Archive for October, 2009

Punch Uppercut

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Ometepe Nicaraguan
Body: Medium to Full
Price: Just under $7.00 a stick

Behind the Stick:

Punch Cigars are made by the General Cigar company and is a very well respected company with a huge fan base. I must say, I have not smoked many Punch Cigars but the ones I have had – I can see why people favor these as much as they do. No, I do not have any Punch cigars in my humidor that I would consider a daily smoke – although they are very reasonably priced. I guess I just have not gotten the ‘Punch Bug’ although this Uppercut may be changing things.

Punch Logo

I guess the biggest hype about this cigar aside from the name notoriety is that they are now using a ‘special tobacco’ from the Ometepe region of Nicaragua. I have noticed that a lot of manufacturers are using tobacco from this region even though the humidity issue requires a lot more attention. This area is made from volcanoes and the land found here has been producing some rather impressive and unique tobacco. From what I have been able to find online, Punch had this tobacco grown exclusively for this cigar – Impressive to say the least.

Punch Uppercut

Construction:

I have to point out, this is a great looking stick. The band is nice and subtle with a great looking foot band that is adorned with a wilderness image, I am assuming the site of where this tobacco was grown – Also since it has the name Ometempe. Nice dark brown

Flavor:

When I first lit this stick – instantly a thick tobacco flavor presented itself and was the basis for the rest of the cigar. The first third really was an invitation of mild leather and tobacco and although one may think this combination would leave a negative finish but I have to admit the finish was rather short so the ‘flavors’ were more of a hint around the strong tobacco flavor.

The second third is when this cigar really caught me, nice mellow earth, rich and sweet leather and a back setting of the original tobacco flavor which has mellowed out as well. The smoke is nice and full but does make me a little thirsty so this would be good to mix with a sipping liquor.

The last third was full body and strength, great flavors of the leather and earth remain from the second third, but our old strong tobacco flavor decides to creep back in for another appearance till the end. Might I add, this cigar had quite the nicotine ‘Uppercut’.

Conclusion:

As I had said before, I am not one to scream about the Punch line – not that I dislike the brand or anything even close to that, just that I have not smoked more than a handful from this line. Because of this cigar, I can definitely say that has changed – I may have the ‘Punch Bug’.

This is a great cigar and will be a long standing addition to my humidor.

Every cigar has a story, every smoke a memory. Enjoy

As other CRA members have heard, Yet another battle with government and our right to smoke needs attention. I live in St. Louis, Missouri and when I saw this in my inbox my jaw nearly dropped. There have been a few counties that have put out smoking bans – and I can personally say it has effected where I dine and enjoy a few beers. This new ban – Is targeting the Greater St. Louis Area. I have included the article I received from CRA and the contacts to help us correct this. If nothing else, please check out the Cigar Rights of America link on the right side of this page and join today.

St. Louis Arch

**Email reproduced in full – All credit to the CRA organization (Cigar Rights of America)**


Based upon a press released distributed by CITIZENS AGAINST PROPOSITION N, KURT SCHIMMER, TREASURER.

A group of citizens, businesses and organizations announced its opposition today to the proposed St. Louis County smoking ban, saying it would have negative economic consequences for the county and also cause a loss of freedom for business owners and smokers.

The campaign committee is named Citizens Against Proposition N. The smoking ban will be on the Nov. 3 ballot in St. Louis County as Proposition N.

A smoking ban in St. Louis County would cause a loss of jobs, a loss of revenue and a loss of freedom, said Jon Rand, president of Discount Smoke Shops at a news conference this morning in University City. As long as neighboring counties do not have smoking bans, businesses in St. Louis County will be hurt and tax revenue will decline.

Rand noted the state of Illinois is estimated to lose $200 million of tax dollars every year since enacting its smoking ban. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008. Discount Smoke Shops is headquartered in north St. Louis County and operates about 50 stores in Missouri, Illinois and South Dakota.

Bill Hannegan, director of Keep St. Louis Free, a group that fights to protect personal freedoms and property rights, urged voters to vote no’ on Proposition N. The over -whelming majority of county bar and restaurant owners and their staff oppose this smoking ban, he said. They have seen the economic harm smoking bans have caused in Ballwin, Arnold, Columbia and Illinois and fear similar losses in St. Louis County.

Hannegan said he has never seen a smoking ban proposal that is so vehemently opposed by the health groups that usually support smoking bans. Representatives of the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association have all spoken against the county’s proposal and urged the County Council to reject it. After the council approved it, they urged County Executive Charlie Dooley to veto it.

A smoking ban would only make things worse for many businesses in St. Louis County, said Fred Teutenberg, president of Fred’s Cheapo Depot, which just opened for business. There is no doubt a lot of business and tax dollars would head to St. Charles and Jefferson County. Teutenberg said recent announcements of the closings of Ozzie’s in Westport and Straub’s in Ellisvile, demonstrate today’s difficult business environment.

Marty Ginsburg, owner of the Sports Page Bar & Grill in Chesterfield, has opposed the smoking ban at several St. Louis County Council meetings. Ginsburg’s bar and grill would not qualify for an exemption from the smoking ban as more than 25 percent of his revenue comes from food sales.

Ginsburg says he agrees with Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan about smoking bans. McClellan wrote on Sept. 25: I believe the decision to permit or not permit smoking should be left to the owner of the establishment.

The owner of Jon’s Pipe Shop in Clayton, Gerard Ezvan, a native of France, believes a smoking ban would lessen personal freedom. I became an American citizen because of the freedom that Americans enjoy. A smoking ban diminishes that freedom. It would also hurt the business I have spent many years building up.

Ezvan belongs to the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association. It’s executive director, Chris McCalla, said this about the proposed smoking ban: A smoking ban would lead the way in increased unemployment and failing businesses.

South county businessman Tony Palazzolo also opposes Proposition N. I find it interesting our government wants to follow Illinois a state that has to raise taxes and cut billions from its budget partly because of revenue losses from the smoking ban, he said. Instead of following Illinois, we should send them a big thank you’ note for sending all the business our way.

Fenton Mayor Dennis Hancock urges county voters to reject Proposition N. A smoking ban in St. Louis County would have negative economic consequences for the city of Fenton , he said. We would definitively lose business to surrounding counties. Hancock and the Fenton Board of Aldermen have rejected smoking bans for their city.”

Phone: (314) 615-5436
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: herby@stlouisco.com
Mail: 41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5437
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: kburkett@stlouisco.com
Mail: 41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5438
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: cwasinger@stlouisco.com
Mail:41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5439
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: momara@stlouisco.com
Mail: 41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5441
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: bfraser@stlouisco.com
Mail:41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5442
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: sstenger@stlouisco.com
Mail: 41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Phone: (314) 615-5443
Fax: (314) 615-7890
Email: gquinn@stlouisco.com
Mail: 41 South Central Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105

Nub Maduro

Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 4 x 60
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Roughly $5.00

Behind The Brand:
Nub – A name that almost every cigar smoker has heard of and hopefully has tried. A Nub cigar was one of the first few cigars I ever had, and I constantly find myself going back to them a few times a month. Sam Leccia who is the brain behind this brand has brought his own style, thoughts and even remolded a certain portion of cigar history. Before we get into the stick one may be asking, how did this huge ring gauge get onto the market. Once he was working with Oliva and getting more and more into the cigar world, he found a way to create a cigar that captured the ‘sweet spot’ that so many of use refer to when we name our favorite cigars. He was able to accomplish this by creating a larger ring gauge and using premium wrappers and Nicaraguan binders and fillers.

Sam Leccia

From what I have heard – and Sam if you read please correct me if I’m wrong – He was a state manager for Jack Daniels and sold to the distributors for a few years and then moved to be a regional sales rep for Oliva. While working with Oliva he pushed his new creation and after some discussion the thought became reality. One of Sam’s said favorite is his Cameroon wrapper which is a Nine year old wrapper (not often published) which creates a very unique flavor. The Habano line is also special in that it uses the same wrapper as the Oliva Serie v (one of my personal favorites) and has received very high recognition and respect.

Fun notes that I have heard about Sam is that he actually started rolling cigars while he was working with Oliva, but he rolled them in his garage. He also included two very important components to the boxes that other companies do not include, his personal smoke time and the Milipounds of the cigars. He has commented more then once, and I do agree, that these cigars at 4 inches are heavier than most churchill cigars and has thus included this figure as a reference.

This cigar actually was sent to me from Sam along with a Cain Habano for review. I had purchased a few prior to this and can say that just like his other cigars, always follow through in almost the exact same way. Minor burn issues, good price and great flavor – all perfect reasons to keep purchasing these gems!

Nub

Construction:
As with all the cigars in the Nub line, I have never had one that made me worry about construction. Of course, the foot of the cigar is more spongy than the rest of the stick but it rebounded without hesitation and raised no call to alarm. Mild amount of veins but again – no worries on my side.

Nub Maduro

Flavor:
The flavors were very well defined and very enjoyable to begin with, but as many other reviews have noted as well that towards the end the flavor begins to get more ashy. Earth was the main flavor, while a nice creamy leather and coco mix entered the lineup. I highly enjoyed the first 2/3 of this cigar and would definitely recommend this as a mid day smoke – maybe even an after lunch stick. This is not what I would consider a wow stick, but it kept me interested enough to ‘Nub’ it out and go to the shop and pick up another pair.

I don’t normally include any outside video – but this is just a fun little blurp I found on youtube.com with sam rolling a customer Nub cigar. All I have to say, look at that skill – My jaw drops every time I watch it.

Illusione Cigars Logo

Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6 3/4 x 48
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Roughly $7.00 a stick

Illusione 888 cigar

Behind the Stick:
First and foremost, I have to say this cigar is quickly becoming my go to stick. I originally purchased the sampler pack online and this Churchill sized, Nicaraguan Puro seemed to call out to me. I started with the ~68~ and the ~88~ slowly working my way up to this larger size and building my pallet to this brand. For once, I can say that every vitola I have tried was consistent, had no construction or burn issues and remained smooth till the end. I have had a few of these ~888~’s and have yet to have one flaw or error present itself.

Dion Giolito

This stick has gotten the nick name of the ‘Jesus Stick’ in my home for the reference to the 888 – the most symetrical number and a very powerful number at that. Most people are looking at this screen and scratching their head, but for the history buffs, bible thumpers or just the curious alike, check out the Bible Wheel and give it a thought. Take it as a grain of salt – and I highly doubt that Dion Giolito had specifically correlated a connection between the cigar and the numbers, but I’m starting to see it more and more. The more I read up on Dion, I found out he has a underlying passion for the Illuminati and being a Master Mason myself (librarian at the lodge), and being raised with Knights Templar and Scottish Rite – His numbers have a very…. odd correlation. But that is a side project, and yes Dion, I’m going to figure them all out haha!

I will say these cigars are not overly complex, but the flavors and scents they do present are of the highest caliber. The main reason this cigar has become a go to stick for myself is exactly what I previously stated – these cigars are not overly complex. I would not consider this cigar to be one dimensional by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a great stick for when I just want to sit down, mentally melt away and just enjoy my surroundings.

Granted – I do reviews and there for I need to sit down and absorb myself into a cigar (of which this cigar will definitely allow) but the flavors of earth, spice, nuts and yes – chocolate – change just often enough to keep one interested but not solely focused within the stick. I can not speak highly enough of this sensation that is presented. I attribute most of this to the fact that they pride their cigars on being made in small batches to maintain this insane quality.

Illusione Logo

Included below is the concept of Illusione Cigars taken in full:

“The concept behind Illusione Cigars was to re-create a specific taste profile from years past. Before the Sandinistas took over Nicaragua in 1979, Nicaragua was growing some of the best tobaccos in the world. The cigars made from these prized fields in the Jalapa Valley and Esteli region were strong, bold and clean. After years of neglect, these old Somoza fields have been re-cultiviated by the legendary master grower Arcenio Ramos of Cuba. Along with Fernano, Chandito and famed Cuban agronomist Jacinto, Arsenio has assembled the varitable �dream team� of tobacco production. They have re-grown these humble acres to yield their fullest potential once again. All Illusione cigars are made from first generation Corojo �99, Criollo �98 seeds, wrapped with a grade one Caf� Colorado wrapper, and finished with a traditional triple cap in the premier Raices Cubanas factory. Illusione cigars deliver a taste and a quality of smoke rarely found in today�s market. All of Illusione cigars are made in small-batch quantities to maintain quality and consistency.”

Construction:
As always, the Illusione ~888~ cigar provided the utmost quality from their small batch productions. A slight oily sheen, minimal veins and no unwanted texture to the cigar. Top notch.

Flavor:
Lots of mellow earth and leather take the foreground while hints of spice/pepper linger on ones taste buds, a semi-long finish that requests the smoker to take another draw just as the taste leaves. More than once I found myself holding this cigar in my teeth and being struck by a flavor change, usually a coco or pepper note that then returns to normal once I’m paying more attention. The cigar finishes with a nice nut flavor in combination with the spice and leather that pairs perfectly.

Conclusion:
Without a doubt, go purchase a few. This is not a daily smoke for myself, simply because I am not a big Churchill fan, but when I do have the extra time to sit down for a churchill – I found my go to stick – hands down.

Illusione Logo

Padron

Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5 x 50 (robusto)
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Roughly $4.00

Padron 2000

Behind the Stick:
The Padron 2000 really is a cigar that is starting to grow on me. When I first started smoking cigars I went into a local shop and asked them for a cigar that would be a good ‘go to cigar’ for my collection. As if by instinct the tobacconist reached to this rustic looking box and grabbed a rugged stick from inside. This stick, even in the cellophane, had a great appeal and without hesitation I purchased two. Since I started with them I have noticed that they are always in my humidor.

One of the main things that attract me to this cigar is that every single one I have had has been exactly the same, a feat that many cigar companies fall just short of. Great draw, easy cut, untouched burns, large volumes of smoke and a nice array of flavors. I will say, this is not a cigar that makes one say ‘wow’ nor is it an overly complex cigar but rather a stick where when you pick it up, you know exactly what your getting, quality.

Construction:
This is not what you would call a beauty winner but this cigar really does have a more rugged appeal. The wrapper does have a more unfinished feel and texture – it reminded me of sandpaper. The more I smoke these the more I realize the mouth appeal as well – I tend to leave this cigar in my mouth after a draw, not chewing on it but just letting it rest. Over all, very good and consistent construction.

Flavor :
As I have said before, the flavors that appear are not the most complex, or that they do not change much from beginning to end. From the start, slight leather and a nice pepper sensation reach out to my taste buds. Nice deep earth flavors are also present, but seem to come and go throughout the cigar. Not many changes, but still a great stick for the price.

Conclusion :
I can not recommend this cigar enough, it truly is a great stick for the price. Do not expect a ‘wow’ cigar – but do expect a high quality, well priced and very consistent stick.

Jose Padron

(Images gathered from cigarfan.wordpress.com and whosdid.com)

Marco V Platinum Label Grand Reserve

Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 60 X 5?
Wrapper: Brazil
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Strength: Medium
Price: $5/each

Behind the Stick:
This cigar comes out of the Dominican Republic and all the cigars they make are of the giant 60 ring gauge. I will say though, they do pride themselves on the fact these cigars are made in small batches in an attempt to keep their consistancy and quality at the proper level – and I can vouch, they are consistent.

I was really impressed by this stick for multiple different reasons. First off, the price, at $20.00 for 4 you just can not beat the price tag, and what makes it even better is the quality and consistancy. The other things that really stood out, this is a heavy cigar – not as in color or body but rather the actual weight. Each one that I have had has been evenly rolled, easy to cut and light and draws perfect.

I have smoked a few, given a few to a local shop and all parties involved, absolutely loved this cigar. It is not one of those cigars to write home about, but enough to make sure you keep one or two in your humidor at all times. Personally I am not a big fan of the larger ring guages, it seems the flavor is usually very dull until midway or beyond and this cigar follows right in that suit. I will say though, from other large ring guages I have tried, this one I will go out and re-purchase over and over again.

Flavor:
The starting flavors are pretty minimal, sweet tobacco and coffee notes seem to be the main foreground while coco is easily noticed – making the transitions a little more interesting but mild. After the second half began, notes of leather and some sort of spice, pepper or cinnamon perhaps, grew in intensity but never became so much to easily tell nor did it become overpowering. Some have reported they noticed a cherry taste within, although I personally could not pull this flavor I am able to say the sweet notes were very enjoyable and not overpowering to the rest of the cigar.

Conclusion:
When it comes down to it, this is a long smoking cigar, mine came in right around the 2 hour mark, but does nothing but satisfy. Not overpowering on the buzz, the retrohale was full of pepper but tolerable and the finish was short enough to enjoy a beer that may not perfectly compliment. I can honestly say that once my local B&M starts to carry these, you will always be able to find one in my humidor.

Every cigar has a story, every smoke a memory.

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