. The finish is graham cracker and cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The flavor are very nice on the front end. The black coffee give s the cigar a deep base. The pepper tingled my palate on the finish.



A little over an inch in the cigar is changing quickly. There is a touch of brown sugar mixing in with the main front end flavors and now there are bread notes on the end of the flavors. The brown sugar gives the cigar a slight richness. Interesting flavors but they work very good together. The finish has brown sugar and graham cracker along with cream. The pepper continues to be great on both ends. The cigar is very close to medium to full bodied.




At the band the flavors are mixing very well, It's almost like you took all the above flavors and mixed them in a bowl. That's the flavor you have. Very even and very good. The burn is almost perfect. The cigar is definitely medium to full bodied and the finish is unchanged.



The flavor notes continued right to the end. Very consistent after the first inch or so. This is another great cigar from Nomad and Gary Griffith. Being critical the cigar could have had more richness but other than that the flavors were fantastic. Look for these anywhere that sells House of Emilio Cigars.


Score: 92