We have received test samples of some new cigars that were featured by several cigar makers at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show in Orlando. Prior to conducting full reviews, I am sharing my own first impressions of just a few of the new cigars that I have previewed as of this writing. All of the cigars sampled in this review were cut with the new Shuriken Cigar Cutter, all were well made, all had great draws and even burns, and none required any relights. Click on "More Info" for additional information about any cigar.
CAO Concert is the second new CAO cigar released by General Cigar since they acquired the brand, and I think that Concert has the potential to be a Top 10 hit. The initial taste upon lighting the cigar was cedar with just a bit of pepper, then a very pleasant and naturally sweet herbal flavor quickly joined in to accompany the cedar. This cigar is medium bodied, but has some real flavor that lasts throughout the duration of the smoke (performance). Very enjoyable from the first puff (note) until the final chord is struck at the end. No touch-up lights needed, so you won't have to flick your Bic for the encore, as the cigar will still be enjoyable beyond two inches remaining. The entire Concert lasted for just over an hour. Recommended for mainstream cigar smokers as well as connoisseurs. This is just my preliminary impression, but I'm rating CAO Concert with an impressive 4 to 4 1/2 stars. More Info and Video.
Berger & Argenti Fatso is an extremely box pressed cigar having a rectangular shape. The ring gauges are very large for all sizes of this cigar, starting at 62 and going all the way up to 70. I sampled the 4" version named "Dipper" having a 62 ring gauge. The cigar has an unique feel to it, both in your hand and in your mouth. The initial flavor is strong pepper, which takes almost 15 minutes to tame down, and then another 15 minutes before you can fully appreciate some of the rich earthy tastes, but the pepper was still noticeable. It took an hour to smoke this full bodied 4-inch cigar down to two inches remaining, no touch-ups required. Recommended for seasoned cigar smokers. My initial rating is 4 stars.
Macanudo Vintage Connecticut is a mild-to-medium bodied cigar that is closer to being medium than mild. However, it would still be a good choice for both new and mainstream cigar smokers. These cigars will be wearing a metal band when released in November 2012. Seasoned cigar smokers may prefer a fuller cigar, but can still enjoy this Vintage Connecticut on a hot day or with a light beverage. It took me an hour to smoke the cigar down to 2" remaining, and a couple of touch-up lights were applied during the smoke. My initial rating is somewhere between 3 1/2 and 4 stars.
The Sentinel cigar was mild-to-medium bodied and a very smooth and enjoyable smoke, plus sales of these cigars help support wounded veterans. The cigar is not too complex, and will be enjoyed most by beginner, occasional, and mainstream cigar smokers. The cigars are handmade in Miami, and have a patriotic band that resembles the American flag. A great patriotic cigar to enjoy on patriotic holidays. The cigar lasted 50 minutes, down to 2" remaining, and no touch-up lights were needed. I'm rating Sentinel with 3 1/2 stars.