Monday, February 23, 2009

La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial

This cigar is another one blended by Don Pepin Garcia for Ashton. The one i'm reviewing is the Robusto size, measuring in at just under 5 inches by 48 ring gauge. This cigar is composed of a Nicaraguan Binder and filler, with an oily Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. This cigar is as nicely made as any of the other Pepin cigars and sports the triple cap in traditional Cuban style that Pepin uses. The unlit aroma is powerful and tingles my nose with that very nice Nicaraguan spicey smell.
The predraw is very nice with a slight cinnamon and cedar flavor on the lips.

Upon lighting, the flavors that jump out at me are pretty much what i noted on the predraw, cinnamon and cedar. There is spiceyness i have come to expect with Pepins blends, and it is missing on this cigar. This isnt a problem, its nice to see him changing it up a bit. As i get further into this cigar, the flavor remains consistent with a toasty and earthy flavor showing up a bit. Curiously, this is marketed as a spicey medium to full bodied cigar, and im definitely not getting that. Towards the end i am seeing signs of youth on the palate with a slightly green taste. This taste isnt enough to make me put the cigar down, but shows me that a a few more months in the humidor would benefit this cigar.

This is turning out to be a great after lunch cigar for me, medium bodied and very approachable. It isnt overly complex but definitely not boring. I wouldnt smoke this after a heavy meal or with a strong beer or liquor. Im having Pepsi with it this round and it works pretty well, but for drink pairings, i would love to smoke this with sweet iced tea. I can see someone with an experienced palate enjoying this cigar as much as someone relatively new to cigars. These go for around 6 bucks a piece, which isnt bad considering its sold by Ashton. To me, this isnt a typical Pepin cigar, but its worth trying if you enjoy his blends, just dont expect his spicey profile.

Friday, February 6, 2009

H. Upmann Mag 50

I was holding onto this cigar until i got a new job, but i think its going to be a while and im not that patient. This is the new H. Upmann Magnum 50. This cigar was originally released in 2005as an Edition Limitada, but has been re released in 2008 as a regular production smoke.
This is a 6.3 inch by 50 ring gauge cigar, which is definitely a favorite size for me. Its a large cigar but doesnt have a ridiculous ring gauge. I love the presentation of this cigar as well. The really nice Upmann band with the 2nd band labeling it as a Magnum 50 has a nice bold look to it.

This is a beautiful cigar that ive really been looking forward to. Construction and draw are perfect, with a really nice clean predraw flavor of very good tobacco and a slight sweetness. Right from the start you know you are smoking a Cuban H. Upmann. There is this slight earthyness with a really nice toasty flavor. This thing doesnt mess around, it starts off right away with an amazing flavor, which i love in a cigar. There is also a slight raisin/dried fruit sweetness that is really enjoyable. The smoke is smooth and velvety on the palate, i cant get enough of this cigar!

With this being from 2008, i would expect it to be showing signs of youth, with grassyness and not a ton of complexity, but that is dead wrong. There is absolutely no bitterness or signs of youth at all. This cigar is ready to be smoked now, or layed down for 10 years to evolve into something even more amazing. I think some of the more subtle flavors might show up after a few years of humidor time, but this isnt one that i feel like i am wasting by smoking it in its youth. I havent tried a lot of other cigars with 2008 box dates, and i hope this is a trend for Cuban cigars right now. You dont need a special occasion to light one of these up, this cigar IS the special occasion!

At the halfway point in this cigar there is a very subtle spice note on the finish and some of that dried fruit has died down but shows up on the palate occasionally. I read a review on this cigar a while back that said this cigar becomes a bit darker as you get into it, and i can really see what they meant. I am still really surprised at the complexity this cigar is showing already, and the further i get into it the more i am completely entralled with the depth of this smoke. The body is just above medium and very full flavored. I dont have any negative things to say about this cigar. It is on the pricey side, but if you decide to spend the money on a box you wont regret it. What a treat.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

No Such Luck

As some of you know, over the last 4 or 5 months, i have been trying to take my cigar hobby to a new level, by actually entering into the industry. I contacted many cigar companies about becoming a rep (salesmen) for their brands, and actually went to 2 different interviews with 2 amazing companies! This would be an absolute dream job for me, i would get to visit different shops in the neighboring states, promoting the brand, setting up cigar tastings and things of that nature.

My first interview was with Alec Bradley cigars, and i think it was a fantastic interview. It was very friendly and more like sitting down with a fellow cigar lover to discuss the job and the industry. My second interview was with Oliva Cigars, and was definitely a more professional interview. The nice thing about the Oliva interview was that it was in a cigar lounge and i got to smoke their cigars during the interview, which made it very comfortable. The Oliva interview was a bit more intimidating, as there were two people conducting the interview and many people interviewing for the position. I left both of the interviews very happy with how i answered the questions and how i presented myself.

I found out before the holidays that Oliva hired someone else for the position, and yes, i was bummed. Yesterday i found out that Alec Bradley was very happy with me as a candidate for the job and liked what i had to offer, but with the struggling economy it turned out that they couldnt pull the trigger on hiring someone new at the current time. Needless to say this was hard news to get, but i understand with everything going in the business world today. At least it sounds like i would have gotten the job if they could actually hire somebody for it.

It looks like i will not be entering the world of cigars on a business level, unless something changes and i get a phone call from Alec Bradley in the next few months (im not holding my breath). Ive exhausted my search for a rep job and i guess its time to move onto something new. I would have loved to work for either of these companies, both would have been very similar jobs doing something i love, but i guess it just wasnt in my cards.