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08
Jan

Ramon Allones Club Allones (2015 Limited Edition)

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Grand Corona
Size : 114 x 19 mm (5.3 x 47)
Ring : 47
Released in : 2015
Hand-Made
Price : ~$20 each
More info about purchasing Ramon Allones cigars…

The Ramon Allones Club Allones was released in 2015 as a limited edition by Habanos S.A. I heard a lot of great things about this cigar, so I was excited to give it a try. How did it measure up? Well … honestly it wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. Read on to find out what my experience was like.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
These cigars have oily maduro wrappers which are a deep saturated brown color. And when I say they are oily, I mean very oily. There are more than a few prominent veins—in fact, the appearance of the leaf is kind of “wrinkly.” Whether you see that as a plus or a minus is pretty subjective, but to me it was a visual detractor. The gold band is a nice accent to the overall look of the cigar. I noticed with mine that it felt a bit tightly packed, but I wasn’t all that concerned about it given the great reviews I’d read.

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
Initially, I wasn’t expecting to have any problems with this cigar. In fact, the beginning was very pleasant all around, both in terms of flavors and construction. Draw wasn’t bad, actually. I thought it might be tight given how hard the stogie felt, but it was actually pretty close to ideal.

It was the burn that was the problem. I’m used to having to make a few minor adjustments—that is typical with any cigar. But I had to make multiple major adjustments. Worse, the cigar actually went out, and it did it twice no less. This is far from impressive, especially given the cost of this cigar.

Ramon Allones Club Allones

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
It’s strange; I’ve heard so many other reviewers say that the Ramon Allones Club Allones Limited Edition 2015 has strong and complex flavors, but my experience was far from that.

On the contrary, to me the flavors were mixed and muted. At the very start, they were fairly enjoyable with notes of brown sugar, chocolate, natural tobacco, and lots of fruit. As the smoke progressed, some spicy notes came into play, and the others faded into the backdrop.

The problem was that they never came back—and even the spicy notes seemed muted. Worse, an ammonia flavor started creeping to the foreground, which thoroughly put me off of the Ramon Allones Club Allones. The last third was the worst.

To me it is pretty clear that what is going on here (with the flavors at least) is just that this is a very young cigar. That is why the flavors have not really had time to develop any strength, and that is exactly what is responsible for the ammonia taste as well. It is possible that with age, these flavors will improve. As it is, with the construction issues, I cannot be bothered to find out.

Overall Rating : 3.25 out of 5 stars (3.25)
I hate being hard on a smoke, especially one which I was highly anticipating and which other people seem to like. I have seen mixed reviews for the Ramon Allones Club Allones; some people love it while others hate it. A lot of people seem more forgiving than me, but they didn’t report the construction flaws I experienced. Maybe that was a one-off; I don’t know.

But other reviewers do report the same experience I had with the flavors being too muted and young for their taste. If you do try this cigar, I recommend you wait a few years and give it some time to age. Right now, it is a disappointment for the price tag.

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Ramon Allones Club Allones (2015 Limited Edition)

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28
Dec

All out Kings coming March 2017

Happy Holidays to all our readers here on Cigar Inspector! With 2016 drawing to a close, let’s check out what we have to look forward to heading into 2017 with new cigar releases. We’ll also share some industry and legislative news updates with you.

New and Upcoming Releases:

  • The 2016 Alec Bradley HJ10-I Fine & Rare blend is currently shipping out to retailers around the globe. This version will measure 6 inches with a 52 ring gauge. The Fine & Rare includes seven different types of filler tobacco from Esteli and Jalapa as well as the Trojes Region of Honduras. There is an Esteli and Trojes double binder and a Trojes corojo wrapper. In total, that is ten different types of tobacco. Only 2,000 boxes of ten cigars each will be released.
  • If you are a fan of Drew Estate or Caldwell Cigar Co., you probably have been closely following news about their collaboration, All Out Kings. Originally it was anticipated that All Out Kings would ship in November this year, but delays have pushed the release to next year. Now it has been announced that the All Out Kings cigars will finally be available in March of 2017. There will be four sizes in all: Smash (5 x 52), Foreverlast (6 ½ x 54), Give Me Your Lunch Money (5 ¾ x 46), and The Fourth Pose (6 x 54).

Industry News:

  • Sosa Cigars has just been acquired by A.J. Fernandez, who purchased them from the company by the same name. Included in this purchase are all the brands which fall under the Sosa family of cigars, including Santa Julia, Imperio Cubano, and Sosa Classic. What changes can we expect? Celina Contreras Sosa stated, “While the blends will remain the same, they will be made using the techniques and curing processes mastered by A.J. Fernandez as well as his own grown tobacco made with his special knowledge.”
  • As you likely have noticed, a lot of cigar companies are being forced to raise their prices to cope with the rising costs associated with new regulations. Perdomo is now the latest company to announce a price hike. This is expected to amount to an average of around 37 cents per cigar. The new prices will go into effect as of January 1st.

Legal News:

  • Cigar companies which are behind schedule implementing changes to conform to the new FDA regulations are being granted a six-month extension. The new registration deadline has been pushed back to June 30th, 2017.
  • Orange County, New York just became the latest to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21. The new law will go into effect on June 1st, 2017. Retailers could be fined up to $1,500 per offense.
  • Bogalusa City, Louisiana just passed the most restrictive ban on smoking in the entire state. Smoking in Bogalusa City is now illegal in all indoor facilities inside city limits with the exception of tobacconists, hotel rooms, private residences, and vehicles. If you are visiting Bogalusa or reside there, you can no longer even smoke inside a bar or gaming facility.
  • Meanwhile, Clarkdale, Arizona has rejected a bill to push the minimum purchase age for tobacco to 21.

Thanks for checking in with us for this week’s cigar news updates! Check back in soon for more!

You might be interested in these articles too:

All Out Kings Delayed Until March, New Alec Bradley

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22
Dec

Wemyss Velvet Fig

I was hunting for something new to try for the holidays this year, and Velvet Fig by Wemyss Malts caught my eye. This is a limited edition blend, but it wasn’t too hard to find it for under $50. Interestingly enough, it’s the first blended malt whisky from Wemyss which hasn’t been chill-filtered. It’s also the first to contain 46% alcohol. It’s been matured in Oloroso sherry casks, so I went into this expecting some sweetness and that distinctive sherry flavour.

In the bottle, Velvet Fig has a beautiful, rich deep amber brown color that is almost red. The label contains a band of lilac color which offsets the amber nicely. Opening the bottle, I smelled a delicious blend of poached pears, wine, raisins, oak, apple pie, cinnamon, cloves, and something very much like cake.

In terms of flavor, this was very sweet, just as I expected, but not sickly sweet. There was a lot of spice in there to keep the flavors balanced. I tasted caramel apples, raisins, cherries, apricots, figs, and plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. There was definitely something in there like scones or fruitcake. The liquid was thick with a syrupy consistency, and the finish was long and smooth and lingered. The last note I tasted reminded me of roasted chestnuts.

You are not going to find a better choice of the holidays, and at under $50 a bottle, this is a good deal especially for a limited edition. If you do not like a lot of sweetness, you may want to steer clear, but if you don’t mind it and are looking for a dessert dram, you should love it.

Wemyss Malts Velvet Fig : Review Summary

Color: Deep reddish amber.

Nose: Smells like Christmas: Poached pears in wine, oak, apple pie, rains, cloves, cinnamon, cake.

Palate: Tastes like Christmas too: Fruitcake, scones, cherries, figs, apricots, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, raisins, caramel apples.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Whisky Review: Wemyss Velvet Fig

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14
Dec

Viaje Holiday Blend 2016

Welcome back to another installment in our regular news feature here at Cigar Inspector. Quite a lot has transpired, particularly on the legal front. We have a few new releases to share with you as well.

New and Upcoming Releases:

  • Viaje fans can look forward to some holiday cheer in the form of a special Holiday Blend release (as yet unnamed). This cigar will be packaged with an Edición Limitada band. Only 200 bundles (not boxes) will ever be produced, each with 20 cigars. So far there are no details on either the pricing or the blend. We do know that the cigar will measure 5 x 58, making it the second thickest Viaje Holiday Blend to date, following the 2013 Christmas Tree. The Holiday Blend Candy Cane will also come back this year with the Edición Limitada band. In 2015, the Candy Cane cost $12 per cigar and featured an Ecuadorian and Brazilian wrapper with Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco inside. There is no word yet on the pricing or blend this year.
  • La Flor Dominicana has just shipped out the TCFKA “M” Collector’s Edition to retailers. This year’s release is again a perfecto measuring 7 x 57. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra with oscuro accents. You can buy these cigars in boxes of five.
  • New releases have been announced for the upcoming Festival del Habanos. The first of these is the Sir Winston Churchill Gran Reserva Cosecha 2011, which will be the first Gran Reserva from H. Upmann. Another new introduction will be the Montecristo 1935, which will apparently include some sizes traditionally in the main line, but there are still no other details on this extension. Finally, Quai d’Orsay will introduce some new cigar sizes—no further information has been released concerning these either.

Industry News:

  • General Cigars has parted ways with its vice president of marketing, Alan Willner, who has been replaced (in the interim) by company president Régis Broersma. Broersma took over General Cigar operations almost exactly one year ago. The official statement provided no details to the reason for the change.

Legal News:

  • Starting with the good news first, Sioux Falls, South Dakota rejected a proposal to ban smoking in parks. It was a strong victory, with six of the city’s eight council members opposing the ban. A considerably reduced version was approved instead. Smoking is banned near playgrounds and youth recreation areas, but is still completely legal at the city’s two golf courses and other outdoor entertainment venues.
  • Meanwhile, Olympia, Washington has approved a ban on smoking in parks and recreation areas. This ban will go into effect on January 1, 2018, so Olympia residents can still smoke in these public venues for another year. The rumor about the ban is that it may not be used to target and fine smokers so much as to educate the public. Signage and polite reminders will generally be used to enforce the ban before fines are imposed.
  • Also in the pile of bad news, Columbus, Ohio has just approved an increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21. This change will go into effect 10 months from now. This is bad news for retailers in particular, who will have to purchase a $150 license every year to fund compliance checks with the new law.
  • You may know that there is a joint lawsuit which has been filed against the FDA by the CAA, CRA, and IPCPR. This lawsuit includes nine different complaints. The court date has just been set for July 28th, 2017. The outcome of this case will be momentous for the cigar industry.
  • With the transfer of power in the White House and Fidel Castro’s death, the future of Cuba-USA relations is uncertain. American Airlines is scaling back its USA-Cuba flights. As of February 16th, there will only be one flight a day to Varadero, Holguin, and Santa Clara. Even with the changes, American Airlines will remain the top airline for flights between the two countries. There is no comment as to the reason for the change save for the airline to “remain competitive.”

Thanks for dropping by to check on the latest cigar news updates! Be sure to check back in with us soon!

You might be interested in these articles too:

New Viaje, La Flor Dominicana + Legislative Updates

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05
Dec

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lancero

Origin : Nicaragua
Jas Sum Kral CigarsFormat : Lancero
Size : 7 x 48
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano Light Claro
Filler : Undisclosed
Binder : Half Mexican San Andres/Half Jalapa Seco Leaf
Hand-Made (factory: New Order of the Ages (NOA))
Body : Medium to Medium-Full
Price : $9.50 each

From JSK’s website:

The idea came from one man, Riste Risteski, who was disappointed with most cigars currently available on the market. Smoking mainly Cuban cigars, he wanted to create a profile which maintained Cuban standards, while adding an interesting yet elegant twist. He wanted to add value to what is already a saturated boutique market. Being Macedonian and both large in stature AND personality, the name for this cigar came easily, JAS SUM KRAL, I AM KING in English.

He noticed many of those calling themselves boutique cigar makers, weren’t involved in the actual blending process. He decided the only way to properly create JAS SUM KRAL, was to set out to find the right factory. After speaking with several trusted individuals in the industry, he decided on New Order of the Ages, owned by master blender, Noel Rojas.

Upon arriving in Esteli, Noel suggested getting right to work. Having discussed with Noel prior to arriving Noel already had a profile in mind. Riste and Noel sampled leaf after leaf of the finest tobacco. Finally assembling what is sure to change the boutique cigar market. We are extremely proud and excited to release JAS SUM KRAL. We hope that you will join Riste on this journey.

Riste is a hard-working guy who is very present on social media. It’s been fun to watch his boutique brand take off, and great reviews have come flooding in over and over. Let’s take a look at the JSK Red Knight Lancero.

Appearance : 5 out of 5 stars
The JSK Red Knight Lancero is an excellent looking cigar. The wrapper is silky smooth with a medium brown tone with a reddish hue. Riste added some classy twists with a closed foot and a twisted pigtail cap. You can’t see the pack, but the cigar feels solid in hand, but not too dense, so I’m expecting a good draw.

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lancero

Construction : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The draw is perfect throughout, especially for a lancero, which can sometimes be over-tight. The ash was snow white, and dropped in close to one-inch chunks all the way down to the nub. Zero touch-ups were needed, and I was able to keep it cool down to a tiny nub. The final smoke time was 1 hour and 4 minutes, which I felt was a tiny bit fast, but that was mainly due to my constant puffing because I was having a great time tasting this cigar. The cigar did have a bit of strength, so I’d recommend this after a meal and not on an empty stomach.

Flavor : 5 out of 5 stars

Pre-light Experience:

From the wrapper, I got notes of sweet barnyard and a slightly floral and honey-like sweetness. The cold draw, already excellent despite the closed foot, is a sweet tobacco and has some nice black pepper already there which creates a little tingle on my tongue.

First Impressions:

First light it’s off to a quick start with loads of a red pepper, black pepper, and a tiny hint of dry cocoa. On the retrohale, I have to tread lightly for the first 5 puffs, as the pepper and spice notes are quite bold. The heat has a definite cinnamon quality. Certainly a start to grab your attention! Full-bodied start. The draw is perfect and it’s a joy to take slow, small pulls and let the smoke trickle out of my mouth and nose. This really gives me a chance to pick out flavor notes and analyze the profile.

First 3rd:

Once the nearly snow-white ash falls about an inch in, there is a big flavor shift. The pepper dies off considerably, which allows JSK’s complexity to shine. The retro is now very smooth, and there’s still some cinnamon. However, now I can taste cream, sweet bread, bakers spice, cedar, hints of cocoa, and deep down I catch a glimpse of an enticing stewed cherry. I’m reminded of a cherry Danish!

So, there is a quick attention grabbing start, which quickly faded into a very smooth and complex mix.

Second 3rd:

The middle section of the JSK lancero is an incredible experience. The body is a solid medium, and the feel of the smoke has become a touch drier. There is a solid base now of roasted black coffee bean, cedar, cream, and that fleeting cherry, which is now a dry cherry. Each draw, a different flavor seems to come to the forefront. One draw the coffee is heavy. The next, the dry cherry pops up. I’m finding the profile and mouth feel to be very similar to a Padron 1964 natural for comparison’s sake.

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lancero

Final 3rd:

As I near the band, the Padron-like experience expands. Earthiness is making a big move. Roasted coffee, cedar, and black pepper are now the main players. A distinct vanilla note mixes with the earth to create a profile you might find in nice aged bourbon here. Right at the band, I’m catching a dry red licorice – there’s that cherry note returning!

The final bit was a continuation of the flavors described above, and the body remained a solid medium plus. I smoked it down to the nub, and I was disappointed that the cigar was over.

Value : 4.5 out of 5 stars
You can get a 5-pack of the lancero for $48. In my opinion this is a great value because I was getting flavors similar to the luxury brand Padron, for a fraction of the price. JSK has a cult-like following, and it’s easy to see why. The flavors are bold and easy to pick out, and several transitions happened.

Overall Rating : 4.75 out of 5 stars (4.75)
The JSK Red Knight Lancero was very close to a perfect cigar experience. Like I mentioned, the value for the flavors and performance that you get is incredible. The profile is very complex, the smoke was creamy and smooth, and there was plenty of body with some pepper to wake you up, but not enough to crush your palate or nose. While there was that nice cherry note, I wish I could have pulled a touch more sweetness from the profile, which would have made it a 5 star for me. However, I have tried the JSK toro, which I did find a tad sweeter. I think these Lanceros will also age very well and the spiciness will mellow slightly and be great for years to come.

JSK Red Knight Lancero

Pairing Recommendation:

The JSK Red Knight Lancero is a very versatile cigar to pair drinks with. It’s serious enough to stand with a neat bourbon or Scotch, however I also think it’d go great with a sweet cocktail like an Old Fashioned to balance the spiciness and woody notes. A cup of coffee with cream would work well. Again, I don’t think this is the best choice to smoke on an empty stomach because of the strength. On the beer side, I’d go with a nice hoppy IPA or maybe nice German Pilsner. If you’re a wine fan, go red and go big.

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lancero

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Ramon Allones Club Allone...
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