Welcome back to The Blend! We've got a big week of reviews this week with lots to read. I'd like to thank Cigar Sense for stepping in last minute as this week's spotlight. I dropped the ball on getting one lined up soon enough! Check them out in the feature below.
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What is Cigar Sense? Cigar Sense was inspired by Franca Comparetto’s frustration with not being able to find a non-Cuban cigar that suited her palate after moving from Italy to the US. Inspired by recommendation engines like Pandora and The Music Genome project, Franca set out to build something similar for cigar lovers. After a year of intensive development and building cigar profiles, Cigar Sense launched in 2015. In 2019, Franca started a podcast to connect with people and focus on the sensory and cultural aspects of premium cigars.
Why use Cigar Sense? Cigar Sense helps members easily discover new cigars and flavors they’ll love without wasting time and money. With a database of over 2,000 cigars profiled by trained experts, Cigar Sense will help you easily branch out from your usual brands and wrappers. Open minded cigar lovers will find loads of new cigars to discover and more they interact, the more personalized their recommendations will be. With powerful tools like profile advising, search with sensory and pairing data, as well as the ability to track what you’ve smoked - the tool helps you smoke what YOU like, and not what others tell you to like.
Did you know? 87% of cigar lovers say that “flavor” is the most important aspect of choosing a cigar. Many people aren’t aware of their biases when choosing a cigar. For example, many believe that if they smoke a Connecticut cigar they haven’t smoked before that it will share similar characteristics with other Connecticut cigars - this is predictive confirmation bias. (Cigar Sense helps you break that.)
EXCLUSIVE SUBSCRIBER DEAL
HALF OFF YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION
You can join Cigar Sense for free, but if you decide to upgrade you can do it at half the cost. Get Cigar Sense for $50 per year (forever) instead of the normal $97/year price. Discount valid through January 9th.
“Outside of Casa Fuente, the Warzone Short Churchill might be the best "strong, classic Cameroon" cigar I've smoked. The Warzone Short Churchill has the rich Cameroon flavors that I've found in blends like Don Carlos and La Aurora Preferidos, while also delivering the new age punch that I've had in countless cigars from Nicaragua.” Read More
“Sure, the construction is excellent and it features an extremely well-balanced profile, but there is an obvious lack of nuance in the first half that is only partially rectified by a bit more complexity in the second half. While there are a few things I really liked about the newest CAO Vision, if you are looking to smoke a Cameroon-wrapped blend there are other releases currently on the market that taste quite a bit better” Read More
“Flavorwise, I did find the first half to perform better than the second half. The medium strength and body of this cigar seemed to fit the flavors delivered very well. This is a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, the La Barba Ricochet Crü Mexi-Sol Gran Robusto is a cigar I would smoke and buy again.” Read More
“The 2020 edition, in my opinion, is one such case, being perhaps the finest smoking experience released this year. The cigar holds its own against famed cigars such as the AVO LE05, having a similar profile and level of complexity, though leaning more toward sweet nougat and cream and away from the LE05's polarizing botanicals. Add to this a longer smoking time, and you have yourself a truly memorable smoking experience, operating at a caliber that only a select few achieve.” Read More
“Loved the strength and spice, sometimes you just need a good peppery stick to get you motivated. I might say this cigar wasn't exactly in my wheelhouse when it comes to the flavor profile, but I also found it enjoyable. This was a solid cigar and it put on a good performance for my tastebuds. I could easily enjoy this one again.” Read More
“If you are a high school English teacher, my guess is that you’ve seen a lot of papers that look like how this cigar performed. The first page or two was great, not perfect but it has some excellent traits. And then things go off the rails in the middle portion. Maybe there’s a paragraph or two where things seem like things might be going somewhere. And then it’s back to the problematic territory.” Read More
“After making me take notice with its blast of both pepper and spice at the very beginning, the Micallef A was a bit more pedestrian than I was hoping for, with a fairly common collection of flavor notes that barely changed over the course of its two hour smoking time. A bit more sweetness—either on the palate or the retrohale—would have helped tremendously, but there was just never enough to make that much of an impact on the profile.” Read More
CIGAR COOP - 12/20
Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto
“When I first lit up the Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto, I had some high hopes. The opening chocolate and malt notes were quintessential Rocky Patel. Once those flavors dissipated, the cigar became flat and wasn’t very interesting. The flavors had a bit of a drying effect on my palate as a whole. The burn did require a little more some extra TLC. In the end, I expected more from this cigar than what I got.” Read More
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Caldwell Cigar Co. has begun shipping the 2020 batch of the Eastern Standard Sun Grown Magic, a 7 1/2 x 42 lancero size. Like the rest of the line, it uses a hybrid Mexican/habano wrapper over an Ecuadorian binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Mexico. It is priced at $13 per cigar and limited to 1,000 numbered boxes of 20. Read More
The bundle of Candy Cane, which is usually a barberpole version of Holiday Blend, indicates that it will be a 6 x 54 release. The company indicated on Instagram that the release would ship on Dec. 14. Invoices sent to retailers list the Holiday Blend 2020 as a 5 x 54 size with a “soft press,” while the Candy Cane is a 6 x 54 box-pressed size. The regular Holiday Blend 2020 is priced at $10.67 per cigar or $320 per box of 30. Candy Cane 2020 is listed at $11.50 per cigar or $230 per box of 20 cigars. Read More
Manzanita a term coined years ago during a planning session as AJ, Rafael, Freddy, Sharon, and Robert inspected bales of rich Habano hybrid, noting the deep red oily leaves, indicative of the shimmering “red” bark of a manzanita tree, these superbly fermented leaves were destined to be the wrapper. Manzanita is a regular production blend and will be released in our standard size robusto, toro and gordo in 2021, initial launch is in the toro size only. Annual production for 2021 is 180,000 cigars. Read More
Protocol Cigars has announced a new shop exclusive cigar for Caravan Cigar Company in Bath, PA called the Protocol Paddy Wagon. Paddy Wagon is rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. There will be one size at launch, a box-pressed toro 6X52 called Rabito. The cigars will be sold in 10 count paper bundles. Each cigar will sell for $9.50 or customers can get the bundle for $90. The blend uses a Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and filler from Jalapa and Condega. Read More
"I take a look back at the trials, tribulations, and victories of 2020. I also take a look at how the cigar industry was affected by 2020: delays, shortages, and FDA wins are all discussed. Will the CRA and PCA be able to pivot from a fight against the Feds to state level politics?" Listen Now
THE STRAIGHT CUT - 12/18
"This week we have the boss man himself, Chris from Luxury Cigar Club. We nerd out on some Formula 1 talk, Chris teases us about some upcoming LCC news and we talk about the new Core subscription. 90's rap is the main discussion during our music segment and we smoke the LFD Cabinet No. 5." Listen Now
CIGAR PULPIT - 12/18
Gator Wrestles with Moral Dilemmas
"We sit back and enjoy the Mayans MC by CAO and try and figure out what to do with this episode since our plan of having Broccoli Rob join us was foiled by the slow post office. We dive into some F*cked Up Facts and moral dilemmas and somehow end up talking about some pretty wretched stuff." Listen Now
"En este episodio contamos con la participación de nuestro amigo el Whiskeyrican y conversamos sobre whiskey, cigarros, maridajes y experiencias de la vida buenas y malas con los licores." Listen Now
HOT TICKET - 12/21
Donger's Knockout Cigar Release
"This week's Episode is a special one as we finally announce the release of the Hot Ticket Donger's Knockout cigar. This cigar was blended by Rodriguez Cigars and being distributed by MyCigarPack. During this show we talk about the cigars itself, plans for the future, and oh yea! Chris got engaged! It was an amazing show all the way around!" Listen Now
"This week I take another look at a Drew Estate Undercrown cigar with their Sun Grown Dojo Dogma. Drew Estate puts out some pretty impressive cigars and I have to admit I'm intrigued by this one. Join me in my Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Dojo Dogma cigar review to see if I recommend this stick." Watch Now
Decided to branch out from my usual boutique corner and grab myself a popular, brand name stick this week! I've heard amazing things about the Aging Room Nicaragua, and once I got my hands on one, I decided to see if it lived up to the hype!" Watch Now
"Tonight I review the Joya de Nicaragua from Drew Estate. This cigar celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Joya factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. I go over the rules of the 100 subscriber giveaway. I also talk about the changes to the lounge." Watch Now
"Today we will be reviewing the NEW Alec Bradley Kintsugi. This cigar should have been released earlier in the year, but Covid-19 prevented that. Now it’s finally here. Alec & Bradley have been doing a really good job, with the blends they’ve created in the past. Can they continue the magic? We will smoke it, and find out if so." Listen Now