Cuban cigars

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: , , , , , ,

Saint Luis Rey Herfing exclusivo Medio Oriente

Saint Luis Rey Herfing exclusivo Medio Oriente. That is the 2017 Regional Edition for the Middle East. Even though this cigar is part of the 2017 Regional Edition program, the cigar is available since 2019. It is limited to 7500 boxes of 10 cigars. Saint Luis Rey is an 80-year-old brand with only one regular production vitola. It is used for some regional editions though. Until 1993, the brand was only available on the English market and it was created by a British firm. It is considered one of the fuller Cuban Marcas with tobaccos from the Vuelta Abajo and the Semi Vuelta regions.

The size of the Saint Luis Rey Herfin exclusivo Medio Oriente is 5½x54. This is Robusto Extra size, but Habanos calls it Duke. It’s only the 8th time that this size is produced. The only regular production size in this vitola is Partagas Serie E #2. All the other releases are limited editions or regional editions. The Partagas Serie E #2 is a 2011 release. The other releases are Romeo y Julieta Duke (2009) and Bolivar Soberanos (2018) as limited editions. The French market saw the Ramon Allones Hexagone as the 2016 Regional Edition. That same year, The Netherlands had the La Gloria Cubana Platino. This Saint Luis Rey Herfing is from the 2017 Regional Edition program. From the 2018 Regional Edition program, the Punch Duke (Mexico) and Quai d’ Orsay Baalbeck (Lebanon) come in this vitola.

The wrapper looks nice. It is quite dry, it feels like fine sandpaper. The color is nice, Colorado brown. The construction feels good. The Saint Luis Rey ring never stood out from the crown, red with gold and white letters. The crown on the center of the ring is just a big blur. The secondary ring is the iconic regional edition ring and doesn’t match with the regular ring. The cigar has a nice, medium strong aroma. Barnyard with forest aromas is released.

The cold draw is great, with a nice yet spicy floral flavor. After lighting the cigar releases spice, cedar, leather, coffee, and some black pepper. It’s all leather, wood, coffee, and earthiness in the beginning, with a little pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. There’s a little nut flavor, with hay, pepper, salt, leather, and wood. After a third, the cigar turns more floral with softwood. The walnut flavor gains strength, just as the black pepper. The nuts and pepper remain dominant, with support of wood. There’s also some salt.

The draw is loose, too loose. Although it improves along the way. That creates a wonky burn. It’s hard to keep this cigar lit in the beginning. The ash is dark but relatively firm. This cigar is medium-full bodied and medium-full flavored. The smoke is good. Not quite refined or nuanced although that changes after a third. The smoke time is three hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s quite expensive so no, but I enjoyed it.

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, Saint Luis Rey (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Royal Robusto. A cigar that was first born in 2011 and exclusively available at the La Casa del Habano franchise stores all around the world. It’s a staple since and has a good reputation within the world of Habano lovers. And it was about time that review another H. Upmann cigar, this Royal Robusto seems a good choice.

Like all Habanos, this is a cigar entirely made of Cuban tobacco. A puro, with wrapper, binder, and filler from the beautiful Caribbean island. It measures 5⅜x52 and that makes it an Edmundo. In Cuba, cigars have a factory name and an “outside” name. For the outside world, this is a Robusto, yet in the factories, it’s an Edmundo. A size that is best known for the Montecristo.

The wrapper is wrinkled like an old lady. Or your fingertips after spending too much time in a bathtub. But it has some shine to it from the oil. Even though the red of the secondary ring isn’t exactly the same as the red in the classic H. Upmann logo, the rings don’t clash. The construction of the cigar feels good. The aroma is mild floral.

The cold draw is good and has a b.t of a floral flavor. Lit the cigar releases sweetness with floral flavors and creamy coffee. There is a little salty undertone as well. The sweetness turns to vanilla. But there is also a little bit of pepper. After a third, some nutty flavor is the most dominant. There is also cedar, floral notes, and sweetness. Close to the final third, sweetness and cedar grow in strength.

The draw is fantastic. The burn is good and the cigar releases a nice amount of smoke. The ash is quite dark but relatively firm. The cigar is well constructed. The flavors are balanced, well rounded, and smooth. This is probably a cigar with a few years of age on it. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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

Bolivar Libertador Edición Francia

Bolivar Libertador Edición Francia. This cigar is released three times. First in 2006 as an edicion regional for France. A year later, another batch was released, also for the French market. This particular cigar hails from the second release. Those releases came in boxes of 10 or dress boxes of 25. The cigar that we smoke for this review comes from a dress box of 25. In 2013, the cigar returned as a semi-regular production but exclusively for the La Casa del Habano franchise stores. The La Casa del Habano version only comes in ten-count boxes though.

I was gifted this beautiful, fat cigar by a friend. We were smoking a cigar pairing it with Cohiba cognac by Martell at his beautiful home. He brought out a box of these beauties and said “why don’t you do a review of these”. A task we happily accepted. The 6½x54 Sublimes has a reputation, and we had never smoked one. So to be able to review a vintage version is an opportunity we could not pass.

The cigar looks good. A nice, evenly colored wrapper. Just one vein. But the wrapper looks dry. Not dry as in no moisture, but dry as in not oily. The triple cap is beautiful. The regular Bolivar ring, with the gold, yellow and brown looks good on the shade of the wrapper. As with most Cuban rings, the exclusivo ring and the regular ring don’t really match. The cigar feels quite hard. There isn’t a lot of aromas left after thirteen years of aging.

The cold draw is good. Lightly salty with a little bit of black pepper. Once lit, the salt and pepper are hardly noticeable. The cigar has a nice honey sweetness with leather. The flavor then turns to dry leather, sweetness, and cedar. Mellow and smooth, this cigar tells you it’s aged. The second third starts with a pronounced coffee flavor, with spices, leather, cedar, and honey. The flavors gain strength as well. The mouthfeel gets dry with coffee, earth, honey, and leather. The same flavors keep lingering around, one stronger than the other and then switching. The honey remains pronounced. Coffee keeps coming back, with leather. In the final third, the earthiness is getting stronger with some more spice and pepper. It has that typical flavor of an aged Cuban cigar that cannot be found in any other cigar in the world.

The draw is good. The light gray ash is pretty and quite firm. The flavors of the cigar are smooth and balanced. In the first third, it’s clear that this is an aged cigar. The cigar starts to show character in the second third, before that it was mellow at best. The smoke is now nice and thick. White and a good volume of smoke as well. This cigar starts mild and grows to medium-full. Both in flavor and strength. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Boxes with this age are impossible to find.

Categories: 91, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Por Larranaga Gran Robusto Exclusive Países Bajos 2017

Por Larranaga Gran Robusto Exclusive Países Bajos 2017. This cigar was released mid-2018, which is not too much of a delay when it comes to exclusivo regional releases. Habanos manages to release limited editions and regional editions often to be delayed for over a year, or even longer. This release was limited to 100.000 cigars, 10.000 boxes of 10 pieces. And Habanos wouldn’t be Habanos if an unknown amount of the cigars were labeled incorrectly. Not a first for a cigar from the Exclusivo Regional series.

Por Larranaga is an old brand. The brand was founded in 1834, which makes it almost 200 years old. Even though it’s a small brand, it has some hardcore fans. The brand is used by several distributors as Exclusivo Regional over the years. 5th Avenue (Germany), France, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Asia Pacifico, Switzerland, and Peru all had one or more Por Larranaga regional editions. This is the only Por Larranaga exclusivo for the Dutch market.

The Colorado colored wrapper isn’t the most beautiful one. It has veins, a lot, and looks wrinkly. The glossy golden ring is so shiny that it’s overkill. It makes the white letters hard to see. But the white letters work with the white dots on the secondary ring though. The triple cap looks good. There are no soft or hard spots on the cigar. The aroma is very mind, it’s slightly woody with cardboard.

The cold draw is a bit tight, with a gingerbread spice taste. The first puffs are a bit sour and dry at the same time. Dusty even. Some honey tries through breakthrough the citrus acidity, but it fails. The sweetness, acidity, and dusty flavor aren’t a joy. After a third, some wood, leather, and soil show up with some spices. The leather and cedar are slowly growing, and there is even a hint of milk chocolate. The honey sweetness returns. There’s also a hint of hazelnuts.

The ash is dark and not very firm. The burn is straight tough. The smoke is decent in volume, but it’s thin. The draw is good, a little tight but still way within margins. The cigar is quite boring with a very slow build-up. Medium-bodied and medium-flavored at most. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Por Larranaga (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

Montecristo Double Edmundo

Montecristo Double Edmundo. In 2004, Habanos introduced the Montecristo Edmundo. A slightly longer and thicker robusto size, with a 52 ring gauge. And in 2006, they followed that up with the Montecristo Petit Edmundo. A slightly shorter, yet thicker robusto, again with a ring gauge of 52. 2010 saw a limited edition Grand Edmundo, almost 6 inches long and again with a 52 gauge. In 2013, Habanos released this Montecristo Double Edmundo, a 6⅛x50 Toro size. The first Edmundo with a ring gauge different than 52. The cigars are named after Edmundo Dantes, the hero of the Alexandro Dumas novel “The Count of Montecristo”. And that’s where Montecristo got his name from.


Mexico had three regional releases called Edmundo Dantes. Edmundo Dantes was released in 2007 and created by Max Gutmann, owner of the Mexican Habanos distributor. Because of the design similarities with Montecristo, people believed that these were Montecristo cigars, sold under the Edmundo Dantes brand. But that’s not the case. There are only three Edmundo Dante releases to date. As for the Montecristo Double Edmundo, it is a globally available cigar except for the United States. It is a regular production cigar so it’s being produced constantly. This cigar was a gift from the Cohiba Atmosphere Kuala Lumpur.


The color of the wrapper is nice, Colorado. And the wrapper is quite oily. But there are plenty of veins, it isn’t the prettiest wrapper out there. The ring is a classic, yet simple. Brown, white and gold. But the print quality is high. The cigar feels very soft, very squishy. There is no ammonia aroma, so that’s a plus. The cigar smells like hay, farm animals and barnyard. The aroma is quite strong.


The cold draw is very good. With vegetal and leather flavors. Salty and leathery are the first flavors that show up after lighting the cigar. After a few puffs, there is more leather, more salt, and some pepper. There’s also sugar. The flavors grow in strength, and some young wood shows up as well, just like green herbal flavors. The retrohale gives cedar and leather. The second third starts with leather, pepper, wood, soil, and a little coffee. Now and then there’s a hint of vanilla. Coffee, leather, and wood are the main flavors now. The final third starts harsh and rough. There is some vanilla, but the harshness is overpowering it.


The draw is great. The light-colored ash is dense and firm. The smoke is good. Thick and enough in volume. The burn is pretty even. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar with a smoke time of two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, for half the price I can get a new world cigar that fits my palate much better

number89

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

H. Upmann Noellas 2009 LCDH

H. Upmann Noellas 2009 LCDH. Up until the early 1980s, H. Upmann produced the 5⅜x42 Noellas as a regular production. And the packaging was unique. The cigars didn’t come in wooden boxes. Instead, they came in glass jars. In 2009, Habanos brought those jars back in a limited edition. 5000 glass jars were made to be released to the La Casa del Habano franchises worldwide. As is often the case with Cuba, the cigars were only available late 2010, yet are considered a 2009 release.


In 2013 another batch was released in glass jars. Yet with the lack of communication from Habanos, nobody knows for sure if those were another re-release. It could just as well be part of the 2009 release that just wasn’t shipped to the La Casa del Habano tobacconists three years earlier. The cigar that we are reviewing comes from the 2009 release and has been aged in the jar in a humidor for a decade.


The cigar looks good. A Colorado colored wrapper. The wrapper is oily and looks quite smooth. The regular Upmann ring and the secondary La Casa del Habano ring aren’t a match. The triple cap looks good. The cigar is spongy, yet some spots are slightly softer than others. The aroma is mild, with the scent of hay and animals.


The cold draw is good, with a salty leathery flavor. From the get-go, it’s coffee, soil, leather, and some salt. The flavor then slowly evolves to more leather, some wood, and even a hint of chocolate. But the earthiness and salt never disappear. Suddenly the mouthfeel becomes creamy. The flavor remains salty and leathery, with wood but now also with grass. Halfway the flavors change, the cigar gets a hint of pepper, cumin, and a nutty flavor. Still slightly salty, although less pronounced. The leather is still there as well. In the last third, there is nuttiness, spice, pepper, and leather. The final few puffs bring wood, a lot of pepper, leather, and some sweetness.


The draw is great, no complaints about that department. The ash is quite dark though, and not very firm. The smoke is thick and voluminous. The cigar had to be relit a few times though. But the burn is pretty straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If it was 5 euros cheaper, I would
number90

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

Punch Sir David Exclusivo Hong Kong

Punch Sir David Exclusivo Hong Kong. Sir David Tang is a legend in the world of the Habanos, especially in Asia. He is the founder of Pacific Cigar Company, the Habanos distributor for a large part of Asia and Oceania. He started PCC in 1992 and made Cuban cigars extremely popular all over Asia, and in Hong Kong specifically. So popular, that Cuba appointed Sir David Tang as the honorary consul for the Caribbean island in Hong Kong. He was also a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and the French government honored him as Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres In August 2017, Sir David Tang passed away in London from liver cancer. Completely in his style, he planned a farewell party after doctors gave him only 2 months to live. But right before the party took place, his illness caught up to him and he passed. A year later, Habanos and PCC paid tribute to this remarkable man by releasing a regional edition for Hong Kong in his honor, the Punch Sir David.

 

The release consisted of 1200 cabinets of 50 cigars of his favorite brand Punch. And in a slightly shorter size than his preferred vitola, the Double Corona. The Punch Sir David is a Paco sized cigar, 7⅛x49, where the Punch Double Corona measures 7⅝x49. All the tobacco is grown, cultivated and curated in Cuba. 

 

The oily wrapper is Colorado colored. It has a few veins and rougher spots. But then again, it’s a long cigar, so it’s hard to get perfect wrapper leaves for double coronas. Since there is only so much tobacco in Cuba, the resources for these specific wrappers are scarce. The cigar feels evenly filled, yet a little under packed. The shape is good, the triple cap is great looking. The cigar has the regular Punch ring, and the famous red, silver and white exclusivo ring. But for this release, the ring had a crown with the name of Sir David, to commemorate him. The aroma is mild. A little wood with some ammonia is the smell of the cigar.

 

 The cold draw is a bit easy. With a salty raisin flavor. The salt is still there after lighting. But that’s not the only flavor. There’s hay as well, and leather. Slowly a fruity flavor and pepper show up too with a mild cedar. Some sweetness shows up too, with some grass and spices. Now that might all sound very flavorful, but the flavors are muted. They are there, but they are mellow and not outspoken. After half an hour, the cigar turns floral with a little harshness on the back of the throat. There’s also leather, soil, and some spices. The flavors come out of their shell a little more, they get more pronounced. At the end of the first third, the pepper grows and a hazelnut flavor shows up. In the second third, the cigars remain floral with pepper. There’s also some leather and spice. The flavors are no longer muted. The cigar gains strength as well, with a much stronger pepper over a floral base. The final third starts with cedar again, soil, leather, and pepper. The pepper slows down for a bit, before returning strong again. Some toast shows up too. 

 

The draw is good. The ash is light-colored and frayed. The smoke is fine and the burn is straight. The cigar is balanced and smooth. It’s a slow starter, with muted flavors in the beginning but it opens up. Medium-bodied turning into full-bodied and medium flavored turning into full-flavored. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

 Would I buy this cigar again? Too rich for my blood, but I would love to

number91

Categories: Cuban cigars, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2. A true classic. This cigar has been around for more than 60 years, and it is one of the most praised and sold cigars from Cuba. But the Hoyo de Monterrey brand itself has an even longer history. At ate 13, Don José Gener y Batet, migrated from Spain to Cuba. There he worked on his uncle’s tobacco farm in the Vuelta Abajo region. In his early 30s, around 1850, he started a cigar factory in Havana and started producing cigars. His brand was La Escepción. That brand was faded out in the 1980s although in the last decade the brand name was used twice for an Italian regional edition. With the profits of La Escepción, Don José Gener purchased the best tobacco he could find and in 1865 he used that tobacco for his new creation: Hoyo de Monterrey.

Where La Escepción was known for its strength, Hoyo de Monterrey is a mild Cuban cigar. The cigar performed particularly well in the United Kingdom, and due to the success, the factory grew to be one of the biggest in Cuba. When Gener passed away, his daughter took over the business. In 1931 the brands and the factory were sold to Fernández, Palicio y Cía. Fernández, Palicio y Cía owned Punch and Belinda and remained to own the brands until Cuba was ‘liberated’ and all businesses were nationalized.

This is a decent looking cigar. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, not very oily though. There is a thin, sharp vein on the front of the cigar. Both rings are well printed with high-quality bronze dusting. Even though you might think “bronze, it’s gold”, you are right. Yet the process is called bronze dusting. The triple cap looks great. On the touch, the cigar feels good. There is a mild ammonia aroma coming from the cigar, with fresh greens like leaves in the autumn.

The cold draw is a bit tight. It’s slightly salty with wood. Once lit, the cigar is sweet, sour, and bitter. Coffee bitterness with vinegar and salt is the best way to describe the first puffs. It then changes to salty peanuts, with some leather and earthiness. Plenty of dynamics in the first third, as the flavors progress to salty herbs with wood. Halfway the cigar gets a nice peppery flavor with hazelnuts. The retrohale has sweetness and vanilla. There is a slight Cappucino flavor halfway with herbs. The mouthfeel is quite dry. The pepper grows in strength, tingling on the lips as a good chili pepper does. There is some vanilla sweetness as well, with leather and soil on the background. The aftertaste is mild minty. It changes to pepper and nuts.

The draw is acceptable, slightly tight but still acceptable. The ash is dark, indicating that the soil the tobacco was grown on is low on potassium. The cigar turns very soft after being lit. The burn had to be touched up a few times. The smoke is thin, and there isn’t a lot of it in volume either. But the volume and the thickness of the smoke progress. This cigar is medium-bodied, and while it starts medium flavored it grows to medium-full. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was enjoyable, but there are Cuban cigars I enjoy more in the same price range.

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE. Last year, Ministry of Cigars asked for some fake Cuban cigars for one of the Soil to Soul videos. And it turned out that one of our readers and friends, Onno, had a few. Well, so he thought. He was very suspicious about a certain box he had in his possession. After having some pictures analyzed by very knowledgeable people, including Mike Choi, they were confirmed fakes. We met up with Onno at the Dutch Big Smoke last September. Onno prepared 5 cigars, 5 fake Romeo y Julieta Churchills. And we did a video with that cigar, which you can see on Ministry of Cigars.


After doing the video, I had second thoughts about reviewing the cigar for ministryofcigars.com as it was a horrible cigar. Yet, we decided to suffer and to do a proper review. That was the promise we made to Onno, and we like to keep our word. So here we go, smoking a fake Romeo y Julieta Churchill. Of course, the first of the five cigars was cut open to see what was in the cigar. And it looked like a very well made cigar, with real tobacco. Here are stories out there of fake Cubans with hair, banana leaves, floor sweepings and other garbage inside. But this cigar is made with real tobacco.


The cigar doesn’t look that bad at first glance. The wrapper isn’t pretty, but the shape is good. The color of the wrapper is nice. The triple cap is like it should be. The gold and black ring looks legit. Although, to the touch, the embossing is missing. The wrapper itself has many veins, which make it look rustic. The cigar feels well made, without any plugs or soft spots. The aroma is mild and musty.


The cold draw is a bit tight and tastes very salty. Once lit, there is a nice mild sweetness. But also a not so nice bitterness. Slowly some cedar shows up too, but wet, moldy cedar. Flavors such as cardboard show up too, with a hint of pepper to spice it up. All flavors seem to disappear yet there is a flavor in my mouth that is best compared to the aftertaste after you puked. Later on, there is some wet grass, a little spice, and again some cedar but all moldy with slight pepper. In the final third, there is some vanilla as a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. It makes the cigar bearable for a bit. Add some pepper, and the cigar is moving in the right direction. It’s still not enjoyable though. Somewhat later, a mild hazelnut paste flavor shows up. Not Nutella, but a cheap Nutella knock-off. The finale is very peppery.


The ash drops quickly. The draw is decent. The burn is reasonable. The cigar is mild to medium in body, mild in flavors. And that the flavors are mild is a good thing in this case. The smoke time is three hours.

 Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no

63

Categories: 57, Cuban cigars | Tags: , , ,

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