Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Arturo Fuente Special Selection Maduro

  • Price: ~$3
  • Size: 6.5" x 43
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Maduro
  • Time to completion: ~45min

Smoking Experience: 

The holiday weekend is unfortunately over, and today was business as usual. I am on call for work this week, which means a lot of time sitting around at home waiting on emergencies to come on in. I took a quick call at around 6, and the Sons of Anarchy Season Premier was at 7, so it has been a good night so far. My girlfriend got home from school around 7ish so once the show was over, we headed downstairs to have a smoke.

I did get to swing by the cigar shop on the way home to pick up some fodder for a trade I am doing this month, and while there I saw this stick and figured I would give it a go. It is a "seconds" selection which means it has not made the cut as far as quality controls go (supposedly) and it looked like it was wrapped by an apprentice, but for the $3 price tag, I was willing to give it a shot.

I went through the bin they were in and while some of the sticks looked to be in less than great shape, this one didn't appear to have any major construction issues out side of not looking so pretty. There were no major soft spots, but the cap was sloppy as was the wrapper. There were no tears but some of the leafs had some discoloring.

Aesthetics were the only place this cigar lacked. I was able to cut the cigar with 0 problem. The pre-light draw was a little loose, but good. Lighting this stick was easy and even after lighting it a bit crooked (my lighter was out of fuel so I had to use matches) it evened out on its own and burned perfectly.

The cigar burned nice and cool for the first 3/4, the burn speed was consistent, and it gave off a good amount of smoke for a smaller cigar. It really was much more than I expected it to be.

The ash on this cigar was a bit loose, but burned as a medium grey and broke off every 2-3 inches.


I was pleasantly surprised by the flavors in this cigar. The first few puffs of this cigar have a nice sweet and spicy blend. Really mild, but you know they are there. The smoke isn't incredibly thick, but there is a nice consistency to carry the flavors.

As you get to the end of the first third, there is an undertone of chocolate/coffee that sort of leaves the spiciness in the background. There are some short bursts of sweetness along with the coffee taste that sort of lingers in your mouth as you blow out the smoke. Very nice, very smooth and mellow.

The trade off of spice and sweetness has sort of a rolling feeling, where one gradually leads into the other and back throughout the cigar, it is nice, never too harsh, never to mild, just a smooth and almost creamy blend of the two.

The finish of the cigar brings a noticeable change to a mild tobacco and spice taste, which I very much enjoyed. I am not a big fan of most plain tobacco flavors, but this was smooth and just sweet enough (with some hints of that chocolate) to be very well received by me.

Overall this was a cigar that I didn't have high expectations for but really shocked me. I will certainly go hunting for a few more in that bin the next time I am at the shop as they make a nice smooth smoke on an evening and something I could keep around for friends who don't smoke frequently or don't really like the big bold flavors of some of the other cigars I have come to enjoy. Apprentice rolled or not, this cigar is a winner.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Perdomo Tierra Del Sol Corona Maduro

  • Price: ~$3-5 (Gift in a trade)
  • Size: 6.5" x 42
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Maduro
  • Time to completion: ~45min

Smoking Experience:

Its been a nice Holiday weekend. Off from work, spending time with friends, going to the gym, and relaxing. Tonight I wanted to just relax after a long day of relaxing, so I reached into the humidor and grabbed this guy out. After a brief fight with my lighter (which almost resulted in it getting thrown into the pool) I was able to toast this smoke and light up.

The construction of this box pressed cigar was good, there were a couple of small veins in the wrapper, but nothing horrible (especially considering the price), the wrapper was in good condition, no tears, no water spots, etc. The draw was good throughout the entire smoke, not to tight, not too lose.

The cigar was really easy to light (which is good for my lighter, because it would be in the trash had it ruined my time) and released bellows of thick smoke right from the start. The first third of the cigar burns really hot and fast, it was actually surprising how fast it burned, I thought it was going to be a 25 minute smoke, not the 45 that it ended up being. The burn speed slowed down at the start of the 2/3 but kept a good pace, and continued to let off A LOT of smoke. 

The ash on this cigar was sturdy and grey, and held on until about the halfway point, at which time it fell on me - my own fault for always trying to see just how long I can get the ash, but for this smoke, I really wanted it to hang on to slow and cool the burn.


The cigar starts off really spicy. Combined with the heat from the fast burn, it is an OK flavor. It isn't really strong, but definitively noticeable. There is an underlying earthy taste in the first and second third of the cigar, its pretty mellow and goes well with the spice, but it is all sort of...boring. There were no massive kicks of flavor in the first or second thirds, so it is just kind of meh to me. Not -bad- but not really memorable either.

The final 1/3 of this cigar is a whole different store. Those earthy notes fade away and there are flavors of charcoal and a woody flavor. The flavors were too overwhelming in my opinion and felt like I was sucking the smoke off a newly lit charcoal grill. My girlfriend actually commented on the face I made when the flavor hit me, it was not good. It tasted like fuel. I tired to get passed this, but after a few draws, I just put out the cigar, as the taste was just BAD at that point. Certainly not the finish I was looking for. 

I could have dealt with the first and second third of this cigar as being a really mild, slightly spicy smoke, maybe something cheaper to keep around for friends, but the final 3rd really killed this for me, so I wont be buying it in the future.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: La Perla Habana Black Pearl

  • Price: ~$5 (received in a trade)
  • Size: 4 3/4" x 54 
  • Wrapper: Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time to completion: ~70 minutes

Smoking Experience:

It's been a long week at work, and after getting home last night, all I wanted was a drink and a smoke. I opened my humidor and saw this little guy sitting off to the side. I had received it in a trade a couple of weeks back and had read some good things, but didn't know what to expect, I was not disappointed.

The cigar is just under 5" long, and looked to be of decent construction. There was one noticeable soft spot in it, and a small tear in the wrapper, but nothing major. I was able to easily cut it, even with my cheap cutters, and it didn't appear to cause any damage, which was nice.

Upon lighting up, the draw was a little tight, and the smoke was somewhat thin and sort of limited. Still plenty to taste, but not the massive clouds of smoke I have had with some other cigars.

The cigar smoked very well for the first 1/3. It was nice and cool burning, easy to keep lit and the draw loosened up a bit at around the 1/3 mark. During the 2/3 the outer wrapper began to separate. I'm not sure what caused this, but it produced a drastic change in the characteristics of the cigar. As the outer wrapper separated,  they wouldn't burn properly, so the taste of the filler was a lot more apparent than the wrapper, then all of a sudden the outer wrapper would light up, generate a huge amount of smoke as it burned down quickly to catch up with the filler, and the process would repeat. It was actually a very...nice...experience.

The rapid change in heat, flavor concentration, smoke density, etc made this a very exciting cigar to smoke. The ash hung on like a champ (It probably helped that I was laying almost all the way back as I smoked), and this seemed to keep the cigar nice and cool, down to about the last 1/5.

At the 4/5 mark the cigar heated up quickly, the draw was still very nice, no clogs, still lots of flavor, and a very nice finish.


I was actually caught off guard by the wide array of flavors produced by this cigar. The first few puffs you take are a mild spice with some noticeable woody undertones. The flavor is pretty mild as there isn't a lot of smoke at this point, so it was a nice way to get started.

About 1" into the cigar, there is a noticeable sweetness that starts to appear. It isn't overwhelming and nicely compliments the spicy taste (like spice cookies!).

At around the 2/3 mark the flavors changed and varied a lot as the wrapper acted up (see above). Each time   the wrapper would separate from the filler, you would get a nice nutty/earthy taste, and when the wrapper lit, you would get a burst of think almost chocolate tasting smoke. The spiciness takes a backseat at this point to the ebb and flow of nutty/earthy flavors and chocolate sweetness. It was fantastic.

The finish of this cigar was very good. As you get into the final 1/3 of the cigar, the spiciness comes back and in the final 1/5 of the cigar there is a smokey peppery taste that takes over and finishes this smoke off with a bang.

Overall it was a great cigar, despite the construction issues (which turned out to probably improve the smoke by making it more interesting). I will definitively be picking up more of these in the future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How To: Shipping Cigars

One of my favorite parts of smoking cigars so far has been the community of people I have met. In the 2 months since I started smoking, I have had the wonderful opportunity to trade cigars with a couple of guys. Trading allows people to share their favorites (or share smokes only available in their region) and in general is just a fun thing to do with good people.

Every time a trade comes up, people ask "How do I ship the cigars?" (I know this, because this was my first question as well).

Here is how to ship cigars in a trade:

Method 1: Cheap and Easy. - Great for common trades.

  1. Pick out the cigar(s) you want to ship. For shipping purposes, cellophane wrapped is very helpful, as it can protect the cigar from rubbing on things and hurting the wrapper.
  2. Get a Humidipak to throw in the package. These will keep the cigars moist during shipping. Shipments can get cold when on airplanes, which dries out smokes quickly, so this is important.
  3. Put the cigars and the Humidipak in a ziplock bag and get as much air out as possible.
  4. Wrap that in bubble wrap (or other packaging material)
  5. Stick in an appropriate box. I like to use the USPS flat rate shipping boxes (small size fits 5 cigars with ease).
  6. Ship them.

Method 2: More Protection, More Cost. - Good for higher end smokes that need protection or back and forth trades with friends. (Also makes a great Cigar Bomb gift!)

  1. Pick out the cigar(s) you want to ship. For shipping purposes, cellophane wrapped is very helpful, as it can protect the cigar from rubbing on things and hurting the wrapper.
  2. Pick up a good Travel Humidor of appropriate size.
  3. Throw in a Humidipak for simplicity.
  4. Put this in a box with appropriate shipping material.
  5. Ship them.

Deluxe Travel Humidor /w hygrometer and cutters.

For added fun, throw in a fun note, an extra like a spare set of cutters that you like, etc. Anything to make the experience even better for all parties involved. If you are in a trade and someone bombs you with some extra smokes, be sure to pay that forward, everyone loves an extra smoke here and there!

Disclaimer: Please check your state and federal laws before shipping tobacco products.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Man O' War Special-Edition Figurado

Humidor.com Image

From last night.

  • Price: ~$8-10 (Got it in a trade on /r/cigars)
  • Size: 7.1" x 58 (ring changes throughout the cigar)
  • Wrapper: Habano (Ecuadorean)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time to completion: ~115 minutes

Smoking Experience:

Oh what a night. This week has just been one of those weeks; lets just say I was happy to see Friday night arrive. When 5pm hit, I hopped in my car, went and picked up my favorite gal, and we met up with some friends at happy hour. We hung out for a while, had a few drinks, and just relaxed. Around 7 we decided we were over the bar we were at, so we headed down to what is quickly becoming one of my favorite smoking spots. It is at the end of a pier and overlooks the Waikiki Skyline.

Before leaving for the apartment, I asked my girlfriend to throw a few smokes into my travel humidor, and one of the ones she grabbed was this monster. The Man O' War Special Edition Figurado. It is a monster at 7.1" long at a ring size of 58 at its widest point (and maybe mid 40s at its lowest). The shape is the most unique attribute of the cigar, and while I thought it was a gimmicky at first, I ended up liking what it brought.

Lighting the cigar is a breeze because the end is a small ring size. It quickly opens up to the full 58 ring size and over time tapers back down. The burn was even for the most part, although it did get uneven once or twice, but this is probably becasue of the wind blowing from a single direction and me not rotating the cigar properly when smoking.


This cigar was packed full of flavor, no doubt about it. The flavor intensity changed with the ring size of the cigar, and for the most part was just a nice nutty tobacco flavor. The smoke was harsh at times, but not necessarily unpleasant. Despite the length of the cigar, it seemed to burn hotter than I care for, but again, it wasn't bad, just different.

I think the major downfall of this cigar for me is that it was just sort of one note. The burn time was almost 2 hours, but it was pretty much slight variations of the same flavor for all 2 hours, it was almost too consistent. I would have been equally as happy with a cigar half the size because the flavors didn't develop the way they do in other cigars.

Overall it was a good cigar, it was just lacking that "wow" factor that I expect from special edition cigars. I definitely look forward to trying some other MOW cigars in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Acid Kuba Kuba - My First Cigar

  • Price: $12 (from a cart outside a Casino...yea, I over paid)
  • Size: 5" x 54
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaraguan (flavor infused)
  • Time to completion: ~65 minutes

Smoking Experience:

The Acid Kuba Kuba. My very first cigar. I was in Las Vegas for the first time at 25 years old. I was up a few hundred dollars after winning a small NL Holdem tournament at the Golden Nugget and taking down some cash at a 1/2 NL game. As I headed back to meet up with my family on our last day there, I walked passed a cigar cart out side of the 4 Queens Casino. I stopped to take a peak at their selection (I had no clue what I was looking at) and a guy came up and asked me what I liked. I told him I had no idea. I told him I have never had a Cigar, I don't smoke cigarettes, but wanted to give one a try. He looked at me, asked how much I felt like spending, and told me he had a Cigar he could guarantee I would enjoy and would make me come back for more.

The gentleman handed me an Acid Kuba Kuba. He cut it for me, showed me how to light a cigar, explained how to smoke and enjoy one, and sent me on my way.

I headed over to The Chicago Brewing Company inside the casino, grabbed a beer, had them turn on the Heads Up poker championship, kicked my feet up and lit this baby up. I was in Vegas baby, and this is how I wanted to remember it.

From the start, this cigar has a lot of flavor. The infused tobacco has a nice sweet flavor with herb undertones that last throughout the cigar.The flavors intensify towards the end, but really they just get better. The smoke is rich and smooth, and the cigar had a nice uniform draw the entire time I enjoyed it. This was my first and only flavored cigar so far, and is still one of my favorites.

This was my first cigar and I had no idea what to expect, so I likely under appreciated the flavors as they were all new to me. I am excited to give this smoke a second shot once I have a more experience under my belt.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Arturo Fuente Magnum R Rosado Sungrown Vitola 54

Arturo Fuente Magnum R Rosado Sungrown Vitola 54

  • Price: ~$13
  • Size: 6 1/4 x 54
  • Wrapper: Sun Grown Ecuadorian
  • Time to Completion: ~75 minutes

Smoking Experience:

This smoke came as a nice break from a LONG and fantastic day. I had spent the day training in Krav Maga for the first time. So after 5+ hours of intense physical training, I really needed to kick back and relax. Some friends and I met up to have some drinks, smoke some cigars and play poker. This is basically heaven for me.

The cigar construction was fantastic, the draw was smooth and even, and the burn rate was consistent. It did go out on me about 3/4 of the way through, but in the cigars defense, I set it down and walked about for about 5 minutes or so while I got another drink and chatted with some friends.

I also won the poker tournament that night, so it was an amazing day.


This was a mild flavored cigar, but it was nice. It had a creamy nutty taste with some earthy undertones. My drink wasn't the best pair for it by a mile, so I'm sure i'm not doing the flavors much justice, but it wasn't bad at all. Towards the end of the smoke there was a noticeable sweetness to the smoke, but nothing overwhelming. This has been the best of the mild cigars I have smoked, and one I would smoke again without question.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: CAO Brazilia

  • Price: ~$5
  • Size: 5 x 56
  • Wrapper: Maduro (Oily Dark Brown Brazilian)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Time to Completion: ~70 minutes
Smoking Experience:
I went to a movie with my girlfriend last night, and we got home around 11:30p or so and I wanted a cigar, so we decided to drive up to a nice lookout on a mountain near our apartment. We sat out and chatted while looking over the city skyline. I enjoyed this fantastic cigar and she smoked some nice hand rolled cigarettes that she made for the first time a few days ago.
The cigar had a nice rich smoke right from the start. It burned slow and even the entire way through. It got a little hot in the last 1/4 which is to be expected, but the rest of it was just perfect.

It has an almost chocolate flavor in the start, I was kind of surprised (Im new to this, so it was a nice surprise). After a few puffs that flavor gave way to the flavor of the wrapper and it had a nice almost nutty taste. I very much enjoyed it. It had A LOT of nice flavors. Some woody, some smokey, but none really took over the experience. It was a nice mixture in every puff.
I would highly recommend this smoke. It was fantastic.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Sancho Panza Valiente

Image from Cigars International

  • Price: <$5
  • Size: 5.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Filler: A blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican
  • Time to completion: ~45 minutes

Smoking Experience:
After a long day at work, I wanted to head down to the pool with my wonderful girlfriend and have a quick smoke. I had some more work to do in about an hour, so I couldn't spend a lot of time down there, so I reached into my humidor, and pulled out this little guy. We headed down to the pool deck, and I lit up.

Unlike the maduro version of this cigar, the burn on this was smooth and steady. This could be due to the moisture content of the cigar, or a difference in the wrapper, im not really sure. The draw was pretty typical, and overall it was a pretty decent quick smoke on a cool night.

The first 2/3 of this cigar were very mild and sort of boring. It wasn't a -bad- smoke, it was just very one note. It had a woody taste for the majority of the cigar, but in the last 1/3 there was a sort or sweet undertone. I was actually about to put the cigar down and walk away when it hit. I was down by the pool with my girlfriend and she had stood up to head back to our apartment (as was I) but the new flavor caught me by surprise, so I sat back for a few more minutes to see how it developed. The ending was the best part of the cigar as the flavors intensified, but overall the cigar was average. It certainly didn't have that same memorable flavor intensity that it's maduro wrapped partner had.

Side Note: I very much like the box-press style of these smokes, especially at the smaller size, they seem to light and burn a bit more consistently than some others i've had.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Sancho Panza Double Maduro (La Mancha)

  • Price: <$4
  • Size: 5.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Oscuro
  • Filler: A blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican Piloto Cubano leaves
  • Time to completion: ~40 minutes

Smoking Experience:
The first 1/4 of the cigar burned hot and fast, but was somewhat mild. Once a little ash built up, the burning seemed to slow down and cool some which allowed a lot more flavor than the first part of the cigar.

A mild start, but once you get about 1/3 in it has a nice pepper taste. Its not harsh, but there is a nice build up of flavor. The flavor lasts until the end, and it gets a bit smokey in the last 1/3. The pepper aftertaste last for a long time after the smoke was completed. This cigar packed a lot of punch for such a small package. 

Downside: The construction was lacking something. I dont know if it was just dry (it shouldn't have been, it was purchased a few days ago and sitting in the humidor at 70% since). Maybe my cutters are just dull, but they sort of tore the outer wrapper. It didn't effect the smoke, but was just something to note.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: Cuban Crafters 40 Count Humidor

Cuban Crafters 40 count Mio Cherry Wood Humidor
Outer Shell: Cherry Wood
Inner Liner: Spanish Cedar
Capacity: 40

I picked up this humidor as a my first after picking up more than a few sticks and needing a place to keep them. I wanted something cheap (so I could buy more cigars) but also wanted something that looked good. The quality of the humidor is very good for the price (around $40). The seal is good, the top is heavy, and the overall build feels strong.

The humidor comes with a puck style humidifier, but for simplicity I went with a Drymistat Tube. An analog hygrometer is also included, and after a salt calibration, it has help up nicely.

Overall it seems like a great buy for the price, but is quickly filling. I guess the advice to pick which size humidor you need...then double it holds true.

Review: Romeo Y Julieta Medallas De Oro 1875

Smoking while looking over the Waikiki Skyline.

  • Price: ~$8
  • Size: 6.5" x 44
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Time to completion: ~90 minutes

Smoking Experience:

Some friends and I were out celebrating one of them getting a new job, and after some drinks, we decided to take a walk down to the peer and have a smoke. The cigar was a bit dry for my taste, but burned well. There isn't really a lot to say about it.


This is a very mild smoke. It isn't unpleasant, but can be underwhelming at times, especially when compared to power houses like the Macanudo Maduro Vintage. Overall,I enjoyed the experience, and may smoke this cigar again, but would do so when I want a mild cigar.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Macanudo Maduro Vintage ‘97

  • Price: ~$12
  • Size: 6 “ x 54
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf (1997 vintage)
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Brazilian, and Dominican long-filler blend
  • Time to Completion: ~70 minutes

Smoking Experience:

I had planned a nice cigar night with the boys, but due to some unforeseeable circumstances, we had to call it off. I wasn’t about to let that stop me though. I headed out to hunt down the perfect cigar for the night, and this is the cigar my local cigar shot recommended. This was not a unanimous choice among the staff, and I was warned that the last 1/3 might get a little rough, so I headed home, went out to my pool deck to relax under a nice cool Hawaiian night and lit up.

The cigar lit well, burned evenly, and had a nice even draw. Once a little ash built up, the burn cooled a bit and the flavors really came out. The smoke lasted about ~70 minutes before I put it out (it had another 15 minutes of burn time left – but the taste was too strong at this point).


This cigar had fantastic maduro flavors. Smooth and sweet from the start. Nice creamy smoke with slight woody undertones and even some chocolate flavors. The first 2/3s are very smooth. Around the last 1/3 of the smoke there is a dramatic change; it’s almost like smoking a whole new stick. It gets spicy, and it gets there fast. Had it been on its own, it would have been nice, but with the significant contrast from the first 2/3 it was a little unexpected. I put out the cigar with about 1 inch left on it.

Side Note:

The cigar comes with a metal band on it. A few people have asked about it, and its just a metal cigar band to hold the cigar with, but it has a twist. The band only fits properly when the cigar is properly humidified. If the band is really loose, the cigar is too dry.