Archive for the ‘series’ Category

Xikar HC Series Connecticut Grande

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

This is the last cigar in sampler pack that Xikar sent to me. They wanted my opinion on their new Grande size HC cigars, and I accepted the offer. I appreciate them giving me the chance to review these cigars. The blend is has not changed. The only difference is the size. Will the new large 6×60 taste different then the Robusto? Read on and see. As always, I paired this review with a glass of water.


Wrapper: Connecticut shade – Ecuador

Binder: Sumatra

Filler: Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua

Size: Grande 6 x 60

Price: $9.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had soft, smooth, look to it. At the same time, it had a toothy component as well. The wrapper had an earthy barnyard odor. The foot shared that same smell, but had a spicy component. The cigar was evenly and solidly packed. The pre-light draw had slight resistance, and a smooth earthy and slightly sweet flavor.

The burn was a little crazy for the first half, and required quite a few significant corrections. This isn’t a common characteristic of this cigar. It just happened during the cigar I chose to review. Call it Murphy’s law. This is a hand made product, and these things can happen to any cigar. The ash held for almost two inches.



The flavor in the first third was pretty simple and straight forward. There was an dominant earthiness with woody notes hiding in the background. The smoke feel left a slight coating in the mouth, but it was dry as well. I found myself drinking a lot of water. When passing smoke through the nose, there was a nice peppery spice. While it had a slight zing, it was still fairly mild and easy.


The second third held that core earthy flavor, but it took on a creamy, buttery component. The dryness went away and I stopped feeling parched. The pepper remained and developed a little more zing that separated it from most Connecticut wrapped cigars. Eventually I started to pick up notes of nuttiness, and it mixed well in the flavor profile. Everything really came together in this third.


The last third continued where the second third left off. A rich melding of nutty, buttery, and earthy flavors dominated the flavor profile. Like before, the smoke was creamy and coated the mouth and lips. The pepper kept it’s zing, but it smoothed out quite a bit. It was a pleasant, easy relaxing experience. Very nice…



This was a very good medium to upper medium bodied cigar. It may have even crept into the full range. While it shared a lot of typical Connecticut flavors, there was something about it that separates it from the pack. I could easily smoke this in the morning with coffee, or in the afternoon after a meal. It is pretty versatile and could fit the bill at almost any time of the day. Thanks again to the guys at Xikar for letting me try these cigars!

Xikar HC Series Criollo Grande

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The fine folks at Xikar donated a few smokes for me to review. I reviewed this very same cigar before, but in a smaller size. They recently came out with the new Grande size for those who enjoy larger sized cigars. We all know that size sometimes does matter when it comes to the flavor of a cigar. So I was curious if that would be the case this time. As you know by now, I paired up with the standard glass of water, and here’s my thoughts…


Wrapper: Shade grown criollo – Nicaragua

Binder: Sun grown criollo – Nicaragua

Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

Size: Grande 6 x 60

Price: $9.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The light tan wrapper was smooth looking and had light to medium sized veins. The odor from the wrapper woody and sweet. The foot was similar but had some earthiness as well. Overall, the cigar was evenly packed, and bounced back when squeezed. The pre-light draw was free, and has notes of wood, earth sweetness.

The burn required quite a few corrections on this particular cigar. The other 3 I smoked didn’t have any issues. The ash held for almost 2 inches.



The first third started off with a simple, smooth, earthy tobacco taste. It didn’t take long for a mildly sweet peppery spice to enter the picture. The spice became thick feeling, and had a nice zing that wasn’t over the top. The smoke feel became sweet and creamy as this third came to a close.


The second third changed a little in terms of flavor. The earthiness was still present, but at times it would fall into the background. In it’s place was a sweetness that was somewhere in between mocha and caramel. It leaned more towards the caramel side. The spice didn’t change when exhaling smoke though the nose. The smoke left a nice sweet coating on the inside of the mouth and lips. Simple but nice.


The last third didn’t introduce any new flavors. It stayed pretty consistent with the second third. At times certain draws were sweet, while others were more earthy and crisp. Other then that, it was very consistent.



This was a very good medium to full bodied cigar. Thanks to Xikar for letting me try this cigar, since they are pretty hard to find here in St. Petersburg, FL. I didn’t mention, the smoke volume was plentiful and thick. You’d want to smoke this outside, or in a well ventilated room. This cigar makes a nice afternoon or after dinner smoke. There wasn’t any major differences in flavor of the Grande or Robusto. It basically boils down to your size preference. If you run across the HC Criollo’s in any size, I’d recommend pickup on a few.

Contest! Win a HC Series Grande Sampler

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

The fine folks at Xikar are giving you a chance to win a HC Series sampler in the new Grande size. (6 x 60).




Usually when I hold a contest, it is a simply matter of entering and waiting to see if you won. This time we thought it was time to switch things up a little bit.

That’s not to say entering is difficult. All you have to do is take your best picture of you smoking any of the Xikar HC Series cigars. Get creative, do your best pose or whatever you can think of, and send it in. If I were allowed to enter, here’s all I could come up with. I’m sure you could do better than this, but if not, enter anyway!

DSC05743There are only a few rules, and entering couldn’t be easier.

You must:

1) Be at least 18 years of age.

2) Live in the United States of America.

3) With your picture submission, please include your name, date of birth, and mailing address.

4) You can only enter the contest once.

I can assure you that ALL of your information will be kept confidential. We will treat it the way we would want ours to be treated.

Email your submission to

The staff at Xikar will review all the entrees, and pick their five favorites. The winning five people will all receive a sampler pack of the HC Series Grande.

So take the best picture of you smoking any HC Series cigar by Xikar and enter now! And lets not forget to thank them for generously sponsoring this contest!

Xikar HC Series Habano Colorado Grande

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Matt and I reviewed this cigar awhile back, but in a different size. Xikar recently expanded the size of the cigar to the new Grande 6 x 60. Before you ask… Yes size sometimes does matter. You can take the same cigar blend, and the Churchill will be different from the Lancero or Robusto.

That is why I was happy when Jerry, Bob and David from Xikar offered to send me some samples of the new Grande size. I was curious to see if the size would effect the flavors of this line. I still have to review the HC Series Criollo and Connecticut in the new size, so stay tuned for that.

For more info on Xikar, and their HC Series cigars, check out their informative website. As always, I paired this cigar with water.


Wrapper: Habano Colorado

Binder: Esteli

Filler: Costa Rica, Jalapa Honduras

Size: Grande 6 x 60

Price: $9.50


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper looked nice, with an oily sheen and minimal veins. The smell coming off of the wrapper was sweet with mild spice. The foot had a mild barnyard-ish odor, which isn’t a bad thing. Overall the cigar was very firm and evenly packed. The draw was ever so slightly snug, but fell within my tolerances of being good. The pre-light draw was a sweet natural tobacco.

The ash held for about 1.5 inches, and the burn requires a few minor touch-up’s.



The first third had an easy woody flavor that diminished in strength as time went on. Through the nose, I was detecting a pepper that wasn’t too strong, but it did have a nice zing to it. The aftertaste was a smooth earthy natural tobacco.


During the second third, the overall flavor profile really seemed to come together and smooth out. The smoke volume increased quite a bit. A nice sweetness entered the flavor profile and at times it resembled mocha. Woodiness lingered in the background, and coffee notes would come and go. When passing through the nose, that easy pepper was still there. It had a nice kick to it that wasn’t over the top. Later it took on a sweet, almost cinnamony feel. The aftertaste became sweet and a bit creamy.


The last third had some differences when compared to the 2nd third. The overall flavor profile was dominated by mocha-ish flavors at times. On other draws there was a mixture of woody notes, coffee and pepper. Some draws had a creamy feel, others had a dry, crisp feel. The smoke coated the mouth and tongue with a sweet spice. Blowing smoke through the nose had that familiar sweet peppery spice as well.




Let’s get this out of the way first… You haters may think I’m pandering to Xikar because I got these cigars for free. While Xikar has been good to me for a long time, they know I only give honest opinions. After all, that’s all this site is, a place to give my opinion on cigars. I’m pretty sure they would want nothing to do with me if I were to lie.

Obviously the Grande was similar to the smaller size Matt and I reviewed last year. There were some subtle differences though (you’ll have to watch the other review to compare). The Grande seemed to have more of a ramp up period, if that makes sense.

What it boils down to is if you like cigars in this ring gauge. I thought it was a damn good upper medium to full bodied smoke. The flavors were good, and there was no harshness or anything bad. This slow burner is worth a try, and I give it a thumbs up. Thanks again to Jerry, David and everyone from Xikar for sending these cigars out to me!

TeAmo World Selection Series-Cuba Blend

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I found this cigar at a random local shop. From what I’ve read, the original TeAmo blends were Mexican puro’s. The World Selection Series features tobacco from multiple regions. I grabbed a glass of water and offer you my thoughts on the TeAmo World Selection Series – Cuba Blend.


Wrapper: Criollo

Binder: San Andres

Filler: Criollo

Size: Robusto 5 x 54

Price: Around $3.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The tan wrapper had a few medium to large veins, giving it a somewhat rugged look. Overall the cigar was evenly packed with a slight sponginess. The wrapper had a mild earthy odor, while the foot had almost none. The pre-light draw was a little stiff, and had an earthy, woody taste.

The burn was pretty bad in the first and second third. The last third burned fine. The burn issues are not consistent with the other cigar I had. The ash held on for about an inch.



The first third had a mild earthiness mixed with a cedar. A very slight sweet spice was noticed when passing the smoke through the nose.


The second third had minimal change in flavor. The mild earthy cedar remained dominant. The mild sweet notes also remained unchanged. Other then the addition of coffee notes, there was an occasional bitterness that I didn’t care for.


Surprise… Not a lot to mention in the last third. The flavors basically remained the same. The occasional bitterness became more frequent, and the smoke took on a slight harshness. It wasn’t a strong harshness, but just enough for me to notice.



This mild cigar began with promise to be a decent morning smoke. Overall I just don’t care for the flavor. It just seemed unbalanced and…well, lame. Maybe your mileage will vary. I won’t consider smoking any more of these cigars…

Xikar Contest-Time is running out!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

For those of you who already entered the Xikar contest, ignore this post. For the rest of you, WHY haven’t you entered the contest yet? It’s easy enough. Just go HERE and leave a comment. You may want to check out our review of the Xikar HC Series Habano Colorado while you are there. Soon the contest will be over and I’ll pick two random winners.

HC Logo

I don’t know how long these raffles will continue, so take advantage while you can! Speaking of raffles… I am already working on the next giveaway. I’ll reveal the details in the near future. Just trust me when I say, it will be a great prize. Stay tuned!

Xikar HC Series Connecticut Shade

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

This is the final installment of my Xikar HC Series reviews. As you saw before in the reviews of the Criollo and Habano Colorado, I really enjoyed them. This line is touted as the milder of the 3 blends, although Xikar says it is slightly stronger then your typical Connecticut wrapped cigar. For more info, make sure to visit their website. Although I tend to gravitate to fuller bodied cigars, I still often enjoy a good mild cigar. I looked forward to trying the Connecticut shade. With my usual glass of water, I got to smoking.

Once again, I’d like to thank Xikar for sending me these cigars to review. I’m glad they were confident and took a chance. Let’s see what I thought of the Xikar HC Series Connecticut Shade.

HC Logo  

Wrapper: Connecticut shade – Ecuador

Binder: Sumatra

Filler: Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: $8.50


Pre-smoke & Construction:

Giving the cigar the ol once over, I found it visually appealing. The tan wrapper had a few medium veins running throughout, but most were small. The wrapper and foot had almost no odor. I could only pick up a slight woodiness. The pre-light draw had a little resistance, and had very mild natural tobacco and earthy notes. Inspecting the cigar further, I found it was somewhat tightly packed with no soft or hard spots. This probably accounts for the resistance in the draw. Keep in mind, the draw wasn’t bad, just a little tight.

The burn required no corrections at all, and the ash held for well over an inch. After lighting up, I found that the draw was fine despite being a tad bit tight.



The first third began with easy earthy notes. I detected a nice peppery spice when passing through the sinus. The pepper was very smooth and on the milder side, but it did have a small punch to it. As I dug further in, the smoke feel became a little creamy with a toasty finish.


The second third kept those earthy undertones I spoke of before. Layered on top of that was a creamy smoke feel with buttery notes. That peppery punch remained but really calmed down to a much smoother sensation. I noticed a toasty finish at the end of the exhale. The smoke itself seemed to coat my mouth but wasn’t lip smacking.


The last third didn’t offer too much change. The earthy undertones remained with smooth, mild peppery spice. The creamy smoke feel became a little thicker and coated the mouth. A slight sweetness entered the flavor profile to round things out. The dry toasty finish remained and had me craving water. This didn’t detract from the overall experience.



This was a good mild to medium cigar. It packs enough punch to satisfy a seasoned smoker, but is simple and mild enough for perhaps a beginner to try. All in all, I really enjoyed this cigar. I think this would go great with morning coffee, and even makes a good after lunch smoke. Although some aspects were typical, this isn’t your average Connecticut wrapped cigar. I say give it a try.

Xikar HC Series Criollo

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Jerry and Andy from Xikar hooked me up with their new HC Series cigars to review. They were given the standard disclaimer – I’ll call it like I see it. They were up for the challenge and soon I found myself with two cigars from each blend.

First I tried the Habano Colorado and thought it was a hit. Next up is this review, the Criollo. This will replace the Defiance. As with the other Xikar blends, Jesus Fuego in conjunction with the folks at Xikar masterminded all 3 lines. The blends on the Defiance and Criollo are similar, but do have subtle differences (I think). With a clean palate and water, I bring to you my opinion of the Xikar Criollo.

HC Logo

Wrapper: Shade Grown Criollo – Nicaragua

Binder: Sun Grown Corojo – Nicaragua

Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua

Size: Robusto 5 x 50

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-smoke & Construction:

Overall, the cigar looked a little toothy (lumpy) with small to medium veins. The wrapper and foot had subtle odors of earth and wood. The pre-light draw was free, and had notes of earth, wood, and natural tobacco. When pinching the cigar, I found a couple soft spots that were minimal and not of concern.

The burn required quite a few corrections in the first two thirds, but evened out in the last third. the ash held for an inch.



The first third began with an overall rich taste. Peppery yet sweet notes were noticed when passing the smoke through the sinus. I started to pick up woody and earthy notes as I progressed further into this third. Like my experience with the Defiance, a sweet, rich, and “thick” flavor would appear and then go away. I never pinned it down accurately, but it was pleasant.


The second third began with the pepper calming down quite a bit. That thick sweetness became a little more consistent and was like caramel. When exhaling through the sinus, the sweetness was very noticeable and had some zing to it. The earthy flavors went away for the most part, but I did notice it from time to time. As things came to a close, the smoke feel became creamy. Overall this third was very enjoyable.


As the last third got underway, the smoke took on a cooling effect with an earthy tinge. The thick caramel remained, but it did thin out a little. As I progressed towards the end, the flavor profile seemed to taper down and simplify itself as if it was winding down.



It is always enjoyable and a little stressful when a company wants me to review their cigars. The more confident they are in their product, the more afraid I am that I will end up giving it a bad review. I had high expectations for this cigar, and it delivered. If I had to complain, I’d have to pick the burn corrections. But even that wasn’t to the point of getting on my nerves. This was a solid medium to full bodied cigar. I could easily smoke this at lunch time or dinner. It was just an easy, yet flavorful cigar. Thumbs up!

Xikar HC Series Habano Colorado

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Not too long ago, Andy and Jerry from Xikar contacted me about the new HC Series cigars. They simply wanted my opinion on Xikar’s new cigar blends. Next thing I knew, two sampler packs arrived and it was time for me start reviewing. To the people at Xikar – Thanks for letting me try these smokes! Hopefully I enjoy them like I do the Defiance line. Stay tuned, still have the Connecticut Shade and Criollo to review.

On to the cigar… Jesus Fuego was once again tasked to blend Xikar a new line of cigars known as the HC Series. I tend to enjoy his blends, so lets see if that trend continues. As always, I’m paired up with PUR filtered tap water.

HC Logo

Wrapper: Habano Colorado-Jalapa Valley

Binder: Esteli

Filler: Costa Rida Jalapa Honduras

Size: Robusto 5×50

Price: Around $8.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

Overall the cigar was well constructed. The shiny wrapper had no visible flaws, with medium sized veins. When sniffing the wrapper, I was reminded of a barn. The foot also smelled of a barn, with a touch of pepper. The entire cigar was firmly packed, yet offered a decent draw with a bit of resistance. The pre-light draw had a dark, earthy taste.

The burn was almost perfect and I never had to touch it up. The ash was strong, requiring a firm tap on the ashtray at around an inch.



Right out of the gate, the first third began with strength and said “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” When retrohaling, I could easily detect pepper and sweet notes. A hint of earthiness hung around but it was very subtle. As I wrapped up the first third, mocha or chocolaty flavors reared it’s head. Very nice…


The second third began with the pepper mellowing out quite a bit. The sweetness remained, as did the mocha. Like the first third, earthy notes lingered but were subtle. The main change was mocha became the dominant flavor.


The last third was great. The flavors really came together and melded nicely. All of the flavors mentioned before were there, but none stood out over the other. It was like they were equal in strength and the recipe was complete. A touch of peppery spice, mocha, earthiness, and strength all in one. As my fingers started to burn, I realized it was time to reluctantly put this cigar down.



I’m sure you gathered that this is a full bodied cigar, no question. Although it wasn’t the most complex flavor profile I’ve had, I can’t penalize it for that. Overall it was a full, rich tasting cigar that I really enjoyed. Even on an empty stomach, I had barely a nicotine buzz and no queasiness. My only complaint is the price. $8.00 for a robusto is a little steep for me. I will admit you get a good bang for your buck. This is a cigar I think most full bodied smokers will enjoy. Even some of you light to medium guys could probably enjoy this. Jerry over at The Stogie Review loved it. See what he had to say HERE.

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