Illusíone Singularé 2010 Phantom Tuesday, May 24 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.0′ x 50 ring

The Phantom is the 2010 version of Illusione’s Limited Edition “Singularé” cigar line. It is a refined looking toro with a handsome wrapper that has the look of fine leather. It is a mild to medium bodied smoke.  Not much spice to be found here which is unusual of a cigar that uses all Nicaraguan tobacco. It starts off light and mild with creamy flavors of cedar and toasted tobacco with a subtle bit of earthiness. Eventually it picks up a bit. The flavors are consistent but develop more body and there is an added floral undertone and a bit of sweetness that adds some complexity. This was an excellent smoke and a very different profile for Illusione.  I found it to be even lighter and more mild that some of the Epernay line. Still mild doesn’t mean flavorless as this stick had plenty to offer. I feel like I use this word a lot when talking about various cigars from Illusione, but it fits so I’ll use it again… Elegant. This cigar has a very refined and elegant feel to it. Grab some if you can still find them.

Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: CT Corojo
Binder:  CT Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring

I have never been a fan of the Punch Rare Corojo.  It seemed an OK enough cigar but it just never struck my fancy which I thought strange because I generally enjoy Corojo cigars.  I had no idea until very recently that the Punch Rare Corojo doesn’t even have any Corojo tobacco in it.  I thought the wrapper was Corojo but apparently it was a Sumatran leaf of some kind.  Learning that fact kind of annoyed me.  Why the hell do they call it a Corojo if it isn’t?  But ultimately I came to the conclusion that I really don’t care especially since the cigar has largely remained off my radar…

Enter the the Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Edition.  Wonders never cease, this one actually uses a Corojo wrapper leaf.  What’s more it is a Connecticut grown Corojo wrapper.  I didn’t even know they grew Corojo in Connecticut.  Well there’s lots I don’t know but still, I was surprised by it. General Cigar sent me some samples of the new limited edition of the Rare Corojo and its make-up is intriguing to me so I looked forward to giving this one a try.  I have to say, it is a much better cigar that the previous sticks to carry this name.  It starts off with leather and earth and an undertone of what I would describe as spiced vanilla, giving it a subtle sweetness and creamy characteristic to the flavors.  It builds in body as you progress and it starts to exhibit more spice and gets a little woodsy and tannic at times which may just be a bit of youth shining through, or the Honduran filler dominating the blend (I often get tannic notes from cigars with Honduran tobacco).  Overall the cigar was quite enjoyable and it held my attention nicely with well defined flavors.  It may be a limited edition cigar but it doesn’t carry a limited edition price tag so I would say it is definitely worth trying if you run across them.

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Tabaqueros Toro Monday, Feb 7 2011 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade/Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Unknown
Filler: Dominican and Honduran
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 50 ring

This one is a bit gimmicky but it does exactly what it is advertised to do.  This cigar uses two wrappers, a Connecticut Shade wrapper at the foot with an abrupt transition to an Ecuadorian grown Sumatran wrapper for about the last 2/3rds of the cigar.  It starts off fairly mild with creamy coffee notes and a bit of hay and then picks up in strength and body once you hit the Sumatran wrapper where there is a bit of pepper and leather and earth with a what I thought was a slightly overbearing finish.  Maybe even a little harsh at times.  I found it to be a well made cigar.  The burn was amazingly slow.  It took a long time to smoke this Toro.  I’d rate this stogie overall as “good”.

There was something about the two wrapper setup and that transition from the mild smoke to a more medium bodied experience that I am unsure about.  I cannot put my finger on it, but it is different from the changes and nuances of a well blended and complex cigar that only uses one wrapper.  I’ve struggled with it but haven’t come up with a good explanation for my feeling on it. Still, this LGC is a decent smoke and the gimmick is legit and so it it is worth trying at least once for the experience.

Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Candela Sunday, Jan 23 2011 

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

I have to believe that this cigar is a first in the Modern Cigar Era.  A Candela wrapped Lancero.  I recently reviewed the Illusione ~88~ Candela which kindled a spark of interest for this wrapper that I largely ignored in the past.  Like I said in that review of the ~88~, Candela wrappers seemed to be reserved for use on bad cigars.  The regular Illusione ~hl~ sports a rosado wrapper and is probably my number one favorite Illusione cigar.  The standard ~hl~ is the definition of elegance and balance.  The Candela ~hl~ is a different animal.

I don’t know if the blend of this cigar was tweaked or just entirely different from the blend used for the standard Holy Lance but this green version tastes nothing like the original. The Candela is heavy on the palate with a strong spice.  The Candela wrapper imparts a crispness with a slight grassy note and a subtle sweetness that is almost complete over powered by the spice and tobacco flavors.  The heaviness of the flavors is backed up by a fairly stout punch in the strength department.  I found the ~hl~ Candela to be a bit rough around the edges but still a really good robust smoke.  If you asked me to pick a favorite of the Candelas I think I’d have to give the nod to the ~88~. One I will certainly enjoy again. Still, I thought the Lancero was excellent and offers a different Candela experience.  It is a cigar I will certainly enjoy again soon.  My Local just got a bunch of boxes in so I should be able to stay in good supply.

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break Saturday, May 29 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican
Size: Rothschild 4.5″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Nestor Miranda Special Selection changed quite a bit from its original incarnation when Nestor Miranda of Miami Cigar & Co. asked Don Pepin Garcia to re-blend and make this cigar for him.  I don’t know much about this cigar before Pepin got his hands on it.  The coffee break is supposed to be a smaller more convenient format for the highly touted, and very large Danno which is Nestor’s 20th Anniversary cigar also blended and made by Pepin.  Surprisingly, there is absolutely no mention what so ever of the Special Selection cigars on the Miami Cigar & Co. website.  Why do so many cigar companies fail at the simple task of keeping their websites up to date?  It seems to be an annoying fact of life for cigar lovers who crave information.  Cigar companies seem loathe to part with it.

Dressed in a dark brown leather jacket of a wrapper leaf it looks grainy and has small veins spider-ing across its surface.  The band is simple and elegant, and after clipping the excellently applied cap a quick test of the draw reveals perfection and a rich preview of whats to come.  Although there is none of the infamous “Pepin Black Pepper”, the cigar is very Pepin-esque and leaves no doubt as to who blended this smoke.  The Nicaraguan tobacco seems to dominate at the start with lots of rich earth notes complimented by leather and coffee.  Once you get about half way in it starts to develop some Honduran spice and some nutty undertones of raw almond or maybe walnuts.  The last third is spicy and earthy with a slightly sweet finish.  I found this cigar to have an almost Tatuaje like nature to it which of course only makes me like it even more.  It is an excellent smoke and I enjoyed the size.  It is a convenient afternoon smoke and I plan to keep a handful of these in stock at all times.  I can see me reaching for one of these whenever I can’t make up my mind on what I want to smoke.  It will compete heavily with the Oliva V Belicoso in that role for me.

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.

Camacho Connecticut 11/18 Thursday, Nov 19 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian grown Connecticut
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran and Dominican
Size: 11/18 Toro 6.0″ x 54ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

When I first heard that Davidoff was purchasing Camacho Cigars, this cigar was the first thing that popped into my head.  Davidoff and Camacho cigars had always occupied opposite ends of the spectrum.  Everything Camacho put out under the brand name Camacho was a powerhouse cigar.  All of their lines were robust, full-bodied smokes that tried to kick you in the gut.  I know that they have milder offerings under different banners like Baccarat and La Fontana, but anything labeled Camacho was going to be a monster.  SO when the announcement of the purchase became public, I immediately though to myself, “What would happen if Davidoff and Camacho got together and had a baby?”  I said to myself a Camacho with a Connecticut wrapper and Dominican tobacco in the filler.  Can you imagine!  A Camacho with that makeup?  And then a short while later we here about the Camacho Connecticut which is exactly the cigar I predicted.  Now I don’t pretend that I had any great insight or any special talent in predicting what’s next in the cigar industry.  Truth is a lot of people I have talked with had the exact same thoughts I did.  It was easy to see this coming.  SO I want to know, what exactly does a Camacho that uses a Connecticut Shade wrapper and Dominican tobacco taste like.

At the start, this cigar is a lot like its other Camacho brothers and sisters.  The first few draws are full and spicy with black pepper and a slightly acrid dry wood flavor.  It doesn’t take long to settle down.  The Ecuadorian wrapper brings what you’d expect to the party.  Creamy notes complimented by some coffee.  It is nicely balanced by a bit of Honduran spiciness from the binder and filler.  I think the Dominican tobacco kind of gets lost in the blend.  Perhaps its function is just to help tone down some of the power of the Honduran tobacco.  The result is a nicely balanced cigar with a medium bodied profile and just a touch of spice to keep it interesting.  I was pleasantly surprised by this cigar and put it up there with Oliva’s Nicaraguan Connecticut Reserve as a good slightly more robust Connecticut offering.

Rating – B+

Get your favorite Camachos @ CigarsDirect.com

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

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

Liga Privada No.9 Parejo Oscuro Wednesday, Sep 16 2009 

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…by Drew Estate
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.0 x 52 ring

I want to start off on this review by thanking a very generous BOTL over at SocialCigar.com for giving me this cigar.  JohnLongIsland is a first class brother of the leaf and a 1st class individual as well.  John is a big supporter of my fundraising efforts for the Ride for Kids and his generosity is always very much appreciated.  He sent me a little gift a short while back that included this fine cigar.  Thanks John.

It seems to be a trend that has developed over the last year or so.  A cigar comes out and it is proclaimed as a private blend created just for the owner of the brand, or as a “personal blend” made for someone high ranking officer in the company, and now for the first time it is going to be made available to the public.  The Tatuaje Black Label is probably the highest profile example of one of these “private cigars made public”.  This one was supposedly made for Steve Saka of Drew Estate and was intended to be a strictly private stock cigar .  The “no.9” supposedly denotes that this cigar was the 9th blend in a series of prototypes made when creating this cigar.  I have no idea how or why it became available for public sale.  Truth or hype, I leave it to you to decide if you care to do so.  Truth is, it is kind of irrelevant in the end.  What matter is… Is it any good?

If nothing else, this cigar is beautiful to behold much like it’s newer brother, the soon to be release Liga Privada T52.  The wrapper has a naturally dark brown appearance with a silky, oily sheen.  It is toothy,  a little bumpy, and veiny, but the wrapper is so perfectly applied and the cigar is so handsome you cannot call it rustic.  Say what you will about Drew Estate and their reputation among cigar purists, but they make some of the most visually beautiful cigars you can buy.  Speaking of their reputation, although known primarily for flavored and infused cigars, the Liga Privada is a traditional offering from Drew Estate.  It is not flavored or infused, and it doesn’t use any non traditional tobacco like pipe tobaccos in its blend.  This is a straight-up stogie and an excellently constructed one at that.

The Liga Privada No.9 starts off smooth and rich with a nice meaty flavor.  It mellows a little once you get past the first inch or so.  At first I though this cigar was going to be a full bodied smoke, but as it turns out it isn’t quite that robust.  It is a solid medium bodied cigar that delivers nice flavors of chocolate and espresso with a little black pepper on the finish.  The construction could not be better with a perfect draw and a razor sharp burn.  The salt and pepper ash is a very well formed and holds firm for more than an inch before needing to be tapped.

Overall this is a really enjoyable smoke with some great, easily discernable flavors.  However, there isn’t much complexity here.  Once it settles in after that first inch, the cigar never really changes again so it ends up being a bit of a one dimensional smoke.  Still, what it does deliver is quite good.  I think this cigar makes for an excellent social smoke when you are looking for a tasty smoke that you may not be giving your full attention, but when you want that smoke to be  better than some yard ‘gar.

Rating – B

Some other takes:

Redux: Olde World Reserve Corjo Toro by Rocky Patel Thursday, Jul 9 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring

My first try with Rocky’s Olde World Reserve Corojo was not the best of experiences.  An insanely loose draw and a hot burn ruined it for me.  Because of that I decided to hold off assigning a rating to the cigar.  I know a lot of people like to make a point of smoking two or three of a particular cigar before writing a review on it. They do this to try and normalize the experience so that they aren’t underrating it because of a fluke with a bad stick, or even overrating it because they happened to get an above average sample.  It is a valid and thorough approach, but one that I don’t use myself.  I take a different tact.  For me first impressions are king.  There are so many cigars out there to choose from and to try.  I give most cigars one shot to sell themselves to me.  Some might think that’s not particularly fair.  After all, cigars are hand made products and there is bound to be an occasional bad stick.  This is true and I try and account for that in a less systematic way than sampling multiple cigars for a review.  The Olde World Reserve Corojo is an example of this.  Normally, I’d have a bad experience, write off the cigar and move on.  But in the case here, I felt I obviously had an unusually bad specimen for my first review.  There were obvious construction issues and I also felt that the cigar showed some promise hidden behind the problems I was having with it.  So for that reason I felt I should give this cigar one more shot.  Another bad sample and I’d write it off as a poorly made line of cigars.  However, that isn’t what happened here.

My second try with Rocky’s Corojo version of the OWR was much better than the first.  The draw was 100% better this time around with just the right amount of resistance and the cigar had a very good even burn.  It burned a lot cooler this time as a result and I could now actually taste the flavors of the tobacco instead of just tasting the harsh heat of an overly hot burn.  The OWR Corojo started off smooth and mild with notes of nuts and coffee.  About a third of the way into it, the cigar developed more body and a slight edge.  The flavors were a bit muddled, mostly leather and earth and a peppery finish.  It never really changed again after that.  I found it to be a decent smoke but not really all that engaging.  It is a lot like the OWR Maduro in that respect.  I feel comfortable giving the Corojo a “B” now that I have smoked one sans construction issues.

Rating – B

Redux: Cruzado Marelas Friday, Jun 19 2009 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Perfecto 55/8″ x 46 ring

My first experience with the Marelas was a little disappointing.  However, I decided to hold off giving the cigar a rating and planned to revisit it because I could see a lot of potential in it, plus all the other vitolas I have tried in the Cruzado line have been stellar, especially the Elitas.  The first specimen I tried had an odd bitterness to it that tainted my experience.  This time things were much different.

Right from the start this cigar was smooth and yet powerful, much more like the other Cruzados I have smoked.    It started off with notes of spice and fruit.  As I worked past the bulge of the perfecto it really started to pickup.  Strong robust flavors of coffee and spice mingle with a rich tobacco flavors.  It still wasn’t the power house I found the Elitas to be, but it was much fuller this time, its body on the full side of medium.  As the cigar tapers down it gets spicier and with lots of chocolate and coffee.  it never gets harsh though remaining smooth with a creamy finish that lingers nicely on the palette.  This is more like what I was expecting the first time I smoked this cigar.  An excellent smoke that I highly recommend.

Rating – A

Olde World Reserve Maduro Toro by Rocky Patel Wednesday, Jun 10 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Costa Rican Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5′ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Olde World Reserve Maduro is a very dark cigar. Unnaturally so in my opinion. I won’t speculate on how it is that the wrapper leaf is this dark because I just don’t know, but it is oddly dark to me. It’s a bumpy wrapper almost pitch black in color. The foot is wrapped in a dark brown paper adorned with the Rocky Patel “RP” logo and the head is decorated with an off white band trimmed in gold. The sport a pretty severe box press, and you can get them in a box of 20 or a cedar chest of 50 cigars. They are also available with a handsome, milk chocolate Corojo wrapper which I reviewed last week and they come in three basic sizes. Unfortunately (to me anyway) they are sizes that have become cliche in the US:

  • Robusto 5.5″ x 54 ring
  • Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring
  • Torpedo 5.0″ x 54 ring

The draw on this OWR is a little loose for my tastes, but thankfully not as bad as the OWR Corojo I reviewed last week.  That draw was so loose I think it ruined that cigar.  The maduro at least had some light resistance on the draw and it burned a good bit cooler.  After a spicy, peppery start on the first few puffs, I started to get some very nice espresso notes mixed with some leather.  The flavors quickly became muddled though.  Occasionally I picked up hints of sweetness typical of most maduros.  Otherwise the cigar didn’t do much and stayed consistent throughout.  A little one dimensional the cigar was pleasant but not very interesting.  Medium bodied with a good burn, the construction is very good like most Rocky cigars.

Rating – B

Olde World Reserve Corojo Toro by Rocky Patel Wednesday, Jun 3 2009 

Country:  Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Olde World Reserve Corojo is a handsome looking cigar.  It’s smooth wrapper is milk chocolate in color.  The foot is wrapped in a dark brown paper adorned with the Rocky Patel “RP” logo and the head is decorated with a dark brown band trimmed in gold.  The sport a pretty severe box press, and you can get them in a box of 20 or a cedar chest of 50 cigars.  They are also available with a very dark Maduro wrapper which I will review next week and they come in three basic sizes.  Unfortunately (to me anyway) they are sizes that have become cliche in the US:

  • Robusto 5.5″ x 54 ring
  • Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring
  • Torpedo 5.0″ x 54 ring

This corojo has a nice rich tobacco aroma which got my hopes up.  Then after clipping the head, my test draw revealed an extremely loose draw that tempered those hopes quite a bit.  I lit the cigar and drawing on it was like sucking air through a giant straw.  It provided no resistance at all which made me worry it would burn way to hot so I made a point to go slow and sip at this cigar.  Despite my diligence the draw was a little problematic.  I occasionaly got very bitter and harsh blasts to my palatte that I attributed to the cigar heating up too much.  In between there were some very pleasant notes of nuts and coffee but they were sometimes occompanied by a sour finish.  If there was any complexity to this cigar at all it was lost with problems I had in keeping it from overheating.  I have one more of these in my humidor so I’ll give it one more shot even though I didn’t see much promise in this cigar even when I was able to taste anything other than the bitter harshness.  If my next go with this cigar proves to be better I’ll post a Redux Review.  If I were to rate it now I’d give it a D and first impressions are hard to overcome, but I’ll refrain from officially rating for now to try and be fair.  With a better draw I think the cigar could score a little better than that.

Rating Deferred

Update: I revisited the OWR Corojo. Read about it here.

Gran Habano 3 Siglos Robusto Tuesday, May 12 2009 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Shade Grown
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, and Colombian
Size:  Robusto 5.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Gran Habano line of cigars is made in Honduras by GR Tabacaleras Unidas which is a father and son operation of Guillermo Rico and his son George. The 3 (Tres) Siglos line was first introduced in 2006 and is reputed to be a complex, full-bodied, spicy addition to the Gran Habano family of cigars. The key aspect of this blend is the use of three different types of ligero tobacco in the filler. This cigar features ligero from Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, and Colombian tobacco. I am making the assumption that this is why the number “3” is used int he name of the cigar so it got me curios about the word “Siglos”. I never had given any thought to that word until now and I discovered that siglo is the Spanish word for century. So that makes the name of this cigar (translated by me) “three centuries”. I’m not sure if there is any significance there. The company was founded in 1995 so it certainly isn’t three hundred years old. It may not have any significance at all, or it refers to something I was not able to ascertain. Really, I guess it is all irrelevant since what is important here is this question – “Is the cigar any good?” Well, lets find out…

The shade grown wrapper on this cigar is a very nice rosado in color.  It is a little veiny with an oily sheen to it and has a neatly applied cap.  The 3 Siglos seems to be well filled and very well put together.  It sports two elegant white bands trimmed in gold leaf making for a very a handsome and elegant presentation. The smoke starts out very smooth and creamy with a hint of vanilla and very little spice on the finish. The first third of this cigar had me wondering if this really was all ligero in the filler. As I moved into the second third I was still asking myself that same question. The flavors were excellent with notes of creamy toasted nuts and a little bit of a musty earthiness, but still very little spice and none of the pepper I’d expect from a cigar with a lot of ligero. At this point I’d describe the cigar as a mildly complex and very enjoyable medium bodied smoke. It burned slow and cool. The ash was a bit flaky, dark grey and black with swirls of brown in it.Things finally began to pickup a little bit in the last third with addition of more black pepper notes and a little more robust profile.

Overall this was a really enjoyable smoke with excellent flavors.  Based on it’s makeup I was expecting it to be a fuller smoke than it turned out to be.  I think maybe the shade grown wrapper contributed to toning it down a bit.  Even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still a very good cigar and I recommend giving it a try.

Rating – B+

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