A. Fuente 8-5-8 Rosado Tuesday, Jun 7 2011 

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Country: Domincan Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: ?? Same as the other 8-5-8’s whatever that comprises
Size:  6.0′ x 47 ring

Fuente 8-5-8’s generate a lot of conversation among avid cigar smokers.  The Natural, bleh…  The Maduro, eh….   The Sungrown, heck yeah!!…  The Rosado, Woo-hoo!!! Gimme some!!

That is generally how it goes but can vary depending upon who you are talking to.  I do enjoy the black ribbon Sungrowns when I can find them, but even rarer than those are the 8-5-8 Rosados.  When it is Fuente and it is rare, it generates buzz.  For this cigar it is warranted.  It is a really fantastic smoke.  It highlights how dramatically a good wrapper can impact the overall experience of a blend.  As far as I know all the Flor Fina 8-5-8 cigars are the same blend of tobaccos in the filler.   If this is true this line of cigars is a good example to highlight the role a wrapper plays in the flavors of a cigar.

The 8-5-8 Rosado is smooth and delicious.  Floral notes are complimented by distinct flavors like cinnamon, and espresso.  There are also more robust flavors that develop later in the smoke like leather and spice, yet it always remains smooth with an almost creamy texture to it all.  This is a great cigar,  I wonder why it is that Fuentes best stuff always has to be rare and hard to find.  The cynic in me says to keep prices and sales up.  But I don’t know if the wrapper is just hard to come by or what.  I just wish they would make some of their better stuff a little easier to find.  I have grown disenchanted with the brand and no longer feel the need to go out of my way to constantly chase down these special releases even though I feel like I am missing out from time to time.

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La Gloria Cubana Serie N JSB Tuesday, Apr 5 2011 

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Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatran Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.5″ x 54 ring

This is a new cigar from General Cigars.  The folks over there were kind enough to send me a sampler of thier new product along with a press release about thier virtual cigar tasting that happened back in late march.  Apparently they use some social media outlets and invited fans of the brand to smoke the cigar along with the makers of the blend and they had an interactive discussion about the cigar.  Very “2011”…

The Serie N is a thick oily looking cigar with a near pitch black wrapper on it.  I wasn’t sure what to think about it but once I put a flame to it I was pleasantly surprised.  I found it to be an excellent cigar with rich and robust flavors.  Lots of earth and cocoa and leather and a subtle bit of what I can only describe as dark fruit (don’t know if that will make sense to anybody else).  It had a very typical Nicaraguan profile which is right in my wheelhouse.  The rich flavors were balanced nicely with its moderate strength and full bodied feel.  The last inch or so get to be very full bodied with a good bit of spice and pepper almost overpowering the other flavors.  It finishes off with a punch to the gut.

I thought it was a very, very good cigar.  One I enjoyed thoroughly and will smoke again very soon.  This ranks as my favorite LGC cigar and I think may be one of the best that General Cigar makes.

Avo Heritage Toro Monday, Jan 31 2011 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sungrown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Toro 6.0 x 50 ring

The Heritage is a full-bodied offering from AVO.  That probably surprises a lot of folks as AVO cigars are generally known to all be mild to medium bodied smokes.  This cigar shares the same wrapper leaf as my all time favorite AVO the Compañero, also known as the LE09.  Since it sports the same wrapper, not surprisingly it shares some similarities with that smoke. It has that same exotic spice at the start and it comes on strong.  The flavors are full and rich with earthy notes of must and cocoa, balanced with creamy flavors of nuts and oak/wood.  The flavors are definitely AVO, but it comes in a non-typical robust delivery with a bit of strength behind it as well. By the time I finished this smoke, I found myself wanting to go and light up another.  This is a stellar cigar.

Panacea Black Natural Perfecto Wednesday, Sep 15 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian CT
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Olor Dominicano & Nicaraguan
Size: Perfecto 6.0″ x 51 ring

I was recently contacted by a gentleman named Paul Bush, owner of the Flatbed Cigar Company.  He asked if I had heard of and/or tried any of his cigars.  He also asked if I’d be interested in trying them if I hadn’t.  Informed Paul that while I had indeed heard of his cigars, I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of trying any of them.  He generously offered to remedy that and he sent me a sampler of his cigars.

The Flatbed Cigar Company is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and they make Panacea Cigars.  There are currently three lines of Panacea cigars.  The names are simple and direct and make it easy to know which cigars are which.  They are simply named after the color of their bands.  There is the Panacea Black which comes in a shade grown and maduro variety.  The Panacea Red is a bolder blend which sports a Maduro wrapper around a Dominican grown Habano binder.  Last but not least is the Flatbed Cigar Companies signature cigar, the Panacea Green which is finished off with a one of a kind Pennsylvania grown broadleaf wrapper.  I will be reviewing each of these cigars in the coming weekes so there will be plenty of details to follow on each of these.  Their very first cigar to market however was the Panacea Black Natural so I will be starting with this cigar first.  Before we get into the smoke, here is just a bit more on the company behind it.

I won’t be able to tell their story better than they can so I recommend checking out their website to learn all about them.  Just click here to read the story on how the Flatbed Cigar Company got started and what they are about.  I will give you the highlights here though.  They got started in 2007 with the Panacea Black.  The company was founded on the philosophy that they would focus on a few really good blends and use the best tobacco they could.  No gimmicks, no tricks, no fancy packaging.  Just good cigars made with good tobacco that hasn’t been messed with.  The cigars are made in the Dominican Republic, and Paul started off selling them out of the trunk of his car driving all over the northeast and mid-Atlantic building his client base.  Pennsylvania has a rich tradition in the cigar industry the Flatbed Cigar Company pays homage to that history with their Pennsylvanian grown wrapper that they use on the Panacea Green Label cigars.  The Green Label was a project that was a long time in the making that marries their heritage with their product.

As I mentioned earlier the Panacea Black was the Flatbed Cigar Companies very first cigar to market.  It is a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco wrapped in a dusky Ecuadorian grown, Connecticut Shade wrapper. This perfecto is very unique.  I originally mistook it for a torpedo with an unusual tapered foot.   I recently realized my mistake and updated this post.  It isn’t your typical perfecto because the taper is only at the head and foot of the stogie.  The body of the stick is straight like a standard parejo vitola.  It’s shape is unique and unusual which makes it interesting to me.  The cigar has an aroma of hay and tobacco and the draw seems to be just right.

This mild smoke starts off very nicely with creamy flavors like butter and nuts as well as some paper and hay notes.  All very typical of a a Connecticut shade wrapped cigar.  Not typical was the complete lack of harshness or youth.  The flavors while mild were well-defined and balanced.  It is consistent from start to finish.  Near the center there was the addition of some earthiness, and a bit of a barnyard? (hay and earth) aroma and in the last third there was some spice and black pepper that joined the party.  The burn, while not razor-sharp, was always even and demanded no attention from me which is the way I like it.  They claim to have the best rollers making their cigars and my sample lived up to that claim.  It was very well made.

I admit I have a soft spot for small boutique cigar brands, so I also have to confess that I really wanted to like this cigar going in.  I had concerns, because in my opinion there are a lot of sub par Connecticut Shade cigars out there and not many that I find to be good.  I had no idea what to expect from the Panacea but was very pleasantly surprised by it.  I found it be a very tasty, very well made, mild smoke that was really excellent from start to finish.  It would be a great morning smoke with a cup of coffee or even serve as a nice easy going mid-day smoke.  This one has me really looking forward to trying the other Panacea samples I have waiting for me.  If you’d like to give them a try, you can either look for a shop local to you that carries these cigars or order them direct online from the Flatbed Cigar Company.

Ashton VSG Wizard Tuesday, Jul 20 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 56 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

There isn’t much left that hasn’t been said about the Ashton VSG.  It is an extremely popular line of cigars made for Ashton by the Fuentes.  If you are new to the VSG, then surf on over to my review of the VSG Sorcerer and read the background info on this smoke there.

The Wizard is the largest of the VSG family at least as far as the ring gauge goes. It is also one of the very few vitolas that does not sport a box press.  It uses the same dark and leathery Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper as the rest of the line.  Long time readers of my blog already know that I am not a fan of this large of a ring gauge on a cigar.  I feel that the Wizard is a prime example of why that is.  All the wonderful flavors that you’d expect from a VSG are muted and muddled in this format.  There are still notes of earth and leather and sweet spice but they are not as sharp or intense.  The cigar overall is milder and weaker than the other vitolas in the line.  It is a good cigar in a line of great cigars which makes it a bit of a disappointment for me.  Of course, YMMV.

Avo Compañero (LE09) Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cuban Seed Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Three types of Dominican Ligero and a Peruvian Seco leaf
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 54 ring

The Compañero is Mr. U’s 83rd Birthday Cigar.  Most everyone who is into cigars knows that every year Avo releases a Limited Edition cigar to celebrate Mr. Avo Uvezian’s birthday.   Last year in April of 2009 I had th honor of attending one of his many birthday parties.  Even at 83 Mr.U is still touring the country celebrating his birthday with his fans.  At this celebration I picked up a box of the LE09’s [l-ee-oh-nines] as they are also known as. 320x240Mr U was gracious enough to sign the box for me.  The party was a lot of fun and many great cigars were smoked, the greatest of which was the Compañero.  I decided that night that the LE09 would become my son’s birthday cigar…  that is, it would be the cigar I smoked to celebrate my son’s birthday in April each year until my box was gone (there are 10 cigars in a box).  As it turned out, I was sick this year for my son’s birthday so I decided to hold off and smoke the cigar to celebrate both his and my birthday, which happens to be today.  So Happy Birthday to me.

It is a handsome cigar with a dark wrapper and a good draw.  It starts off with a blast of pepper followed up by earth, leather, and spice.  Easily the most robust Avo I have ever smoked, it does mellow a little as you near the second third of the cigar and develops notes of coffee and cream and a bit of  wood/cedar.  There is also a subtle sweetness now that may have been hidden by that initial onslaught of rich and peppery flavors.  In the last third it really picks up again with lots of leather and earth and it finally starts to exhibit that tell-tale Kelner mustiness that is often associated with Avo cigars. It has a bit of pepper on the finish at this point as well.

The Compañero is a great smoke and easily my favorite Avo of them all.  I look forward to next April when I smoke my next one.

Tatuaje Boris (The Frank out of Costume) Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sumatra Ecuador Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Churchill 7.0″ x 49 ring

By now most every avid cigar smoker knows about Tatuaje Cigars and the Monster Series of cigar release by Tatuaje every October around Halloween.  The Monster Series Started in 2008 with the release of #1 The Frank, a box pressed Double Corona in a blood spattered coffin.  In 2009 #2 The Drac, a dark torpedo in a shiny black coffin was released to an absolute frenzy of fans trying to get a hold of the very limited cigar.  2009 also marked the first edition of the Monster “Out-of-Costume” Series of cigars.  This first edition is a Churchill called Boris, named after the actor Boris Karloff who made Frankenstein’s Monster famous in his portrayal of the role in the classic 1931 film Frankenstein.  It is a very clever marketing scheme that i think is a lot of fun.  Pete Johnson may not be finding it as fun as he had envisioned.  The limited nature of the cigars and the resulting difficulty in obtaining these cigars have cause Pete to be bombarded by complaints by frustrated and angry customers and tobacconists. It is a shame I think.  People seem to lose perspective and they get angry over something that the should not be angry about.  They are limited cigars and not everyone will be able to get them every time.  I really wanted a box of the Dracs.  I was lucky enough to get a box of the Franks in 2008 and hoped to add the Dracs to my collection.  I wasn’t so lucky this time and I did not get a box.  In fact I didn’t get any initially.  The only reason I have two of the Dracs in my humidor now was that I had a friend who was lucky enough to get some and was willing to trade for a couple with me.  I didn’t write an angry letter to Tatuaje cigars.  That’s just the way it goes, the nature of a highly sought after limited edition cigar.  I hope peoples’ unreasonable anger doesn’t discourage Pete from continuing with this fun and unique series of cigars.

While I had to go the trade route for my Dracs, I did manage to purchase a couple of the the  Boris from my local cigar retailer, Empire Cigars.  The Boris was cleverly thought out keeping with the motif of the series.  It is slightly shorter than the Frank and it is not box pressed, the idea being this cigar represents the actor Boris when he was out of his monster costume.  Like I said, very clever and well thought out.

This is probably the most unique Tatuaje I have smoked.  It is completely unlike any other Tatuaje I’ve tried and unlike any Pepin Garcia smoke I can think of as well.  Completely absent of any black pepper notes, this cigar has a very unique and very distinctive sweetness to it that is present from the first puff to the last.  It is a full flavored though not very strong cigar.  Complimenting the remarkable sweetness of the cigar are creamy notes of almond and espresso.  There were occasional flashes of leather  on the finish.

Overall it was a smooth, creamy, and flavorful smoke. Excellent from start to finish.  The natural question is how does it rate compared to its costumed counterpart The Frank?  I have to say my personal preference is for the Frank.  But to use an analogy to clarify, that is like me saying I prefer a 16oz aged black angus filet over an 10oz cut.

Rocky Patel Sun Grown Toro Thursday, Jul 16 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Brazilian, Dominican, and Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5″ x52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Rocky Patel’s Sun Grown has been around for a while now.  It is unique in my opinion because it seems to be  universally respected among cigar smokers as a good, tasty, quality cigar.  Yet it doesn’t have any of the hype or pomp and circumstance around it that other widely respected cigars have, like the VSG or even the Oliva Serie V just as an example.  It seems to fly just below the radar, but ask someone about it and you will almost always here “That’s a great smoke, one of my favorite Rockys!”  Don’t ask about it, and you’ll probably never hear it mentioned.  That just strikes me as odd an unique.

This specimen sports a handsome looking, rustic, rosado colored wrapper.  It has a toothy, dry look to it.  Now, the RP Sun Grown Petite Corona is my hands down favorite vitola in this line.  I think is is an excellent smoke.  A robust, powerful little spice bomb.  I have enjoyed them so much over the years that it wasn’t until now that I have ever bothered to try another vitola, but this time I am smoking a toro.  It starts off with a bit of black pepper and a spiciness that is reminiscent of the Petite Corona only not quite as sharp or robust.  The flavors seem to be muted or muddled in the translation to the large ring gauge.  I get hints of the coffee, earth, and spice that I love in the Petite Corona, only they are faint and muddy and not as pronounced.  I was a bit disappointed with this one.  It seems to me the blend does much better in a smaller format.  Still it was an enjoyable cigar even though it didn’t live up to the standard set by its little brother.

Rating – B

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La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial No.2 Tuesday, Jun 16 2009 

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Country:  Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 4.8″ x 48 ring

La Aroma de Cuba is an Ashton owned brand.  The original is an excellent Honduran made cigar available in a wide range of sizes.  The artwork on the dress boxes and bands is beautiful and the presentation of the cigars is quite handsome.  That goes for both the original line and the Edicion Especial.  The true original La Aroma de Cuba was a Cuban made cigar and was reported to be one of Winston Churchills favorites which is what gives the brand name a bit of cache.  This special edition of the brand is a Nicaraguan made cigar, blended and made by the now famous and highly decorated Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia.  The Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper has a unique hue and oily sheen, and it covers rich Nicaraguan tobacco.

Not your typical “Pepin” smoke. That is the first thing that jumps out at me. From the beginning you notice his trademark black pepper start is missing. That is OK, because what you do get is fantastic. Rich notes of cinnamon and all-spice combined with flashes of cedar make for dramatic start in its own right. Balance isn’t the word I would use for this cigar. It has some serious peaks and valleys. After an amazing rich start the cigar mellowed a bit. Flavors were mainly cedar with a muddled earthiness. It picked back up again a little past the halfway mark with pronounced flavors of roasted nuts that swapped places back and forth with a sharp earthiness. There were some subtle undertones of dark chocolate or cocoa. Seeing it written out doesn’t do it justice. It was actually much better than it looks in print. It started to get muddled again near the nub but it was time to put it down anyway. This was a very interesting medium bodied smoke. One I would very much like to try again.

Some other takes on this cigar:

Rating – B+

Ambos Mundos by Tatuaje Thursday, May 28 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrappers:  Ecuadorian Sumatran / Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 Ring

Ambos Mundos, which means both worlds is the newest line of cigars from Pete Johnson and Tatuaje. Made, like all of Pete’s cigars, by Pepin Garcia this line of cigars is an economy cigar whose release is aptly timed given current economic conditions. Pete had this to say about it:

“My original idea for the Tatuaje brand was for it to be not as expensive as it turned out to be,” said Johnson, “but having it made in Miami kind of set that expensive precedent, so I made this cigar partly due to the economy and partly because this is where I originally wanted the cigar to be priced.”

I find that to be interesting. I am not sure how a cigar the quality of the original Tatuaje could ever be a cheap economy cigar regardless of where it was made so this doesn’t make much sense to me. It implies to me that if the Tatuajes were made in Nicaragua they would be $5.00 cigar. Boy I wish. I am sure that isn’t exactly what he meant but anyway… (edit: The more I read that quote from Pete the more I am convinced I just misread and misunderstood it.  He obviously wasn’t saying he originally intended the Tatuajes to be $5, but rather was pointing out that is where he wanted the Ambos Mundos to be.  He was just saying that he wanted the Tatuajes to be cheaper than they are, but the fact they are made in Miami precluded that.  So now I get what he was saying and my original comments look kind of stupid to me now…)
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The Ambos Mundos are long filler cigars that use tobacco from the same farms as the Tatuajes but instead of the Grade A tobacco used for the Tatuajes, these use grade B and C tobacco. It is tobacco that might have cosmetic differences or might need additional fermentation. That is the how and why the price points are where they are. They are available in two sizes and two wrapper types. All of them use Nicaraguan filler and binders, but one version uses a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and the other an Ecuadorian grown Sumatran wrapper, hence the “both worlds”. The sizes you have to choose from are a bit boring in my opinion. They are the cliche 5×50 Robusto and 6×50 Toro. The Toro is $5 and the Robusto comes in a quarter cheaper. The Ambos Mundos were released this past February (2009). They suggest that you age these cigars a bit to allow the tobacco to finish fermentation due to the use of the lower quality tobacco. That might explain some things, but really, who wants to age an economy cigar?

I smoked the Habano wrapped version with the creme colored band first. Both of the samples I tried were Robustos. The Habano is a Nicaraguan Puro. I have to say, I found this cigar to be nearly unsmokable.  It was sour and bitter and very unpleasant.  I did my best to try and smoke the whole thing but a little more than halfway through I had to give up on it.  This is the first cigar I have tried that is made by Pepin Garcia that I thought was a bad cigar.  I find it hard to believe that anything about this smoke is at all related to the Tatuajes I love so much.  Maybe it really does need to be aged some but I am not sure how much help that would be to this cigar.  To truly age it in any meaningful way means you need to set them down for at least a year, closer to two years probably.  Anything less isn’t aging, it is merely acclimation to your humidor.  Plus, like I said, who wants to age a $5 economy smoke.  The humidor real estate is too valuable and better used aging a box of quality top shelf cigars.  As it is today, I have to give this cigar an F.

Next up is the Sumatran which sports the dark red band.  Wow what a difference a wrapper can make on a cigar.  This was a much better experience.  Still not what I would call a good smoke, at least this one was enjoyable enough to smoke the entire cigar.   I could see the potential for this one to become a fairly decent smoke if it were allowed to age.  It had a spicy bite with an earthy core complimented by notes of cedar and flashes of coffee.  There were still occasional hits of sour flavors but it was not nearly as harsh and bitter as the Habano.  Because of the potential I can see for this cigar to get at least a little better I can rate this version of the Ambos Mundos as a C.

I wish they didn’t associate this brand so closely with the Tatuaje brand.  These are not Tatuajes, and they don’t taste like even a distant cousin to the Tatuaje brand.  It hurts me to say it because I am such a huge fan of everything else Pete and Pepin have done, but these cigars just don’t live up the standards they have set with their other lines.  Truth is, I find the mixed filler Tatuaje P Series to be a far superior cigar and they cost about the same amount, cheaper in some cases as they are available in a better choice of sizes.  I think the concept for these cigars was a nice idea, but I also think it is really hard to make a good cigar at this price point.  Fact is, nobody I have come across does a better job at a $5 cigar than Oliva.  That is probably because they have a huge advantage given the large quantity of tobacco they have at their disposal (and yes I mean the Oliva Cigar Family and am not referring to the other Oliva tobacco famliy).

Rating – F (for the Habano)
Rating – C (for the Sumatran)

The Edge Lite Torpedo Friday, Mar 6 2009 

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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+

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:

Avo Domaine No.30 Thursday, Jan 29 2009 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Churchill 6.75″ x 48 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Avo cigars are the first premium cigars I ever smoked.  The classic Avo no. 2 may be the cigar responsible for setting me down the path of premium cigar smoking and collecting as a hobby.  It got me hooked on hand made premium cigars.  Way back then, the Avo no.2 was my expensive special occasion smoke, because in the beginning I had always thought that $7 for a cigar was extremely extravagant.  My how things have changed… lol.  Over the years I have moved away from the AVO brand as part of my regular rotation of smokes but it has still always held a special place in my heart because of its role in myearly days of cigar appreciation.  Today I have an Avo Domaine no.30 courtesy of my friends at CigarsDirect.com.

Avo Uvezian, the man behind the Avo brand, is a gentleman that exemplifies class and sophistication.  He is a respected cigar connoisseur and a accomplished musician.  The Avo brand of cigars mirrors its creators sense of style and class.  The cigars are know for being refined, smooth, and balanced.  The Domaine utilizes a beautiful Ecuadorian grown wrapper that is fermented a second time after being sent to Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic.  Some of the finest Dominican tobaccos are used for the filler and binder to lend a robust yet  balanced flavor when paired with the aromatic Ecuadorian wrapper.

This Churchill is a handsome cigar with a smooth silky wrapper.  Construction is almost never an Issue with Avo cigars.  The Domaine is a medium bodied smoke with an earthy, must core.  I also picked up strong grassy/vegetal notes and little hits of sourness as I made my way through the smoke.  It smoothed out a lot in the second half losing that vegetal quality that I have to say I was not enjoying.  It was predominately earth with notes of hay the rest of the way.  Smooth and enjoyable.  Overall this cigar is not my cup of tea, but it is well made and if they don’t always start out the way this one did, I’d consider it a nice mid afternoon smoke.  If they are always that grassy at the start, then I think I would just pass on this cigar.  If I were judging solely on the second half of this smoke I’d score it a solid B, maybe even a B+, but taking it as a whole I can only give it a C.

Rating – C

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