Vega Fina Sumum Edición Especial 2012

This Vega Fina is another Altadis creation with European sensibilities. The hefty 5” x 56 Sumum is a little harsh to start, but settles into a pleasantly mellow character that rarely tops medium-bodied. Somewhat loosely constructed, the draw is easy with only a slight issue with uneven burn for the first half. Leather and salted nuts are the predominant flavors, while coffee, cedar and cocoa tip-toe across the taste-buds. The contrast between the dark wrapper and beautiful white ash is as pleasing to the eye as is the easy-going character of the smoke. Setting aside the issues with the draw, this is a fine addition to the Vega Fina line and a great “special edition” cigar for the price that has a little something for everyone.

La Perla Habana Grand Pearl Toro

A beautiful Connecticut-wrapped cigar emerges from its white tube unleashing a seductively pleasant scent. The Grand Pearl starts off fairly mild working its way up to medium. Straw and toast kicks it off with sweet cream and cedar catching up at about the hallway point. A somewhat disappointing construction, however, impedes the overall enjoyment of this 6” x 50 Toro’s flavor. The ash clings on for dear life and is easily scattered over tables, beverages and laps with the slightest of movements. Setting aside the flaws, this is not a bad tasting cigar, but other La Perla cigars that sell for half the price of the Grand Pearl are probably better choices for most.

Man O War Virtue Robusto

The Man O War Virtue is a tasty looking Connecticut-wrapped cigar. The 5” x 50 Robusto has a tea and straw aroma, with a seemingly good construction. First light brings wood and cream flavors that run the gamut, but are joined on the back end by white pepper. It is a nice, medium-bodied smoke with a fair draw and good flavors that leads to a slightly spicy finish. A nice “morning” cigar with a little extra spice, the Virtue is a very good smoke, but one that probably won’t blow anybody away.

Ave Maria Knights Templar

The 6” x 48 Ave Maria Knights Templar is rich and oily in appearance with a beautiful cigar band that instantly drums up images of crusading knights, damsels in distress and derring-do. The cigar has a subtle floral aroma with just a tinge of spice and leather. The draw is easy and the burn is on the loose side. Leather, dry toast and coffee flavors run from start to finish with a slight essence of Belgian chocolate and traces of cinnamon. This medium-bodied Ave Maria is a good middle-of-the-road smoke that does the job and does it well, but just does not separate itself from the pack. There is, however, enough good taste and quality at a fair price to warrant further consideration for permanent space in the humidor.

Mark Twain No. 3

Mark Twain was and is one the most popular personalities and cigar smokers of all time. Mr. Clemens certainly deserves a cigar in his honor and there have been many attempts over the years, but would he approve of this newest incarnation? Well the giant 8” x 54 No. 3 begins with dry, herbal and toast flavors. It then settles in to a thick oak character with dabs of coffee and spice. The long and pleasantly even burn is tailor-made to settle in on a lazy day with one of Twain’s witty tomes. And like its namesake, this cigar is straightforward and easy-going on the surface, yet will gain complexity the deeper one delves into it. A mild, but flavorful smoke at a decent price: Yes, Mr. Twain would probably approve..

Varina Farms Breakfast Blend Toro

Varina Farms Breakfast Blend cigar seems to be catering to the “morning cup of coffee and cigar” crowd with this stick. The beautiful caramel-colored Connecticut-shade cigar comes wrapped in paper and appears to fit right in with coffee and the morning paper. First light brings a dry wood taste and grassy aroma that slowly gives way to coffee bean, cedar and earth. The ash is white and the draw slightly tight. Bitterness elbows its way into the fold and brings the experience to a halt. With flavors that are good, but never seem to hit their stride and a fairly uneven burn, this 6” x 52 Toro is somewhat disappointing. Being a consistent medium in body with under-achieving flavors, this cigar is perhaps hindered by unreasonable expectations, expectations created by the “Breakfast Blend” moniker. A faint reminder of the old Jamaican Temple Hall cigars, these Varina Farms cigars are pleasant enough for those wanting to escape spicy and bold.

La Perla Habana Black Pearl Morado Robusto

La Perla Habana has always seemed to glide under the radar of the mainstream cigar world, but consistently add smiles to the faces of cigar enthusiasts everywhere. The Black Pearl Morado is no exception. A thickly textured Cameroon wrapper is in itself enticing, but igniting the 5” x 52 Robusto unleashes a tsunami of glorious flavors. Dark roast coffee, cocoa, chestnut, sweet cream and spice buzz about the taste-buds like hyper-charged atoms. A sweet sugarcane taste is left on the lips as the consistently medium-bodied cigar ups the pleasure factor. This is a great little cigar at a reasonable value that should please just about everyone. Smooth, easy-going, yet intensely flavorful, the Black Pearl Morado is a winner.

Davidoff Nicaragua Short Corona

Davidoff’s newest entry is a beautiful Nicaraguan Puro with a distinctive black band that sets it apart from other white-label Davidoff cigars. An elegant Rosado wrapper surrounds Davidoff’s typical near-perfect construction. First light brings forth earth and leather flavors, that are gradually joined by spice, cocoa and wood. The spiciness moves to the forefront as the body moves assuredly from medium to full. Even burn and white ash stay in perfect harmony until the quick end of this 3.75” x 46 Short Corona. Nice flavor, great construction and Davidoff flair does not, however, raise this cigar above some of its premium Nicaraguan counterparts. The black label is worth a try, though, as it will definitely please many Nicaraguan and Davidoff enthusiasts.

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva Divino

A rich and leathery Mexican-grown wrapper surrounds fragrant Nicaraguan tobaccos of this La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Reserva. Another creation by the Garcia family for Ashton, the Mi Amor Reserva is a true connoisseur’s cigar. Nougat, pepper and wood swirl endlessly together while orange peel and nutmeg linger in the background. Construction of this meaty textured 6.25” x 52 Divino is solid, while the smoke is thick, yet not intrusive. With an ever-increasing body that might chase away some of the uninitiated, the Mi Amor Reserva is a quality smoke for those who want big flavor and body without an repeated sucker-punches the gut.