Sunday, January 18, 2009

Greycliff Red Label: Good But Not Worth $16

In pursuit of the ever-elusive "perfect cigar" I placed wild-ass bids on three Graycliff Original PGX Toros at and won them for only 5 bucks each. This made me wary, because these things retail at famous smoke for $335 for a box of 24. Wow! What a bargain, right?

First, you must understand that this is a medium-strength cigar leaning towards the mild side. The appearance, light, draw and burn are impeccable. The taste however is a bit too subtle and soft for my liking. As the cigar burned toward the mid-point, it evidenced an occasional bitter aftertaste which I had to combat by drawing with less strength. This goes against my grain as a lover of rich and full-flavored cigars.

The famous website praises the Original PGX as being able to "hit flavor peaks other brands can only hope to reach." This is hands-down not true. I've smoked plenty of other mild-medium cigars that performed as well and had equally good if not better flavor characteristics.

Final verdict: An excellent mild cigar if you manage to get it for 5 bucks. Not worth much more and certainly not worth paying the standard $81 for a five-pack.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Decent Novelty Smoke: IT Maduro Teepee

I call the Indian Tabac Maduro Teepee a "novelty" cigar because of its unusual shape: It has a wide, bell-bottom foot which gradually narrows, cone-like, all the way up to the head. The idea being, if you stand this cigar on its foot, it looks like a slim teepee.

So much for the novelty. The Indian Tabac Maduro Teepee tastes almost exactly like the shorter, stubbier maduro boxer, with the exception that its draw is tighter and it takes a bit longer for the smoke to build in fullness. By the time you've smoked off an inch, you're getting the strength you expect.

The teepees can be won at cigarbid for 7 bucks per five-pack if you're an early bidder. However, I prefer the maduro boxers because of their friendlier draw. You can win 10 maduro boxers for 14 bucks in the Samplers section at cigarbid - but they are only listed about once per month.

Keep in mind, all the IT classics are cheapies that can vary in performance. One of every six or eight will be a dog that burns wrong or tastes like utter crap. You'll just have to throw it away. Call it the "cost of being cheap".

It works for me.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Walking the Dog with Sancho

The Sancho Panza Double Maduro Quixote is a short (4.5 x 50) and flavorful Sancho. I smoked this dark little oscuro-wrapped treat while walking the dog in freezing cold, breezy weather. It's really hard to judge a cigar's character under these conditions, but the flavor was definitely rich and nuanced. As good as an Indian Tabac Maduro Boxer, and at a similar price point.

I can't wait to try one of these under summery conditions. For a cheap cigar, it seems to be a great value.


Friday, January 2, 2009

La Flor Dominicana Ligero L300

The La Flor Dominicana Ligero L300 is a nice, moderately powerful cigar that lights easily, burns well, and picks up slightly in intensity as you reach the final two inches. I was expecting more depth and nuance of flavor, however, based on my experience with the chisel maduros, which are a more recent creation by this label. That rich, leathery/hickory undertone that makes the chisel maduros so unique is missing from the L300.

The L300 in retrospect seems like a transitional blend, a pit stop on the way to Litto's more impressive double ligeros. I will not likely buy more of these but will glady smoke up the three I've got left. They are as good as a Padron 1964 Imperial, fairly similar in strength and flavor, and can be won at cigarbid for 17 bucks per five pack, less than half of what the 64s auction for.