Monday, January 3, 2011

Well, again I haven't been good about posting. But I haven't been doing anything exciting. I just play with Madigan, enjoy her sense of humor, and eat. Actually I have been able to enjoy a few cigars this Fall. Some of which I will now share comments upon from Dave and myself. I did find that if you want a good Irish single malt you will have to go some to beat Tyrconnell. And no one came close to bumping OBan from the top of the Scotch board in the man shed. Guinness extra stout and Shakespeare stout from Rogue brewing remain my top two stouts for 2010. But I did try several that were very good. Maybe I should be reviewing some beers and single malts, eh? Well, here goes with cigar reviews:

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your Mind and Spirit
8/23/2010 The Man Shed
Randy Gibbs and Dave Anderson review the Casa ToranoRobusto 4 3/4 x 52Carlos Toranos$3.00 as part of a samplerAccording to the Torano's website this cigar is comprised of an Ecuador-Connecticut Wrapper, a Nicaraguan Binder and filler that is Honduras/Nicaragua and a family blend of Central& South American Tobaccos. This was originally the Torano's private family blend. This cigar as you can see from the picture is a lovely light brown color with an almost flawless wrapper. It is tightly packed and we could fine no soft spots or sponginess. After clipping we found the draw to be perfect with just the right amount of resistance. The cigar lights easily and the initial tastes are smooth and creamy with a slight peppery finish. It has just enough bite on the end to let you know that its there. It produces an abundance of thick smoke with a creamy mouth feel. Tonight we are pairing our smoke with a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. This is a classic English Stout, rich and full bodied, but not sweet. We are also having a bump of the Man Shed's favorite Irish Whiskey Tyrconnell single malt.This cigar is clearly in the mild to medium strength profile. By the midway point we are both really enjoying this smoke. It has held its flavor and although relatively mild it has some complexity to it. Along with the peppery finish the cigar has a toasty and nutty flavor as well. It was a good night in the Man Shed! We both really enjoyed this cigar smoking it right down to the nub. It burned very well, although it developed a slightly wavy burn line it was nothing that needed a touch-up nor did the cigar ever go out, a testament to its excellent construction. The cigar, although mild, held up to the strong stout and the smooth Irish whiskey giving us a wonderful and diverse set of complimentary flavors. We gave this cigar a 4 as it was both a great smoke and an excellent value. We will definitely be smoking more of these in the future (hopefully very soon) and I would not be surprised to see this cigar in our best new smokes (for us) of 2010 or for this cigar to flirt with the elite rarely given 5 score.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your Mind and Spirit
8/20/2010 The Man Shed Randy Gibbs & Dave Anderson review Rocky Patel 15th AnniversaryBox pressed Robusto 5x50$9.50 B&M shop.
According to information I gleaned from the web the RP 15th features an Ecuadorian grown Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan (Jalapa) grown binder and a Nicaraguan filler. During an interview with Cigar Afficiando about this cigar Patel reported that the cigars are made with triple caps, the bunching is done entubado style, a slow process where each filler leaf is rolled in a sort of tube, and the cigars get two binder leaves rather than simply one. "We wanted it triple capped, rolled the Cuban way, all by hand," said Patel. "I think it changes the flavor profile. The flavor is different."This is a dark and oily looking cigar. It is firm to the touch with some slightly spongy places midway down the cigar. It has some small veins but is a good looking cigar. I'm not a fan of the label as it does not stand out from the cigar with the type of contrast created by the Decade label.Randy and I clip the cigar and I find the draw to be very nice. Randy reports that his cigar is a little tighter than he likes but he does not perceive it to be problematic. The cigar lights easily and has a nice earthiness quality to it. The initial taste are that of cocoa and espresso. There is a dryness and bitterness that is nice and not overpowering.The cigar burns relatively well, although about a third of the way into it a slight runner develops that requires a touch up. The draw continues to be very nice and produces an abundance of thick smoke.Midway through the cigar the flavor profile is holding. Randy reports that he continues to pick up the flavors of earth and espresso. The cigar has mellowed out a little but there is still that dryness, slightly bitter finish.Tonight we are pairing this smoke with a bottle of Saboteur Brett Barrel Brown Ale that my brother Rob gave me. This beer has a fruity sweet nose, the taste is equally sweet and it is highly effervescent. It was too sweet for my taste, reminding me of grape soda. Neither Randy or I were fans so we abandoned it for a dram of Red Breast Irish Whiskey.The longer I smoked the cigar the more trouble I had with burn issues. It went out on me twice. Randy also had some burn issues but not as significant as mine only requiring one relight and a couple of touch ups. We both liked the cigar but given the burn issues and the price I gave it a 3. Randy was leaning toward a 4 until he considered price and then he settled on a 3 as well. We are both big Rocky Patel fans but there are several cigars he produces that we enjoyed more than this one. It was good, but it was no Decade.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your Mind and Spirit
8-17-2010 The Man Shed
Randy Gibbs (AKA - The Pastor) and Dave Anderson (The Shrink)
Brick HouseToro - 6 x 52J.C. Newman$ 6.00+ The Cigar ChateauWrapper: Havana Subido, Filler: Nicaraguan, Binder: Nicaraguan
Randy and I first tried this cigar in 2009 and we really enjoyed it. In fact it made our list of Favorite new cigars from 2009. We decided to smoke it again to see if it was as good as we remembered.These are really good looking cigars with minimal veins and a slight oily sheen on the wrapper. They were firm to the touch with no evidence of soft spots or sponginess. They are adorned with a simple and yet elegant label. The construction of these beauties is top notch.After clipping the cigars we test the draw and it is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. We light them up and settle in for a couple of hours of conversation, adult beverages and hopefully a repeat of a great smoke. The cigar produces copious amounts of smoke that have a nice silky mouth feel and an enjoyable secondary aroma. This cigar burns really well, with only a slightly wavy burn-line, but no runners and it is self-correcting. It has a mild-medium strength profile with a slight spiciness on the finish that lingers in the back of the mouth.Tonight we are pairing our smoke with some of Randy's son Ben's English Pale Ale and a bump of Auchentoshan Single malt scotch. The beer has a nice balance of hoppiness and bitterness. The scotch has a very light nose, with sweet and spice flavors followed by a clean finish and a lingering burn.At the midway point we are both really enjoying this cigar. It has held a consistent medium strength profile and the spiciness at the finish remains although it has mellowed slightly. It has a slight taste of earth and cedar. It continues to burn well although we both had to make minor touch ups.In the end we were pleased that this cigars was as good as we had remembered it to be. It's flavor was very consistent and it burned very well. We appreciated that the spiciness held throughout the time we smoked it and that the burn issue were minor. We do not smoke these very often as we have never seen them come up in online specials. We generally only smoke them when one of us gets to a B&M shop that carries them.We rated it a 4 - Great Cigar - one we will definitely smoke again, would not hesitate to recommend to a friend and that we would keep in our humidor. Who knows if we get the opportunity to smoke some more of these they may make their way into the rarefied air of a 5.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your mind and spirit 9-2-2010 The Man Shed Randy Gibbs and Dave Anderson review the CAO Black Bengal 6 X 50 - part of a sampler $3.00 Typical price point online $4.00 - $5.00 Randy was not a fan of CAO cigars (having had some previously bad experiences with them) when I gave him a Brazilia Gol to try. He liked that cigar as well as the Italia. Thus, we were on a run of good experinces with CAO cigars. I had ordered a CAO sampler that came with a couple of CAO Blacks, which neither of us had smoked before. The bonus was that I had read a number of reviews of this cigar that were very positive so I was anticipating a great smoke. In reading up on this cigar I found that it has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Honduran binder and a mixture of Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican filler tobaccos. We unwrapped the cigar from its cedar cocoon and gave it a close look over. It's a fairly light tan in color and mostly firm to the touch a slight spongy spot about a third of the way down the length of the cigar. It was dry looking with no sheen to the wrapper. We clipped it and the draw was very good. We lit the cigars and sat back to enjoy a cool evening in the Man Shed. We paired our smoke with some Dark Truth Stout from Boulevard Beer and a bump of Cardhu Single Malt Scotch. Although the Dark truth is a fairly strong beer everything I have read about this cigar and its medium body indicates it should stand up nicely to this potent beer.I took a few long puffs off this cigar and I'm not liking it at all. It is really strong with an acrid taste on the finish. Not wanting to bias Randy I keep my initial reaction to myself. I also know that sometimes it takes a little while for my palate to adjust to a cigar so I don't want to make any rash judgment. That said, however, this is an unusual experience for me. I've smoked a lot of very strong cigars so it's not that. There is something else going on with this smoke, a a harshness that stays in my mouth long after the smoke is gone. I'm thankful for the strong beer and the scotch but even they cannot remove this taste from my mouth.When we hit the one-third mark I ask Randy about his thoughts and I can tell from his facial experience it is not good. He is having the same experience that I am. He cannot identify that lingering taste but he knows he does not like it. I should mention that the cigar is burning very nicely with a very thin burn line and a nice tight ash. At the half-way point Randy has this to say, "at this point it's not quite a spitter but it has not made a case for itself". I shake my head in agreement, this is very disappointing. The Dark Truth and the Cardhu on the other hand were quite enjoyable. I'm not sure I could have made it through the cigar without the strong influences of these drinks. The bitterness of the cigar was that bad.Randy ended up finishing his cigar. I gave up with about a 1/4 of it to go, I just couldn't tolerate it anymore. We both felt like it had burned very well and had a really nice draw but the taste never recovered from it's initial harshness. It was not that this cigar was just to strong for us. We have smoked a lot of strong cigars (Diesels, Cains, Man-of Wars to name a few) this was caustic and unpleasant. We ended up giving it a 2 which means we might smoke it again if someone gave it to us, but otherwise we will avoid it like the plague. Generally when we have a bad experience with a cigar the first time we will give it a second chance, but since we both had such a bad experience with the cigar we may be less inclined to try it again. We are not giving up on all CAO's as there are some we really like, but we may have given up on this one.

Thanks Dave for posting these over on your Web site. We are ready for our 2010 year in review.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Well, it hasn't been months, but I have a few months cigar reviews to post. More to come.
I love having a friend who takes the time to reveiw our times of trying different cigars. I find myself doing a lot of writing, but not taking time to record our reviews. Shame. Enjoy these and I'll try to do a better job in the future.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your Mind and Spirit - The Rocky Patel 1961

Date: 6-14-2010
The Man Shed
Dave and Randy
Rocky Patel - 1961
Robusto - $8.00 from Churchill’s in Topeka

Randy and I decided to try this cigar from Rocky Patel . We have rarely been let down by a smoke from Rocky Patel (except the Indian Tabac Super Fuerte) and we are always excited to try a new product. Rocky Patel produces two of our all time favorites the Connecticut and the Decade. The 1961 has a fairly dark brown wrapper and has a bit of an oily sheen to it. It is well packed but not overly firm. It has some prominent veins that leads to it looking a little on the rough side particularly when compared to the exquisite appearance of the Decade or Old World Reserves.

The draw was relatively effortless and produced an abundant amount of thick smoke. Initially the cigar seemed to have a fairly strong taste profile with a significant amount of spice on the finish. However, very quickly (within about half an inch) this cigar turned into having a more medium body and mellowing out on the finish. It maintained some nice rich flavors but lost the spiciness and bite on the finish.

The burn started pretty well with this cigar, but it began to produce a wavy burn line and then Randy noticed that he was having trouble keeping his lit. There was significant flaking in the ash consistent with a cigar that is not tightly packed as are intermittent burn problems.

We paired this cigar with some Hoppin’ Frog Silk Porter (who knew they made good beer in Ohio?) and a bump of Glenmorangie Single Malt scotch. Both of these were very good and complemented the smoke.

In the end we liked this cigar but we did not love it. We gave it a score of 3. Randy indicated that he might give it a 4 if he smoked it again and enjoyed the flavor as much as he did this time and did not have the burn issues we experienced. I was not as enthusiastic about this cigar. To me it is clearly a 3, a good smoke but I could think of a number that I would prefer to have and most would cost less. Both of us would definitely smoke it again.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your mind and spirit - John Bull
2-22-2010John BullThe Man ShedDave and RandyRobusto - $4.00This is a relatively inexpensive cigar and you can tell. It has a light brown and very veiny wrapper. It is fairly spongy to the touch and I found a significant soft spot in the cigar about a third of the way down, this usually means that there will be burn problems in that area. I also found a split in the wrapper of my cigar. The interesting thing is that Randy’s cigar showed none of the construction issues that mine did – sometimes it is literally the luck of the draw.We clipped the cigars and tested the draw Randy found his to be just right, whereas mine was very tight. This was somewhat surprising as it was not at all tightly packed – this generally means that it is plugged and that is a significant problem. In looking at the cigar I do not see any clearly visible stems protruding that might be causing the blockage. As it is, I am really having to work at drawing air through the cigar.There is not much going on with this cigar it is very mild almost bland. There is a slight little spice or pepper on the finish but very little. The cigar burns pretty well although it has a thick and wavy burn line. It produces a relatively compact and tight ash without much coning. We paired this cigar with Fuller’s London Porter which is one of my favorite beers – my brother Rob introduced me to it and it has only recently become available in Kansas. It is a wonderful, rich, dark, and flavorful beer. I’m enjoying it much more than the cigar.This cigar was what we thought it was, to paraphrase ex-Arizona Cardinal’s football coach Denny Green. It was very mild and lacked in any interesting tasting notes. It started mild and stayed that way. As I said before it was pretty bland. I also had problems with mine in terms of its construction and draw. Randy did not experience any of those issues but still found the cigar fairly mediocre. We gave it a 2 – we would not go out of our way to smoke one and in fact would choose almost anything over it, but if you wanted to have a smoke while you were fishing or playing golf and did not want to feel bad if you had to abandon it this cigar would fit the bill.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What? I haven't been on here for months? What is my problem? Well, I have been busy in the manshed off and on. My buddy Dave has posted a few cigar reviews from the times we have done a review night. I am sharing some of them with you in this post.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar Reviews for your Mind and Spirit - The Carlos Torano 1916
Carlos Torano 1916
Robusto - $ 7.00 retail
Randy ordered a couple of these as he had not had one before. I have not had a Torano Label Cigar so I was excited to try this. Randy reports that he has had cigars from this manufacturer in the past but not this particular smoke.
It is a nice looking cigar that is fairly tightly packed. It has some small veins but they are not particularly prominent. The wrapper is a Cameroon leaf and a light brown in color. It has no sheen and is in fact dry looking. After clipping the cigars we both found the draw to be good. Randy found his to be a little tight; mine was just right with the perfect amount of resistance.
After lighting the cigar I found the first several draws to be medium to mild with a light spiciness and peppery note on the finish. Randy also found it to be pretty mild but he experienced the aftertaste to be quite strong. That can be a bad sign sometimes indicating a cigar that is going to grow acrid and bitter. However, after smoking the cigar a little longer he found the aftertaste to have faded significantly and was no longer problematic for him.
The cigar burned quite well. It demonstrated a little waviness in the burn line and some “coning”, but it produced a very tight ash that was almost white in color and broke off in one piece holding its shape in the ashtray.
Tonight we paired our smoke with a New Belgium 1554 Black Ale – one of my favorite beers and some Lagavulin 16 Single Malt Islay scotch. Neither of us are big fans of this scotch. It is very strong in terms of its smoky, peaty and medicinal flavors. I bought a bottle on the recommendation of a salesman at a liquor store over a decade ago. Needless to say to have lasted that long behind my bar it was difficult to get anyone to drink it.
I found this to be a nice smoke. It had a very good draw and burned well. It had a nice mild to medium flavor profile with a little spiciness that it maintained throughout the smoke. It was consistent from start to finish and I did not experience any bitterness. Randy enjoyed it as well, commenting that he found it to have a mild but dry and woody flavor. We both gave it a 3 but I think I enjoyed it a little more than Randy – it probably fits my preferred smoking flavor profile closer than it does Randy’s.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar Reviews for your spirit and mind - The Tatuaje Havana VI - Nobles

The Man Shed
Randy and Dave
Tatuaje – Red Label – Havana VI Nobles
Robusto - $ 7.00 retail

This cigar was highly recommended to us by Randy’s son Ben. I’m excited because I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Tatuaje cigars but have never smoked one. This is an attractive cigar with an understated relatively simple label. The cigar is dark brown in color and very firmly packed. It had no soft spots or sponginess to it. There were also not any prominent veins, all-in-all a very attractive cigar.

After clipping the cigar we noticed that the draw was tight. This is not surprising given how tightly this cigar appeared to be packed. Hopefully it will loosen up as we go so as not to make this issue problematic . After lighting the cigar we both noticed a spiciness that was very present but not overwhelming by any means. I found the cigar to be of a medium flavor and profile and a bit stronger than Randy.

As we approached the halfway mark of the cigar we both commented on how much we were enjoying the cigar. It was burning well with a slightly wavy burn line but nothing that either of us would see as problematic. The cigar was flavorful with some continued spiciness but also quite smooth.

We paired this cigar with an O’Dell Bourbon Barrel Stout. This is a great beer to drink with a stronger cigar as it is rich and flavorful. It is a mouthful of flavor – vanilla, bourbon overtones, maltiness and yet it has a very creamy mouth feel and is quite smooth. It not only stood up to the cigar very well, we thought the two complemented each other nicely.

The draw did loosen up and was fine by the time we finished our smoke. Still a little tight, but that was to be expected and did not lessen our enjoyment of the cigar at all. It was a very consistent smoke that started relatively strong but then mellowed out without completely disappearing and became a very enjoyable medium body smoke with a nice spiciness. Randy and I both scored this cigar a 4 would happily smoke it again.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar Reviews for your Mind and Spirit - The Perdomo Lot No. 826 Slow Aged
Perdomo Lot No. 826 – Slow AgedRandy and DaveThe Man ShedRobusto $2.50/stickRandy and I are both fans of the Perdomo Label. We have found all the one’s we have smoked to be good consistent cigars. We can’t remember ever having a bad one but we also don’t think we have ever been blown away by a Perdomo. They seem solidly locked in on our Board as 3’s.Randy picked these up and as we had never had them we decided to give them a try. The color of the cigar is a little uneven it has some very prominent veins and a relatively unattractive label. It is not not tightly packed having some soft spots and overall feeling somewhat spongy. This looks like a value type cigar.After clipping we tested the draw. I found it to be a little loose and needing a bit more resistance. This is not supervising given how loosely this cigar was packed. Randy found the draw to be closer to his liking. The initial draws from the cigar produced an abundance of smoke and a mild flavor with just a little bite on the finish. The secondary smoke it produced had a pleasant aroma.The cigar burned very well. It kept a pretty straight burn line and required no touchups. It produced a remarkably tight white ash that demonstrated no bloomage or coning. It came off in one piece and held its shape in the ashtray. I was surprised by this given the sponginess of the cigar. We paired this cigar with some Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey. It is a wonderfully light and yet flavorful Irish. We were a little worried that this whiskey could be easily overwhelmed by a cigar but because this smoke is fairly mild it seems like a good pairing. In the end we enjoyed this cigar. It was not as smooth or creamy as a typical Connecticut having more of a bite to it (I think this is because of the ligero in the filler). It reminded us of a Don Pepin blended 601 with hints of cedar, pepper and wood tones. This smoke was nothing fancy, just a good solid 3, much like many of the other Perdomo’s.

I will, of course post more of our winter's effort to discover another great cigar. Until then ....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Here is another fine review by our cigar review writer Dave. Good job and keep it up.

The Pastor and the Shrink - cigar reviews for your mind and spirit - Ambos Mundos 1 and 2
2-21-10 This evening we are smoking the Ambos Mundos #2 and as we smoked the Ambos Mundos #1 last week we are combining our reviews. The name is Spanish for "Both Worlds" and the cigars are from the creator of the Tatuaje brand of cigars Pete Johnson. Now I have not had a Tatuaje cigar yet but I have yet to hear anyone say anything but good things about them. Like the Tatuaje brand these are blended by Jose Pepin Garcia.One of these comes with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper AB #1) and the other is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper (AB#2) - hence the two worlds reference. These cigars are apparently made with the same tobacco that the Tatuaje are just not as high of grade tobacco is used. It should be noted that these cigars earned scores of 90 and 91 in Cigar Aficionado with the Ambos Mundos #2 being ranked #18 in Cigar Aficionados Top 25 cigars of 2009. Both cigars also made Cigar Aficinado's Best Bargain Cigars of 2009.Neither of these are particularly attractive cigars. They only come in two sizes Robusto and Toro and we were smoking the Robusto size. Both cigars had very prominent veins visible in the wrapper - this may be because of the lower grade tobacco used. They are endowed with small and plain labels. I remember when I picked these up at Centro Cigars in Lawrence thinking that compared to the other cigars available in the humidor these were sort of plain and cheap looking. Now it should be noted that I paid about $5 a stick for these retail and most other cigars at Centro were at least double that price so I was not complaining. After all, we are going to smoke them not stare at them.The construction on both cigars was good. They were fairly compactly packed but not to tight. They were slightly spongy toward the back half of the cigar. The draw on the AB#2 we both felt was a little loose. The AB #1 on the other hand had a great draw with just the right amount of resistance.The first half of the AB #2 burned really well with a tight ash and only a slight waviness to its burn line. But in the second half it developed some significant burns issues needing to be both touched up and re-lit. The AB#1 burned better. It also had a tight burn line early on that got somewhat more wavy in the second half. It had much less significant burn issues than the AB #2.The Ambos Mundos #1 was a medium to full bodied smoke with an initial peperriness and spice that although it mellowed continued on the finish. We thought it was pretty good and gave it a 3. It was not one of our favorites but we would smoke it again. We paired it with an Avery Brewing Company Imperial Stout - The Czar. The beer was rich and flavorful with vanilla and carmel notes - very nice.The Ambos Mundos #2 had much more spice and pepper that did not mellow. It was not overwhelming, but it also did not smooth out much. It was fairly consistent in it's medium body presentation. It was good, but not great, we gave it a 3 as well. We paired this with a Boulevard Irish Ale - which was very crisp and clean and had an abundance of hops. We finished the cigar with the MaCallan Fine Oak single malt scotch, which was very nice.In the end we liked the Ambos Mundos #1 slightly more than the number two. We would smoke either of them again but we could easily think of other cigars we would reach for first. Although their $5 price point is pretty reasonable we generally order our cigars online and for that price we could get a Rocky Patel Decade or a CAO Soprano both of which are much better cigars.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Next installment of cigar reviews:

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar reviews for your mind and spirit - Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story
Randy and I smoked this cigar the same evening we smoked the San Cristobol (2-12-10). As you may know the San Cristobol smoked very quickly for us. We decided that as the night was young and the Man Shed warmed up that we might as well have another smoke. It was then that I remembered that I had two Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story cigars in my humidor. In the interest of full disclosure I love these cigars and had been saving those two for a special occasion.Because of its distinct shape this is a more challenging cigar to roll. It has a Cameroon wrapper and Dominican binder and filler. I paid just over $5 apiece for these retail. I have not seen them online as part of a special.The cigar is very light brown in color and the wrapper is rather dull without any sheen. It appears very well constructed and you can tell that it is made with great skill. It was firmly but not overly tightly packed. It has a somewhat unusual "nipple" on the foot of the cigar. It concentrates the area by which the cigar is lit into a very compact space. Thus lighting is very easy and generally fairly quick.After clipping and lighting the cigar Randy and I got our first real sense of the draw. Both Randy and I found the draw to be nearly perfect. It had just the right amount of resistance.The cigar started with a very pleasant mild nutty flavor that had a little sweetness at the end. It did not have any of the spice or bite that the previous cigar (San Cristobol) had.Tonight we paired this cigar with one of our new favorite Irish Whiskeys. Tyrconne/l Single Malt Irish Whiskey. I brought a bottle of this home from a trip to Topeka. We really enjoyed it and now it is one of our staples.The cigar burned perfectly. It kept a very thin burn line and developed no runners, did not need to be touched up or re-lit. It had a very tight ash that came off in one piece and demonstrated very little coning and no blooming. It produced an abundance of smoke that had a wonderful secondary aroma.The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story held a very consistent flavor and burn. Although on the mild side it was complex and had a wonderful flavor. It was also a really good pairing with the Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish. Both were complex in their flavor profiles with hints of sweetness.As I said at the beginning this is one of my favorite cigars and this smoke lived up to my memory of it. We both scored this cigar a 5. That makes it one of our all time favorites and one we think everyone should have in their humidor. That means I will have to keep my eye out for them as I need to make sure there are at least a couple in there for the next special occasion.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We have begun the new years list of cigars we want to try. Dave has posted a review on several. I share them with you as he posted them, starting with the San Cristobal.

The Pastor and the Shrink - Cigar Reviews for your Mind and Spirit - San Cristobal
Randy and I have been looking forward to smoking this cigar ever since his son Ben told us how much he liked it. This cigar is an Ashton product. This following information is from their website. San Cristobal is a boutique cigar handcrafted in Nicaragua by Jose “Pepin” Garcia. Blended entirely from rich, well-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos, these cigars feature dark, oily Nicaraguan wrappers. The flavors are rich and full-bodied, exhibiting a perfect balance between strength and complexity. Hearty notes of earth, cedar and spices are accompanied by lighter notes of walnuts, espresso, black cherries and dark chocolate. Each cigar is constructed impeccably and finished with a traditional Cuban Triple-Cap.This is a dark brown cigar with a large, colorful and ornate label. It's construction is seen as generally good, however, Randy did find a couple of soft spots and it is not firmly packed, thus giving it a sort of spongy feel. After clipping and lighting the cigar we sat back to enjoy this smoke.Both of us found the draw of this cigar to be loose and easier than we preferred. Randy joked that we might be able to smoke these in a half-hour as loose as the draw was. As these are blended with Nicaraguan tobaccos and made by Jose "Pepin" Garcia we expected to experience the strong spiciness that usually accompanies this type of cigar. Whereas it had some spiciness it was more subtle and underplayed than most Garcia cigars especially those made by Jose's Father. We both liked the flavor and the bite - Randy compared it to Rye bread - like a pumpernickel.Tonight we are pairing this cigar witha bottle of Brother David's Double Abbey Style Ale from Anderson Brewing Company. I saw this in a liquor store in Lawrence and how could I pass it up. It seemed made for me.The burn of this cigarr was actually pretty good. We were a little surprised because of how loose the draw was. It held a pretty tight ash that came off in one piece and held its shape. The burn line was somewhat wavy and a little inconsistent, but again given the draw it was not to bad.At the midway point Randy felt like it was a good mild and yet flavorful cigar. I found it to be more in the meduim range and enjoyed the light and yet consistent spiciness that it had.Generally a cigar of this size (Robusto) takes us in excess of two hours to to smoke. We were both somewhat amazed that we were done in around an hour. The draw was so light that we smoked through the cigar in about half the usual time. The good news was that it held a consistent flavor, a pretty good burn line, and never went out. We really enjoyed the cigar and although it burned quickly it did not seem to get overly hot or acrid which can occur when the draw is to loose.We both gave this cigar a 4. It was not a strong 4 and the loose draw hurt it, but overall it was a very enjoyable cigar that we would recommend and gladly smoke again. We liked the cigar much more than the beer. Even though its name seemed to have all of the signs of a great beer we found it to be to light and to sweet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Starting off the new year, Dave and I review the Cain. I sure am glad Dave like to write things up. Otherwise it would be a long time between reviews. Here is the latest.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Randy and I had a number of cigars we were looking forward to trying in 2010. One of those was the Cain Habano. We've had a break in the recent cold spell and headed back out to the Man Shed for a late evening smoke. The following information about this cigar was found on the internet -The Oliva Cain Cigars are a triple-fermented all-ligero cigar that was released in August of 2009. The inspiration for the blend is the motto of "straight ligero". These cigars have a variety of ligero tobaccos from several regions of popular tobacco farms in Esteli, Condega, and the Jalapa Valley in Nicaragua. Making a Straight Ligero cigar requires a unique understanding of the leaf. Ligero comes from the top of the tobacco plant. Its direct exposure to the sun darkens and thickens this leaf. Smaller than leaves lower on the plant, it also enjoys a concentration of nutrients. Habano Seed Ligero is recognized as the most full flavored leaf on a plant.Cain is the creation of Sam Leccia creator of one of our favorite lines of cigars the Nub's. I'm a little intimidated by this cigars as I have heard so much about its strength. We are going to smoke this cigar in the Robusto size (5.70 inches in length with a ring gauge of 50). I picked these up while in Topeka at Churchill's. They ran just over $7. This is more than we typically pay but we have not seen the Cain's in any specials online yet and we really wanted to try them.The Cain Habano is a rather rough looking cigars with a single small understated label on the foot of the cigar. It is not the prettiest cigar I have ever seen but rather it has a masculine appearance. It looks like its going to be strong. The cigar feels firmly packed although a soft spot was detected about half-way down the cigar.After clipping the cigars we test the draw and we are both impressed with it. The cigars light nicely and we are off. After taking about a half dozen draws we find the cigar to be as strong as advertised. It is full flavored with a pronounced bite at the end. Now a lot of cigars start this way the question is will our palates adjust or will this cigar's full flavor, body and bite persist?As we reach the half way point the burn had been very good. The cigar does not hold its ash like a Nub but the burn line has been good and we have had no burn issues. That is until we get to the place where the soft spot was and then both our cigars went out. The cigar has held its strength through the first half of our smoke. It is not bitter but it is strong and the bite has remained for me. Randy has noticed what he called a kind of toasty or roasted flavor. It reminds me of espresso - very strong, bitter but if you like that then also quite enjoyable.We paired our smoke tonight with two drinks. The first was The Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey. This is a lovely drink with a floral nose. It starts a little sweet, quickly followed by a warm burn and then a rather dry and crisp finish. We actually tried the Tyrconnell before we lit the cigars as we were concerned that the strength of the cigar might overwhelm this whiskey. We then shared a bottle of Sam Adams Imperial Stout. Now this is a drink that can stand up to even the strongest of cigars. It is rich and bold with many complex flavors that are unveiled as you drink it. It is strong, slightly sweet, thick and complex. As we finish our smoke we talked about our final impressions of this cigar. we both thought that this cigar was very close in flavor profile to the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. It was a smoke that held its strength and full flavor from beginning to end. We both had burn issues in the back half of the cigar. Randy liked this cigar. He thought it was a good strong cigar. He called it a "change of pace" cigar. He gave this cigar a score of 4 and would look forward to having some of these in his humidor.I gave this cigar a score of 3. I had a number of burn issues in the second half of the cigar that required several re-lights. This cigar is not for the feint of heart. It is strong and powerful, a little to much so for my taste. I would smoke it again but if I were looking to smoke a stronger cigar I would probably pick the Man-O-War or Diesel before I would smoke this cigar again. The Sam Adams Imperial Stout was a better pairing for this cigar then the Tyrconnell Irish whiskey. The strength of the stout complemented the strength of the cigar. We did, however, really like the Tyrconnell and look forward to a few more drams of it on a cold winter night.