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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".

Friday
Nov162012

Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Rosado

Background

Last Saturday afternoon was a sunny, cool Autumn day here in the North East and what I consider to be perfect smoking weather. After digging through my humidors, I came across a stick that Paul had gifted me a few weeks back. It was the Signature Perfecto vitola from the Arturo Fuente Hemingway series but it was adorned with a cedar sleeve and red band on the foot.

I have smoked the Natural and Maduro wrapped Hemingway's in every size but I have never seen one wrapped in cedar before. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to set fire to this work of art. It soon became apparent that this was not the typical Cameroon that I have enjoyed in the past.

The Hemingway line of cigars from Arturo Fuente have been a staple in my humidor since I began smoking cigars. Available in seven different Perfecto's in four different wrappers. These include the natural, rosado, and sun grown African Cameroon and the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro. It should be noted that there is an eighth size (Between the Lines) which is a Barber pole (uses both the Cameroon Natural and Broaleaf Maduro Wrappers). After smoking this stick and doing some research, I concluded that this is the Cameroon Rosado and Paul confirmed this. But enough about that, onto the review!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: African Cameroon Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Perfecto
Size: 6 x 47
Age: Unknown
MSRP: About $9.50
Number Smoked: 1

Review

The cello on the cigar was very yellow indicating that this cigar had some age on it. Once removed, I removed the cedar sleeve and was greeted with a veiny, oily wrapper that had some light spice on pre-light aroma. My initial thought was that this stick had the potential to be something special.

After cutting the head with my straight cutter, the cigar opened with a perfect draw and ample amount of smoke. There was some bready sweet tobacco paired with an exotic spice in the background. The spice is something that I commonly pick up from Cameroon tobacco. It often reminds me of a mild ginger and hits me on the top of my palate. The spice was stronger on the retro hale and was very refreshing. Thus far, the Signature Rosado had the typical Hemingway profile I have enjoyed with the Natural Cameroon wrapper. The grey striated ash held for about an inch and a half before falling.

The second third brought some unexpected changes. The spice turned to a mild black pepper and there was a more pronounced earthy tobacco. The finish was relatively short and the body of the smoke was very smooth. There was some minor cracking of the wrapper but considering how thin Cameroon wrappers are and the temperature outside, this was not surprising. Regardless, the burn and draw remained perfect.

The last third brought yet another change up with a lot of cedar, leather, and spice. The finish was much longer and creamier now. The overall strength of the cigar had steadily moved from a mild/medium to a solid medium and the flavors also became bolder on the last third. The spice was hitting me on top of the palate again and it intermingled with the creamy cedar very nicely. I smoked the perfecto down until there was about one inch remaining and the nub remained firm and cool.

Conclusion

This was a nice surprise that I really enjoyed. This cigar had some of the same great flavors of the Cameroon Natural with some unexpected complexity. I would certainly, revisit this stick. In conclusion, I am going to give the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature Rosado a Stogie Geeks rating of “Box Worthy”. If you are a fan of the Hemingway line and you come across this limited cigar, you owe it to your yourself to try it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Thursday
Nov152012

Stogie Geeks Episode 34 - "I Don't Have Any Of Those Left"

Download Episode 34 Here

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Stogie of the Week

E.P. Carrillo Cardinal 52 Maduro

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Broadleaf (Maduro)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Robusto
Size: 5 x 52
Age: N/A
MSRP: $7.25

What We Have Been Smoking

The complete list of all cigars discussed in this segment can be found on the Episode 34 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 Basics"

Top 5 Rookie Cigar Smoker Mistakes:

  1. Buying wicked cheap cigars
  2. Buying a small, cheap humidor
  3. Cutting too far into the head of the cigar
  4. Pairing with drinks that ruin the experience, like orange juice
  5. Ashing too often

We recently received the following email from Matt R;

Hey Stogie Geeks,

I really enjoy your show, even though I'm not a cigar smoker at this time, or any other smoker for that matter. I don't know if I'm the only non-smoker who listens to your show regularly or not but I was wondering if you guys could do a segment on how to get into cigar smoking. Just in doing an hour or so of research while bored at work on day here are some of the questions I have:

How do you hold a cigar? Most sites say not to hold it like a cigarette but I've seen a lot of people hold a cigar in exactly that way so I'm confused.
When do you take the band off? If you take it off before you light the cigar how do you do it without damaging the wrapper?
What are some things to look for when finding a local shop to go to? How do you tell if it's a good shop or not?
For someone who just wants to try out cigar smoking, how do store your cigars in a good way without having to spend money on a humidor initially (in case you decide you don't like it)?

I'm sure there are other questions I should be asking too but it's one of those things where I don't know what I don't know. Nobody in my family smokes at all, except cigarettes. I got interested in doing it from your show (found you guys because I'm a listener of Pauldotcom). Any help you guys can give will be much appreciated.

Matt R.

Contest: E.P. Carillo Cardinal Robusto Sampler

Question: Who did the Ernesto Carillo sell his first company (El Credito Cigar Company) to?

Congrats to Adam Z. who correctly answered "Swedish Match".