Gary Korb takes one more look at the Holidays with his list of top shelf cigars adorned with fancy white & gold bands. Whether it’s a last minute gift idea or a humidor-worthy primo to ring-in the New Year, you’ll find 12 of them all dressed-up and ready to smoke.
Amilcar Perez Castro Robusto
I really dug these!
This is going to be a fun interview. Fun because I’m an early fan of Amilcar. I grabbed up, probably, the first box of “Vudu” cigars from Famous Smoke when they came out. I had never heard of them. I couldn’t find anything about them, so I bid on a box at www.cigarauctioneer.com…the auction house of www.Famous-Smoke.com I really dug these little beauties which turned out to have a love it or leave it customer base. I was definitely in the “love it” base. I also discovered that he blended Famous’ Signature Series by Rocky Patel and Patel Brothers:Next Generation. Famous sent me all 3 sticks to review and they were very positive reviews. I have to tell the truth, I’m a fan of the Garcia spicy blend. And Amilcar found his own Garcia…as well as his own signature. When the APC’s came out, I was all aflutter with anticipation and it was deja vu all over again like Vudu. I was the only one bidding on them and got them at base price. This will change. My buddy Scott was over my house the day I got the APC’s. Scott is a neighborhood cigar mooch. As I walked back downstairs, with the package in my hands, Scott was all, “Ooh..what’s that? Is that more cigars? Are you going to give me one? Can we smoke one now? I’ll do your laundry. I promise to wear underwear when I drop by….Please!!!” I emitted a heavy sigh. In my experience, all the Amilcar sticks were good to go right out of the cello. But a few months changed the profile by smoothing the corners and finessing the flavors. I handed Scott a stick and he ripped into the cello and then grabbed my Xikar cutter. He didn’t bother to smell it (chocolate hay) or admire its construction (solid as rock but draws very easy). I did do the pre-light and felt up the cigar like my first high school girlfriend. Amazing the things you can do with Kleenex. Scott, being the aficionado that he is, smoked his robusto in about 15 minutes. He got the spins. And spent the next hour on my front lawn in a supine position. I smoked one but while it was great to the nub, I decided I’d wait a week or so before reviewing one. The APC definitely has its own character. The pepper mellows out after the first inch. And a sweep of cedar and sweet tobacco showed up. By the first half, it became a creamsicle. The cigars are Nicaraguan & Honduran longfillers and binders. The wrapper is a very nice U.S. Broadleaf Maduro. The smoke is ultra-creamy with a base of earthy, woody and spicy flavors on a long, sweet finish. I still have some Vudus on hand and comparison smoked them. These are two different animals. While I really like the Vudu, I like the APC even more. And that’s because of the aged taste and feel to the cigar. Just past the halfway point, the cigar becomes very rich. The Vudu doesn’t quite attain this richness. There is nothing wrong with that, like I said, both have their own character. I can boil the experience down to a very rich cigar with flavors of wood, a small amount of almonds in the second half, a spicy overtone that is its signature, very creamy, a light cocoa finish, and a sweet tobacco essence. Back to Scott…He never came back into my house. He went home, licking his behind. I saw him a couple weeks later and invited him in. I felt bad about him spraying my lawn with human effluence. Only this time, I showed him how to enjoy the APC. For once, he listened and described the flavors back to me perfectly. I’m sure all of my readers have a friend or acquaintance like Scott in their lives. They can smell the UPS truck before it rounds the corner. The price point is excellent. $90.99 for a box of 20.* I paid less at cigarauctioneer.com. I want to thank the folks at Famous for sending me a sample to add to my humidor and for review. I plan to let these marinate for a few months and see what Dr. A. Castro had in mind. – Katmancross in Wisconsin *Note: Price per box quoted at time of review. Prices are subject to change.