Monthly Archives: January 2013

La Aurora Cien Años Robusto Cigar Review

La Aurora 100 Anos Robusto

The La Aurora 100 Años robusto is one I’d been waiting for my local B&M to get for a while. Tim Kime of Old Havana Cigar Company gave me his usual alert as to new shipments and I wasted no time. My friend Dustin, @CatfishBluezz www.robbyrasreviews.com , had also suggested these to me, and I’ve learned that our palates share very similar tastes.

Background Info;

The La Aurora 100 Años is distributed by Miami Cigar Company. Having smoked other blends by La Aurora and Miami Cigars  I had high expectations for this Dominican smoke. The wrapper is Dominican Corojo, the binder Dominican, as well as the filler.

Construction & Pre-light;

The 100 Años had a nice shiny glimmer to it with the oily sheen it sported. From top to bottom it felt packed well, with a slight tooth to it. A few medium veins ran through, and also a few visible wrapper seams. A sniff offered some earth and sweet tobacco notes. the foot gave spice, earth, and sweetness. A straight cut to the cap and the dry draw offered wood notes, spice, and a hint of the sweetness.

Flavor;

The cigar opened with a good amount of wood notes, pepper, and a certain sweetness, almost citrus flavor. A little into the first third and the flavors begin to take their respective roles. Up front are the notes of wood and citrus. Following these notes the pepper adds a nice kick to top things off. A nice start to the cigar.

The second third seemed to dull out the wood and replace it with some earthy tones. The citrus continued to add the sweetness to the blend and the pepper the nice kick in the back of things.

The final third brought back the wood with more of a cedar ring to it. The pepper stayed around but the citrus faded. The cigar nubbed pretty well and was a delight as I’d hoped.

Draw, Burn, & Ash;

No draw complaints from me, enjoyed every pull. The burn was pretty good, a tad wavy at times, I may have touched up once, but other than that self correcting. The ash was very slightly flaky but otherwise firm.

Conclusion;

The La Aurora Cien Años is a nice blend of wood, citrus, pepper, and earth from beginning to end. It’s definitely a great offering from both La Aurora and Miami Cigars. IMO it keeps with the standards of La Aurora in producing flavorful, and extremely enjoyable cigars. I’m looking forward to trying the other vitolas. As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan

Wes Thornton To Join The Crowned Heads Family

Read the post by co-founder John Huber… Also here’s the direct link… http://www.crownedheads.com/an-addition-to-the-family/

An Addition To The Family

By On January 24, 2013 · 4 Comments

It’s been a few months since I’ve written one of these Crowned Heads ‘blogs,’ and almost 2 years to the day from when I wrote my first on January 19, 2011 (“Back In the Studio”).

A lot has happened over the last 2 years for us here at Crowned Heads. Since we had an ‘official announcement’ to make today, I thought I would pause–light up a Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2012–and reflect back for a moment; so indulge me.

When Mike and I began this journey, we laid down a philosophy that would carry over into every facet of our business. We were (and will continue to be) influenced by a period in time where quality, pride, and integrity really mattered. We didn’t want to build a bigger or better ‘machine,’ but rather, we wanted to build /our/ machine. We didn’t want to follow the ‘rules’–we wanted to make our /own/ rules. In doing so, we managed to go from near obscurity to national distribution. We went from ‘who?’ to being one of Cigar Aficionado magazine’s “Top 25 Cigars of 2012.” We did this with virtually zero advertising and no outside sales support. We achieved this by the grace of God, the support of our families, and with the outpouring of support from each and everyone of you reading this. Thank you.

We knew from the beginning that there would come a day where we would need to expand our modest ‘Crowned Heads Family’ (which is currently 6 strong–when you factor in our beloved spouses). We also knew that when that time came, we would need to do some real searching and careful consideration to find the right individual who would ‘fit‘ in with our family.

So, this brings us to our announcement. When we thought about how we would disseminate this message, we knew that the typical ‘industry-corporate-cold-press-release‘ would not be our method of choice. This announcement comes more from the heart than the keyboard. A lot of thought went into our decision to bring someone new into our circle. And then we spent time getting to know this individual to get a ‘feel‘ for their character and how they might fit into our current mix of ‘characters.‘

Today, we could not be more pleased to announce the addition of Wes Thornton, C.M.T. (he tells us it stands for “Certified Master Tobacconist”) to the Crowned Heads Family. Effective February 18, Wes will be coming on board to be our liaison between our headquarters and our retail partners. He will be more than a ‘rep’–he will be a true ambassador of the Crowned Heads portfolio of cigars, and a living extension to our company.

We first met Wes over a year ago when he visited our headquarters to share a cigar. At that time, he was managing the downtown location of Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, TN. I remember that Wes was quiet and reserved–but he expressed a self-assuredness, and a true love for the product. As we got to know Wes more, we found in him some of the same traits that Mike and I shared, which compelled us to launch this company. He had a passion for cigars, he felt a kinship to the camaraderie that is felt within the cigar community, and he was in this industry because he wanted to–not because he had to.

When I asked Wes to shoot over a short ‘bio‘ for his official announcement, he included all the “percentage increases” he’d been a part of while at Burns Tobacconist, all the achievements he’d accomplished during and prior to the industry, years of employment, previous employers, G.P.A. (kidding on that one), etc. But the one sentence he wrote that stood out to me was this: “A cigar is great, but it’s so much more when shared with new and old friends over conversation.” We believe that Wes ‘gets it.’ He feels this industry in his bones, he embraces the Crowned Heads philosophy, and he will represent Crowned Heads going forward in a manner that we–and you–will respect, admire, and be proud of.

Take a moment and extend your well wishes to Wes Thornton–the newest member of the Crowned Heads Family. You can reach him at Wes@CrownedHeads.com.

Until next time…thank you for your continued interest and support, and smoke something good!

Jon Huber
Crowned Heads

Hispaniola Announces Turei Cigars

turei_logo

Hispaniola Cigars Announces the Release of Turei Cigars

Heaven on Earth

January 21st, 2013—The Taino aborigines of the Dominican Republic attributed spiritual qualities to smoking tobacco during their ancient rituals. It was believed that smoking the tobacco leaf would elevate them to “Turei,” translated literally as “Heaven.” Hispaniola Cigars is proud to announce that in January 2013, the spiritual experience of the Tainos will be resurrected by Turei Cigars.

After a series of complex trials and broad acceptance at IPCPR 2012, Hugo F. Melo, a fourth generation master blender and President of Hispaniola Cigars, decided the time was right to release Turei.

The Turei line includes three Dominican puro blends, each offered in a single vitola. The blends feature four-year aged tobaccos to deliver maximum complexity and flavor.

 

About the blends:

Turei Puro Sol #1: Belicoso (54 x 4.75)

Turei Puro Sol #2: Robusto (54 x 5.25)

Turei Puro Sol #3: Toro (52 x 6)

 

Turei blends deliver a broad spectrum of flavor experiences, from medium bodied floral and roasted coffee notes to full bodied profiles with light pepper, dark cocoa, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Melo described naming the new line saying, “The cigars needed a name intrinsically connected to the sensation produced during the experience. In that regard, we believe ‘Turei’ to be fitting.”

The release of the Turei line follows on the heels of the immensely popular offerings from Hispaniola Cigars, which Melo launched in 2002. “We created Hispaniola cigars specifically to honor our friends in the brick and mortar market and to serve as our flagship product,” Melo said. “We hope that Turei will be accepted with similar enthusiasm by smokers in the online and catalog market.”

The new Turei line will be available through major distributors starting January 21st. Retail price for the new Turei line will range between $7 and $8.

 

About Hispaniola Cigars

For over four generations the Melo and Matos families have been one of the largest producers of the finest organic coffee and aged tobacco in the Dominican Republic, focusing in exportation of coffee as well as supplying some of the largest fine cigar distributors and importers in the Dominican Republic with aged cured tobacco.

In 2002, H. F. Melo, a fourth generation tobacco and coffee master blender, launched the Hispaniola brand to a selective market segment. The launch served as a springboard for other cigars within the distinctive Hispaniola portfolio.

CONTACT

website: www.hispaniolacigars.com
email: info@hispaniolacigars.com
twitter: @hispaniolacigar

Getting to know the Greek Giveaway

Giveaway Part 2

As all of you well know I’m an American Greek. While saddened by the course of my family’s root country I try to remember the things I was taught growing up that made me proud of it’s rich history.

It is part of that history I’d like to delve into today. My roots are literally spread across Greece. My father’s side of the family is from an island, I won’t tell you which hint hint. My mother’s side is more mainland, not telling either may save that for a future session.

Greece, as all countries, has seen it share of war. There is a particular battle that sticks in my mind, I am proud of my people’s relentless spirit that fought hard against a foe that was more “well equipped.” What I would like from you is to tell me first, what island holds this part of my heritage, and second, to which battle I’m referring. The island is one that is extremely self-reliant. It is rich in music, poetry, and so much more, and the sites are absolutely breathtaking. Please place your answers in the comments below. I don’t think I’ll need to give too many hints, as I have already. Although if needed, rest assured I will. Thanks for taking part, and always reading! Long ashes to all! -Evan

Four Kicks Mule Kick By The Crowned Heads Cigar Review

Mule Kick

I trust that this cigar is one that needs not that much of an introduction, yet later I’ll give you more specifics anyway. Recent winnings from my friends over at The Casual Cigar landed me some great cigars. When the boys found out I hadn’t had the chance to smoke the Mule Kick yet they, in infinite generosity, threw it in as an extra bonus. I, of course, was extremely appreciative, and after smoking it, am even more!

Background Info;

The Crowned Heads, Jon Huber and Mike Conder, are the owners of The Mule Kick. It is manufactured in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and made by the great himself, Ernesto Perez Carrillo. The cigar, as described on their website, www.crownedheads.com , is made from leftover tobacco leaves that were too dark for the original Four Kicks blend, also with some added ligero. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano, the binder Nicaraguan, as well as the filler. The Mule Kick comes in boxes of 10 and is going to be very limited.

Construction and Pre-Light;

The Mule Kick felt like a well constructed cigar. There were a few veins throughout, but the wrapper seams were virtually invisible. A sniff gave some nut notes and soft spice. The foot was of more nutty notes, spice, and a faint sense of cedar. A straight cut to the gorgeous cap and the dry draw offered nutty notes, spice, cedar, and tobacco.

Flavor;

The Mule Kick started off with some pleasant notes of nuts, and spice. This lasted through the first few puffs. A little more into the first third and the cigar developed an exceptionally tasty profile. The nuts became more dominant and added to the mix were notes of cedar. The spice was reserved for the back of the profile.

The second third was another evolution of delicious. The cedar became a more prominent part next to the nutty notes. The two together began to form into an almost peanut buttery sensation. I’m at a loss for words in describing it. An exchange between myself and my buddies from The Casual Cigar left us agreeing on the sensation. They described it as almost a maple syrup feeling, also a great description. The spice was still a player, but I couldn’t wait for each puff to get that peanut buttery sensation, spectacular.

The final third saw the nut notes fade. Left now were the cedar and spice. The spice amped up a bit here and offered that kick I was expecting. No trouble in taking this cigar to the point of lip and finger burns, there weren’t any toothpicks close by.

Draw, Burn, & Ash;

The draw was great. At times I sensed a slight resistance, but nothing that hindered my enjoyment. The burn was just about razor sharp, and he resulting ash was firm and held tight.

Conclusion;

The Four Kicks Mule Kick is one that for me is an instant classic. The trouble is finding these limited edition beauties, and rightfully so. The cedar, nuts, and spice form a profile from beginning to end that is absolutely exceptional. The guys over at The Crowned Heads, and Ernesto Carrillo, have hit a grand slam with this one. If I had the chance, spoiler alert, to smoke this in 2012 it would’ve at the very least made my top 5. I’m currently raiding the internet in the hopes of finding at least a box, and have registered for notification of stock on several sites. Yes it’s that good, and yes if you have the chance, pull the trigger! As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan

Liga Privada T52 Toro By Drew Estate Cigar Review

Liga Privada T52

Recently I’ve realized that I’m missing reviews on the many cigars I’ve enjoyed by Drew Estate. I definitely need to remedy that, so here we go.  The subject of this review is the T52 Toro. Aside from these being the delicious cigars they are, they, along with most of the Ligas, are beautifully photogenic. I just had to shoot this one at night outside to flaunt the extensive amount of smoke that billows from the cigar. The photo may not even do it justice.

Background Info;

The Liga line is one of extremely unique ideas. The wrapper is a U.S. stalk cut Habano. The stalk cut, to my knowledge, is unique to Drew Estate, an innovative idea in the industry.  The filler is of Cuban seed Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran long-filler.

Construction and Pre-light;

The T52 is one gorgeous cigar to look at. A few veins run through it and the wrapper is on the oily side. The cigar feels packed well, offering no soft spots. A sniff of it offers some wood, cocoa, and spice. The foot gave me more of the same along with some tobacco notes. A straight cut to the cap and the dry draw consisted of wood, cocoa, and sweet notes.

Flavor;

The first few puffs of the T52 offered notes of wood and cocoa, together forming a tasty profile to start. Later into the first third the notes of spice became more prominent adding a tang to the cigar. The spice left nice tang on the palate. At times I noticed some coffee and sweetness trying to make their way into the smoke but they were subtle at this point.

The second third kept true to the original flavors noted in the beginning. The wood, cocoa, and spice were all in abundance, and well balanced. In addition the second third added notes of coffee, and molasses to the profile,  pleasing additions as well, and the flavors I noticed at the end of the first third. The cigar to this point was one of excellent flavor.

The final third was a wood and spice finish. The coffee also was noticeable at times, yet not as prominent as before. The T52 is a tooth pick worthy cigar, and that’s exactly how I finished it.

Draw, Burn, and Ash;

The draw was amazing from start to finish. The smoke offered from puff to puff, and flowing from the cigar itself were outstanding. The ample amount of smoke also was aromatic as well, filling the room as would that of a scented candle.

The burn was almost perfect. I didn’t have to touch it up at all and not that it happened much, but if anything seemed to go wrong with the burn it corrected itself before it was noticeable.

The ash was exceptionally strong and held on for more than the first third of the cigar for me. It was almost white in color and not flaky at all.

Conclusion;

Drew Estate, with especially the Liga Privada line, has forged itself in the industry with some of the most flavorful and unique cigars to date. The T52 was a spectacular journey of flavors in cocoa, coffee, wood, spice, and a molasses sweetness that leaves you wanting more and more. Most of the Liga line are hard to find so when I personally come across them I grab as many as possible. I also believe with some age the T52 will be a dynamite offering of the core flavors it delivers. I’m still on the prowl for some of the L40’s and have some Feral Pigs stashed away. Try them, you won’t regret it, I mean would the Greek steer you wrong?! As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Cigar Review

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990

Today’s review is of an old favorite and comes to you courtesy of Stogieboys.com. Sheryl over there was nice enough to send me some of these to review. I was happy to do so, because at the same time, I realize that these are probably one of my top picks from the Rocky Patel line.

Background Info;

I smoke the Robusto primarily and also for this review. It measures in at 5.5 x 50. The wrapper is a 12 year aged Honduran Broadleaf. The binder is from Nicaragua, the filler, Dominican and Nicaraguan.

Construction and Pre-Light;

The Vintage 1990 is a box pressed cigar with a slight oily sheen to the wrapper. Very few veins were noticeable on this cigar, and very very light wrapper seams. The cigar felt packed well, no soft spots. The pre-light sniff gave off some spice, and a kind of fruity note. The foot offered more fruit, spice and wood. A straight cut to the cap and I sensed wood and spice.

Flavor;

The cigar started out very mild. No big pepper blast or anything of the sort. Primarily I was noting some wood notes, and fruit. A little ways into the first third and the change is noticeable. A nice amount of pepper spice joins the profile, definitely not a blast, but a nice offering to the blend and now the cigar ends with a creamier finish.

The second third saw the pepper amp up a bit. Again this was nothing intolerable, but just right. The wood notes had also become more prevalent. The fruit note diminished a tad but still made an appearance.

The final third saw the wood and spice as the primary players. The fruit at this point was all but memory. No problem is taking this one down to the nub every time.

Draw, Burn, Ash;

Effortless draw from foot to nub, no extra work here.

The burn was great, not the most perfect burn, but very good. No touch ups from me on this cigar.

The ash is another excellent aspect of this cigar. It was lighter gray in color, and superbly strong.

Conclusion;

The Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 is an oldie but goodie. It’s  cigar that always has performed well for me and offered it’s core flavors of wood, pepper, and fruit every time. The construction, draw, burn, and ash are pretty much equal every time. Want to try them out? Stogieboys.com has them at great value. I’d recommend them especially if you haven’t tried them yet. As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan

Heisenberg By Quesada Cigar Review

Heisenberg

Before we start off, I feel that some things should be clear. This review, or my thoughts on the cigar(s) are completely “uncertain.” In the spirit of promoting the greatest aspect of the cigar world, interaction with one another, Quesada gave some of these cigars out for people to share. Terence Reilly had suggested to me that I hand some out and see what others think. As I understand it many of us who were lucky enough to receive these did exactly that. Personally I ended up giving out seven and was left with three. I had no problem in doing this, although, having smoked what I had left, i now can’t wait for the launch.

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which you can see on the box, is the theme of this launch. Embrace Uncertainty is also written on the box. I may be completely wrong, but along with promoting relationships and discussion on the cigar, I believe that Quesada has taken it a step further. My guess is that some of the cigars contained in the box are blended different from the others. If I’m correct, this may be one of the most amazing ideas I’ve personally come across in the industry. The few that I smoked seemed to have different profiles. Two were the same, one was completely different. I caution you this review may be a little different as I’ll be mentioning both profiles. Read and enjoy, and always feel free to ask any questions! As it’s said, Embrace Uncertainty…

Background Info;

None available at this point. I’ll update when details are available. Intriguing isn’t it?!

Construction and Pre-Light;

The Heisenbergs I received were 4×43’s. They felt packed well, a few veins running through, but nothing worrisome. Cigar #1 gave off woods and spice. The foot gave woods, spice, maybe some cocoa, and pepper. Straight cut to the cap and the dry draw was of woods, leather, and pepper.

Cigar #2 gave some hay and grass. The foot offered more hay, grass, and spice. Straight cut, per my usual, and the dry draw offered earth, hay, and spice.

Flavor;

Cigar#1, The initial puffs were a mix of deep wood notes and spice. At times I sensed some pepper coming into play. Into the first third the woods stayed heavy and the pepper made more of an appearance. This profile stayed true through the first third.

The second third saw the pepper diminish a little, now replaced with a more prominent note of leather introduced into the blend. The deep wood notes were still the dominant figure in the cigar. At a point in the second third I believe I picked up some cocoa. I wish i could elaborate more on the coca but the other two cigars seemed to have a different blend. This is one of the aspects I’d like to revisit when the Heisenbergs become available.

The final third saw just about everything, save the leather, wood and pepper, completely leave the profile. Smoking this cigar to the absolute last puff was a must.

Cigar#2, This cigar held the notes that I picked up on two of them. The Heisenberg started off with a blend of hay and grass. After the first few puffs there was a spice note introduced. It was peppery, but almost like white pepper. It added an nice heavy finish to the cigar.

The second third stayed pretty much within the profile of hay and grass. At times I picked up some sweetness that I’m still having trouble identifying, another one of the aspects I’d like to revisit.

The final third focused more on earthy tones and grass. Again easy and a must to nub out.

Draw, Burn & Ash;

Both cigars offered a terrific draw, didn’t have to work hard at all.

The burn on cigar #1 took one touch up. Cigar #2 no touch ups. Other than that the burn was very nice. Not perfectly even, but extremely close. If I noticed any swaying, it corrected itself pretty much right away.

The ash on Cigar #1 was a tad weak in the beginning, fell off sooner than I’d hoped. Yet through the second and final third it firmed up.

The ash on Cigar #2 was spectacular from start to finish. No complaints whatsoever.

Conclusion;

Should  you like woods, spice, pepper, and cocoa, the Heisenberg has you covered. Should you like earthy tones, grass, and hay, again the Heisenberg has you covered. I really hope that my initial thoughts on the line are true. If so, Quesada has one hell of a release to look forward to. In addition the promoting of discussion, camaraderie, and all of the fantastic things that make the cigar culture what it is, seems to me to be a great tribute to the industry and everyone involved. What a fantastic idea, bravo Quesada. As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all!- Evan

Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas Cigar Review

Papas Fritas

This cigar is one that needs not too much of an introduction, as it is with many cigars from the Drew Estate line up. Yet I had to write about it so here we go.

Background Info;

The Papas Fritas blend is a uniquely new idea, as far as I know. The blend is comprised of the unused cuts from Liga tobacco. The wrapper is Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro, the Binder Brazilian Mata Fina, and the Filler Honduran and Nicaraguan. The Papas Fritas is available in one Vitola measuring in at 4 1/2 x 44.

Construction and Pre-Light;

The Papas Fritas is a short-fill, don’t underestimate it, that feels packed well, no soft spots. There were  few veins noticeable, and no wrapper seams. Sniffing the cigar gave a nice coffee aroma accompanied by a little peppers, the foot offered the same. A straight cut to the pig tail cap and coffee, leather, and pepper were apparent.

Flavor;

The initial flavor upon lighting the Paps Fritas was pepper and coffee. This profile lasted through the first few puffs of the cigar. A little into the first third and the coffee, almost espresso like, became the dominant flavor. The pepper, still a heavy presence, was reserved for the retrohale and on the back of the throat. Through the first third the coffee remained dominant and added some leather to the profile a ways in. The second third stuck with the profile of coffee and leather. The pepper became slightly more mild offering a nice easy smoke.

Into the final third the pepper re-assumed a more dominant presence once again. The coffee was also in the forefront keeping the flavor interesting and tasty. The leather became more of a background note in the final third, fading to the coffee and pepper. nubbing this baby wasn’t a problem, but I would have a drink handy because the pepper didn’t slack in the least.

Draw, Burn, and Ash;

The draw was an absolute delight from start to finish. One doesn’t have to work too hard for smoke with this cigar. Each puff expelled ample smoke, and if puffed too hard maybe too much.

The burn was excellent, almost razor sharp. No touch ups were needed anywhere throughout the cigar.

The ash was a salt and pepper gray and strong as they come. I had it to at least mid-way through the cigar before ashing, and truthfully I may not have had to.

Conclusion;

I can’t say enough about the Papas Fritas by Drew Estate.  The coffee, leather, and pepper were always a presence in one way or another all thru the smoke. The construction, draw, burn, and ash were exactly everything you could ask for in a great cigar. As I said in the beginning though, don’t let the size fool you, this baby isn’t a “little” smoke by any means. As for the name, who could turn down something called Papas Fritas which translates to french fries. Another excellent offering from Drew Estate, and of course it sounds like they’re selling fast so if you get the chance, don’t pass it up! As always I thank you for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan

 

13 for 2013 Giveaway

13 Giveaway

Welcome to the 13 for 2013 giveaway. This contest will be a bit different than what you may be used to. Usually giveaways are geared around followers and gaining more. While I’d love to have more followers I’d also like you to get to know me a little more. As the title of my site states, and through some banter between myself and fellow BOTL’s on twitter, I’m Greek. An American Greek. Yes I am proud of my heritage but I was born here in the USA and have always been proud of that fact. So, one would think that my site may have a Greek theme to it. The traditional colors of the Greek flag are blue and white, which you really won’t find on my site. However, the one color on my site, red, is still a homage to something Greek, that I am very passionate about.(no its not communism smart asses ;-)) I’d like you to tell me what that is. That’s right this one may not be as easy as you thought, but look at the spread. These are all great cigars and being that there are 13 of them, I thought maybe we should mix it up a bit. IMPORTANT; If you are Greek, please do not enter this contest, the answer is too easy for you, and please do not share the answer with anyone. Don’t worry this is not the last of my giveaways so if you feel left out, not to worry there will be more.

THE RULES;

As I said, I would like you to tell me why the color red has significance to my Greek heritage. Post your guesses in the comment section of this post. DO NOT POST THE GUESSES ON TWITTER OR FACEBOOK. The guess is to be here in the comment section. If I see that it is getting too hard, I will drop hints. Good  luck to all, and thanks in advance for participating. As always thanks for reading and long ashes to all! -Evan