When I started to get interested in the online cigar communities I had no idea about the level of camaraderie BOTLs can show. A while back my mate Jerry (Jdawg from the UK Cigar forums) came up with an idea challenge: he’d send me an unbanded cigar of his choice to try and write about on the blog together with a small sealed envelope containing the original band. I know the guys over at Dogwatch Cigar Radio do this on their show, so while this is maybe not 100% original, it is something I just couldn’t resist. For the first time I’ll be posting (almost) live while I smoke, updating this post every 20 minutes or so. Here we go!
23:15 Time to start, a bit later than expected after late dinner and a Skype session with my brother, but ready to go. The cigar is approximately toro sized, with a marked box pressed shape. It has a dark, almost maduro, reddish wrapper, slightly oily, with almost no veins and a decent double cap. At first look it reminds me of a RP Decade, but comparing them side by side this is a lot more reddish and not as dark. Once cut the draw is slightly tight and the aroma is cocoa, almost like in a maduro, but with marked cloves notes. From the shape cap and pre-draw I am pretty sure this isn’t a Cuban. Continue reading
Today’s quick puffs smoke is the Espynosa y Ortega Cubao No.6. Blended by Pepin Garcia and rolled in his Nicaraguan factory, these are generally considered a typical example of Don Pepin’s spicy cigars. I’ve been dying to try one after the great feedback around the blogsphere.
Cubao No. 6
Length: 5 1/2″
Price: around 5-7$ in the US, depending if you buy a box or singles. As far as I know these are not on sale in Europe
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro
Smoking Time: 75′
Cigars smoked: one
Notes: Nice looking cigar, the wrapper is almost vein free and oily. Like other Oscuro wrappers the colour is a bit rustic, but not unusual. It has a nice weight, packed with no soft spots, without being hard. It starts with a spicy blast, although more red than black pepper (which seems to be commonly associated with Don Pepin’s cigars); soon that mellows out bit and gains some earthy notes and a touch of sweetness. The draw is a tad tight to start but after 5 minutes it opens up and is perfect they way through. The middle is still spicy but more complex with cocoa, caramel and a touch of wood/leather which picks up quite a bit towards the end. In the last section the spice is sweeter (nutmeg, cinnamon) and there is essentially no pepper left. The burn, although not very thin, is essentially without fault, the ash solid and long. Apart the middle section, the Cubao No.6 is not terribly complex but it is a very enjoyable smoke throughout, especially if you like the spice and leather profile. Having heard even better things about the No.3 (a Lancero), I’ll probably try to get my hands on some of these next. Another great smoke from Espinosa y Ortega and Don Pepin. Score: 90.
Things have been a but quieter around the blog than I would have wanted, but with work and travel taking up most of my time, I haven’t really had time to smoke that many cigars or write up much. Having said that, there are a few reviews lined up for the blog and these will come up soon.
Today I am going back to Connecticut shade wrapper cigars. A while back I mentioned I started to look at these lighter smokes with more attention after I was really impressed by one brand among them. Today I am looking at that very cigar, the Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto.
Oliva needs little introduction. In very few years this has become a major brand on the cigar market and recognised for its quality and consistency. Still, until recently it certainly was not a brand known for making mild cigars. The O and G line, and especially the V line are better known for their rich flavours, and in the latter, their full body. Just under a year ago Oliva decided to launch the Connecticut Reserve which covers the missing space body-wise in their range. Continue reading
Today I am looking at another of the NUb cigars, the Cameroon 466 BPT (Box Pressed Torpedo). A couple of weeks ago I had reviewed the NUb Connecticut and I will be trying the Habano soon, covering the original NUb lineup but not the Maduro which was introduced later. (If anybody who is reading this has a couple of spare NUb Maduros you’d like to trade for drop me a line in the comments below). On top of that later this year there should also be the release of the much awaited and by now semi mythological NUb Miami line, so it is nice to know we have another NUb to look for.
I gave a short intro to the NUb line for anyone unfamiliar with it (probably very few, especially if you are reading from the US) in the previous post so if you are interested in knowing more follow this link. Today instead I wanted to talk a moment about Cameroon wrappers before I dig into the review.
Cameroon wrappers have a real cult following in the cigar lover’s community. Many people, like twitteree extraordinaire Lindsay Heller (for my money her twitts are among the best and more intelligent in the Cigar twitter scene) have declared their love for this wrapper. I must admit that I have had very nice cigars with Cameroon wrapper, but also some that were thoroughly disappointing. This might have to do with the cigars themselves and not with the wrapper, but still it made me curious so I went and read as much as I could about this much sought after leaf.
A while back I received a sampler of Perdomo cigars from a US BOTL. I was pretty curious to try them and had originally planned to smoke them quite soon… which didn’t really happen. As many of my plans, this was diverted as I got interested in other cigars, then some more… and more. In part it also has to do with the slight disappointment in the Lot 23 Maduro I smoked a while back.
Having said that, even the slight Lot 23 disappointment didn’t change my opinion of Perdomo as a brand: solid every day cigars, well made, enjoyable and interesting though not terribly complex. Maybe I am doing a disservice to Perdomo cigars here. I haven’t tested their top end smokes yet (Edicion de Silvio, Patriarch) so maybe there are complex blow-your-head-off cigars in the range. Having said that, I don’t think there is anything wrong in making cigars that are reasonably priced and good, even if they don’t win prizes: so kudos to Perdomo Cigars for what they offer. Continue reading
A few months ago I was the stereotype European cigar smoker, taking only Cuban puros into serious consideration but at the same time pretty ignorant about all the amokes from other Central American countries. It all changed when I met a fellow Italo-American cigar lover who probably prefers to remain nameless (you know who you are Mr.) who gave me a chance to try many non-Cuban smokes, overcome the stereotypes and learn a lot in the process. Over the Autumn I received a few smokes from this real BOTL, so much so that some of the smokes landed on the bottom of my humidors and were more or less forgotten: a couple of days back I was rummaging through one of my humidors and found this 5 Vegas (Cinco Vegas) Classic 55 which I had completely forgotten. Definitely time to give it a go. Continue reading
When it comes to non-Cuban cigars, living in Europe, and particularly in the UK, means ending up with late access -and many times none at all- to many acclaimed cigars that are coming out in the US. There are many BOTL here in the UK that would never swap the ready availability of Habanos cigars for the variety of brands ans smokes our fellow cigar lovers across the ocean have access to. I am not one of them; although I love Cuban cigars it is the variety of cigars available that intrigues me. Luckily today there are more and more Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran smokes sold in Europe (Germany seems for example a lot better off than the UK in that regards)… plus there are always ways if you search (not even that) hard enough.
If like me you follow many cigar blogs from the US regularly the NUB brand won’t be news for you at all. But maybe you have just started reading about cigars or you live in a pure Cuban puros world (bad pun intended), you would like a sort introduction, so here goes. NUb Cigars came to the market in 2008; they are the creation of Sam Leccia one of Oliva’s sales reps at the time. His idea was to make a cigar that would not need a warming period once lit up, but instead hit te sweet spot straightaway. After some trials Leccia found out that a combination of large ring gauge and short cigar produced the best solution. He pitched the idea to the Oliva family who decided to produce the line. The NUb line originally was made up of three ranges: a Connecticut shade, Cameroon and Nicaraguan Habano-seed wrapper. These have become available for sale in the UK in the second half of 2009. There is also a Maduro version now, but this seemsit is not available in the UK. Continue reading