Friday, May 28, 2010

5 Vegas AAA: Burnt toast and coffee grinds

UPDATE: 4-30-2011
Humidor rest does this cigar wonders and seems to have eliminated any of the "burnt" flavor characteristics that I referenced below. See my latest review.


Original review 5-28-2010:

The 5 Vegas AAA is indeed a more powerful cigar than the standard 5 Vegas A line. However, that doesn't necessarily make it better.

Upon receiving my 5 Vegas AAA from Cigars Direct, I let it sit in the humidor for about a week before lighting. I had high hopes but after the first few puffs I knew it wasn't going to be as good as some of the 5 Vegas Miami vitolas or the butt-kicking Cask Strength II.

I found the AAA to be one dimensional and somewhat harsh. If you lean towards coffee you might like it, although it tasted too much of "burnt" in my opinion: Burnt toast, burnt chocolate, burnt marshmallows or just plain old used coffee grinds.

Other than the flavor this cigar burns well, produces full rich smoke and maintains even character all the way the way through to the end. It might be your cup of tea if you like the charcoal side of the flavor spectrum. I just don't happen to.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Casa Magna Pikito: Best Petite Corona Ever?

I got the Casa Magna Pikito (i.e. petite corona) from Cigars Direct and it looked so good I had to fire it up without giving it any humidor rest. It's a petite corona with a magnificent looking brown wrapper, and it burns and tastes as good as it looks.

I've tried many small cigars over the years, trying to find one that performs as well (or nearly as well) as a top-line robusto. Finally, I've found it. The Casa Magna Pikito is hands-down the best burning and best-tasting petite corona I've ever experienced.

The flavor is medium bodied and full of nuanced, balanced flavors that are hard to pin down because so various and complex. I would characterize them as very deep woody flavors with tones coffee, brown sugar and spice underneath.

The cigar lit easily, had a perfect draw, and performed excellently all the way to the nub. I was in cigar heaven for nearly an hour. This cigar is the closest you will likely get to saying: It smokes just like a big-ring cigar.

Very mysteriously, the order page at Cigars Direct features this statement: "Casa Magna is not intended for online sale but at Cigarsdirect always find a way to bring the best and most sought after cigars to our customers. Don't miss out on this fabulous new line!"

I guess if you're quiet about it, they'll let you order online. I'd recommend you try at least a 5-pack of these and it may change your attitude about petite coronas. A petite corona doesn't have to be a tight, harsh, crappy tasting cigar. It can be fabulous, like the Casa Magna Pikito.

Friday, May 14, 2010

RP ITC 10th Anniversary Toro

Slight disappointment with the Rocky Patel ITC 10th Anniversary toro. First half was great, just like the other ITC 10ths I've tried (robusto and torpedo) but the second half had bitter notes that compromised the experience.
In addition, there was significant unravelling at the head. By the time I abandoned this cigar (with about 2 inches left on the nub) it was looking pretty splintery. I don't mind a delicate wrapper but my patience wears thin when the flavor drops off.
People are consistently winning 5-packs of ITC 10th Aniversaries on cigarbid for $11 and sometimes even $9. In addition, Cigars International has recently had special offers on boxes as low as $49.95. A real deal. Howver, I would not recommend the toro.Try the robusto or the torpedo; they're top-line Rocky Patel bargains that taste great and burn well despite the flaking. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Padilla Dominus Churchill: One of the Best

I've had a lot of strong cigars and a lot of expensive ones. The Padilla Dominus Churchill is simply one of the best.

In general I'm wary of Churchills - especially if they are 50 ring or fatter. I've often found the 48 ring size to be a better bet - more strength from the get-go and better performance down the length of the cigar. This one proves my point.

The Padilla Dominus Churchill lights well, draws like a dream, and has a wonderfully cool, intense straightforward maduro flavor that is equal to or better than such gems as the 5 Vegas Miami Churchill or the Padilla Miami Churchill. That's saying a lot, because the P-Miami is a kick-ass cigar.

It is as if someone took a Cu-Avana Intenso, sanded out the rough edges, loosened up the draw, cooled down the furnace, added a hint of 5-Vegas Series A, a dash of Alec Bradley Maxx, a soupcon of Ashton VSG, a trace of Camacho Corojo, a dusting of Carlos Torano 1916 Cameroon, a drop of sweat from an Indian Tabac Maduro and let er rip. My God what a cigar.

ITC Lonsdale - Too Tight to Mention

The Rocky Patel ITC 10th Anniversary lonsdale would have been a great cigar save for the tight prohibitive draw. The flavor is definitely there, but you just can't get a decent volume of smoke. I took this one nearly to the nub, hoping it would open up, but it never did.

Maybe it was a bad apple, but lonsdales are always a 50/50 bet. Rollers have a hard time keeping them loose and I probably won't try another one.

If you've had better luck, God bless you. The ITC 10th torpedos and the robustos are excellent. Try them-- if you're a Rocky lover you won't be disappointed. Handle them with care, they tend to unravel, but otherwise they smoke like a dream...