Taster’s Notes: Emilio AF Suave 6X50 Toro

Emilio AF Suave 6X50 Toro

This cigar is of mild/medium body with a pronounced note of grass and hay,  backed up with a dash of white pepper and a pinch of cinnamon.  Throughout the smoke it shows off a nice boldness of flavor for a mild/medium twig, including a rich creaminess that accents its core flavors nicely, allowing it an appeal to those that prefer stronger cigars.

Taster’s Notes – Guayacan 5X50

The Guayacan 5X50 from Noel Rojas

The Guayacan brand debuted at the Orlando show a couple of weeks ago and we got our hand on some at the Chattanooga Tweet-Up. This 5X50 medium  (perhaps medium minus)  cigar begins with a lot of rich flavor and a nuance of spice.   It debuts a nice creamy lead with pronounced woody notes including oak cask and a dash of hickory.  Developing flavors include ground coffee, a wisp of butterscotch and a late arriving cacao.   All of these flavors entered into play, however the overriding flavor of this cigar was that of creamy smoke and wood with enough nuance and complexity to make this cigar enjoyable throughout.

All of the Guayacan cigar sizes have a different blend, however, with the 5X50 size, newcomer Noel Rojas appears to have a winner. This cigar is now in cue for a full Front Porch Cigars review.

Taster’s Notes – JC the Cuban Roller 7 X 42 Long Corona

OK I know what you are thinking… JC the Cuban Roller?  Yeah.  He lives in St. Augustine FL and bills himself as a Master Cuban Roller with 20+ years of experience.   There isn’t exactly a lot of press about him other than the fact he is available for special events, and some basic info about his shop, in St. Augustine, which I THINK is called JC Rollers.

There was not going to be a review of any kind about this cigar.  It was one of those “I bought you a cigar because you like cigars” cigars.    Having never heard of JC Cigars, it went into the “storage” humidor, waiting to be given away or perhaps smoked when I was desperate.   Tonight, I was neither, but I decided to try it out anyway, for a couple of reasons.

First: I was in the mood for something I hadn’t tried before.  Second: I didn’t want to do a review tonight.  The other reviewer (the one that is funny and more cigar savvy than I am) is out of town.   Because of that, I wanted to smoke something of which I had only a single cigar.   Thus: JC Long Corona.   This is also why the photography is a bit on the drab side.  As I had not planned on even doing a review, I simply debanded, clipped, and lit this cigar, only to discover a few minutes later that is was delicious.  That is why the photos were taken in deep shadows, sitting on a Charlie Spivak album cover. (By the way, Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra pairs nicely with this cigar)

The JC band, removed from the surprise of the month.

The JC Long Corona… AKA… the “I didn’t see that coming”

 

Let’s be fair here.  I have never heard JC Cigars, nor of JC the Cuban Roller;  and to be honest, I had a second cigar (a Tatuaje Tubo) sitting right next to it, so after two puffs I could say “I tried it” then toss it for something I knew I liked.   That was 45 minutes ago.

The JC Long Corona is a Mild-Medium cigar with a natural wrapper.  Its primary influence other than a slightly tangy sweet tobacco is that of honey.  It’s not overly complex, and that might put off some aficionados that prefer the more of a punch or some advanced complexity, however in terms of taste (and that is how we party on the porch) it was absolutely delightful.

I am not sure if these cigars are available outside JC’s shop other than his basic web page.  If you are in St. Augustine, be sure and stop by his shop and pick up some of his wares, which are apparently all rolled in-house.  He has several sizes and blends available.    If there is one note worth mentioning, it is that this cigar has been aged for roughly two years and anything newly purchased might require some time to rest.

From the very beginning, Front Porch Cigars has been about bringing you the best cigars, regardless of make, price or marketing campaign.  Because of this, when we (or in this case “I”) discover a cigar that is this enjoyable, I am required by law to share.

Let me summarize with a completely unexpected comment.  If I find some more of these, and if they are of equal quality, this is a top 20 cigar.   I know there  is a lot of “IF” in there, but this stick was the best mild-medium cigar I have had in a long time.  The JC Long Corona has been a pleasure.

This has been really long winded for a “Taster’s Notes” submission, but this cigar was such a bolt of out of the blue, it needed to be expanded.   In addition, we like to give credit where credit is due, and JC deserves a lot of credit.    Now on to your regularly scheduled Taster’s Notes segment:

The JC Long Corona is a mild-medum blend displaying a sweet and slightly tangy tobacco flavor, tinted with pronounced honey.   Notes of dry leather and vanilla eventually develop.  Rolled in-house at JC Rollers in St. Augustine Fl,  the most pleasing aspect of this competently rolled cigar is actually in it’s blend, which remained consistently enjoyable throughout.

Taster’s Notes: Arturo Fuente Especiales Cazadores 6×50

The New Fuente Especiales Cazadores 6x50is a relatively new offering, appearing only in the last couple of months in most locales.

A Medium minus body belies the rich flavors, with major notes being a buttery tobacco revealing cedar, butterscotch and oak with peppercorn developing in the middle. The burn was T-square straight, the smoke was copious, and the light colored ash held firm until forced off. Another Fuente product guaranteed to be a favorite for those that prefer medium body or moderately rich flavors.  An additional bonus is that this cigar is the equal of some twice the price.
Look for a FULL REVIEW from Front Porch Cigars, coming soon.

LaSirena Merlion 6X58

Today we meander away from the porch to the pinnacle of Cigar brotherhood in Chattanooga, TN.  Burns Tobacconist, paired nicely with the Chattanooga Billiard Club is a cigar destination.  Make sure you stop by if you are ever traveling through.    Yesterday morning, a shipment of the new LaSirena Merlion was sent to this location. It arrived this morning and today we review the 658 size.

The entire Merlion line is unique for several reasons.  First of all, it has a unique double band, one over the top of the other.  That of course has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to enjoy it, but for some reason we all liked it.

The second unique note about this stick is that it is a blend of no fewer than SIX tobaccos.   The wrapper is a single Ecuadoran Corojo, the binder is Brazilian Sumatra, however; the filler is a blend of four tobaccos; Including Dominican Corojo, Dominican Criollo, Nicaraguan Ligero and Brazilian Mata Fina.

It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of a given tobacco to alter the flavor of a cigar, and we are intrigued by the Brazilian inclusions.

In addition to Josh and I, we are joined by Adam, who is a cigar professional. (Unlike Josh and myself)   He will be dropping in a few notes for us.  Adam has what I would call a “well established” palate, as he averages several cigars per day.

LaSirena Merlion 648

Since this is indeed an “occasion” given the fact we are at such an esteemed locale, we all light with a custom produced Front Porch Cigar cedar spill.  (Provided by Commonwealth Cesar Spills… cedarspills.com)

Within minutes after lighting, Adam’s presence becomes an immediate boon.   “First impressions are of a mid strength cigar with cream and a berry note on the retrohale”.

Well… thanks for coming everyone.  Tip your waitress.

I haven’t even lit mine yet and I feel like I have already experienced a good review.

Josh is not to be outdone.  He backs Adam’s statement with “It’s mid/mild with a floral note.   He also experiences the faint hint of berry.   After I finally get around to lighting mine, I agree.  Medium, with a light sweetness (which is the floral that Josh was tasting) and that distant berry note.

Josh continues: I like a little more meat in my cigar; however this is the largest of the gauges.  I like this so far, and I can tell that I would like the smaller sizes even more, due to the higher ratio of wrapper to “other”.

It should be noted that the Merlion was touted as a cigar with a bit more strength than we are experiencing here, however, as we mentioned, this is the largest size and thus the least concentrated in terms of focused flavor.

As we enter the middle portions of the cigar (all three of us smoke at different speeds, so keeping track of who was how far into their cigar was fun) the thing we all note is the transition from our initial observations to a nice mid bodied flavor with wisps of oak and coco.

The other thing worth noting is the rather abrupt change.  Two of us found the speed of the transition worth noting, and the third of us, although not pointing out the rapid transition, still noted it as a distinct change of gears.

Adam questions the amount of age in the cigar based on the rapidity of the transitions.  Fortunately the regional rep, the owner of the company and the blender were all in attendance.   What we did NOT find out was the date the Merlions that we were enjoying were rolled, however we DID find out that these were still at the factory less than 48 hours ago.

This is probably a good indication that the Merlions (Merlia?  Merlionae?) we were smoking were relatively new creations.  This might be part of the reason for the rapid change we noted.

As the final third of the Merlion approached, we noted and departure of the distant berry and a building richness of the coco.

Overall this cigar is not overly complex; however it’s also not boring.  There is a steady flavor that falls into the mid/mid range, but the focus is probably on the unique notes that are caused by a combination of the unique blend and the addition of some Brazilian tobacco.

Adam described it as a Honduran profile with a Brazilian chaser.

“It’s a tad lacking in strength, but I like my cigars to be immediately bold and strong” says Josh.

One other note that we all feel very much worth making: this cigar was free of black pepper.   There are a few things about this cigar (the freshness of the roll and the complex composition of the blend) that had us anticipating some black pepper notes.   There were none, and given that at least two of us (Josh and I) prefer our cigars pepper free, this was worth noting.

Second note was about the draw.  Josh’s was very easy (although not too hot) and the twigs belonging to Adam and myself were both medium firm.   This could also have been due to the lack of age on the cigar.

Josh and Adam

Our final thoughts look like this.  The Merlion is a definite crowd-pleaser from LaSirena.   It’s a step down in terms of body and strength from others in the line; however we agree that this is a cigar that can be smoked by about anyone; a novice after a nice meal, or a more established smoker as a pre-lunch snack.

There will be those who prefer more strength and flavor however the Merlion has made a real hit with Adam.   Adam loves his. He smoked his down to the final inch. This is something that a young man with an unlimited supply of sticks rarely does.

Josh rated the Merlion as “Thanks for the cigar” citing the desire for something stronger.   It never gave me the kick I like out of a cigar.  I WILL however say that it has some unique flavors in it.

Adam and I rated the Merlion as “I will have another” with Adam pushing the “I will buy a box” envelope.

Adam (being on the retail end of the cigar world) throws out a little “sales smarts” for us.  I could sell the Merlion to pretty much anyone.  It has points that both newer and established smokers will enjoy.

The one thing in the eyes (and palate) of all three of us that prevented the Merlion from being even better was age.   It had a few characteristics of being a slightly immature cigar, however given the fact these were still in the factory 48 hours ago, that is to be expected.

Because of this we offer the following advice:  Pick up at least TWO of these. Try one and see what you think.  Take the second one and place it gently in your humidor for a few months.  (Minimum of 2) and then try it again.  A little age should make this good cigar even better.