La Aurora 1903 Edition Gold Preferido Corojo Review

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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.

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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.

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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

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Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Nestor Miranda Connecticut Robusto Review

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I had the chance to stop by the Miami Cigar booth while at the IPCPR last year and was pleased to find some new cigars that I hadn’t tried. Since I hadn’t tried any of the new Nestor Miranda Collection, I was excited to get my hands on a few. This has had about 10 months of rest on it in my humidor and I was excited to try it out. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Vitola: Robusto, 50×4.5

Appearance & Smell
Mmmmmm, this has a very nice looking Connecticut wrapper on it. A couple veins are visible but it certainly is not a toothy wrapper. The smell on the wrapper and the foot give me a lot of sweet hay notes and a little bit of earthiness.

Smoke Preparation
I sure do love my trusty tools! I cut the cap with a flat cut using my Xikar Xi1 cutter and I lit it using a Xikar Enigma double torch lighter.

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Burn & Draw
The cigar lit very well and evenly. The draw was the slightest bit tight but I liked having the little extra pull so I didn’t mind. For the most part, this cigar burned very evenly. When it would start to burn crooked, it corrected itself. I didn’t have to touch up the cigar once.

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Strength & Body
I was really expecting this to be more of a mild cigar and it really leaned toward the mild plus to medium side. As for the body, who nelly! The sweet hay I smelled really showed up during the burn with some rich earthiness. I’m not sure if it was the hay-taste or inherent to the cigar but I also had a lot of bitterness throughout the smoke as well. That bitterness threw my pallet off a bit and I never quite recovered to be able to look for other nuances.

Final Thoughts
I’m mixed on this one. I would try it again just to see if the same taste issues happened again with the bitterness. If it happened again though, I would never buy one. The construction is flawless, it burned great. I did have to stop just over halfway through because a rain storm caught me, that’s part of why I would try it again. I would want to see if it balances out in the last half. Not the worst I have smoked but certainly not the best.

Have you smoked it? What are your thoughts?

Source: IPCPR
Brand Information: Miami Cigars

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La Flor Dominicana Factory Press 2017 Review

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Ahhhhh, the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press, a harder-to-find cigar but within a reasonable realm to find and afford. It had been about 3 years since I had smoked a Factory Press of any sort. I decided that last night was the time for me to bust into a new one. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: Toro Extra, 6.5×58

Appearance & Smell
Generally smooth appearance with a couple veins. As you probably guessed from the name, it is in a box pressed shape. It smells like rich earth, coffee, and of sweetness.

Smoke Preparation
I opened the cigar up using my Xikar Xi1 to put a flat cut on the cap. I used a Xikar Enigma double torch to toast and get an even light on the cigar.

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Burn & Draw
The burn on the cigar was pretty nice. It got slightly uneven a couple times but it corrected itself almost every time. The only time it did not correct the burn was towards the end (check the last photo). The draw was a dream! Not too tight and not too loose. I don’t normally smoke larger ring cigars but having the box press and a perfect draw made it a good experience.

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Strength & Body
This was definitely a medium-plus cigar, if you smoked it to the end it would get a bit fuller. The body provided rich earth and cocoa notes. The sweetness I had smelled at the beginning came from the cocoa. There was a hint of earthy, red spice throughout the smoke but it was never a dominant flavor for my palate, it always played in the background.

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Final Thoughts
Goodness, this is a great cigar! It’s a little pricier than a lot of other cigars but at $15-$16, I think it’s worth it for special occasions or if you just wanted to spoil yourself. Even though I don’t like larger ring gauges usually, the box press made it a comfortable smoke.  I would definitely suggest setting aside an 1.5 to 2 hours to complete it, it’s not a small cigar!

Source: Purchased Locally
Brand Information: La Flor Dominicana

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Savinelli Autograph 8 Refurb

I had the pleasure of cleaning up this pipe for a good friend of mine. He said it had been gifted to him and he wanted it in top notch shape before he added it to his rotation. So check out the before and after pictures!

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Stem
I did my usually clean up to get the oxidation off. I wet-sanded with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. I had to really be careful around the golden autograph on the stem, it can be hard to get around those tiny lines but it’s worth the patience! I scrubbed the inside clean with high proof vodka and pipe cleaners. The stem was finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax.

Bowl
Luckily the bowl didn’t have too much cake in it but I went ahead and reamed what was built up. The cake was pretty soft on this one. The inside then was cleaned with high proof vodka and q-tips to get all the carbon dust out. I decided that I wanted to do a bowl coating to protect the inside, so I applied that and let it dry. There was some slight scorching right on inside edge of the rim so I lightly sanded it off with 1200 grit. I cleaned the shank with high proof vodka and q-tips/pipe cleaners. The bowl was also finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax. Here is the finished product!

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I hope you enjoyed!

Elva Iris Style Pipe Refurb

New pipe for a new challenge! This pipe was certainly a one-of-a-kind to work on. I have never seen one carved like this. It is literally carved to look like an Iris flower. Plus, I had never heard of the Elva brand before, so that was new too. Check out the refurb process below!

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Stem
I knew that this stem would have to be patched, but to get down to a good surface, I have to clean off a couple of the oxidized surfaces. So I started by wet sanding the stem with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and then 1200 grit. The way the previous owner had smoked it had created an indent into the airway rather than a hole. I had to break out some of the indented material from the inside, which created a small hole that I would patch. I patched the stem using cyanoacrylate and activated charcoal. After a few layers, it was built up enough, then I proceed with the wet sanding of 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. I then sanitized the inside of the stem with high proof vodka and pipe cleaners. The stem was finished with a buffing of re tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax.

Bowl
This bowl was tricky! I started by reaming the inside of the bowl to remove charcoal buildup. The bowl was then sanitized and cleaned with q-tips and high proof vodka. The top of the bowl was charred pretty good, so I worked on topping the bowl with some light sandpaper. That was really tricky since the petals of the Iris stick up above the top of the bowl. One of the petals had been broken by the previous owner and glued back into place, the glue stuck out in a couple places. I decided to sand down the glue to make it a smoother patch. I then put a bowl coating on the inside of the bowl to protect it. I lightly re-stained the top of the bowl after the topping. The shank was also sanitized with q-tips and high proof vodka. The bowl was finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax (as best I could, it was really tough around those petals)! Here is the finished product!

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I hope you enjoyed the refurb! Let me know about the weird pipes you own or have worked on!

Kaywoodie Natural Refurb

This is a pipe that I had the pleasure of referring for a friend of mine! It is a beautiful Kaywoodie. Here are the “before” pics!

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Stem
When I took these pictures, I had already started to give the stem a LIGHT bleach bath to see what was going on with the vulcanite. As you can see the bottom of the stem needs a patch near the button. I lightly wet-sanded the stem with 500 grit, 1000 grit and 1200 grit. I then used steel wool to clean the drinkless spout (sorry I didn’t get a before and after of that because it was a mess!) Then I used pipe cleaners with a high proof vodka to clean the inside of the stem. The hole was patched using cyanoacrylate with activated charcoal in small amounts and layered. Then the patch was sanded like the rest of the stem. The stem was finished with a buffing of red tripoli wax and a buffing of carnauba wax.

Bowl
The bowl needed some topping so I lightly removed the black charcoal layers with sanding. I reamed the bowl. I cleaned the bowl with high proof vodka, q-tips, and pipe cleaners. After the inside was clean, I put a light bowl coating on the inside to protect the wood and help build up a cake a little faster. On the inside, I struggled a bit. The rustication was so deep that I had a hard time getting the years of grime out of the ridges.  I did the best I could by lightly scrubbing in the grooves with a wire brush while being wary of making sure I didn’t remove stain or scratch the surface. The bowl was finished with a buffing of red tripoli wax and a buffing of carnauba wax.

Finished product!

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Forgive the dog fur on the button in the last picture, that stuff gets everywhere! I hope you enjoyed it!