Sunday, June 24, 2012

On A Quest To Find The Perfect Maduro!

If you noticed on my earlier Padron Review Post I mentioned that I've been craving Maduros for a while and wanted to explore this territory further more. Maduros have distinct characteristics that tends to be sweet, spicy and earthy in nature that mellows with time and produce an outstanding aromas and full on flavors.

Quick brief for anyone who is not familiar with it - The term "Maduro" usually refers to two things when you talk about cigars. One is the process and the other is color. The Maduro process involves the lengthier ripening period of the tobacco leaf and high temperature fermentation of it to achieve the darker color. Why does it turn dark? ...let's go back to school for a minute, its the breaking down of sugars! Yes, Photosynthesis! You never thought you would hear that again... right??

Anyways, when discussing the Maduro colors, they range from the following:
  • Colorado Maduro - usually darker brown and are often from the Cameroon, Honduran or Nicaraguan grown wrapper from Cuban seed. 
  • Maduro - Very dark brown or black often grown in Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua and Brazil. 
  • Double Maduro (or Oscaro) - Very black, mainly grown in Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, and Connecticut.
Left to Right: 2 Colorado Claro, 2 Colorado Maduro, Maduro & Double Maduro (Oscaro)
Done with the brief and on with the Quest! I will be doing my research and try to get as many Maduro Cigars as possible from different regions to try out and share my experience about them. My aim is to benchmark and find the perfect Maduro!

Maduro reviews to come on Me & My Cigars soon are:

Arturo Fuente
Cohiba Maduro 5
La Flor
Rocky Patel

I would appreciate any suggestions, information, support and advice to kick-start my quest from fellow BOTL (Brother Of The Leaf). I am looking to build on this current list of brand names and go as far as the unknown in the Maduro market. If you would like to join me on this quest let me know.

This should be exciting! BTW I was enjoying the Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Hemingway Classic Maduro while blogging this post! review will be on soon!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Limited Edition COHIBA & MONTECRISTO Club & Mini Tin Cases

Following my last post (Limited Edition COHIBA Mini's Tin Case) a new Special Edition Tin can were made for both the COHIBA & MONTECRISTO Club & Mini size cigarillos.

The New COHIBA Tin cases are I believe the most elegantly made compared to the previous ones. It comes in similar to the Maduro boxes being all black and matte shine with the logo in gold. They came out with Tin Case of 10s as well as a Tin case of 20s.

The MONTECRISTO also released thier new Limited Edition Tin cases of 10s & 20s made with thier signature colors of mustard yellow and red.

Also available are the ROMEO Y JULIETA Tin cases and the PARTAGAS released a Special Edition Tin cases but I have yet to get a hold of some.

Good collectors items!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Light Up Your Cigars With Cedar Sticks!

We all know that lighting up a cigar improperly will effect its taste. That's why we tend to avoid any gasoline or oil base lighters and when using matches, we have to make sure the phosphorus (head) is completely burnt off before bringing it close to the cigar which tends to be a challenge if you are not using a long stick match! 

Of course there isn't any major problems using a flame torch lighter (which I tend to use regularly), but it tends to burn the cigar foot fairly quickly. To truly experience the first burn, you will need a soft consistent burning flame similar to the matchstick but without the igniting chemicals.

If you are like me, every cigar collector, enthusiast or aficionado will have a few saved empty cigar boxes that you didn't discard! Usually most Habanos and other quality cigars boxes come with a Cedar Sheet (some call it Veneer Sheet) to help the cigars condition during transportation. Spanish Cedar wood is usually used in Humidor linings for its quality to handle humidity and prevent molds along with its odor which can be perfect for aging cigars.

I take a few of these Cedar sheets and cut them with a the edge of a very sharp blade approx. 5mm width strip. Make sure the cut is along the grain so you can have a solid stick!

Now you have a perfect Cedar stick to light up your cigar with!

Use your torch to start the flame on the Cedar and enjoy the aroma that comes out of it while you light you cigar!

Next time you want to impress your friends when they come over for a smoke, go ahead and try it! Thank me later!


Summer Drink Recipes - Watermelon Cooler - A Good Afternoon Drink with a Cigar

Another Summer drink that will surely cool you off during the hot sunny days specially if you are smoking your cigar outdoor. Watermelons are summer fruits which has a very high water content level as well as good source of fiber. They are good thirst quenchers and there is nothing better than having a cold watermelon to eat on a hot sunny day! If you like watermelons, then you will love this drink!

Watermelon Cooler - Lets go through the Ingredients:

  • 800grams de-seeded Watermelon flesh
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar (optional if the watermelon wasn't sweet enough)
  • 12 Mint leaves (keep one stem for decoration)
  • 2 small limes freshly squeezed juice
  • 30ml Havana Club 3 anos (optional)
  • plenty of crushed Ice
  • Watermelon sliced triangle for decoration.

In a blender, toss in the watermelon, sugar & lime juice and blend until everything is liquidized. Then throw in the mint leaves and pulse the blender a 5 to 8 times until the leaves are shredded. We don't want the mint leaves to be chopped into tiny pieces.

In a cocktail shaker, put in half a cup of crushed ice and the optional Havana Club along with the juice from the blender. Close the shaker and dance like crazy with it for a few seconds. Pour everything in your long cocktail glass, you can add more crushed ice if you want, throw in the mint stem and wedge with Watermelon slice on the rim.

Now that one sexy cocktail!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Padron 1926 Series No. 35 Maduro

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Length: 10.2 cm
Ring Gauge: 48
Shape: Short Robusto - Box Pressed
Factory Name: 1926 Series No. 35

Had the pleasure of smoking the Padron 1926 Series No. 35 with my buddy Ali Al-lami last week @ The Big Smoke shop. Lately, I have developed some intense cravings for Habanos & non-Habanos Maduros and so I will start covering most of what I can get my hands on.

Brief background on the 1926 Series - It was to commemorate Jose O. Padron's 75th Birthday and honor his lifetime work in the tobacco industry. All the tobacco used in these series have been aged for 5 years, and each band has a unique serial number to it. Construction-wise of the 1926 Series No. 35 showcases a smooth tightly rolled and box pressed cigar with a Maduro dark oily wrapper and no visible veins.

First burn offers a surprisingly smooth draw even with how this cigar was constructed. Smoke leaves a spicy taste in the back of the throat but Sweet grassy notes are captured with the first few puffs. 

From the first and all the way to the third part of the cigar is a wonderful journey. The spicy taste in the back of your throat quickly fades out after a few draw, then the earthy notes and coffee bean taste is what lingers in the mouth. Intense sweet flavors keep popping up in the middle of the No. 35 while the Smoke continues to be abundant and creamy with a sweet dark chocolate aftertaste.

Very even burn and the white ash is just packed tight and does no fall off even when reaching half way on the cigar. This is a perfect indicator of a good cigar construction and the whiteness of the ash also shows that it is a good aged Maduro tobacco.

Nearing the end of the Padron 1926 Series No. 35, the complexity of the cigar continues to hold on with its rich smoke and rich earthy flavors, kind of gives you a feel you are in a tobacco field. If anything that stands out the most is the mellow coffee and sweet chocolate aftertaste that keeps you wanting more of it.

The Padrons are very interesting cigars and by no mean should be considered normal smokes. Full-bodied, Full-flavor and full of aromas just what you expect for a good Maduro.

My Nespresso paring for the Padron 1926 Series No. 35 has to be Dulsao do Brasil. With Intensity level 5, it is a lightly roasted pure Arabica coffee with sweet flavors and notes of toasted grains. Nothing to over power or alter the taste of the Padron, but to complement each other.