Dissident to Launch Core Line

I could not be happier for owner Benjamin Holt. I have interacted with Ben through social media and through BLTC/ BLK WKS
which he is a rep for and I am really excited to watch this journey
unfold. I am very curious to see how he and James Brown push
the envelope with these creations. Best of luck and I cannot wait
to try these blends.

Press Release June  20, 2019 – Dissident to Launch Core Line at
IPCPR 2019 The new Dissident cigar brand under the ownership of Benjamin Holt will launch at IPCPR 2019 in Las Vegas,
Nevada. Dissident will showcase two core line blends at this
year’s trade show; Soapbox and Bloc. All lines are completely
new blends produced at Fabrica Oveja Negra in Esteli, Nicaragua. Both blends will be available in three sizes. Benjamin stated,
“I am very excited about this. A lot of thought, time and work as been put into making this happen and I’m ready to show it to the
world. I think these blends are very unique and offer a special
smoking experience for those who love cigars. They really
highlight the quality of tobacco that’s used at Oveja Negra.” 
Dissident will be distributed by LJ Zucca Distributors and
will be present in Booth 2463 at the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show.

Soapbox Country of Origin: Nicaragua Wrapper: Brazil Binder:
Ecuador Filler: Nicaragua Petite Corona – 4 3/4 x 46 (20 count)
MSRP $8.00 Robusto – 5 1/2 x 52 (20 count) MSRP $10.00
Toro Gordo – 6 3/4 x 54 (20 count) MSRP $11.00 
Bloc Country of Origin: Nicaragua Wrapper: Ecuador Maduro
Binder: Ecuador Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Box Press
Robusto – 5 5/8 x 46 (20 count) MSRP $10.25
Box Press Toro – 6 1/4 x 52 (20count) MSRP $10.50
Box Press Lonsdale – 7 x 42 (20 count) MSRP $10.00
 For more information contact info@smoke-dissident.com.

Emilio Cigars announces Suave and La Musa

PRESS RELEASE – Emilio Cigars

June 18, 2019 — Emilio Cigars is pleased to announce the release of Suave
at this year’s IPCPR. Emilio will also be featuring La Musa for shipment later this year. Both are hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragua at Fabrica Oveja Negra.

Suave is a core-line product for Emilio that has been redesigned. The
artwork and blending for these cigars has been done by James Brown.
James, owner of BLTC and Fabrica Oveja Negra, stated, “I am very excited
to release these cigars. They that have been given the Oveja Negra
makeover in appearance and flavor.”

Suave will be shipping to select retailers later this month.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Robusto – 5 x 50 (20 count) MSRP $9.00
Toro – 6 x 50 (20 count) MSRP $9.50
Churchill – 7 x 48 (20 count) MSRP $9.50

La Musa, a limited release, will be featured at this years show. This will be
the first edition of this cigar from the Oveja Negra Factory.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua
Robusto – 5 x 50 (25 count) MSRP $10.50
Toro – 6 x 50 (25 count) MSRP $11.00

Visit Booth #2463 at this year’s IPCPR 2019 for more information.


Great news from our friends at Mombacho Cigars. I am super happy to see this brand grow and expand in the industry. If you haven’t tried any of their stuff before, you should seek them out. Our friend Rob Rasmussen sent over some info for us to share with. Check it out!



Robert Rasmussen

Brand Manager Mombacho Cigars

E: rob@mombachocigars.com

P: 510-693-1714



Germany, Japan, Mexico and Norway have been added to the expanding list of countries where Mombacho Cigars are available for purchase. New Liga Maestro boxes debuted at IPCPR 2018.

GRANADA, NICARAGUA. – (25 July 2018). Mombacho Cigars S.A. has broadened its international reach by adding distributers in four new countries. Germany, Japan, Mexico and Norway are now among the 16 countries where Mombacho Cigars are sold.

“Awareness of our brand is not only growing in the US, but internationally as well,” said Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars. “Our cigars can now be found in 16 countries worldwide and we are working diligently to continue expanding into more nations.”

Mombacho Cigars S.A. is a Canadian owned company established in 2006 that entered the US market in 2014. The international interest in Mombacho has grown rapidly and Mombacho cigars are now available in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago.

“The recent IPCPR trade show was a success for Mombacho, both in terms of retailers in the US and our distribution worldwide,” said Claudio Sgroi, President and Master Blender of Mombacho Cigars. “It is beautiful to see the love for Mombacho spread across the globe.”

Mombacho also unveiled new boxes for their Liga Maestro line at the recent IPCRP trade show in Las Vegas. The new boxes feature a matte black finish with a gold embossed Mombacho logo and have already begun shipping to retailers. Tierra Volcán will be available in similar boxes later this year.


Mombacho Cigars, S. A. was founded in 2006 to provide premium handmade cigars through memorable experiences in select markets around the world, including Canada, China, Italy and, since 2014, the United States. Mombacho produces all of its products at its factory in Granada, Casa Favilli, where over 30 members of the Mombacho Family work. For more information, contact Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars at rob@mombachocigars.com.

I am a fan of this brand and I hope that we can get more local retailers to pick them up soon. I look forward to building a relationship with them and wish them much continued success. Please make sure to share this and ask your local B&M to carry them.

Morphine 2017…Black Label Trading Company

Thanks to Matt O’Hop at Cigars on State in Clark Summit, Pa for hooking me up with the newly released Morphine. I was able to get all 3 vitolas and plan to review each of them. Check out http://cigarsonstate.com/wp/ for all your cigar needs and great info. Matt does a nice job on his blog keeping you up to date with things going on in the industry.

For those of you that follow me on social media, you have seen my post of Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studio cigars. It is no secret that I am a big fan of both brands and the cigars they produce. I also had the pleasure of sitting down with James Brown when he visited Pa last year. James is a great guy and he and his wife Angela live in Nicaragua  full time where they run Fabrica de Oveja Negra in Esteli that they opened in 2015. The following is from the BLTC website and talks a little bit about the factory.


“As the name suggests, Oveja Negra (Black Sheep), will do things differently.

“Starting our own factory was a natural progression of the brand. We needed the freedom to be as creative as possible and to have ownership of every process that goes into making our cigars. We have always been involved in every aspect of our production but now we can take it to the next level and ensure 100% quality from seed to ash,” stated James Brown, creator of BLTC.

Oveja Negra offers its clients a factory where small batch production is the norm, and quality is the priority. At Oveja Negra smaller brands and retailers wanting private labels can make a cigar without huge minimum orders.

“This is a tough industry for small companies. Its hard to get the attention you need to create a premium product. Our goal is to help support other boutique brands and grow the premium-cigar market,” stated James Brown.

Black Label Trading Company is re-defining the standards for cigar making. With a less is more philosophy Black Label Trading Co. creates hand crafted premium cigars of the utmost quality in small batch, limited quantities.”

Oveja Negra is also responsible for producing cigars for the Nomad brand and is currently working on a project with Veritas Cigar Co. I can tell you that everything I have had so far from that factory is solid and consistent. It feels like every release that comes out is better and better. If you haven’t had any of their cigars, I highly recommend them. Be sure to follow them on social media and check out some of the amazing works of art they are creating.

So with all of that out of the way, let’s review a cigar shall we? Up first from the bunch is the latest release of Morphine. This is the fourth release of this cigar and I am anxious to try it. It was one of my favorite cigars of last year and I enjoyed all but 1 because I wanted to make sure I had one until I got the 17’s in. Well, mission accomplished and now I can go back and see what some aging did to it and compare. Win, win.

Morphine 2017 Corona 5 1/2 x 42 (18 count box)


(Also available this year in Lancero 7 1/4 x 42 12 box count and Short Robusto 4 1/2 x 50 20 box count) 400 boxes of each will be available for 20,000 cigars total.


Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan habano

Filler: Nicaraguan

Origin: Esteli, Nicaragua

Appearance / Construction: Keeping true to form, this years version is dark, rugged and rustic. The dark brown maduro wrapper presents a few bumps and veins with tight seams. The cigar feels solid with no soft spots. The foot is open and the cap is rounded with a small “nub” on the end. There are 2 black and white bands that blend nicely with the wrapper. One is the logo artwork band and the second has the name on it.

20170619_125551-01[1] 20170619_125557-01[1]

Pre-light: I decided to keep this one in the cellophane until I was almost ready to smoke it. Once I remove it I am hit with heavy barnyard notes, manure, and hay. I let it sit out for a minute or so and breathe a bit. Once I go back to it, I pick up pepper, chocolate sweetness, much less barnyard, hay and earth. On the foot I get more of the same with a grassy undertone. Using a straight cut I remove the cap and the cold draw is open with a slight resistance. I get a nice pepper, wood and hay profile from the cold draw. Time to get this one toasted.

1st Third: Right away the old familiar sting of red pepper/spice hits the throat and nose. Ah….I take a few seconds to enjoy it. Once things calm down a bit I pick up a nice woodsy cedar profile. There is a subtle undertone that reminds me of the smell of damp, freshly cut grass. Crazy I know but that is the only way I can describe it. As I work through the first half inch or so, there is a lot going on here and it’s all really good. There is a little hint of sweetness here and there and the pepper still finds it way in at times. So far this blend is really enjoyable to me. The draw is good. Open with a little resistance but nothing too tight. The burn is good. A little wavy but nothing unmanageable. And here comes the rain! Damn, time to move into the garage. I was trying to beat it and I lost!


2nd Third: As I move into the halfway point, more of the same great notes. This is a very consistent blend. Nothing that shifts and changes in crazy ways but complex enough to keep things interesting. Still very woodsy, earthy, spicy (though not as much as the start), and very smooth. This is a full bodied smoke. The strength is certainly in the full range. One thing about most BLTC is they often pack a punch. Thus the name Morphine! Takes all the pain away! I am getting nice smoke from this stick and so far I am really feeling this year’s release.


Final Third: Again, no major shifts here. Consistent and delicious. As I watch the rain pour down, I am thinking back to last years release and for as good as that one was, I think this years blend has turned things up a notch. No real changes in the profile as I work my way down to the nub. More of the same cedar wood, grassy, pepper, earthy notes that started all blended together in a perfect presentation on the palate. The sweetness still makes an appearance here and there and the much more subtle pepper still lingers but not as forceful as before. I end this one 1 hour 15 minutes in.


Final Thoughts: I really wished the rain had held out and I could have sat on the deck and really taken my time with this one. I didn’t rush it but being forced into the garage due to a downpour makes for a less enjoyable experience. That said, this cigar was really, really good. I have found that I am a fan of the San Andres Maduro and it is featured in a lot of cigars that I really enjoy. This one was no different. There is a sweetness to it and blended with the heavy wood and pepper notes, this makes for a great smoke. As I stated in the review, I think this years release turned out better than its predecessor from last year. I do not recommend this cigar for beginner smokers. If you tend to like more mild or medium cigars, ease into this. This is a full bodied, full flavored smoke with a punch. Another great release from BLTC.



 Appearance / Construction: Rugged, rustic San Andres Maduro wrapper with the standard Black and White BLTC bands work for the look of this cigar. The construction is solid, no major flaws. For what this cigar is meant to be I score it 18/20.

Performance (Smoking Characteristics): The draw was open with a touch of resistance that kept things cool all the way down to the nub. The burn got a little wavy at times but no real issues. No touch ups required. I did have to relight it once, only because it went out as I scrambled to get moved into the garage during a heavy rain. Other than a wavy burn line I had no issues. I score this a 23/25.

Flavor: Complex, consistent and good. A well balanced blend of cedar wood, spice, earth and sweetness. I really enjoyed the profile of this cigar and appreciate that is wasn’t all over the place in terms of changes or transitions. Complex enough to hold your interest and not a one dimensional cigar. I score this a 25/25.

Overall Experience: I really liked this cigar. The corona size is that great in between size that you can pull off in an hour. I am anxious to try the lancero and the robusto but I enjoyed my time with this cigar. No real performance issues, great flavor, consistency. What more do you need? I scored this a 28/30.

Final Rating: 94

96 – 94: Excellent cigar. I would add this to my collection of must haves.

So there you have it. My review of the BLTC 2017 Morphine. I hope that you enjoyed it. I welcome your thoughts, comments and reviews. Feel free to share it and make sure to follow me on social media. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace.



Probable Cause Lancero

Cubariqueno Cigar Company recently held a soft release of the newly added Themis, and the Probable Cause Lancero in May. Unfortunately I was out of town and could not attend the event but I was able to meet up with Juan Cancel and discuss the new releases. He was nice enough to allow me to try them before their official IPCPR release.

If you aren’t familiar with Cubariqueno Cigars, Juan Cancel or Bill Ives,you owe it to yourself to check them out. http://www.cubariqueno.com/ They released the Protocol, followed by the Probable Cause and now the Themis joins the ranks. The Protocol was released in a lancero version and it was Cigar Federations Cigar of the Year, and for good reason. With the success of that cigar, it only made sense to follow it up with a lancero version of the Probable Cause.

Cubariqueno is making a big name for themselves in a relatively short amount of time. Making their debut at IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans and working with Erik Espinosa and the La Zona Factory, they have come out swinging and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down.

I reviewed the Themis yesterday and I looked forward to the Probable Cause all night. It is a beautiful, warm, sunny day here in NE Pa and a perfect day to get outside and review a cigar. So let’s jump in here and see what we got.

Probable Cause Lancero

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Factory: La Zona Esteli, Nicaragua

Size: 7 1/2 x 38 Box Pressed (Also available in 5 x 52 Robusto and 6 1/2 x 48 Churchill Box Pressed)



Right away the Red, Silver and Black logo and dual bands catch your eye and really work with the rustic look of the cigar. A nice medium brown maduro wrapper contrasts nicely with the artwork of the bands. There are some small veins, and tight seams throughout. You notice the box press on the slender, long body. This is a 38 ring gauge which is not often seen in a lancero. Most of the lanceros I have are a 40 ring gauge so this is a bit different. Overall, I really like the look of this stick. It has an open foot and a rounded cap.

20170611_104204-01[1] 20170611_104213-01[1]


The cigar is firm with no soft spots. I pick up notes of barnyard, dry hay, earth, light notes of chocolate and black pepper from the barrel and foot. I used a straight cut to open things up. The draw is nice with a slight resistance. I pick up earth, hay, and cedar from the cold draw.


1st Third: Once I get the foot nice and toasted, the initial draw reveals sweet cedar wood, some grassy notes, black pepper and chocolate notes. The first 1/4 inch is all about trying to process the many complex flavors I am picking up. It is a combo of sweet cedar wood, spice and sweetness. It is much like the larger sizes but dare I say…even better? The draw is open with the right amount of resistance, the burn is even, and the ash is holding on nicely. I am getting a nice amount of smoke from this cigar. I pick up notes of dried fruit about mid-way through the first third. There is a nice amount of pepper on the retro-hale. I am really enjoying this smoke so far.


2nd Third: As I move into the halfway mark, the pepper tones down but still lingers in the retro-hale. I pick up more of earthy notes mixed with a nice charred wood and that subtle sweetness that hangs around. This is a complex blend that really shines in this vitola. The blend stays consistent with the first third but a few notes change place from time to time coming to the forefront and then falling back. It makes it tough to put this cigar down because it is really good.


Last Third: More of the same notes make their way into the final third of this cigar. It is still mostly cedar wood, earth, some spice and dried fruit. I pick up a hint of chocolate from time to time along with some grassy notes. As I come to the end of this cigar, I am really enjoying it as much as when I first lit it. I nub this one after 1 hour 45 minutes.


Final Thoughts: I have been a fan of the Probable Cause since it was released and I have smoked both the Churchill and Robusto sizes a few times. This lancero edges them out for me because it really showcases the flavors of this blend and it works very well in this vitola. I was curious about the smaller ring gauge (38) and the cigars performance but that was a non-factor. This cigar was on cruise control with no touch ups, a nice open draw, and even burn lines. This cigar is complex, consistent, and delicious. It ended as a more medium-full strength, full bodied cigar. Tons of flavors that remained throughout the entire cigar but enough changes that keep you coming back to it. I would recommend this for anyone that wants to move into a more med/full experience but I think even the most experienced smoker would find this cigar highly enjoyable. Juan told me this was his new favorite cigar and I can see why. Sorry Juan but I am afraid a lot of people are going to buy this in bunches so you can’t keep them all for yourself.



**Note** I did not originally rate this cigar at the time of this review. I started the rating process later in the week and thought it was only right to come back and rate this since it is a 2017 release and I want to score it. 6/18/2017


Appearance / Construction: A really rustic, good looking lancero. The bands and artwork work very well against the wrapper and the construction was solid. I score this almost perfect at 19/20.

Performance: From start to finish this cigar was on cruise control. No issues at all with the draw or burn. No touch-ups were needed and the smaller ring gauge was a non issue. You can see by the pics that the burn got slightly wavy but not really enough to matter. I score this a 24/25.

Flavor: This is where the lancero version of this cigar really stands out for me. The flavors are just bursting as you move through this stick. Complex, rich and smooth. I don’t see how this cigar gets better. Perfect score of 25/25.

Overall Experience: I enjoyed this cigar as much or more than the original Protocol lancero and I wondered if I would. This cigar really stands out from the rest, for me anyway. Not to take anything away from the others because they are great. La Zona is doing some amazing things. I really enjoyed my time with this stick. I score this 29/30.

Final Rating: 97

100 – 97: A class of it’s own. Top of the summit.

I hope that you enjoyed this review. Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, reviews, etc here. I want to thank Juan Cancel for allowing me the opportunity to check out this great cigar before the official release. All I can say is, when these are available to you, Grab ‘Em by the P! These guys are making some amazing cigars!

Until next time friends, long ashes and full glasses! Peace.



Themis…Lady of Justice

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Juan Cancel of Cubariqueno Cigar Company last weekend at Famous Smoke Shop. It’s always great talking with the people that bring these great cigars to the market and find out some of the back story behind it.

William Agathis is the third man behind the brand and they set out to make a blend that was more to his liking, true to his Greek heritage, and his taste. Preferring a milder strength and having a more delicate palate, he went to work with Hector Alfonso Sr at the La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The outcome was the Themis. From ancient Greek mythology, she was the second wife of Zeus and is described as the “Lady of Good Consel”. You will notice the Lady of Justice symbol on the logo. Keeping true to the Law Enforcement theme that started with the Protocol (Juan and Bill both work in law enforcement), the Themis comes to the market at IPCPR 2017.

Protocol_Themis_by_Cubariqueno-Cigar-Company (1)

Juan told me they wanted a cigar that appealed to a larger number of people, because they are repeatedly asked if they have anything in the mild to medium range. Until now, the answer was no. If you have had the Protocol or Probable Cause you know this is true. I am not typically a Connecticut fan. Not to say that I haven’t enjoyed them or dislike them in anyway, I just typically smoke darker cigars. I always keep an open mind about any cigar and this was no different. So let’s jump in to this one and see how it turned out.

Protocol Themis:

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder and Filler: Nicaraguan

Orgin: La Zona, Esteli, Nicaragua

Size: 5 x 52 Robusto (Also available in 6 x 52 Toro)


The look of this cigar is just really appealing. The medium tan color of the cigar really works well with the Gold foil bands and the orange silk foot band. The color combos really work perfectly with this cigar. The cigar has some medium veins, open foot, and a rounded triple cap to finish things off. I really like the look of this cigar.

20170609_114741-01[1] 20170609_114758-01[1]


I pick up notes of barnyard, leather, and cocoa from the open foot. From the barrel I get more barnyard, mostly dry hay, and earth. The cigar is light but feels firm throughout with no soft spots. I used a V-cutter and the cold draw reveals a nice open, airy draw. I pick up notes of earth, hay, and roasted nuts.


1st Third: Once I get the foot nice and toasted, I get a nice big pepper blast right out the gate. Juan told me about it and even with advanced notice, I did not expect that from this cigar. Being a big pepper and spice fan, this was a great treat. I also picked up some earthy, nutty, and woodsy notes but overall the pepper takes the forefront. I am getting a ton of creamy smoke from this cigar. About 1/4 inch in, the pepper is there but really tones down and becomes a nice, smooth mild-medium strength, full flavored cigar.


2nd Third: As I move into the second third, the transition into more of a woodsy, grassy profile starts to take shape. Not full on but it’s subtle and it’s a nice change. The grassy note flirts with an almost mint like taste. Like if you burned a mint leaf from a plant. Hard to explain but that’s what I got. The pepper note still lingers but blends very well with the other flavors. I pick up some cocoa at times and it just adds to the mix. This is a very complex Connecticut and I am having a hard time letting it rest. It keeps pulling me back to it to discover new notes. Performance is on complete cruise control. Draw is open and great, nice, even, slow burn, tons of smoke and the ash is holding like a champ.



Last Third: Closing in on the final third it transitions into a silky smooth, creamy blend that is more of a mild-medium strength but bursting with flavors. The pepper has really toned down and taken a back seat to the roasted nuts, cocoa/coffee, and sweet cedar wood. I am really amazed at how complex this cigar is and how well the notes just flow from one to the next.


Final Thoughts: This review was a bit different because Juan and I talked about the cigar almost a week before me trying it. He was absolutely right about it. This is a mild-medium, full bodied Connecticut that has that Protocol punch to it. Like I said before, I am not a big Connecticut smoker but I will have these in my humidor. I see myself enjoying these as a first cigar of the day with a cup of coffee or at an event as a great, light after dinner stick. I was a little concerned about loosing what I love so much about the Protocol and Probable Cause when I heard about them doing a Conni, but rest assure, it does not lack that Protocol kick. I am really amazed at how complex this cigar is and how well the notes just flow from one to the next. Nothing is out of place and the blend just works. Great flavor profile, great performance, great smoke. Very well done gents!

This cigar is great for new smokers or those that prefer a milder cigar, but it is complex enough for even full bodied smokers to enjoy. Yet another winner from Cubariqueno Cigar Company. The Themis completes the trifecta for sure!

**Note** I did not originally rate this cigar at the time of this review. I started the rating process later in the week and thought it was only right to come back and rate this since it is a 2017 release and I want to score it.  6/18/2017


Appearance / Construction: This is a beautiful cigar. The gold band really tie this cigar together and make for a great presentation. It is close to perfect. I score this a 19/20.

Performance: This cigar was on cruise control after I lit it. Slightly wavy burn but no touch-ups required and a nice open draw. I score this a 24/25.

Flavor: For a Connecticut to really get my attention and hold it there, it has to be a special cigar. This was complex, flavorful, full bodied, smooth and really just a great stick. I score this a 24/25.

Overall Experience: From the moment I set it up to take pics, this cigar really stood out. Once I got it lit and settled in a bit, it really began to show me what it was all about. Juan said it was a Connecticut with the Protocol flare and it was every bit of that. Certainly not your standard and I am happy to see a few really good Connecticut smokes hitting the market. I score this a 29/30.

Final Rating: 96 

96 – 94: Excellent cigar. In the hunt but just missing the top level. Worthy of more than a single for sure.

Total time was 1 hour 20 minutes. I paired this with water as I always do with a first time cigar. I see this cigar pairing well with coffee in the am or with a nice wine after dinner.

Speaking of coffee. If you like pairing coffee and cigars, then you will want to check this out!

Cubariqueño Cigar Company is excited to announce the release of three Protocol branded coffees in partnership with Layne Coffee Co. The Protocol Azul, Protocol Rojo, and Protocol Oro have all been methodically crafted to be paired with each prospective cigar. Cubariqueño Cigar Company teamed up with Layne Coffee Co., which is a ”small batch” specialty coffee roaster, because of their focus on quality and consistency. Working hand in hand with Layne Coffee Co., Cubariqueño cupped countless coffees in order to bring an experience which would enhance and complement each Protocol cigar. Each coffee uses highly rated specialty beans and is sourced from respected growers all over the world. https://www.laynecoffee.com/collections/protocol-coffee


I want to thank Juan Cancel for allowing me to check out this cigar prior to their release and for always helping me spread the word of the blog. I always enjoy getting to hang out with you when I get the chance. We have to do some more Smoked Juleps and cigars soon. Can’t wait to review the Probable Cause Lancero next!

I hope that you enjoyed this review. I really enjoyed this cigar and I hope that you will check it out. Please feel free to share this on your social media pages. As always, I encourage comments, thoughts, or questions. Until next time friends, long ashes and full glasses. Peace!

Flor Del Valle …Warped

Created in the renowned Casa Fernandez factory, Flor Del Valle is a revived old Cuban brand produced with 100% Aganorsa tobacco, a rare and extremely rich Cuban seed strain grown in Estelí, Nicaragua. Covering this exquisite filler leaf is an aged Jalapa Valley grown Corojo 99′ wrapper. Utilizing true Cuban production techniques such as entubado bunching for a smooth draw and slow even burn, and the classic Cuban triple cap you are in for an amazingly robust and flavorful smoking experience. (Credit JR Cigar website)

I decided to give this one a try based on recent Warped cigars I have tried. La Hacienda really stood out to me as a great stick so I picked up a couple of these.

Blend Profile: 

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 Aganorsa (Jalepa)

Binder: Nicaraguan Aganorsa

Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 and Corojo ’98 Aganorsa

Size: 5 1/2 x 50 Robusto Gran Valle


Appearance: Medium, leathery, oily brown that is bumpy, a little rough with small veins and a tight seam. The wrapper is cracked a bit due to me dropping it. It had no effect on the performance. It feels firm with no real soft spots. The band is very ornate with gold and light blue. The combination makes it fairly hard to read.









Pre-Light: I pick up notes of leather, pepper, barnyard hay, and some cedar notes. Draw is nice and open and I get some herbal notes, hay and some faint wood notes after opening the cap with a V-cutter.

20170428_111119-01[1] 20170428_111126-01[1]

First Third: After toasting the foot I get notes of wood, subtle sweetness of dried fruit, and then a big burst of pepper. I wasn’t expecting that. It is a good amount of pepper but I am good with that. A little more in and the pepper really fades and I pick up more cedar, oak, and a little bit of the lingering spice. The draw is nice and open, the burn is good, ash is holding tight. Not much changes the remainder of the first third.



Second Third: As I transition into the half way point I am getting notes of grass, somewhat floral notes that mix in with the cedar. The pepper has all but disappeared. The strength is a solid medium. The flavor profile is certainly different. A bit of cocoa, toasted nuts and a touch of sweetness appears. This blend continues to surprise me. New flavors appear in the blend and then disappear. There are notes of citrus that appear and then fade. It certainly makes it intriguing.

Final Third: Moving into the final stretch everything sort of comes full circle. A bit of all the flavors come and go in a nice mix and a smooth, medium strength blend. No real flavor overpowers or stands out. It’s a nice combination of flavors on the palate. It can be a bit floral or grassy at times, then a little sweet, then smokey and woodsy at others. The draw and burn were perfectly fine throughout the hour and 35 minutes.


Final Thoughts: This was a different cigar for sure. Lots of complex flavors that made for an interesting smoke. I did enjoy it a lot and I would smoke it again. Of the recent Warped cigars I have tried, La Hacienda is my personal favorite so far. This one is unique enough to bring me back to it but I am not sure it would be a go to for me. If the pepper had stuck around for longer, maybe. It became a bit grassy and floral at times but overall it was a very enjoyable cigar to try. Strength is a steady medium. Very flavorful and smooth. The performance was solid with no issues at all. I would recommend this cigar for anyone.

Thanks for checking out the review. Hope that you enjoyed in. Long ashes and full glasses friends. New things coming soon. Take care everyone.



Very Superstitious…Black Cat by Felix Assouline

I was a little late to the party at getting my hands on these but my friend Felix hooked me up this week as he always does. The man knows cigars and customer service for sure. I have reviewed Felix Assouline Cigars in the past and I have been a fan of his work every since. As I patiently await his next release, today we take a look at the Black Cat Habano. (Also available in a Connecticut version)

“The Toro 6×54 Honduran Jamastran Habano wrapper Habano with Honduran Jamastran and Nicaraguan fillers are carefully blended for a medium to full smoke. An incredible smoke at any price at any time of the day.

The Toro 6×54 Ecuador Connecticut wrapper with Honduran Jamastran and Nicaraguan Jalapa fillers are carefully blended for a sweet mild to medium body smoke. Great to start the day or at any time.” Felix Assouline (http://felixassouline.com/)

Black Cat – Habano

Blend Profile: 

Wrapper: Honduran Jamastran Habano

Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Binder: Not disclosed

Size: 6 x 54 Toro

Appearance: This cigar presents a dark, reddish brown wrapper with a colorful band featuring a black cat with an Egyptian feel and ornate design. It is firm with no soft spots, medium veins and a tight seam, open foot and triple cap to round off the top.


Pre-Light: I pick up heavy notes of barnyard, hay, wood and some pepper. From the foot I pick up more of the same with a unique sweetness I cannot put my finger on. I use a V-cutter to open things up and from the cold draw I find a nice open draw and notes of earth, tobacco, wood and a hint of sweetness.

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First Third: Jumping right in I used a wooden match to toast the foot and take a couple of puffs to draw in the flame. Right away I get a heavy note of what I can only describe as grass or wet hay, smokey wood, and a hint of spice and pepper. This is a very “natural” blend meaning it has a very nature based profile of grass, earth, wood and leather. As I move into it a bit more, I start to pick up a blend of different wood flavors coming together. Mostly cedar, hickory and maybe a hint of mesquite. This is a smooth cigar with a nice draw that offers just the right amount of resistance. The burn is slightly wavy all the way around and the ash is holding tight for the first inch. Good smoke production coming off of both ends and mild to medium strength.


Second Third: As I transition into the half way mark there is not much change. Consistent, good flavor and nothing radically changes. I do start to pick up more of a nuttier, smokey wood, leather, grassy blend with a slight coffee bitterness. The little hint of pepper I had has faded away (I am a little disappointed as I am a spice guy but that’s strictly personal preference). This cigar is performing nicely with a solid, slightly wavy burn, nice smoke production and an open draw. There is a familiarity with the blend and I believe the link to the other FAC cigars I have tried is the Jamastran tobacco. It is very distinct and offers a very unique taste on my palate. I am picking up heavy cedar, grass, coffee hints mixed with earth and leather notes.


Final Third: I will not say that I transition into the final third as nothing has changed. This is a very consistent cigar with subtle shifts in flavors here and there. The slight bitterness I pick up is more of a dark chocolate as opposed to coffee beans at this point. The performance has remained steady and unwavering throughout. I am a bit surprised at how consistent the blend has remained from start to finish. The blend is good through and through and it stayed very smooth and finished at a solid medium strength for me.


Final Thoughts: Another great cigar produced by Felix Assouline Cigars. As I said, this is a very “Natural” cigar with a lot of earthy profiles. I found it to be woodsy, grassy, earthy, with some nuttiness, leather, coffee, dark chocolate and hints of pepper.

These are very limited and the Connecticut version is already sold out so if you plan to try these, order today. I am glad I have 4 left and 1 Connecticut to review. I want to age these a bit and see if the complexity changes some. Overall, I enjoyed my 1 hour 45 minutes with this cigar. I was rudely interrupted by a short rain shower which cut off about 10 minutes. Curse you Mother Nature!


There you have it. I hope you enjoyed my review of the Black Cat. If you order, please let Felix know you read the review. He is great at staying in touch with his clients and is a great guy. Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, or reviews here as always. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace

“The purpose of this review is to provide a true, honest opinion based on my own experience. I am under no obligation to provide favorable feedback for this product and receive no compensation for doing so. This cigar was purchased by me, for my own enjoyment.”


The Third and Final Round…The Rebel Signature

Hope everyone is off to a great new year and staying warm. I read that there was snow on the ground in 49 states. Crazy. Here in Northeast Pa it is your typical Jan. Temps have been in the teens for over a week with a little snow and wind chills in single digits or in the negative. This of course means the heaters are going around the clock and the air inside is very dry. Humidity for cigars in this climate is very tricky. I for one am ready to pack up and move further south. Birds are much smarter than us, they know when to head south!

Tonight I decided to brave the extremely cold temps and got the heater up cranked up in the garage for a bit so I would not become a frozen statue until Spring. I decided it was time to try the third and final cigar I received from The Rebel Cigar company. The Signature series is there premier cigar and looking at this cigar I can see why. This cigar has a very elegant look and feel to it. I love the twister style with the medium and dark brown swirling wrapper.


The RC Signature – 6 x 52

An intriguing, complex, and hand-rolled mix of leaves derived from the remote regions of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Infused with 100% premium Cuban-seed filler, our Rebel Cigars are flawless creations accompanied by dark and light Nicaraguan Habano wrappers, for an exotic and dangerously sophisticated experience.” (Taken from The Rebel Cigar website)


The cigar feels light and firm throughout with no soft spots. It smells of barnyard hay, cedar and earth. Off the foot I pick up more of the same with a subtle semi-sweet cocoa. The combination of the light and dark Nicaraguan wrapper really comes together to make a very nice looking cigar.

I use a straight guillotine cut and the cold draw offers a little resistance and I get notes of cedar, hay, and earth. I used wooden matches to get things started and finished with a dual flame torch lighter. Once I got it nice and toasted the initial draw provides me with a very strong cedar wood profile and a little sweetness. As I move into it a little, the straw makes an appearance. The strength is on the medium side with a nice flavor profile. It is very woodsy with a nice smooth finish. The first third performs well with the draw still offering some resistance but not too tight, the ash is holding well and the burn is even.

As noted in other reviews, the extreme cold here plays hell on cigars and is far less than ideal for them. As a result of being in a propane heated garage the burn line is affected and when I go outside it straightens out very nicely however the brutal cold causes some issues with cracking because it is just far to dry and far too cold. Anyone that smokes in the cold knows what I am dealing with. I don’t care what cigar you have and what temp and humidity you store them at, once they get into single digit dry climates, there will be issues. This was no different. My cigars are kept in a humidor in an interior closet in the winter with a humidifier and typically stays at a constant 68 to 70 degrees with 69 to 71% humidity. I am very meticulous about caring for my investments. The issues I experienced with this cigar say nothing about the quality or construction of the cigar.

All that said, I did experience some small cracks in the wrapper. Nothing serious and it only effected the cosmetics of the cigar. I have mentioned before that I should go to a local lounge but I am pretty methodical about how and where I do reviews. I find doing reviews in a smoke filled lounge is not ideal as the other cigars tend to find their way into the cigar I am reviewing and it doesn’t allow for an accurate tasting experience.

Enough about the climate issues, I’m turning into John Kerry…Geez. As I made my way through the second and last third of this cigar not much changed. The flavor profile stayed very steady and consistent throughout with certain profiles taking the forefront and then falling back when another took its place. The main flavors of cedar, smoky wood, hay, earth and cocoa stayed consistent. I personally would have enjoyed a little pepper or spice blended into this to really open the profile up a bit more but that is only my personal preference. I am a big fan of spice and pepper. That’s my Louisiana heritage working it’s way in. Cayenne and spice are at the heart of everything we do so I never shy away from pepper and spice in a cigar. I understand that not everyone likes that. For many of you this blend will be perfect.


Overall thoughts. This was a nice, smooth, well constructed medium bodied cigar that had a very woodsy flavor profile and mixed well with the other notes I described. I paired this cigar with water but this cigar would pair very well with a great bourbon, rum or scotch. Any of these would add that spice I mentioned and would really bring out the flavors in both the liquor and the cigar. The look of this cigar is elegant, and luxurious. I could easily see this being a go to smoke in a nice after dinner setting with cigars and drinks. It is mild enough so that you could smoke more than one and it looks terrific. Great for social gatherings or as a after dinner smoke. I enjoyed this cigar a lot. Smoke time was right at 2 hours. This is where that resistance in the draw comes into play. It never allowed the cigar to get really hot and burned nicely.


So that completes the Rebel Cigar series for me. Overall, for a company new to the market they have potential. The only recommendations I would offer (as a consumer) is offer different sizes at some point and I would play around with the band colors. One thing I had a hard time with was taking a picture that showcased the brand and cigar name and it was always a challenge regardless of lighting. The dark red or maroon makes it very hard to display and the light always seems to reflect and takes away from the shot. As a new company, the one thing you want is attention and to stand out. If I took this band off in a social setting, someone would have to pick it up and find the right lighting to figure out what it was. The cigars themselves are really good. The price point for the size are good. The construction is solid, the performance is great, the flavor profiles are very consistent. Don’t expect radical changes throughout. The Light, Medium and Signature by Rebel are worth trying for sure. Visit them at https://www.therebelcigar.com/

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I would like to thank Rebel for giving me the opportunity to review their products and I wish them much success on their journey into this wild and crazy market. I think they will do fine with the right exposure.

I hope you enjoyed the review and I look forward to your comments and reviews if you care to submit them. Until next time friends, as always, long ashes and full glasses. Peace.

“The purpose of this review is to provide a true, honest opinion based on my own experience. I am under no obligation to provide favorable reviews or feedback for this product and receive no compensation for doing so.”






The Tabernacle by Foundation Cigars

I initially wanted to start this review with information taken from the Foundation website but this information is very easily accessible with a quick click here http://foundationcigarcompany.com/the-tabernacle/ You can find out all of the info behind this masterful blend. Nick Melillo is the man behind Foundation Cigars and is known as the “Chief of the Broadleafs” and for good reason. Being from New Haven Connecticut and working with farmers there for over 10 years, in his words “Broadleaf is more than tobacco for me. It is something sacred.”
You may recognize the name from many of the top selling Drew Estate cigars. Nick is the man behind those masterful combinations. Liga No 9, Dirty Rat, Nica Rustica, Feral Flying Pig, etc… Plain and simple, the man is one of the top blenders in the world.
I walked into Famous Smoke Shop a few weeks back and asked one of the guys I know there to pick out a nice quick smoke that wouldn’t cost me a fortune. I wanted something I could easily smoke in under or right at 1 hour in the very cold temps we have here in Pa. He picked out the Charter Oaks by Foundation for me and I was blown away. For a petite corona under $5.00 you simply can’t beat it. Of course this got me interested in learning more about the company, as I always try to do, and I found out why this cigar was so good. When I realized who was behind the brand, I felt like an idiot for not picking up the Tabernacle and the El Guegurnse “The Wise Man” (Pronounced El When When Say). So on the bright side, I made another road trip to Famous. When life hands you lemons…
Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s get down to why you are reading this page shall we?
The Tabernacle Corona- 5 1/4 x 46 Price $9.00
This work of art features Honduras (Jamastran Valley) Nicaragua (Esteli & Jalapa Valley) fillers, a Mexican San Andres binder, and wrapped in a beautiful Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.
This is a very dark chocolate wrapper that really stands out against the very unique and elegant black and gold band with super high quality printing. This thing screams elegance and produces notes of rich dark chocolate, almost espresso like, earth and pepper from the broadleaf wrapper. I pick up more dark chocolate (cocoa), a woodsy cedar, earth and pepper from the foot. I decided on a straight guillotine cut and the cold draw reveals a sweet blend of cedar, pepper and earthy notes. The draw offers some resistance. The wrapper is rolled very nicely with very tight seams. It feels firm and solid which explains the resistance on the draw.
I used regular wooden matches to get things going and immediately I pick the familiar cedar and a very smooth cocoa blend. The pepper makes an appearance about a quarter of an inch into it. It blends very nicely with the cedar and the sweetness. The blend is very good and I am enjoying this one a lot. The draw is still a little tight but not bad. It is producing some nice smoke. The ash is holding very tight and is white in color. At the end of the first third, the pepper fades a bit and the dark chocolate and earth notes come to the forefront.
The second third brings more of the same and I am good with that. No huge jumps in flavors moving through the transition. As I get more into the halfway point the full flavor of the blend comes together very nicely. The cedar, earth, pepper and cocoa really pull together and I am reminded of other cigars that utilize tobacco from the Jamastran Valley. The spice of the San Andreas really starts to come through but never enough to overpower the flavor profile.
(Sorry for the lighting but it is under flood lights around my house) The final third is a continuation of the first 2 thirds. Sweet cedar, cocoa, pepper and earth close this cigar out. The draw remained a little tight throughout but helped to extend the burn time to 1 hour 40 minutes. I was outside in a damp, freezing rain (light drizzle) about 38 degrees for the first half of this cigar like a crazy person grilling steaks and burgers. Dedication is something I pride myself on. Lol. The ash held very tight for most of each third and the burn was a little uneven but this is due to the harsh outside conditions and breeze. When I went into my heated garage, it evened out very nicely.
Overall thoughts. This cigar was delicious. Almost dessert like in a sense. The rich dark chocolate mixed with the sweet cedar wood profile is very good and hard to put down. The strength is medium moving into full towards the end but never got harsh or bitter. It certainly ramped up towards the end and I was warned of that prior to having it so I was prepared. The flavor profile is full for sure.
The overall look to this cigar is simply elegant, the construction is great, the draw was a little tight for my personal liking but not bad, the burn was great, the ash held tight, and the flavor was just fantastic. This is an immediate box worthy cigar for me and I would put this into my rotation today. They come in 6 sizes and in boxes of 24 with the exception of the Lancero which comes in a box of 13. This is the second cigar I have tried by Foundation and I can say that I am more than impressed and I am a fan of Foundation Cigars. The hype behind this one was very well deserved which is rare these days. I highly recommend this cigar.
I am going to start adding this declaimer here at the bottom in response to internet warriors that are cowards and hide behind the safety of their computer screen in mom’s basement in their underoos and find ways to try and troll people. If you met them in the streets they would want to buy you a cigar or if confronted, piss themselves. Either way, the more I thought about doing this or not, I decided it is actually a great addition to let people know that I am not being paid, or compensated by these companies to promote their product. I offer EVERYONE the same opportunity after EACH review to leave their own comments, thoughts, AND REVIEWS. No one has sent me one so I can’t post what I don’t have but I have made that offer since day 1. Will their review differ from mine? I certainly hope the hell so. I also don’t block people comments. I approve all of them regardless of content. People can disagree with my review, ultimately I am telling you what I experienced, not what you are going to experience. I would imagine your taste will be different than mine. Sorry for the rant, just felt like I needed to explain that some.
Leave your comments, thoughts and reviews here and as always, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace!
“This cigar was purchased by me for the purpose of my enjoyment. I did the review on my own for the purpose of providing a true, honest opinion on the product. I am under no obligation to provide favorable reviews for this product and receive no compensation for doing so.” Cigar Hawk
P.S. If it wasn’t great, you would read that also. I just don’t bash peoples work, I can do it tactfully.


The Rebel RC Medium

Happy 2017 everyone. Hope everyone had a safe and Happy celebration with friends and family. 2016 was a year with a lot of changes, a lot of tragic events across the globe, new FDA regulations on the cigar industry, one of the craziest election seasons in the history of the free world, and a year of some of the best cigars in the world being released. A lot of new companies launched, many existing companies sped up releases to get around some of the new regulations bringing some of the best blends into the market. I tried many new brands and even more new cigars this year than in previous years. This was for a number of reasons. 1) I was really excited about a lot of the new releases 2) My palate has developed enough that I had a much better understanding of what I was actually experiencing 3) I really fell hard for boutique brands and trying cigars that don’t get much exposure. All of these things really played into my cigar buying, smoking and enjoying cigars this year more than ever. Being a relatively new smoker in the sense that I only got into it about 3 years ago and really into it less than 2 years I have really advanced my expectations and far too often I found myself disappointed by the major name brand releases.

With all that said, (if you follow me you have read this before) I decided to dedicate this blog to those smaller up and coming brands that need a platform and hopefully get them some exposure. I don’t ask for anything other than spreading the word about this page and to provide me some feedback. The response so far has been great and I am very thankful for that. I hope that 2017 brings some great things for this blog and specifically the companies, people and cigars I review here. I try to be honest and as descriptive as my palate allows me to be.

One of the companies that I reached out to about the page was The Rebel Cigar company. You can read my first review of the Rebel RC Light here also. They were nice enough to send me 1 of each of their blends to try and review.

The RC Medium 6 x 52 size


This is the second of the 3 I received. The product information card they sent states that their cigars feature “Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos infused with 100% premium Cuban-seed filler. The RC Medium Cigar is wrapped in a Dark Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro Leaf”. This is a very nice looking cigar that is a nice, dark brown with a rugged wrapper featuring nice veins. There was a minor defect in the cap which I cut with 0 issues (this was likely from the shock of the change in climate and shipping). The cigar feels light in my hand with no soft spots. Construction is solid and I pick up notes of semi-sweet cocoa, hay and earth from the foot.

I used a v-cut and the cold draw brings heavy notes of straw with a hint of cocoa. It was very interesting how much straw/hay it presented. I used a match to get things started and once toasted I picked up some nice red pepper that hit my palate followed by a very nice woodsy profile. This cigar has a very earthy feel to it and is producing some nice white smoke. The flavor profile is very natural with a bit of spice that tones down pretty rapidly moving through the first third. Draw and burn are both very good. This is a medium bodied cigar.


As I move into the second third the transition is very subtle with more of the cocoa mixed with a nice wood flavor. It is likely cedar but it is smoky and mixes very nicely with the sweetness of the semi-sweet cocoa. The profile really does not change all that much, and for me that is great. As I stated before, this misconception that a cigar needs these huge flavor transitions at every third is ridiculous to me. I actually prefer consistency over huge shifts. This cigar, so far is very consistent. If you like the first third of this cigar, you will enjoy it throughout. If you don’t, you won’t find much else in regards to major changes. The ash is holding over 1 inch and is grey in color. The burn is a little jagged but I am outdoors in low 40 degree temps with a breeze so this is going to effect the performance. When I go into my heated garage, it tends to straighten out but the heat and lack of humidity really makes it starve for air. Admittedly these are less than ideal conditions to do a true review in regards to performance. Because the climate I am in is so harsh on cigars I always make it a point to state this fact. When you see pictures and it looks jagged, this is rarely (almost never) due to the construction of the cigar. Moving on.


The final third brought more of the same with the exception of the return of the red pepper spice coming to the forefront with the cocoa taking a backseat but really mixing into a really nice smooth finish. The smoky wood profile really makes a statement throughout this cigar as the dominant flavor for me. That’s the beautiful thing about cigars, they are unique to the individual smoking it. My perfect 10 may very well be the worse cigar you ever smoked so always keep that in mind when you try a cigar based on a review.


Overall, this was a solid cigar that was medium in strength and flavor profile. The construction was great, nice open draw, good burn that required no touch-ups with a very natural profile. It was very woodsy with just the right amount of spice and subtle sweetness. The blend was very consistent throughout with no major swings or shifts from one third to the next. I think newer smokers would enjoy this cigar which is a step up from milder smokes but the flavor is enough that more advance smokers would still enjoy it. This is a great choice for a morning smoke with coffee or perfect for a nice lunchtime smoke. I really enjoyed this cigar and I would certainly smoke it again. So far 2 for 2 from Rebel Cigar in my book. At an $8.00 price point, this is a great looking, great performing, intriguing cigar that will satisfy a variety of smokers from new to old.

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I hope you enjoyed this review. As always, comments, suggestions and your thoughts are always welcomed. I encourage you to check out https://www.therebelcigar.com/ for more information. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace.

Something Special…

Felix Assouline has 2 brands that really push the envelope with their names, Ego and Something Special. With names like this, you have to produce a quality product that holds up to the name. The Ego Spirit I have had and reviewed and it was terrific. I have the Ego Maniac waiting in the humidor along with a few others. The L.R Something Special I had not, until the other day. It ended in disaster and I did not review it. No fault of anyone but me and the post office (kind of). Long story but it ended with it falling onto the cold concrete, the cigar being cold from being in the mailbox and the fall causing the wrapper and binder to break open. Almost shattering. I was able to smoke it, but no chance of taking photos and no chance of saving the wrapper so I had to take it off and smoke it as it was. Not the ideal conditions for a review by any means. So anyway…

The Something Special was 1 of 2 brands by Felix that I had not yet tried. The other was the Ringo. We will get to that soon. The Limited Reserve Something Special Triumph was the cigar of choice for today.


The L.R.S.S. Triumph 6 1/2 x 56 is a Nicaraguan, Medium to Full bodied, box pressed beauty with Nicaragua/Honduras fillers, Indonesian binder and a Habano Criollo 98 wrapper. It is priced at $7.50 and available at http://felixassouline.com/store/lrss_Triumph.html

Taking this cigar out of the cellophane, it smells heavily of barnyard straw/hay and a semi-sweet cocoa, much like the semi-sweet chocolate morsels used in cookies. I opted for my Colibri V-cutter (love that thing) and wooden matches to get things started.

The cold draw after the cut revealed an earthy, barnyard almost manure smell but it wasn’t harsh or overbearing. Once toasted, we got things started. First pull brought some pepper notes immediately to my palate along with rich cedar. It was very creamy and produced a lot of heavy white smoke. Further into the first third, the pepper toned down a lot and the cedar mixed with the cocoa and earthy notes making this a nice medium bodied, medium to full flavored smoke.

It has been snowing since early this am and now the sun is finally coming through a little making it a nice 35 degrees outside. These cold temps really play havoc on cigars that are use to their warm 70 degree 70% humidity home. The draw remains perfect, the ash is jagged and slightly uneven but in these conditions, any cigar will do the exact same thing. I long to be in a climate where I no longer have to contend with this foolishness. If anyone knows of good jobs in Tennessee or the Carolinas, hit me up please. Lol. Moving on.

One of the biggest misconceptions about premium cigars right now, is the belief that there needs to be huge, swinging flavor profile changes between each third. Personally I don’t like that at all. If I like the flavor profile and all of a sudden it transitions completely to something else and I have to get through it to see what the last third brings me, more times than not, I am not going to smoke it again. I much prefer consistency with subtle changes or no change at all. Luckily for me, Felix has managed to produce some of the most consistent cigars I have tried. Nothing different with this one either. The second and final third bring about some minor shifts with the pepper coming back to the forefront at times then taking a backseat to the cocoa and leathery earth notes. Nothing drastic, nothing crazy. If you like those kind of radical changes, don’t smoke these. If you like the flavor profile of the first third, you will like this cigar from start to finish.

I read reviews all the time and I see some of the craziest descriptions from cedar to burnt marshmallows mixed with crushed almond shells wrapped in raisins dripped in espresso and finished with a fresh citrus squeeze. WHAT? I would need to be on acid to find these flavor profiles. And if these are legit descriptions, I certainly want no part of a cigar that taste like that.  Maybe my palate needs some work. I have noticed lately that many of the cigars I have tried really have some of the same traits. I am not sure if that is because I am leaning towards certain types of cigars or if it’s my palate. Either way, it is what it is and the thing about cigars is that everyone will experience the exact same cigar in their own unique way. My perfect 10 cigar may be the worst cigar you ever tried.


My final thought on the L.R.S.S. Triumph. This is a wonderful medium to medium-full bodied cigar that produces an excellent, woodsy, earthy, creamy cocoa profile with some pepper notes that show up from time to time. It is a beautiful cigar with small veins and very tight seams. The box press really gives it a luxury feel. It was light and firm throughout with no soft spots. The burn was great, although uneven at times (simply due to the outdoor conditions), required no touchups, the construction and performance were excellent all the way through. The flavor profile was great and remained consistent throughout the entire cigar. The draw was open with a touch of resistance. I could not put this cigar down and burn time was a fairly quick 1 hour 10 minutes. Keep in mind the temp was mid (and dropping) 30’s and I was drawing pretty frequently on it. It never burned hot, the ash held for over 2 inches at one point with a nice white/grey ash. I really enjoyed this cigar and I will put this in my regular rotation for sure. It is available in 7 different sizes and I plan to try them all.  The Elegant I had the disaster with was very consistent with the Triumph as far as flavor went, but was slightly milder, which is expected with a smaller ring gauge cigar. I highly recommend this cigar when you are in the mood for Something Special, it won’t disappoint. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace!