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Entries in 2.5 - Try One (3)

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.

Friday
Nov092012

Davidoff Seleccion 702

Size: 5.25” X 48

Wrapper: Sungrown Ecuadrian

Filler:  Piloto Cubano, Dominican Olor and San Vincente

This cigar was one of the yearly limited editions produced by our  Swiss friends over at Davidoff.  This one happen to be from 2009 and I have to say that was a beautiful cigar!  It displayed a gorgeous reddish wrapper that had a slight oily sheen and only one prominent vein that ran almost the entire length of the stick.  The wrapper and foot gave off a great sweet tobacco aroma, and the prelight draw provided the perfect resistance and had a unique sweetness that I was unable to put my finger on immediately.

The first third produced that sweetness  from the cold draw and I finally was able to get a grasp on what it was, Dark Cherries!  This flavor was especially present on the retrohale.  Additionally, the stick produced very well balanced leather and a slight pepper spice on the outside of my tongue.  It should be noted that these flavors are incredibly crisp and defined, never competing but complimenting each other beautifully.  At this point the draw was impeccable, but the burn was slightly jagged.  This was definitely not enough to complain about but since it adorns that white and gold band it is worth mentioning. 

The second third presented one major change to me, a very enjoyable citrus note came to the forefront.  The rest of the flavors stayed present but they seemed to meld a little more and lost some of that crispness.  But I have to say that the cherry sweetness and the citrus, that I would best describe as lime, complimented each other very nicely.  At this point the burn completely corrected itself and created the razor sharp burn line you would expect from a Davidoff. 

Finally, in the final third the pepper has disappeared completely and a little leather presented itself.  I also have to say the stick started to get hot at this point and the smoke consequently got harsh.  According to the way the cigar started I thought I would be burning my fingers for sure, but I had to pitch it with about 1.5” left. 

As for my final thoughts I am reminded of something my football coach used to say.  “it is better to finish strong than come out of the blocks like a racehorse and fade into the pack.”  Unfortunately this cigar performed in the latter manner.  It started out as a tremendous smoke, in fact if the first third simply continued through the entire smoke I would easily give this an Oasis rating.  But seeing that it did not, paired with the $23-$26 price tag,  I have to give it the rating of “try one.”

Wednesday
Aug222012

Davidoff Anniversario No. 1

Background

Paul recently sent me a bunch of sticks to try and the Davidoff Anniversario No. 1 was among them. Weighing in at 8 2/3 x 48, Davidoff describes the format as a “Giant Double Corona”. Each Anniversario No. 1 is presented in a beautiful cedar tube that sports the Davidoff logo on it. I couldn't find much more about the history of the cigar other than it was made in honor of Zino Davidoff's 80th birthday in 2006. The series is available in three sizes the No.1 (Giant Double Corona), No. 2 (Churchill), and No. 3 (Toro). The Davidoff website describes the blend as;

...characterized by surprising lightness, dominated by a rich, intense aroma. The tobacco harmonize perfectly in these ideally balanced cigars, exquisitely presented in unique and elegant packaging.

With retail price of about $36.00 a single, I have high hopes for this stick. So let's burn it!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Strength: Mild
Vitola: Giant Double Corona
Size: 8 2/3 x 48
Age: Unknown
MSRP: Around $36.00 a single
Number Smoked: 1

Review

The Davidoff Anniversario No. 1 has a beautiful milk chocolate colored wrapper which contrasts nicely with the white and gold Davidoff band. Davidoff knows how to do presentation right and this cigar is no exception. There is a lot of hay and some mild tobacco on the pre-light aroma and draw which is not surprising given my experience with the brand in the past.

The cigar takes the flame easily. The initial few draws seem a bit snug but not terrible. Initial flavors include hay with some very mild sweetness. I find myself drawing too hard on each pull because the flavor and amount of smoke is so light. Consequently, the stick begins burning a but hot and I detect some bitterness. This quickly subsides as I back off on each pull and the draw opens up a bit after about the first inch.

The cigar is extremely mild in both strength and flavor. A light nuttiness emerges after the first couple of inches and the sweetness becomes a little stronger which is very enjoyable. Unfortunately, this doesn't last long before the stick settles back into the mundane hay and mild sweetness that it began with. This continues through the last third while I keep anticipating something more. Nothing changes as I nub the cigar which I cannot help but feel was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Davidoff Anniversario No. 1 just didn't impress me. I found the flavor profile and strength to be too mild and mundane for my liking. Construction was decent but I suppose performance does not mean much if you don’t enjoy the smoke. To be fair, I acknowledge that I only had one to smoke and that it is possible that this smoke was just aged out.

In conclusion, I would say “Try One" if you like mild cigars and have a spare $36 burning a hole in your pocket. Personally, I would purchase two Davidoff Colorado Claro's, if given the choice.