Monthly Archives: September 2017

Cigar of the month September

It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to publish my list. What’s the best cigar I rated this month and what’s the worst?

The cigar with the highest rate in September  is:

My Father Commemorate 911 Rosado Habano

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) My Father Commemorate 911 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Torpedo (Honduras) 93 points
3) La Flor Dominicana Airbender Lancero (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Rocky Patel Royale Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Undercrown Shade Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF (Dominican Republic) 90 points
8) H. Upmann Mag 46 (Cuba) 89 points
9) Bunch Toro (Nicaragua) 88 points
10) Vega Fina Summum 2013 Toro (Dominican Republic) 87 points
11) Bunch Robusto (Nicaragua) 84 points
12) Amero Short Robusto (Dominican Republic) 82 points
13) Bunch Short Robusto (Nicaragua) 82 points

 

 

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Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

Last march I published a review of the Undercrown Flying Pig, original release, and it became the Cigar of the month march. Soon after that someone with ties either to Drew Estate or their local distributer Royal Agio contacted me (I of course know who he is and for whom he works, but I won’t disclose that information on his request) and asked me if he could use that review since the cigar was being re-released in The Netherlands and that was fine by me, as it would help promote my blog too so a fine win-win.


During our chat he asked me if I had smoked the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and since they haven’t been released in The Netherlands I could only reply negative. He offered to send me one as a thank you which I gladly accepted. A few months earlier I would have declined due to the wrapper but recently I’ve been starting to enjoy Connecticut Shade wrappers and this cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Sumatra binder and filler from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Not too long after a package arrived with 2 Balmoral Anejo Lanceros (cigar of the month May), two Kentucky Fire Cured Robusto and two of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pigs.


Lets start with the construction, it is immaculate and there are bonus points for the unique shape.  I love the little bomb size with the pig tail. The name is an inside joke, when Drew Estate started a lof of people in the industry said that “this company will make it when pigs fly” so after Drew Estate became an established company JD decided to name a cigar ‘Flying Pig” as a nod to the people that expected him to fail. The wrapper is pale with quite some shine and a few veins. I love the ring, I like the color scheme better than on the original Underground. The ring is white with the logo and all the details in gold and a second white ring with a golden outline and golden letters Shade. The ring print quality is high too. The aroma quite strong for a Connecticut Shade cigar with hints of straw, hay, leafs and grass.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter since punching wasn’t an option due to the pig tail. The cold draw is fantastic and tastes like raisin and hay. After lighting I taste a earthy flavor with a hint of pepper. I also taste some freshness and sweetness. After a third the cigar gets spicy and quite strong for a Shade cigar. I still taste the earthy flavor but with a little mustiness that belongs to Connecticut Shade wrappers with some lemon, salt and a strong pepper aftertaste. These flavors stick with the cigar till the end.


The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick and a lot of it. And I love it. The draw is great, almost perfect. The burn needed a little touch up though. The white ash is firm and beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, stronger than I expected from a Connecticut Shade cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? They aren’t available here, and I prefer the Undercrown Flying Pig but this is a good stick.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I love this industry

I mentioned it a few times, I used to work in the cigar industry as a sales rep, in The Netherlands and that’s not one of the biggest markets out there. And because of my work I met a lot of cigar manufacturers, either in Europe or at their factories in Nicaragua.

What strikes me, amazes me actually, is the way the manufacturers treat me and that amazed me again last weekend at Intertabac. I mean, I was just a sales rep in a small country yet when I walked onto the trade show floor A.J. Fernandez spotted me and started waving at me trying to get my attention instead of the other way around, José Oliva whom I hadn’t seen in years walks up to me, at the Cigar Journal award show Alejandro Turrent walks over to me to say hi instead of the other way around, Frederik Vandemeliere (J. Cortes) takes a selfie with me on his phone and a few years ago Nick Perdomo tapped me on my shoulder to introduce his wife Janine to me. Those are just a few of the times where I thought “this should be the other way around”.

I love this industry, I love the warmth, the people, I made real friends in the years that I was lucky enough to be part of this industry.

Here are a few pictures I took at Intertabac, I missed a lot of photo opportunities because I usually don’t like them, but hey, once in a blue moon right?

 

And a big thank you for Sam Morales & Jessi Flores for hooking me up with two unique pieces of art for my man cave

Categories: Misc | Leave a comment

H. Upmann magnum 46

Some time ago my buddy Nasier, who works at one of the best tobacconists in Amsterdam and the one with the coolest lounge Van Lookeren, came to dinner (red lentil soup, chicken fajitas and a mango puree with whipped cream and roasted almond shavings if you wondered what I prepared) and we smoked a few cigars. He gifted me this H. Upmann 46 from July 2014 that I saved for a review and a Ramon Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto Edicion Regionales Paises Bajos which I smoked on the spot.

 


Now many of you don’t know this, and might not even expect this since I’ve shown a preference to Nicaraguan tobacco on almost every occasion I get, but I started out with Cuban cigars on a trip to Asia, at Singapore Changi airport I bought some Cohiba, Montrecristo and Romeo y Julieta cigars that I all smoked during my stay in Indonesia and on my way back I maxed out my creditcard on singles and fivers at the airport again on Cuban cigars. Once I smoked all them I went online and bought my first full box: H. Upmann Coroja Major, the ones in the silver tubes before they restyled them. I still have a soft spot for that brand, even thought I hardly smoke Cubans anymore and think they are overrated and overpriced. There is no denying that Cuban cigars once were the best but that ship has sailed for now and as a lover of the leaf I dislike that a lot, it would be better for everybody if the Cubans raised to the level they once reached.

 


Now back to this cigar, it has a milk chocolate brown colored wapper with a mild shine. And I am worried since there is a little bulge near the head of the cigar that could possibly be a plug. The aroma is faint, a bit of a forrest in the fall aroma with lots of intensity. The cigar has a double ring, the bottom ring is a bright red ring with white pinstripes and white lettering saying Magnum 46 and some gold colored decorative figures. The top ring is white with golden outlines and a red circle that shows the H Upmann logo with white letters and gold colored decoration. The gold really pops, its a well printed ring and since they used the same red in both rings they match very well.

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is good, a little on the tight side but still good so my fear that there would be a plug was unfounded. I can’t get a real taste from the cold draw. My trusted vintage Ronson helped me light the cigar. The first thing I taste is leather with some coffee. After a centimeter I also taste a honey like sweetness with the leather and the coffee.

The wrapper cracks open in one side which hasn’t happened to me for a long time, must be a construction error. The flavor has changed to cedar with leather and a herbal flavor. Halfway the cigar gets a little stronger with leather with a little spice and a fresh aftertaste. After three quarters I taste a mild chocolate and freshness on a bed of cedar and a little bit of pepper.

 


The cigar produces a medium amount of quite thin smoke. The ash is light gray with black smears. The ash is also dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar is subtle and well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s a good cigar but Cubans aren’t my thing anymore.

Score: 89

89

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos), H. Upmann Factory | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rocky Patel Royale Robusto

Back in the day, while I was working for a cigar distributer I ran into Rocky Patel at Intertabac. At that time Rocky didn’t have a distributer in The Netherlands, a small player was interested but I snatched Rocky away from him and brought him to us. And we did quite alright, Rocky wasn’t our biggest selling brand but it was getting momentum and we did some great events with his European director Kolja Kukuk and even Rocky managed to do a few events in The Netherlands and it was always fun.


One of the cigars I smoked most was this Rocky Patel Royale, made in his Nicaraguan factory, a factory I visited, with an Ecuadorean Sumatra wrapper and filler tobacco from Nicaragua and Honduras. This cigar made it to the top 10 of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 a few years ago and I did do a review of the toro some time ago but have never reviewed the robusto and never done a review with my 100 point scoring system so here we go.


When I release the 5×52 box pressed cigar from the cellophane I notice a beautiful, dark, mild toothy and oily wrapper that just looks amazing. The construction fels great and the triple cap looks good too. The ring is beautiful, golden with a dark reddish brown color writing and RP logo although the print quality could be a little better around the letters. The second, smaller ring, is in the exact same style and says Royale. Simple yet tasteful. And the aroma is strong and a classic stable and barnyard smell.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect and flavorful. I taste hay, raisin and wood. After lighting I taste coffee and peanuts. Slowly I start tasting herbs and pepper too while the coffee disappears. After a third it’s spicy green herbs with some peanut, salt and pepper. Halfway there is a stronger nut, not just peanuts, flavor with a hint of chocolate and still the green herbs with some white pepper. The pepper slowly builds up to a nice and strong flavor.


The draw is fantastic, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is thick and full. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is good yet not perfect. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again?  Yes, I will always have some in stock.

Score: 92
number92

 

Categories: 92, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jas Sum Kral in The Netherlands

Last weekend Riste Riatevski, owner from the Jas Sum Kral brand was in The Netherlands for the Dutch Big Smoke, other guests were Alex Svensson (Cigar.com), George Sosa (Alec Bradley), Abe Flores (PDR), Juan Martinez (Joya de Nicaragua) and Tom Mulder (La Sagrada Familia).

Because of my friendship with Riste we hung out and I acted as his host and driving during the few days he spend here. We made a short movie about the JSK trip.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Amero Short Robusto

Amero, a Norwegian brand made in the Dominican Republic. You might think, hey, that sounds familiar and you are right, its the same Norwegian guy that own Viking cigars and his first attempt to make it in the industry was a collaboration with Willis Cabrera of the now also defunct Cabreras cigars. Together they made Amero, Chess and Hawk cigars.


Before the collaboration fell apart I met Hawk at the Intertabac trade show and he gave me a few samples to try, this Amero short robusto is the last of them so why not say goodbye with a review right?  Since the cigar never took off and the company is defunct I can not find any information about the blend, except that they used 2 to 3 year old tobacco to produce the cigar.


I like the 4×50 size, the cigar looks so cute as my wife would say and the little pig tail adds to the cuteness. The medium dark brown wrapper looks okay, it has a few veins. The ring is nice, green with the image of the American dollar bill where all the conspiracy theories are about and then Amero written in shiny golden letters. The construction feels good and like I said, the pig tail finishes the cigar. The cigar has a mild aroma that is a mix between acid and cinnamon.


I cut the cigar with a double blade guillotine cutter. The cold draw is fine and taste like spicy raisins. After lighting I taste a mild bitter coffee flavor. After half an inch I taste a mildly harsh cinnamon. Halfway I taste cinnamon and peper, slightly harsh. The final third starts harsh with pepper and cedar.


The draw is good, the smoke is thick and huge in volume. The ash is medium gray, layered and reasonable firm. The burn is good. The cigar is medium, both in strength and in flavor. The smoke time is forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t.

Score: 82
number82

Categories: 82, Amero, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Cabreras | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

La Flor Dominicana Airbender Villano Lancero

My previous employer was, for some time that I worked there, the distributor of La Flor Dominicana and through my work I had the pleasure to meet Litto both in my home country of The Netherlands, in Germany during the Intertabac trade shows and in the United States where Litto went out of his way a few times and cut into his secret family time to meet me for a lunch. That’s where I also met his sons, Litto jr and Antonio, who’s now heavily involved in the business as a blender of the Capitulo, Chapter and La Nox lines
While I was employed with that company La Flor Dominicana released the ‘airbender’ series, some say its named after Litto’s favorite Avatar  cartoon character but according to Litto the name comes from the fact that we bent the air when we smoke.


We carried 3 sizes and once they released the lancero the begging started. Me begging my employer that is. I love lanceros while my previous employer hates them as they are hard to sell. Eventually he caved, ordered 40 boxes, which I all sold. Well, I sold 38 to accounts and bought 2 myself. The cigar is made of Dominican filler and binder, all from the La Flor Dominicana farms wrapped in an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper.


The wrapper is nice and dark, shiny with a leathery look. The construction feels good and the cigar is well made with a nice pigtail to top. There is a mild aroma that smells a bit like an open field early in the morning, right around sunrise when the dew is still lingering. The ring has a black oval in the centre with the curly LFD letters in gold surrounded by golden leaves on a medium brown background. On the bottom is says La Flor Dominicana in white and air bender in golden letters right above an Egyptian looking golden decoration. Next to the LFD logo, on both sides, there are two ninja swords in white and a small golden tobacco leaf. The ring is well printed on good quality paper.


Due to the small ring gauge and the pig tail I have no choice but to cut the cigar and I used my Xikar to do so. The cold draw is perfect and peppery. My trusted Ronson was used to light the cigar. I instantly taste espresso with a little chocolate aftertaste. After a centimeter I taste vanilla, cocoa, pepper and a little lemon. After a third it’s mainly pepper with just a little bit vanilla and some leather with a lemonade aftertaste. Halfway I also taste a little bit of sweetness but the pepper is still very dominant with leather as the main support. The pepper remains dominant but the leather disappears, just like the sweetness. Only the nice citrus flavor remains in the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste a little spice too, cumin to be more precise. Slowly I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and full but the ash is quite dark and a bit flaky yet still firm. The draw is perfect. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored and quite well balanced. The burn is sharp. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? It’s no longer available on the dutch market but I still have a box left.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, La Flor Dominicana, Tabacalera La Flor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

VegaFina Sumum 2013

VegaFina, a brand owned by Altadis and made on the Dominican Republic at Casa de Garcia. Now I did smoke a few of the regular VegaFina cigars and was totally unimpressed by those mild and boring Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars that had nothing to offer for me so when someone handed me this 6×55 Sumum 2013 limited edition it ended up in my humidor as I steered away from it just because of the brand name. But now that I’m smoking from my humidor, assorted box by assorted box, for review purposes I ended up with this VegaFina Sumum 2013 as one of the last cigars from the box I wanted to be empty. So here it goes.


While googling the cigar for some information I read something that sparked my interest, the wrapper of the cigar is Cameroon and that is probably my favorite wrapper on the market. I just love the spiciness of it. The binder comes from Nicaragua and the filler is from both Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Only 20.000 of these cigars were made, 2000 boxes of 10 cigars, so on hindsight it was a very nice gift that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. I’m sorry for that.


The cigar has a medium brown wrapper with very fine tooth and a few veins. Like all Cameroon wrappers it is quite thin. The construction feels good but the head isn’t perfectly round and the cap is a bit sloppy. The aroma is quite strong and all I can say is: manure. The cigar has two rings and they don’t match, the main ring is silver gray with a black lane and gray letters on the side. The front has a black circle with VegaFina logo in silver. The second rind has the same gray outlines with a black line added but the rest of the ring is a dark orange with black letters and doesn’t fit the main ring. The print quality is high though.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine without a real flavor. After lighting I taste coffee with some pepper and sugar. After half an inch I taste a nice mild nutty flavor with spices and a faint vanilla. After an inch I taste the herbal spice that the Cameroon wrapper is known for with some wood. Halfway it’s cedar with a lot of pepper. The final third starts with nuts and pepper.


The draw is is great. The ash is amazing, light colored and very dense, also firm. The smoke is medium thick, could be thicker. The draw is fantastic. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even a Cameroon wrapper can save a VegaFina.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Father 9/11 Ecuador Rosado Habano Robusto

As we all know, on september 11th 2001 the western world got shocked by an attack on our freedom by terrorists. The World Trade Centre in New York City was targeted by two airplanes and in the chaos 3000 people lost their life, including 343 brave fire fighters who came to the rescue. 10 years later My Father Cigars and Casa de Montecristo teamed up to commemorate their brave offer with a limited edition box, 343 made, with 9 Ecuadorean Rosado Habano and 11 Nicaraguan Habano Oscar wrapped cigars and all the proceedings from this box went to charity. I was lucky enough to buy a box of a fellow aficionado in need of some cash a few months later. I had smoked a few but never reviewed one, and there isn’t a more appropriate day than today.


The box, white with a custom logo that looks like a fire fighters batch with the twin towers on the shield says “we will never forget” both on the top as on the front of the box and it is hand numbered. My box in box 233 of 343. inside there is a piece of paper with the following text: ‘In tribute of the fallen heroes o 9/11 and in the spirit of remembrance, honor and hope My Father Cigar Company and Casa de Montecristo join to comemorate the 10th anniversary of the 343 fallen firefighters of 9/11. Presenting our special limited production blend of My Father Cigars with 9 Ecuadorian Habano Rosado and 11 Nicaraguan Habano Oscar in each box. 343 boxes are produced to honor the 343 fallen firefighter heroes’.


The cigars are naked, and with that I mean that except for cellophane, they have no rings. Now usually I give points for rings too, that is impossible now so instead I gave points for the box and the whole thought behind this limited edition and just because of that I have given it the full 50 points. The cigars can only be kept apart by the color of the wrapper, and thats only a slight color difference. The wrapper is quite dark with a little tooth, a long thin vein and some oil, it looks beautiful but a ring would have finished it. The construction is immaculate, the triple cap is flawless and the cigar has a strong barnyard aroma, even after 6 years I still smell some ammonia.


I punched the cigar and when I try the cold draw, which is flawless, I taste a very spicy, peppery and acidic flavor. The first flavors I taste after I lit the cigar with my soft flame are dark roast black coffee with some toast. Quickly some sugar appears with spices. After an inch the flavors have changed to coffee, nutmeg, pepper, a hint of cocoa and some citrus. Then all of a sudden the flavors change to toast, pepper and chocolate with a citrus aftertaste. And after that I taste nuts with pepper. After two thirds the pepper becomes the main flavor.


The draw is great, quite flawless. The ash is rough, silver gray in color with black smears but it’s firm. The burn is a little crooked. The smoke is quite thick and plenty in amount. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish! I hope My Father releases this blend as a new regular line.

Score: 94
94

Categories: 94, My Father, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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