Cigar Review #11 – Cigar King Gold Series (original)

The Smoking Gun Cigar Review November 2, 2016

Cigar King Gold Series (Original)

Toro (6.5 x 52)

I’m closing in on smoking and reviewing all of the Cigar King exclusive blends. Today’s selection is the original Cigar King Gold Series. I’m finding it very interesting to smoke all of the cigars make by Mitchel Hirsh, owner of Cigar King. Even though all of these brands are cigars made by different factories and are collaborations between Mitchel and other blenders, there is a familiarity across the lines.

It’s hard to explain, but the complexity and balance of all of these cigars are much the same, but very different. If I were going to relate it to food (of which I am a big fan), I would say: I really like Indian food. I love the spices/curries that give them that “Indian” quality. Although the dishes have different ingredients and flavor combinations, they are all easily identified as being Indian; it’s the flavor profile.

The Cigar King exclusive blends are much like that. They’re made in different factories, using different tobaccos, but they all have an underlying consistency. While the obvious identifier is quality, I seem to get the same sort of tasting notes from each cigar. Now, that’s not to say they taste the same. They don’t. But, there are hints of certain things that make me want to try them all and come back to them again and again.

This Gold Series is no different. (As I am writing this, I am smoking and starting my notes on the Gold Series II. Same name; different tobaccos; different taste). I’m finding it to be familiar and tasty- just as the original. Here’s what I found in the first opus:

A little history:

The cigar is the creation of Mitchel Hirsh and Rocky Patel and is a limited production release. It is a small-batch production cigar that only yielded 250 boxes of a Toro (6.5 x 52) size cigar. (I don’t know how many are left of the original, but you might not want to wait on this one!) The Gold Series II is available, as well. I’ll be reviewing it next.

OK. I’ll list the questions and give an answer for each—based on my personal smoking experience:

What are you smoking?

Cigar King Gold Series – Toro (6.5 x 52)

Who makes it?

It is a collaboration between Mitchel Hirsh and Rocky Patel.

Where’s it from?

It is made at Rocky Patel’s El Paraiso Factory in Honduras.

What other sizes are available?

The cigar is only available in a Toro (6.5 x 52).

How much does it cost?

I believe the individual stick price is around $7.00. It is available in a five pack for $34.00 or a box of 20 for $119.95. That puts the price at around $6.00 per cigar, based on box pricing discounts.

How well is it constructed?

It’s a well-constructed cigar. The wrapper and cap are of the same quality you would expect in a premium cigar made in a top-notch factory. It has a lovely dark-brown wrapper with considerable veins, throughout.

What’s the blend (or, at least, the wrapper)?

The wrapper is Connecticut Broadleaf over a San Andreas Maduro binder. The The filler is a mixture of different tobaccos from several regions in Nicaragua.

How did it light?

It was a great light.

How’s the draw?

The draw was good and even.

How does it burn?

The burn was mostly good. I did have some small issues in the final third (but, in all honesty, I was distracted and not paying attention to my cigar.) Operator error!

Is there a predominate flavor/taste?

The smell of the wrapper was that of leather and barn. It did have an underlying sweetness. That combination says, to me, “This is going to be good!” I did catch some difference on the foot. I smelled more sweetness and a hint of cocoa and caramel/burnt sugar. The dry draw was much of the same.

On the first draw, I tasted a richness and fuller body than I had expected from the dry draw. There was a light floral quality with hints of hay/alfalfa and grass. The sweetness was still there, but only on the back end of the flavor combination.

Did it change as you smoked it?

Yes. The second third opened up to a much bolder flavor profile, with the hint of leather returning and a touch of dried fruit sweetness. (It may have been raisin. I was drinking something that may have masked the true flavor). There wasn’t as much pepper/spice as I would have expected with the filler that was used, but it was there, just not as strong.

The final third was stronger, still. The sweetness lessened and the full, rich flavor of the Nicaraguan fillers took center stage. The cigar continued toward a bold and potent finish.

How would you describe its strength: mild, medium, or strong?

I would call it a medium plus with a strong finish.

Would you smoke it again?

Yes, if I can get my hands on more of them. As I said earlier, I don’t know how many they have left. This was a limited run.

Should I try it?

Yes! If you like Nicaraguan tobacco flavors but don’t like the peppery tongue lashing you get with other blends, this is the cigar for you. Trust me. The fullness is there, but it isn’t overpowering.

Do you have an extra that you’ll give me?

No. I think I’m going to have to take this question out of my reviews. I’m tired of people asking me for free cigars!

Conclusion:

The Cigar King Gold Series (original) is a great quality, reasonably-priced cigar. It has tremendous flavor and evolves through some wonderful taste changes. It is closer to bold, especially in the final third, than some of the other Cigar King exclusives, and well worth a try. If you like strength but don’t like peppery spice, it’s a wonderful choice.

Flavor, quality and reasonable price are a rare combination in the cigar world. But, in my humble opinion, Mitchel Hirsh and Rocky Patel have produced a combination of those elements that will make you want to go back to this cigar again and again. I just hope there are some available that will allow us all to give it a try.

As mentioned earlier, this cigar is only available at Cigar King. They can be reached through their website (www.cigarking.com) or you can stop by the store, located at 7830 E Gelding Dr #100, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Either way, tell them you read one of my reviews!

Well, that’s the end of another Smoking Gun review. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through this page. I’m always happy to answer questions or tell you about what I’ve been smoking. Also, if you liked, appreciated or hated my review, let me know. I want to be a resource for the everyday cigar smoker. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need an hour or so to enjoy a good cigar.

And, remember: don’t let other people tell you what to smoke. If you like it, smoke it!

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Cigar Review #9 – Cuban Heirloom Connecticut

The Smoking Gun Cigar Review October 13, 2016

Cigar King – Cuban Heirloom Connecticut

Churchill – (7 x 50)

I’m almost through all of the Cigar King exclusive cigars. I hope you’re enjoying reading about them and are enjoying smoking them as well. Here’s one more to add to the list: the Cuban Heirloom Connecticut, made by Perdomo. I think this is the first Connecticut I’ve reviewed. It is a mild, yet tasty wrapper. If you’re looking for a great “early morning, on the patio, with a good newspaper and a cup of coffee” kind of smoke, this Cigar King example fits the bill!

Here’s what I found:

A little history:

The Cuban Heirloom Connecticut Cigars were created exclusively for Cigar King by Nick Perdomo, of Perdomo Cigars. These cigars are crafted by Cuban artisan blenders and rollers to deliver great quality, flavor and (one thing that’s important to many cigar smokers) LOW COST! They are made at the Perdomo Factory using three-year-aged tobacco and finished with a beautiful, honey gold-colored Connecticut wrapper. I believe the line’s been around since 2003, but I will have to check some sources to make sure. I do know it’s been a mainstay of Cigar King for many years and is a favorite of many of their customers.

As always, I’ll list the questions and give an answer for each—based on my personal smoking experience:

What are you smoking?

Cigar King Cuban Heirloom – Connecticut – Churchill (7 X 50)

Who makes it?

They are made exclusively for Cigar King by Perdomo Cigars.

Where’s it from?

They are produced at Tabacalera Perdomo’s manufacturing operation based in Estelí, Nicaragua. The facility is so big that it’s referred to as “El Monstro” (The Monster). The main building is 88,000 square feet, and is the second-largest cigar production facility in Nicaragua).

What other sizes are available?

Along with the Churchill (7 x 50), there is a 556 (5.25 x 56), Robusto (4.88 x 50), Toro (5.55 x 54) and Torpedo (6 x 54). These cigars are also available in four different wrappers (Connecticut, Cameroon, Sun Grown and Maduro). Not all sizes are available in all wrappers. The listing above is just for the Connecticut wrapper.

How much does it cost?

Now, this is where it gets interesting. These cigars come in Mazo (a Spanish word meaning “a group of,” or in this case a bundle of) 20 and range in price from $71.95 to $74.95 (with on-line discounts). That equals less than $4.00 per stick! The individual price of my sample was $6.95. This brings me to a good point. Don’t be afraid of buying bundled cigars. Some of them are extremely high quality smokes. Cigar manufactures often will put premium cigars in bundles (instead of boxes) to keep the cost lower for the consumer. Ask your local cigar dealers if they have any good bundled cigars, and they will lead you to some often overlooked, but great, cigars.

How well is it constructed?

This is a very well constructed cigar. But, would you expect anything less coming out of the Perdomo factory? The wrapper has that lovely honey brown color you would expect in a Connecticut, with small veins and a traditional cap. In addition, it has a nostalgic gold band, that harkens back to the classic pre-embargo Cuban cigars.

What’s the blend (or, at least, the wrapper)?

As I said earlier, this cigar is made from vintage tobaccos (aged three years), with a Connecticut wrapper and a Nicaraguan-grown Criollo binder and filler.

How did it light?

The light was very good. I always like the first draw of a Connecticut wrapper cigar. They are so light and clean tasting.

How’s the draw?

Perfect and even, throughout.

How does it burn?

It was incredibly even, like a row of soldiers marching in formation. Consistency and perfection!

Is there a predominate flavor/taste?

On my first nosing of the cigar, I got hints of light leather and spice, but there was an underlying sweetness. It smelled a little like plum brandy. (I think it’s called Slivovitz. It’s rich and sweet and will definitely keep you warm on a cold night).

The dry draw was exactly the same flavors as I had smelled. But, as I said before, the first draw was clean and light. I did notice some citrus notes (like a good IPA), but they weren’t strong, just present. However, there was no noticeable sweetness. There were light hay and grassy notes.

Did it change as you smoked it?

Oh, yes! That’s one of the great things about a Nicaraguan filler and a Connecticut wrapper. You really get to experience many changes as you smoke. The second third was very “Cubanesk” in flavor, with hints of milder spice and pepper (not black pepper, but more like white pepper). It was mild, but rich. The finish was much bolder, with hints of sweet coffee and cedar.

How would you describe its strength: mild, medium, or strong?

This is a Connecticut wrapper (but Nicaraguan on the inside), so it’s, certainly, not mild, but not strong either. I would put it on the lighter side of medium.

Would you smoke it again?

Oh, yes! Even for someone with a preference for stronger cigars, it was a great smoke. I like lighter cigars in the morning and this one is going on my breakfast menu.

Should I try it?

Yes! If you’re looking for a quality (but less expensive) cigar to fit into that Connecticut niche, I think you should give it a try. There are some trendy brands trying out Connecticut wrappers on their already well-known blends, so we know Connecticuts are becoming more and more popular. Why spend $10+ when you can smoke a tasty example for under $4? Now you can- with confidence!

Do you have an extra that you’ll give me?

Sadly, no. But, you can find them at Cigar King, in Scottsdale, or order them online at http://www.cigarking.com whenever you want. Anyway, why are you always asking me for cigars?

Conclusion:

If you’re looking to try a Connecticut wrapped, Nicaraguan made cigar that is a home-run in quality, taste and cost, look no further. I think you might have found one of your new favorites. Mitchel Hirsh and Nick Perdomo have crafted a beautifully balanced and flavorful cigar that will excite your palate and not empty your cigar buying fund. Although these are bundled cigars, they are of the “Calidad” (look it up – I can’t keep telling you what everything means), that you would expect of Cuban craftsmanship and cigar blending.

The Cuban Heirloom Connecticut Churchill can be found at Cigar King is located at 7830 E. Gelding Dr #100, in Scottsdale and can be found on-line at http://www.cigarking.com. I’m not sure if the name “Heirloom” refers to the crop or to something being handed down, but I’ll hand down this information; “You should try this cigar. You won’t be sorry.”

Well, that’s the end of another Smoking Gun review. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Maybe you’re just catching up here and asking, “Why all the Cigar King exclusive reviews?” Because, 1) I love trying new cigars; 2) I think Cigar King is the best cigar store in Phoenix, and; 3) lt’s interesting to taste so many different sticks (that are made by many different and well-known manufacturers) that have been produced by the same person.

You know how most cigars within the same line have similarities in flavor profile? Well, these Mitchel Hirsh collaborations are all different. The only similarities are quality, construction and cost. They’re all worth a try!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through this page. I’m always happy to answer questions or tell you about what I’ve been smoking. Also, if you liked, appreciated or hated my review, let me know. I want to be a resource for the everyday cigar smoker. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need an hour or so to enjoy a good cigar.

And, remember: don’t let other people tell you what to smoke. If you like it, smoke it!