Don Bernardo El Caballero Robusto (Review & Giveaway!)

Don Bernardo El Caballero

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Don Bernardo CigarsSize : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Criollo 98
Filler : Dominican Seco, Ligero and Olor, Nicaraguan Ligero
Binder : Dominican Olor
Hand-Made
Price : N/A

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Richard Galdieri about reviewing a cigar made by his company, Don Bernardo Cigars.

Don Bernardo is not a very well-known name in the cigar world yet, but Richard started in cigar manufacturing in 1989. You will not find a lot of information yet on this boutique line; El Caballero cigars come in three sizes: Montefino (52 x 6.5"), El Rey (57 x 6"), Robusto (50 x 5"). For this review, I tried out the Robusto.

Disclaimer: cigars for this review were provided free of charge.

Read the full review of Don Bernardo El Caballero Robusto (Review & Giveaway!)...

Jose L. Piedra Conservas

Jose L. Piedra Conservas

Jose L. PiedraOrigin : Cuba
Format : Conservas
Size : 140 x 18 mm (5 1/2 x 44)
Hand-Made
Price : £6.79 (UK) / ~$2.5 (online)
More info about purchasing Jose L. Piedra cigars...

Today we have a guest review by Chris, an aficionado from the UK who runs a YouTube channel called CigarHub Cigar Reviews. Enjoy!

I have seen very many cigars that are essentially fighting value for money, and this is probably my favourite contender to date. The budget features of this cigar seem be done in such a way that they almost have rustic characteristics, and they still deliver fully on the experience. Many, many nights I have paired this cigar with a cheeky glass of port or a nice rum and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, while paying peanuts.

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A. Flores Gran Reserva Sun Grown Robusto

A. Flores Gran Reserva Sun Grown Robusto

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : RobustoPDR Cigars
Size : 5 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano Sun Grown
Filler : Dominican / Nicaraguan
Binder : Dominican
Blender : Abe Flores
Manufacturer : PDR Cigars
Hand-Made
Price : $12.35
More info about purchasing A. Flores Gran Reserva...

The word “fine” has evolved in meaning through generations of English speaking people. “I feel fine” means you don’t have aches and pains, and the sarcastic “Fine!” means you’re done discussing a disagreeable subject and want to move on. But I like using the word “fine” in the more classical sense. To me, the word fine connotes something artisan; well made and of outstanding quality. Recently, I smoked a cigar that struck me as having all the elements that make for a truly fine cigar, the PDR A. Flores Gran Reserva Sun Grown Robusto.

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Whiskey Review: Knob Creek Rye

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey Review

If you are looking for an inexpensive rye whiskey, you may notice Knob Creek on the shelf at your local liquor store. It’d be hard to miss it; the label with the bold typeface is undeniably a standout. The cost isn’t high at all, ranging anywhere from $20-$40 or so.

What’s the story with this one? It’s made in small batches and aged in charred barrels. Knob Creek is at least 51% rye (in case you aren’t in the know, that is the principle difference between a rye whisky and a bourbon; a bourbon must be at least 51% corn).

That said, I’m not sure what the exact ratios are in Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, but it seemed to me I still detected a fair bit of corn. So while this falls into the category of rye whiskey, it seems to me that it would appeal to most bourbon drinkers.

You may already be familiar with Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon, which also contains some rye—but corn of course is the predominant ingredient. The presence of the rye always gives it a unique edge, so I looked forward to seeing this rye-based counterpart.

Knob Creek Bourbon comes with a cork stopper, but Knob Creek Rye comes with a screw cap. I prefer the cork, but no big deal. The packaging is otherwise easy to appreciate. Like I said, that eye-catching label features some great design work.

In the bottle, the whiskey I bought was a light golden color that was close to amber. I’ve noticed that there is some variation from bottle to bottle with this whisky. It can range anywhere from the light color I got to a medium-dark amber color.

After you get the cap off, you pick up strong notes of oak, caramel, and spices. In the backdrop there are also some subtle herbs that I can’t identify, but I think I pick up something which is giving the aroma a slightly astringent edge. It could be mint or ginger.

On the palate, oak is the strongest note, accompanied by caramel and vanilla. Just as I expected, spices are present, though not nearly as strong as I thought they might be. I am also certain now that the note I was picking up before is ginger. This gives it a bite, as does the strong alcohol content (100 proof). The finish is long and smooth and peppery with a hint of some kind of fruit that I can’t quite identify. Like I mentioned, to me this tastes similar to a bourbon, and actually pretty close to the Knob Creek Bourbon, but obviously the rye flavors are more pronounced.

While this is not the most innovative or amazing rye whiskey I have tried, it was plenty enjoyable, especially at the very reasonable price point. If you enjoy bourbons and want to try a rye whiskey which tastes similar, give it a try, especially if you find it for sale at the lower end of the price bracket.

Knob Creek Rye : Review Summary

Color: Medium golden amber.

Nose: Oak, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, ginger, herbs.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, spice, caramel, ginger, white pepper, fruit.

“Cigars for a Year” Contest at CigarPlace.biz

Cigars for a Year

Our friends at CigarPlace.biz just launched a nice contest, with $2,500 in prizes (all in gift certificates to spend at their site). To enter, head over to this page - there are multiple ways to get entries (e-mail subscription, social media options, etc.). Good luck!

Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Origin : Dominican RepublicAshton
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuador Habano
Filler : Dominican & Nicaraguan
Binder : Dominican
Hand-Made
Price : ~$11 each
More info about purchasing Ashton Symmetry cigars...

This highly anticipated cigar is the result of collaboration between Arturo Fuente and Ashton. There were hitches in the development process which led to delays, including fires in the Arturo Fuente factory. This didn’t stop this dynamic duo from coming out with a popular and highly rated cigar—the first since 2006 to bear the Ashton name.

The Ashton Symmetry is available in five different sizes: Belicoso, Prestige (Churchill), Prism (Corona), Robusto and Sublime (Toro). For this review, I smoked the 5” x 50 Robusto.

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Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda

Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados

Origin : CubaPartagas
Format : Corona Gorda
Size : 143 x 20 mm (5.625 x 46)
Released in : 2015
Box Date : OBE – June ’07
Hand-Made
Price : I paid $450 for an early box and subsequently seen them priced as low as $340 (under $14/cigar)
More info about purchasing Partagas cigars...

This is the 4th in the new Añejados line. As Inspector noted in his review of the HdM Añejados, the Añejados program have all been aged for five to eight years in their original packaging. At that point the packaging is opened and the cigars are checked for quality. Then the original band is placed back on the stogies and a second Añejados band is attached to each. The boxes are stamped with the word “revisado,” which means “checked.” Each Añejados offering is a unique vitola for the particular brand; so, this is the only Partagas currently offered in a coronas gordas vitola.

The Habanos, S.A. press release noted, “Through the aging process, the cigar has developed, becoming rounder and mellower to the palate with touches of delicate and sweetish taste and, above all, obtaining shades of woody taste because of being placed for all those years near the cedar from which the boxes were made.” I’m not sure what boxes the copywriter was looking at, because the Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados comes in a cardboard dress box.

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Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4

Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4

Origin : CubaHoyo de Monterrey
Format : Corona Extra
Size : 127 x 20 mm (5 x 48)
Released in : 2015 (available in stores since the beginning of 2016)
Hand-Made
Price : ~$14+ each
More info about purchasing Hoyo de Monterrey cigars...

The Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4 is a new line of Cuban cigars released under the Añejados program run by Habanos S.A.

What is the Añejados program? Cigars in this program have all been aged for five to eight years in their original packaging. At that point the packaging is opened and the cigars are checked for quality. Then the original band is placed back on the stogies and a second Añejados band is attached to each. The boxes are stamped with the word “revisado,” which means “checked.”

As you probably have noticed, the Añejados cigars are quite expensive. Each Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4 will cost you at least $14. I picked mine on my recent trip to Amsterdam, in PGC Hajenius. Are these cigars worth the extra cost, or is this just a gimmick to sell excess stock (or even repackaged unsold regional editions)? Let's try to find out.

Read the full review of Hoyo de Monterrey Añejado Hermosos No. 4...

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