Monthly Archives: June 2014

Oliva Serie G – Special G Maduro

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-Country – Nicaragua
-Wrapper – Connecticut Broadleaf
-Binder – Cuban-seed Habano
-Filler – Nicaraguan Habano
-Size – 3 3/4 x 48 figurado
-Price – $4.30, $5.50 local

Appearance, Pre-light
The Oliva Serie G – Special G has a dark brown Maduro wrapper that is smooth and slightly oily. The wrapper itself smells, and even tastes, of semi-sweet chocolate chips. The cold draw tastes of straw, but is really pleasant with the sweetness from the wrapper. A typical Oliva Serie G band sits right in the middle of this cigar, and it slides off without effort when the time comes. I’ve smoked a lot of these and sometimes the draw can be on the tight side, and this one is no different. It is still perfectly smokable, just a little tight for my preference.
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First 3rd
I normally use a jet flame lighter, but for Special Gs I like to use my soft-flame Dunhill to light the small foot. The flavors are a little muted for the first half inch, but I get a nice bit of cocoa sweetness and straw. Once the burn line gets into the bulge, it really opens up and morphs into a beautiful leather flavor. The draw also opens up but is still a little tight. The finish is mostly leather and is not too short and not too long. The room aroma is still sweet, but the smoke now is all leather. A bit of spice comes out on the retro-hale.

Second 3rd
Once past the bulge, the body of the smoke picks up significantly. The leather has started to fade into the background, and chocolate and spice are becoming the primary flavors. This is a nice cigar to “sip” on, as opposed to taking big drags, and I really recommend it as the flavors come alive with smaller puffs. The chocolate at this point is taking on a dusty cocoa feel through my nose, and a sugary sweetness sits low in my mouth, almost under my tongue. I can also pick up cinnamon now and then, but only as a secondary flavor. I get a pure chocolate taste every so often that is like eating a nice piece of Cadbury’s. Again, this is fleeting when it happens, but oh, so enjoyable.
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Last 3rd
The end of the Special G continues with a dark chocolate flavor. If the cigar gets hot it loses a lot of its taste, so I really need to watch my cadence to keep the temperature down. I had one minor touch up towards the end, but mostly for cosmetic reasons. The cinnamon comes back with some Christmas spices, almost like nutmeg, and continues with the chocolate all the way to the nub.
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I find these to be excellent cigars after breakfast, after work, or after I put my kids to bed. For some reason they just add that little something “special” to top off any minor event. These can be smoked any time of day, but after a heavy meal I would choose something with a little more “oomph.” The flavors are excellent, the price is great, and the construction is hassle-free.

Flavor – Medium
Strength – Mild-plus
Body – Medium
Construction – Very Good

There’s nothing remarkable about the Oliva Serie G – Special G, but overall it’s a tasty little smoke that scores a solid…
3 out of 5

Weekly Cigar News for June 22nd – June 28th

Not a lot of cigar news this week, but there is a couple of new cigars for our area.

New Cigars

  • Montecristo (Altadis, USA) is releasing a Nicaraguan pyro called the “Espada.” All of the components of this cigar are from the Jalapa region except the ligero, which comes from Condega. They will retail above the $10 mark, and probably in the $15 range here in Montana. The sizes are 6 x 50 (Guard), 7 x 56 (Quillon), and 5 x 54 (Ricasso). Here is a promotional video.
  • My Father Cigars is releasing a Connecticut wrapped cigar at the IPCPR trade show next month. Besides the wrapper, the cigar will be made up of Nicaraguan tobaccos. Will Cooper has all the details at Cigar-Coop.

Pinar del Rio Selección Reserva Limitada 2010

-Country – Dominican Republic
-Wrapper – Pennsylvania Braodleaf (Maduro)
-Binder – Dominican Habano
-Filler – Nicaraguan/Dominican
-Size -Torpedo 6 1/2 x 52
-Price -Around $5

This cigar had an oily, chocolate brown wrapper with some marbling and small veins. Overall the Pinar del Rio Selección Reserva Limitada 2010 had an even fill, and the cold draw offered up chocolate and tobacco notes. It had just a little bit of resistance, so I called this the perfect draw. When I fired it up it took the flame easy, and from then on it had a wavy but even burn. Overall this cigar had a dark, musty taste with leather and chocolate on the finish. The retro-hale really brought out the leather. The nice long ash broke off very straight, as opposed to being cone shaped. The strength started out medium and gradually advanced to full-minus. A very balanced and delicious smoke.
Flavor – Medium
Strength – Medium/Full
Body – Medium
Construction – Excellent

Very tasty overall, but nothing special.
3.5 out of 5

Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada

-Wrapper – Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro
-Binder – Dominican Olor
-Filler – 15 year aged Dominican
-Size -Toro-ish, 6 x 54
-Price -Around $10, but $17.50 local

Appearance, Pre-light
The wrapper is a gorgeous, mottled, dark brown and has a fine toothiness to it. One tiny vein makes it’s way up the cigar in a single spiral. The cigar smells of aged tobacco, pepper, and chocolate, and that all comes through on the cold draw. It had an oily sheen, but isn’t noticeably “wet” like some extremely oily cigars can feel. The band is black with gold and red embossed letters that describe the cigar as if it were a bottle of wine. A pigtail cap that is pressed into a bun-like shape finishes off the cigar.
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First 3rd
The Gurkha Cellar Reserve Limitada starts off with the chocolate I detected on the cold draw. There is a bit of sweet spice through the retro-hale, but the smoke is smooth and barely tickles the nose. The smoke sits firmly in the mouth, and the finish has a mild sweetness to it. It is burning very straight, even though I’m smoking outside. As it burns I can see the oils running away from burn line, leaving a lighter shade of brown. The ash is an unusually dark gray with black and white accents. If you stare at it too long, you might get lost amidst the remains of 15 year old tobacco.

Second 3rd
The chocolate has dissipated by this point, but now the taste of dark and aged tobacco is showing through. A really nice sweetness reminiscent of the spice at the beginning is starting to show as well. I hope it picks up as that is one if my favorite flavors. The body of the smoke is full, but the strength is hardly noticeable at all, which puts it at a solid medium for me. The burn is still great, minus the fact that I had to touch up a little section where the single vein was burning slower than the rest of the cigar. The finish is lingering a bit, but has a light feel, which completely contradicts the feel when the smoke is actually in my mouth.
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Last 3rd
Coming into this third I pick up a little savory flavor, a bit like smoked beef. I had to remove the large band to get into the last section, but that’s fine because I can finally read everything written on it!
“Truly balanced to please the aficionado who is searching for a draw of perfection, aged oak aroma will sooth the environment and gain praise. Fifteen years of aged tobacco and dedication, has given us another masterpiece. To which only the Elite Blend Masters of K. Hansotia & Co. can create.”
I haven’t tasted the oak as foretold on the band, but it is still a tastefully presented paragraph. It’s also nice to see a bit of information, such as the batch number. Towards the end the strength is picking up, but I don’t think it will reach the advertised “98%”. A little further in and it becomes a charred, rare steak flavor. For the last inch I get a deep wood flavor, perhaps I’ve found the oak at last! The resulting nub is cool and soft.

This was an excellent cigar. Although a bit expensive here in Montana, it is still worth the price. The experience was almost like eating a fine dinner out of order: sweet dessert first, exciting appetizer, and finally the meaty main course. I found these transitions to be delightful. It was as if the new flavors were exactly what my palate craved at the exact moment they appeared.The flavors were well balanced, and the strength was easy to handle.

Flavor – Full-minus
Strength – Medium-plus
Body – Full
Construction – Excellent

Try at least one, if not a whole box!
4.5 out of 5 

Weekly Cigar News for June 15th – June 21st

New Cigars

  • Nice Tight Ash brings us news of a new size in the Kentucky Fire Cured line from Drew Estate — the Flying Pig! These are 4 inch by 60 ring gauge cigars that are tapered at both ends. The KFC blend (don’t chuckle…) uses tobacco from Kentucky that is fire cured, as opposed to air cured like most cigar tobacco.
  • Coop has the scoop! CAO Cigars and Flying Dog Brewery are coming out with a beer and cigar sampler that will 4 different cigars and 4 different beers to pair with them. Check out the details here.
  • Alec Bradley is getting bigger and bigger…check out the story of a new 7 x 70 cigar called the Texas Lancero over at

Industry News

  • There is a new book out called “Tobacco Sheds- Vanishing Treasures in the Connecticut River Valley.” The book is a coffee table-style tome that portrays these sheds from Vermont to Connecticut. Check out the write-up on Stogie Guys.
  • The IPCPR has announced that Mark Pursell will be the new CEO of the organization famous for its summer trade show. Get the details at Cigar Federation.
  • Half Wheel reports that the FDA has extended the deadline for comments on their deeming document regarding cigar regulation. Cigar-Coop has more good news: the SBA has submitted a comment in our favor!

Arturo Fuente Chateau Maduro Rothschild


-Country – Dominican Republic
-Wrapper – Connecticut Maduro
-Binder – Dominican Republic
-Filler – Dominican Republic
-Size – Rothschild 4 1/2 x 50
-Price -$4 local

Wow. This Arturo Fuente Chateau Maduro Rothschild is a great smoke.
I get a sweetness like dark honey, a nice amount of earthiness, and a little bit of leather.
The finish is also sweet, although for the last third it tends to get ashy.
At 4 bucks a stick you can’t go wrong. Stock up on these bargains!

Flavor – Medium
Strength – Mild
Body – Medium-Plus
Construction – Very Good

Because of the great flavors and very affordable price, these get a…
4 out of 5

Flor de las Antillas by My Father

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-Country -Nicaragua
-Wrapper -Nicaraguan Sun Grown
-Binder -Nicaragua
-Filler -Nicaragua
-Size -Toro 6 x 52
-Price -$6.60, $8.25 local

Appearance, Pre-light
The Flor de las Antillas by My Father Cigars is a beautiful piece of art by anyone’s standards. From the shiny, silky, smooth wrapper to the stunning band, this cigar exudes an air of excellence. The wrapper is the color of milk chocolate. This box-pressed smoke has a burgundy foot band to protect it from cracks, which only adds to the allure of the Flor de las Antillas. The wrapper smells of cocoa and barnyard, while the foot has even more of the barnyard. As with others of these I have smoked, there are almost no veins. Upon clipping the triple cap and taking a few cold draws, I taste cedar and pepper. It is packed firmly and evenly with no soft (or hard) spots.

First 3rd
Right away I get a dusty cocoa sensation in my mouth. The smoke is smooth and leaves a cedar-like woodiness on the finish. The draw is a little tight, about two clicks above my preference for the “perfect draw.” The burn is wavy and not quite even, making me wonder how often I’m going to have to touch it up. As other reviewers have mentioned, there is a noticeable lack of spice that cigars from My Father are typically known for. Even on the retro-hale there is virtually no spice. Instead, I get a dustiness through my nose that is quite pleasant.
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Second 3rd
At this point the cigar has settled into a consistent taste profile of cedar and mildly sweet tobacco. A little bit of cocoa comes through now and then, but not as much as I expected from the cold draw. Some light pepper arises a little further into this third, and it is a welcome addition to what would have otherwise become a rather lackluster section. The smoke itself is very light on the palate, and the flavors are medium at best. After a significant touch up the ash fell off to reveal a bullseye-like color to the interior of the burning end. The ash itself is very light gray and uniform in color. Wood and light pepper are the dominant flavors in this third.
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Last 3rd
A nice leather has appeared, along with a touch of light sweetness. The touch ups are becoming a bit annoying at this point. Even though I’ve been rotating the cigar, the entire underside is burning much slower than the top. Despite this, the smoke has remained cool and the flavors have not been affected. My mind usually starts to wander during the final third whenever I’ve smoked these in the past, and this time is no different. There just isn’t the complexity during the second half of this stick that many cigars these days have. The woodiness comes back for the last few puffs, and the nub is cool and firm.
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The Flor de las Antillas is a tasty, well made cigar. It is quite enjoyable and very balanced, but it is not very complex and it is even a little static. I’ve smoked half a dozen of these, and I think all the hype that surrounded it early on is still affecting my perception of it. If you didn’t know, Cigar Aficionado gave this a 96 rating, and ranked it as the number one cigar of 2012. In my opinion, there are a lot of cigars out there that out perform the Flor de las Antillas in every category. However, if you want to try it, I’d suggest the robusto vitola as it presents the flavors better and will keep you interested longer.

Flavor – Medium
Strength – Medium
Body – Mild

Anything above a 3 is good in my ratings, and this scores a picture-perfect…
3 out of 5

Weekly Cigar News for June 8th – June 13th

New Cigars

  • Direct from Jonathan Drew…”FLYING PIG UNDERCROWN on the production floor in Nicaragua. The UCFP in the photo just came off the bunchero bench and are about to go into the press for 30 minutes per side. Soon thereafter, the wrapper will be applied and the Flying Pigs head to a holding room, where they rest one night before moving to Quality Control. I’m amped up to bring some of the pre release UCFP boxes to the event with Oxmoor Smoke Shop in Kentucky on June 18th, 2014. Hope to see ya there if your nearby.” See it here.
  • We like beer here in Montana. Samuel Adams and Ted’s Cigars are once again bringing us a beer-and-cigar combination. The Brewlywed Ale Seasoned Cigar will release June 16th, and the beer itself will be released for one day, on the 18th. I’ve indulged in the Samuel Adams Utopias beer/cigar combo before, so this sounds exciting. Get all the details at Cigar-Coop.
  • We are as familiar with Alec Bradley cigars as any other these days, so fans of larger ring gauges will be pleased about the new sampler of 6 x 60 sticks they are offering. Once again, Coop has the scoop.


Industry News

  • The Joya de Nicaragua “Red” has been renamed the “Canonazo.” Check out the story over at The Cigarmy.
  • HalfWheel has some disturbing news about an extension to the CHIP Act that has been filed in the Senate. This Act single-handedly raised the price of our cigars, and it looks like it could continue.

Gurkha Widow Maker


-Country – Dominican Republic
-Wrapper – Ecuador Connecticut
-Binder – Dominican Habano
-Filler – Nicaragua/Honduras
-Size – XO 6 x 60
-Price – $3.50 – $15

Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy a few blends from Gurkha. “The Beauty” is one of my favorite morning smokes, the “Crest” is a Salomon that actually keeps my attention, and the more affordable “Park Avenue” smokes great! Now onto the “Widow Maker.”
It had a smooth, silky Connecticut wrapper grown in Ecuador. I found a hard spot by band, but didn’t pay much attention to it and went ahead and clipped the cigar. While the cold draw brought up a delicious cedar, the draw on mine was tight. The Gurkha Widow Maker has a 7 year old binder, 7 year old fillers, and a 10 year old wrapper.
It also has no business being in your humidor.
I got an astringent nuttiness right away, and that is where this cigar peaked. The nuttiness turned into sour grass and left an artificial, plastic-like finish. I smoked half then tossed it and went on living my life.

Flavor – Mild
Strength – Mild
Body – Mild

I don’t remember where I got this cigar, but it’s been in my humidor for at least 6 months. I’m ashamed that my other sticks didn’t kick it out. This barely scores a…
1.5 out of 5

Alec Bradley Family Blend


-Country -Honduras, Raices Cubanas Factory
-Wrapper -Trojes, Honduras
-Binder -Indonesia
-Filler -Nicaragua, Honduras
-Size -VR1 5 1/2 x 50
-Price -$6.75, $8.50 local

Appearance, Pre-light

The Alec Bradley Family Blend has a nice golden brown color to the wrapper and sports a twisted, pigtail-like cap. There are a couple of veins, and the seams are loose. The band is a departure from the stylized “AB” symbol, perhaps to denote this as more of a value line, and honestly I’m not a big fan of it. The foot smells sweet, like molasses, and this comes through on the dry draw.


First 3rd

Upon lighting I get some earthiness and a little harshness. Not a sharp pepper spice, but a harshness that makes me think of young tobacco. About one inch into the cigar an earthiness remains, but gives way to a light nuttiness. I still detect that harshness, but it has moved to the background with the earthiness. The finish is very short, but so far there isn’t much going on that makes me wish for a longer one. The flavors are mild, and so is the body. It’s almost a surprise when I see smoke coming out of my mouth! A nice hazelnut is becoming apparent towards the second third, perhaps this is an evolution of the vague nuttiness I found earlier on.

Second 3rd

Hazelnut remains in this third with an added sweetness on the lips. There is a little bit of a darker spice (not pepper) showing though, but overall the flavors seem hollow. The draw is a tad restrictive, which might be the reason the smoke coming out of this cigar is so minimal.  The burn has become so wavy that it is constantly getting off, and I’ve had to relight it a few times in this third. The dark spice is becoming more prominent, but I can’t quite put a description to it. Sometimes it’s like a deep cinnamon without the sweetness, and other times almost like a less pungent clove. The finish is still short, but not always crisp and clean. It leaves that young tobacco taste from earlier and has an overall ashy quality.

Last 3rd
The flavors have picked up a little, and I’m getting some wood to go along with the spice. I passed a tight section getting into the final third and it is now putting off lots of smoke. I can feel the smoke in my mouth more now, but it is barely getting to medium in terms of body. In general the smoke is getting a little harsh and hot even though I’ve slowed my cadence to try and alleviate that. I can now call the woodiness “cedar” and it is overcoming the spice. The finish is still ashy and doesn’t linger long, just long enough to wish it would go away.  Towards the end the cedar turns to a darker wood with the spice from earlier popping in now and then.


Alec Bradley cigars are hit and miss for me, and this one fell into the miss category. I love the Black Market (especially the Punk) and the American Classic is pretty tasty in the corona size, but this blend just didn’t do it for me. Even though I enjoyed a few of the flavors, I couldn’t get over the finish on this cigar. I drink water for reviews, but this might be the rare case where having something to wash away each puff would have helped. I would suggest coffee to go along with the flavors and clear the palate a bit.

Flavor- Mild-to-Medium
Strength- Mild
Body- Medium-minus


While not terrible, I just don’t see myself buying any more of these. I’ll smoke the rest while I mow or give them to some friends at herfs who never finish a cigar anyway. A solid…

2.5 out of 5 


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