Monthly Archives: April 2018

Cigar of the month April

In April I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Guayacan Corona Gorda with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Guayacan Corona Gorda(Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Reserva Miraflor Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo (Honduras) 92 points
6) Kristoff San Andres Robusto (Dominican Republic) 92 points
7) Alec Bradley Nica Puro Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) A.J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Perla Del Mar Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro (Costa Rica) 90 points
11) Casa Pineda Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
13) Cohiba Lancero (Cuba) 89 points
14) Cavalier de Geneve Toro (Honduras) 88 points
15) Gurkha Reserva Edición Especial Koi (Dominican Republic) 87 points
16) Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado (Nicaragua) 84 points

 

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Cavalier of Geneva White Series Diplomate

About a year ago I was at the office of one of the premium cigar distributers in The Netherlands and I noticed a cigar that I had never heard of, had never seen and didn’t know nothing about. I mooched a sampler, as a cigar geek I’m always curious about new cigars. It turned out its a cigar from a Swiss company called Cavelier but the cigar is Honduran made and I think it’s made by Plasencia in Danli. Company founder Sebastian Decoppet went to Honduras and developed the blend with Adin Perez from Plasencia, that’s why I expect that Plasencia makes the cigars too.


Now the blend is a secret but contains tobacco from Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Paraguay. I googled and found them on a Swiss webshop for about 12 euro’s for this 5 1/2×56 Diplomate. The cigar looks good, a nice medium dark brown wrapper with a oily shine to it, I see a few veins but it doesn’t make the wrapper look any less appealing. The ring is simple but quite nice, a thick white ring with a golden print of a man and a horse and on the back in very small curly letters the name of the brand. Now what makes the cigar stand out is a square of gold leaf glued to the wrapper. Cavelier isn’t the first or the only brand that does it, Daniel Marshall has one, Royal Danish has one and I bet there will be more but Cavelier only has a centimeter square and therefore I dare to smoke it. I smoked the Daniel Marshall one and that was a once but never again experience. The construction feels good. The aroma isn’t strong, it has a little ammonia and some hay.


I punched the cigar due to the 56 ring. The cold draw is very easy. I taste a mild pepper and raw tobacco. I taste coffee with a sharp bitterness. The sharpness goes away and is replaced by a caramel like sweetness. After an inch I still taste coffee with caramel, it’s still mildly bitter. After a third I taste wood with a nice bitterness and some honey. Halfway the flavors all of a sudden change to spices and wood with a fresh minty aftertaste.


Once I reach the 24 karat gold leave I taste a metallic flavor with the previous flavors, luckily it isn’t as bad as in the Daniel Marshall 24k torpedo. The spice is getting stronger, I also taste a strong pepper on the tip of my tongue. Once I’m passed the gold leave the metallic flavor is gone.


The smoke is medium thick to full and I get a good amount of smoke too. The draw is quite easy. The burn is a little off and needed to be corrected twice. The ash is firm, its grey with a little black. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it was a decent cigar but there are better cigars available for less money.

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Cavelier, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casa Pineda Robusto

Back in the day, before Facebook took over, cigar forums were the way that cigar smokers would socialize an I did that on Club Stogie (RIP) and the follow up of CS Cigar Asylum. That’s where I met Andrew, who had his own brands made in Nicaragua and Aldrin, a student from Florida, amongst others. Aldrin and I helped out Andrew a bit and as a thank you he released a limited batch of cigars bearing our names, Don Fernando for me and Casa Pineda for Aldrin. And the small batch is back, exclusively for Untold Leaf.


As I remember, this was my least favorite of all cigars coming from GDW and mainly because of the wrapper, a Connecticut Shade. And that’s my least favorite of all wrappers in the world. The binder is an Indonesian leaf and the filler is from Nicaragua. According to the website this cigar is the perfect cigar in-between a Connecticut and a Habano and that makes me want to revisit this 5×50 robusto


The wrapper is light, almost pale and the bumpy binder shows itself underneath the thin wrapper, making the cigar look a bit like a teenage girl. The ring, pitch black and glossy with golden letters, looks nice. As for the construction, no complaints, the cigar feels and looks well made, evenly packed, nice triple cap and beautiful in shape. The aroma is dry, like dry hay and straw on a dusty old hayshed.


I used a cheap cutter to take the cap of the cigar. I only received this cigar yesterday so it’s right of the truck. The cold draw is great, spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste a fresh wood with coffee, strong and bold. After half an inch I taste cinnamon with a mild pepper plus a Connecticut mustiness. After a third it’s more a classic Connecticut in flavor but spicier. Halfway I taste hay with a mild harsh mustiness, typical for Connecticut Shade, and an agave syrup sweetness.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is white, full and thick. The burn is straight as an arrow. The light gray ash is relatively firm. There is a decent evolution, the cigar is medium full bodied and flavored, quite strong for a Connecticut Shade. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Still not digging Connecticut Shade wrappers.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Casa Pineda, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado

Early 2014 I went to Nicaragua but spend a few days in Florida afterwards and in a cigar lounge in Miami I met Pete from Kings Cigars. Now I can’t recall the name of the shop, but it was a hangout for a lot of industry people as Barry Stein (Cigar Authority, but back then employed by Miami Cigar & Co), Juan Lopez (Gurkha) and a few reps from other companies were there on their night off too. And Pete handed me a few cigars to try and to see if I could convince my then employer to import the cigars to The Netherlands. And what better day to post this review than on kings day?


I smoked a few cigars but a few ended up lost in my huge stash of cigars. After losing my job I took some time to reorganize my walk-in humidor and put my complete stash in stogierate so I know what I have and can actually find the cigars in the humidor. And I started to pick cigars from one assorted box to review, once that one is empty I’ll go to the next and so on and on. Today I grabbed the Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado, a box pressed 6×64 and all I know about this cigar is that it’s made in Nicaragua with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and the Cuadrado is the only vitola with this blend.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I feel a smooth, almost silk, wrapper. The wrapper has a few thin veins and a medium dark color, like a cafe latte. The construction feels good, evenly packed. The ring is all printed, dark with gold and red, a golden crown over a crest and a banner with “king of kings”. The ring is not special though, it won’t really stand out in a humidor. The aroma is strong, its a mix of hay, straw, barnyard and fresh wood.


I punched the cigar since it’s so thick. The cold draw is on the loose side. The flavor of the cold draw is raw tobacco and hay with a spicy undertone. I lit the cigar with a soft flame but a jet flame would be more effective with a 64 ring gauge. I taste coffee, earthy flavors. After half an inch I taste a mild musty sweetness. It’s a Connecticut Shade mustiness but much milder. The aftertaste has a lingering pepper. Halfway I taste nutmeg, chili and honey. Before the final third I taste pepper and wood with a little honey.


The draw is too loose for my liking. But the smoke is plentiful yet medium thick. The ash is a bit coarse, light colored with dark smears. The ash is firm too. This medium bodied cigar is also medium flavored. The evolution is what I expect from a big ring cigar, not spectacular, not a lot of dynamic. The smoke time is an hour and thirty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?  if there was a smaller version I would consider it but this is too much for me.

Score: 84
number84

Categories: 84, Kings Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Untold Leaf

Usually I say “support your local B&M” but today I decided to break my rule for once. No, I won’t advertise for the big online companies but for a new, small, webshop that sells cigars from unsung heroes, small producers that even though they fly under the radar still make great cigars.

In the past I raved about Reserva Miraflor, Goviado and Don Fernando cigars, cigars that vanished from the earth but now they are back, sold exclusively through Untold Leaf, a website owned by my friend Andrew, who is a tobacco broker and on the forefront of the fight against the FDA.

So the reason that I am advertising his website is because the cigars are great, Andrew is a good friend and with this website he supports the small producers and their families in Nicaragua. If you want great cigars for great prices, cigars you won’t find anywhere else? Visit Untoldleaf.com

Andrew made a 30% discount code, use CIGARGUIDE at log out. With this discount all cigars are below $6.

Categories: Misc | 4 Comments

Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto

So far I have reviewed three different Xiphos cigars, an American boutique brand, all those three cigars were all made in Costa Rica. But Xiphos offeres more than just Costa Rican cigars, there are two Nicaraguan cigars in their portfolio too, both made at Tabacalera Noa from master blender Noel Rojas. The Xiphos NR comes in a Habano and in a Maduro wrapper and both lines come in three sizes, a 5×52 robusto, a 6×52 toro and a 6×60 gordo.


Both lines share the filler, well aged Nicaraguan tobacco and the binder, which is Indonesian, but the wrapper is different. Either an Ecuadorian Habano or a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I have both cigars but today I’ll be focussing on the maduro. I will review the Habano too at a later time though.


The wrapper is dark and has even darker smears and spots. I see one thick vein on the back, about an inch and a half long. While the rings on the Costa Rican made cigars are silver and blue, which is a very Greek color scheme, the Nicaraguan made cigars have a blue and silver ring with red lettering in the same Greek style as the Costa Rica ones. The secondary ring is black with red outlines and red lettering saying maduro in a classic Greek font. The cigar has a dark smell of charcoal and manure. The cigar is well shaped, triple capped with a nice quite flat head.


I sliced a thin cap off with a Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper and sultanas. After lighting I taste a full coffee flavor with wood and nutmeg. After a few puffs I taste a chalky vanilla sweetness with leather and cumin. Soon some toast turns up too. After a third I start to taste some pepper too. Halfway I taste pepper and chocolate with a little vanilla and toast. In the final third I taste the toast again but with a strong pepper.


The draw is great, the white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is white and quite thick and plentiful. The burn is good. The cigar is smooth, it starts medium bodied but grows to become full bodied and full flavored. There’s plenty of evolution in this cigar too. The smoke time is an hour and a forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they were available in The Netherlands I would get a box. I even grabbed my nub tool to enjoy this cigar as long as possible.

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa, Xiphos | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Nica Puro Tubo Churchill

During the last Intertabac trade show, my friend George Sosa gave me the Nica Puro churchill in a tube. Now I knew the Nice Puro, I love that cigar, but the tubo was new to me. That’s not strange since hardly no cigar comes in tubes no more in The Netherlands due to anti smoke regulations. All ‘packaging units’ need to be stickered with warning labels, previously the Dutch version of the FDA didn’t consider tubes as a packaging unit until 4 years ago. And with every tube 65% covered in warning labels you couldn’t see anything on the tubo no more so most distributers decided to scrap them from their portfolio and don’t introduce new ones, like this Alec Bradley tube.


Well, the Nica Puro, it’s one of the few Alec Bradley cigars that isn’t made at Raices Cubanas in Danli, Honduras because this Nica Puro is made in Esteli, Nicaragua by the Plasencia family at their Cathedral de tobaccos as the locals call the Plasencia factory. I’ve been there, a beautiful factory with a hacienda style courtyard with fountain, a huge hall full of cigar rollers that hit their rolling desk with their chaveta when visitors come walking in as a sign of respect. Great place to visit, the Plasencia’s are great people and together with Alec Bradley they made this great cigars.


The cigar is dark, with a mild glossy, dark chocolate colored wrapper. A busy big ring with the Alec Bradley logo surrounded by different colored ovals and the NICA PURO letters and the year 1685 on the bottom. The construction feels good with a nice rounded head and a triple cap. The cigar has a strong aroma, hay, stable, charred hickory and manure come to mind. The tube is gold colored with the Alec Bradley logo in black on the top part and the Nica Puro in red on the bottom part.


I used my punch to punch a hole in the wrapper. I taste thick, sweet raisin and some pepper in the great cold draw. After lighting I taste coffee, sweetness and nutmeg. After an inch I taste some pepper too. Halfway I taste mild, sweet chocolate with dry leafs and spices. The flavors turn meaty. The final third starts with leather and a hefty pepper. I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is straight and the light gray ash is as is firm. I would call this cigar medium plus bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? With or without a tube, I don’t care, but I like this cigar.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perla del Mar Maduro Toro

I got this 6 1/4×54 Toro named G from a Davidoff sales rep, since Davidoff distributes J.C. Newman cigars here in The Netherlands but except for the fact that it’s a Newman brand I knew nothing about the cigar so I went to the Newman website where no information on this cigar is to be found. Then I went to the dedicated Perla del Mar website and again, no information at all. It’s time for Newman to update their web appearance, their websites but also their social media.

 


The websites of the large online retailers gave me enough information though. This cigar is made in Esteli, at the Pensa factory owned by J.C. Newman and it’s the follow up on the Perla del Mar Connecticut Shade cigar that’s been available for a while. The brand is an old Cuban brand and refers to “the pearl of the ocean” which was once Cuba’s nickname. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan wrapped in a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and the cigar has a pretty good price point of less than 7 dollar.

 


When I remove the cellophane I see a beautiful, box pressed, dark cigar that reminds me of a candy bar. Dark chocolate color, slightly dull with a beautiful ring, blue gold and white with an image of an old ship and golden letters on a blue banner. The secondary ring is in the same style and coloring. The cigar feels a little squishy and under packed but the shape is great and the triple cap is very nice. The aroma is strong and a mildly acidic hay and straw smell with some pepper.

 


I punched the cigar for a change. The cold draw is good and peppery. After lighting I taste spicy and peppery coffee. After half an inch I taste some dark chocolate with cedar with some green herbs. After a third I taste the same but now with a mild salt and a growing pepper. Halfway I taste a mild cedar with cocoa and a lot of pepper.

 


The draw is great. The light gray ash is dense, firm and has nice rings. The smoke is white, full and thick. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar lacks a little evolution. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind smoking them more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA, Perla del Mar | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A. J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto

Four years ago, in 2014, A.J. Fernandez and his father, who previously spend 17 years at tobacco mogul Plasencia, created the New World line. A few new additions came with a Connecticut shade version, a few single store vitolas, and last year Abdel and his father Ismael created the New World Puro Especial, a Nicaraguan puro with tobacco’s from several tobacco fields owned and cultivated by Fernandez in and around Esteli.


All tobacco is aged between three to five years before being used and picked specifically for this blend. In an interview Fernandez told a little about the blend, saying he picked tobacco from the San Diego fields for the minerals, from the La Soledad farm for the flavor, from the La Providencia farm for the aroma and he picked a Criollo 98 wrapper from the San Jose farm. A.J. gave me this cigar personally when I met him again at the Intertabac trade show last september.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I feel a leathery, which, wrapper. The color is quite dark, like 75% chocolate with a mild oily shine. I also see some veins but that fits with the dark color and make the cigar look intimidating in a good way. The ring is detailed, a white ring with red and gold outlines, a new world painting and a secondary ring in red and gold with the AJ Fernandez name. The cigar has a medium aroma of charred wood and manure. The head of the cigar is well rounded and the cigar feels evenly packed.


I decided to break out the old punch. The cold draw is good, I taste mild spicy tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, quite spicy. After a quarter of an inch I taste chocolate milk after taking a zip of water. Without drinking water it’s more coffee with cocoa powder, quite dry. After an inch I taste a floral flavor with a tiny bit of chocolate. After a third the cigar has a unique flavor of vegetables and flowers. Halfway the flavor changes to floral leather with a little bit of black pepper. The pepper is slowly getting stronger with a lot of leather and still some of the floral flavor.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like a few more.

Score: 91

number91

Categories: 91, New World, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | 3 Comments

Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo

I used to live in a small apartment with more cigars than I could store properly in regular humidors so I had several coolers filled with five finger bags full of cigars so when I was looking to buy a house I specifically searched for a house where I could build a man cave and a walk-in humidor. And I bought that house in February 2014. I don’t know if I should be proud of should seek help, but the man cave and the walk-in humidor were the first room to be ready. That’s when I started to unpack my coolers and found some hidden gems that I didn’t knew I had. And because this is the 11th birthday of my blog, I decided to publish a review of one of my vintage cigars.


One of the hidden gems were a handful of the Alec Bradley Prime Gold Series torpedo, and I did know nothing about these so I reached out to my friend George Sosa, whom I spend many hours in the car and on events with, and he told me that this was from a limited edition from 2004 and only 1500 boxes were made. That only made me wonder where I got these cigars from as I lit my first cigar December 2005 on a trip to Singapore & Indonesia. Well, to cut a long story short, on George’s next trip to The Netherlands I picked him up from his hotel and surprised him with one of these cigars that he hadn’t smoked in a long time. Now that I am down to my last one, why not say farewell to this line with a beautiful review?


The cigar comes wrapped in ceder for the bottom two thirds, with a cloth foot ring in a beige yellow color and a print saying gold series on the cedar. When I remove the cedar I find a beautiful, mild oily Ecuadorean ligero wrapper with one thin vein. The construction feels goor and the head of the cigar is so pointy that it’s almost considered a weapon. The ring is great, yellow and purple colors with a colorful crest in the middle and a banner saying pryme. Only on the side there is mentioning of Alec Bradley in a beautiful but small purple font. After all these years the aroma faded, so all I smell is a mild wood aroma.


Due to the shape of the cigar I have no other option than to cut, for which I use my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect and gives me a nice and spicy raw tobacco flavor with pepper on the lips. How else could I light this cigar other than with my Alec Bradley Burner? Straight from the start I taste a very nice coffee flavor with cedar. After a quarter of an inch I taste green herbs too and a bit of a citrus flavor. After an inch I taste citrus, wood, some nutmeg and a little pepper. After a third it’s green herbs like basil, parsley and thyme that I taste with a nice dose of pepper. Halfway I taste spicy cedar with a very faint cocoa powder. Slowly I taste more spices and with an inch and a half to go I clearly taste cinnamon with cedar, lemon and pepper.


The draw is immaculate. The smoke is medium plus is volume and thickness. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. There is a complexity and depth you can only find in vintage cigars. The cigar is still medium full to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That won’t be possible but this cigar is pretty flavorful for a cigar with this age. I would not mind Alec Bradley bringing this blend back.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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