Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Trinidad Vigia (cigar review) unbanded pre-release

                  This cigar was gifted to me at the same time as the Cohiba Robusto Supremos that I reviewed recently....and I smoked the Trini right after the Cohiba. To say that it was great cigar smoking day is an understatement. Like all of you, these two cigars were on the top of my list of 'must try' and will now move to the list of 'must buy'....of course, when they're finally released. The Trinidad has yet to be released as well. Another magnificently rolled cigar, hard as a rock with a beautiful light coloured wrapper and a perfect pigtail topping the cap. It was dry to the touch and veinless, a pleasure to behold. This cigar weighs in at 54 x 110 (4.3"), a Petit Robusto.
                   I got nothing on the pre-light draw but could tell that it was going to be perfect. Once lit I picked up leather with hints of wood. It started out as a medium to mild smoke. I could just detect a wisp of roasted nuts creeping in. The burn was good at the 1/2 inch mark. At the first inch it was leather and wood with a little black tea. The ash fell on it's own at about the first quarter and it turned out to be mild once my taste buds settled in. It was very easy to smoke, very smooth, unusual for a cigar this young.
                   Around the halfway mark and this cigar had become very earthy with a touch of wood and was beginning to pick up strength. Into the 3rd quarter the wrapper split open a bit but as I continued to smoke it opened up more. Although the cracked wrapper wasn't affecting the flavour of the cigar, it did make for one ugly and eventual uncomfortable smoke. It was turning a bit on me at around the last quarter but blowing out would get rid of that nasty taste for a little while. 
                   It was obviously a young cigar, even though there was no roughness that's usually evident in one. The cigar was a little busy and I felt it needed a bit of time to settle down. I think a few years down the road and the first batch of these cigars that come out are going to be sought after by aficionados. That first release of an anticipated cigar is always the best and is rarely duplicated. I recommend buying them as soon as they come out if you had intentions of purchasing them. 

Monday 7 July 2014

Hotel Capri (Havana) Has Finally Re-Opened

                 Hotel Capri was one of the first hotels built under the then President Batista's Hotel Law 2070 that offered tax incentives, government loans and casino licenses to anyone who spent more than $1,000,000 on a hotel. It opened on November 1957 and was owned by Mafia Kingpin Santo Trafficante from Florida. The hotel nightclub was run by Charles Tourine (aka The Blade) and the casino was run by Nicholas di Costanzo (aka The Fat Butcher) but they both answered to Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante. They even had the famous actor (mafia impersonator) George Raft as the doorman-greeter who made his home on the top floor in one of the penthouses (19th floor).
                  It closed in 2003 and from the time I started travelling strictly or mostly to Havana, around 2007, this hotel looked like it was always under renovations, kinda like the Capitolio. I remember thinking 'when in the hell are they going to finish these renovations'. Well, the wait is over, it finally reopened this past January. I popped in for a drink and to take some pictures of the lobby this past May. It looks pretty cool, they retained the art-deco decor from when it first opened. It's very close to the Hotel Nacional and has a popular nightclub on the ground floor to one side of the main building, the 'Salon Rojo'. I read that back in it's heyday the club used to have all kinds of inappropriate behaviour going on. Today it gets packed with mostly Cubans checking out the latest musical acts.
                   I went in to the hotel take some pictures but used the excuse of having a coffee and a rum at the lobby bar. The prices weren't too bad, the coffee was good and the presentation nice. High ceilings, lots of windows and light, tables and chairs. It's not a very big lobby but it wasn't too busy either. I took a picture of their rates, which I posted below. The pics of the room and rooftop pool I took from the internet. I'm sure the views from the roof would be quite nice.

Hotel Capri
Calle 21 entre N y O
Vedado, Havana
tel +5378397200
19 floors
220 rooms


Cohiba Robusto Supremos Edición Limitada 2014 (cigar review) unbanded pre-release

                   All I can say right off the bat is WoW. Thicker cigars have been the trend coming out of Cuba lately and this cigar will have the largest ring gauge to ever be produced there. It's been said that a 60 ring gauge isn't too far off. This cigar weighs in at 58 x 127 (5") and is not yet available in stores. I had a pre-release unbanded one gifted to me. They call this fireplug a Robusto and it certainly is.
                    This particular one was dark....but that doesn't mean they'll all be like that. It had a beautifully smooth, veinless, oily wrapper. Hard to the touch with just a hint of give. It was a perfect specimen and without the bands you could really see that. The guy who rolled this cigar did an amazing job.
                     The pre-light draw gave me nothing but once lit I got a bunch of grass and molasses with a whole bunch of other stuff I couldn't figure out. The draw was absolutely perfect, I was getting huge mouthfuls of smoke. After a few puffs I picked up hints of cedar and a spiciness started to pinch at my tongue. This started out to be a medium to strong cigar. The burn was a bit uneven. By the time I got near the first inch the flavours settled down. It was still a bit sweet....chocolate with the cedar being a more prominent now. The burn straightened itself out and I flicked the ash.
                     Past the first third and the flavours changed again, now leather and earth were dominant. Near the half the burn had been off so I touched it up with my torch. It settled into a medium body smoke with the flavours not changing very much during the second half. I would pickup hints of cedar now and again but it didn't go through any major changes. It got acrid now and again but once I blew the smoke out it would go away. It did pickup a little strength halfway through the last third but I was able to smoke it to almost the end.
                     I loved this cigar, they hit a Home Run with this one and it certainly lives up to the Cohiba name. It was a little wet and young, it can certainly can be put away for a couple of years but it smoked pretty good for a young cigar. I'm sure they won't be cheap but if you can afford them buy them and quick. The only thing that will slow the sales is the price tag but they will sell out, especially when word gets out about how good they are.    


Casa de Conde de Lombillo (Havana) Plaza de La Catedral

          This beautiful home is located in the Plaza de La Catedral. If you're facing the church, it's the corner to the right. Built in 1741, it was once owned by the Count of Lombillo who attained his wealth from the slave trade. At one point in the mid 1800's, the building became the site for first and main post office for the city.
           The building has been renovated in the last decade and is now being used as a Museum and Art Gallery. This was once a great mansion, I love the typical courtyard that it contains. They've changed things around through the years, sometimes it acts more like a museum than an art gallery but it's always a nice way to spend 20-30 minutes. The view of the plaza and church from the upper floor balcony is lovely. You have photo ops, culture & history and it's all free. There's usually a guide who will try to offer you his services. I've never used him always give him a few coins. Below are some pictures of a current visit.

Casa de Conde de Lombillo
Plaza de La Catedral
Habana Vieja