Shelly's Picks

Shelly
SHELLY
FOLLOW
Joya de Nicaragua Cinco Decadas El General 7 * 50
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Burn
Appearance
I have been waiting to smoke this limited edition Joya's Cinco Decades for months!! As I said, it is a limited edition produced to commemorate Joya De Nicaragua's 50 years in the business. This cigar is a Nicaraguan Puro--the company is not really talking much about the blend but says it is made with the best of its Nicaraguan tobaccos-- "their oldest and most prime tobaccos". The wrapper is a very dark brown with a rugged feel to it. Most blends made by JDN start off with a blast of pepper --this cigar is different-- it starts off with a nice rich creaminess. Coffee and red pepper notes follow as well. Into the second third, cedar notes along with a licorice taste are creeping in. Along with those notes is a cherry/fruity sweetness along with cinnamon -- great balance and complexity. Construction at this point is superb--long strong ash, draw a bit tight but not a problem. The cigar stays to a pretty perfect medium body and medium strength. The final third ends in a charrines flavor which I really happen to enjoy! I really enjoyed this smoking experience and I believe you will as well. Cheers! Picked on 06/02/2019
Aladino Corojo Reserva LE Robusto 5 * 50
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Taste
Aroma
This new Aladino Corojo Reserva is a beautiful Honduran puro made with 100% corojo tobaccos –the binder, filler and wrapper. The appearance of the cigar caught my attention immediately and drew me right in. The wrapper is a beautiful brown and has a very smooth, rich look. Upon first light, notes of cedar, coffee, earth and some spice are upfront. I also tasted a nice fruit sweetness. The smoke output is intense and the draw and burn are perfect at this point. Into the second third, I am still experiencing creamy cedar notes and coffee notes but also a nice cinnamon note pops in which makes for a very interesting and delicious balance. Chocolate notes and almost a licorice note are spiraling around as well. The spiciness has calmed down – the burn and draw are still spot on. The final third continues with the same notes along with a slight citrus note jumping in. The overall strength definitely goes from a medium to a full body by the end but very smooth and creamy! I was very impressed with this Aladino Corojo Reserva as I have already smoked three!! This smoke will definitely make its way as a staple in my humidor. Definitely a must try. Enjoy. Picked on 05/06/2019
Kentucky Fire Cured Just a Friend 6 * 52
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Burn
Appearance
The packaging of this cigar is spot on--a very beautiful rustic looking smoke! This cigar uses fire-cured tobacco from Kentucky with Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers and a Mexican San Andres wrapper--a perfect combination for a unique and great balance. One can only sit back and enjoy the experience! The strength of the fire-cured leaf overwhelms any other aromas of any tobacco. The predominant flavors on the prelight draw are smokey, burnt wood -- in a good way -- like hickory! Upon first light, the KFC tastes like a camp fire or a fireplace--smokey, woody, and a little spicy. It is not really worth breaking this cigar down in thirds because it really doesn't change much in flavor--there is smokey and woody notes and then again smokey and woody notes along with earthiness and a bit of sweetness for balance. As I said, this is not a very complex cigar but a very unique and unforgettable cigar. Construction was great--amazing draw, strong long ash, and a lot of smoke output typical of a Drew Estate cigar. The price is very reasonable for this unique smoke. Everyone should experience this cigar at least once! Enjoy. Picked on 04/06/2019
Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Sun Grown Epicure 6 * 56
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Taste
Aroma
Since I recently had the privilege of visiting the Perdomo factory and farm in Nicaragua, I was honored to do a review on this Perdomo 12 year Double Aged Vintage Sungrown cigar! After experiencing everything from seeding to box making first hand, I have such a greater understanding and appreciation for the cigar manufacturers. The Perdomo Double Aged 12 year Vintage made its first appearance in 2014. There are three different blends -- Connecticut, Sungrown and Maduro. The binders and fillers have been bale aged for 10 years, then another 2 years in charred bourban barrels.Definitely makes for a very well balanced, full flavored smoke! The cigar appears flawless--hidden seams, few veins, and a gorgeous light colored wrapper. Upon first light, a very nice sweetness is upfront along with nutty and fruity notes, combined with the perfect amount of spice. A good amount of smoke output--perfect draw(I saw their big huge draw test machines in the factory that every single cigar is put through many times). Into the second third, the creaminess is amped up along with sweet and fruity notes. Very smooth even though the spiciness is still maintained which combines for a beautiful balance. At this point, construction is still spot on--great draw and razor sharp burn. Into the final third, the flavors are creamy, sweet, spicy, nutty, vanilla, and I taste a little coffee. Strength is medium-full but very, very smooth. This cigar starts off with a bang and ends in the same manner. Even when I am smoking this cigar in public(where people are usually offended) I get compliments on the aroma!!! Definitely worth the price and is a must try! It's everything you want in a premium cigar -- great construction, complexity and a perfect finish. Enjoy! Picked on 03/16/2019
Davidoff Winston Churchill Toro 6 * 54
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Appearance
Burn
I was very interested in this cigar as it has totally been revamped since it’s original in 2014. The original Winston Churchill used a sungrown wrapper with binder and filler from Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This new blend features an Ecuadorian Rojiza wrapper, a Mexican San Andres binder, and five different filller tobaccos from Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The cigar upon sight is elegant from the new banding to the exquisite reddish brown oily wrapper. Upon first light, a toasty almond favor is upfront along with earthy and coffee notes— right up my alley! Construction from the beginning is impeccable— razor sharp burn, perfect draw. Strepgth is mild to medium at this point. Into the second third, the same almond note that was very strong in the first third is still present but a very smooth creaminess takes over along with coffee, cocoa, leather and earth— delicious combo. A bit of white pepper is also lingering in the background. Burn and draw are still perfect along with a large amount of smoke output. Definitely a solid medium smoke at this point. Into the final third, the flavors change again— creamy peanuts are upfront along with espresso and leather notes. I almost taste some citrus notes as welll. Sweetness has also increased to a nice fruitiness. Strength never goes over a solid medium. Overall this cigar was a very smooth, complex, impressive smoke! Had amazing balance throughout and as I said earlier, construction was as good as you would expect from a Davidoff. I highly recommend this cigar for all types of smoking levels. Enjoy— I certainly did!! Picked on 02/27/2019
Zino Platinum Scepter Series Stout 7 * 52
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Aroma
Taste
While this is not my normal taste palate, I could not resist the temptation to smoke this gorgeous Zino Platinum Scepter Stout. I am always afraid of bitterness with a Connecticut wrapper--no such thing with this Zino! The cigar has a Connecticut shade wrapper, Dominican binder, and fillers from Peru and Dominican Republic. The wrapper has an exquisite color and the cigar also has a great feel. It is a medium packed cigar with a good amount of give to it. When I first unwrapped the cigar, a very very sweet aroma appears. I could not wait to enjoy this special smoke. Upon first light, a sweet cream is upfront along with a slight white pepper on the retrohale--nice combo. Coffee notes and nutiness come into play as well. I had a beautiful long, solid ash after the first third. Into the second third, the flavor profile becomes more interesting. Cedar notes are upfront along with coffee and nutty notes mixed with a smooth creaminess. At this point the only negative thing I can say is that it seems to be smoking a little too quickly. The strength moves from mild to medium--fluctuates. Into the final third, the cigar begins to slow down and notes of cedar, leather, cocoa and an earthiness come into action. It is still a med strength cigar and construction is still spot on. I really enjoyed this experience from start to finish even though as I mentioned earlier this is far from my usual smoking profile--it was a nice change!! It is a bit pricey but well worth the experience. Flavor was great, burn outstanding as well as the draw--a flavorful mild-med smoke. Zino and Davidoff stand up to their name. Highly recommended. Enjoy. Picked on 02/15/2019
Acid One 5 * 54
Taste
Aroma
Draw
Appearance
Burn
ACID ONE is the only non-aromatic ACID blend--so of course I was intrigued about it. I was also in the mood for something sweet! This cigar was cured with 5 different red wines from 5 different countries and then wrapped with a very dark cameroon wrapper and then aged another 90 days! The head of this cigar has a very long, sharp torpedo with a long pigtail and the end of the cigar has a footed bottom. Upon first light, the wrapper is very sweet with flavors of earth, leather and of course red wine popping throughout. Into the second third, fruity notes are definitely upfront with a dot of pepper in the background. Into the final third, the cigar finished as smooth as it began! It ended with tastes of wine, along with hints of fruit. The cigar gives off a smokey aroma along with a little bit of a floral aroma. Construction was flawless-- no relights, sharp burn, long strong ash. I have no complaints! A beginner can enjoy the ACID ONE as well as an aficianado. Cheers. Picked on 02/03/2019
RoMa Craft Intemperance BA XXI Ambition 51/2 * 54
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Taste
Aroma
This Intemperance BA XXI is my first venture into Roma Craft cigars-- and what a beauty and good choice it was! This cigar features a very dark Brazilian wrapper around an Indonesian binder with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. Upon first light, a delicious chocolate sweetness is upfront slowly joined by hints of nuts, pepper, and leather. GREAT combination to start off with! Into the second third, the intensity and pepper ramp up a notch but still continues to balance out with a sweet creaminess and almost a citrus note. Once again, a beautiful combination. Pretty much the same notes follow to the very end. This cigar had nice complexity and had a perfect balance from start to finish. Construction was never an issue--great burn, draw and strong ash. All in all, this was a rich cigar loaded with flavor. The price point is also amazing -- you definitely get your money's worth with this one. A must try for sure! Picked on 01/23/2019
Partagas Legend Toro Leyenda 61/4 * 54
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Appearance
Burn
Comment: This Partagas Legend caught my attention the second I laid eyes on the box. I just could not get over the price for a Partagas cigar but curiosity got the best of me—had to try it. I was pleasantly surprised!! First of all, this cigar was made to honor 5 men who had a big part in establishing the Partagas brand. The Legend is made with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Honduran binder and aged Dominican Piloto filler—a beautiful rustic looking box pressed cigar. I have to start off by saying that this cigar is extremely smooth but at the same time very intense. Upon first light, notes of chocolate, espresso and earth are popping out. A nice spiciness also combines with the sweetness for a great balance. The cigar definitely started off being a strong medium bodied smoke. Into the second third, the cigar becomes very complex and much stronger and very delicious! Red and black pepper alternate along with amazing creaminess and sweetness. Into the last thi rd, the complexity amps up even more—crazy. I am tasting many things at this point—pepper, creaminess, espresso, nuts, cocoa and sweetness—amazing. Overall, this cigar was almost perfect and was a big surprise. Besides a bit of a tight draw in the beginning, which opens up, I can’t say a bad thing. Definitely worth the money and a must try for the more experienced smoker. It held my attention from start to finish. Enjoy! Picked on 01/04/2019
Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection Corona Gorda 6 * 44
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Taste
Aroma
After seeing the exquisite packaging of this cigar, I could not wait to smoke it.! This cigar is a puro blend grown on the Fernandez family Nicaraguan farm with a rosado corojo 99 wrapper, criollo 98 filler, and corojo 99 binder. This tobacco has been aged for 7 years!! You can definitely judge a book by its cover with this cigar. The quality and taste of this cigar is spot on. Upon first light, sweetness and spice jump forward but then a milkiness slowly creeps in. There is a great balance between the sweetness and spiciness. The cigar is a medium smoke and performing like a champ. Construction is spot on. Into the second third, more sweetness comes into play which combines to make this an outstanding medium smoke with some complexity. The final third finishes in about the same way with some nutty and citrus notes popping into the flavor profile. Overall I was very very impressed with this cigar and enjoyed it immensely. I can't say a bad thing about it from its packaging to it's delicious smooth flavor profile, this cigar is a winner. A must try!! Enjoy Picked on 12/13/2018
Macanudo Inspirado Black Toro 51/2 * 54
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Appearance
Burn
A new process for making this Connecticut broadleaf wrapper was used, allowing the leaf to "ripen on the stalk" as opposed to the original practice of stalk cutting. The wrapper is a beautiful extra dark color--and along with the black and silver packaging makes a sharp statement. The filler is Nicaraguan along with an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder. Upon first light, I was surprised to see the large smoke output! The primary notes upfront were of espresso, leather and earth with a peppery finish. An almost licorice flavor also appears. Into the second third, the licorice and leather notes dominated as the pepper notes diminished totally. Into the final third, the licorice note was still upfront and was also combined with a very nice sweetness and notes of espresso to carry you to the end. Excellent draw, solid ash, and even burn. Extremely good value cigar. There was not a lot of complexity but it had a nice consistent flavor profile which I enjoyed, A must try! Picked on 11/13/2018
Monte By Montecristo By AJ Fernandez Belicoso 61/8 * 54
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Taste
Aroma
The appearance of this Monte by Monte AJ cigar is gorgeous—box pressed, dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, corojo 98 binder and criollo 98 fillers. Appearance makes a bold statement right off the bat! Does the cigar live up to its expectations.. yes! The first third begins creamy and smooth— cocoa notes along with coffee and toasty notes are upfront. Just a hint of pepper in first third. Into the second third, more of the same notes stay but the pepper does amp up and lingers. Into the final third, earthy and pepper are upfront and cocoa and coffee notes linger in the background. This cigar starts off med- full and definitely ends full bodied. This cigar would be a great after dinner smoke. Construction was great throughout— amazing smoke output and nice draw and long ash! If you are a lover of full bodied Nicaraguan smokes then this cigar is a must try. Picked on 10/30/2018
Espinosa Las 6 Provincias LHB Toro 6 * 54
Aroma
Taste
Draw
Appearance
Burn
As soon as we opened this cigar box I have had my eye on it— one cannot overlook the exquisite packaging and banding. This cigar is the first released in a series of 6 to honor pre embargo Cuba. It comes in one size— 6x54. The cigar is made with a dark Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper along with Nicaraguan binder and filler. Upon first light, I am tasting a toastiness with earthy notes and sweetness. Cocoa notes also appear and pepper comes into play. Strength is med-full. Moving into the second third, the cigar is earthy along with a burnt taste which I personally love! A sweetness is also tagging along for a great combo. Chocolate notes are appearing. The pepper has definitely disappeared. It is now a full bodied smoke. The final third continues to be earthy, creamy, sweet, and delicious. Construction was near perfect— great draw, no relighting, strong long ash. I felt this was a very unique and complex smoke— definitely worth the price. Kept my attention from start to finish— a must try. Enjoy. Picked on 10/08/2018
CAO Nicaragua Matagalpa 55/8 * 46
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Aroma
Taste
I have been eyeing this new CAO Nicaraguan cigar for a few weeks now--and with good reason. It has very simple banding and a nice looking oily wrapper, made up of a combination of Nicaraguan tobacco and Honduran wrapper. The cigar feels medium packed and has a sweet smell to it. Upon first light, the cigar immediately has the perfect draw. Nutty notes are upfront with a very nice smoke output. This smoke is sweet and spicy at the same time--a sweet cedar--a very enjoyable mix of spices on the retrohale. Into the second third, cedar and nutty notes are still lingering with a small amount of spice. The ash is very long and solid. A really nice sweetness has taken over the cigar making it very smooth. Into the final third, notes get combined with cocoa and brings you to the finish--great way to end. This cigar never really gets above a medium strength which is very nice for a wide range of smokers. Overall, the construction was perfect, great smoke output, nice complexity and great price point! Must try. Picked on 09/29/2018
601 La Bomba Warhead IV 6 * 48
Taste
Aroma
Draw
Appearance
Burn
Espinosa definitely has another winner in this new 601 La Bomba Warhead IV special edition. It is a beautiful dark, oily, 6x48 box pressed Nicaraguan Puro-- and it is "The Bomb"! The Warhead IV is very rustic looking with a long "fuse" pigtail top. The first third features a creamy profile overall along with cedar notes. Also apparent is a sweetness intertwined with pepper notes--very delicious combination. Into the second third, creaminess is still going on as well as cedar and leather notes. Construction has been spot on at this point with a nice amount of smoke output--a solid medium smoke. As I get into the final third, similar notes are still around followed by a slight amount of espresso and cocoa. The cigar overall was extremely enjoyable but not as full bodied as I expected. There was a great balance of peppery spice and subtle sweetness and cocoa throughout. The only small construction issue I noticed was that the pigtail top was glued down and a bit hard to get loose without damaging the wrapper -- but it did not affect the smoking experience at all. This blend was by far the most creamy out of the four blends. The size and shape were perfect--this cigar smokes longer than you would think from its size. A must try for sure. Enjoy! Picked on 09/16/2018
Mi Querida Muy Gordo Grande 6 * 56
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Aroma
Taste
I may not be able to pronounce this cigar correctly lol, but I can certainly attest to the impeccable smoking experience I incurred! I was very eager to try this cigar when I found out Steve Saka was involved. Upon first glance of this cigar, you see a very simple banding but a gorgeous oily, dark chocolate Connecticit Broadleaf wrapper! It is wrapped over all Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler and binder. A firm roll with a perfect draw and burn--great output of smoke also. Upon first light, a delicious chocolate sweetness is upfront, slowly joined by some pepper--a great play between the two. The ash was very strong. Into the second third, I feel like the intensity got a bit weaker but not the flavor. Earthy and creaminess come into action as well as some coffee notes. The pepper and sweetness are still acting together which makes for a great balance! Into the final third, the strength amps back up, the sweetness definitely fading. I found this cigar to be very complex--definitely kept my interest from start to finish. Now I know what all the hype has been in regards to this cigar....a definite must try for a fuller bodied cigar! Enjoy. Picked on 07/23/2018
Espinosa Crema No. 5 Toro 6 * 56
Taste
Aroma
Draw
Appearance
Burn
Espinosa cigars tend to be on the fuller end of the spectrum, hence when they came out with this new mild blend I was very intrigued. A Nicaraguan blend with Ecuadorian shade Connecticut wrapper—-let’s see how that takes off. The light wrapper is very appealing to the eye. Upon first light, creamy and woody notes are upfront, along with a citrus note that lingers. I was surprised that there was a slight black pepper note on the tongue. It was a very nice combination of sweetness and spice. Into the second third, cream and cedar were the primary notes but the orange/citrus definitely was increasing. A slight nuttiness and coffee note also showed up. The final third ended in wood and cedar notes, with the creaminess disappearing. The burn and draw were impeccable throughout, with a salt and pepper strong ash. The burn rate and temperature were ideal. Espinosa has definitely succeeded in making this very enjoyable mild-med smoke. I recommend this cigar for the beginner as well as the novice. Enjoy! Picked on 07/11/2018
Illusione Ultra OP. No 9 51/2 * 56
Burn
Appearance
Draw
Aroma
Taste
A beautiful Nicaraguan puro with a Corojo wrapper and a perfect box press body—what could be bad!! This cigar has been around for quite awhile but I have never tried it so was looking very forward to the experience. I was weary of the tightly packed cigar, but the draw was perfect. At first sight, this cigar has the appearance of a chocolate candy bar which is even more inviting to me. Upon first light, a very nice sweetness is upfront along with a delicious toasty taste. Dark chocolate and licorice notes are totally apparent. Towards the end of the first third, a spiciness appears from nowhere. Into the second third, a slight Smokey flavor appears. The cigar is med-full body at this point. Espresso notes and licorice notes are predominate. Into the last third, pretty much the same flavors exist but amped up a bit. Full bodied cigar into the final stretch. The pepper rises to the occasion until the very end. This smoke had a very nice balance throughout even though it was not overly complex. The construction was perfect. Definitely something different for you to try. Enjoy! Picked on 07/02/2018
AVO Syncro South America Ritmo Toro 6 * 54
Taste
Aroma
Draw
Appearance
Burn
This new AVO cigar attracted my attention immediately due to the unique tobaccos from seven countries: Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican—WOW! This was also the first AVO cigar released since the passing of AVO. Upon first li