It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the A.C.E. Prime Luciano The Traveler. This cigar is the crown jewel of the A.C.E. Prime (A.C.E. stands for A Cuban Experience) portfolio. It’s a nod to co-founder, Luciano Meirelles. The cigar features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering an Ecuadorian binder and Ecuadorian and Peruvian fillers with Pelo de Oro. It comes in at 7 x 46 and retails for $17.
The cold draw gives me graham cracker flavor. Pre-light, the wrapper smells of barnyard and earth, while the foot smells similar with cocoa. Once lit, the first light reveals a general toastiness. Through the nose, flavors turn to grassy toast. The finish gives me cocoa with toast and slight black pepper.
Forty minutes in, the first third comes to a close. On the draw, I pick up herbal cocoa with cedar. Through the nose, toast blends with a nuttiness and grassy earth. The finish hits me with hints of cocoa, floral notes, and leather. Strength and body settle in at medium-to-full.
The second third gets me to an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw sees more cedar and light nutmeg. On the retro-hale, there is more toast with sweet and smoky nuttiness. The finish is delightful with light brown sugar, citrus, and hints of cocoa. Strength and body remain at medium-to-full.
Two hours in, the final third wisps away. I find oily leather on the draw with more cedar and added citrus. Through the nose, molasses pairs with floral notes and toast. The finish exudes spicy nutmeg with cocoa and smoky cedar. Strength and body finish out at medium-to-full.
The A.C.E. Prime Luciano The Traveler is a phenomenal cigar. It offers up some serious flavor with solid complexity. Everything blends together exceptionally well, and the cigar simply tastes more refined than most. Construction is top notch with a perfect burn and voluminous smoke output. Price is a little high, but the experience justifies it. I highly recommend giving this one a try.
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I do a full review of my #1 cigar of 2019, the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 552. This beefy 5 x 52 Robusto retails for $10.75 and features a Connecticut Broadleaf No. 1 Dark Corona wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
On the cold draw I taste bitter, damp fruit notes. The wrapper produces a rich musty molasses aroma while the foot smells similar. Once lit, I pick up toast and molasses. Through the nose, toast blends with sweet cinnamon and brown sugar. The finish consists of cocoa and coffee.
Thirty minutes in, the first third closes out. On the draw, I pick up coffee with brown sugar and smoked almond. Through the nose, I find light cinnamon and oak notes. The finish hits me with rich molasses and deeper coffee alongside light black pepper. Strength is a steady medium while body is very full.
The second third wraps up at one hour. The smoke off of this Mi Querida Triqui Traca is extremely thick and chewy. The draw continues to give me coffee with molasses and underlying tart cherry. On the retro-hale, cinnamon picks up with a delicious gingerbread note. Coffee turns to espresso on the finish with a complementing molasses and leather core. There is no change to strength or body.
The final third wisps away at one hour and forty minutes. On the draw, black pepper and molasses dominate with occasional hints of tart cherry. There is more gingerbread through the nose with hints of cherry and orange peel. Leather comes up front on the finish with smoky oak and more coffee. Strength finishes at medium while body closes out very full.
The Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 552 is simply a phenomenal cigar. It displays an impressive amount of complexity with flavor depth beyond most blends. Construction is spot on with a perfect draw and sharp burn. It’s certainly a finger-burner.
One of the most satisfying elements of this cigar is the density of the smoke with a rich chewiness. It’s also one of the rare cigars that provides an enormous level of flavor without being overpowering on strength. There’s a reason I named this cigar my #1 of 2019 – I can’t stop smoking these. This is one of my favorite cigars of the last decade, and you just have to try it!
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988. This cigar was made as a nod to the birth year of Kyle Gellis, founder of Warped Cigars. It comes in one size, a 5 ¼ x 50 Robusto, and it retails for $9. The blend consists of all Nicaraguan tobaccos with a Corojo 99 wrapper.
Pre-Light & First Light
The cold draw is loose with cedar and fruity notes. The wrapper gives off a nutty leather aroma, while the foot smells similar with a fruity note. Once lit, I pick up oak with cashew. Through the nose, there is deep toast and white pepper. The finish gives me nutty cedar and brown sugar.
Twenty-five minutes in, the first third comes to a close. On the draw, I pick up nutty caramel with sweet cream and toast. Through the nose, I find more toast with cinnamon spice. The finish is delightful with toasted marshmallow, brown sugar, and leather. Strength and body settle in at medium.
The second third gets me to fifty-five minutes. The draw consists of black pepper and floral notes alongside citrus. On the retro-hale, spice settles down and turns into a sweeter cinnamon on top of cookie dough notes. There is more leather on the finish with a sourdough toast and hints of marshmallow. Both strength and body remain at medium.
The final third wisps away around an hour and a half. On the draw, I pick up more black pepper and citrus on top of leather. Through the nose, cookie dough persists with hints of marshmallow. The finish displays dried fruit and leather with the return of brown sugar. Strength and body finish out at medium.
The Warped Serie Gran Reserva 1988 is a phenomenal cigar. Flavors are mouth-watering, and complexity is solid. Burn and construction are perfect, and the cigar gives off huge plumes of smoke. I have no complaints about this cigar whatsoever.
This is one of those cigars you wish lasted longer every time you smoke it. The price is extremely competitive and makes this treat an exceptional value. It’s a box-worthy blend, and I highly recommend it.
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out one of the newest cigars from RoMa Craft Tobac. The RoMa Craft Baka has stirred up quite a buzz in the cigar community, and the first release flew off shelves like hotcakes.
The initial allotment for retailers was limited to a single vitola, a 4 x 52 parejo dubbed Bantu. It retails for $9.95. Most retailers only received a few boxes to start, but additional sizes will be added in limited quantities.
Fifteen minutes in, I finish the first third. The draw offers me cinnamon and leather with notes of earth. Through the nose, I find light caramel melting with brown sugar and graham cracker. Ginger, nutmeg, and leather create a memorable finish. Both strength and body settle in at a steady medium.
The second third ends around a half hour. I pick up light leather and more cinnamon on the draw. The retro-hale hits me with a delicious blend of brown sugar and sweet pastry flavors with a slight spice. Black pepper combines with more ginger and sweet walnut notes on the finish. There is no change to strength or body.
Forty-five minutes passes, and the final third wisps away. On the draw, salty leather and coffee take the stage. Through the nose, nougat, light cocoa, and baking spice are delightful. Nutmeg, clove, and fleeting ginger round out the finish. Strength and body finish out at medium.
The RoMa Craft Baka Bantu is a delicious little dessert cigar. It tends to start out a bit rough with the first few puffs, but once this cigar opens up, it’s a real treat. There’s a significant amount of complexity with flavors that blend well together, and construction is spot on. Strength is a bit toned down from most RoMa Craft cigars, but it’s still got enough oomph.
My only beef with this cigar is how short it is – not really a beef. I’m sure the limited size release was an intentional marketing strategy from some of the best teasers in the game. RoMa Craft sure knows how to create hype, and you can count me in as someone drooling for the larger vitolas. I highly recommend the Baka, and you better act fast if you want to find some to try. This will be a contender for my Top 25 Cigars of 2019!
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the Cornelius
& Anthony The Gent in the Robusto size. This box-pressed 5 x 52 cigar
retails for $8.50. It features an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper with a binder from
the United States and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras.
The cold draw produces a slight oak flavor. The wrapper
gives off a chocolatey leather aroma, while I smell dried fruit. Once lit, I
pick up white pepper and cedar on the draw. Vanilla and cinnamon come through
on the retro-hale. The finish hits me with light black pepper and some coffee.
Thirty minutes in, the first third finishes. On the draw, I
pick up some white pepper with brown sugar and coffee. Through the nose, mint
blends with cinnamon and vanilla. The finish lingers with spicy nutmeg, toast,
and prune. Strength and body settles in at a stout medium-to-full.
The second third gets me to one hour. I find more white
pepper on the draw with leather and floral notes. The retro-hale consists of
cinnamon and toast. On the finish, there is more spicy nutmeg with black pepper
and ginger. I see no change to strength and body.
The final third closes out at an hour and a half. On the
draw, white pepper gives depth to citrus and more floral notes. Through the
nose, my sinuses are blasted with bombs of black pepper and cinnamon. The
finish offers black pepper with char and earth. Strength and body finish out at
The Cornelius & Anthony The Gent Robusto is an excellent
cigar blend that offers great complexity and flavor. Construction is top-notch
with a smooth draw and plentiful smoke. The flavors on this thing really work
well together, and I enjoyed every last puff. Cornelius & Anthony continues
to put out quality cigars. This cigar ranked as my #13 cigar of 2018, and I
highly recommend trying it.
I became aware of the Emperor’s Cut brand after seeing them frequent my Instagram timeline and stories. Then I became intrigued with the look of both the cigar itself, and the simplistic elegance of the band. Later, I had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Willis, who handles Sales, Advertising & Marketing, Social Media and Business Development. He is also one of the founding Members.
Our Story, Our Brand
“This is a labor of love! Seeing people receive our product so well, has been a true Honor.” – Greg Willis
Greg explains how there were many obstacles while trying to get things going early on. FDA rules, finding the key people to work with, paired with all the stigma that comes with being a newcomer in the cigar game, were a few of the challenges faced. After some time, a Dream, some strategic planning and partnering along with plenty of financial investing, the Emperors Cut place in the game is being well established.
“Finding the best cigar is a never ending story. We’re focused on consistency at a great price point. we want to be a stable with our customers, not a fly by night cigar brand.” – Greg Willis
Darnell Streat – Is the Managing Partner and “Our Leader.” His background is in Business and Supply Chain.
Maurice Holland – Handles the Customer Outreach and Concierge Program.
Gregg Hurt – Handles Sales and Logistics and has an extensive background in international Logistics.
Robert Howard, MD, JD – Handles the Legal Affairs.
Greg Willis – Handles Sales, Advertising & Marketing, Social Media and Business Development with an extensive background in these fields.
Themille Bush – Handles Business Development and is a significant driver to the strategic partnerships and sales.
All are founding members with the exclusion of Themille Bush who joined the team later on.
“The Beauty of having so many experienced palates is that we could articulate clearly what we wanted to accomplish in a stick, and got it right with a few iterations.” – M. Holland (The Louisiana Weekly Newspaper, Aug 6, 2018)
This 6.5″ x 52mm cigar is a finely rolled work of art with tiny veins and a leathery Snickers bar colored wrapper. It looks like a double cap and is firmly rolled with the slightest give to it. The foot is packed, while still showing some airflow.
This Nicaraguan puro is emitting an aged tobacco aroma from the wrapper with light soil, tobacco and cocoa powder on the foot.
The cold draw with a woody pencil shaving and a slight brown sugar on the palate.
1st Third- Hello Emperor
The light medium draw creates ample opportunity to capture plenty of tasteful clouds. I am greeted with a delicate mix of brown sugar and black pepper anchored by an earthy, woodsy component.
The retrohale is generous with a prominent cedar followed by vanilla and a cinnamon/brown sugar nuance. (Note- At the 1in. mark, the spices of the cinnamon and pepper are slightly muted but still enjoyable.) The burn is perfect with a firm white ash showing off the craftsmanship.
2nd Third- Look at that Ashhh!
A little roasted coffee and leather began to join the party but the original flavors are still at play. The cedar and brown sugar are trading places as if they were playing a game of leap frog. They take turns owning the spotlight while the earthy, mineral like flavors began to increase their presence as well.
While all these notes are doing their thing, a cream flavor is holding it down in the background. As far as the retrohale, some white pepper is noted as opposed to the white pepper and the leather is present in the nose as well. The finish is lasting longer and the strength is getting into the heavier side of medium.
Final Third- The Emperor Shows His Power
We’re getting to the muscle now, as the strength hits that med+ to full realm. A bitter espresso and what I’m gonna call a licorice note have stormed the party, demanding their respect. The minerally earth and cedar wood are still present. There are hints of molasses and a strong white pepper on the retrohale.
A common practice for me when smoking stronger cigars, is to clip the cap a 2nd time. Especially with Nicaraguan cigars, this removes the tar build up from the head. Doing this alleviates the bitterness and opens the cigar back up to it’s intended flavors.
And WOW! After clipping the cap, the bitterness was alleviated in a good way. I started getting a zesty citrus, followed by the cream and white pepper which aslo translated well on the retrohale. The leather at this point, comes and goes with various puffs. What a pleasurable surprise this cigar has been!
“Emperors Cut is a lifestyle brand, synonymous with good times. The smoker defines the good time; we just want to be the stick that they know augments their fun!” -Maurice Holland (The Louisiana Weekly Newspaper, Aug 6, 2018)
I truly enjoyed this cigar from beginning to end. I was impressed with not only the taste, but the design of the cigar itself. This company also stands as a shining example of Elite African American owned boutique brands making waves in the extremely insular cigar business. I highly recommend giving this cigar a look. I’m certainly glad my curious nature led me to this experience.
Cheers to you all and thank you for sharing this cigar smoking experience with me. I’ll see you all again real soon.
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I review the Southern Draw
Cedrus The Hogan. This Belicoso Fino comes in at 5 ½ x 52 and retails for
$11.99. These come packed in unique boxes of 10 with each cigar standing
upright. The cigar was made to honor Phil and Shelly Hogan, friends and early
supporters of the brand. The blend features an Indonesian Sumatra Bosuki TBN
wrapper concealing a Nicaraguan Habano binder and fillers from the Dominican
Republic and Nicaragua.
The wrapper produces a light leathery aroma, while I smell
raisin out of the foot. On the cold draw, I pick up wine notes. Once lit, this
stick blows tons of smoke. The draw offers cedar with sweet cocoa. Through the
nose, I find more cedar with spicy nuttiness. The finish hits me with red
pepper, cocoa, and molasses.
Twenty-five minutes in, the first third closes out. On the
draw, I pick up a hint of cedar with raisin and brown sugar. Through the nose,
red pepper and cinnamon mix. The finish gives me cinnamon with roasted coffee
and light molasses. Strength settles at a medium while body is very full.
The second third finishes at forty-five minutes. The draw
offers toast with more cedar and distinct flavor of sunflower seeds. On the
retro-hale, I’m greeted with more cinnamon alongside coffee. The finish
consists of bold espresso with fading molasses notes and hints of vanilla. Both
strength and vanilla sit at medium-to-full.
One hour and fifteen minutes in, the final third wraps up.
Brown sugar returns on the draw with cinnamon and some sweet cocoa. There is no
change through the nose. I find flowery earth, citrus, and molasses on the
finish. Strength and body finish out at a solid medium-to-full.
The Southern Draw Cedrus The Hogan is a phenomenal cigar. It
hits all the right notes on flavor pulling you back in with every puff, and
there’s enough complexity to keep things interesting. Every minute of this
smoke is a treat. Construction is top notch, and smoke output is plentiful. If
you haven’t tried this cigar, you’re missing out. Watch for this to hit top 25