Archive for September, 2008

Tabacalera La Caya was created in 1997, manufacturing and importing prime materials for cigar making.  President Luis Tomas Mendez has worked hard to make La Caya cigars grow and develop into a household name in the cigar community.

Below is a list of cigars available from Tabacalera La Caya:

  • La Caya Brasil– available in 5 sizes with a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper.
  • La Caya Cameroon – available in 5 sizes with a Cameroon wrapper.

  • La Caya Fuerte – available in the robusto size with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper.
  • La Caya Natural– available in 5 sizes with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
  • La Caya Vintage– available in 5 sizes with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper.

Update – Buyers beware!  Numerous comments with bad reviews are circulating regarding this cigar. Try at your own risk.


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Size: 7 1/2″ x 38

Vitola: Long Panetela

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Origin: USA or Nicaragua

Age: Fresh off the truck (0 months)

Some of you may have heard of this cigar.  Those that heven’t, and have been living under a rock, check out this blurb I wrote earlier this week.

This is a very well made cigar, it’s triple cap with a pigtail and easy pre-light draw let me know this cigar was made well (although I will say some others at Empire Cigars that tried it had some construction issues).

With its dark brown rustic looking wrapper and ample ligero visible from the punch hole, it is no surprise this starts off kinda strong and peppery.  This is not the good kind of strong.  The El Triunfador shows some youth, the strength is probably the presence of some ammonia that gives it a slight metallic taste and sourness in the back of the mouth.  This does fade after the first inch and fades away as I smoke it further.

After the cigar gets going, I get a strong tobacco flavor and this lancero has a long finish.  There is some earthiness that lingers, but is overwhelmed by the tobacco flavor.

Midway through this long stick, the El Triunfador really mellows out.  This is slightly surprising but is kinda neat, as this shows some complexity (which better be present in a 7 1/2″ cigar).  There is some nose spice in the exhale, but the tobacco flavor really mellows out and the earthiness comes to the foreground.

This is a fairly strong cigar, but the strength/spice is different than in most Don Pepin/Pete Johnson cigars.  Usually I expect an outright Cayenne pepper spiciness and some bitter notes, but this is something different.  I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe this, but I am having problems.  This strength/spice is similar to what I get from the Tobacos Baez.  Its almost a woody spiciness, like a piece of hickory laced with Tobasco.  For right now I’ll refer to this as the TBF (Tobacos Baez Factor).

A third of the way through, the cigar really picks up again.  I am begining to enjoy this evolving, complex cigar.  The tobacco flavor somes back to the front but brings a friend, a nice bit of anise/licorice. 

Towards the end this cigar is going full-bore, rich with roasted coffee beans and a dusting of cocoa powder.  This is finishing off fantastically!

This cigar may have been rushed to be released,  due to some trademark rules, but I think this will be a really good cigar with some age.  It’s a solid “B”, but in 6 months or so this could be an “A” cigar for sure!

Rating: 89 (B+)

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Size: 6″ x 50

Vitola: Toro

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Maduro

Origin: Dominican Republic

Many thanks to the fine folks at Ted’s Made by Hand for letting me try their products!  This is the review for the Aged Maduro 6×50. 

Right off the bat you can tell this isn’t your standard Maduro.  When I hear or see Aged Maduro, I think of the Ashton cigar, but this is going to be completely different.  This cigar is a Maduro only in color, as it wrapped with an aged Nicaraguan Habano wrapper.  

This chocolaty brown cigar is firmer than the Connecticut wrapped version.  I used my punch and took a pre-light draw; this fellah is slightly tighter than the Connecticut Shade version.  After lit, the draw is still firm, but the burn is also slow, which is good for this stick.  A nice slow burn is good because it allows that thicker, sugary wrapper to burn evenly with the filler.  So often Maduros burn from the inside out!  

This cigar is way spicier than Connecticut Ted’s.  I pick up flavors of bourbon on the finish, you know, that nice oak barrel taste with a touch of vanilla.  There is also a little bit of pepper on the finish which at times is slightly metallic.  Don’t expect this cigar to have that typical Maduro sweetness that you find in your standard maduro.  This medium-full flavored cigar is on a realm of its own!

Rating: 89 (B+)

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The ultra secret new El Triunfador Lanceros (7 1/2 x 38) are out!  Below is taken from New Havana Cigars:

Well, good secrets are hard to keep.  When word about this small batch release by Pete Johnson hit – the wait was on for this new blend to start shipping.  Available in very small quantities – this lancero was created to establish the El Triunfador name from it’s Cuban past.  Another old Cuban brand name brought to life again.  The papeleta design was taken from the original cuban artwork. 

According to Pete, this blend is for the lancero only.  If El Triunfador is turned into an entire brand – the blend and packaging will change for the other sizes.  Just released in Sept. 2008 – this vitola is available at only a few vendors and will continue to be made “in small quantities here and there”.  

With a naturally dark, Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and all Nicaraguan filler – this cigar offers a taste profile that is sure to be a hit. 

Update– Empire Cigars received five boxes and they blew out of there.  Our buddy Hal said there were only 650 boxes made.  If anyone is counting that is 16 boxes LESS than the upcoming  Halloween “Frank” release!    And can anyone remember who rolls the lanceros for Pete?  That’s right!  Don Pepin himself! 

I was able to snag a few myself, and from what I’ve heard from some of the other guys the flavor is awesome, although some have had construction issues.  I found it hard to believe that the man described as the best roller in the world by Carlito Fuente would roll a ton of bad lanceros, so I’m guessing these bad boys are wet.  So folks, if you ARE lucky enough to get some, put them away for a little bit to dry out.  🙂

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Size: 6″ x 50

Vitola: Toro

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade

Origin: Dominican Republic

Thanks to the guys at Ted’s Made by Hand for letting me try their fine products!  

This Connecticut Shade wrapped Toro looks very inviting!  It has a light brown color (Claro) and an oily satiny feel.   I didn’t think I would, but I like the band; it is clean and simple. The cigars also come individually packed in their own little paper boxes (like the Cuban Trinidad Robusto Extras). 

Upon lighting, to no surprise it is a mild cigar that gives off woody and toasty notes.  There is just a little bit of green flavors, like hay and grass) here and there and it is a touch dry on the palate.  Halfway through I get a touch of vanilla on the finish, which is short. 

The cigar has a good draw, good construction and plenty of smoke.  It has a salt and pepper ash that hangs on forever.  This is a great morning cigar!

Rating: 88 (B+)

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Here’s a great little company that you probably have heard of, just didn’t know it.  From Ted’s Made by Hand’s website:

Reprinted from “Sophisticated Living’s” Caddy Concierge Magazine, September 2008 Ryder Cup Issue:

After taking a long, relaxed draw from the cigar that bears his name, Ted Jackson launches into an eloquent soliloquy on the nuances of a fine cigar. Just before the moment one might think he is making the experience out to be too self-important, he finishes by saying, “It’s just a cigar.” Such a simple statement is simultaneously close to and far from the truth, as the humble product cradled in his fingers belies the years spent leading up to this moment of leisure in the relentless pursuit of a cigar that meets his exacting standards.

Jackson’s foray into cigar production began in 1996 when he was approached by Maker’s Mark to create a cigar for their “Roaring 20s” Derby party. In response, Jackson created a unique premium cigar actually flavored with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. After a great deal of trial and error, Jackson found that the ideal way to add subtle bourbon flavor, without affecting the cigar’s integrity, was through the tedious and time consuming secret process of aromatic seasoning. A similar amount of R&D went into the unique packaging, in which each cigar is hermetically encased in a glass tube and finished off with a signature Maker’s Mark wax drip. The cigars are made by a partner company in the Dominican Republic, with the flavoring and packaging done at Jackson’s Louisville, KY-based headquarters. The blending of fine bourbon with a premium cigar in a unique package has not gone unnoticed, as millions of these cigars are now sold worldwide.

One of the ancillary benefits of the endeavor was that Jackson learned the intimate details of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the Dominican cigar industry. “Spending six to eight weeks there on an annual basis really allows me to see and experience another culture,” said Jackson. While working in partnership with the Dominican-based cigar manufacturer and their master cigar blender Juan Sanchez, Jackson’s development of the Maker’s Mark blend led him down the separate path of creating a premium small batch blend for his personal use. He tried dozens of different combinations before settling on a unique blend of Brazilian, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco. Little did he realize then how popular this cigar, which he created for himself, would prove to be.

Jackson’s vision was to create an environment where everyone immediately felt welcomed, a place that invoked the sound “of a slamming screen door.” Devil’s Elbow is the kind of place that knows no stranger. To help cultivate this sense of belonging, Jackson told friends that if they planned to sit in front of the fireplace and enjoy a cigar at The Elbow, then they had to help gather the stones to build it. So they all pitched in on the project, wrangling upwards of 40 tons of rock in the end. Their efforts were rewarded not with just any cigar, but with Jackson’s personal Dominican cigar. After awhile, friends of friends were asking for a “Ted’s” cigar, and before he knew it, Jackson had another bonafide success story on his hands.

Today, the “Ted’s” cigar is available to the public and sold in hundreds of retail outlets across the United States and around the world. These premium cigars are available in two distinct blends and three sizes with either a Connecticut shade or a Maduro wrapper. While demand continues to grow, you will not see any flashy advertisements for “Ted’s”, no suave man using a $10,000 lighter while a sultry woman lounges on a Chesterfield sofa in the background. The tagline, “simply fine cigars,” pretty much sums up a “Ted’s” cigar’s elemental appeal. “The social element of enjoying a good cigar is a great equalizer,” said Jackson, who attributes his cigars’ broad fan base to a down-to-earth approach – one that can be traced to a group of friends sitting around the fire taking a well deserved break after a hard day at work and play.

Ted’s Made by Hand also produces the Maker’s Mark and Courvosier cigars that are flavored/infused.  Ted’s has two non-flavored lines that are very tasty!

Ted’s Made by Hand Aged Maduro: Available in 3 sizes with a Nicaraguan Habano Maduro wrapper.


Ted’s Made by Hand Connecticut Shade: Available in 3 sizes with a Connecticut Shade wrapper.

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Size: 5″ x 50

Vitola: Robusto

Wrapper: Sumatra

Origin: USA

Thanks again to Willy Herrera at El Titan de Bronze for letting me get a chance to review some of their fine cigars.  Next up, the El Titan de Bronze Gold Robusto!

This is a great looking looking cigar with barely visible veins.  It looks like it’s going to be a nice smooth mild smoke. 

It has a good even burn which generates lots of smoke that has a nice woody and coffee aroma.  This is on fact a mild cigar and you could smoke this puppy early in the morning with some toast or even at lunch. 

This is a great tasting cigar too.  It is creamy with just a touch of pepper on the finish to give it a little”kick”.  This robusto also gives off some woody notes and there is light coffee  on the finish.

Great flavors & great construction!  Another solid cigar from the folks at El Titan de Bronze.

Rating: 88 (B+)

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