Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cigar Review: Brickhouse Maduro

Maduro, maduro why art thou so damn tasty!?

I have tried Brickhouse before and liked them for the most part but I saw this Maduro at my local shop and just had to try it.

The cigar is a fat, thick and oily stick. Doesn't that sound appealing? Yikes. Anyway this cigar lit easy and smelled nice and earthy, like a good Maduro should.

It was surprisingly tasty, smoother than I expected and had a very clean after taste. It had a little caramely sweet flavor in there too. The earthy tastes of a Maduro just weren't there, but still very tasty. This medium bodied cigar was balanced and very pleasurable. I literally smoked every bit of this guy. I did encounter a weird issue with the construction though. It actually cracked as the cigar burnt down. The extra heat found a weak spot in the wrapper. Not good but it didn't really affect the smoke.

I like the Brickhouse Maduro better than the other Brickhouse I tried. It was savory, sweet, and rich. If it wasn't for the splitting wrapper I would say this is one of the best cigars I have had in months. But...

I give this cigar a 7 of 10. Silly wrapper, splitting is for kids.

Questions for YOU: Have you ever had a cigar split its wrapper?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cigar Review: Gurkha Evil

Do you know what political ads and my next cigar review have in common?! They are both EVIL. Heyo! I'm full of jokes today.

The next cigar on my tasting list is the Gurkha Evil.I've had mixed results with Gurkha's but I am always up for a new smoke. This Brazilian wrapped gem is filled with spicy Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and on paper looks to please. Albeit in a dark, mysterious way.....

The Gurkha Evil is a strong blend and you should be aware of this before lighting up. It has a little kick, nothing crazy but this is a full bodied cigar. Like most full bodied cigars, it has many strong and complex flavors. I enjoyed the earthy tastes and it had a little peppery finish as well. It's like a kick in the mouth, a surprisingly smooth kick in the mouth. I am not a huge fan of full bodied cigars, but this was balanced and smooth enough. I did have some burn problems as shown above. A little uneven, and I had to tend to it several times.

If I were to get more Evils, I would opt for the smaller sizes as to not overwhelm. You can get these in a robusto so I would start there. For those looking for a full, complex smoke here it is. The Evil also comes with a very reasonable price tag. Go on, give this feisty little guy a try! I give this Gurkha a 7 of 10.

Questions for YOU: How do you ensure a consistent burn? Any tips and tricks to share?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cigar Review: Acid Toast

Just too good not to try! I have and always will enjoy a nice Acid Cigar . You have to respect them for their unique and interesting characteristics. It is so different from anything else out there, and that can cause some people to either love them, or hate them. Either way, the Acid cigar has transformed the industry and brought in MANY new smokers. Smokers who soon yearn to try other brands and broaden their cigar experience. For everyone that thinks they are cigar abominations, think twice. It is simply change, and a change that is making the cigar world larger for all. Accept it or not.

I had the Acid Toast, part of Drew Estates Subculture line. It was great! Probably one of my favorite Acid cigars, other than the 5’s and the Opulence. It had a fine presentation with a nice wrapper and that distinctive Acid smell. It had a nice easy draw and lit just fine. The sugared wrapper was obvious but it was the taste that was excellent. It tasted just like a spicy cinnamon, hot chocolate. It had the bitter sweet nuances of a chocolate and the spicy herbal taste like cinnamon or nutmeg. The cigar picked up a toasty taste in the middle, but finished how it started. The different tastes and smells really made this cigar one of the best Acids. My only complaint is that it is very straight forward with its tastes; it is a lot of flavor at once. The smoke itself is also worthy of noting. It has a pleasant smoke that people around me enjoyed for its sweet nuances.

I loved it and can’t wait to score some more. Some of the subcultures are harder to find but some online retailers carry older blends. Good job Drew and overall I give this cigar a sweet 8.5 of 10.

Question for YOU: What is your favorite Acid cigar?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cigar Review: Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro

Can't live like the top 5 percent? You can smoke like them though! 

You don't have to pay a fortune for an excellent cigar. In fact, cigar deals just seem like they are getting better and better. Brand name cigars are out there waiting for you. You just need to find the right retailer.

My advice is to check out a site's quick hitting specials. The daily and weekly deals are the best value. has the great quality smokes you want, at prices you can brag about. Check back on their Daily Deals  to see what I mean. 

Anyway back to the cigar at hand, the Perdomo Lot 23. I sampled the maduro cigar from this long standing company. Originally founded in Cuba, they have not forgotten their roots and this cigar is proof.

The leathery maduro wrapper was in great shape and the construction was generally blemish free. Cutting and lighting went off without a hitch, and you immediately got that rich, chewy smoke. I love a maduro that isn't too earthy and has a little sweetness on the finish. That is the kind of maduro that makes me one happy camper. Now I can't say this cigar has exactly that, but it's close.  The cigar starts with a rich deep flavor, then turns a little sharp like cedar. It then eases into a sweet brown sugary finish. It was a clean taste though. I will say the first third was a tad sour till it warmed up in the second third. A little heat really brought out the rich flavor Perdomo's are known for. This cigar uses Cuban seed Corojo & Criollo fillers/binders grown in Nicaragua, and I think that is why you get that nice blend of flavors.

Man, it is cigars like these that make you feel like a king. When you realize you only spent 5 bucks, it only makes it better! Perdomo made a good one here. Maybe I will review the Connecticut shade later too. This cigar earned a respectable 7.5 outta 10. That sour start is my only complaint.

Perdomo Lot 23- Smoke like a rich guy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cigar Review: Padron Handmade

Padron, just plain tasty. If you want a cigar to rely on, try this fella...

A friend of mine is a Padron guy and kept pushing me to try one. I gotta say I should have done this earlier. I am not to sure about the history and where this cigar hails from, but a quick Google search will point you in that direction.

The cigar itself looked great with its oily maduro wrapper and the construction was better than average. The burn was a little uneven, but it was that day. So my inconsistencies were probably due to being outside. It was a smaller sized smoke, but packed full of flavor! Medium bodied, and surprisingly complex. It was a little nutty, with a slightly sweet espresso finish. The more you smoke this cigar, the more of that espresso comes out too. Tasty! I wish I got a bigger size!

I was very surprised and really enjoyed it. I heard good things about Padron, but this was a real treat. I would definitely pick up a few more of these. I would even say that my humidor should always have at least a few sticks of these. The price makes it possible too. They go for $4 on , if you are lucky. Anywhere else, I would say about 7 bucks. Overall, I give this go-to cigar an 8.5 of 10.

Questions for YOU: Have you had any other Padrons? Are they any good?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Whisky Essentials: The Max Benjamin Whisky Bag

Looking for a great holiday gift for the whisky lover in your life?

This is the ultimate in whisky and cigar luxury. You can't just toss your precious whisky and Herf-a-Dor into some gym bag and head out to course. Go in style and treat your delicacies right with the Max Benjamin Mini Cigar Bar Bag

It has three compartments inside the bag, each one large enough to hold a bottle. Included with the bag is a cedar lined leather cylindrical humidor, 4 stackable acrylic glasses, an ice container, and a  lighter. This is the ultimate addition to your whisky collection. I will be putting this bad boy at the top of my list for Christmas!

I might leave Santa some cigars and a glass of Scotch this year…

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cigar Rights- Support Them!

You should have the choice to do what you love. If smoking cigars is what you love, support that right!

This guy is sweet!

A small and loud group of people are infringing on our rights to enjoy. Restrictive legislative measures are hurting the industry and this will affect us, the smokers, in short time.

Yes smoking isn’t the healthiest activity but neither is eating cake. Hang with me here. Cake is a great way to eat a ton of fatty calories. Cake is full of saturated fats, cholesterol, sugars, chemicals, and all sorts of nasty (but tasty) things. This can lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes …etc. Yet there is no regulation on cake. Why my analogy? Because we as consumers and citizens, should have the right to determine what we consume.

Political parties aside, the government telling us what to eat or smoke, is wrong. Good news though, there are interest groups out there to fight for your right to choose. I am a proud member of Cigar Rights of America and you should be too. Let professional lobbyists fight for your rights, but nothing is free. There is a small yearly due of $35 bucks that goes to political actions on your behalf. It is worth every penny if you ask me. Vote with your dollars as small issues like this can often be overlooked, but can have big consequences.

Like all indulgences, it is about moderation. A cigar here and there (which is what most cigar smokers do) isn’t any unhealthier than cake every now and again. Either way, we should be able to choose what we want and should be able to protect the industry that makes us our fine cigars. Cigar Rights of America , join now and get a few freebies too!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Whiskey Review: Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon

Seriously, what a sweet bottle
Blue grass goodness! I was enjoying a family get together when my uncle brought out this little gem. I jumped at the opportunity to try a new whiskey and was decently impressed by this Kentucky native. Don't get me wrong, nothing extraordinary, but still worth trying! It was Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon. He was testing it out and I was excited to try a new bourbon!

First off, a little about the whiskey itself...

Type: Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Type: Sour
Barrel Type: White Oak
Bottle Proof: 46.5% Alcohol by Volume - 93 proof

Color: Reddish Amber, deep russet
Nose: Dried citrus and orange with a hint of caramel and vanilla.
Palate: Full and smooth, caramel, orange, and spice- cloves/nutmeg maybe?
Finish: Short and sweet with vanilla and citrus.

My first glass was neat, like I try to do with every whiskey I taste. Then the next glass was with an ice cube. I recommend that everyone try both ways, for it can really change how the whiskey tastes. You might find it is great neat or even better on the rocks. Variety is the spice of life righ!? For this whiskey I loved it neat and was not impressed with the ice. The ice diluted this whiskey to a point not worth trying.

Anyway, the first taste was a smoothier and sweeter Maker's Mark. It was more vanilla and spice than most bourbons. Its complexity was actually quite unexpected and tasty. I might pick up a bottle pretty soon here. This didn’t blow me away, but I think it would look good in my collection, plus that bottle is awesome! Overall, I give this bourbon a strong 7.5 of 10.

Questions for YOU:  Have you tried Blanton's yet? I hear it has quite the following and want your opinion on this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Twist on a Classic Drink: The Old Fashioned

What can I say? I guess I am Old Fashioned. Man that was cheezy. 
Anyway, I found this "new" recipe for a great classic drink. Check out the video by below. I decided to give this one a try even though it was 10:30 in the morning. Weekends dont count right?! 

The brown sugar really made this cocktail pop. I have always used simple syrup but this was something else. Sweeter, but in a smokier way. I think I might have to reconsider my usual recipe for Old Fashioned's...



·       1 Brown sugar cube
·       .5 tsp White sugar
·       3 dashes Angostura Bitters
·       1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
·       .25 oz Cold water
·       2 oz George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky or other American whiskey        (I used Woodford Reserve and it blew my f-ing mind)

In a rocks glass, muddle both sugars, both bitters and the water. Add the whiskey and a large ice cube. Twist slices of lemon and orange peel over the drink and drop them in.
Garnish: Lemon and orange twists
Glass: Rocks

Contributed by Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas of

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Sungrown

Everything is better in the sun. Cold beer, volleyball, bikinis! So there is no reason why this Rocky Patel Sun Grown wouldn't be delicious.

Now the name "sun grown" can be a little misleading. All tobacco needs sun and is therefore grown in the sun (kind of).You can also grow tobacco in the shade. It still gets sun but not direct light. The difference is that shade grown is generally smoother and a little more bitter. The sun grown leaves develop a little rougher skin and have more veins. This direct sunlight also makes them sweeter though. Got it? But enough cigar babble. What about the cigar?

The cigar itself is made from a 5 year old Ecuadorian wrapper with Dominican binders and Dominican/Nicaraguan fillers. All masterfully blended by the fellas at RP.

Now to the smoking! The wrapper was ok, little veiny but that is ok (see above). The cut, light, and first puff all went off with out a hitch. That first puff was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Really bold tastes here. A little spiciness out of the gate, then mellows out real earthy like, then fades with a rich, sweet molasses kick. Wow! That was one hell of a first puff. Are you drooling yet? You should be. The thick sweet smoke swirled around me and I tell you, that was close to paradise (unfortunately I was sitting on a porch and not a sunny beach). Maybe next time...

Sun-grown, night-smoked
The important thing to remember here; this cigar rocks! From the first puff to the slightly spicier last, you will be longing for more.  Perfectly blended, great flavors, and a perfect finish. Man, how can you get any better? Well other than a little nicer wrapper and maybe a little more punch, you can't. I give this Rocky middleweight a strong 8 out of 10. On a beach with sun and cold beer, 10 out of 10. Done deal Rocky, done deal

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Xikar. A Company To Trust

Ever have a bad customer service experience? Of Course. Who hasn't? Ever have one go so well you write a blog post about it? Irony....

Well I have had two Xikar lighters in my time: an Executive and the other an Element .  Both lighters have been great. They are tough and have a consistent flame with easy ignition. Over time they need a clean or two but some easy dissemble can take care of that. My Executive even feel in the toilet! After a little dunk in a bowl of rice overnight, good as new! The rice sucks the moisture right out, works with cell phones too. And don't tell me you haven't smoked a cigar in the bathroom...

Anyway, the Element was having some ignition problems. It had to be turned up to keep a steady flame while months before was working just fine on a lower setting. I was annoyed enough to call Xikar. They told me to send it in as they have a lifetime warranty on their products. Heard that one before too. Within a week or two, a brand new Element was sent to my door. No questions asked, no accusing, no hassle. How awesome is that!? With a great experience like that, how can I not get another Xikar. They said they were going to honor their warranty and they did. That is good business and getting all too rare these days...

Just thought I would share.     

Monday, September 10, 2012

Scotch Review: The Glenlivet 12

If this is your first Scotch. I feel bad for you...

When you go to a bar, the Scotch they always have (if they have a single malt) is Glenlivet 12. So what is so special about Glenlivet? Its mild and relatively cheap for a single malt, that's why I believe it is popular. The taste and basically the whole drink just isn't that good. It is OK, but forgettable when compared to some very similar drinks like Glenmorangie and THE Macallan.

Color: a very pleasant amber, still very light but a shade darker than some of the lighter Scotch's I have reviewed so far.
Nose: a surprisingly strong smell for a milder scotch, I get that sort of iodine smell with a light caramel wiff
Taste: a very sweet start with that vanilla berry taste but it comes and goes VERY quickly
Balance: A very light not particularly noteworthy dram with a light taste. It doesn't have that smokey taste that makes a scotch a scotch. It is sweet and not very complex but the finish doesn't last, otherwise it would be pretty good.

The cool thing Glenlivet has done is with their marketing. They have positioned themselves into every bar as "the go-to single malt". Their website is great for a very traditional business and they constantly keep followers up to date with newsletters and tastings. They have a cool "print your own label" for gifts. You get to personalize the label and they will mail it to you for free! You then just peel off the sticker and slap it on your bottle, how cool is that? I made custom labels for Fathers Day and my pops loved it. It's the little things that get you ahead.

I give this OK Scotch a 5 of 10, nothing special here. Move on...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whisky Review: Cardhu 12 Year

Oops! This malt and particularly their distillery made a mistake. The mistake was not remaking this dram sooner! Remaking you ask? Cardhu actually had a single malt but through some acquisitions and buyouts their single malt was turned into a blend and mass produced. Well in 2006 Cardhu relaunched their single malt in this 12 year old whisky. Good thing too!

Color: Pale Straw to pale gold
Nose: pear and syrup
Body: thin and mouth warming
Palate: brown sugar and honey, predominately 
Finish: quick and spicy, like cinnamon

Delish! This whisky is a short little kick in the mouth (like a midget kick). It is a little watery and not very complex but the flavor is good and very enjoyable. The sugary pear is a great smell and the sweet taste really makes for a nice drink. Unfortunately that is about it. It fades with a spicy cinnamon which is nice and pleasant but very quick. As soon as your mouth is starting to enjoy its vacation, it fades. Bummer. It is really good though while it lasts. This dram is a good Speyside and a smooth whisky for someone new to Scotch. I really liked it, but it didn't blow my mind. I will probably keep one of these in the collection though. The price was pretty good too, around $40. Cant complain there. I am very glad that Cardhu came back to their senses and started producing a single malt again! Nobody wants to be a blend.... It just isn't cool. So, I give this whisky a respectable 7 of  10. 

Question for YOU: Have you had the Cardhu blend and how does it compare to the Single Malt?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Scotch Review: Glenkinchie 12

Lackluster at best. Not a good way to start off a review eh?

I saw this dram at the local store and I wanted to try something new. Usually I do my research and try to pick my next winner by going online and reading reviews. If only there was some blog out there that reviewed whisky.... Just kidding ;). Anyway here is the so-so Glenkinchie .

Color: light gold
Nose: salty, smoke and fruit
Palate: smoky with a little peat an some sweet honey
Body: watery, thin
Finish: feint and smoky, nothing that good here

This was just an ok whisky. It wasn't awesome and not terrible, but that's it. And at the 50 price range, you can do so much more. I would not recommend this boring whisky to many people. It is like a stale Highland Park. Overall, I give this whisky a disappointing 6 of 10. Sadness my friends, sadness...

Questions for YOU: What was your most disappointing whisky purchase?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cigar Review: CAO LX2

Double the ligero, double the awesome (at least in this case)!

This was one of my favorite CAO's if not one of my favorite cigars. I do have to warn you, his cigar isn't for the light of heart. The flavorful punch packed by its ligeros can be a little difficult to handle...  

"LX2" stands for ligero times two. This blend has twice the ligero and hence twice the full flavor. The blenders at CAO really did a nice job though. Its full, peppery taste is balanced well and tames down the cigar a bit. You will still get lots of spice but there is a smooth sweet in there too. The fillers come from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua; and they work well to calm this ligero beast. The long leaves are wrapped in a semi-oily, Nicaraguan ligero leaf to top it off. 

This is one of those cigars that you just have to keep in the humidor. It is great to have the full range to choose from; light to full cigars.  And when you are in the mood for a full cigar, look no further. This is your ligero lover. Full and spicy but just sweet enough to be impossible to put down. The complexity and the build of the cigar were also impeccable and there is really nothing to dislike. That is why I give this cigar a very well earned 8.5 of 10.

Questions for YOU: What is your favorite "strong" cigar?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Scotch Review: The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year

Pretty well behaved for a 10 year old.

If you have ever read my blog before, you know I am a fan of The Macallan. So I try to be fair and not give biased reviews of their drams. It is hard though when you start to like the brand itself... (a note to marketers out there)

I was looking for a different taste than my other Macallan's so I figured a nice traditional oak cask would do the trick. If I didn't mention this before, Macallan is a Speyside Distillery and they are known for their very small stills. Instead of going with bigger stills, they decided on making more small stills. They claim it keeps the flavour more consistent and they tout a very selective "cut". The 10 Year Fine Oak is triple matured in an American Oak, a sherry oak, and a Bourbon oak cask. This should create a very complex smokey, sweet, and honey like drink. So, here we go!

Color: It is a pale straw like yellow, very light and pilsner like
Nose: it has a floral, heather like nose with lots of honey and a spicy citrus, like a spiced apple cider, very small hint of smoke
Palate: a gingery fruit taste with the traditional honey of the oak casks, but there is the smokey Bourbon taste towards the end
Finish: the drink itself leaves a smokey citrus for a long smooth finish, was great with a sweet cigar

It was a sort of watery Scotch, but it made its presence known the second it hit your tongue. The tingle starts and then your mouth is filled with a great medley of smooth flavour. Nothing too crazy here, just well behaved and balanced. I really liked this whisky. I know it may be due to my bias, but I don't care. It is a little sweet, a little floral, a little honey like, a little smokey, and a lot Macallan! I give this a 7.5 of 10.

Questions for YOU: What is your favorite Mac?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Decade

Bringing out the Big Guns

It was a FREEZING night (hence my sweet gloves) but I had to have a cigar. I just reached into the humidor and pulled out a Rocky. I have never had a Rocky that I didn't like, and I knew this one wouldn't disappoint. Just looking at this cigar, you notice the label right away. A great label is an easy way to get the smoker ready to enjoy a cigar. The Rocky Patel Decade has a classic, heavy hitting label and that is exactly how I would describe the actual cigar...

Upon cutting it had an average draw and construction. I had a little problem with the head (coming unwrapped) but I was using a lousy cutter with gloves on. No points being deducted on that one.

It had a great earthy smell and the burn was about average, with a nice circle all the way around. It was a little stronger than I expected. Most of the Rocky's I have had, are more medium to mild. Even their "stronger" cigars haven't really hit me as that strong. This one actually did a little. Whether all Decades are like that I don't know, but this was a full bodied cigar. It had a very deep toasted taste like hazelnut or some other earthy nut.

It was an excellent smoke, just not what I was expecting. It had a very strong smell so make sure to smoke outside! I really liked it and thought it was a nice little change from what I had been smoking. All in all, very nicely done Mr. Patel! Nothing too complex so it is gonna lose a few points there but, I give this fella' a solid 7 of 10!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scotch Review: Cragganmore 12 Yr

I reached a major milestone in my life, and you know what that calls for.... a new whisky!

I decided to get one that has been on my list for quite some time. I always try to buy Scotches that are in the middle price range 40-60 dollars, and this one fit the ticket. I decided to buy the Cragganmore 12 yr. It is a Speyside single malt, and distinguished as a Classic Malt of Scotland. 

Color: a pale gold like, similar to honey
Nose: intense, sulphury with floral notes. Somewhere in there is a burnt sweetness
Palate: thin and watery, with a mouth watering effect. It is sweet and potent with an obvious floral taste, simple
Finish: warming but short, the taste lingers as a smoky sweet. Very good

I am fairly happy with my purchase of this malt. It is very aromatic and has a nice finish. Its actual taste is so-so, but the experience is enjoyable none the less. It is definitely worth having in your collection. The fact that it is part of the Classic Malts is kind of cool as well. Getting one of every  Classic Malt is a fun way to build a collection.   I give this Speyside a 7 of 10.

Questions for YOU: Have you tried any of the Classic Malts?