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Entries in 3 - The Fiver (15)

Thursday
Mar152012

Review: My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal 91st Cervantes Maduro

Background

Recently, I reviewed the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapped edition of the the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal 91st Cervantes which is an exclusive release for Federal Cigars in New Hampshire. If you have not had a chance to read my assessment of that stick, I recommend you check it out here when you have a chance. Since I enjoyed that cigar immensely, it seemed only fitting to also review the Broadleaf Maduro version too. Like the Connecticut Shade, the Maduro is also a 6.5 x 42 Lonsdale and limited (200 boxes of 23). Unlike the Connecticut Shade the Maduro is available for online purchase and there are still boxes in stock. So without further delay, let's get to burning!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Lonsdale
Size: 6.5 x 42
Age: N/A
MSRP: $8.00 (Boxes of 23, $184.00)

Review

Much like the Connecticut Shade, the Maduro's construction is flawless. The wrapper is a dark chocolate colored and as a fair amount of veins. It is a great example of the ruggedness of broadleaf. There are no apparent soft spots and the pre-light aroma and draw is earthy with a hint a raisin sweetness.

I decide not to toast the foot and dive straight in. The cigar opens with a perfect draw and ample amounts of chewy smoke. Unlike the Connecticut Shade I am not initially blasted by pepper. Rather, this cigar seems to find it's groove immediately and opens with a balanced, smooth profile of earth, pepper, and cocoa. About a half inch in, I can detect some hints of dried fruit and nuts in the background. Very nice indeed. The burn is wavy but the draw continues to be good and the ash is holding for about 1 inch. I am enjoying the chewiness of the cigar but I am wishing the finish is a bit longer than it is. Thus far the strength is a solid medium.

The second third brings the departure of the chewy texture. The same earthy core persists, but I am no longer picking up cocoa and hints of dried fruit but rather more coffee undertones. There is still some occasional pepper but it is even less pronounced. The draw and burn remain the same, as do the flavors into the last third.

During the last third, the flavor profile is uneventful. Earthy tobacco persists but I cannot detect much else. A bit of a disappointing finish to this fine cigar but an enjoyable smoke all the same. No construction issues at all. I fall just short of nubbing this stick in about 75 minutes.

Conclusion

The My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal 91st Cervantes Maduro is a great medium strength/bodied smoke at a reasonable MSRP. I really loved the flavor profile in the first third and felt that it was during this part of the experience that this cigar really shined. Personally I found the finish to be shorted than I prefer and the last third disappointing in the flavor department, but as a whole this cigar is good. Is it as good as the Shade Grown CT? Hell no! In conclusion, I am going to give the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Federal 91st Cervantes Maduro a Stogie Geeks Rating of "The Fiver" and save my funds for a box or two of the Connecticut Shade.

Friday
Mar022012

La Aurora Preferido Ruby

Background

Today I am smoking the La Aroma Preferido Ruby Tubo. This cigar is based on the regular Preferido 1903 series but is limited. There are five variations of this blend in different colored tubo’s which coincide with five different wrappers. The Ruby is wrapped in a Brazilian Maduro leaf. The La Aurora website has the following information on the five tubo's and their associated wrappers and strength.

The La Aurora Preferidos Gold Edition is a cigar of great flavor with a Dominican Corojo wrapper. The Platinum Edition, with a select Cameroon wrapper, is of mild to medium body and a smooth smoke. An aromatic Brazilian Sun-Grown wrapper characterizes the Ruby Edition, of medium body. Finally, the Sapphire Edition, with a Connecticut wrapper, offers a mild and smooth smoke, full of flavor.

All tubo's are 5 x 54 Perfecto's and are available in boxes of 8 or 24. I recently reviewed the La Aurora Preferido's 1903 Cameroon No. 1 and I have enjoyed many of the Preferido 1903 Maduro's in the past. Both cigars are personal favorites but until now, I have never smoked the Ruby edition. Let's burn this stick!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Sun Grown
Binder: Piloto Cubano
Filler: Piloto Cubano, Brazilian Bahía
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Perfecto
Size: 5 x 54
Age: About 2 Years
MSRP: Unknown but prices range as low as $7.00 a cigar on auction and as high as $20.00 at retailers. I recommend you shop around.

Review

One thing about La Aurora, they know how to roll a Perfecto. This cigar appears to be well constructed with no soft spots. The wrapper has a fair amount of tooth and is milk chocolate brown in color. It has a rich tobacco scent and I can detect a spicy aroma on the foot.

The first third opens with some cedar and spice. I can detect hints of bitter chocolate and coffee on the finish but it is subtle. The cedar and spice seems to dominate the flavor profile initially but after a few minutes I notice the addition of some leather. The burn is slightly wavy but the draw is perfect and the cigar is pouring smoke on every pull. By the time the burn line has progressed into the second third, the burn has straightened itself out and the ash falls for the first time.

Once the burn line has progressed into the widest portion of the cigar, the spice picks up and I would describe it as more of a pepper now. This is really noticeable when the smoke is passed through the sinus'. The dark coffee flavors have dissipated but the cedar and leather remain. Still no problems with construction, I am enjoying the free flowing draw and copious amounts of smoke.

The last third, brings an increase in strength and pepper once again. As the burn line progresses towards head, the cigar becomes a bit lack luster and one dimensional with the pepper dominating. This doesn't stop me from nubbing this five inch work of art in about 60 minutes. The cigar finishes with no noted construction issues and the nub remains cool until there is less than an inch left.

Conclusion

I love this vitola and the La Aurora torcedor's should be recognized for their rolling skills. The construction was A+ and I enjoyed the flavor profile. Considering the MSRP however, I expected a bit more complexity or wow factor. Still I would reach for these on occasion. In conclusion, I am going to give the La Aurora Preferido Ruby a Stogie Geeks Rating of "The Fiver" but only at the reduced price. An eight count box might be in order if found at a reasonable price.

Wednesday
Feb292012

Review: La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados Flechas Especiales Maduro

Background

Today we are smoking the sexy La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurado Flechas Especiales. Originally blended under the supervision of E.P. Carillo, these cigars are a limited annual release. The La Gloria Cubana website has the following information about the blend.

Luxurious looking and impeccably constructed, La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados derive their distinctively rich taste from a unique, three-month process which ages all of the cigar’s hand-selected tobaccos in specially designed cedar chests. At the soul of Reserva Figurados is a blend of four-year-old Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos bound by a hearty Nicaraguan leaf. Reserva Figurados are available in both natural and maduro varieties.

The line is currently available in five perfecto sizes with either a Natural or Maduro wrapper. These are the Piramides Clasicas (7.25 x 56), Selectos De Lujos (7.25 x 54), Flechas Especiales (6.5 x 49), Regalias Perfectos (6.25 x 57), and Felicias (4.875 x 49). Today I am smoking the Flechas Especiales with the Maduro wrapper. Let's get to burning!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Sun Grown Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium/Full
Vitola: Perfecto
Size: 6.5 x 49
Age: Yes but unsure how much.
MSRP: About $153.00 for a box of 20

Review

The cold Winter weather here in NE has gotten me in the mood for something with dark, rich flavors. The Flechas Especiales Maduro is a rustic looking perfecto. It has some visible seams and a few very fine veins. The cigar is firm and appears to be well constructed and rugged. The attractive gold and black La Gloria Cubana band contrasts nicely against the jet black Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. The pre-light draw is free flowing and offers up a nice raison sweetness.

The cigar opens with lots of smoke and lots of flavor. I detect leather and licorice with an earthy long finish. The burn thus far is extremely wavy but the cigar has no issues staying lit. Once the burn line passes the largest width of this cigar, the burn it corrects itself. The draw is decent but could be a bit more free flowing IMO. Thus far the strength of the cigar is a solid medium which is perfect considering I have not eaten yet this morning. At the end of the first third I begin to detect a transition in flavor but I cannot quite detect what it is yet.

The mid portion of this stick brings the loss of the liquorice but addition of hickory and charred meat to the already present leather and earth. The burn is dead on but the draw it still fighting me a bit on every pull. I find myself compensating for the draw by pulling a bit more than I normally do. The finish is still long and the ash finally drops for the first time around the halfway mark.

The last third brings some bitterness which is especially apparent when the smoke is passed through sinus'. I force myself to slow down which rectifies this and I immediately notice the addition of some pepper. I nice addition to an already bold flavored smoke. I nub the perfecto in just under 60 minutes. The nub is cold and firm.

Conclusion

The Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurados Flechas Especiales Maduro was savory without the unneeded strength that many full bodies smokes often have. My one complaint was the slightly tight draw. While manageable, I would have preferred working a little less for the smoke on each pull. In the past I have had similar issues with this stick but I have always enjoyed the flavors. In conclusion, I am going to give it a Stogie Geeks Rating of "The Fiver". It is a good stick at a fair price and although limited, it seems to be widely available online. Check it out if you get a chance.

Thursday
Feb092012

Review: Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu

Background

Gran Habano's STK program stands for "Save The Kids". Announced last year, the first STK release is the 7.5 x 40 Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu which was originally created for Gran Habano blender, George Rico. A limited, one time release of 2,000 boxes, the boxes and band feature artwork from a Miami Artist. The Gran Habano website explains further;

As the personal cigar in his private collection George A. Rico wanted to take the opportunity to bring awareness to an organization he holds close to his heart – Invisible Children.

Invisible Children is an organization; “…that uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity.

A portion of the proceeds from all boxes sold will be donated directly to Invisible Children. For more information on Invisible Children please take the time to explore their website and videos at http://InvisibleChildren.com

This cigar was gifted to me by a friend (Yo Big Al!) and I decided that it was just too delicious looking to not smoke with my coffee this AM. So let's get to burning!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium
Format: Lancero
Length: 7.5
Ring Gauge: 40
Age: N/A
MSRP: $9.00

Review

The Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu is a beautiful, pig tailed Lancero. Almost completely covered with a band featuring the unique of art work of "The Kid", it is difficult not to notice it. Once the first band is removed, a second traditional sized band with the name of the cigar can be found. Claro in color, this stick has a good amount of veins with no soft spots. I immediately recognized the Ecuadorian scent of the wrapper before knowing anything about the blend. Once cut, the pre-light draw was perfect and offered some spicy tobacco flavor.

Upon lighting, I am welcomed with a nutty flavor profile and some mild spice. The flavor and strength is mild/medium and after a few draws, some wood, hay, and leather enter the flavor profile. The flavors are very subtle with the mild spice constantly in the background. The finish thus far is medium in length and so far, this stick is pairing very well with my morning coffee. The burn is jagged and the ash is absolutely hideous but holds for a good inch before falling. The draw, thus far, is perfect.

The second third picks up a bit in strength. I would rate it on the low medium side. The spice follows suit and also picks up a bit. The burn and draw are still great. Towards the last third, however, a lot of grassy bitterness comes to the forefront. I can taste the bitterness on my lips and it soon becomes very unpleasant.

The last third begins with me completely clipping the cap off as the nicotine is stinging my lips. I take about a quarter of an inch off and the bitterness quickly subsides. The strength has picked up again and is more on the medium/full range now. I fall slightly short of nubbing it due to the surprising increase in strength. Smoking time is about 70 minutes.

Conclusion

This Gran Habano STK Zulu Zulu was a great stick I would certainly revisit. Although next time I smoke it I will make sure it is after a large breakfast. The increase in strength caught me by surprise and I cannot help to think that the blender was not trying to make a statement there. In the end, I am going to give this smoke a Stogie Geeks Rating of “The Fiver”. It is worth checking out!

Tuesday
Feb072012

Review: Arturo Fuente Magnum R 52

Background

Today I decided to grab a stick after lunch. Paul recently gifted me an Arturo Fuente Magnum R. I had not heard of this line prior to this but found some more information on the Arturo Fuente website

After years of development, Arturo Fuente proudly presents the Magnum R line of cigars. The Magnum R line features an exclusive Rosado sungrown wrapper, culled from the lower primings of fine Ecuadorian tobacco plants and aged for nearly a decade. It is these rare and delicate wrapper leaves that create this complex, balanced smoke.

The Arturo Fuente Magnum is available in four sizes which are named after there ring sizes. These include the R52, R54, R56 and R58. Today I am smoking the R52. Let’s get to burning!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Rosado
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Strength: Medium
Format: Robusto
Length: 5
Ring Gauge: 52
Age: N/A
MSRP: $6.80

Review

This stick has an attractive reddish brown wrapper and is adorned with an ornate red, gold, and white band. There is a single large vein that runs the entire length of the cigar from cap to foot The wrapper has a nice aroma of mild tobacco and the pre-light offers the appropriate amount of resistance.

I thoroughly toast the foot with my new triple flame torch and take the first few draws. Initially there is some bitterness but this subsides quickly and I am treated to a lot of roasted nuts. About a half an inch into the smoke, cedar becomes the predominate flavor. The construction is an A+ with a perfect draw, good burn, and beautiful solid white ash. The toasty finish thus far is about medium in length. The ash falls for the first time towards the end of first third and remains solid as it hits the ash tray.

The second third begins with the introduction of some leather with the cedar. It is a nice balance but I am unable to pick up any other flavors. All the same, this stick is smooth and I am enjoying it. It is the perfect strength for after lunch and the construction remains great!

The last third doesn't change much in terms of flavor but there is some mild pepper on the finish now. The cigar is pouring smoke and I am relaxed. Towards the end of the last third, the pepper disappears and the toasty finish is back. I nub the Arturo Fuente Magnum R 52 in a little over an hour.

Conclusion

The Arturo Fuente Magnum R 52 has perfect construction and an enjoyable flavor profile. Although, not as complex as I had hoped, I was left relaxed and satisfied. What more can you ask for? Moreover, the price is right! In conclusion, I am going to give it the Stogie Geeks Rating of "The Fiver". I recommend you grab some for after lunch.