No Ashton VSG Cigar Review would be complete without a quick rundown of the Ashton brand, which was created in 1985 by Robert Levin, a Philadelphia tobacconist. After years of experience as an importer and retailer of cigars, Levin decided to break into the manufacturing side. Today Ashton cigars are made by the world-famous Fuente family in the Dominican Republic, and are offered in six unique varieties: Ashton Classic, Ashton Aged Maduro, Ashton Cabinet, Ashton Heritage Puro Sol, Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown), and the ultra-exclusive Ashton ESG (Estate Sun Grown).
Ashton VSG is made using a powerful blend of Dominican tobaccos that have been aged four to five years by the Fuente family. The cigar’s distinctive flavor comes from the proprietary wrapper leaf which is grown exclusively for Ashton VSG. The wrapper is grown under cloud covering and harvested from the higher primings of the plants, which equates to a stronger, more flavorful leaf. Continue reading
Herrera Esteli is a blend from Willy Herrera, now a part of the team at Drew Estate cigars. According to the DE website, “he brings an authentic Cuban influence to the team. Herrera Esteli cigars feature a medium plus blend that is exceptionally creamy with great balance of spice and sweet.” Already, it put my expectations way outside the norm from the usual Liga Privada, MUWAT and other smokes from the Drew team. I recommend you take a similar approach, as I’m hard-pressed to even want to compare them. So don’t try to. From what I gather in my first impressions (and others’ notes), this is not a smoke for the first-timer, and it has some depth that the seasoned smoker will enjoy. For the purposes of this Herrera Esteli cigar review, I tried the Lonsdale Deluxe. Continue reading
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigars are among my list of personal Fuente favorites, and I’m glad to bring you my Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigar review. I call this line “the original Fuente Fuente OpusX cigars,” because just as the latter were created by Don Carlos “Carlito” Jr., this selection was created a generation earlier by Don Carlos Sr., himself. Coincidentally, both cigars took years to create and are rolled with only the most select estate-grown Dominican tobaccos. From the very beginning, the filler leaves used for the Don Carlos line have always been aged for as long as 10 years, which accounts for their abundance of rich flavor and remarkable smoothness. Continue reading
Where would we be without cigar reviews? We all look for inside information on cigars that have either just come out or that we intend to smoke in the near future. They sway us to try new stogies and steer clear of others (for good reason usually). Following up our post where we gave props to some of our favorite cigar blogs, I wrote this post to highlight some of my favorite cigar reviews of 2013 for your enjoyment, based on the cigars that I have personally tried and thought were home runs. I picked these terrific posts out as they feature both cigars that I truly enjoy as well as excellent insight on said cigars. The past year has been chock full of new cigars, but these 10 I thought were certainly worth sharing. Enough explanation, now, in no particular order are my picks for the top 10 cigar reviews of 2013! Continue reading
So I was forced to provide my Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro cigar review, which of course meant smoking this terrific cigar counted as part of my daily “work”. Oh the sacrifices I make in the name of entertaining cigar content.
When we think of the top three cigars we have ever smoked, everyone’s list should include the Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro. There is very good reason for this too, as these have been some of the most consistently highly rated cigars ever produced. Each cigar uses a minimum of 4 year aged tobaccos before it is rolled using only sun-grown natural wrappers (as opposed to shade grown) which gives a lot more flavor to the overall bouquet of the smoke, or a rich maduro wrapper. Both options are made in a box-pressed shape. I personally prefer the maduro to get more of that sweet, rich flavor, and luckily for me, that was the blend selected for this cigar review. Continue reading
The Aging Room Quattro F55 series is an attractive, award-winning selection that gets its name from its four-sided shape. Created by Boutique Blends founder, Rafael Nodal, and Jochi Blanco at Tabacalera La Palma, the cigars are box-pressed in an extremely rare and flavorful Indonesian-grown Sumatra wrapper aged since 2003 with a buttery-smooth texture that caps a Dominican Habano seed core. Each cigar sports two bands, at the head and foot respectively. Exquisitely handmade in a small batch production of 400,000 cigars, the Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto (7″ x 50) was awarded a “Classic” 95 score, and landed the #2 slot among the world’s “Top-25″ cigars for 2013. I was very happy to be selected to give my Aging Room Quattro f55 cigar review, so let’s light it up and get to it! Continue reading
Introduction and Initial Impressions
Davidoff Nicaragua cigars are the first all-Nicaraguan leaf blend from the world’s most distinguished luxury-class cigar manufacturer. 10 years in the making, Davidoff’s blending sensei, Hendrik Kelner, has done it again. Offered in only three shapes, Toro (5½” x 54), Robusto (5″ x 50), and Short Robusto (3¾” x 46), the core blend consists of longfiller tobaccos from Estelí, Condega, Jalapa, and the rich volcanic soil of Ometepe, aged a minimum of eight years. On initial inspection, these puros boast shimmering, 10-year-aged Habano-seed wrappers cured to a uniform Rosado hue and impeccable construction. For example, not only is the rolling seamless, but feeling my way along the length of the cigars I noticed there were virtually no soft spots. Now it’s time for me to light this beautiful cigar up and provide all of you with my Davidoff Nicaragua cigar review! Continue reading
IPCPR was a blast this year with almost everyone in the business releasing their newest and greatest cigars, one of which is the brand new CAO Flathead. We got a first hand opportunity to try this cigar and let you know all about it before it hits shelves in the coming months and to be honest, it looks like this is going to be a hot cigar. Continue reading
I bought a box of Artisan Nicaraguan Maduro Toro a week ago when they were on sale. Not only was the price right, but there was a free offer that included a 12-pack sampler of the entire Artisan Collection. Although the sale is over, the free offer is still available, which still makes it a great deal – 32 premium cigars for the price of 20.
I fondly remember the birth of this fine Artisan cigar. At Famous, we are always trying to deliver high quality cigars at a great price. With that goal in mind, employees who volunteer (think guinea pigs) are provided samples of new blends we are coming out with, in return for an honest rating on several dimensions – flavor, strength, construction, burn, ash, comments, etc.
The sample that became this Artisan Nicaraguan Maduro has been my favorite sample to date, so it’s no surprise I capitalized on this irresistible deal when it went on sale with a 12-pack Artisan Collection, for the price of “on the house.” Now let’s get to what you really want to know – how does this cigar smoke and how does it taste.
In two ‘F’ words - flawless and flavorful.
- strength starts out as medium, with strength gradually increasing towards the final stretch
- firm construction wrapped in a beautiful Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper
- tightly packed, flavorful and numbing Nicaraguan longfillers
- burns like a champ, decent ash
It’s not often I buy a box of cigars, reason being is that I’m still developing my palate so I’ve been primarily buying samplers. This allows me to try new brands and blends so I know which cigars are box-worthy – such as Perdomo 2 Limited Edition Maduro Robusto and Romeo y Julieta 1875 Bully to name a couple. At any rate, these Artisan Nic’s are certainly box-worthy in my eyes, definitely worth tasting if you haven’t yet. Of course, you can always pick up a single or the aforementioned Artisan Collection.
But don’t take my word for it, click here to read what some of our customers are saying about this box-worthy cigar.
If you already tried these Artisans, let me know what you think in the comments below, or feel free to write your own review.
I make no secret of my preference for smaller cigars, with a 50 ring gauge generally being the largest I’ll buy. If you’re like me in that regard, and if you enjoy the challenging complexities of a full-flavor cigar, then I highly recommend the Oliva Serie V Lancero.
For starters, there is something special about the all-Nicaraguan core, which includes full-bodied Nicaraguan Jalapa longfillers and a Nicaraguan binder. But the puro’s greatest achievement for me is its milk chocolate-colored Sun Grown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper.
I’ve been hanging onto a box of Oliva Serie V Lanceros for aging purposes, which I recently had occasion to crack into. From the get-go, I’m surprised by how much the cigar’s pepper notes have mellowed out. Instead of causing a tingling in my sinuses, it is at once rich and smooth, bringing to mind the word, “invigorating.”
Time has also been kind to the cigar’s burning characteristics. At release, they were subject to the instability that affects most Lanceros: a lopsided burn, somewhat-weak ash, and the occasional tunnel, all of which could be reasonably kept in-check by smoking slowly.
They now perform amazingly well, boasting a thin, crisp burn line and sturdy, neatly-stacked ash. I also find them much more tolerant to my pace.
Finally, the flavors and aroma have also rounded out. At initial release, I recall being able to pick out clearly-defined flavors of wood, pepper, earth, and some spice. These notes have mellowed and mixed, forming a baseline that is greater than the sum of its parts, and underpinned by subtle sweetness.
If a couple years can transform a cigar to this degree, I’m excited to find out how they’ll taste a year from now.