Cuban cigars

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia. That is a mouth full. Earlier this year Pacific Cigar Company, the second-largest Habanos distributor in the world, released this cigar. It is the first regional edition for Malaysia ever. And only the fourth time that Pacific Cigar Company made a regional edition for one country in their territory instead of an Asian Pacifico regional. Only Taiwan and Hong Kong had that honor, Hong Kong twice. And it is also the first time that Pacific Cigar Company is using San Cristobal de la Habana as the brand for a regional edition.

The cigar itself is a format only used for one other cigar, the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill. The factory name is Montesco, with a 5⅛x55 size. Habanos and PCC have released 8888 boxes of 10 cigars. And while that may sound like a weird number, it is not. There is a large Chinese population in Malaysia and in Chinese culture 8 is a number that stands for prosperity and wealth. Plus the cigars are also available in Hong Kong, where Pacific Cigars has its headquarters and a few lounges.

The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a thin vein. The triple cap is placed perfectly. The cigar has the brown, yellow, and gold San Cristobal de La Habana band with the classic red, white, and silver exclusivo band. As we understand that Habanos likes uniformity in the exclusivo bands we get that they all have the same design. But often they don’t match with the regular ring, as is the case with this cigar. The construction feels good. For the last few years, Cuba has been improving the construction quality and it pays off. The cigar has a mild, yet deep aroma of manure and barnyard. There is no ammonia smell, which was kind of expected since it’s a young cigar.

The cold draw is fine and quite spicy. The first puffs are typical Cuban, old school. Soil, leather, and coffee. Then a strong wood shows up, not cedar but a stronger wood flavor. There is also a hint of citrus. Then there are spices, gingerbread spices, with cedar, soil, and leather. The leather and earthiness remain. But some salt, pepper, and nuts show up too. All quite nuanced and refined for a young cigar. There is no harshness at all. The second third has more power and strength. More pepper, with wood, nuts, and leather. The cigar gets more of a bite. One or two years of aging would improve this part of the cigar. The retrohale brings dark spices to the front. The final third has a nice mixture of spices, with nuts, soil, and leather. All in balance. The aftertaste has some pepper. Towards the end, pepper picks up a lot.

The draw is fine, but as said before, it’s been a focus of Cubatabaco for the last few years. Draw issues are less common than a few years ago. There are some burn issues though. The ash is dark but firm. It leaves a nice cone. The smoke is okay but could have been a bit thicker. The cigar is young and will improve with some aging. But this isn’t a cigar to age for more than 5 to 7 years is our expectation. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the insane price they are asking

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, San Cristobal de la Habana (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

Fonseca Delicias 2014

Fonseca Delicias 2014. A review of the same blend and size as our review recently. But from a different vintage. And the reason for this is a conversation with a fellow cigar enthusiast about the aging of cigars. Our conversation partner says that the Fonseca Delicias get stronger with age, unlike any other cigar. That’s worthy of a test. So last Friday’s review was a young cigar from 2019. The review of today’s Fonseca Delicias is a cigar with a production date of 2014.

Thanks to La Casa del Habano Kuala Lumpur we were able to get one Fonseca Delicias from 2014 and once from 2019. The Fonseca Delicias is a pre-1960 vitola, but it’s only a premium handmade cigar since 2002. Before it was a machine-made petit corona. The cigar measures 4 ⅞x40. Unfortunately, we do not have the box code, so we can’t say from which factory or which month this cigar came. We only know it’s a cigar from 2014.

What goes for the 2019 version goes for the 2014 version as well. The cigar is not visible due to the white wax paper. The ring is on the outside of the paper, so once you remove the paper it is a naked cigar. Compared to the sample from last Friday, this wrapper has more veins. The color is also a little dull. But the construction feels better. The aroma is mild, with a bit of an old, dry wood smell.

The cold draw is fine, with a nice dose of pepper. After lighting there is a hint of coffee but the main flavor is honey. There is a hint of wood and some white pepper. The sweetness continues to be dominant, but in the background, there’s wood, spices, and leather. There is a bit more pepper in the flavor profile than in the younger version. After a third, there is a wood flavor with sweetness. But it is a bit dry and dusty. There is also a hint of pepper. There is less balance but more character than in the younger version of this cigar. It is still a sweet cigar, but not as overly sweet. The sweetness is no longer honey, but more sugar syrup. In the retrohale, there are a few green herbs. There is a hint of vanilla. Some citrus shows up as well. The wood and leather return, but the sweetness remains the base of this cigar. Near the end, there is leather, pepper, and marzipan sweetness.

The draw is fine. The smoke is good. The ash is light in color and firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. It is slightly stronger than the younger Fonseca Delicias, but it remains a medium cigar at most. There is definitely more character in the older version. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, they are cheap and pleasant.

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

Fonseca Delicias 2019

Fonseca Delicias 2019. Not too long ago, Ministry of Cigars was talking to a fellow cigar enthusiast about the aging of cigars. And how some cigars age well, others don’t. That some blends are great for aging, and others aren’t. One thing that came up was that aging mellows cigars over the years. Our conversation partner said that only with the Fonseca Delicias he feels it’s different. That these cigars are stronger with a few years of age. This sounds intriguing, so we are putting it to the test.

Thanks to La Casa del Habano Kuala Lumpur we were able to get one Fonseca Delicias from 2014 and once from 2019. The Fonseca Delicias is a pre-1960 vitola, but it’s only a premium handmade cigar since 2002. Before it was a machine-made petit corona. The cigar measures 4 ⅞x40. Unfortunately, we do not have the box code, so we can’t say from which factory or which month this cigar came. We only know it’s a cigar from 2019.

At first, you can’t see the cigar because of the wax paper. This is the only Cuban marca that comes in was paper. And even one of the sizes of the Nicaraguan Fonseca by My Father Cigars comes in wax paper as a tribute to the Cuban version. The ring is red, golden, and white. Classic in style and shape. The ring is around the wax paper so once it’s removed, the cigar is naked. The wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban cigar. There are a few veins, but nothing thick or ugly. The cigar feels a bit hard. There is an earthy smell to the cigar with a little bit of ammonia.

The cold draw is tight. With a bit of a dark spice flavor. Once lit the draw is fine. There is a leathery coffee flavor with some cloves. The flavor then turns to mud, with a thick mouthfeel and a bit of sweetness. The sweetness is enhanced in the retrohale. A little pepper shows up in the same retrohale. The sweetness is mild, yet still the strongest flavor. The cigar is a bit creamy. The sweetness is still there halfway with some pepper and spice. Vanilla and pepper take over, with a hint of wood. The evolution is subtle. In the end, the cigar gains a bit more pepper, more strength, and there is even a nutty flavor.

The draw is fine. But the silver-gray ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is mild and smooth. Quite sweet. An early morning cigar. Not a cigar to blow your mind, but pleasant. It fits the price range. The smoke is fine. The burn is great, nothing to complain about. The cigar is mild to medium in body. The flavor is medium. The smoke time is one hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar to start the day

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

H Upmann Magnum 56 Edicion Limitada 2015

H Upmann Magnum 56 Edicion Limitada 2015. This Cuban marca and vitola recently made a comeback in a jar. But the original release is an edicion limitada and that is the one we are reviewing. It is the only Cuban cigar with this specific size of 5⅞x56.

As is the case with any Cuban cigar, the blend only consists of Cuban tobacco. All younger than 3 years otherwise it would be a reserva or gran reserva. But it is a limited edition, so according to Habanos, higher quality of tobacco is used for this production.

The cigar looks thick and big. The dark wrapper helps, and the few veins make it look like a mean powerhouse. If this cigar was a guy at a bar, you would not pick a fight with him just on appearance. The triple cap looks great and the embossing on the ring is a nice touch. The construction feels good. The woody aroma is mild.

The cold draw is very loose, easy. Something not very Cubaneqsue. The first puff is in your face. Wood, leather, soil, coffee, and sweetness. And there is some spice in the aftertaste. The flavor mellows out to a nice cedar, earthy, and coffee. There is a little pepper in the aftertaste. The second third starts with a dry mouthfeel. Leather, cedar, and hay. Even in a blind smoke, it would be clear that this is a Cuban cigar. Halfway the cigar is all about toast. The spice and pepper pick up in the final third, but even then it is possible to retrohale.

The draw is easy, maybe too easy. But the cigar gives plenty of nice, thick smoke. The burn is straight. Even after leaving the cigar for a couple of minutes, there was no reason to relight. The ash is on the darker side of the color scheme. It is a medium-bodied cigar, medium-full on the flavor spectrum. The smoke time is two hours twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was not bad, but I can get better for less.

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cohiba Lancero

Cohiba Lancero. These Cohibas come in two varieties. One as a diplomatic gift and as a regular production cigar. But the question is, are they exactly the same? To figure that out, I grabbed Cohiba Lanceros from a Diplomatic box and from a regular production box. Both with the same box code date of June 2020. And both from the El Laguito factory.

With the diplomatic version smoked, reviewed, and published last Monday, it is now time for the regular production version. This 7½x38 classic and elegant cigar consists of Cuban tobacco, all from the Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Rio. It was the first Cohiba size and Fidel Castro’s personal favorite. Even in a market that’s favoring bigger ring gauges, the Cohiba Lancero remains a cigar with a lot of attraction. Due to the history, it is here to stay. This is the only regular production Lancero from Habanos together with the Montecristo Especial.

Compared to the diplomatic version of this cigar, the look is not as good. The band is the same, with the same security features. But the wrapper itself has more veins and looks rougher. The Colorado color is nice though. The cigar feels a little softer than the Diplomatic one. The aroma is stronger. Barnyard and manure.

The cold draw is a bit of a struggle. There is air coming through the cigar but the resistance is more than it would be in a perfect situation. There is a dry, mild spicy wood flavor. Once lit the cigar releases a mildly sweet coffee and leather flavor. The leather really shines in the retrohale. The mouthfeel is dry, due to the leather and a little bit of sourness. Then a bit of white pepper shows up. There is also a slightly nutty flavor and baking spices. Leather and smooth nuts are the main flavors, but it’s mild and soft. Slightly creamy even. The second third starts with subtle leather, coffee, a bit of earthiness, nuttiness, and baking spices. So far the flavor profile is quite similar to the diplomatic version. The sweet baking spices that were so pleasant in the diplomatic version are appearing in this cigar as well. With some pepper at the halfway mark. Smooth, subtle, and elegant. And it all comes together with a little bit of citrus. The cream has a bit of a vanilla flavor. The nuttiness and pepper get a bit stronger.

The actual draw is good, better than the cold draw. Just as with the diplomatic version, the ash isn’t strong. It breaks off easily. The ash is a bit lighter in color though. The smoke is quite thin. The burn is straight. This is a medium cigar in both body and flavor. Subtle, smooth, and pleasant. The flavor profile between this cigar and the diplomatic one from the Monday review are so similar that it’s safe to say that both are the same. Since the cigar is a little softer, there is a bit of tar built up that didn’t occur in the other lancero. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would smoke one again, but it is an expensive cigar.

Categories: 90, Cohiba (Habanos), Cuban cigars, El Laguito | Tags: , , , ,

Cohiba Lancero Diplomatic Gift

Cohiba Lancero Diplomatic Gift. Everybody who knows a bit about Cuban cigars knows that Cohiba was the brand of Fidel Castro. And that the lancero was his vitola of choice. For the first 18 years of the brand, it was not available commercially. Cohiba cigars were for Cuban officials and diplomatic gifts. Now the brand is commercially available, even in the famous and classic Lancero size. But that does not mean that the Cuban government has another diplomatic gift. Cohiba Lancero is still the gift of choice but in a different box. The question is, are these the same regular production cigars or is it a different blend? Let’s find out.

Through sources, I managed to get Cohiba Lancero cigars from a diplomatic box, with a box code of June 2020 and regular production Cohiba Lancero with the same box code. The review of the regular production will follow this Friday. Both cigars are made at El Laguito, the famous Cohiba factory. The size is exactly the same, the ring is the same. And I suspect that the blend is the same, but we will know in a few days.

A lancero always looks elegant. The slender posture of such a classic size is such a refreshing change from the fat cigars that dominate humidors and sales nowadays. And when that elegant cigar comes with a small pigtail it is a bonus. Add a nice Colorado color wrapper, smooth and clean and you have an eye-catcher. The Cohiba band is a work of art, with many security features to help cigar enthusiasts from getting scammed by counterfeiters. More on that in our series on fake Cubans and on our series about Vrijdag Premium Printing. There aren’t any knots noticeable. But the aroma is very faint, a little barnyard, that’s it

The cold draw is a bit tights and quite spicy for a Cuban cigar. Once the cigar is lit, there is coffee and leather. But that specific Cuban coffee and leather flavor just cannot be copied, just like Cuban cigar cannot copy specific flavors from other countries. There is also pepper. Some sweetness and some sourness show up. The sourness makes the mouth feel dry. The retrohale is soil. When the ash breaks after just a centimeter, a nutty flavor appears. At the end of the first third, there are dark spices with some pepper. Still with coffee. The second third mellows out a bit. A nice mixture of coffee with some caramel sweetness. But also dark spices and hay. All smooth and well balanced. The mixture of baking spices with white pepper makes this cigar very enjoyable. There are some sweetness and some citrus acidity to balance everything.

The draw is very good. The burn is great and the smoke is fine as well. The dark ash is fragile though, it won’t hold for more than one centimeter. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. There are nuance and balance. Just like the shape, the flavors are elegant. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would smoke one again, but it is an expensive cigar.

Categories: 90, Cohiba (Habanos), Cuban cigars, El Laguito | Tags: , , , ,

Romeo y Julieta Tacos Edicion Limitada 2018

Romeo y Julieta Tacos Edicion Limitada 2018. When we hear the word tacos, we don’t automatically think about cigars. On the contrary, we don’t think of cigars at all. We think of the tasty Mexican dish. Yet Habanos called the 2018 Limited Edition of Romeo y Julieta ‘Tacos’. Maybe they hope it is just as delicious?

The cigar measures 6⅝x49 and is a Grand Corona, almost a Churchill in size. When it was released, the price per cigar in The Netherlands was 18 euro. Which isn’t cheap, but not overly expensive for a Cuban Edicion Limitada either. The cigar we are reviewing today comes from La Casa del Habano Almere in The Netherlands

The cigar looks elegant because of the size. The wrapper has a nice dark shade for a Cuban cigar, yet it isn’t smooth. The veins stick out. And as most of the time, the two different rings don’t really match. The classic, classy Romeo y Julieta ring with a bolder, less classy edicion limitada ring. The construction feels fine. A bit hard, but evenly hard. The aroma is classic Cuban, manure, and cedar.

The cold draw is a little tight. It is quite spicy for a Cuban cigar. The first flavors are green herbs, leather, and a little acidity. The flavors then change to toasted bread. The toast gets a little stronger with some vanilla sweetness. Still, in the first third, the cigar turns to cedar with some sweetness. Halfway the cedar and vanilla are a bit stronger, with a little bit of white pepper. The final third starts with cedar, soil, leather, sweetness, and vanilla. More floral notes show up. The cigar gains more strength and flavor. More spice also.

The draw is a little tight, but that’s normal with Cuban cigars. The ash is light-colored with dark smears. The smoke is decent. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium cigar in both body and flavor. This cigar took two hours and thirty minutes to smoke.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Categories: 88, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos) | Tags: , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, a cigar for the Chinese zodiac calendar. For the Year of the Ox. It is the second official Habanos release for the Chinese zodiac calendar after the Romeo y Julieta Maravillas. Although the Spanish distributor tested the water a year earlier with a Cohiba Robusto in special packaging. Since the Ox is a strong animal, it is kind of surprising that Habanos went for one of the milder cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey, and not for a bold Bolivar. My expectations are low, as I never liked Hoyo de Monterrey.

The size is a Hermosos No.1, a size that is not used for any regular production. I received the cigar from Pacific Cigar Company after being invited to the world wide virtual premiere of the cigar. The special packaging for this even included a beautiful cardboard tube with Chinese prints. But the cigars for commercial release come in a stunning box. A box worthy of a display and up to par, or even better looking, than the Behike packaging.

There are rumors that Cuba has a problem with growing wrappers for the last few years. And that that is the reason why larger cigars are so hard to find, as production numbers are low due to the shortage of wrappers. And looking at the wrapper of this Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, it could be true. The wrapper isn’t what you’d expect from a limited, expensive Habanos release. It’s a little rough, with lots of small veins. The wrapper also lacks oil. It has the classic Hoyo de Monterrey band with a red and golden ‘Year of the Ox’ foot band. The cigar feels a little spongy. The aroma is mild, wood and sawdust are the smells.

The cold draw is good. It has a bit of a salty peanut flavor. The first puffs are typical Cuban. It’s that Cuban leather that you can’t get in any cigar from anywhere else. There’s also a little bit of coffee in the flavor profile and some honey. Slowly some herbal and peppery flavors introduce themselves. The cigar slowly gains some strength. For a Hoyo de Monterrey, this is quite a strong cigar although it’s still nothing compared to full body Cubans such as Bolivar, Partagas, or even Cohiba. For the fans of Nicaraguan cigars, this is a medium body at max. The second third starts with that Cuban leather again, with a little soil, coffee, and pepper. here is also a wood flavor, but it’s not cedar. And a mild sweetness that comes close to honey. In the final third, the sweetness gets more pronounced and there is a nutty flavor. Slowly more pepper shows up as well. The cigar also has a herbal freshness. The finale is strong, much stronger than any regular production Hoyo de Monterrey.

The ash is silver-gray like the hair of an elderly gentleman. It’s not too firm though. The draw is fantastic. It is obvious that Cubatabaco and Habanos really invested in improving the quality of the rollers and quality control in the last few years. Plugged Habanos aren’t as common as they used to be. The burn is a little wonky but corrects itself every time. The smoke is good. The cigar is medium in body and flavor with a strong finish. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes

Would I smoke this cigar again? No, even though this is an enjoyable Hoyo de Monterrey, it is too darn expensive.

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

Montecristo Dantes Edicion Limitada 2016

Montecristo Dantes Edicion Limitada 2016. Even though this cigar is part of the 2016 Edicion Limitada program, it is actually a 2017 release. More often than not, special releases by Habanos come to the market with a delay of a year or more. Since the cigar for this review was purchased as a single a few years ago, the exact box code with the manufacturing date isn’t known.

The cigar is a Grand Corona with the Cuban factory name Hermoso No.1. It measures 6⅝x48. It is a size that is not in use for any Habanos regular production. San Cristobal de La Habana had three different releases in this size from 2004 till 2009. Romeo y Julieta’s Edicion Limitada 2003 is this size. And the Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras 18 for the Chinese year of the Ox is this size.

The cigar looks rough, but that might be the traveling and being stored without cellophane in a full humidor. The wrapper itself is smooth though, Colorado colored and oily. The triple cap is flawless. Due to the gold in the Montecristo logo, the Edicion Limitada ring does not clash appearance-wise. The aroma is mild with hints of hay and wood.

The cold draw is good. It releases dark spices and hay. The first puffs are slightly bitter from coffee but with green herbs. A little salty as well. Slowly some sweetness shows up, but with a salty undertone. There’s also classic Cuban leather. The taste does bite the tongue a little though. Some hay shows up, the leather remains with some green herbs. The cigar is quite boring, one dimensional. After a third, the flavors pick up a little. Wood, soil, coffee with green herbs. The tongue bite is gone. Dark spices show up as well. A mild cocoa flavor follows, with some sort of licorice. Walnuts, leather, and spices push the other flavors away. The cigar is picking up in strength and flavor. It gets more character and depth. Cinnamon, leather, wood, and pepper. A slight hazelnut flavor shows up as well. The last third is really enjoyable.

The draw is fine. The burn is pretty good too. The ash is salt and pepper colored. A stack of dimes structure, but a loose stack. It drops often and won’t make long ash. The light blue smoke is decent in volume and thickness. The cigar starts quite mellow and boring. But the cigar gains in flavor, strength, and character. Overall the strength is medium but grows to full, and so is the body. The smoke time is two and a half hours

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I enjoyed it but I can get the same enjoyment out of cheaper cigars.

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, Montecristo (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

Partagas Serie P No. 2

Partagas Serie P No. 2. And Serie is a little bit of an overexaggerating here. As this is the only regular production size in the ‘series’. The Series P is a 2005 release, in this size, and this size only. It comes in boxes of 10 and boxes of 25. There is one other release with this blend. That is a 5×50 Petit Pyramid, only available in jars for the travel and duty-free market. And as far as we know, it’s a limited edition. So the Partagas Serie isn’t a series, but a one-off. The Petit Pyramid is a 2009 release. In the last 15 years, no other sizes of the Partagas Serie P have surfaced.

As always with Cubatabaco and Habanos, the cigar is a Cuban puro. That means the filler, binder, and wrapper are all from the island. This cigar was purchased as a single cigar, without looking at the box code. Therefore it’s a mystery in what factory this cigar is made. In Cuba production of brands is spread over several factories. It’s not one factory for one brand or two brands. But any brand can be made in a whole group of factories. The production month and date are unknown too. But it’s at least a year old.

The cigar doesn’t really look good. Colorado colored wrapper with small veins. But one nasty looking vein om the back. The ring is the same as the iconic Partagas Serie D ring. Red with gold letters. Something Partagas copied from Condega, not the other way around as many people think. The cigar feels a bit hard. The tip is a little crooked. Overall not the best looking cigar. But also not so bad that it looks unsmokable. The aroma is mild yet nice. Floral, fresh linen, those kinds of flavors. Like a hamper full of freshly washed clothes.

The cold draw is great. The freshness of the aroma is represented in the cold draw. Floral, minty. Once lit, the cigar tells a different story. Leather, dry leather. Although there is some floral flavor as well. And some spice. Brown spices grow in strength, with some cedar, leather, and earthiness. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy. After a third, the cigar gets more floral sweetness and even a hint of vanilla. Combine that with cedar, brown spices, and a little bit of orange peel acidity, and that’s what this cigar gives. The cedar, smooth and creamy, gets more pronounced. There is a hint of black pepper, floral notes, and toast. The flavors increase in strength a little, but not much.

The draw is great. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is thick enough, there is volume enough, nothing to complain about when it comes to smoke. The cigar starts out mellow, mild. Mild bodied, which is not common for the medium to medium-full Partagas blend. And mild flavored. That raises the question of whether this is an aged, or even vintage, cigar. The cigar remains smooth until the end. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

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

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

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