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!

Peterson Pipe Refurb

Here is the third of a series of Peterson pipes that a friend sent me to refurb. It has been a pleasure to work on these pipes for him. Check out the “before” and “after” pics and let me know what you think!

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Stem:
This stem had some oxidation and tooth marks so I wet-sanded it with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. This process removed the oxidation and tooth marks. The inside of the stem was sanitized/cleaned with high proof vodka and pipe cleaners. Inside the tenon was a little bigger so I used q-tips on that part. I then used some permanent white paint to help fill in the “P” on the side of the stem. The stem was then finished off with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax.

Bowl:
The bowl was reamed to remove all carbon build up. There was some darkening on the rim of the bowl that I sanded off. The inside of the bowl and the shank were sanitized/cleaned with high proof vodka, q-tips, and pipe cleaners. The rim did not need to be stained before buffing because the buffing restored the color. The bowl was finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax.

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Thank you for checking it out!

 

Peterson System Pipe Refurb

Hello! I refurbed this pipe for one of my friends. Please check out the “before” and “after” pics! I have included the process I went through to restore it.

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Stem: 
The stem had some oxidation and tooth marks so I wet sanded it with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. This removed the oxidation and the teeth marks. The inside was sanitized with high proof vodka and pipe cleaners. Unfortunately, the previous owner did something weird to the tenon which caused the tenon not to go all the way into the shank and was crooked. (I unfortunately didn’t get any “before” pictures.) The tenon require some sanding and a heat treatment to properly fit it into the bowl. The stem was finished with a buffing of red tripoli and carnauba wax.

Bowl:
The bowl received a reaming to remove the built up carbon on the inside. The inside of the bowl and shank were sanitized/cleaned with high proof vodka and q-tips. The rim of the bowl needed a light topping to remove burn marks and build-up. The rim then received a light staining to match it back to the rest of the bowl. The bowl was then finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba wax.

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Thank you for looking!

 

Peterson Dublin 3 Pipe Refurb

Hello again! I had the opportunity to fix up this beautiful Peterson’s Dublin 3 for a friend. Check out the “Before” and “After” pics and let me know what you think!

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Stem
To remove the oxidation on the stem I wet-sanded the stem with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. The tenon was a little too loose in the shank so I used a heat gun to to heat it up and adjust it. The inside of the stem was cleaned with high proof vodka and pipe cleaners. To finish the stem I buffed it with red tripoli and carnauba wax.

Bowl
The bowl received a light reaming to remove the carbon build-up. The bowl did not have any burn-out spots so I didn’t need to do a bowl coating. The shank and bowl were both cleaned/sanitized with high proof vodka and q-tips. The top of the bowl had to be topped because of scorching. I sanded the top of the bowl with 500 grit, 1000 grit, and 1200 grit. The top was then re-stained to match the rest of the bowl finish. The outside of the bowl was finished with a buffing of red tripoli and a buffing of carnauba.

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Thanks for looking!

Sobremesa El Americano Cigar Review

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Steve Saka is the Master Blender at Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, which is the company that puts out the Sobremesa. Does the name sound familiar? It might be because Steve Saka was the president of Drew Estate Cigars from 2005 to 2013. The man knows the cigar industry inside and out. Admittedly, I didn’t know that this cigar was from Steve Saka’s design when I first smoked it. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile:
Wrapper: La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1 Rosado
Binder: Matacapan Negro de Temporal
Filler: Variety of Nicaraguan and a bit of USA Broadleaf
Vitola: El Americano, 6×52

Appearance & Smell:
The appearance is a beautiful milk chocolate wrapper. The wrapper is very smooth with relatively small veins. The label and foot wrap are beautiful on this cigar. The smell is very complex. There is a depth of cocoa and leather.

Smoke Preparation:
I cut this cigar with my Xikar Xi1 flat cutter. I lit this cigar with my Xikar Enigma double torch to get an even light.

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Burn & Draw:
Whoa. The burn was nice and slow but the draw wasn’t too tough. It felt like a dream to pull on this cigar. This cigar burned ridiculously even. I never had to touch it up.

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Strength & Body:
I felt like this cigar stayed at a medium plus for strength. It isn’t a nicotine bomb but it surely does have a great body! The complexity was lovely! This is not a cigar that I would suggest for a beginner. The Sobremesa has a lot of complexity to unpack and I think people should have a fairly experienced pallet to be able to really enjoy this cigar. There was cocoa, leather, cream, and a hint of sweet spice that bounced in and out.

Final Thoughts:
WOW. Not knowing that this cigar was made by Steve Sara, I came into it truly blind. I was very impressed with it. This cigar is a dream cigar for me and my pallet! The complexity was lovely, the burn and draw were fantastic, and I couldn’t help but smoke it done to the very end. I didn’t even want to let it go after it got down to my fingers. This is about a $12-$13 cigar for the size I smoked and I feel like it was worth every bit of it. Let me know what you think!

Source: Sample
Brand Info: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

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Recluse Draconian Cigar Review

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The Recluse cigar line is made by Iconic cigars which is headed up by Scott Weeks. I had heard of a couple of the Recluse cigars before and did smoke the Amadeus Habano before but the Draconian was a whole new beast for me! I don’t usually smoke larger vitals but for this one, I went for it. Here is what I came up with!

Blend Profile:
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: MBC (Proprietary)
Fillers: Briziago HD, Piloto Cubano, Iconic Ligero (Proprietary), Dominican Ligero
Vitola: Sidewinder #3, 7×57

Appearance & Smell:
The wrapper has a very nice slightly dark brown appearance. It looks a fair bit lighter in the picture compared to in person. Not very veiny at all. This has a very smooth wrapper to the look and the feel. It appears to be an oval type box press and has a half chisel tip at the end. The smell is rather light. I picked up some pepper and some cocoa. Unfortunately, this cigar had a crack starting towards the end of the foot. But as I have said in previous reviews, every cigar smoker has had this happen to them. So I still smoke them anyway!

Smoke Preparation:
I cut this one with my trusty Xikar Xi1 cutter to put a flat cut on the cigar. I then lit the end with my Xikar Enigma double torch.

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Burn & Draw: 
Even though the cigar is an odd shape, the draw was very nice. The burn was slightly crooked because of the crack at first. The burn evened itself out pretty well without me having to touch it up. I don’t usually smoke larger cigars but I pleasantly surprised by this one.

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Strength & Body:
Even though this cigar touts an Ecuadorian Maduro, it really came across as a medium strength cigar to me. The body was very enjoyable. I picked up: Creaminess, cocoa, pepper, and some dark earthy tones.

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Final Thoughts:
The fact that this cigar had a fairly large crack in it that made it burn a little crooked BUT it completely corrected itself without touchups, says volumes to me! What a fantastic construction! The flavor was there, the design was there. I don’t usually smoke larger cigars because it’s almost uncomfortable to me. The half chisel tip made it very smokeable and enjoyable. Depending on where you pick it up, this cigar usually goes for around $11-$12 retail and I think it was worth it!

Source: Obtained Locally
Brand Information: Iconic Leaf/Recluse Cigars

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Emilio Grimalkin Cigar Review (2018 Release)

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Grimalkin. Interesting name. Alright, let’s roll with it. I hadn’t heard of the prior release of the Grimalkin, so this cigar was completely new to me. During my research I found out that it had been released before over 6 years ago. Apparently, rumor has it that the My Father Factory was making the original release and that it was a Nicaraguan puro. This time, James Brown and the crew at Fabrica Oveja Negra are making this new release but it is a Nicaraguan puro again. Here are my thoughts!

Blend Profile:
All I know at this point is that it is a Nicaraguan puro!
Vitola: Toro, 6×50

Appearance & Smell:
It has a fairly veiny wrapper. It feels well rolled and has a rich medium brown wrapper. The smell has deep earth, red clay, and a bit of pepper.

Smoke Preparation:
I used a Xi1 cutter to put a flat cut on the cigar. Then I used a Xikar Enigma double torch lighter to evenly light it.

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Burn & Draw:
This cigar has a fantastic draw! It was a perfect medium, not too tight and not too loose. The cigar burned evenly throughout most of it. I was smoking outside so I ended up having to touch up the end once or twice. Overall, I was very pleased with the burn and the draw.

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Strength & Body:
The strength of this cigar was very much a medium-plus without a lot of fluctuation. The body did have a fair amount of complexity to it. For the first third I really got a lot of bitterness but it really smoothed out in the middle. It was VERY earthy, it really had some teeth to it though.

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Final Thoughts:
This was a sample given to me so I don’t think it had a lot of rest. I would like to see what a month or two in a humidor would do to this blend. I enjoyed the earthiness and the depth of the blend. I think there is a lot more in this cigar that I just couldn’t pull out of it yet. I certainly would smoke one again and I look forward to it! Retail cost will be $9-$10 and it will come in a robusto and toro size.

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