SGDG Magazine

Cigars: Estella by Espinosa


Erik Espinosa began working in the cigar industry in 1997. During the early 2000s, he teamed up with Eddie Ortega to create EO Brands, which produced Murcielago, 601, and Cubao cigars. In 2012, he went out on his own and opened up his La Zona factory, where he continues to make outstanding cigars using some of the best premium aged tobaccos, such as La Zona, La Jugada, and 601.

In 2013, the guys at Atlantic Cigar began working with Espinosa to develop a small-batch cigar that adhered to the quality and blending style that has made Espinosa such a star in the industry. The final result, which has now been released in early 2014, is Estella by Espinosa, a medium to full-bodied Nicaraguan puro.


 

The Estella by Espinosa is made at the La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Estella is produced in small batches twice a year. It has been released in 3 sizes: a Robusto Extra, a Grand Toro and a Grand Corona. The cigar are available in 10-count boxes or 25-count bundles.

I tried the Robusto Extra for this review.

If you are interested in trying the Estella by Espinosa, you can check it out here.


Appearance:

The Estella by Espinosa has a slightly oily wrapper that has a medium brown color. The texture is consistent and silky with a slight grain and minimal veins. The cigar is finished with a triple seam cap and feels well-packed with only a slight give when squeezed. The Robusto Extra size is good for those looking for a slightly larger robusto, but still want to enjoy a thicker and shorter smoke.

Tasting:

The unlit cigar offers aromas of barnyard, leather and dried fruit. Once cut, the cigar’s cold draw has mild sweet tobacco flavors with caramel, raisins and cedar.


1st Third:

There was very little spice on the light, with woody flavors upfront. The spice built and provided flavors of cinnamon and pepper. There was a hickory aftertaste with layers of sweetness. The draw was easy and provided good amounts of smoke. The strength began around medium-bodied.


2nd Third:

The middle of the cigar developed a toasty characteristic with roasted nuts and caramel. The hickory stuck around and was one of the predominant notes. A raisin and dried fruit sweetness lingered on the palate. The strength of the cigar remained around medium-bodied, perhaps moving slightly towards full-bodied.

Final Third:

The cigar finished with the many woody notes that were present throughout the smoke. A slight espresso developed and the caramel hung around. The strength increased slightly towards the end, but stayed below full-bodied. The cigar didn’t become harsh at the end, and I was able to nub it.



Overall:

This is a good cigar for fans of both Espinosa’s work. The flavors were very reminiscent of many cigars made with Aganorsa tobacco. I tasted some similarities to Illusione’s Le Epernay cigar. The construction was solid and the draw and burn were good. The cigar didn’t require any touch-ups while smoking. The strength is just about in the middle, so that there is plenty of flavor, but the nicotine content isn’t overwhelming. These cigars smoke well now, but given a few weeks in the humidor, they will probably really shine.

Estimated smoking time: 1 hour

If you are interested in trying the Estella by Espinosa, you can check it out here.  Atlantic Cigar is the exclusive carrier of this great cigar.

SGDG Lounge+: Civil Cigar Lounge Washington, DC

Owned by the proprietors of W. Curtis Draper, the oldest tobacconist in Washington D.C., the lounge opened on January 14, 2013. An adjacent retail store, stocking a selection of cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, opened on December 26, 2013.  

If your looking to smokegood cigars, throw back a few distilled spirits or eat some of celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio’s one-of-a-kind dishes…three indulgences in one place—the Civil Cigar Lounge in the Chevy Chase Pavilion.

The lounge is right next to Range, the upscale food menagerie with nine open kitchens that Voltaggio opened last month. The Range chefs will be offering a totally different menu of small plates at the cigar lounge, designed to complement the whiskies, Scotches, wine, cocktails and premium and small batch spirits served there.

With two private rooms, 125 personalized cedar cigar lockers, a long bar with 22 chairs, and smoking areas with burgundy leather chairs and plush banquettes, the place is a stunner. Even the restrooms are unique, with antique-mirrored ceilings and wallpaper depicting images of smoke.

Upon entry, you’ll notice the 500sqft retail shop with “world-class” smoking accessories and a glass-encased selection of cigars that range from mild body, to medium body, to Linda Tripp (um, heavy).
They’ve carefully curated a whole bunch of cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, meaning places that have the best smokes also have serious Presidente issues.

After buying that stogie, you could stuff it in one of 125 lease-able humidified cedar cigar lockers for safekeeping, or light it up and head out to the…

civillounge03

… lounge area with big ‘ole leather wingback club chairs and a state-of-the-art ventilation system that filters and replaces 100% of the air every two minutes, so it’s gone in like two Nic Cage heist films.

Pair that puff piece w/ one of their eight signature dranks, like this Smoked Manhattan w/ Knob Creek, Vermouth, a maraschino cherry, and a glass rinsed with smoked bourbon.

Or, if cigar puffing makes you hungry, just grab a small plate like this yellow fin tuna tartare with avocado and a soy-lime vinaigrette that’s no joke, mostly because it’s actually a salad dressing.

Cigars: Perdomo 20th Anniversary


Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Epicure (6 x 56)

The Perdomo 20th Anniversary cigars are rolled exclusively with tobaccos grown on Perdomo’s numerous farms in Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa Valley, Nicaragua. The 20th uses the highest primings to deliver a rich, complex flavor profile, and is available in both Maduro and Sun Grown wrappers. The wrappers are hand selected, aged for a minimum of 6 years, and then fermented for an additional 14 months in Bourbon barrels. This an extremely special Nicaraguan Puro from the Perdomo family, a representation of all of their farms coming together to create a wonderfully balanced premium cigar.

Appearance / Pre-light:
The cigar is a beauty. The sun grown wrapper is almost completely veinless and ultra smooth to the touch. The leaf color, especially for sun grown tobacco, is especially light with no blotchiness, consistent in color all the way through. It is extremely well rolled with near unidentifiable seams and an absolutely perfect cap. The cigar has a “slight” press, making it into more of a rounded-rectangle shape than a square. The band kind of reminds me of an Opus X for some reason, possibly the shape and detail put into the design. I clip the cap off easily, the pre-light draw is excellent, the open draw reveals some salty spice mixed with a cocoa sweet tobacco flavor.

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Review

First Third:
As I touch flame to cigar the first few puffs are accented with a spicy blast of flavor. The smoke output is excellent and the draw is open but not too much. After a few minutes and a few more puffs, I realize very quickly this is a complex cigar. There is a wonderful creamy sweetness on the finish intermixed with some floral flavors to go along with an earthy tobacco flavor, which seems to be increasing in depth. Although 56 is about as large as a ring as I like to smoke, the “slight” press of the Perdomo 20th gives it an easy going mouthfeel that does not get uncomfortable. So far the best way to describe this cigar would be to call it very classy. It’s extremely well made with wonderful burn and draw properties. While the flavor profile is very complex and multidimensional, you don’t have to be an aficionado to pick out the flavors. The cigar is very balanced and well blended, and the finish is superb. So far a phenomenal Anniversary cigar for Perdomo. As the first third comes to an end, the spice is ramped up a notch, and the cigar hits solid medium body territory.

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Review

Second Third:
The 20th Anniversary Epicure continues its smooth delivery of a variety of flavors, with more rich, leathery earthiness upfront, and while the sweetness is there it’s taken a back seat. One thing that is mostly agreed upon regarding Perdomo, especially among regular smokers, is that next to Padron, they create one of the most consistent Nicaraguan cigars on the market. I would bet that once I’m done with this cigar, if I sat down and smoked another, the experience would be nearly the same. As someone who smokes a lot of cigars, consistency is something I absolutely cherish in the cigar world. It takes skill and a certain amount of determination by a company to create cigars that offer up the same qualities time over time. I just wanted to commend Perdomo for that, the brand sometimes flies under the radar so to speak. If you haven’t I’d give Perdomo cigars a try, and this is a great place to start. The 20th Anniversary is a shining example of their ability to take tobacco from all of their many fields and create a solid, flavorful stick for a great price. At this point I had to remove the band because it was fairly wide. The second third continues on with an excellent combination of all the flavors I’ve previously mentioned in an expertly blended balance. The rich, creamy smoke has such an enjoyable sweetness to it, and the retrohale just the right amount of spice. I’m getting a very savory, salty taste in my mouth as the the smoke settles, causing my mouth to water a bit, and naturally cleanse my palate.

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown Review

Final Third:
I’ve had to touch up the cigar a few times, but that’s what a lighters for, and this Perdomo seems to be all about flavor, which is far more important then a perfect burn. Like I mentioned before, this cigar will easily satisfy a casual smoker or beginner. For someone with an advanced palate, if paying attention you will be able to hit most areas of the flavor wheel, from spice to salty to sweet, leather and earth, vegetal and floral. The depth here is striking and entirely enjoyable. The cigar is still burning smooth, and despite coming to the end is still burning cool. The final third is showing some sweetness once again in the foreground that mixes well with the salty finish. Hopefully the Maduro wrapped version of this blend shows the same complexity of character, I don’t see why it wouldn’t being that the wrappers were both treated to the same aging and fermentation process. After smoking this guy, the Maduro is definitely on my list of cigars to smoke. We’ve maintained a medium body throughout the cigar here, edging up right against the fullest side of medium, bordering on medium – full. The Perdomo 20th Anniversary Epicure, which is 6 x 54, was a very slow burning smoke, clocking in over 2hrs.

Overall, as you can tell by the review, I very much enjoyed this cigar. This is exactly what a celebratory Anniversary cigar should be. The construction was spot on, the burn and draw properties were great, and the flavors were rich and complex. The Perdomo 20th Anniversary will be available in 5 sizes, and will be in stock soon. Check back for stock availability, if you do not get our emails, make sure to sign-up below to be notified when new product comes in!

Source: Atlantic Cigar Company

Cigars: Jay-Z Partners with Cohiba


Cigar aficionado Shawn Jay-Z Carter has partnered with stylish stogie brand Cohiba Red Dot to create the Comador Cigar collection. Cohiba’s master blenders spent two years developing Comador’s elegant taste in the Dominican Republic.

The Comador Cigar comes in three inceptions. The Comador Toro Box houses seven cigars for $210, the Comador Travel Humidor case houses seven cigars for $350 and is part of his highly-publicized and highly-criticized “New York Holiday”.

“Handsomely covered in fine, grained leather, the two-door hinged humidor is lined with solid mahogany to seal in and emit moisture—while supporting your cigars’ maturation. Kitted with a hygrometer that maintains moisture at perfect levels, the humidor is crafted with a storage area and ventilated cedar tray that organize and protect up to 63 cigars. This beautiful investment piece comes with a sealed, screw-top metal travel cylinder that lets you carry your favorite cigars to parties, clubs, and other festive gatherings. A fabulous gift for the cigar lover on your holiday list—or for yourself.”

Barneys New York will donate 100 percent of sales from the “New York Holiday” items to the Shawn Carter Foundation. Take a closer look at the Cohiba Comador Cigars by Jay-Z below. Does this collaboration make you want to puff, puff or just pass?


Cigars: La Flor Dominicana’s Factory Pressed

La Flor Dominicana’s Factory Presses have been some of the most well-regarded cigars for quite some time. The Factory Press idea came to Litto Gomez as a way to show his customers how the factory pressing process worked. He ended up releases large boxes that were filled with box pressing trays to give his customers a closer look at how the sharp pressing on the cigars is achieved.

The first Factory Press was released in 2005, with subsequent releases almost each year. At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas, La Flor Dominicana showcased the release for 2013-2014, the Factory Press Limitado. This cigar is quite large, measuring in at 6 ¼ x 60.

While many, if not most, of the Factory Press releases were shipped in cases that contained individual pressing trays, this release is being sold in 12-count boxes, that are more like the individual trays.

This particular Factory Press is being characterized by LFD as the second release of the Factory Press Limitado, and does not have an accompanying Roman Numeral, like the other Factory Presses. The cigar’s band carries a simple F.P.L. to designate which cigar this is.

For this release, Litto Gomez sought out the darkest Ecuadorian Sumatran wrappers he could find. This specially aged wrapper is combined with Nicaraguan binders and Dominican long fillers.

Atlantic Cigar still has a decent amount of inventory on the LFD Factory Press Limitado. If you are interested, you can check it out here. This is a limited release, so once the cigars are sold, that’s it.


Appearance:

The Factory Press Limitado carries a smooth wrapper that has a mottled dark brown color. The veins are hardly visible. For a cigar that is a “gordo” size, it feels very manageable due to the box-pressing. The cap is well applied. Overall, this is a very attractive looking cigar.

Tasting:

Before lighting the cigar, there are smells of mild and sweet tobacco accompanied by fruit rind and hard candy. The cold draw has flavors of hard candy, raisins and cedar.


1st Third:

There was a mild pepper spice at light, joined by flavors of cedar and an initial sweetness. The draw offered slight resistance, which produced good amounts of smoke. The cigar started medium-bodied. Flavors of apple peel lingered on the palate and was later joined by some woodiness, which developed into molasses and hickory.

2nd Third:

The smoke on the Factory Press Limitado is remarkably cool. The cigar stayed steady throughout the middle, with the hickory and molasses sticking around. Some citrus notes develop in the background. The hickory presented occasionally more as a cedar note. the smoke is remarkably cool, stiff ash, hickory and molasses stick around. The cigar remained medium-bodied. The ash was nice and stiff, hanging on for over an inch.


Final Third:

The spice returned in some measure at the end of the cigar, but instead of a peppery spice, it presented more along the lines of nutmeg and cinnamon. The sweetness hung around and was accompanied by licorice, sweet hickory, molasses and some saltiness. The cigar stayed medium-bodied until the end, though the nicotine content was a bit sneaky.

Overall:

The La Flor Dominicana Factory Press Limitado was much sweeter and more medium-bodied than I expected considering a lot of other LFD releases. The sweetness was balanced nicely with some interesting fruit, wood and mild spice, so that it never became overwhelming. The box-pressing goes a long way to making the sheer size of the cigar much more manageable. The Factory Press releases have always been a favorite of mine and this cigar fits into that trend nicely.

Cigars: Alec Bradley Sun Grown Blend

This is the description from Cigar Aficionado: “The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Blend will have a Nicaraguan core of Estelí and Condega filler tobaccos and a Jalapa binder, the same as found on the Alec Bradley American Classic. But instead of a Honduran Connecticut seed wrapper, American Sun Grown will wear a sun-grown Habano leaf from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua, making them Nicaraguan puros. The Sun Grown cigars are being rolled at Plasencia Cigars in Estelí, Nicaragua.”

Creaminess shows up early and envelops the spice. There is a pie crust component to it…sweetness. And then here comes the Nicaraguan cocoa experience. It bathes my mouth in delectable dark chocolate. And with it, is the taste of almonds to round out the candy bar experience.

Less than an inch in and this cigar is showing off its pedigree. It is a meaty cigar. It quickly gets close to full body at this point. There is an Illuision quality to it. That dark deepness. The depth of character. I love this cigar. And I have nothing to do with the Alec Bradley folks.

The trick is to let them rest a bit. Do not smoke these sticks upon receipt. Give them a month and you will be rewarded.

As the first third ends, and the second begins, the power of the cigar strengthens. The pepper increases like a good Nic cigar should. There is plenty of flavor going on…the baking spices, the meatiness, that oak barrel flavor, and the beloved cocoa and creaminess.

This is a cigar you don’t want to end. I’ve always been an A/B fan but this is something really special. And they’ve shown the world that you can make a boutique cigar for less than $9. In fact, half of that.