Tuesday, February 26, 2013

La Jugada Prieto robusto (5x50) by Moya Ruiz cigar co.

I was contacted by Nelson and Danny about trying their new line from Moya Ruiz Cigars called the La Jugada Prieto. Of course my answer was heck yeah I would love to try them. I unfortunately had a sinus infection when these arrived and had to let them sit in this humidor longer than I wanted to before lighting one up. It took a little over four weeks, 2 shots in my behind, and a round of antibiotics but finally I was able to breath and taste again. It was torture looking at these on the top shelf of my glass top humidor, knowing if I did light one up I would taste nothing. The Moya Ruiz line is being produced in Erik Espinosa's factory named La Zona in Esteli, Nicaragua. The name means "the play" or "the move" and refers to their love of dominoes. But on to what you came here for, the meat and taters of the cigar. This is one of the most attractive cigars I have ever seen. The bands color scheme looks awesome against the dark Maduro wrapper.

The dark, oily Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper house a Nicaraguan binder and filler. There were only very small veins and near invisible seams and the body was firm with very little give. The body offered notes of barnyard and light hints of manure and the foot offered notes of barnyard and hay with a touch of sweetness. I clipped the cap with my trusty Xikar Xi cutter and found the cold draw to be perfect. I used my single flame torch to toast the foot and get things going with no problems.

The initial third explodes with tons of dark flavorful goodness. Notes of dark chocolate jump out front, complimented by a nice black pepper and mild maduro sweetness. The finish is very long and has a nuttiness to it. There is a mild spicy tingle that lingers on the back of the tongue and the spice on the retrohale was perfect.

The dark chocolate and black pepper have developed nicely going into the second third. Shortly after starting the second third, notes of coffee and leather join the mix as the dark chocolate starts to fade. The mild spicy tingle is starting to spread to my throat as the sweetness kicks up just a notch to help balance the spice. The flavors have become more rich and the smoke has become more creamy.

The final third didn't see the addition of any new flavors, just the way the others presented themselves. Each puff brought a different flavor to the foreground and in a different intensity. The dark chocolate did move further into the background but was still present through the final third.

The La Jugada is a hit in my book. Excellent construction, full of great flavors, fair amount of complexity, and beautiful presentation. If you haven't had one of these yet, I recommend getting your hands on some. Brad over at cigarstix is now carrying these for around 8 bucks a stick, which is about right for this flavorful stick. I hate I had to wait so long to enjoy one of these but the wait was worth it. Thanks to Nelson Ruiz and Danny Moya for the samples smoked for this review. You guys have a high quality flavor bomb on your hands that is definitely box-worthy. I look forward to seeing what new blends will these guys will out out next. You can find Moya Ruiz cigars on twitter and on facebook.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A valentine's day note to my humidor

Dear humidor,
I know we haven't seen much of each other lately and I am very sorry. Life has been so busy lately and I have had back to back sinus infections. I have been taking medicine and going to bed early every night to speed my recovery but nothing seems to help. You know I would never waste one of the fine cigars contained within your Spanish cedar walls on my temporarily disabled palate. I know I am overdue to rotate your magnificent contents and I have it very high on my priority list. I just wanted you to know that I have not forgotten about you and will be keeping an eye on your humidity levels while I recover. Soon I will open your lid and select one of the fine offerings that you keep safe and secure just for me. Till we meet again, I love you humidor!

To all my readers: I must apologize for the recent lack in updates. My household has seen a whirlwind of viruses, stomach bugs, and sinus infections over the last month or so. I had 2 days between sinus infections and didn't even get to enjoy a cigar. I am medicating myself and trying to get plenty of rest so I can get the reviews pumping again. Thank you for your continued support and I hope to be well again SOON.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Xikar Executive II lighter

I am a huge fan of the Xikar line of cigar accessories. I haven't found a brand yet that delivers so consistently on value, craftsmanship, and unparalleled warranty. When I first started smoking cigars I would use the cheap torches and cutters. I told myself I couldn't justify spending 30 bucks on a torch when the 5 dollar ones at the gas station worked just fine. After going through God only knows how many of the cheap little crappy torches I realized that I was spending way more on replacing these things than a couple of really nice lighters would cost me. I do still have a few cheap lighters that I keep around for emergencies or camping trips but I mostly use one of my Xikar lighters. I currently have a stratosphere, executive II, and a inpress and love all of them. The executive II is probably my favorite of the group. It has a super convenient adjustment knob, so no more needing a screwdriver to adjust the flame. If you smoke in the winter time then you probably have noticed that a lighter sitting on a table gets cold. When that lighter gets cold it doesn't want to light because the molecules of the butane gas have slowed their movement and become more dense. You can adjust the valve and get the lighter to light but most of the time it requires a tool. If you didn't bring that tool, then you may not get to make that burn correction or re-light that you where in need of. The button to activate the executive II is on the side of the lighter body instead of up by the flame itself. This makes those long toasts more comfortable as it keeps the heat away from the fingers. There is a door that covers the jet when not in use to keep dirt and debris from getting inside. Upon clicking the button, the door slides into the body of the lighter and out of the way. It is a single flame torch so it's butane consumption is not bad at all. If you are in the market for a good lighter that carries a lifetime warranty and performs flawlessly, then you need to look at the Xikar offerings. I highly recommend the executive II or any other torch in their lineup. I have my eye on the new Vitara model and hope to get one in my hands soon, it has a built-in punch. The executive II lists for 35 bucks on xikar's website and can be found at many other online retailers as well. You can find more information on Xikar at their we page and you can also find them on twitter

The retrohale

I have been unable to enjoy a cigar lately thanks to all this crazy weather. I have just recently recovered from weeks of sinus congestion and crud. I usually don't smoke a cigar while sick, I feel it is a waste of a good cigar if I cannot taste it. I had a comment left asking to explain more about the retrohale or retro-hale of cigar smoke. I have a friend that tried to join me in my cigar obsession not too long ago. He is a frequent cigarette smoker and liked that a cigar can be enjoyed for a much longer time while drinking than a cigarette. I offered him a few sticks and even packed him a humi bag to take home. I guess I should have educated him a little but honestly it never crossed my mind. I met up with him again a few weeks later for a few beers and a couple games of pool. Afterwards I offered him a cigar and as we chatted and smoked, I noticed he was inhaling the smoke. As I tried to explain the ways to properly enjoy a fine cigar he asked how and why I had smoke coming from my nose. I explained how the flavors were best brought out in a cigar by allowing the smoke to go through the nose as well as out the mouth. He must have tried for 15 minutes before giving up. Though he tried and tried, he just couldn't manage to get the smoke through his nose without first taking it into his lungs. For some it just comes easier than others I guess. The tobacconist university defines the retro-hale as : "Retro-haling is the act of moving smoke from the back of the mouth, up through the sinuses, and exhaling through the nasal passages." It is hard to explain really how to do it for someone who never has experienced it. The question ha arisen on how frequent to retrohale and what percentage of the smoke should go through the nose. I would say frequency is up to you as is the amount. I enjoy some cigars more if I retrohale every puff and 100% of the smoke through my nose. Most of the time i go with retrohale on every puff and try to get around 50% of the smoke through the nose and the remainder out my mouth. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. If you have never retrohaled while smoking I would challenge you to give it a try. To me, it really helps to bring out the flavors of the cigar and I can find more flavors by doing so. My friend Brad said it added a new dimension of the cigar for him when he tried it. As my friend proved, it doesn't come easy for some people but don't give up. Cigar Inspector had a nice write-up in 2007 on the subject with a number of comments from reader's experiences. It is worth checking out and can be found HERE