Monthly Archives: March 2021

Liga Privada 10 Anniversario

Liga Privada 10 Anniversario. A cigar released late 2018, which actually makes it the 11th year of Liga Privada as the first boxes were sold in 2007. But the packaging changed to the well known 24 count boxes in 2008. Plus new sizes were added that year. For two years, the cigar was a hidden gem, but then it took off to become the household name it now is. With many offsprings to come. T52, Unico series, Undercrown, Undercrown Sun Grown, Undercrown Shade. And that’s without going into all the different blends in Flying Pig sizes, a vitola reinvented by Drew Estate for the Liga Privada series.

Not being based in the United States, we never expected to be able to smoke this cigar. Only 1000 boxes of 10 cigars were released. Yet when we met up with Jonathan Drew in The Netherlands, he passed us a few cigars to smoke. And that included this unicorn. Made with a Criollo wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley. The binder is a rare Mexican San Andres Otapan Negro Último Corte. The fillers come from Honduras and Nicaragua. The cigar measures 6×52.

When it comes to looks, this cigar is a perfect 10. A dark, smooth, and oily wrapper. The closed foot. The unique cap, which is a hybrid of the classic pigtail and a flag tail. Add a skinny, contemporary, and slick black and silver ring and you have the best-looking cigar possible. The construction feels great too. And the aroma, it’s like walking into a leather store. Not overwhelmingly strong, but undeniably a leather aroma.

The cold draw is actually pretty good considering the closed foot. The flavors are toasty and spicy. Once lit, it’s coffee. Strong, black coffee, almost like espresso. But there is some leather too and some earthiness. There is a salty undertone. Slowly but surely toast and cedar comes through as well. The coffee remains the base flavor of the cigar, but now with some green herbs as well. Wood and sweetness get stronger, the mouthfeel becomes buttery. There is also a strong dark chocolate flavor. In the second third, the chocolate becomes stronger, it’s smooth, creamy, yet with spice and pepper. The final third still have that chocolate, with some earthiness. But it’s no longer creamy. There is a mild pepper, some spice, some wood, and a little hay. The wood is slowly taking over, but with sweetness. Suddenly the coffee returns, with dry wood, and spices. Sweetness and pepper completely disappeared.

It is a Drew Estate cigar so the smoke is copious. Thick, full, and voluminous. The draw is great. The white, dense ash is firm. The burn is sharp. The flavors are full and strong. The cigar is strong too. But it’s complex, intense, balanced, and full of character. A testament that full body and full-flavor can still be smooth. The smoke time is four hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible

Categories: 94, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Tobacco Lords Signature Wide Robusto

Tobacco Lords Signature Wide Robusto. It’s the third release of the Tobacco Lords series. And the fourth blend, as the original release, is available as a Connecticut Shade and a Maduro version. The Connecticut Shade Cunninghame and the Maduro Speirs are reviewed by Ministry of Cigars as well. Just as the limited edition 145th Anniversary blend that was released last year. The Tobacco Lords is a private label for the British liquor and tobacco retail store Robert Graham 1874.

For the single-sized Tobacco Lords Signature, extra-aged tobacco is used. The filler consists of Nicaraguan tobacco. Then there is a Dominican binder and a Mexican wrapper from San Andres. The cigar comes in a 5×52 robusto size. It’s made at Joya de Nicaragua, just as the Tobacco Lords Maduro and Connecticut lines.

The cigar looks great. A Colorado Maduro colored wrapper from San Andres, Mexico. Smooth, velvet in touch, and oily. A beautiful black and golden ring, with a small ring to protect the foot as well. All in the same style. Beautiful to look at. Well rounded head with a triple cap. The cigar feels good to the touch. It has a strong musky aroma with dried wood.

The cold draw is a bit tight. But the flavors are strong, spicy peppery sultanas. Once lit, the cigar has some citrus, some sweetness, some mild leather. The sweetness gets stronger, with wood and floral flavors as support. Then there is some spice, wood, earthiness with the flavors mentioned before. All mellow and well balanced. The cigar slowly gains more strength. The second third starts with a little spice, coffee, a faint chocolate flavor, and leather. The mouthfeel is a bit dry. The chocolate becomes more predominant. It is slightly creamy. And a little bit of white pepper shows up too. The final third has a strong wood flavor, but balanced and well rounded.

The draw is good but on the tight side of good. The ash is almost completely white. It’s dense and firm. The burn is straight. The cigar produces a good amount of thick white smoke. The cigar is subtle and complex. Medium in body and strength. The extra aged tobacco really makes a difference. The flavors are well rounded and not harsh at all. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Categories: 91, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Tobacco Lords | Tags: , , , ,

Davtian Rubina Corona

Davtian Rubina Corona. One of the twelve cigars from Davtian Cigars. The company produces six lines in the Dominican Republic. Each line exists in two sizes. The Rubina is available in a Corona and a Petit Corona with the name The Queen. I reviewed Davtian Trinidad, Davtian Habana, and Davtian Primus before. Davtian is making cigars since 2011 when the Armenian entrepreneur David Davtian founded the brand.

This 6×46 Corona comes from Tabacalera El Puente. This 6×46 Davtian Rubina Corona is a Dominican Puro with a Habano 2000 Rojizo wrapper. The binder is Piloto Cubano Seco. For the filler, Davtian utilizes San Vicente Viso and Seco, Criollo 98 Viso, and Piloto Cubano Viso. Davtian cigars are available in Southern Africa, South East Asia, and some European markets including The Netherlands.

It is a good looking cigar. A Maduro colored wrapper, oily, but with a vein or two facing the front. A nicely shaped golden and black ring. The triple cap is a bit sloppy though. The construction feels good. There is a mild leather aroma coming from the cigar.

The cold draw is fine, with the right air resistance. There is a sweetness, some spice, leather, and hay in the cold draw. Quite a lot of flavors to taste in the cold draw. Once lit, the cigar gives mild chocolate, earthiness, coffee, and a hint of spice. Quickly followed by complex wood. The mouthfeel is sticky. Wood becomes the main flavor, with something grassy in the background. The mouthfeel changes to creamy. With some leather, wood, and soil. After a third, the main flavor is wood with a little nutmeg. The final third starts with a crisp wood flavor and strong pepper. Later on, leather joins the two flavors.

The draw is phenomenal. The ash is firm and light gray, almost tin-colored. The smoke is a little thin, although the volume gets more along the way. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is medium-bodied, yet the flavor is medium-full. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, this is not a cigar that fits my palate

Categories: 89, Davtian, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Puente | Tags: , , , ,

JFR Lunatic Loco Maduro El Loquito

JFR Lunatic Loco Maduro El Loquito. This is the latest addition to the JFR brand. The brand exists since 2005 when Aganorsa Leaf released the line for brick & mortar stores. JFR stands for Just For Retailers. In 2014, a new JFR line emerged, the JFR Lunatic. And last year, Aragorsa expanded the JFR brand with the Lunatic Loco. In different blends, including Habano and Maduro. And all three sizes are perfectos. El Loquito measures 4¾x60, El Loco is 4¾x70. El Gran Loco is a crazy 5½x80 Perfecto.

The JFR Lunatic Loco Maduro is made with tobaccos from Aganorsa Leaf as the filler and the binder. Aganorsa grows tobacco in Nicaragua. The wrapper is Maduro from San Andres in Mexico. The El Loquito is the smallest of the three cigars and the size is similar to Drew Estate Flying Pigs. The El Loquito even includes a pigtail.

The cigar looks good. An evenly dark Maduro wrapper. It is not very oily but the color of the wrapper works with the ring. The ring is dark blue, almost black, with silver details. And that silver really pops, making the design stand out. The construction feels good. A pigtail is always a plus when it comes to aesthetics. The aroma is very mild, wood, and manure.

The cold draw is fantastic. It has a strong raisin aroma with some white pepper. After lighting the cigar has a thick creamy dark chocolate flavor with some earthiness and a hint of leather. The leather slowly gets the center stage, but the dark chocolate isn’t far behind. The creaminess disappears and the mouthfeel turns dry. In the first third, the flavors remain leather, wood, dark chocolate but then some black pepper and nutty flavors show up. There is also some sweetness. Halfway the dark chocolate disappears and makes place for hay. But the oak, earthiness, and leather are the dominant flavors. In the final third, the dark chocolate returns as a supporting flavor.

The draw is great. The smoke could be a bit thicker, which would score higher. The burn is slow and straight. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. This is a full-bodied cigar. The flavors are medium-full as well. Balanced, yet due to the thick ring gauge, the cigar isn’t dynamic. The smoke time is four hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I might.

Categories: 90, Casa Fernandez, Nicaraguan cigars, TABSA | Tags: , , , , , ,

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro. When the first rumors about this release surfaced, the name was a mystery. At first, the suggestion was made that it is a cigar for the Buffalo Cigar Festival. But in a conversation with Ram Rodriguez from Tabacalera El Artista, the truth was revealed. The name is chosen because it’s a cool sounding name. Of course, the people behind Buffalo Cigar Festival love the name, but they are not the inspiration. Rodriguez wanted to make a value cigar, one size, simple packaging, and simple artwork. The 10 in the name comes from the first proposed packaging. Bundles of 10 cigars. But eventually, the cigars were released in bundles of five cigars.

The cigar measures 6×52 and is box-pressed. Almost rectangle, much like the Factory Press from La Flor Dominicana. Very sharp edges. This is a five-country cigar blend, with a Mexican wrapper. A Maduro from San Andres. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the USA. The Colombian tobacco is used for the slightly acidic flavor, that helps to bind all flavors together. But the tobacco that is most rare is the binder. It’s a Dominican Negrito. Very dark tobacco that was popular 50 to 60 years ago. But it disappeared. Tabacalera El Artista and the Dominican Agricultural Society brought it back to life. It’s hard tobacco to grow, with relatively low yields. So it’s not used often.

The cigar looks amazing. Not just to smoke, but also to eat. The sharp box-pressed shape and the dark chocolate color make this cigar look like a candy bar. Add a simple, clean, and slick white ring and you have an amazing looking cigar. The wrapper is Colorado Maduro colored, with one flattened vein. It’s toothy and feels like fine sandpaper. The ring is white, simple, clean with print in the same color as the wrapper. The two components on itself look fine, yet the combination is extremely pleasing on the eyes. The box press is so sharp, it is almost as sharp as the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press cigars. The construction feels good. The aroma is earth and leather.

The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is earthy. Once lit, the cigar has coffee, soil, sweetness, and herbal spices. The flavors then change to soil, leather, chocolate, pepper, and spice. Leather gets stronger with cedar and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. The second third starts with cocoa powder. Dry. Add some leather and a hint of acidity to bind everything together. The flavors slowly change to more leather, spices, soil, and wood. With still a hint of chocolate, pepper, and acidity. The final third starts with that dry chocolate or cocoa flavor again. Pepper, leather, and wood are there too. With a hint of sweetness. The mouthfeel is still dry now, but also sticky. There is a spice flavor that is hard to describe, with wood, pepper, and chocolate.

The draw is fantastic, the right amount of airflow and resistance. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar produces plenty of thick white smoke. The ash is almost white as well. Firm also. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of evolution. But it is balanced and flavorful. The Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A 92 rated cigar for a value price? Damn right!

Categories: 92, Buffalo Ten, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , , ,

Casdagli Daughters of the Wind Calico

Casdagli Daughters of the Wind Calico. A line inspired by the Casdagli Family history. In the early 1900s, the family acquired Sheykh Obeyd stables just outside Cairo. The Casdagli family became celebrated breeders of Arabian racehorses. Big races were won. It’s that history that Jeremy Casdagli wanted to highlight with this line. The name comes from a 6th-century Arab poem. The Daughters of the Wind poem is inspired by the beauty of the Bedouin horses.

The IGM factory in San Jose, Costa Rica produces the cigars for Casdagli. The blend consists of rare tobaccos from Peru, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador along with the tobaccos from the factory’s own plantation in the mountains of Costa Rica. The wrapper is from Ecuador. The binder is Costa Rican. The cigar that I reviewed is the 6⅒x52 Calico, a pyramid.

The wrapper is very oily. Colorado colored and smooth. Like well-greased leather. A closed foot is always bonus points. The shape of the head is perfect and the cigar feels well constructed. When the cigar was first released, it has a different ring. That ring fitted more in the overall look of the brand. The new ring is more generic and flashy with thick golden outlines. But if you know the history of the Casdagli family, there is a lot to see. The horses that the family used to breed in the Middle East for example. The print quality is high. The aroma is strong, barbecue, hay, and a little ammonia.

The cold draw is a bit tight, but that can be expected with a closed foot. The raw tobacco flavor is spicy. Once lit the cigar is dry. Green herbs sawdust, earthiness, and leather. A hint of caramel shows up, with spice, when the leather gets stronger. After an inch, nuts and more sweetness support the leather. Then the leather fades away and is replaced with wood and nutmeg. The caramel sweetness is still there as well. The leather returns halfway, with spice, pepper, sweetness. The mouthfeel is dry. The leather, nuts, and wood keep replacing each other as the dominant flavor with pepper as a supporting flavor. The finale has a strong pepper, which becomes dominant.

The draw is a bit tight, but when a little bigger opening was cut the draw became great. The smoke is decent in volume but could be a little thicker. The ash is dense but breaks easily. The burn is straight, but the cigar had to be relit a few times. The cigar is smooth and balanced. There is no roughness, the flavors are round. It’s medium-bodied, medium flavored. Yet with a strong and full finish. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

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

Categories: 91, Bespoke, Costa Rican cigars, igm | Tags: , , , ,

VegaFina Fortaleza 2 Andullo

VegaFina Fortaleza 2 Andullo. A limited-edition release from VegaFina. Limited to little less than 5000 boxes of ten cigars. As the name suggests, it’s the second Fortaleza release for the 22-year-old brand. The brand was founded by Tabacalera, which was the Spanish tobacco monopoly. That’s why the brand is strong in Europe and not in the United States.

This cigar is named after a traditional fermentation process in the Dominican Republic. Andullo. That’s when tobacco is rolled up in tubes very tightly. That’s how the tobacco gets fermented. This is different than the regular fermentation using pilones. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra. The rest of the tobaccos are all Dominican, including some Andullo. The same kind of fermentation is practiced in Indonesia under the name Tambolaka. And in the Amazon, CAO Amazon Basin utilizes some of that tobacco.

The cigar is good looking. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, thin yet sharp. The simple matte black ring with the glossy VF logo in red. Add a handwritten font Andullo in white, and you have a contemporary ring. The construction feels good. The cigar has a very pleasant aroma. Hay with chocolate.

The cold draw is flawless. With spices and herbs as flavors. After lighting the cigar releases flavors of grass, dirt, cinnamon with dry leather. Lots of dry leather. Some hay and acidity show up too. Vinegar, and a little too sour. Normally a little acidity brings flavors together, this is just a little too sour. Not much though. The mouthfeel is dry, the acidity works well with the spices. Spices like nutmeg and cumin. And then a peanut flavor shows up. Unusual flavor for cigars, but deniable peanuts. With some white pepper. The acidity is still there, but now in a way that it enhances the flavors instead of overpowering them. The peanut flavor gets stronger, with some spices and pepper. In the final third, it’s peanuts, powdered sugar, and dry leather. It creates a dry mouthfeel. The flavors remain peanuts, sweetness, spicy with some acidity to bind it all together. In the finale, there is an even more unusual flavor. Something that we haven’t discovered in 15 years of cigar smoking. Fried egg. With peanuts, leather, and pepper.

The draw is fine, and the smoke is thick, white, and plentiful. The burn is beautiful. The white ash is firm. The cigar is medium-bodied and reasonably smooth. Although there is some roughness in the second third of the cigar, it’s minor. It’s a medium-full bodied cigar with plenty of flavors. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy these again? With such limited stock, that might be impossible.

Categories: 91, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , ,

Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro

Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro. A cigar that as far as we know is only available in the United States, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic. And it’s a relatively new brand yet not a new family. The Cuevas family is growing tobacco and making cigars for decades. Since 1890 to be exact. In the early 2000s, the Casa Cuevas brand was sold for a while. But then the family returned to making cigars for others. Until 2016, when the Casa Cuevas line returned. In a way, the story of the Cuevas family is similar to the El Artista brand and even Plasencia. All three are around for a long time, but only recently started making cigars for themselves instead of just producing for others.

This Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro is made with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder is Piloto Cubana from the Dominican Republic. The filler contains tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua, and from the Dominican Republic. For this review, I smoked the 6×50 Toro. Other sizes available are a 5×52 Robusto and a 6¼x52 Torpedo.

The cigar looks good. The wrapper is dark, very dark. But evenly dark, and a bit on the dry side. The blue, white, and silver ring is similar to the new world Romeo y Julieta ring. The construction feels great and the triple cap is flawless. The cigar smells like dark chocolate and soil. Bittersweet and intense.

The cold draw is a bit tights. Quite spicy yet with a dark chocolate undertone. After lighting the cigar gives dark chocolate, earthiness, coffee. Bittersweet flavors with black pepper. In the second third, the dark chocolate is still the main flavor, but now with hay, coffee, and soil. The pepper tones down a bit. There is a hint of citrus. The cigar is balanced, yet not smooth. Halfway it’s still possible to retrohale without too much spice in the nose. The mouthfeel is still dry. In the final third, more wood shows up with some leather. But the spice and the dark chocolate are still going strong as well.

The draw is good, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is thick, white, and full. The burn is straight. The ash is almost white, yet it breaks quite easily. This cigar isn’t very strong, but the flavors are bold. The cigar is balanced. The evolution isn’t spectacular, but the overall flavors are good. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Las Lavas | Tags: , , , ,

H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Royal Robusto. A cigar that was first born in 2011 and exclusively available at the La Casa del Habano franchise stores all around the world. It’s a staple since and has a good reputation within the world of Habano lovers. And it was about time that review another H. Upmann cigar, this Royal Robusto seems a good choice.

Like all Habanos, this is a cigar entirely made of Cuban tobacco. A puro, with wrapper, binder, and filler from the beautiful Caribbean island. It measures 5⅜x52 and that makes it an Edmundo. In Cuba, cigars have a factory name and an “outside” name. For the outside world, this is a Robusto, yet in the factories, it’s an Edmundo. A size that is best known for the Montecristo.

The wrapper is wrinkled like an old lady. Or your fingertips after spending too much time in a bathtub. But it has some shine to it from the oil. Even though the red of the secondary ring isn’t exactly the same as the red in the classic H. Upmann logo, the rings don’t clash. The construction of the cigar feels good. The aroma is mild floral.

The cold draw is good and has a b.t of a floral flavor. Lit the cigar releases sweetness with floral flavors and creamy coffee. There is a little salty undertone as well. The sweetness turns to vanilla. But there is also a little bit of pepper. After a third, some nutty flavor is the most dominant. There is also cedar, floral notes, and sweetness. Close to the final third, sweetness and cedar grow in strength.

The draw is fantastic. The burn is good and the cigar releases a nice amount of smoke. The ash is quite dark but relatively firm. The cigar is well constructed. The flavors are balanced, well rounded, and smooth. This is probably a cigar with a few years of age on it. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

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