Monthly Archives: April 2019

Rocky Patel ALR robusto

Back in 2015, I visited Rocky Patel’s Tavicusa factory in Esteli, Nicaragua while visiting the country for the Cigaragua book. And there I and my partners got to smoke a few test blends. And one of those test blends could well have been this Aged, Limited & Rare since the cigars were produced later that year and then stored for three years.

The cigar, made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, was aged for three more years after rolling. And only 90% of the production of 100.000 cigars will come to market, as Rocky decided to keep 10% as a personal stock. So only 1500 boxes of 20 are available in three sizes.

The rings of the cigar look a lot like they are part of the vintage series, a simple top ring with the Rocky Patel logo on shiny white paper and a secondary right with the name of the blend in the same style and the same paper, just like the vintage lines. The wrapper is dark, oily and leathery. The triple cap looks great, the cigar has the right amount of bounce when I massage it. The cigar has a complex, deep aroma of earthy and vegetal origin.

The cold draw is flawless with a dry tobacco flavor. After lighting, I taste a spicy coffee and leather. After a few puffs, I also taste some hay, sweetness, and tobacco. Slowly the cigar changes to pepper, leather, wood, and nutmeg. After an inch, I taste hazelnut and walnut with pepper and hay. Halfway I taste a spicy mixture of hay, green herbs, pepper, and leather. Then mild bitter chocolate shows up on the background as well, and the peppers gain some strength. In the final third, I taste pepper, some wood, and the flavors are a bit creamy. A few puffs later I taste wood, cedar, and oak, again with pepper and a bit of hay. Near the end, I taste some carrot too, with hay and pepper. A strong pepper, Nicaraguan all the way.

The draw is fantastic. The smoke is good and the ash is pepper and salt colored, reasonably firm. The burn is good and slow. The cigar is full flavored, full-bodied. The flavors aren’t subtle, but well balanced and married well after being aged for several years. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Without a doubt.

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Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , ,

Kings Cigars Conde Robusto

The last couple of years you see a rise in the use of Mexican San Andres wrappers and one of the companies that has been utilizing this wrapper in one of their lines is the boutique brand Kings Cigars. I met Pete from Kings Cigars a few years back in Cigar Cellar in Miami and he handed me a few sticks to bring to my then employer, who wasn’t interested but of course I kept a few sticks for myself to enjoy too. Amongst them this Conde Robusto, which I’m publishing on Kings day in The Netherlands


As I said, the cigar used a San Andres Maduro wrapper from Mexico but the cigar is made in Nicaragua in 5 different vitolas, 5×52 robusto, x650 toro, 7 1/2×50 double corona, 7×52 Churchill and a 6 1/2×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the robusto for this review. The binder is a Nicaraguan habano while the filler is completely Nicaraguan too. According to the website Kings Cigars has two factories but I wonder if they own factories or if they have their cigars made by others, my request for information never got a reply.


The wrapper is dark, oily, velvet but also has a few veins, but because of the darkness of the wrapper the veins don’t bother me. The cigar feels evenly packed and looks well finished. The ring is nice, green and blue with a golden crown and a black eagle on good quality paper. The cigar has a distinct, medium full, aroma that you get when you walk into a stable that’s used for cows.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy, lemony and a little mint. After lighting I taste some coffee with powder sugar sweetness. Soon it changes to a chili vanilla melted ice cream flavor. After a third I taste some pepper with a creamy chocolate. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with some oak and pepper.


The draw is great. The burn is good too and the pepper and salt colored ash is alright. The smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. This cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think so.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Kings Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut Coffee Break

There was a time, back in the day, that I used to be an avid bomber, but also got bombed a lot. And for a while I added rings to cigars of who bombed me and what date I received the bomb. This was one of the cigar that still had the ring, even though is says “Slavac, 10/20/2009”. So that means that this cigar is at least a decade old but I also read that the cigar was only introduced in 2012 as a regular production. I have no idea if this was a regular production, or where information got mixed up.


I probably never smoked it because of the wrapper, as I have written many times before, I am not a fan of Connecticut Shade wrappers. I tried many, and the number of Connecticut Shade cigars I like can be counted on the fingers of one hand. All I can hope is that this My Father Cigars made 4½x50 Short Robusto aka Coffee Break, with its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from the Dominican, Nicaragua and Honduras is to my liking.


The wrapper has a light, yellow brown color. It also has a few clear veins, I don’t like the color much. The ring is much better, two tone gray and white with copper colored linings, special selection written in that copper color and Nestor Miranda special selection in red. On the back, where the ring is glued together you can find the Miami Cigar & Co logo. The cigar looks well made, it feels well made too. The aroma is mild peppery and manure.


After cutting I taste nothing actually with a good draw. After lighting I taste the classic Connecticut shade mustiness with sweetness, sugar sweetness. Halfway I taste the mustiness, with a sharp edge, sugar and a mild salty peanut flavor.


The draw is great, the light colored ash is firm and the burn is quite alright. The white smoke is thick and full. This is a mild cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That Connecticut Shade still isn’t my kind of wrapper.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, My Father Cigars, Nestor Miranda, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Maria Mancini Edicion 2016

Maria Mancini, I had seen the brand in Germany and I knew it was made in Honduras as the ring says so, but I don’t think I ever smoked one until now. I started digging around, and to my surprise, this brand has a history of over 20 years. The owner of the brands are the German cigar manufacturers Schuster Zigarren but the cigars are handmade in an undisclosed factory in Honduras.


Maria Mancini is prominent in a book of a German writer, Thomas Man, but she was also a real-life aristocrat in from Italy, with a troubled arranged marriage in France, causing her to flee back to Italy. Later she returned to France to become an important fighter for women’s rights. And now she has a cigar named after her, which makes the circle round since most factory workers are females. And jobs give them the chance to some independence.

The dark wrapper is oily and smooth. The cigar has a bright red footing with bold golden lines and the number 2016. The regular Maria Mancini ring is classic, white it brushed golden outlines and details. In the middle, there’s a drawing of the historical Maria Mancini and it says ‘Honduras’ and ‘Hechos a Mano’. The construction feels good, the head is beautifully rounded. The aroma is quite strong, a little pepper, a faint tar and farm animals is what I recognize.

When I wet the cap before the cut, I taste a lot of salt. The cold draw is perfect, I taste sultanas, pepper, and dry tobacco. After lighting, I taste coffee and leather with plenty of pepper. Soon I taste a woody flavor with some lime and sugar. After a centimeter, it’s leather, soil, and pepper. I also taste some nutmeg. After a third, I still taste the leather. The pepper grows, yet the sweetness is still there. The final third starts with some nutty flavors. The finale is noticeably stronger, with charred wood, pepper and a bit of cream.

The smoke is medium in thickness and volume, it has a brownish-white color. The burn is a bit uneven. The ash is fine. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Yes, I won’t buy a box, but a few singles I wouldn’t mind smoking again

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Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Maria Manchini | Tags: ,

Arganese Maduro Ambassador

This is an oldie, and it fits that I’m smoking it today, on the 12th birthday of my blog. Years ago, I think about a decade ago, I approached Arganese and asked them for a sampler to review and they shipped me some. I did review them back then, but I found one in my humidor so I’m going to give it a redux. The Arganese website is offline, I have no idea if they are still in business.


Gene Arganese iss a businessman, loved cigars, so he started his own factory. The Maduro is made with Dominican binder and filler, wrapped in a Brazilian Mata Fina Maduro wrapper. And I remember that I used to like this cigar a lot, my review back then said I would buy this cigar again.

The wrapper is typical Brazilian Mata Fina, it’s rustic, rough looking, but that’s the type of tobacco. The cigar feels well constructed and looks pretty. The rings are clean, white with golden outlines, the Arganese crest in the middle while the secondary ring has golden letters Maduro Ambassador. Clean and simple, yet clear and pretty.  The cigar has a dark aroma, manure, and dark vegetables.


After cutting I get a great draw, the Maduro sweetness shines through with a little pepper. After lighting, I taste chocolate, sweetness, and coffee. The cigar doesn’t have bold flavors or changes, just a smooth and slow transition to stronger dark chocolate, cedar, and pepper. The final third still has dark chocolate but mainly pepper.

The draw is flawless. The smoke is full and thick. The cigars are smooth with a straight burn. The light gray ash isn’t too firm. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think they are being produced anymore.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Arganese, Arganese Dominicana, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

Room 101 Series SA Robusto

Room 101, that is one of those brands that never really grabbed my attention. I know it is the brand of jewelry designer Matt Booth, who last year said goodbye to the cigar industry just to return a couple of months later in a collaboration with Robert Caldwell. Since the cigars never made it to Europe  I never got in on the Room 101 hype. I don’t know where and how I got this cigar.


The cigar is made in Honduras with a Mexican San Andres natural wrapper, a Honduran binder and filler from both Honduras and the Dominican Republic. If the information I read online is correct, than Christian Eiroa was involved in blending this cigar. I don’t know where the cigars were being rolled though, but I guess at the Camacho factory if Eiroa was involved indeed.


The wrapper is not as dark as you would expect from a San Andres wrapper, but this is not the usual San Andres maduro wrapper, its a natural wrapper. its leathery by look and by touch. The ring is something special, brown with brushed gold, just a face of an ancient Asian statue and the SA letters on the side. The cigar looks good and the head is perfectly rounded. The cigar has a strong smell of barnyard with sawdust.


After cutting the cigar I taste raisin and dry tobacco. The cold draw is fine. After lighting I taste cinnamon and allspice, quite strong. After a few puffs the flavors get smoother and I taste some honey. After a third it’s more a fresh cedar taste with just a little bit of cinnamon. The flavors are quite dry. Halfway I taste something sharp on the tip of my tongue but I can’t put my finger on the exact flavor. When the sharp flavor disappears I taste wood again, with honey, salt and a hint of cinnamon.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium full in thickness, medium in volume and white of color. The ash is pepper and salt colored. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I was expecting more from this cigar.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Honduran cigars, Rancho Jamastran, Room 101 | Tags: , , , , , ,

RoMa Craft Wunder|lust Petit Belicoso

I met Skip Martin from RoMa Craft back in 2014, at the legendary Cigar Zone club in Esteli, Nicaragua where our mutual friend Pedro Gomez Rodriguez introduced us. We met again in 2015 in Managua where we shared the same hotel. Late 2016 Skip came to Europe, to my backyard of Amsterdam and we hung out at my man cave with his girlfriend Arlen and Annemarie Schuster, from Schuster Cigars.

At that time, Skip handed me some prerelease cigars of his project for the Schuster family, the Wunder|Lust. Those cigars are only available on the international markets, and some of the tobacco comes from Schuster Cigars. Rumors say that there is some Cuban tobacco used in the blend, and that’s why the cigars aren’t for sale on the domestic market. Both RoMa Craft and Schuster won’t respond to that rumor, but since RoMa Craft is an American company using Cuban tobacco is prohibited and I don’t think the company would take such a risk.

The wrapper is dark, quite oily but a little rough looking, like almost all Brazilian tobacco does. Leathery almost, with some tooth at the top. RoMa Craft uses a double band on all their cigars, first a white band slightly larger than the printed band. The printed band, in this case, is baby blue, a color not often used in cigars and it has a fresh look. The word
Wunder|lust is printed in a playful font. Clean, simple, fresh with the Roma logo at the backside of the ring as a finishing touch. The cigar has a little spongy feel, it isn’t overfilled, feels quite right. The aroma, stable and barnyard, is quite strong.

Because of the shape of the cigar, I had no option but to cut. I used a butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the predraw is spicy, mildly bitter and leathery. The cigar starts leathery and earthy. Soon after I also taste a toasty and herbal flavor. After a centimeter, I taste some mild vanilla sweetness, mild creamy too. After a third, I taste an earthy flavor with some licorice. Halfway I get more smooth cedar, the vanilla still lingers around too with a little fresh cut grass, slightly metallic aftertaste. Slowly some sour flavor shows up. The final third starts peppery then a nice smooth cedar shows up too with some walnut. In the dying puffs of the cigar, I taste some sweetness underneath the spice and pepper.

The cigar produces a lot of smoke, blueish white, quite thick. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn is slow and didn’t need touch ups as it is straight. The evolution is great in this full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke times is a whopping two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt.

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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: ,

Balmoral Dueto Robusto

Being Dutch, I have always seen Balmoral cigars, but until a few years ago, my opinion of them wasn’t that good. They were for sale everywhere, tobacco shops, supermarkets, gas stations, convenience shops, everywhere. But those were their short filler cigars, they had some premium Long fillers too, but even those weren’t my cup of tea. The only Balmoral I liked was the Dominican Selection, a dry-cured short filler with Dominican tobacco and I smoked a lot of those in my early cigar smoking days.

My view on Balmoral changed with the Añejo, that completely changed everything, what an amazing cigar and all the premium cigars from Balmoral since were fantastic. So when I heard that they would do a signature series in which they work with other big names in the industry, I was excited. Being a cigar geek it’s always fun to see great minds working together. And the first one is a collaboration with Ernesto Perez Carrillo, the Balmoral Dueto. I smoked the robusto.

The wrapper, grown in Jalapa, Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras is quite light colored. Because of the large foot ring and the large main ring it’s hard to see the quality of the wrapper. Judging from the back, I see a lot of small veins and the wrapper isn’t the prettiest I have seen. The rings are cool though, not straight but curvy. A grey, white and golden Balmoral logo, very recognisable but with a curly red addition , black details and in golden letters the name of Ernesto Perez Carrillo. The foot ring is the same red and black, with the EPC crest in gold. The cigar has a good spongy feel. The aroma is a spicy hay smell, quite strong.

The cold draw, after cutting the cigar, is perfect. The flavours are dry, dried wood, raisin and dried grass. In the first puffs I taste leather and caramel sweetness. The sweetness is probably from the Brazilian tobacco. After a quarter of an inch I taste some gingerbread like spices. But the leather is the strongest flavour. After an inch I taste some dark chocolate too. After a third I taste more herbs, with some sugar and still leather. I also taste a little pepper. Overall the flavors are a bit dry. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger, I also taste cinnamon. The final third starts with a hint of vanilla underneath the spices. The sweetness is growing in the last part, with a mild yet pleasant bitterness and some earthy flavours. The final few puffs have a nice hazelnut flavour.

The ash is pepper and salt coloured. The ash isn’t very firm though. The burn is straight as an arrow. And the smoke is plentiful and thick. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The draw is perfect. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s a great cigar.

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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars

La Estancia Edicion Especial Toro Gordo

Meerapfel & Sohne isn’t a well-known name outside the cigar industry, but within the industry, they are one of the bigger names. Being in business for over 140 years as tobacco growers, tobacco traders and cigar distributors for companies like Fuente and Padron. They are huge and have huge stockpiles of tobacco in their warehouses worldwide.

 

A few years ago, the company decided to use some of the old tobacco in a cigar. And that resulted in the La Estancia, a cigar made in Honduras with new world binder and wrapper, but the filler contained Cuban tobacco, of which the oldest dated back till the 1970s. And now they created a limited edition, the La Estancia Edicion Especial. It’s made in three vitolas with the best tobacco that the Meerapfel family had saved for a special project. And the cigar is special, just the price of 32 euro for the Toro Gordo proves that.

 

The wrapper is Colorado colored, with thin veins. It’s not the best looking wrapper. The ring is overwhelming in gold. The regular La Estancia ring, with the old map as a background, has been used as a base, then a whole lot of gold colored paper has been added, both on top and underneath, with a small gap in between. In the bottom part, you can read ‘edicion especial’. The foot ring is small with one red star. While touching the cigar, the cigar feels evenly filled. I can’t detect any soft spots or plugs. The medium strong aroma reminds me of sawdust 
.

 

The cold draw is quite easy and reminds me of sultanas. Right from the start, I taste leather. It’s a bit musty too. The mustiness disappears and is replaced by some spices. The cigar is slightly peppery. It’s a smooth cigar, with some sweetness. It would not surprise me if the filler contains aged Cuban tobacco, it has that distinct flavor. Halfway I taste a little cedar, mold creamy with some leather. All flavors are distinct, complex. This is really a high-end cigar made from premium tobacco. The final third is a bit peppery with cedar, it’s creamy too with some herbal flavors. The cigar gets stronger, more potent, with more pepper. while remaining creamy, smooth, complex and woody. I also taste an earthy flavor, soil.

 

The ash is light colored. It’s firm and dense. The burn is a little uneven, I had to correct it. The cigar is subtle, smooth. The draw is great. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness. The cigar is very subtle, smooth and full of nuances. It’s very hard to review this cigar. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while because of the price though

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Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, La Estancia | Tags: , ,

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