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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Classic Cigar’s Top 10 of 2011

Top 10 of 2011

With 2011 coming to a close and 2012 opening a new chapter in life I am torn between many thoughts for the New Year.  The picture above, John Cassel’s Mixed Signals; October 1931, probably speaks lots of truths to many of us.  Sometimes we get so caught up in what to do next or plan, plan, plan, for the future that we forget to STOP, and enjoy some of the finer parts of life. i.e.) family, friends, health.  For me one of my favorite ways to reflect upon life’s gifts is with a cigar.  And just as we have for the past 3 years here at Classic Cigar, we will continue to provide our thoughts and reviews of cigars, both new and old, that the industry has to offer in 2012.

We were also blessed this year at Classic Cigar, to bring on a new reviewer to the team.  Let me take this opportunity to thank `//otan (Mark) for all the hard work and time he puts into giving his thoughts and opinions…cheers and long ashes to you in the new year buddy!

Just as in the past, the cigars on the list may not have been reviewed on the website but were smoked, numerous times, throughout the year.  You also need to know that this is my Top 10 list not my partners however, having smoked and discussed many of these cigars together I think he will tend to agree with most of my choices.

For me personally one cigar maker really hit a “Grand slam” this year with quality, production, and innovation.  That person would be Mr. Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars.  Out of my 2011 Top 10, four cigars are part of his portfolio.  No, I am certainly not bias or one dimensional in anyway but those of you that know me, do understand that I call it how it is.  Without a doubt Mr. Pete Johnson is creating some amazing things in the cigar world and deserves that praise and recognition.

So without further ado, here are the Classic Cigar Top 10 cigars of 2011:

 

10. Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro (Nicaragua)

9. Davidoff Puro D’Oro Deliciosos  (Dominican Republic)

8. Cohiba Siglo II  (Cuba)

7. Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No.2  (Dominican Republic)

6. Tatuaje Havana VI Victorias  (Nicaragua)

5. Cabaiguan Guapo 46  (Nicaragua)

4. Rafael Gonzalez Corona Extra  (Cuba)

3. Por Larranaga Petite Corona  (Cuba)

2. Tatuaje Black Petite Lancero  (Nicaragua)

 

and the #1 cigar of 2011 is…

 

1. Ambos Mundos Short No. 1 Habano  (Nicaragua)

Again and again, all year long this cigar offered me a great smoking experience.  Without a doubt, I burned through an entire box of these this year and not once was I disappointed or let down.  In fact, the cigar tended to continually grow on me.  By offering notes of smooth leather, peppery spice, rustic antique aromas, and a creamy smoke texture the Ambos Mundos Short No.1 Habano won my heart and palate for 2011.  Not to mention that these sticks are priced under $5.00 a piece, so you definitely can’t beat that.

Well, that does it for 2011 here at Classic Cigar.  We hope you have a very blessed and Happy New Year, as we bring in 2012 with a bang.  From our family to yours;

God Bless and Cheers!

~kaleehb

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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Illusione Holy Lance – Candela Wrapper

Greetings and Salutations Lords and Ladies of the Leaf!

It’s been far too long since I’ve had a good smoke. And it’s been even longer since I have written for this blog – big thanks to Kyle for squirreling away his resources to make sure that I get to post when I can – and I’ve missed you all!

Well, let me tell you about this cigar I found at Riverside Cigar Lounge and Shop, located in Historic Jeffersonville Indiana. Jeff was really great, the cigar lounge looks totally cool with large comfortable leather chairs, lots of ashtrays, high-definition plasma screen tvs and it adjacent to the Brickhouse Bourbon Bar. Which it seemed was closed last night when I went in. Visit them at riversidecigars.com. I’ll be visiting them for sure over this Christmas break to sit and smoke a spell. Best part about the whole thing? It doesn’t really reek of cigars, which was a plus for my wife and her sister. How did I find this place? My wife found it, as we were ice-skating in the parking lot across the street. And as a reward for my patience and ice skating prowess, I managed to get some cigars out of the deal – go me. I walked out with two Pete Johnsons – A limited Edition “Wolfman” and a Cabaiguan guapo, and the Illusione “Holy Lance” in a Candela wrapper.

At any rate, I’ll get on with the review. Did you know that Dion Giolito (you’ll recognize him as one of my favorite cigar manufacturers) decided to make the Holy Lance in the standard colorado wrapper, the maduro wrapper, and the candela wrapper? I certainly didn’t and finding all three made this choice rather difficult. What is a candela wrapper you ask? It’s bright green –  and according to some places it’s a dead wrapper. Candela wrappers have been very rare over the past 9-10 years. Sometimes referred to as AMS, or “American Market Selection,” cigars due to their tremendous popularity in the United States from the late 1800s through the mid 20th century, Candela is basically a bright green wrapper color achieved by a process which traps the chlorophyll content of the leaf prior to fermentation. This wrapper is sort of sour tasting and because of it’s acquired taste it seemes to have lost touch with aficionados of today.

This is my first candela wrapper, and it was purchased solely on Jeff’s recommendation, and the fact that the standard colorado Holy Lance was so damned good. Here’s what Giolito has to say on his website: “ Lancero , the lance. Get it? Constantine was the first Christian Emperor to lead Rome. It was fabled that he had possession of the very spear that punctured the side of Jesus while on the cross. He was said to carry this relic into battle and, it was said that it helped him win many battles. It is an artisan blend and, the mildest of all my cigars.”

On with the review! It should be noted: to my understanding, they are not a limited-run but will be produced so long as the candela wrapper is available.

THE SPECIFICATIONS

Length: 7.5

Ring: 40

Style: Lancero

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: American Market Standard – Candela Wrapper

Filler: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Price: Expect to pay about $10.00 – $12.00 per smoke.

THE PRE-LIGHT RITUAL

Many of you will remember that I’m all about the experience – and as such this remains my favorite part of the entire smoking experience. Truly a boutique cigar the band was simple, white band with gold lettering. Again, since I believe we smoke (and eat) first with our eyes, this band was truly sexy and got me excited about smoking this cigar. The bright green wrapper was nice- just right it had sandy undertones underneath . It had no huge veins, and only one small tear, I think though that this is because it was transported home in the pocket of my leather coat.. Like all lanceros, they were light, but this one had only one soft spot. The cap was even, a nice triple seam with a deft pigtail on the top. The band was true to the Illusione type, and it was simple, classic, and even sexy. The smell was almost light fresh cut hay, grassy and light. It was a welcome breath of fresh air in the freezing night. A light floral scent accompanied the stick too. The pre-light was open and even, and tasted of wheat, and a small hint of leather.

FIRST THIRD:

The first third began grassy, and had hints of roasted wheat. This cigar had a pleasant almost leathery aftertaste. One of the best things about the cigar was that with a green wrapper, one would expect that it would be a “lighter” smoke, as Candela’s often are (at least to me), but this one is heady and enjoyable. Having enjoyed the standard Holy Lance, this one is totally in the same league as it’s brown cousin. Thick plumes of smoke coated the palate, but the ash was disappointing. It was loose, and dark gray – indicative that perhaps the cigar was rolled too wet. Towards the middle of the second third, there was an interesting addition to the flavors – it started to move from grassiness to the sweetness of caramel or even a toffee – a very pleasing flavor!

SECOND THIRD

The second third started with notes of toasted bread with the undertone of toffee and transitioned into a savory spiciness that I found really rather satisfying. I’m a fan of cigars that are spicy, and heady. And this one was well on its way to delivering a powerful punch! The smoke moved into a cinnamon and pepper with the barest floral hints of anise and all-spice. The smoke was still very pronounced, and thick. It was delicious – keeping the palate coated in the savory spiciness that reared it’s head in this third.

FINAL THIRD

The spiciness of the second third yielded in the final third to a flavor that was predominantly woody, and nutty. It was almost as if we returned to the beginning of the cigar because leathery undertones made their way back into the mix. The smoke remained thick and abundant, though I did have to relight a few times in this third, and had to even out the burn. Other than that the smoke was perfect. One thing that Giolito is famous for is the blending of tobaccos to create flavor profiles that linger on the palate.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

With a total smoke time of one and a half hours, I found each minute to be an enjoyable one. The first notes were very grassy and summery which lead me to thinking I would be smoking a garden. But the whole smoke had such a complexity and subtle nuances that I can only compare to purchasing perfume for a significant other. It smells one way on the little plastic card, but on your loved one it’s completely different. This is the first cigar in a long time that I nubbed out.

RECAP

Prelight: 9/10 –

Smoking: 8/10 

Overall Experience: 9/10 

Total Composite Score: 27/30 

I totally want some more of these to fill this:

What a great Christmas present – my wife totally rocks! Speaking of Christmas – I hope that you and your loved ones have a great Holiday.

God Bless,

‘//otan

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Cigars Rated