An introduction

Cigarguide is a website with reviews of cigars from all over the world. Some cigars have been given to me by the blog sponsors, others I have bought or traded or have been gifted to me by friends.

About me: Born in 1972 I started to smoke cigars on a vacation to Singapore and Indonesia december 2005. At Singapore airport we bought some Cohiba Siglo II, Montecristo #4 and Romeo y Julieta tubos #2 which we smoked in Indonesia, every night a cigar and a glass of whisky. I liked that so much that I decided to keep smoking cigars when I got back.

On the way back I maxed out my creditcard at the cigarshop at Singapore airport. Back in The Netherlands I smoked a few cigars a week and noticed different flavor profiles in different cigars. That sparked an interest, before I always thought a cigar was just a cigar, so I started to look for information online and discovered that cigars are just like wine, whisk(e)y, cognac, lots of different flavors depending on the blend, the soil, the tobacco used, the shape and more. Smoking cigars became more than a nice way of spending the evening, it became a passion.

Here I am, a few years later and I visited places I never thought of visiting before I smoked cigars, made lots of new friends both here in The Netherlands as in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Germany, England, Belgium and Asia. I got to meet a few of the key figures in the industry and have even worked as a cigar sales rep. Who could imagine that the handful of cigars I bought halfway across the world would have such an impact on my life, such a positive impact.

Now as for the reviews, those are my reviews, my thoughts and my opinion and mine alone. Maybe you agree with my opinion, maybe you don’t, it doesn’t matter because every single review on every single thing in the world is an opinion and we all have our opinions. I’m just lucky enough to live in a country where I can voice my opinion, unlike a lot of people even in cigar producing countries. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree or have any questions, but keep it respectful.

Categories: Misc | Leave a comment

Taboo Sumatra Churchill

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Taboo Thursday – Taboo Sumatra Churchill

Years ago, and I mean years ago, a minimum of seven years at least, the private label of the Taboo Cigar Bar & Lounge in Texas, was quite popular for a brief time at my favorite cigar forum Cigar Asylum and I did a group buy for some friends and myself when I still did illegal imports, something I now oppose too as I learned how bad it is for the local cigar importers and retailers, and in the end they make it possible for us to enjoy cigars, gain more knowledge, make it possible to try cigars before you buy boxes and in some cases provide a nice lounge to smoke and events to meet fellow aficionados and people from the industry. So in retrospective I regret buying so many cigars online from overseas. But having said that, today I saw a Taboo cigar in my humidor and decided to light it.


The cigar that everybody went mad about was the Taboo Twist, a barber pole cigar. It is a private label, yet the factory where they were made was undisclosed, rumors say it was Oliva but they hardly do private labels so I don’t think that’s true. Actually, when I just checked their website it says the cigars are being made in Honduras, so that makes it certain that it’s not Oliva. Well, at a certain moment Rob, the owner of Taboo, not only sold the Taboo Twist but also a few other blends and even a few limited editions. I grabbed this 7×52 Sumatra from my humidor to smoke. This specific blend isn’t available anymore on their website, but the Twist is just like the Taboo HSG.


The cellophane this cigar came from is staring to discolor as a sign of aging. The Sumatra wrapper is medium dark in color but still has an oily shine and looks pretty and tasty. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is a bit tacky, the round logo looks like fire with silver letters Taboo cigars and the side and back are like diamond plating. The ring is clear, it’s different but it doesn’t score high on my personal scale on how I like a cigar ring to look. The aroma is mild and reminds me of hay and straw.


When I wet the cap I notice a sweet flavor, but the wrapper doesn’t taste sweetened though. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine with a little sweetness on the lips and some dry hay and raisin in my mouth. I taste sweetness and I start to wonder if the wrapper is sweetened after all as it’s a little chemical sweetness. The other flavor is a little musty wood. After an inch I taste some nuts and wood, the sweetness is gone. After a third I taste some pepper with a little metallic flavor and a little nuts. Halfway it’s musty wood again, with a little bit of that metallic flavor and some pepper. After two thirds the pepper gains in strength a bit, with the musty and slightly sweet wood as a base.


The draw is good, but not fantastic. The smoke is medium is volume and thickness. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is good, again not fantastic but good. The strength is medium, just like the flavor. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are not for sale anymore and even if they were I wouldn’t.

Score: 79
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Categories: 79, Honduran cigars, Taboo | Leave a comment

Warped Little Havana Corona Gorda

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Warped Wednesday – Warped Little Havana Corona Gorda

Back in the day, I think it was somewhere in 2007, I joined the Club Stogie board and left when it turned into Puff. The eleven moderators of Club Stogie started Cigar Asylum and I joined there and I’ve been a member since. But back then Kyle Gellis from Warped was just a young entrepeneur, his brand existed but wasn’t really active, he sold some cigars on the board and that was it. He has a small stash and when it was sold out it was sold out, it was more of a hobby than a company back then, or at least, that was my impression.


I’m very impressed with what Kyle did since the last time I’ve seen him at a cigar event at one of the Smoke Inn shops back in 2010 I think. He’s now one of the highest rating boutique brands and that without a huge social media outreach like other small brands. Because I’m not in the USA since he released all his new cigars I haven’t had the chance to smoke them, I did try to convince my previous employer to start distributing the Nicaraguan made Warped blends but he wouldn’t as he isn’t good with boutique brands. But I still have two, almost a decade old, test blends and two, just as old, Warped Little Havana Private blend cigars, one 5.5×44 Corona Grande and one torpedo and I will review the corona grande today on Warped Wednesday.


Now Kyle never confirmed or denied that these cigars were made by El Titan de Bronze but seeing his ties to that factory, the name of the blend and the fact that he did say that these were Miami made cigars I am fairly sure that they are made by Sandy Cobas and her team. The cigar has a beautiful deep dark brown color with beautiful thin veins and just looks mouth watering. The construction feels good, all evenly packed, no soft spots or plugs with a beautiful cap. The ring is simple, just a small back ring with a toxic green colored Warped in a fancy font. On the back side, and I love this detail, it says private blend 8/27/08 so I know exactly when the cigar was made. The aroma is still there after all these years, wood but not the fresh wood kind, a hint of dark chocolate and some floral notes.


I cut the cigar and unfortunately damage the cap because I used the cheap freebie cutter that was in my reach instead of getting up and getting one of my Xikar or Palio cutters. The cold draw is great and has a floral taste with a peppery aftertaste. A vintage cigar needs to be lit with a vintage lighter so I grabbed my Ronson varaflame and lit the cigar. I taste spices like nutmeg, cinnamon with a caramel like sweetness. After a few puffs I taste oak with the spices and a mild peppery aftertaste. After a third I taste peppery floral flavors with a mild cedar. Slowly the spices and cedar get stronger, a little lime shows up too and the pepper is also on the rise. Near the end the floral flavor is back and with some strength. I also taste a little salt


The draw is perfect and so is the smoke. White, thick, plentiful, just the way I like it. The burn isn’t completely straight though. The ash however is firm, and a beautiful light gray. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is great in this complex and extremely well balanced cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, American cigars, Tabacalera El Titan de Bronze, Warped | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Tatuaje Thursday – Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

In 2003 Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars released a cigar with the name Cojonu, which is slang for ‘balsy’ according to my friends of Halfwheel, and that fits the whole Tatuaje brand if you ask me. Now because the cigar had a year on it you could suspect it to be a yearly limited but no, Johnson decided to make a regular release with a new edition every three years, with the Tatuaje Cojonu 2006, Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 and also a regular production under the name Gran Cojonu in big ring gauge and no bands. Now for the 2012 Cojonu Johnson did something special, he not only released the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 with the regular Ecuadorean Habano wrapper but also a box in the shape of a book with Cojonu 2012 with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Sumatra wrapper aka Capa Especial. And its all in the detail, a book contains 24 cigars, 12 Tatuaje Cojonu Broadleaf and 12 Tatuaje Cojonu Capa Especial, to keep the ’12’ theme going, even the cover of the book says it “The Cojonu two 12’s”.


Sadly there was no Tatuaje Cojonu 2015 edition, next time I see Pete I’ll ask why and if there will be a 2018 Cojonu. In retrospect, of all the times Pete and I talked we never spoke about any of the Cojonu cigars as I can recall. And I never heard about them online either, so that might be the answer to the question why there wasn’t a Cojonu 2015. Back to the cigar, which is also called Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva. It has a 6 1/2×50 size and is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper is dark, it feels like velvet and has a little spark of minerals, the veins are hardly noticeable and it gives the cigar a great appearance. The construction, which is slightly box pressed, feels good and the triple cap is very well made. The rings, well, it has the standard brown Tatuaje ring with the flor de lis and white, swirly lettering on thin paper and even though its not fancy, I like the simplicity of the Tatuaje rings. Unfortunately it doesn’t match with the second band which is shiny and black with golden outlines and a straight font saying Cojonu 2012. I wouldn’t have used shiny paper, golden print and a straight font because it doesn’t match the simple style of the regular ring. Now the aroma of the cigar isn’t very strong and much to my surprise a little minty.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and spicy, woody and peppery. Once I lit the cigar with my soft flame lighter I taste coffee with pepper. After three puffs I also taste some sweetness. A centimeter later I taste toasty wood with spices, some pepper and a little bit of sugar. Slowly the sweetness disappears, it’s all toasted wood with pepper and herbs.


After a third I still taste wood, with a toasty touch but also some chocolate. There are also some spices and herbs. Halfway it’s a little burned toast but not in an unpleasant way with pepper, citrus and a little bit of mint. There is still a little hint of cocoa, mildly sweet. Slowly the pepper and spices grow on the tip of my tongue.


The smoke is quite thick and a nice amount of it. The draw is good, not perfect but very good. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight and slow. This is definitely a balsy blend, full bodied and full flavored. There is enough evolution and the balance is good. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few and I enjoy other Tatuaje cigars better, but it’s still a very good cigar.

Score: 90

90

 

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Murcielago Churchill

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Murcielago Monday – Murcielago Churchill

I guess I got this cigar back in 2012 when I met Eric Espinosa at a small party at the Miami cigar lounge El Clique where I was hanging with Frank Herrera, Jonathan Drew, Jorge from Havana Sabor and some friends and since then the brand has disappeared and reappeared but with a rebranded logo and a little changed blend because Espinosa and his business parter Eddie Ortega parted ways after Rocky Patel discontinued distributing EO brands, or maybe Rocky Patel stopped because Eddie and Eric wanted to part ways, I don’t know all I know is that Espinosa now has a great factory, La Zona, in Esteli and gained control over the Murcielago brand.


But since this is the old blend I figure this one comes from the My Father factory where EO brands had their cigars made before La Zona started, but that’s no disqualification because My Father Cigars is one of the best factories in my opinion, yet La Zona is great too, uncomparable by size and location, My Father Cigars is impressive and the flow within the buildings is so well thought off yet La Zona has the charme of an old building, the coziness of a small factory and the best deck in the whole of Esteli to enjoy a cigar although the deck at Drew Estate isn’t too shabby either.


The 7 1/8×48 long cigar looks beautiful yet the Mexican binder in rough and that creates a very uneven surface underneath the oily and dark Mexican San Andres wrapper, that is pretty though without any real veins, just a few baby ones. The construction feels good and the cap is placed perfectly. My initial thought when I saw the ring was ‘Bacardi” because of the red background and the black bat. On top is says espinosa y ortega and murcielago at the bottom surrounded by a golden ring. Simple yet functional, but that Bacardi feel …. i’m not a Bacardi fan, for years I said I didn’t like rum because the only rum I tried was Bacardi and I missed out on some great stuff because of that. The cigar has a medium strong aroma that is a mix between manure and smokey wood, almost charred.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great with a peppery, mild acidic, raisin flavor. Right after lighting I taste coffee with some chocolate. The chocolate is growing a little stronger with pepper and some wood. Suddenly I taste a strong barbecue wood flavor with a hint of chocolate and a strong peppery aftertaste. After a third I also taste some mint with the pepper. Halfway the main flavor is wood with a faint chocolate flavor, with pepper and a fresh aftertaste. The pepper is slowly taking over. The last part starts with a peppery wood with still a faint chocolate. The pepper grows stronger and stronger and it might be the most peppery finish I ever tasted in a cigar.


The draw is great, the smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light colored ash is dense and quite firm. The burn is great, straight as an arrow. This is a full bodied and full flavored cigar, Nicaragua at its strongest but well balanced. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I need to smoke the new blend, but would love some of these old ones too.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Murcielago, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A full week of reviews

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Categories: Misc | Leave a comment

Nicoya Fuerte Robusto

In January I wrote a review about a new brand, Nicoya, and I smoked the Nicoya Medio, the milder of the two lines that the Australian entrepreneur and cigar aficionado Gerard Hayes has made by A.J. Fernandez in the Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. As for the name, as I wrote back in January, according to Hayes the name is chosen to praise the Nicaraguans yet there are others that claim that Nicaraguans aren’t called Nicoya but it’s a piece of Costa Rica that used to be Nicaraguan. As I said back then, I’m not an expert and not knowledgable enough to pick sides so I’m just gonna leave it there.


The Nicoya Fuerte only comes in one size 5×52 that Hayes picked because its the most popular size when it comes to sales and it can be smoked is a reasonable time. The filler is all Nicaraguan while the binder and wrapper are Ecuadorean habano, or Sun Grown as we call that in Europe since the Cubans were able toe trademark “habano” and “cuba” even though international laws clearly state you can’t trademark a country. As I take the cigar out of the cellophane I smell a very strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia. The wrapper, that is dark like dark oak feels very silky. The construction feels good with a beautifully rounded single cap. The ring is amazing, very simple, 2 smaller and one bigger purple circle with a white N in the middle circle and white lions in the smaller circles and white lettering Nicoya Cigars Esteli Nicaragua on the silver borders. The back of the ring are wing shaped and thats a nice detail.


I punched the cigar, the ring gauge is 52 so big enough to punch. The cold draw is surprisingly easy and has a little raisin and a lot of pepper. After I used my trusted Ronson to light the cigar I taste a strong coffee with pepper. After a centimeter I taste coffee, less strong as in the beginning, with some leather, spice and a little citrus. After an inch I also taste cocoa and the pepper is back full force. The citrus gained more strength. Halfway it’s leather, cedar, pepper and now a mild citrus mix of flavors. Soon after I taste dark chocolate, like the 72% dark chocolate and the pepper is habanero. Every now and then I also taste hints of vanilla. The finish is a solid coffee again, more towards espresso to be precise.


The smoke is amazing, so thick, so full and so much, the maximum amount of points there and my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great, just a tiny bit loose. The ash is light gray and firm, it’s dense too. The burn is good, not perfect but also not touch ups needed. This cigar is full bodied, no question about that, and full flavored. The flavors also linger around for a long time. The smoke time is a solid hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, although the Nicoya Medios is a bit more balanced. This is an after barbecue cigar.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicoya, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind half a box.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

La Flor de Cano Casanova RE Italy

I worked in several industries from pharmaceutical to the entertainment industry and the cigar industry. While in most industries its just work and once you’re gone you’re out of sight and out of mind, the cigar industry is different. You form friendships and connections that last even when you leave the industry, weather its on free will or not. And this cigar is proof of that. How you might ask? Well, I got this cigar from Yuri Dijkstra, owner of the La Casa del Habano Almere, probably the most beautiful shop in The Netherlands and trust me, I’ve seen them all. I’m not a big fan of Cuban cigars, so me saying this about a La Casa del Habano means a lot. But him giving me a cigar isn’t proof of the bonding you do in the cigar industry. Oh, and to add, the day he gave me the cigar this Regional Edition of Italy was only released a few days before.


I saw Yuri at the funeral of Berry van Nugteren, owner of Van Lookeren Cigars in Amsterdam (if you’re ever in Amsterdam, visit them, great people, fantastic lounge). Berry was not just a shop owner but always looking for ways to elevate the whole game in The Netherlands, helping others, having a vision for the future and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He kept fighting, not just for his health, but also to grow the market for everybody. I met Berry years before, as an account, but I visited him at home to smoke a cigar when he was ill and unable to go to the shop, he lend me his Porsche Cayenne when I had to drive Andre Farkas, Abe & Judy Flores and myself with our luggage to Intertabac and hardly fit into my Volvo V40, he visited me at my private lounge in my home to smoke a few cigars and even though I lost my job in the industry we stayed in touch and I visited his funeral where I ran into Yuri. Yuri is very partial to Cubans while I’m all about Nicaragua, yet we formed a friendship too that exists even after he sold his shop and started a La Casa del Habano where I had nothing to sell to, so it’s not about business and that makes the cigar industry so great.


Even though this cigar was released mid april 2017, it is the 2016 Edicion Regional for Italy, a petit robusto, 4 1/3×50 sized for the La Flor de Cano brand and is dubbed Casanova after the legendary ladies man. The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a spark of minerals, a mild shine and no big veins. I can see a big vein on the binder though. When I look at the foot of the cigar it looks very well packed and it feels the same way which makes me worry about the draw, something I do anyway with Cuban cigars. The ring is a new design, much better than the old one. A white ring with golden details and a red circle with the old logo in gold. It looks clean, sharp and is very clear. I am digging this new ring a lot. The secondary ring is the regular exclusivo ring we have seen for the last 12 years. Much to my surprise I don’t smell ammonia in this young cigar but pure manure.


I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight so I decided to cut instead which only improved the draw by a little bit. I taste a sharp and spicy raisin flavor. One I lit the cigar I taste a mildly harsh leather with a mild chocolate sweetness. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and a faint chocolate. Halfway I taste nuts, salt and pepper. The cigar is gaining strength with an almost Nicaraguan, original Don Pepin twang pepper.


The draw is good, better than the cold draw and the tightly packed construction suggested. The smoke is medium in body and volume. The ash is quite dark and firm and there are white spots on the dark ash. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored, strong for a Cuban.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a Cuban that I would love to smoke more often.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Flor de Cano (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

RomaCraft Wunder|Lust Robusto

Back in early 2014, on a Flor de Cana infused night at the infamous club Cigar Zone in Esteli, Nicaragua my friend Pedro Gomez Rodriguez from Drew Estate introduced me to a friend of his, Skip Martin from Roma Craft, a company that was very under the radar for me back then, I mean read about the atlatl but that was about it. Skip gave me one of his cigars, the La Campaña de Panamá Sombrero, and instantly I was a fan. Little over a year later I returned to Esteli and contacted Skip, but he was in the hospital in Managua and wouldn’t return to Esteli in the time I was there. But on my last night in Nicaragua I was staying in a hotel in Managua and much to both Skip’s and my surprise I ran into Skip, his girlfriend and his daughter the moment I walked out my room. It goes without saying we ended up smoking a few great cigars that night.


Later that year Skip send me a message he was coming to Amsterdam and Germany the last few weeks of the year and he would arrive in Amsterdam on the 24th. Now I live very close to Amsterdam so that evening I picked Skip and his beautiful girlfriend up, we went for dinner and smoked a RomaCraft Wunderlust pre-release cigar. The next day his German distributer, Annemarie Schuster, joined us and since it was impossible to find a restaurant and a place to smoke on Christmas we ended up with takeaway Chinese at my place and spending the night smoking cigars in my man-cave. It was probably the best Christmas ever, not spending it with an official dinner at the in laws but just chilling with 3 like minded people enjoying a few drinks and a lot of cigars.


And Skip left some Wunderlust pre release cigars for me to enjoy.

Now there has been some talks about the cigar on the internet, mostly about the undisclosed filler. Skip admitted using tobacco from the storage of the Schuster family, that not only distribute premium cigars on the German market (next to RomaCraft they also distribute La Flor Dominicana and Casa Turrent) but they also produce dry cigars for several European countries, for the filler and rumors are that he is using Cuban tobacco for it, something Skip doesn’t admit or deny. The binder and wrapper are no secret, as a binder Skip uses a Indonesian Besuki and the wrapper is a Brazilian Mata Fina.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark, oily and with some tooth, the triple cap is one of the most beautiful I have seen and the construction feels flawless. The aroma is a deep, characterful manure aroma, medium strong. The cigar has the pre-release ring, and I must admit, I haven’t seen pictures of the cigar without the ‘pre-release’ lettering, so I can only rate this ring. Its a simple ring like you see more often at pre-release cigars but instead of a simple piece of paper RomaCraft decided to go for a better quality of paper with, if you look closely, a structure with millimeter thick squares. On the back they printed the RomaCraft logo in black and on the front it ways Wunder|Lust pre-release. For those that wonder what the name is about, its a mix between the german “wunder” what means wonder and wanderlust.

I punched the cigar to find a good cold draw with a dark chocolate, mint and raisin flavor. Now if I would do this cigar Skip Martin style I would simply write ‘I taste well fermented tobacco’ but I’ll do it my way. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame and taste coffee with a little citrus. There is a toast flavor too, a little harsh but in a pleasant way. Pretty quickly the cigar becomes peppery with a hint of mild chocolate. Halfway it’s more of the same pepper, not overpowering though, with a little citrus and some leather. And the leather could be the reason why people suspect Cuban tobacco being used. The leather is getting stronger and I also taste some toast, the pepper is still there.
The smoke is thick and white, there is a lot of it too. The draw is perfect. The dense ash is very white. The burn is razorsharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and 10 minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Only for sale in Germany, so I guess I’ll have to step in the car soon and drive to Cigarworld in Dusseldorf or the Whisky & Cigar Salon in Gronau and get myself a box

Score: 93
93

Other RomaCraft reviews:
09-13-2015 RomaCraft La Campaña de Panama Sombrero

Categories: 93, Nica Sueno, Nicaraguan cigars, RomaCraft | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro

I knew Riste, the man behind Jas Sum Kral, from Facebook and when he released his first batch of the Jas Sum Kral Red Knight, just in a toro size back then, he send a few to Hans van de Witteboer, the owner of Piet van Kuyk Cigars in Eindhoven with the instruction to give me one the next time I visited Hans’s shop. So my next visit as a salesman Hans gave me the cigar and it blew me away, what an amazing cigar. I talked to my boss about this, he didn’t like the story on the Jas Sum Kral website and wasn’t even close to being interested in importing and distributing the cigars. I did though, so once Riste decided to do some line extensions I calculated the fixed prices for The Netherlands based upon his export prices, pre-sold 40+ boxes in just 5 shops and went back to my employer who then quickly made a deal with Riste.


Now I won’t bother you with the story on the name of the cigar, how it was blended, as this cigar has had so much buzz on social media that everybody will probably know it and if not, google is your best friend. And all the social media buzz is well deserved considering all the ‘top 10/25’ lists of 2016 as Jas Sum Kral is mentioned in a lot of them which is quite remarkable for such a new and small brand, thats not being sold in a lot of shops yet, but if the FDA doesn’t screw the cigar industry up that will change, mark my words and it his slipstream other cigars rolled by Noel Rojas in his Tabacalera NOA in Esteli, like Ohana and Prendelo will follow. Now I don’t mention Rojas his own brands Rojas Reserva, Guayacan and Sabor de Esteli because they already have a wider spread in location. Even though the cigars are rolled at Tabacalera NOA, Riste blended the Jas Sum Kral himself.


When I release the 6×52 toro from the cellophane coat I feel a leathery Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that has a few veins and some sparkling from minerals. The construction feels great and the cigar has a close foot and a very pretty pigtail, this shows some skills from the rollers at the NOA factory. The ring, designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim is a piece of art, burgundy with gold, very detailed with lions and lots of small decorations.  When you think of it, the cigars are blended by a Macedonian American, rolled by a Cuban that has a company in Nicaragua and the ring is designed by a Singaporean, this cigar is the epiphany of globalization. The aroma is medium strong and has a little charred wood mixed with manure smell.


Because of the pigtail I decided to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine considering the closed foot and I taste mild black tea and a stronger pepper flavor. Once I lit the cigar I taste some leather with blueberry and pepper, with a little fresh aftertaste. After a few puffs I taste some spices with the berries and the fresh aftertaste. After half an inch i taste a little more pepper with toast, some sweetness and a little spice. After an inch i taste more toasted bread with some cinnamon. I get a dry feeling in the back of my throat and still a bit berry and pepper. Then the berry changes into creamy chocolate. After a third I taste cedar with toast, pepper, chocolate and herbs with the creamy chocolate as the strongest. Halfway it’s chocolate with pepper and herbs. Slowly some spices show up again. The chocolate disappears and I taste cedar with spices and pepper, the flavor is amazing. The pepper is gaining strength but the background cedar and spices are still amazing.


The draw is good, just a little bit tight but all within margins. The smoke could be a little thicker but there is enough smoke. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is as straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored, well balanced with a lot of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not complain if this was the only cigar I was allowed to smoke for the rest of my life.

Score: 95
95

Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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