Costa Rican cigars

Xiphos CR Short Panatella

Xiphos, I read the name here and there in the cigar groups on Facebook but I didn’t really know much about the brand, the cigars, where they were made, blends, the idea behind the cigars. Until earlier this month, when I recieved a box from a very generous sender who wanted my opinion on the cigars. I got a nice jar with five different types of cigars, all in a pair and even three of these small Xiphos CR short panatella.


The CR Short Panatella is made in Costa Rica as you might have guessed from the CR in the name, in a place called Puriscal. Now my geography of Costa Rica is a bit rusty so I’ll google where that is after reviewing the cigar. The cigar is rolled Cuban sandwich style, 60% of the leaves used are longfiller, the remaining 40% is short filler. The filler consists for Peruvian, Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco with a Peruvian binder and Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador.


Just from looking at the wrapper you wouldn’t think its a Connecticut wrapper as it has a nice medium brown color and it’s quite oily and smooth. The ring is shiny, blue with silver decorations in Greek style and the Xiphos name in Greek letters. A nice detail, the X in Xiphos is made out of swords, and Xiphos is the greek word for sword. The construction feels good, no soft spots and the cigar bounces nice back when I gently squeeze it. The cigar has a nice fresh hay smell with a little acidity to it.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is perfect and I taste a like tea. After lighting with my Ronson varaflame I taste coffee, cinnamon and some cream. After a centimeter I taste a creamy cedar with a little lime. Halfway I also taste a little pepper. The pepper disappears while the cigar picks up a little strength, I still taste a creamy cedar flavor but now with a hint of vanilla in the aftertaste.


The draw is great, no flaws here. The amount of smoke is amazing from a small, short, Cuban sandwich cigar. The white ash isn’t that fork but that’s not expected from a thin Cuban sandwich. The burn is great. I would call this cigar mild to medium bodied and medium flavored, it’s smooth. The smoke time surprised me, much longer than I expected with an hour and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a great morning smoke.

Score:  90
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Categories: 90, Costa Rican cigars, Puriscal Factory of Tobaccos, Xiphos | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto

When I was a novice cigar smoker I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars from Costa Rica and always liked them. I reviewed quite a lot of them too but due to finding a job in the industry and having more cigars to smoke than is humanly possible and Vegas de Santiago not being available on the Dutch market I haven’t smoked one in years. Until now that is, I’m going to review the D8, made with undisclosed filler and an Ecuadorian binder and wrapper.


Why I went to the bottom of my humidor to grab this cigar? Pretty simple, I was talking with another cigar distributer in The Netherlands about employment and they asked me what brand I would suggest if they wanted something different and reasonably priced. I got them in touch with Vegas de Santiago and earlier this week I saw a post which suggested that Vegas de Santiago is coming to the Dutch market. Maybe I should have asked for a commission but that’s too late now (now please remind: this review has been written a few months ago, on may first, but I have a lot of unpublished reviews waiting to be published so there’s always a delay.


The Habano 2000 wrapper looks great, a medium dark brown but smooth looking wrapper with one medium flattened vein. The construction feels great with a nice cap and a beautifully rounded head. The ring is classic, white with a red centre, golden and black lines and letters but well printed. The cigar had a nice, medium strong, manure aroma.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping a cigar. The cold draw is perfect with a raw tobacco and mild peppery taste. I immediately taste a nice dose of full coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame. After a third I taste a buttery, creamy wood with pepper. Halfway I taste wood, herbs, spices and a little pepper, all mild creamy. Soon after it’s buttery wood with pepper. The final third star with walnuts and pepper, still a little buttery creamy.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke could be a little thicker but the volume is good. Later the smoke gets thicker. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with good evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked this cigar a lot.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Bespoke Salomone

Before the Bespoke brand was released in The Netherlands the distributer handed some samplers to a few of his resellers and one of them, my friend Berry, owner of Van Lookeren in Amsterdam, gave me this Costa Rican made salomone to try.
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I love the shape and the milky chocolate colored wrapper has a few veins. I spot a little damage and I feel a soft spot in the middle and the tip is a bit crooked. The aroma is pleasant. The cigar band needs some work, what’s on that black band? It’s a drawing of a fan, but with what? The predraw is fine, sweet with quite some pepper.
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I light the cigar and direct after the tip I have to relight. I taste white pepper with some wood. The pepper slowly fades away and a little bit of leather appears. It is a nice combination with the wood and after three centimeter I also taste some citrus.
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After a third I taste a mild pepper, leather, wood an toast. The leather slowly grows and the citrus returns. The flavors are very subtle. It’s leather and toast, pepper and citrus with a slowly growing toast. The last third starts with toast and some leather, the white pepper is gone but slowly reappears, and slowly grows stronger, just as the leather. At the end it’s a nice mixture of the toast, leather and pepper.
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The draw is fine but I also get false air. I get enough smoke which is medium thick. The silver gray ash isn’t too firm but the burn is sharp, only at the end I have to correct once. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored and lasted me for two hours.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I would if it wasn’t €12,80 fixed price here.

Appearance: 8
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 8
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 8
Aroma third part: 8

Categories: Bespoke, Costa Rican cigars, Tabaccos de Costa Rica | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Don Ursulo figurado

A few years ago I got in touch with Don Ursulo from Costa Rica and he send me a sampler of his cigars to try. I smoked the c-blend sublime and the toro from the black series before and when I noticed this figurado on the bottom of my cooler I decided to light and review it too.
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This 6¼ x 52 cigar has a nice shape. The smallest part of the cigar has a 34 ring and the thickest part is a ring 52. The cigar has a shiny and oily wrapper which is pretty dark and has a few veins. The construction feels good. The predraw was tough so I used my draw tool to get some air through the cigar. I taste tobacco with raisin and pepper. The cigar has a nice sweet peppery wood smell.
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I taste some nuts and wood. The feeling in my mouth is dry. After an inch I also taste some chocolate, but that disappears quickly. The wood becomes a bit stronger than the nuts.
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Halfway the nut flavor disappears completely except in the aftertaste where I can clearly taste walnuts and hazelnuts.
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The smoke time is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes, but I tossed the cigar after two hours as 2 hours is long enough for a cigar. I had a hard time getting any draw but once the foot of the cigar was completely burned open the draw was fine. After about 90 minutes of smoking I cut another quarter of an inch of the foot as it was too wet with my saliva. The burn is great and I got a decent amount of smoke. The light colored ash is quite frayed but firm. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I believe this blend is no longer made, get them while you can!

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Don Ursulo, Tabacalera Don Ursulo | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Vegas de Santiago Palmas torpedo

I thought I had smoked all Vegas de Santiago cigars in the past, but when Rudi send me this sampler that I’ve smoked the last couple of days I discovered the Palmas, a blend I never heard off and couldn’t find on the website and that made me very curious. I had the power to give the cigar quite some rest but today I just had to smoke it. I expect it to be something different from the other Vegas de Santiago smokes, as the band is completely different.
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The wrapper is a bit pale and has a lot of veins, but it is also oily. The construction feels good and the cigar has a pretty strong smell of wood. The predraw is fine and I taste tobacco.
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I taste a peppery and dry wood flavor with coffee and after half an inch some creamy but dry chocolate joins the party while the coffee disappears. After a third I taste a strong herbal flavor, mild creamy and quite spicy.

Halfway I taste wood and herbs and some time later some chocolate again. The chocolate disappears after two thirds and all I taste after that are wood and herbs.
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The smoke time of this 6×52 torpedo is an hour and a half. I got a decent amount of smoke, which is very thick. The draw is good just like the burn. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I liked these, but can’t find them on the website. It all depends on availability and price.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Vegas de Santiago originales torpedo

And yet another revisit of a Vegas de Santiago torpedo that I smoked about 3 years ago, the 6×52 Originales. This cigar was also part of the sampler that I bombed about 20 of my friends and that showed up at my doorstep, courtesy of Vegas de Santiago owner Rudi. These Originales are a blend of Costa Rican ligero with Nicaraguan tobacco.
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The wrapper is mocha colored, oily, shiny and has a few thin and long veins. The construction feels good but the predraw, which tastes like dry raisin, wood and a mild pepper, is too loose.

I taste a spicy but dry wood, full flavored, which slowly gets spicier. After a third I taste more herbal flavors with wood, spices and a sweetness.
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Halfway I taste some earth too with the flavors mentioned before. Near the end the cigar gets a pepper flavor that grows strong, really strong.

Due to the loose draw, this cigar only lasted for an hour. The smoke was reasonable thick and I got it in a reasonable amount. The light colored ash is quite firm. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I like the puros and chaman better, but I might order some of these too.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 6 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Vegas de Santiago secretos del maestra torpedo

I used to smoke a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars but hadn’t ordered in a while, so owner Rudy send me a 2 cigar sampler of his latest blend, Don Luis “los maestros del secretos” with a H2000 wrapper to renew my interest in these Costa Rican manufacturers.
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This 6 x 53 torpedo has a nice chocolate brown, smooth and oily wrapper with a few thin veins. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma. The band is nice and simple, black & gold (there is also a Don Luis with a black & white band but that’s the Ecuadorian Connecticut version, the black & gold has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper). The construction feels good and so is the peppery predraw.

I taste dry hay and a faint metallic flavor with some freshness and a hint of chocolate. After an inch the flavors change to dry wood with earthy notes and a mild chocolate aftertaste. Halfway the flavors change to a full chocolate flavor with some herbs on the background.
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At ⅔ I also get some pepper with the chocolate and herbs. The herbal flavors take over and become dominant. The pepper disappears after purging and the chocolate changes into a mint like freshness.

Smoke time: 1 hour and 45 minutes. The smoke is a bit thin, but I get enough smoke from the cigar so I won’t complain about that. The draw and burn are good. The light gray ash is quite firm. This cigar is medium to full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, these cigars are nice and very friendly priced.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Vegas de Santiago Chaman torpedo

And yet another Vegas de Santiago revisit, this time I revisited the Vegas de Santiago Chaman, which I reviewed back in 2007. I revisited it because I decided to break open the sampler Rudi send me, as explained in yesterdays review of the Vegas de Santiago puro torpedo. This cigar has the same size as the Puros, 6×52.
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I like the band, simple but stylish. The wrapper of this cigar is smooth and silky, light colored and only has a few thin veins. The construction feels good. The predraw is fine too and I taste raisin with a mild pepper. The cigar has a wood smell.
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I taste coffee with some pepper on the top of my tongue. The coffee turns into an earthy flavor. The pepper disappears and I taste a mild chocolate on the background. The flavors remind me of a Cuban cigar. If this was a blind tasting, this part of the cigar would definitely put me on the wrong track. The flavors are dry and almost powdery, both the earth flavor and the chocolate.
100831vegasdesantiagochamantorpedo3The dry powdery earth and chocolate flavors don’t change for a while and then, somewhere between midway and two thirds the flavors change into wood and earth, the chocolate has gone and the cigar doesn’t taste like a Cuban anymore, although it is still very nice (I don’t go with that ‘Cubans are better than non Cubans’ stigma). Near the end the cigar gets more spicy and peppery.
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The smoke time of this torpedo is an hour and twenty five minutes. I got lots of smoke that was reasonable thick. The silvergray ash is quite firm. The draw is good and the burn is even better. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I might, seems like I like them better now then I did 3 years ago

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Vegas de Santiago puros torpedo *revisited*

This Vegas de Santiago puros torpedo was one of my favorite daily cigars when I started smoking and I reviewed back in the day. I still light one every now and then. They are affordable and nice. And about a year and a half ago I exchanged some mails with Rudi about sampler, when I decided to bomb 18 of my American friends with a Vegas de Santiago sampler. Rudi gave me a great deal on the sampler, which contained torpedo of all the 5 different blends that Vegas de Santiago released so far. Much to my surprise, one of those samplers arrived at my doorstep as Rudi found it appropriate to thank me for bringing business to his company and sending his cigars to my friends of whom most never heard of Vegas de Santiago before.
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The cigar is a 6×52 torpedo with a maduro wrapper, packed in cellophane. The torpedo has a nice shape and contains a few veins. The construction feels good and the cigar has a deep barnyard smell. I like the simple band, nothing fancy but it tells you all you need to know. The predraw is good and I taste a mild spicy tobacco.
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I taste a pleasant but dry wood flavor with some mild bitter coffee. After an inch the coffee turns into an earth flavor.

Some time later I taste mainly wood, dry but pleasant with a mild chocolate in the aftertaste and some herbal spiciness. Halfway and further it is only herbs and wood, the chocolate has gone and won’t return.
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The smoke time of this cigar is an hour and a half. The draw and burn are good and I get a decent amount of medium thick smoke. The ash of this full flavored and medium full bodied cigar is firm
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Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few left, but once they are gone I will order a new bundle.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tabacos Exclusivos corona

A friend gave me this cigar that is supposedly only for sale on the local Costa Rican market and to be honest, I couldn’t find any information about the brand on the internet, so he is probably right.
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The cigar has a milk chocolate colored wrapper with lots of veins. The cigar 6.6 x 42 feels a bit hard but evenly hard everywhere. The predraw is fine and I get a mild pepper flavor from it. The whole aroma of the cigar is a bit peppery too.
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I taste a medium full, dry coffee flavor and after a few puffs a nice chocolate flavor joins the palate. After an inch I get a hay flavor while the coffee and chocolate disappear.
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The flavors fade away for a moment but return pretty soon with a peppery hay flavor with some chocolate. The flavors are quite sticky. After the mid of the cigar the flavors grow to full and I taste some earthy notes with pepper and the chocolate. The hay is gone and the aftertaste turned to a nut flavor. The nut flavor slowly becomes the dominant flavor with just a hint of pepper. Near the end the pepper disappears and all I taste is nuts.
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The draw is a bit tight. This cigar is medium to full flavored and medium bodied with a nice light colored ash. I get a nice amount of smoke and the burn is good.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I might if I ever get to Costa Rica.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 6 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacos Exclusivos | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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