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Entries in 4 - Box Worthy (16)

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
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.

Friday
Sep072012

Review: Tatuaje The Old Man and The C – Black Label Culebra

Background

In 2011, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje released a limited edition series called “The Old Man and the C”. The release came packaged in coffin boxes consisting of a single Tatuaje Black Lancero and three El Triunfador’s rolled in the Culebra vitola. “Culebra” is Spanish for “snake” and Tobacconist University has the following excerpt on the history of the vitola:

The practice of braiding cigars together came out of Cuba when factory owners needed a way to control the rollers’ cigar smoking. Culebras were distributed as the day’s ration of cigars. As the rollers smoked the Culebras, the squirmy look of the cigar signaled the factory managers that the rollers were not smoking the premium inventory.

During IPCPR 2012, Pete Johnson re-released this series but with all four cigars being from his private and much sought-after Black label blend. Being a fan of the Black blend, I immediately snatched up a coffin when they became available. After a couple of weeks of rest, I decided that Labor Day Weekend was the perfect time to crack these open with my morning coffee. Time to burn these!

Stogie Stats

Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Culebra
Size: 7.5 x 38
Age: N/A
MSRP: $30.00 per Coffin of four cigars
Number Smoked: 3

Review

The first impression that came to me while removing the Culebra from the packaging was the quality of the workmanship involved in rolling such a vitola. The three Lancero’s were perfectly intertwined with each other. The wrapper was a beautiful Colorado brown and felt dry to the touch. The pre-light aroma consisted of tobacco and some mild spice. I used a straight cut on all three and the pre-light draw seemed perfect on each one. I chose to pair all three cigars with my morning coffee. This decision was solely based on my previous experiences with the blend.

Once lit, the initial draw was perfect and I was welcomed with an ample amount of smoke. All three cigars opened with that familiar toasty cedar and cinnamon spice I have come to love from the Tatuaje Black Label blend. The cinnamon is especially noticeable on the retro-hale and I always find it very enjoyable. The finish was medium in length and coated the top of my palate with spice. It paired perfectly with my morning dark roast. The burn line was decent and the draw remained perfect throughout the first third. Amazingly, the light gray striated ash held for well over an inch before falling.

The spice kicked up a bit on second third and the finish became creamier. The burn and draw remained perfect and by this time, I was really digging this smoke. The blend is very comforting and I found myself completely relaxed.

The last third brought more of the same in terms of flavor and performance. I nubbed each one of the three sticks to less than one inch, and the nub was firm and cool each time. Smoking time was about an hour and fifteen minutes for each cigar.

Conclusion

I absolutely loved all three of these cigars. While I haven't tried all the vitola’s in the Black blend, I have tried quite a few, and I can honestly say this was the most enjoyable of all the vitola’s I have smoked. On a side note, I did also smoke the Lancero which I found the flavors to be very muted and flat. This was surprising after the enjoying the Culebra so much, nonetheless I am looking forward to purchasing more coffin’s. In conclusion, I am giving the Tatuaje The Old Man and The C Black Label Culebra a Stogie Geeks Rating of “Box Worthy”.

Tuesday
Aug142012

Review: Paul Garmirian Symphony 20 Limited Edition - Bombones Extra

Background


The Symphony 20 was released in 2010 in a single size, the 6 x 52 Connoisseur. This was followed up with the 4.5 x 52 Short Robusto and the 6 7/8 x 57 Salomone in 2011. During IPCPR this year (2012), P.G. has released two additional sizes, the 6 x 52 Belicoso and the focus of this review, the 3.5 x 46 Bombones Extra.

The following information about the blend is provided on http://www.pgcigars.com;


Covered with the greatest wrapper we have ever seen (dark, oily, and smooth) it is combined with four complex fillers and a Havana seed binder.

Living in the New England, where the weather can be harsh during the Winter months, I am always on the lookout for shorter smokes that are satisfying. Additionally, the Symphony 20 blend has always been enjoyable for me, so I was eager to try the smaller format. So without further ado, let's burn this baby.


Stogie Stats


Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Unknown (some speculate Ecuadorian Habano)
Binder: Havana Seed
Filler: Four different tobacco's
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Bombones Extra
Size: 3.5 x 46
Age: N/A
MSRP: About $220.00 (Box of 25)
Number Smoked: 2

Review


The P.G. Symphony 20 Bombones Extra appears to be well constructed. The wrapper is not as dark and oily as the original Connoisseur but neither was last years Short Robusto and Salomone. The stick is adorned with the simple but classy, red and gold PG Gourmet Series band and a second band that has “Symphony 20” printed on it. The cigar appears to be well rolled and the pre-light aroma is earthy. After cutting the triple cap with a straight cut, the pre-light draw is perfect and serves up lots of earthy, sweet tobacco.

I thoroughly toast the foot and it takes the flame quickly. The first half opens with sweet tobacco, roasted nuts, and some mild cedar and spice. There is a certain amount of breadiness to the smoke. The cigar is smooth for the most part but does have an occasional bite to it. I suspect age will sort this out however. The draw and burn line are perfect and the ash holds for about an inch before falling.

The second half continues with the same but the spice and strength kicks up a bit. Although the flavor profile is a solid medium, the strength is approaching medium/full. I nub'd both sticks in about 35 minutes, burning my lips on each one. The nub remained firm in both instances and I was able to smoke it down to just under 3/4 of an inch.

Conclusion


The Paul Garmirian Symphony 20 Limited Edition Bombones Extra performed perfectly and it's flavor profile was inline with the aforementioned larger vitola's of the series. I did feel that this format didn't have quite the same strength as the larger sizes, however. I really enjoyed the size and felt fully satisfied with both samples I smoked. My one contention is the same with the series as a whole, it is just so expensive. I would smoke these on a regular basis if the Bombones Extra were not $8+ a stick. Nonetheless, the P.G. Symphony 20 Bombones Extra is certainly "Box Worthy" in terms of performance and smoking experience with the price being the one caveat. In conclusion, give it a try and decide for yourself.

Monday
Jun042012

Review: La Flor Dominicana Ligero Oscuro Mysterio

Background

After enjoying the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Oscuro A a few weeks back, some of the guys from the podcast recommended I try the LFD Ligero Oscuro Mysterio. Without hesitation, I picked up a few and immediately thought it might be a unique stick to review. I have not been able to find much background information about this cigar. Some websites report it being first released in 2007 but there was not anything on the La Flor Dominicana website to verify this. So without further ado, let's get to burning and find our what this smoke is all about.

Stogie Stats

Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Perfecto
Size: 7 x 54
Age: About 1 Year
MSRP: About $15.00 (available in a Boxed of five)
Number Smoked for Review: 2

Review

The La Flor Dominicana Ligero Oscuro Mysterio is a work of art. It is perfectly rolled with a dark, oily wrapper that glistens in the sunlight. The foot and head of the perfecto are wrapped in a lighter claro colored wrapper and the black, gold, and maroon band is eye catching against the Oscuro wrapper. The pre-light aroma smells of rich tobacco. I cut the cigar with a straight cut and the pre-light draw feels slightly snug which is not surprising considering the narrow end of the perfecto.

After lighting the cigar with my single flame torch, the first few draws are tight and the flavors seem muted. Once past the lighter claro colored tip, the draw opens up and the I am welcomed with a savory and smooth mix of dark flavors. I can detect oak, espresso, leather, dried fruit, and some mild spice. Thus far the cigar is medium in body and strength. The finish is a bit dryer than I prefer but the flavors are smooth, balanced, and interesting.

The second third does not bring much change in flavor profile but the strength does increase slightly. The burn and draw remain good and the perfecto holds an ash for about an inch and half before falling. I have no troubles smoking the stick down to a half inch nub which remains firm and cool. Smoke time is about 90 minutes.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed both cigars smoked for this review. I found the cigar to be flavorful and easy to smoke. It is versatile enough to smoke during a lazy Sunday afternoon or with my favorite libation after a good meal. In conclusion, I am going to give the La Flor Dominicana Ligero Oscuro Mysterio a Stogie Geeks Rating of “Box Worthy”. Although, you may want to pick up more than one box since there are only five to a box.