Cigars by country

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro.

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. The first time we ever saw or heard the brand was on social media. At first, we figured it would be one of those private labels again that try to make a few bucks before disappearing into the swamp. The swamp where many other small private labels have been buried over the years. But the more we looked into Antigua Esteli, the more we were intrigued. And the more we wanted to try one of those cigars. We connected with owner and founder Art Garcia and learned more about the brand. It’s more than just a simple private label. Garcia runs his own crew at the factory, his rollers, blenders and buys the tobacco himself. In September we finally met at the Intertabac trade show and weaseled a few cigars so we could finally smoke them


We scored the Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. That’s a 6×56 cigar, made in Nicaragua. The fillers and binder are all Nicaraguan. The tobacco comes from four different regions in Nicaragua. The wrapper comes from the San Andres region in Mexico. The shape is unusual, it’s not fully box-pressed, it’s not round but it’s semi box-pressed.


The cigar looks beautiful. An evenly dark, smooth and oily wrapper. Great shape with a triple cap. The cigar feels well constructed. The ring is detailed, with tobacco fields, the logo. And both the American and Nicaraguan flags in a banner combining the two countries. The secondary ring says Segovias Maduro. The aroma is strong, barnyard, wood, and forest come to mind.


The cold draw is easy, and it leaves a peppery flavor on the lips. A tingling sensation. Add a raw tobacco flavor to it, and that’s what the cold draw tastes like. Once lit, there is a mix of coffee, leather, soil, spices, and pepper. The bitterness of the coffee is a nice contrast with the creaminess of the mouthfeel. Soon it’s more coffee with leather and spices. There’s also a bit of citrus, and the mouthfeel remains creamy. After a third, it’s a toasty coffee flavor with wood, spices, and pepper. Still creamy though. The creaminess makes the flavors feel silky smooth. The final third starts with ice cream without the numbing cold of ice cream. Vanilla sweetness, cream, and roasted coffee beans. Then the coffee returns, with way more pepper than before.


The draw is great, and the burn is straight as an arrow. The ash is white, but a bit brittle. The cigar produces a lot of smoke. The flavors are all smooth, round, and soft. Yet medium to medium-full in flavors, and medium in strength. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will
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Categories: 91, Antigua Esteli, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steenbok Robusto

Steenbok Robusto. This Honduran puro is a Dutch cigar brand, made at Compania Hondurena de Tabacos in El Paraiso, Honduras. That’s where brands such as Kuuts, Miro, Placeres, and Zapata are made as well. The brand is founded by two cigar aficionados, Johan Loomans and Brigitte Altena, from The Netherlands. The brand was released in 2018. The packaging of the cigars is cool, silver tins containing either the robusto, mini-robusto, or the half corona. The cigars are for sale in The Netherlands only for now.


The blend is made of all Honduran tobacco and with that, it’s one of the few Honduran puros on the market in The Netherlands. The robusto measures 5×50, the classic robusto size. Steenbok Cigars handed us this sample at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany last September.


The ring is huge and white. But what makes it stand out is that the brand isn’t printed. The letters are cut out so the wrapper is forming the name of the cigar. Handmade in Honduras is printed though, but in a color very close to the wrapper. The wrapper is bumpy with a few veins. And right over the ring, there is some discoloration due to water drops during fermentation. The construction feels good though. The burned wood aroma is quite strong.


The cold draw is great with a mild coffee and strong tobacco flavor. Once lit, the cigar produces a sweet coffee flavor. Some grassy flavors show up and match the coffee in strength. There’s also a little bit of leather and some pepper. The cigar has quite some sweetness too, and a bit of a dusty aftertaste that is typical for Connecticut Shade. But this cigar doesn’t have a Connecticut Shade wrapper so its a question where that comes from. There’s also a little nuttiness. The flavors also get some wood and herbs. But it’s all mild and sweet. The cigar is not unpleasant but lacks character. After a third, the cigar turns very creamy, with vanilla and some more pepper. And now the cigar is getting more interesting. After two thirds, the flavors are creamy, buttery with wood and pepper. The finale brings a lot of pepper, what a difference from the start


The draw is great, and the cigar produces a good amount of smoke. The burn is great. The ash is firm but dark. The cigar is smooth and balanced. Medium-bodied at best, medium flavored. The start lacks character but the cigar gains traction halfway. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s a nice smooth medium cigar for a very nice price
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Steenbok | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tatuaje Fausto IT MM19

Tatuaje Fausto IT MM19. This is a release exclusively for Italy, in a limited production of 4000 cigars. And this is the second year in a row that Italy received an exclusive Tatuaje. The Fausto line saw the light in 2011, even though the blend was released as a store exclusive limited edition in 2009. Pete Johnson created the Tatuaje T110, a short robusto, for a shop in Hawaii. The T stands for thermonuclear and it was the strongest Tatuaje ever made. The cigar became such a hype that the limited edition turned into a regular production line with the Fausto name. But the T110 size never re-appeared with this blend.


The Fausto blend consists of Nicaraguan filler and binder. The regular production Fausto sports an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper but for both the Italian exclusive releases, Johnson went for a Mexican San Andres wrapper.

The cigar looks fantastic. A very dark Mexican San Andres wrapper with a nice triple cap. The red & black Tatuaje Fausto ring is the main ring. The secondary ring is a ring that Tatuaje uses for the Mexican Experiment and other limiteds. White with red and green. The two rings don’t match together, which is aesthetically not appealing. The Fausto IT MM19 feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, pepper with barnyard and charred wood.


The cold draw is good. Except for some pepper, the cold draw doesn’t have much flavor. With the reputation of Fausto, you’d expect a punch in the face but the cigar starts mellow. Smooth coffee, almost like a latte with a little bit of spice and pepper. After a few puffs, there is some citrus, leather, spice, toast, and pepper. The cigar then evolves with a little more sweetness and dried grass. Slowly the cigar transforms into a leathery, peppery cigar with some wood and spices. After a third, the cigar has a sweetness that is hard to describe, almost vegetal. There are pepper and leather as well. At this point, the strength of the cigar isn’t hidden anymore. It starts to live up the reputation. Halfway it’s pepper with wood and leather. And there is also a little chocolate in the background.


The draw is flawless. The light gray ash is dense and beautiful. The burn is straight. The Tatuaje Fausto isn’t a smoke bomb, but the cigar produces a nice amount of medium thick smoke. It’s a full-bodied cigar, but because of the balance, it doesn’t feel that strong in the first third. But then the power really picks up. This is a full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I could

number92

Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno L’Ambassadeur

Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno L’Ambassadeur. That is a long name for a unique cigar. You can call it the Nicaraguan Cohiba or Trinidad, as the history shares some resemblance. All three were diplomatic gifts before being released commercially years later. The Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno was released this year, after surfacing as an event only cigar last year. The production is limited to 1500 boxes a year, and only one size is available. That’s this Lonsdale called L’Ambassadeur, which is a reference to the diplomatic history of this cigar.


In the past, the Nicaraguan government used another Joya de Nicaragua cigar as the official gift. That was the Antaño 1970, a strong cigar. With the Numero Uno, they went for a milder cigar. The Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador is much milder tobacco than the strong wrapper and blend from the Antaño. The filler and binder tobaccos are all from Nicaragua.

The pale wrapper looks decent. There is some shine from the oil, thin veins. It’s just a typical thin and brittle Connecticut Shade wrapper. The blue from the big cigar ring pops, it’s a nice contrast from the pale yellowish-brown wrapper. The cigar has a triple cap with a little pigtail. The construction feels good, with the right amount of bounce. The aroma is medium in strength. It has that grassy hay aroma that you can expect from Connecticut Shade wrappers.


The cold draw is fine. It gives a lot of flavor, raw tobacco and raisins. After lighting it’s earthy, coffee, pepper, nutmeg, and a little muted sweetness. Then some slightly harsh grass flavor shows up too, with a hint of milk chocolate. The classic Connecticut Shade mustiness isn’t as strong as in most Connecticut Shade cigars, but it is there, looming on the background. The flavors then evolve to soil, leather, citrus, pepper, and salt. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy. The cigar turns grassy again, with cedar. The mustiness is no longer lingering on the background. Halfway the cigar is creamy with old leather, licorice, and sweetness. And for a while, there is a black licorice flavor. After two thirds, it’s the old leather with spices, pepper, cedar, and that typical Connecticut mustiness. In the final part, the cigar is creamy with toast, cedar, sweetness, and pepper.


The draw is fantastic. And since thinner ring cigars are harder to roll than the ticker cigars, a compliment to the rollers is well deserved. The ash is white. And the smoke is decent, both in thickness and volume. The burn is good. This cigar is mild to medium-bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it’s not suitable for my palate.

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Categories: 90, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Skull 77 El Unico

Skull 77 El Unico. The El Unico is the toro size of the Skull 77 by Cigare 77. The brand is made in Costa Rica, at the Vegas de Santiago facilities. But it is Swiss-owned. Laurent Taha is the owner, and he picked the 77 number for a very special reason. He is born on January 1st, 1977. And launched his brand on July 7, 2014. The double seven comes back several times. For now, only three sizes are available. The blends are mostly the same, although a little tweaked for each specific size. None of the three vitolas is thinner than a 58 ring though, the thickest is a ring 66.


For the wrapper, Taha picked a Habano 2000 leaf from Ecuador. Cigare 77 didn’t disclose the binder. For the filler, tobaccos from Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic are used. As mentioned before, the blends vary per size, to create the optimal flavor experience in each of the vitolas. The brand is currently expanding it’s distribution and recently added Sweden as one of the new markets. And from January, the brand will be available in the United Kingdom too.

The cigar looks good. A nice, smooth, Colorado colored wrapper. Oily and there are no ugly thick veins visible. The ring, designed by Taha and his close friend & artist Claudio Capuano, is a nice looking, cigar-smoking skull. The glowing red eye did remind us of Terminator. Even though it’s a big and thick cigar, it feels quite light. The little pigtail cap is a nice detail. The aroma isn’t very strong, it’s both floral and a classic barnyard aroma.


The cold draw is very light, very easy. The flavors from the cold draw are sweetness and sultana at first, with a strong and spicy raw tobacco aftertaste. After lighting, it’s coffee, leather, and soil. Quite dry flavors. The flavors then turn spicy and grassy, still with some coffee though. The flavors then evolve to wood, spice, leaves and mild marzipan sweetness. The flavors are a little rough around the edges. The sweetness is that of powdered icing sugar, with grass and leather after a third. Very mild milk chocolate shows up too, with grass, wood, and leather. In the final third, there’s pepper, leather, and young wood. Still a little rough and the mouthfeel is dry. The harshness grows a bit too. In the end, the coffee returns.


The draw is a bit loose, but not too loose that it’s a problem. The burn is a bit wonky, but again, not too bad that it’s a problem. The smoke is quite full and has a decent volume. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. It’s a little unrefined and unbalanced. The white ash is flaky yet reasonably firm. The smoke time is two hours exactly, then it turned so bitter it had to be abandoned.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m sorry but the answer is no

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Categories: 88, Costa Rican cigars, Skull 77, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , ,

Siempre Sun Grown Toro

Siempre Sun Grown Toro. Earlier this year, I was approached by one of our contacts who’s working for a European cigar distributor. His question was if I ever heard of Dapper Cigar Company. And honestly, the answer was no. So I googled them, and the brand sparked my interest. They provide a lot of information about the blends on their website. As cigar media, that’s something we love. That cigar distributor decided not to take on Dapper Cigar Company. But another distributor in The Netherlands did, Kelch Trading introduced Dapper Cigars on the Dutch market.


The Siempre Sun Grown Toro sports a Sun Grown Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador. The binder is Connecticut Broadleaf from the United States. The filler comes from Honduras and three regions of Nicaragua. Those are Ometepe, Jalapa, and Esteli. On the website, Dapper Cigar Company even discloses the growers of the wrappers and some of the farms where the wrappers are grown. That kind of information is often hard to, or impossible, to find. The Siempre Sun Grown line was introduced in 2016.


The cigar looks great. The toothy wrapper is dark and oily. The triple cap is flawless. And the orange and gold ring just pops from that dark background. The cigar feels well constructed, we couldn’t find any plugs or soft spots on the touch. The aroma of the cigar is like charred wood and farmyard.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are meaty and earthy before the cigar is lit, with pepper on the tongue. Once lit, the cigar is earthy, spicy, and sweet. Add in some coffee, and that’s the flavor profile in the first puffs. The earthiness and pepper are the main flavors. And the flavors are meaty in mouthfeel. Slowly some spices and dry wood show up too. The pepper mellows out a little bit. Then suddenly it’s espresso with pepper and some citrus acidity. The pepper gets a bit stronger after a third, with a thick, creamy mouthfeel. There’s pepper, spices, wood, coffee, and earthiness. The pepper has a little bite every now and then. After two thirds, a leathery, peppery, cocoa flavor shows up as well. The cigar picks up in strength, power, and pepper. Then the coffee flavor returns as well.


The draw is good. The ash is a little dark though. The burn was alright, although it needed a touch up now and then. The smoke is medium thick and full. This cigar is balanced, although sometimes the pepper has a little bite. The cigar is medium to medium-full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is three hours

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I liked it. It matched my profile.

number90

Categories: 90, Dapper Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Condega Serie F Maduro Robusto

The Condega brand was founded by Eduardo Fernandez. He came into the business in 1998 as a tobacco grower and years later he founded the brand Condega. The brand was particularly popular in Spain because of the price-quality point, but it was also sold in the United States. But since Fernandez, famous for his Aganorsa leaf, is more interested in growing tobacco than selling cigars, the brand never really took off outside of Spain. And that’s where the Spanish tobacco distributor Gesinta comes in. Their premium cigar division, Casa del Tabaco, purchased the brand from Fernandez for the international markets. In the last few years, the brand is quickly expanding distribution to other European countries, Africa, and the Middle East. Fernandez still holds the rights for Condega on the American market.


The Serie F Maduro only comes in one vitola. That’s the 5×50 Robusto. And it’s the only Condega cigar that isn’t a Nicaraguan puro. The Maduro wrapper comes from Mexico. It’s grown in the San Andres region. The binder and wrappers are all Aganorsa leaf from Nicaragua. The Condega cigars are known for their great price-quality point. In The Netherlands this cigar is 5 euro, in Germany, it’s even cheaper with a price tag of €4,70. And that for a Maduro robusto, packed in a box instead of a bundle.


The wrapper looks good, beautiful Maduro darkness. And it’s natural darkness, as you can see darker smears, it’s not evenly dark. The cigar looks well constructed, with a triple cap. It has the right amount of bounce when squeezed gently. There aren’t thick, ugly veins on the wrapper, so the cigar looks smooth. And the aroma is medium strong with stable, barnyard and wood smells.


The cold draw is smooth. The flavors are pepper, wood, and hay. Right from the start, the cigar is sweet with coffee, pepper, and earthiness. But without the bitterness that often comes with a strong coffee flavor at the beginning of a cigar. There’s a hint of spices too. And then suddenly a lot happens, wood, coffee, spices, pepper, sweetness, and hay. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. The flavors are smooth yet full. After that, the explosion of flavors mellows out, it’s now wood with some spices and a bit of pepper. Halfway the cigar gets very nutty, with sweetness and pepper. There are hints of grass and wood too, but those are faint. The creamy nuttiness is the dominant flavor. The mellow, creamy nuttiness continues to be the main flavor of the cigar, with wood and sweetness. There’s also a faint leather flavor as well.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The cigar is full-flavored, yet medium to medium full-bodied. The light-colored ash isn’t firm. The smoke could be a little thicker though, but just a bit. The burn had to be corrected once. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes. The cigar is well balanced, smooth and full of flavor.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

number91

Categories: 91, Condega, Nicaraguan cigars, TABSA | Tags: , , , , ,

Skel Ton Robusto

A few months ago, we saw a picture of a cigar on Facebook. And that picture intrigued us. The ring of the cigar was the most unique we had seen in a while, and one of the best we had ever seen. It turned out that it was a cigar by a German aficionado, Tonio Neugebauer. He released the cigars in 2016. Ministry of Cigars published about the cigars last month. Neugebauer and Han Hilderink, owner of the Whisky & Cigar Lounge in Gronau, decided to send us a sampler. As cigar nerds, we are excited to smoke new cigars so here we go.


The cigars are made in Nicaragua, at one of the factories of Plasencia. The cigars are made with an H-Blend wrapper from Ecuador. Two binders are used, one from Indonesia and one from Nicaragua. And the filler comes from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. There are only three sizes available. Those are a 6×44 Corona, a 5×54 Robusto, and a 6×52 Toro. For this review, we are smoking the 5×54 Robusto. The retail price is very reasonable at €6,90.


This cigar scores points on the looks. The ring is amazing, high-quality gold printing, a very detailed skeleton. And a cloth foot ring with the test ‘live your dreams’. 100 points for the ring alone. The wrapper looks great too, Colorado to Colorado Maduro in color. Evenly colored with thin, sharp veins. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is deep manure, earthy smell. It’s medium-strong.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the cold draw is quite dry, dry cedar, hay, and raisin. The first puffs give me that dry flavor again, earthy, leathery with coffee. There’s also a pleasant, spiced sweetness and freshness which comes close to anise. To all changes to gingerbread spices with a mild sweetness and some citrus. Combined with cedarwood. The sweetness gets stronger, it’s like powdered sugar. The spices and the wood are still noticeable too. The mouthfeel is dry. After a third, it’s sweet coffee again. Halfway the flavors are a mix of leather, grass, spices and a little pepper. All with a pleasant dose of sweetness and a little citrus acidity. In the final third, the wood returns and it’s strong. With pepper and leather. But still smooth and balanced. Coffee returns too, all with sweetness and even a little custard creaminess. The gingerbread spices, pepper, sweetness, and wood are the dominant flavors in the last part of the cigar.


The draw is great. And the ash is white and firm. The burn is razor-sharp. The smoke is thick and white. This cigar is medium-bodied, medium to full-flavored with a pleasant smoothness. The flavors are balanced all the way through the cigar. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

number92

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Skel Ton, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Montecristo Tubos 2003

Montecristo Tubos 2003. This is a gift from a collector and trader of Cuban cigars. The man is a friend of Ministry of Cigars, and he donated a few aged and vintage cigars for us to review. This particular cigar was made in 2003 and comes from the collection of a Greek collector, who has a very well designed aging system for his cigars.

Montecristo was founded in 1935 when Alonso Menendez bought the Particulares Factory and the two brands they made: Particulares and Byron. Then he changed the name into Montecristo. Menendez’s favorite book was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Later on, he bought the H. Upmann factory. And that gave birth to Hunters & Frankau, the exclusive Habanos distributor in the UK. Hunters were the exclusive distributor for Montecristo, Frankau had the rights to H. Upmann. They merged and are still active today. The Corona Grande in the tubos was released somewhere in the 1970s and is still in production today.

The cigar looks good. Colorado Claro in color, no veins that make it unappealing. The wrapper is soft like velvet. The ring is simple, classic. Just a small brown ring with the white Montecristo logo. The aroma is amazing. Strong, cocoa and hay but mainly cocoa.


The cold draw is a bit tight. 2003 is a year where the tobacco wasn’t rushed through fermentation yet, but it was at the end of a period where a lot of new rollers were hired. And with new, unexperienced rollers and not enough quality control, the early 2000s are notorious for having a bad draw. The cold draw has a mild leathery and strong hay flavor. From the moment the cigar is lit, the flavors are soil and coffee with a hint of marzipan sweetness. After a few puffs, leather shows up. A centimeter in, the cigar tastes like leather with chocolate. There’s still some of the marzipan sweetness lingering around in the aftertaste. The cigar than turns to leather with toast and some salt. The flavors are mild, smooth and mild. This is a great morning cigar after a light breakfast. Halfway there’s a strong hazelnut flavor, with toast, leather, pepper, and green herbs. There’s chocolate too. The final third has pepper, wood, leather, toast, and nuts. It’s still smooth but the flavors are much stronger than in the beginning.


The draw is a bit on the tight side, but still acceptable. The ash is light gray and quite dense. But not firm at all, it breaks off easily. The smoke is thick for a Cuban cigar. And white. The burn is very straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. It starts out mild but grows to medium-full flavored. The smoke time is one hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? With 16 years of age? I would love to.

number90

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

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon. Roberto P. Duran has been in tobacco all of his life, and so have his ancestors. The family roots in tobacco trace back to the 1920s in Cuba. The Robert P. Duran brand might not be one of the first brands that pop up when you speak to cigar smokers in Europe or the USA. But the brand is very popular in South East Asia. It has a strong fan base in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Ministry of Cigars joined the CSWC qualifier in Kuala Lumpur. Inclusive of the ticket was a 5 count cigar caddy and a few cigars. This cigar, the Neya F8 Gringo was one of the cigars included in the package. It’s made by Nicatabaco and Robert P. Duran.

The cigar has an Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro wrapper. The fillers and binders are grown in Nicaragua. The wrapper is most likely from Duran’s own Azan plantation. The Duran family grows tobacco in Ecuador. The line was released in 2014, shortly after the Neya Classic line. The F8 is supposed to be the amped-up version of the Neya Classic. It replaces the Ecuador Habano wrapper with this Corojo Maduro. There are seven lines available, we are reviewing the 5×58 Gringo

The cigar looks good. A dark leathery wrapper with tooth and some veins. A beautiful deep blue ring with golden details and the drawing of a lady. The secondary ring shows the F8 logo and says Ligero typhoon. That promises some strength. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. Barnyard and burned wood is the smell of the cigar.

The cold draw is fantastic. And gives a slightly sweet espresso flavor. After lighting, the espresso is strong. The right amount of bitterness softened with some sweetness. It’s a great start. There’s also a hint of leather. The flavors remind me of old school coffee-flavored candy that I used to like as a kid. There’s also a little bit of pepper and some fruity acidity. After a while, the flavors change to toast, coffee, leather with that fruity aftertaste. Slowly the flavors become a little less strong and a little spicier. After a third, a mild vanilla taste is noticeable next to the spice and pepper. The flavors are strong yet mellow and smooth. With a creamy mouthfeel. The vanilla disappears again. Due to the big ring gauge, the cigar isn’t very dynamic, but the coffee, leather, wood, pepper, sweetness, and citrus mixture is very nice.


The draw is fantastic. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness. The burn is good. This is a strong cigar, yet balanced. Full-bodied, full-flavored. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box
number91

Categories: 91, Neya, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicatabaco | Tags: , , , ,

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