Today we’ll be reviewing the La Palina Mr. Sam, the full-production release of a formerly limited cigar. “Mr. Sam” refers to La Palina founder, Sam Paley, being the nickname the workers in the original factory used to refer to him. This cigar is part of the La Palina Collection series, which is the home of La Palina’s most prestigious releases. The cigar is rolled at the famous boutique factory El Titan de Bronze out of Miami, FL, the same factory that also produces the famed La Palina Goldie, which is hands down one of the most genuinely beautiful cigars ever crafted (we’ll be reviewing this years Goldie very soon, the pictures are sure to be spectacular). Continue reading
La Flor Dominicana is a unique and unconventional manufacturer for a variety of reasons. The company started up in Santiago, Dominican Republic back in 1996. The mastermind behind the company is a man named Litto Gomez, an individual whose background is in the jewelry business. He operated a high-end store in Miami for a number of years, until one day he found himself facing the wrong end of a gun barrel. His store was robbed for somewhere in the ballpark of half a million dollars in jewels. While one can only imagine the thought process of someone who endures such an event, one seems fairly straightforward – Litto figured it was time to transition to a different industry (preferably one that is less likely to see him facing the end of a gun again, I would imagine). Litto and his wife Ines packed up and moved to the Dominican Republic, and thus, La Flor Dominicana was born. Shortly thereafter, LFD was fully established and acquired its own farms and factory; now known as Tabacalera La Flor S.A.. The company grew to the top of the ’boutique’ scene quite quickly. Nowadays, the brand sits in a well-carved niche, firmly planted as a big player in the industry, while still retaining the feel, flexibility, and creativity of a boutique manufacturer; or as Litto puts it – “boutique-styled”.
Several weeks ago we had the privilege of hosting one of only one hundred stops for the Camacho Torch It Up Tour, and one of only two stops in the state of Arizona. Since the grand relaunch/re-branding of Camacho last summer, Camacho/Davidoff has pulled out all the stops to make Camacho a serious, serious force in the industry. The Torch It Up Tour is one of many examples of this in action.
The Torch It Up Tour is a mobile event, consisting of a massive trailer that is painted top to bottom with Camacho branding, with the trailer being towed by a monstrous truck that has received the same treatment. This is all driven around by one of the most eccentric characters in the industry, George Rami, who is the National Brand Ambassador for Camacho.
The event includes a mixology contest, arm-wrestling competitions, blind cigar tastings, and of course, tons of Camacho Cigars!
We shot plenty of pictures as well as a video showcasing all the fun!
Camacho Torch It Up Tour Video:
The Camacho Torch It Up Tour Photos:
Tatuaje is quite the interesting animal. Pete Johnson started the whole thing only 10 short years ago, since then the brand has jumped from being completely unknown, to boutique, and then all the way up to the top of the boutique game. They’re big enough now that it’s hard to even still call them a boutique, but that’s a topic for another time. The other thing that is quite fascinating about Tatuaje is their fans. Individuals who are into Tatuaje are seriously in to Tatuaje, to an extent that I don’t think anybody else can match. The company has an absolute cult following. This type of success can be attributed to a number of variables: e.g., marketing, business strategy, etc, but ultimately all of that is worthless without the core competent – great cigars. Plenty of companies have entered the scene and gained steam, through magazines or social media, before quickly falling to the wayside. The fact that Tatuaje has launched and rocketed to the position that it is now speaks volumes about the caliber of Pete Johnson’s abilities.
This all brings us to the cigar being smoked today – the fabled Tatauje Black Label Corona Gorda. The Black Label Corona Gorda was original designed by Pete as a private blend for himself, but growing interest saw him release small quantities of the blend back in 2007. After the original run, we saw semi regular Black Label releases in a wide variety of sizes. This year however, is the 10th anniversary of Tatuaje, and as such Pete Johnson has opted to release the original Black Label Corona Gorda for one final time. Continue reading
Similar to both the AFR-75 and the A. Flores Gran Reserva, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada line has the privileged of baring its creators name. That man is PDR mastermind, Abe Flores. Abe has had his hand in the cigar industry for a long while, but only really started making a splash in the boutique scene in 2004, with the launch of PDR Cigars. Slowly but surely, Abe has garnered the respect of enthusiasts across board.
First launched at the IPCPR Tradeshow in 2012, the Serie Privada comes in two wrapper variants; a Ecuadorian Habano Maduro as well as an Ecuadorian Habano. The leaves are pulled from the oldest and most mature tobacco that the PDR Factory has in its reserves. There is no romantic story here, Abe Flores simply wanted to release a blend that elegantly delivers a creamy, medium-bodied smoke, full of flavor, with a pinch of pepper on the finish to keep things interesting. Continue reading
The Camacho Criollo is one of the famous Camacho blends that received a tweak with the relaunching of the Camacho brand. The brand continues to utilize the distinctive tobacco grown from the Eiroa families farms in Honduras. Criollo is typically known for its soft spice on the front end, with a healthy dose of creamy wood and floral notes. With this Criollo being grown in Honduras, a region known for typically have more robust and bold tobacco, we should see all of the aforementioned characteristics have a bit more brunt, at least in theory. We’ll see how that translates in execution with this review. Continue reading
The Camacho Corojo Maduro – one of the blends that was tweaked last year upon the grand re-branding of Camacho by Davidoff. Camacho is a brand known for its utilization of the Eiroa family’s famous Honduran tobacco. In my opinion, nobody has done Honduran tobacco better than Camacho. Regardless of your opinion of their tobacco, it’s indisputably distinct in its characteristics. It’s full, rich, and meaty. In a word – testosterone.
The Camacho Corojo Maduro is particularly unique for two reasons: A. It’s one of the few true Honduran puros on the market, and B. The wrapper, binder, and filler are all authentic vintage Corojo tobacco. Continue reading
Finally, the long anticipated Case Cuba by Arturo Fuente has hit the shelves. The Casa Cuba has been in existence and teased at IPCPR for over 3 years. It’s probably a safe bet to say that Fuente had planned on releasing the Casa Cuba sooner, but the company incurred several delays in production, including a fire at the factory.
From my understanding, the Casa Cuba is a limited production cigar, with production output being somewhere between the Anejo’s and the Opus X. Arturo Fuente has actually owned the Casa Cuba name for a number of years, and actually produced cigars under the name in 1970s and 1980s in Nicaragua. The modern iteration of the Casa Cuba was blended by Carlos Fuente Sr., and is an attempt to recreate the original blends that were made in Nicaragua. Continue reading
Today we’re smoking the brand new Matilde, the highly anticipated release from cigar legend Jose Seijas. For those who don’t know, Jose has over forty years of experience in the cigar industry, and held the title of Vice President and General Manager with Altadis U.S.A. Inc for a number of years until his retirement from the company in 2012.
A short time after his retirement from Altadis USA, Jose partnered up with Charlie and Ruben Gonzalez, two brothers known for being big players in the sale of cigars in the Dominican Republic. Soon thereafter the trio launched New World Cigars, alongside an accompanying factory in La Romana. The factory initially took on several small projects, including assisting Litto Gomez in the production of select La Flor Dominicana cigars. Eventually, Jose felt everything was up and running proficiently, and set down the path of creating the cigar line now known as Matilde.
The Fernando Leon Family Reserve is a product coming from the famous La Aurora Cigar’s factory. This cigar honors the late Fernando Leon, father of current La Aurora owner Guillermo Leon. Originally designed as private blend for Fernando, the company has opted to release the Fernando Leon Family Reserve to consumers for them to enjoy. Continue reading