Monthly Archives: March 2018

Cigar of the month March

Last month I reviewed 15 cigars and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst, and the worst was really terrible. One of the lowest ranking cigars on my blog ever!

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Don Lino Africa Kifaro with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Don Lino Africa Kifaro (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
3) Casa Fernandez Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Aurora Para Japon Sumo (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Liga Privada #9 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Montecristo Half Corona (cuba) 90 points
7) C.A.O. Anaconda (Honduras) 90 points
8) Viking Horseman Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
11) Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan (Honduras) 86 points
12) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Herencia (Nicaragua) 80 points
13) Avo XO Intermezzo (Dominican Republic) 79 points
14) Avo Dominant 13th Toro (Dominican Republic) 79 points
15) Di Grisogno For Women Only Corona (Dominican Republic) 73 points

 


 

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Micallef Herencia

The second cigar that I’m smoking of this brand, I got it at intertabac. And let’s go a little deeper into the brand. Micallef is a cooperation between two families, the Micallef family and the Gomez Sanchez family. The Gomez Sanchez family entered the tobacco industry in 1934 in Cuba when the patriarch of the family started working in a tobacco factory in Pinar del Rio at age 11. He worked for some well known factories like H. Upmann before fleeing Cuba and ending up on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.


His daughter in law, Migdalia Sanchez, also had a background in tobacco and was so knowledgable that Habanos send her to conventions all over the world. She too fled the country and both her and the rest of the family ended up in Mexico where they continued growing tobacco and making cigars until she started a factory in Esteli, Nicaragua too. With her two sons in the company too, this is really a family business with a heritage so it’s perfectly legitimate to create a cigar called herencia. The cigar has a msrp of 13 dollar.


This herencia is only available in a torpedo shape, in two blends, a maduro and a habano and I’m smoking the latter. The wapper is aged Nicaraguan habano with a Sumatra binder from Ecuador and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras. The wrapper looks nice in color but the vein on the top makes the head of the cigar a little rough on the eyes. The ring is the same as on the Esperiencia with the expiation that the greenish blue is now completely blue. The shape is good and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is mild to medium strong and classic barnyard.


Since it’s a torpedo I have not option to cut the cigar, it has to be s flat cut and so happened. The cold draw is good, I don’t taste much, just some dry tobacco. After lighting I taste an unpleasant wood. Some sugar shows up too, but the cigar is getting a little harsh. Halfway I also taste a little pepper. The final third starts with a little cinnamon and wood, but harsh and unpleasant. On my lips I taste pepper.


The draw is fine but the light gray ash has big gaps and isn’t very firm. The ash is thick and full. The burn is good. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar that lacks evolution. The smoke time is short, an hour and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Look at the score and you’ll know the answer.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Red balloons with ribbon – Number 80

 

Categories: 80, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Liga Privada #9 Belicoso

I remember getting my first Liga Privada, that was back in 2009 on a road trip along the east coast. We had a herf at every stop and one of the guys in Fayetteville, NC, handed me a Liga Privada and said it was one of his favorite cigars. I saw ‘Drew Estate’ on the ring and said NO! NO! but he persuaded me, said it wasn’t infused and a great stick. I smoked it and loved it, a lot. Although it seems that the flavor and quality changed a little over the years due to different years of crops.


There are only a few pairs of rollers that are allowed to roll these cigars and only in a limited quantity per day. If you have been to the Drew Estate factory you probably have seen them sitting in a room apart from the main factory floor. That room is only used to roll the Liga Privada #9 and T52. The #9 is made out of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, a Brazilian binder and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The Belicoso is 6×52 sized.


The wrapper looks amazing, dark, oily, leathery, its just a pleasant cigar to look at. The ring is simple yet tasteful, on one side there is the lion shaped Liga logo in silver on a black background while the rest of the ring is off white with gray lettering saying Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and then in a curly, almost hand written, font in black letters Liga Privada #9. The cigar feels well constructed and the shape is beautiful with a little flat head on the belicoso shape. The aroma is unique, its like a fence that has been tarred a week ago, you still smell a bit of the tar but it’s not overpowering anymore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great, spicy and peppery. The first flavors after lighting are coffee and cocoa. After half an inch the cigar is spicy and meaty. The flsvors are dark with a little red pepper. After a third I taste meaty wood with some sweetness, spices and pepper. The cigar taste different than how I remember Liga Privada. A title chocolate shows up too. Halfway the cigar tastes like cedar, herbs and peppery, just like I remember. The final third is cedar, herbs, pepper and carrot. The pepper fases away.


The draw is great and the smoke, I don’t know what Drew Estate is doing to their cigars but they are all smoke bombs, thick, full and white. The dense and firm ash is white as can be. The burn is pretty straight. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have some stashed away

Score: 91
number91

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

Avo XO Intermezzo

Avo has been making cigar for decades in cooperation with Davidoff and the cigars are made at the O.K. Factory on the Dominican Republic. I’ve never been a big fan of the Ave cigars and always thought they were a little overpriced due to his ties with Davidoff. The XO line is one of the lines that got revamped by Davidoff in the early 2010’s and is supposed to be one of the milder ones with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper and a binder and filler from the Dominican with a minimum of six years of age to it. Two days ago I posted another Avo review, to celebrate his birthday, today I publish a review to remember him on the day of his death, a year ago.


Coming back to the price, I just checked and for €10 this is quite expensive for a mild robusto. The Intermezzo measures 5 1/2×50. I do like the name of the size as it refers to the musical history of Avo, who passed away earlier this year age 91. I don’t know where I got this cigar, there are no price stickers on the cellophane so I can’t tell if it was bought in the USA, Germany or The Netherlands and no idea if it was a gift of that I bought it. I guess it was a gift because I can’t imagine buying a Connecticut Shade Avo.


The wrapper is dull, it has a few sparkles from minerals but looks a bit like chicken skin. The construction feels good and the head of the cigar is flawless with a pretty cap, great work especially when you know that the O.K. factory doesn’t house the best rollers of Davidoff, the best rollers move on to the Davidoff factory. The ring is pretty, a pale yellow orange with a gold line and a white edge, a silver & black ago logo and black letters Avo and XO on the side. Simple yet elegant. The aroma is quite strong, it reminds me of a barnyard with a lot of hay.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw, which taste a bit like hay and raisin, is a bit on the tight side, still decent but a bit tighter than I like. The first puffs after lighting the cigar are a little lemon and coffee. After a third I taste a little harsh wood with spices and lime. The harshness is making the cigar unpleasant. The flavors don’t change anymore, this is a very one dimensional cigar.


The smoke is on the thin side of medium and medium in volume. The ash is light, dense and firm though. The draw is good and the burn is straight enough not to be corrected but not straight enough to be called great. This cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t even accept a gifted one.

Score: 79
number79

 

 

Categories: 79, Avo, Nicaraguan cigars, Occidental | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Don Lino Africa Kifaro & Gorilla Knuckle

Nestor Miranda from Miami Cigar & Co and owner of the Don Lino brand, is an avid hunter and one of his hunting trip in Africa gave him the inspiration to create the Don Lino Africa line. It has been a few years since I smoked one, as they are discontinued, but I remember that I used to love this blend of Cameroon, Mexican, Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco.

The Don Lino Africa line didn’t come out with cigars, all African named of course, but also cool accessories like ash trays and humidors with African prints. As of the African names, think of Kifaro, Duma, Tembo, Punda Milia and all those names come from the Massai and are names for the big African animals. As far as I know My Father Cigars produced the cigars for Miami Cigar & Co.

Don Lino Africa Kifaro


This is a 6 1/4×52 torpedo with a dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper that looks great, the color is dark chocolate and I see a few minor veins. The construction feels great and the tip of the cigar is straight. The ring is beautiful, it has a very African color pattern with zebra stripes on the background, some burgundy, a lot of yellow and a big curly and stylish A on the front and Don Lino Africa on the side on a high quality paper and print. The cigar even has an African smell, or well, as I would expect an African savanna to smell in the morning.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is fine with a toasty, raisin, peppery and minty flavor. After lighting I taste a peppery and sweet minty toast. After half an inch I taste spices, toast, lime and honey. After an inch I taste nutmeg with toast and pepper, all well balanced. Halfway I taste a strong pepper with honey and a little lime. The honey disappears and is replaced with a nice dose of lemon.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is thick and full. The white ash is dense. The burn is decent but not perfect, it went rogue a little but it corrected itself. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored, well balanced with great evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? I wish they made a comeback.

Score: 94

 

number94

Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle


I bought a box of these when the cigars were discontinued and these were the only remaining vitola, usually I wouldn’t buy a cigar with a 58 ring gauge but hey, I wanted some Don Lino Africa while they lasted. The ring is just as pretty as the kifaro as it’s the same ring but the wrapper looks a tiny bit lighter, just a shade though and has more veins. The tip also looks to be more in a curve and the cigar has a dryer aroma, more hay and straw than the Kifaro.


I cut the cigar, punching was no option because of the size. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin sweetness. After lighting I taste a sweet espresso with cinnamon. The espresso fades away, the cinnamon grows stronger and gets a little harsh edge, but it’s still very enjoyable. After a third I taste sugar and vanilla. In the final third I taste vanilla, cinnamon, wood and a peppery aftertaste, a little harsh but still enjoyable.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, full, voluminous and white. The burn is a little uneven. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The smoke time is fifty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible

Score: 89
number89


Categories: 89, 94, Don Lino, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Avo The Dominant 13th

In 2002 Ave started with a yearly limited release and in 2013 they went for the number 13 as a theme. It was the 13th limited edition as the first year they released two, one of the USA and one for Europe, it was 2013 so they put 13 cigars in a box and named it “the dominant 13th” which is a musical term and is a direct connection to Avo’s legacy as a great jazz musician. Today would have been his birthday, so I decided to publish this review as a tribute.


Only 9000 boxes of this 6×52 toro were made for a worldwide release and the box came with a USB stick with a short video, songs by Avo, information about the brand and a screensaver. The cigars have a mixture of Dominican filler tobacco with one Peruvian leaf, a Dominican binder and a Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper. I have one single cigar in my possession, I guess I bought it since I liked the La Trompeta, the 2012 limited edition a lot and wanted to try this one too but somehow it ended up in my humidor instead of in my mouth. Time to change that and light it up.


Once I take the cigar out of the cellophane I notice a very soft, almost velvet like, wrapper with a mild shine and a beautiful mocha color. The binder must be a different story as I see a lot of bumps under the wrapper, fellow cigar aficionado Joe Jackson would say “like a klingon beauty queen” as in his ‘Akward Age’ lyrics. The construction feels good though but the cap is a bit small. I love the rings, a matte brown with a broken white and Avo logo but what makes the ring so beautiful is the thin, shiny, silver line and the silver A in the logo. The second ring uses the same color scheme with a small silhouette of Avo on the ring and the word The Dominant 13th. The barnyard aroma is strong, a little ammonia, a little manure, deep and dark.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a little loose. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and I taste licorice, coffee and some sugar. After half an inch I taste cedar with licorice and nutmeg, a weird combination that doesn’t sound appealing and doesn’t taste good either. After a third I taste wood and nutmeg, the flavors have a greasy feeling to it. Halfway I taste this spicy, mild burning, wood. The final third starts peppery, woody and with a tiny bit of honey. Later I taste mint with pepper and confectioners sugar.


The draw is great and no complaints about the smoke either, thick, white and full. The burn needs correcting straight from the start though. The ash is dark yet firm. I miss complexity in this medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s a simple no!

Score: 79
number79

Categories: 79, Avo, Dominican cigars, O.K. Cigars | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

CAO Amazon Anaconda

The final release of the CAO Amazon trilogy is the CAO Amazon Anaconda, made in Honduras with a rare Brazilian wrapper leaf, a Habano from the Bahia region, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the two rare Brazilian tobacco’s used in the Amazon Basin and Amazon Fuma em Corda, namely the Braganca and Guma em Corda tobacco. And because of the rarity of the tobacco, this will be a limited run again.


As I wrote in the review of the CAO Amazon Fuma em Corda, this cigar was handed to me during the Intertabac trade show and I was happy to receive both the Fuma em Corda and the Amazon Anaconda because I really liked the Amazon Basin. I’m looking forward to smoking this 6×52 toro, and I hope I like it as much as I liked the Amazon Basin.


The wrapper has a nice, evenly, dark wrapper with a reddish glow and it’s got the rustic look you’d expect from Brazilian tobacco. To me, Brazilian tobacco always is a little rough on the eyes, or rustic might be a better description. The ring, which is a string of tobacco wrapped around the cigar like an anaconda wraps itself around a tree, finishes the look of the cigar. The construction feels and looks good although there is a little dent in the cigar where the wrapper string starts, I think the roller pressed too hard on that spot. The aroma is fresh, peppery and acidic, medium in strength.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw, which tastes like leather, pepper and raisin, is great. I taste leather after lighting, thick, fat, juicy leather. After a few puffs I also taste sweetness. After an inch I taste that juicy leather but now with sweet milky chocolate. After a third it’s leather and pepper. Halfway I still taste those flavors but now with a lot of floral sweetness. The final third starts with floral and vanilla sweetness, a little bit of leather, pepper and licorice. An interesting combination, quite unique. Near the end the leather gains more strength abs becomes a little dry, the pepper picks up too.


The draw is fine, the smoke it white, thick and plenty in volume. The light colored ash has nice rings. The burn is good, not perfect but good. The cigar is medium in body and strength. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is the Amazon I like least.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro

As you may have figured just from the name, this cigar was created to celebrate the 70th birthday of Manuel Quesada, the man behind Matasa & Quesada cigars, the Dominican Fonseca, Casa Magna, Heisenberg and all other Quesada lines. And for his birthday he took Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, a Sumatra binder and a Dominican wrapper to make an old school cigar with balance and flavor but also with a modern twist.


The cigar is only available in two vitolas, the favorite vitolas of Manuel Quesada and those are the 6×50 Toro and a 6×52 Belicoso. Raquel Quesada gave me a toro during the most recent Intertabac trade show and a few other Quesada cigars, including the Quesada 40th that I reviewed in January. Today I will review the Manuel Quesada 70th Toro.


The smooth and oak colored wrapper is fat and oily, it looks great and tasty with a deep color and nice thin veins. The ring is black and golden, old school with lettering that I would call ‘Wild West’ as you see that kind of lettering in Western movies. It simply says Quesada with small Manuel in a golden banner above the name and 70 below the name. The cigar feels well packed, evenly, and the cigar is beautifully capped. The strong barnyard aroma is nice.


I decapped the cigar with a double guillotine. The draw is open. I taste pepper and sultanas. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame and I taste coffee, sweetness, spices and wood. After half an inch I taste a nice citrus twang with wood, oak to be more precise and some pepper. After an inch it’s still a citrus twang but now with wood, leather and some nuts. Halfway I taste that citrus but now with a chocolate paste, like the bread spread. Then the flavor changes to citrus, pepper and wood. I also taste a hint of vanilla. Near the end I taste wood, herbs, a little mint and some pepper still with the acidic twang.


The draw is good, a little open but still good. The smoke is medium plus in thickness, a beautiful white color and quite a lot. The light gray ash is a bit frayed yet firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium plus bodied and medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the 40th anniversary better.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

Candela, the green wrapper, has lost a lot of the charm and popularity over the years. If you go back to World War II, most cigars were candela wrapped due to the high demand. Farmers in the Partido region of Cuba used fires to cure the tobacco in the barns but the temperature raised too high, curing the tobacco in 3 days instead of the usual long process that naturally turns the wrapper yellow and then brown. So a lot of farmers started to use that method, those cigars were distributed to the American soldiers and that’s what they wanted to smoke after the war too.


Nowadays the tobacco is more of a gimmick and that’s exactly the way Alec Bradley thought of it when they decided to use a Candela wrapper for a limited edition of the Black Market. And they picked the green themed St. Patrick’s day as the occasion for this cigar to b released. The cigars, made at the Plasencia factory in Honduras instead of Raices Cubanas, were a hit and the Filthy Hooligan became a returning release, with tweaks in the blend and eventually even becoming a barberpole cigar. But this cigar is from the original 2013 release, a 6×50 toro with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran double binder and filler from Nicaragua and Panama.


I wouldn’t buy this if I was a regular consumer in a cigar shop, just because of the look. The wrapper is a pale grayish green with a clear vein, it looks dry and brittle. The ring is cool, just like the regular Black Market but with some green, a clover and the Filthy Hooligan name. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice and the overall shape is good. For a supposedly mild cigar that aged for 5 years, the aroma is strong yet grassy, not green grass but mowed wet grass.


After cutting the cigar I taste a surprisingly peppery cold draw. After lighting I taste a sharp, metallic flavor over some grassy base flavor. There’s a little pepper too, white pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets harsh, I taste a little pepper, cedar and some salt. Halfway I taste the metallic flavor again, with salt and still that harshness on the tip of my tongue.


The draw is fine. The dark ash is coarse and not very firm. The smoke is thick. The burn is straight. This is a mild to medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, just as I remembered the OR was the Filthy Hooligan I liked least.

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 86, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Casa Fernandez Lancero

Back in 2009, before facebook groups were so popular, I used to hang out at Cigar Asylum, which was created from the ashes of Club Stogie after it merged into the horrible puff.com board. And I made a lot of friends so in the spring of 2009 four of us, two Dutch and two Americans from Gainesville, decided to do a little road trip all along the east coast and then fly to Las Vegas and we would herf every night in a different state. It was an epic trip.


The day we landed in Orlando one of my American friends (who actually had the Casa Pineda named after him) hit me with a cigar that was hot on that moment but hard to get, a Casa Fernandez lancero. And much to my surprise I hadn’t smoked it yet, it was still laying around in my humidor so I consider this an aged, maybe even vintage, Nicaraguan puro made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas. Casa Fernandez is from the Aganorsa/Tabacalera Tropical family and named after owner Eduardo Fernandez, who also helped the Pepin family get started in America at the now closed El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami.


When I grab the cigar I suddenly hear The Beatles in the back of my head singing “they call me mellow yellow” because of the yellow cello after 9 years wrapped in the packaging. The corojo wrapper feels like very fine sanding paper, it still has a little oil and a nice dark wood color brown, with thin veins. It looks good. The ring has different colored gold, black outlines and a red curly F in the middle, on top it says Casa Fernandez and on the bottom Nicaragua, even though the cigar is made in Honduras. The cigar is straight, feels evenly packed and has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is quite dark, like dog poo with some wood.


The cold draw is great with a mild lemon and raisin flavor. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee with a little marzipan sweetness. After an inch I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and a little pepper. After a third I taste a mild salty nuts with some sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to herbs, spices and sugar.


The draw is great and the white smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. The light gray ash is not very firm but the burn is razor sharp. The years of rest really smoothed the cigar, it’s mellow yet flavorful, smooth and tasty. I can even retrohale, something that I usually can’t. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have a few oldies, now I want more to age.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Casa Fernandez, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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