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Rocky Mt. Cigar Fest.

Reaping Nature's Rewards

When the air turns crisp and the guys start to reach for the malty Munich lagers, smoky whiskies, or perhaps powerful Cabernets, it's time to elevate the game and choose a cigar that's equal to the task.

Luckily, the volunteers who tackled the 36 different premium cigars represented in this latest edition of Smoke's blind cigar review found no shortage of flavorful smokes to choose from. And one can't help but marvel that the journey of a tobacco leaf, from harvest to its final home in a cigar shop humidor precludes the need for anything more than water, time, and the endless care of human hands to coax forth its tasty rewards.

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
96-100Superior
91-95Excellent
86-90Very Good
80-85Good
70-79Average
60-69Fair
Under 59Poor
A great place to start is Nick Perdomo's Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sungrown (Epicure, 92-rated), a robust, medium-bodied Nicaraguan puro that was called out for its "spicy" and "woody" flavors. Panelists also took a shining to Villiger Talanga (robusto, 92-rated), made from a predominatly Nicaraguan tobacco blend with a namesake Honduran Talanga wrapper that delivered a cornucopia of flavors from nuts to citrus and spice. HC Series Habana2, the newest blend from Xikar, Inc. crafted by Jesus Fuego's Tabacos S.A. factory in Nicaragua, was particularly well-received for its rich, earthy flavors, leading the pack with its 95-rated torpedo.

Like beauty, strength and power are all in eye of the beholder. Of course, what's mild to one fan might be medium to another. In its debut review appearance in Smoke, Epic Cigar's Dominican-made Epic Corojo garners a range of impressions regarding its strength, each according to its three reviewers; but in the end, all three deemed it "excellent," earning a 93 score overall for its "rich, earthy" flavors and "buttery caramel" notes. Another high scorer was Dunhill Singed Range (toro, 93-rated) which panelists described as milder in body but flavorful in taste.

There are plenty more treats to read about in the following pages. So, go ahead, kick back, grab a cigar, and enjoy. Happy smoking!
-E.E.H.


Want more? For the full details of each review, including all the panelists views on aesthetics, construction, flavor, and more, subscribe now - or pick up a copy of SMOKE Magazine at a Tobacconist near you!

ALONSO MENENDEZ Churchill
Country:
Brazil
Manufacturer:
Menendez & Amerino
Size:
6 1/2 x 44
Filler:
Brazil
Binder:
Brazil
Wrapper:
Brazil
Panelist #1Reminiscent of the leather from your childhood baseball glove, in a nostalgic sort of way. A worthwhile smoke.
88 very good
Panelist #2Winner-winner, chicken dinner! This cigar will be in my rotation. Overlook the aesthetics-this is a flavor bomb.
95 excellent
Panelist #3I liked this cigar very much. In the end, I realized that I had smoked it right down to the nub.
90 very good

DUNHILL SIGNED RANGE Toro
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Dunhill Tobacco of London
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Nic, DR
Binder:
Cameroon
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Good complexity, balance and construction. Not a strong stick, but I would recommend this cigar.
93 excellent
Panelist #2Enjoyed this in the evening while relaxing. Recommended, although I normally smoke stronger maduro sticks.
90 very good
Panelist #3Welcome diversion from the jaws of holiday traffic. Helped transport me to a pleasurable space. A great cigar.
93 excellent

AGING ROOM HAVAO CONNECTICUT Impromptu
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Boutique Blends
Size:
5 x 48
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1Good cigar but it is lacking complexity. Flavor profile is very sweet and light.
90 very good
Panelist #2A juggernaut of flavor that will appeal to mild, medium and full-flavored fans alike. Go get some!
94 excellent
Panelist #3Very accessible cigar and one that just about every smoker could enjoy.
91 excellent

LA PALINA MADURO 56
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
La Palina Cigars
Size:
7 x 56
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Honduras
Wrapper:
Mexico
Panelist #1A lush and decadent monster. The dark flavors kept me interested throughout the entire smoke.
91 excellent
Panelist #2Yummy. Construction aside, this would be a 95-97. Still, nothing could stop me buying these palate pounders.
93 excellent
Panelist #3A true "Boss Hogg" cigar. Might make an interesting intro to maduro cigars for a novice smoker.
89 very good

LOOSE CANNON 1206 Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
C&C Cigar Company
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Indon
Panelist #1Like many box-pressed, peppery at the foot. But a great cigar after a steak; or if you're simply at odds with the world.
90 very good
Panelist #2This is a cigar that I would want to smoke again and would certainly
91 excellent
Panelist #3Flavorful, complex, and wonderfully aromatic. Great after dinner or during a good coffee break.
92 excellent

Puro Express

TORANO VAULT Corona Gorda
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Toraņo Family Cigar Company
Size:
5 5/8 x 46
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic, Hon
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Mild morning smoke, for after breakfast. It started slowly but gained momentum and finished pleasantly.
89 very good
Panelist #2Very good, with complexity and balance. Best enjoyed late in the day. I would definitely purchase this cigar.
88 very good
Panelist #3A spunky, "punch-you-in-the-mouth" profile. Outstanding and complex from start to finish. Highly recommended.
93 excellent

HOYO DE MONTERREY REPOSADO EN CEDROS Sueno
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
General Cigar Co.
Size:
5 1/4 x 54
Filler:
DR, Nic
Binder:
USA
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1I liked the voluminous smoke and the pleasant aroma. Altogether a good cigar with consistent flavor.
89 very good
Panelist #2Easy smoke that paired well with a single malt. Suits those who like a mild cigar. Won't disappoint heavyweights.
94 excellent
Panelist #3A definite choice for a night out with the guys and maybe a few drams of your favorite scotch.
91 excellent

MERLION BY LA SIRENA Robusto
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Miami Cigar & Co.
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR, Nic, Brazil
Binder:
Brazil
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1In a single word, this complex cigar is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. If you love complex flavor, it's a joy ride.
88 very good
Panelist #2Would recommend this to an experienced smoker, though best after a full meal and paired with a strong drink.
91 excellent
Panelist #3I loved this cigar. A classic after-dinner smoke, especially when serving beef with a full-bodied wine.
93 excellent

EZRA ZION HONOR SERIES REAGAN President
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Ezra Zion Cigar Company
Size:
6 3/4 x 54
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Very good cigar with a rich flavor profile and a pleasant strength. Drawbacks were an uneven burn and a shoddy cap.
89 very good
Panelist #2Flavor was good but the large stems led to bitterness and an uneven burn. May have easily scored a 90 otherwise.
84 good
Panelist #3Great medium-to full-bodied smoke. Interesting flavors kept me guessing. It felt full-bodied but it sure stayed mellow.
93 excellent

CUABA Distinguidos
Country:
Cuba
Manufacturer:
Habanos S.A.
Size:
6 1/4 x 52
Filler:
Cuba
Binder:
Cuba
Wrapper:
Cuba
Panelist #1Be patient; this cigar is more about subtleties than roar, but both flavor and strength build throughout.
93 excellent
Panelist #2I liked these. Not flavor bombs, but had nice subtleties and a very refined taste that matched the shape quite well.
91 excellent
Panelist #3Might be a bit of a challenge for newbies to appreciate; this was an absolutely excellent, intriguing smoke.
95 excellent

Bovida Humi-paks

E.P. CARRILLO CARDINAL SERIES MADURO 54
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
EPC Cigar Company
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Ecu
Wrapper:
USA
Panelist #1A great cigar that had a rich finish and left a pleasant aftertaste in the back of my throat. Recommended.
90 very good
Panelist #2Toasty, full-bodied smoke with complexity and balance. A cigar best enjoyed after a hearty meal. Recommended.
92 excellent
Panelist #3I prefer full-bodied cigars, but also more complexity, which would have made this better for me.
87 very good

GRAN RESERVA #3 GRAN HABANO 2009 Gran Robusto
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
G.R. Tabacleras Unidas
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Nic, Columbia
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1A great end of day smoke that burns evenly. Drove all the way home and never had to relight.
88 very good
Panelist #2Smoked to the nub and loved the oaky finish. Downtime in the humidor could only enhance the flavor profile.
93 excellent
Panelist #3Not for starting the day, unless you prefer a stronger smoke. I would definitely recommend the cigar.
88 very good


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