Friday, 22 August 2014
Thursday, 21 August 2014
It is time for my first review of the Toscano cigars - one of many more to come. Previously i released a post on the Toscano cigars and their history. If you missed it, here is a link:
Now, to the review: Toscano Classico
The Toscano cigars (including Classico) are a tradition by itself. The cigar is a slim, uniquely shaped perfecto (open from both ends). and has a dark, rustic wrapper filled with lumps and veins. It has been hand rolled to the same shape for nearly two centuries and i don't even start comparing it to any other cigars reviewed here so far.
The cigar is completely made of Kentucky fire cured tobacco and gives out a musty, earthy and sweet tobacco fragrance when unlit. When lit, the first draws (although very tight) reveal a flavor profile matching the initial fragrance - musty, sweet tobacco with some spice and pepper on the tongue.
The draw quickly opens up after just a few draws and reveals the full nature of the cigar. With a great consistency throughout the cigar, the flavor profile is that of mentioned above, slightly developing in body and strength towards the end (medium to full). The finish is peppery.
The bottom line? Absolutely a cigar worth experiencing. A great reminder of the old world, where cigars were a bit more unique and did not have that shiny, immaculately smooth looks.
The rating here is a bit tricky. Parts to the cigar, parts to the experience - just because i feel like i have to rate it to fit the form of the previous reviews. Not to mention, that i felt like Clint Eastwood in one of his spaghetti western movies. Yep, he smoked Toscano Cigars.
Wrapper : Italian fire cured Kentucky
Binder : No binder
Filler : Italian and american fire cured Kentucky
Friday, 8 August 2014
My electronic humidifier's calibration was a bit off and i trusted the PuroTemp readings in order to re-calibrate it. Looks fine now. When i get the two additional sensors, i will be able to adjust the air flow configuration to even up the fluctuation of humidity levels throughout the large cabinet.
|Remote sensor (hot days caused the temp to jump up)|
The PuroTemp does not release you from applying a proper means of humidification to your humidor but at least with it you can make sure you are doing it right. A great tool to measure and control the proper conditions for your precious cigars.
Already available in USA, international release date is later in August.
Monday, 4 August 2014
Proper humidification is easily one of the most discussed and debated facets of proper cigar care. And, as with any debated subject, there is a multitude of misinformation making its way to the unwary cigar connoisseur. Luckily, XIKAR has spent the time and effort to research the best way to provide your cigars the perfect humidification, and innovative ways to monitor the situation inside your humidor.
|The traditional approach: Oasis sponge|
The first step in protecting your cigars is bringing the humidor itself to the proper humidification, called 'seasoning'. During this process, the cedar wood of the humidor soaks in the humidification to reach a balanced microclimate inside the box. This can be done quite simply by placing a jar of XIKAR's Crystal Clear Humidification. Many people will say that this process can be sped up by wiping the inside of the humidor with a wet cloth. Do not do this! Humidity must be introduced slowly so as not to cause the cedar to swell or crack. Instead place the humidification jar inside the humidor for 2-3 days, until your hygrometer reads 65%-70%.
|Crystal Clear (Xikar)|
|Crystal humidifier (Xikar)|
-Size of microclimate or salt test area
-Strength of the airtight seal
-Impurities within the saltwater solution
-Ratio of salt to water within the saltwater solution
|PuroTemp by Xikar|
Thursday, 31 July 2014
When reviewing top quality lighters, it is sometimes difficult to make any relevant comparisons between them. They have the flame (torch or normal), they have an ignition button (or wheel), they have the tank and that's it. Two quality lighters usually are very similar in many ways. Then, it comes down to the design and execution.
The new Allume lighter from Xikar is a small but sturdy little lighter. It has a single torch, which is very powerful. Also, the whole lighter has a feel of solid quality. despite the small size, the fuel tank is sufficient enough for normal use. The Allume lighter is very compact and easy to carry in any size of a pocket. The flame adjustment wheel is large enough to be handled without any issues and the side ignition button is very practical. All combined in an affordable and beautiful package. All in all, the Allume is an excellent lighter on the go. Definitely my current choice of lighter to carry with me.
The original Xikar Allume comes in Tuxedo Black, Stealth G2, Crush Orange, Imperial Purple, Riot Red, Steel Silver, Alpine Pearl and Electric Yellow finishes. Plenty of choices to pick your favorite!
Xikar is planning to expand the Allume series also with a double and triple flame versions with the size of the lighter increasing along with the number of flames.
more information http://xikar.com/products/lighters/allume/
Friday, 11 July 2014
“How would you like your cigar cut?” A question anyone might hear when visiting their local tobacconist. Most of us might have that instinctual answer of 'straight cut' or perhaps even a punch, but the options available are actually quite varied. While countless designs exist, there are four basic cuts to choose from and each carry their own unique benefits and history.
The most popular cut is the straight cut, or guillotine, due to its straightforward design, ease of use, and ability to cut almost any cigar you may decide to smoke. Allowing the fullest draw and greatest flavor, you get all the smoke a cigar can produce. While its simple design may look easy to operate, but there are some pitfalls when using this cut. First, you must be sure not to cut off too much of the wrapper. This could result in the wrapper (the most important part of the cigar) to unravel. Using a Xikar cutter for example, one method to a perfect cut is to place the open cutter flat on an even surface such as a table. Next, place the cap end of the cigar inside the cutting area and close the cutting shears. This will guarantee the perfect amount of cap is cut off the cigar. Also, having a sharp blade and cutting quickly will help to avoid cracking the wrapper.
Of similar function are the cigar scissors, but even more benefits can be realized. While the size of cigar able to be cut is limited by the construction of your guillotine cutter, the cigar scissors have no limit. Also, they are more easily able to be sharpened allowing for a lifetime of use. Using a sharp pair of cigar scissors can decrease the amount of power needed to gain a clean cut through a cigar, but they do require an additional amount of finesse.
One of the oldest cuts in existence is the V-cut, producing a small diamond shaped slit through the cap of the cigar. Commonly referred to as a 'cats eye' or 'wedge cut', the V-cut gained popularity in the 1920's as many people preferred smaller, short filler cigars. The V-cut makes a wedge shaped cut which restricts the draw, less so than a punch, but enough to really concentrate the smoke. Also, it prevents small pieces of loose tobacco from going astray. A sharp blade is critical to the effectiveness of a V-cutter, as it has a high propensity to pinch the cigar cap, causing damage to the cigar wrapper. Xikar produces a high quality VX V-Cutter which has a unique inverted blade preventing the pinching of the cap.
Lastly, one of the newest cuts to come into fashion is the punch cut. Coming in various sizes, the punch cut has a circular blade which can be twisted into the cigar cap for a small and clean opening which concentrates the cigars flavors. The biggest benefit of the punch cut is that it is nearly impossible to damage the cigar cap. Also, if you decide that the punch cut does not provide enough draw, you can still apply a straight cut to the cap and create a larger opening.
Monday, 23 June 2014
The Italian made Toscano cigars are an unique blend of history and refined smoking experience of today. They are made from 100% fire cured Kentucky tobacco and rolled into a unique shape. While waiting for my reviews, why not read a bit about them below.
The birth of TOSCANO® cigars is linked to a casual and extraordinary event that has its roots in history and legend. In 1815 a bale of sun-cured tobacco left out to dry in the open air was caught in a violent summer downpour. Undeterred by their misfortune, the artisans running the tobacco factory in Florence soon came up with a new solution: utilize the watered-down tobacco to produce discount cigars for the Florentine common folk. What they were entirely oblivious to at the time, however, was that the rainwater had caused the tobacco to ferment, creating an unparalleled, brand-new and unique flavor that soon won the heart of every Italian across the social spectrum.
The downpour of 1815 gave rise to a legend that to this day bears the world-renowned name of Toscano cigar. The Toscano cigar is a way of life, an Italian recognizable symbol anywhere and by anyone. With nearly 200 years of history, it is inextricably linked to the development of Italy and its people, becoming a true icon of Italian-made products.
Cigar manufacturing was located principally in Florence for almost 130 years. But in the post-war period, the “stortignaccolo” (a nickname meaning approximately “crooked cigar”) was definitively transferred from the chief city of Tuscany to the factories in Lucca and Cava de’ Tirreni. The principal factory in Lucca was located, up until June 2004, in a building that was previously a convent for Dominican nuns. From then on, production was transferred to a more modern and functional facility, in the outskirts of Lucca, in a location named Mugnano.
The Tuscan “sigaraie” in Lucca
Toscano's 40 rollers are fundamentally important for the production of the Italian cigar; their work has remained virtually unchanged for over 200 years, and often it is an art that is passed down from mother to daughter. In the past, they represented a symbol of the female emancipation process, fighting to achieve civil and social rights.
This is how Toscano cigars are made – though the process could be referred to as hand-crafting.
- The roller wets her fingers in the bowl containing corn glue and then spreads the glue on the wooden board. This ensures that the Kentucky half-leaf, which has been flattened and positioned on the damp surface, clings to the wood.
- With the end of the knife, the woman cuts the outline of the cigar wrapper (profile). The veins of the leaf must be parallel to the rolling axis to prevent them creating any resistance, and to ensure that the wrapper does not open during cigar drying.
- The roller takes a bundle (filaments) of fermented tobacco from the “cloth-like” boxes, weighs it to ensure that it contains the right amount of tobacco, combs it, and arranges it to create a cigar of the right shape and consistency.
- After having formed the filler (with the binder), the roller, holding it tightly, places it on the profiled wrapper, lifts the tip of the lower edge of the wrapper, and starts rolling the leaf that will enclose the filaments, diagonally and upwards. It is very important not to create too much tension when closing the wrapper, in order not to make a cigar that is too tight or too densely packed, which would not permit an optimum draw.
- The ends of the barrel, which are irregular and asymmetric, are placed on a hand-operated guillotine to be cut. This operation gives the final shape.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Produced in very small quantities, this Davidoff series features a very rare wrapper that makes all the difference in taste on some of our most popular formats: a sun-grown Connecticut Ecuador wrapper reminsicent of the Cuban varietal – dark, reddish-brown in appearance – producing a stronger taste.
TIME IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY
FILL IT BEAUTIFULLY.
WRAPPER, Connecticut Seed, grown in Ecuador
BINDER, Dominican Republic
FILLER, Dominican Republic
Categories: Press Release