Trinidad EL 2010 And Golf

By looking at the picture above you’ll see 3 things that stand out.. First you’ll notice that I am at the golf course.. Second thing you may notice is that I’m smoking a Trinidad Short Pobustos Edicion Limitada 2010.  The third is that I really DO need a new golf glove but the rest of Canada is under a blanket of snow at this time and I’m out golfing..

I picked this cigar up from Trevor at ” The Vancouver Cigar Company ” last summer and have been letting it age in my humidor for about 8 months.. Was that a good decision?  YES !!  This was a nice cigar when it came out last year but I’m so glad that I had the patience to let it sit because now it has become, in my humble opinion, a beautiful classic tasting Trinidad..

I’m a big fan of the Coloniales and still believe that it is one of the best cigars out there for the money but in terms of flavor and construction, last year’s EL is a strong competitor.  Although only 4 inches long and a ring gauge of 50, I was able to smoke it for over an hour on the back nine and I was very sad when the last half inch was left sitting in a divot on 16..

What is the perfect golf cigar??  Well….. All of them are perfect !!  Each and every Cuban I smoke out there help me feel comfortable and relaxed and, to some degree, very lucky..

My Top 10 Cuban Cigars In 2010

Different people have different tastes in cigars and many people will wonder why their favorite Cuban was left out but I want to begin by saying that this compilation of cigars was made up from some memorable moments I had smoking, what I believe, are the finest cigars in the world.  Some of these cigars were produced in years before 2010 but were the ones I smoked last year……

1… Ramon Allones Phoenicio ……  Well we may as well start off with one that will ruffle a feather or two concerning the release date but on July 28, 2010 I finally lit one up and all of my anticipation and patience paid off in spades…. Flavors of gingerbread, mild milk chocolate and very subtle hints of nutmeg kept swirling around my palate during the 2/12 hours it took to smoke this 54 ring gauge, 5 1/2 inch masterpiece…. Very difficult cigar to find these days, when originally released in 2008 they were only available at the Beirut duty free stores…..

2…  Cohiba Behike 52…… Now I’m struggling with myself as to whether or not put this into the number one spot because of it’s wonderful taste but I still maintain that the Phoenicio WAS that good!!!!  The Behike 52 was in a class by itself from start to finish and maybe because I was smoking it while on holidays without a care in the world, it tasted a bit better…. I’m not sure….. But….  There was something brand new about this beautiful cigar from Cohiba.. Totally unique and fantastic even at such a young age….

3…   H. Upmann Magnum 48…  Oh oh, here we go again with a cigar that did NOT come out in 2010 ( 2009 actually ) but where this cigar was sweet and fruity in it’s first year of life, the second year revealed a more classic beauty of medium to strong coffee and dark chocolate flavors that were very elegant… I really need to find more of these….

4…   Cohiba Robusto…..  Still a very steady contender in the top 10 of anyone who appreciates a good Cuban.. I’ve never had one with any kind of burn or draw issues and the grassy, spicy flavors are something I can count on whenever remove one from my humidor..

5… Cohiba Piramides EL 2006…. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.. Trevor at “The Vancouver Cigar Company” still has some of these in stock and if you like classic Cohiba perfection, you may want to get in touch with him.  This torpedo lives up to the reputation that the 2001 had and the more reviews I read, the more I see that smokers prefer the 2006.  It seems to take all of the greatest features of the Esplendidos and Cohiba Robusto and combines them all into one exceptional cigar…  They get better and better every year they age in the humidor.

6…   El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme…  This is a very unique tasting Hermoso No. 4 that is easy on the wallet and even easier on the palate because of the cinnamon, slightly spicy flavors.  My box is from Dec ’08 and with every one I light I see a great improvement as months go by..  Is it a classic Cuban?? No, not really… It can’t be compared to a Monte No. 2 or Cohiba or Partagas but should be experienced and appreciated as a staple in the niche market… You could call it a cult cigar from Cuba… Those who love it seem to stand by it and are very loyal to the brand.

7…  H. Upmann No. 2…  I still have a few left from a box from ’07 and although I’ve smoked a few younger ones recently I’ve seen that their consistency is incredibly remarkable..  Fantastic flavors of leather, coffee and cedar that get smoother with age.  I feel that I should mention the Montecristo No. 2 as well here…. Still a great cigar with classic beauty but hey…. I love the Upmann !

8…  Partagas Serie D No. 5 LE 2008…  This cigar did NOT get great reviews when it came out in ’08 and so I left it alone and smoked my usual Serie D No 4’s and Lusitanias when I wanted a Partagas but last year I was given a few of these and was shocked as to how good it was.. Sweet, fruity, milk chocolate flavors with the Partagas profile coming through made me wonder what all the bad press was all about.. This is a great cigar that is well made and coming into it’s own.

9…   Bolivar Royal Coronas…   Now this is one of Cuba’s most consistent Robustos.. Very earthy and comforting to smoke on any occasion, whether it be after a full meal of large flavors or on the golf cart after a hot dog as you’re starting the back 9.  I smoked many in 2010 and it NEVER let me down..

10…   Diplomaticos No. 2…    You may wonder why I’ve included this cigar instead of the Montecristo No. 2 and you’d have a valid question but I feel that I have to include this great Piramide because of the lighter profile it has to offer that is a totally perfect cigar to smoke on the boat in the morning.  I couldn’t think of a better morning cigar because of it’s gentle approach and couldn’t think of a better cigar to offer the novice or seasoned aficionado.

Well there you go….. I know I’ve left out the Trinidads, HDM’s and Romeos….  But….. This is my list and next year is a whole new year!

New H. Upmann For 2011

In recent years we’ve seen smaller cigars make a debut at the Habanos Festival and this year another little firecracker was unveiled that may take the world by storm or could simply blend into the Cuban cigar landscape and become somewhat forgotten.  I, for one, will choose to be optimistic because of the success of the H. Upmann Magnum 48 that was released in 2009.  I couldn’t believe the exciting flavors I would taste in the ” 48″ and after a couple of years it tastes better than ever.

Will the same thing happen to this year’s H. Upmann Half Corona??  Only time will tell since we haven’t seen an in depth review of this cigar yet.. This year’s Habanos Festival was the launching pad for a handful of new cigars and a lot of positive press went to the new Cohiba 1966 and to a lesser degree to the new Montecristo Gran Reserva.. Certainly the Cohiba will contain some of the best tobacco Cuba has to offer but the Montecristo contains 5 year old tobacco, which is said to be some very prime leaves from that harvest.

One thing that I’m reading so far that has me a bit concerned about the Upmann is that this cigar, according to some, will be aimed at the novice smoker…. Hmmmmmm….. Remember the Montecristo Open Series??  I wonder how that’s working out????  I quite enjoyed the “Regatta”, which I felt was the best of that series but when you aim for newbies in this passion you end up with a much milder cigar that leaves most of us wondering where the flavor is..

In closing, I hope that the H. Upmann Half Corona will live up to the Upmann name and deliver loads of coffee, fruit and chocolate that the ” 48 ” brought to the table….. Fingers crossed!

Cuban Bundle Cigars

There are those who need to drive a very expensive foreign car that is decorated with a shining stainless steel logo attached to the hood and also displayed somewhere on the rear of the car that tells the rest of the world that they simply won’t settle for anything else.  Women are spending billions these days on purses and accessories that display logos from fashion designers who charge a healthy sum to those who wish to do free advertising for them.  If I had to put my possessions in a bag and carry these objects from place to place I’m sure a name on that bag would be quite meaningless compared to the quality of fabric, the quality of it’s zippers…. I DON’T care about these things, I simply want a good car and quality items that don’t break down..

Now getting to cigars……  I want a cigar that tastes great, has a decent burn and a good draw.  PERIOD….  I love all Cuban cigars when their time has come, which means I love cigars whose tobacco has fermented nicely in my humidor and a cigar whose ammonia is pretty much non-existent.. This is the time to light one up and taste what Cuba intended me to taste…..

Lets now get to the bands on the cigars.  I love the decoration the band gives a cigar but the band isn’t what I am smoking.. Its the tobacco…… This is why I want to direct your attention up to the picture I took of just a few of the cigars I picked up from Trevor yesterday at “The Vancouver Cigar Company”.  These are the bundle cigars that I smoke almost daily, in this case the Churchills.  I’ve written about them before but I can’t turn my back on the fact that they are now becoming some of my favorite Cubans and I’ve smoked literally hundreds of them and will continue to do so as long as they are available.

I’m not sure exactly what brand these are since they are factory seconds and they are rolled from the same tobacco by the same people in the same factories that produce the finest cigars in the world.  They just don’t have bands on them and I DON’T CARE ONE BIT!  The price is less than half of what you’d pay for a Romeo Churchill and way less than half of what you’d pay for an Esplendidos…..but……. Wait until you taste one…. Hey, wait until you taste one that has been aging for a year in your humidor!!!  Last year I smoked over 100 of these bundle Churchills and the Robustos that were a few years old so I’m very very familiar with the quality of the tobacco and the cigar..

I’ve compared them to the Romeo y Julieta Churchill and I believe, that day, if I would have been wearing a blindfold I might not have been able to tell you the difference.  But that was THAT day…. Every day is different with cigars, because they really DO evolve and change in a humidor,  so I wouldn’t be able to say for sure what band really belongs on these cigars.

The bundle Churchills have notes of cedar and all of the beans that intermingle on your palate  and give you the feeling that you really DO have something special in your hand…. The bundle Robustos are also a full flavored cigar that comes to you at half the price….

I simply love these and wonder why they are so cheap… Do yourself a favor and try them.. You will NOT be disappointed !!

PS:  if you Really want to save your money, try the bundled Coronas.. Cheaper yet and WOW… Fantastic flavor!

A Little Bit About Blend

With different edition cigars coming out of Cuba every year, the people who produce these gems are always introducing different blends into the cigar filler which in turn keep us interested in all that is developing in this wonderful passion we all share.  I’m thinking that it must be quite a challenge given the fact that there are NO chemicals used in the production of Cuban cigars and NO additives that give them their incredible flavor.  So how do they differ from cigar to cigar?

A few different factors are taken into consideration when designing a cigar’s flavor.. Well come to think of it, a whole number of factors have to be taken into consideration..

First of all I’m guessing that the quality of leaves in a particular harvest would be something to consider and you have to remember that Cohiba gets the FIRST pick of the harvest which tells you that there is no wonder why Cohiba cigars have, what most aficionados maintain, the best and most complex flavors available.  They cost a pretty penny for a reason, they ARE the finest! But we were talking about the blend, so I’ll continue….

The filler in a cigar is made up from, almost always, 3 different parts of the tobacco plant, the Ligero, the seco and the volado..  The ligero comes from the top of the tobacco plant and these leaves get the most sunshine which in turn makes them a bit darker, stronger tasting because of more concentrated minerals including nicotine and slower to burn.. This is why when you examine the foot of a cigar you can sometimes detect darker leaves rolled into the middle.. When you knock the ash off you can also see a cone shaped red cigar ember burning, that tells you that the cigar was rolled properly and the ligero is where it should be.. Another thing that I want to qualify at this point is that you may not actually taste the ligero if it is a young cigar but you will certainly FEEL what it is doing to you.. A lot of nicotine will make you sweat, feel dizzy and remind you that the cigar may need a bit of time in a humidor.  Aging a cigar will actually diminish the amount of nicotine in the smoke.

The next leaves down on the tobacco plant are called the seco and these are where the perfume and wonderful intoxicating flavors come from. They burn a little faster than the ligero and contribute much to the profile and characteristics of what you are tasting.. The bottom of the plant contains the volado leaves, these are used to help a cigar’s steady burn but will still contribute flavor as well..

Wrapper leaves come from tobacco plants that are grown under a tent of cheese cloth to prevent the sun from burning the plant and also to protect the plant from wind.. Wind will cause the leaves to thrash about and develop small rips and tears in the leaves which will disqualify them from making it to the final stage of rolling.  You need a perfect leave to wrap a cigar so the appearance is flawless.

One of the most exciting characteristics about last year’s release of the Cohiba Behike was the the blend that included the Medio Tiempo leaves that appear, rarely, at the tops of the tobacco plant.  This opened up a whole new line for Cohiba and with award winning results.

I would still need to write volumes to include all of the factors one must look at to fully understand what goes into a Cuban cigar but I thought I’d briefly mention some of the most basic points.