Diplomaticos No. 2

This line of cigars from Cuba is a relatively new brand introduced in 1966 and was aimed at the French market as a brother to the Montecristo line.  The Diplomaticos are all numbered cigars and the one in the picture is the cigar I’m just finishing called the No. 2.

This piramide has a 52 ring gauge and is 6.1 inches long.  Another great torpedo from Cuba that deserves a lot of attention from people who love this size.  Earthy, medium strength with loads of cedar, leather, small notes of dark chocolate and an earthy flavor that is very balanced.  Mine tonight was from a box from mid ’07 which had a few years on it and was a real pleasure to smoke.  I’m not sure why I don’t smoke these more often but I can tell you that in the next few days, I’m going to be picking up a box and am going to let them sit for a while.

I haven’t had this much enjoyment since I smoked my last H. Upmann No. 2 and there is something really special about the Piramide size and shape that gives you a very full bodied taste and feels great in your hand.  Montecristo is a name that is very popular, for very good reason, but this lovely Piramide has just seen it’s stock rise dramatically in my portfolio.

Quintero Londres Extra.. More Than You Bargained For !

Now and then you are in need of a break, you stop in at your favorite cigar store and then realize that maybe you should try something new, affordable and something that comes with a good solid recommendation.  You walk around the cigar shop and as you drool over the new Cohiba Behike or Esplendidos, a voice inside your head suggests that you scan over the boxes of Non-Cubans…. That nasty little voice loses the Cuban versus Non-Cuban argument and you stroll back to the cuban humidors and the drooling continues all over your tie.

But…………………..

A small Quintero catches your eye and then the price tag convinces you that for under ten dollars you can pick up 5 or 6 cigars for the price that you paid for 2 of your favorite Robustos last week.

I am presently smoking the Quintero Londres Extra that I bought and I didn’t expect, at all,  to be enjoying an affordable Cuban as much as this.  Its definitely giving me a LOT more than I expected.  Granted this one has a few years on it and had a small amount of plume on the wrapper, which gave it a nice bit of creaminess and smoothness but as I looked at the somewhat rough appearance I didn’t expect to have over 45 minutes of this much enjoyment.

If you are looking for the type of complexity that you’ll find in any of the larger ring gauge Cuban cousins, you may not get it here.  What you’ll end up with is a more refined version of the Jose L. Piedra in around the same price range.  Do yourself a favor and give this little guy a try, you’ll get more than you think!

Fonseca Delicias.. Smooth.. Rich

A few days ago I picked up a few cigars from Trevor at the “Vancouver Cigar Company” and in the assortment were a few Foncesa Delicias.  This is a cigar that I smoke from time to time when I don’t have a lot of smoking time and I pick this one for the sheer satisfaction of having a slightly milder smoke. This hand finished standard vitola is 4.8 inches long with a ring gauge of 40.  It gets great ratings from seasoned cigar smokers because of the richness but is also a favorite with new smokers because of it’s size and mildness.

What took me by surprise last night was the richness and very interesting creamy taste.  After first lighting this little beauty I noticed, like I usually do with this cigar, the mild taste but after about half an inch later the cream started coming through the notes and stayed throughout the length of smoking time.  Just because this cigar is mild doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a bit of complexity to it.  Rum is definitely one of the notes that you’ll detect and a slight hint of vanilla gives you a tasty finish.

It took me just over an hour to smoke the Delicias and during that time I couldn’t help but think of the Canadian woman’s Olympic hockey team celebrating on the ice after winning the gold with these cigars.  This is a wonderfully smooth smoke that left me wondering why I don’t buy them more often.

Ramon Allones Superiores….Coming Soon !

Something that gets me excited more than the arrival of Spring after a long cold Winter is the moment I can get my hands on a new Cuban cigar that could very well turn out to be a favorite for years to come.  Ramon Allones will soon be delivering their new vitola to LCDH franchises around the world and if these turn out to be as flavorful as the other brothers and sisters from that brand, founded in 1837, we could have a winner on our hands.

This new size will be 5.6 inches long in a 46 ring gauge which, if handled patiently will last you a good hour and a half and will be filled with a blend from the Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Rio.  This brand, which has delivered beautiful favorites such as the Specially Selected and the Gigantes, has thrilled Aficionados around the world but how the Superiores compare is yet to be seen.

The factory name of this vitola is Corona Gorda and will be delivered world wide in boxes of 10.. So far only 5,000 boxes will be introduced so contacting Trevor at “The Vancouver Cigar Company” and telling him about your interest in this new Cuban will get you on the list of lucky new owners of, what could be, a new staple in your humidor.

Cuban Cigars…. German Beer

A cigar you WON’T see in the picture above is my last H. Upmann Magnum 48 that was torched and smoked last night, paired with an awesome German Lager and for the first time I had a great time with both in the same room.. Not sure why but through the years I felt that beer and cigars don’t work together but I was in a mood to try something different and it worked out just fine.

The deck was a bit cool but I chose to dress for the occasion and as the sun went down, my little Upmann burned perfectly, evenly and the taste had smoothened out and was balanced beautifully.  The 2009 Edicion Limitada is probably still available so it won’t be taking me long to call my friends at “The Vancouver Cigar Company” for another box.  These are a GREAT cigar that should be tried while they can still be found.

I remember being in Germany a few years back around Christmas and if you ever want to see a happy group of people, try going into the centre of town ( which ever city you may be visiting ) and check out their christmas markets.  You’ll smell spiced wine in the air, potatoes and sausages cooking and no shortage of German beer on tap.. Pull up a stool, sit back, light a Cuban cigar and soak in the scene like I did in Berlin back in 2007.  It was a great Christmas.

This is what was going through my mind last night as I happily puffed away and sipped on the Beck’s.. I know that this year, we’ll be staying in Vancouver at Christmas but the winter of 2007 is one that I can’t wait to repeat.

Are You REALLY A Cigar Aficionado

Well it is a question that I don’t really ask myself because I know the answer…. NO !!!  Very simple..

A few days back a friend gave me 3 un-banded Cuban Robustos that were in great shape, beautiful wrappers, very nicely rolled but still un-banded and thats where all the trouble started.  He thought that they might be Bolivar Royal Coronas, Ramon Allones Specially Selected, Cohiba Robusto or maybe something else that he couldn’t remember….. Oh great, where do I start….

So I started off by seeing if I could recognize the wrapper and mybe guess which was which based on appearance alone… Good luck!!  I thought that maybe we could have had at least 1 RASS based on the fact that the wrapper did NOT have a reddish brown wrapper.. I’ve usually noticed that they are smooth, slightly oily and tend to lean towards the greener side of brown.. So what did I do?? I lit it up..

With all that I can recall about the Specially Selected, I think that maybe I could be on the right track but there was always a bit of doubt in my mind as I came to the halfway point.. This was harder than I thought.. I knew that I wasn’t smoking a Cohiba Robusto because of the total lack of grass and slight cedar that I get out of those awesome Cohibas.. For a second I thought that it COULD be a Bolivar but I thought that I’d try again tonight..

Tonight’s Robusto was considerably redder and very slightly rougher in appearance but still very well made.. Once again tonight’s cigar was NOT a Cohiba but had a milder more earthy flavor….. Bolivar Royal  Coronas ??????  Then it hit me.. I still have a ways to go before I have the audacity to call myself an Aficionado.. Something tells me that until you can do a blind taste test and correctly identify which Cuban you’re smoking, you better be careful how you announce your status in this game that we play……

Good luck!

Romeo y Julieta Puritos… The Perfect 20 minutes

I may have brought up these wonderful little cigars in the past but yesterday I picked up a box of these Romeo y Julieta Puritos because of a short trip I made and the short amount of time I had on my hands I had to smoke and, once again, I was reminded how great these cigars tasted.

4 1/2 inches long and a 29 ring gauge may not appear to be a size of cigar that would deliver a smooth taste but don’t let the small size fool you.  Although you may not experience the complexity that a Wide Churchill or an Exibicion No. 4, a personal favorite, will give you but a beautiful Romeo y Julieta profile comes through nonetheless.

The smooth flavor starts off with a mild spicy Romeo flavor into the first third then a subtle change greets you into the second.  Slight chocolate and cedar is probably what you’ll be tasting as you smoke this down to the final third but in 20 minutes of so you’ll find that you can get a beautiful cuban tobacco smoke that will make you wonder how they do it!  These were probably young little cigars and although age would improve the taste, you still get the feeling that you are holding a winner.