Monday, March 29, 2010

Johnny O Pigtail Short

Today's review is of a cigar I just recently heard about called the Johnny O. There is very little information available about this elusive cigar, but from what I gathered, these are farmrolled cigars made up of Cuban tobacco and are not easy to come by. I believe they are made by one roller named Johnny O somewhere in the US. (obviously not an authorized product since Cuban tobacco is illegal to import into the United States) These are not for sale in any shop, but occasionally pop up randomly for sale if you know where to look. (I dont, but luckily a very nice BOTL I met at the shop does!) This cigar is called the Pigtail short, which measures in at 4.75 X 42. If I remember correctly, these cigars were rolled within the last month, making them very fresh. This is the first time this season it has been nice enough to sit outside, so I am finally back out on the balcony!

This seems to be a nicely constructed cigar, with a nice little pigtail cap neatly applied. The wrapper is a little splotchy and has some bump showing through from the binder, but it is very smooth and has a very nice aroma to it. The draw is a little tight and shows a little bit of dry cocoa and lots of earth on the predraw. After lighting, it starts off with a nice complex array of flavors ranging from a sweet almost honey like flavor, to a toasted nut/bready taste. There is also that classic barnyard earthy twang I associate with Cuban tobacco present here. The ash is nice and solid with a great white color to it. I think this cigar might still be a little wet, which is what I am attributing the tighter draw to. The burn is a little uneven at the start, but evens out nicely after the first inch or so.

The flavors remain pretty consistent throughout the cigar, and are very pleasant! Towards the end, there is a slightly youthful bite, but It wasn't unpleasant. This doesn't surprise me given how young of a cigar this is. I have one more of these left, and I am going to attempt to see what some time in the humidor will do to it. I have a feeling this cigar will age very well. I am not quite sure on the price of this cigar, but I think they are very affordable. If you ever come across these, give them a shot! Like I said before, these are not easy to find, so good luck! Johnny O makes these in a variety of different Vitolas, and I am curious to see what other sizes would taste like. Maybe ill come across these again in the future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

LFD Air Bender Matatan

Today's review is of the new La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan. (5X50 Robusto) The Air Bender is Litto Gomez's newest creation. This cigar has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that can also be found on the LFD Salamon, and has a Dominican binder and filler. The wrapper is amazing to look at and to touch. It is silky and oily with minimal veins. One thing that's worth noting is how solid this cigar feels. It is hard as a rock! I have heard other people mention this about the Air Bender, and if I hadn't heard that before, I would have been a little worried about an overfilled cigar.

The draw seems perfect and doesn't show any signs of being overfilled. The predraw flavors are of leather, cocoa and definitely an earthy profile. This cigar starts out with plenty of earthy spice, as well as some cedar and a toasty characteristic. Like most of Litto's cigars, this one is VERY full flavored right from the start, but seems to be very balanced so far. The burn on this cigar is very slow, probably one of the slowest burning cigars that I can recall. The room aroma on this cigar reminds me of the very distinct (and quite pleasant) smell that the Opus X gives off. The burn has been very even so far, with the ash falling off at just over an inch.

At the halfway point, this cigar seems to have settled down a bit. The flavors have stayed pretty consistent with a chewy leather flavor showing up to the party, and are very balanced. One thing I have experienced with some of LFDs cigars is that they are all power and no balance. That is definitely not the case with the Air Bender at this point. This is a solid medium/full bodied cigar at the halfway point, but I have a feeling that this will end up being a solid full bodied smoke by the end.

The LFD Air Bender is a solid cigar. Very full flavored, and I was right about the strength amping up at the end. This is such a smooth cigar, that the strength really sneaks up on you! The strength never overshadows the flavors though, there is a nice balance to this cigar. The construction and burn on this stick is perfect, and the smoke is so thick its almost chewy. This size sells for about $6.50, and I would gladly pay that price again. This cigar is great if you want a full bodied cigar that really delivers on flavor. I definitely recommend eating a full meal before smoking this one, not a light lunch like I did...

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Father Belicoso

As promised, here is the review for the My Father Belicoso, to compare to the Le Bijou 1922 review I did recently. This is the original blend of the My Father line, blended in secret by Jaime Garcia behind his fathers back as a tribute to him. This Nicaraguan Puro has a very nice looking Habano Rosado wrapper. I really like the nice rounded Belicoso shape to this cigar. Measuring in at 5.5 X 54, this is a short, fat cigar, but because of the tapered belicoso head, it doesn't seem overly large as far as ring gauge is concerned.

The draw is pretty much perfect, with a mix of cedar, earth and dried fruit flavors coming through before lighting. This cigar starts with spice like expected with a cigar coming out Pepins factory, along with plenty of sweet cedar and leather behind it. The spice backs off fairly quickly and this settles into a very nice medium bodied cigar. In June of last year I reviewed the My Father Lancero, and looking back on my notes, I am seeing just how different the same blend can be in two different sizes. It seems like the lancero is a more complex version of this blend, not that the belicoso isnt a nice complex cigar. The lancero just seemed to have more concentrated flavors.

The burn and draw on this cigar couldn't be any better. The Pepin's really know how to roll a cigar. The construction on their products is just top tier. As I reach the halfway point, the cakey flavor I noted in the Lancero has shown up, but it is not quite as pronounced.

The My Father line by Pepin is another great cigar. Medium bodied, complex and beautifully made. Most of Pepin's cigars are in the full bodied range, but its nice to see that they can blend something in medium category that still has a great complexity to it. This has become one of my favorite late afternoon cigars. The Le Bijou line is a little richer and fuller bodied, and while I tend to prefer a fuller cigar, the regular My Father line is not to be overlooked.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Casa Fuente Double Robusto

Today's cigar review is of a rather hard to get cigar (depending on how close you live to Nevada), the Casa Fuente. This cigar isn't rare because of the quantities produced, but because you can only get them at one location, the Casa Fuente cigar bar in Las Vegas. One of my fantastic customers at Bull and Bear recently brought this back for me. The blend for this cigar is a big secret, but the general consensus is that it is a tweaked Opus X filler and binder, with a Cameroon wrapper. I have had a few of these in the past, and would agree that this tastes very similar to an Opus, but with the wrapper adding something something different to the flavor profile. The size I am smoking is a new one for me in the Casa Fuente line, the Double Robusto, which measures in at a hefty 5.75 X 52. This is the only Casa Fuente that comes in the cedar wrap if I am not mistaken. The bands on these cigars have to be one of the nicest, but flashiest out there, but then again these are from Vegas, so what do you expect?

The wrapper seems of high quality without any blemishes or major veins, but there is some wrapper lift near the not so neatly applied cap. I would expect a little more care taken with such a highly priced cigar.

The draw is perfect, and the dominant flavor on the predraw is light sweet cedar. After lighting, this cigar starts off VERY smooth with that classic Opus cinnamon spice and sweet cedar flavor. I think the wrapper on this really adds to the sweet flavor. The room aroma on this cigar is fantastic. When passing the smoke through the nose, the spice is definitely intensified, but not overwhelming at all. There is plenty of balance between the spicy and sweet flavors in this cigar.

After the first inch, the burn has gotten a little uneven, but I think that is mostly my fault. I just recently got this cigar from my friend, and being the impatient person I am (with very little self control when it comes to cigars like this) I didnt give this time to rest after its journey from Vegas. So, I will not blame the cigar on the uneven burn, but blame it on not giving it a chance to rest long enough in my humidor. The ash is very solid and holds on for an inch easily. The flavor has stayed pretty consistent, with loads of cinnamon spice and that sweet cedary flavor. There is a little bit of leather mixed in the flavor profile as well. I would put this right in the medium/full bodied category. I would really recommend pairing this with an aged rum like Ron Zacapa or Zaya.

The Casa Fuente is a very tasty cigar! While similar to the Opus X, changing up the wrapper to a Cameroon certainly mixes things up. I think the Cameroon really brings out a sweeter flavor from this cigar. While good now, I imagine this cigar would be even better with a few years humi time on it. This cigar will always remind me of my trip to Las Vegas with a bunch of the guys from We closed down Casa Fuente's bar 2 nights in a row and had an amazing time smoking too many cigars and drinking a few too many of the house Mojitos.

As a side note, Visiting Casa Fuente cigar bar is an absolute must for any cigar smoker in las Vegas. The mojitos are the best I've ever had, and lets just say the waitstaff isnt too hard on the eyes. A word of warning though, dont be shocked when you see the prices. Other than the Casa Fuentes, they have every size Opus X, Forbidden X and a bunch of other rare Fuentes, just be prepared to pay through the nose for them. The Double Robusto Casa Fuente goes for around $22, and if I remember right the cheapest Casa Fuente is the Corona Gorda, for around $18. These aren't cheap, but again, this is Vegas we are talking about! Would I go to Casa Fuente looking to stock my humidor? Hell no! The prices are way too high, but I would definitely pick up a few more Casa Fuente's knowing that I couldn't get them anywhere else.

PS, guys, if you bring your significant other with you to Casa Fuente, don't let them catch you drooling over the waitresses!

Monday, March 1, 2010

El Triunfador No.4

Today's review is of a cigar I have been waiting to get my hands on, and thanks to Craig (the same BOTL who hooked me up with the Boris) I have the opportunity to try the newest line from Pete Johnson of Tatuaje called El Triunfador. A few years ago, Pete released a cigar called El Triunfador in one size, a Lancero. That cigar is still being produced, but is a completely different cigar than the new one I am reviewing today. The new blend of El Triunfador is available in six different sizes, the one I am reviewing is the no.4, measuring in at 5 X 48. This is supposed to be a medium bodied cigar, with leaves from Don Pepin's La Estrella farm in Esteli, Nicaragua. This has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around the Nicaraguan filler and binder.

This cigar is very well made. The wrapper is seamless with no blemishes or major veins. The feel and look of the wrapper on this cigar really reminds me of the wrappers I have seen on the Cuban Ramon Allones Specially selected (robusto). A little rough looking, but not really rough to the touch.

The predraw shows a perfect draw, with a musty cinnamon flavor a little bit of cedar. After lighting, there is a touch of peppery spice that Pete likes in his cigars, but it fades back pretty quickly, letting a very nice cedary flavor come up to the front. After getting a little further into this cigar, a really pleasant floral and slightly sweet citrusy flavor join the mix of cedar and background spice. I feel cliche saying it, but this cigar really has a Cubanesque feel to it. The cedar, floral notes, and sweeter citrusy flavor really remind me of some classic Cuban flavors.

What a fantastic cigar. I really like the full bodied spicey cigars that usually come from Pete Johnson, and its nice to see he can really deliver a flavorbomb of a cigar in the mild/medium bodied category. I didn't have to touch up the burn at all on this stick, it was razor sharp all the way down. The flavors in this cigar are so clean and crisp and paired with perfect construction, I don't have a single negative thing to say about this cigar. A box of 25 of this size will be going for about $169, which puts singles around 7 bucks! Not bad at all for a cigar this well made with such clean flavors. While not the most complex, it certainly isn't boring. I can't wait to try this cigar in other sizes. These should start showing up in shops within the next month, and even if you tend to lean more towards full bodied cigars, give this one a try for sure.