Category Archives: Cigars

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.

Smooth Cigars for Beginners

I’d recently been invited to give lessons on cigar smoking and talk about the basics, including taste, construction, care for and ultimately, enjoyment of, cigars.  We’re talking mostly to new smokers and the question usually comes up about the harshness of Cuban cigars.

I usually explain the flaws with Cubans, starting off with improper fermentation, lack of care for the soil, and too rapid production, and finish with how other countries produce cigars of similar or better quality than Cuba lately.

A favorite of mine back in the day was the Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 arturo-fuente-858-maduro-corona-gordaMaduro.  This 6X47 cigar delivers a smooth taste with light notes of cocoa and tobacco throughout the entire cigar.   Famous-smoke delivers A. Fuente Smokes Online

One of the staples in many cigar smokers opinions of quality, smoothness, and taste is the Oliva Cigar Company.  Yeah, they’ve had a huge hit lately with the Melanio and Melanio Maduro but for folks unfamiliar with Oliva, the standard is the Oliva Serie V.  A little more robust than the cigar I’m about to suggest, a good standby in any humidor.  The Serie G however features an Afraican Cameroon wrapper to add not only notes of cedar but a little kick in the flavor profile.   Pick this up in the robusto size for a short, flavorful smoke.  Also, the box press allows for more tobacco to be packed in for an even bigger flavor kick.  Get your hands on Oliva Cigars among other Premium Stogies Online

A newcomer to my rotation early on was something that required a few more dollars but was justified by intense flavors o f dry cocoa Patel90powder and a hint of spice as the cigar finishes.  The Rocky Patel Vintage 1990, particularly in the robusto size is a solid addition to the Patel line.  Definitely a favorite among those loyal to Patel.  Looking for Rocky Patel, Check out Famous Online

We’d covered these three cigars with the additional discussion of some of the larger boutique brands and while I’ve hyped some of my favorite here, there are plenty of other cigars the new cigar smoker could get into.  What are some of your favorites?

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.

Wine Review: Noble Vines 181 2012 Merlot

Lodi California
$11.00181 Noble

Color: Deep Red
Nose: Classical merlot nose of spice and berry.
Taste: Immediate earthiness from chalky soil. Intense tart cherry followed by subtle spices and soft tannins.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this went well with braised lambs, hard cheeses or certain Italian sausages.  Overall, it’d a good starter merlot because the tannins don’t punch your palate to hell!

Medium finish. Paired with a Liga Undercrown Toro by Drew Estate for a soft, cigar/wine combination.  In fact, the the sweetness of the Undercrown paired beautifully with the softness, cutting through some of the tannin structure of the merlot.  This was a wine made for drinking with deep, well made maduros.

Oxidation opens the wine slightly.

Cigar Review – Tatuaje Verocu Red Tubo

Tat-Red Verocu

You’d think I’d come back with this blog and make a bang by reviewing something totally different, right?  I suppose we at Pure Indulgence like to stick with the classics, and this cigar is no exception.

My Tatuaje Red Tubo sat in my humidor for almost three years before I decided it was time to just smoke it and only because I’d just edited all day.  I thought initially the cigar would have lost some flavor the way the SW Reserva had (had one in my humidor for two years and it just…it was good but not great but that might have been my fault) but I was wrong.

Let’s start with the basics of the cigar.  From the get go, construction is top notch.  Pete Johnson knows his craft well.  Upon lighting the cigar, I picked up instant notes suggesting the cigar still had life in it as hints of sweetness wafted over my senses.

Following said excellent construction is the perfect draw which brought notes of spice that mellowed into a sweetness throughout the cigar.  At one point I thought of a sweet bread.  I know, odd for a cigar right?  But I know a guy who swore he tasted Frankincense in the regular Tatuaje Red Label.  Also, I usually pick up notes of cardamom in the Red Label.

Second third of the cigar still burns well, draws well and lets that sweetness dance across the palate until it gives way to subtle notes of pepper and spice followed by a woodsy, almost leathery taste.

The finish ended with the sweetness returning ever so slightly but to be honest, I was more concerned for my fingers as I’d literally smoked the entire cigar down to the last half inch.

If Pete makes more of this blend ever, I’d highly suggest you pick it up and Indulge.

We’re BACK!

After a failed attempt to really rock things over at Radio Dentata, your humble wine and cigar expert had to cut back on projects including this one due to time spent in my career as an author.

But I’ve missed this blog and missed this part of my life too.  So we’re going to get back to what matters after a hard day’s work.  Relaxing with a good bottle of wine, a complex, enjoyable cigar and letting our day end.

We’re going to revisit some of the cigar blends we’ve mentioned, (Yes, Don Cervantes is a staple in my humidor when I can get them) and talk more about some of the great wines we’ve been drinking over the last few months, plus mention upcoming stuff too.

I’m not sure how often we’ll update just yet, but I’ve got a ton of new cigars and wines to put up here, plus some bourbons, scotches, and other whiskies.  Should be fun!

Cigar Review – Casa Magna Colorado

When it comes to a robust cigar, I used to think of stuff that was too strong initially.  JdN, LfD, etc.  The problem I had as a beginning cigar smoker was the nicotine kick overpowered the flavors and I often got light headed.

casa-magna-colorado

Not so with this release from Manuel Quesada.  Casa Magna Colorado features a Cuban Ligero seed Colorado wrapper, Viso and Ligero fillers from Nicaragua, this cigar starts off with plenty of balanced spices.

The packaging is elegant, yet simple at the same time.  The large band is striking and lets you know you’re smoking something with heft.

A good bit through the cigar is a plethora of earthy notes combined with the spice.  The smoke to me smells rugged, in a really good way.  As in, no one will mistake this cigar for something else, because it’s just that good.

Even better, the cigar burns really slow.  The draw is excellent.   This is one to be a permanent staple in any respectable cigar smoker’s rotation.

Don Cervantes Interview Part Four

Max Myers continues talking to Pure Indulgence about the Don Cervantes cigars, charity and worker treatment in the Ecuadorian Factory while we enjoyed the Masterpiece Platinum. Review here

The interview was conducted in November of 2010 for Radio Dentata‘s Pure Indulgence at the Occidental Cigar Club

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