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Old 11-25-2010, 07:55 AM   #1
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Default Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

These are a new-ish bundle cigar from Altadis. Price at the B&M is less than $2/stick. What grabbed me about these was not only the price, but how nice the wrappers look for a cheap bundle cigar. This line comes in 3 wrappers; Connecticut, maduro, and Sumatra. I grabbed a Ct. and a maduro, and I will smoke them back to back for this review.

First, the Connecticut Shade.

This cigar is billed as a toro, but at 5.5 X 50 I would consider it a robusto. Nice looking stick. The wrapper isn't flawless but looks pretty high grade appearance-wise. The wrapper has a faint floral scent and the foot has a faint hay scent. Inspecting the foot, the bunch looks very nice and the foot is cut clean and straight. The cigar is quite heavy, surprisingly heavy in fact. I figured the draw would be tight but once I clipped it the draw is fine. Cool. Let's fire it up.

First few draws...pretty typical flavors for a mild Ct. wrap cigar. Buttery and toasty with just a slight hint of spice.

About 1" in...burn is a bit crooked. Not bad, I will try to correct it. Flavor-wise pretty much the same. That strange "buttered popcorn" flavor that I often notice with this type of blend. Not bad at all, but a bit on the mild side. The finish is short and tangy.

About 2" in...flavors haven't really changed but the finish is lingering a bit longer. The burn is pretty straight now. At this point I can say that this cigar is too mild for me, but since it's not nasty I will finish it. As I type with the cigar between my teeth, the aroma coming from the foot is has a toasted bread note.

About halfway...main flavors are still the same, but the finish has taken on a sweet character.

A little past halfway, I get a bit of spice in the nostrils. I'd still say this cigar is too mild though.

Winding down...amazingly this cigar starts picking up quite a bit more flavor in the last 2" or so, but not enough to change my mind about the fact that overall it was just too mild. My other favorite cheap Ct. wrap cigars (5 Vegas Gold, Flor de Oliva Gold) have much more flavor for a few pennies more.

Final thoughts...although this is the perfect cigar to hand out to noobs, moochers, occasional smokers, etc., the lack of flavor and character will make most frequent cigar smokers shy away unless Altadis improves the blend. HOWEVER...I would absolutely be willing to try another cigar to make sure my initial impressions hold true. Next trip to the B&M I will grab another one of these, maybe a different size.

Now, the Maduro (Connecticut Broadleaf).

Same size cigar. Again, a nice looking wrapper for such a cheap cigar. It has a nice sheen and doesn't appear to have been "enhanced" like many cheap maduros are. Very heavy, well constructed cigar with a rock solid cap that pops right off when I clip it. The draw is perfect.

First few draws...earthy and a bit grassy, but not an unpleasant or overpowering grassiness.

About 1" in...some typical maduro flavors coming on. Unsweetened cocoa and baking spice. As with the first cigar the burn is a bit crooked. The draw has tightened up a bit, which tells me I should have let this cigar sit for a while to dry out some. Oh well.

About 2" in...dominant flavors are the same, mostly cocoa, but the finish has become tangy and lingers on the palate. Pretty nice so far, and much more flavor than the Ct. Shade but still on the mild side. The burn is much better at this point and the draw has opened back up.

About halfway...nice cigar so far. Mild but tasty. The draw has taken on a sweetness to go with the cocoa, the baking spice has subsided and the finish has become spicy and woodsy. A little past halfway, the nose exhale has become a bit spicier. At this point I am really liking this cigar.

Winding, this stick has a lot of depth to the flavor for a mild cigar. The cocoa and baking spice have taken center stage again, and the "strength" of the cigar is creeping up on medium. Just kept enjoying myself and let 'er die around 1".

Final thoughts...what a great cigar. Mild but lots of flavor. Leagues better than the Ct. Shade wrap. I will definitely be grabbing a few more of these next time I'm at the B&M.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

the sumatras my favorite by far of the three, followed by the maduro then the ct in faaaaaar last. great reviews, but id suggest trying a sumatra

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Old 11-26-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

I picked up a connecticut and a maduro at Habana Premium when I was in Albany. They were recommended by one of the employees there. I agree they were both good cigars for the money but the maduro was better. I'll get some more of the maduro and try the sumatra the next time I'm there.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

I received two of the maduros as a part of a sampler pack from Oddly enough, they were listed as Connecticut's on the traveler and the website....not that I am at all complaining haha. I left them to sit in the humidor for two weeks or so, sort of absent-minded as I had never heard of them, and they honestly didn't look all that appealing. The wrapper color was pretty nice, at a Hersheys chocolate brown, but that was where the compliments on appearance would end. The wrapper was quite thick, and rough to the touch—veins galore. It wasn't just toothy either, the thing had a set of choppers that could open a can of tuna. It was probably the ugliest smoke I have ever seen that wasn't labeled "cheroot".

The aroma of the unlit stick wasn't anything special either—mild grassy notes, some sweet tobacco from the maduro wrapper, and almost a bit of a musty/barnyard note that hinted toward the tobacco having a bit of age on it? I found it highly unlikely, as the thing looked almost identical to a dog turd. So I clipped the dicey cap, and took my ritualistic series of prelight draws. The prelight draws revealed more dense, but much sweeter dark tobacco notes. I'd had enough, it was time to light this turd.

I toasted and lit the "turd", not expecting a whole lot. Man, was I wrong. The smoke was immediately layered, with...complex notes of grass, sweet and hearty tobacco, just a touch of white pepper on the back of the throat, and what I thought to be a faint hint of ginger maybe? The smoke was the complete antithesis of this cigar's ugly appearance. It was bright and sweet, with some pleasant earthiness and mild leather coming into the second third. The ash was firm and light grey, holding on throughout the first third, and just a little into the second. The second third almost mirrored the first, with very consistent flavors, and balanced draw-to-smoke output ratio. The maduro wrapper had a rich, sweet aroma that somehow justified it's thick, meaty composition. It began to warm up into the last third, but to my enjoyment, revealed creaminess and some darker earthy tones. There was no back of the tongue, cheap stogie bitterness to speak of. It was a hearty, full, richly sweet smoke all the way to the mushy nub, and was in my eyes at least, a diamond in the rough.

I am now very pleased to have another one of these sticks on hand. The thick wrapper means you could chew on it while shoveling snow without worrying about splitting it all to hell, or sit and savor it with the paper and a hot cup of coffee. A very pleasant, satisfying and VERSATILE smoke, for a very affordable and reasonable price.

I would rate this one a SOLID and well deserved 88.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

These are some of the best tasting "cheap" cigars I have ever had. Most of the wrappers are not that gnarly. The Sumatra's are my favorites out of the three offered.

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Old 03-06-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

Nice review...I may try the maduro as they are my favorite.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cheap bastid review: Casa de Garcia

Thank you HollywoodQue. This was my first written cigar interview, as I am a relatively new smoker (less than a year). I got my start on mild Connecticuts like most, but really found my taste with maduros several months later. I am always on the prowl for those "diamond in the rough" sticks. More reviews to come.
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