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Quick Looks: Warped Flor de Valle, Cubanacan Maduro, Surrogates Crystal Baller

As you may have noticed, my reviewing time has been greatly curtailed. The pressure of life means that although I often take notes on cigars, they lie un-utilized. Sometimes, it’s also so much more fun to smoke a cigar than review it. This means that my memory and motivation fade. However, I thought I would do my best to recollect some of the more recent experiences and do some quick impressions.

Warped Flor de Valle

Wrapper: Jalapa Corojo Rosado 99

Double Binder: Corojo and Criollo

Filler: Corojo 99 and Criollo 98

Produced By: Casa Fernandez

I believe the tobacco is all from the Aganorsa fields and the first not to be rolled in Miami.

Flor De Valle unlit

The cold draw is grass scented and the nose hits me as sweet honey.

Upon first light, I get a quick blast of tea, the smoked Chinese varietal. Once we get further in, I’m working my way through a pleasant mix of rich caramel with some subtle spice and some dominant vegetal notes. Hints of bitter orange peel arise periodically. Overall, its a pleasant stick, medium to medium-full with a flavorful profile. I much preferred it to Warped’s prior El Oso. It is definitely a departure from what many may think of as a Nicaraguan stick, with a range of delicate flavors rather then heavy chocolate, coffee and spice. That said, it is full of flavor and worth trying. Those of you who enjoy Dominicans should definitely give this one a try.DSC00467

As a side note, the band is a beautiful, intricate work of art. Kudos to Warped for shying away from macho idiocy or archaic overwrought bands.


So, as I mentioned I have spent far more time smoking than reviewing. It’s so much more relaxing. However, I did seem to keep smoking these little guys:

Cubanacan Maduro

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Ligero, Viso, Seco – Aged 4 years)

Cubanacan maduro

I have almost no notes on it, but I keep buying and smoking the Chato size (I’m big fan of small cigars), which must mean I like them. They are a solidly-rolled little stick. You would never guess that they are maduro, so if you are expecting a dark chocolate experience, no go. They are creamy and tangy with some sweetness and vegetal notes. I wish I had more to say, but definitely give them a try. I will warn you that some of these get shipped somewhat ‘sick’. Despite the aged filler, a strong smell of ammonia prompted me to dry box these and allow their fermentation to continue until they settled down. Just a word of warning.

Cubanacan maduro

Surrogates Crystal Baller

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

DSC00594 Crystal Baller

Okay, let’s clear this up. Surrogates is L’Atelier distributed, which is a non-Tatuaje offshoot of a Peter Johnson product. I think with his brother. Despite the complicated branding (and pricing), I have to say Tatuaje and company are one of my favorite producers. The stick itself is a big, soft box-pressed affair with a label that looks like an afterthought to me.

This was a one shot, off the cuff tasting, and my first of the Surrogates line (at least that I remember). I have to say, I was impressed. Much lighter than the typical Tatuaje line, it gave me some great floral overnotes, a wonderful cakey, bready flavor, with some citrusy lemon peel and maybe some toasted nuts. Man, it’s like dessert in a stick.

Crystal BallerAnyway, thanks for checking it out. I’ll do my best to shoot a couple more quickies out into the interwebs.

Good smoking!


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