Thursday, March 31, 2011

E.P. Carrillo Elencos: The Continuation of a Masterpiece

As of this moment my favorite cigar is the EPC Elencos. My favorite cigar changes from week to week and sometimes from day to day. I've diagnosed myself as a streak smoker. I like variety but often there are only a handful of cigars that scratch that "itch". At times I have smoked only one cigar line for days straight. Currently the Elencos by Ernesto Perez Carrillo is that cigar. I can't get enough of that taste.

The Elencos is very unique; there is no cigar in the industry that is like it. It is essentially the 2010 Limited Edicion on a regular release. I loved the 2010, and I was slightly concerned when I heard it was going to be a regular run cigar that it would lose something in the transition. The regular production does not disappoint.

The E.P. Carrillo Elencos has this wonderful sweet gram cracker quality. It is full bodied smoke with lots of complexity and some subtle nuances that present themselves at various points of the smoke. Woodsy, nutty, cherry, and wine notes are all present at various stages of the cigar along with that amazing, ever present gram cracker flavor. There is a nice kick when the cigar is retro-nasally exhaled. The EPC Elencos is a bold, flavorful cigar that keeps me smoking them back to back. Get a box today before I smoke them all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Father Special Cigar

Attending a Corona Cigar Co. event will often get you a chance at exclusive cigars. During the Drew Estate event there were JD4's that could be procured. At this weekend’s Don Pepin event there was an opportunity to get a hold of the My Father Special, a cigar only available at Pepin events. I was fortunate enough to receive one and thought I would share it on the Corona Cigar blog. The first thing I was told when I was handed the cigar was that it smokes like the old Centurion blend. And it does, which I was very happy to find out. The Centurion was an amazing blend that smoked great out of the box, but when aged a little bit, oh man, it was amazing. The My Father Special did not disappoint, and upon finishing left me begging the rep for just one more sample. He kindly obliged. The cigar is full bodied, with a medium to full strength. There is loads of spice and dry roast coffee on the palate with a long finish that starts of dry but turns creamy and slightly sweet. It’s almost like the flavor grows from the back of the tongue to the sides and then tingles at the tip. The My Father Special is just that, a very special cigar. Try and get out to the next Pepin event to get one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Industry Star @ Corona Sand Lake


So Don Pepin Garcia was at the Sand Lake store today for an event. If you don’t know who he is, there is a possibility he probably makes one of your favorite cigars. Not only does he blend and manufacture cigars under his own name, he also blended and manufactured Tatuaje, Cabaiguan, La Aroma de Cuba, 601, Murcielago and that’s to just name a few.

He and I walked through the cigar where we conversed about the industry in general. I asked him many questions about cigars, but some that really stood out where his thoughts on the industry. He said it is a challenge to create a unique blend that no one else has done before. He says he is constantly trying new hybrids of tobacco to create the next best cigar. His greatest success so far was the wrapper used on both vitolas of the My Father cigar. The original My Father utilizes an Ecuadorian Habano-Rosado hybrid and the My Father Le Bijou incorporates a wrapper called Pello de Oro (This wrapper is extremely difficult to grow because it is prone to many agricultural diseases).

I was surprised when Pepin started to ask me about other company’s cigars and how well they were doing. We stopped in front of the NUB cigars and he told me that it is very innovative. He is very surprised by the response of the NUB cigar sizes and they can’t be very cost effective because the amount of tobacco that they cram into each cigar. He also told me that walking through the store that you would be surprised to find out that many cigars are tied to each other; Tobacco growers might have an exceptionally good harvest will sell the same wrapper to 2 different manufactures but from 2 different primings.

In the short amount of time Don Pepin Garcia has been in the industry, he has become one of its shining stars. He has been leading the way in innovative cigars constantly scoring high marks in cigar publications. Not only that, he has been teaching his son, Jaime Garcia, the tricks of the trade and he too will be one of the industry greats. Check back soon as I’m going to write up the cigar I rolled during the Pepin event!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

EPC Connecticut: Ernesto Perez Carrillo Does it Again


It is always an exciting day for me when Corona Cigar Co. gets in a shipment of new cigars. It's like Christmas. Today we received two new cigars from EP Carrillo, the EP Carrillo Connecticut and the EP Carrillo Elencos. I decided to fire up the lighter of the two new cigars.

Ernesto has the golden touch right now. He is, in my opinion, producing some of the best cigars in the industry. The EPC Connecticut is just another addition to his already amazing line up.

The cigar features an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut wrapper and smokes like the core line only creamier. And I love the core line. This is a great cigar for the first of day smoke, as I tend to smoke very full-bodied. The cigar is medium in body, mellow in strength and full of flavor. The EPC Connecticut is a fantastic cigar and one I am happy to add to my smoking rotation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Viaje Skull & Bones Limited Edition

So if you haven’t heard yet, Corona Cigar Co. was bombed by our new friends at Viaje cigars. Andre Farkas, Owner of Viaje Cigars, has given us the opportunity to be annihilated. We received an extremely limited quantity of the newest limited edition Skull & Bones (MOAB and WMD). These little sticks of dynamite are made with some of the strongest Nicaraguan tobacco available. Strong enough to peel the paint off a wall but the Skull & Bones is very flavorful with slight nuances of pepper and espresso bean. So if you’re in the mood for a face melting, Skull & Bones delivers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduro


Corona Cigar Co. will be hosting Jose Pepin Garcia this weekend and I decided to pick up an old favorite that I had forgotten about, the Don Pepin Series JJ. I went over to the shelf to pick one out and noticed that the maduros were looking especially oily and delicious. I made my selection. It was the oiliest, stinkiest cigar of the bunch. Pre-light draw was fantastic and lighting it up, first puff, I knew this cigar was going to be amazing.

The Don Pepin Series JJ Maduro was full-bodied, medium to full in strength, and amazing on every puff. The smoke is thick and earthy and has sweetness on the tongue and spiciness through the nose, a wonderful combination in a maduro cigar. Flavors of coffee and cocoa abound with nice earthiness. The Series JJ has, like most maduros, those deep, rich earth tones. A very well made, excellent cigar. Come by the event on Saturday March 26th from 12-8 and meet Don Pepin himself or if you are an online customer pick up a box; these are not to be missed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Viaje White Label Project Candela

Corona Cigar Co. was lucky enough to get a shipment of the very rare Viaje White Label Project. While these are mostly gone I was fortunate enough to get a hold of one before they disappeared entirely. (By the way, Corona should be getting a lot of the limited releases, fingers crossed, so make sure to check with us prior to these releases.)

The Viaje WLP starts out very vegetal but quickly the "green" taste fades to the background as the cigar becomes very creamy. This makes a very interesting, very good contrast. Think pistachio ice-cream. The cigar is medium bodied and stay that way throughout. The cigar is slightly sweet and I want to say I detect some coffee bean hints toward the half way point. It has a very complex flavor; a very enjoyable cigar.

Green with envy...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

So we drink green beer, Guinness or fine Irish Whiskey like Jameson why not enjoy a Candela "green" cigar and avoid an uncomfortable pinch today. So I decided to light up one of our newest additions to Corona Cigar Co., The Illusione 888 Candela.

Dion Giolito, Owner of Illusione Cigars, wanted to revitalize the image of Candela cigars. He created 3 limited editions cigars featuring the paisley green leaf: hl, 88, and 888. The cigar brings back memories of my childhood when my grandfather would smoke cigars outside on the back porch. So not only is this paying homage to St. Patrick's Day but paying my respects to my grandfather and his love for a fine cigar.

The Illusione 888 Candela has an earthy profile of flavor with slight nuances of grass and pepper. Flavors are consistent throughout the cigar, yet the cigar spikes in intensity about the midway point. Sometimes a slight creamy note becomes ever present while smoking but it doesn't stay around for long. The flavors of a Candela are a welcomed change from the norm of cigars in the present day. The other Candela I enjoy is our own Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Candela which brings more pepper to the smoke and less grassy notes with a slightly sweetened cap.

Feel free to give us a call or visit our website, www.coronacigar.com, and get your hands on some St. Patrick's Day smokes. Keep posted by checking our blog for what's up in smoke at Corona or follow me on twitter @CoronaCigarAlex.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Avo 85th Anniversary Limited Edition 2011


One of the perks of working in a cigar store is getting to smoke new cigars before they are released, even if it is only a couple days before the release date. I have been lucky enough to procure a Avo 85th Anniversary Limited Edition 2011 and thought I would share the experience.

Avo 85th Anniversary LE 11 is blended using a combination of San Vincete and Piloto Dominican tobacco held together by a Peruvian binder and finished off with a Sun Grown Dominican wrapper. This blend gives the cigar a medium to full body with a medium strength. The Diadema shape really highlights the taste of the wrapper from the beginning. The Avo LE 2011 is rich and leathery; it coats the palate with a long finish tasting of coffee and cream. It is a very elegant and complex cigar. Pre-orders are currently available at http://www.coronacigar.com/.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Camacho Monarca Candela: The Hulk

Christian Eiroa of Camacho made Corojo what it is today in the industry. He first created the cigar, and then the buzz over original seed Corojo. He also was the first to make a full bodied Candela cigar using his Corojo leaf. I nicknamed the cigar "The Hulk" because it was green and it was strong. The name caught around the shop and I have enjoyed smoking The Hulk over the years. With St. Patrick's Day coming up I have been going green with my cigars and thought I would blog the experience and The Hulk demands to be represented.

The Hulk starts out full; it hits the palate with spice and a slight sweetness. Great combination. The smoke is thick and mellow in the mouth but full and spicy through the nose. The cigar has a light creamy finish with the distinctive leafy notes of a candela cigar. At various points throughout the cigar I picked up subtle notes of honey. This is a very good candela cigar, one I highly recommend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Corona Nicaraguan 10th Anniversary Candela Cigar

In my previous blog I wrote a brief history/education on candela in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. I promised to follow up with a series of candela cigar semi-reviews starting with our own Corona Cigar Co. 10th Anniversary Candela. Now my selection has a small amount of bias to it, but let me explain.

I have never really been a candela smoker and the cigar that changed my mind was the very cigar that Jeff had created as our house blend candela. See, I was biased against this cigar. I don't like candelas right? So when Jeff handed me the cigar and said, "Try this." I did my best to give it a fair shake. And it was good, really good. If I was Darth Vader I would have proclaimed, "Impressive!" in a very deep voice. Even though I am not Darth Vader I believe impressive is exactly what I exclaimed.

The very first impression of the Corona 10th Anniversary Candela is the smoke is clean and crisp. The cap is lightly sweetened which creates a wonderful contrast at the beginning of the smoke. The smoke is mellow in the mouth and medium through the nose. The taste is wonderful, like al-dente green beans and Japanese seaweed salad. This is a fantastic Candela Cigar and one I smoke on a regular basis. This month and this month alone we are offering a special on our house blend Corona 10th Anniversary Candela Cigars (<---Click here to check it out).

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day: or What is Candela? for 500 Alex


St. Patrick’s Day falls on Thursday the 17th this year and the tradition calls for wearing green. The thought popped in my head: Why not smoke green? And that's exactly what I am doing, a few days early, but I have big plans for St. Patrick's Day. This blog will be the research into which Candela cigars I will be smoking on St. Patty's.

Candela cigars were once the most popular cigar in the United States. They were so popular that the wrapper was dubbed American Market Selection (AMS). They fell out of favor in the 1970's but they seem to be making a resurgence with the popularity of Illusion's candela line, the small run Viaje WLP Candela, and the first full-bodied Candela, the Camacho Corojo Monarca Candela (Which I have nicknamed The Hulk).

Normally tobacco is cured over a 50 day period. The leaves loose the green color and slowly turn brown. Candela leaf retains its green color because the tobacco is flash cured using heaters thereby retaining the chlorophyll content. This tobacco is often mild and unique if flavor.

Over the next couple days I'll smoke and post various candelas Corona Cigar Co. has to offer. Tonight (in the next few hours) I'll start with our very own, very delicious, Corona Nicaraguan 10th Anniversary Candela.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Xikar Ash Can

So this past week I headed down to South Florida to visit friends and family. The one thing that helps me get through driving 3 hours on the turnpike is smoking a cigar. I love smoking in my car and if I have at least an hour drive you know for sure I will spark up a cigar and enjoy the ride. The only issues that came up happened if I had to put the cigar down to do something. I was actually using a Zino Platinum Scepter Can to ash into.

So in our latest Xikar order, we received a new product that we were chosen as a test market for, The Xikar Ash Can. It's about as big as a Campbell's soup can with a screw down lid. Inside there is a thick wire molded into a circle on one end and the other creating a spring each able to hold up to 56 ring gauge in place at different smoking lengths. At the bottom of the can there is a grate for ash to fall through.

Sits perfectly in a cup holder and even tested it my friend's car when we drove from Boca Raton to Coral Gables. No muss no fuss, when your done smoking drop the cigar butt into the can and screw down the lid.The seal is tight keeping the old musty cigar smell from spreading throughout the car. Doesn't feel cheap it and I'm surprised by the results. This is a great buy for the Cigar Smoking Road Warrior, so head on over to www.coronacigar.com or call us to get your hands on the Xikar Ash Can.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Julius Caeser

Julius Caeser was one of the cigars that really caught my attention at IPCPR 2010. Julius Caeser was initially released only to Diamond crown lounges. I was very excited as Corona Cigar Co. Downtown is a Diamond Crown Lounge and after having smoked a couple at IPCPR I was eagerly anticipating my next Julius Caeser encounter.

The cigar is all Dominican, except for its chocolate brown, velvety Ecuadorian Havana seed Wrapper. This cigar just looks amazing, and it tastes even better. The tobaccos used for Julius Caeser have been aged for 5 years giving the cigar a very mellow strength.

Now, I am a full-bodied cigar smoker for the most part and when I took my first puff of a Julius Caeser I thought, "Oh no, this cigar is going to be boring." And then, 2nd puff in, BAM, I got hit in the mouth with this flavor that kept growing and growing with each puff. The smoke is thick but silky, slightly sweet: pure flavor. The strength of the cigar also builds on every puff, moving from mild to medium. It is truly an ever changing experience which is what I love so much about this cigar. As Ferris Bueller once said, "It is so choice, if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Pick Julius Caeser up at your local Corona Cigar Co. store or online at www.CoronaCigar.com.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Avo Dinner


March is one of my favorite months of the year. It finally becomes warm in Florida, or the warm that I like. The weather is just fantastic here in March. March is also the birthday of two of my favorite people, my brother and Avo Uvezian.

I also look forward to smoking the latest Limited Edition cigar that Avo releases for his birthday. I loved the Avo LE 10 and have very high hopes for this year's birthday cigar, The Avo Limited Edition 2011 85th Anniversary. This year's blend uses a combination of San Vincete and Piloto Dominican filler with a Peruvian binder rolled in a Sungrown Dominican wrapper.
Boxes are avaiable for pre-order at Coronacigar.com. You can also buy tickets for the Avo Dinner on march 19th in any of our three Corona Cigar Co. stores or online at Coronacigar.com. Regular dinner ticket includes Ruth Chris' meal, Macallan 12yr single malt whisky, gift bag of with cigars including 1 Avo LE 2011 85th Anniversary, and a chance to spend the evening with one of the greatest men in the cigar industry.
The real value is the VIP dinner ticket. The VIP ticket includes everything the regular ticket provides in addition to a signed box of Avo LE 2011 85th Anniversary, a take home 375ml bottle of Macallan 12 year single malt whisky, and a seat at the "big boys" table with Avo Uvazien himself. Tickets are limited, so reserve them today and come celebrate Avo's birthday with us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Confession


I used to be a snob when it came to cutting a cigar. It was a straight cut or nothing, although in a pinch I would deign to use another method. However, Xikar's newest V-cutter, the VX Metal V-Cut, has fundamentally changed me. It has shown me the error in my ways.

The innovative "reverse" V-cut does not tear the cigar cap like traditional V-cutters do as soon as they become the slightest bit dull. The cut is clean and smooth and does just what a V-cutter should do, give you the best of both a straight cut and a punch. The V-cut has the same open surface area of a straight cut while keeping more of the cap intact as a punch would.

And now for the shameless plug: If you like V-cutting at all you have to get this cutter. Heck, even if you don't like V-cutting, you have to give the Xikar VX V-Cutter a try. It just might change your mind as it has mine. Buy one today at www.coronacigar.com