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Archive for August, 2008

This is the first of a new section to the blog I am very excited about.  I thought it would be great to get to know better the creators of some of our favorite cigars.

Mr. Luis Molina of Molina Cigar Company who makes the Devil’s Weed Cigar graciously agreed to be my first guest.  Mr. Molina, thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

Zen: What got you into the cigar business?

Luis Molina: I smoked my first cigar when I was 16.  I instantly fell in love with the handmade cigar and its history.  After college I worked part-time in a cigar shop thinking it would be temporary, but after a month, I made a personal commitment to make a career in the cigar industry as I could not see myself doing anything else.

Zen: What is your favorite size in your line?

LM: I love the Queen Bess, our churchill.

Zen: What qualities do you look for in a cigar?

LM: For me, all cigars have to be clean.  I like mild to very strong depending on my mood, but I do not want a cigar to leave a bitter and harsh finish.

Zen: What do you think Devil’s Weed and Molina Cigar Company can bring to the cigar industry?

LM: I simply want to spread my intense passion for this industry to all smokers and non-smokers alike.  I love the history and the romance of the handmade cigar and that is why we chose the name Devil’s Weed.  Using an ironic device, it is an homage to an historical reference regarding tobacco and it is a tribute to its history during the turbulent times and its glory days.

Zen: What is one cigar, other than your own, that you also like to smoke (if any)?

LM: I love smoking my fellow peers’ cigars so to pick one other than my own is difficult.  There are so many that are incredible.  I just smoked a La Aurora Cien Anos Torpedo that was aged over 2 years that was so rich yet clean.  I was blown away actually and it was quite tasty.  I love Cabaiguan, Liga Privada, Davidoff and VSG as well.

Zen: Do you have anything new up your sleeve for 2008-2009?

LM: We are adding a few more sizes to our Devil’s Weed Cabinet Selection (which includes a true “delicados extra” or lancero as it is commonly known now) and we are working on our next Devil’s Weed line which will be a more full-bodied cigar in the medium-to-strong category.

Thanks again to Mr. Molina.  I look forward to more from Molina Cigar Company and Devil’s Weed!

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Molina Cigar Company – Originally from the retailing and distribution segments of the premium cigar industry, Luis Molina wanted to share his love of the leaf.  So his hope is that his creation, the Devil’s Weed Cigar, embodies his passion for cigars.

I’d like to thank Mr. Molina for the samples sent, a review of the Devil’s Weed Raleigh, will be posted soon.

Below is info taken from the website explaining the origin of Devil’s Weed. 

In 1492, the Old World discovered in the New World, God’s great gift – Tabaco. Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) returned to Spain with the new discovery and from there the glorious plant would change the history of man and his world forever.

The first people to condemn this wonder of nature were the Spanish Inquisitors. They desecrated the plant by referring to it as the “Devil’s Weed.” Rodrigo de Jerez was one of Colón’s sailors who fell entranced by tabaco. For his constant use of the plant, he was imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition.

515 years later, Molina Cigar Co., is proud to present to you the result of the sublime works of man, nature and God.

Enjoy my family’s cigar and praise tabaco just as men of the ancient and modern world have for centuries; for tabaco is not a tool of the devil, but God’s great gift to all of us.

 

Devil's Weed

Born in the Dominican Republic in the hallowed halls of Don Leoncio, SA, Devil’s Weed is the ultimate tribute to the cigar itself. You may think that the philosophies and actions of today’s ever-increasing anti-tabaco groups are the strictest and most draconian the world has known. Surprisingly they do not claim trophy to such description; the Spanish Inquisition (yes, no one ever suspects the Spanish Inquisition) was the world’s first anti-tabaco group (and one of the most extreme). Xerez was imprisoned by the tabaco-hating zealots and many people in his hometown thought the smoke escaping his facial orifices was actually his soul escaping.

Devil’s Weed is meant to underscore to humanity that tabaco is not a tool of the devil but actually God’s great gift to all of us. Devil’s Weed is a tribute to you, the cigar smoker, who understand what the cigar can do for you and your fellow friends. We do not need to say anymore, except to enjoy life, family, friends and being. Here’s to you, o lover of geometry, philosophy and all things epicurean, the cigar smoker.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican (4 leaves)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Don Leoncio, SA

 

Blended as an “anytime-of-the day smoke,” Devil’s Weed is a mild-to medium in strength cigar which is quite refined, yet very flavorful. This is blended according to the old-school philosophy: a cigar that is clean yet elegant with flavor. This cigar does not stay in your mouth days afterwards like so many blends right now. The tabaco used is of the highest quality and it shows in the refined finish. There are hints of cream and toffee without a strong presence of pepper.

The artisans of Don Leoncio, SA, commit total quality to every stick of Devil’s Weed. The result is a cigar of sublime construction and an even burn. Just as the smoke provides a wide array of flavors, the actual feel of the cigar is solid and supreme.

Devil’s Weed is a line of cabinet selection cigars, meaning they are made and packaged according to traditional Cuban methods and highest standards. The cigars are naked and wrapped in white tissue reminiscent of old Cuban brands that employed the same tactics. I believe that this is an advantageous form of packaging the cigars as the tissue allows more breathe-ability than cellophane (ideal for aging), yet the protection cellophane provides while the cigars lay in the box. The solid cedar box in which the cigars arrive, complement for storage and fully protect the precious pieces of earth.

The Devil’s Weed cigar is available in 6 sizes:

Queen Bess (Churchill), Jerez (Belicoso), Colon (Double Perfecto), Raleigh (Robusto), 515 (Corona) and the Nicot (Corona Gorda)

Initially what drew me to contact Mr. Molina was his website.  This is one of the nicest cigar websites out there folks.  Be sure to check it out in Flash not HTML if you can.  If you see a Devil’s Weed cigar at your local shop, be sure to pick up a few to try for yourself!

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Colorado is the term used to describe a cigar that falls in the “reddish” brown tobacco shade color category.  Just like Maduro, Colorado is really a description of color, not what type of tobacco is used.  “Rosado” is often used interchangeably with Colorado.  Several cigar manufactures use this description to describe their cigar.  Most notable examples are Illusione’s Café Colorado wrapper (which is very dark actually) and the defunct Don Lino Colorado (true Colorado color).  It can also be paired with other wrapper types/descriptions.  A cigar described as having a Colorado Maduro wrapper for example indicates that the wrapper’s color falls between the reddish brown Colorado and the dark brown Maduro color; the opposite end for a Colorado Claro wrapper.  The use of this term has been few and far between.  it will be interesting to see if this changes due to the popularity of the Illusione line.

Examples:

Don Lino Colorado

Illusione

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Size: 5 1/2″ x 44

Vitola: Corona

Wrapper: Cameroon

Origin: Dominican Republic

From the Vault: I’m not even sure how long ago theses came out.  This line was released in 2005 and discontinued shortly thereafter.  If memory serves me correctly, this was a cigar made for the Peterson Pipe Company which was distributed by Asthon and was made by General cigar.  Whew!

This has been in my humidor for a while, I had actually forgot it wa sin there. 

The cigar has a nice light brown wrapper with few visible veins.   It has an even draw with a punch, with lots of smoke from every draw. 

As far as taste goes, there is strong metallic note on the finish.   The flavor is woody with some leather.  Halfway through the leather intesnsifies and there is less metal on the finish.

It’s a shame this was discontinued as it has one of favorite cigar band designs.  Unfortunatley this is just an ok cigar; not great enough to keep it from going the way of the dodo.

Rating: 85 (B)

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Size:  5 1/2″ x 50

Vitola:  Robusto

Wrapper:  Ecuadorian Habano           

Origin: Nicaragua

I got this from my buddy Dave.  I’m pretty sure this is a Cigars International/Cigar.com exclusive made by the same folks who make the J. Fuego lines.

This is touted as the next “Opus X”, so I had pretty high expectations going in.

The cigar is attractive enough, medium brown with barely visible veins.  The draw is easy but the burn is crooked.

The cigar tastes rushed, a little ammonia on the finish.  I pick up flavors of leather and oak with some spice, but the flavor is one-dimensional.

The stick has to be constantly relit and the sourness is off putting.  I also pick up some metallic notes on the finish.

This is not the next Opus. 

Thanks to Dave Hearn for letting my try it though!

Rating: 74 (C)

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Prior to the Corojo ’98 or ’99 varietals, this was the plant used for wrappers in Cuba.  Historically, all premium Habanos (Cuban cigars) made for export are produced with wrapper leaf called El Corojo. It is a special strain of tobacco developed in the 1920s and ’30s (or 40’s depending on which article you read) at the famous estate of El Corojo in Cuba’s premier growing region, the Vuelta Abajo.

Originally named after a palm tree growing on the property, El Corojo is located a few miles from the town of San Luis y Martinez in the heart of the Vuelta Abajo (taken from this article)It is grown under large cheesecloth tents called tapados, as is all shade-grown wrapper tobacco. The shade helps protect the leaves from direct sunlight, giving them a more even color and texture (Excerpt from this article).  If you want to get really confused on El Corojo and Corojo ’98 and Habano 2000, etc, read this.  El Corojo was replaced in Cuba and other parts by more disease-resistant strains in 1997.  Here’s a nice reflection on the now “extinct” strain.

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Size:  6 1/8″ x 52

Vitola:  Torpedo

Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Corojo Rosado Claro

Origin: USA or Nicaragua

These were originally made in the US, but Don Pepin Garcia may have moved production of this cigar to one of his new Nicaraguan factories.  Mr. Garcia is making a crap load of cigars…

I tried this a while ago and I did not like it at all.  I thought it was mild and flavorless; but this one much better.

It has a bit more spice than I remembered.  Re-blended perhaps?

The draw is even but the burn is all over the place.  His Corojos tend to do that.

This has the typical flavor Don Pepin profile, top-of-the-roof-of-your-mouth pepper.  The finish is ripe with wood, leather and tobacco.

This was an OK cigar on the whole, better than my first experience, but still nothing to write home about.  I need Pepin to make something that doesn’t taste like all of his other cigars.

Rating: 84 (B)

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