Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve Robusto Wednesday, Mar 31 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Robusto 5.0″x54 Ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Made in Honduras with mostly Nicaraguan tobacco, the Habana Reserve is unique in the prolific number of lines in the Romeo  y Julieta portfolio.  I believe, but am admittedly not certain, that this is the only one that is not made in the Dominican Republic.  It is a handsome cigar with a good looking oily wrapper that has the look of leather.  Constrction of the cigar seems to be high quality.  The wrapper is neatly applied as is the double cap.  The draw is ideal and the cigar is firm and well filled.

The Habana Reserve is purported to be RyJ’s most robust offering.  That may well be the case but it is far from being a full bodied smoke and perhaps speaks to just how mild the other lines are.  I am ok with calling it a medium bodied smoke, but it lacks a lot of the oomph I expect from a cigar made of mostly Nicaraguan tobacco.  I am just not getting that Nicaraguan earthiness.  If i didn’t know there was Nicaraguan tobacco in the cigar and was smoking it blind, I’d probably guess it was a Dominican cigar.  The flavors are pleasant enough, woody and floral, but they are a little thin.  As the smoke progressed it developed a little more body making it more enjoyable if not any more interesting. Towards the end it developed a bit of a peppery bite and a hint of that earthiness I was looking for but was missing almost the entire time.

This smoke is a bit one dimensional and doesn’t hold much for the seasoned smoker.  However, it is a smooth pleasant cigar that could be enjoyed by the beginner or occasional smoker.

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Redux: Liga Privada T52 by Drew Estate Friday, Mar 19 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Stalk Cut Sungrown Habano
Binder: Brazilian
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran
Size: Toro 6.0″x52 Ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Drew Estate has been making quite the splash as of late on the cigar world and especially in the online cigar community and it is not for a type of cigar you would typically associate with the brand.  Recently they have had two very successful and very well received lines of cigars and they are not flavored or infused in any way.  They are traditional cigars and they are sold under the name Liga Privada.  First came the No.9 and most recently the T52 which a lot of cigar smokers are raving about.  Not that long ago I was able to smoke and review a pre-production version of the T52.  Specifically “blend #3” which was supposedly selected as the final blend for what would become the production version of the T52.  Now I have heard second and third had, that Drew Estate actually tweaked that final blend a bit at the last minute using a hybrid of the pre-production blends #3 and #4.  I have no idea how accurate that is if at all but I heard it said often enough that I thought it worth mentioning.

Since I smoked that pre-production version of the T52 I have been looking forward to revisiting the smoke in its final off the shelf incarnation.  I was very surprised by that first T52 and thought it to be a stellar cigar.  You can read my review of it by clicking here.  One of the unique features of this cigar is it’s wrapper.   It is a one of kind wrapper leaf not used on any other cigar.  It is grown in Connecticut and it is harvested in a unique fashion.  You can read all about it in that review of the pre-production stick.

Visually this cigar is just as beautiful as the pre-production version.  Dark and oily, and virtually flawless.  This one was a little different in the flavor department though, and that is not a bad thing.  This T52 starts off with very full and robust meaty flavors.  You feel like you just sat down and began eating a four course meal.  It was wonderful, but I knew if it kept up for the entire smoke it would be too much.  Thankfully it calmed down a bit after the first inch or two.  The I was treated to rich and decadent notes of chocolate and espresso with the occasional flash of licorice.   I don’t recall ever smoking a cigar with such a distinct chocolaty flavor to it.  It would switch back and forth between the thick meaty flavors and the slightly lighter chocolate and espresso.  Towards the end it became very full and robust again with a bit of black pepper on the finish.  I smoked this one down to the nub.  Construction was absolute perfection .  Perfect burn, perfect draw, perfect ash.  I don’t think you could construct a cigar any better than this. I have to say I enjoyed the T52 immensely and found it to be even better than I remember the pre-production blend #3 to be.  This is a must try for any lover of stout, full bodied cigars.  It has earned a spot on my “Matt’s Favs” list.

Win a Box of OpusX Love Affairs Saturday, Mar 13 2010 

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It is time again for my annual fund raising drive for the Ride for Kids and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the US. This is the third year in a row that, thanks to some very generous people in the cigar industry, I have some spectacular cigars to give away as a thank you for your support of my efforts and of this wonderful charity that does so very much to help sick kids. This year you could win a box of Opus X Love Affairs, Hemingway Short Stories, Nubs, or a Cain F sampler pack.  Also up for grabs is a 5 pack Tatuaje sampler which will include a “Frank”, a 5 pack of Opus xXx, or a 5 pack of Oliva Serie V Belicosos.  Keep reading to find out how. (more…)

MarchMadness 2010 with CigarsDirect.com Friday, Mar 5 2010 

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It is College Basketball Fans’ favorite time of the year. 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.  Here’s what you could win…

Prizes:

Place     Product
1st          2009 Opus X Fuente Charity Box – 22 Count
2nd        Opus X Fuente Fuente
3rd         Anejo No. 77 “The Shark”
4th         Padron 1926 Serie No. 35 Maduro
5th         2009 Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario Box
6th         Ashton Aged Maduro No.30
7th         La Flor Dominicana Ligero Salomones
8th         Hemingway Short Story Box
9th         Partagas Sabrosos
10th       La Flor Dominicana Mysterio
11th       Opus X 1992 Rare Estate Reserve Robusto Tin
12th       Ashton Variety Sampler

Click on over to CigarsDirect.com to get all the details and to sign up.

Tatuaje “The Drac” Wednesday, Mar 3 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 63/4 x 52 ring

Plenty has been said already about the Tatuaje Drac and the rest of the monster series.  I have talked about them at length in my posts on The Frank and Boris.  I’ll just do a quick summary here.  The Drac is the 2nd in a limited edition series of cigars by Tatuaje that is release around Halloween every year.  they are extremely limited and highly sought after making for an extremely hard to find cigar.  Last year I was lucky enough to get a whole box of The Frank.  This year I wasn’t so lucky but I did manage to get my hands on two of The Drac cigars.

The Drac is a large Torpedo that comes in a shiny black lacquered, coffin-shaped box.  The torpedo shape imparts a fang like or stake like image either of which is appropriate for a cigar named after the worlds most famous vampire.  It has a black and red band at the foot and is stored in its coffin upside down with the foot of the cigar at the top of the coffin just as Dracula was reported to sleep in his coffin upside down.

The Drac delivers pleasant medium bodied flavors of wood, earth, and leather with subtle sweetness on the finish.  The draw was excellent, but the burn on my first sample was not good at all.  It required constant attention continually becoming uneven.  The ash was very flaky and did not hold well at all.  The cigar also went out on me twice during the last half of the smoke and it wasn’t due to inattention as I was trying very hard to keep the thing burning right and lit.  These kind of construction issues are not at all typical of Tatuaje cigars and based on what I have read about The Drac, they really aren’t at all typical of this smoke either.  I think maybe I just got a bum stick or maybe I didn’t give it enough time in the humidor to settle in.

I have one more Drac and I am going to give it some significant time to rest in my humidor before I revisit this cigar.  Flavor wise it was a very good and very enjoyable smoke if not as complex as most other Tatuajes, but the burn issues really detracted from my enjoyment of it.  Whenever I have a cigar that performs this way I chalk it up to a likely fluke and I make plans to revisit the cigar in the future.  That is exactly what I plan to do with The Drac.

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