Illusione Holy Lance Maduro

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My background with the lancero vitola is one of suspicion. I entered the cigar world with several preconceived notions, none of them particularly well-founded. One of those dealt with the relationship between ring gauge and power of a cigar. It sounds ridiculous to say, but I believed that larger cigars were somehow more legitimate. Over time, I came to understand that in reality larger ring-gauge cigars are often less flavorful, encounter burn issues with greater frequency and just perform poorer in general to their smaller ring-gauge counterparts.

Still, I had myself convinced that I wouldn’t like the lancero size. I attribute this in part to a misguided belief that the vitola was gimmicky: no true cigar was that small, it being a counterpart for extremists on the opposite end of the spectrum from the 60+ ring gauge behemoths. I also identified them with cigarettes, which I personally hold some aversion to (though nothing against those who do enjoy them). So, when I first encountered the, I felt a conflict fotbollsskor webshop of emotion. Here was a vitola that I had villainized in my own mind, yet I was attracted to the stick. I can attribute this in some small way to my penchant to pick up sticks that I think look particularly attractive, but there was something else as well. Call it a hunch.

Make no mistake, this is a very attractive stick. A mottled, dark brown wrapper suggests age and complexity despite (or perhaps because of) a somewhat rough texture. The band is bold yet classy, with abbreviated gold lettering on a field of black and red. Like all Illusione sticks, the effect stops just short of understatement and inspires a desire to explore further. Also like all Illusione sticks, the smell coming off this one is very enticing. It is chocolate and earth, a combination that is always promising in a maduro. The pack is firm, with very little give and no inconsistencies. There are some noticeable veins, but nothing which takes away from the attractiveness of the stick. After cutting, The cold draw offers the same chocolate and earth flavors as the aroma, but definitely trends toward the chocolate.

The first light offers notes of sweet hay and nuts which deepen as you get into the first third. There is also a small amount of leather, though it is billige fotballsko Nike downplayed in comparison to the other flavors. The retrohale gives more of the same, though it does so without any unpleasant heat, which to my mind is quite an accomplishment. Further, I am impressed with the smoke production, which is quite substantial even in the windy conditions in which I am smoking.

As I graduate to the second third, the leather condenses into a tasty milk chocolate flavor which keeps the nuts and blends the two for a smooth, rich smoke that lingers on the palate. This produces the interesting effect of moistening, rather than drying the mouth. I did not feel as though I required the water I brought out to pair with this stick at all. The strength of the stick also ramps up a bit here, and by the end of the second third I definitely have a slight buzz, though nothing unmanageable.

The final third follows the logical progression of the stick, providing a thick dark chocolate flavor which takes over from the milk chocolate and nut. Though it is difficult to discern more subtle flavors from the draw at this point, the retrohale offers a slight layer of black pepper to the dark chocolate. The effect works nicely and I highly recommend that you do this if you are partial to the retrohale technique, because the pepper continues to linger and provide balance to the sweetness. Strength remains steady at the medium-full present in the second third, which is great if you find yourself getting light-headed from an unexpected nicotine kick. As for me, I nub the hell out of this stick with great satisfaction.

I was incredibly pleased with the flavors of the stick, and the construction was equally impressive. Lighting was effortless and burn remained consistently sharp throughout my the smoke. The cigar also remained cool, allowing me to fully appreciate all of billige fotballsko på nett på the rich flavors present in the cigar, correcting yet another misconception of mine that lanceros would produce a hot, thin smoke. Draw was great to the finish, offering just the perfect amount of resistance.

The Illusione Holy Lance Maduro was both a treat and an education. After smoking this stick, I view the lancero in a completely different light, transforming it from a vitola I attempted to avoid to one that I will specifically seek out in the future. This was also a great example of a well-blended stick that showcases the benefit of smooth and expected transitions. Was I surprised by any of the flavors as the stick progressed? Not really. But that didn’t take away from the complexity of the smoke, and besides, when it tastes this good who wants anything else? The Illusione Holy Lance Maduro is yet another excellent offering from Illusione, and a stick you should definitely enjoy for yourself.

Paired With: Water


Four Kicks Sublime

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For the past year I have heard quite a bit about the Four Kicks by Crowned Heads, though rarely directly. People often refer to this cigar as one of the best they have had, yet almost as if they are hesitant to let anyone else in on it. When I saw a box at my local shop, I knew I had to give it a try, and immediately.

The appearance of the Four Kicks is absolutely beautiful, with a dark tan wrapper, tight seams and subtle veins. The band is elegant, with a deep burnished gold color which features impressed filigree and a køb billige nba trøjer distinct deep red focal point with underplayed white lettering. It looks like nothing so much as an engraved pistol given that you would present to a man of honor in the old west. The images of crossed firearms certainly play up this imagery, yet not overzealously. It features a dense pack with only a slight amount of give, and cutting and toasting were effortless.

Upon first light the Four Kicks teases its favors, offering up a light, sweet hay flavor with a finish of aged tobacco. This rapidly opens up as you get into the first third, where distinct notes of dried cherries, raisin, and even a brief hint of baked apple permeate. The combination with the lighter flavors really makes the dried fruit in this segment pop, and everything is well layered. You will taste everything distinctly, yet the transitions are smooth, so you never feel as though anything bullies its way to the forefront.

The second third of the cigar keeps the sweetness, but the subtle fruit flavors disappear and are replaced with an incredible leathery flavor that grows in intensity from light to very robust. I am not joking when I say that this leather is substantial, and I could not have been more pleased. Leather is often hidden behind other tastes in a cigar, but here it is the centerpiece. If you happen to be smoking this cigar in a brown leather recliner, you will not be able to tell where you end and the chair begins. It is a sensation that is, as far as I have experienced, wholly unique to the Four Kicks.

The final third retains some leather, but it lowers in intensity to reveal toasted pecan, a bit of cappucino, and trace hints of luscious milk chocolate. These flavors play very nicely with the leather that coats the palate in the second third of the cigar. The new flavors definitely play the female role in the dance koszulki nba sklep upon your taste buds, but like any good partner they contribute both to the beauty and the direction of the waltz. The retrohale at this point offers up a little nutmeg and vanilla, though you will have to focus to pick them out from the plethora of tastes that make up this last portion if the stick.

The smoke production from the Four Kicks is substantial, but not overwhelming. You would have no trouble smoking this inside your man cave or smoking lounge of choice. It does, however, continue to produce smoke from the foot whether you are drawing it or not. Aesthetically speaking, this is very pleasant.

Construction in the cigar is absolutely flawless, offering a slightly firm draw that nevertheless doesn’t make you work for it. The burn is immaculate, and I do mean razor sharp. Further, I very much appreciate the fact that this stick doesn’t require a babysitter. You can easily set this one down for two minutes or more and pick it right back up to enjoy rich, cool smoke without the need for a relight. This is easily one of, if not the best performing smokes I have ever enjoyed. I always hesitate to use the word “perfect,” yet it is hard to describe this cigar as anything else.

I should also touch briefly on the theme of this smoke. This is a cigar that begs to be enjoyed at the end of some grand adventure, even months or years later. I would almost go so far as to say that this one should be smoked alone for the meditative quality of the experience. if you are going to enjoy it with a friend, it better be a close one. I picked this one up without thinking to much about it, and almost felt guilty that I didn’t have a specific occasion for it. That being said, this cigar is an occasion unto itself, and perhaps the only reflection necessary is upon the incredible experience that you will no doubt have with this stick. This is a definite buy if you can get it, and is worth seeking out specifically if you are so inclined.

Paired With: Dr. Pepper

Recommended: Yes

Bunnahabhain 12 Year

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Bunnahabhain 12

I received the Bunnahabhain 12 Year as a birthday present, and in all honesty I had never heard of it before that. However, I did know that it was an Islay, and I love me some Islay. I am a huge fan of the basketbal kleding kopen smoky peat that is characteristic of the whiskeys on that fine island, so I knew I was going to enjoy this one. However, what I was not expecting was the intricacy of flavor that manage to shine through the traditionally overpowering smoke.

The unexpected characteristics begin with the nose of the Bunnahabhain 12. It is expectedly intense, yet incredibly warm. Where many Islays give off an almost campfire-like aroma, this was a vaguely metallic honey smell. This was not a sharp tang, but something maillot de basket nba pas cher like shined brass, old and tangy. There were also some extremely subtle hints of something akin to burning leaves. It was extremely pleasant, and set the stage for the enjoyable flavors to come.

And man, did they ever come. A sip is initially dominated with the Islay smoke, but subsequent tastes unveil some more fruit-oriented notes. Again, everything is very crisp, like biting into a granny smith apple, but without the sourness. It sounds contradictory, but there it is. There is also some sweetness, proving that the honey scents were not deceptive, though I would be lying if I said it was particularly noticeable. I was also pleased that for the metallic tones in the nose were not present in the taste. For though they were a pleasant addition to the aroma, I don

Cigar Mistakes You Should Avoid, Courtesy of Steve Saka

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The following are a list of items that Steve Saka, CEO of Drew Estate (and the man for whom Liga Privada was personally blended!) contributed to a thread I posted on focusing on cigar mistakes members had successfully avoided. I felt that his response was quite thorough, so I asked Steve if I could adapt it for this site. He courteously agreed, so here are his nine mistakes that smokers should avoid. Whether you are a new smoker or experienced, following these steps will definitely help you out. Personally, I had never heard of item #3, but have basketball trikots günstig already found it immensely helpful. So, thanks again to Mr. Saka, and enjoy!

1. Don’t overbuy in the first few years – your palette’s likes and dislikes will change dramatically and you will ultimately end up with a a lot cigars that, albeit good, no longer suit your fancy.


2. Understand that no matter how big your humidor, tupperdore or walk-in humidor may be, you will fill it and still not have enough room. It is just human nature – so determine a reasonable number of cigars to have on hand, create storage just a tad larger and learn to live with it.


3. Whenever you start to feel a little queasy, ingest something with a high sugar content – candy bar, juice, whatever – this will counteract the impact of the nicotine within minutes

Liga Privada No. 9 Toro

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The Liga Privada line from Drew Estate is fast becoming one of the most hotly sought after brands in the cigar world. That, compared with a persistent shortage of the Connecticut Broadleaf used in these cigars, means that when you get a chance to buy some, you do it if at all possible. And my friends, that is exactly what I did. The immediate purchase was, I will admit, due to the reputation and because I am a sucker for hard to find sticks. However, when it came time to choose my first smoke of 2013, the looks and aroma from the Liga No. 9 singled it out from all the rest of the cigars in my humidor.

And what looks they are! Even if you are not traditionally a Maduro fan, the aesthetics of this cigar are amazing. A thick, dark wrapper hints at the complexity and depth that you can expect from the flavors in this stick. The band, though simple, really jumps out due to the simplicity of the Liga Privada emblem contrasted on a predominant white background. The typography on the label looks like handwriting, as though this were a personal blend being shared directly with you, that is actually quite appropriate. The aroma coming off of this stick is palpable and fantastic. Rich scents of moist earth and wood add a gravitas to the stick which boldly states, “do not take me lightly.”

Mouth watering, I gave this stick a traditional cut so I could get as much smoke on the draw as possible. The cold draw was perfectly firm without being difficult, and offered up similar earthy scents to those I got off the foot. Lighting the cigar was simple even with my soft flame lighter, and I was glad of it, as many of the thicker Maduro wrappers make you work at toasting them. Once the foot glowed evenly, I was ready to begin smoking.

The very first puffs I took off the No. 9 were just as rich as the aroma from the foot and the cold draw suggested. However, instead of earth I was treated with incredible dark chocolate and a little bit of black pepper. The pepper immediately died down though, and the  smoke became smooth and lush. I could tell there was a little more hiding beneath the chocolate, and the retrohale proved me correct, revealing a subtle almond flavor that blended very nicely with the existing taste. I should also add at this point that the smoke on this stick is incredibly substantial. The foot on the cigar produces a billowing cloud even if you are not actively puffing. I love this, and don’t mind it even when smoking indoors, but I could see this being an issue for some. If you have anyone around you who particularly doesn’t like smoking, either hold off on this one or tell them to clear off.

The second third of the cigar kept the chocolate, though it dialed down to more of a milk billiga cykelbyxor chocolate flavor that allowed for a diversity of flavors to shine through. The almond revealed itself in earnest, as did tastes of nougat. When I really slowed down and paid attention, I also got some sweetened condensed milk. The retrohale at this point didnt give me much more than the regular draw, but again made the almond flavor more distinct.

The final third of the Liga Privada No. 9 finally did away with the predominant taste of chocolate, keeping only a little of that and some of the condensed milk, which gradually turned into cream. Taking the place of the chocolate was a black coffee flavor reminiscent of a fresh ground Sumatran roast. The layering of the flavors at this point was very interesting, for while cream was present, and coffee was present, it never tasted like coffee and cream. Instead, they remained distinct. This levně cyklodresy lingered for the majority of the remainder of the cigar, though on the last five or six draws everything finally coalesced into a thick maple syrup flavor.

Construction on this stick was impeccable, as it featured a razor sharp burn and consistent draw throughout. It never got warm until the nub, though at that point I was basically holding it with tweezers so that was inevitable. The Liga Privada No. 9 is unashamedly full-bodied, yet for all the depth of flavor it didn’t come close to putting me out of commission. I have smoked many less complex Maduros with more of an unnecessary nicotine kick. With the Liga  Privada, you’ll almost certainly get a buzz, but its not overcompensating for anything.

Overall this is one of those hard to find sticks that truly lives up to the hype. I want to tell you not to buy them, but only because I am worried you’ll get at them before I can. This is a stick that commands your attention (and that of anyone anywhere around you, for sure). When you can find them, grab as many as you can, because these smokes are worth it.

Paired With: Glenlivet 12

Recommended: Yes (but stay away from them, they’re mine!)

Flor De Las Antillas Robusto

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flor de las antillas (sans red band)

Before I begin the review of the Flor de las Antillas Robusto, I should mention something about my personal cigar buying habits. I am a big fan of presentation. When I see a cigar with a large outlandish band or outlet abbigliamento ciclismo some extra consideration put into another element of the packaging, I will fall for it. Fortunately, this leads me to several unique blends and is, I have found, as good a way as any to try new cigars that I know little about. Granted, I rarely go to the tobacconist with the intent to purchase one of these flashy bad boys, but once there I can be easily lured. This lead to my purchase of the Flor de las Antillas Robusto by My Father.

So, let