Dominican cigars

Viking Valhalla Robusto

Viking is the brand of the Norwegian cigar distributor Hakon Aanonsen. His company sigar.com has been distributing cigars for over two decades in Norway and previously Aanonsen owned the brands Amero, Chess, and Hawk. Those brands were made by a small factory in the Dominican Republic and the project failed.


Aanonsen tried again, but this time with a new concept and a new factory. Ernesto Perez Carrillo is the manufacturer of the cigars and with the Viking brand, the Norwegian heritage is celebrated. First, there were the Viking, Norseman and the Nordic Warrior. Now there is a new blend, Valhalla.

The ring is a tin alloy, just like on the other Viking cigars. It is just not as detailed as the other Viking rings. Black and gold, with a two-headed goat. The cigar has a small pigtail. The wrapper is deep dark brown with no visible veins. There is a medium-strong aroma. The smell is located in the animal section of the flavor wheel, horse, cow, leather, those kinds of smells.


The cold draw is a bit loose with raw tobacco flavors. After lighting, I taste cinnamon, coffee, and earth. There a faint vanilla flavor as well. I also taste dried leaves. Quite quickly the flavors turn floral with spice, a bit harsh though and unrefined. After a third it’s still a floral cigar, but with a lot of pepper and some vanilla. Still a little rough and unrefined. Halfway the cigar becomes less harsh, more balanced with some wood, pepper, spices, and grass. In the second third, I taste carrots, raw carrots. With pepper. And the cigar turns to a wood, earth and leather flavor profile, with a little bit of pleasant chocolate. The chocolate is creamy.


The draw is quite loose and I had to correct the burn several times. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is salt and pepper colored, it’s firm and dense. I would say this cigar is medium-full, both in body and flavor. The smoke time is about an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will stick to the Viking Viking blend or the Nordic Warrior

number87

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Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balmoral Añejo XO Connecticut Rothschild Massivo

Since Balmoral started with the Añejo series, several releases have been done. It started with the Añejo 18, which got a follow-up release a year later in another vital. Then the Añejo XO was launched. An Oscuro version came on the market and now a Connecticut version. It was launched in the USA in 2018, and in 2019, some European countries saw the cigars appear.


The wrapper is American grown Connecticut Shade. From the Connecticut River Valley. As a binder, Indonesian Sumatra was used. And the filler for this blend comes from Pennsylvania, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. The Brazilian tobacco comes from the Mata Norte region and is one of the more exclusive Brazilian tobaccos.

The wrapper is pale. It has a cheesy brownish color. The bright white and blue ring, with the embossed gold letters, is clean and contemporary. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice. The cigar has a strong aroma. It smells like fresh cut young wood, pepper and sawdust.

The cold draw is good, with a mild tobacco flavor. After lighting, I taste a sweet young wood flavor, mildly bitter. Then a mild peppery harshness shows up too. I taste a strong dry leather flavor as well, with wood. After half a centimeter my fear becomes reality. That slightly sweet yet clearly musty flavor that is typical with Connecticut Shade wrappers shows up. I also taste some cinnamon. The cigar has young wood, leather, cinnamon, pepper, salt, and that mustiness. The flavors are balanced, nuanced and there is plenty of dynamics going on. In the final third, I still taste a mixture of the flavors mentioned above, but with a growing pepper and peanut. The peanut flavor disappears quickly. The finale lacks pepper, but taste more grassy and leathery.


The draw is great. The smoke is very thick, and a lot when it comes to volume. The burn is razor sharp. The ash is dense but breaks off easily. The cigar is mild to medium in body, medium-full flavored. The blend is fantastic if it wasn’t for my personal hatred towards the mustiness.

Would I buy this cigar again? Due to the mustiness, no. But it is an interesting blend with perfect construction

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Dalay Limited Edition 2019 Robusto Extra

Dalay Zigarren is a German shop, since 1998, and they now have shop exclusive blends made, which they import themselves too. They also have great relationships with some manufacturers and that’s why they are able to get some store exclusive cigars, like a store exclusive RoMa Craft Wunderlust later this year.


This cigar is blended by master blender Michael Grossklos, who’s also working for Dalay. And for this cigar, unique original tobacco seeds have been used. The tobacco is grown without modern fertilizers and pesticides as you can read in this article on Ministry of Cigars. Dalay has sent me a few of these cigars to try.

The wrapper is oily, medium dark, with thin veins. The cap is nice. I love the ring, bushed black colored with golden letters, simple yet classy. The construction feels good. The cigar has a strong aroma of charred wood. It reminds me of a smoldering campfire the morning after a late night smoke with friends at the fire pit.

The cold draw is a little loose, yet spicy with a distinct tobacco flavor. The first puffs are sweet with nutmeg, toast and a dash of slight pepper. The flavors are interesting, quite unique and different from the usual coffee, soil and leather start that most cigars have. After two centimeters, the mouthfeel is mildly creamy and buttery. Then I also taste some hazelnuts and grass, with the spices and the pepper. After a third, I taste cedar with nutmeg, a dash of pepper and vanilla. I also taste some leaves. Halfway I taste some musk too, with the wood, pepper, and spices. The final third starts with vanilla, nutmeg, leather, and pepper. The cigar clearly gains some strength. Near the end, I taste green herbs, with leather and wood with a strong peppery coffee and final flavors.

The burn is good although I needed to correct it once. The draw is good too. The light-colored ash is flaky and coarse. The smoke is decent, could be a little ticker. I would say this is a medium-full bodied cigar, full flavored with plenty of evolution. Unique is a good description. And a must try if you’re a cigar geek. The smoke time is two hours exactly

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want more.

number91

Categories: 91, Dalay, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Altragrazia

Fuente Lonsdale vintage 2001

Now, this cigar has a back story to it, because it was made before I started smoking cigars so I did not buy it fresh off the shelve and store it for 18 years. No, the worldwide Fuente distributor has such a huge, climate-controlled, warehouse full of cigars and raw tobacco that they lost three pallets of cigars and they were recently found while moving to a newer, bigger warehouse.


The Dutch Fuente distributor bought all the cigars and is selling them for very reasonable prices, you might even consider it cheap, since this vintage lonsdale sells for 9 euro, if they are still available. I was lucky enough to buy a pack of five of these cigars.

The wrapper is still smooth and oily after all those years in storage, but the color has changed into a yellowish brown. The cellophane is golden brown too. The 6×44 cigar feels smooth, I can’t detect any soft spots or plugs. The ring is simple, classic, Cubanesque. Just a red base, golden details and A. Fuente Gran Reserva in white letters. The one thing that sets them apart from the old school Cuban labels is the small green edge with the golden line at the bottom. The aroma is mild, hay and manure are what I smell.

After cutting I get a great cold draw, with a surprisingly peppery and mint flavor. After lighting, I taste a lot of leather, strong for a vintage cigar yet smooth. There is an earthy undertone with some hay. After half a centimeter I taste caramel with green herbs with a musty hint. The years have done this cigar good, it’s so complex, the subtle flavors are all over the board. I am also tasting cinnamon and cream. Then after a centimeter, I taste creamy cedar with a little salt and honey. I also taste a little hint of hazelnuts. I also taste licorice after a while, quite salty but with a slightly sour undertone. A little past a third I taste caramelized leather with a hint of pepper. Halfway I taste a toasted, leathery and creamy flavor. The nutty flavor returns in the final third with some pepper. The pepper gains some strength.

The ash is white, yet the smoke has a brownish color. It’s quite plentiful though. The draw is flawless. The ash isn’t firm though. The burn is razor-sharp. This cigar is smooth, complex, medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is one hour and fifty minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? I wish I had the opportunity
number94

Categories: 94, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Toro

In 2012, Agio introduced the Balmoral Añejo 18 series with an 18-year-old wrapper. That cigar was such a hit that the next year another batch was released until the company ran out of wrapper that old. Yet the demand was so high, that the company decided to tweak the blend and use that blend for a new Añejo line, the Balmoral Añejo XO, introduced in 2014. After that, the Añejo lines got more offspring with Oscuro or Connecticut wrappers for example. And the lines were introduced to the US market too.

I think I wrote this before, but my opinion on Balmoral wasn’t that highly until they released that Añejo 18. From the first puff I loved that cigar, and actually, the Balmoral Añejo XO FT Lancero is still one of the highest scoring cigars on cigarguideblog.com ever. So it’s time to see if this 6×52 Gran Toro comes closes. The blend, with Dominican, Brazilian and Nicaraguan fillers, a Dominican binder and a Sungrown Arapiraca wrapper from Brazil is the same, only the vitola is different.

The rings are beautiful, classic yet elegant with a nice color scheme of gran, beige and gold. The foot ring has the same vibe. The wrapper is quite dark, without getting Maduro or Oscuro dark though, just a nice reddish brown dark. There’s one large vein on the back of the cigar, but for a Brazilian wrapper, this cigar looks smooth. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, a little acidic with wood and barnyard aromas.

The cold draw is amazing, with strong raw tobacco and raisin aromas. After lighting, I taste coffee, espresso-like, strong, with a little pepper. Then liquid cane sugar shows up, with leather and wood. The leather is the main attraction. The wood with a nice sweetness becomes the main flavor after a centimeter, with some green herbs as well. All flavors are peppery too. After a third, the leather returns, with still the pepper, the sweetness, and some citrus. The mouthfeel it buttery, creamy. I also taste some soil and a mild metallic flavor. Halfway I taste more wood, still that mild metallic flavor and leather. The final third is creamy with pepper and leather. Near the end, the sweetness returns, with green herbs, pepper, and nuts.

The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is quite dark, but firm and with nice black rings. I would call this cigar medium-full bodied, full flavored. The sweetness of the Brazilian wrapper ties all the flavors together. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

number91

Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Toro

Indian Motorcycles is part of House of Debonaire, owned by Philip Zanghi. He entered the cigar business in the mid-1990s with his business partner Rocky Patel but in 2002, he sold his shares to Patel and focussed on other parts of the tobacco industry. In 2012, Zanghi returned with Debonaire cigars and in 2015 he was able to purchase the rights to Indian Tabac from Patel and released the Indian Motorcycle Cigars.

 

Made at De Los Reyes in the Dominican Republic.

The cigar is made with American grown Connecticut Broadleaf as a wrapper, a Dominican binder and tobaccos from Central America as filler. As a side note, Zanghi’s father used to own the Indian Motorcycle trademark for a while in the past, so there is family history to the brand. And it seems fitting that Zanghi relaunched the Indian name into the cigar industry.

 

The cigar looks good, a dark leathery wrapper, which also feels leathery. The construction seems flawless. The wrapper is beautiful, although the binder has a few bumps that you can see underneath the dark wrapper. The ring is one of the best in the business with a feel that fits the Indian Motorcycle brand. A faded, beige and yellow ring with the Indian face on a metallic red background. It just stands out and I love it. The cigar also has a strong aroma of animals, pepper, and hay.

 

The cold draw is flawless and reminds me of Dutch chewy spiced honey cake rolls. After lighting, I taste leather and soil, with a little bit of the ginger that I had in the cold draw. On the background, there’s a faint metallic and citrus flavor with cane sugar sweetness. But those flavors are mild. After a centimeter, the metallic flavor and the leather are leading, with some caramel and gingerbread on the background. After a third, I taste spice, leather, some wood, and pepper. The mouthfeel is quite dry. Halfway I taste leather, caramel, dark chocolate, and some hay. Pepper is slowly getting stronger. Somewhat later that pleasant gingerbread returns too. The pepper with the gingerbread and cinnamon are the start of the final third. The finale is pepper and wood

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The draw is close to perfect with a straight burn and white dense ash. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume at first but becomes thicker and fuller along the way. This is a medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a smoke time of two hours and twenty minutes

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

number92

Categories: 92, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , ,

Debonaire Habano Robusto

I had heard about Debonaire, yet I had never smoked one. I had smoked Indian Motorcycle cigars though, which are also owned by Phil Zanghi and made at the De Los Reyes factory. And that factory is growing on me with Puros de Hostos, Saga, and Indian Motorcycle, so I had high expectations from this Debonaire Habano.

 


The cigar was recommended to me by several people, people whose opinion matter to me in the cigar industry. People like Mariska from Tabakado for example, who had been trying to get Debonaire distributed in The Netherlands for a while, calling all distributors before one finally decided to pick up the brand and making both Indian Motorcycles and Debonaire available on the Dutch market.

 


The cigar has a nice Colorado colored wrapper that looks a bit rough on the cap though. The ring is big, gold and brown, with white letters. The print quality is high and it gives the cigar a luxurious look. The aroma, barnyard, and swamp, isn’t too strong. Construction wise, the cigar feels a bit hard.

 


The cold draw is a bit on the tight side, yet acceptable, quite spicy with raw tobacco and pepper. After lighting, I taste toast and leather, with a hint of cinnamon. After a few puffs, I taste wood, leather, and grass. After a centimeter, I taste a grassy and woody metallic flavor with a creamy mouthfeel. After a third, I taste a grassy and hay with nutmeg mixture. Halfway I taste toast with cinnamon again. Then the cigar turns to cedar, spice and red chili pepper. The final third its all about pepper and cinnamon, on full blast. Near the end, I also taste hazelnuts.

 


The draw is great. The ash is white and firm, yet the burn I had to correct. The smoke is good. The flavors, medium strength, are mellow and very suitable for Cuban cigar aficionados. The strength is medium too. The smoke time is two hours twenty minutes

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Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t. It’s a good cigar, just not for me. I would, however, suggest people to give it a try unless you are into strong, full-flavored, bold, cigars.

number89

Categories: 89, De Los Reyes, Debonaire, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Robusto

Indian Motorcycle cigars, weren’t they around during the cigar boom? Indeed, but under the name Indian Tobac but with the same guy behind the wheel, Philip Zanghi, who’s father was once the owner of the Indian Motorcycle Company. Philip brought Rocky Patel in as partner, Rocky bought Philip out and renamed the brand to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars when the time and quality was there, the Indian name disappeared from the cigar scene.

 


Until about 3 years ago, Philip Zanghi has his own factory, De Los Reyes, now on the Dominican Republic and makes several brands like Debonaire and this new Indian Motorcycle cigars in Habano and Maduro. I reviewed the Habano, now its time to smoke the maduro. Made with a multi blend filler from both Nicaragua and the Dominican, a Dominican binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

 


The wrapper is dark, leathery and toothy, but it matches well with the Americana ring. Beige and black, with the Indian logo on a red metallic background. I like the red in the ring, it gives it an extra luxurious feel. The cigar feels good, the cap and shape are good. The cigar smells like grass after a rain pour, fresh and pleasant.

 


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is good with a dry wood flavor and a hint of chocolate. After lighting I taste coffee with a little cocoa. After half an inch I taste more of a dry leafy and hay, still with a bittersweet cocoa though. Halfway the cocoa flavored is getting stronger but I also taste a little pepper. The pepper disappears again, I’m back to the wood with the cocoa.

 


The draw is great, the ash is white as can be. The smoke is medium thick, medium full and white. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pleasant cigar.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , ,

Saga Short Tales Tomo VI

To be honest, in my early days as a cigar aficionado, I smoked some cigars from the Reyes family and I never liked those. Then I smoked Puros de Hostos, a private blend made at the De Los Reyes factory owned by the Reyes and I loved that one. Then Indian Motorcycle and Debonaire and those are great cigars too. So my prejudice against the factory has disappeared.


I got this Saga Short Tales Tomo VI at an event in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The Saga brand honors the story of the 5 generations Reyes working in the family and the Short Tales is a series of cigars, all with different blends that commemorate the tobacco and the cigars. The cigars are packed in boxes that look like books.


The cigar is almost a 6×60, a size I don’t particularly care about, yet somehow, the cigar doesn’t look that big and thick. Maybe it’s the dark, oily wrapper, with the big vein which makes it look like a prison-hardened criminal from a Hollywood B movie. Maybe it’s the golden ring, with the brown dots and brown letters Saga, accompanied by a green ring with golden squares and golden lettering saying Short Tales, but the cigar looks only slightly bigger than a regular robusto, yet the 5½x58 is correct as proven by our Heretics measuring tool. The cigar feels good, pretty tightly packed but no plugs of soft spots. The aroma is strong, it’s like walking into a stable full of horses.


The cold draw is great, with a dark chocolate and pepper taste to it. Straight from the start, the main flavor is a strong coffee flavor with some pepper soon to be followed by some caramel. There’s also a leather taste. After a centimeter, I taste some dark chocolate with the leather and a little spice. After an inch, I still taste the leather, but now with pepper and an earthy flavor. The bittersweet flavor of dark chocolate is still lingering around. After a third, I taste hay. A few puffs later I taste nuts too, walnuts. Some wood shows up too, reminds me of oak. The final third starts leathery again, with pepper and herbs. The walnut is getting stronger. Near the end, the pepper grows a lot in strength.


The ash is quite dark, yet firm. The draw is great, not too loose, not too tight. The smoke is medium thick and full. The cigar is full flavored, medium-full bodied. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? I want a box

number92

Categories: 92, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Saga | Tags: , ,

Arganese Maduro Ambassador

This is an oldie, and it fits that I’m smoking it today, on the 12th birthday of my blog. Years ago, I think about a decade ago, I approached Arganese and asked them for a sampler to review and they shipped me some. I did review them back then, but I found one in my humidor so I’m going to give it a redux. The Arganese website is offline, I have no idea if they are still in business.


Gene Arganese iss a businessman, loved cigars, so he started his own factory. The Maduro is made with Dominican binder and filler, wrapped in a Brazilian Mata Fina Maduro wrapper. And I remember that I used to like this cigar a lot, my review back then said I would buy this cigar again.

The wrapper is typical Brazilian Mata Fina, it’s rustic, rough looking, but that’s the type of tobacco. The cigar feels well constructed and looks pretty. The rings are clean, white with golden outlines, the Arganese crest in the middle while the secondary ring has golden letters Maduro Ambassador. Clean and simple, yet clear and pretty.  The cigar has a dark aroma, manure, and dark vegetables.


After cutting I get a great draw, the Maduro sweetness shines through with a little pepper. After lighting, I taste chocolate, sweetness, and coffee. The cigar doesn’t have bold flavors or changes, just a smooth and slow transition to stronger dark chocolate, cedar, and pepper. The final third still has dark chocolate but mainly pepper.

The draw is flawless. The smoke is full and thick. The cigars are smooth with a straight burn. The light gray ash isn’t too firm. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think they are being produced anymore.

Score: 90

number90

Categories: 90, Arganese, Arganese Dominicana, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

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