La Barba Ricochet

La Barba Ricoche

La Barba Ricochet has been on my radar for a while now and it was time to write about it. Inspired by Toy Bellatto’s love of wine it was originally called Primitivo which, if you didn’t know, is a type of grape used for making a red wine of the same name. Tony, the Co-Founder of La Barba, had this to say about the blending process for this cigar. “I was trained professionally in wine and spirits, I wanted to bring that to the table here more than I had with anything before. As a WSET level 3 sommelier, the goal with this new offering was to incorporate that palate and experience, even down to the name itself: Primitivo. The name is rooted in the ancient history of wine itself, and shares flavor notes with the profile for the cigar as well.”

(The name change from Primitivo to Ricochet came about right before its release in October 2018 due to various trademark conflicts.)

The Mexican San Andres wrapper is a soft natural brown shade with small streaks of dark mottling and a soft velvet finish to it. There are a few veins and a slight tooth to it as well. The seams are tight and well hidden. The cigar feels full but slightly lumpy giving it a unique feel between the fingers.

The smell from the body reminds me of fresh cut wood and earth. From the foot I get the same odors but also a bit of graham cracker or perhaps better to describe it as a cream. Theres just something smooth about the scent from this cigar. From the cold draw I get my usual unsweet tea and tobacco notes with a touch of fruit, something similar to plum or possible grape. The grape could be psychological given that I know the thought process behind the blending.

The first half of the La Barba Ricochet offers pepper. Lots and lots of pepper but with an interesting creaminess to it. A light citrus can be found on the retrohale that is worth attempting if you don’t normally do this. The finish is long and dances on the pallet giving plenty of other flavors that I could spend most of the day describing but I let you find and describe those for yourself. It burns quite even and produces plenty of smoke that has a nice weight on the tongue.

For the second half the cigar begins to offer up the same pepper and cream flavors but with chocolate joining the mix. Towards the very end there is a dark roasted coffee flavor that comes in to round out the flavors. The burn continues to stay sharp and the smoke production is relentless.

During the entire smoke there was never a portion that I didn’t enjoy. The flavors mixed with leather other to make a robust but smooth cigar. As a robust and full bodied cigar this is one you won’t want to miss out on. With its bright orange band it will jump off the shelves at you and when it does be sure to catch a handful or two of them.

Wrapper – Mexican San Andres

Binder – Indonesian

Filler – Nicaraguan – Dominican – Pennsylvanian

Price: About $9.00 a stick


Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints



Platinum Nova Batch Toro

Nova Cigars Platinum Batch

As a new cigar company, Nova Cigars made a large impression at the most recent PCA show in Las Vegas. While the family who owns Nova Cigars chooses to remain anonymous, both the “Leo” Leonor Abzaradel and Brand President “Ari” Aurelio Riego are well known and active members of the cigar community. “The brand is comprised of 17 cigars presented in three series and two special editions. What is remarkable, and unique to Nova, is that each cigar is its own distinctive blend. There is no repetition of wrapper/binder/filler combinations in any of the cigars. Every cigar has its own unique strength and flavor profile, affording the adventurous smoker a wide range of experiences within one brand.” Since every cigar they make has a different blend there is plenty in there line up to explore, for this article in particular I chose the Platinum Batch Toro.

The wrapper is a lovely dark chocolate color with a bit of tooth to it. There is some light veining and the seams are tight and discrete. The cigar has an appropriate amount of give when pressure is applied to it between the fingers. The smell is quite fragrant, with notes of leather, cedar and a floral touch making for a delicate scent. The cap cuts easily causing no damage to the body. The cold draw is easy in resistance and I pick up flavors of hay, cinnamon and tobacco.

The first half is earthy with touches of leather and spice. The burn is sharp and the ash holds tight for 1/2″ – 3/4″ before I chicken out and knock it free. Smoke production is plentiful and weighs nicely on the tongue while the room is left with an earthy, creamy aroma.

In the second half the flavors become fuller the earth and leather are still there but joined by a ginger spice that is present until reaching the end of the cigar. The burn stayed even the entire time never needing a touch up or relight. The amount of smoke was always full and the ash only feel off when tapped free.

At the moment Nova Cigars might be tough to find at your local B&M as they are just starting out but they are growing fast. You can however, purchase either full boxes or single sticks directly from their website and if you have questions about the lines they are always happy to answer if you contact them. Even though they are a “high end luxury cigar” they have plenty to choose from that will not break the bank. With so many great cigars in their catalog I would recommend getting a diverse selection to really see what they have to offer.

Wrapper – Mexican San Andres

Binder – Dominican

Filler – HVA-Dominicano

Price: $9.00


Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints


Protocol Pool Party Year 1 Cigar

Protocol Pool Party

Protocol Cigars announces a special limited edition release cigar called the Protocol Pool Party Year 1. The cigars were produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Protocol Pool Party Year 1 is offered in a Corona Gordo: 5 5/8 X 46 vitola. They are presented in a 10 count paper bundle. Only 100 Bundles have been produced. The packaging is symbolic of fun summer time pool parties. This cigar is wrapped in a Mexican San Andreas Maduro Leaf, Connecticut Shade Binder, and Nicaraguan Corojo from Esteli and Condega filler. The Protocol Pool Party Year 1 is a solid medium to medium plus with spicy rich flavors and a long sweet creamy finish. 

The Protocol Pool Party will not be for sale. These limited edition cigars will instead be given to the first 100 attendees to the Protocol Pool Party on Saturday, August 1st, 2020. This is a ticketed event in Neptune, NJ.  The event is not the first of its kind. In the past the Protocol Pool Party was held at the home of co-owner Kevin Keithan. The event has steadily outgrown that location. The company has decided to make the party a yearly ticketed event. This event is 100% outdoor and on a 7 acre picnic ground with an Olympic size pool. This event is 100% compliant with all NJ State Covid Rules and Regulations. The company has implemented several levels of protection to all attendees.  “We wanted to do something special for our supporters, especially since everyone has been locked at home for the last several months. The demand to attend and numbers have grown exponentially for this event and needed move to a bigger venue. We have implemented safety precautions to ensure everyone’s wellbeing. The health of our supporters is of the utmost importance to us.  With that said everyone will be safe and a phenomenal time will be had by all!” Juan Cancel, co-owner Protocol Cigars. For more detailed event information visit the company’s website at or their social media platforms.