Caldwell The King is Dead

Caldwell The King is Dead Toro Negrito

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Toro
Caldwell Cigar CoSize : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Negrito Dominicano - 2008
Filler : Corojo Ligero Dominicano 30% – 2006; Negrito Viso Dominicano 20% - 2008; HVA 20/20 50% - 2010
Binder : Corojo Dominicano - 2006
Price : $10.50 MSRP
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Please welcome Scott AKA The Bare Hand, our new author! He starts with a very detailed review of a boutique cigar, Caldwell The King is Dead. Enjoy!

The King is Dead by Caldwell Cigar Company, owned by Robert Caldwell, is their second blend. They make very small batch releases, so finding them can be somewhat tough, but this cigar has been a hit, and I’m excited to finally give it a go after resting in my humidor for about a year.

Interestingly, according to Robert Caldwell, this cigar was blended with the intention of smoking the related brother blend, Long Live the King (which is fantastic BTW), just before. Unfortunately, I did not have that opportunity, but this cigar was enjoyable nonetheless.

This blend utilizes some rare and underused Dominican tobaccos (just check the blend. What a mouthful!), so I’m preparing for a unique experience.

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Avo Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto

Avo Syncro Nicaragua Short Robusto

Avo CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Short Robusto
Size : 4 x 52
Wrapper : Connecticut Ecuador
Filler : Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Peruvian Olancho
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$8 each
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If you are an Avo fan, then you know that Avo Uvezian has his roots as a jazz pianist. Calling on that background, he has named this blend the Avo “Syncro” after the concept of musical synchronization. The goal with this cigar was to “synchronize” the experience of smoking Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The cigar also contains tobaccos from Ecuador and Peru. The Nicaraguan tobacco is of particular interest as it comes from a volcanic island in the center of Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe. Is the Avo Syncro Nicaragua truly a “synchronization” of tobacco flavors? I smoked the Short Robusto to find out.

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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
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!)...

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
Price : $12.35
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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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Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Ashton Symmetry Robusto

Origin : Dominican RepublicAshton
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuador Habano
Filler : Dominican & Nicaraguan
Binder : Dominican
Price : ~$11 each
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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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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
Price : $65 for a box of 12
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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’s website to make my choice. I give a tip of the cap to Sean O. and Andy D. at 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.

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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
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!

Montecristo New York Edition

Montecristo No. 2 New York Edition

Origin : Dominican RepublicMontecristo
Format : Square-pressed Torpedo
Size : 6.1 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican Olor and Nicaraguan Corojo
Price : $110 for a box of 10
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Just to keep up with what is out there, I have been known to stumble across a diamond in the rough. Such is the case with the Montecristo NY Connoiseur Edition. This stick is available in the US market at quite reasonable prices. If you want to see what all the commotion is about regarding fine Cuban cigars, this smoke is just about as close as you can come to the “real thing” without going through the risk and expense of ordering from overseas and paying through the nose to do so. Were the bands removed from this smoke, I would have been hard pressed to distinguish it from its Cuban cousins. That sealed the deal for me in regards to this issue.

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