Monthly Archives: June 2019

Quai d’Orsay 54

The brand Quai D’Orsay has a French name for a reason. The cigars, named after a district of Paris, was created as a mild cigar especially for the French market and still is only available in a select number of countries. The brand was created in 1974, and only low numbers were produced. It almost got extinct in 2015, when only the Coronas Claro was remaining but in December 2017 Habanos revived the brand with two brand new vitolas, the Quai D’Orsay 50 and 54.

The Quai D’Orsay 54 is a Robusto extra, 5.3 inches long with a ring of 54. The blend is supposed to be mild yet complex and refined to go with the refined taste of the French palate. Now I personally like the bolder cigars, strong and with bold flavors so I wonder if this cigar and I will go together. I haven’t smoked the brand in ages, but from a decade ago I remember liking the Coronas Claro. I don’t know the box code of the cigar, but I know it’s at least 9 months old.

The wrapper is yellowish brown. Not as pale as Connecticut Shade, yet still quite light, a little dry with a water spot or two. No thick veins though, and a beautiful triple cap. I love the ring, it pays homage to the classic 1974 label yet with an updated 21st-century feel, due to the refreshed lettering, the added golden logo and the complete shine of the high-quality label. The aroma is mild and I smell quite some ammonia. The cigar feels a bit underfilled.

When I wet the tip of the cigar to properly cut it, I notice that the wrapper is very salty.


The cold draw is a bit loose, with a sweet and peppery raisin flavor. From the start, I taste a metallic flavor, quite strong, with hay, grass, and sugar. The metallic fades away quickly, and then I taste grass, sugars green herbs and mild white ground pepper. Some toast shows up too. After a centimeter, it’s toast with sweetness and white pepper. The flavors are stronger than I expected, the pepper is slowly growing but the flavors are also a little harsh and bite a little due to the young tobacco. The mouthfeel is mildly creamy. The second third has typical Cuban leather, with pepper, walnut, and sweetness. The sweetness has a bit of a vanilla aroma. Halfway the pepper is strong, a little more subtle than a full blast Nicaraguan pepper but it could fool a less experienced smoker. There’s also a hint of cedar in the flavor. The nut flavor is still there, and it’s getting more on the foreground. In the final third, I still taste the nuts but now with cedar and a more balanced pepper. Near the end, the pepper grows in strength again.

The cigar has a loose draw with plenty of smoke coming from the burn. The ash is dark. This cigar is medium-full flavored. Unfortunately, the cigar had a bad case of tunnel burning. Luckily I managed to fix the issue to a point where the cigar remained smokeable. The cigar is medium bodied and has a smoke time of close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? The moment Habanos starts to ferment and age the tobacco properly and manages to secure some quality control I will, but in the current state, I won’t.

number83

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Categories: 83, Cuban cigars, Quai d'Orsay (Habanos) | Tags: ,

Maria Mancini 2017 Toro Lindo

For over twenty years, the German manufacturer Schuster Cigars has the Maria Mancini cigars made in Honduras. And for the last couple of years, there’s a limited edition. For 2017, the company went for a 6×52 Toro Lindo. And I had the chance to try this 8 euro cigar for free, the only condition was that I had to review it. Good deal ain’t it?


The tobacco used in the filler is Nicaraguan, Honduran and Brazilian. Add a Honduran wrapper and binder, and there’s your Maria Mancini 2017 Toro Lindo. I smoked the Maria Mancini 2016 limited edition and that was a pretty decent cigar, so if this one is in the same range it should be an enjoyable smoke.

The cigar doesn’t look too good, to be honest. The cap comes in a darker shade than the wrapper and the final cap is glued to the cigar in a sloppy way. The ring is dated and the foot ring is too simple too. The rings don’t match with each other either. A professional designer could and should have done a better job. Updating the rings and logo would be something that will bring the looks of the cigar to a higher level. The wrapper looks a bit leathery, it feels leathery and greasy. Oily might be a better description. The construction feels good. The strength of the aroma is medium. I smell a little ammonia and barnyard aromas.


The cold draw is good. I taste dry tobacco, mildly peppery, with some raisin sweetness. At first, I taste leather and mud. After a few puffs, I taste some green herbs, mushroom, grass and a metallic flavor. Some chocolate shows up too, with a growing pepper flavor. I also get faint vanilla. The cigar has an ashy aftertaste, with red pepper. After an inch, I taste soil with a little spice and sugar water. After a third, I taste soil, green herbs but now with something that comes close to Nutella, but more of a cheap knock-off store brand. There’s also a little grass. Halfway the cigar turns a little sweeter, still with pepper and earthy flavors though. The cigar remains peppery, earthy and sweet but now has some grassy flavors too. With about an inch and a half left, pepper is the main flavor, but supported by the sweetness and still the earthiness. There’s also a coffee bean flavor. Even closer to the end, the coffee beans turn into a high quality 80% dark chocolate.


The sloppy cap comes off after the first puffs, first creating false air before I removed it completely. The draw is great, just as the burn and the firm, light-colored ash. The cigar is medium flavored, medium to full-bodied. 

The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? No, too earthy for me.

number87

Categories: 87, Honduran cigars, Maria Manchini | Tags: , , ,

Tatuaje RC Series No.1

I just love the Tatuaje RC 233, it was the cigar I smoked when my only nephew was born (although I later married and now I have more nephews and nieces from my wife’s side of the family) and I smoke one a year, on his birthday. I’ve been doing that for the last 10 years and continue to do that as long as possible. But the cigars aren’t easy to come by, so I’ll have to find a reliable source, that will ship to Asia.

I was happy to find out that Pete Johnson decided to create three new cigars, exclusively for Europe, within the RC series. Three parejo cigars with a little flag tail, but without the silver foil, and a tweaked blend. He used an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigars come in three sizes, 4 3/4 x 52, 5 5/8 x 54, and 6 1/2 x 56. For this review, I smoked the first one.

The cigar looks great, beautiful triple cap with flag tail, a nice oily medium brown wrapper with a velvet touch. The construction feels good. The cigar has a medium strong wood and barnyard aroma. The rings don’t match, the classic brown Tatuaje ring and the colorful RC ring are too different in style to fit together. If I was in charge, the brown ring would not be on the cigar.

The cold draw is easy, with a spicy raw tobacco flavor and a hint of marzipan. After lighting, I taste pepper, earth, green herbs, and coffee. After that, the cigar gets a strong wood flavor, with some leather and the marzipan sweetness that I tasted in the cold draw. After a third, the cigar tastes like leather, oak with pepper and that mild marzipan. Halfway I taste wood with grass, hay and some citrus. On the background, there’s some leather too. After a third I taste pepper and nuts, walnut to be precise. The pepper is Nicaragua strong, chili pepper. The final few puffs are toasty, woody with still that pepper.

T
the draw is a little on the loose side of perfect but still great, the smoke is thick and luscious. The ash is firm and white. The burn needed a touch up once. The cigar is medium-full bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

number90

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , ,

Iron Shirt Robusto

I heard about this cigar at Intertabac 2018, and because of my friendship with Annemarie Schuster, I managed to mooch a few. Annemarie is the latest generation Schuster to be involved with the Schuster Cigars company, a 100-year-old family business from Bunde, Germany, where they still make dry cured shortfiller cigars. But Schuster cigars also have cigars made in Nicaragua and Honduras, plus they distribute a few brands in Germany and handle the international sales for RoMa Craft.


This Iron Shirt is a limited edition, made from a few bundles of rare tobacco, so it’s not limited just for the sake to make it limited. It’s limited because the tobacco was only available in a low quantity. The wrapper is Brazilian, the binder Nicaraguan and the filler is a mix of Brazilian and Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar only comes in a 5×50 vitola.


The cigar is something that sticks out in any humidor. The long pigtail, the closed foot, the silver shiny oddly shaped ring with the Iron Shirt name. Add that to the dark, oily wrapper with tooth and veins and the mystique of no other brand or information on the cigar. It’s something that would tickle my curiosity as a cigar smoker. The cigar feels evenly packed. There’s a medium strong hay flavor.


The perfect cold draw gives me a raisin flavor followed by some white pepper. After lighting, I taste a leather, cedar and earthy coffee flavor with a mild metallic undertone in the first puff. After a few puffs, I taste nuts with that metallic flavor, some lime, pepper, and leather too. After a centimeter, I taste leather with a vanilla sugar sweetness and dried leaves. The metallic flavor is gone. After a third, I taste leather and nuts, with some spices. The mouthfeel is quite dry. Halfway I taste spices, a little vanilla, leather and some spicy green herbs with grass. The herbs remind me of rocket salad, that kind of spice. In the final third, the leather is strong, with a mild citrus flavor and dried leaves. Red pepper flakes show up too, hot and spicy. Near the end, I taste the metallic flavor again, with pepper and nuts.

The draw and the smoke are almost perfect. The right amount of resistance in the draw, nice thick smoke coming from the cigar. The ash is white, which indicates that the tobacco was grown on potassium-rich soil. This is a full flavored, full bodied cigar. No subtlety, just in your face flavors which I like. The smoke time is one hour and fifty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I wish German webshops would ship internationally *Dalay Zigarren does, but they don’t have this in stock anymore*

number92

Categories: 92, Iron Shirt, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Toro

Indian Motorcycles is part of House of Debonaire, owned by Philip Zanghi. He entered the cigar business in the mid-1990s with his business partner Rocky Patel but in 2002, he sold his shares to Patel and focussed on other parts of the tobacco industry. In 2012, Zanghi returned with Debonaire cigars and in 2015 he was able to purchase the rights to Indian Tabac from Patel and released the Indian Motorcycle Cigars.

 

Made at De Los Reyes in the Dominican Republic.

The cigar is made with American grown Connecticut Broadleaf as a wrapper, a Dominican binder and tobaccos from Central America as filler. As a side note, Zanghi’s father used to own the Indian Motorcycle trademark for a while in the past, so there is family history to the brand. And it seems fitting that Zanghi relaunched the Indian name into the cigar industry.

 

The cigar looks good, a dark leathery wrapper, which also feels leathery. The construction seems flawless. The wrapper is beautiful, although the binder has a few bumps that you can see underneath the dark wrapper. The ring is one of the best in the business with a feel that fits the Indian Motorcycle brand. A faded, beige and yellow ring with the Indian face on a metallic red background. It just stands out and I love it. The cigar also has a strong aroma of animals, pepper, and hay.

 

The cold draw is flawless and reminds me of Dutch chewy spiced honey cake rolls. After lighting, I taste leather and soil, with a little bit of the ginger that I had in the cold draw. On the background, there’s a faint metallic and citrus flavor with cane sugar sweetness. But those flavors are mild. After a centimeter, the metallic flavor and the leather are leading, with some caramel and gingerbread on the background. After a third, I taste spice, leather, some wood, and pepper. The mouthfeel is quite dry. Halfway I taste leather, caramel, dark chocolate, and some hay. Pepper is slowly getting stronger. Somewhat later that pleasant gingerbread returns too. The pepper with the gingerbread and cinnamon are the start of the final third. The finale is pepper and wood

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The draw is close to perfect with a straight burn and white dense ash. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume at first but becomes thicker and fuller along the way. This is a medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a smoke time of two hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box

number92

Categories: 92, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , ,

Revolution Short Robusto

When I was still a cigar sales representative in The Netherlands, Te Amo was one of the brands we carried. And Revolution was part of the deal. I must admit, nothing in this cigar ever called out my name, so I never smoked it. I can handle a bit of Mexican tobacco in a cigar, San Andres does have great tobacco, but a cigar with predominantly Mexican tobacco is a bridge too far. And add the rest of the looks, I decided to pass.

Now that the distributor and the brand broke their relationship off, and the remaining stock is being sold, my curiosity got the better of me. I bought a sampler with three vitolas. The first one I tried was this short robusto. 4 1/2 x52. I’m still not sure if I should smoke it, but decided to bite the bullet.

The wrapper is dark and kind of rough looking. The triple cap is a nice touch but the upper cap is placed in a sloppy way which destroys the look. The ring is simple but printed on high-quality glossy paper though. The wrapper doesn’t look oily and feels a bit like sandpaper. The aroma is mild, very mild and reminds me a bit of sawdust. The construction feels good though, the cigar is evenly bouncy everywhere.


The cold draw is loose. It’s quite tasteless except for some salt. After lighting, I taste dried soil with some coffee and cacao. The flavors are covered in a powdered sugar flavor. There’s also some citrus acidity. And then the flavor takes a turn for the worst. I can’t really describe it, the sweetness is there but with dried leather. After a third, I also taste some wooden flavor, dark wood, with a hint of cocoa. Halfway I taste wet cardboard with some cocoa powder. Some pepper shows up too, and it’s slowly growing. The pepper is grown until the end.


The draw is quite loose. The smoke is medium and quite grey-brown in color. I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. If this was a budget cigar, it would have gotten away with the quality but it’s not. The smoke time is one hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I will not.

number79

Categories: 79, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Revolution

Rocky Patel Tavicusa Robusto

I visited Nicaragua twice, two years in a row. Once with a friend, just visiting cigar factories to see how the process takes place and to learn about tobacco growing, drying, fermenting and rolling cigars. In a week time, we learned a lot, yet we only scratched the surface. And we only got to see a few factories, Oliva, Drew Estate, Joya de Nicaragua and My Father Cigars.

A year later, I went with a journalist, photographer and cigar distributor to write a book. And we visited the mentioned factories plus La Zona, Padron, A.J. Fernandez and Rocky Patel’s Tabacalera Villa Cuba SA aka Tavicusa. And that’s where this cigar is blended, rolled and named after to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the small factory in Esteli.

The moment I saw the cigar, I knew it was a Rocky Patel. The label and typography gave that away immediately. The white with blue and gold ring has the TAVICUSA name in Roman style letters, the secondary ring is blue with white and gold and has the RP logo. The wrapper is dark, with a few veins, leathery. The triple cap looks great and the cigar feels well packed. The aroma is strong, barnyard, stable, that kind of work.

I used a butterfly cutter to cut the cigar.

The cold draw has a strong milk chocolate flavor with raisin and dry tobacco. After lighting, I taste that chocolate with some earthy flavors. I taste a mild peanut flavor too with some pepper. It’s actually more peanut butter than peanut, sticky and creamy. Then the cigar turns to a mildly sweet, more vegetal flavor profile with a bit of leather. After an inch, I taste dry leather, some nutmeg, and a metallic sweetness with some mild pepper. The sweetness gains some strength, just as the pepper, and that peanut butter returns for a short few puffs. After a third, I taste some nuttiness too. Halfway its pepper and sweetness, with some mild nuts and leather. Some herbal flavors show up too. I also taste some oak. The pepper is strong in the final third, very strong, with a little sweetness to go with it and some wood.

The ash is white, relatively firm. The smoke is decent, could be a bit thicker though. The burn is great and the draw is flawless. This cigar, with a smoke time of two hours and thirty minutes, is full bodied and full flavored

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

number92

Categories: 92, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , ,

El Piño Blanco Corojo Robusto

Last year, Dutch tobacconist Mariska Kelch from Tabakado in Eindhoven, started her own brand. The brand is called El Piño Blanco and is made in Nicaragua. The brand is created in a collaboration with David Blanco from Blanco Cigars. Plasencia, related to Blanco by blood, is responsible for producing the cigars. They come in two lines, Maduro and Corojo.


I smoked this €5,50 robusto in the Maduro version and that was a nice, enjoyable budget cigar. I had the Corojo version too, so I wanted to see if that was just as nice of a budget cigar. Both lines come in three sizes, I do have the other vitolas but I’m not sure if I will smoke these or hand them out to other reviewers to give Mariska and the brand more airplay.

The wrapper looks nice, not too oily but certainly not dry. A single cap, with some pimples. A simple yet clean cigar ring, good quality print. I can see a few thin veins on the cigar, all rolled flat to give the cigar a nice, smooth look. The construction feels good. The aroma of the cigar is darker than expected, it’s a deep barnyard, swamp and forest smell.

The cold draw is good and has a spicy, raw tobacco flavor. Right from the get-go, I taste espresso with pepper and sugar. Cane sugar to be precise. After a few puffs, I also taste cedar and mushrooms. After half a centimeter I taste a musty flavor, with mushrooms. The sweetness and the coffee disappeared. The spice is still there though. The worst mustiness disappears, yet the flavor lingers around on the background. I now taste some saltiness with cedar and green herbs. After a third, I taste a dry cedar with some mild pepper and low-grade milk chocolate. The mustiness and mushrooms are getting stronger again. In the final third, cedar and sweetness return. The sweetness becomes the main flavor, with grass and green, spicy herbs as support. The pepper is growing in strength in the last inch as well.

Blna
The ash is white, strong and firm. The smoke is decent, quite full and thick. The burn is pretty straight. Evolution is decent. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I would not, I stick to the Maduro

number87

Categories: 87, El Piño Blanco, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

El Piño Blanco Maduro Robusto

This cigar is only available in The Netherlands, and as far as I know, only in one shop: Tabakado in the city of Eindhoven. And that’s because the cigar is blended by the owner of the shop, Mariska Kelch. I have known Mariska for years, when I started visiting the shop as a sales rep, her father was in charge but he was grooming Mariska to be the chief of the shop and she’s doing great. I saw her progress from just a daughter and employee to a shot caller and I am amazed by her progress.

When the duo met David Blanco, they started talking about creating their own cigar. That resulted in the El Piño Blanco line. Unfortunately, Johan Kelch was not around to see the final product as he suddenly and tragically passed away three years ago, but I know he would be very pleased and very proud of Mariska’s achievements. And while smoking this cigar, I had to think of Johan a lot. He was one of my best accounts, one with a manual though and our conversations always had the same pattern, first Johan would complain about something, then we would have a hard but fair argument before we would do business. Good business, and even though the discussions were hard and heated, we had the utmost respect for each other and liked each other a lot. Johan was also the first retailer to call me and wish me luck on my future path after me and my employer parted ways. I hate that I will never get another chance to smoke a cigar with him.

The cigar looks very nice, the shape is perfect with a well-rounded head, triple cap. I have a feeling that the wrapper is cooked through, in a slurry of tobacco, to make it look darker. When I wet my finger and rub the cigar, my fingers will taint and you can see a lighter shade under dark spots. Now that doesn’t have to mean anything and could be just for aesthetic reasons. And honestly, the cigar looks great. The simple black, green and white ring is clean, the brand name is clear, the tobacco leaf on the ring looks nice. The cigar has a nice touch, I can’t feel any plugs. The smell is medium strong, sawdust and a little bit of manure are what I smell.

The cold draw tastes like raisin, the draw is good though. Right at the get-go, I taste coffee but also a chewy flavor, like portobello mushroom with some leather. After half a centimeter I still taste the mushroom with the leather and some very mild milk chocolate. After a centimeter, I taste hay, dried grass with a bit of American milk chocolate. After a third, the cigar still has the hay with American milk chocolate flavor, but now with some herbs and pepper. When I say American milk chocolate, think Hersey. That’s different than European milk chocolate, a little more chemical. Halfway the cigar gets woody, cedar, with the chewy flavor again and some pepper. In the final third the flavors aren’t muted anymore. I taste wood, milk chocolate, a mild pepper, some herbal flavor. The pepper is getting stronger, now it’s a full-blown Nicaraguan cigar.

The smoke is thick and white. The draw is great. The white ash is beautiful. I had to relight the cigar once, but the burn is sharp. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. This is a nice budget cigar that would is great to have around for the days where you smoke more than one cigar and don’t want to break the bank. This is a medium bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a strong finish. The smoke time is about two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good budget cigar, always nice to have a bundle in the humidor

number89

Categories: 89, El Piño Blanco, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

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