Cain Habano Robusto Tuesday, Oct 27 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler:  Esteli Ligero, Condega Ligero, Jalapa Ligero, and a small amount of “other tobaccos”
Size: Robusto 5.70″ x 50 ring

Cain – Straight Ligero.  For those that know what Ligero is, you are probably thinking “damn”.  Ligero is the highest priming of tobacco on the plant.  These are the leaves at the top of the plant that get the most exposure to direct sunlight and the elements.  Ligero tobacco is the thickest leaves and the strongest in terms of nicotine.  It is also generally considered the most robust in terms of flavor.  Most cigars only use a small percentage of ligero tobacco blended leaves from other primings on the plant.  The blending of the different leaves is done to produce specific flavors that the blender want as well as to give the cigar balance in flavor, strength and construction.  Now the Cain is not really 100% ligero.  It is actually around 82% or 84% (I have heard both numbers bandied around) ligero.  This is still way more ligero than is typically found in a cigar, but the addition of the non-ligero tobacco is done for construction and combustion reasons.  Ligero is the thickest leaf and as such is the slowest burning and hardest to keep lit.  The other tobacco used helps to balance things out a bit to allow the cigar to burn properly.  All that ligero still affects the burn though.  This cigar burns awfully slow but more on that later.

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The Cain comes in two different wrappers.  Habano and Maduro.  There is also a Cain “F” which is a special souped up blend that is even more powerful and robust that the regular Cains are reported to be.  These are the creation of Sam Leccia and Oliva Cigar Co. who also brought us the Nub.  They are available in three sizes that I know of:

 

  • Robusto 5.7″ x 50 ring
  • Double Toro 6.0″ s 60 ring
  • Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring

The “F” is only available in a Robusto and I believe is a limited edition.  On to the review…

The wrapper on the Cain Habano is the color of milk chocolate with a leathery look. It has lots of small veins and a slight tooth. The draw is a little firm but not unpleasant. It smokes slow and cool… very slow. I was completely surprised by this cigar at first. It was not at all like I was expecting it to be. Much was made of the fact that it is almost entirely made up of ligero tobacco. Because of that I was expecting a rich, earthy, peppery and robust smoke with a lot of power. In actuality, it begins as a medium bodied smoke that was smooth and creamy with out much of a nicotine kick at all. My specimen has no spice or pepper at all. It started off smooth and creamy with notes of cinnamon and a subtle sweetness that I want to describe as apple. Like a Rome apple or some other cooking type of apple that isn’t overly sweet. It also had an undertone of toasted tobacco. I was half way through smoking the Cain Habano and I was thinking it was a very unique smoke but it was not at all complex. In fact thought it a bit one dimensional, but still the flavors were unique and very enjoyable. The last third is where this cigar comes alive. Suddenly I began detecting a little bit of a peppery bite to the flavors and then the cigar quickly transitioned into that robust earthy, spicy smoke I was expecting and I also started to feel its power.  Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe this cigar as a “power house” it does back a nice little punch that kind of sneaks up on you.  My experience with the last third of the smoke makes me say that this is not a cigar for beginners.  Less seasoned smokers might get a little green from it.  Someone who is used to stronger and more robust cigars won’t really be phased by it. I had a bit of problem keeping it lit and it tried to tunnel on me a couple times. It took me almost an hour and a half to finish it. Like I said, it burned very slow.

At first I thought I was smoking Abel, but it was all a lie as Cain revealed himself in the end.  I enjoyed this cigar and it was interesting how it completely changed character on me there at the end.  I will be smoking more to see if this experience is consistent or not for me with this cigar.  It was also quite remarkable to me how long it took to smoke this cigar.  This was perhaps the slowest burning cigar I have ever smoked.  It took me almost two hours to smoke this nearly toro length robusto and I am not known as a slow smoker.  The Cain Habano is a good smoke that is worth a try and something I will probably keep in my humidor in small quantities for times when I want a change of pace from my Tatuajes.

Rating – B

Some other takes on the Cain Habano:

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Out Sick… Again… Thursday, Oct 22 2009 

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I don’t know why this seems to happen to me every fall, but I am sick again.  Actually I am just getting over being sick, but I have a lingering upper respiratory issue that is hanging around so I need to stay off the cigars a little longer.  That is the reason there isn’t a new review up this week.  It was supposed to be a review of one of the new Cain cigars.  I hope to be back up and smoking next week if I’m lucky at which time I’ll review one of the Cain’s.  I haven’t settled on the Habano or Maduro yet so it will be a surprise.

Alec Bradley Tempus Centuria Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduran Criollo ’98
Binder: Honduran Criollo ’98
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan
Size: Churchill 7.0′ x 49 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Alec Bradley Tempus is made in the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. This is the same factory the the Illusione and Cruzado cigars are made for Dion Giolito. I mention this because of a story I heard. It is second or third hand so I have no way of knowing how true it is but it is interesting. The story goes that Dion was testing several prototype blends to use in one of his lines. Apparently Dion wants his cigars to change up on him 4 plus times through the course of the smoke so there were several blends that while good, complex smokes, they were passed on by Dion. The rumor is, that one such blend was offered to and subsequently bought by Alec Bradley to become the Tempus. Like I said, I have no idea if it is true or not, but it is an interesting story and maybe it provides some insight into what happens to some of better blends that go unclaimed during the development phase for a new cigar.

The large ornate band and the second gold band at the foot of the cigar gives it a kind of regal look from a distance, but up close the cigar looks rather rustic.  The wrapper drak brown and a little rumpled looking with a sparse scattering of small black spots on it.  It is very veiny and has a slight tooth to it.  The triple cap is sloppily applied.  It kind of looks like a Padron, only slightly better put together.  Despite its rustic appearance, it is obviusly a well made cigar as the draw was near perfect and the burn remained straight and even the entire smoke with no relights or touch-ups.

This was a nice robust smoke.  It burned slow and cool and took me close to two hours to finish.  It starts off with a peppery blast and rich notes of earth and black coffee and a subtle sweetness on the finish.  It is a full bodied start with a bit of a heady punch.  It does begin to mellow out though and the majority of the smoke is nice and smooth with creamy flavors of nuts and oak interrupted by the occasional flash of salty leather.  As I neared the end, it changed back to the robust earthy smoke that it began as with plenty of pepper on the finish.

This was a good complex smoke that was able to hold my attention for the full 90 plus minutes it took to smoke.  I don’t smoke a lot of Churchills because they do take a while to work through so they need to be complex and engaging when I do partake of one.  The Alec Bradley Tempus Centuria fits the bill.  I will certainly smoke this one again.  The Tempus is easily my favorite Alec Bradley cigar.

Rating – B+

You can get Alec Bradley Tempus cigars @ CigarsDirect.com

La Riqueza No. 1 Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sun Grown USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lonsdale 6.5″ x 42 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

La Riqueza; The Riches, or The Wealth. Interesting choice of names for what might be one of the ugliest cigars I’ve seen since a Padron. I kid a little, but it really isn’t a pretty cigar and that has solely to do with the wrapper. It is a sun grown USA Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that is rough, bumpy, toothy and rumpled looking. Not what you’d think would be a first choice for a cigar wrapper leaf. Another interesting thing about this cigar is that it represents the first time Pete Johnson stepped away from making a Nicaraguan Puro with a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper. The Tatuaje Brown Label, Havana VI, and P series all used Nicaraguan tobacco and all use Corojo wrappers. Of course since Pete released the La Riqueza he has gone on to use this naturally dark sun grown wrapper on a number of cigars like some additions to the Reserva line (Regio and Noella), The Frank from the Monster Series, and the Cabiaguan Maduro (which is a misnomer since the wrapper isn’t really a maduro in the traditional sense).

So the wrapper was a new thing, but the binder and filler are still composed of robust Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar has a rather rough box press adding to its ugly duckling appearance and they come in traditional Cuban style dress boxes. At least originally they were in dress boxes. They still are, but now you can also get a slightly prettier version that isn’t box pressed referred to as the Cabinet Series which comes in, you guessed it, a slide top cabinet. They come 50 to a box and the band is slightly different.  It has some white space to the left and right of the main center logo.  The band on the box pressed version is red with white stripes as it wraps around the back.  Pete uses the Flor de Lis on the band tying it in to his now famous Tatuaje brand.  They come in five sizes and they are:

  • No. 1 — 6 1/2 x 42 (Lonsdale)
  • No. 2  — 5 1/2 x 52 (Torpedo)
  • No. 3  — 5 5/8 x 46 (Corona)
  • No. 4 — 5 x 48 (Robusto)
  • No. 5 — 4 3/8 x 42 (Petite Corona)

The Vitola names in parentheses are not official, but just what I have chosen to identify the sizes as.  Some times those names give people a better idea of what the cigar is than just a number or measurement so that is why I added them.  The La Riqueza is made in Pepin’s Nicaragua factory.  I am smoking the no.1 this time, so onto the review…

I say it all the time, but I love Lonsdales.  For me it is the perfect size.  I really like how the wrapper comes into play with the flavors of the blend.  The sun grown wrapper on this cigar imparts a nice robust sun grown twang with a slightly sweet undertone.  This compliments the chocolate and earthy notes that are rich and smooth.  these flavors alternate with blasts of leather and wood and an occasional spiciness That makes for an interesting and complex smoke.  I have smoked a few Torpedos in this line that I wasn’t impressed with.  I found them to be more full bodied than the no.1 but not as complex.  The no.1 is a smooth, flavorful, and complex medium bodied smoke.  In the last third some black pepper joins the party giving the cigar a bit more bite and it develops a slightly nutty finish.

I have smoked three different sizes of this cigar, and guess it is not much of a surprise that the Lonsdale is by far my favorite in the line.  The construction is perfect with a nice draw and a sharp even burn.  The ash is a little loose and flaky but I can live with that given how good this cigar is.

Rating – A

You can get your La Riquezas @ CigarsDirect.com

Other takes on the La Riqueza:

Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lancero 7.5″ x 40 ring

Since Illusione cigars burst on the scene they have been well received and its creator Dion Giolito has reached near rock star status in the cigar community.  I shared some details on Dion and his cigar company in my review of the Illusion ~cg:4~ if you are interested.

The Holy Lance is a good looking lancero.  It has leathery rosado  wrapper with a traditional pigtail cap.  I am a fan of the lancero.  I feel that it is a size that lends itself to the ideal blend of filler and wrapper delivering the cigars true flavors.  The ~hl~ starts off with a blast of white pepper and heavy floral notes with an underlying sweetness that are just fantastic.  My enjoyment of the cigar is enhanced by a heady bouquet of floral aromas.  The whole experience reminds me of sitting down with a fine 16 year old scotch in a way.  The ~hl~ is not as powerful as other Illusiones providing a smooth medium bodied smoke.  Half way through the floral notes are complimented by smooth creamy flavors of nuts and wood.  In the last third it develops a nice spicy bite.

The construction is superb which is hard to do with this vitola that is sometimes prone to draw problems.  The draw was excellent and the burn is dead even.  The ash doesn’t hold for very long which is also common with a lancero so be sure to tap it often or you’ll have ash in your lap.  The ~hl~ is a superb,complex, and elegant smoke.  It is my favorite Illusione.  I have smoked a fair amount of lanceros from Oliva, Pepin Garcia, Litto Gomez, etc…. and I dare say the ~hl~ is the best lancero available today.

Rating – A

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