Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rocky Patel Cigar Dinner, May 2008

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 Equis beer and Spanish Wine at each table. The Spanish inspired menu featured gazpacho, a personal favorite, figs and chorizo appetizer and a braised short rib for the entrĂ©e….all prepared to perfection by the chef at our host restaurant the Mohegan Manor in Baldwinsville, NY.
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.
Check out our video of the event

For info on our upcoming June 2008 Dinner featuring Don Pepin Garcia Cigars
click here

La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero

Size: 4.7 X 60
Shape: 660
Origin: Dominican Republic
Body: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Sungrown
Binder: Dominican Ligero
Filler: Dominican Ligero
Smoke Clock: 45 mins

It was a beautiful day at Dwyer Memorial Park; the birds were singing, children were laughing and scurrying around, and I was relaxing at a peaceful picnic table by the trees with an excellent stick of burning leaf as my companion.

Upon placing a flame to my La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero, I experienced a hefty amount of spice and peat. I was also able to tell immediately why they call this cigar full bodied. Fortunately, the body only made itself known and did not overwhelm, giving the first light a thick quality that I really enjoyed.

As the first quarter of this cigar developed, I noticed a light cashew note as well as a smokey camp fire quality to the profile. These supported the big oak notes that dominated the first quarter and set an excellent foundation for the profile to evolve from.

While the profile developed, I couldn’t help but notice the beauty of the ash left behind. It is milky white with only small blotches here and there. This was a delight to the eye, revealing the high quality of the tobacco in this stick and heightening my enjoyment of the overall experience.

Drawing my attention away from the silken ash, the second quarter was transformative, covering my pallet with emerging coffee and cedar notes. The flavors in the profile began to merge and became deep and complex as they blossomed together into something completely new and unique. By the time the third quarter began, I could hardly distinguish one flavor from the other because they had melted together so beautifully. I became transfixed and fell into the sweet depths of this blend.

Cars pulled up and unloaded or picked up people as I remained lost in the depths of Double Ligero. Then a shift occurred. Subtle chocolate notes emerged just before earth notes took dominance in the blend. This shift was slow but enticing, drawing me out of the beautiful stupor that the second quarter sent me into.

This cigar set me down easy, resolving nicely by maintaining the body, but slowly mellowing out on the flavor. With evening drawing near, I tasted the coffee, earth, and chocolate notes ones more before setting down this beautiful experience.

As people packed up for the evening and I watched the sun set over Little York Lake, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for days, and cigars, like these.

Presentation: 7/10 – Simple and attractive band. Predominantly black and gold with some red behind the “LFD” to give the letters dominance. Nice design.

Appearance: 9/10 – The wrapper was oily, toothy, seamless, and dark with minor yet consistent splotches. No flaws or cracks were to be found. To say this cigar is mouth watering to behold is an understatement.

Construction: 33/35 – Firm throughout with only the slightest give towards the head. The draw was comfortably open given the dense pack. The only issue I had in this category was the uneven burn. It never became a serious issue but to describe this cigar as even burning would be like saying the Eiffel Tower is a cube.

Flavor: 43/45 – Wonderfully complex and infinitely interesting, but a slight bitter note crept in just at the end.

Overall: 92/100 – Mouth watering to behold, very well constructed, and wonderfully complex, this full bodied beauty is a cigar that should not be missed.


601 Oscuro La Fuerza

Size: 5.5 X 54
Shape: La Fuerza
Origin: Nicaragua
Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habana Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoke Clock: 1 hr 25 mins

After a long and successful summer season, I have finally gotten settled into my new apartment. To celebrate, I pulled out a smoke that I have long waited for: the EO 601 Green.

The 601 Green has spent the last month and a half eluding me. I’d bring it with me to work to smoke on a break, only to have more work than I expected and not enough time to smoke this stick. I’d step outside to light up on my day off, only to be bombarded by phone calls to go hiking or kayaking (two of my other favorite things to do). As you can imagine, neither of these things are conducive to taking notes on a fine blend, so this cigar continued to elude me. However, yesterday, I had time to sit outside on the veranda (aka the cement porch of my apartment building) and relax and that’s just what I did, bringing this elusive smoke along with me.

Sliding this stick out of its cellophane, I immediately noticed the consistency of color and quality of the wrapper. It didn’t scream juicy deliciousness though, and for a moment, I lost heart. I trudged through the cut, which was clean and easy, pushed through the prelight ritual, which was a delight, and lit up. Boy did this stick blow my doubts out of the water.

Prelight, there were strong earth, spice, and leather notes detected with the spice being very forward. However, when I lit up, the Green delivered a complex, sweet, and earth filled profile with only a subtle spice note present.

Developing into the first quarter, the profile became all about the compost note. Delicious! The smoke was soft and creamy in the mouth as the profile ebbed and flowed around and through the compost note. Pepper and caramel notes wafted up into dominance and meandered back into the blend several times until the profile began its first evolution into deep earth and bright cedar notes. The cedar notes here taste like a cedar campfire: toasty and bright. Towards the end of the quarter, some dark chocolate notes had begun to peek their heads through, but didn’t take over until the half mark of this stick.

I was admiring the view of shorts sporting college girls as they passed by when the second quarter of this cigar really came into its own. Notes of toasted cream and leather took over, then slowly and gently relinquished command to dark cocoa and coffee notes. That delectable compost note had slunk way into the background at this point, nearly vanishing into the delicious depths of the flavor profile.

It was at this point that I tried to ash for the first time. The ash, having remained quite dense, would not relinquish its hold on this cigar. I was so confident in its density, in fact, that I stood the cigar on end ON THE ASH. I could not believe how incredibly well packed this cigar must have been to be able to sport such fine and strong ash on such a lengthy, heavy stick. Bravo!

After my ashen foray, I refocused on the flavor profile as the third quarter began. The second quarter carried over into the third nicely, relinquishing dominance to some oak campfire notes once or twice before returning to where it began. That fantastic complex compost note returned just before the fourth quarter, bringing the profile full circle and leaving me completely satisfied.

There are times when I realize that the Universe is smarter than I. This is one such case. The EO 601 Green eluded my smoking desires until just the right time when I could really focus on it and enjoy it to the fullest. Thank you Universe for all your wisdom.

Presentation: 9/10 – I really like the band on all the EO 601 cigars, but the interplay of green and gold here is really stunning. Great design with an excellent focus on the 601 line. Simple and straightforward yet beautiful in its own right, accenting the color of the cigar perfectly. Way to go, EO.

Appearance: 7/10 – This cigar is nice to look at, but not gorgeous. The wrapper has a very consistent color, it’s toothy, and the seams of are almost well hidden, but there’s barely any shine to it. There was also a small dime sized patch missing towards the foot of the cigar, but I burned through that quickly enough.

Construction: 33/35 – Great construction. The draw was open, the pack firm enough to stand the cigar up on its ash, and the burn was mostly even with a little wave here and there.

Flavor: 44/45 – This cigar told a story and brought it full circle. I really respect a blender’s ability to do this clearly while providing purity to the flavors and a dynamite smoke to booth. Excellent work.

Overall: 93/100 – This cigar is tasty and delicious, telling a story with its pure flavors. The construction is very high quality, allowing the smoker to focus on the flavorful experience and not on the draw or relights. This is one heck of a cigar that I highly recommend any fan of full bodied smokes try at their earliest convenience.


Kristoff Ligero Maduro

Arturo Fuente King T

Size: 7 X 49
Shape: Double Corona
Origin: Dominican Republic
Body: Medium
Wrapper: USA Grown Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Smoke Clock: 1 hr 15 mins

Sitting inside my local tobacconist’s shop on a calm Monday, I decided to light up a smoke that I suspected would be a little on the mild side, the Arturo Fuente King T.

This stick is presented in a beautifully designed tube with white and black contrasting top and bottom parts. Opening the tube reveals a solid stick encompassed by a lovely tan Connecticut wrapper. The oily sheen that I discovered on the wrapper had me eager to get this stick lit.

Once I had the foot toasted, I gave this stick a thorough light and was inundated with a transcendent sweetness supported by a light cashew note, subtle leather, and just the right amount of spice.

As this stick burned into the first quarter, I really began to fall in love. I began to taste what I can only describe as a cream soda flavor, a flavor that I’ve heard referred to as purely Cuban and one that I had never experienced before. This cream soda flavor was complemented by notes of oak and cedar with leather & sweet cream lingering on the palate after each puff.

Burning into the second quarter, the complexity to the profile remained, but the less dominant flavors slipped further into the background, allowing the sweet cream soda note to really take the fore front. Evanescent wisps of smoke floated up from my cigar as I reveled in the lingering finish that each puff brought to my palate. In this moment, I was in heaven.

With the third quarter came the return of the oak and cedar notes which had retreated during the second quarter of this smoke. Their return provided some welcome complexity, although the purity of the cream soda flavors was missed. At this point, I really began to notice how medium bodied this smoke actually was. With this realization came a hearty spice note which was most noticeable through the nose, providing a tingle in my senses which again elevated the sweet soda quality that this cigar provided.

As I lay this stick aside, the lingering sweetness, cashew, and leather left me craving another almost immediately. Given easy access to another of these sticks, I would not hesitate to light it up post haste to get another taste of that fabled Cuban flavor.

Presentation: 9/10 – In addition to the tube, this stick comes double banded with one band at the shoulder and the other at the foot. The shoulder band is very attractive and bumps this stick up to my second highest presentation grade. Even though the band at the foot is also attractive, it feels a bit unnecessary to me and so, no perfect for this stick.

Appearance: 7 /10 – The wrapper is consistently colored, oily, and thinly veined. Drawbacks are the wrinkled appearance of the wrapper and the visible seams.

Construction: 32/35 – Very nice draw to this consistently firm stick, especially given that I used a punch cut on this guy. However, the burn was a bit uneven at times.

Flavor: 44/45 – Purity, complexity, consistency, and just downright yummy, this stick hits the mark in the flavor department.

Overall: 92/100 – Awesome flavor with a long and delectable finish accompanied by excellent construction and a knock out presentation makes this stick one for the record books. The next time you get a chance, burn one of these. You will not be sorry you did.




The San Lotano Oval is a new product by A.J. Fernandez. The wrapper is a four year aged habano 2000, a Nicaraguan binder and a mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran and A.J.’s secret blend. This combination makes for a mysterious smoke. The size I have chosen is the Toro. It is a 60 ring by 6.5 inches in length and just happens to be my preferred cigar size.
Starting the night with a new Gordo size San Lotano Oval is a new experience I can’t wait to try. I begin as normal and light my piece of cedar and warm the end of the cigar. As I initially draw in the flavor I realize a woodsy and leathery taste that makes for a good enjoyable smoke. I also sense a light taste of caramel but very gentle. The cigar is burning very even and the draw is nice and smooth.

This cigar has a distinctive and very pleasing taste. About a third of the way in the hint of caramel is more abundant and is pleasing my palette. The ash is still intact and is showing off its excellent construction. As I pull on this cigar the cherry of the end illuminates the darkness of the room casting shadows of expelled smoke on the walls. The Oval is pleasing all my senses and leaving me wanting more. At the half way point the caramel flavor is prominent and the cigar has taken on a new life. The ash is still gray and very sturdy.

The cigar started medium-bold and now has become bold in strength and is a pleasure to smoke. The change over occurred at the half way point and was a little sharp but not overly. (It didn’t turn me off) The Oval has a dark appearance but doesn’t taste that way until a little past half, then you realize your smoking a bolder smoke. Two thirds gone and it begins to loose the caramel taste and the woodsy takes over. My palette is enjoying the change and that reminds me of the way the El Baton smokes. The Oval is now down to the nub and is ready to be finished, the flavor is all but gone and is being replaced by an ashy taste. Smoking it down to the nub is not recommended but was necessary for this review.
The SAN LOTANO OVAL by A.J. FERNANDEZ is a good product and I recommend trying it. The OVAL has a great taste and has a lot of changes. It is not a complex smoke but it is a palette challenging experience. If you prefer a cigar like this then you will enjoy it. If you are a beginner then I recommend that you smoke this with ease.



The ILLUSION MJ 12 MADURO is a complete Nicaraguan Puros. Puros is a complete cigar where all parts of the makeup are from the same country or plant. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Maduro and the binder is also Nicaraguan. The filler is pure Nicaraguan broadleaf. I’m looking forward to smoking this stick.

With what has become my signature, I light my cigar with a piece of cedar. Slowly warming the foot I gently begin to draw on this complete Nicaraguan cigar. After the first couple of puffs I come to realize this is a medium blended cigar and I’m seriously surprised. The Maduro leaf is not as poignant and is leaving me in shock. It’s not that it’s not enjoyable but it’s a surprise how smooth it tastes. The other flavors I pick up are chocolate and a slight oak. At halfway the cigar is smooth and spicy but not enough to warrant a glass of something to wet my whistle. The construction and burn is good and the plume of smoke is solid white. Coming to the last third the cigar has begun to get a little stronger in strength and is finishing well…

The ILLUSION MJ 12 MADURO is a pleasantly surprising smoke and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy a new experience. Buy it by the stick or buy it by the box you won’t be disappointed…


                                   FLORES Y RODRIGUEZ  by PDR

                      The FLORES Y RODRIGUES  is the next venture by PDR. This cigar is a Dominican Puro consisting of Dominican habano Vuelta Abajo blended filler with a Dominican habano wrap and a Dominican binder. The cigar size is 58 ring by 6 and ¼ in length.

                         Since my last review I have changed my cut to a punch and am enjoying it a lot better. I light my cigar in my normal fashion using a piece of cedar and take my first draw. Right away I’m hit with a full mouth of spice and a woodsy flavor. There is also a leathery presence is noticeable and it has an excellent burn and draw. With every exhale the plumes of smoke fill the room and leave a great aroma in the room.
A third of the way down the ash is full and fluffy. The spiciness has subdued and the smoke has smoothed out to where if someone who doesn’t like an overabundance spice will like the end result. Unfortunately the burn has become uneven but it is easily correctable.
The “woodsyness” is more dominant and the leathery presence is still holding. At the halfway point the spiciness has definitely taken a back seat to the overall woodsy and leathery presentation. The great plumes of smoke are still overwhelming the room and the burn has straightened out. This smoke has turned out to be a great smoke. I have less than a third left and the only problem is that the remainder has become to hot to hold so I have elected to use my trusty tweezers to finish this stick.

                           The FLORES Y RODRIGUES  is a surprisingly great smoke from PDR. I would highly recommend smoking this stick and will hopefully do so again. The FdR comes in a Habano wrapper and a Habano Maduro so enjoy both…..

                                                                     Thanks….the  Cigar Guru    

CAO Osa Sol Lot 58

                       CAO OSA SOL LOT 58

The latest stick from CAO is the OSA SOL LOT 58. A Nicaraguan/Honduran blend wrapped in a Connecticut Broadleaf binder with an Olancho Agustin wrapper from a 2008 crop will make an interesting review because I’ve never had this type of wrap. The last new cigar from CAO was the LA TRAVIATA and that was an awesome smoke.

           After punching my cigar I’ve decided to light my cigar with my trusty Xicar dual flame torch because I’m feeling lazy. At first draw the cigar tastes a little green but I hope it will work its way out. A quarter of the way in the green taste has smoothed out and is being replaced by a woodsy and cedar flavor. The strength is light to medium and has surprised me. The size is 58 ring by 6 inch long and that is why I thought it was going to be a little more towards the medium to full range (kind of expected it to be the same strength of the La Traviata). A third of the way in the burn is even and the ash is still attached do to the excellent construction I’ve gotten used to from CAO. The flavor has improved and it is now showing a little of spice. A little past a third and the ash has finally fell of and stayed together, lucky for me because it fell on my shirt, the plume of smoke is almost gray and the spice has definitely become more noticeable. With two thirds gone the stick has turned out to be a good smoke but not what I would normally smoke. The finish of this cigar has once again surprised me in that it stayed light to medium and spicy.

           The CAO OSA SOL LOT 58 is a good smoke for someone who is looking for a light smoke with a medium finish. I recommend trying it and hopefully you will enjoy it.

                                                                      Thanks for reading ……the  Cigar Guru… keep smokin

Thursday, April 5, 2012

La Flor Dominicana Factory Press


The LFD factory press will be an interesting smoke. It’s been a while since I have smoked any La Flor so it should be interesting. The La Flor factory press is a Ligero wrapped smoke that in the past was a mainstay in my humidor until the Liga Privada came out and changed the way I perceived what a Ligero cigar to taste.

Starting the procedure of lighting my cigar with a piece of cedar I draw in my first of many mouthfuls of smoke. The flavor greets me like an old dear friend and the aroma gives me flashbacks of years past. The plume of white smoke fills the air and is making my air filtration system work overtime. The only tough part is getting used to the flatness of the press; a factory press as opposed to a box press is a tighter press and gives the cigar a ridged edge (corners). At the halfway point the stick is still enjoyable and the ash has just fallen off. The taste of the subtle Ligero is still noticeable and leaving me wanting more. With more than 2/3 gone the cigar is starting to heat up and now has reduced me to put it out due to the factory press it seemed to warm up faster.

THE LA FLOR DOMINICANA FACTORY PRESS is a descent smoke but it takes a little time to get used to the flatness of the stick. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys smoking a box press so light up and enjoy…

Monday, February 20, 2012



The Big Juicy is a cigar put out by Drew Estates under the Acid Natural line. It is the big brother of the Juicy Lucy and measures 6x52. The Big Juicy is a flavor infused cigar and is not normally something I smoke.

After preparing my palette by having a snort of Hennessey I light the infused cigar with my standard method of using a piece of cedar to light this hopefully tasty treat. At first the flavor is sweet and more than what I expected. The initial flavor is that of mint and sweetness of sugar. The stick is very well constructed and the burn is even. The ash is a light grey and the draw is easy. About half way down the sweetness is not as overpowering as when it began but the mint taste is still dominating the experience. I can’t say I’m really enjoying the smoke but I also don’t smoke infused cigars much. At 2 thirds gone the mint has dissipated and the smoke is a little more manageable. The Acid Natural line is not my cup of tea. The strength threw out is light but I believe it is due to my inexperience of smoking these type of cigars.

The BIG JUICY is a smoke I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the ACID line. The sweetness and infused flavor is not for me but it might be for someone who enjoys a flavored light tasting cigar…



Robusto 5x50

This nicely constructed stick is the second attempt from Carrillo to try to impress my palette. This stick has a natural looking wrap that compliments the solidly pack.

I light my cigar in normal fashion using cedar. The first draw has a taste of nut and a little oak flavor. The burn is even and the draw is loose. The stick is burning well producing a thick layer of smoke and an aroma that has people asking what that is. At the halfway point the strength has stayed at a medium feeling and is a pleasant experience. Now with 2/3 gone the smoke has stayed very consistent and has been a pleasure to smoke. The end of this “job” is making me wish that the smoke was longer and I’m wishing I had gotten a Toro instead of a robusto.

The DON RUBINO is a good smoke . I recommend getting the 4 pack to try all the different wrappers.


This cigar was a completely new product to me. An interesting blend with a Connecticut shade wrapper and a size that is good for a tasting,

Lighting my cigar with my usual process of using a piece of cedar I draw in my first taste of this well constructed stick. I notice a hint of cedar and a little nut flavoring telling me that this might be a gem in the rough. The light shade wrap is giving me the impression that this cigar is going to be light but I will keep an open mind.

At halfway the strength has stayed consistently light and the cedar flavor has taken over and is making for a good smoke. The ash came off about 1 third of the way but it has burned even and not to hot. The ash is the color of a grey storm cloud and the plumes of white smoke fill the lounge.

With 2/3 gone the strength has picked up a bit and is leaving me to classify this as a light to medium smoke. The usual taste of green I get from most lightly wrapped cigars is not present and leads me to believe that this company has the right blend down to compliment the lighter wrap.

The NEW WAVE CONNECTICUT BRILLANTES is a good cigar for someone that smokes an ARTURO FUENTE or an Ashton. I recommend that if you want to try this cigar that you get, if available, the 4 pack sampler…