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Archive for the ‘Natural’ Category

Sucker Punch

01 Apr

Synopsis:
Maker: General Cigar
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero
Binder: Cameroon
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Flavors: Wood, White Pepper, Butter
Draw/Volume/Strength: -1 / +1 / 3+
Rating: 9.0
Where to Buy: Famous Smoke Shop

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

On April first, it’s a good idea to take a look at this classic expression. The great showman and circus promoter PT Barnum is often credited with the above statement, but this is probably a misconception. It was most likely said by a contemporary of Barnum’s named David Hannum, in critique of Barnum and his customers. The reality is, Barnum was far more egalitarian, and appreciated his patrons, from whom he derived his fortunes.

“Be kind to your customers,” he said. “Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.”

Photo of Sucker Punch King Hit cigar

Sucker Punch King Hit (6x54)

He was also known to have promulgated a number of great hoaxes in his time, but we can’t let history’s lens distort contemporary views of that sort of thing. These were the ways of a circus and side-show promoter in the mid-1800s. By most accounts, Barnum was an honest, honorable, and upstanding man. He was an advocate for the abolishment of slavery, he supported African-American suffrage, and even founded a hospital. He was also an early supporter of temperance… but we won’t hold that against him.

Regardless of Barnum’s views, there are a lot of gullible people out there. In the modern context, they take the form of conspiracy theorists, alarmists of various kinds, and people who follow click-bait links on the internet. Most of them are good, honest people, who just take the world at face-value. A better phrase to use these days is, “There’s a scammer born every minute.”

The all-new Punch Sucker Punch from General Cigar is no hoax. It’s the real deal. The classic Punch cigars are known for bold, in-your-face favors, and no small measure or power, but Sucker Punch comes in with a little more finesse, more of a jab than a knock-out blow. The cigars are exclusive to Famous Smoke Shop.

The blend features a bold Nicaraguan filler core, with a surprising Cameroon binder, finished in a gorgeous, tawny-hued Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper. I chose the King Hit, a beefy Toro shape (6×54). The construction is impeccable; the roll is rock-solid, and the wrapper is absolutely seamless.

First tastes are buttery and smooth, with a dose of white pepper over a base of toasted, woody flavors. The draw is a hair tight of even (-1), producing an ample smoke volume (+1) of moderate strength (3+). By mid-way, the pepper quiets down a notch, and the flavors settle nicely into a core of walnuts and wood. The burn is straight for the duration, and the flaky white ash holds to about an inch. Flavors remain consistent throughout, darkening slightly in the final moments, before a semi-sweet, mellow finish. It smokes to a 1-inch nub in about 90 minutes.

This is a very interesting cigar. As a Punch, you expect a ton of fresh tobacco tastes, with a big, earthy Honduran terrior. Sucker Punch comes in from the left, with a Nicaraguan ligero core providing rich flavor and approachable strength, balanced against an unexpected Cameroon binder, providing a remarkably smooth texture, and just a hint of subtle sweetness. I rate it 9.0. It’s remarkably flavorful cigar, and while it’s fairly one-dimensional, it’s a great dimension, and a pleasure to smoke. Sucker Punch is sure to excite the newer cigar lovers in your herf, but it will also keep the veterans guessing.

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

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Posted in Natural, Toros

 

Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame

23 Feb

Synopsis:
Maker: General Cigar
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Dominican Natural and Maduro
Flavors: Natural: Vanilla, wood, nuts, leather, herbs. Maduro: Dark Chocolate, tangy-sweet, wood, earth, black pepper, herbs.
Draw/Volume/Strength:
  Natural: +1 / +2 / 3, Maduro: 0 / +2 / 3
Rating: Natural: 9.2, Maduro: 9.2

They say the most important element in comedy is timing. I endeavor to apply a certain topical relevance to my reviews, and bring them to you when the timing is most appropriate. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible.

I’ll admit, I did receive these cigars in adequate time to bring them to you in a topical and timely manner, but as regular readers will note, I’ve been on a little forced hiatus lately. Faced with the decision to wait until a more suitable time or to bring them to you now, I opted for the latter: these cigars just won’t wait.

Photo of Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame Natural and Maduro cigars.

Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame Natural and Maduro Cigars (6x52)

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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

 

CRA Exclusive from Casa Fernandez

13 Jul

There is a war going on to take away your rights! The enemy is well-funded, highly influential, and fights dirty. And they’ve been successful, too.

Do you realize that there are cities in California in which you cannot legally sit in your own back yard and smoke a cigar? Are you aware that the FDA is currently working to take over the regulation of cigars and tobacco across the country? Do you realize that the enemy’s ultimate goal is nothing short of an outright ban of tobacco across the country?

Thankfully there’s an army fighting for you. In our American history, there have been many instances during which citizens literally took up arms against the government to contest the usurpation of rights or the raising of taxes. Maybe you’ve heard of a few. Fortunately, these armed rebellions are a thing of the past, but the fight remains, and the enemy will be satisfied with nothing less than absolute victory.

Photo of CRA-exclusive cigars from Punch and Casa fernandez

CRA-exclusive cigars from Punch and Casa Fernandez

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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

 

Montecristo #2

29 Jan

My current obsession with Connecticut-wrapped cigars has driven me to extremes. From massive Presidentes, to tiny Petite Coronas, big rings to small rings, box-pressed to, well, not box-pressed, I’ve smoked them all. But rarely have I wandered into territory such as this.

In my reviews, as in life, I generally attempt (sometimes flailing) to follow the advice of poet Robert Frost, when he suggested that it’s a good idea to get off the beaten path. I try to feature cigars that are either new or rare, perhaps less well known, or which are in some way rather mysterious or unique. Occasionally I venture to review a classic cigar, one that is neither new, nor rare, nor little known, but which may be a curiosity to you, the reader, because of its exceptionality. But few cigars are as well-known—or as controversial—as this one.

Notoriety has its price, and in this case, it’s a steep one. So categorize this review however you wish, into either the “Is it worth the price” category, or perhaps into the “Is it as good as everyone says” category. Or finally, you may wish to sort this review into the “Is it as overrated as I’ve heard” category. Regardless, I present to you the Montecristo #2.

Photo of Montecristo #2 Torpedo Cigar

Montecristo #2 (6x50)

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Avo #2

11 Jan

“I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.”

Most of us have heard that famous quotation, and I must admit, many cigar lovers echo that sentiment whole-heartedly. They’ve got a few cigar brands they know and love, and they stick to them religiously. There are a number of reasons for this. A new cigar smoker may be afraid to try something new for fear of running afoul of a cigar that’s too dark, too big, or too strong for his fledgling set of skills. I remember what it was like as a young Sasquatch, standing in the walk-in humidor at the mall, physically intimidated by the big scary monsters on the shelves. But as we grow out of those fears, many of us still tend to stick to our core cigars, now because of frugality—we know what we like, and we don’t want to waste time or money on some unknown stick that turns out to be a piece of garbage. And finally, there’s something to be said for simple brand loyalty. Ask a Coke lover, “Is Pepsi okay?” and you’ll quickly get a sense of what I mean.

Photo of Avo #2 Cigar

Avo #2 (6x50)

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Posted in Full Reviews, Natural, Toros

 

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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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

 

Rocky Patel The Edge Lite Toro (6×52)

07 Dec

“Why would anyone bother smoking a mild cigar? It’s flavor we want, and with it comes strength! So if you want a cigar with loads of flavor, you’re going to have to smoke something strong.”

The above statement is not merely hyperbole. It symbolizes a prevalent ideal in cigar making, one that is embraced by cigar smokers the world over, and that is this: Flavor = Strength. Or to be more accurate, that strength is a requisite of flavor. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. And while that statement is total hogwash, it shows us that the true Holy Grail of cigars is a mild cigar with lots of flavor.

Enter The Edge Lite. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

 

Cigar Sasquatch- Villiger 1888 Robusto

14 Aug

There is no reality. There is only perception.

That statement is at the heart of the question, “If a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, would it make a sound?” The short answer is, of course, “Who cares.” From a physics standpoint, the answer is yes, the falling tree creates pressure waves in the air known as sound. But from a philosophical standpoint, the big answer is vaguely similar to the short answer: Who cares.

The world is what we imagine it to be. The very notion of “Self-Awareness” has the precondition of “Aware,” without which, there is no self Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Full Reviews, Natural, Robustos

 

Tasty Tuesday: Gispert Maduro Lonsdale

10 Aug

Gispert Cigars are another classic Cuban brand resurrected in name, and now offered by Altadis. This moderately-priced line features Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers and a Nicaraguan binder, and the Maduro version has a handsome medium-brown San Andreas Maduro wrapper. I selected the Lonsdale (6½x44) in this blend. It’s sharply pressed, with a solid roll and a smooth veinless capa, and the 5-pack as reviewed has rested 17 months.

The initial flavors of this cigar are an earthy sweetness, with a creamy café mocha flavor Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Coronas, Maduro, Natural, Tasty Tuesday

 

Tasty Tuesday Sampler Volume 1

27 Jul

With this edition of Cigar Sasquatch, I return to the original concept for Tasty Tuesday, which is short reviews of affordable cigar brands in the never-ending quest for a diamond in the rough. It’s a chance for me to work through some singles and miscellaneous cigars in the Sasquatch-a-dor, and to check out some mystery blends that might fly under the radar. Think of it as a herf-tastic grab bag of sorts.

The cigars under evaluation today are the Cuvee 151 Robusto (5×50), the Plasencia Reserva Organica Corona (6¼x44), and the Sancho Panza Caballero (6¼x45) Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Coronas, Lonsdales, Maduro, Natural, Robustos, Tasty Tuesday

 

Cigar Sasquatch- Oliva Serie V Double Robusto

17 Jul

One of the most highly acclaimed affordable cigar brands over the last year has been the Oliva Serie V, an all-ligero blend from the Oliva Cigar Company. This brand is the full-bodied brother to the lighter Serie G, and a spicier counterpart to the full-bodied Serie O. I chose the beefy Double Robusto (5×54).

This Nicaraguan puro features a hearty all-ligero blend of Jalapa longfillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a beautiful sun grown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. Roll is smooth and supple Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Full Reviews, Natural, Robustos

 

Cigar Sasquatch Independence Day Special- CAO America Potomac

03 Jul

I have to imagine the founding fathers were cigar lovers. Picture it. It’s July, 1776. You’re in Philadelphia, close to the Conestoga Valley, birthplace of the “Stogie.” You’re locked in a room with 50 or so lawyers and farmers. It’s hotter than hell, and humid, and you’ve been drinking brandy and rum since breakfast. Someone’s going to light a cigar.

So now we celebrate The Grand Experiment of a government by the people, a shocking idea, to be sure. John Adams suggested that “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” I’d say he hit it pretty close to the mark, but he left out one key ingredient… great cigars.

The CAO America was blended to celebrate America, and to showcase the best of America’s contribution to cigar making. I selected the “Potomac,” a beefy robusto Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Full Reviews, Maduro, Natural, Robustos

 

Tasty Tuesday: Brick House Toro

29 Jun

Brick House Cigars are a new blend from J.C. Newman Cigar Company, and are rapidly becoming one of my favorite modestly-priced premiums. This resurrected brand was made to honor the heritage of the original Brick House brand, a Cuban puro made for Julius Caesar Newman and the cigar company he founded in 1895. It’s a Nicaraguan puro, and features a hearty blend of all Cuban-seed tobaccos wrapped in a toothy Havana “Subido” wrapper.

The construction of the Toro (6×52) is rock-solid. The roll is Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Natural, Tasty Tuesday, Toros

 

Cigar Sasquatch- Tatuaje Cojonu 2003

26 Jun

Cigar lovers, by their very nature, also often delight in the other gustatory pleasures, including fine foods, beers, wines, and liquors. The Cigar Sasquatch is no exception, and I’ve been privileged recently to experience a number of pinnacle moments in my life as a foodie and connoisseur of fine spirits. In the span of less than a month, I enjoyed the finest steak I’ve ever eaten, the best Bloody Mary I ever drank, and the finest and most expertly prepared piece of bacon (yes, bacon) I’ve ever had (not coincidentally, in the same meal, I also ate the best flapjacks I’ve ever had, too).

I also recently ate the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten. Read the rest of this entry »

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