Monthly Archives: October 2018

Reinado Habanito

Every year you see a few boutique blends pop up, gain a lot of publicity and popularity in the social media bit most of the times those brands fade away into oblivion too. I guess your cigars have to be extremely well to keep the cigar aficionados coming back to your cigars and your online presence has to be on top of everything to keep customers loyal and tied to your brand. A few brands know how to do that and grow, but most fade away after a short while and that’s exactly the case with this Reinado brand that was the hottest new kid on the block for a few months and is now the missing kid on the back of a milk carton.


The Reinado line is or was a Nicaraguan puro and the tobacco underwent a unique fermenting procedure according to the brand, but I can’t find any explanation online what made their fermentation unique. All the tobaccos used are aged minimum of five years, but that’s also not unique. The whole story reminds me of Puros de Hostos, a brand that was very popular for a short time in The Netherlands, with a story about quadruple fermentation, aged tobaccos and yes, those cigars were amazing but such marketing stories only last for a short time.


I am smoking the Habanito today, a petit corona, 4×38 short and thin. The habano rosado wrapper looks great, medium dark brown with a mild reddish glow and it feels a bit leathery. The construction feels good with a beautiful shaped head of the cigar. The ring is a bit of a “why copy a Cuban ring again?” kinda thing, its a straight up copy from the Ramon Allones ring, burgundy with gold, a golden logo in the centre and white letters. It’s something I dislike, stop copying Cuban rings, Nicaraguan cigars are way to good to need to resort to this kind of thievery. But since I’m not rating on sentiment but on how the ring looks, the color scheme, the print quality the ring still gets a good grade. I smell a mild aroma, an almost dusty wood with a little floral smell.


I cut the cigar since it’s too thin to punch. The cold draw is good with a mild raw tobacco flavor and a little pepper in the aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste a great coffee flavor, smooth yet full with a very mild honey sweetness and some pepper in the aftertaste. After a quarter of an inch I taste a nice oaky nutty flavor but with a nice minty and vanilla on the background. After a third I taste a nice mix of cumin, nutmeg, black pepper with some cedar. I also taste a little bit of cocoa. Soon after I taste a strong pepper with a minty freshness and some nutmeg. The final third starts spicy with notes of wood, spices, a little lime and some vanilla.


The draw is close to perfection and that leads to a lot of thick smoke from such a small cigar. The ash is almost white and nicely dense and firm. The burn is beautifully straight. The evolution is amazing. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great short smoke, I would love to.

Score: 92
number92

Advertisements
Categories: 92, Agros Tobacos Industriales, Nicaraguan cigars, Reinado | Tags: , , ,

Camacho Double Shock Toro 2014 Limited Edition

When Davidoff took over Camacho they restyled and reblended the whole brand and possible took it to a new factory, or they renamed the factory, that I don’t know but instead of Rancho Jamastran these cigars come from Agroindustria LAEPE S.A according to Halfwheel. Included in the restyle was a yearly limited edition and in 2014 they went for the Double Shock, a barber pole cigar, and then 2 together in a big ring. the only difference is a red or a black foot ring, I hoped it meant that the two cigars had a different blend but no, and I think that is a bit of a miss by the Davidoff development team, it would have been so much more exciting if the cigars were different.


Now all the excitement has to come from it being a limited edition, a 1000 boxes with 10 pairs, were made in the sizes robusto, toro, Churchill, figurado and toro and I got my hands on a pair of toro’s which had an msrp of $11.50 but I don’t know if that’s for the pair or for a single cigar. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I got the cigars as a gift. They never made it to my side of the pond commercially so I’m fortunate to have gotten these and i’m actually looking forward to smoking this 5 country blend with Ecuadorian Habano and Mexican San Andres wrapper, a Criollo binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and the USA (Pennsylvania)


The cigar certainly stands out in the humidor, the only other “pair in one ring” I can think of is the La Jugada Nunchuck. The double wrapper is another eye catcher especially since the wrappers used aren’t the usual Maduro and Connecticut Shade or Candela but a Maduro an a Habano. The San Adres wrapper is nice dark and toothy while the Habano wrapper is a bit more brittle. The construction feels good on both cigars. I love the ring, the foot rings are red or black, nothing printed on it but there is some embossing so they aren’t boring. The big ring is black and red with a black scorpion in a red circle. Much to my surprise I found a bright embossed and a red embossed ring underneath the combined ring with a shiny metallic logo. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. I smoked the black label one, but not that it matters since they are both the same.


I punched the cigar, the draw is fantastic. I taste a mild cedar and a little raisin in the cold draw. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a nice, mellow coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a spicy grass flavor. After an inch I taste draw wood, like saw dust, with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste cedar, cilantro, nutmeg with a peppery aftertaste. The final third is a white pepper with cedar and some spices.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is thin and the volume is poor. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a moderate evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will smoke the other one but wouldn’t buy new ones if I could find them. I expected more from a cigar called double shock.

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 86, Agroindustria LAEPE S.A, Camacho, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Carlos Toraño Single Region Series Jalapa Robusto

In 2010 Carlos Toraño jumped the bandwagon of cigars made from tobaccos from a certain area, like Plasencia does with the Reserve Organica, Perdomo with the Lot 23 and the Cubans with Pinar del Rio (or at least they claim …) but didn’t stick to one plantation as Plasencia and Perdomo do but widens the parameters by making it a single region instead of a single lot. Still, I like the concept as an experiment to see what you can do with tobaccos from one region. Toraño chose to do this in Jalapa, the most northern tobacco region in Nicaragua, close to the Honduran border.


Now the cigar is a Nicaraguan pure, of course with a name and concept like that, but made in Honduras. The size of the cigar I smoked is a 5×52 robusto but there are several other vitolas. I have no idea if the cigars are still being made after General Cigars purchased the brand a few years back. I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years now, I can’t recall when I bought this but it must have been on one of my trips to the USA so 2014 or earlier. And I don’t think that this concept was a success for Toraño since there were no other Single Region lines introduced, even though there are plenty of options like Esteli, Condega, Ometepe, Jamastran and several Dominican regions.


When I release the cigar from the cellophane I notice some discoloration and the top ring gets stuck in the cellophane, so I have to rip it open to put the ring back on the cigar. The wrapper looks good, a deep brown color with some oil and just one vein, quite a nice looking cigar. The rings compliment the wrapper very well, the top ring is white with burgundy outlines and with the Toraño family logo on each side of the burgundy text single region. The second ring is smakker, burgundy with golden embossed lines and white letters saying serie Jalapa. The cigar feels well packed and evenly packed too with a nice round head. The aroma is medium strong and a mixture of lemon and dog poop.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste peppery raisin. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors with pepper. The coffee is replaced by green herbs like rucola with earthy flavors and pepper. After a third the flavors mellow out a bit to soil, nutmeg, a little salt and a peppery aftertaste. Halfway I taste wood, soil and mild salty nuts. The wood and soil slowly disappear and I’m struck with the nuts and pepper but after two thirds I taste raw carrots too, and I like carrots. The carrot flavor disappears quickly too and the pepper gets stronger.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium full in both volume and thickness. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn is slow but uneven. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with a nice slow evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe a single when I am at a shop but no box for my humidor.

Score: 88
number88

Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Latin Cigars de Honduras, Torano | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Royal Selection Maduro Corona

Balmoral, probably the most famous Dutch cigar brand nowadays, but in The Netherlands not just famous for their longfillers. Their short fillers are everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations, and their longfillers never impressed me until a few years ago. I was the host of the Dutch Big Smoke and Balmoral contacted me to see if they could release their new line, the Anejo at the Big Smoke and my first reaction was “why do you think we want to introduce a gas station cigar?”. Well, I met up with the marketing manager anyway, smoked the cigar and had to apologize for my blunt reaction, what a great cigar and I smoked a lot of them since and reviewed them before on my blog too.


But I have to admit, I didn’t smoke their other offerings ever again, not even their Dominican Selection shortfiller that I smoked a lot and loved a lot as a novice cigar smoker. I found a Balmoral Royal Selection Corona in my humidor and this 5 7/8×42 cigar is made in the Dominican Republic with Brazilian and Dominican filler, a Dominican Olor binder and Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Time to let the prejudice go and review this cigar.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark and typical Brazilian with thick veins, dry to the touch but also oily. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is old fashioned and in need of an update. Two colors green with white and golden lines, a shield with the beautiful B in the centre and Balmoral on top, since 1895 on the bottom. The print quality is great, the ring is clear but the design is too old fashioned for me. The aroma is a mixture of barnyard, manure and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin and a little pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, and I taste coffee, earthy flavors, a little lemon and some sweetness. The flavors changes to earthy flavor with wood and some chocolate. Halfway I taste peanuts, some salt, a little chocolate and pepper. The final third starts with a hazelnut chocolate butter flavor, Nutella like with some vanilla. The flavor changes to nutty with pepper and a hint of cocoa.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is good. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not as good as the Anejo series but better than I remembered.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

Aruhiba Natural Robusto

Yes, cigars come from unexpected places, its not just the well known cigar countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic taking advantage of their climate but other countries too. Maybe you have smoked a Mexican or Costa Rican cigar, those are relatively easy to get, then there are some cigars made in Colombia and Panama but on Aruba, one of the Dutch Antilles? Yes, there is a small cigar producer there too.


I got two different cigars from a fellow cigar aficionado a few years back that went on vacation to Aruba and ran into the shop and bought a few as souvenirs. He gave me the Aruhiba Light and this Aruhiba Natural. My expectations aren’t high but the light, which I smoked before, surprised me pleasantly. I do not know anything about the blend at all, but I expect that they use some, or maybe only, tobacco from their own island farm.


The cigar has a yellowish brown wrapper that almost looks and feels like old paper but on the back there are a few veins. The ring is white with red letters and a gold lining, neatly printed. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong and smells musty, like walking into a house that has been abandoned over a decade ago.


I cut the cigar, the draw is fine. I taste spicy tobacco with a mild acidity like a piece of lemon candy. I taste a muted, mildly musty, cedar flavor after lighting. This has the Connecticut flavor that I don’t like at all yet the creaminess of the flavors, butter like, is great. After a third I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices, a little harsh but also a little sweet. The last part starts woody with a mild smokey and toasty flavor.


The draw is good, the smoke is medium in both thickness and volume. The ash is close to white. The burn was uneven at times. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time in forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. It had some nice components but overall it’s a no.

Score: 82

number82

Categories: 82, Ahuriba Cigar Factory, Aruban cigars, Aruhiba | Tags: , , ,

Headley Grange Drumstick

When STG bought the independent brand CAO and incorporated it into the General Cigars portfolio one of the things that changed was the base of operations. CAO was always based in Nashville, Tennessee but after the take-over the brand had to move to the General Cigars offices in Virginia. A few of CAO executives, including Jon Huber and Gary Hyams, decided against the move and promised to take care of the Tennessee employees, thus they started a new company, Crowned Heads.


Their first release was named after a Kings of Leon song that they would make a reference to their second release as well, calling it Headley Grange, a famous music studio where a lot of great artists recorded. And they took one of those songs, when the levee breaks by Led Zeppelin as inspiration, especially the pounding drum in the intro. So in 2012 they released this cigar, made at the La Alianza factory of E.P. Carrillo with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder and the line up included this limited edition lancero aka drumstick.


The wrapper is quite rustic, it has a nice, deep brown without being very dark. It’s almost like a piece of cinnamon. The simple ring is stylish, black with golden outlines and clear white letter saying the brand name and smaller, golden, letters Republica Dominicana. The printing quality is good too. The construction feels great, the head of the cigar is amazing, a slightly raised tip yet not enough to speak of a torpedo shape head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of milk chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. The cold draw taste is quite spicy and peppery. The flavor I get after lighting is a strong and peppery coffee. After a few puffs I taste a sweet cinnamon instead of the peppery coffee. Then the flavors change to herbal flavors with a citrus acidity. And before the first third is over the flavors change again to dry cedar with lime. After a third I taste a milky chocolate with lemon. After this the cigar mellows out, cedar with herbs, spices and sweetness with subtle changes in strength. Ever few puffs I taste some pepper too. In the final third I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The ash is white. The smoke is ok, not thick, not thin, volume just enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Headley Grange, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , ,

Cubao Robusto

You know that the cigar you grabbed is old when the cellophane is almost golden because of the years of soaking up oils from the cigar. Add to it that the company behind the cigar was split up and both owners went their own way more than 5 years ago and you know you have a aged, maybe even vintage, cigar in your hands, and that’s what’s the case with this EO Brands Cubao Robusto.


Back in the day the cigar was made by Don Pepin Garcia and was from Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, Ortega got the name in the split up and the cigar is now sold as Ortega Cubao with an almost identical ring, only change is the Espinosa & Ortega has changed to Ortega Cigar Co. The new cigars, I don’t know if the blend is still the same, is still made at My Father Cigars while Espinosa started his own factory, La Zona, and is one of the more reputable boutique brands.


As I said, the cigar comes in a yellow, almost golden, cellophane and when I release the cigar I see a reasonable dark, smooth and oily wrapper with a leathery feel to it. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard with a beautiful triple cap and a flat head. The aroma is strong, wood and barnyard, that what comes to mind. The ring is simple, it reminds me a little of a Montecristo ring because of the brown ring with white letters but bigger. The ring says “Espinosa y Ortega” on top, “CUBAO” on the bottom and in the middle a white tobacco flower.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is very good that tastes like raisin and black pepper. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice coffee flavor with the perfect amount of bitterness and a faint hint of cocoa. After a few puffs it’s coffee with chocolate butter, almost Nutella like. The second third starts with a mild chocolate butter flavor, with green leaves or fresh wood, and a little bit of cinnamon on the back of my throat. The cinnamon slowly grows stronger and is not just on the back of my throat anymore. The final third starts nutty with some chocolate sweetness and pepper.


The smoke is very thick and there is plenty. The burn is a bit off though. The draw is close to perfect. The ash is white and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, especially the first third is great.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Cubao, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Tino Platinum Z-Class 550R

Davidoff and Zino cigars were known as milder smoked and with the Zino Platinum Z Class Davidoff wanted to tap into the market of cigar aficionados that like a fuller smoke. They made a blend with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Peruvian Pelo de Oro binder and a Yamasa Rojiza wrapper from the Dominican Republic.


Now I have no idea how, where or when I got this cigar. I can’t imagine that I bought it myself so it must have been a gift. Why am I so sure of that? Because I never in my life have bought a Zino cigar for the exact same reason why Davidoff made this blend, I like my cigars a little fuller bodied and flavored than the old Zino and Davidoff blends although I must admit that in the last few years Davidoff made a leap forward with the new blend. And since today is the birthday of Zino it’s only fitting to publish this review today.


This cigar has a wrapper that is not up to standard that I hold Davidoff too, I mean, the coffee colored wrapper has an awesome color but is rough, the veins are thin but rough, the wrapper feels like sandpaper, the looks are just off. The construction is a bit spongy, and it looks like the cigar isn’t evenly filled either, way below Davidoff standards again.The ring is nice, pitch black with silver details and a big silver Z in the middle. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a farmfield and wood.


I used a cheap cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, yet not very flavorful, only a little citrus acidity. After lighting I taste a pleasant sour marzipan. Quickly I taste a mild harsh wood with a strong citrus flavor. The flavors don’t change much.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick and white. The ash is medium dark gray, it has beautiful layers with nice rings. The burn is decent. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The cigar lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 86, Cigars Davidoff, Dominican cigars, Tino | Tags: , , , ,

San Lotano The Bull Robusto

I’ve always been a fan of A.J. Fernandez, from the day he emerged as master blender and manufacturer for a lot of the Maier & Dutch private labels, sold only through cigarsinternational and affiliated sites. I mean the Diesel Unholy Cocktail is one of my favorite cigars, I love most of the Man O Wars, Ave Maria’s etcetera and I’ve liked almost everything he made for himself too like the San Lotano lines, Last Call, New World and Enclave. But for some reason the San Lotano didn’t do much in The Netherlands. I guess that’s because we started with the weirdly shaped Oval line and that vitola didn’t went well with the Dutch public and tainted the San Lotano name for a lot of consumers.


San Lotano is an old Cuban brand that was owned by A.J. Fernandez grandfather but after the revolution th brand disappeared. Abdel brought it back with the San Lotano Oval, and later the round Maduro, Habano and Connecticut lines and a few years later this new The Bull, which is box pressed since that’s the best format for this specific blend according to Fernandez.  The cigar is made in Esteli with Nicaraguan filler and Binder and an Ecuadorean habano wrapper and comes in boxes of 10. I smoked the 5×54 robusto.


The cigar comes cedar wrapped and in cellophane. The cedar wrapping has the image of a bulls head printed on the wood. Once I remove that I see a dark and square pressed cigar, it looks like a mars bar, with one vein, which is also flattened. I see some mineral sparkles on the wrapper too and the cigar looks mighty tasty. And I immediately smell a quite strong aroma that is a mixture of a smoldering bonfire, cow dung and fresh pepper. The ring is of a thick paper, a black square with golden outlines, golden letters San Lotano and at the bottom a yellow and red banner with ‘by A.J. Fernandez’. Simple yet effective.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is perfect, a little citrusy with some bitterness. I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson and taste espresso with some oak and a little sugar. A few puffs later I taste sweet and toasted oak flakes and some citrus. After an inch I taste black coffee, very dark chocolate and citrus. Halfway the cigar becomes less bitter, the bitterness was nice though, and a little more peppery. No more coffee but still oak with the bitterness of dark chocolate, a little sweetness, some pepper and citrus.


The white ash has some black smears and is firm. The smoke is thick and plentiful, just how I like it. The draw is flawless. The burn is good but not completely straight. This cigar is medium to full bodied, full flavored yet there isn’t a lot of evolution. The smoke time is little over and hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to other AJ Fernandez cigars.

Score: 87

number87

 

 

Categories: 87, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Boxpressed Torpedo

A few years ago My Father released the My Father Le Bijou 1922 series, it was the follow up to the regular My Father line, the line Jaime & Janny Garcia created to honor their father Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and he in his place honored his father with this Le Bijou 1922 blend. At that time I was working for the Dutch distributer of My Father Cigars and we added this line to our portfolio in several different vitolas, including the Box Pressed Torpedo.


Now for some reason the line didn’t sell, it is a great cigar but I guess time wasn’t right to compete with the Cubans in their price range I think because quality and flavor wise I would pick this Nicaraguan puro with the beautiful Pelo de Oro wrapper over any Cuban cigar any day but the sales numbers changed when Cigar Aficionado picked the Box Pressed Torpedo to be the #1 cigar of the year 2015. Since we stopped carrying the cigar we quickly had to order a few hundred boxes and even with a €13 price tag I wrote a record number just in pre-orders and the week they got in we received another shipment of highly awaited cigars too so it was a madhouse at the office, the boss was in Nicaragua on a business trip and I spend all week helping our warehouse staff to get all shipments out to break the company record with a landslide.


Once I release this 6 1/8 x 52 box pressed cigar from its cellophane packaging I smell a strong barnyard aroma. The construction feels good and the pointy tip of the cigar stands out, it looks more pointy than most torpedos I have seen. The dark wrapper looks leathery because of the tooth, the thin veins and the mild shine, you can see that the sun did its work. The rings are pretty, I like the fact that the bottom ring has a gap on top where the pointy bottom of the upper rings fits in. The bottom ring has a golden background with curly black letters saying Le Bijou 1922 while the bitter top ring has a pink white circle with the golden My Father logo, golden decorations and a pink banner underneath with golden letters. I don’t think these rings are printed by Vrijdag, their gold is a bit more shiny and of a higher quality but the rings are still beautiful.


I cut the cigar with a flat cut since punching is no option with a torpedo. The cold draw is great with a very peppery flavor, the famous Pepin twang from his old days is back. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee and leather with a very tiny bit of chocolate. After a centimeter i taste a meaty charred wood, which is nicer than it sounds with some spice and pepper. Slowly the flavors change to wood with a bit of metal and pepper. After a third the pepper gets stronger with a little wood as a base flavor. Halfway I had to cut the cigar a little more, i had cut it really small and that caused some tar build up. After cutting a little more I taste nuts, lime, wood and pepper, a very Nicaraguan flavor profile. The pepper gets stronger towards the two thirds and become the dominant flavor by far but I also taste a little nuts.


The draw is great. The smoke is reasonable thick and medium plus in amount. The burn is straight. The ash is white, dense and firm. This well balanced full bodied cigar is full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have over half a box left. It’s a great cigar but not my number 1

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.