The Perfect Crime: Stone Brewings Hotheaded Variation Of Lukcy Basartd

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OK, let’s start with a bit of History. Back in 1997, long before I was drinking, Greg Koch brought the flagship of Stone Brewery forth as Arrogant Bastard Ale.  For the 13th Anniversary of that milestone, Mr. Koch once again floored the craft beer world with Lukcy Basartd, a slightly higher gravity version of Arrogant Bastard that is released annually.  For 2013, 3 versions of Lukcy Basartd were released, ‘Southern Charred’, ‘Crime’ and ‘Punishment’

I was immediately drawn to Crime upon reading the description2013_crimeSeriously, what kind of demented individual brews a beer with the worlds hottest pepper?  A  brilliant one.

Well, I finally found it at a semi-local retailer and forked over the hefty price gladly.  A Bottle of Crime will run you ~$20 for 500ml.crime1

Packaging:  Typical Stone.  Loud and Confident, but strangely refined.  This particular brew features a cork, like many Belgian offerings.  The cork features the signature gargoyle head on the top as well as the words ‘You Are Not Worthy’ around the body of the cork.crime2 crime3

Pour: Very light on head.  Poured beautifully into one of my Stone glasses.

Appearance:  Crime has a very thick appearance, almost like molasses with a similar coloration. There is a good deal of particulate suspended in the beer that based on the spice I can only assume is mostly pepper seeds.crime4 crime5

Nose: There is very little citrus or floral.  Honestly, the predominant notes are of peppers, peppers and more peppers.

The First Sip:  Obviously peppers bombard your palate, but there’s an intriguing depth and several notes that don’t develop until several sips have scorched your lips and tongue….and it will  scorch!

Overall Flavor:  Much like the Stone 10th Anniversary Ruination IPA, the beauty lies in this beer after a few sips.  Just as the insane volume of hops in the 10th Anniversary Ruination bombard the palate, the peppers in Crime block everything else out at first.  Also very much like 10th Anniversary Ruination, once you work your way past the initial blast, you’re in for an incredible treat.

Now, I’m a hophead, I can drink Ruination like it’s a normal beer and I can drink most other IPAs like they’re water.  Crime is not the beer for big gulps.  I’m not sure if the term has been coined yet, but Crime is a true ‘Sippin’ Beer’

As your palate recovers from the pepper, the next dominant flavor is a deep molasses/caramel flavor from the Bourbon Barrels.  Hops start to weasel their war in about 1/3 through along with some other earthy tones that I’m sure others can identify, but I’m not sure how with all the pepper on top.  Crime lingers, on your lips, on your palate, in your throat and finally in your stomach where it becomes a subtle warming sensation akin to a first shot of your choice Whiskey for the night.

Cigar Pairing:  Don’t.  Seriously, Don’t!  I decided to break out a La Flor Dominicana Mysterio for this occasion and it is dwarfed by the bold flavors of Crime…..a feat that before this beer seemed unlikely (see my review of the Mysterio here )

Overall:  This is a beautifully crafted beer that true aficionados should enjoy, but it is definitely not for the mild of palate or wallet.  If you decide you must have one, hurry.  Once they’re gone, it’s for good.  Try the Stone Brewery Beer Finder here It is a great resource with multiple filters allowing you to search for carry out stores or bars and detailing their selection of Stone Brews.

Buy it, don’t buy it, it doesn’t matter.  You won’t hurt Greg Koch’s feelings if you don’t like it nor will you hurt mine.  This beer is superb and intense.  Here’s to your brewing prowess Mr. Koch.  But more importantly, Here’s to ME!

Sindicato Hex Press Release!

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 SINDICATO CIGAR COMPANY ANNOUNCES NATIONAL HEX DAY JANUARY 18TH

Boca Raton, FL – January 6, 20134

Sindicato Cigar Company, based out of Boca Raton, FL, has announced that January 18th will be “National HEX Day” in celebration of the release of their second Premium brand, HEX.  All consumers who visit participating retailers and repeat the phrase “HEX ME!”, will receive a FREE HEX cigar, while supplies last.

Participating retailers will have stick and box promotions for the day, along with limited edition HEX t-shirts for giveaways.

Consumers who buy 3 or more HEX cigars during the “I’ve been HEX’D” weekend will be automatically entered in the “HEX giveaway promotion”.  Winners will be announced on February 15th.  The Grand Prize winner, along with his retailer, will visit the Nicaraguan factory of Omar, Omar Jr., and Alexis Ortez, where HEX cigars are handcrafted in Condega. In addition to a visit to the Condega factory during this 3 day trip, the lucky winner and his retailer will visit the NACSA factory in Esteli, makers of Sindicato’s Affinity brand cigar.

The lucky winner will also visit the Aganorsa factory of Eduardo Fernandez, maker of the highly anticipated Sindicato brand cigar.  This Puro Nicaraguan beauty is blended by Master Blender Arsenio Ramos utilizing only the rarest and finest aged tobaccos of Fernandez’s farms in Jalapa, Esteli and Condega.

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, there will be prizes for a total of 10 consumers, who will each win a 25-count sampler of HEX’s 5 sizes.  The 11 total winners will also receive a 5-count sampler of the Sindicato Puro Nicaraguan cigar by Arsenio Ramos.

To find the nearest retailer selling HEX cigars, please visit out retailer locator at www.sindicatocigars.com 

 

So, the question remains….have YOU tried the Hex yet?  If not, why?  It’s a superb smoke at a very reasonable price!  Check out my review here Hex Review

And be sure to stay tuned for new reviews coming soon!

 

Team Up With Smoke Inn And Kids Cancer Foundation

I received this email today and simply had to pass this on to my followers!  Abe at Smoke Inn is once again proving that he has a huge heart! Read it, find a toy, ship it in, get a chance to win and do some good in the world!

Dear Brothers & Sisters of the Leaf,

The Holidays are not far off Please find the enclosed press release for our Toy Drive for Kids Cancer Foundation.
These are very special kids at a very special time of year. We can use your help to get the word out.

Anyone who mails a toy to donate and it is received before 3pm Saturday December 7th at

Smoke Inn Casa De Montecristo
Attn Lady M
1030 Gateway Blvd.
Boynton Beach FL 33426

Will receive ONE raffle ticket for each gift donated.

We will draw prizes Saturday Night Dec 7 and winners need not be present. We will ship prizes to winners from out of state.

The following is a list of prizes being raffled….

  1. 48ct Bx Liga Privada Parejos Signed by Jon & Marvin
  2. Box of 2012 Tatuaje Little Monsters
  3. Box Of Room 101 Big Delicious
  4. Box of Oktoberfest Dunkel
  5. 5 Pack of OR Tatuaje Anarchy from 2010
  6. Prometheus Ashtray


GRAND PRIZE – 10 Pack Of 1999 Padron Millemiums in Special Box from the Padrons – $1500 Value
padron-raffle
We would deeply appreciate it if you can help get the word for the kids.


Well, here’s a start to my Holiday donations20131118_203352So, man up and send in some great stuff!  Let’s all make it an awesome Christmas for some kids that really deserve it!!

‘Tis the Season…..once again…

Every year, there’s one day that always marks the beginning of the ‘season’.  Being in online retail, that day usually sucks and it just gets worse from there.  80 hour works weeks, mind-numbing organizing and, eventually, a loss of the will to live all crammed in to roughly 6 weeks.  Today was ‘The’ day.  I knew today would be ‘The’ day.  Knowing that, I decided I’d let myself be lazy all day yesterday, Saturday.  Well, fate had other plans.  As I got up from a long nights sleep, I awoke to the wondrous spectacle of my garage door opener failing catastrophically. Well, long story short, a trip to Lowe’s, a ton of expletives, a likely concussion and 5 hours later, my day of laziness was pretty well shot…and I still had today to look forward to…

So, this time of year, things get crazy and when ‘The’ day hits, I like to remind myself of why I put up with this shit every year.  I literally just finished working about a half hour ago and am now attempting a little relaxation.  Fortunately, I’m reminding myself of why I put up with this shit and relaxing at the same time.  This years reminder consists of a very stiff pour of Talisker 18 year old Scotch paired with a current run La Flor Dominicana Salomon (I’m really really fighting hard to save my original run Salomon for a truly momentous occasion. And of course, one doesn’t use just any implements for such fine libations and vices.  Thus, the Talisker is cozily nested in Tiffany Crystal and the LFD was cut with the surgical precision of my Zino Platinum Palladium cutter and lit with the perfectly angled soft flame of my Dunhill Rollagas.

Anyway, I’ll be scarce on reviews and Twitter for a bit though I’ll try for at least one more review up in the next few weeks.  So, Happy Holidays Y’all and remember to treat yourselves to a good smoke as often as possible!seasonblog

Cigar Review: Ed Hoill OSOK Travieso

I have been anxiously awaiting this release since a certain Cigar Chick was giving me details while I was raiding a secret stash of the OG OSOK….yup, they’re still out there!

My anticipation grew even higher when  CLE Rep A C stopped in my local haunt to peddle his wares.

While my local shop still hasn’t gotten their order of OSOK in (I really want a box so I can get the bandana!!) a mysterious chap with a very uniquely decorated travel humidor took pity on a poor blogger and hooked me up with a few of these beauties!osok1

Can you guess who did the art work?

As always, I smoked one before this review.  Both to get a feel for the cigar and to give myself some time to dwell on a nice Craft Beer Pairing…I ended up with some Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.

But first, THE CIGAR! After a stint in the Army National Guard, the term OSOK is second nature, but it occurs to me that some may be left in the dark. OSOK is the acronym for something of a mantra in the Armed Forces branches that highly value rifle marksmanship: One Shot, One Kill.  That term, as well as a few others (anyone know what makes the green grass grow?? ) still stick in my head.osok2(40yd, no support, zeroing target after throwing Williams Peep Sights on my 94, obviously, I didn’t need much adjustment)osok3The OSOK modeling with some daily companions, Sig P938 and an Ontario XM1, the sturdiest little folding knife I’ve ever met.

Now, the tools I need for this review, my trusty Xikar Xi3, my beaten but not broken Alec Bradley triple flame lighter (chose this one for the review because it’s my fishing/range time lighter) and the yearly release Dogfish Head Punkin Aleosok4Now for some glamour shots of the smoke itself and the superb construction.  I love an unfinished foot and they seem to be all the rage, but all to often, they just aren’t done well.  This one is excellent.osok5 osok6 osok7The unfinished, or shaggy, foot is done so well that the cigar was ready to go after just a light toast, no further flame required.osok8Throughout the cigar, burn was even, draw was very smooth with resistance somewhere in the ‘just right’ range and ash held well.  I did however push the ash a little far (hey, I’m multitasking!) and nearly catch my pants on fire… Smoke was light to medium in amount and density but very aromatic, golfers about 50yds away were commenting on the aroma.osok9 osok10

Flavor and Body:  This was not as bold a cigar as I was anticipating.  It’s certainly not a light smoke by any means and it has tons of flavor.  No Mossy, Leathery, Floraly shit either, this is a mans cigar, full of deep earth tones and a progressive nut flavor ranging over quite a few varieties.  It truly is amazing how something can be expertly crafted to mimic a flavor with which it has no molecular commonalities and this is a great example.  Progression of flavor and boldness is very slight and even.  You won’t end up dying near the end while enjoying the beginning but you also won’t end up bored with it at any point.  Ed and Christian definitely knew what they were doing when they approved this for production!

Almost done now and I’m going to leave you guys to ponder where you’ll buy a box while I enjoy the last bit! (Smoke Inn is in stock!)osokfinal

Overall: This cigar is not quite it’s predecessor, but the only OG OSOKs I’ve had were quite well aged, so this is a bit of an unfair comparison.  For the flavor and quality of cigar, this is another tough to beat stick in the $9-11  I would definitely recommend buying a few, or a box and seeing if you can be patient enough to age a few!  Besides, if you buy a box, you get a kick ass bandana with the sleeve artwork on it!

Room 101 Serie HN 808

I’ve been meaning to do this review for a while and life just kept getting in the way, my apologies.  On the bright side, the extra time afforded me the chance to smoke a shit-ton of these cigars. And I honestly do mean a shit-ton, I’ve easily killed a box in the last month.

OK, enough crap, on to the HN! I finally found a beer to pair with this cigar… Thomas Creek Brewery Banana Split Chocolate Stout.hnreview1

I’m not a ring gauge fanatic, things like the Espinosa F Bomb and the 7×70 Asylum are interesting, but not something I’d smoke with any sort of regularity.  That said, the 808, at 6×60, is one of my favorite cigar sizes of all time.

Construction:  No surprises here.  Construction is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Room 101 and the Camacho factory.

hnreview3 hnreview2

And of course, in true Room 101 tradition, there is the usual goody underneath the glued portion of the band. (It really is all that and a bucket of chicken!)hnreviewkfc

Burn: Honestly, my only gripe with Room 101 in general is the burn.  I’ve never gotten a razor sharp burn out of one.  It doesn’t matter what humidity to which they’d been exposed.  That said, it’s also incredibly rare that I’ve had to do a touch up on one.  The HN is no exception, burn wavers around but never requires touch up.

hnreview8 hnreview7 hnreview4

Flavor:  This is one of the categories in which the HN shines brightest.  Obviously, the Honduran Criollo lends the signature pepper to the body of this cigar and keeps it solidly in the medium body/full flavored category.  The pepper is rather unique though, nearly a light white pepper.  It is definitely not the same level of white pepper found in spice beasts like the La Flor Dominicana Mysterio.  The flavor of the pepper in the HN is quite similar to that found in the Mysterio, but masterfully tempered down to a medium body, making it a much more ‘smokeable’ cigar for the masses.

Now, you might be wondering why I chose a Banana Split Chocolate Stout to pair with this cigar…..and that would be a damn good question.  Here’s the truly unique part of the flavor profile.  There’s a very pronounced peanut butter facet to the flavor profile that combines with a fairly non-descript slight sweetness that brings forward memories of PBJ sandwiches from childhood days.  This part actually took me a while to peg down.  I almost immediately got the PBJ feel, but with the sweetness being so non-descript, it was difficult to pin down exactly what the flavor was…..So, in the name of science I smoked a few dozen more!

hnreveiew9

Final Grade: A+   This cigar is ridiculous and easily smokeable by almost anyone…even better, the 808 has a retail of $7.70/stick at my local shop.  Between the unique flavor and great price, it’s easy to overlook the minor burn variance.

Smoke Inn Micro Blend Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel Review

My first Quesada was an Oktoberfest……right around a year ago.  Since then, I’ve discovered a love of their cigars, especially the Oktoberfest.  Obviously, when I found out that the newest installment in the Smoke Inn Micro Blend Series would be a twist on the Oktoberfest, my mouth started watering.

While the standard Oktoberfest is a Dominican Puro, this iteration incorporates a ‘very select broadleaf maduro’ wrapper of undisclosed origin and a portion of Ecuadorian Connecticut at the foot for the trademark appearance.  Though, this incorporation is hardly a merely aesthetic incorporation.

DUNKEL-STICK

So, I took off to the Craft Beer Shop, in search of a great pairing.  Sadly, most of the good craft Oktoberfest beers are not quite on shelves yet.  I wanted something unique and with a good match of flavors.  I found Victory Brewing’s Otto, a Belgian style Dubbel Ale incorporating heavy malting for a unique American twist.ottobeerottooktoberfestI think the colors match pretty damn well!

So, let’s get down to the cigar!

Construction:

In both cigars that I smoked, construction was excellent.  Minor veining, but nothing major.  Neither cigar had any imperfections and the execution of the tapered foot was flawless.oktofoot

Smoke and Burn:

Burn was exactly what I’d expect of a cigar that both Quesada and Smoke Inn would offer to the public.  Burn was perfect, only minor wave around the midway mark, but nothing that came even close to needing a touch up.

Smoke was not excessively heavy, but notably more dense and abundant than most cigars. Personally, if I like a cigar, I want it to permeate the area where I’m enjoying that cigar, so the smoke volume and density is a bonus to me.

oktoburnsmokeoktosmoke(Burn further along, slight wavering, but no issues)oktoburn2

Flavor:

First, let’s talk about the foot.  While the Maduro wrapper definitely kicks the standard Oktoberfest up a notch, the Connecticut foot helps to fade into the depth.  The first few puffs are surprisingly light while you get past the section that’s purely Connecticut wrapped.  Once you get into the portion where it is both Connecticut and Maduro wrapped, flavor and boldness ramps up notably then ramps up even more once you get into the purely Maduro wrapped portion of the cigar.  It is a truly expertly executed progression of the flavors I’ve come to love and expect from the Oktoberfest and the extra oomph provided by the Maduro wrap really appeals to my palate.  I’m definitely impressed with this aspect of the cigar.  (In contrast, I truly enjoy the Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta, but I usually put it down when I get past primary wrapper.  The execution just isn’t quite up to par like in the Dunkel and the JdN Cabinetta gets a little harsh and bland all at once)  As far as the actual flavors that progress and deepen through the cigar, it is mostly dominated by an interesting and seasonally appropriate mix of spices and earthiness.

This would be an excellent after dinner cigar with one of the Pumpkin based Ales or even Stouts that should be coming out soon.  Though, any of the Trappist style Ales should go beautifully and the Otto has proven quite interesting and a very good pairing, not perfect, but very good.

oktofinal1

oktofinal2(still burning great and flavor and boldness have peaked at near full body)

Final Thoughts:

I love the normal Oktoberfest and I’ve yet to be disappointed by a Smoke Inn Micro Blend.  The Dunkel definitely lives up to both for my expectations and at the standard $8.95/stick Micro Blend price, it’s hard to beat for the money.

I will definitely be putting in my Preorder for a box (you get a free beer mug when you preorder as well!) and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys medium-full body cigars.

This is an easy A+, excellent modification to an already great cigar at an excellent price!

A quick note to my followers and viewers

I just wanted to take a moment to let everyone know that the site is still alive and new reviews will be coming shortly.  The last 6 weeks have been horribly hectic between work and a series of car problems.  Thank you all for your support and stay tuned, great stuff is coming!

Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel Press Realease!

It’s coming up on that time of year again: when the Oktoberfest beers start hitting shelves and people start gathering with all the family members they talk trash about for the rest of the year.  Aside from the awesome beers steeped in heavy German Tradition, one Cigar Company, Quesada, decides to get in on all the fun with a stick fitting of the typical Marzen/Oktoberfest Beers.  I’ve been a fan of Quesada since trying my first Oktoberfest, immediately buying another and rushing home to smoke it with a nice Oktoberfest beer.  Well, this year, they’ve stepped up the game and joined forces with one hell of a force in the cigar industry, Abe Dabebnah of Smoke Inn!  In doing so, Abe has brought us his next Micro blend—–The Quesada Oktoberfest Dunkel!

So, without further Ado: A note from the man himself, Abe and a few pictures to whet your palate until I get a review posted! (look for it shortly!)

ReleasedunkelletterA pic of that Awesome mug you’ll get with pre-orderDUNKEL-STICK-MUGDUNKEL-STICK DUNKEL-BOX

Sindicato Cigars Casa Bella Review

casabellasheetOK, now this is an interesting offering from Sindicato…..a cigar with a retail of $1.65-$2.10.

Obviously, I was a bit dubious. I mean, seriously, how good could a $2 cigar be?? But, what the hell, smokes are smokes, let’s light on up!IMG_0559So, let’s take a look at the constructionIMG_0560IMG_0561IMG_0562Obviously, construction is quite nice.  No visible flaws, consistent firmness and light veining mark this incredible low priced cigar…..I say low priced because this is not a ‘cheap’ cigar.

On to the lightIMG_0563Pre light draw has a graham cracker taste that merges into a slight honey sweetness upon lighting.  Initial notes include the honey, which is prevalent through the cigar and a medium mossiness which later gives way to a slight nuttiness.  The nuttiness evolves gradually from about 1/3 in to the very end and complements the honey quite nicely.IMG_0565Ash held quite nicely, but did ultimately let go shortly after this picture, resulting in the nextIMG_0570Burn was quite nice throughout the entire cigar, never coming anywhere even remotely close to needing a touch up.

Honestly, the MSRP threw me off at first…..the fact that it is most assuredly a mild cigar was strike 2….And yet, I find myself genuinely enjoying this cigar.IMG_0574This isn’t just a good cigar for the money (which is ridiculously cheap) it’s a genuinely nice cigar with nice flavor profile and flavor progression coupled with a construction and burn with no discernable fault.

I’d have to kick myself if I didn’t recommend this cigar.  I know I’ll be grabbing a bundle of these cigars, mostly to smoke while walking my pup on the beach, but hell, they’re cheaper than other ‘dog walker’ varieties and better!  If your local cigar shop isn’t yet planning on carrying Sindicato, this cigar alone should be enough to convince them to give the brand a try!