Monday, December 21, 2009

A Coffee Break on a Snow Day


Today since I'm in the house, in my study, and somewhat tired of working on actual job-related activities I decided to take a "Coffee Break". Not your typical coffee break, but today I decided to light up a creation by Miami Cigar Co. bearing the signature name of Nestor Miranda Special Selection. The Special Selection line is a mix of Nicaraguan & Costa Rican tobaccos specially blended by Don Pepin Garcia. The nickname "coffee break" comes from the small stature of this particular vitola that I have chosen. We'll see if the burn time lends itself to a normal length coffee break.

Size: 50 x 4.5
Filler: Nicaraguan/Costa Rican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
MSRP: $6.50 (approx.)

Construction: The cigar is nice and firm but not hard to the touch. There are some predominant veins in the wrapper but the color is consistent.
Pre-light aroma: The cigar smells of strong barnyard tobacco odor with a hint of coffee/cocoa.
Pre-light draw: The draw is fairly loose with hints of tobacco and coffee.

1st third: First couple of puffs produce loads of smoke with a rich earthy flavor. Roasted spice notes are present on the retrohale. The coffee note begins to build toward the end of the first third. The ash held for about the first half inch; however, the burn stayed even.

2nd third: The middle of the cigar really opened up with a flavor that was almost like hickory smoke or barbeque. Either I'm hungry or that was one awesome flavor encounter. Either way, I enjoyed it nevertheless and I hope it stays for a while. The coffee flavor is also present on the finish and the cigar continues to pour out lots of smoke which enhances the experience. The "barbeque" has now given way to a slightly sweet spiciness on the retrohale. So far, I must say that this cigar is very complex and quite surprising.

Final third: The cigar continues to be a little flavor firecracker. While it has not been anywhere near strong it has been fairly medium to full-bodied in the flavor department. It is still putting out lots of smoke even as it is getting closer to the nub, and the flavors of coffee, sweet spice, and an occassional hickory barbeque are ever-present.

Final thoughts: With a burn time of about 45 minutes, I could never smoke one of these on a coffee break at my job, but it was certainly nice to get lost for that time with this cigar. The price point is not intimidating and the experience was worth every penny. Overall, I give it 4.5 out of 5 smokes.

Tabacos Baez Serie SF


I picked up this cigar several months ago during a run to John B. Hayes Tobacconist in Fairfax, VA. At a price tag of about $3, I could not resist giving this Don Pepin creation a shot. It is a mix of Cuban-seed Nicaraguan long filler and mixed short filler in a Nicaraguan habano wrapper.

Vitola: Robusto
Size: 50 x 5"
MSRP: $3 (approx.)
Construction: Very firm to the touch with one or two veins on the wrapper, but otherwise clean.

Pre-light aroma: Rich tobacco and barnyard hay
Pre-light draw: Rich tobacco with a hint of milk chocolate
Tonight I am pairing the cigar with a Leffe blond ale.

1st third: Upon lighting the cigar and taking the first few puffs I am not getting a really strong flavor on my palate initially, but there is a hint of pepper on the retrohale. The cigar is medium-bodied but not overpowering. The ash is white and solid but starting to bend at just over an inch & a half. Dominant flavor is rich tobacco but not heavy. From a strength standpoint I am not experiencing a pronounced nicotine kick.

2nd third: The burn is fairly even with no need for a touch-up. The pepper note has graduated to more of a pleasant spice. The cigar is still holding in the medium-bodied range with little or no noticeable strength. Approaching the band the strength is begins to intensify but it's not beyond a medium range.

Final third: The burn still even. The flavors have been consistent throughout with tobacco, spice, & pepper. A slight leathery flavor creeps in toward the nub. Unfortunately, the wrapper cracked just past the band.

Final thoughts: With a price tag around $3 a stick, this is a very solid "budget" cigar. The flavors are consistent throughout and the strength is in the mild to medium range. Aside from the wrapper cracking at the end, this is a decent smoke that I would love to have as an everyday cigar and will definitely re-visit. The total burn time was 1 hr 8 min. I give it 3.5 out of 5 sticks.

As always, fly straight and fly high.

-Da Byrdman-

5 Minutes with Alan Rubin


Big Pimpin' and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley Cigars for short chat and a cigar. Here's a transcript of the interview.

B&B: First of all we want to thank Alan Rubin of Alec Bradley Cigars for sitting down with The B&B Cigar Club. I am Ashley Byrd, the Byrdman, Big Pimpin' Paul Ballard is here snapping the photos. Alan, question #1, what is the most challenging aspect of being a boutique brand?

Alan Rubin: I think for me it's more than one piece. I think one is being able to listen, understand what the consumers are asking for, and then going out and trying to produce that. One of the things I think we do well for our company is utilize new, unique tobaccos and try and blend "outside of the box" a little bit try and do new and creative cigars. I think the other thing is going out and meeting the people. There's just not enough time to be in the factories and try and run the operations and meet everybody and if I could do it all I would.

B&B: What do you see as the next "big thing" in the cigar industry?

Alan Rubin: Oh, I wish I knew.

B&B: Is it a size, is it a strength, a particular blend?

Alan Rubin: Well you know this industry goes through changes. A lot of times I think mild cigars sell very well, but people don't really talk about mild they talk about stronger cigars. I think the strong cigars have maybe gone through it's time. I think people are maybe looking for balance. I think people are looking for cigars that are balanced that enhance their experience when they get to whatever event they're attending or whether they're by themselves I think what they want is a nice experience. Our job for our company is just to be a part of that experience. My whole feel is that if you're looking for what the next great thing is in the cigar business, I think people are back to balance, back to complexity, back to smoothness. I think they've gone through that "stronger is better" phase.

B&B: What should I expect when I light up a Prensado for the first time?

Alan Rubin: Greatness. Dude I'm talking to Da Byrdman, what do you want me to tell you. Prensado is just out of the box right now. We just launched it, and the responses have been spectacular. I'm walking around kinda with a permanent smile on my face right now coming off of Tempus, SCR, and Vice Press that all hit and now Prensado. I think when you smoke Prensado what you're going to get is balance. You're gonna get complexity, you're gonna get smoothness. It's gonna be one of those cigars where you're gonna look down and say "did I just smoke that whole cigar?" You're gonna wonder where did it go because I just lost myself. I think that's what you're gonna get out of Prensado.

B&B: If I were a first-time cigar smoker looking at the Alec Bradley brand, which one would you recommend and why?

Alan Rubin: As a first-time cigar smoker I would say that you want something that's going to be mild in terms of strength, but still has some flavor and smoothness and creaminess to it. I would say our Occidental Reserve line which uses a Connecticut wrapper. It's smooth, it's creamy, it's got some nice flavor to it, and it's not over the top strong so it's not gonna put you into that "ozone" atmosphere. It's really a nice cigar. As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is a doctor, never really had cigars before and he said to me, "hey I want to try a cigar". We sat down and smoked an Occidental and at the end of the evening he said, "hey you think we could do this again?" It was about enjoying the experience and the time with my friend over a cigar that didn't overpower him.

B&B: What should we expect in the future from the Alec Bradley brand?

Alan Rubin: In terms of brands, we are creating new things. We are trying and experimenting with some new tobaccos. I'm actually in the middle of testing some blends right now for some new things coming out in 2010. You'll probably see the same momentum that we have right now and that is coming out with some unique blends, using some interesting tobaccos that are not really in the marketplace. After that, I could tell you, but then I gotta kill you and you're bigger than me so that's not happening, but if you hit the ground I'm taking the hat.

B&B: What is the perfect humidity for storing & smoking Alec Bradley cigars?

Alan Rubin: I can tell you that humidity is such a huge component. One of the tests is to take a cigar and leave it out for 4 or 5 days and take the same cigar at the proper humidity and smoke those cigars. Those are different cigars. Right now we're doing more testing. I just bought a humidity gauge that's extremely accurate. Even samples that come in, I will put the humidity gauge on that sample before I smoke it and see where it is. I would say that Tempus smokes best at 65% R.H. because there's so much thick tobacco and a lot of oils you don't want to over-humidify that because then the humidity doesn't have a chance to escape. SCR right now is also at 65%. We are testing Prensado and I think that will be at 65% as well. Some of the lighter cigars can stand a little more humidity, so I would say 69% for those. Most cigars, if you smoke them at over 69%, they hold a little too much humidity and you may get an acrid taste and a little bit of harshness. As that humidity builds and that heat builds, you're gonna get a little bitterness. To me 65%, 67%, and up to 69% would be the proper humidity to smoke the cigars that we make.

B&B: Alan, thank you for your time.

Alan Rubin: My pleasure.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"The Mystery Smoke"

This was a gift that I got from the "Da Byrdman". (What up B?) I don't know what type of cigar this is so this will really be a test for me.
It is a 5x50 Robusto.

South Park is funny, No Minorities in the water park, Pee Pee in the water park. This is hilarious. Sorry, back to the smoke.
Construction- It has a beautiful brown Maduro wrapper with no defects, Oily, smooth and firm to the touch. Looks like it will be a great smoke.

It has a nice even burn with an easy draw. Flavors are somewhat sweet. No spice yet. But if I know "DaByrdman" it will have some spice in it. Nice amounts of puff smoke and resting smoke.

Kyle is swimming in Pee, This is funny. Making it difficult to focus on the smoke.

They just pissed on the monkeys. LMAO!! Sorry.

Second 3rd. It has been a very consistent burn. Getting some toastie notes, very smooth but here comes the pepper. It's not allot of pepper but I knew it would have some kick to it. (Thanks B). Starting to feel a little cigar buzz.

That's awful, Kyle has to drink the pee. WTF!!

Final stretch- Had to relight because of South Park. The spice is allot more noticeable at this point. Still has a nice burn. The ash white with no flaking and it stands tall. For me I will have to say this is a medium to full body smoke. I should've expected that from "DaByrdman". I will have to get something to eat after this. The spice is getting a little to much for me, but I am at the end of the smoke so I will push forward to the finish.

The verdict. Very nice consistency on this stick with a great amount of smoke, Steady even burn with earthy, toastie & spice flavors. With all of that coming at you, it is still a very smooth cigar. I will have to say now that it is a full body smoke.

I will give this one a high grade. 4 out of 5 sticks. If you are someone who likes a full body smoke this is one to get. What the hell am I talking about, I don't even know what the heck I am smoking.

After getting in contact with 'Da Byrdman" to let him know that I smoked it. He finally told me what it was. "Cain F". Are you F'n kidding me!!! He knew I would never buy one of these so he had to sneak it in on me. Good Job Byrd.

Here is the official information for the Cigar.

"CAIN F" STRAIGHT LIGERO..

Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler: Esteli Ligero, Condega Ligero, Jalapa Ligero
Size: Robusto (5 x 50)
Strength: Full
Until next time, "Happy Smokin"
Big Pimpin

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Smoke Las Vegas Part II



Since we're still in transition between the page here and our site on wordpress, I have decided to post the remainder of the Big Smoke 2009 info in both places.  Here's yet another photo slideshow.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tatuaje Ambos Mundos Sumatra


As I continue to delve into the world of Tatuaje Cigars, made by Pete Johnson, tonight's review will be on the Ambos Mundos Sumatra Robusto. From the Tatuaje website, Ambos Mundos is translated to mean "both worlds" as in "The Best of Both Worlds". This cigar was touted as an entry into the bargain cigar market by Pete Johnson and comes with a price tag in the $5 - $6 range depending on your local taxes. None of my local B&Ms are authorized Tatuaje dealers so I made this purchase at Leesburg Cigars.



Vital Stats:
Vitola - Robusto
Size - 5 x 50
Wrapper - Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder - Nicaragua
Filler - Nicaragua

Construction: The wrapper is a slightly mottled cocoa-brown with a couple of pronounced veins & many smaller veins running throughout the leaf. The cap is the Tatuaje signature Cuban triple cap. The cigar is firm to the touch; however, I do not anticipate any issues with the draw.


Pre-light: Aroma is a rich barnyard tobacco odor that gets your attention right away. Cold draw is not too tight or loose and produces no real spice or pepper but the same rich tobacco flavor as the aroma.

First impressions: First few puffs are somewhat peppery on the middle of my tongue and on the retrohale. I am also getting a hint of cinnamon type spice on the retrohale. The cigar is producing a fair amount of smoke but very little residual or resting smoke. Further in, the peppery spice has calmed and the cinnamon has turned into more of a licorice flavor that is very nice with the tobacco undertones. The strength is mild, while the flavor is squarely into the medium range. The ash is holding strong for the first inch with a light gray color. The burn line is decent with no need for a touch up.


Halfway point: The cigar is rather woody at this point with a cedary sweetness on the retrohale. The licorice is still present, but it has taken a backseat to the cedar flavor. The cigar is much smoother while the flavor has definitely picked up The strength has remained relatively mild. The ash let go after about two inches. The spice and sweetness on the retrohale is really enjoyable and the cigar is producing an ample amount of smoke. I'm really surprised at the mildness in strength with this flavor intensity. The resting smoke is also very aromatic with that same sweet yet toasty cedar characteristic. It gives a slight tinge to the nostrils.


Home stretch: The licorice flavor is now coming back to the forefront. The burn is a little wavy, but I see no real need for a touch up. After removing the band the flavor is somewhat meaty & the sweetness has mellowed.




Final thoughts: I really love the complexity of this cigar and the way the flavors heighten & mellow throughout. For the price point, this an excellent cigar when you're looking for good flavor with less power. I have been searching for the perfect "lawnmower" smoke and I think this is it. With a burn time of a little over an hour, this would be great for the golf course if you want to know that you have a cigar without having it shake you to death while standing over a 6 ft putt.



Verdict:


4 out of 5 smokes


 
 
 
Until the next time . . . Fly straight & fly high.  Happy Smoking.
 
-Da Byrdman-

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tips for Big Smoke in Vegas

This is just a quick note for those of us that are going to Big Smoke in Vegas for the first time this weekend.
This is a Blog courtesy of Stogiepro and he gives some helpful tips for the event. I suggest you read it. http://stogiepro.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/the-big-smoke-experience/
Da Byrdman and I will be there and we will have allot to post to the blog page when we return. So keep an eye out....

Happy Smokin,

Big Pimpin

From the mind of The People's Champ - B&Ms: The key element to our passion

I was sitting around recently and a thought came to my mind that I wanted to share with my fellow enthusiasts. This post is just my opinion and this does not reflect, in any way, the views and opinions of the B&B Cigar Club.

In this day and age of technology, more and more enthusiasts are using the World Wide Web to shop for their favorite cigars. The amount of traffic cigar retailer sites receive has seemingly risen recently given the low prices that are offered and the current economic climate on top of the mounting tobacco taxes being levied by the Federal Government and local governments. Sites like Cigar Bid (hosted by Cigars International), Holts, J.R., Famous, etc. are readily available to provide your favorite brand at a price too good to pass up. But in the midst of this current economic state of affairs, we as enthusiasts must not forget about the one place, the one mainstay that brings us together and provides a safe haven to enjoy our passion away from the criticism and attacks from anti-smoking opponents: the Brick and Mortar (B&M) Tobacconist shop! These shops are available to you as a place to go to enjoy a good drink, a good cigar and, most importantly, the company of great people who share in this passion. Many jurisdictions in this country have banned smoking in public places; think about it, depending on where you live you can't light up a cigar in a bar with a nice adult beverage with friends or in a restaurant after a nice dinner. There are even establishments that operate in jurisdictions without smoking bans that don't allow cigar smoking (yet allow cigarette smoking); there are a few of those establishments in Virginia that fall into that category. It is because of all of those factors that B&Ms should not be ignored! The Champ is not advocating that you ignore shopping on the Internet if you are on a budget and would like to be thrifty with your purchasing of cigars but if you live in an area that has a shop close by, please show some support for that shop...with more and more municipalities enacting crippling and strict smoking bans, these shops could no longer exist without the support of ordinary Joes like you or me. Me personally, I've made one Internet purchase in the 9+ years that I've been smoking cigars...it's nothing against Internet retailers at all but I am of the mind state that I want to see what I want already in front of me to inspect and say "Yes I want this one" plus I like to have a place to go to enjoy what I purchase and you just have an appreciation for the unique characters and personalities that you'll find in a shop. Don't let these small businesses go belly up in these tough times...support your local B&Ms! I want to give a big thank you to Gary Irvin, President of the Friends of Brick and Mortar Tobacconists Association, for his continued efforts to highlight the importance of these precious shops! Mr. Irvin, along with great B/SOTLs who own, operate, or just work in B&Ms are leading the charge to keep these places in existence so we enthusiasts can have our safe haven! You can check out his organization here: http://www.bmtobacco.com.

One other thing I wanted to mention that was on my mind: speaking of going into B&Ms for all your cigar needs, the one thing you'll find in B&Ms that you may not find online...house blends! Some online retailers have their brands that they sell but you can't sleep on what your local shop may have blended and had rolled to sell to you. Some of those house blends are just as good, if not better, than the well-known brands we all know (and either truly love or seriously hate). One example: there's a B&M in Alexandria named The Cigar Palace and they have their own house blend that comes in several different lines (including a Camacho Trip Maddie knockoff that from talking to people who have tried it say it is just as good if not better than the actual Trip maddie) and one of my favorites from their house blends is the Sungrown Maduro line. And the best part about Cigar Palace and their house blends is the excellent deal you get on them: Buy 4 and get 1 free...with most of their lines going for under $8 a stick you can't beat that! Yes we all love the Camachos, the Tatuajes, the Montecristos, the Cohibas, etc. but you can't deny that those little known brands made exclusively for B&Ms can be just as good and won't put a strain on your wallet. So not only should you support your local B&Ms but you should also give their house brands a fair shake...you may find your everyday, go-to cigar.

This is The Champ saying keep lighting up those good cigars and let the smoke take you away! Cheers and enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The People's Review of the Rocky Patel Patel Bros

FINALLY THE CHAMP HAS COME BACK TO THE B&B BLOG!!! That's right The Champ is back after a bit of a hiatus to bring you yet another edition of "The People's Review" and today's review is of one of the new offerings from Rocky Patel the Patel Brothers. Here's the story behind this cigar courtesy of Rocky's homepage:

"For the first time in his company's history, Rocky Patel has collaborated with his brother Nish to create a full-bodied powerhouse cigar blend. The duo worked for years to find a robust and unique wrapper to accompany a special Nicaraguan filler and binder blend. A breakthrough came in the form of a beautifully dark and oily broadleaf wrapper selected from the tobacco fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For each of their efforts, they decided to call the rich and bold cigar PATEL BROTHERS. "

This is one of the new blends released by RP (along with the Summer Collection 09, 1961, and Autumn Collection 09) and I was pretty psyched to try it out again since I had an intro to it before this review and it kicked my a$$! Here are the specs on this stogie:

Vitola: Torpedo 6.25" x 52

Filler: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf

Strength: Full

Let's get into reviewing this new cigar!

Pre-light construction and Draw

Taking the cigar out the cello, I notice the wrapper is quite oily yet it's pretty toothy with some prominent veins showing. A little squeeze tells me the cigar is packed full of that good Nicaraguan tobacco yet it does have some give to it. After I clip the torpedo cap, the draw is near effortless with just a slight touch of resistance. The flavors I get off the cold draw include strong hints of chocolate with a mixture of spice and a sort of dairy flavor. Let's get it lit and get to it!

First Third

It's lit and right off the bat that combo of chocolate and dairy with spice hits early! The combo is chocolate milk with a black pepper spice and a sort of dirty flavor finish. The spice is really strong off the start and I can feel the tingle on the nostrils and the back of my throat; with the retrohale I am getting a serious nic buzz indicative that the cigar is quite full in strength. Continuing on I'm getting a nice touch of pecans mixed in with the other prevailing flavors (this mix is extremely enjoyable). I paired this cigar with a glass of 2007 Liroc Cuvee Reserve red wine, which was a pretty decent pairing but with these early flavors I think a good tawny port would be perfect! The finish on this cigar is very lengthy and pleasant; the aroma coming off this cigar is also phenominal! The draw is perfect so far and it gives off a lot of creamy thick smoke; it's burning a touch hot off the start but nothing that isn't manageable. Just noticed another flavor addition: that earthy dirt flavor has changed to more of a hay flavor mixed in with some raisins (it's very nice!) The ash on this cigar is a nice greyish white color and it's holding pretty solid so far plus the burn is slow and even, which is a plus! The spice that was so present off the start is starting to fade a little bit yet I can still feel it tingle through the nose; there's also a toasty flavor that's introduced to the fold with the other earlier flavors sans the strong pepper and even some leather notes! So far, this cigar is all over the place with the flavors and the ash is holding firm at 2" yet starting to flake a little bit (possibly due to the chill in the air as I smoke this) so I am looking forward to what the rest of this cigar has to offer!

Halfway Point

Time to move on to the halfway point and the spice has completely faded away but the flavors of chocolate milk, pecans and raisins are still around. Finish continues to be very lengthy and leaving a very sweet pleasant flavor on the pallet. The integrity of the ash is starting to waiver a bit as the ash is getting pretty flaky-looking; the draw on this cigar is still on point and still giving off a lot of smoke. Now I'm starting to get some black coffee notes with a slight touch of leather and the absence of earthiness from earlier on in the cigar. Even in this flavor transition the strength has remained pretty full-bodied. Now the ash has gone from pretty flaky to jagged?! Yes it had a weird mouth-looking shape to it at one point but outside of that those sweet flavors are still hanging around. Now I'm starting to notice that the spice is slowly trying to make a comeback though not as powerful as it was in the beginning. Also, have to give my cigar a little touchup as the burn is getting a little more uneven...pretty uneventful way to end this section.

Final Stretch and The People's Verdict

As I'm coming down the home stretch and this cigar isn't really changing flavors at this point. Mostly, it's the same notes of chocolate milk, pecans, raisins with a little earthiness and a small amount of spice. The only notable flavor addition was a slight hint of berries paired with black coffee (the berries I reckon is a nod to the Winter Collection to which this cigar was suppose to mimic) but other than that it's basically a repeat of the beginning sans spice. Burn wasn't as even and the ash was flaky.

The People's Verdict: MEH

I give this one a "MEH" simply because the beginning of this cigar gave me high hopes of a strong cigar that's super flavorful yet after the first 1/3 of the cigar it was basically 1 dimensional and at one point was flat. I won't completely write this cigar as it is a new release so I will say that with some humi time this cigar could possibly be a great offering from RP so go out and get one or two and let them sit for a while and I'm sure they will be on point! Once again, this is The Champ saying keep lighting up them good cigars and let the smoke take you away!

Cheers and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Perdomo Habano Corojo Toro



After a lengthy hiatus, Da Byrdman is back with another cigar review.  This time I decided to give my first cigar from Tabacalera Perdomo a shot.  I chose the Perdomo Habano Corojo primarily because of the look of the cigar itself and the banding.  I found myself hoping that I was not the victim of pretty packaging.

Here's the tale of the tape:
Perdomo Habano Corojo

Vitola: Toro
Size: 54 x 5.5"
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
Filler:  Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
MSRP:  $6.50

Construction:  Oily wrapper with no real veins to speak of and firmly packed yet springy to touch.
Pre-light:  The cold draw is full of cedar and tobacco flavor.  No real evidence of spice or pepper.

1st third:  For this review I decided to pair the cigar with my favorite rum, Ron Zacapa 23, just in case the cigar proved to be a disappointment.  The initial puffs were slightly bitter and somewhat dry; however, further smoking yielded some pepper, lots of cedar, and an overall woodiness to the cigar.  The cigar produced a generous amount of resting smoke and had a very even burn.  Further into the cigar, I began to pick up a flavor similar to licorice along with a sweet spice on the retrohale.  The cigar produced a voluminous amount of thick, white smoke.  The body was definitely medium/full while the strength was in the medium range with no noticeable nicotine kick.

2nd third:  As I progressed further, I continued to pick up more cedar and sweet spice as the dominant flavors at this point in the cigar.  I also picked up some peppery notes on the tip of my tongue along with hints of coffee and some leather toward the lower end of the 2nd band.  The cigar seemed to be very consistent and quite enjoyable.  The body was definitely full while the strength remained in the medium range.

PhotobucketFinal third:  After removing the band, I noticed that the coffee note that appeared briefly in the middle of the cigar was absent and the leather flavor & texture had intensified.  The cedar and spice components remained intact throughout.  As the cigar burned to a nub, I was definitely satisfied with my first Tabacalera Perdomo experience.

In closing, while this would not necessarily be an "everyday" cigar for me, I would definitely invest in a box of these if your palate is geared for fuller flavors with less strength. 

Overall I would give this cigar 3 out of 5 smokes.




Be sure to leave me a comment below.  Until next time . . .Happy smoking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Cigars Contest Winner

We would like to thank everyone who signed up to follow the B&B Cigar Club blog.  Without all of you, we're just another blog.  And now, the winner of the Indian Tabac Super Fuerte Maduro Torpedo 5-pack is . . .


Keith Hollar

Keith please make sure you submit your address info in the form of a comment at the bottom of this post (it will be kept private) so we can get your sticks out to you ASAP.

Thanks again to everyone who entered.  Stay tuned for more contests in the coming weeks.

-Da Byrdman-

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tatuaje Havana VI Hermosos



Let me start by saying that Tatuaje cigars are virtually impossible to get in my immediate area.  I am not sure what it is about them, but retailers in my locality (read that to mean 40 mile radius) are not carrying them.  I had only tried one Tatuaje Havana VI previously (the Angeles) and it was pretty good, but I wanted something different during a very rare trip to Leesburg on a lunch break at work.  I decided to pick up the Hermosos although it still sat in my humidor for the better part of two and a half months until now.

Size:  46 x 5 5/8 (Corona Gorda)
Wrapper:  Nicaragua
Binder:  Nicaragua
Filler:  Nicaragua

Pre-light Inspection:  This Nicaraguan gem is the brainchild of the dynamic duo of Pete Johnson and Jose "Pepin" Garcia.  It has a deliciously chocolate brown wrapper with slight mottling and one predominant vein that runs throughout.  The triple seam cap is flawless and the cigar is firm but not stiff to the touch.  The pre-light aroma of the cigar is a delightful mixture of sweet tobacco and barnyard hay.  The pre-light draw is a good flavor balance of semi-sweet tobacco notes and dried fruit.

First third:  Upon lighting the cigar, I am noticing that the draw is a little firm for my liking; however, the resting smoke is steady.  The cigar is producing a fair amount of smoke with each puff but not an abundance of smoke which may partly be due to the draw and more likely due to the smaller ring gauge.  The burn is a little off but the ash is firm and gray.  The flavor is in the medium body range while the strength is hovering somewhere between mild and medium with no spice or pepper on the retrohale.  So far the dominant flavor is like espresso/coffee and toast with the hint of dried fruit on the finish (very tasty).  Toward the end of the first third, the espresso note begins to fade while the toasted woodiness builds.  The dried fruit note is still lingering on the finish.  Incidentally, the burn issue I experienced in the beginning has now corrected itself.

Second third:  The cigar has now moved into the medium to full flavor range while the strength is more into the medium range.  The dominant flavors are leather, toast, and dried fruit in that order.  The burn is even at this point and the draw is freer than at the outset.  The cigar is really beginning to open up and is producing more smoke which is adding to the intensity of the flavors.  With each draw, I am getting a thick, syrupy flavor that has the body and feel of molasses but not nearly as sweet.  It is surprisingly pleasant.

Final third:  Progressing toward the end of the cigar, this is where the surprises begin.  The texture on my palate with each puff is creamy almost buttery while the leather, toasted wood, & dried fruit flavors continue to trade jabs with each other and my palate.  Each puff calls one of the three to the forefront.  The body has picked up just slightly although I would not call it full, but a hint of pepper is now present on the finish and in the retrohale (NICE!).  Throughout this cigar, the flavors have been building like an orchestra coming to a crescendo, and now the cigar is hitting on all cylinders with something for all of my senses.  The aroma of the resting smoke has the sweet smokiness of burning wood.  The dried fruit on the finish is being exchanged for a much stronger note of pepper that has really gotten my attention.

Upon finishing this cigar, the flavors made we really want to sip some cognac just to keep that dried fruit note going.  Overall, the cigar was perfectly balance and well-rounded yet very complex with the changes in flavor and strength intensity building from the beginning to the end.  The cigar seemed to remain in the lower medium range for strength until the final third, but it was definitely flavorful.  I would definitely add this cigar to my list of enjoyable smokes and I am left dumbfounded as to why my local tobacconists will not carry these in their shops.  Guys, if you're reading, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!

Verdict:  4 out of 5 smokes




Fly straight and fly high . . .
-Da Byrdman-

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CAO LX2 (GUT CHECK)



CAO LX2 (Ligero times 2)
Size- 5x52
Shape- Robusto
Wrapper- Nicaragua
Binder- Honduras
Filler- Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Flavor- Full Bodied


This is my first LX2. I have heard good things about this smoke. I don't know much about it, other than it is a full flavored smoke.

I would normally stay away from anything Ligero. But this came in a free 5 pack when I purchased my Brazilla Box Press. Along with a free CAO T-Shirt and a cool CAO Lx2 caring case that holds 2-3 smokes depending on size. I owe this one to Dave from CAO Cigars and the guys at OVTC.
More always, the review that I am giving is what I am getting from this Cigar and you may experience something different than I. I have not read any other reviews about this Cigar.


Construction is good. It does have that strong barn yard aroma to it. Packed pretty tight and very firm to the touch with no give. Wrapper is beautiful with a nice glow to it. No noticeable defects. BEAUTIFUL..

Pre-light draw is nutty yet I also get a hint of tea with an easy pull.
Time to light,
First third is smooth so far. I am getting the same flavors at this point nutty/tea but Kind of creamy. Not allot of resting smoke but a nice cloud from the puff. Ash is a little flaky but still an even burn on the wrapper.
Second third I am getting a little spice but not much. Ash is still flaky but still a nice even burn. It is a very consistent burn and flavor no real complexity to it, (yet)
Final Stretch The strength of the cigar is coming in to play. Feeling the cigar buzz with a little white pepper notes but still smooth with an earthy swing to it. Now I am getting the cigar sweats and the buzz is starting to intensify. I think I just got SUCKER PUNCHED and it wasn’t by Sally.
This is what I was afraid of. As those of you know that have read my reviews before, I am not much of the full flavor/body cigar smoker and this one is really hitting me. At the end of the smoke and I am laid back as I type this into my iPhone note pad. (Love this phone)

I will say it was a very good smoke with a consistent flavor and a steady even burn. I will have to invest in a box of these.

I give this a great rating of 5 out of 5 smokes



As always,

HAPPY SMOKIN,

BIG Pimpin.

Join the Club! Free Cigars!

Who doesn't love free cigars?  Everyone loves free cigars!

The B&B Cigar Club has decided to give away a 5-pack of Indian Tabac Super Fuerte Maduro Torpedos to one of you lucky followers. If you are already a follower of the blog, you’re already entered. If you're not a follower, you better get with the program!  Simply click the "Follow" button to the right of the B&B logo and sign up as a follower of the blog.

The contest will run until October 13, 2009, so you have two full weeks. At that time, we will randomly select one of our followers to receive the free 5-pack of cigars. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Good luck and thanks for your continued support of The B&B Cigar Club.

-Da Byrdman, Big Pimpin', & The Champ-

Monday, September 28, 2009

Caught Cheatin' with a Blondie

Disclaimer:  Da Byrdman has never smoked an infused cigar of any kind and never intended to smoke an infused cigar in his life until the Acid Blondie Belicoso by Drew Estate.

Now that the official "disclaimer" business is out of the way, let me say thank you again to Terri Beck for providing the Acid Blondie Belicoso by Drew Estate for this review.  Before I get into my impressions from this cigar, here is the tale of the tape:

ACID Blue Label Blondie Belicoso by Drew Estate
Size:  54 x 5"
Shape:  Belicoso
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
MSRP:  $5 - $7 single; $105/box of 24


Appearance:  Golden brown wrapper with 1-2 small veins
Construction:  Excellent construction with no real flaws in the wrapper.  Firm to the touch but not packed too tightly.
Pre-light Aroma:  Loads of floral/botanical spice. (I'm not sure if I should light it and smoke it or use it as an air freshener, but I like it).
Pre-light Draw:  Sweet tea flavors with a hint of honey and mild sweet tobacco.

A year ago I teased Big Pimpin' incessantly about the Acid Kuba Kuba that he smoked one night while we were out at a local bar.  Now here I am reviewing yet another Acid cigar from the same blue label portion of the line, but this time it's the Blondie Belicoso.  I have seen the original Blondie in stores on many occasions and just decided to walk on by, but with the release of the new Blondie Belicoso, Blondie's phatter (yes with a "ph") and more shapely sibling, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

1st third:  Upon lighting the cigar and taking the first couple of puffs, I was introduced to loads of smoke and the sweetest taste I have ever encountered from a cigar wrapper.  The wrapper was so sweet that I felt as if it overpowered the intital flavor of the smoke.  The wrapper almost felt syrupy and slightly sticky in my hands and on my lips.  The smoke was initially woody with a bit of toast on the finish.  The ash was firm and gray with an almost flawless burn line.  Progressing further, the flavor started to pick up more of the floral infusion; however, the wrapper flavor was still very sweet and strong.  This wrapper was so sweet that I think I licked my lips more than LL Cool J.  Toward the end of the first third, the cigar was giving off lots of aromatic resting smoke.  The ash was over an inch in length and still holding firmly.  The overall body was mild and very smooth.

2nd third:  As I neared the halfway point of the cigar, the flavor picked up a hint of rose hips (never imagined I would use rose hips to describe cigar flavors but that's what I was getting).  The rose hips were really complementing the sweetness of the wrapper and the smoke was very delightful.  The draw was pretty much effortless; however, it was not causing the cigar to burn at an accelerated rate.  The floral notes were continously intensifying along with the aroma of the resting smoke.  Each puff produced a bouquet of aromas and clouds of thick white smoke that were a real delight to the senses.

Final third:  Drawing into the final phase, the cigar started to heat up and while the rose hips were dying away, the toast that was present in the first third returned.  The botanical aromas in the resting smoke were starting to diminish with each puff and the aroma was becoming more and more "like a cigar".  As I brought the cigar to a nub, the toasted woodiness was stronger on the exhale and retro-hale but the cigar continued to remain very mild and smooth in body.  The botanicals completed died off by the time I nubbed this cigar and the heat continued to intensify (as it should given the shape).

Overall:  For my first infused/flavored cigar, it was definitely an above average smoke.  I would call this cigar a "change-up" compared to the usual "fastballs" that I smoke (e.g. Cain, Man O'War Ruination).  I would definitely say that this cigar is worth the investment of a 5-pack for someone who looks for a change of pace but is not an infused cigar smoker.  If infused cigars are to your liking, this is a definite homerun hitter.

Verdict:  4 out of 5 Smokes




Until next time, fly straight and fly high with long ashes

-Da Byrdman-

ACID KUBA KUBA MADURO


ACID KUBA KUBA MADURO



Maker=Drew Estate
Wrapper/leaf= Maduro/Ecuador

Filler=Nicaragua

Binder=Nicaragua
Shape=Robusto
Size=6x50

Let me just say it's been over a year since I had anything from Drew Estate. The last one I had was a KUBA KUBA with a Connecticut wrapper (I think). As I said, it was last summer.

Construction is very good. A little firm. No give to the touch. Nice oily wrapper. VERY POTPOURRI aroma. I feel like I am in a flower shop.

The pre-light draw is floral/sweet of course. Why did I expect anything different?

After the first quarter, most of the initial floral fades down, but it is still noticeable. It is giving off a great amount of resting and puff smoke which is nice. Draw is effortless. The ash is tight and holding firm. Very even burn. I can see that my taste of cigars has changed. Last year I would be able to smoke a few of these with no problem.

At this point it would be something that I would have every once in while. I will have to say It is giving me a very light buzz (SHOCKING). Once you get past all of the beautiful sweet aroma this turns out to be a very nice smoke.

At the halfway point, it starts to taste more like a regular maduro cigar except for the sweetness you get on your lips from the wrapper. This was a nice change of pace. It is something that I may buy as a single.

It was a good Cigar, but just a tad too sweet for me to have on a regular basis.


As always,


Happy Smokin,
BIG PIMPIN

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Joya De Nicaragua

Joya De Nicaragua Clasico.

Don't know anything about this cigar. It is a 5x60 Toro size. Filler-Nicaraguin, Wrapper-Connecticut.


As I have stated before with my reviews, this is about what I get out of the cigar. I have not read any other reviews about this cigar. I will say it was hard to find any information about it (size, binder, wrapper).

There are 2 small splits at the end of the cigar. Don't know how this will affect the burn, but we will see. The rest of the cigar looks good.

Pre-Light draw gives off a smooth creamy note.
First initial burn there were 2 holes that sparked a small flame but nothing major. They did fix themselves. Nice burn for the first 1/4 pretty even after the outburst. Damn, the wind just blew my ash off. Getting a lite pepper taste but not much else and I am passing the first 1/3. There is a lite sting on the back of the throat after exhaling of the smoke. Don't know how that works.

Change of flavor, this is good. Getting a Woodie flavor. WOW, now I am getting a sweet (like honey) flavor. I am coming up on the half way point and it is starting to change. I wasn't getting much in the beginning but now it is giving me a few different flavors, Nutty, earthy.

This stick is confusing me. The flavors stop coming,(what happen?) and it is now stagnant. It started to give me a rush of flavors for a few puffs and then it stopped, and I was just passing the half way point.

The flavors are no longer there. I am getting much of nothing. Just a bit of a creamy note. Like it was in the beginning.

I am not overly impressed with this cigar. It started slow and tried to pick up 1/4 of the way through then it went back to the way it was in the beginning. I would have to say it is a very mild smoke, and for me to say that means it is VERY MILD. There was no kick to it at all for me. As you all now I am not a full body smoker. But after having this smoke I needed a Camacho Corojo BAD!!!!

In the end, it left nothing to be desired.
Again, this is my personal feeling. You may get something totally different and it may work for you.

As always,

HAPPY SMOKIN,

BIG PIMPIN of THE B & B CIGAR CLUB..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Expectations . . . Clasico Disappointment

This week I decided to review a cigar that I have never tried before:  the Joya de Nicaragua Clasico Criollo Toro.  I received this cigar in a sampler from my good friend & tobacconist Terri Beck.

Here's the brief skinny on this cigar:
Vitola:  5 x 60 Toro
Price:  A box of 25 retails for $74.99 at texcigars.com
Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Criollo Capas
Binder:  Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
Filler:  Cuban-seed Nicaraguan



Construction: A couple of prominent veins in the wrapper but consistent color, dark, & oily with a double seam cap.  Firmly packed but not too tight.

Pre-light:  Pre-light aroma is strong "barnyard" tobacco.  Pre-light draw has a good mix of milk & dark chocolate flavors.  As I clipped the head and lit this cigar, I had great expectations for a smorgasbord of flavor highlighted by the milk & dark chocolate notes on the pre-light draw.

1st Third:  Rich, woody chocolate  flavors jumped out on the first few puffs.  The cigar produces a decent amount of resting smoke; however,  not alot of smoke resulting from each puff.  The ash is white and solid with flecks of grey. Coming to the end of the 1st third this cigar has been pretty one-dimensional so far with a body in the medium range.

2nd Third:  The Clasico is still giving me chocolate notes with a raisin-like note on the finish.  The body is still medium and not a lot of action otherwise.

Final third:  The cigar is still giving off bitter dark chocolate flavors w/raisins on the finish.  Overall I have not had any burn issues or construction issues, but I wish I had just to give me something to write about because the cigar itself has given me very little.

In closing, I had great expectations for this cigar especially after reading other reviews on the Joya de Nicaragua AntaƱo line.  Suffice it to say that the Clasico is a "clasico disappointment".  Lack of overall flavor & complexity can never save a cigar in my opinion no matter how good the construction and overall appearance may be.  Think of a cigar like a good burger, you don't want it to be a mess all over you but if it's good you can live with it.  Some good cigars that produce major burn issues or have construction issues may still get a pass from me if the flavors and complexity warrant that I keep smoking them.  The Joya de Nicaragua Clasico Criollo is one I can do without.  My recommendation is. . . "One and Done!"  Proceed with caution on this one and only buy singles at best.

Until next time fly straight and fly high. . .

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Champ's first review: RyJ Habana Reserve

[Disclaimer] The views and opinions of this review are that of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the B & B Cigar Club and its members. Also, the contributor is not an expert...this review is for informational purposes only.

Greetings enthusianados and enthusianadas out there...The Champ is here and I'm ready to give you my first review for the blog! This review will be on the Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve. The first time I had this cigar back in May, I was leery of it since most RyJs are mild to medium bodied, which doesn't fit my pallet. But when I tried it, I was floored by it! So today, I'll give you a little insight into this offering!

Specs:

  • Filler: Mix of long-leaf Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan
  • Size: Toro 6.00" x 54"
  • Strength classification: medium-to-full bodied

Pre-light construction and draw:

This cigar has a smooth feel to it but it has some very noticeable veins to it; the veins almost look like stitches. Giving it a gentle squeeze, it's not soft at all but not firm either. It really feels like the cigar is packed full of those Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. The pre-light draw gives off a nice draw with a slight bit of resistance to it. The flavors I got from the pre-light draw were chocolate and coffee on the pallet with some spice on my lips.

Light up and First 1/3:

Once I light this cigar, it starts off with a fine helping of spice on the pallet. The spice was mixed with some earth tones along with some hints of coffee with cream and some notes of cocoa as well. The spice lingers for a while on the pallet and on the back of my throat; spice is also present when retro'd through the nose. The beginning is definitely med-to-full flavored and the strength is on the full side of medium bodied to start. The mixture of sweetness and spice is equal and well-balanced, which is something to look forward to as this cigar continues. Construction-wise the draw is good and it's producing a lot of white and creamy smoke; the burn is a little off and the ash on the cigar is a little flaky with a dark greyish color on it.

The spice on this cigar has faded just a bit as we move into the halfway point but it does still linger in the back of the pallet. The burn is still not quite right and I had to touch it up a bit with my lighter and the ash was quite crooked as it burns. The first stage ends with a slight but pleasant toasty flavor that mixes with the coffee flavor.

Halfway point:

The flavor has shifted and I'm getting more earthy tones than anything else. The strength has really intensified as well, especially doing the retro through the nose I get a serious buzz. The spice that I got from the first third of this cigar is pretty much gone and the other flavors have either faded away or moved towards the back of the pallet. The coffee flavor is gone and the cocoa has shifted to the background. Further into this stage and the coffee is trying to creep back into the equation and so is another bit of sweetness. I had a little bit of ash fall on my clothing and the touch-up I gave the burn helped to correct it. The draw remains very consistent and continues to give off a lot of smoke even though the flavor isn't as out there as it was in the beginning. The ash has a weird look to it and didn't look very solid yet it held on the cigar and didn't completely drop off.

Down the home stretch:

As I come down the home stretch, some spice has returned and it's not a peppery spice like I experienced at the start. The spice was more of a sweet cinnamon spice...a welcome change IMHO. The strength is really full bodied as I continue to get a nic buzz from retroing through the nose. The earth tones that were prevalent through out the halfway stage are starting to fade and they give way to a combination of burnt toast and coffee along with a quick hit of sweet fruit, almost like a banana, and the brief return of those cocoa notes from earlier. The burn was finally even and the ash was a little more solid. The end, however, was a little flat so I let it go after that.

The People's Verdict:

Before I give the verdict, I must explain my system. I use 5 adjectives when giving a verdict so here they are and what they mean for future reviews:

  • Epic Win = A must buy
  • Win = Would recommend it
  • Meh = I don't dislike it but I wouldn't recommend it unless it improves
  • Fail = I don't like it too much and wouldn't try it again unless gifted to me
  • Epic Fail = Would not recommend it to anyone, even someone I don't like!

Now that I've gotten that out the way here's the verdict for the RyJ Habana Reserve Toro: this cigar is a win for me. Despite the shaky construction, the flavor is on point. Even though this particular cigar had some moments of "meh" its flavors were all over the place and they all were enjoyable! This is a cigar that medium-to-full bodied aficionados can enjoy due to its strength and flavor (it is recommended you have a full stomach as it does get intense once you get halfway through it) and the price point is very affordable (under $10 retail) so go out and grab one and give it a try.

This is The Champ saying keep smoking those great cigars and let the smoke take you away! Enjoy and cheers!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

THE CHAMP IS HERE!!

Greetings and salutations fellow enthusiasts! This post you are about to read is an introduction to the newest contributor to this great group known as the B & B Cigar Club. Before I introduce myself, I would like to extend a hardy and genuine thank you to Big Pimpin and Da Byrdman for inviting me aboard! I really look forward to providing my input in this great passion!

NOW! As Mike Myers said "Allow myself to introduce...myself." I go by my nickname The Champ and I am what many would call a True Native Washingtonian (I was born in D.C., raised in D.C. and still live in D.C.) and I have been into cigars for a little over 9 years. I started smoking cigars when I turned 18 and haven't looked back since that day. My tastes in cigars has evolved over the years from the flavored variety and mild smokes when I started out to my current love of medium-to-full bodied cigars. I keep my mind open to new and different cigars thought I always go back to the stronger ones.

As for reviews, I will make this statement that another BOTL made when he does reviews: I AM NOT AN EXPERT!!! What I describe in my reviews is based off what I experience when smoking. My reviews and opinions are unbiased and not influenced by anyone or anything except the one factor that matters the most: my pallet. The beauty of being a cigar enthusiast is that our tastes are different. My hope is that my reviews will provide you with the info to make an open-minded decision about your next new cigar experience.

Once again, thank you to the B & B Cigar Club for allowing me this opportunity to be a contributor and I look forward to being an integral part of this great club. And to all the enthusiasts in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Northern Va.) can follow me on Twitter @DCsPeoplesChamp to hear about local herfs and events (along with hearing about them here!) so check me out there. Looking forward to my time here! So sit back with a fine cigar and let the smoke take you away!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

B&B Cigar Club Herf @ Alto Plaza - "We Will Never Forget"


The B&B Cigar Club would like to personally thank everyone that attended last night's herf at Alto Plaza in Centreville, VA. We definitely had a wonderful time and enjoyed being able to share in the pleasure of good spirits, food, & cigars as well as pay tribute to those who lost their lives eight years ago. We've posted some pictures of the events (click the post title to view).

Thanks again to everyone for making this herf a success.

-Da Byrdman-

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will Never Forget

Normally I don't do this but out of respect for my brother, Paul aka Big Pimpin, I'll put the "P.A." hat on and share my thoughts on this special day of reverence.

We will never forget where we were on this day some eight years ago when life as we know it changed for thousands of Americans and the meaning of patriotism and freedom changed for a whole nation. We will never forget the images that were burned into our minds and the pain we felt in our hearts as we watched on TV the many people who lost their lives at the hands of a band of terrorists. We will never forget the volunteers and hoards of "First Responders" who rushed to the scene at Ground Zero, The Pentagon, and a small yet now very hallowed field in Pennsylvania. We will never forget the faces covered in ash and dust and the cloud that settled over the New York skyline.

We will never forget the two rays of light that would become the rays of hope that symbolized this country's "Never Quit" spirit. We will never forget the subsequent and ongoing efforts of our military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and continue to put their lives on the line daily for us in the aftermath of this great tragedy.

My prayer is that no matter what you believe or what your faith may be, you treasure, honor, cherish and believe in the words "ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL". Those words make each of you my brother and my sister and are the very reason that WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET. On behalf of the B&B Cigar Club, we wish to say thank you to all of those who gave their lives and to those who risked their lives trying to save others on 9/11. We salute you, we pray for you, and we will never forget you.

-Da Byrdman-

Monday, September 7, 2009

Smoke Signals: Points of Differentiation and the Future of the Cigar Industry

Smoke Signals: Points of Differentiation and the Future of the Cigar Industry

Thanks to our buddy Skip aka ChiefHava of Hava Cigar Shop and Lounge. This is definitely a MUST READ!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alec Bradley Select Cabinet Reserve

For tonight's review I decided to pull out a cigar that I picked up during a recent shopping binge at John B. Hayes in Fair Oaks Mall. Now to preface this, I have smoked almost every Alec Bradley cigar in the Maxx lineup from the Ego to the Culture, the Curve, and the Freak. This is my first venture outside of the Maxx line in Alec Bradley cigars. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Alec Bradley Select Cabinet Reserve (SCR) Torpedo.

The Tale of the Tape
Wrapper: Trojes (Honduras)
Binder: Trojes (Honduras), Indonesia Embetunada
Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
Price: $7-$8 range


Drink: Heineken (BeerTender on tap baby!)
Music: XM Backspin (I was in an Ol’ Skool Hip-Hop mood)
Appearance: Oily and toothy wrapper
Pre-light: The draw has hint of coffee flavor.

Here's the play-by-play:

1st Third – As I light the cigar and take the first couple of puffs I receive loads of spice and an ample amount of smoke; however the cigar surprisingly put off only a light resting smoke. I am beginning to get a slight bitterness on the tip of my tongue as I progress further into the cigar. I’m hoping that this subsides as the cigar rounds out. So far, the burn line is beautiful with a dark grey ash. As I puff away, I feel myself starting to wax poetic about my first Alec Bradley Maxx “The Ego”. As an aside, The Ego is one of the first cigars I began enjoying when I got back into cigars full time and it is a wonderful medium-bodied cigar for the price, but it takes FOREVER to smoke. I can’t finish that thing in less than two hours even if I switch over to “constant herf” mode. Back to the SCR, I am beginning to feel like I'm shaking my spice rack on my tongue & palate with each puff. I am getting several different flavors, so much so that it’s too difficult to narrow it down to just a couple. It seems woody yet slightly floral. The finish is lasting a couple of minutes on the palate. Progressing further into the 1st third, the bitterness is gone but that allspice kinda apple pie spice flavor is lingering with a toasted woodiness. Smoke is smooth & creamy like a mix of silk & butter (by the way why do fat guys like butter? It must be a Southern thing.)

2nd Third – Now I’m into the middle of the cigar and the burn is beginning to get raggedy and a hint of bitterness is back with some leather. The body is still in the mild to medium range. Just when I am beginning to get used to the flavors in the cigar, this stick change directions. This thing is moving like Barry Sanders on a 4 yard run. Now I am getting a slight touch of sweetness that lasts for a minute. Here we go again, either I'm hungry or this cigar just gave me a hint of roasted meat. The ash is managing to hold for about 2 inches before falling to the tray. Still cruising along in the mild to medium-bodied range.


Final Third – Into the home stretch, I find myself fighting with keeping the cigar burning but keeping it cool enough to enjoy the smoke. I’m still getting spice and now some leather but still the body is still holding in that mild to medium range. Not much strength from this particular cigar, but pretty good flavor. Amazingly I can still taste my beer (Heineken is a very light beer in flavor compared to most cigars) so this stick is not overpowering my palate. The burn line is starting to go south on me and this is trying to go out which is a shame because I like the complexity of flavors. After relighting, the spice potpourri is still delivering with wood and leather and the texture is still very smooth. I should've bought at least two of these because I think I'll have a different impression in a matter of a couple of months. As I near the final puffs the cigar yields a new flavor - hickory sort of smoked wood flavor which is proving to be very delightful.


Overall, I have enjoyed this experience minus the burn issues and the lack of strength, but I am trying to learn that every cigar does have to “hit you in the gut” or “sit you on your ass”. I would definitely add this to my repertoire as a late morning/midday smoke.