91

Ashton Symmetry Prism

In the close to 30 years that Ashton has been on the market they have not been releasing line after line, limited edition after limited edition but they gradually build the brand unlike so many companies nowadays. I mean, they have the Ashton Classic, Aged Maduro, Puro Sol, Cabinet, VSG and limited release ESG series and then it went quiet for about 10 years until Ashton released their latest new line, the Symmetry. Now to be fair, Ashton does have two Nicaraguan brands that join in the rat race to release a new cigar every year, San Cristobal/Paradiso and La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe, but those are made by My Father Cigars while all Ashton named premium cigars are made by Arturo Fuente on the Dominican Republic. Today it’s Meera Levin’s birthday, a good day to publish this review. Happy birthday.


That was in 2014 but the production numbers were just enough to supply the American market so us Europeans had to wait till september 2015 where the cigar would be introduced at the Intertabac trade show. But we persuaded Ashton to supply the Dutch market a week early so we could debut the cigar at the Big Smoke we hosted a week before the show. So since Ashton is a classic company, with a classic reputation so we opted for the Prism, a 5.625×46 Corona, a classic size.


The cigar, made out of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, looks great when you get it out of the cellophane. The silky wrapper is quite dark, not maduro dark but still and has a few small veins that give it character. The ring it classic, and that fits Ashton like a glove, and I figure the ring is printed by Vrijdag in Eindhoven due to the extremely high quality of the gold print, they are the best in the world when it comes to that. The ring has a lot of gold on a white background and a light blue and red centre with golden letters Ashton, and underneath that a red banner with golden letters saying Symmetry. The construction feels good and the cap has been applied beautifully by a skilled roller. The cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard but mixed with the aroma of a spice stall at a farmers market.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and the cold draw is great. There is not a lot of flavor in the cold draw, just some dry raisin with a little pepper. After I lit the cigar with a soft flame I taste some metallic coffee. After a few puffs the flavors are sweet and sour, lemon with sugar and some wood. After a centimeter I taste some pepper too and a little bit of chocolate. After a third I taste lemon with sugar and spices and a hint of pepper. Halfway I taste wood with some pepper and a little bit of spices.


The smoke is thick and the amount is great. The light colored as is dense and firm. The draw is great, flawless. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, it could just use a little more evolution and it would be in my top 25. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since they are no longer be sold in The Netherlands as the distributor felt they didn’t sell good enough I am forced to order a box online soon.

Score: 91
91

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Categories: 91, Ashton, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Leave a comment

Di Fazio Maduro Robusto

First of all, I don’t know how I got this cigar, where I got this cigar, what the msrp of this cigar is, how long I had it. All I know is that it’s made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas and that I know because I googled the cigar. And it turns out that it’s made by a TV executive from Venezuela with Italian roots, Carmelo di Fazio and that the brand saw the light in 2009. I don’t know if they are still in business, I haven’t seen their name later than an announcement that they became an advertiser on cigarobsession but their own website is offline, so I guess Carmelo is back to making TV again.


The article I read on the Cigar Aficionado website mentions that the blend of this cigar is Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Honduran binder and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. Further google searched learned that they had cigars made in Nicaragua too but no online shop has stock or sells the cigars anymore, and I guess that confirms my expectations that Di Fazio cigars is out of business.


The wrapper is almost black and so evenly black that I suspect this to be a cooked wrapper, a process where the wrapper leaf is dipped in a tea brewed with leftover tobacco and veins, making the wrapper turn darker. It’s a beautiful wrapper though with thin veins. The ring is pretty too, white with golden details and a yellow and brown shield and a black banner with golden letters saying Di Fazio. The cigar feels evenly filled, the cap is placed immaculate, the torcador knew what he or she was doing. The cigar has a mild aroma that reminds me of chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is fine, a little taste right but within margins. I taste mint, wood and pepper. After lighting I taste wood and coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a mix of spices like cumin and nutmeg with some caramel, wood, peanut shells and white pepper. Soon I taste peanuts, wood and a little lime and mint. Halfway I taste wood, some licorice, pepper and a flavor I can’t identify but like a lot, quite meaty. The meaty flavor with a smokey barbecue flavor and some pepper mark the start of the final third. Near the end I taste wood with some peanuts an hazelnuts.


The draw is great, no complaints. The silver gray ash is firm and the burn is straight. The smoke is thick and full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, I liked it.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Di Fazio, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

MUWAT KFC Fat Molly

Early 2014 I flew to Nicaragua to visit some factories and to get to know the country a little. I went to visit Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Oliva and we visited Drew Estate too. It was a memorable trip, we went to Condega with Gilberto Oliva, partied at the hotel with Jose Ortega (My Father Cigars) and had a great time in Esteli. During our visit to Drew Estate Jonathan asked me if I had tried the then quite new Kentucky Fire Cured and I said no, since they weren’t available outside the USA and I didn’t have time to visit a cigar shop during my transfer to Nicaragua.


Jonathan said to me “don’t give your opinion after one cigar, smoke a few before you say you like it or not, because it is something special, something different” and he handed me a hand full of the 5×56 cigars, that are actually made for Drew Estate at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I smoked a few while in Nicaragua and smoked another one at the sun deck of my hotel in Fort Lauderdale a week later and made up my mind, this is not my cigar. A year later JD gave me a Pappy van Winkle cigar at Intertabac, and said “light it in front of me, I want to see your reaction” and the moment I lit the cigar I yelled “you MF, this has that fire cured leaf in it”. Why are you still reviewing this cigar you might ask? Well, it was a gift, it’s a few years later now and maybe my preferences have changed, I might find it enjoyable now. I used to hate Connecticut Shade, now I like some, maybe my palate tolerates fire cured tobacco now too.


The wrapper is dark, thick, leathery with some tooth and a few veins that fit with the dark and mean theme. The construction feels good with a nice cap, that has a darker smear on the wrapper. The ring is simple yet effective, brown paper, simple and clear black lettering which, again, fit the theme. And then the aroma, ultra strong the moment you release it from its wrapper. Hickory, barbecue, meat, smoke, fire, tar, those kinds of aroma come from the cigar and that makes the looks of the cigar, the simplicity of the ring and the aroma all fit together. Big points for that.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste barbecue, smoked ribs with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After lighting I taste barbecue, like the cigar has been dipped in a barbecue spice rub. After half an inch I taste sweet boiled peanuts with some barbecue spices. Halfway I taste wood, pepper and the typical smoke flavor of fire cured tobacco. The pepper grows in the final third, the wood and barbecue flavors are still going strong too. Near the end I taste peanuts again with a hefty dose of pepper.


The draw is just great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and a smokescreen big enough to hide a house from satellites. The white ash doesn’t hold very well. The burn is okay but needed one touch up halfway. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might for after a barbecue, I guess my preferences have changed.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, MUWAT, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Cubao Robusto

You know that the cigar you grabbed is old when the cellophane is almost golden because of the years of soaking up oils from the cigar. Add to it that the company behind the cigar was split up and both owners went their own way more than 5 years ago and you know you have a aged, maybe even vintage, cigar in your hands, and that’s what’s the case with this EO Brands Cubao Robusto.


Back in the day the cigar was made by Don Pepin Garcia and was from Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, Ortega got the name in the split up and the cigar is now sold as Ortega Cubao with an almost identical ring, only change is the Espinosa & Ortega has changed to Ortega Cigar Co. The new cigars, I don’t know if the blend is still the same, is still made at My Father Cigars while Espinosa started his own factory, La Zona, and is one of the more reputable boutique brands.


As I said, the cigar comes in a yellow, almost golden, cellophane and when I release the cigar I see a reasonable dark, smooth and oily wrapper with a leathery feel to it. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard with a beautiful triple cap and a flat head. The aroma is strong, wood and barnyard, that what comes to mind. The ring is simple, it reminds me a little of a Montecristo ring because of the brown ring with white letters but bigger. The ring says “Espinosa y Ortega” on top, “CUBAO” on the bottom and in the middle a white tobacco flower.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is very good that tastes like raisin and black pepper. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice coffee flavor with the perfect amount of bitterness and a faint hint of cocoa. After a few puffs it’s coffee with chocolate butter, almost Nutella like. The second third starts with a mild chocolate butter flavor, with green leaves or fresh wood, and a little bit of cinnamon on the back of my throat. The cinnamon slowly grows stronger and is not just on the back of my throat anymore. The final third starts nutty with some chocolate sweetness and pepper.


The smoke is very thick and there is plenty. The burn is a bit off though. The draw is close to perfect. The ash is white and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, especially the first third is great.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Cubao, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Boxpressed Torpedo

A few years ago My Father released the My Father Le Bijou 1922 series, it was the follow up to the regular My Father line, the line Jaime & Janny Garcia created to honor their father Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and he in his place honored his father with this Le Bijou 1922 blend. At that time I was working for the Dutch distributer of My Father Cigars and we added this line to our portfolio in several different vitolas, including the Box Pressed Torpedo.


Now for some reason the line didn’t sell, it is a great cigar but I guess time wasn’t right to compete with the Cubans in their price range I think because quality and flavor wise I would pick this Nicaraguan puro with the beautiful Pelo de Oro wrapper over any Cuban cigar any day but the sales numbers changed when Cigar Aficionado picked the Box Pressed Torpedo to be the #1 cigar of the year 2015. Since we stopped carrying the cigar we quickly had to order a few hundred boxes and even with a €13 price tag I wrote a record number just in pre-orders and the week they got in we received another shipment of highly awaited cigars too so it was a madhouse at the office, the boss was in Nicaragua on a business trip and I spend all week helping our warehouse staff to get all shipments out to break the company record with a landslide.


Once I release this 6 1/8 x 52 box pressed cigar from its cellophane packaging I smell a strong barnyard aroma. The construction feels good and the pointy tip of the cigar stands out, it looks more pointy than most torpedos I have seen. The dark wrapper looks leathery because of the tooth, the thin veins and the mild shine, you can see that the sun did its work. The rings are pretty, I like the fact that the bottom ring has a gap on top where the pointy bottom of the upper rings fits in. The bottom ring has a golden background with curly black letters saying Le Bijou 1922 while the bitter top ring has a pink white circle with the golden My Father logo, golden decorations and a pink banner underneath with golden letters. I don’t think these rings are printed by Vrijdag, their gold is a bit more shiny and of a higher quality but the rings are still beautiful.


I cut the cigar with a flat cut since punching is no option with a torpedo. The cold draw is great with a very peppery flavor, the famous Pepin twang from his old days is back. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee and leather with a very tiny bit of chocolate. After a centimeter i taste a meaty charred wood, which is nicer than it sounds with some spice and pepper. Slowly the flavors change to wood with a bit of metal and pepper. After a third the pepper gets stronger with a little wood as a base flavor. Halfway I had to cut the cigar a little more, i had cut it really small and that caused some tar build up. After cutting a little more I taste nuts, lime, wood and pepper, a very Nicaraguan flavor profile. The pepper gets stronger towards the two thirds and become the dominant flavor by far but I also taste a little nuts.


The draw is great. The smoke is reasonable thick and medium plus in amount. The burn is straight. The ash is white, dense and firm. This well balanced full bodied cigar is full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have over half a box left. It’s a great cigar but not my number 1

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Onyx Mini Belicoso

I know I smoked this cigar years ago, after I got bombed with these by a friend from Cigar Asylum, but I don’t really know anything about this cigar so I google. I found that this is a Dominican made cigar with tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and that you can find this 5×52 mini belicoso for about 5 dollars a stick if you buy a box at the big online retailers. After doing a search on my own blog I found this review from 2009, and this cigar came from the same bomb so it is well aged.


Now my experiences with Peruvian cigars isn’t that positive so I hope that the Peruvian part of the filler isn’t very dominant. I guess it won’t be as most flavor comes from the wrapper anyway and Connecticut Broadleaf ranks very high in my list of favorite wrappers. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The name is a bit confusing as most belicoso that I know are about 5 inch long, torpedos are usually longer so I don’t get the ‘mini’ part of the name. I also have no clue on who makes these cigars.


When I get the cigar out of the cellophane I notice the box pressed shape and the dark oily wrapper with hardly any veins. The construction feels good and the cap is secure and neat. The aroma is quite strong and barnyard with manure all the way. The ring is simple yet beautiful, a vertical oval with a golden edge, black line and then a white base. Inside there is a smaller oval in black with golden outlines and golden letters Onyx in a vertical way. The white with black and gold theme is continued on the side where it says ‘handmade’ and ‘reserve’. The print quality is great.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter and the cold draw is fine. I read some bad stories about the draw but it looks like I’m lucky. I taste some wood and pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame. I taste earthy flavors, coffee beans and chocolate. After a few puffs I taste cinnamon with chocolate which changes to cedar with some lemon and pepper after half an inch. Halfway I taste cedar with pepper and a little bit of chocolate. The final third is cedar with nutmeg, cinnamon, a little pepper, some lime and chocolate.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is a little thin though. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen pleasant minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a box.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Onyx | Tags: , ,

El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserve Cameroon

The cosy little factory on the corner of 8th and 11th in Little Havana, Miami, might be my favorite factory in the world. Not only because they produce great cigars but also because of the warm welcome I get every time I step in the door. Owner Sandy and her family are great people, I met them in 2009 when I was on vacation, I was expecting a 10 minute tour but spend over 2 hours talking tobacco with Sandy and much to my surprise she immediately recognized me when I came back 18 months later, 90 pounds lighter.

The Gran Reserve Cameroon is a Cameroon version of their El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserve line and it’s made with filler from the Dominican and Nicaragua, a binder from Ecuador and my favorite wrapper: Cameroon. The line exist out of 4 sizes (Churchill, Toro, Robusto, Corona) but sometimes, when possible more vitolas are adde like torpedo, robusto gordo, short robusto, belicoso, corona gorda and two different perfectos. In this three vitola review I will share my thoughts on the toro, torpedo and the belicoso.

Toro

 

 

The 6×52 Toro has a toothy, almost sanding paper like, medium dark wrapper with only one thin vein but with a waterspot on the back. The ring is nice, very simple, just black with a copper outline, a curly font saying El Titan de Bronze and in normal letters gran reserve. On top and bottom it repeats Cameroon. Simple yet well printed. The construction is awesome, as always, I have not had an El Titan made cigar with less than an impeccable construction. And the aroma is strong, a rich and deep manure but also with some floral notes. In the final third I taste a mild salty peanut flavor, with mild spices and some floral flavors.

 


I cut the cigar with a flat cut. The draw is great yet quite tasteless, just a hint of floral sweetness. After lighting I taste the same floral sweetness with a little bit of cinnamon. Mellow but nice. After a third the cigar become less sweet, more herbal with something nutty too, very subtle and mellow. The strength is picking up.

 


The draw is great. The cigar is very mellow, mild to medium in body, medium in flavor. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The firm, light gray, ash looks like a stack of coins with the nice thin lines. The burn is straight. Smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Mellow, mild but very tasty.

Score: 91
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Torpedo

 


Another vitola that isn’t always available is this 6 1/2×54 torpedo. You can see that this wrapper must come from another batch as it doesn’t have the same tooth and the shade is a little lighter too with even some changing colors from the head of the cigar towards the foot. The wrapper also has more veins. The ring is identical as the others and so is the flawless construction. The aroma is just as strong but not as deep and less manure, not floral but more herbal with even some ground pepper aroma.

 


I cut the cigar with a double guillotine cutter and the cold draw is just perfect. I taste spicy tobacco with a little pepper. I decided to light the cigar with a long matchstick. Straight from the start the herbal spices of the Cameroon wrapper shine. After an inch I taste herbs and spices, of which pepper is dominant and I also taste some lime. Halfway I taste a strong cinnamon flavor and I love it! Slowly the flavor changes to cedar but still with a cinnamon and spicy peppery undertone.

 


The draw is fantastic and the ash is white and firm. The smoke is quite thick, quite voluminous but a little gray instead of white. The burn needed a little touch up. This cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The evolution is subtle yet clearly noticeable. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? When I get back to Miami I’ll buy a box.

Score: 93
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Belicoso


This 4 1/2×54 vitola is one of the ‘when available’ vitolas of the series and I guess I was lucky to be able to get one. I like the size, the cigar looks so cute, short and chubby. The ring is exactly the same as the toro, and the wrapper has the same color and tooth, but it feels a little oilier, a little sticky even. There are not waterspots on this cigar. The construction is flawless again, it feels evenly packed, the shape is gorgeous, it’s quality work. The aroma is almost the same as the toro, but a little more manure and a little less floral.


I cut the cigar, the draw is phenomenal. I taste a little bit of a floral flavor with some spice.  After lighting I taste earthy yet spicy flavors. Soon I taste a salty, spicy flavor with wood and licorice. Halfway I also taste a bit of floral sweetness with the other flavors, and a slightly growing pepper. The final third is very peppery and spicy.


The draw is perfect. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is a bit off, but just a little bit. The smoke is white, reasonably thick and medium in volume. The cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? Next time I’m in Miami.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, 93, American cigars, El Titan de Bronze, Tabacalera El Titan de Bronze | Tags: , , , ,

El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserva Maduro Churchill

There are days that you walk into your man-cave, cigar shop, garage, deck or wherever you usually smoke your cigars and you feel like you want a long smoke, something other than the usual robusto sized smokes. I had that feeling today when I finished dinner, cleaned the kitchen, brushed my teeth and did a load of laundry. I felt like a mindless action movie and a long cigar. And I was lucky enough to have the time for that, the location for that (my fully equiped man-cave) and plenty of cigars, so I walked into my walk-in humidor, looked around and saw this beauty from a factory I rate highly since the day I walked in there, El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserva Maduro Churchill.


Now the first time I ever came across El Titan de Bronze was in may 2009, it was my first trip to the USA, it was well before I found a job in the industry but I was a passionate cigar smoker and cigars brought me to the USA, it was a road trip with a few guys from Cigar Asylum and every night we had a herf in another state with other guys from Cigar Asylum. Our first stop was Miami and you can’t do Miami without going to Calle Ocho, especially when you’re a cigar smoker. We walked to El Rey de Los Habanos, the factory of Don Pepin Garcia, but it was impossible to see the workers there so we crossed the street to El Titan de Bronze, a factory we never heard of, but once we walked in the owner Sandy Cobas welcomed us like old friends and showed us around, told the history of the place and she noticed that we were more interested than regular tourists so she showed us the aging room, let us smell the different tobaccos and her husband got us Cuban coffee. Instead of a 10 minute visit like we expected we stayed over 2 hours. Now the amazing part, 18 months later and about 90lbs lighter I walk into the factory again, Sandy looks at me and says “wow, you lost a lot of weight”, I was surprised that she recognized me a year an a half later even with my weight loss. Since then I make it a tradition to stop by El Titan every time I’m in Miami.


This El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserva Maduro Churchill is a bit longer than the classic Cuban Churchill, 7 1/2×50 instead of 7×50 but I don’t mind. The cigar is made with filler from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras, an Ecuadorean binder and a Brazilian wrapper. The dark Brazilian wrapper has a rustic look to it with tooth and here and there some ’stripper glitter’ shine from minerals. The aroma is strong, it reminds me of a walk in the woods in the late summer, right before the leaves start to fall. The construction feels good and the triple cap is placed very straight and sharp. The cigar has a double ring, the bottom ring is a small red ring with quite thick gold lining and white letters with thin golden shadow saying Maduro in a beautiful font while the regular band has the same red color, a little thinner gold lining, a golden crest with white letters T B accompanied by golden tobacco leaves. On the top there is a white banner with red letters El Titan de Bronze and beneath the crest white curly letters Gran Reserva. On the back there is a white thick banner saying ‘hand made little Havana Miami’. The print quality is pretty good, especially the gold shadow on the white letters.


I punch the cigar and the cold draw is a bit tight, but I can always cut the cigar later if this becomes an issue. I taste pepper on my lips and some raisin on the tip of my palate. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame lighter from the late 1960’s. The first puffs bring me straight back to little Havana, sweet strong Cuban coffee soon with a dark chocolate aftertaste. After an inch I taste peanuts with some pepper and a little honey. On the background I still taste some of that dark chocolate. After a third I mainly taste chocolate with some minor nut flavor on the background. Halfway I taste nutmeg with a little metallic flavor and a bit of salt with the chocolate on the background. Slowly some pepper shows up again. The salty peanut flavor makes a comeback. The cigar gains some strength, mainly the pepper but the peanuts grow stronger too. At the end I taste nuts and a very strong pepper.


The draw is good after I cut the cigar, tried a few puffs with the punch but a cut worked better. The smoke is a little thin with a decent amount. The ash is light, almost white, dense and firm. The cigar is medium plus bodied, medium flavored. There was some nice evolution and the ratio was great. The smoke time was an hour and forty-five minutes, just a little bit longer than that mindless action movie I watched, The Mechanic.

Would I buy this cigar again? When I’m in Miami again I’ll visit Sandy again and buy some cigars.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, American cigars, El Titan de Bronze, Tabacalera El Titan de Bronze | Tags: , , , ,

E.L.V.I.S. Torpedo

Years ago, and I mean a decade ago, I joined a cigar forum/board called Club Stogie and it was a fountain of knowledge and friendships. But then some investor bought the place and two other boards, fused them together to puff.com and the vibe was gone, it sucked so I was happy that the 11 Club Stogie moderators decided to start their own new boars, Cigar Asylum and I’ve been a member since day one, somewhere in 2008.


Now because of all the friendships made there me and another Dutch member got the idea to do a roadtrip and when we talked about that on the board 2 Florida based botl’s said they wanted to join in. So in the spring of 2009 we flew to Orlando, picked the other guys up and started on an epic road trip all along the east coast, from Key Largo all the way up to Rochester, NY  with a herf every single night, and then we flew to Las Vegas for the final chapter of the trip. Over 30 people flew from all over the US to Vegas to herf with us those days. Andrew Wood from GDW Cigars, who’s also responsible for the Don Fernando cigars, Reserva Miraflor and Goviada, had a special batch and blend made for the Vegas days called ELVIS, which stood for Epic Las Vegas International Smoke. And I have a few of these cigars left.


Now I can’t tell you anything about the cigar except the looks because I don’t know anything about the blend. And it’s been years since I smoked one so I don’t even know what it tasted like anymore. All I can tell you is that the cellophane started to discolor and that the cigar feels like velvet when I take it out of the cello. The cigar has a medium brown color and a few veins. The top of the torpedo is well finished and the construction feels good. The strong is quite strong for an 8 year old cigar and reminds me of hay and horses. Then the ring, well, it was just a small batch, not for retail purposes so the print quality isn’t super high, but hey, most companies, especially the small ones, wouldn’t even put a ring on for the occasion, and the ring is cool. Its a black and white Elvis but the middle part is turned around, I mean, the top and the legs of Elvis are in black on a white background his torso is white on a black background and in golden lettering it says ELVIS 2009 and then in black Las Vegas Cigar Asylum. Pretty cool right, if you were there.


It’s a torpedo so punching is not an option so it’s butterfly cut time. The cold draw is good and I taste some raisin but then I get a strong pepper on my lips. I taste a strong sweet coffee flavor. After a centimeter the sweetness is strong with some pepper and a little bit of coffee and leather. After an inch I taste a mild chocolate flavor with some pepper. Halfway I taste a metallic flavor, some wood and a lot of pepper and still that sugary sweetness. Near the end the pepper gains more strength.


I would like to see the smoke thicker and more in volume. The draw is perfect. The ash is gray, dense and firm. The burn is straight. This cigar is medium bodied, full flavored, well balanced and with a good evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Thats impossible

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, E.L.V.I.S., Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso

As I wrote in my review of the Undercrown Sungrown Flying Pig, this cigar was given to me by the man himself, Willy Herrera, at the intertabac trade show last year. I met Willy years ago, when he just started working for Drew Estate and have met him several times since mostly at the factory of his inlaws and the place where he got his claim to fame: El Titan de Bronze, a must see if you’re ever in Miami.


I have been to the Drew Estate HQ in Miami a few times, I have been to the factory in Esteli a few times and I can only say that I have mad respect for the company that Jonathan Drew built, starting from a push cart at the World Trade Center to one of the biggest and most modern factories in the world, from just cigar sales to being a major manufacturer and then rebranding yourself from a infused cigar manufacturer to a well respected and loved brand by serious cigar smokers, all the while being different then others with incorporating art, the style, the culture and of course the immense social media coverage. Kudos.


As the cigar, its a 6×52 Belicoso. The Ecuadorian Sumatra sun grown wrapper has a little tooth and a little oil. Maybe because the wrapper is bigger than on the Flying Pig, but it looks a little rougher and less smooth. The ring is the same, the classic Undercrown logo in gold on a red background and the foot ring is in the same color scheme. The construction feels good with a nice round head on the belicoso. The aroma is barnyard with manure, medium to full in strength.


Due to the shape cutting the cigar is my only option. The cold draw is great, with quite some pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee. I also taste a little citrus and wood. After a quarter of an inch I taste more cinnamon and lemon, the coffee is gone. Some pepper shows up too. After a third it’s wood, pepper and some lime. Halfway I taste a mild peanut with lime and pepper. The final third is wood with pepper and a mild floral flavor.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and plentiful. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn is straight. The cigar starts medium bodied but turns full bodied, full flavored along the way. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , ,

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