Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tatuaje Reserva Regios

Todays review is of the Tatuaje Reserva Regios. This cigar measures in at 5.5 X 50, and like the other Tatuajes, is a Nicaraguan Puro. The wrapper for this cigar is different than the regular Tatuaje line, sporting a Sun Grown Broadleaf wrapper that is very dark, oily and a bit on the veiny side. Even with all the veins, it is a very attractive cigar. I picked this cigar up at Holts in Pennsylvania and have really been looking forward to trying this one.

The predraw flavors are nice toasty tobacco with just a touch of sweetness. After lighting, my first impression of this cigar is that it doesn't have the spice right up front like the other brown label Tatuajes. Instead it has a nice woody flavor with just a hint of spice i expect (very minimal though). This is a more refined and complex cigar, with a great cinnamon sweet flavor along with the woody notes. The aroma coming off of this cigar is intoxicating. This cigar has layers upon layers of complex flavors, and you can tell that great care went into blending this Reserva. After about an inch, a leather flavor joins the cinnamon sweetness and woody notes, what an amazing cigar! The draw and burn were absolutely perfect, not that i would expect anything less from a Pepin/Pete Johnson cigar. The ash has no problem staying on for at least an inch, which is a sign of great construction.

I paid $10 for this cigar, and while it is on the pricey side, it is completely worth it for a premium cigar. If you are already a fan of the Tatuaje's, then this one will definitely not disappoint, although it is a different flavor. You can really taste the Sun Grown wrapper on this cigar, and it perfectly compliments the blend. This cigar grabs your taste buds and doesn't let go from start to finish. This is one of those cigars you don't want to put down and if you are like me, you will practically burn your fingers finishing!

check out my friend Matts review of this cigar over at Matt's Cigar JournalWe definitely had similar experiences with this smoke.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

601 Habano Toro

Today's review is of the 601 Habano Toro (aka 601 Red), 6X50. This is yet again another cigar blended by Don Pepin Garcia, this time for United Tobacco. This is a Nicaraguan Puro with a very nice Nicaraguan Habano wrapper that has a reddish hue to it.

The predraw flavors are slightly muted, with a little bit of cocoa and a slightly mustly flavor. Once lit, this cigar throws loads of earthy spice, leather and a touch of coffee bean at your palate. To me this is a medium/full bodied cigar that showcases Pepin's signature Nicaraguan spicy flavor that I thoroughly enjoy. I keep my humidor at around 64-65% humidity, but I think this particular cigar would be even better stored at a slightly higher humidity. The wrapper feels just a touch on the dry side at this humidity level, but it still smokes nicely. The burn is slightly uneven on this cigar, but that was easily fixed with a quick pass of my torch.

If you are a fan of robust, full bodied Nicaraguan cigars than this is one I think you will enjoy. Anyone who is a fan of Pepin's blends should pick this one up. I smoked this one around noon, but I think the average cigar smoker would probably prefer this one later in the day due to its strength. My only complaint is that the gold on the cigar band is so shiny that its hard to photograph! The 601 is available in 4 different wrappers, the Habano, Habano Maduro, Habano Oscuro, and an Ecuador Connecticut. I have smoked all of them, and the Habano (red) is by far my favorite. I paid about 5 bucks for this cigar, but i think that is on the low side and they can usually be found in the 7-8 dollar range.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Illusione mj12

Today's review is of the newest addition to the Illusione line of cigars, the mj12. This monster measures in at 6x54, and was added to the line as a replacement for the m7 Diadema size that was discontinued. (I heard it was discontinued because of the difficulty and price of making the diadema size) Like the rest of the Illusione's, this is a Nicaraguan puro with a Cafe Colorado wrapper anda triple cap. Dion, the owner of Illusione, likes to name his cigars in very unique ways. After looking around online, i found a response by Dion Giolito about the meaning behind the mj12; “The Majestic 12 were the individuals appointed by Truman to oversee the unidentified flying object issues that were extremely active in the 1940s." Interesting thing to name a cigar after.

This cigar comes individually wrapped in foil, which looks great and helps prevent wrapper damage in shipping/storage. (and its like unwrapping a present, who doesn't like that?) The only downside to this from a consumer standpoint is that you can't see if there is any wrapper damage or flaws since its wrapped up. Thankfully I haven't had any issues with Dion's cigars having wrapper problems, so I guess I will just have to trust that they aren't any issues!

The predraw shows loads of dark chocolate and leather and just begs to be lit. This is one of those cigars that hits the ground running as soon as you get it lit. The chocolate and leather flavors I tasted on the predraw coat my palate instantly, along with a bit of cinnamon spice and a slightly nutty finish. As I smoke this cigar, the flavors are constantly changing and shifting around with every draw. This has a very nice complexity and definitely keeps you interested throughout the lengthy smoke. I would classify this cigar as just over medium bodied and very full flavored. The burn line isn't perfect, but not uneven enough to mess with how the cigar smoked or really anything to complain about.

This is the 3rd mj12 i have smoked, and everyone has been fantastic. As I've said a hundred times, i don't prefer this huge ring gauge, but for this cigar's blend, it works really well. This is one of the few cigars with a ring gauge this big that i will definitely seek out. MSRP on these is $8.70, and for that price they are a steal! I paid 11 bucks for this at a shop in New Jersey, and while it is a bit over suggested retail price, it is completely worth it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tatuaje Havana VI Verocu No. 2 (Exclusivo Zona del Este)

Todays review is of the Tatuaje Exclusivo Zona de Este. This cigar is an addition to the Havana VI line for Tatuaje, aka red band Tatuajes, and was released exclusively on the east coast. (if you hadnt gathered that by the name yet) There is a slightly larger version that was also released for the west coast. Pete Johnson took a page out of the Cuban marketing book for this cigar, this being his version of the Cuban regional edition cigars in my opinion. If i remember correctly, these were released in 2007 in boxes of 50, and were made in limited quantities. Unfortunately these aren't easy to come by now since they haven't been made for a while. I was gifted this cigar by my friend Rich while i was on vacation out east.

This is a Nicaraguan Puro, with a special Cafe Rosado Oscuro wrapper. The construction and wrapper look fantastic on this cigar, as I would expect with the Tatuaje name on it. This measures in at 5.5 inches x 54 ring gauge. This ring gauge is larger than i prefer, but I'm going to smoke it anyway! The other difference between this cigar and the regular Havana VI line (the first difference being the wrapper) is that there is additional Ligero leaf blended into this cigar to give it a bit more oomph.

The predraw shows a slightly loose draw, which doesn't surprise me with the ring gauge on this cigar. The flavor is lighter than i expected, with mainly clean tobacco and a little bit of cedar showing up before lighting. After lighting, this cigar is woody, with a bit of leather and earth, and a touch of spice I expect in Tatuaje's. After getting into this cigar a bit more, I am definitely picking up a slight honey like sweetness, and a bit of a floral characteristic that works really well with the dark, leathery core flavors. The body is medium/full, and very smooth.
Nice bunching!

Normally I am not a huge fan of Havana VI Tatuajes, but i really enjoy the Verocu series. Thankfully there is still one Verocu being made, but exclusively for Holts. I smoked a few of these after visiting Holts when i was out east, and they are pretty much the same as this smoke, just smaller. (which makes sense since its the same blend). If you happen upon these, which is doubtful, pick them up! You will have a cigar that not only tastes pretty damn good, but one that has become a collectors item for Tatuaje fans like myself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

La Flor Dominicana Coronado Double Corona

Todays review is of the LFD Coronado Double Corona, which measures in at 7X50. I smoked one from the box this one is from (out of my buddy Carlos's humidor) when i was out in Jersey and was given another to take home with me to review. The Coronado has a Nicaraguan Sun Grown wrapper, which is very oily, supple and has a wonderfully spicey aroma to it. The filler is a blend of Dominican Sumatra and Piloto Cubano and the binder is a Dominican Corojo.(taken from the La Flor Dominicana website) The only negative thing i can see as far as construction goes, is that when i clipped off the cap, there is a fairly large stem present in the filler. (This ended up not being a big deal and didn't have any impact on how the cigar smoked) You can see the stem in the picture below, in the upper right hand side of the head (lighter color).

The predraw flavors show a dank, earthy flavor (this isnt a bad thing!) with a bit of leather and spice i expect from this cigar. Upon lighting, the predraw flavors are what im getting. This cigar has a ton of earthy, leathery spicy flavor, but is really smooth from the start. This is a very full bodied cigar, but is sneaky. It doesn't seem that powerful, until about halfway through when you suddenly realize that its probably a good idea to stay sitting down. After about an inch, there is a definite cinnamon note mixed in with the other flavors of this cigar. You can definitely taste the Nicaraguan wrapper on this cigar, as Nicaraguan tobacco has a very different taste than the rest of the Dominican tobacco this is made with. The burn started off a little uneven, but after about an inch it evened out nicely.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable, very full bodied cigar. This is one of those cigars that you definitely need to smoke after a nice big meal. If you don't eat before smoking this one, there is a very good chance it could have you feeling a bit green. This is not a cigar for beginners, and is something you need to work your way up to. For those of you that enjoy a full flavored, full bodied cigar though, this is definitely one to try. A lot of strong cigars like this one have the reputation of being harsh, but this is definitely not case with the Coronado. Litto Gomez from La Flor Dominicana certainly knew what he was doing when he blended these! I would say these are my favorite of all of Lito's cigars.