Alonso Menendez No. 20 Maduro

Alonso Menendez No. 20 Corona

Menendez AmerinoOrigin : Brazil
Format : Corona
Size : 141 x 17 mm
Ring : 42
Wrapper : Brazil
Filler : Brazil
Binder : Brazil
Price : ~$5 each

Alexandre lives in Rio de Janeiro and offered his help on reviewing Brazilian cigars. I think it's a great opportunity to discover another interesting cigar-producing country. Enjoy the reviews!

Alonso Menendez is one of the premium brands made by Menendez Amerino in the state of Bahia, northeast of Brazil. The company is the result of the collaboration between Cuban cigar maker Felix Menendez (who had been involved in the making of famous Cuban brands Montecristo and H. Upmann in the pre-Castro era) and Brazilian tobacco grower Mario Amerino. It is made with leaves grown in the famous region called Mata Fina. They come in many sizes and are also available in Connecticut, clear shade wrapper, but this was a dark, maduro wrapper specimen. I must declare in advance that I am a long time fan of this stick, and therefore, this is bound to be a slightly biased review... :)

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Vintage Cerdan Chamberlain

Vintage Cerdan Chamberlain

Vintage CerdanOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Toro
Size : 152 x 19 mm [6 x 48]
Ring : 48
Wrapper : Connecticut
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Year : 1982
Price : ~$40 for a box

Cerdan is a line of cigars unlike any other on the market today. Rolled in 1982, these cigars have been tucked away for nearly 27 years, yet are available for sale at an affordable price. When I had originally heard of Cerdan, I had my reservations. First of all, how do I know that they were kept under good conditions all this time? I’m sure this cigar wasn’t blended to be stored so long... will there be anything left after 27 years of aging? I was, however, very intrigued. I’ve never smoked a cigar that was almost as old as I am.

To satisfy my curiosity, Craig at Cerdan sent a sampler to me. Each of the cigars looked very nice, showing signs of age, but not neglect. None of the sticks were too dry or stiff, or soft and wet. After smoking a few, I decided that the best of the bunch was the Chamberlain, a 6 by 48 beauty.

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Benchmade Cazadore

Benchmade Cazadore

BenchmadeOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Corona Grande
Size : 165 x 18 mm [6 1/2'' x 46]
Ring : 46
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$2.50 each [~$60 for a box of 25]
More info about purchasing Benchmade cigars...

What do you get when you cross a bundled value cigar with the signature blending style of Don Pepin Garcia? You get Benchmade, a mixed filler cigar by Ashton.

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La Caya Cameroon, Brasil and Natural

La Caya Natural

Origin : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$2 each
More info about purchasing La Caya cigars...

I’d like to thank the generous folks at La Caya Cigars for giving me a chance to try their products.

La Caya Natural Robusto

Underneath the cedar wrapping is a very nice looking golden cigar. The few visible veins and satiny feel promise a nice mellow smoke.

I punch it and it gives me a great pre-light draw. After toasting the foot and lighting it up, I am rewarded with ample smoke volume and an even burn. Initially I pick up a slight vanilla note with some slight acidity. As I smoke further I am inundated with a mellow oakiness with some leather. The La Caya Natural also has a slightly sweet finish, which is short.

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Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon (Quick Smoke)

Alec Bradley Trilogy Native Cameroon

Origin : Honduras
Alec BradleyFormat : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Cameroon
Filler : Nicaraguan, Italian
Binder : Honduran
Price : ~$4 each
More info about purchasing Alec Bradley Trilogy cigars...

Another from the vault, this little cigar was made famous by its gimmicky shape. Instead of a normal box-press, the Alec Bradley Trilogy Trilogy had a tri-press or three sided shape. Alec Bradley stopped incorporating the tri-press into the Trilogy.

The cigar has a nice silky feel to it; it’s solid and fits well in your mouth. I punched it and it drew great. Flavors of leather, cedar and smoke abound, but stayed constant through the length of the smoke, so no real complexity here.

Even after smoking it down to an inch left, it still held its tri-pressed shape, which was kinda neat. Aging suited this cigar nicely.

Tesa M3

Tesa M3

Origin : Calumet City, IL
Format : Robusto
Size : 130 x 20 mm
Ring : 50
Wrapper : Nicaragua?
Filler : Nicaragua?
Binder : Nicaragua?
Price : ~$5 each

We rarely do this, but here is a review of a cigar that only few people know about. Let me quote Heather Haddad from FumeeWorld:
Tesas are made in Calumet City, IL by the Kelly’s. They owned a cigar shop and started Tesa as their house blend. They’ve been trying to take it national for a couple of years now. The blender is the son, Chris Kelly, who is only like 22 years old. They have their own factory in Nicaragua and their cigars are pretty good, but largely unknown.

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CAO Brazilia Lambada

CAO Brazilia Lambada

CAOOrigin : Honduras
Format : Toro
Size : 152 x 20 mm
Ring : 50
Wrapper : Brazil
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$5 each
More info about purchasing CAO Brazilia cigars...

I definitely have a problem with CAO cigars. First, my disappointment with the CAO Italia. Now, I think I completely missunderstood the CAO Brazilia which is getting good reviews all around the cigar blogosphere (you might also want to check out the guest review by Cory of the CAO Brazilia Gol! here at Cigar Inspector). Somehow, I found it quite tasteless and disappointing.

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CAO Italia Novella

CAO Italia Novella

CAO ItaliaOrigin : Honduras
Format : Corona Extra
Size : 114 x 18 mm
Ring : 46
Wrapper : Honduras
Filler : Italy, Nicaragua, Peru
Binder : Honduras
Price : ~$5 each
More info about purchasing CAO Italia cigars...

It was a long-awaited smoke. When checking search statistics here at, one of the terms that would get most searches is 'CAO'. This obviously means that this brand is highly popular in the United States and I finally managed to get hold of a couple of sticks. I'll begin with a CAO Italia Novella and the Brazilia blend will follow.

CAO Italia is manufactured in Honduras from a Habano seed Italian tobacco mixed with Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco. The wrapper and the binder of this medium-bodied stick are from Honduras.

Read the full review of CAO Italia Novella...

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