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Cigar Reviews

Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande

Vivalo Serie Exclusivo Robusto Grande 1THE CIGAR


This week, Scott chose the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo.



Patrick Vivalo joined the cigar industry in 1997. In 2002, he became a sales executive for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, and more recently was in charge of inside sales. While with Rocky Patel, Patrick had the opportunity to create and blend a personal cigar at the factory in Honduras. It was a 6 x 44 lonsdale, which came to be known as the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo.
In 2013, while on a factory tour led by Patrick, two retailers (Tinder Box of Waldorf, Maryland and Dan's Cigar Lounge in Rosedale, Maryland) tried his personal blend and then contacted Rocky about carrying the cigar as an exclusive. The release was announced in April of 2013. And while Rocky Patel Premium Cigars produced the Vivalo Serie Exclusivo, Patrick Vivalo retained the rights to his name. In September of 2014, the cigar line went national, and was expanded to a total of five vitolas.
Early this year, Patrick announced that he would be leaving Rocky. He formally left on February 27th, and launched his own cigar brand, Vivalo Cigars, on March 1, 2015. The brand had an official launch at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show and Convention.

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A Cigar’s Tale Review

A Cigars Tale Review 1Cigar Name: The Inkwell

Cigar Brand: Sawtelle Cigars

Wrapper: Undisclosed

Binder: Undisclosed

Filler: Undisclosed

Vitola Reviewed: Torpedo, box-pressed

Strength: Medium to medium-full

Price: 5-pack $35.00


Studying the construction, I took note of the oily wrapper. The seams were tight and even, and there were small veins that were consistent with those of most cigars. The box-press brought sharp corners to this torpedo vitola. The cigar reviewed had one very minor flaw on a corner due to the box-pressing procedure. However, none of the others I received in my 5-pack had this flaw.

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Just My Opinion – A review of three more cigars from IPCPR 2015

Just My Opinion 1Some might ask, “Why give this idiot cigar samples to review? He’s no expert.” Those people would be right. I’m not an expert. And I might be an idiot. 

When it comes to cigars, I’m an amateur, and not a professional. I’m not part of the cigar industry. I am a cigar enthusiast - just a guy who’s been enjoying cigars for 25 years. And like anyone who does something for that long, I have learned a thing or two. My palate is not the most sophisticated. But, what I lack in talent, I make up for in effort. I speak for the average guy that buys his own cigars. That’s why I contribute to, and that’s why they publish me.  

This post is a review of three more cigars that have been introduced or marketed at the recently completed International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association’s annual trade show. What I have to say about the Crux Classic Toro, the Foyle Epee and the La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse is - to quote Dennis Miller - just my opinion. I could be wrong. Remember, I’m an amateur.

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REVIEW: Perdomo Craft-beer Blended Series

perdomo craft 1PUBLISHER'S NOTE: CW sent several reporters to the IPCPR show in New Orleans this summer. Jeff Slatton (jeffslat) was one of those reporters, and he files this review of Perdomo's Special Craft Series Sungrown line, which has been blended to accompany various craft brewed beers.

This is a compilation of three reviews of the Special Craft Series. In case you are not familiar with these Perdomos, they were specially blended to complement craft beers. For the sungrown, I chose a Stone Brewery RuinTen triple IPA. It is recommended for Amber, heavier Lager, IPA and Oktoberfest brews.

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Cohiba Nicaragua N54

Cohiba Nicaragua N54 15½ inches x 54 ring gauge

Natural wrapper

Cohiba is a brand name that evokes a heritage of premium quality and craftsmanship. It is a brand that has been romanticized and celebrated, and is, for me, one that speaks of fine quality cigars from the Dominican Republic. 

Seeing the name 'Nicaragua' prominently displayed on the label of this particular cigar was quite a surprise for me, albeit one that was rooted in a pleasant expectation. I realize this cigar has been released for a while now by General Cigar, and I'd be willing to bet that you have smoked one and already formed an opinion. Nevertheless, I hope you will appreciate my own viewpoint. This is a cigar that I have wanted to review for a while, and I appreciate my friends at Cigar Weekly for offering me that opportunity.

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CIGAR REVIEW: José Blanco Señorial Maduro Lonsdale

senorial2 resizeMonday November 9, 2015

José Blanco has cigar tobacco in his blood. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father all farmed tobacco in Tamboril, Santiago, Dominican Republic. José's uncle, Arnaldo Blanco, founded Tabacalera Palma in 1936, and it is still producing cigars in the Dominican Republic. José Blanco learned the family business of cigar making and tobacco farming while growing up, and rolled his first cigar at age 16.

For 30 years, José served as a member of the La Empreza Leon Jimenes (former owners of La Aurora) tasting panel - even as he held jobs in other industries. In 1999, he joined La Aurora full-time, and was eventually named Sales Director, although he continued to hone his skill at blending tobacco.

Blanco retired from La Aurora in 2011 in order to start his own brand. But he served for two years as Senior Vice President of Joya de Nicaragua. There, he learned about Nicaraguan tobacco, and honed his blending skills further. In 2013, he moved back to the Dominican Republic to set up his own shop.

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E.P. Carillo Selección Oscuro Small Churchill

E.P. Carillo Selección Oscuro Small Churchill 1Does anyone remember the tissue wrapped El Rey del Mundo Oscuro from Villazon? I'm sure it’s still being produced, but I haven't seen or smoked one in ages. It used to be one of my ‘go-to’ cigars. Well, I have finally found a worthy replacement. The E.P. Carillo Selección Oscuro takes me back to the flavor profile of the El Rey del Mundo, but with a higher octane rating.

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Caobanero Churchill by M.J. Frias

Caobanero Churchill 17 inches x 50 ring gauge

(IPCPR sample)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes well you just might find / You get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones, 1968.

We all want to experience our own personal ‘World’s Greatest Cigar’ – the best cigar we’ve ever had. We can probably stop looking now. Some of us spend decades looking for that penultimate cigar, but few of us ever find it. Yeah, you can’t always get what you want. Nevertheless, like the Rolling Stones sang, sometimes you get what you need. In a cigar scenario, this amounts to getting a satisfactory cigar at a fair price.

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What’s in a name? A review of three cigars from the IPCPR Trade Show

Whats in a name 1When it comes to cigar names, I’m old school. I prefer cigar names that have dignity and gravitas - venerable names like Davidoff, Padron, Ashton or Cohiba. So yes, when choosing a cigar, the name on the band influences me as to whether or not I ever pick it up. And not surprisingly, the name can also influence me as to whether or I not I like a cigar.

Be honest with yourself. You’re that way, too. We all know that we will enjoy a steak from Ruth Chris Steakhouse more than we will one from Waffle House. Nothing against Waffle House, but Ruth Chris has a world class reputation. However, at 3AM after a night of carousing, that Waffle House steak and eggs can’t be beat. 

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A ‘Blind’ Review of the Blood Red Moon Figurado

Blood Red Moon Figurado 1Along with the cigars Jeff (Cigar Weekly’s jefslat) has sent me from the IPCPR batch, there is one that has no band. And I have no idea what it might be. So here goes.

This cigar has a delicious, dark pre-light aroma that makes my mouth water. The deep brown wrapper is leathery, and has only a few small veins. The cigar feels firm but not hard, and the draw is perfect.

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Buho Primero Robusto

Buho Primero Robusto 1Size: 5 inches x 50 ring gauge

Social media has become the marketing tool for cigar makers. No magazine or website ad can compete with the testimonials, endorsements and critiques one finds on various outlets like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. These sites are where cigar makers and cigar smokers get up close and personal

Imagine if professional athletes and coaches interacted directly with the fans one on one. Yes, it happens occasionally, and never fails to make the news. However, when it comes to cigars on social media, your comment frequently merits a reply from the person who actually blended the cigar you're smoking.

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