God Of Fire 2005 by Carlito Double Robusto Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Double Robusto 5.75″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The God of Fire is an extremely limited edition cigar made once a year by the Fuente Cigar Family for the company Prometheus.  Each year Don Carlos blends one size and his son Carlito blends a few others.  It is a very pricey cigar running in the $20 plus range.  In 2005 the Double Robusto was made by Carlito.  Sold in boxes of 10, the cigar is adorned in two ornate red bands.  The main band depicts the figure of Prometheus enduring his rather gruesome punishment for bring fire to the mortals.

Each cigar is wrapped in a very handsome Cameroon wrapper.  The wrapper leaf is so good looking it is almost hard to believe it is a Cameroon.  It has very little tooth and appears very smooth with very tiny, very fine veins spider-webbed across its surface.  It has a very uniform brown color and has the appearance of expensive leather.  It also sports a massive cap.  I counted 4 seams spiraling around the head of the cigar.  Examining the foot shows perfectly bunch tobacco with a dark, oily spot dead center revealing the presence of robust ligero in its core.

The God of Fire starts off smooth and creamy right from the start.  It has a very woody flavor complimented by a slightly sweet spice.  The smoke was amazingly smooth from start to finish.  Along the way I picked up notes of nuts and espresso.  The aroma had a hint of cinnamon in it and the last third was dominated by the original flavors of spice and wood.  The flavors were medium bodied and I considered the strength to be medium as well.  As for the burn and the draw, you’d be hard pressed to find a better constructed cigar anywhere.

With a lofty name like God of Fire you might expect a powerhouse cigar but that isn’t the case here.  The cigar is smooth and elegant and easy smoking.  It is a pleasure from start to end, but it does carry a very steep price tag relegating this cigar to primarily be a special occasion smoke.  It is certainly something every cigar smoker should try at least once.

CAO La Traviata Intrépido Saturday, Jun 19 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Size: Double Corona 7.0″ x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

I don’t know about you, but over the past several years it seemed to me that everything CAO did was centered around some kind of gimmick.  Neon lighted humidors, barber pole wrappers, car trunk cigar boxes, etc.  The focus has been all on the marketing and gimmicks to the point it seemed as if they had lost touch with just making cigars.  It showed in the quality of the smokes they were putting out too.  Then the go and release the La Taviata.  No gimmicks, no fancy boxes or over the top elaborate modernized bands.  Just a classic style cigar with a classic looking band and even using an old classic Cuban brand name.  Very un-CAO like really.  I have to say they should concentrate on the cigar itself more often, but more on that soon.

The Intrépido is a BIG cigar.  I called it a double corona in the stats list above, but with a 54 ring gauge it is one big ass DC.  Perhaps calling it a Gigante would be more accurate.  It has a good-looking Colorado wrapper, a little oily and a bit bumpy.  It is finished off with a sloppy looking cap and moderately simple band.  As big as this cigar is, it is packed full of tobacco.  There were no soft spots to be found, the draw excellent and the burn was razor-sharp.

After a bit of a peppery start this cigar is very woodsy with lots of cedar and oak as the dominate flavors and just beneath the covers is a slightly sweet spice the balances it out nicely.  I have to think that is courtesy of the Cameroon binder.  At different times during this very long smoke (I smoked this a little north of two hours) I picked up some leather, coffee,and licorice.  I found it to be a nicely balanced and decently complex smoke.  It is a far better cigar than its very modest price tag would imply.  The Intrépido is the largest size in the line and it only costs around $6.  CAO departed from their glitzy high-priced and gimmicky approach with this cigar and it easily the best cigar they have made in the past decade and it is an inexpensive and economical smoke that far out-performs its price tag.  I found it to be a very good medium bodied cigar.  This size however is a bit too large for me.  It was very hard pressed to finish it. I wouldn’t classify this as a strong cigar, but rather because of it size and the sheer volume of tobacco I had to smoke to get through it, I started to feel a little green towards the end.  I think the shorter vitolas would suit me much better.

H.Upmann Vintage Cameroon Toro Tuesday, Feb 23 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian
Size: Toro 6.0″x54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

H. Upmann is a cigar brand with a rich Cuban heritage. Like most American cigar smokers, I have very little experience with that storied version of the brand. Instead the H. Upmann I know best is made in the Dominican Republic. Back when I was just a fledgling cigar smoker, Upmann’s were listed among my favorites. I thought of them as a very reasonably price, excellent quality, medium to mild smoke. As I gained more experience and my palate developed, I quickly lost my taste for them. That is except for one particular line. Even after I moved on from H. Upmann to other more dynamic and robust smokes, I still continued to enjoy the H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon. At that point in my cigar smoking career I had developed a fondness for the Cameroon wrapper and the Upmann was one I continued to enjoy along with the Torano 1916 and others. Eventually I moved on from my Cameroon kick and thus stopped smoking even this line of Upmann’s. A recent conversation about Cameroon cigars brought back memories of this particular cigar and I decided I wanted to revisit it again as it has been a while since I have enjoyed one of the Vintage Cameroons.

The Dominican H. Upmann brand is owned by the tobacco giant Altadis, USA who also happens to be a stake holder in the Cuban cigar company Habanos, S.A. The Cameroon wrapper conceals a Nicaraguan binder an a three country blend of long filler from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. It is excessively adorned with three bright red bands and a cedar sleeve. There are just bunches of opportunities to ruin the wrapper here as you get the cigar ready to smoke. I happen to share my friend Jamie’s view on this. One band is enough, simpler is better. The more things you are gluing around a cigar the more chances there is for that glue to get on the wrapper and bring disaster as you remove them just to get the cigar into a smokable state. I did manage to get my sample unwrapped with the wrapper leaf unharmed so now on to the smoke.

The Upmann wrapper isn’t as toothy as a lot of Cameroons in my experience, but like most there are plenty of tiny veins crawling across its surface. The draw is good but the large ring gauge is awkward to me. I rarely smoke cigar this large anymore which I think makes it more noticeable to me. The burn is excellent, straight and slow and cool. The ash is a little flaky but not really a problem. My memory of this cigar is far better than the current reality. I remember enjoying this cigar a lot way back when I used to smoke them. Now it just seems flat to me. The flavor is nondescript and light, a very mild smoke. there is a hint of that sweet spice that I always liked from a Cameroon, but I think the large ring gauge and its accompanying large amounts of filler have muted it a bit making it barely detectable. Overall this smoke just doesn’t suit me any more. It is not a bad cigar, but it is just too mild and monolithic for my tastes. I have some fond memories of this cigar and perhaps that’s where this cigar will have to stay for me… A nice memory from my cigar smoking past.

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