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.