Sunday, August 30, 2009

The effects of taxation . .

Turning independent people into dependents. Like I said before, where will they go for the money to fund these programs when smokers stop smoking?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What just happened??

Ever been completely blindsided by a cigar, and not in a bad way? Well . .

After punishing myself for the last couple of days with some not-so-great sticks just to clear out the humidor I decided to continue the abuse with one I'd never heard of. This Cuvee came in a sampler pack along with some very fine offerings, so my expectations were VERY low. To my surprise it reminded me of what cigars are supposed to be . . ENJOYABLE!

The Cuvee 151, made by Cusano, is a Brazilian Maduro wrapped stick filled with Dominican tobaccos, and it isn't generally cheap. A five pack of Robustos will run about $37 bucks. I found it to be smooth with flavors of creamy sweet coffee. No complex flavor changes, but with clean pleasant taste all the way to the nub, who cares! The burn qualities were excellent, it produced voluminous, aromatic smoke and a solid, clean ash. What more can you ask for?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This Saturday . .
Camacho at the OUTLAW!

Does Camacho make a bad cigar? NO!

Don't miss this one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adventure at the bottom of the barrel . .
Al Capone Toro

Here's a stick that may only be of interest to our Kansas City BOTL. I was scrounging around along the floor of the humidor at Red-X in Riverside last week and found a closeout deal on all their Al Capone cigars; $1.59 each. Knowing nothing about them other than they looked halfway decent for the price, I grabbed a Toro.

Turns out, Al Capone is a brand started by a German cigarillo company in 1996 and made in Esteli, Nicaragua. There was a lot of complete crap passing for cigars in the 90's as anybody could make money selling just about anything during the "boom." Predictably, the Al Capone brand still exists but only in cigarillo sizes. Their full size cigars are apparently discontinued as I can find NONE available anywhere else but Red-X in Riverside. Maybe that's good for us, maybe not. Lets see . .

Contents: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Brazil
Size: Toro 6x50
Body: Mild-Medium
Acquired From: Red-X in Riverside
Price: $1.59
Smoke Time: 1.5 hours

This is not a beautiful cigar. The wrapper is course, lumpy and veiny and the construction is mediocre at best. It almost looks like something I might have rolled (and I know NOTHING about rolling cigars)!

After a difficult time getting it lit the cigar began to produce a pleasant, sweet coco flavor along with something I later decided tasted and smelled like oatmeal. It wasn't bad, just weird. The draw was near perfect but the burn was wavy and required a couple corrections. All this turned around after the first inch or so, though. It started burning evenly and the flavors moved out of the coco-oats profile and went solidly into mild creamy, coffee with a much more cigar-like aroma. The burn was slow and even leaving a firm white/grey ash.

By the second third I was becoming even more pleased with this cigar. No complex flavor changes but no problems, either.

Beginning the last third the burn hit something awful tasting. Strong bitterness and a difficult burn went on for about three minutes. After it cooked through whatever it was (dried bug?) we were back on track again with pleasant flavors and steady, slow burn. When it reached the 1.5-inch mark, I was done with it as the flavors had gone irretrievably sour.

In all, not bad for the price, but I'd be skeptical of a similar experience with another stick. Consistency is not likely at the "bottom of the box" condition you'll find these in.

Would I smoke this cigar again? No
Would I recommend this cigar? Sure, if you seek adventure.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Alan Rubin at The Outlaw

As I've said before, I like the Outlaw Cigar Co.'s "mini-parties." You get a better chance of actually talking with the guest of honor than at the big parties. To be honest, though, I really wasn't looking forward to this one so much. I don't know, maybe it's the traditionalist in me, but North American cigar makers like Alec Bradley and Pete Johnson (Tatuaje) have not held the same sway with me as the likes of Nestor Miranda, Manuel Quesada and Jose Pepin Garcia. Maybe I'm just a "cigar racist."

Well, no more. I was really impressed with the quality and flavor of the AB Select Cabinet Reserve torpedo I had and ended up getting three more AB stogies. I guess you don't have to be from South America or Cuba to know what's good.

These photos were taken a little later in the event and really don't reflect the amazing turn-out for this mini-party! The $35-a-bottle Scotch was just as fantastic as the cigars, and we had a great time talking with friends and cigar insiders.