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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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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