Dante Vita Nova

•March 22, 2015 • 3 Comments


size: 5×50 Canto III (robusto)

THE GET: This cigar was part of the annual DC Cigar Tweetup package. I have said it before, this is THE best sampler package money can buy. This year included 33 cigars; 23 singles and an additional 10-pack sampler provided by RomaCraft. To not miss out next year, follow it on twitter and instagram @dccigartweetup for instructions and availability to order. Just remember when the NCAA conference championships start, you need to order.

IMG_9456THE PACKAGING: Very simple. A red band with black borders and the brand name ‘Dante’ in gold is all the cigar band is. I am not a fan of this band at all, not because it is so simple but because it is so plain and nondescript. I would walk right past this cigar in a shop. The name and band do nothing to help this cigar.

THE CIGAR: This, the second release from the Dante brand is a Nicaraguan puro with a corojo wrapper. These are available in cabinet style boxes of 20 count and currently 4 different sizes: this Canto III 5×50 robusto, Canto IV 6 1/2×52 toro, Canto VI 5 1/2×46 corona gorda, and Canto VII 5 1/2×60 gordo. The cigar seemed light and loosely packed under the reddish hue of brown tobacco but the wrapper was clearly coating a nicely constructed cigar.

IMG_9464A small bit of information from the website gives the meaning behind the brand and names of cigar sizes; it reads, “A reimagination of its turn-of-the-century namesake,..” My novice literary knowledge along with some amateur research tells me this is referring to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri and his epic poem Divine Comedy in which Dante uses cantos as a form of separating this long three-part poem; the first part being Inferno.

THE SMOKE: There was practically no aroma from this cigar and cutting it and taking a pre-light draw did nothing to change that. Actually, taking the first puff after lighting did nothing to change it either. That would continue to be the theme throughout the duration and thus does not leave much to write about. Despite the drab flavor profile and the low smoke output this cigar had two things going for it: construction and strength. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the ash held–close to two IMG_9466inches on the first drop–and that it burned nearly razor straight. The strength was not phenomenal by any means but given how the smoke was going, it was well received. Smoke time was 50 minutes.

THE SKINNY: I don’t know what this cigar costs but I would not pay it. With all the cigars out there in the boutique premium market, Dante seems to be just another one amongst the crowd. I do, however, hope they continue to support the package I received this in and look forward to a new offering next year. Before I wrote this I smoked another Vita Nova in the Canto VI size which is a size I preferred out of the two but it proved flavorless as well.


Super Bowl XLIX Predictions and Breakdown

•January 30, 2015 • 2 Comments


spread:  patriots -1 (I have seen it as high as -2)  over/under 47.5

This has been the worst build-up to a super bowl that I can remember.  Deflate-gate, Marshawn Lynch’s hat-gate, did the patriots film the Rams walk-through 13 years ago-gate; I got your gate hanging.  Nobody should give three juicy farts about these things.  THIS IS THE SUPER BOWL.  What we should be talking about is one of the best defenses ever against the most dominant franchise over the last 15 years.  That said, I am not a fan of the Seahawks and I despise the patriots.  I have, however, correctly picked the last two super bowls; click on the game to see those predictions.

Seattle vs. Denver

Baltimore vs. San Francisco

So, once again I will give my amateur, layman, common fan’s opinion on how the game breaks down.


defensive line:  Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril on the ends with a couple dudes spinning the scale three times in the middle make a formidable front that gets after the quarterback.  new england lines up Chandler Jones and some old guys way past their prime.  I think they will play great but they are nowhere near the level of Seattle’s front four.  Advantage Seattle.

linebackers:  The best linebacker this Sunday is Bobby Wagner; the best linebacker on Sunday two years from now is Jamie Collins.  The difference between the two teams comes in the other backers.  Seattle has KJ Wright and Bruce Irvin against the patriots Hightower and the Cassillas/Ayers platoon.  This matchup is not even close.  Advantage Seattle.

defensive backs:  The Legion of Boom vs. Revis Island and a LOB reject.  Give me Thomas, Sherman, and Chancellor; you can have Revis, whoever, whoever, and whoever.  Advantage Seattle.


kicker:  It’s the super bowl so Adam Vinatieri will kick the game-winning filed goal.  You pats fans wish.  He is long gone and the pats haven’t won a sb since.  Haushcka is alright but I would trust Gostkowski with a big kick.  Advantage new england.

punter:  Don’t care.

return men:  Both kick returner’s suck and are white so don’t expect a Percy Harvin TD in this game; Amendola and Walters are both horrible.  In a landslide, and I never thought I would say this, I would take Julian Edelman over Doug Baldwin to return punts.  Advantage new england.


offensive line:  This game isn’t against the Colts, so Blount/Vereen/Gray/Bolden/Ridley won’t put up 200 yards and 4 touchdowns.  The pats tackles are good but the Hawks entire line is a better unit.  Unger and Okung are the two best lineman in this game.  Advantage Seattle.

running backs:  Beast Mode.  Seattle runs the ball, even when they are down, because that is what they do better than other teams.  Nobody should even be shocked if LeGarrette Blount didn’t touch the ball all game.  Bill Belichick hates running backs and every game is a crap-shoot as to who carries the ball for them.  Lynch over uncertainty, easy.  Advantage Seattle.

receivers:  What a lackluster group of receivers; not a star in the bunch.  Baldwin and Kearse, seriously?  Brandon LaFell and two white guys, seriously?  Draw.

tight ends:  Gronkowski please (you have to say that in the same tone as N—- please).  The most lopsided position ever.  Seattle has Willson and Helfet if you are curious.  Advantage new england.

quarterback:  Russell Wilson may outplay tom brady in this game, but nobody in their right mind can say Wilson is a better quarterback than brady.  Not yet.  Wilson is the better choice long-term, and from here on out, but brady is better right now.  Oh, and I hate him more than any other human alive besides my brother-in-law.  Advantage new england.


head coach:  Belichick wins, but so does Pete Carroll.  Old Pete created a winning machine at USC and is doing it again in Seattle.  Before you say, Carroll lost a lot of games before USC, so did Belichick in Cleveland.  Both are great coaches, but Carroll has the magic touch right now.  Advantage Seattle.

THE SKINNY:  Seattle’s defense vs. new england’s offense, specifically Kam Chancellor covering Gronk, is what I am most looking forward to seeing.  However, the game will be decided by the mediocre Seattle receivers against the mediocre patriot secondary.  Wilson and gang will torch that secondary for big play after big play and Lynch will go off in the second half and end up with his 160 yards after a rough start.  The patriots will have a hard time moving the ball the entire game and brady will have his worst game since the Chiefs crushed him.  Shane Vereen ends up leading the pats in rushing and Edelman catches 15 balls.

Let’s get to it.  Bet on the over and wait until Sunday and hit Seattle on the money line.  Russell Wilson wins the MVP and the Seahawks crush the patriots 41-17.

Now you just have to bet on what color hair Katy Perry has for halftime.  I know, none of us will be looking there.

katy-Perry1 Vans "Warped Tour" 15th Anniversary Show In Los Angeleskaty-perry-2012Katy-Perry-two-toned-hair-A-Part-of-Me-Premiere

Bold by Nish Patel

•October 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment


IMG_9263size: 6 1/2×52 toro

THE GET:  This doesn’t happen to me much but I don’t know exactly how this cigar came into my humidor.  It wasn’t with my cigars from either DC Cigar Tweetup and I am positive I have never purchased a cigar from Rocky Patel so somebody, somewhere, must have given it to me.

THE PACKAGING:  Flashy is the best one-word description of this packaging.  It uses a double-band, one of which states Patel Family and the other the name of this cigar: Bold by Nish Patel, along with the ‘np’ logo.  I don’t care much for the glossy wrappers or the bright red and white fading color scheme but I actually really like the way the ‘np’ logo looks.  Boxes are similar and carry 21 cigars in a 7×3 stack.

THE CIGAR:  This is second cigar launched by Nish Patel, the younger brother of Rocky, in the Rocky Patel brand.  Although the website only shows 32 different cigars in the line, it feels like it should be closer to a hundred.  This is one of the reasons I have not tried many of them; IMG_9275same as with Gurkha, where do you start when you know you will never get to them all?  Bold uses a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a San Andreas binder, and filler tobacco from Nicaragua.  The wrapper is a dark brown, full of toothy bumps, and seamlessly cloaked around the solid cigar which has some good weight to it.  The initial aroma will remind you of a barn but also has some coffee accents as well.  It is also available in a 5.5×50 Robusto, a 6×60 Gordo, and a torpedo that runs 6.1×52.

THE SMOKE:  The start of this cigar was very strong with the barnyard and coffee and the draw was great.  Some cocoa entered the smoke around the first time the ash fell; that was close to 2 inches.  The ash was a bright white and solid; a great look against a dark brow, leathery wrapper.  Along with the cocoa came an accompanying sweetness that I was not a fan IMG_9280of.  Luckily for me, around the next ash drop it went away and so did the cocoa.  What stayed was the strong coffee and earthy tobacco flavor.  The cigar loosened up nicely as it smoked although it was not overly stiff to begin with.  No pepper or spice joined in the mix and it didn’t do much after the first half but the flavors that were present were very nice.  This cigar lasted just shy of 2 hours.

THE SKINNY:  I would have never guessed but this was a pretty good cigar.  I might not necessarily buy one (they seem to run around $8), but I would definitely smoke another one if it happened to just appear in my humidor like this one.  I still don’t know, though, which Rocky Patel to smoke next, so if you have a suggestion for me, I would appreciate it and it will go get it.


NFL Season Predictions 2014

•September 8, 2014 • 4 Comments


*Guest post by Josh Wolfe.  STC contributor, avid cigar smoker, BOTL, Packer Fan.  3 of out 4 aint bad*

I am not a paid football analyst.  I have never played football.  I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  I am just a guy who loves sports and have been given a platform to waste your time reading my prognostications.

I am taking this division by division.  I will rank where each team will finish and give you a synopsis of why my crazy ass mind thinks this is going to happen.  I do not have enough time to give you records for each team, because I have a job and a family and I do not want to start sleeping on the couch.  Be warned, I am a Green Bay Packer fan.  I am biased, I put money down on them to win the Super Bowl in March.

And away we go!

AFC East

Everyone knows that New England is the class of the AFC East.  They will win this division, but it will be closer than you might expect.  Tom Brady (name inserted just to annoy you Paul) is still the quarterback, therefore they win.

The Jets will be better if they let Mike Vick play.  It is put up or shut up time for Rex Ryan.  Is he more than a defensive coordinator playing head coach?  If he wants to win, he needs to give Vick the reins on offense and let him go until he gets broken in half.

For some reason in my head, I think that EJ Manuel is going to be a good QB someday.  I look for him to take a small step this year and with improved weapons (if Sammy Watkins can stay healthy).

Sorry Paul, but Miami is going to regress this year.  I do not see Tannehill as a viable option at QB in the NFL.  Their offensive line was a train wreck last year and I do not see it much better this year.  Think of David Carr when you see Tannehill on his back this season.

AFC North

How long until Johnny Freaking Football is starting in Cleveland?  By the fourth game if you ask me.  How long until he is out with a concussion?  By the fourth quarter of his first game.  This guy is too small and not smart enough to know he can’t do his college routine in the NFL.  His brain will be a pile of mush the first time he tries to juke out a linebacker.  He is the only reason why anyone will watch the Browns this year.  They are going to be BAD.  I will talk about relevant teams now.

Andy Dalton has a shiny new contract in his sights and a giant chip on his shoulder.  He will keep winning, proving the pundits wrong.  Cincy’s offense will be expanded this year and with the defense in the division not what it used to be, they will score their way to the title.

Pittsburg is getting younger, a few years ago they could not have been much older, so there is that.  I actually believe they win games in spite of their defense this year.  Polamalu will be hurt in the first three weeks and miss most of the year.  This might actually benefit the Steelers, he has been trying to play like he did 6 years ago and he can’t physically do that anymore.  The offense will be the star, and Big Ben will be a nice backup QB on your fantasy team.

Baltimore is still rebuilding, which is hard to do when you overpay your quarterback by 6 million a year.  They are two years away from making some big noise again.

AFC South

This is Andrew Luck’s world, we are just living in it.  He is already a top five quarterback in this league and he just got here.  He will be kicking everyone’s ass for 10 more years.  He carries this team to the division win, but it won’t be a cake walk like last year.

Houston has the best defensive front in football and I haven’t seen a single snap that Clowny has taken.  The guy down the line from him is a BEAST!  Add the best d-line prospect in 20+ years to the mix and they will be making opposing QB’s have happy feet.  Fitzpatrick will be a solid signal caller, just so he knows where his bread is buttered (Andre Johnson).

Jacksonville will be interesting with Bortles at QB.  They will win a few games that they shouldn’t.  That is the breadth of my knowledge of the Jags.

Titan fans look out, you suck and it will continue to until you get a quarterback.  It will be a long year in Nashville, but at least it will give all the country music singers something else to bitch about.

AFC West

Peyton Manning!

Andy Reid is the best at getting a lot out a so-so QB.  Alex Smith is the epitome of a so-so QB.  I like the defense enough to see them returning to the playoffs in spite of their pedestrian offense.

I am not a fan of Phillip Rivers.  That being said, he had to play under Norv Turner for two seasons too long.  For that I commend him, and give him a pass for that shit-tastic season two years ago.  They miss the playoffs this year because they just got damn lucky last year and won’t this year.

The San Antonio/Oakland/LA/Sonoma Raiders are building.  I cannot say rebuilding because they haven’t been good for a long time.  Al Davis screwed them over by taking the fastest guy at the combine every year.  They are many, many years away.

NFC East

I ask myself, why did I not just skip this division?  Philly would go 7-9 in any other division in the NFC, but here they will win at least 10 games.  Nick Foles will regress this year.  But then again if he didn’t he would be a first ballot hall-of-famer.  McCoy is still the best running back in the game and will prove it this year.  The defense will be better and that will give Chip more reason to amp up the speed on offense.

The Redskins will not be good, just not as bad as the other two behind them.  RGIII will be better with an offseason and I really like Alfred Morris.  Their defense was the worst I have seen in recent memory last year.  I can’t imagine another year of that, but then again.

The Jerry’s have a quarterback that is the most overrated in football if you ask me.  He makes bad decisions, has no ability to manage the clock, and gets hurt a lot.  Not a recipe for success.  The loss of Sean Lee again is devastating.  They have no soul on the defensive side of the ball.

Eli Manning looks so bad in preseason that if he did not have two rings, he would be benched.  I will be shocked if this team wins 4 games this year.  They are not better than last year and with Cooper’s brother playing like a moron, they could be the worst team in the NFL.

NFC South

The safest bet in Vegas every year is that the NFC South winner will be different from the year before.  Lucky for New Orleans, they were beat out by Carolina last year.  When you add a weapon like Brandon Cooks to a Drew Brees led offense you are in for a treat.  Sean Payton is still an offensive guru and their defense will hold up.

Atlanta was worse than a MASH unit last year.  I don’t recall a week going by without an addition of a starter to the IR.  They are better than a four win team, if they stay even remotely healthy this year they will double that win total.  Matt Ryan is not a wow guy, but he is good enough to win a few games by himself.

Carolina had a golden horseshoe stuck somewhere last year.  It won’t be around this year and when you cut the face of the franchise (Steve Smith) you are asking for some karmic ass kicking.  Great defense, no offense beyond Cam.  Good luck with that in this division.

Nice addition of Josh McCown.  He is a big upgrade from Glennon, who looked lost last year.  Two years from now and I see Tampa making waves in this division.

NFC West

A lot of people call this the toughest division in football, I agree that the worst team in the west is much better than the worst team in any other division.

Seattle will not be as good as last year.  When everyone gets paid after winning, they lose their hunger.  Russell Wilson will be solid, but the running game is going downhill this year.  The defensive secondary is going to be taking chances (Richard Sherman) and getting burned.  If the officials are actually going to call illegal contact after 5 yards this year, then Seattle will suffer more than any other team.

San Francisco is loaded on paper.  I just don’t see it working out this year.  Kaepernick is the least accurate QB in this division, and he is one hit away from no longer running effectively.  There are too many egos on this squad (starting with the coach), this will cause serious issues this season.

Arizona has one of my favorite players on their team, Patrick Peterson is filthy good.  He deserves the contract he got and will live up to it.  Palmer at QB is better than all other teams at the bottom of their division, he just can’t do it all anymore.  They need more than Fitzgerald, and no I do not count Ted Ginn Jr. as more.

I have made an adjustment to this division after the news that Sam Bradford is out for the season.  I had St. Louis second in this division, yes I said second.  This is what I originally wrote…

Punishing defensive is why I have St. Louis this high.  Sam Bradford is not ideal, but he is serviceable, and all he needs to do is throw it to Tavon Austin a few times a game.  The Rams have a good coach, one more offseason with him and I see big potential for them.

I had to look up the Rams backup quarterback, then I had to look up who the hell Shaun Hill was.  That is not a good sign for your team. They will lose 4 games this year due to their backup, now starter, QB.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers healthy = GB winning a lot.  They have reloaded on offense and big question mark right now.  Eddie Lacy is a fucking stud and will soon be considered the best back in the game, just not yet.

As long as Jay Cutler throws the ball to Packer’s DBs as often as he does, they will not win this division.  The receiving core of Marshall and Jeffery are scary good.  Matt Forte will be a shell of his former self.  Injuries and carries without a solid offensive line the past few years will catch up with him and he will be an afterthought at the end of the season.

Megatron is the man, too bad he plays in Detroit.  When your protection on the other side is Golden Tate, you are looking at a safety over the top every play.  I see another losing season.  Detroit did not get better in the secondary or at linebacker.  This is a glaring weakness that Matt Stafford cannot overcome.

What can I say, the Viqueens are really bad.  Adrian Peterson is going to be the new Barry Sanders, racking up yards and never sniffing the playoffs again.  I actually feel bad for the guy.  Bridgewater is a noodle-armed rookie with no chance to succeed.  They will be the best team to play in the stadium, but not by much.  I can’t wait for the first snow storm to send those wannabe fans running.

Playoff Teams






Chiefs – WC

Texans – WC






Bears – WC

Falcons – WC

I hope you enjoyed this or are so pissed off that you are cursing my name right now.  Either way I am good.  Light up a cigar, crack a beer, and GET READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!




Nomad S-307

•July 1, 2014 • 2 Comments


IMG_8989size:  6×50 toro bp

THE GET:  I received this cigar in a care package from Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars and House of Emilio.  Gary has been very kind to me and my short conversations with Nate McIntyre of HOE and interactions with Fred Rewey of Nomad Cigar Co. over the years have been very pleasant and friendly.  Nomad was a great addition to the House of Emilio and I was extremely happy to see this cigar arrive a few months ago. 

THE PACKAGING:  This cigar comes in boxes of 21, stacked in a 7×3 format, that are black and also have the Nomad Cigar Co. logo on the to–front and center.  To distinguish this particular series in the line, the boxes have the S-307 IMG_8986in a yellow print and font that reminds of something you would see on an ammunition box.  The logo is something I am not huge fan of still; from my review of the Nomad Classic line: “The band on the Nomad cigars is more of a modern look as opposed to a classic cigar band.  To me, it has an MMA vibe with the sharp razor edges and wings from behind.  I do not know the history or meaning of this logo and I mean no disrespect in not being a fan of the look.  It is more of a situation of preferring the classic look.”  One thing Fred Rewey does that is uncommon, if not the sole exception, is put his twitter handle on his cigar bands.  By doing this he opens himself up to his customers; by replying on social media and interacting with his customers he honors that obligation and delivers a buying experience that is unlike many around.

IMG_8988THE CIGAR:  The S-307 comes in a nice, tight, box-press that rivals any edge I have seen; the Santos de Miami from Jameson Cigars is a sharper rectangle but this one from Nomad hold its own.  What I am saying is that it is by no means a soft edge that you may see on other box-pressed cigars.  I am not a huge fan of this shape but when I see a quality cigar donning the four flat sides, I get intrigued.  This addition to the Nomad line is their first full-production Nicaraguan cigar using Nicaraguan filler tobacco that is cloaked by an Ecuadorian Habano binder and is finished in an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper;  the S-307 is made in the AJ Fernandez Tobacalera factory.  The Sumatra wrapper is dark brown in color and soft and flat in texture; filled with veins, this cigar is virtually seamless.  There are no natural oils present.  The initial aroma out of the cellophane is a strong chocolate and it is light in the hand.  The S-307 also comes in a 5×50 robusto, a 6.5×52 torpedo, a 6×58 toro grande, and a 5.5×46 corona.  I have no idea where the name S-307 came from or what it stands for; maybe the name of the prototype….

IMG_8991THE SMOKE:  The pre-light draw is open and chocolate is once again the dominant flavor; this lasts only until I toast the foot and light it fully and a strong leather appears.  After around an inch and as I go to take my picture, the first dirty gray ash falls.  The leather is accompanied by the chocolate which has gained a sweet taste in the first half.  The strength of this cigar has picked up a ton and I am surprised a bit by how strong this has become; not over-powering but is looming all over this cigar.  This is unlike the classic line from Nomad which had very little strength to it; my review of that cigar can be found here.  The smoke output is fairly heavy but I am experiencing something with the smoke I have never had before; in my mouth it is very light and dry–not improperly humidified dry, though–it is just light and dry and a fluffy white.  Hard to explain because, like I said, I have never had this before.  As I make notes of this phenomenon, a floral aroma and flavor added itself to this mix of tastes and it had become quite complex.  The S-307 also burned very cool, not nearly the temperature I am used to and it required re-lighting twice,  This is partly because of the Germany v. Algeria World Cup match I was watching and taking some of my concentration away.  The burn, however, was spot-on and the construction was perfect, not surprisingly as the other cigars I have had from the Nomad line were also absolute in their construction.  The cigar ended with a smoke time of two hours and a blast of power full of the many flavor notes previously stated.

IMG_8995THE SKINNY:   At around $8, this is a must buy.  The nicotine levels and strength of this may make a novice weary but if you like cigars full of flavors and can handle a punch, this is for you.  Currently there are no retailers in Oregon that I know of, so I will need to make a stop at one of my many friendly retailers in my neighbor to the north; wouldn’t be the first time as Seattle tends to have more boutique options than my home state.  Enough of my problems, I 100% recommend this cigar and a box would not be regretful.  My next S-307 purchase will be the corona if I can find it.  Click the hot links to find his website, his twitter, and his facebook page.


Asylum 13 Ogre “Don’t shoot the Ogre” Part 1

•April 5, 2014 • 3 Comments


IMG_8444size:  5×50

THE GET:  This was the main sampler in this year’s DC Cigar Tweetup package.  The event that is put on, annually, by the boys at B & B Cigar Club has an option to purchase the cigars if you cannot make the event in person.  If you smoke only a few cigars per month, this package needs to be what you smoke; it is a who’s who and what’s what of the year’s boutique cigar world.  If you smoke way too many like me, it is still a necessity to have these cigars as not all of them will be readily available to you wherever you live.

THE PACKAGING:  I found what looks like a few options for the boxes on these so I am unclear of how the cigars come packaged in boxes since this Ogre blend is relatively new to IMG_8452the Asylum line and this size was debuted in the package which I purchased it in.  In this, it was packaged as five cigars along with the EH Lancero of One Shot One Kill fame, hence the sampler name “Don’t shoot the Ogre”.  The DC Cigar Tweetup and B & B Cigar Club logos adorn the sticker used to label the sampler.  The cigar utilizes the same band as the main Asylum 13 cigar which has the brand logo on a black background with white skulls and red dots circling the logo and connecting the skulls.  The look fits well with the theme of the brand but is not a favorite of mine.

THE CIGAR:  Badass is what this cigar looks like.  A barber pole wrapper blend of Nicaraguan Habano Maduro with a candela makes for an amazing look.  The cap uses the maduro and the foot has a band of the candela holding it together.  The construction feels great and the IMG_8456seams with the two wrappers are perfectly executed.  From what I can find, the binder and filler tobacco locations are not released.  No hard or soft spots were found in any of the five and it seems will packed to the touch.

The Asylum website is down but I believe the Ogre is the fifth release from Asylum; the others being the original Asylum, the original Asylum 13, the Asylum 13 Authentic Corojo (which I am really looking forward to trying as corojo’s are my favorites), and the Asylum Straight Jacket.  Asylum is still young, being introduced at the 2012 IPCPR (I believe this is the information I had read).

THE SMOKE:  I straight cut this and the cap held up great.  The pre-light draw did not do much but the maduro wrapper did have a slightly sweet taste to it.  Lighting was no problem and it started to smoke well.  The ash was a nice light gray but a bit flaky and didn’t hold for very long each time.  The sweet maduro flavor was the only thing I was tasting as the cigar started.  The burn was not very good and required many touch-ups each time and would not stay very straight.  Around the midway point the strength kicked in and it became a pretty strong cigar.  The flavor had the natural tobacco and the maduro wrapper but nothing else ever entered the profile for me; stayed pretty bland the entire time.  Smoking time was consistent at 75 minutes.

IMG_8458THE SKINNY:  As much as I wanted to like this cigar, I was not overly impressed with it and I smoked three of them to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  I smoked the first one quickly after receiving which would not have let it rest properly, but I waited 2 weeks later before the other two and the result was the same; I also switched up the cut from straight to a punch.  I think these will retail for $7 but in this package that costs $120 (shipping included) for 37 cigars, the cost of each cigar runs only $3.25.  I would not buy this again but am glad to have tried it and will definitely try the other cigars in the Asylum line.


Gran Habano Zulu Zulu Part 1

•February 20, 2014 • 6 Comments





Remember to read the post on Philip Seymour Hoffman movies found here to see how to win a great 5-pack of cigars from me.


IMG_8418size:  7 1/2×40 Lancero

THE GET:  I bought these cigars two years ago at Broadway Cigar.  I was excited when I saw they had them in since I had made many inquiries to the East Coast in an effort to find them after seeing and reading about them at various sites.

THE PACKAGING:  It would be almost impossible to see these cigars at a shop and not have them draw your attention; kids with guns will usually do that.  The boxes come in blue or red, based on the blend, and have a cigar count of 20.  The image of a child holding an assault rifle that covers the box top, on both the inside and outside, differs from blue box and red box.  These images are also all over the bands, which cover all but the last bit of the cigar.  Very large band.  Under this outer band lies a smaller ‘regular’ band that has the Zulu Zulu name on it.  I absolutely, 100%, think these are amazing boxes and bands.  Great job George Rico and ‘Kid’.  The motivation behind this packaging is an effort by George Rico to help bring more awareness to the Invisible Children organization; portions of the sale of these cigars go toward that organization as well.  They are trying to stop the taking of children at young ages who are then forced to fight and kill by bad people, think Joseph Kony.  The commissioned artist is known as Kid.

IMG_8419THE CIGAR:  Originally a blend for the personal use of George Rico, the Zulu Zulu was released with a one-time production of 2,ooo boxes.  When trying new cigars, a release of someone’s personal blend is usually a good place to start.  Part One of the Zulu Zulu series is on the Habano blend which uses a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper along with a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan Habanoa filler tobacco.  The cigar is finished off with a nice pig tail cap.  It is not the darkest brown wrapper, but a fair shade with heavy veins and nice construction.

THE SMOKE:  After a quick cut and a long toast on the tip, the Zulu Zulu lit up perfectly.  It took a few puffs to get the full drags going through this 7 inch smoke but there were no issues.  As I smoke this, I am happy that the wrapper is not leaving any sweet residuals on my lips (even though I am ok with a little, I enjoy a cigar more when none is present) and I get to taste the natural wood and soil flavors from the tobacco.  Not very powerful, this is maintaining strength in the medium range and is settling in to be very tasty with the addition of a small amount of cocoa.  Amazingly, I did not have to touch-up this cigar once and the burn lines were fairly straight the entire smoke.  The ash was a bit light, weak, and flaky for my taste and I am not sure it lasted an inch at any time.  Construction-wise, it still burned great and caused no IMG_8426problems so it passes that.  After an hour and 45 minutes, I was able to smoke down past the band without any heat problems.

THE SKINNY:  The ring gauge of 40 is a bit large for a Lancero and it, as I expected, smoked more like a corona.  Good thing for me, I like lanceros and coronas both.  Gran Habano Zulu Zulu’s may not be the easiest to get, but you should try; with a retail of right around $10, they are a must try and a very good cigar.  If you read this blog, then you know I am a nut for packaging and this blows me away.  These are collector’s boxes for sure and look great on the shelf.



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