Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Rocky Patel 50th Toro

101_2064

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Rocky Patel 50th Toro

Wrapper: Habano Oscuro from Ecuador

Binder: Secret

Filler:  Secret

Size: 6-1/2 x 52

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » I was very excited to smoke and rate the Rocky Patel 50th considering Rocky worked on the blend for 4 years, the filler and binder are secret and the fact that it costs over $20 per cigar. Out of the cellophane, the 50th had a leathery feel and earthy brown color. The construction was flawless with a beautiful cap to top it off.  The pre-light aroma wasn’t as potent and rich as I thought it might be, but inviting none the less.  There were a few minor veins visible, but nothing to worry about.  The label is typical Rocky, bold and unique, but for some it may not be attractive.  - Points: 10 of 10

Larry » The wrapper is a beautiful reddish brown color.  A few veins are noticeable, but overall a very well built and attractive cigar.  It is a box press cigar with a very attractive band which is pretty much what I expected from Rocky Patel and a cigar of this price point.  The pre-light aroma was very nice, even I could smell a hint of cocoa. – Points:10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Perfect…right in the sweet spot. / Ash Quality:  The ash was a splotchy grey color and a bit flakey, but held on well.  / Burn Quality:   It burned razor straight for the first third and then had a few off moments the rest of the way, but nothing that caused any concern. I had to touch it up once. – Points:  18 of 20

Larry » Draw: The draw was very easy.  I used a punch rather than a cutter and that worked very well.  The draw was almost effortless.  / Ash Quality:  Dark grey ash that held on fairly well.  It burned well over an inch before I rolled the ash off.  / Burn Quality:  I had a slight burn problem at first.  There was a bit of a run that required some touch up, but after that the burn was razor sharp. – Points: 18 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: Upon ignition the 50th produced a lot of smoke filled with a woodsy spice that coated my entire mouth followed by layers of earthy chocolate and tobacco.  The leathery finish was clean on the pallet and a bit of spice lingered in my throat.  This was a stout beginning to a cigar.  Oddly enough I felt it in my ears.  I don’t know how describe it, but it was like the spice was in my ears.  It definitely got my attention.  I was amazed that the finish was so clean for such robust cigar.    / Middle: After the first few draws the 50th mellowed a bit.  Bakers chocolate with spice and tobacco became the predominant flavors.  The body remained full.   / Finish:  The last third stayed the same, although the body seemed to become a little more full.  The finish remained clean, although it left my pallet feeling a bit dry compared to the beginning and middle portion.  – Points:  26 of 30

Larry » Start:  My first impression was of pepper and spice, but the creaminess of the smoke more than made up for it making it medium body at the start.  / Middle:  There was a bit of sweetness to the smoke, and a bit of a nutty flavor as well.  It remained medium bodied with very good flavor. / Finish: The peppery taste got stronger as the smoke progressed.  The cigar was full bodied through the last third with the great flavors and creaminess mentioned above. – Points: 28 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » Overall the 50th Toro was a good cigar.  What impressed me the most was the fact that it was a full bodied cigar that finished so clean, which to me, speaks to the quality of tobacco in the blend.  I do have to say that after the cigar mellowed it didn’t have the complexity it initially did.  It was  pleasant to smoke, produced volumes of smoke, drew perfectly, but seemed a bit flat.  For the money, I would have liked to see a little more complexity. – Points:  36 of 40

Larry »  This is a great cigar!  The flavor was excellent.  It was well made other than a small burn problem at the start.  I am a fan of Rocky Patel cigars and this was the best of his I have smoked.  I do wish that the price point was lower so more of you could have the pleasure of trying this cigar.  I recommend splurging for those of you who can, and try one. – Points: 38 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  90 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 94 out of 100

Average Score: 92 out of 100


Archives 1 Comment

C.A.O. Concert Solo

C.A.O. Concert Solo

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: C.A.O. Concert Solo

Wrapper: Rosado Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler:  Nicaraguan, Honduran

Size: 5-1/2″ X 50

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » One word, gorgeous.  Examining the Solo, I could barely find a flaw.  The wrapper was a rich brown with a bit of oil and a reddish hew that really set it off.  Any veins showing were hair thin and scarcely noticeable. The cap was well constructed and secure.  I have to say it was refreshing to see that this cigar was more of a traditional size. The band is catchy as well, paying respects to C.A.O.’s Tennessee roots and country music.   - Points: 10 of 10

Larry » Beautiful wrapper.  The Ecuadorian Rosado leaf has few veins and has a nice oily sheen.  The band is cool, looking like a guitar pick and a couple of Stratocaster guitars – Points:10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Perfect – practically effortless. / Ash Quality:  Gray ash with relatively tight stack, but didn’t have that staying power.  The ash hung on for 2″ before falling off, and again at the 4″ mark. / Burn Quality:  Razor straight. – Points:  17 of 20

Larry » Draw: Great draw, slightly firm, but produced a large volume of smoke.  / Ash Quality: Light grey ash that held on fairly well, about three quarters of an inch.  / Burn Quality:  The burn was razor sharp.  No touch ups needed. – Points: 18 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: After coaxing this beauty to life with my triple flame butane torch, the characteristic habano spice came to life along with woodsy notes in combination with savory chestnut like nuttiness and creaminess.  The finish lingered, with spice clinging to the back of the pallet and leathery filbert nut tones coated the rest of the pallet.   / Middle: Moving towards the second third of the Solo, the spice faded to the background and more toasted filbert nut qualities came through; roasted nuttiness, cream and a touch bitterness. At the half way point, a touch of smore like chocolate, marshmallow, and graham entered the picture. The finish still remained a little bitter.  / Finish:  The last third offered mild spice, that savory smore like goodness and nutty bitterness.  The bitterness tended to linger longer on the finish longer than I prefer.  It was not invasive or rancid, but tended to cover the other savory and toasted nut flavors.  - Points:  27 of 30

Larry »  I got hit with a strong “peppery” flavor at first.  The cigar actually mellowed as I smoked it, becoming lighter and more complex.  The cigar did show some bitterness in the middle.  Not overpowering, but a tanned leather taste is what came to mind.  The surprise to me was the that the Solo continued to mellow as I smoked it.  What started as strong and peppery mellowed to a medium bodied cigar with a sweetness to it.  - Points: 25 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » One thing I look for when enjoying a cigar is not having to think about babysitting it while it burns.  The Solo offered a razor straight burn and impeccable draw that produced healthy quantities of smoke.  All I had to do was sit back and let the flavors shine.  The combination of tobacco really worked here.  The habano spice, the savory flavors from the Connecticut broadleaf binder and rest of the flavor touches from the Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos were balanced and complicated. If there were a couple of faults with the cigar, I would have to point out that the ash, while solid didn’t have the hang time I  prefer. The other distraction was the nutty bitterness that tended to linger on the pallet.  As mentioned above, it wasn’t rancid or sour, but for me personally, it tended to take a bit away from the other flavors.  Overall this a pleasant, balanced and complex medium to full bodied cigar that I would recommend anyone to try.  - Points:  37 of 40

Larry »  I was impressed by the looks of this cigar.  I liked the musical theme.  The Solo was more complex than I expected and the mellowing in flavor I mentioned earlier was a bit of a surprise.  The sweet flavor at the end was a nice finish.  All in all a good cigar. – Points: 37 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  91 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 90 out of 100

Average Score: 90.5 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Montecristo Epic Toro

Montecristo Epic

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Montecristo Epic Toro

Wrapper: Select Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler:  Special selection of vintage Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos

Size: 6″ X 52

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » Out of the cellophane, the Montecristo Epic is a gorgeous cigar.  The wrapper is a rich, even chocolate brown with minimal veins, and an oily sheen.  The cap is solidly and smoothly constructed.  I could hardly see a seem the entire length of the Epic.  Simply from an aesthetics point of view, this new line looks bolder than the rest of the family, but still has that Montecristo look.  The pre-light aroma reminds me of the chocolate chips in cookies; sweet with a touch of brightness.  Time to smoke and see if this Montecristo lives up to its name. – Points: 10 of 10

Larry » The wrapper is dark and oily with fairly heavy veins giving it a lot of tooth.  There was a small torn spot near the foot which caused a little concern.  The pre-light smell was that of cedar, but that may have been from my humidor. – Points: 8 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Perfect. / Ash Quality:  The ash hung on for 2″ before falling off after I helped it to burn correctly. The ash itself was a bit flaky and light gray, but held on well. / Burn Quality:  Unfortunately it was off for the first 2″ before I helped it. – Points:  16 of 20

Larry » Draw: Great draw giving large volumes of smoke.  / Ash Quality: Light grey ash that held on fairly well.  / Burn Quality:  The burn was not razor sharp, but was not problematic. – Points: 17 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: Initial puffs offered a boat load of smoke from an almost effortless draw.  Flavors of toasty wood and spice evenly filled my mouth and a touch a milk chocolate that came through the nose. Uncharacteristic for a Montecristo, the burn was a bit off, and unfortunately continued to get worse.  When the burn was off by about 1/2″ I decided to help it get back on track with a couple of matches.  / Middle: Shortly after helping it get back on track, the ash fell off.  That was about the 2″ mark.  After that, the flavors changed a bit, becoming a little harsh and bitter.  / Finish:  While the last third of the cigar burned well, a bulge developed which turned into a crack.  The flavors unfortunately never recovered and remained harsh and bitter through the finish.  - Points:  24 of 30

Larry »  The draw was good, but slightly firm. It offered a bit of leather and cocoa flavor that even I could taste.  It was medium to full bodied that built through the first half of the stack.  The flavor built and finish full bodied. – Points: 26 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » Overall I have to say that the Epic did not live up its name or the Montecristo brand.  While it started off with great flavor, it still was not at the level of Montecristo. Maybe I am being harsh and perhaps holding Montecristo to a higher standard, but it just wasn’t as complex as I have become accustomed to with Montecristo.  Perhaps the downfall was when I helped it correct its burn.  After that, the great flavors from the beginning faded away.  Maybe that was my fault, I don’t know.  Would I try another one?  Sure, I would give another a try because the initial flavors were there to make a good cigar.  I will say that it was definitely a bolder Montecristo, which is what they were shooting for, but I am not sure it was of the quality to dawn the Montecristo name. – Points:  35 of 40

Larry »  The torn spot near the foot didn’t cause any problems.  The burn a little uneven, but straightened up on its own.  It offered good flavor, was full bodied, but not overly complex.  It stayed consistent other than the build in body that I mentioned earlier.  Overall, it was a good, solid cigar.  I will enjoy more of these. – Points: 38 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  85 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 89 out of 100

Average Score: 87 out of 100

 


Archives No Comments

Torano Casa Torano Robusto

Torano Casa Robusto

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Torano Family Casa Torano Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler:  Honduran, Nicaraguan, a family blend of Central and South American Tobaccos

Size: 4-3/4″ X 52

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » The first thing I noticed after taking the Casa Robusto out of its cellophane was the oily sheen on the Ecuadorian Wrapper.  It really highlighted the beautiful Connecticut tan/brown color. This robusto was solidly constructed, with an artfully constructed cap.  The only complaint I had was with a couple of visible press lines from the tray used by the buncher/binder before rolling (trays are used to help shape the bound filler to give it its shape before applying the wrapper.  The bound filler is rotated in the tray to prevent these lines.  Sometimes, however, you still see the lines).  There were some minor veins, but nothing that took away from my overall impression. Pre-light aromas consisted of light tobacco, a touch of cream, floral notes, and a touch of, I know this will sound weird, but a touch or barn yard.  That’s not a bad thing by the way, so don’t let that discourage you.  - Points: 9 of 10

Larry » Light brown Connecticut shade wrapper.  Nearly flawless in appearance. No visible seems, and only a few veins to give the cigar some toothiness. – Points: 10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: A little tougher than I prefer, but did not take away from my enjoyment. / Ash Quality:  The ash hung on until the half way mark before falling off.  / Burn Quality:  The burn was razor straight from start to finish. – Points:  19 of 20

Larry » Draw: Draw was a little firm, but still gave out a good volume of smoke.  / Ash Quality: Light grey, very firm ash.  The initial ash held on for 1-1/2″ – 2″ until it knocked off. / Burn Quality:  The burn was perfect.  No touch ups from start to finish. – Points: 19 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: Initial puffs were very soft and light.  The firm draw required a few extra puffs to get things moving, but after a few draws the flavors intensified, and revealed its complexity.  Very similar to the pre-light aroma, the Casa Robusto initially offered some soft tobacco notes, supported by smooth cream, and a little muddy earthiness.  After the first few puffs however, the flavors intensified and the earthiness turned into warm spice and coffee, with a touch of cedar on the finish. For some reason those old Folder’s commercials popped into my head.  Just follow me here.  The aroma from the coffee machine gently wakes you up and fills your nose with aroma. It drags you out of bed, luring you to the kitchen.  You pour a cup, take a sip, and the robust flavors satisfy, getting you ready for the day.  The Casa Robusto did the same thing; gently lead me to more robust flavors from pre-light aroma to the first several puffs, leaving me satisfied.  Speaking of coffee, I think the two would pair nicely.  / Middle: At the half way mark, the ash fell off and the flavor changed momentarily.  More floral notes came through, but then settled back to cream and coffee.  I felt like I was smoking a latte, coffee and cream.  / Finish: What can I say, the Casa Robusto was good to the last puff.  The flavors remained consistent, with only a little bitterness near the end.  – Points:  28 of 30

Larry »  A little firm on the draw, but not unpleasantly so.  It offered good flavor.  I am not good at describing the flavors (I leave that to Matt), however, I did get what seemed to be a “leather” flavor and something that reminded me of a woodsy taste. – Points: 28 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » It’s funny, when Larry and I smoke and write about cigars, we do it completely independent of each other.  While he smoked his robusto in the evening, I smoked mine early in the morning and had the same pleasant experience.  This just proves that the Casa Robusto, whether morning or evening, is a great smoke.  When I smoke, I don’t like to think about it (even though I describe all of this and that in my reviews), I like to enjoy, and that is what this cigar allowed me to do.  It was pleasant, mild to medium bodied all the way to the bitter end (literally, a little bitter).  So the draw was a bit tough, but the burn was great, with no touch ups required, and the flavors reminded me of that good old morning cup of Joe with cream. – Points:  36 of 40

Larry »  I was impressed with this cigar.  While it was a little light for my taste, I enjoyed the quality of the cigar, and the mild to medium body was very pleasant.  I smoked this cigar in the early evening on the patio after dinner and the overall experience was very good.  A well made, high quality smoke. - Points: 35 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  92 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 92 out of 100

Average Score: 92 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Partagas 1845 Robusto

101_0053

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Partagas 1845 Robusto

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Connecticut Habano

Filler:  Dominican and Nicaraguan Ligero and Seco

Size: 5-1/2″ X 49

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » Out of the cellophane, the cigar has a bit of a rustic look to it.  The wrapper was chocolate brown, slightly splotchy in color with some veins showing.  The cap was a little rough, but does the job.  It is solidly constructed, consistently firm the full length of the cigar.  Perhaps the best looking part of the cigar is the label.  The black contrasted by gold with the large eagle is a fresh and sharp update to the traditional Partagas label. The pre-light aroma invites you to light up; offering tobacco notes, sweetness, and a touch of chocolate.  Time to burn.  - Points: 8 of 10

Larry » The 1845 has an almost seamless, dark and oily wrapper, but a lot of pronounced veins giving it a toothy quality. – Points: 8 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Perfect – not to easy, not difficult. / Ash Quality:  The ash hung on gingerly for the first inch before falling off. After that it hung on without worry  / Burn Quality:  The burn straight from start to finish. – Points:  19 of 20

Larry » Draw: Easy draw giving out a large volume of smoke.  / Ash Quality: Light grey and black ash hung on very well. I had to make an effort to knock it off. / Burn Quality:  Perfect burn, no runs, not touch ups.  Very nice. – Points: 20 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: With such a mix of tobacco, including a proprietary binder that took nine years to develop, I was wondering what kind of experience I would have.  With hopes of glory I lit up.  Initial puffs offered good volumes of smoke.  Right away I tasted wood with warm spice from the Ecuadorian wrapper that attached itself to the back of my throat. I am not a fan of throat attacking spice.  This spice brought me to my limit, but it wasn’t over the top or harsh, simply distinct.  About a half an inch in, the sweetness from the proprietary binder kicked in which was a welcomed addition, but some bitterness also crept in throwing the flavors off.   / Middle: Moving towards the middle portion on the cigar, the bitterness subsided a bit along with the spice.  The flavors melded better at this point, giving the cigar a pleasant medium body with the wood flavors remaining prominent, some spice in the background, and a touch of leather and sweetness to round it out.  At about the one inch mark the ash fell off and I noticed that the cigar was coring slightly (even though I was smoking slowly), which probably explained the bitterness.  / Finish: I let the cigar sit and the slight coring quickly corrected itself.  I hate to say this about a new cigar, but the last third of the cigar was overwhelmed by bitterness. At this point I felt like the flavors had broken down and were muddled.  Unfortunately I was left underwhelmed.  - Points:  24 of 30

Larry » Start:  The pre-light aroma offered a hint of unsweetened cocoa.  There was a slight spicy flavor from the start and rich, creamy smoke. / Middle: The rich and creamy smoke remained throughout the cigar.  / Finish: The cigar was good and medium body with consistent flavor throughout.  There was also a slightly sweet aroma.  There was very good flavor all the way through. – Points: 28 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » In the end, I want mulligan.  I feel like the over medium bodied 1845 has a lot of potential, but it just didn’t shine with this example.  The first third was promising, offering distinct woodsy flavors, some spice, and a touch of sweetness.  For some reason though it all seemed to break down with the slight coring issue.  On the positive side, the construction quality and draw were classic Partagas – very good. Overall this cigar didn’t do it for me. – Points:  34 of 40

Larry »  This was a well made cigar with an easy draw, that produced large volumes of smoke, and put off a sweet aroma that left a pleasant odor in the air. A slight spiciness was pleasant to the pallet, and the sweetness was very nice as well. I was very impressed with this cigar.  I will definitely enjoy more of these.  The affordable price helps as well. - Points: 36 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  85 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 92 out of 100

Average Score: 88.5 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Red Lion Toro Gordo Maduro

Red Lion Toro Gordo Maduro

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Red Lion Toro Gordo Maduro

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Brazil

Filler:  Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic

Size: 6″ X 60

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » After removing this beast of a cigar (pun intended) from the cellophane I took a closer look, and the first thing I noticed was the toothy look and feel of the wrapper, and the rich aroma.  The aroma invited me to light up; it was a combination of dark chocolate, tobacco, some earth and sweetness, and a hint of spice that made my nose tingle. The wrapper was dark brown with some tooth and had one medium to large vein.  As far as construction, the Red Lion was firm to the touch with one particularly hard spot under the label, which left me to wonder what the draw would be like.  The cap was well constructed.  - Points: 8 of 10

Larry » This cigar offered a dark maduro wrapper and a large 60 ring gage.  It was a well made cigar with a bit of an oily sheen. It was nearly seamless except some large veins.  It was toothy with a nice tobacco pre-light smell. – Points: 9 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Despite the hard spot under the label, the draw was perfect; slightly firm, but in the sweet spot.  / Ash Quality:  The ash was slightly flakey. For such a large ring gage it hung on very well, falling off for the first and only time at about the 3″ mark.  / Burn Quality:  Again for such a large ring gage the burn was razor straight.  - Points:  20 of 20

Larry » Draw: Slightly firm draw, but the 60 ring gage opened up and produced a large volume of smoke.  / Ash Quality: Light grey ash that was not real strong, but held on fairly well. / Burn Quality:  Very good burn that remained even all the way down. – Points: 17 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: Once lit, the first few draws not only offered a good volume of smoke, but a lot of flavor as well.  Initial flavors included wood, soft spice, bitter sweet chocolate, and something else I couldn’t quite put my pallet on. Soft and smooth is how I would describe the smoke and combination of flavors, which is kind of an odd way to say it when talking about a medium to full bodied cigar.  The fullness and richness was there, but it was brought to my pallet gently, rather than abrasively which many medium to full bodied cigars tend to do.  / Middle: During the second third, the volume of smoke with each draw increased.  The wood flavors took over, with some spice in the background. The smoke dried out a bit, meaning it left my pallet feeling a little dry.  I noticed a little harsh bitterness on the finish.  / Finish: More of the chocolate notes came through in the final third, and the wood tones and spice subsided.  The harshness also subsided, although it still hung around a bit in the form of a charcoal flavor. – Points:  25 of 30

Larry » Start:  Even though there was a little bitterness at first that reminded me of leather, it went away quickly. / Middle: I got quite a bit of spiciness, especially through the nose.  The spiciness intensified throughout the cigar.  / Finish: The cigar was spicy from start to finish.  There were a lot of flavors that intensified as I smoked it. – Points: 27 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » Overall I have to say that this was a good medium to full bodied cigar.  The construction, overall burn, and flavor during the first third of the cigar were the highlights.  It burned flawlessly the entire time and the ash only fell off at the midway point.  The low point of the cigar for me was the harshness and bitterness that crept in during the second third of the cigar, which remained noticeable to the finish.  Unfortunately, the harshness took away from the overall enjoyment of the cigar, even though it subsided towards the end.  - Points:  34 of 40

Larry » This big maduro was well made, spicy, and filled the room with spicy smoke.  There was good flavor that intensified as I smoked it.  It was medium to full bodied, moving towards full which I liked.  Overall a big, well made very good cigar.  King of cigars?  I don’t know, but definitely royalty. - Points: 38 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  87 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 91 out of 100

Average Score: 89 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Berger Argenti Mooch Shnorr

100_9813

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Berger Argenti Mooch Shnorr

Wrapper: Sun Grown Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Jalapa, Nicaragua

Filler:  Esteli, Nicaraguan

Size: 5″ X 50

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » The presentation of the cigar is fun; having what looks like newspaper with an article about the embargo protecting the foot and about a third of the length of the cigar. With the “newspaper” removed, you see the true beauty of its sun grown tan wrapper.  The cap is well constructed, but a little rough looking. Veins are visible, but not enough to hurt the overall look. To the touch, the Mooch is solidly and consistently constructed the length of the cigar.  The pre-light aroma is that of light tobacco, milk chocolate, butter and just hint of grass and earth. Time to smoke.  - Points: 9 of 10

Larry » The wrapper is a nice light brown with a slight oil sheen, a few veins showing and a bit of toothiness. – Points: 8 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Perfect…not too easy, not difficult at all.  / Ash Quality:  A solid, tightly packed ash reminiscent of an H. Upmann. It held on until the half way point before falling off.  / Burn Quality:  Perfect…razor straight.  - Points:  20 of 20

Larry » Draw: Nearly effortless draw, with a surprising amount of smoke from the draw and the foot. / Ash Quality: Nice light grey ash – almost white.  It hung on for over an inch before falling off. / Burn Quality:  A slightly uneven burn at first, but straightened out on its own. – Points: 18 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: The initial puffs produced a healthy amount of smoke coated my entire pallet with spice, wood and a hint of cream in the background.  For such a mellow looking cigar, the flavors were much more pronounced.  The sun grown wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder all worked well in combination, giving the cigar much more depth of flavor and complexity.  This is definitely a medium to over medium body cigar.  / Middle: The spice, wood and the hint of cream remained the same.  I did get some earthy tones here and there, but other than that it remained the same.  What impressed me is the amount of smoke this cigar produced.  It envelops the entire mouth engaging the entire pallet evenly, so you really taste everything the cigar has to offer. The smoke had a nice oil to it, not leaving your mouth dry.  / Finish: More of the same as above.  The only difference is the strength.  The closer it burned towards the label, the stronger it became.  Towards the end there was some harshness, but that is about the only negative I can come with.  - Points:  28 of 30

Larry » Start:  It started with a very mild taste, nothing complex, but pleasant.  / Middle: A little bitterness came through in the middle for me, but it was short lived.  The bitterness went away about the time the burn straightened out. / Finish: The cigar finished much the way it started; mild but pleasant. – Points: 23 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » The Mooch Shnorr is quite an impressive cigar, especially for the money.  If you like a medium body cigar and some spice, this is really a no brainer to add to your collection. I think many aficionados that enjoy fuller bodied cigars will also enjoy this.  I am not a fan of habano type spice because it tends to be searing, but the spice the Mooch offered worked because of the other flavors giving it complexity. The burn and draw were impeccable.  I never had a problem.  The only negative as mentioned above was some harshness near the end, but other than that I can’t really find anything that hurts this cigar. Well done.  - Points:  37 of 40

Larry » My overall impression was pretty good. This is a good looking cigar, and pretty well made.  The mild flavor overall was pleasant, with only a little bitterness in the middle.  The cigar burned well for the most part.  I only knocked the ash off three times.  Overall this is a good affordable smoke. It was a quick smoke, only taking a half an hour to smoke. - Points: 35 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  94 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 84 out of 100

Average Score: 89 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Torano Master Blend Torpedo

100_9214

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Torano Family Cigars Master Blend Torpedo

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Esteli, Nicaragua

Filler: : Esteli & Jalapa Nicaraguan

Size: 6-1/4″ X 52

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » At first look this torpedo is solidly constructed, all the way to the smoothly finished cap.  To the touch, it felt quite firm, but was consistent with no soft spots.  The color is soft brown with a light sheen of oil.  There were some visible veins that detract from its look, but were not so chunky to make me worry about how it would burn.  Finally, the pre-light aroma offered milk chocolate with a hint of spice in the background. – Points 9 of 10

Larry » A creamy brown wrapper, well constructed, with a slightly oily sheen. – Points:10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: A firm draw.  It wasn’t over the top firm, but more effort than I prefer to put into smoking a cigar.  / Ash Quality:  The stack was tight.  The ash color was splotchy, ranging from charcoal gray in spots to light gray. / Burn Quality:  The burn was razor straight. The crack that developed did not affect the burn at all. And the bulge that came about also didn’t affect the burn.  - Points:  17 of 20

Larry » Draw: A bit of a firm draw, but an extra snip with my cutter took care of it. / Ash Quality: The ash was light gray and held on very well. / Burn Quality:  Even burn, with no runs, and burned even and slow. – Points: 20 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start: What an interesting start.  After  a couple of tough draws I noticed the spice from the Ecuadorian Habano, but it wasn’t that overwhelming, searing, thin spice you typically get.  It was balanced. Backing the spice was some earth and something else I couldn’t really describe.  It was kind of like leather, wood, and tobacco all combined with some sweetness and a touch of nuttiness.  I noticed the spice tended to linger on the back of my pallet, where the rest of the flavors remained on the front. Then I heard a co-worker say, “Who is smoking a cigar?  That smells good”, so the aroma was pleasing.  Now maybe it’s due to the firm construction, but a small crack in the wrapper developed, but didn’t run.  / Middle: Moving towards the middle portion of the cigar, the spice toned down and more of the Nicaraguan characteristics started coming through.  Some wood, earth, and that milk chocolate from the pre-light smell came through, all tied together with the Habano spice in the background.  / Finish: Moving towards the last portion, a bulge near the label developed.  It started with a crack that slowly bulged as the cigar burned.  This said, it didn’t affect the draw or the flavor, but was disappointing to see. The finishing flavors moved more towards wood and nuts, with a little bitterness, but not enough hurt the cigar. – Points:  26 of 30

Larry » At first the Master Torpedo offered a kind of creaminess to the smoke with a little spiciness that built as it progressed. Great flavors for a medium bodied cigar . – Points: 27 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » I have to say that I am typically not a fan of Habano wrapped cigars.  The searing spice isn’t for me. It usually over powers the rest of the cigar and kills my pallet, but the Master Blend Torpedo is definitely a cigar I would smoke because of its balanced complexity.  The spice was balanced very well with the blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos.  It was medium bodied and burned perfectly.  The only disappointments I had were the two cracks, one which developed into a bulge (perhaps because of the firm construction), and the firm draw.  That said, I didn’t ding it too heavily because the cracks didn’t take anything away from the experience.  It is clear that Filipe Sosa took his time with this cigar.  It shows through the flavor. I would recommend the Master Blend to anyone.  – Points:  38 of 40

Larry » I have smoked many of these cigars.  You can tell they were blended by a “Master” cigar maker.  It is a very good smoke!  - Points: 38 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  90 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 95 out of 100

Average Score: 92.5 out of 100


Archives 1 Comment

Gurkha Ancient Reserve Toro

Gurkha Ancient Reserve Toro

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Gurkha Ancient Reserve Toro

Wrapper: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: : Nicaraguan

Size: 6″ X 50

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » The Ancient Reserve is a rustic looking cigar with a slightly splotchy chocolate brown wrapper. The pre-light aroma is pleasant, offering earthly/leathery notes.  Construction is literally solid, consistently firm the whole length of the cigar. Tiny veins are visible, but aren’t anything out the ordinary.  Finally the cap is a bit rough, but does the job. – Points 9 of 10

Larry » Dark evenly colored wrapper with a slightly oily appearance.  There are veins, but not near the head of the cigar. A good looking cigar. – Points:10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: Considering how hard the cigar felt during pre-light, I am very satisfied with its medium draw that offers a bit of resistance.  / Ash Quality:  Solid bright white stack that fell off at the half way point. / Burn Quality:  Everything was going perfect through the first inch and a half, but suddenly started burning really hot and seemed to core, even though it didn’t appear to be.  - Points:  17 of 20

Larry » Draw: Slightly firm draw, but it allows a lot of smoke. / Ash Quality: The ash was light gray and held on fairly well. / Burn Quality:  Clean even burn with not touch ups needed. – Points: 19 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start:  Being a Nicaraguan Puro, I anticipated a spicy start to this cigar, but instead it offered a lot of pine wood and almost filbert nut like bitterness. The draw produced a lot of smooth smoke.  The flavors tended to stay concentrated in the front of my mouth with a clean finish. About a quarter of an inch in the flavors became more robust and filled my pallet.  The bitterness subsided a bit more of the Nicaraguan characteristics came through: wood, leather, earth, a hint of sweetness, and a smooth pepper spice in the background that brought it all together.   / Middle: Suddenly the cigar took a drastic turn.  It started burning really hot and required several draws to keep it lit.  The flavors went bitter and harsh. It seemed to just stop and go dead.  I slowed down even more between draws, but was afraid it would burn out.  Trying to keep it lit only flooded my mouth with harsh bitter flavors, so I decided to put flame to it to get rid of the coring and catch the outside up with the inside.  That seemed to get it over the hump. Suddenly the harshness went away and the good flavors came back, but unfortunately the bitterness stayed.  / Finish: The finish was harsh and bitter.  It had a lot of potential, which is why I would like to smoke another one, but for this review, I can’t give it good marks  - Points:  20 of 30

Larry » Good medium to full bodied flavor with some pepper spiciness right from the start. As it progressed the cigar became more full bodied and complex offering rich and heavy smoke. – Points: 26 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » I really think this cigar has a lot of potential.  When the flavors hit their sweet spot in the first inch, I was really enjoying it.  It was balanced, flavorful and smooth with at clean finish.  When the sudden coring problem came about, that really hurt the cigar.  I have to say that I while this particular cigar didn’t work out, I do want to try another one because the flavors are there. – Points:  35 of 40

Larry » A good quality, well made cigar with a definite spiciness to the flavor that lingered after the cigar was done.  There was a few changes to the flavor as the smoke progressed.  - Points: 35 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  81 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 90 out of 100

Average Score: 85.5 out of 100


Archives No Comments

Macanudo Cru Royale Toro

100_9015

Reviewed by: Matt Sackmann & Larry Watkins

Cigar: Macanudo Cru Royale Toro

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Filler

Binder: La Vega Especial (Dominican Republic)

Filler: : Dominican, Brazilian, Nicaraguan

Size: 6″ X 54

Construction/Appearance (10 points):

Matt » The Cru Royale offers a rich dark brown Ecuadorian wrapper that contrasts well with the band, making it a sharp looking cigar. It does look a little dry, not offering a nice oily sheen like many cigars, but is well constructed.  Minor veins show, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The cap is a little rough looking (you can see some dried glue), but does the job.  The pre-light aroma is of chocolate, coffee and tobacco, which is telling me to quit looking at the cigar and start smoking it.  So here we go. - Points 8 out of 10

Larry » This a dark and oily cigar, a bit veiny, with some tooth…pleasing to the eye. – Points:10 of 10

Draw, Ash Quality, Burn Quality (20 points):

Matt » Draw: I’ve smoked a few of these now and they have all had consistently medium to light draws.  This just shows the quality of rolling.  / Ash Quality:  Bright silver/white ash, solid stack, falling off at half way point. / Burn Quality:  The burn was a little uneven throughout. Only during the final third did I need to touch it up because there was a run, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment.  - Points:  18 of 20

Larry » Draw: Firm but good.  It offers just the right amount of resistance.  / Ash Quality: The ash was light gray and held on fairly well. / Burn Quality:  The burn was even throughout with no runs. – Points: 18 of 20

Smoking Characteristics (30 points):

Matt » Start:  Right from the first puffs, huge plumes of smoke filled my mouth with semi sweet chocolate, pepper, wood, and just a hint of salt in the background. The finish is clean, and left just a hint of that spice lingering on my pallet.  / Middle: Nothing changed at this point.  If anything the flavors intensified.  I noticed that this cigar likes to be smoked slowly.  Initially I was puffing pretty regularly and it started to heat up a bit, but when I let it sit a little longer between puffs it remained cool and the flavors were more intense.  It was as if it was telling me to relax and enjoy it, and not to rush things.  I also noticed that it put off a ton of smoke while puffing, but while resting it put off very little smoke. I almost thought it had gone out, but it hadn’t. It’s just patiently waited for me to tend to it.   / Finish: Usually towards the end of a cigar, I start to get some bitterness or rancid flavors.  With the Cru Royale, the chocolate notes intensified leaving a savory sweetness on my pallet. Awesome cigar is all I can say.  - Points:  30 of 30

Larry » This was a medium to full bodied cigar with a sweet spicy flavor that seemed to build as I smoked it.  It left a pleasing aroma in the room.  The firm draw allowed a large volume of smoke.  There was not a lot of changes in the flavors.  They simply intensified as I continued to smoke it. – Points: 27 of 30

Overall Impression (40 points):

Matt » All I kept saying to myself as I smoked the Cru Royale was, “This is a damn good cigar”.  That sums it up.  Sure the burn was a bit off, but at no time did it detract from the fantastic blend of flavors.  And to end on a chocolaty note with a little spice, just capped off the experience. If you like a medium to full bodied cigar, you have to try this one. If you haven’t tried a Macanudo in a while, this one will bring you back to the brand.  I’ll take another please! – Points:  38 of 40

Larry » A good, well made cigar that produced a lot of smoke and burned well.  Overall it is medium to full bodied, leaving some spice lingering on my pallet and nose.  This is by far my favorite Macanudo.  - Points: 37 of 40

Matt’s Total Points:  94 out of 100

Larry’s Total Points: 92 out of 100

Average Score: 93 out of 100

 


Archives No Comments