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27
Oct

Origin : NicaraguaMy Father Cigars
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 1/8 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaragua Sun Grown
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $11.5 each

Initial aroma and cold draw notes are cream and cocoa.
Wrapper is dark brown, Maduro, wrinkled is spots, firm even pack. Filler is medium and dark brown.

An inadvertent retrohale on the first puff assaulted my sinuses with pepper. After recovering from that and getting a few draws in, it is as if someone put black pepper in my cup of French Roast coffee and cream. Half inch in and the pepper is relegated to the finish with full-bodied coffee and cream in the foreground.

One inch in and development continues with sweet, tart, and dry components that I best know as raisins. Draw is perfect. Burnline is all but straight. Well into the first third, savory notes of meat, dried tomato, and red pepper are presenting themselves. Smoke output is just right, plenty on the draw with minimal, wasteful off-smoke. First ash held for 2-inches, just in time to remove the model band, which unfortunately claimed some wrapper, exposing a chunk of the lighter shade binder.

At halfway, the flavors have consolidated with nothing fighting for dominance. Pepper is subdued exposing a creamier mouth feel with more coffee in the aftertaste. The wrapper damage didn’t affect the burn and the brand band came off cleanly. Strength is starting to show but my smoking pace is a bit anxious. Trying too hard to get action shot review pictures. Looking forward to enjoying one of these at a very relaxed pace, which I will, having bought a box of 23 at a good price of $180.

At the final third, flavor profile has contracted to a more tannic leather with a tinge of red pepper remaining on the tongue. It’s still savory with a brightness like fresh tomato. On the flavor/body scale, both are nearly full. This cigar has a lot of presence, both on the draw and all the way in between puffs. Pepper never leaves the picture.

By the end of the last third, charred wood is taking over but a hint of the savory remains. No bitterness. Burn performance has been spot on, no touch-ups and no relights required. Managed 1 hour and 15 minutes at a quick pace. 10:00

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Cigar Review – My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo

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07
Apr

Daniel Marshall 24KT Gold Torpedo

Photo credit: danielmarshall.com

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6.25 x 54
Wrapper : Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $250 each

Nikki Glenn is a violinist and vocalist specializing in private event entertainment for yacht companies, owners, luxury brands, and upscale occasions. You can find out more information at www.nikkiglenn.com.

Today I’m reviewing a very unique cigar, the Daniel Marshall 24KT Golden Torpedo. I found out about the cigar quite by chance, when I received an email via CigarReserve.com that they had some of these cigars in stock. I’d never heard of Daniel Marshall prior to this but I was very intrigued at the idea of a gold cigar. From his website, I learned that Mr. Marshall is a well-known maker of luxurious humidors and that the Golden Torpedo was originally created by Mr. Marshall as a counterpart to the humidor he designed for Universal Studios to commemorate the movie “Scarface”:

When I was designing for Universal Studios the SCARFACE Humidor I was asked by Universal to design a ultra bling luxury version of the humidor…I thought that a “over the top” humidor deserves a “over the top” DM Cigar and the 24kt Gold DM cigar was conceived.

Well, I love luxurious things that may be considered over the top, so this seemed like a perfect fit for me! Everything about this cigar is designed to impress and reinforce that this is a very exclusive cigar. According to the Golden Cigar’s site, it takes sorting through 50 cigars to get 5 that might be viable to transform into gold cigars. The cigar is sanded to smooth the surface of the wrapper, and 50+ sheets of 24KT edible gold leaf (from one of the oldest suppliers in Florence, Italy, natch) are applied with a sugar glaze to the wrapper. The cigar itself consists of a Nicaraguan puro blend with a Nicaraguan Cuban seed 5 year old wrapper, Esteli binder, and Jalapa filler. The cigar retails for around $250 per stick.

As I patiently waited for the cigar to arrive, questions were running through my mind – how did it smoke? Was it even good? How good could it be? Am I really going to smoke gold? I had a very unique experience with the gold cigar, and I ended up being able to try it not once, but twice, so I really got to explore it in-depth. The first time was not quite what I expected, and neither was the second. I will reference both smoking experiences in this review. I apologize in advance if this review is a little longer than your usual read, but I want you to have the benefits of my experiences so you can decide for yourself if you’d like to try it.

Daniel Marshall 24KT Golden Torpedo

PRELIGHT IMPRESSIONS:

Presentation is everything, and The Golden Torpedo does not disappoint. It comes packaged in a beautiful cedar coffin elegantly engraved with gold script, which I’m not embarrassed to say I spent some time sniffing – love the smell of cedar! The coffin is also dated and autographed by Daniel Marshall – both sticks that I smoked were dated 2011. The cigar itself is definitely an attention-getter right out of the box, the gold is bright and makes the cigar look as if it is made from solid gold. It makes the cigar feel very, very firm – it’s truly encased in gold.

Allow me to be shamelessly pretentious here: cutting the tip of cigar releases a heady, intense aroma that reminded me at once of both strong coffee and fresh baked pastries with icing. It smelled that good to me, but it reminded me a lot of another cigar that I enjoy that’s at the opposite end of the price spectrum from this one – the Makers Mark. That cigar give me a similar sensory impression: lush, complex, and sweet. The prelight draw had dark chocolate, coffee, and a hint of spices. I spent some time just drawing on it to see what else might come out and got more vanilla sweetness and a creamy taste reminiscent of a milkshake. Based on the prelight impressions, I was thinking this was going to be a very nice smoke.

LIGHTING, PART 1: THINGS FALL APART, BUT DM MAKES IT RIGHT

Now I had read about some of the challenges that other reviewers mentioned when smoking the cigar, and also discussed potential pitfalls with other smokers – mainly about keeping the cigar lit since it’s basically wrapped in a tube of gold. Please note that I used a single flame torch for the first smoke. I was able to light the cigar, but this is where things fell apart. The draw was extremely difficult, requiring crazy amounts of puffing. I had very little smoke production and the cigar went out multiple times if not constantly drawn upon. I believe that part of the problem was that my lighter wasn’t up to the task of keeping the tobacco ignited within the gold tube, but I also wasn’t able to really pull any air into the cigar to keep up a good burn.

This is the first attempt at smoking - see how charred the end is? And the tobacco still wasn't lit.

A friend had a cigar draw tool, and he was able to clear some blockage near the tip of the cigar, which did somewhat improve the draw. However, I still wasn’t able to keep the cigar lit and observed more of a tunneling smolder than an actual burn over the course of the smoke. As the tobacco turns to ash, the gold tube remains, so it was difficult to see where to relight the cigar. I ultimately ended up cutting the burnt portion of the cigar repeatedly in order to relight. I ended up with more of a charred gold stick than anything as elegant as I’d seen pictured, and my burn certainly wasn’t as camera friendly as others I’d seen. I didn’t really get to evaluate much of the taste of this first cigar due to the many issues I had with the drawn and lighting, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

However, the problems with the draw made me wonder if this was an anomalous experience, so I reached out to Daniel Marshal directly. They immediately responded and sent me a replacement cigar upon learning of my less than stellar experience. I must commend them for excellent customer service – I am not sure what other cigar brands’ policies are, but I did appreciate that they stand by their product in this manner.

LIGHTING, PART 2: SMOOTH(ER) SAILING

After speaking with other smokers about my experiences, I tried to be more prepared for the second smoke. I used a triple flame torch and focused more on lighting the filler as evenly as possible, to try and avoid turning the wrapper to charcoal. Success! However, you should note that you won’t be generating huge plumes of smoke with this cigar, it has a more gentle burn and different combustion (I am assuming due to how the gold leaf wrapper impacts the way the cigar burns). I was able to taste the cigar the second time – I got lots of toast and espresso taste with a pretty smooth draw. The gold cigar compared favorably in taste to one of my other top smokes, the La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli, which is another Nicaraguan puro.

I did have some relighting issues again with the second smoke. As I mentioned previously, the gold encased ash can make it difficult to see exactly where to relight – when multiple attempts to relight resulted in flameups that scorched the wrapper, I ultimately decided to trim the cigar with scissors as the ash built up. This really did seem to improve the cigar’s burn as there wasn’t a section of ash suffocating the stick. I cut the cigar prior to the 2nd third of the cigar and got a really good burn at that point, for a little while. I did have to keep relighting it if I wasn’t drawing on it fairly constantly. I’m certain I sacrificed no small amount of taste to keep it lit, and I began encountering the bitterness and burnt taste you only get when you have well and truly torched your cigar. It was difficult to gauge exactly when the cigar would go out, as it would sometimes smolder and produce a thin stream of smoke when it was purged. I can only surmise that the gold, while lovely, also functioned to draw off heat from the tobacco and also inhibited oxygen flow. I do really think that having a lighter with a very intense flame improves the burn substantially – I was actually able to ash the cigar after relighting in the 2nd third. The cigar did go out again, right before the final third.

I only smoked the final third because no one likes a quitter. At this point, the cigar was burning as hotly as I wished it had burned at the beginning of the smoke. The draw was excellent and the burn was very vigorous, but there was a very strong smell of varnish/nail polish from the wrapper at this point. With all the relights, I wasn’t really able to appreciate the flavor like I would have wished. I don’t think this is a cigar that you’d want to smoke down to the nub. The second time smoking the Gold Torpedo was definitely better than the first, but it was more work than enjoyment.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really spent some time gathering my thoughts about this cigar. With all the efforts I put into smoking this cigar not once, but twice, I would love to be able to say that it was a deeply satisfying smoke. However, I can’t say that just based on the amount of effort that it took to keep it lit. This is a cigar that is terrific for starting conversations and attracting attention. The entertainer in me loves all the flash and style that is certainly present in this cigar. However it fell short for me in the performance department.

Part of what is so enjoyable about cigar smoking is that you can light up a cigar, have a nice drink, and a conversation. I found that I had to be so focused on maintaining the cigar that it would not have been possible to do anything but concentrate on the smoke, and that takes a great deal of the joy out of it. Was this a cigar I’d smoke on a regular basis? Nope. Would I buy it again? Absolutely. Here’s why: it’s a cool-looking stick, albeit a challenging smoke, it has a great visual impact, and it’s a very lovely gift for an aficionado. It’s obviously beautifully and meticulously made, and they haven’t skimped on any aspect of its presentation or content. It’s unquestionably a mark of status to many, and I can’t find anything wrong with that in my shamelessly aspirational heart of hearts. I feel like there was a substantial learning curve involved with it, just due to the introduction of the unfamiliar element of gold. I encourage the adventurous-minded to give it a try. Who knows, maybe the third time’s the charm?

Daniel Marshall 24KT Golden Torpedo

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24
Oct

Avo Heritage Short Torpedo

Avo CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Short Torpedo
Size : 4 1/2 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Sungrown
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~$8 each
More info about purchasing Avo Heritage cigars…

The Heritage line was introduced as a stronger budget blend within the AVO portfolio. It includes a number of other sizes besides the Short Torpedo that I’m smoking today, some of them have already been reviewed here: the Churchill, the Robusto, the Short Corona, the Short Robusto, and the Toro. AVO cigars tend to be pretty pricey, but you can get all of the Heritage cigars for under $10 apiece. I paid $7.90 for the Short Torpedo, excited to try one of AVO’s more affordable cigars.

Appearance : 5 out of 5 stars
This cigar is almost astonishingly smooth, with very few visible veins. Those you can see are incredibly fine. The wrapper has a rich, warm medium brown color that is very inviting, and a lovely oily sheen. I don’t notice any soft patches, but there are a few hard ones (let’s hope that doesn’t impact the draw), and the aroma coming from the cigar smells vaguely of chocolate.

Construction : 3.5 out of 5 stars
As predicted, draw is a little tight, not so much that it becomes annoying, but it could be looser. The burn is initially pretty crooked too, but after a couple of corrections, it stays straight as a razor. So a couple of imperfections here, but nothing major. The ash holds on solid and is gray striped with black.

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Earth and nutty to start with, you get a punch of black pepper right from the start. The pepper is pretty intense, and you can feel a bit of a burn in your lips from it. There is a little bitterness up front too which I am not crazy about, but it fades away, and the cedar and nuts take the foreground. The smoke is very creamy and aromatic. By the middle third, that creamy texture has become pronounced. The pepper is mostly gone, and the earthy flavors have also become hard to detect. The nutty flavor is most prominent along with the cedar. I am still dealing with some of that bitterness coming through, which by now is annoying me a bit.

The final third is much like the rest. You get the same basic flavors, minus the pepper, which by now is almost indistinguishable. The major players, nuts and cedar, are still front and center. I’d rate the overall strength of the AVO Heritage Short Torpedo at medium.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
I appreciate that the AVO Heritage Short Torpedo is less expensive than a lot of AVO cigars, and in that sense, it is a good value. But there are some construction problems, and the bitterness that kept coming and going was an irritant. So even at the reasonable price, I have to knock a point off.

Overall Rating : 3.75 out of 5 stars (3.75)
I really wanted to like the AVO Heritage Short Torpedo since it is so affordably priced, and AVO is a big name. I was initially really enthusiastic when I saw the beautiful, flawless-looking wrapper with its almost undetectable veins. But the burn problems, the slightly-too-tight draw, and the bitterness took their toll on my patience. Plus, the flavors, while pleasant, really did not do a whole lot, and were pretty basic. If you really love nuts and cedar, you may enjoy this stogie. Otherwise, you could probably take it or leave it.

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Avo Heritage Short Torpedo

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14
Oct

Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion

Origin : NicaraguaJoya de Nicaragua
Format : Torpedo
Size : 5 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Habano Criollo
Binder : Nicaraguan Seco
Filler : Nicaraguan Habano Seco and Ligero
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
More info about purchasing Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion…

Joya de Nicaragua is best known for their full-bodied stogies, in particular the Antaño 1970. The Celebracion was designed to mimic the Antaño experience, but not pack such a powerful punch. That way there would be a milder option available for those who prefer milder smokes. Of course, it is still a pretty potent cigar, and many smokers will still consider it to be a full-bodied smoke. I gave it a try and decided I would categorize it as medium-bodied. It’s also very spicy, and the flavors themselves are quiet strong.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
The Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion comes in a number of different formats and sizes, including the Churchill (6.9 x 48), Consul (4.5 x 52), Corona (5.5 x 42), Gordo (5.5 x 60), Toro (6 x 50), and Torpedo (5 x 52). This one is the Torpedo. The Nicaraguan Habano Criollo wrapper is a rich, medium, warm chocolatey brown with a number of fine veins and an oily sheen. The cap looks to be perfect, though the foot is a bit tightly packed. Pre-light aroma is sweet, but specifics are hard to discern.

Construction : 4.5 out of 5 stars
At first I thought that the draw was a bit tight, but this turned out to be my own fault for not clipping off enough of the cap. Burn is pretty even, and I didn’t need to make any corrections. There are no problems from start to finish, even with the tightly packed foot.

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
To start, the Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion Torpedo is sweet and woody with a hint of spice. The spice is most prominent in the aftertaste, and lingers on the palette. There is a hint of something like maple syrup, and something nutty as well. The spiciness heats up in the middle third, and gets even stronger in the final third. A hint of cream vanilla that is noticeable at the start expands and becomes prominent in the final third. I found the first third a bit bland, but the flavors and aromas built up nicely and were quite enjoyable by the end.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
This is a nicely made cigar, available in the $5 to $8 price range. Particularly at the lower end, that is an amazing deal for a pleasant smoke. Anywhere in that range is quite reasonable, though.

Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion Torpedo

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars
My only complaint about the Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion Torpedo is the slight blandness of the flavors at the beginning of the smoking experience. That is a subjective opinion, however, and those who like milder flavors may very well enjoy that aspect. I liked the buildup in spiciness and flavor, and I can safely say that while this is a medium-bodied smoke, it should not overwhelm many smokers (unlike the Antaño…). In the $5 to $8 price range, it is an excellent deal.

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Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion Torpedo

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28
Jan

Kristoff Corojo Limitada Torpedo

KristoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 1/4 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan and Dominican
Hand-Made
Price : ~$9 each
More info about purchasing Kristoff Corojo Limitada cigars…

Glen Case’s Kristoff cigar company has been through some rough times since its inception thanks to distribution and production problems. They have however gotten the attention of the world with high-quality premium cigars like the Kristoff Corojo Limitada Torpedo. The stogie is made largely from Cuban seed Dominican Habano tobacco. Production of this cigar is limited to about 16,000 per year—thus the higher price point.

Appearance : 3.5 out of 5 stars
This cigar has a somewhat rustic appearance with some prominent veins. The dark brown wrapper has an almost bluish sheen in the light. This immediately grabbed my attention and made me curious. The pre-light aroma is nondescript cedar.

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
The draw for the Kristoff Corojo Limitada Torpedo is great, and the ash holds on well. The burn had some issues around the middle third, but with a correction I got that squared away.

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
The most prominent notes in this cigar from start to finish are cedar and pepper, just as I would have gathered from the pre-light aroma. In the beginning there was a bit of citrus, probably orange, and near the end, some cherry came out to play with the pepper and cedar. The strength is medium to full, probably closer to full. The finish has a nice smoky flavor. While I enjoyed the flavors, I would have preferred a little more complexity. As it was, the notes which came and went seemed almost random to me.

Value : 3.5 out of 5 stars
There is nothing at all wrong with the price which Kristoff sets for this cigar. At $9 at stick, this is pushing toward a higher-end cigar, but the quality is high and the scarcity of the tobacco needed to make the stogie justifies it completely. That said, I wouldn’t have minded a more even burn at that price. Then again, that might have been just this cigar.

Overall Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is a rather good cigar. The flavors were a bit flat to me personally, but if you are a cedar lover, this stogie is an absolute must-try. For those who like full bodied smokes, this is also an excellent choice. The flavor profile is distinctive, and the price for the Kristoff Corojo Limitada Torpedo is very reasonable, even though it may seem high at first.

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Kristoff Corojo Limitada Torpedo

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01
Oct

Tortuga 215 Edición Limitada 2011 Torpedo

Origin : Dominican Republic
Tortuga CigarsFormat : Torpedo
Size : 6.25 x 56
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Binder : Honduras
Filler : Honduras, Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $8.80 each

I had never heard of the Tortuga brand. This past summer while vacationing in the United States I happened upon them while in a popular local cigar shop/lounge. I saw this in their new release area with its deep burgundy band and the all too familiar these days “Limited Edition” secondary gold band. I picked one up to smoke in the store while I continued my shopping. I enjoyed it so much I picked up a couple more. These cigars are marketed as extremely limited cigars. Their website lists all the retailers around the country that sell them if you are interested in giving one a try. I doubt they’ll be sold out because of their relatively unknown status. These boutique cigars were readily available for sale at the shop I bought mine at. Finding them at all of their listed retailers may be difficult but worth the effort.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The cigar looks exceptionally appealing. A very tightly wrapped cigar with visible seams but minimal veining. My sample had a spot on the wrapper as can be seen in the photo but this was no big deal as it did not affect the cigar. It sported a nice appealing dark brown wrapper with a rich looking deep burgundy band and of course it sports the Edición Limitada 2011 secondary gold band.

Tortuga 215 Edición Limitada 2011 Torpedo

Construction : 4.75 out of 5 stars (4.75)
The cigar felt firm to the touch and heavy/nicely packed. You would think the draw would be tough but quite contrary. It offered just the right amount of resistance. It burned very well but needed a couple of touch-ups to correct a burn that started to get away from me. The cigar burned really slow (due to the amount of tobacco in it) but never needed any relights. I had no issues with wrapper cracking on snipping it nor did the wrapper crack as I smoked it. The bands came off with ease. The ash was firm, never flaked and the smoke output was exceptional.

Flavor : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The pre-light aroma was a very strong tobacco and wood. It had barnyard notes to the nose but overall it was pleasing. The pre-light draw had hints of coffee, some citrus, black licorice, cedar and chocolate.

Lighting the Tortuga, you are immediately greeted with full flavors that almost overwhelm the palate in a good way. I picked up notes of cedar, dried fruit, chocolate and a medium white peppery finish. The cigar wrapper left a nice saltiness on my lips. The smoke itself was velvety and very rich with a nice residue on my palate, almost like honey. Near the end of the first third I picked up some leather notes with slight hints of tea and black licorice.

The cigar transitioned nicely into the second third where I was able to pick up semi-sweet chocolate, coffee notes and rich earthiness. The pepper remained on the back end of the palate but it was milder than in the first third. The flavors were still bold and full. If this was a blind tasting I would have thought I was smoking a Padron Family Reserve No. 44. It really did resemble that profile.

As I neared the middle point of the cigar I continued to get nice bold flavors similar to those already mentioned but a little more coffee, mocha and creamy texture entered the picture. There were hints of sweet oak, dried fruit and wild berries. It was definitely very smooth and boasted a medium to long finish that was very pleasing.

The final third continued to develop nicely with some perfectly blended sweetness with some occasional hints of dark chocolate. It never got bitter or hot thanks to the slow burn and to the construction. The cigar offered up some very discernible coffee, mocha and sweet oak flavors with some black cherry, licorice and dried fruit. A nice chocolate tone mainly dominated the final third. The smoke was still thick and had a nice velvety cream-like texture on the palate.

The Tortuga 215 Edición Limitada has a definite kick to it. I started to feel the nicotine just past the halfway mark and this was after I had had a hearty meal. Definitely ensure you eat something beforehand.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
Despite being a boutique cigar and offered in very limited quantities the cigar wasn’t priced like some of the higher end better known cigars on the market. I paid $8.80 for this cigar before taxes. Definitely not priced to be an everyday cigar but certainly a cigar that you would enjoy when you have the time or for that special occasion. The cigar lasted almost an hour and a half so you do get your money’s worth in terms of duration. Paying this much for a cigar that many haven’t heard of though may put some purchasers off. Don’t ever be afraid to get out of your comfort zone though and try something new.

Overall Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars
Tortuga 215 is a very pleasing cigar that offers full-bodied flavors and medium to full strength enjoyment. A great cigar with exceptional creamy smoke output and flavors that boast coffee, mocha, chocolate, dried fruit and sweet wood. It has a complex profile that evolves and transitions frequently and seamlessly. Try to find one. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did. A perfect ending to a nice steak dinner.

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Tortuga 215 Edición Limitada 2011 Torpedo

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13
Jun

Alec Bradley Black Market

Origin : HondurasAlec Bradley
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 1/8 x 54
Wrapper : Nicaragua Jalapa (Colorado Maduro)
Filler : Honduras and Panama grown Jamastran tobaccos
Binder : Sumatra (Grown in Equador)
Hand-Made
Price : ~$8 each
More info about purchasing Alec Bradley Black Market cigars…

Introduced in 2011, the Alec Bradley Black Market line is handmade in Danli, Honduras and sports a Jalapa-grown Nicaraguan wrapper “cured to a dark, shimmering patina”. The cigar is a blend of Honduras and Panama-grown Jamastran tobaccos.

Appearance : 5 out of 5 stars
As is the trend lately with cigar companies, packaging and marketing seems to be the name of the game. It is often said we eat with our eyes first (all in the presentation) and today’s non-Cuban cigar market is infiltrated with sexy packaging in the hopes of luring buyers. While I am not a fan of over top packaging but care more for the product itself, I cannot utterly dismiss it when it comes to rating appearance. This cigar is packaged beautifully with a nice looking paper sheath around the cigar stamped with the manufacturer and the brand along with a matching band on the cigar. No glue is used on the sheath so it slides right off. The band also came off with relative ease so as not to damage the cigar. The cigar is made exceptionally well and it shows in its appearance. Boxes come in “wooden crates” that look like weapon crates. I have to admit they look cool. The cigar itself offers a very attractive Colorado maduro wrapper which is inviting. The cigar has a beautiful sheen to the wrapper, minimal veins and nice tight seams. It really does look outstanding as does the packaging.

Alec Bradley Black Market

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
The cigar held up well to my straight cut. For the most part it burned well and provided thick smoke output but it did need more than a couple touch ups to correct the burn and one re-light just past the halfway point. Smoke diminished in the second half compared to the first half. The ash was firm but did flake more than usual. For the most part it would hold for about an inch before falling off. The draw started off fine but seemed to open up a tad too much in the final third. It was packed well, firm to the touch and without noticeable soft spots.

Alec Bradley Black Market

Flavor : 2 out of 5 stars
This review might be a tad controversial only in the sense that I know there are a lot of Alec Bradley fans out there. Keep in mind that taste and flavor is purely subjective and no two palates are alike. I would be lying if I simply wrote a respectable review and feel that it is important to at least get my impression of the cigar written in an honest manner. Good or bad, I encourage anyone interested in the cigar who hasn’t tried it to at least give it a try. Don’t let my review of the cigar put you off on trying one if it is truly what you want to do. This is what makes the hobby fun: comparing each other’s experiences.

The pre-light aroma provided some cedar, mint, tea and earthy aromas. The pre-light draw was good and offered up earthy notes with a touch of peppery mint and some mustiness.

The cigar lit well and gave off some thick clouds of smoke. The flavors were a tad muted on lighting which was surprising given the pleasant aromas the cigar had when unlit. There was some mild pepper on the tongue but this was very subtle. The first flavors that hit me, in order, were must, wood, earth and a faint hint of tea on the finish. It had a long woodsy/musty finish with barely any spice. As I reached the end of the first third a little more pepper came into the flavor profile and while no particular flavour changes caught my attention during the first third, the peppery finish got noticeably longer as I smoked it. The spice wasn’t really “peppery” but more of a subtle background “spice”.

The draw gained a little more resistance as I approached the second third. The smoke remained thick but the smoke’s texture was quite dry, leaving no flavourful residue on my palate. The primary flavors remained earthy and woody with hints of unsweetened coffee and cocoa entering the profile here and there along with some bitter citrus flavors. I also picked up the occasional but very brief toasted nuts and leather. I did pick up some semi-sweet chocolate in the smoke near the halfway point but this was not very long lasting at all. While the cigar’s smoke did leave a slight residue on my palate at this stage of the cigar, overall it was quite dry. It was also a tad on the bitter side.

As I reached the halfway point, the cigar offered up pretty much the same flavors noticed in the first half. The sweetness was gone from the smoke and other than the transition to a more neutral smoke texture, the overall flavor profile remained the same. Strength was definitely there and although this cigar is marketed as medium strength, I would tend to lean to the stronger end. All in all, the flavors, while noticeable, were not that really enjoyable with a very noticeable mustiness and earthy profile dominating the cigar.

The final third offered more of the same. The smoke output decreased and the draw opened up a bit too much. The cigar became even more bitter as I approached the band. For the most part the flavors had absolutely no transition at all. I don’t have any particular problem with a one dimensional smoke if the flavors I am getting from a cigar are enjoyable. I cannot say that for the Black Market Torpedo. Perhaps a little age might help this cigar sweeten up a bit but for what I got out of my tasting, I was rather unimpressed and would rather spend my money elsewhere.

Value : 2 out of 5 stars
This cigar’s MSRP is $7.90. It comes in boxes of 22 and buying by the box will make the per/cigar price a bit lower. I have seen these retail online for between $7.50 to $9.00 with discounts given if bought by the box. Value is always a tough thing to rate. It’s hard to find any value in a cigar that I did not find enjoyable. I could only guess how the advertising, packaging and glitz adds to the cost of the cigar but for my money, there are many better tasting cigars out there in this price range. With the price of cigars rising, it’s getting hard to justify paying $8.00 for a cigar when the overall experience was poor. As such, I was compelled to rate the value of the cigar as I rated the flavor experience.

Overall Rating : 3.25 out of 5 stars (3.25)
I was really looking forward to trying this cigar. The fact it is blended with tobacco from 4 countries intrigued me and really sparked my curiosity to see how the tobacco from those 4 countries would marry with each other. To be quite frank, I question how popular this cigar (which reportedly sold out on release) would have been if not preceded by the AB Prensado cigar of the year award that pre-dated this.

I’ve been smoking cigars for over 20 years. No more than over the past few years have I noticed cigars marketing become more prevalent than it has today. From fancy creative packaging to all kinds of promotional events attached to releases. This cigar, with its wooden crate style box and extra protective sleeve is a prime example of additional costs that are passed on to the consumer. Even if only minimal, they do add to the price. There is nothing wrong with simply packing cigars in a cigar box and letting the taste of the cigar speak for itself. These little things annoy me because they ultimately impact the cost of the cigar and as smokers will note, this is becoming a more expensive hobby by the day. As companies jump over each other to release the next “big thing”, far too much money is spent (in my opinion) on marketing and fancy packaging when really, all the cigar smoker wants is a fine tasting cigar. However, it is the glitz and glamour that usually attracts one’s eye at the cigar shop and unfortunately, this sometimes gives a cigar a reputation it doesn’t deserve.

Like I’ve written in my other reviews, the fact that a cigar doesn’t change flavors, or remains one dimensional is not something to get overly worked up over so long as the flavors are enjoyable during your smoking experience. Where this cigar fails in my view is that while it remains one dimensional, I did not actually find the cigar’s flavour profile to be overly appealing or enjoyable. In fact had I not been smoking the cigar for the purpose of a review and taking notes while smoking it, I would probably have put it to rest a lot sooner than I did. The mustiness and dry flavors dominated the cigar and were not particularly enjoyable.

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Alec Bradley Black Market Torpedo

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31
Jan

I have the distinct opportunity to smoke one of the most sought after cigars ever. The original Miami La Glorias came about during the Cigar Boom and put Ernesto Perez-Carrillo on the map. You probably wouldn’t have guys like Don Pepin Garcia, Pete Johnson or Dion Giolito without Ernesto. The La Glorias were so hard to find that folks were paying quadruple and more of MSRP.

LGC Torpedo

One of my buddies from Empire Cigars gave me a 15+ year old LGC Torpedo for the birth of my son. I couldn’t wait to try this cigar that I had heard so much about. I was just going to write a review for this old torpedo when I realized this was a good chance to compare the blend Then & Now. So much has changed in 15+ years, including LGC being bought by General Cigar to even Ernesto leaving La Gloria to start off on his own again. Is there any way these cigars can still be similar at all? We’ll see!

La Gloria Cubana Torpedo Natural – Circa 1994

Size: 6 1/2″ x 54
Vitola: Torpedo
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

You should see the cellophane from this cigar! I hope the picture below does it justice!

LGC Torpedo
LGC Torpedo

Well, this is one rustic looking cigar. The cap is very rough but is glistening with plume. The pre-light draw is firm but yielding, and took a flame easily.

The flavors are interesting. They remind me both of current La Glorias with their unique earthiness and also Puros Indios cigars which have a distinctive barnyard aroma.

The burn is fairly even and the tobacco burns hot leaving more white than black in the salt and pepper ash.

After the first inch or so they flavors begin to develop nicely, leaving an earthy sweetness with a real mustiness in the aroma. Very tasty! If I smelled the smoke from this cigar and was not told what it was i would really guess it was made by Rolando Reyes (Cuba Aliados and Puros Indios). The barnyard aroma has a real throwback appeal but is really only present in the aroma not so much in the taste of the cigar.

This cigar is amazing, it still has tons of flavor after 15+ years! Halfway through there is leather and earth with some hay and coffee.

As I near the end, the flavors intensify and “sweet spot” flavors like licorice and espresso start to make their way on to my tastebuds.

The cigar just gets better and better, those sweet spot flavors intensifying to a crescendo that makes me burn my fingers as I nub this cigar to the end! Thanks to Atlanta “Sleepy” Mike for the privilege to smoke this wonderful rarity!

Rating: 97 (A)

La Gloria Cubana Torpedo Circa 2012

Clearly the General Cigar’s rollers (El Credito factory) have had a lot of practice with torpedoes as this puppy has a beautiful pointed cap. The color is identical to its grandfather but more even and not as splotchy.

The cigar takes a cut from my PG cutter with no problem and the pre-light draw is waaaay easier.

So far the only thing the two cigars have in common is the shape. There is a bit of earthiness, but the cigar is a lot spicier and has a rich leather character.

The burn is not entirely even but satisfactory enough. The finish has a bit of licorice and leather. The cigar is not that complex and the flavors listed above are fairly consistent throughout the length of the entire cigar.

Rating: 86 (B)

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La Gloria Cubana Torpedo – Then & Now

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15
Jan

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Torpedo

Rocky PatelOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Torpedo
Size : 155 x 25 mm (6.25 x 52)
Wrapper : Honduran Broadleaf
Filler : DR, Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : ~$8-9 each
More info about purchasing Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 cigars…

Rocky Patel introduced the Vintage 1990 blend in 2003 and I remember at the time reading a lot of good things about this cigar. This was one of the first praised releases from the company that had just the year prior changed its name to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars from Indian Tabac. Rocky Patel has gone on to make some very good cigars over the years and this one, being one of their first acclaimed releases, was one that I had to sample. As I will discuss below, my boxes were purchased back in 2006. Having finished my first box some time back, I am now down to the last few from my 2006 collection. My palate has changed over the years and perhaps this is why the review is as it is. At the time, I really enjoyed this cigar but as the years went by I lost interest. I decided to pull out one of the 5 remaining sticks from my purchase and give it a whirl some 6 years after purchasing them.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The sample smoked was out of my collection and was purchased in 2006 while vacationing in Florida. A double-banded cigar with a nicely applied wrapper with some minor flaws but no obscenely distracting defects. You can see what I mean in the photograph of the actual cigar smoked for this review. Pre-light, it had a pleasant nutty aroma with hints of cedar and chocolate. The cigar’s band is a deep burgundy with gold lettering. It looks classy but the torpedo shape is not quite consistent with a slight ‘lean’. Minimal veining with minimal visible seams.

Construction : 4.25 out of 5 stars (4.25)
I had no major construction issues to report. The cigar, as most Rocky Patel’s are known for, are quite meticulously crafted. The cut was smooth and the wrapper held in place but the burn did tend to waver at times and the cigar required a couple of minor touch-ups, but nothing really out of the ordinary or something that should frustrate the seasoned smoker. The draw was spectacular with tons of thick white clouds of smoke to make the experience that much more gratifying. The ash was firm and only occasionally did it flake.

Flavor : 3.75 out of 5 stars (3.75)
What impressed me about this cigar was the rich smoke output. Right off the bat the cigar had some earthiness to it with some hints of cocoa and coffee. The first few draws revealed some pungent earthy tones that gave way to some more mellow notes by the half inch mark. The predominant flavor was cocoa with some earthy and toasted nut flavors coming through on the back end of the palate. There were some white pepper notes present on the back of the palate but these subsided rather quickly.

In the second third I started to note some toasted cocoa with tones of semi-sweet chocolate. The earthiness of the cigar continued to dominate the flavor profile and the smoke output remained thick, with gorgeous clouds of thick white smoke. The burn was flawless as was the draw. The cigar was dry on the palate and the flavor was complex with hints of semi-sweet chocolate, toasted nuts and unsweetened coffee the most detectable flavors. I would advise that this cigar be smoked with a drink in hand because the cigar can be quite dry. The finish isn’t all that long but has just enough spice to compliment the flavors I was getting out of the cigar.

By the halfway point, the cigar opened up with the aforementioned flavors becoming stronger and some of the earthiness fading away. There really isn’t any ‘sweetness’ to this cigar. Rather, it is a tad more on the bitter/earthy side but that is not to say it was an unpleasant bitterness. Instead the flavors were more akin to the bitterness one gets from toasted nuts or unsweetened espresso. Personally I prefer somewhat sweeter flavor profiles but that is not to say that this cigar was in any way displeasing to the palate, but it was ‘dry’ and, again, it is recommended that you smoke this cigar with a beverage, probably a sweet one to balance some of the natural bitterness that this cigar leaves on the palate.

As I started the final third I continued to pick up hints of toasted nuts and unsweetened coffee but at this point some toasted caramel-like textures started making their way into the flavor profile. The smoke remained thick and slightly oily on my tongue and while there was some pepper left on the back of the palate this was relatively minor. The spice was enough to be noticeable but never got in the way of the smoke. In fact, many draws revealed no pepper notes at all.

The cigar is not very strong. The one smoked for this review was smoked before dinner accompanied by a double shot of ‘sweetened’ cappuccino that I found complimented the cigar very well.

The cigar will tend to get a little harsh if smoked too quickly and I laid the cigar to rest shortly after removing the band when I sensed the flavors were going to get harsh. I did not want to ruin an otherwise decent experience.

All in all, this cigar offers some toasted nuttiness, cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate flavors with a nice thick smoke output and very comfortable and satisfying draw. Some occasional caramel flavors did come into the picture with some white pepper spice that remained mild, coming in and out of the flavor profile throughout the smoke.

Notwithstanding the fact that the cigar wasn’t bad, it wasn’t spectacular either and always left me wanting a bit more. Some of the flavors were muted at times with only natural tobacco coming through on some puffs. There could have been more consistency in this regard. Also, the cigar was only mildly complex and the flavor profile really didn’t change an awful lot during the smoking experience with much of the flavors remaining the same. Only their intensity changed.

This cigar has done well with age as many of the flavors that I discussed have mellowed and come in to their own. When smoked young, this cigar can be a tad bitter but with a little time in the humidor they really come in to their own with the bitterness taking on the flavors mentioned in this review.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
These cigars can be had for as little as $9.00 per cigar at most online retailers that I checked and I remember paying a little less when I purchased them years ago. A box of 20 can be had for $176.00. For the price, this cigar will offer a smoker with over an hour of a good cigar experience. Not “great” mind you, but for the price, anyone who enjoys this flavor profile should not be disappointed. I have had better cigars for the price however.

Overall Rating : 4.13 out of 5 stars (4.125)
Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 is not a bad cigar and if you can find them for a good price then you won’t go wrong by having a few in your humidor. The flavors are mostly of the nutty, unsweetened coffee and semi-sweet chocolate variety with an underlying earthiness. If that is your desired flavor profile then you will enjoy this cigar. Where the cigar falters in my opinion is in its lack of complexity. As I noted above, there were some subtle changes to the flavor profile during my smoking experience but not enough to keep me interested. That is, while the flavors tended to change in strength, they pretty much stayed the same during the entire cigar experience. There just wasn’t enough ‘wow’ factor to keep me wanting more. The smoke output won’t disappoint and construction issues are relatively minor but present nonetheless. A good torpedo but not a spectacular one. The cigar is not strong so it is good for novice smokers or for those that haven’t had much to eat beforehand. Overall, I rated this cigar 4.125 out of 5.

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Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Torpedo

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18
Sep

www.cheaphumidors.com Slightly uneven burn and tight draw. Very earthy with a slightly dry and increasingly spicy finish. Best enjoyed with a medium bodied coffee or a nice, spicy red wine

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