Download Episode 22 Here

Stogie(s) of the Week

This un-banded was sent to us from SG listener Adam L.(aka: ATL A big thank you to Adam!

Spoiler Alert: The cigar is revealed at the end of the show notes.

This week we are drinking

What We Have Been Smoking

Paul’s List

  1. Opus X Lost City Robusto – Outstanding, fabulous, wonderful smoke! Some Opus leather, hints of sweetness, not overpowering, smooth, love everything but the $28.50 price tag.
  2. Elogio Habano Corona – Just okay, had some nice flavors up front, but detected some bitterness in the second half. I want to re-visit. Fiver.
  3. Viaje TNT (2011) – Cigar opened up nicely, cedar type flavors, but overall was just okay. The original TNT was FAR better. Try one to see for yourself.
  4. Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario – Fantastic smoke, very thin wrapper, nice easy-to-smoke flavors, wood with some sweetness. Not worth the price tag.
  5. Viaje Exclusivo Tower Cigars – Great smoke, nice Viaje type flavors, earth, smooth. Fiver.
  6. Liga Underdown Viva! – Viva thumbs down. Try one, did not like the flavors all that much, I guess I expected more. It is more concentrated, but so many other sticks are far better.
  7. La Aurora Cien Anos Robusto – Outstanding flavors! Nice wood-type flavor that is very prominent, but simply enjoyable to taste and smoke. Loved every inch of this cigar, a winner for sure, box worthy.
  8. Cohiba Siglo II (2005 – Some say this taste like flowers and soap. I got some strong floral notes, but I liked them. The finish is much deeper and rich, almost cocoa. Love this cigar!
  9. Tatuaje Capa Especial NHC – Outstanding flavors! Nice wood-type flavor that is very prominent, but simply enjoyable to taste and smoke. Loved every inch of this cigar, a winner for sure, box worthy.
  10. Opus X Rising 2009 – Little information about this cigar exists. It’s a strong candidate for some of the best Opus X has to offer. Loved the spice, leather
  11. Davidoff Millenium Pyramid – Nice smooth smoke, not heavy earth by any stretch, more of a light floral or wood. Nice change of pace. Still not worth the $18-$20 price tag. Fiver for sure. Too expensive for box worthy, though they age well and I sometimes consider it, however the Colorado Claro is around the same price and is so much better (boxes of 10 for the Millennium Pyramid and Claro sizes).
  12. Padron 45th Anniversary Maduro – Nice subtle changes, lots of spice, a little pepper, and cocoa undertones. Not as good as I remember though, still, you have to have a box of these bad boys.
  13. Davidoff Selecion 702 – This was an awesome smoke, great flavors, lots of changes, outstanding smoking experience. Tough to place the flavors, but I wish I had at least 5 of these, at $20 a stick its steep, but still worth 5. They are from 2009 though, so age plays a factor.
  14. Paul Gamarian Symphony 20th (Toro) – The flavors are amazing, but I can’t get over the strength on these! It seems they got stronger over time, I have to admit I was a little sick and I smoked it after dinner at night. However, it did seem a little wet and wouldn’t stay lit, so I was puffing hard on it. Need to re-visit, this one is a fiver for now. The salamone is box-worthy for sure, smoked that one on fathers day and I’m in love with it, I don’t want more, I NEED more.
  15. La Flor Dominicana Conneticutt – This one comes from the “cheap lighter” gift set. It had very bread and buttery flavors, good smoke, grab a gift set or two, they are worth it.
  16. EP Limitada 2010 Dark Ritual – Fantastic smoke, excellent flavors, smoothing out with age, box worth for sure.

Tim’s List

  1. My Father Le Bijou 1922 Connecticut Federal Cigar – I had reviewed the My Father le Bijou 1922 Federal 91st Cervantes back in February and I was blown away by how much the Ecuadorian CT Shade wrapper completely changed the cigar. So when I heard they were re-releasing this cigar as the house blend at Federal Cigar I ordered them immediately. In addition to the 44 x 6 1/2 Cervantes, there is also a Short Robusto and a Corona Gorda. I smoked both the new Corona Gorda and Cervantes this week. Both solid smokes but I thought the Corona had a bit more pepper and I enjoyed balance of the Cervantes more. Still “Box Worthy”
  2. La Aurora Escogidos Robusto – This was an enjoyable smooth stick. Mild/medium in body and a solid medium in strength. The cigar had a woody core with some of that sweetness and spice that a Cameroon wrapper brings to the table. I know Paul picked these up for around $3.00 a cigar. Certainly a “Fiver” or two or three.
  3. Viaje Late Harvest 550(2012) – The 550 is a 5 x 50 Robusto. Good construction and draw. There was a lot of wood and leather with some spice. To sum it up, I just didn’t enjoy the flavor profile of this cigar. If you come across them grab one to try and decide for yourself.
  4. Tatuaje “The Face” – In preparation, of the Tatuaje Little Monsters being released this month, I reached for the Halloween 2010 release. This 6.5 x 56 sports a Mexican wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. These are still smoking well but I did think the flavors seemed more muted than the last time I burned one (about seven months ago). Still “Box Worthy”.
  5. Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77 “The Shark” – Not my favorite vitola in this line but you know when you reach for one, you are not going to be disappointed. This was a fantastic ending to my weekend. Still “Box Worthy” IMO.
  6. Emilio Grimalkin Toro – I like the flavor profile of this blend. It is a nice balance coffee, dark chocolate, and something akin to some floral notes. I cannot quite place it though. Construction has been a bit of a miss for me on these. The first time I smoked one it was completely plugged, this one was a little under filled but manageable. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say “Fiver”.
  7. Padilla Limitada 2006 – Sometimes too much of something can be a bad thing. There were a lot of rich, dark flavors I enjoy such as leather, espresso, and pepper. But it was just too much. There was absolutely no balance or smoothness to this cigar. I could blame the void on the second half for not finishing it, but honestly, I didn’t want to finish it. “Lawn Mulch”
  8. Silverdale – To quote my wife on the aroma of this cigar; “I don’t know what a flaming bag of poop smells like but I imagine that is what it would smell like”. Unfortunately, the flavors were no better. “Lawn Mulch”
  9. Camacho Diploma Robusto – I have smoked these in the past but they had a second “Maduro” label on them. If my memory is correct, I thought Camacho made these in different wrappers at one time but their website currently only lists one. This (non-maduro) was very enjoyable but I recall liking the darker wrapper more. “The Fiver”.
  10. Guillermo Leon Signature Corona Gordo – Well constructed with a perfect draw, this stick offered up a nice balance of pepper, wood, nut, and some sweetness. The pepper is strong on the first third but settles down as the burn line progresses. This is a complex smoke that changed several times which cause me to pay a bit more attention to it. I wouldn’t mind smoking more “The Fiver”
  11. Ashton Heritage Puro Sol (2005) – I was stoked when Stogie Santa found more of these lying around. I have really enjoyed these in the past but this one seemed a bit “off”. I will have to burn more as previous ones I have had have been smooth and enjoyable.
  12. Ashton VSG (2005) – I saved this one for Father’s Day morning and enjoyed it with a cup of coffee. Gifted to me by Ben of Nice Tight Ash, the man knows a value of an aged VSG. “Box Worthy”
  13. Tatuaje Noella 2009 Reserva – I ended Father’s day with my last Tatuaje Noella 2009 Reserva. Wow! These are still smoking great. Lots of rich flavors, creaminess, and large clouds of smoke. These border on the Oasis for me.
  14. La Tradicion Cubana – This was the Torpedo. It wasn’t bad. A solid mild/medium. Something I would smoke when I wanted something that didn’t require a lot of attention. It did tend to burn a bit hot but once I backed off it cooled down. “The Angler”

Video: Budget Friendly Everyday Smokes & Life Changing Cigars

Segment: Budget Friendly Everyday Smokes

The Email

Listener Mark S. writes;

One thing I was wondering – although you guys smoke and review an array of fantastic cigars every show, do you have a go-to smoke? Do you have a cigar, or a couple of (perhaps inexpensive) cigars, that you buy a box of every month, and smoke your way through? Can you tell us what they are, and what draws you to them as your regular, comfort smoke?”

We have talked a lot about what we smoke at every price range but I thought it might be time to compile a short list of some regular rotation sticks that won’t break the bank.

The Criteria

  1. The price per cigar should be $6.00 or less.
  2. The cigar must be consistent and have good construction.
  3. Each cigar must be easy to find at local B&M or the internet.
  4. The cigar must be “Box Worthy” in my opinion.

I choose one particular size, the Robusto, because I feel this size provides the most bang for the buck in terms of flavor and smoke time. Construction is everything with cigars regardless of price point. That said the $6.00 and less price point can be difficult in this regard compared to slightly more expensive sticks where you have a lot more options.

The List

  • Padron 2000 Maduro – You cannot beat a Padron in terms of performance and consistency. The Padron 2000 has a rich full flavor profile consisting of coffee, cocoa, and spice. These always pour smoke and draw perfectly. A very delicious and satisfying stick for after dinner and at less than $130 for a box of 26 you cannot go wrong!
  • La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Robusto – Made by Ashton without the Ashton prices. This stick sports a Mexican Maduro wrapper. The cigar has delicious rich flavors but is incredibly smooth and balanced. A box of 25 can be picked up for about $150.
  • K.A. Kendall’s 7-20-4 Robusto – These Robusto’s always perform well with a razor sharp burn and perfect draw. I love the Nicaraguan sweetness I get from this stick. It is enjoyable but does not require a lot of attention, so it is a great lunchtime smoke when hanging with co-workers. A Box of 20 will run you about $125. I am glad I am starting to see these at more local shops during the last year.
  • Brickhouse Robusto – Probably one of the better known value smokes on the market. There are very few shops here in the states that don’t have these on the shelf which makes them convenient. This medium bodied Nicaraguan puro has good construction, an easy going profile, and fair price. This 5 x 54 Robusto is about $110 for a box of 25.
  • La Aroma de Cuba EE No 2 – This should be no surprise for those who listen to use regularly. I love the Ecuadorian wrapper on this cigar and it goes great with a cup of coffee after breakfast. Medium in body and strength. This stick is sweet and creamy. A steal at $140 for a box of 25.
  • San Cristobal Elegancia Robusto – Another Ashton brand. This Connecticut Shade is mild but has a fantastic amount sweetness and flavors. It billows clouds of white smoke. A Box of 25 is only $150.

Closing Thoughts On Budget Cigars

There are less expensive sticks out there. In my experience, however, construction gets shady and you’re going to be pissed when half the box is not smokable (not really a savings then). These cigars are affordable and you can clip a dollar or two off per cigar if you play the auctions right. Consequently, I recommend checking out Paul’s previous segment on auctions here. Each of these cigars can be found for slightly less than I mentioned if you patient.

Life Changing My Ass

An online retailer, who will remain nameless, but who is pretty Famous, just sent me an email titled “6 Life Changing Cigars”. Turns out I’ve recently smokes 5 out of the 6 cigars on the list:

  1. Alec Bradley Black Market – I smoked one of the pre-releases. The first two thirds were good, but it did not finish strong. This is also a good everyday cigar, but my life somehow remained the same.
  2. Aging Room Small Batch – This was good, had some unique flavors, but in the end I still had to go to work, shower, and put gas in my car.
  3. Illusion ~88~ Candela – I did the ~888~ Candela, and as far as green cigars go, this is my favorite. It was the closest thing for life-changing for me, because now I can say that I smoked a green cigar and really liked it.
  4. La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor – I’ve smoked a couple of these, and while I think its a good smoke, there are better sticks in this size/price range (like Tatuaje blends have more character and flavor). Change my life it did not.
  5. Liga Undercrown – I’ve smoked the robust and the corona, and while they are good, they did not “Wow” me. The flavors seemed muted, though they burned great. I still had to cut it and light it myself without the help of a scantily clad young lady with large breasts, so thumbs down on the life changing events.
  6. (NOT SMOKED) J. Fuego Origen Corona – Haven’t smoked this one, but who knows, I may smoke it on my yacht, sipping Champagne while working on my tan.

Damn, so now after being all cocky and arrogant, I guess I gotta come up with a list of truly life changing cigars:

(In no particular order)

  1. Padron Millenium
  2. Opus X BBMF Maduro
  3. LFD Factory Press II
  4. Cohiba (toro-ish sized, ridivulously old)
  5. Davidoff Colorado Claro Special T
  6. Macanudo Portafino Tubo

Unbandeds Reveal

Unbanded 1: My Father Le Bijou Corona Gorda Special Edition

Origin: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Corona
Size: 5 5/8 x 42
Age: ?

Unbanded 2: La Reloba Sumatra

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Medium
Vitola: Corona
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Age: ?
MSRP: $60 for a box (20 or 25, not certain)