Posts Tagged With: torpedo

Blanco Above & Beyond Unwilling

Blanco Above & Beyond Unwilling. David Blanco, the CEO of Blanco Cigars, has a background in the military. Just as his father. And that background prompted them to create a cigar for the heroes that sacrificed all. For those that paid the ultimate price. Not just in the armed forces, but also in the civil service. As a former deputy sheriff and Chicago Fire Department paramedic, David Blanco knows first hand about those sacrifices. On top of his civil service, he served close to 30 years in the American Army. Both in active duty, National Guard and Reservist. He served 18 months in the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom which brought him to Afghanistan. And at the same time, his father was serving in Iraq. Currently, Blanco is still an active jumpmaster for the United States Army Reserve. He joins veterans at World War II memorial jumps over Europe every chance he gets.


The Blanco Above and Beyond cigars honor those heroes. Part of the proceeds of the cigars goes to charities that help families of fallen service members, or survivors of tragedies while serving. And the cigars represent that. When a service member gets killed, the family members get an American flag, neatly folded into a triangle. All for sizes of the Above & Beyond are torpedos so that the head of the cigars can get a triangle-shaped blue ring with white stars. That resembles the American flag that the family members of fallen servicemen and women get. The cigar itself is a rebranded classic from Blanco Cigars, the American Legion cigar. The wrapper comes from Nicaragua. It’s a Rosado Habano wrapper. The binder is Honduran. The fillers come from both Nicaragua and Honduras.


The cigar has a beautiful reddish-brown wrapper. The point of the torpedo is extremely pointy and sharp for a cigar, The black and silver ring has the American flag. The Blanco name is written in the colors of the fire brigade, police and paramedics. Their logos are on the back of the ring as well. There is a text printed as well, probably the pledge of alliance but since we are not American, we don’t know for sure. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. Wood, horses and a little ammonia comes to mind. After a third, it’s pepper, toast, spices, sweetness but now with wood as well. The mouthfeel is quite dry.


The cold draw is loose. The pre-draw is a little dry, with nutmeg and slightly wet hay. But those flavors are faint. Once lit, there is a bitter grassy flavor with spices and pepper. Not unpleasant, but quite unrefined. Soon, the cigar gets more balanced and the flavors get more rounded. The nutmeg and spices start to shine through. When some sweetness shows up, the bitterness fades away. After half a centimeter, the cigar has a sweet toasted flavor, with cinnamon and pepper. Halfway the cigar has a salty, licorice flavor with toast, spices, and pepper. The cinnamon-like sweetness returns, with wood, salt, licorice, and toast. The licorice flavor remains strong, with spices, wood, and pepper.


The smoke is thick and plentiful. The draw is good. The burn is a little off but doesn’t have to be corrected. The cigar is medium to medium full-bodied. The flavors are medium-full as well, with enough evolution to keep the cigar interesting all the way. The smoke time is two hours fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, once in a while

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Categories: 90, Blanco Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , ,

ACID Kuba Arte

Drew Estate Acid Kuba Arte. A limited edition Drew Estate Acid to commemorate 20 years of Drew Estate Acid Kuba. And they come packed in pieces of art. Water towers containing 20 cigars and a boveda pack. All the water towers are hand pained by New York based street artists. That is a tribute to the art side that Drew Estate always had, from day one. The company was founded in Brooklyn, and the 5 artists all have roots in that burrough of New York as well. Back in the day, Jonathan Drew was sitting on a rooftop in Brooklyn, and he saw water towers and graffiti. Now he brings it back together.

The cigar is infused. Premium tobaccos have been used though. From a beautiful American grown broadleaf Maduro wrapper to the hearty Nicaraguan fillers. Add am Indonesian binder and you have the blend. Drew Estate uses a unique infusion method, one of the best kept secrets in the industry to turn the cigars into the ACID lines. People love it, or hate it. There is no in-between. They sell like hotcakes, yet a lot of natural cigar smokers look down on the acid lines.


The cigar looks great. A dark, oily wrapper. No visible veins. The cigar is slightly box-pressed. The ring is in graffiti style, and mentions it’s a limited edition. The aroma is strong, once removed from the cellophane you can immediately smell a chemical aroma that is unusual for cigars. It reminded us of toilet cakes, liquid soap and flowers. The cigar looks and feels well constructed. While wetting the cap, before cutting it, the chemical taste is pretty strong.


The cold draw is pretty good. The wrapper leaves a sweet flavor on the lips, the tobacco itself has some pepper. The first puffs are overpowered by the sweetness of the wrapper. The unnatural sweetness. Once the initial shock of the unnatural sweetness is gone, it’s not that bad. Sweetness, with some spices and pepper. A little coffee shows up, and the pepper mellows out. The floral, chemical sweetness is still very dominant. There are hints of dried leaves and leather on the background as well. After a third it’s still sweet, floral sweet, with pepper, leather, and toast on the background. Halfway the sweetness is at a level where it’s actually pleasant, although still a bit too strong. The flavors remain the same, with that dominant sweetness, some pepper, leather and toast.


The draw is fantastic. And the smoke is plentiful, like with the natural premium cigars from the same factory. The light colored ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied, yet full flavored although the flavor isn’t very natural.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer natural cigars but this wasn’t bad

number90

Categories: 90, ACID, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month February

I decided to make February Fernandez month, all cigars I reviewed for this month are made at the A.J. Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, a factory I have visited in 2015 and a factory that produces some of my favourite cigars.

The cigar with the highest rating last month are two cigars with the exact same score:

San Lotano Pigskin & Man’o’war Skull Crusher with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) San Lotano Pigskin (Nicaragua) 94 points
1) Man’o’war Skull Crusher (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Ave Maria Divinia (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Ave Maria Reconquista  (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) San Lotano Maduro Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) San Lotano Habano Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Man’o’war little devil (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano The Bull Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
10) Man’o’War 52C (Nicaragua) 92 points
11) Man’o’War Ruination Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) Reposado Habano Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
13) La Herencia Cubana Perfecto (Nicaragua) 91 points
14) Reposado Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Man’o’war Phalanx (Nicaragua) 90 points
16) La Herencia Cubana Fuerte Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
17) Ave Maria Churchill (Nicaragua) 90 points
18) Man’o’war Torpedo (Nicaragua) 90 points
19) Man’o’war Virtue Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
20) Puro Autentico Maduro (Nicaragua) 89 points
21) Puro Autentico Ligero (Nicaragua) 89 points

 

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Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Ruination Torpedo

Less than a year after the so successful release of the Man O’ War series, Meier & Dutch and A.J. Fernandez came with a new blend, even stronger and bolder than the original. A blend that would blow you away, kill you and leave you ruined so the name Ruination was picked for the second Man O’ War release.


The cigar, of which I’m smoking the 5.7×56 Belicoso featured in the Anthology Sampler, is made from Honduran and Nicaraguan ligero with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The wrapper comes from Ecuador and is of a Habano ligero kind.


The cigar looks tough, the dark, bitter chocolate colored wrapper with a leathery touch, the Man O’ War wing in darker colors, the fat yet pointy shape, well finished, it all makes this cigar look bad ass yet cool. The aroma is medium strong, it smells like manure and wood.


I used my butterfly cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, I taste a little pepper and well fermented tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, mild spicy, with some acidity and pepper. After a centimeter I taste soil with some sweetness. The sweetness slowly grows. Halfway I taste wood, cinnamon, sweetness and soil. The sweetness is balanced perfectly with the other flavors. The final third starts with vegetable flavors, a strong flower flavor, some wood and soil, all balanced and very nice.


The draw is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The light gray ash is dense, firm with nice rings. The burn is good, quite straight. The cigar is medium full bodied, full flavored. The flavors are well balanced. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, loved it.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Torpedo

In the first part of 2008 Meier & Dutch together with A.J. Fernandez released what would become one of their success stories, the Man O’ War line, that has sprouted in many more lines and side projects in the last decade, but this blend with Nicaraguan filler, Honduran Habano binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper started it all.


The cigar comes in six different vitolas, from a 6×44 corona to a 7.1×58 salomon with a 7 1/2×52 double corona 5 1/2×50 robusto, a 6 1/2×52 toro and a 6.1×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the torpedo as that was the one in the Man O’ War anthology sampler.


The wrapper is a nice, medium dark, brown, in between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. The ring is the regular Man O’ War ring like described two days ago. The cigar feels good and is well finished. It has a medium strong, deep, spicy and peppery aroma.


Due to the vitola I have no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste a little peppery raising flavor. After lighting I taste wood, coffee and a little nutmeg. After a centimeter the basic flavor is wood, with nutmeg, cinnamon and ground black pepper. The pepper is getting stronger with a bit of vegetable flavor joining the wood as a base aroma. After a third I taste soil with some sweetness too. The cigar gets stronger, more woody, more peppery.


The draw is great. The smoke, with a little brown glow, is thick and full. The ash has that same brown tarnish as the smoke. The burn is straight, the cigar is full bodied and full flavored. I smoked slow and it took me two hours to finish the cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, if they are on sale.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Virtue Torpedo

Last year, in september, I reviewed the same cigar. I did that before I came up with the idea to review this complete sampler but I’m not going to change my plans because of that older review, let’s just call this a quick redux.


The Man O’ War Virtue line was releases only two years after the Man O’ War brand came to life, and it was the third blend that got released. The regular Man O’ War and the Man O’ War Ruination were strong cigars, this Man O’ War Virtue, with the Nicaraguan Habano filler and binder and the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper was in a different league, the league of mild to medium cigars.


The light colored, almost pale, wrapper looks dry and brittle. The ring is the same as the other Man O’ War rings but in white and silver, making it more difficult to see what the picture is. The cigar is well made, it feels good and looks good. It has a medium strong hay and ammonia aroma.


The cold draw is fine, I taste dry, mild sweet and mild acidic raisin and tobacco. After lighting I taste a metallic dirt aroma. There’s also that classic Connecticut Shade mustiness. After the metallic dirt disappears I taste cedar, mild sweet, with that classic mustiness and a bit of black pepper. The flavors remain practically the same all around, except for a little metallic flavor returning at the end and the pepper grew in strength. In the dying seconds I taste some nuts too.


The draw is a bit loose and the cigar produces a lot of smoke. The salt and peppered colored ash is firm and pretty. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s a classic Connecticut Shade, which I don’t appreciate

Score: 89
number89

 

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

Ave Maria Reconquista

The packaging only made me very curious about this cigar, a cigar that is quite expensive compared to what the A.J. Fernandez and Meier & Dutch combination is known for. Most cigars that A.J. makes for Meier & Dutch are good yet from budget to medium priced, yet this one vitola blend has a premium price tag, but also a premium packaging with individual coffins  that actually push the cigar up when you open de coffin so there is no risk of damaging the cigar while trying to take it out.


The cigar, a 7×54 torpedo, is a blend of Cuban seed tobaccos, all well aged and all from three of the major tobacco growing areas in Nicaragua: Jalapa, near the Honduran border, Condega, in between Jalapa and Esteli, and then Esteli, where most of the tobacco factories are located. The wrapper is a dark Habano Oscuro from Brazil, Brazilian tobacco is usually sweet, add the oscuro part and I’m expecting quite some sweetness, the blend sounds amazing.


The wrapper is dark, its dry, its toothy and combined with the big, yet beautiful ring in medieval knight, crusader style , very detailed and very well printed this cigar just makes my mouth water. The construction feels good, the head of the cigar is very pointy.  The cigar has a strong aroma of barnyard, manure but also of some very dark, bitter, chocolate.


Since it’s a torpedo the only option is to cut the cigar. The cold draw is quite loose, and I taste spicy dry tobacco. As soon as I light the cigar I taste spice, dirt and tobacco, all strong and unrefined. After a few puffs the cigar finds more balance with dirt, some caramel sweetness and spice. After an inch I taste gingerbread with some sweetness. After a third I taste coffee with spices and some caramel. Halfway I taste the gingerbread again, a little sweeter this time but also with some white pepper. The final third starts peppery with dark chocolate.


The draw is good, a slight bit tighter would be better though. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight and the smoke is medium in volume but quite thick, although the volume picks up along the way. The cigar is medium full in strength and full in flavor, with a lot of dynamic and evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month January

Since the end of the year is an expensive month for most of us, I decided to smoke and review some budget cigars for the month of January. I wish I hadn’t though, even though some budget cigars preformed really well, and others had a good price-quality ratio, I rather pay a few dollars extra and have an almost guaranteed cigar enjoyment.

As for this month, the cigar with the highest rating is:
Diesel Unholy Cocktail with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Diesel Unholy Cocktail Belicoso (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Calixto Lopez Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
3) Nica Libre Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
4) Blue Ribbon Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
5) Joya Black Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
6) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corona (Honduras) 89 points
7) Flor de Oliva Lancero (Nicaragua) 88 points
8) Benchmade Toro (Nicaragua) 87 points
9) Schizo Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 87 points
10) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano (Honduras) 87 points
11) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural (Honduras) 86 points
12) Cuba Libre Epicure (Honduras) 85 points
13) Schizo Robusto (Nicaragua) 85 points
14) Miami Mafia Torpedo (Nicaragua) 85 points
15) Chincalero Fuerte Picadillos (Nicaragua) 84 points
16) Non Plus Ultra Maduro Toro (Honduras) 84 points
17) Berger & Argenti Mooch Maduro Corona (Nicaragua) 84 points
18) Reposado Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 84 points
19) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 83 points
20) Jose L Piedro Cazadores (Cuba) 83 points
21) Nestor Reserva Maduro Torpedo (Honduras) 82 points
22) La Flor de Rosa Churchill (Nicaragua) 82 points
23) Don Tomas Clasico Robusto (Honduras) 80 points
24) Reposado Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 79 points
25) La Rica Churchill (Nicaragua) 78 points
26) Cucaracha Nub (Nicaragua) 77 points
27) JR Edicion Limitada Robusto (undisclosed) 77 points
28) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 77 points
29) Quorum Toro (Nicaragua) 73 points

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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
number91

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

Nica Libre Torpedo

The Nica Libre brand is a brand created by A.J. Fernandez for Cigars International as a cheap alternative for the Padron anniversary series and they called it the Padron Killer. It’s pretty clear that they did everything to make it look like a Padron, box pressed, the San Andres maduro wrapper in the same shades as Padron and even the ring resembles the Padron band a little, but then with a $3 price tag on the 6×52 torpedo *note: i’m smoking an aged one, with the old ring*


I guess I bought this cigar about 7 years ago, when I still ordered cigars from overseas and when I was looking for a good quality steal. I went online and bought several boxes of cheap cigars on Cigars International, cigars of which I heard good stories and this was one of them. And with A.J. Fernandez behind this cigar I just had to buy it since I loved almost all the cigar that I had smoked with his signature on it.


As I said, the cigar has the same shape as a Padron, the dark, leather like wrapper looks great and the factory hid the vein at the back of the cigar. The ring has different brown and beige colors and it is almost a copy of the Padron anniversary bands, C.I. did everything to make this cigar resemble a Padron, a little more creativity would have been nice. The construction feels great and the cigar has a well finished head. The aroma is quite mild and I smell some wood and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect, I taste dry and spicy tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and green spicy herbs. Soon after I taste dried fruits. After an inch I also taste some pepper. Halfway I taste carrots, pepper and dried fruit, with pepper as a predominant flavor. The final third starts with a spicy wood, carrots and pepper.


The draw is a little loose from perfect but the smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The ash is close to white. The burn is great but the ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium plus flavored. The smoke time is short though, only an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a Padron killer but it’s a very good 3 dollar cigar.

Score: 91
number91

 

Categories: 91, Nica Libre, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

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