Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I have reviewed several of the offerings from C&C and have been very impressed with the outcome. They offer wallet friendly sticks that are oh so very tasty. The Loose Cannon 1206 has a Dominican filler and binder that is wrapped in a maduro sumatra wrapper. The wrapper has minimal veins and is a bit lighter than maduros I am used to seeing. This cigar is lightly boxed pressed and is firm to the squeeze with only a little rebound. The wrapper offered notes of light notes of cocoa and barnyard with a mild sweetness. The foot offered the same cocoa notes with more of a fruit-like sweetness. I decided to go with a punch cut on this one, for no other real reason than I wanted to. Testing the cold draw of the freshly punched cap, I found the draw to be perfect with notes of hay and sweet field grass. I used y handy single flame torch to get things going with minimal effort.
The initial third opens with warm notes of cedar and a long toasty finish. The finish has a mild sweetness that lingers on the lips and palate. There is a fair amount of spice to the retrohale, which helps to balance out the maduro sweetness. The spice lingers in the throat and on the back of the tongue. As I progressed through the first third, notes of earth and black pepper begin to develop as the cedar gains some depth.
The second third sees a slight increase to the sweetness but no real flavor changes. The flavors are complex in their presentation as each takes turns sharing center stage with each puff. The black pepper, earth, and cedar all gain depth in the second third as hints of coffee start to pop in and out. The cedar becomes the more dominant flavor around the mid-point of the cigar. The other flavors are not muted by the cedar but are complimenting it very nicely.
As I start the final third, the sweetness begins to fade out The smoke has taken on a very creamy texture. The black pepper is starting to fade out with the coffee, earth, and cedar still going strong. As the black pepper fades, toasted nut flavors take it's place. The finish become more crisp in the final third as I find myself wetting the palate a bit more frequently. It's not like a desert in your mouth but just enought to notice.
With the Loose Cannon 1206 nubbed, I find myself satisfied and ready for bed. This was just what I expected from C&C, a great cigar with a ton of flavor. The body remained, for me, medium thoughout most of the burn with a slight upkick to med-full just after the halfway point. At no time was there any harshness or hot burn. The Ash held to over an inch at a time and the burn required only one very minor correction due to wind and misty rain. If you are thinking about trying the Loose Cannon, I recommend it. It was a fine smoke and I will be hitting StogieBoys.com to place an order when I get some room in the humidor. You can grab these for 5.75 as a single, 25.95 for a 5 pack, or a box of 20 for 101.95 at StogieBoys. I think I may just have to go for the box, any less and I would just go through them too fast. Stay tuned for an upcoming review of the the Loose Cannon Trigger Happy from C&C.
Thanks to Sheryl and the crew at StogieBoys.com for providing the samples for this review, they were great.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Wrapper: Honduran Connecticut Shade
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
I know I have been missing in action for awhile now but I promise it has been for good reason. Over the course of the last few months, my wife and I have been preparing for the arrival of our second child. I have remodeled a bathroom, purchased a storage building, cleaned out and entire room (and moved it's contents to the storage building), panicked over lost baby furniture hardware, and worked my tail off at work. Finally, on August the 15 our healthy baby girl came into this world. As soon as we found out the sex of the baby I knew I would have to find some cigars for the occasion. After weeks of checking out the options, I decided on the Alec Bradley Classic "It's A Girl" Toro.
I ordered two boxes so I could be sure I had enough cigars for those who would want one. I smoked several of these before the baby was born, I wanted to taste test them before I handed them out. The first thing that caught my eye about these was the box. They are available as boy and girl and are colored accordingly. The girl version came packaged in a nice pink box with storks on the bands. I really like the picture frame on the top of the box. Inside the lid is a place to fill in the baby's birth information. But let's get to the meat and potatoes shall we.
The Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper had a smooth velvety texture with a but of oil. There were a few small veins but nothing that should alter the burn. The wrapper presented notes of hay with a mild sweetness and the foot had notes of barnyard with the same mild sweetness. I clipped the double cap with my trusty Xikar cutter and found a perfect draw with notes of of sweet cocoa. The body had a bit of sponginess but no soft spots or imperfections that I could find. I used my Xikar Executive to toast the foot and get things started.
The first third opened with notes of toasted nut and a touch of honey. The crisp finish it long and toasty. There is a hint of spice on the retrohale that I expect to smooth out as I progress through the burn. As I progress through the first third a few light berry notes pop in and out. They are very faint but still noticeable. At around the one inch mark the smoke takes on a warm and cozy tone. It almost compares to eating your comfort food on a dreary day. The body through the burn so far has been mild-medium and very smooth.
As I start into the second third the toasted notes have fully developed and gained some depth. There are some notes of cocoa starting to ease their way into the mix. The cocoa develops rather quickly and the toasted notes change just a bit with each draw. The resting smoke has a very pleasant aroma with a touch of sweetnesss to it. Most of the honey notes have disappeared as I near the end of the second third.
The final third brings even more depth to the toasted nut flavors as the cocoa notes fade into the background. There are some leather and black coffee notes popping in and out and compliment the toasted nut nicely. Somewhere around the halfway mark the body kicked up a notch to about medium.
I am very glad I chose these as my handout celebration cigar. They are flavorful and mild enough for any level cigar smoker to enjoy. The ash held strong to about an inch and a half with a dark gray color. The burn was a touch wavy but required no touchups or relights. I also purchased a box of these to age. I plan to smoke 1 out of the box every year on her birthday until the box is done. I was also able to make someone's day at the hospital with one of these cigars. Our anesthesiologist was elated that I thought to offer him a cigar. When I asked if he smoked cigars he excitedly told me he enjoyed them very much. He said in the ten and a half years he had been giving epidurals he had never been offered a birth announcement cigar by anyone. If you are planning a new arrival and want a good cigar that won't break the bank to stock up on, the Alec Bradley birth announcement cigar is worth checking out. I have seen the price on these range from 45-100 dollars. I was able to pick up 2 boxes for less than 100 bucks with some good online research. Now it's time for me to put this keyboard down and go cuddle my sweet baby girl. I hope to get back to posting regular reviews soon so stay tuned. Long ashes and happy smoking!
Monday, June 24, 2013
It is rare that I find a tech device worthy of mentioning here on the Shaggy Feetz. This is one of those rare occasions that I have a new toy and have to share the joy it has brought me. I received an iPad for Christmas, which has left my laptop mostly collecting dust. The only time i crack my laptop open is if i have photos to edit in photoshop or to upload to my photography website. The iPad and it's camera proved to be the perfect addition to my blogging arsenal. The only complaint I have had so far is that the on-screen keyboard is a pain in the tush to use to type something as lengthy as a cigar review. I saw a few of the bluetooth options at the local office supply store while picking up a new desk for the home office, but they carried a price tag larger than I was willing to pay for convenience. Me being the Amazon fanboy I am, jumped online and did a quick search to see what my other options were. After viewing what felt like hundreds of bluetooth keyboards, I decided on the sharkk keyboard. This item was listed as being the newest model, which has an aluminum top just like the Apple branded keyboard. I preferred the durability of the aluminum top to painted plastic offered on some of the other models I found. I have had the keyboard for a week or so and have very much enjoyed it so far. I haven't experienced the lag that some people spoke of in the reviews on Amazon. It was super easy to set up, all you have to do is start a pairing session and input a code on the keyboard. It has function or command keys that control a lot of the features of the iPad. The best part to me is the fact that it can be paired to the iPad, iPod, pc, and android based devices. I also ordered a camera connect kit for the iPad (review may come soon if it is worthy) that allows me to connect usb jump drives and access sd and micro sd cards. That means I can import pictures to my iPad that have been taken with my DSLR camera and use the iPad version of photoshop if the pictures only need light editing. To me, that opens up a wealth of possibilities that the iPad was previously incapable of handling. Only time will tell if this new toy for the iPad is durable but it feels pretty sturdy. This updated model uses a built-in rechargeable battery instead of you having to use 2 AAA batteries. I kind of like being able to swap batteries out if I need to but it charges in a couple of hours and will go weeks between charges with moderate use. The Sharkk bluetooth keyboard was 19.99 and shipped for free with Amazon Super Saver shipping. If you are in the market for an external keyboard for any device that supports bluetooth, I highly recommend the sharkk bluetooth keyboard. It is highly functional and at a price that won't hurt the wallet.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
I ordered a bundle of the Gurkha Black Ops cigars awhile back and got a lighter free. Most of the freebie lighters from CI are Xikar and well worth getting whatever the combo is to acquire the lighter. I have seen the black ops travel cases and lighters and have been curious for awhile about how they would perform. With that being said here are my opinions, for what they are worth, on the Black Ops Kilo lighter.
The Kilo is a fairly hefty torch with a built-in punch and triple flame jets. The fit and finish is nice, giving the appearance of quality construction. I usually prefer a single flame torch, as I feel it gives me more control of my toasting and lighting. The double and triple flame lighters just seem to burn through fluid too fast for me. There is a door that covers the jets when not in use, and it slides out of the way upon activating the igniter switch. The kilo, as well as most of the Black Ops lighters, is available in multiple color options. The colors have a militaristic theme to them with matte black, OD green, arctic white, desert sand being a few I have seen online. The one I have is a "black out" with a black on black color scheme.
When I first received the lighter I purged before filling even though it shipped empty, always seemed like a good idea to keep with the habit. The lighter filled with no problems and lit on the first try. I did have to adjust the flame before actually using it or I would have burned my cigar to the ground. The cigar punch, I am not sure what size, is a nice added feature. I have been using the lighter for several months and have filled it a couple dozen times with no problems. The punch is sharp and creates a nice clean hole every time I have used it.
Final verdict is that this is a nice lighter. It wouldn't be fair for me not to mention though that I have seen this lighter branded with a different name before. A google or amazon search for jobon triple flame torch will yield results that look identical. They are most likely the the same lighter but at different prices. So if you want a nice triple flame torch with a built in cutter with a militaristic color scheme grab a Black Ops. If you don't care what color it is as long as it works, you can save some money by buying the one without the Black Ops name. But if you are like me and like tactical and military stuff, you will want the official Black Ops version. Depending on which option you choose and where you buy, you can pick one of these up for 8-30 bucks. I personally, wouldn't pay 30+ bucks for this when I could get a lifetime warranted Xikar lighter. As a freebie or if i run across in the 15 dollr range, I would buy another. Only time will tell if this lighter will last for awhile or not, but for now I am pleased. I keep this lighter in my work bag so I don't have to carry a lighter and a cutter to work.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Father's Day is just around the corner and it's time to pick up something special for dad. My dad is a bit hard to shop for, he always says he doesn't need anything and he doesn't smoke cigars. I, on the other hand, am easy to shop for. I just tell my 4 year old son that daddy wants cigars for Father's Day and he bugs his mom until she gets some for him to give me. It can't get much simpler than that right? Well if you are looking for cigars or cigar accessories for your dad this year (or things to tell your kids to get you), StogieBoys has put together a list of ideas to make it "Nice and Easy" for you. In addition to their list, they made a short video clip that I find pretty darn funny. I made the mistake of drinking a soda while I watched it the first time and retrohaled some soda through sinuses. You can check out the "Nice and Easy" Fathers Day list HERE and be sure to check out their selection of cigars and accessories. You will find the video embedded in this post but I strongly recommend not sipping that beverage when you watch.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Size: robusto (5x54)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: wine fermented Dominican criollo '98
Filler: Dominican criollo '98
Price: around 5 bucks per stick
Time in humidor: 2+ months
This is the second cigar from the "three of a kind" Exactus sampler sent to me by Ram Rodriguez at Tabacalera El Artista. It has been a while since I smoked the clasico and remember that is was an exceptional smoke, with perfect draw and complex flavors. I read my tasting notes from the Classico and prepared myself for another outstanding smoking experience. Now let's see if it came through.
The Habano wrapper had a nice oily sheen, with only very small and smooth veins. It had a milk chocolate brown color with a touch of reddish hue. The body was firm and well packed, with very little rebound upon squeezing. The body offered the aroma of cocoa and the foot offered notes of cocoa with a mild sweetness. I clipped the cap with my trusty Xikar cutter and found a perfect draw with notes of cocoa and a hint of honey. I used my Xikar executive to get the foot toasted and get things going with no problems.
The initial third opened with notes of wood and toasted nuts with a very faint note of coffee. There is a spicy kick to the retrohale and a nice tingle left on the palate. The finish is long and woody with a very mild lingering sweetness. Somewhere around a half inch into the burn the spice calms as the smoke becomes more creamy and smooth. So far it is a whirlwind of flavor with a lot brewing in the background just waiting to develop. The flavors to start to settle in as I progress through the first third.
Going into the second third the coffee notes have fully developed and taken center stage with the nutty and woody notes winning "best supporting roll". The toasted nut notes are ever changing as I progress through the second third. One puff resembles almonds, while another may more resemble walnut or pecan. This smoke is anything but boring for sure! Even the woody notes do a bit of morphing, as they go from cedar to oaky. There are butter notes that come and go and seemed to become more frequent as I progressed through the burn. Somewhere around the midway point, the smoke took on a salty/sweet component that really made the flavors pop that much more. I detected a few notes of honey, they were infrequent but definitely noticeable.
As I journey into the final third the ever-changing nutty notes finally settle in as a toasted walnut flavor. There is a hint of sourdough that comes and goes as the coffee moves back to allow the nutty notes to take the lead. Most of the honey notes have subsided and the sweetness faded a bit with them. This was a pleasant roller coaster ride for my palate.
The final verdict is that the Habano absolutely delivered as well as the Classico. The body was consistently on the full side of medium-full while maintaining a creamy smoothness. The burn and construction was excellent and only required a minor touch up or two. The Exactus Habano brought flavor and smoke production by the truckload and held my interest through every inch of the burn. The ash was a bit flaky but still managed to hold to two inches or better at a time, I only ashed twice before I was at the nub. Tabacalera El Artista has a fine thing going with the Exactus line and at a great value for the consumer. I would have to say that the Habano is box worthy and it is possible it will be in my favorites of 2013 list. Thanks to Ram Rodriguez and tabacalera El Artists for sending me the samples to review, they are mighty fine smokes and I look forward to upcoming releases. A search for these online didn't turn up a plethora of sites to pick these up at, but my buddy Brad over at cigarstix.com as them in stock and ready to ship. If you would like to try them out before committing to a box, the "Three of a kind" sampler includes one each of the Habano, maduro, and the Classico. The sampler is available in 5 different sizes so you can find your favorite blend and size before ordering a box. You can find Exactus cigars on cigarstix.com at http://www.cigarstix.com/categories/premium-boutique-cigars/exactus-cigars.html
My wife asked me awhile back, why I saved all my cigar bands. I have to admit I didn't really have an explanation at the time that would make sense to her, so I thought about it for awhile. A cigar is a product of someone's dream and vision. It often takes years to perfect a new blend and get it ready for consumer consumption. I imagine the same amount of care and consideration goes into making the band for that cigar as well. I doubt it takes as much time to design a band as it does to perfect the blend, but it has to reflect the brand and the passion of the brand. Each cigar is a hand-rolled work of art, and most bands are very ornate and beautiful. I have a few bands that I would someday like to have turned into a cigar band ring, they are just that nice to look at. One of the biggest and most beautiful bands I have seen are on the La Sirena cigars, they are so intricate.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
The Xikar Stratosphere is one of my favorite lighters when I am on the go. It is labeled as a high altitude lighter on their website, but I am sure it performs well at any elevation. The stratosphere has a large butane viewing window,so there is no guessing when you need a refill. The lid that closes over the top of the lighter is sturdy and seats well to the body of the lighter. This is a huge plus for me since I work in the great out of doors, and on occasion I have to dig in the dirt. The lid closes tight enough that even the smallest particle of debris that enters my pocket doesn't find it's way into my lighter. The lanyard attachment point makes it super easy to keep up with in my work truck. I often attach a wallet chain or retractable key keeper to it when I smoke with my buddies, too many have tried to pocket my stratosphere. The large adjustment knob makes adjusting the flame a breeze, without tools or hassle. The flame on this lighter isn't as super sharp as some of the other Xikar lighters I own. I actually find this a plus. It covers more area of the foot of the cigar without being as intense at the tip of the flame. It can be easily dialed down to a very small flame for minor touch ups, which will help if you tend to scorch the wrapper. This particular lighter was sent to me by Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigar Co. as part of a prize pack for the nomad poster contest. Thanks Fred! This is one of my favorite lighters. The Stratosphere is available in four colors and is a great addition to any cigar lighter collection, or as a lighter to take camping. It is listed at just under 30 bucks on Xikar's website and carries the Xikar For Life warranty.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Last but certainly not least in the C&C Cigars sampler is the Connecticut. If you have read through some of my reviews then you know I once was anti-Connecticut. The Connecticut wrapped sticks today are not the flavorless air balls that I once believed all of them to be. The C&C Connecticut is certainly not one of those flavorless sticks that you just don't want to smoke again. The C&C Connecticut sports an Ecuadorean Connecticut wrapper, Dominican Olor binder, and a filler blend of Dominican Criollo and Corojo Ligero. The wrapper is a beautiful light mocha color with only a few small veins. The body is fairly firm with a touch of sponginess. The body offered notes of barnyard and hay, while the foot offered notes of hay and molasses like sweetness.I used my trusty Xikar cutter to straight cut the triple cap and found the draw to be on the loose side of perfection. The pre-light draw was easy and had notes of sweet field grass.
The initial third opens with notes of hay and toasted nuts. There is a nice touch of spice to the retrohale and a lingering sweetness compliments the long nutty finish. Somewhere around half of an inch into the burn notes of cedar begin to emerge.
The toasted nut notes have fully developed going into the second third and is joined by an earthy spice. The body seems to ramp up just a touch but is joined by a slight increase to the mild sweetness. Around the mid-point of the burn, faint coffee notes begin to make there way into the mix as the sweetness begins to fade.
The final third doesn't see much change from the second, not a bad thing in my opinion. The earthiness seems to be the dominant flavor but isn't so much to overshadow the nut and coffee notes that are still present. The notes of cedar are still noticeable in the background.
The robusto had a flavor profile that pretty well matched the toro. The robusto seemed to have just a bit more sweetness than the toro size but both were creamy and full of flavor. The spice was just enough to keep things interesting and balance the sweetness. The body remained medium-full throughout the burn and was exceptionally creamy and smooth. Ash held to just over an inch before falling each time and was a light gray color. I would recommend this stick to anyone wanting a break from a more full bodied smoking routine or even a cigar newbie. I can't say enough good things about C&C cigars so go grab a few so you can say your own good things about them. The 3 stick sampler is available from StogieBoys and contains one of each blend. Thank you to Sheryl and the StogieBoys crew for providing this sampler for review. I just hope the sinus infections are over and I can keep pumpin out fresh reviews.
Up second from the 3 pack C&C cigars sampler is the C&C maduro. I have previously reviewed the C&C LRMD cigar and was curious if it was the same blend or different. Either way, I am eager to see how the robusto maduro compares to the LRMD toro. The maduro sports a Arapiraca wrapper that houses a Dominican Criollo binder and a filler blend of Dominican Ligero and Cubano Seco. The milk chocolate wrapper has minimal veining, neat seams, and is just a touch oily. The body is firm with just a touch of give and no soft spots or flaws that I can find. The body offered notes of barnyard and cocoa and the foot offered cocoa and molasses. I decided to use my new black ops triple torch with built-in punch on this stick. Upon punching the cap I found a perfect draw and mild earthy notes along with hay and molasses.
I detected notes of cocoa and rich tobacco with a bit of black pepper upon starting the initial third. There is a fair amount of peppery spice to the retrohale and a mildly sweet toasted nuttiness to the long finish. About 3/4 of an inch into the burn, the peppery spice calms a bit as the sweetness kicks up a notch and the smoke becomes more smooth and creamy.
As I progress into the second third some cherry notes begin to pop in. The cocoa has developed nicely and are joined by notes of leather and faint notes of coffee. The finish has found an increase in the sweetness to help balance the spicy that leaves a pleasant tingle on the palate and in the throat.
The final third brought some woody notes to the mix as the cocoa fades to the background. The coffee and leather notes continued through the remainder of the burn but never gained more depth.
Another great smoke from C&C and always smooth and flavorful. These are fairly complex and very flavorful. The burn required only one minor touch up throughout the burn and ash held to over an inch each time. C&C has nailed it with their line of affordable cigars for sure. In my experience, they always have great construction and burn with consistently good flavor and complexity. I recommend giving C&C cigars a try if you haven't already. StogieBoys has a sampler of the Connecticut, Maduro, and Corojo just waiting for you to try. A special thanks goes out to Sheryl and the crew at Stogieboys for providing the sampler for the review.
This was the first of a 3 cigar sampler sent to me for review by Sheryl and the great crew at StogieBoys. If you are like me, you love the spiciness that a good corojo wrapper brings to the table. I have enjoyed a few of the C&C cigars and found they are consistently tasty and completely underrated. The corojo wrapper has minimal veins and ha a reddish hue and an oily sheen. It is firm with some give and no soft spots or imperfections that I could find. The body offered notes of cocoa and hay, while the foot offered notes of cocoa and a mild sweetness. I used my handy Xikar cutter to straight cut the cap and found a perfect draw with notes of cocoa and molasses.
The first third opened up with a ton of flavor, with notes of caramel taking the lead with a fair amount of spice on the retrohale. The finish is long and has a caramel tone and leaves a mild spicy tingle on the palate. As I progress through the first third the spice calms a touch as the caramel like notes are joined by light hints of coffee and mild sweetness.
The coffee notes have fully developed going into the second third. The sweetness has balanced out the corojo spiciness nicely. Notes of dark chocolate begin to pop in on occasion as well as some toasted nut flavors as I near the half-way point.
As I enter the final third, the toasted nut notes become more of a black walnut flavor. There are some notes of cedar coming and going. The dark chocolate is still present but most of the caramel notes have faded into the background.
I am a fan of the spicy corojo sticks and this was a tongue pleaser. The spice remained pretty consistent throughout the burn but was always in good balance with the sweetness. I would say this one is on the medium-full end of medium. It had a nice complexity and the flaky gray ash held to just over an inch each time. If you are looking for a spicy yet smooth and flavor cigar in the medium body range, I highly recommend giving this one a try. In fact the sampler gives you a chance to try this and the Connecticut and Maduro offering without committing to a box or 5 pack. I can promise that a single stick is just going to wet your appetite for more C&C cigars. The sampler is only $9.95 and contains one of each blend in the robusto size. Thank you to Sheryl and the crew at StogieBoys for providing the sample for this review.
I realize it has been far too long since my last update. I have had a run of bad luck with sinus infections, family members passing, and trying to get ready for the arrival of our daughter in August. With that being said, what better way to make up for it the with a review of an entire sampler? I was sent the C&C robusto sampler by Sheryl and the wonderful folks at StogieBoys.com. I have reviewed the C&C LRMD maduro and the Connecticut previously in the toro size, and I am very eager to see how the sizes affect the flavors. I will give a brief run down of each cigar here and provide a link to the more in-depth review of each stick.
The C&C Connecticut has an Ecuadorean Connecticut shade wrapper with Dominican Olor binder and a blend of criollo 98 and corojo ligero filler. A fantastic mild-medium to mild bodied cigar with tons of flavor and a perfect draw. You can expect notes of toasted nuts, earth, light notes of coffee, and a nice mild sweetness complimented by the perfect amount of peppery spice.http://shaggyfeetz.blogspot.com/2013/05/c-connecticut-robusto-5x50.html
The C&C Corojo has a 2006 corojo wrapper, a corojo binder, and filler consisting of Dominican criollo and corojo ligero. This was probably my favorite of the offerings. The corojo offered notes of caramel, coffee, and some mild woody cedar notes. With a touch more kick and just a bit more spice, the corojo really hit the spot.http://shaggyfeetz.blogspot.com/2013/05/c-corojo-robusto-5x50.html
The C&C maduro sports a Arapiraca wrapper, Dominican Olor binder, and filler blend of Dominican Ligero and Cubano Seco. The maduro is the strongest of the three offerings but is still just as complex and flavorful as the other 2 blends. Rich cocoa notes abound with notes of coffee, leather, and even a few notes of cherry to provide you a fairly strong but very smooth smoking experience.http://shaggyfeetz.blogspot.com/2013/05/c-maduro-robusto-5x50.html