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Hot Summer Smokes

No season is quite as liberating as summer, marked by its long days, leisurely backyard gatherings and weekend getaways, and endless opportunities to park ourselves in a lounge chair on the back porch and declare, “I deserve it, I’m on vacation.” For cigar fans pushed outdoors by ever-more-prominent smoking bans, summertime has become a downright necessary part of cigar culture, and firing up a favorite cigar—or a potential new one—deserves the benefit of the great outdoors.

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
0-5.9Poor
6.0-6.9Fair
7.0-7.9Average
8.0-8.5Good
8.6-9.0Very Good
9.1-9.5Excellent
9.6-10.0Superior
With time on your hands, it’s a great opportunity to stock up the humidor with summertime treats, and Smoke’s Summer 2007 Cigar Review won’t disappoint. Some of the cigars will be familiar to you, others mark the early round of annual new introductions that kick into full swing later in the summer. Enjoy the sneak peek with reviews of the new Partagas Black Label Corona, Macanudo Maduro Crystal, Black Patch Reserve 2003, and Bahia Icon, as well as relaunched Zino Classic Premium Selection. In all there are cigars from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Cuba, Peru, and even Kentucky.

Once again Smoke’s panel of cigar testers put aside personal preferences to objectively review a total of 32 cigars. You won’t find a costlier ($22 each)—or higher rated (9.5)—treat in this review than the Bahamian Graycliff Crystal Pirate. Other top scorers, following closely behind in the ratings, include the tried-and-true Diamond Crown Robusto #4 from J.C. Newman Cigar Co. (9.3); the Zino Classic Premium Selection No. 6 (9.2); CAO Italia Gondola (9.4); and a complete newcomer, the impressively-sized (7 1/4 x 57) Cuveé Blanc Salomon from the Dominican Republic (9.4).

So pour yourself a nice cold drink, sit back, put your feet up, and get lost in a review that spans nations and continents, and hopefully you will find something to catch your eye, and fill your humidor.

E.H., C.S.


Want more? For the full details of each review, including all the panelists views on aesthetics, construction, flavor, and more, subscribe now - or pick up a copy of SMOKE Magazine at a Tobacconist near you!

LA UNICA MADURO #400
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
JC Newman Cigar Co.
Size:
4 1/2 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Conn
Panelist #1 As maduros go this was not as strong as I'm used to. But it was still a rich, enjoyable smoke.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 There is not much you can ask from a cigar that this does not deliver, flavor, construction, and looks.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 I found this cigar to be a nice break from the more overbearing cigars that are on the market today.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 For a shorter cigar this is one worth savoring. I don't usually like maduros but I would make an exception.
9.2 EXCELLENT

ADAN Y EVA Pyramid
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Eden's Gate
Size:
6 1/8 x 52
Filler:
DR/Nic
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 A breakfast cigar in my estimation. One that I would start the day with and pair with my coffee.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 This cigar did not seem to know which way it wanted to take me, perhaps some more aging is needed.
8.5 GOOD
Panelist #3 If you love a rich, earthy cigar you will enjoy this. My palate runs the other way so it is not my favorite.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 A perfect golf cigar with loads of flavor and luxurious smoke. The heady combinations of flavors are intense.
9.3 EXCELLENT

LOS LECTORES Double Corona
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Garo Habano Fine Cigars
Size:
7 1/2 x 54
Filler:
DR
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Nic
Panelist #1 I was not a fan of this cigar. Its flavor profile did not suit my palate at all. That said, it was well built.
8.5 GOOD
Panelist #2 A relaxing way to spend a few minutes. The easy draw and lack of complexity allow me to just smoke.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 This cigar is loaded with rich flavors that compliment each other very well. I highly recommend this.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 Overall I would say this is a great cigar for a newbie who does not want to look like a newbie.
9.1 EXCELLENT

CUVEE BLANC Salomon
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
DomRey Cigar Limited
Size:
7 1/4 x 57
Filler:
Peru/Ecu/DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 Perfect smoke to have to close out a rough day at the office. By the time it ends, you'll be good as new.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 A very rich smoke that you likely would want to savor on its own or after an equally rich meal.
9.5 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 Such a cigar would be a shame to waste on inexperienced smokers, but was perfect for me.
9.5 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 An excellent combination of flavor and construction that would suit any level of smoker.
9.4 EXCELLENT

QUINTERO MADURO Churchill
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Altadis USA
Size:
7 1/4 x 54
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Mex
Panelist #1 A cigar that is perfect for smoking after a heavy, rich meal. Not too harsh or too mild for any palate.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 A reasonably good smoke, though the flavors were a little mild. It would make a nice afternoon smoke.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 Very few complaints here. This one matches up nicely with a good Merlot and a light meal.
9.0 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 A good smoke, solid and well-defined from start to finish. Takes time to work through it, but no effort at all.
8.8 VERY GOOD



BLACK PEARL COBRE COPPER Toro
Country:
Nic
Manufacturer:
La Perla Habana
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Ecu
Panelist #1 An even smoke that did not make too much of an impression. Perfect for a neophyte smoker, though.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 A mildly entertaining cigar that does not make the smoker work too hard and rewards you reasonably well.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 I would not buy this for myself, but if the price were acceptable I would buy it for a new smoker.
8.5 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 Slightly disappointed by the construction and light flavors. The flavors I could savor though were good.
8.9 VERY GOOD

EXM SANTANA CABINET Toro
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Havana Cigar Vault
Size:
6 x 52
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Sumatra
Panelist #1 I could see myself smoking this cigar on the golf course and thinking at least something was working.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 I would smoke it again but only at the right price, but such is true of most cigars. Pair it with a pilsner.
9.1 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 I would suggest this as a good mid-day smoke for someone looking for something more than a puff or two.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 A unique design but a tried and true recipe. Subtle but enticing flavors and quality construction.
9.2 EXCELLENT

DIAMOND CROWN Robusto #4
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
JC Newman Cigar Co.
Size:
5 1/2 x 54
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
Conn
Panelist #1 New smokers will like the creamy nature of this cigar while veterans will appreciate the complex flavor.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 The flavor and construction come together to form an excellent cigar. I would buy it for a friend or myself.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 A creamy smoke that coated my tongue in a mixture of warm flavors. Perfect after dinner smoke.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 There was a nice overall flavor to this cigar. I especially enjoyed the way the flavors didn't overpower.
9.1 EXCELLENT

ALONSO MENENDEZ Robusto
Country:
Brazil
Manufacturer:
Brazil Cigars & Tobacco
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
Brazil
Binder:
Brazil
Wrapper:
Brazil
Panelist #1 A humble smoke that at the same time is bold enough to wake up your taste buds. I would suggest it.
9.3 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 Every cigar has its place. I do not think this would be as good if smoked in a bar as it is on a porch.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 A smoke that is best savored outside. Its flavors blend perfectly with a nice fresh breeze.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #4 The construction could have been better, but for a reasonable price this would be a reasonable smoke.
8.8 VERY GOOD

CAO ITALIA Gondola
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
CAO Cigar Co.
Size:
6 1/4 x 54
Filler:
Italy/Nic/Peru
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1 A well-constructed cigar that featured depth of flavors and body. It was neither too bold or too weak.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #2 A rich and savory cigar that combines the flavor and strength well. Good for starters or veterans.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #3 An outstanding combination of richness and aromatic flavor. The construction was also top notch.
9.4 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 I expected a cigar this full-bodied to be a bit harsher than it was. Certainly this is one to have again.
9.1 EXCELLENT



PUROS INDIOS Piramide No. 2
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Puros Indios Cigars
Size:
6 1/2 x 56
Filler:
Nic/Braz/DR
Binder:
Ecu
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 I was disappointed by this one. Not very attractive from a cosmetic standpoint, and only average flavor.
8.4 GOOD
Panelist #2 A fair cigar. Probably better for one who is not as schooled in cigars. Overall I would call it very good.
8.7 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 I would absolutely suggest this cigar to a friend. Seems like an honest cigar after an honest day's work.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 I like a good strong-looking, strong tasting cigar; this fits like a glove. I would love a box or two.
9.1 EXCELLENT

TREASURE OF COSTA RICA Belicoso
Country:
Costa Rica
Manufacturer:
Bucanero Cigars
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Costa Rica
Binder:
Costa Rica
Wrapper:
Costa Rica
Panelist #1 This cigar had an assertive start but tended to finish a little dry. It could benefit from some time to mature.
8.9 VERY GOOD
Panelist #2 The flavors were very unique but a touch too mild for my liking. I would smoke it again depending on cost.
8.8 VERY GOOD
Panelist #3 As a fan of subtle cigars this was perfect for me. Those who want to be overwhelmed would not agree.
9.2 EXCELLENT
Panelist #4 Not my favorite cigar, but I tend to not like a mild smoke. Great for people who like mild smokes.
9.0 VERY GOOD





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