Thursday, January 31, 2013

PINK CIGARS? Now what?

No not really pink. Try ROSADO. Yes the new word for the day is ROSADO.

One of the more uncommon wrapper shades is Rosado, which translates to “rosy” or “pinkish” in Spanish. These wrappers have a distinct reddish hue and are extremely difficult to grow outside of Cuba, which means that only a handful of companies are lucky enough to have a supply of this leaf. This makes Rosado-wrapped cigars rare and highly sought after. Typically, these cigars are very spicy with notes of cedar, coffee, earth, and pepper.

Here is an example of ROSADO colors in wrappers.

There are very few cigars in the market that use Rosado wrappers but the few that do have a loyal following. The reddish color comes from various strains of tobacco and from the growing conditions. The Cuban Parejo by Perdomo is grown with Nicaraguan seed and comes with both a Rosado and Maduro wrap. Coming in big ring gauges allows this cigar to make use of the Rosado wrap to deliver a full, complex taste. Another Rosado wrapped offering from Perdomo, Dos Rios, is grown in Ecuador with an Indonesian seed tobacco. A very economical priced cigar, Dos Rios comes in a box-press and has very spicy overtones. Taking the Rosado wrap to an extreme is La Estrella Cubana, which is cured with Sangria wine smoothing out the spicy overtones.

I SPY CIGARS will shorty have it own ROSADO line available.

Here is what I SPY CIGARS is offering:

Draw tested and purge free.
Strength: Mild to Medium Body


So now that you know about the "PINK CIGAR" try it soon for an awesome smoke.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Color of Cigars

Now a little about the color of the cigars you smoke. What is that all about? What makes them that way?

The WRAPPER. That is right the outer layer or the wrapper.

The wrapper is the most important and most expensive part of a cigar. Typically grown under a gauze tent (shade) to prevent the leaf from growing too thick, the wrapper must be smooth and have very few veins. The majority of a cigar's flavor is derived from the wrapper.

After the cigars have been pressed and turned, they are ready for the skilled hands of the rollers. These craftsmen take the fine, silky, elastic wrapper tobacco and stretch it around the molded cigar body. This is the stretching and smoothing process that gives cigars their appealing looks. When a true craftsman applies the wrapper, a small rectangular piece of tobacco is left attached at the head of the cigar. This piece is called a flag. "Flagging" is the process of molding the rectangular piece of wrapper into the head of a fine cigar.
Many handmade cigars are not "flagged." Instead, they have a circular cap of tobacco at the head. The following are reasons a cap may be used.
  1. The roller of the handmade cigar did not possess the skill necessary to perform the difficult process of flagging.
  2. The cigar is machine made.
It is within the manufacturs legal rights to call this product a handmade cigar!
There are many bundled cigars being sold in this country that are legally defined as handmade, but are not hand made by definition. All I SPY CIGARS that say hand made are true hand made.

The Wrapper Color

The wrapper color of a cigar is as important as the brand or shape of a cigar in terms of enjoyment. People recognize slight changes in the wrapper color of their favorite cigars. Color changes and changes in the country where the wrapper was grown and can dramatically change the taste of a cigar. Wrapper colors are generally graded from the lightest to the darkest color as follows:
  • Claro Claro or Double Claro: A light green fire-cured wrapper.
  • Claro: A very light brown with a greenish cast.
  • Colorado Claro or Natural: A light brown.
  • Colorado or EMS: A medium brown.
  • Colorado Maduro or Maduro: A dark brown.
  • Maduro or Double Maduro: A very rich dark brown or black.
  • Oscuro: A very dark brown or black.
Variations in wrapper colors within these seven groups produce the possibility of 32 wrapper colors. A wrapper that is almost double maduro, but not quite, is classified as maduro. The possible 32 wrapper colors have been lumped into five basic color categories. Each category has a variety of names but all have the same meaning. The categories are described below.
Claro Claro or Double Claro (light green).
This wrapper has a mild quality and the taste of the binder and filler are discernible. The following are names the light green wrappers are sometimes called:
  • Double Claro
  • Candela
  • Jade
  • Cambridge
  • A.M.S. (American Market Selection)
Claro (light brown with a greenish cast) or Colorado Claro (light brown)
Both of these wrapper colors and any variations between the two are called "Natural." These wrappers have a noticeable taste of their own, but they do not disguise the flavor of the binder and filler tobacco. They are not as strong as the darker brown wrapper colors.
Colorado (medium brown)
Other names for Colorado are as follows:
  • Cafe
  • Sun Grown
  • Natural
  • E.M.S. (English Market Selection)
Colorado Maduro (dark brown) or Maduro (very dark brown or black)
Both of these colors may be called maduro. This is a dark, oily wrapper and has a heavy-bodied (strong) taste.
Oscuro (double dark brown or black)
This is a difficult wrapper color to find and even more difficult to produce. Other names for this wrapper are as follows:
  • Double Maduro
  • Maduro Maduro (Double Maduro)
The taste of the wrapper is more noticeable in the darker wrapper colors, and the taste of the binder and filler will be less discernible.
Punch and Hoyo cigars use a wrapper called Rare Corojo. The flavor of the Corojo wrapper is sweet and nutty with a very nice aroma. This is a reddish-brown wrapper. It is used on the Rothschild size of Punch and Hoyo and is rarely used by any other cigar brands. 

A beautiful rare limited production red Rosado wrapper surrounds an assortment of select premium Long Filler Caribbean tobaccos delivering a smooth and spicy tasting premium long filler cigar.
I SPY CIGARS will carry a private label ROSADO line of cigars

The American Standard for Wrapper Colors

  • Double Claro (DC): Green
  • Natural (Nat): Light brown or tan
  • English Market (EMS): Medium brown
  • Maduro (Mad): Dark brown
  • Double Maduro (MM or X): Dark brown, almost black
Havana Seed Wrappers
Havana Seed wrappers vary in color depending on the conditions during the year the crop was grown. When grading the Havana Seed wrapper, the 32-shade separating process is not performed. These wrappers are graded on a comparative basis. This means that, at the time of the selection, the darkest wrappers are graded Maduro Maduro (double maduro), the next darkest Maduro, and so on. The result is that the consumer will receive a lighter or darker cigar than he normally would depending on the shades of color that particular year.

Ok now that you have learned about what you see in a cigar next lesson is all about smell and taste and what is inside a cigar.

Note of reference: Most information supplied by CIGAR UNIVERSITY from my friends at J R CIGARS.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Trip to Perdition

As most of my readers know and  I am a smoker of the maduro and double maduro cigars. So when I had a chance to look at and try the Viva Republic rapture line I thought she I didn't see a maduro offhand this is a good be a good cigar but I'll try it anyway.
First off, the perdition was firm intriguing smell. Before I go into what I call my rapture experience here some information about the rapture perdition and the rapture line.

 It's  Perdition – 4.5″ x 50 – Robusto

Ecuadorian Havana Vuelta Abajo

Dominican Corojo

Nicaraguan, Brazilian, Dominican
  • Perdition – 4.5″ x 50 – Robusto
  • Revel – 5.5″ x 54 – Toro
  • Exodus – 6.25″ x 52 – Torpedo
  • Harasha – 6″ x 58 – Gordo
$7.90 to $9.10
Flavor Notes:
Sugarcane, spice, fruit, earth, cedar, bread
Medium to Full
20 count boxes
The above information came from the company website.

So how did this smoking a rapture experience come about and what was it like and what did I taste and feel.
Now my Review:

Appearance :I give it 4.8 out of 5
Very sleek Robusto ,Firm body easy to cut cap. ( I use a V-Cutter). No bumps or out place veins on the cigar that I could feel. (to remind the readers I am 100% blind)

Construction : I give it 5 out of 5
The construction is far above par with the popularity of this cigar. Well made, a perfectly firm but not too much. The foot was perfect and easy to toast.

Flavor : I give it 4.85 out of 5

The wrapper has a sweet smell similar to fruit and cedar with a bit of pepper while the foot reminds me of coco.  The initial draw greets me with cedar on the front along with oak and nuts.  There is also a large earthly flavor.  As I enter the first third, the pepper tones are gone, solid oak and coffee notes are most noticeable as the flavors feel rich but balanced.  The strength is already a solid medium moving upwards.  This third finishes off with creamy texture.
The second part continues with a creamy and sweet with a hint of fruit tartness flavor profile.  The coco notes are back and more present with oak and earth on the finish.  
I’m enjoying the aroma of cocoa and mild spices filling the air.  I can feel the strength increasing but not yet to a full. Smoking through the last part, there is more depth to the flavors, creamy, less oak, more cedar and a proper amount of earthiness is introduced to the mix.   The strength of this cigar isn’t overwhelming, but certainly full with a body to match.

Value : I give it 5 out of 5
This one fits it market perfectly.

Overall Rating : 4.9 out of 5
This was a stunning cigar with great complexity and balance. 

Final Thoughts:
  • I found the flavor profile enjoyable.  The variety of flavors made this cigar interesting throughout the review.  The balance between coco, oak, coffee and spices was quite impressive as none of them overwhelmed the cigar.
  • Simplicity.  The construction was very good with draw that I absolutely enjoyed.
  • Needless to say, this cigar wouldn’t be for beginner smokers as the nicotine content is fairly high.  However, while it’s not a morning stick, the Viva Republica Rapture Perdition could be something that I would smoke after dinner.
  • This is a cigar I could see myself picking up a ten pack to let them rest a bit and see how they develop. 
  • I think the price point is more than fair as my one cigar were slow burning and lasted almost 1 hour.
  • As a first time release from Jason Holly, I think this cigar makes quite an impression on the smoker. The La Aurora Factory and Guillermo Leon produce some excellent cigars and yet I wouldn’t have thought this to come from there because of the variation in flavors.( parts of this review came from two other smokers with me at the time)

Monday, January 14, 2013

5 Vegas Series 'A' ANIMAL 5 pack Maduro

I just smoked my first Animal to as I got it in today.

Just a few words from the 5 VEGAS people:

Length: 4.5" Ring: 60 Country: Honduras FULL FLAVOR
This limited-edition cigar from 5 Vegas is a breed all its own. Crafted utilizing the same juicy recipe as the Series 'A' line, this hearty maduro brings even more complex flavor in spades, thanks to its exclusive shape. Carefully handmade in Honduras, this `bowling pin-shaped' figurado comes draped in a black Costa Rican maduro wrapper, drenched with oils and gorgeous to the eye. This scrumptious leaf houses a 3-country core of 4-year-aged long-leaf tobaccos before being set down for an additional six month slumber. This patient blending and aging pairs well with the bulbous shape, unleashing big-time depth and flavor that continually evolves during the burn. Dense white smoke contains hints of chocolate, earth, spices, toast, and natural sweetness. The finish is long and satisfying, but never lingers beyond its welcome. A feral creature primed for the senses, you won't be disappointed by the Animal.

Now my Review:

Appearance : I give it 5 out of 5.
The sleek taper with the midriff bump is perfect for the short smoke with full body.

Construction : I give it 5 out of 5
I punched it with a tiny punch cutter and the draw is stellar. The construction is above par with the popularity of this cigar. Well made, a little firm but not too much. The foot was perfect.

Flavor : I give it 5 out of 5 ( give it 20 if I could but I have a thing for strong Maduros)

 This cigar has a strong Cuban tobacco taste at cold.

One of my favorite aspects of this ANIMAL cigars is their ability to deliver bold, rich flavors without attacking and overwhelming the palate with a sharp edge or out of balance flavor.

Sweet and earthy notes of espresso and dark chocolate linger on the palate. The richness, balance, and smoothness of these dark flavors add a unique and profound depth to the cigar. Halfway through, the full strength at the beginning of the cigar ramps up to full throughout the entire cigar. The earthy character gains intensity as the once prominent espresso and chocolate drop into the background.

AWESOME smoke.

Value : I give it 5 out of 5

This ANIMAL is pretty much priced right in line with most other Cuban robustos. Of course that price varies greatly from market to market.

Overall Rating : 5 out of 5 (again 20 but limited in production)

This was a stunning cigar with great complexity and balance. The only drawback is the limited quantities of these cigar.

I bought what several pack for myself as soon as I knew it was limited, and will kick myself for not buying more in this first order. Oh well, go out and find one if you can and let me know what you think, I bet you will be impressed as much as me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Review the new I SPY CIGARS Habano Maduro

What do you think? Sample of a Habano Maduro. Soon to be the newest Private label for I SPY CIGARS.
Just smoked the first sample.

#1 Great wrapper leaves have to be elastic and must have no protruding veins.
Fits this to a tee.

#2 The filler is made of separate leaves folded by hand along their length, to allow a passage through which smoke can be drawn when the cigar is lit.

Great draw and Toasted very evenly. Did not draw hot up the stick.

#3 Using a a V-cutter to cut this premium cigar.

Cut was easy and even and draw was perfect.

#4 Most premium handmade cigars (those costing from $3 to $30 each) will hold a very long ash before falling off. The ash on cheaper cigars tends to flake easily and fall off more frequently. Properly grown and maintained cigar tobacco will have a whiter ash than the sometimes very gray ash produced on lower-quality cigars.

This sample held it ash for over 50% of the smoke.

#5 Pick the color wrapper you prefer - dark or light. Gently feel the cigar between your fingers (don't roll it because that could cause the wrapper to crack) to see if it's too moist or too dry. Inspect the construction of the cigar to ensure there are no cracks in the wrapper and the cap is in good condition. While some cigar smokers like to hold the cigar up to their nose and sniff the product, others find this distasteful when they see someone put a cigar up to their nose and then put it back in the box. If you must smell the tobacco, just hold your nose 12 inches over the box of opened cigars and take a breath; this should be sufficient to determine the bouquet of the cigar.

This Maduro Habano has come in above these five items and
was an awesome smoke.

I can not wait to stock this one. +I SPY CIGARS, +ROBIN RUSHLO