Thursday, February 2, 2012

Berger & Argenti Mooch Windbag

I first became acquainted with Berger & Argenti when I smoked the amazing Entubar Corona Macho. It was with that cigar that a seed was planted in my mind (probably a tobacco seed). A couple of months later, while at a smoke shop, that seed produced a little plant that sprouted out of the ground. I saw a couple of different sizes of the B&A Mooch line and was reminded of the previous experience. Let's just say I was compelled to make the purchase.

The cigar rested comfortably in my humidor for a few months until recently. It was a churchill size after all...I needed to wait until I knew I'd have time to enjoy it. I had a feeling I'd like it and I don't like to rush when I'm smoking a good cigar. So, when I finally had time, I happily picked this out of the humidor and prepared to smoke it. But before I would light up, I took a sample of the prelight wrapper and foot aroma. The only thing I detected was a fruity white pepper scent. It was actually pretty enticing.

After getting more white pepper off the pre-light draw, I lit my cigar. Early on there was...more white pepper. It was quite good, but it didn't arrive alone. Accompanying the white pepper was a very pleasant and mouth watering citrus flavor. That was pretty mcuh the majority of the flavor I got throughout the whole smoke. There were very brief and fleeting flavors of earthiness and nuttiness but they were very subtle.

Overall, this is definitely a cigar I would love to try again. In fact, I have a Mooch Minnie in my humidor right now that I can't wait to sample. Granted, the Windbag was quite mild in strength and not incredibly complex but the flavors that were there were medium-full and would not quit. When I smoke a cigar for so long that I'm burning my fingers because I just don't want to let it go, it's definitely good.

Until next time, as always...go grab some cigars and burn em down!

CAO OSA Sol Lot 50

There has been a lot of talk about the new line from CAO. Some good, some undecided, some decidedly not good. It has always been my own personal policy, though, to make up my own mind about something rather than letting someone dictate what my decision should be. Personally, I was excited about trying the OSA Sol. On a recent trip to Seattle, Washington, I decided to visit several B&Ms with the hope that several new cigar lines would be found. I was happy that the OSA Sol was among those I found.

The wrapper on this cigar was very dry looking, no real oily sheen or anything. It was very dark. A dark chocolate brown. The aroma on the wrapper and foot was a simple tobacco aroma. The pre-light draw left a slight pepper tingle on my lips but was otherwise unremarkable.

As I lit up this cigar, I was surprised. The CAO cigars I've enjoyed in the past are usually a solid medium strength, maybe medium-full. Immediately this cigar was very strong. I would call it full strength, but not all the way full. Probably on the low end of full. Later on, the strength settled down to a high medium. The flavors were of very strong coffee and earth.

Early on, I began to worry that the cigar was going to be too much for me. I started to feel a little light-headed. I decided I would need to pair the cigar with something for balance. Quickly I decided...I needed chocolate! And milk chocolate paired perfectly with this cigar. It provided the balance I needed to make the smoke much more enjoyable.

To sum up this experience, I would say that I liked the OSA Sol. However, I'm not sure whether I would smoke one often. It's possible that this cigar ages well. I guess I'll soon find out...I have one more in my humidor. I'm going to give it another 6 months or so (maybe more) and put it to the test. If anyone reading is a fan of very strong cigars, this one might be right up your alley. Just try to get a good meal in first!

Until next time, as always...go grab some cigars and burn em down!

Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series Toro

I'm not going to lie to you people. I'm a fan of Rocky Patel. There are some who definitely are not. I'm not sure why. Perhaps they've just had too many bad experiences. Patel does have a lot of different cigar lines on his label and, with that many, I'm sure it's hard to make cigar after cigar with consistent construction and flavor. Maybe some people just don't like the amount of cigar lines he has. There are those for whom I'm sure the RP brand does lose credibility because he has so many different types of cigars. Personally, I can only speculate about all that because, as I mentioned, I've always liked Rocky Patel cigars that I've smoked (with few exceptions).

So when I was at a Seattle B&M called Rain City Cigars (great place), and the TAA Signature Series Toro caught my eye, I was intrigued. An RP line I've never heard of? I had to pick one up. And, after about a month spent resting in my humidor, I figured it was time to try it.

I lit up this cigar and immediately tasted some woodiness and earthiness, with the woodiness being the dominant flavor. Perhaps there was some leather as well. But I looked down at the cigar and it was burning extremely unevenly. Uh oh...have I found an RP with poor construction? Then I realized something. To my horror, and this is very embarassing to admit...because I lit this cigar outside at night I failed to remember the very long footband (that covers the bottom half of the cigar) and was smoking through it. I then very quickly panicked and removed the band.

Well, the burn definitely improved a lot after the foot band was removed. Throughout the cigar, the flavors didn't change much. In the final third, the earthiness took over as the dominant flavor and the woodiness faded into the background somewhat. The final third did introduce one new flavor: a savory meaty flavor that I quite enjoyed while it was present.

I'll be honest, there wasn't a lot to this cigar. It wasn't was decent, just not great. The strength remained a mild-medium throughout, while the body and flavor both remained a solid medium. It does make me want to pick up a few more of these just to see if the others are the same (and so I can try to redeem myself by remembering to remove the foot band PRIOR to lighting). Those who are already RP fans won't find a lot in this one to experience any kind of renewal of passion for the manufacturer, but it probably won't tarnish his reputation for them either. Those who are definitely not fans of RP will probably want to stay away from this one as much as any of his others that they're already ignoring.

Until next time, as always...go grab some cigars and burn em down!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Emilio AF2 BMF

Before I smoked this cigar, I literally had no prior experience with any of this company's cigars. I received this cigar as part of a prize pack and had no knowledge of the brand before getting it. It's an interesting experience, smoking a cigar you really have no prior knowledge of. I would compare it to smoking an unbanded cigar a friend hands to you.

Of course, this is all helped along by the style of art the cigar is packaged with. The band, as you'll see in the accompanying photo, is very simple. It's a gold colored band with black lettering that plainly says "Emilio AF2". No fancy fonts or logos. If the band didn't have any kind of color to it, I would assume this was a sample provided by the company. So, with no real preconceived notions, I took the cigar from my humidor.

As I removed the cigar from the cellophane, I took a mental note of how great it looked. Some oily sheen on the wrapper with minimal veins. The aroma on the wrapper and foot was a very ordinary aged tobacco aroma. It wasn't unpleasant but it didn't grab my attention. The pre-light draw was similarly plain.

As I lit up I was greeted with some very nice flavors. There were flavors of woodiness and smokiness. I'm not sure how to further describe what I was tasting. I would compare it to some of the flavors I've tasted in smoked meat (kind of like beef jerky but without the saltiness).

And that was pretty much all I detected in this cigar in terms of flavor. The cigar is very well-constructed. The burn was great. It occasionally went crooked but very quickly corrected itself. The flavors lasted throughout the entire cigar. I would describe this stick as rich and full of flavor but not overly complex. This is a solid medium strength stogie. I would recommend it to any who are out there that don't demand flavor changes repeatedly or those who don't feel the need to be punched in the face by a cigar. Thanks to Doc Diaz of for providing this opportunity to try the AF2.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Punch CRA Toro

I've liked Punch cigars since the first time I tried one. I don't know what it is about them. So I was thrilled when I looked at the bag of cigars I got at the Seattle Cigar Expo in the summer and saw this one. And I decided it was finally time to light this up.

Before I did light up, I cut it with my Shuriken and took a hit off the wrapper and foot aromas. The wrapper had a pungent tobacco aroma. From the foot I got aromas of mustiness and cocoa...very nice! The cold draw I sampled was what I would describe as a musty tobacco flavor.

Upon lighting up, this cigar is instantly medium in strength and body and medium-full in flavor. The flavors I picked up were coffee and herbal flavors. Very strong herbal flavors, in fact. Several times throughout the cigar I was reminded of the scent that oregano has. There is a hint of ammonia but nothing that makes the stick unpleasant. It's just barely there. I recently bought a box of another cigar brand that's made in Honduras and this cigar reminded me somewhat of those cigars. So it seems that the flavors I was detecting are characteristic of Honduran cigars (even though this isn't a puro or anything). Half way through, the texture took on a very buttery feel.

Overall I'd say that this experience definitely does NOT have me feeling any less love for Punch. This was a truly great smoke. If not for the lack of real estate available in my 2 humidors, I would definitely buy a box of these now. This one showed great potential for aging as well. I'd say if you're a fan of medium-full flavored cigars and you like other Hondurans you'd be missing out if you don't try a few Punch cigars.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EP Carillo Core Line Torpedo

There has been much ado about Ernesto Perez-Carillo since he started his own label. It seems everything he releases has such great buzz. And yet...most of his cigars barely breach medium strength (based on reviews I've read). It goes to show that someone can create cigars with less than punch-you-in-the-face strength that are still talked about by most serious smokers.

This was what came to mind when I was at the Seattle Cigar Expo perusing the wares of some of Seattle's finest B&Ms and spotted the EP Carillo Core Line Torpedo. And I realized that, with all I'd heard at the time, I couldn't confirm any of it because I hadn't smoked any yet. So, with that, I felt I was left with no choice.

I waited until I could give this cigar the attention I felt it should get. EPC is a legendary dude, so I wanted to make sure I could focus on the cigar. When I took a sample of the wrapper and foot aroma, I didn't notice anything special. It was actually somewhat plain. The cold draw was about the same. Then I lit up...

Upon lighting there was a little pepper, woodiness and nutiness. Immediately the draw was great. The burn started out crooked (as many cigars that I smoke seem to do) but quickly recovered and evened out. In fact, the burn got crooked several times throughout my experience and always evened itself out. It was pretty impressive.

After the first inch or so, the pepper flavor disappeared and the cigar held firm to the woody/nutty flavors with a natural sweetness that was pretty good. That pepper reappeared at about the half-way point but was reasonably muted.

Overall, this was a good mild-medium smoke that was decent. I wasn't blown away or anything, but I could tell that EPC makes some reliable and consistent smokes. I imagine most people would pick this to go with morning coffee or in the early afternoon after a light lunch. If you like a cigar that's a good companion while you're engaged in some other activity, but still relaxing, this might be right up your alley.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

J. Fuego Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1

To my knowledge, I haven't really smoked any of Jesus Fuego's blends. I've smoked the Xikar HC Connecticut (which I previously reviewed), but before the Gran Reserva I hadn't smoked anything in his line or anything else he's blended. I emphasize "to my knowledge" though, because sometimes you just don't know who blended what. So, with the knowledge that this was mostly undiscovered country, I pulled the Gran Reserva Corojo No. 1 out of my humidor.

The cigar is a Toro size; about 6 x 50. The aroma off the wrapper and foot was good but nothing out of the ordinary for a cigar. It just had a good, standard, faint barnyard aroma. I cut this cigar with my Shuriken cutter and sampled the cold draw. I couldn't quite place the flavor I got immediately, but I definitely felt the tingle of pepper on my lips. I'm not always fond of this, so I took a bit of a cautious approach to the cigar when lighting.

I then lit the cigar with my Iroda torch. Upon lighting I was greeted with a somewhat familiar cedar and pepper flavor. These are the flavors I've been noticing on many cigars recently. It definitely wasn't unpleasant, but nothing caught me by surprise here. However, somewhere within the first inch the pepper quickly faded, though not entirely disappearing, and flavors of citrus and coffee showed up. This wasn't bad at all. I quite enjoyed it. And the draw and burn were both superb.

I didn't notice any changes until late in the second third when I started noticing faint and fleeting flavors of coconut and chocolate, with some nuttiness and earthiness. All good stuff. I then proceeded to smoke this cigar until just about the very nub. All along the flavors were relatively consistent, to match the draw and burn, and it was a pretty good medium-full bodied cigar.

I would definitely try a J.Fuego again and look forward to seeing what else his line of cigars has to offer. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys corojo. Thanks very much to Doc Diaz for sending this to me in a contest prize pack!