In praise of the Canadian Women Hockey team

The International Olympic Committee has never been an example of joyousness or spontaneous celebration. So it is no surprise that when Canada’s women hockey team celebrated their Gold medal with beer, sparkling wine and cigars the IOC wasn’t too impressed.

Well, stuff them! I for one would like to raise my wine glass and cigar to them and congratulate them not only on winning the gold, but on a fitting celebration. Well done!

(P.S.wouldn’t you love to know what they were smoking?)

Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto

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

Camacho Corojo Monarca – Quick Puffs

This is the first installment of a new column I am introducing to the blog, called quick puffs. These are essentially first impressions of  cigars I smoke without going into the details of  full fledged reviews.

Today’s quick puffs smoke is the Camacho Corojo Monarca, not only an Honduran Puro, but a Honduran Corojo Puro, and considering Camacho’s reputation you can expect a powerful stick

Camacho Corojo Monarca

Length: 5″

Ring: 50

Price: around 6$ in the US and 5-5.50€ in mainland Europe. Not sold directly in the UK.

Wrapper: Honduran Corojo

Binder: Honduran Corojo

Filler: Honduran Corojo

Smoking Time: 90′

Body: Full

Cigars smoked: one

Notes: Very nice looking stick with an almost vein free wrapper – it has one small patch on the wrapper hidden below the band, but nothing major. Feels nice and packed although the foot is a bit soft. The start has a huge blast of pepper that covers any other flavours for the first 10-15 minutes. After that the spice is still strong decreases to a not-overpowering level and earthy notes of Honduran tobacco plus the typical Corojo sweetness come up. Certainly a very well constructed smoke. The draw is great and the amount of very smooth smoke produced is impressive… seriously! Slowly the taste becomes more woody and less peppery, but there isn’t a lot of changes after that. The burn is good and slow throughout, though if left for a little tends to tunnel a bit especially towards the end. For my taste this is a nice cigar if a bit too peppery, and although the flavor is clean and intense it is also quite simple and a bit monotonous especially considering how long the cigar lasts. Score: 86 Continue reading

Gurkha Black Dragon Robusto

If you live in the British Isles like me and someone mentions Gurkhas, there are good chances you are not thinking about cigars: you might be thinking about the fierce Nepalese soldiers, but even more probably about Joanna Lumley and her fight for the Gurkha’s rights in the UK. Still, if you are interested in cigars the name should sound familiar, if only as the brand that made one of the most expensive cigars, if not THE most expensive cigar ever, going for a whooping 1150$ a pop.

That cigar was the original Black Dragon, released in 2006 as a very limited edition: just 5 hand-carved camel bone boxes of 100 cigars were produced. In 2007 Gurkha released a new more accessible version but after that things become a bit more confusing. The original cigar had the classic Gurkha warrior band as you can see here. The suddenly sometime in 2009 the band changed to show a dragon as you can see above. The band seem not to be the only thing that changed. In its pdf catalogue (caution, huge file) the make up is given as Cameroon wrapper, Dominican binder and Nicaraguan filler – but the online catalogue states the Wrapper is now Connecticut broadleaf with Cameroon binder and Dominican filler… so possibly the one I am smoking tonight should be called the Gurkha Black Dragon Robusto v3.0. Continue reading

La Aurora 1495 Series Robusto

A while back I smoked one of La Aurora cigars, the Maduro Robusto from the La Aurora “basic” line. Although I was a bit disappointed the cigar still had something that tickled my taste buds and I mentioned back then that I would be looking to try more of the cigars from this brand. As often happens, that sort of slipped my mind, until a few days ago Cigar Inspector posted his as always interesting review of the Series 1495 Robusto from La Aurora. Guess what:  I had exactly the same cigar in my humidor, I had wanted to try it for a while and I had completely forgotten about it! So thanks to Cigar Inspector for acting as inspiration for this review.

The 1495 series certainly isn’t a new release: it was created in 2005 by Jose’ Blanco, the sales director of La Aurora and celebrates the year when the town of Santiago de los Caballeros was founded , in the heart of Dominican Republic’s foremost cigar region El Cibao, by Cristoforo Colombo (Cristopher Columbus for you non-Italian speakers out there). There is an interesting interview with Blanco on Cigar Aficionado which describes how this cigar came to be and the idea behind it. I am certainly intrigued to read that this has some Peruvian ligero in its filler, which is new to me. Continue reading

Cohiba Panetela

It’s winter, it is cold and it snows, plus guess what… unlike some lucky bastards out there, you can’t smoke inside the comfort of your own home, so what do you do? You look for nice short smokes. There are plenty of machine-made cigarillos to choose from out there, but what I am interested in are handrolled cigars so that’s what I stick to. Unfortunately short smokes are not that popular today: trying to find a cigar that smokes in 20-30 minutes can be a challenge. And even if Habanos is trimming shorter and thinner cigars more and more away from its production, there still are nice smokes on their catalogue if you are looking for a quick cigar, and none more so than the Cohiba Panetela.

We probably all know the history of  Cohiba: about its birth in 1966, the initial years as the private brand for Castro and his high ranking official and how it was used as gift for foreign diplomats. It was 1982 when it finally was released to the general public. As a brand this has certainly come a long way from being a limited and exclusive production and probably no other cigar today says Cuba like a Cohiba. Likewise the range has grown a lot with the Siglo line introduced in 1994 and the Maduro line in 2007, plus the various special releases. Still, at the very start of the story there were just three cigars: the Lancero, the corona Especiale and the Panetela. Continue reading

NUb Cameroon 466BPT

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.

Continue reading