Roberts Writings

Reviews, experiences, and stories.

Tatuaje Anarchy (Original Release 2010) Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I have high expectations for this original release Tatuaje Anarchy from 2010. I’m an everyday fan of Tatuaje cigars across the board, and this cigar is known to be good. Only having been released in small quantities for one shop in 2010, it’s easily one of the rarest cigars I possess.  This is the original and, as far as I know, only release of the Anarchy, and it’s the only Anarchy I have. Tatuaje followed up a few years after the original with the similarly named “Tatuaje Anarchy Apocalypse”, a similar cigar with slightly different dimensions and a reversed band color scheme.

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Construction:

This Tatuaje Anarchy is beautiful. The pigtail is cartoon-like in its proportions, appearing as though it may be wider in diameter than the cigar itself. The wrapper is a beautiful dark, espresso colored wrapper, peppered with a maze of veins so low-profile that I can see them but not feel them.  At the foot it tapers down slightly to a diameter I would ballpark as being in the mid-upper 40s, down slightly from the rest of it likely being just above 50. The band on this original release is black with a red anarchy logo, and contains “Tatuaje” in an embossed font, flanking each side of the red logo. The band is very smooth, and I would guess at one point quite oily. It looks like it’s not as shiny as it likely once was, but it’s still quite beautiful.

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Prelight:

This thing smells delicious. Mostly earthy, but a strong cocoa smell at the foot. The cold draw — after a very nervous cutting of the pigtail top — is more of a dark chocolate taste. Think a bar of 90% Lindt dark chocolate. There’s a hint of sweetness. I’m planning on pairing this with water right now, but I have a feeling coffee will go well so I am heating up some water as a precaution.

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Paul Stulac Ghost Maduro Toro Review

Presmoke thoughts:

Paul Stulac Ghost

I see these Paul Stulac smokes in only two places: one of my local stores, and Paul Stulac’s instagram feed. A couple months back I picked up the Paul Stulac Ghost Maduro Toro on a whim to give the brand a try. The B&M I picked this up from is regularly saying good things about the brand so we’ll see whether it’s my kind of smoke.

It’s a very breezy day so we’ll see whether that proves to be problematic.

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Construction:

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It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve smoked. There’s a really gnarly vein running up the side and into the cap. Where it ends about an inch and a half from the foot isn’t seamless and sticks out and away from the cigar.

My B&M has these marked as Maduros which was surprising because at first glance those wrappers look really light.

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Prelight:

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I find this cigar to be very grassy on the nose cold. A little hay. Almost a Playdough scent.

VERY sweet cold draw. Not in a flavored or infused way, but as though this has been in a grocery bag with unopened Kool-aid packets. The backend of the cold draw has that grassy taste as well.

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Viaje Zombie Antidote Review

Presmoke thoughts:

Viaje Zombie Antidote

Viaje’s scare me. They have a reputation of being total full strength powerhouses. I don’t have the greatest nicotine tolerance so I’ve been hesitant to give this, or any of the other Viaje’s I’ve managed to get my hands on, a try.

I bought a handful of these Viaje Zombie Antidotes for trades and figured I should try one myself so I knew what I was sending people.

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Construction:

I didn’t notice while it was in the cello but about an inch from the foot we have some cracks in the wrapper, but more problematic is a split in the wrapper about an inch above that. Not cool. Hopefully that won’t impact the smoke.

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Otherwise, I can totally appreciate the needle shape of this cigar, especially in light of its name and theme. It’s a nice perfecto meant to look like an antidote given in a syringe.

 

Prelight:

The cold draw is only slightly on the loose side. I hope it gets tighter once lit and not looser. The cracks are hopefully not the cause of the loose draw.

I get sweet tobacco in the cold draw. Not very sweet, only subtly.

The nose on this Viaje Zombie Antidote smells a little like a dirty pond. I am nowhere near a pond, let alone a dirty one. Weird. Even more strange is it’s not entirely off-putting. It is a dialed-down sensation of walking into a couple of the Asian grocery stores in this area, especially those with a large fish presence.

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Drew Estate Feral Flying Pig Review

Presmoke thoughts:

My first, and only, Feral Flying Pig by Drew Estate. I bought this locally about three months ago and have kept it in my coolerdor with anticipation. Waiting for the “Right” moment to present itself, a moment worthy of such a hard to find stick.

Drew Estate Feral Flying Pig

And what if I hate it?

I’m sick of sitting on sticks that I haven’t tried and therefore don’t know whether they’re worth sitting on. This one is getting the fire.

Feral Flying Pig

 

It’s a holiday weekend. Yesterday was the 4th of July. Having had these two days off I’ve powered through two books, both while drinking coffee and/or smoking cigars. Today I’m reading ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’. I’ve tried to get into the writings of the Stoic “greats” over the last year and I meet a lot of internal resistance. There’s too much “thou art”, “thyself”, and “shalt” in the versions I’ve been reading and it does my head in after only a few pages. I’ve picked up ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius at least 5 or 6 times and haven’t made it past page 10 yet. They’re tough reads for me.

‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ is written by a guy who has to be around my age and this book is largely just his understanding of Stoicism and these writings I struggle with. That means it’s written by someone like me. I can actually read this. I read most of the book at Starbucks today and will be reading the last portion of it while I smoke this FFP. The 60% of it I’ve read so far is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone who is the least bit interested in the idea of getting out of your own way in life. “Get out of your head” is something I constantly tell myself (in my own head — which I realize, as I type this, may be a little ironic). Ryan digests the Stoic writings and relays them via stories of people seen as great leaders in hindsight and it’s an extremely approachable interpretation of the same books I’ve struggled reading. I’m going to throw some quotes from the book into my review here because it was just as important to my enjoyment of this Feral Flying Pig as the Starbucks coffee was, and likely more so.

Everything is a chance to do and be your best. Only self-absorbed assholes think they are too good for whatever their current station requires.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Construction:

In typical Drew Estate fashion the construction is impeccable. Except when it’s not.

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Immediately above the foot there is some slightly sloppy finishing, though it’s so close to the foot that it’ll be “fixed” immediately after lighting. Otherwise, from the beautiful pigtail on down, it’s great.

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Pride can be broken. Toughness has its limits. But a desire to help? No harshness, no deprivation, no toil should interfere with our empathy toward others. Compassion is always an option. Camaraderie as well. That’s a power of the will that can never be taken away, only relinquished.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Prelight:

The smell on this FFP is similar to the other Unicos I’ve had, at least as far as I remember the Dirty Rat. Sweet and fruity, with a bit of leather and earth.

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I cut the pigtail off right below the lowest ring of the pigtail and the draw is perfect. The cold draw tastes like this thing smells.

Here goes $17 and a lot of time spent on the hunt.

Nobody is born with a steel backbone. We have to forge that ourselves. We craft our spiritual strength through physical exercise, and our physical hardiness through mental practice (mens sana in corpore sano—sound mind in a strong body).

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

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RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I will be continuing my RoMa Craft reviews with this RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5. I’ve had this sitting in the coolerdor for a good few months and, since having such a great time with the Intemperance, I’m looking forward to seeing how this cigar goes.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 - Great value even at B&M prices

 

Construction:

Decent. One slight gap in seam, but it’s a beautiful cigar with great color and texture. Love the subtle label, with the slightly embossed name. The only thing that stands out on the label is their logo, which I’m a fan of. I like the torpedo vitola as well.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 - The full stick

 

Prelight:

On the nose of this RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 there’s a jelly-like sweetness type of smell that’s also slightly earthy. The cold draw gives me almost a grape flavor, but still has that earthiness to it. I enjoy cutting my torpedos at an angle, but even with that I find the cold draw to be a bit on the tight side.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon Mode 5 Close-up of the head and label

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Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda 2013 Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I bought a jar of these Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gordas in March, and they’ve been sitting in the coolerdor since. I smoked one right after getting the jar, but realized it was more complex than I could appreciate at the time as I smoked it while running around. The 2013 edition of these come in a plastic-like jar, not the porcelain beauty of the 2007s. This jar is still very nice, and I’m happy with it. Apparently they sell these at the same rate whether you buy them in a jar or just a loose bundle, so I think getting the jar for “free” is pretty awesome. For a greater break down of the jars, the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gordas, and their history, check the HalfWheel link I have in the Stats section below. It’s a good read.

The whole Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda

 

Construction:

The simple band on the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda shows their logo, which I like.

This isn’t a perfect looking cigar. It’s a little bumpy, it feels harder at the foot and head than the middle, and the color — while totally subjective — isn’t my personal shade of preference. All that said, I love the simple band, the closed foot, and the nub head.

The nubby top of the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda

 

Prelight:

The Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda cigar has a strangely pleasant musky hay smell. I also pick up notes of a dark chocolate or cocoa smell as well.

The cold draw gives me a dark fruity sweetness. Blackberries. It’s a rich sweetness, totally lacking pepper — which surprises me given that Tats are known for their common pepper profile.

The closed foot on the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda

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Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I’ve wanted to smoke one of these for quite a while. I can’t find them at any of the B&Ms around me, and never pulled the trigger on purchasing online. This last week I picked up a 5-pack of the RoMa Craft Intemperance because they are the Cigar Of The Month on the cigars subreddit, but while I was looking at the cigars on SmallBatch Cigars’ site I noticed they had a 5-pack of the Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gordas. I had a 10% off coupon with free shipping that I was already using on the RoMas so I figured I’d add these to it.

The beautiful Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

I smoked my first Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda yesterday while running some errands. I definitely didn’t give it the thought and attention it deserved but I wanted to see whether it was worth reviewing. It was, and I felt like I would have enjoyed it even more than I did if I had sat down with it. So here I am, sitting down with it.

The entubado rolled Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

 

The Herrera Estelis are named after their blender, Willy Herrera. Willy joined Drew Estate in 2001 and, according to this press release, they gave Willy free reign to experiment and come up with his own blend.

“Our goal is to give Willy the freedom to create his own unique style of cigars within our operation,” explains Marvin Samel, DE’s Co-Founder and Executive VP. “Almost a factory within a factory, so as to allow him to succeed on his own merit. Ultimately the intent is for there to be brands that are not only ‘Willy Hererra’ by name, but are ones that are truly those of his creation and efforts, not just some marketing gimmick.”

The Short Corona Gorda is vitola or size I can appreciate. I typically and most often enjoy smaller ring gauges which I’ve heard is due to the stronger ratio between wrapper and binder/filler. I also appreciate the short size as I frequently don’t have 90-120 minutes to sit down and enjoy a cigar.

 

Construction:

Beautiful, simple band. Lovely light brown wrapper only slightly darker than the iced vanilla latte I’m pairing this with. There’s a great triple cap that held up to cutting very nicely. Slightly bumpy towards the foot, but it’s not prominent.

I love the classically simple band on the Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

 

Prelight:

The nose cold is a beautiful combination of honey and apricot. Maybe a little bit of sawdust on the nose too. The cold draw is sweet like a Gummi Bear.

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San Cristobal Lancero Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I hadn’t seen these before. I was in Holts a month or two ago and saw they had the San Cristobal lanceros, so I picked them up assuming I won’t see them again. I have a San Cristobal of some sort in my coolerador but haven’t smoked it yet, so this will be my first experience with San Cristobal.

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Construction:

The construction isn’t great on this San Cristobal lancero. Not terrible, but not great. Some gaps in the seams and there’s a fairly prominent vein running down the backside. I’m hoping that won’t cause any burn issues since it runs from at least the band down to an inch above the foot.

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Prelight:

I get a weird cold draw taste. Nutty but strange. Almost tastes how yeast smells. I grew up around Milwaukee and anytime you drove into Milwaukee you’d smell the yeast from the breweries. The cold draw on this tastes like that smelled. Weird. On the nose I get a great spice, along the lines of cinnamon. Loving the start to this, at weird as it is.

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Room 101 Daruma Roxxo Review

Presmoke thoughts:

The Room 101 Daruma has the “Sakura” flower styling from Matt Booth that I love. When I was looking at buying a new cutter earlier this year, the Xikar with the Sakura style on it was a no-brainer for me. I instantly felt that was the cutter I needed to have. I’ve been really happy with it since, though I think the blades are starting to dull and I’ll probably send it in for sharpening soon.

I’ve seen this in my local B&M several times, but the folks working there could never tell me anything about them outside of their strength so I passed them by for a while. Eventually I saw a Room 101 sampler for sale at a really great price on Cigar Bid so I picked that up.

Going into this cigar having recently smoked the Room 101 San Andres and absolutely loved it, I have high hopes for Sakura-labeled beauty.

In fact, once I start doing some looking into the name I find a variety of really interesting information. First off, apparently when these are bought by the box they come with a pamphlet that reads like this:

The single eye I have penciled in on my Daruma doll is my silent reminder that I have set a goal that is pending completion. My Daruma will become a bi-oculared character once my task is complete. I have one year in which to complete my task – and if one of my attempts should fall short of victory I will not quit, but rather try again. Because, I know that if I do not give up and my will does not falter it is never a question of “if,” but only a question of “when.” We have named our latest series after the Daruma as he symbolizes resilience – a key ingredient to our success. Use your Daruma to set a goal of your own.

Fill his left eye when you have decided what you will be committing yourself to, his right when your task is complete. As the tradition is to burn the Daruma at the end of the year, take a brief moment to ignite a fine cigar in celebration of your accomplishment.

So what’s the deal with the Daruma then? Here’s some wiki snippets I found interesting:

The Daruma doll, also known as a Dharma doll, is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism.

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch’an (Zen) to China. Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend. According to one tradition Bodhidharma gained a reputation for, among other things, his practice of wall-gazing. Legend claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs to fall off from atrophy. Another popular legend is that after falling asleep during his nine-year meditation, he became angry with himself and cut off his eyelids to avoid ever falling asleep again.

The eyes of Daruma are often blank when sold. Monte A. Greer, author of Daruma Eyes, described the “oversized symmetrical round blank white eyes” as a means to keep track of goals or big tasks and motivate them to work to the finish. The recipient of the doll fills in one eye upon setting the goal, then the other upon fulfilling it. In this way, every time they see the one-eyed Daruma, they recall the goal. One explanation how this custom started says that in order to motivate Daruma-san to grant your wish, you promise to give him full sight once the goal is accomplished. This practice might also have something to do with the “enlightenment”, the ideal attainment of Buddhism. This custom has led to a phrase in Japanese translated as “Both Eyes Open”. Referring to “opening” the second eye, it expresses the realization of a goal.

In addition, the wiki page for Bodhidharma says “According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan.” Very cool stuff.

 

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Construction:

Bumpy, one prominent vein. Nicely applied cap. This cigar has a good “feel” to it, outside of the bumpiness. The wrapper has a nice texture.

 

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Prelight:

The Room 101 Daruma has a wrapper that is a great color and very beautiful. It is a very inviting, light, leathery brown color. The label on this cigar is of course gorgeous, in no small part because of that Sakura that I love.

I smell grass on the nose, kind of like a “shiny” earthy smell. Not what I expected, but I don’t mind it. On the cold draw I’m getting a really crazy mix of plum and chocolate. It’s a very unique mix for me and I like it.

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RoMa Craft Intemperance BA XXI The Intrigue Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I’ve smoked a few RoMa Craft cigars over the last couple years. Most I’ve liked, and some of those may have been the RoMa Craft Intemperance. I stopped buying them for a while because they didn’t previously band their cigars, so I could never remember which I had smoked, much less which I liked and which I didn’t. I’m happy that has since changed.

This RoMa Craft Intemperance BA XXI The Intrigue (what a name…) is almost “Right Off The Truck” as it was delivered Wednesday, and I’m smoking it Friday. I’ve let it sit outside of the coolerador all day as it was suggested these be dry boxed. Not quite the same, but hopefully enough.

This is the COTM (Cigar Of The Month) on the cigars subreddit on reddit.com and the organizer suggested using Small Batch Cigars as the purchase source as he had arranged a 10% off coupon with free shipping. I picked up a 5-pack of these and a 5-pack of the Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gordas, which I will have a review forthcoming for.

So what’s up with the name, right? It’s weird. There’s Roman numerals. A word that visually looks like several other words, but — as I found out with some research — is a word with an interesting history, and as much as I liked the brand RoMa Craft previously, this new info made me appreciate them all the more. I’m basically going to copy/paste a chunk of info from their site here, but feel free to click here to read their full info on the RoMa Craft Intemperance.

The branding for Intemperance evokes the history of prohibition and features a logo inspired by a famous artifact of the temperance movement, a propaganda poster/political print produced by a temperance hymnodist, A.D. Fillmore in 1855.

Intemperance EC XVIII (Ecuador Connecticut)

In the 18th century a global temperance movement began in rural Connecticut. After World War I, the movement began to spread like wildfire throughout the United States, and across the globe, as religious and women’s groups spread the gospel on the evils of alcohol.

In 1919, the temperance movement achieved their goal when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States established a national prohibition on the consumption of ‘intoxicating liquors’.

Intemperance BA XXI (Brazil Arapiraca)

Following the ratification of the 18th Amendment, an intemperance movement was born. The Volstead Act had effectively turned every consumer, merchant and producer of alcohol into a criminal; organized crime took root. Without market and regulatory controls, alcohol became more dangerous to consume. The court system was brought to the brink of failure under the weight of criminal and civil cases related to prohibition. After a little more than a decade, public opinion had been turned and the effort to repeal prohibition emerged victorious with the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Despite the dismal failure of this ‘noble experiment’, the temperance movement marches on. Perhaps this is no better represented than in the form of the modern tobacco control movement, also known as the anti-smoking movement.

So the Roman numerals XVIII and XXI correspond to the 18th Amendment and the 21st Amendment respectively. Cool stuff, I personally appreciate their willingness to tie-in the cigar’s name to real-life current threats to cigars and their history.

Construction:

I love the unfinished foot. I don’t know why, I just do. There’s maybe a quarter inch of un-wrapped binder exposed and it’s just something unique that I don’t see often. I like the color of the wrapper, the seams are tight, there’s a couple defined veins, no noticeable hard or soft spots, and the cap is applied neatly.

Prelight:

Very earthy, farm smell on that nose. Slightly floral in a “freshly planted with manure” way.

Major chocolate espresso on the cold draw with a hint of raspberry. Wild combination, it’s like one of those chocolate bars that has the raspberry centers — this is definitely the first time I’ve tasted a profile quite like that. Fairly tight draw.

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