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Novel Pairings from the IPCPR 2017, Day 2

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1. El Chapo and Sausage. Jeremy Jack Cigars went out on a limb with some unique looks. Their El Chapo is in a three-count box, and is on the lam. The Salchichas, or ‘sausages’, is a good link.

2. Oscar and Island Jim. Yes, Island Jim really looks like his cigar band, and he even has a BBQ pineapple snack sausage with a cigar-like package.

3. Sakasquatch and ‘Everyday’. Steve Saka introduced Todos Los Dias, and apologizes for his poor Spanish translation, but promises happy smokers if they try the stick. He also has a new mascot – the cigar-smoking big-foot Sakasquatch.

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4. Bravo and his mom. The Guayaberas Lady was happily sharing her love of stylish smoking shirts with retailers while her son happily shared the J. Fuego Gran Reserva Original, and everyday Walk Around cigar.

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5. Two different families. The Micallef family and the Gomez/Sanchez family bonded together over a common goal – make cigars, make them well and share them with the world. This new partnership made for a unique booth, with live cigar rollers, live interviews about the cigar industry and a beautiful humidor giveaway.

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6. Cigars and stuff. The new and improved Tommy Bahama has combined the look and feel of sailing and golfing with cigars and accessories. Their ashtrays include some that stand up to sun, wind, rain and falling off the table. Their humidor comes with a built-in light so you can always find the cigar you want. And their lighters and cutters are the quality you would expect from a high-end outfitter.

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7. 40-million sticks and a new brand. Despite having to start over twice, the Plasencia family has been the cigar manufacturer go for customers wanting quality tobacco and production. The Plasencia family has made quite a jump in the market with their own brand of cigars, including the new Alma Fuerte line.

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8. LFD and a long road back from number one. After Cigar Aficionado named La Flor Dominicana’s Andalusian Bull number one, the elation did not slow for the company. This year, they are trying to follow up with La Volcada – named for a step in the tango dance.

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9. Re-banding and measurements. Coming up with one the most unique bands, E.P. Carrillo’s Inch took on a stylish new look, with a gold band, to mark their unique inch-size ring gauges.

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10. Luck and the ‘Ladder’. Knowing Robert Holt of Southern Draw would make one think successful cigar manufacturing and sales is about luck, because that he definitely has. For him and his new Jacob’s Ladder, it’s more about work, travel and talent.

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AJ Fernandez El Gran Llave Double Corona

Another new release from the AJ Fernandez company.

Cocoa notes from the wrapper and perfect cold draw with some spices from the foot. Smooth box press; impressive construction.

At first the flavors are deceptive, very light on the way in and plentiful on the way out. Light cocoa notes mixed with almost pipe tobacco flavors. Very light pepper notes in the nose. Continue reading AJ Fernandez El Gran Llave Double Corona

Mike Bellody Imperia

Smooth dark wrapper with aromas of leather and…peppermint? Confirmed with the wife, the wrapper smells of peppermint. Perfect clip; cannot wait to fire this sucker up. Pairing with the usual chocolate stout.

Perfect prelight draw becomes the perfect lit draw. There is a sweetness to the smoke that draws to mind the flavor of, you guessed it, peppermint. Lots of other flavors going on here, so this is no one-trick-pony cigar.

In fact, woody, leathery and tobacco notes take over almost immediately, although the hint of peppermint still lingers. The flavors are developing quickly, the sign of a wonderfully complex cigar. The ash is a light grey and the burn is very clean.

The burn develops a slant about 1/3, but is not canoeing so I ignore it. The flavors have solidified into fine toasted tobacco and well worked leather, the peppermint fading away almost completely.

The flavors are a bit south of smooth, which is not a problem. This is s full body/flavor cigar that is most pleasant. No creaminess to this straightforward cigar.

Lots of smoke without double clutching, it is a full bodied dream. A bit of pepper has developed in the nose, making it that much more enjoyable.

And oh how enjoyable it is. At 2/3 the flavors continue to please the palate without the smoke heating up. A nice woodiness develops to complement the leather and tobacco notes. Also, a hint of almonds has developed in the under flavor.

This is developing into one of my favorite cigars from IPCPR2016. The cigar is so tasty that I am forgetting to drink my chocolate stout.

At 2/3 I am absolutely loving this stick. Still smoking relatively cool and exquisitely tasty.

The burn has evened out with no corrections. Almost perfect construction and wonderful complexity earn this one a 98. Joe Bob says definitely check it out.

Go ahead, Tommy, say that I kept the best ones for myself…

Black Label Trading Co. Santa Muerte Robusto

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Ecuador Habano

Filler: Nicaragua / Dominican/ San Andrés

A beautifully smooth dark brown wrapper smells like leather and cocoa; the foot smells the same with some pepper thrown in. The cold draw is perfect, as is the bunch. Top marks for construction.

Plentiful smoke on the initial draw reveals lots of flavor including pepper, leather and just a hint of cocoa. The draw remains perfect and the burn is true. These were debuted at my local shop two weeks ago; I got this one yesterday and now am fully regretting not making the launch event.

The flavor of almonds has developed to sublimate the initial cocoa and the pepper notes have backed off some. The promise of complexity is quite pleasing. The burn remains even approaching the end of the first third.

The light to medium grey ash is very firm with no flaking and the flavor is perfect. This is the kind of boutique cigar that everyone hopes to come across while they are “exploring.” Even removing the band is easier than most cigars.

This falls squarely in the “oh, this is so good” category. Lots of the new maduros are very good without going this far. This one is truly a treat.

Tapped the ash just past one inch to avoid ashes in my lap. The burn is a nice cone, speaking to the excellent construction of the cigar.

At 1/3 the flavor has settled to a very pleasant mixture of leather and cocoa notes with the pepper almost gone. Very nice.

This is a very good example of how smooth a great maduro can be. Full bodied and flavorful with no harshness to take away from the cigar. Also the smoke remains cool as does the cigar.

This may be a brand that you have never heard of; nevertheless is one you should seek out; an excellent complex cigar that should please the most discerning palates of maduro lovers. The cocoa and leather notes continue with hints of nutmeg. So much more than I was expecting from this cigar.

At 2/3 a distinct creaminess develops; the quality of flavor in this cigar keeps improving. The burn remains even and the cigar has not become soft as some cigars do past 2/3.

Had to put it down at one inch; the smoke was still quite smooth and cool but the burn was getting too hot to hold.

This cigar is fabulous. Great flavors and complexity and construction with outstanding flavors earn this one a 98. Joe Bob says get this cigar and add it to your rotation if you love maduros.

La Barba Purple Robusto

Wrapper: HVA (Habana Vuelta Abajo Ecuador)

Binder: Dominican Corojo

Filler: Corojo, HVA Habano, and a rare varietal known as Carbonara.

We spent some time in the Caldwell area and were introduced to Joe Smith and Jack Johnson who gave us the information that, yes, the Barber theme is “Sweeny Todd-ish.”

The initial draw is somewhat ordinary, but you could smell the cocoanut, cocoa, leather and even a bit of pepper. Good things come from risks taken, and this blender won.

Something a bit unusual, when paired with a medium strength IPA it can influence and change the flavor. The flavor stood its ground nicely, something I really admire in a medium body cigar.

Slight cracking in the wrapper at the third point didn’t stop the cigar from smoking well or cause the firm ash to drop.

At the half point the creaminess and coconut were covered over by w pleasant leathey, woody tones and not at all tinny.

You could survey with this burn, it is that straight. And the ash stands firm at 2″. Because I was wearing my Johnny * Joey * Dee Dee * Tommy shirt I tapped it just past half-way.

Then the cedar sneaked in changing the flavor yet again. Have I mentioned that I love complex cigars?

Heat started to build during the final third, but I slowed and purged my way to the nub. 90, Joe Bob says check it out.

Rocky Patel 55

Yes, Rocky has turned 55 and a special cigar was rolled in honor of him.

It is available in several sizes, the cigar I smoked is a short figurado with a rich dark wrapper and a firm bunch. It clips easily and draws perfect with hints of nutmeg.

An easy light produces pleasant citrus notes with hints of vanilla and almond.

Being a quite short cigar, care must be taken to not overheat the smoke. Even smoking slowly there is ample smoke to enjoy. And the burn is perfect.

At about half way a very pleasant nuttiness, a sort of very pleasant almond and pecan emerged adding even more enjoyment to the flavors. Slight sweetness almost bought out a pecan/almond flavor.

I have just one quibble with the cigar; I was nowhere near ready to put it down.

Happy 55th Rocky. I’m going to knock you down to a 99. because I just wasn’t ready to finish this cigar. Many happy returns of the day my friend

Protocol Probable Cause Robusto

From the Company press release: Cubariqueño Cigar Co. is proud to announce that it is releasing its second blend, Protocol Probable Cause, at the 2016 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailer (IPCPR) trade show in Las Vegas.
“We are super excited to announce the Protocol Probable Cause,” stated Juan Cancel, co-founder of Cubariqueño Cigar Company. “These cigars will launch at the 2016 IPCPR trade show.”
The name, Probable Cause, stays true to the company’s law enforcement motif, with co-founders Bill Ives and Cancel both law enforcement officers. Production will remain at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The dark oily wrapper smells like a tobacco barn, and the foot of the cigar smells of earthiness with a touch of spice. The bunch is firm but not hard. A clean clip on a medium box press gives a perfect cold draw.

The initial draw produces strong tobacco and leathery notes, much as one would expect from a maduro. The box press is easy to hold and draw. Plenty of rich smoke is produced with each draw.

Some pepper in the nose develops to enhance the tobacco and leather notes. So far this is a typical maduro profile with a perfect burn.

Paired with a Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout, the cigar retains its tobacco and leather notes with a bit of earthiness.

Like with the Protocol Lancero, there is enough smoke for smoke rings from single draws. The smoke is also staying quite cool and the burn is staying perfect. The wrapper is leaving a pleasant tobacco aftertaste on the lips.

The medium to light grey ash is very solid. Approaching the first third the flavor profile has mellowed some to settle into a nice creaminess. There is still a pleasant peppery note in the throat and nose.

There is absolutely no harshness to the smoke approaching the halfway point. The ash is firm and the burn remains perfect. So far this is a most pleasant cigar.

Just past the halfway point the cigar starts to heat up a bit, indicating that I need to slow down some. The perfect draw makes it difficult.

The flavor has developed a sweetness that has replaced the tobacco notes to complement the creaminess. It is becoming the “perfect” maduro cigar.

At the last third, the heat has stabilized and the flavor is still creamy with a touch of sweetness. Only approaching the last inch does the heat become an issue.

A solid 95 overall for this excellent maduro cigar. Joe Bob says check it out.