Paul Stulac Classic Lord of Albany Natural

Paul Stulac Classic Lord of Albany

Origin : NicaraguaPaul Stulac
Format : Lonsdale
Size : 6 x 44
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
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The Lord of Albany, a 6 x 44 lonsdale, is a new addition to the Paul Stulac Classic line, and comes in two different wrappers: Natural and Maduro. These are both Ecuadorian Habano wrappers, but the Maduro wrapper is aged longer than the Natural wrapper. In appearance they are quite similar, and I would be hard-pressed to tell them apart on sight. For this review, I tried the Natural.

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Paul Stulac Red Screaming Sun Robusto

Paul Stulac Red Screaming Sun

Origin : NicaraguaPaul Stulac
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 54
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Indonesia Sumatra
Hand-Made
Price : ~$11 each
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The Red Screaming Sun line from boutique manufacturer Paul Stulac debuted at the 2012 IPCPR, and includes three sizes: Robusto (5”x54), Toro (6”x56), and Torpedo (6”x54). The packaging and labeling includes the motto “Regalo De Dios,” which translates to “Gift of God,” and the brand has promoted itself with the words, “No tales of tobacco fields. No 100-year traditions. No pretenses.” It’s a bold line to take in an industry where roots run deep—and a smart move from a newcomer that wants to promote its cigars by demonstrating their quality, not leaning on a nonexistent history. Let’s see what they have to offer.

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HR “Hirochi Robaina” by Cubanacan

HR Hirochi Robaina Cigars by Cubanacan

Origin : Nicaragua
HR CigarsFormat : Toro
Size : 6.5 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano (Colorado Maduro)
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Blenders : Hirochi Robaina, Omar González Alemán
Hand-Made
Price : ~$75 for a 4-pack sampler
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Avid cigar smokers are never bored. We keep busy by “trolling” for information that could lead to our next great cigar. Searching the Internet, reading cigar reviews, or simply word of mouth can point us in the right direction. Over time, we learn to recognize names and brands we associate with cigars we’ve liked. Recently I became aware of a new cigar made by someone whose name I recognized… Robaina. In this case it was not the legendary Alejandro Robaina, the master Cuban tobacco farmer, but rather his grandson Hirochi.

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Plasencia Reserva Organica Robusto

Plasencia Reserva Organica Robusto

Origin : NicaraguaPlasencia cigars
Format : Robusto
Size : 4.75 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
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This cigar caught my interest because it’s a Nicaraguan puro, but I heard that it was a lot milder than most. It’s also part of a “certified” organically grown and cured line, and those were both points of interest. It comes in seven different sizes: 6×50 (Toro), 6.25×44 (Corona), 6.25×52 (Piramide), 4.75×52 (Robusto), 7×48 (Churchill), 4.5×36 (Nesticos), and 4.25×40 (Tins). I gave the Robusto a try to see if it would be as interesting as I hoped. And guess what—it was.

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Illusione Fume d’Amour Viejos

Illusione Fume d'Amour Viejos

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : RobustoIllusione
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : ~$9.50 each
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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.

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CAO Amazon Basin

CAO Amazon Basin

Origin : Nicaragua
CAO CigarsFormat : Toro
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler : Dominican Republic, Columbian, Brazilian Braganca
Binder : Nicaraguan
Blender : Rick Rodriquez
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
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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.

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Tatuaje Havana VI Victorias

tatujae-havana-vi-victorias-1

TatuajeOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Corona Especial
Size : 6 x 38
Wrapper : Habano Ecuador
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $7 each
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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.

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Padrón Serie 1926 No. 2 Maduro

Padron 1926 Serie No. 2 Maduro

PadronOrigin : Nicaragua
Format : Figurado
Size : 5 ½ x 52
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $17 each
More info about purchasing Padron 1926 cigars...

Sometimes it can be a difficult decision when opening the humidor. I have worked hard over the years and finally have somewhat of a respectable collection of cigars to choose from. This time however there were no hard choices or debating to be done. My mind and palate we craving this cigar and man was it right on!

The wrapper on the Padrón 1926 No. 2 Maduro is a gorgeous, silky dark maduro leaf. Just by first glance at the cap you could see the care and precision used to put it on… just perfect. The bands on all of the Serie 1926 and 1964 Padrón cigars are always appealing to the eye. Each has a double band with lovely gold outline and writing and every cigar has its own ID number printed on it. Just another sign of the quality level Padrón puts into their smokes. The pre-light smell portrays an earthy wholeness and the pre-light draw is loose with a rich velvet undertone.

Pre-light Score: 10 pts.

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