Reviews by Gonz

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Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing, and I mean nothing, could get you in a good mood? No special cigar, no special lovin' from the wife, no special wine, no 12 shots of tequila, no nuthin'. I never thought I'd make it to Saturday. But here I am, finally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a solid 6 hours sleep (woohoo!), with tremendous hope that this week will be the week I hit the PowerBall jackpot (as of right this second, according to the website, it's at $44,000,000.) And if that happens, I'll be writing a helluva lot more reviews, but from my yacht docked somewhere off the coast of Aruba. I'd be livin' la vida loca relaxin' with my sombrero, guayabera shirt, and Hawaiian shorts --> strawberry margarita in one hand, lit cigar with long ash in the other, and Jimmy Buffet playing all-day-long.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Thanks for letting me wander a bit, my head's a bit fried. I've done extensive research for you, my friends, for this review. I've smoked the good, bad, and the ugly to bring you the very best that Cigar Tasting has to offer. Every few weeks, I venture into the humidor and pick one of these, one of that, one of that, one of these, etc. and smoke one each night. I like to separate the adventure into different nights to get a fairly objective decision. Usually on an empty stomach, and usually on my way home. That way, if I'm comparing 2 from the El-Dog-Rocket-O category, it doesn't become relative (like "that one was really bad, and this one is not as bad as that one, so it must be good.") Get it? This is my service to you. It's a tough job, I know.

Where was I? Oh, my extensive research brings (drumroll, please ...........) Cu-Avana. It's a bit of a tongue-twister, but I think your tastebuds won't mind after you've smoked a few. Made by the stellar cigar maker Manuel Quesada - producer of the 90+ rated brands Licenciados and Fonseca. If you're looking for that "damn, my heads spinning cigar", you can skip the rest of this review and quickly turn to the page on Diesel or Perdomo Fresh-Rolled. Cu-Avana represents the heart and soul of superb cigar-making. Very cliche, right? Well, it's true. Take some of the biggest brands out there - Montecristo, Avo, Ashton, etc. - and I'll stack this cigar against each and every one of them. A mellow anytime smoke, perfect construction, impeccable wrapper.....wait a second, I'm jumping the gun. Let me give you the 4-1-1 first (that's ebonics for "information" for those of you not on the club scene like me.) Man, I'm all over the place today.

Back to Cu-Avana - let's start with the wrapper. A delicate Connecticut-shade that's almost transparent. Light, smooth, perfect. Fillers and binder are taken from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic. Simple, that's it, not complicated. It's amazing how many manufacturers can complicate things so much and ultimately screw it up. There-in lies the beauty of this cigar, you'll find it to be a consistent one-after-another-after-another cigar. I'm smoking the 6x50 Toro right now. Light one up and you'll find that the construction is solid with no soft spots, inconsistencies, or blemishes anywhere. I find the draw to be firm and the smoke to be abounding. This cigar never seems to go out either. I've left it on my desk for what seemed like a 1/2 hour without dragging and it was still lit. The initial mellow-flavor is not overly sensational, but soft and subtle. It builds every so slightly with a hint of a sweet undertone and never overwhelms whatsoever. I was doing some mindless work around my garage a few weekends ago and I smoked three in a row. They relaxed me, didn't spoil my supper, and put me in a great mood. The burn is nearly perfect while building an ash that'll form to nearly an inch with out fear of falling off. It's solid and doesn't flake a bit. You'll find all these characteristics from start to finish. The flavor won't move much and it won't burn hot toward the end.

After the week I've had, this put me into the ultimate state of relaxation I needed. I'm ready to go home, sleep for 12 hours, and just rest my brain. Oh, I almost forgot the best part - these babies start at about $2 per stick. Grab a box - if you like a mellow-to-medium cigar, it's a can't miss.

Oh, I'll keep ya posted on my pursuit of the PowerBall jackpot.