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Archive for the ‘Dark Natural’ Category

H. Upmann Sun Grown #2

05 Feb

Synopsis:
Maker: Altadis
Filler: Nicaraguan/Honduran
Binder: US Connecticut Broadleaf
Wrapper: Sun Grown Ecuadorian Habano
Flavors: Wood, Leather, Fresh Tobacco, Umami
Draw/Volume/Strength:
0 / +3 / 3+
Rating: 9.2
Where to Buy: Famous Smoke Shop

All this talk of Cuba lately reminds me of the story of President Kennedy giving his press secretary Pierre Salinger instructions to acquire as many H. Upmann Petite Corona cigars as he could, the night before he signed the executive order to ban the import of Cuban cigars. Kennedy was a guy who knew how to get what he wanted.

Photo of H. Upmann Sun Grown #2 Torpedo Cigar

H. Upmann Sun Grown #2 (6¼x52) Torpedo

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Posted in Dark Natural, Torpedos

 

Sublimes Cigars

01 Dec

Synopsis:
Maker: Sublimes Cigars
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Flavors: Coffee, cocoa, cream, wood, leather, spices
Draw/Volume/Strength:
  0 / +2 / 4
Rating: 9.4

The raw consumerism of the Modern Christmas leaves a lot of people wanting. I’m not one to camp out at store fronts to get a good deal, and I don’t leave my family and friends on Thanksgiving night to queue up for Black Friday shopping. I don’t mean to denigrate those who do; for some people, it has become something of a holiday tradition in itself, but they probably wouldn’t let me in at Best Buy with my cigar anyway, and the kinds of gifts that I enjoy giving aren’t sold at Walmart.

Photo of Sublimes Cigars

Sublimes Cigars

I prefer to shop local. I’ve mentioned this before. As a small business owner, my clients are the ones who choose quality and service over, well, marketing (I was going to mention price and convenience, but my prices are highly competitive with the national chains, and for my clients, buying from the big brands would be a greater inconvenience than buying from me).

Then there are cigars.

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Posted in Dark Natural

 

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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La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial

03 Mar

Synopsis:
Blender: Don José “Pepin” Garcia
Maker: My Father Cigars/ Ashton Distributors
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Flavors: Citrus, mature tobacco, spice → white pepper, minerals
Draw/Volume/Strength: +3 / +3 / 4
Rating: 8.9

It’s been said that Don Pepin is the best cigar roller in the world. I’ve appreciated his work previously in La Riqueza, the Tatuaje Cojonu 2003, and the 601 Habano (and by extension, the My Father line, which was technically blended by his son Jaime, though rolled at the same factory). The La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial is a line extension of the brand owned by Ashton.

The core of La Aroma de Cuba is a rich, spicy, complex flavor, and the Edicion Especial, or “EE” as it’s commonly known, is no exception. Replacing the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the original is a thick, oily Ecuadorian Habano leaf. The balance of the blend is Nicaraguan like the original, though whether any other differences exist, is unclear.

Photo of La Aroma de Cuba EE Edicion especial

La Aroma de Cuba EE #55 (5¾x55)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Robustos

 

Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada

22 Feb

Synopsis:
Blender: Manuel Quesada
Maker: MATASA
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Sun-Grown
Flavors: Mocha, leather, spice, sweet → cocoa, herbs, nuts
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / 0 / 3
Rating: 9.2

Today is Ash Wednesday. So LIGHT UP!

In observance of Lent, the Cigar Sasquatch is giving up moderation.

I don’t mean to make light of religious traditions. To each his own, I say, and if you feel connected with God by rubbing ashes on your head and giving up the things you love, please feel free. I choose to commune with the Spirit by enjoying the fruits of the earth. And rarely were the fruits sweeter than in the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada.

Photo of Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada Optimus

Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada Optimus (5¾x52)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Robustos

 

Frank Llaneza 1961

07 Feb

Synopsis:
Blender: Frank Llaneza
Maker: Altadis
Filler: Nicaraguan/Dominican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Criollo
Flavors: Earthy, espresso, caramel, tangy sweet
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / +1 / 4
Rating: 9.1

Look down at the cigar in your hand. Is it Cuban? If not, chances are you wouldn’t be smoking it if it weren’t for Frank Llaneza.

The current issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine lists their top 25 cigars of 2011. Eight of the top 10 contain Nicaraguan leaf (the other two are Cuban puros). There are three Nicaraguan puros, and three other cigars which are Nicaraguan in filler and binder, with a wrapper of another origin. So to say that Nicaraguan tobaccos made a strong showing would be to put it lightly. No other tobacco growing location even came close. Not Honduras, not the Dominican Republic, not even Cuba.

Photo of Frank Llaneza 1961 cigar

Frank Llaneza 1961 Double Magnum (6½x54)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros

 

Diesel Unilimted d5

15 Jan

Synopsis:
Blender: AJ Fernandez
Maker: Tabacalera Fernandez
Filler: Nicaraguan/ Mexican (San Andreas)
Binder: Honduran
Wrapper: Honduran Ligero
Flavors: Smoked meats, nuts, oak, spice, caramelized sweetness
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / -1 / 4
Rating: 9.3

This review of the Diesel Unlimited d5 is presented courtesy of the Stogie Boys, the fastest growing online cigar retailer in America.

The Cigar Sasquatch isn’t much for sports, either watching or doing. I try to stay active (certainly not as much as I should), but certain exceptions aside (the Olympics and championship tennis), I would rather read a book or converse with fellow BOTLs while smoking a cigar, without the distractions of meaningless athletic entanglements to detract from the experience. There is, however, one sport that I come back to time and again. It’s not much for spectators, nor does it offer something for everyone, but it still appeals to the competitor in me. It’s the sport of paintball.

Paintball is a so-called “action sport” in which players with air- or gas-operated “markers” attempt to tag each other with dye-filled capsules. Okay, that’s the official description. What really happens is, you and your buddies go out and shoot a bunch of other players (and sometimes each other) with these increasingly sophisticated paint guns. They’re capable of making dozens of shots per second, and when you’re on the receiving end, they leave nasty (and abundant) glowing red welts.

Photo of Diesel Unlimited d5 Cigar

Diesel Unlimited d5 (5½x54)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Robustos

 

Diamond Crown Julius Caeser

30 Oct

Synopsis:
Blender: Carlos Fuente Sr., Carlos Fuente Jr., Stanford Newman
Maker: Tabacalera A. Fuente
Filler: “Central American”
Binder: Not Available
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cuban-Seed
Flavors: Citrus, cedar, wood, chocolate → floral/ herbal, nuts
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / 0 / 3
Rating: 9.3

Julius Caeser Newman emigrated to the Unites States in 1888. Known as JC (the “Caeser” added on Ellis Island by an immigration officer who decided young Julius needed a middle name, and who also presumably misspelled it), his particular version of the American Dream involved a long apprenticeship in cigar rolling, finally selling his first 10 wheels to grocers around his family’s Cleveland, Ohio home. He was 20 years old.

Today, J.C. Newman Cigars is the oldest family-owned premium cigar maker in the US. To honor their founder and Great-grandfather, the company released the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser in 2010. These cigars were originally only available at select Diamond Crown Lounges around the country. It has since become available at a few on-line retailers. After an exhaustive search, I located a retailer who carried the Julius Caeser, but circumstances being what they were, it sat in the Sasquatch-a-dor for about 9 months– not intentionally, I just didn’t get around to it. You see, aging this cigar for 9 months would be a pointless gesture. But more on that in a bit.

Photo of Diamond Crown Julius Caeser cigar

Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Toro (6x52)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros

 

Warlock Toro

08 Jun

Time to get with the program.

After a brief hiatus, the Cigar Sasquatch is back, and boasting a whole slew of new cigars to share with you. You know, it’s a funny thing about tobacco. The more we have, the more we seem to want. I chalk it up to nicotine. It’s not pretty, but there it is. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that cigars are trending stronger and richer. What used to pass for “strong” or “full-bodied” ten years ago now are generally considered medium at best. They almost seem quaint by comparison to today’s powerhouses. There are obviously exceptions to this, but for the most part, strong is the new medium.

Altadis, the mega-conglomerate with dozens of brands to its name and perhaps hundreds of individual frontmarks, has gotten with the program in a big new way. And I’m happy to say they’ve gotten on board the Nicaraguan train as well.

Warlock Cigars are a brand-new line in the Altadis stable, blended by the capable hands of Omar Ortez. These Nicaraguan-made beauties feature a mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a slick, shiny Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper. All of the vitolas of this line are 54-ring with the exception of the Corona at 44. I selected the Toro (6×54); the roll is solid, and the wrapper is dripping with oils, with some pronounced veins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Dark Natural, Toros

 

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Robusto Grande

20 Apr

Nicaraguan cigars are the best in the world.

There, I said it. Do I have your attention now?

I didn’t say “Nicaraguan cigars are among the best in the world.” I said they are the best. No, I haven’t smoked the Cuban Cohiba Behike, and at $40+ per stick, I probably won’t. Those of us who smoke cigars for pleasure (rather than for prestige) know that there’s no minimum dollar amount for a pleasurable cigar. But for many of us, there is a maximum.

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Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Robusto Grande (5½x52)

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Posted in Dark Natural, Robustos

 

Man O’ War Ruination

19 Feb

At the risk of pulling a cheese-ball tie-in, I’m using the smoking of the Man O’ War Ruination Belicoso (5 2/3×56) as an excuse to talk about a recent opportunity I had to spend some time with the US Army out in the desert. See, because Man O’ War… Army… Oh, never mind.

I had no shortage of respect for the individuals who provide the armed defense of these United States before spending several days with them in the middle of the Mojave Desert. And I don’t want to overstate what I was doing, either. All I can say is that after this experience, trying out a few Humvees, saddling up in one or two more “specialized” tactical vehicles, and hearing the kind of stories that only combat veterans can share, my respect for these men and women in uniform has only grown, as has my gratitude. And I’m a little jealous of their equipment.

Photo of Man O' War Ruination Belicoso Cigar

Man O' War Ruination Belicoso (5 2/3x56)

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Tasty Tuesday: Dark and Mysterious

08 Feb

This edition of Tasty Tuesday features three dark and slightly mysterious cigars from various sources. Two are chocolaty Maduros, the third, a rich Habano, which was interestingly darker than the two Maduros. Two of them feature some component of hearty Mexican tobaccos, and they all have at least a portion of Nicaraguan longfillers. I do enjoy Nicaraguan longfillers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Macanudo Cru Royale Toro

15 Jan

The reviews I prepare for you, the gentle reader, are not done blind. Certain reviewing authorities do provide blind ratings in an attempt at parity, although I would argue, many of those authorities can most certainly spot the classic or highly-noted cigars, bands on or off. My cigar buddies often wonder aloud whether I can name a cigar based solely on taste, or identify the growing region or nation of origin without the benefit of advance knowledge, but I assure them, I could name any cigar in the Sasquatch-a-Dor without its band in three tries or less, without having to smoke it, just based on appearance. So any such challenge would have to be conducted truly blindly, as in blindfolded. As I’m not inclined to permit them to commence pulling cigars at random and lighting them up for me to sample under a blindfold, they’ll have to go on speculating about my tasting prowess.

But one thing I can say for certain is, I would never have guessed this cigar.

Photo of Macanudo Cru Royale Toro Cigar

Macanudo Cru Royale Toro (6x54)

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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: Graycliff “Fresh Rolled”

12 Dec

Cigars are as unique as the people who enjoy them, and every once in a while, you run into one (a cigar or a person) that defies categorization. On a recent trip to the Bahamas, a member of the Cigar Sasquatch team was privileged to visit the Graycliff cigar factory in Nassau, and sample their fine goods. Among the many treasures he returned with was a small handful of freshly rolled cigars, hand-made while he watched. These are the Graycliff Fresh Rolled.

Cigar production in the 21st century is like manufacturing in almost any other industry, at least in certain aspects. Separation of job functions is central to efficiency, and a visit to a cigar factory may expose you to strippers, bunchers, rollers, and the famous torceadors, along with dozens of other functionalities. And of course there are inspections at almost every step in the process.

In the case of the Graycliff Fresh Rolled, these many functions are consolidated into one person, in this instance, a gentleman named Maurice.

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Posted in Dark Natural, Figurados, Full Reviews, Natural, Special Edition, Torpedos

 

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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CAO La Traviata Radiante (6×52)

30 Nov

La Traviata cigars by CAO were blended to recreate the taste and aroma of Cuba. The blend is offered in 5 vitolas, all featuring Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers over an aromatic Cameroon binder. The wrapper is a lightly veined, oily Ecuadorian Habano leaf, with a handsome sheen and a beautiful EMS color. I selected the Radiante, a gorgeous Toro (6×52). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Dark Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros

 

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

 

Cigar Sasquatch- La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel

31 Jul

The strength of a honey bee is not in the sting but in the wing.

Bees appear to be aerodynamically incapable of flight. But they don’t let that bother them. They overcome gravity, not just with furious flapping of their undersized wings, but with a tiny, nearly imperceptible flourish at the peak of each wing stroke that shifts the balance of air pressure just enough to send them airborne.

There’s a lot of talk about the distinction between strength and power. Power comes from position or influence, strength comes from effort and sacrifice, from willpower and drive Read the rest of this entry »

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Tasty Tuesday: Henry Clay Brevas ala Conserva

20 Jul

Henry Clay is a classic Cuban brand originally dating from the 1840s. The current brand is hand-made in the Dominican Republic by Altadis. I chose the “Brevas ala Conserva” (5/5/8×46), a moderately small Gran Corona.

Henry Clay cigars feature a robust blend of Dominican ligero longfillers and binder, with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. This is not a particularly handsome cigar. There are some rough patches in the wrapper, and a notable color gradient in the roll from head to foot. But let’s talk about that wrapper Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Coronas, Dark Natural, Maduro, Tasty Tuesday