November 17, 2019

Menelik by Foundation Cigars (4 1/2 x 52 Soft-Box Pressed)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, Foundation Cigar Company made its Menelik cigar available for a limited production run. The Menelik is a cigar that had been seen at Foundation Cigar Company events over the past couple of years.

Menelik was the name of an ancient emperor of Ethiopia, who was said to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Menelik was also known as Ibn al-Hakim, which translates into “Son of the Wise Man.”  This ties to two of the company’s flagship brands El Güegüense (The Wise Man) and The Tabernacle (the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant which was said to be dismantled by King Solomon).

Menelik features a San Andres Mexican wrapper over a Nicaraguan Corojo binder and fillers from Condega, Estelí, and Jalapa. It will be available in one size – a 4 1/2 x 52 soft-box pressed petit robusto measuring 4 1/2 x 52. The cigars will be presented in 12-count boxes. Pricing is set $13.00 per cigar or $156.00 per box.

Blend and Origin
Wrapper: San Andres Mexico
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 Jalapa
Filler: Condega, Estelí, Jalapa
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.

Vitolas Offered
Petit Robusto: 4 1/2 x 52 (Soft Pressed)

The cigar is a beauty finished in a large, tight pigtail cap.

The cigar has an average feel in the hand.

After taking the pigtail from the cap the test draw was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a dry cedar, sweet dark chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, touch of nutmeg, and a large amount of dark roasted black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 8 to 8 1/2 initially. It's a very dark noted cigar with nice sweetness.

As I reached the 1/2 to 3/4 inch point there were nice caramel cream notes added to the mix. They are nice, smooth, and sweet. 

At the first third (31 minutes) the flavors are consistent. The flavors are very good. The caramel cream flavor sets this cigar apart from the El Güegüense and Tabernacle. The cigar is a high grade medium to full bodied. The finish has that caramel cream and nutmeg with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar has great flavors. I rated the first third at 95.

At the end of the second third (56 minutes) the cigar turned darker. The coffee notes rose taking some of the sweetness from the chocolate and caramel cream but not to a great degree. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is unchanged. With the elevated coffee and decreased sweetness I lowered the second third score to 93.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 16 minutes. In the final third the coffee notes decreased and the sweetness came back up but not quite to the degree they were in the first third. The cigar finished full bodied and the finish was unchanged. This is a very good maduro cigar. I enjoyed it and with the positive changes in the final third I raised the score to 94. These are back on shelves and online now. Look for them.

 Overall Score: 94

November 16, 2019

Las 6 Provincias MTZ (6 x 52 Box Pressed)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, Espinosa Premium Cigars launched the second installment of its Las 6 Provincias Series – the Las 6 Provincias MTZ.

Las 6 Provincias is a line that is intended to pay homage to the pre-Castro era in Cuba. It was spearheaded by Erik Espinosa Jr., the son of company founder Erik Espinosa. The name Las 6 Provincias means “six provinces” – and it refers to the six provinces that existed prior to the takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro. There are six planned releases of Las 6 Provincias – with each having a unique blend, size, and associated artwork. MTZ is the second installment of the series – and refers to the province of Matanzas.

Details of the blend for the Las 6 Provincias MTZ have not been disclosed other than the cigar features a Habano wrapper. MTZ comes in one size – a 6 x 52 box-pressed Toro. Production comes from AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano factory in Ocatel, Nicaragua.

Las 6 Provincias MTZ follows the Las 6 Provincias LHB which was introduced in 2018.

Blend and Origin
Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: San Lotano

Vitolas Offered
MTZ: 6 x 52 (Box Pressed)

The cigar is beautiful and well made. The band is ornate and bold in color. The cigar has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the absolute minimum from the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were cedar with sweet apple characteristics, cinnamon, brown sugar, quite a bit of nutmeg, some leather aspects, and a black coffee base. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. The lead flavor of cedar/apple is quite nice.

At the first third (25 minutes) the cigar by and large has the same flavors but the apple notes have toned down. There are cedar notes with light apple, brown sugar, a nice amount of cinnamon, nutmeg paste, thread of leather, and a black coffee base. The finish is one of nutmeg and apple with some buttery characteristics and a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is a high grade medium bodied. This cigar is quite different from the LHB but still a good cigar. I rated the first third at 94.

In the second third (54 minutes) the cigar got a little darker. The coffee notes and nutmeg really rose and the thin thread of leather seemed to creep up also. The sweetness of cedar and light apple decreased. The brown sugar also decreased but the cinnamon notes remained very good. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied. The finish is still buttery nutmeg and apple but there are much more nutmeg notes at this point. The lingering black pepper is still very good. For the second third I rated the cigar at 92.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 15 minutes. In the final third the cedar and light apple notes all but disappeared. The are very faint. What you do have is brown sugar and nutmeg combining to make a unique flavor. You also have cinnamon, very light leather, and black coffee. The cigar is definitely medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The cigar made a large transition. I rated the final third at 89. This is not a bad cigar but of the two I prefer the LHB.

Overall Score: 91.67

November 12, 2019

Joya Copper by Joya de Nicaragua

Estelí, Nicaragua.  Joya de Nicaragua proudly announces Joya Copper and extends an invitation to cigar lovers around the world to rediscover the modern essence of full-bodied tradition from the oldest cigar factory in Nicaragua.

As the fifth member of the JOYA brand family along with Cabinetta, Red, Black and Silver, Joya Copper is a perfect complement that rounds out a complete offering that once again firmly establishes Joya de Nicaragua -- the original power bomb maker -- as the world’s premiere house of full-bodied cigars.  Joya Copper is made using Nicaragua’s best tobacco, and each stick captures the soul of our blenders and “torcedores”, delivering a fully robust and spiced character profile that will transport modern cigar smokers to the world of bold smokers. Today is the moment to Raise your Bets and try Joya Copper.
“Joya Copper is the result of what a strong partnership is all about, in this project we worked hand-in-hand with the best talent of our factory, Drew Estate, and our friends at Cigars International where the product is going to be sold.  We are really proud of it” said Juan Martinez, Executive President of Joya de Nicaragua.
Joya Copper comes in 20 count boxes, in 4 different sizes: 4 ½ x 52 Consul (MSRP $6.60), 5 x 46 Corona Gorda (MSRP $6.30), 5 ½ x 52 Robusto (MSRP $7.10) and 6 x 50 Toro (MSRP $7.80). The product will be showcased at the Cigars International store in The Colony, Texas on November 14th.  It will be available only at Cigars International retail stores through December, and then will be available on its online site beginning January 2020.
“Our JOYA product family is a reawakening for those in search of rich, complex and bold cigars to journey into a world of discovery with Joya de Nicaragua, starting with our smoothest well-balanced blends and evolving into more sophisticated experiences when they try any Antaño or Obras Maestras product family. Each of them represents the essence of every single person that works at Joya who carries Joya de Nicaragua’s values, chivalry, humbleness and modesty,” added Juan Martínez.
We invite cigar lovers around the United States to join the online celebration and share their Joya de Nicaragua experience using

November 10, 2019

Isabela Cigars Belicoso X (6 x 54)

Video review HERE.

(Background info taken from website)
Johnny Piette, owner, of Isabela Cigars describing the background of the cigar:
”I went to the Abacos (Bahamas) for a wedding,. a week in the 90s, and 2 things happened
The only cigars available, and in abundance, were Cuban Montecristo #2s…..

“Which was awesome for a while, but then it was overkill…kind of like eating at a steakhouse, the best steak in the world, every day and nite !

“I was dying for a different cigar, any cigar, after the heavy flavor of the #2 was overpowering me….and too linear.

“Years later, I set out to blend a cigar…a great blend….that would be heavily reminiscent…and incorporate similar flavors as the 90s version of the Cuban Montecristo #2; and also match the beautiful exotic looking craftsmanship of the Cuban Master crafted Belicoso vitola, which just by looks , set itself apart from all other torpedos with a beautiful stunning tres capa pointed head and exotic sheen in general.

“I also wanted to “modernize” or “Isabela-ize” the flavor a bit by adding to the base some Cuban flavor; a touch of modern generation sizzle and spices…and also I wanted it to transition more in flavor so that if I was stuck on an island again, with only the Isabela Belicoso X, the blend would give me enough transitions and changes to maintain interest and enthusiasm….waking up each day excited to enjoy the Belicoso X again, let it take me on a journey of flavors, and keep my palate tantalized yet off balance, always wanting more…..”

Wrapper: Undisclosed
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Vitola: 6 x 54 Belicoso

As you can see not much is known about the cigar but the appearance is great. It's a very light brown color; Connecticut looking wrapper. The cigar has an average feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very firm. So, I used my PerfecDraw to open the draw. This is common among torpedos and belicosos due to the shape but the PerfectDraw works great. I only need to go in about 3/4 inch and everything was fine. The initial flavors at light up were a citrus/cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flashes of cream, flashes of roasted nuts, nutmeg, and a lot of an earthy black coffee. There was nice black pepper rated at an 8. 

At the first third (25 minutes) the flavors are just like I initially described. The massive earthy black coffee and nutmeg have toned down. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is roasted nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg, and a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is tasty. I rated the first third at 91.

As I moved through the second third (54 minutes) the cigar got darker. The nutmeg and black coffee notes really increased. The cigar is still medium bodied and the finish is unchanged. I am enjoying the cigar but lowered the second third score to 90 with the elevated darker notes.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 20 minutes. In the final third the heavy nutmeg and coffee notes reverted back to the normal level they had in the first third. I finished with citrus/cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted nuts, and an earthy black coffee. This was a pretty good cigar but not in the class of the Pepperhead, which was fantastic. I raised the final third score to 91. These, unlike the Pepperhead, are a regular production cigar and available on the Isabella Cigars website

Overall Score: 90.67

November 09, 2019

Aganorsa Leaf Guardian of the Farm Campeon (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Aganorsa Leaf’s Shade Grown Corojo Maduro wrapper has come to the Guardian of the Farm line.

Guardian of the Farm is a brand that originally launched in 2016 as a collaboration between Kyle Gellis of Warped Cigars and Max Fernandez of Aganorsa Leaf. The cigar is produced at the TABSA factory and by Aganorsa Leaf. The Guardian of the Farm Nightwatch is a project that is solely Fernandez’s.

In addition to the Shade Grown Corojo Maduro wrapper from Jalapa, the blend features a Corojo binder from Jalapa and a mix of Corojo and Criollo tobaccos from Jalapa and Estelí. The cigars will be presented in 25-count boxes in four sizes: Rambo (4 1/2 x 48); JJ (5 1/2 x 50); Campeon; (6 x 52 with a 109 cap); and Orpheus (6 x 44). Each of the four vitola names is named after dogs at the Aganorsa Leaf farms.

Max Fernandez commented: “To make a second blend for Guardian of the Farm and our loyal dogs is a blessing. Every dog, whether it is one of ours or your own, is commemorated with this cigar.”

Blend and Origin
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Shade Grown Corojo Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Jalaja Corojo
Filler: Nicaragua Corojo and Criollo (from Jalapa and Estelí)
Country of Origin: Nicaraguan
Factory: Tabacos de Valle Jalapa SA (TABSA)

Vitolas Offered
Rambo: 4 1/2 x 48
JJ: 5 1/2 x 50 (box pressed)
Campeon: 6 x 52 (109 cap) REVIEWED TODAY
Orpheus: 6 x 44

The cigar is very well made and features a 109 cap. It's a blunt torpedo-type shape. The cigar has a very nice feel in the hand. The cigar has a closed foot.

The test draw was ok even though the foot is closed which means it should open up once the cigar is lit. The initial flavors at light up were a citrus, brown sugar, cinnamon, quite a bit of nutmeg which is sort of a nutmeg paste, dry cocoa, and black coffee. There was a nice amount of black pepper rated at 7 1/2. 

At the first third (36 minutes) the citrus notes are very much challenged by a bitter nutmeg. There is some nice cinnamon but the brown sugar is decreased. There are still dry cocoa notes but now there are also nice chocolate notes. The black coffee has risen. The black pepper is still very good. The finish is dark chocolate, nutmeg, and a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied. This is a good, dark noted cigar but I'm a little concerned about the bitterness of the nutmeg and hoping that goes away. But, I rated the first third at 93.

At the second third 1 hour 14 minutes) the lead flavor is now more of a sweet grapefruit. But the main flavors are chocolate and black coffee. The bitterness in the nutmeg did greatly tone down. There remains some cinnamon and a little brown sugar. There is decent sweetness now in the cigar with nice overall flavors. The chocolate has a little sweetness. The overall flavor of the cigar has improved in the second third. The cigar is still medium to full bodied and the finish is unchanged. I rated the second third at 94.

The cigar lasted an impressive 1 hour 47 minutes. The cigar did not quite have the pronounced overall sweetness in the final third as the second third. It sort of reverted back to the way it was in the first third but without the bitterness. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. It never hit full bodied but got close. The finish is unchanged. The pepper was very good in the cigar throughout. The chocolate notes are nice but they are not quite as sweet. I rated the final third at 93. Another good offering from Aganorsa Leaf. You can purchase these cigars HERE. (available in boxes, 5 packs, and singles)

Overall Score: 93.33

November 08, 2019

Cigar Gadgets; the HumidiMeter by Cigar Medics

Video review HERE.

The HumidiMeter is sold by Cigar Medics and cost $29.99 with free shipping. The device measures relative humidity in your cigar. Here is their website:

The device comes ready to use. Even the packaging is easy to get into. I spoke to Lou, the inventer of the HumidiMeter and he hated fighting the packaging to get to the item. The packaging comes in 2 easily separated plastic sheets. No cutting or fighting needed.

When you take out the device it's ready to use. There is only one button; the ON button. When you push it the screen lights up and registers 0.0. Slipping off the end cover exposes the 2 prongs. Be careful as they are very sharp.

The cool thing about taking the reading is you can keep the cello on or take it off to measure the humidity. Insert the prongs into the foot of the cigar and check the dial. You will see the current relative humidity of the cigar. If the readings jump around you can gently squeeze the cigar over the prongs. Don't squeeze the prongs together as they could bend.

A reading of 60-70% means the cigar is smokeable.

Personally, I like to keep my cigars at a low humidity. I keep my end table humidor at 61%. 

You can also check the cap by pushing the prongs into it also. The cap will usually yield a higher percentage humidity. Think of the cigar like a straw. The humidity is absorbed mainly through the foot which is open. The cap does not draw in as much humidity.

When you're finished checking your cigars the HumidiMeter will turn itself off saving the battery.

There is also a calibration device to check your HumidiMeter to make sure it's reading accurately.

I found this device a great way to check the humidity in all my cigars. It's particularly useful when you first get cigars in from an online order. You can check them to see if they are smokeable right away of if they need to sit awhile due to high humidity or low humidity.

At this price the HumidiMeter is affordable and it provides an easy way to quickly check your cigars relative humidity. I like it!

Overall Score: BUY

November 06, 2019

Altadis announces the release of Herman’s Batch which Honors H. Upmann, Founder

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Once every so often a name comes along that conveys all that needs to be said about a brand – especially for adult connoisseurs who know what’s behind that seemingly simple name.

Such is the case with Altadis U.S.A.’s release of Herman’s Batch, a specially blended cigar honoring the founder of H. Upmann cigars, a brand recognized throughout the world of fine cigars and steeped in Cuban cigar history.

Herman’s Batch has its roots in pre-revolution Havana, Cuba, where the first of two Upmann brothers – Herman – arrived in 1844 to open a branch of the family bank. The institution rapidly became one of the most successful in the island country, in large part due to Herman’s sharp mind for business and exquisite manners with his clients.

Fortunately for adult cigar lovers, Herman found time to indulge his fondness for sensuous luxury – namely premium, hand-made Cuban cigars. So passionate for fine cigars, Herman, along with his younger brother, took a leap of faith and founded their own cigar brand H. Upmann in 1844.

Almost two centuries later, Herman’s Batch is inspired by its namesake’s elegant, sybarite and distinctive personality and the H. Upmann brand that remains one of the most emblematic cigar brands across the world.

Herman’s Batch is covered in Ecuadorian Habano wrapper aged for four years that has gone through a double fermentation process, providing a fuller flavor and more complex taste. The Binder is Dominican and the filler is a well-balanced and elegant combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos from Condega and Esteli – the later grown in high altitude, providing the blend with very rich and distinct characteristics. Each cigar is made in Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic, and is gracefully capped with a pigtail.

A cigar that pays tribute to Herman Upmann and continues his legacy. A cigar that perpetuates the unique man he was.

Each cigar will be available for purchase nationally in 20-count boxes, in the following sizes:

- Toro: 52 x 6 – MSRP: $10.50

- Robusto: 54 x 5 – MSRP: $10.10

- Corona Gorda: 46 x 5 5/8 – MSRP: $9.30

- Lonsdale: 42 x 6 ½ - MSRP: $9.00

November 04, 2019

Drew Estate Announces the Limited Release of the Herrera Esteli Norteño Edicion Limitada

Monday, November 4, 2019 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the limited release of the Herrera Esteli Norteño Edicion Limitada Churchill to Drew Diplomat retailers nationwide. Originally released in 2015, this limited edition is a favorite among cigar connoisseurs and retailers alike.

The Herrera Esteli Norteño Edicion Limitada showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, coupled with a spicy Honduran binder and a rich, bold Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. Packaged in 15 count boxes, this 7 x 48 box pressed Churchill features a unique Norteño blend allowing for a smoother and complex smoke.

From La Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera notes, “The Norteño Edicion Limitada is a killer stick bro, at all of my events consumers come up and ask when it is coming back. I am happy to say this limited release will satisfy some of the demand, but they better grab them quick before they disappear.”

The Herrera Esteli Norteño Edicion Limitada Churchill is available in 15 count boxes with an MSRP of $217.96.