Cigar Review: Pier 28 Habano

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This offering features an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and  Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 6″ x 46RG Corona Gorda vitola.

First light reveals a perfect draw and putting off ample medium/full body smoke. Flavors of a very dry hay/grass followed up by a bitter pepper and bright cedar on the retrohale (man I hope it gets better; not my preferred flavor profile!).

Settling into the first third we get many of the classic Rosado shade Habano flavors – unsweetened cream, leather and nuts still with a background tinge of the hay. The bitterness has worn off while the cedar and pepper remain.

We see a very welcome transition in the 2nd third as the hay wears off and a bright dried pineapple note joins the other flavors. The hay rears is ugly head again in the back so I ended it prematurely at 55 minutes which is still not a bad time for a small ring gauge. Subtle nicotine strength.

On the plus side, this cigar was well-constructed with a very straight burn. Short ash, but that’s to be expected with a small ring gauge. High quality self-adhesive band that was easy to remove.

If you like the above flavor profile this is definitely one to check out, but for me personally this one missed the mark. I imagine some would enjoy it though. If you like that sort of dry, vegetal flavor profile definitely check this one out though. Rating: 3/5.

Review: Valkyrie Vapor Shop (San Antonio, TX)

Very rarely is a place I visit on vacation so epically awesome that it deserves its own review, but I feel this place is because it might very well be the best vape shop I’ve ever been to.

So Laina was running low on her vape juice and we had nothing better to do so we decided to venture over to the shop she gets her juice and equipment from. I was game; I’ve been vaping on and off over the years too (it’s the next best thing to my premium cigars after all!). She got some juice and we just chilled and chatted for awhile while Josh (the person on duty) mixed up her juice and went from there.

I figured I hadn’t gotten juice in awhile so I figured I’d get some. Josh was very personable and helpful (and just plain fun to BS with!), immediately recommending a flavor upon learning what flavors I like in vape juice (chocolate and mint flavors) – their “Polar Express” flavor which is supposed to be like a York peppermint patty. I tried one pull of the sample tank and I was sold – it was absolutely delicious. I had him mix up two bottles for me to take on the road on the spot, opting for a 1mg nicotine concentration in their standard blend of 80/20 VG/PG:

Yes, you read that right – 1mg. Here’s what sets them apart from everywhere else I’ve been – their nicotine strengths can be had in increments of 1mg/mL. Standard is increments of 3 and that’s just too much in my opinion. Many people might in fact be in between levels ideally but have to either settle for a step higher or lower depending on the user’s wants/needs (or mix two levels together). This is not ideal. It’s best to get the right level right off of the bat. As someone who never smoked cigarettes but does enjoy a little bit of the brain boost from the nicotine (note that cigars don’t really have much nicotine at all), 1mg/mL is perfect for me. I’ve tried 3mg in the past but it’s always been too much for me, so I’ve been stuck with 0mg (boo!).

So that’s all fine and good, but how is the flavor and vapor production (after all that’s what ultimately matters right)? The VG-heavy blend has just enough PG to carry the flavor but not too much to make the hit harsh. Even taking big direct lung inhales from a high-powered sub-ohm mod the vapor goes down smooth and cool without irritation or sting. Of course, as with all mainly VG juices, this stuff produces thick, rich clouds of vapor. The nicotine used is high quality and (at least at the lower concentration) had no effect on the flavor from the taster. Some lower-quality nicotine sources can impart a very peppery flavor to the juice and totally ruin the taste.

Josh was also helpful in aiding me in choosing a new mod as mine prior was older than shit and I was in need of an upgrade. After some exploration, I settled on the UWell Crown IV Checkmate system (again, review to come soon):

Anyway, if you’re in the San Antonio or surrounding area, definitely hit these guys up for your vape needs. Josh was awesome and Laina assures me Mike (the owner) is equally awesome. The juice is very high quality as are the mods, tanks, etc. they stock (they have a very rigorous quality control standard they put their stuff through before they stock it – another commitment to quality). Even though I’m not local to San Antonio (yet!), I will continue to get juice from them with the help of Laina. 😉

Anyway, this place is enthusiastically recommended. You just won’t go wrong when you get your juice and supplies from them.

Cigar Review: Mr. Brownstone

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This offering from Esteban Cabrerras features a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper over Ecuadorian Habano binder and Nicaraguan long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 6″ x 52RG Toro vitola.

First light reveals a slightly snug draw but producing ample smoke. Medium bodied flavors of a light earth, maple syrup and oak with a peppery/spicy finish.

Getting into the first third the body seems to waver between medium and medium/full. We see the same great flavor profile as the first light but with an added dimension of a milk chocolate toward the start of the draw and the sweetness coming up a tick. The smoke has a thick, chewy quality on the palate and is very smooth. The flavors are well blended with no one flavor dominating.

Getting into the 2nd third we see a subtle shift as the earthiness takes on more of a very distinct leather note as it takes on a rich creaminess. Everything else remains and the draw opens up to even what I would consider slightly loose by this point. The final third doesn’t see any additional changes and keeps the flavor profile consistent, with the exception of the body now being solidly into the medium/full category. Ending at 1 hour and 15 minutes for a solid burn time for a Toro vitola and entering only a subtle nictone strength.

Excellent construction with a near razor-sharp burn, but the paper band was a real pain to get off – I had to grab it under the foot to tear it off (sacrificing a tiny flake of wrapper leaf). Ash holds on about an inch at a time.

This was a solid offering all around. It would have been a 4.5/5 if not for that stupid paper wrapping (which adds nothing to the cigar and is pure marketing BS), but the issues therein cost the cigar a half point in my final ratings so it came out to 4/5. It is a highly recommended cigar that would go great any time of day and whatever you want to pair it with.

Cigar Review: Sindustry Black Works Studio SE2019 Lancero

This offering from Black Label Trading company features a Mexican San Andreas wrapper over Nicaraguan Habano binder and Nicaraguan long fillers in a 7″ x 38RG Lancero format.

Slightly snug draw but producing ample smoke. Medium/full body. Lots of flavors out of the gate. Toffee, cinnamon, black pepper. A touch of raisin. A heavy oak lingering on the finish. Lots of nasal burn on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third is more of the same. Draw opens up to normal at this point. No one flavor stands out – they are blended perfectly. Very complex but there’s a slight grit to the texture.

We see a significant transition in the 2nd third as the oakiness morphs more toward a smoky, meaty quality. The pepper also takes on more of a cayenne note. It’s very substantial and the finish lingers forever. The raisin notes also morph into a distinct yeasty bread. It’s almost like a totally different cigar now.

The last third was very zesty, spicy and slightly acidic. There’s also a metallic quality. Very interesting to say the least. Ending at 55 minutes for a reasonable burn time for a Lancero and entering a medium nicotine strength.

Absolutely flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn all the way down. Ash drops off quickly but that’s to be expected with a Lancero.

This was quite a complex stick. Very spicy too. Too bad Lanceros burn fast because I’d have loved more. This is a Privada Cigar Club exclusive so if you want in on this be sure to sign up! Rating: 4.75/5.

Side note: this is my 600th post. Kind of hard to believe.

Cigar Review: Southern Draw Cedrus

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I’ve become a big fan of the Southern Draw line recently. Every one I’ve had to date has been a real winner, so when this one came in my March Privada box I was very excited to see another one of their offerings. The Cedrus features an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper over a Nicaraguan Habano 2000 binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican long fillers. The size reviewed here is a 5.5″ x 52RG Belicoso vitola.

The first light revealed a perfect draw producing plentiful medium/full bodied smoke. Notes of cedar, leather and pepper. Tiny bit of sweetness and a tinge of hot cinnamon clears the sinuses on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third we see more of the same. Pepper dials down just a little bit and a salted roasted nut note enters the mix. There’s also maybe a fleeting hint of cocoa on the tip of the tongue. Everything is bold and complex but well blended.

Into the 2nd third we see an interesting transition. The cinnamon drops off and is replaced by a zingy lemon zest. The leather also takes on more of a yeasty bread note along with a hint of banana  -think like a Belgian beer or banana bread type flavor. Still the same subtle sweetness to round it out.

The final third sees another fairly major transition. The nutty notes take on a very distinct toasted pecan note that takes over the palate. Sweetness drops off while the leather returns with a slight vegetal undertone. Ending at 55 minutes for a solid burn time from a robusto sized stick and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn. Ash held on right to the first band. High quality self adhesive bands that come off easily and do not damage the wrapper.

Yet another solid offering from Southern Draw. Lots of complexity, richness and very transitional. I paired this with some of my Chila spiked coffee and it was a beautiful pairing. Ra.ting: 4.5/5.

Cigar Review: PCC Room 101

This offering is available exclusively from the Privada Cigar Club. You can read the description here (middle column):

The first light reveals a perfect draw putting off plentiful medium/full body smoke. Flavors of nuts, earth and leather are the prominent notes. There’s a bit of a pepper on the nose and lingering on the finish.

The flavors are much the same into the first third but we also see a semi-sweet dark chocolate enter the draw. I’m also detecting a faint vanilla extract on the tip of the tongue. Everything is exceptionally smooth and well blended together. Smoke is very thick and chewy on the palate.

Into the 2nd third the same smooth, rich flavors remain but are joined by a fleeting hint of pineapple and the pepper dialing down a bit. The final third sees another slight shift as the pepper morphs into an aromatic rose petal which is very prominent on the retrohale. I now also get more of the citrus notes described also. Ending at 1 hour flat for a solid burn time for a corona size and entering just a subtle mild/medium nicotine strength.

Absolutely flawless construction featuring a near razor sharp burn for most of it. I did have to give it a large touch up about halfway but likely due to the weather conditions. Ash holds on about a third at a time. Poor quality paper band with lots of glue though. It shredded when removing it but did not damage the wrapper.

All in all this was a beautifully crafted cigar. Smooth, rich and complex flavors. Blender Matt Booth and Brian Desind of PCC did a spectacular job with this one. Rating: 4.5/5.

Cigar Review: Aganorsa Leaf Maduro

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Welcome to another one of The Inked Autist’s cigar reviews! Today we are taking a look at this offering from Casa Fernandez featuring a Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers. The size reviewed today is the 5″ x 54RG box pressed Robusto Extra vitola.

The first light revealed a slightly loose draw putting off big puffs of thick, chewy, medium/full body smoke. Big pepper and earth blast right up front. Tinge of a nuttiness on the finish. A little bit of grit to the texture.

Getting into the first third we have largely the same but the pepper dials back a bit allowing a spicy, unsweetened vanilla extract to enter the draw flavors. There’s also a tiny hint of espresso on the finish going into the retrohale. Still that same grit to the texture.

The 2nd third sees no further changes, holding everything except for a tinge of strength entering the mix. Only a slight shift into the last third as the vanilla morphs more into a nutmeg. Ending at 55 minutes for a slightly better than average burn time for the size and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

Flawless construction with a near razor sharp burn all the way down. High quality self-adhesive bands that were easy to remove and did not damage the wrapper. Ash holds on about a third at a time.

A lot of the prototypical Mexican San Andreas flavors in this stick. High on body and an overall savory, earthy experience. Enjoyable flavors, though personally I would have liked a tinge of sweetness in the mix to round out the package, but that’s just me personally. This would go well with a hefty red wine or a bourbon. Rating: 4/5.