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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"
Tuesday
Nov202012

Stogie Geeks Episode 35 - "Rocket Fuel"

Download Episode 35 Here

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Stogies of the Week: Epic Smokes

Paul & MarkJr: Prometheus Opus X Reserva D'Chateau (2002)

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Opus X Rosado
Binder: Opus X Rosado
Filler: Opus X
Strength: Full
Vitola: Churchill
Size: 7 x 49
Age: Released in 2002
MSRP: $250.00

Tim: Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Oscuro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran/Dominican
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Sausage Like Perfecto
Size: 4.25 x 60
Age: Released in 2009
MSRP: $13.00

Stogie Santa: Tatuaje Pork Tenderloin

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan - Based on the Tatuaje Reserva J21
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Robusto
Size: 5 x 52
Age: Released in 2010
MSRP: $8.00

What We Have Been Smoking

The complete list of all cigars discussed in this segment can be found on the Episode 35 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: The Right Way to Light a Cigar

Some will say there is no right or wrong way to do things with cigars (just as Bill Clinton). Lighting a cigar is not one of those things. There is a right way, and lots of wrong ways:

  • Step 1 - Make sure you remove any bands from the foot and any cedar wrappings. I'm not kidding, I've heard stories of people lighting the cigar with the cedar still on the cigar!
  • Step 2 - Toast the foot. This gives you a much better burn and avoids crooked burn lines allowing you to light your cigar evenly. Some people lick the foot, like popsicle, not recommended when you find out how many people touch your cigar before you. The trick here is to use a butane torch lighter, hold the cigar at a 45 degree angle well ABOVE the flame, and just turn the entire foot black.
  • Step 3 - Light the cigar with the torch. Put the cigar in your mouth, puff, rotate the cigar in a circle. Again, hold it as far away from the flame as you can, but while still getting it lit. A common mistake is hold the cigar too close, and scorch the wrapper, resulting a bad taste.
  • Step 4 - Gently blow on the foot of the cigar, making sure the entire foot is lit. Nothing is worse than having a half lit cigar, smolder all over the place, not getting a good draw, and possible burning uneven. Many new smokers don't put enough fire on the cigar, or just don't puff while trying to light it. Its not really smoking until the thing is on fire, completely red on the foot.
  • Step 5 - Enjoy your cigar.

Some notes, while I recommend a torch lighter, you can use cedar, cedar spills, a soft flame butane lighter, or wooden matches. Stay away from zippo, cardboard matches, lighting it using the camp fire, as these methods will ruin your cigar.

Contest: Stogiegeeks Epic Smoke Sampler

Question: What does the red band and black band signify on the foot of the Fuente cigars?

Congrats to Ron S. who correctly ansered "Red bands designate rosado wrappers and black are sungrown".