Casa Magna Magnus II Limited: Looks Aren’t Everything

Some cigars look impressive. This was my  thought when I purchased the Casa Magna Magnus II Limited. I was scanning the humidor at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge in West Los Angeles looking for a new cigar to review.  I have tried several Casa Magna smokes before but it has been many years since my last taste.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Casa Magna/ D. Magnus II Limitada
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa Sungrown
Binder: Nicaragua 
Shape: Topedo
Price: $12.95 , Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, 4/1/16

Where and when smoked: Los Angeles, Ca.  5/1/16

Appearance / Construction:

As I stated earlier I thought very highly of the look of the cigar. Dark chocolate wrapper with a band that creates a real eye grabber. Solid, no soft spots, with an oily feel to the touch. Small veins with no discernible flaws. Overall it was a very bold looking cigar.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

The initial flavor had a combo of chocolate, coffee and a hint of maple. I was not expecting this as I was looking for spice and pepper. Yet, it was a strong taste and pretty bold but not overpowering. The aroma was pleasant, nutty and sweet.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was uneven with a dark ash and cool burn. Flavor stayed on course with the same profile I started out with. More spice and pepper flowed through but I liked the overall mix of the blend. No relights but needed to make a correction to even out the smoke.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

This was a tale of two different cigars. The construction looked very solid. The flavor profile was good but also had bouts of bitter and harsh notes.  It was a respectable smoke but hoped for more.

Final Thoughts:

At $12.95 it needed to be the “bomb.” Too many issues to rate it as a must have cigar.  Here are the numbers.

Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 3 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Overall : 3 out of 5

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

La Aurora 107: A powerful Cigar

Sitting at The Lone Wolf Lounge about to review the La Aurora 107 Toro, I got engaged in a conversation about cigar reviews. The question arose by a fellow cigar member who is a  relative newcomer to the world of cigars. He claimed that most of the reviews he has read have been “bullshit.” His point is all the descriptions of the smokes he has partaken in are not very accurate.
Language such as pepper, oak, blackberry really do tell an accurate story of what the cigar is really like. The descriptors are so vague they are not doing justice to the cigar experience. What is the difference between white pepper and black pepper?
The owner of the lounge was also involved in this discussion and commented that reviews should take into account how the cigar is indulged. Is it in a quiet lounge or with a group of friends? Is the cigar smoked with a beverage , and how the cigar was stored?
My answer was the descriptors are subjective but it gives you a base to judge it on. As for all other factors there are valid and perhaps the review should mention the surroundings of the experience.

Brand/Name of Cigar: Aurora 107 
Cigar shape: Toro
Length and Gauge: 5.5 x 5.4
Strength: Medium- full
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Price: $ 7.13 a cigar , box of 21, $139. 87
Where and when smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, 3/13/17

aurora107

Appearance / Construction:

Dark chocolate brown wrapper with an oily feel, Had a very clean look with no obvious faults or imperfections. The band was also pleasing to the eye with a strong presentation.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

Initial blast of strong pepper. Looking for other flavors such as chocolate or nuts but if they were there, the pepper was the predominant taste. It was a powerful start, gave the cigar a strong identity. Smooth though out so the taste while strong was not overpowering or unpleasant. Very rich blend.

Smoking Characteristics:

Uneven burn. Not a game changer because of this but hopefully won’t impact the enjoyment of the smoke. Burned steady and slow, with a grey ash.

As the cigar smoked down, the ash evened itself out a bit. Stayed full bodied, smooth to the palate with good, peppery flavor. If you like a strong smoke, you will like this blend. There are no subtle notes of other flavors. You are smoking a no nonsense cigar. The draw did correct itself a bit with one relight. I believe the uneven burn was a minor blip and not a real factor in the cigar.

Conclusion/Overall impression:

The Aurora 107 Toro made a statement for a rich, smooth full bodied blend. The audience for this type of cigar is a seasoned smoker who likes to sit down for an hour or so, and be challenged in a positive way.

aurora2107

Here are the numbers: 
Appearance/ Construction; 3.5 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma; 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4 out 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.8 out of 5

Final thoughts:

Fell slightly flat for a smoke which is a must have for your humidor. Might be part of my cigar mix every so often. Good price point so it that is a big factor in your cigar mind, you would consider this. Worth trying and of course make your own judgement.

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

Lavida Habana: Age Before Beauty

What makes a great cigar? This issue has been debated I suspect since the first cigar was rolled. Still, some of the basic concepts are straightforward. Cigar construction, appearance, how the blend holds throughout the smoke. Three different folks can smoke the same cigar and come up with different thoughts in every aspect of the totality of the smoke.
The reason I (Frank) mention this is a new cigar and is more of a challenge. There is no track record so the first impression is very important. If you have a good experience more than likely the review will be better. So a reviewer needs to make careful considerations in describing what he smoked. Ideally, the cigar in question needs to be aged properly, and perhaps smoked again.

Brand/Name of Cigar : Lavida Habana / LH Premium Colorado 

Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Peru and Brazil
Shape: Gordo
Price: Single $ 8.24
When and where smoked: 2/21/16, Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, West Los Angeles, Ca

lavida habana

Appearance/ Construction:

Densely packed and oily to the touch. Very classy looking smoke, like the red and black band. Several small veins were evident but would not consider this a flaw. No soft spots. This looks like a big smoke and looking forward to a long ride.

Smoking Characteristics:

First third got immediate hints of orange which I did not expect, a pleasant surprise. Burn was even, medium body. As I smoked further hints of mint? Chocolate? Not sure exactly. Whatever it was, very subtle, not overpowering. Smooth draw, no harshness, plenty of grey smoke and ash.

Two thirds into the smoke, some tunneling occurred yet did not find this a distraction or an impact on the blend. However, I was waiting for an additional pop of spice and this didn’t happen. Was thinking the smoke would crank up a bit.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

The flavor profile never really took off. I did not get any more complexity which was somewhat of a come down. Overall this was a good smoke but not a powerful one. I thought it would be more of a kick ass cigar.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for those cigar dudes who like a pleasant but not overpowering blend.

lavida habana2

Frank’s overall rating of this cigar:

Appearance/ Construction: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression; 3.5 out of 5

Will try this cigar again down the road. I think another couple of months in the humidor will give it a more hearty blend.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter,  The Urban Fishing Pole (http://theurbanfishingpole.blogspot.com/)

The Lone Wolf Lounge by Cigar Aficionado

lounge

Reading my previous dispatches from California over the years, you know that I have consistently argued that finding a place to smoke a cigar in Los Angeles is not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, you can’t smoke anywhere you want and you can’t smoke everywhere, but if you want a comfortable place to enjoy a robusto, there is plenty of choice. That, however, is not the case for Santa Monica. The antismoking sentiment is so strong that enjoying a cigar in a cigar shop is no longer possible. So, David Weiss, the owner of Lone Wolf Cigar Company, which has a shop in Santa Monica, opened up a cigar lounge and club in April 2014 just across the border in Los Angeles.

The space is elegant in its simplicity. There’s a shop out front and through a lone door there is an expansive room with couches and chairs, and a conference table of sorts in the back that reminds one of a library or dining hall. The light fixtures are reminiscent of the “flying saucer” towers at the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. There is seating for about 100. The floor is cement and the ceilings high. A bar is being planned for the back. During the day, jazz is on the sound system. That could change later on. There are two TVs.

This is a very L.A. scene. Members come in and use the space as a place to conduct business, though not in a hardcore way. Most of it is guys on their computers (there is WiFi) either writing the new blockbuster or negotiating a big commercial mortgage. OK, I’m speculating, but it could happen. There is a sort of shift change around 4 p.m. as more members come in from their offices and light up. Like most such establishments in L.A., members can bring in food from nearby restaurants.

entrance

lounge2

The lounge is a private club with membership running from $1,500 to $2,000 a year. The higher price includes a humidor locker. An out-of-town membership is $1,000. Weiss said that the club had a “lenient, invitation-only policy for non-members,” but that he was getting a lot of requests from customers who were buying cigars in the shop attached to the lounge. Weiss came up with a solution.

“If you buy fifty dollars worth of cigars,” he explained, “you get to use the lounge for the day. It’s a one-day, VIP option.

*Credit: Alejandro Benes, Cigar Aficionado