Monday, October 26, 2009

Cain Maduro Torpedo

I previously reviewed the Cain Habano torpedo, and todays review is of the Maduro Torpedo. This is the same size as the Habano, a 6x54. The Maduro wrapper on this cigar is very dark and nice and oily. The cigar feels very firm in hand, and the white band at the foot creates a nice visual of contrasting colors with the wrapper. I am not going to go into detail about the blend, as I already did that in spades with the Cain Habano review.

I had to cut a little more off than i prefer on a torpedo because the head was cracked from shipping. The predraw flavors are very similar to the Habano, with plenty of leather and earth, but with a slightly sweeter edge to it. Once lit, this cigar starts off nice and smooth with a sweeter flavor profile than the Habano. There are some definite semi-sweet chocolate flavors, mixed with a woodiness at the core of this smoke. Maduro wrappers tend to lend that rich, sweet characteristic to cigars in my opinion. (this isn't always the case, it depends on the blend they are wrapped around and how that flavor plays with the other leaf) There is a little bit of spice on the finish, along with a leathery and earthy flavor. The burn is slightly uneven, but a few passes of the torch fixed it right up.

After the first inch or so, this cigar settles down to a pretty typical maduro flavor, and is a solid full bodied smoke. To be honest, the flavor of this cigar is a little boring to me at this point. This is definitely not a very complex cigar, and I have already come to the conclusion that I prefer the Habano if I am going to smoke a Cain. These are really well constructed cigars though and have a very strong ash that holds on for well over an inch. This is one of those cigars I kind of wish I had smoked outside, the smoke is very heavy and a little on the acrid side.

If you like full bodied cigars and maduro wrappers, then you might like this one. Compared to the Habano, this cigar fell short in the flavor department, and wasn't as full bodied either. To be perfectly honest, this cigar didn't really do much for me. The Habano was a much better cigar as far as my palate goes. The flavor was on the one dimensional side with a typical maduro flavor, nothing special. The habano wasn't the most complex cigar, but it had more going for it than this one. The first inch of this cigar was promising, but after that it didn't really go anywhere. I may be a little bias though, as I definitely prefer a habano wrapper to maduros. Ill pass on this cigar in the future.

Here is a side by shot of both the Habano and Maduro to really show the difference in wrappers:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cain Habano Torpedo

The Cain is a new cigar for the year by Sam Leccia (maker of the Nub)/Oliva cigars. This cigar is supposedly a strait Ligero cigar, Ligero being the strongest/most full flavored of the different grades of leaf. Now, when I first heard this, i figured this would be unsmokable and way too powerful to even enjoy. The way they were able to make a strait ligero cigar was by triple fermenting the leaf. I copied this next paragraph from the Cain website to helps explain this process:

"Fermentation is where the real magic occurs. After curing, the tobacco leaves have all their potential locked inside. It is through patient and vigilant handling that the leaves are brought to the desired result. The tobacco leaves are placed into groups of 20-25 leaves called "Manos". The "Manos" are then stacked in large piles called, "Pilones". Inside these "Pilones" the tobacco can reach temperatures as high as 120 degrees. The inner most tobacco generates the most heat. The "Pilon" is rotated often to allow for even heat exposure. No automation is used in this critical process. It is the work a tobacco man and his instincts. Triple Fermentation is a process by which we bring the tobacco up to temperature three seperate times. This was imperative in making Cain because of the mission to make a Straight Ligero cigar. The Ligero tobacco can take sustained temperature as a result of its thicker character. Through this careful process we brought out all of the deepest richest flavors of the Ligeros. This also allowed us to smooth the jagged delivery of flavor into a very full body yet smooth curve."

As to the blend of this cigar, it has 3 types of Nicaraguan Ligero leaf (Ligero comes from the top leaves of the tobacco plant and receives more sunlight, which darkens and thickens the leaf). The first is Esteli Ligero, which is the strongest of all Ligeros. The second is Condega Ligero, grown north of Esteli Nicaragua and is supposed to be a little tamer and add a rich complexity. The third and final ligero is Jalapa and is grown in the northern most part of Nicaragua in a valley, so it receives less sunlight than the other 2. This ligero is supposed to be the smoothest with a very complex array of flavors. (after doing a little research, i found that this is technically not a 100% ligero cigar, but more like 82% because a strait ligero cigar would have major issues burning correctly)

I am reviewing the Habano (they also make a maduro) in the torpedo size, measuring in at 6x54. The construction on this cigar looks fantastic, with a nice toothy and oily Habano wrapper. This is a very solid cigar, just loaded with very rich smelling tobacco. I am expecting a very full bodied cigar, but am hoping, especially with Oliva behind this one, that it will not just be a one trick pony. A lot of these very full bodied cigars suffer from just being strong with no complexity or enjoyable flavors.

The prelight draw shows an earthy, leathery flavor, with no apparent spice. This lack of spice certainly isn't the case once you light it! Right away you get a very earthy, rustic flavor with plenty of spice to back it up. This has a deep, dark flavor, but is surprisingly very smooth to start. So far this is an enjoyable cigar, definitely full bodied but not overwhelmingly so. The smoke is so thick its as if you could almost chew it. The burn and draw are pretty much perfect at this point. I have a feeling that the strength of this is going to sneak up on me and smack me over the head...

After getting into this cigar a little further, a slightly sweet characteristic joins the flavor profile, as well as something similar to black cherry. It may just be that this cigar is a little youthful, but there is just a touch of roughness from it on the back of my throat. After about 2 inches, I am definitely starting to feel the strength of this cigar. While it is still smooth and tasty, It has me just a little jittery. This is not for the faint of heart. I am used to smoking full bodied cigars, but for someone who isn't, this would be a bit overwhelming.

Overall, the Cain Habano is a tasty cigar, but not an everyday smoke. All that ligero makes for one powerful cigar! This is not a cigar to have while doing anything other than sitting back and enjoying it after a big meal. If you are a fan of powerful cigars, but still want a heavy dose of flavor to go along with it (and dont mind losing control of minor motor skills while smoking it) than this is definitely one to try. This isn't the most complex cigar on the market, but doesn't suffer from all power and no flavor like some out there do. I don't know yet if this will become a regular in my rotation, but I will probably keep a couple on hand for when I feel like getting my ass handed to me by a cigar. (I have smoked 2 of these so far, the first being the one i reviewed. The 2nd Habano I smoked had a little less power and was a more enjoyable cigar. This shows a little inconsistency with this line, but I think it could be due to them pushing them out of the factory early and just needing some more time to rest)

As a side note, if the Cain isn't powerful enough for you (if its not, you have some serious issues) they make another called the Cain F, which stands for Fuerte. (strong in Spanish) This is the Cain on steroids and I definitely do not recommend it if you aren't a seasoned cigar smoker who enjoys full bodied cigars. They are VERY powerful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tatuaje T110

Todays review is of one of the rarer Tatuajes. Pete has done a number of special releases for shops across the country, and this cigar was made for a shop in Hawaii. From what I read, there were only 200 boxes made. This short cigar measures in at 4.3 X 52. The T in the name stands for thermonuclear, and 110 is the size in mm. Supposedly this is another all Ligero cigar, and is called Thermonuclear for its intense strength. Apparently there was a larger cigar Pete made called the Thermonuclear as almost a joke, and it supposedly was so strong not many people could smoke it without getting sick. (sounds like a challenge to me!) This version, from what I hear, is a little toned down, but still VERY strong because of all the Ligero leaf. This is a Nicaraguan Puro, like the rest of Pete's cigars. I was gifted this cigar at the Illusione cigar event I attended a few weeks ago by one of the regular guys that hangs out at that shop, If I remember right his name was Justin. If you are reading this, thanks again for the cigar! He offered me one to try and I just couldn't turn down the chance to review this rare smoke from one of my top cigar makers.

visually this cigar looks great. The construction is top notch, as I would expect with a Tatuaje. The wrapper is much darker than the normal Tatuaje's and is very attractive on this little cigar. I love that Pete went with the RC (Retro Cuban) bands on these, i think they have a very classic look. The draw is a little on the loose side, which I am hoping doesnt make this one burn too hot. The predraw flavors are very light, not what I would expect from a cigar called the Thermonuclear.

After lighting, it has the trademark Tatuaje spicy flavor, just amped up a bit. The smoke immediately coats the palate, and I am glad I have something to drink near by. There is definitely a little bit of leather buried in the spice, with maybe just a sprinkle of dark chocolate and coffee bean in there as well. So far this is a very good cigar and nicely balanced for being so spicy due to the amount of Ligero present in the blend. This is certainly a full bodied cigar after even just an inch, but not overwhelmingly so. (not yet anyway). At this point the spice has mellowed just a little bit, and an earthy flavor joins the party. After all i heard about this cigar, I kind of expected it to be overly strong, but its not. It has power, but balance as well. If this is a strait Ligero cigar, it blows the Cain out of the water.

The Tatuaje T110 was a great cigar. Too bad I will never see another one again, and if you don't already have one (or have a very generous friend to get one from) it is unlikely you ever will due to the fact that so few were made and they sold out very quickly. I love a nice full bodied cigar like this that still has plenty of flavor and balance to it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nosotros sneak preview

Today's review is a treat, especially for me! The Nosotros, made by Dion from Illusione in collaboration with Drew Estates (first time team up with those companies) and will be hitting the market sometime in the next few months. I mentioned this cigar in my write up of the Illusione event I went to. This is the one I got from Dion himself, and it is from a batch he had made when he finalized the blend before they went into production. The sample I got is the Churchill size, which measures in at 7 x 48. These will come with a banded when they are released. After searching around online a bit ,and confirming with Dion, I found out the blend consists of a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 for the wrapper, a Nicaraguan Filler, and a Connecticut Habano binder. These are made in the Drew Estates factory in Nicaragua.

The sample I received has a slightly rough looking wrapper, but is solidly constructed with a great oily feel to it. The predraw has a very nice toasty characteristic with some definite barnyard dry hay flavors. After lighting this big cigar up, there is a definite sweetness with a crisp, spicey finish. This is going to be one of those cigars that will be hard to really pinpoint distinct flavors, as already there is a vast medley of flavors coming out of this cigar. There is a definite woody characteristic, with something else...this is a very unique cigar. This is a solid medium/full bodied smoke.

Talking with Dion, I got a little more info on this cigar. I asked him how he came to team up with Drew Estates, a company known for flavored cigars (ick). They do make a few other decent cigars though, besides their flavored crap. He was visiting their factory, and liked what he saw, so he asked them to bring him a list of their best tobaccos. After going through the list and finding a few things that he hadn't had before, and a few that he knew and loved, he had them bring the individual components for him to smoke. After trying out a bunch of their tobaccos, and liking what he saw, he started working on the Nosotros. (Nosotros means "us")

Overall, the Nosotros is a cigar to keep an eye out for. They were supposed to be released in October, but apparently they need just a little more time before they will be out, so hopefully within the next month or two. These have a very unique flavor profile that really brings something different to the table when it comes to Nicaraguan cigars. These are super smooth, with a really nice sweet and spicy flavor, but really clean tasting, not muddled at all. Smoking a cigar handed to you from the owner of the company makes it that much more fun too! Dion told me this sample is the final blend, and if that's the case i can't wait to get my hands on more of them and try the different sizes coming out.