Panacea White Corojo “Hitch Pin”

Panacea White Corojo

Origin : Dominican RepublicPanacea Cigars
Format : Toro
Size : 6.5 x 54
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Nicaragua/Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : $7.00-$8.00
More info about purchasing Panacea cigars...

In the last couple of years, there have been several new cigar companies that have transcended the need to just create a good cigar. Some of these new cigar companies are trying to project themselves not only as a cigar maker/factory but a lifestyle brand within the cigar industry. All of us know the most famous of these brands, such as Drew Estate and Tatuaje. But Pete’s Tatuaje brand and Jonathan Drew seem to be the old players on a team of new school stars which consist of 262 Cigars, 13th Floor Cigars, Viaje, Room 101, and last but not least Panacea Cigars aka Flatbed Cigar Company. Many of the brands stated above have gone “modern” with their branding even including graffiti in their labeling and merchandise (i.e. “Urban” Cigars by Augusto Reyes and clothing by Tatuaje), modern rock or even hip-hop as influential muses for their cigar creations, unconventional vitola sizes, and even political/social movements in an attempt to break the mold of the conventional cigar brand. Flatbed Cigar Company seems to have gone in a completely opposite direction, trying to keep it “old school” in their vision, but not “old school” in the sense of Cuba, Nicaragua, or Dominican, but instead towards a vision of “Old School Americana.” Flatbed Cigar Company harkens to the historic pasts of years gone by in the country sides of Pennsylvania, and its rich past as one of the largest producers of cigars in the world. Their packaging is unique in the fact that cigars are sent not in boxes but in vintage looking tin cans or old wood crates. Sample packs are packaged in old burlap sacks, and even their clothing reminds me of Dickie’s work wear from decades ago. But don’t let unique packaging fool you, Flatbed’s concentration is on the leaf, and nothing more. Their stated philosophy is “put all the money into tobacco. If we focus on making great cigars they will sell themselves over time.” With good marks from several different reviewers, I don’t doubt their philosophy will hold true.

…………………………..on to the cigar shall we?

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Cheap Smoke: Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

Arturo FuenteOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Double Robusto
Size : 6.25 x 47
Wrapper : African Cameroon
Binder : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Price : $3.80 each
More info about purchasing Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 cigars...

This review is submitted by jesseboston81 and is participating in our "Share your cheap smoke!" contest. To get a chance to win a box of cigars, you can submit yours here.

Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8

The Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 has always been one of my favorite go-to cheap smokes, primarily because it tastes like a cigar at least twice its price! The cigar I smoked for this review was no exception, and hopefully this review communicates everything I love about this smoke.

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Cheap Smoke: Marca Fina Dominican Churchill

Marca Fina Dominican Churchill

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Churchill
Size : 7 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : € 2.30 / each

This review is submitted by Tomáš and is participating in our "Share your cheap smoke!" contest. To get a chance to win a box of cigars, you can submit yours here.

From the official website:

Marca Fina is the name of cigars produced under the general management of Federación de Tabaqueros America Central (FTAC), a cooperation between independent tobacco farmers in Central America and the Caribbean. These small family businesses from the poorest rural areas of Central America have been cultivating high-class tobaccos on their plantations for decades and sell their harvest to international tobacco corporations on the tobacco markets at generally very low prices. F.T.A.C. supports these families in manufacturing a part of their annual harvest into high class cigars themselves and selling them directly. For the tobacco farmers this does not only mean significantly higher prices for their hard labour but also price stability and a guaranteed usage of their annual production. This represents an important step towards improved living conditions in countries without social security and health insurance.

One day when I was thinking about cheap but still good smokes I found Marca Fina‘s site with good looking cigars for friendly prices. But mainly I was very interested in its „social policy“ of tobacco farmers in the Central America and the Caribbean. Marca Fina offers you a range of longfiller cigars from Panama, Dominican Republic and Honduras. Each country has a separate selection of sizes. After good feelings about this „policy“ I have found information about free shipping within Europe for orders over 25 €. First one was a package with Panama Coronitas and few Panatelas, also from Panama. It was good but my expectations were rather higher. However I was convinced that Marca Fina do not offer trash cigars and I made another order. I ordered their Panama Robusto Maduro and Churchills from Dominican Republic. And the second cigar was definitely the right choice...

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Cheap Smoke: Belmore Cameroon Selection Robusto

Belmore Cameroon Selection Robusto

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Price : $4.75 each

This review is submitted by Andrew and is participating in our "Share your cheap smoke!" contest. To get a chance to win a box of cigars, you can submit yours here.

While doing a teaching stint for Bilkent International School in Ankara, Turkey a couple of years back, I discovered that Ankara is not a great place to spend your weekends. So when Lufthansa started offering return flights to Munich, Germany for 99 Turkish Lira, I was all over it. God bless global economic recession!

In Germany I discovered this brand of cigars I had never before heard of. I bought a sampler pack of every Robusto in the Belmore range. And there was one very clear winner: the Cameroon Selection Robusto. Strong yet sweet, spicy yet not so overpowering as to mask a multitude of other flavours, this cigar is really something. If you are familiar with the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story, which similarly has a Cameroon wrapper and is very very good, then just imagine what a fatter, easier drawing and longer lasting stick will do for you.

Now living in Tokyo Japan, I can buy Cubans off the Internet at great prices. But, this cheap smoke is as good as any mainstream Cuban. Yes, really! I just can’t find anyone out there who stocks the Belmore range and is willing to ship them internationally. Language becomes a problem too, for any European based online retailer. If you’re lucky enough to live in the U.S.A., you can get them at Camino Viejo Tabacos. If anyone out there knows how to get these shipped internationally, please share the knowledge.

Pictured above is the Torpedo at 50 x 6. The Robusto is shorter at 50 x 5. There are two smaller Torpedoes in the range and a Churchill at 48 x 7.

Thumbs Up!

262 Paradigm Toro

262 Paradigm Toro

Origin : Dominican Republic262 cigars
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 54
Wrapper : Brazilian
Filler : Colombian/Nicaraguan
Binder : Honduran
Price : ~$9.00

Many thanks to Tony from Casas Fumando for providing great pictures for this review!

Early on this year I strongly pursued a lot of new brands, particularly smaller or “boutique” brands, to try out and to see if there were any hidden gems in the mix of a sea of tobacco products. Through word of mouth and some generous brothers of the leaf I was able to acquire a few of the 262 Paradigm Toros. The 262 brand is quite unique with a more modern style of approach to advertising being highly social media friendly, with word of mouth as key to getting this product in the mouths of cigar smokers. Its motto is “Smoke the revolution.” The revolution is a double edged sword with references to historic tobacco revolutions of the past on one edge and brandishing a big middle finger for those who try to impede on cigar smokers rights on the other edge. Now, I wanted to know if this cigar could stand up to the stature of this cigars marketing monster. So here we go, …

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Diamond Crown Julius Caeser

Padilla Habano Artisano

Origin : Dominican RepublicDiamond Crown cigars
Format : Pyramid
Size : 6.5 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuador
Binder : Unknown
Filler : Unknown
Price : $11-17 each
More info about purchasing Diamond Crown cigars...

This cigar was gifted to me by a generous BOTL around Christmas time. This doesn't seem to be a very widely available cigar, at least mostly being sold at Diamond Crown lounges. And with that exclusivity comes the expectedly exorbitant price tag. From what I can find, this cigar line retails in the $11 - $17 range.

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Rodrigo Habano Clasico Robusto

Rodrigo Habano Clasico Robusto

Origin : Dominican RepublicRodrigo cigars
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican
Price : ~$7.00

For several months I had seen Rodrigo cigars being passed between members of several different cigar forums with some good things being said about the cigars and its owner, George Rodriguez. I have to admit they looked awfully good, and I decided for myself I had to acquire some for myself to see what all of the hoopla was about. So I got in contact with George to procure myself a lovely sampler of several different sizes from his vitola lineup. George has the Rodrigo cigars made in Tamboril, Dominican Republic. At this moment, only a few B&M’s have these cigars with Height’s Cigar in Houston being one of them (George just finished a Rodrigo event there not too long ago).

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Avo 85th Anniversary 2011 Limited Edition

Avo 85th Anniversary 2011 Limited Edition

Avo CigarsOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Diadema
Size : 6.6 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Peru
Price : $17.50 MSRP
More info about purchasing Avo 85th Anniversary cigars...

Avo 85th Anniversary is the annual release celebrating Avo Uvezian’s birthday. The first one was released 10 years ago and since then it has become a tradition. I have tasted several of these releases and it has been hit or miss. In particular, the 2008 Tesoro didn’t impress me much. However, the 2011 release has collected mostly positive reviews and I couldn’t resist picking a sampler when I stopped by the Davidoff shop in Geneva. Unlike most other Avo smokes, this is not a Dominican puro. The 6.6 x 50 Diadema (sort of a long perfecto) sports a sun grown Dominican wrapper and is filled with San Vicente and Piloto Dominican tobacco. The binder is, however, Peruvian. Let’s see how it smokes, shall we?

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