Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shark Infested Waters - The Arturo Fuente No. 77

Tonight I decided to retire to my study once again for a cozy review. Only tonight's cigar isn't just any cigar…it is the Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 77 also known as "the Shark". I am pairing tonight's cigar with some Ron Añejo Pampero Anniversario Rum. The Shark derives its name from Wayne Suarez & Marvin Shanken due to their love of this particular blend. Carlito Fuente dubbed this vitola the “SS Shark”. While I would love to delve into the details of the nomenclature and history I will leave that to each of you and tell you that you can read more about “The Shark” at Let’s get into the review…

Size: 5 5/8” x 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Añejo Blend

The unique shape of this cigar is the first thing that grabs you in that the foot is perfectly squared; however, the cigar morphs into a torpedo shape at the head. I've only smoked one of these previously, but after securing a box (thanks to @Mirrorlure7m on Twitter) I decided to give it a go for a review.

The cigar is seemingly flawless in construction exhibiting the right amount of firmness that springs back ever so slightly when pinched. The wrapper is a dark chocolate color with a single prominent vein that runs throughout. The cigar smells of rich barnyard & tobacco aromas. The pre-light draw is again rich tobacco with a slight coffee note.

First third: There is a slight sweetness on the outset; however, no real pepper or spice kick is present at the moment. The cigar is very smooth with a slight taste of dried fruit or raisins. So far, this cigar is not producing a lot of smoke, but it is very mellow. I would classify the body as mild at this point. The ash is somewhat gray in color and is holding firm for at least the first inch to inch and a half.

Second third: There is a slight hint of spice on the retrohale that is beginning to come through. The strength is still mild to medium; however, the body is moving into the medium range and the flavors are starting to hang heavier on my palate. Overall it is still slightly sweet and very mellow. Toward the end of the 2nd third, this cigar is hitting its stride now with more dark chocolate flavor & a citrus note on the retrohale which is surprising yet pleasant. After experiencing a little tar buildup, I re-clipped the cigar and it is now producing lots of smoke & draw has loosened somewhat.

Final third: As I near the end, I am noticing a slight peppery spice on my tongue. The dark chocolate note is building. Overall it is still very smooth & mellow, yet the strength has picked up to a medium range. I am not experiencing noticeable nicotine "kick", but the cigar is definitely stronger.

Final thoughts: This cigar has hefty price tag due to the rarity and the aging (6-8 months in cognac barrels; min. 3 yrs total), but it is well worth it. Starting slowly, it gradually builds in flavor, strength, & complexity yet never loses it mellow character. I considered my experience to be very enjoyable & it certainly proved to be a great pairing with good aged rum. Since I have a box of these, at the recommendation of my good friend Joel (@Mirrorlure7m), I am going to let these age and hopefully re-visit them every few months just to see how they mature and change ever so slightly. I would definitely recommend these to anyone that is looking to try a “rare” cigar if cost is not an option; however, I would stay away from shops that are not authorized Fuente dealers as the price can escalate quickly. I am giving this experience 4.5 out of 5 smokes.

That’s all for now; until next time…fly straight & fly high.

Happy Smoking,

-Da Byrdman-

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The People's Review of the Tatuaje Verocu Red Tubo

FINALLY THE CHAMP HAS COME BACK TO THE B&B BLOG! Yeah I realize it's been a long while since I did a review (different things happening plus the brutally cold weather of the DMV prevented previous attempts) but I finally had the chance to get one done for all The Champ's fans so without further ado...LET'S DO THIS!

This review is for the Tatuaje Verocu Red Tubo, another creation from the combo of Pete Johnson and Jose "Don" Pepin Garcia. This cigar also came in a Black tubo as well; I tried the Black tubo in late December on a trip to the Humidour and I really enjoyed that cigar and I was looking forward to giving this cigar a go. Here are the specs of this stick:

  • Vitola: 6 1/8" x 52 torpedo
  • Strength: Full
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
  • Wrapper: 1999 Nicaraguan Corojo

Pre-light Draw & Construction

We get right into it and take the cigar from its red tubo and right away you become somewhat enamoured with the dark color of the corojo wrapper. There are some visible veins but nothing that would cause any issues. A little squeeze shows that the tobacco is packed tight and is quite firm with very little give. Give this cigar a little snip with my cutter and the draw is quite good given the fact the cigar is quite packed. The cold draw produced a nice sweet flavor mixed in with a little earthiness so let's get it lit and see what we get!

First Third

Right off the bat after getting this cigar lit is the amount of smoke produced; a lot of white, creamy smoke. It starts off with loads of spice, something I always come to expect from a Nicaraguan puro and/or a cigar with corojo tobacco in it, along with a mix of earth tones and a slight hint of black coffee. The spice is very prominent on the retrohale and on the back of the throat along with the earthiness we got from the cold draw. As I continue the cigar the coffee flavor is starting to creep up a little more really creating an interesting yet pleasurable mixture. One thing to note: I'm not a huge fan of an overly earthy cigar and can never really enjoy it but this cigar has the perfect amount of earth tones mixed in with the spice and coffee that even I can enjoy! =) The construction on this cigar is ridiculously good...burn is very even and the ash is very solid with a whitish-grey color (even my g/f marveled at how good the ash was =]). This is most certainly a full-bodied cigar - feeling a strong nic buzz right now from smoking about 2" of this cigar (BTW I'm a full-bodied cigar fanatic so this cigar is perfect so far!) And just as I'm ready to move into the halfway point I just got a small hit of something sweet almost like ginger or cinnamon...very nice!

Halfway Point

Moving on to the halfway point and the spice has faded quite a bit and I'm still tasting the coffee and earth tones. Burn is still fairly even and the ash is still holding firm and solid (TD SAINTS ON A FLEA FLICKER! Sorry I'm watching the Saints/Cardnials game...very entertaining!) This cigar is still producing a lot of creamy smoke while remaining cool and smooth. Still tasting some earth tones w/ some coffee and ginger notes plus a burnt tobacco flavor. The spice is starting to come back a little bit and the strength of this cigar has not wavered as I'm still feeling a nic buzz!

End of the line

Now moving on to the end of this cigar and I'm still tasting that burnt tobacco flavor w/ a small amount of spice (not as strong as I anticipated or experienced at the start). Construction on this cigar is borderline phenominal...still burning evenly and the ash is still solid. Now I'm getting some sweetness on the pallet (can't quite put my finger on what it is but it's good) and it's starting to mix in with a flavor of walnuts and earth notes as I reach the end of this cigar. The cigar is still burning cool as I get to the end and the flavors are just so pleasant it's a shame that it's the end!


After smoking this cigar I think the verdict is pretty obvious...EPIC WIN!! This cigar is indeed a full-bodied cigar smoker's cigar...plenty of flavor with a strong kick to it to keep you awake and interested...I highly recommend this cigar! It is well worth the price for either a single or a box from your local B&M; one very important note: before smoking this cigar make sure you have a very full meal on your stomach...I had 3 slices of pizza prior to smoking this cigar and was able to barely stand up straight LOL! That's all for now...I shall be back again for another review but until that time keep lighting up those fine cigars and let the smoke take you away...cheers and enjoy!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cusano 18 Double Connecticut Robusto

This is a smoke that I got from The Big Smoke Vegas in November.

Don't know anything about it so I did a little searching to see what the details were of this smoke.

It's been awhile since I have written a review, but there was a lot going on in my life. Now that things have calmed down a bit I can get back to posting reviews.

Size-Robusto 5x50

It is 10:37 am on a Wednesday morning. This is the first time I have ever smoked a cigar this early. So I figured I would try something considered to be mild/medium. I will also be having a glass of California Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine. Don't know how this will pair up, but we will see.

Construction is good. There are a few veins but nothing to write momma about. A nice feel to it, not too firm.

Prelight: The wrapper gives off a smooth slightly sweet smell to it.
Cut was good, smooth on the dry hale. Time to light and see what this stick is all about.

Good first inhale. Smooth notes, little hint of honey. Let's see if it keeps that flavor.

So far so good. It is giving off a great resting smoke and the smoke on the retrohale is very thick. The ash is holding well with no flaking at all. Flavor is still creamy smooth.

At the half way point and I will say that this is a very mild cigar. A great one for me to smoke in the morning. The flavor has changed a little. Not as much sweetness, not complex at all.
[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="\"Proper etiquette says put this down. Nonsense!\""][/caption]
It does have a very nice burn to it. Even all the way through.
When you get to the band, proper etiquette tells you to put it down, but if you are enjoying your cigar why would you want to do that? Makes no sense to me.

In the end, this was a good smoke this morning. Not heavy and it still allows me to go play with my 3 year old son.
It was about a 45 minute smoke with a very consistent smooth flavor and a very consistent burn. This after sitting in my humidor for 2 months.

So for all you mild cigar smokers. This would be a good one for you to have. Or for those that want a cigar that will not hurt their performance while at work but need to get away and refresh, this would be one to consider.

As always,
Happy Smokin..

BIG PIMPIN of B&B Cigar Club