As always, I disagree with Brian Hewitt. This isn’t Padilla week on Stogie Review. Sure Brian reviewed the Padilla Artemis and I reviewed the Padilla Black Bear but I assure you, it was a coincidence. Switching things up a bit this episode of Week in Smoke, I’ve decided to do a themed version. This isn’t an original idea in fact I got the idea while reading some State of the Brand posts by Charlie Minato over at The Halfwheel. While this isn’t centered around news from the brand it has more to do with how their cigars are smoking. So I searched my humidors and found (what I think) is every cigar made by General Cigars that I have. So this episode of Week in Smoke centers around General Cigars. Not everything they offer but just what I have. In case you didn’t get the memo, the opinions expressed in The Week in Smoke are just that…my opinion.
La Gloria Cubana Serie R (Maduro) – The Serie R (Maduro) has made an appearance in previous episodes of Week in Smoke. I believe the last time it did I was none too pleased with its less than satisfactory construction. Luckily for me, I haven’t had that problem since. Thinking back, I don’t think I would be a cigar smoker if it wasn’t for the LGC Serie R (Maduro). It was one of the first cigars that I fell in love with back in the early days of my smoking “career”. Its actually interesting to see that none of us have actually reviewed the Serie R. We will have to rectify that. Classic cigar, classic maduro flavors that still hold its own today.
La Gloria Cubana Serie N – Maybe it was a mistake to smoke the Serie N after smoking the Serie R. In all honesty, it can’t hang with Serie R. I know, its probably not supposed to compete with but compliment the LGC portfolio but the whole time I smoked a Serie N, I was wishing I was still smoking a Serie R. While its a favorite of Mike’s and others, it falls flat for me. Like I said, the whole time I was wishing I was still smoking the Serie R above.
La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especialé – Boy did I have this cigar pegged wrong when I first smoked it a few months ago. I didn’t get what was the big deal. General Cigars should really consult me about what size they send out to bloggers. The Club size (5.75×47) that I picked up was amazing. Amazing! Rich, hearty spicy flavors really shine throughout the cigar. Wonderful construction and all around a unique balanced experience. Stellar job Team La Gloria…sorry I rip you on the Serie N. LOL.
Excalibur 1066 Dark Knight – Like I say in my recent revisit, the Dark Knight still has a place in my humidor. Sure its not a ground breaking hot release like it was five years ago but its still enjoyable. While other General brands have gone through or started the process of updating their images, I’d still like to see some love given to the Excalibur Series so that it can reclaim a better position on shelves and isn’t forgotten.
Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary – Time to turn my focus to Team Punch! I remember always being excited when summer time came around and the newest edition of the Punch Rare Corojo would be released. Some years were better than others and then the whole boutique craze took the market by storm and the Punch Rare Corojo series fell off my radar. The 10th Anniversary brought it back! Smooth and plenty of cedar notes that create a lovely long lasting syrupy film on your palate. Definitely a cigar worth stocking up on and aging.
Punch Uppercut – My thoughts on the Punch Uppercut haven’t changed since the last time it made an appearance in Week in Smoke. The interesting thing about the Punch Uppercut is that its filler uses tobacco from the legendary Ometepe area of Nicaragua. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had Ometepe tobacco outside of the Punch Uppercut so I’m never really sure what characteristics to expect. I think Brian Hewitt summed it up best when he reviewed it by saying it’s good but not great. It’s a cigar I’d buy a stick at a time occasionally, but not one I’d designate as box-worthy. If you are a fan of Punch cigars, the Upper Cut is something you really should try. It is an interesting but not memorable. Team Punch could’ve done better. Also, Team Punch needs to get some love and get a real website like Team La Gloria does.
CAO Gold Hans Huber Conmemorativo – You’re up Team CAO! I have to say that the cigar industry never gets the credit it deserves for its generosity. I’ve seen and experienced first hand with the The Little Robusto Project. The CAO Hans Huber Conmemorativo is an exclusive at both W.Curtis Draper locations with $1 from every “Hans” sold is donated to the House of Ruth. Hans was a long time W.Curtis Draper customer who loved the CAO Gold line and The House of Ruth is a special charity to Hans and his wife Christine as it was a House of Ruth charity event where they first met. The Hans is a tweaked version of the CAO Gold line that is one of the cigars that I reach for for that first cigar of the day. You lose out on some of its subtle flavors if you smoke it after anything else.
CAO OSA Sol – I have no idea how many of the Lot 58 size I have. Whenever I think I’ve smoked the last one, another one seems to swim to the top of my humidors. While its widely known its not a size I prefer I will say that its exciting to think about the two new box pressed sizes that are in the works and I hope are still slated to be released in March/April. You want a cigar thats unique and one that tastes like nothing out there? The OSA Sol is it. Bright tasting wrapper that is just amazing to smoke.
CAO La Traviata Maduro – What can I say about the entire La Traviata brand that I haven’t said before. In its short time has quickly become a classic cigar. A great any time cigar that is enjoyable by seasoned “aficionados” “noobs” and everyone in between. When I can’t decide what to smoke at any given time, the CAO La Traviata (either wrapper) is one of the three cigars that I can safely turn to and know that I’m in for an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Team CAO, like the saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Macanudo Cru Royale – Speaking of broke, lets shift focus to Team Macanudo. Now, I know they reported to be the most selling brand in the world and I know they’ve been trying hard to update their image. If there is a time where someone should get an “A” for effort, Team Macanudo is it. Unfortunately, I don’t get it. Lots of woodsy, nutty and slight spicy flavor but nothing that brings it all together. Its definitely a step in the right direction but its missing something to bring the flavors together. Again, I’m in the minority as Brian Hewitt enjoys it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will updating the Macanudo image.
Partagas Benji Menendez Master Series – Lets end on a stellar note. If there ever is an official Cigar Hall of Fame the Benji Menedez Master Series will no doubt be, along with its namesake, one of the first inducted. Anyone who worked on that project deserves a medal. The release really breathed new life into General Cigars. I know most things General fell out of favor with me until the Master Series was released. I mentioned cigars above that I consider to be classic…The Master Series, like Benji Menendez himself is timeless. Its one of those rare cigars that hits on every level. Flavor, construction, balance, smoothness and can go toe to toe with any of the hot boutique blends out there.
UPDATE 01/27/2012 1:30PM – CONTEST
With all the great comments and feedback I’ve decided to have a contest. Typical just leave a constructive comment (if you left a comment before this you are already entered). A winner will be chosen at random next week, Friday, February 3rd @ 1:30pm EST. The winner will receive one (1) Stogie Review branded Xikar 15 count travel humidor and one (1) of each of the cigars in this episode of Week in Smoke. So you get a SR travel humidor and 11 cigars…I’ll throw a random cigar in the mix to make it an even 12. All you have to do, is leave a constructive comment.
69 thoughts on “Week in Smoke – TGT Edition”
Now you know this means we’re gonna have to throw down. Probably while wearing those cool sumo suit things.
Giving credit for an idea? How refreshing, kudos for that. (Don’t think this means we aren’t going to do battle.)
Great post. I definitely need to give General more props (and perhaps a liitle more of my business). After all, they’re ultimately one of the reasons were all here.
I really want to see that Cruz vs. Hewitt throwdown, but do you guys really need the sumo suits? LOL Not that I’m one to talk.
The sumo suite would be to protect Brian’s mangina…LOL
You’re probably right, but it wouldn’t be fair fight unless Jerry gets to use stilts.
Dont forgrt to pick a safe word beforeyou girls start
Killer! I take back everything I’ve said the past couple weeks. Great post! Honest, concise…feedback gold for the folks at General. This post actually inspires me to go out and stock up on some of my favorite cigars by General.
Very nice of you to give credit to Charlie Minato but I don’t see how this is even close to his State of the Brand Series. This is a genuine original idea!
Jerry GREAT GREAT GREAT post! Love it! I hope you continue to do this for other brands or even some of the other brands by General. Great stuff!
A+++ Reviews (video and written), YQMA and Week in Smoke are all series that make Stogie Review the go to site. You always talk about leading the pack and not following it…posts like this definitely prove it!
Keep up the great work everyone! Cigar companies would be foolish not to trust your opinions!
Vic – Thank you for the kind words. Having fans like you make it worth it!
Really good write up Jerry. Well done.
Is the sumo fight going to be on video?
If you two ladies are going to start swinging purses take it outside ok 😉
Great post Jerry! I’ve only had a few of the smokes you mentioned but I must agree with you on the La Traviata (as long as the price doesn’t go up), either wrapper any time any place!
First tike visiting this site. Been smoking cigars for the past 10 years…where have I been that I’ve been wasting my time on so many other cigar blogs? Awesome site!
Benji is an awesome guy! I met him at an event a few years ago. He’s a living legend in the industry.
I echo Vic’s comment…quality reviews, entertaining YQMA and information Week in Smoke. Glad I found you! Will be signing up for the fan forums soon!
Jerry – long time visitor, first time leaving a comment. Fabulous job on this Week in Smoke. I hope the people at General read this as you offer them some great honest advice. When do we see a Great Torpedo cigar?
Do you plan to expand on this in the future and cover other General brands like Sancho Panzo, El Rico, Bolivar, Cohiba? Surprised there isn’t a Partagas Black Label in your humidor. Wasn’t that your go to smoke for awhile? I think thats how I originally found you guys on YouTube.
Regardless, amazing post! You guys have really been producing some enjoyable and informative content lately.
I do plan to do this again…there are so many brands in the General stables that it would be impossible to talk about them in a single post.
You know what? I’m actually surprised I don’t have a Partagas Black Label too. I may have missed it. Thanks for your loyal support.
I’d like to give you props on this original post. I hope to see it expanded outside General Cigar maybe Tatuaje?
One thing, I would’ve like to see better representation of the brands. Three LGC, three CAO but only one Macanudo? Only one from the world’s most selling/recognizable brand? Seems kind of out of place. I understand this is what was in your humidor at the time but maybe going forward you can plan better to represents brands fully? Just my two cents.
Have really been enjoying the site since I found it after your Tatuaje 7th Capa Especial review…even enjoying the non-Tatuaje content. Keep it up!
Yeah its not a balanced representation of General brands. To be honest I didn’t give this a lot of thought. The idea just came to me and I started scavenging in my humidors. But now that I know this is a popular type post I can improve on the format to be a more balanced reflection of the brand.
Jerry…what a refreshing post. Loved it! You did a really great job capturing some of the offerings of General Cigar. I’m a long time find of the Dark Knight and like you wish they would send some love that way. No one will argue with you about Benji. One thing…about CAO. Is it really fair to include them in this list? I know they are owned by General now but they’ve released one blend the OSA…should General get credit for the other CAO lines when they basically just inherited them and haven’t had the time to put their “stamp” on it?
Looking forward to more of these highlighting a particular brand/company.
Well written and informative post. Maybe my memory is going but do I remember seeing a picture on Twitter or on Facebook of a Macanudo version of the Benji Menendez Master Series? I don’t recall the details but I swear I saw a picture of it. Any chance you can find out if they are real and if so, where to purchase?
Marcus – you aren’t going crazy. I checked with the folks at General Cigar and indeed there is a Macanudo Benji Menendez that was made for the European market so it was never released in the US. The picture you saw was from one of the bloggers who saw it in a humidor in a conference room while touring General Cigar facilities in the DR. Anyway, I did a bit of searching and you can see Benji Menendez talk about it:
Jerry – I sure hope you guys get the credit you deserve from these cigar companies. I mean if I was General Cigar and read your post there is a wealth of information on what we are doing right and what we can be doing better. You are basically a free consultant for them so I at least hope, the industry recognizes the dedication and work you put into having such an elite site. Cheers!
Jerry – I like that you put your spin on two posts (Week in Smoke / State of the Brand) combining the ideas and making them your own. Great forward thinking and its cool to see you give props to others even though I don’t really get what Charlie Minato’s site is all about. Seems to “gossipy” from me and he’s rubbed some manufacturers the wrong way. Anyway, great job on this post. Looking around the blogosphere there really isn’t any site that comes close to be as informative and entertaining as Stogie Review. Please keep it up!
One of your best yet. Great idea. Funny how I generally pass right by the Genral’s offerings at my B&M shop, even though I’ve been a fan of the Excalibur and Serie R. Also, it’s interesting how easily I forget that CAO is under their banner, because the La Traviata and OSA Sol are two of the best values out there. Keep up your writing; it’s always interesting.
Great week in smoke! I might try to smoke a non general cigar?
I totally agree with your thoughts of the Serie R and the Serie N. personally I think the N is good but when compared to the Serie R Maduro the Serie R wins hands down.
Great post ….CAO is going to be a very interesting brand to track the next 5 yrs…doubt they can nail another la traviata…
Would actually love to see Walt , or Brian ,if walt is “shooting the breeze” lol, do the same format, or even the same cigars to see how you two differ in opinion on the same cigars…excited to see the new sticks this yr and all of u takes on them
I think it’s great that you’re reviewing cigars from the General portfolio. I raraly smoke General products, but I’m glad to see them reviewed in case I decide to pick one up. I like stogiereview.com because you guys really do cover the whole spectrum. Keep up the good work guys!
Out of the 11 cigars you smoked for this edition I’ve tried 8 of them. As of late I’ve been most disappointed in the La Gloria Brand. I’m not sure if my palate is changing however they just don’t offer what I’m looking for. I reviewed the Punch RC 10th Anniversary and found it also to be a solid smoke. Certainly a step in the right direction for them. The CAO La Traviata is one of my go to lines, especially the Animato Corona Gorda Size. I love the fact that not only do they taste and smoke great the are beautiful to look at! Above all though is the Partagas Benji Master’s Series. I have been a fan of this smoke since it’s release in 2009. The size, profile, and performance are all top notch.
Great week in smoke! Hope your new year has started great!
Great Rundown Jerry! I’m with you on the Benji Master Series, incredible smoke, my favorie hands-down from GC.
Hey what’s up J Cruz, as usually well done. I’m particularly partial to the CAO brand, especially the La Traviata Maduro. One of my go to cigars and all around favorites. And at a VERY reasonable price. I wanted to mention that Feb. 2 is my birthday, the day before you draw a winner. A belated birthday gift would be great. HAHA just kidding around. Take care and keep up the great work.
Love the week in smoke segments, have you ever thought about doing a week in smoke segment in a video format kind of like espn’s top ten plays of the day. Just a suggestion but I think it would be really cool.
Mike I did a WIS video once…people seemed to like it but it was basically a slide show of the pictures along with the same comments I used in the written part. I’ll try it again and see how folks respond to it.
Interesting post…would’ve loved to hear your current thoughts on the Partagas Black…like someone mentioned above that was the cigar video I remember on YouTube the most. If you are taking suggestions I wouldn’t mind seeing you do something like this with the focus on Rocky Patel.
Don’t know if you are taking requests or not but I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Alec Bradley brand since they just got Cigar of The Year.
Very original post…kind of like a vertical tasting of a brand instead of a singular line. Very cool guys. Keep pushing the envelope!
I agree with you about the Cru Royale. I smoked it thinking that it was pleasurable but it didn’t have anything that really wow’d me. My impression was that this is what a mild cigar should taste like, yet I left not being able to remember any particular flavor I tasted.
man alive!!! you are living the life, looks like you had one hell of a week!!!
As always, very interesting competes on those cigars, thanks also for the give-a-way.
Great write up Jerry and I remember the time and place I smoked my first Series R Maduro based upon a recommendation From Racine & Laramie San Diego Old Town B&M and it really impressed me. I introduced it to my Dad and it’s now one of his go to cigars.
It’s easy to forget the stalwart cigars in this age of smoking something new.
Giving the General a little love…nicely done! More and more I find myself having to qualify any bad remarks I say about General…”They don’t make anything I really like…well, except for this dozen or so…okay, so out of 100 cigar lines, there are a dozen I like, so that’s better than nothing!” 🙂
As far as your individual takes on different cigars, you and I are mostly in alignment. I disagree on the Mac Grand Cru…I’ve liked every one I’ve smoked–even the Grande and I usually hate 60 rg sticks. Haven’t had a LGC Serie R in ages, don’t like the N AT ALL, but I think the Retro is the best thing from the company.
Okay…so when is Altadis Week? LOL
Hey! Great reviews! I haven’t had most of them, but agree on the La Traviata as a great go-to stick. It’s funny how easy it is to forget lines from a year and a half ago, and then remember, wait a sec… I actually liked some of those sticks… alot! Thanks for the reminder and keep up the good work.
P.S. I’d be curious to see something like a SR top five favorite (insert wrapper here), or an ocassional vitola evaluation, best of the short smokes, best gloves to prevent frostbite whilst smoking outside in Winter…
Series r number 7 maduro…
That was also one of my first cigars I fell in love with early in my career. The other sizes were ok but #7 maddie has something special
Great review love the whole idea of one manufacture.Looking forward to what comes next.
Nice write up Jerry. We are hard at work getting this wrapper ready for the OSA sizes you mention. Ricky’s been in Honduras all week in fact finalizing that as well as a few other projects. Going to be a busy year with CAO.
Punch 10th Anny was one of the first I worked on- glad you liked it, as it’s one of my favorites in the stable. Good news is that it’s back out in about a month open stock given its popularity last year.
Hoyo is going to get some love this year. Did you try Reposado en Cedros?
No word yet from Christian Bale on the co-op on the DK. Will keep you posted…
Great list, Jerry! I’ve been eyeballing the Benji for a while.. looks like I need to just do it!
Wow…cool to see CAO leave a comment! I guess Team La Gloria is too busy? LOL.
Huge props Jerry for such an original twist on the Week in Smoke series. Like others have said I hope you do more in the future. Really opened my eyes on some that I’ve never tried (La Gloria Retro) and a favorite that I’ve forgotten about (Dark Knight). The boutique craze is in full effect so this kind of post really comes in handy for those of us who are tired of tracking down the latest Tatuaje or Viaje.
Awesome post…very well written. Would love to see an video/mp3 version of The Week in Smoke to load on my my iPhone and listen while traveling.
The Benji is amazing! Great call! Looking forward to trying the LGC Retro. I’ve always ignored the Punch Upper Cut but I think I will give it a try even though you weren’t in love with it.
First I’d like to say that this is my first time visiting this site and it looks to be very popular. I do wonder how bias your site can be when I see ads for La Palina or EPC? But I guess here isn’t the place to address.
I found this post to be very interesting. I’ve been a smoker for over 65 years and have smoked everything from the best of Cuban to many non-Cubans like Davidoff, Padron and Fuente. My fixed Social Security income doesn’t allow me to afford many of those anymore. When it comes to value, availability and selection General Cigar gets my dollar every day and when we get taken over by China they will get my Chinese money too.
What I’d really like to see from this site is more passion and fire to keep those crazy liberals from bankrupting this country (both morally and financially) by its silly smoking bans and taxation to change behavior. Like I said, I’ve been smoking cigars for 65 years and haven’t had any ill effects. Its what keeps me going.
I look forward to reading more of your posts. I will have to ask my grandson on how to play videos.
Hey, Jerry, great post. With the flood of new, trendy cigars out there the classic brands get little attention, even though there are some great classic smokes out there, even from the giants like General Cigar. I confess that I have not smoked any of your mentions other than the La Gloria Serie R. Some of the cigars you featured are on my list, some I have never heard of, but that’s the point, right? I agree with William in that I often listen and watch on my iPhone but never have a problem with the standard video that you offer, just turn the iPhone to the landscape orientation and fire away. After a few seconds of Man Love who really needs the video, right? LOL.
The Week in Smoke is one of my favorite features at Stogie Review, keep up the awesome work! Jerry, your passion and enthusiasm always comes through and I jump on any content you post.
Excellent Week in Smoke! I would love to see this type of theme continued. I would also enjoy seeing a strictly factory themed WIS (i.e. only smokes made at the Raices Cubanas factory). Keep it up Jerry!
Hmmm a factory themed version would be interesting…
Great stuff here and always look forward to week in smoke. I love the Serie N…love it. Nice to see or read others have different tastes. Can’t wait for the press shape in OSA and thanks for the contest! CJ
I’d love to read about how the cigars compliment/detract from each other when smoked close together. Often I smoke two in a sitting, but if I smoke the “wrong” one first, I can’t taste much of the second. Love the week in reviews. First time commenter, long time reader.
Great concept Jerry! The LGC Serie R was one of the first “fuller body” cigars I fell in love with myself. I always seem to grab something else instead of anything General Cigar. I should give them a better shot than I do for sure.
Always enjoy the posts and reviews. Thought your comments about Macanudo were interesting…have only had the Maduro…wasn’t overwhelmed by it….I associate Macanudo with mild…don’t really see many people raving about their stuff…may give them another try…esp if they are trying to refresh the brand.
Those CAO La Traviatas have been a go-to for me as well ever since they came out. I prefer the natural to the maduro, though. Any comments on a favorite size? I think CAO knocked it out of the park with their Animados (Corona Gorda, 5 5/8 x 46) size, but the Radiantes (Toro 6 1/4 x 52) are good time.
Killer week Jerry….agree on most of the cigars ive tried at least except for the uppercut and traviatta….i thought Uppercut was fantastic and traviatta so so
Ive heard the Benji Master series is Phenomenal, looking forward to getting my hands on a couple to try. Thanks for the post!
It is great to see a broad spectrum of a company’s line up. I can only recall trying one Macanudo (mainly due to reputation as a milder smoke) and it was the 1968. It didn’t fill out as much as I had hoped but wasn’t horrid so not a bad introduction to a brand but not something that will draw me back. May try the Cru but sounds like it has a similar experience. The idea of a video WiS is nice but I’m sure may take more prep than the written reviews (plus it has to be hard coming up with all the “That’s what she said” jokes on the fly). I do like the thought of a Week In Smoke counterpart that is one of the other reviewers doing a “Last Week In Smoke” where they talk about their thoughts of the other reviewer’s WiS list.
” I’m in the minority as Brian Hewitt enjoys it.”
By “minority” are you implying that Brian is bigger than you?
I’ve long been a fan of both Punch and El Rico, don’t really “get” LGC (they are hit and miss for me) and after maybe a box and a half of various Macs, I haven’t had one I liked. It’s great that someone is giving General their due. Yeah, they are a “big box” cigar company, but some of that is good in that it usually means better consistency, low price and wide distribution.
Great stuff Jerry! Like many others I hope you guys do more of these “themed” Week in Smokes. I’d also like to see you do another and cover some of the General product you missed. The majority of what I smoke every day is by General. I smoke my share of Tatuaje, Illussione and other boutiques but it gets frustrating tracking down all of their releases or they sell out quickly. With General product they are easy to find and easy on the wallet.
Thanks Carter! Expanding this to cover more General product is in the works. Its really interesting to hear from so many, like you, who are tired of tracking down the latest Viaje or the latest exclusive Tatuaje.
Great week in smoke. I like how you guys get some hard to find cigars for reviews: but this week in smoke most if not all cigars are obtainable for most people- I think you should continue to throw in common and overlooked cigars that can be purchased almost anywhere!
Love it! Great cigars shouldn’t be the ones that you have to track down or are done in small batches. Great cigars are the blends that are easily found and are consistent. Some of these Tatuaje or Viaje stuff are so limited that you can’t gauge how good a blend is. Its one and done and so short sighted. Sure it makes you a hot brand now but can you sustain the pace?
Anyway, great work Jerry. Lets keep the momentum going and focusing on cigars that are easy for all of us to find.
Thanks for the great write up. For my taste, I do always like the serie N
How about Team Macanudo hiring Sam Leccia? That would shake things up over there!! Nice week in smoke, Jerry. Can’t wait to try the Partagas(when i win this contest). Agree with you on the Osa. That smoke seems to always make it to the top of my humi and then in my my pouch before I head out to the cigar bar.
Jerry – Great refreshing post and I’m glad to hear that you will be doing more of these themed versions. I think with proper planning these could be as popular, if not more, than your video reviews. I know they will be popular with manufacturers as is apparent by the comment left by the folks at CAO.
Wow! Awesome post! I don’t ever recall seeing anything like this anywhere else. This is the type of thing that definitely make Stogie Review stand out in the crowded field of cigar bloggers. Much respect!
Fight….Fight!!!!!! I’ll take The Great Torpedo!!!! Walt has the Ref and the Hippie has ring girl since he’s got hair for it…:P And Charlie has the cut guy.
There is an official Cigar Hall of Fame and the Benji Macanudo is in it!