Monthly Archives: January 2019

Schizo Robusto

A few years back, when I was still working as a sales rep, my employer went to Florida for his holiday and he called me. He said “I smoked a cigar, price quality is amazing, I have never heard of the brand, what do you know?” and he was talking about Asylum 13. That brand was brand new back then and I quickly found out it was Christian Eiroa’s come back in the cigar industry. So I reached out to Christian for prices and a possible distribution agreement for The Netherlands and then waited on an answer.


That answer came a few days later. My employer was back in the country, it was a national holiday so he and his family, a mutual friend and his family and I went to a beach club in Bloemendaal to drink champagne on the beach on a sunny day when I got an email from Christian with the prices. The price sheet included the Schizo bundles and we we looking for a good bundle cigar, so I did my calculations right there and then, said “no, this can’t be”, did the math again and said to my employer “no brainer, this is so dirt cheap, we can sell this like hot cakes”. We ordered and weren’t able to keep enough stock, the bundles were hot.


The cigar looks good, the wrapper is quite dark and leathery. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar, as well as the cap, are fine. The ring is white with glossy silver and dark copper skull, plus silver letters schizo. Well printed, but not my kind of style. The aroma is medium strong and has a stable smell, like cow manure and hay.


I used my butterfly cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is good, with a little spice. After lighting I taste coffee with some Maduro sweetness and pepper. After an inch I taste a musty spice with some muted sweetness, like an old gingerbread. After a third I taste sweetness but a little harsh. Halfway I also taste some dark chocolate. At the end the cigar turns slightly harsh.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is quite straight. The gray ash is coarse yet reasonably firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Maduro

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars, Schizo | Tags: , , , , ,

Reposado Estate Blend 96 Maduro Toro

Yesterday I wrote how I got introduced to the Reposado Estate Blend and I reviewed the Natural version of it, which is the one with the Habano leaf. Then there is the Connecticut Shade version, which I never smoked and which my employer decided not to carry. I didn’t mind because Connecticut Shade and me, well, generally speaking thats not a good combination. Now maduro and me, that’s a different story. So today I’m reviewing the 6×50 maduro toro


The cigars are made at the factory of A.J. Fernandez, like a lot of other Meier & Dutch exclusive cigars like the Man O War, Diesel, the big Reposado 96 Salomons, Sons of Anarchy, Ave Maria and more. What I read online is that the cigar is made with aged tobacco, but that came from a vendor website and I doubt that a cigar this cheap used aged tobacco. It doesn’t say anything other than it being Cuban seed, but no origin, I’m guessing Nicaraguan though.


The ring is the same as on the natural yet with red instead of blue. And it fits the beautiful deep dark color of the wrapper. The cigar feels well constructed, the cap is nice just like the shape of the head. The aroma is strong, deep and dark, dried manure with some pepper.


The cold draw is loose, I taste some spice and chocolate, very faint though. After lighting I taste a mild bitterness that reminds me of poor quality cocoa. After an inch I taste wood and cheap, low quality chocolate. Halfway I taste wood, cocoa with a sharp flavor that reminds me of some spice I ate in Asia.


The smoke is thick and white. The ash is dark and ugly. The burn is uneven. The draw is a little loose. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, not really but price quality wise it’s decent.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Nicaraguan cigars, Reposado, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Reposado 96 Estate Habano Robusto

I love the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and used to order them a few times a year from the USA. Now technically, importing tobacco without a license is illegal here in The Netherlands but most of the times the packages were delivered to my doorstep with no issue. But then I started to work for a cigar distributer and felt like I shouldn’t do that anymore, yet I still wanted to smoke Diesels. So after pushing my employer long and hard and reaching out to Meier & Dutch, who owns the brand, we were able to start distributing the Diesel and some other M&D exclusive brands.


A year later I walked into Alex Svenson from M&D at Intertabac and we talked about the Dutch market. He said his goal was to create a bundle cigar with a €1 price tag, so I grabbed my calculator and came up with what the cigar should cost us. Alex replied that he had something that came close and would send me some samples. A few weeks later I got some Reposado Estate Blend cigar in the mail, both a natural and a maduro blend and the robusto size would have a retail price of €1,25. I remember being quite impressed for that price but admit, I haven’t smoked it in years so time for a review.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane it feels meaty and a bit greasy, but in a good way. The wrapper is line, medium dark with some veins. It’s not a bad looking cigar, especially considering the price. The construction feels good, but the head is uneven and the cap isn’t nice and smooth. The ring is pretty nice, simple but well printed. A classic round shape, white and blue with a black circle which says the name. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of hay and dried manure.


I used a cutter to take the cap off, at the cold draw I get a lot of loose tobacco in my mouth. The cold draw is a little loose. I taste herbs. After lighting I taste coffee. The flavor is mild. After a third I taste a little chocolate. The final third I taste wood and herbs but not in a pleasant way, sharp and unrefined.


The dark ash is coarse. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is good. The cigar is medium bodied and mild flavored. The draw is loose. The cigar lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Never again. It’s not disgusting but overall it’s below par, just as the price though.

Score: 79

Categories: 79, Nicaraguan cigars, Reposado, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural Robusto

Two days ago, in the review of the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano, I mentioned prejudice and named a few of my cigar related prejudices. And this cigar ticks not one but two boxes, being a budget cigar and having a Connecticut Shade wrapper. And that combination makes me wonder why I punish myself with this whole month of budget cigars and even adding Connecticut Shade to the mix.


The cigar has a Connecticut wrapper but the Alec Bradley website doesn’t specify where it is grown. The binder is Nicaraguan and the filler comes from both Nicaragua and Honduras. This is the final blend from the Spirit of Cuba series. I also notice that only a 5×50 robusto is mentioned on the website where before there were other vitolas too.


The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut but it has an ugly and long vein all over the front of the cigar. The ring is the same as the others with a red base color this time, its not as cool as the black from the Corojo but better than the yellow from the Habano. The construction seems good, no plugs of soft spots. The aroma reminds me of cedar, white pepper and dog poop.


I used a cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, with a mild sour and sweet flavor. After lighting I taste sweetness with a hint of pepper. After a third the sweetness is gone, I taste a little wood with allspice, muted though. Halfway it’s acidity with that musty Connecticut Shade flavor. Slowly the cigar gets a little harsh too. The final few puffs are wood with powdered sugar bad a bit pepper.


The draw is perfect and the smoke is thick. The ash is white and firm. The burn is great. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope

Score: 78
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Categories: 78, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corojo Robusto

Yesterday I posted a review of the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano robusto and today I’m publishing the second offering from the three blend Spirit of Cuba series, a Cuban sandwich style cigar from Honduras which is very budget friendly. And I hope I like this one better because I only want to write good things about Alec Bradley, since they are great people, a great company and have been nothing but good to me. Yet, with my experience with budget cigars and the Spirit of Cuba Habano I’m afraid that smoking this cigar isn’t going to be a ride to heaven.


Just like the habano, this cigar is a Cuban sandwich style cigar, that means both longfiller and shortfiller as a filler. And the filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras, the binder is Honduran and the wrapper, corojo as the name suggests, comes from Nicaragua.


When I grab the cigar I noticed that the ring is almost the same but black instead of soft yellow and that makes the ring look much better, classier and more expensive. The wrapper is even a shade darker too with a nice shine from the oils. The cigar feels like velvet and it is well packed. The aroma is medium strong and it reminds me of dark chocolate with a little bit of pepper.


I used a dual blade guillotine cutter to open the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste dry herbs. After lighting I taste coffee. Slowly it changes to cedar with herbal aromas. The final third is more vegetable with pepper, quite nice. Near the end I taste salted peanuts.


The draw is great, but then again, it’s a medium filler so that’s not a surprise. The ash is quite dark. The smoke is medium full. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The evolution is what I expected from a budget cigar, not too much. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is not a bad budget cigar.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano Robusto

We all have our prejudice, also when it comes to cigars, and I’m not different than any other cigar smoker, I have them too. Some are prejudice towards cigars not coming from Cuba, others are prejudice towards vitolas, towards certain wrappers or brands in general. I admit, I have a prejudice against big ring gauges, certain brands and I used to have a prejudice against Connecticut Shade wrappers although in the last year and a half I smoked a few that I liked a lot which changed my attitude against Connecticut Shade. Another prejudice? Budget cigars, I think most of them are not worth the little money they cost.


So when I was working for the Alec Bradley distributor and we got the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba series in I flat out refused to try them, I sold them and sold them good but hadn’t smoked them, now for budget month I will and I start with the Habano. Made in Honduras as a Cuban sandwich with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras and when I was selling these the retail price was €2,50 for a robusto


The cigar actually looks good, a smooth and dark wrapper, no visible veins and a nice head. The construction feels good too, yet the well printed ring looks a little cheap though. Its soft yellow with a sun in the centre and gold printed letters Spirit of Cuba plus a small green banner with the Alec Bradley name. The aroma is medium strong and smells like poop.


I cut the cigar which led to a great cold draw with a mild lemon and spicy flavor. The first puff after lighting is a powdered coffee flavor. There is also a lemon flavor. The first third the flavor doesn’t change but then a little spice shows up. Halfway I taste nutmeg, spice and a little lemon. The spice picks a bit up a bit but that’s it.


The draw is great. The ash is dark but with nice rings. The smoke is white and thick. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? nah, price quality is great but  I rather pay double and get something better.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , ,

Flor de Oliva Lancero

I was looking for a budget lancero since I’m publishing a long list of budget reviews and I found a Flor de Oliva lancero in my lancero humidor, a perfect candidate for a budget lancero review, since you can get these 6 1/2×44 cigars for less than 2 dollars per cigar on the internet. And that’s cheap! Now some sites call these cigars lonsdale, some call them lancero, some call them panatela but for the sake of publishing a lancero every 15th of the month I will consider it a lancero.


The cigar is made in Nicaragua, in the Oliva factory in Esteli where prize winning cigars like the Series V and the Melanio lines are being produced too yet the Flor de Oliva series are in a completely different price range. There is a Maduro serie with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper but I’m smoking the natural, a cigar with Nicaraguan filler and a Sumatra wrapper.


The wrinkly wrapper has a latte color and a mild shine from the oils. The ring is very simple, thick white outlines, a blue top part and a red bottom part, white letters Flor de Oliva in the Flor de Cano font and golden tobacco leaves at the bottom. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is decent, it reminds me of a spice rack, different spices mixed together.


I used a guillotine cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is good. All I taste is tobacco with a little sweetness. After lighting I taste wood with a little allspice. The cigar has a mild sweetness but also a a mix of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin. In the final third I taste some wood too, but the flavors get a little mean.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is thick and white. The ash is light gray, but it’s not very firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s the best flor de Oliva natural, but I would not buy it again.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , ,

Miami Mafia Torpedo

I think it was in 2012 that I went to Miami with some friends and we spend a few evenings at Cuban Crafters. I bought some singles of the cheap cigars that are made especially for them, probably at Kiki Berger’s factory as he owned Cuban Crafters too. One of these cigars was the Miami Mafia Torpedo, a 6×60 torpedo with a price tag of 3 dollars and 19 cents. Don Kiki passed away since and I don’t know if the cigars are still in production, the Cuban Crafters website doesn’t have them in stock.


The cigar is made with Cuban seed longfillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with an Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The name is a knot to the rumors that the early cigar makers in Miami had ties to the organized crime, the mafia, and we all know that the mafia had a stronghold in Miami throughout history and that many mobsters enjoyed good cigars so there could be some truth to that urban legend.


The wrapper is dark for a Connecticut shade wrapper but light for a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. It has a few thin veins. The cigar feels rock hard and the head of the cigar isn’t symmetrically correct. The ring is simple, black and yellow with just Miami Mafia printed on it in low quality. The aroma is good, medium strong and barnyard, some ammonia too.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is good. I taste a mild raisin with white pepper. After lighting I taste a mildly bitter coffee with some acidity. After an inch I taste a mild bitter wood with lime, pepper and sweetness. The final third starts with wood, cinnamon, vanilla, cilantro and pepper. Then all of a sudden I taste caramel with wood. The final third is great!


The draw is good, a little tight to be perfect but still good. The smoke is on the thin side and there isn’t much of it either. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is alright on this medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. Due to the big ring the evolution lacks. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? For 3 dollars this is surely a budget cigar to consider, especially the last part is very nice. It lost points on evolution, smoke and appearance but flavor wise it’s worth the money.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Miami Mafia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Nica Libre Torpedo

The Nica Libre brand is a brand created by A.J. Fernandez for Cigars International as a cheap alternative for the Padron anniversary series and they called it the Padron Killer. It’s pretty clear that they did everything to make it look like a Padron, box pressed, the San Andres maduro wrapper in the same shades as Padron and even the ring resembles the Padron band a little, but then with a $3 price tag on the 6×52 torpedo *note: i’m smoking an aged one, with the old ring*


I guess I bought this cigar about 7 years ago, when I still ordered cigars from overseas and when I was looking for a good quality steal. I went online and bought several boxes of cheap cigars on Cigars International, cigars of which I heard good stories and this was one of them. And with A.J. Fernandez behind this cigar I just had to buy it since I loved almost all the cigar that I had smoked with his signature on it.


As I said, the cigar has the same shape as a Padron, the dark, leather like wrapper looks great and the factory hid the vein at the back of the cigar. The ring has different brown and beige colors and it is almost a copy of the Padron anniversary bands, C.I. did everything to make this cigar resemble a Padron, a little more creativity would have been nice. The construction feels great and the cigar has a well finished head. The aroma is quite mild and I smell some wood and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect, I taste dry and spicy tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and green spicy herbs. Soon after I taste dried fruits. After an inch I also taste some pepper. Halfway I taste carrots, pepper and dried fruit, with pepper as a predominant flavor. The final third starts with a spicy wood, carrots and pepper.


The draw is a little loose from perfect but the smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The ash is close to white. The burn is great but the ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium plus flavored. The smoke time is short though, only an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a Padron killer but it’s a very good 3 dollar cigar.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Nica Libre, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

JR Edicion Limitada Robusto

Another mystery cigar to me, this JR Edicion Limitada. All I know it’s a house blend for the JR Cigar shops and judging from the pictures on the website and the size it could be the JR Edicion Limitada Alternative Behike 54, although this cigar is a little smaller than the advertised size, but then again, I must have had this cigar for years so it could be an old, no longer available version with a different blend at all. The size is 5 1/4 x54.


I had this cigar in my humidor for years, way before I moved into my current home with walk-in humidor, so it was stashed in a cooler for a long time without a blank ring with hand written information on how I got it, when I got it and where I got it, if it was a bomb, a trade or a buy, although I can’t imagine me buying this stick especially since I never ordered at JR in my life so it must have been a trade, a bomb or a gift.


The cigar has a nice dark wrapper, leathery with some tooth and one vein. The ring is simple, black with golden details and letters and the edicion limitada is a rip off from the Cuban rings, the gold is a bit dull and the paper quality isn’t that high. The construction feels good, no hard or soft spots and the head is beautifully rounded with a nice triple cap. There is a faint chocolate aroma to the cigar, thats all there is when I smell the cigar.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter and the cold draw is great. The taste is a little peppery with some oak. After lighting the cigar I taste dark oak, slightly burned. After half an inch i taste toast with some honey and tar, the tar makes the cigar not too pleasant. After an inch it’s oak with tar and pepper. I checked the head of the cigar but there is no tar build up to cause the nasty flavor. After two thirds the tar gets a little less and the peper is getting stronger.


The draw is fantastic, perfect. The smoke is fine but a little thicker would have been nice. The firm ash is white with black smears. The burn is reasonably straight. There isn’t a lot of evolution in this medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No! This cigar is boring and not very nice.

Score: 77
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Categories: 77, Dominican cigars, JR | Tags: , ,

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