This is a cigar I first tried at Highland Cigar Company back several months ago as it was a release from 2017’s IPCPR. The line, inspired by hotrods and muscle cars, came out from CAO as a tribute to the hot rod craze, as even the boxes come with pinup girls and artwork attributed to the engines.
Created by General Cigar’s Rick Rodriguez and Ed McKenna, the Flathead 660 is a bulky, jet black box pressed cigar with no veins, a simple red and silver band with the frontmark present. A quick cold draw from punch at the cap gives us dried plums and dark fruits.
Lighting up the cigar presents us bittersweet cocoa and chocolate notes, a touch of pepper. As the cigar smokes, the flavors intensify and I start to taste the dark fruit, though I’m unable to identify it. (My problem, not the cigars) Closing with a medium finish, the spices increase in intensity, making this a great value cigar that definitely lives up to the hype.
Really glad to see JC Newman add a Maduro to this line and one that isn’t the Mighty Mighty. Nothing against the 6X60 cigar but I tend to prefer cigars in the toro range, usually no bigger than 6X54.
The Brick House Maduro Toro isn’t one of those cigars that’s going to blow your mind, but you’re smoking it because it’s consistent, draws well every time, is a little rustic in not just packaging but overall appearance and is a damn fine cigar for the price point.
Flavors include bitter cocoa, bittersweet notes and some earthiness that resonate throughout the entire cigar. Again, it’s consistent, well priced and a solid medium bodied cigar.
The Alec BradleyBlack Market line has enjoyed a lot of success over the years – as a refined, softer, more sensual (I know) version of the Tempus/Prensado lines IMO, but the newest extension features a unique blend of tobacco from Estella, home of fantastic Nicaraguan tobacco. The viola I smoked for this review was the 6X52. The same basic packaging is the same, only the box color is orange. Same with the sleeve.
First notes on the cigar start off with fruit – really light apricot and wood. The same sort of medium blend sensuality of this cigar is present but the fruity flavors overshadow them up until the first half of the cigar, then wood and light spice/pepper notes pick. Up.
The draw, like all Alec Bradley cigars I’ve reviewed is good, and a plentiful amount of smoke comes with each satisfying puff. Ash holds on for about an inch before falling off. Overall, a unique blend and a great extension to the Black Market Family.
Asylum has been an interesting cigar choice for me as of late – since I picked up a sampler pack last week. Tonight’s selection was the Asylum Ogre, a candella/maduro barber pole cigar that was 6X60.
Asylum is the brainchild in part of Christian Eiroa.
Using a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper with a Habano maduro wrapper around the candela, the cigar contains Nicaraguan fillers and binder for a fuller bodied smoke.
The Nicaraguan candela and habano maduro look is almost spot on. The cold draw gave me flavors of fruit, barnyard hay and grass. Just to confirm it, I took several cold pulls and picked up raisin, sweetness and tart leather.
Once I toasted the foot and took a proper draw, I picked up the initial flavors id spice, leather and dry cocoa. The flavors come through strong. Spice has a lot of bite. The ash is solid gray and tight with blue and gray smoke. Lots of leather and spice. Cocoa and sweetness along with bitterness.
The flavors mellow a bit around the beginning of second third. I picked up that grassy, barnyard hay taste thanks to the candela. I’d been expecting it but the spice/leather overpowered it. Midway through, the cigar turns sweet, almost like dry powdered cocoa. Flavors continue in this manner until the end of the cigar, which has ore balance than the initial first and second third.
In conjunction with Groupo De Maestro, AJ Fernandez was asked to re-imagine several key blends for Altadis. Made in Nicaragua at
the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, this cigar consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Romeo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez comes in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 52, Belicoso, 6 by 52,
For this review, I smoked the Toro. When I first picked it up, the cigar felt heavy and full of quality tobacco. Medium chocolate color wrapper. Fruity on the cold draw, like plums or raisins. This is a really different Romeo, more robust than any other blend of theirs. It begins with heavy wood and black pepper. Cedar notes along with fruit on the back end of the exhale show up as well.
After the final third starts, the tone of the cigar changes and I picked up warm cinnamon spice with slow wisps of smoke. The cigar also sports notes of yeast and bread. Those become prominent flavors along with mellow red pepper until the cigar finishes.
Another new blend to me, suggested by the folks at Highland Cigar Company.
Mombacho Liga Maestro cigars were originally created in limited
edition to celebrate the boutique cigar company’s 10th Anniversary. These Nicaraguan puros are the product of Mombacho master blender, Claudio Sgrio, and Italian celebrity cigar enthusiast, Stefano Bertini. Now a regular production cigar made at Mombacho’s factory in Granada, Nicaragua, the blend is a medium-full recipe of ligero & viso fillers from Jalapa and Condega, plus a Condega binder, and a lustrous, mouthwatering wrapper from Jalapa.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to make of this cigar at first. The band looked classic in black and gold. A 6X54 toro would do me for a few hours if I smoked slow, which I always do, as you know.
The wrapper was a soft milk chocolate brown and I imagined either heavy spice or smoother, supple flavors when I did my pre-light draw. Cigar, coffee, slight raisin notes as expected.
Upon lighting up, the cigar’s draw was good, producing a plethora of off gray smoke. (It was dark in the bar!)
Notes are floral and medium, along with a good dose of cedar. Over the length of the cigar, mild black pepper joined a classic earthiness. When I say classic, I mean it’s very distinct, as this cigar was.
The draw remained solid and the burn line even. Value for your buck? Solid.
The Montecristo line isn’t a line I normally gravitate to, not with all the boutique blends coming out from some of today’s hottest blenders, but I picked it up in my local shop here in Decatur. (Got Cigars? 232 Ponce De Leon) at the suggestion of the owner.
What can I say to start with?
Made in Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Fernandez worked with Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros to develop this new Montecristo, which consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Figurado, at 4 by 52; Gordo at 6 by 58; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 50. The Montes, which are all box-pressed, are set to retail from $9.95 to $12.50 and come in 10-count boxes
This oscuro cigar starts off with solid wood and white pepper notes. The box press is firm in the hand, but not razor sharp like the Padron Anniversarios for example. Light brown in color, with a solid pre-light draw, the flavors emerging from that were pretty light to my taste. Upon lighting, the cigar showed not only an even burn, but consistency of the following: Said white pepper, wood, with a touch of honey and bread at the back of the tongue.
The second and final third of the cigar maintain that consistency with one exception. The flavors balance out more and the Montecristo draws better. I’d say this is a medium-bodied cigar. Would I grab another? I sure would.
Back in 2015 I had the chance to connect with Patrick LeFils on Facebook to talk about his new blend, Common Roots. The original release was a mild to medium, all day vitola that could be enjoyed on a regular basis. The construction was superb as was the taste profile. I’ll have to get some more (need pictures) and put up a review, but for now, fast forward a year later.
We sat down and talked briefly about Common Roots, the future of the cigar industry and a few things. Mr. LeFils is a humble, open man, like many of the cigar makers I’ve met over the years, and is a credit to the industry.
1. First I’d like to know about the Common Roots brand, what was your purpose in creating this cigar?
The Common Roots brand was created from the roots up. As a chef and rancher i wanted to develop a cigar line that could meet a diverse audience, focusing on the working class. We wanted to meet the quality, price and craftsmanship
that is ask of us from our diverse family.
2. When I first smoked the original release of Common Roots, I found them to be a wonderful, all day cigar. Do you make a stronger cigar?
We have several new cigars that meet those who prefer the full-bodied experience. Our much anticipated Gold Label is a oscuro wrapped cigar is a prime example of a full-bodied cigar. Here at Common Roots however, we don’t associate the full-bodied experience with bitterness. Our Gold Label, although full-bodied will be smooth and rich.
3. What inspired you to become a cigar maker?
I have been involved in the industry for some time at different capacities. As a chef and rancher I always have enjoyed working with my hands. Also as a chef i enjoy creating different flavors and textures. With these two passions combined the cigar industry was a natural fit. I myself have built boxes, blended and am now learning to roll. It is very important to me to be able to participate directly with every part of our Common Roots process.
4. What have you thought of all the changes in the cigar industry? How has that impacted your business?
Well as any cigar manufacturer, I am not pleased with what o
ur government is doing to our way of life. It is something that will affect all who are involved with the cigar industry. It saddens my heart as someone who had limited means to start in this industry, that those who follow will find it almost impossible. As someone who pushed together every red cent to create a cigar and continually producing that cigar, it will now be extremely difficult to move ahead as the government takes more money out of my pocket. I am very hard headed however, so we will continue to push forward.
5. You’ve gotten a lot of well deserved good press quickly, how has that made you feel?
I always try to be myself in this industry. It is hard as a company to admit failures and shortcomings. Our company is an open book. It reflected in the family members who we meet in smoke shops, around town and on social media. Without our family members, such as yourself, it would be difficult to meet our failures and enjoy our small victories. There is a song by Tim McGraw entitled “Humble and Kind”. A good portion of that song is an anthem here at Common Roots Cigars.
Stay tuned for part two of the Common Roots Interview coming in a few days!
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.
I had this earlier at Grants and all I can say is WOW! The construction of this box pressed cigar is solid, producing a tight white ash. Flavors on this easy to draw cigar include pronounced coffee and tobacco that smooth out as the cigar smokes.
This is definitely an upgrade if you’re familiar with the general thousand line of Padron, which I am as those are my go to sticks most of the time.
I sipped a decent brandy while smoking and watching the news discuss the proposed smoking ban in San Francisco and talking to some of the more politically inclined smokers.
For $15.50 a stick, this is definitely worth buying a few if not a box.