Roberts Writings

Reviews, experiences, and stories.

Month: May 2014 (page 1 of 2)

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.

PalateJack_HerreraEsteliShortCoronaGorda_004

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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.

PalateJack_SanCristobalLancero_001

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.

PalateJack_SanCristobalLancero_002

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.

PalateJack_SanCristobalLancero_003

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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.

 

PalateJack_Room101Daruma_001

 

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.

 

PalateJack_Room101Daruma_003

 

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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Rocky Patel Fusion Torpedo Review

Cigar BrandRocky Patel
Cigar NameFusion
FactoryRocky’s
Country of OriginHonduras
WrapperEcuador Sumatra
BinderCriollo
FillerDominican, Nicaraguan
VitolaTorpedo
Length6.2″
Ring Gauge52
CostUnsure, received in bomb. Retails for around $8/each but can drop to ~$4/each easily in bulk.
Where purchasedn/a
StrengthMedium-Full, but increasing closer to full towards last third
Smoked2014-05-07
WhereCar
When~7pm
Occasionn/a
Meal: n/a
Wheren/a
Drink PairingDiet A&W Rootbeer
LinkThere’s no mention of the Rocky Patel Fusion on his official page, so here’s a link to CI

 

Presmoke thoughts:

I don’t have a ton of experience with Rocky Patel cigars. The last one  I smoked (I believe it was a 1992, but may have been the 1990) was really enjoyable though, so I’m hoping that continues with this Rocky Patel Fusion. Everything I read about Rocky himself makes me want to be a strong supporter of his cigars, but I just haven’t been able to totally lock down which ones exactly are to my taste.

PalateJack_RPFusion_002

My understanding is the Fusion is a blend of the 1990 and the 1992. Given how much I enjoyed whichever of those I had, my hope is that I’ll also enjoy this.

 

Construction:

This is a pretty lumpy smoke. The seams are pretty tight and low key, but it’s very bumpy. No obvious hard or soft spots.

PalateJack_RPFusion_003

 

Prelight:

The smell on this cigar is a very earthy chocolate. A little too earthy for my preference, but not terrible. The cold draw is a very strong and delicious chocolate and coffee. That’s a very good sign to me!

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La Sirena Merlion Review

Presmoke thoughts:

I picked up the La Sirena Merlion strictly for the band. I had walked by all of the La Sirena sticks several times over the course of a few trips to my local B&M and finally picked up the Merlion because I couldn’t pass up the bands anymore. I mean, come on, it’s a freaking merlion! I had no idea that was a real thing until I came home, googled it, and came to this page on wikipedia:

The Merlion (Malay: Singa-Laut) is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. Its name combines “mer” meaning the sea and “lion”. The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name — Singapura — meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”.

It goes on to say the Singapore Tourism Board controls all usage of the Merlion as a logo. I wonder if these are for sale in Singapore…

Finding out they have five “authorized” statues of the Merlion in Singapore makes me want to bring a 5-pack of these guys to Singapore and smoke one in front of each statue — providing I like this first one.

PalateJack_LaSirenaMerlion_001

 

Construction:

This is a nice looking cigar — from what of it you can see. Most of it is covered with the wild band, which I really like. It’s flashy, with a lot of silver, and is hard to miss. In a sea of cigars inside my coolerador, this one will always stand out. The seams are very clean, no gaps, and there’s only one faint ridge running towards the top above the band. There’s a slight soft spot right around that ridge, but otherwise the feel is consistent throughout. The only other slight criticism I would have is the cap is a bit sloppy and off-center.

PalateJack_LaSirenaMerlion_002

 

Prelight:

The cold draw has a sweet, toffee taste to it. A little earthy too. Not too bad, but nothing exciting. The draw is a little tight, but from the foot it looks to be very tightly packed and will likely loosen up once lit.

PalateJack_LaSirenaMerlion_003

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Room 101 San Andres Review

Presmoke thoughts:
Cinco de Mayo. I’m pairing the Mexican wrapper on this Room 101 San Andres with some lovely horchata and tacos.

Tacos de Carne Enchilada!

Tacos de Carne Enchilada!

 

Horchata!

Horchata!

This might be a terrible mistake but there’s only one way to find out. I have two tacos al pastor and two tacos de carne enchilada. One of the carne enchiladas is already gone by the time I get the cigar out.

Construction:

Kind of an ugly and sloppy cap. The leaves aren’t the prettiest and got can easily see where the edges of the wrapper leaf are. That said, there’s nothing wrong with it. If you’ve read my other reviews you’ve probably seen my Sakura Xikar cutter, so obviously I’m a fan of Matt Booth’s work.

PalateJack_Room101SA305_003

 

Prelight:
Granted I just stuffed my face with spicy goodness, but I’m picking up strong barnyard smells before lighting this up. The cold draw is sweet and fruity with a slight coffee tint. The draw is tight but I’m hoping that’ll loosen up once lit.

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Guayacan Robusto review

Cigar BrandGuayacan
Cigar NameGuayacan Robusto
FactoryGuayacan Cigars LLC
Country of OriginNicaragua
WrapperEcuadoran Habano
BinderNicaraguan Corojo ’98
FillerNicaraguan Corojo ’98
Vitola: Robusto
Length5″
Ring Gauge50
Cost$7.45
Where purchasedSmoking Dog
Strength: Medium, in my opinion
Smoked2014-05-04
WhereBackyard
When~1pm
OccasionN/A
MealN/A
WhereN/A
Drink Pairingcoffee made with pour over w/ splash of sugar free french vanilla creamer
Link: http://guayacancigars.com/cigar-selection/
Review

Presmoke thoughts:
I’ve had two of these in the last two weeks. The first was great, the second was good. I’m trying to figure out which of those two is the normal. Both were bought from the same B&M but the great had rested in my coolerador for a few weeks, while the good was smoked the day I bought it. This one has two days of rest on it and I bought it at the same time as the good one.

Construction:
The cap is a little sloppy and there’s too much glue used on the band, with some showing on the wrapper itself.

PalateJack_GuayacanRobusto_001
Other than that, it’s a nice looking cigar and the band is what caught my eye in the store when I bought it the first time.

It feels pretty good too. No obvious hard or soft spots, but as a whole it is pretty consistently hard. I feel one ridge running the length of the cigar and think that might end up being a stem in the binder given how defined it is below the wrapper.

Prelight:
I smell leather pretty strongly. More so, the smell reminds me of cows at the State Fair back in Wisconsin. Just a general cow smell and, maybe strangely, for me that’s not a bad thing.

The cold draw gives me sweet raisin cereal. I immediately get the word “Kelloggs” in my head.

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