Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduro Belicoso Thursday, Sep 18 2008 

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Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
Size: Belicoso 5.7″ x 52 ring

The Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ is the Premium version of the DPG line of Cigars made by Jose “Pepin” Garcia. The JJ is a collaboration between Jose and his son Jamie, hence the “JJ”. This is the newer maduro version of this cigar and is to the best of my knowledge, the only maduro besides the EO 601 Maduro that is made by Pepin. I am enjoying this cigar thanks to my friends at CigarsDirect.com

The JJ Maduro is a handsome cigar with a dark wrapper that doesn’t look like your typical maduro. It lacks the toothy, rustic look that most maduros seem to have. this wrapper is smooth and silky with an oily sheen and very few small veins. In addition to the handsome wrapper you can also tell that this is a high end,tops helf cigar by the bunching of the filler tobacco. This cigar is packed full of tobacco and the bunching is amazing smooth and full looking. It looks as if it is all packed together so tightly that you’d think there is no way the cigar will draw but it does and it does so very well. The are no gaps or holes in the bunch and absolutely now veins or stems, just 100% thin tobacco leaf. It has a rich cedar aroma and an excellent draw that provides the perfect amount of resistance.

This cigar was amazing right from the start. In the beginning the flavors were very defined, creamy with notes of nuts, cedar, and a subtle spice. The Maduro has quite a bit more strength to it than the natural version. The additional strength doesn’t add any rough edges to the flavors like you might expect. It is still very smooth and refined. As I neared the half way mark there was lots of exotic spice and cedar. I think the Maduro title is a misnomer for this cigar. It doesn’t taste like any other maduro I have ever had as it lacks any sweetness or earthiness I usually associate with a maduro. I don’t mean that as a criticism as this cigar is superb. I think this cigar tastes remarkably similar to a Tatuaje Reserva with a bit more kick to it. In the last third the flavors begin to get very robust but they still maintain their smooth refined nature. It starts to develop a bit of earth intertwined with the cedar and spice that has been present since the beginning. The Series JJ Maduro is an exceptional cigar is now on my list of favorites. As good as I think the natural JJ is, I find the maduro to be far superior. This is a special cigar that should be reserved for occassions when you can give it all the attention it deserves.

Get your Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduros at CigarsDirect.com

Rating – A

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Stogies & Bogies Friday, Sep 12 2008 

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The link between Cigars and Golf is a long standing one.  Golf is a great game that lends itself to the enjoyment of a fine stogie while out enjoying a beautiful day on the links.  As the Anti-Smoking (anti-fun) Zealots get more and more of their socialist Smoking Bans enacted across the nation, the golf course has become one of the last havens outside the home for cigar lovers to go to and enjoy a smoke.  That is why the Stogies & Bogies event being held in the Chicago area next year makes so much sense.  If you like Cigars, Golf, and fine Wine & Spirits you’ll want to check out this event.  Here is the press release about the event.  Check out their website for more info and to get tickets at StogiesandBogies.com

NEW CIGAR SHOW IN THE MIDWEST

Cigar enthusiasts in Illinois have lost the freedom to enjoy a stick with their favorite beverage or after a good steak.  Chicago is no longer home for a consumer cigar show.    In fact about the only place you can still smoke a cigar is at a golf course.  Monster Productions, Inc. (MPI), an event production company based in Roselle, Illinois, is addressing these inequities by hosting Stogies & Bogies – a smokin’ hot cigar show and golf event with a 1920’s theme. Curbing prohibition for one day, the event will feature multiple show sessions with two ticket options:  show attendance only, or a combination golf / show package.  Consumers can choose to spend the entire day or a portion of the day!

This unique event will take place on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook.  Golfers of every skill level will savor a fine cigar on the beautiful course at the Willow Crest Golf Club located in Oak Brook, enjoy a buffet meal before golfing, and attend the Show following their choice of morning or afternoon shotgun golf.  Golfers will also have the opportunity to win a new car in the Hole-In-One Contest sponsored by Biggers Auto Group.

Whether consumers choose to golf or just attend the show, all ticket holders will enjoy fine wine and spirits, sample the luscious cuisine of local restaurants, check out the latest in cigar and golf accessories, and walk away with samples from the finest cigar makers.  Cigars can be enjoyed with a favorite beverage at the Speakeasy Lounge or on The Patio.

Stogies & Bogies tickets are limited, and went on sale September 1st.  For more detailed information, or to purchase tickets, visit the event website www.StogiesandBogies.com, or contact Pam Lohman, Event Manager, at 630.351.3976 ext 226. A portion of ticket sales will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse, Down Syndrome Awareness Centers located throughout the Chicago area.  Monster Productions, Inc. is a member of CIGAR RIGHTS OF AMERICA

(www.cigarrights.org).

Bravo Colombian Gold Torpedo Wednesday, Sep 10 2008 

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Country: Colombia
Wrapper: Colombian
Filler: Colombian
Size: Torpedo 6.5″ x 52 ring

The new Bravo Cigar Company has just recently introduced the first Colombian Puro.  That’s right, a cigar made with 100% Colombian tobacco, filler, binder, and wrapper.  The cigar is blended by Antonio de Jesus in Columbia.  I was intrigued when I heard about this cigar.  Colombia is of course well known for coffee but doesn’t have the tobacco heritage of places like Nicaragua and Honduras or the DR.   That is probably why Bravo Cigars relies heavily on expertise from the Dominican Republic to make these cigars employing many skilled workers from the DR.  These workers bring expertise in farming, curing, and rolling to ensure a quality, well made product.  The Colombian Gold Series is billed as “mild to medium bodied and boasts tender tobacco notes of earth, cedar and cocoa bean.”  It comes in boxes of 24 and is available in five sizes.  A Perfecto, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo and a Churchill.

The torpedo sports a beefy 52 ring gauge and a generous 6.5 inches in length.  It is wrapped in a silky, oily leaf the color of cafe au lait with tiny veins running throughout its length. Inspecting the foot and the clipped head reveals expertly bunched tobacco with no signs of stems or rib veins.  The pre light draw is excellent and delivers a mild toasted tobacco flavor.  The aroma of this Colombian puro really stands out.  It has a rich earthy tobacco bouquet that is kind of intoxicating and it boosted my hopes for this smoke.  The foot lit nicely and the initial draw produced a lot of thick white smoke with a slightly bitter bite on the tongue.  The bitterness faded away almost immediately and I noted mild flavors of toasted tobacco and a faint earthiness.  The flavors tasted a little dry initially.  The aroma of this cigar as you smoke it is hard to describe.  The word that comes to mind is decadent.  The aroma is one of the Colombian Gold’s most outstanding features.  As I worked my way into the smoke the dryness disappeared and the flavors developed a more creamy characteristic.  It is still dominated by a core of toasted tobacco and I picked up flashes of wood and earth.  About midway through it started exhibiting some youthful bitterness but thankfully it was short lived.  As the bitterness faded away there was more toasted tobacco and wood/oak all wrapped in a pleasant creaminess.  Those flavors remained consistent for the rest of the smoke.

The Bravo Gold is a good example of a flavorful mild-medium bodied cigar.  An amazing aroma is coupled with excellent flavor that remains fairly consistent from start to finish.  I think this is an excellent morning cigar that would pair nicely with a cup of coffee, or an early evening cigar before dinner.  The construction is top notch delivering a good burning cigar with an excellent draw and a light, well formed ash.  This cigar really surprised me.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a cigar made of all Colombian tobacco.  I recommend you give this unique puro a try.  I think it is a more flavorful and more interesting alternative to a Macanudo or Ashton Classic.  Check out BravoCigar.com to learn more about them.  I am going to give the rest of my sampler some more time to acclimate in my humidor and then I’ll post a review of one of the other sizes.

Rating – B+

Padillia Miami 8/11 Churchill Thursday, Sep 4 2008 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo
Size: Churchill 7.0″ x 48 ring

The Padilla Miami 8/11 is arguably the cigar responsible for putting Ernesto Padilla on the cigar map. And why not, he picked a master blender to make it for him. At the time this master tobacco blender wasn’t well known. He had a small factory in Miami that employed just 12 rollers. This man would quickly become the hottest name in cigars. That’s right, the Padilla Miami 8/11 was made by Jose “Pepin” Garcia. The 8/11 in the name denotes location of Pepins factory near the corner of 8th and 11th in Miami. I did say “was made” because Ernesto and Pepin have recently parted ways, and now Pepin no longer makes any cigars for Padilla as Pepin’s business has continued to explode and he had to devote more resources towards maintaining his own products. That means the Miami 8/11 as it has existed is going away so if you are a fan, you will want to buy up as much of these as you can because the Pepin Garcia version of this stick will no longer be produced.

Wrapped in a typical Pepin Corojo leaf, the Miami is rustic looking with puckered veins and bumpy look. It is the color of milk chocolate and has an oily sheen. It has a strong almost pungent odor of tobacco and wet earth. Packed full of tobacco this Churchill has a nice heft to it, firm its entire length. The triple cap clipped nicely revealing a perfect bunch in the head of the cigar which mirrors the view from the foot.

On the initial draw you get hit with a blast of pepper on the tongue but it quickly subsides. It is replaced by a rich earthiness with undertones of spice and flashes of caramel. It produces amazing thick clouds of almost snow white smoke and a room bouquet of toasted tobacco and floral notes. About half way through the Carmel and Spice have come to the forefront and it has a decidedly creamy feel. It has also developed a nice woody/cedar finish with a slight sweetness on the palate. The cigar begins to pickup in the last third. gone is the caramel and sweetness. It is all wood, earth, and pepper. It is very robust and full bodied.

The Padilla Miami is a very well made cigar. The burn was even if not razor straight, and the draw provided just the right amount of resistance. It produced plenty of thick creamy smoke and produced a firm salt and pepper ash. In the past I experienced a lot of problems with the wrapper on this cigar being almost flame retardant and impossible to burn. I had no such problem with this cigar so perhaps those problems are a thing of the past. it is shame that this cigar is no longer being made.

Get your Padilla Miami 8/11’s at CigarsDirect.com

Rating – B+

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