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

2 days, 3 hours ago on CLE Adds Signature Series PLdM

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@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.

4 days, 4 hours ago on Barrister Cigars to Get First “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” (Update)

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Congrats to the winner @fritolaye 

6 days, 9 hours ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

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

6 days, 9 hours ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

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Congrats to the winner @Nescastlevania.

6 days, 9 hours ago on MBombay Mōra Toro (Prerelease)

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

6 days, 9 hours ago on MBombay Mōra Toro (Prerelease)

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@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.

6 days, 23 hours ago on Tatuaje Begins Shipping 10-Count Boxes of El Triunfador & La Riqueza

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

1 week ago on Barrister Cigars to Get First “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” (Update)

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Congrats to our winner @jakrell.

1 week, 1 day ago on 601 La Bomba Warhead II

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

1 week, 1 day ago on 601 La Bomba Warhead II

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@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.

1 week, 5 days ago on Sabor de Estelí Corona

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

1 week, 6 days ago on Meerapfels Craft La Estancia

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@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 weeks, 1 day ago on Parent of General Cigar Co. Going Public, Swedish Match Expected to Divest

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@Scooch 20ish minutes north of the halfwheel office.

3 weeks ago on Frisco, Texas Makes Tobacco Possession in Parks Illegal

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

3 weeks, 1 day ago on MBombay Mōra Near Release

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@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.

3 weeks, 4 days ago on Joel Sherman 75th Celebration

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@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.

1 month ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

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@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. 

1 month ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

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@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.

1 month ago on 90 Miles R.A. Nicaragua Lancero (Prerelease)

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

1 month ago on Hechicera Maduro Robusto (Prerelease)

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@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.

1 month ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

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@Dbell It's listed on Cigar.com.

1 month ago on IPCPR 2014: Daniel Marshall

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@Tom Hejza Thanks. Looks like we fixed that.

1 month ago on JOYA RED Robusto (Prerelease)

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

1 month ago on IPCPR 2014: Oettinger Davidoff AG

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@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.

1 month ago on IPCPR 2014: Cubanacan

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@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.

1 month, 1 week ago on IPCPR 2014: S.T. Dupont

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@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.

1 month, 1 week ago on IPCPR 2014: Viaje

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@MattyBlayze 2005?

1 month, 1 week ago on IPCPR 2014: Day 0 Recap

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@2tonTeeTon How's this?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on IPCPR 2014: Three Things

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Keep the comments clean.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Hechicera Maduro Slated for August

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@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.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Colibri V-Cut

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@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.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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@driver Agreed. My first reaction as well.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on RoMa Craft Tobac Prepares Neanderthal for Release

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@Cigar Assessor XIKAR changed the v-cut game as well. That blade style was popularized by them. I'll agree after a year of use the end becomes loose, but the blade and cut itself aren't really where I'd start complaining. 

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Colibri V-Cut

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@CigarAssessor Colibri bias aside—calling the XIKAR a $5 cutter is a bit much.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Colibri V-Cut

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Contest closed, congrats to the winner @Arghtwo.

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition (Prerelease)

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

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition (Prerelease)

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@Lenny M Thanks Lenny. One day I'm going to write something about the Pudgy Monsters without screwing up the numbers. One day.

2 months ago on Tatuaje Drac

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@JessicaBlastDanon I'm not sure how to make it much clearer without drawing a picture. But yes, when there are relationships we try to point them out, see: http://halfwheel.com/cao-extreme-returns-cigars-international

2 months, 1 week ago on Cigar Federation Store Launches Factory Direct Series With Project 7 by Noel Rojas

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@MisterBastahrd Yeah. That was odd. Not sure what happened with the responsive code.

2 months, 1 week ago on Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker

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@maxx There are some things that still don't make sense to me. I asked questions and got responses, but they were not terribly satisfying. I think the factory change is enough to resolve some of those questions.

2 months, 1 week ago on Buena Vista Relaunches

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@AceAce Yes. A good portion of the cigar companies that use Colombian tobacco call it "Peruvian." There is a perceived stigma regarding Colombian tobacco, so they just lie. Used to (and still does a bit) happen with Mexican tobacco, which no one wanted to admit to using because there was a belief amongst cigar makers that no one would buy something with Mexican tobacco it. 

2 months, 2 weeks ago on CAO America Sinister Sam

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@WMThorne Thanks for catching that.

2 months, 2 weeks ago on Tatuaje Ships Pudgy Monsters

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