Saturday, April 26, 2014

Royal Gold-Nirvana

Damn guys, it's been a long friggin' time since I did one of these! I'll be doing more now. Hope you all enjoy, and long ashes to all. Now let's get down to it.

Brand: Royal Gold
Blend: Nirvana
Vitola: Robusto (5x52)
Paired With: Coke

I received this cigar in a bomb from a CATS member. It has a beautiful medium tan Cameroon wrapper, which is almost completely smooth. It has a spicy sweet aroma to it pre-light. I clipped the cap with a standard guillotine, and the cap popped right off. Perfect. I lightly toasted the end with a double torch lighter, and then took a few draws. The draw was quite tight, almost to a fault.

The first few puffs revealed a spicy bite on the tongue that is not at all unpleasant. It also shows that characteristic subtle sweetness that Cameroon wrappers are so famous for, as well as a dull leathery quality. The burn is pretty wonky, and the wrapper and binder are swelling up in one place at the edge of the burn. The smoke output is moderate, nothing like Drew Estate's other offerings (Undercrown, Liga). The spicy-sweetness is a very lovely and prominent flavour, but the dull leather overtones put a bit of a damper on it. After the first half inch or so, the burn finally evened itself out.

After the first inch, the leather tones are making more of an appearance. The ash fell right onto my desk. Bummer. The flavours are not really changing all that much, aside from a ramping up of the spice. The burn overall is wiggly, but manageable. There is an ever so slight taste of bitter chocolate that ebbs and flows as the stick progresses. With about 3 inches left in the cigar, it went out. I took the time to purge the cigar, and then continued smoking.

The overall spice has evened out into a smoother, more bourbon like burn. Cedar undertones are floating around in the smoke as well. The burn has become much better, and is now razor sharp. The ash doesn't hang on for too long, and often looks flaky. I turned the cigar over, only to find part of the wrapper peeling off and the binder pressing up. That was disappointing. Once I burned past it, I did not have any more problems. The characteristic sweetness of the wrapper is still there, and getting a touch sweeter as I go. As I got down to the last inch, it began to get a bit hot, and I let it die.

Overall, a nice, smooth, tasty stick. Quite a few burn problems, and not a whole lot of complexity. Not an everyday smoke for me, especially at the price point, but one I would not hesitate to pick up again.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rocky Patel-Patel Bros.

Brand: Rocky Patel
Blend: Patel Bros
Vitola: Toro (6.5x52)
Paired with: Mug Root Beer
TV/Movie/Other: Family Guy
Smoked at: My driveway

First things first, the damage report: at the foot of this stick, the wrapper was slightly peeled. Now, on to the review. This cigar is a quite dark maduro, and has good weight to it. I didn't notice any soft spots, so I cut the end with my double blade guillotine cutter and took a dry draw. Didn't get too much off of the cold puff, but the draw was a bit tight. The smoke production upon lighting was medium, and at the start there were solid oaky notes. There was also a deep earth type of taste to it, not unpleasant but not something I generally look for in a cigar. The burn was a nightmare at first, canoeing down the side of the cigar. I let it go to see if the burn would right itself, and it slowly started to self-correct. About an inch down the cigar, a deep and dark pepper undertone showed up which I thoroughly enjoyed, along with a nice leathery flavour.

The ash hung on for about an inch and a half before falling, which wasn't bad at all. About that time, a sweetness began to appear in the finish, which was very nice. The spice began to creep up as well. The burn was nice and even at this point, but another crack/peel appeared in the wrapper. Damn USPS. It didn't touch the binder, so the draw was still good. Speaking of which, the draw had opened up nicely by this point.

Once I passed the broken wrapper, guess what? Another break. At least it didn't effect the draw. The spice has remained through this point, and the earth is gone. The cigar's flavours stayed consistent until about 2 inches from the end, at which point they began to get bitter, and I put it down to die at that point.

Final verdict: LOOOOTS of wrapper problems, fairly good flavours, not too complex. Decent ash and a tight draw. 74/100

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Esteban Carreras-Vigilante

Brand: Esteban Carreras
Blend: Vigilante
Vitola: 6x60
Paired with: Root Beer
TV/Movie/Other: some lame Spanish homework
Smoked at: Cigar Jack's

This cigar was the cigar of the month in Club Jacks, the cigar club in Cigar Jacks. It, apparently, is available nowhere else in the country. It has a light-medium tan wrapper, and is a chunky 6" by 60 ring gauge. The band, I might add, is a work of art, not even taking into account that this cigar is triple banded: one for the foot, one with the word Vigilante on it, and one with the Esteban Carreras decal and whatnot on it. I cut it with a really neat vintage cigar cutter (V cut) and took a cold draw. I caught a little bit of spice, but not much else. I started smoking at approximately 7:15.

Upon lighting, the cigar gave off a modest amount of smoke. I picked up on some smooth spice, along with a bit of sweet cedar. The burn through the first quarter inch was fairly even. The ash was a medium gray colour  and not flaky. Much to my disappointment, the ash fell off about a half inch in. The flavours stayed fairly steady through that first half inch.The strength seemed to be hovering at about medium.

The flavours of this stick seem to be relatively consistent, hovering between the smooth spice and the cedar sweetness. The strength seems to be decreasing a little bit as well. However, the burn shaped up nicely. With about 3.5 inches left, a large crack appeared on the bottom part of the wrapper. It did not affect the burn at all, so I carried on. The spiciness began to grow stronger, and as this occurred, the wrapper began to pull away along the crack line. With about 2 inches left on the stick, it began to get bitter, and I set it down to die.

Final verdict: medium body cigar with fairly consistent flavours of spice and cedar. A few wrapper and burn problems. Overall, not bad, but not an everyday stick for me. 80/100

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rocky Patel-Sungrown

Brand: Rocky Patel
Blend: Sungrown
Vitola: Robusto (5.5x50)
Paired with: Mtn. Dew
TV/Movie/Other: Clockwork Angels: The Novel
Smoked at: Cigar Jacks

I obtained this cigar via another Redditor like myself. It has a medium coloured wrapper, and a double band bearing both the name and the blend. After cutting the cigar with a V-cutter, I took a cold draw, and was both surprised and worried at how loose the draw was. I lit it with a triple torch lighter, toasting the foot nicely first. I was immediately met with sweet, almost hazelnut notes and a very nice mild spice. The ash was a nice white colour, and didn't seem at all flaky.

An inch and a half into this stick, the burn became uneven. I flipped it over to let the underside catch up, but it was no use. I had to even it up with a single torch lighter that one of the Jacks regulars had laying around. The mild spice had faded at that point into rich, much more spicy tobacco overtones with sweet coffee undertones. The ash held on for an inch and a half before falling off (albeit this was my fault, as I jostled the stick setting it down).

More than halfway through, the flavours started to change again. I love this about Rocky Patel cigars; generally, they are very fluid and changing throughout the length of the smoke. Very prominent oaky flavours are mingling with the hazelnut undertones now, and the spice is still quite strong and in your face. Unfortunately, the burn is quite uneven, even after touch-ups. I put the single torch to the uneven part once more. In the last two inches or so, it grew slightly hot, and I set it down to die.

Final verdict: very flavourful and changing stick (hazelnut, coffee, oak, spice) with nice ash and quite a few burn problems. Full bodied. Overall, a good stick, but not for every day. 84/100

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oliva-Serie O Maduro

Brand: Oliva
Blend: Serie O Maduro
Vitola: Toro (6x50)
Paired with: water
TV/Movie/Other: NFL, Falcons vs. Saints
Smoked at: Cigar Jacks

I purchased this cigar at one of my local cigar shops, Cigar Jacks. They also happen to have a smoking room, so I decided to smoke it there. This stick has a dark maduro wrapper that is pretty much free of veins and imperfections. I cut it with my V-cutter and lit it with a triple torch lighter, toasting the foot before taking a draw. The draw was just how I like it, not too loose and not too tight.

Right off the bat, I caught some fairly mild spice and touches of dark wood. On the aftertaste, there are notes of coffee, but they have more of a light coffee taste to them. The burn throughout the first inch to an inch was fairly wiggly. However, the burn always corrected itself with a little time. At the inch and half mark, very faint vanilla notes sneaked into the aftertaste, which really surprised me. Along with the vanilla came hints of light cedar, which juxtaposed perfectly with the darker wood tastes. The strength hovered around the medium mark.

Throughout the next inch or two, the burn suffered. There was a fair bit of canoeing, as well as what I'd like to call invasion. The burn kept going below the ash and curving up under some of the unlit wrapper. I never had to correct it, however.The flavours, though, were still very good. Dark cocoa appeared in the second inch and came back with a stronger spice and wood taste.

The spice on this cigar is beginning to intensify as I approach the final two and a half inches of the cigar. After retrohaling, there is a sweetness that lingers on the palate for a while. The burn decided to cooperate, and stayed fairly even. The cocoa is beginning to get a bit bitter, and in lieu of the above sentence, the burn went all wonky again. As I approached the nub, it never got hot. I set it down and let it die.

Final verdict: dark, woody, with hints of cocoa, vanilla, and spice. A few burn issues. Overall, a great smoke. 91/100

I would like to make a point about Cigar Jacks. It is a great little smoke place with good prices and great people. If you are ever in the area, go. You won't regret it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Movember Cigar Raffle

Hey brothers and sisters of the leaf,

Chad Nottingham here.
I'm here to announce that Leaf and Flame, one of my favourite cigar forums on the web, is hosting a MASSIVE raffle to support men's health and cancer research.

Seriously, $2000 of cigars and accessories are being raffled off, with all proceeds going to charities such as LIVESTRONG!

Donations can be made for the following amounts, and each donation is worth a certain amount of entries:
A donation of $3 = 1 entry
A donation of $5 = 2 entries
A donation of $10 = 5 entries
A donation of $20 = 12 entries
A donation of $50 = 35 entries
A donation of $100 = 80 entries More information can be found at that link right over there <----

Keep calm and smoke on,

Illusione-888 Candela

Brand: Illusione
Blend: 888 Candela
Vitola: Churchill (6.75x48)
Paired with: water
TV/Movie/Other: Reddit

I got this cigar in a trade with a fellow Redditor, but one thing I have to clarify is that this 888 is about an inch shorter than it should be. It was damaged prior to my trade and he had to cut about an inch off. That being said, the cigar is a light green colour with a single band with Illusione on it. I cut it with my V cutter and lit this thing with my single torch lighter. Very definitive wood flavours met my palate right off the bat. The burn is even, and it produces a good amount of smoke.

In the second inch of this smoke, I'm starting to get some spice elements. Unfortunately, I'm also having problems with the wrapper. A crack formed about a half inch below the burn, as well as a bit of unraveling around the head of the cigar. The flavours I'm getting now are reminiscent of a grassy sweetness. The burn is still fairly even, and the smoke volume has decreased a touch. About 2 inches in, there is a very pronounced bourbon style spice, which is quite nice.

After this, the grassy tastes have all but gone away. The smoke and burn are the same, but the cigar has gotten quite strong and spicy. I did not expect this. The spiciness continues through the last inch of the cigar, along with a strong wood flavour like the beginning of the cigar.

Final verdict: weird looking cigar with lots of wood, spice, and sweet grass flavours. Delicate wrapper, a few burn issues, and a full body. Overall, tasty smoke, but not for every day. 85/100

I did take pictures, but unfortunately, my phone bricked itself. I did, however, smoke this cigar down to the very nub.