Second Time Around

After the wonderful time I had with the Brick House Churchill , I had high expectations for the Brick House Maduro Robusto. I received this smoke gratis from a smoking comrade who recently bought a box of these smokes.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Brick house Maduro

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Size: 5 X 54

Wrapper: Brazilian Ampiraca

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Shape: Robusto

Where and When smoked: Los Angeles , Ca. 5.7.17

Appearance/ Construction:

The appearance is classic Maduro with a no-nonsense wrapper but somewhat coarse looking.  It is well constructed with no apparent soft  or hard spots.  Not particularly oily to the touch . The two bands make a nice pairing to the wrapper.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

A spicy start with a mix of pepper, nuts and slight chocolate. It’s a medium blend but not overly complex. Lets see how the smoke develops in the second third.

Smoking Characteristics: 

Good burn factor , very even with no issues or construction concerns. It smoked true with a grey ash.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

Maduro cigars are becoming more of my cigar routine. The flavor might have certain similarities but the concept for me is each smoke should be noted for a distinct profile.

I would not consider this cigar a bad cigar but the second and third section left a bitter taste on my palate. This knocked down the smoke down a couple of pegs. It was a middle of the  pack type of cigar. If you want a real pleasing blend this was not it.  OK is I  would call it.

Final Thoughts:

Appearance/ Construction: 3.8 out of 5

Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 3 out of 5

Smoking Characteristics: 3.5 out of 5

Conclusion/Overall Impression: 3.2 out 5

If someone handed you this cigar  it would be smoked and  then probably thank them. Might try it again.

*Credit: Frank Gerechter, Urban Fishing Pole Cigars

More Than I Expected

I am backlogged in my cigar reviews which is a good problem. So let’s get on with the enviable task of reviewing cigars. As policy how and were I received the cigar does not impact my subjective judgement. If this review interests you, please try the cigar yourself.

Cigar Review:

Brand/Name of Cigar: Punch/ Gran Puro Santa Rita
Country of Origin: Honduras
Size:  4.5 x 52
Wrapper: Honduras 
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras
Shape; Petit Robusto
Where and when smoked; Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, Ca. 3/5/17

Appearance/Construction:

Wrapper is a shade of medium to almost dark brown. Oil is present on the wrapper but not slick. Not a pretty looking smoke but appears to be well made. Texture is pleasant with no rough or hard spots. It appears to have solid construction throughout.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

The blast of spice hits right away but you expect that from a Punch product. The black pepper opens up the palate so get ready for a full bodied experience. There is no subtle nuances in this cigar. Hold on to your butt (pun intended).

Smoking Characteristics :

Cigar is doing a very good job of being true to it’s burn, as the flow is steady, no hot spots or issues with any aspect due to good construction. What did surprise me was the second third produced a composite of cream and nuts. The spice was still evident but not bone shaking.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

I am always been partial to Punch Products from Honduras. I also like the product from Cuba but that’s another story.  They manage to produce well crafted smokes, at a reasonable price point. The cigar in question was a real crowd pleaser for the full bodied fans. Actually those who are partial to medium profiles should give the cigar a try.

Final Thoughts and Numbers:

Appearance and Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4 out of 5
Overall : 4 out 5

The Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita is a classic win. It has all the markings of a outstanding smoke with the added bonus of a reasonable price.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole.

Cigar Aficionado Was Right

Best cigar of the year rankings are always anticipated. They create discussions, thoughts and sometimes anger. I like reading about them but most of the time have not smoked the majority of the cigars in the rankings. Cigar Aficionado magazine, the mostly well respected publication, put Rocky Patel’s sun grown maduro in the number 2 slot in 2016. Maduro cigars are not my favorites but I do appreciate a well made cigar regardless how the blend is formulated. Rocky Patel cigars are for some the pinnacle of cigar making. For others they are the Walmart of smokes. Plenty choices but of dubious quality.
Here is my thoughts on the 2016 #2 ranked cigar from CA. It’s a toro smoke and not the robusto shape that were reviewed by Cigar Aficionado.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Rocky Patel/ Sun grown Maduro Special Reserve
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Sungrown Connecticut Broad leaf Maduro
Binder: Dual Binder, Nicaragua
Shape: Toro
Where and When smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, Ca. 2/19/17

Appearance/ Construction: 

Almost a flawless cigar with a dark chocolate wrapper, box pressed and an oily touch. There are several large veins showing but totally not an issue. The cigar band completed the smoke giving it a very luscious look. The construction was outstanding.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

Initial foray was a very choice chocolate flavor with a hint of black spice in the mix. Also some notes of vanilla as we progress through the first third. The flavor was consistent with a medium strength profile no harsh or bitter hints as some maduro smokes get.

 Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was straight, cool with a pleasing to the eye grey ash. No problems with uneven patterns.  Smoke continued to be faithful with the chocolate flavor.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

This is a dynamite cigar with all aspects that makes the Rocky Patel Sungrown Maduro a world class cigar. The Rocky Patel brand has been an enigma to me as they can produce such a fabulous smoke and also make run of the mill smokes. I understand manufacturers need to appeal to all price points and tastes but I hope Rocky keeps aiming for a higher plane.


Final Thoughts:

Here is the number breakdown.

Appearance/Construction: 4.5 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 4.5 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4.2 out of 5
Overall: 4.3 out of 5

This is a total winner from Rocky and suggest go out a buy a assortment of all sizes.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole

Super Bowl or Super Cigar?

Heading to the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge shortly to see the Pats hopefully win. Still not decided what cigars to bring to the event. However, here is a smoke that for many has Super Bowl winner all over it.

Brand/ Name of Cigar:

Monticristo/ #4
Country of Origin: Cuba
Size: 5.1 x 42
Wrapper: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Filler: Cuban
Shape: Petit Corona

Where and when smoked: Long Wolf Cigar Lounge, 1/17

Appearance/ Construction:

Solid feel without any plugs, striking chocolate brown wrapper and depending on the light it has different hues. Small veins are noticeable but not really a fault.  The cigar band is simple and very classic looking.

Flavor/Taste and Aroma:

The first initial third was a smooth medium experience with a mix of pepper and earthy overtones. The description was similar to other Cuban cigars I have tasted. Experienced cigar smokers enjoy this, novices might not. Aroma is so subjective I rarely blog on this aspect but in this case, the aroma was very farm like.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was slow, methodical without any hot spots or large problems. However, I did notice an uneven burn in the second third of the smoke. It managed to self correct so overall, it did not cause much impact in the overall enjoyment of the cigar.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

The Monti #4 is reputed to be the best selling Cuban cigar in it’s inventory. It has been a staple for many years and this is very understandable. For cigar smokers,  this is what is thought of when you think of Cuban cigars.  It never fails to bring satisfaction, but as a representative of a truly outstanding cigar it is not quite there. This is a lack of overall complexity which I think is the result of it’s small size, not of  any deficient quality. Otherwise this is a top line smoke.

Final Thoughts:

If this is available in your cigar world, always have them in your staple. Of course availability may hinder this but as Cuban cigars are somewhat more available, I think you can score them.

The numbers:

Appearance/ Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 4. 2 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics : 3.5 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 4 out 5

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole.

Best Cigar Of The Year, So Far

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Montecristo/ Pilotico/ Pepe Mendez
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6.2 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicargua
Shape: Toro

Where and When Smoked: 1/1/2017

Appearance/ Construction: 
Attractive rich looking brown wrapper, slight veins showing but no obvious flaws or defects. Good looking labels which brings out the the oil in the wrapper. No soft spots in the handling of the cigar.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:
Initial third was very smooth with a combination of nuts and sweet hints of chocolate. Medium strength in the flavor with no hits of spice or pepper. Very consistent in the taste with no deviation from this combo. Aroma was sweet, not pungent with the nutty smoke dominating.

Smoking Characteristics: 
The burn was even with no hot spots or tunneling. The ash was a solid white but needed two re lights  during the second third of the smoke. No real apparent reason for this as the construction for the smoke appeared well made. Maybe I missed something in my initial look.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:
Price aside which is on the high end, I liked the overall quality of this cigar.  It was consistent in flavor however there was no wow factor in this smoke. The two relights were a bit baffling so maybe it was in my handling of the cigar.

Final thoughts:

Here are the numbers:
Appearance/ Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 3.5 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5

I appreciate a well crafted, thought out cigar which brings the consumer a variety of taste and flavor. Somehow the Montecristo Pilotico missed the mark for me. It fell a bit short on just about all avenues of an outstanding cigar.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole.

San Lotano Maduro: Black Is Black

Years ago, I thought maduro cigars were the greatest thing. Perhaps because they were different from what I was used to. In 2011 I received a box of San Lotano Maduro as a birthday gift and they did not last long. Today if I had a box of them, they would probably last a year or more.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: San Lotano/ Maduro

Country of origin: Nicaragua 
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
Binder: Honduras and Dominican ( Dual Binder )
Filler: Honduras and Nicaragua
Shape: Toro, 6 x by 54 X, Box Pressed
Where and when smoked: 11/20/16 , Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles Ca.

Appearance/Construction: 

Dark brown, depending on the light almost black. Solid box press, tight, and oily to the touch. Smooth almost slick feel to the wrapper. A very sharp looking,  well made cigar.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

Initially it was a rich mixture of chocolate, sweetness and a candy quality bordering on brown sugar. These are the best characteristics of a well made maduro. Also, a bit of a spice blast but not overpowering.

Smoking Characteristics: 

The smoke had an even burn, very pleasant looking grey ash and did not lose it’s solid
construction.  The cigar held it’s shape which is a plus as some smokes as we know lose their  integrity as down the road. Did not burn hot or have any issues.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

I stand by my original thought that maduro cigars will be a once in awhile occasion for me. The flavor, construction and smoking experience was a nice ride but the nuances of a great smoke was not there. I liken it  to being on the 405 on a non rush moment in LA. Glad the traffic was moving but the view was nothing special. I would rather be on the Pacific Coast Highway looking at the ocean. For maduro smokers, this is an unqualified hit. For me, if someone gave me this cigar I would smoke it, not sure I would buy it.

Final Thoughts and numbers:  

Appearance/ Construction: 4 out 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 3.5 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3.5 out 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.8 out of 5                                                                    

For maduro smokers this is a must for your humidor, for others, a good but occasional change for your usual . A good choice however.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The UrbanFishing Pole.

No Flash In The Pan For AJ Fernandez’ New World

AJ Fernandez came on like gang busters several years ago with the San Lotano brand. Similar to rock bands who have been around for years then suddenly they are discovered as the new sensation. When his San Lotano Oval hit the streets you could not find it in stock just about everywhere. I was one of the cigar dudes who hunted for a Oval and when I scored some, it felt like this was the best cigar every made. I still think it is an outstanding smoke but the allure lost a bit through the years.

Today’s review is the New World line which has been in the market place since 2014. Clearly not a new cigar but a steady seller for the AJ team.  It’s time to write about it and see if it the hit for me as the San Lotano Oval was.

As always, the review is not impacted on how or where I received the cigar. The review are my thoughts on this particular smoke. I suggest if what I comment about interests you, try the blend and make your own opinion.


Brand/Name of Cigar: AJ Fernandez/ New World
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Dark Nicaraguan 
Binder: Jalapa ( Nicaragua)
Filler: Viso Ometepe, Condega Ligero, Esteli-Finca Soledad Ligero
Shape: Toro
Where and when smoked: Los Angeles , Ca. , 8/28/2016

Appearance and Construction:

Very dark chocolate in appearance upon first glance but taking a closer look, there are some veins that are evident. I like box press cigars which for me provide a more involved smoke. The cigar band and lower band is a nice counterpoint that makes the wrapper look even darker.  It’s a nice touch.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

I expected a hit of chocolate and it did not disappoint as this was the prominent note in the first third. I thought it would have more of a pepper taste but did not get this. Actually it was quite creamy, and smooth. Its profile would fall something in the medium to strong category.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn stayed lit and held it’s shape well. The cigar did not tunnel, but did have some minor changes in the direction of the overall burn. This did not hinder the taste or enjoyment of the cigar. Ash was light grey to a darker hue in appearance. The smoking experience was solid throughout the one hour or so time frame.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

This was a very steady smoke with all the pleasantries of a good smoke. Throw in the very reasonable price point and you have a winner.  Here are the numbers.

By the numbers:
Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/Taste/ Aroma: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics : 3.8 out of 5
Overall value and enjoyment: 3.9 out 5

Final Thoughts:

The New World falls into the category of keeping several available in your humidor. When you cannot find anything negative that counter indicates a smoke which strikes you favorably, I suggest this cigar is a very good choice for just about anytime of the day.

*Credit: The Urban Fishing Pole, Frank “Bo” Gerechter.

A Good Cigar To The Last Puff

A good cigar will make the grade if you smoke it every day or once a month. The satisfaction it gives you will bring you back every time.
El Rey Del Mundo is a smoke that reminds me of a friend you may not see very often but it’s like old times when you do. Here are my thoughts on this smoke.  My subjective opinion as always is not based on how or where I received the cigar. If my review is interesting, please try the cigar yourself.

Brand /Name of Cigar: El Rey Del Mundo/ Choix Supreme
Country of Origin : Honduras
Size: 6.12 x 4.9
Wrapper: Honduras – Oscuro
Binder: Honduras
Filler: Honduras
Filler: Honduras
Shape: Parejo
Where and When Smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, Ca. Oct 9, 2016

Appearance/Construction: 

Medium brown wrapper, solid to the touch with no soft spots. Slightly oily.  There were several veins observed but did not impact the integrity of the cigar shape. The profile of the band and color of the wrapper is a great look.

Flavor/Taste and Aroma:

The first third had a nutty/almond character with a smooth medium profile. A hint of spice but it was minor almost not noticed. It was consistent in the second and third portions of the cigar too with very little deviation throughout the smoke. This was a plus for me and I don’t like cigars with highs and lows.

Smoking Characteristics:

There was a slightly uneven burn with a light grey ash. Easy draw with no hot spots. There was one relight which was easily corrected with my Xikar lighter.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

The cigar has a low price point but it is not a ” cheap” cigar. By all accounts the El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme is a top flight product.  The balance of the blend, the construction, flavor were positive.

By the numbers:

Appearance/Construction: 3.5 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics / 3.5 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.8 out of 5

Final Thoughts: 
There are special occasion cigars, there are every day cigars. The El Rey Del Mundo Choix Supreme can be either.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole

La Palina Cigar: You Get What You Need

The name of this cigar does not roll off your tongue very easily. Cigar marketing has become so elaborate trying to distinguish one brand from another.
Even within their own brand names may become confusing. The cigar consumer may think they are smoking one cigar that someone told them about but the cigar lines become confusing.
As always, how or where I received the cigar does not impact my subjective judgment about the review.

Cigar Specs:

Brand/Name of Cigar: La Palina / El Ano 1896 Oscuro
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua 
Size: 5 x 52, Robusto
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Oscuro
Binder: NA
Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua 
Place and Date Purchased: Gratis
When and where smoked:  Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles , Ca. 10/16/2016

Appearance and Construction:

Boxed press, dark brown wrapper, and a very classy black and gold band. The cigar also had a impressive looking wrapper that covered the whole body. I almost did not want to take the printed wrapper off it was so good looking. However, my job was to report on the cigar blend, not just look at it.  It was very solid and slightly oily to the touch. No blemishes or soft spots were evident.  Well constructed with no obvious imperfections.

 Flavor/ Taste Aroma:

There was an initial hit of chocolate/coffee combo.  A patron of the lounge commented to me the aroma of nuts was quite noticeable. The cigar was generally milder than I thought it would be. If you like classifications it medium in scope but not at all overpowering or spicy. Nothing in the first third of the smoke would be described as, “This is an unbelievable cigar.”

Smoking Characteristics:

Light grey ash which burned very cool and steady. There was no tunneling or edges that might have challenged the cigar smoker. The ash might be the most impressive point about the cigar. While this is clearly important, is it enough to make your purchase the smoke?

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:
As I stated earlier, the cigar had great construction, burn and ash. As for flavor it was underwhelming with no real feel or passion. The taste was muddled with no high points. If you like a good looking but not very complex blend, this could be your baby.
Final Thoughts and Numbers:
With a brand new blend, and the threat of the FDA  causing cigar companies rushing product  into production perhaps too early, this cigar needs to sit in the humidor for a decent amount of time. Maybe in the second run, La Palina could add some spice to the mix and give it some character.
The cigar shows some promise but right now it is a pass.
Appearance/ Construction:  4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste Aroma: 2 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3.5 out of 5.
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3 out of 5