First week of graduate classes in the books. I mentioned on Facebook that it was a bit intimidating, fast paced and surrounded by those who seem more accomplished. I’m staying positive and hoping I didn’t bite off more than I can chew. Despite work and classes twice a week at night and a study group session in between I still found time to smoke a cigar or ten. I’m hoping that my schedule starts to become predictable and I can get back into the swing of actually doing some videos again. Lots of exciting things happening here at Stogie Review too. A site redesign, maybe a new member of Stogie Review? More on all that in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Ortega Series D Maduro – A few weeks ago the Natural version made an appearance here in Week in Smoke and I dubbed it as an okay cigar that just didn’t fit in my flavor wheel. Now this here Maduro is a completely different story. Its simply phenomenal! It is the truest definition of a flavor bomb. I’ve always been enamored with the Maduro since the first time I smoked one and I’m glad they have been a hit for Eddie who is one of the nicest guys in the industry. Sorry about that Cubao Maduro review I did years ago…but you know I was right! LOL.
Gurkha Royal Challenge – The Royal Challenge is a bestseller for Gurkha. I had all kinds of draw issues with my Royal Challenge. The draw started off really stiff and I had to do some work to get things moving. It was short lived. A few puffs after getting it to open it up, the tight draw returned. I really tried to stick with it, seeing if I could locate where the plug was. I even broke out my draw tools all to no avail. We can all disagree on flavors but draw is one of those fundamental things that you have to get right. The only thing challenging for the Royal Challenge was the draw.
Brick House Maduro by JC Newman Cigars – You all know of my love of the natural Brick House. The Brick House holds the record for most appearances in Week in Smoke. The Brick House Maduro was introduced at IPCPR and started hitting shelves last week. Available in only one size, a 6×60 behemoth. Despite not loving the size, I enjoyed the Brick House Maduro. The only thing preventing me from pulling the trigger on purchasing them is that 6×60 size. Like I’ve said many times, I realize I am in the minority in the 6×60 craze. Flavors were good, construction was phenomenal…all around a solid flavorful cigar. I just wish it was available in a robusto size. Maybe next year…
Davidoff Golden Band 2012 – I don’t know the complete story of the Golden Band. I didn’t pay close attention to the press release. What I do know is that John Anderson of W.Curtis Draper was awarded a Golden Band Award from Davidoff for his work to sustain the premium cigar industry and to advance the industry’s agenda in legislation, regulation and the community. I believe there are only 10 shops or so who are carrying the Golden Band. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Smooth, clean, with a familiar Davidoff profile that showed a lot of maturity.
Davidoff White Edition 2012 – No I’m not on the Davidoff payroll although, you have to admit, it wouldn’t be a bad gig to have. Although I’m sure my crocs would not be acceptable footwear. Even with the hefty price tag of the White Edition I can’t help myself. I’m just lucky that there is some separation on the shelf so the White Edition isn’t right next to the Special R. Still one of the most impressive cigars I’ve smoked. Its quickly gaining status and approaching the Colorado Claro as my definition of perfection.
Quesada Oktoberfest – Hearty and stout. I’m talking about the Oktoberfest although the Woodchuck Pumpkin Private Reserve (gluten free) was nice too. The Oktoberfest had a beautiful slow sharp burn that produced a nice amount of lingering smoke. I didn’t try any of the Oktoberfest last year so this was my first experience with the line and I am thoroughly impressed. I totally get why many were singing it’s praise last year and I don’t see that changing this year. In fact, I’ll add my voice to the chorus. Well done…
Cuenca y Blanco – One of the darlings from IPCPR that I’m sure we will see a lot of later in the year when folks start publishing their Top 10 cigars. Fantastic. Copious amounts of flavors. Lots of complexity that really challenges your palate. Jose Blanco was right, the Lonsdale size is really a beautiful cigar to smoke. So many nuances in these classic sizes that you don’t get in the 6×60 format.
My Uzi Weighs A Ton Bait Fish – I love this little guy. What a great anytime time of day cigar that can start your day off on the right foot, an afternoon pick me up or a wonderful way to relax after a hard day of work and school. Medium body, great palate penetrating flavors. Like I said, an all around spectacular cigar that I’m sure will quickly become a must have with winter coming for those of us who smoke in the outdoors.
La Dueña by My Father Cigars – La Dueña is one of those cigars that I sampled before they were released and wasn’t enthusiastic about. After they started hitting shelves I gave the Petite Lancero a try (previously I had only sampled the robusto) and any hesitation I had went out the window. Love it! Like I said earlier, there is something simply amazing about smaller ring gauges that shine through and bring a new dimension to a cigar. Such is the case with the La Dueña. I’m a huge fan of La Riqueza and a huge fan of La Casita Criolla so its only natural that I’m impressed with La Dueña. Definitely give the cigar a try in the petite lancero size (if your retailer still has that size left)…you won’t be disappointed.
Zino Platinum Ten – Celebrating ten years of Zino Platinum is the Ten. Available in two sizes. This is the Toro but it is also available in a Salomon size. All the artwork and promotional stuff for Ten is pretty impressive and eye catching. The cigar itself is just as impressive with a bold, peppery and sweet flavor profile. Nothing extreme or over the top but just a beautiful balance that works all your senses in harmony making for a truly unique and memorable smoking experience even with its 60 ring gauge. The Ten shines!