Monthly Archives: September 2018

Onyx Mini Belicoso

I know I smoked this cigar years ago, after I got bombed with these by a friend from Cigar Asylum, but I don’t really know anything about this cigar so I google. I found that this is a Dominican made cigar with tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and that you can find this 5×52 mini belicoso for about 5 dollars a stick if you buy a box at the big online retailers. After doing a search on my own blog I found this review from 2009, and this cigar came from the same bomb so it is well aged.


Now my experiences with Peruvian cigars isn’t that positive so I hope that the Peruvian part of the filler isn’t very dominant. I guess it won’t be as most flavor comes from the wrapper anyway and Connecticut Broadleaf ranks very high in my list of favorite wrappers. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The name is a bit confusing as most belicoso that I know are about 5 inch long, torpedos are usually longer so I don’t get the ‘mini’ part of the name. I also have no clue on who makes these cigars.


When I get the cigar out of the cellophane I notice the box pressed shape and the dark oily wrapper with hardly any veins. The construction feels good and the cap is secure and neat. The aroma is quite strong and barnyard with manure all the way. The ring is simple yet beautiful, a vertical oval with a golden edge, black line and then a white base. Inside there is a smaller oval in black with golden outlines and golden letters Onyx in a vertical way. The white with black and gold theme is continued on the side where it says ‘handmade’ and ‘reserve’. The print quality is great.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter and the cold draw is fine. I read some bad stories about the draw but it looks like I’m lucky. I taste some wood and pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame. I taste earthy flavors, coffee beans and chocolate. After a few puffs I taste cinnamon with chocolate which changes to cedar with some lemon and pepper after half an inch. Halfway I taste cedar with pepper and a little bit of chocolate. The final third is cedar with nutmeg, cinnamon, a little pepper, some lime and chocolate.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is a little thin though. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen pleasant minutes.

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

Score: 91
number91

Advertisements
Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Onyx | Tags: , ,

A. Turrent Traditional Toro

I met Alejandro Turrent a few times at the Intertabac trade show and the Mexican parties they threw were legendary, I still get hungover just thinking about them years later but their cigars are a hit and miss to me. I do like the triple maduro they made, but that one was made in Honduras. The budget line World Selection Series had a few decent but also a few not so decent cigars, but then again, that was a budget line and their revolution was a cigar I could not stomach at all, just like the Macarena bundles they produce.


Now I don’t recall how I got this Traditional toro, a 6×50 Mexican puro packed with Criollo tobacco from the San Andres valley. I probably got it as a sampler as I used to work for the company that distributed Turrent in The Netherlands back then, but I no longer work there and Turrent no longer has representation there.


The medium brown wrapper had a shade that it just a little darker than milk chocolate and has a leathery feel. There are a lot of thin veins which make the cigar look rustic. The construction feels good though, no soft spots and a nice flat head, the triple cap is applied decently. The aroma is strong and it’s like walking into a stable. The ring is big and bright, red with a really popping and shiny gold, a beautiful color blue and a big Turrent logo in the middle.


I cut the cigar to find a little loose draw. There isn’t a lot of flavor in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a slightly bitter wood and coffee flavor. After a few puffs it changes to a mild spicy cedar. After a third I taste a mild musty cedar. I’m not liking it. The musty flavor disappears, it’s now wood with a mild nuts and quite some pepper.


The ash is dark and coarse. The draw is a bit loose. The burn is straight. The smoke is beautiful in color, clear white, medium in thickness and volume. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half. 

Would I buy this cigar again? I like the people at Turrent, yet I won’t be buying this cigar again.

Score: 84
number84

Categories: 84, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Turrent | Tags: , , ,

Manowar Virtue Torpedo

I had this Manowar Virtue in my humidor for some time now but always left it alone because of the Ecuadorean Connecticut Shade wrapper, a type of wrapper I used to hate. Yes, you read it right, used to hate because since a few months I find myself enjoying the Connecticut shade wrapper more than I ever did, much to my own surprise so tonight I decided to finally grab this Manowar Virtue.


I do have some experience with the Manowar brand, made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua in a state of the art, huge & modern factory of which I had the pleasure to visit once. I smoked the regular Manowar, the Ruination and some of the side projects but as said before, never this Virtue which is supposed to be the smoothest of them all due to the wrapper.


I still don’t like the look of Connecticut Shade, it’s pale and looks like a cigar turned sick.  The construction of this 6 1/2×52 torpedo looks and feels good though although the cap isn’t placed completely straight. The ring is beautiful, the mask that’s on all Manowar cigars but this time in silver and white with dark blue letters Virtue. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a barnyard and a hay stack.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter and get a fabulous cold draw. I taste some mint with dry tobacco and pepper on my lips. After lighting the cigar with my soft flame I taste the classic mustiness from Connecticut Shade but with some sweetness and a bite. The sweetness is pure cane sugar and I also taste autumn leaves but with some harshness in the back of my throat. The harshness disappears soon and I taste nutmeg instead. After a third I taste some dry hay with white pepper and still a little sweetness, but no longer that strong cane sugar anymore but more like a mild stevia sweetness. Halfway I taste mild spicy and sweet wood and peanut shells, which is pretty nice. The sweetness turns sugary again and grows in strength


The draw is perfect, smooth and open. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The salt and pepper colored ash looks flaky but is still quite firm. The burn is quite straight. LThe cigar is smooth indeed, mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it’s not a bad cigar though and it is a confirmation that Connecticut Shade is growing on me but not enough to justify buying more.

Score: 89

number89

 

 

Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Reserva Miraflor Robusto

The last of the reviews for my friend Andrew for this year, unfortunately I must say, because I enjoyed each and every cigar he send me to be reviewed, even the Connecticut Shade ones. Not that I would buy all blends, since Connecticut Shade isn’t my wrapper of choice, but I enjoyed them. And the other blends, Goviado, Don Fernando and Reserva Miraflor are cigars I would buy boxes from if I had the cash and storage, and if I wasn’t moving to another part of the world soon, where importing tobacco is super expensive.


I reviewed the Reserva Miraflor before, but not this vitola from the new batch, the resurrected Reserva Miraflor as I call them. I told the story about the brand, how I got to know them, how I got to know Andrew, how the cigars vanished from the earth, how they suddenly returned again, so I won’t go into that again. If you missed the story, read the old Reserva Miraflor reviews and you’ll find out.


The wrapper is dark, it feels a bit dry and looks like thin leather with a few veins. The ring is glossy black with gold. The cigar feels heavy, dense and well packed. I can’t detect any soft spots or plugs. The shape and cap are nice. The cigar has a full barnyard and manure aroma.


I took the cigar to Thailand so no gabby cutter, just a simple free cutter that I dared to take on a ‘carry on only’ flight. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some gingerbread in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a syrup sweetness, gingerbread and an earthy flavor. The well balanced flavors remain until after an inch a nice acidity joins the earthy, sweet gingerbread flavor. Then the flavors slowly change to a sticky mild milky chocolate with still some some spices, more like the Dutch speculaas cookies though. In the finale I taste toast, cinnamon and gingerbread again with dark chocolate bitterness and a hint of vanilla.


The draw is great, the smoke is light blue, medium thick and full. The dense ash is light colored and quite firm. The burn is razor sharp, especially considering that I’m smoking outside with a breeze that could potentially effect the burn. The cigar is medium full in both body and strength. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? With the discount on untoldcigar.com that I mentioned in earlier reviews it’s a no brainer, I have to have more.

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars, Reserva Miraflor | Tags: , , , , , ,

Berger & Argenti Classico Robusto

Usually I end my reviews with ‘would I buy this cigar again?’ but I can start this review with the answer to that question and it is a wholehearted NO! with a capital to give the statement more power. But that has got nothing to do with the cigar but all with the Argenti brothers that scammed my previous employer out of a lot of money over my back. I smoked some B&A cigars, liked them especially the Entubar quad maduro and introduced them to my then employer, a major cigar distributer in The Netherlands. He placed an order, paid and never got what he ordered, only a partial delivery of the wrong cigars in poor shape with cracked wrappers. And no quad maduro but Connecticut Shades instead. Then they filed for bankruptcy. So I would never buy any cigar related to those Argenti scumbags again, ever!


About the cigar, this is a 5×50 Nicaraguan made robusto with a Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The tobacco plant is stalk cut though, just like the Liga Privada wrappers, instead of individually picked and it is said that the stalk cut, where the whole plant is cut and hung to dry, results in a better balance between spice and sweetness. The binder is a Nicaraguan corojo over Nicaraguan habano filler.


I take the cigar out of the cellophane and notice the dark shade of the Connecticut wrapper, this isn’t shade grown or the stalk cut method makes the leaf darker, one of the two. The wrapper feels a bit leather like and has thin veins. The construction feels good, but the cap could look a little better. The ring is simple, brown with a copper line and white letters saying the name of the brand. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of a horse stable.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine, quite spicy too. After lighting the cigar I taste a mild coffee flavor that slowly changes to cedar, all smooth. After a third I taste some cane sugar too. Pepper shows up at the final third and slowly grows in strength.


The ash is light colored and dense. The draw is good, just like the burn. The smoke is medium thick and full at most. This cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No! Not a bad flavored but boring.

Score: 84
number84

Categories: 84, Berger & Argenti, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , ,

Paradiso Francisco

I love the classic sizes with a lancero as my favorite vitola, closely followed by the lonsdale, the corona and if I really want to treat myself, the A size cigars. Unfortunately, the last decade we have seen cigars getting fatter and fatter, where a robusto was considered to be a big cigar, nowadays with the gordo, extra gordo, extra extra gordo or how manufacurers call these donkey dick sized vitolas a robusto is almost considered a skinny stick. And what is most surprising, most industry people don’t like big ring gauged cigars at all. And I agree with them, I prefer skinny cigars too as stated above. The wrapper to filler ratio is much better and since the wrapper gives the most flavor a skinny cigar has so much more dynamic, nuances, evolution and flavors compared to the big ring cigars that I really don’t get the big ring hype.


But as always, the market dictates and the market demands big ring gauges, the smaller rings don’t sell so we don’t see that many lanceros, lonsdales or coronas, especially on my side of the ocean. Heck, when I worked for Longfiller Company, the only way to persuade my boss to order lanceros was if I pre-sold an x amount of boxes, he would order that exact amount of boxes and that’s it while he would just order loads and loads of robusto and gordo sized cigars. The only corona we had in our portfolio was the Paradiso Francisco, known as the San Cristobal Francisco in the United States, a cigar made by My Father for Ashton Cigars and when my boss told me he was discontinuing this vitola I quickly bought a few because I like the cigar and the vitola.


The wrapper is dark with two thin veins running over the back and a rough leathery feel to it. The ring is awesome, a bright red parrot with green and blue wings on a light colored ring with lots of gold, and the gold really pops, high quality printing. The construction feels good, but then again, it is a My Father Cigars made cigar and that counts for quality. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me of when I’m boiling cauliflower, and it’s medium strong.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some raisin, mint and pepper. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee, not too bitter, and a little sweetness with some chocolate. After an inch I taste a pleasant cedar with some nutmeg. The flavors are very subtle yet medium full in strength. Halfway I taste vanilla, honey and some jalapeño pepper. The vanilla is the main flavor and there is a little mint in the aftertaste. The jalapeño changes to black pepper. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.


The ash is almost white and pretty firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The draw is great, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is medium to full thick and enough in volume. This cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a good stash, but once they are gone I will need more.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , ,

A.J. Fernandez Last Call

If you were invited to wacht a NFL game at the home of A.J. Fernandez you got offered a small robusto, 4 1/2×48, with a closed foot called the Last Call, which refers to the sport games it was made for. Usually the guests would get it in the final quarter of the game. The cigars are made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and the tobacco is grown by Fernandez himself while the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Rosado Habano and the foot is closed.


I would love to write a story on how I was watching a game at Abdel’s house and got this cigar but no. I have been to Esteli twice, I have been to the factory and I have met Abdel on several occasions but we are not so close that he invites me over to watch a game of a sport that I don’t care about, don’t know the rules about and wouldn’t be able to name 5 teams if my life depended on it. I’m European, I watch football where the ball is actually round and played with the feet instead of the hands, and without 1980’s shoulder pats. And even then, I only watch games of my favorite team Ajax Amsterdam and not any other games.


The silky wrapper has a but of a dull appearance but I also see some minerals. During transport the wrapper got a little bit banged up but thats my fault so that won’t be factored in with the score. The wrapper is very smooth. The construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. the wing is simple, round beige with red outlines and red letters Last Call. The font reminds me of baseball for some reason. The ring also says ‘premium aged tobacco by a.j. fernandez’. The cigar has a mild manure aroma.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and I expected a little tight draw because of the closed foot but it was surprisingly easy. I taste some pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame, my trusted vintage Ronson. I taste honey, coffee, leather and pepper direct after lighting the cigar. After a centimeter I taste a caramel sweetness with autumn leafs and a nice spice mix. After a third I taste a slowly growing pepper too. Halfway I taste a nice mix of spices with just the right amount of pepper. After two thirds I taste nuts with a little cumin.


The draw is great, but the smoke is thin and low in volume. The light colored as is dense and firm. The burn is slow and pretty straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, well balanced and with a nice evolution. The smoke time is five minutes short of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes this is a nice medium bodied cigar and with a better smoke it would have scored a point higher.

Score: 90
number90

 

Categories: 90, Last Call, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , ,

La Palina Lancero

Years ago, when I was still working for the biggest independent cigar distributer in The Netherlands a few of the brands we distributed asked us to look into La Palina, so we reached out to Courtney Smith who was their VP of Sales back then but has moved on to Cornelius & Anthony since then (a good move in my opinion, both for Courtney and for Cornelius & Anthony). To cut a long story short, we decided to give two La Palina lines a try run.


Courtney came to Intertabac and flew into Amsterdam a few days early. I picked her up and she gave my employer a box of the La Palina Classic Lancero to sample, yet my employer hates lanceros and is the only cigar smoker at the office so when I saw that box at the office a few months later, with just one cigar missing, I asked if I could have it. These cigars are made at PDR on the Dominican Republic with a Brazilian wrapper, a binder from Ecuador and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.


The wrapper is smooth, very smooth for a Brazilian wrapper which usually are darker and rougher than this one. Its shiny because of the oils in the leaf yet the cigar feels a bit like sandpaper. The ring is simple, off white with black letters with golden outlines, just saying La Palina classic in an old fashioned font. The cigar feels well constructed, no hard of soft spots, and the cap is decent. The cigar has a nice stable aroma, manure, some acidity and hay.


I used a flat cut to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great, cedar and spicy. After lighting I taste sweet and savory spices. After half an inch I taste cedar with pepper. Then I suddenly taste a nasty bitter flavor that I recognize, the cigar is bleeding and that after just an inch. An easy fix, just cut off some of the head, but still. After I fixed the cigar I taste some sweetness, cedar and some hay. Halfway I taste a sharp cedar, just cedar. The last inch gets a little stronger but still the same flavor.


The draw is good. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The smoke is quite thick and white. The burn is quite straight. There isn’t much evolution, which is rare for a lancero. This cigar is medium bodied at most, mild to medium flavored. And the smoke time is less than ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 86, Dominican cigars, La Palina, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto

I have a man cave, the only place in the house where it’s allowed to smoke, even for my cigarette smoking wife. It’s a decent size room with a desk, a walk in humidor, my dedicated lancero humidor, a tv and four comfortable chairs. Once every few weeks some friends drop by for an evening of banter, cigars, booze and laughter and often they show their gratitude of me inviting them into my house by giving me a cigar. Now thats not needed, I have over 5000 cigars, but I appreciate the fact that they take time to either select a cigar from their stash for me or take the time to go out to a cigar shop and buy something for me, it’s the thought that counts even when I get a cigar that is way out of my comfort zone, like this Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto.


Now you wonder why this Macanudo Inspirado Gold is out of my comfort zone? Because of the brand and because of the wrapper. Let me start with the wrapper: Connecticut shade, the wrapper I hate more than any other wrapper. And then the brand, it’s a Macanudo and the best Macanudo I have ever smoked didn’t rank higher than “decent”, heck, anything from the General Cigar factories never ranked higher than decent in my book, decent or less. And I think that has to do with the sheer size of the company and the shareholders, the passion is not in the tobacco but in the money, now I’m not talking about everybody in the company, I know there are passionate tobacco people employed by General Cigars/Scandinavian Tobacco, but they are outranked by the bookkeepers, marketing managers and accountants. And when money is the main factor passion goes down and so does quality. I mean, go to a passionate ‘one off’ hamburger joint and the hamburgers are so much better than those McDonald’s or Burger King patties, a craft beer is so much better than a Heineken, Coors, Miller or Budweiser and a Flor de Cano rum is nicer than Bacardi because you taste the passion and craftmenship, the people behind the smaller companies take pride in their work and not only look at how much a product can make them.


The wrapper has a pale and brittle appearance, the wrapper is far from even, has unevenly placed pockets of tooth and just looks like its sick. The construction feels good but the triple cap is placed uneven and ugly too. The aroma is quite strong for a mild, Connecticut shade cigar but its not pleasant, an acidic ammonia and barnyard smell. The ring is simple, a matte gold ring with shiny gold outlines and the macanudo logo in shiny gold with red. The dull gold makes the wrapper even look more pale, the designers of the ring should have picked another color in my humble opinion.


Because the wrapper is so brittle and delicate I devoted to cut the cigar instead of punching. The cold draw is fine with a little chocolate flavor and a peppery aftertaste. The first puff give an unpleasant hay flavor, musty as all Connecticut Shade cigars and a little harsh. The harshness is only for a few puffs, after that I taste a mild but musty chocolate flavor and a little bit of pepper. After an inch I taste autumn leafs with some nutmeg and some sweetness. It’s not as musty as in the beginning anymore. It’s actually not bad what I’m tasting now. Halfway I taste sugar with the leafs, some nutmeg and cedar. The flavors then turn sweet and nutty with a little pepper on the background. The pepper is getting stronger while the sugar turns to caramel. Near the end the cigar gets harsh again so it’s time to put it in the ashtray and let it die.


The ash is silver colored and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The draw is perfect and the burn straight as an arrow. This cigar is mild in body and medium in flavor but well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but if someone gives it to me I’ll smoke it again on a Sunday morning. And this is why I like getting cigars that I would normally dismiss if I shop myself.

Score: 86
86

Categories: 86, Honduran cigars, Macanudo | Tags: , , , , ,

My Father 9/11 Nicaragua Habano Oscuro Robusto

Last year, also on September 11, I published a review of the My Father 9/11 Ecuador Rosado Habano robusto that came from on of the 343 boxes that My Father Cigars and Casa de Montecristo released in 2011, 10 years after the terrorist attacks by Al Qaida and Osama Bin Laden. Since the box carried 9 of the Ecuador Rosado Habano and 11 Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro cigars I thought it was a good idea to review the Nicaraguan version this year to commemorate all that lost their lives at the attack on the Twin Towers.


Now that I’m grabbing this cigar I can’t believe that it’s already 17 years ago since those attacks and the world hasn’t been the same. It caused a war on Iraq on false information, it caused a war and man hunt in Afghanistan to get the mastermind behind the attacks. The war in Iraq was the cause for the rise of ISIS and destabilized the whole middle east, leading to terrorist attacks all over Europe, Asia, Africa and North America leading to millions of death, millions of refugees, PTSD for both veterans and civilians living in the war zones that will haunt society for decades to come. I’m usually a pretty upbeat and positive person yet when I look at the state the world is in, with populism on the rise, racism back out in the open, a lack of diplomacy, the garbage that is spilled on social media where people are calling each other libtards, snowflakes, racists etcetera for having a different political view instead of respecting each others perspective, it makes me sad. And I think a lot of it is the aftermath of this world changing terrorist attack.


The cigar comes naked, that means no ring, no marking whatsoever. The wrapper is dark and smooth, oily and has a velvet feel to it. The cigar feels good, the head is nice and round, the triple cap is nice. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a barnyard, some manure, some hay, some grass, some straw, some animals. Nice.


I decapped the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and quite peppery. Right after lighting I taste toast with cinnamon and a little cedar. After a third it’s more toast, nutmeg, a hint of dark chocolate and some oregano. Halfway I taste wood, oak, with pepper. The pepper is getting stronger and stronger.


The draw is fantastic and so is the smoke. Thick, full and voluminous. The ash is white, with some black spots, dense and firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible

Score: 95
number95

Categories: 95, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.