Plasencia

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: , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet Monarch

Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet Monarch. In 2018, Hiram & Solomon released this cigar as a limited edition. Only 500 boxes were produced of the 6×54 Veiled Prophet Monarch. Back then, the Grand Monarch was the only regular production cigar from the line. A 7×60 monster. But the feedback was so positive, that the Monarch vitola became regular production as well. And there is even a third size nowadays, a Lancero.

The cigar is made in Esteli, Nicaragua. Just like all other blends from Hiram & Solomon, the cigars are made at the Plasencia Cigars factory. The cathedral of tobacco as the locals call it. For the filler, tobaccos from Peru and two regions of Nicaragua are used. The binder comes from Indonesia. The wrapper is Arapiraca from Brazil.

The Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper is dark and oily. For a Brazilian wrapper, it’s good looking. Usually, Brazilian wrappers are a little rough on the eyes. The Masonic logo is present on the ring. Silver-colored on a nice burgundy backdrop. The ring never reveals the veiled prophet name. The cigar feels soft though, slightly underfilled. The aroma is intense, not strong but intense. Sawdust, dark chocolate, and wood.

The cold draw is very easy. Most likely due to the soft construction. It is spicy though, slightly bitter raw tobacco. The first puffs are full of coffee with spice. There’s also a nice sweetness to it, almost like candy. Add earthiness and that’s the flavor profile in the first fifteen minutes. Then a very nice nut flavor shows up. Macadamia, hazelnut, cashew, that kind of nuttiness. With wood, pepper, sweetness. Complex and interesting. Then a milk chocolate flavor shows up with leather and wood. Halfway that is replaced by roasted coffee beans and more spice. The nuttiness returns, but this time the pepper is the dominant flavor.

The draw is a bit loose, but not to the extent that it’s bothering the performance. The smoke is great. The burn had to be corrected a few times. The cigar has plenty of evolution but is well balanced all along. Medium to medium-full in strength. Medium-full to full in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I want to try the lancero too

Categories: 91, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Fellow Craft Robusto

Hiram & Solomon Fellow Craft Robusto. Freemasons George Dakrat and Fouad Kashouty are passionate cigar smokers. For years they wondered why there weren’t any cigars with the Freemason symbol. After years of research and getting the right approval, they made 1000 cigars as a fundraiser. That was such a success, that it created the idea of a regular production line. And now, just a few years later, Hiram & Solomon has a series of regular production lines. All of the lines are named after ranks in the Freemason society.


The Fellow Craft is the second tier. Like all other Hiram & Solomon cigars, they are made at Plasencia Cigars in Nicaragua. For the Fellow Craft, the duo blended Habano tobacco from the Nicaraguan regions Ometepe and Jalapa with a Habano Ligero from Esteli. For the binder, they chose Sumatra seed tobacco from Indonesia. And the wrapper is Habano Oscuro from Nicaragua. There are four vitolas available in this line, but we smoked the 5½x50 Robusto.


The cigar looks good. It’s dark, but still quite light for an obscure wrapper. The ring is beautiful. Blue, black and silver with the masonic logo. The foot ring is black and silver with the name of the line. The oily leathery wrapper has a few thin veins and a water spot. The shape and head look good. The construction feels fine with a nice spongy touch. The aroma of the cigar is wood with barnyard.


The cold draw is great. Very spicy raw tobacco is the flavor in the cold draw. Once lit, the cigar releases coffee, leather, wood, and green herbs. Slowly sugar comes in play as well, with a little chili pepper in the aftertaste. Some earthiness shows up too. After a centimeter, leather takes over the dominant role. With a hint of milk chocolate. The aftertaste is still pepper, red pepper flakes. The mouthfeel is dry. The rest of the first third is leathery with wood, soil, herbs, and pepper. There’s even a little hay in the range of flavors too. The second third starts with that smooth leather again. The leather gets accompanied by toast, spice, and pepper. Halfway milk chocolate returns as well. With some nuts. Almost like Nutella. Thick and creamy. Then the wood and leather become stronger again, with more pepper. And there is a vegetal flavor, almost like raw carrots.


The burn is good. The draw is very good. The white smoke is thick and full. The construction of this cigar is great. The ash is white and dense. The cigar is medium-bodied and medium-full flavored. The smoke time is exactly two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I liked it.

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Categories: 91, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , ,

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto. A brand that may not ring a bell with many cigar smokers. But it has a history to it. About a decade ago, the brand had some traction in Europe. But due to health-related reasons, Roger Duarte Rodriguez had to put everything on hold. Now the brand is back and available in a few countries. The Nicaraguan puro with the H2000 Oscuro wrapper that we are reviewing is from the personal stash of Don Duarte and has been aged for a decade.


The great grandparents of Don Roger Duarte Rodriguez, Don Rafael Rodriguez, and Juana Lanuza de Rodriguez, were one of the founders of Esteli. Don Rafael Rodriguez was a tobacco grower and one of the first to export tobacco out of Nicaragua. And his great grandmother on the Duarte side, Dona Maria Duarte Boza, owned a small tobacco manufacturing plant in Masaya. They processed tobacco from Ometepe and turned them into small cigars called Chilcagres. So tobacco runs through the blood of the Managua born entrepreneur. He acted as President of Tabacalera Tropical, which is now known as Aganorsa Leaf. That’s where he met the legendary Evelio Oviedo who blended the Don Duarte cigars.


The cigar has a closed foot. That always gets a cigar a few bonus points for aesthetic reasons. The wrapper is dark, leathery, oily and beautiful. The brown ring fades away on the dark wrapper. The secondary ring is gold with black text. The triple cap is beautiful. And even after ten years, the cigar still has a nice, medium-strong aroma of wood and barnyard. The construction feels good.


The cold draw is tight, due to the closed foot. But there is flavor in the cold draw. Gingerbread comes to mind and black pepper. The first flavors after lighting the cigar are wood, leather, spices, and a pleasant sweetness. Some pepper and coffee show up as well but mellowed out after a decade of aging. The aging also makes the cigar easy to retrohale. In the second third, there is more pepper but again mellow. With spices, leather, and even a hint of chocolate. Slowly there are coffee flavors, spices, leather, and even a little fruity acidity. Near the end, the cigar gains a lot of pepper, spice, but there is also some sweetness, wood, and leather.


The draw is great. The ash is white. The white blueish smoke is sufficient but could be a little thicker. The cigar is mellow, smoothed out due to the decade of aging. It’s still medium-bodied, medium flavored though. The cigar is well balanced, it has character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt

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Categories: 92, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , ,

Plasencia Alma del Campo Guajiro

Last december I did a review on the Plasencia Alma Fuerte, the first cigar they release world wide under their own name after testing the waters in Europe with the 1898 and the Reserva Organica and straight after the second installment was released, the Alma del Campo, a Nicaraguan puro, and again the cigars are priced premium, the msrp starts at $13.50


The line is made in five vitolas, and of the five I was handed the 5 1/2×52 Guajiro by the European marketing director Rodrigo during the Intertabac trade show last september. Now it says 52, but it looks and feels thicker, even though my chart disagrees with me and it’s really a 52. My eyes are deceiving me I guess. Just like the Alma Fuerte it’s wise to buy a 10 count box instead of a single cigar because the lid of the box doubles as a beautiful ashtray.


The wrapper is beautiful, a nice mocha color, smooth and with a velvet feel to it. The three rings are beautiful, from top to bottom a small gray ring with a white circled P, then the bigger main ring in the same gray color with the white P again, the Plasencia name and in smaller letters Alma del Campo and then a white foot ring with gray outlines and Alma del Campo in gray letters, very classy, modern and clean. As for the construction, well, the cigar feels well constructed, evenly filled but its crooked. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me again just like with the ring gauge so I put a ruler next to the cigar and it has a curve to the right. The cigar has a slightly acidic aroma with hints of hay too.


I used a cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is very spicy, acidic and peppery, but with a great airflow. After carefully lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a medium strong, slightly acidic coffee. After a few puffs both some sweetness and some pepper shows up, and a spiced biscuit flavor, speculaas as we call it in The Netherlands. After an inch I taste coffee with sweetness and the spices, all balanced and smooth. Halfway it’s a woodsy, spicy and a little pepper with a bit of sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to a smoother version of wood with some raspberry vinegar, spices and sweetness, there is some pepper in the aftertaste.


The draw is perfect. The almost white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium full in thickness and in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over hundred minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No doubt!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , ,

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V

Up until recently, if you weren’t in the industry the name Plasencia would probably not have rung a bell, yet without doubt you have been smoking a cigar they made or at least tobacco they grew. Five generations of tobacco growers, owners of three major factories and an octopus in the industry as Jonathan Drew calls them endearingly, since they have their hands in anything. Everybody and their mother buys their tobacco, a lot of brands have cigars made by Plasencia and now they are ready to make their name a household name for cigar smokers.

 


Nestor Plasencia sr never produced cigars under his own name because he didn’t want to compete with his customers which is a noble idea but almost any factory produces private labels for others and still produce cigars for their own company too and why not? It’s double the margin. Plasencia tested the water in Europe with the 1898 and the Reserve Organica lines and decided to hit the American market too with a few new blends, of which this is the first to hit the shelves.

 


I love this box pressed figurado and it’s huge, 7×58 , with a dark, chocolate like, wrapper that has a little oil. The thick rings, there are three in total, are well printed. Lets start at the foot, a small golden ring with black outlines and black letters saying Alma Fuerte. The gold really pops, that is very difficult to print and it shows its a high quality job. Then the normal ring, matte black with the same popping golden letters in a P logo and the name Plasencia. Then a small ring above that, black with the golden P logo in a circle around it. The shape is awesome, the cigar feels evenly packed, it’s just mouth watering. The aroma is mild, it reminds me a little of saw dust.

 


I cut the cigar to find a perfect cold draw. The taste I get is spicy, herbal tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, earth and spicy herbs like nasturtiums. The cigar is very peppery, strong Nicaraguan pepper.  After a third I taste the pepper but underneath I taste a little bit of chocolate. Halfway I taste also some wood and herbs with the pepper, the chocolate has gone. The final third starts a bit floral but with spices, pepper and a faint vanilla. All of a sudden the pepper gains strength again.

 


The draw is flawless and the light gray ash is firm. The smoke is white, thick and there is plenty of it. The burn is nice and straight. This cigar is well balanced, it’s a medium full bodied cigar, full flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive so it won’t be a every day cigar but for special occasions yeah, it will rival with an Opus X or Padron 1964.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , ,

Plasencia Reserva Organica Edicion Limitada 2001 Torpedo

Plasencia is a very big influence in the cigar industry, the company is now in it’s 5th generation and is one of the biggest tobacco growers in both Nicaragua and Honduras and has factories in both Nicaragua and Honduras. Only a few months ago they came out on the American market with cigars of their own, instead of just making private labels for everybody that wanted private labels done (they make cigars for Alec Bradley, Casa Magna is made by Plasencia but also different other smaller boutique brands like Wilson & Adams and many many more). Jonathan Drew calls them ‘the octopus’ in an endearing way, as everybody has got something to do with the Plasencia family. In Europe however they’ve been on the market with cigars produced under the Plasencia label for a while now and one of the two lines they had out was the Reserva Organica, the brain child of Nestor Andres Plasencia who wanted to make a cigar the way his ancesters did so without chemicals for pest control and no artificial fertilizer, 100% organic tobacco and so the Reserva Organica was born.


When the company I worked for started to distribute Plasencia cigars we got them with the beige ring, as pictured above. When I parted ways with my employer last june I had the time to catalog my huge stash of cigars, sort them out and put them in my online humidor at stogierate.com and much to my surprise I found 2 very old Plasencia Reserva Organica Edicion Limitada 2001. Now don’t ask me how I got them because I wasn’t even a cigar smoker back in 2001. The ring is completely different and the wrapper is darker than the current production. It’s like a nice medium roasted coffee bean. The cigar is 6 1/4 inch long with a 52 ring. The cigar has 2 rings, one simple black band with a bright yellow ring and white lettering saying “edicion limitada 2001’ and the a bigger yellow ring, slightly darker than the yellow used on the bottom ring, with the Plasencia Reserva Organica name written in curly letters and 3 drawings, the vulcanos, the sun and the sea and I think that is ment to represent Nicaragua, since this cigar is 100% Nicaraguan.


The construction feels good, no soft spots noticeble upon touch, there is very little aroma coming from the cigar and it makes me wonder if there is any flavor left since the blend is mild and the cigar is 15 years old, it could be way passed its prime. But I guess I’ll find out quick enough. Because of the shape I can’t punch so I have to cut. The cold draw is perfect but I don’t taste much.


I light the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a mild coffee flavor and a charcoal flavor. I also taste a little bit of sugar. The coffee and sugar disappear and I’m stuck with the mild charcoal flavor. After a third I taste a dry bark. Halfway the flavor changes to cedar but with a bitter yet mild creamy sensation on the tip of my tongue. Slowly but surely the cigar gets more bitter and it’s really unpleasant.


The draw is perfect and the smoke is medium thick and medium in volume, I’m not to impressed with it. The ash is beautiful, white, layered and firm. The burn is beautiful too, straight as an arrow. The cigar is mild bodied and mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is little over 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I love the idea of an organic cigar, less workers exposed to chemicals and less chemicals being smoked is nice, but the cigar was way passed its prime. And I hate giving such a low rating, I love the Plasencias, had great cigars from their factories so it sucks rating one of their cigars so low.

Score: 77

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Categories: 77, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , , , ,

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