Oliva “O” Ovation Maduro (Old Embroidered Band) Tuesday, Mar 24 2009 

Oliva Serie O Maduro

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper:Connecticut Grown Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Double Corona 7.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of Smokinson @ The HerfHut forum

I will refrain from rehashing all the background on this smoke here since I talked a bit about the old Oliva “O” cigars in the review I did just prior to this one on the Oliva “O” Bold Omni. I’ll just quickly thank Smokinson at The Herf Hut Cigar Forum again for his generosity in sending me this fine, aged maduro. I’ll also quickly touch on the fact that this is a cigar with some nice age on it. It has been several years since the Oliva “O” with the embroidered band as been produced. Like most avid cigar lovers, I really enjoy smoking a well aged cigar. So… lets get to it.

The maduro wrapper on this thick double corona is beautiful. leathery with some small veins running throughout, it looks delicious. The cigar is well filled and given its ample size it has a nice heft to it making it nice to hold. The wrapper is applied perfectly but the cap is a little sloppy although I’ve seen worse. It has a very good draw and the foot took a light readily.

Right off, this is a very different cigar from the “O” Bold. It is light and smooth and creamy from the first puff. It also has a very pronounced sweet maduro flavors. The Bold started off with a peppery kick. This maduro is medium bodied with nice toasty and creamy flavors of coffee and earth all wrapped up in a great maduro sweetness. It produces thick, snow white clods of smoke and the burn is perfect. I find it somewhat reminiscent of a Hemingway Work of Art Maduro. At the halfway mark it starts to pick up. It got more robust and developed some black pepper which seemed to mask the sweetness. It was less creamy, the flavor a bit dryer but still very earthy. That is how the cigar finished as well. It was a very good, enjoyable smoke that was smooth and well balanced.

Rating – B+

Updated Top 5 list Friday, Mar 20 2009 

I was looking at my Top 5 List and figured it was far enough out of date that it warranted an update.  There is a new number 2 and a new number 5 resulting in two very good cigars falling off the list.  The original Oliva Master Blends and the Perdomo Edición de Silvio Cameroon still rank among my favorite smokes, but the Hoyo and the Cruzado that now rank in my Top 5 are superb cigars.  Truth is, trying to rank cigars that are this good is a difficult exercise so really this list reflects my feelings at the time I am writing it.  As I have said before, it is a very fluid thing that changes in my head far more often than it does on this site.  If you are interested, you can find Version 2.0 of my Top 5 the same place it has always been.

Oliva “O” Bold Omni (Old Embroidered Band) Thursday, Mar 19 2009 

Oliva O Bold

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Corona Gorda 6.0″ x 46 ring
Courtesy of Smokinson @ The Herf Hut Cigar Forum

So there I was minding my own business, walking out to the mailbox to get the latest pile of junk that had been delivered so I could throw it all in my trash ( I hate junk mail), when… KABLAM! I open the mailbox just to get “smacked” by a fine Brother of the Leaf over at The Herf Hut Cigar Forum. It came out of the clear blue sky. I was a victim of a sneak attack by Smokinson. In this random act of generosity was a selection of excellent smokes, two of which jumped out at me immediately.  In the package were two very nicely aged Oliva cigars.    The Oliva “O” cigars underwent a sort of re-branding a few years back.  It is now called the Serie O and the band and packaging has been completely redone.  Smokinson sent me two of the old “O” cigars, one of the Bold, and one Maduro from back before the re-branding.  Originally released in 2001 the Oliva “O” cigars were renowned for their presentation as well as for being a quality cigar.  They were very unique because the sported embroidered velvet bands rather than the traditional paper bands, and the boxes were unusually shaped as well, close resembling of all things, a toilet seat.  It is hard to find much detail on these  cigars at this point as it has been several years since this version of the “O” has been made.  Because of the age and the fact they are no longer made, this “O” Bold is a special treat and a very generous gift.  So I want to take this opportunity to once again thank Smokinson for his generosity and for sharing these cigars with me.  The “O” Bold that I am smoking today is a Nicaraguan Puro.  I am a very big fan of Nicaraguan cigars so I am looking forward to lighting this one up.

The wrapper is a dark, mottled brown and it seems to be very well filled.  The embroidered band makes for a very nice presentation.  The first few draws were very full and peppery.  It mellows out right away settling into a nice flavorful medium bodied smoke.  It has a classic Nicaraguan flavor, a strong core of toasted tobacco with some coffee notes.  It is surprisingly smooth yet still robust and a little chewy, signs of a well aged cigar.  It produces thick clouds of white smoke and the draw is absolutely sublime.  The draw could not be any better for me.  I noticed one odd characteristic of this smoke.  It produced a kind of numbing effect in my mouth.  Almost like a menthol feel but there was nothing in the flavor or aroma that was even remotely “menthol like”.  It was odd but not really bothersome.  At the halfway mark it developed strong leather flavors with just a hint of nuts layer over a consistent core of toasted tobacco.  The last third is all pepper and tobacco.  It maintains its smoothness and chewiness through the entire smoke, again a hallmark of a well aged stogie.  The “O” Bold is a fantastic medium to full bodied smoke.  A classic Nicaraguan through and through.  It is a shame they discontinued this smoke.  I wonder when I smoke a cigar like this, that is clearly a very good cigar, why manufacturers discontinue them rather than sticking with a winner.  Maybe it’s just that they don’t have the tobacco for it anymore. Either way it is a shame these aren’t made any more.  This is a solid smoke that has aged very well.

Rating – B+

NC Smoking Ban Update Wednesday, Mar 18 2009 

I received the following communication from a local retailer today. The legislation I wrote about a couple weeks ago is up for a vote to become law. The letter below describes what you can do to help make your voice heard if you disagree with the proposed smoking ban.

To all cigar lovers of North Carolina,

A bill has been proposed in our state to greatly limit your ability to enjoy a cigar in a public place. The bill is HB 2, and will prohibit smoking in all restaurants, bars, and even private clubs. In this email is a link to the official web site of the IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers). We have set up the site to empower consumers so they may contact their legislators with ease.

Once you click on the link, simply enter your zip code and you will have access to write your own letter or use one of the templates included. The process is quick and easy, and you can visit the site frequently. I urge you to speak up and let your voice be heard. Our liberties are being taken from us. Our right to enjoy a legal product as adults could be compromised.

I thank you all for your support and your time on this critical issue.

Stop the Smoking Ban in NC!

Here is the link to the IPCPR. http://www.ipcpr.org/legislation.html

I am beginning to think with all the bans and bailouts and general socialization of our society it is time to rename our country to the “Socialist States of America”, or “The United Nanny States”……

The Edge Series Wrap-Up Friday, Mar 13 2009 

A couple interesting things came from this mini series of cigar reviews.  One involved the results of my “What’s your Favorite Edge?” poll.  The other has to do with what I experienced when smoking these cigars.  First, here are the links to the reviews if you haven’t read them already…

I found all three of these smokes to be decent cigars, and I’d even go a little farther with the Lite and say that The Edge Lite is a very good cigar.  It was my favorite of the three.  I thought the flavors were well balanced and crisp.   It was a very flavorful mild to medium bodied cigar and the construction as with the other two was impeccable.  The Corojo and Maduro just didn’t live up to the hype in either fullness of flavor or strength.  Although they are certainly robust and strong smokes, the hokey warning label cautioning that these cigars are for professional smokers is a little silly and inaccurate.  While not necessarily an ideal choice for someone new to cigar smoking, I have had plenty of cigars I would deem stronger and more robust than these.  That said, they were still decent smokes, just not something I would plan to revisit.  The Lite however is something I plan to smoke again.

As for the poll, response was a bit tepid, but there were still some interesting results I think…

For one thing, it appears that the petite “Missile” format is not a favorite among those that responded. Neither version received a single vote. The rest seem pretty much split evenly amongst you.  The exception being the maduro.  I actually tried to find the Sumatran this past week so I could add it last minute to the series, but I was not able to find it locally.  I did find a review of it over on StogieReview, so click on over there and check it out if you are interested.

Thanks to CigarsDirect.com for providing the cigars for this mini series of reviews.  This was fun.  Perhaps if another line of cigars jumps out at me as a fit for this kind of feature, I’ll do it again sometime.

The Edge Corojo Toro Wednesday, Mar 11 2009 


Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and a “Secret Country”
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This review of The Edge by Rocky Patel is part of a mini series of reviews on three varieties of The Edge line of cigars. This series of reviews is made possible by CigarsDirect.com. Cast your vote for your favorite version of The Edge in our poll.

The Corojo has a toothy leather wrapper.  It has an oily sheen and plenty of small veins crawling across its surface.  It is firm and well filled.  I don’t know why but it looms large.  It is a toro just like the maduro I smoked, but for some reason, maybe it is its ample heft, this cigar just looks like a monster smoke.  It starts off with spice and pepper and it is a little tannic.  It has a short finish with a hint of sweetness.  It has a very full feel on the palate letting me know right off that this is going to be a robust smoke.  That is what I was thinking at the start.  it mellowed out a bit once I got about two inches into the smoke.  The spice and pepper faded, replaced by a strong woody core complimented by leather and black coffee.  I picked up flashes of clove every now and then.  It didn’t really change until I neared the end where it started to pickup again.  It got very spicy and full like it was at the start.  The sweetness in the finish remained consistent for the duration of the smoke.

I agree that this cigar is not for beginners but once again, like with the maduro, I found the “For Professional Smokers” label to be more hype than anything else.  It isn’t any more powerful and robust that a Camacho Corojo.  It is a full bodied and robust cigar but i didn’t find it to be over the top in power.  I thought it was a decent smoke but not something I feel compelled to smoke again.  I enjoyed the maduro and the Lite much more than the Corojo.  Still, I can can feel good about giving this cigar a “B”.

Rating – B

Help Children and Win a Box of Rare Fuente Cigars Tuesday, Mar 10 2009 

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Make a donation to a great cause and you could win one of three incredible boxes of cigars. You could win a box of Opus X, Añejos, or Hemingway Maduros. Keep reading to find out how.   (more…)

The Edge Maduro Toro Monday, Mar 9 2009 


Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and a “Secret Country”
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This review of  The Edge by Rocky Patel is part of a mini series of reviews on three varieties of The Edge line of cigars.  This series of reviews is made possible by CigarsDirect.com.  Cast your vote for your favorite version of The Edge in our poll.

The maduro offering of the Edge certainly looks intimidating.  Its appearance might make you think the silly “professional smokers” warning on the box might have something to it.  The cigar is dark and oily.  The espresso like aroma and beefy ring gauge all add to the effect.

The first few puffs deliver a nice robust blast of black pepper.  After that it mellowed out a bit.  I’d say this cigar is a solid medium bodied smoke with simple flavors of black coffee and your typical maduro flavor and sweetness.  I picked up occasional flashes of charred wood.  Overall I found the cigar to have simple, enjoyable flavors.  A little one dimensional, the cigar never did anything to change things up but it was still a good cigar.  It is a strong smoke though.  It will give you quite a nicotine buzz.  While I’d agree this cigar probably isn’t a good choice for the novice, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype it has received as a full-bodied powerhouse.  Still, not a bad cigar.

Rating – B

The Edge Lite Torpedo Friday, Mar 6 2009 


Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Grown Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This review of The Edge by Rocky Patel is part of a mini series of reviews on three varieties of The Edge line of cigars. This series of reviews is made possible by CigarsDirect.com. Cast your vote for your favorite version of The Edge in our poll.

This is a good looking torpedo with a creamy, light brown Ecuadorian grown Connecticut wrapper. It is fairly smooth and silky looking with only a few small veins. It is well filled and has a pleasant tobacco aroma. This is a handsome looking cigar.

The Edge Lite starts off very smooth and remains smooth all the way to the nub.  The initial flavors were creamy and woody with no spice at all.  It was mild and pleasant, but not at all bland.  The flavors are light and crisp, and they remain pretty consistent throughout the smoke, nicely complimented by notes of toasted nuts and hints of leather at different points in the smoke.  It has a slightly sweet finish that doesn’t linger for too long.  The burn was perfect from start to finish.  It produced a ton of thick creamy smoke and had a firm white ash.  The construction on this cigar was superb.

On his website Rocky boasts that The Edge Lite is the perfect Golf Course cigar.  He says you can sit this cigar down for 10 to 15 minutes and when you pick it back up it will still be lit and ready to smoke. I was skeptical so I put it to the test and put the cigar down for a little more than 10 minutes.  I picked it up and took a puff…  I’m impressed.  It had stayed lit and the burn remained straight.  I have never had a cigar that could go a whole 10 minutes without a draw and still stay lit.  I am a little curious how Rocky has accomplished this, but he tells the truth.  This cigar will stay lit, even without you drawing on it for more than 10 minutes.

The Edge Lite has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  It is smooth, consistent and flavorful.  I think it is an excellent example of a mild cigar that actually has flavor.  At less than $6 a stick, I think this could be a nice cheaper alternative to a Cabaiguan.  I am not saying it is a replacement for them, just a cheaper “alternative”.

Rating – B+

March Madness with CigarsDirect.com Thursday, Mar 5 2009 


It is time once again for the best College Basketball Bracket contest on the web. CigarsDirect.com is once again holding its annual NCAA Tournament Bracket contest. See the details below to find out how to sign up and get entered. The prizes are amazing as always. These guys know how to do a contest and this is always one of the biggest of the year.

This year’s prizes are AMAZING! Take a look…

This Year’s Prizes:

1st Place 2008 Opus X Charity Box – 22 Countretail value: $999.95
2nd Place is a sealed box of Opus X Robustoretail value of $839.55
3rd Place a sealed box of Hemingway Between The Lines… retail value of $799.95
Place a sealed box of Arturo Fuente Anejo #77 “Shark”retail value of $575.95
5th Place a sealed box of Padron 1964 Anny Torpedo Natural…retail value of $319.95
6th Place a sealed box of 2006 God Of Fire Robusto Tuboretail value of $184.75
7th Place a sealed box of Hemingway Short Storyretail value of $139.99
8th Place a sealed 1992 Rare Estate Opus X Robusto Tinretail value of $94.95
9th Place a sealed box of Padon 1926 Serie Sampler Maduroretail value of $74.95
10th Place a $50 Gift Certificate toward any purchase on Cigarsdirect.comretail value of $50.00

They need at least 100 players to make the contest valid and give everyone a shot at these cigars, so be sure to sign up and fill out a bracket. Entry is Free and you can fill out up to two brackets, so you’ll have two chances to win. The most important date to mark on your calendar is March 15th which is selection Sunday. Once the field is released you’ll be able to fill out your brackets. Get all the details for the contest including how to sign-up by visiting CigarsDirect.com’s March Madness Page by clicking HERE.

I also recommend signing up for their mailing list. Just enter your email address into the field on the top right of the any page at CigarsDirect.com.  Besides getting email alerts on the Contest, you’ll get alerts on awesome sales and specials on cigars.

Good Luck!

NC Making Another Run at a Ban Wednesday, Mar 4 2009 

North Carolina Law Makers are making another run at a public smoking ban for the tobacco friendliest state in the union. A bill to ban public smoking passed a North Carolina legislative committee Tuesday March 3rd with bipartisan support although some Republicans balked at what they view as government meddling in the business of restaurants and bars.

In 2005 and in 2007 legislation for smoking bans were defeated in the state. This latest bill still has another committee to get through before it gets put to a vote. The bill, if ultimately passed will ban smoking in the workplace, restaurants and other public places. I was unable to find any more detailed information so I don’t know what (if any) exemptions or potential loopholes this latest ban may contain.

Poll: Which Edge is your Edge? Tuesday, Mar 3 2009 

Since I am doing a mini series of reviews based on a line of cigars this month, and since this isn’t something I’ve done before, I figured I should really mix things up.  I anticipate doing this mini series will be fun, but to make it even more fun I want to make it even more interactive than just the normal post and comment format.  It is a perfect opportunity for another poll.  So Poll No.2 at Matt’s Cigar Journal asks this simple question.  Which Edge is your favorite?  The poll will remain open until the sometime after the last of the three reviews in this series is posted.  Lets see which one is the most popular amongst my readers…

Rocky Patel – The Edge Monday, Mar 2 2009 

This March I have decided to do a mini series of reviews on Rocky Patel’s “The Edge” line of cigars.  I will be smoking The Edge Corojo, Maduro, and Lite.  These reviews are all made possible by my friends at CigarsDirect.com.  I have decided to get all the fluff out of the way first and provide the background info on the cigars in this introductory post so when the reviews go up, I’ll be jumping right into the meat of it, writing about the construction and flavors of the individual cigars.

Believe it or not, at the time of this writing, I have never smoked an Edge cigar of an variety.  Surprising perhaps because of the immense popularity of this line of smokes, but also maybe more surprising to those that know me and my preferences in cigars.  I love a good, powerful, robust smoke.  So how is it I have made it all the way to 2009, 5 years after the release of this line of cigars, to get around to smoking them?  I don’t have a good answer for that one except to say I just never got around to it.  I have smoked other of Rocky’s cigars over the years and truth be told I have never found them to my liking.  A lot of his cigars are highly regarded and they are very popular but something about them has never really suited my palate.  As a result, I have never made it a priority to try The Edge.  I have been curious though and had planned to get around to them eventually.  Eventually is now it would appear.

The original release of The Edge included a Corojo and a Maduro wrapped version.  Later the line was added to with the Edge Lite wrapped in an Ecuadorian Shade Grown leaf and a Sumatran wrapped version was also added.  In addition to these line extensions, Rocky also added The Edge Missile which is a smaller, shorter torpedo version of the cigar.  I am excluding the Sumatran and the Missile from this series for now.  I may visit those two cigars at a later date.

The Edge Corojo and Maduro from Rocky Patel are touted as ultra full bodied, ultra powerful cigars.  The box even has a clever marketing gimmick on it in the guise or a warning label stating “Professional Smokers Only”.  Billed as being a bold, full bodied, full flavored smoke that will leave even seasoned smokers “weak in the knees”, these cigars have a bit to live up to in terms of their strength and the hype around it.  The binder is Nicaraguan and the blend for the filler is a secret.  According to Rocky, if you watch the flash video for The Edge on his website, the blend for the original two Edge cigars utilizes tobacco from an undisclosed country which apparently no one else uses tobacco from.  Seems like yet another clever marketing gimmick used in what looks to be a very gimmicky line of cigars.  The Edge is a large cigar too, each size being six inches in length and boasting beefy ring gauges.  They are available in three sizes:

  • Toro 6.0″ x 52 ring
  • Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring
  • Batallion 6.0″ x 60 ring

I will be smoking the Corojo and Maduro each in the Toro size.

The Edge Lite came later, though I am not sure how much later after the 2004 release of the original Edge cigars.  The Lite seems like an odd choice for a line extension for cigars whose main theme is power.  Power in strength and power in flavor.  The full bodied cigar market is only a very small portion of the cigar smokers market so I guess economics may have played a role in this one.  The Edge only appeals to that 15 to 20 percent of cigar smokers that enjoy bold full bodied smokes.  To reach out to the rest of the market, i guess it would make sense to offer a toned down version of the cigar, thus giving it access to all the revenue available by appealing to that other 80%.  This is all speculation on my part.  Truth is I have no idea the real reason behind the addition of The Edge Lite to the line.  Besides being wrapped in a shade grown Ecuadorian wrapper this cigar also has its own blend for the filler consisting of Nicaraguan and Honduran long filler.  It shares only the Nicaraguan binder with the original Edge cigars.  On his website Rocky boasts that The Edge Lite is the perfect Golf Course cigar.  He says you can sit this cigar down for 10 to 15 minutes and when you pick it back up it will still be lit and ready to smoke.  I may just have to put this claim to the test because I have to admit I am skeptical.  We will see first hand if the cigar can live up to the claim.  The Edge Lite is reported to be a smooth, mild, and creamy cigar with rich flavors and excellent construction.  It is available in four sizes:

  • Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring
  • Toro 6.0″ x 52 ring
  • Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring
  • Double Corona 7.5″ x 52 ring

For this series I will be smoking The Edge Lite Torpedo.

So that’s the run down on these cigars.  My plan is to knock out these reviews in short order so they will be available over the next week or two weeks so stay tuned in.  And remember, you can pickup your own Edge cigars online at CigarsDirect.com.

The Reviews:

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