Saturday

Thanks for the Honor of Being Recognized by Cigar Snob Magazine


I'm so incredibly honored to make the list for

TOP ONLINE CIGAR TWEEPLES

for Cigar Snob Magazine

every issue since January 2017





If you haven't followed these other fine people, please do so.
I'm particularly fond of +Cigar Inspector and @CigarEvents



Friday

Relaxing at the Cigar Aficion Lounge with One Life Maduro by Nestor Miranda


Any Saturday afternoon you might find me hunting for new cigars at local cigar lounges in and around NYC. I love when really good lounge managers come up to me with ideas for new smokes to try. At Cigar Aficion in Staten Island, the manager there always has a few good ones for me in mind.  His suggestion was Nestor Miranda One Life Maduro Danno Edition.




With a dark and rich maduro leaf wrapper, the One Life caught my attention right away with a pigtail cap. With a glistening shine and bulging veins, I found the cigar to look strong and classy ... dapper even.




 The  band is a very attractive, modern look with red, black and silver colors. I sat down with a smile admiring this beauty of a cigar, and smelled the foot for cocoa and a slight pepper scent. Bottled water in hand, I rolled the pigtail to see if I could smoke it that way, but because the draw didn't feel right, I had to straight cut the cigar.



First Third

Immediately you can taste coffee and chocolate within the first few puffs. There is  slight smokey pepper in the background that I'd liken to a chipolte or Hungarian paprika. This cigar is smooth and yummy. I could feel One Life caressing my senses, calming my mind and bringing me into sharing this moment with a dark and luscious love. 20 minutes seemed to fly by bringing me      to ...





Second Third

I have to say that a floral or licorice taste came forward with the chocolate and coffee starting to settle into the background. There is this beautiful sweetness that emerges and at first thought, I believed it was raisins, but no, it was succulent plums. Mixing with earthiness, 25 minutes into this third, I could taste black pepper brightening the flavor profile. It was a nice addition to this sumptuous smoke that felt amazing between my lips.

Last Third

The final third opened up with a spice and chocolate that kept the cigar flavorful throughout this experience. A nutty and creamy cashew entered the profile bringing this creamy goodness to this smooth tasting cigar. A few puffs later, a breadiness joined the profile and a subtle raisin sweetness, bringing this Saturday afternoon delight to an end.





I smoked two Nestor Miranda One Life Maduro cigars for this review, both times with Water. The first time at this lounge and the second time during #SundayCigarHerf. It was a very good smoke and I look forward to trying more cigars from this company.


Have a Smokin Week !

Robusto Cigar Babe

Follow me on Twitter: @RobustoBabe

Monday

My Infatuation with Punch Rare Corojo

It happens sometimes. You know you are in a strange city with friends when you are introduced to something special and sometimes sparks just turn into fireworks. That's what happened when I was introduced to Punch Rare Corojo. I was minding my own business ... ok ok I WAS drinking bourbon ... but I had my head on straight. He was luscious, smelled great, was surprisingly not what I thought he'd be ... well, I just fell for him ... hard.


The LOOK:

Punch has that way about him that catches my attention. He is BOX PRESSED with a reddish brown SUMATRA WRAPPER with a PUNGENT scent. I like that in a cigar. We met and shared each others company at the Texas Cigar Festival a couple of years ago, and ever since then, I can't keep my mind off of Punch RC. After just one time with him in Texas, I became obsessed with the idea of him ... the way he made me feel when smoking and the warm scent I still smelled long after our interlude. One moment to my lips and I was hooked.




The COLD DRAW:

Impeccable flavor of COCOA and EARTH come through in the cold draw. Yum and I want more.

Eager to light, The FIRST THIRD yields a mild SPICE with CEDAR and EARTHY goodness. As I continue to puff this cigar, a DARK CHOCOLATE emerges adding a harmonious dimension to this first part of the cigar smoking experience.

The SECOND THIRD has a similar profile to the first part, with similar flavors, SMOOTH deliciousness and luscious SLIGHT sweetness that hangs in the background. I'm completely in love halfway through when a COFFEE bean emerges. This is pure comfort and a whole lotta love right now.

The LAST THIRD brings me to the point of infatuation and on the edge of submission when a hint of NUTTINESS emerges along with a mild SPICE, a little bit of sweet chocolate. Another couple of puffs in and you can taste how the coffee mixes wonderfully with all the other flavors bringing balance, dimension, comfort, relaxation and a whole lotta goodness to your life.



The Punch Rare Corojo is hard to find where I live. I am constantly chasing him for these dynamic flavors. Whenever I find him, I take as much as I can to relive the smoking experience I can't get enough of.

Completely DELISH and BOXWORTHY. You won't be disappointed with this amazing stick.


Wishing You Long Ashes,





Robusto Cigar Babe

@Robustobabe






Friday

My Favorite Cigars of 2016





One of the perks of being on Twitter and various Facebook Cigar Groups, is getting an opportunity to learn about new cigars from people who have similar palates and tastes as I do. That's the thing about cigars -- everyone likes different tastes in them -- so when you are taking suggestions you have to figure out which reviewers, bloggers and cigar lovers like the same things that you do. So asking someone what's good isn't always the best thing to do -- unless you know you have flavor profiles in common.

So for instance, my #SundayCigarHerf cohosts seem to have similar tasting profiles. Except, @PistolCliff and @CigarChairman like gars with lots of red pepper. When they say a cigar is a killer on spice, I know it's not for me -- otherwise our palates are mostly in sync (Yet, we all seem to love @mBombayCigars and @The_DonFonesca  Salamanca Cigar Group -- which are vastly different in profiles ). Where as when  @Rlilly1018  or @HN_JAD tells me a cigar has graham cracker and cocoa (like the @CurivariCigars BV560) I'm all there. But @Xavier9281 and I have similar "go-to" cigars and flavor profiles, so when he says he loves the +1502Cigars Ruby (and I do too), I take his suggestions seriously when he says his new "go-to" cigar is the +1502Cigars XO !!


There are so many cigars that I loved smoking this year, 
 but I chose these as my top cigars because they either elevated my palate
or I consistently chose to smoke these luscious cigars in 2016


video





My Top 10 Cigars of 2016



10- Las Cumbres Tabaco "Freyja"

Read RCB's Review: FREYJA





9-  Salamanca Cigar Group Joseph NicaVana "NicaBella"

Read RCB's Review Here: NicaBella



8- Bombay Tobak "Gaaja" 

Read RCB's Review Here: Gaaja







7- Bombay Tobak  "Corojo Oscuro"  






6- Salamanca Cigar Group "Glandon Family Matthew"





5- Las Cumbres Tabaco "Senorial Maduro"

Read RCB's Review Here: Senorial Maduro




4-  1502 Cigars "XO"

Read RCB's Review Here: XO







3 - Casa Fernandez Agonorsa Leaf Maduro

Read RCB's Review: The Chocolate Stick





2 - Punch "Rare Corojo"

Read RCB's Review Here: Rare Corojo







1- Oliva V Melanio Maduro

Read RCB's Review: Oliva V MM









These are some other cigars I've enjoyed in 2016


Curivari BV Pralines




Emerald by 1502 Cigars




Ashton VSG


The Leaf by Oscar


Nomad


1502 Cigars "Ruby"



American Kick Ass Cigars



Fuente Anejo





Casa Fernandez



Gurkha Ghost


LFD Cigars


Nat Sherman Sterling



Sawtelle Cigars



Ashton Symmetry


Camacho Cigars



House of Emilio AF1 and AF2




Nomad




AND SOOOOOOO MANY OTHERS ...


What cigars have you been smoking in 2016?

Tuesday

Worth the Hunt for the 1502 XO 2016 Toro Cigar

Enrique Sanchez Icaza knows quite well how to tease us on Twitter with his marketing of the 1502 XO. Like his other blends, the XO is from Nicaragua, but the Wrapper, Filler and Binder are all a secret -- It's like smoking a cigar blind -- and this particular blend is so fun to smoke. But you will want to sit alone and truly enjoy this beauty, like I did over two consecutive afternoons.



The 1502 XO is a yearly limited production line where each year will feature a different size (vitola) cigar. The 2016 1502 XO is a Toro and this cigar has 18 year old aged tobacco in the blend. Sounds enticing right? Well, you better go find it because the total production for this cigar is ONLY 1502 boxes, which means there is only a little more than 15k cigars available complete with a Serial Number for each cigar !

So ... I begged a little on Twitter and the cigar fairy delivered 1 to try ... and the other 2 found! OMG I need more of these XO cigars.



Is it possible that the box pressed build of this cigar is what draws me in to loving the 1502s each time. No, I think it's the promise of experiencing a little bit of Nicaragua ... I felt enraptured with this blend in hand. This cigar makes you take notice -- immediately! Just like well-manicured hands on a man or a snazzy suit, I feel that the XO has a prestigious look to it. I was excited to spend the evening with XO... and WHAT a night it was !

The LOOK of the 1502 XO has small seams, and a beautiful sleekness, but veiny medium chocolate wrapper appearance. It is BOX PRESSED, with an the wrapper overlaying edges of the foot.



The COLD DRAW yields COCOA and WOOD with a Natural TOBACCO scent.


The FIRST THIRD begins with some muted flavor notes of CEDAR and TOBACCO with LEATHER. There is a hint of RED PEPPER and SWEETNESS coming through, but in the background. Then further into the Third, a COCOA flavor and a hint of COFFEE rounds out the flavors as the PEPPER kicks in more prominent. .

The SECOND THIRD still has the CEDAR and musty TOBACCO in the forefront, with some COCOA and PEPPER secondary. Then about half way into the cigar the COCOA moves further into the background and the PEPPER increases dramatically. Then there is a hint of a CREAMY NUT  flavor, but it dissipates quickly.

In the LAST THIRD, the PEPPER, CEDAR, LEATHER are in the forefront with a DARK CHOCOLATE lingering on your palate. It's not a sweet cigar at this point, but there are a few flavors tucked in the background that reminds me that this is a complex smoke with aged tobacco.

I smoked 2 cigars for this review and both needed retouching during this time. The profile was smooth, rich with flavor in every puff. The body was medium to medium plus, with the RED PEPPER strongest in the Second and Last Thirds. Strong, but not overwhelming. The cigar smokes slowly with lots of smoke and relatively even burn.

In my opinion this is a cigar for the trained palate. Someone who LOVES FLAVORS, enjoys detecting them with each puff and looks forward to determining what nuances this AGED TOBACCO cigar holds for you. This is the cigar you want to savor and love with every puff.

I loved it and I hope you get an opportunity to find 2016's XO release. I look forward to trying future cigar sizes -- this XO is definitely worth the hunt ! The XO is an intriguing and delicious addition to one of my favorite cigar companies.






Wishing You Long Ashes --
Robusto Cigar Babe @RobustoBabe













Wednesday

It Was Starry-Eyed Love At First Sight with Joseph NicaVana by Salamanca Cigar Group





There is no denying that JOSEPH NICAVANA had the look I really like. Double bands, sleek, seamless, unblemished WRAPPER with COCOA and BARNYARD smell. The FOOT was exactly what I love in a scent: RAISINS and COCOA !

I heard about him from a Twitter friend who said I NEEDED to try Joseph NicaVana by Salamanca Cigar Group. And, yes, as soon as I saw this cigar I knew I was going to like his look  ... but when I puffed on the stick ... yeah, I was in love !



The COLD DRAW had  CHOCOLATE and BROWN SUGAR which enticed me so much. I love the way the stick looks when I'm holding it and you can clearly see it is well-made/constructed.

The FIRST THIRD was a luscious 45 minute experience, with notes of COCOA, BLACK PEPPER and EARTH edging out wanting to be noticed first. These flavors were met with some LEATHER that stayed in the background for most of this third till it just edged at 40 minutes in where it started to become more prominent. I tried to keep the pace slow and relaxing with this third. Joseph NicaBella kept a razor burn line and the ash was what I'd expect from a well made cigar.

The SECOND THIRD came on with a little more body pushing it up from a medium to a medium plus. With the increased body came the consistent spice with COCOA, SPICE and LEATHER leading the flavor profile. Then a delicious TOAST and COFFEE entered my palate with the LEATHER and SPICE balancing well with the rest of the flavors. The Strength began to increase in the middle of the cigar, with this third lasting about 30 minutes.

The LAST THIRD increased in BODY and STRENGTH dramatically with COCOA, SPICE and WOOD being the prominent flavors. As I smoked on, an ESPRESSO with EARTH and CINNAMON joined the mix. The PEPPER that was more prominent earlier retreated, and these delectable flavors pushed forward. By the time I was NUBBING Joseph NicaBella, I was another 40 minutes into this third. This is a very consistently balanced cigar with flavors that I adore. For this review I smoked more than 2 cigars, bought more and continued to enjoy this amazing treat from Master Blender Alan Fonseca. As noted on Twitter, this is BOXWORTHY and deserves a space in your humidor.

As for Joseph NicaVana? This cigar has touched my soul. I feel like it was blended with my palate in mind. Super DELISH !





Wishing You Long Ashes,







Robusto Cigar Babe

@RobustoBabe




Truly Entranced by Gaaja from Bombay Tobak




For a while Bombay Tobak owner Mel Shah was telling me of this cigar he was putting out that he believed I would love. While I patiently waited to try this gorgeous stick, I learned about all of the different types of tobacco used to create Gaaja.  This beauty was constructed in Costa Rica, with an Ecuadorian Hybrid Wrapper (Connecticut Desflorado & Mejorado 2004). The Filler is a combination of Dominican HVA Mejorado Ligero, Dominican Criollo 98 Viso, Ecuadorian Criollo 98 Viso, Peruvian Hybrid Habano, Paraguayan Hybrid Habano 2000 Viso. The Binder is Ecuadorian HVA Mejorado Seco.

I'm not sure, but this may be the first cigar I've tried with Paraguayan tobacco. Very exotic ! And just as Mel predicted, I was entranced by this lovely stick.

I've mentioned on this site how I love the bands designed by Mel's wife. It's like they are made with beauty and style in mind, like a decorative flying carpet. Gaaja's band has similar colors in the band as other mBombay Cigars, but with a swirly pattern that is attractive and very modern looking -- it's as if they deconstructed the larger band and designed this gem.

The LOOK and SIZE of Gaaja is a Toro Gordo with a wrapper that is light brown (Ecuadorian Hybrid) that has a few lines and almost invisible seams. It's a hardy looking cigar that fits fine in both a woman's or man's hand.




COLD DRAW is light tobacco with a sweetness and pepper.

FIRST THIRD has a WOODSY, PEPPER and FRUIT LIKE SWEETNESS  that stays within this entire third. The PEPPER tastes like a clean WHITE PEPPER on my palate, which varies in strength throughout this first third. There is an HERBAL quality that I can't quite decipher but it plays with the wood flavors. The SWEETNESS gently caresses the palate making this third enjoyable and a little on the lower end of MEDIUM.

The SECOND THIRD has more of the same flavors with the PEPPER and SWEETNESS being more dominant throughout this third (but not at all overpowering). The HERBAL seems to have turned more into a LICORICE flavor and the woodiness has taken a step into the background. The body has pushed up a bit to a full MEDIUM as this remains an easy and casual smoke.

In the FINAL THIRD a buttery component is present with TOBACCO flavor predominant in my mouth. The PEPPER is a little stronger now (in some of the cigars I've smoked) and not so much in some others, with the fruity SWEETNESS keeping the balance. The HERBAL tastes have receded and the WOODINESS is sitting in the distant background. As I'm nubbing this cigar, the PEPPER gets more intense for me. But, I enjoy very much how this cigar ends off with a spicy note.




Gaaja is a very satisfying cigar. The flavors are consistent and distinct. I enjoy the subtle flavors in the beginning and love how the cigar allows you to taste each component individually. It's a very good cigar to learn how to taste flavors as it teaches you to slow down and taste everything.

It's pure pleasure and I love to smoke this cigar when I have a lazy afternoon ... which seems to happen all the time. You gotta try this cigar !


Wishing You Long Ashes,




Robusto Cigar Babe

@RobustoBabe