Martel's Marvelous Musings on Magnificent Miasmas of Merit

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  • macs-smokesmacs-smokes Posts: 587
    We use an Epson NX330 wireless all in one... reason being we can print from anywhere and if you need to replace ink (and we do) you just replace the color cartridge that is in need... Having replaced them all they are not that expensive (extended black was like $15)... Just my $.02
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,150 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nicely done Eric..I'm too A.D.D. but, I admire your effort. It will be interesting to look back on these after a year to see what has changed.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    Bigshizza:
    Nicely done Eric..I'm too A.D.D. but, I admire your effort. It will be interesting to look back on these after a year to see what has changed.
    They end up being pretty disorganized, but having some categories already listed helps me to keep some thoughts straight. I put my thoughts in a little more sensible order when I transfer the notes to the reviews here. I suspect I might stop the reviews after I settle down on my palate and narrow my likes and dislikes. Then again, I enjoy the methodic routine. It's becoming kind of a ritual. Select a nice 'gar. Give thanks for the chance to smoke it. Prep, toast, light, write. Relax.

    I fully expect things to change and look forward to that as well. I might even revist those Lot 23's after I get some more experience.

    ETA: It was on this post that this thread got 2,000 views. Only 48,000 more to go until I equal that amateur Rob.
    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.
  • beatnicbeatnic Posts: 4,133
    Try a glue stick for the cigar bands.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    beatnic:
    Try a glue stick for the cigar bands.

    Is that better than tape? How/why? Just curious here. I guess it would preserve the look better, but the invisible tape is really not visible under the sheet protectors. And knowing me, especially if it's cold in the smoking spot, I would get glue all over my fingers trying to hold the band down while it curled up.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    Well, I smoked this of an evening after a dinner of meatloaf and fixins. Wanted something to relax with and picked up this smoke; a toro size. I've been smoking a lot of Nicaraguan cigars, but not so many Dominicans and I wanted to expand my tasting range and figured I'd start with this puro.

    photo IMAG0164_zps5274e3d1.jpg

    The cap lick resulted in a sweetness and not much else, but sniffing along the length of the cigar let me pick up a smooth earthiness and mushroom aroma. The sweet, earth, mushroom aroma was matched by the taste of the pre-light draw. After a long, low, and slow toast, the first few puffs on this cigar were a delight. It was surprisingly mild at the start, with mushrooms and cream predominant. Burning leaves-a nice autumn flashback-were quickly added into the profile. The leaves were the predominant odor in the air to this point.

    photo IMAG0162_zpsceffc83e.jpg

    The cigar leaves a thin line of smoke in the air at all times as it burns, but there is a copious amount of smoke on each draw from the foot and in the mouth. Once I'm a half to 3/4 of an inch down I start to notice oak. Not sure how I'm going to like this oak; I never like it in wine for some reason, but it's not overpowering here.

    After a great start (I'm like a hobbit, there's few things I like more than mushrooms!), this smoke just became so-so. The oak wasn't bad because it wasn't too strong, yet I might have preferred it stronger, in fact. It would have added some more body to the flavor profile. At the halfway mark I note "Really unremarkable up to [this] point." The cigar required several touch-ups along the way.

    Considering this thing burned slow-an hour and a half or more-it didn't start burning well until the last 15 minutes or so. I suspect I could have gotten another 10 minutes, maybe 20 at the rate it was burning, out of this stick, but I just stopped enjoying it along the way. It was kind of boring. I marked it middle of the road, or "fair" on flavor, and that's just because of the good start. It was a solid "medium" on strength, if not a little under. And construction was a shade under "fair" as well. It looked pretty enough on the outside, but the burn problems indicated something was wonky in the construction. Still haven't had any other Cohibas; I expect the Red Dot in the humi has got to be better than this one.
    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.
  • kingjk729kingjk729 Posts: 2,580 ✭✭✭
    Martel:
    Well, I smoked this of an evening after a dinner of meatloaf and fixins. Wanted something to relax with and picked up this smoke; a toro size. I've been smoking a lot of Nicaraguan cigars, but not so many Dominicans and I wanted to expand my tasting range and figured I'd start with this puro.

    The cap lick resulted in a sweetness and not much else, but sniffing along the length of the cigar let me pick up a smooth earthiness and mushroom aroma. The sweet, earth, mushroom aroma was matched by the taste of the pre-light draw. After a long, low, and slow toast, the first few puffs on this cigar were a delight. It was surprisingly mild at the start, with mushrooms and cream predominant. Burning leaves-a nice autumn flashback-were quickly added into the profile. The leaves were the predominant odor in the air to this point.

    The cigar leaves a thin line of smoke in the air at all times as it burns, but there is a copious amount of smoke on each draw from the foot and in the mouth. Once I'm a half to 3/4 of an inch down I start to notice oak. Not sure how I'm going to like this oak; I never like it in wine for some reason, but it's not overpowering here.

    After a great start (I'm like a hobbit, there's few things I like more than mushrooms!), this smoke just became so-so. The oak wasn't bad because it wasn't too strong, yet I might have preferred it stronger, in fact. It would have added some more body to the flavor profile. At the halfway mark I note "Really unremarkable up to [this] point." The cigar required several touch-ups along the way.

    Considering this thing burned slow-an hour and a half or more-it didn't start burning well until the last 15 minutes or so. I suspect I could have gotten another 10 minutes, maybe 20 at the rate it was burning, out of this stick, but I just stopped enjoying it along the way. It was kind of boring. I marked it middle of the road, or "fair" on flavor, and that's just because of the good start. It was a solid "medium" on strength, if not a little under. And construction was a shade under "fair" as well. It looked pretty enough on the outside, but the burn problems indicated something was wonky in the construction. Still haven't had any other Cohibas; I expect the Red Dot in the humi has got to be better than this one.

    How much time was on this cigar? This has become one of my favorite cigars but I've noticed anything under 6 months are just so so and no wow factor. I have a few resting and have been very satisfied with a year and up on aging.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    It was pretty fresh; I haven't been at this for 6 months, even. And I don't, unfortunately, have a lot of room to age stuff, anyhow. It wasn't a bad cigar, like you said. It just didn't blow me away. I got a great deal on this as part of a sampler on the Sprint Sale...I barely paid more than the cost of a single one of these for 10 different cigars...and may grab it again if I see the deal come up while I have money to spend. It had promise.

    That said, I know everyone wants to age smokes. It's just not a part of the hobby I've been able to explore, yet. Since I want to figure out what I like, I want to smoke everything now! In general, I'm a patient guy so not being able to wait is foreign to me. Yet I think I understand the motivations for wanting to make sure I don't waste money of things I don't like.

    However, that leads me to a question...how do I know what might age well? Do I need to just find some smokes with age on them and see what they're like? Maybe compare an aged to a fresh of the same cigar? And oh, on this subject, I might have to PM Jim about a 'gar he sent me for an upcoming review...
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm loving "Litto Gomez Style"! I smoked this while chillin' alone one afternoon while drinking some ice water. I received this little baby from the wife for V-day. She gave me two, and I've since received one from Jim "Bigshizza" as a contest prize. These won't be enough...

    photo IMAG0172_zps329a31cf.jpg

    Pre-light this is a good looking little cigar. The reddish-brown color of the Sumatran wrapper, the oily look, the small chisel tip. The aroma of the cigar is mostly earthy. A lick of the cap reveals sweetness along with the earth. The chisel tip "popped" right open. No cutter needed. I know there are different opinions about how to open a chisel. The chiselito is so small, I don't think I could take a punch to both sides without taking off the end, so squeezing it open seemed the way to go. I might try a cut on the next one though, because it did seem to have some draw issues if my mouth moistened the opening too much.

    photo IMAG0170_zps8e6b8d4e.jpg

    The cigar puts off a nice, steady amount of smoke with a small but constantly visible white plume from the foot. I initially have trouble identifying the flavor profile, but I really like it. There is pepper in this cigar, but it's not the predominant flavor and isn't overwhelming. The burn is a little erratic, but not annoyingly so even though this cigar did need one major touch-up.

    photo IMAG0177_zps60331d3e.jpg

    Throughout the first third, the strength on this cigar steadily increases and does so into the second third as well. Despite this increase, the smoke is smooth. A lot of malty/grainy flavors become noticeable. I remember a line from Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Friar Tuck says, "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about... BEER." And cigars with good grain flavor.

    The ash falls somewhere in the 2nd third. In this middle third I notice some general fruit flavors and some green bell pepper. A little leather also comes into play, but none of these ever overwhelm the other flavors in the profile. At the end of this third and moving into the final third some cedar and pine also get noticed. The cigar is nice and balanced and rich in flavor and feel throughout. Me likey! I want some scotch with my next one!

    photo IMAG0180_zpsc3d5e25b.jpg

    Clearly into the final third, the earth, clay, and peat flavors become the most noticeable, but everything else just gets stronger, with perhaps, the green pepper and leather playing second fiddle to the earthy tones, but the leather comes and goes. At the end, there is a slight flavor of cocoa as well.

    The smoke time on this fairly small 5x44 was almost exactly one hour and fifteen minutes from light to nub. I only had three problems with this cigar: 1. It required one major touch-up. 2. The wrapper began to split/peel near the end. 3. It didn't last long enough! This is one of my favorite smokes to date, if not my favorite, ranking right up there with the LP#9. I'm still having some difficulty determining exactly what I tasted in parts of this cigar partly because the flavors were both complex and smooth.

    I give construction an 8/10-it gets docked more for the wrapper splitting than the touch-up. It would have been a 9 otherwise.
    Flavor gets an 9.5/10. I moved this up at the end from my initial 8.5 because of its increasing complexity throughout and because, despite it being fairly strong, it is never harsh.
    Strength is on the low end of "full" but is clearly beyond any simple "medium" cigar in my so far limited experience. It would have seemed much stronger if the flavors hadn't been as smooth.

    If you have not smoked one of these cigars, you need to do so. I might consider buying more of these, probably in a larger vitola, and make them my first aging experiment.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I wanted to make this separate from my last post, but since I alluded to it, I thought I'd take a stab at ranking the cigars I've smoked so far.

    1. (tie)LP#9 and LFD Double Ligero
    3. MOW Armada
    4. Undercrown
    5. La Riqueza
    6. 5 Vegas Cask Strength (review upcoming)
    7. (tie) ccom Corojo and ccom Blue
    9. San Lotano Oval
    10. ccom American
    11. Cohiba Puro Dominicana
    12. Genesis the Project by Ramon Bueso
    13. Perdomo Lot 23 with either wrapper
    14. DPG Cuban Classic
    15. Ccom Purple Label
    16. Macanudo
    17. ccom Sungrown


    The reasoning behind these rankings is entirely subjective and I might change them upon further consideration or upon retrying some of these smokes. Several of those which are lower ranked are cigars I think may be higher if they have some age on them. Then again, with the exception of the LP#9, my top cigars may be even better with some age on them, too. Some of the ccom blends ranked very high. I did this because of their value. As a buyer of singles and samplers for the most part (and victim, I mean recipient, of bombing runs) they are a great value by comparison to some of the smokes on here. Part of me wants to lower their ranking for their mixed fillers, but the blue and corojo, especially, had some really good flavors, as did the American.
    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.
  • pelirrojopelirrojo Farmington, NMPosts: 1,759 ✭✭✭
    Loving the reviews. Have you been looking in my humidor? I moved a few sticks from the bottom up to the "on deck circle" waiting for a nice day, 2 of which were a Puro Dominicana and a Chiselito. You're making me wonder about the Cohiba. I haven't had one, but may leave it alone for a little longer. I'm with you on the Chiselitos though, man they're good.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    pelirrojo:
    Loving the reviews. Have you been looking in my humidor? I moved a few sticks from the bottom up to the "on deck circle" waiting for a nice day, 2 of which were a Puro Dominicana and a Chiselito. You're making me wonder about the Cohiba. I haven't had one, but may leave it alone for a little longer. I'm with you on the Chiselitos though, man they're good.
    I just smoked something that will definitely go way up on the list, too...a quick smoke out of a tin...perfect with a morning cup of coffee when you don't have much time...I am giving out no more hints...unless you look in the what I got today thread.

    As far as the Cohiba PD goes, I really wanted to like it more. It was almost "there" but not quite. One of these days I'll buy a couple and age them, but it's not high on my list while I'm just in exploration mode.
    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.
  • Lee.mcglynnLee.mcglynn HahahahaaaaaPosts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭
    If you want a knee knocker try the lfd dl maddy!!!!!!
    Money can't buy taste
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,150 ✭✭✭✭✭
    or Mysterio....
  • macs-smokesmacs-smokes Posts: 587
    The Papas Fritas are good Martel.... I had my first couple weeks ago at B&M.... broke out 2nd one other night while watching kids sledding... They will be top 5 on your list when you do get them....
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    macs-smokes:
    The Papas Fritas are good Martel.... I had my first couple weeks ago at B&M.... broke out 2nd one other night while watching kids sledding... They will be top 5 on your list when you do get them....

    I might try these at some point, but IDK, they just don't appeal to me at their price point even as much as I like the Undercrown and #9. I already have $6 sticks I like a lot in larger sizes and I got these really yummy Padrons in a tin that are a better price point than the french fries. I do like the tin on the LPPF and might end up getting them just for it!

    Lee.mcglynn:
    If you want a knee knocker try the lfd dl maddy!!!!!!

    I actually want to try one of these...the B&M doesn't have any, I checked. They also sold out of Air Benders right before Valentine's day, and they were a good price when I checked them before. Another LFD I want to try.

    Bigshizza:
    or Mysterio....

    If Jim says it's good; it must be good. Or are you trying to say something else? If nothing else, those things are beautiful looking with the Maduro tips. I'm pretty much game for trying anything LFD at this point.
    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.
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,150 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Martel:
    macs-smokes:
    The Papas Fritas are good Martel.... I had my first couple weeks ago at B&M.... broke out 2nd one other night while watching kids sledding... They will be top 5 on your list when you do get them....

    I might try these at some point, but IDK, they just don't appeal to me at their price point even as much as I like the Undercrown and #9. I already have $6 sticks I like a lot in larger sizes and I got these really yummy Padrons in a tin that are a better price point than the french fries. I do like the tin on the LPPF and might end up getting them just for it!

    Lee.mcglynn:
    If you want a knee knocker try the lfd dl maddy!!!!!!

    I actually want to try one of these...the B&M doesn't have any, I checked. They also sold out of Air Benders right before Valentine's day, and they were a good price when I checked them before. Another LFD I want to try.

    Bigshizza:
    or Mysterio....

    If Jim says it's good; it must be good. Or are you trying to say something else? If nothing else, those things are beautiful looking with the Maduro tips. I'm pretty much game for trying anything LFD at this point.
    It lets you know who's boss...nice to have around IMO..
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    This is a good sized box-pressd toro in 6x52 with a dark, reddish wrapper. It's not long before I find that this particular cigar is going to be a tale of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." doowheedoowheedoo doo doo doo doowheedoowheedoo doo doo dwee

    The Good: looks, prelight odor and feel and initial light. The Bad: prelight draw was a kick in the face, the size is almost too much for comfort if you ask me; seemed larger than 52 and almost was too big for my stogie stand. The Ugly: Burn a litle uneven. Also, this thing got stuck in its cello. I tried to extricate it carefully, but it already had slight damage to the wrapper. To add insult to injury, the underside flap of the band was wrapped and glued to the wrapper as well, which of course I don't notice until trying to take it off, further damaging the wrapper. Thankfully, these difficulties didn't affect the smoke.

    There is lots of earth and leather at the start of this smoke with cedar in the air. It is meaty-literally beefy in flavor. It is robust. Some caramel flavors, too. Paprika-good smoky/sweet paprika that seems like a spicy paprika on the exhale. The ash falls 1 in. into the smoke. Still smelling cedar in the air, but more like oak in the mouth.

    The start of the 2nd third mellows a bit as the flavors blend. I start to taste dark cocoa powder in the back of my mouth. The intensity starts to increase again near the end of this third with some green pepper and other peppers coming and going in lesser amounts near the end of this part of the smoke.

    I notice more cocoa at the start of the final third. My 2nd ash doesn't fall until the midpoint of this final third. The ash was never good looking on this thing. It was always flaky and funky. The cigar required two touchups along the way-one major and one minor (for reestablishing an even burn).

    This was a good afternoon smoke on a cool, rainy day after a good lunch of red beans and rice, but I only had water to drink while I smoked it. This was gut good, but gave a slight spinny to my head. I'm pretty sure this had a little bit of age on it. It came from Jim in a welcome package and seemed like it was more mellow than some other reviews I've looked at since. Jim thinks it was probably around 6 months or so. There were hints of black pepper throughout but it was never overwhelming. The power was there but was mellow at the same time. One more bad to leave you with: this didn't last long enough for me! I really liked it, bottom line.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    My last attempt at a small, quick smoke was a miserable failure. This one was a success, but kind of an expensive one...just not to the level of Papas Fritas. One of the B&M's around here has a big walk-in and a smaller sliding door cabinet. All the LP stock is in the sliding cabinet, and I go there first considering if I should pick up another #9 or maybe go for the T52, when what do my wondering eyes see appear, a shiny silver tin with 4 tiny french fries. I grab one, turn it over and choke at the price tag. Most everything at this B&M is competitive with ccom; has to be considering the high sales tax here. But not these, I put them back and decide to try my luck in the walk-in without even grabbing a single LP of any kind.

    In the walk-in I take my time. The wife and kids are down the way eating a snack and getting some drinks after a long day of shopping, so I have some time before meeting them, and I look at everything. There's a rack tucked in the corner that also has some tins, and I see this pretty gold tin of Padron's with a sash saying "Maduro". I thing to myself, surely these are going to be more than the LPPF, considering they're not choppings and there's more in a tin, but no. $10 less. I decide to give these a shot.

    The next day is a little cold, but not too cold. And while I have some time I could blow smoking a longer stogie, I'm feeling productive and want to get some things done around the apartment before heading to work, so I crack open the tin for my first look at these beauties. I just put some laundry in the dryer and decide to make some joe to go with the smoke while I wait. It is morning, after all, and I need my caffeine.

    Upon closer examination, there are lots of bumps and unevenness to the wrapper, but the wrapper is rich and dark and oily, with lots of visible lines in the leaf, but not a single lumpy vein. Those bumps are from the inside of the cigar, I guess. I notice chocolate, coffee, and earth as I sniff the cigar and also from the pre-light draw. The cap on this is pretty small. I punched it, because I could center it, but my small punch was almost too big as well; that's the only construction complaint I have about this thing. I think I would have a difficult time with a cutter not taking off the whole cap, too, but I'll try to do precision surgery next time.

    At the start, this is nicely peppery on the back of the throat and in the nose, but it's not harsh. It is rich and earthy on the sides of the tongue and on the cheeks. I notice mushrooms and chocolate. It's like some sort of twisted dessert fondue! Just kidding. It is enjoyable; what I would want in a quick smoke, even if a bit cheaper would be nice. For such a small thing, it fills up my porch with smoke on each draw, and that smoke lingers nicely.

    I have a strong taste of coffee throughout the Padron, which might be because of the pairing, but IDK because it is a different coffee from what I'm drinking. It's very good. This burns with a razor edge and has a strong ash. The pepper increases in the second half some, to WOW! factor, but mellows again after a strong punch for a while. The smoke is super cool in my mouth, even until the nub, and right at the end I get some nut flavors, but not for long enough to really identify them, maybe Brazil nuts, maybe some almonds. I note along the way that "I want to bathe in clouds of this smoke...okay, maybe not." It was luxurious in the air and made me feel like I was in a nice lounge even though surrounded by the junk on my porch. The Padron Cortico in Maduro wrapper is a beautiful and tasty small smoke and lasts the perfect length of time to go with a big mug of coffee.

    I would love to hear your recommendations on quick smokes (20 minutes or less?) I've searched the threads and seen some discussion of this but would love to hear more input. I know some like Bandidos for the price, but I just can't justify buying something other than singles until I've tried it, and they only come in Mazo's of 60. What do you guys do? Do you just wait until you have more time, or do you have a favorite quick stick?
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I've seen the talk and know people love these things for the most part, so I was glad to receive one to try...and now I may just be watching the sprint sale 'cause I know these pop up. Or I might just get a box.

    This little corona sized beauty in the habano wrapper with a twisted cap was soft to squeeze. I center my punch on the nub and have a good sized hole to draw from, but it is still a little tight. The wrapper has one large noticeable vein, but is otherwise good looking and oily brown with a hint of red clay to the color.

    There is some pepper that creeps up on you while smoking this cigar, which I notice more on an exhale-here it is really strong. There is tons of smoke and the draw becomes perfect once you get past the shaggy cap. The smoke even feels oily in your mouth. It's tangy with some earth in it, now. The ash is great and holds on until I'm about halfway done. The burn is razor straight.

    After a bit, the punch did tar up, and I had to fiddle with it to get it to open up again. I did have to touch up the burn at this point, but I blame myself for not noticing the tar build-up earlier. The cigar mellows some near the end, but the only noticeable flavor that ran throughout the whole thing was black pepper. It was predominant at all times, even though there were some other flavors that came and went.

    Definitely worth having around, if not my favorite smoke, would be a good weekly kind of smoke. I wouldn't save them for a special occasion and wouldn't want one daily, but I did like it.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    Note: I've edited several of my previous posts to add pictures, if that interests you at all. In reality it helps me. I'm going through photobucket and realizing that I don't know what stick some of my pics are. Oh well. I'll do a better job of tagging them in the future. Lesson learned.

    Now, on to the main event. The Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion in a Corona vitola. I received this from allsmokedup in order to do some reviews. There was some wrapper damage on this stick near the head, but it didn't have much effect on the overall experience. The cigar has a firm feel with a veiny and dry appearance. It gives off an aroma of butter and dirty mushrooms. There's not much taste to the cap before I take my cutter to it. There is a firm pre-light draw that tastes like herbs and butter.

    This is not a spice bomb to start, but it has some strength to it. I notice a lot of leather at the beginning more than anything. There is also some pepper under the leather. There is an aromatic herbal quality to this stick that I really like both on the draw and lingering in the air. I notice some campfire or burning leaves in my nose and a dry feel in the mouth.

    The cigar ashed at about 1/2 inch. Nuts. Not on the ash, but on the palate. Cashews or almonds. Probably toasted cashews...they fit with the buttery quality to this stick. The campfire flavors are gone, but are still evident to the nose. There is little to no pepper, and what there is comes and goes throughout the smoke. It remains dry, very dry, on the palate. Still, I really like this thing. It is a very cool draw and slow burn. A very enjoyable experience, and with its size, I am a little surprised because I expected a quicker smoke.

    The Corona ashes again after another 1/2 inch. 1 inch in, and I'm half an hour into this smoke. I start to notice more sweetness as the cigar smooths out. I must be in the sweet spot, because it is great now. I near some of the wrapper damage, and it starts to peel some. It's nothing to worry about and I don't hold it against the stick in any way. Poop happens. I do get a massive shot of bitterness and some tar around this point, and the draw is tighter for a bit. But it's still good. At the end of the second third, I notice something that isn't chocolate but reminds me of chocolate. I'm not sure how else to describe it. It's chocolatey but not chocolate.

    Into the start of the final third, I notice some more pepper, but it is still mild pepper. This cigar is smooth and makes me not want to think about what I'm smoking. I really had to force myself to concentrate on the smoke to write the review. This happens to me either when the stick is really boring or really good. This one is good. I just want to enjoy it and not think too much about what I'm smoking. On my note sheet, it asks for the occasion when I smoked this, and I entered this comment. "Occasion: Do I need one?" Absolutely not. I want more. This is a smoke I could get used to as a go-to kind of stick that would be good to share and to smoke myself. Despite it being cold on my porch, I wanted this to last longer.

    Funny thing is, I took pictures of this smoke, but my camera froze and caused my phone to restart and I lost all the snapshots. Oh well. I'll have to get some shots when I smoke it again.
    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.
  • allsmokedupallsmokedup Posts: 752 ✭✭
    Good to hear that you liked it. I enjoy reading your reviews. Keep it up!
  • BigshizzaBigshizza Posts: 15,150 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yeah! Thanks to you guys I got a 5ver...hoping to hit it this weekend.
  • ddubridgeddubridge Posts: 3,979 ✭✭✭
    Martel:
    I've seen the talk and know people love these things for the most part, so I was glad to receive one to try...and now I may just be watching the sprint sale 'cause I know these pop up. Or I might just get a box.

    This little corona sized beauty in the habano wrapper with a twisted cap was soft to squeeze. I center my punch on the nub and have a good sized hole to draw from, but it is still a little tight. The wrapper has one large noticeable vein, but is otherwise good looking and oily brown with a hint of red clay to the color.

    There is some pepper that creeps up on you while smoking this cigar, which I notice more on an exhale-here it is really strong. There is tons of smoke and the draw becomes perfect once you get past the shaggy cap. The smoke even feels oily in your mouth. It's tangy with some earth in it, now. The ash is great and holds on until I'm about halfway done. The burn is razor straight.

    After a bit, the punch did tar up, and I had to fiddle with it to get it to open up again. I did have to touch up the burn at this point, but I blame myself for not noticing the tar build-up earlier. The cigar mellows some near the end, but the only noticeable flavor that ran throughout the whole thing was black pepper. It was predominant at all times, even though there were some other flavors that came and went.

    Definitely worth having around, if not my favorite smoke, would be a good weekly kind of smoke. I wouldn't save them for a special occasion and wouldn't want one daily, but I did like it.
    I used to punch also. I would try cutting the cap next time. It seemed to open the draw up slightly and the flavor of the cigar seems much more enjoyable IMO. Giver a try and let me know how it goes.

    Keep it up! I enjoy the reviews when I have a chance to jump over to the R&R.
  • Love the Authentico Maduro. My favorite to take fishing with me.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks, Drew and Tampadelphia, for the comments.

    I haven't tried the maduro MOW PA yet, but it's on my list! As far as the punch goes, I thought this was a fairly small cigar and the hole-to-ring size ration would be okay with the punch. I was wrong. Cutting it is from now on.

    Getting paid today and may have to make a purchase...
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I got a space heater and I'm smoking in style! It's not the perfect solution for my porch, but it's better than nothing. Now I can crank the ceiling fan up and open the door wide without getting frostbite. Since I know I can spend some time out here, I grab this big stick (6x60) out of the Maduro tupperware.

    photo IMAG0215_zps1f5b8555.jpg

    The Alec Bradley Black Market has an oily, earthy looking wrapper. This licks with creamy chocolate and earth. I wind up cutting the cap on this one after debating a punch. There are a few bits I have to spit out when it first comes to my lips after the cut. When I light, the first thing I notice is that this is a smoke machine, baby!

    After pulling the batteries out of my smoke detector, my nose is detecting a dark, rich, and strong salted caramel aroma. I love salted caramel, BTW, so this excites me. The smoke pouring off the foot also has lots of pepper, but I don't notice this when I take a draw, at least right at the beginning.

    photo IMAG0229_zps0c262662.jpg

    Everything stays pretty consistent through the first third. I get up to 2 inches of ash now, and it's not looking like it'll hang on much longer. Each draw brings a beautiful and lasting glow at the border of wrapper and ash. This cigar is smooth, but nothing is really standing out. It does have flavor; it's just muddled. Maybe my palate is dead tonight after a strange dinner of lots of different finger foods including wings, pot stickers, and a sausage & cheese tray.

    The flavor turns chalky. What am I smoking here, Tums? Another strange flavor hits me in the second third that reminds me of qumquats. Still, nothing is wowing me up to this point except that it is a smooth smoke.

    Into the final third I am suddenly hit with a bitter burnt-toast flavor. This mostly disappears if not quite as quickly as it came on. I do get some over-toasted nuts as this starts to just taste burned at this point.

    When it's all said and done, I'm not sure if I liked this cigar or not. There were some really unpleasant flavors near the end, and the rest didn't really wow me. It was smooth on the palate through a majority of the cigar with the strength varying from a medium+ to almost full. It was constructed beautifully, too, but the flavors just weren't there for me. I will have to try this one again to decide. I'm glad there's a second one in my collection.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I haven't forgotten about the house blends, but I have sooo many cigars I want to try. I know I've liked a couple of the house blends and pretty much hated some others. On the off chance I'm going to hate the next blend, I talk myself out of trying them and ruining Eric time.

    So I have a morning that I know might get interrupted and I want to smoke something without wasting "the good stuff". Not that the house labels aren't good, but I think you know what I mean. As it turns out, I was never called away and got to finish the whole cigar.

    photo IMAG0234_zps032c7594.jpg

    It started out as a soft and supple stick. It had aromas of chocolate, spice, and poop. The cap tasted like spice and peat. After the cut, several bits fell out, and eventually, I got some in my mouth despite my best attempts to shake them out. As I toasted the foot, the thin wrapper scorched easily, but the fillers were pretty dense and needed a slightly hotter flame. Dilemma. I guess if I took a longer time on this light it would be okay, but I only had short matches and the torch was acting wonky. I got impatient.

    Once lit, this cigar was making noise. No sign of beetles, but it hissed, snapped, crackled, and popped. Maybe the humidity is too high in the tupperware for this one-it's pretty steady around 68 in that tub. It was interesting to add auditory stimulation to the smoking experience. The sounds came and went, but were most noticeable right at the start and finish of the smoke.

    Initially, this cigar is not bad, but neither is it complex nor is it strong. It's at best a medium, but I would place it in the milder end of the spectrum considering its construction. After smoking an inch in on this robusto, some oak/cedar/woodsy aromas hit my nose. I never got the chocolate or espresso listed in the marketing, except for the chocolate on the initial sniff.

    So I didn't really like this cigar at first, but it grew on me towards the end. It hit with a lot of pepper in the final third. Spicy! But there were some varying small undertones of other flavors as well. I couldn't discern what they were, but they added nicely to a feeling of complexity which was missing from the start of this smoke. Not bad at all, once I'm finished and consider the totality. I can see some people really liking this for a go-to budget stick. I'm not one of them, but I would certainly smoke it again.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm double posting today so that I can basically be caught up and do these in real-time. I've received these specific cigars in a couple of samplers and in a bomb so I'm not sure where this particular one came from...I keep thinking I should date and label my sticks, but I don't.

    The cigar band on this looks like it was printed on a brown paper lunch bag. I do like the looks of the LHC shield on the band, with the lion rampant in the usual dexter facing. At least I think it's a lion. The sideways "CORE" kind of detracts from the balance of the graphic, though, as does the off-center company name printed redundantly through the bottom of the scrollwork. Enough about the band. This is listed as a 5x52 cigar, but it feels much smaller than that because of the box press, I suppose. It has an oily and soft Habano wrapper. It smells like good tobacco, but not much else. I punch the cap and light it up.

    photo 847cd5ef-5f21-4c78-bf1c-4e9c41b6f523_zpsfd26e310.jpg

    All I get on this cigar is strength, not a lot of flavor, if that makes sense. Not that it is tasteless, but I get more "feel" than anything I can clearly taste. I am drinking this with a fairly strong coffee one morning so it's either that, or my palate is shot for some reason...which I won't deny could be happening. I've had some allergies and have had similar problems with the last couple of smokes, too.

    The cigar does mellow in strength some about halfway in. There is some wonky burn on this thing, also probably from the box press. Or it might be that I'm not drawing frequently enough because I'm not really enjoying it too much. Even if my draw rate were quicker, I still think this would be a fairly slow smoke. From light until I put it down while still near the start of the final third, this cigar has smoked for 1:20:00. That's too much time for a cigar that wasn't really my cup of tea, at least on this cool, rainy morning. I think I'll stop smoking here. A final couple of notes: I did notice some light headed effect from this cigar, but it never hit my gut in any way. There were some definite positives to this cigar and I might revisit it with some age on it. Then again maybe not; life's too short and there's lots of cigars to smoke.
    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.
  • MartelMartel Somewhere in PAPosts: 3,213 ✭✭✭✭
    Triple post!!!
    photo IMAG0243_zpsbfdd15f7.jpg
    So I revisited this cigar in its larger vitola last night, smoking it only with a large glass of water. I needed a steak. This thing was huge and lasted forever...well over 2 hours, with an even burn throughout and only needed touched up when I got called away for a few minutes. I was working while I smoked this, so I didn't take any formal notes and want to post some thoughts while they're fresh in my mind.

    First, this was good. Much like the first Armada, it was smooth throughout. This one did have a few harsher points, but not many. It also was a little different on the flavor profile, but not much. Mostly this was a difference of strength or intensity of specific flavors. The draw was pretty tight prelight, but opened up nicely until about halfway through when I had to seriously suck on it for a few draws. It didn't feel like my punch was clogging, but maybe. Anyway, the draw opened nicely again.

    You've got to smoke this thing slowly. Just like with the smaller vitola, it's a balance between staying lit and creating unpleasant acidity in the feel of the smoke. But if you go too fast on this one, it's both acidic and bitter. The cigar died on me a little before the nub, stupid me, and I was getting tired. I started this thing before 8 and it was 10:30 already, so I laid down the last inch or so in respect.

    The ash on this stick didn't last as long as on the Corona and was quite weak throughout. I enjoyed this cigar, but I think I liked the Corona better. It had more pronounced sweetness and less gut-punch strength. I had a good, rich meal of homemade deluxe fajitas before smoking this and it still left me swimming and burping. I had to eat some leftovers when I was done to settle down. Not that the feelings or the leftovers were entirely bad, mind you. Mostly I liked the intensity of flavor in the Corona more than the intensity of power from the Toro Grande.

    Special note: I tried taking lots of photos of this experience, but they'd all step on Jiunn's area of expertise. At the risk of offending him, I won't post any of them.

    My initial review of the Corona is quoted below, for reference.

    Martel:
    This cigar just looked awesome from the beginning. The giant band with a gold helmet and subtle black-on-black design in the background. The color and exterior construction on this 5x44 cigar have my senses engaged before it's even lit.

    I was drinking a venetian roast coffee while I smoked this on a rainy morning...my last day of vacation before returning to work.

    Now that the stage is set, the first draws seem tight-tighter than any of the other smokes reviewed so far. The flavor of those draws has a slight leather taste. The smoke is nice and cool. I note "this is seriously smokeable-smooth." As a comparison, the first third doesn't have as much in-your-face flavor as the Undercrown, but it is complex and subtle. Again, I comment on the smoothness in my notes with another comparison to the UC. It is smoother than the UC at this point.

    At 1/3, there is a sudden strong caramel flavor. I also note that this cigar requires a slow puff rate. If I try to smoke it too quickly, it gets an unpleasant acid flavor. But since the burn is smooth and easy, the slow puff doesn't matter. The smoke coming off the cigar is pleasant, but there isn't a large amount.

    I make it to 2/3 of the way down before the ash falls off of this one. It is also at that point that a mild woodsiness enters the flavor profile. Just past that point I begin to taste raw cocoa nibs or chocolate covered espresso beans. That means there is some bitterness, but not unpleasantly so and accompanied by sweetness. This cigar doesn't cause my mouth to water much. Some do, but this one does not.

    This cigar was great until the end. I kept smoking it until my fingers were warm and I was starting to get light-headed. The flavors were pretty consistent throughout--consistently good--even if not overly strong. This is certainly a cigar to smoke again sometime.

    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.
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