Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cubao #1 (Churchill, 7 1/8" and 49 ring gauge)

Cubao #1

It's a really nice July night so I decided to break out a Cubao #1 from the rustic box of them I bought last Summer...

Here is what Cigarbid has to say about them:

Cubao is a dark and oily number with simple, understated bands. Blended by Don Pepin Garcia, this Nicaraguan premium comes from the two-man team behind 601 Serie. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian-grown Sumatra Oscuro that’s thick and leathery. Beneath this leaf, a variety of vintage, Cuban-seed long-fillers from the black, volcanic soils of Nicaragua. Upon lighting, Cubao promotes a buttery-smooth bouquet that seems to cling to the palate, leaving behind bold traces of oak and leather. Medium in body, this is a fine cigar backed by luxurious aromas.

I enjoyed this stogie with a Guinness and watched some 24, Season 7 on the patio...good stuff!

I really like this cigar. Unlike many other long cigars, this thing starts up with real flavor the second the torch hits the tip. The burn was perfect and the plumage was full and aromatic. I'll keep it short: this cigar is one of my faves (4 of 4) and is a great cigar-consistent every time.

Here's Michelle playing with our new kitten, Blossom.

Here's a pic of my bro...visited us this last weekend and we burned a few stogies and kicked back some brews.

...and here's Thane, getting ready to enjoy another book outside!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coronado "Hammer" (box press 6.5" x 47)

Coronado "Hammer" (box press 6.5" x 47)

Wow. The Coronado (by La Flor Dominicana) is consistantly among my favorite cigars of all time. I think I've reviewed it before (in a different vitola) but it deserves some more attention so here goes.

This particular size is a Holt's exclusive. Here's what they have to say about the line:

Coronado is a boutique line of cigars handmade in the Dominican Republic by Litto Gomez. Orangish Nicaraguan wrappers accompany a fiery blend of aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. The flavor is robust and intoxicating. When you first fire up one of these bombshells your palate is immediately flooded with a cornucopia of flavors including dark chocolate, assorted peppers and fresh cinnamon. This cigar remains strong all the way down to the nub, yet retains remarkable balance throughout. Its no wonder the Double Corona was recently ranked #2 on Cigar Aficionado's "Top 25 Cigars of 2006."

I caught a sale and bought the "Hammers" for around $80 for 20 units. Though I prefer this cigar in the normal formats (which are thicker and possess more strength), this box pressed thin-boy was an incredible bargain at $4 a stick.

I enjoyed this cigar with some Costa Rican coffee from the Roasterie-a treat in and of itself. I took a chance on having this cigar this early but I had enjoyed a full breakfest so thought I'd try it. I'm glad I took the chance. It was the perfect beginning of a fun-filled Sunday.

I've smoked through that box (only have a handful left) and they are amazingly consistant-in all ways good. The wrappers have a bit of an orange/brown leather color and smell a little exotic. The first few puffs of this one imparted flavors of paprika or maybe curry or some other food spice. Oddly, this is the only stogie I've had that gives off these kinds of flavors and I really savor them. Later the cigar gave up chocolate notes, as well as flavors of brown sugar and some floral notes that I enjoyed but cannot describe. This stogie never disappoints and often takes me on a roller coast of flavor, all the while kicking up delicious aromas.

I have found that these cigars tend to do a little better at around 70 (I normally keep my stogies at 65 humidity)-they draw better and give up more of their flavors.

This is a solid "4" on my 4 point cigar rating scale: It is outstanding, among the best I've known. It does have a bit of strength that sometimes sneaks up (it is smooth but gets more potent as it goes!) so I don't recommend it for enjoyers of mild cigars. I like it so much that I'm even getting to the point where I like the band (a strange gold and reddish thing with a crowned tiger in the middle).

And here's my faithful companion enjoying her Sunday morning paper and giving me an enigmatic smile!

Cuesta-Rey Centenario (toro)

Cuesta-Rey Centenario (toro, 6 x 50)

I picked this stogie up about a year ago in KC with my bro and my son Ryan at a little cigar store Rico found. It got to age a year or so primarily due to the fact that I associated it with a nice visit Rico and the fact that it is a Connecticut wrapped number-which generally don't "do" it for me. They tend to be a little bland and sometimes run bitter...

Here's the stogi...attractive enough with a nice band---really like these "classic" looking bands.

Here's a close up of the band.

I lit this sucker up in the early morning and immediately realized that I was in for more than I expected. The stick put off a goodly amount of aromatic smoke...and gave of flavors of nuts mixed with a buttery smoothness. As I got deeper into the stick, the "fullness" of the experience increased, moving the stick (by the end) closer to the medium end of flavor and potency. At this point the aroma really picked up too and I felt (like I rarely do when smoking these really light colored sticks) like I was smoking a "real cigar".

I enjoyed this stogie enough to look it up...and here is some historical info about the maker of the line, Newman. I grabbed from Walt at

In 1895, Julius Cesar Newman hand rolled his first 500 cigars for the family grocer in Cleveland, Ohio. One hundred and thirty years and four generations later, J.C. Newman Cigar Company is America’s oldest family-owned premium cigar maker. Headquartered in historic 1910 cigar factory in Tampa’s Ybor City district, the Newman Family is partnered in making and distributing many of the world’s finest cigars.

Summary: This smoke is a great morning smoke. It would also seem to be a good stick to have around to give buddies that don't smoke much-it shouldn't overpower them like many of the new brands. I rate this a solid 2 (on my 4 point scale), which means that it is a really good cigar. I'll probably buy another for another morning treat or to share with a friend but I don't see myself picking up a box ever.

Here's a shot of some of the 4th of July events we enjoyed at our house this year...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lake Texoma Vacation Smokes

Smokin' in at Lake Texoma!

I took the Family to Lake Texoma to meet up with Mom and Dad at their timeshare there...had a blast. Here are some quick reviews and highlights...for more pictures email me or hit Michelle's blog.

Here I am on the primary deck, enjoying a Illusione Holy Lancero...a Father's Day gift from Michelle. The smoke was great; this particular lancero is a little thicker than most and quite long; allowed me to enjoy the earthy flavors while hanging with Ry and Dad. Dad made some dirty martinis which added even more to the experience. I rate the Holy Lancero a solid 3, creeping into 4 territory-you should try this cigar, even if you are leery of lanceros.

Here's Ry smoking an Oliva V robusto. It's becoming his smoke of choice-in fact, I don't think I've seen him smoke anything else for months. While I prefer the figurado and the lancero in this blend, I can't image that his smoke was anything less than superb.

I enjoyed finishing this book and this smoke one morning...a Don Pepin Garcia White label JJ Lancero while there...another Father's Day present, this was one of the most relaxing and pleasant mornings I've had in a long, long time. Stogie rates a "3" with smoothness and construction being the best parts.

Here I am at one of the resort's pools...enjoing an El Rey del was a solid, earthy, Honduran smoke. It was a perfect cigar for this type of deal-a tasty number but cheap enough that, if I needed to jump in the pool and dunk my kids, I wouldn't regret it. I rate it a solid 2 and a great value. Its construction and consistancy are really impressive (I've sampled a box and never been disappointed).

Another morning I enjoyed starting this book (Dan Abnett rocks!). The stogie was a Perdomo Lot 21...a phenomenal breakfest smoke. I think that this one was the "maduro" version but the maduro was so light (in color and flavor) that it is hard to say. Regardless, it was a thick, buttery smoke that delivered pounds of smoke and satisfaction. I rate it a "2" and, along with the El Rey Del Mundo, I consider it one of the best of the "cheaper" cigars I enjoy. Unless you really are wanting a "power house" stogie, this guy satisfies...and is also a good one to give to non cigar smoking buddies who want to try a stick.

And this is what I enjoyed today, upon my triumphant return: an Oliva V Lancero. This is a fine smoke and a bargain. I really don't think you can go wrong with Oliva in general and the Oliva V is (to me) the best of their line up, especially when you consider the price. I rate it a 3, only because I know that the perfecto version is better, and it is easily a 4.

Oh yeah.

And here is the bonus shot of me leaping from the small waterfall at Sulpher Springs...when I realized how close our resort was to this infamous site, I knew I had to take the Family. I'd like to give a special "shout out" to Sethro Max, who introduced me to this fantastic ice cold swimming hole a few years ago (when he took us early in the morning when it was way too cold to be jumping into ice water!)...and I have to say, it's at least as fun to jump in when the temperature is over 100 outside.