Sancho Panza at La Bodeguita Del Medio

Last weekend Chloe and I had dinner with her friend Nicole at La Bodeguita Del Medio in Palo Alto, which is an authentic Cuban Restaurant, Bar & Smoking Lounge. It is without doubt one of the best places in the San Francisco Bay Area to enjoy a fine cigar. It is also one of the best places in the world to enjoy a Mojito, as they have been serving them, most notably to Ernest Hemingway, in their Havana location since 1942.

For appetizers we ordered Marinated Olives & Cheese, Croquetas, and Plantain Chips with Black Bean Salsa. As a main course I ordered the classic Cuban Dish called Ropa Vieja, which translates means Old Clothes. It’s essentially shredded skirt steak which resembles a pile of old clothes. Its mixed with tomatoes, peppers and spices, piled on top of yellow rice, a surrounded by fried plantains.

After dinner we headed back to the Cigar Lounge which consists of a luxurious indoor smoking room, complete with walk in humidor, as well as an outdoor smoking patio which resembles a Cuban Garden. It was there that I indulged in a Old Cuban Cigar from 2003; the Sancho Panza Molinos Seleccion Delamonte.

Upon lighting my 9 year old Sancho Panza Molinos Seleccion Delamonte I was greeted with light flavors of coffee and chocolate. The cigar transitioned beautifully into a velvety and creamy smoke with predominant flavors of cloves and sweet cedar wood. As with a good aged Cuban, there were abundant vegetal notes throughout, accompanied by an intoxicating aroma. You can read my full review of this fabulous cigar here: Sancho Panza Molinos Full Review

Published in: | on April 7th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Sancho Panza at La Bodeguita Del Medio

Alec Bradley Family Blend No 1

I have been smoking the Alec Bradley Family Blend No 1 for a while now, but I have yet to give it a proper review. I first tried the Family Blend pig-tailed robusto at a cigar tasting a few years back, before they were officially released. I recall drinking a coca-cola while smoking, and found the sweetness in the cigar to pair well with the soda.

The Family Blend has been expanded to many additional shapes, sizes and blends, most notably the Alex Bradley Family Blend T11 Torpedo that recieved 94 points in Cigar Aficionado (see my review here:, but the Family Blend No 1 is the cigar that started it all.

The Alec Bradley Family Blend No 1 is a 90 point smoke that makes for a satisfying Saturday morning smoke. It’s mild and flavorful and pairs well with coffee and croissant. It starts of with creamy flavors of earth and nuts. There is also a molasses sweetness that runs through the entire cigar. The center of the cigar adds leather and cedar wood, and a light but long lasting pepper spice on the finish. The final third is predominately leather and cedar wood, with the sweetness still hanging in there.

All in all, the Alec Bradley Family Blend No 1 is smooth and creamy smoke with core flavors of leather, earth, nuts and sweetness. It’s a perfect choice for when you want a nice balanced cigar that’s not too strong, and not overwhelming. It’s clearly their core blend, and they have added additional strength and flavors to their subsequent blends of this cigar, if your in search of more of a punch with your smoke. Sometimes it’s nice to go back to the original flavors in a successful cigar line-up, and the Alex Bradley Family Blend No 1 is exactly that.

Published in: | on March 26th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Alec Bradley Family Blend No 1

Cohiba Esplendido

The Cohiba Esplendido is, in my opinion, a smoke best served poolside. For me this majestic smoke evokes memories of lounging by the pool at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Its a long smooth relaxing smoke that starts off light and flavorful and ends up putting you to sleep for a short nap in the sun. It’s dressed up in the finest wrapper leaf, Colorado Medio, from Cuba’s premier tobacco growing region, Vuelta Abajo. This silky, creamy, milk chocolate wrapper is extremely fragile however, so it’s common to have some burn issues with a little wind or by smoking too quickly which overheats the tobacco. But take it nice and slow, as you lay out by the pool, under your umbrella, order another mojito, or two, and you be rewarded with the king of kings, the Cohiba Esplendido.

The Cohiba Esplendido starts off with delicious light flavors of creamy cocoa and roasted coffee. Rich tobacco and smooth earthiness are expertly blended with a dried fruit musky taste, and hints of roasted nuts. Its deceptively smooth at first, and slowly, but elegantly, the Esplendido transforms into a fairly full bodied cigar. Its core flavor profile of sweet wood and earthiness are present throughout, along with cream, rich tobacco, roasted nuts and a floral aroma. At around the mid-point you can’t help but stop taking notes, as you completely and utterly surrender to it’s amazing flavors and relaxing qualities.

As with all big, strong Cuban Cigars, the Esplendido requires a minimum of 3 years aging. If smoked earlier than that, the cigar will undoubtably be harsh and bitter, still consumed with the ammonia taste of premature tobacco fermentation. In fact, the box I have now bears a 2008 stamp, and although the cigar I’m smoking now, in 2011, is perfect, all the ones I have smoked prior to today were too young, and left me perplexed and disappointed.

Additionally, the Esplendido carries the unfortunate title of Worlds Most Counterfitted Cigar, and so when you take into account it’s high demand, required aging, and propensity to counterfitting, you are more than likely to smoke an Esplendido that doesn’t live up to the hype. However, if your careful, educated and patient, the cigar gods will bestow upon you a magnificent smoke which you will never forget, the Cohiba Esplendido.

Published in: | on March 26th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Cohiba Esplendido

H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005

The H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edićion Limitada 2005 was originally released as part of the 2005 Edićion Limitada’s from Cuba. Cigar Aficionado had publicly asked for the cigar to be added to standard production in it’s 2005 review. Due to popular demand, H.Upmann eventually released it as an addition to their normal rotation in 2009 as the H. Upmann Magnum 50. In 2010 a Tubo version was also produced, of which we just ordered a box of 15. Today I am smoking my one and only “ORIGINAL” H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005.

The H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005 is a monster cigar; 6.5 inches long with a 50 inch ring gauge. It’s been aged 6 years now, and it’s wrapper smells of sweet hay in the center.

Upon lighting it delivers sensual Cuban spice, flavors of black cherry, caramel and sweet cedar wood.

At the 1/3rd mark it becomes noticeably stronger, with sweet cedar wood taking control, the addition of some cocoa notes and a leathery texture.

At its 1/2 way point it’s aroma is an intoxicating blend of light cloves and sweet cedar wood. I can inhale an entire mouthful of it’s sweet smoke through the nose with pleasure. Shortly after the half, the aroma blends into the flavor itself and I can taste the sweet wood and light cloves with caramel on the throat.

The final 3rd gave off magnificent flavors of shortbread, dried fruit, and fresh hay. Honestly, shortbread, dried fruit, and fresh hay in exactly that order each and every puff. Amazing! Toward the band I also picked up some flavors of rich chocolate and vanilla.

The H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005 is an outstanding cigar, which I would rate at 97 points. A big, strong Cuban, which still packs plenty of punch with 6 years under it’s belt. It will undoubtably age well for decades to come. It’s probably the best Edićion Limitada’s I have ever smoked! I can’t wait to compare it to the newer 2010 H. Upmann Magnum 50 Tubo’s we just ordered in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

Published in: | on February 24th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on H. Upmann Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005

La Gloria Cubana Serie N

Team ‘La Gloria’ has recently released 2 new cigars; the La Gloria Cubana Serie N, a large dark hefty cigar, and La Gloria Cubana Artesanos de Obelisco, a small pryamid shaped cigar. Both come in new interesting boxes. The Serie N comes in an octagon shaped box with layers of alternating cigars, 4 per layer, while the Artesanos de Obelisco comes in a beautiful fan shaped box. I recently purchased both of these new cigars, and tonight I am reviewing the Serie N.

The La Gloria Cubana Serie N is a medium to full bodied cigar that offers a lighter cigar then the Serie R. There is some confusion regarding the wrapper, with some calling it Equadorian Sumatra, however I believe it is correctly identified as a Nicaraguan Capa Oscuro Wrapper. There is also a light colored “N” that has been glued onto the wrapper, a first for a cigar.

The cigar has heavy pre-light flavors of molasses and maple syrup. It has a perfect draw and burn line, signifying perfect construction.

Upon lighting the La Gloria Serie N JSB you are hit with black pepper spice, leather and earth. Immediately you are aware this will be a powerful smoke. The cigar settles into a rich chocolate taste with toasted nuts. Some additional notes of licorice and cedar wood soon follow. At the center point the strength has diminished slightly and the cigar reveals a core of earth, leather, dry cedar wood and a touch of sweet fruit flavors, Black Cherries! The final third becomes creamy and supple and I would say the best yet. Wonderful flavors of black cherry are very apparent, along with leather, dry cedar wood and dark chocolate.

I found the La Gloria Cubana Serie N to be an extreemely satisfying smoke. A powerhouse of flavors, with a complex flavor profile that impressed me throughout. I would note that you should smoke this cigar very slowly, a I did, or you will risk running too hot and charring the flavors. I would also advise against over humidifying this dark cigar, as some have found them to become plugged at higher humidity levels.

All in all the new La Gloria Cubana Serie N is a great smoke, with a powerful maduro profile. The added notes of black cherries set this cigar apart from your typical smoke, and it’s earthy core makes it a perfect late night cigar.

Published in: | on January 30th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on La Gloria Cubana Serie N

Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso

“The Strength of a Linebacker, but the Balance of a Ballerina”.
-Memoirs of a Cigar (describing the Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso)

Today I smoked the #3 rated cigar of 2010, the Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso. It’s a Fuente Family Domimican Puro Short Belicoso, but its very long on flavor. What surprised me most about this cigar is that it was a fairly long smoke. This little cigar is packed with slow burning tobacco, and it’s massive strength demands a slow draw.

Cigar Aficionado is spot on with their review of this cigar. The Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso is full of strong flavors of leather and earth, with a touch of sweetness on the finish to balance out the strength. Its core leather and earth flavors are supported by some light spice and toasted bread notes. I also noted a touch of that woody bite that you experience with a good Scotch. I would guess some of the tobacco was aged in wooden casks to achieve such a taste.

This cigar is extremely strong! It made me a touch wobbly in the hour or so after the smoke. But the Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso is amazingly balanced for such a powerful smoke. I had mine on an empty stomach and no ill feelings as you might experience with a super powerful smoke. This is like having shots of a high end tequilla (my favorite being Clase Azul). You get the buzz your looking for, but it’s so clean their isn’t a bad hangover.

The Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso cost me $20.00 exactly, which is a great price for the #3 cigar of the year, and a great price for an Opus X period. For those who think I’m crazy calling a $20.00 cigar a good deal, let me remind you I live in California, where we have some very high tobacco taxes.

All in all, the Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso delivered as promised. A creamy full flavored Dominican Puro; with the Strength of a Linebacker, but the Balance of a Ballerina.

Published in: | on January 27th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso

History of the Mojito

Ahh, the Mojito. That refreshing lemon lime rum drink served on the rocks in the Summertime in tropical climates. A Cuban invention, which any Cigar Aficionado would agree, pairs brilliantly with a mild flavorful Cuban Cigar. A light and refreshing beverage that packs enough punch to get you buzzed. A fairly healthy drink with Mineral Water and Mint, a little sugar and a shot of white rum, which is one of the lowest calorie alcohols you could have. And Women love it too.

The Mojito was born in Cuba, although the precise moment of it’s creation is unknown. It’s likely that it was preceeded by a similar drink in the 16th century called “El Draque”, which was named after Sir Francis Drake. The El Draque was essentially a Mojito, except that it used a cheap, less refined version of rum, called Tafia.

Bacardi, who essentially perfected the clean distilled White Rum we enjoy today, started in Cuba. Alongside the “Cuba Libre”, Rum and Coke, which was heavilly marketed to the US Soldiers in Cuba at the time, the Mojito was also heavilly marketed by Bacardi and was touted as the drink of Cuba.

Most people would agree that the best Mojitos in the world can be found at La Bodeguita Del Medio, a Cuban Bar in Havana where they have been making the Mojito since 1942. Ernest Hemmingway used to visit the bar almost daily, and always ordered a Mojito. Amazingly, La Bodeguita Del Medio has a 2nd Location in Palo Alto, California, complete with Cuban Food, Walk-In Humidor, Cigar Lounge, and the famed Mojito.

During the Communist years in Cuba, Bacardi tried to remain in the favor of Fidel Castro and Che Guverra, however they eventually were targeted for appropriation, like so many other industries on the island, and so they left and re-incorporated in Puerto Rico. Bacardi is amazing in that their original production quality has never changed, even while being made in a different country. Once Bacardi had left, the Cuban Government switched the Mojito from Bacardi Rum to Havana Club Rum. I have tried Havana Club Rum, both as a shot and in a Mojito, and it is my personal opinion that the Bacardi version is far superior. I wouldn’t drink Havana Club Rum if you gave it to me for free.

My research into the Mojito led me to discover the exact recipe used by La Bodeguita Del Medio, both in California and in Cuba. The Recipe’s are the same except that in California they use Bacardi Limon, which I believe is the best choice of Rum for making a Mojito. The Lemon flavor adds a certain “Je No Se Que” the the overall flavor profile.

The iPhone App “Havana Mojito” which is produced by La Bodeguita Del Medio, teaches you exactly how to make the perfect Mojito. It is surprising how critical mixing the ingredients in the proper order can effect the final outcome. For example, Rum should be poured as the final ingredient, followed only by 4 Ice Cubes, and not stirred after. This gives the Mojito a slightly strong initial taste, which flows down into the refreshing conclusion. Adding seltzer water or club soda at the end will severly water down the taste. La Bodeguita swears by Pierrer Mineral Water, and so do I. Pierrer Lemon Lime is my favorite sparkling water to use when creating the perfect Mojito.

The Perfect Mojito Recipe:
-2 teaspoons of White Granulated Sugar in a Round Cylinder “Tom Collins” Glass
-Squeeze 1 half a fresh lime
-Add 2 full Sprigs of Mint, stalk and all
-2 large shots of Pierrer Mineral Water
-Muddle Well
-Add 1 large shot of Bacardi Limon
-Finish with exactly 4 Ice Cubes

There is a fabulous resturant called Dada’s in Del Ray, Florida, that makes amazing Blackberry Mojitos, which I have enjoyed several times during recent vacations. I also found a video online from Tom’s Bar in New Oreleans, that makes a famous Blueberry Mojito.

With Mixology seeming to break into the mainstream now, and being prominently featured in many of the new bars in Las Vegas, like the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan, today I decided I would try to modify the Mojito and add some fruit flavors.

Adding fruit flavors to the perfect Mojito just requires you to throw in the fruit of your choosing along with the Mint Sprigs prior to muddling.

I first tried making Blueberry Mojitos, which taste very similar to the original Mojitos with a small fruit twist.

I then went for the Dada’s approach of adding Blackberries, and the outcome was phenomenal. The taste, texture and color of these Blackberry Mojitos are the best I have experienced thus far, and my new favorite drink.

Other flavors could include, Blood Orange, Strawberry, Pommegranite and Watermelon. I’m planning on trying some more of these flavors this weekend, as time permits. For now the Perfect Mojito is the one championed by La Bodeguita Del Medio, with the addional Dada flavor of Blackberries.

The other wonderful thing about making Mojito’s is the cost. You can serve up a dozen or more Mojitos for a total price of around $20.00. I hope you try the recipe I have included, and make a dozen or so of these drinks for friends at your next party. I’m confident you will recieve many complements for how amazing your Mojitos taste, and you can take all the credit.

Published in: | on January 20th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on History of the Mojito

Flor De Rafael Gonzalez Marquez Coronas Extras

Flor De Rafael Gonzalez Marquez was formed by joining 2 cigar brands in the 1940’s, hence the run-on-sentence naming. La Flor de Marquez had been around since 1926, and merged with Rafael Gonzalez in 1945. These rare Cuban Cigars are manufactured in the Romeo y Julieta Factory from Tobacco grown in the Vuelta Abajo region. The brand is credited with inventing the Lonsdale format, which proved extremely popular at the time.

The Lonsdale cigar format was named in honor of Hugh Cecil Lowther, the Fifth Earl of Lonsdale, England, who was called “England’s greatest sporting gentleman”. Notably, a line of boxing apparel named after him, was worn by Muhammed Ali. He was often painted with cigar in hand or mouth, as he seemed very proud of the cigar bearing his name. Unfortunately, the Lonsdale format of this particular brand was discontinued in 1996.

The Flor De Rafael Gonzalez Marquez Coronas Extras has a pre-light flavor of dark fruits and raisens. Upon lighting the cigar I noted a solid balanced core that very much reminded me of Partagas. Black pepper spice and dark chocolate were immediately apparent, and were soon joined by green grass notes, nuts and a sugercane sweetness.

The cigar is said to be made with a delicate mixture of tobaccos from the Vuelta Abajo region, and in smoking the cigar, I believe this to be true. You can taste a green grass taste one puff, followed by a nutty taste the next. The cigar maintains it’s core of black pepper spice and chocolate throughout and is both sweet and spicy at the same time. I assume that a sweet wrapper and a spicy binder were used for this effect, but it’s difficult to be certain.

The Flor De Rafael Gonzalez Marquez Coronas Extra was an extremely interesting cigar that was very complex and balanced, with a revolving flavor profile, in a English Gentleman’s format. It was fairly mild in strength, but very satisfying in flavors and complexity, with an enticing aroma. I would rate this a 91-92 point smoke.

Published in: | on January 15th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Flor De Rafael Gonzalez Marquez Coronas Extras

Thoughts on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2010

Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2010 have been released, with the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 taking the #1 spot. I personally would have selected the Cohiba Siglo VI Grand Reserva as the #1 Cigar of the year, a cigar I rated at 99 points, but alas I have yet to smoke the Behike so I will reserve judgement until I do.

The #2 award went to an unheard of cigar, the Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5. On the day the #2 Cigar of the Year was announced I scoured the Internet in an attempt to buy a box. I guess my West Coast starting time led to my downfall, as I assume New Yorkers were able to quickly snatch up any available boxes. I even considered ordering from unknown (untrusted) online retailers, but alas every last site was sold out of these “hidden gems”.

The #3 spot was awarded to a previous #2 winner, in a different size, the Fuente Fuente OpusX XXX Belicoso. This is a shorter, and much stronger version of previous Opus X Cigars, whose prices are usually marked up substanially due to their insatiable demand.

The Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Natural was given the #4 spot. The Maduro version if this cigar, of which I bought the first box sold at Padrón’s Factory Store in Miami the day it was released, was the #1 Cigar of 2009. The Padrón scored 95 points this year, as did the #2 and #3 cigars before it.

I am actually most excited to try the #5 Cigar soon, the Camacho Corojo Churchill, which has a price tag of $6.85 and recieved a rating of 94 points. It’s wrapped in a Corojo Wrapper, which is very difficult to produce. I am not a big fan of Corojo Wrapped Cigars, but I’m hoping this cigar will change my mind.

I noted more high ranking cigars in this years Top 25 then in previous years. No cigar scored less than 92 points, and many cigars were $10 or less.

There were 10 Cigars at 92 points, 5 Cigars at 93 points, 5 Cigars at 94 points, 3 Cigars at 95 points, and 1 winner at 97 points.

There were 10 Cigars with prices under $10 dollars, and an additional 6 Cigars at $10 dollars and change. That’s a total of 16 Cigars for $10 and change on the Top 25 list, leading me to believe many brands are following the low pricing strategy that helped the Casa Magna Colorado Robusto land the #1 spot in 2008, over the higher rated Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years Maduro, one of my all time favorite cigars.

This years Top 25 List was in perfect order, with no lower rated cigars trumping higher rated cigars. There was alot of debate during the 2008 list about that fact, and I think Cigar Aficionado listened to the feedback it recieved from it’s subscribers. They did however help sway the industry into producing many more affordable smokes, as evidenced by the 16 Cigars in this years list at $10 and change.

Only 3 of the Top Cigars were Cubans; the Cohiba Behike BHK 52 at #1, the H. Upmann No. 2 at #9, and the Partagas Lisitania at #21.

I enjoyed this years Top 25 List, and have only smoked 11 of these exact Cigar in these exact Sizes. I look forward, as I always do, to smoking the rest of them, and hopefully I can find a box of the #2 Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 somewhere.

Published in: | on January 12th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Thoughts on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2010

Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro

The Vegas Robaina line was officially launched in Spain in 1997, to celebrate a family that has been producing amazing tobacco for more than 50 years. A beautiful silky milk chocolate wrapper, which has been called the finest wrapper ever produced in the Vuelta Abajo or Pinar del Rio region of Cuba, makes this an extremely tempting cigar, which I lit up the moment I got home today.

The Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro starts off with a smooth coffee & cream flavor with some soft spice. It progresses and adds dark chocolate, leather and wood, and a touch of nutmeg and brown sugar. It also has some toasted almonds and the slightest hint of black cherries. The cigar delivers a silky smooth mouthfeel that is outstanding. The center of the cigar has a creamy milk chocolate moment that is so spectacular it seems to stop time. The Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro is one of the best Double Corona’s I have ever smoked! And these were from a fresh box marked Aug 2010. I would rate this fine young cigar at 93 points!

Published in: | on January 10th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro

Diplomaticos #5 La Perla, and a new order of Cubans!

If you haven yet heard, American lovers of Cuban Cigars have gone through a scare recently, with over 100,000 Cuban Cigars being confiscated in Chicago, one of the primary freight shipping hubs in the US. The increased inspections were due to a recent incident where 2 bombs were shipped in packages smaller than were typically inspected. You can read the full article here:

Well worry no more my fellow aficionados, as I am happy to report we just recieved a fresh order of Cubans from Switzerland. 🙂 Our order included Cohiba, Fonseca, Flor De Rafael Gonzalez, Sancho Panza, Diplomaticos, and Vegas Robaina.

My Cuban cohort and I lit up a tiny little Diplomatico #5, aka La Perla, to celebrate. This is a tiny little 30 minute smoke which really impressed me flavorwise for such a small, low priced cigar. It had flavors of soft and balanced cedar wood, mixed with vegetal notes, and a lovely Earl Gray Tea profile. I know it’s a tiny little cigar, but I would have to rate this Diplomatico #5 at 90 points.

Published in: | on January 10th, 2011 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Diplomaticos #5 La Perla, and a new order of Cubans!

2003 Sancho Panza Molinos Seleccion Delamonte

This Christmas Eve, Santa brought me some World Class Cuban Cigars. Among the cast of stellar cigars was a H. Upmann Magnum 46, a Hoyo De Monterrey Double Corona and a Special Edicion Partagas from Casa Del Habanos. The cigar I am reviewing first was one of the most exciting for me, not only because it’s a Cuban Brand I have yet to try, but also because the cigars have been aged since 2003, and so they should be of connisuer quality. I sat outside with my new full size patio heater (another Christmas gift) and paired the cigar with an amazing Belgian Beer which goes by the name Yeast Hoist.

The Sancho Panza Molinos, from a box dated 2003, are classic looking cubans with understated light brown bands, reminicent of Montecristo. The bands say Sancho Panza Habano Cuba on the front, and Seleccion Delamonte on the sides. I believe this means that these bands were originally produced for someone from the Delamonte family, as it was quite common for Cubans to be personalized for specific large orders in the old days. The bands were likely then reprinted and released with new versions of Sancho Panza Cigars.

Upon cutting my 2003 Sancho Panza Molino, I tasted flavors of coffee beams and chocolate. Upon lighting, the first 3 puffs were very vegetal and had notes of celery, parsley, and cilantro. Amazing! These vegetal flavors were then overtaken by a velvetey and creamy cigar with flavors of cloves and sweet cedar wood. Amazing(x2)!

The middle of the cigar had flavors of tea, cream, and a slightly more leathery texture, while still displaying sweet cedar wood and clove flavors, and an intoxicating aroma. The fine white ash hung on for quite some time, and when it finally did drop, it landed standing up in my “I Love St. Tropez” ashtray. Quite a stand up performance from a classic aged Cuban.

While the first 2 thirds were light in strength amd full of amazing layered flavors, this last third progressed to a medium bodied smoke, and added white pepper spice and some chocolate notes as well.

The Sancho Panza Molinos was truely outstanding from the moment it hit my lips, until the moment its 7 year lifespan was over. I don’t think I could have picked a better Christmas Eve smoke then this 2003 Sancho Panza. Merry Christmas everyone, and may all your Christmas wishes come true!

Published in: | on December 24th, 2010 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on 2003 Sancho Panza Molinos Seleccion Delamonte

Good Morning Montecristo!

It may seem strange to some, but personally I don’t see anything wrong with having a little Montecristo #4 in the morning while taking the dogs for a walk. The Montecristo #4 is, after all, the best selling Cuban Cigar in the world, thanks to it’s full flavor and small convenient size. It’s a perfect 45 minute smoke, and pairs amazingly well with a morning coffee with it’s coffee, cocoa and vanilla flavors.

Published in: | on December 21st, 2010 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Good Morning Montecristo!

Trinidad Fundadore & Frangelico Coffee

The weekend has landed, with a Frangelico Coffee and Fidel Castro’s favorite cigar. I sat outside on the patio and enjoyed one of my favorite Cuban smokes, which I have aged in a Hoyo De Monterrey Particulares Coffin Box. I have to say this box helped my Trinidad Fundadore age brilliantly, as it was a nice 93-94 point smoke, and a perfect way to start off a relaxing weekend.

The Trinidad Fundadore is considered to be Fidel Castro’s favorite cigar. Boxes of these stellar Lancero’s were handed out to dignataries visiting the island of Cuba, and were made exclusively for Fidel Castro prior to 1998, when they finally became available to the masses. The Trinidad brand is produced almost identical to the Cohiba brand, with two fermentaion periods, while the latter adds a third.

To read more on the History of the Trinidad Fundadore and Fidel Castro see my previous post on THE HISTORY OF THE LANCERO:

The Trinidad Fundadore has an extreemely smooth and creamy blend of earth and spice, with notes of espresso, honey and vanilla. The cigar rewards the smoker with that rich ethereal quality only found in a quality aged Cuban Cigar. While the first third is light and exhibits notes of dried fruits, the center is perfectly balanced with earth, cream spice and a leathery texture. The final third adds a touch of strength and spice while still exhibiting floral and mineral qualities. If I was stranded on a desert (or communist) island and had only 1 cigar I could smoke forever, it might very well be the Trinidad Fundadore.

For a touch of CIGAR POETRY, and one of my best all time reviews, I highly recommend the following post:

Published in: | on December 4th, 2010 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Trinidad Fundadore & Frangelico Coffee

Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada

Macanudo releases it’s Macanudo Vintage Cabinet Selection approximately once or twice each decade. They are usually stellar mild conecticut leaf cigars presented in crystal tubes. They are the best cigars produced by the Macanudo portfolio and are carefully aged cigars which sell out quickly. I recently stumbled upon the year 2000 release of Macanudo Vintage at Grant’s Tobacconist on Market Street in San Francisco. The cigars were priced at $11.00 each, which is quite reasonable by California standards, and so I picked up 3.

These cigars are unique, not only as the first Maduro ever released as a Macanudo Vintage, but also for the Metal Cigar Band that you can use to hold the cigar as you smoke it. The Silver Band is similar to a silver napkin ring, and gives the cigar a luxurious look and feel.

The Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada is a small ring gauge perfecto made from a blend of Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Dominican Tobacco. It’s highlight is a 13 year old aged Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro Wrapper. It has a paper band near the foot which must be removed prior to smoking, and it’s thick Silver Metal Band which can be left on while smoking if desired. The Silver Band acts as a humidity gauge, so that when the cigar is properly humidified it will hold against the cigar just snug enough.

The Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada starts off with toasted wood and mineral flavors, mixed with rich tobacco and dark chocolate. The ciar then proceeded with varying degrees of strength, pepper and spice, while maintaining the same overall flavor profile. The cigar also has flavors of roasted coffee and a smokey meat like texture. After smoking 3 of these cigars, I would highly advise clipping off just the smallest part of the tip to enhance the flavors.

The Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada is a solid aged maduro which I would rate at about 91 to 92 points. The fact that it’s a rare one time Macanudo Vintage Cigar make it a must smoke for any Cigar Conissuer, and it’s Silver Band adds to it’s rare experience.

Published in: | on December 3rd, 2010 by berniethegreatest | Comments Off on Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997 Reserva Dorada
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