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90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
Well I thought it might be fun to open up a review thread again. Periodically I'll be posting up reviews, but since its winter in Colorado my smoking is much less so it won't be near as frequent for a while. So without further delay here is my first review on the Ortega Serie D No. 6

A BIG thank you to Steve for making this possible and for trning me into my new go to Maduro, really really appreciate it brother and glad you are about to come home for good my friend :)

Ortega Serie D No. 6

Received from Steve2010 late Summer 2012
Box Age: Roughly 7-8 months
Size: 4" X 48 ring gauge
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas Maduro
Binder/Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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Main Review:
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From the first draw upon lighting, I get a strong notes of dark chocolate that coats my entire mouth and the back of my tongue. The flavor settles on the back of my mouth into a slightly acidic veranda style roast coffee after the dark chocolate had hit my senses up front. Through the nose I picked up a sweet raisin that really reminded me of the flavor I get with most Rosado leafs, but then quickly ramps up into a spicy sweet cinnamon and smoky red oak. The draw is dead nuts on and very light with a truly gargantuan production of dense cool smoke. Kilimanjaro has nothing on the Serie D's smoke production. I'm at about a half inch in now and the burn is really solid. The cap had cracked during the move to the new place, but after cutting the cap a small piece of the wrapper flaked off but it hadn't unraveled and didn't affect the experience at all. Roughly an inch in at this point, and the anise and dark chocolate have taken center stage with a very smooth cashew joining into the mix and hitting the middle of your tongue on the retrohale. The acidic plays a nice against the rich and intoxicating chocolate and raisin. The burn has turned a little wonky but considering it was outside in the middle of January and I'm smoking outside with a little wind, it ain't bad. A quick touch up with the Tea Kettle Burner and it straightened right up though. About halfway in now, and the anise and cashew are building in harmony with one another and have become the dominant profile by this point. Through the nose a heavy smoked tobacco flavor hits you first and then settles down quickly for a long and slow finish to a now mild and sweet cinnamon and light coffee. Probably best described as Chicory coffee for those familiar with the Louisiana specialty.

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As I near the final quarter of the Serie D and start to wrap things up, the smoke is still luxuriously rich and cool and still billowing huge amounts of stark white dense smoke. The dark chocolate has become the main undertone of the profile with the main body settling into the cashew and chicory coffee. The highlights through the nose are charred red oak and a stout cashew. No changes in terms of new favors coming to light, just a change in the order and intensity of the original flavors that were present at the beginning of the cigar.

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Final Thoughts/Wrap Up:

Most often I really don't start enjoying a smoke until the first quarter to half inch in after the harshness of lighting has passed. Every now and again however I come across something really special that from the very first draw makes me sit back and look at the stick and just say WOW. This cigar was like that for me, and it plain and simple never wavered from that through the whole thing. The only thing that I could take away that was slightly negative is that it didn't developed much past the initial flavors... Kinda a one trick pony, but MAN what a trick it makes!

Balance: 10/10 The Serie D really displayed a beautiful balance and harmony with all of the strong flavors of the profile. For me, this was one of the strongest points for this stick.

Development: 7.5/10 It didn't really progress too much, however the way the profile was presented did change and it was a fantastic flavor all in all.

Construction: 9/10 The cracked cap was something that occurred during the move so that was me, the only reason it didn't get a perfect 10 was because of the several small touch ups that were needed.

X Factor: 10/10 I had high expectations since this came as a personal recommendation from Steve, a brother I have high regards for, but this absolutely blew away any and all expectations I had. Truly amazing, and a cigar I'd recommend to any and all full flavored Maduro lovers!

Overall: 9.5/10 Extremely Highly Recommended

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"When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
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Comments

  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Always enjoyed your reviews Brett, keep them coming bro!!
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Arturo Fuente Solaris

    Size/Vitola: 6" X 49 Ring Gauge Belicoso
    Smoke Inn Microblend Exclusive
    Time In Humidor: Roughly 6-7 months
    Blender: Don Carlos Sr.
    Vault Aging Before Release: 6 years according to AF and SI
    Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
    Binder/Filler: Unknown, suspected heavily Dominican based on flavor
    Sent By: BOTL MVW Mike or SleevePlz Tony, thanks guys! (sorry I can't remember 100% for the life of me sorry!!!)
    Date Smoked: January 17th 2013

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    Main Review:
    Before lighting the Solaris there was a 3/4" long crack on the foot, and upon clipping the cap with my Xi Room 101 cutter the head split slightly too. Some construction issues already at this point, but I'm attributing much if it to the difficulties of maintaining humidity in our new place and the especially dry winter we've had. All that out of the way however and I set fire to it using my Tea Kettle Burner. It lights quickly but canoes slightly along the crack. Smoke production is mild, but it gives off a very enjoyable hay and sweet grass aroma which also follows the profile and palate at this point. A very smooth and mild sweet grass hits your tongue first and quickly rolls back to a sweet and mild vanilla and cedar with a long finish of young leather, so far so good :)

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    Nearly a half inch in now and the burn is nearly straightened up on its own as it catches up to the canoeing caused by the crack on the foot and smoke production has increased significantly. The body is definitely a mild-medium as at the flavors, something that would pair very nicely I. The morning with a medium-strong coffee. The cracking on the head of the Solaris hasn't gotten worse nor has it unraveled and so far isn't affecting the eerie nice negatively in any way. The first turn comes up now at 15 min in and I pick up a sweet spice through the nose with an enjoyable white pepper on the roof of my mouth, really digging this change as it gives the Solaris some depth and character which it needed. A bit of caramel and roasted peanut float in and out but I can't pinpoint when the come in or where they leave but it's delicious regardless!

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    I can certainly say with confidence that although the start was slow this is now solidly a classic Fuente cigar. What I mean by that is simple; it is highly refined and very complex but nothing is too prominent in the profile nor does one aspect outshine another. As with all AF sticks I've smoked, there is just something that you can't quite out your finger on but you know as "Th classic Fuente taste", and I think part of that is due to the smoothness and flavor of Dominican tobacco. While yes the wrapper is Ecuadorian, I still get a heavy sense of the Dominican roots and flavor. Mild and mellow but luxuriously rich and complex as well.
    Well over an inch in, and roughly 30 minutes into the smoke and the second turn presents itself. A buttery heavy cream starts to dominate the undertones and really carries the lighter highlights well. The buttery and creamy texture is the first thing you notice and then it just melts away to the caramel, peanut, leather, and cedar concoction with hints of white pepper and sweet spice through the nose. At first I wasn't taken aback by the Solaris but out of nowhere it really becomes something that forces you to slow down and take note, I guess that's the type of stick you'd expect from a true legend like Don Carlos Sr. At an inch and a half the ash is still holding on and is very dense and stark white with much denser and velvety smoke than at the beginning.

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    The ash is still holding at slightly over two inches and I decide to have it drop before I wind up wearing it. The flavors are still generally the same at 50 min in and 1/3 of the Solaris gone, but the caramel is growing slightly. The balance and harmony of the flavors is still superb and is making for a very enjoyable experience!!
    At the halfway point the strength starts to build slowly and now cements itself at solidly medium body. The white pepper has grown as well and settles into the back of your tongue on the finish nicely, with the spice becoming a little more prevalent through the nose as well. The burn is razor sharp and minus the cracking at the head there are no construction issues to speak of. The buttery and velvety character is still the focus but the strength and kick from the pepper and spice keep it interesting for me.

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    The final third comes around about 1 hr and 15 min in and it takes what I imagine will be the final turn. The buttery sweetness takes a backseat at the kick really starts to take hold now. Roasted peanut, oily leather, and oak become the main focus with the pepper and semi-sweet spice still noticeable through the nose. The strength is growing to the upper echelon of medium but is still a great choice for a morning cigar with coffee in my opinion. It'll wake you up but won't punish you, but most of all the sweetness and complexity would pair beautifully with a bold coffee and light cream.
    As the weather gets a bit colder and the Solaris gets a touch harsher, I set it down with about an inch and a half left and 1.5 hrs in. Final Thoughts:
    Given some warmer weather and with that a touch more patience I think the finish, the only weak part of the experience for me, would have been much more enjoyable. That being said, I was very very surprised at how much of a sleeper the Solaris was and how spectacularly it grew after the first half inch. I also stick to my guns on the fact that I believe this would be a perfect choice for a morning stick with a bold coffee and mild creamer. All in all though, wish I had more of these because I could easily see it becoming a staple in the humidor.

    Balance: 10/10 As with nearly all Fuente cigars, the Solaris was superbly balanced and in harmony with the profile.

    Development: 9/10 The sleeper start that grew into a killer profile that developed perfectly for my tastes. The only thing that kept it from being a 10 was the finish that I wasn't all that psyched about.

    Construction: 7/10 The foot crack I didn't count into the score because I know that during the recent move several sticks got a little jostled and the rH changes didn't help either. However the head cracks were seen to be a little worse when the top Fuente band was taken off and a dime sized chunk of the wrapper just fell away. I'm keeping the score higher though due to the unknown effects of the move.

    X-Factor: 8/10 I was expecting a good stick, it was a Don Carlos Sr. Microblend, but the sleeper aspect made it even cooler for me.

    Pairing Recommendations: A bold coffee with a light creamer would be great, but something else like a Butterscotch liqueur or a sweet Amaretto might pair nicely as well.

    Overall Cigar Score: 8/10 Strongly recommended cigar but take your time to smoke it

    A big thank you to Dan Williams (Toombes) for the pairing recommendations idea and input on review style and structure!!

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    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bigshizza:
    Always enjoyed your reviews Brett, keep them coming bro!!
    Thanks Jim! I've got two others going up tonight and I wrapped up the review on the EE you sent me as wells other will be up shortly too! Thank you my friend!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Edicion De Aniversario 2007 Sun Grown

    Size/Vitola: Toro 6.25" x 48
    Time In Humidor: Roughly 6-7 months
    Blender: Carlito Fuente
    Vault Aging: 5 years prior to release
    Wrapper: Chateau De La Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
    Binder/Filler: Dominican - Modified blend of the normal Don Carlos

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    Main Review:

    Light Time 5:25pm MST 2/28/2103
    I cut the cap with my Room 101 Jya Xi cutter and the cold draw is brilliant, nearly no flavors are present save for a mild cedar and hint of vanilla. I lit it with my soft flame butane Zippo and it took perfectly. The initial draws hint at a moderate red chili spice with white pepper through the nose and a leather and raisin medley on the tongue with a large smoke production! The ash is a stark white with a great draw and dense cool smoke, so far already impressed and anxious for how this will progress through the stick. Half an inch in and the spice smooths out to only play a part in the background and it takes on a much sweeter profile with vanilla, raisin, cream and cashew..... Sublime. There is a minor fresh tobacco note that compliments the sweetness wonderfully but was unexpected, something I typically get in a candela style wrapper but I really enjoy the yin and yang aspect of it with this blend, somewhat sweet and crisp I guess. A deep red oak is the new opening at just an inch in with cinnamon and sugar being added in late on the finish, seems like every draw is a new profile.

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    Construction is outstanding with the ash being tight and dense still holding strong at 1", the profile has already made a major shift building in body. What started out as mild-medium is now a solid medium and a core of rich earth, dark red wood and oiled leather and highlight tones that are sweet and mouthwatering with raisin, cashew, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar, and heavy cream dominating the retrohale.... Couldn't have asked for a better profile or cigar to celebrate being a brand new Dad for the first time! The ash is still holding strong at an inch and a half and the raisin and chewy cashew have become the dominate flavors, just LOVE this cigar! Never had a blend that presented raisin as triangle or cleanly as the Don Carlos has, very intense and smooth! Nearly two inches in and it just gets richer and more complex, a undertone when it first hits the tip of your tongue is a smooth and sweet rum. The oak and raisin are intertwining together and is so rich and balanced, one of the most harmonious and balanced cigars I've had since the BBF. The body and strength grow with every pull and I'm about 50 min in and at 2.5" with the chewiness and richness of the sweet rum raisin and dark rich red oak and earth being the profile at this point. On the finish a hint of red chili pokes its head in and out but nothing that you can count on since it just comes and goes. Sweet cream and vanilla float in and out as well but I can't place my finger on when and where.... Damn this is a complex and harmonious cigar!

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    The ash falls for the first time just over 2.5" and stays tight, but no major shift yet which is fine with me because this is one of the best cigars I've ever had and loving this ;) About 15 minutes after the ash drops and a strong sweet cream note comes in and is the main core with the other notes, the rum raisin specifically, being wonderfully balanced highlights that are just so smooth and chewy! As it progresses the creamy nature continues to build along with the sweetness... Heaven.

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    As the Don Carlos progresses over the final third the rum raisin stays present throughout but the creaminess fades slightly to be somewhere in the middle of my palate while the sweetness stays present. In the final inches the strength builds and a sweet chili becomes strong and quite noticeable on the retrohale and lasting throughout the finish with the dark earth and redwood building with the strength in perfect balance. All in all what a superb cigar that I will never forget and wish I could always have in my humidor. The ash always held strong to 2" and the construction was nothing shirt of perfect with bountiful cool and dense smoke throughout. Brilliant. Ended at 8pm MST.
    Total Smoking Time: 2.5 hrs

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    Balance: 10/10 Bar none this was one of the top three Fuente's I have ever had the privilegeof smoking and it was superbly balanced and in harmony with the profile.

    Development: 10/10 The Don Carlos started of mild and grew quickly and never stopped developing, it also had one of the most prominent and unique rum raisin flavors I've ever tasted in a cigar. Flawless for my palate.

    Construction: 9/10 The draw was as dead nuts on as I could ask for based on my preference (slightly easy draw) and the burn through nearly all of it was razor sharp. Only twice did it need very minor touch ups but mainly only for my preference is all.

    X-Factor: 10/10 I was expecting a good stick, it was a Don Carlos LE,and with the fact of what I was celebrating I was already in a great place when I smoked this. That being said, any and all expectations that I already had (significant) were shattered when I finished this. This really was the best non-CC cigar I have ever had and had I the ability would always be in my humidor bar none.

    Pairing Recommendations: A great amber beer like 90 Shilling or Left Hand's Sawtooth would be superb, but on the more complex end a smooth and mellow brandy or cognac would be awesome as well such as Hennessey's single distillery Le Peu.

    Overall Cigar Score: 9.75/10 really have a tough time anymore giving perfect scores but this one really did come as close as I can give it.

    Final Notes:

    * Besides the nature of the cigar, meaning the scarcity and what size/wrapper it was, I had no prior knowledge and read no reviews to smoking the Don Carlos.
    * All information obtained on the specifics of this cigar were from the Halfwheel review on the exact cigar but was not read prior to myself reviewing the Don Carlos personally.
    * The Halfwheel review can be found here: http://www.halfwheel.com/review-don-carlos-edicion-de-aniversario-2007-toro/
    * I smoked this at Barlow's Premium Cigars and Pipes in Lafayette,CO and paired this with water for my drink of choice.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure Especial

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    Size: Gordito 5.5” X 50
    Tobacco Region: Cuba’s Vuelta Abajo
    Box Age Before Smoking: 4+ Months
    Received From: Jim BigShizza

    Smoking Experience

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    1st Third and First Light:

    Start Time: 12:25pm
    The first flavors are presented early on the palate and quite strong with a spice and sweetness on the top of your tongue and rolling back. The classic metallic citrus note is evident in spades and early then rolling into a sweet and subtle honey, vanilla and a strong yet complex leather. Through the nose, a very aromatic cedar and a lemon/metallic and honey are the main players and it is superb already! After the initial scorched tobacco from lighting passes a quarter inch it takes this sublime heavy creamy turn that really showcases the metallic citrus and honey flavors and leads very nicely into the well balanced a complex lemon flavor. The smoke has a unique aroma that my wife says is excellent and very sweet and spicy. The spice on the palate is fading slowly to a very smooth white pepper flavor and is just slightly more noticeable through the nose. That epitome of cuban-esque flavor is as evident in the EE as any Habano I have had in some time, and something prior to this that I had sorely missed! The heavy cream, citrus and sweet honey become the main players in this slow burning and razor sharp smoke with subtle highlights in the retro hale of leather walnut and veranda coffee. The strength at one inch in so far is a medium - and fits nicely within the balance and complexity that the EE displays. A unique and musky nutty walnut tone come into play stronger on the palate than on the retro hale that quickly rolls into the citrus and honey, very unique and digging it. This is one of the creamer and well balanced cigars that I’ve had in sometime and is reminiscent to me like a Montecristo #2 at this point. The ash is still holding strong at this point while not bountiful us very cool and creamy on the mouth feel. Biggest notes on palate and retro is citrus/metallic, complex oily leather, cream, and a musky nuttiness… hitting me superbly for my tastes. So far there hasn’t been too much progression which in this case I am very happy about because I am digging the Cuban notes mixed with the nut notes. The ash is fairly tight with a gorgeous salt and pepper contrast. The draw opens up slightly and becomes more in line with what I prefer, which is a looser draw and the smoke production increases with accordance. The veranda coffee and leather appear again but can only noticed on the finish which balance the sweet and bold profile nicely and adds a nice contrast. With this shift comes a building of how the previous notes roll through the mouth with the citrus becoming quite prominent on the tip of the tongue and bold then quickly moving to the metallic citrus finish with the creamy musk and walnut still there. I ash it preemptively at just past an inch and a half and do a minor touch up with my torch for my own preference but wasn’t necessary.

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    2nd Third:

    A spicy cedar picks up after the citrus metallic and before the creamy musk and adds a kick that starts the second third out marvelously. The sweet chipotle spice is continuing on in the second third and complements the cedar and cream nicely and helps to maintain that balance that so far have been spot on. The body has subtly built to a solid medium with the nutty musk still present but much milder and now as an undertone. The body and spice build noticeable through the nose and a mild milk chocolate picks up on the finish with the coffee, a great dichotomy between sweet and spicy. The EE keeps surprising me around every turn with new notes that I wasn’t expecting. I’m digging this guessing game and it keeps it interesting and really makes me focus and pay attention. Each draw is similar to the last but just slightly but just different enough that you cant put your finger on it … for me the hallmark of a great cigar!

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    Final Third:

    The burn is a little wavy but isn’t to big of an issue. It is heating up a bit and having a mild acrid bite to the finish so I slow down and let it cool off a bit. I ash it at little more over an inch again and do a quick touch up and the smoke is back to heavy cool and bountiful. The strength is now a medium + and balance and the bold full flavor and spice that the EE has grown into, while still maintaining the lighter and delicate notes that were present from the beginning. The finish and final third of the EE is very full body and spicy with lost of chipotle, leather, cedar and the chocolate with coffee finish. It is getting mildly soft and warm but I’m confident that a small amount of dry boxing would resolve this next time since it is currently very cold and snowing out today. All in all it is a magnificent cigar that at this point ranks in my top three Habanos so far.

    End Time: 2:00pm for a total smoking time of 1.5 hrs

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    Balance: 10/10 Bar none this was one of the top three Habanos that I have yet to have and really made me take a different look at HdM for the future, awesome balance that stayed in harmony throughout the experience of the EE.

    Development: 10/10 The EE really highlighted the citrus metallic tone that I find in my favorite Habanos and with the musky nuttiness this was just exceptional.

    Construction: 8/10 I had to relight it once and it did get hot towards the end, but as stated before I think this was ONLY due to the weather and circumstances.

    X-Factor: 10/10 The company and occasion really helped to set the stage, but I had really been excited to try the EE as soon as I received it and it showcased the classic Habano profile and character that I haven’t had presented that well in over a year…. ROCKING!

    Pairing Recommendations: Honestly this was such a great cigar that it really shined all on its own with water. If you wanted to pair it with a stronger libation, something like a Lambic beer that would pick up the citrus and sour notes but pick up the sweetness well too. Another choice would be a dry Mead which would really highlight the honey and creamy spice which might be my next way to try this cigar as well.

    Overall Cigar Score: 9.5/10 This was superb, and if the finish was cleaner and not so hot it would be neck and neck with the Monte No. 2 and BBF but regardless it was still in the top 3 Habanos that I have had in years!

    Final Notes:

    * I was gifted this from Jim (BigShizza) as a congrats for my son in Late February, big big thanks Jim this was superb!
    * I paired this with water for my drink of choice.
    * I smoked this next to my wife while she enjoyed an Arturo Fuente Exquisito Maduro which was the first time we were able to smoke together since shortly before she got pregnant with our son.
    * While this was smoked inside, the weather outside was heavy wet snow and quite cold, so I am not surprised that there was a few small issues with the burn and heat towards the end. Dry boxing for an hour would fix this in the future.

    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely under the radar, but what a smoke!
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Steve2010:
    Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely under the radar, but what a smoke!
    man you ain't lying to put it mildly! Is this your fav vitola in this line, and have you tried any f the other sizes? Curious if its a fairly consistent experience and profile across the board regardless of size on this blend.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • Steve2010Steve2010 Posts: 1,036
    90+ Irishman:
    Steve2010:
    Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely under the radar, but what a smoke!
    man you ain't lying to put it mildly! Is this your fav vitola in this line, and have you tried any f the other sizes? Curious if its a fairly consistent experience and profile across the board regardless of size on this blend.
    Yes, both the Robusto and the Belicoso have the same experience. Haven't tried any others within the blend.
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Nice to read your reviews again brother, well done!
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Roberto99:
    Nice to read your reviews again brother, well done!
    Thanks a ton for the kind words Robert they are much appreciated brother! Glad you are enjoying the reads, spent te last few weeks putting together a physical catalog of every review I've done and turned out to be nearly 30 of them lol. These are the ones starting in 2013
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • bbass2bbass2 Posts: 1,064 ✭✭
    Nice reviews and it's good to have you back.
  • Poker_SlobPoker_Slob Posts: 1,134 ✭✭✭✭
    It's good to have you back on the review train Brett. We'll have to get together sometime soon. Maybe I can find a decent stick or two for you to review.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    bbass2:
    Nice reviews and it's good to have you back.
    Thanks bro great to be back and appreciate the kind words :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Poker Slob:
    It's good to have you back on the review train Brett. We'll have to get together sometime soon. Maybe I can find a decent stick or two for you to review.
    Hell yeah atom really looking forward to herfing brother! And you are way too generous you don't need to do that really and you always have awesome sticks thank you :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • C-LOVEC-LOVE Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭
    Really enjoyed reading the reviews, keep'em coming.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    C-LOVE:
    Really enjoyed reading the reviews, keep'em coming.
    Thanks Chris, much appreciated brother :) Hoping to get in at least one this week since I will be at the lounge for my 25th. If I can manage I will post up one or possibly two more later on ;)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for the reviews. Much more "professional" than mine are. Very informative about your experiences.
    Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    I like Oliva and Quesada (including Regius) a lot.  I will smoke anything, though.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Martel:
    Thanks for the reviews. Much more "professional" than mine are. Very informative about your experiences.
    Much obliged Martel and far too kind really :) glad you enjoy it and the only reason I try to make them so professional is because this is part of the portfolio I am putting together since my ultimate goal is to get into the industry some day. Don't care how or what position, even if it is sweeping the floors at the factory bathroom, just so long as I can get my foot in the door. Figured if I am going to go for it might as well start here, especially since I love doing this type of thing anyways :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Tatuaje La V
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great review Brett! Man sounds awesome but, of course finding one now is a bit of a PIA..glad you have the opportunity to experience it.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bigshizza:
    Great review Brett! Man sounds awesome but, of course finding one now is a bit of a PIA..glad you have the opportunity to experience it.
    Thanks a ton Jim, and they are a PIA to find, but I do know of a spot that has em, but list price is nearly $25 a stick after taxes for the 2008's :( Thanks for reading and for the kind words my friend :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • C-LOVEC-LOVE Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭
    Great Review Brett! Really enjoy reading these, smoke more and write more brotha!
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    C-LOVE:
    Great Review Brett! Really enjoy reading these, smoke more and write more brotha!
    Thanks Chris really appreciate that brother! I'm doing another review today, I just haven't quite decided on what it will be...
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Illusione Epernay Le Elegance
    Box Age: 1+ month
    Size: Corona 5.75" x 40
    Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
    Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan

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    Main Review:

    First Third:

    Start Time 8:15pm MST
    The Le Elegance starts off with mild black pepper up front that starts to subside quickly and go into a hickory smoke and roll onto the middle of your tongue to a sweet honey and cream that is fairly light mouth feel. Back of your tongue is vanilla and oily chewy leather and classic toasted tobacco flavors. Extremely well balanced and medium bodied so far. The dominant flavor that really sticks out is honey and I'm absolutely loving it! An element that is already quite present in this cigar is fluidity... The flavors roll quite well from note to note and overlap each other brilliantly which is why its easiest to describe the flavors by how and when they hit your tongue instead of what the main flavors are. There are many many notes present in the Epernay and breaking it down is challenging. I notice I'm having to focus on it more than I anticipated which is a wonderful surprise. There is a sweet zest through the nose that is a bit spicy but plays perfect pairing towards the creamy and smoky leather and honey combo. I'd liken the spice to a sweet red chili that I love in Asian cuisine. It certainly isn't in your face but more of a background flavor that's just noticeable when you focus on it. The body actually is lightening up in flavor and the leather and hickory is coming out a bit more dropping the sweetness a bit. A little less creamy and a bit more spice through the nose and a dryer spice if that makes any sense. The honey that I loved so much is still there but slightly muted, it turned this way after I asked at at just over 1" and while it is still good it isn't as well balanced as earlier but I'm waiting it out to see what happens.

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    Second Third:

    Around the end of the first third and a floral tea note starts to makes its way in, very unique and unexpected but I really like it and adds back to the missing balance and also brings back a bit of that sweet honey with it as well providing nice depth and contrast to the Epernay. The hickory recedes some which is good, I enjoy the flavor but it was too prominent and this is much better balanced. The toasted tobacco is chewy and also more noticeable coming in towards the beginning of your palate and hitting the middle of your tongue. The balance is once again in that butter zone and oddly enough there is a note in there that reminds me of a buttery bread like a croissant. It's light and weaves its way in and out never really able to pin it down. Slightly before the halfway point and the whole profile seems to be a bit muted like a blanket was thrown over my mouth. Hoping that this is just a short phase because it had just gotten back to that butter zone for my palate and was loving where it was at.

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    Final Third:

    The second ash drops at around 1.5" and very little has changed, still a bit muted in flavor. Almost a cardboard note, maybe that is just the vitola but its really lost something from where it started out at. The end sees very little change from earlier,the flavors come back a little but are still very bland compared to earlier. The profile never really shifts much and maintains the aforementioned notes. At the very end of the nub it does pick back up slightly but only a shadow of itself at the start. I will say that the construction if this cigar is too notch though and certainly made it easy to smoke and enjoyable in that regard. It stayed cool and pouring out smoke all the way until the end.

    Ended at 9:45pm MST

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    Total smoking time: 1hr 30min

    Final Thoughts/Wrap Up:

    Sadly I was extremely disappointed with this cigar, it started out with so much potential and by the second third just lost everything and never really came back. Based on everything I have heard though, this is certainly not the case with most people's experiences though. I'd be interested to see if possibly this was just an issue with this size that made it fall on its face or if it was a dud, or simply just a blend that doesn't work for me at the end of the day. Either way this was one of the worst duds I've had in some time, but I will say that I am not condemning the blend all together just my experience with this particular smoke.

    Balance: 5/10 It ranked this high only for how well it started with, if I ranked it purely on the majority experience overall it would have been lower.

    Development: 1/10 It went from amazing at the start to terrible and flat and never went back.

    Complexity: 5/10 There was ample complexity that really kept me riveted at the early stages, but the latter well.....

    Construction: 9/10 There were absolutely no issues whatsoever and really held onto a strong ash that burned straight all the way to the end. Only strike was that it did heat up more than I would have liked around 1-1.5" left.

    X Factor: 2/10 I wanted to love this cigar and with how it started I thought maybe, but the rest well, that's history...

    Pairing Recommendations: Dion blended this cigar and even named it after the champagne region of France, so I would definitely say its safe to try that. I'd also recommend a Belgian Trappist Ale that, especially a Tripel or a Quad such as a Westmalle Tripel.

    Overall Cigar Score: 4.5/10

    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Viaje Platino Reserva No. 6
    Received by: Roman (Trident)
    Box Age: VPR No. 6 is from the 2012 Release
    Size: Box Pressed Toro 6” x 50
    Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
    Binder/Wrapper: Nicaraguan

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    Main Review:

    Appearance/Feel: The VPR No.6 has a fantastic feel in the hand, it is very smooth and well oiled to the touch, it honestly is incredibly similar to a well oiled and broken in baseball mitt. There is moderate give when squeezed, and minimal veins to detract from the appearance as a whole. The bands are very artfully done and work well to build a lot of anticipation for me to light this bad boy up.

    Dry draw - Very subtle sweet mint with cedar and a bit of spice on the tongue, plus a few other unique but subtle notes that I can’t put my finger on yet.

    1st Light and Third:

    9:00pm MST

    First light takes quickly, very sweet vanilla with a minor touch of that sweet mint note from earlier. A light spicy cedar comes on the back of your tongue with a dry leather through the nose. There is a very interesting note that I am having trouble putting a description to that I really enjoy, but can only describe as a dry metallic earth note. Body right now is at a solid mild-medium with flavor coming in at a medium as well. Smoke production is average but it is a fantastic flavor. After about an inch in, it takes a huge turn that really starts to build the flavor starting off with that mint note building along with a sweet yet pungent anise on the retrohale and a stronger presence of the leather changing from dry to oily. the first as falls just over an inch which brings a spicy red pepper into the fray through

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    So far the most prominent thing in my mind is how sweet and unique this cigar is, and the further this burns down the more and more interesting this stick becomes. The mint continues to roll in and out alongside the anise and now a new twist is added within that same unique profile is a burnt caramel and some pungent nuttiness on the very tip of my tongue. Every time I take a draw I can’t help but catch a grin spreading across my face thinking “Damn, THIS is a good cigar!”

    2nd Third:

    The strength into the second third starts to build and is now is a solid medium range and climbing. Flavor has built quickly into full flavored with spice starting to become a larger player and I am REALLY enjoying that with this profile. There is a chewy meaty flavor that has appeared only on the retrohale but settling on the roof of my mouth and reminds me of a rare steak.

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    At the start of the half, a wet hay as odd as that sounds rolls off of my tongue starting off about halfway through the profile and finishes clean into the mint which is now less sweet but much more prominent, bolder than it has been at any point. Another unique progression came in at the start of the profile picking up a black tea like note leading into the floral mint and wet hay. The spice is still just as present and strength has grown in accordance as well bordering on full- by now as I near the final quarter. There is so much going on in this cigar that it is really hard to place all of it into thought. Complex doesn’t even begin to scratch to surface, and really holds my interest throughout the experience here. The only complaint that I have is the smoke production which sadly is just average and sometimes below average. As it nears the start of the final third there are a few changes that I have noticed in the profile. The mint has all but disappeared and is only noticed on the back of my tongue and I really have to search for it, however the anise has become stronger on the finish as has the black tea profile grown on the start as well. It is a very odd sounding combination but with the nutty chewy flavors that come into the fray between the two and a constant presence of aged oily leather, they balance each other marvelously and are extremely unique and I love it!

    Final Third:

    As it finally turns to the final third, the sweetness starts to make a play building back to close to the start of the cigar, and I really enjoy how it is coming back full circle. All of the aforementioned flavors are still present just in different sequence but are flowing so quickly and clearly between each other that at this point I can’t pinpoint the order anymore. Towards the VERY end the mint came back suddenly and in force to finish it off and made it a fantastic finish to a fantastic cigar!

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    End Smoking Time 11:15pm

    Total Smoking Time of 2 hrs and 15 min

    Final Thoughts/Wrap Up:

    If I could only come away with one thought or experience from the VPR No. 6, it would be “unique”. There was so much going on in this smoke, but even more than that was the specific notes that I picked up, several of which I had never tasted in any other cigars in 10 years of smoking. Much like the Tatuaje La Vérité 2008 Churchill that I smoked a while back, there were simply notes in each of these that were so unique that it took me aback and make me just stare at the cigar wondering where these had been hiding from me haha! There was only one thing that I really wish was different about this cigar, and that was the smoke production and the harshness that was in the cigar at the nub for about 20 min before going back to a brilliant finish again. All in all though, what a cigar and truly wish I had a box of these stashed away somewhere to rest for a few years...

    Balance: 9/10 There was such wonderful complexity, but in the beginning a bit more strength would have helped to keep up with the plethora of notes.

    Development: 10/10 There was no two draws that were the same, every single draw pulled in a slightly new note and just kept you guessing as to where it was headed next, fantastic!

    Construction: 8/10 I had to do a few relights on the VPR No. 6 even with dry boxing the cigar in the dry monster humidor for nearly an hour. Still seemed a little wet and possibly still a little immature in terms of age and potential, another 1-2 years might really pull this cigar together I feel.

    Complexity: 10/10 When I can pick up several notes that I have yet to get in a single cigar and they flow from one note to the next without a defined transition, how can I possibly not score this a 10 out of 10?

    X-Factor: 8.5/10 I had been looking forward to this cigar when Roman sent it to me and told me about it, plus I am still delving in ever deeper to the Viaje portfolio and this one was very high up on my list. It didn’t disappoint save for one area, and that was the smoke production. Personally, I really love a cigar that pours out the smoke like an old fashioned coal fired train, and this one fell short of that considerably and that was the only thing that really distracted me from the experience as a whole.

    Pairing Recommendations: Normally I would suggest something like a beer or a whiskey of some sort, but this cigar is one that I think would truly benefit from something lighter and sweeter. Because of that, I think a Mint Julip or better yet, a classic Mojíto would be the perfect pairing for this sweet and minty cigar. If anyone does try this, I truly would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Overall Cigar Score: 9.1/10

    Final Notes:
    * A HUGE shout out and thank you to my close friend Roman aka Trident on Cigar.com and uberhumidors.com/forum for hooking me up with this brilliant cigar, thank you my friend ;)
    * All information obtained about this cigar was taken from halfwheel.com
    * I truly believe that an additional 1-2 years really will pull all of the elements that were slightly out of whack on this cigar together and make it one superbly balanced and executed smoke.
    * The banding on these is by far one of my favorite in the industry and hangs right there with my favorite Tatuaje and Opus X banding.
    * When Roman sent me this cigar along with a few others, there was a stipulation that came along with it, every time I smoked one of the cigars he sent, I had to put Cael in the blasphemous Red Wings outfit that he bought and sent to my infant son. To that end, even though I am a diehard Avalanche fan (born and raised in Colorado!) I stay true to my word and here you go...

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    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • curtpickcurtpick nunyobusynezPosts: 2,761 ✭✭✭
    Looks like a fine cigar ! Enjoyed the review bro ! Keep them coming !
    Family, Friends, Golf, Cigars, Fine Whiskey, Good beer.... is there anything else ?  Follow on instagram @crguy1961
  • armaes8armaes8 Posts: 279
    Solid reviews. I enjoy the read, you have an eye for taking cool shots and angles of the sticks before during and after. Keep up the good work my friend.
  • ehehatehehat Posts: 1,536 ✭✭
    That sounds amazing Brett. I always enjoy reading your reviews, you have a detail and way of wording that truly shows your love for, and immersion in, the process. Definitely looking forward to trying this stick.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank you everyone!!! Really means a lot that y'all enjoy my reviews as much as y'all do, it's difficult to get any in consistently with how busy everything is around here lately, but I will definitely be getting some more in as soon as I can!
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • Chuck_NChuck_N Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭
    I love your reviews. Keep up the great work!!
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