Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cigar Review: Graycliff Emerald

The Incredible Hulk. Big, green, and full of flavor!? 

I have never had a Candela wrapped cigar. It was a very strange taste but really cool nonetheless. This cigar is filled with Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Grecian tobaccos. Finish that off with the Candela wrapper and this is one mighty cigar. 

As soon as you lite up this cigar you know immediately that there is something just a little bit different about it. It is rich and creamy, but there's something else in there. That strange taste on the finish is what I can only describe as botanical. I personally wasn't a fan but I can see how some people could really enjoy that flavor. This Hulk was just a little too beastlike for me.

I would give this one a try but be prepared. It is a little funky! I give this Graycliff a 5 of 10. Not because its bad, I just didn't care for its particular taste. Getting Hulked wasn't that great, eh. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cigar Review: Victor Sinclair Primeros

Ever have one of those weeks where nothing goes right? Yup. We all have, and sometimes you just need a friend to lean on to make it better. My friend this week was (you guessed it)... was an awesome cigar! The Victor Sinclair Primeros.

This little fella' is a great listener and will surely make your crappy week seem like a thing of the past!

The Victor Primeros is an easy smoking cigar with the taste and construction of much pricier cigars. You can pick up a box of these for around $50 or a single for just 3 bucks from StogieBoys!

I haven't had many Victor Sinclair's, as a matter of fact, I believe this is my first review. I hope you are excited as I am! Probably not, but lets get smoking.

The cigar is wrapped in a gorgeous Connecticut leaf. It is smooth and ready to make any day better! Bined with Sumatra leaves and filled with Ligero, Olor, and Dominican tobaccos. The spec sheet on this cigar is impressive, it has a very good mix of tobaccos so the flavors should be awesome.

Cutting and lighting are a breeze and the first few puffs are excellent. Smooth, sweet and a perfect draw. The cigar stays a nice temperature and really makes smoking enjoyable. It doesn't pack a wallop of flavor, but it has enough undertones to keep me happy. I was literally melting my stress away. This cigar makes a great weekender. As you smoke it, expect the flavor and intensity to pick up but it is still lite. I enjoyed it to the very nub.

I really can't complain here. It was a great mellow smoke and it made me feel one hundred times better after smoking it. It was exactly what I needed. It doesn't have a ton of flavor, but that is not what this cigar was designed for. It's a complex light bodied cigar. And Victor nailed it. I give this cigar a strong 8.5 of 10. Pick one up!

Questions for YOU: What are your favorite de-stress cigars?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Whiskey Review: OYO Bourbon Michelone Reserve

This spicy little concoction from Middle West Spirits will keep you coming back!

For those of you who are not familiar with OYO, shame. Shame I say. It's a craft distillery right in the heart of Columbus, Ohio and definitely worth a try. They have mainly vodkas and whiskies. Delightful wheat whiskies I might add...

This is actually a blend of their 100% Ohio red wheat whiskey and a popular Kentucky bourbon. I am not sure what bourbon they are using but whatever it is, it's a good one. The result is a balanced, complex bourbon with a little bit of kick. To be honest I actually enjoy the regular OYO whiskey more, but this is still a delightful drink.

Color: Dark Russet
Nose: Baking spices, fruit, caramel
Taste: sweet brown sugar, a little rye, and citrus
Body: Medium to full
Finish: short and bitty 

Don't get me wrong, this is a really cool whiskey from OYO and it's a nice one to keep in the collection. Especially if you are from Ohio! I don't think it's their best whiskey but it beats some of the more popular brands at this price point. The other upside is supporting a local distillery, something I hold dear.

Go ahead pick up a bottle. Don't expect to have your mind blown, but do enjoy it. It's a damn good whiskey! Thanks OYO for keeping Ohio on the map. Overall I give this bourbon a respectable 7 out of 10.

Questions for YOU: Anybody else an OYO fan out there? Share your thoughts!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cigar Review: Perdomo Reserve Champagne

Champagne, the drink of celebration so when you slap "champagne" on something, you are making a statement. A delicious, balanced statement! 

This Perdomo has quite a few things working for it. First off, its Connecticut wrapper is triple fermented. Second, it's filled with fine Cuban-seed Nicaraguan tobaccos.  Third, construction and presentation are flawless. Nailed it Perdomo, nailed it. Now lets celebrate!

The smoke itself is very much like champagne.  Smooth, refined, and complex. It is a mild to medium smoke with an absence of any spicy flavors. Do not mistake it for boring though. It has a rich coffee taste with a little creamy sweetness. Very impressive.

This cigar is a great stick and once again, check out the deals. There are some pretty good ones at Stogieboys.com. You can score this cigar for as little as 7 bucks! Not bad for a flavorful easy smoker. I give this lite cigar a strong 8 of 10. 

Questions for YOU: What is your favorite Perdomo? And have you ever had champagne with a cigar?!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cigar Review: CAO Concert

Music to my... mouth?!  This melodious cigar is sure to please a crowd. For about $6 at Stogie Boys you can own this classic, and (spoiler alert) it's worth every penny.

I won't go into CAO's story but here are a few fun facts:

1. The CAO Concert cigar was inspired by the brand's Nashville roots.
2. Rick Rodriguez crafted this beautiful piece.
3. It is made using a combo of 4 Nicaraguan & Honduran fillers with a Connecticut binder, then rolled in a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
4. It is best smoked while listening to big band jazz, like the old school stuff (true story).

Upon lighting, you get hit with a peppery smell and a thin smoke. It has a tight draw, and takes a little to get going. Once in full puff mode, ya puff mode, it picks up fast with rich and strong flavors. Not for the faint of heart. The peppery start will bite, but it mellows to a woodsy taste and a tad of sweetness. I say tad cause it is mainly earthy spice so don't kid yourself!

It burned great and was a long smoke due to the tight draw. Hunker down with a good book cause it will be a while. As it burned, the spice mellowed and the sweetness kicked up. Still earthy though. It leaves a nice rich taste in your mouth, but a generally dirty feeling. It's all that flavor just hanging out for later.

I was very impressed! I am not a bold cigar guy but this stick was palatable and super complex. Standing ovation for this maestro. Solid 8 outa 10. Pick one up, enjoy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Whiskey Review: Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

A baller whisky from the West Coast. I first heard about Stranahan’s from a friend. He was raving about some new whisky from Colorado. I said, “Whisky from Colorado? That's about as crazy as whisky from Columbus!”. I am eating those words…

This is one of my favorites from west of the Mississippi. It has cool presentation, an interesting brand, and a rich taste. The first thing you notice is the tall bottle with the little metal shot glass. Now I never abuse my poor whiskeys by “shooting” them, but the glass is kind of cool. Upon further investigation you will notice handwritten notes on the bottle. They include the batch number, fillers name, and notes. I love this part and think it is awesome! My bottle says “Listening to Cake” and it was filled by Rowland. How personal is that?! Now it isn't a mind blowing idea, but it's different and I love the personal touch. It makes me imagine some kid my age, just jamming out to some Cake and working a long day. Pretty neat. Their brand story is cool too, you can read more here .

Now to the taste!

Color: Russet, brownish gold
Nose: musty, sweet like oranges
Taste: rich brown sugar, citrus
Body: medium, maybe a little syrupy
Finish: short and sweet, a little smokey

This is a great whiskey and should make bourbons think twice about the Westsiders. It's strong and spicy, but still smooth enough to make it very easy to drink. My only complaint: it’s a little pricey for the above-average taste. I still recommend everyone with a whiskey cabinet pick up a bottle, and support our whiskey loving friends in Colorado! I give this whiskey a respectable 8 of 10.

Questions for YOU: Ever have a Colorado whiskey? Any good? What brand? 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cigar Review: C+C Maduro

It's Monday, the weekend is over. Your're back at work. This sucks. You get slammed all day at work (hopefully not literally) and all you want to do is come home, and relax. You want a nice, easy going stick that doesn't remind you that you just dropped some serious $$$'s on a cigar. Try the C+C Maduro. Cheap, smooth, and awesome with whisky!

You can find this little fella for about $5 a stick at Stogie Boys. Not bad. I don't really know much about C+C, but it is a decent smoke for that price. I prefer the Maduro, but the Corojo was rated well too.

The wrapper quality was ok. Nothing fancy, some veins and blemishes. You get what you pay for. The actual cigar was good though. It burned great and had a nice easy draw. I got the robusto so it was just the right length for a Monday night. It's nutty earth tones were clear from the start. The easy-going cigar finished off with a little spice, like nutmeg. Not what I expected for a maduro.

Want to turn it up a notch? Pair it with a great Whisky. There are a few trains of thought here:

1. Pair a cigar with another smokey taste.
2. Pair a cigar with a taste that compliments it.
3. Pair a cigar with a taste that contrasts it.

I prefer number two. I picked Highland Park 12 year for this. It is sweet, but not too sweet like Dalwhinnie. The HP finishes with a great smoky taste, so it is definitely a compliment. If you wanna be a manly man, try a Cohiba with Laphroaig. It's like sucking down a burning peat bog.

The cigar itself was ok, but the experience was perfect. All you have to do with a basic cigar is pair them right and they will tastes like something 3x thier worth. And that's how you cure a case of the Mondays.

Overall, this cigar gets an average 7 of 10 but makes a great booze buddy.

Questions for YOU: What is your favorite cigar/booze combo!?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Whiskey Review: Woodford Reserve

What Bourbon aighta' be (That was my Kentucky accent). I can’t say enough good things about Woodford Reserve. It is smooth, tasty, and affordable. Makes the Scotches seem a little bloated when you can get such great flavor at $30.

Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey and hovers around 43-45% alcohol. The distillery is located in cozy Versailles, Kentucky and has seen its share of owners. It was established by Elijah Pepper but was sold to Labrot & Graham (hence the name on the bottle). Then a few flip-flops later, and it is now currently owned by the Brown-Forman Corp. Moving on...

This yummy whiskey is crafted in small batches under a watchful eye. I know the term "small batch" is thrown around a lot, but whether Woodford does it truly is of little concern. It is delicious whatever they are doing, so they should keep it up!

Color: golden bronze
Nose: honey and vanilla
Palate: light citrus with lots o’ warm honey!
Body: medium, syrupy with a little tingle from the high alcohol %
Finish: smooth vanilla, with a little smokiness

Ok folks, listen up. If you want to have “premium” Bourbon in your bar, look no further. From all the San Francisco Spirit awards (Woodford won more medals to list) to Wine Enthusiast ratings, this bourbon doesn't mess around. It is devilishly smooth with excellent sweet flavors. Woodford is simple in their approach to creating fine Bourbon, and it pays off in their excellent product. Grab a bottle and enjoy! I give my favorite bourbon a 9.5 of 10. Could be a little more complex, that's all.  

Questions for YOU: Have you tried the Double Oak variety? Any good?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cigar Review: La Gloria Cubana Natural

I want to talk about my sweet sweet mistress. She was seductive, refined, a little on the naughty side, and burned evenly... Yes I am talking about a cigar, or that last one would have been a little creepy. The La Gloria Cubana

This little gem came to me in a Stogie Boys sampler pack and was by far the pick of the liter. The pack is only $25 bucks and you can probably find one of these as a deal. A cheap affair.

She was draped in an Ecuadorian sumatra and blended with both Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos, this cigar is full of flavor just like the history of the brand. I'm going to cut to the chase on this one, but basically the guy fled Cuba with a great cigar recipe and remade them in Miami. Pretty cool though.

This cigar packs quite a bit of wallop but in a smooth, sexy way. The perfect mistress! It has a nice wrapper and burns perfectly. The draw was easy just like ... ya, not going there.

You won't find subtle flavors here, big bold nutty tastes with a kick of earthy leather. There is a little sweetness in there to mellow it out a tad, like the sweetness of dark chocolate; savory and pungent. It has a rich finish with a touch of spice. Perfect, and just plain delicious.

I would pair this with a sweet whiskey for the ultimate affair.

A half hour later my rendezvous with Gloria was over. Such a shame. She was an amazing full bodied cigar. I didn't want to part with her but I had too. I give this glorious Gloria a superb 9 of 10. This is a must try for anyone with a bold taste.

Questions for YOU: What is up with the creepy lady on the label?!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cigar Review: Alec Bradley Harvest Selection

For anyone that hasn't been paying attention to the cigar industry, Alec Bradley is on fire! Many of their sticks have been given a 90+ rating from Cigar Aficionado and it seems like their quality is unmatched. So I picked up a nice little sampler to see what all the fuss was about. Fuss discovered.

I picked up a Harvest Selection, not one of the more premium Alec's but it will do for my first of the sampler (more reviews and sticks to come). Wrapped up in an oily Habano wrapper, this thing looked to please. It cut great and had a super smooth draw. It was very easy to smoke and over-smoke even. I puffed a wee too hard and had to take a little break. Nothing a little whisky wouldn't fix!

Anyway, this guy is stuffed with 3 fillers; Mexican, Nicaraguain, and Dominican. You will notice these fillers when you get hit with all the complex flavors and spice. The Nicarguain and Dominican cuts give it a nice smooth leathery taste, while the strong and spicy Mexican ligero give it the spicy coffee like kick. I found this to be a bit strong for what most people consider a medium bodied cigar. Great flavors but it did have a kick, although that may be due to me over-smoking it. You know, when you get that light headed feeling? As I mentioned whisky seems to do the trick. Not sure if there is any science in that or just the happy numbing of whisky.

I really enjoyed this smoke, it burned evenly, tasted great, and was a great deal. Those spicy, earthy flavors are not usually found on a stick this cheap. So far my first Alec Bradley of the sampler was good. Now onto the more premium lines, hoorah! Overall, I give this Alec a respectable 8 of 10. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Whiskey Review: OYO Whiskey

Have you ever had something so good, you didn't even want it anymore? Like you don't deserve the awesomeness? I am not worthy of this whiskey. Seriously. It's that good.

First a little back story. We travel to the magical land of Columbus, Ohio. Okay so nothing magical but still a really cool place to visit if you're in the area. Middle West Spirits is a new addition to the city and a very popular one at that. They are part of the boutique distillery movement that you're seeing all over the country. Middle West offers vodkas sold under the OYO name but they also dabbled in whisky, as seen here.And to be frank I think it's the shit.

This whiskey is made with 100% red Ohio wheat and then carefully aged to perfection in oak. It's only aged about a year but that's all it takes for something this amazing. Now for the tasting notes:

Color: deep gold
Nose: syrup, and dark cherries
Palate: heaven, but for real- brown sugar, fruit, cinnamon
Body: full and syrupy
Finish: long and spicy, more of that cinnamon

I really can't speak highly enough of this whiskey. It is truly one of my favorites. I also think that half the fun was trying to find a bottle. I am a Cleveland native and it's really hard to find a bottle all the way up here. I had to have friends go down to Columbus and get it for me. Best gift ever. In conclusion, I give this Ohio born whiskey a strong 9.5 out of 10.

Questions for YOU: What is your favorite local distillery?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cigar Review: Thurman Thomas Hall of Fame Maduro

What would you do if you were an NFL Hall of Famer? Start up a cigar line of course!

That is exactly what Thurman Thomas did with this Stogie Boys exclusive. After a career of beating up your body, sitting down and smoking a nice cigar seems like just the ticket. With this modestly priced cigar you can do that on more than one occasion too.

These Hall of Fame sticks run for $4 . They are a staple of the retailer and not a bad go-to cigar. The construction is decent on this slightly oily maduro. Nice draw and lite evenly despite not being in my humidor for long. Upon burning, you notice its mellow, wispy smoke. Not very strong but pleasant  The cigar was smooth and creamy, making it very easy to smoke. It had a mellow sweetness like the savory taste of a pecan. It was mild overall, with a nice clean finish. Not a lot of flavors in there, but there was a little spice at the end.

The cigar was a decent smoke and burned great the whole time. It didn't have as much flavor as one would hope, but still good. I would not quite call this a medium-bodied cigar, but also not a lightweight either. It is a tweener. If you are looking for a good anytime smoke, here is your man! Figuratively…well I guess literally too. Give the Thurman a try. This economical cigar gets a decent 7 of 10. Enjoy!

Questions for YOU: What will you be smoking during the Superbowl? A Thurman maybe!?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Fusion

A shmorgishborg of tobacco. When I saw a cigar called “Fusion” I knew this was going to be a whole bunch of leaves and different tobacco varieties. But would it be any good?

Rocky P is my cigar buddy and he would never steer me wrong, right? I mean when is the last time you have had a bad Rocky? Rare indeed.

Well good news, this cigar was is no dud. The Fusion uses a tasty Habano wrapper over a Connecticut wrapper and Ecuadorian binders. These are then blended with a mix of Nicaraguan, Honduran and Cameroon fillers.

So what does all that mean?! A sweet and well rounded taste. As soon as you light this cigar, a sweetness takes over. The woody and earthy tastes come in after and finish out. This medium bodied cigar has a long, smooth finish with a sort of tangy taste. It isn't mind blowing, but surprisingly complex and tasty.  

I was impressed with the Fusion and RP seems to have put out another great cigar. At $6 a stick, it is a great cigar. I would have rated it higher if it was a little stronger actually. The flavor was great, just not enough of it! I gave this a stick 7.5 out of 10. 

Questions for YOU: Have you had the Fusion? Or another stogie with many different leaf varieties, thoughts?