Monthly Archives: August 2021

Liga Privada Bauhaus

Liga Privada Bauhaus. Over the past few years, Drew Estate has done some exclusive releases for the European market. For example an Undercrown Shade vitola for the German John Aylesbury Group. And the original release of the Undercrown Maduro Flying Pig was a project for the Dutch group Compaenen. Both John Aylesbury and Compaenen are independent tobacconists combining buying power. But never has there been a European exclusive Liga Privada. Until now. Last December Drew Estate made an announcement. There would be a European exclusive Liga Privada Bauhaus. And it’s available now.

The Liga Privada Bauhaus gets its name from the architectural movement Bauhaus. The Short Robusto pays extra attention to leaf placement within the cigar. The blend takes the European cigar enthusiasts through a newly curated experience. The cigar measures 4½x50 and comes in elegant blue boxes of 12 cigars. The cigars use filler from Nicaragua and Honduras. The binder is bold Brazilian tobacco. The wrapper is a rich earthy Connecticut Broadleaf capa. The cigars come from the rolling tables of the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua.

As all Liga Privada cigars, this is a looker. A stunning black and oily wrapper with character due to the fine veins that run over the leaf. The classic white, gray, and gold band form a beautiful contrast. The Bauhaus name is printed big on the ring. The triple cap is beautiful. The relatively small size fits the look. The construction feels good. The aroma is surprisingly fresh. Fresh wood, floral, and herbal, almost lavender-like.

The cold draw is a little on the easy side. The flavors in the cold draw are floral with a nice spicy kick. From the get-go, this cigar is peppery, sweet, earthy with some leather. It’s in your face immediately, aggressive but in a good way. Almost instantly toast and wood join the previously mentioned flavors. There’s also some coffee. Complex, many strong flavors are battling in the mouth. After the first centimeter, the cigar mellows out a bit without losing its strength. The flavors calm down with spice, nuts, soil, wood, and leather now more in balance. Slowly dark roast coffee takes the spot for the most dominant flavor. Halfway there is more wood with the dark roast coffee. Yet there is also a dry grassy flavor with spice and sweetness. Some puffs later a slightly acidic flavor shows up as well.

The draw is fine. And the air purifier is always working overtime when smoking a cigar from Drew Estate. The burn is nice and straight. The ash is fine when it comes to firmness, yet the color is yellowish-brown. This cigar is full of body and strength. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I can buy bigger Liga Privada cigars for less, so I don’t think so

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

Pachuche Liga Azul Tronco

Pachuche Liga Azul Tronco, a big cigar hailing from the Dominican Republic but it’s a Swiss cigar brand. And strongly enough, there are quite a few cigar brands with roots in Switzerland. Davidoff is the most famous one. But brands as ADVentura, Gilbert de Montsalvat, Vegas de Santiago, El Sueno, Patoro, Cavalier Geneve, and Skull 77 all have their roots in the Central European country. So does Pachuche.

The Liga Azul is the third blend that the company released. There are four blends available at the moment, all made at Tabacalera William Ventura. This Liga Azul is the mildest and smoothest with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. All the other tobacco is from the Dominican Republic. The artwork on the cigar is designed by the half Mexican, half Swiss artist Patrick Küng, a childhood friend of brand founder Camillo Bazzell. Küng used his Mexican heritage as an inspiration

The wrapper is pale, yellowish-brown like autumn leaves. The greenish right with the Cinco de Mayo kind of skull is a big contrast with the bright metallic blue foot band that says Liga Azul in big, white letters. For the size, the cigar feels very light. Yet there are no soft spots or signs of underfilling of the cigar. The head is quite flat. The cigar has this manure aroma, which is quite strong.

The cold draw is quite loose and brings sweetness to the palate. Once lit, the cigar gives hay and immediately that musty old book flavor of Connecticut Shade wrappers. There is a mild sweet creaminess to the cigar as well. Slowly some acidity shows up with a hint of white pepper. Slowly the flavors change to cedar and earthiness. Still with that typical Connecticut Shade mustiness though. The cigar is very smooth and mild. The mouthfeel is very creamy, which is pleasant. The flavors remain the same until halfway when a little bit of leather and green herbs show up. But it’s all mellow and smooth. There is a hint to toasted bread every few puffs as well. In the final third, the cream and sweetness return. But with some pepper and nuts.

The draw is a bit on the loose side. But it is still within acceptable margins. The ash is like a stack of dimes, beautifully layers of ash in different tones of gray. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is razor-sharp. This cigar does have balance and a lot of smoothness. It is a mild to medium smoke in strength, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s still a Connecticut Shade cigar.

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Pachuche, Tabacalera William Ventura | Tags: , , ,

Pappy van Winkle Tradition Coronita

Pappy van Winkle Tradition Coronita. A cigar by Drew Estate in collaboration with the famous bourbon brand Pappy van Winkle. Where the fermented cigars are exclusive to the Pappy van Winkle shop. But then the two released the Pappy van Winkle Tradition. It’s available to all Drew Diplomat retailers. There are five sizes available, plus one event only vitola. And a seventh vitola just for Jonathan Drew to hand out.

The 4×46 Coronita is one of the five regular production sizes. The cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. The binder comes from Indonesia. The Dominican Republic and Nicaragua take care of the filler tobaccos. Willy Herrera is responsible for the blend. The cigars come from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Most of the cigar is hidden with a large ring. A ring with an old picture of a cigar-smoking gentleman. Could it be Pappy himself? The same picture is on the Family Reserve bottles of bourbon. The part of the wrapper that is visible is beautiful. Dark, oily, and smooth. The construction feels good. The aroma is quite strong. Dark, musky, and wood.

The cold draw is great. The flavor is leathery. The first puffs after lighting are strong, leathery with some sweetness, hay, earth, and wood. The mouthfeel is thick. The retrohale is very nice. The cigar has a sweetness that pairs well with bourbon I guess. The sweetness is gaining strength with some spice and a hint of dark chocolate. There is still that slight alcohol flavor as well. The final third has more cedar and a little spice. There is still some leather.

The draw is amazing. The smoke is classic Drew Estate, full and a lot of it. The burn is straight and the ash is reasonably firm. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. There is not a lot of evolution, but then again, it is a short cigar so there isn’t much room for that. It is well balanced and smooth. The smoke time is one hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I really liked this cigar, but 15 dollars for a petit corona is a bit much.

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

Muestra de Saka Unstolen Valor

Muestra de Saka Unstolen Valor. We feel that Steve Saka doesn’t need any introduction. The first cigar blogger back in the day, then a consultant for JR Cigars. Former CEO of Drew Estate, where he changed the course of the company from infused cigars to a hugely successful portfolio of traditional cigars as well. And since 2015 owner of Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust, his own company. With fantastic blends, several of whom ended up in the Ministry of Cigars top 25 of 2019 and 2020.

The Muestra de Saka line is a selection of unique blends and vitolas. The 2020 Muestra de Saka release is different than other years though. Why? Well, it is the blender. Where all Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust blends are from the capable hands of master blender Saka himself, this cigar is the vision and skill of Raul Disla. Disla is the factory manager of NACSA, one of the two factories that make cigars for DTT. This blend of Nicaraguan cigars is so good that Saka deems it worthy to carry the Saka name. And to give credit where credit is due, the name is unstolen valor. Unstolen, because Disla gets all the credit, Steve Saka isn’t shy telling people that this is a Disla blend.

The wrapper on this cigar is stunning. Dark, oily, no thick veins, just a beautifully almost lacquered wrapper leaf with thin veins. Like the skin of an African goddess. The lack of a ring makes the appearance of the wrapper even more noticeable. The only ring on the cigar is a bright yellow cloth ring on the foot with Muestra de Saka and Unstolen Valor printed. The cap is perfect, and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is strong, barnyard, hay, and moist soil.

The cold draw is a bit loose but flavorful. A spice bomb. Once lit it’s a spice bomb too, pepper, herbs, but with coffee, and soil. Full, in your face as only Nicaraguan cigars, can be. After a few puffs, the initial blow is over. The flavors are still there, but with more nuance now. It’s then when some wood and sweetness make an appearance. The cigar then becomes woodier, with leather, herbs, and cocoa. The leather slowly takes control, with pepper as its lieutenant. And where the cigar was in your face at the beginning, it’s subtle and nuanced now. Yet without losing any of its strength. The pepper mellows out, the cigar is now all about leather and wood, with a tiny supporting role for earthiness and cocoa. The rest of the first third is a beautiful mixture of leather, cocoa, wood, earthiness, with just enough spice and pepper to keep it very interesting. The leather gains strength, thick, dark leather. There is a faint vanilla flavor. The final third has a lingering metallic flavor, and wood takes over from leather. There are some spices, but the most predominant spice is pepper.
The cigar ends as it started, strong, bold, in your face with coffee, earthiness, and a lot of pepper.

The draw is fantastic. The ash is like a stack of dimes. And a good, stable stack as well. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke is decent, quite thick and full but not Drew Estate style smoke. This is a full-body cigar, full of flavor too. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 93, Muestra de Saka, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Plasencia Year of the Ox

Plasencia Year of the Ox. This year Plasencia is one of the many brands that jump on the Chinese Zodiac Calendar bandwagon. And it’s the first time that the Nicaraguan cigar mogul does it. It’s been only a few years since Plasencia made the call to create cigars with the family name, but with their knowledge, background, and reputation they were able to secure a good portion of the market. And this year they want some of the Asian market as well.

From the moment the press release of this cigar came out, I was intrigued. Not because of the story behind the cigar, but because of the €35 price. Yes, there are more expensive cigars. We even reviewed more expensive cigars. But all those cigars had something that justified the price. Vintage tobacco or rare tobacco for example. There is nothing in the press release or information that justifies this price, so there’s only one way to find out if this cigar is worth it. One thing is for sure, you’re getting a lot of Nicaraguan tobacco in this 7×58 Figurado.

The looks are impressive, a 7×58 Figurado is always a head-turner. The milk-chocolate brown wrapper is oily and smooth. There are three rings, all with the same red and gold color scheme. Red and gold are important colors that stand for wealth in Chinese culture. The shape is immaculate. The aroma is surprisingly mild, just some wood and hay. Lack of cellophane around the cigar did cause some damage during transport on the head and the foot.

The cold draw is fine despite the damage on both samples smoked. Wood, sultanas, and raw tobacco are the flavors in the cold draw. The first flavor is cedar, with a lot of pepper and some caramel. The sweetness then turns more to a marshmallow sweetness with mild spices like cumin in the retrohale. There is also some toast and vanilla, with a bit of white pepper. Mellow, balanced, sweet but mostly interesting. The cumin flavor gets a little stronger. Ceder slowly shows up. The sweetness turns more to molasses, with more cedar, spices, and a bit of white pepper. There is a hint of old book flavor that is classic of Connecticut Shade tobacco. But it is very mild. Around halfway there are baking spices, like gingerbread spices, but still with sweetness. There is also a little bit of leather. The flavor profile is quite unique. The sweetness is consistent, different kinds of sweetness but overall a constantly sweet cigar. Natural sweetness and very pleasant. In the final third there’s more leather, cedar, spices, and pepper. Even till the final puffs, it’s easy to retrohale the cigar. The very last few puffs have dark chocolate and mocha with pepper and cedar. But the mocha is fantastic.

The draw is great. The light gray ash is a bit coarse but seems to hold on nicely. The burning cigar has a nice toasty aroma to it. There are some issues with the burn. It had to be touched up a few times. The smoke is nice and thick. This cigar is balanced, smooth, and very tasteful. Medium in strength, full in flavor. It is a great smoke, high-end for sure. Does it justify the high price tag? Partially yes as it is a unique cigar with tremendous tobacco. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I loved it, but €35 is a lot of money.

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Mustique Blue Robusto

Mustique Blue Robusto. Earlier we did a review on the Mustique Red Robusto. A value cigar from the Dominican Republic. And guess what, we did not care much for it. And that’s an understatement. If every cigar was like the Mustique Red, we would quit smoking cigars today. But fortunately, there are many good cigars out there as well. Today it is time to try the brother of the Red, the Blue.

Just as the red version, this cigar comes from Tabacalera de Garcia. The largest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, and possibly even the world. It has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Dominican filler and binder. It measures 5×50.

The Colorado-colored wrapper has a nice shine to it. It looks a bit leathery, especially at the foot. The appearance is much better than the red version. The cigar feels a lot better as well, not as spongy. But the aroma is not as good. It smells a bit like lovage after someone emptied his bladder on the plant.

The cold draw is good. There is a little spice in the flavor, with green herbs. That lovage that’s also in the aroma, fortunately, the pee aroma isn’t in the taste too. Once lit there is leather, wood, herbs, and pepper. The flavors slowly change to cedar with a mild walnut flavor and black pepper in the background. Not unpleasant. Halfway the cigar gives cedar, soil, leather, and hay. With some black pepper in the background. For the price, this isn’t a bad cigar. It is so much better than the red version. The nuttiness picks up, hazelnuts with pepper. The flavor intensifies with more wood and black pepper. But there is earthiness and leather too.

The draw is a bit tight. The burn is straight. Due to the tight draw, the smoke isn’t big either. The ash is light gray and quite strong. The construction of the cigar is decent. The body of this cigar is medium-full with medium flavor. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a decent budget cigar.

Categories: 89, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, Mustique | Tags: , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, a cigar for the Chinese zodiac calendar. For the Year of the Ox. It is the second official Habanos release for the Chinese zodiac calendar after the Romeo y Julieta Maravillas. Although the Spanish distributor tested the water a year earlier with a Cohiba Robusto in special packaging. Since the Ox is a strong animal, it is kind of surprising that Habanos went for one of the milder cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey, and not for a bold Bolivar. My expectations are low, as I never liked Hoyo de Monterrey.

The size is a Hermosos No.1, a size that is not used for any regular production. I received the cigar from Pacific Cigar Company after being invited to the world wide virtual premiere of the cigar. The special packaging for this even included a beautiful cardboard tube with Chinese prints. But the cigars for commercial release come in a stunning box. A box worthy of a display and up to par, or even better looking, than the Behike packaging.

There are rumors that Cuba has a problem with growing wrappers for the last few years. And that that is the reason why larger cigars are so hard to find, as production numbers are low due to the shortage of wrappers. And looking at the wrapper of this Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, it could be true. The wrapper isn’t what you’d expect from a limited, expensive Habanos release. It’s a little rough, with lots of small veins. The wrapper also lacks oil. It has the classic Hoyo de Monterrey band with a red and golden ‘Year of the Ox’ foot band. The cigar feels a little spongy. The aroma is mild, wood and sawdust are the smells.

The cold draw is good. It has a bit of a salty peanut flavor. The first puffs are typical Cuban. It’s that Cuban leather that you can’t get in any cigar from anywhere else. There’s also a little bit of coffee in the flavor profile and some honey. Slowly some herbal and peppery flavors introduce themselves. The cigar slowly gains some strength. For a Hoyo de Monterrey, this is quite a strong cigar although it’s still nothing compared to full body Cubans such as Bolivar, Partagas, or even Cohiba. For the fans of Nicaraguan cigars, this is a medium body at max. The second third starts with that Cuban leather again, with a little soil, coffee, and pepper. here is also a wood flavor, but it’s not cedar. And a mild sweetness that comes close to honey. In the final third, the sweetness gets more pronounced and there is a nutty flavor. Slowly more pepper shows up as well. The cigar also has a herbal freshness. The finale is strong, much stronger than any regular production Hoyo de Monterrey.

The ash is silver-gray like the hair of an elderly gentleman. It’s not too firm though. The draw is fantastic. It is obvious that Cubatabaco and Habanos really invested in improving the quality of the rollers and quality control in the last few years. Plugged Habanos aren’t as common as they used to be. The burn is a little wonky but corrects itself every time. The smoke is good. The cigar is medium in body and flavor with a strong finish. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes

Would I smoke this cigar again? No, even though this is an enjoyable Hoyo de Monterrey, it is too darn expensive.

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

The T Toro Grande

The T Toro Grande. Collaborations in the cigar industry are not uncommon. Balmoral with La Flor Dominicana and Ernesto Perez Carrillo for example. Or Drew Estate with Robert Caldwell. A.J. Fernandez with Altadis. The list is too long to write down. But a collaboration between three cigar makers? That’s unique. That’s what The T is though. A collaboration between Robert Caldwell, A.J. Fernandez, and Matt Booth.

Room 101 and Caldwell Cigars don’t own their own factories. Caldwell mainly uses Tabacalera William Ventura, where is using several factories after parting ways with Davidoff. Abdel Fernandez owns one of the most famous, and largest, factories in Esteli, Nicaragua. So it’s pretty logical that the cigars are made there. All the tobacco in this cigar comes from Nicaragua, making this cigar a puro. The Toro Grande from this review measures 6½x56 but other sizes are available as well.

The cigar looks good. An evenly Colorado Maduro colored wrapper with a little tooth. Dry but good looking. The main cigar band is gray with three different old keys on it, and a golden print saying The T. The secondary ring is thin. Olive green in colors with the initials of the makers. The box-pressed cigar feels well constructed. There is a barnyard aroma coming from the cigar, medium in strength.

The cold draw is all about leather with some pepper. It’s a smooth cold draw though. Once lit, the leather is still there but with a nice sugary sweetness. The retrohale also reveals some cedar. There are hints of soil, coffee, and pepper. The flavors are intense, complex and full of nuances. This isn’t a powerhouse as you would expect from a Nicaraguan Puro. This is a cigar with balance and character. The wood flavor is getting stronger, and there are some dark spices. The complexity and smoothness don’t change. The flavors are getting even more intense. Licorice, cedar, leather, green herbs, and a little bit of pepper. There is also faint saltiness. Wood gains strength with leather as a backup. A faint coffee is on the background with green herbs and spices. The sweetness disappears. The finale has a little more pepper.

The ash is light colored but not firm. It dropped on the desk pretty early into the cigar. The draw is fantastic and the burn is good. The smoke is thick and full. This cigar is well balanced. Medium to full in body and full in flavor. Extremely complex and balanced. Because of the shape, it does not feel like a ring 56. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

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

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez, The T | Tags: , , , , ,

Flor de Selva Year of the Ox

Flor de Selva Year of the Ox. For the last few years, Flor de Selva is one of the many brands releasing a cigar to celebrate the Chinese zodiac calendar. And just as others, Maya Selva and her team choose to go for a bigger cigar for this year. It is the Year of the Ox, and an Ox is known for its strength and size. So going for a 6×56 Toro Extra does make sense.

It is a very limited release, with most of the boxes going to China and Hong Kong. But special boxes of two cigars were made for relations such as cigar media. And I was one of the lucky recipients of a box. The cigar itself is made in Honduras, with a Honduran binder. There is also Honduran tobacco in the filler, together with Nicaraguan tobacco from Jalapa. Jalapa is bordering Honduras. The wrapper is Nicaraguan as well.

It is a good-looking cigar. Big and impressive. With a nice Maduro wrapper from Nicaragua. Smooth, oily, and no distracting veins. The off-white Flor de Selva ring looks great on the dark wrapper. The Year of the Ox ring stands out because of the yellow and red. But the two rings clash a little. The construction feels great. The cigar has a strong aroma of charred wood with hay and straw.

The cold draw has some freshness, but also green herbs and a mild salt flavor. The draw itself is fine. The cigar starts with a nice, spicy yet sweet coffee and earthy flavor. The coffee gets replaced by cedar very quickly. The flavors are smooth, flavorful but smooth. Leather and coffee return, with a nice Maduro sweetness. The second third has a thick, dark chocolate flavor with some dark spice and pepper. Slowly there’s more wood, leather, and some hay. But the spice is never far away. It is all balanced and smooth. In the final third, there is more black pepper and more leather.

The draw is great. The light gray ash is like a stack of quarters. The smoke is decent in volume and thickness. This is a medium to full-body cigar. The flavor is full, yet smooth. The burn is straight. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? If possible

Categories: 92, Flor de Selva, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

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