Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Torpedo.

Here is a post from May 21st, 2011 from my facebook page.

Last night cigar was a Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Torpedo.  A beautifully crafted cigar with no soft spot and a nice color. The pre light draw was lightly woody, cedary I would say. I'm still working on educating my pallet, although I've been smoking cigars for many years, I've changed my smoking experience since then. I look more for the different flavors and aromas you can savor during your smoke.

Well back to the Vintage 1992, as I lighted it some light peppery note came out, throughout the cigar It would go stronger and lighter with the pepper and always pleasant too. The cedary notes were accompanying the pepper too but lighter, no bitter aftertaste or harshness.

In conclusion it was a pleasant cigar that was smooth and burned very well, I will smoke more for sure I'm pretty sure I did not find all the flavor it could offer and it will educate me and my pallet.

Rocky Patel Edge Maduro Torpedo

Here is a post I made on facebook on May 15th 2011

Tonight I smoked a Rocky Patel cigar for the first time. It had a maduro wrapper which I don't smoke too often. This cigar looked beautiful very well made with no soft spot. I cut it using my Xikar cutter which I love, it makes a very nice cut and very easy to use.

The pre light draw had a nice flavor of rich dark chocolate, I had to take a few draw before lighting it as it was very delicious.

Then I lit the cigar with my Siglo single flame torch lighter (Thank Sis, it was a christmas present from last year) and I was very please with the first few draw, it had a richer dark chocolate flavor and a nice sweetness. As I continued to smoke the cigar It was very consistent, great flavor all the way through never burned too hot I would even say that the smoke was cool. The aftertaste was very pleasant. I really enjoyed that cigar It was not harsh. I smoked it to the nub and I already miss it.

Although they say the Edge is very full bodied cigar I did not find it too strong. There is a lot of flavor that's for sure but no too much strenght. I wasn't much of a maduro wrapper fan before, why? I don't know, but I will try more in the future.

In conclusion I will get some more and I was very pleased with that cigar.

 Xicar cutter and Siglo single flame torch lighter.

My first post.

Hello everyone,  I will be the other half of the ring of fire.  I too will be blogging about different cigars I will savor. I'm working on better educating myself on the different nuances in the taste of cigars. I've been smoking cigars for many years but only lately have I been working on identifying the different flavors that these wonderful cigars and their mixes of tobacco leaves can offer us. Before I would smoke a cigar and either like it or don't like it but I would not identify or recognize the different flavors. I could tell if I found it mild, medium or full bodied, I could tell if it was peppery or not but I want to better educate myself. So here I go on a journey to better myself as a cigar connaisseur.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rocky Patel Edge Sumatra torpedo

After recently having a bad experience with an RP Edge Maduro, I was reticent when choosing this from my humidor. However, I needed to test my Shuriken on a torpedo and I desperately wanted to give Mr. Patel a chance to redeem himself and his Edge line. Worst case scenario: another bad experience and swearing off RP Edge. Best case scenario: total enjoyment.

I believe the lack of cellophane packaging for this stick left the wrapper and foot aroma to be more faint than normal. Having said that, the wrapper and foot aroma both have subtle notes of barnyard. The cold draw is also faint, but is more of cedar and tobacco.

Upon lighting this cigar, the smoker is greeted with some generic woody flavor. That flavor quickly develops into much more specific hickory and cedar flavors. There's a warm sensation on the lips and the wrapper has a cayenne pepper flavor. This is quite a trio of flavors. However, flavor wise, this is pretty much all we get (for the most part). There are other flavors that occur only briefly, but don't last long enough to put one's finger on or mention.

The draw on this is on the low side of what I would call medium resistance. This where I was relieved. The issue I had with the Edge Maduro toro that I smoked previously was that it was rolled way too tightly. I knew that the source of having very little draw was a tight roll rather than having a blockage because it was a snug draw from beginning to end, with really no improvement. I used a draw poker a lot and the draw remained equally tight throughout. But, as mentioned, that was not the case with the Sumatra torpedo. The draw was remarkably better. The burn was decent. For half of the cigar it was wavy, uneven, crooked...but the other half was great.

Overall I would say I liked this cigar. For the most part I would consider it to be on the upper range of mild or lower range of medium bodied and medium in flavor. It definitely has me curious about the other cigars in the Edge line and has made me consider giving the Edge Maduro another chance (some day). This was more like the kind of cigar that I would expect from RP, although I've enjoyed some others of their make better. If you're a Rocky Patel fan, give his Edge Sumatra a try.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Alec Bradley Black Market robusto

Have you ever tasted something in a cigar that even you didn't believe you just tasted? You're in the middle of smoking, you take your next draw...wait, did I seriously just taste what I think I did? So you take another draw...yep, still there. That happened to me while I was smoking the Black Market robusto that Alec Bradley cigars generously sent to me (along with 199 other people on Facebook) to promote the launch of this new line of their cigars. More on crazy flavor later.

This cigar has a wonderful dark brown, if slightly mottled, appearance. The stick comes packaged with a paper sleeve that covers half of the cigar from the middle all the way down to the foot. Upon removing the sleeve, we're left with a very thin band in the middle of the cigar. The wrapper has a very common tobacco and barnyard aroma. This aroma is also present on the foot, but a little stronger. I used my new Shuriken cutter on this stogie and promptly lit up. I guess I was too excited to try it and missed out on taking a cold draw.

Immediately after lighting I was greeted with a pleasantly mild bodied, nearly medium flavor of woodiness, cedar, a nuttiness (which I could have sworn was almond) and a slight, barely there bitterness. Toward the end of the first 3rd the flavors became predominantly leathery with some pepper spice. The pepper continued well into the second 3rd and was joined, also, by...some kind of berry flavor (?). This is what made me sit up and try to put my finger on what I was tasting. It was brief but unmistakeable. Some kind of berry flavor...I want to say blackberry but I'm really not sure. Possibly a combination of berries. I tasted it once, went back for more, and it was still there. I couldn't believe it. Then the final 3rd of the smoke brough me the flavors I expected to taste at the beginning. There was milk chocolate, graham cracker, caramel, toffee and an earthiness that I was surprised didn't come sooner. Throughout the cigar the draw had a slight resistence, which was good. The burn left a little to be desired and took some work to keep it even, but very little relighting.

Overall, this cigar was pretty complex. It was a good cigar, but a faint bitterness that underlined the experience indicates to me that it would have benefitted from 6 months or so in my humidor. That bitterness didn't really ruin the experience, it just, at times, distracted from all the other flavors that were there. If you like a good maduro, and particularly if you've liked a lot of other lines that Alec Bradley has come out with, I would say you should definitely try this. But if you go out and buy some Black Market, get 2 or 3. Smoke one right away, putting the others in humidification, and take some notes on the first one. Then wait several months to smoke any others you picked up and note the differences. I'm very curious to see what will happen when I try this.

Shuriken cutter - first impressions

Not everyone is interested in this cutter. There are some who are more than happy to stick with what works for them. Great. However, there are some who are curious or even interested in it. Maybe they're collectors like me who like to have at least 1 of each kind of cutter available. Maybe they just like checking out the newest thing. I just got mine in the mail so I thought I'd write about my first impressions (as I've only used it once) for those interested.

As with a lot of new products, this one makes some interesting claims. The company who makes it (I believe it's CigarTech but I could be wrong) claims that it allows the smoker to more easily control the draw of the cigar. They also claim that not cutting the cap off increases the amount of flavor you get from the stick, as well as the claim that having the 6 slits vs. cutting off part of the cap allows for a cooler smoke and more even draw and burn. Finally the claim is that, the slits being where they are, the smoke is directed right to the front of the palate so that some of the more pleasant flavors of the cigar can be easily experienced.

The cutter currently only comes with a plastic body and retails for about $20. It comes in the shape of what I would describe as a capsule. Once the cap comes off, inside there are 6 very small blades in a kind of "star" pattern. It's actually pretty simple to use. You simply insert the head of your cigar into the body of the cutter with firm, but relatively easy pressure until you can't push further. You will hear the blades cut into the cap. Once you've done that, the cut is done and you can take the cigar out. This leaves the cap with 6 slits around the outside. The slits are nearly invisible in my experience but if you squeeze the cap with very slight pressure the slits open up (although this isn't necessary in order to draw from the cigar). However, the company states that the whole idea behind controlling your draw is to squeeze open the slits more or less if you need to open it up. All the instructions for use were included with the cutter I bought.

So in my experience, this cutter delivers on at least some of the maker's claims. I did find that my cigar didn't feel as hot as I'm used to even within 3 inches of being done. However, this may be a matter of perception. Since the cap wasn't open, the heat isn't being vented through a big opening. Still, having the cigar and smoke stay cooler for longer was pleasant. Where some might be turned off is how I found you need to position the cigar in your mouth in order to get a proper draw. Since I'm mostly used to guillotine cutters, I don't normally put the cigar very far into my mouth when I draw from it (since, with guillotines, the cap is cut on the very top end). Since this cutter puts the slits on the outside (otherwise known as the shoulder) of the cap, I had to put the cigar a little further in my mouth than I'm used to. However, I quickly got used to this within a few minutes and found that once I started into a habit of drawing "correctly", I did it without having to think about it.

What I'm not sure about is the truth behind the claims of the smoke being more flavorful and the burn more even than with another style of cut. The only way to truly test these claims, IMO, is to do a full field test where multiple cigars and cutters are used (although the cigars would probably have to all be the same kind). That said, I did find that the burn on my cigar was more consistently even than I'm used to and more quickly self-corrected, when it did start to become uneven, than I've seen before. Then again, that also could have resulted from the way the cigar was made. There's no question that whether you believe what the company tells you could easily be a matter of perception.

Personally, I definitely like this cutter and will be using it a lot more on different types of cigar vitolas since the idea is that it should work on nearly any cigar (e.g. torpedos, pyramids, etc.). If you like the idea of having different ways to cut your cigars and you like to try new things, I would definitely suggest giving this one a try.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne Magnum 50

My interest for Perdomo cigars has been piqued since I first tried their Grand Cru Robusto. Since then I've tried a few more of their products and I've liked pretty much everything I've tried (with varying degrees of enjoyment). Granted, I haven't been absolutely crazy for everything they make that I've tried, but I've liked them to the point that I'm pretty sure I'd try anything the company makes. The burn is almost always great and the draw leaves almost nothing to be desired for my liking.

The 10th Anniversary Champagne line all feature pretty creamy, light colored wrappers except the most recent edition of Champagne Noir, which is a maduro variety of the Champagne blend. The Magnum 50 I sampled for this review has the natural wrapper and is about 6" x 50 ring gauge. The wrapper and foot have a nice cedar-like aroma to them and the cold draw displays a relatively loose resistance.

Now, looking at a cigar like this, I would not anticipate any surprise for flavor. The taste on the wrapper on cold draw was pleasant but very mild. However, upon lighting up I got a massive hit of pepper spice unlike anything I've had in a while. It wasn't on an unpleasant level, but had I been more prepared I might have been more...prepared. What I mean is, if I'd known to expect that level of flavor I would have been mentally ready to receive it. There's even more pepper if you perform a retrohale right after lighting up. Along with the pepper, there's some definite wood notes.

After half an inch or so, the pepper spice disappears and I was left with the wood notes along with some earthiness. The burn also started out very crooked but fairly quickly self-corrected to perfection. There was also a very good draw after lighting. All this lasts throughout the 1st third. Around the beginning of the 2nd third, those flavors are joined by an encore of the pepper spice but in a milder form. The final third contains all of this but also brings in a creamy texture that is very pleasant. There was one point where I nearly dropped the cigar but caught it before it went too far. This resulted in all the ash coming off and the cigar being stubbed out a bit. However, thanks to the excellent construction that I've come to know from Perdomo, it wasn't hard to get the cigar to recover from that.

Overall the cigar was smooth and mild with some interesting flavors. I have one more in the humidor and will smoke and review that at a later date. After smoking this one I still think I prefer the Grand Cru or even Lot 23 naturals from Perdomo, but opinions change all the time. However, if you like a mild, smooth cigar with a great draw and burn, you'll want to at least give this line a try as a morning/early afternoon smoke, or at the beginning of a sequence of cigars.

CAO MX2 Robusto

It's been a while since I've smoked an MX2. Truthfully, I don't know remember when it was that i last did that. However, since having tried their Italia, Brazilia, and La Traviata lines, I've become a big fan of the brand.

The pre-light aroma has some chocolate and coffee notes, with some barnyard aroma at the foot as well. The cold draw displays some resistance but nothing alarming. A very shallow cut left me with a primary cap that was pretty much ready to come off. Since there was only a seemingly double cap on the cigar, that was definitely a concern. The cutter I used was the "perfect cut" model that has a backing on it which prevents too much from being cut off. Usually it's literally the perfect amount but i guess with this particular stick the only thing that would have worked would be a punch cutter.

Once lit up, this stick has some very clear earthiness and wood notes. There's also a hint of coffee-like bitterness. The stick was very mild. That primary cap did come off within a few minutes and the draw was consistently tight throughout the entire cigar. It didn't open up until the last inch or so, which I would consider the result of a very tight roll rather than just a blockage.

Normally I would write more about a stick but this one was pretty flat. Flavors didn't really change. One positive about it was the burn, which was almost perfect throughout. I will say that I also gave one to a friend and he seemed to be having an easier time with his so it's very possible this was an isolated incident.

If you're someone who likes earthy smokes, this may be up your alley. If that's the case, it may not hurt to give it a try. You'll likely find it locally at $5-$6, so trying one won't make a big hole in your budget.