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Archive for the ‘Churchills’ Category

Casa Magna Colorado

12 Sep

Synopsis:
Blender: Manuel Quesada
Maker: MATASA via Plasencia/ Segovia Cigar factory
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Flavors: Coffee, fresh tobacco, mild spice, subtly sweet
Draw/Volume/Strength:
-1 / +1 / 4
Rating: 9.2

This review of the Casa Magna Colorado Churchill is presented courtesy of the Stogie Boys, the fastest growing online cigar retailer in America.

What makes a cigar great? Is it the leaves themselves, their growing, curing, fermenting, and aging? Is it the construction of the cigar? Is it the hands of the buncher who puts the leaves of the filler together, and rolls them up in the binder, the torceador who puts on the finishing touches, the wrapper and cap? Or is it the blend itself, the work of the master who selects the leaves, assembles them in concept first, then in actuality later, along with countless other blends which don’t make the cut, choosing the one blend, the diamond in the rough, to go into production?

Or is it something more transient? Is it flavor and aroma? Is it its pairing potential, how well it compliments a fine brandy or Scotch? Are there other factors that drive greatness? What’s in a name, and how about the price you paid? Does the band say something about the smoker, as well as the cigar?

Photo of Casa Magna Colorado Churchill cigar

Casa Magna Colorado Churchill (6⅞x49)

So what exactly is it that makes a cigar great? The answer of course is all of these things. But it’s none of them, as well.

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Park Avenue

28 Feb

Synopsis:
Blender: AJ Fernandez
Maker: K. Hansotia Cigars/ Tabacalera Fernandez
Filler: Nicaraguan/ Dominican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Flavors: Vanilla, Caramel, cedar → toasted wood, brown sugar.
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / -1 / 2
Rating: 9.1

We all have our little secrets. My step-mother has a recipe for Chicken Piccata that would make you positively weep. My brother got the recipe from her, but when he made it, it was missing something. Literally. She left something out of the ingredients. Oh, she won’t admit to it, but there’s something not there, and she’s not telling us.

She’s not the only one keeping things to herself. One of my favorite activities in California is lobster fishing. The season runs from October to March, and whether done with scuba gear or hoop nets, those of us who are willing to challenge the poorly-named Pacific can frequently pull in huge, delicious California Spiny Lobsters, with tails to rival anything Maine or Australia ever put out. Over the years, I’ve heard other lobster fishermen tell me all about the “secret spots” and massive caches of lobsters they “regularly” land. And every one of them is a lie. Oh, they land massive caches of lobsters at a secret spot, but there’s no way they’re telling where it is.

Photo of Park Avenue cigar

Park Avenue Presidente (7x52)

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Posted in Churchills, Connecticut Shade, Natural

 

Father’s Day Special: Padrόn Churchill Maduro

19 Jun

Synopsis:
Blender: Jorge Padrόn
Maker: Piloto Cigars
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-grown Maduro
Flavors: Toasted oak, dark chocolate → cocoa, earth, tobacco
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / +2 / 3
Rating: 9.1

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m smoking the Padrόn Maduro Churchill. I selected this cigar for the Father’s Day special for a number of reasons. First, the Padrόn organization is a family operation, and considers quality to be a matter of family honor (in fact, that’s their company slogan). Secondly, the “Padrόn Series” (sometimes called the “Thousand Series” after of the names of several of the vitolas), is considered “Everyman’s Padrόn” for its affordable price and unshakable quality. And though my father is not a cigar man (I’m pretty sure he has never smoked a thing in his life), he certainly is an “Everyman,” as I’m sure many of your fathers are.

What do I mean by that? My dad is an average Joe, hard-working, dedicated to his family, selfless and giving, slow to anger, quick to forgive, a man full of lessons (mostly of the organic kind), who did (and does) his best for a large family of modest means. He’s a man’s man, massive in stature, mild in temperament, and brimming over with experience, the stories of which he freely (and repeatedly) shares at any suitable occasion.

Photo of Padrόn Churchill cigar

Padrόn Churchill (6 7/8 x 46)

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Posted in Churchills, Maduro, Special Edition

 

Davidoff Aniversario #1

13 Apr

April 13th, 2010 is a date which shall live in infamy. It’s the publication date of the very first Cigar Sasquatch review! Of course the Cigar Sasquatch existed as such before the first review was published, but as no one outside a small group of cigar lovers in my immediate circle of friends had ever even heard the words “Cigar” and “Sasquatch” spoken together before that date, it has become our official anniversary.

Photo of the wooden tube of the Davidoff Aniversario #1

Davidoff Aniversario #1

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Posted in Churchills, Natural

 

Blend Lab XD-752

22 Mar

I had the privilege recently of visiting the Blend Lab at Cigars International. No, I didn’t travel to their Bethlehem, PA facility, nor did I go to some tiny Central American country to sample secret test blends for possible future production. It’s on their website, and you can go there too. But I can tell you, it’s not for everyone.

The Blend Lab features short-run cigars made at some of the finest factories in the cigar world, using a variety of tobaccos, and rolled into select shapes. Strip away the fancy bands and the expensive marketing, and all you’re left with is the tobacco and how it’s rolled. This is cigar tasting at its purest.

Photo of Cigars International Blend Lab XD-752 Cigar

Cigars International Blend Lab XD-752 (7x52)

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Posted in Churchills, Natural

 

Excalibur Maduro #1

12 Feb

The great American humorist Will Rogers was famously quoted as having said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I can’t claim to be so magnanimous with people, but I will say this: I never smoked a Hoyo I didn’t like. And the Excaliburs are among the best.

There is a great deal of history behind the Excalibur line and its relationship with Hoyo de Monterrey, but for now, reflect upon Cuban cigar master Estelo Padron smuggling small quantities of tobacco seed off the island, and cigar legend Frank Llaneza roving around Central America finding the best places to grow it, eventually bringing Nicaraguan leaf back to Cuba, to showcase its quality.

This is another example of a cigar that is neither new nor little-known, but its classic status is based on one simple precept: Roll great tobacco into well-made cigars, and do it year after year without fail. This is what makes Excalibur a legend.

Photo of Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur #1 Maduro cigar

Excalibur #1 Maduro (7¼x54)

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Posted in Churchills, Full Reviews, Maduro

 

H. Upmann 2000 Millennium

21 Dec

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As I sit outside on this cold and wet December day, I’m reminded how good we really have it in Southern California. I know I won’t get much sympathy from our Northern and Mid-Western readers when I complain that I’m suffering through blustery 50-degree weather outside to bring you this review. Yeah, I know. We’ve got it pretty good.

But whatever your weather, one sure way to warm yourself this season is with a great cigar. And that’s just what I’ve got here, in the H. Upmann 2000 Millennium (6¾x46).

Photo of H. Upmann 2000 Millennium Cigar

H. Upmann 2000 Millennium (6¾x46)

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Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4

18 Dec

I rarely get to use the word “magnificent” in a review. Delightful? Sure. Remarkable? Absolutely. But magnificent? Not so often.

The origins of this one of the two Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4s in the Sasquatch-a-dor are mysterious to say the least. Of the few things I can be sure, I know that the rare Cameroon wrapper was laid down in 1996, and aged at least 10 years before rolling (hence the “Decadas” demarcation). Given that, it’s probably also safe to say that it has been in storage in its shiny glass tubo for 4+ years, resisting temptation, and perfectly protected from the drooling of its various owners that whole time.

Until today.

Photo of the Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4

Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas #4 (7¼x48)

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Posted in Churchills, Dark Natural, Full Reviews

 

Cigar Sasquatch Special Edition: Holiday Gift Guide

04 Dec

Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re anything like me, you get asked one question countless times every holiday season: “What do you want for Christmas?” I also hear a lot of, “I don’t know what to get you, you always get anything you want for yourself.” And while that may be true, I’m forced to ask myself, is it that hard? Sure, I understand. Men are difficult. We’re complex in our simplicity. We’re independent, but love to be a part of the team, we’re rugged, but relish in our creature comforts, we’re predictable in entirely unpredictable ways. But with a little guidance, holiday gift giving—and receiving—can be the joyful and stress-free experience it should be.

No one who has a cigar lover on his or her Christmas list should ever have to ask “What do you want for Christmas?” I can run down the list of guys in my herf and name their top three cigars at three different price tiers, and I can also probably tell you which retailer has the best prices for each of them. But unfortunately our wives and girlfriends, mothers and sisters probably don’t know anything about cigars, and wouldn’t have a clue where to buy them or how much to pay. So this guide is not so much for the cigar lovers out there reading this, but rather, for the ones who have to shop for us. Translation: Men, forward it to your ladies.

The best thing about cigars as gifts is, you can never have too much of a good thing. I never once opened a gift of Montecristos and thought, “This is great, but I’ve already got a box of these.” It’s the ultimate answer to the question, “What do you give to the man who has everything?” Answer: More of what he loves.

Stocking Stuffers

Single cigars are a great treat for the holidays. But if you’re going to buy a single, make sure it’s something special. Most of us have a brand or blend we’ve never bought for ourselves because of the ridiculous price tag. Padron Family Reserve #45 comes to mind. But if you’re not comfortable spending $30-$40 on a single cigar (if you can find it in a single), I suggest going with something big, like the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece.  At 9 inches long, it’s certainly an “impact gift,” but with singles readily available at B+M retailers for $18-$22, (and less on-line), it’s a great gift at an approachable price.

Accessories make great stocking stuffers too. The Xikar X8 Carbon Fiber Cigar Cutter is as stylish as it is functional, and with a lifetime guarantee, it’s a step up from the throw-away cutters on the cigar store counter. And most of us have a cigar torch (or two), but this holiday season, set the torch down and grab a handful of Davidoff Giant Cigar Matches. At under $4.00 for a box of 40, they’re probably the cheapest thing you’ll ever find with the name “Davidoff” on them, and are far more reliable than most cigar torches.

5-Packs

Everyone loves a 5-pack. They’re affordable, available, and we can usually get exactly the brands and blends we want. But for this holiday season, think variety, not just in blend, but in size and shape. If your cigar buddy always gets himself the same robustos time and time again, upgrade him to the torpedoes. The Romeo Y Julieta Belicoso is only a few dollars more for a 5-pack than the venerable Bully in the same blend, and makes a thoughtful and impressive gift. Or for an elegant option, the Oliva Serie V Lancero is a highly-rated cigar in the Cuban tradition, delivering loads of flavor in a slim package that most cigar lovers wouldn’t normally buy for themselves.

Boxes of Cigars

Box-quantities of cigars are the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. In one package, you can give hours of satisfying pleasure and enjoyment, and show yourself as a truly thoughtful gift giver. But a word or caution: Make sure it’s something he’s going to love. Now’s not the time to try him on a new blend or to throw something against the wall to see if it sticks. Every cigar lover has a favorite blend, and if you don’t know what it is, just ask! If he’s anything like my cigar buddies, he’ll be happy to tell you all about it. Chances are he even knows where to buy it at the best price.

If you find that the cigars you’re planning to give as a gift are a little out of your price range, shop around. Many retailers offer first-quality premiums in bundle packs that save money in packaging and shipping. I for one don’t care if my Excalibur #1 Maduros come in a box or a bundle pack, as long as I get them. Or for the Cohiba lovers in your herf, consider downsizing to a box of Cohiba Pequeños, small cigars that offer 20 or 30 minutes of great Cohiba flavor, at an affordable price.

And the best thing about giving boxes of cigars, if you’re lucky, your grateful recipient may just thank you with the first cigar from the box!

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t be stressful or difficult. With a little planning, and some advice from our resident Cryptozoological Cigar Lover, you’ll have more time to spend doing what you love, and celebrating the season with friends and family. And that’s about the best holiday gift I can think of.

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

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Tasty Tuesday: Famous Exclusive Sampler

17 Aug

For this edition of the Tasty Tuesday Sampler, I present reviews of three cigars exclusive to Famous Smoke Shop. Most retailers have house-brands, and Famous is no exception, but Famous also has an impressive selection of cigars from major manufacturers made exclusively for and available only at Famous. I selected one house brand and two manufacturer brands, which include natural, dark natural, and maduro cigars, in Churchill, Toro, and Torpedo vitolas. They are the Final Blend Churchill (7×50), the Alec Bradley Overture Toro (6×50) and the Rocky Patel Cuban Blend Natural Torpedo (6×52). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Churchills, Dark Natural, Figurados, Maduro, Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros, Torpedos

 

Tasty Tuesday: Alec Bradley MAXX Ego

06 Jul

The Cigar Sasquatch likes things big. I have long lived by the Sasquatchism, “Never smoke a Robusto when you should be smoking a Churchill.” If you believe like I do that if some is good, more is better, then Alec Bradley’s MAXX cigars were made with you in mind. Maxx is a line of super-sized cigars that are big in both size and flavor, and my personal favorite is the Ego, a monster-sized Presidente (9.25×50).

But this is no novelty brand. The MAXX line features an incredible 5-nation blend Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Churchills, Dark Natural, Tasty Tuesday

 

Thirsty Thursday: The Cigar Lover’s Guide to Fine Spirits

24 Jun

Nothing goes better with a great cigar than a great beverage, and I’m often asked what the best beverage is to drink with a cigar. The traditional alcoholic beverages to pair with cigars are brandies, whiskeys and rums, or if you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, a delicious cup of coffee. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Cigars pair well with beverages with rich, vaporous, aromatic qualities, or that offer flavors that balance or enhance those of your cigar. But certain cigars are better suited to certain beverages, and vice versa. So how do you decide what to drink and when? Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

Winston Churchill is credited with having been the first notable cigar smoker to regularly dip his cigars in brandy or port. While I don’t necessarily recommend this practice (to each his own) Read the rest of this entry »

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Cigar Sasquatch- Carlos Toraño Signature Collection Churchill

05 Jun

Today’s review is not some newly-discovered brand or recently launched blend, but it’s one that in a short time has become one of my favorite blends in regular rotation. And while I have sampled this blend previously (EXTENSIVELY), I have not yet done a full critical review. It’s something I discovered by chance, thought not without searching, supporting the long-held truth that chance favors the prepared mind.

The idea of chance weighs heavily on my mind today. I was recently involved in the most serious Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Churchills, Full Reviews, Maduro

 

Cigar Sasquatch- Fonseca 10-10 Natural

08 May

I’ve always had a problem with the idea of cigars as special occasion or celebratory rituals. It’s not that I have any problem celebrating a special occasion with a cigar, but there are two issues I have with that philosophy. First, and I think this is well-accepted among many cigar lovers, a cigar–ANY CIGAR– shouldn’t require a special occasion to enjoy. If you want to smoke your most prized Davidoff or Opus X on a Tuesday morning, by all means do so and enjoy it. My other issue with this is that it completely overlooks the cigar’s ability to provide comfort in times of sorrow or sadness. In fact, what better way to brighten dimmed spirits than with the curling blue clouds of your favorite cigar. But whether smoked to celebrate or console, a cigar serves the same function: to raise the spirits and bring joy into the heart. So I recognize the cigar’s place as a celebratory icon, and today I’m celebrating a (not so) small accomplishment of completing a challenging project that I’ve been working on for some time.

You may recall in a recent edition of Tasty Tuesday the appearance of the Fonseca 10-10 Maduro. For this review, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tasty Tuesday: Fonseca 10-10 Maduro

04 May

I was doing some research recently and came across a little piece of data indicating that the #3 selling cigar line in the world, behind Romeo and Mac, is Fonseca, the Dominican brand blended by Manuel Quesada. Upon discovering this, and upon reflecting on how much I love a good Romeo or Mac, I did some looking. As it turns out, this frequently-overlooked brand rates pretty well for a $5-$8 cigar. Armed with this knowledge, I rolled into a local tobaconist shop and picked up a pair of 7×50 Churchills (Quesada names the size the “10-10”), including one Ecuadorian Connecticut Natural and a (gorgeous) Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.

The blend I reached for first, and the one I’m currently writing about, is the maduro, and on first impression, it’s a very smooth, even tempered cigar. The most notable feature is the textbook maduro flavor. This is the definition of what a smooth maduro should taste like. Slightly sweet, slightly tangy, some depth and Read the rest of this entry »

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