July 14, 2019

Green Hornet Robusto by Blk Wks (5 x 48)






Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Green Hornet is an off-shoot of the brand’s popular Killer Bee line. Killer Bee was one of the three original blends when Black Label Trading Company’s James Brown launched his new brand called Black Works Studio. The original Killer Bee cigar is a maduro cigar known for its closed foot and signature natural tobacco linear-rings around the cap. Green Hornet changes things up a bit. It introduces a modified blend which is stronger than the original Killer Bee. It also uses candela leaf for the linear rings and around the closed footer. Green Hornet started as an event-only cigar, but Brown decided to add the cigar as a part of the Black Works Studio portfolio.


Blend Profile
The Killer Bee Green Hornet is based on the original Killer Bee blend. As mentioned it is a stronger blend and as we will see the candela used will make for a different cigar experience.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro w/ Candela linear cap & closed foot
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Fabrica Oveja Negra)



Vitolas Available
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Green Hornet is available in two sizes.

Petite Corona: 4 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 48 REVIEWED TODAY



The cigar looks similar to the Killer Bee but the linears at the cap are candela and there is a closed candela foot.






The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet chocolate, and black coffee. There was a nice amount of black pepper rated at 7 1/2 to 8. Nice start. I like the maduro sweetness.




At the first third (20 minutes) the flavors are like I initially described. The nutmeg makes a nice bridge between the cedar, brown sugar, and cinnamon and the sweet chocolate and black coffee. The cigar is medium bodied at this early point. The finish is one of chocolate and nutmeg with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. This is an impressive cigar. I rated the first third at 93.




At the second third (45 minutes) the cigar continues to be consistent. Nothing much has changed. The same basic flavors are still in play. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. This cigar seems to be a tick better than the Killer Bee but I may be splitting hairs. I maintained the score of 93 for the second third.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 2 minutes. A nice short smoke. This has been a very consistent cigar. The flavors are just about like they started, which is very nice. The cigar has nice sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet chocolate, and black coffee. The cigar reached full bodied in the final third. The finish remained unchanged. While this cigar is similar to the Killer Bee it's a more full bodied cigar. I held the score of 93 for the final third. You can purchase these cigars HERE.


Overall Score: 93

July 13, 2019

Emilio Cigars AF2 (2019) Toro (6 x 50)



 






Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Early this year, Brown and Emilio Cigars’ brand owner Scott Zucca announced a collaborative partnership between their brands. The two brands were already being distributed by Zucca’s Boutiques Unified distribution company. Under the agreement branding and marketing of Emilio would now be handled by Black Label Trading Company and all Emilio cigar production would be moved to Fabrica Oveja Negra. Prior to the partnership, the waters of such an arrangement were tested out when Emilio reintroduced the Grimalkin line.

Like the original releases, the AF1 will feature a San Andres Maduro wrapper and the AF2 will feature an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The AF1 will be available in three sizes (Robusto, Toro, and Grand Toro) while the AF2 will be available in four sizes (Corona, Robusto, Toro, Grand Toro). Both the AF1 and AF2 will be presented in 20-count boxes.


Blend Info:
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra


Vitolas available:
Corona: 5 1/2 x 42 (MSRP $8.50/cigar)
Robusto: 5 x 50 (MSRP $9.00/cigar)
Toro: 6 x 50 (MSRP $9.50/cigar) REVIEWED TODAY
Grand Toro: 6 x 58 (MSRP $10.00/cigar)




The cigar is a medium brown and has a rather light to average feel in the hand.





The test draw after the cutting the cap was effortless which concerned me as it may mean the cigar is loosely packed and may get soft. The initial flavors at light up were a sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, creamy nutmeg, light leather, and a black coffee base. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. The cigar produced a lot of smoke. At the outset the cigar comes across as medium bodied. The cigar had a nice start but rather unremarkable.




At the first third (26 minutes) I noticed the cigar had soft spots. If you remember I noted at the outset that the cigar had a light feel and it also had an effortless draw. The flavors are just like initially described and the cigar is in balance. The finish is nutmeg and brown sugar with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. The flavors continue to be nice but unremarkable. It's sort of an average Nicaraguan cigar. I rated the first third at 89.




At the second third (50 minutes) the nutmeg was elevated. It's also a creamy, toasted nutmeg. The other notes are somewhat subdued. The cigar is now a low grade medium to full bodied. The black pepper remains good on both ends. The cigar continues to be a good, basic Nicaraguan cigar. With the slight elevation in nutmeg I lowered the score to 88.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 8 minutes. A rather short time for a toro. This cigar makes a lot of smoke. The flavor notes continued on the same track as previously described. The sweetness is slightly subdued with an elevated creamy, toasted nutmeg. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. Even with the elevated nutmeg the cigar still has nice sweetness but it's slightly subdued from what it was initially. This has been a good cigar, albeit unremarkable. By that I mean nothing stands out. It doesn't have the wow factor. I rated the final third at 87.


Overall Score: 88

July 09, 2019

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










Video review HERE.



In 2015 Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) announced it was launching a second brand known as Black Works Studio (BLK WKS). When the new brand was announced company founder James Brown explained that he had considered cigar making an art form and the launch of Black Works Studio gave him another expression of what he could do as a cigar maker and brand owner. Consistent with the BLTC brand. the lines under Black Works Studio brand are made at BLTC’s Esteli Nicaragua factory, Fabrica Oveja Negra. 

The Killer Bee was one of three cigars to debut under the Black Works Studio label.


Blend Profile:
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Fabrica Oveja Negra)


Vitolas Available
Killer Bee is available in one size – a 4 1/2 x 46 Petite Corona. The cigar is packaged in 24 count boxes.



The cigar is quite dark and has the signature cap.





It's a short cigar so it has a light feel in the hand. The foot is closed.





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good even with the closed foot. The initial flavors at light up were a sweet pink grapefruit, brown sugar, quite a bit of cinnamon, cream, the beginnings of nutmeg, and quite a bit of a dark roasted black coffee. There was a nice amount of black pepper which I rated at an 8. The cigar is very dark but it has substantial sweetness to go along with the dark notes. A nice start.




At the first third (18 minutes) the cigar still has some pink grapefruit aspects but it also has some cedar notes too. I got caramel notes in the first third. There is still nice cinnamon notes. The nutmeg is detectable now. The black coffee has toned down to a very manageable amount. The black pepper is still very good. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is caramel and nutmeg with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is very good at this point. I rated the first third at 93.




As the second third ended (38 minutes) I lost some of the intense sweetness. The nutmeg really came out and it combines with the black coffee making somewhat of a paste. There is still the brown sugar and cinnamon but it's just a little subdued. I did not have the pink grapefruit at this point but I did have the cedar. I believe the elevated nutmeg is holding the sweeter flavors down a bit. I did not have the cream notes any longer. The caramel notes are rather subdued also. I lowered the second third score slightly to 92.




The cigar lasted 54 minutes. In the final third the sweeter notes bounced back. I had a tangy citrus/cedar flavor, plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon, some aspects of the caramel, nutmeg, and black coffee. The black pepper was still good. The finish is unchanged. The cigar ended at a high grade medium to full bodied. This was a good, short, quick cigar with some power and darkness with plenty of sweet notes. I rated the final third at 93. You can purchase these cigars HERE.



Overall Score: 92.67

Lirio Rojo by Warped Cigars to change things up for 2019



The Lirio Rojo, or Red Lily, is released each year in December and has been since 2015. This blend is the highlight for Warped fans all over the world for its uniqueness and minimalist beauty. The cigar come in a wheel of 50 with no bands and held together by a wide red ribbon and wrapped in red paper.

Since it's original relase it has only been released in a single size; 5.5 x 44. But in 2019 Warped Cigars is changing things up in regards to the size and shape.

The 2019 Lirio Rojo will be a 6 3/8 x 42 size with a 109 cap in the traditional Cabinet of 50.

Due to the unique shape and only having wood moulds available that require hand maintenance to keep them up to par they are only able to manufacture a small amount of this vitola.

These cigars will be arriving to retailers in December.

July 07, 2019

Emilio AF1 Toro (2019) (6 x 50)









Video review HERE.



(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Early this year, Brown and Emilio Cigars’ brand owner Scott Zucca announced a collaborative partnership between their brands. The two brands were already being distributed by Zucca’s Boutiques Unified distribution company. Under the agreement branding and marketing of Emilio would now be handled by Black Label Trading Company and all Emilio cigar production would be moved to Fabrica Oveja Negra. Prior to the partnership, the waters of such an arrangement were tested out when Emilio reintroduced the Grimalkin line.

Like the original releases, the AF1 will feature a San Andres Maduro wrapper and the AF2 will feature an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The AF1 will be available in three sizes (Robusto, Toro, and Grand Toro) while the AF2 will be available in four sizes (Corona, Robusto, Toro, Grand Toro). Both the AF1 and AF2 will be presented in 20-count boxes.


Emilio AF1
Wrapper: Mexico San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra


Robusto: 5 x 50 (MSRP $9.50/cigar)
Toro: 6 x 50 (MSRP $10.00/cigar) REVIEWED TODAY
Grand Toro: 6 x 58 (MSRP $10.50/cigar)



The cigar is very dark and has an average feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a dry cedar, light blackberry notes, sweet dark chocolate, brown sugar, a touch of cinnamon, and espresso. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2 to 8. The espresso notes are half the flavors. The other notes make up the other half. There are massive amounts of espresso at the outset. 




At the first third (23 minutes) the cigar has settled down quite a bit. The espresso has greatly toned down. There is still plenty of it but it's not in your face. You still have the dry cedar, blackberry notes, and there is a buttery richness now. There was still some brown sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg (which was not noticed at the outset), sweet dark chocolate, and the espresso. The flavors are nice and the added richness in the mix is a definite plus. The finish is brown sugar and blackberry notes and some nutmeg with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied at this point. The first third was quite nice. I rated it at 92.




At the second third (51 minutes) the cigar started changing and not for the better. I lost a lot of the cedar, blackberry, and the richness in the cigar. There is a touch of bitterness now. The cigar still has some sweetness and the dark chocolate is still sweet but the overall amount has been reduced. The cigar is very close to full bodied now. The cigar has lost much of it's initial appeal. I lowered the second third score to 89.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 11 minutes, which is rather short for a toro. The cigar continued to go downhill. In the final third I had a residue of blackberry, a sprinkling of brown sugar, sweet dark chocolate, and espresso. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The cigar has lost the majority of what it had in the first third. For the final third I lowered the score to 87. The cigar started off quite nicely but it lost steam in the second third and even more in the final third.


Overall Score: 89.33

July 06, 2019

Protocol Jane Doe (6 x 52 Toro)







Video review HERE.



Cubariqueño Cigar Co. announced the release of the Protocol Jane Doe, a follow up to the quick selling John Doe. The John Doe is now a unicorn. John and Jane Doe are the names given to unidentified persons. Males are given John Doe and females are given Jane Doe. The cigars are packaged in 10 count white paper bundles and no information is known on the blend. This project is a Limited Edition with an undisclosed amount of bundles.

The cigars were produced at LaZona in Estelí, Nicaragua.


Wrapper- Unknown
Binder- Unknown
Filler- Unknown


Size- 6x52 Toro Box Press
Bundles of 10.



The cigar is a sharp box press and has an average feel in the hand.





These cigars have been resting a little over a month since I received my bundle of 10. The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a very pronounced orange citrus with a ton of cinnamon. One of the highest amounts of cinnamon I've ever had in a cigar. There was also quite a bit of brown sugar with a very thick, creamy nutmeg. The cigar had a nice black coffee base. There was a large amount of black pepper which I rated at an 8. The cigar is very sweet but the thick, creamy nutmeg holds it down as much as it can.




At the first third (25 minutes) I am still impressed by the high amount of cinnamon in this cigar. The orange citrus is very sweet. The brown sugar has increased. The nutmeg has toned down a bit. The black coffee is unchanged. This is another cigar that is right up my alley. The black pepper remains very good; between 7 1/2 and 8. The finish is orange citrus, nutmeg, and a touch of cream with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied leaning toward medium to full. The cigar is fantastic at this point. I rated the first third at 95.




At the second third (52 minutes) I noted some changes. The intense orange citrus was toned down. While the brown sugar was still very good the cinnamon was also toned down. The nutmeg is now more of a toasted nutmeg and was slightly elevated. The black coffee was also a little elevated. These changes did not overly hurt the cigar but they did affect the second third score. The cigar is still nice and sweet but you will notice these changes. The finish has a little more nutmeg to go along with the citrus and light cream. There is more lingering black pepper. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. With the minor changes I lowered the second third score to 94.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. The final third pretty much mirrored the second third. Not much, if anything changed except in the final stages I got a small amount of sweet, raw almond in the front end mix. The cigar remained medium to full bodied. The finish was unchanged. This was a very good cigar and the only bad thing to say is there are no more. I was luck enough to get a bundle of 10 to enjoy. The month rest did these cigars a world of good. Very impressive cigar from Protocol. I held the score of 94 for the final third. 


Overall Score: 94.33

July 05, 2019

High-Level Changes at Altadis U.S.A; Norris to Transfer to Fontem Ventures in Canada



FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Rob Norris, head of Altadis U.S.A., has accepted a transfer to Fontem Ventures as General Manager of Canada. Altadis U.S.A. is a unit of Tabacalera USA, Imperial Brands’ premium cigar division in the United States. Fontem Ventures is another, separate Imperial Brands company.



“Rob has been with Imperial Brands for more than 20 years and has held a variety of increasingly responsible leadership positions,” said Javier Estades, President & CEO of Tabacalera USA. “Given his tenure here, the move to Canada is an important next step for Rob’s professional career. Rob joined our Altadis U.S.A. unit as national sales and trade marketing director in 2011. He’s also led our JR Cigars as CEO and currently serves as the head of Altadis U.S.A.” Norris’ move to Fontem Ventures is slated for August 1, Estades said.



With the Norris transfer, Altadis also has announced reporting line changes. Reporting directly to Tabacalera USA’s President & CEO Javier Estades, will be Paul Waller, head of sales for Altadis and Oliver Hyams, head of trade marketing for Altadis.



_______________________





Imperial Brands plc is a British-based company with affiliates across the globe and significant assets in premium cigars, cigarettes and next generation products. These assets represent the largest premium cigar business in the world, and, under the operating umbrella of Tabacalera USA, include Altadis U.S.A. Premium Cigar Division, JR Cigar and Casa de Montecristo. 

July 04, 2019

Viaje Hamaki (6 x 54 Torpedo)






Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website.)
The Viaje Hamaki was originally released in 2017 as a part of the Viaje’s White Label Project.  This time the two small batch releases return and receive their own packaging.

Hamaki is the Japanese word for cigar. The project was provoked by Viaje founder Andre Farkas’ travels to Japan. It is a 6 x 54 box-pressed torpedo with the blend details not being disclosed. When Hamaki was first released back in 2017, it was a Dominican puro produced at the Quesada factory in the Dominican Republic.

The Hamaki is packaged in 25-count boxes.

In terms of the new packaging Viaje refers to this as “graduating from the White Label Project” series. The White Label Project is a series of experimental cigars and in some cases factory errors. Lately, Viaje has been using White Label Project to test the waters with a new line. This has allowed Viaje to see how the market responds to a release before investing in a more detailed packaging.



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





The test draw after taking a small amount from the sharp torpedo cap was not very good. I used my PerfecDraw tool to open the draw. The initial flavors at light up were an orange citrus with citrus peel, some brown sugar, light cinnamon, nutmeg, massive amounts of unsweetened dark chocolate and black coffee. There was black pepper which I rated at 7 1/2. This is another dark noted cigar. The sweet notes to dark notes ration would be about 30/70 at the outset.




At the first third (28 minutes) the cigar showed improvement. The sweeter notes came out much more. The ration of sweet notes to dark notes is now 45/55. Much improved. The citrus is more pronounced, more brown sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus peel, cream, unsweetened dark chocolate, and black coffee. The pepper remained good. The finish is cream and nutmeg with a modest amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The cigar is pretty good and I really liked the major improvement in the first third from light up. I rated the first third at 91.




At the second third (1 hour 15 minutes) the cigar is in balance. The cigar kept improving. The flavors are the same as before except I lost the cream notes. At times I got caramel notes in the mix of sweet flavors which was nice. The black pepper is still good. There is now citrus peel on the finish to go along with the cream and nutmeg. The lingering black pepper is up. The cigar is full bodied now. Overall the cigar (for me) improved. I rated the second third at 92.




The cigar lasted an impressive 1 hour 42 minutes. In the final third I lost a lot of the sweetness in the citrus and brown sugar. The flavors remained the same and the cigar was in balance but the sweetness decreased. The nutmeg, unsweetened dark chocolate, and black coffee remained unchanged. The cigar is still full bodied. The finish is unchanged. With the loss of substantial sweetness I lowered the final third score to 90.


Overall Score: 91