All posts by The Silver Wolf

Cigar and alcohol enthusiast, romance author, lifestyle blogger. I've been published in romance for the last 17 years, but only as o f late have been able to combine my passions for the grape, leaf and written word into a careeer that allows me to live passionately!

Cigar Review: Carlos Torano 1916 Churchill

Carlos Torano Churchill
7X48
Cameroon Wrapper
Nic/Honduran Filler

Wow is all I can say. Another Torano hit for me. I picked these up a few weeks ago and got a damns teal for a five pack. Sporting an African wrapper with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, this cigar has a fine, soft and sensual taste. Not as oily as the previous Torano Signature I reviewed or the La Riqueza I’ve yet to review but just enough . The flavor profile changes in thirds, starting out with an earthy sweetness that builds up to that oily tastiness. Smooth chocolate flavors round out the end.

The draw was a little tough but that may have been my fault. The cigar lit well, has solid construction and will be one I’ll keep in my humidor for awhile. I enjoyed it with nothing as I’m too broke to buy beer or scotch right now LOL! This is a well balanced cigar with a changing profile.

From Cigar.com

he Carlos Torano 1916 Cameroon is a cigar that pays homage to the family’s roots. Using a rare African wrapper and the finest Honduran fillers, the cigar stands out as one of the best cigars ever made by the Toranos. The aroma is tangy and spicy with a medium to full-body. When enjoying this cigar, it is easy to think about the rich history of the tobacco industry and the dedication of the blenders and rollers. The Carlos Torano 1916 in particular provides a glimpse into a bygone era when cigars were a staple of class and sophistication. This cigar is among the best Cameroon cigars available and is ideal for cigar lovers who enjoy tobacco from the Cameroon region.

I have to agree. The Cameroon wrapper is just so tasty 🙂 Smoke time was about two hours. The price is definitely right too at about $7 a stick from Cigar.com.

Cigar Review: Tatuaje Artistas Torpedo

Tatuaje Website

The Artistas is a 6 1/8 X 52 Torpedo

Pete Johnson has done something in the cigar industry that not many people have. He’s made a quality cigar that’s quickly shot to the ranks of top scoring by cigar magazines across the board. Reviewers love his cigars, smokers love them, and now you’ll find out that I love them.

I had my first Tatuaje a week ago at the Occidental but I purchased the Artistas at Grants in San Francisco. I was hoping for something like La Riqueza (which i’ll review shortly) but what I got in the first third of this Nicaraguan puro was a nice spice. Upon lighting, the pre aroma brought out spice and sweetness. The smoke wasn’t so thick like a Padron. The draw easy, the construction, solid.

I had an inch of bright white ash before it fell off. And it burned pretty quickly.

The first third hit me with spice and sweetness. The next third had an oiliness I’ve grown to associate with La Riqueza that can only be described as just..yum! The last third had for me a combination of the two, but tasted so good that I smoked it to the nub.

From the website:

Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Blended in the style of the flavorful yet Medium Bodied Cuban Cigars.
Cigars are rolled in Nicaragua using select Nicaraguan tobaccos and classic cuban blending with a beautiful Cuban triple-cap.
Staying true to the pride of El Rey de Los Habanos.

I picked this up for a little over $8 and my only regret is I didn’t get two. Even the one I smoked yesterday with my crappy cold affected palate picked up on the nuances of his well crafted cigar.

I enjoyed this cigar with a glass of Glenfarclas 12 year single malt Scotch. The pair worked well together because the scotch is not overpowering and nor is the cigar.

Bourbon Review: Four Roses

Four Roses Website

This bourbon was a gift from the girlfriend on Thanksgiving. While I’m normally  a scotch drinker, I began drinking bourbon some seven or eight years ago as my sister is a Maker’s Mark girl.  She likes it neat 🙂

When I discovered cigars, I found some paired really well with bourbon and not so well with the particular scotches I could afford so when I told my girlfriend I’d smoked the La Riqueza by Tatuaje and that Thomas at Grants had suggested enjoying bourbon with it, I guess she got a hint 🙂

The bourbon is very smooth and contains that little hint of sweetness on the back of the palate while displaying fruit and floral notes in the front of the mouth.  It has the characteristic smoothness one would enjoy from a good bourbon all while being light bodied.  I’m thinking it’ll pair well with my la riqueze or the Torano signature I just had and will leave notes for that when I can.

This is definitely a sipper to be enjoyed over time.

From the website:

In 1884, Paul Jones Jr., moved his thriving business to Louisville, Kentucky, where he opened an office in a section of historic Main Street called, “Whiskey Row.” Four years later, he trademarked the name Four Roses, claiming production and sales back to the 1860s. In 1922, the Paul Jones Company purchased the Frankfort Distilling Company, one of only six distilleries granted permission to operate through prohibition to produce Bourbon for medicinal purposes. Owing to Paul’s passionate direction and astute business sense, sales of the Bourbon flourished and Four Roses grew to be a preeminent brand.

In 1943, Seagram purchased the Frankfort Distilling Co. primarily to acquire the most noted and recognized name in the business at that time – Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Even though Four Roses was the top selling Bourbon in the U.S. in the 30s, 40s and 50s, Seagram made the decision to discontinue the sale of Kentucky Straight Bourbon here, and Four Roses was moved to the rapidly growing European and Asian markets where it quickly became the top selling Bourbon.

~~

The website describes the bourbon as mellow and I’d definitely agree.  I had my flask filled with Wild Turkey earlier this week and that has more aggressiveness to it,  possibly due to the slightly higher alcohol content.  Also, Four Roses is not as aggressive and lacks the  oaky characteristics that Makers has, but agan, all bourbons are different.  Four Roses uses new white oak barrels to distill with so you’re not going to get a lot of oakyness in this bourbon IMHO.

But this is definitely an upgrade if you’re used to drinking Jim Beam or Jim Beam Black.

Cigar Review: Carlos Torano Signatureseries Robusto

Among one of the best blends from the Carlos Torano family of fine cigars. Carlos Torano Signature cigars are flawlessly handmade with a robust, complex-tasting blend of Dominican & Nicaraguan Cuban-seed Ligero long-fillers, a broadleaf binder, and an oily, sun-grown Brazilian Maduro wrapper. – From Famous Smokes who seems to have better prices than some of their competitors.

igar: Carlos Torano Signature
Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto 5 x 52
Wrapper: Sun Grown Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Broadleadf
Filler: Dominican Cubano Ligero, Nicaraguan Habano Ligero

 

I had a very long day in front of the computer handling edits in my normal job as an erotic romance author and needed a cigar.  I lit this up looking for something different than my normal Padron or Cuesta Rey and seeing as how I have a few of these now in my humidor along Fonsecas and other stuff, I figured I’d try one again.

Wow, what flavor!  Peppery spice hit my palate upon lighting up that mellowed into a toasty flavor with undertones of refined earth and dark coffee.   Due to the maduro wrapper I picked up notes of cream too.  Firm ash that held on for the first inch suggested good construction.

I smoked with this Roibos tea in front of the Good News Cafewhile reading.  I’ll probably try to pick up a box or so.

Torano Signature Robusto

A very nice smoke that lasted about an hour or so.    The maduro leaf used brings out a lot of flavor and even an hour or so later I’m still tasting it.  Nothing about this cigar is overpowering though it’s rated as a medium bodied cigar.   FYI, tis is one of the only maduros the Torano family makes and will become a staple in my humidor.  I picked this beauty up in a five pack from Cigarbid at a decent price but checking out box prices at Cigar.com puts it at a similiar price to my beloved Padrons.

Cigar Review: Cuesta Rey 898 Cabinet

The Cuesta Rey 898 cabinet is a 7  X 49 cigar with creamy, mellow flavors made from the famous JC Newman and Fuente family is alwayas a favorite of mine.  A cameroon wrapper gives a slightly toothy edge to the mellowness from the Dominancan binder and filler.

I just discovered that there is a maduro version of this cigar!

I picked up my first 898 Cabinet at a shop I refuse to name and sat down with it.  The burn was good, even and the draw was a little tougher than other Cuesta Rey’s I’m used to (like the #60 torpedo) but for the price on a mild to medium bodied cigar, it can’t be beat.  Smoke time was about an hour and a half but you have to remember my smoke time is going to vary depending on where I am smoking at.

Buy from JR Cigars

Wine Review: Silver Creek 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Picked up this wine for what seemed like a steal at Grocery Outlet. I think we paid less than $5.

Anyway, really light red color, strong berry nose with an extremely light body and short finish. This is NOT a typical cabernet but wasn’t overpowered by the rosemary salt hamburgers I served with it.

As far as wine reviews go, this is on the lighter side simply because the wine wasn’t so massively impressive, but again, it was a Grocery Outlet buy. Those tend to be hit or miss.

new cigar shop in Oakland!

Wednesday I was at Grants smoking with some of the regulars and on our way out I was talking to Mike about local places to smoke in Oakland, saying that as a rule there ARE none I could go to unless I brought my own smokes.

He turned me onto a new place that was supposedly having a grand opening Friday the 6th on 14th and Franklin that actually had a small room in the back to smoke at.

Today I popped in to Tobacco Road just to check it out.  I met the owner’s son Marcus, walked into the humidor and found stuff at reasonable prices (Romeo y Julieta 6X54 Havana Reserve for $7.23 or thereabouts vs Grants same size stick at almost $9.) among other things.  Marcus told me they had a room behind the humidor for smoking and showed me.  I asked if I could ilght up and sit for a spell, he was cool with that.

So I lit up, and another older gentleman came in and was talking to Marcus.  Before long we were all talking about other shps in the country and in California.  Then Marcus’s mother Kathrine came in and greeted us.  She’s the owner and a very relaxed, cool woman.  With a background of real estate, a passion for family owned business and a desire to treat her clients right, she seems to have put together an honest business and given Oakland something it desperately needs:  A smoking lounge without fear of the anti smoking police, need for hush hush conversation (ie I can talk about my fetish writing openly) and a cozy environment.

We talked for about an hour about her passion, plans for the shop and how we can grow the business from the cigar side.  The front of teh store is clean but is basically a “cigarette shop” front but once you pass the front counter you’lls ee the walk in humidor, a few accesories on display and then down the hall come to the lounge.

Tonight I walked in and things were stil out of place as they were putting the finishing touches on things, but after about an hour I calleda friend of ine to come down and smoke with me.  He picked up a Macanudo and a Hoyo De Monterrey at better prices than Beverages and More AND the cigars were fresh.  MIke sat down in one of the large leather chairs, lit up and we takled for about an hour and a half before they closed.

The selection included Rocky Patel’s Edge and Edge Light, RyJ, Macanudo, H. Upman, Oliva, Sancho Panza and a few others.  The humidor is not as large as Grants but Kathrine assured me that they’re ordering, expanding and going to carry more brands as they develope a loyal following.

The beauty is, like Grants I can bring in my own alcohol as long as I don’t act a fool.  Meeting Kathrine and her son reminded me of when I first sat down at La Salle when it was still open when Roy Bird (formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters) welcomed my gf and I in to have a smoke and a drink.  She’s not “old white man stuffy” but warm and friendly.  And open to questions and ideas for helping the community.

I like that.

Friday the 6th is their grand opening party and they’re located at 417 14th St. ni Oaland just off 12th Street BART station.  I’ll still frequent Grants because that’s comfortable and the cigar selection is larger, and the people really make it what it s, but this is closer and I can feel a warmth from it already.

Btw, for those interested, Tobacco Road has their own cuban seed brand of cigars that will be available for purchase at around $6 a stick.  I have yet to smoke one but once I do, you’ll hear of it first, here!

I hope to see you all there sometime!

PORT Review – Belo Cotta Vineyard 1998

ort can’t be made in California, but I was amazed when I found this bottle of port for $4 at Grocery Outlet a few months back.  I picked up a few bottles just for kicks, figuring that it’s probably past it’s vintage and would just be dumped but I secretly had hoped for a zinger.

While I didn’t get a HUGE win, I did get a port that’s deep purple in color, has a nice, velvety structure, probably from the zinfandel blend (also added is touriga, tinto cao and Sousao) that create a nice ruby port-style with character.  The port is a syrupy dose of heaven for not too much money if you can find it.

Information on Belo Vineyards can be obtained by emailing them at belowwine@msn.com

A little info:  Belo Wine Company is owned and operated by winemaker Terence Dewane. He has been making wine commercially in Napa since his first vintage in 1992 which was merely a barrel. It is always an extremely rare treat for us to try dessert wines from Napa because there are so few producers here who specialize in the “sweet stuff”. Belo’s main specialty is premium Port wine.

Again, this was a very pleasant surprise from a California producer of port – not because good port can’t be produced in California (see Westover Cellars in Castro Valley) but because it’s not a typical style that we see in wine.