Archive for

Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada Cigar Review.

Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada

PDR cigars has made quite a name for itself in the past ten years. A boutique brand with a modest, yet diverse selection of blends, PDR has made their latest Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada in commemoration of their past decade in the cigar game. To say PDR has had a successful 10 years would be an understatement. Having made several cigars to make last years Top 25 Cigars of the world, it's no wonder people are taking notice. 

Released this past summer at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas, the Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada boasts a Habano Ecuadorian Wrapper with an Olor Dominican Republic Binder, and a 7-year old Piloto Cubano leaf complimented by Nicaraguan Jalapa Valley Filler. Keeping with an old-world ideal, the FyR 10th Anniversary comes in three classic Cuban Sizes; Robusto- 5 x 52, Grand Toro- 6 x 54 and finally the Wide Churchill-5 1/8 X 58. A good amount of buzz has surrounded this cigar, so I figured a review would be in order. So let's see how it holds up under fire (no pun intended)



  • Cigar Reviewed: Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tamporil, Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Habano Ecuadorian
  • Binder: Olor Dominican Republic
  • Filler: 7-year old Piloto Cuban, Nicaraguan Jalapa
  • Size: Wide Churchill (5 1/8 X 58)


First Impression:

The Appearance of the FyR 10th Anniversary is elegant to say the least, it's white and green band with a smaller black and gold one paint a picture of the refinement, and an air of ceremony. Coffee and cream colored, it's smooth wrapper is subtle with an aroma of a musky, almost leather scent with a note of wood, an all around great smelling stick. The cold draw gives off flavors of earth and yeast, a slight cocoa can be noticed in the background. It's firm to the touch with just a slight give, sturdy yet subtle.


First puff of the Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary is a blast of complex flavors, most noticeable one is spice radiating across the palate. Taste of vanilla and cream linger after the exhale, soothing your palate, almost giving you a respite for the next blow of spice. Subtle suggestions of wood and yeast as well make it a unique flavor.

Heating up:

As time passes with the FyR 10th Anniversary, the spice begins to settle, it's hard to say if the blend of the cigar changes, or if ones palate acclimates to the boldness of the taste. Whichever it is, it's been a smoke that has kept my attention. Despite its robust profile, the Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary is not much more than a medium-full stick, the draw is desirable and steady pulling a fair amount of smoke. It's creamy vanilla notes play a bigger role in the cigar, still blending with the spice in an interesting way.

The Home Stretch:

As we come toward the end, all traces of spice and complexity are gone, instead is a very simple and lovely taste of cream and leather remain in the Flores Y Rodriquez. Musky and relaxed, it envelopes your palate in a heavy warm blanket of just overall great tasting tobacco.

Final thoughts:

It goes without saying that PDR has done it again with the FyR 10th Anniversary. It's complex beginning and simple ending make it a cigar anyone can enjoy. Carefully crafted with wonderful flavors, it's a stick I'm sure many will

smoke again and again. Hey... I know I will.


Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitada

Crowned Heads Jericho Hill Cigar Review.

Jericho Hill Willy Lee

The newest line from Crowned Heads dubbed Jericho Hill is the second blend to be made outside E.P. Carrillo's Tabacalaera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic. Instead, like the limited edition Las Calaveras before it, the Jericho Hill is made in the My Father Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. But unlike the limited annual release Las Calaveras, the Jericho Hill is the first regular production line to be made outside La Alianza. This new partnership between Crowned Heads and My Father is exciting to say the least. With a new region and access to different tobaccos this new found friendship gives Crowned Heads a bigger park to play in.

The Jericho Hill was inspired by the musician Johnny Cash, and his performance of Cocaine Blues from his 1968 Album "At Folsom Prison". The song spins a grim tale of a man named Willy Lee, who, on a cocaine and whiskey binge spirals down a retched path of violence and crime. Willy Lee eventually ends up captured in Jaurez, Mexico. Where he pays for his misdeeds at the hands of the sheriff from- you guessed it... Jericho Hill. Manufactured in the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Jericho Hill's filler and binder are both Nicaraguan with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper. Coming in four sizes, this box pressed stick has peaked my interest with it's intriguing back story. For this review I elected to smoke the name sake for the infamous man of Cocaine Blues, The Willy Lee.



  • Cigar Reviewed: Jericho Hill
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A., Esteli, Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Nicaraguan.
  • Filler: Nicaraguan.
  • Size: Willy Lee (Boxed Press Toro) 6" x 54


First Impression:

The Jericho Hill is one that could easily be looked over on the shelf, it's non-assuming black and white band is neither bold nor memorable, yet its simple look and sleek appearance gives it a devil-may-care attitude, almost like it doesn't need to prove itself to anyone. Toothy feel and oak colored it appears ragged, yet refined; like Slash playing Beethoven. The aroma is a dark chocolate muddled with potting soil, an almost sweet candy scent permeates the nostrils. Black pepper and cocoa can be noticed on the cold draw, with a more visceral earthy tone which differs from the relaxed sweetness of the aroma.


The Jericho Hill Willy Lee starts off more complex than any cigar I've reviewed thus far, subtle notes of cocoa and and a touch of what I would describe as blackberries, mixing with something almost floral in the background. Smooth and slick much like the cool, sly musician this cigar was inspired by. It's easy to smoke and not lacking in intrigue.

Heating up:

Half way through, the Jericho Hill Willy Lee brings more dark chocolate and earthy tones to this symphony of flavor, all the little suggestions and subtle notes fade away to replace a more solid, substantial taste. The burn line has held fairly well, I've only needed to correct it once during this review, never straying far from good, but never getting too close to perfect. it's held it's own in a scrappy kind of way. The easy draw pulls a glorious cloud of smoke that would make anyone sit up and take notice.

The Home Stretch:

This cigar has remained a smooth, unwavering smoke. The Jericho Hill Willy Lee is medium to full, and not overpowering in it's flavor. Complex and subtle in it's start, while leveling out to a more simple straightforward taste. That idea continues as I come closer to the end, more mild in chocolate and earth it calms itself to a more simple taste of leather. Never burning too hot or too cold, it has held up beautifully.

Final thoughts:

Not all cigars are created equal, and it can be hard to find one that justifies switching from your go-to cigar to something new. However you won't have much trouble justifying the Jericho Hill. Rugged refinement and impeccable taste, the Jericho Hill can keep up with the big boys. It's smooth flavor and body make it a great way to cap off an evening. Despite it's namesake and background, this cigar is refined and subtle, something that can compete with high culture. It's safe to say if you give this stick a try, you wont be disappointed.

My Father Connecticut Cigar Review.

With admiration and a beaming smile, the name Jose Pepin Garcia is spoken among aficionados across the globe. Known for his cigars of pepper and spice blending beautifully with smooth leather and earth, it’s no wonder everyone speaks of the legend with such reverence. My Father Cigars has released a new blend to their extensive line last month during the IPCPR, A lighter, yet still stronger by industry standards Connecticut wrapper cigar, simply named My Father Connecticut. Blended by no other than Jose Pepin Garcia along with his son Jaime Garcia, a heavyweight in the cigar world, both in business and taste, their blends never drift far from the medium to full range, but it’s good to step out of one’s comfort zone every now and again. That being said, they have taken a step on the lighter side with this new My Father Connecticut.  Needless to say I was very excited when I got to review one.

Cigar being reviewed: My Father Connecticut. Size: Toro ( 6 ½ by 54 )

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut.

Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo

Filler: Nicaraguan Habano/criollo

Factory: My Father Cigars Factory, Esteli, Nicaragua.


Pre-Light: To kick things off, the My Father Connecticut is a bit darker in color than your usual Connecticut. Smooth to the touch and very firm, once I took it out of its cellophane a blast of barnyard and caramel aromas greeted me, undertones of spices and mixed nuts tantalizing ever so subtly from the cold draw. After I had enjoyed such aromas and flavors, I placed this cigar back in my humidor, and waited till morning to enjoy it with a coffee on my front porch, like any Connecticut should be enjoyed.

First Third: With coffee in hand and feet in slippers I finally lit up my cigar. First couple puffs of the My Father Connecticut reveal a complex array of cocoa beans and sweet cream, with subtle suggestions of spice and pepper permeating my pallet. A glorious cloud of smoke can be easily drawn, medium in body and mighty in flavor, but never overwhelming it has started off wonderfully, let’s see if it can hold that taste for the rest of its smoking time.

Second Third: I have found that most Connecticut cigars can be a challenge to keep lit; even some lesser quality ones have a tendency to unwrap, however the My Father Connecticut presents no such difficulties thus far. A nice burn line and a long ash have held its own for a fair amount of time. Flavors of barnyard and coffee with cream muddled with sweet chai make a Connecticut apart from the rest.

Last Third: The creamy coffee and nutty taste in the My Father Connecticut are replaced by a more leathery earth flavor, relaxing and calming as it nears its end. Burn has remained consistent and true, sharp and crisp lines while never burning too hot it has been a wonderful way to start of the day, while still being a smoke that could end one just as well.

Overview: The My Father Connecticut is a solid smoke, firmly rolled from head to toe and a flavor bold and crisp. I have never been disappointed with a My Father, and the Connecticut is no exception. Blending every so wonderfully with bold flavors and light body it is one I would recommend in a heartbeat. Jose Pepin Garcia has delivered with the My Father Connecticut, but honestly… was there every any doubt he wouldn't?

Pairing tips: Light crisp beers, such as Hefeweizen or a fine white wine, (Chardonnay or Riesling) Or a good old cup of Coffee.

Reviewed by Sam Schuster.

Photo courtesy of My Father Cigars

Las Calaveras El 2014 by Crowned Heads

Las Calaveras

The idea behind the Las Calaveras is a simple one: don’t live in the past. Crowned heads newest release crafted by Jose “Pepin” Garcia and Jaime Garcia commemorates those who have “moved on” in the past year. Even the name Las Calaveras is inspired by the La Calaveras Catrina, an image associated with Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead.

The start of this annual release is the Edicion Limitada 2014, a blend and look that will only be around for so long, until moving on to a different style and taste. Much like life its self, the E.L. 2014 will be fleeting, but don’t fret. What’s important is that we enjoy it while we can, and savor every glorious moment. When this blend is gone, a new one will take its place, such is the circle of life, or rather… cigars.

Cigar being reviewed:

Las Calaveras EL 2014.

Size:  LC 652. 6” x 52.

Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro (8th priming)

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

The Look:

The dark wrapper and firm construction makes the Las Calaveras easy on the eyes, a slight oil sheen and smooth feel with veins few and far between shows the care and attention to detail that went in to the final product. A smoky musk of earth and wood, blending with the tobacco create a very heavy, intriguing aroma that begs to be smoked. A cold draw has the same idea, with heavy soil and woody notes it is absolutely mouth-watering.

The first 3rd:

This medium to full cigar is an interesting beast; Complex array of earthy soil and cocoa beans, muddled with a bitter acidic finish not unlike black tea. And an almost berry sweet taste in the draw creates a very unusual smoke indeed. A razor-sharp burn line and a plethora of smoke from the draw make a great first impression.

The Second 3rd:

One thing is for sure, this cigar is not short on surprises. This once medium-full stick makes a lovely transition to a fuller bodied smoke, with a flavor relying heavily on leather and potting soil. Deep and heavy this is a perfect cigar to cap off an evening with a nice dark stout or glass of port.

The Last 3rd:

With the Las Calaveras coming to an end, the smoke has held my attention, changing ever so slightly in flavor to keep you on your toes. A beautiful burn line has remained throughout this cigar; never a moment where relighting was necessary.  A great smoke and a great way to pay respects to a friend or loved one no longer of this world.

Final notes:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Truer words have never been spoken then the ones by young Ferris Bueller . And I think the Las Calaveras embodies that very ideal; enjoy life while you have it. So light your cigars, whatever they may be, grab a drink and toast to life, love and death. But most importantly, don’t ever let a single moment pass by.


Pares well with: Sandeman Tawny Port.

or Left hand Brewing co. Nitro Milk Stout.

Reviewed by Cigar Consultant Sam Schuster



Review: La Palina Mr. Sam

Mr Sam

I’ve had a fair amount of jobs in the past, from Lifeguard to coffee shop manager. But none has been quite like working in a little shop in the Arizonian desert peddling a modest yet diverse selection of cigars.
I’ve learned so much in such a short time, and have met some of the kindest people one could hope to meet. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I wanted to contribute to this wonderful community of people. That being said, I would like to introduce not only myself, but another Mr. Sam as well, and I’m sure you’ll love both of them.

It all started in the late 1800’s when Samuel Paley emigrated from Ukraine to Chicago; he found work in a cigar factory as a lector, reading books and magazines to the rollers as they worked. He began taking an interest in the industry; his free time spent studying the ins and outs of cigars. Needless to say he ascended the rank to roller, later blender. Then in 1896 he opened a shop of his very own by the name of Congress Cigar Company, and produced the product named La Palina, after his wife Goldie Drell Paley.

In 1910 Congress Cigar Company moved to Philadelphia where Sam’s son William S. Paley took on the position of vice president of Advertising shorty after graduation. To help boost sales and also pursue a personal interest, William funded a small radio station program called “The La Palina Hour”. Realizing the potential of radio broadcasting when sales for La Palina improved, William S. Paley went on to acquire five radio stations that would be the stepping stone for the Columbia Broadcasting System, or more famously known as CBS. Sadly though, while the radio business took off, after Sam’s retirement Congress Cigar Company was liquidated in 1926.

Reviving a great brand is no easy task, but Sam’s grandson Bill Paley took it on none the less. His determination to recreate a brand that would hold up to the original brought him to none other than Avelino Lara, the famed Cuban master blender who rolled Cohibas for Fidel Castro. The hard work and unwavering dedication shows in the modern day La Palina. From roller to blender, business owner and radio pioneer, the Paley family has lead an interesting life, and brought a new brand to the vast library of cigars, and their creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship shows even today in their new blend Mr. Sam. So, let’s get down to business.

The Specs;

La Palina Mr. Sam Corona (5.50” X 42)
Country of Origin: USA.
Factory: El Titan De Bronze
Wrapper: Ecuardor Habano
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

The Look:
A beautiful chocolate colored wrapper bares a few veins which are not overly prominent. The gold and white band boldly standing out against the brown of the cigar gives a gorgeous contrast in color, and the band itself brings thoughts of a simpler time of speak easies and jazz parlors of the 1920’s with the picture of a fare woman surrounded by gold and flowers shows the luxury, excellence and strive towards perfection that is synonymous with the Paley name.

The Scent:
The Aroma bares a heavy scent of leather and barnyard, notes of spice and oak with subtle hints of chocolate and an almost sweet Spring Cherry Finish. Cold draw reveals similar tastes with a more peppery bite on the palate.

The First 3rd:
The Mr. Sam starts off very bold in flavor with pepper and oak taste coming to the forefront, with a lasting earthy cocoa finish. The taste and aroma is almost reminiscent of forest oak after an early rain, a wet earthy musk mixed with the peppery oak through the easy pull of the draw creates a delightful harmony across the palate.

The Second 3rd:
The Cigar begins to mellow out with the earthy cocoa coming more in to play, leaving the spice and oak just a suggestion in the background. Finishing bold and robust the Mr. Sam wastes no time in leaving a lasting impression. The burn line holds very true throughout the first 3rd, a long ash curling and mixing with white and gray, without burning too hot like some other coronas show the care and attentiveness that the craftsmen put in to this cigar.

The Last 3rd:
With the Cigar coming to its last legs, the Mr. Sam holds true to its fine craftsmanship and still delivers a wonderful heavy earth and cocoa taste blending and mixing with the oak and spice culminating in harmony and balance.

Final Notes:
Putting aside the look, aroma and fine points of taste, at the end of the day the most important thing is to have a great cigar, and that’s just what this is. It goes without saying that Mr. Sam will be sticking around for a while.