Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brick House Toro (6 x 52")

I'm lighting up the Brickhouse toro by the Newman Family...picked it up a few months ago after I started seeing buzz on it on the web. Apparently, many believe this to be one of the best new "budget" smokes (costs less than $5 at a cigar store)-in this economy, who wouldn't be interested in trying it out?

The cigar has a decent appearance with a kind of understated red, white, and cream band. The stogie feels heavy in the hand, like it is chock full of goodness. As I prepared to light up, I realized that The Smiths was playing on my Pandora radio and I wondered if I ever thought I'd jam to The Smiths while lighting up a stogie...not 100% certain that Morrissey would appreciate the pairing!

The prelight smells peppery and sweet. The initial draw was a bit loose and it seemed to have trouble lighting completely (some blackened areas that don't look lit were prominent). After a few puffs I started picking up some medium strength tobacco with an underlying mild sweetness. I paused after these first few puffs, and savored the overall experience...and realized that The Smiths rock just fine with this stick!

Here is some background from a cigar sales website:

The Newman family has brought back one of their vintage brands at an affordable price.  Eric & Bobby Newman, 3rd generation cigar makers, have recreated the Brick House cigar that was originally created by their grandfather, Julius Caesar Newman. The Brick House cigar was originally produced to honor J.C. Newman’s rich family heritage and childhood memories of his family's brick house.  (Back then, it was a big deal to have a house made of brick.)

Brick House cigars feature a "puro" blend of hand-selected Nicaraguan tobacco and a medium-brown Havana Subido wrapper.

Here I am enjoying this stogie.

The more I smoked this cigar, the more I like it. The smoke quantity and quality is high, the appearance is high, and the flavors pretty good too. I like the pepper and tartness but the underlying sweetness would probably keep me from smoking very many of these. I'd call it a medium on flavor and body.  I can see many people really enjoying them, especially for the price. I give it a 3 on my 4 point scale and look forward to smoking another to confirm. 

Here is a bonus shot of H.T. and some grandkiddos!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Smokes

Hello Faithful Readers!

It has been very busy and the weather has been super-nasty-that is the only rational explanation for how my little brother has managed to utterly surpass my cigar reviews this month!

Though I have dutifully smoked a few stogies this month, I have somehow managed to fail to actually review them. In this one blog post, I shall attempt to rectify that with a few quickie reviews.

 I smoked this San Cristobal (Nicaraguan puro) over the weekend-these continue to be real treats. Full bodied, this stogie is made by Don Pepin Garcia for Ashton. The smoke has a fair amount of power and the flavors sort of flit in and out-I typically get some pepper as well as some tart "black cherry" and "charred meat" type of flavors. I read a few chapters of the Imperial Guard Omnibus  and talked to my bro on the phone-I rate the experience a 4 on my 4 point scale and the cigar a 4 as well.

 I few weeks ago I smoked a J. Fuego "Delerium" robusto while helping Dad feed the sheep. As I told the esteemed H.T. Reid, "This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of the type of experience I smoke cigars for. It is below freezing, outdoors, with high winds. And I'm holding a pitchfork". I can't really review the stogie considering the conditions and will need to revisit it.

 I honestly can't remember what I smoked on St. Patrick's but I do have a shot of my beer (guess which one) and Michelle's Harp. I'm really starting to appreciate this holiday as I get older.

Last Saturday I enjoyed the La Flor Dominicana "Mysterio", a rare cigar that runs around $20. The fact that the store I bought it from had three available for $10 each made the experience so much better.

This stick has a dark wrapper with light tips at each end. Though I often suspect these kinds of things as being gimicky, this stogie delivered fantastic flavors, plummage, and burn. At $20 a pop, I simply cannot afford these things very often but damn it was a fine stick. On my 4 point scale, I rate it an easy 4 and would consider it a super-premium.

As I'm writing this, I'm smoking a Padilla 1932, a stick that I have already reviewed. I picked up a box a year ago and have enjoyed a handful. With the year of aging, I am detecting very little change in the stick-it has great tobacco flavors, with a little pepper, and a little sweetness. It is super smooth, despite having some punch to it. I will say that I am not as enamoured with the Padilla line as I once was...but that may just be my evolving tastes-I seem to be preferring more full bodies smokes lately and Padilla's stuff is more medium or medium-full.

Here are a couple of bonus pics. My two little ones spend much of their time trying to kill each other it these are true rarities!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Padilla Series 68 Corojo Edicion Limitada 2009 (Salomon) AND The Cigar Stub

ejrpostback: 2010.02.13
This is sort of a dual review, both of my Padilla 68 cigar and my new cigar accessory, The Cigar Stub, noted below.
I split a pack of 10 with my bro last year and have been slowly wheedling away at my stock of 5 sticks. This one, I smoked at the Outlaw after my wife gave me my brainchild-realized: the Cigar Stub. I have for years been proclaiming the benefits of an invention I conceived (I'd say back in 2003 -- aka "aught-3" -- or so) that I then called the "Cigar Arm". Evidently, some brilliant person actually stepped up and engineered just such a device. Wish it had been me!

Cigar Stub Review
The idea was that sometimes the truly best part of a cigar is the wee nub, when you most want to eek the last bits of heartiest flavor from it. Unfortunately, that's also when you find your fingers creeping further back on the most tenuous grasp as the burn encroaches on your fingertips and lips!
So why not invent a device that let's you grasp that last nub gracefully and smoke it down to the last drop? I first thought some kind of bar that t-boned into a horizontal spike at the top could 'spike' the cigar. But later I decided that such an approach would not only be inelegant, but would result in problems with your draw, plumage leak, and possibly destruction or damage to the nub of your stogie. So then I envisioned more of an extended 'clip' that would clamp only as tightly as needed. As some people have said "a roach clip for your cigar".

And with its easily pocket-sized, stainless steel cylinder shape, which extends out into a slick retractable pincher, including a slider to lock the clamp to the desired diameter, this looks like the perfect realization of my brainchild.
Upon further usage, I discovered that the Cigar Stub is the bomb, better than I even realized when I was imagining it years ago. The real incarnation of this idea turns out to do a good job of holding the cigar (no matter what the thickness) without squeezing it too tightly or damaging it. Plus a nice bonus I have come to experience using the Stub is that it actually seems to "focus" the draw a bit more -- delivering you slightly more "directed" puffs, which actually improves your smoking experience. The flavor and especially the draw and the plumage are a bit enhanced by its use.

Now, that said, it is extraneous and perhaps a little goofy-looking in usage, so I don't usually use it until halfway into the cigar or further, but for that last half or quarter of a cigar, I actually find that it not only lets me enjoy the cigar longer, but also actually becomes easier to hold in a relaxed way, without "worrying about it".

Padilla '68 Review
Now I am loathe to review this cigar right now... May have to redo it honestly, because it isn't nearly as awesome as I remember all my previous experiences with the same sticks of that batch.
... [time delay]

Aw, good. I will say the flavor has improved considerably after passing the bulbous peak at the far end. (Initially with THIS instance the flavor had been a bit bitter, but in most other specimens of this type, I didn't have that problem that I recall.) Now, though, after that first quarter, the plumage is thicker and more creamily aromatic, and the puffs are a mixture of tasty cream and spice. It really is a great cigar, and most of my experiences have been a little more straightforward.

  • Appearance - 7 \ Large, dark wrapper, cool double band with serialized number, and a funky salomon form factor
  • Burn - 9 \ Fine
  • Draw - 5 \ OK, but a little tight- improved by the Cigar Stub
  • Plumage - 8 \ Decent - also improved by the Cigar Stub
  • Flavor - 8 \ Nice and spicy, full-bodied, with a creamy taste/aroma
  • Overall - 8 \
  • Rt scale - 3 \
That said, I myself am not actually a fan of the funky salomon shape, but it doesn't preclude a good cigar experience. I just find it unwieldy and a little clunky. Also, I did enjoy the cigar with a super-rich white chocolate mocha coffee -- delicious but may have made the stogie initially seem bitter, so you may have to disregard that bit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nestor Miranda Special Selection (Rosado) "Coffee Break" (4 1/2" x 50)

Nestor Miranda Special Selection (Rosado) "Coffee Break" (4 1/2" x 50)

I've been on an ongoing quest to grab a decent "short smoke" for those Winter days when I have to smoke outside...and when I saw heard some buzz about this "Coffee Break" mini-cigar, I was interested. When I saw some at the Cigar Chateau in Wichita, I grabbed them-was pretty excited.

In keeping with the size of this smoke, I'll keep my review short. Yes, this is a decent small cigar. The burn is good, the flavor is just basic tobacco (but it has more "fullness" than most tiny smokes). The plummage is solid. It's a decent cigar to be sure.

Sadly, I can't ignore the cost. I gave $4.50 for each of the three I bought and that's too much for what you get with these. I sure wish that a guy could get ahold of a handful of small Winter cigars for closer to $2 each. Meh. I give this a "2" on my four point scale.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Remote post test

Well, with this being a largely cigar-oriented blog, I'll start by saying that I'm finishing off a strong but solid Joya de Nicaragua at a new-to-me watering hole named 'Grumpys' near the house.

But to the point, I'm really just testing the very cumbersome posting process of my phone and blogger. Over and out, soldiers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

La Gloria Cubana (well-aged)

ejr postback: 2010.02.04
Likely-years-aged La Gloria Cubana (from 2009 kc aficionados holiday party raffle).
  • Appearance - 8 \ nice but length makes (robusto?) thickness seem thinner. Dark brown wrapper. Looks like maybe a hint of blume? Funny sweet cloying aroma before lit.
  • Burn - 10 \ perfectly even.
  • Draw - 6 \ a little tight, but if it was too much looser, it would have smoked too fast.
  • Plumage - 9 \ above average, plus the aroma was also thick with the flavor described below, which added to it.
  • Flavor - 10 \ initial flavor really caught my attention... It had a whole different layer of flavor on top of the normal cigar flavor. Good. Different. Sort of more 'herbal' or 'dusty' or 'deep'. In a way the normal flavor-adjectives often fail me and with this especially, these words capture the whisp of recognition better than food or wood flavors. It did have something of an aftertaste of mild old pepper, that's the only way I can describe it. It really tasted very much like it had been blended with another type of plant than tobacco entirely. Having very limited experience with bloom, I wondered if it was related. The spicy undertones built slowly but progressively, providing variation and an extremely satisfying rhythm that built to a peppery powerhouse crescendo.
  • Overall - 10 \
  • Rt scale - 4 \
Smoked while reading technical manual on an Adobe product at Mulligan's. The picture doesn't do the gray spots of suspected bloom justice, and I know it's not really replicable, but definitely a worthy smoke worth mentioning. Possibly one of the best cigars I've ever smoked, though certainly different than most other greats.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

HL Illusione - "Holy Lancero"

20100312 HL Illusione

I pulled a little background info (see bullets below) off this fellow's fine review at, as well as one of his pictures of the band, which I had a hard time capturing with the little camera I was using.
  • Wrapper:Nicaraguan Puro
  • Binder:Nicaraguan Puro
  • Filler:Nicaraguan Puro
  • Size: 7 1/2″ x 40
Appearance - 6 \ just too thin (lancero) for my taste, and although the HL and illusione on the label were a cool dan-brown-illuminati style, it wasn't as cool with the rest of its plainness.
Burn - 8 \ quite good. It was a little off but never had to touch it up.
Draw - 9 \ great. Bordering on a little tight, but it made the stick last alittle longer, which was enjoyable.
Plumage - 9 \ fantastic, especially for a thinner cigar like this. Dense orbs of amoke with a rich and spicy aroma.
Flavor - 10 \ Excellent. See below. Much more flavor and strength than I expected.
Overall - 10 \ Just an awesome cigar.
Rt scale - 4 \ This makes it into that "top of the top" category of cigars for me.

Spicy, bold and full-flavored, especially for a lancero. A hint of edginess and bite that I actually liked because it didn't go too far and become bitterness. Somehow, with all that I might have detected a hint of caramel in it, but maybe that was the coffee residue in my mouth - though I wasn't drinking flavored joe or anything. It was raining and dark, with the temperature dropping as I watched the concrete ramp glisten before the open doors. Smoked while watching Chuck season 3 in the smokeshack until the battery died. I'm gonna need to work on that problem...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Various Other stuff from 2/26/2010 weekend in KC

ejr postback Date - 2/26-27/2010 - Part 2.
I wanted to give a nod to a few other great smokes we had that weekend as well. The Ashton VSG lancero I had Friday night was a tasty treat, despite not normally being a lancero man, myself.

And here I wanted to give a brief nod to continued use of my Valentine's Day gift, the Cigar Stub accessory (not to be confused with a cigar roach clip!!!)... Fuller review and notes on it coming soon.

Here's one of the first baddies T-Bone enjoyed, a La Flor Dominicana with brandished scimitars and red dunes on the band:

Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estates

ejr postback Date - 2/26/2010
I have promised some flashback reviews, and here's the first... Comes from a fun weekend where the bro came into town after a harrowing few months of broken dog bones and disheartening blizzards. Good to see him and enjoy some smokes, some great meals, a little Hendricks' Gin, and watching Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War.

Here we are enjoying the Outlaw.

Here's RT enjoying one of the many countless wise gems I passed along to him over the course of the weekend.

Mmmm... Coffee AND cigars... Heaven.

The following cigar was one we said we'd do a "dual review" of, as he picked one up for me and himself and we smoked them at the new Kansas Outlaw Cigar location.

Liga Privada No. 9 by Drew Estates
Here are my ratings:
  • App 9 \ striking, cool simple black pen signature on white, dark wrapper, nice blunted torpedo
  • Burn 8 \ very solid
  • Draw 8 \ fine
  • Plumage 10 \ great! Wonderful rich, peppery aroma
  • Flavor 9 \ was arresting in its pepperyness, very good, but so full-bodied it may have gotten in its own way... Seemed that there were some creamier layers that may have been too hard to discern that could have been better 'married'. But by far a small complaint because the base flavor was great.
  • Overall 9 \ just a great, pleasurable smoke.
  • Rt scale 4 \ Although I can complain about the cost (even though I didn't pay for mine!) and maybe that there was some nuance I thought I was missing -- I really, really enjoyed this bad boy. Just won't run out and buy another.

Final analysis: Great smoke, cool appearance and band especially, but value is tough at $15 per stick retail at outlaw. Very compelling taste, aroma and experience.
And here's RT enjoying a smoke earlier in the day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oliva V Belicoso (5" x 54)

Oliva V Belicoso

This little torpedo is from one favorite lines: the Oliva V. Though it is not my favorite from the line, it is a damn good smoke!

The dark wrapper was flawless. The band is attractive and easy to remove (something I really appreciate given my recent experiences with the Arturo Fuente King B cigar).  The prelight was rich and a little sweet.

I really don't know where to go with this review...the cigar is just damn good. I've sampled every size in the Oliva V line and gone through at least two boxes in the last year or two (my favorite being the figurado). The cigar never disappoints.

The smoking experience can best be described as "smooth power". Several times I have enjoyed the rich tobacco flavors to the nub, never once experiencing hardshness, surrounded by a haze of fragrant smoke...and stood up to realize that I needed to sit back down again. These are fullest bodies smokes I've had that manage to pack that power in a refined package-literally it's a steel fist in a velvet glove. Though this stick doesn't really have that many subtle flavors that I can pick out, the flavor is outstanding, as is the value (I think this stick cost me around $5).

This Nicaraguan puro is a solid 4 on my 4 point scale and may be my favorite cigar of all...when cost is factored in, the Oliva V has no competition at all.


Here I am enjoying this sweet stick on the way to Wright Park.


Here is my bonus cigar review guest: all played out!

La Gloria Cubana (robusto) (unique smoke)

La Gloria Cubana

This was a special smoke...the kind that was both a gift and a rare cigar that I can probably never get another of. This particular L.G.C. was given to me by my bro and was an aged stick-unsure of how old it was but I'm guessing five to ten years. Rico told me he had won it in some kind of cigar raffle and that it was a "very aged stogie" from some dude's collection.

I got a glimmer of a nice day and I jumped on it-grabbed up this robusto, microwaved up some coffee and I was out smoking my Lunch hour away...

Here's the layout-I was ready to go!

This stogie had been through several hands before it got to me...the wrapper had some small nicks and bumps. Overall it looked like it had outlasted whatever elements had stood against it but it hadn't gotten away unscathed.

Here's a close up of the label. I think that the modern versions of this cigar have a similar but more polished label.

The stogie almost ended up in the trash can-I spent about two minutes trying to light it-thought it was fire proof! After I got it lit, it started giving off these strange almost fungal flavors and odors and I was (again!) about to toss it...when I remembered how excited Rico had been the one he had smoked so I stuck it out.

I'm glad I did.

The stogie was all over the map-in a good way. After about four or five puffs, it kicked in an intense and powerful aroma that really satisfied. The flavors alternated between traditional maduro flavors, a leathery flavor, and even some strange vegetal/earthy/fungul  notes that (believe it!) were satisfying.

I give this cigar a solid "4"-it was one of the best cigars I've had and certainly my favorite "aged" cigar. Wish I could get more!