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Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero Limited Edition (prerelease)

Cigar Review by Matt Zaccheo (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)


Jay’s Notes:

This week we are photographing and reviewing the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero prerelease. Antonio Lam of Reinado will be making a follow-up splash at this year’s IPCPR’13 by introducing additional vitolas to his popular Grand Empite Reserve line – Petit Lancero Limited Edition (6 x 38), Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46), and Toro (6 x 52). In addition, “couple months” after the IPCPR, Antonio will be releasing the Gordo size (6 x 60). When asked why Gordo is not coming out at the same time as the other 3 new vitolas, Antonio responded – “Blend needs work for the size. We want to be able to translate the essence of the GER notes as close as possible and don’t feel it is there yet.” So, there you have it. Four additional vitolas to the popular Elegidos (5 x 55) original release.

If you have enjoyed the flavor & performance of the Elegidos but prefer the lancero format, the Petit Lancero might be just what you have been waiting for. Keep in mind though, the Petit Lancero will be a limited edition – 10 count boxes (250 boxes total).

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Length: 6”
Ring: 38


Matt’s Review:

Cut: Palio
Drink: Unsweetened Lipton Cold Brew iced tea
Palate: Fresh

# cigars smoked for review: One…..it was all I could get my hands on!

Pre-light: The cigar presents itself with an oily and attractive mocha brown maduro wrapper. It’s not as oily as the Elegidos, but it still exudes that sexy, velvety tactile experience. The palpable veins and ultra fine tooth create subtle color variations and accentuate deeper dark chocolate and reddish hews. Perfect symmetry: tight, crisp seems and evenly packed throughout. Off the foot, the pre-light aroma is gripping: huge plum, raisin and sweet tobacco. Way too sexy for the barnyard! The cold draw gives up more sweet tobacco and jammy notes balanced by earth and hints of leather.

Draw:  Classic lancero: a little snug, but not uncomfortable.

Flavors: The lead in is an initial warm blast of red pepper spice(tip of the tongue) that commands your attention and gradually fades out into a wave of sweet cedar, dark chocolate, and moist earth, while soft wisps of leather try to emerge from the depths below. It’s a much more lively and spirited red pepper spice up front and on the retro hale when compared to the Elegidos. It may be petite, but it sure as hell is bold as brass coming out of the gates! Saucy……I like it!

The smoke starts off bright and sharp on the palate. There are delicate floral and herbal notes that unfold to soften the cedar edge. The core is earth and dark chocolate. The finish is long…….coffee, roast nuts, and soft leather. Getting into the second third, around the second ash drop, it is clear that act I has closed………but the show must go on.

A very interesting transition / transformation occurs: the smoke becomes much more dense and lush, yielding a bigger mouth feel on the palate. The crisp floral and herbal notes are put to rest and the overall texture gets much creamier. A distinct sweetness, not present at all in the 1st third, starts to reveal itself. It’s not the blackstrap molasses I get from the Elegidos. It is a lighter / less aggressive and more delicate sweetness … it’s honey! This in and of itself is worth the price of admission … but it’s not even close to the best part.

Simultaneously, as the mouth feel is becoming much more substantial and creamier, the warming sensation of the red pepper on the tip of my tongue changes dramatically!  The honeyed sweetness builds and a particular floral note becomes readily apparent … it’s mint! On the tip of my tongue, throughout the second third of the cigar, a wonderful cool minty, fresh grated nutmeg spice led into a long, smooth finish of earth, coco, coffee, leather, and more roast nuts. The leather is more assertive throughout the remainder of the cigar and the mild cedar evolves into more of a toasted oak. The honey and mint mesh well and subtle graham cracker notes fleet in and out…… it’s truly a happily ever after moment going on here.

The strength and body build throughout the cigar. For me, it was a solid medium that developed into full throttle…..hitting the final third! The flavors are BIG and diverge and contrast at points, but are never conflicting or opposed.  She will tangle you in an elaborate complex web. Damn….MORE please!!!

Burn: Required one touch up. Tight potash grey salt and pepper ash.

Construction: Excellent

Description Adjectives: Rollercoaster. Big things come in small packages. Petite….my ass!

Box Worthy: Oh HELL yes!

Overall: Another clear winner from Reinado. I love the GER blend and this vitola showcases it’s different characteristics and attributes extraordinarily well.  When I was growing up my parents taught me if you were going to do something….do it right. This is a job well done…done right….. and not to be missed.


Please consider the following posts:

* http://cigarphoto.net/blog/2012/11/reinado-grand-empire-reserve/
* http://cigarphoto.net/blog/2011/02/reinado/

 

* DISCLAIMER: Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Petit Lancero sample was gifted by Antonio Lam of REINADO. Antonio’s generosity had no impact on the actual experience. The cigar spoke for itself.

 

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Tatuaje Avion 2013 ‘Habano’ (prerelease)

Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)

This week we are photographing and reviewing the Tatuaje Avion 2013 ‘Habano’ prerelease. Back in May of 2013 Pete Johnson of Tatuaje reported mid production change to the Avion 2013. Instead of using the Habano Ecuador wrapper, the official Avion 2013 will be wrapped in the Connecticut Broadleaf. For those who were excited about the Habano wrapper, there is good news. The Tatuaje Avion 2013 ‘Habano’ is now arriving at your local B&M as ‘limited’ release. Here is the breakdown:


Avion 13 Habano Ecuador (aka. Avion 13 FFs):

  • Habano Ecuador (wrapper), Nicaraguan binder & filler
  • 6 7/8 x 52
  • bundles of 10 (total of 7,500 cigars)
  • LIMITED band

Avion 13 Connecticut Broadleaf Reserva:

  • Connecticut Broadleaf (wrapper), Nicaraguan binder & filler
  • 6 7/8 x 52
  • Boxes of 20
  • 2 bands - Standard Avion & Reserva

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The Tatuaje Avion 2013 ‘Habano’ is aesthetically perfect and the roll is firm to the touch. Wrapper is gorgeous with just a touch of a mottled look. Cutting a little more than a 1/4 inch reveals an impeccable draw. The cold draw allows flavors of strong tobacco and cayenne pepper to come on strong. Cayenne flavor without the spice. The initial light up gives off bold spice notes across the palate and in the retrohale. The aftertaste turns to a sweet, slightly creamy, cedar flavor. A full inch in, I am amazed how smooth this cigar is for being as fresh as it is. The spice really backed down quickly. (side note: As was expected with the perfecto shape, the burn started a bit crooked but evened out nicely.) The dominant flavor now is sweet, creamy cedar with a touch of toastiness in the aftertaste. There is also a wonderful effervescence on the retrohale. I’ve noticed this a lot in Tatuaje cigars. The way I’ve described it before is – menthol without the mint, just the cooling sensation.

Passing the 1/3 mark, a spice note has picked back up, both across the palate and in the retrohale. But more like a softer, white pepper spice. At the halfway mark, the spice is creeping up and intensifying. A subtle richness is starting to develop and is very enjoyable in the aftertaste, especially after the spicy retrohale. It’s a really enjoyable combination to get a creaminess across the palate, while getting an intense spice on the retrohale.

Coming into the final 1/3, there is a slight tingle on the tip of my tongue and a spicy heat in the back of my throat. I should have mentioned this sooner, but the cedar flavor basically disappeared going into the halfway mark. I would have liked to see it stick around, but I’m not complaining about the direction the smoke went. The effervescence I mentioned earlier has really intensified. It is certainly not unpleasant, but I might attribute it to the freshness of the cigar. Coming into the finish, the profile has remained fairly consistent. Spicy retrohale, creamy across the palate, and a nice richness in the aftertaste.

Final thoughts:
I was amazed at how smooth this cigar was for how recently it was rolled. It was complex enough but with very discernable flavors. I see no issue with smoking these right out of the box upon release. However, I believe that putting some age on these will reward you handsomely. I know I will be smoking a lot of these! Happy smoking my friends!

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Tatuaje ‘Pork Tenderloin’ – homemade

Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)

This week we have something unique, literally. About two years ago, I reviewed Tatuaje ‘Pork  Tenderloin’ and found it to be one of the best if not the best Tatuaje releases ever. Unfortunately the Pork Tenderloin is now long gone and can be found for premium through the secondary market. Well, to avoid spending a fortune, Steve decided to “build” his own ‘Pork Tenderloin’ by taking Tatuaje J21 and covering it with Connecticut Broadleaf using Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Broadleaf wrapper. Below is Steve’s experiment.

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Very shallow cut gives the perfect draw, just a little tug. Dry taste is of amazing tobacco and some sweetness from the broadleaf. As soon as I lit up, I was bombarded with flavor. Spice across the palate and through the nose, cedar sweetness, and an aftertaste of rich mocha/cocoa. Just ¼ inch in, the spice on the retrohale has significantly intensified, really pushing this smoke towards full bodied and definitely full flavored. Along with this, the cedar and mocha have started to blend together to really create an orgy in my olfactory senses. The smoke has a nice creamy feel to it and leaves me craving the next puff. The retrohale on this smoke may just be the best I have ever experienced. Normally I would expect to be hit with spice up front and then be left with a lingering aftertaste. This cigar has managed to blend it all together and give me everything up front on one dish. The spice, cedar, and rich mocha/cocoa have become one homogenous flavor!


A full inch in, and much to my pleasure, it’s burning almost razor straight (pat on the back for myself). The intensity of the spice has really stepped back, allowing for the sweet, creamy, richness of the cedar and mocha/cocoa to be dominant. Wow, what an unpredictable smoke. The very next puff I took smacked me with strong spice again on the retrohale! I’m going into sensory overload with this one and I love it! Literally, puff to puff, it’s like someone is playing with the volume knob on the spice. It’s a very unique and enjoyable experience. At the same time, the richness and sweetness of the broadleaf are really shining through. Just past the halfway mark, spice has maintained intensity for the past half inch or so. The richness is certainly still present; however, the cedar notes have shifted from a sweet to more woody. The lingering aftertaste has developed a subtle flavor of dark caramel. Imagine it as a caramel that was pushed just to the very limits, just before it was about to burn, but still left rich and sweet. This instantly reminded me of the Frank Jr. Coming into the finish, the profile is remaining consistent, but a few puffs let some toasty, savory and floral notes slip through. As I’m nubbing this stick, trying not to burn my fingers, some nice dark roasted coffee bean flavors have come through. I am honestly sad to see this one go, but alas the time has come.


Final thoughts:
This was an experiment that I was handsomely rewarded for. In all honesty, this was one of the best Tatuajes I have ever smoked. And I smoke A LOT of Tatuajes. If anyone has ever rolled the idea around in their head, my suggestion is that you get off your ass and make it happen! You will not be disappointed in the least! If I had the financial resources, as much as I love them, I’d sacrifice a whole box of Cojonu 12 Reservas to make a box of these! I found the experiment to lack the “toasty” character when compared to the real deal. Both cigars had similar profiles and unleashed bold flavors of cocoa/mocha, caramel, cedar, cream, and a roller coaster ride of spice, albeit at different point. 

 

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Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas

Cigar Review by Matt Zaccheo (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)


This week we are photographing and reviewing the Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas. This petit corona, made at the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate factory in Nicaragua, is one of the latest innovations from the Drew Estate stable.


Cut: Not applicable.  A quick tug at the pigtail did the job. Not elegant….but efficient!
Drink: None
Palate: Fresh
# cigars smoked for review: Three

Prelight: At first glance, the pigtail cap on this cigar is rather unique and commands some attention. It is more reminiscent of the fuse on an M-80 firework or the stem of an apple. No coil: it stands at attention waiting to be torn off. There is no primary banding, just a simple and attractive boquilla band. The wrapper is dark and mottled with an ultrafine tooth and scant amount of oils. It’s resilient and thick. The seams are tight and the cigar feels uniform and well packed throughout its entire length. Nothing to suggest mixed filler here! The initial aromas off the foot are of sweet tobacco, mild cedar, and cocoa. The cold draw yields more sweet tobacco, cocoa, and leather with some raisin, zinfandel, and port notes.  Once the band is off the foot…it begs to be ignited. Let’s get it on!

Draw: Comfortable and fluent from start to finish

Flavors: Initial notes are of dark chocolate, leather, espresso, and sweet cedar. There is a quick burst of spice (cayenne/red pepper) that fades into the background after the first 5-6 draws….only to be acknowledged again on the retrohale. As the cigar gets going there is no doubt about it: it’s broadleaf baby….in all of its gritty glory! The smoke is dense, lush and creamy. It’s big on the palate. You can chew it! Production is not quite colossal, but it is definitely imposing and impressive for such a small stick. Classic Liga! As the cigar hits mid stride, the leather becomes more dominant. The generic sweetness is given a name: blackstrap molasses. From the dark chocolate and bitter espresso emerges a more dry dusty cocoa. The woody finish transitions from mild sweet cedar to more of a dark cherry and nutty toasted oak with some fleeting vanilla notes. Overall, the flavors are rich and intense. They come in waves and roll effortlessly over the palate. It’s game on and full Nica flavor from the get go! My palate interprets the strength to transition from a medium minus to a solid medium as I hit the end of the first third. Don’t worry….what it lacks in strength it more than makes up for with its vigor!

Burn: Excellent. All three samples were razor sharp. Only a few minor touch ups. Two ash drops and my first ash was 1 ½ inches long!

Construction: The excellent construction of this cigar is truly a tribute that must be paid to the rollers. This is no ordinary short filler……this is the result of passion meets performance. Total smoke time was 45 minutes – 1 hr. and 15 minutes.

Descriptive adjectives: “Little Big Man”. “Petite Power”.  “Liga #4.5”. This is ten pounds of Liga in a five pound sack!

Sleeve worthy: Absolutely

Overall: I have yet to meet a Liga I didn’t like. This was no exception. It is not just a commuter cigar! Take the extra 15-30 minutes…. and slow down….to savor and appreciate the gifts from the torcedors’ chaveta! 


Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
Length: 4.5″
Ring: 44

 

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L’Atelier LAT46 Selection Spéciale

Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)

This week we are photographing and reviewing the L’Atelier LAT46 Selection Spéciale. This corona-gorda vitola, made at the My Father factory in Nicaragua, is the latest release from the L’Atelier Imports stable.

This is a true Corona Gorda vitola, measuring 5 5/8 by 46. In a market plagued with obese sticks, this cigar really tickles me pink. Just as I believe the original LATs coming in boxes of 15 was smart, this one coming in boxes of 10 is even smarter. Same basic box concept as the originals; same original band with the addition of a secondary “Selection Spéciale” band. Alright, enough of this mumbo jumbo. Let’s get down to business.

For starters, the wrapper is noticeably darker than the originals, as it is a higher priming leaf. Same proprietary blend as the original LATs. Construction is flawless with the same flag top finish as the originals. The smell of the foot is of hay and amazing tobacco. It literally transports me back in time some 10 years ago when I was first smitten with everything that had to do with cigars. The draw, with a shallow straight cut, is ideal for me. Just a little bit of tug. This has been consistent in both the prerelease (2) and the market release (2) I have smoked for this review.

As soon as I light up, I’m smacked with spice both across my palate and on the retrohale, which is very intense. It has very savory characteristics to start. Toasty, smoky, and cedary. The aftertaste, thus far, is just barely dropping hints of flavor I associate with the core LATs but not quite discernable yet. The lingering mouth feel is smooth with just a touch of grit, almost like an ultra-fine sandpaper; enjoyable. A full inch in, the burn has been RAZOR sharp (not touch-ups) and has a very nice white/gray colors with touches of black throughout. A flavor of toasted artisanal bread has made its way to the forefront of flavor with strong cedar on the retrohale. (Side note: Something interesting I’ve noticed with every one of these I’ve smoked is a tingle on my lips, across my palate, and in the back of my throat. Certainly not unenjoyable, just very interesting.) The spice on the retrohale has stayed fairly intense, but is very enjoyable for me. With the halfway mark approaching, a strong effervescent characteristic has developed. This is something I’ve noticed not only with the LAT46, but the original LATs as well and I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s like menthol without the mint, if that helps explain it any better. The toastiness is still present up front, with the mocha notes I get a lot of in the originals coming through in the aftertaste. With this stick, it’s like clockwork that as soon as you pass the halfway mark, the strength really spikes in intensity. It goes from a nice, consistent medium, to full bodied in the blink of an eye. Cedar is one of most consistent flavors in this stick, which makes sense because it’s very present in the originals. However, I interpret it as a more woody cedar in the 46, whereas it’s sweeter in the originals. I might attribute this to the amped up quality of the wrapper. Nevertheless, it’s a great flavor. Into the final third of the cigar, the construction really shines! Not very warm to the touch and not spongy. The effervescence has really intensified in the retrohale. The mocha aftertaste has all but fade away and has given way to a nice roasted coffee bean characteristic with just a touch of graham cracker. Finally snubbed it out with about a ¾ inch nub.

Final Thoughts:
Smoking time: 1 hour 10 minutes. I personally love this cigar just as a love the original LATs. It’s has the same base bones, but the high priming wrapper really gives it its own unique flare. I often tell people who are trying LATs for the first time that they really need to pay attention to it, as they might overlook a lot of the subtle nuances. The 46, just as its big cousins, seems to make quick changes almost from puff to puff. The flavors jump around and really make for an enjoyable smoking experience. As far as rating this cigar goes, I won’t. I don’t believe in the numbers games. What I will say is this. I will be smoking many more of these! I’ve already set aside a box for aging and I can’t wait to see what time will do to these smokes, provided I can keep my grubby paws off of them! Happy smoking my friends!

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Sancti Spiritus (Ecuador)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Length: 5.625″
Ring: 46

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