Thursday, April 30, 2009

Arturo Fuente Anejo no.50

Todays cigar is one of the more rare non Cuban cigars on the market. The Anejo is right up there with the Opus X as far as hard to get cigars, and is usually released twice a year, fathers day and Christmas. This cigar has a Dominican binder and filler, with a Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper that is aged in Cognac barrels, giving the wrapper a very distinctive flavor. The cigar is enveloped in a cedar sheath, which tends to add a bit more cedar flavor to the cigar, and just looks nice. The wrapper is jet black, with plenty of oils and really toothy.
The predraw flavor is rich and sweet and definitely tastes like nicely aged tobacco. The initial flavors are rich, much like the predraw, with cedar, dark chocolate, and a very nice sweetness, almost like molasses. The woody sweetness is probably from the wrapper leaf aging in Cognac barrels. This is starting out as a nice medium bodied cigar, and very smooth. The smoke is silky and really coats the palate with its rich sweet flavors. The ash is really hanging on, showing how nicely this cigar is constructed. The burn line is very even, which is always a plus. This is a very consistent cigar flavorwise, remaining very rich and sweet, but not overly sweet. This cigar isnt nearly as strong as the Opus X, its a solid medium bodied smoke with a very different flavor profile. Ive heard that it has a very similar blend to the Opus, but im certainly not tasting it. I think that the wrapper is what really makes this cigar unique and is the main contributor to the rich flavor profile.

Much like the Opus X, there is a lot of hype around the Anejo line. They are made and released very seldomly, which really drives up the price and collectability aspect for this cigar. The retail cost for this cigars is around $8, but the cheapest ive seen them is for around $15, and for as much as $35 a piece. Ive smoked a few Anejos before, and enjoyed them all, but i think if i am going to buy a high end Fuente product, its going to be an Opus X. I find the Opus spicier and more intriguing flavorwise. The Anejo is a very tasty cigar, but personally i prefer more spice over sweetness. If you are a fan of maduro wrappers and Dominican Tobacco, then the Anejo is a must try, especially if you can find them for a reasonable price. Are they worth the high price tags that most shops sell them for? Thats a personal decision ,but for me, there are other cigars i would buy if im going to spend over $10 bucks per cigar.

Im drinking a Fat Tire ale with this cigar, but i think next time i would go with something like a Mojito. The fresh sweetness of the mojito would work really well the the burnt sweetness of this cigar. Sometimes a sweet cigar needs something to balance out the sweetness, and having a sweet drink like a Mojito seems like it would be too much sugar, but its a different kind of sweetness. This cigar has a very dark and rich sweet flavor, like molasses, kind of burnt. A Mojito has the very bright minty sweetness and tangyness of the lime and for me, would work really great with this kind of cigar.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bolivar Gold Medal

It finally stopped raining today, so i decided to do this review out on the deck. The Bolivar Gold Medal is a Lonsdale and measures in at 6.5 inches x 42 ring gauge, and is definitely a favorite size of mine. The presentation is really nice, with the gold foil and La Casa Del Habano band under the classic bolivar band. The wrapper is very supple and oily, with a nice reddish hue. It was applied with great care and topped with the triple cap you should see on all Cubans. These come in boxes of 10 for about $130 bucks.

The draw on this cigar is impeccable, with a very earthy flavor that i have come to expect and love of Bolivars. There is also a slight cocoa flavor on the lips, but its very subtle.
The first third of this cigar is classic Bolivar, with a dank, earthy flavor profile that is very enjoyable. This is a creamy cigar that really coats the palate. This had a slightly youthful characteristic, but was still very enjoyable. The burn is a little uneven, but that could be due to the breeze out here on the deck.

The second third of this cigar still had that great earthyness, but with the cocoa flavor showing itself a bit more with a bit of leather in there as well. This cigar really settled down and became very enjoyable in this second third. There is also a slight toasted bread flavor that is very nice! The burn evened out nicely. This is a solid medium bodied cigar at this point.

The final third of this cigar was very rich with a long finish. A bit of cedar flavor showed up towards the end of this cigar and the body moved into the medium/ full range.

Overall, i loved this cigar, it just puts a smile on my face! The size really worked with the Bolivar flavor profile and the presentation is one of the nicest out there. Any fan of Cuban Bolivars should enjoy this cigar and its dank earthy qualities. While i enjoyed this cigar now, i can see where some would want at least another year or 2 of age on it. This will definitely get even better the longer its in your humidor.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Illusione ECCJ

Todays cigar is the Illusione ECCJ. This cigar was commissioned by European Cigar Cult Journal to commerorate their 15th anniversary. The blend is supposed to be different from the normal Illusione line, with a corojo wrapper over a blend supposedly tempered for the European palate. They were released in boxes of 15 in very limited quantities, and luckily i have a friend who picked up a box and sent me one to try! The cigar is a corona gorda, measuring in at 5 5/8 X 46 ring gauge.

You can tell that they took their time when rolling these, the construction and wrapper are flawless. It is topped off with a triple cap, which more and more Non Cuban companies are using now. This shows that extra care was taken when rolling these because this style of cap takes a bit more skill and time.

The predraw on this has a ton of flavor even before lighting of nicely aged Nicaraguan tobacco. The first few draws after lighting show a very dense, woody flavor with a slight bit of leather in there as well. The finish is very crisp and clean. I reviewed the regular Illusione corona gorda back in December and really enjoyed it, and this has similarities but you can tell it is definitely its own blend. This cigar has a slightly bitter characteristic to it that i have found in most Illusiones. It is not a bad bitter flavor, just different.
As i get further into this cigar, the bitterness is toned down a bit with a little sweetness showing up to balance out the bitterness. I passed a bit of smoke through my sinuses (which i dont enjoy doing that much) and was greeted with a bit of pepper i wasnt getting before. This is a solid medium body cigar with a very full complex flavor. Im thinking i might have to start keeping some more Illusiones in my humidor, i really enjoy Dion's cigars.

Overall i would definitely recommend this cigar, and if you can actually find them, buy them! These are not going to be easy to come by so if you get the chance i would jump on it. Anyone who enjoys a full flavored Nicaraguan cigar will not be disappointed with anything by Illusione.

On a side note, i noticed the guys over at Stogie review (one of the larger review blogs out there) did a review on this cigar recently to check it out if you want to here what someone else has to say about this cigar!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trinidad Coloniales

Todays review is a cigar i haven't had before, the Cuban Trinidad Coloniales. This is a 5.2inch x 44 ring gauge cigar, topped off with Trinidad's signature pigtail cap. The wrapper on this cigar is pretty much perfect, with no blemishes and no large veins. This is how a Cuban wrapper should look!

The predraw flavor on this cigar is very toasty and light. You can tell right away that this is going to be a great cigar and is made with some of the finest tobaccos Cuba has to offer. Right away after lighting, you get a very clean and smooth flavor with that very distinctive Cuban twang to it. This is a balanced cigar, no doubt about it. This is not a knock you on your ass type cigar, but one that is a bit more delicate and refined with a nice complexity to the flavor. This cigar has a nice woody flavor with a bit of cocoa and a very light creamy coffee bean aspect to it as well. I got this cigar from a friend of mine so im not certain to the box date, but im guessing early 08 or even late 07. It has a slightly young taste to it, but is not offputting. I think with a year or so more age on it that this cigar would be even better. This is a solid medium bodied cigar that will go great with a nice aged rum, which is what i went and poured myself a small glass of halfway into this cigar! This cigar remained very consistent and creamy with a perfect burn.

Trinidad is one of Cuba's pricier cigars, right up there with Cohiba. This cigar goes for about $12, so it is a bit on the pricey side. This to me is a connoisseurs cigar with its complex flavors and creamyness. With the smaller size, you need to take your time with this cigar to really enjoy the flavors and to make sure it doesnt burn too hot. That being said, i think that any cigar smoker would absolutely enjoy this cigar. These have terrific aging potential. What better way to unwind after a busy week than with a great cigar and a glass of rum while watching it rain!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opus X xXx (Power Ranger)

Tonights smoke is the elusive Fuente Fuente Opus X. This is marketed as (and is) a cigar that isnt easy to get, at least for a reasonable price. The Opus X is Arturo Fuente's super premium line of cigars and are a very sought after cigar. They are a Dominican Puro and showcase a stellar Rosado wrapper, supposedly the first wrapper successfully grown in the Dominican Republic. The size im smoking is called the xXx, but is more commonly known as the "Power Ranger" due to its repuation of being a complete ass kicker of a cigar in a small package. It measures in at 4.625 x 49. Im not sure the age of this cigar as it was a gift, but i think it has at least 3 years of age on it.

The unlit aroma on this cigar is powerful and full of spice and cedar. The wrapper is very oily and absolutely flawless. Upon lighting, the palate is bombarded with loads of rich spices, cinnamon and leather, tons of leather. The Opus X has a very unique flavor profile, very rich but very well balanced. I think these do very well with a few years age on them to round out the flavors. These can be a little overwhelming when young, and tend to get a bit smoother as they age. This is a solid full bodied cigar right from the start and not for beginners. The further i get into this cigar, the more developed the flavors get. Notes of cedar and almost a sweet spice cake are present at the halfway point. The strength of these tends to sneak up on you as well. This cigar is an end of the night smoke to have after a big meal with your favorite spirit. I am drinking a glass of Pyrat XO Rum, and the sweetness of the rum really compliments the sweet spice characteristic of the Opus X.

The Opus X has a lot of hype behind it, and for some smoking one is a bit of a status symbol. Since they are made in small batches and shipped to stores very sparingly, there tends to be quite the mark up on this line. This cigar retails for $9.50, but ive seen them for sale for more than $30 bucks a stick. Most shops that sell Opus have a limit to what you can buy, usually 2 cigars per visit. I think for some people, to be seen smoking an Opus X shows that they are doing very well and have great taste. Yeah, thats fine but thats not why i smoke cigars! I sure as hell am not going to spend 30 bucks for one of these. If i can get them for around the retail price ill pick them up.. That being said, this is a special cigar that is worth buying if you can find them for a reasonable price (for these, i would say anything under about $15 is reasonable due to how hard they are to get).

Overall, the Fuente Opus X Power Ranger is an excellent cigar, but certainly not an everyday type smoke. This is a special occasion cigar for me (in this case the special occasion IS smoking this cigar!) and one that i always enjoy and am never disappointed with.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oliva V Maduro Especial

Today i am smoking the Oliva V Maduro Especial Torpedo. This is the only size of the V Maduro that has been released, and it has been released in very small numbers. I picked this one up a few weeks ago at my local shop, and was really surprised to see that they still had them, as most shops do not. This cigar measures in at 6.5 inches x 52 ring gauge. The wrapper is a Connecticut broadleaf with a Nicaraguan binder and filler. The head had some cracks in the wrapper, but i think i was able to cut off enough (actually more than i normally cut off of a torpedo) that the crack wont affect how this cigar smokes.

The predraw is strong, even stronger than the normal V line that i smoke very frequently. Upon lighting, i am greeted with crisp, strong flavors of earth, dark chocolate and a bit of peppery spice on the palate. Mixed in with the bitter chocolate is a really dark coffee flavor. This is starting out as a medium bodied cigar, but i have a feeling that it is going to be in the full bodied range the further i get into it. This tastes similar to the regular Oliva V line, with the dominant flavors being dark chocolate and coffee, but with a slightly richer characteristic to it.

As you can see by the picture, the Maduro wrapper compared to the regular V is just slightly darker, as a maduro should be. The regular line already has a fairly dark wrapper so the maduro doesnt look that much darker, but you can certainly taste the difference. The Maduro is the one on the bottom.

As i get into this cigar, it does increase to the full bodied range as i suspected it would. The pepper is still there a bit, but no where nearly as up front as it is in the normal V line. There is slight creamyness to this cigar that works nicely with the coffee flavors. This is the 2nd or 3rd one of these I've had, and they seem like a consistent cigar. As i pass the halfway point of this cigar, the flavors remain consistent and very pleasant, with a bit of leather showing its face within the flavor profile. This is a very rich cigar that should be enjoyed after a big meal and will stand up to just about whatever you want to drink with it, whether its a beer or a cup of coffee.

This cigar goes for around $8.50, so a bit more expensive than the regular line. I assume it is a bit pricier because of the limited number made, which is usually the case with cigars like this. Is it worth the extra money? I would probably go with the regular V line over this, but its a nice change and worth trying if you are a fan of full bodied Nicaraguan cigars. I'm sure if i come across these again ill pick up one to have on hand since they aren't easy to come by. This is another great cigar by Oliva and if you enjoy their cigars you will not be disappointed with this line.