DIESEL ESTELI PURO ROBSUTO
The Diesel brand is a relatively new marquee in the cigar world. According to their marketing, the brand is made for people who have no use for flash or attention. Their cigars are unapologetic and unafraid to be different. They don’t have time for anything substandard, so they keep what works and disregard the rest. You’ll find slightly understated labels and packaging on their line of products, but don’t let that fool you into the idea that this is just some marketing campaign. They produce solid, well-made cigars and their latest addition, the Diesel Esteli Puro, is no exception.
The Diesel Esteli Puro is handmade in Nicaragua by the maestro himself, AJ Fernandez. As its name implies, this special cigar is made entirely of tobaccos grown in Esteli, Nicaragua. Beyond that, all of the tobaccos are Nicaraguan Esteli Habano leaves of various vintages. Typically a cigar composed of only one type of tobaccos is a boring affair, but the Diesel Esteli Puro works extremely well and offers complex flavors of cream, honey-roasted nuts, and cocoa with hints of coffee and cedar. It’s often the simple things that are most satisfying, and the Diesel Esteli Puro is no exception. This medium-to-full body blend is the perfect pairing for your favorite cup of coffee or glass of bourbon.
SOUTHERN DRAW KUDZU TORO
According to Southern Draw’s founder Robert Holt, It’s all about the people. Brand co-owner (and Robert’s lovely wife) Sharon extends the idea by highlighting the importance of cigar culture and its incredibly inclusive community. It’s like instant southern hospitality where people are accepting of just about anyone who sits down to enjoy a cigar beside them. As a fine “southern” lady and gentleman, this husband and wife team are always gracious, humble, and thankful to be part of a vibrant culture that takes its members from all walks of life and backgrounds. While Southern Draw is a relative newcomer to the premium cigar industry, they have quickly established themselves as a boutique producer with a focus on quality and flavor.
The Southern Draw Kudzu was the first blend they launched and quickly became a smash hit for the burgeoning company. It took time to develop and fine tune this blend with their manufacturing partner, AJ Fernandez. The Kudzu begins with choice Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobaccos along with a Nicaraguan binder grown in Ometepe. Topping these tobaccos is a chocolate-brown Habano Oscuro wrapper from Ecuador.Medium to full in flavor, tasting notes include flavors of coffee, cocoa, toasted nuts with hints of brown sugar, pepper, and toffee. If you’ve been Southern Draw curious for a while, this is a great introduction to the line.
ROMEO Y JULIETA 1875 CONNECTICUT NICARAGUA TORO
One of the most recognized names in the cigar industry, Romeo y Julieta has a reputation to uphold. Typically, a Romeo y Julieta is a medium bodied experience that is always pleasant. When the brand decided to expand their portfolio with Connecticut Nicaragua, they decided to try something different, and a new chapter in the brand’s story began. To make this new Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua, the makers decided to use an all Nicaraguan blend to create a more richly flavored blend that stayed true to the brand’s identity while also appealing to a different base of aficionados. It was an instant success.
The Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua Toro is a different kind of Romeo y Julieta. The brand managers turned to the Plasencia family and their Nicaraguan factory to create this new generation of RyJ cigars. The Plasencias wasted no time and selected some stellar Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos. Here’s where things got interesting. They selected an unusual Connecticut seed tobacco shade-grown in Nicaragua for the wrapper. They nailed it, and the results speak for themselves. The blend features tasting notes of cedar and cream along with hints of vanilla, pepper, and citrus. The Romeo y Julieta 1875 Connecticut Nicaragua Toro is a solid medium-strength cigar with excellent construction and burns. If cigars like this are the future of Romeo y Julieta, count us in.
MONTECRISTO PLATINUM SERIES TORO
Montecristo is one of the most hallowed and recognized names in the world of premium cigars. With that kind of reputation and name recognition, introducing a new Montecristo requires not only careful planning, but a blend that continues to elevate the Montecristo brand to new heights. It’s this philosophy that drove Montecristo’s blenders to create the Montecristo Platinum Series. It is a cigar that honors the brand’s past triumphs and glory. How do they do this, you may ask? It’s no easy feat. In this case, they began searching their vast tobacco stores for leaves that are worthy to be included in the Montecristo Platinum Series of cigars.
The Montecristo Platinum Series is a surprisingly smooth and flavorful blend that delivers more than one would expect from this blend on paper. It begins with a blend of well-aged Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian fillers along with a Dominican binder. Topping this luxurious blend is a beautiful San Andrés Cubano wrapper. The Montecristo Platinum Series blend is exquisite and provides a rich, smooth, and sensual smoke. This special blend features tasting notes of cedar, leather, and nuts with hints of citrus, earth, and pepper.
AJ FERNANDEZ BELLAS ARTES MADURO TORO
AJ Fernandez is undoubtedly one of the most prolific cigar makers of the modern era. Raised in Cuba, he now operates 10 tobacco farms and 2 cigar factories in Nicaragua. Between these facilities, over 100,000 cigars a day are produced under his watchful eye. His true passion, and why he is able to produce such a wide variety of superior quality premium cigars, is the tobacco that he grows. Without quality materials, your product will never be exceptional. It is this philosophy that drives him to spend equal time between farms and factories. Each tobacco leaf must meet his high standards, and each cigar must be expertly constructed. He takes great pride in his creations and would never attach his name to the end product if it didn’t. While his product lines are diverse, he wanted to create a cigar that commemorated Cuba’s famed national art museum. The museum is called Bellas Artes, and he names this cigar after it as a testament to the fine art of cigar making.
The AJ Fernandez Bellas Artes Maduro is akin to taking in a beautiful work of art. It is expertly handcrafted, a site to behold, and the attention to detail is exquisite. Making a cigar named after Cuba’s museum of fine art, AJ Fernandez sought out unique tobaccos to create his blend. Beginning with Nicaraguan-grown tobaccos from his farms, the filler is topped with a Mexican San Andres binder leaf, and covered with a Mata Fina wrapper from Brazil.This exceptional blend is a rich, flavorful, and delicately balanced work of art. Tasting notes feature flavors of coffee, cocoa, and cream with hits of earth, citrus, pepper, and cedar. Bellas Artes Maduro just may be AJ Fernandez’s spectacular and interesting creation to date.