Monthly Archives: July 2020

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto. A brand that may not ring a bell with many cigar smokers. But it has a history to it. About a decade ago, the brand had some traction in Europe. But due to health-related reasons, Roger Duarte Rodriguez had to put everything on hold. Now the brand is back and available in a few countries. The Nicaraguan puro with the H2000 Oscuro wrapper that we are reviewing is from the personal stash of Don Duarte and has been aged for a decade.


The great grandparents of Don Roger Duarte Rodriguez, Don Rafael Rodriguez, and Juana Lanuza de Rodriguez, were one of the founders of Esteli. Don Rafael Rodriguez was a tobacco grower and one of the first to export tobacco out of Nicaragua. And his great grandmother on the Duarte side, Dona Maria Duarte Boza, owned a small tobacco manufacturing plant in Masaya. They processed tobacco from Ometepe and turned them into small cigars called Chilcagres. So tobacco runs through the blood of the Managua born entrepreneur. He acted as President of Tabacalera Tropical, which is now known as Aganorsa Leaf. That’s where he met the legendary Evelio Oviedo who blended the Don Duarte cigars.


The cigar has a closed foot. That always gets a cigar a few bonus points for aesthetic reasons. The wrapper is dark, leathery, oily and beautiful. The brown ring fades away on the dark wrapper. The secondary ring is gold with black text. The triple cap is beautiful. And even after ten years, the cigar still has a nice, medium-strong aroma of wood and barnyard. The construction feels good.


The cold draw is tight, due to the closed foot. But there is flavor in the cold draw. Gingerbread comes to mind and black pepper. The first flavors after lighting the cigar are wood, leather, spices, and a pleasant sweetness. Some pepper and coffee show up as well but mellowed out after a decade of aging. The aging also makes the cigar easy to retrohale. In the second third, there is more pepper but again mellow. With spices, leather, and even a hint of chocolate. Slowly there are coffee flavors, spices, leather, and even a little fruity acidity. Near the end, the cigar gains a lot of pepper, spice, but there is also some sweetness, wood, and leather.


The draw is great. The ash is white. The white blueish smoke is sufficient but could be a little thicker. The cigar is mellow, smoothed out due to the decade of aging. It’s still medium-bodied, medium flavored though. The cigar is well balanced, it has character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt

number92

Categories: 92, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , ,

Asylum 13 Oblongata

Asylum 13 Medulla Oblongata, a line introduced at the IPCPR 2017 but only introduced to the international markets in 2019. An interesting concept, where two cigars with an identical blend and size are sold but in a different shape. The Medulla is a round cigar. The Oblongata is box-pressed. And the Medulla Oblongata is the part of the brain that controls involuntary reactions. Breathing, coughing, sneezing, hiccups etcetera. And now the brain has to decide which of the two is the best. The round Medulla or the box-pressed Oblongata.


The blend is identical to the Asylum 13 Corojo. It’s an all Honduran cigar with a Corojo wrapper. The only difference is the priming of the tobacco. The Asylum 13 Medulla Oblongata utilizes tobacco from higher priming. By using leaves from the higher of the plant, the flavor profile is different than the original Asylum 13 Corojo. The cigars are rolled in the El Aladino factory in Danli. The factory is owned by Christian Eiroa. Asylum Cigars is a partnership between Eiroa and Tom Lazuka.


Just like the Medulla, the cigar is wrapped in wax paper for ¾ of the cigar. Once removed, the Colorado colored Corojo wrapper is revealed. It does have some veins, but thinner than the ones on the Medulla. The cigar has the right amount of bounce when softly squeezed. And just like the Medulla, the aroma is medium strong. It’s dried wood and stable as well.


The cold draw is a bit tight. And the flavors are pepper, raw tobacco with a minty freshness. The Oblongata starts exactly like the Medulla. Muted, salty, and dusty. With a little bit of nutmeg. The salt remains, some cedar shows up too. But all still muted. There is some leather as well. Slowly the cigar gets more sweetness, more cedar, and some pepper. The cedar is stronger in the retrohale. The second third starts salty, with pepper, green herbs, cedar, and leather. The cigar turns more spicy and salty, with leather, cedar, and earthiness. The flavors remain the same throughout the third part. There seems to be less evolution than in the Medulla.


The draw is better after the cigar is lit. The ash is white and dense. The cigar is smooth, balanced. The burn is beautifully straight. The smoke could be a little thicker though, and bigger in volume. Although it picks up in the last third. This cigar is medium in body and strength. But it’s smooth and balanced throughout the cigar. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe

number90

Categories: 90, Asylum, El Aladino, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Asylum 13 Medulla

Asylum 13 Medulla Oblongata, a line introduced at the IPCPR 2017 but only introduced to the international markets in 2019. An interesting concept, where two cigars with an identical blend and size are sold but in a different shape. The Medulla is a round cigar. The Oblongata is box-pressed. And the Medulla Oblongata is the part of the brain that controls involuntary reactions. Breathing, coughing, sneezing, hiccups etcetera. And now the brain has to decide which of the two is the best. The round Medulla or the box-pressed Oblongata.


The blend is identical to the Asylum 13 Corojo. It’s an all Honduran cigar with a Corojo wrapper. The only difference is the priming of the tobacco. The Asylum 13 Medulla Oblongata utilizes tobacco from higher priming. By using leaves from the higher of the plant, the flavor profile is different than the original Asylum 13 Corojo. The cigars are rolled in the El Aladino factory in Danli. The factory is owned by Christian Eiroa. Asylum Cigars is a partnership between Eiroa and Tom Lazuka.


The cigar is almost completely covered in paper. The brown Asylum 13 ring with the logo and the skull and then a piece of wax paper wrapped around the cigar. The paper is printed with the name of the cigar, Medulla. This packaging would certainly pique our interest in a humidor full of cigars. Once removed, it’s clear that this is high priming, sun-grown Corojo. Dark and rustic looking because of some clear veins. The cigar is well-shaped and feels well constructed. There is a medium-strong aroma of dried wood and stable aromas.


The cold draw is great. The flavors in the cold draw are strong, raw tobacco. After lighting there is a dusty, muted yet salty flavor. There are woody and a leathery flavor as well but muted. Something is holding them back. Some cinnamon sweetness is noticeable in the retrohale. And there is a hint of pepper on the tip of the tongue. Slowly the flavors start to open up. The spice and pepper flavors become more pronounced. There is also some sweetness and more wood. The flavors gain some strength but remain smooth. Cedar, spices, and leather are the flavors on the palate. In the final third, the cigar gets more sweetness but the other flavors gain strength too. The last part of the cigar has salt, black licorice, wood, pepper, and soil. And all with a nice sweetness.


The draw is good. Just as the amount and thickness of the smoke. The burn started out wonky but after one little touch-up, it was fine. And the ash is dense, firm and white. The cigar is smooth, easy-going. There is balance, and it has nuanced flavors. It is a medium-bodied and medium-flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while
number91

Categories: 91, Asylum, El Aladino, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

El Viejo Continente Mare Nostrum Robusto Extra

El Viejo Continente Mare Nostrum Robusto Extra. At the latest Intertabac trade show, last September, El Viejo Continente released their latest blend. The Mare Nostrum, inspired by and named after the Mediterranean Sea. El Viejo Continente founder and master blender Daniel Guerrero sees the Mediterranean Sea from his balcony in Barcelona every morning. He loves the view so much, it inspired him to create this blend. And the Romans called the Mediterranean Sea “Mare Nostrum” so the name fits perfectly.


El Viejo Continente never disclosed the blend, but Guerrero did say that he used Nicaraguan, Dominican and Brazilian tobacco. The blend is available in a 4¾x50, 4¾x56, and a 5½x56 vitola.


The cigar is almost completely covered in blue rings. First a big El Viejo Continente ring, in blue. Then a secondary ring that looks a lot like the Cuban Regional Edition rings, but with blue instead of red. And it says Mare Nostrum. And then a blue foot ring. But the blue of the foot ring is not the same color. That makes it aesthetically unappealing. The blue of the secondary ring has the same motive as the main ring on closed inspection, which is a cool idea. The wrapper looks very leathery with some tooth. It feels well constructed. It has a strong aroma of sawdust and cocoa powder.


The cold draw is good. With a sweet yet spicy raw tobacco flavor. After lighting, its strong espresso with pepper. Earthy and dark. Wood, sweetness, and leather slowly show their presence too. The soil gets stronger with a little bit of metallic touch to it. Slowly earthy dark chocolate shows up too. Halfway the cigar brings more pepper with more dark chocolate. The soil and leather are still there, but more on the background.


The burn is great, just like the draw. The cigar produces a good amount of smoke, with a good thickness. The rings are glued on with pretty strong glue, making it almost impossible to take them off without destroying them. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar with a smoke time of two hours forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

number92

Categories: 92, American Caribbean Tobacco S.A., El Viejo Continente, Nicaraguan cigars

Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat

Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat. Although this is a special one and not released because of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. This cigar was released in 2016. And it is made for the lounge that Drew Estate opened that year at the BB&T Center in Sunrise Florida. The BB&T Center is the home base of the Florida Panthers, an NHL team. And this Liga Privada Year of the Rat is a commemorative cigar for the 1996 Championship. In 1996, the Florida Panthers won the Stanley Cup, the most prestigious prize in ice hockey. And according to the legend, one of the players killed a rat with his stick in the dressing room before the first match of the season. And then scored two goals. The rat became a good luck talisman for the season, and 1996 was ‘the year of the rat’ for the Florida Panthers.


The 5½x46 Grand Corona was given to us a few years ago by Jessi Flores. Back then, Flores was still part of the Drew Estate family, before venturing out on his own. At one of the Intertabac Trade Shows, Flores shared a few Liga Privada Unico cigars with us. This Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat is made at the famous Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. For the filler, tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras are used. The binder comes from Brazil. The wrapper is the famous Connecticut Broadleaf that Drew Estate loves to use. The cigars were sold for $14 per piece and were packed in boxes of 10.


The cellophane was starting to turn yellow by the oil in the wrapper. The cigar looks great, dark and oily. The wrapper looks thick, yet the veins are thin. The cap looks odd, it has a flag tail but the cap is prolonged and looks like a hat on top of the cigar. The regular Liga Privada ring is used, but as always with the Unico series, the text has been altered. This says Year of the Rat. The construction feels flawless. The aroma is strong, oak and roasted coffee beans.


The cold draw is perfect with quite some pepper in the flavor profile. A little salt as well. Once lit there is coffee with a slightly salty flavor. Then there is dark chocolate, the 80% pure type accompanied by some leather and cedar. There is some sweetness, nuttiness, and a mild buttery mouthfeel. After a while, a mild black pepper shows up as well, with some grassy flavors. The flavors then evolve to black coffee, leather, soil with a mild peppery aftertaste. The nut flavor is making a comeback, with the pepper and some sweetness. In the last third, the flavors are pretty much the same. Leather, coffee, wood, dark chocolate, and pepper.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is a classic Drew Estate smoke. Thick, full, white and there is plenty of it. The ash is white and nice. The burn is pretty straight. Because the cigar has aged, the flavors are well rounded while still packing strength. Both in flavor and strength. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I would

number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE. Last year, Ministry of Cigars asked for some fake Cuban cigars for one of the Soil to Soul videos. And it turned out that one of our readers and friends, Onno, had a few. Well, so he thought. He was very suspicious about a certain box he had in his possession. After having some pictures analyzed by very knowledgeable people, including Mike Choi, they were confirmed fakes. We met up with Onno at the Dutch Big Smoke last September. Onno prepared 5 cigars, 5 fake Romeo y Julieta Churchills. And we did a video with that cigar, which you can see on Ministry of Cigars.


After doing the video, I had second thoughts about reviewing the cigar for ministryofcigars.com as it was a horrible cigar. Yet, we decided to suffer and to do a proper review. That was the promise we made to Onno, and we like to keep our word. So here we go, smoking a fake Romeo y Julieta Churchill. Of course, the first of the five cigars was cut open to see what was in the cigar. And it looked like a very well made cigar, with real tobacco. Here are stories out there of fake Cubans with hair, banana leaves, floor sweepings and other garbage inside. But this cigar is made with real tobacco.


The cigar doesn’t look that bad at first glance. The wrapper isn’t pretty, but the shape is good. The color of the wrapper is nice. The triple cap is like it should be. The gold and black ring looks legit. Although, to the touch, the embossing is missing. The wrapper itself has many veins, which make it look rustic. The cigar feels well made, without any plugs or soft spots. The aroma is mild and musty.


The cold draw is a bit tight and tastes very salty. Once lit, there is a nice mild sweetness. But also a not so nice bitterness. Slowly some cedar shows up too, but wet, moldy cedar. Flavors such as cardboard show up too, with a hint of pepper to spice it up. All flavors seem to disappear yet there is a flavor in my mouth that is best compared to the aftertaste after you puked. Later on, there is some wet grass, a little spice, and again some cedar but all moldy with slight pepper. In the final third, there is some vanilla as a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. It makes the cigar bearable for a bit. Add some pepper, and the cigar is moving in the right direction. It’s still not enjoyable though. Somewhat later, a mild hazelnut paste flavor shows up. Not Nutella, but a cheap Nutella knock-off. The finale is very peppery.


The ash drops quickly. The draw is decent. The burn is reasonable. The cigar is mild to medium in body, mild in flavors. And that the flavors are mild is a good thing in this case. The smoke time is three hours.

 Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no

63

Categories: 57, Cuban cigars | Tags: , , ,

Don Chico Ecuador Toro

Don Chico Ecuador Toro. Or Don Chico Habano Toro as the cigar is called on the American market. But due to copyright legislation, non-Cuban cigar companies are not allowed to use Habano in their name outside the USA. Where most brands change Habano in Sun Grown, Barreda chose to replace it with Ecuador for their Don Chico line. The Don Chico line is a tribute to the 1st generation Barreda in the tobacco industry, Francisco Barreda. And the 3rd generation named this line in his honor. The line is also available in a Maduro version.


Ecuador on the secondary ring comes from the country where the Habano wrapper is grown, Ecuador. The binder comes from the South East Asian country of Indonesia. The filler comes from Nicaragua. The Barreda factory is located in Esteli and was founded in 2013. This 6×52 Toro is one of the three sizes available. The others are a 5×50 Robusto and a 6×60 Chairman. Stephanie Huete, sales & marketing manager for Barreda cigars, gave us a sample at the Intertabac trade show.

The cigar looks good. A Colorado to Colorado Maduro colored wrapper, smooth and oily. With a cloth foot ring, and two rings. The top ring is beige with brown and shows a drawing of Don Chico. The secondary ring just says Ecuador. The ring colors match the foot ring, and even though they look simple, it actually works for this cigar. That’s because the colors are well chosen. The shape of the cigar is flawless. And the aroma is strong. Barnyard with a strong cocoa powder smell. The cigar feels well constructed.


The cold draw is a bit tight. It’s sweet, cane sugar and sultanas. After lighting, the cigar gives coffee, leather, hay, and a pinch of salt. The mouthfeel is thick, like butter. The cigar gets more sweetness, more leather. The total lack of pepper is surprising in the first inch, but then it shows up, smooth yet pronounced. The cigar turns to cedar with sweetness. To balance it out, there’s a nice citrus acidity. The cigar gets more wood and leather. In the final third, the cigar gets peppery.


The draw is a bit tight, it feels like the smoke is a bit greasy. The burn is nice and straight tough. And the ash is very light, almost white. The smoke is decent, in thickness and volume. The cigar is medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy these cigars again? Occasionally

number91
Categories: 91, Don Chico, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Cuatro Cinco Edicion Asia by Joya de Nicaragua

Cuatro Cinco Edicion Asia by Joya de Nicaragua. A blend introduced in 2013, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Joya de Nicaragua. In one size, a toro. But the blend was so popular that Joya de Nicaragua decided to tweak it a little bit. And that tweaked blend was introduced as a regular production line a year later. In four sizes. Toro, Torpedo, Double Robusto, and Petit Corona. The line is part of the Obras Maestras series, the top of the line blends of Joya de Nicaragua. The flagship lines. Earlier this year, Joya’s distributor in Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, and Macau, Cigraal introduced a limited edition for Asia of this blend. In the consul size, a vitola used in other Joya de Nicaragua lines. But the sales aren’t limited to those four markets. Several other countries, like Malaysia and even the United Kingdom, have seen the introduction of this limited edition as well.

The Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Edicion Asia is made with the same tobaccos as the regular production. That means Nicaraguan fillers with a Dominican binder. The wrapper is Nicaraguan criollo. The size is unique to the Cuatro Cinco blend, yet not to Joya de Nicaragua. The Gran Consul, a 4¾x60 bullet head cigar, is part of the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño and the Antaño Dark Corojo lines. Although, in the Dark Corojo series, it’s called La Pesadilla instead of Gran Consul. 

The cigar looks fantastic. A dark wrapper and the semi box-pressed shape of the cigar makes it look like a chocolate bar. The foot ring with the Pixiu and the Chinese Lucky Clouds give the cigar an Asian touch. The big, black, and glossy ring with the white and gold logos cover almost half the cigar. But the high quality and the contemporary design give the cigar grandeur. The construction feels good. The bullet head is perfectly shaped. Even the aroma smells Asian, with spices and herbs.

After cutting just a tiny bit off the cap, there is a fine cold draw. The flavor has hints of dry, young wood with some spicy sweetness. Once lit, the cigar shows hints of coffee, walnut, and spice. The pepper is getting stronger and it’s a mixture of black and red pepper. There is also some hay and wood. There is a nice powdered sugar sweetness in the retrohale. Coffee, pepper, and soil are getting stronger, with a hint of leather. There’s also a cinnamon sweetness. The second third starts with more spices like cumin and cinnamon. There is also some coffee, sweetness, pepper, and dark wood. Some nuts show up too. Ad the end of the second third, a faint vanilla flavor shows up too

The draw is fine. The burn had to be corrected once. The smoke was thick, white, and full. The cigar is well balanced, yet strong. Full-bodied and full-flavored without question. The ash is white and firm. The flavors are dark, yet balanced. The smoke time is two hours and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a box or two


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

Romeo Y Julieta 8 Maravillas

Romeo Y Julieta 8 Maravillas. With this release, Habanos is joining the Chinese Zodiac bandwagon. Since Asia is becoming more and more important for Habanos and the Cuban cigar industry, it was a matter of time before this happened. And with the rumored sale of Habanos to a Chinese party, this will be the first in many Chinese New Year cigars from the island of Cuba. Habanos tested the waters last year. The Spanish distributor of Habanos released regular production Cohiba Robusto cigars with additional ‘year of the pig’ foot bands and different packaging. And these were so popular that Habanos decided to capitalize on that.


This year they released a special, limited edition, cigar for Chinese New Year. The cigar was released in Hong Kong but is available for sale globally except for the USA. That’s due to the embargo, which has been in place since the early 1960s. Habanos picked the Romeo Y Julieta brand for the Year of the Rat release. And in a Maravillas size, 6⅒x55. A box of these cigars, red in color, of course, holds 8 cigars. And the retail price? 60 Euros in The Netherlands. That’s more expensive than the Cohiba Talisman when they were first released.

The cigar looks impressive, way thicker than the 55 ring gauge. But after checking, it really is a ring 55. The wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban cigar. The triple cap is flawless. The wrapper does have visible veins and color differences. The ring is the regular production Romeo y Jylueta ring. There is an additional ring with a rat and the year 2020 on the foot. Red with golden print, just to fit in with the CNY theme. The aroma is quite strong, there is no ammonia but it’s barnyard, vegetal and hay.


The cold draw is good. There is a flavor of hay with spices, quite rough. The tobacco is young. After lighting, the flavors are latte with cinnamon. There’s also some young wood and pepper. After a few puffs, there’s a fruity sweetness and acidity. Then there is coffee with leather and that fruity sweetness. The flavors are subtle. Pepper, fresh wood, cinnamon, a little leather, some pepper. And all with a mild creamy mouthfeel. When the ash breaks, I taste more of a salty flavor. In the second third, the cigar gets a little rough. More pepper, more wood, but rough. Now the lack of age will start to measure in. In the final third, the roughness disappears. It’s all leather, wood, pepper, and grass now.


The draw is great. The smoke is decent, both in thickness and volume. Not good but also not bad. The light-colored ash is beautiful and firm. The burn is oke, a few minor touch-ups were needed. Construction-wise, the Cubans have stepped up in the last few years and it’s paying off. There is some evolution, but overall this cigar lacks character. It’s not a bad cigar though. Construction is good, flavors are there. But it’s not a great cigar, it’s decent. Medium-bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, maybe if it was a 10th of the price every once in a while, but for these prices? Hell no.

number87

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

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