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Boondock Saint

Blackworks studio boondock saint review

Produced by: Black Works Studio
Wrapper: Pennsylvanian Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan/Pennsylvanian/Connecticut
Size: 6 1/4 x 46 – Robusto
Strength: Full-bodied
Time to Smoke: 94 minutes
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

This cigar, at first glance, is a midnight-colored dream. The wrapper is dark, slightly rough, and firmly packed. It’s foreboding, in the best possible way, of the dark richness to come.

The cold draw is earthy, and the scent is wonderfully sweet, like dark chocolate. The first few puffs bring immediate tastes of spiciness, though lingering in the back are the cocoa, cloves, and earth. I’m reminded of why I love Nicaraguan tobacco so much. The overall aromas and flavors are reminding me of jalapeno-infused chocolate bars.

Props to Black Works Studio for making such a bold, strong, and delicious cigar. I highly recommend it as an evening smoke or one for in the wee hours of the morning. It’s truly worthy of its namesake, The Boondock Saints—dark, violent, and oh, so fun.

For more info, visit blacklabeltrading.com, and for a full review, head over here

Villa Zamorano Reserva No. 15

Maya selva villa zamorano review

Produced by: Maya Selva Cigars
Wrapper: Jamastran Habano
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran
Size: 5 1/2 x 54
Strength: Medium- to full-bodied
Time to Smoke: 90 minutes
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

This gorgeous, golden-brown-colored cigar is another Maya Selva home run. The new Reserva collection is an evolution of the original Villa Zamorano line and very moderately priced. It’s a solid smoke without breaking the bank.

There are lovely peppery and woody notes with a spicy retrohale. As the cigar progresses, I start to get more hints of espresso and something like roasted peanuts. The aroma is positively stunning; I let the smoke envelop my face with each exhale.

It is a very well-constructed, hefty cigar with the ash holding for an inch and a half. My favorite Maya Selva cigar before sampling the Reserva No. 15 was the Cumpay Volcan Maduro, but wow, the Reserva is making us reconsider which one is our favorite.

For more info, visit mayaselvacigars.com.

Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter

Fathers, Friends, and Fire Father & Daughter

Produced by: Ventura Cigar Company
Wrapper: Ecuadorean Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 50 – Toro
Strength: light- to medium-bodied
Time to Smoke: 115 minutes
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

In stark contrast to the full-bodied and dark Boondock Saint comes Father & Daughter—a light, creamy, peppery smoke perfect for breakfast or early afternoon. This cigar has what I can best describe as soft flavors and notes. It was a welcome change from the bolder cigars mentioned before.

Pepper is the dominant flavor, with hints of woodiness that transition into a creamier and sweeter smoke as the cigar progresses into the second third. The draw is effortless, producing thick, voluminous smoke. One aspect of particular note is the superb construction of this cigar. I’ve never seen a burn line stay so straight for almost the entirety of the cigar. It was almost mesmerizing.

Overall, this is an excellently constructed, enjoyable cigar that’s perfect for the morning and being paired with coffee. I felt immensely privileged to have the opportunity to sample such a limited-edition cigar from Omar Ortez and his daughter Indiana that was never actually available for purchase but made appearances at Fathers, Friends, and Fire events. If you get a chance to try one, jump on it.

Check out our video interview with Indiana Ortez.

For more info, visit venturacigars.com.

Ice Nine Kills

Ice Nine Kills silver scream album review

The Silver Scream
Release Date: Oct. 5, 2018
Fearless Records
Reviewed by: Brian Ledtke

We may be a little past Halloween now, but I can’t stop listening to Ice Nine Kills’ (INK) newest horror film-inspired album The Silver Scream. This album is everything good about the Halloween season wrapped up neatly into a 13-song album. As a huge fan of Halloween films myself, I can say that INK has perfectly captured these films in song form. It makes sense because they’re huge horror fans themselves and often work that element into their live shows and previous albums.

A cool touch is that lead singer Spencer Charnas recorded some of the album’s vocals at famous horror locations, like the houses used in the original Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. There are even guest spots from Sam Kubrick, grandson of Stanley Kubrick; Chelsea Talmadge from Stranger Things; and Less Than Jake, who lend their horn section to the deliciously creepy, Stephen King-inspired “IT is the End.”

I can’t recommend this album enough for Halloween aficionados, horror hounds, or lovers of mind-shredding metal.

To learn more about INK and for upcoming tour dates, visit iceninekills.com, and head over here for a full review. 

Greta Van Fleet

Anthem of the Peaceful Army CD Cover Art greta van fleet review

Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Released: Oct. 19, 2018
Republic Records
Reviewed by: Michael Gaudreau

The progression of Greta Van Fleet’s musicianship is clearly displayed throughout this album. It’s safe to say that they have truly come into their own with this album, using past artists as inspiration while still putting their own unique touch on the music.

There are elements of this album that are significantly more progressive at times than they’ve ever written before, allowing space for the music to jam and rock in a way that highlights the band’s sound instead of being a vessel for guitar solos—which isn’t to say there aren’t any on this album because of course there are.

If “Highway Tune” was the star of their album From the Fires, then “When the Curtain Falls” is the star of Anthem of the Peaceful Army. This song instantly captivates you with one hell of a guitar riff. It’s the kind of iconic tune that you’ll hear 20 years from now and say, “Oh yeah, this is definitely ‘When the Curtain Falls.’” This quality of theirs is what originally brought me on board as a fan and is what I believe has largely contributed to their success. It’s their ability to write true rock ’n’ roll songs that have these earworm riffs that you can’t get out of your head.

For more info, visit gretavanfleet.com, and check out our interview with Greta Van Fleet guitarist Jake Kiszka.

For more cigars, check out what’s In Our Humidor this winter, and more reviews!

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