Sirena Lago Green Pipe Refurb

This was a fun project that I picked up in a lot purchased online. This was also my first time staining a pipe bowl green. Check out the process and finished product below!

Stem: The stem had quite a bit of oxidation and a few teeth dents. I wet sanded the stem with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit sand paper. It took off the oxidation and sooth out to tooth marks because they weren’t too deep. I then took a q-tip with high-proof vodka to the filter section of the stem. Then I took hard bristle pipe cleaners with high-proof to the rest of the inside of the stem.

Bowl: I started on the bowl by reaming the inside. I cleaned the inside of the bowl and shank with high proof vodka, q-tips, and pipe cleaners. I then tackled to ugly outside. I wet sanded with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and finished with 1200 grit. Once I got the bowl down to the bare briar, I re-stained the bowl with green Fieblings leather dye. After the stain dried, I put a bowl coating in the bowl to smooth out any imperfections and help the next smoker to get a good cake started. The bowl was finished with a buff of red rouge and a buff of carnauba wax.

Here is the finished product:

McChrystal’s Aztec Snuff Review


I was lucky enough to receive a friendly bombing/gift from a friend on a FB group I am a part of. The package had a variety of snuffs for me to try out and to see what my snuff preferences would be. Well, first up is McChrystal’s Aztec!

I had heard of McChrystal’s but had not tried any of their snuffs up to this point. I had never heard of the Aztec blend until I received this sample. It has a lighter brown color to it. My friend sent the sample in a snack bag so I can also see that it is VERY fine.

Whoa boy! In the forefront is heavy chocolate but it’s a really nice cocoa. Something that I picked up that I don’t see in a lot of other reviews is a little bit of sweet spice. There is definitely chocolate but there is a bit of cinnamon in the background. Nicotine level was about a mild to medium.

All in all, I really liked this snuff! It’s not overly sweet even though the cocoa is heavy. If I could find this for a good price, I would definitely add some to my cellar!

Have you tried the McChrystal’s Aztec snuff? What were your thoughts?

Aztec 3

AJ Fernandez Dias de Gloria Review


AJ Fernandez has really made a name for himself in the cigar industry over the last few years. He really made waves when he introduced the Oval to the world and since then, the man has been busy! Blending cigars for his own name and for a variety of other cigar makers, he is not stop on his road to success. AJ dropped the Dias de Gloria at the 2019 IPCPR. Let’s see what this cigar is all about!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto, 5.5×52

Appearance & Smell
It’s hard to tell because I forgot to turn my flash on the camera but this has a medium brown wrapper color that is almost reddish. The pre-light smell was rich earth and nutmeg.

Smoke Preparation
I used a Xikar Xi1 to put a nice flat cut into the cap and a Xikar Enigma double torch to get an even light on the end.


Burn & Draw
Wow, this cigar was VERY well rolled. The draw was not too tough at all but it had the perfect resistance. Even though this was the robusto size, it burned for an hour and 10 minutes with me steadily smoking. I didn’t have to touch up the cigar once, it burned evenly throughout the entire smoke. I knocked off my first ash out of habit but after that, I just let the ash go to see how long it got. It was very well constructed and not a flaky ash.


Strength & Body
The strength was a solid medium. I could see one of the longer vitolas getting into a medium-plus towards the end of the cigar but the robusto size was a solid medium. The body was really interesting. For the first third of the cigar there was a really rich earthy and cedary taste but it was rather boring. Once I got towards the middle of the cigar I started to enoy it much more. I picked up a little bit of red clay and some sort of sweet spice like cinnamon or nutmeg. Those flavors danced around each other going into the last third. In the last third the cedar came back into play but not nearly as strong as the first third.


Final Thoughts
I’m torn! I really didn’t enjoy the smoke until about the middle. This cigar MSRPs at about $9-$10 and I’m not sure I would pay that much to not enjoy the first half of my cigar. The second half was really good though… ugh! I think I might give this one a try again in the future to see if the first half has anything else to give me or if this cigar was just a fluke. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Source: IPCPR
Brand Information: AJ Fernandez


Graycliff Chateau Grand Cru Review


Graycliff? Who is Graycliff? Well, Graycliff is a lesser-known brand in the cigar industry. Some might say it’s a boutique brand but they have been around quite awhile. They have gained a following through multiple online venues. The only cigar brand coming out of the Bahamas, they have their own factory and resort. Let’s get into this smoke!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Costa Rican Habano
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Honduran, Costa Rican, Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Bahamas
Vitola: Uncut PG (Piccolo 4.25×46)

Appearance & Smell
This wrapper has a light milk chocolate color to it. It also displays a fair amount of toothiness to it. It’s not overly rough but it’s not a super smooth cigar either. The smell of the cigar has a lot of earthiness, light cocoa, and some wet leather.

Smoke Preparation
I used a Xikar Xi1 cutter to put a flat cut on the cap of the cigar and a Xikar Enigma double torch to evenly light the end.


Burn & Draw
The cigar lit very evenly even though it had a loose/uncut foot. The burn stayed very even throughout the smoke, I didn’t have to re-light or touch-up once during the smoke. The draw was pretty light, very easy draw. The easy draw/looseness led to a rather flaky ash. The picture above was taken after the loose foot had already fallen off. That is about the length of ash that it got to before falling off each time.


Strength & Body
The strength of this cigar really never got beyond a mild plus. The earthiness that I had smelled before lighting stayed very consistent throughout the smoke. In the second third I picked up some red clay and in the final third there was the addition of leather.


Final Thoughts
In my local store, this cigar retails for $12. Do I think it’s worth it? I’m not so sure. I enjoyed the cigar enough but for such a mild smoke with very little complexity, I don’t think it warrants the $12 price tag. I do know that it costs a little more coming out of the Bahamas but I still think it needs to be a little more competitive on pricing. If you like mild cigars with earthiness, red clay, leather, and with a hint of cocoa, then you might enjoy this cigar if you can find it at a good price.

Source: Purchased Locally
Brand Information: Graycliff Cigar Company


Nub Cappuccino (Single Roast) Review


When I first started smoking cigars, I was pointed to the flavored section. I smoked quite a few of the Tatiana cigars and Java cigars. After awhile, I switched to non-flavored cigars and I haven’t smoked many flavored recently. At the time, Nub did not have a flavored line of cigars. Within the past few years, Oliva has added flavored cigars to the Nub lineup. Today I am reviewing the Nub Cappuccino (Single roast). Let’s take a look!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Sumatra
Binder: I had difficulty finding a reputable source that says exactly what the binder is.
Filler: Again, I had trouble finding reputable sources for this information.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: 4×38 (438)

Appearance & Smell
It has a very nice medium brown wrapper. The wrapper is pretty smooth with a few visible veins. The cigar smells like coffee but it is not as strong as I thought it would be. I expected to pick up a lot more sweetness but I was pleasantly surprised to not be overwhelmed by sugar.

Smoke Preparation
I used a Xikar Xi1 to get a nice flat cut on the cap of the cigar. Pre-light draw tasted faintly like coffee and a little bit like oak. I lit the cigar with a Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn & Draw
The draw was a little bit tighter than a prefer. The cigar made me work a little harder to get good smoke. From the beginning this cigar did not burn evenly. It may be related to the tight draw but there is no way of knowing for sure. I had to touch it a few times to try and even it up but it never worked.


Strength & Body
The strength was about a mild to medium which was a pleasant surprise. Most flavored cigars tend to stick strictly in the mild realm, so it was nice to have a cigar that pushed into medium strength just a little. From the light up there was an unusual bitterness. Every now and then I would get random sweet/coffee notes but the over all taste was old/bitter.

Final Thoughts
There was some aspects of this cigar that I was happy about and some that I was not very happy about at all. I enjoyed that it was just mild and boring and the size was nice for a faster/shorter smoke. Unfortunately, it burned uneven the entire smoke, it was a tight draw, and the cigar had a consistent bitterness that never varied into other tastes. This cigar retails for about $5-$6 a piece. Even with the inexpensive price tag, I don’t think I will be giving this one a whirl again. I could only get halfway through the cigar before I had to give up, so the picture below was the last.

Source: Given as a gift


Medico Windsor Golden Grain Refurb

This was a pipe I picked up in an estate pipe lot online. It reads “Windsor Golden Grain” on the first side of the shank and it reads “Made in London England” on the second side of the shank. Check out the transformation below!


This stem had a lot of oxidation on is so I started it off with a bleach bath. The stem was then wet sanded with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. Once all the oxidation was off and the stem was smooth, I sanitized and cleaned the inside with high-proof vodka and pipe cleaners. There is a tiny bit of oxidation left around the logo on the side of the shank because I wanted to preserve the stem stamp. The final touch on the stem was to buff it with red tripoli and carnauba wax.

I started the bowl with a good topping with a rough grit sandpaper follow by 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. The bowl then got a good reaming to get out all of the char and gunk. The inside of the bowl and shank were then cleaned with q-tips and highproof vodka until all of the char/tar was removed. The inside of the bowl got a professional grade coating. To finish off the bowl it also got the buffing of red tripoli and carnauba wax. Check out the final product below!


I think it turned out pretty darn nice!Let me know your thoughts below!

Straight Grain Pipe Refurb

This is a no-name Straight Grain pipe. I sincerely believe that this pipe was a “second” from a higher company and they didn’t put their name on the pipe due to the sand pits/fills. Check out the before and after pictures below!


Nasty! I took an extra tenon picture just so the oxidation on the stem would be apparent. This stem started with a bleach bath. From there I wet sanded it with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit until all of the oxidation was removed. I then sanitized/cleaned the inside of the stem with high-proof vodka and pipe cleaners. To finish it off, it received a buffing of red tripoli then carnauba wax.

The bowl needed a little bit of topping to remove char, so I lightly topped it with 500 grit sandpaper. The inside of the bowl received a good reaming. Once the reaming was complete, I sanitized and cleaned the inside of the bowl/shank with q-tips and high-proof vodka. Once dry and completely clean, I put in a professional grade bowl coating. I dyed the sand pits to match the bowl a little bit better. The bowl was also finished with a buffing of red tripoli and carnauba wax.



I think it turned out very nice! Let me know your thoughts on the refurb. Thanks for looking!

Adsorba Bruyere Extra Pipe Refurb

Hey folks! This beauty is hitting eBay right now. Check out the before and after pics!


Oh man! Can you say “GROSS”?!That stem is nasty. I started with a bleach bath, gave it a quick rinse and then hit it with some steel wool. Right after that, I gave it a wet sanding with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. I then scrubbed the mess out of the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, q-tips, and a high-proof cheap vodka. The outside of the stem was then buffed with red tripoli and then carnauba wax.

Well, the bowl was pretty well worn, lots of char in the bowl, and lots of char on the rim. I had to sand off the entire stain. I wet sanded the outside with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. I also sanded the top of the bowl the same way. I then took a pipe reamer to the inside only to find tiny little cracks in the char. To get out all of the char dust and to sanitize, I cleaned the inside of the bowl with q-tips and high-proof vodka. The scrubbing included the shank to sanitize. Once all of the crud was removed, I then put a heavy bowl coating on the inside to make it uniform once more and smooth for a good smoke. I re-stained the outside with a red stain, then sanded with micro-mesh 1500+. AFter than sanding, I re-dyed it again but with brown. The double dyeing gives the bowl grain more depth.


Ahhhhh, that looks and feels much better! If you would like to see the pipe (if it’s still listed), you can check the link here: Adsorba Bruyere Extra Pipe

Thanks for reading!

La Aurora 1903 Edition Gold Preferido Corojo Review


As a retailer I am blessed to meet many people in the cigar industry. I love the days when a cigar rep will stop in and have a smoke with me. And no, it’s not because I get free cigars, it’s because I get to sit and talk about what’s going on in our industry over a cigar or two. One of my old reps gave me this cigar to try out the last time he stopped into town. It was a completely new cigar to me, so let’s take a look how it smoked!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: DR Cibao Valley Corojo
Binder: DR Cibao Valley
Filler: DR Cibao Valley, Brazil, Cameroon
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Robusto, 5×50

Appearance and Smell
This cigar has a very toothy wrapper, fairly smooth veins, and a beautiful medium brown complexion. This cigar also has a very classic La Aurora band, unlike some of their other cigars, they did put a foot band on this one for a little flair.

Smoke Preparation
For this cigar, I used a Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. Pre-light cold draw had some really earthy and red pepper notes. I lit the cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn and Draw
During the first inch or so of the cigar, it had a very even burn. At about the middle of the cigar, it started to get a little crooked but a quick touch-up got it back in line. Part of the burn going sideways was because I was smoking outside and a storm was rolling in, so there was wind. The draw had a tiny bit more resistance than I prefer but it was certainly smoke-able. Towards the last third, it started to burn pretty crooked. You can see it a little better in the last picture.


Strength and Body
I expected a medium but it really came off as a medium-plus. That corojo wrapper kicked up the nicotine quite a bit. The body started off with with a lot of earthy red pepper at the beginning. After the first third, the pepper did mellow out. Some notes of hay and cedar creeped into the body. The red pepper did stay throughout the smoke but I was glad it mellowed out.

Final Thoughts
This cigar packed more a punch than I expected but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a decent smoke with decent flavor. This cigar has an MSRP of $$9.50. Is it worth it for the price? It wwouldn’t be worth it to me for a robusto based on my palate and the crooked burn at the end.

Source: Representative Provided
Brand Information: La Aurora Cigars


Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro Review


Many of you have probably seen this in your local cigar shop. With a classic look, this newer addition to Oliva’s portfolio has quickly made itself a staple of many cigar smokers’ rotations. Let’s dive in and see how it smokes!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Toro, 6×50

Appearance and Smell
The band and box are very traditional looking and rather boring. The toro itself has some pretty visible veins but nothing over-the-top. It’s a little lighter than milk chocolate. The pre-light smell is a lot of hay and red clay.

Smoke Preparation
I used my trusty Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. Pre-light cold draw reinforced the hay and red clay that I had smelled. I lit the cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch.


Burn & Draw
This cigar burned pretty evenly without any touch-ups. The draw was a medium without too much resistance. The ash held together pretty well and I was able to ash only when I wanted to.


Strength and Body
This was what I would call an easy medium strength cigar. It really was right down the middle of the road with nicotine. The body wasn’t super complex. The flavors were good but there wasn’t a lot of transition. The hay and red clay stayed fairly consistent throughout the whole smoke with a little bit of white pepper coming in and out.


Final Thoughts
This was a really solid smoke. Since this cigar was right in the middle of the road in strength, it’s a good cigar for mild cigar smokers to bump up to when they want to experiment with something a little heavier. A serious cigar smoker won’t be blown away with the flavor complexity but they won’t necessarily be bored. At my local shops, this cigar has an MSRP of $6.50. At that price, this makes it a great toro to get a box of for parties or golf course time!

Source: Purchased Locally
Brand Information: Oliva Cigars