Monday, April 19, 2010

LG Diez "Americano" (5.75" x 46)

The LG is made by Litto Gomez (La Flor Dominicana) and is a Dominican Puro. I have been enjoying these for a year or so, off and on, and when Michelle suggested we go on a "Explore Southwest Kansas" trip this weekend, I grabbed it up. 

The cigar has a cool red/gold/black band but what gets my attention is the wrapper-in good light, it has a deep leathery color with a bit of orange. The color of the wrapper and the prelight aroma reminds me a great deal of the Coronado by La Flor Dominicana (one of my all-time favorite smokes). 

As I smoked this cigar, I couldn't shake the similarities between this and the Coronado. Both are rich in spices and flavor transitions and both have great construction and all the other qualities of a really fine cigar. In fact, until the final third I was pretty certain that they were, in fact, almost the same cigar. Both sticks have really great and interesting flavors (that I can't even really describe, sadly!). The last third, however, the LG amped up the flavor and the potency and that is where the two really go in separate directions. The LG is smoother than the Coronado and a more elegant smoking experience but also a more expensive one (I've seen this stick as high as $15 in cigar shops vs. the Coronado, which often sells for $9 (and is a bigger stick). 

Here is what Litto has to say about his LG puro: 

In 1999, We challenged ourselves to produce a cigar that was made entirely with tobacco grown on our farm. We knew it was a difficult task, because it implied growing our own wrapper. The investment was big and the risk too. But the most difficult part was the waiting. The process of fermentation and aging took more years than we expected. We tested this blend month after month for three years. Just to be disappointed because it was not ready but at the same time happy because we would taste the progress. Finally the waiting is over, today we can celebrate this great achievement. The flavor and complexity of the LG's are everything that we anticipated. We hope you enjoy these great cigars.

I rate this cigar a "4" on my 4 point scale, though the price is a little steep for me. The smooth yet flavorful stick packs some real punch at the end and the aroma is fragrant and aromatic. At several points as were driving around near Jetmore, KS I realized I was paying more attention to the stogie than I was to whatever we were chatting about-it's damn good. Anyone who finds the Coronado too potent or "rough" but likes the flavors should consider the LG for a special treat. 

Here is a bonus pic: We found a small body of water. That's right-WATER, within spitting range of Dodge City.

601 Black (robusto, 5" x 50)

601 Black

I've been digging on 601's a lot lately...all are made by Don Pepin Garcia for a company named EO. The Black label is the most mild of the bunch (clocking in at "medium" on flavor and potency). and smells of pepper on the prelight. The overall appearance is one of sophistication...and the first one or two I lit up I was very skeptical that I would like this stogie...the light wrappers do not usually appeal to me and the Black label gets the least amount of accolades of the bunch. After the first one I tried, though, I realized that this stogie is a great stick-especially in the morning or over Lunch. When I decided to read my "Preacher" graphic novel over Lunch the other day, I reached for this stick over all the others in my collection. The fact that it is my last one (and that I still selected it) strongly indicates my preference for this stogie-and I'm already trying to figure out how to get a few more. 

Here's what an online vendor has to say about it:

The 601 'Black' cigar series are medium to full-bodied premium cigars blended by Don Pepin Garcia with an exquisite blend of perfectly-aged Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos capped with a beautifully rich and oily Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper leaf. Connecticut wrappers are often used to 'tame' the robust and spicy nature of Nicaraguan tobacco, but Don Pepin has cured this leaf to be richer and more full-bodied in character, giving each cigar even more depth and complexity.

I rate this stogie a solid "3" on my 4 point scale. The price (about $5 a stick I think) works against it, as I can get some pretty decent stogies for that price online. Still, the stick has perfect construction, great plumage, is visually attractive...and has a really nice smooth and buttery pepperiness that may be unique among the stogies I've had. Many Don Pepin Garcia fans dismiss the 601 Black as too tame or boring but I think it is one of his best blends.  Ehhh. More for me!

Here I am getting some sun, enjoying my 601, and reading my Preacher graphic novel (very cool!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

San Cristobal "Monumento" (7.25" x 49)

I'm kicking it on my patio, enjoying a new Scotch and one of my favorite cigars of this year: the San Cristobal "Monumento" while rocking out to some old punk rock from my youth on Pandora (State of the Union album songs keep coming up-rock out Soulside, Fugazi ,and Ignition!). 

Here is what Ashton has to say about this stogie (they produce it):

San Cristobal is a boutique cigar handcrafted in Nicaragua by Jose “Pepin” Garcia.  Blended entirely from rich, well-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos, these cigars feature dark, oily Nicaraguan wrappers.  The flavors are rich and full-bodied, exhibiting a perfect balance between strength and complexity. Hearty notes of earth, cedar and spices are accompanied by lighter notes of walnuts, espresso, black cherries and dark chocolate.  Each cigar is constructed impeccably and finished with a traditional Cuban Triple-Cap.  San Cristobal is available in 8 sizes; packaged in cedar chests of 21 and 22.

This stogie looks very sharp-the band is doing most of the heavy lifting here. I love the colorful parrot! The stogie itself is dark and mottled and a rough looking-maybe that's why they went with the nice band! This cigar has the rounded torpedo type tip that I've seen on another Ashton (the VSG?)-and I like that too!

The prelight aroma is earthy and tart-made my mouth water! I lit it up and was immediately hit with a heavy tart/peppery flavor. This flavor lasted half the cigar and then intensified. I didn't taste half the stuff Ashton claims (surprise!) but it's a great cigar. The aroma is full and the plummage is solid as well. 

I've smoked about a half a dozen of these dudes and they've all been excellent-some of my favorite Don Pepin Garcias. I think that they retail for around $11, which I know isn't cheap. However some serious quality comes with these and I think that, for a stogie of this size and quality, it's a pretty good deal. I expect to keep one in my humidor for special occasions. For instance,  this week my good buddy Seth called-haven't heard from him in a long time. That's good enough to light up for me!

Here I am enjoying this San Cristobal.

Here's a bonus pic of my wife and her new "friend".

Monday, April 5, 2010

El Rey del Mundo Rectangulars (5.6" x 45)

El Rey del Mundo Rectangulars (5.6" x 45)

Here is the stogie, along with my Red Stripe, Swiss Army cutter, Blazer lighter. Not pictured are my laptop, the dvd "Torchwood: Children of Earth", and my sweet wife!

I thought I'd revisit this cigar, one of the first I reviewed on this blog. With two years of smoking these (some new, some with two years of aging), I have come to two conclusions: 1) Cigar smokers' tastes change a lot over time and 2) This is still a really good cigar. 

Though I used to think that this cigar was one of my favorite, I have since moved on to stronger stogies-the El Rey just doesn't have enough flavor or body to hold my attention. Even so, I have found that it is a really great cigar-I enjoy it most in the morning or anytime I want a cigar but I don't want to have to "worry" about it or pay too much attention to it. 

The construction is top notch, the price is affordable, and the flavor is a pleasant tobacco and nutty concoction. I have smoked at least twenty of these and I don't know if I have EVER had to do a relight or experienced any kind of cracks or problems of that sort. On my 4 point scale, I give it a "2", though-because the flavor just isn't varied , interesting or strong enough to keep my attention...but when my attention is diverted (such as when I'm watching a Dr. Who spinoff!), it hits the spot!

This bonus pic is of my elite posse of martial arts enforcers after H.T. filled their bellies with Oklahoma BBQ and set them loose with a camera! Note the way that the middle one's Ki power has been focused as light bursts from her forehead!

J. Fuego Delirium Robusto (5"x50)

J. Fuego Delirium Robusto (5"x50)

This cigar is dark and feels a little dry...but smells of strong tobacco-chock full of that "barnyard" smell that almost always promises a good smoke. On the web I discovered that it has a Brazilian wrapper and Costa Rican binder; the filler is Nicaraguan and Honduran (mixed). 

I decided to try a punch cut on it and, after lighting, was rewarded with dry cocoa type aromas and flavors. As I began smoking, I rapidly began associating the flavor and smell with a dark beer like a Guinness. Though I was enjoying the Pacifico I was drinking, I began making plans to try this cigar again with something dark or perhaps a heavy coffee. 

Here the stogie is in all of its glory. 

This cigar is one of those that starts out with a given flavor (kind of a dry chocolate or cocoa) and then ramps up the intensity as you smoke it. I've had three and all of the provided the same enjoyable experience up until the last 1/ which point it reminds me of that third piece of chocolate cheese cake when you realize you might have overdid it. I presume that's where the name "Delirium" comes in, as in "I'm delirious with the rich chocolate flavors of this thing". 

I think I pad around $4 for it and have been seeing it on sale the last month or so. It has great plumage, aroma, construction, ash, flavor and burn...It's a really good cigar if you like more mocha and chocolate (LOTS MORE CHOCOLATE) and less pepper in your maduros.

On RTR's 4 point scale I rate it a low "3"-it is a really good cigar and I'll be smoking more...but that last 1/3 is just "too rich" for the stogie to ever make it into "4" territory.

Here's a bonus pic: Me and my two littlest ones after Thane won (another) bike-this time at the Easter Egg hunt!