Monthly Archives: June 2018

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman

Jas Sum Kral owner has his own two day cigar festival every year, Ristefari, and for the inaugural 2017 edition he decided to make a limited edition of his Red Knight cigar in a Salomon shape, called to soloman. Only 1000 of the cigars were made, 100 boxes of 10, and they were only for sale during Ristefari with a MSRP of $12. And I got two of them now, a gift from Riste.


When these 7×58 cigars were made, Riste still had his cigars made at Tabacalera NOA, owned by Noel Rojas. That partnership has sailed, Jas Sum Kral is now made in the small factory of Roniel Aragon, a previous employer of Noel Rojas who ventured out on his own. As for this vitola, Jas Sum Kral made it again but in a variation of the Zlatno Sonce blend for Ristefari 2018 and I reviewed the cigar last month.


I am not a fan of big ring gauges but in a shape like this I don’t oppose it. I mean, one of my favorite cigars is actually shaped like this. The wrapper is a tad darker than what I’m used to from Jas Sum Kral, it goes towards a dark chocolate color and it has a mild leathery look. The construction feels great, the shape is beautiful. The aroma is quite mild, woody and a bit soapy.


After cutting the cigar I taste a spicy peppery flavor with a perfect resistance. After lighting it’s pepper and coffee, earthy flavors. There is also a cane-sugar tasting sweetness. The sugar is getting stronger with cedar and pepper as support flavors. Secretly the cigar gains strength and I taste something that reminds me a bit of carrots. It’s not exactly carrot but it is similar. I tasted this a few times before in cigars, and I like it. The sweetness remains, the carrot disappears, it’s now a wooden flavor with some green leafy herbs, a little cinnamon and pepper. Little passed the midway point it’s oak with pepper and spicy green herbs, the sweetness is gone. The pepper grows and becomes dominant in the final third, it blows all other flavors away.


The draw is great, the ash is light in color, a little frayed and with clear rings. The burn is good. The smoke is medium thick, grayish and medium of volume. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That wouldn’t be possible.

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

Viking Viking Churchill

Last year I reviewed the Viking Robusto, a Dominican made cigar for a Norwegian cigar aficionado and I loved it, it scored high with a 93 final score. It was a huge step up from the cigars Hawk used to have made by Cabreras, those never scored so high and it was also the best rated E.P. Carrillo cigar for me up to that date, so a double win.

 


Last september I talked with Hawk and his business partner Arnt and they handed me a few more cigars to review including this 7×54 Churchill. The Viking Viking blend consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the USA, a Sumatra binder from Ecuador and aged Habano filler from three different Nicaraguan regions, Condega, Esteli and Jalapa.

 


The dark wrapper is rough and looks intimidating, like a real viking should and the tin cigar ring with the viking logo enhances that intimidating look, I love it. The construction feels good, the cigar is well shaped. The aroma is deep and dark, fitting with the look, like old manure on an open piece deep inside a dark and scary forest.

 


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste some herbs and sultanas. After lighting I taste sugar with some coffee. After an inch I taste a sweet floral flavor with herbs and wood. After a third I taste wood, herbs, vanilla and chocolate. There is a mild pepper in the aftertaste. The final third starts dry, with dry wood, a little hint of vanilla and pepper. The pepper is getting stronger. Near the end I taste pepper, some mild floral flavors and meaty wood.

 


The draw is great. The white ash is white and dense. The light and thin smoke is low in volume. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , ,

El Baton Double Toro

A few months ago I was gifted four cigars made by J.C. Newman and it made me look into that company a bit more. Those cigars were the El Baton Double torpedo, Perla del Mar Maduro G, the Brick House Connecticut Toro and this one. There was a reason I was never really interested in that company and never even had visited them on my trips to Tampa and that was loyalty. My previous employer distributed J.C. Newman for a while in the past, sold more than they expected and instead of being happy and working with my employer J.C. Newman came up with crazy new demands, stopped the line of credit and it eventually ended up in a law suit that Newman lost yet the relationship was killed. Sales never bounced back up either, not with STG nor with Davidoff who have distributed them since.


While looking into Newman I learned that they have a huge history, in Tampa with their factory and a private cigar museum, close ties with the Fuente family and that they are the first people to pack cigars in cellophane which is now an industry standard expect for Cuba. I also learned that they started a factory in Nicaragua in 2010, where I was under the impression they had cigars made for them like many others. The company actually started in 1895 in Ohio with a home made table and $50 worth of tobacco. It took 60 years and two world wars before the company settled in Tampa, where it still remains.


Just like Oliva, J.C. Newman calls this 6×60 a double toro, while I would call it a gordo. It’s a vitola that I don’t like, never have and probably never will but I will try new cigars in that size anyway when asked. The ring is the same as on the previous El Baton review, but its the same blend so there’s no surprise. The wrapper is a bit lighter in color, yet its still quite dark with a few veins. Construction wise there’s nothing wrong, the cigar feels good, looks good, cap is good, just a well made cigar. The aroma is of dark wood and stable, like being inside an old wooden barn.


I used my cutter for this big ring cigar, mainly because I couldn’t find my punch. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild gingerbread with pepper. I taste gingerbread, coffee and sugar after lighting. After half an inch I taste nutmeg, spices, wood and pepper. After I drank some water I taste a lot of salt. After a third I taste salt, wood and pepper. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger and stronger. Then all of a sudden the pepper almost disappears and I’m left with salty wood. In the final third the pepper returns again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is medium full, it’s light gray. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is good. This cigar is full flavored and bodied. The cigar has a good evolution. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar, just a little too thick for me.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , ,

MUWAT Baitfish Gary

This undercrown spin-off was originally named ‘my uzi’ but when Jonathan Drew got his hands on the cigar he noticed the weight and said ‘my uzi weighs a ton’, which happens to be a song from fellow New Yorkers Public NME and that name stuck.


At first the line was ment to be a 60 ring gauge line with a 5×60, 6×60 and 7×60 but the market demanded thinner sizes to Drew Estate released a corona, named Corona Viva and a 4×44 named after JD’s father Gary, baitfish Gary. And I met Gary on several occasions, at Jonathan’s House in Miami, at the factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany where he gave me this cigar to smoke.


The wrapper is dark and feels leathery, it has a tough look on it. The ring is cool, black with silver text all over it, and a lot of text in different size fonts, vertical instead of horizontal. The cigar feels evenly packed, has a well rounded head and a a decent triple cap. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of wet woods after a rainfall mixed with stable aromas.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste a spicy, meaty raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet strong coffee. After a few puffs I taste a spicy dry cedar with cinnamon and vanilla. Halfway the cigar is spicy with some lemon, cinnamon, vanilla and pepper.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, full and extremely much. The burn is pretty straight and the white ash is dense and firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I have a few five packs.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , ,

Cigarjournal best lounge

Every year my friends at Cigar Journal have an award show at Intertabac and every year we, the consumers, can nominate brands, cigars, accessories and lounges for the award.

Now I won’t speak out on who to nominate on cigars, as I have many friends in the industry and don’t want to favor one over another. The same goes for accessories but I do want to ask you all to nominate Cigaragua Amsterdam as the lounge of the year.

Why do I ask you to nominate and later on vote for Cigaragua? Well, that’s simple, it’s the first shop to sell only Nicaraguan cigars, and it has the potential to be as big as the La Casa del Habano franchises. And Cigaragua is also the biggest supporter of Pronica, a organization that provides education to the poor children of Esteli by donating 10 cents of every cigar sold in the shop to Pronica.

So please go to the site of Cigarjournal, nominate your favorite cigars, brands and nominate Cigaragua…….

Categories: Misc | Tags:

Desconicido Corona

My friend Andrew Wood, who is a cigar broker and helps companies to bring their cigars into the USA and who’s on the forefront of the fight against the FDA, started his career in tobacco with GDW cigars, a small Nicaraguan factory that produces a few cigars including the Reserva Miraflor & the Don Fernando. One of the cigars they made but I had never smoked was this Desconocido. And now they are back, only for sale through www.untoldleaf.com so I finally had the opportunity to try one.


Andrew said that he loved this cigar and that it was likely his favorite, yet I see that it’s made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper and that makes me weary, that’s a wrapper I don’t care much about. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano and the filler is all Nicaraguan too. The size of the cigar is 5 1/2×42.


The cigar has an oily, yellow brown wrapper, a little more color than most of the Connecticut Shade cigars I have seen. I see thin veins and a bright red ring with black letters in a curly font. The construction feels good, the cigar feels evenly packed with a nice rounded cap. The aroma is relatively strong, it reminds me of fresh cut wet grass.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and sweet, marzipan like, with a spicy aftertaste. After lighting I taste a strong full coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a sour flavor but also some vanilla. After a third I taste peanuts with a mild mustiness from the Connecticut Shade wrapper. Halfway I still taste peanuts with some pepper and honey. Near the end I also taste some vanilla again.


The draw is great. The smoke is light gray. The ash is medium gray in color. The burn is straight. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not my cigar but if you’re into mild cigars this is a must try, especially with 30% off if you use the CIGARGUIDE code

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Desconocido, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Gomez Sanchez 1RA Generacion Leyenda #2

This cigar is part of the Micallef brand yet its called Gomez Sanchez after the family that the Micallef’s partnered up with to create their cigars. The 1ra generacion leyenda No.2 is blended by Don Pedro F. Gomez, the patriarch of the family before his death and his grandsons make the cigar now in his honor. I got this cigar at the intertabac trade show in September 2017.


The blend consists of aged Nicaraguan, Dominican, Honduran and Ecuadorian tobaccos, of which the Ecuadorian Habano the wrapper is and after rolling the cigars are aged for another year before they are shipped out to distributers and/or retailers, something Cubans should pay attention to. The blend is only available in one vitola, a torpedo, which they like to call a tempered figured, and I just realized that all Micallef and Gomez Sanchez blends are available in one vitola.


The first thing I see is the shape, its a torpedo but with a very long and pointy head. The second thing I notice is the ring, that is so different from the ones with the Micallef names, instead of that eastern European feel this feels much more Spanish influenced, darker colors, brown, orange, red and golden with open parts in the ring, which is a nice detail. The Gomez Sanchez name in gold on an orange ring, over a brown bottom. Then just underneath that another brown ring with golden outlines and the leyenda no.2 name and a footing in the same colors with Micallef family, Gomez Sanchez Family. The wrapper is smooth and very dark, like dark chocolate. The shape is unique and the cigar feels well made. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of a barnyard.


Even though the skinny head of the cigar, the cold draw is great after a cut with my double guillotine cutter. I taste a sticky, thick, sultana flavor. After lighting I taste a weird, meaty and sticky flavor. The flavor doesn’t change much except that it turns a little sweeter and a little pepper shows up. After a third I taste that meaty, sticky wood, sort of like a wood paste, with some sugar. The final third is woody, sweet, a little spicy and peppery. The final puffs are peppery.


The draw is great. The ash is white and dense. It’s not too firm, it breaks easily. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is decent. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Because of the premium msrp of 20 dollars I had high expectations that weren’t met, not by far.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Ultra cool cigar stands

As you may know, I am a big fan of Jas Sum Kral cigars, they score high on my blog. The flavor profiles of the Red Knight and the Kralot just hit the perfect spot for me, while the others are way above average too. And to top it off, the rings are pieces of art, designed by the Singaporean designer and a personal friend of mine, Nuzli Hakiim. We met in Singapore a few times for smokes and banter, he even picked me up from the airport when I arrived in Singapore last time, he’s a great BOTL.

And now he launched his Dark Regal brand, luxurious accessories will be the focus of Dark Regal and here’s your chance to be part of the history. The first release of Dark Regal consists of three limited edition gold plated cigar stands, all handcrafted and hand polished. The pre-sale just started on Indiegogo, so if you’re looking for the ultimate cigar stand, follow this link and order yours before it’s too late.

darkregal

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , ,

Don Lino 1898 Robusto

This is a cigar made for Nestor Miranda’s Miami Cigar & Co, that’s one thing thats certain but where does it come from? Thompson says Dominican Republic, Cigar Aficionado claims it is an Honduran cigar. Thompson says the filler is Dominican, Brazilian and Cameroon while Cigar Aficionado claims its Dominican, Brazilian and Colombian, and I just don’t want to burn my fingers so I am going to admit that I don’t know.


I do know that I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years, since Nestor gave it to me at Intertabac when he and Jason Wood were trying to find European distributers for the Nestor Miranda, Don Lino and Tatiana cigar lines. I smoked Don Lino cigars before, but those were from the Africa line which I loved but are unfortunately discontinued, I hope these are as good as I have seen them online for 2 dollars a piece in a blowout sale.


The box pressed cigar looks great, the smooth wrapper is dark and oily and due to the shape looks like a dark chocolate bar. I would buy this cigar just for the looks if I walked into a cigar shop. The ring adds to the appeal, different shades of red with a beige banner, curly letters saying Don Lino, very fine copper colored details on a high quality print job. The construction feels good, the cap is placed neat, the shape is fine. The aroma is dark, autumn leaves and manure but in a good way.


I thinly sliced the cap of the cigar. The cold draw is a bit meaty with a hint of pepper. Construction is great. After lighting I taste a mild cocoa flavored coffee. After a third I taste a sweet, milk chocolate and herbal flavor with a little pepper. Halfway I taste spicy peanut with pepper, a growing pepper. The pepper keeps growing on a dirt background.


The draw is great. The smoke is full but the color is gray, I prefer a white smoke. The burn is a bit off, but it corrects itself. The ash is gray with a yellow shine. It looks flaky but it’s firm. The cigar is medium bodied, medium to medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a few more.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Don Lino | Tags: , , ,

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