Partagas Serie P No 2

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If you’ve ever smoked a Montecristo No 2, you’ve probably held the beautiful Piramides in your hand, tasted it’s fine flavors and allowed the cigar’s flavor profile to linger on your tongue and remarked to yourself that you are enjoying one of Havana’s finest contributions to the world.  Its no wonder that the Montecrsto brand has developed such a loyal following with aficionados around the world and stayed very high up in favorite cigar polls with many magazines and web sites year after year.  I think that there is something special about the classic shape of a Piramides with a pointed end and 52 ring gauge, it’s heftiness and bold flavors are the most sought after with countless enthusiasts.

The Partagas Serie P No 2, in the picture above, is also reaching the same status as the Monte with loyal fans that take great pride in their discovery of an alternative to the aforementioned torpedo.  The Piramides in the picture above was rolled in December of ’05 and I don’t have to tell you what 6 years in a carefully managed humidor will do to a cigar of this quality.  A few months back I was able to find a person selling 1/2 a box of these and I was racing across town to insure that I would be able to buy them before he changed his mind and sold them to the next guy.  This is something that many cigar smokers should try to do if they have the time, hunting out and locating aged cigars so more can be learned about Cuban brands that have a few years under their belt.  Good luck and happy hunting.

The typical Partagas profile tends to be a bit herbal and grassy with bold flavors of wood and strong black coffee which is very present in one of Partagas’ biggest sellers, the Serie D No 4.  The “D 4”,  as many enthusiasts know very well,  is a classic Robusto that defines much of what Partagas initially intended to give the world in a strong full bodied, after dinner cigar.  I’ve smoked boxes of them and, although these can deliver a punch, years in a humidor can result is some of the sweetest flavors you’ll ever find in a cigar of this size.

In wrapping up, I also want to mention that rather than smoking the same cigar or the same brand every time you light up, a full knowledge of all of what Cuba has to offer in it’s world famous product can be a life long passion that is rewarding and very satisfying.  I don’t know any wine enthusiast that only drinks one brand of red or white wine out of France or California.  It is the variety that gives us more to enjoy, more to learn and share with fellow cigar smokers you know.

Montecristo Puritos… Small And Smooth

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The picture above shows an interesting toy that came from Germany back in the 50’s.. The 1950’s, to be more exact..  It is a tiny dog with wobbly legs that stands on a small wooden piece of cut dowel.  Underneath the toy is a wooden button that you push and the dog wobbles and dances as the legs relax and tense with every push.  You have to understand that this is a small toy that fits nicely in a child’s hand so that should give you some idea of the size of the cigar that leans against this contraption.

The Montecristo Puritos is a small cigar with a ring gauge of 26 and a length of 4 1/3″.. Like I said, small.. When I first started smoking Cuban cigars I had no idea about strength, size or anything and always assumed that the larger ring gauge cigars packed more of a punch so I would usually opt for a small ring gauge cigar and found that these little guys could be a bit mean when they wanted.. Not so with the Montecristo Puritos, in fact these are some of the sweetest tasting and easy to smoke cigars you can find.

This is the perfect cigar for a short ride in the car or a quick smoke after breakfast.  I wouldn’t say that you’ll be getting a very complex flavor profile because I believe that there is just so much room inside one of these little cigars and not a great variety of tobacco leaves go into it’s construction.  That being said, you’ll be very surprised, as I was ,a few years back when I started buying them.  Flavors of leather and subtle cedar are present and as you sit back and enjoy one of these little Montecristos don’t expect any form of harshness because you won’t find it. These are as smooth as can be.

When I started experimenting with cigars of this size, I ran the gamut of brands and with what was available in this size and I can honestly say that Cuba produces some very surprising results with cigars so small.  Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta and  Partagas also produce cigars with the same dimensions and each brand will amaze you with, what I consider to be, feats of magic!

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Romeo Y Julieta.. A True Legend

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To anyone who has smoked a Cuban cigar, in particular a Romeo Y Julieta, the memory of the flavor profile is something that won’t be leaving you for quite some time.  Aficionados around the world have chosen this Cuban brand for its medium strength and complex variety of flavors that evolve and dance around the tongue from first third until the time the nub is set down in the ashtray.

Around 1875, when the brand was born, Romeo won numerous awards for it’s premiere tobacco and quality cigars but in 1903 the brand took a giant jump in the world market due to the efforts and marketing strategy of one Jose “Pepin” Rodriguez Fernandez, the head of the firm, Rodriguez, Arguelles y Cia.  Rodriguez traveled world wide and promoted the brand to rich and prominent clients, some of whom demanded that they have their own band with their names proudly displayed.  It was a scheme that propelled Romeo Y Julieta’s sales through the roof and at one time as many as 2,000 different bands were printed..  Talk about a pure tribute to good book keeping.. This was before the computer was even thought of.

I can safely say that I’ve smoked over 150 Romeo Churchills and cigar after cigar, this one has proven to be consistent, smooth and complicated with many flavors coming to the forefront without ever seeming to be unbalanced.  I read somewhere that Winston Churchill, whom this cigar was named after, smoked up to 11 a day.. Lets, for a moment,  direct our attention to the amount of time it takes to smoke a Churchill.  I’ve smoked them slowly for over 2 1/2 hours and that would mean that as long as Winston’s eyes were open, he was furiously puffing on one and then lighting another as soon as the last one was finished.  I can only imagine what his clothes looked like with all of the ash marks.

The Romeo tubos have become a favorite of mine as well because of the flavor and convenience of their packaging.  Nothing is easier than dropping one of the red and white tubes in a jacket pocket when I go out at night and the knowledge that it is safe from breaking or drying out is something I value greatly..  A few years back I came back from Havana with a box of Romeo Y Julieta No 3’s and I developed a real love affair for that little cigar.  It is great with coffee after breakfast and will only take under an hour to smoke.. I have 2 left and one is in the picture above.

This is a legendary brand that was named after William Shakespeare’s tragedy of two lovers that was read to cigar rollers by lectors many times over.  A very romantic tale and a truly legendary Cuban cigar.

Are You Sure It Is A Real Cohiba

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By clicking on the above picture you’ll be sent to “The Vancouver Cigar Company” page where REAL Cohiba cigars are proudly advertised and believe me when I tell you that Cuban cigars are an extremely high end product that are produced by the finest cigar brand in Cuba today.  If you have ever smoked a real Cohiba and have ever looked at the beautiful band that adorns each Cohiba you’ll know that what you are looking at in the picture is nothing but a pathetic attempt at counterfeiting a great product.  I’ve shopped in Dubai and have seen watches that are perfect knockoffs of Rolex, Cartier etc.. They are beautiful and difficult to catch if you aren’t up on all of the subtle nuances that differentiate a copy from the real thing.  With this in mind, the above picture gets funnier and funnier.

What isn’t funny is the fact that so many passionate ,  albeit gullible,  cigar smokers go to Cuba each year and come home with lacquered boxes of fake Esplendidos and believe that they’ve really gotten a deal.  Well, maybe if they compare the $50 they spent instead of the $500 that a real box of Esplendidos costs, they may actually believe that they’ve gotten a real steal…. Funny how the word STEAL is so appropriate in this case.  Just last week I was on the golf course and was gleefully puffing away on a Cohiba Siglo I as I was talking to a guy that was telling me that his $2 Fauxhiba was such a good deal and that he was a pretty smart shopper..  I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that what he knew about cigars could be fit on the head of a pin.  I didn’t believe that it was my place to tell him what a fool he was and that there was a good chance that he was smoking floor sweepings and banana leaves all wrapped up with a passable wrapper which included a botched effort of a Cohiba band…  He was actually enjoying his cigar and I left it at that.

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The above picture is of a band from a Cohiba Siglo I and you can easily see the beautiful raised gold letters and the THREE lines of white squares above the word Cohiba.. I have to say though that the light in the picture is quite yellow and the yellow on the band looks to be quite orange but is considerably more yellow in real life……. Hey, only a minute detail.  The top picture actually features the letters in the word Cohiba being segmented and not solid.. that’s got to be funny if it weren’t so tragic….

I was given a few Fauxhiba Esplendidos a few weeks back and after tasting the first few sad puffs I tore the cigar open and found that there were leaves in the cigar that were quite green and very moist.. The cigar kept going out and just wouldn’t burn so I had to do it…. I held a match under one of the mystery leaves and it tried to burn but the aroma coming off the leaf reminded me more of the smell I’d find in a campfire on the prairies.. I’ve been smoking tobacco all of my life and I’ve never smelled that smell from any tobacco leaf……

When going to Cuba please remember that you’ll be approached my many many people trying to sell you cigars but you have to keep in mind that their very extensive counterfeit industry in the country floods the streets with terrible cigars on a daily basis… I’m sure millions are sold annually but don’t fall for any of the stories..  Even in Cuba authentic cigars can still cost a fair bit of money in the Government stores but are at least one third or less than you’ll pay at home….. Still a great deal…….  If you’re like me and go to Cuba rarely, wouldn’t you like to know that the cigars you bring back home are real and worth aging in your humidor… For me its a no brainer !!!!

Be careful out there !!

El Rey Del Mundo’s Charm

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The picture above will show the slightly oily wrapper around some of my favorite robustos from El Rey Del Mundo, the Choix Supreme ..   I’ve written about these before and each time I go to my humidor and choose one of these great cigars to accompany me in the golf cart I always get more inspired to write about them.. A few days back I went golfing on a great sunny, Yes it CAN happen in Vancouver, day and this cigar didn’t do a darn thing for my game but as I sat in the golf cart, I enjoyed this cigar even more than when I first picked up this box a year ago from “The Vancouver Cigar Company”.

An abundance of patience is really required to hang on to a cigar of this caliber and let it age instead of smoking the whole box in the first month but my efforts have been rewarded with this cigar’s profile maturing and gaining more beauty as each month passes.  Would I be able to hang on to these for years??  Probably not, but the nice thing about having a great relationship with a cigar company of this quality means that there will always be another day when the phone will ring and I’ll hear that a new limited edition Cuban cigar will be available or something I’ve been waiting for has arrived.

After the revolution in Cuba this brand continued to exist and smokers world wide have been enjoying it’s more medium flavored profile.  I, for one, am not really convinced that this is a medium flavored cigar.  Although it is rated as such, I feel that this brand offers a full bodied profile of spicy nutmeg, gingerbread and coffees in it’s profile and will NEVER disappoint any Cuban aficionado.

A Few Cigar Smoking Tips

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What we have in the picture above is a beautiful Bolivar Royal Coronas sitting on a box of matches I was given this past Christmas.  First of all, this particular Bolivar is one of the most consistent cigars that I’ve run into when it comes to burn, draw and flavor.  For some reason this cigar seems to taste the same every time I light one up and It has an earthy, full bodied profile that the blenders at Bolivar have no problem duplicating whenever they produce this Robusto.  TIME AFTER TIME !!

The box of matches is in the picture to remind you that, unlike paper matches which have a lot of wax that flavor a cigar in all the wrong ways, wooden matches have more of a natural taste that is more suited to cigar smoking.  Cigar boxes from Cuba often contain, along with the cigars, a thin Spanish cedar sheet that is used to flavor the cigars when storing and aging but these sheets can also be ripped into thin strips and used to light a cigar.  Spanish cedar does not introduce any odd flavors to a cigar and tends to give you only a great toasted tobacco taste that will get you on your way to a great smoke.

The typical one dollar lighter you can get at your corner store is NOT recommended when lighting a cigar because of the gaseous taste they tend to give a cigar.. And Zippos…… Forget about it… That one is just a festival of petroleum that you DON’T need when smoking Cuban tobacco.  Zippos have played, and continue to play, a part in the American smoking landscape but save them for lighting cigarettes and you’ll be fine.

The last issue I want to address is the flame temperature when smoking a cigar..  I was riding home to Vancouver last weekend from a golf tournament with a good friend and we were comparing a Montecristo No 2 with a Diplomaticos No 2 as we sped down the road.  That was a great experiment and I don’t have to remind you that tasting two different cigars back to back is the best way to learn about the different profiles of Cuban cigars.  Getting back to the temperature of a cigar’s flame, we had a stopwatch app running on my Iphone and we were waiting a minute and 30 seconds between puffs.  The flames were cool and the cigar smoke was sweet and full of beautiful subtle notes but, I have to say, a minute and 30 seconds feels like a lifetime when you’re watching a Cuban burn in your hand..

These are only but a few things to keep in mind when smoking a Cuban cigar…. More to follow……..