Author Archives: cigarguide

Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Gearhead Gary Crankshaft


September brought us the Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft, a 6×52 torpedo with a Habano Maduro wrapper from Ecuador over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The wrapper has the color of autumn leaves and is oily. The ring fits the rest of the series and the cigar feels well packed, the shape of the torpedo is flawless. The cigar doesn’t only have the look of autumn leaves, it even smells like a forest in the fall, I imagine an early morning hike and smelling this.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side. I taste a mild spicy hay with a peppery aftertaste. After lighting I taste a full coffee with cedar and some sweetness. The sweetness is getting stronger quickly. After a third I taste spices and herbs with a little metallic aftertaste. Halfway the cigar gets a nutmeg and fennel flavor. The final third starts sweet again but with cedar and spices. Near the end I get a dry feeling in my mouth with dried herbs as flavor with some floral notes.


The draw is a little easy but within margins. The smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is quite firm. The burn is straight. I would call this cigar medium full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but I would like to.

Score: 91
number91

Advertisements
Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Fast Eddie Eight Ball

Ortega Wild Bunch
Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Fast Eddie Eight Ball


Is it a faith or just a stroke of coincidence that the Fast Eddie is released in August? I mean, August is my birth month and Fast Eddie is a 6 1/2×38 Lancero, my favorite vitola. Made with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler this cigar is the thinest of the series. The ring is in the same style as the others and has an 8 ball between Fast and Eddie on the banner. The wrapper has a sharp vein on the top half, a beautiful pig tail and a beautiful dark chocolate color with a leather look. The cigar feels well packed. The aroma is medium full, a little ammonia with dry grass and a hint of barnyard.


Due to the thin ring I could not punch the cigar so I cut it. The cold draw is fine, I taste spicy sultana. After lighting I taste a nice medium strong spice mix with a little pepper in the aftertaste. The flavor is smooth and slowly turns to toast, chocolate with nutmeg and a little pepper. Halfway the cigar gets a floral flavor with some toast and a mild pepper. Near the end the pepper grows.


The draw is good and the ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness.  The cigar is medium bodied and medium to full flavored, subtle and complex with a good burn. The smoke time of this smooth cigar is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? If only that was possible

Score: 92
number92

 

Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Wild Bill Cheroot

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

 

Wild Bill Cheroot


Wild Bill Cheroot is a 6×46 Corona Gorda with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan filler and binder. The ring is in the same style and with an ace of spades between Wild & Bill at the bottom banner. The wrapper is nice dark with a thin vein, quite oily and a velvet feel. The cigar feels well packed and the little pig tail makes the cigar a looker. The aroma is quite strong and smells a lot like a spice mix that you smell when you’re walking passed Asian street food in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is flawless and mild spicy. After lighting I taste a nice spiced coffee. The flavor changes to a pleasant toast with spices, pepper and vanilla. The flavors are very smooth and balanced. Halfway the pepper grows in strength. Slowly a mild acidity shows up too. The pepper becomes really strong and overpowering, that it disturbs the balance.


The draw is amazing and it results in a thick full smoke. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a nice cigar and if I would be able to get a few I would, but would smoke them in the morning.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Dandy McCoy Empire State

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Dandy McCoy Empire State


The may release of the Wild Bunch is the Dandy McCoy, a 6×48 box pressed toro with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. The wrapper is dark, has clear veins and a lot of tooth, it feels like leather and looks a bit like it too. The ring has a cartoon of Mr. McCoy, and I have to admit, I have no idea who this is based on, in the same style as the other releases. The cigar feels a little under filled to be honest but the smoke time should tell of it is or not. The aroma is medium full, slightly acidic and woody.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great. I taste floral flavors, mild and fresh. After lighting I taste a mixture of coffee, hay and toast. Soon I taste toast with sweetness, like sugar water. The second third the cigar starts to feel dry with sweetness, nutmeg, carrot and straw. Halfway I taste coffee again with some dark chocolate. There is a honey like sweetness.


The draw is amazing and the smoke is thick, full and white. The firm ash is gray and leans to the side. The burn is even. The medium bodied, full flavored cigar has a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes.

Ortega
Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, not the best Wild Bunch.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Island Jim Wahoo

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Island Jim Wahoo


The march release of the wild bunch is a tribute to Island Jim Robinson, a shop owner in Pittsburgh. The cigar is a 6 1/2×52 toro that is made at My Father Cigars with Nicaraguan filler and binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The wrapper has a nice coffee color with some darker smudges and flattened veins, it’s quite oily. The construction gives a little and the cap is placed perfectly. The ring is in the same style as the Iron Mike one, so red with a blue cartoon, this time of Island Jim and a banner with the name. For the banner color Cigart picked a light yellow. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay and ammonia.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great, I taste sultanas. After lighting I taste a fresh coffee flavor.  After half an inch I taste a floral flavor. The floral flavor gets stronger with a little spice and citrus. After a third the cigar gets peppery with honey. Halfway I taste a muted cedar with lemon. The pepper fades away and after a third I taste cedar, wood, fennel and some anise.


The draw is great. The ash is almost white, dense and firm. The burn is good and the smoke is medium full. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with a decent evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible.

Score: 89
number89

 

Categories: 89, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Iron Mike I-Beam

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Iron Mike I-Beam


Iron Mike was the february release and the blend of this 4 4/7×54 robusto gordo is made out of all Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano Oscuro wrapper. The cigar is made at My Father Cigars in Esteli. The cigar is dark and smudgy with a lot of tooth, it feels like sandpaper and leather. There is a small dent in the construction after a third but the cigar looks well shaped with a nice cap. The rings are all great, created by cigars, rd with a silver banner with the name of the cigar at the bottom and a cartoon Iron Mike in the centre. The medium full smell is a little acidic, ammonia with straw.


I decided to punch. The cold draw is perfect and tastes like well fermented tobacco with a little spice. After lighting with a cheap flame classic soft flame lighter I taste coffee. After half an inch the coffee is gone and I taste pepper with cream. The flavors are mild and feel muted, like there is something holding them back. Halfway the pepper turns mild with some cilantro and chocolate.


The draw is a little on the loose side. The white smoke is thick and full. The grainy ash is light gray, close to white, once the ash breaks it becomes very flaky. The burn is great, straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minu


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but if I could I wouldn’t.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The mancave

I mentioned my mancave a few times, in posts about the swag I received for example and when I showed off my lancero humidor and a few people reached out to me to show the mancave.

The last two days I’ve been rearranging all the swag because I needed to give Cornelius & Anthony the proper prime real estate after the bomb they send me. And because now everything is nice and tidy I took the opportunity to make a little video and shoot some pictures.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puros de Hostos Comendador Lancero

A few years ago I was asked to join a tasting for the Belgian magazine El Gusto, that targets both the Dutch and the Belgian market. I accepted the invitation and drove to the beautiful old distillery of Rutte in Dordrecht, a town 20 minutes south of Rotterdam, where we were shown how the Rutte jenever was distilled and how they made their liquors (if you can find it: get their Cuban Coffee liquor, its amazing!) before we were divided into three groups, each group got three different, unbanded, cigars to review and one of them really confused us, it was a fantastic cigar but it none of us could identify where the cigar came from, it was clearly not a Cuban cigar but other than that we were lost. It turned out it was a Dominican private label, Puros de Hostos, made by the Reyes family for Gustavo de Hostos and the tobacco used was fermented four times instead of the regular two fermentations.


Now the cigar had no representation in The Netherlands so I took a few samples for my then employer to try and the international price list that was available. I told my employer about the cigars, calculated the prices on them and he immediately said “No, too expensive, unknown brand, not worth my time and effort” until I cut a cigar for him, lit it and made him smoke it, he was sold. Soon after we got the first shipment in and they sold like hot cakes even though it was an unknown brand (even up till now you hardly find information online) and the price was tough. But unfortunately after a year the sales dropped and the second shipment was of a lesser quality, still good though but not superb anymore. I liked hanging out with Gustavo de Hostos, a very jovial and energetic gentleman, proud to be Dominican and thats why all his lines are Dominican puros.


I still have a few 6 3/4×40 Puros de Hostos Comendador lancero cigars in my humidor and I’m lighting one to review today. As I said, the tobacco has been fermented four times, usually tobacco gets two fermentations, Habanos claims that they ferment the Cohiba tobacco three times but this tops it. The Habano criollo 98 wrapper is dark and oily but also rustic, it isn’t the smoothest cigar you have ever seen. The construction feels good and the cap with the tiny pigtail is placed perfectly. After all these years in my humidor, out of the box and without cellophane most of the aroma has disappeared and I only smell a faint barnyard aroma. The cigar comes with a regular and a foot band, both black & gold. The bottom ring is black with thick golden outlines, golden details and golden letters Comendador while the top ring is black with a thinner golden outline and the Puros de Hostos logo in golden letters. For such a small brand they made nice rings of a good quality.


Due to the small ring gauge punching the cigar is no option so I grabbed my xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin and stronger pepper flavor. Once lit with my Ronson varaflame I taste a nice, full coffee that lacks bitterness. After a few puffs I taste coffee with terroir, a little bit of nut and a hint of salt. There is also some wood, the flavors are all very balanced, the cigar has a unique profile. After an inch it’s terroir, vegetable flavors, wood, a little bit of salt, some citrus and a hint of cocoa sweetness. After a third the cocoa sweetness disappears and the citrus grows a little stronger. Halfway I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, cedar and a little bit of lemon. After two thirds the flavors don’t change but they do intensify.


The smoke is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored and very balanced and subtle. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I need to hunt down a box.

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Puros de Hostos | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar Rights of Europe

This is for my European readers, but not Europeans are free to join the cause.

I remember when I was young we had a few campaigns about smoking in The Netherlands. Now I’m not talking cigarette commercials, which were still shown on TV and magazines back then, or billboards with sport games but government campaigns. Now looking back you can actually see the growing influence of the anti-smoke lobby (powered by big pharma) in the sound of the campaigns.

The first I remember was the ‘roken moet mogen’ campaign, which translates to “smoking should be allowed” which turned into a “roken, we komen er samen wel uit” campaign, “smoking, we will figure it out together” to create a society where smokers and non smokers could co-exist and be considerate to each other.

The smokers were and are willing to figure it out together but the anti-smoke lobby doesn’t want anything of that, they want to ban smoking completely. And they managed to push legislation to crazy levels, smoke bans in bars, restaurants, work places and even in outdoor parks and beaches. Crazy warning labels and in a few countries even plain packaging (for example Australia and France). Flavorings can’t be named anymore, a vanilla cigar can’t be called vanilla, rum can’t be rum anymore but have to be color coded. The latest legislation is TPD2 and caused huge, full color, warning labels with disgusting pictures and there is more to come.

Since a few weeks it is not allowed to show open boxes of cigars on Dutch webshops, there are tests being done with tobacco sales behind closed curtains and plain packaging is coming to other European countries too. Now people talk about banning smoking on streets or even in your own backyard or your own balcony.

And to be fair, that cigarettes and roll your own tobacco is beging targeted isn’t strange, those chemically enhanced tobacco is addicting and known to cause several deceases yet every major study shows that it’s not the case for cigars. Yet the anti-smoke lobby and legislation doesn’t make a difference, tobacco is tobacco and it’s beging targeted.

We need to fight for our hobby, our passion and we need to stand up for our rights. The newly started Cigar Rights of Europe is doing that but can’t do it without your help. The CRE needs your help to help them help you! And fight for cigars, protect our rights as cigar smokers. So go to their website and sign up for only €25 a year.

logo

Categories: Misc | Tags: | Leave a comment

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

Years ago, while working for my previous employer, we released the Alec Bradley Black Market in The Netherlands and we couldn’t keep up with the demand, it was insane. Of course the demand dropped a little after a few months but it was still a good selling cigar, nice priced and it scored a 90 when I reviewed it earlier this year. Now there is a new Black Market, the Black Market Esteli.


I got this cigar from George Sosa, VP of Sales for Alec Bradley during the Big Smoke Amsterdam weekend, George and I have worked well together and he always hooks me up with plenty of cigars. He gave me this Nicaraguan cigar with a Nicaraguan wrapper, a double binder, one from Nicaragua and one from Honduras and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.


The packaging is similar to the regular Black Market, so with a three quarters long paper wrapping on the cigar. That was designed because Alan Rubin, the owner of the brand, didn’t want the cigars in cellophane yet still wanted to protect them from  damaging, hence the huge ring. Eventually the cigars were packed in cellophane too, but the big paper rings remained. The wrapper is smooth, oily, quite dark and pretty. The construction feels good, nice triple cap, evenly filled. The aroma is quite strong and smells like a sheep farm, but not in a filthy disgusting farm, a clean farm with healthy clean animals.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect with a mild minty and raisin flavor. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a sweet coffee and toast. The sweetness stands out, with an earthy undertone. After an inch I taste that earthy flavor with still a sweetness, a cake like sweetness but also a little black pepper in the aftertaste. Halfway I taste some milk chocolate too. Soon after I taste pepper with the earthy flavor and a little bit of a metallic taste. All of a sudden the cigar changed to earthy toast with some pepper.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is white and layered. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium plus thick. I would say this cigar is medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Much to my surprise, considering my love for Nicaraguan cigars, I prefer the Honduran Black Market.

Score:  90
number90

your reviewer with George Sosa and Bradley Rubin (Alec Bradley Cigars)

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.