Luis's Picks

Luis
LUIS
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TASTE:Habano, Broadleaf, Mexican San Andres
HOBBIES:Cooking, writing, reading, cigars, cycling
STRENGTH:Medium to Full
Senseis Sensational Sarsaparilla Belicoso 51/2 * 52
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This week I picked up Espinosa’s Sarsaparilla in a belicoso format. I’ve been gravitating more towards belicosos, perfectos and torpedos lately, and I’ve really been enjoying the experience. This cigar was well built, packed with tobacco all the way through. Additionally, it didn’t have any large seams or pronounced veins. Upon light up, however, the draw was a hair too tight. Definitely nowhere near being unsmokable, though. The first notes are bold and pleasant ones of earth, chocolate, and pepper. These notes continue throughout the first third of the cigar, at which point the smoke gains a better consistency. I found this cigar to be an enjoyable medium-full body, and as described on the box art I really do think root beer would pair well with it. It has slightly sweet, spiced notes that are reminiscent of root beer. Picked on 02/06/2024
Aladino Sumatra Toro 6 * 52
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This week, I decided to review the Aladino Sumatra Toro. This toro cigar is a limited edition featuring a Sumatra-seed wrapper. This wrapper varietal promises earthy, somewhat spicy flavors and a sweet aftertaste. The dry draw had clear notes of wood and leather. The first third is sweet with a slight spice and woody, almost caramel-like flavors. It’s a promising cigar with a good consistency to the smoke. Into the second and third, the spice dies down and is replaced with more of that honey-sweet. Additionally, an earthy and woody aroma comes through, along with a prominent aftertaste of coffee. The cigar was a pleasant experience, with Aladino's consistently excellent construction and a solid ash buildup. I would describe its profile as medium to medium full. And because of the earthy notes and lingering aftertaste, I think something to cut through that would be ideal. For me, that would be a Scotch on the rocks. Picked on 11/20/2023
Alec Bradley Black Market Churchill 7 * 50
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This week I tried the Black Market by Alec Bradley. It had a beautiful Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper, but what called my attention to it most was the presentation. Once you take off the paper sheathe that showcases the name of the cigar, you're left with a very simple band. The contrast of the black and white against the maduro wrapper provide something nice to look at while you're smoking. As for the flavor, I got rich maduro notes of earth, chocolate, and coffee. The earth was not overbearing, though there was a lingering aftertaste of earth and leather throughout the cigar. Upon lightup and throughout the first third there was a nice bit of spice present on the tip of my tongue, though that disappeared throughout the later portions of the cigar. It was just enough to make the cigar interesting, without being overbearing. The construction was excelent, with a perfect draw and a burn that only required minor touch-ups throughout the rather long smoking time, well over an hour and a half. As far as pairings go, I would recommend something that can cut through the earthy profile of the cigar and lend some sweetness, like a coffee or even a Coke! Picked on 11/08/2023
Casa Magna Liga F Churchill 7 * 50
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This week I decided to review Casa Magna's Liga F in a Churchill size. While doing some research on the stick, I found that the F stands for 'fuerte', or strong. However, I didn't find it to be overwhelmingly so. Upon lightup, the flavor was earthy and slightly spicy. There was good construction and an even burn all the way through, and after getting through the initial earthiness a subtle sweetness began to show through. I would call the cigar medium to medium-full in both flavor and strength, not quite as strong as advertised, but it's definitely a cigar that makes its presence felt. I would pair it with something sweeter, like a spritz or old fashioned. Picked on 09/27/2023
Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero 6 * 38
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Today I'm reviewing the Tatuaje Black Label in Petite Lancero. Before even lighting it up, the foot and wrapper of the cigar have an inviting, heavy sweet smell to them. The tan, sun sungrown wrapper is smooth to the touch, with the rolling seams clearly visible. Upon lighting it up, I'm greeted with a woody spice that I've come to expect from much of Tatuaje's portfolio. This spice is present for around the first inch of the cigar before it dies back and is replaced with a pronounced nuttiness. I would call this cigar medium to full in terms of strength, but that nutiness was so tasty it was hard to notice! This sweetness with a touch of spice is present for the majority of the burn length, and entering the last third and through the end it was nearly as spicy as the beginning. I found this to be a great cigar, especially if you want a somewhat stronger cigar paired with a shorter smoking length of an hour, give or take. Though the burn needed minor corrections, I'd highly recommend this to people who enjoy a bit of spicy sweetness with their cigars. To pair, I think a lighter-tasting whiskey like a good Irish would go well. Picked on 08/22/2023
Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 652 6 * 52
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My first impression of the Triqui Traca is that it is complex but full of spice, with a rich medium-full body. Upon light up it puts out wave after wave of a rich, muddy earth with a touch of cream to it. Pepper closes out the first third along with a bit of sweetness, but neither of them pulls focus away from the earth and leather that make up the core body of this stick. Although the burn was slightly uneven, the construction was good enough to build up an impressive ash before falling off; however, the draw was just slightly too tight-- perhaps because of the solid packing of tobacco. The flavor throughout the second third is a relatively consistent leather and pepper, switching between increased intensity in one or the other. The almost mineralish taste proposes an interesting aroma that keeps one coming back and forgetting about the clock on the wall. This is certainly a meaty stick, and if you’re looking for a potent after dinner cigar to settle down with for an hour or two, look no further than the Mi Querida Triqui Traca. I would pair it with a Negroni to offset the full body of the cigar with some more sweetness. Picked on 02/15/2023
Aladino Maduro Box Pressed Corona 5 * 44
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The Aladino Maduro has one prominent vein on the right side, otherwise blemish-free, and is rough to the touch, a result of the raised bumps along the wrapper. Aladino is a brand by JRE Tobacco that intends to be reminiscent of the branding and sizing of pre-revolution Cuban cigars-- and with its elegant, minimalistic logo, I'd say it's hit the mark. I chose a corona for this review, and immediately after taking it out of the cellophane a rich, sweet smell wafted up from the foot. My light up was greeted by a pleasant pepper, not overbearing, along with a slight tobacco sweetness. As the cigar progressed the flavors shift towards being more dominant in leather, and the pepper fades some. Near the end of the second third it develops a creamy woody note that is extremely pleasant. The corojo binder and finder lend a great presence of body to this cigar, which I would pair with a nice scotch whiskey. Picked on 02/07/2023
Tatuaje Avion 13 Double Perfecto 67/8  * 52
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This cigar is certainly an eye-catcher, despite being one of the harder to spot cigars on our Little Havana location's shelves. A strikingly dark broadleaf wrapper without any prominent veins that is smooth to the touch in a beautiful double perfecto-- though you could also call these diademas. Upon light up, a dark earthy taste coats the palate. The smoke production was outstanding, and though the draw was somewhat tight, it opened up beautifully after smoking through the taper on the foot. There was a rich espresso note clear in the aroma-- at times a little bit sweeter, at times almost leathery. But if you are looking for a bold, aromatic & earthy cigar at the softer end of full-bodied, this is the one for you. Despite having to touch up the burn a few times, the draw was a bit tight but not uncomfortable. I would pair this cigar with a sweet bourbon to mellow it out. Picked on 01/26/2023
La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Chisel 61/2 * 54
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The Chisel is a size that was invented by LFD (La Flor Dominicana), with the idea of not having to cut the head. The result is an extremely comfortable pointed tip with a perfect draw. It has a striking reddish-brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch with one large vein along the back. The dry draw is sweet with just a touch of spice. Upon lighting it, smooth flavors of coffee and spice are present, along with a distinct earthiness. It is an extremely balanced and rich smoke which has LFD's famed strength of body in spades. Every puff brings with it a gratifying amount of smoke, and even a slight note of sweetness to round out the boldness. I would pair this cigar with a strong rum, maybe a Santa Teresa. Picked on 01/18/2023
Warped Lirio Rojo 51/2 * 44
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Christmas is over, but Warped’s Lirio Rojo is not going anywhere— at least, for now. This on-again, off-again holiday-season release has a slightly sweet, nutty woodiness along with a touch of spice on the lips during the dry draw. Immediately upon lighting, my palate was hit with a smoky and woody spice which is extremely prominent, for only about ten minutes. Once it dies down, it is replaced by an intense nuttiness along with some creaminess which creates a very enjoyable end to the first third. Occasionally at this point a sweet, sugar note is present on the retrohale. As the second third begins in earnest you start to feel an increase in the intensity of the nuttiness, and the main essence of this smoke is a sweet, creamy and nutty flavor with a touch of cedar. A very interesting cigar that starts off powerful and quickly pulls back, but by the beginning of the final third that strength of body is there in full force paired with a brown sugar sweetness. A slightly peppery wood closes the cigar out, a great experience. Because of the nutty sweetness and slight spiciness, I think it would go well with a cappucino. Picked on 01/04/2023
Room 101 The Big Payback Maduro Toro 6 * 54
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This time, I reviewed Room101's The Big Payback Maduro in the Toro size. This cigar has a slightly sweet & leathery aroma on the wrapper and a slightly rough texture under my thumb, a sign of the richly developed oils that await in its broadleaf wrapper. The dry draw is slightly spicy with a rich woodiness. It has a dark & smokey flavor on light-up with a rich maduro sweetness characteristic of broadleaf— dark chocolate with leather and a slight, but welcome touch of cream. The retrohale brings with it a large nicotine kick and more of its spice. During the midpoint of the second third a slight inhale through the nose would lead to a strong spicy, woody kick. Moving to the last third, the spice would shift to a softer pepper note, which with the ever-present creaminess was a very interesting combination. I would pair this cigar with perhaps a rum or bourbon whiskey to bring a bit more sweetness into the experience. Picked on 12/27/2022
Luis

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