Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review of Nestor Miranda Collection Dominicano Rosado Piramide

Pleasantly surprised by the Nestor Miranda Dominican Rosado Piramide (torpedo). Perfect draw, substantial smoke production and  a nice woody character with a dash of molasses sweetness.  Burned well throughout, with no touch-up required, and the flavor was consistent with no bitter notes or souring until after the 2/3 mark. This cigar is not as intense as the Nestor Miranda special selections, nor does it develop or change, but it is rich and full bodied. A very good corojo cigar, especially if you can win a bundle for under $30 on the bidding sites, which I was fortunate enough to do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review of Corojo Especial by Rocky Patel

The Corojo Especial torpedo by Rocky Patel is a wondrous, inexpensive cigar that I stumbled upon courtesy of the diligent marketers at, who slipped one into a sampler pack. If I had known this cigar existed two years ago, I would have bought a few bundles instead of some of the overpriced dogs hogging space in my humidor.

This review is more objective than most because this mysterious cigar includes no manufacturer identification on its band - just the words "Corojo Especial" and lots of flowery bronze artwork. I took it on vacation with no Internet access, and smoked it without knowing who made it - a blind taste test if there ever was one. After I came home I did some frenzied web searching, because I absolutely had to know.

Lo and behold, it's a Rocky Patel toss-off, a cheap bundled production that apparently didn't make the grade in the marketplace. But just because it's cheap doesn't mean I can forget what happened when I smoked it: The Corojo Especial simply blew me away.

It's expertly rolled, with a beautiful deep brown hue, slightly coarse in appearance but constructed as expertly as a $12.00 cigar. It lit and drew perfectly (an open but cool draw, just the way I like it) and tasted as good as any top-line corojo I've smoked. The smoke was full-bodied but medium in strength, with lots of flavor, never a bitter streak, and fine performance to the nub. This is one of those cigars that makes you feel like you're eating your favorite dessert; it just keeps delivering puff after puff of nutty, earthy, creamy pleasure. I had to restrain myself from chugging on it like a choo-choo train.

Did I like this cigar, you ask? Here are a few comparisons to help you picture its flavor:
Either this was "first stick luck" or the RP Corojo Especial is a secret that few people are in on. I know we've all had the experience of a great cigar that doesn't duplicate on the 2nd or 3rd smoking - so if anyone else has tried a few Corojo Especials, I'd like to know if the quality holds up over multiple outings.

I'm damned tempted to buy two or three bundles of these before everybody else finds out. They're only $49.95 for a bundle of 20 at the cigarsdirect site. I'd say buy a bundle and split them up with your friends, but you might regret that. After you've smoked one, you'll probably want to keep the rest for yourself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review of Alec Bradley American Classic Blend - Corona

The Alec Bradley American Classic Blend offers a decent-looking and well-constructed corona, sized 5.5 x 42. I found it to be much stronger than advertised, but a little on the sharp side. Good draw, lots of body in the smoke, flavor fairly basic but better than expected for a Connecticut wrapped cigar. The taste leans  towards the standard Fuente series, not the dreaded sheet-of-paper taste of many Connecticuts I've tried. It got rather peppery in the middle - a quality I enjoy.

Not an exciting or powerful cigar, but worth trying if you like medium strength and the Dominican cigar experience as a rule - with some black pepper thrown in. I'm not saying this is a Dominican cigar (I haven't read the specs) but it reminds me of many Dominicans I've had. I find it one-dimensional but it might be a dimension many smokers enjoy.

Review of Victor Sinclair Bohemian Red Chisel

Nothing much good to say about this cigar. It's hard as a rock to the touch. Cutting back the chisel reveals poor workmanship. Draw is tough and tight. Upon lighting, mild ashy flavor progresses very little. A few nuances of wood and sweetness come through - barely discernable. You puff and puff and nothing much happens. I gave up after the halfway point and had a horrible taste in my mouth the next day.

Bad cigar at any price. Not a "poor man's bargain" because it simply can't be smoked. Stay away. Don't bid on it at the auctions. Don't buy it when it's on sale.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review of El Mejor Espresso Gordo

The El Mejor Espresso Gordo is a short (4.5 inch) fat (60 ring) box-pressed cigar that displays as the same deep, rich flavor as the other vitolas in this series--if you are lucky enough to get one that's rolled well enough to smoke.

I've smoked three and they were all constructed horribly. The first two had uneven draw and burn, with center tunneling so badly I had to let them go out. The wrapper seemed made of some fire-proof substance - it just wouldn't burn. I cut both of them back and started over. At the halfway point, they finally burned properly.

The third one, however, was a real doozy. It fired up OK. But after about 5 puffs the burn wormed its way deep into the cigar and came out the side of the wrapper - a big fiery knothole of ruin. You cannot smoke a cigar with a hole burning in its side. This is the kind of cigar you would get in hell, for torture, if hell came with cigars. The devil would laugh his head off as you puffed in futility and sank back into the burning morass from which you had crawled in hopes of a decent smoke.

Because of these three rather hellish experiences, it's hard for me to recommend the gordo. If you happen to be stuck with any, I'd suggest dry-boxing for a few days before you light up. I left one half-smoked in my garage, came back out a few days later, cut it back and finished it off. I was amazed at how good the last two inches were. 

The flavor really is remarkable for a cigar this cheap, but too bad about the construction. The other vitolas in my experience are better-rolled and provide the easy draw which makes for an exciting, inexpensive smoke.

Warning: All the El Mejor Espressos are strong and NOT complex or subtle. Either you will love them or find them harsh and punishing. Try one before you buy a box. If you don't like strength, stay away.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review of Nestor Miranda Doppelbok

The Nestor Miranda Doppelbok is a cheap cigar worth blogging about. It retails at for only $39.99 per bundle of 20 and packs quite a bit of punch and flavor. I have smoked 4 of them and they are consistently open-drawing, full-powered, tasty smokes. Very rich and satisfying for a cigar priced this low. They consist of a Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler.

I  like the Doppelbok better than Nestor Miranda's more expensive offerings such as the Special Selection (burns too hot) and '89 Oscuro (not rich enough for my taste). I think the Doppelbok has more flavor and "oomph" than either of those. The Doppelbok is a great cigar for a breezy night or times when you're "on the run" or otherwise not positioned to appreciate a subtle cigar.

I would describe the flavor of the Doppelbok as woody with a sub-layer of flint or mineral and hints of melon-like sweetness. The experience of smoking this straightforward, easy-drawing cigar reminds me of Indian Tabac Super Fuerte robustos, my favorite low-priced cigars. The Dobbelbok comes in a close second. 

It shares qualities with other cigars I like including:
  • Indian Tabac Super Fuerte Robusto (habano)
  • Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic 1979
  • Nestor Miranda Special Selection
  • Oliva Series G Cameroon robusto
  • Rocky Patel Edge Corojo toro
  • Rocky Patel Olde World robusto (natural/corojo)
If you like any of those cigars, you might enjoy the Doppelbok as a low-investment alternative.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

5 Vegas Triple A revisited

About a year ago I got my hands on two 5 Vegas Triple A cigars and was not impressed by the first one. It seemed harsh and bitter.

However after a 11 months of humidor rest, I took out the second one and can only say: Wow! Other reviewers are right: This is a deep, delicious, full-bodied smoke with a straightforward maduro flavor about as rich as they come. What lacks in nuance and development (there is none) is made up for in volume and cool strength. The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper is a winner and makes the Triple A completely different than the "Standard" 5 Vegas Series A.

If you have liked the flavor of the standard Series A but wished it just had more depth and power, the Triple A may please you very much. I am tempted to buy a box of these as a "go to" cigar.

The Triple A  reminded me of some of the better Cu-Avana Intenso robustos I've had (Intensos are not always good, but some of them are excellent). Also reminded me of Pepin JJ maduros, La Flor Dominicana Grand Maduro #6, and Montecristo Media Noche.

Here's the good part: The 5 Vegas Triple A tastes better than all those cigars.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 Vegas Limitada 2009 - Respectable

I give a respectful nod to the 5 Vegas Limitada 2009, a medium-bodied belicoso (6.2 x 52) with some gentle, understated flavor suggestions of nutmeg, vanilla, and pepper. I expected a little more lushness at its price (box of 25 for $200 at Cigars International). However it draws well, burns perfectly, and looks fantastic.

It is obviously a well-constructed cigar. The subtle flavors start to come through during the middle and play out to the end. A gentle ride that gains in intensity, never venturing past medium strength.

If you like mild Ashtons, Montecristos, etc, the 5 Vegas 09 will probably make your taste buds sizzle. I found it bit mild for a corojo-wrapped cigar. The Limitada from a few years back - 2006 - was much fuller and exciting, and the 5-Vegas Miami line remains so, along of course with the knee-knocking 5-Vegas Cask Strength.

Though not the richest dessert in the store, the Limitada 09 is an interesting blend that deserves a try. Do not be discouraged by the awfulness of the standard 5-Vegas "Classic" cigars. The other 5 Vegas blends are all worth trying, and the Limitada 09 is no exception.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Your brain on "Acid"

I've tried several Acid cigars, and in a nutshell: Either you like Drew Estate's unique flavor (resulting from curing in a "secret mixture of oils and herbs") or you don't. All the Acids I've tried share a similar but interesting flavor - I don't think he varies the curing - it's all the same formula from what I can tell.

That being said, I do enjoy that "secret blend" on occasion. I don't enjoy the fact that he often adds a flavored tincture to the head of his cigars - which smacks of Swisher Sweets - and in my book a cigar should stand on its own, no silly gimmicks. Short reviews:

Acid Liquid: I've smoked several of these and they tend to have a pleasingly open draw and nice flavor, on the mild side and getting stronger as you smoke. Again, either you like the oils and spices or you don't. A straightforward cigar with no sugar painted on the head.

Acid Blondie: Tastes like a miniature Liquid, but a tighter draw and milder at first. The tip is flavored (yuck!) but the smoke tastes good. This is a narrow, 4-inch long cigar which bored me at first but became wonderfully thick and flavorful in the last 2 inches. I wished it would go on. I managed to get nearly 40 minutes out of it by nubbing.

Acid "Juicy Lucy" - the flavored tip wiped out any possibility of actually tasting the smoke in this itsy-bitsy cigar. I've heard it's good. Good luck tasting anything but sugar.

Java robusto by Drew Estate and Rocky Patel - Not really an "Acid" blend, I guess, but a cousin of the family. Again, the flavored tip ruined this for me. I could sense the smoke had some nice coffee flavor lurking forlornly beneath - but my tongue had fake honey all over it, so I could only surmise.

Acid Opulence 3 robusto - not exactly as "rich and chewy" as the blurb at Cigars International would indicate. It's a dark-black bomber that is surprisingly mild and rather high priced. Again, that pesky flavored tip ruins everything. Get rid of it please, Mr. Drew!

Acid Ltd. Def Sea (6.0" x 52) - a nicely rolled torpedo which tastes- guess what - almost exactly like the Acid Liquid but a bit more refined. No sugar on the tip - so this actually tastes like a real cigar.

Summary: If you're in the mood for an Acid (think: cigar meets incense) almost any of them will do. I prefer the Liquid and Def Sea because they aren't painted with sugar tips.