H. Upmann Classic Taste

A few different examples of cigars from this old and prestigious brand from Havana are pictured above.  Both are favorites of mine, the 2009 Limited Edition Magnum 48 and the H. Upmann No. 2.  My humidor did NOT store a few others that I love dearly, the Magnum 50 or the Magnum 46, or I would have included those in the picture as well.  I love them all, they are an example of classic Cuban taste and come from one of the oldest brands.

Hermann and August Upmann founded the brand in 1844 when, as textile manufacturers, moved to Havana and being avid cigar smokers, started using cigars as a promotional tool.  Their cigar boxes, made from Spanish cedar, were labeled with their name but contained other manufacturers’ cigars until the brothers bought their own cigar factory and started producing very fine cigars.  Their cigars were of such quality that they started winning awards at international cigar competitions and the gold awards are still pictured in the brand’s logo.

I’ve written before about the sweet fruity taste of the Magnum 48.  A year in the humidor has changed the profile of this cigar.  What was once a sweet fruity cigar has matured into a more classic tasting Cuban and quite a difference has taken place.  I’m thinking that another 10 years in the humidor will change this already beautiful cigar into a classic of epic proportion.

Have A Cigar In The Car

Nothing is more enjoyable than getting behind the wheel and going for a nice long drive, it is good for your soul, good for your engine and one of the best places to smoke a cigar in a relaxed, warm and windless environment!

The picture above reveals just the right amount of late afternoon sunshine on the band of a Partagas Lusitanias as my friend Tom and I were driving home from golfing.  The trip lasted just over an hour and after lighting a couple of these wonderful cigars we were remarking as to how perfect it is to be able to smoke in a space that was our own to do whatever we pleased.  After getting back to the house the rest of the cigar was paired with a “tumbler” of Glenlivet and some fine grumbling about how poorly we golfed.

One thing that you may want to take in consideration is the heat of a long cigar ash as it falls of the end of the cigar and into the pantleg of your golf shorts as you are doing a shoulder check as you change lanes.  This will change your whole reality and make you wonder if saving an ash for as long as possible is really worth the effort.  It is times like that when I can see why the smoking jacket was first thought of and assembled.  On one hand the flavor of a cool puff is intoxicating but the pain to your bare legs and damage to the velour on the front seat of the car is another thing to consider.  A real coin toss, isn’t it!!

I don’t care what anyone says about the smell of the interior of my car, when I get into the driver’s seat and remember the great cigar I enjoyed the night before as I was driving somewhere, it makes me feel great to know that I own a movable cigar smoking parlor where I MAKE THE RULES !!!!

Gurkha VS Montecristo

Last night a good friend and I had a few cigars at his place and we tried something that was very entertaining.  I brought over a few cigars and was interested in seeing how the two would compare.  One was a Gurkha Titan and the other was a Montecristo No. 4.  It was a real David and Goliath contest because the Titan was around a 56 ring gauge and the monte No. 4…. Well, you know…….

I had been saving the Titan for about a year and was waiting for a very special occasion to light it up, finally coming to the conclusion that there might not be that sort of a reason and decided to torch the darn thing in the spirit of a healthy competition.  The Monte will hold it’s own in most situations because of the full flavor and very consistent construction but I wasn’t sure of the Gurkha.

Upon first few puffs I found the Gurkha to be mild and interesting, great construction and perfect draw with just the right amount of resistance.  The Monte was a bit of a wind tunnel but I love that in a cigar because of the control you can have.  Both burned very evenly and behaved very well.  The Gurkha had an amazing white ash, very different from the Monte which burned with that ever present gray color ash.  The big difference was in the flavor comparison.  Wow, big difference.

The Gurkha’s Maduro wrapper was almost perfect in every way which falls right in line with their dedication to using the best tobaccos in the construction of their cigars but I just couldn’t get the same enjoyment out of the Titan like I was getting from the Monte.  Now this might be a bit unfair because of my passion for Cuban tobacco.  I can’t seem to get the same out of a Non-Cuban no matter how many different cigars I sample.  I have to admit that my opinion is very slanted in the Cuban direction but I have to say that my buddy, Tom, was enjoying the Gurkha very much and smoked the whole cigar down to the nub.  I envy his open mindedness in a contest of this nature and as years go by I’m hoping that my palette will graduate to to the level where I can see all of the different values that a cigar has to offer…….

2011 Canadian Regional Editions

I love looking around the “Net” to see what is new in upcoming releases from Havana and in particular, I love seeing what the new releases are coming into Canada for next year.  This time I see that we will be getting two Limited Edition cigars from Ramon Allones and Juan Lopez. What really excites me is the size of cigar that Ramon Allones will be adding..

At 7.1 inches and a ring gauge of 54 the Ramon Allones Rodolfo called the “Super Ramon” could be a very exciting cigar with some good length and a hefty girth.  I have to admit that I’ve been on a bit of a Ramon Allones kick lately because of some of the fine regional editions I’ve been smoking from that brand and I’m praying that the care that they’ve been putting into their construction lately, continues on into next year.

Juan Lopez will be releasing an Edmundo called the “Supreme” and this addition will be slightly larger than a Robusto at 5.3 inches and a ring gauge of 52.  Edmundos are a wonderful cigar to smoke after dinner if the strength of the cigar is there and because these are from Juan Lopez, I’m guessing that their profile will match some of their latest Regional Editions. 2007 saw the release of the “Obus” to france. It appeared that Juan Lopez devoted all of their best tobaccos for that beautiful cigar.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on just one and one evening with friends at a gathering in Manitoba, I tasted one of the finest cigars I had ever smoked.

Here’s hoping that both of these new cigars live up to my expectations, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but I’ll be making space in one of my humidors this morning for next year’s Canadian Regional Editions.  Or I could book a tee time instead and go golfing with friends!

Trinidad Reyes

Have about an hour or so to smoke a beautiful little gem from El Laguito??  Why not try a Trinidad Reyes for a glimpse into the profile of cigars that used to be given out as diplomatic gifts along with the Cohiba brand back in the days when Castro used to do a lot of world travel.

With 4.3 inches and a 40 ring gauge you get varied flavors as this cigar burns, very evenly, from third to third.  Slightly herbal with cedar and leather as this cigar burns into the second third and although some more adventurous Cuban cigar smokers go for the larger Trinidad Robusto Extra, the Reyes is more suited for someone with a bit less time on their hands.  I would recommend this cigar for a morning outing on the golf course or a mid-day break to relieve a bit of stress, perfectly paired with a coffee and a warm park bench.

This little beauty came from a box dated Sept of ’08, which gave a bit of age to the tobacco, mellowed it to a medium strength and a bit of sweetness. I rate this cigar very highly because of perfection of construction ( as you’ll find in all of the Trinidad line ), draw and burn.

Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills

Last time I was at “The Vancouver Cigar Company” I asked for something new and exciting and was directed over to something VERY exciting indeed.  I’ve always been a fan of Romeo y Julieta cigars and when I had the opportunity to finally get my hands on the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills I jumped at the opportunity and picked up a few.  The first thing that caught my eye was how well these cigars are rolled, every one in the box looked perfect and when I handled a few I noticed that these cigars are nicely evenly packed without any soft spots or hard lumps under the band.

This cigar feels great in the hand with a 55 ring gauge and a length of 5 1/8 inches, a big cigar with what I expected to be a big attitude as soon as it was lit.  I wasn’t let down by a meek and mild approach as this Wide Churchill started off with a powerful taste, reminiscent of what the Romeo y Julieta Short Chuchill gave us when it was young.  I am a fan of young and aged cigars alike, loving what the Cuban blends taste like, months after they are rolled and what they become after a few years in the humidor.  This Wide Churchill’s first third was a bold example of the Romeo profile, rich with spice and subtle notes of wood and dark chocolate.

As I got halfway through this cigar I noticed it mellowing a bit and giving me a bit more spice and vanilla that I love so much in Cuban cigars but into the final third I was reminded that I had a big handful of tobacco that was burning perfectly and evenly but on it’s way to delivering me a dose of nicotine that I was prepared for.  Remember the “Duke” ?? That one was a tribute to nicotine when it was young but the Wide Churchill didn’t have the same kick, which suited me fine!  By the way, the Duke has settled down and has become a wonderful 2009 Limited Edition.

Make no mistake, this is an after dinner smoke with a bold approach and a balanced Romeo blend that will age beautifully and become a classic!

Ramon Allones Phoenicio

As promised I said I’d write a small piece on this cigar after I smoked it on my birthday..

I looked at these cigars in my humidor for almost a year in my humidor and kept saying that I was going to wait for a special occasion before clipping and lighting one up and am I ever glad I let the time pass.  WOW !!!!  I knew that this was going to be a good cigar, after reading a few reviews online, but nothing could have prepared me for the flavor and the experience this one gave me!!  I paired the cigar with a Scotch called A’Bunadh and the evening was a whirlwind of flavors.

The one thing that I can say about this cigar is that it was very easy to smoke.  It was mild but at the same time it had multiple flavors, some that were a bit difficult to detect so I’m not sure I’d recommend it to a novice.  Since I lit the cigar before dinner and the fact that it burned for a considerable length of time, over 2 hours, we ended up smoking it through dinner as well.  I can tell you that if you are planning on having a pork tenderloin with a maple glaze, this would be the perfect pairing with food!

This 6 1/2 inch, 54 ring gauge sublimes was the most difficult cigar to get since it was only sold at the Beirut duty free in Lebanon.  Good luck!!  I ended up with 4 and I can tell you that I won’t be smoking these gems at just any occasion.  The cigar was the first of it’s kind for Ramon Allones for a few different reasons.  This was the first cigar to be named after a trading company, the first time Ramon Allones has made a cigar this thick and the first time they have produced a cigar in boxes of 30.  The cigar was designed in dedication to the Middle East’s Phoenicia Trading Company’s 30 year anniversary. I guess things went so well between the two entities that the dedication took place and we, the consumers, cashed in on a very very beautiful cigar.

In closing I just want to mention one strange thing.  This is the first cigar I’ve tasted that didn’t suffer one bit from losing an ash, every puff was pure magic!

Cuaba Piramides Edicion Limitada 2008

After smoking more than my fair share of Romeos, Cohibas, HDM’s and Upmanns in the last few months I felt I needed a change this morning after breakfast.  It is Sunday, after all, and why not try something special….. I reached for the Cuaba Piramides I had sitting in the humidor and for a second I wondered if this was a fitting moment for such a regal smoke, clipped the end and tried a pre-light draw.  Nice and spicy…. Here we go!!!!

First few puffs revealed a ton of cedar, some leather and not much else….. As I ventured into the final puffs of the first third the cedar was becoming very powerful and I was wondering if this would evolve into something more than a trip to the sauna when the cigar smoke became creamy and notes of chocolate appeared.. Whew !!

Buttery would be the best way to describe what this Piramides became into the second third..  Chocolate, however subtle, appeared next and with the leather and cedar, became a classic Cuaba profile that I’m used to tasting.. Bravo!!!

The 6.1 “, 52 ring gauge limited edition was a beautiful cigar to hold, loosely rolled but burned beautifully, requiring no touch-ups at all and produced a flaky light gray ash that, surprisingly enough, held to the cigar for a considerable length of time….

Halfway down and becoming smoother and smoother as we go along… Slight roasted coconut appearing with the leather flavors.. Leather becoming more pronounced but still very buttery..

Very sad when this cigar came to an end… Stayed creamy and full flavored to the nub so I’ll try to find a few others to age for a while.. The tobaccos used in this Piramides were aged for 2 years prior to rolling and it being a 2008 meant that 2 more years were added to the age but I think that a few more would reveal a smooth enjoyable experience worth remembering.