The Arturo Fuente family is probably one of, if not the most, famous names in the cigar industry. For those new smokers out there that are wondering where to start your cigar journey, well I’d look at the Fuente family. The Hemingway series was released in 1983 with the 6 x 47 Signature and the entire series is still strong on the market today. In case you weren’t aware the word “Hemingway” refers to a certain shape used to roll a cigar (figurado body with tapper perfecto foot).
This should be a perfect size smoke for folks that have to bear the cold outside winter weather. Let’s see if the performance is worth it too…
The Romeo y Julieta non-Cuban brand is produced by the giant company Altadis. The Reserva Real is a very popular blend, along with the 1875. Featuring an Ecuador-grown Connecticut shade wrapper and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Dominican Republic, this is an affordable cigar that retails in the $6 area.
The Ashton Cabinet Selection No. 6 is another masterpiece made by the Fuente family. According to the Ashton website:
The Ashton Cabinet is the “White Burgundy” of cigars. “White Burgundy” gets its rich complex taste from the soil and aging of the grape in French oak barrels. The Cabinet’s 4 to 5 year old Dominican filler blend has a rich, complex and well rounded taste. The extraordinary Connecticut shade wrapper is aged for an extra year and has an elegant palamino color resulting in a smooth and creamy flavor. The Ashton Cabinet includes no less than six different tobaccos and ends with a “big finish.” Seven years pass from seedling to finished cigar before Ashton Cabinet is brought to fruition and presented for your smoking pleasure.
Every year the 5 Vegas Cigar Company releases a traditional small batch of cigars know as their Limitada editions. Due to the limitation of the tobaccos used to blend these cigars production numbers are low. Never using the same tobaccos from year to year, the 5 Vegas Limitada cigars are said to be the finest of the entire 5 Vegas line. Other cigars produced by 5 Vegas are; 5 Vegas Gold, 5 Vegas Classic, 5 Vegas Serie A, 5 Vegas Miami, 5 Vegas Cask-Strength, and the 5 Vegas Relic.
This is my first time ever smoking any of the 5 Vegas cigars and I am looking forward to the new experience.
The Leon Jimenes Prestige was released in 2011 in order to revive an old brand (Leon Jimenes) that was first introduced back in the 70's. This line of cigars is manufactured in the Dominican Republic by the La Aurora company and is distributed by Miami Cigar & Co. I picked up a couple of these in Amsterdam and thought it was a good idea to take a few tubos on vacation.
Owned by the Quesada family, and rolled at the Matasa factory in the Dominican Republic, the Fonseca CXX Anni cigars are being produced in celebration of the brand's 120th year in existence. According to the 2011 Volume 16 No.1 issue of Smoke Magazine:
“…a special blend limited to only 120,000 cigars in three different sizes… the new blend commemorates the brand’s Cuban roots, tapping Cuban-seed fillers grown in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, Cuban-seed Dominican binder, and a rich, intensely flavored sungrown Habano Veulta Arriba wrapper from a microfarm in the Navarrete region.”
The Fonseca CXX Anni is available in the following sizes: 46 x 6 3/8 Corona; 52 x 5 7/8 Robusto; and 60 x 4 7/8 Gordo. Prices range from $7.00 to $9.00 depending on the size.
The lancero vitola seems to have fallen from favor with most contemporary cigar smokers. It’s understandable in today’s time-crunched society that a longer length cigar with a tiny ring gauge, which forces you to take more deliberately slow draws to avoid excess heat, holds relatively less interest from a purely practical standpoint. Perhaps a cigar with an origin in Hollywood can persuade smokers that they’ve been missing something.
Origin : Dominican Republic Format : Proprietary Kanú (based on perfecto) Size : 6 x 54 Wrapper : Brazilian Maduro Filler : Dominican Binder : Their binder is proprietary and they simply refer to it as ‘MBC’ Hand-Made Price : ~$10
This new and unique shape by Iconic Leaf, the Kanú, was inspired by a Kayak boat. Iconic Leaf sent me a couple samples last autumn for review along with some promotional material. I wanted to give these cigars some resting time and as our winter hit early, I decided to put off smoking them until the time was right.
All of Iconic Leaf's cigars are produced in their factory; Tabacalera Leyendas Cubanas in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. They roll all of their cigars entubado style and every leaf in the Recluse is fermented for two years.
At first glance the cigar resembles a box-pressed perfecto but to my eyes it actually resembled an Italian made 'Toscano' in a larger, more refined format. Don't snip it in the middle though as you would a Toscano! (*wink*) Thankfully the company offers instructions on where to snip the cigar in their boxes. I did not get these with my two review samples and as such I found the draw on the first one quite tight. I did snip more off the second one and found the draw much improved.
The function of a perfecto is that the different components from wrapper to filler allow for the cigar to go through subtle flavor transitions. Iconic Leaf Cigars advises that by developing this one of a kind shape the smoker is able to get a slow, cool burn as a result of the benefit of pressing along with flavor transitions. Iconic Leaf refers to their process as "specific and unique; a one of a kind process". Their company literature provides that "Every cigar has a story to tell. You have to read this book page by page. This one will not allow you to jump chapters. It is a novel."
Remember I rated their Recluse Toro higher than the Alec Bradley Prensado in flavor so I was more than curious as to how this shape would fare and whether it would alter the flavor profile at all.
The promotional material shipped with the cigars indicated that the cigar has "subtle cornering and is aerodynamic in fashion. It was a painstaking process to perfect this new shape but we have mastered it. The shape smokes razor sharp with a full easy compliment of flavorful smoke on the draw. It is a masterpiece!". Let's put this to the test shall we?