Luz's Picks

Luz
LUZ
FOLLOW
TASTE:Earthy, Pepper
HOBBIES:Cooking, Reading, Traveling
STRENGTH:Medium
San Lotano Dominicano Robusto 5 * 50
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San Lotano is AJ Fernandez' brand made in Nicaragua, but for this line, he has blended the stick with Jochy Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma in Dominican Republic. This is the reason why the secondary band on this beautiful cigar says AJ & Jochy. The wrapper is Brazilian, binder from Dominican Republic and filler from Dominican Republic & Nicaragua. If AJ and Jochy were looking to deliver a cigar that would remind them of the aroma of cacao fields in the tropical countryside, they succeeded. This smoke is both earthy and sweet and chocolaty, with just a bit of spice but definitely not too much, and medium body and strength. Picked on 10/15/2019
Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas 2019 Robusto Extra 51/2 * 49
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I am such a fan of Cameroon wrapper that I could not resist to pick this cigar up and light it up immediately when I first encountered it at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas. It was 9:30 am and about 40 minutes later I was burning my hands smoking this cigar to the nub. The blend also features a Honduran Olancho San Agustin binder over a Nicaraguan Ometepe filler. The Cameroon wrapper was grown in 2009 -a fantastic year for Cameroon tobacco- and set aside for a decade this special Partagas Decadas project. This robusto is a real pleasure to smoke. Body is on the mild to medium range, really smooth and full flavored. The perfect morning cigar! As a bonus, the box is beautiful and the cigars are elegantly presented in glass tubes, a great gift for yourself or a special someone. Picked on 08/11/2019
Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Habano Toro 6 * 52
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Previously known as the TABSA Habano, the Aganorsa Leaf Habano from Casa Fernandez has undergone a makeover to align with the other Aganorsa line offerings in Corojo, Connecticut, and Maduro wrappers. The cigar uses Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 tobacco from Nicaragua in the blend, combined with a Habano wrapper. A quick look at this cigar and you notice it is immediately appealing: beautiful medium brown habano wrapper with tiny veins and oily sheen. The cigar offers a sweet aroma once toasted and lit and the first puffs are peppery but sweet. Construction is superb and the cigar is firm to the touch with a great draw and burn. One of my favorite things about this cigar is the long finish. Even though we officially rank this cigar at a medium, this Habano seemed more medium to full bodied to me. I highly recommend it as it offers plenty of spice at a great price. Picked on 05/15/2019
CLE Prieto Robusto 5 * 50
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Even though CLE is a relative newcomer to the market, you just can't go wrong when you choose to smoke a CLE cigar. The star this week is the CLE Prieto Robusto. The presentation of this cigar is very unique and beautiful, as the company chooses to protect their sticks with tissue paper instead of cellophane. Prieto means "dark" in Spanish, and this maduro wrapper certainly looks like dark chocolate. But this is not where the similarities end. Like good dark chocolate, the flavors of this cigar are intense and complex with a medium to full body. Notes of nuts, sweet cocoa, and espresso can be enjoyed throughout the smoke with just the slightest hint of spice. The cigar burns with the whitest ash and draws flawlessly. Keep a few of these in your rotation and thank me later! Picked on 02/09/2019
Southern Draw Rose of Sharon Perfecto 6 * 56
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I was really drawn to this cigar because of its beautiful perfecto shape and the delicate golden brown wrapper which compliments nicely the design of the gold/pink band. The whole thing looks very elegant and I expected the experience to match up to the expectations. I believe the brand is named after Sharon Holt, who owns Southern Draw Cigars with her husband, Robert. The cigar is handrolled at the AJ Fernandez' factory in Nicaragua and only produced in small batches. All tobaccos in the blend are from Nicaragua with the exception of the wrapper which is Ecuador Connecticut seed. This cigar hit all the notes that I love: creamy, smooth, woody, nutty, with just a light pepper in a medium bodied, mild-medium strength smoke. Not a heavy smoke by any standards, yet very nice flavor and aroma. Draw and burn were beyond reproach. I recommend this excellent cigar to both new smokers and seasoned aficionados. Picked on 11/25/2018
Ramon Allones by AJ Fernandez Toro 6 * 52
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Ramon Allones is one of the oldest brands founded in 1837. I am delighted to see this version of the brand by AJ Fernandez see the light. This brand was one of his father's favorite cigar when they lived in Cuba. Since this cigar uses a Medio Tiempo wrapper, its production is limited to the availability of this rare leaf. When you first see this cigar, you'll notice immediately the dark chocolate brown wrapper and your first instinct will be to think that it must be strong. Scratch that. The dark hue in this cigar does not signal a full bodied smoke. To me, this is a medium bodied cigar that is sweet and nutty with some spice and strong leather in the palate. Allow this beautiful stogie to rest for 1-2 months in your humidor and enjoy the flavor bomb that is Ramon Allones. Picked on 08/12/2018
La Aurora Preferidos Ecuador Emerald Tubes 5 * 54
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Anyone who knows me knows that I like a premium La Aurora cigar, especially the Preferidos. These cigars come in different wrappers distinguished by the different color tubes. The Emerald tube sports an Ecuador Sumatra-seed Sun Grown wrapper. This is a smooth, mild to medium bodied cigar that is best enjoyed paired with a smooth single-malt scotch or even a light cocktail. It produces a lot of smoke, which I like, and the draw is also impeccable. The flavors are earthy and woody and nutty and delicious. The finish is long and creamy. There is just a tiny bit of pepper but just enough to keep this interesting, and not too strong that would make you think this is a spicy smoke. The way this cigar holds up its ash is a testament to how well made it is. If what you want is a quality cigar that is easygoing, flavorful and won't overpower your senses, sit back and relax with this Preferido Emerald and enjoy the silky smooth ride. Another tip: you can smoke this one to the nub! Picked on 07/22/2018
Tatuaje Negociant Monopole No. 2 Belicoso 53/4 * 52
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The Tatuaje Negociant Monopole has a medium brown Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper but don't let that fool you, upon first lighting this cigar will fill your mouth with peppery notes. Thankfully, the spiciness is not too strong and quickly gives in to other well balanced flavors (cedar, caramel, citrus) and creamy smoke. This cigar has San Andres Mexican in the double binder which certainly accounts for the earthy and nutty flavors I experienced. This is a complex smoke with medium body and strength, and one that I recommend as thoroughly enjoyable and great value for the price. The construction and burn are very good, with a sweet spice, creamy profile and Cubanesque style. Picked on 07/08/2018
Illusione Haut 10 Toro 51/2 * 52
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This is the cigar Dion Giolito created to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Illusione brand, a boutique brand that since its inception has been graced with popularity among cigar lovers and great ratings from cigar magazines. The Haut 10 uses a Nicaraguan wrapper that is very light brown and select Aganorsa tobacco in the filler: Nicaraguan Criollo 98 and Corojo 99 Seco. The size is one that I have come to appreciate more and more these days: a chubby robusto 5 1/2 inches by 52 ring gauge. Still small but the ample ring gauge allows for lots of smoke, fuller flavor, and an effortless draw. The appearance is nice with a triple cap that ends in a pigtail and a very understated band. The taste of this cigar is varied and complex: nuts, earthiness, pepper, toast, coffee, cedar...all flavors were very satisfying and shifting throughout the 2 hour smoke (to the nub, yes!). The burn and ash can only be described as sublime. I highly recommend this amazing cigar! Picked on 03/25/2018
Liga Privada T52 Toro 6 * 52
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I thought it was time to revisit an "oldie but goodie". The Liga Privada T52 uses a stalk cut USA Connecticut wrapper with a Brazilian Mata Fina Binder. Because the whole plant is cut off the stalk instead of just the leaves, stalk cut Connecticut leaves tend to be richer with a strong, earthy flavor. Add to this the sungrown Brazilian Mata Fina binder, which is naturally sweet and earthy, used in the blend to provide balance and also for its excellent burning properties. If you take your time to smoke this stogie slowly and relax, you will get a perfect burn and beautiful white ash. This stick hits you with a blast of spice in the first puffs, but it will develop nicely throughout the smoke with other flavors popping here and there: cream, nuts, coffee, cocoa with earthy undertones. Now that this cigar is more easily available, it is a good choice for your humidor. Picked on 02/19/2018
La Aurora Dominican DNA Robusto 5 * 50
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La Aurora ADN Dominican was originally meant to be named DNA, and the name change has created a bit of confusion with this cigar. ADN means DNA in Spanish. The cigar is supposed to encapsulate the "Dominican DNA" by incorporating a type of tobacco that is native and emblematic of the Dominican Republic, called Andullo. What is andullo? It's a tobacco that is fermented tightly wrapped in palm tree pods that has been used as pipe tobacco since before Christopher Columbus first came to the island. By adding this unique tobacco to the blend, La Aurora has created a new taste, something that is not easy to come by these days. Aside from the creativity of this stick is a well balanced, complex, bold cigar that delivers some sweetness, chocolate flavors and quite a bit of pepper which I like. This is a medium to full cigar that I will definitely keep in my humidor for a few months to see how the richness of the tobacco transforms with ageing. I predict that it will be a pretty wonderful smoke. Picked on 02/06/2018
Padron Damaso No. 34 6 * 50
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Many folks don't know that the Padron Damaso No. 34 is a different blend than the original Damaso. The company has since revamped the cigar band to look different than the original Damaso. If you thought Damaso was too light a cigar for your taste, I suggest that you try No. 34 which is stronger. Damaso is the first line with a Padron name that uses Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, plus they are all round cigars. They are meant to appeal to the consumer who has not tried a Padron yet, intimidated by the darker, more powerful look of their cigars. The Damaso 34, however, can also be enjoyed by die-hard Padron fans. Maybe as a morning smoke, or when you are craving a mild to medium bodied stick, this beautiful cigar does not disappoint in both flavor and construction. It brings a delicious array of flavor to the palate, with cream, cedar, light pepper, vanilla, and dried fruit in the mix. Picked on 12/07/2017
Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Robusto  5 * 52
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Winston Churchill was a man known to enjoy a Single Malt scotch in the late hours of the night. This cigar pays homage to both the man and the great pairing that is a good scotch and a good cigar. This is a dark cigar and the first thing you notice is how beautiful this oily, chocolate brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper looks. The first puffs definitely tickle your palate with the taste of the oak scotch barrels in which the Nicaraguan Condega filler has been aged. If you're a fan of Single Malts like I am, you will know what I mean when you smoke this. Other flavors that I got from this gorgeous stick included black pepper and spice. Flawless construction and burn even though for periods of time I did not puff on the cigar (talking too much and having a good time :-)) I did smoke it very slowly and it lasted me for a good 60 minutes at least. I really loved this stick: it had a lot going on without being overpowering, full flavor and medium to full body (getting especially stronger towards the end). Highly recommended. Picked on 11/09/2017
Patoro Corona 5 1/2 * 43
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If you've read my reviews you'll know I am a fan of this size so this little Patoro Corona was just calling my name from inside the humidor...I had been aging it for about 3-4 months. The dark Brazilian wrapper contrasts nicely with the orange band, I just wish the band was sexier so it loses a couple of points in appearance, but it definitely more than makes it up on taste. As I said, the wrapper has a nice chocolate brown color and this made me think the cigar would have some sweetness, which was spot on! Along with the sweetness, I am delighted to find some black pepper and woody notes in the mix. To top it off, the cigar just burns and draws flawlessly. In terms of strength, I would rate it as medium bodied but it is definitely full flavored. Very nice and smooth! Picked on 08/31/2017
Aladino Robusto 5 * 50
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Aladino is a Honduran puro made with all 100% Authentic Corojo tobacco farmed by the Eiroa family in the Jamastran valley. Despite the all-Corojo composition, this cigar is well balanced and not overpowering. The strength is medium to full and you must definitely be prepared for the nicotine kick. Aladino is a very good looking stick which burns beautifully and has an easy draw. Earthy flavors and some white pepper in the beginning made this a very pleasant experience for me and I will definitely smoke again. An excellent first offering from JRE Cigars! Picked on 07/12/2017
Padron 1926 Serie No. 90 Tubo Natural 51/2 * 52
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A 5-Star cigar in all categories, the Padron 1926 No. 90 Natural is the perfect cigar to cap off a very special celebration. In the case of the Padron family, this cigar marks the 90th birthday of their patriarch, Jose Orlando Padron. In my case, I lit up this tubed beauty for my daughter's graduation and was regaled with rich, earthy taste and complex flavors. Unlike other Padron 1926, this one is round, not box pressed (note to those who dislike the square shape, you can smoke this one!). I tasted cedar notes, some pepper, cocoa, and even caramel...every puff was more delicious than the one before. All the while the cigar drew perfectly and burned with a beautiful solid ash. I did put the cigar off before I smoked the final third, because I ran out of time...but I didn't want to! Picked on 06/10/2017
La Aurora Preferidos Cameroon Platinum No. 2 5 * 54
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This little chubby perfecto-shaped cigar by La Aurora just has it all. The wrapper is flawless and so is the construction. I love the smell of the medium brown Cameroon wrapper. This is the cigar that you smoke when you are feeling fancy and want to enjoy a stick that is smooth and sophisticated. WOW! The flavors on this stick are amazing. Medium to full bodied, this cigar is rich in flavor with cedar, nuts, and chocolate in the background. You will not find any harshness or spice in this smoke. I smoked it to the nub and almost burned my fingers, I did not wanted this to end. The La Aurora Preferidos is a classic line that I do not revisit often, but that's a mistake on my part. The No. 2 Cameroon is my favorite of the line, and I plan to smoke these more often! Picked on 03/25/2017
La Mission du LAtelier 1989 55/8 * 54
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This is a great stick by the blending team behind L' Atelier cigars which includes well known cigar superstar Pete Johnson (famous for his Tatuaje cigars), his brother K.C., and his 2 friends Dan Welsh and Sean Johnson. These guys say they were inspired by robust wines when coming up with this intense cigar, which is being handmade by Pepin Garcia and his family in Esteli, Nicaragua. The bold flavor of this cigar comes from the rare Sancti Spiritus tobacco in the filler, wrapped with a Nicaraguan binder and one of my favorite cigar wrappers, the earthy San Andres Mexican leaf which imparts the smoke with chocolatey goodness. As with most of My Father cigars, the stick starts peppery then mellows out quickly to an earthy flavor. Lovely cigar that goes very well with an aged dark rum. Picked on 03/16/2017
Leaf by Oscar Connecticut Toro 6 * 52
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The first time I saw a Leaf by Oscar cigar I thought "wow, this is one ugly cigar". I did not know at the time that the cigar was wrapped in a tobacco leaf. Clever! Opening the tobacco leaf reveals a beautiful cigar with a subtle light brown cigar band that is almost the same color as the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar wrapper. This is one of my favorite parts, it feels like unwrapping a gift. Lighting this cigar is easy, the burn is very straightforward and the draw is perfect. Oscar Valladares makes these cigars in Honduras for Jim Robinson (a.k.a. Island Jim), and I've never had or heard anyone complain about their construction. This is a medium bodied Connecticut, probably best suited for the seasoned smoker but is also a great cigar for newbies to try. It will provide you a pleasant smoking experience, with a bit of pepper but not too much, a nice hay flavor, and a creamy finish. This cigar is a winner. Picked on 01/27/2017
Crowned Heads Headley Grange Estupendos 51/2 * 52
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This cigar, a favorite among our staff at the store, appeals to me for the simplicity of its packaging and style. The Estupendos is a great Robusto size that smokes slowly and is box pressed for a great feel in the hand. This is a wonderful blend that delivers big, bold, rich flavors, medium strength and a phenomenal burn and draw. The flavors are leathery, woody, with a bit of spice. Some chocolate and coffee are also notable. Picked on 12/28/2016
Tatuaje La Verite 2013 2013 Churchill 7 * 47
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Tatuaje La Verite, made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the My Father factory, is a limited edition, yearly release by Pete Johnson. Inspired as he usually is by his love of wine, the box has a label similar to those of wine bottles, and the french name of the cigar means "the truth". The cigar is advertised as a full bodied stick, so my first impression when I lit up was that the cigar was too mild and even, perhaps, weak. This is the truth. However, it was such a beautiful smoke with a very easy draw and burn that I continued smoking it, and about one inch into it the cigar starts opening up and the strength ramps up. The taste was superb and very smooth. By the final third, flavors were complex and strength was medium to full. I recommend that you age these cigars for at least 6 months, they should be great sticks for ageing. Picked on 12/14/2016
La Palina Illumination Lancero 71/2 * 38
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La Palina Illumination is the brand's new cigar made in Miami at El Titan de Bronze, a boutique cigar factory that is well known in Little Havana. The Illumination takes the popular Goldie blend, a limited edition, and tweaks it to make it a regular production cigar at a more affordable price. There are few Lanceros in the market, in part because they are costly to make, and in part because people have gotten so used to large ring gauge cigars that this size seems funny looking to them. But if you do not try a Lancero you are missing something special as a cigar aficionado. First, you get to taste more of the higher quality tobacco leaf that is the cigar wrapper and less of the lower quality that is the filler. Second, only the most experienced rollers make these. The La Palina Illumination Lancero looks gorgeous with its light brown Ecuadorean wrapper finished with a triple cap. This medium bodied blend gets some added oomph from the thinner vitola, with white pepper prominent throughout the smoke but balanced with creamier, sweeter notes. In my opinion, this is the best vitola in the entire line and it is worth a try. Picked on 10/28/2016
Aging Room Pelo de Oro Scherzo 51/2 * 55
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The Aging Room Pelo de Oro is an impressive full bodied cigar with great flavor and aroma. The Pelo de Oro is a tobacco originating from Cuba that almost disappeared because it is very susceptible to blue mold and disease. AJ Fernandez has been growing the Pelo de Oro seed in Nicaragua with some success. This cigar is unique because 90% is Pelo de Oro tobacco (both wrapper an filler, with a Habano binder). For this reason it only comes in one size, a robusto, and in very limited quantities. According to Rafael Nodal, the owner of Boutique Blends, this cigar is "as Cuban as you can get". I don't know about that, but I do know that I enjoyed it tremendously, it offered rich, complex flavor throughout and was just impossible to put down. Try it for yourself while it lasts. Picked on 09/08/2016
Perdomo Small Batch Series Connecticut Half Corona 4 * 46
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I am a fan of the little cigars that I can smoke while moving around at the store or at a social event. These short petit coronas by Perdomo are perfect for times when you can't sit down long enough to smoke a larger cigar. They come packed in boxes of 25 or in a convenient tin presentation of 5 sticks that ensures you can have one in your pocket or bag at all times. The blend is all Nicaraguan wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The tobacco has been aged for about 10 years in bourbon barrels. At first light it's a bit harsh but it quickly mellows and shows some creaminess and medium plus body and strength. Picked on 08/09/2016
My Father El Centurion H2KCT TAA Torpedo 61/8 * 52
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I was very excited to review this stick as the shape of this cigar is one of my favorites: looks sharp, feels great in your hand, comfortable in your lips, and burns and draws beautifully. You may see the ressemblance to this year's Cigar of the Year, also made by the Garcia family in Nicaragua, the My Father Le Bijou Torpedo. Same size in a different blend made exclusively for the 78 US retailers that belong to the TAA. This torpedo is box pressed, so when you open the box all the sticks look absolutely gorgeous. At first light the cigar starts spicy and woody, but quickly develops into creamy, espresso flavors and even chocolate and nuts are in the mix. The complexity of this stick is just something you should not miss! Everything about this stick is pure perfection. If you like medium to full bodied cigars, you will find this to be a very smooth, pleasant smoke. If you are a novice, I encourage you to try this nonetheless, on a full stomach and with a nice glass of rum or scotch, neat. Picked on 07/01/2016
La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso 51/2 * 54
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La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor was launched in 2010 and its completely reinvigorated the entire LADC brand, earning the No. 2 spot in Cigar Aficionado's list of the best cigars in 2011. Wrapped in a rich Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, this dark Nicaraguan beauty is made at the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli. I love this box pressed torpedo shape, one of my favorite sizes as it is very pleasant to hold in your hands, smoke, and always draws and burns beautifully. This is the same shape as another favorite, the My Father Le Bijou Torpedo (which is an inch longer, but also delicious). The flavor is complex; be prepared to experience an array of different flavors from cocoa to cedar to creamy caramel and dried fruit. This is a spectacular medium bodied smoke, one that you will find reaching out for often. Picked on 06/08/2016
Eiroa The First 20 Years Prensado 6 * 46
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A delicately tissue paper wrapped cigar has recently become Christian Eiroa's signature, so it isn't a surprise that he chose this beautiful packaging for the cigar released to celebrate 20 years of cigar making. There is a lot of expertise to be gained in 20 years, and this cigar is the perfect example. Box pressed and dark, the stick looks like a chocolate bar. Unwrap it and the aroma of rich, spicy tobacco is immediately present. I chose the Prensado size because it is my favorite size on both Eiroa and Eiroa CBT lines. The taste of this cigar is superb, rich, earthy...producing lots of white smoke and a white-gray ash. This cigar has an easy draw and burns extremely well, it also mellows out pretty quickly which is nice in a full bodied cigar. I also enjoy the very pleasant peppery but sweet notes in the palate. Retrohale to feel more of the pepper if you like that sort of thing. Tip: Eiroa is pronounced A-Ee-Row-a Picked on 05/22/2016
Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Robusto 51/2 * 50
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There are two kinds of cigar smokers. Those that are attracted by shiny, modern packaging and those that prefer modest, traditional packaging. I am the latter. So even when the rave reviews came pouring in for this cigar, I resisted trying it because of the metal band. What will I do with it after I smoke it?, I pondered. I've heard you can use it as a cigar holder. But I finally tried the cigar, and I am now a convert. Deliciously sweet and rich, the Macanudo Vintage 1997 is an absolute great smoke with fantastic flavor. With a name as easily recognizable as Macanudo, you would think that they wouldn't have to put much effort into the cigar. But they do, and this is one of the best Macanudos that I have ever smoked. The wrapper feels dry to the touch but once you light the cigar you find a perfect draw and burn. The ash is very white and flaky, so keep an ashtray close. The flavor is sweet, cedary, with notes of almonds and honey. The body is medium. A smooth choice for both the seasoned cigar aficionado and the novice. Picked on 05/04/2016
Diamond Crown Robusto No. 4 51/2 * 54
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This caramel colored cigar is made by Tabacalera Fuente for JC Newman Cigar Co., and it is everything you would expect in terms of high quality and excellent construction. The cigar I smoked had been aging in my humidor for almost a year, and what a delicious treat it was! The cigar is creamy, smooth, with lots of taste and hints of cedar. Those who are afraid to taste bitterness on a Connecticut wrapped cigar must try this well balanced smoke, there is no bitterness and it has the buttery quality you expect from a good Connecticut shade stick. The Diamond Crown Natural is mild to medium, a perfect stick for novices and connoisseurs alike. Picked on 04/13/2016
La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Cabinet No. 3 43/4 * 40
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If you have only about 20 minutes to smoke, it's not an excuse to pick up a bad cigar. The La Flor Dominicana Cameroon Cabinet packs up a ton of good flavor in a petit corona size. These box pressed cigars will absolutely delight you, they have a very pleasant toasted nuts flavor, a creamy cedary aftertaste, a flawless burn and draw. And it is a medium bodied stick that you can smoke when you're running out of time. Keep a few of these in your humidor at all times! Picked on 03/25/2016
Montecristo Espada Guard 6 * 50
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This is a unique Montecristo in that it is not made in the Dominican Republic. The Montecristo Espada is made by Plasencia in Nicaragua through a collaboration with Altadis. A pure 100% Nicaraguan Montecristo. This cigar has a flawless appearance and a beautiful triple cap, although I find that taking off the foot band and mid band a bit annoying. They do tear off easily without any damage to the wrapper. The wrapper is a Habano from Jalapa and the fillers are from Jalapa, Ometepe and Condega (seco, viso, and ligero). When you get this puppy, make sure to let it acclimate in your humidor for a month or two (then thank me for this tip). This cigar will reward you with a creamy, sweet flavor with hints of spice, nuts, coffee and leather. If you got a bit annoyed at taking off the 2 bands as I did, believe me that the flavor will make it up to you in spades. Picked on 03/03/2016
AVO Syncro Nicaragua Toro 6 * 54
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This stick is chocolate brown and square pressed... first thought is, it doesn't feel like an AVO. This is a big departure for the brand: first time they make a box pressed cigar, first time they use Nicaraguan tobacco in the blend. I toast it and light it and the draw is flawless. The first few puffs are very spicy, almost off-putting, but I decide to stick with it, smoke it more slowly. A few minutes later, it pays off. Sweetness, dried fruit, leather, earthiness, all are present in the flavor profile. By mid-smoke the cigar starts canoeing, which I can correct with the lighter, but I don't. The ash is beautiful, the draw is fantastic and the flavors are complex. I am in love with this very pleasant cigar and smoke it to the nub. Give the AVO Syncro Nicaragua a chance and it will not disappoint. A perfect symphony of Nicaraguan and Dominican flavors! Picked on 02/04/2016
Edgar Hoill Cultura 41/2 * 40 * 54
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The Edgar Hoill Cultura cigar is one of the best kept secrets in the cigar industry. You will not hear a lot of hype about this stick, but what a gem it is! First, this is a beautiful stick with a pyramid shape and a rounded head. The Nicaraguan wrapper is dark reddish brown and flawless. The burn and draw are perfect. On the first puff, you immediately get a rich espresso flavor which makes you want more. Black pepper and chocolate make an appearance a bit later, but the pepper is never overwhelming, and the flavors are perfectly balanced. The Cultura starts out medium bodied and progresses to a medium to full bodied smoke towards the end. The flavors are very pleasant and strong, very earthy, with a bit of sweetness. I would compare smoking this cigar to eating really good dark chocolate. I can't wait to try the other sizes, and think that you should too! Picked on 01/21/2016
Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Torpedo 6 * 52
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This is a hard to find cigar, but don't let that discourage you. Get yourself on the waiting list, and snatch it as soon as it's back in stock. This smoke will soon achieve "special occasion" status in your humidor. After the success of the 2013 limited edition Cuatro Cinco launched for their 45th anniversary, Joya de Nicaragua decided to make the Cuatro Cinco a regular line, although it remains a small batch production. First impression: it looks good enough to eat; a soft box pressed stick with a dark brown, oily wrapper that is flawless and has a very enticing aroma. The wrapper is finished with a triple cap. This is a full bodied, sweet-spicy smoke from start to finish, with flavors of cocoa and black pepper. Take your time, pair it with some good coffee, and let Joya de Nicaragua knock your socks off. Picked on 09/03/2015
Casa Miranda Chapter Two Robusto 41/2 * 50
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Casa Miranda Chapter Two is a great cigar that is often overlooked at our store...maybe because the boxes are small or the band is rather simple. However, you would be missing out if you do not try this Nicaraguan cigar made for Nestor Miranda by Pepin Garcia and family. The Nicaraguan wrapper is dark and beautiful and the stick gives off a prominent chocolate aroma....after lighting it promptly develops into a medium to full bodied smoke with dark chocolate and espresso on the palate and fruity notes in the background. If you are looking for rich flavor this is a must try. Picked on 07/13/2015
H. Upmann The Banker Annuity 6 * 52
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The H. Upmann The Banker was released 2 years ago but somehow I didn't pay attention to this cigar and only tried it this past week. The wrapper is a beautiful medium brown Ecuadorian Habano and the cigar's fillers are Nicaraguan and Dominican. A spicy and aromatic Nicaraguan Jalapa binder is used which also gives this cigar an incredible burn. The cigar looks very important as it is wrapped in a sheet that looks like a bank note. Removing the sleeve was a little tricky. As soon as you light this cigar you get spice and earthy tobacco flavor. After smoking about an inch, something wonderful happens and the flavors just open up to where you are tasting chocolate, leather, and spice. The cigar feels like a solid medium body to me, and it is certainly one that smokers of medium to full bodied cigars will enjoy. All in all a great smoking experience at a very reasonable price. Picked on 05/21/2015
Arturo Fuente Rosado Sun Grown King T 7 * 49
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First, I would like to say that the appearance of this cigar in the tube is enough to make any Cigar Aficionado giddy with anticipation. Based on presentation alone, the Fuente Rosado King T is a great gift for any cigar lover. Fuente lore is that the cigar was a mistake...it was supposed to be wrapped in a Connecticut leaf like the other King T but someone messed up and used an aged Rosado Sun Grown leaf instead. The powers that be were furious...until they tasted the cigar. The aged Rosado Sun Grown wrapper gives this blend some added strength but remains smooth. The mild to medium cigar smoker will certainly appreciate this excellent stick. The 7 inch by 49 vitola is perfect for this particular blend. Smoke it slow as it is meant to be, and you will get the most wonderful white ash. Picked on 04/30/2015
San Cristobal Elegancia Pyramid 61/8 * 52
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While tipically I favor the smaller vitolas, I decided to review the San Cristobal Elegancia Pyramid. This is a good looking stick finished with a triple cap. The cigar is made by Pepin Garcia for Ashton. Knowing this fact immediately prepares you for the initial blast of pepper as soon as you light it up. Be forewarned, it is strong. You'd think they put pepper at the foot on all of the Garcia smokes. If you don't like spicy, the first few puffs will be difficult for you. However, what comes after is absolutely worth it. This is a delicious smoke with strong cedar notes and that characteristic butter creaminess you get from a Connecticut Shade wrapper. Most people think all Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars are mild or bland. This is the cigar you smoke to put that theory behind you. The Nicaraguan filler and binder balance perfectly the subtleness of the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, and you are left with a pleasant, nutty, complex, medium bodied smoke. The burn and draw are also outstanding. All in all, a very satisfying cigar for both novice and veteran smokers. Picked on 04/16/2015
Punch Rare Corojo Rothschild 41/2 * 50
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The Punch Rare Corojo comes out only once a year and it is quite a treat! This box pressed 4.5" * 50 robusto packs quite a punch (pun intended). Full of leather, earthy, cocoa, rich flavors, this medium to full bodied smoke delivers complexity and flawless construction in 45 minutes to 1 hour. A great little cigar at a great price, what more can you ask for? Try it today and you will not be disappointed. Picked on 02/26/2015
Illusione cg:4 Corona Gorda 55/8 * 46
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This medium to full bodied Illusione Corona Gorda has everything going for it: excellent construction, perfect amount of spice, delicious cedary and leather tones, sweetness, and complexity. Quite possibly the best cigar in the whole Illusione portfolio. Picked on 02/05/2015
Liga Privada Unico Papas Fritas 41/2 * 44
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Because this is not a long filler premium, I did not expect this cigar to be as good as it was. And what a pleasant surprise it was! Made with the premium tobacco cuttings and leftovers from the production of the excellent Liga Privada cigars, these Papas Fritas are aptly named. Just like French Fries, they quickly satisfy your craving for a cigar without much fuss or time. The cigar is expertly constructed, it burns and draws beautifully, producing tons of smoke. The aroma is very pleasant and throughout you get some pepper, fruity sweetness, dark chocolate, and earthy goodness overall. A great choice if you're looking for a short smoke. Picked on 01/22/2015
Illusione Fume DAmour Viejos 5 * 50
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Illusione Fume d'Amour Viejos wins 5 stars in every category. This delicious medium to full bodied smoke delivers in flavor and complexity what it lacks in strength. Nutty and sweet, you will wallow in the flavors of this stogie...nutmeg, leather and black pepper will captivate your palate while the perfect draw and burn of this cigar will make it an unforgettable experience. The cigar got the #3 spot on Cigar Aficionado this year, and the rating is well deserved. Medium cigar smokers will find this a pleasant smoke, as it does not have any ligero in the blend. Fans of full bodied cigars will love the complexity of flavor in this cigar. Picked on 01/05/2015
Herrera Esteli Norteno Lonsdale 61/2 * 44
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This medium bodied, woody cigar is full of complex balanced flavor. It has a long finish. There are not many lonsdales being produced, so I was excited about the vitola. The San Andres Maduro wrapper gives this slightly box pressed cigar a sweet, earthy taste. Notes of leather, cocoa and black pepper can be tasted throughout. A fantastic cigar! Picked on 12/28/2014
Aging Room Havao Impromptu 5 * 48
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For those times when you feel like smoking a milder cigar but want something with flavor, the Aging Room Havao will certainly hit the spot. This medium bodied Connecticut-wrapped smoke delivers both creaminess and mild spice, with excellent construction and even better appearance. A fine Dominican smoke and another home run for the Boutique Blends team. Picked on 12/09/2014
Ashton Symmetry Prestige 63/4 * 49
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Fans of Fuente cigars will recognize that this cigar is made by the famous cigarmaker from the first puff. Construction and burn are excellent from start to finish, and the flavors are very well balanced. A solid, high quality smoke that is less expensive than the Ashton VSG or ESG. This is the perfect cigar to enjoy with an aged Single Malt Scotch. Picked on 11/25/2014
La Flor Dominicana 1994 Conga 5 * 52
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This is a 5-star smoke in every category! The wrapper and pre-light aroma are very appealing. The cigars starts off very intense, with peppery and earthy flavors balanced by a brown sugar sweetness. Burn and draw are excellent until the end. Highly recommend. Picked on 11/12/2014
Luz

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