BLACKBIRD JACKDAW ROBUSTO
Can’t clip my wings! That’s the motto of this upstart, boutique cigar company. Blackbird Cigar Co. produces some really interesting sticks using great tobaccos. They also own their own factory in the Dominican Republic where they can control production from raw material to finished product. While the brand is young (it launched in 2019), their debut products created quite a stir in the industry. Each cigar blend they produce is named after a bird or bird-related. In this case, the blend is named after a black bird and called the Jackdaw.
The Blackbird Jackdaw is another outstanding blend from this relatively new cigar company. It’s made in their factory in the Dominican Republic with care using a rich blend of top tier tobaccos. The blend features filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, USA, and Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99 along with an Indonesian binder leaf. Topping the blend is a nice, golden Ecuador grown Connecticut wrapper. It’s a smooth blend that features flavors of sweet cream and cedar along with a hint of white pepper. The Jackdaw may not be overly complex, but it’s a cigar with a laid-back character that delivers a highly enjoyable experience that hits the spot every time.
ESPINOSA CREMA NO. 4
You could write volumes of prose on the long journey of what is now known as Espinosa Premium Cigars. None of it would be possible without the Alpha Dawg himself, Erik Espinosa. What a long, strange trip it’s been to get where he is today. To keep it short, he got his start in the industry as a cigar broker in southern Florida, and quickly developed a bug to become a brand owner. He first launched EO cigars with his close friend Eddie Ortega and had cigars made by Pepin Garcia in Nicaragua. When Garcia could no longer commit to producing their blends, the duo split. Erik formed Espinosa Premium Cigars and opened his own factory in Nicaragua called La Zona where many of his cigars are made today. There’s so much more to this story, but Erik is one of our favorite people in the industry- honest and trustworthy as the day is long. It’s one of the reasons his brand has developed a cult-like following. He says what he means and does what he promises.
The Espinosa Crema is an unusual cigar for the brand. While most of their portfolio consists of stronger cigars, the Crema is the first Espinosa with a Connecticut wrapper. Made in their La Zona factory located in the heart of Esteli, Nicaragua, the Espinosa Crema uses a blend of well-aged Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos. It’s capped with a gorgeous, golden-colored Ecuadorian grown Connecticut wrapper. The blend is a solid mild-medium strength affair and features tasting notes of coffee, toasted almonds, and cream along with hints of delicate woods, black pepper, and orange citrus. It’s a stellar combination and a dynamite addition to the Espinosa Portfolio.
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.
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 the blend, 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.
ARTURO FUENTE DOUBLE CHATEAU FUENTE NATURAL
Few premium cigar companies have the respect and reputation that Arturo Fuente deservedly carries. From their earliest days they have followed the mantra of “Never Rush the Hands of Time.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But what does that have to do with premium cigars? Simply put, they will not make more cigars than they are capable of producing well. Production volume at the expense of quality does not exist in a Fuente factory. Since 1912, this reputation has allowed them to plot their own course and not bend to market pressure for more cigars. The Fuente portfolio is built of several core lines that include instantly recognizable names such as Gran Reserva, Hemingway, OpusX, Don Carlos, and in this case Chateau Fuente. Each line has a special meaning to the Fuente family, and each line is constructed with care.
The Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Fuente is one of the most popular cigars in the entire Fuente portfolio. It’s easy to understand why. These cigars are incredibly consistent, they taste great, and they are priced extremely well in today’s market. This was one of the first premium cigar lines to feature a cedar wrap and ribbon foot in their packaging. It was, and still is, a standout in a walk-in humidor full of cigars. Composed of Dominican Fuente-grown filler and binder leaves, the Double Chateau uses a beautiful USA Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. Tasting notes include flavors of cedar, cream, and nuts along with hints of vanilla, pepper, and cocoa. If you ever wondered why Fuente has the reputation it has earned, smoke a Double Chateau and you’ll soon understand why.