The 10th Annual “Cigars for Troops” drive is underway. This is a great opportunity to give back to those who protect our freedoms and earn the coveted "Troop Supporter" badge at the same time. You can find information here: http://www.cigargeeks.com/community/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=5087... A special thanks goes out to Nathan (nwb) for running the drive again.
Toys for Tots Drive 2018
If you have not seen it, the 2018Marine Toys for Tots drive is in full swing. This is an excellent opportunity for the brotherhood to contribute to a great organization that provides gifts for those less fortunate children in time for Christmas. A special thanks goes out to Emerson (McBryde) for stepping up to run the drive this year. Also, we are introducing a new Toys for Tots badge this year for being a contributor. If you gave a kit for auction, win an auction, or donate at least $25 you will earn the new badge
May Points Contest is Under Way!
The points contest is under way for the month of May. The 26 members with the most points for the month have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Famous Smoke Shop. You can read the details HERE. To view the previous month's contest results see here.
Firm with a very dark wrapper, hardly a vein, some scattered, shallow tooth, & a light oil sheen. PLA earth (& cocoa at the foot); PLT chocolate & sour cream; PLD easy. Normal light for the vitola, a nearly airy draw, a fairly even burn, & a spicy earth & cocoa smoke. Earth, cocoa & bl pepper start, joined soon by some cedar tang, nuts, salt, cream & coffee hints. The retro is distinctly floral. The flavors rotate through the spotlight becoming a rich melange by the 1/2 & giving a smooth, full-mouth experience. The finish is creamy with earth, wood & cocoa. The body runs high into the medium & low full. This is a rich cigar & strangely relaxing to smoke.
Humidor time: 176 days Appearance and construction: This was a lightly box-pressed stick with a very smooth, nearly vein-free wrapper, a light sheen to it, and a moderately firm pack with no soft spots. Gave it a single clip with the guillotine and PLD was open. (14/15)
Flavor: PLA gave a whiff of cocoa. The light revealed a medium/full profile with notes of leather and coffee and a bit of spice along with some sweetness. This stayed consistent throughout the smoke. Tastiest smoke I've had in awhile... Strength was leaning towards full as I got a pretty good nic. buzz off this one. (23/25)
Smoking characteristics: The light produced an easy draw, good smoke volume, and an even burn to start. The burn got slightly wavy in the first third but self-corrected with the ash falling at 1 1/2". Following the ash leaving, the burn continued wavy but self-correcting down to the nub. (22/25)
Overall impression: Great smoke, this one. Construction wasn't perfect, but no touch-ups were needed, and add in the very nice flavors and it's a winner. Will definitely be smoking more of these. (32/35)
Up front it is a great looking stick, silky smooth wrapper with some light veining and a nice sheen. The fill is perfect, just a tad of give and a perfect draw. Cap held together after clipping, and it produced a good amount of smoke throughout. The burn was superb, holding firm around two inches at a time and not requiring even one touch up through the finish. Construction wise, you could not ask for a better example of a well made cigar.
I was on the fence flavor wise the entire stick though. The start was a bit acidic with some woody notes and a little sweetness. Pretty soon, it brought in a seltzer/sparkling water thing, which I am not a big fan of. Don’t know that I have ever experienced this exact note in a cigar. Not bad, but not my favorite profile. This was there for about the first two-thirds of the smoke. There is some cedar and maybe a little baking spice, but not a ton else going on. Again, not bad, just uneventful. The last third strengthened up some, but not necessarily in a good way. Burn remained good, but it got a little hot and just a bit harsh.
Overall, I am a fan of Warped sticks, but I think this one may be a case of just being out of my wheelhouse. While it wasn’t very flavorful to me, I think the odd seltzer note through me off since it is not a flavor I love. May be other’s thing, so don’t avoid based on me. It was an extremely well made stick. I will just stick to the other lines…
Humidor time: 173 days Appearance and construction: This one had a few prominent veins and a moderately firm pack with no soft spots. Gave it a V-cut and PLD was moderately open. (12/15)
Flavor: Got nothing from PLA apart from mild tobacco. The light revealed a medium profile that was pleasant and a bit spicy. Kind of a typical Gurkha taste that's typically flavorful enough, but not describable, at least via my undeveloped palate... (20/25)
Smoking characteristics: The light produced an easy draw, good smoke volume, and a wavy burn to start. The burn continued quite wavy through the first third, then finally self-corrected before the first ash fell, which left a nice cone. Post-ashing, the burn continued very even and things were uneventful down to the nub. (22/25)
Overall impression: 2nd one of these I've smoked and the first one was pretty good, too. Decent flavor, pretty good construction, albeit a quick burn for a toro, but whadya want for under $2 a stick... (28/35)
Marvin Ruiz handrolls these in his shop/lounge in Sparks, Nevada. I found it to be a pleasant smoke, medium-full body, medium strength and a kick of spice from the Sumatra binder - not too peppery with a nice, leathery aged tobacco flavor. The draw was slightly tight, the burn was trouble-free. Ash fell in half-inch increments. He sells these online in singles or bundles of 20 currently priced at $95 - well worth it.
Another version of one of a very few infused cigars I can tolerate: A firm torpedo with an interesting dark-light-dark wrapping, a couple tiny veins & plenty of oils. PLA coffee & caramel; PLT very sweet caramel (in addition to the sugar on the cap); PLD airy. An easy light & draw, a mostly even burn, & plenty of sweet, chalky smoke. The cafe con leche sweetness is almost overpowering at the start. In time this abates * a bit & cocoa & caramel show through. The finish is coffee & sweet, & the body runs medium. *I don't do "pairing" but I found that having a bit of whiskey with these coffee-infused cigars cuts the sugar-iness & yields a more tolerable "Irish coffee" experience.
2014's version of the Las Calaveras was one of my favorite all-time cigars. 2015-2017 were all very good but never quite hit the high that the 2014. The 2016 was close, the 2015 somewhere slightly behind, and the 2017 closest of the bunch. In the toro vitola, this one was more of a very good but not great version of the line. I have some robustos that I want to compare soon as that has always been my preferred version of this blend.
Construction was, as expected, very good. Perfect burn line, copious amounts of smoke, and a perfect draw. Ash would hold close to two inches each time. These have always been expertly made and this year’s version is no exception.
Flavor wise, every year I want to replicate the meaty, peppered steak notes of the 2014 and I think that is what I miss. Otherwise it is a delicious smoke. Peppery, with some earth, dark chocolate and coffee, and a little maple, caramelized sugar note. No huge transitions in this one, more of a consistent build in intensity with good flavor. Definitely not disappointing, a very good smoke.
I’m going to have to let 2014 and go and start judging this line stand alone. As stated, I think I will enjoy the blend a bit more in the smaller vitolas, but the toro was still a good smoke I would certainly smoke again. Another well done Crowned Heads smoke, as always from this fantastic company.
Appearance: 7/10 - Dark thick wrapper, very red hue to it, sort of like clay. A rustic look overall with some veins and what looks like a double cap. Not much pre-light aroma but the cold draw is all gingerbread. Sweet and spicy.
1/3 starts with a combination of cinnamon spices, leather, sweetness and earth in that order. Aroma off the foot is all gingerbread. Medium bodied.
2/3 earth, cinnamon spices, leather, sweetness in that order. Not much transition but the notes are getting richer and the body is picking up to the upper end of medium.
3/3 earth and leather are dominant now with some very dark bitter chocolate in the background. Sweetness is present on the finish and the retro which gives a nice roundness to the profile. Definitely medium-full bodied, just touching full bodied as I wrap up.
Construction: 23/25 - cap clips neatly. Toasted up easily. Burn is fine to start. Draw is a tad on the open side but acceptable. About 1” in the wrapper doesn’t want to burn and the cigar goes out. I tap the ash to find a little bit of tunneling. After that the cigar performed much better, the burn was a little wonky but I only had to give it one minor touch up in the last third. All in all it was a well made cigar.
Overall: 27/30 - delivered very well in the flavor department, which is what matters most. Construction was good except for going out early on, cigar performed well after that. Final smoke time 1:05
Humidor time: 173 days Appearance and construction: This one had a few veins, a light sheen, and a moderately firm pack with no soft spots. Gave it a V-cut and PLD was moderately open. (10/15)
Flavor: PLA gave a faint whiff of coffee. The light revealed a medium-bodied profile with subtle notes of leather and cocoa that stayed consistent throughout. This appears to be the same blend as the Lionheart, which I reviewed a week ago, and if it is, I enjoyed that stick quite a bit more. This one was pretty ok, but doesn't match what I wrote about the Lionheart... Strength, for this one, was about medium as I felt the nic., but it wasn't a huge hit. (20/25)
The pic below doesn't show the finger of un-burned wrapper on the back side...
Smoking characteristics: The light produced an easy draw, good smoke volume, and a wavy burn to start. The burn didn't self-correct and got lopsided in the first third. Knocked the ash off and gave it a touch-up. The burn continued wavy and finally self-corrected almost at the nub. Apart from all that, it smoked pretty well... (15/25)
Overall impression: Disappointing smoke, this one, as I've had pretty good luck with the AM sticks I've had up to now. Flavors were just OK and the construction was pretty lacking. I have a few more of these, though, and will update this review should those perform any better. (18/35)
Burn time: 1:11 Rating: 63
Update: Smoked another one on the commute home from work today am happy to report it went much better then the first one. Burn still a bit wavy, but it self-corrected with no touch-ups needed down to the nub. Raising the rating to 70/3.5 from 63/3.
Humidor time: 173 days Appearance and construction: A few veins and bumps in the conny-shade wrapper, an oily sheen, and a firm pack with no soft spots... Gave it a V-cut and PLD was moderately open. (13/15)
Flavor: PLA gave a whiff of sweet, mild tobacco. The light produced a medium profile, but as with the Robusto vitola I'd previously tried, I couldn't pick out any particular notes. But it was very pleasant and tasty, my undeveloped palate aside... Strength was on the mild end as I got no discernible nic. hit from this one. (20/25)
Smoking characteristics: The light produced an easy draw, good smoke volume, and an even burn to start. The burn remained very even with the first ash dropping at about 2" leaving a cone. The rest of the smoke also exhibited an even burn with self-correction occurring every time a slight wave appeared in the burn line. Very uneventful smoke down to the nub. (24/25)
Overall impression: Another fine Oliva smoke, no surprise. I remain convinced this brand has about the most consistent quality in terms of both their blends and their construction of all the sticks I've tried so far. (33/35)