Pipe Tobacco Blind Review – El Dorado @SmokesOnMain

This is the first pipe tobacco review written by our pipe smoking friend and founder of the Main Street Pipers Pipe Group, Jose Ruiz.

We gave Jose three unmarked bags of our SmokesOnMain premium pipe tobaccos to sample without a bit of info on the blends. This blend, #3 to Jose, is our El Dorado pipe blend – also known as Lane Limited BCA.

Let’s see what Jose thought……

Hello everyone, hope all is well today.

SmokesOnMain asked me to do a blind tasting review for you all on one of the pipe tobaccos’ they have to offer.

I’m up for the challenge.

Todays review is the bag marked #3 that I received from SmokesOnMain’s owners Ron Jung and Pete West. The blend was selected by their tobacconist, Martin Klausmeier.

Pipe used: Dr. Grabow Omega rusticated bent briar

Bag size: 1 ounce zip-lock

Tin Note: Raisin, black cherry, date/fig notes.  Sweet notes definitely an aromatic in a good natural way, not chemical smell.

Blend: Dark-fired Cavendish

Type: Loose cut with some bigger cut ribbons

Strength: Mild

Taste: Nicely done sweetness of a black cherry, fig/date like nature. Not many good aromatic tin notes actually match the taste, this is one of the few to me that do. I would have liked a bit more richness and complexity, but it still makes you like it for being a mild taste. I’m liking this one so far.

Aroma: Very nicely done as far as the aroma is concerned. Everyone in the room just loved the smell and said you can smoke that one anytime you want to. Very much the black cherry/fig/date notes but not in a way that is fake or chemically. The aroma, even indoors is great, doesn’t irritate at all. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Thoughts: A very nice black fired Cavendish tobacco with a smell that is amazing. Can be a bit moist and needed some dry time before you pack your pipe, as most aromatics do. I used the 3-tier method, but a little looser then normal. It lit very well after the true light was done. Needed a few relights from being a little moist. Had a constant sweetness of the black cherry/fig/date taste. It stayed cool, mild flavor thru out the smoke. Didn’t notice any tongue bite or harshness at all. Best if you smoke it slow. Room note was very pleasing to everyone. Over all a very nice all day smoke which wont burn you tongue, while everyone around you will like what your smoking. I recommend it for a good all day smoke.

Rated: 3 out of 5

The Wife’s Review:

We have no idea what this blend is but I rather like it. It is rich and deep with hints of chocolate, fig and other food type smells intertwined with the natural smoke. I think my inner chef dances with this tobacco. It’s not silly like the Swedish Chef of Muppets fame, nor is it Emeril Lagasse “bam!” but rather respectable and sophisticated like Rick Bayless of PBS’s Mexico: One Plate at a time or more accurately, if the chef of PBS’s Primal grill smoked a pipe, I could see him (Steven Raichlen) kicking back with this one after a meal he had cooked on his grill. When in the room with this pipe the words that come to mind is, “Bon Appetite!”

To find out more about this premium pipe tobacco blend and the others available from SmokesOnMain visit SmokesOnMain.com here…

Marty K’s Top Five “Not Necessarily New” Cigars of 2014

BlogMarty K’s Top Five “Not Necessarily New” Cigars of 2014

With every cigar magazine finished releasing their version of the “Top Cigars” of 2014, I thought the subject would make good fodder for a short series of reviews.

Rather than go into my usual depth, I’ll keep these short and sweet. High points only, mostly because these cigars have no low points…

Now most lists feature cigars that were released in 2014, but I’m not one to follow the crowd. Only three of these cigars were actually introduced in 2014. Mea a culpa.

But, of all the cigars I smoked over the course of the year (156 different brands, just for the record…) these five are my favorites.

5.  Partagas 1845 Extra Fuerte Gigante (new in 2014)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano ligero

Binder: Connecticut-grown Habano

Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Nicaraguan

Body: Full

Size: 6” x 60

Price: $7.49

Thoughts: The combination of the Ecuadorian habano ligero wrapper with a habano binder from Connecticut really provides a nice spice to the aroma. Piloto Cubano is one of my favorite filler tobaccos providing a nice strength to the blend. The Extra Fuerte is a full-bodied smoke with great balance and a wonderfully complex aroma. My only wish with this cigar would be if they produced it in a corona format. This is a must try cigar for all full-bodied fans.

4.  Padilla Reserva Corona (new in 2014)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian habano

Binder: Ecuadorian habano

Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo

Body: Medium

Size: 5” x 43

Price: $6.25

Thoughts: Back in the day, I cut my teeth on Padilla cigars.   So much so, that I still go by the handle “PadillaGuy” on many cigar boards. And, of the Padilla blends I’ve smoked the new Reserva is one of my favorites. I’m a huge fan of corona-sized cigars as they offer one of the best vitola to really get to know a blend. The Ecuadorian habano wrapper on the Reserva natural delivers a pleasant spice with notes of pepper while the corojo and Criollo fillers add complexity and body. This medium bodied offering from Ernest Padilla and Oliva Cigar Company easily makes the Top 5…

3.  Camacho Triple Maduro 11/18

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres maduro

Binder: Honduran Corojo maduro

Filler: Dominican, Honduran, and Brazilian maduro

Body: Full

Size: 6” x 54

Price: $8.99

Thoughts: I’m often asked what my “favorite” cigar is and my answer is always the same. And, while I don’t have a “favorite” or “go to” cigar, if I had only one cigar to smoke for the rest of my days, it would be the Camacho Triple Maduro, hands down. The Triple Maduro was the first cigar blended using all maduro tobaccos for not only wrapper and binder, but all filler tobaccos as well. Quite full bodied and very slow burning, the Triple Maduro was the cigar I choose to smoke while taking my Tobacconist Certification Exam and continues to be a cigar I cherish each time I smoke one. If you’re a full-bodied fan or a true lover of maduro cigars, you simply must try this cigar. Interesting side note… the 11/18 size was named for former Camacho Cigar head Christian Eiroa’s mother’s birthdate, November 18th

2.  Chillin’ Moose Corona by Foundry (new in 2014)

Wrapper: US Connecticut Habano Rosado

Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Mexican San Andres, US Connecticut Broadleaf

Body: Medium

Size: 5.2” x 45

Price: $3.59

Thoughts: It isn’t common for a sub-$4 dollar cigar to make any “top” list, but I’m not a common type of guy. Neither is the Chillin’ Moose from Foundry cigars a common cigar. For less than four bucks, you can pick up a Chillin’ Moose corona and find out what I mean. Produced by Michael Gianinni, creator of Foundry Cigars, the Chillin’ Moose may be the very best value in the cigar world. A gorgeous rosado wrapper covers a multi-nation blend of all long-filler tobaccos. This ain’t no mixed filler cigar! The body remains medium throughout the smoke while the blend delivers an amazing aroma and smooth smoke with a lingering finish. Comments usually associated with high priced sticks like OpusX? Yes. Price tag like an Opus? Not even close. Trust me, at this price point, you wont find a better deal, a more balanced smoke, or more unusual band art. Here’s to you Michael!

1.  Vega Fina Toro

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Criollo

Binder: Indonesian TBN

Filler: Colombia, Honduras, and Dominican Republic

Body: Medium

Size: 6” x 50

Price: $5.89

Thoughts: Many of you may never have heard of Vega Fina cigars, let alone tried one, so this #1 selection may come as a surprise to some, so let me explain.

Vega Fina in the number one selling, non-Cuban cigar in Europe. Surprised?

In fact, Vega Fina outpaces many Cuban cigars on the European market. Surprised yet?

No? Okay, how’s this…

Vega Fina is a true bargain brand coming in under $6 for the 6” x 50 toro? Yes, for less than six bucks US, you can smoke the cigar that outsells most Cuban cigars in Europe, where they can smoke any Cuban cigar they want!

Now, that all being said, it’s not the reason I would pick the Vega Fina toro over all the others, it’s the total package. The Vega Fina toro is a medium bodied smoke at best, which makes the cigar very approachable to all cigar enthusiasts, old and new. A beginner can easily enjoy this cigar equally as well as a discriminating aficionado.

The Vega Fina blend of spicy Mexican Criollo wrapper, subtly sweet Indonesian TBN binder, and rich tri-country filler blend combine harmoniously to deliver a smooth smoke that leaves the palate with a savory, long finish. The aroma produced by the golden brown Criollo wrapper grown in the volcanic soils of the San Andres region is delightfully spicy with a touch of pepper over a baking spice mix.

Vega Fina cigars are beautifully constructed, burn correctly every time, and have a consistency between cigars not often accomplished.

So, there you have them, my favorite cigars smoked in 2014. I’d encourage you to compare these cigars with what you normally smoke and to try one or two of these outstanding cigars. The year’s young!

Good smokes…

Martin Klausmeier

Tobacconist’s Review – Diesel Grind Double Toro

Diesel Grind Double Toro

Brand/Line: Diesel Grind

Purchase date:  3 March, 2015

Smoke date: 3 March, 2015

Vitola: Double toro

Size: 6” x 60

Purchase price: $5.65

Packaging: Cellophane wrapped single

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sungrown Habano oscuro

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler blend: Proprietary Nicaraguan blend (secret)

Manufacturer: A.J. Fernandez

Blender: A.J. Fernandez

Distributor: Meier and Dutch

Appearance: The wrapper is an evenly colored, medium brown with a slight oil and a fair amount of tooth. The wrapper is applied seamlessly and has minimal veining. The bold blue foot band provides a nice contrast to the rich brown of the wrapper and adds distinction in a world of red, gold, and black cigar bands.

Construction: The cigar is rolled beautifully with no soft or hard spots. The cap is perfectly mounted. The foot reveals several bunches of well packed tobaccos.

Cut and light: The cap cut easily using my Xikar Xi grip cutter. The cold draw was ample and produced a sweet tobacco aroma. Lighting the Grind was easily accomplished with a single jet torch style lighter.

The Smoke: The initial puffs are quite spicy, with quite a predominate pepper note on the retrohale. The pepper notes subside after about ½ inch, however remain in the background throughout the smoke.

About an inch into the cigar, the strength mellows a bit settling in to a solid medium body. The flavors are woody and pleasant while the aroma has touches of tea and becomes slightly sweet.

From beginning to end, the Diesel Grind Double Toro maintained a perfect burn. The cigar produced a heavy, white ash that held on to the cigar with tenacity. You can even see the tooth on the ash, always a good sign!

Smoke time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Why I like this cigar: Personally, I don’t smoke a lot of extra-large, 60 ring cigars but the Diesel Grind Double Toro is one that would easily fit my usual rotation.

Unlike many gordos, the Diesel Grind Double Toro does not “draw like a straw,” providing just the right amount of resistance on the draw to allow for easy smoking without the cigar running hot.

The taste/aroma profile of the Diesel Grind is what I would term a “traditional” blend. Notes of wood, earth and a slightly bitter chocolate all meander in and out throughout the cigar providing enough interest make the cigar exciting without ever loosing balance.

While billed as “full bodied,” I would categorize the Diesel Grind as a Medium-Full body, leaning more toward the medium side.

Fans of cigars like Punch, Excalibur, and Rocky Patel’s “The Edge” will find the Diesel Grind’s profile to be similar, yet unique enough to be different.

But, my favorite feature of the Diesel Grind Double Toro has to be its price point. There aren’t many 6” x 60 cigars available under $8, let alone under $6, but that’s just where the Grind fits in, $5.65 a stick.

For a 6”x60 cigar hailing from the hands of A.J. Fernandez that’s all but unheard of.

Overall, the Grind is one of the better “new” cigars I’ve tried this year, a fact strengthened by its great price.

Grab a few and sit back… Enjoy!

M. Klausmeier
Tobacconist – SmokesOnMain