Made at the Plasencia factory in Nicaragaua, the Montecristo Espada Guard is certainly a cigar with style and class. Available in beautiful 10 count boxes, the Montecristo Espada is part of the ever-growing Altadis USA portfolio. From the Altadis USA website:
“Constructed with 100% vintage Nicaraguan tobaccos specially aged by the Plasencia family and expertly blended by the world famous Grupo de Maestros, Espada by Montecristo offers a bold, spicy and deeply satisfying smoke. Espada, which means “sword” in Spanish, is the first Montecristo with all of its tobacco coming from Nicaragua – a country celebrated for its robust and mellow tobaccos. Espada by Montecristo is a cigar of pure taste and true elegance”.
Being named to Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 (number 20) in 2015, I found this cigar catching my eye while at my local Brick & Mortar store this past week. Let’s find out what this sword swinging stick is all about.
Aesthetics [Construction/Shelf-Appeal/Pre-light]: The Montecristo Espada is almost completely covered with bands, three in total. I’m typically leery of bands covering most of a cigar’s body as you never know what is to be found upon removal (like a Christmas present), however, after removal of foot band and middle band, the cigar showed a nice milk chocolate colored wrapper with several veins throughout. The cigar’s cap was perfectly rounded, and no soft spots were found as I rolled the cigar through my fingers. The foot was jam packed and the pre-light smell was of rich tobacco with feeble woody notes. Cold draw was loose and showed very faint tastes of sweet wood.
Performance [Draw/Burn]: The draw of the cigar was perfect and easy throughout the entire smoking experience showing almost no resistance. The smallest of draws produced a lot of creamy white smoke, and I would classify the cigar as medium/full in body. Burn was wavy throughout the entire smoke and required several touch-ups and one re-light. Ash was a flakey mix of light and dark greys. I did use a V-Cut for this cigar due to the perfectly rounded cap. The Montecristo Espada was a medium strength smoke.
Flavor [Tastes/Aroma]: Throughout the smoking experience I mainly encountered heavy black walnut and dry wood characteristics with leather, faith vanilla, a meaty chewiness, and sweet cedar aromas finding their way to my senses. Not overly complex in the flavors and easily detected tastes were evident throughout smoking the cigar.
Overall Impressions [Value/Experience/Pairing]: My final assessment of the cigar is best summarized as solid. The cigar isn’t amazing, but it’s also far from awful. It’s a market solid cigar that will no doubt be consistent for those finding the flavor profile to fit their wants and needs. The biggest hinderance for me is the price tag. At the higher end of the premium level ($16.00) I can easily find other Nicaraguan puros that will give me a more enjoyable smoking experience. Is this cigar bad? No. Would it be better if the price tag was dropped? Absolutely! In fact, if this cigar were a $10.00 to $12.00 cigar, I would probably smoke it on a regular basis.
For reference, I paired the Montecristo Espada with black coffee and water, therefore, no pairing report was noted.
Have you ever felt drawn to one form of tobacco over another? Or, to put the question straight forward, do you ever find yourself having stretches where you gravitate more toward cigars, or more toward pipe smoking, or even periods of dry nasal snuff use? Without a doubt, I do. In fact, 2022, for the most part, has been a cigar smoking year for me. Why? I don’t know, however, as of the writing of this piece, I have smoked over 197 cigars since April 2022. That roughly equates to approximately 5 cigars per week for 37 straight weeks. Is that too many? For some folks that may seem extreme, whereas for others, they may enjoy five cigars per day.
Similar to the subjectivity associated with tasting tobacco, the quantity of tobacco products one enjoys should be their own preference. With that being said, I do support the belief that moderation must be followed, not just with tobacco, but in all aspects of life. Regardless, no matter your thoughts on quantity, the question we are addressing with this list is the quality of cigars. Below, I have presented my Top 5 Cigars for 2022. Although the list could have easily been extended to include 25 cigars, I feel that anything past five just becomes grouped into a larger pool of good quality smokes. The five cigars presented below have consistently battled their way into the top spots, or in some cases, held the lead from the get-go to prove their worth, and I highly recommend readers of The Pipe Professor website make it a point to try each stick.
Before moving on, I will admit that although I have very much enjoyed cigars for the better part of this year, I am now trending back to my pipes and tobaccos. To be completely forthright, I have been enjoying dry nasal snuff more than any other time in my luxury tobacco journey. With that being said, I will present my Top 5 Nasal Snuffs on Friday, December 23rd and Top 5 Pipe Tobaccos of 2022 on Friday, December 30th here at The Pipe Professor website. Stay tuned for the next few Fridays!
Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Cigars for 2022.
Cigar #5: Padilla 88 Anniversario Robusto
Manufacturer: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez (Ernesto Padilla)
Wrapper: Ecuador Havana
County of Origin: Nicaragua
Price: $12.35 ea., $117 Box of 10
Notes: The Padilla 88 Anniversario Robusto was #21 on the 2021 Cigar Aficionado Top 25, which is where I learned of its existence. The following is from the Cigar Aficionado website, “this cigar was created to honor the 88th birthday of his father Heberto Padilla, a famed Cuban poet who was imprisoned in 1971 for criticizing the Cuban government, sparking what became known as “The Padilla Affair.” The smoke is gorgeous, made in Nicaragua by A.J. Fernandez, with a beautiful Ecuador Havana wrapper and a touch of Pelo d’Oro filler in the blend, a fickle seed varietal that’s tough to grow.” I found that it was not always easy to locate this cigar and just received a restock earlier in December. Prior to that, I only had the two five packs that I purchased in early 2021 and have had to ration accordingly. However, the Padilla 88 Anniversario Robusto is a wonderful cigar and worth the hunt.
Tasting Notes: Tasting notes include, earth, dark chocolate, honey, damp forest floor, and leather. It is to be noted that this cigar does pack a punch in the nicotine department and is not for the faint of heart. Seasoned cigar smokers should be fine, newbies be warned.
Cigar #4: Aladino Queens Perfecto
Manufacturer: Aladino (JRE Tobacco Company, Julio R. Eiroa)
LH: 5 ¼
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
County of Origin: Honduras
Price: $6.75 ea., $125.00 Box of 20
Notes: From the 2guyscigars website, the “JRE Tobacco is a family centered company, founded by Julio R. Eiroa and his son Justo M. Eiroa, together they manage all aspects of the cigar growing and manufacturing for your enjoyment. This is a crop to shop operation as we like to call it. As the premier Corojo grower in the industry, Julio Eiroa, Master Cigar Blender and Tobacco grower, guarantees that all their brands will provide you the opportunity to enjoy an Authentic Corojo taste, the same as cigars from the 1960’s.”Making a debut in April of 2019, the Aladino Connecticut line includes four sizes, Churchill (7 x 52), Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50), and the Queens (5 ¼ x 46). To be completely honest, if I had to pick a line of cigars that would qualify as the “line” or “brand” of the year, it would be Aladino. The Aladino Corojo Reserve #4 was a very close candidate to making this list, but the Queens was able to squeeze in the win at the end.
Tasting Notes: The Aladino Queens is a very soft subtle smoke that offers notes of rich buttered toast, vanilla cream, mild earth, fresh dried grasses, and wheated graham cracker.
Cigar #3: Montecristo Edmundo Tubo
Manufacturer: Habanos S.A.
LH: 5 3/8
County of Origin: Cuba
Price: $38.00 ea., $540 Box of 15 (5 Cartons of 3)
Notes: According to the Cigar Aficionado website the Montecristo Edmundo, “was introduced in the spring of 2004, but it has only recently begun to come into its own. The cigar measures 5 3/8 inches long by 52 ring gauge and is produced primarily in the H. Upmann factory, which is in the neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado in Havana.” It is true that Cuban cigars carry an inconsistency not typically found in new world sticks, but the Montecristo Edmundo Tubo consistently fired on all cylinders this year and offered its own special smoking experience unlike any other cigars I smoked.
Tasting Notes: The Montecristo Edmundo showed notes of salted cashews, leather, hay, assam tea, cedar, and sweet cocoa powder. Although there were times when the burn would be wavy on one of the sticks, the overall satisfaction I gained from the cigar was not just enjoyable, it was memorable, and I am glad I now have enough put back in my collection to rotate in these memories for the next few years.
Cigar #2: Bandolero Firecracker
Manufacturer: Select Tobaccos (Nelson Alfonso)
LH: 3 ½
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Undisclosed
County of Origin: Costa Rica
Price: $9.00 ea., $180.00 Box of 20
Notes: From The Cigar Authority website, “In 2006, from the creative mind of David Garofalo, the Firecracker line was born. The first cigar on the market with a long piece of tobacco at the head was shaped like a ‘wick’ or ‘fuse’ to capture the name of the line; Firecracker. After a few years on the market, the limited release Firecrackers came to life as United Cigars collaborated with a new manufacturer every year to create a celebration cigar for the nation’s Independence Day. This year in 2022, United Cigars tabbed Nelson Alfonso and Selected Tobacco to produce the limited edition cigar of which only 1,000 boxes of 20 have been made. The regular production Bandolero is available in three different series, but the Firecrackers pulls from two them to create this unique cigar. The blend for the Bandolero Firecracker is derived from the Clandestino line (Series C) that uses filler leaves from Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and undisclosed tobaccos. The filler is held together with an Ecuadorian binder and a dark Ecuadorian wrapper that is typically used on the Aventureros line (Series A).” I will admit that I have purchased more boxes of Bandolero Firecrackers than any other brand or line this year. The cigar is a pure superstar and I wish it would become a regular production stick. Nothing against any of the other cigars in the Bandolero portfolio, however, the Firecracker is a super flavorful, slow smoking stick that is the most consistent cigar I have ever smoked.
Tasting Notes: This little stick yielded big flavors with notes of earth, cedar, mild black pepper, raisins/figs, black coffee, and molasses.
2022 Cigar of the Year: Atabey Delirios
Manufacturer: Select Tobaccos (Nelson Alfonso)
LH: 5 ¾
County of Origin: Costa Rica
Price: $32.00 ea., $799.00 Box of 25
Notes: From the 2guyscigars website, “the name Atabey has ties to the Taino Indians and the cigar culture. It all began with Cohiba which referred to the circle the tribe would gather in to pray. They would offer their prayers to the leader known as Behike who in turn would deliver those prayers to the Goddess Atabey. Atabey Cigars comes to us from Nelson Alfonso and is made in Costa Rica where the blend is only known by a select few.” I honestly came across this cigar by accident when I was in Liquor Barn picking up some delicious wines and spirits. Like any good cigar aficionado, I always take a gander at the humidor before heading to the checkout. The Atabey line was on full display that day, and although carrying a hefty price tag, I decided to pick up three different sizes to give the line a try. My palate is surely glad I did, my wallet, not so much. Atabey cigars not only taste incredible, but they also perform/burn phenomenally, and are masterfully crafted with beautiful golden wrappers, offering the seasoned smoker a perfect smoking experience.
Tasting Notes: The Atabey Delirios are buttered cream, sweet molasses, dried grains, bready yeast, and fresh yellow cake. Fantastic smoke that has truly elevated the bar for what a quality cigar should be. Without a doubt, the Atabey Delirios is The Pipe Professor’s 2022 Cigar of the Year.
That will do it for my 2022 Top 5 Cigars. If you would like to watch the video presentation of these Top 5 cigars, please visit The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/Ve5XwpQQNv0
Stay tuned for the Top 5 Nasal Snuffs and Pipe Tobaccos in the upcoming weeks. As always, thank you for visiting The Pipe Professor webpage and I hope you find you way back soon.
Created to celebrate Rocky Patel’s 60th birthday in 2021, the Rocky Patel Sixty pulls out all the stops to honor the man, myth, and legend in the cigar industry, Rocky Patel. Aged a minimum of 2 years in the Rocky Patel headquarters after being rolled, these cigars are said to have some of the oldest tobaccos in the Rocky Patel warehouse portfolio. For detailed information and videos of Rocky and his team creating the Sixty line of cigars, visit the Rocky Patel website at: https://www.rockypatel.com/cigar-campaigns/sixty-by-rocky-patel/
On to the review….
Video Review: If you would like to watch the video review of the Rocky Patel Sixty, please visit the following link. While there, don’t forget to like and subscribe!
Aesthetics (Construction/Shelf-Appeal): Three beautifully detailed bands almost completely cover the cigar. Very eye appealing from the consumer’s point-of-view with gold embossing and excellent color scheme. Very dark, smooth, maduro wrapper, however, the cigar felt light or under filled in my hand. Fantastic square box press with nice tight visible seams. Cap was a triple seam and overall cigar was beautifully made.
Performance (Draw/Burn): Very, very loose draw, to the point that it was a wind tunnel requiring no effort to smoke. Burn was extremely wavy throughout the smoking experience needing to be touched up several times. Ash was a wonderful white with mixed of gray sprinkled throughout. Smoke was a thick, soft, creamy white.
Flavor (Tastes/Aroma/Body/Strength): Cold draw was a dark fruit raisin taste accompanied by a small hint of earth and spice. Smoking taste profile noted cereal, buttermilk biscuits, earth, wood, and leather. Aroma was woody and savory with a creamy, soft texture. Body was full throughout the smoking experience and the strength I would classify as medium.
Overall Impressions (Value/Experience/Pairing): The Rocky Patel Sixty is a very good cigar, however, the size, looseness of the draw, price, and burn issues do not justify a second purchase for me, at least at the Gordo size. These characteristics make it seem that the cigar was under-filled and a bit expensive in the pricing category. The tastes were nicely refined, and I did enjoy the body to strength smoking ratio. I do plan to try this cigar in the robusto format and hope some of the performance issues are resolved with the smaller size.
I paired my Rocky Patel Sixty with a Versailles Brewing Company (VBC) Legit Kentucky Cream Ale. The beer and cigar paired well together with the beer offering an opposing balance to the heavy flavors and body the cigar presented on its close. The VBC Legit was crisp and refreshing, with nice light malty flavors and plenty or carbonation. It reminded me of a nice refreshing champagne.
I’m glad I was able to try the Rocky Patel Sixty and was able to confirm that the larger ring gauge cigars are not for me. I do look forward to trying the Sixty in other vitolas but will not be picking up any more of the 60 ring gauge samples.
Sometimes you happen upon a diamond in the rough. Indeed, that is the case for me and the Aladino cigar line. I cannot recall exactly when, or where, I saw the brand for the first time, however, admittedly, the simple labeling and packaging reminded me of some familiar Habanos S.A. brands for a time long gone (old Montecristo bands). Anyhow, I decided to pick up a few different options of the Aladino line at my local tobacconist and give them a try. Before going any further, let me be clear, I have yet to be disappointed with the cigars in this brand.
Aladino cigars are produced by the JRE Tobacco company, a father/son operation dedicated to growing and producing the best Corojo cigars from Honduras. The following message about the company and their mission can be found on the JRE webpage (https://www.jretobacco.com) and reads as follows:
“JRE Tobacco is a family centered company, founded by Julio R. Eiroa and his son Justo M. Eiroa, together they manage all aspects of the cigar growing and manufacturing for your enjoyment. This is a crop to shop operation as we like to call it. We are fully committed to providing sustained quality and satisfaction on every Aladino, Rancho Luna and Tatascan we make. This self-impossed standard covers the entire cigar manufacturing process. Our commitment to quality and consumer satisfaction is never compromised or circumvented. As the premier Corojo grower in the industry, I, Julio Eiroa, Master Cigar Blender and Tobacco grower, guarantee that all our brands will provide you the opportunity to enjoy an authentic Corojo taste, the same as cigars from the 1960s. Join us on this journey and be part of a history-making cigar smoking experience like no other.”
The Aladino Corojo Reserva portfolio contains the following sizes and are readily available at your local brick and mortar store or friendly online tobacconist.
Corona 5 x 44 (Limited Production)
Robusto 5 x 50
Toro 6 x 52
Box Pressed Figurado 6 ¼ x 54 (Limited Production)
On to the review….
Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto Attributes
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Honduran Corojo
Filler: Honduran Corojo
Price: $11.50 USD ea./$215.00 Box of 20
Pre-light Inspection: Although the bands are simple in nature, the tissue paper added to the body of the cigar gives the consumer a feel of delicate elegance. The cigar’s wrapper had a few veins running throughout and the cigar was very firm to the touch yielding no soft spots. The cigar displayed a Colorado colored wrapper leaf and the cap on this example was an uneven, lumpy, double seam. The cold smell showed sweet cedar and chocolate notes and the cold draw was medium tight with cold sweet notes of fresh Earth.
Opening and First Third: Cigar opened with a bold spice and lots of thick, full, white smoke. The draw gave almost perfect resistance, and the burn did require a touch up, however, nothing that would negatively impact the cigar’s overall performance. Tastes in the first third noted an earthy forward taste with touches of cocoa powder and splashes of pepper spice (similar to a clove). Aroma was outstanding, yielding sweet, creamy, bready notes. Cigar’s strength and body were both medium/full moving to the full range.
Second Third: The second third of my Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto continued to have a magnificent aroma of sweet cream and baked deserts. Truly wonderful! The burn on the cigar continued to be wavy but did not require any touch-ups. The pepper and spiciness of the cigar enhanced during the second third with the chocolate/cocoa tastes fading away. The earth notes remained solid, and a minor floral note began to appear as the cigar moved into the final third. Body of the cigar remained medium/full while the strength of the cigar actually pulled back to be straight medium.
Final Third: The final third of my Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto was nothing short of amazing. The aroma continued to be memorizing with its creamy, baked sugar sweetness. The Earthy tasting note persisted throughout the entire smoke and was truly the foundation for the cigar’s flavor profile. Notes of mint and chocolate splashed in and out during the final third and a very, but pleasant, buttered, nutty sweetness started to stand out near the finale. Cigar closed more toward full in body with continued mouthfuls of creamy, thick, white smoke, and the strength I would classify as a solid medium. The burn remained wavy and required two more touch-ups to close out the smoking experience.
Overall Impressions: Overall, I must admit that the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto is very much in the running for my 2022 Cigar of the Year. The cigar has just enough complexity to remain interesting, while offering a very enjoyable smoking experience. I would be remiss to not tell everyone that I have indeed ordered a full 20 count box of this cigar as it is very much box worthy. If you are looking to get someone into cigar smoking, or would like to impress a guest with a quality cigar without breaking the bank, the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto is a perfect match for you. Pick some up and give them a try for yourself. It will be a guarantee payback on your investment of time and money.
Happy National Cigar Day! Or at least I think I read that somewhere… Even if it’s not, we have beautiful weather in my part of the world, and a lazy Sunday calls for a good cigar.
Most of us probably associate Pappy Van Winkle as one of the most sought-after, high-end bourbons in the world. Admittingly, I have had the fortune of sampling some 10-year-old Pappy and although it was very smooth, it’s by far, not the best bourbon I’ve ever had. As we will note later in this review, don’t get caught off guard by the hype associated with a brand name.
With that being said, the Pappy Van Winkle line is rolled and produced by Drew Estate Cigars at La Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Tradition line debuted in 2018 and includes the following vitolas:
Corona 5 ½ x 44 (Exclusive-not marketed)
Coronita 4 x 46 ($15.00)
Robusto Grande 5 ½ x 54 ($22.00)
Belicoso Fino 5 x 50 ($25.00)
Toro 6 x 50 (Exclusive-not marketed)
Churchill 7 x 48 ($24.00)
The Tradition line is the second release in the Pappy Van Winkle Cigar portfolio, with the first being Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented. I was a bit worried that being produced by Drew Estate, the company would attempt to infuse some type of bourbon flavoring into the cigars, similar to their Acid line, however, this is certainly not the case. So, let’s jump in and see what the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar is all about.
On to the review….
Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Attributes
Size: Robusto Grande
Length: 5 ½
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Oscuro
Filler: Dominican Republic; Nicaragua
Price: $22.00 USD
Pre-light Inspection: Cold smell yields a nice rich tobacco and earthy barnyard mix. The wrapper is a medium to light brown in appearance with minimal veins. Cap is pristine and the large double bands display a picture similar to the bourbon outlined in a cardinal red. Cold draw did not yield any specific tastes and the draw seemed initially tight.
Opening and First Third: The cigar opened with a spicey black pepper and moved its way into a leathery dry toast. First third was medium in both strength and body. The burn a bit wavy but needed no touch-ups producing a very pure white powdery ash. The draw was not tight as I though on the pre-light and instead could be defined as effortless.
Second Third: Moving into the second third, I had to remove the first, smaller, label identifying the cigar as Tradition. I was very careful to remove the band, however, the cigar started to split once the band was removed and continued this trend the remainder of the smoking experience. Tastes continued to show a nice toastiness that was complemented in the room note. The aroma, coupled with the toast, reminded me of a nice bakery. There was an awkward metallic taste note that sporadically appeared in the second third. A mild hint of soft red wine, similar to a pinot noir, appeared at the end of the second third and my hopes were that this continued into the last part of the smoke. Body and strength continued to be medium and the burn was very wavy due to the split wrapper.
Final Third: I ended up touching the cigar up heading into the final third in hopes of stopping the split. This did help initially, but the cigar had to be touched up a few more times in order to make it a successful finish. The toastiness continued through the end with the aroma reminding me of sweet graham. The metallic taste decided to show up on a more frequent basis in the final third but was also accompanied by a unique nutty almond paste note. The body of the cigar finished out medium/full while the strength boasted itself into the full category.
Overall Impressions: The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was a nice cigar and I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke it. Like the bourbon, I feel this could be a hyped-up line due to its name and tradition. Would I recommend other folks try the line, absolutely as it is a good cigar. Would I fill my humidor with a box for aging, probably not. At a price point of $22.00 each, this is a good cigar but not worthy of a second go in my rotation. To be clear, there are a lot of other cigars on the market, in the $8 – $10 price range, that I enjoy on a much more regular basis and that I would reach for before the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition. Would I suggest maybe picking one up to enjoy on the golf course or with some buddies? Sure! But for the long term, this will probably be my one and only Pappy cigar.
Cigar Score: 3 out of 5 boxes
A full video review of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Robusto Grande cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/DeNx1DThurs
Happy 2021! I am excited that the first cigar I am blessed to smoke and review this year is the Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro No.50. I purchased a 10-count box of these cigars back in 2015 and yes, am just now opening them for enjoyment. Before getting to the review, lets discuss a little about this cigar and its significance in the Padron portfolio.
In celebration of their 50th year in the cigar production business, the Padron family chose to celebrate the milestone with the creation of a regular production cigar line, Family Reserve. Finding their beginnings in 1964 by patriarch Jose O. Padron, immigrant to the United States from Cuba, the Padron cigar company is currently based in Miami, Florida with crop growth and production occurring in Estelí, Nicaragua. It goes without saying that Padron cigars started as a family endeavor and continuous as such to this day. Although 2018 saw the passing of founder Jose O. Padron, the company continues its forward motion and success under Jorge Padron, son of the late Jose O. Padron. The following are the six lines in the Padron portfolio, all of which encompass various shapes, sizes, and wrapper leaves (natural or maduro).
Padron 1964 Anniversary
Padron 1926 Serie
Padron Family Reserve
Padron 50th Anniversary
For more information of the Padron family story visit their website at: https://padron.com
On to the review….
Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro Attributes
Ring Gauge: 54
Price: $25.00 USD ea.; $250 USD 10ct. Box
Pre-light Inspection: The Padron Family Reserve 50-year sports a gorgeous box press, similar to most cigars in the Padron line. The deep, dark, smooth wrapper leaf has minimal veins and provides an unlit aroma of sweet cocoa and rich earth. The bands are extravagant and easily accent the specialness of the cigar. The upper, main band is a deep wine red embossed with gold lettering depicting the Padron name and Family Reserve label. Underneath the main band we are presented with a number ID band typically of Padron’s 1964 and 1926 lines. These secondary ID bands help prevent counterfeiting of the cigars and personalize the smoker’s experience with the stick. The second band is cream colored with gold lettering displaying 50 years. The cap of the cigar is smooth, round, and well-applied. The solid roll showed a jam-packed foot with no soft spots detected on the pinch throughout the cigar’s body. Upon cold, pre-light draw I was presented with an effortless resistance, typical of most Padron cigars. Cold tastes showed hopeful notes of earth and leather (similar to a new leather belt).
Tasting Notes and Performance: Throughout the smoking experience the cigar never required a touch up and the burn was suburb and straight the entire time. The cigar produced a medium gray ash that showed beautifully stacked, wavy layers. The tastes I noted throughout were earthy barnyard, dark cocoa powder, black coffee, and a mild pepperiness, all wrapped in a thick, creamy, white smoke. The cigar was very well balanced in its tasting profile, however, very typical of a Nicaraguan maduro (certainly a Padron cigar). The cigar provided a full-bodied experience and was medium-full in strength. It’s easy to understand this is a cigar to be savored, not smoked like a steam engine. The room aroma was a mix of sweet tobacco and soft yeasty bread. Total smoking time was 74 minutes.
Overall Impressions: I have high expectations cigars that costs $25.00 a piece, and the Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro delivered on this expectation. With that being said, at this price point, this cigar is certainly not an everyday smoke. I am pleased with the balance and eloquence the cigar shows and look forward to dipping into the box on special occasions or with friends over dinner and drinks; however, if given the option of spending $250 on another box or putting that cash toward a 25-count box of Cubans, I will stick with the latter. The only negative point against this cigar is the price. However, luxury experiences call for a luxury price tags and if you have some extra dough laying around, I can assure you that investing it on a Pardon Family Reserve 50 years will pay you back with an extraordinary smoking experience. If you have the opportunity to pick one up, do so. It will be worth your time and money.
I’m not going to lie. It was only after delving into this month’s issue of cigar aficionado, which features the iconic Sir Winston Churchill, that I even considered revisiting a box of H. Upmann Sir Winston’s that had been peacefully aging away in one of my humidors. Although not the actual cigar Sir Winston himself smoked, (that is said to be Romeo e Julieta Churchills) Habanos SA crafted the Sir Winston in the H.Upmann marque to celebrate and commemorate Britain’s cigar smoking iron giant.
The box I currently own displays the box code TLR SEP 08, which means the cigars were rolled in September of 2008, roughly 10 years ago. Let me go on record ending the debate of whether aged cigars are truly better than freshly rolled sticks…the answer is a resounding YES! If you have the time, patience, and money to store away some great cigars, specifically Cuban cigars, you will not be disappointed by your investment. Let’s see how these 10-year-old Sir Winston’s are progressing.
On to the review….
H. Upmann Sir Winston Attributes
Ring Gauge: 47
Price: $31.00 USD ea.
Pre-light Inspection: The smooth medium brown wrapper on this cigar had an almost redish Rosado hue. The triple seam cap was semi-sloppy and the pre-light smell showed characteristics of a rich velvety chocolate and raspberry. No soft spots were detected and the cold draw was extremely tight showing notes of straw/hay with a creamy finish.
Tasting Notes and Performance: Hands down, the H.Upmann Sir Winston performed like an all-star. Although the draw was a bit firmer than I typically prefer, the cigar burned and smoked very well. Cigar was mild in strength and medium in body throughout most of the smoking experience. Cigar tastes included a salty soft caramel start that transitioned to cinnamon, brown sugar, buttery characteristics, and ended with creamy, bready, cedar notes. The room note reminded me of a freshly rising yeasty bread with the cigar producing a lot of thin white smoke. Very much an interesting and rewarding smoking experience.
Overall Impressions: The wait has definitely yielded reward with the H. Upmann Sir Winston. With a little over half a box remaining, I am certainly looking forward to smoking my remaining stock in the very near future. Although I am a firm believer that cigars do improve with age, similar to wine, there is a window where cigars peak, and if not smoked, begin to lose flavor. The current 2008 stock are performing unbelievably amazing at the moment, offering any cigar smoker the pleasure and enjoyment we search for each smoking experience. In my opinion, if you’ve got ‘em, smoke ‘em.
Happy December! It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a close. However, with ends there are also beginnings, and although 2017 wasn’t a bad year for me, there may be plenty of others who can’t wait for 2018 to begin. With the winter season moving in, the opportunity for cigar smoking is quickly fading until spring. Not to say I don’t smoke cigars in the winter. On the contrary, I still manage to brave the cold for an occasional stogie. Truth be told, I prefer smoking a pipe in the wintertime over cigar smoking. There is something ‘inner warming’ about smoking a pipe in the snow that offers me personal comfort and joy.
Anyway, I managed to get in a review of the Cohiba Siglo IV during one of the warmer transitional days this past week. Becoming commercially available in 1994, the Habanos Cohiba Siglo range is one of the most popular lines in the Habanos S.A. portfolio. The current Siglo lineup consist of the following six sizes:
Pre-light Inspection: This gorgeous looking cigar sports a golden tan, silky wrapper that is smooth to the touch with few visible veins. The solid roll showed a jam-packed foot with no soft spots detected on the pinch. Cigar head had a perfectly crafted triple seam cap. No obvious pre-light aroma, however, the tight cold draw produced notes of chili pepper spice and a rich creamy sweetness.
Tasting Notes and Performance: This cigar can essentially be summed up as rich, creamy, and smooth. Sweet notes of vanilla, yeasty bread, chocolate, nougat, cedar, leather and spice are detected throughout the smoking experience. Burn was a touch wavy and did require a few touch-ups throughout, however, no relights were needed. Draw was on the firm side, but the cigar still produced a wonderful thick white smoke categorizing the cigar as medium bodied. The finish of the cigar did show a little harshness with tarry notes easily found on the palate but time and aging should easily mellow out these issues.
Overall Impressions: This is absolutely everything I want and expect in a quality cigar. A glorious smoking experience and although on the pricey side for most aficionados, in my opinion it’s well worth it. If you are able to purchase a box (or two) of these do so. I highly recommend them and am confident you will not be disappointed in your investment. I understand there is a lot of disagreement about whether Cuban cigars are truly the best in the world, but let me be the first to make a stance in saying if Cuba continues to turn out quality sticks like the Cohiba Siglo IV, they will forever remain the king of the quickly expanding cigar scene. My verdict, buy them up if you can!