Archive for the ‘don’ Category

Tom’s Favorites of 2010

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

It’s that time of the year again. Every cigar blog out there has their top 10, and I am not above making my own list.

My top cigars for 2010 list is a little different. My criteria is simple. I picked out some cigars that stood out throughout the year. The list isn’t limited to release date, popularity, or even the best tasting. Simply put… Any cigar that really stood out in my mind made this list.

Some of my choices may have some of you scratching your head. I bring to you my most memorable cigars of 2010:

T Logo 2

5 – Tabacos Baez Serie SF – Before you say “What?!” Let me say, this doesn’t have a complex flavor profile. It isn’t the prettiest or best cigar out there. I even called it “One dimensional” in my review. But for the price point, I found myself reaching for these when I wanted a decent, CHEAP cigar.


4 – La Gloria Cubana Artesanoa De Tabaqueros – This cigar takes you on a journey by offering you two different wrappers on one cigar. From almost mild to full, along with nice flavors. Smoking this is a lesson on just how much the wrapper plays in the over all flavor profile.


3 – Cubao Maduro – What can I say… I loved the original Cubao. The maduro version was great as well. I went through a couple of boxes in 2010.


2 – Don Pepin Garcia My Father Le Bijou 1922 – Being a Don Pepin fan, I had high expectations, and they were met. This is just full bodied goodness.


And my number one pick is…


1 – Quesada Tributo – I probably smoked more of these then any other cigar this year. It took me a little while to warm up to them. But once I did, I couldn’t get enough. I still have a few of these a week.


And there you have it, my most memorable cigars of 2010.

Smoke a JJ for JJ

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I usually try to keep this site focused on cigars and minimize personal subject matter. There are always exceptions, and this is one of them.

1SeriesJJToday, July 22nd, is the 3rd annual “Smoke a JJ for JJ day.” Jerry from The Stogie Review would appreciate if you would take a moment and smoke a Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ in remembrance of his son. JJ was born on this day three years ago, and died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) only 3.5 months into his life.

My pal Barry at is also holding a fundraiser. Barry runs a great cigar review site and is going above and beyond. Go HERE to find out more.

It is that simple. Just sit back, relax, enjoy life and enjoy the smoke.

Tatuaje Black Tubo (First Impression)

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

As the title says, this is a first impression review. I bought the last tubo that Ed had in stock. He strongly suggested I try it, so I did. The only thing I know about this cigar is that Don Pepin Garcia blended it, and that there will be no more tubo’s for Tatuaje. You may want to pick a few up before it is too late! As usual, I paired this cigar with water.


Wrapper: Nicaragua Sun Grown Criollo Esteli

Binder/Filler: Nicaragua

Size: Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52

Price: $15.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a few good sized veins along with a rugged look (this isn’t a bad thing). Considering the tubo is cedar lined, it made sense that the wrapper and foot had that same smell. When I squeezed the cigar’s length, I found a few tight and soft spots, but nothing that concerned me. The pre-light draw had a little resistance, and had a dark sweet taste that I can’t describe.

I did several burn corrections, and the ash held for around one inch.



The first third opened up with an “In your face” pepper. But something was a little different then what I would except from a Don Pepin Garcia blend. This wasn’t the normal pepper I’m used to. It had a nice zing but had a unique flavor that I can’t describe. It didn’t take long for the pepper to calm and nice woody flavors to kick in.


The second third was very mellow with dominant woody and spicy flavors. The smoke feel became very smooth with a touch of creaminess. I detected wisps of earthiness from time to time. A coco-ish sweetness wrapped itself around the entire flavor profile, if that makes sense. Everything just leveled out and became well balanced.


The peppery spice, while very smooth and sweet, kicked up a notch in terms of strength in the last third. Sweet cocoa flavors melded perfectly with cedar and hints of coffee for a perfect mixture. Like before, the smoke feel was smooth and almost creamy. The flavors were common but had exceptionally balanced.



Wow Ed was right, this was a great cigar. It started as medium, but crept in to the full bodied range. The more I smoked it the better it got. If I were to complain, it would be about the price and several touch-up’s I had to do to the burn. I would keep a couple of these around for a special occasion if I could find them. You’ve got to try this cigar!

Don Pepin Garcia My Father Le Bijou 1922

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I didn’t have a lot of info on this cigar, until my pal Barry wrote about it. Le Bijou is French for “The jewel” and 1922 refers to the year Jose “Don Pepin Garcia’s” father was born. The original My Father cigar was a tribute to Don Pepin Garcia from his son Jaime. The Le Bijou is Don Pepin’s own tribute to his father. When Pepin comes out with a cigar, I tend to keep it on my radar. I generally like his blends. I paired with a glass of water, and sat down to review this Pepin creation.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro

Binder & Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: Churchill 7 x 50

Price: Around $11.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

Giving the cigar a once over, it looked great. The dark wrapper had minimal veins or defects. I found the cigar to be evenly packed with tobacco, and ever so slightly spongy when squeezed. The wrapper had a sweet earthy odor. The foot had the same smell with the addition of slight spice. The pre-light draw was good, and had a sweet, simple earthy taste.



The first third had a nice intro of pepper and spice with a tinge of sweetness. Very slight earthy notes lingered behind the full flavored spices. The sweetness developed into a nice mocha flavor. The aftertaste left a slight bitterness on the lips. It was a sweet bitterness, not a bad thing.


The pepper mellowed out a little in the second third. It took on a smooth feel and became sweeter. The mocha turned up a notch or two in strength, and became a little dry. The bitterness went away and was replaced with a slight tingle on the lips.


The last third took a turn for the mellow side, while keeping your attention with a nice punch. The pepper, while keeping it’s bite, became very smooth and even more sweet. Speaking of sweet, mocha was the main flavor. With that, the aftertaste had a slight tinge of cinnamon that tingled on the lips. The smoke became thick and coated the inside of the mouth.



I really enjoyed this full bodied cigar. Don, if your reading this, you’ve done it again. The flavor profile was refined and very enjoyable. If I were to complain, it would be the $11.00 price tag. At the end of the day, I think you get your monies worth though. Thumbs up.

Don Lino 1989 Maduro

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Up for review today is the Don Lino 1989 Maduro. These come in a natural Connecticut wrapper as well, but I didn’t pick any up. I have little background info, other then the blend. Without wasting any more time, I offer you my thoughts on the Don Lino 1989 Maduro…


Wrapper: Maduro

Binder: Indonesian

Filler: Colombian, Mexican, Nicaraguan

Size: 5 x 50

Price: Around $6.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

The dark maduro wrapper looked good, with only a few bumps and veins here and there. The cigar was evenly packed and bounced back when squeezed. I detected a slight sweet earthiness when sniffing the wrapper and foot. The pre-light draw was loose, and had a sweet natural tobacco taste.

The ash held for under an inch, and I did several burn corrections.



The first few puffs were a simple earthy taste. It didn’t take long for nutty and coffee notes started to drown out the earthiness. A slight sweet spice was noticed when passing the smoke through the nose. The smoke feel was a bit dry but not annoying.


The coffee and nuttiness continued through the second third. Dry cocoa notes would appear from time to time. The smoke became creamy and very smooth. The sweet spice became more peppery as this third came to a close.


Cedary/woody notes lingered in the background during the last third. Like before, coffee and nutty flavors continued to dominate the flavor profile. Up next was an unidentified sweetness. The spice and pepper lost most of its punch but it let me know it was there. The smoke remained creamy and coated the inside of the mouth.



This was a good medium to full bodied cigar. Overall I enjoyed the flavor profile and despite it not changing a lot, I didn’t get bored. My final verdict is that the Don Lino 1989 Maduro is worth trying, just don’t expect to be wowed.

Playboy By Don Diego

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I can’t recall where I came across the cigar up for review today. Apparently I picked some up and threw them into the pile of cigars to be reviews. The only information I have is that the Playboy is a brand by Altadis. Without further ado, I grabbed a glass of water and bring you my thoughts on the Playboy by Don Diego.


Wrapper: Connecticut

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: $7 to $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

Overall the cigar looked nice. The wrapper had a few small veins, and smelled basically like cedar. The foot had a woody, sweet smell to it. The entire cigar was firmly packed, with only a small soft spot or two. The pre-light draw was free, and had hints of cedar  and earthiness.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held just short of an inch.



The first third consisted of a simple woody flavor with earthy undertones. The smoke feel became somewhat creamy with a toasty aftertaste.


The second third didn’t offer a lot of change. A buttery component entered the flavor profile, and went nicely with woody and toasty notes. The earthy undertones remained. There wasn’t anything more to it than that.


The buttery flavors picked up in the last third, while the toasty aftertaste remained the same. The earthy undertones went away for the most part. The woody flavors remained at about the same strength as before.



This was a good mild cigar. The flavors told me it was a typical Connecticut wrapped cigar. There wasn’t really anything new brought to the table. I could see this being paired with morning coffee. Anything other then that would probably bore me. My final verdict… If you like mild, simple flavored cigars, this one may be for you. As for me, I think for the price the Playboy should bring more to the table.

Don Lino Africa Duma

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Don Lino Africa Duma… I have no useful information about it. I bought it, threw it into my “To be reviewed” humidor (this is where I keep cigars to be reviewed), and forgot about it. The blend looks interesting, so I grabbed the usual glass of water and smoked a couple Don Lino’s.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Cameroon, Dominican, Mexico, Nicaragua

Size: 5 x 50

Price: $6 to $7.00



Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The cigar was evenly packed, and the wrapper had minimal veins or flaws. The smell of the wrapper and foot was a little hay-ish. The pre-light draw had a little resistance, and had a sweet grassy/earthy taste.

The burn required no corrections. The ash sometimes would hold for about an inch, but other times it would drop off without warning.



The first few puffs of the first third were sweet, smooth earth. It didn’t take long for other flavors to introduce themselves in the form of coffee and cocoa, and slight woody notes. These flavors pushed the earthiness way into the background. I picked up a slight sweet spice when exhaling through the nose.


Sweet, woody, coffee and cocoa flavors dominated the second third. Coffee and cocoa varied in intensity. Sometimes the other flavors would increase and decrease in strength at a random pace. The smoke feel became very smooth and somewhat creamy.


The last third had an increase in body, but remained in the upper medium range. A unique sweet flavor was introduced that I couldn’t put my finger on. It may have been a mixture of cocoa, coffee, and wood combined to create an interesting flavor. For the most part, mocha was the dominant flavor. The smoke feel remained smooth and slightly creamy.



Overall I enjoyed this medium to upper medium bodied cigar. The flavor profile changed up enough to keep me from getting bored, and was overall pleasant. I would recommend this cigar and say give it a try.

Tabacos Baez Serie SF

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

This cigar is from Don Pepin Garcia. What turned me on to this smoke was the price, the blender (Pepin), as well as the good reviews by Jerry and Chris. A friend of mine Matt pointed me to a decent deal, so I took a chance and picked up a box from a site supporter, Bonita Smoke Shop. I’m always searching for a good economical daily cigar. Let’s see how the Tabacos Baez Serie SF rates.


Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan (70% long filler, 30% short filler)

Size: Toro 6 x 50

Price: $41.90 for a box of 20 or around $3.00 for a single.



Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was a little rough looking and bumpy, but had no major flaws. It had a basic earthy sweet smell. The foot had a similar smell with a slight spice. When I squeezed the cigar, it was a little spongy with a couple soft spots. The pre-light draw was free, and the flavor reminded me of hay.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held for a little under one inch.



The first third started with a smooth pepper. After a few puffs a slight sweetness joined in, with a mild earthy undertone that was hard to detect at times. The smoke volume was nice, with fairly large white cloud plumes.


The second third didn’t see any major changes. The flavors essentially stayed the same. The spicy pepper had a slight increase in strength and bite, but kept it’s smoothness. The sweet flavors remained, but I couldn’t pin down an exactly what the sweetness tasted like. And like before, very slight earthy notes lingered in the background from time to time.


Like before, there wasn’t anything major to mention, but I’ll mention it anyway. The sweetness developed into a dry cocoa type of flavor. The spicy pepper was nice, and didn’t change at all. The earthy notes almost went away, but I noticed them from time to time.



This is a good medium bodied smoke. Although one dimensional, I enjoyed this cigar. It is easily worth the price, and lately I find myself reaching for one of these when I just want a simple relaxing smoke. If you are looking for a good budget cigar, this one is worth trying.

Don Pepin Garcia – My Father

Friday, January 1st, 2010

I’ve been wanting to try this cigar for awhile. If you don’t already know… I consider myself a big fan of most Pepin blends. When I ran across the My Father line at The Tampa Humidor, I had to grab some for review. The quick story is Jose “Don Pepin” Garcia and his son Jaime created this blend. This father/son duo are machines, pumping out many blends like the Cuban Classic, Series JJ, and many more. As always, I paired this cigar with water and jotted down my thoughts…


Wrapper: Ecuador

Binder & Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 5.2 X 52

Price: Around $10.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper looked great, with virtually no flaws whatsoever. Sniffing the wrapper and foot reminded my of an earthy, slightly spicy odor. The pre-light draw was good, and had a sweet earthy taste. The cigar was evenly packed with tobacco, not too soft or too hard. To sum it up, this smoke looked great.

The burn required no corrections, and the ash held firm for about an inch.



The first few puffs were what I’ve come to expect from a Pepin cigar. Pepper. Good, smooth, has a bite kind of pepper. It didn’t take long for this cigar to hit it’s stride. Although the spicy pepper didn’t go away, it did mellow out and allow other flavors to come though. For instance… At times a nice chocolate/mocha would shine though. At other times a crisp toasty type of nuttiness would appear. There were woody undertones at times too.


The second third kept that nice smooth peppery spice. Sweet mocha notes stood in the forefront of the flavor profile. Like the first third, the smoke was crisp with nuttiness and an addition of occasional coffee. A lot of draws had strong woody flavors, and others did not. Towards the end of the second third,  the different flavors took turns at dominating the flavor profile.


The pepper really mellowed out in the last third. It was just smooth and sweeter, with a familiar zing you often get from Nicaraguan tobacco. Woody flavors often took the lead. At other times, nutty coffee-ish notes dominated. A slight sweet tingle was felt on the tongue and lips.



This was a damn good full bodied cigar. I liked the way the flavor profile quickly built up to a complex, full bodied experience. My only complaint is the price of $10.00 for a Robusto size. Price aside, I have to say WOW what a great cigar.

God Of Fire By Don Carlos 2005

Friday, December 25th, 2009

First things first… I need to mention this is the only God of Fire I have smoked. I try to smoke at least two or three cigars before doing a review. The exception here is that considering the God of Fire lines are essentially from Fuente, I am confident that there is consistency between cigars. On top of that, this thing costs $19.00. is on a budget.  If I am off base call me out.

Apparently the God of Fire lines are released annually and in limited quantities. They come in 3 sizes and two blends. One is by Don Carlos, the other by Carlito Fuente. For whatever reason, I picked up the Don Carlos version awhile back and let it sit in my humidor for a few months. Let’s see what the God of Fire has to offer…


Wrapper: Ecuadorian

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 5.2 x 50

Price: Around $19.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

Overall the wrapper looked nice, with small veins and some discoloration. Under the band I noticed a small tear in the wrapper leaf, but it appeared to be only cosmetic. When I sniffed the wrapper and foot, I got a familiar earthy, barn type of odor. the pre-light draw was perfect, and had a sweet natural tobacco taste. The cigar was packed consistently with no hard or soft spots.

The ash held for a little over an inch, and the burn required no corrections.



The first third didn’t really have a warm up time like many cigars do. I was immediately hit with peppery spice. It was smooth, but if you are a novice, it may be a little much. As for me, I enjoyed the peppery kick. It didn’t take long before a sweet woody flavor appeared and that summed up the first third.


The sweet spice remained throughout the second third, but a lot of the punch went away. Woody/cedar flavors took the lead. Very slight nutty notes were way in the back ground. The smoke feel became thicker and coated the mouth. A creaminess enveloped the entire flavor profile as I progressed through this third. Although I can’t accurately describe the aftertaste, I can only say it was good and lingered for a minute or so.


As the last third started, I noticed the volume of smoke increased. With that, earthy notes lingered behind woody flavors. The peppery spice picked up slightly in strength and the sweetness reduced a  bit. It remained very smooth but kept a good punch. Some draws were very creamy, others were not.




This was a damn good full bodied cigar. My only complaint is the price. I can’t justify spending $19.00 on a robusto. Price aside, the flavors were very good. The entire flavor profile was refined and smooth. If these were much cheaper, I would definitely smoke more. If you have the money to drop on the God of Fire, I say try it.

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