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urbino's log

Inspired by kuzi, and wishing to keep a log of my own thoughts on the cigars I've tried as well as learn to be a better describer of flavors, I'm starting my own little cigar log (clog?).
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Comments

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: Cigar.com Purple Label
    Size/Shape: Robusto
    Time In My Humidor: zero (still getting the humidor re-seasoned after many years of disuse)
    Smoking Time: 45 min.
    Overall Rating: 6.25

    The operative word here is, as advertised, mild. Bland, even. The upside to that is that the first few puffs were not as harsh as some cigars are. The downside is that it never got any more interesting. There was a very slight earthiness, maybe, but mostly it tasted like leaves and nicotine. The draw was rather tight, and the amount of smoke produced was less than I'd like. Burn was even, despite a bad light in heavy wind, and first ash made it to 1 1/4".

    I have to say, however, I rushed the last half of this cigar through the most impressive thunderstorm I've seen in a while, including very close cloud-to-ground lightning, so I'm not going to form any firm conclusions about this one just yet.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real
    Size/Shape: Toro
    Time In My Humidor: zero (still getting the humidor re-seasoned after many years of disuse)
    Smoking Time: 1:30 +
    Overall Rating: 8.5

    Ahhhh, now that's more like it. For starters, like every R&J I've ever smoked or even seen, this is just a beautiful cigar. After clipping it, I got immediate confirmation that it had the construction to match: the draw was perfect. The initial flavor on lighting was slightly vanilla, and that remained the primary, if rather faint, flavor for a while. It ashed beautifully as well, and it took a couple of firm knocks at the 1 1/2" point to get it to drop.

    At the halfway point, a skosh of spiciness showed up, but just a skosh. After that, the dominant flavor and aftertaste was very definitely butter. It went right up to the edge of butterscotch, but never quite crossed the line. In the last third, the very slight spiciness made a return, but the main flavor continued to be butter, butter, butter. In fact, having a glass of water as I type this, I'm still tasting butter.

    I forgot to check the time when I started, but I smoked this one while listening to the new Cat Power album, and it lasted throughout and then some -- and that's a 17-song album.

    The smoke was creamy throughout, and there was lots of it. The draw stayed dead perfect. The burn took a couple of minor corrections, but that may well have been because I clipped it a bit unevenly.

    There was nothing complex about this smoke. It did one thing, and did it very well. I don't smoke early in the day, but for those who do, this seems like it'd be a terrific breakfast cigar. All in all, it's earned a long-term spot in my humidor. Just a tremendously pleasant cigar.
  • pilot711pilot711 Posts: 176
    Wow, nice review. That was as good as a commercial. I'm sold. Will surely give that one a try.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    i have had these before and i agree that they are good. I probably would rate them at about the same (8.5) but i feel that they are a bit on the mild side for me. the flavor is good but i am a full bodied cigar smoker.
    i still feel like i should get more of them though. Sometimes on those 90+ degree days in the dog days of summer a nice mild smoke with some sweety tea really hits the spot.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Thanks, p. I'm very new at trying to describe cigars. To be honest, I think I got lucky that this was one of the first ones I tried to describe. It has a very pronounced, single flavor. Makes it pretty easy to describe.

    And yes, what kuzi said. This is a mild cigar. (I hadn't thought about the sweet iced tea idea, but it sounds great.)
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: 601 Habano Red
    Size/Shape: Robusto
    Time In My Humidor: zero (still getting the humidor re-seasoned after many years of disuse)
    Smoking Time: 1:00
    Overall Rating: 6.75

    This was a high-maintenance smoke. Before lighting, it drew well and tasted of fig. (It took me a while to place that one.) The wrapper left sweetness on my lips. This was a promising pre-start.

    Then I lit it, and everything went downhill. From beginning to end, it was trying to canoe on me. Several corrective lights kept it from getting completely out of hand, but never really corrected it, either. The draw seemed even enough, so I'm not sure what the problem was. The ash was shaggy and precarious looking, but held on surprisingly well; first ash dropped at about 1 1/4".

    The flavor remained a bit fruity for the first quarter or so, then tasted more of black tea for the remainder, with some spiciness throughout, but none of these flavors ever really developed much.

    Like the Ccom Purple Label, I'm going to withhold judgment on this one for a while. It was one of a sampler of 601s that came tightly wrapped in plastic, but, unlike the Ccoms, not in a plastic bag with water pillows. I'm going to let the rest of the sampler rest in my humidor for a while (if I can ever get it sorted out) before I light them up. Then we'll see if they have the same construction problems.

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Classic
    Size/Shape: Figurado (7x48)
    Time In My Humidor: zero (still getting the humidor re-seasoned after many years of disuse)
    Smoking Time: 1:15
    Overall Rating: 7.75

    This was the first Hemingway I've had in 2 yrs. -- the first Classic I've had in even longer. This has long been my favorite cigar, but this one was a bit of a letdown. It had that great Hemingway flavor I remember: sweet and peppery, earthy with hints of fruitiness.

    However, this particular cigar was plugged on one side, creating draw and burn problems until I smoked it down past the plug, which wasn't until the last third. The wrapper also came just slightly undone from about the halfway point to down past the 1/3 mark. The ash was the usual Hemingway salt-and-pepper color, and first ash fell at about 1.25".

    Like all the cigars I've reviewed so far, this one was completely unrested, so the usual disclaimers apply. I'll certainly be looking for much better construction from the rest of this box, once they've rested. This is a premium cigar, and priced to match. Unless ill-conditioned (like this one presumably was), there's no reason they should have construction problems.

    Updated: See my 07-01-08 post for an update on this cigar.

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    i hate it when a cigar that you have had before doesnt live up to what you remember it being.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Yeah, it sucks. It's especially frustrating when it's a construction problem in a cigar like a Hemingway, which Fuente makes a point of advertising is rolled only by their best torcedors, and even they are limited to producing 75 of them a day.

    I discovered something at noon that may explain the problem with this one, though. When I opened that box of Hemingways again to move the cigars into the new humi, the lid came completely off in my hands. It seems to have gotten badly cracked right above the hinges, at some point in its life.

    One would think the plastic shrinkwrap would keep that from affecting the humidity inside the box, but even plastic wrap breathes. If the crack had been there a while, it might have let the humidity inside drop, despite the little humidifier packet Fuente puts in these boxes.

    Or not. We'll see once they've been resting in my humi for a while.

  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,219 ✭✭✭
    I'd just recommend letting them rest at least a week or two before picking up another, that'll answer the questions.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Yeah, I'm going to try to keep my hands off them for at least 2 wks. -- a month, if I can do it. I have enough samplers on the way to keep me busy for a while.
  • madurofanmadurofan Posts: 6,219 ✭✭✭
    You've got me all fired up for a Fuente, its been too long, way too long.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Heh. Well hopefully yours burns/draws better than the one I just had. They are always tasty smokes, though.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    the hemmingway was actually the first cigar i rated in my catalog. I think i gave it an 88. I should pick one up to see if i would still do the same.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    I read that review the other day, but I can't remember what your overall rating was. I was thinking it was a 90, but maybe not.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: Nub 460 Connecticut
    Size/Shape: Ummmm, "Nub fatty?" (4x60)
    Time In My Humidor: 3 days
    Smoking Time: 1:00
    Overall Rating: 7.0

    This is a cigar I wanted to like more than I actually did. I like Nub's concept, and I like their sizes. This was an attractive cigar, with a very clean, smooth wrapper, and it produced a lot of nice thick smoke from start to finish. The draw, both pre-light and lit, was very good, and it produced a tight, velvety ash that held on extremely well.

    But there were 2 problems. First, it just didn't have much flavor. It started off mildly spicy, then developed a sweet undertone as it approached halfway, then became all sweet for the rest of the smoke. But neither of these flavors ever really developed any real character. I can't tell you what this cigar tasted like, because its sweetness and spiciness didn't taste like anything to me: they were just generic sweetness and spiciness.

    The second problem is that it didn't burn evenly. That seems like an especially important failing in a cigar of this size, though I can't exactly say why I think that. It never really canoed on me, but would have, I think, if not for several corrective lights. I'm willing to believe it would've burned better if it had had more time in my humidor; we'll see what the other Nubs do as the weeks go by. It also got pretty hot as it neared the head, despite the ginormous ring gauge.

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Lighter: Xikar Ellipse
    Type: Triple Torch
    Color: Brushed Silver and Gun-Metal Gray

    After some drama trying to get this thing filled with butane, I have to say I'm liking it a lot. The triple torch is probably too much, but the lighter's other features are what made me pick it. The key other features being: the design, and a large tank.

    I looked at a lot of lighters before settling on this one. Various Colibris, Coronas, Lotuses, and the other Xikars all got serious consideration. For my money, the best looking lighters are all made by Lotus, but the ones I liked best were smallish. That's great for a lighter you're going to carry in your pocket, but it will be a very rare occasion that I do that. I wanted something that felt more substantial in the hand; besides, a smaller lighter has a smaller tank.

    The second best looking ones were some of the Colibris. But I've had bad luck with Colibris in the past, so I was shy of those.

    Xikar doesn't make a lighter I find terribly attractive, to be honest. Aside from maybe some of the ones with the Cuban art on the side, the Ellipse was the best looking of the lot, to my eyes. It also seemed to be the largest. The main thing in their favor was their reputation and the lifetime guarantee.

    Now that I have the Ellipse, I'm finding I like its form factor quite a lot. It's nicely heavy, so it feels substantial in the hand; almost like a tabletop lighter. It also happens to be just the right size and shape for my hand. I like the single-action actuator design, but one of the designs with the actuator on the side instead of the top would be even better; with it on top, the place where you put your thumb is also the place where the waste heat collects, which isn't ideal. Aside from that, the Ellipse's actuator is nicely designed -- comfortable and natural, with a nice, positive feel.

    As for the triple torch, there's no denying it will flat light a cigar. It's going to take some practice, though, to learn how to do the pre-light toast without actually burning the wrapper. I haven't used it in strong wind yet, but I assume it will perform admirably, like other torch designs.

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517

    Cigar: Graycliff Legend ("Purple Label")
    Size/Shape: Torobusto (5.7x54)
    Time In My Humidor: 4 days
    Smoking Time: 1:15
    Overall Rating: 9.0

    Gentlemen, we have a winner. This is the first cigar I've had that I can honestly say tasted of chocolate. From pre-light to finish, chocolate was the clear and dominant note in this tasty little fella. It wasn't the prettiest cigar I've ever seen, but it did everything else just about as well as one can ask.

    It lit well and burned evenly, tunneling just a bit as I neared the end, but even then maintaining its flavor, which was surprising. It smoked cool as a cucumber, and drew perfectly from start to finish, producing thick clouds of smoke -- a thing I always appreciate. It makes me feel like I'm getting my money's worth, even when I'm not. In this case, though, I got much more than my money's worth. What a bargain.

    I can think of only two minor things to complain about. One, the slight tunneling at the end. The other is that the ash didn't hold as well as I expected. First ash dropped at just over an inch, I'd say, surprising me by plopping into my lap and burning my thumb slightly (resulting in a dropped book and some brief remarks on the Graycliff's ancestry).

    Like the R&J Reserva Real I reviewed the other day, there's nothing complex about the flavor of this cigar. It was chocolate, through and through. If you're not happy unless you get some spiciness from your smoke, this probably isn't the cigar for you. You'd be missing something, though.

    I'll be keeping these in my humidor. At this price, they may even be my new everyday smoke.

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Cigar: Oliva Serie G Maduro
    Size/Shape: Churchill
    Time In My Humidor: 1 week
    Smoking Time: 1:30
    Overall Rating: 9.1

    This is an underpromise and overdeliver cigar. It looks innocent enough, lying there in its little understated band. Nothing jumps out at you. It's not a beautiful cigar. But when you light it -- hoo boy, does it deliver.

    The pre-light taste was coffee-ish, with a bit of saltiness, and the draw was juuuust this side of dead on: a tiny, tiny bit tight. It's also a great smelling cigar. Once lit, the dominant taste continued to be coffee, but with the addition of spice and woodsiness. It's a wonderful, rich combination of flavors. Some people like a cigar to change flavors over the course of the smoke, and some like one that stays consistent. I like them both, as long as the flavor or flavors are good. This Oliva stayed consistent. It established its immensely pleasant and nicely complex flavor right at the beginning, and held to it to the very end.

    This cigar also drew consistently from beginning to end, and lit and burned evenly all the way through, producing a nice, tight ash that first fell after about 1.5". It did tunnel a bit at the end, but after having this happen with a few cigars in a row, I think it's a function of the high ambient humidity here, rather than a construction flaw. Like the Graycliff Legend, this Oliva came through like a champ, maintaining its flavor despite the change in the wrapper:filler ratio. It also smoked nice and cool.

    At only $3-4 a pop, a man should be arrested for buying these. I got this one from an Oliva sampler, but I'll be buying more. It's earned a long-term spot in my humidor.

  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,132
    Great reviews! That one on the Hemingway made me want to try one even worse than I already did even though you did have a few issues with it.  I am planning on starting a cigar log/jornal on here once I get time to smoke some that I have resting.  Got probably 30 that have been resting since Feb or March of this year.  I'm planning on hitting the golf course this weekend with a CAO Mx2 so that may be a good smoke to start with.  Look forward to reading more from you! Keep it up!
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Thanks, Puro. I'm definitely not giving up on the Hemingway. I smoked a couple of boxes of them back before I gave up cigars for several years, and loved every one of them. The one I had recently was the first one I've had problems with.

    If you ever get a shipment from me via the trades/games/bombs threads, there'll almost certainly be a Hemingway in it.

    I've never had an Mx2. Actually, I don't think I've ever had a CAO. They (both the brand and that particular cigar) have a lot of fans here, so I'll get around to them eventually. In the meantime, do let us know what you think of it. And here's hoping you enjoy the hell out of it.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    PuroFreak:
    Great reviews! That one on the Hemingway made me want to try one even worse than I already did even though you did have a few issues with it.  I am planning on starting a cigar log/jornal on here once I get time to smoke some that I have resting.  Got probably 30 that have been resting since Feb or March of this year.  I'm planning on hitting the golf course this weekend with a CAO Mx2 so that may be a good smoke to start with.  Look forward to reading more from you! Keep it up!
    the Mx2 isnt a bad smoke. its got some earth to it, a hint of sweet and a woody aftertaste. I was expecting more out of it but for what you are doing itll be ok. I do recall there being burn issues though. that could just be the indavidual cigar.
    i thought the Cx2 was better.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Earthy/sweet/woody sounds pretty good. I'm guessing the "M" is for maduro. Is the "C" for Connecticut or Cameroon?
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,132

    Thats what I'm guessing too.  I am really looking forward to it.  Have you tried the Tatuaje Havana VI?  I tried one of these a couple months ago in a robusto and was very impressed!  I read a write up about them in Cig Aff and had to try it.  I would be interested in reading a review from you or Kuzi on this one.  Totally different than my usual dark warpper cigars, but very nice.  I thought I caught some hints of honey in it.  If either of you have tried this what did you think?

  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    cameroon. the Cx2 has a cameroon wrapper and binder. I like the Cx2 a lot. this is strange because (with a few exceptions) im not a huger cameroon fan. It isnt bad but i like corojo or a good maduro better. I did do a review of both of those (Cx2 and Mx2) in my catalog. it was early in my catalog and i think my taste identification has gotten better. my style has improved greatly since then as well.
  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    Thanks, kuz. I'll probably get a couple of each at some point, and compare.

    I haven't had the Tatuaje, Puro, but I think I've seen kuzi praising them somewhere around here. I may be getting him confused with someone else, though.
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,132

    If you have a chance to pick one up and give it a try I'd be really interested in your review of it.  I might have to stop by and get one of those for the back nine of my golf outing this weekend!  I believe it was March when I had the one that I tried and I remember a very distinct honey note.  A very flavorful full bodied cigar.  Had a great burn and dang near perfect draw.  Was pretty consistant throughout but did have slight variations as it smoked.  I remember it being more complex than the other cigars I was smoking at the time.  Yea, thats it, I have to go get one now for the weekend... Might have to pick up a few! haha See what I talk myself into...

  • urbinourbino Posts: 4,517
    I just looked at them on the site. Yikes! They're proud of them, aren't they? From the description and the fact that they're out of stock on most of the sizes, I'd say if you've got a local smoke shop where you can "pick up a few," you'd be well advised to do so.

    I'll probably get around to trying them at some point, but it may be a while. Do a forum search for "Tatuaje." I know I read somebody praising them recently. (I'm not sure it was the Havana VI, though.)
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,634 ✭✭✭✭
    urbino:
    I haven't had the Tatuaje, Puro, but I think I've seen kuzi praising them somewhere around here. I may be getting him confused with someone else, though.
    not me. Ive never had one. its on my list though.
  • PuroFreakPuroFreak Posts: 4,132
    I think I saw some posts where Madurofan was talking about the Tatuaje cigars.  But regaurdless of who it was, I would love to see a review of the Havana VI from either of you two when you get around to it.
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