Monthly Archives: August 2020

San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona

San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona. Royal Agio Cigars has a factory in the Dominican Republic. In San Pedro de Macoris. And to pay tribute to the home town of their factory, and all the hard-working employees, the created a line bearing that name. It’s set up as a budget-friendly line with different blends. Currently, there are four. San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador, Brazil, Sun Grown, and Nicaragua.


On our recent visit to Royal Agio, we had the opportunity to take the San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona for a review. This cigar is made with Dominican and Brazilian fillers. The binder is Dominican. The wrapper comes from Nicaragua, as the name of the cigar suggests. The cigar measures 5⅞x42 and retails in Germany for only €3,70

The cigar is okay looking. A Colorado brown wrapper, slightly leathery. Not the smoothest, but also not the ugliest wrapper out there. The ring is nice, matte black with blue and silver. Clean, clear. The cigar feels good, it’s evenly spongy everywhere. There is a very mild aroma of damp hay.


The cold draw is fine. The flavors from the cold draw are mild, almost nonexisting. There’s a faint tobacco flavor. Once lit, there is more flavor. Dry coffee with spices, leather, and leaves. Slowly more spices show up. Cinnamon, nutmeg, those kinds of flavors. With pepper on the background and aftertaste. Sweet yet peppery gingerbread with a hint of hay is the next flavor pattern. The mouthfeel is dry but creamy. After a third, the gingerbread is still there with the pepper. But now with toast and leather. There is some harshness in the second part too though, a bitterness. The final third is more peppery, with wood, spices and more bitterness.


The draw is on the easy side of good. Still acceptable but a little more resistance would have been nicer. The light gray ash looks like stacked dimes. The smoke is thick and good in volume. The cigar is smooth, balanced. It doesn’t have a lot of character, but enough to be a pleasant smoke. The burn is straight. The smoke time is one hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once in a while.

number88

Categories: 88, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris

CAO Consiglieri Associate

CAO Consiglieri Associate. Formerly known as the CAO Soprano Associate. When the HBO Series The Sopranos was a hit, CAO managed to get the rights to create a Soprano’s cigar. And released the CAO Sopranos. Just like the TV Show, the cigars were very popular. When the contract with HBO ended, both parties opted not to renew the contract. But since the cigars were in high demand, CAO kept making the cigars. With the exact same blend, the exact same logo, just with a different name. CAO Sopranos became CAO Consiglieri. And now that HBO didn’t have to be paid for the name, the price of the cigars dropped as well.


Just like the original release under the Sopranos name, this cigar uses a Maduro wrapper from Brazil. Mata Fina tobacco to be more precise. The binder comes from Honduras. The fillers are a mix from Nicaragua, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. The only thing that changed is the foot ring. The original Sopranos release had a big red foot ring with the Sopranos logo, the CAO Consiglieri doesn’t have a foot ring. From the three sizes available, we reviewed the smallest. That’s the 5×52 Associate.

The cigar isn’t the best looking cigar. But that is to be expected from Brazilian wrappers. Brazilian wrappers always have a rustic, rough look to it. It’s dark, it has some veins. It feels like dried leather. The glossy black and red ring stands out because of its shape. The cigar feels well constructed. The head is a bit wonky though. The medium-strong aroma is a mixture of manure and charred wood.


The cold draw is easy. There’s some sweetness, some spice, and pepper in the aftertaste. Straight from the start, the cigar releases warm spices and coffee. With sharp, black pepper in the aftertaste. The flavors remain in the warm spice region. Nutmeg, cinnamon, five-spice, those kinds of flavors. With some sweetness. The pepper remains in the aftertaste. The flavors are nice, but the cigar is tame. Halfway it’s dry wood, spices, sweetness, and toast. The final third starts with the spices, soil, and some dark chocolate. The pepper is still in the aftertaste. This continues to the end. The last few puffs are harsh.


The draw is superb. The light-colored ash drops quickly though. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is thick and full. The cigar is smooth, well balanced yet tame, almost boring. Medium-bodied, medium flavored. But with the association with the badass Sopranos and the mafia, a little more character had to be expected. The smoke time is short with one hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

number88

Categories: 88, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua

300 Hands Maduro Corona Gorda

300 Hands Maduro Corona Gorda. It always surprised us that nobody had used that name before. Everybody in the industry knows that it takes approximately 300 pairs of hands from the seed to the finished cigar in the consumer’s hand. Cigar manufacturers emphasize that often, to show consumers what it takes to create a cigar. And to politicians to show how many families are at stake with their legislative decisions. But nobody used that name for a cigar until Southern Draw did. For two blends, a 300 Mano Habano and a 300 Hands Maduro blend.


In 2018, Southern Draw released this 300 Hands Maduro line. In five sizes, but we managed to get our hands on a Corona Gorda, size 5½x46. Now, truth is, we don’t know where we got his from or who gave it to us. All we know is that the cigars are made in Nicaragua. At Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez. And that the cigar is made with a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. The binder comes from Indonesia. The fillers are from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

The cigar looks rustic. A very dark wrapper with tooth. Leather looking, with some lighter colored veins. With a wet finger, we wiped the wrapper to see if it stained. If that was the case, the wrapper would be artificially colored, but no stains at all. The construction feels good. The simple band is nice. White with blue text. 300 Hands, but the nice detail is the serrated top and bottom. The barnyard aroma is strong. This cigar would stand out in a humidor, and we would pick one up to try.


The cold draw is good. And has a surprising flavor of mint and chocolate. Almost like the after eight chocolates. Once lit, there is coffee and pepper. But smooth and mild. There is leather, there is wood too with some citrus fruit. Slowly some complex bitterness of dark chocolate shows up. But it does hurt the back of the throat a little. The cigar then turns to warm spices with pepper and leather. The mouthfeel is thick, buttery. Some fruity acidity comes in play as well, like oranges. After a third, the cigar is all about coffee and that citrus. With pepper in the aftertaste. There is a little harshness in the back of the throat though. Halfway the cigar has a strong nutty flavor, with leather and pepper. In the final third, the pepper grows in strength. It also has wood, coffee, and citrus.


The draw is fantastic. And the ash is white, firm and dense. The burn is good. And the smoke, thick, white and plentiful. The cigar is balanced, smooth. It has character, but not a lot. And there’s a little harshness. The cigar is medium-full in body, medium in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I enjoyed it.

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Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Southern Draw, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2. A true classic. This cigar has been around for more than 60 years, and it is one of the most praised and sold cigars from Cuba. But the Hoyo de Monterrey brand itself has an even longer history. At ate 13, Don José Gener y Batet, migrated from Spain to Cuba. There he worked on his uncle’s tobacco farm in the Vuelta Abajo region. In his early 30s, around 1850, he started a cigar factory in Havana and started producing cigars. His brand was La Escepción. That brand was faded out in the 1980s although in the last decade the brand name was used twice for an Italian regional edition. With the profits of La Escepción, Don José Gener purchased the best tobacco he could find and in 1865 he used that tobacco for his new creation: Hoyo de Monterrey.

Where La Escepción was known for its strength, Hoyo de Monterrey is a mild Cuban cigar. The cigar performed particularly well in the United Kingdom, and due to the success, the factory grew to be one of the biggest in Cuba. When Gener passed away, his daughter took over the business. In 1931 the brands and the factory were sold to Fernández, Palicio y Cía. Fernández, Palicio y Cía owned Punch and Belinda and remained to own the brands until Cuba was ‘liberated’ and all businesses were nationalized.

This is a decent looking cigar. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, not very oily though. There is a thin, sharp vein on the front of the cigar. Both rings are well printed with high-quality bronze dusting. Even though you might think “bronze, it’s gold”, you are right. Yet the process is called bronze dusting. The triple cap looks great. On the touch, the cigar feels good. There is a mild ammonia aroma coming from the cigar, with fresh greens like leaves in the autumn.

The cold draw is a bit tight. It’s slightly salty with wood. Once lit, the cigar is sweet, sour, and bitter. Coffee bitterness with vinegar and salt is the best way to describe the first puffs. It then changes to salty peanuts, with some leather and earthiness. Plenty of dynamics in the first third, as the flavors progress to salty herbs with wood. Halfway the cigar gets a nice peppery flavor with hazelnuts. The retrohale has sweetness and vanilla. There is a slight Cappucino flavor halfway with herbs. The mouthfeel is quite dry. The pepper grows in strength, tingling on the lips as a good chili pepper does. There is some vanilla sweetness as well, with leather and soil on the background. The aftertaste is mild minty. It changes to pepper and nuts.

The draw is acceptable, slightly tight but still acceptable. The ash is dark, indicating that the soil the tobacco was grown on is low on potassium. The cigar turns very soft after being lit. The burn had to be touched up a few times. The smoke is thin, and there isn’t a lot of it in volume either. But the volume and the thickness of the smoke progress. This cigar is medium-bodied, and while it starts medium flavored it grows to medium-full. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was enjoyable, but there are Cuban cigars I enjoy more in the same price range.

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Shriner Robusto

Hiram & Solomon Shriner Robusto. One of the seven blends available within the Hiram & Solomon portfolio but the only one without the Freemason logo. The recipe is the same though. Made in Nicaragua, blended by Fouad Kashouty and George Dakrat with the help of David Blanco. And produced at the renowned Plasencia Cigars factory in Esteli. And as true freemasons, Hiram & Solomon donate parts of the proceeds of the cigars to charity. The brand started as a fundraiser. The idea was to create a one-off cigar for an event, but the cigars became so popular that it resulted in one of the fastest-growing family-owned cigar brands on the market nowadays.

The size of the cigar caused some confusion. The sticker on the cellophane mentions 5×52. That is also mentioned in the vitola list on the website, yet, at the pictures of the cigars, another size is mentioned. 5½x50 instead of 5×52. Cigar nerds as we are, we grabbed our Herics cigar measuring tape to see which information is correct. The cigar measures 5×52. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra. The binder comes from Indonesia, maybe even the real Sumatra but the specifics have not been disclosed. To make this a five-country blend cigar, fillers from Brazil, Dominican Republic, and two tobaccos from Nicaragua were selected.

The Colorado colored wrapper has a water spot. Quite a large one. But that doesn’t matter and it would be unfair to deduct points. Why? Because we have a few more of these that don’t have ugly spots. Cigars are a natural product, and a water spot can happen. It doesn’t alter the flavor, it is just aesthetically not the best look. The ring, compared to the other Hiram & Solomon cigars, this is lacking the Freemason logo. But the sword and the crest probably have a meaning in the Masonic world. The maroon colored ring is decent yet pale in comparison to the other Hiram & Solomon rings. The wrapper is silky without veins and has some tooth. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, barnyard, and hay.

The cold draw is fine, with a dry raw tobacco and raisin flavor. Sweetness with spices, coffee, and earthiness are released from the first puff on. With some red pepper. The flavor has hints of straw and hay, but with some sweetness, spice, and earthiness. There is a little cinnamon in the retrohale, with cedar. After an inch, there is a salty flavor, with honey sweetness, hay, and some slight white pepper. After a third, the flavor turns to sweet, young wood with milk chocolate. The cigar keeps giving that slight woody flavor with sweetness, spice, milk chocolate but now with some leather as well. The sweetness turns to marzipan. Add in a little nuttiness, gingerbread spices, and some white pepper and you have the start of the final third. The last few puffs, nut flavors are strong.

The draw is good and the burn is straight. The ash is quite firm even though it’s frayed. The smoke is white, reasonably thick and the volume is good too. It’s a smooth cigar, no rough edges. But at the same time, it’s lacking some character, it’s pretty middle of the road. Perfect for a cup of coffee late morning. The cigar is smooth, medium-bodied, and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will pick the Hiram & Solomon Fellow Craft over this.

Categories: 90, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Twisty

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion. For the last few years, the British cigar retailer Cgars Ltd has been creating limited editions under the name Orchant Seleccion. It started in 2007 as a collaboration with Habanos distributor Hunters & Frankau. They approached Orchant with the idea to hand-select boxes of cigars that he thought were outstanding. Then add an ‘Orchant Seleccion’ ring and sell them exclusively through his C. Gars Ltd shop. Up till today, approximately 20 different Cuban cigars are part of the Orchant Seleccion. But all in a limited number of boxes, and gone is gone. But it’s not limited to Cuban cigars anymore.


In the last few years, Orchant found several producers of New World cigars to create a limited edition exclusively for Cgars Ltd and Turmeaus Tobacconist. Davidoff created one. Regius did an Orchant Seleccion, just like Oliva. Alec Bradley did one and last year Drew Estate created three different sizes under the Orchant Seleccion name. Those are the lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. But recently the Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion made a comeback. Not as a rerun of the old version, but the same blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. Yet in three different, smaller, sizes. Including a rare, unique twist on the Culebra. Shorter and thicker than a regular Culebra, and with the name Twisty. The other two sizes are the Orchie and the Pointy. The Twisty is the last of the three cigars that will be reviewed.


The three cigars are intertwined, but not as much as a regular Culebra. That’s impossible because of the length and the thickness of the cigar. The Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Twisty is shorter and thicker than any other Culebra on the market. The wrapper is dark and oily. A little rustic too, with some veins and bumps. But the shine makes the cigar look tasty. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma has hints of hay with some acidity. It’s quite mild.


The cold draw is good. Spicy raw tobacco, a little harsh but in a pleasant way. After lighting there’s an explosion of coffee with some dark chocolate and pepper. The coffee and dark chocolate get accompanied by some marzipan sweetness. There is also a little salt and licorice. At the end of the first third, there is some harshness. Wood, earthiness, dark bitter chocolate, herbs, and pepper are on the palate. There is also a slightly burned flavor, something all three cigars have in common. The final third has the complexity of dark chocolate again. It’s coffee, wood, leather, and pepper. But now with a mild sweetness as well.


The draw is fantastic. And the smoke is thicker and fuller than on the other two Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion. The burn needed a touch-up or two. The white ash is firm and dense, but flaky. Even though this is the most accessible cigar of the three, it is also the least balanced. But it has character. The cigar is medium-full bodied, full-flavored. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a few as conversational pieces
number90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Pointy

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion. For the last few years, the British cigar retailer Cgars Ltd has been creating limited editions under the name Orchant Seleccion. It started in 2007 as a collaboration with Habanos distributor Hunters & Frankau. They approached Orchant with the idea to hand-select boxes of cigars that he thought were outstanding. Then add an ‘Orchant Seleccion’ ring and sell them exclusively through his C. Gars Ltd shop. Up till today, approximately 20 different Cuban cigars are part of the Orchant Seleccion. But all in a limited number of boxes, and gone is gone. But it’s not limited to Cuban cigars anymore.


In the last few years, Orchant found several producers of New World cigars to create a limited edition exclusively for Cgars Ltd and Turmeaus Tobacconist. Davidoff created one. Regius did an Orchant Seleccion, just like Oliva. Alec Bradley did one and last year Drew Estate created three different sizes under the Orchant Seleccion name. Those are the lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. But recently the Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion made a comeback. Not as a rerun of the old version, but the same blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. Yet in three different, smaller, sizes. Including a rare, unique twist on the Culebra. Shorter and thicker than a regular Culebra, and with the name Twisty. The other two sizes are the Orchie and the Pointy. The Pointy is the second of the three cigars that will be reviewed.


The wrapper looks quite similar to the Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Orchie. Colorado Maduro colored, leathery with a long thin vein. But the green waterspot is missing. That makes the cigar ecstatically a little more pleasing. The dark, detailed ring is exactly the same. The O on the ring does have similarities with the Oliva logo. The aroma of this short, pointy cigar is darker than of the Orchie. More manure and barnyard than spices.


The cold draw is flawless, with a raw tobacco flavor. Once it, the cigar is salty with soil, coffee, and green herbs. There is a slight white pepper on the palate as well. The flavor then turns to something best described as black licorice with some dry leather and a little bit of coffee. The mouthfeel is chewy. The flavors are dark and become even darker with a burnt flavor. Burnt barbecue wood, pepper, green herbs. But a little evasive to the back of the throat. The cigar becomes more approachable, less burnt. More wood with dark roast coffee and pepper. The cigar then turns to earthiness, dark roast, pepper, and a little bit of a nutty flavor. The nutty flavor disappears as quickly as it showed up though. The pepper gains strength. A little sweetness shows up too. Near the end, it is dark wood, dark roast coffee, and very strong pepper.


The draw is good. The smoke is good, enough in volume yet it could be a tad thicker. The burn had to be corrected a few times. The ash is darker than the ash on the Orchie. The cigar is not balanced in the first third but balances out in the rest of the cigar. It’s a medium-full to full smoke. Full-flavored. Dark flavors, something we call a ‘winter’ cigar as it fits with the mood that comes with the shorter, darker days. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe

number89

Categories: 89, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion Orchie

Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion. For the last few years, the British cigar retailer Cgars Ltd has been creating limited editions under the name Orchant Seleccion. It started in 2007 as a collaboration with Habanos distributor Hunters & Frankau. They approached Orchant with the idea to hand-select boxes of cigars that he thought were outstanding. Then add an ‘Orchant Seleccion’ ring and sell them exclusively through his C. Gars Ltd shop. Up till today, approximately 20 different Cuban cigars are part of the Orchant Seleccion. But all in a limited number of boxes, and gone is gone. But it’s not limited to Cuban cigars anymore.


In the last few years, Orchant found several producers of New World cigars to create a limited edition exclusively for Cgars Ltd and Turmeaus Tobacconist. Davidoff created one. Regius did an Orchant Seleccion, just like Oliva. Alec Bradley did one and last year Drew Estate created three different sizes under the Orchant Seleccion name. Those are the lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. But recently the Alec Bradley Orchant Seleccion made a comeback. Not as a rerun of the old version, but the same blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. Yet in three different, smaller, sizes. Including a rare, unique twist on the Culebra. Shorter and thicker than a regular Culebra, and with the name Twisty. The other two sizes are the Orchie and the Pointy. The Orchie is the first of the three cigars that will be reviewed.


The Colorado Maduro colored wrapper has a spot on the wrapper. A green spot, which happens when a drop of water hits the leaf while drying. It does not change the flavor of the cigar but it just alters the look. There is one long, thin vein running over the cigar. The wrapper has a leathery look. The smell is amazing, sweet with spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. The cigar feels good, evenly packed. The head is well rounded, with a nice triple cap. The ring is dark, with lots of details.


The cold draw is great. The raw tobacco flavor is spicy and strong. The first flavors are charred wood, spice, and leather. The spices include cumin, cloves and more. It’s delicate, subtle yet the cigar quite strong and in your face. There’s also a little sweetness and acidity. After a few puffs, some coffee shows up. Overall the flavors are a bit charred, burned. The flavors remain dark in the second third as well. Wood, soil, coffee. In the final third, there is more pepper, a little salt, and a strong earthiness with some coffee. The pepper grows and there is a hint of very dark chocolate.


The draw is great. There is enough smoke, it is quite thin though. The ash is white with some black smears. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. In the final third, the cigar becomes stronger, both in body and in flavor. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe

number90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas

Herrera Esteli Maduro Toro Especial

Herrera Esteli Maduro Toro Especial. Another blend by master blender Willy Herrera for Drew Estate. This blend was released in 2018, 7 years after his move to the big cigar manufacturer. But he rose to fame as a blender at the small Miami based El Titan de Bronze. That small factory in Little Havana is owned and operated by his in-laws and that’s where Jonathan Drew found Herrera. One of the promises that Drew made was a cigar with the Herrera name, although that did take some time and effort as Frank Herrera, the cigar lawyer, had registered his name and used it for cigars as well.


The Herrera Esteli Maduro is made in Nicaragua, at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. For the blend, Herrera took Nicaraguan filler from Drew Estate’s tobacco library. He blended that with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder from the Connecticut River Valley and a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. There are five sizes available, but for this review, we decided on the 6×52 Toro Especial.


The cigar has that typical Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. Dark but kind of rough looking, with a few veins. For a Mata Fina, it’s actually quite smooth, but it’s rougher than the average Maduro. The blue and golden ring with white letters is a copy of the original Herrera Esteli, just in a different color scheme. The cigar feels well rolled. The triple cap is beautiful. And the cigar has a strong aroma. Sweet straw with some charred wood comes to mind.

The cold draw is fine, with a mild yet intense dark chocolate taste. The first flavors are salty wood with a bit of leather. Slowly the cigar develops some leaf flavors as well, and mild chocolate. The expected sweetness from the Brazilian wrapper is lacking though. The mouthfeel is meaty, chewy. After a third, the flavors become more complex. It’s wood and grass, but then with a mix of sugar, pepper, spices, leather, soil, and toast. All those flavors are mild and balanced. Halfway the cigar gets a nice roasted coffee bean flavor with spices, pepper, and leather.


The draw is superb. And the ash is white and dense. The burn is good, not straight as an arrow but no corrections are needed. And the smoke is thick and full, a Drew Estate trademark. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes. This cigar is full-bodied, full-flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I enjoyed it
number90

Categories: 90, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Herrera Esteli, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

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