Just got a shipment of cigars from my good friends over at Neptune Cigar http://www.neptunecigar.com/. They are now resting safely in my coolerdor.
Hopefully I'll be able to find some time this weekend to take a few photos and maybe enjoy one or two of them!
With so many people raving about this cigar online I went ahead and got a 5 pack back in mid-December and promptly forgot about them.
While I was reorganizing and re-taking inventory on my collection after the Coolerdorazilla build, I came across them again and decided the time was right!
Overall, I thought this was a cigar full of potential, but either in need of more rest or maybe just not the cigar for me.
I must say this is a good looking stick which needs clipped at both ends - that's something different.
The pre-light taste was salty-leather.
Smoking this was an exercise in patience. The cigar is VERY temperature sensitive and more than one puff per minute results in a mouthful of black pepper and leather. With rest there are very nice notes of creamy expresso. Quite pleasant in fact. Very savory. I dont know, maybe I was just in an impatient mood, but I really did get tired of having every other puff be so peppery. Maybe my clipping was too generous and this burned too hot. I dont know.
This cigar was also pretty strong. Id say 4.4 out of 5 in terms of strength, at least for me.
The burn was excellent and not once did I need to retouch the cigar. Perfect burn I would even say.
I'm going to let the remaining four brothers sit for at least another month or two before trying again. The one I had today just seemed to be a little untamed yet.
I think it's definitely a cigar worth trying, but not boxworthy for me...yet.
I give this a 3.2 out of 5, with the note that I will revisit this score at a later date. I must say I was strongly tempted to give this a lower score, but the hints of tastiness convinced me to take it easy on this for now...
AKA, the Rise of Coolerdorazilla!
Cigar cigars humidity storage humidor coolerdor
So you're at the point in your cigar smoking life where your collection has overwhelmed your storage capacity -OR- maybe you want to start aging your cigars and you know you are going to need something larger than a desktop humidor.
Custom-build cedar-lined humidors can be very costly. Even a bargain 150ct humidor will cost you somewhere north of $175.
A coolerdor is a cheap but effective method to store your cigars for months and even years if it's done correctly.
So where do you start ?
Step 1. Determine what size cooler you will need.
To give you a sense, I was able to get just about 300 cigars into my 85qt coolerdor, storing both in boxes and larger Tupperware containers. To be honest, I felt this was a little crowded and worried about circulation, which I why I decided to upgrade to a 150qt monster! I'll be using that build as an example for this article.
Here's an out-of-focus shot of my 85qt coolerdor. I ended up including a Tupperware container which sat on the left side and another largish open cigar box not show here. This gave me roughly about a 300 cigar count capacity. And yes, that box on the right is a humidor in a coolerdor. Don't judge.
Step 2: Procure your cooler.
Hey, you may even have one just sitting in your garage. In that case, cost = nothing! I went big and bought the Coleman 150qt Marine Cooler. It wasn't the cheapest solution to be sure, but after Christmas I had some Amazon gift cards to use anyway and ended up ordering this while waiting in one of the interminable lines one finds when trying to do anything in Oahu.
Ever been to Oahu? It's kind of like the Detroit of the Hawaiian islands. Imagine Santa Monica, only with more humidity, homeless, and traffic. The only real reason to go is to visit Pearl Harbor. There you'll have your patience tested watching Japanese girls giggling and taking their Instagram pics while flashing uninterpretable hand signs on the Arizona Memorial. Resist the urge to push them into the ocean. Or don't, who am I to tell you what to do?
You can usually get some good deals on coolers at the end of summer in sporting goods stores. I found Amazon had the cheapest prices and it allowed me to get the behemoth delivered to my house.
Step 3: Wash it out
At the very least you'll want to wash the cooler out with dish detergent and water.
My 85qt cooler barely had any plastic odor and soap & water was fine. The 150qt cooler however had an almost overpowering smell of plastic. I started with soap & water, then scrubbed it with some baking soda. That did absolutely nothing. So, I filled the whole thing with water and poured cup of bleach into it. I wiped down the inside of the lid with the bleach/water mix and let it sit for about an hour. I hosed it out, then let it sit open in the California sun for the rest of the afternoon.
After the sun went down, I brought it back into the house and let it sit open overnight. Just for giggles I left the open box of baking soda at the bottom of the cooler reasoning it might help absorb some of the odor. The next day it seemed fine. No discernible scent of plastic.
If you are planning on using a cooler that has been used for food storage, I would highly recommend you also do the bleach routine. The last thing you want is your cigars tasting like bologna.
Step 4: Fetch thee a hygrometer
The purpose of the coolerdor/humidor is to maintain your cigars' environment within a certain range of relative humidity (rh). In order to measure the rh inside your coolerdor, you will need a hygrometer.
Hygrometers fall into two categories, analog and digital. I have used both in the past and either are fine. I prefer to use wireless digital so that I can monitor the rh of my coolerdor without having to open it. Here are some examples:
Here's an photo of the hygrometer monitor I'm using now. The "outdoor" channel is actually the remote sensor inside my coolerdor.
You can see the coolerdor is keeping it 13 degrees cooler and maintaining near perfect humidity despite the dry California air.
I like being able to just glance up from my computer monitor to check the condition of my cigars.
Step 5: Calibrate your hygrometer
Regardless of what type of hygrometer you have, you need to calibrate it. I've seen analogs off as much as 15% and digitals off by 8%. If you really, really dont want to do this next step, I would suggest you try to keep your humidity level at 65%. That way if your hygrometer is off calibration, at least you'll be keeping the levels roughly in the right range, generally accepted to be 60-70% rh. To be honest, I really dont suggest you use an uncalibrated hygrometer, particularly an uncalibrated analog hygrometer. Calibrating is easy to do, why not just do it?
There are dozens of sites detailing this process, just Google "hygrometer calibration salt" and you'll find them. They basically all suggest the same steps:
Step 6: Achieving the proper humidity in your Coolerdor
Now that you can accurately measure relative humidity, how do you use that information to maintain a proper environment for your cigars?
The process falls into one of two categories:
There are many mechanisms and systems you can use to control humidity. Probably the easiest and most reliable are the Boveda Humidity Packs or the Heartfelt beads. People swear by them as they are easy to use and reliable. You can go crazy and buy electric humidification systems if you like. To me that's a bit of overkill. What I dont suggest is trying to just use the cheapo humidity trays that come with desktop humidors. They are inefficient, unreliable and ill-suited for use in a coolerdor.
For this build, I chose to use kitty litter. I used it in my previous coolerdor with great success, so I didnt feel the need to switch or start experimenting with other methods. Plus it's the cheapest method!
You can NOT just use any type of kitty litter in a coolerdor, the litter has to be unscented and made from silica. The Exquisicat brand is preferred amongst cigar owners who use kitty litter and it's usually easy to find in larger pet stores. You can see from the picture above what I have done. I took two old cigar boxes and drilled holes into the top. I filled the boxes with litter and sprayed them with distilled water. You want to wet the litter, but not over saturate. Although it might take longer, I would suggest erring on the side of using too little water at first and working your way up.
Note: some people will tell you to remove the blue crystals from the litter. I'm not sure why. There is no scent at all to them and I've never noticed any ill-effects. If you are really concerned about them, just pick em out.
All of the methods listed above are TWO WAY systems; meaning they both add and absorb moisture depending upon the conditions. What you do not want to do is just add wet towels, cups of water or desiccant to your coolerdor (for a variety of reasons).
After spraying the litter, I closed the boxes and put them on the bottom of my humidor. Trivia: did you know humid air is lighter than dry air? So humid air tends to rise, which is why I'm putting the boxes at the bottom. Once you've established the proper conditions, you wont have to worry about it though.
Here's a bit of a tricky part. It's hard to establish proper conditions in an humidor without it being full of cigars, BUT, I didnt just want to take all my cigars out of my existing humidor and put them in a less than ideal environment. So what I did instead was to add a bunch of cigar boxes to the coolerdor and all the bits of Spanish cedar I have lying around. The great thing about the cooler I bought are the slots for the plastic shelves. I bought some Spanish cedar planks and cut shelves to fit into the slots (Spanish cedar is great for humidors because it aids with the process of humidity control). With a coolerdor full of wood, I added water as needed until my humidity stabilized. To speed the process up, I put a shot glass full of distilled water at the bottom for day. It takes the wood some time to stabilize depending on how much moisture it contained to start with.
Once I reached a stable humidity level, I began slowly adding cigars to the coolerdor over the course of the day. I didnt see much at all in the way of fluctuation, so mission accomplished. By late afternoon I had transferred all my cigars.
I've decided to call this beast Coolerdorazilla.
Things to note:
Well, I think that's about it. All I need to do now is just monitor the humidity, add water when needed and enjoy my well-rested cigars!
Summary: Way too spicy and strong for me. Moments of great taste, but surrounded by mouthfuls of pepper and burn issues.
Back in early November I must have gotten a sampler pack that included 3-4 of these. Ive tried to smoke them several times and really havent enjoyed them. On this day, the cigar had rested for over 2 months, so I figured it might have mellowed a bit. Although it did mellow, it wasnt mellow enough for me to really enjoy. Still a lot of sharp edges.
From the start: very spicy and peppery, a mix of red and black peppers depending on how hard I would draw. As it settled, the flavors moved towards dark coffee with a hint of cocoa, but over masked by the pepper.
The middle third was pretty good. Nice coffee & cream flavors. Very tobacco-ey.
The last third devolved into a tarry, hard-to-keep-lit nicotine stick. I got a case of the empty-stomach woozies and a coated throat.
I didnt hate the stick, but I cant say I liked it either. I'm going to with a 2.5 out of 5. The strength was a 4.8/5. Draw was medium.
I often use the term "temperature resistance" when talking about the characteristics of a cigar. It occurred to me that no one has any idea of what that means, since I just made it up. The cigar world may already have a term for this, but since I'm used to calling it this, I'm going to stick with it.
Temperature resistance refers to how much a cigar's taste changes as you puff on it without rest, or more accurately, how much the taste changes as the cherry gets hotter.
When you pick up and puff on a stick that has sat for a minute or so, it has a certain set of flavors and tastes associated with it. Those flavors often change as you decrease the amount of time between puffs. Commonly, the flavors shift to peppers, harder leathers, and smoke. This is why many people recommend letting a cigar sit for a full minute or more between puffs.
Every cigar that I've had has both an innate and imparted temperature resistance. Innate TR is how the cigar will smoke & taste regardless of what you do it. Imparted TR is how the TR is affected by how moist a cigar is, how long it has "rested", the absolute age of a cigar, etc.
I've found over time cheap cigars are extremely temperature resistant. You can puff a Don Lugo like you're trying to rescue a drowning victim and the taste wont change at all, but many of your $6-plus cigars will fight you back. I've found Warlocks and Diesels to be particularly temperature sensitive, that is, having a low temperature resistance.
What does this mean? To most people, probably nothing. It's just something I notice while smoking so I record it. Just one more interesting variable between cigars!
The Roman commander has returned in glory to his cherished country villa. Trading his armor for a draped toga he step onto his colonnaded porch to look over his lands below; the rolling fields merging into hills then to the mountains in the distance. He extends a silver goblet in the direction of a serving girl, who nervously fills the vessel with cool wine, and seats himself in an elaborated sculpted work he fancies as his throne. His faithful mastiffs pad over to flop themselves at his feet, content to simply be near their long-absent master. Another girl approaches him with an ornate ivory box; lifting the lid she extends it towards him. The aged veteran looks discerningly at the contents, then selects a single cylindrically shaped object from within. With a deft hand, he lops one end off with a dagger and returns the blade to its scabbard. The girl, who has set the ivory box on a table to her master’s right, light’s the end of a long taper of wood from a candle then applies the flame to the short leaf-wrapped wand. When he feels it’s time, the man brings the object to his lips and takes his first exquisite puffs of the DIESEL UNHOLY COCKTAIL!!!
Now, I don’t think Romans had cigars and to be honest, I cant vouch for the historical accuracy of anything I say or write, but damn, that sure the heck is what I was imagining while smoking the D.U.C. This piece of work is an animal, like the Stark’s dire wolves from A Game of Thrones, barely controllable and needs to be reined in as such. BUT, this beauty has an aura of rich, decadent royalty to it as well.
Let’s start at the beginning.
When I first set up my coolerdor, I got into the habit of buying boxes of cigars. I chose the cigars based upon other’s recommendations of those which had the reputation of aging well over time. Some of those were hits, some were misses. The Unholy Cocktails were one of those I bought during that period. I’ve smoked two I think before today, but they were still way too “young”. I don’t remember much other than a lot of pepper and dizziness. It’s been 8 weeks now, So I’m curious to see how they are coming along. BTW, you shouldn’t get into the habit of buying boxes of cigars you’ve never tried no matter what the reputation. Unless, of course, the box is REALLY cool. :)
Some data for you, from Diesel Cigars' site: Binder is Nicaraguan Habano; FIller is a mix of Esteli, Jalapa and Condega ligeros; this goodness is all wrapped in Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The creator was AJ Fernandez
Before lighting this, I'm treated to powerful dark chocolate and spicy espresso aromas. So inviting!
I almost never comment on construction, but I have to say, this is very well put together.
I proceed to the toasting, which again is during the daytime, but I manage to do it right without charring it.
First puffs are delicious; creamy smooth espresso and chocolate with just a hint of salt at the end. Powerful too. I can tell this is very temperature sensitive after just a few puffs. The first is always creamy and mild, the second is a huge bite of pepper, salt and leathers. It's like holding onto the leash of a beast daring me to pull too hard. This beast likes its rest, and with rest comes rewards.
This stick is rich and decadent to be sure, but strong. Salts, spices, chocolates, dark earths rotate across the palate. Here I get bitter coffee, there I get black forest cake. I imagine dark rye bread baked in a dark medieval kitchen. I'm also reminded of that cake they used to have at Frisches' Big Boy, the double chocolate fudge thing that was so rich I couldn't even finish it as a kid.
The retro is surprising smooth at the beginning before picking up strength toward the end.
Billows of smoke roll off this. I'm reminded of steam coming forth from the nostrils of a dragon.
There are some mild burn issues, but easily handled with a few touch ups.
The latter portion of the cigar turns more to toasts, breads and baked goods with the stick getting just a bit tarry. The spices fade, only returning if I really push the heat, then I get a mouthful of salty black pepper. I think I may have tamed the beast!
I really enjoyed this cigar and cant wait to have another in a few months. The strength was about 4.2/5. The draw was pretty easy, about 2/5 for strength of draw. Overall I give this 4.3 out of 5. Box worthy to be sure. Lacks a bit of the creams and butters I would want in a cigar I would score higher than a 4.5. Damn, I forgot to record what time I finished, again. Probably about an hour and a half or thereabouts.
Going to spend a weekend afternoon in the garage? Maybe doing some word-working or sharpening the lawn mower blades? If so, I'd recommend you reach for the CAO Black Gothic torpedo; the perfect cigar for hanging out around the house or workshop.
Construction: Honduran, Nicaraguan and Mexican fillers with a Habano-seed Nicaraguan binder surrounded by a Connecticut-Ecuador wrapper. Not shown here is the cedar wrapper in which it's stored.
The one I'm smoking today has been in the humidor for seven weeks.
Before lighting, the flavors are startlingly spicy, almost like there's a dash of Habanero pepper mixed in there along with a wood-shop woodiness and tool-belt leathers. At 3:42 I attempt to toast this in the daylight with my torch and proceed to give it a real char-job.
Blue smoke just pours off this stick, I feel like I could use this for smoke signals. The initial flavors are strong cedar, lighter woods with a dash of Tex-Mex spices.
The draw is solid. I'd give it a 4/5 in terms of draw strength. To be honest, I always struggle with where to clip a torpedo. I end up clipping it twice more, past the point where I feel I "should" be clipping it, and I'm finally rewarded with an easier draw.
Getting some yellow cake on the retro. Very nice, like baked goods during Thanksgiving.
Throughout most of the stick I get nice mild cedars with red pepper with baked goods and leather on the retro.
Very temperature resistant with an impressively strong ash. Beautiful striations. It clings on till at least 1 1/3 inches!
The wrapper on mine is very cracked. I think I read this has to do with it being a bit too humid and the inside swells before the wrapper? It does appear to have swelled.
I settle in to relax and enjoy the smoke. Through to the end are: cedar, lighter woods, semi-sweet creams, spices, red pepper morphing towards black pepper at the end, touches of leather on the tongue. Gets just a tad tarry towards the end. For strength, I'd rate this maybe a 3.5 - 3.8 out of 5.
I think this cigar is perfect for golfing or puttering around the house. The tastes and the strength of the ash make this a great cigar if you're up and about.
I give this a 3.8 out of 5. Deductions for the cracked wrapper and the lack of variety from about the halfway point through to the end. Maybe not box-worthy, but certainly 5-pack worthy.
Now THIS is the best cigar I've had so far in my cigar smoking life. Maybe I should take a step back and say, at this point I've been smoking cigars for about 2 years and have only in the past several months have started seriously attempted to pay attention to what I'm smoking and document them. That being said....WOW.
I purchased this from the local B&M, the La Habra Tobacconist, on November 16, 2013; so it's been resting in my humidor for almost 3 months. He has two brothers still sleeping sounding in their shared cedar bed.
I love the look of the cigar. The soft box press, the red ribbon at the end and the decorative band really make me feeling like I'm about to have a very sophisticated experience. It just feels classy. The cellophane is just starting to show a bit of yellow.
I only really got one decent photo of this cigar and I'm rather bummed about this. I'm hoping sometime I can get around to doing some really good studio shots of the beauty.
The end of the cigar is a bit flatter and broader than I'm used to, so I have a tricky time getting it clipped. I noticed under the ribbon at the end there is some minor damage to the wrapper. Take a look at the pic. Does that wrapper seem normal? I'll have to compare it to his brothers when I pull them out in a few months. The pre-light taste is all chocolate and expresso.
At 1:38pm the toast commences. Since I'm doing this in the daylight I decide to go with my touch up torch instead of my bigger flame thrower in order to control the burn. Success! I didn't incinerate the end. Smoke just pours off this bad boy. Wish I had caught it with my camera.
Throughout the cigar I had canoeing issues. After doing some reading I think this may have been my lighting technique by focusing more on the center and not getting the edges hot enough. It required a lot of touch-ups throughout the smoke.
This is definitely a two-stage cigar. That is, after a minute of rest, I puff and get one taste, then a puff shortly following gives me another, usually more peppery. The cigar is moderately temperature sensitive. I paired this with ice water and a Corona light. The draw is relatively easy; about a 2/5 on the strength scale.
Flavors I get in order are:
Dark woodsy tobocco
Black pepper and salt
Retro is moderately strong and spicy
Pepper fades after about half an inch
Really getting a full, three dimensional taste experience
Dashes of salt and pepper
Bailey's and coffee
Very rich and chewy
Black pepper morphs into white pepper after a point
Lots of Baileys/cream
Oh my, what an amazing experience. I stopped writing at some point and just drifted off into my cigar day dreams, but I think you get the point. At about $10 per stick, this is a PHENOMENAL smoke. Not sure how they are "fresh" as this one has rested for awhile. I will be picking up more soon. I actually toyed with the idea of getting a box of them and may still do so, but I wonder if the tastes would fade too much over time? I guess I'll have to experiment and find out!
4.7 out of 5. Points deducted for the canoeing and the minor issues with the wrapper. This cigar is boxworthy.
The Perdomo Bugatti was recommended to me by the proprietor of the La Habra Tobacconist, whose name I think is Tony based upon the store's Yelp reviews.
I picked up two of these about a month ago and smoked one after only three days of rest. For this review I smoked the other, which has been resting comfortably since then.
I was excited to smoke this as I recalled it being a really great cigar; strong and flavorful. The cellophane wrapper showed just a tinge of yellowing, which only heightened my anticipation.
Based upon the description of this over at Cigar.com, this is comprised of Nicaraguan fillers aged for up to six years and wrapped in Connecticut maduro broadleaf.
To be honest, I didn't get a lot of taste before lighting it. Maybe a very light cedar taste with a hint of cocoa. The draw was medium/tight; just short of being "too tight."
Wow, did a lot of smoke roll of this guy during the toast. It felt like a good old midwestern fall leaf burning.
Initial notes are mild, nutty chocolates in leather. Once again I fell a bit victim to trying to light a cigar in daylight. I wasnt quite sure if the end was lit. I did have to do some mild retouching and use some small puffs to get it going all the way. Once I did, I started getting the pepper.
Man this this is smokey!
Heavy black pepper upon puffing with dark loamy woods on the retro.
As I move past the first inch or so, the Bugatti settles into some nice dark chocolate baked goods wrapped in woodsy leather. Coffee comes out every now and again, but kept in check by the stronger wood flavor.
Throughout the smoke I had some problems with uneven burning, but nothing a little touch up here and there couldnt handle. The ash generally breaks off just around half an inch.
Overall this was a very smooth and enjoyable smoke. At the end I think it turned out to be a little heavy on the nicotine, I had to eat something right after finishing, but then again I didnt have to smoke it right to the nubbin either.
The Bugatti is full of rich deciduous woods and leather flavors, with enough cocoa in there to keep things interesting, although I did find the final third to get a bit monotonous. I should note that the last time I smoked one, I got a lot more creams, vanillas and sweets out of it. So perhaps this is one to smoke "fresher" rather than later. I'll have more of these sleeping comfortably now, so I'll pull them in a few months and see what happens.
I give this a solid 4 out of 5. I wish it had been a bit more flavorful down the stretch, but it was a great smoke overall.
Total smoke time was 2 hours and 24 minutes.
As a kid, did you ever roll up a handful of potpourri in leftover cardboard from a roll of toilet paper and try to smoke it? Me neither, but I bet it tasted just like this Dominican Don Chuchu cigar.
The heavy floral and amaretto tastes seemed like they were sprayed into this "tobacco" as heavy as they laid in the air. No, it just didnt taste right. The draw was really poor as well, like trying to pull boba through a normal sized straw.
This stick has no excuses either. It's been resting for months in a well maintained humidor.
This Chuchu pulls into the station with a 1.3 our of 5. I couldnt finish it which drops it to the 1-2 range, but it didnt make me sick, which is why I gave it the bonus 0.3 pts. Move on folks, nothing to see here.
Cigar Reviews, Recalibrated
I decided to archive my own reviews online as I find 90% of all cigar reviews to be as useful as a bottle of Jack at a Mormon wedding.