Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

“A cigar good enough to bring a blogger out of retirement!”

The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown is essentially a perfectly executed cigar. Its band is attractive enough to catch your eye and say “Try me, I’m new!”, but unrequited enough to say “Not just a marketing gimmick”. And if that’s not enough for a talking cigar, its price point (around $5.00 for a Robusto) screams “Why the heck not?”.

I arrived back in the States from a month long vacation in Europe to find the cigar cupboard was bare. I stopped by the closest cigar store in town and immediately picked up the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown. I hadn’t read, or heard, anything about the cigar, so I was going off pure raw instinct. I wasen’t really expecting much, and to be perfectly honest, after smoking a Cuban a day (sometimes more) for a month straight, my palate was pretty shot.

What I found in this little gem was a smooth, flavorful, spicy and satisfying smoke. I immediately said to myself, could I have just stumbled upon the best cigar I had smoked all month? Could this 5 dollar cigar from ‘wherever’ be better than all those Limited Edition Cubans I had just smoked?

It turns out the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown is a Nicaraguan Puro, meaning it’s entirely made from Nicaraguan Tobacco. It’s key point being its Sun Grown Wrapper from the Estelli region.

The foot of the cigar smells of hay, berries and molasses, while the center of the wrapper had a distinctive scent of mint.

Upon lighting the cigar I was greeted by slight notes of white pepper, a grassy earthy core, some toasted wood, and a red grape finish.

The center of the cigar transformed into a delicious combination of leather and cocoa, with intermittent bursts of mint.

The final third of the cigar exhibited a dark chocolate and leather profile, along with espresso flavors, and a red pepper spice.

The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown is a phenomenal cigar, and a tremendous value, easily worth double or triple the asking price. Alec Bradley, who’s Prensado was recently named Cigar Aficionados Cigar of the Year, has become a powerhouse in the Cigar Industry, which allows them the flexibility to further market their brand with a fantastic smoke like this, for a very low price. It reminds me of software companies who give their products away for free in order to quickly gain market share, and attract new customers.

The ultimate winner in this scenario is you, the cigar smoker, who gets a fantastic cigar, 93 points (IMHO), at an insanely affordable price. Not only that, but it brought one of your favorite cigar bloggers back to the web! 馃檪


Published in: | on November 5th, 2012 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

Punch Double Corona – #8 Cigar of the Year

Cigar Aficionado is in the midst of revealing their Top 25 Cigars of 2011: Top 25 Cigars of 2011 Since I have been aging a box of the #8 rated cigar of the year, I figured it was time for a proper review.

Before I get to the full review, there are some important facts to note about the Punch Double Corona:
-Most aficionados rate this cigar as one of their favorites to age for at least 10 years. A young cigar will have under developed flavors and a touch of strength. A mid aged cigar may enter into a vacuum period, where the flavors are almost non-existent in the first half of the cigar. A fully aged cigar will exhibit a refined smoking experience that is complex and rewarding. The aging process has intense effect on these cigars, perhaps more than any other habanos.
-A fully aged Punch will exhibit a classic flavor throughout the cigar that is rich, soft and elegant. The cigar smoker is enveloped in a cocoon of smooth and creamy smoke, with flavors of toasted cedar wood, rich cocoa and a dried flowers.
-These cigars are so elegant, you really must sit back and relax to fully savor all of its flavors. If you were walking the dogs or playing golf while smoking, you would likely miss much of what this cigar has to offer, as it’s rich and rewarding flavors are very subtle, and require a keen palette and ample attention to fully appreciate.
-One of the most unique aspects of this cigar is its silky smooth mouthfeel. The smoke coats your mouth like a fine red wine. This texture is unique to the Punch brand of cigars, and most prominent in the double corona size.

The Punch Double Corona I smoked today is just short of fully aged at about 8 years. Therefore the first third was very light in flavor, the middle third was mild to medium, and the final third was brimming with flavor.

The Punch Double Corona had pre-light flavors of cedar and hay.

The first third was extremely light, with faint flavors of toasted wood, coffee and a hint of mint. Flavors of nutmeg and light cedar, with a herbaceous aroma, also appeared toward the end of the first third.

The second third exhibited subtle notes of dark fruits, with a vanilla sweet spot in the very center of the cigar.

The final third increased dramatically in overall flavor, and provided a bouquet of dried flowers, rich cocoa, roasted nuts, dark fruits, sweet caramel and toasted wood flavors. Delicious!!! 馃檪

The Punch Double Corona teases the smoker for the first third, before it’s aphrodisiac flavors of vanilla and dark fruit awaken your senses at the midway point. It then settles into a sensual smoking experience that will have you holding on until the sweet flavors burn your lips. Hard to live with (aging), and hard to live without (smoking), the Punch Double Corona is a Cigar Coniseurs dream.




Published in: | on January 3rd, 2012 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Punch Double Corona – #8 Cigar of the Year

Montecristo Gran Reserva @ Chez Panisse Cafe

For my first review of 2012 I enjoyed what may be the most in demand cigar of the year; the Montecristo No.2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005.

This stellar cigar was first provided to connoisseur’s on the Gala Evening of the XIII Habanos Festival in Cuba. The rest of this limited release of 5000 boxes are just hitting stores now (Dec 2011), which may explain why this is the first review of this highly anticipated cigar you will find anywhere.

I started off the day with a lovely late afternoon lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley, CA. Chez Panisse opened 40 years ago and is known as the birthplace of the Northern California farm-to-table movement, with it’s focus on sustainably-sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients.

I enjoyed a wood fired pizza with wild nettles, caviar and cr猫me fraiche, followed by an outstanding organic chicken saltimbocca. The pizza was creamy, soft and delicate, and the chicken was the most mouth watering I have ever eaten. The outstanding meal laid the groundwork for an outstanding smoking experience.

The Montecristo No 2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005 is an exquisitely crafted, 5 year aged beauty, from the finest fields of the Vuelta Abajo region, produced by the most senior rollers at the H. Upmann factory.

The Montecristo Gran Reserva starts off with flavors of deep rich cocoa, purple plums and raisins. There is a sweet nuttiness to the extremely smooth texture, with strong floral notes on the retrohale. This is a rich & refined smoke, with layers of flavors harmoniously lapping against your palate.

The center of the cigar exhibited flavors of mocha, fine white spice, molasses and caramel.

The final third of the Gran Reserva was lighter than the rest of the cigar, with predominate notes of cocoa and salty aged tobacco.

Overall, if you love the Montecristo No.2 and are looking for a deeper, more refined version of that cigar, then this is a must try. I purchased 2 of these cigars for $150.00 each, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. I will say however, that for the price point, there are other cigars I would prefer to smoke, such as the Cohiba Gran Reserva, the Cohiba Behike and the newer Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011.

In summary, the Montecristo Gran Reserva is a 96 point cigar, and while the first half was outstanding, with it’s deep fruit flavors and refined floral notes, the second half left something to be desired, and was a little too soft and delicate for my taste.





Published in: | on January 2nd, 2012 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Montecristo Gran Reserva @ Chez Panisse Cafe

Happy NYE with the Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill & Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs

Here we are with just under 6 hours left in 2011. I grabbed a Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill and a bottle of my #1 favorite champagne, the Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs.

Looking back on 2011 some events clearly stand out for me:
-I proposed to the love of my life on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and she said “Yes”. 馃檪
-We had a wonderful month long vacation in Europe; UK, Paris, Lyon, South of France, Barcelona, and Madrid.
-I have almost finished paying off the ring. The De Beers Aura Cushion Ring ain’t cheap!
-I played a Christmas Day Flag Football Game on a high school football field. My Cousin Alvaro and I went head to head and I caught a touchdown pass! I almost caught a 2nd but my foot was on the line.
-I had a successful year at work where we managed 20% growth in this difficult economic climate. We are now poised for a successful IPO next year with predicted growth of 25%.
-I also finally completed my CISSP exam, the most trusted Computer Security Certification in the world.

I also remember once putting together a little taste test while soaking in a bubble bath in my hotel room up in Napa. I had 3 bottles of my favorite champagne’s:
-Perrier Jouet Flower Bottle
-Veuve Clicquot (Orange Label)
-Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs

Amazingly, the most inexpensive of the 3 won out. The Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs, at just under $20.00 a bottle is an outstanding celebratory spirit with flavors of Asian Pear, White Chocolate, Orange Blossom and a silky mouthfeel.

The Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill, as I’m sure most of you know, is an outstanding cigar. You can read my full review here: Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill Review

I formally propose a toast to everyone reading this. Here’s to remembering a wonderful 2011, and wishing you and your families an even better 2012!

Happy New Years, from Memoirs of a Cigar!!!





Published in: | on December 31st, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Happy NYE with the Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill & Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Blancs

Montecristo “A” & Chimay Grande R茅serve

The Story of Baby Huey.

There once was a man named Howard, who drove a big yellow work van and installed Hardwood Floors for a living. One year for Halloween the 350+ pound Howard came over our house dressed in only a diaper, and carried a baby bottle filled with beer. Everyone called him Baby Huey, and the name stuck. From then on he was always known as Baby Huey in our house.

As a kid, of all my Dad’s friends, Baby Huey was my favorite. The man was the strongest I had ever seen, and he could rip through an entire telephone book with his bare hands! I’m serious! He would fold the book up so that it was twice as thick, he would wrap his massive hands around the sides of the book, and slowly tear the book in half. Needless to say we never had a phone book around our house for very long.

One year my Dad took me on a fishing trip up to the Delta with Baby Huey. We went out on the boat and stopped in a cove with some fallen down trees near a long bridge. I remember watching a train go over the bridge and counting over 150 cars before loosing interest. As we were preparing the fishing poles Baby Huey took a huge piece of chicken liver and wrapped it around his hook. I said “isn’t that too much bait?”, to which Baby Huey famously replied “Big Bait, Big Hook, Big Fish!”.

I guess Baby Huey was right, because we came across a school of catfish and had the best day of fishing in my entire life. We must have caught close to 25 catfish in under an hour. It seemed like as soon as the bait hit the water, you would have a fish on the hook and have to reel him in and bait up again. One fish was so big it literally snapped my pole in half as it went under the boat! I then graduated to a full size adult pole from that day forward. A pole with a big hook.

The Montecristo “A” had me hook, line and sinker. Add a massive bottle of Chimay Blue to the mix, and I was as helpless as a fish out of water.

If you haven’t yet smoked a Montecristo “A”, you are missing out on one of the finest smoking experiences imaginable. Launched in 1971, the Montecristo “A” was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the Most Expensive Cigar in the World.

At 9.2 inches long, the “A” is a 2 to 3 hour smoke, but the experience is so magical, the time will go by much too fast. Soft and supple flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, plum and raisin immediately notify your palate that you are dealing with a masterpiece from the very first puff. The cigar also exhibits a creamy herbaceous finesse that is quite remarkable. Honey sweet cedar wood is sprinkled with white pepper spice for the connoisseur’s delight. And that is just in the first third. First Third = 100 Points.

Honestly, the format of the Montecristo “A” is the real hero. It essentially stretches out the flavors over time, so that each flavor can stand on its own for several minutes, rather than smoking them all at once, as with a smaller cigar. This allows you to truly savor each amazing flavor with full focus, while bathing the smoker in intoxicating aromas.

The start of the 2nd third is marked with the amazing experience of pure vanilla bean. Flavors of roasted coffee and then sweet hay soon follow. The very center of the cigar is laden with dark rich chocolate for a mouth watering experience. Bread soaked in honey followed by sweet cedar wood and elegant white pepper spice with an amazing aroma. Second Third = 100 Points.

The final third was slightly heavier with a leathery texture. I noted some red pepper, earth and honeyed wood. Roasted coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and sweet cedar wood with a long finish. While still an outstanding smoke, the final third was not as elegant as the rest of the cigar. Final Third = 98 Points.

The Montecristo “A” is impeccably constructed, the ultimate in refinement, and the pinnacle of elegance and finesse. The presentation is as spectacular as any cigar could be; coming in its own private cigar coffin revealing a gorgeous Montecristo. The burn was perfect and the draw with just a touch of resistance. The flavors were truly outstanding, with the final third a touch heavier then the rest of the cigar. I would have to rate this cigar at 100 points for the first 2 thirds, and at 98 points for the final third due to the heavier flavors, for a final overall score of 99 points, but for a $100 cigar, the experience was priceless.





Published in: | on November 25th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Montecristo “A” & Chimay Grande R茅serve

Sancho Panza Belicoso

The Sancho Panza Brand of Cuban Cigars were founded in 1852, and were obviously named after the faithful squire of Don Quixote. As with the story of the Montecristo Brand being traced back to the Count of Montecristo, which was read to cigar rollers working in the factory, I imagine the Sancho Panza’s name was picked up in similar fashion.

The enormous “A” size cigar in the Sancho Panza lineup may have been a tribute to the “Lance” of Don Quixote. Also, the Sancho Panza Belicoso (which I am smoking today) is a bit on the fatter side, as Se帽or Sancho Panza was a bit hefty as well. 馃檪

The Sancho Panza Belicosos starts out with mild flavors of sweet cedar wood and light creamy tea notes. Toward the center of the cigar, flavors of creamy coffee, roasted nuts and herbaceous notes are added. The final third of the cigar returns to its sweet cedar and tea flavors.

The cigar is devoid of any spice, save for a few hints of paprika in the center, however the lack of pepper spice is instead substituted with a very pleasant salty note, that shines throughout the cigar.

The flavor profile of the Sancho Panza’s are definitely a cigar for a refined palette. A smooth and creamy, subtle yet flavorful Gentleman’s Cigar. I’m sure Don Quixote would have approved!

Note: If you are looking for a powerful after dinner Cuban Cigar, these are not for you. The Sancho Panza Belicoso is best suited for a mild mid-day smoke, or a light after breakfast treat.




Published in: | on November 21st, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Sancho Panza Belicoso

La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale

If you read my blog, you would know its no secret that I am an avid La Gloria Cubana fan. From the original, to the Series R, to the Artesanos de Miami Artesanos de Miami review, to the Obelisco, to the extremely limited Series R Gigantes Serie R Maduro Limitada Gigante review that only come in the EPC Humidor 2006 Serie R Limitada Humidor review, I am proud to say I have smoked every La Gloria Cubana ever made.

I have made a ritual out of visiting their flagship store on the corner of 8th & 11th in little Havana, whenever I am in Miami, and I have even drank their in house cafe cubano, along with a smoke of course La Gloria Cubana Factory review.

Their newest release, the La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale, or LGC Retro ESP, features a stunning Honduran Connecticut Wrapper that is dark golden in color, and a new Cigar Band that is very attractive.

The La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale smells of dried yellow hay, and starts off with light flavors of hay and earth for most of the first third. It took a while for the core flavors to kick into full gear, but by the end of the first third the flavors really began to shine.

Dried hay, lemon meringue cream, white pepper spice and light cedar wood, intermixed with alternating bursts of sweet caramel and earthy peanut. The cream and wood flavors lay on the tongue, and the caramel and peanut flavors seem to coat the cheeks. The dried hay and white pepper spice are most apparent on the retro-hale, and creep up the back of the throat and into the nose for a very pleasant smoking experience.

The final third mellowed out into a dry earthy smoke, with yellow hay and just a touch of white pepper spice.

Overall I was very satisfied with the newest La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro ESP. It’s a dry, creamy, medium bodied smoke that is complex and full of flavor. 92 points.




Published in: | on November 12th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale

Best of France vs. Best of Cuba: Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011

I was working out of our UK office earlier this summer, when I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker at a pub over a pint. We were discussing the quality of French food, and he, being French, let me in on a little secret. “Every other country in the world exports their best food, but not in France. We keep all the best, and we export the shit!” he said.

I was quite shocked, and a bit amused, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It explains why you can grab a baguette and a $5.00 bottle of wine anywhere in France, and it’s the best bread and wine you have ever had.

After London I went to Paris and when shopping in the supermarket I came across a huge selection of Rose Wines, and I said to myself, it was the largest selection of Rose’s I had ever seen. I noticed they were all quite affordable and I wondered how they could sell them all so cheap? Then I remembered the secret, they “keep all the best, and export all the shit”. Well, that explained everything.

Cuba has an amazing product too, Cigars, and for many years you could only pick up the Cohiba 1966 in Cuba, as a gift from the Cuban Government. However, this year they have released the Cohiba 1966 as an Edici贸n Limitada, allowing a prized national possession to be exported, for the first time.

The Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011, released to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Cohiba brand, is truly an outstanding cigar. It’s a double robusto with a pig tail cap, and like all Edici贸n Limitada’s, it’s made with the finest tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba. All the tobacco used; wrapper, binder and filler, are aged at least 2 years, and it’s specially grown dark and flavorful wrapper comes from the top of the shade grown black Cuban tobacco plant called Tapado.

The Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011 starts off with deep rich cocoa flavors, that are soon joined by a touch of cedar wood and sweet hay. I also noted nutmeg and walnut in the background, with a dash of white pepper on the finish.

The center of the cigar was a wonderful combination of chewy and leathery flavors consisting of sweet hay, floral notes, rich esspreso, and that classic Cohiba grassy quality with some sharp tanginess. The smokey aroma is quite intoxicating, like a floral perfume. I wish you could catch and bottle the smoke. It’s that good!

The final third of the cigar exhibited a continuation of the wonderful flavors with the grassy Cohiba notes and overall strength increasing. There was also a noticeable saltiness on the tongue and lips.

Overall the Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011 was phenomenal, and one of my favorite all time smokes. I paired it with a nice bottle of Rose from the C么tes De Provence region, and so I experienced the best of France & Cuba together in perfect harmony. I could honestly smoke one of these everyday, and I wish I had purchased a box of 10, but alas, I just have my memoir of this fabulous cigar, with a classic rating of 98 points!





Published in: | on November 4th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Best of France vs. Best of Cuba: Cohiba 1966 Edici贸n Limitada 2011

“Battle of the Lancero’s” – Illusione HL Cafe Colorado vs. Illusione HL Maduro

The Illusione HL series, which stands for “Holy Lance” and is obviously a play upon words for ‘Lancero’, comes in the following 3 Wrapper Varieties:
-Cafe Colorado (brown)
-Maduro (dark brown)
-Claro (green)

For this weekend edition of “Battle of the Lancero’s” I will be smoking the Original Cafe Colorado vs. the Nicaraguan Maduro. Being an avid Lancero lover, I couldn’t resist these beautiful looking Lancero’s. I would have smoked all 3, but the cigar shop had just ran out of the famed green wrapper Claro’s.

During any Cigar Battle, it’s important to ensure an even playing field, and so I paired these 2 cigars with Perrier Citron. I personally believe Perrier Citron to be one of the best drinks to accompany a cigar tasting. The Bubbles and the Lemon Lime both cleanse the palate, and it’s neutral taste at room temperature provides all the hydration your mouth needs without interfering with the cigar flavors.

Let the Battle begin!

First up, the Illusione HL Cafe Colorado Lancero. The cigar starts off with a few nice puffs of milk chocolate, and then transforms into a core of toasted cedar wood. Spice is provided by white pepper, and delicate floral notes can be observed in the background. By the 2nd third the floral notes have mostly subdued, leaving it’s core flavors of toasted cedar wood, white pepper and milk chocolate. The final third changed dramatically into a deep, leathery smoke, with flavors of oak wood, herbaceous notes and a slight touch of sweet raisins.

Overall I would rate the Illusione HL Cafe Colorado Lancero at 91 points. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor profile of the first two thirds, and while I found the final third interesting, it seemed out of character when compared to the rest of the cigar.

Now for Round 2, let’s light up the Illusione HL Maduro Lancero. The cigar starts off with a massive dose of white pepper spice that completely overwhelms the palate. Shortly thereafter notes of plum, walnuts, and oak wood come through, followed by a slightly sweet caramel finish. By the 2nd third, the white pepper spice dies down a bit to reveal a sweet core of caramel, walnuts, cocoa, oak, leather and earth. By the final third the white pepper spice has almost disappeared, and the cigar has become a sweet caramel coffee powerhouse of a smoke. The core flavors of oak, earth and dark plums are presented for the final stretch, with a walnut caramel finish.

Overall I would rate the Illusione HL Maduro at 89 points. While the cigar had wonderful flavors and complexity, it lost points for balance, as it was overwhelmed by the white pepper spice and intense strength. This may be the strongest, most full bodied Lancero I have ever smoked. If you love strong maduro cigars, you should definitely check this cigar out. Just make sure that you, and your palate, are prepared, as this is a powerhouse of a smoke.

And the winner is…

I would have to award the original Illusione HL, with it’s cafe colorado wrapper, as the winner. The white pepper, milk chocolate and floral notes made for an outstanding smoke. While the Maduro version was an intriguing smoke, it was a little too strong for my personal preference. However, both of these Illusione Lanceros were complex and flavorful, and I would gladly smoke either of them again.

Published in: | on September 18th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on “Battle of the Lancero’s” – Illusione HL Cafe Colorado vs. Illusione HL Maduro

La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochino

The next time you walk up to the counter of your local cigar store you might notice a cute display of 3 La Gloria Cubana Cigar’s tied together with a yellow bow, in a very nice looking coffin box with a see through top. Like me, you might pick it up, view it from all angles, put it down, then pick it up again and take it home. The outstanding presentation of these 3 cigars exemplifies marketing perfection, but don’t let the perfect marketing fool you, these cigars are not only great to look at, they’re wonderfull smokes as well!

Team La Gloria has been rolling out some very innovative marketing campaigns for it’s new cigars lately, but in my opinion the La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochino takes the cake, both on presentation and in flavor.

The cigars themselves, which are 6.5 inches long with a 46 inch ring gauge, are Lancero’s. They are a little shorter and a little fatter than your standard Lancero, but are Lancero’s none the less.

The Rabito De Cochino, which means pig-tail in Spanish, comes with a tightly wound pig-tail cap on top, and more interestingly with an un-cut foot underneath. When lighting the uncut foot you are presented with the full flavor of smoking the wrapper, before you even get to the actual blend of the cigar, which makes for a wonderful cigar tasting experience.

The La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochino presents a masterful blend of spicy cedar wood, espresso, light chocolate, cream and beautiful finish with strong notes of nutmeg. The cigar alternates from creamy to spicy several times while smoking, all while maintaining it’s core flavors and it’s intriguing nutmeg finish. It’s the clearest example of nutmeg in any cigar I can recall smoking, and it’s actually quite wonderful, allowing you to slow down and enjoy each and every exhale of the cigar.

The La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochino, with it’s yellow ribbon, and it’s little coffin box, would make an excellent cigar gift, but make sure to buy a second one for yourself, as these are really great smokes. 92 points!

Published in: | on September 12th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on La Gloria Cubana Rabito De Cochino

Kurt Kendall’s 7-20-4 Torpedo & La Binchoise Reserve Speciale from Ales Unlimited

While driving my new 2012 Lexus RX in San Francisco yesterday, I happened upon a little corner store with a Chimay Sign outside, amongst a slew of other Belgian Ale signs. I immediately pulled over realized I had stumbled into the best Belgium Ale Store in the city!

Ales Unlimited, located at 2398 Webster Street in San Francisco, has an enormous selection of rare Belgian Beers. The owner is extremely friendly and knowledgeable of all the beers in the store, an unbelievable feat in itself. I picked up about 10 bottles of new Belgians I had never had before, along with some Strawberry and Black Pepper Chocolate.

Today I decided to pair a new cigar with a new Belgium Christmas Ale, the La Binchoise Reserve Speciale.

La Binchoise pored a hazy copper colored beer with a foamy rock white head that left a thin layer of foamy lace around the glass. The beer had flavors of caramel, malt, yeast and golden fruits, which included an orange zest. The mouthfeel was slick and thin and went down extremely easy.

The La Binchoise Reserve Speciale was a great Christmas Ale, which paired amazingly well with my cigar. Overall I would give this Belgian Beer an “A” rating, which is quite impressive considering I don’t usually like Christmas Ales that much.

Kurt Kendall has recently released a new line of cigars leveraging an old cigar brand from Pre-Embargo times in the US, with a funny name, the “7-20-4”.

The Kurt Kendall 7-20-4 Torpedo has pre-light flavors of earth and maple syrup from the wrapper, combined with coffee and chocolate from the blend

The first third of the cigar exhibited flavors of cedar wood, coffee, chocolate and cream. At the end of the first third it added flavors of pepper and sweet oak.

Toward the middle of the cigar, core flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and pepper were present, with waves of cream splashing on the palate. In between the waves of cream a long finish of salty spice was apparent. These alternating waves of creaminess and saltiness continued throughout the cigars finish, with it’s wonderful core flavors underneath.

The Kurt Kendall 7-20-4 Torpedo was a wonderful winter cigar, which paired amazingly well with my La Binchoise Reserve Speciale Christmas Ale. I would rate the cigar at 92-93 points.

Published in: | on September 6th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Kurt Kendall’s 7-20-4 Torpedo & La Binchoise Reserve Speciale from Ales Unlimited

Scarface Blue-Ray Limited Edition Gift Set with Humidor on sale 9-5-2011

The Scarface Blue-Ray Limited Edition Gift Set with Humidor goes on sale 9-5-2011 for $1000.00 each.

But if you Pre-Order TODAY ONLY, the price is $699.00.

You can Pre-Order at the following:
Scarface Blue-Ray & Special Edition Humidor

Additional information on the Humidor: “…for the ultimate collector and cigar enthusiast, a hand-crafted Scarface-themed humidor will be made available in an exclusive, never-before-available, limited gift set edition. Created by the renowned Daniel Marshall, the humidor’s exterior is hand painted and polished with the Marshall’s trademark “1000 coat brilliant finish.” The interior 鈥 made with untreated Spanish cedar 鈥 will properly condition and age approximately 100 cigars at optimal humidity levels. Limited to 1,000 worldwide and priced at $999.99, each individually numbered humidor comes embellished with custom medallions inspired by the iconic film and includes a certificate of authenticity.”

Published in: | on September 5th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Scarface Blue-Ray Limited Edition Gift Set with Humidor on sale 9-5-2011

Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada

In 2008 Cigar Aficionado named the Casa Magna Colorado Robusto it’s #1 Cigar of the year. The cigar was remarkable, not only for it’s taste, but also for it’s price, which was just over $5.00 wholesale.

Shortly thereafter, Casa Magna released their 2nd cigar, the Casa Magna Oscuro, which added a Honduran Maduro Oscuro Wrapper to the original cigar.

Now for 2011, Casa Magna is back with a completely new blend, the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada. The Cigar comes in 2 sizes; Optimus & Maximus (essentially a box pressed Robusto and a box pressed Churchill). The cigar is made entirely from Nicaraguan Tobacco including a wonderful Sun-Grown Jalapa Valley Wrapper.

I have smoked both sizes of the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada, and I can tell you it’s a phenomenal cigar. It’s extremely complex, with flavors changing almost faster than I can note them down. It’s a masterful blend which is smooth and balanced.

The foot of the cigar smells of rich chocolate and hay. Upon lighting I noted sweet cedar wood, tea notes and cinnamon spice. Toward the end of the first third a lemon citrus flavor presented itself in the background.

The spice continued to build and the lemon citrus flavor in the background seemed to merge with a black cherry note into the second third. These wonderful fruit flavors were then enveloped into a rich chocolate flavor at the midway point, with sweet cedar wood and spice in the forefront.

The final third alternated between the rich chocolate and lemon citrus flavor backgrounds, with sweet cedar, tea and spice as the core profile.

The Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada is one of the best new cigars I have tried this year. It’s a medium to full bodied box pressed cigar with an extremely complex flavor profile. It retails for around $9.00 a stick, but I would happily pay double that price for a great smoke like this. I would rate the Optimus at 93 points and the Maximus at 94 points.

Published in: | on September 5th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada

Back from Europe with the EPC Edicion Inagural 2009

So I’m back! Back from a 1 month long vacation in Europe, followed by 2 months of getting caught up on bills and work. I smoked so many great cigars in the UK, France & Spain, and in so many cool places. I have a ton of reviews to get caught up on.

I am a firm believer that when your on vacation you should go big! Eat whatever you want, drink all day if you want, and smoke as many cigars as you want. I definitely lived up to that saying, almost too much. By the time I got home I needed a brake from cigars. I guess that’s what 2-4 cigars a day for a month straight can do to you.

Now that I’m back, feeling good and relaxed, it’s time for a great smoke. The Ernesto Perez Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009, one of my all time favorite smokes. This was the 1st Cigar Ernesto released under his new brand, EPC Cigar Co. It’s an amazing cigar, and essentially sold out almost everywhere. I happened to stumble across a few of these aged beauties at Hemmingway’s Cigars in Palo Alto last week, and so I was able to pick up a few.

When the E.P.Carrillo Edicion Inaugural 2009 was first released, I was at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. I took some killer pictures and did a poetic review of the cigar here:

The cigar is just as good now, with notes of sweet cedar wood, toasted nuts, and a beautifully balanced oatmeal flavor. The smoke is creamy and chewy. At the midway point the cigar adds beautiful floral notes on the exhale, and some dried fruit notes of black cherry, raisins and papaya have been expertly blended into the profile.

Both the draw and burn are perfect, and the bright white ash hangs on for as long as you can resist the temptation to flick it down into your ashtray. Perfect construction aside, the flavors are main draw to this VIP Cigar Event. I could honestly smoke one of these everyday and not get bored. An excellent cigar, as you would expect from Ernesto Perez Carrillo, which I would rate at 94 points!

Published in: | on August 27th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Back from Europe with the EPC Edicion Inagural 2009

La Flor Dominicana El Museo

After work today, my God Brother and I took a trip to our favorite Barber. I had my first haircut post Toni&Guy, which is an expensive, high end, salon in the Bond Street area of London. We then stopped by Pasta Pasta in San Mateo, where they make the most amazing pasta fresh daily. I picked up a pound of fresh red bell pepper linguini and fresh vodka cream sauce, and headed home to cook it for two minutes in boiling water. After dinner I felt like a cigar, so I retired out to the patio with a glass of Paul Masson VSOP and a $30.00 Cigar, the La Flor Dominicana “El Museo”.

The La Flor Dominicana El Museo is a limited edition cigar made by Litto Gomez and La Flor Dominicana. It comes in an amazing humidor graced with beautiful artwork by Ramon Toledo, a Cuban-American Artist, and proceeds from the cigar go to support the El Museo del Barrio, a New York Museum.

The La Flor Dominicana El Museo is beautifully constructed with a rare Habano Leaf Wrapper grown in the Dominican Republic. The cigar is a dark, rich chocolate color and is spongey to the touch. The wrapper smells of rich chocolate, cinnamon and honey in the center.

Upon lighting I was greeted with a smooth chocolate flavor blended with floral notes. The floral aspect was interesting as it was a deep rich chocolate floral blend, which was quite unique. It proceeded to add tobacco, earthiness and leather to the chocolate floral notes.

The center of the cigar maintained the rich tobacco and earthiness flavors, which were followed by the sweet chocolate floral notes. The cigar produced tons of smoke and left a sweet floral honey flavor on the palate after each puff.

The La Flor Dominicana El Museo was a very pleasant medium bodied smoke with excellent construction and a fragrant floral blend. Being that the cigar was gifted to me by Hemmingway’s Smoke Shop in Palo Alto, and that I’m not a huge Litto Gomez fan, I came into this cigar without preconceptions and without the expensive sticker shock. If you love the spicy powerful cigars of Litto Gomez, you might find this cigar a bit too mild for your tastes. Also, you might regret the expensive price tag, although at least some of the proceeds went to charity. Overall, the La Flor Dominicana El Museo was a good satisfying medium bodied cigar that I would rate at around 92 points.

Published in: | on July 19th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on La Flor Dominicana El Museo
Next Page 禄