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Steve R
Steve R
Preference: Medium-Full
Words To Live By… "If you aint first, you're last." - Ricky Bobby
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  • Relic by AJ Fernandez

    Steve R
    94
    Don’t ask how the sausage is made, son, just feast. Relic hit us by surprise. As strong as our relationship is with AJ Fernandez, he somehow kept this beauty out from under our nosey noses. Probably a good thing, otherwise we surely would have bought every Relic cigar produced on the spot. It’s just that good. So yes, I will be giving this cigar a very strong rating. And yes, this …
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  • Metrokane Rabbit Automatic Electronic Corkscrew

    Steve R
    More like Metro-CAN! I consider myself a traditionalist. I read books, not tablets. I grill with coals, not gas. In the fall, I don’t use a blower for leaves, I rake them. I hate Keurigs and prefer the old fashioned percolator. The list can go on for days, but I’ll stop there. Like you, I know a lot of folks that like wine, and enjoy it regularly. So this year, I grabbed a couple …
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  • 5 Vegas Miami

    Steve R
    92
    America ... $%!# YEAH.   CIGARfest 2014. It literally happened a month ago. Amongst the madness, this fabled event was utilized by the fine folks at 5 Vegas as the official launch party for their new 5 Vegas Miami. I spent some time in the 5 Vegas booth at CIGARfest. I rubbed elbows with some of the attendees. I saw some instances of disappointment, as some attendees realized the latest …
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  • CAO Extreme

    Steve R
    93
    Welcome back, CAO   If you know me, you know I’ve always been fond of CAO. Brazilia, Sopranos, Black, Italia....hell, I’m man enough to admit I’ve even burned through a fair share of Moontrance and Bella Vanilla over the years. Bottom line is, CAO makes a damn fine cigar, but more importantly, CAO cigars are among the most consistent and reliable in the boutique realm. …
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  • Davidoff Maduro Series

    Steve R
    88
    So you may have noticed an increased number of staff reviews lately. You guys love’em, we enjoy talking shop, and our marketing guru Scott tells us that content is good for the site. It’s a win-win-win!   Scott, the marketing whiz I just mentioned 5 seconds ago, stresses SEO. That’s marketing speak for marketing stuff. Apparently our reviews help you find our site when …
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  • Casa Magna Dominican

    Steve R
    90
    Apparently you guys like beer. I received a lot of feedback on the beer portion of my review. While I don’t want these reviews to lose their focus, I’ll gladly toss in some sidebars on craft beer from time to time. And since I just had two new (to me) IPAs this past weekend, I might as well tell you about them.   Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA – A flavorful, 9.4% IPA …
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  • Don Pepin Garcia Legado de Pepin

    Steve R
    93
    The other day I received two scathing emails from the same person. He took the time to tell me how wonderful my reviews are, how much he agreed with them, and how awesome my palate is. Seriously, both emails made me all warm and fuzzy inside. After the insults, in his most charming and classy way, he then told me to go back to drinking Bud Light and burning Swisher Sweets. Nice! Thanks for …
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  • Oliva Saison

    Steve R
    92
    Oliva. I’ve always loved the brand. Back when it was lesser known, and the Serie ‘O’ cigars came in felt bands and the maduro variety came in toilet bowl shaped boxes....yeah, I loved them back then. Some of you might remember the days I’m harking, some may not. Either way, most folks know the name Oliva, and the brand has been flourishing, at a feverish pitch, over the …
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  • Ramon Bueso Odyssey

    Steve R
    91
    My recent trip back to Connecticut.... Like most avid enthusiasts, my palate has evolved over the years. A combination of me wanting more and cigar-makers giving me more, has resulted in my preference for complex, full-bodied, and full-flavored cigars. I love bold handmades. I love spicy handmades. I love big, rich flavors that consume every square millimeter of my palate, with thick heavy smoke …
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  • Diesel Hair of the Dog

    Steve R
    94
    Let’s set the record straight.... Hey. How are ya? Been a while. You may have noticed a change - a big change. We just updated our site in a very big way. Aesthetically, you will notice an instant difference. But as you browse our site, you’ll soon see products are easier to find, vital information is more readily available, and the overall experience has been enhanced – …
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  • Punch Bareknuckle

    Steve R
    92
    If you’re on our mailing list, you’ve likely seen Punch Bareknuckle on the cover. Eye-catching, no? Rightfully so, because I’ll say it up front: the mighty Punch brand was desperate for a blend like this. Years ago, Punch was among the strongest blends on the market. Times have changed, new makers have entered the fray, powerful new tobaccos have been produced, and Punch …
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  • Genesis The Project by Ramon Bueso

    Steve R
    This is the question I heard over and over (and over) throughout CIGARfest 2012. Indeed, aside from us hosting our 9th annual CIGARfest, which turned out to be a huge success for 6,000+ cigar lunatics, Ramon Bueso was the buzz word of the day, every day, between May 2nd and May 6th. So who is Ramon Bueso? Lemme fill you in with some back story. The first tobacco farm in Honduras was located on …
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  • La Gloria Cubana Artesanos Retro Especiale

    Steve R
    91
    La Gloria Cubana has been on my radar lately. Ok, I lie. I’ve been watching this brand like a hawk and burning LGCs like it’s going out of style. I’ve always been fond of La Gloria, mainly the Serie R Maduro. The blend is solid. Consistent, flavorful, and performs perfectly cigar after cigar. But here’s the thing....La Gloria Cubana has been releasing some fantastic new …
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  • Obsidian

    Steve R
    93
    A lot has happened since my last review. The Phillies collapsed. The Eagles have gone from the best team in the NFL, to the worst, to the best, then back to the bottom of the barrel about....oh, eleven times. MLS became the number 3 sport in America - I love soccer, but really? Kim Kardashian got married, again. And divorced, again....all while Gurkha released 17 new small-batch brands. …
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  • Cohiba

    Steve R
    89
    We just finished up our Christmas catalog, and added a nifty little gift-buying section for all types of buyers. Some of us were chosen to play the role of everyday characters folks can relate to. Characters you work with, associate with, are related to, etc....characters best described as, ‘that guy.’ My character, in a word, was superficial. Makes a lot of money (completely false), …
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  • Morro Castle

    Steve R
    90
    Lately I’ve noticed a ton of old, classic toys have returned....complete with retro-packaging hearkening back to the days they were first released. The Easy-Bake Oven. The Music Box Teaching Clock. The Two Tune TV. These were awesome toys. At first glance, they may not seem like a lot of fun compared to the toys youngsters are spoiled with these days....but I’ll be damned if I am …
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  • Warlock

    Steve R
    86
    The other day I read a cigar review from....well, a magazine that writes cigar reviews. The tasting notes included ‘a touch of linen.’ WHAT?! I’ve seen some odd tasting notes in the past....pencil lead, avocado, motor oil, etc. But linen? “This cigar tastes of a 50/50 blend of polyester and pre-shrunk cotton. Personally, I prefer a microfiber blend.” Needless to say, …
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  • Blue Label 'B2'

    Steve R
    90
    With CIGARfest this weekend, time is of the essence. We’re all pumped as hell to welcome 3,000 cigar lunatics representing all 50 states, but let’s face it: it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of prep time. Work that’s fully worth it, but work that leaves little time for a staff review. Fortunately, I have some added incentive to write this review. Some inspiration if you …
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  • Cuba Libre One

    Steve R
    94
    SPOILER ALERT: Rarely will you see me give a cigar a 94-point rating. But guess what, I just did. Here’s why. Throw out what you think you know about Cuba Libre....even if you’re one of the many that enjoys this hearty stick on a regular basis. Cuba Libre One is bold, fresh, and entirely new. A bigger, darker, badder brother fully equipped to soothe your palate into submission. …
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  • Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro

    Steve R
    91
    I’ve long been a fan of Alec Bradley Tempus. This 94-rated stud is damn tasty and always well-made. Especially the Quadrum size, which sits heavy in the hand and comes jam-packed with delicious tobaccos. I just received a Tempus Maduro in this very same size: 5.5”x55 Quadrum. It looks and smells amazing, offering a sweet tobacco pre-light aroma and a bready pre-light flavor …
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  • Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo

    Steve R
    91
    A few days ago, my December issue of Cigar Aficionado was delivered. Today, I got around to leafing through it. Amongst the ads for countless items I’ll never be able to afford, something caught my eye, inspiring me to write this staff review. Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo received an ‘88’ rating. Wait a minute.... Let’s go back 10 years. An 88-point score …
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  • Gran Habano Corojo Vintage 2002

    Steve R
    92
    To be honest, I have no idea why I am even writing this review. Watching truckloads of Gran Habano Corojo Vintage 2002 cigars hit our docks (seemingly) monthly tells me you already know about the brand. Hell, this cigar is nearly impossible to keep in stock, and writing a review could potentially make it even more difficult to maintain a decent level of inventory. But, I’ve been burning …
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  • La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

    Steve R
    90
    New 2010 Release: La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor As some of you may know, I was a HUGE fan of the old La Aroma de Cuba blend from Honduras. Chewy, rich, tasty....I loved this cigar and have missed it considerably ever since it left the market. Now, this brand is made in Nicaragua by Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia, and it’s drastically different. Some claim it’s better, some claim …
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  • 5 Vegas Gold Maduro

    Steve R
    91
    When word got out about a new, maduro version of the top-selling 5 Vegas Gold, I instantly grew nervous. The Connecticut-wrapped Gold Series is the golden goose of the 5 Vegas line, a mellow but flavorful stud that outsells bigger name brands like Macanudo and Ashton. You don’t want to mess with that kind of success. However, I soon learned that 5 Vegas Gold Maduro would be sporting my …
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  • La Perla Habana Black Pearl

    Steve R
    90
    In case you haven’t seen our latest catalog, get on it, son. We have some mighty fine deals in there, let alone some fantastic new blends....in addition to the return of classic gems such as this: La Perla Habana. Currently, the Black Pearl and Classic are here, in house, and the Morado, Rojo, and Cobre are on the way. Since the Black Pearl was one of my favorite cigars many moons ago, …
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  • Diesel Unlimited

    Steve R
    92
    I’ve decided to do something a little different with this Staff Review. Last week I was in Nicaragua visiting several factories, creating new blends, and trying some upcoming releases which we’ll soon be carrying. The latter was the most exciting, largely in part to the cigar I am writing about now: the new Diesel Unlimited. Although the final product is still a few months out, I felt …
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  • Graycliff 'G2'

    Steve R
    90
    Finding a mild-bodied cigar with substance can be tough. Tougher still is finding a mild-bodied handmade with enough gusto to rival the likes of Ashton and Davidoff, without the hefty price tag. Well, one has arrived from the most unlikely of sources: Graycliff. First some info on Graycliff. This Bahamas-based factory is tiny, housing a mere dozen Cuban-born rollers that – combined – …
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  • Cuba Libre

    Steve R
    89
    Rarely do I have a chance to sit down and truly enjoy a cigar. As a member of the CI Merch Squad, I am constantly testing samples for potential blends, writing descriptions for new brands, or providing feedback for upcoming new releases. Yes, I enjoy many of these cigars and some are true gems, but having the freedom to dig deep into my humidor to find something I’ve been craving is rare at …
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  • La Estrella Cubana

    Steve R
    91
    When I think of a maduro cigar, I imagine dark, rich flavors. I’m talking rich flavors....flavors that coat the palate with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, and rich well-fermented tobacco. Flavors that linger on the palate and leave behind that velvety feel on the taste buds. Flavors that stick with you - in a good way - and urge you to draw in big, thick clouds of smoke with each puff. …
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  • Diesel

    Steve R
    93
    The weather is changing and I love it. The days have been hitting mid to high 70s, allowing ample time for work - which warrants a cold reward (read: beer) in the end, while daylight still allows enough time for a nice cigar. Lately, I’ve been hooked on one full-bodied combination: a big 22oz bottle of Stone Russian Imperial Stout paired with the new, Nicaraguan-made Diesel. Believe me when …
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  • Rocky Patel Sun Grown

    Steve R
    90
    Today has been a crazy cigar day. At 10am, I embarked on a daunting task of testing nine blends. However, I had to burn these nine cigars at the same time in an effort to find the best of the bunch. I’ll be honest....some were horrific. Those were sent home from the island with haste and pleasure. However, a few did stand out, so I had to cleanse the palate, grab some fresh air, and …
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  • 5 Vegas Classic

    Steve R
    Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel the past few months, you know that SCHIP has hit home. This bill places a heavy tax on all cigars, and has resulted in higher prices starting 4/1. Some manufacturers are using this tax as a vehicle to introduce price increases that, in some cases, go above and beyond the level of the tax. In several cases, manufacturers have instituted multiple price …
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  • John Bull

    Steve R
    89
    SCHIP Buster Series - Volume 4 Unless you’ve been asleep at the wheel the past month or two, you know that SCHIP has hit home. This bill places a heavy tax on all cigars, and has resulted in higher prices starting 4/1. Some manufacturers are using this tax as a vehicle to introduce price increases that, in some cases, go above and beyond the level of the tax. In several cases, …
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  • 5 Vegas Classic Vertical Tasting

    Steve R
    90
    Ever since I did the Nub vertical tasting, I have been receiving a relatively steady stream of emails requesting similar reviews on other brands. Of these emails, one of the most requested brands was 5 Vegas Classic, a brand that we showcase often and sell a ton of. Some made this request because they have yet to try it. Others have tried it, but have yet to try all the sizes. And, since I am …
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  • Hoyo Excalibur

    Steve R
    87
    As I drove to the office yesterday, I thought about two things.... First, it’s great to be a sports fan in the Philadelphia area. Penn State is 8-0 and a hopeful for the national championship - curse the corrupt BCS system. The Phillies play in game one of the World Series this week in a very winnable series against the Rays (otherwise known to Mike Ditka as the Tampa Ray Bays). And Tony …
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  • La Herencia Cubana

    Steve R
    88
    If you read Keith’s review on this cigar, you understand the debate behind it. If not, it seems to be a love or hate blend. While most of our customers enjoy it, some do not....and our retail store has been marked as a meeting grounds for their (seemingly) weekly debates. Ever since Keith wrote his review last month, I have received a steady stream of emails asking me what my take is. …
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  • Nub Connecticut - Vertical Tasting

    Steve R
    88
    It seems you folks enjoyed my previous vertical tastings for Nub, and many have asked when I’d be reviewing the Connecticut. That’ good to know, since they took an awfully long time to write, and resulted in me feeling lightheaded for hours. All in a day’s work, right? Today, I will be completing the Nub Vertical Trifecta. Before we start, here’s everything you need to …
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  • Nub Cameroon - Vertical Tasting

    Steve R
    89
    After tasting countless cigars and working hands on in the Oliva factory, Sam Leccia concluded that a cigar normally hits its ‘sweet spot’ within 3 to 4 inches of the burn. Therefore, one must invest a good amount of time with a cigar prior to being rewarded with its true character. So, Sam worked with the Oliva Cigar Family (maker’s of Serie ‘V’ and Serie …
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  • Nub Habano - Vertical Tasting

    Steve R
    89
    Unless you’ve been living under the rock the past 3 weeks, you’ve probably heard of the Nub. If not, here’s your crash course: After tasting countless cigars and working hands on in the Oliva factory, Sam Leccia concluded that a cigar normally hits its ‘sweet spot’ within 3 to 4 inches of the burn. Therefore, one must invest a good amount of time with a cigar prior …
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  • Arturo Fuente

    Steve R
    86
    Just over 3 years ago, I wrote a review on the Arturo Fuente Double Chateau. If you haven’t read it, or would like to reference back, you can find it here. Despite being 2+ years old, this single review still (to this day) results in a constant stream of hate mail from diehard Fuente fans, in addition to in-depth debates with retail store customers. “How can you not like …
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  • 5 Vegas Classic Fifty Five

    Steve R
    92
    Over the past few months I’ve been receiving emails asking me if I had something magical up my sleeve for my 100th review. Even customers of our Super-Store are expecting something big. Truth is, this is actually my 110th review, but 10 older reviews have been removed, as the brands have since been discontinued by its maker. So, I guess you can say this is, unofficially, my 100th review. …
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  • Natural Ltd. Irish Hops by Drew Estate

    Steve R
    91
    Some of you may realize the cigar I am writing about right now and navigate elsewhere on our glorious web site in search of another fantastic deal. But those of you who enjoy Drew Estate cigars will surely appreciate knowing, Jonathan created a new addition to the Limited Natural line, and it has arrived. I’ll be perfectly honest. I love traditional cigars, and don’t care for much of …
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  • Victor Sinclair Triple Corojo

    Steve R
    88
    Christmas is now an afterhought, and my AMEX practically burned a whole through my wallet, so I decided to be a little more economical with my final purchase of 2007. I decided to pick up a new, full(er)-bodied cigar by Victor Sinclair which will likely catch on among Corojo fans. Partly because of the price, but mostly because of the flavor. I’ve long been a fan of Corojo …
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  • Hoyo de Tradicion

    Steve R
    89
    Over the past 2 or 3 months I’ve been enjoying a cigar pretty regularly. And by regularly I mean at least 1-2 each week. Now, that might not seem ‘regular’ to you, but considering the variety of cigars offered to me each week, between samples and new blends, 1-2 a week is surprisingly routine these days. That cigar is Hoyo de Tradicion, the latest addition to the legendary Hoyo …
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  • San Cristobal

    Steve R
    91
    The first few months leading up to each RTDA include a massive influx of hype, whispers, ratings, reviews, and of course excitement. Each year, several cigars remain the focal point throughout the show. Whether they’re from CAO, Felipe Gregorio, Perdomo, or Rocky Patel...these are the cigars we’re all waiting to try. And so we hit the show floors with burned-out palates, ready to …
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  • 601 Serie Blue Box-Press Maduro

    Steve R
    90
    A while back I reviewed the original 601 Serie, a high-end cigar made by Don ‘Pepin’ Garcia in his Nicaraguan-based factory, El Rey de los Habanos. Since I wrote this review, a new breed of 601 has been released, in the form of a box-pressed maduro, which also represents one of the few, if not the only, super-premium maduros made by Pepin Garcia. CigarFest ‘07 was the first …
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  • Gispert

    Steve R
    87
    The fact that certain cigars fly under the radar amazes me. I mean, there are some wonderful sleepers out there: anything by Felipe Gregorio or Oliveros, La Aurora Leoninos, and many, many more. These brands go unknown by most, who simply reply with a “who?” or “what?” whenever mentioned. Yet, Gispert is a great seller. Now, I’m not saying Gispert is a bad cigar, …
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  • MAXX by Alec Bradley

    Steve R
    90
    Is anybody else sick of seeing Paris Hilton on the news every minute of the day? In jail, outta jail, in jail, finding God, changing her life...who cares?! It’s sickening. Last night I turned on the television to see yet another report on the status of Princess Parasite, a clip of her being carted away in a squad car crying her eyes out. After watching just long enough for a sheepish smile …
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  • Montecristo Media Noche

    Steve R
    91
    I’ve really been struggling this week. I can’t snap out of it. The weather has been flippin’ gorgeous and I just want to be out on the golf course. Despite putting the lives of others at risk with my horrific slice, it’s always good to be out in the sun with the guys and a great cigar or three. But, I’ve hardly had time to hit the range after work, let alone make …
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  • Ashton Aged Maduro

    Steve R
    90
    Wow. It’s literally been over a month since I posted a staff review. Don’t get me wrong...I’ve been burning my way through boxes of cigars during this time, but the craziness that is CigarFest kept me from actually sitting down and writing a review. Hosting 2,000 cigar lunatics and 26 of the world’s finest cigar makers for the best damn Herf on the planet can be very time …
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  • Romeo y Julieta Viejo

    Steve R
    90
    The Romeo y Julieta Bully was one of the first cigars I ever had. It was about 9 or 10 years ago. I was in Mexico and forcing down my 4th or 5th Corona of the morning. (Before you ask, I brought my own cigars. Never buy smokes in Mexico!) I lit up a Bully from the 1875 line, Romeo’s top-selling blend. It was good...mild enough for a new guy like me to enjoy with enough flavor to …
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  • Perdomo Lot 23

    Steve R
    91
    Nick Perdomo is widely known for his super-high-end handmades, including Edicion de Silvio, ESV '91 and the amazing La Tradicion series. However, some of our top-selling brands happen to be his value-priced blends, like Slow-Aged Lot 826 and Tierra del Sol. It's clear, Tabacalera Perdomo can craft a top-notch smoke for enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes and incomes. He furthers this point with …
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  • Zino Platinum Scepter

    Steve R
    85
    Davidoff is a name that needs no introduction. Whether you’ve managed to pony up the dough and buy one for yourself or not, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the name at least a hundred times over. Davidoff, founded by the late Zino Davidoff, is a symbol of pleasure and the good life. Well, naturally...you have to have a ‘good life’ to enjoy a Davidoff cigar with any …
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  • 601 Serie

    Steve R
    91
    As per the usual, the Thanksgiving holiday called for an onslaught of primo cigars. Top-notch, full-bodied premiums that could stand up to my traditional (and supernatural) display of utter gluttony. Naturally, my favorites were chosen…Edicion de Silvio, Gurkha Centurian Double-X, Graycliff Espresso; the whole 9 yards. This year, a newcomer made the cut. 601 Serie, a cigar from the makers …
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  • Saint Luis Rey

    Steve R
    87
    Today, I realized I haven’t written a review since October. Amazing, considering I’ve probably smoked about 50 cigars since then. In the words of Nimish, the Prince of Indian Tabac, I am a “slacker.” About 2 weeks ago, I received an email request to review Saint Luis Rey. Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever tried the Honduran blend and, since I love doing …
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  • Arturo Fuente Hemingway

    Steve R
    86
    Last night I decided to crack open the old El Presidente humidor at home. It’s been a long time since I’ve touched this thing, other than the routine re-charge of the humidifiers. After taking a peak inside and under the lift-out tray I was quite impressed with the collection of lovelies I’ve been sitting on. At the bottom were a few Hemingway Signatures. I don’t remember …
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  • 5 Vegas Gold No. 1

    Steve R
    90
    For the past 5 days we’ve seen nothing but rain here in Bath, PA. Flash flood warnings bombard the airwaves, while local residents can be seen paddling down the streets on the evening news. Craziness. Yesterday, there was a break in the rain and a few rays of foggy sunshine before the day came to an end. This was my chance to go outside and enjoy a cigar, and I’ll be damned if I …
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  • Oliva 'O' Classic

    Steve R
    87
    While I was away on vacation, the guys here at the office decided to clean out my humidor. Considering most of my favorites have become their favorites, most of my favorites have become missing. So, I had to dig deep to find some enjoyable smokes to burn while working this past week. Underneath a handful of samples I’ll never want to smoke again, I discovered 4 Oliva ‘O’ Classic …
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  • Punch Rare Corojo

    Steve R
    87
    I never quite understood why the Punch Rare Corojo is called, Punch Rare Corojo. After all, the wrapper is not Corojo. Rather, this box-pressed handmade sports a dark, oily Sumatra leaf from Ecuador. A head-scratcher indeed. Whatever the case may be, the Rare Corojo can be considered rare, since production is limited to just once per year, hitting retail shelves mid-to-late Spring. A few years …
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  • Cusano 18

    Steve R
    90
    In case you haven’t heard, we recently wrapped up our third annual CigarFest. In the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, 1,500 cigar lunatics were let loose on an event floor with dozens of cigar, beer and spirit samples within a stone’s throw in every direction. Throughout the event, I spent a good deal of time with Michael Chiusano, owner of Cusano cigars. Aside from trying to …
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  • CAO Black Man O' War

    Steve R
    91
    I've been known to jump the gun on more than one occasion. Today marks another one of those occasions. The cigar I am smoking right now is a sample of something very special that's scheduled to arrive towards the end of May. The reason I decided to write about it is simple: I've been burning through these samples on a daily basis, and loving every single one. The cigar is Man O’ War, a …
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  • Romeo y Julieta 1875

    Steve R
    87
    Romeo y Julieta was one of the first cigars I've ever tried. Come to think of it, I believe it was numero uno. I was in Cancun - don't worry, I brought my own smokes - and had just a few too many Coronas, so my memory is a little hazy. Regardless, had I not enjoyed my first few cigars, I wouldn't have become the crazed cigar lunatic I am today. Therefore, I do give thanks to RyJ for beginning my …
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  • Xikar Envoy Leather Case

    Steve R
    This week, I’ve decided to do something a little different. Something a little crazy, that could get me in trouble with the ‘Big Guy’. But, guess what? I don’t care, because I am just so damn impressed with the Envoy 3-Finger Leather Case from Xikar. Here’s the deal. I have just about every cigar toy imaginable, including countless cigar cases, caddies, travel-dors, …
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  • Carlos Torano Exodus 1959

    Steve R
    89
    This Editor’s Pick can be summed up with two words: HERSHEY BAR. As many have already found out for themselves, the Torano Exodus 1959 is gorgeous. Dark, sharply boxed-pressed cigars that seem to leak natural oils, causing me to froth at the mouth every time I reach into the humidor to grab one. In my opinion, this is the best Torano to date, and as an added bonus, it’s perfectly …
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  • Gurkha Centurian

    Steve R
    94
    The Gurkha Centurian is not your every day cigar. Rather, it’s a special cigar for a special day. Let’s be honest, how often do you get the chance to enjoy a $30 cigar that was made exclusively for the Sultan of Brunei? In case you're wondering, Brunei Darussalam is an oil-rich country located in the island of Borneo, and the Sultan is not just the Sultan, he's also the …
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  • 5 Vegas Series 'A'

    Steve R
    92
    Wow. Winter just started and already it's rough. Bitter cold, windy nights, sleet, snow...I absolutely despise the cold. For one, I hate having to warm up my car. I am way too impatient (and usually running too late to wait). Second, the winter marks the end of the NFL season – why can't football be a year-round sport? Lastly, and most importantly, the cold weather seriously cuts into …
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  • Natural Ltd. Pimp Stick by Drew Estate

    Steve R
    89
    Drew Estate is known for their Acid line, a series of unique, aromatic blends. Whenever I am in our retail store and recommend a Drew Estate product, I see the gears inside their head start to turn, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re thinking ‘flavored’ or ‘aromatic’. Considering my DE recommendations usually include the Natural line, this is not a …
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  • Montecristo White Label

    Steve R
    85
    Montecristo, one of the biggest names in the business, and a ‘staple’ among enthusiasts everywhere. I’ll start out by telling you, the White Label is a gorgeous cigar. Silky and smooth with a flawless wrapper that’s been applied perfectly around a dense bunch of fillers that shows no signs of a soft spot. It’s a perfect representation of the name printed on the band. …
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  • Bolivar 2005

    Steve R
    87
    When I received word of a new Bolivar being released, I grew a little antsy. Wrapped in an oily ligero wrapper and touted as a full-bodied, full-flavored blend that’s bold and aggressive, I figured it had to be good. Of course, I instantly hoped the new blend would resemble its older brother from The Island – an assertive, robust, heady smoke that pops with flavorful goodness – …
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  • Gurkha Symphony

    Steve R
    90
    Those of you that know me are well aware of my love for Gurkha cigars. I can easily look you straight in the eyes and say that I’ve yet to find a disappointing Gurkha. Granted, I haven’t smoked them all (yet), but I’ve definitely had my fair share. Kaizad Hansotia, the man behind Gurkha, came out with some new lines with K. Hansotia secondary bands. Of course, I had to try …
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  • Partagas Cifuentes Seasonal Blends

    Steve R
    92
    I was fortunate enough to taste a few of these at this year’s RTDA in Las Vegas. Long story short, it blew me away. In my mind, it was the best release at the show, and I’ve been waiting to receive our shipment ever since, ready to make an employee purchase. It finally hit the docks about 3 weeks ago - the card was swiped, and I was puffing away by 5PM that same night. I’ve …
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  • CAO Brazilia

    Steve R
    88
    I recently re-introduced myself to CAO Brazilia, my favorite CAO blend prior to the re-release of CAO Black. I particularly enjoy the Brazilia because both the flavor and strength varies drastically between the different sizes. I find, ironically enough, the strength decreases as the size increases. Because of this, my favorite size is the Gol! – a well-fed Robusto shape that boasts a solid …
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  • Liga IV

    Steve R
    89
    As I write this, Liga IV is being counted in by our receiving crew. Crates upon crates of silky smooth Liga IVs, waiting for a home. I haven’t picked any from the shipment that just landed, but I still remember the samples like I smoked them yesterday. The first thought that ran through my mind upon receiving them was “Farmie”. For those of you that aren’t familiar with …
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  • Natural Dirt Torpedo by Drew Estate

    Steve R
    90
    As I write this, we do not have the Natural Dirt Torpedo in stock. However, it will be arriving shortly, and the more I think about the cigar, the more I am looking forward to its arrival. Drew Estate sent us samples a few months ago, and I burned through them quite quickly. They were good, but nothing too exciting. I thought, “It’s the same as the Dirt, why do I need a …
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  • Perdomo 2 Milenario ‘Mistakes’

    Steve R
    89
    I decided to pick up the game of golf this summer. I call it a game simply because it’s always playing with my mind. One day I’ll do well, the next day I’ll go through $25 in balls. Although I can’t always control how I play on the course, I can control what cigars I’ll be burning while looking for my ball. I’ve always been told never to have ‘good’ …
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  • Macanudo Gold

    Steve R
    87
    I got back to my apartment around 9pm last night and headed straight for the laundry room to do a few loads of wash. Wouldn’t you know it, somebody got there 1 minute before I did and managed to monopolize both washers before I could get a glimpse of his or her face. ONE LOUSY MINUTE! So, I had some time to spare and decided to sit outside with a cigar and glass of lemonade. The smoke of …
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  • Gurkha Doble Maduro

    Steve R
    93
    I’ve been chomping at the bits waiting for this cigar to come in. You see, we received samples of this cigar on the same day as the Triple Ligero X3. If you’ve read my write-up on Triple Ligero, you know I am a fan. Well, between that and the Doble Maduro, I favor the latter. Why? Take the super-smooth richness of a Triple Ligero, but leave out the spicy, robust ligero leaves, and …
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  • Don Diego

    Steve R
    85
    Don Diego is one of those names that’s become synonymous with ‘mild’. It’s a go-to brand for beginners – they know the name, it’s easy to say and you’ll find it in just about any cigar shop across the country. They’re consistent, well-made and make for an easy introduction to the wonderful world of premium handmade cigars. Heck, one of the first …
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  • Onyx Reserve

    Steve R
    87
    Not too long ago, the Onyx Reserve Mini Belicoso blew up the cigar scene with an astonishing ‘94’ rating from Cigar Aficionado. It quickly became all the rave, causing backorders lasting too many months to count. Never before have I seen such demand on a cigar, so naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I remember my first Mini Belicoso like it was yesterday. I was still …
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  • La Aurora

    Steve R
    92
    La Aurora, a.k.a. The Fuente Killer. Why do I call it this? Because every time a customer asks for something comparable to Fuente, I introduce them to La Aurora - in my mind, the best brand to ever come out of the Dominican. Think about it: they’re both mild to medium-bodied premiums made in the Dominican using the finest selection of long-leaf tobaccos and Cameroon wrappers. Apples to …
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  • Rocky Patel Connecticut

    Steve R
    90
    Yes, I know...I just did a write-up on the Rocky Patel Sun Grown. What can I say, Rocky makes some phenomenal cigars, and I am enjoying each new line that he’s come out with. Every time I crack open a box of Vintage, I know exactly what to expect from each cigar found inside. The same goes for the Sun Grown and the Edge, and Rocky’s latest creation, the Connecticut, is no different. …
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  • Victor Sinclair Vintage Select

    Steve R
    88
    If there’s one thing I love, it’s a super dark, super smooth, super oily box-pressed cigar. Among my favorites are the Torano Exodus, Gurkha Regent and Nester Reserve. Slow-burning, densely packed, hefty handmades filled with chocolatey goodness. Victor Sinclair of the Dominican Republic has their own version of dark, box-pressed beauties called the Vintage Select. Truth be told, this …
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  • Rocky Patel Sun Grown

    Steve R
    90
    The 2004 RTDA in Vegas showcased a slew of great offerings from some great makers, and of all the makers, it seems Rocky Patel was the busiest. His booth was utter madness, spilling over with onlookers trying to catch a glimpse of his new releases. The Edge, Java, Royale and Sun Grown – each one causing what seemed to be a riot, only less gunfire and more flashbulbs. But don’t worry, …
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  • Puros Indios by Rolando Reyes, Sr.

    Steve R
    89
    Rolando Reyes, Sr. is a living legend. I was fortunate enough to witness firsthand just how important this man is to the cigar industry at the 2004 RTDA in Las Vegas, as everyone there helped celebrate his birthday. It’s difficult to put into words the amount of respect that he receives within the industry, fellow cigar-makers went out of their way to shake his hand and made it a point to …
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  • Ashton Vintage Cabinet Series

    Steve R
    86
    Since I’ve been leaning towards the lighter side of cigars lately, I figured I’d treat myself to one I’ve never had. Indeed, finding one was a task in of itself, almost as difficult as forking out the dough to try the chosen cigar, Ashton Vintage, otherwise known as the Cabinet Series, or Cabinet Selection. Whatever you want to call it, Ashton is a consistent cigar that receives …
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  • Slow-Aged by Perdomo

    Steve R
    88
    Every now and then I catch wind of a new cigar that makes me grow as impatient as an eight year old kid on Christmas morning. Carmen our inventory manager tries to keep these shipments a secret, knowing I’ll bug him on a daily basis to see if it has arrived. Slow-Aged was one of those shipments. It only took a few words for me to grab my attention: Perdomo, bundle, bargain. I love Perdomo …
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  • Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970

    Steve R
    91
    I’ve noticed a landslide of quality mild bodied cigars hitting our docks as of late. As a result, almost everything that I’ve been smoking these days has been lighter than the norm. Since I’ve made my way through most of the new product, I’ve decided to treat myself to one of the strongest cigars I’ve ever had. The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970, a 90+ rated …
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  • Arturo Fuente

    Steve R
    86
    Arturo Fuente, one of the most widely known names in the cigar industry. On a daily basis, I come in contact with enthusiasts that live and die by the Fuente name, swearing off all cigars unless it has this infamous signature somewhere on the band. Why? Beats me, there are so many great cigars out there it’s hard to believe a true enthusiast would limit himself to just one maker. …
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  • Fonseca Vintage

    Steve R
    90
    By now I think you’ve come to realize that I don’t usually care for lighter bodied cigars. To add to this, I rarely light up a mild bodied cigar on a regular basis. There are some exceptions, like K. Hansotia’s Symphony, AVO XO, 5 Vegas Gold and the new Perdomo Reserve Champagne. It’s safe to say that it’ll take a damn fine cigar to rank among my favorites...I mean …
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