Cigar Review | CAO Session Garage

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the CAO Session Garage. This cigar retails for $8.59. It features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a Dominican Vega Especial binder and fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The Session line is a nod to Rick Rodriguez’ “Sessions” with friends smoking in his garage. It’s touted as something any smoker can enjoy.

CAO Session Garage


Pre-light, the wrapper produces a rich barnyard and fruit aroma, while I smell the same out of the foot. Once lit, there is black pepper and saltiness on the tongue. Through the nose, I pick up subtle cedar and cocoa notes. The finish is bitter with a lead and graphite note.

CAO Session Garage

First Third

Twenty-five minutes in, the first third comes to a close. On the draw, I find black pepper with damp wood. Smoke is thick and oily. Through the nose, I pick up prune and black pepper notes. The finish offers leather with clove and ginger. Strength and body settle in at medium-to-full.

CAO Session Garage

Second Third

The second third gets me to fifty-five minutes. The draw consists of black pepper and char. On the retro-hale, black pepper and toast dominate with subtle raspberry. The finish hits me with more leather and clove with an oiliness coating my tongue. There is no change to strength or body.

CAO Session Garage

Final Third

The final third ends at one hour and twenty-five minutes. On the draw, there is more black pepper with leather. Through the nose, I pick up sweet toast and black pepper. On the finish, more leather and clove blend together, but the last 10 to 15 minutes present an unpleasant and bitter graphite flavor. Strength and body finish out at medium-to-full.

CAO Session Garage

Overall Thoughts

CAO Session is an okay cigar. It displayed excellent smoke output and construction, but it was generally underwhelming. For the most part, flavors are enjoyable enough, but the profile is somewhat simple.

The big downside for me is the bitter graphite flavor the cigar finished with in every sample I smoked. It doesn’t present itself until the very end, but it’s what sticks in my mind most. As with any cigar, I always recommend trying it for your own evaluation, but the price doesn’t justify the CAO Session for me.

Smoke on!

-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Cigar Review | Padilla Finest Hour Maduro

“…Padilla told me The Finest Hour is just that. Each cigar is a celebration and for those of us who love cigars, it is in fact our finest hour when we smoke.” -Brian, Privada Cigar Club

This week’s offering is a cigar that was featured in my monthly Privada Cigar Club box. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Finest Hour Maduro from Ernesto Padilla. I like to consider myself an adventurer and hunter when it comes to cigars. Therefore, I knew Privada was the perfect fit for me. The cigars are already well aged for the most part. Also, the cigars are rare, hard to find or club exclusives that only the members can get a hold of. And, the price is RIGHT!!!

This cigar is adorned with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro Oscuro wrapper with fully aged Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. Let’s get into it.

Pre Light Inspection

As mentioned, The Finest Hour has a deep dark brown colored wrapper with a rustic appeal to it. The seams are very noticeable and there are tiny veins all over. Funny to me, was the weirdly oblong and lumpy cap on this cigar. I’m pretty sure it probably just this stick.

On the wrapper, I got aromas of wood, soil and ink. The foot smells of powdered chocolate, roasted coffee, earth, toast and mineral. I got almost nothing on the cold draw but dry hay. The cigar is firm with a slight bounce.

First Third | Let’s Smoke

The cigar lit very easily. It started with a dry woody and minerally anchor with black pepper and a subtle raisin and ink flavor that I detected in the cold draw. As I get into it, there’s a barely sweet tobacco parallel to that pencil shaving mineral flavor that I usually can’t stand. Right now it is tolerable but, we shall see. Billowing smoke is present from both the foot and head of the cigar after each puff. Cocoa powder and roast coffee are present in the retrohale. Also, there is that slight fruity molasses in the nose.

Technically, these flavors would be a hit in any cigar. However, the not so super enjoyable pencil and dry wood flavors are running the show. The raisin, molasses, cocoa and coffee nuances are not yet at an impressive level.

Second Third | The Finest Third

“My god, the dead has arisen!” Rich meaty earth and that dried fruit have taken over and I couldn’t be happier. the molasses is also creeping around, leading me to believe that The Finest Hour translates to “Second Third” in Padillan. LOL. I’ve got a substantial but enjoyable white and red pepper zing dominating my olfactory zone. Meanwhile, there’s a very very light brown sugar on the finish but a more prominent black pepper and cinnamon lingering on the tongue after each hit. This is certainly the Finest Third!

Final Third | Sigh!

I really thought we were headed to bliss but we’ve actually reverted back to the first third. No matter how hard I try, the cigar is either burning too hot or dying out. As a result, I’m puffing excessively causing the already lack luster flavors to be accompanied by bitterness and tongue bite. I think its fair to add that this might not be an issue in another sample. That goes for any cigar when you have issues with the burn or draw. With that being said, I would certainly try this cigar again.

Well family, we know they can’t all be tear da roof off experiences when it comes to cigar smoking. The experience is always worth it though. I can guarantee to you many of my fellow Privada Cigar Club Brothers and Sisters fell in love with this cigar. That’s the beauty of diversity and cigars. And, I appreciate hearing about others experiences, good and bad.

I recommend any of you guys that share that cigar bounty hunter spirit to look into joining this monthly cigar club. Brian is very accessible and he grinds hard for the club, hunting and tracking down gems and exclusive collaborations.

I appreciate you guys stopping by and taking the time to share this experience with me. Please don’t hesitate to leave comments, thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to share with friends, family and all of our FOTL!!


Cigar Review | Emperor’s Cut: Natural Pleasurer

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.

Emperor's Cut

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

“The Players”

  • 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)

“Natural Pleasures”

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.

The Emperors Cut is a dark brown leathery work of art, with seamless construction and a solid burn.

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!

The Emperors Cut has a perfect burn with a solid white ash. Impressive construction.

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

The Emperors cut has performed with grace. You can't help but to gaze at the simple yet elegant band as you take this smokey journey.

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!

The Emperor's Cut Finale

“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.

Cigar Review | Custom Rolled Cuban El Laguito 2014 BHK 56

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I have a custom rolled Cuban cigar from 2014 out of the famed El Laguito factory. This stick comes in at a whopping 6.5×56 – the BHK 56 size found in the Behike line. It is of course comprised of all Cuban tobacco. My experience with custom Cubans has been great, so I have high hopes for this stick coming from such a renowned factory.

El Laguito Custom Cuban BHK 56

The cigar is rolled perfectly with a pigtail cap and the uncanny resemblance of a Behike. The gorgeous wrapper gives off a fruity leather and wood aroma mixed in with the classic smell of Cuban tobacco. I find the same aroma out of the foot. On the first light, I pick up a lot of vegetal earth and cedar. The draw is a bit too snug for my liking.

El Laguito Custom Cuban BHK 56

After thirty-five minutes, the first third finishes out, and I struggle to get smoke on the draw. I pick up some cinnamon and vegetal earth on my tongue. Through the nose, there is a mild mix of black pepper and cedar. On the finish, I find nutmeg with a bit of black licorice. The cigar tastes too young at this point, and strength and body are both at the mild-to-medium mark.

One hour and twenty minutes in, the second third comes to a close. The cigar is still too snug to produce any substantial smoke. On the draw, I find some buttery earth and black pepper. There is only a note of spicy wood coming through the nose. The finish offers me mild flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cedar. Strength and body both settle at the medium mark.

El Laguito Custom Cuban BHK 56

The final third ends at close to two hours, and the flavor profile dwindles. On the draw, I only find mild notes of cinnamon and cedar. The retro-hale gives me more spicy wood, and the finish falls flat with bitter char and acidic grass. Strength and body do not change as they close out at the medium mark, but the draw opens up a bit on this last third.

This cigar was the first custom rolled Cuban blend I have not enjoyed. It was one-dimensional, and the tight draw became very frustrating. It looked wonderful, but this ended up being a case of judging a book by its cover and leaving disappointed. I do recommend custom Cubans if you can find authentic product from reputable sellers, but sometimes, Cuban doesn’t always mean quality. Better luck next time!

Keep it smoky, my friends!
-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Cigar Review | La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No 4

It’s Stog o’Clock, and today, I have a slim Cuban cigar to smoke and review. La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 4 is a skinny 6×32 Panatela. The cigar I smoke in this review is from a box produced in March of 2013. The cigar is comprised of all Cuban tobacco and looks to be rolled well.

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No. 4

The perfect cold draw gives me salty wood. The wrapper produces a potent barnyard and leather aroma, while I smell cedar and tobacco out of the foot. Once lit, I pick up salty cedar and black pepper spice alongside some toast and grass on the draw. Through the nose, there is a light graham cracker flavor. The finish is primarily black pepper spice.

After fifteen minutes, the first third closes out. The draw gives me wheat and grass with mild leather. Through the nose, I find toasty graham cracker with a delicious cinnamon and vanilla mix. On the finish, I pick up black pepper with spicy earth and a distinct flavor of Ritz crackers. Strength and body both fall in the medium-to-full mark.

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No. 4

The second third ends at half an hour. On the draw, I get some toast with a little cedar and leather flavor. The retro-hale gives me more vanilla alongside some black pepper and walnut. The finish is long with a salted caramel note on top of cinnamon and floral earth. Body and strength do not change.

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No. 4

The final third gets me to fifty minutes. The draw is superb with flavors of creamy wood and fresh-baked bread on top of salty grass. Through the nose, I find more vanilla with the return of a cinnamon note and earth. The finish gives me a mix of black pepper and very butter leather. Strength and body drop down to the medium mark in this last third.

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No. 4

The Medaille d’Or No. 4 is a phenomenal cigar. It’s got a delicious mix of complex, refined flavor, and it performs flawlessly. Even with only a couple years of age, this cigar seems to be in its prime. Smoking time is shorter than many cigars, but it’s a delectable short treat. Even price is pretty reasonable for a Cuban. I highly recommend this one!

Keep on smokin’!
-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Cigar Review | Aging Room M21 Fortissimo

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I smoke and review the Aging Room M21 Fortissimo. This limited cigar is a 5.75×47 perfecto expertly rolled with a pigtail cap and tapered foot. It features a Dominican Habano wrapper aged over seven years with a Domincan binder and Dominican fillers. The wrapper gives off a grassy, wet dog aroma. Just a slight aroma of tobacco comes out of the foot.

Aging Room M21 Fortissimo

Pre-light, there is black pepper with no sign of spice on my tongue. Once torched, the cigar opens up with a spicy wood. There is some leather through the nose, and the finish gives me a creamy black pepper and slight spice.

Aging Room M21 Fortissimo

After twenty minutes, the first third comes to a close. On the draw, I find woody leather with a very spicy mix of black and red pepper. The retro-hale offers a mossy wood with classic Dominican spice. On the finish, there is a buttery spice alongside some roasted almond and more wood. Body and strength are both very full, and this stick is already a spice bomb.

Aging Room M21 Fortissimo

Forty minutes in, the second third finishes out. The draw blasts me with spicy leather and a continued mix of black and red pepper. Through the nose, there is more spice and rich earth. On the long finish, I get a spicy wood with the introduction of nutmeg and a metallic earth. There is no change in strength or body.

The final third finishes at one hour. On the draw, there are consistent flavors of wood, leather, and black pepper. A spicy toast makes an appearance on the retro-hale with more Dominican twang. The finish continues to be long with a bold black licorice and more nutmeg and metallic earth. Strength and body are still cranked up to the full mark.

Aging Room M21 Fortissimo

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good cigar. It doesn’t present a flavor profile that I typically gravitate toward, but if you enjoy spicy sticks and bold Dominican tobacco, you will really like this cigar. I could tell the extra age on the wrapper helped refine the spice in the blend, and construction is top notch. With prices ranging from $12-14 dollars on this stick, it’s not the cheapest date on the block, but the limited supply of these is dwindling, so get them while you can!

Keep it smoky!

-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Cigars can be expensive in the United Kingdom. If you’re ever in Germany and want to try some Aging Room cigars, Cigar World has a good selection.

Cigar Review | El Rey del Mundo Aniversario

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I revisit a Cuban cigar that I’ve only smoked one time shortly after its release. The El Rey del Mundo Aniversario was the 2012 Asia Pacific Regional Edition with only 4,000 boxes made. It is a 5.9×54 cigar with a gorgeous appearance. The ring gauge is large for a Cuban (not a trend I’m a fan of,) but it feels nice in the hand. The wrapper has a sweet tobacco smell with a nutty earth and leather aroma coming out of the foot. The pre-light draw presents me with a sweet tobacco core.

Once I put a flame to the foot, the cigar gives me a salty, sweet, and grassy flavor. The finish gives me a delightful wood. Through the nose, there is a mix of leather and spice. Smoke output is low.

The first third is a fantastic half-hour of delicious smoke. On the draw, I am gifted a unique sea salt flavor with leather and grass. The retro-hale is a blend of floral notes with sweet cedar and creaminess. The creaminess is by no means light, and it’s full of body. The long finish leaves me with a scrumptious pretzel and wheat flavor with a slight toast and spicy cream. Strength is medium to full, and the complexity is impressive. Performance is spot-on.

El Rey de Mundo

After one hour, the second third blows my mind yet again. My tongue is dancing with sea salt and grass as well as an aged leather flavor. Through the nose, there is more floral and a slight spice. The finish leaves me drooling with heavy creamed coffee flavor complimented by mild spice and more sea salt. The blend of these flavors just works. I still pick up notes of pretzel and wheat here and there. Strength remains at the medium to full mark, and smoke is plentiful.

The final third is another rare treat and confirms the quality of this cigar after one hour and forty minutes. On the draw, I pick up wood with a spicy sea salt and cinnamon flavor. The nose continues to blast me with floral flavors and toast. The finish remains long with a spicier floral note alongside leather, peanut, and toast. Strength does not change, and performance is strong.

This cigar is absolutely one of the most enjoyable cigars I’ve ever smoked. It has an enormous amount of complexity, and the flavors mold to form a perfect flavor profile. I truly enjoyed it when it when it was originally released, but after smoking it again after a few years of age, I can tell this cigar is continuing to improve with rest in the humidor. I would have smoked it even longer if it hadn’t gotten hot towards the end. These cigars are around the $20 mark, so they are certainly not a bargain stick, but I have to say, they are worth every penny. As far as Cuban cigars go, this cigar has top-notch quality, and it competes with long-standing favorites. Get your hands on them while you still can!

Smoke on!

-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

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