Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cusano P1 Robusto

Cusano P1
Price: ~1.49 for a unit from a 5-pack of Cusano bundles
Size: 5X50
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Maduro
Humidor Time: Directly from smoke shop to desktop humidor for about a day
Smoke Time: ~ 30-45 minutes
Drink: I did not, but I could see a red wine being an excellent match

Some Interesting Points on the Cigar:
  • The cigar is part of the bundle series that cusano puts out.
  • Bundles are sold 2o a piece and price at $52.99 @ Famous Smoke (the robusto size).
  • This bundle cigar is rated a 9.0 by Smoke Magazine.

Appearance and Construction:
This is one of those cigars that I would categorize as "rugged" looking. It had some very noticeable veins, and had a big "seam" of a vein that had the look like that was the spot where the cigar was sealed up by the roller, thus finishing the creation of the cigar. The construction itself, minus some of its appearance, was good for what one expects from a bundle line of cigars. I was impressed by just that alone, especially since the cigar is put out by Cusano cigars!

The cut was as clean as could hope for from a bundle cigar. Cold flavors were rich and hearty. Black coffee jumped out from this unlit cigar, and had some underlying peppery spice to it. Seemed like some sort of "corojo-maduro hybrid" to me.

First 3rd:
Body: Medium-Full.
Very thick, dense smoke from the draw. I detected a mildly peppery, sweet, hearty smoke. I could really see the parallels between this cigar and a steak dinner. Quite pleasing! The smoke scent was of what one would expect from a maduro: sweet natural-tobacco, and black coffee.
Finish was long and lingering. The finish had a syrupy-like weight to it, and was slow to dissipate. The finish still reminded me of that steak dinner!

Second 3rd:

Body: Medium-Full
Smoke was slightly more peppery than the first 3rd. I could also detect a more sweet, floral flavor. The finish was creamy, and as it dissipated had a dry-fruit flavor (maybe similar to raisins.)

Last 3rd:
Body: Full
Spicier, with a walnut-taste. Smoke was still rich and dense. The cigar to the touch was warm, so I attribute that to the more fuller, spicier smoke. At about a thumb-size amount of cigar left, I put my smoke down.

The Verdict:
The cigar gets an 8.5 from me. The Cusano P1 was a great cigar, almost ignoring the fact that it was from a bundle line. The burn was only slightly uneven during the duration of the smoke, and the ash retained its shape very well and stayed attached for about as long as I allowed it to. I can therefore say that this bundle cigar had better construction than just by its appearance. I would have to agree with Smoke Magazine's 9.0 rating. It was a great cigar and I would recomend it to anyone that likes fuller cigars and is someone that isn't scared of the quality of dirt-cheap bundled cigars!

Until Next Time,
Keep Lighting Up

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Carlos Torano Signature Collection Toro

Carlos Torano Sign. Toro

Price: ~$2.95, but most likey cost much more for a single (single unit from a box of 25 from Famous Smoke Shop)
Size: 6x50
Filler: Dominican Cubano Ligero, Nicaraguan Habano Ligero
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Wrapper: Sun Grown Brazillian Maduro
Humidor Time: ~ 3 months
Smoke Time: ~ 1 hr 15 mins

The Carlos Torano cigar company is a family-owned cigar company that was started by Don Santiago Torano when he moved from Spain to Cuba in 1916. The company began as Torano & Co. and was mainly a buyer and reseller of tobacco. In the 1930's, the company bought farms and became tobacco growers. The farms main crop was cigar wrapper leaves. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Carlos relocated the business to the Dominican Republic, and was attributed with being the first to introduce Cuban seed tobacco to the region. Today, the Carlos Torano cigar company focuses more on producing cigars out of its Honduran and Nicaraguan Factories rather than growing tobacco.

Appearance and Construction:
Dark veins, chocolate-brown appearance. The cigar was adorned with an excellent silky-smooth wrapper. Cigar felt tightly packed.

Scent of wrapper was peppery; scent of the foot was earthy, hay-like.
Cold draw flavors were cocoa from the Brazillian wrapper and earth. Coffee flavors were also noticeable. The cigar seemed to have a tight draw.

First 3rd:
Immediately from the first draw you are hit with a full, peppery spice. The spice lingers around in the back of the throat for a bit, but eventually goes away. If you do not like fuller-bodied cigars, then I would have to say already that you should not pick this cigar up! The other base flavors that make up the cigar are the standard cocoa and coffee you get from Brazillian and maduro wrappers. Also the earthy hay flavor from the pre-draw was present, but wasn't too prevalent. The finish was rich and left your mouth feeling clean, and also somewhat dry. I would recommend having a beverage while smoking this cigar (now I know to have a drink the next time I come across this cigar). The aroma is robust and will give the area around the cigar a pleasant sweet, natural tobacco scent.

Second 3rd:
Not much differnt from the first 3rd. The spice has been intensifing since the first 3rd however. If you have sores on the roof of your mouth, then you may not like all the peppery spice. The ash was a nice dark gray held its shape for about an inch or so.

Last 3rd:
If you thought that the peppery spice was going to end here, you are sadly mistaken. This is the point in the cigar that is the most peppery and full bodied. The cigar does get hot quickly, so take your time smoking the last 3rd as to not create too much tobacco bite on your tounge. The cigar, at least for me anyway, will get to the point that the spice mixed in with the heat from the cigar will make for a rather unpleseant smoke in the last 3rd, so that's when you know that its a good place to put the cigar down for good.

The Verdict:
This cigar definitely gets a 9 out of 10 for me. It was just steller! Smoke Magazine rated the cigar a 4.7/5, which is their highest rating ever (I agree with their rating 100%). The only compliant I have is some of the intense spice. Even though I had the cigar in my humidor for as long as I did, I am sure that the cigar would more than likely mellow out with more humidor time. The flavors and the aroma of the cigar just reminded me what cigar smoking is suppose to be like. If I ever run into this cigar and the price is good, there would no way I would miss the opportunity to smoke it again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure

Hoyo de Tradicion

Price: ~$4.07
Size: 5 1/4x50
Filler: Honduran, Dominican, and Nicaraguan
Binder: Connecticut
Wrapper: Honduran Rosado
Body: Medium-to-full
Humidor Time: ~ 2 months
Smoking Time: Between 1 hr 30 min-1 hr 45 min, depending on how one smokes

The Hoyo de Tradicion is produced by the Hoyo de Monterrey line. Hoyo de Monterrey is one of the oldest and most respected brand names in the cigar industry. The company was started by José Gener in Cuba and began producing cigars in 1960. The Hoyo de Tradicion line was created to honor the rich history of Hoyo de Monterrey.

Appearance and Construction:
Dark, silky-smooth wrapper with small veins and no visible blemishes. Foot of cigar had a small, maybe a centimeter long, hole were there was no tobacco, but that wasn’t a major concern whatsoever. The feel of the cigar was wasn’t too soft, but it wasn’t rock solid either. The cigar gave way some with a light squeeze, so I was to believe the cigar was in good smoking order.

Sent was of hay, earth, slight pepper
Chocolate, earthy- hay flavor, clean pre-smoke

First 3rd:

Immediately after the first puff the flavor was reminiscent of the pre-smoke: earthy, hay, and there was a slight pepper. The burn was nice and slow, so I knew I was in for a while of smoking. The finish of the cigar lasted only a couple of seconds. The body was medium, dancing around full after 2 or 3 puffs. The smoke had clean, smooth texture to it.

Second 3rd:

The body started full at the second 3rd. The hay flavor was more predominant as the second 3rd’s flavor. I was surprised that the cigar actually went to a mild-to-medium flavor after about 1-1 ½ inches of the second 3rd. The cigar seemed to be more heavily packed, or at least the draw was harder at this point, and took more to get a good amount of smoke. After 4 or 5 draws, the cigar managed to open up. This could have just been the particular cigar that I had, so I can’t definitively say this is a universal problem or not amongst other cigars from this line. The cigar was more in the mild range by the end of the second 3rd.

Final 3rd:

The body was full for the duration of the cigar. The final 3rd had a surprising floral flavor to it, along with the initial earthy-hay flavors. The cigar’s tight draw came back. It wasn’t like drinking a thick shake out of a straw bad, but it was nonetheless difficult to get a good draw. The cigar wasn’t burning real even, so I had to keep correcting it with my butane lighter. At about 1-2 inches remaining, I called the cigar quits.

The Verdict:
The cigar gets 7 out of 10 for me. Cigar Aficionado gave the Hoyo de Tradicion line a 91 rating, which I’m not sure that it deserved that rating. In my book, a rating in the 80’s would have been good, but a 91 seems a bit steep. If you think that a smooth, earthy, slightly floraly smoke sounds like your cup of tea and want a cheap cigar with a good rating/reputation surrounding it, than the Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure is the cigar to explore.

Until Next Time,
Keep Lighting Up