Archive for January, 2010

The Cigar Nut

Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: High Medium to Full
Price: Around $6.00 a pop

Don Pepin Garcia

Behind The Stick:

If you have not heard of this stick, please at least let me know that you have heard about the master himself, Don Pepin Garcia. If not, here is a quick history lesson behind a man we all call and regard as ‘master’. He was born in Cuba and like most Cubans was integrated into their amazing tobacco lifestyle which lead to him working at an uncles factory as a torcedero or cigar roller. He has held so many positions throughout his life but a few of the more notable would be his assistance in blending with the Cuban brands Cohiba, Partagas and Montecristo. He has been able to read a Class 8 – Master – and even won a Productivity Prize for rolling 320 Julietas (7×48 vitola) in four hours! That is rolling 1.3 cigars – Per minute. . .

Aside from that, he was approached by Pete Johnson from Tatuaje cigars to blend him a few different types and once Cigar Aficionado gave it high marks, the Don Pepin name became worth its weight in gold. If you look a little deeper, you’ll notice Don Pepin Garcia also produces cigars for other companies, to name a few Padilla and 5 Vegas (some blends of each). Their factory in Miami, Florida which employs only 12 cigar rollers (all class 8 masters) can produce around 800,000 cigars a year – although with this large number they realized they simply can not meet the demand and created another factory in Estil, Nicaragua so they can produce another 3 to 4 million, yes million, cigars a year.

Don Pepin Garcia

Construction:

With the name of the master himself pressed across the black band, I knew I was in for a treat. Without a question the construction on every single one of these sticks was flawless. Perfectly packed from head to foot, no blemishes or discoloration of the wrapper. Triple cap was perfectly placed on each (one did lose a single cap, but perhaps from me cutting too deep) and I only had a minor burn issue on one that was corrected on its own. Also – this is a dual band so I was worried there may be more of a chance for the band to stick to the wrapper – nope! Both bands came off perfectly.

Don Pepin Garcia

Flavor:

Spice! Oh wow does this one produce some spice although its just enough to be borderline ‘too much’ but fell within the tolerable range. I am not a huge fan of the spice or the burn in a retrohale although the other flavors kept me entertained. The smoke seemed to coat my mouth and definitely dried it out after only a few puffs although with that ‘coating’ the finish increased with each puff as well and left a nice aftertaste once I was at about the half way point. My one bitch on this stick was that towards the end of each one the flavor profile seemed to drop off and turned a bit bitter.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic

Overall:

If you are a fan of a more spicy smoke or perhaps seeking out something a little out of your comfort zone I highly suggest giving this one a shot. The price is not daunting and the profile itself is not a bad one, although when I repeat ‘spicy cigar’ do not think this is an editorial mistake but rather emphasis about this fact. The construction was flawless, the draw near perfect on each one, no major burn issues with any so all in all I have to say this is a great smoke and I suggest, if nothing else, give it a shot on a single.

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

This is one of those things I am starting to ‘test’ with this site – Please leave a comment either way, good or bad and depending upon how the majority votes, I may or may not keep up the ‘random rant’ posts.

I am noticing that a lot of cigar review sites have deviated from the cigar reviews and are starting to do beer reviews, random photos more of modeling rather than cigars or use their site as a political springboard. I guess when I started my own site the wild notion of ‘Hey, I am making a site for cigars, viewers are going to come here for cigars, so let me focus on cigars’ and perhaps I have gotten onto my own horse about that but if the word ‘cigar’ is in your url, focus on the damn cigars.

Now granted perhaps I am blowing hot hair because most of the sites I hinted towards are simply kicking my butt when it comes to monthly views and traffic, but then again I have only been online for under 6 months where most these sites have gotten a year or more under their belt although for some I am nipping at their heels (haha bitches). Again – I am not trying to burn any bridges so do not expect me to drop any names or point out anyone specific but if you are in certain portions of the cigar review world you may be able to pick up a story or two and perhaps for some, this is a nice way for you to easily dislodge your head from your ass.

One of the main reasons I am ranting at this time is that through twitter, I hear a few people who just bullshit with one another, a few who use twitter as a launching pad for advertisements or those individuals who always, always have to find something to bitch about. We all know these two to three guys and have even discussed their actions out in the open yet nothing has changed, oh well. This ‘rant’ is all in due to a conversation I saw stream by and although I did have a proper foothold to speak my opinion, I resisted for a bit. This conversation was in context of ‘Why do you review cigars? What is your process? What is your ultimate goal?’ and I must say, I never really sat down to think about the answers to these questions and as innocent of questions as these were, I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of nerd rage out-lash in my entire life – most of it made me laugh but part of it just pissed me off with how some of these characters need a good love tap upside their head so they could, perhaps, join us here in reality.

Why do you review cigars? – Awesome question and one that I think almost all fellow review sites have in common and that is we highly enjoy cigars, feel we have a decent enough palate to discern flavor profiles and have a bit of free time to devote into the page. Personally, that is exactly where I feel that I fit into the equation. I’m not a manufacturer producing a site and comparing other brands to my own, I’m not trying to make cash out of the site (although some does come in) nor am I trying to get free sticks which also happen to hit the porch rarely. The normal readers will know, if I get a good batch of cigars I’ll post a lot more reviews in a month, but if I get a few bad batches I’m not going to push out content just to have X number of posts a month – I feel that is wrong the company and the viewers but it seems to be common practice so what do I know.

Aside from that starting question, the conversation evolved and changed and it became more of a debate upon the etiquette around what should or should not be said and what topics should be touched when reviewing cigars and this is when I started to get ticked. My agreements to begin with – One person roughly remarked that we do not know if the manufacturer is aware of current ‘defective’ issues within a blend, IE the wrapper being overly brittle or the draw being tight. I 90% agree with this, unless you are there on the farm throughout the entire process (and even sometimes with these contingencies) you will not know what issues or compromises had to be addressed through the process. I’ve even heard from more than one manufacturer that ‘the farms lie, its not right but you have to get used to it’ so in that respect my hat goes off to them. With this being said, I started to think of this in terms of the auto world – Ford/Honda produces vehicles and has a very high quality control (as do premium cigar manufacturers) although there are still some ‘lemons’ that slip through which is a unfortunate but expected aspect of life, trust me, they know their % of duds vs good cars produced and the cigar manufacturers are no different. The catch with cigar production, you can’t send one back to the factory to be repaired, you just have people who stop buying your cigar because of those repeat issues. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ll only throw a 7 to 8 dollar stick out the window of my car so many times before I walk onto the next brand.

Now that I have my one agreement out of the way, onto the fun part. Within the conversation that seemed to steadily pick up steam and participants, I sat idly by reading the words across my screen nearly in shock at some people’s remarks. I have to say, I did not 100% disagree with anyone but that was only because I do try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but some seemed to turn their nose sky wards towards us in middle-class or lower-class America. One review site commented that they mostly review cigars that are sent to them from the manufacturer or shops and then complained about the amount of cigars they received! ‘Oh I was only able to get 2 of their cigars, I don’t know if I could really give them a good review’ – this is not a direct quote but a paraphrase of what two or three people had all agreed upon – Are you fucking kidding me?!

Yes I have received a few sticks from different locations, some times 1 or 2, sometimes a few more but nothing to write home about. It all depends on the company and the stick but if I ever smoked a pair and still was not impressed or the consistency was off I would save up and buy an extra pair for a second do over (which yes, I have already done) – I don’t have the cash to buy a box to ‘test’ and I don’t feel that most the viewers do either so why would I attempt to fluff myself up into something I’m not? I wish other sites would follow that rule as well.

Money, it is always about money. The up-nose turn came from another review site who, through no fault of their own (I guess) attempted to compare themselves towards the rest of America saying ‘If you run a site then go buy the cigars’ and left it at that. We all know of one site who got bashed for asking for some smokes to review, well everyone, I’m in the same boat – I’d love some free sticks to review and I guarantee if you send me some I’ll put your name up you sent them haha! I can see where the first site is coming from, but another ‘are you serious comes to mind’. Sure, some people are able to smoke 7 to 8 cigars a day or spend about 1000.00 a month on stogies but for a lot of us poor fucks out there spending 20.00 a week on cigars is a budgeted expense we don’t take for granted. Maybe, just maybe, those are the people who are reading your site for advice because on their limited budget they don’t want to spend two weeks filing through crap smokes only to find one they really like, but can’t smoke more for 2 weeks because they are broke. I’ve been there, more than once, and it sucks.

The last point that was thrown out there that got me erked to no other was ‘We have a responsibility, we can not do or say anything that could jeopardize the company or manufacturers well being’ – Fuck that noise, ever hear of the Ford Pinto? Ford made the GT-40, a simply amazing machine that is rivaled by few other vehicles although this company also made a car that was known to blow up from rear end collisions. Hmm – maybe they took the lemon principal stated above and decided ‘hey guys, maybe we need to re-do this one’. I think that is great for the manufacturer but even better for the consumer! If we do not speak up and say that a specific blend/wrapper is defective or that we do not like the flavor profile that is created (since none of our cigars get sent back to the factory) they have no idea on what needs to be addressed. I have never put out a review where I bashed an entire product line and I guarantee you I never will because I don’t think that any company out there makes 100% poor sticks but I can say that I have written to two different production companies and told them of the flaws I found (usually consistency and construction) and they each responded with kind words and hopes to change. THAT is how it should be.

So, now that I am losing steam, feeling a little bit better about the whole subject, its time for me to go smoke a cigar, drink a beer (maybe I’ll review a bud light tonight) and await for the next load to crap to stream across twitter. Till then

~David – The Cigar Nut

Please let me know if you would like to hear more of these rants, I’ll try to piss off as many people as I can at once, haha!

The Cigar Nut

Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Wrapper: Honduran ‘Semilla 101′
Binder and Filler: Honduran and Dominican
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Just under $7.00 a stick

Room 101 305

Behind the Stick:
One of the newer manufactures on the scene is a guy by the name of Matt Booth, musician and creator of the Room 101 jewelery line has decided to join groups with Camacho Cigars and created the ‘Room 101 Cigars’ as an addition to the Room 101 lifestyle line. I felt a little pull towards trying this cigar for not only has Matt been able to do all these amazing things, starting out his life as a man he joined the Marine Corps and as a brother jar head, I had to bite and purchase a few.
I was able to pick these up from Corona Cigar company, and having them be one of the only shops I was able to locate with these I picked up a 10 pack, some to age out and some to enjoy right away. Before I actually sat down I was able to do some research and watched a few of the videos Matt and Camacho cigars put together about the start of the cigar line, and I have to admit it looks like they had a great time doing this project and it has payed off! I’m not one of those people who automatically buys into the hype from advertisements and not often is it that a company is able to live up to that hype they create, but I think they did an awesome job on this one.

Room 101 305

Construction:

Matt, I love the stick but I gotta say, the consistency just was not there. Out of 10 sticks on four of them the head was so poorly made that I thought they were a knock off rather than a Camacho blend. I will say, the very poor construction at the head, although an irritant, did not cause one issue with the smoking of the stick. Evenly packed from head to foot, one stick had a burn issue (one out of 10, awesome I say) without cracks or breaks. One thing I also have to give the thumbs up to, every single band came off easily and no glue on the stick!

Room 101 305

Flavor:

This is not a stick that I would put into the top 5 most complex cigars of my life, but it is a cigar that I would smoke on a regular basis. It started off with a mild sweetness on top of the tobacco flavor and really did not change too much in the first third, every now and then a hint of chocolate, but nothing to write home about. The second portion built up in a more earth, dirt like flavor and the smoke coated my mouth but I was really surprised that it was not drying out my mouth – no need for extra water with this one. The stick finished with a bit more spice and it mixed well with the tobacco and chocolate flavors. As I said before, this is not an overly complex stick but a good medium to full blend.

Overall:

With all the hype we have heard since IPCPR about the Room 101 Conspiracy, the Camacho name being on the band and the fact that Matt is a fellow Marine, I was really looking forward to sitting down and seeing what it was all about. I gotta say, even with previously states issues, I will always keep a few in my humidor. The price point makes them attractive, the packaging and the advertising drills the image and brand into your mind and the hype behind it draws you in to give them a shot. The thing that surprised me the most was – it delivered. Will I purchase a box? Probably not, but I will always keep a 3 to 5 pack at a moments grab.

Room 101 305

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

As I have slowly been entering into the cigar world I have found quite a number of good, honest and friendly people who visit these sites and engage themselves through forums, facebook and especially twitter. One of these people I met was Jacob or @jakrell on twitter, a fellow Missourian and CODMW2 [CGAR] member (xbox360, if you don’t have it go get it) who took it upon himself to help get the name of this site out there – I gotta say that once he started I noticed a big difference, so Jacob, Thank you.

Now that the ass kissing portion is over, Here comes the real portion, not only is he a great guy he sent me a review of the 262 Paradigm and it blew me away. If you like his review, leave a comment for him and maybe we’ll just make him a regular guest reviewer.

Jakrell

Size: Robusto 4 X 52
Box Pressed Toro 6 X 54 (Pictured)
Torpedo 6.25 X 54
Wrapper: Brazilian
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Seco, Ligero – Nicaragua
Cubito – Cuban Seed – Columbia
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Robusto under $7 per stick
Box Pressed and Torpedo under $9 per stick

Behind The Stick:

262 was originally going to be called Revolution Cigars but due to copyright stuff and legal mumbo jumbo they changed the name. February of 1962 is when President Kennedy signed pen to paper to put in to effect an embargo that would keep us from enjoying Cuban cigars. Of course Kennedy asked an aide to get him 1000 Cuban cigars before the embargo took effect. The aide brought Kennedy 1200 Petit H. Upmann cigars, his favorite cigar brand and size. So they decided to put the month and year together and changed their name to 262.

Jacob Krell - 262

Construction:
The Paradigm is “Assembled in Honduras, this well-balanced cigar starts off with 3 fillers coming together to create a rich array of tastes. The Seco and Ligero tobaccos from the Esteli and Jalapa valleys in Nicaragua are blended with a Cubito tobacco, a Cuban-seed leaf grown in Columbia.” (Taken from www.smoketherevolution.com) I was sent 3 unbanded samples in different sizes. Robusto, Box Presses, and Torpedo. I decided to start with the torpedo which is my favorite size and shape.

The cigar construction and over all look was fantastic. You could tell it was a quality stick and not some fly by night attempt at a start up brand. I was impressed with how nice the wrapper looked and the fantastic torpedo end was done perfectly. The cigar felt nice in my hand and had that slight give that I like to see which tells me a cigar is ready to smoke. The wrapper was flawless and beautiful.

The Smoke:

Torpedo: My initial impressions were this cigar is very different from any that I have smoked. It has a very crisp and refreshing start. I could taste the hint of citrus as was described to me from one of the owners. There was no harshness or overpowering taste yet it wasn’t bland and mild. I have a hard time describing this but it is really unique start to a cigar. Just think of that freshness when biting into a really good orange.

The ash is very nice and white and solid. The wrapper burned evenly start to finish. I got a good 2 inches going and decided it was time to part ways with it to see if the wrapper burn stays even. This is usually where I will see burn issues. The ash is gone and the cigar continues to burn even. That makes me a happy smoker!

I start to notice I am feeling a little light headed. I had to open a window and get some air. I thought to myself this is odd as so far I haven’t hit anything overpowering and full in the cigar yet. The cigar gives way to subtle dark chocolate notes. You can tell the cigar is developing and changing and I like that. To me it adds some complexity and excitement to the cigar. A kind of wow factor that keeps your attention and makes you want more. Past the hints of chocolate I start getting coffee and I mean no hints or doubt about it there is coffee. I am not a huge fan of drinking coffee but I love the aroma of it. This cigar finished with a nice coffee taste and I really enjoyed it.

Jacob Krell - 262

Robusto: The robusto was once again a solid looking stick. You know how when you can kind of judge the construction quality of a cigar by the feel? These are quality made sticks and you can see that by the look and feel. The robusto opened up with some spiciness. I could not detect any citrus flavor in this stick but that could be because my pallet gets overpowered by spiciness and that seems to be all I can detect. That is not a bad thing at all. Any cigar with spiciness overpowers my pallet and is the dominating flavor I detect. This cigar seemed to have a little more kick to it than the torpedo. Overall it was very enjoyable and if you like spicy, dark chocolate, and coffee you will love this.

Box Pressed: I enjoyed the torpedo and robusto so much that I made the box press my first 2010 cigar. Once again I had a hard time detecting citrus in this size. This cigar seemed to me to hit the dark chocolate and coffee from the start and never backed down. I savored every moment smoking this cigar. Wonderful aroma, solid white ash, tons of smoke. I smoked this thing down to the nub and almost burnt my fingers and lips trying to get everything from it. It left me wanting more and I thought to myself I could smoke these everyday and never get tired or bored with them.

Overall:

My overall impression of this cigar is it is a solid medium to full bodied cigar. It is not a full on kick you in the teeth full bodied cigar yet it does have some power. It has some complexity and nice changes that I think are very noticeable. That being said I think if you are a mild guy this would be the cigar to step up to the next level. If you are a medium to full guy this is your cigar. If you are a full bodied guy this is a cigar you still want to check out. Each one left me wishing I had more to share with friends. In all honesty this cigar is very different and I am excited about it being released. I have never experienced that clean, fresh, citrus taste in a cigar. I honestly wasn’t sure if my palate would pick it up but it did. Out of the 3 the torpedo was my favorite. I just loved that fresh start and the hint of citrus. All 3 were quality sticks and very enjoyable to smoke. Though they are produced from the same tobacco the different sizes offers each a unique characteristic of its own. Definitely worth giving these a try and right now you can enjoy 20% off on a box purchase. Check them out at www.smoketherevolution.com.

Jacob Krell - 262

Thanks again Jacob, an amazing review! Please, if you liked this review leave a comment and we will see if he can get a permanent spot on the site.

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

Size: 6 x 50 Toro
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sungrown
Binder and Filler: African Cameroon Binder and Nicaraguan Piloto Cubano and Ligero Filler
Strength: Medium To Full
Price: Under $8.00 per stick

Gurkha G3

Behind the Stick:

For the regular readers you know that I hold a special spot for Gurkha, not all of their cigars by any stretch of the imagination, but quite a few have really hit me as a ‘special’ type cigar and I like to maintain my view of them as such. I have had a few poor quality or simply not my type of a blend (those shall remain name less, but wont make any reviews here- haha) but once I was able to sit down with a few of these, I have found yet another Gurkha that I will keep in mind when a celebration or ‘just because’ may arise.

If you have never heard of this cigar before, Cigar Aficionado was able to review this cigar in December of 2006 (yeah, I’m a little late okay) and they toted it an 88 as well as saying “the most complex cigar to bear the Gurkha name to date.” and also reported that only 500 boxes were made in a one time production. As far as this statement, I can not confirm or deny for I bought a 5 pack from the devil (cigar bid) about 6 months ago – but I would bet they have produced more of this line since 2006.

Construction:

Gurkha has done it again, another great stick with no problems. I was actually looking over this one a bit more than others, simply because I do hold them to a higher caliber than most other brands. Evenly packed from head to foot, no blemishes on the wrapper, no patches, no discolorations, cut easily without issue – another cigar from Gurkha passes the test.

Gurkha G3

Flavor:

Cigar Aficionado had toted this cigar as one of the most complex produced by the Gurkha line – I have to disagree but then again that was written in late 2006. The flavor began similar to what one would expect from the aroma, wood, mild spice and a hint of sweet, starting off great! Roughly about half way through the cigar I noticed that the wood had amped up, the spice dropped off and the sweet flavor built into a defined coco sensation. Complex, yes, one of the most complex from Gurkha? As of early 2010, I can name a few other Gurkha’s that are as complex if not more – but still a great flavor profile.

Overall:

Given the price, quality and consistency on my entire 5 pack I have to give this smoke a thumbs up. On some of the images of boxes I was able to locate, there is actually a warning on the box that says to enjoy while sitting – and after smoking a Cain F – when the retailer gives a ‘warning’, I listen. I can not understand why they put this warning on the stick, I sat down and did not drink at all with my first one – little to zero buzz (nothing more than a normal high medium to low full stick) and after enjoying with various different pairings I still could not pull out why they had given this warning aside from the fact they are using Ligero.

I enjoyed the smokes, no faults found but when I think Gurkha I think more of a knockout rather than a love tap. They did well and I was able to enjoy all that I purchased (not all sticks live up to that) but I don’t see myself smoking these daily and for the price, I’d cough up an extra few dollars to get something more in the ‘wow’ factor.

Gurkha G3

Every Cigar Has a Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

I am sure that most of you have heard of the online forum http://www.botl.org – The Brothers of the Leaf – If you have not, I highly suggest you stop by and check them out – but make sure to come back!

First bomb from schuckins at BOTL.org – I gotta say this guy is awesome. I highly suggest you add your name and address to the list and let him take care of the rest. I have already sent out a few of my own bombs to other members and I know it will come back around. I wish I had more to say about them, but the best thing to do it to check it out yourself!

The Cigar Nut

I know that a lot of forums have the same type of a setup, where the members are allowed and even encouraged to take part in these types of activities. I will say, Nothing better than going out and buying a few 5 packs, splitting them up and sending them out to a few guys and receiving a few packages in the mail less than a month later. Again, check out the guys at botl.org !

- Thanks again to all the other BOTL!

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