Macanudo Reserva Dorada 2010 Tuesday, Apr 12 2011 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: 1997 Vintage Maduro
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 54 ring

The Macanudo Reserva Dorada is a dark maduro with an earthy aroma and a shiny metal band.  It is an eye catcher on the shelves.  I have to be honest.  I am not a fan of Macanudo in general (although I was recently impressed by the new Gran Cru), but when I saw this cigar with that big metal ring on it, I had to buy it just to try and also to have that band.  For what I don’t know but i had to have so I guess the gimmick worked.  The flavors are mild and classic maduro, a slight sweetness with chocolate an coffee flavors.  The flavors were a little thin though with not much body to speak of.  The draw was a little looser than I prefer but it did produce plenty of thick aromatic smoke.  The burn was a little tricky at time requiring one or two touch ups and the ash was very loose and flaky so I had to keep an ash tray near by.

The final verdict, while it was an OK smoke, it was too mild for my tastes and too thin in the body department.  The ash was kind of troublesome too.  However, the flavors were good and in the end I guess I enjoyed enough to be happy with the purchase though I probably won’t be looking to smoke another.  However, if you like mild smokes and that classic maduro sweet flavor, this cigar is right in your wheel house.

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Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Maduro Tuesday, Feb 15 2011 

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

The standard Illusione ~hl~ is a favorite of mine.  I consider it the single best Lancero on the market right now.  Whether you agree with me or not on that point, there is no denying it is an excellent cigar.  Recently Illusione added a Maduro and Candela version of this elegent Lancero.  I smoked a few of the Candelas recently and it proved to be an excellent version of the Holy Lance.  One I enjoyed very much.  It seemed only natural that I finish the cycle and try the third and final incarnation of the Lance.

I really enjoyed the ~hl~ with the maduro wrapper.  The flavors were very rich and very different from the others.  It was earthy with very nice dark chocolate notes and subtle bitter/semi sweet component to it.  It was perhaps not as complex as the other two.  It never really changed much but the thing about is that it doesn’t need to.  The flavors are deep and delicious. It is a great smoke that I enjoyed and never got bored with.  It is a total change of pace from the Rosado and the Candela ~hl~’s.

El Triunfador Lancero (original release) Monday, Dec 20 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lancero 7.5″ x 38 ring

This is a rustic looking lancero. It has a very dark brown wrapper that is veiny and oily. The cigar is bumpy looking and topped off with a small pigtail cap. The draw is excellent for a Lancero. Don Pepin has some skilled rollers because he seems to put out a consistently good lancero no matter what line of cigars it is a part of. I saw online somewhere that this version of the El Triunfador is basically a Cabaiguan Maduro. I don’t know about the accuracy of that assertion, but I can tell you this is a darn good smoke. It packs a nice punch even after spending about 2 years in my humidor. It is a smooth smoke with strong flavors of wood and earth. It mellows a bit in the middle becoming predominately earthy with a bit of a coffee flavor in the background. The last third or so picks up again with lots of wood, earth, spice, and a subtle bit of licorice on the finish. I only have one more of these excellent cigars left. I’ll need to pick up a couple of the more recent vintage and see if they can live up to their forefather.

Panacea Red 560 Maduro/Habano Wednesday, Oct 20 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican Habano
Filler: Seco Cubano, Ligero Piloto Cubano, Ligero Olor Dominicano, & Ligero Nicaragua
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 60 ring

The Panacea Red is the second blend from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  Billed as a bolder more full bodied blend their website tells us we can expect all the great flavors of the Panacea Black Maduro only in a fuller, stronger experience. Read about my experience with the Black Maduro here, and if you are unfamiliar with the Flatbed Cigar Company and Panacea cigars, check out my review of the Panacea Black Natural here.  The Red changes things up a bit with the introduction of a Habano binder and plenty of Ligero tobacco.  The wrapper is the same dark Brazilian Maduro that is used on the Panacea Black Maduro.  The 560 is a big beefy cigar and the guys at Flatbed decided it needed its own band that is more appropriate for a cigar of this girth, “We also gave it a different style Black Label band better suited for a big-ole cigar.”

Now it is no secret I think a 60 ring gauge is just to damn big.  I don’t like it.  I find cigars this large awkward and uncomfortable to smoke.  At 5’11” and 225 lbs (the gym is paying off, I’m smaller than I use to be, but yet), I’m not a small guy.  I just think a 60 ring is excessive.  I also have found in my own experience that cigars often lose something when they are made this big.  Flavors become muddled, the subtleties of a blend get lost in the massive amounts of filler it takes to make a cigar this large.  I also acknowledge though that there are some examples of blends that just “work” in these larger formats.  I hope the Panacea Red is one of those blends, but we’ll see.  Regardless I think I may order myself a sampler of the reds in one of the more standard sizes to see what I think of the blend regardless of what my opinion turns out to be of this particular vitola.

The Panacea Red 560 has a noticeably “light” dark brown wrapper for a Maduro, especially for a Brazilian maduro.  It has a handful of small veins running across its surface.  The draw is excellent but predictably the ring gauge is a bit awkward.  It starts off very light and almost mild but quickly bolsters.  The flavors were medium-full with a light to medium strength.  It is a very well-balanced cigar with creamy notes of toasted wood and a hint of sweetness complimented nicely by more robust flavors of earth and coffee.  The finish is medium bodied and doesn’t linger long.  The flavors stay pretty consistent from start to finish.  What it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in just good solid flavors and a nice finish.  It did seem to pick up in strength a bit in the last third adding a bit of peppery spice to the mix.  I was surprised that this wasn’t a stronger cigar given all the ligero that is in the blend and the Habano binder.  I wonder if that was a side effect of the exaggerated ring size.  I really enjoyed this cigar and very much want to try this blend in a more traditional size like a corona or robusto.  If you are a fan of big girthy cigars than I think you’ll love this one.  It is an excellent smoke.

Panacea Black Maduro Torpedo Tuesday, Sep 28 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Olor Dominicano & Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring

Panacea cigars are a product from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  I gave a rundown of the outfit recently in my review of the Panacea Black Natural that I posted recently.  Give it a read if you need or want to know more about them, or just visit their website.  The Black label line was their first, initially release with an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade wrapper.  The line was quickly expanded to include a maduro wrapped version of the blend.  That is what I am smoking today.

This Panacea Black actually is a torpedo as opposed to the Natural I smoke in which I thought it was a torpedo, but in actuality it was their version of a perfecto.  The Maduro is wrapped in a dark brown, mottled maduro leaf with some fine veins running across its surface.  The Maduro wrapper doesn’t do much to bolden this blend but it does have a bit more body than the natural.  What you end up with is a very nice, creamy, mild smoke.  Notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and earth are complimented by a subtle sweetness typical of a maduro smoke.  Again, like the natural it is a fairly simple and straight forward smoke with well defined and well balanced flavors.  It is consistent from start to finish.  There is a little spice that shows up in the last third giving the smoke a bit more oomph and that made for a very nice conclusion to what was a very good smoke.  Construction was excellent with a great draw and an even burn.

I think the Panacea Black is another fine cigar from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  I enjoyed it more than most maduros I’ve smoked, but of the two versions of the Black, I think I prefer the natural.  That said, I would certainly enjoy smoking another maduro anytime.

A. Fuente Hemingway Work of Art Maduro Wednesday, Sep 22 2010 

Hemingway Band(lost my camera so this scan of the band will be a place holder until I can get a pic of the cigar)

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 47/8” x 46/60 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Even new cigar enthusiasts seem to know all about the legendary and elusive Hemingway Maduros and the Work of Art tends to be one of the most coveted of that group.  Given that fact, I am not going to bore everyone with a lot of fluff on this review.  If you don’t know about them, a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know.  It seems like a lot of cigar smokers, especially the newer ones who haven’t had a chance to try these, go to great lengths to run the Hemingway Maduros down.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of a Hemingway Maduro, the thing you need to be aware of is that they only come out twice a year.  Just before Fathers’ Day and again just before the Christmas Holidays.  those are the times to be on the look for them.

While I enjoy most of the Hemingway Maduros, I find the WOAM is the one Hemingway Maduro Vitola that is truly special.  It seems to me that there is something about this specific size that the blend and the Maduro wrapper are perfectly suited and the result is amazing.  The WOAM is the one Hemingway Maduro that I will still go to some lengths to find.  I’d hate to ever find my humidor without a few of these resting inside.

So, you already know I like these cigars so my final opinion isn’t going to be a surprise, but let me tell you all about my experience smoking this particular WOAM…

The dark maduro wrapper is very rough and rustic looking.  It’s bumpy and veiny and has a dry look to it.  The aroma of the cigar is a rich tobacco with a hint of cocoa.   This unique perfecto is a great shape with a fat bulbous foot that ends in a small nipple at the tip, and a steady taper down to a perfect 46 ring gauge at the head.   The draw is always a little tight at first but it opens up quickly once you get the burn up onto the bulb of the foot.  Construction has always been consistently perfect on these.  I’ve smoked many and never had any issues with burn, draw, or any other part of the construction of these stogies.

The WOAM starts off smooth and easy with coffee and nut flavors.  As I made my way up to the thickest part of the cigar I also found earthy notes and lots of dark chocolate.  As I progressed down the taper earth and wood become the dominate players but there are still nice notes of cocoa here and there and a bit of maduro sweetness on the finish.  the last third or so is a lot of wood and earth with some pepper and spice as well as it becomes a bit fuller and more robust.  An excellent finish to a stellar and complex smoke.  The Hemingway Work of Art Maduro is a real treat.  Christmas is right around the corner so these should be showing up in cigar shops again soon.  Perhaps in a month or two so keep you eyes out.  CigarsDirect.com who generously provided the cigar for this review often has WOAM’s available. I commend signing up for their email subscription because they always send out an alert when they get these tasty treats in stock.  You can sign-up right at the top of their main page.

Perdomo Grand Cru Maduro Torpedo Monday, May 24 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Long Filler
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This new offering from Perdomo is a Nicaraguan puro that is made with 100% Semilla Habano tobacco.  Simply said, it is all Cuban-seed, Nicaraguan grown tobacco and they all happen to be selected from the same 2004 crop.  It is offered in 4 run of the mill sizes and in three different wrappers.  You can have it in a Connecticut Shade, Nicaraguan Corojo, and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper.  I was curious when I saw it was available in a Connecticut Shade wrapper.  Where was that particular wrapper grown?  Do they grow that wrapper in Nicaragua?  I’m not sure but I didn’t think that wrapper type is grown anywhere in that country.  If it isn’t grown in Nicaragua, then that version obviously couldn’t be called a “Nicaraguan Puro” but I guess that doesn’t really matter.  Back to the cigar at hand.  For this review, I will be smoking the Maduro variety in the Torpedo format.

This one started off like another Perdomo cigar.  One I don’t care for.  There was a bitter and metallic flavor that reminds me of sucking on a penny.  Unlike that other cigar though, this one improved quickly and dramatically.  After a few puffs of that unpleasant metallic taste the cigar became very earthy and leathery with a slightly tannic finish.  Although not a very dynamic smoke I found it to be enjoyable.  The construction was impeccable which is typical of Perdomo cigars in my experience.  The Grand Cru is a medium bodied smoke and easily the most robust offering I have ever tried from Perdomo but even still it falls well short of being full-bodied.  Perdomo seems to be reluctant to make a truly full-bodied smoke, but they did seem to turn it up a notch for this blend.  In the last third earth was still the dominant flavor complimented by notes of black coffee with the finish turning a bit peppery.

This was a good smoke and my hope is that the metallic start was just a fluke although it isn’t the first time I have gotten that from a Perdomo cigar.  I plan to give this cigar another try soon.  Outside the first few puffs I really enjoyed it.

A. Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro Monday, Jan 4 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto7.0″x 48 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

With the Holiday Season just passing into the rear view I figured I’d wrap the festivities with a Hemingway Maduro Classic.  The Hemingway Maduros always make an appearance on tobacconists shelves every year around the Holidays.  The particular cigars for this review are from the 2008 run.  The Classic seems to be one of the harder to find vitolas of the Hemingway Maduros.  At least I rarely ever see them.  More common at the shops in my area are the Signature Maduros and Works of Art Maduros.  Even the Hemingway Between the Lines seem to be more common around here than the Classic Maduro.

I smoked two of these cigars for this review because I wanted to see if what I thought of the first one I smoked would remain consistent with another sample.  The second cigar was identical to the first.  There isn’t much I can say about the Hemingway Classic Maduro that I haven’t already said about the Signature Maduro.  It has a dark leathery wrapper.  Construction is impeccible, the burn perfect and it produces a tn of thick white smoke.  It is a decently complex smoke with a heady aroma.  The flavors are well balanced and defined.  Rich creamy notes complimented by leather and a musty earthiness and a slight maduro sweetness.  The only thing I can say that is markedly different about this cigar is that the larger size makes for a longer smoke.  I always enjoy these cigars whenever I smoke them, but I feel the flavor profile is particularly well suited to the cold weather of the season.  A cozy spot in a comfortable chair with a nice hot cup of coffee or even a hot chocolate makes for a great smoking experience with this cigar.

You can get Hemingway Maduros @ CigarsDirect.com

A. Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines Tuesday, Dec 8 2009 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Barber Pole – Broadleaf Maduro/Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 41/4 x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Hemingway line of Fuente cigars are hugely popular and like a lot of other Fuente cigars, very limited.  The Maduros are especially limited and are only released twice a year, one of those times being right around now, near the Holidays.  One of the more rare of the rare is the double wrapped, barber pole Hemingway “Between the Lines”.  Now plenty has been written about the background of the Hemingway cigars and I have written about them here before as well.  So if you are interested to learn a little more about them, check out my review of the Hemingway Best Seller and the Hemingway Signature Maduro.

The Hemingway BTL is an eye catcher.  The sharp contrast created by the light tan, shade grown wrapper and the dark, toothy broadleaf maduro wrapper intertwined like the stripes on a barber’s pole is a cool visual with a cigar.  They stand out among the cigars that surround them and I think the perfecto shape only enhances the beauty of this cigar.  Construction and burn characteristics are almost always a given with a Fuente cigar.  The quality of their products are superb but I wondered how this stick would fare in the burn department.  The shade grown and maduro wrappers are two very different beasts and have different burn characteristics.  I was curious to see how they would play together with this smoke.  Except for the normal oddities I experience with the burn at the beginning of a perfecto like this, the burn was even and without trouble for the duration of the smoke.  The draw was excellent and it produced thick clouds of white smoke.

Flavor is where the BTL falls a bit short of its straight maduro brothers.  I have always found the Hemingway Maduros to be delicious cigars, each one a treat to smoke.  The introduction of the shade grown wrapper on the Between the Lines has a less than desirable effect for me.  Some of the flavors I love about the Hemingway Maduros was still there.  The slightly sweet maduro flavor complimented by a damp earthiness and a subtle spice were all there but often times they were over powered by a dry grassiness and an acrid finish that I am certain was coming from the Connecticut Shade wrapper.  It really detracted from my enjoyment of the cigar.  Given that this is one of the most expensive of the “Holiday Hemingways” it is disappointing that it just isn’t as good a smoke as the others are.  It is a neat novelty, and the dual wrapper look makes it a visually appealing cigar, but flavor wise I just don’t think it lives up to the standard set by the rest of the Hemingway line.

Rating – C

Get your Hemingway & Hemingway Maduro cigars @ CigarsDirect.com

Cain Maduro Torpedo Monday, Nov 9 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero (Jalapa, Esteli, Condega)
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 54 ring

My previous review was of the Cain Habano Robusto.  In that review I detailed a bit about the makeup and story of the this straight Ligero cigar so click on over and check that out as well.  Today I am smoking the Maduro Torpedo.  I was trying to find some more information about this wrapper and was unable to find anything definitive about it.  I have seen it referred to as a Nicaraguan Maduro, a Mexican Maduro, and even a Brazilian Maduro wrapper.  I am not sure which it is at this point.  I am not inclined to agree with the Brazilian label though.  As Maduro wrappers go this one doesn’t have much tooth to it, and in my experience, the Brazilian maduro is on of the toothiest maduro wrappers I have seen.  That is just an opinion and a guess though.  It could very well be Brazilian, I just don’t know right now.

The wrapper on the Cain Maduro  is dark and mottled with a few prominent veins running across its surface.  It has a slight tooth and oily appearance.  This cigar starts off very similar to the Habano.  I ti s smooth and creamy, medium bodied without much power.  It has a very nondescript, sweet maduro flavor to it .  I began to wonder if this one would pick up in the last third like the Habano did, but it did not.   It was very one dimensional.  The flavors never changed and it never developed any power.  It was surprisingly light for an all ligero cigar and flavor wise it was pretty boring.  The Habano version was much better.  This cigar just never did anything for me.  I’ll be smoking the Habano again, but I don’t have any interest in revisiting the maduro.

Rating – C

Cabaiguan Maduro RX Monday, Sep 28 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Dark Natural Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.25″ x 50 ring

The Cabaiguan (kah-bei-gWAHN) is probably my absolute favorite Connecticut Shade cigar.  Not really mild, it is more of a medium bodied smoke with light yet assertive flavors.  I have been wanting to try the maduro version for a long while and I have finally got around to it.  Sometimes with the sheer volume of different cigars out there it is hard to get to everything you want to try.  Any way, from what I was able to find with some internet searches, it appears the Cabaiguan Maduro isn’t even really a maduro in the traditional sense.  According to Tatuaje’s site and I saw it again on a retailers site, the wrapper on this cigar is a naturally dark sun grown broadleaf wrapper.  If that sound familiar to you then you are probably familiar with the La Riqueza line of cigars from Tatuaje.  The wrapper for that cigar is described the exact same way.  So is it the same wrapper?  I have no idea, but I wasn’t able to find a wealth of information on the Cabaiguan maduro and what I did find wasn’t necessarily authoritative.  I suppose I could have dropped an email to Havana Cellars and get some details straight from the source but I didn’t.  Looking at the cigar I would guess that this wrapper is related at best but would not guess it is the same as those used on the La Riqueza.  This wrapper is much nicer looking.  The La Riquezas always look rough and lumpy and ugly.  This wrapper has a slight tooth and is generally smoother with an oily sheen.  If it is the same or related, the Cabaiguan got the pick of the litter.  it is still a rustic looking wrapper but it is much prettier than the La Riquezas I have seen.  One other item of note on the dressing if the Cabaiguan Maduro.  It has the same band used on the Cabaiguan Guapos which is a Nicaraguan natural sun grown wrapped cigar of a much lighter shade than these broadleaf maduros.

Right off the bat I could tell this isn’t really a Maduro.  Notes of dark chocolate and coffee bean are complimented by a tart sun grown twang that is one of my favorite things about a natural sun grown broadleaf wrapper.  The Tartness was the dominate flavor for the entire smoke.  I also picked up notes of cedar and a very subtle sweetness.  Overall not a terribly complex cigar but very robust and enjoyable.  If you are a fan of that sun grown twang then you’ll love this cigar because you get a lot of it.  Although I wouldn’t call this smoke a favorite, I definitely like it for an occasional change of pace especially when I am craving a sun grown.

Rating – B

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

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Diplomatico Maduro Wednesday, May 20 2009 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size:  Double Corona 7.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series line was introduced in 1994 to commemorate the Padrón Cigar Company’s 30th anniversary. The line consists of ten sizes that are all available in sun-grown natural and maduro wrappers and all the sizes are box pressed. All tobacco used in these cigars is reportedly aged for four years.  Due to the immense popularity of this line of cigars, it has become one of the most counterfeited non-Cuban cigars in the world. To help protect their brand and their customers Padrón introduced a few security measures to make counterfeiting more difficult.  They added a specially designed double band featuring an individually numbered guarantee label. The back side of the labels are also printed.

These are amazingly popular and highly sought after cigars.  Time and time again they receive stellar ratings in just about every cigar publication out there.  So as you can expect with high ratings , glowing reviews, and immense popularity comes a pretty hefty price tag as well.  The Diplomatico sells for around $15 a stick making this one of those smokes you reserve for a special occasion unless you last name is Gates, or Jobs, or something equally impressive.  Then maybe this is you everyday, after lunch cigar.  For the rest of us the Padrón ’64, or the PAM or PAN as the are commonly referred to, is a special treat.  Another side effect of the kind of popularity that this line of cigars enjoys is all the conjecture and rumor and debate that seems to swirl around it.  There are all kinds of wild theories out there regarding the makeup of this cigar, and they are all generally unsubstantiated.  One of the most popular is the rumor that this really isn’t a Nicaraguan Puro, but that Mexican tobacco is used in the cigar.  I have heard it said the the wrapper is Mexican, or that the filler contains Mexican tobacco.  It seems there are no shortage of rumors about it, but no one ever has any proof or even a nameable source for the claims.  Anyway, I try to just ignore the wild speculation and I let my taste-buds to all the judging for me.  I am mostly concerned about one thing.  Do I like it, or do I not like it?  There is an easy way to find out.  Now where’s my lighter…

The PAM has a dark brown oily wrapper with a trademark sloppy Padrón cap.  i don’t know why but Padron torcedors seem to be incapable of apply a neat, good looking cap on a cigar.  Otherwise the construction on these cigars is impeccable.  It has a perfect draw with a perfect burn.  Smoking a PAM is like smoking a chocolate bar.  A chocolate core is complimented by smooth notes of earth and coffee.  it starts off a little mellow and picks up in robustness and strength as you make your way through the smoke.  In the last third it developed an amazing creamy and nutty finish.  It is a fantastic cigar from start to finish.  The Padrón 1964 Anniversary never disappoints.

Rating – A

La Gloria Cubana Serie R No. 5 Maduro Wednesday, Apr 22 2009 

Country:  Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size:  Robusto 5.50″ x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Introduced in 1999, the LGC Serie R is Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s full-bodied offering for fans of  the Dominican La Gloria Cubana cigars.  They are made in the El Credito factory for General Cigar.  The Serie R is available in 5 sizes and each is available with a natural Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper or a Connecticut Broad Leaf Maduro wrapper.  All that is except for the Belicoso which is available in the natural wrapper only.  The sizes are…

  • No. 4 – 4.875″ x 52 ring
  • No. 5 – 5.5″ x 54 ring
  • No. 6 – 5.875″ x 60 ring
  • No.7 – 7.0″ x 58 ring
  • Belicoso – 5.75″ x 56 ring (natural only)

These cigars carry some serious size with not a single one coming in with less than a 52 ring guage.  Today I am smoking the No. 5 maduro.  I guess you could call it a toro, or a double robusto, or a robusto extra, or just a regular ole robusto.  Take your pick.

The wrapper is a very dark, mottled brown.  It’s bumpy, veiny,  leathery, and rustic.  This is a well filled firm cigar with a good draw and a straight burn and it produces plenty of  thick white smoke.  Flavor wise there really is much to talk about.  It has a very generic sweet maduro flavor that never really changes.  It is not a bad cigar but it is a little boring.  This cigar could be a good intro to maduros for a new cigar smoker, but it doesn’t have much to offer more experienced smokers.  It is not a full bodied smoke by my standards either.  When I think full bodied, I think Tatuaje, Cruzado, VSG, or La Flor Dominicana.  This cigar is medium bodied at best.  I had hoped to get more from this cigar.   At the beginning I thought maybe there was some potential in this cigar but it just fell flat as I smoked through it.  I could see reaching for one of these for a day on the golf course or mowing the lawn if I happened to have a few laying around.  When it comes down to it, this cigar is just not my cup of tea…

Rating – C

CAO America Potomac Thursday, Apr 2 2009 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro and Connecticut Shade
Binder: Brazilian
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Italian, and American (100% Ligero)
Size: Robusto 5.0" x 56 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The CAO America was introduced at the 2007 RTDA trade show in Huston, Texas.  Its arrival was preceded by a lot of hype and buzz brought about by two unique features of the cigar.  Number one, the wrapper caused a good deal of buzz.  The CAO America sports two wrappers, both American grown.  It has a Connecticut grown broadleaf maduro wrapper and a Connecticut shade grown wrapper.  They are applied to the cigar in a manner that creates a unique pin striping effect.  Another feature of the cigar that generated a good deal of chatter was the four country blend of 100% Ligero filler.  This was reported to be one of the strongest most full-bodied cigars in the CAO portfolio.  Available in six sizes, every one of them boasting a girthy ring gauge of 50 or above:

  • Anthem (8.5″ x 50)
  • Bottle Rocket (7.0″ x 50)
  • Constitution (6.0″ x 50)
  • Landmark (6.0″ x 60)
  • Monument (6.2″ x 54)
  • Potomac (5.0″ x 56)

It takes a lot of tobacco to fill a cigar with a 50 ring gauge, and even more for a cigar with a 56 ring.  When the filler is supposed to be 100% ligero, it is only natural that you expect that cigar to be powerful beast of a smoke.  However, the reputation of the CAO America has preceded its arrival in my humidor and I am well aware of the many reports that this cigar falls well short of the hype and apparently it is not nearly as full bodied as CAO would have us all believe.  That said, I like to judge these things for myself so I am trying to approach this smoke with an open mind…

As a loudly proclaimed lover of Lonsdales and Coronas it will come as no surprise that I am bothered by the awkwardness of the large ring gauge of the Potomac.  I feel like I have a big jawbreaker candy in my mouth when smoking it.  The flavors start off smooth.  Strong notes of Leather and damp earth dominate the beginning of the smoke.  It starts off medium in body and mild in strength with no real threat of being any fuller.  The flavors are decent though muddled at times and they never really change.  Lots of leather and earth and some occasional creamy notes.  The burn was impressive.  With the two different wrappers I expected it to run a little uneven at the least but it stayed very straight burning perfectly the whole time.  The ash was white and perfectly formed.  It holds on tight and needs to be tapped off.    Overall I’d say the CAO America is a good smoke, but not a great one.  The ring gauge is a problem for me.  I really dislike the girth of it.  It was very uncomfortable to smoke.  I’d probably have less of a problem with one of the 50 ring vitolas.  It is a bit one dimensional, but the flavors are enjoyable.  The construction is impeccable.  This is supposed to be CAO’s most robust offering but I found the CAO Anniversary Maduro to be more full bodied than this cigar.  The America really is a Medium bodied smoke never really approaching anything I’d considered full bodied.  from that standpoint it is a bit of a disappointment, but putting that aside it is a nice cigar.

Rating – B

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