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Queen-of-Cigars

Cigar Review – Camacho Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged

Cigar Dojo Collaborates with Camacho for an Innovative Taste Experience

Iron sharpens iron.  So one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 21:17

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About

Collaboration is nothing new in the cigar industry but there are some partnerships that that truly potentiate the creativity of each other.  The joining of Cigar Dojo and Camacho is a great example of that enhanced effect.  When ideas start out with “what would happen if….” either wonderful things or major disasters are about to happen.  The Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged takes the idea of barrel-aged cigars to a new level.  Tobacco is aged in barrels that have previously been used to age bourbon and then Imperial Stout.  The combination of the bourbon, stout and tobacco creates a flavor profile that is unique and stand-alone in the cigar industry.

Construction

Only 4000 cigars were made so sorry readers, if you don’t have one, they are already sold out.  However, stay tuned……you never know what the Dojo has up its sleeve.  Might find some sneaking into the market down the road.

The cigar felt sturdy with no soft or hard spots noted throughout the length of the stick.

Wrapper  –  Mexican San Andres Maduro

Binder  –  Original Corojo Maduro (Honduras)

Filler  –  Barrel-Aged Original Corojo Maduro (Honduras), Brazilian Maduro, Dominican Maduro

Vitola  –  6″ x 50 Toro

Price  –  $9.99/each   /  $99.95 bundle of 10

Smoke-Inn Exclusive (Currently Sold Out)

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Appearance

At first glance one might think this is a Camacho Triple Maduro. The wrapper and bands are similar in color and style. Once you take a closer look however, the Imperial Stout words pop out on the foot label.

This is a good looking cigar. Not fancy but not really plain. The wrapper is a nice deep brown, smooth with some veins which gives it the appearance of a sturdy and substantial stick.  The vitola is perfect in my opinion.  Substantial enough for a man’s hands but also a perfect ring gauge for my fairly large lady hands which has me feeling like an accomplished lady SOTL and not a beginner fluffy flavored cigar smoker.

Draw

I used my customary and favorite punch for my cut and found the cap to be sturdy with just the right amount of give.  There was no cracking or breaking of the cap during the cut.  The dry draw was plentiful but not sloppy.

The IS (Imperial Stout) lit nicely and produced an abundant plume of smoke in the first few draws.

First Third

There was no pepper in this baby, but plenty of flavors mixed onto my palette right out of the gate.  It was surprisingly smooth.  An immediate flavor of charred wood mixed with cocoa and leather hit my palette.  The combination gave the IS an earthy but not dirty flavor.  The hint of malt was there and came forward during the retrohale.

The flavors are already blending for a scrumptious palette experience.  Plenty of smoke is produced and I am anticipating where this cigar is going to go as the smoking experience proceeds.

Second Third

The ash is a nice yellow white with gray interspersed.  It is solid and does not fall off as I move the cigar around for inspection. Burn line is crisp and even with mild touch ups done just to please my anal OCD need for a straight line.

The ash finally fell when I really jiggled the stick around while taking pictures.  A cooler burn is noted in the center of the filler as noted by the way the ash detached.

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Malt flavors have moved forward as have some hoppiness.  The mix of stout and bourbon is there but what amazes me is that it is not overpowering.  It is subtle yet strong enough to let you know it is there.  The chocolate cocoa and leather balance the flavors nicely.  It has settled into a well balanced and flavourful smoke.  Not sweet, not peppery, yet not harsh or bitter.

Last Third

The label was easy to remove and there was no damage to the wrapper.  This is a fairly fresh cigar so I am always cautious about the integrity of the wrapper.

More of the barrel-aged flavors are coming out and there is a taste of hops on the tip of the tongue.  The IS has settled into the home stretch with mostly malt, barrel-aged and hops flavors.  However, just as I am getting to the nub portion of the cigar I get a blast of leather again, as if the cigar wants to tell me, I’m not done being complex.

Tasting Notes

I like to put my cigar down for a few minutes as I smoke and one thing that stood out was the blast of flavor I experienced every time I would pick the stick back up.  This is a flavor bomb of a cigar that is only going to get better with age in my opinion.

Malt, cocoa (chocolate), bourbon, leather, charred wood, and hops lend itself to a cigar that might sound a little odd but makes the most of an innovative and creative mix.

Overall Rating – 91

Whether a Stout drinker, bourbon drinker or some other beverage drinker, the flavors of the IS Barrel-Aged cigar are subtle enough to be noticed and enjoyed but never enough to turn-off non-beer / bourbon drinkers.  That raises the ante on this smoke for me.  I am more of a coffee and liquor drinker and I could easily pair this cigar with some dark roast, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Cuban coffee and have a superb combination.  I am very excited to try many different pairings with this in the future as I think the possibilities are quite endless and will bring out different aspects of flavors.

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Cigar Review – Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V

The Alma Fuerte (tr – Strong Soul) is a Cigar well suited for a long repose of relaxation and reflection

Ephesians 3:16  –  He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His spirit in the inner man

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About

I was blessed with the Plasencia Alma Fuerte, Generacion V, as a gift from a very generous BOTL who resides in New York.  He has superb taste in cigars and always seems to know where to find the “special” ones.  Just the appearance of this cigar reeks of elegance without being fragile and beauty without being weak.  This is a smoke that should be savoured for a time when deep reflection and deep conversations will take place.  Time is needed to truly bask in the flavours, the feel and the slow burn of a truly special cigar.

Construction

Puro – Variations of Criollo 98′ grown in Nicaragua (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli’, Ometepe)

Wrapper  –  Dark Shade Grown (Jalapa, Nicaragua)

Binder  –  Nicaragua (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli’, Ometepe)

Filler  –  Nicaragua (Jalapa, Condega, Esteli’, Ometepe)

Vitola  –  Perfecto, Box Press, 7″ x 58 (Generacion V)

Made  –  Plasencia Factory, Esteli’ Nicaragua

Price  –  $22.00 / single     $220 / box 10

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Draw and Light

After smelling and handling this gorgeous perfecto box press, I made a straight cut about 1/4″ off the head of the cigar.  As I suspected there was a mild tightness to the dry draw due to the vitola. However, the taste was rich and unlike the some of the more “barnyard” type smells often noted in many cigars.

The wrapper has a slight oily feel but appears more like brown suede.  This is a fairly substantial cigar so it is meant to be enjoyed most while no physical activities are involved.  It has a solid feel and appearance and just enough wrapper edges to make it beautiful rather than pretty.

The toasting process was easy although I did note that it took a bit longer to make sure the foot was lit thoroughly even with the small perfecto tip.  This is a cigar jam packed with Nicaraguan tobaccos and extra care should be taken to make sure the toast is thorough.

First Third

My initial reaction was one of a bit of surprise.  Along with a shot of spice and red pepper, I was hit in the nose with an almost “perfume” type taste.  It quickly smoothed down and I was able to distinguish a more floral note rather than perfume.  However the spice and pepper were predominant as I enjoyed the plethora of creamy smoke this cigar was producing.

In between the spice and pepper the floral continued along with some dark cocoa and leather.  The retrohale provides a spicy hot cinnamon flavor that reminded me of the “red hot” cinnamon candies that are often used on baked goods.  There is a nice smokey flavor (not BBQ) that seems to be mixed in as I get ready to start into the next third.

Second Third

As I initially thought, this cigar is taking some time.  I’m okay with that though as I’m truly enjoying the creamy smoke and various flavours that come in and out.  The smokey flavor has come forward more and reminds me a little of pipe tobacco.  Just enough to help me relax even more.

The ash holds extremely well and is a light gray with lots of white dispersed throughout.  After deciding whether I would attempt a “long ash” I decided to give it a tap and did so throughout the rest of the smoke each time the ash reached an inch or two.

There is a richness to this cigar that keeps the ebbing and flowing floral taste from becoming too overpowering yet enough to keep it flavourful.  Without it I believe this cigar would be a bit boring down the long haul.

The dark cocoa is mixed with some dark chocolate and nuts and the pepper is backing off to reveal a nice mix of leather, smoke, cocoa, chocolate, nuts and floral.  I feel like I’ve hit the sweet spot as I near the end of the second third.  With this being a 7 inch vitola, I still have a couple of inches of smoking for my last third, so I’m happy with where I am so far.

Last Third

Now I’m in my zone.  There is a nice smokey, creamy flavor that I am thoroughly enjoying.  The pepper has receded and the dark chocolate and nuts mix nicely with the leather while the floral comes in and out in just the right amount.

The cigar has remained lit without any need for touch up, although I did do so once.  This was only due to my now revealed anal retentive need for a straight burn line.

I feel like I’ve been smoking for hours as I near the end of this cigar.  It has been a couple of hours and I feel relaxed and almost ready for a nap.  The power of this cigar is noticeable throughout but not hard hitting in a sneaky way as I am in the last third.  I am ready to be done with this smoke, yet I am still desiring the flavours that I experienced.

Tasting Notes

Be prepared for the burst of spice and pepper out of the gate.  This cigar will let you know that it means business.  It will also provide you with scrumptious amounts of smoke, smooth creaminess, and a multitude of floral, leather, cocoa, chocolate and a few other flavours sneaking in and out.

Where your sweet spot is on this cigar depends on your palette but for me it was the end of the second third and lasted into the end of the cigar.  This cigar is meant to be paid attention to while smoking.

This is a phenomenal cigar in my opinion.  Definitely box worthy even with the higher price tag.  I have many “go to” cigars in my line up and aside from the Opus X’s, Padron’s and other higher end cigars saved for special occasions, I am sure that the Alma Fuerte now has a place among them.

This is a cigar that I will crave when I am on vacation and have plenty of down time.  I would use this for celebratory times and for celebratory gifts to my BOTLs and SOTLs.  It is special enough for just those times.

*Overall Rating – 94.3

The Plasencia family really hit a homerun with the Alma Fuerte.  It’s class.  It’s flavor.  It’s box worthy.  Not the cigar for every day smoking but it definitely made my top 10 of the cigars I save for special celebrations and memories.

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Cigar Review – DTT Steve Saka – Umbagog

A Spritual Experience for the Everday Man & Woman

Matthew 13:1 – On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake

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About

Located on the New Hampshire and Maine border sits a lake call “Umbagog”.  It is a favorite fishing spot for this cigar’s creator, Steve Saka.  Dunbarton Tobacco and Trade is the manufacturer and distributor of Steve’s premium cigar lines such as “Sobremesa” and “Mi Querida”.  Both are elegant and tasteful smokes which have a huge following among the cigar aficionado community.

I myself am a fan, but when I heard about the release of the “Umbagog” I was excited to see what Steve had come up with.  Always a man to speak his peace, I have always viewed him as a no-nonsense, everyday man’s man.  Not knowing much about this new cigar, I decided to locate a bundle and try it for myself.

Manufactured with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that was said to be “too ugly” for Steve’s premium Mi Querida line, I had to wonder what this stick was going to look like.  Perhaps a bit “saka sasquatch for me?  It was time to delve into the wilderness and get a taste of what the Umbagog is all about.

Construction

Wrapper – Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder – Unknown (Nicaraguan?)

Filler – Nicaraguan Blend

Vitolas:     Corona Gorda – 6 x 49    $6.45/ea

Robusto Plus – 5 x 52     $6.45/ea    (Size smoked in this review)

Toro Toro – 6 x 52     $6.95/ea

Gordo Gordo – 6 x 56     $7.45/ea

Appearance 

The Umbagog comes in a bundle of 10 cigars wrapped in brown paper with a simple label affixed to the front. The single stick is quite plain with a simple green label with off white borders and lettering.  Plain and simple.

When I first viewed the cigar I was surprised that just by it’s simplicity and color label (Army Green), it brought out the “Soldier” in me.  The cigar felt good in my hand; substantial with a good grip but not rough and “hairy” like I thought a Saka Sasquatch might be (laughing).  It’s a handsome looking cigar and does not try to be its more premium and elegant relatives.

For a woman who is over that beautiful and sexy woman time in my life, I found myself relating to this cigar.  Simple, handsome (yes, women can be handsome) and exuding a quiet statement of “I might not be fancy and gorgeous anymore, but I’m sturdy, comfortable and trustworthy”.  Like me, this cigar tells the world, “I’ve earned my imperfections and I come from a great bloodline!”

Draw and Light

Choosing to use my large punch for this 52 gauge cigar, I was able to make a nice cut into the cap with no dryness or overt softness noticed.  The dry draw was mildly tight but I was not surprised with the overall feel of the construction – sturdy. It was comfortable and revealed the taste of being in a straw and hay barn, much like its smell when I removed it from the cellophane wrapper.

The cigar toasted well and didn’t seem to take much effort to get a nice even burn right out of the gate.

First third

I was expecting pepper but did not get it.  The immediate flavor was that of dark cocoa and some leather.  There was a very subtle sweetness behind the scenes with just a hint of nuts and coffee.  As I took more draws I noticed that chocolate came through but again, not in an overly sweet way.  The retro provided a nice leather and chocolate experience.

Second Third

Going into the second third of the cigar it felt like it settled into it’s prime flavours.  Mostly leather with a nice balance of chocolate, nuts and coffee to keep me interested.  The dark cocoa floated in and out but I was too busy enjoying the leather to really care if it was there or not.  I was actually wanting a cup of coffee at this point as I felt it would be the number one pairing for this cigar.

The ash is a nice white overall with some grey accents throughout.  As the rest of the cigar seems to be sturdy, so is the ash.  It held nicely and I even hit it once while moving around and it didn’t come flying off all over me.  The burn is even and the feel of the cigar is warm but not hot.  Not the slowest burn in the world but not a speedster either.

Last Third

The Umbagog settled down even more as I came into the last third.  It was mostly leather with a bit of earthiness to it.  Dark cocoa continued to join in and it surprised me as the power sneaked up on me during this last stretch.  Since leather is one of my favorite tobacco notes, I was very happy to see this cigar all the way through.  I didn’t quite nub it but I may have if that desired cup of coffee had been along for the ride also.

Tasting Notes

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this solid smoking experience.  The Umbagog is definitely a cigar I would like to keep in my smoking portfolio.  It can be smoked as a yard gar or after a nice dinner with friends hanging around for drinks and fellowship.

*Overall Rating – 89

The Robusto Plus was a good size for me and I think the Corona Gorda would be my other choice.  Anything larger would get a bit “old” for me but might be perfect for other smokers.  I can honestly say this was a really good smoke and I had a great time bonding with the concept and roots of the name and it’s intentions.  I feel a kinship to this cigar and I will definitely save these sticks for the times I long to be sitting by a lake with coffee and my tasty Umbagog.  Thank you Steve Saka!

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Cigar Review – Quesada Dojo De Luxe (Limited)

A CIGAR FIT FOR A KING

Psalm 45:13-15 – The King’s daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold. She will be led to the King in embroidered work; The virgins, her companions who follow her, Will be brought to You. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace

About

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe is the result of collaboration between Quesada Cigars (Terence Reilly, Manuel Quesada) and Cigar Dojo (Eric Guttormsen, Jordan Guttormsen).  Seeking to bring about the reminiscent experience of cigar days gone by, the De Luxe was designed and crafted to remind us of the cigar’s roots and it’s glamour, all while maintaining the Cigar Dojo mantra of being affordable to the “every day” cigar smoker.

Construction

Wrapper  –  Ecuadorean Connecticut

Binder  –  Dominican

Filler  –  Dominican

Vitola  –  5 3/4  X  52  Perfecto

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Appearance

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe is packaged in a traditional Quesada Box (black with gold letters) with the addition of the Cigar Dojo nomeker.  Each box contains 10 individually wrapped (cellophane) cigars, and in this case, as is customary with the latest Dojo release cigars, a Boveda Pack is inserted before the boxes are wrapped for delivery.

Once removed from the box and its cellophane wrapper, the De Luxe exudes a certain classy and suave appearance.  The wrapper is a golden blonde brown and is oily and smooth to the touch.  This is a cigar that feels immediately comfortable in the smoker’s hand.  The labels (2) again exhibit the traditional and very recognisable Quesada logo but also include a second label in complimentary black and copper gold with the Dojo name and cigar title “De Luxe”.  It is a great combination of old tradition and new innovation with just that subtle addition in label.

Draw and Light

A straight cutter was used to make a slice about 1/4 inch off of the foot.  Once the cut is made the dry draw is clean and easy.

There is a certain carefulness that must be taken when lighting a perfecto as it can be the start of either a great burn line or a battle to keep it from being extremely crooked.  The limited lighting area can be a challenge with this vitola but in the case of the De Luxe (this is my fourth one) it has been minimal.

First Third

There is a slight hint of pepper at the start but this quickly fades to the back.  My immediate reaction is to the smoothness and cubanesque flavor.  I feel like my body is starting to relax already after only a few substantial draws.

A slight caramel flavor comes into my mouth with butter and toast notes adding a nice creaminess.  I notice that the wrapper is very thin and fragile so I am going to keep a close eye on construction as the cigar burns.

The retro is smooth.  I am not a big fan of retro simply because it can flare up my sensitive antihistamine reaction.  However, in this case I am almost wanting to keep retrohaling in order to soak up more of the subtle flavours.

Second Third

As I begin to move into the main body of the perfecto I am still enjoying the smoothness of this cigar.  The butter is beginning to taste more like whipped butter that has just the right amount of sweetness accenting the caramel notes that have been there from the beginning.

Cedar and a bit of nuttiness reminiscent of almonds also float in and out while I watch the white smoke rise when exhaling.  The smoke is quick to disperse yet it is abundant enough to fill the mouth nicely.

The ash is holding well and does not easily drop when I finally tap it into the ashtray.

As I near the end of the second third I notice a slight bitter citrus taste that comes forward only to retreat as I begin the last third.  It is a bit of a surprise but not unpleasant as it is mixed in nicely with the cedar, nuttiness and whipped butter.

Last Third

Consistent to the end, the De Luxe continues to be smooth, creamy and buttery.  There is more of a muted cedar now and the nuttiness is almost reminiscent of cashews.  The burn is cool and I am having no trouble being able to “nub” the cigar which is definitely my desire.

Miscellaneous Notes

The cigar burned well, fairly even and the wrapper remained intact throughout the smoke. There was a curious “split” in the ash at the beginning (first half inch in) but it had no effect on the burn nor the smoking experience.

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Tasting Notes

Butter, whipped butter, caramel, nuts (almond and cashew), cedar, toast, bitter citrus

*Overall Rating – 93

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe definitely provided a relaxing smoke experience.  I felt as though this would be the smoke I would definitely bring with me on an evening out for dinner and drinks, dressed to the nines and feeling like a classy lady, sporting a very classy cigar.  However, this will also be a great Sunday morning cigar for me when I am drinking my coffee and watching a church service online on my deck or in my Gal Cave.

Ultimately no matter where or when you smoke the Quesada Dojo De Luxe you are going to be in good company and your bros and sisses are all going to know that you are one classy guy or gal. Definitely a cigar fit for a King, or in this case the Queen!

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