Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo des Dieux

I hadnt planned on having a cigar today, but i was looking around in my humidor and saw this cigar that i got from my friend Andy.I couldnt resist, this cigar was just calling to me. I havent had this one before so i didnt really know what to expect. This cigar measures in at 6.1 inches by 42 ring gauge. The construction is perfect, with a pefectly applied Cuban triple cap.

This is a really elegant size in my opinion, and one that definitely gets overlooked. Im not even going to go into that much detail about this cigar other than to say it is excellent. This is a very complex medium bodied cigar with a nice woody characteristic with a very nice sweet taste. This isnt your typical cedary wood taste, this is something different that i cannot put my finger on. I am not quite sure how old this cigar is, but from how even and delicate the flavor is, im willing to say it has at least 3-4years on it. This is one of those cigars that will really benefit from this kind of aging. Once i get to the point where i can start aging boxes (when i have the money and storage space) this is one i will definitely get and hold onto for a while.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Alec bradley MAXX Traditional

Today i am smoking a new cigar to me, another by Alec Bradley called the MAXX Traditional. This is a line branching off of their regular MAXX line, but in the more traditional sizes. This one is a Toro measuring in at 6inches by 50 ring.
Wrapper-Nicaraguan Habano (a personal favorite wrapper)
Binder-Costa Rican
Filler-Columbia, Hondura, Nicaragua, and Mexico.

The draw on this cigar is great, and the wrapper has a great spicy aroma. So far on the flavor side, im getting alot of an earthy and woody taste that i think comes from the Honduran tobacco Alec Bradley uses. The ash isnt super firm, but isnt falling all over me, which is alway a plus. This cigar is smooth, and i mean really smooth. I usually like a really peppery smoke, but i think this one fits the bill when i want something not so spicy. I could definitely see myself smoking more of these. The smoke is really thick and almost chewy.

This is a really nice cigar for after lunch. Its medium bodied with a really approachable flavor profile. Im a little surprised with a habano wrapper that this isnt a spicy cigar, but that goes to show how versatile this wrapper is. You can put it on a full bodied ass kicker of a cigar and it goes great, but they you can put it on a lighter smoother cigar like this and it works just as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

H. Upmann Mag.46

The H. Upmann Mag.46 is one of my favorite Cuban cigars out there. Ive smoked through a box of them, but the one im smoking today is from my buddy Butch. This cigar has Upmanns new band on it, and i really like it over the previously used cheaper paper bands. This is a Corona Gorda sized cigar, one of my favorites.

The draw on this cigar is perfect, a cuban style draw with just the right amount of resistance. The constuction and wrapper on this cigar is flawless, with a beautifully applied triple cap adorning the head.
I havent smoked a ton of recent production cigars from Cuba lately, but im guessing this one has under a year or so on it by the taste. Yes, it has signs of youth, a little unbalanced but showing a ton of potential. With some Cubans, i feel like i am wasting them if i smoke them while too young, but i dont feel that way about this particular cigar. This one is still very good young, just not at its full potential. H. Upmann's cigars have always had this classic Cuban flavor profile to me, with tons of crisp toasted tobacco notes and lots of creamy coffee notes as well on the palate. The Mag 46 isnt what i would call an elegant cigar in the realm of Cubans, its much more wild than that with flavors that start strong and never let up. This is not an overwhelming cigar by any means, but definitely one that wakes up your palate. When you light this cigar, you know your smoking a Cuban. Cuban tobacco has a very distinctive "twang" that i have never seen replicated with any other country's tobacco.

This leads into the age old discussion of whether Cuban cigars are "better" than other cigars. In my opinion, its not that they are better, just different. Every country has a signature flavor to their blends, it just depends on what you like and what your in the mood for. If i want a big bold and spicey cigar, i usually go with something Nicaraguan. If i want something complex and creamy, i go Cuban. Its all about what you like for flavor for a cigar. There is a certain mystique to a Cuban cigars for a lot of people, the whole forbidden fruit aspect of it. It was like that originally for me, but now it just depends what mood im in and what flavors im looking for. The one thing i will give to the non cuban cigar companies though is their quality control. This is one of the areas i think that Cuban cigars can let you down a bit. I have had many more plugged (unsmokeable) Cubans than any other cigar out there, which is always disappointing, but sadly, is sort of expected when you buy a box of Cubans.

The H. Upmann Magnum 46 will always have a place in my humidor and is a must try for any brother of the leaf.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Alec Bradley Tempus Lancero

Todays cigar is a new one for me, an Alec Bradley Tempus lancero. This cigar measures in at 7.5 inches by 41 ring. This size cigar to me has always given off a feeling and look of elegance. A lot of people dont like this size though, people want a shorter fatter cigar for some reason in todays market. This cigar is made up of the following:
Origin: Honduras (Raices Cubanas)
Wrapper: Honduras
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras

I dont smoke alot of Honduran tobacco, but you can definitely taste the fuller flavored Nicaraguan flavors coming in over the Honduran. If you are going to make a lancero, you better be sure you have a very flavorful wrapper, because the wrapper to binder/filler ratio is so different than a more standard shaped cigar.

So far this is a medium bodied cigar, with bitter and heavy earthy flavor. The wrapper looks like a bar of dark chocolate. There is also a very woody flavor coming through on this cigar, but overall it is very one dimensional so far. That bitterness is almost like a strait espresso flavor. You need to take your time with a lancero, because of its small ring gauge. If you dont, it will burn hot and bitter. Im taking my time with it, but getting impatient. I want to like this cigar, its affordable, very nice looking, and one of my favorite sizes. Not a lot of companies are making lanceros. Overall, not what i expected, but not bad. Would i try it again? yes, but i would probably try another size since this one wasnt my cup of tea.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oliva V and Bells Porter

Tonights cigar and drink combo is one of my favorite cigars, the Oliva V and a newer beer to me, Bells Porter. Oliva V's have become one of my go to cigars over the last year, with their silky smooth and oily Sun Grown Habano wrapper. This is another Nicaraguan Puro (ive been gravitating towards Nicaraguan puros lately) that doesnt disappoint. This is a spicey cigar with an ample amount of ligero in the blend. A lot of companies are using too much ligero these days in their blends to up the spice factor, but suffering when it comes to balance. The blenders at Oliva dont make this mistake in my opinion. The other two types of leaves, seco and volado must be used to create a nice balance of spice and smoothness to round out the cigar, which Oliva does nicely. This is not a cigar i would recommend for beginners, as it is tongue tingling spicey with ample amounts of black coffee and bitter chocolate. The spice has that definite black peppercorn kick to it. This cigar is producing ample amounts of smoke with a very roasty room bouquet, and has just the right amount of tug on the draw, not too loose, not too tight.

Onto the beer. I picked up Bell's Porter on a friends suggestion, and his taste didnt disappoint! This beer is great with a full bodied cigar like the V, having its own roasted coffee flavors with a slight bitterness that really works well with this malty beer. This is an almost black porter with a tannish brown head. Smooth and flavorful b ut not overwhelming like some porters and stouts can be.

The nice thing about the Oliva V, is that it doesnt break the bank to pick one up. These are an affordable cigar that delivers. These have definitely made it into my cigar rotation and i always manage to have a few tucked away in my humidor.