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A Churchill Makes a Better Line

Saturday, October 04, 2008

 

Habanos Hernandez: A Good & Tasty Costa Rican Cigar


One of the nice things about living in Costa Rica is that it has developed a cigar culture that did not exist before. Not only do we have access to the most Cuban cigars, but also there are a variety of cigar factories and brands produced right here in Costa Rica.

Some are better than others- but there are really 4 categories in my opinion; Bad, Smokable, Good, and Great. Unfortunately most of the cigars are in the first two categories, and only one is in the last (that I have found); however it is always a pleasure to find another good cigar.

Habanos Hernandez is defiantly one of these good cigars.

I received an email from a nice couple here in Costa Rica that have been working on the development of their cigar brand, and they asked me to give it a try. As things are here in Costa Rica, in the end we knew several people in common, and I gladly looked forward to trying their cigars.

The presentation that I saw was crisp with that simple elegance I prefer.

All of the cigars has a similar construction and blend, however for the sake of the review I used the Extra Robusto.

The cigar was lightly rolled, but was not missing material. It's wrapper was light and delicate with an attractive shine.

The cigar was a smooth cigar with an easy draw. I expected it to be a little stronger for it's ring gauge (52), however it was not that it lacked strength, rather it was just a lighter smoke; easy on the throat and lungs...

It has a light aroma and a natural flavor. The nut, wood and spice characteristics came through from the first puff and carried through until the end. I am happy to report there was none of that damp-earthy flavor that I despise.

The burn was even and consistent, and I did not have to relight it.

Habanos Hernandez is one of the cigars that exceeds the run-of-the-mill reputation that has defined many of Costa Rica's other cigars.

Their website is growing so check back often. For more information visit them at:
www.habanoshernandez.com


Habanos Hernandez (Extra Robusto)
Overall Score: 90/100
Flavor: 85/100
Construction: 90/100
Presentation: 95/100

TC-Keith

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Monday, August 11, 2008

 

Kentucky's Black Patch Cigar :: An American Surprise

Although I have a small blog, a good number of people send me cigars. I will be honest- if I can not write something good, I choose not to write. SIDE NOTE: I do have a couple more reviews pending.

Nevertheless, I welcome the cigars- I like to see what is happening out there. Several months ago I got an email about Black Patch Cigars, that included some tobacco grown in the USA. I am not talking about Connecticut seed wrapper, I am talking about actual "Kentucky Broadleaf ligero."

I was quick to show interest in this cigar because to my knowledge I have never seen or tried this type of tobacco. Eric, the marketer, distributor and perhaps inventor of this cigar, was kind enough to send me a handful of cigars that I received when I was States-side... importing cigars to Costa Rica is a painstaking and expensive process.

The actual cigars looked good. Simple construction, attractive wrappers, and a clean smell when unlit. I smoked a couple after my return, and I was immediately impressed. It is not that they are the best cigars that I have ever smoked, maybe not top 10... remember I smoke A LOT of cigars... but this cigar was a total surprise and a real treat.

There are two things I despise about most non-Cuban cigars 1) a damp grassy flavor, and 2) an aftertaste; Black Patch Cigars have neither of these. They were really clean.

I reviewed a Classic Toro... at least that is what I think it was. It was an easy smoke. A great draw, clean taste and a very even burn. All of the cigars including the Toro has a special tang that is accounted for in the True Cigars Puff Chart as spice. Some of the other noticeable flavors that I noticed were wood and peat.

Just slightly less then a medium smoke, it was easy on the lungs. I did not experience any discomfort inhaling the normal bit I take in. Again, this is not characteristic for many non-Cuban cigars that try to compensate a lack of aroma with added strength. The aroma was light, but not pungent.

The ash was light and flaky- maybe even weak, however I kept a good inch on the cigar after I lit it and I did not lose it. It's simple construction gave it this characteristic that reminded me of cigars I smoked rolled in super-small productions.

This is a cigar than any proud North American should try. As I always say, tobacco is something distinctly American (in terms of it coming from the New World), but to have a cigar with some North American leaves in it's blend, it is even a more unique experience. Kind of like that first sip of bourbon or corn whiskey- maybe it is not the best tasting thing you have ever tried, but it is good- and it is ours.

For more information you can visit their website: Black Patch Cigar Co.

A "thank you" to Eric, and I wish him the best of luck.


Black Patch (Classic Toro)

Overall Score: 87/100
Flavor: 80/100
Construction: 90/100
Presentation: 90/100

TC-Keith

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

 

Smoke In Style at Bogies Cigars In Homewood, IL

Back in November on a trip up North I was invited by my uncle to a project meeting with a few friends of his where they were discussing the development of a Cigar Shop and Smoking Club. The group was charged up to move pretty quick, but I saw the project a long way off. I was wrong...

Last month when I went back, we went to visit their creation and I was absolutely impressed. Their vision was beautifully realized in the warm and classy way that they had sketched out on paper just a few months before.

Located in a strip mall, part of their plan, you see a few neon cigar signs (including an elaborate one of their logo). From the outside, you might be deceived into thinking that you are entering a run of the mill corner smoke shop, however once you go through the door the experience changes.

You are greeted by fine wood humidors, and an island in the center with some additional display cases and the cash register; a unique layout that feels more open and less like a retail store. Behind the island they are staffed with several of the most attractive smiles you will find in the Chicago-land area. This, being only half of the place, already feelt unlike most of the cigar shops that I have visited; enticing and chic, but not at all pretentious. They nailed it.

Beyond the island in the center is an inviting Moorish arch (Casablanca-esque) that goes into the other half of their location; their smoking lounge. The layout is simple, on one side you have luxary seating and on the other you have a coffee bar (with bar seating) and their "Premium Humidor" with their top-shelf cigars and private cigar lockers that are available to a limited number of clients.

The seating is laid out well and allows for multiple groups to converse independtantly on plush leather chairs. In addition there is a 4-top which would let someone eat or work comfortably on a laptop. The bar seating is ample and comfortable (but no Keith-style drinks unfortunatly).

The Casablanca feel contines with murals representing some memorable scenes from the movie framed by more of the distinctive arches. And, of course, they have a well place large screen television that does not pollute the character of the space.

The smoking club experience was right on. The air extractors were realativly quiet, the ceilings were high, and the ambiance posh. It was well staffed, but did not feel one bit like a bar or restaurant. They were attentive, but not pushy- and who can complain about an attracitve woman cleaning your ash tray.

Beyond the experience, which is nothing less than 5 star, their selection is very complete. They carry all of the top brands as well as a good variety of fair priced cigars. Although I am a BYOC guy, I selected a Joya De Nicaragua Torpedo (Belicoso?) for my father- one of my old favs.

My experience at Bogie's Fine Cigars was a great in every way. It was especially satisfying to see the vision of the owner's become a reality. Anyone in the Southeast Illinois / Northwest Indiana area that enjoys cigars should definalty pay them a visit.

Bogie's Fine Cigars
17816 Halsted St
Homewood, IL 60430-2012
(708) 798-4914
www.bogiescigars.com

TC-Keith

UPDATE: July 26, 2008


Cigar Review has a piece related to Bogie's Grand Opening including some photos of the store. Although it appears to be a couple months old, I just heard of it now:
Bogie's Fine Cigars & Smokehouse Holds Grand Opening

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

 

Cigars In Liberia Costa Rica

I wanted to re-post this earlier True Cigars entry regarding cigar shops in San Jose. Someone asked about Liberia.

Cigar Hunting In San Jose, Costa Rica
July 18, 2006 TrueCigars.com

Thanks for the question, and feel free to email me.

TC-Keith

Monday, September 10, 2007

 

Puros Don Leon :: Cigar Review


Overall Score: 75/100
Name: Don Leon Size: Esplendido
Origin: Costa Rica Construction: Hand(?)
Purchased: N/A Price: See Website
Smoked: Living Room Accompanied by: Old Parr 12 (Scotch)

Some months back a nice fellow by the name of Lynn contacted me about blogging his cigar on my site. He offered to drop off the cigar next time he was in San Jose, and some weeks later he stopped by and dropped me a sample.

At first glance, I saw a well built cigar with a flawless wrapper- dark in color. It did not appear to be rolled too tight, so I knew the draw would be easy; easy draw is a plus for me.

I did not waste any time, and I opened one up. I had a hard time distinguishing the seco from the ligero, but that might just be part of the blend. It was rolled slightly different that I have seen many other cigars, the leaves were slightly more curled, but since it did not appear to be rolled to tight, that did not affect the draw.

For my review, I smoked the Espendido, a 6 inch by 50 ring cigar. I unique vitola that is like the uncommon Cuban "double." The cigars smoked well, proper coning, no significant runners.

Every smoke had a sense of peat in it, and when the smoke first hit the tougue, a tickle of spice come through. "Earthy," would be the term I use to explain this cigar, but do I mean earthy, not grassy. A strong woody flavor mixed with significant hints of roasted coffee passed through my pallet with every draw.

The smoke was thick and less pungent than many Nicaraguan cigars. Overall the cigar lacked aroma, but this was not a show stopper. No overheating, and no relights. The wrapper, although delicate, complimented the cigar well by burning evenly.

Overall, I enjoyed them. And, for being a 100% Costa Rican cigar, I was surprised and happy smoke it.

For more information on Don Leon Cigars, visit their website: http://www.purosdonleon.com

Lynn is a real gentleman, and I appreciate his effort with this cigar in Costa Rica.

Don Leon (Esplendido)
Overall Score: 75/100
Flavor: 50/100
Construction: 95/100
Presentation: 80/100
TC-Keith

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

 

True Cigars Puff Chart (TCPC)

I love Scotch, in fact, it is hands-down my favorite spirit. One of the sites that I have visited I saw a Tasting Chart (or Spider Chart) for the variety of malts. I liked it a lot, and thought about how that could be applied to cigar tastings. I have decided to use a similar chart, when appropriate.

The characteristics that I use are: Honey, Berry, Nut, Wood, Peat (earthy), Coffee, Cocoa, and Spice. These are the most common tastes that I have found related to cigars. The scale goes from 0 to 10. See the example below.

I hope that this will help readers visualize my comments a little better.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

 

Culebra Cigar Review in Cigar Aficionado

My latest issue of Cigar Aficionado came in today, and after a quick scan I recalled a post I made a couple of years ago about the culebra cigar vitola, you can check that out here. With the possible exception of the tobacco pipe I wrote about, culebra cigars are one of the "funner" (is that a word?) cigars I have smoked...

Find Cigar Aficionado's review of the Partagas Culebra in the October issue. Click here for a preview.

TC-Keith

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