The Aging Room Maduro was one of five new blends from Rafael Nodal’s Boutique Blends in 2013. Nodal specifically created the Aging Room brand in order to produce small batch releases using rare tobaccos. The Aging Room Maduro is quite a popular and critically acclaimed cigar, and could easily become the mainstay blend for the line. It is available in five vitolas, the Presto, Rondo, Mezzo, Major and Alto. For this review, I smoked the Mezzo, which measures 6 x 54.
Abe Flores is a big name in the cigar world, but may not be a name you know well, because he has spent a great deal of his career doing contract work producing cigars for other brands. He has become known for his own Dominican boutique cigar brand however, Pinar del Rio (PDR). In 2012, he decided to craft a cigar under his own name. The result was the A. Flores Serie Privada.
All the A. Flores Serie Privada cigars include Nicaraguan Habano binders and a combination of Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Corojo as the filler leaves, but two different wrappers were produced: the Ecuadorian Habano (“Capa Habano”) and the Maduro Habano Ecuador (“Capa Maduro”). According to PDR, “The Habano wrapper delivers great complexity and a creamy, cool, medium-body cigar. Best way to describe this is creamy sweetness with a touch of spice at the finish … The Habano Maduro wrapper is a medium-body cigar that starts with some natural sweetness, then delivers some spice.” For this review, I smoked the Capa Habano.
Illusione isn’t a brand that adds several new cigars to its line every year—and that’s a good thing. The pressure to release a new cigar every year can lead to compromises in quality, and personally I think it’s best when a company puts in as much time as it needs to in order to make something really excellent. At the time of its releae at 2014 IPCPR, the Illusione Fume d'Amour was the first new cigar line from this brand in three years, which makes it a very exciting release.
The name Fume d'Amour uses French words but according to a friend it doesn't really make sense to French ears (it should have rather been called fumée d'amour). I guess it could be translated to "love smoke" or "to love to smoke". It’s a Nicaraguan puro manufactured at the TABSA Factory in Jalapa. As a matter of interest, no ligero leaves were used in its construction, only seco and viso leaves. It’s available in four sizes: Lagunas (4.5 x 42), Clementes (6.5 x 48), Viejos (5 x 50), and Capristanos (6 x 56). For this review, I smoked the Viejos.
Monte by Montecristo was released in 2013, billed as the strongest cigar in the Montecristo line. It is a fresh twist on an old concept. According to Altadis, “The Monte’s signature feature is the inclusion of two binders: a spicy Dominican Olor combined with a strong and aromatic Nicaraguan Corojo, which adds strength, firmness, and complexity.” There are three different vitolas available: the Conde, measuring 5.5 x 48, the Monte measuring 6 x 60, and the Jacopo No. 2, measuring 6.1 x 54. I smoked the Jacopo No. 2. You have probably noticed this is a unique name for a vitola. As a note of literary interest, the name “Jacopo” is taken from a character in The Count of Monte Cristo.
This review was written by El Cigar Newbie, who recently launched his blog at 4madur0.wordpress.com. Enjoy!
My vast knowledge of smoking a wide variety of cigars for about a whopping three years, certainly qualifies my AKA as el-cigar-newbie, and I do blog for the el-newbie nation. In this time line I have bought packs, samplers, bundles, mazos etc. As if that was not enough, three Humidors later, I joined the Cigar of the Month Club online at cigarsinternational.com. My love for cigars is growing, and getting more cigars at a bargain price is always appealing. Yesterday my monthly club sampler was delivered and the first cigar was randomly picked, cut and lit before looking at the cigar band. I just love surprises!
We’ve heard it all before… limited edition cigars made from scarce materials. Then, a year later, they are still readily available, everywhere. But in the case of the new CAO Amazon Basin, its rarity is only part of the intrigue. It’s truly a cigar with a story to tell. I was lucky enough to get one of the last available boxes, and now, four cigars in, consider myself lucky indeed.
According to the official CAO statement, the Amazon Basin cigar “utilizes rare organic tobacco cultivated at small farms in remote regions of the Amazonian Rainforest. The tobacco called ‘Braganca’ is grown in virgin lands and is harvested just once every three years…the leaves are rolled by hand into tubes called ‘carottes’, and left to rest under high pressure. After six months of natural fermentation inside the carrotes, they are transported by canoe from the rainforest and delivered to our factory.” Wow, that’s quite a story! One interesting aspect of cigar smoking is how we experience exotic locales through the tobaccos we smoke. And the Amazonian Rainforest is about as exotic as it gets. If nothing else, smoking an Amazon Basin cigar is a curiosity. But what I’ve discovered is a cigar so unique; it actually lives up to the hype.
The Tatuaje Havana VI line is another solid production from Pete Johnson and Pepin Garcia. Said to be more mellow and medium bodied than the brown label, the Havana VI line is comprised of eight different vitolas: Hermosos – 5 5/8 x 46, Angeles – 4 5/8 x 42, Victorias 6 x 38, Artistas – 6 1/8 x 52 (reviewed here), Nobles – 5 x 50 (reviewed here), Almirantes – 7 x 47, Gorditos – 5 ½ x 56, Verocu No.5 – 4 x 40.
Out of the entire Havana VI line, the only other sizes I’ve tried are the Almirantes (Churchill), which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was certainly excited to have the chance to sample a smaller vitola (Corona Especial), so let's see how it went.
The Juan Lopez brand is definitely not among the most famous Cuban brands. This particular Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2 is well aged; I purchased my box back in 2011. I tried the Seleccion No. 2 fresh out of the box then forgot about it, and wanted to see how the flavors have been enhanced by the aging process.