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Size: 6×52, Torpedo

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Filler: Dominican

Strength: Medium-Full

Price: 20 for $49.95 at Cigar.com

Score: 8.6

Another blend produced for Cigar.com at the Tabadom Factory in the Dominican Republic, the Red Label is our next fire in the 7 blend house line. Available in 4 sizes and in boxes of 20, this is another fine value from Cigar.com, with all sizes priced under $50. Enjoying the last couple weeks before the cold moves us into the garage, or the man cave, the night was a fine one to spark this Torpedo. This review comes courtesy of Chris, a frequent guest to our burn parties!

Now, let’s get to it, this Red looks ready to go!

Appearance, 1.6:
First things first, this is a very rustic looking smoke with a heavy, leathery appearance and a very dark and oily Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. It has a fairly nice weight to it with some looseness in the wrapper, especially toward the foot. For the most part, however, the roll is tight. The Torpedoed head has an odd transition toward the point that ends with a very pinpointed head. The aroma is nice and hearty with some rich notes of sweet spice. The draw is very nice, if not a bit loose, with the sweet and creamy spice picked up on the aroma coming through on the cold draw—I am expecting some pretty distinct flavors on this one. The deduction here is for the jagged head and the mixed-colored wrapper that takes on a very aged and slightly battered appearance.

Burn, 1.5:
The biggest deduction on the Red is the burn. The draw was nice, with plenty of smoke being emitted, but the burn was incredibly fast, as seems to be characteristic with cigar.com houses, and was also fairly jagged. The crooked burn required a couple touch-ups and one re-light to realign, but this wasn’t a huge distraction. The ash was consistently colored with a nice brownish-gray tint. The burn was a big deduction but not a huge distraction.

Flavor, 2.7:
The Red introduces itself well with some hearty spice up front that soon mellows into a very smooth and creamy smoke. Into the second-third of the smoke, a bit of sour harshness arrived that could best be described as a bit musky, but this passed very quickly and was easily forgotten. The maduro produced the characteristic sweet creaminess that you expect and the Dominican filler complemented the sweet wrapper very well by adding a bit of spiciness and complexity to the flavor profiles.

Overall, 2.8:
The mantra on this line of smokes seems to be, if you can overlook a less than perfect appearance for an excellent value and a punch of flavor, this is a must-try. Within the 7 blend line, there are more than 2 blends I’d consider buying a box of. I’d enjoy trying the Red in a robusto just to make some flavor comparisons, but all in all, this is an excellent value with lots of flavor. I would recommend this smoke to most folks, especially since this line seems to have a bit less strength than advertised—this falls into the Medium family in my assessment.

(Total: 8.6)

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IMG_3955

Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca

Filler: Mixed Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium-Full

Price: Box of 20, $45.95 at Cigar.com

Score: 8.6

Inching closer and closer to burning through the 7 House Blends offered by Cigar.com, today we take a look at the Brazilian Label. The Brazilian is rolled by Tabacalera Fernandez and is the most recent addition to the House Blends. Sold in boxes of 20 and in 4 sizes, there are also several sampler options by size and House Blend variety. So far, we’ve reviewed the Blue, Purple, and Corojo.

In our reviews so far, we’ve noted consistency and great flavor profiles in what is surely a value-priced smoke. So, let’s see how the Brazilian matches up.

Appearance, 1.4:
The pre-light draw and aroma on the Brazilian is quite complex and very full. There is a sweet and pleasant espresso with a slight spicy undertone at the foot. The rest of the stick has a medium-full roasted aroma with thick and creamy notes of cocoa. The wrapper is quite moist with a few soft spots, though packed very well at the foot. The overall exterior is rugged, with raised veins and a leathery texture. Though the head is triple capped, there is not much more to speak of on the exterior. The green and yellow band are simple and pop well from the dark wrapper. The pre-light draw creates a very unique taste—a bit of a dry rub on the tongue that I haven’t experienced before. It has a very solid draw and appears to be a very interesting smoke.

Burn, 1.7:
The Brazilian lit very well and created a fairly straight edge throughout. As I’ve experienced with all of the Cigar.com House Blends, the burn on this cigar is quick, really quick! The Brazilian released a great cloud of smoke that smelled excellent; it reminded me of the sweet smell emitted from melting chocolate over a campfire. The ash started off very poorly with a big split down the middle. Once I ashed at the one inch mark it corrected itself and burned great.

Flavor, 2.7:
Up front there was a fairly strong shot of pepper with a bit of body to accompany it—the Brazilian introduces itself well. The dryness picked up on the pre-light continued throughout the smoke and the finish reminded me of the smell from wet lumber. There were a lot of wood notes in both texture and flavor, with cedar and other earthy flavors taking over the early notes of spice. I only picked up the sweetness when exhaling through my nose, which complemented the other flavors very well. Overall, this was a very rustic smoke that had excellent complexity and a medium-full body.

Overall, 2.8:
As has been my experience with the other Cigar.com House Blends, the Brazilian delivered in the flavor and burn departments—a very consistent smoke. The flavor profiles were very interesting, though I was a bit distracted by the dry finish at times. This is the classic story of the ugly duckling, where the inside is what matters. At around $2 a stick this is going to be hard to beat.

(Total: 8.6)

Contest Winner!

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We have a contest winner! Congratulations to Jerry K for winning the box of Arnold’s House Blend No. III, valued at $110! Jerry’s winning website suggestion was Toasted Foot.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll begin working on our website and make the move over to our new domain. It’s already up and running, go ahead and check it out!

Toasted Foot

Thanks to everyone who participated. Be on the lookout for new contests as we move closer to the launch of our new website.

Thank you for visiting us. We have moved to our new website! Click here to visit Toasted Foot!

 

Graycliff_2

Size: 6×52, Torpedo (Pirate)

Wrapper: Jalpetec Maduro

Filler: Peruvian, Columbian, Mexican, and Brazilian Long Fillers

Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra Binder

Strength: Medium-Full

Price: $12.00

This is Agent 24 from The Cigar Spy! I am back doing some “off-the books, contract work” for the gentlemen here at Cigar Reviews! My target for Matt and Jed was The Graycliff 1666 Pirate. Graycliff is known for their high-end cigars to match their famous resort in the Bahamas. The 1666 Pirate is a special edition cigar released to commemorate the church that was built in 1666 where the resort now stands. The area has a rich history and this cigar is meant to honor that history. We shall see if it can stand up to the high standards set by Graycliff and in turn by Matt, Jed and I!

Appearance:
The 1666 has a beautiful blue with gold outline band. This is the first thing to catch your eye and it is very appealing. The wrapper is dark, almost black,  and is oily and very toothy. It gives the appearance that it’s gonna bite! Construction is firm all the way from head to foot with very few veins and I see no defects in the roll. The foot gives off an aroma of dark chocolate and fresh cut hay. After the cut, the pre-light draw is a little tight, but I am still able to get a solid pull.

Burn:
From the light, the 1666 has an excellent draw, putting to rest any worry I may have had. I am getting thick clouds of white smoke that smell of roasted nuts and cocoa. The burn was even until about half way through, when it started to burn unevenly. I gave it a few minutes to try and even out on its own, but ended up having to do a minor touch-up with the torch. That being said, while it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the smoke, I expected better. The ash was a solid white with flecks of brown with little to no flakes and held about an inch to an inch and half before I felt it needed to be ashed.

Flavor:
The flavor profile on the Graycliff 1666 Pirate did not disappoint. Right from the start, I had hints of roasted nut and dark cocoa. These flavors stayed consistent throughout. I also got the occasional hit of a sweet spice. It had a little bite to it, but with an undercurrent of sweetness. Also from about one third of the way through until the final third, I tasted some wood and earth undertones. I retrohaled throughout the entire cigar and was never left with an overpowering feeling of spice. It was quite smooth. The overall flavor profile was complex and I would rate it as high-end medium to low-end full in strength.

Overall:
Graycliff is known as a high-end smoke and is not something I would normally smoke, if only due to the price point. I enjoyed the cigar from start to finish and would smoke it again, if gifted. I have had other lines from Graycliff and always found them to be high quality and enjoyable. The 1666 falls right in line with the rest. The flavor was complex and enjoyable. At no point was I overwhelmed with nicotine and it went well with both the Stella Artois and spring water that I paired it with. I could see this being an everyday smoke if you can afford $360.00 a box, but that’s not for me. If you enjoy a medium to full- bodied smoke that keeps you on your toes with the flavor profile, then I recommend trying at least one. I do not believe you will be disappointed! Thanks to Matt and Jed for bringing me back for another “perilous” (ha, ha) mission!

Graycliff_1

Cu-Avana Natural

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Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Connecticut

Filler: Cibao Valley, Dominican Republic

Strength: Mild

Price: Box of 20, $39.95; 5-pack, $12.00

Grade: 8.4

Resurrected by Fonseco’s master blender, Manuel Quesada, this Dominican filled, Connecticut wrapped cigar is a consistently smooth smoke at an exceptional value. Available in the mild Connecticut and Maduro for some time, a fuller-bodied option was recently released, the Intenso.

As much as anyone, I enjoy a great value smoke to have on hand for family and friends and of course for myself. I often look for new 5 packs that I haven’t tried in hopes of finding a great, low-mid priced box purchase. The Cu-Avana is a winner in this category! I’ve worked through quite a few of the Natural and the Maduro and we’ve got some of the Intenso headed our way. You can read our review of the Maduro here.

So, I finally decided to put a pen and paper to my value smoke and see just how well it scores.

Appearance, 1.5:
Surprisingly triple capped, this Connecticut is wrapped with a simple blue and gold label. The exterior is a bit bumpy with a rustic, leathery skin. Though the cap is well done, the foot is quite bumpy and misshaped. The aroma on the cigar is predictably that of barnyard with some sweetness. The top 2/3 of the smoke was very tightly packed and dense. The draw was decent and had notes of sweet hay.

Burn, 1.8:
The burn on the Cu-Avana was very solid. Though the draw was a bit tight the first third of the smoke, it opened up nicely and carried a very tight and well-colored ash. The ash held well into the half-way mark of this Robusto before I knocked it off. This is a very consistent aspect of the Cu-Avana–always a clean, tight ash, a straight burn, and a good draw.

Flavor, 2.5:
If you are looking for a flavor powerhouse this is not the smoke for you. If, however, you want an unobtrusive smoothness, this very well may be your value smoke winner. The flavor is predominated by a sweet hay with the slightest bit of pepper on the opening few draws. There was little transition in this cigar—just a solid consistency.

Overall, 2.6:
At around $2 a stick, you will be hard pressed to find a better value. I’m sure I used the same sentence to describe the Cu-Avana Maduro, but it’s true. As I’ve spent some time with both of these smokes, I prefer the Maduro due to the added sweetness and a bit more complexity and transition. However, for an early morning read of the paper with a nice cup of coffee, this would do the trick nicely in my opinion. It’d also be a nice addition to yard work. Though the score is in the low 8s, this is because of a hit to the appearance, which I think most of us can overlook when it comes to value.

(Total: 8.4)

Montecristo No. 4

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Montecristo

Size: 5X42, Petite Corona

Wrapper, Binder, Filler: Cuban Puro

Strength: Medium

Price: Gifted

Grade: 9.2

Introduced in 1935, Montecristo has emerged as the best selling Cuban cigar in the world. A good friend of mine gifted me this cigar about six months ago. It has been resting up nicely in the humidor and I figured it was time for me to fire up it up.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Appearance, 1.7:
The wrapper on this smoke was somewhat toothy with a few prominent veins. The construction was nice and had a good weight, consistency, and cap. The pre-light aroma and cold draw produced earthy tobacco notes with a very subtle sweet spice on the end. The band was classic Montecristo, which always gets me a little excited since we all know Cubans set the bar for handmade smokes. Though not really a scoring factor, I really liked the size of this smoke; it just felt really right between the fingers as I got ready to put the torch to it.

Burn, 1.9:
After a quick clip and toasting, the foot of this smoke was aglow. The draw was very nice and produced an adequate amount of smoke with just the right amount of effort. The ash was grayish white in color and held to well over an inch before I knocked it off. The temperature on this stick was nice considering the small size and there was never a hint of harshness, which I sometimes encounter with smaller smokes.

Flavor, 2.8:
The first puff on this Cuban puro produced earthy tobacco notes with a mild sweet finish. As the smoke progressed, I picked up some woody flavors with a dominant earthy tobacco profile. The second third seemed to carry on the above earthy tobacco notes but on the exhale there was some darker notes of cocoa with a continued finish of spicy sweetness. The final third of the smoke was consistent with the second third but with a hint more of the spice. All in all, the No. 4 produced an earthy tobacco flavor profile with hints of cocoa and some spice throughout. Not terribly complex but very, very consistent.

Overall, 2.8:
All in all this was a great smoke with a very consistent flavor profile. Because of the lack of pricing, I can’t really take value into account but I know these cigars are reasonably priced at authorized retailers outside of the states in comparison to other Cubans. This is a good forty five minute smoke that will not leave you with a full feeling that is characteristic of a heavy stick and, for that reason, the No. 4 can be enjoyed at any time of day. I really enjoyed this one on a Friday here in Georgia.

(Total:  9.2)

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