*Update* Winners of the contests have been announced. The winner of the review posted the day of the festival is Kyle S. The winner of the social media #SmokeBlind contest is @stevevand (instagram). Winners have been contacted.
This year, Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival put on their 10th Annual event. Blind Man’s Puff has been to almost all of them. We’ve seen it go from a festival with just a few booths from big manufacturers to one of the largest cigar events in the country with booths from all types of cigar companies.
Blind Cigar Tasting
This year, Blind Man’s Puff did something that has never been done before: a blind cigar tasting for every attendee of the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. We wanted the general public to be able to experience what it’s like to review a cigar when you don’t know what you’re smoking. Partnering with 12 different cigar manufacturers, BMP unbanded over 1,000 cigars one at a time and replaced them with our own bands with just our logo and a number on it. We handed out these cigars to everyone with a coupon from the grab bags at the festival along with instructions on how to rate the cigar and find out what it was.
117 reviews were submitted by attendees of the Rocky Mountain Cigar festival, and we will show the results below along with the reveal of what each cigar number was for those that have not smoke the cigar yet, or have smoked it and come here to find what it was. You can still view the raw results here with everybody’s individual reviews and more detailed math for scoring.
At last years’s IPCPR trade show Alec Bradley announced one cigar ahead of the show, Blind Faith, and one at the show, Magic Toast. No details were given about the cigar except to people that went to visit the booth.
The origin of the name comes from a midnight visit to a tobacco field between Alan Rubin and Ralph Montero, a partner in Alec Bradley. Rubin describes the night as magical, hence Magic Toast. Some of the tobacco in the blend is comes form that field. Magic Toast comes in three sizes: Robusto (5 x 52) — $8.95, Toro (6 x 52) — $9.50, Gordo (6 x 60) — $10.25.
The blend uses a wrapper from Honduras, double binder from Honduras and Nicaragua, and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. It was blended by Alan Rubin and rolled at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.
In the Blind Man’s Puff blind review, we gave it a 90. Prev
Ventura Cigar Company announced earlier this year, a new line extension in the PSyKo SEVEN series: PSyKo SEVEN Nicaragua. This cigar is blended by Indiana Ortez daughter of tobacco industry legend Omar Ortez. Indiana Ortez is also the blender of the Ventura Cigar’s Fathers, Friends, and Fire limited edition cigar. The cigar was shown off at IPCPR 2019.
“Whenever you want to create a new blend, you need to depend on your intuition,” says Ortez. “It’s like a recipe- you can’t force making something that’s truly great. If you enjoy the process as you go through it, your intuition will guide you. Every cigar has a story to tell,” says Indiana. “Every puff from a favorite cigar is the story behind the growers, the workers, the blenders- the people who have dedicated their lives to the craft.”
PSyKo SEVEN Nicaragua is at the Ortez factory, Condega Nicaragua. The blend uses a 2007 vintage Desflorada wrapper. It comes in boxes of 20 in three vitolas: Gordo (6”x60), Robusto (5”x50), and Toro (6”x50).
“Indiana has such vision,” says Michael Giannini, General Manager at Ventura Cigar Company. “She has a genuine, organic understanding for the nuances of tobacco, and knows how to bring it to life so the smoke can be enjoyed to the fullest. She’s a real talent, and we’re so pleased to be working with her and getting her passion and story blended into our PSyKo SEVEN Nicaragua cigar.”
The Hiram & Solomon Fellow Craft Robusto is described as a medium to full body blend with a Habano Oscuro wrapper, Indonesian Sumatra binder, and Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, and Ligero Habano Estelí fillers. It comes in four vitolas: Gavel: 5×60, Robusto: 5.5×50, Toro: 6×52, and Gran Toro: 6×60.
Fellow Craft is named for the second of three masonic degrees. The Masonic Cigars series ranges from Entered Apprentice (mild body), to Fellow Craft (medium body), and finishes with Master Mason (full body).
The Traveling Man is made in Nicaragua at the Plasencia Factory. It is sold in boxes of 20 and 5-packs. The blend uses a Sumatra wrapper and is described as medium.It comes in 4 vitolas: Gran Toro 6 x 60, Toro, 6 x 54, Torpedo 6 x 52 Robusto 5 x 52. We reviewed this cigar blind on Blind Man’s Puff. It earned an 88.
This medium body blend is masterfully encased in a silky Sumatran wrapper from the island of Indonesia. the thick smoke is rich in aroma with a hint of spice and coffee on the palate. The Finish is soft and subtle as a creamy texture melds with notes of cocoa leather.
Wrapper: Sumatra Indonesia Binder: Indonesia Filler: Arapiraca, Habano Jalapa, Habano Ometepe, Dominican
The Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut debuted at IPCPR 2018. This is an extension to the Balmoral Añejo XO original that came out in 2017. This version uses a Connecticut shade-grown wrapper over an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and fillers form Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Pennsylvania. We reviewed this blind on Blind Man’s Puff. It scored 90.
Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut is rolled as with all other Royal Agio cigars at the Royal Agio Cigar factory in San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. The line comes in five sizes: Torpedo Mk52 (6 1/4 x 52) – $11.25, Gran Toro (6 x 52) – $10.50, Rothschild Masivo (5 x 55) – $9.75, Corona (5 7/8 x 42) – $9, Petit Robusto FT (4 1/4 x 48) – $8.50. All are packaged in boxes of 20.
Since 1884, Cuesta-Rey has been enjoyed by millions of cigar lovers around the world looking for the developed taste of a full-flavored cigar. The Centro Fino Sungrown collection from J.C. Newman showcases the rich tobacco of the Quevedo region of Ecuador using a hearty Sumatra-seed sungrown wrapper. Handmade at Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic, this pyramid cigar received a 92 from Cigar and Spirits Magazine and was featured as Cigar Aficionado’s ‘Cigar of the Week’ in March of 2019. “Sweet, nutty flavors also have a note of licorice. The finish is toasty and leathery.”
Centro Fino No. 9.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Centro Fino Sungrown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: 6 ¼” x 52
El Baton is one of J.C. Newman’s vintage brands made by founder, J.C. Newman, back in 1914. In 2008, J.C.’s grandsons, Eric and Bobby Newman, re-launched the brand as the company’s first Nicaraguan cigar. This complex Nicaraguan cigar is the boldest one in our line. Made with full-bodied tobacco grown from some of the richest soils in Nicaragua, the El Baton has a spicy kick which creates a surprising experience. The impact and flavor in this cigar can usually only be experienced for twice the price of the El Baton. This cigar has received a 93 rating from Cigar Aficionado. “Toast, wheat, and sweet macaroons.”
Wrapper: Havana Seed
Size: 6” x 60
El Artista Cigars brought Buffalo TEN to IPCPR 2019 trade show in Las Vegas. “We feel this is the beginning of a great flagship product line for us,” says Radhames ‘Ram’ Rodriguez, President of El Artista Cigars, “not only does it smoke great but the whole package looks amazing. We have developed something that we feel cannot be beat”.
The cigar has an MSRP of $4.50 per cigar, and is priced to be an every day smoke. “Buffalo TEN truly demonstrates the strengths of El Artista,” says Kevin Newman, Director of Sales & Marketing, “the factory team worked with us to source some of the best tobaccos available and integrate a few factory-exclusives for a phenomenal blend at an incredible price”.
Buffalo TEN comes in only one vitola, a 6×50 Toro with a soft box-press. It is offered in two retail packages, a 5-Pack ($22.50 MSRP) in wooden shelf display or as a single ($4.95 MSRP) housed in a 40-count retail bundle tray. “We are experimenting with Buffalo TEN in terms of packaging options and a great low price point that we feel is attractive to both consumers and the brick & mortar retailer,” states Ram.
The blend uses six different tobaccos including a Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, Dominican Negrito binder and filler from the USA, Colombia, and the company’s own fields in the Dominican Republic. It contains two exclusive tobaccos to El Artista: Dominican T-13 Hybrid in the filler and the Dominican Negrito binder.
Last year, Gurkha Cigars unveiled their first Tobacco Association of America (TAA) exclusive cigar, which is an extension of the company’s Heritage line, the Heritage Rosado TAA Exclusive 2018 Toro. The handcrafted premium cigar is made of an Ecuador Habano wrapper and binder, and Peruvian and Nicaraguan filler.
Gurkha created a special blend and size that was available for pre-sale at this last years TAA conference in a limited 10-count box. Only 1000 boxes of the 6X52 Toro box press exclusive cigars were made and they retail for $100 per box.
“We are excited to introduce our first ever TAA exclusive cigar and will be making this an annual tradition at Gurkha,” said Carlos Llaca, Director of Operations. “We were looking to make something special for the TAA’s 50th Anniversary and we feel this is the perfect cigar to celebrate the association and its members.”
In July 2017, Drew Estate announced the third version of their Undercrown cigar. The Drew EstateUndercrown Sun Grown Gran Toro has an Ecuadorian Sumatra Sun Grown wrapper, Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut/Cured Sun Grown Habano binder, and fillers all from Nicaragua. One ligero leaf in particular, has been extensively aged from the Nueva Segovia region along the border with Honduras they say increases the strength. We reviewed this cigar blind on Blind Man’s Puff. It scored an 89.
This cigar comes in the following sizes: Corona (5 5/8 x 46) MSRP $205.00/25ct Box, Robusto (5 x 54) MSRP $212.00/25ct Box, Gran Toro (6 x 52) MSRP $225.50/25ct Box, Belicoso (6 x 52) MSRP $246.00/ 25ct Box, Gordito (6 x 60) MSRP $280.00/25ct Box, Corona Doble (7 x 54) MSRP $259.50/ 25ct Box, Flying Pig (3 15/16 x 60) MSRP $152.64/12ct Box. The blend is a collaboration between the liga privada rollers and Master Blender Willy Herrera. It is said that the tried to secure this Sumatra Ecuador tobacco for over 15 years. Widespread release took place shortly after IPCPR 2017.
Originally Introduced in 2006, the Nestor Miranda Special Selection cigars returned to the Miami Cigar & Co. portfolio in 2019 for the company’s 30th anniversary as a result of popular demand. The line has been trimmed offering fewer shapes, new packaging, and a Nicaraguan puro blend.
Still made at My Father Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua, the blend now boasts a core of perfectly-aged long-fillers from Nicaragua’s Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa regions, a Criollo 98 binder, and a plush, oily Nicaraguan Habano Rosado wrapper. The result is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar teeming with well-balanced notes of earth and peppery spice that sail on a silky-smooth tide of creamy smoke.
Ideal for experienced cigar smokers who’ve developed a taste for Nicaraguan tobaccos, the Nestor Miranda Special Selection is offered in three sizes: Coffee Break (4½” x 500); Toro (5½” x 54), and Gigante (6″ x 60).
La Flor Dominicana 1994, released in 2014, is the cigar created by the company to commemorate Ines and Litto’s 20th anniversary in the cigar business. The wrapper is a San Andres Mexican leaf with binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, grown in the company’s own farm, La Canela.
It comes in five regular production sizes Aldaba (6 x 58, $8.30), Conga (5 x 52, $7.50), Mambo (7 x 54, $8.20) and Rumba (6 1/2 x 52, $7.80), and Tango (4 1/2 x 48) . All five of those sizes come in boxes of 20. There’s also the Beer Stein, which refers both to the packaging, but also to the 6 x 54 limited edition cigars that come inside. The 1994 Beer Stein is limited to 5,000 units of 20.
When Cuatro Cinco was originally released in 2013, it immediately became a favorite among smokers around the world and it was dubbed one of JDN’s true “Obras Maestras” or Masterpieces. This summer, Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate are making an exclusive and limited beautiful smoke for cigar lovers across America: Cuatro Cinco Belicoso Exclusivo Eventos DDRP. This rare realease of Cuatro Cinco, will be ultra-limited to two boxes available for sale at Drew Diplomat Events (DDRP) from June until the end of 2019.
Cuatro Cinco is an extraordinary achievement by Fábrica Joya de Nicaragua. Originally released as Edición Limitada, it commemorated 45 years of cigar manufacturing. Cuatro Cinco Belicoso Exclusivo is a carefully refined recipe featuring select Grade A fillers, aged within vintage white oak barrels. This super-premium blend delivers subtle, but extraordinarily enchanting woody notes, complex flavors and a velvety finish, due to the combination of Nicaraguan wrapper, Dominican binder, and Nicaraguan fillers.
“As a unique symbol of appreciation to the Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate fans that come over to our events, we are delighted to share one of our factory’s greatest blends. If the Limited Edition Cuatro Cinco was a collector’s item, we can say that the Belicoso surpasses its uniqueness, and the only moment when it will be found in stores will be during our events at DDRP accounts, only 1,000 boxes available nationwide” stated Juan Ignacio Martínez, Executive President of Joya de Nicaragua.
The Cuatro Cinco Belicoso Exclusivo Eventos DDRP is a 6 x 54 Box Pressed cigar that will be available as of June for DDRP Events with a limited offer of only 2 boxes per event at an MSRP $140 with all sales based on availability, so first-come, first-served.
At the 2016 IPCPR show, Aganorsa Leaf (Casa Fernandez) teamed up with Warped cigars again to reveal its latest project called Guardian of the Farm. The line is an homage to the American bulldogs that help guard the AGANORSA farms in Nicaragua. Each of the vitola names correspond to one of the dogs: Campeon (6 x 52 $8.74), J.J. (5 1/4 x 50 $8.50), Apollo Seleccion de Warped (a 6 x 44 lonsdale $8.00), and Rambo (4 1/2 x 48 $7.20). It’s a Nicaraguan puro that uses a corojo 99 wrapper from Jalapa, a corojo 99 binder and a filler blend of corojo 99 and criollo 98, sourced from the AGANORSA farms owned by Casa Fernández.
“Not Your Daddy’s Connecticut”
The Eastern Standard is a blend of rare and aged Grade A tobaccos. This cigar has a flavorful, creamy, and smooth flavor profile with subtle notes of pepper and spice. The Eastern Standard is available in 6 vitolas in 24 count boxes with the exception of Manzanita which is in a 27 count box.
Cream Crush 7 x 48 Corretto 5 x 50 Cypress Room 6 x 54 Manzanita 4 x 42
The EspinosaHabano cigar is the first cigar to be made in Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. A medium bodied cigar that satisfies the palate with rich and complex flavors such as cocoa, spice, pepper and sweet cedar.
Although the cigar contains Nicaraguan tobacco, specific information about the blend will not be revealed. According to Erik, “the colonel will never reveal their 11 herbs and spices.”
No. 4 (5-1/2×50)
No. 5 (6×52)
No. 8 (6-1/8×58)
Toro BP (6×54)
*Presented in boxes of 20
This year, Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival did something that they’ve never done before: Special Events during the festival. There were three total this year and we attended all of them. Below we will give you a summary and some pictures so you get a good idea of what it was like and decide if you would like to attend next year. Each one cost $65.
Ventura Rolling Event with Michael Gianinni
This was a pretty unique idea at Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival in which Michael Gianinni, General Manager of Ventura Cigar Company, walks all attendees through rolling a cigar. Each attendee is given a small table, chaveta (knife), cigar glue, and a bunch of tobacco that has already been molded with filler and binder. Basically you are just applying the wrapper, but it is, of course, much harder than it looks. I have participated in cigar rolling at factories a couple times with a torcedor helping and showing me where I went wrong. This wasn’t quite the same as it was only applying the wrapper and mostly just watching and doing. However, for someones first time as a rolling experience I think would be quite fun.
Davidoff Tasting Event
While Davidoff themselves did not have a booth at Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival (AVO/Camacho were present) they did hold a VIP Davidoff “Taste the Elements” cigar tasting presented by Klaas Kelner the Senior Brand Ambassador for the Americas. The tasting consisted of the Davidoff “Black Label” series of cigars (Escurio, Yamasa, and Nicaragua).
I have attended a few Davidoff tastings and this one was a bit different. Taste the elements is a reference to the origins of the cigars such as the growing region, the climate, and the soil. Starting with the Escurio which they are referencing “water” due to the amount of rain known to that growing region. While you have Nicaragua as “Intensity” and finally you have Yamasa as “Earth” which is a reference to the red soil found in that region of the Dominican Republic. The tasting took the attendees through each cigar, discussed the tobacco specific to each cigar and what notes one might experience. Overall a pure delight to experience and highly recommend.
A private session was held with Tom Lazuka of Asylum and C.L.E. cigars, known best for their larger ring gauge cigars. Tom emphasized the image of the cigar brand as being much more than large cigars. Tom took pride in the fact that Asylum/ C.L.E is the only cigar manufacturer that is “Bayer Certified” meaning that his company’s sustainable practices have 0 environmental impact. In addition to environmentally conscious practices, Tom discussed the impact they have on their communities in Nicaragua and Honduras, where they help to provide medical services to their employees and education to their employees children. Attendees were given a 12-pack sampler of cigars.
Tom discussed at Rocky Mountain Cigar festival several new products from Asylum/ C.L.E including “Pandamonium” a full bodied, powerful cigar. Asylum will also be introducing a corojo Dark, a take on one of their most popular cigars using high temperature fermented tobacco. Additionally, Asylum will be producing “Celebration,” a large cigar for special occasions for fans of their large ring gauge products. Few details were provided, but Tom did discuss that a Cameroon cigar was potentially on the horizon as well.
Editorial: Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival 2019 + Blind Tasting Results