Sunday, 23 November 2008

Review - CAO Vision Prana - 93/100

The CAO Vision Prana is the first of the ten CAO cigars i received in the CAO Champions sampler, that i am going to review here in the near future. The sampler contains ten highly ranked cigars which represent a wide range of the CAO lines. If i were to review the whole sampler in one go, i would give the packaging and appearance 100 points. See for your self:

What comes to the CAO Vision Prana individually, I dare to say, that i enjoyed it tremendously. From the first moment of seeing the cigar and smelling its unlit vanilla fragrance to the last draw and the 2nd degree burns on my fingers, i simply thought the cigar was exceptional.

The draw is loose but not too so, and if anything, it just offers a generous amount of white smoke with a medium body. The cigar has a cedary profile with leather and vanilla notes. At first, it seems that the cigar will not grow complex, but then flavours of sugar roasted nuts and something which resembles fresh baked bread step into the picture. Half way through, the flavours intensify, the nutty flavour taking more room and bringing along a creamy finish with fruity edges.

The CAO Vision Prana is a well balanced and complex cigar, that will not dissapoint anyone. Even the burn was perfect all the way. I really did not want to put this one down. There was no sign of any bitter or harsh flavours in any point. Full pleasure. Next time i will smoke a CAO Vision Prana, will be after a delicious Sushi meal. I Can't wait.

Origin: Nigaragua

Construction 19/20
Appearance 18/20
Smoke/Ash 9/10
Burn 19/20
Draw 18/20
Aroma 10/10 (9,10,10)


Review - Arganese Cigars ML3 Robusto - 82/100

Arganese ML3 Robusto - What to write about this one? The question arises to me, as with this, i have to balance between the overall quality and the performance of the cigar, and the personal preferences of flavour and my "Nordic Palate".

To start with, the ML3 has a nearly black Brazilian Maduro wrapper, and although it has a beautiful oily shine to it, i just do not consider cigars this dark to be beautiful. The unlit aroma is excellent. Full of dark chocolate, cocoa bean and sweet tobacco.

Luckily, the sweet chocolate flavours show up in the smoke too and through the somewhat tight draw, notes of cocoa and espresso are noticable. What next appears, is that the cigar is a little too sweet and a little too juicy with the maduro profile to suite my taste. On other hand, i assume, this cigar will do great on the US market. After the half way mark, the exotic and "bloated" body of the ML3 smoothens down to give way to some woody and grassy flavours with a hint of acidity, and that finally leads to a bitter finish. The ML3 could go great with a light Lager or Ale beer, but on its own, it is a little too exotic for me.

I also had to go and correct the burn a few times while smoking, which i did not like.

Despite it few flaws and its America targeted profile, i tend to think the ML3 Robusto is a good cigar. It is just not ment for my (or the Finnish) palate.

Origin: Dominican Republic

Construction 19/20
Appearance 18/20
Smoke/Ash 9/10
Burn 14/20
Draw 16/20
Aroma 6/10 (6,6,5)


Review - Arganese Cigars - Nigaraguan Figurado - 90/100

The Nigaraguan Figurado from Arganese Cigars is a beautiful cigar. It is expertly rolled and has a stunning, brown wrapper with a bronze shine. The cigar feels good in your hand and gives away a strong, full fragrance unlit. The burn is a little off at times, but corrects itself with no problems.

The draw begins a little tight, but loosens up in a little while. And as the draw corrects itself, generous flavours of rich, sweet tobacco and coffee notes become obvious. This full bodied smoke lends some characteristics of the Cuban Maduro cigars - It has the same dark feel to it. What the cigar wins in the generous, dark power it loses in complexity. Over all, the cigar does not develope significantly along the way, some hints of chololate or cocoa can be detected though.

Oils and tar gather t the tapered end of the figurado, giving it an even more intense flavour in the end. Although the flavours fill the palate completely, it remains smokable and enjoyable until you burn your fingers. Highly recommendable.

Origin: Dominican Republic

Construction 20/20
Appearance 19/20
Smoke/Ash 9/10
Burn 16/20
Draw 17/20
Aroma 9/10 (8,9,9)


Review - Arganese Cigars CL3 Robusto - 88/100

The Arganese CL3 was one of the smokes of ASH2008. As such, i heard a lot of opinions from the quests and they were all positive.

The CL3 is "to the third power", which stand for the triple ligero construction of the cigar. It is rolled from 100% First Generation Cuban Seed tobacco, trying to reach the "Cuban Profile".

The wrapper is a little uneven in color, but a treat for the eye non the less. The cigar feels quite hard but gives you a perfect draw. From the first draws, it is clear, that the CL3 carries a lot of power and character. The full bodied smoke offers a spicy and leathery profile with hints of nuts and cedar. The finish is somewhat dry.

The hard character of the powerful tobacco and spiciness mellow down half way through, but do not think, that the intensity would diminish. This cigar gives its all to the very end. At the very end, the flavours turn a little papery though.

In the end, the CL3 is a skillfully rolled and a great tasting cigar, which maybe does not offer you the world, but does not dissapoint you either. A good choice for an after dinner smoke.

Origin: Dominican Republic

Construction 18/20
Appearance 18/20
Smoke/Ash 8/10
Burn 18/20
Draw 19/20
Aroma 7/10 (7,8,6)


Thursday, 20 November 2008

Heads Up! King of Smokes 2008 Awards

This is just to give you all a heads up on the new part of my realm.

After the year is over, i will be revisiting all the cigars reviewed during the past year and will be awarding them in different categories. All the details are not clear yet, but will be, when it is time for the awards. I will work hard to get all possible samplers sent to me before 10th of December to fit in this year's awards, but i have a few waiting for reviewing already.

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions



Wednesday, 5 November 2008

ASH 2008 - The Aftermath

The 2nd annual Autumn Smoke Herf - ASH 2008 - took place on October 17th at the Ahjo NightClub, Helsinki, Finland. After last years informal and relatively small gathering of a few friends, this year's event grew larger and more robust in all areas. Over 25 lovers of the leaf and the good life, gathered to enjoy fine cigars, drinks and the company of similar minds.

Most of the guests represented Finnish Cigar Clubs i.e. Robaina Club and the Cigar Club of Lahti. Cigar lovers from the Moskow Cigar Club brought an international aspect to the else so Finn based group of guests.

In addition to the widening range of participants, what really made this year's event special, was its charitable nature. Together with the generous sponsors, we managed to raise 600 Euros. Not bad, as my goal was to gain only half of that (due to the non-commercial nature of my operations). The income was built up by selling cigars, drinks and apparel live at the event. Every Cent donated, will go directly to the Children's Hospital of Helsinki, my personal choice of charity.

The cigars were provided by Cigar One, Arganese Cigars, Devil's Weed Cigars, JS Cigars, Finest Cuban Cigars and Me personally. Drinks, in addition to the venue free of charge, were provided by Ahjo Bar&NightClub. The apparel was donated by Spreadshirt. Thank you all for your generosity! I truly appreciate it!

More specific descriptions and reviews on the products involved to be provided later...

All in all, I had a good time. According to my guests, they had a great time, we smoked and tried out some excellent cigars, enjoyed fine cognacs and celebrated the night away. And we managed to do some good at the same time.

The good doing is going to continue until the end of 2008, as i have made a decision to donate all my income from

online shops to the previously named charity.

Unfortunately, due to the Finnish legislation, there will be no 3rd annual Autumn Smoke Herf at the Ahjo Club. The continuance on the permit to smoke in some restaurants will end on June 1st 2009. Our only hope, is to gain an access and/or establish a private club, at which the art of cigar smoking could take refuge after the feared date. We'll see, if there will be something similar in the spring, but i do not have any plans for that. If anyone has any solutions, please, let them be heard!

If you have any questions or need for more information, please do not hesitate to contact me through the "contact me" tab on the navbar.


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