01st Mar2012

Viaje Satori Zen 2011

by GoodFellasCigars

Wrapper: San Andrés – Mexico

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Shape: Box-Pressed Double Torpedo

Size: 6 3/4 x 52

Country: Honduras

Strength: Full

Production150 Boxes of 25 Cigars; 3,750 Total Cigars

Price Range: $11.75

“Satori is the Japanese word for enlightenment, used to refer to a deep or lasting realization of the nature of existence. Experience has shown there are many paths to enlightenment. Cigars have often been the catalyst for achieving heightened awareness and a greater understanding of our complex world. I have had the good fortune to meet many interesting people with whom I have spent countless hours deep in conversation with a fine cigar in hand. This cigar is a tribute to the enlightenment one can achieve while indulging in one of life’s great luxuries.”

Those are some very bold words to describe a cigar. It is true that relaxing and enjoying a cigar can put one in a meditative state. Maybe this cigar is better getting a cigar aficionado to enlightenment but, I’ll leave that to you to find out for yourself. The 2011 line of Satori cigars has changed slightly from 2010 as seen the the Viaje Satori Zen. The Zen retained its striking 6 3/4 x 52 Box-Pressed Double Torpedo shape but dropped the oscuro wrapper in favor for a lighter Mexican San Andrés wrapper. This change was due in part to complaints of how strong the original Satori blend was. Now many people did not particularly like the old blend but I for one really enjoyed it. So, I was somewhat sad to see the oscuro wrapper discontinued for the Satori line of cigars. But, switching to a San Andrés wrapper will broaden the appeal and I for one even though miss the original Satori line I love what the new wrapper has added this cigar and that is why the Viaje Satori Zen 2011 is our March Cigar of the month.

The Look: The Viaje Satori Zen is a Box-Pressed 6 3/4 x 52 Double Torpedo with a dark brown wrapper dotted with darker brown spots with dark veins to match. Compared with the original Viaje Satori Zen it is still quite sticking in appearance but the nearly perfect black oscuro wrapper from before made it even more striking. The pack was of the box-press was firm with a little bit of give. But, appearances are not that all important as compared to the flavor and how the cigar smokes. So, let’s get to it.

The Start: The foot of the Viaje Satori Zen had aromas of spice, and light black liquorish. The wrapper gave off none of these aromas and instead gave off scents of leather, caramel, and a nuttiness of almond. The pre-light displayed a more pronounced essence of black liquorish then its aroma coming from the wrapper. Once lighting the Viaje Satori Zen with the soft flame of a match I took some initial draws and found it comprised of spiciness, leather, and walnut.

The Beginning: Into the first third of the Viaje Satori Zen the flavors comprised of cinnamon, hazelnut, and a hint of ginger. The finish was simply a pleasant toasted hazelnut. The draw was fabulous producing an abundant amount of smoke. Being a double torpedo both ends must be cut the foot does not have to be as far cut as the head. Due to the shape it would not be uncommon that during the first minute or two the cigar could have a somewhat difficult draw. This should rapidly improve as the foot of the cigar burns and opens a wider area for air flow. The burn was slightly uneven and the ash was shaded light gray to darker gray and held well.

The Middle: In the second third the Viaje Satori Zen mellowed. The flavor profile featured a creamy dark chocolate. On the retrohale a nice spice that could be described as cinnamon came into play along with nice nuttiness. The finish switched from a roasted hazelnut to a light hazelnut favor. The draw remained excellent and produced a good amount of smoke. The burn improved over the first third but was still slightly uneven. The smoke wafting from the cigar carried with it a great aroma of hazelnut. Over all the second third was slightly simple yet had a good balance of flavors. The smooth taste of 12 year Canadian Club Whiskey would complement the Viaje Satori Zen nicely. Perhaps the next time I smoke this cigar with a snifter of 12 Year Canadian Club Whiskey warmed to 55 degrees by soapstone whiskey stones. And perhaps this combination with help me achieve enlightenment… maybe. If not at least it will be tasty.

The End: The final third was surprisingly more complex than the previous third. Here the flavor profile consisted of a nice toastiness, hazelnut, and dark chocolate. The finish really shined with the wonderful taste of a whiskey barrel that of charred white oak, also complementing the whiskey barrel flavor was dark chocolate, and a very slight hint of the fruitiness of dark cheery. The Draw like both of the previous thirds was still excellent and the burn by now was pretty even.

Final Thoughts: Over all the Viaje Satori Zen was a pretty constant smoke with a pleasing flavor profile. The highlights of this cigar came in the forms of a constant excellent draw and a  flavorful dominate nutty-hazelnut taste. Pairing the Viaje Satori Zen with a good smooth whiskey such as 12 Year Canadian Club Whiskey would make smoking this cigar a great pleasure. As compared with with the original Satori line which I enjoyed very much this updated Satori Zen did not go wrong. Frankly, I would love to smoke these quite a bit more often when I have the chance. If your local brick and mortar store has these in stock give them try along with a smooth spirit may bring you some enlightenment.

20th Feb2012

Humidors

by GoodFellasCigars

Let’s start off with the basic definition of what a humidor is. A humidor is anything that is designed to store and age cigars. Quality humidors are lined with Spanish cedar inside them and when kept up properly should maintain an optimal humidity in the range of 68% to 72%. Most people in the cigar industry see a humidor as a small investment that will protect a much larger investment of cigars for many years.

To restate again a humidor should be made of Spanish cedar on the inside but, the outside can be made of almost anything. Spanish cedar used in humidors is in fact not cedar at all. It is actually a form of mahogany that gives off a very pleasant cedar-like aroma and responds well to changes in humidity which makes it an optimum choice for storing and aging cigars.

Two other main components a humidor that must be placed within the humidor to work properly are a hygrometer, digital or analog, and a humidification device which can range from gel products to bead tubes to just your standard round absorbing pads. The humidification device either adds or removes moisture from the air inside it to maintain the desired humidity. The hygrometer purpose is to give an accurate reading of the humidity and some models also measure the temperature within the humidor.

Humidors don’t usually come ready to use right away though. First you will have to season it. Seasoning is a process that creates an optimal climate within you’re humidor of 68% to 72%. Here is how to season a humidor the right way:

 

You may have heard that wiping down a humidor with distilled water is quick and easy way to season a humidor but, sadly this is a sure fire way to ruin any humidor by warping the wood and destroying seal of the edges, defeating functionality of a humidor. So you must ask yourself; do you want a humidor that will be ready fast or you want one that is going to last? Here we will show you how avoid this unfortunate ending.

You will need:

  1. Four Medium Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube ( 65% Rh is recommended) more if the humidor is larger than a 100 count and less if less than 100 count. You are going to need to find out the cubic inches of your humidor to really determine this. 1 medium tube = 540 cubic inches.
  2. A calibrated hygrometer
  3. Distilled water
  4. Humidor
  5. Saucer
  6. Unscented sponge/s
  7. Have cigars ready toward the end of this process ( at least 25% of the capacity of what the count of humidor is)

Complete the following steps to season your humidor:

  1. Place the unscented sponge(s) on the saucer
  2. Dowse the unscented sponges with distilled enough to be able to wring out water
  3. Open up the humidor
  4. Remove the tray if the humidor has one
  5. Place the saucer with the dowsed sponges into the humidor
  6. Place the hygrometer in the humidor
  7. Wait 10 minutes and then record the base reading from the hygrometer
  8. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  9. Close the lid full shut
  10. Wait at least 8 hours until completing the next step
  11. Check and record the reading on the hygrometer, if the humidity has risen you are on track
  12. Place the lid back into the humidor if possible
  13. Close the humidor lid fully
  14. Wait 18 to 24 hours until completing the next step
  15. Check the humidity in the humidor. If the humidity has again increased you are in track (mid 70s)
  16. Place a Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube ( 65% Rh is recommended) into the humidor
  17. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  18. Close the lid fully shut
  19. Wait 24 hours until completing the next step (Stabilization period)
  20. The humidity will rise and possibly spike dramatically. This is normal do not be alarmed
  21. Remove the saucer and sponges from the humidor
  22. Place a second Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tube (65% Rh is recommended) into the humidor
  23. Place the tray back into the humidor if possible
  24. Close the lid fully
  25. Wait 12 to 24 hours before completing the next step
  26. Check the humidity from the hygrometer, if the humidity is not in the low 70s place the lid back in if possible and close the lid fully and wait another 6 to 8 hours and if it is go onto the next step
  27. Place your cigars within the humor
  28. Place the tray into the humidor if possible
  29. Close the lid fully shut
  30. Wait 2 to 4 hours before completing the next step
  31. Fill the last 2 Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tubes (65% Rh is recommended) as directed by Heartfelt’s directions
  32. Place the last 2 Heartfelt Beads Humidity Tubes (65% Rh is recommended) on far left and right of the tray once back in 2 to 4 hours
  33. Close the lid fully shut

If you have followed these steps you have now successfully seasoned your humidor

Commonly Asked Questions From Readers

Q: First, my question.  I have a new, small humidor and I’m seasoning it (unfortunately I did it the wrong way by wiping down the interior).  I can’t seem to get it below 80% humidity.  I currently have a 4 oz jar of gel, filled with distilled water in the humidor.  How can I bring the humidity down?  Would a PG solution do a better job than simply distilled water (I’m referring to how I fill the gel-based humidifier)?

A: Some ways you can bring down your humidity are:

1. If you have any cedar sticks from boxes or anything place one of those inside because the dry cedar stick should absorb some of the excess humidity within the air.

2. Grab an unused sponge and take a chunk off and place it inside. After a decent amount of time take it out let it dry again then put it back inside and repeat if necessary.

3. Crack open the lid just slightly. I suggest using a small match box wedged between the lid. Do this for about an hour or two and it will drop the humidor’s RH.

4. Put more cigars inside. Fill it almost to capacity.

These are a few methods that should help you drop the overall RH of your small humidor. Some reason your humidor could be high are:

1. You might have needed more time in the seasoning process such that there wasn’t enough time for the humidor to settle down.

2. You might have over soaked the wood with distilled water so there might be liquid still resting in the inner layers.

3. Climate you live in. Example: Northern states have dry winters so we have to constantly maintain our humidors because the outside climate if taking so much. Southern states have a lot of humidity and warmth year round so their humidors need less attention and stored in cooler areas because the outside climate can give too much in their case which brings up another reason.

4. Where do you keep your humidor (also pertains to climate) upstairs (higher level) or downstairs?

Upstairs especially in a higher humidity climate can cause the humidor to really go up and down with its RH value. The key thing to do is store a humidor in a lower level of a building which is ideal because most homes or building basements are roughly all the same temperature due to them being inside the earth and don’t change too much varying on the season. Example: In the winter your basement is warm and in the summer it usually is the coolest place in your house. This makes sense because depending on the time of year is dependent on what your body is used to. But, if one does not have a basement or a lower level placing within a closet works best and lastly don’t place in the sun because it’ll heat up the humidor.

As for would a PG solution do a better job than simply distilled water…The answer to that is no because those jars of beads are Silica based. They are specially designed to only take distilled water and can be ruined by propylene glycol. The only things that really take PG solution these days are the round or rectangular pads that come with the humidor which are basically useless and cost you more in the long run because the PG solution is a lot more expensive than distilled water.

 

Q: Now, regarding the large cabinet humidor, it has 3,500 cubic inches of interior space.  I went with a cabinet-style humidor because I wanted to keep my cigars separate and organized and didn’t want to bother rotating them monthly.  Here’s what I am planning and your comments seem to align with it.  I am planning to use one Heartfelt Industriesmedium, rectangular humidifier in the bottom (it says it can humidify 2,160 cubic inches).  Then I plan to use four medium Heartfelt tubes (that purport to humidify 540 cubic inches).  I plan to place two tubes on the middle shelf and two more on the top shelf to bring the tube total to four, plus the rectangular one on the bottom.  Might that be overkill?  Since the math computes to a coverage of 4,320 cubic inches, might that over-humidify my new cabinet?  (Don’t want to do that.)  I also will have three hygrometers in the new cabinet (top, middle and bottom) to help me better regulate the internal micro-climate. To season it, I bought six new sponges and plan to use one per saucer, spaced mostly evenly throughout the humidor.  I figure, based on my own calculations, that it might take a full week to bring the whole unit up to 70% humidity.

A: That sounds like a pretty solid game plan, I like it. As for your question about might that be overkill? The answer to that is no for a few reasons:

1. Yes the beads do say how much area they will cover but, they don’t say how much area they will cover when cigars have been introduced into the equation. So having it cover more area than what your humidor says is fine. In this case more is better!

2. The one thing about the Hearfelt Beads is they maintain the RH level in your humidor. Example they carry bead tubes that say 60%, 65%, and 70% RH. The reason for these percents and having a certain percent within your humidor means the tubes are going to try their best to keep it near whatever percent is on the tube you bought. Theses bead tubes just don’t kick moister out they regulate that’s why I love them. I suggest the 65% tube for the simple fact if your humidor is being fussy in summer months and likes to spike really high the 65% will help keep it from rising to unwanted RH levels. If you had the 70% in a summer month you could get a rise of 80% RH which is extremely unwanted. So be safe and stay 65% my friend.

Overall it’s safe to use more Hearfelt Beads than the minimum amount recommended in your humidor. The over compensating will help with humidor recovering from things like opening your humidor to compensating for the ever changing seasons to lastly a possibly bad seal a humidor may or may not have.

Q: I just bought a new one that is tall (24″) and has several drawers to store cigars in an organized way. How would I season this humidor? Would I add additional sponges at the third and fifth drawer level? How many hygrometers should I install and how many Heartfelt tubes should I use to maintain long-term humidity control? Thanks.

A: It sounds like you have a cabinet humidor that holds between 250 to 300 cigars if I’m correct. For this size of a humidor it will season slightly different than the one shown in the video for the simple fact there is a lot more surface area with the one you have so water will evaporate faster. My suggestion to seasoning this is to get about 3 shallow bowls/plates fill them with distilled water and place 1 on the top shelf and 1 on the bottom 2 shelves.
As for a humidification device I suggest the Cigar Oasis XL Cigar Humidifier because you have a large humidor and you would have to use too many bead tubes to keep it maintained properly but, if you would like you could get 3 medium bead tubes along with this to be safe and place them on alternating racks you can. You want to place the Cigar Oasis XL Cigar Humidifier on the bottom shelf along with all the bowls inside your humidor but, not the bead tubes if you decided to get them those you put in after seasoning process.
And as for a hygrometer I suggest getting one and placing it on the top rack because the Oasis has one built into it. Then you’ll get a good reading from the top and bottom of your humidor. Once you have all that inside your humidor close it up for about 5 days to a week and come back in that amount of time and your humidor should be stabilized right around 70%. The Oasis should be preset right out of the box to 70% and will always keep your humidor at that level. Once all that time is up had your cigars and don’t be surprised if the humidor will drop down a few % because within 24 hours it should restabilize.
29th Jan2012

Pre-Production Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades

by GoodFellasCigars

Wrapper: Criollo

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler:  Nicaraguan

Shape:  Rounded cap with torpedo foot

Size: 5 1/3 x 44

Country: Honduras

Strength: Full

Production: Pre-Production

Release Date: IPCPR 2012

Today we bring you a review of the Pre-Production Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades. This was given to us by Andre Farkas last spring, 2011. Only ten were handed out by him. This cigar is scheduled to be released this year and to be based off the Exclusivo blend. Will this be the next cigar from Viaje to rule them all? Will it be the next Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5? Or just another excellent stick from Viaje? The name itself sounds pretty bad ass and unique, Honey and Hand Grenades. We won’t really know till it’s out on the market. Anyways enough of the talk lets dive into this review!

The Look: The shape of the Honey and Hand Grenades is very unique. If I’m correct this shape is going to be the first of it’s kind in the cigar industry. It consists of a rounded cap and a torpedo like foot. The size is similar to a Corona. The cap by the looks of it is triple capped and the wrapper is put on very smooth from head to foot. The wrapper has a light amount of veins and the pack is very firm with virtually no give. Lastly, the band has a glued on H & HG standing for Honey and Hand Grenades and has brass knuckles underneath it.

The Start: After inspecting the cigar I move to the pre-light aromas. The wrapper had light scents of manure and cedar, nothing too strong. As for the foot it also had a light smell of manure nothing too strong or anything, just average. Moving on to the pre-light draw it took some effort to draw and only had a small amount of sweetness. I couldn’t really pin point it to anything though. Now to begin the light up. Immediately received a strong red pepper spice that gave the tongue a good tickle and made the palate moist. It also had a dark, rich earth flavor.

The Beginning: The first third starts with the red pepper again which you can really feel on the tongue giving it a prickly feeling. As for the draw it becomes easier the farther you move into the torpedo foot. Sounds kind of weird saying torpedo foot. Making my way through the foot I picked up notes of a really dark flavor like a dark roast coffee. When letting the cigar sit it produces little wisps of smoke continuously and as for each draw they produce a great amount of voluminous white smoke that warms the mouth. Now once I get passed the torpedo foot the spice begins to smooth out and the dark flavors begin to come on more than before. The burn here is a little wavy but nothing too concerning. Pretty confident it should smooth out later because it probably waved out due to the torpedo foot light. I’m also really enjoying how it feels in the hand and mouth, good natural feel with the right amount of weight to it. Getting closer to the second third the flavor profile begins to change starting with a bitterness rising up and a tiny amount of burnt caramelized maple wood. With the aroma being of a sweet wood. Also by the start of the second third the burn evens out and the ash that is a mix of white, grey, and black stays firm up til this point.

The Middle: Now making my way into the second third the smoke begins to become more creamy adding more of that sweetness of a semi burnt maple wood. The spice isn’t completely gone thought it’s now more on the back burner to say the least. The profile transition so far has just been great; starting with the dark beginning and now entering the sweet middle. The draw at this point has become very smooth and producing more voluminous amounts of smoke. The burn also has improved just like the draw becoming almost razor sharp. Another plus with this cigar too is that you can let it rest for quite some time without it going out which is due to the smaller ring gauge. Now just before going into the last third I noticed a hint of manure which I’m saying I could have been picking up from the aroma itself.

The End: Lastly, I begin the final third of the Honey and Hand Grenades. The peak of the sweet and creaminess is right here and then it slowly begins to retract. The spice begins it’s ascend back up with it starting to tickle the tongue again. Along with the spice comes the bitterness again. It transforms into more of a barnyard type musk. For example when you go into an old barn and it gives off an old wet smell. The burn is still going steady and same with the ash. Getting farther into the last third the smoke begins to dry out more and inducing a very small amount of almond flavor and a bitter anise flavor on the finish but, still overall keeping that pleasant musky spice. I gave it a retro haul here and experienced a heavy amount of spice that made me tear up a bit. Then as for the finish it consisted of red pepper with an after taste of the musky barnyard wood.

Final Thoughts: Once all is said and done this smoke took me about 1 hour and 10 minutes. The Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades was superb! I was able to smoke it down to the nub without any complaints. I’m very excited for when this hits the market. It has a bad ass name and I especially love the new shape that Viaje tried to do here with a mix between your standard Parejo and Figurado. Hopefully this won’t be the last of this kind of shape because others in the industry could benefit from this idea and maybe even take it further. The Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades provides an excellent journey that any aficionado or beginner would be happy with. I look forward to when this is out and others can enjoy it just as much as I did. Lastly remember folks to check back when this cigar hits the market for our post production review comparison!

CLICK HERE for more information leaked about the Honey and Hand Grenades

Once again a special thanks to MansonPhoto from MansonPhoto.com for taking the pictures. Please rate and comment on the photos because he would love your feedback!

 

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03rd Jan2012

GFC Quickies

by GoodFellasCigars

It’s the New Year and we here at Good Fellas Cigars would like to bring you something new we are going to do on our site. They are going to be called GFC Quickies. The name was given to us by one of our close friends. They won’t be as long as our full reviews but, they will still give you all the information you need to know to make a decision on whether or not you want  to try the cigar or not. This will help us give more content to you, our readers. The layout will look something like this:

*Picture*

Wrapper:

Binder:

Filler:

Shape:

Size:

Country/Factory:

Strength:

Price Range:

Flavors/Notes:

Ash:

Draw:

Burn:

Appearance:

Other Comments:

We look forward to your feedback on this new type of review!

Thanks for the continued support from over here at Good Fellas Cigars.

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