I wanted to go back to my cigar smoking roots so I could do an Antonio y Cleopatra Grenadier cigar review, and no- I’m not talking about my college days at Groovy UV. Antonio y Cleopatra cigars have a certain… let’s say stigma about them. If you were ever rebellious or live in Colorado or Washington State, you know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t (most likely my mom and dad), don’t worry about it. But what’s terrible about this stigma is that we break away from how popular these cigars really are and what they offer. Continue reading
Macanudo Café cigars, (a.k.a. “America’s best-selling premium cigar”) are among the world’s most iconic brands for their quality, consistently, mellow flavor and sweet aroma. Introduced in 1968, the legendary brand is currently offered in 19 shapes, all of which share the same mild blend of Dominican and Mexican longfillers shrouded in a flawless, U.S. Connecticut shade wrapper leaf. After aging for up to two years in Royal Palm bark bales (tercios), the filler tobaccos are matured even longer in Dominican rum barrels. Before the binder and wrapper are applied, the fillers are rolled using the age-old Cuban entubar rolling method. This means that each Macanudo Café filler leaf is rolled individually creating a core that is actually a series of tubes. It’s takes longer to roll the cigars this way, and is more costly, but the result is a cigar with a much better draw and richer flavor. Once completed the cigars are placed in a cedar-lined aging room which further enhances their trademark sweetness and nutty character. Continue reading
March is painted green as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every March 17th. To help spread some green around the interwebs, I took it upon myself to highlight some of my favorite Candela or Claro wrapped stogies, commonly referred to as Green Cigars, for St. Patrick’s Day. Now, I know you’re thinking green cigars are weird and don’t look like traditional cigars. Well let me put that myth to bed right now: Candela cigars were just as popular back in the 60s as our traditional brown cigars are in the present. I probably just blew your mind with that fact, and rightly so. It’s time we shuffle off this stigma that green is a bad thing and start embracing the real traditional cigar again. Continue reading
Cigar review time! Honestly, I love doing cigar reviews because it means I get to kick it here in the office, light up, and simply enjoy a smoke. It beats nervously puffing on a cigar while trying to meet deadlines at the threat of getting taken out back and beaten with a rubber hose (OSHA, help!). I’m just kidding of course, but today I’m featuring my Gurkha 125th Anniversary cigar review, I’m going with the XO size, and this baby is a behemoth of a cigar coming in at 6×60 and ranked number 9 on Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 Cigar of the Year list. Of course there are other sizes available that are much more manageable such as a Robusto, Rothschild, and Torpedo, if you’re like me and tend to stray away from bigger cigar sizes. Continue reading
One of the main things experienced cigar enthusiasts learn is that there’s always something new to learn about cigars. The exchange and passing along of cigar knowledge is a time-honored tradition in world of cigar smoking, as experiences BOTLs and SOTLs share their experiences, tips, and tricks with new smokers just starting to become interested in the hobby. We put together this little test so you can see how much of an expert you are, pit your knowledge against your smoking buddies, and maybe teach you something new! Continue reading
How’s this? You’re hanging out with your compañeros, enjoying some cigars, drinks, snacks, etc., and you reach one of those moments when everyone goes silent. Here are my picks for the top 10 cigar smoking tricks you can do with your cigars to liven up the mood. Continue reading
Twenty fourteen. We’re barely a month in, and for some reason I can hardly remember a thing that happened during the entire previous year; probably due to a few sharp blows to the head received as an impressionable youth. All I can recall are Rob Ford, government shutdown and Sharknadoes. Three good reasons to turn it all off and clear the mind with a good cigar. 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
I write about cigars so often that when I try to come up with something new I occasionally come up dry. That’s when I go to my trusty folder of questions from readers. For this post I refer to an email in which the writer had recently bought a sampler of all cigars that feature a Maduro wrapper. He noted that prior to this purchase he had mostly smoked cigars with Connecticut Shade wrappers. His beef was that the Maduro wrappers tended to burn unevenly and required “more relights than other wrappers.” So, the question for me was whether I thought Maduro wrappers normally have burn issues. Since he didn’t say what brands were in the sampler, I gave him an answer based on things that thicker wrappers can cause. But do I think Maduro wrappers have more burn problems than other wrappers? An emphatic “No.”
Wrappers aside, cigars can have burn problems for any number of reasons that might including bunching, rolling, quality of the leaf, how it was cured, fermented, aged, and so on.
Generally speaking, Maduro wrappers are thicker. The reason for this is the plants are exposed to more sunlight. The more sunlight, the more sugars the leaf produces. Additionally, the leaves become thicker to help resist all that extra sunshine. They’re also toothier, meaning the surface is also much rougher in texture as opposed to the silky feel of a fine Connecticut Shade leaf. That said, most tobacco leaves that are exposed to more sunlight will develop a thicker skin, so the same can be said for some sun-grown wrappers, like those found on the Rocky Patel Rosado cigars, for example.
One thing that actually can affect a cigar’s burn is if the wrapper is particularly oily. Although oily wrappers tend to be more appealing to cigar smokers, a cigar that looks like it’s wet is a sign that the leaf has most likely had less fermentation time. Even though the binder is designed to help the cigar burn, an oily wrapper can cause tunneling, canoeing, or may go out sooner than expected when left in the saddle of your ashtray.
Some experts suggest that Maduro wrapper cigars should be kept at a lower humidity level in your humidor, more like 64% – 65%, rather than the usual 68% – 70%. Actually, most cigars do very well at lower RH levels, but if your collection consists mostly of cigars with Maduro wrappers, you may want to consider keeping them in a separate humidor.
As noted above, Maduro wrapper leaves produce more sugars, so they tend to taste sweeter, as well, though a lot of new cigar smokers believe they are stronger. The type of Maduro leaf is also key to the taste, burn, etc. For example, Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro cigars have an appealing sweetness. When I asked Nick Perdomo Jr. about this he said it’s because he uses a Cuban seed leaf instead of a Connecticut Broadleaf. The Cuban seed maduro seems to be a little thinner than the Broadleaf, too. On the other hand, Arturo Fuente uses a Connecticut Broadleaf on their 8-5-8 Flor Fina Maduro, which I find deliciously sweet. On the contrary, the AVO Maduro, also a Connecticut Broadleaf, is not a sweet Maduro. When I asked Avo Uvezian about this, he told me that’s the way he likes it. So, you also have to account for how each manufacturer processes their wrapper leaves.
If a wrapper is darker as well as thicker, like an Oscuro leaf, it may also be a little stronger in flavor. You may also notice the seams in the roll are more prominent. This is another sign that the wrapper is thicker.
Of course, you never know how the cigar is going to burn until you light it up.
So, regardless of whether you smoke cigars with thin or thick wrappers, always make sure you get a good even burn at the foot when lighting up. You want to make sure the binder has fully taken, for as I noted earlier, it helps all of the tobaccos burn.
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.