Monthly Archives: December 2021

Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Limitada 2020

Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Limitada 2020. For the 4th year in succession, Oliva released a limited edition Oliva Serie V Melanio. According to the story, round versions of the normally box-pressed cigars have been aging in the factory for years. And every year, Oliva is releasing a new vitola. It started with the Double Toro, then the Robusto, Diadema, and now the 6×54 Toro. Only 3000 boxes of ten cigars are available globally.

The blend is exactly the same as the regular production Oliva Serie V Melanio. That means an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The only difference is that this cigar doesn’t get the box-press treatment and remains a round cigar. Although, to me, it looks like this cigar was rolled specifically for a special release as there is no 6×54 vitola in the regular production series.

The cigar looks good. The Ecuadorian wrapper is nice, evenly colored, and feels silky. It’s got enough oil. The color of the wrapper fits perfectly with the brown, red, and gold rings on the cigar. The red cloth band with the glossy golden 2020 on the foot pops. The triple cap is pretty. There are no hard nor soft spots noticeable in the cigar. The aroma is strong, raw tobacco and barnyard.

The cold draw is fine, quite spicy to taste with a little hazelnut as well. Once lit, it’s black pepper with dark roast coffee and an earthy flavor. A dried berry sweetness appears. There is also a lemon-like freshness. The berry flavor and lemon acidity remain, but there is a nice dose of white pepper as well. The spice, sweetness, and acidity keep each other well balanced. The second third still has that peppery yet sweet blackberry flavor, but now with toasted nuts, leather, coffee, and soil. The flavors are complex yet there is a nice, delicate balance. A mild hint of dark chocolate shows up halfway through the cigar. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. The berry sweetness is quite constant though out the cigar. The final third has oak, berry, and pepper with leather.

The draw is phenomenal. The light ash is dense and firm like a stack of quarters. The burn is fantastic too. The smoke is decent in volume and thickness. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , ,

Rocky Patel Quarter Century Robusto

Rocky Patel Quarter Century Robusto. And as the name suggests, it celebrates the 25th anniversary of Rocky Patel as a cigar manufacturer. In 1995, the 35-year-old entertainment lawyer set his first steps in the industry with Indian Tobac. Nobody would have imagined that twenty-five years later, the Rocky Patel brand would be so strong and one of the best-selling cigar brands in the world. The Indian-born Patel had no background in tobacco, and people were expecting him to fail.

But now, 25 years later, he’s a rockstar in the industry. And to celebrate Patel created the Quarter Century. With Nicaraguan filler that has been aging for a decade. A Honduran binder to bind it all together. And then a dark Mexican San Andres wrapper. After rolling, the cigars age at the factory in Nicaragua for an additional two years before being released on the market.

The dark wrapper looks a bit dry. But the color is great and there aren’t any ugly veins. The two rings match, red with light yellow lettering. The construction feels good. The head is a beautiful round shape with a perfect triple cap. The aroma is amazing, deep, strong, like standing in a barnyard early in the morning before the world comes back alive.


The cold draw is perfect. Dry in flavor, a bit earthy with hay. The first puff is coffee, dark roast. The cigar holds the coffee flavor but adds soil, leather, spices, and pepper. There is also a hint of extra dark chocolate. At the end of the first third, there’s also wood with some sort of nuttiness. The smoke is tickling the back of the throat. The rough edge is gone in the second third. There is a bit more red pepper. The cigar is more earthy now, but the coffee is still lingering in the background. The Maduro wrapper is also releasing its sweetness. The earthiness grows, with sweetness and spice on the tip of the tongue. The earthiness is the main flavor but in the end, a very strong pepper overpowers it.

The draw is great. The ash is light gray and reasonably firm. The burn is great. The smoke is good, thick enough, and enough volume. It is a full-body cigar, full of dark flavors as well. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? A fiver every now and then.

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

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia. That is a mouth full. Earlier this year Pacific Cigar Company, the second-largest Habanos distributor in the world, released this cigar. It is the first regional edition for Malaysia ever. And only the fourth time that Pacific Cigar Company made a regional edition for one country in their territory instead of an Asian Pacifico regional. Only Taiwan and Hong Kong had that honor, Hong Kong twice. And it is also the first time that Pacific Cigar Company is using San Cristobal de la Habana as the brand for a regional edition.

The cigar itself is a format only used for one other cigar, the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill. The factory name is Montesco, with a 5⅛x55 size. Habanos and PCC have released 8888 boxes of 10 cigars. And while that may sound like a weird number, it is not. There is a large Chinese population in Malaysia and in Chinese culture 8 is a number that stands for prosperity and wealth. Plus the cigars are also available in Hong Kong, where Pacific Cigars has its headquarters and a few lounges.

The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a thin vein. The triple cap is placed perfectly. The cigar has the brown, yellow, and gold San Cristobal de La Habana band with the classic red, white, and silver exclusivo band. As we understand that Habanos likes uniformity in the exclusivo bands we get that they all have the same design. But often they don’t match with the regular ring, as is the case with this cigar. The construction feels good. For the last few years, Cuba has been improving the construction quality and it pays off. The cigar has a mild, yet deep aroma of manure and barnyard. There is no ammonia smell, which was kind of expected since it’s a young cigar.

The cold draw is fine and quite spicy. The first puffs are typical Cuban, old school. Soil, leather, and coffee. Then a strong wood shows up, not cedar but a stronger wood flavor. There is also a hint of citrus. Then there are spices, gingerbread spices, with cedar, soil, and leather. The leather and earthiness remain. But some salt, pepper, and nuts show up too. All quite nuanced and refined for a young cigar. There is no harshness at all. The second third has more power and strength. More pepper, with wood, nuts, and leather. The cigar gets more of a bite. One or two years of aging would improve this part of the cigar. The retrohale brings dark spices to the front. The final third has a nice mixture of spices, with nuts, soil, and leather. All in balance. The aftertaste has some pepper. Towards the end, pepper picks up a lot.

The draw is fine, but as said before, it’s been a focus of Cubatabaco for the last few years. Draw issues are less common than a few years ago. There are some burn issues though. The ash is dark but firm. It leaves a nice cone. The smoke is okay but could have been a bit thicker. The cigar is young and will improve with some aging. But this isn’t a cigar to age for more than 5 to 7 years is our expectation. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the insane price they are asking

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, San Cristobal de la Habana (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

Perdomo ESV Maduro Imperio

Perdomo ESV Maduro Imperio. Where the ESV stands for Estate Seleccion Vintage. Only the top 5 percent tobacco of Perdomo’s Finca Natalie is selected for the ESV series. Up until 2019, the ESV was a limited edition with releases in 2005 and 2016, but now it’s a regular production cigar although in small quantities due to limitations to the tobacco.

The regular production version is box-pressed instead of round. It is an all Nicaraguan cigar. The binder and filler are from Cuban seed tobaccos. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Maduro. The imperio measures 6×54. I did a review of the ESV Sun Grown last year, that one scored a 92.

This cigar is a looker. A smooth, very dark, Maduro wrapper without any ugly veins. An almost metallic blueish gray ring with black and gold, very stylish. The Perdomo estate is pictured on the ring. The box press look works really well on this cigar. To the touch, this cigar feels very good with the right amount of bounce. And the aroma is strong, very strong. Oak, hay, and soil.

The cold draw is fine. A strong, spicy hay flavor is what comes to mind. The cigar starts with leather, earth, but mostly a slightly acidic and bitter dark roast coffee flavor. A good kind of bitter though. There is a hint of red pepper as well. The cigar turns dark and earthy, with a classic Maduro sweetness. Towards the second third, leather and a hint of dark chocolate join the earthy, peppery flavors. Even though the flavors are on the darker side of the flavor wheel, the cigar is creamy. With some nuts as well. The cigar slowly gets lighter in taste, not in strength or flavor, but on the flavor wheel. More chocolate, cream plus citrus acidity. Slowly leather shows up as well. The Maduro wrapper keeps releasing a subtle sweetness. The base flavor is earthiness with that Maduro sweetness, but with some black pepper to remaining interesting. The finale has a nice nutty flavor, with pepper, soil, and sweetness.

The draw is great. The ash is almost white and Nick Perdomo once told us that it’s because of the potassium in the soil. The burn is immaculate. Slow and steady, straight as can be. There is a good amount of smoke coming from the cigar. This is a full-body, full flavor cigar. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Sun Grown.

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Perdomo, Tabacalera Perdomo | Tags: , , , ,

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro. This is a cigar that is not an annual limited edition but also not a regular production cigar. Cuban Crafters, the retail outlet that is part of the Don Kiki Berger emporium describes this as ‘only available once in a while. There are several sizes when available, but for this review, we are selecting the 6×50 Toro. The Don Kiki Berger empire includes tobacco plantations, Tabacalera Esteli, Cuban Crafters, Don Kiki Superstore, and K by Karen Berger. Karen is Don Kiki’s widow and she’s one of the leading ladies of the cigar industry.

The Don Kiki Platinum Label came on the market in 2015. Currently, it’s available in a select number of countries but Karen Berger is expanding international distribution. When the cigar was first available, the label was different but the blend of the cigar is still the same. It’s all Nicaraguan tobacco with an Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. The filler is a mixture of tobacco from Esteli, where the factory is located as well.

The label is all silver and platinum. Either matte or glossy. The background is matte, with the Don Kiki logo and the words limited edition in glossy. The foot ring has a bit of a diamond plate look with Don Kiki 1957 embossing. The wrapper is oily and dark, hearty. The cigar feels very well constructed with a nice triple cap. The aroma of the cigar is medium-strong. Dark wood with some barnyard aroma is the best way to describe the smell.

The cold draw is fine with a little nutty flavor, but a bit dusty. After lighting the cigar opens with straw and sweetness. There is a hint of spice in the retrohale. A few puffs later a little leather shows up with some pepper. The sweetness is close to confectioners’ sugar. Slowly there is some wood and nuttiness. The nut and sweetness become the main flavor. The sweetness in the retrohale is almost cinnamon. There is still a bit of leather. The cigar is buttery creamy. Slowly more pepper and wood show up. And there is a hint of citrus to tie all the flavors together. The sweetness is still there. There are also more green herbs. Wood is still there, as the base flavor. The leather gets a bit stronger and the flavors turn a bit Cuban. Then the nuttiness is coming on strong, with a hint of coffee.

The draw is good, maybe a little too good, but all within margins. The smoke is thick and lush. The light gray ash is like a stack of dimes. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is medium in body but full in flavor. The smoking time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Categories: 91, Don Kiki, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , ,

Acid 20 Robusto

Acid 20 Robusto. Just like a few days ago, a review of the ACID 20 Robusto. But the last Acid 20 was smoked safari style to avoid the artificial sweetness of the sweetened cap. That worked in a way, as the sweetness wasn’t stuck on the lips. But the cigar still wasn’t very nice. Let’s see of smoking the same cigar, but this time in the way the blenders intended will create a different experience.

The ACID 20 is a cigar that celebrates 20 years of Acid. It is a popular brand that took the United States by storm and made Drew Estate a serious player. Slowly ACID is becoming available in more countries and has an international following now. Some people love it, others loathe it. The cigar has a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder is Indonesian and the filler Nicaraguan.

The flat cap is nice to see. The almost chrome ring with the black 20 is nice. Only the foot band mentions the brand name and the line. The dark wrapper looks intimidating because of a vein on the face of the cigar. The aroma is strong. It’s floral like some shampoo or detergent, not natural. The construction feels great.

Just licking the cap before cutting leaves an artificial sweet flavor on the palate. With some spice. The cold draw confirms that these are the two flavors. The cold draw is fine though, but that artificial sweetness is so overpowering that it makes the experience a bit unpleasant. Once lit, the sweetness seems to tone down a bit but it remains prominent. There is an earthy flavor in the background. The sweetness isn’t as overpowering as in other Acid cigars we smoked. There is a floral flavor, some herbs, leather, and cedar. Smoking the cigar in the direction it’s intended creates a different experience. The second third starts quite mellow. A little bit of soil, a few herbs, some floral notes, and sweetness. There is some pepper but it is extremely mild. There is a lot of balance in the flavor. Unlike many infused or flavored cigars, where the artificial flavors overpower the natural flavors of tobacco. In the final third, there is more soil and a little more pepper. The floral and artificial sweetness remains. The end has some earthiness again.

The draw is fabulous as is the smoke. But the smoke is always great with Drew Estate cigars. The burn is great and the ash has a browning yellow color. It is not too firm. The cigar has way more balance if you smoke it this way instead of safari style. It is much more pleasing to the palate. The smoke time is two hours. This cigar medium in both body and flavor.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still don’t like the artificial sweetness.

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

Acid 20 Robusto Safari style

Acid 20 Robusto Safari style. I don’t review a lot of infused cigars. But when I do, I always spot one big issue that makes us dislike the cigar. That is the sweet cap, artificial sweetness. So for this ACID 20 Robusto review, I am doing something else. We will smoke this Safari style. That is something from the Drew Estate Cigar Safari, where you smoke a cigar from the wrong end. That should solve the issue with the sweet cap. To make it fair, I will also smoke one as the blenders intended and post that review as well.

The Acid 20 was released in 2019. And as the name suggests, it was to celebrate 20 years of the Acid brand. Acid is the best-selling premium cigar in the United States according to Drew Estate. The infused cigars are immensely popular, yet a lot of smokers of traditional cigars can’t stand the infusion. The Acid 20 is made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The wrapper has a sweet cap. The binder is Indonesian around Nicaraguan filler.

The cigar is square. Not just box-pressed but square. The black and silver ring pops. The cap is flat and it makes the cigar look more squarish. The wrapper is dark and oily. The construction feels great. The cigar has a strong aroma, cloves, flowers like hibiscus, none of it smells like a traditional cigar.

Since I am smoking it safari style, there isn’t much of a cold draw due to the cap. The cold draw is slightly sweet and flowery, like rosewater. The first puffs are dark roast coffee with aspartame and floral sweetness. Slowly some spice shows up in the flavors as well. The floral flavor makes the mouth feel dry. A muddy clay flavor shows up, yet still with a bit of sweetness and floral flavors. There’s a hint of chili pepper as well.

At the beginning of the second third, the cigar turns more into a traditional cigar. Pepper and soil, with a tiny hint of floral flavors. But the floral sweetness doesn’t taste artificial anymore. Some citrus sourness shows up as well, but still with pepper and soil. These flavors remain, although for a while there was a very faint vanilla flavor on the background. Even when you smoke a Drew Estate cigar safari style, the smoke is out of this world. The draw is good, and much to our surprise, the burn is good as well. We were afraid that smoking the cigar in the opposite direction would affect the burn negatively, but not at all. The ash is quite dark and frayed. The infusion isn’t that strong when you smoke the cigar safari style. But it still gives some artificial flavors that do not sit well with our palates. The cigar is medium in body, full in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I do, I won’t smoke it safari style

Categories: 89, ACID, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

K by Karen Berger Habano Salomon

K by Karen Berger Habano Salomon. Karen Berger is born and raised in Esteli, Nicaragua. And Esteli is the epicenter of the largest cigar exporting country in the world. But she wasn’t born in the industry. Her late husband, Don Kiki, was. And together Karen and Don Kiki were building an empire. With a factory and farms in Nicaragua, plus a multi-million dollar retail outlet in Miami. But then Don Kiki passed away. Karen continues the legacy up until today and even has her own brand now: K by Karen Berger.

This is the all Nicaraguan Habano version of the K by Karen Berger. And in a wonderful vitola, a 6x52x58 Salomon. To make it even more special, the cigar is box-pressed as well. There is also a Maduro version of the K by Karen Berger and a Connecticut Shade version. Both lines will be reviewed at a later time.

The cigar is a looker. The shape, the oily Colorado color of the wrapper. The beige secondary ring and the detailed yet fresh-looking main ring. This cigar is something to look at before cutting and lighting it. The box press feels good. The aroma is mild though, sawdust.

The cold draw is good. It is very spicy though. The first puffs are straight in your face. Leather, coffee, dark spice, and sweetness. The spice and sweetness, with the leather, remain. But then the flavor turns more to cedar with a faint milk chocolate flavor. The later part of the first third goes back to leather with a nice mellow sweetness. Halfway the cigar has a nice balance between spice, sweetness, and acidity. The sweetness is almost marzipan, the acidity is a mild lemon, with white pepper spice. Slowly the dark spices return. The cigar gets a little stronger. The sweetness is more honey-like. With wood, spice, and pepper.

The draw is very good, even from the start. Often the burn and draw are an issue at the beginning with a vitola like this. The burn is good. The smoke is light gray, it’s a little thin but the volume makes up for it. The light gray ash is frayed but firm. This cigar starts out medium in strength but grows to be full. The flavor is medium-full too. There is balance. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

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

Categories: 91, K by Karen Berger, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , , , ,

HENK Maori La Doña

HENK Maori La Doña. For the last two years, HENK cigars made it to the top 25 of Ministry of Cigars. The Henk Maori Haka was the #4 of 2019 and the HENK Maori Gaudi and Masterpiece made the top 10 of the Top 25 of 2020. There are three more vitolas in the HENK line-up. All limited and rare, but I have them all and reviews will follow.

The HENK Maori La Doña is 6½x50 in size. That’s a little shorter and thicker than a classic Churchill, but that doesn’t stop HENK from saying this is the Churchill of the HENK Maori cigars. All tobacco is aged, or even vintage. It comes from the tobacco library of A.J. Fernandez who also makes the cigars. Didier Houvenaghel of DH Boutique blends is the master blender behind this project. But the final approval is in the hands of HENK owner Heiko Poerz.

HENK cigars always look cool because they don’t have a cigar band. Instead, they have a tattoo that draws inspiration from Maori culture. The small pigtail adds to the aesthetical appeal. The Colorado color of the wrapper is even. The wrapper is from the 2009 crop. The construction feels great. The aroma is medium in strength but balanced and warm. Animal aromas with soil.

The cold draw is great. The flavor in the cold draw is quite dry but has hints of raisin with white pepper. The first puffs are full flavor. Wood, coffee, soil, and spice. Then there is more earthiness with some leather. All well balanced. The tobacco is vintage and that is clearly noticeable. It’s smooth, yet with character. The cigar remains smooth, but now with some nutmeg, cedar, leather, and a little pepper. After a third, there is a slightly toasty flavor with cedar, salt, and herbs. The flavors intensify. Slowly there’s more toast, leather, spice, and white pepper. Even at the beginning of the second third, it is possible to retrohale the cigar. The flavors are subtle yet strong. A little more wood in the final third.

The draw is close to perfect. The light-colored ash is firm. The burn is sharp. The light gray smoke is decent in volume. This cigar is smooth yet flavorful. Extremely balanced, yet without losing character. Full in body and flavor. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this again? Once in a while. It’s fantastic, but comes with a price tag.

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

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