September 17, 2019

HVC Serie A Canones (5 1/2 x 54)







Video review HERE.



(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, HVC Cigars showcased a new offering known as the HVC Serie A. It’s a cigar that derives its name from the fact that it uses Grade A tobacco.

Produced at the Tabacos de Valle Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory, the Serie A is highlighted by a Corojo 1999 wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigars are available in two sizes: Perlas (5 5/8 x 46) and Cañones (5 1/2 x 54) – each packaged in ten-count boxes.



Blend and Origin
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos de Valle Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)


Vitolas Offered
Perlas: 5 5/8 x 46
Cañones: 5 1/2 x 54 REVIEWED TODAY




The cigar is a light to medium brown in color. It has a nice feel in the hand for a cigar of this size.





The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a tangy, sweet orange citrus, brown sugar, cinnamon, a lot of nutmeg, a little caramel, and a nice black coffee base. Initially there was a nice amount of black pepper which I rated at an 8. It's a very sweet, nutmeg laden start. The Tabsa factory is where Warped cigars, Foundation, and Viaje Cigars are produced. 




At the first third (31 minutes) the flavors have changed somewhat from the initial assessment in their intensity. Now the citrus is more subdued and the cinnamon, caramel, nutmeg, and the brown sugar have risen and they are more noticeable. The black coffee is about the same as it was initially. The pepper has toned down to about 7 1/2. The finish is a lot of nutmeg and light caramel with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. I don't rate the initial flavors but if I did I would have given a 94. As the cigar burned through the first third it dropped a bit. I rated the first third at 93. It reminds me a lot of the typical cigar from Warped Cigars. 




At the second third (57 minutes) the nutmeg is very high and it's a dry nutmeg. The caramel is coming through and mixing well with the nutmeg. The other notes are subdued. The pepper is about the same, as well as the black coffee base. The cigar is full bodied now. The finish is unchanged. The thing you'll notice in this segment is the nutmeg is quite dry and quite prominent. Most of the sweetness is from the caramel in this segment. The cigar is changing in flavor intensity and direction. I rated the second third at 92.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 21 minutes. The orange citrus made a resurgence in the final third. The nutmeg is still heavy and dry. I still had sweetness from caramel. There was also some brown sugar and cinnamon. There was a light black coffee base. The cigar is still full bodied. The finish is very heavy on nutmeg with a touch of caramel. The cigar went different directions throughout the burn time but it's definitely a cigar I would smoke again. I rated the final third at 92. To purchase these cigars go HERE. To see both versions of the cigar and purchase them go HERE.


Overall Score: 92.33

September 16, 2019

Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua is the latest expansion of the venerable premium cigar line. This cigar reflects the company’s philosophy of offering adult consumers the opportunity to experience the taste and aroma of some of the world’s finest cigar regions – and now with a twist.

As the name implies, the Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua is a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos, but this special collaboration with Plasencia Cigars includes tobaccos from the family’s own private reserves. The cigar is wrapped in a Connecticut seed leaf grown in Nicaragua and aged more than three years.

Connecticut seed wrapper – originally from the rocky, rich soil of New England in the United States – is now harvested in other key cigar regions of the world, such as Ecuador and Honduras. Continuing to expand flavors and characteristics of their tobaccos, the Plasencia family began growing Connecticut seed tobaccos in Honduras and Nicaragua.

The characteristic flavors associated with Connecticut seed tobacco are further enhanced by the Nicaraguan soil – rich in minerals that can only come from a fabled land known for its mysterious volcanos. One can almost taste the rich, complex flavor of coffee beans, white chocolate and hints of dry berries, all in a clean, balanced finish.   

Rafael Nodal, Head of Product Capability for Tabacalera USA, collaborated for almost two years with the Plasencia family in creating this outstanding cigar.

“Getting to work with the Plasencia family on this cigar which uses a Connecticut seed wrapper grown in Nicaragua, is for me an honor. Having the opportunity to take the Romeo y Julieta consumer on a journey of discovering new flavors and new experiences, is a real privilege,” Nodal said.

“This cigar is intriguing,” he explained. “It’s not a Connecticut cigar, nor is it a Nicaragua cigar. It is the first Connecticut-Nicaragua Cigar. And that makes for a big difference."

The Romeo Y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua will be available in four sizes. The cigar will be available in a Toro (52 x 6), Bully (50 x 5), Magnum (60 x 6) and Churchill (50 x 7). The price of the cigar will range from $7.20 to $8.35.


September 15, 2019

La Promesa Toro by My Father Cigars (6 x 52)










Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, My Father Cigars will launch its seventh regular production cigar branded under the “My Father” name, the My Father La Promesa.

La Promesa translates to “The Promise.” According to a report by Cigar Aficionado, La Promesa features an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper over Nicaragua tobaccos owned by the Garcia family farms in Nicaragua. The cigars are available in five sizes – each presented in 20-count boxes. Pricing is set between $7.80 and $10.00. 


Blend and Origin
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars SA


Vitolas Offered
Petite: 4 1/2 x 50
Corona Gorda:: 5 1/2 x 49
Robusto Grande:: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 52 REVIEWED TODAY
Lancero: 7 1/2 x 38 (review upcoming)




My Father Cigars have some of the prettiest bands you'll find. The cigar is well made and a beauty behold. It has a very nice feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a touch of firmness. The initial flavors at light up were a candy-like orange citrus similar to the baby aspirin flavor, quite a bit of cinnamon, brown sugar, cream, nutmeg, quite a bit of leather, and a nice black coffee base. There was nice black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Nice start.




At the first third (33 minutes) I had a good burn time. The flavors have really took off by the first third. The sweetness has picked up, the nutmeg increase, and the leather notes have increased. Everything has increased except the black coffee base which is about like it was initially. The finish is primarily nutmeg with a touch of cream and brown sugar with some nice lingering black pepper. The finish is not the star of this cigar. That's left to the very nice front end flavors. There's even a touch of salt on the front end which does not deter from the enjoyment. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. This type cigar is right up my alley. I rated the first third at 95.



At the second third (1 hour 11 minutes) the black coffee notes rose and caught up with the other flavors. The cigar is very close to full bodied. The overall flavor notes are by and large the same as they were with the exception of the elevated black coffee and the leather seems to have slightly increased. There are a lot of dark notes now but there is plenty of sweetness to counteract them. The finish is unchanged with a heavy amount of nutmeg. The cream notes that I mentioned in the early stages of the cigar are no longer on the front end. They are only tasted on the finish, and in light amounts. With the elevation in strength and the cigar being more in balance I raised the second third score to 96.




The cigar lasted an impressive 1 hour 45 minutes. In the last segment I mentioned the elevated leather and black coffee. That trend continued through the end but with the elevation some of the sweetness suffered. The sweetness did not drop much but it dipped. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is definitely full bodied. This has been a very good cigar that, as I stated, is right up my alley. With the elevated leather and coffee and slightly decreased sweetness I lowered the score back to 95. You can purchase these cigars HERE. For the other sizes in this line you can purchase them HERE.


Overall Score: 95.33

September 13, 2019

AJ FERNANDEZ TO DISTRIBUTE VIVA LA VIDA CIGARS




Miami, FL, September 12, 2019– AJ Fernandez will not only manufacture Viva La Vida cigars, but also distribute the brand as well. Former New York City cigar retailers Billy and Gus Fakih released the brand in March and have now agreed to use AJ Fernandez’ sales force across the country. Billy and Gus will actively remain running daily operations which includes store visits, events and overall brand management.

Viva La Vida comes in five sizes, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo, Gran Toro and Diadema Fina. The cigars range in price from $10.50 to $14.50 before taxes.

“I have known Billy and Gus since I launched the San Lotano brand,” says A.J. Fernandez, “and they were one of the first and best supporters while operating the Cigar Inn in New York City. We maintained a great relationship since then, after they sold the store. I'm proud to not only call them business associates but great friends as well.”

Viva La Vida is draped by a silky smooth Habano Oscuro 2000 wrapper, which is accentuated by a Corojo 99 binder and Criollo 98 filler tobaccos, all from AJ’s farms in Nicaragua.

Billy Fakih thus explains “Our friendship with Abdel started from the early years of San Lotano cigars, when he visited our cigar shop ‘New York Cigar Inn’ in Manhattan back in 2010. The friendship grew throughout the years and it was based on a simple thing called trust. What attracted us to Abdel was not only the great cigars he blends and creates, but also how loyal, humble and disciplined he is which reflects in his cigars.

Gus Fakih adds “The relationship we created with AJ on a business and a personal level is special, and I’m so proud and excited to call AJ a real brother and a humble human, down to earth with a big heart, a great addition to our family. Looking forward to growing our business relationship to much higher levels with one of the best in the industry.”

Through a fusion of inherited techniques and learned patience, AJ has developed proprietary tobacco grown from the most prized seeds harvested exclusively on his family farms. Perhaps the most essential quality of an AJ Fernandez cigar is not tangible. It is passion and discipline that motivates AJ to produce world renown premium cigars. The motivation that flows and radiates from AJ are contagious and palatable throughout all the artisans who hone their craft and skills under his hands-on tutelage throughout Nicaragua. All these attributes stem from humble beginnings in San Luis, Pinar del Rio, Cuba where the Fernandez family heritage began.


The King is Dead Torpedo (6 x 52) by Caldwell Cigars and AJ Fernandez







Video review HERE.



This is a secret venture between Caldwell and A.J. Fernández. The blend is a Nicaraguan interpretation of the blends. AJ Fernandez blended these as Nicaraguan puros and only created a very limited amount of each, 250 boxes of each size in this release. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro featuring a rich Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper, with an aged Nicaraguan core.

The cigar has a nice, dense feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting about 1/4 inch of the pointed cap was a bit firm so I decided to use my PerfecDraw tool to open the air flow a little. I only had to go about an inch in and the draw was very good. The initial flavors at light up were citrus with a citrus peel, some brown sugar and cinnamon, light nutmeg, and a lot of semi-sweet dark chocolate and black coffee. The black coffee is almost to the point of being an espresso. There is some sweetness in the chocolate. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2 to 8. You have sweetness from the orange citrus and the dark chocolate. There are a lot of the darker notes in this cigar.




At the first third (31 minutes) the intensity of the citrus notes has increased. It actually became noticeable around the one inch point. I still had the same overall flavor notes. The coffee is now more of a dark roasted, full bodied coffee and no longer something close to an espresso. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish has quite a bit of nutmeg, unsweetened dark chocolate, and coffee with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The sweeter notes increasing really make the cigar nice and they go nicely with the heavy darker notes of semi-sweet dark chocolate and black coffee. The cigar is rather impressive in the first third. I rated the first third at 94.




At the second third (1 hour 4 minutes) I noticed I was getting a very good burn time out of this cigar. At this point the nutmeg notes are very noticeable. The dark chocolate and black coffee continue to be a heavy player. The citrus notes are still sweet and they have some twang to them. The cigar is now full bodied. There is some nice brown sugar and cinnamon in the cigar. The cigar now has all the notes of a nice maduro Nicaraguan cigar. The finish is unchanged. The cigar has moved laterally on the scoring scale so I maintained the previous score of 94.




The cigar lasted an impressive 1 hour 30 minutes. In the final third the nutmeg notes were quite heavy and they took away a little sweetness. All the flavor notes were still in play but the cigar took a little turn. The sweetness dropped just a tad. By the way, the finish is unchanged and the cigar is full bodied. So, I dropped the score to 93. Both the natural and the maduro versions are very good. After sampling them several times I actually bought a box of each. Although the natural version actually won the battle of the two cigars they are very close to equal in enjoyment. These are available but they are rather limited so don't hesitate too long to pick them up for yourself. AJ did a great job with his interpretation of Caldwell's blend using a Nicaraguan theme in these cigars.


 Overall Score: 93.67

September 09, 2019

VILLIGER CIGARS TO SPONSOR TOBACCO PLUS EXPO “ALL INDUSTRY” PARTY

(Miami, Florida) September 9, 2019— Villiger Cigars, makers of premium cigars since 1888 proudly announces sponsorship of the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) “All Industry” Party, taking place at the Sahara Vegas Hotel (formerly the SLS Las Vegas Hotel). The Tobacco Plus Expo is a focused B2B tradeshow that brings together top buyers and premium tobacco, vape, and alternative industries. Now in its 15th year, the Tobacco Plus Expo is looking forward to it biggest show ever. The TPE will take place from Jan. 29-Jan. 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Villiger Cigar NA President Rene Castaneda said:” We at Villiger Cigars are excited to be present, at the 2020 TPE in their 15th year. We look forward to making our brand presence felt at the All Industry Party, and invite our friends, colleagues, media, and customers to what will be the biggest TPE show yet.”

More details about the TPE 2020 All Industry Party to be announced at a future date.

For More information about the Tobacco Plus Expo, please visit: www.Tobaccoplusexpo.com

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.

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


September 05, 2019

Killer Bee Connecticut by Black Works Studio (4 1/2 x 46)












Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
The release of the Killer Bee Connecticut is the fourth release under the Killer Bee line. 

This cigar features an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper with a maduro wrapper used for a swirl effect on the cap, and ring-like accents near the footer as well as to cover the footer itself.
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut was announced prior to the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show. It was originally announced as the Killer Bee Yellow Jacket. Shortly after IPCPR, the cigar was renamed to be Killer Bee Connecticut.


Blend and Origin
The base wrapper of the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut is an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade with an Ecuadorian Maduro leaf used for the accents. The remainder of the blend consists of Nicaraguan tobaccos.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade and Ecuadorian Maduro (swirl cap & foot)
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra

Vitolas Offered
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut has only been produced in one size – a 4 1/2 x 46 petite corona.  The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes.



The cigar is cool to look at with the contrast between the Connecticut wrapper and the maduro lines. It's a short cigar so it has a light feel in the hand.




The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a lot of sweet cream notes. There were also tangy citrus which reminds me of a sweet pink grapefruit. There were also quite a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon notes, and earthy black coffee. There was a nice amount of black pepper which I rated at an 8. There is also an earthy nutmeg in the mix but it's not overpowering. A nice, sweet start.




At the first third (16 minutes +/-) there is a ton of brown sugar combining with the sweet cream. There is a nice black coffee base that is non-intrusive but noticeable. The cigar is medium bodied. The tangy citrus is somewhat dwarfed by the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cream. The pepper remains very good. The finish is nutmeg, cream, and a little brown sugar with some lingering black pepper. This is a top notch Connecticut cigar. It's very sweet and I love the brown sugar/cream/cinnamon combination. I rated the first third at 94.




At the second third (35 minutes) the cigar continues to be very sweet. The lead flavor is now more of a cedar rather than citrus. The black coffee is at the perfect level. The nutmeg seems to have slightly decreased. The finish is very sweet with cream and there is a ton of lingering black pepper. For the second third I held the score of 94.




The cigar lasted about 48 minutes. This was a very good cigar. I loved the cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon combination which made the cigar so very sweet. There was even a nice black coffee base. The cigar was medium bodied. The finish was great also. I maintained the score of 94 for the final third. James Brown has a very good Connecticut cigar here and worthy of the Killer Bee name.


Overall Score: 94

September 04, 2019

Protocol Themis Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46)






Video Review HERE.


Protocol Cigars debuted the new vitola, corona gorda, at the 2019 IPCPR.

The size measures 5 5/8 x 46 and is offered in 10-count boxes priced at $99.40, or $9.94 per cigar. The company has also produced the line in three other sizes, Toro (6 x 52), Robusto (5 x 52) and Lancero (7 1/2 x 38).

The Themis line uses an Ecaudorian Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan-grown binder and filler. It is produced at La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and debuted in 2017.



The cigar is a light shade of brown and well made. It has an average feel in the hand for a corona gorda.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a tangy tangerine/orange citrus, a lot of cream notes, nice amount of cinnamon, some brown sugar, and a light black coffee base. There was a nice amount of black pepper rated at 7 1/2. 




At the first third the flavor notes are just like I described. The cream is very nice in this cigar. The citrus is quite tangy and now there is a lot of brown sugar and quite a bit of cinnamon. The black pepper is very dense in this cigar. It's at least a 7 1/2 and could be up to an 8. The finish is nutmeg, cream, and a touch of citrus. There is nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. For the first third I rated the cigar at 93.





At the second third I noticed nutmeg on the front end. Before it was too subtle to notice expect on the finish. The front end nutmeg mixes very well with the cream notes. I still had the nice tangerine citrus and the pepper remains excellent. It's definitely up to an 8. There is plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon, too. The finish is citrus, nutmeg, cream, and a lot of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied. For the second third I raised the score to 94.





I estimate the cigar lasted about 1 hour. Since the video was shot on my LG G6 phone I did not have the timer running but typically a corona gorda of this length yields about an hour burn time. In the final third the cigar reverted back to the way it was in the first third, which was pretty good. The flavors were not quite as intense as they were in the second third. I lowered the final third score back to 93. This is a tasty Connecticut cigar with some power. Use my links on the right side of the blog to get discounts on the Famous Smoke Shop site for these cigars!


Overall Score: 93.33

September 03, 2019

Long Live The King Toro by Caldwell Cigars and AJ Fernandez (6 x 50)

Video review HERE.


This review is a little unusual. I reviewed this cigar while at the Couples Sans Souci Resort in Ocho Rios. The internet was spotty and I filmed the entire review on my LG G6 phone. Since I had to focus on getting the video there are no pictures to display here. So, to get the best idea of the review I urge you to look at the video. 


This is a secret venture between Caldwell and A.J. Fernández. The blend is a Nicaraguan interpretation of the blends. AJ Fernandez blended these as Nicaraguan puros and only created a very limited amount of each, 250 boxes of each size in this release. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro featuring a rich Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, with an aged Nicaraguan core.


The cigar is a 6 x 50 toro.


The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a sweet cedar, cinnamon, quite a bit of brown sugar, nutmeg, a few notes of caramel, and a nice black coffee base. There was black pepper which I rated at 7.


At the first third the flavor notes continued about like they started. The caramel, nutmeg, and brown sugar are combining to make a very nice creamy, sweet flavor. The coffee is not subtle but it's not in your face. The lead flavor is primarily cedar with some faint tangy notes. The black pepper remains very good and is up to 7 1/2. The finish is a caramel laden cream and nutmeg with a decent amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied. I like this type of cigar and rated the first third at 93.


At the second third the flavor notes are about the same. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The nutmeg has some increased earthiness. I enjoyed this cigar and it's in my wheelhouse. I raised the second third score to 94.


The cigar lasted approximately 1 hour 10 minutes. Since my mission was to get the video and having to film it on my phone I did not start the timer so I am unsure of the exact burn time. In the final third the cigar continued to improve. The cinnamon, caramel, and nutmeg are really coming out; particularly the cinnamon. The cigar ended full bodied. The lead flavor is a cedar but it has flashes of citrus which are nice. The black pepper seemed to increase slowly as the cigar burned and in the final stages it was close to an 8. The finish has much more nutmeg but you still have caramel and brown sugar. There continued to be a nice amount of lingering black pepper. I very much enjoyed this cigar and have purchased close to a box of them by now. As the cigar improved in each stage the score also improved. I rated the final third at 95. This is a very good cigar.

First third: 93
Second third: 94
Final third: 95

OVERALL SCORE: 94

August 27, 2019

ACID 20th Anniversary Now Shipping to Retailers Nationwide


Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the national release of ACID 20 to retailers nationwide. The chromed out, double decade masterpiece was first showcased at the 2019 IPCPR Trade show held in Las Vegas, NV.



Over the past twenty years, ACID has become a vital, must-have brand within all sales channels of the cigar industry. To celebrate this tremendous milestone, we are honored to introduce ACID 20, a box pressed robusto, internally billed as our best ACID release since Kuba Kuba. ACID 20 is wrapped in a lush, toothy Mexican San Andres capa, with ultra-premium Indonesian binder, and filler leaves from Nicaragua. With a subtle and evolving profile, blessed with an blend that is truly worthy of the double decade title.



From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew Founder and President of Drew Estate illuminates, “20 Years is a tremendous milestone to reach for any brand, but in this special moment we didn’t want to rest on our past successes. We challenged the entire company to produce an ACID cigar that could rival Kuba Kuba, and I am proud to report they have delivered excellence… From the chromed-out packaging, to the burst of taste and aroma once lit ACID 20 defines the next twenty years of the ACID legacy.”



The ACID 20 is a 5 x 52 box pressed robusto, packaged in chrome boxes of 24 with an MSRP of $230.40 and will be shipping in September.