Curivari

The pride in his company’s work but not in himself was pleasantly refreshing at the Curivari Booth. Described as “Too nice” by his customers and his workers. Andres Throuvales grew up in Greece and after an American college education in Food Science, moved to Cuba where he discovered cigars. When he moved back home, he realized there were more cigars in the world than Cubans and at half the price. Early on, Andres developed a Maduro for the European market but it didn’t catch on until the Cubans brought in their own cigars with the darker wrapper. And then he couldn’t keep them on the shelf. Curivari’s Buenaventura was one of 2013’s top 25 and this year they have released six new sizes along with two new lines.

I smoked a Buenaventura the other night; about a 50 ring toro length with a gently tapered head, not really a pyramide. It presented meduim to light flavors including cocoa, cream and well aged tobacco. The cigar had great construction too, with a very smooth, cool burn. I really cannot find any complaints with either of the cigars I smoked (one at the show, one last Thursday). Curivari is quickly becoming one of my favorite boutique cigars.

Edgar Hoill OSOK Desmadroso

The cigar has an interesting taper to it with a traditional rounded head and about 1/2 inch of unwrapped tobacco at the foot, making it very easy to light.

Pre-light aroma had toasted tobacco, leather and vanilla undertones. Clipped cleanly with my Palio and lit nicely although the unfinished foot took a bit more effort.

Once the burn settled in, a nice even draw produced copious amounts of smoke with the aforementioned flavors of toasted tobacco, leather and vanilla undertones. The ash was mottled and held on for about an inch.

Very nice nose to the smoke off of the foot, medium but not overpowering.

Had to set the cigar down for a moment; not only did it not go out, the flavors had improved while I was gone; more creaminess while keeping the toasted tobacco flavors and a developing sweetness.

The cigar was so well constructed that it burned slow and never got hot, providing a nice, long, pleasant smoke.

The uncut remnants of the head peeled off, but this had no effect on the quality of the smoke.

At about half-way, this cigar developed into one of the most enjoyable smokes in recent memory. I was smoking on my son’s balcony, and even though the rain was coming down in buckets, the cigar never got gummy like some cigars do when presented with too much humidity in the air.

I nubbed this cigar without a single hot draw.

These are flying off of the shelves, so do yourself a favor and find one (some). The Edgar Hoyll One Shot One Kill (OSOK) does not disappoint. I give it 5/5. Joe Bob says check it out!

La Sirena Merlion

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo

Binder: Brazil

Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil

Another sample from the IPCPR.

Light to medium aromas from the wrapper and foot. Medium brown with light veining, otherwise silky smooth. Good draw with very light flavors. Bunch firm but not hard.

Initial sweetness and toasted tobacco flavors. Some light bitterness develops early. Light to grey ask solid. Even burn. Very good smoke volume.

Cigar gets a bit warm just past first inch, slowing down. Bitterness is gone, sweetness is subdued. Light spiciness nutmeg/cinnamon hints. Burning in a cone and continues to smoke warm.

Flavor is developing with floral notes. As the floral notes emerge the sweetness returns.

Medium body and light to medium flavors with a light pleasant finish.

Very well-constructed cigar.

Stronger tobacco flavors come to the fore at about half way. Cone begins to flatten.

Overall pleasant smoke with developing flavors that keep things interesting. 4/5 – Joe Bob says “check it out.”

Sungrown-Craft Series

This is the first of three reviews I will post on the Special Craft Series. In case you are not familiar with these Perdomos, they were specially blended to complement craft beers.

For the sungrown I chose a Stone Brewery RuinTen triple IPA. It is recommended for Amber, heavier Lager, IPA and Oktoberfest brews.

Prelight: Earthy aroma with light floral notes, immaculate construction, perfect cut with my Palio. Nice smooth pre-light draw. Looking at the foot of the cigar I counted two or three ligero leaves, so I know it would have plenty of flavor. Also notable is the almost full-coverage band that tells you which beer to pair with the cigar.

First draw had a hint of bitterness which quickly disappeared. Flavors quickly settled into a medium-to-full profile that was quite pleasant. Taking a sip of the beer really opened up my palate and added to the quality of both the smoke and the beer. The pairing was perfect.

The almost white ash held nicely to about 2″ before I tapped it off to keep from getting a lapful. Stayed consistent throught the entire cigar.

The floral hints I detected pre-draw disappeared when I was smoking. There are some light spicy notes that are accentuated if you let the smoke escape through your nose, which is my general habit.

For smoke volume I very highly recommend double- or even triple-clutching (warm-up puffs before taking a deep draw). This adds massive amounts of flavor, and to the cigar’s credit, did not make it smoke hot; in fact, the smoke only became hot as the nub became too hot to hold and I had to put it down in the ashtray.

Throughout the cigar it burned evenly (once very minor wrapper adjustment, probably from double-clutching), and never developed stickiness from tar build-up at the tip.

Depending on how fast you smoke, this cigar will last you one to two hours. Took me about an hour and a half, and I tend to smoke faster than some.

Perdomo set their sights on a cigar to go with the aforementioned beers, and in my opinion, knocked this one clean out of the park. 5/5. Joe Bob says, “Check it Out.”

Illusione Rothschild

Recently picked up an Illusione Rothschild to smoke at one of the local lounges.

Very smooth, cleanly constructed cigar with great aromas. Cut and lit very clean, and then the fun began.

In a, “can you guess which flavor this is?” game, the cigar developed vanilla, caramel, cocoa, toasted tobacco and leather in various combinations that was an absolute pleasure to experience.

The cigar burned very clean and gave all of the pleasure of the many larger Illusiones in a nice compact package. Joe Bob says check it out.

The 10 best things about the first day of the IPCPR in New Orleans

Not even counting the free sample cigars flowing from some of the booths, SWAG was everywhere. The goods ranged from free luggage tags and lanyards (courtesy Nat Sherman Cigars) to free T-shirts, torch lighters and laptop bags (from Nino Vasquez at APS Distributors).

Best taste: 

Cigar & Spirits Magazine sponsored the Lounge, with comfortable chairs for a smoke, and various companies pouring liquor to sample. 35 Maple Street Spirits had the best tasting sips with their Bib & Tucker Bourbon that matched well with a spicy cigar.

Best story behind their company: 

Graycliff Hotel, Chocolatier and Cigars. In 1740, notorious Caribbean pirate Captain John Howard Graysmith traded in his plundering for a pardon from the British, and settled down in Nassau, Bahamas to build his home, Graycliff. The company has since released the Graysmith blend using some of their stockpile of original tobacco. The sticks are hand rolled without molds, and come in a larger 60 x 7 inch format for around $30.

Best story behind their new blend:

Boutique Blends (with Oliveros) showcased the La Boheme Encantador. This new blend was named for the way a sample of it was described – ‘Enchanting’. This box pressed cigar is a medium to full smoke with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and Habano Dominiano filler and wrapper. It will retail for $10.50-12.50.

Best throwback:

Missouri Meershaum Companies authentic looking Corn Cob pipe was the best recreation of Old America. The pipe looks like the kind from the 1800s, but smokes much better.

Best new idea: 

Perdomo premiered their new line, Special Craft Series, for beer enthusiasts. The three blends were created with a specific type of beer in mind. The Connecticut shade grown is to be paired with a Pilsner, White Ale, Golden Lager, Cream Ale and Light Lager. The Nicaraguan sun grown is meant to complement Amber, Pale Ale, Lager, IPA, Oktoberfest or Double IPA. And the Jalapa Valley Maduro wrapper cigar should be paired with Stout, Porter, Brown Ale, Bock, Dunkel or Imperial Stout.

Best surprise: 

For those caring about the future of premium cigar smoking in the United States and attending the Government Affairs briefing, it was a pleasant surprise to get two cigars to sample from the Mexican La Casta Cigars. They provided attendees with a nice Nicaraguan/Mexican blend Toro Capa Flor and a La Casta.

Best logo:

A Pennsylvania company, Evil Genius, set on world domination one cigar at a time.

Best gimmick: 

The yet-to-be-released-in-America Rauchvergnugen Cigar has a totally unique push, claiming to be a ‘German Engineered Cigar’. Oliver Nickels is promoting his new sticks, which come complete with blue prints. Nickels is looking for an American distributor.

Best booth: 

Hands down, Drew Estate wowed the crowd upon entry with their booth design and cigars. They appeared under the bridge, and allowed convention goers to get a better look with upstairs seating.

Top 10 things at Sunday’s IPCPR in New Orleans

Best dressed:

Foundry’s creator has a new full-flavored Ramon Allones and classic-taste Bolivar, at just $6.49 – $7.49 retail. Michael Giannini took the Old Cuban Heritage brands and reimaged them. Each has leaves from six different farms, including wrappers and fillers. The pigtailed stick with unfinished foot in a uniquely designed box looks interesting, but one look at Giannini explained why. His floral jacket stood out but matched him. He said of his cigars, “When you first light it you get a taste of the wrapper, that’s an appetizer and then once you get into the blend, that’s the entrée.”

Most modest:

The pride in his company’s work but not in himself was pleasantly refreshing at the Curivari Booth. Described as ‘too nice’ by his customers and his workers, Andres Throuvales grew up in Greece. After an American college education in Food Science, he moved to Cuba, where he discovered cigars. When he moved back home, he realized there were more cigars in the world than Cubans, and at half the price. Early on, Andres developed a Maduro for the European market. But it didn’t catch on until the Cubans brought in their own cigars with the darker wrapper. And then he couldn’t keep them on the shelf. Curivari’s Buenaventura was one of 2013s top 25, and this year his firm has released six new sizes along with two new lines.

Best thing in the morning:

Psyko 7 coffee and cigars. Ventura Cigar Company is marketing its 100 percent Arabica tobacco-infused coffee that comes in three flavors – Bourbon Blend, Havana Blend and Mint Chocolate. It’s a smooth, dark roast, and will pair well with your smoke. Medicate your mind early in the morning with one of the new sizes for their successful cigar line, Psyko 7. It’s a Dominican Hybrid wrapper, Mexican Samatra binder and multiple-country blend.

Best grandmom story:

Ted’s Cigars owner has an amazing story behind his Farris Cigars. Ted’s grandmother spent every Sunday with her bible, not at church, but at a women’s prison. Ted named the cigar after her (Lois Ferris), and asks his customers to share their stories online with him (whereupon he will send them a cigar). Remember the Maker’s Mark cigar? Ted’s has done it again with their new Single Malt Scotch cigar, The Glen. It comes in a glass tube so the infused alcohol won’t evaporate.

Best costume:

To promote Luchador’s latest cigar, who else would be at their booth but a Luchador costumed helper. The Luchador team is promoting their new El Gringo, a strong yet smooth Nicaraguan with three ligeros. The sticks were aged three years, and proved to be good smokes. And they’re not just for gringos.

Best free lunch:

Retailers and press were given some somewhat good free food for lunch. (Saturday was paid for by Quesada Cigars, and Sunday was Padron Cigars.) Don’t forget to thank the sponsor.

Pushiest salesman:

This comes out to be a tie between Lighthouse cigars and Flor de Gonzalez Cigars. That pushy old guy who kept dragging people back to his booth at Lighthouse Cigars believed in his product so much that he grabbed anyone nearby (and not so nearby) to get them to try the Dominican Golfer’s Blend (mild for the beginning smoker) and Limited Edition (new for the show). Also, Senor Gonzales at Flor De Gonzales loves his cigar so much that he asked anyone who walked by (whether they were smoking a cigar or not) if they wanted to smoke a good cigar. If you replied, “I am”, he’d tell you, “No, a really good one.”

Best name story:

If you go by the 262 Cigars booth, they will first tell you about the two new sizes of their Peacefield – the lancero and the lancero plus – before embarking on a tale of where the company’s name came from. If you know anything about the Cuban Embargo, you can probably already guess, since JFK signed the papers on the second month of 1962.

Coolest cigar:

Ever seen a rolled-by-hand Culebra? How about the three-foot-long Culebra at the Rocky Patel booth rolled at the convention and by none other than Hamlet Parades. Hamlet is promoting his new brand, Tabaquero. The name means cigar roller. Glad the company name was not already taken.

Most overlooked:

If you skipped the GMD booth because you thought the company looked too expensive and snooty, go back and take another look. This European company has expanded to the United States, and hopes to make a splash with its Heritage 1942 Nicaragua, Heritage 1942 Tradicionales, Euforia Nicaraguan and Euphoria Dominican. I smoked the Euforia Perfecto tonight accompanied by a Don Julio Anjeo Tequila and a New Castle Brown Ale. The cigar was smooth and spicy, and went well with both drinks.

Garo’s New Line

Garo rebranded their line this year w/ Maduro especial, Adamas and a edition limitada 2010. $9-14 price range. Ecuadoran wrappers grown in Ecuador you can grow 4 times a year in different areas to get a consistent wrapper.

“The passion I have never went away. I’m very traditionalist in terms of cigars. I want people to come and sit and smoke and talk. I am a very realistic guy.”

I smoked a sample of the maduro expecial. Very smooth dark wrapper. warm tobacco pre-draw. Lit easily and produced chocolate notes as well as well aged and toasted tobacco; peppery spices developed.

This was a very well constructed cigar with volumes of very full bodied maduro flavors with hints of sweetness.

Either I am drawing too fast or the construction is a bit loosely rolled because the cigar started gretting warm fairly quickly at at about the mid point. Despite the warmness though, the flavors continued to shine through.

Construction – 4.5

Flavors – 5

Body – 5

Volume of smoke 4.5

Overall a very pleasant smoke aimed clearly at the maduro crowd. Joe Bob says check it out.

EP Carrillo corona

Mild pleasant pre-loght draw, excellent aroma on lightwith excellent flavor on initial draw.

Light to medium bodied cigar with full flavors and ample smoke.

Excellent construction with even burn. I only had to make one minor adjustment which probably would have corrected itself. This is a fairly one dimensional cigar but the flavor is very good.

Even burn with a cone shape, the body of the cigar as the smoke progresses throughout.

A nice cool smoke that remained cool throughout.

Pepper tones developed as the cigar burned low.

For the mild-bodied, full flavored crowd this is a must smoke. 4+/5. Joe Bob says Check It Out.

Capa Flor Toro

Excellent construction, Beautiful Maduro wrapper.

Very nice flavors on draw. Flavor deepens early to a nice toasted tobacco flavor with hints of cocoa.

Plentiful sweet smoke; almost candy-like as paired with a creme soda.

The dark maduro wrapper adds volume to flavors.

Solid mottled ash with no flaking speaks to the quality of the construction of this cigar. Also the razor-straight burn with one minor correction.

Some cognac flavors emerged at about 1″ into the cigar, providing a very flavorful burn.

About half way through the cigar pepper and vanilla emerged, also adding to the enjoyment of the flavor.

The cigar developed no gumminess at the foot, but it did get a bit hot, which caused me to toss it at about an inch. Still, a very enjoyable cigar and one that I would recommend. 4/5. Joe Bob Says Check It Out,

Undercrown Papas Fritas

These little gems come in tins of four and have a pigtailed foot like their cousins the Dirty Rat. The comparison doesn’t stop there either.

Some of the darkest wrapper I have ever had the pleasure of smoking, this quickie is not for the faint of heart. In your face tobacco and pepper.

As you might have guessed I like them. 4+/5. Joe Bob says Check It Out!

Evil Genius Black Chapel

Evil Genius Black Chapel, a TPC that was a nice little surprise sent to me by the Evil Genius people as a part of the T-shirt deal I had worked out with them at the IPCPR. So far it smells nice has a nice pretty light draw and I expect good things from it.

Initial draw is quite pleasant, perhaps a little light on flavor but overall plenty of smoke what promises to be a very nice little TPC. Fairly straight burn so far; it may needing correction or two but the flavors are developing very nicely, a little bit of chocolate and lots of nice toasted tobacco. Very nice volumes of smoke for such a small cigar. A very pleasant little cigar with quite a bit of complexity that left me wanting more. 4/5 Joe Bob says Check It Out.

Diamond Crown Maximus Stanford’s 90th

Churchill size cigar, medium dark wrapper a few flaws in the wrapper, otherwise nice little grainy and kind of toothy. Cut well had some initial sourness that I have come to expect from diamond crown products, otherwise so far so well. Burning straight as a razor and the ash is just almost deathly white.

Cigar has started to burn un-even a bit towards where the rapper has flaws; I can easily correct this with my lighter. Medium flavors developing through the cigar although somewhat one-dimensional. I’m hoping to have more flavor developer as the cigar burns further.

So far I’m less than 2 inches into it and the wrapper problems are turning this into quite a mess. I’m hoping with a little surgical precision from my Dupont Extend I can correct this and turn it back into a smokable cigar, otherwise this is going to be a short experiment. A successful touchup attempt with the added benefit of bringing out some more flavors I’m now getting some wood and maybe even a little meat in the flavor of the tobacco. Very nice indeed, very good bodied cigar.

Having had some previous experience with the old standard diamond Crown must say I’m impressed with the beefier quality of the Maximus, much richer flavors what’s again very well constructed even though it had some problems that quite frankly were from storage. Overall I really like this cigar I’ll finish up my comments on it as I finish the cigar. Interesting note on the burn; all the burn along the edge of the cigar is fairly straight. The ash forms one long cone it’s holding to holding together quite well which speaks well for the internal construction of the cigar. I just haven’t seen this kind of length of come before. With about 2 1/2 inches left on the cigar smoke is beginning to get a bit hot but I am probably smoking a little faster than I should have come to the finish of the cigar. It has been very pleasant indeed, never did get overly hot and with a few touchups the burn went quite nicely overall I would give this a cigar very nice rating. 4/5, Joe Bob Says Check it out.

Perdomo Havana series

Found a really great deal on a Perdomo Havana series (as you may know Nick’s rebranding this series) and so I got one at 30% off the other day in Austin. This is a heckuva cigar, maybe a little bit bigger ring gauge and I care for, but a beautifully constructed stick burning very smoothly. I would readily recommend any of Nick’s cigars; he seems to do just a bang up job. His construction is always spot on and he really knows what he’s doing and lots and lots of flavors. If the smoke is perhaps a bit thin but the flavor of the smoke is worth it it’s just a really quality.

Overall grade 4.5/5 Joe Bob says Check It Out

Curivari White Label robusto

Near-flawless construction with a very smooth wrapper with only very small veins showing. The bunch felt pleasantly firm. There was a slight bit of tear at the cut, but nowhere near enough to cause any problems.

Curivari makes excellent cigars and this is no exception. Complexity from the beginning, with an agreeable mix of bitterness and sweetness. Almost white ash holding solid with no flaking.

Flavor-wise, this smokes very much like the Buenaventura line, which is probably my favorite Curivari right now.

Solid flavorful cigar. 4/5. Joe Bob says Check it Out.

Sam Leccia Luchador Robusto

Nice construction with a pigtail cap, smooth maduro wrapper and rich pre-light aromas. Pre-light draw was perhaps a bit loose, but not airy.

Lit easily and immediately produced strong toasted tobacco flavors with dark chocolate and pepper notes. Lots of smoke too.

Unfortunately, it tasted so good at first that I got in a hurry and it got a little harsh. Slowing down easily solved this issue.

About half-way through the cigar my headphones crapped out on me, and by the time I found another functioning pair, the cigar had gone out. This actually turned out to be a positive thing because it allowed the cigar to cool down from my over-enthusiastic double-clutches early on.

Solid ash, clean burn, complex flavors; safe to say this was a nubber. 4+/5. Joe Bob says Check it Out.

Regular guy, honest reviews