Cigar Review: EP Carillo La Historia

EP Carillo has been making waves in the cigar industry ever since the release of La Gloria Cubana.EP Carillo La Historia

La Historia is no exception.  A firm, light brown wrapper graces the cigar with very few veins.

Starts off with solid wood and Cocoa flavors with light leather in the mix. The first third was consistent until I tasted dark roast coffee flavors.

Next came the nuttiness.  More like an almond sweetness danced beautifully across my tongue and the cigar started to burn unevenly.  A light touch up with matches helped but not much until the final third of the cigar.

La Historia employs a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers.  That explains where teh sweetness comes from, and the spice, along with the gentle balance this cigar has.

I pulled off the bands and continued smoking.  I was surprised by light wood flavors and the fact that this cigar didn’t clash with the IPA I had at the time.  An excellent smoke.

Cigar Review: Vivalo Exclusivo Gordo

Vivalo Cigar Co., has been established since 2013 with the inaugural release “Serie Exclusivo,” which is comprised of 100% Nicaraguan tobacco from the two most esteemed growing regions, Esteli and Jalapa.

The Vivalo Exclusivo Gordo starts off with a peppery draw that has coffee on the back along with hints of sweetness. Almost nutty flavors.

The pre-light draw is awesome, that rich coffee flavor. The cigar has a great draw, whereby the pepper backs off to give way to sweeter notes of coffee properly sweetened.

The burn line is awesome after the initial pepper blast, the cigar flavors became coffee and chocolate. The sweet chocolate takes a prominent place in flavor on the end of the first third and the burn line stays pretty even.

Cigar Review – Camacho Triple Maduro

I’d managed to snag this cigar in the Atlanta area, at a liquor store of all places.  I’d been wanting to try it and see what the hype was about and was honestly surprised to find it in a well kept humidor in said liquor store.  

Considering my first true triple Maduro was the Tres Maduro by ACC Cigars, the bar had been set pretty high. The two cigars could not be further apart in taste!

While we won’t get into comparison because it’s simply unfair, I will mention the similarities include entubado bunching method used to roll the Camacho and they end there.  Touching the cigar revealed it pliable in all the right ways a cigar should be.  The wrapper is dark and has a rugged appearance to it, like little flecks of spice on the leaf.  When I clipped the cap and took a test draw, the cigar had a great draw and revealed odd notes for a cigar.  Plum and fruit undertones, along with tobacco and a slight sweetness that had nothing to do with fruit, wet my palate.  The cigar itself smelled of sweet and spice.

Upon lighting up, the cigar revealed mellow undercurrents of tobacco and strong pepper tones.  The flavor of dark fruit was evident, something I thought I’d never taste in a cigar.  Starting off this way was a stark contrast to the Tres, which had dark cocoa and chocolate notes.

The burn line started off even and stayed pretty much the same for most of the first third.  The second third of the cigar had a solid burn too.  Black pepper, surpassed the fruit, though it still remained evident.  During the second third of the cigar, the spice had taken a back seat.  The cigar is pretty in your face.  A definite chalky taste appeared and reminded me of what one would find pleasant in a an old world wine.

The ash held on pretty well but every time I moved to take a photo, the ash fell.  I do have video that I’ll upload and link back here once I do.

An hour and a half into the cigar, intense white pepper had encompassed most everything, almost like a bomb, though not quite like something you’d find in a JDN or LFD cigar.  Notes of leather are more present.  This is definitely a heavier cigar so make sure you eat a full meal.

This review originally appeared on StogiePress.com. 

Scotch Whiskey Tasting – Notes from Highland Cigar Company

While in Atlanta, I’ve been checking out Highland Cigar Company, usually going on Sundays.  Last week, the 28th of June, the folks there hosted Simon Brooking, from Beam/Suntori and we tasted some nice Scotch Whiskies.

Simon’s a knowledgeable guy about both Whiskey and the history of many different brands, plus the wet past of Scotland.  His tales were amusing, his toasts, heartwarming and jokes, well any good Scotsman would be proud. Plus, for once, I wasn’at the only one wearing a kilt at Highland 😉

IMG_3347
From Left to Right – Auchentoshan 3Wood, Bowmore 12 year, Laphroaig Select

Now, onto the juice.

Three different scotches paired well with the Antonius Robusto – a mild to medium bodied Dominican cigar that had been rolled and “forgotten

Antonius Robusto
Antonius Robusto

about” for about 8 years.  The blend had more power than expected, but was mild enough that a novice smoker could enjoy it, along with it not balancing well with the whiskies.  To be honest, I was shocked that the cigar paired so well with an Islay whiskey, but that’ll come up in my notes shortly.

The first whiskey was Auchentoshan 3 Wood.  Matured in Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and PX Sherry casks, this scotch had really refined flavors and a lovely finish with a pleasant finish.  I found it balanced and it blended well with the Antonius, complimenting the wood notes of the cigar.  This was a favorite at Highland, due to the lovely, sweet finish.

Next was the Bowmore 12 year.  Listed as an Islay, I found this to be rather pleasant compared to what most folks think of when someone says Islay  Scotch.  The mild citrus notes came upon me at the end of the drink, along with mild peat and sea.

Last was the Laphroaig Select – a masterful blend of various scotches hand picked by a “select group” of tasters.  This is honestly the lowest peated scotch they make.  Peat has been a bone of contention for me for years, due to the effects it has on my stomach (I suppose I could drink less but where’s the fun in that?  LOL!) But this whiskey shows reserve on the smokiness, adding more balance and less of that gasoline taste that tends to put drinkers of whiskey off.  The finish of the IMG_3350Antonius went very well with just enough backbone and intensity to compliment the Laphroaig and not be overpowered.

Overall, the Antonius was a solid choice for this whiskey pairing.  Balanced with wood notes, hints of spice and vanilla appeared on the palate.  Firm in the fingers, the draw was delightful.  A cold draw brought in flavors of cinnamon and baking spice.  Construction was also solid, though I forgot to get pictures for the blog.

There were two other whiskies we’d tasted but sadly, my notes are not legible – typical of being a published romance novelist.  They were both Laphroaig, however, and wonderful in their own right.  I’d lit up a second cigar at this point.

Currently, Highland Cigar Company is doing tastings on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

For a different experience in Scotch Whiskey, see my notes about the Balvenie Masterclass held back in San Francisco a few years back.

Wine Review: Au Bon Climat 2009 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

Au-Bon-Climat-Pinot-Noir-sb-500x500I’ve been drinking more wine lately, thanks to a relocation where California wine isn’t the only game in town.  Today, I present to you, the folks at Underground Cellar – Curated, Limited Edition Wines with a Twist.  

I think I discovered them via Facebook, maybe?  Anyway, the deal with them is that they put out an email with standard great wines,  only they have a spin on it where you may purchase the wines they offer, but if you buy two or more bottles,  oftentimes at least one of those bottles will be upgraded to either a better wine, a more expensive wine or something even greater than that.

How awesome is that?

Being skeptical, because other online alcohol programs I’ve looked at say they feature deals, but the reality is, they feature deals for booze if you live in a town like Morristown, TN.  Four package stores and it’s hard to get good juice in general.  Surprisingly enough, they had this unique wine from Moldova in the local store I shopped at.

So, how does the first wine stack up?

First thing is that the color is vibrant, almost maraschino cherry. It has a great nose, typical of Pinot Noir, hints of vanilla and tart berry.

Taste Profile:  Right up front, hints of tobacco.  Slight herbaceous notes with light cherry.  Nice medium bodied mouthfeel to it.  It’s not typical of a lot of California Pinots in that those wines are lighter in body than Au Bon Climat.  I was right on the vanilla, the berry and oak tastes.

I hope to put this up in an audio format too, once I figure out how with the file off my iPhone.