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Tobacco Plus Convenience Expo

Picking that Perfect Smoke

Two cigars in this latest edition of Smoke Magazine’s cigar review are from Emilio Cigars, a small craft cigar company that works with several different factories in creating its cigars. Company owner Gary Griffith explains that each factory he works with has its own expertise and access to different tobaccos. His goal is to showcase the very best of what each partner is capable of producing. Judging by the consistently positive feedback from panelists, that approach appears to be inspired. First up is La Musa, a limited production cigar from Estelí, Nicaragua; it’s Mousa toro size snagged an average 93 rating and unanimous excitement among reviewers. Griffin says the medium-bodied, complex smoke was blended for refined palates that appreciate subtle nuances. His Emilio Series H Sumatra, meanwhile, is made in Danlí, Honduras, tapping tobaccos from Costa Rica and Jamastran, Honduras for a rich taste and aroma, mellowed with a Honduran Connecticut binder, and finished with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper that adds a little spice. Two of the panelists were enamored of the flavors of the sampled robusto, while the third found it a bit strong. In the end, though, it captured an impressive average score of 94.

Another interesting selection includes the Kenbano Gran Toro from Black Patch Cigar Company of Pikeville, Kentucky. Founder Eric McAnallen has been growing a proprietary variety of Kentucky broadleaf ligero called Kenbano 2007 in the state’s Black Patch region. He incorporates the leaf into his Dominican-made (and Dominican-dominated blend). Kentucky is a big producer of tobacco, but very little of it is destined for use in premium cigars, earning this blend’s right to truly call itself unique. Piloto Cubano ligero and Criollo 98 Bonao round out the filler blend, paired with a Criollo 98 wrapper and choice Havana Vuelta Abajo wrapper from Navarrete. Panelists noted the blend’s woody, spicy flavors in its collective 91 rating. Currently, McAnallen is working with two prominent growers in the Dominican Republic who are managing trial plantings of two different broadleaf varieties; early results are quite positive, and McAnallen is excited about future cigar projects down the road that will be incorporating these tobaccos.

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
96-100Superior
91-95Excellent
86-90Very Good
80-85Good
70-79Average
60-69Fair
Under 59Poor
Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is a heavyweight talent in cigar blending, having transformed his father’s El Credito factory into a Miami-based cult favorite in the early days of the cigar boom thanks to his La Gloria Cubana blend. He later extended his expertise to the General Cigar Company when its parent company purchased his factory. These days, Perez-Carrillo is back on his own with EPC Cigar Company (E.P. Carrillo). Even more exciting, his son Ernie and daughter Lissette are working alongside Ernesto and adding their own imprint with daring new blends such as E-Stunner. This full-bodied creation taps a rich, high-priming Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over its Dominican and Nicaraguan blend. Panelists loved its complex - but not overwhelming - flavors with its overall 93 rating.

De Siena is a brand that was launched over a year ago, but has only recently begun expanding its reach to cigar shops throughout the country. The creation of 20-year cigar industry veteran Adam De Siena, this is the first time he’s launched his own blend, electing to work with the Plasencia family’s Tobacos de Oriente factory in Danlí, Honduras. The medium-bodied blend - combining Colombian and Jalapan visos, Estelian and Honduran ligeros, a Honduran binder, and a viso Habano wrapper from Jalapa, Nicaragua - was designed to please cigar smokers of any strength preference with a well balanced profile. Panelists agreed, with their consistently-averaged 92 rating,

There’s plenty more cigars to read full comments about, so grab a beverage, fire up a smoke, and enjoy!
-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 Coronas
Country:
Brazil
Manufacturer:
Menendez Amerino
Size:
5 1/2 x 44
Filler:
Brazil
Binder:
Brazil
Wrapper:
USA
Panelist #1This perfectly crafted, mild cigar hit all the high notes and was a pleasure to smoke.
90 very good
Panelist #2Mild and immature. A "working 'round the house" cigar. Best smoked in the A.M., and probably not after dinner.
84 good
Panelist #3All three samples were consistent. I really enjoyed this cigar. I would purchase this stick.
93 excellent

La Musa Mousa Toro
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Emilio Cigars
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Sign me up, please. I will take a box. This cigar is a winner in every aspect.
96 superior
Panelist #2I was excited to smoke this and it did not disappoint. All this one needs is a comfy chair and a snifter of brandy.
93 excellent
Panelist #3This might not be my first choice in a cigar, but overall it was a pleasant experience and I would recommend it.
91 excellent

Sancho Panza Coronas Gigantes
Country:
Cuba
Manufacturer:
Habanos S.A.
Size:
7 x 47
Filler:
Cuba
Binder:
Cuba
Wrapper:
Cuba
Panelist #1It improved in the last half, but never developed anything special. A yard or golf cigar. Handsome, yet disappointing.
87 very good
Panelist #2Very consistent flavors from start to finish despite slightly uneven burn. Light- to medium-bodied.
90 very good
Panelist #3Couldn't reconcile the harsh flavors, but the other issues were minor. I'd try more just to ensure I wasn't being too harsh.
89 very good

Camacho Blackout Figurado
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Davidoff of Geneva
Size:
6 1/8 x 42 x 54
Filler:
Hon Nic Braz
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1Yes, I loved it. I would buy it and recommend it. Kicks you in the teeth from the get-go.
98 superior
Panelist #2I was excited to smoke it, but the hot smoke, the hard spots, the tunneling, and the messy ash all spelled "yard gar."
80 good
Panelist #3I enjoyed this one, although I usually don't like such a dark cigar. However, I would purchase this stick.
86 very good

John Starks #3 Signature Series Maduro Toro
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
John Starks Signature Series
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Binder:
Wrapper:
Panelist #1Rode hard. A real winner for the smoker who wants a quick trip to the finish line of flavor. Good flavor value.
96 Superior
Panelist #2This is a medium smoke with a passive odor. The more I smoked it, the better it got...yet, I don't even like dark cigars!
90 very good
Panelist #3The samples were very consistent, I liked pairing it with a cup of coffee and enjoyed it down to the nub. I would purchase it.
92 excellent

Rocky Mt. Cigar Fest.

CAO Flathead V770 Big Block
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
General Cigar Company
Size:
7 x 70
Filler:
DR, Nic
Binder:
USA
Wrapper:
USA
Panelist #1Smooth and friendly, a colossal pleasure to smoke. This stick would pair well with a big glass of bourbon.
95 excellent
Panelist #2The definitive "Spinal Tap" of golf-course smokes. It lasted 11, count 'em, 11 holes.
90 very good
Panelist #3A long finish of spice and earthy sweetness sealed the deal: I liked it. Did I mention the size of this cigar?
90 very good

Casa Miranda Chapter 2 Coronas Gorda
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Miami Cigar & Company
Size:
6 x 46
Filler:
Braz DR Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1A treat. It had all the flavor and just enough strength to keep me interested. A nice addition to my humidor.
90 excellent
Panelist #2A good, quick smoke requiring little attention and delivering lots of flavor and satisfaction. Wish I could find a date like that.
89 very good
Panelist #3Nice complexity with good balance. Smooth tasting. I would purchase this cigar.
91 excellent

Ezra Zion Jamais Vu Gran Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Ezra Zion Cigar Company
Size:
5 1/4 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1This cigar had its strong points, but the construction and appearance were major distractions.
88 very good
Panelist #2Not a hit with me as it was too dry and harsh with that pencil flavor. I had to keep re-lighting it as well.
85 good
Panelist #3A decent cigar with complexity and balance, with a medium finish of spicy wood.
87 very good

Dunhill signed range Torpedo
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Dunhill Tobacco of London
Size:
5 1/2 x 52
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Cameroon
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Complex and multi-dimensional, this small torpedo had great balance and keep me guessing.
95 very good
Panelist #2This cigar gave more than I expected. Recommended for late afternoon or after dinner. Paired well with bourbon.
93 excellent
Panelist #3My favorite cigar this round. Reminds me of a Nestor Great. Liked it so much that I smoked all three in one day.
97 superior

Kismet Fortune
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Royal Gold Cigars
Size:
5 1/2 x 46
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1Great smoke with consistent flavor. Left me wanting more. Would have enjoyed more punch to put me over.
90 very good
Panelist #2Pleasantly surprised. Has a great balance of taste and aroma that will keep you coming back for more.
91 excellent
Panelist #3This was a great smoke. Paired with a few beers, and even my friends liked the aroma. I would purchase this cigar.
93 excellent

e-STunner Brahman
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
E.P. Carrillo
Size:
5 1/2 x 54
Filler:
DR, Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1This "real deal" delivers, especially after a steak dinner, and paired with a nice scotch. A winning combo all 'round.
95 excellent
Panelist #2An excellent cigar that does not overwhelm the smoker. Has great flavor, complexity and balance.
93 excellent
Panelist #3I enjoyed this cigar very much. I would purchase this at the right price.
90 very good

Puro Express

1881 Perique Torpedo
Country:
Phil
Manufacturer:
Tabacalara
Size:
5 x 52
Filler:
Braz,US,Phil
Binder:
Philippine
Wrapper:
Ind
Panelist #1This is a good morning or an early afternoon, "relaxing on the deck" cigar.
92 excellent
Panelist #2A bit of a fence sitter. A fine, everyday cigar, but the lower the price, the more attractive it would be.
85 good
Panelist #3The balance was not my preference in a cigar. Others might appreciate the woody profile-and certainly more so than me.
89 very good

The Vault Torpedo
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
Torano Family Cigar Co.
Size:
6 1/8 x 52
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1Smoked this on the beach after a great meal and thoroughly enjoyed it. Pair with a Cuba Libre. Heartily recommended.
92 excellent
Panelist #2Wood and earth tones mixed with some pepper for an overall mild flavor profile that was consistent.
88 very good
Panelist #3Hello! This cigar may not win beauty pageants, but "don't judge a book by its cover." Close your eyes and enjoy.
92 excellent


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