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La Aurora Puro Vintage 2007

quick takes reviews la aurora puro vintage

Produced by: La Aurora Cigar Company
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua  
Size: 6 1/2 x 50
Strength: Medium-bodied
Time to smoke: 125 minutes
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

The tobacco in the Puro Vintage 2007 comes from a 2007 harvest and was scrupulously selected in order to ensure maximum quality. It’s presented in Salomon format and is limited to only 6,000 boxes worldwide with 10 cigars in each box.

The cigar lights with minimal effort, and I’m treated to aromas of fresh-cut oak and notes of cinnamon, hazelnut, citrus, and cocoa. These flavors mostly stick around for the first third of the cigar. The burn is even and requires no touch-up. I feel privileged as I sit and smoke this cigar, one that features 11-year-old tobacco. It truly feels like an honor, as cheesy as that sounds.

This is a beautifully constructed, thick, and special cigar. My favorite part was the woody aromas—strong but not overpowering. This cigar gives my previous favorite, the ADN Dominicano, a run for its money. Overall, it’s a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable experience, and isn’t that what cigar smoking is all about?

For more info, visit laaurora.com.do.

Silver Toro

Quick Takes reviews Joya Silver

Produced by: Joya de Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorean Habano
Binder: San Andreas Mexico
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6 x 52
Strength: Medium- to full-bodied
Time to smoke: 90 minutes
Reviewed by: Donny Muse

The Silver lights easily with a triple torch, and the initial room note is woodsy with hints of baking spices.  The burn is relatively even with very few touch-ups required. The smoke is thick with a creamy mouth-feel. The flavor profile is rye, cinnamon, and oak.

The cigar hits full strength in its final third. The rye and oak flavors leave and are replaced by bittersweet dark cocoa and espresso. The flavors meld smoothly, with the smoke now having a slightly mineral feel. Once past the midsection of the removed band, the smoke becomes floral with an abundant spice. The final few puffs are intense, with flavors of espresso and cayenne pepper taking over in the end.

The Joya de Nicaragua Silver Toro is a splendid addition to the Joya de Nicaragua portfolio, with solid construction, an easy burn, and an enjoyable recipe of flavors. The price point is average for its size and appealing to any smoker’s budget.

For more info, visit joyacigars.com.

Double Maduro Toro

Quick Takes reviews Stroker stogies

Produced by: Stroker Stogies
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua 
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6 x 52
Strength: Full-bodied 
Time to smoke: 95 minutes
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

What was most intriguing to me about Stroker Stogies is that it’s a one-man operation in the form of Al VanPliet, who also moonlights as a DJ, MC, and the owner of a snow cone/lemonade truck. Al, a lifelong motorcycle and cigar enthusiast, was attending the Thunder in the Smokies Rally in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and became friends with a guy who suggested that he start his own label. Naturally, he did. Pairing his love of motorcycles with cigars, he put a Harley Davidson shovel head motor on his band. His cigars are rolled in Texas using tobacco mainly from Nicaragua and the U.S.

The cigar is veiny and firm with a rough feel, and it has a good cold draw with notes of pepper. Even early on, I’m getting a great first impression thanks to the easy draw, its thick, velvety, dark chocolate flavors, and voluminous smoke. For a one-man show, I am very impressed with the quality and exceptional flavors of this cigar.

As I smoke on, the flavors are transitioning more to something akin to a spicy slice of French toast and maple syrup. I’m also picking up some cinnamon as well. The burn line is slightly wavy as I move into the second third and requires a few small touch-ups throughout the rest of the cigar. Overall, this was a very enjoyable, full-bodied cigar that I would recommend to anyone looking for a boutique smoke.

For more info, visit strokerstogies.com.

Avanti Bourbon

Quick Takes reviews Avanti bourbon

Produced by: Avanti Cigar Company
Wrapper: Kentucky
Binder: Kentucky
Filler: Kentucky
Size: 4 1/2 x 34
Strength: Medium-bodied
Time to smoke: 35 minutes
Reviewed by:Brian Ledtke

We don’t often feature machine-made cigars, but these unique 100 percent Kentucky dark fire-cured cigars, infused all the way through with bourbon, are a welcome exception. These small smokes are densely packed and last an impressive 35 minutes, allowing for a relaxing, slow smoke in a small package. I thought I’d breeze right through it.

The bourbon flavors are subtle and thankfully don’t feature a flavored tip. There is a wonderful woodsy campfire-like aroma that mixes beautifully with the oaky, slightly bitter notes of bourbon. Neither one overpowers the other. There is a surprising volume of smoke, and, after the initial lighting, I didn’t have to touch it up at all.

I’ve begun appreciating cheroots and smaller cigars more and more over the last year because they are the perfect companion for outdoor concerts, cold days when you can’t stand outside very long, bonfires, and your drive home when you hit that annoying rush-hour traffic. Side note: You really do feel like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti Western while smoking one of these.

The Avanti Bourbon comes in packs of five cigars and each is individually wrapped.

For more info, visit avanticigar.com.

Micallef Herencia Habano

Quick Takes reviews Micallef herencia

Produced by: Micallef Cigars and the Gomez Sanchez Family
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Ecuadorean Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua and Honduras
Size: 5 1/2 x 52
Strength: Medium- to full-bodied
Time to smoke: 60 minutes
Reviewed by:Brian Ledtke

Micallef has only been on the cigar scene for a few short years, but they are already making such big waves. For those who don’t know, owner Al Micallef partnered with the Gomez Sanchez family, which has over 130 years of cigar making under their belts, to create cigars that are modern-day classics.

One of my favorites of theirs is the Experiencia La Crema (review here), but the Herencia may have just become my new favorite. The Herencia, which translates to Heritage, features four-year-old tobaccos and is exploding with spice. This torpedo cigar has a wonderful, seamless construction with a gorgeous dark-brown wrapper.

The dominant flavors are cinnamon and pepper, but there are also hints of cocoa and cedar, especially as the cigar moves past the first third. There are sweet, pleasant aromas wafting off the foot that perfectly complement the spice flavors. The ash holds strong for about an inch and features a good burn, but it gets a little wavy toward the second third. That’s easily fixable, though, and I didn’t encounter any problems after that.

This is another quality stick from Micallef. They continue to impress me with every cigar of theirs I try, and I believe they will continue to keep impressing the industry for years to come.

For more info, visit micallefcigars.com.

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