Posts Tagged With: STG

Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto

I have a man cave, the only place in the house where it’s allowed to smoke, even for my cigarette smoking wife. It’s a decent size room with a desk, a walk in humidor, my dedicated lancero humidor, a tv and four comfortable chairs. Once every few weeks some friends drop by for an evening of banter, cigars, booze and laughter and often they show their gratitude of me inviting them into my house by giving me a cigar. Now thats not needed, I have over 5000 cigars, but I appreciate the fact that they take time to either select a cigar from their stash for me or take the time to go out to a cigar shop and buy something for me, it’s the thought that counts even when I get a cigar that is way out of my comfort zone, like this Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto.


Now you wonder why this Macanudo Inspirado Gold is out of my comfort zone? Because of the brand and because of the wrapper. Let me start with the wrapper: Connecticut shade, the wrapper I hate more than any other wrapper. And then the brand, it’s a Macanudo and the best Macanudo I have ever smoked didn’t rank higher than “decent”, heck, anything from the General Cigar factories never ranked higher than decent in my book, decent or less. And I think that has to do with the sheer size of the company and the shareholders, the passion is not in the tobacco but in the money, now I’m not talking about everybody in the company, I know there are passionate tobacco people employed by General Cigars/Scandinavian Tobacco, but they are outranked by the bookkeepers, marketing managers and accountants. And when money is the main factor passion goes down and so does quality. I mean, go to a passionate ‘one off’ hamburger joint and the hamburgers are so much better than those McDonald’s or Burger King patties, a craft beer is so much better than a Heineken, Coors, Miller or Budweiser and a Flor de Cano rum is nicer than Bacardi because you taste the passion and craftmenship, the people behind the smaller companies take pride in their work and not only look at how much a product can make them.


The wrapper has a pale and brittle appearance, the wrapper is far from even, has unevenly placed pockets of tooth and just looks like its sick. The construction feels good but the triple cap is placed uneven and ugly too. The aroma is quite strong for a mild, Connecticut shade cigar but its not pleasant, an acidic ammonia and barnyard smell. The ring is simple, a matte gold ring with shiny gold outlines and the macanudo logo in shiny gold with red. The dull gold makes the wrapper even look more pale, the designers of the ring should have picked another color in my humble opinion.


Because the wrapper is so brittle and delicate I devoted to cut the cigar instead of punching. The cold draw is fine with a little chocolate flavor and a peppery aftertaste. The first puff give an unpleasant hay flavor, musty as all Connecticut Shade cigars and a little harsh. The harshness is only for a few puffs, after that I taste a mild but musty chocolate flavor and a little bit of pepper. After an inch I taste autumn leafs with some nutmeg and some sweetness. It’s not as musty as in the beginning anymore. It’s actually not bad what I’m tasting now. Halfway I taste sugar with the leafs, some nutmeg and cedar. The flavors then turn sweet and nutty with a little pepper on the background. The pepper is getting stronger while the sugar turns to caramel. Near the end the cigar gets harsh again so it’s time to put it in the ashtray and let it die.


The ash is silver colored and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The draw is perfect and the burn straight as an arrow. This cigar is mild in body and medium in flavor but well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but if someone gives it to me I’ll smoke it again on a Sunday morning. And this is why I like getting cigars that I would normally dismiss if I shop myself.

Score: 86
86

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Categories: 86, Honduran cigars, Macanudo | Tags: , , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure

Now even though Hoyo de Monterrey sounds Cuban, is a Cuban brand and is named after the plantation at San Juan y Martinez there is also a non Cuban copy, owned by General Cigars, which is part of the STG group and they make their Hoyo de Monterrey cigars in Honduras.


This Hoyo de Tradicion line is made with fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic wrapped in a Honduran rosado wrapper from Jamastran. The cigar that I am smoking was a gift from an American friend and comes from 2006, so it has been aged for over a decade.


The reddish wrapper looks a bit dry but beautiful with thin veins. The construction feels good, the cigar has the right amount of resistance when I gently squeeze it but the cap isn’t very pretty, then again, it’s not horrible either. The ring is simple, white with red and gold and I would have liked it if there was any mention of Honduras on the ring.  The medium strong aroma has a bit of a manure smell, no ammonia though after more than a decade of aging.


The cold draw is great, mild sweet but also a dry tobacco flavor. Directly after lighting I taste a very sweet coffee. After just a few puffs the cigar turns peppery and a little harsh. And it keeps getting worse, the harshness is growing. There is also a saltines going on. After a third I taste a harsh, young wood flavor, sharp, unrefined and harsh. There’s also a little pepper. Halfway a lemony acidity shows up with the flavors I tastes before. The harshness fades in the final third, I taste pepper with some floral flavors.


The draw is good. The light gray ash is dense and tight. The smoke is thin though, and not a lot in volume. The burn is all right. Medium bodied and medium flavored is what I call this cigar, with an hour and a half smoke time.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I won’t.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Hoyo de Monterrey | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month May

In may I published 19 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale with a 96 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale (Nicaragua) 96 points
2) Goviado Lancero (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Viaje Platino Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
5) Goviado Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Eiroa the first 20 years Prensado (Honduras) 91 points
8) Alec Bradley Post Embargo Robusto (Honduras) 91 points
9) Mayimbe Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) La Sirena Merloin Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Aging Room Solera Fantastico (Dominican Republic) 89 points
12) Brick House Connecticut Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
13) C.A.O. Pilon Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
14) La Gloria Cuban Duke (Cuba) 87 points
15) Don Ibarra Natural Belicoso (Dominican Republic) 86 points
16) Don Ibarra Natural Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
17) Undercrown Shade Gordito (Nicaragua) 86 points
18) Don Ibarra Natural Gordo(Dominican Republic) 85 points
19) Gurkha 125h anniversary Rothschild (Dominican Republic) 79 points

 

 

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Cigar of the month March

Last month I reviewed 15 cigars and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst, and the worst was really terrible. One of the lowest ranking cigars on my blog ever!

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Don Lino Africa Kifaro with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Don Lino Africa Kifaro (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
3) Casa Fernandez Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Aurora Para Japon Sumo (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Liga Privada #9 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Montecristo Half Corona (cuba) 90 points
7) C.A.O. Anaconda (Honduras) 90 points
8) Viking Horseman Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
11) Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan (Honduras) 86 points
12) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Herencia (Nicaragua) 80 points
13) Avo XO Intermezzo (Dominican Republic) 79 points
14) Avo Dominant 13th Toro (Dominican Republic) 79 points
15) Di Grisogno For Women Only Corona (Dominican Republic) 73 points

 


 

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Cigar of the month January

In 2018 I will do a cigar of the month again and here’s the list for january, 15 cigars, in order from most liked to least liked.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Drew Estate Undergrown Sun Grown Flying Pig with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) C.A.O. Fuma em Gorda Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Plasencia Alma del Campo Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Quesada 40th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Gurkha Ghost Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Kristoff CG Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Epic Maduro Lancero (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
10) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Esperiencia Prominente (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto (Costa Rica) 89 points
12) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto (Costa Rica) 89 points
13) Vegas de Santiago D8 Toro (Costa Rica) 88 points
14) Xiphos Connecticut Robusto (Costa Rica) 88 points
15) Romeo Y Julieta EL 2016 (Cuba) 86 points

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C.A.O. Fuma em Corda

I love CAO and I hate CAO. I love their creativity, how everything comes together with the cigars and the packaging, the names and all but somehow their cigars aren’t for my palate. No complaints about construction, not even about the quality of the tobacco, everything is good, they are just not for my palate. Until Rick Rodriguez gave me the Amazon Basin, now that was a cigar that I did like and I rated it with a 92 score.


Now at Intertabac I met up with Stijn Elbersen and Rick Rodriguez and they handed me the rest of the trilogy, the Fuma em Corda, named after the way the farmers fermented the tobacco, rolled up like a rope and the Anaconda. The cigars are made in Nicaragua, where the arapiraca tobacco was blended with Brazilian Braganca tobacco and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler. Add a Cameroon binder and a Honduran Corojo wrapper and you have the CAO Fuma em Corda. I smoked the toro, the vitola that was exclusive to the online retailers.


The wrapper is dark brown but not evenly brown, some darker smears here and there but it fits the whole look with the piece of rolled up tobacco as a ring, with a little imagination you can see yourself smoking this cigar in the rainforest. Where the Amazon Basin had the string as a ring, the Fuma em Corda has it crossed over the front.  When you walk into a cigar shop, this is the cigar that will stand out. The cigar feels evenly filled, firm to the touch and the cap is nice, something I always look at. The cigar has a strong smell, poop and some minty freshness is what I get from sniffing the cigar.


I wanted to punch the cigar but I just sat down with a bottle of water, my preferred drink while reviewing, the latest episode of The Walking Dead was loaded and then I realized my punch was at my desk, I had a cutter in my reach so I cut the cigar instead. The cold draw is a bit loose. After lighting the cigar I taste coffee with a very spicy, peppery aftertaste. After half an inch i taste herbs and spices with a little sweetness. After a third the flavor completely changes to wood with licorice and herbs. There is still a peppery undertone with a little citrus. Halfway the licorice and pepper are the dominant flavors. Slowly the wood returns. Near the end the pepper grows in strength and overpowers the other flavors.


The draw is a little loose yet the smoke is thick, full, white and plentiful, it made my air cleaner work overtime. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. There is a lot of evolution, a lot of flavor changes in this medium full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope there will be a new batch of these or that the trilogy will be a standard offering.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month December

The final month of 2017 so the final ‘cigar of the month’, tomorrow I’ll be posting my top 25 but for now I focus on what December 2017 brought me.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) C.A.O. Amazon Basin Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Bespoke Tradicional Cottontail (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Punch Platino Double Corona (Cuba) 90 points
7) Xiphos Habano Lonsdale (Costa Rica) 90 points
8) Colon Lancero (Panama) 89 points
9) C.A.O. Angry Santa Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Manowar Virtue Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) C.A.O. Evil Snowman (Nicaragua) 87 points

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CAO La Traviata Angry Santa

Yesterday I wrote a review on the CAO La Traviata Maduro Evil Snowman Limited Edition, the limited edition that CAO released in 2013 for the holiday season. But the Evil Snowman wasn’t the only limited edition as STG, the parent company of CAO, released the Angry Santa too at the same day. Where the Evil Snowman is the La Traviata Maduro the Angry Santa is a limited edition of the La Traviata but a little modified.


The modifications are not huge when it comes to the wrapper, as its the same Ecuadorian Habano but just from a higher priming, the blend however is different according to the CAO website. I wonder if this will be as good as I remember the La Traviata to be, that was by far my favorite CAO although the Amazon Basin was good too. I didn’t care for any other CAO though, so I’m hoping they didn’t screw up the blend but then again, if they did, its only a limited edition with a small number of cigars released.


Just like the Evil Snowman the Angry Santa has a huge ring, half the cigar is covered with a ring on black shiny paper and an image of an evil angry santa that makes Billy Bob Thornton looks good as Bad Santa. This santa gives children nightmares. The santa is smoking a La Traviata and the smoke is forming the letters CAO. Th wrapper is oily and shiny with a reddish brown shine. The construction feels good and the cigar is beautifully shaped. The aroma is a mixture of wood, mint and herbs and medium strong.


I punched the cigar and find a loose cold draw, mild spicy. After lighting I taste spices like cinnamon with cedar, lime and some sugar. After an inch I taste cedar with nutmeg. Halfway the lime is getting stronger. The final third starts with spicy cedar


The draw is a little loose but not as loose as the cold draw. The smoke is thick and white and the ash is white too. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, first of all it’s a limited edition from a few years back and secondly I remembered the La Traviata to be better.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

C.A.O. Amazon Basin

Back in 2014 C.A.O. released their new special project, the Amazon Basin which is made of an Ecuadorean Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua, Brazil and Colombia but the unique part of the blend is the rare Bragança tobacco that only grows in a small part of the Amazon and is only harvested every 3 years. Now I’m not a C.A.O. fan, I love their concepts, their innovative packaging and all but their cigars never did it for me, except for the La Traviata but still, as always I was intrigued.


In september of that year Rick Rodriguez from C.A.O. was one of the guests at the Dutch Big Smoke, of which I was one of the organizers. And Rick gave me one of the original release cigars, something I appreciate a lot but because of my huge stash of cigars and the C.A.O. brand the cigar got lost in my walk-in humidor. Earlier today I was talking to a friend and he was raving on about the cigar, that he has 2 boxes coming of the 2017 release, so I told him my experiences with C.A.O. but he kept on insisting I should try the cigar, so I dug it up (good thing about having your collection in stogie rate and taking the time to make different collections is that even though you have a huge stash, you can still easily find your cigars) and I’m ready to light it.


The first thing that I notice, and I think everybody notices, is the ring, or the lack of it. The cigar doesn’t have a ring but 4 tobacco leaves rolled into 4 separate wires and then wrapped around the cigar like a ring. It’s this kind of ingenuity that always makes me want to try new C.A.O. cigars anyway. The wrapper is nice, dark and shiny without a lot of veins. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. And then the aroma, that makes my mouth water, dark chocolate and the smell is strong too.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping and with a 6×52 vitola it’s easy to punch. The cold draw is perfect and I taste some raisin, pepper and a mild minty flavor with a drop of lemon, and that all before lighting it. After lighting it with my Ronson varaflame I taste coffee, chocolate, toast and cinnamon. After half an inch i taste cinnamon, nutmeg, toast, lemon and some pepper. After an inch I taste lime with cocoa and toast. After a third it’s spicy cinnamon with pepper and cacao, the evolution is great. Halfway I taste pepper with cocoa and a little lime and mint in the aftertaste. Every other puff I taste cinnamon too, nice and spicy.  After two thirds the toast returns with the flavors mentioned before. I wonder if the ring is smokable since it’s tobacco and what it will do for the flavor profile of the cigar and the answer is yes and mint, more mint but also some bitterness.


The draw is fantastic, nothing less than perfect. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is light gray and firm, with nice layers. The burn is straight and slow. The evolution is great. This cigar is full flavored and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? To my surprise: yes!

Score: 92
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Your reviewer with Rick Rodriguez (CAO cigars)

Categories: 92, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Macanudo Inspirado Mareva

Macanudo, still rumored to be the best sold brand worldwide, but never has it been one of my favorite brands. I tend not to like cigars from the big companies as to me those cigars lack soul and character. I mean, compare it to McDonalds vs a one off hamburger joint with quality products and passionate staff, its a world of difference. Brands owned by the big companies tend to be the same, instead of making great cigars and earning a living with them its making as much money possible with tobacco no matter what, to satisfy the shareholders. Those companies have no pride in what they are doing, while the family owned companies pride themselves in the quality they produce. I mean, look what Davidoff did with Camacho, it was a great product, Davidoff bought it, rebranded and reblended it and now its nothing but a marketing product without a soul. The moment Imperial Tobacco took a 50% stake in Habanos the quality went down considerably and now its all about limited editions, regional editions etc but the quality and the soul of the cigars dropped or are lost. Scandinavian Tobacco, owner of General Cigars, is the worst and I lost all my respect for them when I found out that they supported the FDA ruling about premium cigars.


Now I’m not saying that everybody in those accountant & marketing managers run company have no passion about tobacco, I had the pleasure of talking with Benji Menendez while he was still working for General Cigars, I met Rick Rodriguez on several occassions and those guys have a passion for cigars, I bet there are more people like that but they don’t run the company. Ernesto Perez Carrillo sold his La Gloria Cuban to General Cigars and was contractually stuck there for 10 years but the moment the contract expired he started his own company again where he makes cigars with a soul, with character. Now there are always exemptions, a company like Gurkha is small and privately owned yet for me they fall into the categorie of the soulless cigars as its nothing but a marketing scheme and Hantosia doesn’t even smoke cigars as far as I know, thats a company without passion either.


Now on the cigar, a few years ago General Cigars released a new blend, at first just for the European market, Macanudo Inspirado. The blend consists from a mixture of Nicaraguan, Honduras and Dominican filler with a Jamastran, Honduras binder and a posada wrapper from San Augustin in Honduras. It later got released in the United States too, there were line extentions, a second and a third Inspirado line were released but this 5 1/8×42 mareva was created especially for the ‘cigar smoking world championship’ organized by my friend Marko Bilic. Now I see cigar smoking as relaxation and for me a competition with cigar is an absurd idea, but the world championship is a success so I’m probably in the minority with my opinion and that’s okay.


The cigar comes in cellophane and once unwrapped I see a medium brown but pale wrapper. The wrapper looks fine when it comes to veins and all, but the color is a little pale as I said. The construction feels good and the cap is beautifully constructed. The ring is fine, its a reddish orange with golden outlines, a golden macanudo logo and lettering over some faded white text, the gold print is actually very well done. The cigar has a pretty strong aroma that I can only compare with cow manure but I couldn’t smell any ammonia so thats good.

I cut the cigar guillotine style, the cold draw is very easy and I can’t imagine people being able to smoke this cigar over two hours. I taste some raisin, hay and a lot of pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste bitter coffee with a chocolate aftertaste. After a few puffs it’s bitter coffee with sugar aftertaste. The bitterness disappears and makes place for a mild freshness and a woody yet sweet flavor. After a third the flavors are sharp and a little harsh. Halfway the flavors are less harsh, I now taste cedar with herbs and spices. The sugary sweetness is still there too.


The draw is easy but not too loose. The ash is medium gray and layered. It’s also quite firm. The burn is a bit uneven. The smoke is plentiful and medium thick. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The body flavor ratio and the evolution are good. The smoke time for me is about an hour so if I competed I wouldn’t even be close to the top of the charts.

Would I buy this cigar again? I love the vitola, I don’t love the cigar though as it lacks soul and character.

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Macanudo | Tags: , , , , , ,

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