Illusione ~88~ Candela

Illusione ~88~ Candela

Origin : Honduras
IllusioneFormat : Robusto
Size : 5.0″ x 52
Wrapper : Candela
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $9 each
More info about purchasing Illusione cigars...

Green is the new Brown… Or something like that. Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars seems to be single-handedly championing a return of the Candela wrapper to premium cigars. Once a mainstay of American cigar smoking, the modern smoker tends to look down on the green cigar wrapper as being too mild, near flavorless, or too grassy. The truth is they are right. Just about any candela wrapped cigar you find on the market today isn’t very good. It turns out that perhaps this is because no one bothers to put the wrapper on a good cigar. That is until Dion started putting it on his Illusione cigars. The first to get the green treatment was the lancero - the ~hl~ or Holy Lance. Now you can also find the Candela on the very large ~888~ and the beefy robusto ~88~.

When I saw the Candela ~88~ on the shelf and I was intrigued. I hadn’t tried a Candela wrapped cigar in ages and none I have ever had were any good, but this time the wrapper was on a cigar/blend that I knew I really enjoyed so I had to give it a try. I was amazed. The wrapper dramatically changes the cigar when compared to an ~88~ with its normal Nicaraguan wrapper. It was crisp and smooth. The Illusione core flavors of Earth and leather are still very much present, but they are expertly balanced with a slight sweetness and tea notes. Later in the smoke I started to pick up a floral component to the flavors as well. It was an amazingly good smoke, complex in flavor and visually interesting with its bright green wrapper. This is one Candela that is certainly worth trying.

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
Hand-Made
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?

Read the full review of Panacea White Corojo “Hitch Pin”...

Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero

Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero

TatuajeOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Petit Lancero
Size : 6 x 38
Wrapper : : Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $8.50-$10.00 each (aftermarket could be higher)
More info about purchasing Tatuaje Black Label cigars...

The black label cigars by Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje brand could be one of the most sought after and legendary cigars of the last several years. I know corona gordas from the original jar release are bringing high dollar amounts in the aftermarket, as well as any of the other 8 releases that have been put out over the last couple years. The Black Label is Pete’s personal stash blend. Some of the older black labels were wrapped with tobacco that was designated for binder purposes but tasted so good to him that he used them as wrapper.

Tobacco Grove in early spring, worked with Pete personally to bring this cigar into the store and sell it as an exclusive to the store. Immediately once the word got out, the phone lines started to get blown up at Tobacco Grove with orders piling in and they all sold very quickly within hours. But there has been word that Pete may bring the black label petit lancero out as a regular production stick. I truly hope he does, ‘cause these cigars are superb. If this news is true, then the cigar gods will shine on Pete and we will all be in agreement for his sainthood! To see how superb these smokes were just keep on readin',…

Read the full review of Tatuaje Black Label Petit Lancero...

PIO Resurrection Torpedo

PIO Resurrection Torpedo

Origin : USA
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro)
Filler : Dominican/Mexican
Binder : Ecuador
Hand-Made
Price : ~$10.00 

This cigar, created by Alberto Medina, is his signature cigar to commemorate the return of himself to the cigar world and his brand PIO, after his lawsuit over his former PIO “Overture” line. My local B&M, Habana House, had been talking these sticks up and saying they were pretty good and had to try them, so I gave in eventually and purchased a few as well as receiving some from the PIO factory from Alberto to write this review on. I have to admit, they weren’t much of a looker, but hell, neither are Padrons. So this is what I thought of the PIO Resurrection

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Don Pepin Garcia Vegas Cubanas Generosos

Don Pepin Garcia Vegas Cubanas Generosos

Don Pepin Garcia cigarsOrigin : United States
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Habano Rosado Claro (Nicaragua)
Filler : Cuban Seed Corojo (Nicaragua)
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $7-8 each
More info about purchasing Vegas Cubanas cigars...

I have had several cigars with the Don Pepin Garcia name on them. When the opportunity was given to me to review this stick, I had to take it. I had never had this particular cigar, so I was looking forward to doing this one. I have never had a bad Don Pepin Garcia cigar either. So I knew, before I lit it, that I was going to be in a for a good time.

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262 Paradigm Toro

262 Paradigm Toro

Origin : Dominican Republic262 cigars
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 54
Wrapper : Brazilian
Filler : Colombian/Nicaraguan
Binder : Honduran
Hand-Made
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, …

Read the full review of 262 Paradigm Toro...

Rodrigo Habano Clasico Robusto

Rodrigo Habano Clasico Robusto

Origin : Dominican RepublicRodrigo cigars
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Dominican
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican
Hand-Made
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).

Read the full review of Rodrigo Habano Clasico Robusto...

Padilla Habano Artisano

Padilla Habano Artisano

Origin : NicaraguaPadilla cigars
Format : Perfecto
Size : 5.75 x 54
Binder : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Wrapper : Habano, Connecticut and Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Hand-Made
Price : $7-8 each
More info about purchasing Padilla Habano Artisano cigars...

As I was walking around the Cigars International Super Store this past Memorial Day, this cigar caught my eye. Now I had smoked several Padilla cigars before, so I knew the brand name was good. And with a cigar this cool looking, I had to pick one up for myself, as well as one for my father.

Read the full review of Padilla Habano Artisano...

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