Tuesday, August 25, 2015

True Mokha Java by Bean Box Coffee

Here's another nice coffee, blended by Bean Box Coffee, their True Mokha Java. The roasted beans for this blend are supplied by two roasting companies in Seattle, Conduit Coffee roasts the Mokha portion while Fundamental Coffee roasts the Java. Mixed together these beans brew up an interesting cup of coffee. 

Right from the bag I had a pretty good idea this would brew into a very nice cup as the aromas of cocoa and coffee rise from the bag and greet my nose. 

As you can see in the picture, some of the beans have a bit of oily caramelization present, and I like that. To me oily means sweet and I anticipate there will be some sweetness from these beans. 

Once the beans are ground into coffee and hot water is introduced on the pour, the aroma transforms as there are now notes of ripe tree fruit and some light earthiness blending with the cocoa. 

The freshly cupped brew has a nice praline aroma: caramel, pecans and chocolate and the first sips are sweet and medium bodied. The mouthfeel is slightly syrupy with a hint of crisp acidity that gives the coffee a clean, mouthwatering palate wash. As the coffee cools in the cup the body and the syrupiness both continue to develop. 

Hot, the coffee shows flavors of light fruit, cocoa and a hint of earth but this changes throughout the temperature range. The first flavor change comes as a hint of pecan that grows as the fruitiness fades. Eventually the pecan notes are replaced by more of a smooth earthy, cocoa mixture. 

Overall with it's changing mouthfeel, body and flavor profile I thought this True Mokha Java by Bean Box Coffee brewed into a delightful, complex cup of coffee.

Rated 95

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

How To: Personal Sized Sun Tea

Summer is winding down, but I get to everything thing eventually.

What's up with the jar you ask? Well even if you didn't ask, here's a quick tip. 

Back a few  months ago I reviewed the Collar Cold Brew Coffee Starter Kit. The kit came with a twenty ounce Ball jar, a lid and a straw. 

I drink quite a bit of green tea so an idea popped into my head; why not use the jar for sun tea. Well I gave it a try and it worked like a champ, I liked the twenty ounce jar so well that the next step was a quart jar. Now I drink a quart of green sun tea almost every day.

I'm sure many of you probably already do something like this, but hey, I did figure it out eventually. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Private Selection Maduro Toro By Cuban Stock Cigars

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a cigar from Cuban Stock Cigars, but they have a great line that I've really enjoyed in the past. Today we look at The Private Selection Maduro Toro. 

The Private Selection line comes with two wrapper choices, Connecticut and Dominican Maduro. On CubanStockCigars.com they describe this cigar as mild. Well here we have a difference of opinion. Read on and find out why. 

Construction of the Private Selection is exquisite. From the striking blue, yellow and gold band to the practically vein free maduro colored wrapper the cigar just looks like it needs to be smoked. The blemish free Dominican maduro wrapper is rolled on with seamless care, the cigar is packed well full length and it's finished off with a nice triple cap. 

Aromas from the cold cigar are rich and hearty. From the cold foot there are notes of rich fermented tobacco with a hint of ripe fruit, while the flavor from the free cold draw is reminiscent of sweet molasses. 

Once the foot is toasted and burning the first puffs have medium/full bodied flavor notes of earth, brown sugar and cocoa with a slightly dry finish that leaves behind a sweet aftertaste. As the fairly even burn line moves up the cigar's body the wrapper starts to develop an oily gloss that continues to build until the nub. 

Around the mid point more flavors of oak and cream jump into the mix as the strength builds into the full range. 

By time you're into the final third, you'll know this is a full bodied cigar. The Private Selection maduro toro finishes its fifty-five minute burn with an overall sweet flavor mix consisting of ripe fruit, charcoal, brown sugar and cocoa. A very tasty finish by my standards.

Overall I thought the Private Selection Maduro Toro By Cuban Stock Cigars provided a high quality and rewarding smoking experience. With the combination of its top of the line construction, a nice burn time and a great flavor mix this cigar is a winner in my book!

 Rated 94

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nestor Miranda Collection Maduro Toro From Miami Cigar and Company

I originally reviewed this entire line in a smaller vitola right after the initial release. Today we look at the Nestor Miranda Collection maduro toro from Miami Cigar and Company.

The first thing you'll notice about this toro is the size. Coming in at 5.5" x 54 it's a bit shorter and a bit fatter than a normal toro, but I thought it provided a really nice smoking experience. 

After the cigar's size you'll notice the impeccable construction starting with the sturdy maduro colored Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Like I said, this wrapper looks stout. It has some tooth, it contains only smaller sized veins and it's rolled on with seamless care. Under the wrapper there's a Nicaraguan binder covering  a mix of fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. The cigar is firmly packed full lenght and there's a nice triple cap to finish it all off in style.

From the cold foot there are aromas of sweet fermented tobacco to the nose and the slightly firm draw is both sweet and spicy with a hint of cocoa. 

Once burning the first medium/full bodied puffs deliver notes of cocoa and spice across the palate plus there's a sweet aftertaste on the lips from the wrapper. As the slightly wavy burn moves up the cigar there are additional notes in the first half of light black pepper, toast, dark brown sugar and more cocoa. 

By the second half the wrapper has developed a deep oily sheen as the body moves into the full range and the flavor mix shifts a bit. There are now notes of leather, earth, coffee, molasses and more cocoa. 

After sixty minutes of smoking pleasure the Nestor Miranda Collection maduro toro finishes up nicely well into the full body range with bold flavors of cocoa, earth and charcoal. 

Overall all I really enjoyed this cigar. It had a nice burn, great flavors and I really liked the size. You can find these at Mikescigars.com as singles, in 5-packs or by the box. Check them out and see what you think!

Rated 94

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Monday, August 17, 2015

Java Gunung Biru by Fundamental Coffee

The Java Gunung Biru by Fundamental Coffee has hearty notes of spice, pepper, and earth that grip your palate and say "I'm here!" But at the same time there are light, almost hidden, nuances that will heighten your sipping experience.

Fundamental Coffee Company
Seattle, WA
Coffee: Java Gunung Biru
Roast: Dark
Brewing method: Pour-over
Sample provided by: Bean Box

Doing a pour-over this Java Gunung Biru brews a cup of coffee that is both medium bodied and full flavored. The first hot sips bright and crisp with some light acidity, but as the coffee cools the body develops producing a palate warming syrupiness. 

Not only does this dark, oily, roast have complex body characteristics, the flavor nuances are complex as well. While the main flavor notes are a bold, spicy mix of pepper and earth, there are subtle notes of sandalwood, peat, tobacco, cocoa and tree fruit that peek out, then hide throughout the temperature range.

I found the Java Gunung Biru from Fundamental Coffee free from defect, with a low natural sweetness and no bitterness. On a side note the flavor profile is strong enough to handle cream and sugar if you so desire. 

Rated 93

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Friday, August 14, 2015

Acme Route 66 Hot Rod From Acme Cigar Company

Here's a new stick I've been eager to try since reading the press release back in July, the Acme Route 66 Hot Rod (robusto), created by the Acme Cigar Company

Once this well packed cigar is free from the cellophane it looks great. The oily, seamless and vein free, Colorado Maduro colored Ecuadorian Habano wrapper covers a Jalapa Criollo binder over Nicaraguan, San Andres and Dominican long fillers. Plus it's finished with a tight triple cap. 

From the cold foot the nose picks up radiant aromas of sweetly fermented tobacco mixed with cocoa, while flavors from the free cold draw are reminiscent of ripe tree free mixed with cocoa. 

After toasting and lighting the foot, the first medium bodied puffs fill your mouth with smoke that's sweet with a creamy mouthfeel, plus there are tasty flavor nuances of fruit, cocoa and toast. As the even burn line moves up the body an oil ring develops on the wrapper while other notes of earth, and honey join the mix.

In the second half the body moves toward the full range with added hints of charcoal, coffee and dark brown sugar. Once you're into the final third you'll find this is a full bodied cigar with a deep flavor base. 

The Acme Route 66 Hot Rod finishes its fifty minute burn full bodied with bold, rich flavors of espresso, charcoal and dark chocolate. Very tasty indeed! 

On the Acme Cigar Company web site they say, "Acme Route 66 is a premium cigar priced as an everyday smoke".  With a sub $6.00 MSRP for the Hot Rod, I think they're right and I've found a new go-to cigar!

MSRP- Hot Rod 5x50, $5.90. Chopper 7x48, $6.40. Big Red 6x54, $6.90. Tandem 8.5x52, $7.40

Rated 95

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Oettinger Davidoff Appoints New Head Europe And Global Travel Retail

Martin Kaufmann becomes Senior Vice President Europe and Global Travel Retail of Oettinger Davidoff AG. He will be joining the company on September 1, 2015. Albert Manzone, Head Europe, will be leaving the company and Christian Vonthron, Head Global Travel Retail, will be taking early retirement.

Basel, 14 August, 2015 – Oettinger Davidoff AG, the worldwide leading manufacturer of premium cigars, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has appointed Martin Kaufmann (48) as Senior Vice President Europe and Global Travel Retail, effective September 1, 2015. Martin Kaufmann is joining Oettinger Davidoff from the Estée Lauder Companies, where he served as Senior Vice President and General Manager North America for Aveda. Martin spent his early career at the Gillette Company, where his last position was Business Unit Director DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for Braun. He continued at Procter & Gamble after P&G acquired Gillette, first as Global Marketing Director Braun Male Grooming, and then took on positions of increasing responsibility and complexity. Before moving to Estée Lauder in 2012, Martin was Managing Director Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America for P&G’s Wella Haircare.

Martin Kaufmann is German, but grew up in the French speaking part of Switzerland and is bi-lingual in German and French, fluent in English and manages in Spanish and Italian as well. He holds an MBA from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, and undertook Executive Education at IMD in Switzerland. He has lived and worked in Frankfurt, London, Geneva and New York. Martin and his family are moving from Minneapolis, USA, to Basel in August.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG, said: “With a track record of transformative leadership in branded consumer goods in global and regional roles, I am confident that Martin Kaufmann will make a significant contribution to accelerate growth in Europe as well as in Global Duty Free. With this combined new key role in my senior team we will be better equipped for our future challenges and continue our company’s transformation.”

Martin Kaufmann added: “I am very excited to join Hans-Kristian and the entire Oettinger Davidoff team to help driving the company's business toward accelerated growth in Europe and Global Travel Retail. Oettinger Davidoff's portfolio of strong brands and its leadership in that space makes it extremely compelling to me. And personally, I very much look forward to moving back to Switzerland, where I grew up.”

Albert Manzone will be leaving the company after three years of significant contribution to the European business of Oettinger Davidoff.

Christian Vonthron, who launched the Duty Free department at Oettinger Davidoff in 1997 and has led the impressive development to where our Global Travel Retail business is today, will take early retirement. He will be available to Oettinger Davidoff for future project work and will remain its representative on the board of TFWA, The Tax Free World Association, until the 2015 TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in October.

About Oettinger Davidoff AG
The CHF 1.23 billion Oettinger Davidoff AG, with over 3,600 employees around the world, traces its roots back to 1875 and remains family owned to this day, with two distinctly different businesses: one that is focused on FMCG distribution in the Swiss market and one dedicated to the core business of producing, marketing and retailing premium branded cigars, tobacco products and accessories. The premium branded cigar business includes Davidoff, AVO, Camacho, Cusano, Griffin’s, Private Stock, Zino and Zino Platinum. Oettinger Davidoff AG is anchored in a strong “crop-to-shop” philosophy, having pursued a vertical integration from the tobacco fields in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua to the worldwide network of almost 70 Davidoff Flagship Stores.

For further information:
Oettinger Davidoff AG
Paloma Szathmáry
SVP Corporate Communications
Hochbergerstrasse 15
CH - 4002 Basel
Tel. +41 61 279 36 24

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

1502 Black Gold Corona From Global Premium Cigars

Here's another tasty treat from 1502 Cigars, the Black Gold corona. Impeccable construction flavors and burn combine to make this cigar a real winner. 

Covered in a seamless, vein free maduro wrapper, corona looks like it will be packed full of flavor and let me tell you it was. 

From the cold foot, rich notes of cocoa and toasted tobacco greet the nose while the free cold draw has nuances of cocoa and sweet, ripe tree fruit. 

Once toasted and burning the first medium bodied mouthfuls of smoke again have the pleasant flavors of toasted tobacco and cocoa. Within a few puffs the flavors start to shift as notes of earth, oak, brown sugar, ripe fruit and molasses mix to offer a different flavor experience with nearly each puff. 

As the razor sharp burn moves up this cigar into the second half, the flavor mix continues to shift. with notes of burnt oak, charcoal, espresso and more cocoa that hold until the finish. 

The 1502 Black Gold Corona finishes its forty-five minute burn with flavors reminiscent of burnt mocha; charcoal, coffee, cocoa and a touch of sweet cream, while leaving behind a sweet aftertaste on the lips and palate. 

Overall this was a great cigar with it's top notch construction, great burn and complex flavor mix. If you haven't tried any of the 1502 Cigar line, I think you're really missing out on some great cigars. 

Rated 94

Sample provided Global Premium Cigars a member of House of Emilio

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gurkha Announces Exclusive Partnership With The Ritz-Carlton To Provide The Ultimate Cigar Experience

TAMARAC, FL - Guests of the luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton now have the unique ability to enjoy the world's most expensive cigar, the His Majesty's Reserve by Gurkha Cigars, on site at Ritz-Carlton's nationwide.

Starting with the Ritz-Carton in Half Moon Bay, California, through Fumar Cigars, the industry leader in high-end on-premise cigar programs, the very exclusive $2,000 cigars will now be sold. Making it even rarer is the fact that the cigars are produced in a very limited edition -- only 75 boxes are made annually.   

The Gurkha His Majesty's Reserve is a very special cigar. Famous not only for its unique price point, it also has an incredibly distinctive aroma and taste. It's a blend of 15-year-aged Connecticut Maduro wrapper with 12-year-old Dominican binder and filler that's aged with one full shot of the world’s finest cognac: Remy Martin's Louis XIII. Louis XIII Cognac is a blend of 1,200 eaux de vie from the Champagne region of France, aged between 40 and 100 years old in oak barrels that are several hundred years old as well. Louis XIII Cognac alone sells for about $2,400 a bottle.

"With the His Majesty's Reserve, Gurkha has set the standard for super-premium luxury cigars," said Gurkha Founder and CEO Kaizad Hansotia. "They're super sexy cigars. A cigar to smoke only for those who not only expect excellence but demand that standard of quality every time. The amazing taste and aroma of Gurkha's His Majesty's Reserve are something that you will never forget."

And now the His Majesty' Reserve, one of the many reasons Gurkha's are known throughout the world as the Rolls Royce of Cigars, can be enjoyed at Ritz-Carlton's throughout the U.S.  

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is located 23 miles southwest of the San Francisco International Airport. It is a 261-room destination spa and coastal golf resort. For information, visit www.ExperienceHalfMoonBay.com

Steeped in legend and rich in history, Gurkha Cigars were named after Nepalese warriors whose bravery impressed the British soldiers. The company was purchased by Hansotia in 1989 with the intention of giving the cigars as unique gifts to customers of his family's watch business. As a result, the company has been reborn and become one of the most famous brands of luxury cigars in the world. Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and an assortment of global dignitaries, world leaders, government officials and celebrities as well as the Special Forces and Seal Team Six are all clients. Having extraordinary quality, premium blends of tobacco and a reputation for unparalleled excellence, Today Gurkha produces eight million cigars per year. They are sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Each Gurkha cigar provides a luxurious experience different from the last. Visit www.gurkhacigars.com for additional information.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Punch Signature Torpedo

Punch Cigars are another line I'm pretty fond of. I've wanted to give this Signature a spin ever since it was released.

This Punch Signature Torpedo contains fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua with a binder from Nicaragua. All of these tobaccos are wrapped in a Colorado Maduro colored Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper that's cultivated just for the Signature line. 

Construction of this torpedo is solid. It's packed firmly full length, the hearty wrapper has nice tight seams and there are only a few smaller veins showing. 

Checking the cold aromas there are notes of sweet fermented tobacco from the foot, while the free cold draw reminded me of spiced peaches, plus there's a lingering sweet and spicy aftertaste. 

After toasting the foot, the first puffs from the burning cigar are medium bodied with nuances of nuts and toasty fermented tobacco.

The second third was the real sweet spot of this cigar. While the flavor mix wasn't complex there were well rounded robust flavors of earth, brown sugar and a hint of cocoa as the strength moved into the full range.

In the final third the burn ran off enough to warrant a correction as the Punch Signature finished off with notes of peat, earth, molasses and  touch of cream. 

Overall this Punch Signature Torpedo provided a nice smoking experience with its seventy minute smoking time, quality construction and solid flavors.

You can find the Punch Signature series online at Mike's Cigars as singles, in five-packs or by the box.

Rated 91

I would like to thank Mikescigars.com for providing this sample for review. 

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Friday, August 7, 2015

Yemen Haraaz Red by Conduit Coffee Company

Complex and flavorful best describe this Yemen Haraaz Red Coffee roasted by the Conduit Coffee Company. It's another fantastic top-shelf coffee coming from the Bean Box line-up that's hearty enough to be a morning coffee, yet delicate enough to call a specialty coffee. 

Conduit Coffee Company
Seattle, WA
Coffee: Yemen Haraaz Red
Roast: Medium - City +
Brewing method: Pour-over
Sample from: Bean Box

From the bag to the hot cupped brew, this Yemen Haraaz Red radiates a wine-like fruitiness that hits your nose from several feet away. 

The first sips are bright and crisp, but at the same time full and rewarding. There's an initial earthy, black tea mouthfeel and flavor, leaving behind a pleasant fruity, wine-like, mouth watering, aftertaste that seems like it will last forever. 

As the coffee cools, a smooth syrupiness develops, the notes of earth subside and warm peach flavor notes dominate.

This Yemen Haraaz Red by Conduit Coffee Company truly is a top-shelf roast with it's complex mouthfeel and flavors. If you get a chance to brew these beans, don't pass it up.

Rated 95

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Archduke Ferdinand Pipe Tobacco by Sutliff Tobacco

Over the past week I've discovered that neither do I smoke a pipe often enough nor do I review enough tobacco. 

One problem with reviewing tobacco is the fact that pipe tobacco can't be mail ordered into WA and that really bites. Speaking bite, or lack there of, let's take a look at the Archduke Ferdinand blend from Sutliff Tobacco that I was given to review by Cigar Train.

This Archduke Ferdinand tobacco is a blend of seven different sub-blends according to the can it came in. From the can it has a thick, sweet  and pleasant vanilla aroma. 

Once my pipe was packed and burning the first puffs were mild and flavorful. Of course there were notes of vanilla, but there were hints of smoky tobacco and a bit of mild spice. The noom note was aromatic vanilla and there was no tongue bite present.

After the second light, a bit of bite developed, but it was well within my mild limit and the strength moved into the medium range.

Overall this Archduke Ferdinand tobacco by Sutliff Tobacco provided a nice smoke which I've been enjoying several times a day for the last week. I've really enjoyed the flavors, the room note and the lack of bite.

Bite: 1
Flavor: 4
Strength: 2.5
Room note: 4.5

Bean Box Coffee Subscription

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

1502 Emerald Corona From Global Premium Cigars

A 5 1/2 x 42 box -pressed Corona, with superior construction from 1502 Cigars. What's not to love?

I was pretty excited to give this 1502 Emerald Corona  produced by Global Premium Cigars, a spin. 1502 Cigars are one of the House of Emilio line of brands.

The first obvious observation about this cigar is the top of the line construction. The Colorado Claro colored wrapper is vein free and practically seamless, plus the cigar is packed well full lenght. 

Checking aromas from the cold foot and free draw, there are notes of toast, fermented tobacco and some light Spanish Cedar spice with a pleasant aftertaste that lingered for several moments.

Once burning, the first mild bodied puffs contain notes of nuts, toast, caramel and sweet tree fruit. As the clean burn line moves up the cigar a nice oil sheen develops on the wrapper and there are added flavors of oak, brown sugar, light charcoal and white pepper.

The Emerald Corona finishes its fifty minute burn more into the medium body range with a nice mix of toast, oak and earth. 

Since this cigar was a Corona, I thought the fifty minute burn time was fantastic. If you add that to the top of the line construction and the great flavor mix, this 1502 Emerald cigar is a real winner. 

Rated 93