Author Archives: cigarguide

Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

Candela, the green wrapper, has lost a lot of the charm and popularity over the years. If you go back to World War II, most cigars were candela wrapped due to the high demand. Farmers in the Partido region of Cuba used fires to cure the tobacco in the barns but the temperature raised too high, curing the tobacco in 3 days instead of the usual long process that naturally turns the wrapper yellow and then brown. So a lot of farmers started to use that method, those cigars were distributed to the American soldiers and that’s what they wanted to smoke after the war too.

Nowadays the tobacco is more of a gimmick and that’s exactly the way Alec Bradley thought of it when they decided to use a Candela wrapper for a limited edition of the Black Market. And they picked the green themed St. Patrick’s day as the occasion for this cigar to b released. The cigars, made at the Plasencia factory in Honduras instead of Raices Cubanas, were a hit and the Filthy Hooligan became a returning release, with tweaks in the blend and eventually even becoming a barberpole cigar. But this cigar is from the original 2013 release, a 6×50 toro with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran double binder and filler from Nicaragua and Panama.

I wouldn’t buy this if I was a regular consumer in a cigar shop, just because of the look. The wrapper is a pale grayish green with a clear vein, it looks dry and brittle. The ring is cool, just like the regular Black Market but with some green, a clover and the Filthy Hooligan name. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice and the overall shape is good. For a supposedly mild cigar that aged for 5 years, the aroma is strong yet grassy, not green grass but mowed wet grass.

After cutting the cigar I taste a surprisingly peppery cold draw. After lighting I taste a sharp, metallic flavor over some grassy base flavor. There’s a little pepper too, white pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets harsh, I taste a little pepper, cedar and some salt. Halfway I taste the metallic flavor again, with salt and still that harshness on the tip of my tongue.

The draw is fine. The dark ash is coarse and not very firm. The smoke is thick. The burn is straight. This is a mild to medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, just as I remembered the OR was the Filthy Hooligan I liked least.

Score: 86

Categories: 86, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casa Fernandez Lancero

Back in 2009, before facebook groups were so popular, I used to hang out at Cigar Asylum, which was created from the ashes of Club Stogie after it merged into the horrible board. And I made a lot of friends so in the spring of 2009 four of us, two Dutch and two Americans from Gainesville, decided to do a little road trip all along the east coast and then fly to Las Vegas and we would herf every night in a different state. It was an epic trip.

The day we landed in Orlando one of my American friends (who actually had the Casa Pineda named after him) hit me with a cigar that was hot on that moment but hard to get, a Casa Fernandez lancero. And much to my surprise I hadn’t smoked it yet, it was still laying around in my humidor so I consider this an aged, maybe even vintage, Nicaraguan puro made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas. Casa Fernandez is from the Aganorsa/Tabacalera Tropical family and named after owner Eduardo Fernandez, who also helped the Pepin family get started in America at the now closed El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami.

When I grab the cigar I suddenly hear The Beatles in the back of my head singing “they call me mellow yellow” because of the yellow cello after 9 years wrapped in the packaging. The corojo wrapper feels like very fine sanding paper, it still has a little oil and a nice dark wood color brown, with thin veins. It looks good. The ring has different colored gold, black outlines and a red curly F in the middle, on top it says Casa Fernandez and on the bottom Nicaragua, even though the cigar is made in Honduras. The cigar is straight, feels evenly packed and has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is quite dark, like dog poo with some wood.

The cold draw is great with a mild lemon and raisin flavor. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee with a little marzipan sweetness. After an inch I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and a little pepper. After a third I taste a mild salty nuts with some sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to herbs, spices and sugar.

The draw is great and the white smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. The light gray ash is not very firm but the burn is razor sharp. The years of rest really smoothed the cigar, it’s mellow yet flavorful, smooth and tasty. I can even retrohale, something that I usually can’t. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have a few oldies, now I want more to age.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, Casa Fernandez, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Viking Norseman Toro

I have reviewed two of the three Viking blends, the Viking and the Nordic Warrior and both ended up in my top 25 of 2017 so my expectations for the third blend are high, yet on the other hand, it is a Connecticut shade wrapper so that might be the downside of smoking this cigar. The cigar is made with Ecuadorian Connecticut, Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Piloto as filler, a Connecticut Broadleaf from the USA as binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade as wrapper.


Ernesto Perez Carrillo and his La Allianzia factory are responsible for the production of this Norwegian owned brand, that honors the sea dwelling Vikings with this Norseman blend. The seas were a dangerous place with the small Viking ships so these Norseman had to be extremely brave.


I love the ring on any of the viking cigars, metal rings, a tin alloy and this one is black & golden with a norseman face. The cigar itself looks great too, a medium brown wrapper with a shaggy  foot that shows off the broadleaf binder. The contrast between the Connecticut Shade and the Broadleaf is huge and it makes the cigar look even tastier. The shape is flawless, the head perfectly round. This cigar is well made. The aroma is strong and reminds me of wood and vegetable stock.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little open. I taste pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee with some sweetness and a nice citrus acidity to balance it all out. After half and inch I taste spicy and peppery dry cedar. Then I taste a growing white pepper flavor. There is a very mild Connecticut Shade mustiness but much minder than other Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars. Halfway I taste sweet and slightly musty cedar with white pepper in the aftertaste.


The draw is a bit loose, the ash quite dark and frayed. The smoke is thick, white and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the other Viking cigars better because of the wrapper.

Score: 90


Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Aurora Para Japon Sumo

Today it’s seven years ago that Japan got hit by a huge tsunami, killing over 15000 people and up till today over 2500 people are reported missing. More than 400,000 people were evacuated and over 150 square miles of Japan was flooded by the 65 feet waves that ultimately caused a nuclear disaster at the nuclear electricity plant at Fukushima.

Within a few weeks after the disaster La Aurora came up with a cigar of which the proceeds would go to the relief foundation and they had the perfect cigar for it. There was a limited amount of cigars of a new blend that had been aging for three years, Guillermo Leon quickly created a ring, called the cigar the Para Japon Sumo Robusto and two months after the tsunami the cigars were shipped to shops in America. Somehow I got one, I don’t know if I bought it or if it was a gift. The cigar is made with Cameroon, Brazilian and Dominican filler, Dominican binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and only comes in one shape, a 5×50 robusto.

The milk chocolate colored wrapper is thin but looks good with a nice vein on the side. It feels like fine sanding paper. The ring is great, white with the rising sun of Japan, then a Japanse hand written font saying Para Japon and small La Aurora. The cigar seems well constructed with a good round head and a triple cap. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a horse stable.

I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a mild spicy, herbal flavor, soft and balanced. I lit the cigar with my trusted soft flame lighter. After lichting I taste a smooth five spice with dry leaves flavor, well balanced, with a little acidity on the back of my tongue. The cameroon tobacco is dominant in the flavor profile. The spices, a mild sweetness, some wood and dry leaves. After a third I think this cigar tastes like Christmas, if you know what I mean. The cigar is so smooth  I could retrohale, something I usually can’t. Halfway I get some vanilla too.

The draw is great. The smoke is thick, white and full. The light gray ash is dry, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. There isn’t much evolution in this medium bodied, medium flavored, smooth and well balanced cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible

Score: 91


Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Di Grisogono for women only Corona

Today is international women’s day so this De Grisogono Geneve For Women Only cigars, a 5 1/2×42 Dominican made cigar seems like the right fit. If you have never heard of those cigars, you’re not alone since De Grisogono Geneve is a Swiss jewelry and watch company and not a cigar company and I don’t think these cigars were ever released seriously. Now I do think its complete bullshit to advertise certain cigars as ‘women only’ or ‘for men’ as Oliveiros did with their XXL. There are just good cigars and bad cigars, thick cigars and thin cigars and both are made for men & women. Women can enjoy the same cigars as men and vice versa. Now hold your horses, before you start screaming ‘snowflake’, ‘liberal’ or even ‘libtard’, i’m not saying men and women are the same, there are undeniable biological differences, there are fields of expertise in which women preform better, other fields men preform better so I won’t be saying we are the same as women, i’m only saying men & women don’t need ‘only for this gender’ cigars, it’s bull crap.

A friend of mine had a bunch of these cigars, he said the came from a hotel in Switzerland and he gave me a couple. The cigars are made in the Dominican Republic with Dominican filler and binder and a Connecticut Shade wrapper from the USA and it appears that there was a 6×52 Torpedo too but that didn’t have the For Women Only behind the name.

The cigar has a black ring, glossy, with a golden logo and white lettering saying De Grisogno Geneve and on the back gold letters saying FOR WOMEN ONLY. The cigar is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade wrapper and you can see a thick vein from the binder underneath the thin wrapper. The cigar feels evenly packed and the shape of the head is nice. When I smell the cigar I smell nothing, nothing at all.

Due to the thin ring gauge I decided to cut. The cold draw is good yet almost flavorless. After lighting I taste a nasty coffee and wood. After a quarter of an inch I taste some wood and petroleum. Halfway it’s a little stronger wood, mild hazelnut and still a mild petrol flavor. The final third starts harsh and bitter, I now taste that typical mustiness that comes with Connecticut Shade but at least the petrol has gone.

The draw is great yet the smoke is thin and medium in volume. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The burn on this medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is straight. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Never!

Score: 73

Categories: 73, Di Grisogono, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto

I told the story about this brand a few times in my previous reviews of the Cornelius, Venganza, Daddy Mac and the Señor Esugars so I won’t repeat the story of five generations and why the name Cornelius & Anthony is chosen. I also won’t repeat how I got to know the brand, that I knew Courtney Smith from her previous company. I will just tell that when she gave me the first batch of cigars in 2016 it was just the Daddy Mac, Venganza and Cornelius (that eventually made my top 25 of the year) but at intertabac 2017 she gave me the other blends, the Señor Esugars, the Meridian and this Aerial.

The aerial is made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the La Zona factory of Erik Espinosa. The blend consists from Nicaraguan fillers, a USA grown binder and a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. And even though my preferences changed the last year and I dislike Connecticut Shade less than before it’s still not my favorite wrapper. But as always I go in with an open mind, maybe this is the Connecticut shade that will wow me.

The wrapper is latte colored, relatively dark for a shade grown Connecticut wrapper and it has a soft sandpaper feeling. The ring is amazing, detailed, very well printed but the secondary ring is orange with white letters and doesn’t fit with the Cornelius and Anthony ring because of the color in my opinion. The construction feels good but the triple cap has a bit of a color difference. The cigar has a strong smell, its manure all over.

I used my Xikar butterfly cutter and decapped the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin flavor with some spice on my lips. The trusted vintage Ronson took care of the lighting. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. After a centimeter I still taste the sweetness but now with wood and spices. The sweetness reminds me a bit of marzipan. The cigar lacks the Connecticut Shade mustiness and that’s a plus in my book, it’s quite spicy and sweet. Halfway the spices tone down, the sweetness remains with wood. A mild pepper shows up too. The flavor slowly changes to a vanilla sweetness on wood with a bit of lime and pepper.

The draw is great, the smoke is medium on volume and thickness. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a balanced, medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yea, this gets my seal of approval and made a very small list of Connecticut Shade cigars that I enjoy.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Montecristo Petit Robusto

Through a mutual friend I met Mike Choi at intertabac last september. Mike Choi is an authority when it comes to Cuban cigars, something which I’m not, my knowledge is in the non Cuban brands and more specifically Nicaraguan cigars. Mike opened his travel humidor and said “pick one, these are from the petit robusto selection” of which I never heard off. Anyway, I went for the Montecristo.

A search through google, and a little help from my friend, La Casa del Habano Almere owner, Yuri Dijkstra, pointed me in the right direction. It’s a sampler with five different Cuban brands all in the petit robusto size and I must say, the pictures look great. The brands included in the sampler are Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas and H. Upmann. Two cigars of each brand are included in the sampler. Maybe I should try to find one for a series of reviews.

The 4×50 cigars looks cute even though the wrapper is a bit rustic. The color reminds me of milk chocolate and the ring is the simple, regular brown and white montecristo ring. Well printed though, by Vrijdag printing in The Netherlands. The construction feels good and the cigar looks good too. Yet, when I set the cigar on its foot there is a resemblance to the leaning tower of Pisa. The cigar has that typical Cuban manure smell, medium strong.

After lighting I taste vanilla, coffee and hazelnut. After half an inch I get some more sweetness, a hint of vanilla and pepper, hazelnut and leather. Halfway it’s leather with a vanilla sugar flavor followed by a strong pepper in the aftertaste. Near the end I taste nuts again with a very peppery finish.

I cut the cigar and the draw is great. I taste a mild white pepper. The smoke is full, yet it has a bit of a brownish gray smoke. The ash is dense and has nice layers. The cigar is medium full bodied, medium flavored. The burn is pretty good and straight. The smoke time is fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the cigar so I hope I can find that sampler for a fair price.

Score: 90

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, Montecristo (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

El Baton Double Torpedo

So, as you probably know, I used to be a cigar sales rep but i no longer do that kind of work. I still have my contacts though and one of them, a sales rep for Davidoff, reached out to me recently. Davidoff also sells J.C. Newman cigars here and he visited them in Tampa, brought some cigars and asked me if I was willing to write a review. It won’t surprise you much that I said yes, so he came by and dropped of four cigars, of which this is the first one.

El Baton is an old brand, it was founded in 1914, made out of Cuban tobacco with a price tag of a nickel. Then the brand disappeared but it returned to the market in 2010 as a Nicaraguan puro made by J.C. Newman in their Puros de Esteli Nicaragua SA aka Pensa, factory in Esteli.

When I take the 6 1/4×56 cigar out of the cellophane, something that J.C. Newman introduced and is now an industry standard, I notice how dark the Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper is, it’s almost maduro and darker than the Double Toro which I will review later this year. The wrapper looks oily too and a few thin veins run over the upper part like scars on the face of a classic movie thug. The simple ring is classy, different shades of blue with silver colored lettering, just saying El Baton, on a high quality print. The construction feels good. Add a strong and dark stable aroma and I’m actually quite looking forward to light the cigar.

I cut the cigar. The cold draw is easy and spicy. After lighting it’s clear coffee, earthy and strong, with a little spice, yet balanced. Soon after I taste coffee with cocoa and pepper. After an inch I taste some nuts too. After a third I taste salty peanuts with licorice and spices. Near the end I taste salt, pepper and a hint of flowers.

The draw is a little loose and at the start I had an uneven burn, after correcting the burn is good. The smoke is very thick, full and white. The firm ash is gray. This cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I’d like it better in a smaller ring.

Score: 90


Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month February

February was a special month, the shortest month of the year but also because I turned it into a full month of F reviews, so there is a top 28.

The cigar of the month is a shared position this month, identical scores for:

Casa Fuente Lancero/Flores y Rodrigues CRV Azul Robusto

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Casa Fuente Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
2) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Azul Robusto (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) Fratello Bianco II (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Falto Lonsdale (Dominican Republic) 92 points
5) Falto Gran Reserva Especial Perfecto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Flores y Rodrigues Cabinet Seleccion Maduro Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Flor de Las Antillas Benelux (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Flores y Rodriguez 10th anniversary Figurado (Dominican Republic) 90 points
10) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Roja Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Falto Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
12) Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Seleccion Habano Canonazo (Dominican Republic) 90 points
13) Fonseca 30th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
14) Falto Delirio (Dominican Republic) 89 points
14) Flor de Selva Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 89 points
16) Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
17) Famous Nicaragua Robusti (Nicaragua) 88 points
18) Fuentes Crucet Habanero Toro (USA) 88 points
19) Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo (Nicaragua) 87 points
20) Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro (Honduras) 87 points
21) Fonseca Classic Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
22) Felipe Gregorio Dos Capas Churchill (Dominican Republic) 83 points
23) Flor de Oliva Torpedo (Nicaragua) 83 points
24) Fumadores Churchill (Nicaragua) 83 points
25) Flor de Gonzales Torpedo (Nicaragua) 82 points
26) Funadores Corona (Jamaica) 80 points
27) Flor de Filipinas Corona (Phillipines) 77 points
28) Flor de Canaria Corona (Canary Islands) 71 points


Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fratello Bianco II

The first time I ran into the Fratello brand was when I was in Nicaragua in 2015 with my then employer, journalist Marcel Langedijk and photographer Jesaka Hizkia for the Cigaragua book. At the Joya de Nicaragua factory I saw cigars being packed that I never heard of, Fratello, and asked about them since I’m a cigar geek and new brands spark my interest. It turned out Joya de Nicaragua makes those cigars for Omar de Frias.

Last year at Intertabac I met Omar, a huge guy, who used to work for Nasa. I think he launched satellites into space with his bare hands, that’s how tall and strong he is. He handed me one of his Fratello cigars which I reviewed and this year at intertabac he handed me his second line, the Fratello Bianco, a 6×50 Teachers Pet aka Fratello Bianco II. The cigar is made with filler from the USA, Peru and Nicaragua, a Dominican binder and wrapper from Mexico.

While the name Bianco might make you think this will be a Connecticut Shade wrapper, as was my first thought when I heard the name, it is not. The Mexican San Andres wrapper is dark. There is some oil to the wrapper but it’s dry on the tough with a few veins. The unusual shaped white ring with red letters and silver details fits the dark wrapper. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar looks good, but I have to add that I can’t remember if I ever had a cigar made by Joya that didn’t have great construction. The cigar has a medium strong, vegetable like, aroma, cauliflower, broccoli kinda smell.

I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect. I taste dry tobacco with a hint of dark chocolate. After lighting, with matchsticks this time, I taste chocolate. After half an inch some dry vegetable taste joins the chocolate as a supporting flavor. After a third I taste some cinnamon too. Halfway I taste chocolate, pepper and nuts. In the final third I taste wood, a bit charred, vanilla and pepper. The pepper grows near the end.

The draw is perfect and the white ash is firm. The white smoke is thick and medium full in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Oh Yes, oh yes. I used a nub tool, that’s how good it is.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Fratello, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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