Monthly Archives: December 2018

Berger & Argenti Entubar Robusto

Years ago Albert Argenti befriended me on Facebook, we chatted a bit about soccer as he was a former semi professional player who played with Dutch players in the old MLS and when I went to Miami in 2010 I dropped by his office in Cuban Crafters. There he showed me one of the Berger & Argenti cigars, the Entubar. This cigar is unique due to the entubar rolling where a piece of ligero is rolled up and the rest of the cigar is rolled around it. The uniqueness is that the piece of ligero sticks out, different than in a shaggy foot, just look at the pictures.


The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler, a Nicaraguan binder and a wrapper from Ecuador and I guess they were made at the factory owned by Don Kiki Berger since he was a partner in their business. Now I won’t let myself sound like a broken record so I’m not going to explain how the Argenti brothers screwed my previous employer and I’m only going to focus on the cigar that was discontinued when Berger & Argenti went belly up but was reintroduced at the last IPCPR by Karen Berger, I have no idea if the Argenti brothers are involved in that company, but for Karen’s sake I hope not.


The cigar looks great, due to the unique foot and the way the ring emphasizes that. The foot ring is a bright yellow and black with the text “advisory, thoroughly toast entire cigar foot before smoking” and that might be an advise a lot of first time Entubar smokers helped light the cigar. The wrapper is milk chocolate brown, smooth yet looks a bit dry. The ring is big, brown with small ‘berger & argent’ written continuously in white letters and a golden seal with their name. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay and barnyard. I can’t find anything wrong with the construction.


I decided to break out the punch for this cigar. The draw is a little close. I taste raisin and cedar. I toasted the entire foot as described on the foot ring with my soft flame. I taste a mild musty coffee, the mustiness comes from the shade wrapper. I also taste cinnamon sugar too, very mild. The coffee disappears and I taste mild musty cedar with the cinnamon sugar. The wrapper cracks, as happened with a lot of Berger & Argenti cigars I smoked, actually almost all. After half an inch the sweetness is gone, I taste a muted, mild musty and slightly harsh cedar. After an inch I taste pepper too. The flavor doesn’t change much, just gets a little stronger. Then the flavor changes are over.


The draw is a little tight. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The ash is pretty, I love the fact that is stays in the original shape, with the little tube. The burn is good. This is a mild to medium bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope, I would buy the quad Maduro though.

Score: 83

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Categories: 83, Berger & Argenti, Nicaraguan cigars | Leave a comment

708 Connecticut Junior

708 Cigars is the brand of two Chicago brothers that run a shop and are, at least from what I learn on the internet, involved with Drew Estate in some Arab countries as distributers but I don’t know exactly what that deal is. I know I got these cigars as a sampler from a company that is thinking about bringing them to the Dutch market. And there is the Drew Estate connection again, the owner of that company is a close personal friend of Jonathan Drew.


I only have the 4×44 Junior in this Connecticut Shade blend, I smoked the same vitola and a Churchill in the barberpole version once before though. The website of 708 cigars doesn’t tell me anything except for the size and that they come in 20 count boxes but the description for the filler, binder and wrapper is proprietary according to the website.


The wrapper is pale, its got veins, it’s wrinkly at the head and the cap is placed by, what it appears to be, a novice roller. The cigar feels evenly filled though. The ring is nice colored, in bathroom or kitchen colors, gray with beige and the logo looks like a hand written 708. The print quality is good. The cigar has a full aroma and all that comes to mind is poop, poop and manure, which is poop too.


I cut the cigar on a Sunday morning, since it’s a Connecticut Shade I think this could be a morning smoke. When I wet the tip I notice a sweetened tip, that’s a downer. The cold draw is loose and I taste chemical sweetness. After lighting I taste coffee with that chemical sweetness. After a quarter of an inch the cigar turns spicy too. But that chemical sweetness destroys it all. Halfway the sweetness disappears, I taste spicy cedar now, a little on the harsh side. The harshness grows and I have to toss the cigar.


The draw is loose, but the thick, white and voluminous smoke makes up for it. The ash is black and white with thick layers. This mild to medium bodied and medium flavored cigar has a smoke time of thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no!

Score: 78
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Categories: 708 Cigars, 78, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

La Casita Criolla HCB

Years ago, I hadn’t even start to work for my later (and now previous) employer who’s one of the major cigar importers & distributers in The Netherlands, Pete Johnson released both the La Casita Criollo and the Fausto and I got a call from my later employer who told me the cigars showed up on the international price list, he didn’t know what they were, he gave me prices and asked weather he should order them or not. I knew about the cigars, I smoked the Tatuaje T110 where the Fausto is based upon, and read about the La Casita Criolla too and thought it was an interesting concept, the prices were fine so I advised him to order both lines. And he did. Today is also Pete’s birthday, so happy birthday my friend.


The La Casita Criolla is made with a 100% American Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar is an American puro. Now Connecticut broadleaf is known as a wrapper or sometimes a binder but it being used as a filler isn’t something known to the general public, it happens as not all Connecticut broadleaf is dark enough or of the quality needed to be a wrapper. And that’s the kind of leaf Pete Johnson uses for filler in this La Casita Criolla, the lighter colored, the esthetically lesser quality leaf but still flavorful. The only thing I don’t like about it is the naming of the vitolas, why not just go with corona, robusto, torpedo, churchill but with a HCB, HCBC, HFBF, HCR which to me, and not just me alone, very confusing and I think it hurts the sales. I am not a 100% sure but I think the La Casita Criolla name comes from an old Cuban brand.


I grabbed the HCB out of my humidor, which is a 5 1/8×42 corona sized cigar. The cigars are naked in the box, no cellophane to protect the wrapper during transport. The wrapper is dark, juicy and oily with here and there a glittering of minerals, the veins make it look rustic and with the dark color combined it looks a bit intimidating. The ring is very simple, just like the packaging, brown with a white square and red letters La Casita Criolla, then a red square with white letters Tatuaje Cigars Esteli and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a drawing of a small house, the native cottage that the name refers too. The construction feels great and the cap is beautifully glued onto its place. The aroma isn’t very strong, just tobacco, barnyard and a little chocolate.


I cut the cigar, xikar butterfly style, and that creates a perfect cold draw with a spicy and peppery touch. I taste a full and nice sweetened coffee. After half an inch the cigar turns to chocolate, coffee and pepper. The chocolate is getting stronger after a third with wood and a little bit of pepper. The pepper fades away a little, I taste caramel with oak, a little chocolate and some spices.


The draw is perfect and the white ash is dense and firm. The luscious smoke is white and full. The burn is close to perfect as well. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavors are, right up my alley. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I had to pick 10 cigars that I could smoke the rest of my life, this cigar would make the cut.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, La Casita Criolla, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heisenberg Robusto

Imagine being a theoretical physicist, doing great discoveries like the uncertainty principle and winning a nobel price when you’re just 31 and all you will be remembered by is a fictional meth dealer with terminal cancer and your field of science is mocked by one of the most popular comedy series ever where a total but brilliant nut job named Sheldon Cooper is playing a theoretical physicist. I bet Werner Heisenberg, born on this day in 1901, would be turning in his grave if he knew.


But some people still remember his uncertainty principle, people like the Quesada family, and they created a cigar around this theory. The only thing they revealed was the size, nothing more nothing less, no blend whatsoever, nothing, so that people had to smoke it completely blank and without prejudice. A quote from the original press release said “The Heisenberg project is named after the scientific formula of the same name that proves the fundamental limits of precision: in other words, no matter how much we know about something we will never know everything; the more we focus on one aspect, the less we know about another. The Heisenberg project has two intentions: to dispel the stereotypes that limit our ability to enjoy a cigar and remind aficionados that sometimes its best to sit back, relax, and just enjoy a smoke without over analyzing it. To put it simply, “Embrace Uncertainty!” Before writing this review I googled Werner Heisenberg and his theory but even the simplest of explanations gave me a headache, so I quit reading and decided to focus on the cigar en embrace the uncertainty.


The cigar is a tad thin for a robusto with a 48 ring, but it does have the classic 5 inch length. I do like thinner cigars so i’m not complaining though. The wrapper is dark, smooth and oily and the black ring with silver edges and the formula for the uncertainty principle in silver compliments the wrapper. On the back the name Heisenberg is written in small letters. I’m glas Quesada didn’t pick blue for the colors. The construction feels good, the cap is placed nicely too. I smell a quite dark, yet not to strong, wood aroma.


I punched the cigar to find a great cold draw with a slightly salt and raisin flavor. The first puff after lighting is coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch i taste some nuts, a faint chocolate, some sweetness but all muted and slightly harsh. After an inch I taste salty lemon with some wood. Halfway the lemon grows strong with wood and pepper. After two thirds it’s just spicy oak.


The draw is great and the smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The ash is light gray and dense, firm too. The burn is pretty straight. I would call this cigar medium to medium full bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time if an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar didn’t hit the spot for me.

Score: 88

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Ashton Symmetry Prism

In the close to 30 years that Ashton has been on the market they have not been releasing line after line, limited edition after limited edition but they gradually build the brand unlike so many companies nowadays. I mean, they have the Ashton Classic, Aged Maduro, Puro Sol, Cabinet, VSG and limited release ESG series and then it went quiet for about 10 years until Ashton released their latest new line, the Symmetry. Now to be fair, Ashton does have two Nicaraguan brands that join in the rat race to release a new cigar every year, San Cristobal/Paradiso and La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe, but those are made by My Father Cigars while all Ashton named premium cigars are made by Arturo Fuente on the Dominican Republic. Today it’s Meera Levin’s birthday, a good day to publish this review. Happy birthday.


That was in 2014 but the production numbers were just enough to supply the American market so us Europeans had to wait till september 2015 where the cigar would be introduced at the Intertabac trade show. But we persuaded Ashton to supply the Dutch market a week early so we could debut the cigar at the Big Smoke we hosted a week before the show. So since Ashton is a classic company, with a classic reputation so we opted for the Prism, a 5.625×46 Corona, a classic size.


The cigar, made out of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, looks great when you get it out of the cellophane. The silky wrapper is quite dark, not maduro dark but still and has a few small veins that give it character. The ring it classic, and that fits Ashton like a glove, and I figure the ring is printed by Vrijdag in Eindhoven due to the extremely high quality of the gold print, they are the best in the world when it comes to that. The ring has a lot of gold on a white background and a light blue and red centre with golden letters Ashton, and underneath that a red banner with golden letters saying Symmetry. The construction feels good and the cap has been applied beautifully by a skilled roller. The cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard but mixed with the aroma of a spice stall at a farmers market.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and the cold draw is great. There is not a lot of flavor in the cold draw, just some dry raisin with a little pepper. After I lit the cigar with a soft flame I taste some metallic coffee. After a few puffs the flavors are sweet and sour, lemon with sugar and some wood. After a centimeter I taste some pepper too and a little bit of chocolate. After a third I taste lemon with sugar and spices and a hint of pepper. Halfway I taste wood with some pepper and a little bit of spices.


The smoke is thick and the amount is great. The light colored as is dense and firm. The draw is great, flawless. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, it could just use a little more evolution and it would be in my top 25. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since they are no longer be sold in The Netherlands as the distributor felt they didn’t sell good enough I am forced to order a box online soon.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Ashton, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Leave a comment

Manuel Schirra Torpedo

Now this cigar was a mystery to me, and at the time of writing still is a mystery although I managed to find some information on this brand. I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years and every time I saw it I was intrigued, not by the looks or the ring, although it stands out, but by the fact that I didn’t know anything about the cigar, never even heard of the brand so today it was time to fire google up and see what I could find.


One a message board I learned that this cigar is a house blend for a shop in Las Vegas called Cigarbox, owned by Freyboy Tobacco. Now I have been to Las Vegas but I haven’t been to that specific shop, I only stopped at Casa Fuente and the now not longer existing Pheasant Cigars, so this cigar must have been a gift. It is rumored to be a Nicaraguan pro but the blend and the factory are unknown to me.


The cigar looks good, a nice medium brown wrapper with a reddish glow to it, no real veins. The construction feels good too and the tip is sharp. The ring, as I said in the intro, is unique. It shows the face of a man, and says Havana Cuba but on the side of the ring it says Nicaragua, and since it’s a house blend for an American shop it’s safe to say that this is not a Cuban cigar. Even though the ring is clearly professionally printed the design looks like its home made and a little discolored by time and somehow I really like this ring because it makes me curious, very curious. The aroma is very mild and I smell hay and straw.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. I taste a little mint, some sultana and dry tobacco. I lit the cigar with my old Ronson and I taste coffee, full and strong. After half an inch I also taste spices and cedar. After an inch I taste toast with pepper and spices. Halfway the cigar is dry, I taste cedar, toast, cinnamon, pepper and a little lime and mint. The last third starts work more honey sweetness. The cinnamon gets stronger and the only flavor

that I taste, I like it a lot.

The draw is fine. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The smoke is medium to full in thickness and volume. The burn is good, not perfect as it’s a little crooked. This is a medium bodied medium full flavored cigar with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Depending on the price, but if I ever happen to be in Vegas I will look up the lounge.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Manuel Schirra, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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