Long time no talk, Cigar Federation! Between my blog about Black Label Trading Company, a family vacation, and working on planning and promoting Cigar Federation's Raffle for Project Manana, I've been a bit busy lately, and, thus, haven't posted as many reviews as I would have liked. Today, I'm going to attempt to not cover all the cigars I've smoked over the past few weeks, but all the "new" cigars I've smoked over the past few weeks - whether they were new to the world (recently released at IPCPR) or just new to me. I probably won't go very in-depth into any of them, but I want to be sure to cover and give a brief synopsis of each.
Veritas Torch Connecticut Torpedo - Back when I was doing my reviews on the BLTC cigars, I took a trip to my local shop to get some reviews done when John and Chris from Veritas Cigars walked in. It pays to frequent your local B&M because I got to sit down with these guys, hear their story and sample some of their cigars. Really nice guys - John used to work at Chesapeake Cigar Co among other B&Ms, and Chris was busy serving our country prior to getting into the industry - who I enjoyed my time with and produce a really good cigar. The first draws on this cigar were a bit bitter, but very quickly a mild sweetness took over that lasted for much of the cigar. Nothing extraordinary, but a solid flavor that adds a bit of nuttiness as it smokes. I don't normally smoke many Connecticuts, and I'm eager to try the Torch Habano, but an excellent constructed cigar with solid flavorings.
Cabal Short Robusto - Coming out of IPCPR, I heard good things about several cigars, but some of the most glowing reviews were regarding the Cabal Short Robusto - one of the first releases from Kelner Boutique Factory. I read Dustin's review and, even though I find that he and I have very different palates, I was eager to track this down, and I'm glad Logan sent me a sample. While I would consider this cigar to be on the milder side, the flavor is astounding - an amalgamation of dry spices. My friend Jose Blanco would call this cigar mild in strength, but full in flavor! The spices continued throughout with some interesting cedar-like flavors hitting me throughout. Really great little cigar in a great size - my only issue is that they are so hard to find.
Smoking Jacket Favoritos - After appreciating the Cabal on Dustin's review, I was eager to try the Smoking Jacket from Kelner Boutique Factory - another cigar Dustin raved about, but I didn't know where/how I would find one. Fast forward to a rare Monday trip to my local B&M, and I'm not even two feet in the door when the owner says, 'Top left corner in the back'! There, I find the full line of Smoking Jacket cigars. Only 60 accounts in the US from what I understand, and my local shop, Barrister Cigars in Union, NJ, is one of them. I can tell you that from my experience, and from the response of the other patrons in the shop, this cigar is one to track down and Dustin's review was right on the money again. A solid medium cigar with really complex and solid flavors. Subtle spice notes throughout married with cedar and coffee to produce a fantastic smoke.
Cuban Stock Triumph Toro - A few months ago, I reviewed the Cuban Stock Chubby 3.4.5 3x60 and found it to be an enjoyable, mellow smoke despite the fact that I'm not a fan of large ring gauges so I was excited to have the opportunity to smoke a blend from the brand in a slightly less "obtrusive" size. The wrapper on this Triumph is an Ecuadorian Maduro, I believe, but it is dark like an Oscuro and delivers some wicked power early. The ash fell off early on this sample which I attribute, after coupling with the strength, to a need to acclimate in my humidor for a bit longer. As the early harshness subsided, leathery flavors coupled with some powerful spice to produce a nice, full-bodied smoke. While I enjoyed this cigar, I really see this being much better with some rest that would allow the leather and some chocolate/coffee flavors peak a bit more and not be washed out by the spice which I found a bit powerful at times. I've got another sample that I'll sit on for a bit and revisit and I suggest you track some down and do the same if you're a fan of full-bodied cigars.
Casa Miranda Chapter Two Robusto - As a fan of many Pepin produced cigars, I was very eager to try the Casa Miranda Chapter Two, but I found it to be very unique for a Pepin blend - while I got pepper notes, they weren't the typical notes I attribute to a Pepin blend. Hard to explain and something you have to experience for yourself. I thought it was pretty good and enjoyed this cigar, but I'm more interested in picking up a production version and resting it. It was much stronger than I expected, but I think that will temper with age and it could be phenomenal as the earth and coffee flavors I get expand a bit.
La Jugada Habano Robusto - Again, it pays to frequent your local B&M! I stepped in to get some work done and Espinosa's new NY/NJ rep, Jose, is sitting at a table and we get to chatting and he hands me a La Jugada Habano to try. This cigar is the same cigar in blend and size as the La Jugada Prieto except the Prieto uses a Maduro wrapper while this uses a Habano. This cigar will be compared to the Prieto often by association and I can say it is definitely better than the Prieto in my eyes (though I only smoked a 6x60 of that and I tend to not enjoy larger vitolas to begin with). While I found the Prieto to be a bit more spicy, this is much stronger overall, but has a nice, creamy sweetness to it as well that makes it quite enjoyable.
Ventura Project 805 Andullo Robusto - I should probably preface this by saying that Ventura Cigars holds a special place in my heart. A little over a year ago, I worked very closely with the Ventura team to produce a custom cigar for another cigar forum and I enjoyed the experience immensely. So when they contacted me recently to give their new Project 805 Andullo a try, I jumped at the opportunity. The Andullo is an aromatic tobacco that apparently has been used by indigenous people in the Caribbean for 500+ years,.... Very interesting flavors early that I can't even fully decipher. At times I got an almost salty flavor that I wouldn't expect from a Corojo wrapped cigar. The sweetness and spice that I might attribute to Corojo were there in waves, but muted even at their strengths. At other times I noted leather and coffee flavors. This cigar definitely is a flavor bomb and quite enjoyable, but I'm left wondering what the Andullo brings to the table that sets this cigar apart. While it is a very good cigar, I never found myself saying, "Oh, that's Andullo" when I was smoking this. Ventura sent me a piece of Andullo tobacco that I will try to smoke solo to gauge flavor and aroma from before I smoke my next Project 805 which I assume will improve even more with some rest.
And, with that, I think we can call it a week. Several new and enjoyable cigars that you should start seeing at local shops in the very near future. Have you had any of these yet? Were your experiences similar or different? I always love to hear, so let me know. Thanks for reading, and if you haven't yet, enter Cigar Federation's Raffle for Project Mañana. Goodbye for now!