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The Cro Magnon Mandible

I am often asked what kind of cigars I like.  If you get asked that question a lot, and if you’re like me, you’ll know that’s a difficult question to answer.  For me, at least, my answer is usually the same:  “it depends.”  It depends on the time of day.  It depends on my current mood.  It depends on if I’ve smoked something already.  It depends!  It depends!  It depends!

Well it has been a stressful few weeks for me.  One of my coworkers is recuperating from surgery and has been out of work for awhile which leaves me as the only other person capable of handling her duties while she’s out.  On top of that, I’m in the middle of about nineteen straight days of working or being on-call.  Add to that some deeply painful family things going on and…well…you see where this is going.  It’s funny how a rise in stress is directly proportionate to a spike in blood pressure.

So on Thursday of last week, my wife and I went out for drinks and a nice steak dinner.  After a wonderfully relaxing evening with her, I stepped out onto the deck, clilpped the Cro Magnon Mandible cigar, turned up the Johnny Cash and lit up!  Here are the Mandible’s details:

  • Size:  4.5X60 (Mandible)
  • Wrapper:  Broadleaf
  • Binder:  Camaroon
  • Filler:  Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Medium/Full

As is my custom, I used a bullet cut on the cap.  The cap took the bullet without harming the cigar which signifies to me that the stick is well made and has been properly humidified.  After I cut it, I took a long look at the Mandible and was impressed with the oily, dark chocolate wrapper.  I’m usually not a big fan of 60-ring gauge cigars, but this one looked mighty impressive.

I lit the cigar up and immediately sensed a rich chocolate and pepper profile.  The draw was perfect, but as I got into the first third I noticed that the wrapper wasn’t burning well.  The Mandible did require touch ups throughout the cigar because the burn was uneven.

The second third’s flavors were much the same of the first third.  There were subtle differences here and there, but the main flavors were still chocolate and pepper.  The second third is where the cigar’s strength really picked up.  It started off as a medium bodied cigar, but at this point I could really feel the strength of the nicotine as I puffed on it.  As I mentioned before, I had burn issues throughout which affected the ash.  It also seemed to affect how hot the cigar was burning but I didn’t sense any off putting tastes.

As the final third progressed, I detected a nice leathery taste.  The leather taste coupled with the full body and the creamy smoke really made for a nice treat.  So you see, it really does depend on my mood, choice of food for dinner, level of stress I’m under, etc.  Many times I prefer a medium body cigar over a full body, but the Cro Magnon Mandible was a great tasting, albeit poor burning, cigar.  If you haven’t heard the story about Cro Magnon cigars, it’s a story well worth your read.

 

 

 

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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Tabak Especial Colada Dulce

I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to smoke this cigar or not.  Not because it was full-bodied, but because of the weather!  It seems like this time of year we are always under some sort of warning or watch whether it be tornado or thunderstorm!  In fact, I had this cigar cut and ready to go when I realized that it was drizzling outside so I had to wait for that to pass.  But it finally did pass and I was able to sit down outside and light up.

Here are the cigar’s details:

  • Size:  Colada (4 x 38)
  • Wrapper:  Connecticut
  • Binder:  Sumatran
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan
  • Strength:  Medium

This cigar was one of five different shapes in the Dulce line.  Apparently the cigars are infused with Nicaraguan coffee before aging to make for a deliciously sweetened coffee-like cigar.  This petit corona size was just perfect for the amount of time I had.

Using my double blade guillotine, I cut the cap of this nicely constructed cigar.  It had just the right amount of give when squeezed and there were no noticeable blemishes in the wrapper.  The pre light draw was loose and I immediately tasted the sweetness from the Connecticut wrapper.

Lighting the cigar was easy and created lots of creamy, white smoke.  The sweetness that I tasted before lighting was still there with a hint of coffee and earthiness.  It kept an even burn throughout the entire cigar.  I didn’t even have to think about touching it up.  The ash holds on strong with a nice smoky, gray color for almost an inch before I had to tap it off.

This is one of the few cigars I’ve had that didn’t feature much of a taste change throughout.  It was a very sweet, coffee flavored earthy cigar from start to finish.  I can’t say that it’s my favorite cigar, but definitely not bad.  It would be the idea early morning cigar as it’s not too heavy.  Enjoy this with an espresso!

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos

Up for review today is the Hoyo de Monterrey Sabrosos.  Here are the details for this cigar:

  • Size:  Petit Corona (5 x 40)
  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian
  • Binder:  Connecticut
  • Filler:  Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran
  • Strength:  Full

I was trying to remember how long ago it was that I purchased this box.  It had to have been late 2007.  So these cigars have been aging quite nicely for quite some time.  As I was digging down into the depths of my humidor last night, I came across a handful of these and remembered why I had purchased them in the first place.  The reason I purchased the box was because, at the time, I was looking for a short smoke that wouldn’t break the bank.  After perusing Famous Smoke Shop, I found you can still purchase a box of 25 for under $40.  So it remains to be a good deal, but how does it stack up as far as construction and taste are concerned?

I figured the bullet cut would just wreak havoc on the cap so I opted to use the Cuban Crafters double blade guillotine cut.  Doing so essentially removed the whole cap, but that didn’t seem to change the construction.  Speaking of construction, it was quite appealing albeit a little dry.  Lighting a petit corona is both easy and fast and this cigar was no different.  I was a little surprised as I started smoking that there was very little aftertaste since I remember this cigar to be medium-to-full in flavor.  Maybe this little gem had mellowed with age.  The burn was even and the smoke was creamy and voluminous.  The dark gray ash was very strong and hung on for close to 2 inches.

The mild first third led to a spicy but pleasant second third.  This is where the aftertaste started hanging around longer, the smoke became a little less dense and the strength of the cigar started to shine through.  There was nothing over the top as far as strength is concerned, but what was noticeably absent in the first third was definitely present in the second.

I was a little nervous that I would be rained out–or rained in, as it were–due to the heavy clouds, but they stayed away just long enough for me to start picking up on some dark coffee flavors as I reached the point when the cigar started getting too hot for my likes.  All in all, I really enjoyed this cigar.  It’s a perfect cigar for the mid-day smoker that doesn’t have an hour and a half to devote to a cigar.  I’m so glad I found them in my humidor and I suggest you pick up a box too.  For the price, they’re hard to beat!

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Reviews

 

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Smoking away the weekend (three cigar mini reviews)

Monday always comes around too soon!  Despite being called in to work for a little while on Saturday, I was able to enjoy three different cigars:  two of which were very enjoyable!  Now I should say that these reviews will not be like my usual extensive reviews.  On the weekends, I tend to give my brain a little time off and just enjoy the tobaccos without giving them much thought.  So without further ado…

I started on Friday afternoon with the Graycliff Red:

  • Size:  Robusto (5.25 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Indonesian
  • Binder:  Dominican, Brazilian
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan
  • Strength:  Medium

I received this cigar in a five-pack sampler from Famous Smoke Shop.  They sell a five pack of Graycliff Reds for just over $50, but according to their website, the suggested retail for the five-pack at $83.40 (or $16.68 per stick!).  Now I’m not likely to pay that much for a single cigar, so I was glad that it was part of my sampler which cost me around $18 with shipping included!  The long and short of this cigar is that it was a very well constructed, overly spicy cigar.  Maybe it was the Indonesian wrapper, but I did not like this cigar.  From start to finish it was just too spicy for my tastes.  The burn was nice and even throughout and I stayed with it all the way through hoping the tastes would mellow into something enjoyable, but it just never happened.  So if you’re looking to spend $16 on a cigar, I suggest you look elsewhere–or better yet, buy two $8 cigars and double your pleasure!

On Saturday, I got called in to work for an hour or so.  After work, I decided to go to my local tobacconist to smoke a cigar, relax and watch some baseball and The Masters.  There, for the first time, I tried the CAO La Traviata Divino:

  • Size:  Robusto (5 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian grown Habano seed
  • Binder:  Cameroon
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan and Dominican
  • Strength:  Medium to Full

I have heard many good things about this cigar and I was as impressed with it as the others.  This cigar was leathery with some pepper, but the taste wasn’t too powerful.  It developed into an earthy, nutty flavor as it got into the second third.  I did have some construction issues in the second third, but overall this was a great smoke.  The price point for this cigar was around $5, so you can’t really go wrong with that.  Give the CAO La Traviata Divino a try!

I had enjoyed the CAO so much (and wasn’t ready to leave the tobacconist just yet), so I chose an Arturo Fuente Short Story from the humidor and lit it up.  Now the Short Story is a uniquely shaped cigar.  It is a perfecto shape and sports a 49 band.  The Short Story gets larger as it approaches the foot before being tapered off at the foot for easy lighting.

  • Size:  Robusto (4 x 49)
  • Wrapper:  Cameroon
  • Binder:  Dominican
  • Filler:  Dominican
  • Strength:  Medium

I used a double guillotine cutter on this cigar, but was very displeased with the draw as I puffed away.  I had never re-cut a cigar before, but I pulled the cutter out again and clipped off a little bit more of the cap.  That proved to be a great move because the draw opened right up, the flavor profile consisted of a little spice and some sweetness.  If you have trouble getting the ‘perfect light’ then this cigar is for you since it’s essentially fool proof–and you won’t be disappointed with the taste!

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Arturo Fuente Chateau Sun Grown Robusto

I have long been a fan of Arturo Fuente cigars and this robusto did not disappoint.  The setting was perfect:  my son had just gone to bed and I told my wife she could catch up on her favorite DVR’d shows while I enjoy some time with my thoughts and a good cigar on the smoking deck.  We live out in the country, so you never know what you might encounter out there once the sun goes down.  That’s the downside.  The upside is that you can literally see thousands upon thousands of starts on a clear night.  Last night was such a night.  It seems like the clearer the sky is the clearer my head gets when I’m able to meditate with a cigar.

Here are the details of the Arturo Fuente Chateau Sun Grown Robusto:

  • Size:  Robusto (4.5 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Ecuador
  • Binder:  Dominican Republic
  • Filler:  Dominican Republic
  • Strength:  Mild to Medium

I tend to look for shorter, smoother smokes at night and that’s exactly what this robusto was.  The light brown wrapper was a bit oily and looked the part of a nice, mellow stogie.  It was fairly firm to the touch and I opened the cap with a bullet cut.  The pre-light draw left a leathery taste and an open draw.  I lit the cigar with a new torch lighter that worked great in spite of a breeze.  I could really sense the leathery/oily taste as I got going into the cigar.  It was very smooth, very enjoyable with a nice thick creamy smoke.  The ash that developed was dark gray and lasted about 1.5 inches before I tapped it off so it didn’t find its way into my lap.  And when I did, I found a nice red, glowing cone.  The taste started to change in the second third to more of an earthiness and just a little bit of spice on the tongue.  I also noticed that the cigar was producing a lot less smoke than in the first third and the draw was tighter.  Again, earthy with just a little spice.  The final third of the cigar remained earthy and spicy as the draw opened back up.  All in all, this was the perfect cigar to end my day.  It just goes to show that a cigar can add so much to an already wonderful ambiance.  I could have sat out there enjoying the night sky for hours, but smoking a cigar while doing so made the setting memorable.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The CAO Gold Churchill

I’m really going to have to stop rushing through cigars…especially cigars that I really enjoy!  The CAO Gold is one such cigar.  I enjoyed this cigar on my lunch hour, but due to it’s length only really got to smoke it just into the final third.  I’m sure this wouldn’t be a problem with shorter or small ring gauge cigars, but I happened to have this at my office so I decided to go for it.  And now for the details:

  • Size:  Churchill (7 x 48)
  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
  • Binder:  Ecuadorian
  • Filler:  Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Mild to Medium

The Connecticut Shade wrapper on this cigar was a thing of beauty.  It had just the right amount of oil and was just the right color for me.  It wasn’t overly veiny (if that’s a word) and the texture of the cigar was rather smooth with just a little bit of give when squeezed.  I think this cigar was a little on the dry side because when I used my punch cutter, the cap cracked and I had a little bit of an issue dealing with it during my smoke.  The pre-light draw was not too tight, but there was more resistance than I prefer.  I sensed a nice sort of nutty flavor when I first lit the cigar and the flavor was very mild.  The cigar had a light after taste and didn’t stay in the mouth too long.  What started off as an uneven light (due, in part, to me not having my torch lighter) evened up quickly and the ash was light gray and held on for a good 1.5 inches to 2 inches.  I always enjoy looking at the ash and how it performs.  This ash performed wonderfully and seemed to keep the cigar cool as it developed.  Once I reached the second third, some of the more robust flavors started coming through along with an even longer aftertaste.  As I smoked into the second third I began tasting some spicy and peppery notes.  I had to do the unthinkable and extinguish the cigar before I got too deep into the final third of the cigar due to time constraints, but overall this mild to medium CAO Gold was a very nice mid-day smoke.  It had just the right amount of depth to keep me interested, but no over the top flavors (or over the top nicotine) to turn me off.  I recommend you try one soon!

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Reviews

 

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The Gurkha Symphony Robusto #4

Last week I received an e-mail informing me of a special that an online tobacco retailer was running.  It was a cigar caddy, butane lighter and double guillotine cutter with two cigars:  A CAO Gold Churchill and a Gurkha Symphony Robusto #4.  I decided to spring for it since I was in need of both a butane lighter and a cigar caddy.  My shipment arrived today and I decided to try out the Gurkha Symphony at lunch.

Here are the details of the Symphony:

  • Size:  Robusto (6 x 50)
  • Wrapper:  Connecticut Shade
  • Binder:  Dominican Republic
  • Filler:  Nicaragua
  • Strength:  Medium

When I first took the cigar out of the cellophane wrapper, I noticed how dry the cigar was.  Maybe it was the fact that it had been out of a humidor for a few days, but it seemed a tad dry and I didn’t notice any oil on the wrapper.  I cut the cigar with the double guillotine cutter that was included in with the shipment and I thought it cut the cap well.  It’s the kind of cutter that has a “back” to it which keeps you from taking off more of the cap than you want.  The punch cut is my preferred cut, but I always like having other options laying around.

The pre-light draw was open and airy–very little resistance and I detected a woodsy/nutty taste.  The first thing I noticed after lighting it was that there was very little smoke output.  And again, the draw was very loose.  The woodsy taste lingered in the mouth, but it wasn’t overbearing by any means.  Just a nice, woodsy taste with a little bit of spice.

As I got into the second third, the burn was even, the ash was holding strong after 1.5″ and it was starting to really produce some nice smoke.  The flavors become more pronounced, but still nothing too overpowering.  There seemed to be more spice and even some dark chocolate notes.  The cigar took on the infamous “cone” shape once I tapped off the ash from the second third and the burn was amazing.  Despite its somewhat open draw, the cigar remained fairly cool until I had to extinguish it before i was too far into the final third (due to time constraints).

Overall, I really enjoyed this cigar.  It had just enough flavor to keep me interested, but not too much flavor to get me sick!  No lightheadedness at all–just a great tasting medium bodied cigar.  It was a perfect lunch smoke although I wish I would have had another fifteen to twenty minutes to enjoy it!

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Reviews

 

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