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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

La Flor Dominicana Brings Super Bowl Cigar To Texas

Football fans in the Lone Star State will have a special cigar to puff on during Super Bowl LI. La Flor Dominicana has crafted a new version of its Special Football Edition cigar—a unique figurado that dons a football-shaped cover leaf—and has sent it to Texas cigar retailers in anticipation of next Sunday’s big game.

“They have been made available only to LFD retailers in the state of Texas,” said Tony Gomez, vice president of La Flor Dominicana. As in previous years, the special cigars are only sold in the Super Bowl’s host state. Gomez added that out-of-state customers might be able to get their hands on them through Texas retailers that sell cigars online.

This year’s matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots at NRG Stadium in Houston is cause for the third release of this special cigar. Previous iterations, in different vitola sizes, were released in California for Super Bowl 50 and Arizona for Super Bowl 49.

La Flor Dominicana’s Special Football Edition for 2017 wears an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper over Dominican binder and filler. The football design on the wrapper, as well as the cap and a strip on the foot, is made from Connecticut-seed tobacco grown in Ecuador. Only 1,500 boxes of 10 have been produced, and the cigars carry a suggested retail price of $15 each.

The voluptuous figurado measures 6 1/2 inches with a ring gauge of 52 at its slimmest, swelling to 60 ring at its maximum girth. The foot of the cigar is an angular cut, which Gomez says was picked from a number of uncommon shapes.

“There’s no particular reason for the angular cut; we had about five different designs that we were choosing from and this was the one we liked best,” said Gomez.

La Flor Dominicana is no stranger to crafting esoteric vitolas. The Andalusian Bull, which was recently awarded Cigar Aficionado‘s Cigar of the Year for 2016, is also a unique figurado that brand owner Litto Gomez based off of an old cigar mold he found in Belgium.

The Special Football Edition for 2017 also isn’t the only La Flor Dominicana cigar that uses wrapper leaf as a canvas for eccentric designs. The Salomon Único cigars, a one-of-a-kind assortment of artfully constructed vitolas, was released to retailers last summer.

*Credit: Cigar Aficionado.

#1Of 2016 – La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull

Here is an unusual, perhaps unfamiliar cigar that gleams with distinction but doesn’t have much market history, as it only came out last summer. The wrapper is a striking hue somewhere between red and brown and the beautiful shape is all curves and tapers. Salomones, as they’re known in cigar factories, are far from an easy cigar to craft. Look closely at the band, which is a shade of emerald green, and you see the letters “LFD”: La Flor Dominicana. The cigar is called the Andalusian Bull, and nothing about it is typical.

But nothing about its creator, Litto Gomez is typical either. With Gomez, you’ll find few of the tropes and stories typically associated with men in the tobacco business. No family history in tobacco. No Cuban lineage. No passed-down tobacco traditions. Born in Spain, but raised in Uruguay, Gomez came into the cigar industry in 1994 after a stint in the jewelry business went sour. His initial cigars were mild, but Gomez started getting the attention of premium smokers when he began producing stronger blends rolled in unusual shapes. Some will remember the El Jocko Perfecto No. 1 and all should know the wedge-shaped Chisel. Such odd shapes have become mainstays in the cigar world. Among serious smokers, the Chisel is now synonymous with La Flor Dominicana—which brings us to the Bull.

The La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull is a truly new concept within La Flor’s portfolio of fine cigars. The size is based on that of an old cigar mold that Gomez found in Belgium. Naming it after Andalusia was a nod to Spain, the country where Gomez was born. And the silhouette of a matador on the band represents the celebrated history of the sport of bullfighting in Andalusia. That eye-catching shade of green is similar to that found on the Andalusian flag. But there’s more to decode. The font on the band is based on Pablo Picasso’s handwriting—he loved to paint bulls—and the scrollwork reflects patterns found on a bullfighter’s uniform.

Fittingly, with this combination of heavy-handed and subtle symbolism comes a blend that is both bold and refined (like a bull and a matador). Gomez and his son Tony collaborated on the cigar and spent a fair amount of time fine-tuning the blend. The result was a cigar as intriguing in flavor as it is in appearance. It’s a combination of Corojo-seed Ecuador Habano wrapper on a blend that consists primarily of Dominican Criollo ’98 tobacco, a hybrid and a bit of Pelo d’Oro too. First impressions are bold and savory with strong notes of hickory and leather. But it continues to take on a complex spiciness of saffron and cumin as well as a slight tangy note that brings the strength and spice together quite gracefully—and it only gets better with every puff.

Gomez owns the brand and company with his wife, Ines Lorenzo-Gomez. This marks the first time that La Flor Dominicana has been awarded No. 1 Cigar of the Year.

*Credit: Cigar Aficionado

A.J. Fernandez Crafts A Montecristo

Smokers will soon be able to smoke a Montecristo cigar as imagined and interpreted by cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez. In a collaboration with cigar distributor Santa Clara Inc., Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez is the newest version of the heritage Montecristo brand.

Altadis U.S.A. owns the U.S. trademark for Montecristo. Both Santa Clara and Altadis U.S.A. are run by Tabacalera U.S.A., which is an arm of Imperial Brands PLC.

Made in Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Fernandez worked with Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros to develop this new Montecristo, which consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.

Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Figurado, at 4 by 52; Gordo at 6 by 58; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 50.

This would be the second time that Altadis has collaborated with a third-party producer to make a . In 2014, Nestor Plasencia worked with Altadis to create the Espada by Montecristo line. Other recent collaborative releases include the Henry Clay Tattoo (with Tatuaje Cigars) and the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room (with Boutique Blends).

This would also be the second time that A.J. Fernandez has the opportunity to interpret a heritage brand. The Hoyo La Amistad is his version of the storied Hoyo de Monterrey brand, which is owned by General Cigar for sale in the U.S.

The cigars should be widely available later this month.

*Credit: Cigar Aficionado

California Passes Higher Cigar Tax

The good news is, voters in three states—Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota—yesterday defeated ballot measures that sought to raise the tax on cigars in their respective states. The bad news is that California voters didn’t.

More than 62 percent of California voters opted to pass Proposition 56, which will raise the tax on cigars in the state by a whopping 153 percent. Currently, the tax on cigars is 27.3 percent of the wholesale cost, but this vote will lead to a new tax that’s expected to be 69.2 percent of the wholesale cost. The state, one of the world’s largest markets for cigars, is unusual because it bases its cigar tax on the rate of taxation on cigarettes. The new tax will likely take effect on July 1 of next year.

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This means that the state tobacco tax for a $10 cigar will jump from $2.73 to $6.92.

Fortunately, cigar smokers in Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota won’t have to worry about increased taxes, as voters in all three states defeated measures that would have raised the tax on cigars sold in those states.

In Colorado, Amendment 72, which sought to raise the cigar tax to 62 percent, was defeated. Approximately 53.6 percent of voters opposed the bill, with 46.4 percent supporting it.

North Dakota’s Initiated Statutory Measure 4, which sought to double the cigar tax, was soundly defeated by 61.52 percent of voters.

Eligible voters in Missouri voted no on two tobacco-related measures, Amendment 3 and Proposition A. While both measures looked to raise cigarette taxes, Proposition A included language that called for an additional 5 percent sales tax to OTP products, which include cigars. However, 55.26 percent of eligible voters said no to the measure.

*Credit: Cigar Aficionado