From Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi comes a line blended for the connoisseur’s palate. With Tony’s training as a certified Sommelier and his experience as a tobacconist that marks the third generation of his family’s business, blending a cigar that was meant to be paired with wine and spirits seems to be a natural progression. Teaming with good friends Craig and Hunter Vogel (from Treasure Hunter Wines), they set out to blend a line that would entice a trained palate and be approachable to all. Traveling to the Aladino factory in Honduras, they arrived at a non-hybrid Corojo wrapper and binder with a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler that culminates in a medium-plus bodied cigar, complex in flavors that accent those found in your favorite libations.
From Labarbacigars.com: “We founded La Barba Boutique Cigars in 2010 after many different ideas, cigars and a few too many bourbons. We wanted to present a product to the marketplace that was not only fun but also focused on the craft of blending and making of something that we are both very passionate about… cigars.
After tossing around a lot of ideas, we decided to name the brand La Barba, which is Spanish for “the beard”. We agreed that we needed something that expressed us, as well as everyone around us. Individuality and the concept of expressing yourself is something that we strongly believe in. And we hope you see that in our cigars.
La Barba embodies the idea of the individual, focusing on the idea that everyone is different, their palates included. We will offer a dynamic array of small batch, limited edition products as well as a core group of static products. Focusing solely on quality and small production.
La Barba keeps the nostalgic, vintage feel and utilizes social media and viral advertising as well as personal interaction as marketing tools.
We believe in the artisanship of the craft of premium cigars and the culture and brotherhood it represents. Our passion is what drives us to succeed and we will operate this company on the basis of slow, steady profitable growth. We want to present a unique and unprecedented product as a lifestyle brand. We will focus on being approachable, comfortable, and fun. Family, friends, food, wine, beer and cigars are what we love. It is what we know and what we do best; this company is founded on our love and passion for those interests.”
First look is a smooth looking light brown Honduran Corojo wrapper. Pre light draw had slight resistance with flavors of earth, deep rich cedar and subtle sweet floral notes. Upon first light you are treated to a blast of sweet spice with notes of deep rich cedar and subtle pepper. After cruise control burn flavors of sweet cedar kick in and a rich woody core that is very prominent perfectly compliments flavors of bitter chocolate, slight sour leather, subtle spice and roasted almonds. The burn line started crooked but evened out at cruise control. Final third the dominant flavor of wood mellows out and flavors of earth, leather sweet cedar and slight spice balance out into a medium bodied cigar with a very nice enjoyable finish. Construction was a sturdy box press that started with slight resistance but quickly opened up. The burn line started crooked but evened out with no relights required, the ash was sturdy, non flaky and held past an inch point several times. The cigar was extremely enjoyable and I will be smoking it again.
Five pack purchased from New Havana Cigars
Size: 6 x 52 Box Pressed Toro
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Honduran Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
CroMagnon has taken a new shape and unlike the Mode 5 that’s in full production the box pressed Blockhead is an exclusive release to a select amount of cigar shops. The CroMagnon Blockhead contains a long-filler that’s a full-bodied blend of some of the world’s most sought after tobaccos. It features a beautiful US Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, a unique Cameroon binder and an amazing marriage of three Nicaraguan varietals in the filler. The filler leaf for this blend was acquired from three separate growing regions in Nicaragua; Esteli, Condega and a small farm north of Esteli on the Honduran border. The third leaf, a ligero, brings a strong smoky savory flavor to the blend. When combined with the mildly-sweet characteristics of the broadleaf maduro wrapper the exotic bite of the Cameroon binder and the clean finish of its viso and seco companions, the blend delivers the precise deep rich tobacco flavor that Skip wanted to present in the CroMagnon line. “CroMagnon transcends lifestyle. CroMagnon is our culture”
It’s no secret I love the CroMagnon line and the Blockhead moves right up into my top 2! Unfortunately, limited release means just that. I wasted no time getting on a mailing list from Tower Cigars and quickly purchased a box when I was emailed they had arrived. First look is the box pressed shape and a beautiful oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper with a slight seam and minimal tooth. This is the first Cro-Mag I’ve had sporting a cigar band, the design was perfect. Two labels, one black and one white . The primary white label is embossed with the familiar Cro-Mag skull while the black label sports CROMAGNON with the RomaCraft logo. Pre light draw had the perfect resistance with notes of earth and rich cedar. Upon first light you are treated to a subtle blast of pepper, coffee, deep rich earth and slight leather. After cruise control burn flavors of charred cedar, leather with the subtle notes of spice and sweet tea. Final third gained flavors of smokey cedar with leather, deep rich earth, coffee, subtle sweet notes and muted pepper balancing out into a medium to full bodied cigar. Construction and draw were perfect only requiring one re-light, so far I have smoked 4 Blockheads and every one has been consistent and an absolute enjoyment to smoke.
Blockheads smoked for review: 4
Size: 6 x 54 Box Pressed
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Kurt Kendall has found a cure for Arachnophobia and the bite of this spider is sure to put a smile on any cigar smokers face. Kendall’s headquarters are located in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is known for resurrecting a turn-of-the century brand called 7-20-4, a clear Havana produced by Roger G. Sullivan in Manchester from 1874 until the Cuban Embargo started in 1963. Kendall registered the dead 7-20-4 trademark and debuted the modern 7-20-4 line in April 2009, with Alec Bradley producing it in Honduras at Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L. The Spider originated in the 1930s in Somersworth, New Hampshire, Kurt’s home state. To test the markets acceptance, it was released to a limited number of New England smoke shops in 2011. The Spider features a Honduran binder and filler tobaccos from the Jamastran Valley and Nicaraguan Jalapa, as well as Columbia. Spider, which Kendall says is medium to full in body, will be offered in 20-count boxes that feature a glass lid with an etched Spider logo, single vitolas will retail for about $11 and will come in one size only 6 X 52.
First look is a dark slightly rusty colored oily Nicaraguan wrapper with slight tooth. Pre-Light draw was wide open with woody notes and a strong smell of barnyard. Upon first light flavors of dark bitter chocolate and expresso with nuances of black pepper in the back of the throat. After cruise control burn the bite of the spider kicks up a notch and the dominant flavors are coffee and dark chocolate with hints of pepper. Final third the Arachnoid still delivering flavors of coffee, leather with the bitter dark chocolate notes mellowing into nuances of cocoa with a rich complex woody core balancing all flavors into a High-Medium to Full-Bodied cigar with a perfect finish. Construction was flawless with zero relights required and the burn was razor sharp.
5 pack purchased from: Smokeinn
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Size: 6 x 52
Filler: Honduran Jamastran, Nicaragua Jalapa, Columbian
Oktoberfest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. The yearly celebration attracts millions of people to Munich to partake in the festival, with millions more enjoying the famous beer produced for it. Traditionally, there is a cigar tent for Aficionados to enjoy a smoke with their brew. This year, the Quesada family has blended a cigar specifically to be paired with the flavorful Marzen-style beer produced for Oktoberfest. Blended with a variety of flavorful Dominican tobaccos, the Quesada Oktoberfest is available in very limited quantities. Quesada Oktoberfest, a small-batch seasonal cigar from Manuel Quesada – maker of Casa Magna and Fonseca. With production limited to a mere 500 boxes, Oktoberfest was specifically manufactured to pair with everyone’s favorite libation….beer! Blending a cigar to pair with beer is no easy feat, but who better to fill the tall order than the legendary Manuel Quesada. This hearty Dominican puro all begins with a Dominican Cibao wrapper that is thick, dark and oily. This beautiful leaf hugs an all-Dominican recipe of long-filler criollos, visos, and ligeros, producing a hearty medium to full-bodied cigar chock full of flavor and complexity. Beer, or no beer, the Oktoberfest is great any time of year.
First look is a hearty oily Dominican Cibao wrapper with a generous amount of tooth. Pre-Light draw with flavors of cocoa and slight sweet notes of dried fruit. Upon first light flavors of dark rich coffee, cedar, dark chocolate and earth. After cruise control burn the dark chocolate notes intensified with creamy rich coffee, leather and slight spice with nuances of cinnamon. Final third the coffee and chocolate notes were still prevalent as the spicy notes of cinnamon balanced out the underlying flavors of cedar, leather and rich earth. Construction was perfect with no re-lights needed and the ash held almost to the band. High Medium bodied with a wide open draw, the Oktoberfest was very enjoyable and would pair perfectly with your favorite Oktoberfest beer.
Cigar: The Uber
Size: 6 x 65
Wrapper: Dominican Cibao Valley
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: DR Cuban Seed Criollo & Olor Viso & Ligero
Just when you thought the guys at Studio Tobac couldn’t possibly improve the Nub line, they dangle the Nub Dub. Back for a short time in 16 Nub samplers and sure to vanish in a puff of smoke as fast as they appear! Offered originally in 2010, this full-flavored, medium to full-bodied Nubber features two premium maduro leaves for the ultimate, super rich maduro experience. Nub Dub hails from Nicaragua and utilizes premium Nicaraguan long leaves all masked by a powerful Brazilian maduro wrapper. Beneath this hearty, semi-sweet wrapper you’ll find a zesty Nicaraguan Habano maduro binder which creates a super complex taste and most definitely worthy of full production like the San Andreas Maduro that was offered in the 2011 Studio Tobac world tour sampler and even harder to find, however completely up to Oliva Cigars and Studio Tobac.
First look is a dark super oily Brazilian maduro wrapper with slight vein. Pre-light draw with nuances of coffee, cedar and earthy chocolate notes. Notable barn yard cedar and earth on the foot. Upon first light you are treated to massive dark chocolate and creamy cocoa notes with underlying flavors of of sweet cedar and earth. After cruise control burn there are flavors of expresso, dark earth and burnt cedar with a nuance of sweet tea between draws on the palate. Final third the strength picked up but with flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and creamy cocoa. Construction and draw was perfect and the darkish grey ash held long and tight and would have continued way past the label. This was a High-Medium to full bodied cigar that would have paired wonderfully with morning coffee or a favorite libation after a full meal.
Size: 4 x 60
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Brazilian Maduro
Filler: Cuban-seed Nicaraguan long-filler