E.P. Carrillo La Historia



The LA Historia by EP Carrillo

I haven’t smoked more than a few EP Carrillo cigars but I see them quite often on social media sites. I figured it was time to try one of their better sticks, the La Historia. I chose the Doña Elena size, which is a soft box-press at 6 1/8 x 50.

The wrapper is Mexican San Andres (very dark and rich-looking), with a Ecuador Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan filler. I am a bit of a cigar-band dork and as you can see, this is a beautifully detailed and colorful band. I love it. Time to cut this and smoke it.

The first light reveals an absolutely perfect draw, with plenty of medium to full-bodied flavors. I’m getting notes of deep tobacco, coffee, roasted nuts and dried fruit- like dried cherries and raisins. There is a pepper note in the background, but not overly pronounced. It’s also putting off a ton of chewy smoke. The first third burns rather quickly but the burn is near-perfect.

The second third starts ramping up in both strength and flavors. The dried cherry and raisin notes are prominent, as is the nuttiness, and now I’m getting a bit of a cinnamon-like sweetness. Still putting off thick smoke, while performing beautifully. It’s a dry smoke and I find my mouth is a bit parched.

I hated to take the band off but I had to as I started the final third. The strength faded just a tad and the pepper diminished. But still plenty of flavors. The cinnamon notes started to take over giving it a mildly sweet and spicy profile. The burn remained consistent requiring no touch-ups.

I did some research on the La Historia and found it pays homage to Ernesto Perez’s family, including his mother and wife, both of whom were instrumental in his success in the cigar industry. It also pays tribute to his Cuban heritage. It earned a 95 point rating and was named the #2 Cigar of 2014 by Cigar Aficionado.

La Historia band

I smoked this down as far as I could. It was thoroughly enjoyable.


Particulares Cremas Cigar


Particulares Cremas by Sindicato Cigars

I first learned of the Particulares Cremas at the Big Smoke event in Florida back in February 2017. I tried one and quickly fell in love. So much so, I ordered a box from Smoke Inn. I’ve smoked several since and haven’t been disappointed.

This cigar was recently reintroduced in a collaboration between Casa Fernandez and Sindicato. It’s of Cuban heritage and now made in Nicaragua, as you can see on the band. It is a Nicaraguan puro, with a tan Nicaraguan sun-grown corojo wrapper and includes Nicaraguan filler and binder tobacco. First light reveals a perfect draw and a mild to medium body. Right away, a creamy flavor comes through, with some light woody notes. The first third continues with some creaminess, along with a tangy citrus and some white pepper. Overall, medium bodied and mild to medium strength.

The ash flakes a bit and holds on for an inch or two. Burn is fairly even, requiring a minor touch-up. The second third continues with many of the same flavors but ramps up a little on the strength. White pepper seems to dominate, with that zesty citrus in the background. The smoke output is exceptional, which I love. There is a toast and graham cracker and coffee on the finish as I finish the second third.

The final third doesn’t reveal anything new and there isn’t any specific flavor that dominates. Just a very refined and consistent profile. I had to touch up the burn again but nothing major. The white pepper is still there, along with a hint of coffee and a slight tobacco sweetness is coming in on the finish- along with graham cracker. The strength is still at a solid medium.

Overall, this is a nice cigar to just sit back and enjoy. I’ve found this pairs quite well with coffee and can be a good morning or mid-day cigar. The creaminess hangs on throughout and provides a pleasurable experience. I’ve gifted several to friends who have enjoyed these as well.



Smoke Inn, The Great Smoke 2017

My goodie bag of cigars, hanging with Bryan Glynn from cigarobsession.com

So I finally attended my first “cigar event” this February down in Florida. It was sponsored by Smoke Inn, among others. The main event was held on a Saturday in Lake Worth, Florida at the American German Club. The sprawling facility had plenty of room for the representatives of the 45 cigar manufacturers, as well as the 3000+ cigar-event patrons. It was an all-outdoor venue that included a blues band, whiskey and bourbon tasting, good food and meeting new friends. And of course, plenty of cigars.

My friend Mark picked me up at the airport. Walking outside for the first time after arriving Friday morning was a shock to my senses. February in Ohio is always cold and dreary. That was the plan when I first booked the trip; leave cold and dreary Ohio for warm and sunny Florida. Great plan. I was greeted by the brightest sun I’d seen in a while, partnered with a mid-80’s warm breeze. The entire weekend was just as welcoming.

Friday night was a Rocky Patel event at the Casa De Montecristo Smoke Inn of Boynton Beach. Rocky wasn’t in attendance but his brother Nish and cousin Nimish both were, as well as a few hundred cigar enthusiasts. I settled in eventually with a Buffalo Trace bourbon and Rocky 20th Anniversary stick. Both were excellent.

Rocky Patel 20th Anniversary and Buffalo Trace bourbon at the Casa De Montecristo in Boynton Beach

Mark and I chatted, mingled, had a few cocktails and smoked a cigar or two. We met some new friends and soaked up the hospitality by the Smoke Inn staff. It was a fun and eventful evening.

Saturday was all about indulgence. We started with breakfast on the ocean at Benny’s on the Beach. After a great breakfast and a few cocktails we headed to the American German Club for the main event.

Maple Bourbon Smash from Benny’s. Breakfast drink of champions

The actual event started at noon and lasted four hours. We received grab bags and toured each vendor, getting a cigar at each stop. It was a bit chaotic but once we got our sticks, it was time to smoke.

We smoked cigars, tasted whiskies, listened to an awesome blues band and chatted it up with new friends. It was hot but the large Pavillion gave us much needed shade. The four hours passed like nothing and it was time to leave. After a nice dinner that evening, we stopped by Smoke Inn’s Casa De Montecristo for a nightcap. It was the perfect cigar-lover’s day.

The next morning, the final leg of the trip; a phenomenal all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, complete with all-you-can-drink bloody mary’s.

Bloody mary’s, cigars and plenty of sunshine and new friends at Casa De Montecristo

The only thing left to say is that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Go if you’re able and soak it all in.


AFR-75 Sublime by PDR Cigars

Enjoying an AFR-75 with a Great Lakes Christmas Ale at The Cigar Affair
Enjoying an AFR-75 with a Great Lakes Christmas Ale at The Cigar Affair

I’ve had a few of these AFR-75 sticks after watching a favorable review from Bryan at cigarobsession.com. The name AFR refers to the blender, Abraham Flores Rosario. 75 is the year Abe was born (1975).

It comes in three sizes (I am smoking the Sublime);

  • Sublime: 5 x 56
    Edmundo: 6 x 58
    Immenso: 7 x 60

It has a very dark brown San Andres maduro wrapper that looks extremely rich and is silky. It also has a pigtail cap at the head. The prelight draw is perfectly loose and gives me a slight taste of sweet tobacco with some definite hints of pepper.

One of the characteristics that I liked so much from the review I watched was that this was putting off a lot of smoke. I was hoping for the same for my experience. It did not disappoint. The first third to half, I was getting plenty of flavor- including a faint sweetness with some floral notes. There was a white and black pepper on the draw and through the finish, but not overpowering. And plenty of smoke. This started off being a medium-bodied cigar that was hard to put down.

About halfway through, the strength kicked up a bit. Again, not overpowering but solid. I started getting a cocoa flavor, while still experiencing a cherry-like sweetness in the background. The floral notes dissipated and gave way to more earthy notes.

I enjoyed this down all the way to the nub. The overall performance of this AFR-75 was awesome. The draw stayed perfect and burn was great- not requiring any touch-ups whatsoever. I highly recommend this cigar.


AVO cigar and Death Wish Coffee kind of morning

Chilly autumn morning in Maumee
Chilly autumn morning in Maumee

So this is one of my favorite, relaxing things to do on a chilly, autumn morning. Enjoy a really good cup (travel mug) of coffee and an awesome cigar. It’s in the mid 40’s but I’m quite comfortable.

The coffee is from Death Wish Coffee Co and I’ve grown fond of their blends. This happens to be their Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend. Try it, you’ll like it. The cigar is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s the AVO Syncro Nicaragua box-press.

I’ve found the AVO Syncro Nicaragua , to be a very mild and enjoyable cigar. It earned a spot at #16 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 cigars of 2015. The filler includes Nicaraguan, Dominican and Peruvian tobacco. The binder is Dominican and the wrapper from Ecuador. As I smoke it, it has very mild sweet and spicy notes, with creamy finish. The draw is perfectly loose throughout. It’s a medium strength stick and I’ve enjoyed it with coffee in the morning (as I am now), as well as a cocktail later in the afternoon.



Rocky Patel Catch 22 Sixty

Beautiful fall morning on the downstairs patio in Medina.
Beautiful fall morning on the downstairs patio in Medina.

This gem is a diamond in the rough. I happened to come across this cigar online- maybe watching a review. I was interested enough to buy a 5-pack from one of my favorite online cigar sites. I’ve tried a few Rocky Patel sticks and enjoyed them, so this was worth the shot.

It’s a 6″ x 60 stick with a very rich-looking, dark corojo wrapper. The name, Catch 22 has to do with the fact that this is a very flavorful, high quality cigar that should cost more. So what’s the catch? That’s what I wanted to find out. The smell is a barnyard aroma, with a hint of cocoa. I cut open the head and take a few dry, test draws. Very loose- perfect for me. I can taste a slight cocoa-like sweetness that makes my mouth water. I decide to light it up.

The Rocky Patel Catch 22 is a medium bodied, medium strength cigar. It has an earthy core, with hints of cocoa and a lingering sweetness throughout. I loved the loose draw and smokey output. Apparently, the “catch” is the fact that this a really good smoke at such an affordable price. My local shop wasn’t carrying these so I bought these off Cigar Bid for about $4 each. Sounds like a great deal and in my opinion, it is.


CAO Flathead

Enjoying another good cigar down on the patio in Medina.
Enjoying another good cigar down on the patio in Medina.

I found myself with a few hours on my hands so I decided it was time for the CAO Flathead 660.

It’s a beast. It is a solidly packed box-pressed cigar, with a very rich, almost chocolaty aroma. The pre-light draw is a bit tight, but I’m getting complex flavors, including a sweetness. By the way, I decided it was best to hole-punch the head to avoid cutting issues. This is due to the rather large and squared-off head.

The first third was medium-bodied and medium-strength . There were plenty of rich tobacco flavors coming through, including slightly sweet earthy notes that made me feel like I was smoking a candy bar. It didn’t put off a lot of smoke compared to other cigars but it didn’t bother me. I was enjoying it.

The second third kicked up a bit in strength. Flavors seemed to become more rich and specific. Tobacco and deep earth notes, mixed with an almost dried-cherry sweetness were present. I could also not get that candy bar mentality out of my head. Partly based on the visual aspect of this cigar, but also due to the semi-sweet, chocolatly under-notes.

The last third was more of the same. I could definitely feel the strength of this cigar but it wasn’t overwhelming. I kept hoping the draw would open up a bit more but maybe it was my hole-punch and not the cigar. Overall, I really enjoyed this stick. I needed every bit of the 2 hours and 20 minutes it took to smoke this baby.  I have the Flathead 770 at home in my humidor and I was told to plan for close to 4 hours! That should be interesting.

This was a very affordable cigar- I paid somewhere in the $10 range. It ranked #3 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2015. I would  recommend to any friend who would enjoy a good cigar.