Monday, December 28, 2009

Tatuaje Black Tubo

Its christmas (yeah, i know this review isn't posted on Christmas but that's when I sat down to review this stick) and its time to pull out something special for the holiday! Today's review is of the new Tatuaje Black Tubo. The black blend first showed up on the market under the radar in late 2007 as a Corona Gorda, and then was released in jars of 19 in 2008 in a very limited quantity. Well, Pete is at it again with another special release with the black blend in a 6 1/8 X 52 Torpedo.(this time not quite so limited, but still not nearly as available as most would like) The black blend is Pete's personal blend, as in these were originally made just for him to smoke before he started doing small releases of them. The blend is a big secret, but it contains Nicaraguan Tobacco.

Visually this is an ugly cigar, but purposefully so. Pete picks ugly, mottled wrappers to give this cigar the look he's after, and leaves it with a shaggy foot. I love the simple black Tatuaje band and the tubo's are probably the nicest I have ever seen.

The predraw shows a perfect draw and a nice earthy aged tobacco flavor. Upon lighting, WHAM! Loads of black pepper spice and earth. The first few draws are really interesting, because you are mostly just tasting the wrapper leaf from the shaggy foot. After getting a little more into this cigar, the spice drops into the background, and a woody flavor comes up front with the dank earth flavor that I am definitely enjoying. The burn isn't very even, but I think that is due to the fact that I didn't even give this a week in my humidor to settle. I know for a review you shouldn't have anything strong to drink with a cigar as it will effect the flavor, but I don't care! Its Christmas and Remy Martin VSOP it is! The sweetness of the Cognac works wonders with the spicy flavor of the Black Label. The burn ended up evening itself out at the halfway point with no other problems after that.

I really enjoy the Tatuaje Black blend. These have some of the hallmark Tatuaje flavors, such as black pepper and earth, but with something else in there that makes them very unique. This is a bold cigar, but not overwhelming. I would classify it as medium/full bodied. I love the very rustic look of this cigar. The shaggy foot is one of my favorite things about the Black label blends, it makes this cigar really stand apart visually from the rest of Pete's products. These are available in boxes of 10 for $140. Not cheap, but then again not very easy to come by so buy them up if you see them!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Favorites of 2009

Like every other cigar review site out there, I am coming up with a list of cigars that were my favorites of the year. A lot of sites only do cigars that came out this year, but not me. This list is of cigars I smoked this year that really wowed me, whether they were out this year or 3 years ago. I didn't include any special/limited releases in the list because I wanted this list to be comprised of cigars that are readily available for anyone to go out and try. What I will do is add a small list at the bottom here of limited release/hard to find cigars that I had this year and really enjoyed. These cigars are in no particular order (as I tend not to rate things like that). Here were my favorites of 2009!

First off is the only Cuban on the list, the H. Upmann Mag 50. This cigar started off as an Ediction Limitada in 2005, and was re-released as part of the standard lineup for H. Upmann in 2008. Of all the Cubans I have smoked over the last year, this is the one that really stood out. This is a velvety smooth, medium bodied cigar that is surprisingly complex given its youth.

Oliva V- This became one of my go to cigars over the last year. I always reached for this cigar when I wanted something full bodied and affordable. I have smoked countless Vs this year and was very rarely let down. (had 1 plugged one that I remember, but that was a really weird fluke I think) This is a cigar I could smoke almost everyday and not get tired of.

Illusione mj12- This was a new addition to the Illusione lineup this year, and a welcomed one for sure! Normally I am not fond of cigars with a ring gauge this large (54) but this is an exception. In fact, I might as well say that all of the Illusione line belongs on this list. Dion's cigars have definitely become of my favorites this year.

My Father Le Bijou 1922- This side addition to the My Father line was another home run by Don Pepin Garcia. I really enjoyed the My Fathers, and when the Le Bijou came out, they were even better! This cigar is very rich and full bodied, with a very nicely balanced blend that is good all the way down to the point where you are burning your fingers trying to hold onto it.

Alec Bradley Prensado-This was one of the new lines by AB this year, and within the first five minutes of smoking it, I was impressed. It's no secret that this year I have really become a fan of ABs cigars, and this blend really fit the profile I look for in a cigar. Prensado has the most complexity of any of Alec Bradley's many offerings, and is the fullest in body of anything they have put out so far.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2003-This cigar is always one that brings a smile to my face. This is definitely not a new cigar for the year, its been around for a while now. So far this is my favorite of all of Pete Johnson's cigars and when I want to spend a little more money for something really spicy and complex, this is the cigar I go with. Just looking at this cigar you can tell how much care goes into making it. The wrappers are always dark and attractive, with no visible flaws whatsoever. This will probably always be one of my favorites.

Special/limited release cigars that really stood out to me:
Tatuaje T110-This cigar was only released for a shop in Hawaii and is comprised of all Ligero tobacco. This was a very tasty, very full bodied cigar that I was fortunate enough to get a single of.

Nosotros preproduction-Dion gave me a sample of the Nosotros, which will be released early 2010. When you see these, buy them. You will definitely be pleased with this cigar.

Partagas Tres Petite Corona 1998-This cigar came from my buddy Dre, and was the oldest cigar I have had the pleasure of smoking. Its amazing what age can do to a great cigar like this. Fantastic.

There you have it people, of all the cigars I smoked this year, these were the few that really impressed me! There are plenty that I loved that aren't on this list (Tempus, San Cristobal, Tatuaje Verocu no.9 to name a few) that are great cigars as well, but the few listed above really stood out on top as my favorites. There are a few new cigars that came out this year that I had hoped to review, but just didn't get a chance to try yet, so look for those in the coming months if I can get my hands on them.

I look forward to what 2010 brings in the world of fine cigars!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Alec Bradley Tempus Magistri Maduro

Todays review is yet another cigar from Alec Bradley! This time it is the Tempus Maduro, which was released last month in very limited quantities. Only 20,000 cigars were made, released in boxes of 20. 1000 boxes is NOT alot in the cigar world, and it wouldn't surprise me if these are basically sold out (I am sure there are some here and there, but not at the shops I go to). The maduro is only available in the Magistri size, a 6.5 X 54 figurado. This cigar has the same makeup as the regualar Tempus line (a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan), but with an amazingly dark and oily maduro wrapper. This is probably one of the most attractive maduro wrappers I have seen in a long time.

The predraw flavors are of strong, sweet tobacco with just a touch of coffee. Immediately after lighting you can tell that the maduro wrapper is going to be a huge component in the flavor profile. The Tempus usually starts off with the classic woody Alec Bradley flavor profile, but with the maduro, it starts out with rich coffee, earth and a little bit of dark chocolate. Its always fun to try a cigar you like with a different wrapper. I am always amazed to see the difference it makes and how much flavor the wrapper adds to the blend. The burnline is a little uneven, but with cigars shaped like this, that tends to be the case until you get past the perfecto tip. This seemed to be a solid medium bodied cigar. This cigar just screamed for something nice to drink with it, so i grabbed a Goose Island Oatmeal Stout, and the coffee flavors in the beer really work nicely with those in the cigar.

The flavors remained very consistent throughout this cigar and were very nice! Loads of rich coffee, earth and dark chocolate on the finish. The maduro wrapper was very influential to the flavor of this cigar. I have smoked a ton of the regular Tempus, which all have the woody flavor I usually get with Alec Bradley's cigars, and it was not present with the maduro. This blend worked really nicely with this wrapper. I am normally not a very big maduro smoker, but this is definitely one I would like to smoke again. Too bad I didn't buy more when I had the chance because they are gone now! The burnline had to be touched up a few times, but I think that was due to the thicker and oilier maduro wrapper. If you are able to get your hands on these, definitely do so, but I am pretty sure they are sold out nationally at this point. I paid around $10 for this cigar, and for such a limited release, I didn't think this was a bad price.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Alec Bradley SCR

Todays review is of the Alec Bradley Select Cabinet Reserve Robusto. This 5X50 cigar sports a huge band and a smaller one on the foot, which is a little overkill but I actually like the packaging on most of Alec Bradley's cigars. The wrapper is Honduran, the binder is Honduran/Indonesian, and the filler is a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. I am always impressed with the blends Alec Bradley comes up with. This is a nice looking cigar, even with a slightly veiny wrapper. I found no soft spots and it seems to have a very even roll to it.

The predraw shows some cocoa mixed with musty tobacco flavors. The classic woody flavor I usually find at the core of Alec Bradley cigars is present right away, with a very prominent and pleasant leather note. There is also a light coffee flavor here, nothing too dark, but nice and creamy with just a little spice on the finish. This is a very smooth cigar, hovering right around medium bodied, but definitely full flavored. At the halfway point, a cinnamon/sugar cakey flavor shows up to the party, and was definitely welcome.

This was another tasty cigar by Alec Bradley. I bought this one at an event for around $6, and will definitely be picking up a few more. This a very smooth, flavorful cigar that probably won't wow you, but definitely won't disappoint. For me, this is another great afternoon cigar.