My Fling With a La Jugada Habano Cigar

In one of my other blog posts, i wrote about not making snap judgements about a brand because the cigar fell apart or didnt burn evenly. I'm glad i took my own advice and tried the La Jugada Habano again.  However, this wasn't love at first puff ... but, in any relationship, sometimes you gotta give a little. 

The cigar has a nice appearance with a strong pre-lit  tobacco and pepper scent. The first puffs yielded a very strong, powerful, full profile. If you know anything about me, I enjoy a medium plus multidimensional smoke. The Habano had a very spicy, strong tobacco, earthy flavor with some sour notes that i immediately didn't enjoy. I smoked a bit more through the first 1/4 and almost snuffed this one out. 

There was lots of smoke, thick, full flavor.  The ash stayed on during the first 1/3. But when the ash fell, WOW, what a change in the flavor profile ! 

The 2/3 profile changed to medium, earthy, pepper was in background but an overwhelming sweet flavor emerged. The sweetness was present on my lips & in my mouth with another dimension of flavor similar to cloves or ginger ( think pumpkin pie spice) . 

These flavors stayed throughout the remainder of the cigar till the end when a roasted almond flavor appeared and balanced the cigar nicely. 

I'm surprised at my enjoyment of this cigar, considering the rocky relationship we had in the beginning. But overall, when it came down to it, I didn't want this little bit of love to end. I was sitting outside as the sun was setting and an Autumn chill was developing -- but i didn't want to put down my Habano. It was THAT good. Burnt Fingers all the way here.

I'd like to smoke this cigar again with a pumpkin ale, a spiced rum, cinnamon coffee or amaretto as  I believe it would compliment the smoking experience in a beautiful way. I suggest you try it out for yourself & let me know what you think --

Catch me on twitter: @robustobabe 

Check out the La Jugada cigars @moyaruizcigars



I Went Looking For A Macanudo Cigar

I went looking for Macanudo Vintage 1997 cigar and found instead the Macanudo Maduro, which was 5½-inches long and had a ring size of 42. It is a slender cigar, so it is a little easier for a woman to smoke -- we usually have smaller mouths.

I'm always surprised when a woman asks me to help them find a mild cigar. My first question is always, "why mild?"  The first cigar I ever tried was medium to full -- and it was even better when I found a Maduro version. Ladies, please don't be afraid of the dark wrapper -- this could be the one that lures you into smoking Maduros. This cigar had a slightly sweet on the lips flavor with notes of roasted nuts that sits in the middle of your mouth throughout.

This Macanudo lists as a mild to medium cigar, and for the first 2/3s of the stick, I completely agree. The construction was nice, it lit easily, didn't need relighting and burned consistently throughout the experience. The last part of the cigar turned very rough -- not so much a full bodied smoke -- but actually producing a bitter aftertaste. 

All in all the Macanudo Maduro could be a good morning or after lunch smoke for the Maduro cigar lover.  I would smoke it again, but it wasn't what I fully expected from the manufacturer. 

Before writing this review I smoked a second cigar with a freshly brewed pumpkin spice coffee. While most people know that coffee compliments cigars nicely, what I enjoyed about this spiced coffee is that the cigar drew out the nutmeg out of the coffee and the drink complimented the slightly sweet nutty characteristics of cigar. So you can see, the cigar could be a nice addition to your morning coffee -- especially on a lazy Sunday in Autumn.

*Note: a portion of this review was originally published on Cigar Tipsters. I recommend you check out their other cigar reviews too:


If First You Don't Succeed ... Smoke That Cigar Again

Some of you may have read on my twitter (@RobustoBabe) that i was " thoroughly disappointed in the  Habanos  that I brought to party last night. Burned uneven, hard to draw, fell apart half way". It's the non-Maduro on the right. 

When that happens -- and it does even with the BEST cigars sometimes -- don't let that experience stop you from buying that cigar again. When I first started smoking, I may have thought it was a "bad cigar brand" rather than a problem stick. Don't be afraid to tell the place you bought it, too, because they should let you have another.

This actually happened with the La Aurora Sapphire. I received a sampler pack as a gift and the Sapphire fell apart halfway through the smoke. A few weeks later I bought the cigar (cost about $20) and smoked it again. Better experience this time, but I still like the Ruby better. 

So, in saying this, I will do with this cigar what I do with all the sticks I review -- give it another try. I always smoke 2 cigars before reviewing. The first one is smoked with no enhancements -- no drinks. I want to experience the full flavors of the stick. The second cigar I smoke with two types of drinks that I suspect will enhance the flavor notes. So, lucky for me that I happen to have a second La Jugada Habanos cigar in my humidor. Review to post this week. 


When Brushing Doesn't Really Help

Ok, you may think this is a funny post for a cigar review site -- but I can tell you it's the thing that women tell me that they hate about smoking cigars ... the aftertaste.

So, you smoke a cigar ... it's got great notes of flavor ... you savor it to the end ... and it's over. But that cigar woodsy flavor stays in your mouth ... for a really long time. Sometimes I must admit, I enjoy keeping that smoky mouth flavor. It really compliments my coffee ... my salmon dinner ... BBQ chicken ... heck, even cheese.  But ... then ... it sort of stays around.

Yes... I've brushed my teeth ... my tongue ... brush again ... still that cigar is there. My guy friends tell me I'll get used to it.

Well when I first started smoking a cigar, I hid it from my mom. I know ... so childish. I'm an adult right? But she was REALLY freaked about it because I never smoked cigarettes, so why now a cigar?  Ha ha ... So, if I was smoking before seeing her, everyone on the street would see me with a can of Lysol, a tooth brush and a giant tube of smokers toothpaste. But still, she could smell it on my breath !

Now I found a new buddy ... ACT DRY MOUTH - RINSE is the only mouthwash that really instantly takes away that robust cigar aftertaste and no one ... yes even Mom ... can't tell that I just smoked a stogie.


It's Nicknamed the Chocolate Stick ...Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf Maduro

Reading ads for the Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf Maduro, you'd think you'd be cracking open a milk chocolate bar -- but it's really not like that -- it's much better.

The wrapper is a dark maduro and a pre lit sniff yields the scent of a good cup of java mixed with the seduction of cocoa. 

Right off you know the cigar has nice complexities with a deep cocoa taste upon lighting with a medium profile and some really nice roasted nut and coffee flavors. The slightly sweet chocolate sits on the front of your mouth with the coffee & nuts overtaking midway through the smoking experience. Throughout,  you will enjoy a smooth flavor profile and a cigar that burns nicely and never needs relighting. 

I'd say my favorite part of the cigar came towards the last 1/3 when the profile shifted from Medium to a little fuller and I thoroughly enjoyed the cigar all the way to the end.

The third time I smoked this Casa Fernandez, it paired well with coffee -- and Makers Mark 46 -- with the cigar pulling out the burnt sugar flavors in the bourbon and the coffee complimenting the cocoa profile, while rounding out the nutty notes. 

While my hunt for Casa Fernandez Aganorsa Leaf Maduro cigar took me a few months to find it, this was definitely worth the prowl. I have high marks for this stick & look forward to trying more from this brand. If you see this cigar, definitely buy one ... hell buy two. You won't regret it.

I just know you'll enjoy it !

Long Ashes My Friends --

Robusto Cigar Babe



Learning to Pronounce This Cigar is the Hardest Part

I'm always intrigued when a company runs ads highlighting the correct pronunciation of a product. In this case it's for La Jun Ga Da ... I mean La Hung Ada ... No wait, the ad said La Who-Ga-Da !
It's really La Jugada from Moya Ruiz Cigars.

The wrapper is a dark maduro wrapper with barely visible veins. It had a nice scent pre lit - you could smell pepper. 

I was thoroughly surprised with the deep dark cocoa taste upon lighting the   & strong pepper spice in initial 1/3 of smoking it.  The spice sits midway in your mouth & over takes most everything else until the ash falls. Even with the dominant taste very full, you will able to detect cocoa & earthiness throughout the smoke. 

I'd say my favorite part of the cigar came when the profile shifted from Full to Medium & the flavor notes balanced out. Then I was able to enjoy roasted nuts, light spice, a little coffee. The stick stayed medium bodied through the remainder of the smoke, with the final finger burns yielding that strong black pepper flavor again. 

The La Jugada burned nicely, never needed relighting  ( even though I like to socialize). It yielded a medium amount of white smoke. The second time I smoked it, surprisingly, it didn't pair well with coffee -- but it did taste good with Captain Morgan Black -- with the cigar pulling out the licorice flavors out in the drink. The Black Rum stood up to the strong pepper notes in the cigar and rounded it out. 

While strong pepper & earthiness aren't MY favorite flavor notes, I did enjoy the stick once I got into it. I recommend that you try for yourself. 


My Weekend With Mi Amor

Drove out to Cigar Superstore, formerly Mom’s Cigars on Sunrise Hwy in Valley Stream to check on an order I placed for Casa Fernandez Maduro. It wasn’t in yet, so Raj the manager showed me the Java cigar, which was supposed to give a little taste of coffee or chocolate. I guess it’s supposed to be a gentle stick that doesn’t leave a tobacco aftertaste. But I couldn’t get past the sickly sweet taste on my lips and the weird fake sugar aftertaste. I had to retire the cigar & go make another purchase.

Dont get me wrong, I’ve had flavored cigars in the past — Mulberry Cigars in Little Italy probably do it best — I just couldn’t get into it. early on in my discovery of cigars I even learned from a little old man how to flavor my own cigars. It was a labor of love that yielded a delicious flavor to round out a moderately priced stogie. It is a fun little side hobby of mine.

But today, it’s all about La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor Reserva. It’s hand crafted in Don Pepin Garcia’s Nicaraguan factory. It’s got a Cuban seed wrapper grown in Mexico. It’s considered Medium bodied, but I find it could easily be classified as full body– but with distinct nodes of dark cocoa and coffee beans. It’s got an initial spicy and smooth earthy notes, and it’s truly one of my new favorites. I bought mine for $12, but I’ve bought it for less online in the past.

The Cigar Lover's InfoGraphic

Everything Changed After Key West

For many years whenever my guy friends were smoking a stogie, someone would always pass it to me. I could never understand why they smoked cigars — until my trip to Key West. That trip changed everything, including my view & taste for cigars.

I remember I was drinking a cup of coffee and someone passed me an Oliva V cigar to try. I took the usual puff and was all ready to say “yuck” when I couldn’t believe how much flavor I could taste. I took another sip of my coffee, then another puff, moved my tongue around in my smoky mouth and tasted a toasty, nutty, toffee nodes of flavor. I turned to my companion and asked if he had an another one to spare.

We took a ride back to the cigar shop on Duval Street. I went over to the owner, told him how cigars never did it for me, until trying the Oliva V with a cup of Java. After a long discussion about what I’ve tried in the past ( mostly Cubans) and then what I enjoyed about the Oliva V Series. He then gave me a great deal on an Oliva sampler pack.  A couple of cigars later, with Cigar Aficionado magazine in hand, I was hooked.

Now I spend my free time at cigar tastings, meet ups, parties, events and private soirees that gives me great opportunities to review and write about all the cigars, cocktails and like-minded people I meet along my journey. I've even hosted companion parties, where I pair my favorite cigars with preferred liquor and explain how they compliment the taste and notes of flavor for each.

The funniest thing for me is the reactions from my girlfriends. they look at me like I’m nuts when everyone is sitting around smoking their ciggies & I pull out a stick to enjoy With my wine, coffee or cocktail.

But, men — haha — they have no problem seeing a lady cut her own cigar, pull out a torch and light it. I end up meeting some great people who are happy to share information, good sales info & sticks to try because they are happy to see a chick enjoying herself with a premium cigar.

Best Ash of the Night

It’s a little bit off heaven when you can walk into your fav spot in Wildwood NJ & they always have a good stogie to enjoy.

Me, I’m a Maduro girl, so the Padron 1964 Anniversary has become my smoke of choice lately. It’s always consistently smooth, great draw & almost never goes out — even if I’m spending all my time talking when I was there to relax with my smoke & my bourbon.

A Little Box Of Heaven

I received this sampler pack as a present and I happily smoked every cigar. My favorite is the Ruby, which has a delicious smooth toasty flavor, with nodes of coffee and cocoa.

My second favorite of the pack was the Gold, because of its steady ash, smooth, cloud-like draw and even taste.

The Sapphire fell apart upon lighting it, so I don’t know if it was dried out or just a bad stogie.

All in all it was a great sampler pack that I savored every cigar. In the stores, these cigars cost between $20 & $25. The pack gave me the opportunity to explore a new brand and I really liked it !