Happy New Year!!!! Wednesday, Dec 31 2008 


I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year. I am going to make my last cigar of 2008 my favorite smoke.  It currently graces the number one spot in my Top 5. I’ll be enjoying a Tatuaje Reserva SW this New Year’s Eve.  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what was your last cigar of 2008.

Be sure to check back tomorrow. I’ll be posting my 100th cigar review on this site. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the Tatuaje (Black Label) Private Reserve.

Poll Results – 100th Cigar Review Friday, Dec 26 2008 

I recently asked for my readers’ help in making up my mind on which cigar would be my 100th cigar review on Matt’s Cigar Journal and the verdict is in!  I have to say…

You guys are no help at all!! Really! I post my very first poll on this blog and we end up with a virtual tie. The Tatuaje Black did come out a couple votes ahead but the truth is, the vote is pretty well split down the middle (or in thirds in this case). There isn’t an overwhelming winner in this thing. I guess that means I picked three pretty damn good cigars as the candidates for my 100th review. It is funny because the results of this poll mirror the struggle going on inside my head trying to decide on this thing. The Tatuaje Black has always been the sentimental favorite in my mind, but the other two certainly demanded serious consideration. It appears the collective consciousness of my readership closely mirrors my own mind. A scary thought for all of us except that I will assume the affinity only relates to this one specific topic. Good news for the rest of you, lol. I wasn’t going to declare my intentions at the closing of the poll, but I have made up my mind and so I figure I should just spit it out already.

The Tatuaje (Black Label) Private Reserve will be the 100th Cigar Review on Matt’s Cigar Journal. Look for it on January 1st as that review will kick off the new year of what promises to be a another good one filled with great new cigars to try and enjoy.  Thank you to all those that voted, and thanks for taking the time to visit my little corner of the Internet.

Merry X-mas and Happy Holidays! Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 


Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah! Smoke good, Drink good, Eat good, and be Merry!!!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.



The Glenlivet Tasting Saturday, Dec 20 2008 


I had the great pleasure of attending a scotch and cigar tasting recently featuring The Glenlivet scotches and cigars that were provided by my local cigar shop, Empire Cigars.  I have to say that this event was a blast.  I learned a ton about scotches and smoked some good cigars.  I even left the event with some pretty nice swag.  The scotches we were sampling were the 15 year old French Oak Reserve, the 16 year old Nadurra, and The Glenlivet 18yr old.  All three are single malts of course.  As for the cigars, featured were the Nub Cameroon 358, EO Series 601 Habano Rabito, and the Ashton VSG Illusion.


First up was the 15 yr French Oak Reserve paired with the Nub Cameroon 358.  The Nub, well I’ll be honest.  It isn’t my favorite, however it performed better than the Nubs I have had in the past and turned out to be a pleasant enough smoke.  The scotch was fantastic.  The French Oak Reserve is aged for 15 years.  It spend the first twelve years of life in an American White Oak recycled bourbon cask with a light medium char.  The last three years are spent in a virgin French Limousin [lee-moo-ZAN] Oak casks.  Apparently the French Oak is a much softer wood than the American and if the whiskey spends too much time in the French Oak it would absorb too much from the cask and be ruined and probably almost black in color.  Finishing a whiskey in French Oak like this is almost as much art as science and is a difficult process to pull off.  Any amount of over aging can ruin an entire barrel.  We were told that the whiskey is babysat very closely in these final years of aging.  The French oak Reserve was my favorite of the night.  It is very creamy and smooth with a slightly sweet taste.  It has strong notes of Honey and Vanilla and a very smooth finish.

Next was the 16 year old Nadurra.  Nadurra is Gaelic for natural.  This is an unfiltered, cask strength whiskey.  It is very oaky with floral notes and a sharp aroma.  This scotch is a fireball.  Drinking it straight is not recommended.  I tried a sip straight and to be honest most of the flavors were lost to the alcohol burn for me.  I added a healthy dose of water which took of that edge and really allowed the floral perfume and oak flavors to come through.  It was very good, but honestly my least favorite of the three we tried.  This one was paired with the 601 Habano Rabito.  A nice full Nicaraguan cigar that went nicely with the strong and aggressive Nadurra.

We wrapped up the night with a very special whiskey paired with a very special cigar.  If you are a cigar smoker than nothing needs to be said about the Ashton VSG.  It is a top shelf cigar, full bodied, smooth and refined.  Well you can use that sentence to describe The Glenlivet 18 year old Scotch.  A drop of water helps to open up the aromas of this top shelf whiskey, release a wonderful floral bouquet.  A sip delivers a myriad of flavors, floral at first, the finish is more oak and vanilla.  This is very smooth and very refined.  The only reason I liked the French Oak more than the 18year is the creaminess that the French Oak gave the whiskey which I really enjoyed.  The 18 year is a fantastic scotch in its own right as well.

We were all given a very nice double guillotine cutter and a Chivas Regal torch lighter that burns with a green flame.  I also received a Glenlivet money clip, all pictured below…


The Crown Jewel of night though was the personalized bottles of the 15 year old French Oak reserve.  This is just an incredible souvenier from what was truly an incredible night.


Padilla Series ’68 Toro Wednesday, Dec 17 2008 


Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Like the Padilla Signature 1932, the Series ’68 is another tribute to Ernesto Padilla’s father Heberto.  In my review of the Signature I mentioned that Heberto Padilla was a Cuban poet and linked to a profile of him that was written by Cigarfan at The Keepers of the Flame.  Where the Signature 1932 celebrated Ernesto’s father’s birthday, the Series ’68 commemorates the year his father was placed under house arrest for his series of poetry that was very critical of the Castro regime in Cuba. It is a limited edition cigar with only 100,000 cigars produced.  The Series ’68 has another unique attribute.  It is made in Honduras.  As far as I know all the other Padilla cigars are made in Nicaragua and Miami.  The Series ’68 is made for Padilla by Flores Tobacco in Honduras.  Made mostly of Nicaraguan tobacco, it does contain some Honduran tobacco in the filler.

The Series ’68 is an handsome looking cigar with a smooth, dark brown wrapper that has a dry appearance to it.  It has a Padron Anniversary like look to it enhanced by the dual bands.  Under the standard cigar band is a second band containing a serial number very much like the send serialized band found on the Padron 1964 Anniversary cigars.  You can see the second band sticking out below the top band in the picture above.  Just click the picture to get an enlarged view.

I really enjoyed how this cigar starts off.  Slightly sweet with some spice that I would describe as clove, it is very smooth right from the beginning.  It didn’t take long for the clove flavors to fade though.  About an inch and a half in it mellows out a lot and has a somewhat nondescript creaminess with a nutty undertone, but in truth it’s muddled and kind of bland. It remained pretty consistent the rest of the way, never changing except that it started to develop a slightly bitter finish.  It picked up a little towards the end getting a little spicy but it just never did anything to hold my attention.  The construction was very good though.  The burn was even, the ash well formed but required tapping every inch or so.  It is a pleasant enough smoke that shows some promise at the start but it just never lives up to it.  A bit to mild and one dimensional for my tastes.

Rating – B

Related Posts:

My 100th Cigar Review! Saturday, Dec 13 2008 

… and my very first poll.

Tat Black?

It took a while to get there but a little over three years after starting this blog  I am just a couple posts away from my 100th cigar review.  I realize this is not necessarily an impressive pace,  but I am a one man show.   I smoked and reviewed all 100 cigars myself.  No partners or guest reviewers helping to shoulder the burden.  It’s a dirty job and I enjoy being the one to do it.   Of course, I am taking some liberties with the term “review” here, especially in regards to my posts early on.  Back when I first started I am not sure you could call what I was posting a “review” but for my purposes they are.

Being the 100th review, it is a significant milestone at least in my mind.  Given that fact, I feel a special cigar is called for here.  I have struggled a bit with how to go about choosing the cigar for my 100th review.  I haven’t posted a review on a Tatuaje Black Label yet and given how Tatuajes are my favorite cigars, I am thinking it would be a good choice.  But I also think that perhaps this milestone is bigger than that.  Perhaps it calls for a cigar that is legendary in the world of cigars.  A Cohiba Robusto comes immediately to mind (Cuban of course).  Another option is a special, super expensive, limited edition cigar.  At the top of that list would be the Padron 80th Anniversary cigar.  I am having a tough time making up my mind so I have posted my very first poll on the blog and I am going to look to my readers for help.  I expect to see all 5 of you vote…  LOL.  I am not saying that the results of the poll are what I will ultimately go with for my 100th review, but the feedback will be taken into serious consideration.  So go ahead and vote, and thanks for the help!

With the holidays fast approaching and all of the associated activities that will compete for my time, I plan to make the 100th review my first review of the new year.  I’ll let this poll run for a few weeks and you’ll see the results as you vote.  I won’t announce my final decision though.  You’ll find out what I went with when you see the review posted in 2009.  Thanks again.


P.S. I also just realized that this post marks another minor milestone for my blog. This post is the 200th post on Matt’s Cigar Journal. It’s a month of milestones around here. 😀

Tatuaje “The Frank” Wednesday, Dec 10 2008 


Country: USA
Wrapper: Sun-Grown Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Double Corona 75/8″ x 49 ring

Plucked from its blood splattered coffin, it is time to put this green banded monster to flame. OK, the truth is I couldn’t bring myself to break into the coffin yet so this one is an extra single I picked up but it came from a coffin too, just not mine.  The Frank is a special ultra-limited release from Pete Johnson and his Tatuaje brand.  Using the blend for the Tatuaje Taino, the corojo wrapper is replaced with a sun-grown broadfleaf wrapper and in place of the brown band is a ghoulish green band adorned with the Tatuaje name and trademark flor de lys.  They were released as a first in a series of 13 special Halloween cigars from Tatuaje.  Only 666 boxes were made and they were release to just 13 retailers selected by lottery throughout the States.  In the coffin shaped box are 13 monstrous cigars.  I was lucky enough to have my local cigar shop, Empire Cigars, selected as one of the 13 retailers to get The Frank.  What makes me even luckier is that I was able to get myself a box of these rare and special treats.  Since Empire was one of the 13 to get The Frank, they will not be eligible for next years release which will be “The Drac”.  The Drac is reported to be a torpedo that is banded at the foot and placed into their coffins upside down just like the way Dracula was reported to like sleeping in his coffin.  We’ll have to wait and see how lucky I am next year at trying to get my hands of a box of those.  For now, it is time to get back to The Frank… (more…)

El Centurion Guerreros by Don Pepin Tuesday, Dec 2 2008 


Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper:Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

El Centurion is a limited edition cigar from Don Pepin.  Actually this cigar is the “First Limited Edition 2007” which leads me to believe we may see other incarnations of this line sometime in the future.  My guess is it will be a different blend but will carry the same name, but this is just speculation on my part.  This edition only saw 850 boxes of each size made.  What is known about the blend is that it uses Criollo99 and Corojo99 tobacco grown in Nicaragua.  The best leaves were selected for this blend and were aged for 3 years under watchful eyes and in the best conditions.  It is available in just three vitolas.

  • Guerreros 5.0″ x 50 (robusto)
  • Emperadores 5.5″ x 52 (belicoso)
  • Gladiadores 6.5″x 52 (toro)

Today I am smoking the Guerreros which is a standard robusto size.  It is well constructed, firm with a nicely applied triple cap.  The wrapper is a reddish, tan color with a few fine viens running across it and it has an oily sheen.  Looking at the bunch in the foot and at the head after clipping, you can see this cigar is jam packed full of tobacco.  The burn was razor sharp and it produced a perfectly formed, firm, white ash.  I started off talking about the construction because it is the best part of the cigar.  I was a bit disappointed by the flavor of this smoke.  It was pleasant enough but I was expecting more from a limited edition cigar.  As is typical with most of Pepin’s cigars there is plenty of black pepper especially at the start, but it remains present throughout the smoke.  There is also a woodiness to it with a slightly bitter finish that I could have done without.  The cigar never developed, never changed.  The flavors remained consistent throughout.  This cigar actually reminded me a lot of Pepin’s Vegas Cubanas.  It is medium bodied, and not quite as strong as a lot of his other lines.  The El Centurion isn’t a bad cigar, but I feel it under performs for a limited edition cigar.

You can get the El Centurion cigars at CigarsDirect.com

Rating – B

Related Posts:

  • Keepers of the Flame will tell you about the Emperadores
  • CigarJack  awarded a guest reviewer for his take on El Centurion
  • Jerry at Stogie Review shares his take via a video review.
  • Her Humidor gives another take on the Guerreros.

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