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Thursday
Dec132012

Stogie Geeks Episode 38 - "Top Ten Cigars of 2012"

Download Episode 38 Here

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Stogie of the Week

Camacho Diploma

Origin: Hondurus
Wrapper: Authentic Corojo
Binder: Authentic Corojo
Filler: Authentic Corojo
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Robusto
Size: 5 x 50
Age: 11 Years (2001)
MSRP:

The Camacho website describes the tobacco used in this blend as Authentic Corojo and states this about the primings used;

The words “Quinto Corte” or “Fifth Priming” refer to the top-most leaves of the Corojo plant. These leaves are carefully picked last and receive the most exposure to the sun and other natural elements giving them their rich, unique, and full flavored taste.

Paul Joyal, who gifted us these cigars, obtained the box on his trip to Hondurus in 2001. He was told the filler was up to 10% pre-embargo Cuban tobacco with the remaining being Hondurun Corojo harvested in 1999.

What We Have Been Smoking

The complete list of all cigars discussed in this segment can be found on the Episode 38 Stogies Page.

Paul's List

See Paul's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Tim's List

See Tim's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Mark's List

See Mark's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Segment: Top 10 Picks of 2012

Our picks of new releases during 2012

Paul's List

Paul's Top Ten Stogie Stogie 2012 I'm really happy with my list this year. Though I don't feel like I smoked enough new releases, I think this year had more new releases than ever before. I found a couple of themes in this year's releases:

    The Medium Body Smoke - Its not all about strength anymore. I love a nice medium body smoke with tons of flavor. I can smoke them more often, pair them with more food and beverages, and overall I enjoy this profile the most. I think we age cigars partly to get them to this profile. Three sticks on my list are of this size! Size Matters - We all have our favorites. Two sizes for me really stand out. One is the petite (or short) robusto. Love, Love, Love this size. It packs flavor, produces nice amounts of smoke, holds a nice ash, just an awesome size. The other size that sports some new blends that do it really well is the lancero. I like to think this is getting more popular, but two cigars on my list represent this size very well. Flops - There were so many flops this year too. Viaje in general was a flop for me. The releases a metric ton of new releases. Only two of them were really worth smoking. Avo dropped the ball, freaking Avo! And overall I am not impressed with Drew Estate, they have some great marketing, but their cigars just don't really seem all that to me anymore. Maybe my tastes are changing, maybe I'm missing the boat, but everything I seem to smoke from them either has a construction issue or just doesn't really WOW me. Finally, I love Quesada, they are awesome.
  1. La Duena Belicoso - Love this smoke, its such as easy cigar to smoke, very balanced.
  2. CyB Robusto - I need to smoke more of these, loving the medium body and strong flavors.
  3. Quesada Okboberfest Kurz Petite Robusto - I love the wood notes coupled with hints of cocoa. Love this size too.
  4. Alec Bradley Fine & Rare 2012 - First cigar I ever got pumpkin flavor from, I really enjoyed this one.
  5. Cain F Lancero - For the price, can't be beat, well almost. Two lancers on my list that are around $8 and just deliver (Though the J. Grotto has more complexity than the Cain F).
  6. EPC Cardinal (Sumatra) - Two words: Flavor Bomb.
  7. J. Grotto Reserve Lancero Limitado - Smooth and complex smoke and awesome price point.
  8. La Aurora 100 Años Broadleaf - Super complex, the broadleaf wrapper delivers flavor that is several notches above "Awesome".
  9. Oliva Serie V Melanio Petit Corona - Nice strong, bold and flavorful cigar.
  10. Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge - The perfect balance of flavor and strength in a small cigar. Again, this is my favorite size.
Honerable Mentions
  • Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Box-Pressed
  • Illusione ~ULTRA~ Op. No. 4
"Dog Rockets of the Year"
  • AVO 86th Anniversary "La Trompeta" - Cardboard
  • Guillermo León by La Aurora A - Dry and boring
  • Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2012 Connecticut - Too much pepper
  • Liga Privada Único Serie Ratzilla - Blah
  • MUWAT EF Bait Fish - Stung my pallette
  • Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series No. 4 Maduro - Did not deliver in the flavor department
  • Quesada Q d’etat Howitzer - HORRIBLE construction

Tim's List

  1. My Uzi Weighs A Ton Baitfish (end of 2011) - Full flavored Petit Corona will keep you warm on those cold Winter nights. I really enjoyed the Nicaraguan profile and construction has been A+.
  2. Ortega Serie D - One of the better Mexican San Andreas wrapper released this year. Full flavored and smooth without having too much strength. A new favorite of mine to pair with a Tawny port.
  3. E.P. Carrillo New Wave Connecticut Short Run - The Broadleaf binder really brings a twist and a bit more strength to this Connecticut Shade. Always re-inventing, EPC, did it again with this release.
  4. Viaje Super Shot - The power house of my picks this year. Full strength, don't let this smoke fool you, it will take a solid hour to smoke. The first time I had it I actually had to sit down.
  5. My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal Cigar 91st Connecticut - A limited release (fifty boxes), because of it's popularity, this smoke became the basis for Federal Cigar's new house blend. The profile had a nice mix of roasted nuts and butterscotch sweetness and changes up with some cedar and spice. Yum
  6. La Duena by My Father - The Short Belicoso was the best of the bunch. But all the vitola's smoked fantastic with lots of rich Broadleaf flavors while never overpowering.
  7. Aging Room Small Batch Quattro F55 - I really enjoyed the hell out of this stick. I guess I didn't know what to expect, so when we smoked it on EP30, it really blew me away. Medium in strength and body, this stick was easy to smoke and absolutely delicious.
  8. Headley Grange by Crowned Heads - One of the shining stars out of IPCPR this year IMHO. I really enjoyed this smoke. The profile had a nice balance of cedar and spice with a long creamy finish. Each one I had performed perfectly. Outstanding smoke with huge potential down the road.
  9. E.P. Carrillo Cardinal Sumatra - Another Winner from IPCPR. This cigar is easy to smoke but also has a lot of nice complexity and balance. Creamy cedar and spice with some sweetness and nuttiness makes this a delicious blend.
  10. La Aurora Preferidos Diamond - What an epic smoke. This is what a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro should be. This stick had the perfect draw and lots of aromatic smoke and some nice complexity and change-ups. I wish I could afford to buy multiple boxes of these.

Tim's Honorable Mention's

  • Cuenca y Blanco - This smoke was flavorful and complex but not overpowering which I feel is a reflection of the skills of the blenders. A solid offering from CyB.
  • Tatuaje Mexican Experiment - A solid Mexican wrapped stick. Great flavors without being something you have to focus on.
  • Emilio Draig K - This stick had one of most unique flavor profiles of anything I had this year. I really enjoyed the rich flavors the Colombian wrapper had to offer and the smoothness of the blend as a whole.
  • Tatuaje Lil' Drac - This re-release of Habano Ecuador Maduro in a smaller vitola had a bready base with an interesting caramel sweetness. A really unique and enjoyable profile.

Mark Jr's List

  1. Epc Short Run Exquisitos
  2. Cain F Lancero
  3. Cardinal Sumatra 52
  4. Illusione Ultra OP.4
  5. Viaje Super Shot 10 Guage
  6. J Grotto Lancero
  7. Headley Grange
  8. Latellier 52
  9. Cuenca y Blanco Lonsdale Club
  10. Undercrown Corona Viva

Mark's Honorable Mention's

  • Aging Room Quattro Expressivo
  • Federal Cigar CT Cervantes
  • Quesada Jalapa Belicoso
  • Room 101 Daruma Mutante

Mark's Flops

  • Viaje
  • Avo Trompeta
  • Padron No. 4 Maduro
  • Rerelease Bait Fish
  • Guillermo Leon CG
  • Quesada Daga
  • Tatuaje Mummy
  • Jaime Garcia LE 2012
  • Jaime Garcia NE CT
  • LFD Factory Press IV

Contest: Prize: Best of 2012 Fiver

Question: What is the meaning behind the red and black band on the Opus X Lost City Blend?

Rules: We will randomly pick a winner from all correct answers three days after this episode is released. The winner will receive the following fiver;

  • Oliva Serie V Melanio Petit Robusto
  • La Duena Belicoso
  • EPC Cardinal Robusto Natural
  • CyB Lonsdale Club
  • Quesada Octoberfest Petit Robusto

Congrats to Mike V who answered;

Difference between red and black bands pretty interesting from the web. The big X is red on regular Forbidden X cigars, while it is Black on Lost City cigars) and a second "LOST CITY" band. When first released, two sizes, the lancero and the love affair, were banded with red bands, rather than black, and did not actually contain any of the Lost City crop (rather they were just regular Opus X cigars in special sizes). My understanding is that the most recent release, which now have regular black Lost City bands, are "actual" lost city cigars.

More on the story behind the cigars can be found here.

Thursday
Dec062012

Stogie Geeks Episode 37 - "Unbanded's TM"

Download Episode 37 Here

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Stogie of the Week

Unbanded "D" from Alex S

Nicaraguan Ligero-Laced 2nds - Liga 'D' Special Robusto

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Unknown
Binder: Unknown
Filler: Unknown
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Robusto
Size: 5 x 50
Age: N/A
MSRP: Bundle of 15 is $27.50

What We Have Been Smoking

The complete list of all cigars discussed in this segment can be found on the Episode 37 Stogies Page.

Paul's List

See Paul's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Tim's List

See Tim's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Segment: Our Most Favorite Limited Edition / Hard To Find Cigars

Paul's List

Note: This is really the cream of the crop. If you want to know which cigars I've enjoyed the most in my entire life, pretty much this is the list.

  • Opus X BBMF Maduro - This makes just about every list of must-smoke cigars. It lives up to its name, its amazing, you have to try to smoke one of these in your lifetime.
  • Davidoff Millennium Robusto (2005) - This smoke with 5+ years of age on it is one of the best cigars I've ever had. Problem is the blend is tweaked over time and I can't keep these in my humidor long enough to age.
  • EP Carrillo Limatada 2010 - Probably one of the mildest cigars on the list, this one pours flavor like nothing else.
  • Cohiba Limitada - I've smoked a couple of these, not certain exactly which ones they are, but pretty much all of them are amazing.
  • Padron Millennium - If you are wondering if these are all they are cracked up to be, they are. Even now, it was still one of the best smokes I've ever had, period. Cedar, sweetness, coffee, nuts, and more.
  • Opus X Love Affair - I still think this is my favorite sized Opus X cigar of all time.
  • Opus X Lost City Lancero - The best opus branded stick out there, right up there with the Love Affair. I may just try to pull the trigger on a box.

Tim's List

I would rate each and everyone of these cigars "Oasis"!

  • Padron Millennium (2000) - Paul is right, this is an epic smoke. So much flavor, complexity, and balance. Smoke em if you got em.
  • Paul Garmirian Reserva Exclusiva Corona (2004) - These are fantastic and I am not sure how i have managed to hold onto the few I have left for so long. I used the word "exquisite" in my review and I think that sum's up the experience.
  • Padilla Signature 1932 (2007) - I really feel te original Pepin ended 1932's are something spcial. Perfect balance of cedar, spice, and nuts with an incredible creaminess.
  • Romeo y Julieta Hermosos Limited Edicion No. 2 (2004) - This was gifted to me by our good friend /Hoff who has an extensive collection. This Habano that was so smooth and refined. Maybe it was the blend or maybe it was the age. All I know is wow!
  • Davidoff Millennium Robusto (2005) - This what I wrote in my log while smoking it; Complex, smooth, elegant. I completely lost myself in this cigar and didn't even notice my wife had come out on the deck to sit with me. When I finally noticed her, she commented that I seemed lost in the smoke and she didn't want to disturb me.
  • Liga Privada Ünico Serie Dirty Rat - My favorite from the Drew Estate. I just don't know what it is about this smoke but I absolutely love them. Put a few months on these post release and they are smooth, flavorful, and balanced. What a joy to smoke.
  • Contest: Tatuaje Fiver (including an original J21)

    What was the first brand Don Pepin Garcia blended on his own in the US?

    Congrats to Steven M. who answered;

    Don Pepin's First land on his own was Tatuaje.

Thursday
Dec062012

Review: Tatuaje TAA 2012

Background:

For the second year in a row, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje has created a limited edition release for retailers who are a member of the Tobacconists' Association of America (TAA). I reviewed the original release, a 5 5/8 Parejo, more than a year ago and deemed it "Box Worthy". The 2012 release returns in a different vitola, a 6 1/4 x 50 Box pressed Toro, but features the same blend and wrapper as the 2011 release. Last year’s release was extremely popular and sold out quickly. It is my understanding that production was increased slightly this year and they appear to still be available at the time of this writing. Let's burn this baby and find out if they are worth chasing down!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Parejo (Boxed Pressed)
Size: 6.25 X 50
Age: Box Date April 2011
MRSP: $11.00
Number Smoked: 2

Review

Like it's older brother, the 2012 Tatuaje TAA, has a milk chocolate brown wrapper with a fair amount of veins. The pre-light aroma from the foot of the cigar is full of rich chocolate and espresso and makes my mouth water. I remember the 2011 release having a fair amount of sponginess to it but this years release seems well filled.

The first third opens with some espresso, pepper, and leather. Initially, I would describe both the strength and body as being a solid medium. Like the 2011 release, the smoke is smooth and flavorful without being overpowering. This quickly changes about a half inch into the smoke, where unlike the 2011 release, the flavors become more full bodied. The espresso and leather take turns being in the forefront with the pepper staying backstage except on the retro hale. The finish is very long. The burn line is very wavy but the draw is good. The ash is deeply striated and flakey but does hold for about an inch before falling. The flavor profile settles down towards the end of the first third and becomes more medium in strength.

I had mentioned last year, that I found the TAA burned a bit fast and the 2012 is no different. This does not seem to effect experience, however. It remains cool and the draw is perfect. The flavors of leather, pepper, and espresso swap for dominance on the second third. At the halfway point, I begin to detect the powdery cocoa I fondly remember from last years release. I am really enjoying the complexity of this smoke.

The last third brings an increase in strength and body again. The flavor profile is more similar to the first third but I can detect the additional of some wood. There are some minor burn issues but the draw remains good and I burn the cigar down to about the one inch mark. The nub remains firm and cool.

Conclusion

The Tatuaje TAA 2012 is a solid release in my opinion. It has a lot of those typical Broadleaf flavors that some enjoy and some do not. I, personally, am in the former category. I think this year’s release has more to offer than last year in terms of complexity and flavor. It is more full bodied and stronger in strength from what I remember from last year’s release, but is very enjoyable. In conclusion, I am going to give the Tatuaje TAA 2012 a Stogie Geeks Rating of “Box Worthy”. If you enjoy a medium/full bodied smoke with lots of rich Broadleaf and Nicaraguan flavors, I suggest you seek some out before they are gone.

Until next time, keep burning!

Friday
Nov302012

San Cristobal Papagayo XXL

6” X 60 Toro Gordo

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan

 

San Cristobal is a moniker existing simultaneously in this market as well as south of Miami. Both brands are incredibly enjoyable, albeit very different. Today’s subject is a member of the Ashton family of brands. San Cristobal was launched in 2007 as a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano seed wrapper. Since then, the line has grown to include two expansions, Selecion del Sol (Habano sun grown wrapper) and the Elegancia (Connecticut seed Ecudorian wrapper). This original blend comes in nine sizes, most of which are traditional Cuban vitola's, my favorite of which has always been the Francisc at 5.5” x 44. But, today we will be taking a look at the Papagayo XXL, their toro gordo.

 

Lets get down to the nitty gritty. This stick has a gorgeous Colorado red wrapper that exhibits a slight oily sheen and a well constructed Cuban style triple cap. The under side of the stick has a group of prominent veins, causing the seams to be rather apparent, resulting in a rough look. I found this surprising due to the aforementioned quality expectations set forth by Ashton. It should also be noted that this stick has a suspiciously light feel for a cigar of its size, but there are no soft spots to speak of. The wrapper and foot present notes of cedar and a pleasant tobacco sweetness. Please forgive me for taking this side bar, but it would seem to be a matter of redundancy that a cigar would have the smell of tobacco. But for us self proclaimed “experience stogie geeks” we have come to notice that some sticks have a hay/ grass, or a barnyard aroma, so in my opinion tobacco sweetness is a distinct smell. Now back to business, the pre-light draw is rather uneventful, bringing back up that tobacco sweetness.

 

Upon setting the foot aflame, the first third gives off a surprising bouquet of flavors. Earth, spice, and pepper show their face, but the strongest flavor is cedar. The Burn line is razor sharp and smoke production is ample. The smoke has a full body and a medium strength.

 

At the start of the second third pepper picks up as the dominant flavor, while the cedar and earth stick around. Aside from this a semisweet chocolate interjects its opinion, but the unfortunately foreshadowed light weight is starting to show up as well. The burn got squirrelly and I needed to give the stick shallow puffs in order to get the smoke flowing, so I decided to ash the smoke to investigate. Upon doing so I discovered a tunnel much to my dismay.

 

In the final third I attempted to muscle through the construction issues to no avail. I pitched the nub with two inches left as I could not shake the bitterness. In conclusion, I have made it known I am not the biggest fan of larger ring gauge smokes but I have entered into this review with objectivity. The smoke started off with a nice set of flavors, but the construction issues proved to be too much to overcome. I can say this with confidence that despite my struggles with this example, this line does not have widespread construction issues. So, if you are a fan of cigars with substantial girth try one and form your own opinion.

Thursday
Nov292012

Stogie Geeks Episode 36 - "Live from Mr. J's"

Download Episode 36 Here

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Sponsors

Ocean State Cigars

Stogie of the Week

J. Grotto Series

Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduras Habano Viso
Binder: Honduras Habano Seco
Filler: Honduras Habano Ligero and Viso and Nicaragua Viso
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Robusto & Toro
Size: 5 x 52 7 6 x 52
Age: 2 years

What We Have Been Smoking

The complete list of all cigars discussed in this segment can be found on the Episode 36 Stogies Page.

Paul's List

See Paul's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Tim's List

See Tim's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Mark's List

See Mark's List, complete with pictures, ratings and mini-reviews on his Stogie Feed.

Segment: How to Choose the Best Gift for The Cigar Smoker in Your Life

  • Ask what he or she likes
  • Don't buy cheap cigars
  • Gift sets can be the way to go
  • You really can't go wrong with these brands - Padron, Davidoff, Fuente
  • Despite popular belief, having more than one cutter, lighter or ashtray is good
  • The best gift is still something he or she can smoke

Contest: Seven pack of J. Grotto Cigars

Where did the name "Grotto" in the J. Grotto Cigars come from (hint listen to previous episodes to get the answer)?

Congrats to Michael M. who answered;

The Grotto came from when Paul invited customers back to his house one night. One of his customers said his yard looked like an Italian Grotto. Then they were joking around asking when they were going to have a "Grotto" again. Was on May 18th Episode 19"