•August 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

8-14-15 been in humidor since 8-17-14

Don Pepin Garcia Original (Blue) Maduro (6×52)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Blender: Don Pepin Garcia

The Don Pepin Garcia Original, or “Blue,” is the cigar that put Don Pepin Garcia on the map. It has been one of his most respected, and widely recognized cigars since its release in 2003. It has been the backbone of the DPG lineup from day one, being the base for many other blends (including the Don Pepin Garcia 10th Anniversary Limited Edition) and has had limited edition sizes. These cigars are all made in the Cuban style of rolling and finished with Cuban style caps.

However, this is not the purely original blend. This features a maduro wrapper. What is interesting about this wrapper is that it is not very much different from the original wrapper, utilizing the exact same seed as the original, just a higher priming and a bit more fermentation.

There were only 630 boxes of 18 cigars, all the same size, released. This is considered a “short run production” not a “limited edition” witch made it more exclusive as far as location availability. This also keeps it from bearing a “My Father Limited Edition” band.

The DPG Blue Maduro does not look that much different than the original non-maduro version. To an untrained eye there is very little difference; the only distinction being the peach colored ribbon on the foot of the cigar instead of the typical blue ribbon. The wrapper is a bit darker but it is not the deep dark brown that is typically thought of when the word “maduro” is used. It has more of a lighter milk chocolate look to it. There are several veins that are thick and can be felt and seen on the wrapper. Even with the relatively rustic looking wrapper, there is a beautiful sheen on it.

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The wrapper feels oily and fairly silky to the touch. The scent is very rich earth making it almost to compost. A lick on the cap feels oily in the mouth and has a light spice to it that lingers. The cut is easy and a cold draw has a rich chocolate, coffee, and leather flavor with a bit of spice again. The draw is firm but not tight. It is a good resistance.

Light with a soft flame.

The first draw is spicy and earthy. It is balanced from the very first draw. There is a sweet undertone that is very “wild plants” in nature. The classic Nicaraguan woody spice undertone is there with a fairly heavy emphasis on the wood aspects. The texture of the smoke feels slightly pulpy but it works well with the mild spice. Through the nose there is a bit of burn but not as extreme as one would expect.

As the cigar settles in the wood notes take on the sweetness, the spice mellows considerably, even through the nose. The earth becomes rounder and has a “fresh” quality to it. It is full in body with the flavors coating the mouth. The finish is long and contains flavors of the woody spice mentioned earlier.

The middle third of the cigar has a more defined black pepper feel to it. It is very much more refined. The woody notes still abound and the texture has smoothed out, but still has a slight pulp feel on the finish. The spice remains into the long finish residing heavily on the back of the palate. The full bodied nature of this cigar makes the pace of the smoking slow. The burn is uneven but does not require corrective lights.

The beginning of the final third has a much more earthy feel to it with more flavors of coffee and chocolate. This cigar has developed in this last third, making the experience more of a journey than the first two thirds. The finish has picked up a sweet earth flavor that is absolutely fantastic and makes the mouth water. A big consistency in the DPG Blue maduro is the retrohale. It has not changed for the entire cigar. The rest of it has developed to a degree but this has not, making the retrohale the fundamental underlying concept that ties the entire journey of the cigar together.

The end of the cigar becomes more spicy with a cinnamon kick and a good nicotine kick as well.

Burn to the nub

time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Burn: 8.5
Draw: 9
Taste: 9.5
Aftertaste: 10
Construction: 10
Balance: 9
Feel: 9

Overall: 9.3

Caldwell Cigar Co. The King Is Dead

•August 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

8-2-2015 Fresh from the shop.

Caldwell Cigar Co. The King Is Dead, Diamond Girl (6.5 x 42)

Wrapper: Negrito Dominicano 2008

Binder: Dominican Corojo 2006

Filler: Habana Vuelta Abaja 2010, Dominican Corojo Ligero 2006, Negrito Dominicano Viso 2008

Blenders: Robert Caldwell, William and Henderson Ventura

The King is Dead is part of the Caldwell collection. This collection of cigars has a theme of using rare tobaccos that often are notoriously hard to blend and use in cigars. In the King is Dead the wrapper is a once popular verity of tobacco for a wrapper that lost popularity in the 1950s once the Castro took over in the Cuban revolution. Originally the tobacco was grown in Cuba then the seeds were harvested and planted in the Dominican Republic. In the early 2000s Caldwell’s growers started to plant these seeds again in an attempt to make a unique cigar tobacco.

This actually proved harder to be harder to do than expected. The blending process took seven years to complete because, according to Caldwell himself, “it wouldn’t burn and it wouldn’t blend.” After the tobacco had plenty of time to rest and age it mellowed and became more pliable. This made blending a possibility. The King is Dead should have qualities that many modern cigars do not poses, simply because it uses a tobacco that has not been used since the 1950s.

The original release of The King Is Dead had four sizes:

Broken Sword: 5 x 40
Premier: 5 x 50
The Last Payday 6 x 52 (Torpedo)
Supreme: 7 1/2 x 52

The size that is under review here, called Diamond Girl is 6.5 x 42 was officially released at the 2015 IPCPR. However, this size, along with other new vitolas for Caldwell’s other lines, were released to the “first 49” initially. These are the 49 retail locations that were the first to support the brand. They subsequently became available to all Caldwell Cigar Co. retailers shortly after the trade show

The King is Dead has a lighter brown color to the wrapper, a bit lighter than a classic chocolate color, much closer to a brown paper bag in hue. There are some visible veins but none of them seem to be very large. The cap is a classic pigtail style that is twisted tightly. The Band is a cream and gold with an image of a split throne in the center. This throne divides the words “The King” and “Is Dead” written in black.

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In the hand the cigar has a bit of a fuzzy/rough texture, however this is not visible to the eye. The scent of the cigar is light and has a touch of barnyard to it. There is a bit more to it than that, almost like a root beer scent, just extremely mild. A lick on the cap is a bit sour and a bit spicy. The clip with a double guillotine is easy and reveals a cold draw that has perfect resistance and leans heavy to a licorice with a floral undertone.

light with a soft flame.

The first few puffs have a wood note to them and each puff fades quickly black pepper spice that is intense but not harsh in any way. There is a sweet undertone that is almost caramel like. This spice at the beginning does not last very far into the cigar. A half inch in it fades to a more gentile spice and the wood comes to the front some along with a white bread quality. Through the nose there is more spice and some wood that leans to a sweet side. The body is on the medium side of full. It is definitively the wood that is sweet, not the spice. The two flavors are distinct and separate yet they work together. The spice is still on the heavy side at times making it feel a bit out of balanced. The spice and strength slows the pace of smoking.

The middle third has a more nutty feel to it up front. The spice is the same as in the first third. The finish becomes a classic tobacco like earth with a hint at chocolate that lingers on after the smoke is pushed out of the mouth. The retrohale sports more of the earthy chocolate and a bit of the spice that is edging to red pepper. Many cigars do not poses a notable “room note” but this one does. It leans to dark spicy chocolate and is distinct and unique. The spice is strong but it is not harsh. This spice actually causes the mouth to water. The burn is not perfect and does require a corrective light.

The final third of this cigar rounds out with the spice taking on a softer feel and shorter presence, mainly at the beginning of each puff. The wood notes explode and still maintain a subtle sweetness. The chocolate is heavy in the sense that it feels like that flavor is where the body comes from, however as a flavor it is mostly light and in the finish. There is a creamy quality to it all.

The last few puffs are much of the same and the cigar goes out on its own with just a nub left.

Burn to the nub

time: 2 hours.

Burn: 8.5
Draw: 10
Taste: 9
Aftertaste: 10
Construction: 10
Balance: 8
Feel: 8.5

Overall: 9.1

Punch Punch

•May 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

5-28-15 been in humidor since 11-17-14

Punch Punch (5.6 x 46)

Wrapper: Cuban

Binder: Cuban

Filler: Cuban

Box code: BMS FEB 14

This brand, and vitola, are a Cuban cigar staple. It is a classic. The brand itself has been around since 1840 when the name was first registered. Punch was named after a 17th century British wife-beating puppet named “Mr Punch” who is most often depicted in a traditional Jesters outfit. The Modern Punch Punch cigar box still has the image of this puppet lounging with a cigar and a pet dog wearing a multi-colored collar. That image is surrounded by four illustrations of the cigar making process.

The name “Manuel Lopez” appears on the box as well. This is not the name of the original owner of the cigar brand. It is estimated that he is the third owner. He is, however, the one who made the brand an icon of Cuban cigars. His full name is “Manuel Lopez Fernandez,” who is the brother Fernando Lopez Fernandez, operator of Juan Valle y Cia. cigar company. This is why the other name on the modern box is “J. Valle.” This name combo on the box can be dated back to the 1920’s.

The Punch Punch is a pre-revolution release and is still being sold. This is the Stereotypical Punch cigar. This is the vitola that is most commonly associated with the brand. Until the 1980s the Punch Punch had a slightly different name of “Punch Punch de Luxe.”

The band of this cigar is in a red, white and gold color scheme with typical Cuban cigar band styling. It is a classic look. The wrapper is a touch darker than a brown paper bag and has very few large veins. What veins are there, are well dispersed. There is a slight natural box press, almost unnoticeable unless looking for it, but realized when attempting to take the first cigar from the box. The wrapper and cap look applied flawlessly. There is an nice sheen on this cigar that is mirrored in the oily feel of it in the hand.

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The Band comes off very easily, keeping the wrapper fully in tact, a touch that is always appreciated. When gently squeezed there is a very evenly distributed slight give. The scent unlit is a very mild barnyard with the slightest push to wood. A lick on the cap is much woodier in a balsa wood sort of way. Once clipped with the above pictured double guillotine there is a firm draw that has a dried stone fruit quality to it. This is on the sour side almost like the style of sour found in the Gose style of beer. This is a very unique quality.

Light with a soft flame.

The first few puffs are slightly sweet, woody and incredibly smooth. Through the nose there is a very mild version of the typical Cuban sharp earth. The finish is long and has a light oak to it and a slight desiccant feel. The sweetness is fruity, but in an extremely mild way, and is focused on the initial part of the draw. It is extremely balanced in this first quarter inch.

As the cigar settles in, the dried stone fruit style sweetness picks up a tick. This fades into an oak and white pepper taste on the palate. Through the nose the Cuban sharp earth flavors pick up.

The middle third has a much more umami flavor with a black tea impression that truly makes the mouth water. The spice on the middle and finishing flavors pick up while the fruity flavors fade to next to nothing. The cigar is still incredibly smooth, even through the nose. On this retrohale, the flavors are the same as the first third, nothing but the beautiful sharp earth with a slight oak. Through the middle third the wood notes increase. The body builds to a solid medium, making it very relaxing.

Though the burn is not a razors edge, it is quite good and corrects itself before any issues call for a corrective light.

By the final third the spice has turned on quite a bit. This is noticed heavily in the retrohale. It does not reach the level of being harsh, but it does throw the cigar ever so slightly out of balance. This should age out in 2-3 years. The oak flavor on the finish becomes more of a generic wood and it lengthens quite a bit. The initial flavors are not sweet anymore but have some of the wood that is found in the middle and finishing flavors while still retaining some of the tea flavor. This tea flavor dies out quickly after the draw on the cigar stops, when the smoke is held in the mouth. The body builds to the fuller side of medium in the non-Cuban sense but is full bodied for a Cuban cigar.

The very end of the cigar heats up and becomes spicy in a cinnamon way. It is very different than the rest of the cigar and enjoyable, but not as much as the rest of the cigar.

This cigar burns slowly. This is probably promoted by the slightly tight draw. The downside is that if it is let to sit for a moment it tries to go out. Either some heavy puffing is required or a very quick relight is needed.

Burn to the nub

time: 1 hour 50minutes

Burn: 9.5
Draw: 8
Taste: 9
Aftertaste: 9
Construction: 10
Balance: 8
Feel: 9

Overall: 8.9

Age will put this over 9 within a few short years.

Room101 Master Collection One

•May 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

5-8-15 been in humidor s ince 6-12-14

Room101 Master Collection One Mutante (7×38)

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Ligero Rosado

Binder: Honduran Corojo Corte #5

Filler: Honduran Corojo, Nicaraguan Habano Ligero and Mexican San Andrés Ligero.

Blender: Matt Booth

The Room101 Master Collection One is the first of (currently) three blends that are the Master Collection. The Master Collection blends bear the new Room101 logo of the cherry blossom. This is a significant symbol. The cherry blossom has a short yet beautiful life. There are holes in the outer regions of the blossom to indicate the metaphorical storms in life that cause damage. The intact and solid center of the blossom in the logo represent the nucleus and strong core of the Room101 family. This symbol of the cherry blossom will be on the highest quality Room101 products.

The Master Collection was released after Camacho decided to re-brand with the Bold Standard campaign. Part of this re-brand was to rename the Camacho factory from “Tabacos Rancho Jamastran” to “Agroindustrias Laepe, S.A.” it is still the same exact factory, just with a new name. This cigar is made in that factory, but unlike the slogan of the new Camacho line, this cigar is not intended to be one that delivers a heavy dose of nicotine.

At the time of this review, this is only the second cigar from Room101 that has a San Andres wrapper, the other being the Room101 SA. This is the eleventh cigar released by Room101

This cigar is a very rich chocolate brown and with a bit of a stretch, the rosado can be seen. The wrapper looks thick and slightly weathered, but never rough or sloppy. A slight color variation can be seen at the seems. This probably indicates the natural fermentation process. The band of silver and black dons the Room101 Cherry blossom logo. The only other hint to what this cigar is would be the word “one” on the edge of the band on the back. The cap is a classic Cuban style pigtail.

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In the hand the cigar feels consistently firm from head to foot. There is a slight fuzz to it. The smell mild but has the classic maduro barnyard quality that leans to sweet. A lick on the cap is oily on the lips and has light earth flavors. A quick and easy cut with the Xi2 reveals a draw that is earthy-autumn and a light spice-drop. This spice-drop flavor lingers.

Light with a soft flame.

The light is quick and easy. Initial impressions are a mild leather with oak and a slight musk. It is incredibly smooth, having zero hint at any form of spice even with an entire puff expelled through the nose.

As the cigar settles in, a very slight citrus and cedar develop on the “high end” with the slightest hint of white pepper. Most of the pepper shows up in the finish and retrohaole. It is a very nuanced cigar with mild complexities. They are there but they are not in your face.

The middle third of this cigar has a more intense wood flavor and the pepper spreads its way into the initial flavor. The underlying leather oak and musk has lost a good deal of the musk, though it is there. A quick burst of sweet shows up in the transition from the initial flavor to the middle flavor. The finish is non-oppressive in any way, even though there is a slight spice. It is mostly leather and a light wood.

The final third has a bit more of a pulpy texture. The sweetness is still there but less of a burst and more of a fade in and out. The underlying flavors that have been present throughout are most of the flavor at this point. It is warm smoke in flavor not in actual temperature. This gives a strange impression of the sweet element. It is almost a baked fruit style sweetness. As the cigar approaches the end, it does not heat any more. It does, however, flatten out. The flavors dull and mute and muddy together. The spice comes out a bit more especially on the finish.

Burn to the burn

time 1hour 40 minutes.

Burn: 9
Draw: 10
Taste: 9
Aftertaste: 9
Construction: 10
Balance: 10
Feel: 9

Overall: 9.4

E.P. Carillo Perez-Carrillo La Historia

•April 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

4-17-2015 been in humidor since 2-25-15

E.P. Carillo Perez-Carrillo La Historia Doña Elena (6.125 x 50)

Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

Blender: Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.

La Historia is a cigar about the roots of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s family in Cuban tobacco, specifically the women that were behind the scenes making the family work. In true Cuban tradition, the tobacco may be cultivated by the males of the family, but the family is held together by the women, and without the family the Tobacco is nothing. This is exactly what the cigar is all about. This particular vitola of the cigar ( Doña Elena) is named after Perez-Carrillo’s wife.

La Historia was released at the 2014 IPCPR, though there was much talk about the cigar previous to its release. In 2013 it was mentioned on the Cigar Dave show that a cigar was ion the works to be branded under the Perez-Carrillo name. When it finally showed up a year or so later at the IPCPR, it made an impression. The cigar was not only correctly marketed but correctly blended, crafted, and inspired. These elements have led to accolades that most companies would lust after, including a #2 spot on the 2014 top 25 in Cigar Aficionado for the E-III size.

The wrapper of this cigar is dark with the triple cap being darker than the rest of the cigar. A few veins can be seen but the three bands that are on this cigar cover a large enough percentage of the cigar that it is difficult to tell if the veins are dominant or if they make small runs. The wrapper has a muddled look to it indicating that this cigar is not colored in any way, it has achieved this color by natural fermentation only. This always a welcomed sign. The three bands are large and striking with the color scheme of gold, white red and, boldly, a bright blue. This blue gives the otherwise classic feel of the band a modern touch. The other “modern cigar that is reaching into its roots” element of the band is the pictures on either side of the face of the band. On one side there is a woman with a background of a classic Cuban view of palm trees and original wilderness. On the other side there is a Cuban skyline with the same woman in the foreground.

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The cigar has a light feel to it. There is not much give to the sides of the cigar save for one tiny soft spot. The smell of the unit cigar is dark wood and earth. A lick on the cap is nowhere near as bold as expected. There is a mild slate taste to it and zero spice. Clipped with a double guillotine. A cold draw bring out coco and earth flavors with a hint at spice drops. The draw has a perfect amount of resistance.

Light with a soft flame.

the first few draws have a very woody quality to them. The aftertaste is lightly sweet and inspires the salivary glands to do their thing. In the finish there is a nice slate/mineral note that is very light and very difficult to notice. There is only a mild spice that lives in the realm of white pepper. There is little to no burn through the nose. This retrohale is predominantly wood with a hint of slate.

As the cigar settles in the mineral notes come out. The classic Maduro barnyard flavors become the backbone while the wood accents it wonderfully. The finish becomes longer and within that finish there is a very mild spice that is noticed. It is on the back of the palate. It is very smooth given the heavy flavors contained within.

Entering the middle third, the flavors seem to melt together some. The only stand alone flavor is the mild spice on the finish. The soft sweetness is the thing that ties the wood and slate/mineral flavors together. The sweet slate seems to keep the saliva running, making the cigar easier to taste. No water is needed to cleanse the palate because it is naturally being cleansed by saliva. A moist tongue tastes better, and this cigar makes itself taste better. This is a quality that few cigars seem to have. The burn is ever so slightly off but no corrective lights are needed, they always correct themselves. The ash does seem to fall fairly frequently, but the smoke is still cool. Very large plumes of smoke are created by puffing, a quality that is entertaining and makes the cigar feel bigger and more dominant than a decidedly medium body cigar should. This is all very balanced and enjoyable.

The Final third muddies down a little. This is not to say that the flavors are less clear but there is more of a rich earth flavor like often found in a dark roast coffee from Coasta Rica . This works well with the slate that is mentioned above. The spice is still late in the finish but still non oppressive in any way. The room note is absolutely to the cedar side of things. The balance in this third is fantastic, much like the balance in the beginning two thirds. The bold flavors of this medium body cigar make for a very enjoyable, non-palate-wrecking cigar. A

As the cigar approaches the end, there is a push on the spice, and it begins to show up on the initial and middle flavors. It is a soft spice that leans to a Nicaragaun woody pulp. It stays in balance though this is a drastic change for this cigar. This is how the cigar ends. It is clear why this cigar gets the accolades the way it does.

Burn to the burn

time: 2 hours 5min

Burn: 9
Draw: 10
Taste: 10
Aftertaste: 9
Construction: 9
Balance: 10
Feel: 10

Overall: 9.6

 
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