Posts Tagged stogie review

Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro

Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (

Jay’s Notes:

This week we are photographing and reviewing the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro – the latest project from the Oliva Cigar Company and a follow-up to well received Oliva Serie V Melanio (ecuadorian sumatra wrapper). 

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Mexican maduro from San Andrés Valley
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Length: 6.5”
Ring: 52


Steve’s Review:

For starters, this cigar is aesthetically gorgeous. A smooth, dark chocolate wrapper with minimal veins and a beautiful box press. A sniff of the foot gives off a rich, sweet tobacco aroma. I used an angle cut, taking off about a 1/3 of an inch. Too snug. Took off about another 1/8 of an inch. We’ll see how it works out. Putting the cigar in my mouth to take a cold draw was instantly like chocolate hitting my lips. Very mild flavor on the cold draw, but a sweet richness is definitely there. Let’s put some fire to this stick.

Right away I’m hit with a boldness that I was not expecting. I can already tell that this is vastly different from its regular Melanio counterpart. A very smooth, but slightly gritty, feeling coats my palate. A powerful spice comes through on the retrohale. The aftertaste, crazy as it might sound, reminds me of Andes mint chocolates. Now don’t go taking this seriously. I don’t mean it literally tastes like chocolate mint. Just a subtle, rich, cocoa undertone with a slight effervescence to it. This combination makes me reminiscent of the holidays at my parent’s house as a kid eating handfuls of those candies. About 3/4 of an inch in, a slightly woody note comes through. I can’t quite pinpoint it. Sometimes it tastes like cedar and sometimes like oak. Both are enjoyable. At the inch mark, the burn has gone slightly crooked but has been almost razor straight up until now. Nothing to cry about. (side note: The draw has been perfect for me. Just enough tug for my liking.) That woody note I mentioned has gone full blown cedar, which I love. And the richness has gone the route of a slight mocha flavor. The retrohale spice is still present, but very toned down.

At the 1/3 mark, a strong, roasted coffee bean note has popped up with just a touch of cream in the aftertaste. Pretty consistent coming to the halfway mark. But now, a very slow and steady retrohale gives off a subtle, sweet clove spice. Into the final 1/3, the upfront flavor has turned to a dark, bitter espresso with a spice that tingles the tip of my tongue. The smoke has gotten very chewy and that prominent richness has taken a backseat in the aftertaste. This is pretty consistent through the finish with the exception of a smokey, toasty characteristic.

Final thoughts:
I was very pleased, overall, with this cigar. Much more so than when I first smoked the original Melanio, which had to grow on me. I think the finish could benefit from a little age, but I’d certainly recommend this cigar. Happy smoking my friends.


Please consider the following posts:

* Oliva Master Blends 1
* Oliva Master Blends 2
* Oliva Serie V Maduro 2011
* Oliva Serie V No4
* Oliva Cain F lancero 

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‘JJ for JJ Day’ Tribute

Another year, another ‘JJ for JJ Day’ tribute.

The concept didn’t change. The ‘JJ for JJ Day’ is a global movement initiated via social media to honor the memory of the ‘Little Robusto.’ For those of you who are not familiar with this tribute, ‘Little Robusto’, who passed away at the age of 3.5months from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the son of recognized and respected cigar blogger – Jerry Cruz ( This special day is recognized by smoking a cigar made by Don Pepin Garcia, appropriately calledSeries JJ.’

Take your time, enjoy your ‘Series JJ’ cigar and remember The ‘Little Robusto.’



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Tatuaje ‘Pork Tenderloin’ – homemade

Cigar Review by Steve Royston (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (

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.


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. 


- click on photographs (slideshow)-

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EP Carrillo Medalla D’Oro

This week we are photographing and reviewing the EP Carrillo Medalla D’Oro. This lonsdale vitola, made by the master blender Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, is an exclusive release for the Federal Cigar – New Hampshire chain owned by Rick Gadway. Right off the bet one will recognize the obvious a) Medalla D’Oro is a continuation of the New Wave Connecticut Short Run 2012 and b) Medalla D’Oro packaging is not too far from the Cuban staple – Bolivar Gold Medal. EP Carrillo Medalla D’Oro and Tatuaje Federal Cigar 90th Anniversary 109 – REDUX ‘Hassell’ are hitting the market in march of 2013 to commemorate Federal Cigar’s 92nd Anniversary.

Visually, from extra foil packaging to standard bands, from smooth wrapper to elegant pigtail (as depicted below), the EP Carrillo Medalla D’Oro screams class ! Slightly oily, golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, well blended seams, visible veins is what is on the cover of the EP Carrillo Medalla D’Oro. The draw was excellent from the very beginning to the very end. In the flavor department: woodiness, nuttiness, hints of dried fruit, spiciness which continued to increase as the time has progressed, and tiny bits of sweetness which at times felt “perfumy-like” (?). Great amount of creamy-in-texture smoke which coated and dried out the palate. Nearly perfect burn line throughout.

Carrillo-Gadway collaboration produces another winner, full stop. I went back and read my thoughts on the New Wave Connecticut Short Run 2012 after I wrote the above paragraph. Fortunately, not much of a departure ! I enjoyed the New Wave Connecticut Short Run 2012 quite a bit and hoped for a thinner vitola. The Medalla D’Oro is the answer. Delicious assortment of flavors, fantastic construction, good price point ($85 per box / boxes of 10) – box worthy purchase in my humble opinion !

Federal collaborations featured on

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Length: 6.5″
Ring: 44

Construction > Excellent
Burn > Excellent
Enjoy > Absolutely ! 
Recommend > Absolutely ! 

Buy > Box(es) worthy !



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Reinado Grand Empire Reserve

Cigar Review by Matt Zaccheo (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (


Oradell, NJ, July 03, 2012 –(– Following the success of the 92 rated Petite Corona known as the Habanito and the 91 rated Torpedo,REINADO unveiled the Grand Empire Reserve at the 80th Annual IPCPR Convention and International Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, in August, 2012.

The Grand Empire Reserve is a box pressed Robusto that incorporates a select habano maduro wrapper and an additional aged Nicaraguan filler which leverages REINADO’s signature fermentation process to provide even greater depth, richer undertones, and enhanced overall complexity for both the casual and the distinguished cigar smoker.

“The flavor profile of the Grand Empire Reserve was developed after extensive sampling to deliver a truly exceptional blend,” said Antonio, owner of Cubanero Enterprises. “We believe the flavors and balanced strength developed through extending REINADO’s unique fermentation process along with the inclusion of the aged Nicaraguan filler will distinguish the Grand Empire Reserve from all other cigars on the market,” said Antonio.

A single size called Elegidos meaning “chosen” is scheduled for release in August, 2012 followed by additional sizes.

Initial Specs:
• Size: 5 x 55 (Box Pressed)
• Wrapper: Nicaraguan Select Maduro
• Binder: Nicaragua
• Filler: Nicaragua
• Price: $9.95/cigar – 20ct boxes

“As demonstrated through the REINADO core product line and the introduction of the Grand Empire Reserve, we are dedicated to innovation and offering smokers quality choices of highly rated cigars,” said Antonio.

The Grand Empire Reserve will be available through select retailers and, on a limited basis, directly through REINADO.

Cut: Palio
Drink: None
Palate: Fresh

Prelight: gorgeous oily dark chocolate maduro wrapper with very very fine tooth and a medium box press. No visible veins and extremely tight seams. I literally can’t identify the wrap line. Initial aroma: sweet tobacco, barn yard, and neglected gurl. Cold draw: ultra rich sweet tobacco, earth, and white pepper.

Draw: a bit on the loose side, but not uncomfortable or anywhere near wide open.

Flavors: Initial soft subdued spice that fades fairly quickly to allow herbal and floral notes to emerge. The smoke is light on the palate and there is a delicate nuanced complexity: tea, stone fruits, and sweet mild cedar. It reminds me of a Curivari El Gran Rey. Then it happens … the flavors gently transition into a beautiful soft and mellow full flavored finish: earth, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee, and burnt toffee. Cinnamon, nutmeg and roast nuts on the exhale/retro. There is a wonderful black strap molasses sweetness evident throughout. The smoke becomes lush and creamy on the palate. The strength never goes past medium plus for me. Flavor is full from the start and never dies down. It’s delicate, but has some serious shoulders. It’s polished strength and a thing of beauty.

Burn: a bit wavy and required a few touch ups. The ash is a flakey dark salt/pepper pot ash grey. Each ash left a symmetrical glowing cherry.

Construction: excellent
Descriptive adjectives: Rich….F’ing Rich!
Box worthy: absolutely
Overall: going to be in my top 5 this year

Please consider the following post:



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