This is an article about Nicaraguan cigars. It’s not about Cuban cigars, Dominican cigars, or cigars from any other country, for that matter. If you look at the brands that have been scoring some of the highest marks these days, the Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne cigars, or the My Father Le Bijou 1922 cigars, for example, they are produced in Nicaragua (primarily in Estelí), using a decent dose of Nicaraguan tobaccos in their blends, or a mix of Nicaraguan and other tobaccos.
One of the reasons Nicaragua is so ideal for growing great-tasting tobacco is that the geography and climate are very similar to Cuba’s. The cigar tobacco growing region has three valleys – Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa – each with its own unique soil and minerals, which respectively impart their own distinctive flavor to a cigar’s blend when properly fermented and aged. Continue reading
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been reviewing a few mainstay cigars recently, such as this, the Excalibur Cigarillo. That’s not to say I have anything against them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The truth of the matter is we got all the new stuff from IPCPR last year and had to review all of them. This left the poor mainstays in the darkness of the bottom shelf in my humidor. Alone, cold, and unloved. Well it was about time we dug them up and gave them some attention with today’s Excalibur Cigarillo review.
Now I know some of you out there are uninterested in cigarillos, and don’t consider them real cigars. I urge you to consider this: Excalibur Cigarillos are one of the most searched for cigars in the United States, and a top seller in the world. From the most stuffy café in the heart of Paris, Hollywood Boulevard in Cali, to the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, people world over smoke these little pups because they’re pretty damn amazing for what they offer- a cheap, quick smoke that offers a great flavor and appealing aroma. Continue reading
One of the subjects I’m often asked about is, how to spot fake Cuban cigars. That’s a good question, too, because despite the fact that Cuban cigars are still illegal for American cigar smokers to purchase, some choose to do it anyway. Is it because they’re still considered “forbidden fruit,” or is it that most cigar smokers believe Cuban cigars are still the world’s best? It’s more like a combination of the two; cigars made in Cuba are so great you just have to get your hands on some, even if it means risking losing them to U.S. Customs. And they’re not cheap, either. That is unless you’ve been bamboozled by a hustler who will sell you a box of so-called “Havana’s” at a great price while you’re vacationing somewhere in the Caribbean. Chances are, they’re fakes. What’s that old saying? “A fool and his money…” More on that later.
Yes, at one time Cuban cigars actually were the best and had virtually no competition. Zino Davidoff realized this in the early part of the 20th century, and was one the first European retailers to introduce Cuban cigars to the world. Later, when he began producing cigars under his own name, they were made in Cuba. Additionally, when you see someone smoking a cigar in old movies from the 1920′s to the 1960′s (and very likely even after the 1962 embargo), you can bet they were smoking Cuban-made cigars. Continue reading
Talk about being taken for granted: the Romeo y Julieta 1875 – let’s call it the original Romeo – has been around in name form for better than 130 years. Some like to think of this cigar as “old faithful,” because they can go back to it time and time again for a quality cigar experience. But even though it’s got heritage, many smokers have “been there, done that” with it – and it doesn’t get a lot of looks anymore, as people develop their palates and look to move on in search of new tastes. In a way, it’s like the first girl you kissed: you might remember her name, but chances are you can recall a lot more of the situational details after you moved on to other girls and started playing “hide the salami.” But let’s be real – Romeo y Julieta cigars have launched a million cigar enthusiasts into the hobby…and that is why we pay it a visit today. Continue reading
I’m so pumped to give the CAO Brazilia cigar review. This week’s round of reviews were drawn from a hat, and I think I won the draw. Of course maybe I just think that because this is one of my all-time favorite cigars. I mean just look at the thing – beautiful dark Arapiraca wrapper, covered in oil, aged a little bit. CAO Brazilia cigars are right in my wheelhouse, and I’ve smoked more than my fair share.
However, I feel it necessary to educate you fine consumers of cigars on the risks an oily wrapper may have. Because this cigar looks like it was dipped in a jug of 5W-30 motor oil, you can expect it to burn a little slower than usual. Sure, it offers amazing flavor and you don’t want to let the oils dry out because the result would be a bland, flaky, cracked piece of garbage. But because oils can build up more heavily in random spots on the cigar if it starts to dry out a bit, it can cause a slower burn in those areas that retain more oil while the rest burn at a consistent rate. This can obviously cause burn issues. Continue reading
So, you’re ready to smoke your first Torpedo cigar. Congratulations! You’ve moved up to one of the big boys, but you’re not entirely sure how to cut a Torpedo cigar it because the head is rolled to a point. Cigars of this type are categorized in cigar speak as “figurados,” which also includes Belicosos, Pyramids and the like. They’re rolled in this bottle-neck style so the smoke is more concentrated, and therefore, richer in flavor when it hits your palate. But don’t let that pointy little head intimidate you. It can be cut just like a round or flathead cigar. The main difference is how you cut it and the type of cigar cutter you use. Continue reading
If you’ve smoked cigars for more than a week, chances are you’ve heard about Gurkha Cigars in the cigar lounge. Gurkha specializes mainly in high-end premium cigars the likes of which are bought by the most affluent of Maharaja presiding over his kingdom, yet Gurkha also offers lines for the every day smoker that are out-of-this-world incredible for the price. But there’s always a story behind a name, and that’s where your resident smarty-pants (me) comes in. Behold the history of Gurkha Cigars! Continue reading
Introduced in 2008, My Father Cigars are blended and handcrafted by Jaime Garcia, son of the now-legendary Don José “Pepin” Garcia. Made at the My Father factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, the tobaccos used for these cigars are grown on their own farms and rolled in the finest Habano-Rosado Criollo-seed wrappers. Cigars made at the My Father factory in Estelí tend to have a reputation that precedes them, so you expect an excellent cigar, and the My Father edition is no exception. I was pleased to have the opportunity to write up this My Father cigar review, and take a real analytical look at this terrific cigars. It’s no wonder these smokes have exploded in popularity since coming onto the market, winning over all different types of smokers. The My Father Cigar Factory even took home the #1 Cigar of the Year award for 2012 for their outstanding Flor de last Antillas cigar. Alright, enough about the factory and the reputation, let’s get to the review! Continue reading
Boutique cigars are one of the hottest trends going in the world of cigars today. If you need more proof, check the 2013 Top 25 Cigars of the Year List – if you eliminate cigars you can’t score legally in the USA, you’ll find the Aging Room Quattro at the top of the list. What company makes the Aging Room you ask? Rafael Nodal’s cigar company, the aptly named Boutique Blends. But what makes a boutique cigar a boutique cigar? Simple. It’s…um, yeah.
Well, if you consult a dictionary, you’ll get this: “…of, designating, or characteristic of a small, exclusive producer or business: one of California’s best boutique wineries.”
Obviously, for our purposes, we’re replacing the word “wineries” with “cigars” (or should it be manufacturers? More on that in a minute) – but when we define “boutique” – should we be doing it in terms of numbers, such as output of bottles (or cigars)? Or is it in availability of supplies, as in “small batch?” Is it the size of the manufacturer that matters?
Yes. And no. Continue reading
Mild, small cigars… okay, you might be thinking that they’re not for everyone, but I’ll go on record saying, yeah, I think they are. Hence, the Macanudo Ascot.
When I took a trip to the General Cigar factory in Santiago in the Dominican Republic, there were just gazillions of premium hand rolled cigars everywhere. I not only had my pick of the litter of tasty treats to choose from, but so did the thousands of people working there. But what took me by great surprise is that so many of the employees were smoking the Macanudo Ascot. In fact, the guy who was enjoying them the most was then, CEO of the company, Daniel Núñez. Continue reading