“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.

Read the full review of Ashton Symmetry Robusto...

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.

Read the full review of Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda...

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...

Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997

Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997

MacanudoOrigin : Dominican Republic
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua, Dom. Rep., Brazil
Binder : Honduras
Hand-Made
Price : $65 for a box of 12
More info about purchasing Macanudo Vintage Maduro cigars...

Recently I purchased an aged variety of cigar readily available in the US market to see if there other cigars out there that the average US aficionado could enjoy at reasonable prices. Macanudo has always been a popular smoke, and I went on Cigar.com’s website to make my choice. I give a tip of the cap to Sean O. and Andy D. at Cigar.com for their assistance in processing my order. Customer service was impeccable and these guys were immensely helpful in processing my requests. I purchased all three vitolas available — Perfecto, Toro and Robusto, and since they all were basically the same cigar, my comments are directed at all three configurations.

Read the full review of Macanudo Maduro Vintage Cabinet Selection 1997...

FDA Subjects Premium Cigars to Regulation

FDA Regulates Premium Cigars

You might already have heard the sad news. From Cigar Rights of America press-release, earlier today:

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ("FDA") Center for Tobacco Products released their 499 page final rule that would deem additional tobacco products subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under today's release, premium cigars have been deemed and will be subjected to the "option 1" regulatory framework, which in some respects treats premium cigars in harsher terms than that of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

What does it mean? The main takeaway is that all cigars released after Aug 6 2016 will have to be submitted for approval before they are allowed to the market. Costs and delays of this approval procedure remain unknown.

Charlie Minato from Halfwheel published a great article covering the consequences of this decision in more details. Let's not forget that this is not necessarily the end for the cigar industry, as we can still fight and adapt.

Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela (Quick Smoke Series)

Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela

Balmoral CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Panatela
Size : 139mm (5 1/2 inches) x 37 (14.68mm)
Wrapper : Brazilian Arapiraca
Filler : Brazilian & Dominican
Binder : Dominican Olor
Hand-Made
Price : ~$6.5 EUR / 7.5 USD

Today we are publishing a guest quick smoke review from our long-time reader, Beneluxor! Enjoy.

Dutch company Balmoral dates back to the 1890s, and is distinctive in Europe for having both very popular ranges of short-filler machine-made slightly upscale cigars - like their 'Sumatra' line using Indonesian Java - Sumatra, Brazilian & Havana Remedios tobaccos - but also 5 lines of hand-rolled premium cigars, including this Royal Selection Maduro, which has quite won me over as a great favourite, one of the most satisfying maduro cigars out there.

A long-filler cigar hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic (Balmoral is part of Agio now), the wrapper is sweet dark Arapiraca from Brazil, the binder Dominican Olor, and the filler from both Brazil & the Dominican Republic.

The Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela here is a unique elegant vitola, 37 ring rauge (14.68mm), and 139mm (5 1/2 inches) long. A great virtue of slender cigars is that the flavour impact of the wrapper can be heightened dramatically, as happens in smoking these lovely sticks.

It's an exciting cigar, rewarding with wonderful explosions of flavours suggesting dark chocolate & espresso, rich but not over-strong, and tends to be very tasty well into the final third. It draws easily and makes nice ash. The amount of flavour burst can vary during the smoke and cigar-to-cigar, but generally stays in the upper end of flavour richness for maduros. The Balmoral Royal is for me, the top maduro value.

A singularly stylish & good-looking cigar too with the wrapper, the well-balanced sizing & the striking green cigar band, it's not too pricey (around € 6,50 in my neighbourhood). With tobacco from their former Indonesian realms, the Dutch became great masters of the cigar business, and with this stick it's clear that they still organise the making of great cigars today.

Thumbs Up!

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

Origin : HondurasAlec Bradley
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 52
Wrapper : Honduran Corojo
Filler : Columbian, Nicaraguan and Honduran
Binder : Costa Rican
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
More info about purchasing Alec Bradley Sanctum cigars...

The Alec Bradley Sanctum uses tobacco from four different countries to deliver an experience which is fairly unique in the Alec Bradley catalogue. Whereas most cigars in the brand’s catalogue have an earthy flavor profile, this one is distinctly different. It was developed under the direct supervision of executive vice president Ralph Montero. The name “Sanctum” is meant to indicate that this is a cigar which is best enjoyed in solitude. An experience with Sanctum is a way of “getting away from it all.” Does it live up to its name? Let’s find out.

Read the full review of Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto...

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