The new year. New beginnings. It seems like every January 1st, all of us formulate our New Years resolutions only to fall back into old habits a month later. Well it’s February now and I can already feel myself sliding backwards into the warm embrace of habit. Our contributors didn’t necessarily make any resolutions but we agreed that CM could improve, mainly by delivering more consistent, quality content. In January we reviewed 11 cigars as a staff, announced the Cigar Media Industry Awards, and covered the news of the month, a lot of which was boutique company’s announcing new releases.
The Latest covers the current ongoing’s at Cigarmemoir.com. Anything relating to the site itself falls under this category. January 2015 saw the Cigar Media Association, of which CM is a member, announce the first annual Industry Awards. With the establishment of the Cigar Media Association in 2014, the 14 members involved in the association wanted to create an award ceremony where they could honor and celebrate the companies and individuals in the cigar industry. We had three awards: Cigar of the Year, Brand of the Year, and Online Media Member of the Year. Each member site made nominations for each category and from the winners of the nomination round the finalists were chosen. Finally, on January 16th the winners were announced.
We continue to love the cigars coming from Tabacalera Ventura and reviewed four of them in January, two of which received a III. Satisfying in our Class & Quality system: Caldwell Cigar Co.’s King Is Dead Supreme and the Rodrigo Habano Clasico Lancero. Also reviewed was Caldwell’s extremely sought after, event-exclusive Yellow Cake, a pleasant petite corona made by utilizing scrap tobacco from the production of his other premium lines. Lastly, Matt reviewed the new small batch release from Rodrigo, another cigar from Tabacalera Ventura, the Corona Project Vol. I.
An interesting cigar Kyle reviewed at the end of January was the DUO by Lucky Leaf Cigars. The cigar is said to be subtlety infused by natural cocoa and coffee as opposed to the more in-your-face method Drew Estate utilizes with their Acid line-up.
Jan 4: Caldwell Cigars Yellow Cake
“The Yellow Cake makes for a nice little cigar for those times you want a quick, quality smoke. It’s full-flavored, fairly balanced and packs some punch. If it weren’t for the combustion issues I’d have rated these petite coronas even higher. If you manage to get your hands on a 3-pack you’re in for an interesting, sweet little treat. Just remember to use your imagination.” – Joshua Child
Jan 5: CAO Flathead V770 Big Block
“I really enjoyed the first half of this cigar and it was getting a much better rating in my mind, but this vitola is so massive that it eventually masked the enjoyment and became more of a chore for me. At one point I had a chocolate covered cherry flavor through the retro-hale that was absolutely amazing, but it only lasted for about 15 minutes. I really wish that component could have lasted, but I think for the size of this cigar, it delivered a very good experience. If you are a big ring gauge smoker, this is definitely a cigar to try that will last about 3 hours.” – Kyle Freeman
“The biggest aspect holding this cigar back from a III. Satisfying rating is the construction. In every sample there was at least one point while smoking where the cherry would go out. This comes as quite a surprise since when burning, it tends to absolutely billow smoke. Aside from that, this is a solid offering from Rodrigo. It’s a Coal Miner with great dimension. Especially the herbal and citrus undertones, which made it a distinct and enjoyable blend for me. You wouldn’t think those notes would work within this profile, but they really do.” – Matt Masters
“Why do we smoke cigars? I smoke because of the relaxation and enjoyment a quality cigar brings me but one of the main components to that enjoyment is flavor. Without an abundance of flavor there ceases to be a reason to smoke a good cigar unless you’re strictly in it for a nicotine fix. The Gran Habano has such a quick finish, with no lingering flavor on the aftertaste it turns out to be a completely boring, bland experience. We were only sent one sample so I can’t be sure if my experience is the consistent one but this Gran Habano Gran Reserva #5 2010 Toro was an inoffensive yet clearly deficient cigar.” – Joshua Child
Jan 12: Tatuaje Series P Toro
“The construction was very impressive for a cigar that uses 60% medium filler. Most importantly, the ash held on for over an inch every time which I definitely didn’t expect. Unfortunately, the flavor profile just didn’t perform for me and became very boring to smoke the second half because it made no transitions and ended up slightly bitter. At this price point it would still make a great cigar to have when you didn’t want to think, just smoke. Total smoke time ended at about 1 hour and 30 minutes.” – Kyle Freeman
“This is a big cigar. The most problematic aspect of a cigar in this vitola is the likelihood that it can become a monotonous experience. That’s not the case here with the King is Dead, which provided nice complexity and balance. I feel the snug draw held it back a little bit in terms of flavor intensity, but at no point was I struggling to get smoke. Half-way through the cigar, the draw began to open up noticeably, allowing for more flavors to poke through. Once I acquire another sample, I’ll reassess things if necessary but this particular sample provided a III. Satisfying experience.” – Matt Masters
Jan 17: JAXX by La Sirena Toro
“The construction was on point and never required my assistance. I enjoyed the nice oily finish on the palate and the thick smoke output. What was a little disappointing was the lack of complexity. The second half was mostly just a strong earth and leather with little to nothing to add. I still gave this cigar a nice quality rating because I do enjoy a nice strong earthy component and this cigar delivered just that. La Sirena added a few nice blends with the Old School brand and this JAXX was definitely a pleasant smoke.” – Kyle Freeman
“In my opinion, the Flor del Valle Gran Valle is a stellar example of an “everyday cigar”. Having an approachable flavor profile & price point, I can see this filling a lot of gaps for people when they can’t choose what to smoke. The construction was some of the best I’ve seen pre-light but the delicate wrapper cracked here & there when smoking. Luckily, it didn’t affect the smoking experience. If it came down solely to presentation, the Flor del Valle would score an I. Unparalleled. While the Flor del Valle didn’t blow me away with complexity or substantial flavor-shifts, there was enough to garner my attention till the end.” – Matt Masters
Jan 19: Cohiba Siglo VI (Cuba)
“Even though this sample had a damaged wrapper, the binder was intact which made for a fantastic smoking experience. I had to make a few minor touch-ups on the burn, but that never affected the great flavors from start to finish. By the end I enjoyed the full bodied blend that this cigar delivered with its rich complexity and that smooth iconic Cuban profile. This cigar is ready to smoke with little age and something I’m sure would smoke even better with more age. If you’re looking for a very satisfying Habano, look no further.” – Kyle Freeman
Jan 23: Rodrigo Habano Clasico Lancero
“Unlike some of my more inconstant experiences with cigars coming out of Tabacalera Ventura, the Rodrigo Habano Clasico Lancero was very dependable sample to sample. Each provided a similar profile with full flavors, nice burn and quality construction. The chocolate and nutmeg were a killer combination and there was plenty on stand-by to keep things interesting; a steady pepper and woodsy/coffee/nutty undertones. In the end, the Rodrigo Habano Clasico provided the trifecta of full flavor, complexity and balance I so often crave, a truly III. Satisfying cigar.” – Joshua Child
Jan 26: DUO by Lucky Leaf Cigars
“I was a little skeptical to smoke The DUO by Lucky Leaf Cigars at first because the company said there were added flavors of chocolate and coffee. Infused cigars just aren’t enjoyable to me, but I gave this cigar a shot and I have to say I was very pleased. The flavors are so very subtle and really help complement the earthy dominance. The construction was manageable, only requiring a few touch-ups and the smoke output was fantastic with what felt like an endless stream of smoke. This is a medium-full bodied cigar that anyone could smoke with the potential to compliment many drinks very well.” – Kyle Freeman
None of the news in January had the impact of the announcement in December that the U.S. was easing relations with Cuba but there is a lot to look forward to for smokers on the botique cigar front. Warped Cigars seemed to pop up with something every few days, first with the announcement of the La Hacienda, a regular-release set for a spring launch, made in conjunction with their partners at AGANORSA. Then there was the smallbatchcigar.com exclusive, a La Colmena Unico Especial in a larger Belicoso format and finally the reveal of the small batch Black Honey. Also revealed on the boutique side of things was the announcement of Caldwell Cigar Co.’s untitled “Last Tsar”, the company’s first limited edition due for release sometime in the spring. There were other announcements from small company’s like Moya Ruiz, Viaje, 262 and Jordan Alexander III.
The big dogs were not to be out done, starting with Room 101 (Davidoff) revealing their Master Collection Three. Then Altadis announced the Añejo by Romeo y Julieta, a full bodied cigar featuring a Broadleaf maduro wrapper. General showed off their limited Punch Rare Corojo, and Camacho (Davidoff) added a few new sizes to their classic Corojo line.
Check out the following list for our complete cigar news coverage for January 2015.
- Jan 2: Room 101 Master Collection Three Coming February 2015
- Jan 4: HHB Gold Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nat Cicco
- Jan 4: JM Tobacco Adds Sealed-In Humidity Packs
- Jan 5: Room 101 Master Collection Three Announced
- Jan 5: 7-20-4 Cigars Completes “Factory 57″ Shipment
- Jan 7: Fratello Lancero Headed to Stogies World Class
- Jan 7: C.Gars Ltd Launches Orchant Selleccion Oliva
- Jan 7: Davidoff Strengthening Asia Foothold
- Jan 8: Jordan Alexander III Corojo Set for February
- Jan 9: Headlines Cigar Re-blended and Re-branded for 2015
- Jan 10: Alec Bradley Cigars and Sam Phillips Part Ways
- Jan 13: Romeo Añejo by Romeo y Julieta Announced
- Jan 13: AVO Cigars Refined and Redesigned Pt. 2
- Jan 13: Caldwell Cigar Co. Announces Limited Edition (Update)
- Jan 14: Davidoff Appoints New Tabadom GM
- Jan 14: IPCPR Announces Headquarters Property In Washington, DC
- Jan 15: RoMa Craft Tobac CroMagnon Fomorian Returns for 2015
- Jan 16: Warped Cigars La Hacienda Set For Early Spring
- Jan 17: Ramón Zapata Leaves Compañía Hondureña de Tabacos
- Jan 17: Davidoff launches ’Pause’ Sampler
- Jan 18: New La Colmena Exclusive to Smallbatchcigar.com Announced
- Jan 21: Camacho Adds Two New Line Extensions to Corojo Line
- Jan 22: Warped Cigars Announces Black Honey
- Jan 24: Room 101 Ichiban Retailer Exclusive Announced
- Jan 28: 262 Roadhouse Planned for IPCPR 2015
- Jan 29: Punch Rare Corojo Returns
- Jan 29: Las Cumbres Tabaco Inks Canadian Distribution Deal
- Jan 30: 2015 Viaje Super Shot Announced
- Jan 30: Moya Ruiz Cigars to Release “The Rake” in 2015