Fade to Black…. Monday, Sep 10 2012 

Well, the 1st step in shutting down Matt’s Cigar Journal happened well over a year ago when I stopped publishing to the site.  The next step in this drawn out process has begun.  The domain mattscigar.com is going away.  I have changed the primary domain of the website back to the wordpress default, cigarsbymatt.wordpress.com.  Until my custom domain officially expires in December  mattscigar.com will still work by automatically redirecting folks to the wordpress url.  In December that will cease to work as well and mattscigar.com will be gone for good. The site will still be up and inactive until I finally decide I am ready to take the last step and take the site offline entirely.  Until them my outdated cigar reviews will still be around for the random internet traveler to stumble across…..

CigarsDirect.com 2012 Basketball Challenge Monday, Mar 12 2012 


It is time for CIgars Direct’s annual bracket challenge and there are some great prizes again this year.  Just click the link below…


Prizes this year:


Place Product Retail Cost
1st 2011 Ltd Ed. Fuente Story Humidor – Red Sycamore $2299.95
2nd 2011 Opus X Fuente Charity Box $1199.95
3rd Opus X Double Robusto Box of 42
4th Opus X Robusto Box of 29
5th Anejo No. 77 “The Shark” Box of 20
6th VSG Wizard Box of 37
7th Padron 1964 Torpedo Natural Box of 20
8th Hemingway Classic Box of 25 $257.95
9th Casa Magna Diademas  Box of 22 $241.92
10th Opus X Perfecxion X 1992 Rare Estate Reserve 3 Cigars $99.95

Time to Retire…? Thursday, Jul 28 2011 

For the past 6 years now I have been writing about my experiences with a wide variety of cigars. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and everything that came along with it.  I truly appreciate all the people who have read my blog whether it was just one time or if you were a loyal reader from the beginning and all in between.  I hope some of what I have publish here has been interesting at the least, and perhaps even occasionally helpful to some.

I feel it is time to “hang it up” and smoke just for smoking’s sake at this point.  I still enjoy a wide variety of cigars on a regular basis and plan to continue doing so but I seem to have lost my desire to put forth the effort to write about them here on the blog.  I prefer now for my hobby to remain more true to its stated purpose of relaxation and escapism, removing anything that even resembles work from the equation.

I will keep the site up indefinitely and will maintain the domain name at least through 2012 in case I find that retirement from blogging is a mistake and feel the need to take back up the torch and begin writing again. I guess you can call it the “Brett Favre Caveat”.  Plus I still hope the blog can serve as a bit of reference material for folks.  But for now I am done. I suppose I shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an occasional post here and there should the mood strike, but right now it just doesn’t seem likely that it would happen very often if at all.  Running a one man blog can be a bit cumbersome because all the responsibility for content falls on you.  Maybe when I am ready to get back into this I’ll come up with a different idea or different medium/outlet for my reviews.

Thanks again everyone and I will see you at the cigar shop, or on the forums, or on twitter, or perhaps on Google+.

twitter: @lorax429
Forum screen name: Lorax429
Gmail:  Lorax429 (use my gmail account to find me on Google+)

Habana Leon Serie F No.2000 Monday, Jul 25 2011 


Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto

This is an old Pepin Garcia brand that is made in his Miami Shop. I found it buried in the humidor tonight. I don’t even know if this cigar is made anymore. It is an excellent smoke. Medium bodied with notes of pepper, earth and cedar complimented with a slightly sweet undertone and a smooth creamy texture. Makes me wish I had a few more of them.

Cigar Box Reserve 2009 Malbec Sunday, Jun 12 2011 

I’m not a wine expert and have no plans to start regularly reviewing wine, but I ran across this wine in the grocery store and as a Cigar Guy, I had to buy it and give it a try.  Because of its name and the story behind the name I felt it was worthy of a short write-up here.  Unfortunately when I got up to the cigar shop and opened the bottle to share with my friends with some good cigars, I completely negelected to take another photo of the wine so I am using the same picture in this post that I used in my previous post I made when I found the wine.  I thought a nice picture of the wine in a glass would be good but alas I forgot to get the shot.

I was worried about what to expect.  The wine was $12 and had a screw on cap.  I know those are becoming more widely used even on some really good wines, but this was still cheap bottle of wine from the grocery store.  I didn’t know what to expect.  What I got was a pleasant surprise.  It is a very drinkable wine, well suited for any time and just about any situation.  It was fruitier than i was expecting with a distinct plum flavor.  A more refined wine taster might call it currant but plum works for me.  There was also a bit of pepper on the back end.  The finish was a little short and the body a little thin but for the price I thought it was quite good. It held up well to the Davidoff Short Perfecto Colorado Claro  I was smoking, and yet I don’t think it would over power any but the lightest and most delicate foods.  If you are a cigar guy like me and you enjoy the occasional glass of wine you should give this one a try some time.  It is pretty good and the name alone almost demands that you give it a try.

The Perfect Cigar Wine? Thursday, Jun 9 2011 

I saw this on the shelf at the grocery store and couldn’t resist picking up a bottle.  According to the label:

When the first vintage of this wine was made, our wine maker noticed subtle hints of “Cigar Box” on the nose… the name stuck!

What cigar lover wouldn’t be intrigued.  I am taking the bottle up to the cigar shop this evening to share with the fellas.  I hope it can live up to expectations.  I’ll post my thoughts on the wine after I’ve tried it!

A. Fuente 8-5-8 Rosado Tuesday, Jun 7 2011 

Country: Domincan Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: ?? Same as the other 8-5-8’s whatever that comprises
Size:  6.0′ x 47 ring

Fuente 8-5-8’s generate a lot of conversation among avid cigar smokers.  The Natural, bleh…  The Maduro, eh….   The Sungrown, heck yeah!!…  The Rosado, Woo-hoo!!! Gimme some!!

That is generally how it goes but can vary depending upon who you are talking to.  I do enjoy the black ribbon Sungrowns when I can find them, but even rarer than those are the 8-5-8 Rosados.  When it is Fuente and it is rare, it generates buzz.  For this cigar it is warranted.  It is a really fantastic smoke.  It highlights how dramatically a good wrapper can impact the overall experience of a blend.  As far as I know all the Flor Fina 8-5-8 cigars are the same blend of tobaccos in the filler.   If this is true this line of cigars is a good example to highlight the role a wrapper plays in the flavors of a cigar.

The 8-5-8 Rosado is smooth and delicious.  Floral notes are complimented by distinct flavors like cinnamon, and espresso.  There are also more robust flavors that develop later in the smoke like leather and spice, yet it always remains smooth with an almost creamy texture to it all.  This is a great cigar,  I wonder why it is that Fuentes best stuff always has to be rare and hard to find.  The cynic in me says to keep prices and sales up.  But I don’t know if the wrapper is just hard to come by or what.  I just wish they would make some of their better stuff a little easier to find.  I have grown disenchanted with the brand and no longer feel the need to go out of my way to constantly chase down these special releases even though I feel like I am missing out from time to time.

Illusíone Singularé 2010 Phantom Tuesday, May 24 2011 


Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.0′ x 50 ring

The Phantom is the 2010 version of Illusione’s Limited Edition “Singularé” cigar line. It is a refined looking toro with a handsome wrapper that has the look of fine leather. It is a mild to medium bodied smoke.  Not much spice to be found here which is unusual of a cigar that uses all Nicaraguan tobacco. It starts off light and mild with creamy flavors of cedar and toasted tobacco with a subtle bit of earthiness. Eventually it picks up a bit. The flavors are consistent but develop more body and there is an added floral undertone and a bit of sweetness that adds some complexity. This was an excellent smoke and a very different profile for Illusione.  I found it to be even lighter and more mild that some of the Epernay line. Still mild doesn’t mean flavorless as this stick had plenty to offer. I feel like I use this word a lot when talking about various cigars from Illusione, but it fits so I’ll use it again… Elegant. This cigar has a very refined and elegant feel to it. Grab some if you can still find them.

And the winner is… Wednesday, May 4 2011 

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Thanks to the incredible generosity of all the cigar smokers out there that donated to the Ride for Kids this year, I was able to raise $2937.00 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  You can read all about the Ride in my event recap here.

As promised, I took the names of all my donors from this blog and the various cigar forums around the internet and put those names in a hat to draw for a winner of a 5 pack of premium cigars from my personal stash.  That 5 pack includes a Tatuaje Monster Series “The Frank” and an Opus xXx along with 3 other top-shelf cigars.

And the so the winner is…   Patrick from the Stogie Review Fan Forum.  Congrats Patrick and thank you very much for your donation.  And thank you to everyone else whose generosity has provided much needed help for these brave sick kids.


A.Fuente Hemingway Signature Rosado Tuesday, May 3 2011 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Sun Grown Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 6.0″ x 47 ring

Lately I haven’t been able to hangout at my local cigar shop or on the online cigar forums as much as I once was.  Life happens and with a wife, a dog, and two small kids my free time is nearly non-existent.  So I was very surprised when I walked into my local shop after being gone for a while to find these new Hemingways sitting in the humidor.  I guess I have fallen a little out of touch.  after letting sit in my humidor for the past month I am ready to spark this thing up as see what we have here.

I know very little about this version of the Hemingway.  Is it a one time deal, a very rare release, or only somewhat rare like the Maduros?  I have no idea but I bought a couple just in case I never see them again.  Glad I did.  the Rosado wrapper is a nice change-up for this smoke.  The Signature Maduro is probably my all time favorite Hemingway Series cigar.  I like this size and the Maduro wrapped version is just spectacular.  The Rosado is nearly as good in a completely different way.  It has a mild spice with a touch of cinnamon in there, all stacked on top of a core of leather and wood.  I even picked up some subtle flashes of what I’d describe as applewood at times.  It is a smooth medium body smoke and a real treat.

2011 Triangle Area Ride for Kids Recap Monday, May 2 2011 

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This past Sunday was the 8th annual Triangle Area Ride for Kids out at Jordan Lake. There were over 760 participants in this years ride and we raised $109,824.00 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  The weather was fantastic and the ride was a blast.  I couldn’t get a wide enough angle with my little point and shoot to capture all the motorcycles but you can see there was a sea of bikes at the event.
We had the Cary Police Escorting us on the ride with their spiffy new department motorcycles.
I had my bike all polished up and spiffy for the ride. Best looking bike there if I do say so myself 😉  (more…)

Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: CT Corojo
Binder:  CT Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring

I have never been a fan of the Punch Rare Corojo.  It seemed an OK enough cigar but it just never struck my fancy which I thought strange because I generally enjoy Corojo cigars.  I had no idea until very recently that the Punch Rare Corojo doesn’t even have any Corojo tobacco in it.  I thought the wrapper was Corojo but apparently it was a Sumatran leaf of some kind.  Learning that fact kind of annoyed me.  Why the hell do they call it a Corojo if it isn’t?  But ultimately I came to the conclusion that I really don’t care especially since the cigar has largely remained off my radar…

Enter the the Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Edition.  Wonders never cease, this one actually uses a Corojo wrapper leaf.  What’s more it is a Connecticut grown Corojo wrapper.  I didn’t even know they grew Corojo in Connecticut.  Well there’s lots I don’t know but still, I was surprised by it. General Cigar sent me some samples of the new limited edition of the Rare Corojo and its make-up is intriguing to me so I looked forward to giving this one a try.  I have to say, it is a much better cigar that the previous sticks to carry this name.  It starts off with leather and earth and an undertone of what I would describe as spiced vanilla, giving it a subtle sweetness and creamy characteristic to the flavors.  It builds in body as you progress and it starts to exhibit more spice and gets a little woodsy and tannic at times which may just be a bit of youth shining through, or the Honduran filler dominating the blend (I often get tannic notes from cigars with Honduran tobacco).  Overall the cigar was quite enjoyable and it held my attention nicely with well defined flavors.  It may be a limited edition cigar but it doesn’t carry a limited edition price tag so I would say it is definitely worth trying if you run across them.

Redux: Tatuaje Monster Series “The Frank” Friday, Apr 22 2011 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sungrown Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Double Corona 75/8″ x 49 ring

I read on a discussion board somewhere that someone was saying hurry up and smoke The Frank because it has peaked and is in the decline.  I thought, OK lets smoke one and see how they are doing.  I still have the better half of my box left.  I’m glad I picked the box I did because my Franks are certainly not in a decline.  They are smoking wonderfully.  True they have lost a bit of their oomph, and a little bit of the spice they had when they were newborns but these dark double coronas still have plenty to offer me.  They still start off with a blast of pepper but perhaps not the full on punch in the palate that it once was.  It also still has plenty of the “sun grown twang” that I love from sun grown broadleaf wrappers.  The black pepper and spices are much more subtle now and the coffee and cocoa flavors are more prevelant and I was occasionally getting an nutty, almost almond like flavor from it from time to time.

I can’t say if these cigars will decline, maintain, or improve as time goes on.  I just don’t know.  I do know that right now they are fantastic.  I think they are even better now than they were when they first came out.  That is saying something because they were fantastic fresh.  So given this most recent experience with a nicely aged version of The Frank,  I am not sure how much longer these will last in my humidor so I probably won’t have to worry about how they will continue to age.  They probably won’t have an opportunity to do so for much longer. Perhaps then, the discussion board warning still has had its intended effect, to get me to smoke my Franks…

Macanudo Reserva Dorada 2010 Tuesday, Apr 12 2011 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: 1997 Vintage Maduro
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 54 ring

The Macanudo Reserva Dorada is a dark maduro with an earthy aroma and a shiny metal band.  It is an eye catcher on the shelves.  I have to be honest.  I am not a fan of Macanudo in general (although I was recently impressed by the new Gran Cru), but when I saw this cigar with that big metal ring on it, I had to buy it just to try and also to have that band.  For what I don’t know but i had to have so I guess the gimmick worked.  The flavors are mild and classic maduro, a slight sweetness with chocolate an coffee flavors.  The flavors were a little thin though with not much body to speak of.  The draw was a little looser than I prefer but it did produce plenty of thick aromatic smoke.  The burn was a little tricky at time requiring one or two touch ups and the ash was very loose and flaky so I had to keep an ash tray near by.

The final verdict, while it was an OK smoke, it was too mild for my tastes and too thin in the body department.  The ash was kind of troublesome too.  However, the flavors were good and in the end I guess I enjoyed enough to be happy with the purchase though I probably won’t be looking to smoke another.  However, if you like mild smokes and that classic maduro sweet flavor, this cigar is right in your wheel house.

La Gloria Cubana Serie N JSB Tuesday, Apr 5 2011 

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatran Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.5″ x 54 ring

This is a new cigar from General Cigars.  The folks over there were kind enough to send me a sampler of thier new product along with a press release about thier virtual cigar tasting that happened back in late march.  Apparently they use some social media outlets and invited fans of the brand to smoke the cigar along with the makers of the blend and they had an interactive discussion about the cigar.  Very “2011”…

The Serie N is a thick oily looking cigar with a near pitch black wrapper on it.  I wasn’t sure what to think about it but once I put a flame to it I was pleasantly surprised.  I found it to be an excellent cigar with rich and robust flavors.  Lots of earth and cocoa and leather and a subtle bit of what I can only describe as dark fruit (don’t know if that will make sense to anybody else).  It had a very typical Nicaraguan profile which is right in my wheelhouse.  The rich flavors were balanced nicely with its moderate strength and full bodied feel.  The last inch or so get to be very full bodied with a good bit of spice and pepper almost overpowering the other flavors.  It finishes off with a punch to the gut.

I thought it was a very, very good cigar.  One I enjoyed thoroughly and will smoke again very soon.  This ranks as my favorite LGC cigar and I think may be one of the best that General Cigar makes.

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