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More Reviews By Sean G

Showing 1-10 of 51 Reviews   Back To Expert Reviews
Sean G | | ...the best of Hammer & Sickle
Hammer & Sickle has always been a brand that’s been on my radar but one that I never tried. So when we got a large shipment in recently, I was pumped to go through the line and see what all the fuss was about. And after burning through a few sticks, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. They weren’t bad but I didn’t think they were worth the lofty rating that one of blends recently received. Then I fired up their Hermitage line…

At first, I was just happy I found one I really enjoyed. Nothing too spectacular but a good cigar nonetheless. The next day, I found myself craving another one. The second cigar seemed even better. Robust notes of espresso and toffee made for an incredibly rich cigar that finished smooth with hints of vanilla. After that, I was hooked. I went from enjoying a couple of samples to buying a box myself. Sure, Hammer & Sickle has a higher rated blend out there, but for my money Hermitage is by far the best of the bunch.
Hammer & Sickle has always been a brand that’s been on my radar but one that I never tried. So when we got a large shipment in recently, I was pumped to go through the line and see what all the fuss was about. And after burning through a few sticks, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. They weren’t bad but I didn’t think they were worth the lofty rating that one of blends recently received. Then I fired up their Hermitage line…

At first, I was just happy I found one I really enjoyed. Nothing too spectacular but a good cigar nonetheless. The next day, I found myself craving another one. The second cigar seemed even better. Robust notes of espresso and toffee made for an incredibly rich cigar that finished smooth with hints of vanilla. After that, I was hooked. I went from enjoying a couple of samples to buying a box myself. Sure, Hammer & Sickle has a higher rated blend out there, but for my money Hermitage is by far the best of the bunch.

Sean G | | ...actually worth the price.

Gurkha’s Yakuza is stunning. Yes, even for the brand known for their extravagant packaging, they’re actually outdone themselves with an elaborate, unrivaled, hand-carved box. Even though the most hardened enthusiast’s jaw would still drop upon first sight of this beauty. But you know the old adage, “You can’t smoke the packaging…”

We’ve seen this before from Gurkha, right? Stunning design, average blend, right? Wrong. Yakuza was a surprise from the first moment I fired one up. Coming across as full-bodied, Yakuza has this subtle creaminess to the blend that keeps it from becoming to over-powering. Otherwise, your palate gets hit with notes of spice, espresso, and oak that really drive home a relaxing feeling. This paired really well with a nice bourbon and is the perfect nightcap to a long day. My only complaint? The price. These beauties will set you back a few coins but these are one of the few cigars that actually live up to the price tag.

Gurkha’s Yakuza is stunning. Yes, even for the brand known for their extravagant packaging, they’re actually outdone themselves with an elaborate, unrivaled, hand-carved box. Even though the most hardened enthusiast’s jaw would still drop upon first sight of this beauty. But you know the old adage, “You can’t smoke the packaging…”

We’ve seen this before from Gurkha, right? Stunning design, average blend, right? Wrong. Yakuza was a surprise from the first moment I fired one up. Coming across as full-bodied, Yakuza has this subtle creaminess to the blend that keeps it from becoming to over-powering. Otherwise, your palate gets hit with notes of spice, espresso, and oak that really drive home a relaxing feeling. This paired really well with a nice bourbon and is the perfect nightcap to a long day. My only complaint? The price. These beauties will set you back a few coins but these are one of the few cigars that actually live up to the price tag.


Sean G | | ...a well made cigar
My first impression of Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff is how beautiful the cigar looks. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is simply stunning. A little rough to the touch but rolled seamlessly and dripping with natural oils. It’s easy to see why there’s so much hype surrounding this brand. And that hype is almost justified when I first fire one up. Smooth, crisp notes of pepper, cedar, and hints of espresso are present and make for an incredible opening to the cigar. Unfortunately, for me, that’s the highlight. As the cigar burns, I don’t notice many changes and the overall experience feels a bit lackluster. I get why everyone is drawn to Caldwell’s cigars; they’re made well, look great, etc. After enjoying a few of these, the results are always the same for me.
My first impression of Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff is how beautiful the cigar looks. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is simply stunning. A little rough to the touch but rolled seamlessly and dripping with natural oils. It’s easy to see why there’s so much hype surrounding this brand. And that hype is almost justified when I first fire one up. Smooth, crisp notes of pepper, cedar, and hints of espresso are present and make for an incredible opening to the cigar. Unfortunately, for me, that’s the highlight. As the cigar burns, I don’t notice many changes and the overall experience feels a bit lackluster. I get why everyone is drawn to Caldwell’s cigars; they’re made well, look great, etc. After enjoying a few of these, the results are always the same for me.

Sean G | | A perfect everyday blend.
Full disclosure, I used to love Padilla Hybrid. I’d fire one up most mornings when I got into the office and pair it with a nice, dark espresso. Needless to say, when I saw these hit our docks again, I rushed to stock up. SPOILER ALERT: They’re still delicious. Hey, knock me for being biased but I’d be hard-pressed to find a cigar this good starting at $1.99 each. The mellow to medium-bodied blend hits all the right spots with rich smooth notes of cedar, almonds, vanilla and hints of spice on the finish. A great morning cigar for an enthusiast who normally enjoys fuller-bodied cigars. Sure, I won’t be firing one of these up on a special occasion but enjoying one every morning makes it feel like every day is a special occasion.
Full disclosure, I used to love Padilla Hybrid. I’d fire one up most mornings when I got into the office and pair it with a nice, dark espresso. Needless to say, when I saw these hit our docks again, I rushed to stock up. SPOILER ALERT: They’re still delicious. Hey, knock me for being biased but I’d be hard-pressed to find a cigar this good starting at $1.99 each. The mellow to medium-bodied blend hits all the right spots with rich smooth notes of cedar, almonds, vanilla and hints of spice on the finish. A great morning cigar for an enthusiast who normally enjoys fuller-bodied cigars. Sure, I won’t be firing one of these up on a special occasion but enjoying one every morning makes it feel like every day is a special occasion.

Sean G | | You'll love this lady in red
La Palina Red Label hails from the PDR factory in the Dominican Republic and appears to be flawlessly constructed with no soft spots and a beautifully applied triple cap. On the cold draw there are hints of sweetness and some readily apparent pepper. This cigar has a gorgeous reddish-hued Ecuador Habano wrapper, and upon lighting I am greeted with a not so subtle blast of red pepper. As the cigar progresses the flavor profile settles down and comes to include notes of citrus fruit, baking spice, graham cracker, and cedar. I would say the strength is a flavorful medium and I am overall impressed with the construction as it burned perfectly and required no touch-ups. This was an immensely pleasurable cigar, although a little mellower than I generally prefer, and for those that enjoy medium-bodied blends I would recommend the La Palina Red Label without hesitation.
La Palina Red Label hails from the PDR factory in the Dominican Republic and appears to be flawlessly constructed with no soft spots and a beautifully applied triple cap. On the cold draw there are hints of sweetness and some readily apparent pepper. This cigar has a gorgeous reddish-hued Ecuador Habano wrapper, and upon lighting I am greeted with a not so subtle blast of red pepper. As the cigar progresses the flavor profile settles down and comes to include notes of citrus fruit, baking spice, graham cracker, and cedar. I would say the strength is a flavorful medium and I am overall impressed with the construction as it burned perfectly and required no touch-ups. This was an immensely pleasurable cigar, although a little mellower than I generally prefer, and for those that enjoy medium-bodied blends I would recommend the La Palina Red Label without hesitation.

Sean G | | CAO turns back the dial
Pilon is a new release from CAO that utilizes a 19th century fermentation technique called the circular pilon. Using this method, the wrapper leaf is fermented at a lower temperature and at a slower rate and thus making it much more flavorful. At least that’s what they want you to believe, the real test is in smoking the cigar. With all this information swimming in my head, I lit a CAO Pilon to see if it lived up to its billing. The first thing I noticed about this cigar was the gorgeous, oily, Ecuador Habano wrapper. The CAO Pilon burned cool and slow and I would rate it medium-bodied. Construction was excellent, with the cigar being firmly packed and requiring no touchups. CAO Pilon's flavors were indeed rich and meaty, and I could really taste wonderful natural tobacco notes, with some hearty  cedar and pepper in the background. This cigar is definitely a winner from CAO, and I would recommend giving it a try.  
Pilon is a new release from CAO that utilizes a 19th century fermentation technique called the circular pilon. Using this method, the wrapper leaf is fermented at a lower temperature and at a slower rate and thus making it much more flavorful. At least that’s what they want you to believe, the real test is in smoking the cigar. With all this information swimming in my head, I lit a CAO Pilon to see if it lived up to its billing. The first thing I noticed about this cigar was the gorgeous, oily, Ecuador Habano wrapper. The CAO Pilon burned cool and slow and I would rate it medium-bodied. Construction was excellent, with the cigar being firmly packed and requiring no touchups. CAO Pilon's flavors were indeed rich and meaty, and I could really taste wonderful natural tobacco notes, with some hearty  cedar and pepper in the background. This cigar is definitely a winner from CAO, and I would recommend giving it a try.  

Sean G | | A lack of complexity
Anytime the boss drops off a pack of 4 cigars that retail at $16.90 per stick, I tend to perk up and put those spreadsheets on hold. Even though I work in this business, I tend to avoid a high priced cigar like this but I’m always happy to give one a go. And since this is being billed as one of Davidoff’s strongest blends, I was excited to say the least. The cigar delivered in the beginning offering a slight hint of spice layered with some notes of cedar and vanilla. But as good as it started, I found the cigar faded rapidly into bland notes of cedar and spice. It wasn’t awful but its lack of complexity was pretty boring to me. I could get into this at an event or special occasion but if I’m sitting on my back porch I’d opt for something with more complexity – and a smaller price point.
Anytime the boss drops off a pack of 4 cigars that retail at $16.90 per stick, I tend to perk up and put those spreadsheets on hold. Even though I work in this business, I tend to avoid a high priced cigar like this but I’m always happy to give one a go. And since this is being billed as one of Davidoff’s strongest blends, I was excited to say the least. The cigar delivered in the beginning offering a slight hint of spice layered with some notes of cedar and vanilla. But as good as it started, I found the cigar faded rapidly into bland notes of cedar and spice. It wasn’t awful but its lack of complexity was pretty boring to me. I could get into this at an event or special occasion but if I’m sitting on my back porch I’d opt for something with more complexity – and a smaller price point.

Sean G | | Perfect end-of-the-day blend

Look, I’ll admit it. I totally got sucked into the packaging of this beauty. An ammo can? A sleek beanie? Shiny foil?! Ok, none of that means anything when it comes down to the cigar itself but I still like to be romanced from time to time.

So what is the blend like? Rubicon is made in Nicaragua with Dominican tobaccos and finished with Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro. The blend starts off with a wallop of spice that wasn’t very welcome but it settled in quite nicely after that. The smoke is heavy and thick and just hung on palate with an incredibly long finish. Notes of cedar, espresso, and dark chocolate stay with you long after the cigar is finished. I wouldn’t start my day with a Rubicon but it’ll definitely be my go-to cigar after a long summer day.

Look, I’ll admit it. I totally got sucked into the packaging of this beauty. An ammo can? A sleek beanie? Shiny foil?! Ok, none of that means anything when it comes down to the cigar itself but I still like to be romanced from time to time.

So what is the blend like? Rubicon is made in Nicaragua with Dominican tobaccos and finished with Pennsylvania Broadleaf maduro. The blend starts off with a wallop of spice that wasn’t very welcome but it settled in quite nicely after that. The smoke is heavy and thick and just hung on palate with an incredibly long finish. Notes of cedar, espresso, and dark chocolate stay with you long after the cigar is finished. I wouldn’t start my day with a Rubicon but it’ll definitely be my go-to cigar after a long summer day.


Sean G | | Nothing Short of Perfection

I really loved Ave Maria's Reconquista when it came out a few years back. I mean, it's not something I enjoy everyday after work, but the blend was excellent for a special occasion. And looking at Divinia's price tag, tells me this will only be enjoyed on special occasions as well.

So what are you paying all that money for? A really damn good cigar. Divinia is near flawless. The blend starts off light and smooth and quickly builds to a medium to full body. I got notes of spice and almonds with hints of espresso and cream. The balance of the cigar is amazing and you'll instantly realize this beauty can go toe-to-toe with any top shelf heavyweight. Make that occasion a little more special and pick up some Divinia.

I really loved Ave Maria's Reconquista when it came out a few years back. I mean, it's not something I enjoy everyday after work, but the blend was excellent for a special occasion. And looking at Divinia's price tag, tells me this will only be enjoyed on special occasions as well.

So what are you paying all that money for? A really damn good cigar. Divinia is near flawless. The blend starts off light and smooth and quickly builds to a medium to full body. I got notes of spice and almonds with hints of espresso and cream. The balance of the cigar is amazing and you'll instantly realize this beauty can go toe-to-toe with any top shelf heavyweight. Make that occasion a little more special and pick up some Divinia.


Sean G | | I Can't Believe It
This guy has a whole warehouse full of cigars to review and he picks one of the cheap ones?! At least, I imagine that’s what you’re saying now. But, seriously, there’s a place for inexpensive cigars in all our humidors and you know that. Of course, what struck me about this blend was the Alec Bradley name attached to it. That alone is worth a try.

In a nutshell, Alec Bradley’s White Gold is a pretty tasty cigar. I’ve burned through a bunch of these lately. The blend is light and mellow with the typical nutty and creamy notes Connecticuts are known for. It finishes with a hint of spice and remains pretty consistent throughout. For a Cuban-sandwich blend, the construction is superb. This is a cigar you stock up on and fire up everyday when the weather gets warmer.
This guy has a whole warehouse full of cigars to review and he picks one of the cheap ones?! At least, I imagine that’s what you’re saying now. But, seriously, there’s a place for inexpensive cigars in all our humidors and you know that. Of course, what struck me about this blend was the Alec Bradley name attached to it. That alone is worth a try.

In a nutshell, Alec Bradley’s White Gold is a pretty tasty cigar. I’ve burned through a bunch of these lately. The blend is light and mellow with the typical nutty and creamy notes Connecticuts are known for. It finishes with a hint of spice and remains pretty consistent throughout. For a Cuban-sandwich blend, the construction is superb. This is a cigar you stock up on and fire up everyday when the weather gets warmer.

Reviewed By
Sean G
Sean G
Preferred Cigar Profile
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