2009 Cheap Smokes – list of our favorite budget cigars

Last year, we started posting short reviews of budget smokes, those that we keep for yard works and other not-so-special occasions. It turned out to be quite a good idea as we received a lot of encouraging comments and e-mails. Of course, we are going to continue the series in 2010. Here is the list of cheap cigars that we reviewed in 2009:

Montecristo Open Regata

Montecristo Open Regata

Origin : CubaMontecristo
Format : Forum (smaller torpedo)
Size : 5.3 x 46 (135 x 18.26 mm)
Hand-Made
Price : $8 each
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars...

When I first learnt about the new Montecristo Open blend, the Regata was the one I wanted to try the most. I fell in love with the format (it's a shorter and thinner torpedo, basically) at first sight. Then bad reviews started pouring in and I also personally contributed by describing how the Montecristo Open Master didn't live up to my expectations. I was so disappointed that I called this blend "disappointment of the year" in my recent list of the best Cuban cigars of 2009.

Read the full review of Montecristo Open Regata...

Palio Combo. Part 3: Palio Cutter

Palio Combo

This is the third and final installment of a three part series I have doing on this combo from Cigar Solutions. I have reviewed each item individually and in this review I will wrap up my thoughts on the entire combo package.

Up for review this time is the Palio Cigar Cutter.

Palio Black Plastic Cigar Cutter

Palio claims that out of an undying pursuit of precision and excellence, they crafted Palio to deliver only the finest cuts for your very best cigars...time and time again. Engineered for today's connoisseur, Palio's superior design and construction make it the premiere choice in cigar preparation. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Price: ~ $35

Appearance : ★★★½☆
It is nice looking, but nothing spectacular. No one is ever going to look at it in admiration unless they are cigar buffs and are aware of the Palio name and warranty.

Construction : ★★★★★
The Palio is extremely well built. It has an ergonomic design which does make it slightly easier to use that some other guillotine cutters. There is a small detent, and you cannot accidentally open it too far. As advertised, it is extremely sharp. It is so well made the cutter carries a lifetime warranty should you ever feel the blades are getting dull. The best part is you can just walk into any Palio dealer and they will exchange it right there with a new one.

Ease of Use : ★★★★★
It is very easy to use. I am not sure if the finger rests really help or not, but I have successfully cut some large ring gauge cigars without a problem. It is also easy to make a very fine small cut from the cap without any tears thanks to the sharp blades. The handle also sports an indent which doubles as a cigar rest.

Value : ★★★★☆
At $35 I could buy a lot of cheap $2 cutters. I have been using the same $1.99 cutter for about 2 years and it is just starting to make bad cuts. So, it could be a while before I would have caught up to the $35 price point.

Overall : ★★★★☆
If you smoke a few cigars a day, then the Palio could easily pay for itself in no time, not to mention the excellent warranty. It is also cheaper than some of the other “precision” cutters out there. If you are in the market for a new cutter, I say look no further than the Palio. You will not regret it.

As a combo I would say this is a very nice little bargain. At $4 more than just the Palio alone, you can get the cigar stand and the admittedly flawed Walnut cigar case. I would say as a whole it is more than worth purchasing. I also found Cigar Solutions easy to deal with and they provided an easy transaction with very prompt shipping.

Disclosure: CigarInspector.com is not affiliated with Cigar Solutions.

15% off @ CheapHumidors & VIP deals @ Cuban Crafters

There have been a couple of nice deals this week, so I thought I should share.

15% off @ CheapHumidors & VIP deals @ Cuban Crafters

First of all, CheapHumidors released a 15% off coupon valid on all their items. If you have been looking for a really cheap humidor lately, it might be a good moment to trigger that purchase. The coupon code is TZT7-M87LNQ. Go there now!

Then, as usual, there's something interesting at Cuban Crafters. Their New Year VIP specials include a sampler of the recently reviewed Medina 1959 Miami, Don Kikis, Cubano Claro and some cigar accessories. Check it out.

And, to finish with, Cigars International have put up a sampler of AVO XO at a discounted price. You can pick up 7 sticks of different formats for $54.95. It's here.

Enjoy the deals!

Cigar News of the Week #7 (Jan 9 2010)

There have been a lot of things happening this week in the cigar world, here's what you might have missed.

Cigar Aficionado releases their Top 25 list

Highly controversed, the list crowns the Padron No. 45 Family Reserve. Not many Cuban cigars on the list, I found only three - Cohiba Siglo V (#2), Partagas Serie P No. 2 (#10) and the new Partagas Salomon that we are yet to try (#17). Wondering why the CAO La Traviata didn't make it to the list? Here is a possible explanation... As Jon Huber from CAO Cigars said, the list should rather be called "Top 25 Cigars of the First 10 Months of 2009".
And, of course, this overview of the events would not be full without Jerry's reaction to the release.

PuffingCigars.com interviews Jesus Fuego

If you are not familiar with Jesus (and even if you are), this is a very interesting interview. Good job Rob!
Listen to the interview...

Garo Maduro

Garo Maduro

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Alto / Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Brazilian
Filler : Piloto Cubano
Binder : Dominican
Hand-Made
Price : $135 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Garo cigars...

Garo Habano Cigars was introduced, as a brand, in 1996 by Dr. Garo Bouldoukian. To quote the Garo Habano website:

“Garo Habano products have enjoyed a devoted following. Smokers everywhere have praised the quality, consistency and smoothness of our cigars. The company has continued to utilize the finest, most carefully selected tobaccos, the most skilled and passionate rollers, and the most time-honored methods of fermentation and aging throughout our history. The result is a cigar with the same quality, taste and impeccable construction today as in 1996. No shortcuts, no excuses.”

It’s a brisk day in the dead of winter. Agent 24 is in the outdoor smoking lounge ready to embark upon another thrilling mission. After time spent running “Black Ops” for Santa Claus and training in art of the cigar, I am happy to be back and ready to tackle a new year of cigars.

Full disclosure: The Garo Habano cigars I am reviewing were given to me by the manufacturer. Only after acknowledging that my reviews would remain unbiased and honest, did we come to an agreement for the series of reviews. I remain committed to giving an open and honest review.

Read the full review of Garo Maduro...

Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill

Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill

Origin : USACuban Crafters
Format : Churchill
Size : 7 x 50
Wrapper : Sumatra
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $214.99 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 cigars...

Thank you to Cuban Crafters for providing me with a sampler to try.

The cigars are rolled by a team of 10 rollers in Miami, rather than at Cuban Crafters' main facility in Nicaragua. This line seems to be the most premium offered by Cuban Crafters and has earned some nice reviews around the web, so I was looking forward to giving them a try.

Read the full review of Cuban Crafters Medina 1959 Miami Churchill...

CAO: The Real Campaign

CAO International have just released the news about their next advertising campaign and I think it's a brilliant idea. The campaign will feature real cigar aficionados and CAO fans - YOU can participate and win a year's worth of CAO cigars if you are selected. Isn't that cool?

Nashville, January 7, 2010: CAO, one of the world’s foremost premium cigar manufacturers, announced today that it will debut a new ad campaign in the January/February issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine.

With the tagline “CAO REAL,” the cutting-edge cigar manufacturer will roll out a series of ads that will feature actual CAO cigar enthusiasts, further reinforcing the emotional cord between the sought-after brand and its consumers. “We’ve always maintained that the success of our brand was and still is consumer-driven,” stated CAO Director of Lifestyle Marketing Jon Huber. “The ‘Real’ campaign is our way of paying homage to our loyal customers and saying ‘thank you’ for your ongoing support. Throughout the coming year, we will essentially be holding an open casting call for CAO loyalists across the country to become the next star of the ‘Real’ campaign. We will be accepting photos, letters, emails, and videos via our website at www.caocigars.com/real. Candidates that are selected will receive a year’s worth of CAO cigars and will be featured in our ad as seen in Cigar Aficionado magazine.”

Link to the campaign page

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