Category Archives: Dominican Cigars

Cigar Review – La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial

As  we get further into the year and start digging in at newer releases, I find myself wanting to expand my regular rotation.
The LFD Reserva Especial was different from the start.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

    La Flor Dominicana Reserva Especial Gran Robusto
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Estancia La Flor de Palma)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Estancia La Flor de Palma)

The Gran Robusto is 5 1/2X60.

I know I’m a bit late to the party but taking this blog more  seriously means rerouting energy previously unspent.  I’m glad for it.
The usual plum notes from a cold draw are interesting in that pepper is present as well.  Rich earth also.
This cigar starts off with much more mellow spice and flavor than most LFDs I’ve smoked.  Not weaker, just less. The leathery pepper taste is present, along with softer, almost rosado-like flavors of cotton candy.
Light mocha flavors join the leather and spice but all flavors are softer than normal.

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.

Cigar Review – Casa Magna Dominican Churchill

Wrapper: Dominican CorojoCasa Magna Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican Cuban Seed
Size: Gran Toro – 6X60
Body: Medium/Full

I picked up a flight sampler a few weeks back from CI and had a chance to try something new from Casa Magna.

The wrapper is a beautiful, reddish brown with a few veins.

The pre-light draw tastes of sweetness and spice, something I’m familiar with and a fan of, concerning Casa Magna. The Colorado is a long time favorite and I’m beginning to lean toward the “Manuel Quesada can do no wrong” camp.

Casa Magna Dominican2Upon lighting, the cigar starts off with hints of white pepper and a smooth taste. The draw is solid and consistent. I make sure to mention this because this is more or less (to me) a value cigar and like so many value cigars, possesses the potential to either disappoint, or be a very solid cigar.  The construction was solid, the cigar feeling like a cigar should in the hand.  Not too tight, nor was it rolled loosely. The cigar actually had heft in it.

This cigar gave me about an hour and a half of smoking time, with a mostly even burn that corrected itself after a short touch up. The flavors mellowed and the white pepper became less intense over the course of smoking, but overall, this cigar is a solid stick.

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Churchill

Once a cigar smoker begins to expand their palate and get away from Macanudo, they’ll invariably find their way to Arturo Fuente. The Fuente line as I’ve mentiond before is a great line for beginners as well as more experienced cigar smokers due to price and quality.

Typical of the Arturo Fuente Churchill cigars are soft flavors of cream from the cameroon wrapper with hints of spice. The construction is superb. A nice tight ash holds well for about an inch before dropping off.

A thick light gray cloud of smoke billows from the cigar, helping the newly accustomed cigar smoker relax and ponder the hard work put into the cigar by the Fuente Family. Medium in finish, the cigar is consistent all the way to the last third where the flavor changes slightly and warms up a bit. The Arturo Fuente Churchill wil last about anhour and a half.

I do reccomend Arturo Fuente’s cigars as a way for beginners to experience the finer pleasures of life.

Cigar Review: Short Story by Arturo Fuente

This tiny vitola packs a lot of flavor as did the Work of Art from the Hemingway Line by Arturo Fuente. The Perfecto shape signifies a skilled roller as does the one inch ash that clings after being lit. Notes of sweet cedar compliment a medium finish that lasts all the way to the nub.

I will be honest, this being the first one I’ve smoked, it burned a little hot. Paired with water, the Arturo Fuente Short Story was a little bitter on the prelight but had delicious aromas and a consistent taste just as it’s little brother, the Work of Art.

For new cigar smokers, this is an excellent way to get into a new habit that promotes relaxation, good flavor and only takes roughly 30-45 minutes of time. Once you try the Short Story you’ll quickly find yourself wanting more. Pair with a sweeter bourbon such as the Four Roses

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Work of Art

The Arturo Fuente Work of Art is the first cigar I’ve tried from the Hemingway line. What a powerhouse in such a small vitola! This cigar is barely 4 inches in length. Showing skilled construction in the type of roll showed itself after the cigar has burned down about a quarter of an inch.

The taste starts off like any other Fuente Hemingway, sweetness from the Cameroon wrapper and Dominican binder/filler. The sweetness blends into a pine/cedar combination that’s rich yet not overpowering. A full finish leads to satisfaction for a half hour.

The Hemingway line is the first of Fuente’s limited production run so score these if you can!

Cigar Review: Fuente Fuente OpusX

This well constructed cigar from the Fuente family is one of the finest Puros to come out of the Dominican Republic.

Notes start off with a silky smooth taste from aged tobaccos that meld into hearty a spicy rich taste on the palate. From such a little vitola comes a thick plume of gray smoke with a dark gray ash. The medium finish compliments the rest of this complex cigar leaving the smoker with a satisfied experience.

Aged leaves for the Opus X contribute to a variety of tastes that differs slightly from size to size and will not disappoint fans!

This is one cigar to have in your humidor and I’d like to add that since it’s a smaller size puro, it’s perfect for those quick occasions when you want a lot of flavor but don’t have much time.

Cigar Review: Ashton VSG

I picked up the Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) last week from Tobacco Road on a whim when I had a few extra dollars. At a price of $17 a stick (Grants has the same size slightly cheaper) it’s not something most of us can afford to smoke on an every day basis but I did say I’d review higher end sticks 🙂

I picked up the Corona Gorda at a size of 5 3/4 X 46 and clipped the end. Upon the first taste I noticed a rather airy, light draw from the cigar, similar to the Padron 2000 stick (that to me indicates a looser wrapping). The construction of the cigar was firm and solid, though I was a little scared as the wrapper holds a pretty brown color but feels slightly dry.

The cigar held firm the entire smoke! Creamy notes on the first third with an almost white ash held my attention. The flavor profile later became a tad spicy but still deliciously creamy all the way until very end when I damn near smoked my fingers off! Slight cedar notes were prominent on the last third.

Ashton VSG Cigars page

I intend to get a good bang for my buck as the last stick of the month so we’ll see what comes up from Grants!

Cigar Review: Diamond Crown Robusto #4

Picked this up at Grants today. It’s a 5X54 sized vitola with a dark maduro wrapper from the fine folks at JC Newman.

On the prelight, toasty aromas and typical tobacco drift towards the nose in a pleasing fashion. After cutting the cap I lit the cigar and drew in flavors of cocoa, roasted coffee that wafted across the palate. The flavors were subdued with undertones of creamy milk chocolate. The structure of the flavor profile is solid as is the draw and construction.

This paired well with the inexpensive brandy from the flask. The sweetness and floral notes of the brandy emphasized sweetness on this Dominican cigars from the Arturo Fuente/JC Newman family.

Honestly, I prefer the Maximus, the line they came out with ten years later. The Diamond Crown was released in 1990 to honor the 100th Anniversary of Standford Newman.

From Cigar.com:

Stanford Newman’s dream became a reality when Diamond Crown cigars debuted in the early 1990’s. Today the cigar is as popular as ever. It features a Connecticut wrapper that is absolutely seamless over a smooth Dominican filler. The cigar is mild to medium-bodied, and very creamy and flavorful. Without a doubt, Diamond Crown is one of the best made premium cigars being made in the Dominican Republic

While I prefer the Maximus, for a $17 cigar, this is a good value for thsoe seeking exceptional quality when they are looking to up their standard of The Good Life!

Happy New Years fellow Enthusiasts!

I want to wish you all a happy and successful new year and that you may all enjoy the finer things in life! I started off the year working with a bang, cranking out plots and words for three new stories, and had to take a cigar break Tuesday!

First cigar of the year was NOT up to blog standards, but was still a good, tasty stick. I had heard a lot about the Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Fuente by one of the guys who smokes them at Grants so I picked one up.

Definitely a good stick for an occasion when I want something more mild to medium with creamy, woodsy notes.

As for drink, nothing spectacular has hit my palate yet. We’ve gotta work on that!

More soon!