Posts Tagged With: cuban crafters

Calixto Lopez Torpedo

When I met the late Don Kiki Berger I thought he was living the life, I mean, the guy had his own factory in Nicaragua and most of what he produced he sold to his own shop, Cuban Crafters, where he had busloads of Asian tourists stop, clean the place out like a flog of locusts and then move on (I saw this with my own eyes). He didn’t have to deal with sales reps, shops owners etc etc, and every time I saw his he was hanging out with his friends playing domino at the shop or having a good time at the lounge.


One of the cigars he made is the Calixto Lopez, named after a famed old Cuban brand, and made with filler from Esteli, Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua, a Sumatra leaf from Ecuador as a binder and a five year aged Cuban seed maduro wrapper from Nicaragua. And they are cheap, one $4.50 if you buy them by the box. Now I didn’t buy a box, I bought a few singles to try and this is the last one I have left so time for a review.


The wrapper is dark, but feels dry and the touch reminds me of old velvet. There are hardly veins and the wrapper just looks good. The ring is classic, red circle with golden outlines, white letters and logo. Simple and not of the best quality, yet clear. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is strong and deep, an intense barnyard aroma mixed with dark stained wood found on a barn that has been baking in the sun for years.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. It tastes a little like a raisin. After lighting I taste a mix of leather, coffee and dates. Slowly it changes to leather with sugar. Then it changes to gingerbread with some pepper and all within the first half inch. The leather is back with pepper and some floral sweetness. The leather constantly varies in strength, with herbs, pepper and a coconut sugar. The final third is dry leather, less sweet, more pepper.


The draw is good yet it’s hard to keep the cigar lit. The smoke is medium thick and full. The evolution is great. The light gray ash isn’t that firm I thought at first, as it broke quickly but then it got firm. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

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

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Calixto Lopez, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Berger & Argenti Mooch Maduro Minnie

Years ago, I met Albert Argenti and when I was in Miami one day we had a few cigars at Cuban Crafters where the Berger & Argenti office had their space. Berger & Argenti was the company of Kiki Berger and the brother Michael and Albert Argenti and Joey Oliva worked for them. I fell in love with the entubar series and especially with the quad maduro, what an amazing cigar that was.Later, when I started working in the industry, I convinced my employer to get in touch with them to start distributing the cigars. They struck a deal and we ordered a big number of cigars, a five digit number in dollars, we paid (pre payment is not uncommon in the cigar industry, especially with new relationships) but then it was all quiet from the B&A front. After pushing, pulling, other influential parties got involved we recieved a shipment but value wise only half what we ordered and not the products that we ordered. On top of that, al lot of the cigars were damaged and unsmokeable. Soon after Berger & Argenti vanished at all, I know Joey Oliva left de industry completely, Michael Argenti tried it with the La Gran Llave cigars that is now owned by A.J. Fernandez for a while and I haven’t heard anything from or about Albert Argenti after I replied on his Facebook question “what is your favorite bible quote?” with a ‘thou shall not steal’.


So far about the Argenti brothers scum, lets talk about the cigar. I bought this years ago, the Berger & Argenti Mooch was their budget like created as a hand out for people who mooch cigars from you. The price tag is on the paper wrap so I know this petit corona sized cigar was $3.99. They had a Connecticut shade version too. As Kiki Berger was involved I’m guessing the cigars were made at his factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, which is now run by his widow Karen Berger and she’s starting to build a name of her own. Haven’t been lucky enough to try any of her cigars yet but who knows what the future might bring.


The cigar looks great because the foot is wrapped in an in and a half long copy of a newspaper of the day that the embargo was installed. The newspaper is topped with a small brown ring and copper colored letters mooch. Then there is the normal ring, small and brown with the company name in beige and a thin line in copper. Especially the piece of newspaper would make me pick up this cigar at a cigar shop. The construction feels good with a nice round head. The wrapper is nice and dark, with some veins and a little tooth. The aroma reminds me of chocolate, but maybe thats my mind playing because the cigar looks like chocolate.


I cut the cigar due to the small ring. The cold draw is good and starts sweet with a strong peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar slowly with a soft flame and I taste a coffee flavor with pepper. After half an inch I taste some caramel, peanuts and pepper. After a third I taste a lot of pepper, some cheap chocolate and soft fresh wood. Halfway I taste a metallic flavor with pepper. The final third starts harsh but with some sweetness.


The draw is good, no complaints on that department. The light gray ash isn’t very firm. The smoke is great though, thick and plentiful. The burn is straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, not a lot of evolution and has a classic budget cigar taste. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Discontinued since the company went belly up but I wouldn’t buy anything from the Argenti thieves anyway.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Berger & Argenti, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , , ,

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