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Cigar Reviews

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

THE CIGAR

This week, we selected the Rocky Patel Vintage 1990.

BACK STORY

The Rocky Patel brand has always been known for its quality, construction and consistency. Having entered the cigar industry during the early days of the cigar boom as an outsider (without the Cuban or even Latin pedigree, no less), and having been told that he would never make it, Rocky succeeded like no other.

Rocky then put aside the Indian Tabac brand name (which he had spent years building) to focus on the Rocky Patel Brand, and the Vintage Series in particular. He wanted to have direct control over the quality of his cigars.

During his travels, Rocky discovered unused bales of 12-year old, Honduran-grown, broadleaf wrapper leaves. He found that this older tobacco performed significantly better than anything he had used before. Rocky also cut back on production in order to focus on quality control. Instead of rolling 400 to 500 cigars per day, Rocky limited daily runs to 250 cigars. This measure created room for an unprecedented level of craftsmanship and, in turn, permitted better attention to ensuring quality production. The Vintage line of cigars has consistently cracked the 90 rating barrier in Cigar Aficionado.

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La Gloria Cubana Serie RF No. 21

La Gloria Cubana Serie RF No. 21 1

What’s in a name? When it comes to cigars, perhaps not much. One can find hundreds of different cigars with wonderful, and some not so wonderful, names. Many cigar brands sound traditional, while others are more contemporary. Still others have names that are clearly marketing ploys.

Although the name of a cigar has nothing to do with how it smokes, or with the quality of the brand, I've always been a person who enjoys a cigar with a fine name. Some cigars (and I won't mention any specifically) sport names that, to be frank, make me want to avoid them at all costs. However, a few of those cigars also happen to be amongst my favorites. And no... A fine sounding name is not always an indication that the cigar will be a winner, either.

La Gloria Cubana, literally The Glory of Cuba, is one of those cigars brands that did it right in choosing a name. The brand name belongs to both Cuban and Dominican cigar manufacturers. I’ve had very little experience with the Cuban line. But I have smoked my fair share of the Dominican-bred LGC cigars.

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Four Shades of Arandoza

Four Shades of Arandoza 1(Article compiled by Jeff Slatton)

As you probably know by now, my wife and I covered the 2015 ICPCR in New Orleans last summer. For me, it was a real eye opener. The last show I had attended was the 2007 ‘final RTDA’ in Houston. So there were quite a few new and different things at the ICPCR for me to see and report on.

One of these was the Arandoza line of cigars. White, Blue, Red and Defcon are the marques in the range. What follows is a compilation of reviews, by me and others, of the four lines.

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GTO Hypnotic Connecticut

GTO Hypnotic Connecticut 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

THE CIGAR

This week, we selected the GTO Hypnotic Connecticut, which is produced by Oscar Rodriguez, a good friend of ours for several years now.

BACK STORY

Oscar Rodriguez is the CEO of GTO Cigars and Tabacalera GTO Dominicana. He epitomizes the current generation of cigar manufacturers – those desiring to produce innovative and unique styles and blends, yet still adhere to the tried and true methods that have proved successful for decades.

A cigar smoker since his early 20s, and also having been brought up and trained by his father and grandfather on the family tobacco farms and at the Tabacalera, Oscar has a keen talent for blending very tasty cigars that adhere to his family's rich Dominican Republic tobacco growing and cigar manufacturing roots and traditions.

What people like most about this personable cigar maker, who now splits his time between the Dominican Republic and Alabama (the latter where he is a practicing physician), is that he is highly approachable and enjoys talking with fellow cigar smokers at events, shops and lounges. And that’s where the inspiration for the Hypnotic line first came to him.

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Black Market Filthy Hooligan

Black Market Filthy Hooligan 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

The Cigar

I’ve found my way into a back alley this week, and found a hooligan – in this case, the Black Market Filthy Hooligan by Alec Bradley. Let’s take a look at this cigar.

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Tabaquero Corona

Tabaquero Corona 1Ever since meeting with Hamlet Paredes at the ICPCR last summer, I'd been anticipating his new line, Tabaquero, hitting the market. I pre-ordered a five-pack of his coronas from an online vendor, and received them shortly thereafter. After letting the cigars settle for a bit, I had one on a Saturday night, following my son's wedding. It did not disappoint.

If you are familiar with Hamlet Paredes, you likely already know he worked at the Partagas factory in Havana for 20 years, becoming a master roller. He defected to the U.S.A. in 2014, and went to work for Rocky Patel in Florida. His Partagas custom cigars always had a unique flavor, and they were much sought after. I hoped his new line would be just as good.

When I got to talk to Hamlet at the 2015 IPCPR in New Orleans, he was very excited to be promoting his cigar for the American market.

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A Cigar’s Tale Review VI

A Cigars Tale Review VI 1Cigar name: Miami Blend  

Cigar brand: Flor de Florez           
Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Vitola reviewed: Torpedo
Strength: Medium
Price: Samples

Visual 

It’s always fun when you get to smoke a cigar for the first time. Take this cigar, for example. I had never even seen it before having this particular one sent to me. Now, I get to do all my little rituals, and tell you about it.

Looking over the Connecticut Shade wrapper, I take note of the light, brown sugar color. Small veins are present, accompanied by some really tight seams that are almost invisible. There is a slightly coarse texture as I run my fingers down the torpedo-shaped cigar.

Cold aroma

After my visual inspection, I move on to my aroma testing of the wrapper and the foot. The wrapper has a faint aroma that consists of a slight leather smell. The foot is a lot more fragrant, with a barnyard base, sweet hay and slight licorice scent – very pleasing to the ole sniffer.

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Romeo y Julieta Montague

Romeo y Julieta Montague 1Juliet asks, “Romeo, O Romeo... Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Romeo then pops up out of the bushes and says (imagining the reply in my best Andy Griffith voice), “Why, I'm rat 'chere!”

I couldn't help but think of that classic bit as I prepared to smoke this cigar. But enough of the highbrow culture. On to the review!

Nut & bolts

Size: 6x52 Toro
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Dark Natural Brazilian
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan & Brazilian

Before I begin, I'll mention that this cigar is the result of a collaboration between Romeo y Julieta and Famous Smoke Shop, created as their ‘house blend’. A big THANK YOU goes out to Famous Smoke Shop for making the RyJ available for this review.

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Undercrown Shade

Undercrown Shade 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

THE CIGAR

For their review this week, Alan and Gary selected the Undercrown Shade by Drew Estate.

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ROMEO Small Batch F25

ROMEO Small Batch F25 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

THE CIGAR

This week, we selected the ROMEO Small Batch F25 by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room – a cigar that represents a collaboration between Altadis USA and Boutique Blends.

BACK STORY

Recently, we reviewed the ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta, and stated that the brand first appeared on the market in 1875 in Cuba. We added that the brand has been revered for its excellence ever since.

(Following the Cuban revolution and subsequent nationalization of the tobacco industry there, an offshoot of the brand was moved to La Romana in the Dominican Republic, where production of Romeo y Julieta cigars for the American market has continued under the direction of Altadis.)

This new ROMEO is the result of a collaboration between Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends (well known for his Aging Room cigars) and the Grupo de Maestros of Altadis U.S.A.

The cigar merges two of the better known brands from each company involved. The ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta has become a focal point for Altadis USA in recent years, while Boutique Blends’ Aging Room line has garnered its share of critical acclaim. This collaboration draws from the brand that produced Cigar Aficionado’s 2012 Number 3 Cigar of the Year (the ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta) and the brand that produced Cigar Aficionado’s Number 2 Cigar of the Year (the Aging Room Quattro F55).

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Tierra Volcán Clasico

Tierra Volcán Clasico 1Editor’s Note: Each week, our friends at the Smooth Draws Radio Show, based in Atlanta, GA, do a review of ‘The Cigar of the Week’ on their radio show, which can be heard Saturday mornings on AM1230 ESPN the Fan 2 (WFOM radio) from 9AM to 11AM. That review is printed (in its entirety) here on Cigarweekly.com, usually on the Monday following its broadcast.

The Smooth Draws Radio Show Pick of the Week

THE CIGAR

This week, Gary and Alan took a look at the Tierra Volcán Clasico by Mombacho Cigars.

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