Archive for February, 2010

The Cigar Nut

Size: 6 x 50 (Toro)
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Rosado
Binder and Filler: Honduran
Strength: Full
Price: Only available in CRA sampler – $90.00 as a member

CAO LX2 Rosado CRA

Behind The Stick:

For some of us who have already joined CRA (Cigar Rights Of America) the broadcasting of their new ten cigar sampler #1 caused a few to join the organization simply due to their ‘special’ blends that were specifically produced for this sampler. Please, give the time to check out all the other (the main reason) aspects to this organization for if you enjoy a cigar indoors/patio you may owe that acknowledged freedom to them. Many of these blends are some that are available as normal production but hard to come by (the Tatuaje Black for example) or some that have a special oomph that makes it a totally different blend only available to those members within the CRA. This stick is one of those magic pieces that they included into the sampler.

The CAO LX2 on its own is a very well known, highly enjoyed cigar by many aficionados and in an attempt to maintain this, but also offering something special and new, they changed the wrapped from a sun grown leaf to this Nicaraguan grown Rosado wrapper. Tim Ozgener was quoted on the CRA site saying The exquisite Rosado wrapper imparts a pleasant floral note upon the flavor profile, which balances superbly with the three different ligero fillers. Even reading the captions about these cigars, I can’t help but beginning to drool – Lets just see if the hype lives up to the product! As a point to be made also, this is a first impression smoke, I only was able to enjoy a single of these.

CAO LX2 Rosado CRA

Construction:

Did I hear someone say there was oil on this cigar? Holy cow, I pulled this one out of the humidor after 3 or 4 months and the oil on this bad boy was still very apparent, the oils seeming as if they would rub off on my hand. The packing of this cigar was near flawless which really surprised me for most CAO’s I have had before were a bit loose towards the end of the foot. Triple cap was expertly placed and the band was slightly pliable letting me know that no excessive amounts of glue were used. All in all, for a limited edition “one of a kind” it delivered exactly as I would have expected.

Flavor:

I think that Tim got the explanation of the flavors down almost perfectly from what I noticed, which makes the smoke that much better in my opinion. So often we hear the cigar will taste like one thing yet when we actually lite it up there is a totally different profile. Spice and wood drive the cigar throughout, while near the middle portion a defining change into more chocolate type flavor really started to set this cigar off. Right as it got into the “sweet spot” of the smoke, I started picking out more of these floral notes Tim had described. It was not harsh or overpowering but once I sat back and actually paying attention to them, the flavors melted very well together wrapping up with wood, chocolate and ‘floral notes’. I really wish I could have smoked more of these, not only to actually ‘pin down’ the flavors but also because this was a really nice smoke!

CAO LX2 Rosado

Overall:

If you have not already joined the CRA I highly recommend it. I have a link on the right hand side of my page with a direct connection to the site where you can find information on all the great things they do for the rights of smokers in the United States. This is one of those cigars that if you can find it, grab it and let it sit for a few months, kick back and enjoy one of the finest, and original ‘twist’ of a new wrapper on a classic and favorite blend. This is just one of the many cigars that the CRA sampler offers but has earned its place in my top 3 of these rare cigars.

CAO LX2 Rosado CRA

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

Size: 4 x 45 Petit Corona
Wrapper: Natural
Binder and Filler: Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua
Strength: Full
Price: About $4.50 per stick

Don Lino Africa Kuro

Behind The Stick:

The Don Lino Africa Kuro (or Waterbuck) is one of those cigars that I ended up picking up on a whim, let them sit in the humidor and was really surprised at how good they actually are. These wonderful cigars are actually produced by Miami Cigar – Nestor and his wife Miranda created their cigar factory in Miami, Florida and although these have a been a big hit, the history of Nestor and his cigar factory has been that of miracles and dreams. I have not been able to locate too much information directly related to this line with the exception that in 2002 Nestor and his son Daniel (who currently runs the operations at Miami Cigar) took a trip to Africa and upon their return trip home, decided they should make a cigar that would honor the land they had just left.

They decided to create beautiful boxes and name each size of cigar after a different animal on the Serengeti. They also came to the conclusion that rather then using the English or Spanish names of these animals, they would actually use the native language – Maasi. The original blend was produced in 2003 and re-blended in 2004 although I was unable to find the specifics of what they changed. Legend has it that while in the blending stages of this cigar Nestor specifically requested that a single leaf of Cameroon be used – this was very surprising for at this time little to no other blends on the market included this leaf within their blend.

Don Lino Africa Kuro

Construction:

Although the cigar does feel like a toothpick in my hand, I have to say that the overall impression of these really isn’t that bad. A mild amount of oil with an overall thorough packing from head to foot and an almost flawless triple cap really make this an overwhelmingly attractive cigar. The band provides a nice offset that does not make it seem chintzy but does not make the cigar ‘pop’ at you. The rollers also took a big tip and realized that a little glue goes a long way, none of the bands stuck to the tobacco!

Flavor:

The cigar is an ass kicker – please let there be no misunderstanding with this. The flavors are full and deep but the main rush comes from the nicotine – so – you have been warned. The cigar really did not provide a huge amount of diversity from beginning to end but rather a solid, well balanced short smoke with a kick. Mildly bitter and salty flavors of grass and earth mixed in with a nice spice or pepper sensation seemed to follow the stick from beginning to end. I must correct that statement, for the end of the cigar seemed to turn very bitter on each one, perhaps from the vitola or perhaps I was just smoking them too fast but either way I got an enjoyable 3/4 out of these. I wish there had been more complexity but taking in consideration of the size, they did a pretty good job.

Don Lino Africa Kuro

Overall:

If your a little hesitant I totally understand, but the price as well as the solid performance really should entice you to pick at least one up although that will be your problem. These bad boys are sold in packages (tins) of 4 so you really can’t pick a single up and give it a shot so if you chose wrong, your stuck with 3 others. I smoked all 4 of mine, 2 of them were great (minus the burn issues) one tunneled and the last one I tossed out due to burn issues so – maybe going with 4 of them you may get 1 or 2 full if you combine them. Again, I am not saying do not purchase these because what they did provide was good but I guarantee this will not be a box purchase of mine.

Don Lino Africa Kuro

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

So, since my last rant went a little better than I had originally intended, I suppose it is only right for me to attempt to continue the trend. I can tell from the last one that I stepped on a few toes – good – and honestly, there are not very many things in this world that piss me off so I will try to come up with a few that are entertaining and provide a little humor, insight and a different viewpoint. As before, please let me know what you think and if all goes well, I may have another idea or two for more.

This rant may be a little slanted only because not everyone who purchases cigars actually goes to the local tobacco shop, B&M (Brick and Mortar) or cigar bar to purchase their sought after smokes but rather they purchase them online. Personally, I can’t argue with this approach because I personally acquire the majority of my cigars online, the prices are cheaper, selection greater but my main reasons will be explained shortly. For those who venture into their local B&M a bit more frequently, perhaps you will pick up on some of my pet peeves or perhaps you have a few of your own you’d like to let me know about.

The Cigar Nut

Now with my above mentioned statement I’m sure a few shop owners may be feeling the rush of blood to their face but I have to pause and give my own disclaimer – I purchase as much as I can from local B&M’s and have tried to be very vocal about people venturing outside their comfort zone and checking out a few of these shops, but not every shop out there deserves my business. It truly is a double edged blade and I’m not sure which side is sharper. Also, I am not sure about others but in St. Louis there are only a handful of Tobacco shops to begin with (and perhaps I expect too much), even fewer cigar specialty shops and yet again, even less when it comes to places that deserve my cash. Again, I will clarify more but before you hang me up to dry, know I am on your side haha!

Recently I was chatting with Jacob (@jakrell on twitter) and we had been talking about B&M’s near his home in Kansas City, Missouri and B&M’s in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri and it got me thinking about all the similarities (obvious) and how they all were considered ‘tobacco shops’ but the subtle (sometimes not so subtle) factors within the shops really got me intrigued into what makes a shop ‘great’, worth while or simply a waste of a cigar or two worth of gas. Keep a watch on the site, I will try to add as many B&M reviews from across the country as possible and perhaps we will all know a little better of what the ‘great Brick and Mortar experience’ is all about.

Now though, those happy rays of sunshine will come at another time – for now, it is time to complain. My biggest issue with a few of the shops within the St. Louis area is that of what I have deemed the ‘Disenchanted B&M Owner’ – if you have been to a few different shops I’d put money on it that you’d met at least one and can agree your experiences were similar.

The Cigar Nut

Ever walk into a shop to see one worker on the phone, sitting in a chair while watching the tv? Ever walk past them, into the walk in humidor – make eye contact and then they return to their Tv? If I was a regular I can understand this, but if this is the first time you see me walk into your store – get off your ass and call your friend back. Even if I was a regular, you should at the very minimum acknowledge my presence. I’m not asking you to come over and hold my hand through the humidor, but maybe spend a minute or two and offer a few seconds of help – worst case scenario I say no and you call your friend right back. That has got to be one of my largest issues with some shops and it seems to be rampant in the St. Louis area.

I remember one time I went into a shop and the owner was watching tv, eating potato chips and dip and once I was in the humidor for about 15 to 20 minutes I walked out and waited by the counter. The owner slowly looks up and asks ‘you paying with cash?’ and so I respond with a short answer ‘Yes I am’ – he asked me how many I had (not the type), I responded with the amount of cigars I had and he requested I give him a single 20.00 bill (it was about 30.00 worth of cigars so it wasn’t huge) and sent me on my way. Granted, this is way cool and I wish I could have it happen more often – although this was the very first time I had ever gone to this store, not a good impression. It just seemed to me that he was not worried about anything but ‘lets get this guy out of here as quick as possible. I don’t want to get up to actually ring him out.’

I guess for me it all boils down to the question – Do you care? More and more I am noticing that the answer to this is NO to a certain extent. They care if they do or do not have the sale but do not feel that their own personal interaction is truly the deciding factor. I have been known to drive 45 minutes one way, and pay higher taxes on each cigar – simply to be able to deal with the retailers. I personally feel that is what makes a B&M truly great.

The Cigar Nut

I wish I had more to discuss on this, but really once I went to three different stores and I received the exact same type of service, I honestly thought I would be done with Brick and Mortar shops as a whole. A few in the area have been able to change my overall feeling about these establishments and have kept my dream of opening my own shop alive. Perhaps it is years and years in the business and they get burnt out, perhaps they are making such a profit that small deals really do not effect them or perhaps they are just pricks – either way it goes I highly suggest you check out all aspects of a shop not just what they carry in stock.

My request to the readers – Please get some pictures together, write up a quick (or detailed) review of a Brick and Mortar shop near your home and I promise I will put them up on the site. My e-mail can be found on the contact page. Give us an honest thought on if the location is good or bad, what you did or did not like and if this is your local spot, what about this location keeps you coming back for more?

The Cigar Nut

Size: 5 x 50 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium to Full
Price: Just over $6.00 a piece

Perdomo Squared

Behind The Stick:

Since I was corrected from the start, this is not a Perdomo 2 but rather the ‘Perdomo Squared’, perhaps due to the box pressing of the cigars or just a catchy addition to a famous and longstanding name. I personally had never tried a Perdomo before these so before I actually sat down and started smoking a few for a review I thought it was only proper to do some digging and find out who these people are and what brought them to the cigar industry. It never ceases to amaze me at the depth of these peoples history, what chance occurrences brought them to be the individuals we know today.

As with all things, its best to start at the beginning – In this case, Silvio Perdomo, who was a man born in San Jose de las Lajas, Cuba ended up using his last name and his earned skills through life to create one of the more well known and respected manufacturing names within the cigar world. He worked his way up through the ranks beginning with the Cuesta y Cia factory, moving to the H. Upmann for almost 9 years and finally worked with the company Partagas in Cuba until 1959 or so. Silvio’s son, Nick Perdomo Sr. followed after his fathers footsteps starting at the Marin and Trujillo factory, earning education, skills and a large amount of respect, he was able to join his father working at the Partagas factory.

One may think that this was the golden days of their lives, money was coming in, the family was being more than supported and growing and to top it off, they more than enjoyed their daily jobs. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth, for as many Cubans, Silvio was against the ‘New Cuba’ that Castro was trying to impose on the civilians. He was arrested, at his own home, which lead to a quick trial forcing Silvio into incarceration at Isle of Pines prison which from the information I have gathered was one of the worst, if not the worst, prison in all of Cuba. This was the first domino to fall that threw this family into a tailspin that could not even be summarized within a full book or movie.

Nick Perdomo Sr. has political views very similar to his father which may have lead to his near fatal, but definitely critical attack. Nick reports that although he was not personally involved with the former president of Cuba, he was intrigued by the new cigar styles and shapes that the Perdomo family was creating. Nick was quoted saying “Batista didn’t smoke cigars but, because it’s one of Cuba’s main exports, he was very interested in what my father and I were doing with the different cigar shapes and styles we were experimenting with.” He continued “The communists must’ve thought I was a close friend of Batista. I’ve still got two bullets inside of me to prove it.”

Perdomo Squared

Although for time sake I will shorten the story, Nick moved to the United States and began working on raising his own family. Nick Sr. married his sweetheart, had their sons Nick Perdomo Jr. and William Perdomo and after many years was finally able to bring his father, Nick Jr’s grandfather Silvio, to America – once and for all out of the Cuban prison system. Silvio, Nick Sr. and Nick Jr. started their legacy shortly after moving from Baltimore to Miami sitting around their kitchen table rolling and wrapping cigars, teaching the children the time-earned mastery of cigar rolling.

1991 was the big year, the first year that the Perdomo line really began moving forward. They were able to purchase a small factory in Little Havana. They were able to upgrade to a larger factory shortly after but 1996 was a truly defining moment for the Tabacalera Perdomo. The company was able to move its manufacturing capabilities from Miami, Florida to Esteli, Nicaragua but within all the good news, the man who has started it all, Silvio Perdomo, passed away in his sleep no more than six months later.

To wrap up the history and bring us to the current time – the Perdomo factory has done nothing but grow in size, currently holding over 88,000 square feet of land in Esteli, Nicaragua – land which has been nicknamed ‘El Monstro’ by the townspeople. The use some of the highest quality control methods as well as using a specialized draw machine specifically designed for their factory to ensure the best draw on each of their sticks.

I was unable to pull up much info directly related to the Perdomo squared with the exception that this is a re-released of an older blend and that they were actually released in 2007 rather than the 2008 that the band indicated. Either way, with such rich history I can’t wait to get into one of their great cigars.

Construction:

I don’t know if it is from the skilled hands in Nicaragua or the tough construction requirements from the Perdomo factory but the few I was able to try were near perfect. The wrapper was slightly ‘splotchy’ and seemed to have oily and dry spots on the same wrapper which was interesting in its own respect. The cigars were decently packed, more give being obviously present at the foot.

Perdomo 2

Flavor:

Man, I sure do love these maduro wrappers! This one started off with a punch of spice, earth and a smooth coffee like flavoring which seemed to swap back and forth almost every puff. Nothing to scream about, but near the middle of the first third the flavoring began to turn sweet which I attribute to the characteristics of the maduro wrapper. As the cigar continued, the coffee and earth dropped off and was replaced with a semi-sweet chocolate – I gotta say this is where the cigar really began to shine.

Overall:

I read a few other reviews on the stick and I’ve heard issues from quick burn, deep runs with the burn line and even poor draw quality but with the three that I tried, each one smoked perfectly. The room aroma of this cigar really is something to behold, not what one may consider a ‘big, stinky cigar’ but rather a strong and sweet tobacco scent that does not overpower. The wrapper consistancy on each was spot on (with the oddity in oil/no oil) as well as the packing of tobacco within each cigar, followed by a very reasonable price, I will be looking for these the next time I purchase some cigars.

Perdomo Squared

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

The Cigar Nut

Recently I was able to pick up another sponsor for the site, www.cigarsdirect.com and they were kind enough to send me a tin of Opus X! I will be sending one to Jacob Krell to try a ‘tag team review’ of a great smoke so please let us know if you like the finished product. On the right hand side of the page there is a graphic link for cigars direct so please give it a good look over!

Opus X via Cigars Direct

They are also going to be sending me a pack of cigars every month so I will be sure to keep some new smokes on the horizon.

The Cigar Nut

I have to say thank you again, not only for the rarity of them but also for the cost (roughly 100.00 for 3 cigars) – I have already given the preface which they have agreed to, so if they don’t stand up to the hype I have to be honest, but as well, Jacob will be reviewing one so we will have two opinions.

The Cigar Nut

As well, recently I was able to come in contact with a cigar retailer located at www.texcigars.com and they were interested in shipping me a few cigars to be reviews. A few of them I had tried but many of them I had never even heard of. Guys, I can’t thank you enough!

The Cigar Nut

The Alec Bradley Prensado, Rocky Patel 1961, a pair of Liga Privada T-52, HC El Corojo, Exile Hermanos Argenti, Pio Resurrection, and a La Flor Dominicana Limitado III.

The Cigar Nut

All of these cigars can be found at Tex Cigars dot com and I highly recommend you check them out. They didn’t tell me to say this, but the prices are actually pretty reasonable which is really hard to find now adays. They also included a very nicely sealed bag with a humidification pouch – Came in ready to smoke which to me is a huge bonus!

The Cigar Nut

The Cigar Nut

Size: 6 x 60 (Golden Bear)
Wrapper: Cuban Seed Corojo
Binder and Filler: Cuban Seed grown in Nicaragua
Strength: Medium – Full
Price: About $7.00/ single

Padilla Golden Bear

Behind The Stick:

Yet again I come across another manufacturing empire and a person who has such depth to them I almost have to take a step back and re-assess the situation. Most of us have heard the name, and even know the short version of his family history but most do not know the story just under the surface. Ernesto Padilla is the son of a great poet named Heberto Padilla for whom he created this cigar blend in honor of. The year 1968, which was the year his father wrote the anthology Fuera del Juego (Out Of The Game) which had ultimately lead to his own imprisonment in 1971. Ernesto was born the following year, 1972, and in 1979 Ernesto and his mother were finally allowed to live in the US but the uproar that was caused from the initial arrest continued and the international pressure allowed Heberto to leave Cuba as well a year later. While living and teaching in Princeton, New Jersey Heberto was able to produce En mi jardn pastan los hroes in 1984, about the life of writers in Castro’s Cuba, followed in 1990 by the publication of his memoir La mala memoria, a story about Padilla’s life in Cuba under Castro.

Ernesto himself has had quite the background into the tobacco industry before making this blend, after graduating high school he went to school in Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale and the Miami School of Design with an emphasis in graphic design and even has works on display at The Gallery of Cuban Art at La Casa Azul in Fort Worth, Texas. Although his great-grand parents owned a tobacco farm on which his father grew up, his direct interaction with the industry (aside from family and friends) was when he got a job with Tabacalera Perdomo where he used his education and skills within the Perdomo marketing and product development teams.

The Series 68 is the only cigar in the Padilla tribute line that is hand rolled in Honduras and was also the final chapter in the trilogy Ernesto had released in direct honor to his father. The Golden Bear version is a mammoth of a cigar sitting a 6 x 60 and is so large that it is the only vitola within the 1968 line that does not have a band.

Even though Ernesto has created some great smokes, a few of them almost at the ‘go to’ level, he does not seem to quit. For those who also follow him on twitter, there has been a few words about a cigar line called Cabo as well as talk about new blends on the horizon. Given his history, production abilities and drive, I can only wait to see what Mr. Ernesto Padilla has up his sleeve.

Padilla Golden Bear

Construction:

When I first saw this monster of a cigar, I thought to myself that this cigar HAD to be made for a specific reason – this is because I do not know of many other cigars that have even half the mass that this bad boy does. The Corojo wrapper which is harvested from the highest portions of the tobacco plant really gives the smoke its mildly oily, lightly red-hued leaf that does nothing but improve with age. Even with the size, this cigar is evenly packed from head to foot and the triple cap is flawless. Although a very large ring gauge, I think they pulled this one off.

Flavor:

Just from looking at this cigar, one may imagine it to be quite the ass kicker, and perhaps a little off in flavor due to the filler vs wrapper ratio. This is not the case, the filler really gives this smoke a nice strong (not overpowering) tobacco, semi-bitter earth type flavor which begins to pick up steam around the halfway point. As well, at this halfway point the mild spice from before exchanged places with a nice coffee flavor, dark and evenly balanced and surprisingly did not dry out my mouth even the slightest. My main ‘kudos’ goes to the wrapper, which even from the beginning just gushed a sweet, creamy and complex note to the already amazing blend.

Padilla Golden Bear

Overall:

Enesto Padilla has quickly become one of my favorite brands, one of those types of companies where you can run out and grab almost anything under their name and it delivers. The 1968 series, the Golden Bear in specific, really seems to fit the flavor profile that I like so I may be a little biased in my decision but this one, although not a ‘go to’ stick, my humidor will have a permanent spot for 2-4 of these giants.

Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory

Switch to our mobile site