Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Principle Cigars Aviator Series Envoi in Review "A Fine Line to Walk"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Principle Cigars
Aviator Series Envoi

WRAPPER: Brazilian
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian

FORMAT: Robusto "Envoi"
ORIGIN: Kelner Boutique Factory, Dominican Republic
INTENSITY: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.principlecigars.com

NOTES:
Exotic spices | Granny Smith apple | Softwood

Ginger & cinnamon, both white. A bit of wasabi. I'd say horseradish but I'm fitting an exotic theme. Cardamom, black, sweetly-toastedly drives; slight mint there. Apple is a Granny Smith & it ebbs/flows crisply. It seems heightened on the back-end. A softwood array braces well. Sandalwood, balsa, cedar on-down. Toasted, raw, buttery respectively-so. Lots up-top via tart complexities, sharp transitions.

Middlings are a bit less frenetic & calm well. Oats, pine nuts, a thin cream, white grapes. Underbelly is bright sweet earth. High & floating, A Movable Feast? Fun, not unsettled/ing. Adventuresome, say? Perhaps mimicking a youthful Hemingway. In the final chapter here, white peppercorn closes the door & a floral gambit bids "bye." Body is finely-ground talc & flirts with mineral abrasiveness here & there. Particularly on the almost glaring sour-sweet finish of moderate length.

As to combustion & construction, absolutely zero complaints on the former. Clean burn-line, evenly. Excellent pacing. Solidly sheathed ash. Insofar as construction, there is a slight tick much tension to draw but that sipping seems to work w/ this tangy-spicy brisk offering. A note: the thing is rolled like a brick shithouse gate-to-wire. Effervescent & invigorating. Ultimately exciting sans being excitable, a fine line to walk and one walked quite well.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Kaplowitz Media. Recommended Summer Cigars

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

With Memorial Day came the unofficial start of summer. The great outdoors, sunshine, & all the wrong people to be scantily-clad being all scantily-clad. Typically, summer calls for milder smokes. The heat, the activities, the watery beer... BUT tf WITH THAT.

We're all on house arrest & eating too much while sitting in front of Netflix, am I right? Well, personally, I cut back my calories & am boning up on my Shakespeare. However, I do try to address the common man. Woman. Non-binary &/or transitioning human.

So blaze them powerhouses, peeps. Here's a handful I recently reviewed & can recommend you try between bouts of clogging your arteries while hiding under your bed in fear. FEAR...

[in no particular order]

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black II
Mesquite wood | Spices | Espresso
Full review HERE.

San Lotano Cigars Dominicano
Hickory | Pepper | S'mores
Full review HERE.

Espinosa Cigars Laranja Reserva Escuro
Dark Chocolate | Baking spices | Cuban coffee
Full review HERE.

Villiger Cigars Do Brasil Maduro
Espresso | Dark chocolate | Anise
Full review HERE.

Ohana Cigars m13 Maduro
Dark chocolate | Raisins | Nutmeg
Full review HERE.

::: very :::

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Indian Motorcycle Cigars Connecticut Shade in REDUX Review "Which is not Chocolate at All"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Indian Motorcycle
Connecticut Shade

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian CT
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Central American

FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Dominican
INTENSITY: Medium

WEBSITE: www.indiancigars.com

NOTES:
Green peppercorn | Lemonhead candy | White chocolate

Vegetal spice kicker with savory oats & suede underneath. Lemonhead candies for real & a bit less than roundly but not edgy. White chocolate, which is not chocolate at all, cushions well & a clotted cream comes on to aide in the 1/3's end. Develops well via progression. Smooths & evolves warmly of notes. 

Middlings are dirt & chicken coop which trickle down to pool in the underbelly. A tick of bracing lively pine. There's a minty register toward the back of draw, prior to a lengthy sweet/sour finish which reads w/ Asian cuisine flair. An orange blossom honey floods in at the midway mark. 

Complexities begin in a bit of cacophony but ease into a calmer stride. This occurs as depths form nicely -- nicely particularly for a milder profile. Not delicate, but refrained certainly. Cream develops a quite sating body that is ahead of flavor/strength but too, retains balance. A blend you can look around in, or pleasurably breeze thru. Perhaps the latter more-so than former. 

Burns exceptionally... dead even line & excellent pacing. Ash grows all day if you let it. Smoke out-put is moderate+ & culminates in a room-note of movie theater popcorn. An interesting smell-taste later on of honey roasted peanuts. Snack-ish. Draws lovely. Density holds admirably as do seams, cap, shoulder. A sunny & pleasant blend, one which can demand more if you'd like.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

JC Newman Cigar Co. Quorum Maduro in Review "Unreasonable Facsimile"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

JC Newman Cigar Co.
Quorum Maduro 

WRAPPER: Sumatran
BINDER: Connecticut
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Nicaragua (J.C. Newman PENSA)
INTENSITY: Medium-Full

WEBSITE: www.jcnewman.com

NOTES:
Black pepper | Dark chocolate | Sarsparilla 

Pungent past pleasantly-so. Asphalt & diesel lead the way for lesser than they primaries. Coarse-ground black pepper, hints of dusty red flakes. Dark chocolate is waxy, thin. Sarsparilla hides too often. Undertones of charred meatness, burnt coffee beans, dry potting soil, & nope. Reminiscent of a Brick House Maduro unreasonable facsimile. A red/purple fruit almosts at the half.

Combustion pulls itself out of a potential runner turned moderate canoeing. Quickly-paced. Big smoke out-put leaves a sharply bitter/biting room-note. Construction shows an uneven roll with some very soft spots & less than tight seams. Draw is rather toward tight but loosens thru-out. Gruff abrasive & inelegant to say the super-least, even when it thins out to sinewy in the final third, which features a tar addition.

FINAL GRADE: C-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Monday, May 25, 2020

Kaplowitz Media. Cigars of the Month (May 2020)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Kaplowitz Media.
CIGARS of the MONTH: May 2020
[Names are links to full reviews]


Index of cigars of the month posts: https://bit.ly/3gfalEB

::: very :::

Friday, May 22, 2020

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Awarded One Star | A Kaplowitz Guide Update

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

[For more about The Kaplowitz Guide & how its star rating system works, please visit: https://bit.ly/2SrDUZs]

One Kaplowitz Media. Star is awarded to Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.

Tricky business, this. Separating Steve Saka's current Dunbarton T&T work from his resume of previous experiences. He blogged cigars before blogs existed; chiseling his cuneiform thoughts into stone. Or so I'd imagine -- this was well before my time. He then went on to be employed by a mega-retailer, then by a mega douche. I kid. His work at Drew Estate includes formulating the Liga Privada No. 9, Acid, and Herrera Esteli blends.

But this Kaplowitz Guide star is not for Steve Saka, per see. It is instead for his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. I mean, just read the title here, gentlepersons. In a podcast chat of ours some time ago, he remarked that his career is unraveling, what with moving from larger to smaller then smaller again entities. Again, JR Cigars, Drew Estate (smaller potatoes when he signed up), & now a small mom & pop operation (him being Pop). 

I say he's got/getting it right & then more right, with this trajectory. It lands here, for now, w/ DTT. An instantly classic brand. There is a sturdiness displayed across the portfolio (Trust) which takes no excitement away from some truly dazzling experiences. Please do not let the owner's well-practiced & winding Eeyore like self-dismissals fool you; there is brilliant stuff here. He knows it. Another star is earned upon my simply smoking more offerings. I'm truly looking forward to all that.

To begin, smoke the Sobremesa, as pristine & exquisite a cigar as you'll find. Then grow some god damn balls and experience the Mi Querida. Finally, no one can figure out how tf I got my hands on a Muestra de Saka Oro Verde Candela, a lovely thing. (& I ain't telling.)

::: very :::

Thursday, May 21, 2020

La Palina Nicaragua Oscuro in REWORK Review

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

La Palina
Nicaragua Oscuro

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Oscuro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
INTENSITY: Medium-Full

WEBSITE: lapalinacigars.com

The idea behind these reworked reviews is to bring old formated write-ups up to snuff w/ current format standards. You can read the original review at: https://bit.ly/36hr7hP The final grade will not change from there to here. The hope is simply a more comprehensive look-see pieced together from original published text & privately kept notes.

NOTES:
Mocha | Woods | Peppercorn

Hits the palate stiffly, then softens into an eventual accumulating creaminess. Primaries are a generic wood array braced & attainable mocha melange. Peppercorn does abrade some on the onset, more body then flavor, calms after 1/3 (see: softens). Toppers are all toasted darkly. Bit charcoaly.

Undertones are smoky and a bit less than clean; mostly consisting of creamy dirt -- again darkly-so. Murky-some. Some leathers, too. More charcoaly. Finishes in a lengthy sweet-bitter flipping of over-tones on draw. Nice peppery tingle. Really, the finish does save this profile from the bottom shelf.

Burns on a rapid wave, in an excited if not sporadic manner. Ash builds well, dark, oily. Build-wise, there is an excellent draw, even though some soft spots occur on-down. Ultimately a linear one-trick pony of a sort but perhaps this is the trick you're looking for. It's performed well 'nuff here if that's the case. AJF fans, rejoice, say.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Debonaire Cigars Maduro in REDUX Review "A Blend on a Mission, Say"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Debonaire Maduro

WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro, USA
BINDER: Dominican San Vicente
FILLER: Nicaraguan, Dominican

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic
INTENSITY: Full

WEBSITE: www.debonairehouse.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from Toro to Robusto vitola. The original Toro review can be read at: https://bit.ly/3g7HXUI This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Peppercorn | Dark chocolate | Cappuccino

It's not just black & red w/ a green peppercorn; it's also a mulling wine accompaniment. That's the full spicy kick. Bold, not brash. Dark chocolate adds neat sweet in a subdued yet brawny manner. A bone dry cappuccino rounds out the primaries. Balanced, delineated, & much like a muscle car idling.

Bracing/backing is a woodsy thing, toasted-roasted & of sweetly spiced cedar & scorched wine cask. That happens from the middlings on-upward. Beneath is a savory earthiness, triggering umami in both roasted vegetal as well as beefy ways. Leathery oils add to that and moisten the palate lip-smackingly-well.

Complex for how robust the profile is presented. Deeply nuanced, to boot. Ultimately tamed but just 'nuff not to maul the clown waving the chair in its face. Straight-forward with an almost severe purpose but never harsh nor boring. Laid out on a compost under-belly, tamped firmly-down. A blend on a mission, say.

Burn-line shows an occasional broadleaf pucker hiccup, self-correcting all but once. Draws smoothly, sating & satisfying. Moderate+ smoky-smoke w/ a strong anise lilt to peppery savoriness. A heady bouquet if ya will. Pleasingly pungent. Build holds firm gate-to-wire. Ah, nicotine kicks a bit... a lovely after-dinner swoon.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black II in REDUX Review "There Are No Hyper-active Sumos"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

Cavalier Geneve
Black II

WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto box-press
ORIGIN: San Judas Tadeo, Honduras
INTENSITY: Full

WEBSITE: www.cavalier-cigars.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from lesser-aged to more well-aged offering of same vitola & receipt. The original review (Dec. 2019) can be read at: https://bit.ly/2ZcSrwf This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Mesquite wood | Spices | Espresso

Earthy af & complex therein. That sits up-high but under primaries & is aptly 'peppered' w/ black & red peppercorn. Then tropical fruit, hidey & vegetal umami-triggers, and sweetness via dark chocolate. Back up-top is lush mesquite wood with an attached mesquite seasoning, bigly of paprika. A well-poured espresso shot whets the palate via wetting.

Spices are a smorgasbord melange depth of baking & BBQ stuffs & rub. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne. Brown sugar, too. This all sinks down to the middlings along w/ the aforementioned umami triggers. A roasted mushroom alfalfa grass thing & meatiness proper. Worcestershire sauce. A real punch in the mouth profile but kindly-so as a Canadian heavyweight. Soory, eh? (KO)

Underbelly is more dat earth, yo. As well as all its additions entail. Barnyard. Rich & robust and deep deep deep. A strange case here of lacking structure somewhat but maintaining delineation via softness. Plush borders. Complex busy-ness, calmed by big bod. There are no hyper-active sumos. Burns & turns, combust & performs, admirably but with a slight ding -- a softening of press on-down. I prefer to spend my time here dissecting the flavors & feels. So I will. So I did.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Friday, May 15, 2020

Debonaire Cigars Daybreak in REDUX Review "Showcase of Subtleties"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Debonaire Cigars
Daybreak (Connecticut)

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican & Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: De Los Reyes, Dominican Republic
INTENSITY: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.debonairehouse.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from Corona Extra to Robusto vitola. The original CE review can be read at: https://bit.ly/2Alqnw6 This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Citrus | Sweet spices | Dandelion

Clean. Crisp. Citrus leads the way, lemony w/ lively sweetnesses underneath. Light alfalfa honey, cardamom, tick of melon. Spices are their own primary component, as well, via white ginger and clove. Mace. A bit of white peppercorn, smoothly. Bigly-so vegetal. Floral: dandelion & chamomile, front & back respectively.

Undertones of balsawood & blanched cashews. Sweet hay & bright dirt begin there & then form the underbelly alongside a suede note. Delicate, rigidly. Not pillowy. Sternly structured. There are some edges to certain corners but not to the point of sharpness. Excellent balance and a lovely sweet/sour finish of substantial legs. Not overly complex but a nicely delineated and precise profile.

Very smoky. Builds a sweet citrus room-note with a confectionary lilt. Creamy & quite pleasing aroma. Burns on an even line at a slightly quicker than moderate pace. Ash is salt & pepper, shows nice tooth, & grows well. Draw is perfect, even w/ the least bit of kind resistance. A bright, sunny, and well-rehearsed starched doily showcase of subtleties.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars White Series in REDUX Review "Wide-turning Scenic Complexities"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Cavalier Geneve
White Series

WRAPPER: Habano
BINDER: Honduran
FILLER: Dominican, Honduran, Paraguayan

FORMAT: Diplomate 5.5x56
ORIGIN: Danli, Honduras
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.cavalier-cigars.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from lesser-aged to more well-aged offering of same vitola & receipt. The original review (Dec. 2019) can be read at: https://bit.ly/2zxEUVa This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Honey | Ginger | Cocoa butter

"[Honey] acacia, apple blossom, blueberry, carob seed, orange blossom." Me, in my initial review of this offering, I linked above. Matter of fact, it's immediately clear that consistency is big. A rework here more so than redux? Perhaps. The honey notes are met w/ a buttery pale exotic spice steered by white ginger.

Suede-wrapped white peppercorn structures nicely as well as highlights components of honey varietals -- thus forms middlings. All that underneath the plush & posh cocoa butter primary section. Underbelly brings sunny earth w/ traces of terra cotta & slight kaolin. Chicken coop is there, ebbing/flowing. A buttery cedar, ditto.

Luscious. Deep soft nuances. Wide-turning scenic complexities. Well-rounded. Supremely balanced. The aroma is so fucking pretty, heavy but airy -- not cumbersome -- sweetly hidey w/ floral components. Kind, even with its peppery kick. Graham cracker pie crust begins in the room-note, finds its way to the sweet-spicy-savory long-legged finish at 'round the 1/2.

Draws like a dream. Burns on an even line. Grows well-built ash. Care-free combustion & construction allows all attention to be placed upon one of the more flavorful & skillfully delivered profiles I've smoked in recent memory. Decadent. Now, if you'll be so kind, I'd prefer to enjoy the remainder alone.

FINAL GRADE: A
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Left Hand Cigar Co. Left-Hander in REDUX Review "I've Never Actually Climbed a Mountain"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Familia Rodriguez Tobacos
Ohana Cigars
Left Hand Cigar Co.
Left-Hander

WRAPPER: Connecticut Broadleaf
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Toro (652) box-press, closed foot
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
INTENSITY: Full

WEBSITE: ohanacigars.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from lesser-aged to more well-aged offering of same vitola & receipt. The original review (Oct. 2019) can be read at: https://bit.ly/2LkX4vR This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Peppercorn | Licorice | Oak

Aggressive. B - E aggressive. Black & red peppercorn are way too out-front; burying something like a dusty & whimpering pantry spice. Age didn't calm my Gruncle Leon and apparently revved up this blend. A bit of anise settles sweetly alongside molasses (licorice vibe) after the harsh wave. Scorched oak structures tf out of the profile. tf, I say! Hyper-focused & sharply-so.

Undertones are way under. Potting soil, cola, patent leather. They don't reach the primaries. Underbelly is scorched black dirt w/ a pissed off cayenne addition. Touch of grain, dark. Imbalanced in terms of flavor/strength lurching spastically ahead of body. Finishes with a mineral charcoal cocoa lilt. Aroma is a heady bittersweet pungency I find myself ducking out of the way of -- voluminous smoke out-put.

No complexities. Charred nuances. Burns slowly & on an even line. Ash grows dense, dryly to an easy inch. Draw is open/even. Pack density holds, as does shoulder & cap. Press holds, as well. When you climb a mountain it's challenging but the view is rewarding. I feel that's pertinent to this experience, somehow. (I've never actually climbed a mountain.)

FINAL GRADE: B-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Indian Motorcycle Cigars Habano in Review "w/ Handlebar Mustache"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Indian Motorcycle Habano

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Central American

FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic
INTENSITY: Medium

WEBSITE: www.indiancigars.com

NOTES:
Cedar | Spices | Chocolate

A buttery yet staunchly structuring cedar leads the way on its own smooth butterscotch undertones. Spices are a pantry array, red. Cinnamon, nutmeg, & smoked paprika. Milk chocolate dances & balances sweetly those spices. As does ebbing/flowing honey, a heavy buckwheat varietal thing. Undertones are also a dash of cayenne pepper, a bit of nougat, and rich bright earthiness with a vegetal savory lilt.

Excellent complexities in that sweet-spicy gambit. Muscular, with a bit of toasty-roasty creamy padding on its frame. An old-school circus strongman w/ handlebar mustache. Big body, creamy-sweet w/ a neat-o meaty kicker-tingle on the lips (I rephrase & reiterate, for some reason). An almost flamboyant profile, one which would be at home on a boardwalk sideshow. Jovial & curious, as a curiosity.

Sweet as can be while staying on the right side of cloying. A slight citrus tanginess keeps barnacles from clinging. Burns on a mainly even line with an occasional (self-correcting) puckered lag to top-leaf. Draws a bit snug but satiates well. Smoke out-put is big & builds a neat aroma akin to its sweet/spicy finish, therein on a dense leathery cloud.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Monday, May 11, 2020

Debonaire Cigars Habano in Review "Refined. Synergy. Effortless."

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Debonaire House Habano

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Nicaraguan, Dominican

FORMAT: Petite Lancero (5.5x38) pig-tail cap
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic
INTENSITY: Medium

WEBSITE: www.debonairehouse.com

NOTES:
Spices | Nougat | Milk chocolate

Mulling spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, citrus rind) w/ white peppercorn steering. Cinnamon is pale, attracts a sugar cube. Citrus via grapefruit & a cube of sugar goes there, as well. Complex intermingling & delineated to boot. Cocoa butter comes in after a few pulls & warms further into milk chocolate while forfeiting zilch in creaminess. Nougat carries a honey malt. Balanced & rich. Refined.

Something of a pignoli cookie happens in the middlings along with some soft toasted woods. More cream but never so much as to muddle up the profile. Blanched chicory root. Well-lit but not bright, per se. Sweet & pleasant with a subtle brawniness. Complex & nuanced minus being startling or murky. Classic & calm... not old & boring. The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts. Synergy.

Underbelly is golden earth w/ a slight sweet hay attachment. This is the sweetness that hits the palate after retro-haling muscles up spiciness comfortably-so.  Aroma is a selling point, w/ leathers savoring up primaries. Finish is that, also & on moderate creamy legs. 

All well & (quite) good (excellent) but it means nothing minus combustion/construction & here, combustion/construction is flawless. Rustic & exquisite & engineered so well as to seem not engineered at all. Effortless. 

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Thursday, May 07, 2020

GTO Cigars Anesthesia Corojo in Review "Blue Jeans Drying on a Clothesline"

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

GTO Cigars
Anesthesia Corojo

WRAPPER: Corojo
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican

FORMAT: Toro (654)
ORIGIN: Tabacalera GTO Dominicana, Valle del Cibao, DR
INTENSITY: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.gtodominicancigars.com

NOTES:
Suede | Clarified butter | Pantry spices

Pantry spices develop into a soft mulling spice w/ the quick addition of citrus rind by the 1/2. Suede is a mellow meaty thing, softly. Almost plushly. Clarified butter is clarified butter & an orange blossom honey vague cocoa butter sweetness is prominent in its underneath. Underbelly is a dirt trail, less traveled. Sunny but not bright, shaded. Some pale grain happens there, in & out.

Structure is lacking, via absence of rigid notes or 'kick,' per se. Not bland nor broad, tho -- just easy like a Sunday morning. Airy. Not complex or even particularly nuanced but quite pleasant. There is a touch of white peppercorn on the retro-hale, that adds a tick of malt to sweets. Breezy. Finish shows a bit of a yellow floral attachment to that retro -- on something less than moderate legs. Ends clean.

Burn requires a re-touch to fend off canoe coming out of 1/3. Fine from there. Pacing is a little quick-sided. Ash grows dense & oily to an inch+. Draw could stand being a hair more open but is even & mostly sating. Aroma is a whispered sweet savoriness. A nice offering to pair w/ lemonade or sweet tea on a summer day. A pair of blue jeans drying on a clothesline. A Tom Petty ditty.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Receives Rising Star | A Kaplowitz Guide Update

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

[Before more & to clarify, these rising stars are NOT official stars but a 'heads up' of sorts. A nod. Again, please visit https://bit.ly/2SrDUZs for ye lay of the land.] thx

A Rising Star is awarded to Cavalier Geneve Cigars.

A Swiss brand rooted in the European market & since 2016 embarking upon the New World. Knowing the US market to be possessing a different palate, Cavalier (Sebastien Decoppet) began by offering a USA exclusive -- w/ darker, grittier, & more aggressive bits. Intent writ meaningfully large, there. An olive branch intro of an offering that speaks well, its host's language.

All told: interesting tobaccos, intriguing blends & even w/in the Euro lines a subtle rustic nature somewhat not all-foreign to Americana. Also, an undercurrent of identifiable kinship among the varying & variable blends; a nice thing there, to retain a signature across portfolio. Note too, the 24k gold leaf affixed to each stick, acting as shiny retail humidor bait. What would secure a star for this brand? Time & a broader profile. So we wait.

While we wait, try their White Series, Davidoff w/ balls & perhaps back hair, say. Also, their Black II, a beautifully refined look at San Andres leaf. I just recently re-evaluated their Black Series (USA Exclusive) & plan on doing the same w/ the rest.

::: very :::

Monday, May 04, 2020

Cavalier Geneve Cigars Black Series (USA Exclusive) in REDUX Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”

Cavalier Geneve Cigars
Black Series (USA Exclusive)

WRAPPER: San Andres Negra
BINDER: Arapiraca
FILLER: Honduran, Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto pig-tail
ORIGIN: San Judas Tadeo, Honduras
INTENSITY: Medium-Full

WEBSITE: www.cavalier-cigars.com

The reasoning behind this redux is a switch from Robusto to more well-aged Robusto (same box). The original Robusto (Jan. 2020) review can be read at: https://bit.ly/2zMIivz This 2d will not reference that 1t. You should read it anyway. It is superbly written.

NOTES:
Black peppercorn | Anise | Leather

The rather provocative delivery of a patent leather note somewhat brings to mind a dominatrix. Not my thing, but you do you. Sultry if not sensual & spicy-so. Anise steers spices w/ a black licorice wheel but cayenne & peppercorn put the pedal to the... mesquite. That pepper exhibits a hint of green w/in black for a neat roasted vegetal depth. Via progression, espresso & beef broth pour in balancing and rounding out the profile quite well.

Very flavorful & that's always out ahead of strength & on par w/ that aforementioned body. Just an excellent high-wire act of notes. Undertones are dark chocolate, toasted barley, & mesquite woodsiness. Underbelly is compost & barnyard. Savory, satiating, and robust yet still mainly refined. A well-trained bull in a china shop that glues cups to saucers, saucers to shelves.

Finish is a tick abrupt & end is quite clean, thanks to a mineral salty addition there. Aroma is stiff leather & dense earth w/ peppery kicker. Burn happens at a moderate pace via even burn-line. Ash makes an inch of growth, albeit dryly. Draw is exceptionally smooth. The brick shithouse roll holds that way gate-to-wire. I began by saying this is a stand-alone redux, but I'd be remiss in not saying that age apparently works well on this blend.

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

::: very :::

Friday, May 01, 2020

Illusione Cigars Awarded Two Stars | A Kaplowitz Guide Update

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

[For more about The Kaplowitz Guide & how its star rating system works, please visit: https://bit.ly/2SrDUZs]

Two Kaplowitz Media. Stars are awarded to Illusione Cigars.

Illusione is a large-voiced brand, predominantly projected/amplified thru excellent tobaccos, quality craftsmanship, and outside-the-box marketing -- all quite well adhered to in terms of a keenly self-aware vision. Their Nicaraguan leaf highlights the best of the region's growth. Bold yet refined & complex, never brash nor simplistic.

A step-up in palate prowess & totally not a front for a secret society determined to rule the world. More like a tremendous brand under the watchful eye of Dion Giolito, whose experience & expertise pull from & in turn permeate, every corner of the cigar industry. The same industry his company seems fixed and/or fixated on transcending.

Try their Garagiste, for a portfolio-pushing vino adventure. But first, smoke the ~ mk ~ teaching machine for a lay of the brand's terroir. Also, the pristine f9 Finesse may-be my favorite stick on the market.

::: very :::

Espinosa Cigars Awarded One Star | A Kaplowitz Guide Update

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"

[For more about The Kaplowitz Guide & how its star rating system works, please visit: https://bit.ly/2SrDUZs]

One Kaplowitz Media. Star is awarded to Espinosa Cigars.

Old school mixes with the new school under Erik Espinosa's outwardly stern guidance. A wide portfolio spans that gap, then fills it with precisely equal parts each. From traditional packaging to holographic-like imagery. From throwback blends to new twists. One thing is certain, Espinosa has leveraged social media to become quite popular -- w/ no slow-down in sight.

That www popularity extends as well, to the brands made at their La Zona factory in Nicaragua. Drawing in those online fans is an engaging & growing Espinosa family of industry familiar names. Succinctly, Espinosa breaks rules in the manner the good Lord intended -- only after first learning the rules & w/ good friends at their side. They earn another star by more greatly avoiding the fratboy pull of Cigar Dojo hangs.

Try their Murcielago for a weighty well-balanced & long-lasting pop in the mouth. Also, their 601 Blue Label Maduro for a bowl-of-stew-in-your-gut level satiating. Then smoke the Laranja Reserva Escuro for a Death by Chocolate dessert.

::: very :::