Monday, November 30, 2009

Alec Bradley Prensado

Today's review is of Alec Bradley's new line for the year called Prensado. From what I've heard, this cigar has been in the work since 2007. I am smoking the Corona Gorda, which measures in at 5 5/8 X 46 (a favorite size of mine). This cigar is made up of a very dark 06' Honduran Corojo wrapper, a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder, and a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan filler. This cigar appears to be very nicely constructed, and falls into what I have been calling the rustic look. This meaning that its not the prettiest wrapper, showing a few veins, but is attractive in its own way. Alec Bradley seems to love big ornate bands, but they always seem to suit the cigar. They are vibrant, but not overdone.

This is a box pressed cigar,but it has a light box press compared to some with sharper edges from other cigar companies.

The predraw shows just a hint of sweetness and light tobacco flavor, . However, after lighting, this cigar is definitely not light on flavor. The woody flavor I have come to expect with AB's cigars is again at the core of this cigar, but with this one it's a deeper and darker flavor. The finish is a mix of sweetness and spice. This is starting off fuller in flavor and body that most of the Alec Bradley's I have smoked. There is definitely some leather and bitter cocoa flavors mingling in here as well. So far this is a nice and full flavored cigar, in the medium to medium full bodied category. The blend is nicely balanced, showing clean flavors that are working really well together. The burn and draw have been fantastic.

The Prensado is yet another home run by Alec Bradley. After smoking two of these, they have joined the Tempus as one of my favorite cigars by Alec Bradley. These are more full bodied than the Tempus, right up there in the medium/full range, and very full flavored. This line is a little more expensive than the Tempus, I think i paid $9 for this one. At that price I won't be smoking it nearly as much as the Tempus, but I can definitely see myself keeping some of these on hand. Alec Bradley is one of the company's i have really been impressed with over the last year, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinar Del Rio Habano Sun Grown

Today's review is a new cigar to me, the Pinar Del Rio Habano Sun Grown. This cigar is made at La Fabrica Don Leoncio in Dominican Republic and is blended by Abraham Flores and Juan Rodriguez. This cigar is a tribute to the Pinar Del Rio region of Cuba, which is very well known for its tobacco. The filler is a mix of Dominican and Nicaraguan, with a Habano Sun Grown wrapper. This is a standard robusto, measuring in at 5x50. It isn't the prettiest cigar, with some veining in the wrapper, but it seems to be very well constructed .

The predraw flavors show a musty, earthy flavor with just a touch of cocoa. After lighting, this cigar hits your palate with tongue tingling spice and leather, with a slightly earthy characteristic. After the first half inch, the spice really tones down and a nice cedar and slightly sweet caramel like flavor joins the mix of leather and musty earth. The burnline is wavy, and the ash fell at just over an inch, which is about what i expect for a nicely constructed cigar.

The Pinar Del Rio Habano Sun Grown was an enjoyable cigar. It wasn't the most exciting thing I've smoked, but one I will probably pick up again. I received this cigar from a really generous guy named Warren at Burning Leaf cigars. They sell for between $5-6, and are great for that price. This was a nicely constructed cigar with a great draw.I found it to be a solid medium-full bodied cigar with core flavors of leather, musty earth and a sweet finish. That blast of spice I tasted upfront never really returned, but it certainly grabs your attention at the start!

Monday, November 16, 2009

CAO La Traviata

Todays review is of the new CAO La Traviata Radiante (toro). This chunky cigar measures in at 6x52. This cigar has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Cameroon Binder, and Nicaraguan/Dominican filler.

The slightly bumpy wrapper on this cigar feels really nice and oily, and the cap was applied a little sloppily. The predraw shows a slightly loose draw with flavors of leather and cedar. After lighting, I am definitely tasting that leather and cedar flavor I got on the predraw, but with an additional sweet creamy flavor. I am also getting just a hint of spice on the finish. This cigar might be a little young, which might explain why it is slightly harsh on the back of the throat.

Most of my friends in the cigar world know I used to smoke a ton of CAO, but pretty much gave up the brand a few years back. To be honest, I got tired of all of the companies effort going into marketing and the cigars being sub par. I don't mind if a company wants to do all kinds of flashy marketing to draw people in, but you better have a great cigar to stand behind all of the flash. I don't buy cigars because the boxes look cool, all i care about is the cigar inside! This is the first CAO I have purchased for a very long time, and it just so happens to be the simplest packaging they have done.

Ok, back to the cigar. The construction seems great, the ash is holding on nice and strong and the draw isnt as loose as I had originally thought. CAO's have let me down in the flavor department many times, but never in the construction, I have to give them credit there. The leather, cedar and the slightly syrupy sweet flavors seem to make up the dominant taste to this cigar.

The CAO La Traviata really surprised me. While it isn't going to become one of my favorites or a staple in my humidor, I will probably smoke it again. The biggest draw to this cigar is the pricepoint, its nice to see a cigar that smokes well and has some nice flavor for under $5. While in general I am still not a fan of CAO's cigars, this is the one to pick up if you want a CAO.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alec Bradley Family Blend

The Family Blend is one of Alec Bradley's new lines for the year. This cigar is only available in one size, a 5.5 X 50 Robusto with a Cuban style pig tail cap. These were originally made as a tribute to the fathers of the company's three principle executives, and were only available at Alec Bradley cigar events. They were so popular, they finally started selling them this year. This cigar has a Honduran Wrapper, Indonesian Binder, and Honduran/Nicaraguan filler.

This cigar seems to be very well constructed, with no soft spots, and I love the pigtail cap. There is a nice reddish hue to the wrapper as well. The predraw flavor has a woody and definite earthiness to it. The draw is pretty much ideal. After lighting, there are definite wood notes, a bit of sweetness and maybe just a little leather in there as well. This definitely tastes like an Alec Bradley. Their blenders really seem to love that hard wood characteristic. I have been smoking more and more Puros (cigars made up of tobacco from one country) these days, so its a nice change to mix it up with a cigar blended from a few different countries. The first half inch had a slightly uneven burn, and after dropping the ash for the first time, needed a little touch up.

The flavors remained pretty consistent through this cigar, mostly that nice woody characteristic, with some leather and a touch of sweetness. The smoke has a nice, creamy mouth feel. The burn had to be touched up a few times, but it never got out of hand. The woody flavor was a little overwhelming at a few points, but seemed to calm down the further I got into this cigar. This was a medium bodied cigar, that would work well for me as an early afternoon smoke. If you are a fan of Alec Bradley's, then you would probably enjoy this one. They are available for around $7 a piece. While I did enjoy the Family Blend, I think i prefer the Tempus if I am going to buy an Alec Bradley cigar.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Now working at Bull and Bear Tobacco shop!

Its no secret that I have been wanting to work in the cigar business for quite some time now, and now I am! I will be working at one of my favorite cigar shops, Bull and Bear in St. Charles a few days a week starting this coming week. My schedule is going to be crazy now that I am working 2 jobs, but having this as a second job will be fantastic! I finally get to put my cigar knowledge and experience to some use! The group of people working at Bull and Bear are great, and I am really looking forward to joining the team they have there. So, anyone in the St. Charles area stop by for a few cigars in the lounge and keep an eye out for our upcoming events. Ill try to remember to post a blog for every event we are having. There is one coming up Friday, November 27th for the Punch Upper Cut, but I won't be there unfortunately.

1 W. Illinois Street - Fox Island Square - Saint Charles, Illinois

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cruzado Domenicos

Todays review is of another cigar by Dion Giolito, the man behind Illusione. This is his second line of cigars, called Cruzado. I am smoking the corona gorda, a 5 5/8 X 46 cigar. This is a Nicaraguan Puro like the Illusione, and has a dark Criollo wrapper with a really nice looking pigtail cap. Dion said he toned these down by using Viso leaf instead of the stronger Ligero.Visually this is a great looking cigar with a much more ornate band than on the Illusiones. I really like the silver and black with the gold trim.

The predraw flavor is of dank earth. After lighting, there is definitely some spice to this blend, along with dark chocolate and something similar to citrus zest on the finish. After getting a little further into this cigar, a leathery flavor shows up and seems to be the flavor at the core of this cigar. That citrus zest disappeared quickly and a slight sweetness joins the mix. This is a very complex cigar with an amazing array of flavors that are constantly shifting around the leathery backbone of the blend. This is not a cigar you will get bored smoking with flavors that change after every few draws. The burnline is dead even and the ash isnt the strongest, falling off at a little under half an inch. I am blown away at how clean and crisp this cigar's flavors are.

Smoke this cigar. Find out if your local has them, if they dont, order them. I am a huge fan of the Illusione, and wasn't sure if this line would be able to live up to them, and it does. It is a very different smoke compared to the Illusione line, but definitely as good. It is a solid medium bodied cigar with a very full, complex flavor. The construction on these is flawless. Dion's cigars have become a definite favorite for me, right up there with Tatuaje. These aren't cheap, around 9 bucks a piece if i remember correctly, so I won't be smoking them everyday. Even saying that, I am definitely going to try to get a few more to have in my humidor.