Of course, everyone looks forward to the new blends that are released, or at a minimum, at least promoted at the Trade Show each year. What did I smoke? What do I still want to smoke that I haven’t had yet? What did I like? Here’s an overview of some of the highlights for me from the show. Since I can’t smoke everything at the show in 4 or 5 days, you’ll have to stay tuned for updates for full reviews on some of the sticks I haven’t gotten to yet.
Four Kicks Maduro by Crowned Heads
One of the first sticks we smoked after arriving. My palate was pretty fresh for this one, having only smoked a Fratello Oro earlier in the afternoon and a solid week off from smoking before the show. The same Nicaraguan binder and filler, but with a nice, ripe Connecticut Habano wrapper. A little more intensity than the original blend leave this somewhere in the Medium plus range, but a really pleasant smoke. Made for a great start to the show.
AVO Syncro Ritmo
2017 will always be the year we lost Avo Uvezian, so I was curious to see what happened with those lines going forward. With the cellophane bar code stamped Syncro III, get any ideas out of your head that this stick remotely resembles the Syncro Nicaragua or Syncro Fogata. Expect the Ritmo to be an earthier and nuttier blend than the other Syncro lines. The latest Syncro release includes South American filler tobacco from Peru and Brazil, in addition to Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominican Republic. It has a Mexican binder. And the wrapper is Ecuadoran, continuing that industry trend. Ritmo is available for you to enjoy today.
Esteban Carerras Mr Brownstone
I’m starting to think I’m actually falling for silly name when it comes to cigars. We’ve smoked the Chupacabra and Chupacabra Hellcat in the past on the show. Both were surprisingly medium bodied in spite of their intimidating names. Not so for Mr Brownstone. True to the heroin namesake, it comes in vitolas named things like Speed Ball, Smack and Main Line. It also really steps up the intensity in to that full bodied range where cigars named things like Chupacabra and Mr Brownstone belong. Nicaraguan binder and filler and a Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapper.
After having announced his retirement from NASA to go full time and being featured in the Washington Post, Omar de Frias smoked his medium bodied Navetta with us at IPCPR this year. Fratello was certainly popular and I was glad to steal a few minutes of Omar’s time during the show. Navetta (literally, shuttle) is a medium bodied Nicaraguan blend. Plenty of flavor and complexity to stand on its own or you could easily slide in right behind Fratello’s Oro that debuted in 2016 if you plan on smoking more than one stick in a day. These should be available in your B&M soon if not already.
Hit and Run by Caldwell and Matt Booth
Dominican filler, Indonesian binder and back to that Ecuadoran Habano wrapper. This is a collaboration blend Matt Booth, after taking a six month hiatus, brought to market with Robert Caldwell. There was tremendous buzz at the show for this cigar. I was lucky enough to get my hands on All Out Kings as a pre-release last year, but looks like this year I have to wait my turn with everyone else.
Literally anything by or in collaboration with AJ Fernandez
Out of the cigars AJ Fernandez has released under his own brand, I’ve smoked the New World and Enclave before. Am looking forward to smoking the Last Call blends. And I’ve smoked three or four of the New World Puro Especial since the show. But AJ has released collaboration blends with H. Upmann, Montecristo. And at the show this year, Matt Booth and Caldwell paired up again, with AJ, to release The Truth, a Nicaraguan puro. Cigar geeks will appreciate the Short Churchill and Lonsdale vitolas.
My Father La Opulencia
Like a statistically significant portion of the US cigar culture, my palate runs in the general direction of Nicaragua. My Father rolls out their latest blend My Father Opulencia with a Mexican Rosado Oscuro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. What’s not to like? As it turns out, this is likely one of my favorite blends of the entire show. These should start showing up in your B&M later this year. This stick is in the same palate zone as the La Antiguedad and Flor de las Antillas blends from My Father, with a little more upfront spice and intensity.
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