Livefyre Profile

Activity Stream

@Charlie86 Can you actually not see the score? 

11 hours, 46 minutes ago on La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse

Reply

@Charlie86 Will definitely take that into account in the future. It was a very complex cigar, lost a few points for some minor burn issues as was mentioned above. The vegetal flavor was something much different than how I normally discuss "vegetal."

1 week, 4 days ago on Tennessee Waltz

Reply

@Capttrips Don't think that's the case at all. The amount of support they are giving Camacho would suggest a lot more than a necessary evil. (Also, look what happened with Cusano, Davidoff won't support things just because they paid for it.)


I think the current Camacho line-up is far better than what we saw circa 2011.

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Camacho Liberty 2014

Reply

@fritolaye @fritolayes Had to edit your post.

4 weeks, 1 day ago on Caldwell Cigar Co. to Open The Honeycomb Hideout

Reply

@dancrago You are correct.

1 month, 1 week ago on La Flor Dominica Capitulo II (Prerelease)

Reply

@Patrick Lagreid @RodrigoDeJerez Yes. The process of applying gold dust to bands/boxes that is commonly used is not legal in the U.S. There are only a handful of people that create bands for the cigar industry. I would venture to guess that most of the cigars you see on this site are made by one of three companies.

Vrijdag is the one that handles a lot of the gold work, like Fuente Fuente OpusX.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Viaje Satori Arya

Reply

@Havana Connections Jason Thanks for chiming in here. I know there are some retailers that don't use USPS out of practice, but I'm a bit confused why it would't work.

Personally, the $11 for multiple packs is fine, but it's for those that order a single pack, where it ends up adding ~$3.65 per cigar. 

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Second Batch of Tatuaje CiGWAR Heading to Havana Connections, 2015 Edition Planned

Reply

@DJSmith @Gooey They are free to run their business how they want, but the fact these could be packed in flat rate boxes with newspaper for half the price is disappointing.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Second Batch of Tatuaje CiGWAR Heading to Havana Connections, 2015 Edition Planned

Reply

@maxx Yes. They got the August box, the story has ben updated.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Ninth Box of Quesada España Ninfas Heads to Atlantic Cigar Co.

Reply

@Komodota I've got some. It will get reviewed at some point, just trying to get through everything else on the schedule.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on CLE Adds Signature Series PLdM

Reply

@Gooey Didn't take it as such. One of the reasons we stopped posting press releases verbatim was because of how much info is normally missing. Press releases as a medium in the cigar world have changed a lot given that 90 percent of the people who are sent them will just copy and paste. It's not a press release, so much as it's a post.

As always, I wish we had more info, doubt it's coming though.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Barrister Cigars to Get First “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” (Update)

Reply

Congrats to the winner @fritolaye 

1 month, 3 weeks ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

Reply

@fritolaye And you (@fritolaye) are the belated winner. Contest rules are here: http://halfwheel.com/contest-rules

1 month, 3 weeks ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

Reply

Congrats to the winner @Nescastlevania.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on MBombay Mōra Toro (Prerelease)

Reply

@Nescastlevania And you (@Nescastlevania) are the winner. Follow the instructions here. http://halfwheel.com/contest-rules

1 month, 3 weeks ago on MBombay Mōra Toro (Prerelease)

Reply

@Patrick Lagreid @JessicaBlastDanon Yes. Also there's some fear that retailers might adjust their minimum orders. Most retailers won't keep just a single box in inventory—unless it's a 100-count tray—regardless of how many cigars are in it in the event that someone wants to buy a box. So many just blindly order two boxes of each size relatively regardless of box counts.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Tatuaje Begins Shipping 10-Count Boxes of El Triunfador & La Riqueza

Reply

@Gooey That, like a good chunk of this info, was not made available to us in the press release.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Barrister Cigars to Get First “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” (Update)

Reply

Congrats to our winner @jakrell.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on 601 La Bomba Warhead II

Reply

@jakrell And you won. Congrats. Details on how to claim your prize are here: http://halfwheel.com/contest-rules

1 month, 3 weeks ago on 601 La Bomba Warhead II

Reply

@atllogix I would stress, in isolation this is a 90-point cigar I think will get ready with time. Compared to the other sizes I smoked, this seems like it will benefit the most from rest, although I'd probably say it was my second favorite of the bunch so far. A lot more depth here than in the other sizes/Maduro line.

2 months ago on Sabor de Estelí Corona

Reply

@Scroni I missed them at IPCPR. Hopefully can buy some next month.

2 months ago on Meerapfels Craft La Estancia

Reply

@JessicaBlastDanon General would be a "winner" (if there is such a thing) if the FDA went after cigars with the toughest regulations. Smaller companies would go out of business while General, Altadis and Davidoff—all of which have money—could acquire things for pennies on the dollar while seeing competition reduced.

2 months ago on Parent of General Cigar Co. Going Public, Swedish Match Expected to Divest

Reply

@Scooch 20ish minutes north of the halfwheel office.

2 months, 1 week ago on Frisco, Texas Makes Tobacco Possession in Parks Illegal

Reply

@MBeane Mel reads the site, perhaps he will respond.

2 months, 1 week ago on MBombay Mōra Near Release

Reply

@JamesHale @Holman A few things.

1. Thanks for your comment. It's helpful for us to know when we make mistakes and we appreciate each time someone points it out.

2. I think we are pretty open to criticism. If we were not, comments like yours would likely be taken down. Our policy from day one has been to leave up critical comments, so long as they do not turn religious/sexist/etc. Everything from constructive criticism to trolling has been allowed without pre-approval and almost all of it remains up on the site. 

I am open to other ideas as to how we could better invite criticism, but I truly believe this is the best format for it, if nothing else—it's the foundation.

3. The mistake in question was actually on me, the person editing Brooks' text. There was a mistake in the first half of the sentence that needed to be corrected. I ended up rewriting the entire sentence because it was easier given the mistake and I missed my typo on my final proof. So that's on me as an editor.


We are going to make mistakes, we understand that. I'd like to think that we should be judged not solely on the mistakes, but also on whether we are getting better on this front. Unfortunately, journalism is not baseball, batting 300 is not an option. Perfection, an unreachable goal, is the standard and mistakes our obviously public.

If you compare where we were to a year ago, we are doing better, but improvement is only a part of the solution. 

For example, when we started to cover the IPCPR show live in 2013, we noticed that there was a mess of typos. The staff is tired, there's lots of content and everyone is rushed—mistakes happen and more importantly, don't get caught. This year, we tried to establish a policy that involved someone else reading posts before they were to be scheduled. Turns out when your editor is rushed and exhausted, the same mistakes happen. At our staff meeting last week we agreed to hire an off-site text editor for next year's show. Will we be typo-free in 2015? Probably not. Will we have a better system in place to identify and correct our errors? Absolutely.

No matter how big your staff is (http://mashable.com/2014/05/29/new-york-times-typo-front-page/) or how detail-oriented you might be (see the first sentence of the second paragraph of your second comment)—we are all going to make mistakes. 

If you think I don't remember your comments about the overuse of the word "shocking," you are mistaken. (I've been conscience of it since and I think my writing reflects some of that.) Nine hours ago, an email went out to the staff regarding overuse of another word, it's one of many emails, texts and conversations we have about our writing on a weekly basis.

Even if someone gave me the option to be 99.9 percent typo-free for a year, I would not take it. I could not take it. It would mean in this particular review, we still would have made a typo. In the course of the year, 99.9 percent correct likely translates to around 1,000 typos given our publishing schedule. It's tough, but it's also our job. 

My hope is we get closer to 100 percent every day. Whether or not you or @Holman believe it, comments like your's definitely help us get closer, so for that, I truly do thank you.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Joel Sherman 75th Celebration

Reply

@Hayblet I would say 90% sit for at least a week. It all depends on how many cigars we have at the moment to review, sometimes things need to ship out quicker than others.

Thanks for the kind words.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

Reply

@gulleyb (continued)


The point about reduxes is an interesting one. What’s intriguing to me is that the reduxes end up averaging out to about the same score as the original review. There are some abnormalities, but in general, the scores are usually within three or four points of the original review and when you add it all up and run the numbers, the cumulative score for reduxes is pretty close to the cumulative score for the original reviews.

In general, we do not seem to find a higher amount of cigars seeming young/fresh in reduxes compared to cigars that were purchased from shelves. I think if we were seeing a trend, or an abnormality, we would definitely rethink our policy. Our biggest concern with prereleases is actually not the age or readiness of them, but rather, the risk the final blend changes before it hits the market. It’s happened before (although I’d argue that every blend changes as time goes on) and that creates an odd situation.

One of the reasons we do prerelease reviews is to help the consumers of this site try and make educated guesses about what cigars they would like to try. Many of the cigars we review, prerelease limited editions, are likely going to be sold out or much more challenging to find two or three weeks after the cigar has hit shelves, so a review would be somewhat less helpful as far as educating purchasing decisions.

Before this site was started, Brooks Whittington would provide reviews without scores of cigars that he considered “preproduction.” These were blends that had not yet been finalized, and as such were subject to change. One of the big problems there was that oftentimes he would describe the cigar as being excellent (see this review http://halfwheel.com/drew-estate-dirty-rat-preproduction) and indicate that it would score very well, but he would refrain from scoring it. This baffled me as a reader of his site and definitely drew some ire from manufacturers that would have loved to have gotten the accolades in numerical form.

My best response to your comment is disclosure. We’ve made it a big part of this site and we like to think that we do about as much disclosure as anyone. Part of that includes disclosing if the samples used were prerelease, and also noting if it was given to us at the show. I wouldn’t say the disclosure is there for a full on “take this review with a grain of salt,” but rather an indication of what we were reviewing. It was a prerelease, a cigar not taken from the shelf of a retailer, a cigar that a consumer might not have had the opportunity to purchase. I’d like to think that more often than not those prerelease samples are identical, but there are times where that’s not going to be the case and honestly, there’s little we can do to identify that with 100 percent accuracy. (If you need an example, look at this review—two samples smoked similar, a third was an outlier.)

There are cigars that are sent to us for private feedback. They are not publicly scored (or even talked about) and we would never cross that line of reviewing something that someone gave to us with explicit instructions not to review. There have been a few cases where poor shipping conditions have raised concerns from the staff and we’ve chosen not to review those samples.

I would love to be able to review all cigars at exactly the same points after they have left an aging room, unfortunately, that remains impossible at this time. It would certainly be more fair, but for reasons mentioned above, it’s not practical. For now, we’ve taken the policy of disclosure, discretion and the idea that if we spend time writing tasting notes and history, the cigar deserves a rating.

I hope that provides some insight into our thinking.  Like I mentioned—we’ve had lengthy debates over most the points you brought up.

There’s no perfect way to review cigars. (Even blind reviews have their faults—how do you review a Flying Pig blind?) We try our best, we try to be honest and we hope that you can find the reviews informative and interesting. 

2 months, 2 weeks ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

Reply

@gulleyb  First of all, thanks for your comment. You raise a lot of good points, many of which we’ve discussed time and time again at halfwheel and some even before halfwheel. As such, this response is quite lengthy, but hopefully it gives you an understanding of where we come down on this issue.

  1. Cigars rarely ever sit/rest/age for the same amount of time. — This is where the art form of cigar making oftentimes overrules the science. Cigar makers will oftentimes go by instinct rather than a numerical equation to resting. Sure, there are some cigars that age for at least a specified amount of time, but there’s few cigars that rest for exactly 183 days before they are shipped to retailers. The variables then get even more convoluted because you have to factor in how long the cigar sat at a warehouse, on the retailers shelves and then in your own humidor. It would be impossible for us to control this like a science, although if given the chance, we certainly would.
  2. Retailers oftentimes make purchasing decisions based on similar samples — Particularly with the IPCPR samples, these are the cigars that manufacturers are willfully handing over to retailers to try to convince them to buy the product. In our opinion, if those samples are good enough for that purpose than they should be good enough for our purposes.
  3. Almost all the samples we review are from the manufacturer — There have been a few occasions where a retailer or someone else has given us a cigar early, but I’d venture to guess that none of the prerelease cigars we’ve reviewed this year have come from a source other than the manufacturer. In that case, they know what they are doing and they are fully aware that there is the potential for a lower score. Some manufacturers choose not to give us prerelease samples (or ask us not to review the samples) for the exact points you mention.
  4. Cigars oftentimes end up on shelves early — You make this point, but it’s worth repeating. There are countless examples of cigars that arrive on shelves way too early. If we purchase a product to review, just like you would, and it is showing lots of youth, we would complete the review in a fashion similar to a cigar showing no youth. We try to treat things as fairly as we can, which means that for every prerelease sample that we smoke that is wonderful, we run the risk of something needing more time.
  5. Sometimes a week makes a difference — The other reality is that most prerelease cigars we review are within a week or so of the release date. IPCPR is perhaps the one time of the year where that does not happen, but otherwise, it’s generally within a 10 day period and oftentimes within 48 hours of the release. A week can make a difference, but for most of the cigars we review—the tobacco has aged for years and the cigars have aged for at least 90 days. We then let them sit for a week in our humidors, so it’s hardly the case that we are reviewing fresh off the bench cigars with relatively young tobacco.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

Reply

@Gooey I really enjoy the original EIROA label. Have not smoked the Maduro yet.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Hechicera Maduro Robusto (Prerelease)

Reply

@JamesHale I can assure you it's not "what we feel like smoking."

Smoking Stogie was dedicated to rare, limited and hard-to-find cigars. As it grew into halfwheel, and as halfwheel expanded, our focus did as well.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

Reply

@Dbell It's listed on Cigar.com.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Daniel Marshall

Reply

@Gooey Yes.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Oettinger Davidoff AG

Reply

@Tom Hejza Thanks. Looks like we fixed that.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

Reply

@Hayblet Yeah. That's what happens when you are photographing a clear humidor.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Oettinger Davidoff AG

Reply

@maxx He was there, as were some unbanded samples, albeit, they weren't actively handing them out. So—not a great thing to photograph. Brooks did shoot a portrait of Hirochi, although our portrait schedule is really backed up.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Cubanacan

Reply

@DavidHolmes1 It's art, functional art. Trying to compare them to a Djeep is a bit comical. Much like trying to compare a Nissan Cube to a Lamborghini is probably not the best idea, even if they both get you from point A to point B.

2 months, 4 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: S.T. Dupont

Reply

@DavidHolmes1 Nope. Andre seemed ready to tell us, but then said he did not want to give us the wrong info and was not sure off the top of his head.

2 months, 4 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Viaje

Reply

@MattyBlayze 2005?

2 months, 4 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Day 0 Recap

Reply

@2tonTeeTon How's this?

3 months ago on IPCPR 2014: Three Things

Reply

Keep the comments clean.

3 months, 1 week ago on Hechicera Maduro Slated for August

Reply

@The Nothing @Charlie Minato Hmm. I think there might be another issue. I can understand complaining about the price, or the fact there's only one size, but the idea that changing the box count solves this is a bit odd to me. If the cigar is good enough, people will buy it.


My concern about Neanderthal more than anything else would be its strength limiting its audience.

3 months, 1 week ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

Reply

@Cigar Assessor @Charlie Minato Yep, with my five-year-old Boss II.

3 months, 1 week ago on Colibri V-Cut

Reply

@The Nothing Don't understand this entirely. The one cabinet is equivalent to bringing in four boxes of any other line the company makes. I don't think the $600 retail minimum order is the average for an account opening up Intemperance—means you are missing sizes, no back stock, etc., not how many retailers (or manufacturers) think.

3 months, 1 week ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

Reply