The 8th Annual Cigars for Troops drive is underway. This is a great opportunity to give back to those who protect our freedoms and earn the coveted "Troop Supporter" badge at the same time. You can find information here: http://www.cigargeeks.com/community/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=4297... A special thanks goes out to Nathan (nwb) for running the drive again.
Toys for Tots Drive 2015
The 2015Marine Toys for Tots drive raised a very generous total of over $2000 that was passed along to Toys for Tots. This was a excellent opportunity for brotherhood to contribute to a great organization that provides gifts for those less fortunate children in time for Christmas. A special thanks goes out to Brad (Longhorn) for running the drive again.
August Points Contest is Under Way!
The points contest is under way for the month of August. The 26 members with the most points for the month have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to CI. You can read the details HERE. To view the previous month's contest results see here.
This cigar is big and beautiful, with a flawless wrapper and three extra large bands. The smoke starts sweet and spicy, with heavy notes of vanilla and cedar. Lots of woodiness in this smoke, and it progresses as the smoke burns on. Some black pepper is present right away, and becomes a dominant force by halfway into the smoke. The draw is firm, but not overly tight. Construction is top notch. The experience lasted 2.5 hours, and was damned enjoyable.
I used to love this cigar. However the quality has gone way down. I have to keep relighting the cigar and the ash does not burn consistent like other cigars I smoke. Also, maybe most importantly, I almost get an upset stomach with these now where that didn't happen in the past. Just really disappointing cause this was an excellent cigar in the past. Looks like they are cutting corners now to try and save money.
I wasn't expecting much from this one, seemed like a novelty type of stick. I've had this for about a year, won in the weight loss contest so this may have a couple years + of age.
The prelight foot aroma was pretty nice, giving off barnyard and cocoa. The wrapper was a little mottled but not bad. The cut produced a lot of flakes but after the first few puffs the bits of tobacco were gone.
The smoke output was above average and medium in body. The flavors started off with a strong yeast type of flavor, later moving to more of a coffee and cocoa with a medium tobacco flavor. The retro wasn't bad but nothing real memorable.
The burn was bad in the first third and needed a correction but after that it was perfect, so it may be that I didn't quite get it going well enough in the light, so I'm not penalizing it for what may have been my fault.
I picked up a box of these on a deal from Holt's a few weeks ago. It turned out to be a surprisingly good budget cigar. The wrapper was a little bumpy and had some small veins. The cap cut cleanly and the draw was fine. The flavors were mostly coffee and light wood with a touch of cedary spice, but every once in a while I swear I could taste honey-roasted peanuts. It was definitely on the milder side. The burn was even and the cigar produced a decent amount of smoke. If you can catch these on sale, they make a pretty decent knock-around cigar.
Full firm very well made cigar. Seamless wrapper and a long even burn. The cigar started out with pepper and after about half an inch the pepper moved to the back and in came a sweetness about it. After the first third the sweetness got a twang with it and I got some anise and cayenne pepper on the finish. A very very good cigar.
The Americana Grande is a massive, weighty cigar. A dark brown toothy wrapper with visible seams and quite a lot of veiny "character". It smells a little musty and looks kind of rode hard then put away wet. There are crystallized oils amongst the terrain on the sungrown wrapper. A punch cut opens the smooth draw just fine, but I cherished the prelit flavors of this musty sweet and salty Pennsylvania broadleaf a while before firing it up. Was planning to overlook the first inch since the foot looked like it had seen too much moisture at some point hence that musty aroma. Lo and behold I was smacked in the mouth with a sweet wet leathery lusciousness spiced with hints of black and red peppers. I shy from naming many tastes due to the subjectivity of any individual cigar smoker, suffice it to say that the flavor is here front and center, not lacking. By a few puffs in I felt prepared for a well balanced ride through New England, down the coast to Dominicana for Cuban seed, on to Honduras, through Costa Rica, finishing up in Nicaragua. Jesus Fuego must have had a blast finding the right tobaccos for this blend. I think Americana is a fitting name, since it is truly a continental cigar.
Well back to the cigar it's a ugly, meaty stick that belongs on the top of the pile in a blind man's humidor. Plenty of smoke production.. A virtually flawless burn which caught me off guard due to its rough appearance. Tight ash, no flakes, although by the middle third I began wondering if there was going to be any variance from the moist leathery and peppery sweet lingering finish. My palate is still developing and not finely honed I confess. I have smoked handfuls of Americana Originals (coronas) and they are a fantastic one hour trip, extremely satisfying go to short smoke. This grande vitola just seemed like too much of a great thing to me through the middle portion. I did enjoy it greatly along with a newspaper for the second half and stopped frequently to notice rich full flavors, to the nub. Ash always held in check, burn stayed evenly lit and ready for a puff at every draw. If these could be had for the price of the Originals I would buy a humidor full of them. At $11, I might never smoke another. I probably will fish around for bargains on the robusto or toro vitolas, so sure the Americana is a fantastically blended cigar by one of the best of the Masters. It may look a little rough, but this PA broadleaf stands out for reliable burn performance and leathery down to earth flavors I enjoy. The corojo and criollo mix of binder and fillers just rounds out the experience to make the two hours of indulgence memorable, well balanced, and complex enough for me to spend my time for a review. I'm not even dinging the rating for that toothy shimmering rawhide they used to wrap up this beast. As far as I'm concerned, every cigar lover should try at least one of these Americanas at some point in their smokin endeavors.
This brand is scarce to find in the US, but found one last week at rodrigocigars.com. Medium to dark wrapper, solid construction, a nice triple cap and sporting a retro looking cigar band that reminds you of the something from the 60's or early 70's. Burn was perfect for the entire smoke, and it held a long, solid white ash after every tap.
Initial puffs were a real disappointment, almost flavorless, and after an inch I was ready throw in the towel, but all of a sudden some enjoyable flavors began to emerge. Some sweetness, a trace of spice, woodiness and something that reminded me of Dr. Pepper. At this point it was barely medium in strength. As the burn progressed, flavor seemed to be getting stronger, it became a little sweeter, and more spicy notes developed. Now the smoke was leaving a nice, full mouth feeling. By the final third the sweetness was dissipating, and some citrus, salted cashew and a pleasant muskiness developed. It has now become a much fuller strength cigar. I would have never guessed from the flat notes of this cigar at the beginning that it would become so complex and flavorful by the end. Would have scored higher if it had been this way from the start. Enjoyable, and worth trying.