Friday, October 31, 2014

Regius Cigars Exclusivo U.S.A. Pressed Perfecto

Today the Regius Cigars Exclusivo U.S.A. Pressed Perfecto is the third cigar in my four-part series of this new line.

Looking at this 6 ½ x 54 pressed perfecto, I can not only see, but I can feel the high quality construction. The cigar is firmly packed full length and it's covered with a silky, Colorado Claro colored wrapper. The wrapper is put on seamlessly and it only shows the finest of veins. Since there's a closed foot, there was only the light scent of fresh cut grass and light notes of caramel once the end cap was clipped.

Even though the foot was closed, lighting the cigar was a breeze. The first firm puffs provided flavors of caramel and fermented tobacco. Once the burn progressed a bit the draw loosened up just as expected. As the razor sharp burn line moved up the cigar there were other flavors of toast, leather, brown sugar, toasted marshmallows, lots more caramel and some white pepper that floated in and out. After seventy-five minutes the cigar finished with a mix of caramel and white pepper. although the flavor mix wasn't very complex, this was a very flavorful cigar. 

All three of these Exclusivo U.S.A.Cigars from Regius Cigars have been fantastic, but so far I think this Pressed Perfecto is my favorite. It had great construction, a great burn and over the top flavors. Give these cigars a try, you won't be sorry.

Rated 94

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Foundry Tobacco Company - Compounds, Elements and Musings: Dubnium - Db 105

So far I've been pretty impressed with the Foundry Tobacco Company their cigar lines. Today we take a look at the Dubnium (Db 105) from the Compounds, Elements and Musings line. I picked this stick up at Cigar Train last week.

The Db 105 is 6 x 60 with a near oval box-press applied. It's covered nearly full length by the two bands, but the Cheshire Cat is pretty cool, so it's OK. I'm always leery when it comes to removing large bands, but these both came right off with no damage to the wrapper.

Once the bands are off, you can see the oily, seamless and nearly vein free Colorado colored wrapper that had been hiding underneath. The cigar was packed well full length and topped with a well fitting triple cap. From the cold foot there are notes of sweet fermented tobacco, plus a hint of hay, while the free draw was light and flavored like sweet, spicy cedar.

Once the cigar was burning there were smooth, medium bodied flavors of cocoa, white pepper, leather, oak, molasses, brown sugar, sweet cream, barnyard and raw sugar. After seventy-five minutes the cigar finished with sweet, medium bodied, notes of brown sugar.

Overall the Foundry Dubnium provided a very enjoyable smoking experience. Many of the flavors were on the sweet side of the scale, which I like, but with the earthy notes mixed in, I felt it was well balanced. Sweet and savory came to mind as I was taking notes. If you find this cigar on the shelf at your local B&M, grab a couple and try them out, they're a tasty treat.

Rated 93

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

House Of Emilio Ads Mia Dora To Portfolio

Wilmington, DE October 29, 2014

Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars announced today yet another addition to the ever-growing portfolio of cigars available through the House of Emilio.

Mia Dora is produced by AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua and features an Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder.

The Robusto and Toro are available in 21 count boxes, and the Coronita comes in a 40 count box. The boxes are embossed in gold, while the cigar bands feature a theme dedicated to the town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy, birthplace of the ancestors of the love of Griffith's life, Dora.

Interested retailers should contact their House of Emilio sales representative for additional information.

Gary A. Griffith
Emilio Cigars

Cuéllar Connecticut Krēmē Robusto From Villiger Cigars

Cuéllar Connecticut Krēmē Robusto From Villiger Cigars
This Cuéllar Connecticut Krēmē Robusto From Villiger Cigars is the last cigar from the Cigar Train COTM package from a month ago. That makes me a bit sad since I like the cigars Villiger produces.

Holding this cigar in my hand I see a cigar with top-notch construction. The Claro colored Connecticut wrapper is silky smooth, practically vein free and it's rolled on with seamless care. Feeling down the body I find it's packed firmly full length and the cigar is topped of with a triple cap.

Checking for cold aromas and flavors, there are notes of spiced cedar from the foot, while there of nuances of cream, sugar and spicy cedar from the free draw.

Once the foot is toasted an burning, I'm rewarded with mouthfuls of smooth, creamy, mild bodied smoke that has a mixed cream and cashew flavor. As the burn moves up the cigar I can taste white pepper, toast, sugar, cream, toasted marshmallows and sweet cream butter.

After forty-five minutes the robusto finished with flavors of toast, sugar and cream. I should note, there was a nice touch of spice full length.

Overall this Cuéllar Connecticut Krēmē Robusto was another nice cigar from Villiger Cigars. It had a good burn line, great construction and a balanced flavor mix. I liked this cigar, I bet you will too!

Rated 92

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Classic Robusto By Crux Premium Sticks

Classic Robusto By Crux Cigars

Yesterday I made a mistake. While cleaning most of the 1500 pictures off my phone, I deleted the pictures for this Classic Robusto By Crux Premium Sticks by mistake. Since I was in a jam, I hopped over to the Crux web site and borrowed this picture.

I've been wanting to try these Crux cigars for some time now but haven't ran across any. To my surprise the Freight Train package (cigar of the month club), this month from Cigar Train was filled with Crux Cigars. Well, I think the wait was definitely worth it. This Classic Robusto was a solid, good smoking, great tasting cigar. Here's what I found.

This well packed Classic is covered by an oily Colorado colored Habano Jalapa wrapper. Looking at the wrapper, it's rolled on with seamless skill and it contains only the finest of veins. From the foot there is a nice aroma of fermented tobacco, while the free cold draw releases flavor notes of tart fruit.

Once the foot is toasted and the cigar is burning the first medium bodied flavors are mix of sweet fermented tobacco and smooth leather. As the sharp, oily burn line moves up the body, there are other flavors of brown sugar, lots of cream, oak, spicy cedar, toast and mild black pepper. After sixty minutes the Crux Classic finishes with a near full bodied mix of cream and leather.

Overall the Crux Classic was a darn nice cigar and I'm happy to finally have the chance to take one for a spin. It had a solid flavor mix, a great burn and top of the line construction. Give these a try, you can't go wrong!

Rated 92

Monday, October 27, 2014

Honeybear Green Chai From Tattle Tea

Tattle Tea Honeybear Green Chai
Like I've mentioned before, green tea is one of my favorite hot drinks. Other than a bit of Earl Gray Green Tea, I pretty well stick to the 100% pure tea versions. This Honeybear Green Chai From Tattle Tea is my first experience brewing any type of Chai so I'm pretty excited to try it out.

According to the Tattle Tea web site, this Chai has ingredients of Sencha green tea, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger, anise, fennel, coriander, plus it's flavored with salted caramel and honey.

Once the container is opened, this Chai is remarkably aromatic. Aromas of sweet honey, fennel, cloves and cinnamon quickly fill the room.

After adding hot water and steeping for 3 minutes, the resulting liquid is a slightly cloudy peridot green in color and the aroma has changed a bit. I thought the steeped Chai had a nice "warm apple pie" aroma. The first sips were fantastic, the Chai was sweet with a hint of saltiness, a light mouthfeel and a fresh palate wash. Once it cooled a bit the other flavors began coming out. First it was the cloves, then nuances of anise, fennel and honey.

As a first experience with Chai, this was a good one and I'm probably hooked now. The aroma was fantastic and the flavors were clean. This Honeybear Green Chai is a limited edition tea, so get it while you can, its only available during Chai Fest 2014.

Rated 9.3 of 10

Friday, October 24, 2014

Villiger Talanga Robusto

Villiger Talanga Robusto
This Villiger Talanga Robusto was another cigar included in last month's Cigar Of The Month package from Cigar Train.

Covered with a silky smooth, Claro colored Talanga Honduran wrapper, this robusto has a nice visual appeal. Not only was the wrapper put on with seamless care, it's oily and practically vein free. The cigar is packed well full length and it topped with a nice triple cap. From the cold foot there is a mild aroma of toast and the free draw tastes like sweet sugary cream.

After clipping the cap and lighting up, the first mild bodied puffs tasted like toasted cashews with a hint of mild spicy cedar. Around the mid point, the spice turned to hot red pepper for a few puffs then mellowed out again. There were other second half flavors of earth, leather and brown sugar. After fifty-five minutes the Villiger Talanga Robusto finished with a nice mix of cream and leather.

Overall, this was a nice cigar. It had top notch construction, a great burn and a balanced flavor mix. Try it out, it's a nice cigar.

Rated 92

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CAO Amazon Basin Toro

CAO Amazon Basin
CAO is another of my favorite "big brand" Cigar lines. I try picking up every new release, but I don't always succeed. However, on my last trip to Cigar Train I scored this CAO Amazon Basin Toro. After smoking it, I should have grabbed a few more. Since you probably don't live in Spokane, has these in stock and ready to ship.

I don't do much reading about a cigar before my review so that my judgement isn't influenced. Well, this cigar tricked me a bit. I would have sworn it had an Andullo leaf inside, but it didn't. This cigar does have a special leaf inside that's cured much like the Andullo leaf, but instead it's called "Branganca". It's grown, harvested and fermented deep in the Amazon rain forest.

With it's twisted tobacco band, this Toro looks as rugged as the deep Amazon itself. The Ecuadorian Sumatra ligero wrapper is dark, so dark it's almost Oscuro colored, it's seamless, it has a few smaller veins and some nice tooth, overall it looks fantastic. From the cold foot there is a deep fruity aroma to the nose and the flavor of the free cold draw reminds me of spiced red wine.

After the foot is toasted and burning the first medium bodied flavors encountered were reminiscent of dark chocolate, black cherries and spice. A delicious combination. As the burn moves up the cigar, oil starts building on the wrapper and the other flavors start building. There are notes of raw sugar, rich fermented tobacco, a hint of oak, dark brown sugar, toast, charcoal, chocolate and espresso. I thought it was an amazing combination of flavors!

The CAO Amazon Basin Toro finished it's seventy-five minute burn with a full bodied mix of toasty charcoal. One final thought on the flavors. I thought the cigar had notes of red wine throughout, but not like a wine infused cigar, more like wine itself would taste.

Since this Branganca tobacco is rare--harvested once every three years--only 2000 boxes of Amazon Basin cigars were produced. If you're lucky enough to find this cigar, grab some before it's to late!

Rated 95

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Five Questions With Simon Thompson Of Cravens Coffee

Cravens Coffee Earth & Sky Blend
Cravens Coffee Earth & Sky Blend
In this week's segment of "Five Questions" we talk to Simon Thompson of Cravens Coffee located right here in Spokane, WA. Simon's love for coffee goes far beyond roasting and selling coffee. His love for the product shows not only within his own company, but in our community and within the countries that produce the beans. I'm not going into great detail here, but visit it contains a wealth of information.

From my first cupping experience, to learning about professional coffee grading systems and learning how to find subtle flavor nuances, Simon Thompson has been a significant influence in my coffee journey.

1. What led you to start roasting your own coffee commercially?

I left Seattle's Best Coffee in 1993 to start Cravens with my wife Becky. We had both been in the Hotel and Restaurant business, but in one of those "right place, right time" moments, were in Seattle just as the Specialty Coffee phenomena was building. So came to Spokane to start Cravens.

2. What has been the most enjoyable aspect of creating your own roasting company?

The continuing love of the product, which has has been fueled by annual trips overseas to coffee growing countries since 1999. I love the travel to remote parts of the world, and bring back spectacular coffees.

3. What is your typical week like? I.e. events, travel, visiting shops, etc.

Cupping coffee - multiple times each week; Tasting espresso blends - daily; Espresso training - as they arise, and they seem to come in waves; Buying coffee - also concentrated at times of the year (harvest); Visiting customers; Working in our accounts - I am not a "chatter", I prefer to be out there being active.

4. Can you give any hints what may be coming down the pipe from Cravens Coffee?

Cravens is growing. The phone is ringing and we are actively opening new business all the time. We have also become the African Coffee Roaster it seems, with 2 coffees from Ethiopia, then Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Watch out for the new crop Colombians in January.

5. What are your personal top 2 coffee's?

1) Tanzania Mondul Estate Peaberry - sweet, wine-like, full bodied, tangy - both as single cup and the majority of an espresso blend. I have a personal relationship with the farm and the people, being the early adopter of this coffee.

2) Then it varies, but the Colombia Huila Valencia is almond-nutty, caramelly, apple-buttery - fantastic. Although a perennial favorite is the Ethiopia Abaya - unbelievable berry-like notes.

I would like to thank Simon Thompson and Cravens Coffee for taking the time to answer these five questions and for all the help provided to help me learn. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

1875 Romeo y Julieta Gordo

1875 Romeo y Julieta Gordo
Here's the newest offering from RyJ Cigars, the 1875 Romeo y Julieta. I picked this Gordo up on my last visit to Cigar Train. I like the consistency of RyJ Cigars so I am pretty excited to give this 1875 a try.

This 1875 Romeo y Julieta Gordo comes draped in a silky smooth, seamless, nearly vein free, Colorado Claro colored, rare 2010 Indonesian wrapper. From the foot, the aged Dominican Piloto fillers had light notes of fermented tobacco to the nose and once the cap was clipped the free draw had notes of spiced fruit.

After putting a flame to the foot, the cigar rewarded me with large mouthfuls of smoke tasting like fruit and cream with a dash of black pepper mixed in. The pepper quickly faded as flavors of earth, leather and sugar took over. After eighty minutes the cigar finished with medium bodied nuances of leather and cream. The flavor mix of this 1875 wasn't very complex, but the cigar delivered a smooth and tasty smoking experience.

Over all this was a nice cigar. It smoked cool full length, the burn line was razor sharp, it's packed well full length and the wrapper picked up an oily gloss as the burn progressed.

One final note, you won't find this cigar on-line, it's only available from brick-and-mortar stores. With a price point under seven bucks for a Gordo, I will get off  my Cheap Ash and pick up a few more for the humidor!

Rated 92

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coffee How To: Pour-Over Coffee Brewing

 Coffee How To: Pour Over Coffee Brewing
On an average day I sip anywhere from two to six cups of coffee brewed using the pour-over method and these are the basic steps I use. Use this as a guide. Don't be afraid to make adjustments to fine-tune your perfect brew.

Before you begin, some type of timer will be helpful, your phone probably has a stopwatch that will work perfectly for this, but I use the timer on the microwave.

Ground Coffee: Start with a grind about the size of coarse sugar. (Sugar in the Raw is a good size.) When doing reviews I use .6 ounces of ground coffee for each 10 ounces of water. When brewing just to sip, I use up to 1 ounce of coffee per cup depending upon my mood.

Pour-over device: The Melitta plastic pour-over cone works well for me; I have a ceramic model that came from Starbucks, but I don't use it (here's the review). Inside the cone I use a #2 Brew Rite white cone filter. At one time I tried their brown unbleached filters, but they're a bit more porous so I had to adjust the grind. Now I use the white filters all the time.

Water: Start with cold, clean water, (filtered if you need it). If I'm doing a review, I start with fresh water in the kettle for every cup. In the beginning I used a stove-top tea kettle with worked well, but now I have an electric kettle, from Bella Housewares, with a longer spout (here's the review). The longer spout aids in getting the water exactly where you want it inside the cone. You will want the water about 30 seconds off the boil or about 205 degrees.

Doing the Pour: My first step is to dampen the coffee by adding just enough water to wet the grounds. Once they're wet I wait until the water has stopped dripping into the cup before continuing. To finish the pour (this is where the timer comes in), Set and start a 2 minute timer, then continue by washing the pre-dampened coffee off the sides of the filter, then slowly add hot water evenly across the surface until the filter inside the cone is full. When the two minute timer goes off, your cone should be done dripping. If it finishes dripping in less than two minutes your grind is to course. If it takes longer than two minutes your grind is probably to fine.

There you have it, At this point you should have a great tasting cup of freshly brewed coffee.

I'm not the world's leading authority on pour-overs, but I drink a lot of great tasting coffee and these steps work for me on a daily basis. Remember, don't be afraid to make adjustments to suit your tastes or style.

If you have a better method, get better results or have a neat brewing trick, please, feel free to leave a comment. I'm always looking for ways to improve my processes.

Happy sipping!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Regius Cigars The Exclusivo U.S.A. Lancero Extra

Regius Cigars The Exclusivo U.S.A. Lancero Extra
Here's another of the new line from Regius Cigars, The Exclusivo U.S.A. Lancero Extra. This 40 ring lancero is a bit larger than the standard 38 ring and it's a full 7 ½" long.

Construction of this Lancero Extra is nice. It's packed firmly full length and is covered by a seamless, nearly vein free Colorado Claro colored wrapper. In addition, there's a bit of tooth to the oily wrapper and the cigar is finished off with a pig-tail cap.

When checking cold aromas, there were light notes of spice from the foot and after clipping the pig-tail cap, the free draw tasted like spiced fruit.

After toasting and lighting the foot the cigar produced a large amount of medium bodied smoke with nuances of toast mixed with caramel. Caramel was the predominate flavor in this cigar, but there were other smooth notes of leather, cream, raw sugar, raisin, dark brown sugar and some mild black pepper. After sixty-five minutes the Lancero Extra finished with a full bodied mix of caramel and black pepper.

Overall I thought this was a fantastic cigar. It had great flavors, a razor sharp burn line and the wrapper developed a rich oily gloss as the cigar burned. I really liked this Exclusivo U.S.A. Lancero Extra. Try it out for yourself, I think you'll like it!

Rated 94

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

F-Bomb By Roast House Coffee

F-Bomb By Roast House Coffee
I've wanted to review coffee from Roast House, a local Spokane company, for some time now. For one reason or another I haven't taken the time to talk with them, so yesterday, I broke down and picked up a bag from a local super-market.

To the nose, the ground F-Bomb By Roast House Coffee has pleasant notes of cocoa with hints of citrus. When hot water is added for the pour-over the aromas change a bit to a mix of cocoa and slightly sweet toast.

The F-bomb starts out with some tart citrus, mixed with cocoa and light syrupy mouth feel. As it begins to cool, the natural sweetness increases, it becomes smoother, more balanced and a rich black cherry flavor develops.

Overall this F-Bomb coffee brewed a great cup. The flavor mix was rich and complex at times reminding me of tart chocolate covered cherries. It also produced a clean cup with no defects.

Lots of people drop the F-Bomb, but don't drop this F-Bomb, this coffee is a keeper!

Rated 92

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

John Starks #3 Signature Series Connecticut Toro from Legends Cigars

John Starks #3 Signature Series Connecticut Toro
Monday night at Legends of Fire, in Northern Quest Casio, my wife and I had the opportunity to meet NBA legend, John Starks. It was an amazing event and everyone in attendance received two of John's great cigars, one Connecticut, one Maduro. We picked up a box, which John autographed plus he posed for pictures with us. We had a great time.

This John Starks #3 Signature Series Connecticut Toro from Legends Cigars was another top of the line cigar. From the foot there were mild aromas of oak and hay to the nose and after clipping the end-cap the free cold draw had the same flavor mix.

The cigar itself had top-notch construction. It was packed well full length, plus the silky smooth Claro colored Connecticut wrapper was seamless and nearly vein free.

After toasting the foot and lighting the Connecticut, the first flavors within the mild bodied smoke were cream with a mild hint of spice. As the burn moved up the body there were other flavors of brown sugar, cedar, white pepper, oak and honey. The flavor mix wasn't very complex, but the flavors were balanced and they complimented each other to deliver a tasty smoke.

Overall the John Starks #3 Signature Series Connecticut Toro, was another really nice cigar. The burn line was razor sharp, a nice oily gloss developed on the wrapper as the burn progressed and it gave me sixty minutes of smoking pleasure. This is another stick that you shouldn't pass up if you find one!

Rated 92

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bigelow Classic Green Tea

Bigelow Classic Green Tea
This Bigelow Classic Green Tea is one of my daily teas. I've been drinking this and a couple other green teas for years. Bigelow says this tea is hand-picked and only comes from high elevation gardens.

To a warm cup, I added one tea bag, hot water and let it steep for three minutes. I ended up with a cup of honey colored green tea with a pleasant aroma.

The aromatic qualities of this tea radiate from the cup with nuances of sweet, light spice, and a bit of earth.

Flavor wise, this tea has notes of spice and earth. Be warned if you steep it over the recommended three minutes it will pick up some bitter tones.

Sipping this tea, the mouthfeel is on the heavy side for green teas, but it still delivers a bright wash across the palate. If you like sugar, honey, lemon added to your tea, this blend is sturdy enough to handle it.

Overall this is a nice green tea, with clean flavors. It's a bit bolder than most other green teas, but it's a nice change of pace.

Rated 8 out of 10

John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro Cigar from Legends Cigars

Last night Legends of Fire, at Northern Quest Casio, had a John Starks Cigar event. Every one in attendance received two of John's great cigars, one Connecticut, one Maduro and a tasty sample of Pyrat Rum. There were several drawings and if you purchased a box, John would sign it. I picked up a second ticket and the wife went along. She had a great time as well!

So now that you know the story, lets get on to the cigar.

My first cigar was the John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro Cigar from Legends Cigars. This toro was covered by a hearty, nearly oscuro colored Brazilian Maduro wrapper. It was oily, seamless, virtually vein free and packed well full lenght. Bottom line, it was a great looking cigar. From the cold foot and the free draw there were flavorful notes of cocoa and cream--it reminded me of hot cocoa.

Once the foot was toasted and burning it produced a large volume of mild/medium bodied smoke. I'll tell you about the flavors, but this cigar was a chocolate bomb. If found nuances of cocoa, cream, milk chocolate, leather, earth and cream. As the sixty minute burn came to a conclusion, the cigar finish with a delicious medium bodied mix of charcoal, cream and cocoa (burnt mocha). 

Overall I thought this was a fantastic cigar. It was smooth, it had a tasty flavor mix and great burn. Don't pass this cigar up, it's a winner. 

Rated 94

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gyokuro Japan Green Tea from Tattle Tea

This Gyokuro Japan Green Tea from Tattle Tea is another of those rare green teas. The Gyokuro is shade grown for about twenty day and hand-picked resulting in a tea with increased amounts of amino acids, chlorophyll and caffeine.

To a warm cup I added the proper amount of the Gyokuro Japan Green Tea into the infuser. Once hot water was introduced and the steep was over, the tea leaves created a cup of slightly cloudy, light emerald green colored tea.

I found the tea. light and naturally sweet, but at the same time a bit brisk with a refreshing wash across the palate.

The flavor of this tea is superb, but light, with a clean and smooth finish.

Overall I will say this is the finest green tea I have sipped to date!

Rated 9.8 of 10

I would like to thank Tattle Tea for providing this sample for review!

400th Blog Post

Well here it is, my 400th (305 so far in 2014) post to this blog. It's been a busy and exciting ride.

My goal for 2014 was to review 200 cigars, I'm not really sure of the count, but I'm probably pretty close.

The year should finish out with a bang! I have some newly released cigar yet to review, with more on the way, two humidors, (including the Davioff No.6 I recently won in a contest), lots more coffee and I am expanding my Five question segment.

But you, the daily readers deserve all the credit! If you weren't reading I wouldn't be writing. Thank you!

The Final Chapter? Rival Twin Chapter 4 by La Gloria Cubana Cigars

Rival Twin Chapter 4 by La Gloria Cubana Cigars
About a month back, I finally picked up this cigar from Cigar Train on one of my weekly visits. The Rival Twin Chapter 4 by La Gloria Cubana Cigars is the final cigar in this four part special series--or is it?

The other day I asked Michael Giannini, Director of La Gloria Cubana Cigars that very question.

His reply: "Is Rival Twin Series Chapter 4 the final chapter……all I can say is to be continued?"

Well done Michael!

Well let's get on with the review. The rich, oily, Colorado colored Honduran wrapper is seamless and practically vein free. From the cold foot, there are aromas of rich fermented tobacco and over ripe tree fruit to the nose. After clipping the triple cap, the free cold draw has nuances of sweet oak.

Once the foot is toasted and burning the cigar produces a nice volume of smooth, medium bodied smoke with flavors of fruit and chai tea. The burn line on this stick was razor sharp. As the burn moved up the body, a deep oily gloss developed on the wrapper. There were other flavors of brown sugar, toast, caramel, oak, cocoa and a hint of anise. After one hour and twenty-five minutes this mammoth 8 x 52 double corona finished with notes of rich caramel and white pepper.

For now at least, this Rival Twin Chapter 4 is the final chapter and it was one nice cigar. It had great flavors, a nice burn line and a fantastic smoking time. If you haven't tried any of the Rival Twin series, you really should!

Rated 94

Friday, October 10, 2014

Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee by Coffee Direct

Indian Monsooned Malabar by Coffee Direct
Amazing! I could easily end this review of the Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee by Coffee Direct right there and be happy. But, that wouldn't help you now, would it?

How can I be satisfied with a one word review? Simply stated, this is the best coffee I've ever sipped. I know that's pretty bold statement, but this is my "perfect coffee!" Read on and i'll explain.

Opening the bag, pleasant aromas of coffee, earth, cocoa and caramel hit my nose. Looking at the beans, they're at the city roast level and they're already showing some oily caramelization.

These beans come from India where they're exposed to the Monsoon winds for several months. The beans absorb moisture from the winds and take on their unique flavor qualities.

After grinding, the dry coffee gave off nearly the same aromas but the cocoa and caramel nuances were more pronounced. Wet, the coffee had strong, rich notes of caramel and hints of earthy cocoa. I sampled this coffee with two different brewing methods, pour-over and auto drip, with near identical results. The only real difference between the two methods was a bit more brightness in the pour-over.

When tasting the Indian Monsooned Malabar I found it to produce a defect free, clean cup with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and there were no tart or bitter tones present. While sipping I found the Malabar sweet, perhaps the sweetest coffee I've ever sampled, with prominent flavors of cocoa, caramel, earth and an underlying hint of charcoal.

There two other notable mentions about this coffee. I paired this coffee, with a bold cigar and had great results. You can read the pairing on Then just for fun the kids used this coffee to make chocolate covered coffee beans. It was a fantastic flavor combination with the sweet caramel and cocoa flavored coffee.

There you have it. That's why I say this Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee by Coffee Direct is nothing short of "amazing!"

Rated 95

Thursday, October 9, 2014



(Miami, Florida) October 9, 2014— Roberto Pelayo Duran is proud to announce that Jack Toraño of the Toraño cigar family will now oversee sales in Florida and the Caribbean for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. This announcement comes only days after the announcement of the hiring of Miguel Shoedel and Frank Cuden.

Jack Toraño spent 3 years with Toraño Family Cigar Company as Director of Marketing until its acquisition by General Cigars.

Roberto Pelayo Duran said: “Jack Toraño was an integral part of Toraño Family Cigar Company and we are ecstatic to have him on board at Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company. Jack is very well known as he has travelled extensively and his popularity, charisma and four generations of tobacco heritage will go very far in helping us expand our brand.”

Jack Toraño said: “I wanted to take the time to find the company that matches my vision. I am excited to be working with Roberto Pelayo Duran who is as passionate about cigars as I am. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is truly a boutique cigar company which owns its tobacco fields and creates their own cigars. The fact that we will be involved in everything from tobacco field all the way to the valued customer is what brought me here. Roberto Duran is creating a stellar team and I am happy to call Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars my new home.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and manage distribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, please visit For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at or 305.968.2384.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Exclusivo U.S.A. Fat Perfecto by Regius Cigars

My first experience with a Regius Cigar was about a month back when I smoked and reviewed their Black Label Robusto. I thought it was a fantastic cigar. Today I am reviewing their new release, the Exclusivo U.S.A. Fat Perfecto. The Exclusivo U.S.A.line is specifically blended for the the U.S. market. Let's check it out and see how they did.

This Fat Perfecto measures out at 5 ¾ x 60 x 54 with a nice pig tail cap. The Colorado Claro colored wrapper is nice, it's seamless and nearly vein free. From the cold foot there is a light spicy aroma while the free draw has bolder sweet notes of spice and fruit.

After toasting the cigar, the first medium bodied puffs had flavors of toasted cashews and leather. As the sharp burn line moved up the cigar an oil line developed and the strength began to build. I also found other flavors of oak, lots of caramel, brown sugar leather and and hints of cocoa. As the burn reached the mid point the strength moved into the full bodied range. After fifty-five minutes the Fat Perfecto finished with nuances of caramel, white pepper and coffee while leaving behind a sweet leather aftertaste.

Overall I thought this Exclusivo U.S.A. Fat Perfecto was another great cigar from Regius Cigars. It had a nice burn, a good smoking time and the flavor mix was superb. So far their cigars are impressive. If you get a chance to smoke one, or more, don't pass it up!

Rated 93


(Miami, FL)- October 8, 2014--One picture, eleven cents: #LA111th. La Aurora turns 111 years old today and wants to celebrate with all the smokers in the world, inviting them to toast with Guillermo and Michelle León in celebration of such a special date. That being a reason to celebrate is also a reason to “give back.” The company has announced a target to collect funds for one of the social programs supported by La Aurora. For every picture received by the brand’s social media, 11 cents will be donated to the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes de Santiago de los Caballeros, a local institution that fights against diabetes disease. La Aurora will also use all the pictures received to adorn their tabaquería, in the factory, in an effort to make everyone feel part of La Aurora Family. The campaign "Become part of the family" invites everyone to have their own picture hung in La Aurora's facilities and we want to fill it all!

"La Aurora is a family and we want to invite all our friends from all around the world to join our family on this very special day in which we accomplish 111 years of history," said Guillermo León, president of La Aurora. "We want to share the joy of this celebration with all our employees, our International distributors, the tobacco shops and with all smokers and friends, with a double challenge. We aim to fill the factory walls with the pictures of so many friends and make a generous contribution to the research of such a cruel disease as diabetes.”

The hash tags that will be used to collect the pictures, on Twitter, Face book ( and Instagram are #LA111th.

La Aurora's commitment is to keep everyone informed about their progress and the evolution of the factory walls. Become part of the family…

About La Aurora Cigars
La Aurora is the original cigar factory in Dominican Republic. Its master craftsman roll the best quality premium cigars since 1903, 111 years ago today. Located in Santiago de los Caballeros, the premium cigar capital of the world, La Aurora is a family owned company headed by Guillermo León, a fourth generation tobacco artisan, and is a symbol for all the Dominican people.

About the Patronato de Lucha contra la Diabetes
Between 8% and 10% of the global population is affected by diabetes, a disease that has turned into a world health problem, as it is not about social or economic level to develop it. Till now, there has been no programs to prevent and educate people about the fight against this disease in Dominican Republic nor to help people affected by it. Known as the "Epidemic of the century", this disease has no cure and its treatment costs are very high. The Patronato de Lucha Contra la Diabetes de Santiago is a NGO created to help and service people affected by diabetes with poor economic resources in Cibao Region.

About Miami Cigar & Co.
Miami Cigar & Co. proudly celebrates its 25th Year in the cigar industry. Founded by Nestor and Mariana Miranda, Miami Cigar & Co. has become one of the premier distributors of premium cigars boasting a portfolio which includes Tatiana, Don Lino and the Nestor Miranda brands. Miami Cigar &Co. also serves as the exclusive United States distributor for La Aurora, S.A and all Viva Republica brands.

Follow Miami Cigar & Company on Social Media here: Facebook: Miami Cigar & Company, Instagram: MiamiCigar, Hashtag: #OneLife

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CAO Cigars MX2 Toro

I found smoking the CAO Cigars MX2 Toro cigar a great way to relax and beat the scorching mid-afternoon summer heat a while back.

The double maduro binder and wrapper combination of this MX2 only highlighted four-county blend of fillers inside. But let me tell you this baby was a chocolate bomb from start to finish. It comes with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper that's all business. The toothy wrapper is dark, oily, and thick, It's rolled on with near seamless perfection and the cigar is packed firmly full length. Plus, when testing the cocoa flavored free draw, the wrapper left behind a nice chocolate aftertaste on my lips.

From the first medium/full bodied puff to the last, this MX2 was all earth and chocolate. No, the flavor mix wasn't complex at all, but dang, it was good all the way down to a lip-burning nub.

Overall this was another high quality cigar from CAO Cigars. It had a great burn line and a fantastic ninety minute smoking time. If you like chocolate and you like them smooth give this CAO Cigars MX2 a try.

Rated 92

Trill Cigars Torpedo Gordo

This Trill Cigars, Torpedo Gordo came in this months Cigar Of The Month package from Cigar Train. Trill Cigars are part of Villiger Cigars North America.

Looking at this cigar, it's a chunk. As you can see it's a torpedo, it's 4.5" x 62 and it covered with a hearty Habano wrapper. The oily, Colorado Claro colored wrapper is practically vein free and seamless. There is one wrinkle in the wrapper at about the center of the cigar. From the foot there is a nice aroma to the nose of fermented tobacco and the free cold draw has notes of oak.

Once the foot was toasted and burning, the first medium/full bodied flavors were leather with a bit of spice lying underneath. Soon to follow there were nuances of coffee, brown sugar, cocoa, caramel and toasted nuts. The sixty minute burn finished full bodied with notes of toast and rich tobacco. The flavor mix wasn't really complex, but it sure was tasty. I liked the flavors so well, I smoked the Trill down to a half inch, lip-burning nub.

However, be warned, if you smoke this cigar down to a nub like I did, make sure you have a beverage to drink or a full stomach. This stick really is full bodied and it will hit you in the stomach like you were kicked by a stubborn mule if you're not prepared.

Overall I thought this Trill was a fantastic cigar and I am looking forward to smoking many more. As a final thought, you know how 60+ ring cigars normally burn for me. The Trill had a great burn for a 62 ring cigar. The burn wasn't razor sharp, but it was close. Well done Trill Cigars!

Rated 93

Monday, October 6, 2014

Davidoff Nicaragua Toro

Davidoff Cigars Nicaragua Toro
I've never had the opportunity to smoke a Davidoff cigar until now. If you read my post on Thursday, you know I won a  Davidoff No. 6 humidor in a #VivaDavidoff contest. With the humidor Davidoff included a four-pack of Davidoff Nicaragua Toro Cigars.

Construction of this Nicaragua Toro is first class all the way. The oily Colorado Claro colored Rosado wrapper is rolled on with seamless care and it's virtually vein free. Beautiful. Checking the body, it's packed firmly full length with no hard or soft areas and there's a nice triple cap. From the cold foot there are notes of sweet fermented tobacco to the nose and the free draws tastes of spicy cedar.

Once the foot was toasted and burning the first puffs produced large mouthfuls of mild/medium bodied smoke tasting like sweetened cedar. As the sharp burn line moved up the body there were other notes of leather, white pepper, oak, brown sugar and toasted nuts. After eighty-five minutes the cigar finished in the medium/full range with flavors of mild black pepper and sweet caramel.

Since this was my first Davidoff cigar, I didn't know what I'd find, but this cigar was pretty nice. It had a great burn time, solid flavors and top of the line construction. I'm sure in the future I'll be trying more Davidoff blends!

Rated 93



In addition to Miguel Schoedel, Roberto P. Duran hires Frank Cuden as Territory Manager.
(Miami, Florida) October 6, 2014— The cigar industry has been abuzz recently with major brands making major changes. Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars is no different. The company has now added Miguel Schoedel (previously at Toraño Family Cigar Company) as their National Sales Manager. Duran is also announcing the hiring of another former Toraño territory manager, Frank Cuden.

These new talent acquisitions are seemingly only the beginning of what’s to be a major growth spurt for Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars. After the unveiling of the super-premium Roberto P. Duran Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa cigar brands at the 2014 IPCPR, Roberto feels it is now time to add a little muscle to the sales force to coincide with the companies continued expansion.

Miguel Schoedel was a stand-out component within the sales team at CAO. He spent the last four years with Toraño Family Cigar Company, where he was promoted to National Sales Manager.

Roberto P. Duran said: “I am very happy with the growth of Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars and with that growth is the need for top notch personals to help carry the brand forward. Miguel Schoedel is a perfect fit for our company as he comes with a stellar resume. He is tireless and as passionate about tobacco as I am. I am also very happy to announce the hiring of respected industry professional, Frank Cuden, who will strongly bolster our ability expose our brands throughout the U.S. market. “

Miguel Schoedel said: “I feel that the back bone of the industry is still the family owned cigar companies. I have made my 11 year career working for families like the Ozgeners, Toraño’s, and now very proudly joining the Duran Family. What makes Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar Company special is the fact that the company owns its factories, encompassing cigar rolling and processing to also having its own wrapper plantation, which is great. We are led by Roberto P. Duran a man that has 23 years of cigar industry experience from the markets of Cuba, Hong Kong, Germany and Canada. Roberto P. Duran and Azan cigars breathe authenticity; in an industry that of late is being taken over by corporate and industrial cigar companies.”

Miguel Schoedel will oversee the sales force while maintaining his home base in the Mid-West Region. Frank Cuden will manage South-East.

Roberto P. Duran began his life’s work in his homeland of Havana, Cuba where tobacco grabbed a hold of him, and never let go. Supervising the production of cigar manufacturing in Cuba was only the beginning as he later went on to assemble and manage distribution of all Cuban cigar brands for Asia at The Pacific Cigar Company Ltd. The creation of Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars has given Roberto the platform to introduce a brand of cigars that offer the same quality, construction, and detail which he exceeded from those he supervised while in Cuba. Roberto P. Duran’s brands include Azan Cigars, Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigar, Neya, and Baracoa.

For more information about Roberto P. Duran Premium Cigars, please visit For media inquiries and interviews, please contact Creativas Group at or 305.968.2384.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Won The Greatest Cigar Contest Ever! Davidoff No. 6 - 50 Count Rosewood Humidor

Davidoff No. 6 - 50 Count Rosewood Humidor
About a month ago I received an email from Davidoff of Geneva letting me know that I had won a Davidoff No. 6, 50 count humidor in the Viva Davidoff contest.

Well after a long, long, month it arrived today. Let me say this is one beautiful piece of furniture!

Along with the humidor, Davidoff included a four-pack of Nicaragua Toro cigars. These will be the first Davidoff cigars I've had a chance to smoke so look for a review. Actually once the humidor is seasoned and in operation, I'll review it too.

I would like to thank Davidoff Cigars for this fantastic prize. Thank you!

KRUPS GVX212 Burr Coffee Grinder

KRUPS GVX212  Burr Coffee Grinder
I've wanted an electric coffee grinder for some time. It's not that I'm lazy, I just grind lots of coffee doing two to six pour-overs every day. As a birthday gift, my fantastic wife picked up this KRUPS GVX212  Burr Coffee Grinder.

Over the past few months this grinder and I have developed a true love-hate relationship. KRUPS made this grinder feature-rich, but in reality I only use a couple of them.

Here's the feature list straight from the KRUPS website:
  • Conical burr mill grinder avoids overheating and preserves coffee beans aroma 
  • Fineness selector has 17 positions to grind coffee beans from ultra fine to coarse 
  • Quantity selector from 2 to 12 cups 
  • Unit shuts off automatically after grinding the right amount of beans 
  • 200 g/7 oz. bean hopper with lid keeps coffee beans fresh 
  • Anti-static, removable coffee container with lid holds enough ground coffee for up to 12 cups 
  • Special safety features: Unit will not operate unless lid of hopper and coffee container are in place 
  • Removable burrs for easy cleaning 
  • Cleaning brush included 
  • 110 watts 
  • 2-year worldwide warranty
See, I told you it had tons of features. So what do I like the most about this grinder? It's the speed, 7 oz. of coffee can be ground in about two minutes, (much of my review coffee gets ground and stored for auto drip use once the review is done). The quantity selector works well but again I only bulk grind so it's set on 12 most of the time. That brings us to the next question.

Why don't I grind for reviews with this grinder? Well, this is a bit of a story but here goes. No matter what grind setting is used, even coarse, this grinder creates way to much, pour-over filter clogging, dust. Not only does it create lots of coffee dust, the anti-static coffee container really isn't anti-static and about half the dust sticks to the sides and lid. That means every time the lid is removed coffee dust goes flying everywhere. The amount of dust really is a problem and it creates a huge mess.

Overall, the time saved bulk grinding is big plus for me and makes this grinder a keeper. However, I get a more consistent grind from my hand grinder,

Rated 6 out of 10

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee from Buna Mobile Roasting Company

Bunamobile Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Buna Mobile roasting company is a small batch roaster that specializes in roasting for fund raisers. You can find more information about their charities and fundraising on their website.

This is a Full City roast and each bean is beginning to show some rich, oily caramelization. Once the beans were ground there was an aroma of sweet caramel and tree fruit. After water was introduced for the pour-over the caramel aromas bloomed to fill the room and the tree fruit notes turned to nuances of citrus.

From the first to the last sip this coffee was, bright, clean, and crisp with a light mouthfeel. Hot, there were notes of sweet caramel, toast and tangerine. As the coffee cooled, it stayed sweet, but nuances of caramel and tart grapefruit became the prominent flavors. It was a nice sweet and tart combination.

Overall I thought this was a fantastic roast. It was crisp, yet sweet with a nice cleansing palate wash. There were no defects and it produced a clean cup.

Check out the Buna Mobile web site and see what the currently have to offer. You won't go wrong with any of their roasts.

Rated 93

Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars Robusto

Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars Robusto
This pre-release Roberto P Duran Premium Cigars Robusto came my way via Gabriel Piñeres from Creativas Group Public Relations, Branding & Events. I've heard some good things about this cigar and have been pretty excited to try it out.

Holding this cigar in my hand, I see a well made top-of-the-line cigar. The fillers and binder and wrapped in a silky smooth, seamless, practically vein free Claro colored wrapper. I don't know much about the blend, but this cigar holds one filler leaf from an undisclosed country. It's only a guess, but I think it either contains one dark fired cured leaf or one leaf of Andullo tobacco. Read on and you'll see why I think that.

Checking cold aromas, from the foot there are hints of smoky tobacco with sweet fruit. After clipping the triple cap, the free draw had the same flavors, but it left behind an aftertaste with hints of red wine.

Once the foot was toasted and burning the first medium bodied flavors were a mix of tart fruit, cream and caramel plus there were underlying notes of smoky tobacco. Around the mid point the burn ran up the side a bit, well actually, enough that it need a quick correction. In the second half there were flavors of toast, sugar, brown sugar, fermented tobacco and even some floral notes. But again, that smoky goodness was there in the second half too along with a nice brown sugar after taste. The fifty minute burn finished with full bodied nuances of earth and smokey tobacco. I though this was one great tasting cigar!

Other than one burn problem this cigar was fantastic. I could be wrong about the undisclosed leaf, but it's something along those lines since there were smoky notes full length. If you get the chance don't pass this cigar up, actually don't pass up any of the Roberto P. Duran cigar lines. They're all great cigars.

Rated 92

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Te-Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Gran Corto

Te-Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Gran Corto
You probably know that large ring-gauge cigars and I don't see eye-to-eye most of the time. However, these Te-Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Gran Corto cigars just hit the shelves at Cigar Train  and since I've smoked a few Te-Amo cigars in the past, and liked them, I just had to grab one. 

This 62 x 4 Cuban Blend Gran Corto cigar is covered with a stout, oily, seamless and nearly vein free Colorado colored Criollo wrapper. Testing the cold aroma, there are notes of apple pie to the nose--yes I said apple pie. After clipping the end, I found the draw to be free and flavors of spicy cedar and apple pie. 

It took nearly a lighter full of butane to toast the foot but I finally had it burning. The first puffs were medium bodied, sweet and fruity. Nice. As the burn moved up the body, there were other flavors of sweet leather, oak, barn yard, sandalwood and earth. 

After forty-five minutes the full bodied burn ended with bold notes of earth. I have to say it was darn tasty. 

I know you're wondering, how was the burn? Actually, the burn was pretty good. It was a bit wavy at times, but it always self corrected and I like that. 

Overall I thought this was a pretty good cigar, good enough that I want to try the other blends too. Give it a try and see what you think. 

Rated 91