Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bad Dog Cigars (Toro) Cigar Review

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This review is sponsored by Duque Cigars.

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Bad Dog Cigars is the creation of two friends and business partners, Nicholas Scarcella and Andreas Demetriou. Their advertising firm has serviced clients such as, Ralph Lauren, Victoria Secret, Hugo Boss and Gucci. After many years, they decided to make their own unique cigar company.

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Bad Dog Cigars uses tobacco from Northern Nicaragua and a wrapper from Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). They offer three sizes, a robusto (5x52), a toro (6x52), and a torpedo (6x54). Thanks to Duque Cigars, I had the chance to sample the toro size.

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The wrapper on this box-pressed cigar was not bad looking. It was vein-free and had a yellowish brown hue. The texture was "paperbag" smooth and felt slightly spongy. Faint notes of sweet hay were detected prior to lighting.

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Once lit, the cigar had an easy draw with lots of body in the smoke. I should mention that the tip of this cigar is sweetened, which unfortunately made me not want to take this cigar seriously. (Bad Dog indeed!) The flavor is mild with woody and hay-like notes coming through to a sweet finish. The cigar also displays some nuttiness after several puffs, along with a "soapy" quality. The finale of the cigar includes hints of raisins. Overall, the taste is smooth, with nary a bite detected in the throat.

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The burn quality was satisfactory. The burn line should stay mostly even if you can remember to rotate the cigar as you smoke. I find this to be a little awkward with box-pressed cigars. The ash was light gray in color and pretty compact. It held on well until ready to be tapped off.

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This cigar is available at Duque Cigars for $46.08 for an 8 pack tin can, or $115.43 for the 20 pack film can. For some reason, they also sell posters of some barely dressed women posing with cigars for $17.89. Brothers, if this is your thing then Bad Dog Cigars just may be the stick for you. Woof!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Ashton VSG Tres Mystique Quickie Cigar Review

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This conveniently short smoking petit corona (44x4 3/8) has a loose draw which generates a thick volume of full flavored smoke. It starts off tasting of rich charred coffee with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Once settled down, the cigar shows a predominate vanilla oak character which transitions to a nice smooth cedary flavor in the final third. The spiciness also ramps up in the end, but is nicely balanced with notes of dried fruit and molassas. I highly recommend it.

Sponsor: Silo Cigars, call for prices and availability: 1-865-675-7456





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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rocky Patel Winter Collection Cigar Review

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This review is sponsored by Duque Cigar Company, where finding the perfect cigars is their passion.

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It seems as though Rocky Patel has gone secretive about his latest blends. All I know about the Rocky Patel Winter Collection cigar is that it is made in Nicaragua and has a Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. A Cigar Smoker's blog seems to have the low down as he lists the cigar blend to be a Pennsylvanian Broadleaf Maduro, Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan filler. Only 4000 boxes were released, compared to 11,000 for the Summer and Autumn Collections. It has been said that Rocky Patel considers the Winter Collection to be the best of the blends so far. Personally, I enjoyed the Summer blend and have not tried the Autumn yet. I think it really depends on individual preferences whether or not you will enjoy this cigar.

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So far, I have not been disappointed with Rocky Patel's latest creations. The Rocky Patel Renaissance was close to being my favorite cigar of last year. When Duque Cigars sent me the Rocky Patel Winter Collection Corona, I was really excited to try it. The corona size is probably my favorite vitola of all, and this cigar measured a comfortable 44 ring gauge by 5.5 inches. The overall appearance of the cigar was quite attractive. The wrapper was oily and dark which contrasted nicely with the silver and blue cigar band. There were no heavy veins and the tooth on the wrapper was really fine. The aroma smelled as rich as it looked, with heavy doses of dark chocolate and rich earth.

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Clipping the neat two-seam cap produced a free and loose draw. Once lit, the cigar produces a nice thick volume of flavorful smoke. Right off the bat, you can taste the earthy and spicy character of this cigar. Also, the cigar displayed a nice sweet creamy nuttiness which was accented by heavy doses of cayenne pepper. I would not recommend smoking this cigar first thing in the morning on an empty stomach! It is definitely a full bodied, full flavored smoke which can and will slap you wide awake.

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The finish on the cigar was nice and long. You basically get consistent flavors of nuts, leather, and peppery heat all the way through. Sometimes I also tasted notes of Asian cinnamon. The cigar maintains a nice smoothness and balance and no traces of bitterness. My only complaint was the loose draw which resulted in the cigar getting a little warm in the second third from over-puffing to get adequate smoke volume. Looking down into the ash, I noticed a big gaping hole where a hunk of ligero should have been.

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The burn qualities of the cigar was not perfect. The medium gray ash was a little flaky and the burn line was craggy. I had to touch it up a few times with my torch to keep it even.

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The retail price for the coronas is $91.15 for a box of 20, which would make it less than $5 a cigar. I think this cigar is worth that price. I would have to smoke more of them though to see if the loose draw is the rule rather than the exception. Overall, I would say the Rocky Patel Winter Collection blend is a well done interpretation of what I would want to smoke on a cold day. However, whatever temperature it is when you smoke this cigar, I highly recommend that you have a cold beverage close by.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

El Baton Cigar Review

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This review is sponsored by Silo Cigars, home to rare cigars, aged cigars, and hard to find boutique cigars.


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Once again, my friend Kevin over at Silo Cigars has surprised me with a fantastic cigar that I had never heard of. This jumbo sized smoke is made by J. C. Newman Cigar Co., makers of Diamond Crown Maximus and Cuesta Rey cigars. It is called "El Baton" and it's a belicoso measuring 56 ring gauge by 6 and 1/4 inches long. Even though I prefer slimmer cigars, it's hard not to like this flavorful gem.

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The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with a wrapper that is 100% Corojo. When you think all Nicaraguan tobacco you think this is going to be one strong smoke, but in fact, it is more medium in strength and very smooth.

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The construction of the cigar is top-notch. The seams are nice and tight and the cap looked neat with a cute pointy end. The veins were relatively small and the wrapper itself was a pretty dark reddish brown with small "splotches" all over. It has a slight lumpy appearance to it, but not what I would call "rustic". The cigar feels nicely packed but not too much that it would affect the draw performance.

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The initial flavors start off spicy, leaving a nice tingle to the lips and tongue. You can taste the tangy and sweet Corojo flavor immediately along with nice notes of dark mocha. The finish is long and earthy with touches of oak wood and black pepper. After tapping off the light colored ash at the one inch point, I noticed that the cone of ligero was not as big as I expected. This is a good thing for those of you who like spicy flavor without the wallop. I smoked this baby in the early afternoon and was able to function just fine afterwards.

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The cigar then transitions into a nice leathery taste with mocha and pepper still present. The finish develops some nuttiness, which is always a winner for me. The finish remains long and leathery with some notes of oak and pepper. Not once did this cigar turn harsh or bitter.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this cigar. The burn line was not perfectly straight but it was certainly not annoying enough to take away from the enjoyment of the smoke. Priced at $5.50 a stick, I don't see how you could go wrong purchasing these and laying them down for some aging. The El Baton is also available in boxes of 40 for $196. Silo Cigars even offers packages of five for $26.50. So far, this is probably the best deal of the year.

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