Thanks for the feedback in the last episode of Week in Smoke. I do plan on doing more “themed” Week in Smoke episodes both for boutique and main stream cigars. I’m actually in the process of planning out the next episode with a focus within a certain General Cigar brand. If you have been around Stogie Review since the beginning you can probably guess which brand that is. This episode I have a nice assortment of cigars. One newcomer really took me by surprise and not in a good way, and it really didn’t have to do with the cigar but more with their relatively weak reply.
Ted’s Made by Hand Connecticut Shade – Lets get the bad experience out of the way. With their strong presence in the social media world, Ted’s Made by Hand cigars have always caught my eye. I’ve actually spent time locally trying to find them and give them a chance. Luckily for me, a 6×50 Connecticut Shade version of their cigar made it’s way into my hands. Unfortunately, after I lighted the cigar I noticed a very weak draw and noticed smoke coming out of two small rounded holes.
Needless to say that with these two small rounded holes my reaction was tobacco beetles. Luckily these come packaged in their own individual box so it was self-contained. Personally, I have never experienced a tobacco beetle problem so naturally its the only conclusion that makes sense to me. Let me say I know there is no way for ANY manufacturer to guarantee their products will be 100% free of beetle larva. Its the nature of the beast with an organic product like tobacco. Its bound to happen, can happen and does happen to every manufacturer. So the beetle thing is not “the” issue. What I think is the issue was the pretty weak reply I got from Ted’s Made by Hand Twitter account. No apology, no assurance that they take this seriously or even to use the opportunity as a teaching lesson by saying like I did above that these things happen. The DM just said to send an e-mail for replacement. A DM that said “hey Jerry, thats unacceptable…where did you get our product so I can follow up with that retailer to make sure things are on the up and up” would’ve been proactive. I don’t know. Am I being petty? Am I expecting too much? Is offering a replacement enough? If it was my brand, I would’ve replied more strongly. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
Davidoff Special R Tubo – Due to pricing this isn’t something I typically look at let alone grab for but damn if I didn’t love it! Smooth, balanced and a delicate flavor profile. A nice touch of sweet creamy woodsy flavors that was just so smooth, clean and crisp. Impeccable construction. I don’t foresee a lot of these in my future but I’m looking forward to the next time the opportunity presents itself to indulge in such a decadent cigar.
Hammer & Sickle Moscow City – With my known love of the Tortuga Edicion Limitada aka Tortuga 215 I’ve been sporadically checking out the other offerings from Victor Vitale. I’ve been impressed with the Berlin Wall line as a great first cigar of the day. I picked up the Moscow City on a whim and it was enjoyable. I’m going to guess this is blended by Henke Kelner as it had a familiar Davidoff taste and smell bouncing off the wrapper. Flawless construction with a diverse flavor profile that I’m sure was lost on me as I smoked the Moscow City right after the above Special R. Looking forward to trying the Moscow City again without it being in the shadow of a Special R.
Macanudo Vintage 1988 – A $30 Macanudo? I had to do a double take to process that sticker shock. The Vintage 1988 was, to be honest, pretty refreshing and enjoyable. It surprised me. A solid mild to medium flavor but the Macanudo Vintage 1988 shines in the diversity of flavors that really have melded together for a pretty unique experience. The problem comes back to that sticker shock. If I had to choose between a Macanudo Vintage 1988 and the above Davidoff Special R…I’d pick up the Special R and pocket the change. Enjoyable cigar that I found to be very un-Macanduo like that if it was priced at about half I’d be more inclined to pick it up instead of reaching for a Special R.
La Aurora 100 Años Preferido – Lets keep the ball moving. My love for the 100 Años blend is no secret. Both the lancero and belicoso sizes have made multiple appearances here in the Week in Smoke series. I didn’t even know the 100 Años blend was made in La Aurora’s signature Preferido size. It wasn’t until Paul Spence of W.Curtis Draper-Bethesda introduced me to them recently. Just when I thought the 100 Años blend couldn’t get any better. This blend is simply perfection in the Preferido size. Delightful cigar that I wish I could have an endless supply of. If you see them…suck it up and stock up.
Leon Jimenes Don Fernando No. 4 – Keeping the La Aurora love going with a regular here in the Week in Smoke series. I’ve said it time and time again; flawless construction, beautiful looking and tasty wrapper. A mello cocoa and earthy flavors accompany a subtle tang to make for a very very memorable and unique cigar made for a legendary man. “Hechos Especialmente Para Don Fernando Leon”. This is another one of those Cigar Hall of Fame worthy blends. Great value for such a rare gem.
La Finca – I believe my mother-in-law gifted me a box of these some six plus years ago. I found this unopened box in a bottom corner of one of my humidors. So I cracked the seal and popped it open. I know La Finca is an older brand that has no doubt gone through numerous changes. Mine were in a box but when I look online I see them in boxes, bundles and even an ammo can with some sizes denoting the use of mixed filler. So you will have to pay attention when buying. The box I have is a 20 count box of the Corona size. Nice subtle nutty sweetness to compliment a natural tobacco flavor that at times can be rough around the edges. At $2 a stick (when bought buy the box) its a good purchase to keep on hand.
EP Carrillo Elencos Series Maduro Elites – This is the second one of these I’ve been able to enjoy. I was gifted one by Ernie Carrillo during the W.Curtis Draper Little Puff and this one was gifted to me by John Anderson of W.Curtis Draper. What a great treat! Smelling the foot of the cigar makes you drool with its dark semi-sweet chocolate notes. That flavor stays with you upon lighting and is complimented by a smooth cedar woodsy flavor that creates a nice syrupy texture of flavors. Looking forward to smoking these on a regular basis.
El Primer Mundo Rosado Oscuro – I don’t smoke a lot of cigars from Sean Williams and I really don’t have a good excuse not to. I can find them at some of my other local retailers. I like all the blends. I think the only excuse I have is every time I smoke one, I think of Brian Hewitt. LOL. I start smoking and as soon as the smoke starts to surround me its as if I can see Brian Hewitt’s face in the smoke and hear his fat boy laugh echoing in the background. LOL. Really, if a cigar provoked such God awful imagery would you smoke it regularly? LOL. In all seriousness, I have no excuse as I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever smoked for the Primer Mundo stables of Sean Williams and I vow to smoke more of them going forward.
Oliva Series G Maduro – Like El Primer Mundo, I don’t smoke a lot of stuff from Oliva. Unlike El Primer Mundo I have a reason. For the most part, I don’t connect with anything from Oliva. There are exceptions here and there (Cain F below and the Cain Daytona come to mind) but like I said, for the most part, I don’t get excited by Oliva. The Series G isn’t for me. Nice construction and aroma but I was expecting more depth in flavors considering at the time, this was my first cigar of the day. I found the Oliva Series G Maduro just to fall flat on my pallet.
Room101 Connecticut – A few episodes ago I mentioned how much I enjoy the original Room101 release more than the other two (Conjura and Namakubi) that have been released. What I had totally forgot about was the third LTD that was released at the 2011 IPCPR. The Room101 Connecticut has been overshadowed by the Namakubi. I liked the Room101 Connecticut a lot and was close to tracking down a box to purchase but I paused because it tasted and smoked pretty familiar. So the next day I went back to the humidor and smoked a Camacho Connecticut and while I’m not calling foul here the experience was pretty…identical. Camacho Connecticut is advertised as having a Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Honduran binder and a filler made up of Honduran and Dominican tobaccos which is the exact same advertised makeup of the Room101 Connecticut. I’m 100% sure I’m wrong and there are substantial differences and not the superficial stuff I’ve mentioned. I’m sure the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper for the Camacho didn’t come from Davidoff like the Room101 Connecticut does. Smoke them both for yourself and you be the judge.
Cain F – I get a lot of shit wrong. I’m probably wrong with the above Camacho/Room101 stuff but I was definitely wrong on the Cain F. With a years worth of age on the Cain F its totally not the rough, throat scratching, overpowering cigar that I remembered first smoking. This Cain F still had power but the rough edges had smoothed out and no more of that irritating throat scratching that I hate. This allowed more flavors to surface and compliment the power. What a difference a year can make. Will definitely be picking up more to keep on hand.