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  1. Trinidad: The Full Story/History Trinidad...when you hear the word you'd probably think of the Caribbean Island Nation. If you think of the marca, you'd probably reflect on its spectacular recent success surrounding its 50th anniversary. And if you're familiar with Habanos cigars for a number of years, you'd know that the reputation Trinidad currently enjoys hasn't always been that way; in fact, there were times when the Trinidad story was in the doldrums, particularly for a 'premium' marca. Below is the Cuban version of the Trinidad story that a number of you would be familiar with... 1969: The birth of the marca. First created at El Laguito factory utilising similar leaf to Cohiba but without the extra fermentation. They were designated as a 'lower-level' diplomatic cigar according to former Habanos S.A executive Adriano Martinez Ruis, who served as consultant for Min Ron Nee's 2003 magnum opus on Habanos cigars, "An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars". 1992: The brand is made public via a journal article in Cigar Aficionado. At the time Avelino Lara, the former manager of El Laguito factory, stated that the brand was made for Fidel Castro to hand out as diplomatic gifts and was made from better leaf than Cohiba. 1994: Fidel Castro denies being aware of the brand in an interview with Cigar Aficionado. Diplomatic Trinidads, as they were colloquially known, came in plain, cedar boxes, each one containing 100 cigars. They were never put in stores. El Laguito made some 2,000 Trinidad cigars a month, or 20 boxes. In late 1994 Cigar Aficionado hosted an event dubbed "The Dinner of the Century' in Paris where Diplomatic Trinidad boxes were auctioned off at prices approaching $US700 a cigar. 1996: Packaging changed from 100 a box, to 50 a box to 25 and then 24 with adornments added to the boxes. 1997: Diplomatic Trinidads were auctioned commercially at Christies Auction House fetching up to $US456 a stick. A box in Geneva was auctioned for nearly $US15000. 1998: Trinidad went on sale to the public in February; firstly in Cuba and then Canada and Mexico in one size, a 40 ring gauge x 192 mm (or 7½ inches) in length Fundadores. A Laguito Especial, the size was increased from the previous 38 ring gauge Diplomatic Trinidad. 2003: In November the Coloniales - 44 rg x 132 mm (or 5¼ inches), the Reyes - 40 rg x 110 mm (or 4⅜ inches) and the Robusto Extra - 50 rg x 155 mm (or 6⅛ inches in length) were added to the marca. 2009: To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the brand, the Robusto T - 50 rg x 124 mm (or 4⅞ inches) was added to the marca. 2012: The Robusto Extra and Robusto T were discontinued from regular production despite reputable appraisal from cigar enthusiasts. 2014: The Vigia - 54 rg x 110 mm (or 4⅜ inches) Torres was added to the brand. 2017: The La Trova - 52 rg x 166 mm (or 6½ inches) Canonazo Especial was added as an LCDH exclusive release. This release re-vitalised the marca. (One could argue that the success of the 2016 Limited Topes also assisted with this) 2019: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the marca, Habanos S.A release the Esmeralda - 53 rg x 145 (or 5¾ inches), Media Luna - 50 rg x 115 mm (or 4½ inches) and Topes - 56 rg x 125 mm (or 4⅞ inches) in late 2019.
  2. Driving out of Trinidad to Valle de los Ingenios and Torre Iznaga last month I saw several signs pointing to a "Disco Ayala" .... intriguing to say the least. I even saw some really nice people looking up the way to that Disco. Pity I didn't have the time to enquire further as I was headed back to Havana that day, but congrats Prez, nice venture .... :-) .....
  3. To my recollection I don’t believe I ever had a Trinidad Fundadores before, so these are my first impressions. At 192mm (7.56 inches), this is a formidable cigar, despite it’s svelte 40 ring gauge girth. The format is a Laguito Especial, which seems to be the only vitola from Cuba with these dimensions. It is my understanding the Trinidad Grand Panetela was the predecessor to the Fundadores, which was a Laguito No. 1 like the Cohiba Lancero and Montecristo Especial No. 1, but I don’t think the Grand Panetela was ever commercially produced. There was a rumor at one time that the Trinidad Gran Panetela was Fidel Castro’s favorite cigar, exclusively made for him, and he occasionally gifted small quantities to special diplomats and VIPs. Even its name; Fundadores, which translates to “founding”, as in the founding father, seems to imply a tribute to Fidel. However, the rumor apparently contradicts Fidel's autobiography wherein he states he only gifted Cohibas. When the Fundadores finally went into production it was expanded to 40 ring, which seems to be a hallmark of the Trinidad brand. This particular specimen, which found its way into my humidor via trade with @Sudzdaddy, is expertly wrapped in a light milk chocolate and slightly reddish hued wrapper leaf, and there is a nice sheen to it, almost oily. For a 20-year old cigar, it is in near perfect shape save for a couple of odd blemishes near the middle of the cigar. Aesthetically the cigar is elegant and classy with the little pigtail cap, and it feels solid throughout with no soft spots detectable. The golden band with black print is very slightly imperfect, just what you would expect from Cuba. The cigar is very nearly perfectly straight, which is notable for such a long cigar. I can only assume that Cuba’s top torcedores were retained to roll this special vitola. For pairing I chose a large 650ml bottle of Pike Double Trouble, and reddish smooth medium hopped IPA (8% alcohol). Draw is slightly tight, but adequate. The first few draws produce modest smoke, and almost immediately the cigar filled my patio with a lovely aroma of baked bread and sweet spices. Body at this early stage is light, and the flavor profile has a lovely rich black tea essence with a hint of sweetness. It is evident from the start this is a rich and balanced blend of premium tobacco. The ash started out a bit crooked, but the burn is sharp and straight. At two inches I knocked the ash off before it soiled my shirt. At the end of the first third, the flavor has evolved slightly with some vanilla bean in the backdrop. Lovely smoke. Progressing into the second third, the draw has loosened and it is near perfect for this girth. Flavor is still exhibiting rich black tea, with a hints of melted butter and sweet spice. Body has evolved slightly to a mild/medium. Smoke volume has increased slightly and the cigar is burning perfectly. As the burn approached the halfway mark tea became more pronounced, and the sweetness subsided. At this point the smoke became very creamy and rich, body amped up a bit further. The aroma changed and now exhibits delightful hints of cedar and rich loamy earth. A sure sign that I’m enjoying a cigar is when I start to lose track of time, and this is now evident as I just looked at the score of the Jaguars and Patriots playoff game and realized the first half is over. I barely saw any of the half after the Jags’ first touchdown. Into the last third a hint of stewed prunes has entered the flavor profile, along with rich black tea, some coffee cake. Strange combination, but very pleasing. Body has further developed into a solid and satisfying medium. There is a very notable rich, elegant style to this flavor profile, it’s very refined and expertly balanced denoting the premium pedigree of the quality tobacco used in its making. This is an impressive smoke. I find my myself searching for equivalence in my cigar smoking experience, and it is challenging to equate to any other cigar I’ve smoked before. The aroma has again started to evoke impressions of baked bread and some sourdough, it reminds me of the exquisite aroma of steeping grains to make beer worth. The finish is rich and buttery, it just coats the mouth in rich flavor, absolutely chewy and delicious. The burn continues to be perfect, no wavering, no touch-ups, just flawless. Approaching the finish this cigar has become irresistible, but I am pacing myself so I don’t overheat it. With less than 3 inches left the cigar snuffed out, but it quickly came back to life, with no bitterness or roughness. It just picked right back up where it left off. I am already starting to regret not having more of these to savor. Every drag is like biting into a thick loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread right out of the oven, smothered in butter. Hints of clove and nutmeg have now joined the rich tea essence, and there is a little sweetness again. Oh my, I am completely immersed in this experience and the Jags are now leading 20 to 10 with 10 minutes left in the 4th, who would have guessed? I don’t think the Jags were even expected to make the playoffs this year. Alas, the inevitable end closes in and I have to let this nub go. This was a truly moving experience. I rate this a 9.8 on my personal scale, a very memorable collectible worthy cigar. Much gratitude is extended to Dirk who graciously endowed me with this vitola. Totally satisfying, elegant, complex and fulfilling, two hours and 20 minutes of pure bliss.
  4. In preparation for my video review of the Cohiba Lanceros for the 2017 Xmas Sampler Series, I researched pigtail caps on Cuban Cigars. I was unable to find a definitive reference on-line as to why or which cigars have a pigtail cap, but looking at the list below it's safe to infer some reasons... The following Habanos cigars have (or had prior to discontinuation) pigtail caps: Cohiba Lanceros Cohiba Coronas Especiales Montecristo Especial Montecristo Especiales No.2 ALL Trinidad vitolas including the Fundadores and special releases such as the 2016 Topes Limited Edition and the recent 2017 LCDH La Trova Davidoff No.1 and No.2 Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de Dauphin and Odeon Vegueros Especiales No.1 and Especiales No.2 2011 Cohiba 1966 LE 2017 Cohiba Talisman Cohiba Behike 52, 54 and 56 The main thing I can glean from the original size and purpose of the Cohiba Lanceros and Cohiba Coronas Especiales is the fact that they are both long and skinny 38 ring gauge cigars and were initially handed out as diplomatic and VIP gifts. Consequently, most of the cigars listed above are (or were) 38 ring gauge cigars. Trinidad as a marca was also a diplomatic cigar prior to being introduced publically in 1998. Trinidad was marketed as a premium marca and all vitolas have had pigtails. The Cohiba Behike 52, 54 and 56, introduced in 2010 as regular production cigars had pigtails and recently the Cohiba Limted Editions, the 1966 and Talisman have been released with pigtails. I wonder if they've been constructed so to assist with clipping the cap without the use of a cutter. I had fun untwisting the pigtail cap on my 2017 Xmas Sampler Cohiba Lanceros today. If you'd like to see how it was done, follow the link below...
  5. Hello again my brothers, time for another lighthearted video review from the Pig... Been absent these past days and likely will be for awhile. I just picked up a new project management job, 27M corporate HQ TI. The job is a mess, of course and I am pretty immersed in it. The team is great and I am having some fun building again!!! With that said, this is the first cigar that I have smoked in two weeks. I just have not had the time. It is once more a good time for me to stock up on Partagas Chicos and leave a box on my trailer office desk (right Nik???). That way I will have sufficient motivation to take some time to enjoy great Cuban leaf while 'workin' for the man! I hope you guys enjoy the video as much as I did the cigar! Cheers, Piggy
  6. I love it when I have a cigar that qualifies for a review weekend! Let's proceed. Trinidad Reyes 4.3" (110mm) x 40 Preliminaries: What a nice looking cigar. Bought these a month or two during a 24: 24 sale. They're HQ grade. Beautiful, gold Colorado wrapper. Some vens, including a few Frankenstein stitches, but nothing major. I cut the cap, and the draw is snug. Cigar feels very solid and well-rolled in the hand. Light and initial thoughts: Takes to flame easily enough. The draw is snug, but I'm getting enough smoke. Right off the bat,the cigar is stronger in body and flavor than I thought they'd be when I bought them. There is some spice on the retrohale, but none on the tongue. Very smooth. El Pres frequently says these taste like cake in his descriptions, and I can kind of see it, though it is definitely more of a coffee cake than an iced birthday cake. The wrapper leaf feels rather thick, and I'm having a but of tunnelling on the burn, though the other sample I had from this box burned perfectly, so I suspect it's just not properly acclimatized yet. I'm getting a bit of leather and maybe some light coffee bean. A little nutty (cashew maybe?) as I move into the 2nd half. These are a but pricier than most Habanos in this size range. That said, I find it to be very well made, and it offers a smoking time more in line with marevas or robustos, and the presentation is classy with the SBN box and pigtails, so it's not a BAD value. I tend to like my cigars on the younger side, but I might bury these for a few years to see if I can get some added sweetness and depth to the flavors. As it is, this is a very nice cigar. My CA rating would be an 89 or so. Final smoke time 50 minutes exactly. Likely would have been longer if not for multiple touch ups to the burn.
  7. I came across the following article of interest from Simon Chase, the great British 'Cigar Sage' who worked for Hunters and Frankau from 1977 until his retirement in 2009. As I've stated before, I always find what he has to say of interest, due to his passion and experience for Habanos cigars. His latest article for Cigar Journal discusses the beginning of Trinidad as a cigar for diplomats up to the latest 2016 Limited Edition release, the Topes. Photo: Courtesy of Cigar Journal Trinidad Rises to New Heights The other day I was strolling through Hunters & Frankau’s warehouse when a box of cigars caught my eye. It was lying on the inspection desk following examination by Peter Thompson, who is responsible for checking the contents of every box before the EMS (English Market Selection) stamp is applied to it. It was a squat SBN (Semi Boîte Nature) box finished with clear varnish, so it had to be Trinidad. But there was something about its shape that was unfamiliar. Peter explained that it was a new limited edition cigar. I asked him to open it so I could have a look. Up went the lid, out came the papaletas (leaflets) and there was the top row of six Trinidad Topes Edición Limitada 2016. Suited in perfectly matched, gleaming maduro wrappers, they were a joy to behold. Their stocky 125 mm | 4 7⁄8 x 56 ring gauge shapes resembled precision-engineered cylinders. Regular readers of this column will know that I am not a fan of the trend towards heavy ring gauge cigars. In fact, when I first heard the dimensions of the Topes, I dismissed it as one of those cigars that I would allow to pass me by. However, there is a funny thing that I have experienced from time to time. It happened with the Cohiba Sublimes Limited Edition back in 2004. On paper, the dimensions (164mm | 61⁄2 x 54 ring gauge) suggested that it would be an ugly monster, but, when I saw the finished cigar, the relationship between its length and girth made it attractive. It was the same with the Topes. Thinking back, it’s remarkable how different Trinidad was at the beginning. It started life in secret 48 years ago at Cohiba’s El Laguito factory where it was made exclusively for the Cuban Council of State (not for Fidel Castro, as some say). It came in just one, long, thin size, a Laguito No. 1 (192 mm | 71⁄2 x 38 ring gauge) like the Cohiba Lancero, and had a rich, deep, earthy flavour similar to Partagás. In 1992, a visiting journalist revealed its existence and soon, Trinidad Diplomats, as they became known, started to be sold at auction. I remember in 1997, when a box of 25 sold in Geneva for nearly USD 15,000. Encouraged by such a phenomenal result, Habanos S.A. decided to adopt Trinidad as one of the new brands it launched at the end of the 20th century. A team was assembled at El Laguito under Emilia Tamayo, the then director, to review the size and to create a new blend – the old one was deemed too strong. Its key member was Raúl Valladares, known as the “Maestro de Maestros” (master of masters) amongst Tabacuba’s master blenders. A unique relationship was born between Raúl and Habanos S.A.’s marketing director at the time, Ana Lopez. Ana wanted a medium- strength cigar full of fragrance and aroma. The result was astounding, as I found out, when, in November 1997, I was roped into the final tasting committee at El Laguito for the new Fundadores size, which had two ring gauge points added to its girth. Raúl had done it. Gone was the strident taste of the Diplomats, and in its place a delightful, approachable, medium-bodied and, above all, fragrant flavour. Although Trinidad is prized amongst the cognoscenti, for some reason, it has struggled to appeal to a wider audience. I think I know why. Every time I present Trinidad at an event, it takes a matter of seconds before someone says: “Oh, we’re not smoking Cuban tonight, then?” Many still think it must come from the island of Trinidad. What’s in a name, you might say, but would a Scotch whisky producer call one of its brands Honshu or Hokkaido? The names given to Trinidad’s newest arrivals are a bit tricky, too. Vigia, for example, another excellent stocky shape (110 mm | 43⁄8 x 54 ring gauge), means a “lookout” and refers to the tower on a sugar plantation near Trinidad city that once served such a purpose. Likewise, how many people know where Topes comes from? Again, I can help. Nestling in the Escambray mountains behind Trinidad at 900 meters above sea level, there is a small settlement called Topes de Collantes. Today it is at the center of a nature reserve populated by eucalyptus and pine trees under which a rich variety of flora prospers amongst stunning streams, waterfalls and deep pools. Topes de Collantes means something like “tops of the hills”. Perhaps it is a sign that Trinidad is rising to new heights. Source:
  8. Had to attend a Black Tie Award ceremony last night organized by my employer - I picked up two Cigars to take with me - the Coloniales, and a Partagas Selecion Privada. Both cigars I had been aging for over a year now in the humidor. Coloniales from a 5 Pack i bought last year on a whim while transiting through airports and hence I don't know the date code (Pity). Turns out my department ended up winning all the awards last night including picking up one myself, so it was the perfect opportnuity to light up a celebratory cigar. Since it was already quite late in the night I ended up choosing the smaller Vitola, and I'm glad I did. Cigar had no veins, impeccable pigtail and had just the right amount of oil in the wrapper to know this would not require any touchups during the smoking. Straight cut from the Xikar and a quick light and I am hit immediately by a cream with a slight bitterness that reminds me of a well brewed Cappuccino.The strenght a was medium to mild (milder than i remember when i last smoked it a year ago) and the extra time in the humidor had done it wonders. Coffee bitterness is soon replaced by a honey sweetness but the cream remained throughout the smoking experience. This was also one of the times when the evolution was so subtle across flavours of coffee,chocolate, spicy (nose) and the everpresent cream - that i just sat there and was amazed how good a job the roller did. This is for me a dessert cigar, the aroma, flavours, richness all work perfectly as an after dinner treat. It might be the Caramel Truffle I had for dessert that made me feel this way but boy did it work. Needless to say, there was never a need to fix the burn. What really impressed me with this Cigar was the evolution of the Aroma - First time in a long time, where i just wanted to sit there and smell the gorgeous sweet and honeyed smells from the Trinidad. The smell was so good that i actually got 3 comments from random people, asking what I was smoking, and at one point, while walking a guest to the Valet, she asked me to stand a little closer because while she never smoked Cigars, she enjoyed the smell of this stick particularly. One of the great experiences i have had since picking up this hobby. I have 2 left now from the 5 pack, and they too will be saved for these special celebratory nights. The Trinidad has gone straight to the top of the list of "Special Treat Cigars". Have to keep a lookout for a PSP Box from the Pres!
  9. Made this review a little over 2 weeks ago and forgot to share it on FOH. my bad fellas.. here is it Length: 11 cm Ring Gauge: 54 Factory Name: Vigia Vitola: Torres Type: Petit Robusto Presentation: Box of 12 and Tubos of 3 (TBC) Release Date: Third quarter 2014 During the Trinidad Evening in the 16th Habanos Festival last February 2014, they gave out the Trinidad Vigia and Cohiba Robustos Supremos EL 2014 for sampling with our dinner. The cigar was great to smoke along with the a wonderful evening that made it so memorable! That is why I kept one to review for you guys! Before we get started, below are some pictures I took during the Trinidad event: Ok so where were we... The Construction - This is the first in the Trinidad line with a wonderful 54 gauge ring. Smooth with a matte colorado claro wrapper and very faint veins running throughout the cigar. The body is soft to touch which bounce right back feel giving the illusion of a loosely rolled cigar, but its well packed and the cap continues to carry the classic pig-tail Trinidad cap. Since This came out of the Tubo, I should also mention how beautiful and elegant the tubo design was. With its classic vibrant mustardy gold Trinidad color, which is a little bit longer than the Montecristo Petit Edmundo tubo, it has the Trinidad logo and the cigar name Vigia printed on the pull-away cap while the bottom (inside lined with a cedar sheet) showcases a gold stamped Trinidad logos all around it. The Draw - Again, using a wide-gauge punch to cut the pig-tail carefully, the cold draw offers just enough resistance to pick up some soft earthy notes with hints of wet grass and roasted nuts. The First Burn - Surprisingly, once light there were no harsh taste to the smoke which you would expect with a fairly young cigar, instead it quickly gave off that noticeable Trinidad characteristic of grounded nuts and earthy taste with hints of cloves. In other words, it started out great, but... this quickly disappeared and then came along that dry woody notes and spicy kick that you would get in the back of the throat when you drink cinnamon tea. Not that I remember, but this made me wonder if I experienced the same thing when I smoked it during the festival! This flavor profile continued all the way to the middle of the cigar. The burn is even and the smoke is light. The Middle Burn - Now to try explain this further, the dominant character is wood with a clovey/cinnamony spice, which sometimes turn sweet. Again, when I say its woody, the flavor starts out with dry wood then shifts to wet or moist wood. The nutty notes kicks in, then by the end of the middle half the Trinidad characters come out again with its fresh grass and damp soil scent leaving a very creamy finish on your palate and soft spice that of nutmeg. The ash holds up pretty well and smoke is silky smooth but by this end the burn becomes uneven which I had to drop the ash to make sure i can quickly correct it. The Final Burn - The flavor profile continues to follow the last of the middle part but with intense earthy taste and spiciness comes and goes. The woody notes can be very distinctive during this part as well but the sweetness and nuttiness of the smoke make this cigar such a joy to go all the way to the nub! A wonderful size cigar which has potential of developing with time. It is great for an after dinner smoke and I will definitely revisit this again after a couple of months (since I managed to score two more Vigia cigars during the festival) to see if the profile holds up the same. Enjoy!

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