Cigar Photos

Leaf by Oscar: Island Jim #2

IMG_2679Until recently, in my area of Florida, it was difficult to find anything from Leaf by Oscar which of course included the Island Jim. Thanks to the cigar bombing list I’ve been lucky enough to try a few and this time when I was sent an Island Jim #2 I knew I needed to write about it for a couple of reasons. First, they are difficult to get around here, next they look amazing, and third I knew exactly which prop I was going to use, (come on you know my love of toys…excuse me deluxe action figures) and so the photos began. After the “photo shoot” with the cigar and its model it was time to smoke it. Luckily Distinguished Ruffian_Juice was free to go grab some drinks at one of our local hang outs, The House of Brews.

The initial look of this stick is delightful. The wrapper is smooth with light veining and none of it heavy. Its shape is that of almost a torpedo with an unfinished foot and an open head. The construction feels solid with no dead or open spots to be found. The smell from the body was not overbearing and gave off notes of leather, wet grass, and a bit of nuttiness. From the foot these odors were more prominent and gained slight spice and coffee notes.

Lighting is easy thanks to the “shaggy” foot that everyone seems to be referring to it as. I chose not to cut the head since it was already open. The draw offered little resistance and it was easy to get a nice, full mouthful of medium weighted smoke that delivered all the flavors this cigar had to offer.

From the first draw I immediately picked up the peppery taste that I noticed from smelling the foot. That flavor was well complemented by the taste of nuts and a distant flavor of hay. As I continued to smoke, the construction of this cigar held up to its looks. There was a consistent even burn with no runs and a tight greyish ash that held for 1.5” to 2” before falling off each time. I made it through the first half with virtually no change in flavor, which was fine by me since it was fantastic.

As I neared the second third of the cigar the spicy flavor started to take a back seat to new heavily roasted coffee tones and a bready taste becoming more prominent. While the change this late in the cigar was unexpected it was not detrimental to the smoke. It didn’t change my over all opinion of the stick rather it added a new dynamic to it that made me more interested. With this new flavor I smoked this cigar down to the nub until it began to burn my fingers and then used my knife to hold it until I could smoke no more of it.

In total this is a great cigar. Aesthetically it is a great looking cigar, the construction is phenomenal, the lighting is easy, the draw is comfortable, it provides plenty of medium weighted smoke and the flavor is well balanced and more than enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a cigar in the medium to not quite heavy range and it is great for either daytime or a nighttime smoke.


Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Unreleased

Size: 6.5 x 52

Taste: Medium body.


Price: Around $10.00 a stick depending on location.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 pints.

Ventura Cigar’s PSyKo Seven

IMG_8394I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a two pack of the PSyKo Seven cigars from Ventura Instagram a week or so ago and had been anxious to try them. From what I had been hearing about them through other people and between what I had heard and the packaging (I’m a sucker for clever packaging) I wanted to see what they were all about.

The two pack arrived to me in the small wooden box with a Boveda pack in the bottom, which kept the humidity level in an excellent range. The cigar was still firm but easily pliable between the fingers. The cigars could easily be squeezed without the fear of cracking the wrapper yet, there were no noticeable dead or empty spots throughout the body of the stick.

The Maduro wrapper of this cigar is a nice rich brown nearly matching the color of coffee beans. The veining is minimal and the seam is almost invisible. The smell of the body is a bit of hay, earth, nuts, fruit and of course cedar. The foot reveals the same notes only stronger.

The light is easy and the draw was firm but not difficult and the cigar produced plenty of smoke from each pull. The smoke was not what I would call heavy on the tongue but still dense and full. From lighting it burned evenly and held a good solid ash. The flavor from the parade of tobacco used to make this cigar was excellent. While it shared a lot of the same flavors as it did in odor the nuttiness and fruit/citrus notes were more noticeable along with a spiciness. As I work my way through the cigar the flavor stays fairly even with little change. However, the flavor does become fuller putting this well into what I would consider to be a good medium to nearly full body cigar.

I thoroughly enjoyed smoking these cigars and can’t wait to pick up some more. If you are looking for something that has complex flavors and isn’t going to kill your budget look no further than the PSyKo Seven from Ventura Cigars. At $7.00 a stick it is really a cigar to beat in both price and quality.

Wrapper: Dominican Hybrid

Binder: Mexican Sumatra

Filler: Multiple Country Blend – Nicaraguan Ligero, Peruvian Pelo de Oro, Honduran Seco, Dominican Hybrid, Pennsylvanian Ligero.

Shapes: ROBUTSTO: 5.50” X 50 – TORO: 6.25” x 48 – GORDITO: 4.00” X 58 – GORDO: 6.00” X 60

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Taste: Mild-Medium with Distinct Transitions



Cost: Around $7.00 a stick.

Rating 4.6 pints out of 5.

Carlos Toraño Vault D-042

A few months ago I picked up a bundle of various Carlos Toraño cigars, and they’ve been percolating in my humidor since then. Recently I decided I’d try the Vault D-042, or Vault Red. The original Vault, A-008, was wonderful, and I wanted to see what else the Toraño family had deemed worthy to resurrect from their vault (yes, this is the story behind the name of these two lines).


This cigar features a nice milk-chocolate wrapper that’s satiny smooth. No blemishes whatsoever on the wrapper, although there were a few visible veins. Not a big deal. Great aromas on the stick itself, a coffee and hay that was surprisingly potent. If there is any earmark to be found on Toraño cigars, it’s the pre-light aromas and the aromas off the head once lit.

I cut off the tip of the head with my trusty double guillotine cutter which has a covered back so I don’t accidentally cut too much off. I love the cutter, but I wish it had a hole in the middle so I could get a little deeper on torpedoes. As I generally don’t like to smoke torpedoes anyway (I find that 3 out of 5 have too firm a draw), I haven’t looked too hard for another cutter. This stick was a 5×52 robusto, so no worries there. Once the tip was off and I had tested the draw, I started toasting.



First light revealed an initial burst of pepper, but not strong. It was mellow like pepper on your eggs in the morning. There was some cedar in there, too, but predominantly was earth. I called it a medium-full, but I think that depends on personal opinion. I’m sure some out there would call it a medium (all you diesel spice-dogs out there know exactly what I mean), but the flavors weren’t at all elusive. A solid tobacco core to back up the earth and cedar. The draw unfortunately was pretty loose, and I found out why as I smoked on. More on that in a bit.

One inch down and the pepper had pretty much evaporated. There was still a nice warmth on the tongue that I usually associate with pepper, but one could hardly call it prominent. The earth was still on top, but the cedar had morphed into something sweeter: herb-like with a little citrus. It wasn’t overwhelming, and it never made it to floral; It was just there – subtle and pleasant. Aside from the (still) very loose draw, this thing would have been perfect.

When the ash fell off at around one inch, I immediately saw why the draw was so loose:



It’s a bummer, and maybe the other sticks I have won’t have this problem, but I was a little disappointed. Anyway, once I moved past the hole, the draw tightened up appreciably. Around the half-way point the sweetness morphed a bit into a ginger with a hint of raisin. The whole flavor profile was led by earth and tobacco, but it was enjoyable to get that little bit of complexity. And, as with every Toraño I’ve smoked, the aromas off the head while lit are superb – lots of nuts and chocolate. Delicious.

In the last third the strength started to ramp up, and I ended it at the 55 minute mark. Not the longest burn ever recorded, but certainly respectable and not disappointing in a robusto size. I would definitely smoke this again, although if given a choice between the silver or red vaults, I think I would choose the silver. Overall I gave this an 8 out of 10. Not perfect, the burn was a little wonky (no touch-ups required, though), and the very loose draw was annoying at worst, but given the price-point ($7 for a single), well worth the experience. Something every cigar smoker should try.




From Distinguished Ruffian member @thejfraney