Friday, May 23, 2008

May 2008 Cigar Dinner featured Rocky Patel Cigars

Our May Cigar Dinner featured 4 Rocky Patel entries varying in price and body. We had Max Bichler on hand from Rocky Patel Cigars to present and speak on the cigars.
We started the evening with two selections from the Edge line, a Lite and a Maduro. The Edge Maduro, made in Nicaragua was a rich and oily as any fine Cuban I’ve ever seen. We moved on to the surprise hit of the evening – the RP Sun Grown. What a stick. Sometimes you just forget how good a cigar is…this is that kind of smoke. Full-bodied, yet balanced. It was a true tobacco lover’s smoke. We finished the night with a Vintage 1990 Robusto, and the crowd on hand couldn’t have been happier.

Our dinner was promoted as a Cinco de Mayo event, complete with a Tequila tasting, no Cuervo here-just the high end Resposado for this group. We also enjoyed Dos Equus beer and Spanish Wine at each table. The Spanish inspired menu featured gazpacho- a personal favorite- figs and chorizo appetizer and braised short ribs for the entrĂ©e….all prepared to perfection by the chef at our host restaurant the Mohegan Manor in Baldwinsville, NY.

Click to view our selection Rocky Patel Cigars in stock now.

I think the video will say a lot about the night, which was staged outdoors on the patio dining area, just a perfect night and it looks in the video that it was enjoyed by all.

Mohegan Manor Cigar Night

For info on our June Dinner featuring Don Pepin Garcia Cigar click here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is a Connecticut smooth smoke

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is a Connecticut smooth smoke

Rocky Patel has made a name for himself selling full flavored, big strength cigars.
But I wondered what the Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Connecticut would taste like, considering the wrapper alone should create a taste not found in its more full-bodied brothers.
In appearance, the RP Vintage 1999 is a beautiful stick. It’s the wrapper that is the star here. I must admit I love the look of great Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper. When the best of this leaf is put on a cigar it looks so good I’d rather frame it than smoke it! This cigar is just that pretty.
The leaf is a flawless Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper, and today the “genuine article” is harder and harder to find as makers seek out Connecticut shade grown from other regions- either so save money or change taste- but the wrapper of this high a grade that is grown in the Connecticut River Valley is a treat on any cigar. The box boasts that this leaf has been aged 7 years- all the better.
The wrapper color is so golden it’s almost yellow. It’s smooth as silk with almost nothing but the finest of small veins. Certainly this is one pricey CSG leaf. Double cigar bands of white bands with gold lettering against a perfect wrapper enhance the look of the RP Vintage 1999.
The blend, in keeping with RP‘s trend contains Ligero for flavor, both Dominican and Nicaraguan Ligero long fillers bunched in a rich Nicaraguan binder. Think smooth, but flavorful. What a combination.
The cigar does not disappoint. I sniped a smart V-cut into a gorgeous double cap. The lighting was a simple, perfect burn- even, and slow. The ash had that common look of Connecticut shade, gray and black with less white than you may prefer, but as mentioned it’s the way the wrapper burns.
Once past the first inch or so the cigar began to taste a bit nutty, and lightly creamy. A typical result when CSG is the wrapper. This continued right through the stick. I only put it down because the nub got a bit hot. The upside of this cigar is that it’s a great mild stick- the downside it’s not a typical big-flavor RP stick. So if you enjoy milder smokes, this is an excellent cigar. I’d add if you enjoy Rocky’s more full-bodied blends, buy this one in singles from your local before you buy a full box, just in case it’s too mild for your palate.
Simply put this is some smooth smokin’ cigar.

Purchase RP Vintage 1999 Connecticut

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

“O” man this is one tasty cigar…

After a short Caribbean vacation last week that permitted me to treat myself a few Cubans, I settled into an Oliva Series O natty to do some paper work and play a bit of catch-up.

I chose the Robusto and wasn’t disappointed.

This is a Nicaraguan Puro so the tobacco profile says this should be a rather full bodied cigar. The wrapper was deftly stretched around the cigar and showed a vague spotting not too noticeable but there as I looked closely. The wrapper, just a bit darker than a true natural in color, looked like it was set to deliver some flavor. The cap was just perfect on this cigar lending to the quality of Oliva cigar construction. These guys are good. The Guillotine snipped it perfectly.

The ignition went well, and the initial flavor was bold and very spicy. The spicy flavor lasted through the first inch and slowly mellowed. The next 20 minutes of this cigar was woody and less spicy. The ash was a nice white color and it held up until I tapped it into my ashtray. From the middle on I detected yet another flavor change…this time even more mellow with a hint of anisette in the background…delicious. I noticed the smoke was almost white as I got into this stick. Like any fine cigar this one hit its peak around the 2/3-1/2 mark. It was flavorful, but not harsh, it was incredibly smooth and mellow at this point. This one was getting “Nubbed”.

At some time for most smokers your palate calls for more taste…and your begging to move away from milder blends. For anyone looking go try a bit more full flavored cigar this one is recommended. You’ll be led into the full-flavor not hit over the head with it. It has all the making of a great cigar.

Wrapper: Sun-Grown Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano

Purchase Oliva Series “O”

Friday, April 4, 2008

There’s “Nub”-in else like this cigar

I had my cigar buddy/barbeque chef Mark plunk down two Nub Cigars at my back table in the store the other day. It was about 3 pm and I’d been there since 5am so taking a cigar break from the days activities didn’t take much convincing. Mark offered me my choice of wrappers- Connecticut or Cameroon- since this is African Cameroon, the real thing; I took full advantage of the proposition and was I happy with my Cameroon choice. New ideas- genuinely new ideas- don’t come along all that often in this business and the notion of the “Nub” cigar intrigues me.

I was eager to get an up-close look at the 464 Rounded Torpedo (there is a 4x66 Box Pressed version available in the same wrapper). It’s extreme in most measures, short, fat, dense, heavy, and perhaps best of all flavorful. As I took a close look I could see the open end was jammed with tobacco, it appears more so than a cigar of a typical ring gauge. The wrapper was first rate in color, lack of noticeable veins, and perfectly finished at the torpedo point. As a Torpedo I had the advantage of clipping the end quite easily and I wondered if the large round heads on the 60, 66 ring gauge versions would need a bit more care to clip so nicely.

I used my standard two match stick grip to get this baby lit and while the cigar was not completely ignited at first the end quickly took on an even and complete burn in less than a minute. This may not be an indoor cigar for many smokers as I noticed right away this stick gives off a lot of smoke, likely due to the extremely large ring and dense packing of tobacco. The flavor was mild, with a medium amount of tobacco flavor. I could taste a nutty and sometimes piney flavor coming through. The taste of the smoke repeatedly registered on the back of my tongue.

At the halfway point this cigar continued to impress me and the flavor got richer from mid-way on. One of the unique features of a Nub as explained to me by the company rep was that these are so dense that they can stand on the “ash end” upright even after the mid point. Well I had to see and to my surprise its true- my cigar stood on its almost 2 inch ash.

You get the idea from this photo from the Nub Cigar site

At just 4 inches this is no quick-smoke. After about 45 minutes I was only half way through the cigar with plenty of ammo left to be smoked.

This cigar lasted longer than I had time…at about 75 % smoked I doused it to move on to some pressing issues, like getting home….but I know that I can’t wait to try another NUB.

Purchase Nub Cigars

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No Foolin', that's a tasty Maduro

When a fellow “Brother of the Leaf “strolled in who I hadn’t seen in a while we caught up on his new job and his new born Girl and enjoyed an after lunch cigar. My choice for our visit was an Oliva Series G Maduro Robusto.

At 4 ½ x 50, it was typical in length and ring but as with most Oliva cigars there was nothing else typical about this cigar. First, in appearance it was box pressed, but not subtly. These are some serious squared off sides. It hangs a bit different in the mouth with these edges, but nicely so. The same holds true for how it feels in the fingers. The dark wrapper was a Connecticut Broadleaf, not veiny at all with a rather sweet, but woodsy aroma.

The lighting went as good a one would expect, one wooden match did the trick and the foot was hot and ready to burn. A neat, even black ring quickly developed and I was not disappointed in the burn for the entire smoke, it was even, slow, and steady.

As we talked and laughed I got a floral taste every so often, along with a woodsy flavor. This stick was smooth from foot to finish. Along the way I enjoyed the nice very white ash that delveloped and I noted the amount of smoke was not overwhelming. The Oliva Series G Maduro Robusto is a nice 20-25 minute cigar.

My friend Frank was enjoying a Rocky Patel Connecticut, a cigar I am eager to get to in the near future. As our conversation slowed my cigar reached its end and happily it was no more than a nub when I doused it with a few drops from my bottled water.
The weather up here made a mad dash into the its outdoors to enjoy the sun, as outdoor cigar season can only be just around the corner.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Cuban-Seed Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano


Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday's Best- Camacho SLR Maduro

A Sunday mid-morning smoke was in order and my choice was to return to an old favorite to give myself an update on the new look Camacho SLR Maduro Rothchild.
I smoked this cigar in the company three regulars enjoying their morning at Rocky’s smoking cigars and talking SU sports including the current lacrosse season, the new-look football program and the finality of the just ended basketball season. The local paper was full of articles on all three topics so the four of us were informed and dangerous….me armed with my Camacho SLR Maddy.

In appearance the wrapper was smoother than I recall from previous sticks, I noticed only one conspicuous vein rising up to be felt in my finger tips. This exterior was definitely not oily, or shiny. The flat color is typical of its wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro- a traditional leaf for a maduro cigar. At 4 ½ x 50 the size was typical for a Rothchild.

My cut today was a double V-cut giving the head of my cigar the look of a cross snipped in.
The cigar lit easily, the foot took the flame evenly and a beautiful white/grey ash began to develop and the burn started out perfect. In terms of taste at this point I had a note of bitterness, but I felt this was from the hot ignition and I was pleased to note the bitterness quickly faded after about a ½ inch. The firm white ash that developed was a pleasant surprise. It was over 2 inches before it fell, dropping its eye pleasing white/ grey mass into my ashtray, leaving behind a hot ember end that was ready to start a new accumulation.

Through out the next 45 minutes we sparred over coaches, players, next year and this year. All the while I enjoyed a balanced full flavor of this cigar with at times tastes of cedar, and licorice. The end of this cigar was a bit disappointing as it became overly bitter and I decided not to nub this one. Perhaps this was the result of my V-cut causing the juices to build up at the head. At any rate this was as good a cigar as I remember and I look forward to smoking a few more of these new look Camachos.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Scotch on the Rocky

I was fortunate to have Mike Glynn (owner of Rocky's Cigars) ask me do a scotch and cigar review for his new blog. I picked the scotch and Mike picked the cigar. I chose Balvenie single malt scotch and Mike suggested that I combine that with Rocky Patel's Decade 10th Anniversary cigar. I was pleased with his suggestion because I am a big fan of Rocky Patel cigars and have not tried the Decade yet.

I decided to sample the scotch and the cigar individually then together to get a better feel for their individual flavors and then how they might compliment each other. This is what I found:

The Scotch

Belvenie Doublewood
12 year old Single Malt
43% alc/vol

This Speyside Distillery is located in Dufftown, Banffshire Scotland.

It has a light Amber that comes from the Sherry Oak Casks and the its age but is perhaps hot as dark as a Macallan.

Medium body that typically comes with a 12 year scotch whiskey.

Distinct smell of honey.

A bit syrupy with a combination of oak and sherry.

A very nice warm finish that carries its flavors nicely.

The Cigar

Rocky Patel's Decade 10th Anniversary Cigar - Purchase Cigar

Has a nice walnut brown color that comes from the sungrown Equadorian Sumatra wrapper.

Pre-lit Aroma & Taste:
Rich earthy with nice spicy taste.

The draw was perfect which I am always amazed from a box pressed cigar.

Flavor & Taste:
This cigar has a very pleasant spicy, peppery taste. I am not a big fan of that taste but as always Rocky Patel does it just right. The flavors last through the whole cigar and make for a wonderful smoke.

Scotch & Cigar Together

This is probably the first time I have taken the time and attention to tasting a scotch and cigar together. What I found is that this cigar actually made the scotch flavor more pronounced. In particular the oak and sherry flavors started to really present themselves and made the smoke and the scotch a very enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And another blog begins ....

A Blog appears to be THE method of giving opinions, and sharing experiences on with like minded individuals these I figured why not give it go!

Cigars are a great passion to share on the internet. Understanding the wide ranging and fast changing world of cigars is part of the enjoyment of cigars. I was told many years ago that there are only two kinds of cigar smokers….those that wish to learn more about cigars and wish to speak to someone else who will share information…and those that know a lot about cigars and enjoying speaking to some else who enjoys their passion. So this blog is for all cigar smokers.

I understand there is always something to learn about the pleasures of cigar smoking. From my long time participation in this great business I have a feel for where cigars have been. From my contacts in the industry and seat next to a cigar ashtray outside my walk-in humidor I have a feel for where cigars are today….but I’m always on the hunt for answers and clarity to better understand where cigars are going next….My aim is to share my observations here as journey continues….

As a novice fan of wine I've discovered many similarities between good wine, spirits and cigars. Country of origin, blending, vintage, specific vineyards, the subtle nuances on the palate, and the wide selection to name a few. There a far too many cigars to smoke them all and too many wine and spirits to taste them all. So I say the FUN is in the Hunt! Happy smoking and sipping to all.

When time permits I'll post my opinions on these topics sometimes combining the two.....why not? Cigars and wine make life more fun!