Monthly Archives: June 2021

El Viejo Continente Maduro Lancero

El Viejo Continente Maduro Lancero. El Viejo Continente is the brand of Daniel Guerrero. A life long cigar enthusiast who partnered up with Emiliano Lagos to create cigars to his likings. And that’s how El Viejo Continente was born. There are several lines available, in several sizes. But Guerrero is also responsible for The Circus cigars.

The cigars come from Esteli, Nicaragua. From American Caribbean Cigars, a factory that made and makes cigars for Carlos Toraño, Gurkha, and Leccia. But also for El Viejo Continente and a few lines they own themselves. The El Viejo Continente Maduro line consists of Nicaraguan filler tobacco. The binder is Habano from Ecuador. The wrapper is Mexican. From San Andres, but that’s almost a given when it’s Mexican Maduro.

This cigar isn’t a looker. The Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper looks rough. But it has sparkles of the minerals from the rich soil and that’s always a good sign. The silver and gray ring matches the darkness of the wrapper. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong and is a mixture of hay and chocolate.

The cold draw is perfect. With a herbal flavor, including mint. The first puffs are coffee and sugar. Then leather shows up with a hint of herbal spice. And there is also cocoa powder, dry but nice. The flavor changes are nuanced and subtle. After a third, the cocoa or dark chocolate flavor gets stronger, with a slight metallic undertone and some black pepper. Halfway some grassy and hay flavors join the spicy cocoa. The mouthfeel is a little creamy. The retrohale reveals more spice and a little wood. The final third is stronger with more pepper and more of an edge. It’s no longer pleasant to retrohale due to the pepper. The cocoa disappears and wood is more pronounced.

The draw is great. The light-colored ash breaks easily though, no long cones with this cigar. The burn is good, although smoking a lancero is a balancing act. Smoke it slow enough to prevent the cigar from getting too hot and thus bitter. And smoke it fast enough so you don’t have to relight it often. That last part failed a few times, but it’s a user error and not a cigar error. The cigar is smooth yet has a bit of an edge that gives it character. The smoke is decent. The smoke time is two hours and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I love lancero sizes so yes

Categories: 90, American Caribbean Tobacco S.A., El Viejo Continente, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Liga Privada Velvet Rat

Liga Privada Velvet Rat. The third cigar from the Liga Privada Year of the Rat sampler for the Chinese zodiac Year of the Rat. I smoked a lot of Year of the Rat cigars during the Year of the Rat. But this sampler wasn’t in our possession back then. It is now, so the complete sampler will go up in smoke. The Liga Privada Nasty Fritas went up in smoke earlier, just as the Ratzilla.

The cigar is the exact same size as the Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla, which we reviewed a few days ago. But the wrapper is different, even though it comes from the same area. The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is from higher priming, which means, from higher on the plant. And that equals to stronger, as these leaves are smaller and receive more sun during the growing period.

Just at first glance, you know this is a tasty cigar. A thick, beefy wrapper. Dark, toothy, and leathery with plenty of natural oils. The flag tail is a nice finishing touch to the looks. The simple ring allows the beautiful wrapper to be the center of attention. The construction feels good. A little hard, but evenly hard. The aroma is strong but has a surprising smell of an old wardrobe that hasn’t been opened for a few months. Mixed with some cedar that is.

The cold draw is a little on the easy side. It has an earthy flavor with some sweetness. The cigar has a herbal, spicy profile with a reminiscence of stock cubes. Add some white pepper and you’re there. A sugary sweetness is there as well, with some acidity to bind it all together. In the background, an earthy flavor is showing up. Soon to be followed by a hay flavor. The flavor in the retrohale is sweet but dusty. Slowly the cigar becomes more earthy with milk chocolate. But with a nice twang of citrus, balanced out by sweetness. After a third, the earthiness becomes the dominant flavor. The sweetness grows in strength but there is also some dark spice noticeable. Especially in the retrohale, nutmeg, and cinnamon. That milk chocolate flavor is still lingering in the background. The sweetness is almost raisin-like. The chocolate flavor changes to dark chocolate and becomes stronger. The sweetness turns to vanilla, and the pepper grows in strength. Suddenly there is a honey roasted peanut flavor, unusual but nice. With a balanced dose of pepper.

This is a Drew Estate cigar so the smoke is plentiful. The draw is great. There is not a single complaint about the straight burn either. The cigar is related to the Ratzilla, with the same earthiness. Yet there are subtle differences and this is more of a velvet smoke. So the name is chosen pretty well. The ash is light-colored. This is a cigar that is medium-full in both body and flavor. The smoke time is three hours

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I love this Liga Privada Velvet Rat

Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Mustique Red Robusto

Mustique Red Robusto. This is one of the many bundle brands available that never caught the attention of us at the Ministry of Cigars office until about a year ago. A friend gave us a handful of Mustique cigars, both the red label and the blue label. There is not a lot of information online about these cigars, just that Lubinksi is distributing them in Italy. And Kohlhase & Kopp distributes them in Germany.

Apparently, these cigars are 100% long-fillers, but for the price, we truly wonder. Maybe we should cut one open to see. The cigars feature an Ecuadorian wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder. The majority of the filler is Dominican with some Brazilian. What is known is that the cigar hails from the rolling tables of Tabacalera de Garcia. That factory is part of Altadis and it is the largest premium cigar factory on the island. The cigar measures 5×50 but come in several more sizes.

The Colorado-colored wrapper is a bit rough and the triple cap isn’t smooth-looking either. The bright red ring with the white letters is simple, which fits the bundle look of the cigar. The cigar feels a little spongy, slightly under-packed. But evenly spongy, there aren’t any soft or hard spots. The aroma is quite strong and pleasant. It is a barnyard aroma but it has some depth to it.

The cold draw is easy. The flavor from the cold draw is spicy and even a little harsh. Sour milk. Not as horrible as it sounds, but the first puffs have a slightly sour milk taste to them. To offset that flavor, there is pleasant cinnamon. And that makes this cigar Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The mouthfeel is dry and sticky. The flavors slowly evolve to cedar, with pepper and sweetness. And the flavor profile confirms our suspicion that the wrapper is Ecuadorian Connecticut. That classic old book, old library musty and dusty flavor is unmistakably there. The sour milk flavor never goes away. It is lingering in the back and pops up every once in a while. The nice mix of dark spices and pepper counter the flavor, but still, it does not make smoking this cigar a fantastic experience. Then all of a sudden a very dry, old leather flavor shows up. It then turns to hay, grass, with some pepper. There is a little rough edge, but not enough to call the cigar harsh. The sour milk is gone though, and that’s a good thing. The remainder of the cigar gives cedar, spice, pepper, and that Connecticut Shade signature mustiness.

The draw is decent, it could have a little more air resistance. There is enough smoke coming from this cigar. The smoke is gray, not white or blueish as we like it. The ash is silver-gray and reasonably firm. The burn is good. The cigar is medium, both in the body as in flavor. This is a typical “you get what you pay” for cigar. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Quality over quantity. I rather pay three times the amount and smoke something I enjoy, than pay €2.70 for 3 of these so I could smoke more often.

Categories: 79, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, Mustique | Tags: , , ,

Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla

Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla. The second cigar from the Liga Privada Year of the Rat sampler for the Chinese zodiac Year of the Rat. I reviewed a series of Year of the Rat cigars. But this sampler wasn’t in my possession back then. It is now, so I will smoke this Drew Estate Liga Privada series of Year of the Rat cigars. The complete sampler will go up in smoke. The Liga Privada Nasty Fritas went up in smoke a few days ago.

The cigar is a 6¼x46 Corona Gorda. The wrapper comes from the Connecticut River Valley. It is grown under the full sun, making it a broadleaf wrapper. But as with any Liga Privada, the harvesting and curing of the tobacco are far from ordinary. Instead of each leaf picked by hand, the whole plant is chopped down. And then hung to dry. This method is called stalk-cutting. The binder is a sweet Brazilian Mata Fina. The filler comes from Nicaragua and the neighbor to the north, Honduras.

The cigar looks good. A thick, leathery, dark, and toothy wrapper. The flag tail is a nice finishing touch. The classic Liga Privada ring is simple yet tasteful. The construction feels good. The cigar has a slight wooden aroma, like fresh sawdust.

The cold draw is fine, with a mild spicy taste. After lighting, the cigar gives sweet coffee with red pepper. The flavor palate evolves to leather with cedar, mildly sweet yet with a spicy edge. Complex and interesting. The cigar is surprisingly mellow, with hints of gingerbread. It’s not a Liga Privada powerhouse, even though it’s not tame either. The base flavor turns to earthiness. The sweetness tastes almost like honey. After a third, there is more earthiness with milk chocolate, slightly creamy. The flavor profile remains a mixture of earthiness, leather, wood with some spices and pepper. In the final third, the sweetness gains some strength. But it’s still a very earthy cigar. Coffee makes a comeback though. Earthiness is by far the prominent flavor, without overpowering the dark spices, sweetness, leather, and pepper. The balance is great, resulting in a smooth smoke. The final puffs have a little more sweetness and a little more pepper.

The cold draw is fine, with a mild spicy taste. After lighting, the cigar gives sweet coffee with red pepper. The flavor palate evolves to leather with cedar, mildly sweet yet with a spicy edge. Complex and interesting. The cigar is surprisingly mellow, with hints of gingerbread. It’s not a Liga Privada powerhouse, even though it’s not tame either. The base flavor turns to earthiness. The sweetness tastes almost like honey. After a third, there is more earthiness with milk chocolate, slightly creamy. The flavor profile remains a mixture of earthiness, leather, wood with some spices and pepper. In the final third, the sweetness gains some strength. But it’s still a very earthy cigar. Coffee makes a comeback though. Earthiness is by far the prominent flavor, without overpowering the dark spices, sweetness, leather, and pepper. The balance is great, resulting in a smooth smoke. The final puffs have a little more sweetness and a little more pepper.

The draw is great and the smoke, well, it is a Drew Estate cigar. The burn is beautiful and slow. This cigar is medium-full. Both in flavor and body. It is well balanced. The light-colored ash is dense. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I love it

Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Muestra de Tabac Trifecta Double Claro Habano

Muestra de Tabac Trifecta Double Claro Habano. The third and final blend of the Muestra de Tabac Trifecta series. A big and thick perfecto with a dual wrapper. Not barberpole style but one wrapper on the bottom half, and one on the top half. Since both sides are cut, it is up to the smoker to decide what side to light. That makes this concept stand out from other dual wrapper cigars. Last year, I did reviews of the Muestra de Tabac green and black.

Patrick Potter is the blender of this cigar, but Joey Febre and Patrick Potter came up with the concept. The cigars come from the small factory Tabacalera La Perla in Esteli, Nicaragua. The patent of this concept is pending. The name is confusing though considering the popular Muestra de Saka cigars from Dunbarton Tobacco. Too close to comfort in our opinion. But that’s something for Tabac Trading Company to decide on.

The concept is great, but it forces the smoker to choose. What side to light, and what side to puff on. The Habano side is a little longer than the Candela side, so let’s light the Candela side. The ring is mirrored so it looks right whatever side you decide to light. The Habano wrapper is oily and leathery. The Double Claro side looks a bit dry and more delicate. The construction feels good. The cigar has a strong aroma of barnyard and hay.

The cold draw is great. There is a funny milk chocolate flavor in the cold draw, with spices. If you flip the cigar and cold draw the Double Claro side, the cigar has more of a dry hay flavor. Once lit, the flavors are dry. Dry wood, dry leaves, and dry leather. The dry mouthfeel continues, while the flavors change to licorice and cloves. The Candela leaf gives a bit of a grassy flavor, but the flavors are quite mild. There’s also a little acidity. Halfway, when the wrapper is almost changing, things pick up. There is a little more sweetness, some more cloves, some pepper. The grassy flavor is gone. The cigar is getting a little stronger. Once the Habano wrapper is reached. The cigar gets pepper and sweetness. But also a distinct flavor that is best described as dry autumn leaves. Leather returns, with a nice dose of underlying pepper. There’s also a little nuttiness that grows towards the end.

The draw is great. The light gray ash is quite firm. The smoke is good. The first part of the cigar, with the Candela wrapper, is mild. It’s not really captivating. The burn is decent and needed a touch-up once or twice. The second half of the cigar packs more flavor and strength. The difference in the wrapper is clearly noticeable. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I don’t think so

Categories: 90, Muestra de Tabac, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera La Perla | Tags: , , , , ,

Casdagli Basilica C #1 Maduro

Casdagli Basilica C #1 Maduro. The only Maduro blend in the Casdagli Basilica line. Where there three sizes for the Casdagli Basilica C blend, there is only one size for the Casdagli Basilica C Maduro version. The same goes for the Casdagli Basilica A. The line is inspired by the Saudi Arabian Casdagli clients who asked for a cigar to match with their oriental tea and citrus cuisine. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term meaning Royal House. And that refers to Villa Casdagli in Cairo.

The exposed tobacco at the foot of the cigar leads the smoker gently into the bold flavors according to Casdagli. And the bold flavors of this 6×52 Toro come from an Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro wrapper around a Dominican binder. The filler is from Peru, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. This cigar is a tribute to Emmanual Casdagli, the patriarch of the family. He was a wealthy cotton farmer and horse breeder in Egypt back in the day. And that explains why the family had such a beautiful villa in Cairo.

The cigar looks great. An evenly colored, very dark wrapper with a little bit of the binder and filler exposed at the foot. The wrapper looks flawless. Beautiful black and golden rings with the portrait of Emanuel Casdagli. The construction feels good. The aroma is almost Cubanesque. Farm aromas such as animals, barnyard, and hay.

The cold draw is great. There is a mild flavor of dark spices, freshness, yet with a little peppery kick. The first puffs are dark. Dark roasted coffee beans, earthiness, dark chocolate, those kinds of flavors. Pleasantly bitter, well rounded. Especially when some sweetness shows up to take the edge off. The mouthfeel is creamy, yet there is also a little taste of chili flakes. It all accumulates to a creamy, smooth, yet characterful flavor profile. The Maduro wrapper delivers the right amount of sweetness to bind all the flavors together. When the first wave of flavors calms down, there is leather, earthiness, cedar, and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate remains the dominant flavor, with here and there a hint of hay. The sweetness has reminiscence of dried fruits. The beautiful, balanced mixture of dried fruits, leather, earthiness, and dark chocolate remains. With a little bit of spice from green herbs. At the halfway point, the dried fruit mellows out. The dark chocolate gets a bit of a kick. The final third has sweetness again, with dark spices and wood. Still balanced and well-rounded flavors. The finale is wood, spice, and pepper with dark roast coffee.

The draw is flawless. The burn is straight and the light-colored ash is firm and dense. The smoke is good in both volume and thickness. This cigar is well balanced, smooth, yet full in flavor and body. The smoke time is three hours.

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

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars

Liga Privada Nasty Fritas

Liga Privada Nasty Fritas. The younger sibling of the Papas Fritas. And part of the Liga Privada Year of the Rat sampler for the Chinese zodiac Year of the Rat. I reviewed a lot of the Year of the Rat cigar releases, but not this sampler. Time to do so.

The cigar is a medium filler. Made from leftover tobacco and clippings of the Liga Privada T52 and Liga Privada #9 production. In that way, this is very similar to the Liga Privada Papas Fritas but in a different vitola. In a cone-shaped 4×52 Pyramid to be precise. The wrapper is from Connecticut and it’s broadleaf Oscuro. The binder is Brazilian Mata Fina. The filler consists of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos.

This is a funny looking cigar. The shape was clear even though the cigar is covered in blue wax paper. But once unwrapped the cone shape with the short, yet stubby, antenna of tobacco at the head makes this cigar sort of a gimmick to see. The construction feels good. The ring is similar to all Liga Privada rings. Small, simple, with the Liga Privada logo and the name of the vitola. Nothing more, nothing less. The wrapper looks leathery and the aroma is leathery too. The closed foot fits the look of the cigar.

Even with the closed foot, the cold draw is easy. The first puffs are confusing. Leather with cayenne pepper. But also sweetness. And a dry, almost dusty mouthfeel. The flavor in the mouth is nice, but the retrohale gives a dry, yet musty wood flavor in the nose. The cigar doesn’t really develop. Once the first dust is settled, it’s mainly spice with leather and wood. Halfway there’s wood with a mushroom flavor, mild leather, some spice, and some pepper. And it’s all tied together with a mild citrus flavor. But everything is mellow, muted. Nothing like any other Liga Privada. The finale is pure and strong leather with sweetness and white pepper.

The draw is very good. And the smoke, well, this is a Drew Estate cigar so the fire brigade probably had a few calls due to excessive smoke clouds over our office, The burn is great too. The light-colored ash is dense and firm. The smoke time is one hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I rather pay a little extra for a #9 to T52

Categories: 88, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva

Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva. In the last decade, Marko Bilic created a monster. From the first Cigar Smoking World Championship event to a series of worldwide qualifiers and a finale in Split, Croatia. And even though, in our humble opinion, cigars aren’t meant to be competitive, it’s a cool event. Last year, we entered the qualifier in Kuala Lumpur and had a great time. It’s fun, it’s all about camaraderie, friendship and having a good time with like-minded people.

Since this year, Rocky Patel is the cigar provider for the CSMW. With a blend created especially for the event. Rocky Patel, Marko Bilic, and the Rocky Patel team use a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The filler tobaccos are from Honduras and Nicaragua. The official event cigar is a 5¼x42 Mareva, but the cigars are also available in Robusto and Toro. Rocky Patel’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, is responsible for manufacturing. The factory name is Tavicusa, Tabacalera Villa de Cuba SA.

The wrapper is a bit rough, with some veins. It looks a bit dry. But the dark color is a perfect contrast for the metallic copper-colored ring with the white letters. The cloth foot ring is orange in color. The cigar feels well constructed. The ring is actually glued to the cigar, so competitors can’t cheat the competition rules. The aroma isn’t very strong. It’s earthy and vegetal.

The cold draw is good. Slightly sweet raw tobacco on the palate. Once lit, dark chocolate is the first thing to hit the palate. Creamy dark chocolate. Slowly some leather, earthiness, and black pepper show up as well. In the second third, the cigar gets more complex. There are more flavors. Still that dark chocolate, but now with green herbs, a little more pepper, leather, and some wood. Slowly the cigar gets more wood and sweetness. But that dark chocolate remains the main flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy. In the final third, the flavors are quite similar, just more intense.

The draw is great. The ash is light-colored and firm. Which is good, as there is a penalty for breaking the ash in the first half-hour of the competition. The burn is good, although I had to relight once. The smoke is fine. Enough in volume, decent in thickness. Nothing out of the ordinary though. The cigar has a nice complexity, without being overly aggressive. With its medium strength in both body and flavor, this is a cigar that everybody can stomach. The evolution and built-up are great. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , , , ,

Partagas Serie P No. 2

Partagas Serie P No. 2. And Serie is a little bit of an overexaggerating here. As this is the only regular production size in the ‘series’. The Series P is a 2005 release, in this size, and this size only. It comes in boxes of 10 and boxes of 25. There is one other release with this blend. That is a 5×50 Petit Pyramid, only available in jars for the travel and duty-free market. And as far as we know, it’s a limited edition. So the Partagas Serie isn’t a series, but a one-off. The Petit Pyramid is a 2009 release. In the last 15 years, no other sizes of the Partagas Serie P have surfaced.

As always with Cubatabaco and Habanos, the cigar is a Cuban puro. That means the filler, binder, and wrapper are all from the island. This cigar was purchased as a single cigar, without looking at the box code. Therefore it’s a mystery in what factory this cigar is made. In Cuba production of brands is spread over several factories. It’s not one factory for one brand or two brands. But any brand can be made in a whole group of factories. The production month and date are unknown too. But it’s at least a year old.

The cigar doesn’t really look good. Colorado colored wrapper with small veins. But one nasty looking vein om the back. The ring is the same as the iconic Partagas Serie D ring. Red with gold letters. Something Partagas copied from Condega, not the other way around as many people think. The cigar feels a bit hard. The tip is a little crooked. Overall not the best looking cigar. But also not so bad that it looks unsmokable. The aroma is mild yet nice. Floral, fresh linen, those kinds of flavors. Like a hamper full of freshly washed clothes.

The cold draw is great. The freshness of the aroma is represented in the cold draw. Floral, minty. Once lit, the cigar tells a different story. Leather, dry leather. Although there is some floral flavor as well. And some spice. Brown spices grow in strength, with some cedar, leather, and earthiness. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy. After a third, the cigar gets more floral sweetness and even a hint of vanilla. Combine that with cedar, brown spices, and a little bit of orange peel acidity, and that’s what this cigar gives. The cedar, smooth and creamy, gets more pronounced. There is a hint of black pepper, floral notes, and toast. The flavors increase in strength a little, but not much.

The draw is great. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is thick enough, there is volume enough, nothing to complain about when it comes to smoke. The cigar starts out mellow, mild. Mild bodied, which is not common for the medium to medium-full Partagas blend. And mild flavored. That raises the question of whether this is an aged, or even vintage, cigar. The cigar remains smooth until the end. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice morning smoke.

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, Partagas (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

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