Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cigar Review: Por Larrañaga Encantos Edición Regional Asia Pacifico 2010

I have not been shy about speaking my disdain for the brand Por Larranaga. I just do not get most of their blends, and none fresh or age have impressed me. However, I had always heard wonderful things about their regional releases. Specifically, the Encantos seems to be one that is popping up in the forum circles as a true winner. The size is a classic Dalia, or the same thing as a Partagas 898. Think of it as almost lancero long, and a few ring gauges bigger. Given the current prices of these are over $25 if you can find them, I honestly had high expectations going in, even though I am not a Por Larranaga fan.

Dry Draw: deep, dark honey notes that leave a long finish worthy of five minutes of puffing

First Third: I am not sure if tea is huge in Asia, but for a Regional Release, if their region loves tea, the Encantos was a pure tea bomb. I am not much of a tea connoisseur, so I cannot name it specifically, but it reminded me of a distinct breakfast tea. The flavors swirled around front of mouth, while coating the roof with a long finish, complimented by an incredibly smooth retrohale. The body of the finish was very light, not intrusive at all, just creeping along slowly introducing the depth of the Encantos to my palate. The retro as smooth, I could retro the entire draw, which makes me as giddy as a jr higher seeing Alyssa Milano on tv, because I love mild cigars, and I love retrohaling, and Alyssa Milano was HAWT back in the day. The finish slowly continued to build in intensity, consisting of the dark honey notes and tea notes both through the nose and draw.  

Second Third: The intensity of the finish continued to rise, like a roller coaster slowly climbing a hill, climbing to the top of a hill that will make you scream in enjoyment. Green vegetal flavors began to arrive. Light Anaheim pepper notes hit on the draw and finish, along with a slight white pepper burn through the nose. Dried citrus arrived at midpoint, and a sugar cane texture to the draw front of mouth. I can now see why the Encantos has such a great reputation, as the complexity is off the charts. The tea and dark honey notes still lingered in the depths of the finish.

Final Third: A clove note showed up, so distinct it took me back to high school lunch, sneaking off campus freshman year smoking cloves on the corner to cop a buzz before class. Honestly, the Encantos had the most distinct clove note I can remember in a cigar to date. Light cream arrived as well with the tea notes on the draw. The sugar cane turned into toffee candy at times on the draw. The finish still banged out incredible tea notes, while the clove hit the nose and crept all over the mouth. The toffee really stood out as I neared the nub, and I swear I got a hint of rosemary. The honey also returned, nice and sweet, to make for a wonderful ending full of complexity.

Construction: perfect

Final Thoughts: Holy Jesus that was good, and I must thank Guy for sending me such an amazing cigar really. I have stated before, I am not huge on the regionals, simply because I feel that the cost outweighs the risk. Because of that, I will end up missing on cigars like this, and this experience has changed my mind significantly. Most of my experience with regionals, has been as good as aged Habanos in the 6-7 year range from normally production. However, the Encantos stands as one of the better Habanos I have smoked, and it may be due to the blend, age, or size really. Buy these if you find them. The Encantos is a classic Habanos that delivers incredible flavor and complexity, only to be enjoyed by a discerning palate. They are worth every penny in the range of $25-30.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill (TAL OCT-13)

My main man TBone asked Catfish and I to review this well known robusto and provide our thoughts on the smoke. I informed him that I was not the largest fan of the smoke, but I would give it the respect and go into the review with an open mind. I am here today to share those thoughts and who knows, I will either get TBone's approval or some hate mail. Summing that all up, and skipping my usual long introductions, let's take a look at the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cigar Review: Por Larrañaga Panetelas

Por Larranaga, a name I cannot ever seem to pronounce, and a brand I cannot ever seem to get into. Why then is Catfish reviewing one, FOR THE FANS DAMNIT! Seth and I are currently doing a budget cigar shootout and the Panetelas made the list, as they hit right around $2.50 a stick. Given this is a short filler cigar, and I expected little or no complexity, I decided to break it up into halves. I also grabbed a wonderful imperial coffee stout by called Kujo by Flying Dog.

Dry Draw: tea leaves and honey

First Half: Heavy earth, so heavy it really stands out as the shining note of the brand to me. Every time I have a Por Larranaga, it seems like this note comes out. I did get some mineral aftertastes, but lighter then something from an non-Cuban brand. The tea was there, but got lost in the heft of the earth notes. Nothing really stood out to me, but the body was full in nature.

Second Half: The profile began to mellow a bit, with the draw becoming a tad creamier. The flavor became much more refined, with lighter sharper earth note. The honey I got off the dry draw hinted at an arrival to the mix, and the tea notes began to show up as well. A nice light cumin spice entered at the end, and the nub was rather enjoyable.

Construction: no issues, it burned well, but like a short filler, it dropped ash all over my laptop

Final Thoughts: This would not be my first choice in the Habanos Critic Budget Shootout. Honestly, of the four, it would not rank in the top two for me. I think it is more an issue with the brand not hitting my palate, as I know plenty of smokers that love this vitola for a cheap smoke, and love the brand in general. The beer was a great pair I must say, and I would love to try it with an El Principe. One more short filler to go, the Piedra is up next!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Palmas Extra

If there is one brand that shows fluctuations in flavors throughout the entire portfolio, it is Hoyo de Monterrey. You may get one that is relatively mild and smooth and you might get one that is fairly strong and robust. I personally love the differences throughout because it is always a surprise to see how a vitola will smoke and it also leads me to having a lot of favorites throughout the brand. I think the Petit Robusto is a terrific short smoke that has some punch to it and then you have the Epicure No. 2 which is much softer and filled with complex but subtle flavors. Today though I look at an interesting vitola that is pre-Revolution in origin, but in the past twelve years it has finally become a handmade Habano. The Habano I am talking about is the Palmas Extra and let's see where it lies in terms of body, strength and flavor profile.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cigar Review: Papo Robaina Custom Rolled Torpedo

The name Robaina is synonymous with Godfather when it comes to tobacco. Don Alejandro Robaina is the Godfather of tobacco, known for the best wrapper on earth. Currently his grandson Hirochi is tending the farms in his memory, keeping the family history alive and long tradition of tending the finest tobacco in Cuba and on earth. So when the moment arose to grab some custom rolls from Papo Robaina, let’s just say I jumped at the opportunity. Papo is Hirochi’s cousin, and also a farmer in Cuba following in the family tradition. Little is known of his history, other than his farm is adjacent to the Robaina family farm and he is connected by the name. The cigar itself looks to have an amazing wrapper, consistent in color, and a wonderful feel in the hand.