Aladino Corojo Reserva

Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto

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

Size: Robusto

Length: 5  

Ring Gauge: 50

Wrapper: Honduran Corojo

Binder: Honduran Corojo

Filler: Honduran Corojo

Country: Honduras

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.    

Cigar Score: 4 out of 5 boxes

A full video review of the Aladino Corojo Reserva Robusto cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/qHXuCzMw5fw

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar Review

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

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

Binder: Indonesia

Filler: Dominican Republic; Nicaragua

Country: 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

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro

Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro   

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 Series
  • Padron Damaso
  • 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

Size: Robusto

Length: 5  

Ring Gauge: 54

Wrapper: Nicaragua 

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Country: Nicaragua

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.   

Cigar score: 4 out of 5 boxes

Until next time, stay blessed. Cheers!

Cigar Review

H. Upmann Sir Winston

HUpmann Sir Winston Header

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

Size: Churchill

Length: 7

Ring Gauge: 47

Wrapper: Cuba

Binder: Cuba

Filler: Cuba

Country: Cuba

Price: $31.00 USD ea.

HUpmann Sir Winston #8

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.

Cigar score:

5 Cigar Boxes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature

Cigar Review

Cohiba Siglo IV   

Cohiba Siglo IV #1

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:

Siglo I – 40 x 4

Siglo II – 42 x 5.1

Siglo III – 42 x 6.1

Siglo IV – 46 x 5.6

Siglo V – 43 x 6.7

Siglo VI – 52 x 5.9

For more information on the Cohiba brand please visit the Habanos S.A. website at http://www.habanos.com/en/?age-verified=eb6ac93e0a or the Cuban Cigar Website at https://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/brand/cohiba

 

On to the review….

 

Cohiba Siglo IV Attributes

Size: Corona Gorda

Length: 5.6

Ring Gauge: 46

Wrapper: Cuba

Binder: Cuba

Filler: Cuba

Country: Cuba

Price: $23.50 USD

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 10.40.58 PM

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!

Cigar score:

5 Cigar Boxes

Dr. Kyle Andrew Signature