Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vato Cigars Vegas Blend

Vato Cigars Las Vegas Blend
Wrapper: Connecticut
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Dominican and Honduras
Size: 5 ½” x 54 Robusto Largo
Strength: Mild
Blended by: Vato Cigars

Initial Observations: The wrapper is a medium brown with no imperfections. Any veins on the wrapper are very small, which gives the cigar a smooth, streamlined look. It appears to be wrapped well. The cigar has a mild aroma of wood and a nice earthiness.

Cut: Slightly soft but the cap stayed together.

Prelight draw: The draw was very loose, sure to produce plenty of smoke.
Toast and burn: I was able to easily achieve an even toast and the light was effortless without requiring any touching up.

First Blush Puffs: Slighty cedary, very smooth with an abundance of creamy smoke.

First Third: Notes of Oak and Cedar are evident. The flavors are very well balanced as the ligero from the filler adds a hint of spice without being overwhelming on the palate or in the smell of the smoke. The cigar produces plenty of silky smoke as well with a rich earthy aroma.

Second Third: The burn has remained perfect and even through the first and into the second third of the cigar. It is clearly a well constructed stick. The notes of wood have picked up and the faint hints of pepper remain on the back of the palate. The flavor profile finishes off with hay and oak.

Final Third: The epilogue of this Vegas blend remains as consistent as the rest of the cigar. Plenty of smoke, notes of oak, pepper and tangy cedar with underlying earthy flavors.

Conclusion: Vato Cigars has created a fantastic, balanced cigar. It is a perfect mild cigar for a morning smoke or even a great finish to the evening after a juicy steak with baked potatoes. This cigar is a great combination for a smoker with a more sensitive palate or a smoker new to cigars to experience the complexity and spice that a ligero leaf brings to the palate without being overwhelming. The Vato Cigars Vegas Blend is a cigar that I look forward to trying again and again.

Friday, July 30, 2010

CAO Hybrid Experiment

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Aficionadas Address of Smoking Sins Article 2

I do not want to smoke your mucus.

I am not a fan of booger infused cigars.

DO NOT pick up a cigar, place it right under your nose and sniff! Not only does this transfer your germs to the cigar wrapper but the oils on your hands can be damaging to the wrapper and therefore effect the taste.

I see this time and time again in shops and it makes me want to run for the industrial size bottles of Germ X. It is one thing if they are your own cigars that you have purchased and you will be the only one smoking them. ( It still makes my skin crawl, but hey at least its your choice!) But to see a supposedly educated cigar smoker, pick up a cigar out of a box and drag it under his nose, taking a deep breath in and then placing the cigar BACK IN THE BOX... No, No, No! The unsuspecting patron that picks up that cigar for purchase probably will not notice the slime skidmarks on the wrapper and the experience of such could damage his or her opinion of the cigar for a lifetime.

There is a reason why some cigars have cello; to protect the wrapper of the cigar. The constant touching, moving, picking up of a cigar can cause the wrapper to crack, flake, break down. That is not limited to the oils of the hands. I have seen many cases of someone digging a cigar out of a full new box using the leverage of their fingernail. This is like pulling on a loose thread of a sweater. It can all fall apart with one small piece missing.

Please, respect the shop patrons, shop owners and yourself by keeping your ooze off the oscuros (and every other wrapper)! And remember to double the check the next cigar you pick up. There might be someone else's cold waiting for you. Karma does apply to the cigar industry and they say Karma is a.... well, you know.

This Isn't Nike, Just Don't Do It!


How Do I Palio?

How Do I Palio?

No V cutters. No Scissors. Occasional Punch. Always Palio. For over three years, a simple black Palio cutter has been my method of choice to snip the tip of almost every cigar that touches my lips.

As a new cigar smoker, I purchased the inexpensive cutters by the registers of my local B&Ms. I even had a punch on my keychain. But after awhile, they would all break or fall off my keychain. In January 2007, I made my first trip to Oklahoma to visit some good company. Due to flight regulations I was hesitant to pack my lighter and a cutter. So sitting on a leather couch at Maker’s in Bricktown, I had my first experience with a Palio. I loved it. I received one as a gift from someone very dear to me several months later. The only time I do not use that cutter is when I smoke a chisel and I will punch the top.

The Palio is truly the most durable, reliable cutter on the market. It has a double blade guillotine cut made from hardened surgical steel. The blades are very thin and provide a seamless cut. It is encased in state of the art polymers that make it comfortable to use. It also features “detent positioning” so it won’t open unless you do the opening. It even has a curvature on both sides so you can lay your Palio on the table and place your cigar in the curve, built in cigar rest! features 7 available styles. (I currently carry the ever so classy Original Composite.) The company also has a very generous warranty offering a replacement cutter at any retail store if you feel your cutters performance has been compromised. At $30-40 per cutter, with case included, this product is a fantastic deal.

I’m very confident in this company. The Palio cutter cuts with precision and ease and can withstand much abuse. I was once told of a conversation in a B&M where two cigar smokers were comparing their cutters, one had a Palio and the other, a competing brand. They went back and forth discussing the design and performance of their cutters and seemed to be at an impasse. All of a sudden, the Palio fan threw his cutter against the wall and it bounced off without a blemish. He turned to the other man and said “Now you do the same with your cutter.” The guy shook his head and put his cutter down.

I think that story says a lot about not only the performance of the cutter, but the confidence its consumers have in the product. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that the only cutter I will ever purchase is a Palio.

Simply Christine

The Aficionada's Address of Smoking Sins Article 1

When extinguishing a cigar:

DO NOT snub out your cigar by grinding it in the ashtray, on a brick wall or under your foot. This releases a far from pleasant odor. If you leave a cigar alone for several minutes it will discreetly go out on its own. Once out, place it in a trash can or leave it in your ashtray until you are ready to dump out the entire contents. I see so many smokers, new and seasoned that use the grinding method to ensure the cigar is out. Although I love the smell of cigars, the acrid, foul burning smell is not something enjoyable. Please be courteous.

This Isn't Nike, Just Don't Do It

Simply Christine

The Brickhouse Robusto by JC Newman

The Brickhouse Robusto

Wrapper: Habana Subido

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 5” by 54

Price: $4.00

Strength: Medium

Manufacturer: JC Newman

Initial Observations: The wrapper is a medium brown with slight red hues, small veins and an ever so slightly visible seam. There is slight oil to the wrapper as well. The cap has a triple seam. The odor is robust and earthy.

Cut: I used a guillotine cutter to snip off the tip with ease. I was able to cut the end without any shredding or flaking of the remaining cap.

Pre-light Draw: Slight pull on the tongue, not too much resistance, seems rolled well

Toast and light: Easy and Even with a single flame lighter

First blush puffs: Predominately oak flavors, very earthy, medium body

First Third: The draw was practically perfect producing moderate amounts of smoke. After half an inch I noticed the strength began to build slightly as a black pepper taste presented in the taste and smell of the smoke. There was no flaking of the ash and the burn remained even. The ash fell after about an inch and a half.

Second Third: The Oak and Cedar mellowed slightly as the cigar took on a smooth creamy flavor. A Cedary, peppery aroma was evident in the smoke inhaled through the nostrils. Towards the end of the 2nd third the Oak became more prevalent once again, but not harsh, still very smooth.

Last Third: The ash has only dropped twice, the burn is consistent, the draw very smooth with plenty of smoke. Slight hints of cedar and coffee.

Conclusion: This cigar is very well constructed and maintained an even burn with no need to relight. This cigar is fantastic for the price. It is a great medium bodied smoke, perfect for a daily cigar. JC Newman did a top notch job blending a cigar that can please the palate of a vast variety of cigar smokers.

The Best Cigar is the one YOU like best!

I would like to take a moment to address a common criticism in reaction to reviews. A reaction often expressed in such a way as, “What are you talking about? There are no notes of leather in that cigar! You have no taste!”

The simple fact is everyone’s palate is different. Everyone is going to have a different reaction to the same cigar. But this does not make someone who experiences different flavor notes than you incorrect. A cigar that one person may consider spicy, may be mild to you or vice versa. I believe that is the beauty of the cigar experience. The countless combinations of wrappers, binders and fillers create a unique taste for each individual.

This is not linked solely to cigars. Everyone has a different taste in foods, drinks and scents but somehow in this industry I have seen more snobbery in differences of opinion than anywhere else. Instead of engaging in a conversation about separate experience, I have seen, on countless occasions, heated arguments full of disrespectful accusations about another’s taste buds or lack thereof.

I would like to enter this disclaimer: My reviews are based solely on my own personal experience, my own palate. I do not however, make any claim to be the superior palate. I would love to hear any comments or opinions on my reviews. Please feel free to suggest cigars you would like to see me review as well.

Finally, I ask just one thing, please be respectful, not just of me but of others you may come across. Their opinion about a cigar may be different from yours, but it is just as valid.

Simply Christine