Posts Tagged With: Connecticut shade

Manowar Virtue Torpedo

I had this Manowar Virtue in my humidor for some time now but always left it alone because of the Ecuadorean Connecticut Shade wrapper, a type of wrapper I used to hate. Yes, you read it right, used to hate because since a few months I find myself enjoying the Connecticut shade wrapper more than I ever did, much to my own surprise so tonight I decided to finally grab this Manowar Virtue.


I do have some experience with the Manowar brand, made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua in a state of the art, huge & modern factory of which I had the pleasure to visit once. I smoked the regular Manowar, the Ruination and some of the side projects but as said before, never this Virtue which is supposed to be the smoothest of them all due to the wrapper.


I still don’t like the look of Connecticut Shade, it’s pale and looks like a cigar turned sick.  The construction of this 6 1/2×52 torpedo looks and feels good though although the cap isn’t placed completely straight. The ring is beautiful, the mask that’s on all Manowar cigars but this time in silver and white with dark blue letters Virtue. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a barnyard and a hay stack.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter and get a fabulous cold draw. I taste some mint with dry tobacco and pepper on my lips. After lighting the cigar with my soft flame I taste the classic mustiness from Connecticut Shade but with some sweetness and a bite. The sweetness is pure cane sugar and I also taste autumn leaves but with some harshness in the back of my throat. The harshness disappears soon and I taste nutmeg instead. After a third I taste some dry hay with white pepper and still a little sweetness, but no longer that strong cane sugar anymore but more like a mild stevia sweetness. Halfway I taste mild spicy and sweet wood and peanut shells, which is pretty nice. The sweetness turns sugary again and grows in strength


The draw is perfect, smooth and open. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The salt and pepper colored ash looks flaky but is still quite firm. The burn is quite straight. LThe cigar is smooth indeed, mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it’s not a bad cigar though and it is a confirmation that Connecticut Shade is growing on me but not enough to justify buying more.

Score: 89

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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Mbombay Vintage Reserve Salomon

One of my Dutch friends is a big fan of Mbombay and he gave me a cigar that I smoked for a yet to be published review just a few weeks ago. And I liked it, I can’t remember the final score but I knew I liked it. And then, while in Singapore two weeks ago, my friend Nuzli, a great designer who’s doing some photoshopping for Mbombay gave me a brand new cigar, the Mbombay Vintage Reserve, both in a Salomon and in a Lancero vitola. I’m smoking the Salomon now.


I reached out to the Mbombay instagram account for some background information, we exchanged two or three messages but I haven’t gotten any information yet. I blame that on the IPCPR which is this weekend so brand owner Mel Shaw is probably crazy busy at the moment. Hopefully I get some information soon. Maybe it’s the same blend as the limited edition Vintage Reseve 1973 that got released at IPCPR 2016, but I simply do not know.


The cigar has a light brown wrapper with quite some thin veins, it looks oily and I have my suspicion that it’s a Connecticut Shade wrapper even though it’s not as pale as most Connecticut Shade cigars. I love the shape of a good Salomon and the cigar feels well packed but with the right amount of sponginess. The ring however, I think a better job could have been done. Whenever you walk into a humidor, all the other Mbombay cigars stand out because of the artwork while this one, well, let me put it that way, if I was browsing a humidor I would, at first glance, think that it’s a Davidoff cigar. White oval ring with dots and a thin secondary ring is kind of their trademark. At second glance you see a peacock, very detailed and nice but a far cry from the colourful and unique artwork from the other Mbombay cigars. The cigar has a strong aroma, straw and hay come to mind with a little pepper.


The cold draw is fine with a woody aroma. After lighting I taste that classic Connecticut Shade flavor, something I don’t like, but the flavor is mild and some sweetness actually make it enjoyable. After a centimeter I taste cedar, sweetness and some lemon, with that Connecticut Shade touch. After a third I taste a creamy, buttery cedar with a hint of vanilla and that Connecticut Shade flavor. Halfway I taste the cedar and Connecticut Shade flavor with a mild chocolate and a growing cayenne pepper. In the final third the cedar is still creamy with a little bit of vanilla and the cayenne but the Connecticut Shade mustiness as I call it is getting the overhand. Near the end the cigar gets spicy and peppery, suddenly it gains strength too.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness, but beautifully white. The smoke gets thicker and I see more of it once the burn reaches the thicker part of the cigar. The ash is almost silver and black, with thin rings. The burn is straight as an arrow. I would say this is a medium strong cigar, medium flavored and well balanced. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again?  Depending on the price, I might. This is one of the few Connecticut Shade cigars out there that I like.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Costa Rican cigars, Mbombay, Tabaccos de Costa Rica | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Payo El Baron Toro

A few days ago I smoked and reviewed the Don Payo El Baron Toro and now I’m smoking and reviewing it again. That might look like overkill, but it’s not. The big difference between the cigars is the age, the one that I smoked a few days back was an old one, probably close to ten years old while this cigar is pretty fresh, smoking it a few days apart will really show the difference and what age did to the blend.


Don Payo El Baron is a cigar made by Guillen Cigars and the cigar, just like their other blends, disappeared for a few years but are now back, exclusively for the website Untold Leaf (use ‘CIGARGUIDE’ for 30% off). The batches are still small, just like a decade ago, and the cigar is hard to find, yet under 6 dollar if you use the 30% off code.


The wrapper is not to my liking when it comes to color, a yellowish brown wrapper, with thin veins, quite oily though. The ring could use an overhaul but I do like the fact that Guillen Cigars sticks to the glossy black & gold for all their cigars except for the Don Fernando, which is in the colors of The Netherlands. The cigar feels good, no hard or soft spots, the shape is fine too. The aroma is quite strong, herbal like rocket salad.


After cutting the cigar I taste a mild spicy and grassy flavor with a cold draw that is a little bit tight. After lighting I taste grass with cinnamon and cedar. After a centimeter I taste some cedar with pepper and a mild musty Connecticut Shade flavor. After a third i also taste a honey sweetness. Halfway I taste a bit of marzipan with green herbs and pepper. The final third is cedar with a little pepper again. There is also a mild acidity.


The draw is great. The white ash is medium in thickness and volume. The white with black spots ash is firm. The burn is great. This medium bodied and flavored cigar has a smoke time of an hour and a half approximately, I don’t know exactly since I was forced to take a break, due to the fire brigade evacuating the whole block due to a gasoline smell.

Would I buy this cigar again?  I’m not liking the Connecticut Shade myself, so I won’t, but it you like that wrapper, please order.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Don Payo, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Quesada Reserva Privada Toro

The Quesada family has honored the previous generations before, in the Tribute series, but this cigar is a tribute too, first and foremost to the father of Manuel Quesada who planted and picked the tobacco for this cigar back in 1997, a year before he passed away, but also a tribute to the new generation in the shape of modern boxes and a hologram logo. And the new generation, in the shape of Raquel Quesada gave me this cigar at the Intertabac trade show.


So the filler is a Dominican San Vincente leaf with Pennsylvania broadleaf ligero, the binder is that vintage, 18 year old, Dominican Criollo with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper in a 5 5/8×54 size. All the cigars are aged an additional year after rolling before they are shipped to the shops. And I wonder, what happens when the vintage binder is gone? Is there a new stash of a 1998 harvest to continue the blend or will the cigar just disappear?


The mocha colored wrapper looks beautiful yet brittle, with a few thin veins. The ring is amazing, simple, stylish, modern with a black back drop, the Quesada Q logo in golden hologram style and glossy silver ‘Quesada’ and ‘reserva’ prints on the sides. Very tasteful, very well printed. The cigar feels well constructed, evenly packed and the triple cap is flawless. The medium strong aroma is typical manure, Cubanesque manure.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect and I taste a mild sweet floral yet herbal flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet mild musty and floral coffee. After an inch I taste sweetness, Connecticut mustiness and cedar. The sweetness fades, a white pepper shows up with a mild floral sweetness. The cigar gets stronger.


The draw is great. The white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That darn Connecticut Shade, still not my wrapper.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Desconicido Corona

My friend Andrew Wood, who is a cigar broker and helps companies to bring their cigars into the USA and who’s on the forefront of the fight against the FDA, started his career in tobacco with GDW cigars, a small Nicaraguan factory that produces a few cigars including the Reserva Miraflor & the Don Fernando. One of the cigars they made but I had never smoked was this Desconocido. And now they are back, only for sale through www.untoldleaf.com so I finally had the opportunity to try one.


Andrew said that he loved this cigar and that it was likely his favorite, yet I see that it’s made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper and that makes me weary, that’s a wrapper I don’t care much about. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano and the filler is all Nicaraguan too. The size of the cigar is 5 1/2×42.


The cigar has an oily, yellow brown wrapper, a little more color than most of the Connecticut Shade cigars I have seen. I see thin veins and a bright red ring with black letters in a curly font. The construction feels good, the cigar feels evenly packed with a nice rounded cap. The aroma is relatively strong, it reminds me of fresh cut wet grass.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and sweet, marzipan like, with a spicy aftertaste. After lighting I taste a strong full coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a sour flavor but also some vanilla. After a third I taste peanuts with a mild mustiness from the Connecticut Shade wrapper. Halfway I still taste peanuts with some pepper and honey. Near the end I also taste some vanilla again.


The draw is great. The smoke is light gray. The ash is medium gray in color. The burn is straight. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not my cigar but if you’re into mild cigars this is a must try, especially with 30% off if you use the CIGARGUIDE code

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Desconocido, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Brick House Connecticut Toro

Brick House is a brand with a lot of history and named after the brick house that was the Newman family home back in Hungary, the only brick house in the village. Originally it was a Cuban puro and the brand was discontinued when the embargo hit but since a few years its back as a Nicaraguan cigar, and with such a success that it had offspring, including this Connecticut line.


Again, just like the Perla del Mar Maduro, the Newman website doesn’t even mention this cigar, not even on the dedicated Brick House website except for a banner which says “introducing the Connecticut” but then nothing. I found out that it’s a Nicaraguan made cigar, with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Connecticut wrapper. Judging from the MSRP, which is around 6 dollar, this won’t be an American grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, but where it’s from I don’t know.


The wrapper is yellowish, pale, combine with my prejudice on Connecticut Shade wrappers and you can guess that I would not grab this cigar in a shop myself. I was given this cigar with the question to tell the gracious giver what my thoughts are. The simple yellow, black, gold and red ring I like, classy, well printed and I also like the American flag style foot ring with the stars and stripes, although there are only 5 stars and 5 stripes but that might be a reference to the history of Connecticut that i’m not aware of. If that’s the case, please comment and share your knowledge. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is nice and so is the triple cap. The aroma is surprisingly full and strong, its fermenting grass what I think of when I smell the cigar.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine, it’s sweet yet peppery. After lighting I taste a very mild coffee, smooth yet a little salty. After half an inch just a little bit of sweetness and some mild herbs. After a third a very mild chocolate shows up too. I don’t taste any Connecticut Shade mustiness though which is a plus. Halfway I taste a little more salt. The chocolate is gone, it’s just a mild salt with some sweetness. The flavors don’t change after that, except that the cigar gets spicy and peppery.


The draw is great, the smoke is great. It’s white, thick and plentiful. The light ash is dense and firm. This is a mild cigar, smooth but mild. It lacks some evolution. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s too mild for me but if you’re into mild cigars this is a good choice.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Brick House, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman

Jas Sum Kral took the social media by storm and the Red Knight was a super hit amongst boutique brand cigars, and the follow up, the Zlatno Sonce was a hit too, even with me and I dislike Connecticut Shade cigars with a passion. But yet, I am going to try this 7×58 Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman limited edition, made for brand owner Riste’s yearly cigar weekend Ristevari, even though the box arrived at my doorstep today, so no rest, right of the truck.


The first cigars were made at the factory of Noel Rojas but under the supervision of Roniel Aragon. Now I don’t know what happened but Roniel left Tabacalera NOA, Riste left there some time later and now Roniel is making JSK in his new factory Tabacalera Aragon S.A., this is the first cigar that I smoke that comes out of that factory. Riste told me that the blend is a twist on the regular Zlatno Sonce blend, with a little tobacco from the Somoto canyon in Nicaragua as an added flavor. And rumor is that this blend might be used for the core line too. Somoto is an unknown area in Nicaragua, at the bottom of the canyon is one farm, owned by Carlos Javier Garcia Pereda. Riste and his partner Roniel Aragon visited the farm, late 2017, loved the leaf so much that they used it for the Soloman and maybe we will see more of the Somoto tobacco surface soon.


The cigar looks good, the wrapper is shiny, almost lacquered even though I dislike the yellow brown color. The ring is amazing, made by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim, is one of the best in the business. Very detailed, white and gold, lions, crest, just simply beautiful. The construction feels great, a really well made cigar. Since the cigars rested for 8 months before they got send to me I can’t smell any ammonia anymore, just a full smell of mud and hay.


I cut the cigar to find a perfect cold draw, spicy, peppery raisins. After lichting I taste a mild coffee with hay. After an inch I taste spice and herbs with a little buttery, meaty undertone. There is no hint of the mustiness that I usually get from Connecticut Shade. And the cigar is strong too for a Connecticut. Halfway I do taste it a little though but with spices and sweetness, I also taste some licorice. The final third also gets a hint of vanilla. Pepper shows up and it’s getting strong too.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is firm with beautiful layers. The white is a little thin. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium full bodied, the strongest Connecticut Shade I ever smoked. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Love the blend, this vitola unfortunately is a limited edition.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Aragon | Tags: , , , , , ,

Viking Norseman Toro

I have reviewed two of the three Viking blends, the Viking and the Nordic Warrior and both ended up in my top 25 of 2017 so my expectations for the third blend are high, yet on the other hand, it is a Connecticut shade wrapper so that might be the downside of smoking this cigar. The cigar is made with Ecuadorian Connecticut, Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Piloto as filler, a Connecticut Broadleaf from the USA as binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade as wrapper.

 


Ernesto Perez Carrillo and his La Allianzia factory are responsible for the production of this Norwegian owned brand, that honors the sea dwelling Vikings with this Norseman blend. The seas were a dangerous place with the small Viking ships so these Norseman had to be extremely brave.

 


I love the ring on any of the viking cigars, metal rings, a tin alloy and this one is black & golden with a norseman face. The cigar itself looks great too, a medium brown wrapper with a shaggy  foot that shows off the broadleaf binder. The contrast between the Connecticut Shade and the Broadleaf is huge and it makes the cigar look even tastier. The shape is flawless, the head perfectly round. This cigar is well made. The aroma is strong and reminds me of wood and vegetable stock.

 


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little open. I taste pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee with some sweetness and a nice citrus acidity to balance it all out. After half and inch I taste spicy and peppery dry cedar. Then I taste a growing white pepper flavor. There is a very mild Connecticut Shade mustiness but much minder than other Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars. Halfway I taste sweet and slightly musty cedar with white pepper in the aftertaste.

 


The draw is a bit loose, the ash quite dark and frayed. The smoke is thick, white and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the other Viking cigars better because of the wrapper.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Di Grisogono for women only Corona

Today is international women’s day so this De Grisogono Geneve For Women Only cigars, a 5 1/2×42 Dominican made cigar seems like the right fit. If you have never heard of those cigars, you’re not alone since De Grisogono Geneve is a Swiss jewelry and watch company and not a cigar company and I don’t think these cigars were ever released seriously. Now I do think its complete bullshit to advertise certain cigars as ‘women only’ or ‘for men’ as Oliveiros did with their XXL. There are just good cigars and bad cigars, thick cigars and thin cigars and both are made for men & women. Women can enjoy the same cigars as men and vice versa. Now hold your horses, before you start screaming ‘snowflake’, ‘liberal’ or even ‘libtard’, i’m not saying men and women are the same, there are undeniable biological differences, there are fields of expertise in which women preform better, other fields men preform better so I won’t be saying we are the same as women, i’m only saying men & women don’t need ‘only for this gender’ cigars, it’s bull crap.


A friend of mine had a bunch of these cigars, he said the came from a hotel in Switzerland and he gave me a couple. The cigars are made in the Dominican Republic with Dominican filler and binder and a Connecticut Shade wrapper from the USA and it appears that there was a 6×52 Torpedo too but that didn’t have the For Women Only behind the name.


The cigar has a black ring, glossy, with a golden logo and white lettering saying De Grisogno Geneve and on the back gold letters saying FOR WOMEN ONLY. The cigar is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade wrapper and you can see a thick vein from the binder underneath the thin wrapper. The cigar feels evenly packed and the shape of the head is nice. When I smell the cigar I smell nothing, nothing at all.


Due to the thin ring gauge I decided to cut. The cold draw is good yet almost flavorless. After lighting I taste a nasty coffee and wood. After a quarter of an inch I taste some wood and petroleum. Halfway it’s a little stronger wood, mild hazelnut and still a mild petrol flavor. The final third starts harsh and bitter, I now taste that typical mustiness that comes with Connecticut Shade but at least the petrol has gone.


The draw is great yet the smoke is thin and medium in volume. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The burn on this medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is straight. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Never!

Score: 73
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Categories: 73, Di Grisogono, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto

I told the story about this brand a few times in my previous reviews of the Cornelius, Venganza, Daddy Mac and the Señor Esugars so I won’t repeat the story of five generations and why the name Cornelius & Anthony is chosen. I also won’t repeat how I got to know the brand, that I knew Courtney Smith from her previous company. I will just tell that when she gave me the first batch of cigars in 2016 it was just the Daddy Mac, Venganza and Cornelius (that eventually made my top 25 of the year) but at intertabac 2017 she gave me the other blends, the Señor Esugars, the Meridian and this Aerial.


The aerial is made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the La Zona factory of Erik Espinosa. The blend consists from Nicaraguan fillers, a USA grown binder and a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. And even though my preferences changed the last year and I dislike Connecticut Shade less than before it’s still not my favorite wrapper. But as always I go in with an open mind, maybe this is the Connecticut shade that will wow me.


The wrapper is latte colored, relatively dark for a shade grown Connecticut wrapper and it has a soft sandpaper feeling. The ring is amazing, detailed, very well printed but the secondary ring is orange with white letters and doesn’t fit with the Cornelius and Anthony ring because of the color in my opinion. The construction feels good but the triple cap has a bit of a color difference. The cigar has a strong smell, its manure all over.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter and decapped the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin flavor with some spice on my lips. The trusted vintage Ronson took care of the lighting. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. After a centimeter I still taste the sweetness but now with wood and spices. The sweetness reminds me a bit of marzipan. The cigar lacks the Connecticut Shade mustiness and that’s a plus in my book, it’s quite spicy and sweet. Halfway the spices tone down, the sweetness remains with wood. A mild pepper shows up too. The flavor slowly changes to a vanilla sweetness on wood with a bit of lime and pepper.


The draw is great, the smoke is medium on volume and thickness. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a balanced, medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yea, this gets my seal of approval and made a very small list of Connecticut Shade cigars that I enjoy.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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