Padron 7000 Maduro Thursday, Mar 27 2008 

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Country:Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan long filler
Size: 6.25″ x 60 ring

Among most American cigar smokers these days, the large ring gauge is king. I’ll be up front. I am not a fan of large ring gauges. Quite often I find cigars with a 52+ ring to have muted flavors and iffy complexity. Not to mention they just aren’t very comfortable to have in your mouth. I consider Coronas, Lonsdales, and Lanceros to be the ideal cigar vitolas, and consider them connoisseur sizes. That said I am a fan of the Padron thousand series cigars. Further more, it is the one line of cigars that I feel are better in their maduro version then they are in a natural wrapper. That is significant because those who have read my reviews know I’m not a maduro fan as a rule either. So this particular cigar is a bit intriguing to me because I’m curious what will win out with me, the fact that I like Padron maduros or the fact I dislike huge ring guages.

I am able to sample this monster smoke thanks to my friends at CigarsDirect.com. Padron’s maduro wrappers aren’t very dark in comparison to most maduro wrappers. In fact, the maduro cigars in this line aren’t much darker than the naturals and it can be hard to tell the difference without putting them side by side. The wrapper looks like rough leather with a slight tooth and oily sheen. The large cap put my Palio cutter to the test as it barely fit inside the blades, but it clipped nicely. It has a very light draw which I find typical with this line of cigars. I toasted the foot and it took the light nicely producing a nice even burn. The excessively large ring gauge makes it a little difficult to draw on and it feels very awkward in my mouth. I find this stogie kind of hard to smoke. Flavor wise it is very much like it’s brothers but the flavors are more muddled compared to the 3000 and even the 5000. It is very leathery with a nutty undertone. The construction is typical Padron. A sloppy cap but otherwise perfectly made with a good draw, even burn, and a well formed ash. It is a good cigar, kind of easy going with a cool burn. Those that love the big fat stogies are going to really enjoy this stick. As for me, I find the ring gauge too large and as a result the cigar is an awkward smoke.

You can get your Padrons at CigarsDirect.com: Padron 7000 Maduro

Rating – B

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Support a Great Cause and Win a Box of Opus X Wednesday, Mar 19 2008 

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Make a donation to a great cause and you could win one of four incredible boxes of cigars. Keep reading to find out how…

The Ride for Kids is a fundraising organization that raises money specifically for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the United States which is a nonprofit organization devoted to research and treatment in the area of pediatric brain tumors. The Ride for Kids organization is made up of motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the US. They are headquartered in Asheville, NC. They hold ride events all over the country throughout the year to raise money and awareness for this disease. There are a lot of children in this country that are diagnosed with brain tumors every year. No one yet knows exactly what causes these tumors in otherwise healthy kids. I am sure you can imagine though what it must be like for a parent to hear a diagnosis like that for their little child. It puts a huge emotional as well as financial burden on the families. The Ride for Kids and the Pediatric brain Tumor Foundation of the US (PBTUS) are devoted to helping these families and these children. The PBTFUS uses the money raised to do research for treatment and prevention of pediatric brain tumors as well as provide families coping with this disease with support.

I first got involved with the Ride for Kids in 2004. My wife was pregnant with our first child and with the prospect of being a first time dad I found myself thinking about things that previously had never crossed my mind. They say having a child will change your life. Truer words may never have been spoken. I have been riding motorcycles for years and in 2004 I learned about a charity ride that was starting in Cary, NC and riding on down to a small town called Sanford. It was the first year the Ride for kids had an event in my area. What caught my attention at that time was that the charity benefited sick children. I looked into it some more and learned all about the Ride for Kids and the PBTFUS. For the first time I was able to put myself in the shoes of a parent and I thought what it might be like to learn that my child was seriously ill. I hadn’t even met my daughter at this point as she was still six plus months away from being born, but the thought scared me more than a little. I felt compelled to be involved and to help out. That is the story of how I got involved with this charity. I have since been blessed with two very happy and healthy children. Ella is 3 now and my son Jake will be one year old in April. I have been participating in the ride for kids every year since 2004 and in that 4 year span have raised over $2600.00, and $1400 of that was just last year. My best year to date. I hope to improve on that number this year and with your help I will raise $3000.00 for this year’s Triangle Area Ride for Kids.

Go to http://www.firstgiving.com/matthew2008 and make a donation. For every $10 you donate you name will be entered once in the drawing for one of four boxes of cigars. A $50 donation will get your name entered in the drawing seven times. So for example, a $20 donation gets your name in the hat twice, a $50 donation puts your name in 7 times, $70 would get you nine, $100 gets your name in fourteen times… You get the idea. The only limit is what you can afford. Here are the cigars you can win and the very generous companies which have provided these great prizes for such a wonderful cause.

1 box of Fuente Opus X Petit Lanceros from CigarsDirect.com
1 Box of Hoyo de Monterey Dark Sumatra Noches from Tobacconists of Cary, NC
1 Box of Perdomo Habano Corojo Robustos from Tabacalera Perdomo
1 Box of Camacho Corojo Monarcas from Camacho Cigars

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(Click to Enlarge)

All donations must be made by April 25th to be included in the drawing. The Winners will be announced on May 5th after the event. The ride takes place on Sunday May 4th.

**IMPORTANT**

When you leave your donation on the First Giving site please be sure to fill out the Display Name, and leave your email address or phone number in the “Personal Message” section. This is how I will be able to contact you if you win one of the boxes of cigars. I have setup the FirstGiving site to NOT display the “Personal Message” field so that information will not be publicly displayed on the site. If you fail to leave some kind of contact info in the “Personal Message” field your name will not be able to be entered into the drawing, but your donation will still be very much appreciated. Also be aware, each person is only eligible to win one box. So if your name is drawn once, it will not be eligible to be drawn again. Any questions can be sent to mattridesforkids at gmail dot com. I’ll do my best to answer any emails I receive.

All the donations go to FirstGiving which then distributes the funds to The Ride for Kids so I never handle any of the money. It all goes straight to the charity via FirstGiving. Although donations are welcome from any and everyone, this drawing is open to US residents only. I will not be able to ship cigars internationally. Also you must be 18 years of age or older to qualify for the drawing. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the US is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit charity and all donations are tax deductible.

Thank you so much to everyone who donates. The money raised will have a profound impact on the lives of many sick children. And thank you to the very generous companies that donated the cigars for the drawing. Tobacconists of Cary in Cary, North Carolina, CigarsDirect.com, Tabacalera Perdomo, and Camacho Cigars. These are all great companies that deserve your patronage.

Click Here to Donate and Enter to Win

CigarsDirect.com March Madness Contest Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

CigarsDirect.com is holding a March madness Contest. It’s a chance to win some really great cigars so go signup and fill out your brackets. Here is the details…

March Madness is here and CigarsDirect.com is looking for
College Basketball fans and Cigar Aficionados alike. We have
come up with an unbelievable offer for the upcoming N.C.A.A.
Tournament, finish with the most points and win! We have
created a CigarsDirect.com Tournament contest on
CBSSportsline, load your teams by March 20th to be eligible
to win 1 of 5 great prizes. Your entry is completely FREE;
you are under no obligation to buy. Please be advised we are
in NO way affiliated with CBSSportsline nor will we have
access to your personal information. We will however be
able to see your name and email address to contact the
winners. We must have a total of 50 players for the contest
to be valid. If we do not have 50 unique players we can
cancel without notice.

The 5 players with the highest total points will win!

1st Place Padilla 1932 Signature Humidor completely full
with 45 Padilla Cigars…retail value: $1500.00

2nd Place is a sealed box of Fuente Fuente Opus X
Robusto…retail value of $799.95

3rd Place a sealed box of Arturo Fuente Anejo #77
“Shark”…retail value of $579.95

4th Place a sealed box of God of Fire Churchill…retail value
of $239.95

5th Place a sealed box of Hemingway Short Story…retail value
of $139.99

* The first 50 entries will also receive a FREE 5-Pack of
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Cigars*

Please don’t miss out on this great offer, pass it around to
your friends and cigar buddies. Each player will be allowed
2 brackets; each player is only eligible to win 1 of the 5
prizes. Please make sure to enter a valid email address when
signing up, we will notify all winners via email at the end
of the tournament. If you do not respond with in 2 weeks the
prize will go to the player with the next highest point
total.

First you must register with cbssportsline.com then once you
have logged in with your own username and password you will
be asked to enter the league password which is the one
below.

To accept this invitation and join the group, click the link
below (or cut and paste the link into your browser’s address
bar). You’ll be asked to enter the group’s password before
you can join. The group password is included below.

http://robusto.mayhem.sportsline.com/e

Our Group password is: cigars

Fuente Fuente Opus X Petit Lancero Wednesday, Mar 12 2008 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Rosado
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6.25″ x 39 ring

Today, thanks to the generosity of my friends at CigarsDirect.com I am smoking one of the elusive Opus X from the Fuente Family. The Opus X line of cigars has garnered a lot of accolades since it’s introduction in 1995. Opus X cigars routinely score in the 90’s in Cigar Aficiando and Cigar Insider. That combined with some aggressive marketing and limited supply has led to a whole lot of hype surrounding this scarce stogie. They sport a Dominican grown, reddish brown, Rosado wrapper which in the case of the petit lancero is a little veiny and lumpy. The wrapper for these Dominican Puros are grown on the Chateau de la Fuente Estate in the DR and are reported to be cured in rum barrels. Once the cigars are rolled, they are aged for a year before being sent to market.

This particular cigar is a short and slender lancero with a tapered head. I love lanceros. I think they are a connoisseur’s size and if done right make for some of the most complex smokes you can get. It’s small ring gauge that leaves no room for error though as there isn’t enough room in them to hide substandard tobacco. The Opus X Petit Lancero starts off a little peppery but settles down quickly. It’s smooth with lots of caramel, and earth with a leathery finish. It is very complex medium to full bodied smoke. I expected it to pack a stronger punch than it did though. The buzz factor was nice but not the reputed knock you to your seat strength I heard and read from others. The flavors are very well defined making for an amazing smoking experience. The construction is excellent, with a perfect draw and a razor straight burn. Those two things are not easy to accomplish when making such a small ring gauge, and it is a testament to the skill of the rollers the Fuentes have making these cigars. The ash was so well formed, it looked like a little piece of concrete hanging off the end of the cigar. Even though I was a little disappointed with it’s power, this is the best of all the Opus X vitolas I have tried so far. I am afraid its price tag relegates it to a special occasion smoke though.

Get yours at CigarsDirect.com: Fuente Fuente Opus X Petit Lancero

You can win a free sealed box of Opus X Petit Lanceros courtesy of CigarsDirect.com, or one of 3 other boxes of cigars and support a great cause at the same time. Click here for details!!

Rating – A+

Showdown: Camacho Triple Maduro vs Itself Tuesday, Mar 4 2008 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Maduro
Filler: Maduro
Size: Rothschild 4.5″x50 ring

I first reviewed the Camacho Triple Maduro back in May 2007. That review was based on a cello wrapped unbanded Rothschild that was provided to me by Camacho before the official release of this much heralded cigar. I found the cigar to be a pretty decent smoke, but I was not wowed by it. Subsequently, I have been informed by others who also tried one of these unbanded “pre-released” versions of the Triple Maduro, that the Triple Maduro which ultimately hit the shelves is much better. I don’t claim to know if there is really any difference between what is on the shelves now versus what I smoked then, but I figured I would put it to the test. It just so happens that I still possess one of the sample smokes I got way back in May. I also have myself a Triple Maduro Rothschild that I purchased off the shelf at my local cigar shop. So here it goes. I’ll smoke these two cigars one right after the other to do a side by side comparison to determine, at least in my own mind, if there really is a difference between the two smokes, and if one is actually better than the other. Don’t concern yourself about any inequity in resting time. I bought the banded edition not long after their release so it has had almost as much time in my humidor as the sample that was sent to me by Camacho. Just as a quick refresher, what makes this particular cigar so unique is that it is the first maduro puro. The wrapper, binder, and filler are all maduro leaf tobacco. This is something that has never been done before because using all maduro presents certain challenges especially when trying to get the cigar to burn right. Camacho managed to pull it off and now we have the Triple Maduro which if I go by the statistics I get from my blog here, is one of the most queried cigars on internet searches. I get more hits on my site from searches for the Triple Maduro than any other review I’ve done, even the Tatuajes, which come in a distant second in terms of hits from search engines for my site.

The two cigars look very much alike. The wrapper looks to be identical. it is very dark and rough looking with lots of veins and plenty of tooth. Both cigars are rock solid and seem almost over filled to the touch. The caps are a bit sloppy, and bunch looks good. There are no rib viens to be seen in the foot. The huge band on the production release just about swallows up the diminutive length of the Rothschild, but it is a beautiful band and the second band on the foot is a nice touch making for a very nice presentation.

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So, up first is the unbanded, cello wrapped sample that the folks at Camacho (namely Dylan) so generously provided me. I clipped the head and the bunch looks just as nice on this end of the cigar. I toasted the foot and it took a light nicely. It starts off very robust and full bodied. There is lots of black pepper and a spicy bite. For the first inch I thought this would be a tough cigar to finish even in this short size because of the fullness and the punch it was packing. it leaves a slightly sweet flavor on the lips typicla of a maduro. about an inch and a half in it mellows out a lot. Its is a very smooth smoke, medium bodied with cocoa notes and a maduro sweetness. At this point it gets kind of one dimensional never changing up. I said it in my initial review and it still applies. This cigar is all maduro all the time. I see why maduro lovers enjoy this cigar as it gives that maduro flavor in abundance. The construction is superb and my concerns about it being over filled were unfounded. The draw was impeccable and it produces an abundance of thick white smoke. This cigar is packed full of tobacco and it burns cool and smooth with a firm ash that holds very well.

Now on to the final production version. Again this one is packed to the gills with tobacco giving it a slow cool burn. The construction is amazing. These may be the best constructed cigars in Camacho’s arsenal which is saying something as all their cigars are very well made. The burn is perfect, and the draw is perfect. This one doesn’t start off with the punch that the other one did and if there is any other difference at all I’d say it is even mellower and more to the mild side of medium bodied. It is a very smooth smoking cigar and again it is all maduro not just in its make up but in its flavor as well. Maduro fans will love these cigars. As for myself, since maduros are more of a when I’m in the mood kind of thing, it isn’t something I’ll be smoking a lot of, but when the mood does hit I can’t think of a better non-limited release maduro to smoke. As for which version of this smoke is better? Personally I like the unbanded sample a bit better because of it’s powerful, peppery start. It made for a more interesting smoke. So I’d have to disagree with some of the opinions I had heard about the final release being better than the unbanded samples. The triple maduro is a very good cigar and is extremely well made. These could rate a B+ for me if they just had a little more complexity to them, but as is, I give them a very respectable high B.

Rating – B

A Don’t Miss Contest at CigarJack Monday, Mar 3 2008 

Cigar Jack is giving away an entire box of Camacho 10th Anniversary cigars. But that’s just the grand prize. Your contest entry could win you a Camacho prize pack so surf on over and check it out. Here’s the link…

Cigar Jack’s Anniversary Bash

If you are a blogger, Cigar Jack is giving you an extra chance to win some Camacho cigars just by linking to his contest. You can get the details at the link below…

A Quick Link Bait Contest

Good Luck!

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