Cigar

Tatuaje’s Skinny Frank

Tatuaje Skinny MonstersAs is the case with the S&M Smoke Shop (AKA DR Headquarters) Different things are always popping up. This time they managed to get their hands on the entire Skinny Monster series from Tatuaje so I figured why not try a few and see what I thought. For my first go around I decided to try the Frank, since I had had it in other vitolas, it seemed like the right place to start.

The cigar wrapper is a dark espresso color with some noticeable veining, however this doesn’t detract from the overall appearance but seems fitting for the cigar name. There are some oils present on the wrapper but it has mostly a matte finish to it. The seams look tight and flat and it has the usual dense feeling of a lancero with little give when pressure is applied.

The smell from the body is barnyard or hay with a sweet jasmine floral scent and hints of milk chocolate; from the foot it has more of an anise odor, with the jasmine floral scent as well. The cap cuts with no damage to the body, which with lanceros I prefer to cut a bit heavier to open a decent airway to prevent the draw from feeling too tight.

From the cold draw it has a (what I would consider typical) lancero hard draw but is not off putting, the flavor is rich tobacco and cinnamon. The cigar lights easy and burns evenly from the start. The first few draws have a deep smoked meaty flavor with a long red pepper finish that lingers until the next draw.

Through the first third the meatiness of the cigar stays and a bit of cedar comes in accompanied by the long pepper finish. The burn remains even and it produces a loose greyish ash that holds on for about an inch at a time before falling off on its own accord. Smoke production is good and is a medium weight on the tongue.

Entering into the second third the meatiness drops off leaving the cedar flavor and now leather enters the profile, the peppery finish is still there but has nearly disappeared. Reaching this point I was starting to classify the entire cigar in a mild in flavor category.

Reaching the final third the flavor becomes a bit fuller with the cedar still the forerunner yet roasted pine nuts and bitter dark chocolate are joining in. There is also the return of the long peppery finish, which was nice to have back.

In all I did enjoy the cigar. While the draw was tight I found that it was not as tight as most lanceros and there was no struggle in smoking it. The flavor profile changes kept me on my toes trying to find a good description for the flavors I was tasting. The ash held tight and the burn was even for the whole smoke showing that the construction was quality and their was the overall novelty of smoking a cigar named after one of my favorite classic horror movies. If your new to Tatuaje and are wondering where to start you can’t go wrong with the Skinny Frank.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)

Website: Tatuajecigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

HERRERA ESTELI TORO ESPECIAL

IMG_7955Knowing that Willy Herrera was making this cigar and it was being made in a more traditional Cuban style I was excited to try it. I did a little bit of investigating before the package arrived to know what I would be getting into. All of the Herrera Estelis are rolled in the entubado style with a triple cap. This is the bunching technique, which rolls each filler leaf into itself, almost like a small scroll. Each individually “scrolled” leaf is then placed together to form the bunch. This skillful rolling technique creates a more firmly packed cigar, which allows air to travel between all of the leaves, carrying more aromatics/flavors to the palate. Entubado rolling is the most difficult and complex bunching method and is therefore rarely employed in large-scale manufacturing. (Thank you T.U. for providing a well-explained definition). After having several of these this is what I found.

The cigar is covered in an Ecuadorian wrapper that is light milk chocolate in color. The veining is minimal and the seams are tight and is toped off with a classic Cuban style simple band. The over all feel of the body is giving to the touch but obviously well constructed with no noticeable dead spots. The smell from the body is mild and is bread like with notes of coffee. From the foot it is a bit stringer and has the smells of licorice, aged leather and sugared ginger.

The cap cut easily and with no distress to the construction. Lighting was easily done with two matches and the initial draws provided good amounts of medium weighted smoke. The first third of the cigar burned evenly with the ash holding tight for up to almost an inch before asking to be knocked off. The flavor is a little sweet with a bit of pepper as well as the ginger on the back end.

The second third becomes a bit heavier with the flavor getting stronger. The sweetness begins to dissipate while the pepper and spice remains. The burn continues to be even and construction appears flawless at this point.

The last third stays close to the second third in flavor with just a bit more of the spice notes. The sweetness makes a small reappearance but is quickly gone again and covered by the spice along with a small amount of coffee flavor. The burn stayed consistent throughout the whole smoke as well as no faults in construction could be found.

Along with most items from Drew Estate I would recommend this cigar to anyone looking for a fuller bodied smoke. The build of this cigar is solid and hard to find in any other cigar available to the American market right now and the effort is clearly recognizable when smoking. Go grab a couple a let me know what you think.

On a side note Famous Smoke Shop has started a new cigar and spirits online pairing guide. Go check it out at https://www.famous-smoke.com/cigar-pairing/

 

Strength: Full

Shape: Toro

Size: 6 x 52

Country: Nicaragua

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian

Wrapper Leaf: Habano

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: $37.99 for a 5 pack or $185.99 for a box of 25

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints

ARTURO FUENTE DON CARLOS ROBUSTO

IMG_7635I have to start by saying that I am quite a fan of the Arturo Fuente line, it was their Short Story that got me into cigar smoking so, when the opportunity to try the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos came around I jumped at it. This cigar is named in honor of its creator and patriarch Carlos Fuente Sr. Carlos blended together rare, vintage tobaccos that were hand selected and aged as much as 10 years. Because of the select tobacco required, these cigars are released in limited quantities and are rolled at Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic.

When I first received them I quickly tIMG_7621ook them out of the package and started inspecting them. The wrapper is a rich milk chocolate color with the expected veins and toothieness to be expected in a Cameroon wrapper. The seams are tight and secure, the body is firm yet slightly giving when pressed between the fingers and none of that “uh oh” cracking noise nobody wants to hear.

The smell from wrapper was a mild sweet smell with a bit of nuttiness and dried fruits. The foot gave off smells of barnyard, honey and licorice. The cap was easy to cut and did not affect the integrity of the cigar. It lit very easily and evenly. The draw is medium to light and provided plenty of smoke that was a good weight on the tongue.

The first third of the cigar begins with a mellow, sweet and spicy flavor with a bit of the nuttiness showing up on the finish. The burn was even and the light grey ash holds tightly together until I decide to tap it off at around an inch or so.

The second third begins to get a little more spice to it but overall the flavor is relatively constant and mild. It continues to burn evenly with no construction issues and the ash continued to hold tight.

IMG_7622In the final third a better sense of pepper can be noticed but the slight sweetness remains. The burn remained consistent throughout the entire smoke and the stick remains intact for the duration.

Over all this was a very enjoyable cigar although it did burn a little fast. Since the flavor was mellow I would recommend this as a good morning smoke with a cup of coffee or a hot summer day smoke with a light beer. I also wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this for people just getting into the cigar world being that the flavors won’t be overpowering and turn anyone off. Take a quick trip over to Famous Cigar Shop and order yours today, you wont be disappointed.

Strength: Medium

Shape: Robusto

Size: 5 x 50

Country: Dominican Republic

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: African

Wrapper Leaf: Cameroon

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: $40.99 for a 5 pack, $203.99 for a box of 25

Rating: 4.7 pints out of 5

Oliva Baptiste Toro

IMG_7162After reading the press about the new Baptiste made for Famous Smoke Shop by Oliva I finally got to try a couple. If you followed the press release you already know that the name of the cigar was inspired by the character, “Andre Baptiste,” the ruthless Liberian dictator played by Eamonn Walker in the 2005 film, Lord of War. Pretty clever I’d say.

But enough of being clever, lets really talk about this cigar. Like usual we’ll start at visual and physical inspection. The wrapper leaf is a Habano with a natural color. It is fairly smooth and has very minimal veining. The cigar is yielding and spongy to the touch (which for me is how I prefer my tobacco as I tend to chew the end of mine a bit.) but not so soft that it feels damp.

The smell from the body has notes of leather, cedar and a light coffee. From the foot the odor is more prominent and pepper can be detected. Cutting the cap was easy and there were no cracks that could be noticed. Lighting was easy and only took one match to get it going. From the first few draws there was plenty of smoke that weighed well on the tongue to let you know it was there.

The first third was delightful, good body of flavor including coffee tones along with a bit of bitter dark chocolate. The draw was light and required minimal effort as well as the ash stayed tight and even.

On the second third the flavor really opened up. An amazing full flavored red chili flavor came to the front, not that the other flavors are gone but the spiciness is just amazing.

On the last third of the cigar an unexpected sweetness that reminded me of warm caramel snuck in with the spicy flavor creating a unique flavor. This flavor lasted to nearly the end of the stick with only the caramel flavor leaving at the very end but the spice remained.

All in all this was a great cigar and for the price point it be ridiculous not to at least try it. It has a fantastic dynamic of changing flavor throughout the whole stick that should be experienced. The draw stayed easy through the whole cigar and a burn that was even for the duration of my smoke and paired great with my bourbon. Head over to Famous Smoke Shop and pick up some, you wont be disappointed.

 

Strength: Full

Shape: Toro

Size: 5 1/2 x 54

Country: Nicaragua

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian

Wrapper Leaf: Habano

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: 5 for $19.99 or a box of 20 for only $78.99!

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet

IMG_6714Most times when looking through the shop I tend to skip by Romeo y Julieta sticks. Nothing personal they just never grabbed my attention. Usually they have fairly unassuming bands and nothing flashy to really catch the eye. However I got a chance to try their House of Capulet made and available only through Famous Cigar shop. While this is a lighter cigar than I normally smoke I decided I’d have a couple and see if I liked it.

When I got the cigar the first thing noticed was that while the band was the same there was a new flashier exterior wrapper printed in silver ink on a nice translucent paper to show off the House of Capulet name. The band at the foot and the wrapper come off easily leaving the top band in place. The wrapper leaf is lovely golden Connecticut with very slight veining. The construction was solid but, to the touch the tobacco is soft . Although the tobacco was very yielding to the touch there were no dead spots to be found on any of the ones I tried.

Thee body of the cigar had your usual smells of leather and cedar but also and added smell of fresh mowed grass and a bit of sweetness. From the foot the smells were the same but stronger and a hint of dries apricot in the background.

I was able to cut the cigar without a problem and the construction held together with no problems for the duration of the smoke. It light easily and evenly using just one match and needed no relighting at any point. The draw was smooth and easy. The first third of the cigar was light and reminded me of fresh bread and butter with just a hint of nuttiness. The smoke was also light on the tongue but plentiful and rewarding.

The second third was similar to the first only now a bit of pepper was starting to work its way into flavor. Usually around this time most Connecticut’s start to get a little on the warm side however this one remained the same temperature as when I started.

In the last third most of the bread and butter flavor had dissolved into a fuller more pronounced pepper taste along with a more earthy/nutty tone. It was great to have a Connecticut with as much complexity as this one did.

Over all it was a great smoke and quite enjoyable, solid from the beginning to the end. This cigar could go well as your morning stick or while sitting back watching a movie (which is what I did). I’m a pretty fast smoker and I got well over an hour with each stick so make sure you’re ready to relax when you light one of these guys up.

 

Strength: Medium

Shape: Toro

Size: 6 x 52

Country: Honduras

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian

Wrapper Leaf: Connecticut

Website: Famous-Smoke.com

Price: $23.00 – $29.00 a five pack

Rating: 4.7 pints out of 5

Cohiba Black Supremo

IMG_6156Recently I was asked by to try out the Cohiba Black Supremo from General Cigars and see what I thought about them. I’ve never tried their Cohiba line so I was intrigued. I have other sticks from them before like Partagas Macanudo and Punch, which I had enjoyed so I thought, why not.

Cohiba Black cigars are wrapped in a hearty U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf aged on the plant to produce an exceptionally rich, dark tobacco taste. The filler is Dominican and Mexican with a sun-grown Dominican Piloto Cubano leaf, all of which are aged in palm tercios for three years.

Since it was my first time smoking them I decided to smoke a few of them before writing this article to see if everything stayed consistent or if there was variation between each ones. I am happy to say that construction and flavor are steady through several different times smoking.

From visual inspection the wrapper is mostly smooth with light veining and a good tight seal. The color was a rich dark chocolate that you would expect from a full matured leaf. Giving light pressure to the cigar showed that the tobacco was firm but gave to the light pressure with no cracking or breaking in the wrapper.

The odor from the body is reminiscent of barn yard hay, apricot and of course the typical cedar and leathery notes. From the foot the wet hay smell was more pronounced and then smell of just good rich unflavored tobacco.

The cap cut easily and the construction held well with no cracking and no signs of the wrapper beginning to unroll. The lighting was easy and even. The first few draws tasted light and a bit on the dry powdery side and my heart sank. I took a deep breath and had a few gulps of my water and tried another couple of drags, like magic the dry bland powdery flavor was gone and the flavor set in (this was the same with all the sticks the first few drags just didn’t do it for me but after that the stick is great)IMG_6158

The first third of the cigar was fairly medium in flavor with some notes of semi-sweet chocolate and coffee. The smoke was light on the tongue but provided plenty of it. The burn was even and consistent on each draw.

The second third was very similar to the first with nothing very noticeably different until
right past the halfway point and that’s when things really start to change. The somewhat light and sweet flavor is replaced by a fuller, darker, more peppery taste. This rich flavor remains through the rest of the cigar, as well as, the even and consistent burn.

This cigar was thoroughly enjoyable from right after the start to the finish and lasted well over an hour. It could easily be smoked with either a cup of coffee in the morning or with a glass of bourbon or couple of beers in the evening. As a very versatile cigar I recommend that you give it a try and see what you think.

Thank you Famous Smoke Shop for the opportunity to try these out.

 

Strength: Medium

Shape: Toro

Size: 6 x 54

Country: Dominican Republic

Wrapper Color: Maduro

Wrapper Origin: Connecticut

Wrapper Leaf: Broadleaf

Website: Famous-Smoke.com

Price: $17-$18 per stick or $57 per 5 pack

Rating: 4.6 pints out of 5