Tuesday, June 25, 2013

H. Upmann Legacy

Today, we're looking at a cigar brand that readily comes to the lips of those who have smoked cigars for awhile. H. Upmann, has been around since 1844. It is one of the oldest cigar brands on the market; started by brothers August and Hermann, in Havana Cuba, the brand has enjoyed wild success. The cigar we are looking at is the H. Upmann Legacy, billed as the best cigar of the brand, so far. And, it just might be. Lets take a look.....


The fillers on this cigar are a mixture of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The binder comes from the mountains of  Nicaragua. A dark Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador encases all the delectable tobaccos. The wrapper has a slight marble look and is one of the best looking Sumatra wrappers, I have seen. The construction is solid with a nice draw and the cigar is topped off with a triple cap.


A sweet hay aroma is heavy and it took me back to my boyhood, long hot summer days putting hay up in the barn. The aroma is undeniable and pleasant to the senses. My initial first few puffs brought about dark coffee bean and spices. A leather aftertaste, was left on my palette with notes of wood right along side it. At this point, a white flaky ash has began to form and I'm getting large volumes of blueish gray smoke.


After the first inch and a half, the flavor profile picks up dramatically. I began tasting an apple flavor that intermingled with nuts and spices. The flavors gel nicely and my interest was piqued at what else I would find.  The leather aftertaste still remains and is only to be outdone by the effervescent aromatic smoke pouring out of the cigar. The burn has remained intact and even.


At the halfway point, the spice tones are at the forefront with a sweetness in the background. I'm still getting hints of coffee and a dry pepper tone in the back. The back half, is just as bold as the first half. Notes of cream pop up and the spice notes have remained throughout the entire smoke. Toasted almonds come alive in the final stages and add a pleasant flavor to the cigar.


A boldly flavored cigar that has a wheel house of flavors to offer. The cigar is complex and if you're a full-bodied cigar fan, it will be a cigar you will revisit again and again. I'm giving it an A+ and will definitely be recommending this cigar to all my fellow BOTL.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Partagas Cigars- Benji Master

Among the most recognizable and famous brands in the world, Partagas Cigars, is a must have cigar in any humidor. With a history going back 160 years, it's safe to say they know a thing or two about cigars. Originally produced and founded in Cuba in 1845, Jamie Partagas sailed from Spain to Cuba to start his venture. Many years later, one of the owners, Ramon Cifuentes fled the little island of Cuba after Fidel Castros' takeover. After seventeen long years, Ramon succeeded in recreating his brand again, but now in the Dominican Republic.

Let’s review one of Partagas’ latest creations.

Benji Master-6x54

You'll get a distinct coffee taste off the first few puffs. I also noticed a nutty tone in the background. The Cameroon wrapper is in the flawless category. It has a slight oily finish and has only a few veins showing. They are minimal and do not detract from the cigar.

The first third is marked with a mouth watering line-up of flavors. Dried apricots, cream, and spices make up the main flavor profile. However, you can find notes of pepper and almonds lurking in the background. The draw has been superb. The smoke is releasing a fantastic dry spice aroma that is pleasant and alluring to the senses.

In the second third, expect more of the same. The cigar has been remarkably consistent. You may find more notes in the nutmeg or cinnamon category. They add a bit to the cigar and are quite enjoyable. The burn has been spot on. It's actually been so good that I just noticed that I have had no problem with it. The burn line is crisp and dead even.

In the final third, the spices pick up and I noticed hints of chocolate. A richer peppery tone also picks up and kicks things up a notch. Notes of cream remain and I tasted a bit of earth on the palette. Everything about this cigar screams consistency and excellent flavor profile. From start to finish, this has been one of the most complete cigars that I have smoked in a while. The construction is fantastic. The cigar gives slightly to your fingers and as I mentioned, the draw is second to none.

I would recommend this cigar without even hesitating. I personally plan on buying a box of these to have in my humidor. And no, I don’t plan on sharing them. They're that good!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Leccia Tobacco - Black & White

Today, we are looking at the two new cigar lines from Sam Leccia: The Black and The White. In his long awaited return to the cigar industry, Sam wasted no time giving us two spectacular blends. I caught up with Sam last week and was able to ask a few questions. In asking him about The Black and The White he was pretty clear, he wanted to create two very different cigars. I would have to say that he succeeded most admirably. Here are a few of my thoughts on the blends.

The Black-
A superb Habano wrapper adorns this quality cigar. The Black has a semi-oily finish to it with slight veining. Manufactured in the Dominican, it has a Nicaraguan Rosado binder and a filler made of Dominican and Nicaraguan ligeros, Brazilian viso, and a unique tobacco called Dark Fire. While the technique is not all that well known to me, I do know that the tobacco used for the Dark Fire is fire cured, which gives it a smoked whiskey aroma.

When you light up The Black, it has a smooth draw giving off glimpses of fruit, nuts, and slight hay tones. I found a hint of mint and the whiskey aroma was quite evident; I even tasted it on the palette. Halfway through, the flavors have been pretty consistent intermingling back and forth. The cigar, so far, is a medium body and has an easy smooth draw requiring minimal amounts of effort.

The final half of the cigar has spices, green pepper, coffee, hints of cinnamon, and an ever so light mint aftertaste. This is a cigar that is sure to please cigar smokers of all types. With well balanced smooth consistent flavors and pleasant spice and whiskey aromas that even the most discrimination cigar connoisseur would enjoy.

The White-
A simple band encases the African Sun Grown wrapper. It has a dark and rich looking wrapper with a semi-matte finish to it. The rest of the cigar is made up of a binder from Ecuador and a filler of Nicaraguan Ligero with Seco leaves from Pennsylvania. A nice touch for Sam as he is from Pittsburgh.

A bold peppery start that lasts for a few seconds gives way to a pleasant walnut and cashew tone. About an inch of the way in, the peppery tones start to return. I caught a glimpse of fruit that reminded me of apricots, but quickly disappeared. A full third of the way in, bold spicy tones with notes of light coffee emerge leaving a pleasant aftertaste on the palette.

Entering the halfway mark, earthy notes, spices, and a richer coffee tone come front and center. The tone remains consistent throughout the remainder of the smoke. The draw is very good and the burn was consistent, never having to retouch. This cigar is classified as a full bodied cigar, but I would classify it more of a medium body that borders full body. Well balanced and a great smoke, to say the least. I was able to keep an ash on it all the way to the band, with no problem. If you're looking for a quality cigar that won't break the bank, then this is a must have cigar. You'll enjoy the loads of flavor that offers a peppery kick on the back half of the cigar.

If you have had any doubts about trying these cigars, rest assured, they won't disappoint. Wrapping things up, I thought you would like to hear a little more about the blends from Sam himself. Here are some excerpts my from interview.

How does it finally feel to be back in the cigar industry? I can't even explain the excitement I feel. It is a dream come true. I couldn't be happier right now. I have been blown away by the tremendous amount of support. I LOVE being back!

Can you tell us more about the two lines you just released? I wanted to introduce two cigars that would be very different from each other. I thought the best way to achieve that was to use two different factories in two different countries. Both blends are very unique, not only did I blend these cigars, but I sourced the tobacco for them as well. The white is made in Nicaragua and uses an African Sungrown wrapper with a Habano binder. The filler consists of full flavor Ligeros from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Also, I have added some Pennsylvania Seco to add a bit of sweetness to the blend. PA is my home state and has a very rich tobacco history. The cigar has a roasted cashew flavor that is quite complex and flavorful. The cigar definitely keeps you interested from the moment you light up.

The Black is made in the Dominican Republic. Ironically, it has more Nicaraguan tobacco than the White. The wrapper is a very high grade Habano from Ecuador. The binder is a Nicaraguan Rosado, which adds some black pepper flavor. The filler consists of Ligeros from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. I have some Brazilian Mata Fina in the filler to round out the blend, as well as a tobacco called "Dark Fire" which is made in Kentucky and Tennessee, and is fire cured instead of air cured. The fire curing process is one of the original ways to dry and cure tobacco by the Native Americans. It's certainly nothing new, but hasn't yet been introduced to premium cigars. It's a gorgeous leaf that is wrapper grade. It adds a smoky aroma and ties the blend together.

What drives your passion for cigars? That's simple. It's the people that enjoy them. They drive me everyday and keep me going.

Favorite smoking memory? Probably getting caught smoking cigars with my buddies when we were in high school. We were blowing smoke on the glass door for some strange reason, and my Dad was behind us the whole time. He couldn't even yell at me, because he was laughing at how he caught us. It's a funny memory that me and my buddies often bring up.

Favorite cigar and why? I certainly enjoy the blends I created in The Black and The White. They hit my palate perfectly. I can't say that I have a favorite cigar, but cigars always taste better around good friends.

Who do you most admire in the cigar industry: That's a tough one. I really admire many of the manufacturers and brand owners. I have huge respect for the men and women who keep this industry exciting and moving forward. I could give you a list, and it would be long and I would feel bad if I left anyone out. There are good people in the cigar industry and I am certainly excited and inspired by a lot of them.

Favorite person? That would have to be my wife Sasha. I have been married for over 18 years and no one person has impacted my life more than her. She has given me three awesome kids, and has been at my side through thick and thin. I admire her strength and beauty.

Favorite way to relax when you have down time? I do lots to relax. That's the best part of life. I relax lots of ways. I enjoy being with my kids, I hang out with my buddies, and I like to bass fish and ride my motorcycle. I never have difficulty relaxing.

Any thoughts on where the cigar industry is headed? I'm concerned on one hand with the laws, regulations, and taxes that affect this industry. On the other hand, I am excited to see where retailers are taking their businesses and where manufacturers and brand owners are raising the bar. There has never been a better time to be a cigar smoker.

Anything new on the manufacturing side outside of the two lines you are debuting? Always. I am working on a fun project that I am very excited about. It's too new to give out any details, but it's seriously the most fun project that I have worked on. You'll have to wait and see.

In addition to Sam’s interview, I was informed that Sam will be at Corona Cigar Company later this summer, on August 16th and 17th. Sam really enjoys interacting with cigar enthusiasts, so do don’t miss out on this opportunity to speak to the man himself!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Cain Straight Ligero Cigars

The blenders at Studio Tobac are the masters of the Straight Ligero cigar, producing an entire line in four distinctive blends. They require an exceptional understanding of the special tobacco leaf that goes into each one they produce. Ligero is the type of leaf that comes from the top of each tobacco plant grown. Its direct exposure to the sun darkens and thickens each leaf. Smaller than the leaves lower on the plant, it also enjoys a concentration of nutrients and flavors. The region in which this type of plant is grown plays a major role in its development.

This week we are going to look at four distinct Ligero cigars produced by Studio Tobac: Cain Daytona, Cain Habano, Cain F, and Cain Maduro.

Cain Daytona

Released back in 2011, the Cain Daytona uses all Nicaraguan tobaccos. The wrapper is a habano, and for the filler they use a Jalapa Valley Ligero. If you are looking for an alternative to the original Cain, which is a strong, full-bodied cigar, the Daytona just might be what you’re looking for. While not as aggressive as the Cain F, it does have a nice verity of flavors and the profile is somewhat complex. The cigar is medium-bodied and smooth to smoke. Now that we have a brief overview, lets fire one up and take a look at the Daytona in depth.

Examining the cigar, it has a slight musky and wet grass aroma to it. It’s actually a nice aroma and is pleasant to the nose. The bright orange band at the edge of the foot gives a little pop to the otherwise naked cigar. The habano wrapper is slightly oily and offers some veining, but nothing out of the ordinary. The cigar feels firm with only a slight give to the fingers.

Once you light up you will get a pungent earth and red pepper tone. It’s not overpowering, and sits well on the palette. I was surprised with the amount of thick smoke from the cigar. I'm smoking the 6x46 which, as you know, is not an overly large cigar. Hints of caramel and nuts become noticeable while the draw remains smooth and crisp.

At the halfway point, earthy barnyard notes start intermingling with an arousing spice overtone. The burn is suburb and the flavor profile has been enticing and amiable. I have to admit I've always been a fan of Nicaraguan cigars and this has been no exception. The aromatic smoke is baronial, offering grand wisps of smoke that fill the air and are pleasant to the nose. Heading into the final stretch, let’s round third and head home!

At the back half, the aforementioned earth and spice become stronger. A hint of pepper peeks its head out, offering a slight dryness on the palette. Some floral notes are also found, with light espresso tones.
The Daytona has been a real winner for me. The flavors are agreeable, leaving you wishing you had another Daytona in the humidor waiting for you to smoke it. The burn and draw are on par with other comparable premium cigars. I give this cigar two thumbs up!

Cain Habano

When I pulled this cigar out of the cellophane, I was quite surprised at the quality of the wrapper. A gorgeous chocolate-brown Nicaraguan habano. It has invisible seams and only slight veins showing. It radiates a semi-oily sheen and the cigar is topped off with a triple cap. The construction seems to be top notch and the binder, filler and wrapper are all Nicaraguan.

Examining the cigar a little more closely, I detected an aroma of baking spices, cocoa and leather. The aroma intrigues me to quit messing around and light up, so I do. An earthy cocoa profile forms and is backed up with a coffee undertone. The draw is a little tight, but pleasant. The cigar has a nice, firm feel to it. You can tell the tobacco is nicely rolled throughout.

Delving further into the cigar, an alluring apricot tone forms. It molds well with the cocoa and earthy profile up to this point. The apricot tone stays in the background and coffee bean and black pepper begin to form on the palette. The cigar to this point has performed admirably. A smooth, clean-smoking cigar with a burn that is appealing and spot on.
The second third is marked with an increase in the peppery profile. Also, an enjoyable nuttiness has started to culminate on my palette, leaving a nice aftertaste. An aromatic smoke that offers a cocoa and spice aroma is tantalizing. As I head into the final third, I couldn’t be happier with this smoke. It has hit on all the major points. The cigar has been consistent and reliable. During the last ten minutes of the smoke, the baking spices noted earlier pick up along with the coffee and cocoa tones. I would highly recommend this full-bodied Nicaraguan puro, and I've classified it as a must-smoke.


Cain F

What can be said that probably hasn’t already been said about the Cain F? It’s a beautiful-looking cigar, wrapped in a Nicaraguan habano wrapper that is oily and slightly darker than the Cain Habano Straight Ligero cigar I just reviewed. My first draw on the cigar sees an onset of dark, earthy notes with a rich, peppery backbone. A tinge of fruit is found but fades quickly out of sight. A citrus aftertaste is left offering something I wasn’t expecting and is a new find for me on this particular cigar.

The first third is marked with a cedar tone and notes of wood. The cigar remains strong and full-bodied but isn’t to the point of being overpowering. Like all the Cain cigar lines, the cigar is firm with no soft spots. The draw is somewhat tight and the burn thus far is good. A gray ash about two inches long has formed and remains intact and formidable.

Working my way into the second third of the smoke, stronger tones of pepper emerge. Fruity notes fade in and out of the background and never really culminate into anything substantial. I begin getting a strong coffee flavor that intermingles with dark chocolate. The profile has definitely picked up on the second third, giving off more complex flavors and a stronger body tone to the cigar.

The final third—you’d better fasten your seat belt. For all you full-bodied cigar lovers, this is a treat. All the aforementioned flavors and tones pick up drastically. The earth, pepper and spice remain fully entrenched with definite increases in their strength. Even with the strong finish, the cigar is refined and smooth to smoke. The burn remains cool and even. A dry spice aftertaste is noted and is followed up with some green pepper tones. I personally love this cigar, and it works well as an after-dinner cigar.


Cain Maduro

One of the first things you will notice about this cigar is the dark Mexican maduro wrapper. The beautiful oil finish on it glistens in even the lowest of light conditions. The cigar is solid, with no give to it. As is with all the Cain lines I’ve reviewed for this piece, the cigar has a feel of being packed solid with tobacco. The draw is spot on, offering just enough give to keep you working without the feel of being overworked.

A distinct aroma of raisins and heavy earth permeates the air surrounding the cigar on my pre-light inspection. Cutting the cap and placing the cigar in my mouth, I found a dark chocolate and heavy spice aftertaste. My first draw was a combination of leather, chocolate and sweetness. That was quickly followed up with a spicy aftertaste and aroma. Ten minutes into the smoke and I already have a one-inch ash on the foot that is white with splotches of black.

The first third is marked with definite hints of sweetness to the cigar. I am surprised and pleased. The overtone, though, is that of earth, wood and pepper in the flavor profile department. As you get near the end of the first third, a hardy pepper head comes front and center. While it doesn’t overpower you, it is strong.

Examining the second third, bold clouds of smoke bellow forth, offering aromatic sweetness with a cooking spice smell to it. The cigar remains smooth with tones of hazelnut in the background. The final third is just as bold, with the same sweetness remaining throughout. Charred wood, cedar, hints of mushroom and dry peppercorn also are found. I can’t say enough good things about this maduro. A fantastic smoke, great burn and complex profile make for a winning combination.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Corona Cigars of the Month Club

Corona Cigars of the Month Club

If you've ever joined any of the other barrage of cigar clubs who offer monthly subscriptions and found yourself disappointed with the quality of cigars, you're not alone. Not to mention, the hefty price attached to the disappointment. Corona Cigar has one simple guiding rule that guides the club, offer the best possible price and give the highest quality cigars. Today, we are looking at the selection you would receive for the month of June.


Casa Torano
What started as a house brand for the Torano family, the Casa Torano was soon deemed too good to be kept as such. Originally, it was only made for rolling parties and special occasions, but it was put into production and has become a fan favorite. They used a smooth oily Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that is superb in quality. It is adorned with a gold, burgundy, and green cigar band that is classy and refined. After toasting the end of the cigar, you will notice a slight peppery foot. It quickly gives way and is replaced with a subtle walnut tone. Notes of cream intermingle with a smooth toasty draw.

At the first third mark, I picked up tones of hazelnut with a touch of fruit; Possibly apricots. The cigar has a nice spice aftertaste and is accompanied by very aromatic smoke. It is burning surprisingly slow for the size and remains spot on. The second third is marked with a slight increase in the spice tones. It is very enjoyable and a nice surprise as most Connecticut's don't have such complexity. The final third shows flavors ranging from pepper to the toasty creamy notes mentioned early. A fantastic smoke that works well as a good morning cigar and will pair nicely with your favorite cup of coffee.

H. Upmann Havoc
When you have been making cigars for one hundred-seventy years, you pretty much know what you're doing. H. Upmann, has broken the mold and new ground with the Havoc, to say the least. While it is a departure from what you would normally expect from them, don’t let that scare you. This cigar is a medium bodied powerhouse of a cigar. Let's explore things further and give you a better idea of what to expect.

My prelight inspection found a sweet earthy smell to the cigar. The wrapper has minimal veining and a dry matte look to it. The wrapper itself is a brown leathery San Adres Criollo '98. A fantastic choice and a personal favorite. I'm smoking the Toro size for this review, but it's also available in a Churchill, Robusto, and Belicoso size.

A strong cedar tone sets off the smoking experience. Hints of cream and toasted almonds will tantalize your palette. The cigars make up is finished off with a Dominican binder and Nicaraguan long fillers. The draw is somewhat airy, but smokes quite well. Billows of smoke are unleashed with every puff, leaving a grayish white ash behind. Tones akin to plums are found offering a nice profile change. Dry cedar is left on the palette while undertones of coffee, earth, and white pepper remain throughout. This is a top notch cigar that offers a indulgent and pleasurable smoking experience.


Don Lino Africa
Distributed by Miami Cigar and Company, this little gem of a cigar offers a fantastic smoke. While one might think this cigar hales from Africa, given the name and the African themed cigar band complete with zebra stripes, It's actually made in Nicaragua. It offers a filler tobacco from Nicaragua, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, and some African Cameroon. The wrapper is a rare Nicaraguan Habano leaf.

As you would expect from a Nicaraguan cigar, the tobacco oozes with a earth and chocolate aroma. The cigar cuts perfectly leaving a clean precise edge. Upon lighting the foot of the cigar, it reveals a rich earthy overtone with tantalizing notes of dark coffee bean. A little farther in and red bell pepper is noted in the background, offering a nice contrast. At this point, an earth and spice tone is left on the palette, helping to give this a medium to full bodied profile. Cinnamon, vanilla bean, and cocoa are noted at the one third to halfway point. Coffee tones are becoming more consistent giving a nice contrasting tone with the cinnamon. The cigar finishes up with a stronger peppery profile. 

Romeo Y Julieta Havoc
One of the biggest names in cigars has to be Romeo Y Julieta cigars. The Dominican version to its Cuban counterpart, meets and surpasses in some ways, the Cuban version. The Havoc takes a slight turn from the typical Romeo Y Julieta blends and heads to Honduras and is blended with Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan grown Habano leaf. Its features offer a smooth crisp look. If you have smoked Romeo Y Julieta cigars over the years, you have come to expect top quality cigars. The Havoc will not disappoint you. It keeps with that same tradition offering premium tobaccos at a reasonable price. The cigars are all offered in large ring gauges 7x58, 6x60 and 5x56.

Lighting up, you will notice creamy tones with hints of spice. A touch of pepper is in the background and the draw is superb. A hint of tart is left behind on the palette and is complex in nature. This is a robust cigar and is probably considered medium body. The flavor profile continues on with a cedar and leathery tone.

At the halfway point, the cigar has been nothing short of fantastic. Large voluptuous clouds of smoke protrude from the foot of the cigar. The cedar tones have picked up and a crisp citrus note is found; a spice and pepper tone is left in your mouth. Meanwhile, the burn has been even, consistent, and cool.

Fleeting floral tones, coffee, black pepper, and toasty creamy flavors are all found on the last half. Another great blend from Romeo Y Julieta that’s sure to meet your expectations. If you enjoy medium bodied cigars, add this to your list of must try cigars.

CAO Brazilia
A few years back, I was lucky enough to win a box of these beauties at a local herf. At the time, they were new and I didn’t know much about them; I wasn’t sure what to expect. I quickly got acquainted and they have been a favorite of mine since. Let's explore things a little more and take a look at a few of my thoughts on the cigar.

 After lighting up, a robust dark coffee tone greets your palette with a flavor that will awaken your senses. You will quickly find that this cigar is a powerhouse of dark rich tones. The wrapper is an oily Brazilian maduro, letting off a heavy earthy aroma. The binder and filler is made up of Nicaraguan tobaccos giving it a medium to full bodied profile. The cigar band is a colorful rendition of the flag of Brazil and it's set off nicely against the dark maduro wrapper.

Raw chocolate flavors along with a heavy cedar tone emerge one third of the way. A little farther in, I noticed a hint of pinto bean that was surprisingly nice. Heavy woodsy notes are found throughout leaving a dryness on the palette. At this point, the cigar is burning cool and clean leaving a dark gray ash in its wake.

Entering the final half of the cigar, leather, earth, dark chocolate, and subtle tones of sweet prunes are culminating for a smoking experience like no other. A full flavor finish is in store for all of you lucky enough to get to try this cigar. The burn was unsullied only to be outdone by the endless amounts of aroma oozing from the cigar.  A top rated maduro like no other awaits you in this fine smoke.

House Resolution
In addition to the above cigars, you will also receive one of Corona's very own, the House Resolution.  House Resolution 1639 - The Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Jobs Preservation Act is a pro-active bill written to prevent the FDA from taking away your freedom to purchase and enjoy cigars.

To commemorate this historic event Corona Cigar Co. has collaborated with the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., America's oldest cigar manufacturer, to bring you House Resolution cigars.

House Resolution cigars are handmade in the Newman's Nicaraguan (Brick House) cigar factory using a medium bodied blend of aged Cuban-seed, Nicaraguan grown long-filler tobacco. The wrapper is a chocolate brown, sungrown San Andres maduro. The rich flavor is slightly sweet with undertones of leather and nutmeg.

Every box of House Resolution cigars sold helps support our efforts to make HR1639 a law that will keep the FDA from coming between you and your beloved cigars. So here is your chance to smoke a great cigar, at a reasonable price, and bring some attention to HR 1639 every time you light one up.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Van 22 Review

Van 22 Cigars
The Van 22 is a delectable looking cigar. Created by Corona Cigar Co. it's a premium cigar in the truest sense. The cigar itself is clean and straightforward. A Ecuadorian Habano wrapper encases the 6x52 Toro that I have chosen to smoke for this review. It has a silky smooth looking wrapper that is semi-oily offering only slight veining and a regal look. The price point is 9 dollars and right inline for a quality premium cigar of this magnitude.

The binder is Dominican and both Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers are used in the blend. The cigar band is an edgy mixture of gold, silver, white, and black lettering. Examining the cigar, I found it giving off a chocolate and spice aroma. It was a pleasant surprise and intrigued my senses beyond what they already were. Upon lighting up, I was greeted with a strong black pepper taste that was heavy on the palette. An inch into the smoke and it mellowed out slightly offering a sweet fruit undertone and light spices.
Van 22 Cigars

A full third of the way in now and dry spices remains on the palette. The aroma from the cigar is exquisite resembling cinnamon and cocoa. The draw is light and airy helping to maintain the even burn you will find on the cigar. At the halfway point, I found a walnut flavor that started culminating on my palette. It was pleasant and offered a nice contrast while enjoying the cinnamon and cocoa aroma.

At the two thirds mark, I noticed that the fruit picked up slightly but remained in the background. The nutty features remained consistent and consisted of cashew, walnut, and almonds. Notes of earthiness are also featured. An occasional bitter note is found, but it's slight and disappears quickly being replaced by a creamy spice aftertaste.

The final third is marked by hints of coffee, spices, and citrus in the background. At this point, it also moves from being primarily a medium bodied cigar to bordering on full. The ash is white and flaky offering large plumes of smoke. Overall, a very well constructed cigar that offers a powerhouse flavor profile. A reliable burn and draw with no dead-spots make this a must smoke cigar on my list. I will definitely be adding this to my after lunch cigar lineup for sometime to come.

Monday, June 3, 2013

La Flor Dominicana Limited Edition Cigars

Rarely, does one remember the exact place they are when they smoke a new cigar for the first time; especially, fourteen years later. For me, I'll always remember the first time I lit up a LFD. It was 1999, I made my usual routine stop by the cigar shop, to pick up some cigars for the weekend. As I strolled through the humidor, my eye was caught by a new cigar brand the shop just started to carry, the La Flor Dominincana.

I quickly grabbed a few and was on my way. Later that weekend, I sat down to relax in my office and smoke. Reaching in, I found the cigars I purchased just several days earlier and immediately began to get excited. Yes, I admit it. I do get excited when I get to try a new cigar that I've never smoked before. Sometimes, it's a disappointment, but sometimes, like was the case that weekend, you find a cigar brand you will smoke for the rest of your life.

There is much to be said about Litto Gomez owner of LFD.  He is a true innovator and master at blending. He rose from humble beginnings working as a dishwasher among a barrage of other jobs. He worked his way to the top and is a true testament of how hard work can pay off.  Today, he is master at what he does best, blending cigars. You won't find one of his cigar lines that isn’t different from the other. They run the gamete from mild to double ligero lines that are fully bodied and strong.

Today, we are taking a look at three different lines. The LFD Factory Press IV, the Habano Corona, and Double Ligero; all available here at Corona Cigar Co.


A large luminous cigar that weighs in with a whopping 6.5” x 60 ring gauge. The box press in some aspects makes the cigar look larger then it is. It's wrapped in a beautiful Mexican wrapper that is flawless to the naked eye. The binder and filler are made up of Ecuadorian and Dominican tobaccos.

After I toasted the foot, I found burnt hay and raisin notes. The draw was loose, offering the pull you want in a cigar, without it being too loose or overly hard to draw air through.

The first third, you will find light peppery notes with hints of chocolate. The burn thus far is impeccable. The second third, you will have a flaky white ash that tends to fall off. The raisin and peppery tones remain along with a spicy and cedar aftertaste. If you're not used to smoking box pressed cigars, it may feel awkward, especially given the large ring gauge. Outside of that, it's been a superb smoke thus far.

The final third, large amounts of white smoke bellow out of the large 60 ring gauge cigar, as you can imagine. The flavor profile remains pretty consistent with the raisin, chocolate, pepper, and cedar tones. The pepper profile kicks up a notch on the back half. Offering a stronger medium body tone compared to the first two thirds. A well constructed cigar as I had no issue with the burn or draw whatsoever. I would definitely classify this as a medium body cigar and I personally could smoke this anytime of the day. 


A strong vegetable and green pepper tone emerge immediately.  It hits you right on the tip of your tongue, from the very first draw. A quality cigar that’s packed tightly, but has a good draw and stays consistent. I'm smoking the corona 5-5/8” x 46 size. With a price point of 8 dollars you really can't go wrong.

The Habano Corona is everything you would expect from a cigar made by Litto Gomez.

A third of the way in, I’m beginning to get more of a black pepper tone. The spice aspects are starting to culminate as well. The earthy tones mentioned earlier remain in the background throughout the smoke. To the halfway point, I'm impressed with this cigar. Although, I should have expected nothing less considering it's pedigree.

The back half is just as reliable as the first half and the flavor profile is kicked up a notch. Large amounts of smoke, smooth flavors that include nuts, spices, and dry grass. A medium bodied cigar in nature. It's pleasant and works well as an after lunch smoke. 


A dark rich looking maduro wrapper that is oily in nature wraps the 6 7/8”x 49 cigar. A pre-light inspection finds an earthy aroma that is pleasant and beckons me not to waste anymore time lighting up. Minimal veining with several minute bumps that appear on the surface subtract very little from the appearance. As I began my smoking journey into the cigar, I was blown away by a dark heavy coffee bean flavor that was heavy on the palette. This you will notice as you toast the foot of the cigar and begin smoking.

A little farther in, tones of black pepper and spice are quite evident. A thick heavy aftertaste lingers on the palette at this point, reminding me of earth and green pepper. As I always like to do at some point during the review, I set the cigar down to test whether or not it will stay lit for any length of time. At about one third of the way in, I let the cigar rest for five minutes. I was pleased to see that it stayed lit and with a few puffs it was bellowing out white clouds of smoke.

At about the halfway point, I noticed slight hints of fruit that I couldn’t exactly place. This did not last very long and vanished rather quickly. The cigar to this point has been superb noting no flaws in the burn or draw. The flavors have been rich and enticing. The cigar has moments that break from the full bodied mold and revert to more of a medium body cigar. They don’t last long and the full bodied flavors quickly return.

For the last half, the flavor profile gets stronger with the dark rich and heavy peppery tones in the forefront, along with coffee beans. Notes of mushroom and greens are also found along with a raw onion. If you enjoy full bodied cigars, you will enjoy this beauty. I would give it 9 out of 10 stars.