Sunday, 8 November 2009
The Brun del Re Premium Churchill has a smooth wrapper with a golden twist. Nicely rolled although construction can vary from cigar to cigar.
As its brother in the Colonial line, it has a distinct marker of Costa Rican style cigars, but is simultaniously a totally different story. Within its medium body, you can find spice and cedar wrapped in creamy and sweet tobacco. a Nicely balanced smoke with some complexity. The finish could be longer.
All in all, The Premium Churchill is an easy going cigar, which can easily be picked by a beginner and a veteran alike. Although the cigar does not offer any mind blowingly deep experience, it is a great cigar to enjoy at any time of day. Easy to approach, easy to enjoy and easy to like.
Origin: Costa Rica
POINTS: 88/100 points
This Costa Rican Churchill has a nice oily wrapper with a mild red hue. It is pleasant to the nose but seems to be somewhat inconcistently rolled. You can find looser and tighter spots on the cigar just by feeling it with your fingers.
The flavor starts with a selection of earthy tones followed by some bitterness on the edges. After the uneven start, the cigar developes to represent toasty and roasted flavors and evens down from the heavy earthiness. From there on, the cigar does not develop much along the way, but keeps the nice powerful taste to the end.
Although the balance is little off, leaning towards powerful tobacco taste on expense of complexity, the cigar has a solid white ash, an even enough burn and a good draw. Over all a decent cigar with a Costa Rican signature. The blend would probably work better in a smaller size, as it could turn it into a nice occasional relaxation to be enjoyed instead of the monster chuchrill making it a little difficult to approach.
Origin: Costa Rica
Wrapper: Costa Rican Maduro
POINTS: 84/100 points
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Cigars have a long and winding history - the traditions of cigar manufacturing go back for a few hundred years. During that time, cigars and tobacco have travelled all over the world and back again, and many countries and cities in Europe have developed into hot spots of cigar culture and life style.
The city of Milan, in Northern Italy, is no doubt to be concerned as one of the top cigar cities in Europe. There are several outstanding cigar stores as well as private lounges to treat even the most discriminating aficionado. This fall, I was privileged to spend a couple of days in sunny Milan, as a guest of Mr. Alberto de Munari, owner and manager of DeArt, a custom furniture and interiors company and its side branch Cigars Time humidors.
It is not very farfetched to describe cigar manufacturing and smoking as a form of art. The passion and dedication which goes into making and enjoying quality cigars is overwhelming. Nowhere else have I experienced such an atmosphere as amongst fellow aficionados and cigar enthusiasts. This passion and dedication is also present in everything Cigars Time humidors have to offer.
The Company, DeArt, was established in over 40 years ago by grandfather of Alberto, producing clocks and barometers. Even then, it was clear that everything the company was to produce, would have a clear mark of quality and prestige. From there on, the company has developed into a highly recognized manufacturer of i.e. custom furniture, interior designs, clocks and luxury yacht furnishing – as well as a producer of state of the art cigar humidors. Amongst the customers of DeArt, are for example royalty and statesmen from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Russia, USA and Kazakhstan. Not forgetting cigar collectors and retailers from all over the world.
What makes Cigars Time and their humidors extraordinary, is the skill and dedication, in which the traditional art and principals of storing cigars is intertwined with modern technology and uncompromised aim for perfection. The Cigars Time products range from medium capacity cigar cabinets to huge walk-in humidors and all the way to complete cigar shop solutions - All hand made in the company’s factory near Milan. One gain on the company’s long list of gains to the customer is also its impeccable and flexible servicing. “It is after all a matter of protecting our customers property”, said Alberto. Easy access to replacement parts and quick deliveries ensure that the cigars do not take the hit if a humidification system breaks down in customer’s walk-in. And we might are talking big money there.
As I said, on top of respecting traditions, Cigars Time is all about high tech and harnessing it to create additional value to customers. You can choose from a wide range of accessories and environmental controls to fit your cabinet. The offerings are static humidification, electronic humidity control and total thermo-electric environment system called “Total Clima”. “We always try to find new ways to implement new technology into our humidors”, Alberto answered, as I was admiring a limited edition Afrika cabinet with Total Clima, LED lights, and gorgeous design. In the future, there are plans to introduce i.e UV protected glass and mini-sized cooling systems, maybe based on magnetic energy. Despite all this hype on high tech it is a matter of honor to Alberto to keep his manufacturing on a hand-made boutique level, not aiming for large scale to ensure the quality of the products and to emphasize on the total service for the customer.
Cigars Time’s products can be found all over Italy and the World. As a part of my brief visit to Milan, I had the opportunity to see a few spots with their doings involved. On the first day I got to visit Lugano, Switzerland and one of their sites of total cigar shop design equipped with a walk-in with environment control. I also got to have a great lunch and a few great smokes at the La Casa de Habanos in Milan – also with Cigars Time’s walk in solution. Not forgetting the several cabinets in several tabaccherias scattered around Milan.
On a more leisurely side of the trip, I got to enjoy Alberto’s overwhelming hospitality and to witness the scenery and great food of Lombardia.
Cigars Time is really all about the customers and their love of cigars - Only the best will do. And with tradition, skill and fearless exploitation of modern technology, Cigars Time succeeds to offer only the best. No wonder Cigars Time is called the Ferrari of humidors in Italy.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Now, after a long and productive period with Swedish Match, Ernesto is on his own again - Well, sort of. Together with his son Ernie and daughter Lissette, he has established the EPC Cigar Co. A family business aimed to create something spectacular and to please even the most discriminating cigar aficionado.
According to Ernesto, it is a huge joy to see the next generation so enthusiastic about the company and cigar industry. He obviously respects them for taking the leap of faith and jump aboard. He is even relieved to say, that the daily business runs smoothly within the family and personal aspects can easily be left outside the business, whenever necessary.
The new company will base its philosophy on old family traditions brought to the present time through innovations and creativity. This means that the production process and all included will be honouring the centuries old art of cigar making, as well as respecting the long Carrillo family history, but with blends and tastes which reflect the lifestyle of the present times and generations.
"There is no point in recreating the La Gloria Cubana blend or similar traditional brand, as that has been seen already, and new things await.", he stated.
Their first release will be a limited edition of one size only called The E.P. Carrillo Edición Inaugural 2009, sized 5 3/8" x 52 - Robusto. Only 2500 boxes of ten cigars will be made every month from December 2009 to April 2010. It will be available in December 2009 in the USA, and many retailers are already taking pre-orders on the cigars.
"It will suit the tastes of most cigar smokers," said Ernesto. "It is a medium bodied, smooth and creamy smoke, which has rich, vibrant flavors and an intoxicating aroma."
Thursday, 15 October 2009
The Cohiba Gran Reserva Siglo VI is now available at LCDH Hamburg.
When this cigar was first launched during the 2009 Habanos Festival it caught highest attention - which is something that I did not see for many years. Some funny story about this very special cigar happened at a private dinner in Havana the night before the Festivals Farewell Gala. After the main course I took out the Gran Reserva I was given as sample to check it out. James Suckling, Cigar Aficionado’s man in Havana, looked at the cigar and could not resist to ask what is was. I could not even finish my answer when he grabbed MY cigar, smoked half way through it and was blown off his socks. That cigar is the one he rated 100 points Now, back to the cigar.
The Cohiba Gran Reserva Siglo VI is a unique cigar as no current Havana has this unique taste. The El Laguito (Cohiba) cigar factory made cigars are blended with a very special and nowadays hard to find Ligero. This rare and special Ligero leaf is hand picked one by one from the finest bunches of aged tobacco - the best of the best! That special Ligero leaf is THE secret behind the unique taste of the Cohiba Gran Reserva. The ones of you smoking Havanas since the late 1980’s might remember the heavy taste of wet soil blended into sweet tobacco flavour - that comes close to what I think makes this cigar to a great one.
If there is any Havana cigar you should try it is this one. You will never forget the fantastic flavour this Havana cigar produces….
Friday, 25 September 2009
Sunday, 30 August 2009
The Private Blend from Warped Cigars is another great cigar from a small company. It has a nice glowing dark brown wrapper and a beautiful triple cap. With a solid construction and an intoxicating chocolatey cold aroma, it captivates from the start.
The cigar offers a mixture of flavours, which evolve from one second to the other. First, dark roasted coffe with hints of black pepper plays the leading role, supported by tobacco flavour with sharp edges. In the Second act, the loose draw offers a variation with some fruitiness and a rounder view on the tobacco in the supporting role. The finale is earthy and offers a cedary finish.
This medium to full bodied small cigar offers a great value to the money, five pack being only under 30 USD. One of the cigars on my "return to these" list.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
POINTS: 89/100 points
First draw was woody and full of medium bodied tobacco flavour. Through the start, the character of the cigar became more clear with coffee and pepper with some woody notes. Reaching the half point marker the cigar really took off, and offered great variations in intensified coffee and pepper with creamy roundness and chocolatey whispers. Something about the cigar reminded me of a young Ramon Allones Specially Selected, but can't put my finger on it. The final third was a bit off with acids and bitter tones.
Well done for a small USA based company. Warped Cigars has created a very good cigar with an extremely affordable price of 5 USD per stick. Overall expression is, that this cigar is worth more than its price. I will be getting back to these for sure...
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
POINTS: 87/100 points
Friday, 28 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
As the Dawn of ASH 2009 is closing in, i thought it would be a perfect time for an update. Nothing dramatically changed - One new sponsor. Now we have Puros Indios/Reyes Family, EO Brands/601, Maya Selva, Vintage Chic and Bucanero along for the ride!
As usual, Donations for charity 10 EUR or more will be greeted with quality cigars. I have also a collectors item Cigar CUtter for sale, as well as raffle tickets for a box of cigars to sell! all cool stuff... spread the word!
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The Audio Guide - Cuban Cigar Walk London - by Cities in Sound offers a simple and affordable solution to introduce you to some of the best cigar related spots London has to offer. All you have to do is simply download the audio guide in mp3 format and put it on your iPod (or what you prefer) and by following the map provided, just hop along the route as guided. Oh, and buy the flights and book a hotel too...
I was really lucky to have booked a trip to London already before i was introduced to the walk. Now, i got to experience the walk first hand and actually visit the places on the guide, rather than relying on my vague memories from my previous visits. Although the entire walk is very manageable for a full day's leisure, i had to improvise to some extent as i was strolling along with my wife and son (under 2 years old). So, I cut some corners, but i think that is the beauty of this audio guide too as it gives you the freedom to choose what you want to see and modify the walk according your needs and interests.
Not going too much to the detail of all the stops along the walk, as you should see them for yourself, i had a really great time. I started from the Churchill & Roosevelt statue, skipping Sautter of Mount Street, walked around the Berkeley Square and took a full stop at the Alfred Dunhill at Bourdon House (previously belonged to the Duke of Westminster).
Then, continued following the voice of the guide, later heading through the Burlington Arcade and finally ending up on St James's Street. There i visited two supreme cigar shops - Davidoff of London and Fox of St. James. At Davidoff I even got to watch a talented cuban cigar roller Armando Rissoto do his magic and to smoke a freshly rolled cigar. Needless to say that was nice...