Monthly Archives: June 2020

Muestra de Saka Chubby Unicorn

Muestra de Saka Chubby Unicorn. Now, this is a true unicorn. Steve Saka created the Muestra de Saka Unicorn as a joke, to see if it was possible to sell a $100 cigar. But he did it with the best tobaccos he could find, not messing around with his integrity and reputation. Much to his surprise, they sold like hotcakes. He only makes 1000 Muestra de Saka Unicorns a year and last September he told me that he has backorders for at least 7000 Unicorns. And then he gave a Muestra de Saka Chubby Unicorn.


The Chubby Unicorn is a tweaked version of the Muestra de Saka Unicorn. Saka felt it could be a bit better with an extra leaf, so he made the Chubby Unicorn. Yet he has no intention to produce them for a commercial release. It is too much of a hassle, it takes up more time, energy and effort than it’s worth. The Chubby Unicorn is even more of a unicorn than the annual release. During our conversation, which took place at the launch of the Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer, Saka did not comment on the blend. Neither did he go into specifics of the cigar.


The cigar looks great. The shape is beautiful. The wrapper is dark and oily. The veins are thin yet clear, but it fits the color and the shine. The ring looks handwritten. The cigar feels well constructed. We suspect that the same pair of rollers responsible for the Muestra de Saka Unicorn is responsible for the Chubby Unicorn as well. The aroma is woody.


The cold draw is amazing, even though only the cap was cut. The small opening gives an amazing draw though. The flavors are thick and nutty. The start is very leathery but with sweetness and cloves. Leather, soil, coffee, and spices held together by some sweetness if that comes after the initial puffs. Soon to be joined by some pepper and wood. Slowly the cigar evolves to more nutty flavors, as in the cold draw. But with wood, leather, spices, and pepper. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Some dark chocolate shows up as well. The leather makes a comeback right before the end of the first third. The second third is mostly nuts, with some soil, pepper, and wood. In the final third, the nut flavors are gone. It’s wood, leather, and pepper galore in the end.


The draw is phenomenal. The cigar produces a thick, full smoke in copious amounts. The burn is a little uneven though and had to be corrected. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The cigar is both full-bodied and full-flavored. It is well balanced though with a lot of character. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I smoke this cigar again? I wish

number93

Categories: 93, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Henk Maori Haka

Henk Maori Haka. For those that don’t know the luxury brand Henk, they make bespoke travel bags and accessories. All high quality, and personalized. And brand owner Heiko Poerz is an avid cigar smoker. His last creation that will hit the market soon is the travel humidor Henk Cigarbone. Poerz was lacking cigars that matched his palate, so he went out to create his own. And for that, he asked the help from Didier Houvenaghel and A.J. Fernandez. Houvenaghel is a Belgian agricultural engineer, who studied in Pinar del Rio amongst other places. And he took his knowledge to write a book, from Soil to Soul. That’s the most comprehensive book on tobacco out there. And he owns D.H. Boutique cigars.


Houvenaghel, Fernandez, and Poerz started blending. And together they created a blend that was exactly what Poerz wanted. An all Nicaraguan cigar in a 5⅗x56 size. It’s a regular production, but in low numbers due to the exclusivity. It’s available in a select number of countries. And every year, Henk releases a limited edition called the Henk Maori Masterpiece. Henk is a luxury brand, and when it comes to the price of this cigar, that shows. It’s right up there with Cohiba, Padron Family Reserve, and Opus X.

The cigar looks great. A milky chocolate-colored wrapper with a nice pigtail. But what catches the eye is the lack of a ring. Instead, the cigar has a tattoo, just like the first two Oliva Masterblend releases. It’s a round logo, with a Maori tribal design and the text Henk Maori Haka. The wrapper itself is leathery and mildly glossy. The construction feels good, and it’s a quite heavy cigar. A strong forest, straw and hay smell accompanies the cigar.


The cold draw is fantastic, with a strong peppery flavor. After lighting, it’s a pleasant coffee flavor instantly with nuts and toast. There are some spice, sweetness, leather and a very mild pepper flavor. All extremely balanced. Subtle, smooth. And the cigar stays smooth and balanced, yet flavorful with a growing black pepper. There’s also some soil after a centimeter. The flavors subtly evolve to more sweetness, with a hint of citrus. There’s also some wood. But it happens so gradually, that it’s an art. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. Halfway the cigar has more wood, oak to be precise. With more spices and still a great dose of pepper. The flavors are more pronounced now. There are roasted nuts, spices, pepper, leather, wood, and some hay. Still well balanced, smooth yet strong.

The draw is flawless. The light-colored ash is dense and firm. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar burns slowly as well, very gradually. The white smoke is thick and plentiful. This cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. But so well balanced, that you don’t feel the strength. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For a special occasion yes. I would pick this over any Cohiba, any day.
number95

Categories: 95, Henk, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez

Davidoff Year of the Rat

Davidoff Year of the Rat. Of all those cigars using the Chinese Zodiac calendar, Davidoff is the original one. It is the Swiss brand that decided to release a limited edition for each of the Chinese zodiac years. And due to the success, other companies followed. Even the king of limited and region editions, Habanos, followed suit. But the most anticipated release every year is the Davidoff year of cigar.


For the year of the rat, the Davidoff blenders went with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Dark, oily and beautiful. They wrapped that around a Semilla B binder from Nicaragua. For the fillers, the blenders selected viso tobacco from Esteli and Condega in Nicaragua. And blended that with viso and second from the Dominican republic into a 6×52 sized toro.

The cigar looks fantastic. The dark, Maduro colored, Habano wrapper is mouth-watering. Beautifully colored, oily with a few veins. The shape is perfect, just like the cap. And the dark, oily wrapper is a beautiful backdrop for the glossy white, and classic, Davidoff ring. The secondary ring is red with gold and tells you it’s the cigar for the year of the rat. The barnyard aroma is quite strong. The cigar feels well constructed.


The cold draw is great, with flavors of pepper, the bitterness of dark chocolate, raw tobacco and leather. Immediately after lighting, the bitterness of dark chocolate is there. Complexed bitterness. With mushrooms, leather, and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. The nice bitterness of the dark chocolate remains, but now with sweetness, ginger and mushrooms. The aftertaste is a nice mellow pepper. The dark chocolate becomes even more pronounced, with pepper on the background. Other flavors are leather, mushrooms, hay, and pepper. Later on, the cigar has oak, pepper, ginger, and leather. The second third starts with coffee, hazelnuts, pepper, and a grassy flavor. There is also oak and leather in the second third. The final third has oak, coffee, pepper. The mouthfeel is a little creamy. The cigar then turns to leather, oak, and pepper.


The draw is great. The ash is light gray and looks like a stack of dimes. The smoke is good, not super thick but still thick enough. And the volume is nice too. The cigar is balanced but has character. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours. The burn is good as well.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive, but I enjoyed it

number91

Categories: 91, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Nicarao Especial 2015 Reserve Robusto

Nicarao Especial 2015 Reserve Robusto. A limited-edition from DH Boutique Cigars. Only 480 boxes of 21 cigars of the Nicarao Especial 2015 Reserve Robusto were released. They were spread over the 30+ countries where the cigars from Didier Houvenaghel are being distributed. The cigars aren’t available in the United States.


This cigar is made with all Nicaraguan tobacco. The wrapper comes from Jalapa, and it’s a rosado wrapper. That’s all the details we could find on this cigar. The size is 5 inches long with a ring of 52. This cigar was given to Ministry of Cigars by Houvenaghel during a get together with an Indonesian cigar manufacturer and Marc Benden from Cigarworld Dusseldorf.


The wrapper is smooth, soft, silky and reddish-brown. It looks really tasty. The ring is nice, green with black volcanos honoring Nicaragua. The yellow of the Nicarao brand name pops up. And that Houvenaghel didn’t copy the Habanos limited edition ring is a plus too. The shape of the cigar is great with a perfectly round head. The aroma is medium strong, wood, barnyard and something spicy.


The cold draw is fantastic, and it’s spicy. The cigar starts rough and powerful, with coffee, spices, and pepper. The bitterness is pleasant yet strong. After a few puffs, there is a clear cinnamon flavor. There is a unique sweetness too, like old candy. The flavors become richer, with wood, earthiness, coffee, spices, pepper, and sweetness. Rich yet smooth, so the cigar is easy to retrohale. The sweetness becomes stronger and leather shows up. There are some hay, toast, and spices. The second third starts with walnuts, pepper, and sweetness. The mouthfeel is dry. The flavors evolve. The main flavors are cocoa, leather, wood, and pepper. In the final third, there’s pepper, leather, cinnamon, nutmeg, and wood.


The draw is fantastic. The ash is white and dense. It isn’t firm though. The smoke is thick and white. The burn is straight. This cigar is complex, rich, yet smooth and balanced. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes

would I buy this cigar again? Yes

number93

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicarao, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez

Royal Danish Cigars Weihnachten

Royal Danish Cigars Weihnachten. For those that don’t speak German, Weihnachten is Christmas in the German language. So this is the Christmas cigar from Royal Danish. Jan Vistisen, the owner and founder of the Danish cigar brand, trademarked ‘Christmas’ for cigars and this is the first time he uses the trademark for a commercial release. He showed the cigars at the Intertabac trade show last September and gave me a sampler to smoke during the holidays.

The Christmas cigar is a play on the Royal Danish Sangre Azul 2.0. And that cigar is a mediumfiller or a Cuban sandwich as some call it. It’s made with the clippings of the expensive Royal Danish Regal Blend West Indies line. But the clippings aren’t chopped up to smaller pieces, so it’s not a shortfiller. As far as our information goes, the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with a dark Habano wrapper.

 

The wrapper is dark, almost Oscuro. The box-pressed torpedo measures 6×50 but the head is a little uneven. The main ring is the black Royal Danish ring with the white letters, golden details and the Danish flag in the center. The secondary ring is the Cuban regional edition ring with the text ‘Weihnachten leckerbissen’ which translates to Christmas treats. The cigar feels good and looks good. The cigar has a medium-strong aroma of hay.

 

The cold draw is good. A slightly bitter flavor of dark chocolate and raw tobacco comes from the cold draw. That dark chocolate remains after lighting, but now with coffee and soil. The flavors are a bit muted. Dark chocolate, leather, pepper, and earthiness. Slowly a nutty flavor shows up too, with some sweetness. But then after a centimeter and a half, the cigar suddenly awakes. The flavors are no longer muted but crisp. The smoke gets thicker as well. The pepper grows and there is even a hint of vanilla. The chocolate flavors taste like old fashioned brownies, thick and delicious. In the final third, the pepper grows stronger. The cigar gets more wood now, with earthiness and pepper.

The draw is fine. The ash is light gray but not very firm. The smoke is thick and full. The burn had to be corrected once. This cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? To be honest, for €825 I would pick a premium Longfiller

number91

 

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Royal Danish | Tags: , , , , ,

HR Signature Belicoso

HR Signature Belicoso. The Robaina name is legendary in the cigar industry. And all because of one man, Alejandro Robaina. The only person who ever had a brand named in his honor by Habanos, the marketing and distributing arm of the Cuban cigar industry. That’s how famous and well-respected he was. Now, he was not a cigar roller, he was a tobacco farmer. But he made the best tobacco in Cuba, and not just occasionally, but year after year, decade after decade. And his grandson Hiroshi Robaina is keeping the family tradition alive.


But Hiroshi took it a step further. He is also growing tobacco outside of Cuba. And in 2014, he created his own brand. Made in Esteli, with Nicaraguan and Ecuadorian tobaccos. The HR brand took off, then went silent for a bit but is now back full force with a new team and a new company name: La Familia Robaina. This HR Signature Belicoso is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder. The wrapper comes from Ecuador, and it’s a sun-grown Habano.


The cigar has a nice Colorado to Colorado Maduro colored wrapper. The closed foot makes the cigar look even better. The ring is a carbon copy of the Cuban Vegas Robaina ring, brown and gold. But this time it says HR instead or VR. The wrapper feels old looks leathery. The construction seems good. The cigar has the aroma of wood and hay.


The cold draw is good, with a leathery, spicy raw tobacco flavor. After lighting the cigar gives plenty of pepper, spice, and grass. The flavors then turn a little burned. Then it turns to wood, soil, and pepper with a hint of chocolate. The cigar gets more power, more pepper, and some sweetness. And then, in the final part of the first third, it’s sweet coffee. The second third starts with an amazing combination of coffee, leather, sweetness, spices, and pepper. In the final third, the cigar gets more wood and leather. All with a nice dose of Nicaraguan pepper.


The draw is good. The burn is great and the cigar produces the right amount of smoke. This cigar is full-flavored and full-bodied. The ash is white and dense. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Most definitely

number92

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, 92, La Corona, HR | Tags: , , ,

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT. This is the 2019 limited edition for the Balmoral Añejo series. Balmoral launched the Ańejo a few years ago with an 18-year-old wrapper. The cigar was an instant hit and put the brand back in the spotlights. So when the Dutch cigar manufacturer ran out of the wrapper, they tweaked the blend and created the Balmoral Ańejo XO series. Slowly that series grew, with the addition of a Connecticut Shade version, an Oscuro version and a Nicaraguan version. Each year, the brand sees a limited edition. The Balmoral Añejo XO Lancero was a huge hit, so a few months ago, Balmoral released the 2019 limited edition. That’s a lancero for the Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro blend.


The cigar measures 7×40. And it has a flag tail, that’s what the FT in the name stands for. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Brazil. That last one is part of the Balmoral signature. All Balmoral Añejo XO cigars have some Brazilian tobacco in the blend. The binder comes from the Dominican Republic as well. That’s where the Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company factory is located. The hometown of the factory is in San Pedro de Macoris. Royal Agio honored the town by creating several blends with the San Pedro de Macoris name. The wrapper for this Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro comes from the San Andres region in Mexico.

The dark wrapper has a few veins, but nothing too thick or ugly. The dark color is quite even. The rings are beautifully designed and it’s clear why the logo and design have won several design prizes. The ring protecting the foot is glossy black with a beautiful gold print. The regular ring is gray, with black, white and golden details. The flag tail is a nice touch to the cigar. The construction feels good. There is a mild barnyard aroma, with a little ammonia.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are a slightly spicy raw tobacco flavor. A warm flavor. Once lit, it’s a strong coffee flavor with spices and pepper. The flavors then turn to a milder coffee and more gingerbread spices. There’s also a vegetal flavor and creamy chocolate sweetness, although that last one is very mild. Slowly some leaves, leather and more sweetness join the palate. And then, after an inch, there is a nice sweet smokey barbecue flavor. The smokey wood flavor, with the sweetness, is the main flavor for the second third. But there is mild milk chocolate on the background as well. In the last third, the cigar gets less smokey and releases more spices. Green herbs and warm spices on toast with wood. Add a little pepper and that’s the flavor palate of the cigar in the final third.


The draw is great. But the light gray ash with dark smears is coarse and not very dense nor firm. The smoke is plentiful but could have been a bit thicker. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is smooth, balanced and smokes perfectly. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. But it smokes quite fast, even though lanceros are supposed to be smoked slowly. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to have a box or two

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

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