Cigars by country

Cornelius & Anthony Meridian Robusto

I have smoked and review all but one of the Cornelius & Anthony blends, I started with the Cornelius toro, then went on with the Venganza robusto, Daddy Mac robusto, Señor Esugars Toro and the Aerial robusto so all that was missing is the Meridian blend and here it is, a review of the 5×52 robusto.


As all Cornelius & Anthony blends, except for the Cornelius, this cigar is made at the La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Cornelius is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, a must visit if you happen to be in Miami. The Meridian is made of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and finished with an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper.


As in every Cornelius & Anthony review I rave about the ring and since its the same on every cigar I can only praise the ring again. This time I also praise the secondary ring as it used the same colors as the main ring, the off white and the gold and it makes it a perfect match. The wrapper is like a dark chocolate with a mild shine and a silky feel. The construction feels perfect and the triple cap is beautiful. The cigar has a manure and wood aroma, medium strong.


I decapped the cigar with a cutter. The cold draw is perfect. There is not much of a predominant flavor in the cold draw. After lighting I taste an earthy coffee with a tiny bit of cinnamon. After half an inch I taste a buttery, earthy flavor with a little sugar. Slowly some pepper shows up too. Halfway I just taste earth and pepper. The final third I taste wood with a mild vanilla buttery flavor and pepper, a little sharp on the tongue. The flavors and overall strength pick up.


The draw is perfect. The smoke it thick, white and full. The salt and pepper colored ash is a little frayed yet firm. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A 92 rated cigar, so yes!

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

Reserva Miraflor Corona

Reserva Miraflor, I wrote reviews about the old batch, aged or even vintage Nicaraguan cigars, about 8 years old. But they are back, made by the same Nicaraguan blender, Raphael Guillen, and again, in cooperation with Andrew Wood, who’s a tobacco broker nowadays and just started his new webshop where brands from small, independent cigar manufacturers will be sold. And with the code ‘CIGARGUIDE’ you will get 30% off on www.untoldleaf.com


The cigar, 5 1/2×42 in size, is made with a wapper from Ecuador, a Habano variety. The binder comes from Indonesia while the filler is all Nicaraguan. I have smoked a lot of Reserva Miraflor in the past, but I don’t think I ever smoked this particular vitola, I did smoke a lot of the robusto and toro though.


The wrapper is dark, almost maduro, with a dark reddish glow. It has a leathery feel to it, probably because it is a sun grown wrapper. The ring is simple, gold on black, glossy. The cigar looks well constructed, the shape and triple cap are perfect and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is strong, barnyard with hay and cows.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter. The cold draw is good, quite peppery in taste. After lighting I taste toast with a hint of cocoa. The flavor changes to spices, herbs but still with that bitter sweetness of cocoa. The cigar is spicy yet balanced, no harshness, it’s a smooth spice bomb. In the final third I also taste a little vanilla. 


The draw is perfect and so is the thick, white smoke which fills the room. The ash is dark though and not to firm. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. There isn’t a lot of evolution but in this cigar I don’t mind, since I like the flavors so much. The burn is straight. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars, Reserva Miraflor | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Xiphos NR Habano

In my previous reviews of Xiphos I explained that the brand is made in two countries, and in the review of the Nicaraguan made Xiphos Maduro I promised to review the other Nicaraguan blend, the Xiphos Habano too. Well, here it is, a review of the Xiphos NR Habano Robusto.


The cigar is made with aged Nicaraguan filler, an Indonesian binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Only the wrapper is different from the Maduro, so if you really want to see what difference a wrapper makes, get both of these cigars and smoke them back to back. I have done this with a Studio Tobac cigar, two identical cigar and a skilled roller only changed the wrapper, it makes a huge difference.


The ring on this 5×54 robusto is exactly the same as on the other Xiphos made in Nicaragua, black with red and silver, only the text on the secondary band is different. The latte colored wrapper is smooth and mild oily. The cigar feels good, no soft spots and the cap is nice.  The aroma is quite strong and definitely a stable aroma.


I cut the cigar. I taste a fruity and peppery flavor is the cold draw, blackberry, and the only time I ever tasted that before in a cigar was in the original release of the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic. After lighting the cigar with a simple soft flame I taste a sweet toast with the blackberries I tasted in the cold draw. The toast turns to cedar yet the blackberry flavor remains and I like it. Halfway the cigar gets stronger, more spicy and the blackberry mellows out. The spice mellows out again.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. This cigar is medium bodied at most, smooth and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they will become more widely available so I can easily get more.

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa, Xiphos | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero

When I was in Nicaragua in 2015 our group, consisting of journalist Marcel Langedijk, photographer Jesaja Hizkia, my then employer Sasja and me, visited Joya de Nicaragua. Marcel and Jesaja were there for the Cigaragua book while Sasja and I were just visiting our partners. And while we were walking through the factory I noticed boxes of Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 lanceros. I’m a huge lancero fan, Sasja hates them, I look at them from a cigar geek point of view and Sasja looks as a salesman and lanceros are hard to find but I managed to convince him to order 50 boxes anyway with the promise I would sell them all. And I did, but I kept 1 box for myself.


The Antaño 1970 once was the official cigar of the Nicaraguan government and it was considered one of the strongest cigars in the world before the rat race in the early 2010’s to make the strongest cigar possible. Its a Nicaraguan puro with filler from three important tobacco regions, Jalapa, Condega and Esteli and an Habano Criollo wrapper. This 7 1/2×38 lancero is one of the 10 vitolas in which this blend is used.


The wrapper is dark and has a few scars, but thats cool for a mean and strong cigar like this. The ring is simple yet clean, golden with a red and white circle with the Joya logo and a small black banner saying Antano. The cigar feels good, has a nice pig tail but the shape looks a little rough. Again, that fits with the whole “damn strong cigar” motto so I don’t mind. The aroma is strong, floral notes with pepper and manure is what I smell.


I used my Joya de Nicaragua branded cutter, a gift from Juan Martinez, to remove the cap of this skinny cigar. The cold draw is a bit tight with a nice nutmeg and mild peppery flavor. After lighting I taste cinnamon and spices, with a little sweetness. It’s almost like a gingerbread cookie. The flavor then slowly changes to more earthy with some spices. I also taste some very dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. The pepper is getting stronger. There is a mild burning sensation on the top of my tongue. Halfway the flavors remind me of rucola with a bit of a charred barbecue taste. Soon after there’s also lemon. The dark chocolate is subtle yet dominant in the aftertaste. The final third starts with an unusual flavor I never tasted before, salty French fries, just for a few puffs though, then the cigar turns to lemon again. The end of very peppery and strong.


The draw is good. The smoke is thick and full. The light ash is dense but not firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have almost a full box left.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Quesada Reserva Privada Toro

The Quesada family has honored the previous generations before, in the Tribute series, but this cigar is a tribute too, first and foremost to the father of Manuel Quesada who planted and picked the tobacco for this cigar back in 1997, a year before he passed away, but also a tribute to the new generation in the shape of modern boxes and a hologram logo. And the new generation, in the shape of Raquel Quesada gave me this cigar at the Intertabac trade show.


So the filler is a Dominican San Vincente leaf with Pennsylvania broadleaf ligero, the binder is that vintage, 18 year old, Dominican Criollo with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper in a 5 5/8×54 size. All the cigars are aged an additional year after rolling before they are shipped to the shops. And I wonder, what happens when the vintage binder is gone? Is there a new stash of a 1998 harvest to continue the blend or will the cigar just disappear?


The mocha colored wrapper looks beautiful yet brittle, with a few thin veins. The ring is amazing, simple, stylish, modern with a black back drop, the Quesada Q logo in golden hologram style and glossy silver ‘Quesada’ and ‘reserva’ prints on the sides. Very tasteful, very well printed. The cigar feels well constructed, evenly packed and the triple cap is flawless. The medium strong aroma is typical manure, Cubanesque manure.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect and I taste a mild sweet floral yet herbal flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet mild musty and floral coffee. After an inch I taste sweetness, Connecticut mustiness and cedar. The sweetness fades, a white pepper shows up with a mild floral sweetness. The cigar gets stronger.


The draw is great. The white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That darn Connecticut Shade, still not my wrapper.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman

Jas Sum Kral owner has his own two day cigar festival every year, Ristefari, and for the inaugural 2017 edition he decided to make a limited edition of his Red Knight cigar in a Salomon shape, called to soloman. Only 1000 of the cigars were made, 100 boxes of 10, and they were only for sale during Ristefari with a MSRP of $12. And I got two of them now, a gift from Riste.


When these 7×58 cigars were made, Riste still had his cigars made at Tabacalera NOA, owned by Noel Rojas. That partnership has sailed, Jas Sum Kral is now made in the small factory of Roniel Aragon, a previous employer of Noel Rojas who ventured out on his own. As for this vitola, Jas Sum Kral made it again but in a variation of the Zlatno Sonce blend for Ristefari 2018 and I reviewed the cigar last month.


I am not a fan of big ring gauges but in a shape like this I don’t oppose it. I mean, one of my favorite cigars is actually shaped like this. The wrapper is a tad darker than what I’m used to from Jas Sum Kral, it goes towards a dark chocolate color and it has a mild leathery look. The construction feels great, the shape is beautiful. The aroma is quite mild, woody and a bit soapy.


After cutting the cigar I taste a spicy peppery flavor with a perfect resistance. After lighting it’s pepper and coffee, earthy flavors. There is also a cane-sugar tasting sweetness. The sugar is getting stronger with cedar and pepper as support flavors. Secretly the cigar gains strength and I taste something that reminds me a bit of carrots. It’s not exactly carrot but it is similar. I tasted this a few times before in cigars, and I like it. The sweetness remains, the carrot disappears, it’s now a wooden flavor with some green leafy herbs, a little cinnamon and pepper. Little passed the midway point it’s oak with pepper and spicy green herbs, the sweetness is gone. The pepper grows and becomes dominant in the final third, it blows all other flavors away.


The draw is great, the ash is light in color, a little frayed and with clear rings. The burn is good. The smoke is medium thick, grayish and medium of volume. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That wouldn’t be possible.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Viking Viking Churchill

Last year I reviewed the Viking Robusto, a Dominican made cigar for a Norwegian cigar aficionado and I loved it, it scored high with a 93 final score. It was a huge step up from the cigars Hawk used to have made by Cabreras, those never scored so high and it was also the best rated E.P. Carrillo cigar for me up to that date, so a double win.


Last september I talked with Hawk and his business partner Arnt and they handed me a few more cigars to review including this 7×54 Churchill. The Viking Viking blend consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the USA, a Sumatra binder from Ecuador and aged Habano filler from three different Nicaraguan regions, Condega, Esteli and Jalapa.


The dark wrapper is rough and looks intimidating, like a real viking should and the tin cigar ring with the viking logo enhances that intimidating look, I love it. The construction feels good, the cigar is well shaped. The aroma is deep and dark, fitting with the look, like old manure on an open piece deep inside a dark and scary forest.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste some herbs and sultanas. After lighting I taste sugar with some coffee. After an inch I taste a sweet floral flavor with herbs and wood. After a third I taste wood, herbs, vanilla and chocolate. There is a mild pepper in the aftertaste. The final third starts dry, with dry wood, a little hint of vanilla and pepper. The pepper is getting stronger. Near the end I taste pepper, some mild floral flavors and meaty wood.


The draw is great. The white ash is white and dense. The light and thin smoke is low in volume. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

El Baton Double Toro

A few months ago I was gifted four cigars made by J.C. Newman and it made me look into that company a bit more. Those cigars were the El Baton Double torpedo, Perla del Mar Maduro G, the Brick House Connecticut Toro and this one. There was a reason I was never really interested in that company and never even had visited them on my trips to Tampa and that was loyalty. My previous employer distributed J.C. Newman for a while in the past, sold more than they expected and instead of being happy and working with my employer J.C. Newman came up with crazy new demands, stopped the line of credit and it eventually ended up in a law suit that Newman lost yet the relationship was killed. Sales never bounced back up either, not with STG nor with Davidoff who have distributed them since.


While looking into Newman I learned that they have a huge history, in Tampa with their factory and a private cigar museum, close ties with the Fuente family and that they are the first people to pack cigars in cellophane which is now an industry standard expect for Cuba. I also learned that they started a factory in Nicaragua in 2010, where I was under the impression they had cigars made for them like many others. The company actually started in 1895 in Ohio with a home made table and $50 worth of tobacco. It took 60 years and two world wars before the company settled in Tampa, where it still remains.


Just like Oliva, J.C. Newman calls this 6×60 a double toro, while I would call it a gordo. It’s a vitola that I don’t like, never have and probably never will but I will try new cigars in that size anyway when asked. The ring is the same as on the previous El Baton review, but its the same blend so there’s no surprise. The wrapper is a bit lighter in color, yet its still quite dark with a few veins. Construction wise there’s nothing wrong, the cigar feels good, looks good, cap is good, just a well made cigar. The aroma is of dark wood and stable, like being inside an old wooden barn.


I used my cutter for this big ring cigar, mainly because I couldn’t find my punch. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild gingerbread with pepper. I taste gingerbread, coffee and sugar after lighting. After half an inch I taste nutmeg, spices, wood and pepper. After I drank some water I taste a lot of salt. After a third I taste salt, wood and pepper. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger and stronger. Then all of a sudden the pepper almost disappears and I’m left with salty wood. In the final third the pepper returns again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is medium full, it’s light gray. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is good. This cigar is full flavored and bodied. The cigar has a good evolution. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar, just a little too thick for me.

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

MUWAT Baitfish Gary

This undercrown spin-off was originally named ‘my uzi’ but when Jonathan Drew got his hands on the cigar he noticed the weight and said ‘my uzi weighs a ton’, which happens to be a song from fellow New Yorkers Public NME and that name stuck.


At first the line was ment to be a 60 ring gauge line with a 5×60, 6×60 and 7×60 but the market demanded thinner sizes to Drew Estate released a corona, named Corona Viva and a 4×44 named after JD’s father Gary, baitfish Gary. And I met Gary on several occasions, at Jonathan’s House in Miami, at the factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany where he gave me this cigar to smoke.


The wrapper is dark and feels leathery, it has a tough look on it. The ring is cool, black with silver text all over it, and a lot of text in different size fonts, vertical instead of horizontal. The cigar feels evenly packed, has a well rounded head and a a decent triple cap. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of wet woods after a rainfall mixed with stable aromas.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste a spicy, meaty raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet strong coffee. After a few puffs I taste a spicy dry cedar with cinnamon and vanilla. Halfway the cigar is spicy with some lemon, cinnamon, vanilla and pepper.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, full and extremely much. The burn is pretty straight and the white ash is dense and firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I have a few five packs.

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

Desconicido Corona

My friend Andrew Wood, who is a cigar broker and helps companies to bring their cigars into the USA and who’s on the forefront of the fight against the FDA, started his career in tobacco with GDW cigars, a small Nicaraguan factory that produces a few cigars including the Reserva Miraflor & the Don Fernando. One of the cigars they made but I had never smoked was this Desconocido. And now they are back, only for sale through www.untoldleaf.com so I finally had the opportunity to try one.


Andrew said that he loved this cigar and that it was likely his favorite, yet I see that it’s made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper and that makes me weary, that’s a wrapper I don’t care much about. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano and the filler is all Nicaraguan too. The size of the cigar is 5 1/2×42.


The cigar has an oily, yellow brown wrapper, a little more color than most of the Connecticut Shade cigars I have seen. I see thin veins and a bright red ring with black letters in a curly font. The construction feels good, the cigar feels evenly packed with a nice rounded cap. The aroma is relatively strong, it reminds me of fresh cut wet grass.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and sweet, marzipan like, with a spicy aftertaste. After lighting I taste a strong full coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a sour flavor but also some vanilla. After a third I taste peanuts with a mild mustiness from the Connecticut Shade wrapper. Halfway I still taste peanuts with some pepper and honey. Near the end I also taste some vanilla again.


The draw is great. The smoke is light gray. The ash is medium gray in color. The burn is straight. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not my cigar but if you’re into mild cigars this is a must try, especially with 30% off if you use the CIGARGUIDE code

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Desconocido, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

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