Dominican cigars

708 Connecticut Junior

708 Cigars is the brand of two Chicago brothers that run a shop and are, at least from what I learn on the internet, involved with Drew Estate in some Arab countries as distributers but I don’t know exactly what that deal is. I know I got these cigars as a sampler from a company that is thinking about bringing them to the Dutch market. And there is the Drew Estate connection again, the owner of that company is a close personal friend of Jonathan Drew.


I only have the 4×44 Junior in this Connecticut Shade blend, I smoked the same vitola and a Churchill in the barberpole version once before though. The website of 708 cigars doesn’t tell me anything except for the size and that they come in 20 count boxes but the description for the filler, binder and wrapper is proprietary according to the website.


The wrapper is pale, its got veins, it’s wrinkly at the head and the cap is placed by, what it appears to be, a novice roller. The cigar feels evenly filled though. The ring is nice colored, in bathroom or kitchen colors, gray with beige and the logo looks like a hand written 708. The print quality is good. The cigar has a full aroma and all that comes to mind is poop, poop and manure, which is poop too.


I cut the cigar on a Sunday morning, since it’s a Connecticut Shade I think this could be a morning smoke. When I wet the tip I notice a sweetened tip, that’s a downer. The cold draw is loose and I taste chemical sweetness. After lighting I taste coffee with that chemical sweetness. After a quarter of an inch the cigar turns spicy too. But that chemical sweetness destroys it all. Halfway the sweetness disappears, I taste spicy cedar now, a little on the harsh side. The harshness grows and I have to toss the cigar.


The draw is loose, but the thick, white and voluminous smoke makes up for it. The ash is black and white with thick layers. This mild to medium bodied and medium flavored cigar has a smoke time of thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no!

Score: 78
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Categories: 708 Cigars, 78, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Heisenberg Robusto

Imagine being a theoretical physicist, doing great discoveries like the uncertainty principle and winning a nobel price when you’re just 31 and all you will be remembered by is a fictional meth dealer with terminal cancer and your field of science is mocked by one of the most popular comedy series ever where a total but brilliant nut job named Sheldon Cooper is playing a theoretical physicist. I bet Werner Heisenberg, born on this day in 1901, would be turning in his grave if he knew.


But some people still remember his uncertainty principle, people like the Quesada family, and they created a cigar around this theory. The only thing they revealed was the size, nothing more nothing less, no blend whatsoever, nothing, so that people had to smoke it completely blank and without prejudice. A quote from the original press release said “The Heisenberg project is named after the scientific formula of the same name that proves the fundamental limits of precision: in other words, no matter how much we know about something we will never know everything; the more we focus on one aspect, the less we know about another. The Heisenberg project has two intentions: to dispel the stereotypes that limit our ability to enjoy a cigar and remind aficionados that sometimes its best to sit back, relax, and just enjoy a smoke without over analyzing it. To put it simply, “Embrace Uncertainty!” Before writing this review I googled Werner Heisenberg and his theory but even the simplest of explanations gave me a headache, so I quit reading and decided to focus on the cigar en embrace the uncertainty.


The cigar is a tad thin for a robusto with a 48 ring, but it does have the classic 5 inch length. I do like thinner cigars so i’m not complaining though. The wrapper is dark, smooth and oily and the black ring with silver edges and the formula for the uncertainty principle in silver compliments the wrapper. On the back the name Heisenberg is written in small letters. I’m glas Quesada didn’t pick blue for the colors. The construction feels good, the cap is placed nicely too. I smell a quite dark, yet not to strong, wood aroma.


I punched the cigar to find a great cold draw with a slightly salt and raisin flavor. The first puff after lighting is coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch i taste some nuts, a faint chocolate, some sweetness but all muted and slightly harsh. After an inch I taste salty lemon with some wood. Halfway the lemon grows strong with wood and pepper. After two thirds it’s just spicy oak.


The draw is great and the smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The ash is light gray and dense, firm too. The burn is pretty straight. I would call this cigar medium to medium full bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time if an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar didn’t hit the spot for me.

Score: 88

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Categories: 88, Dominican cigars, Heisenberg, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ashton Symmetry Prism

In the close to 30 years that Ashton has been on the market they have not been releasing line after line, limited edition after limited edition but they gradually build the brand unlike so many companies nowadays. I mean, they have the Ashton Classic, Aged Maduro, Puro Sol, Cabinet, VSG and limited release ESG series and then it went quiet for about 10 years until Ashton released their latest new line, the Symmetry. Now to be fair, Ashton does have two Nicaraguan brands that join in the rat race to release a new cigar every year, San Cristobal/Paradiso and La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe, but those are made by My Father Cigars while all Ashton named premium cigars are made by Arturo Fuente on the Dominican Republic. Today it’s Meera Levin’s birthday, a good day to publish this review. Happy birthday.


That was in 2014 but the production numbers were just enough to supply the American market so us Europeans had to wait till september 2015 where the cigar would be introduced at the Intertabac trade show. But we persuaded Ashton to supply the Dutch market a week early so we could debut the cigar at the Big Smoke we hosted a week before the show. So since Ashton is a classic company, with a classic reputation so we opted for the Prism, a 5.625×46 Corona, a classic size.


The cigar, made out of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, looks great when you get it out of the cellophane. The silky wrapper is quite dark, not maduro dark but still and has a few small veins that give it character. The ring it classic, and that fits Ashton like a glove, and I figure the ring is printed by Vrijdag in Eindhoven due to the extremely high quality of the gold print, they are the best in the world when it comes to that. The ring has a lot of gold on a white background and a light blue and red centre with golden letters Ashton, and underneath that a red banner with golden letters saying Symmetry. The construction feels good and the cap has been applied beautifully by a skilled roller. The cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard but mixed with the aroma of a spice stall at a farmers market.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and the cold draw is great. There is not a lot of flavor in the cold draw, just some dry raisin with a little pepper. After I lit the cigar with a soft flame I taste some metallic coffee. After a few puffs the flavors are sweet and sour, lemon with sugar and some wood. After a centimeter I taste some pepper too and a little bit of chocolate. After a third I taste lemon with sugar and spices and a hint of pepper. Halfway I taste wood with some pepper and a little bit of spices.


The smoke is thick and the amount is great. The light colored as is dense and firm. The draw is great, flawless. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, it could just use a little more evolution and it would be in my top 25. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since they are no longer be sold in The Netherlands as the distributor felt they didn’t sell good enough I am forced to order a box online soon.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Ashton, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Leave a comment

Corona Dominican 10th Anniversary Phatty

When I made my first trip to the USA in the spring of 2009 I landed in heaven when I walked into Corona Cigar Company at their West Sand Lake store in Orlando, I had never seen so many cigars in my life, and a lot of them were unknown for me coming from a country that has limited room for brands and back then most of the cigars sold were Cubans, something that changed dramatically in the years after though. And the shop has been a stable hang out for me every time I visited the USA since. Since it’s the owner Jeff’s birthday I’m publishing this review today.


During one of my trips, and I am guessing it was the 2011 trip, I bought a sampler of their 10th anniversary cigars, a sampler with a variety of different blends and sizes and amongst them was this Corona Dominican Selection 10th Anniversary Phatty, a 6×60 Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar. And I never touched it for two reasons, the 60 ring gauge and the Connecticut Shade wrapper, but lately I started to enjoy the latter so why not light it? If it doesn’t meet up to my prefered taste then at least I get a review out of it and will light a cigar I love later.


The wrapper feels very silky but also bumpy like a klingon queen, so I guess the binder was very rough. The wrapper has a mild shine to it. The construction feels good but the head has a weird bump on it, it almost looks like the binder had a pig tail and the wrapper was rolled over it. The aroma is strong, much stronger than I expected, and reminds me of a sour hay with a little hint of ammonia. The ring is nice, golden with an embossed 10 at the bottom, red stripes on the top part with the Corona logo in red on a white background.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter and the cold draw is easy with a mild straw and raisin flavor. Right after lighting the cigar, with my soft flame of course, I taste coffee, hay, a little honey and some pepper but with the classic Connecticut shade mustiness. After a centimeter I taste musty cedar with pepper. After a third I taste nuts with some cedar with a bit of salt and pepper, the flavors are a little harsh but not in an unpleasant way. Slowly the pepper gains strength and a cedar flavor joins the flavor palate. After two thirds I also taste quite a strong lemon flavor.


The draw is a little bit loose, for my personal preference it could use a little more resistance but I guess the big ring gauge is part of the cause. The smoke is full and thick, just as I like it. The light gray ash is a bit coarse but pretty dense and firm. The burn is pretty straight for the first inch but then starts to get a little crooked. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since you can get them for just $3 this is a great humidor filler. And they make great cigars for the non smokers or incidental smokers.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Corona, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro Ambassador

The Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro Ambassador is a 4 1/2×38-60 figured and I can hardly find any information on the internet except a lot of German webshops that sell them, they must be very popular there but nowhere else. Or maybe they are a country exclusive? I don’t know. The whole line, consisting of a short robusto, robusto, double perfecto, corona, Churchill, a 7×58 Gigante and this figured is very reasonable priced from €6,50 till €8,20. Mine is bought a few years back at Cigarworld in Dusseldorf.


The double fermented wrapper on this cigar is a rare maduro, a Cuban seed Brazilian tobacco called Cubra and its a Colorado Maduro and gives the dark maduro wrapper leaf a reddish glow. The binder in Brazilian too and the filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Peru. The cigars are part of the La Aurora family and made at their factory on the Dominican Republic.


I love the funny shape, it’s exactly the reason why I bought this cigar and not any of the other vitolas. And I guess you have to be a skilled roller to make a cigar in this shape and make it look beautiful with a flawless cap and an evenly filled construction. The reddish glow on the dark wrapper, that has some smears and a little tooth, make the cigar look even better. Too bad the Leon Jimenes rings are so dull. Red with a pale golden lining, a lion and a crown logo over the Leon Jimenes name but all blurry, the artwork needs an upgrade. The secondary ring is in the same color scheme and says Doble Maduro. The cigar has a medium strong barnyard and wood aroma.


I cut the cigar due to the small ring gauge at the head of the cigar. The cold draw is great, I taste some pepper and a little mint. After lighting I taste coffee with wood chips. Soon after I taste leather, chocolate and a little metallic flavor. After an inch I taste pepper with a little metal. After a third I’m tasting an unexpected mild orange flavor, something I never tasted in a cigar before. The feeling is a bit sticky. The final third starts with chocolate.


The burn is a little crooked. The ash is quite dark and firm. The draw is perfect. The smoke is thick and plentiful. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?

Score: 87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, Leon Jimenes, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , ,

PDR 1878 Capa Oscura Lancero

Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers, started their company on the Dominican and the first time I heard of them was with the PDR 1878 line, the Habana and the Oscura. I liked both lines and met Abe years later when the company I worked for back then started to distribute his cigars. And for some reason, unknown to me as my then employer hates lanceros, we gotten a few boxes of lanceros in, of which I still have a few single cigars.


Now I don’t think the lancero is a regular offering, or maybe it’s discontinued since it’s not listed on the PDR website. I do see the robusto, toro, torpedo, Churchill and double magnum listed but no lancero. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sun Grown Oscuro with a Dominican Habano binder and two different Dominican Corojo tobaccos as a filler.


The wrapper is dark, as oscuro should be, shiny and oily and smooth to the touch. The simple rings, bright red with white letters and silver outlines, really pop and look good. Just like the cigar itself with the little pig tail and the closed foot. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong, a bit like dusty wood.


After cutting the cigar I get an awesome cold draw, herbal and spicy. After lighting I taste a strong coffee with some sweetness. Quickly the cigar turns to dark chocolate, creamy and bitter, with herbs. After a third the cigar is earthy, the bitterness from the cocoa is still there, just as some pepper. After a third I taste an earthy, peppery flavor but now with some peanuts instead of cocoa. Halfway I taste a salty bitter chocolate with some pepper, but salt is the dominant flavor. The finale is very peppery with a hint of floral.


The smoke is so thick that it could be vape smoke, white and voluminous. The draw is almost perfect. The dense ash is white. The burn is straight as an arrow. I would call this a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Montecristo Monte Gordo

Montecristo is a household name in the cigar industry and the Montecristo #2 is one of the best known cigars around the world. But that’s the Cuban Montecristo! There’s also a non Cuban Montecristo, like a lot of Cuban brands with non Cuban copycats, although calling them copycats might not be fair as some of the brands were started by the owners of the Cuban counterparts after they had to flee the island when the Castro regime took over. By now all those brands are in the hands of the big players Altadis and General Cigars, which is a part of STG.


This Monte by Montecristo is made in the Dominican Republic for Altadis, owner of the brand. The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano, the cigar has a double binder coming from both the Dominican and Nicaragua and Dominican filler tobacco. I don’t know where I got this cigar, it must have been a gift as I would never buy a 6×60 and would stay away from non Cuban counterparts as my experience with those isn’t too favorable, except for the Partagas Spanish Rosado.


The cigar looks good, the size is impressive, intimidating and the medium brown, mild glossy wrapper has a beautiful structure, it looks great. The cigar feels evenly packed and well rolled. The aroma is strong and its like standing in a haystack, dried grass, straw, hay. The ring is glossy brown with a golden line and a flor de lis in the middle, a white circle around it and the letters Montecristo. It looks like the Cuban ring but on glossy paper, a little bigger and the Habana is changed for a curly MC. There is a second ring, glossy black with golden outlines and a red font with golden shadow saying Monte. I feel that the black and the brown don’t match, if I was the designer I would have turned the black into the same brown as the regular Montecristo ring.


Due to the big ring gauge I opted for a punch and the cold draw is fine. I taste a dull sultana flavor with a hint of white pepper. After lighting I taste a honey dipped oak with some fresh chili. The flavors are a bit weak and flat. The honey is the strongest flavor and that’s still mild and muted. After a third the still muted flavors are oak, some pepper, some toast all with a tiny honey twist to it. After a third the pepper grows a bit, the oak is still there with a little bit of lemon.


The draw is fine, a little loose like expected with this 60 ring gauge. I still don’t like this size, anything over 54 is too thick for me. The ash is beautiful, dense, firm and white. The smoke is on the thin side of medium. The burn is a bit off. The cigar is flat, not dynamic but that’s expected of a big ring cigar. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. After two hours and ten minutes I still have over an inch left but I’m so bored with this cigar that I tossed it.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, no dynamic, muted flavors. I’d try a smaller ring of the same blend though.

Score: 79
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Categories: 79, Dominican cigars, La Romana, Montecristo | Tags: , , ,

La Aurora 100 Años Belicoso

La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory, founded in 1903 and they wanted to celebrate their century long existence with a limited edition cigar, the cien años, of the 100 años for the non Spanish speaking cigar enthousiasts. The cigar wasn’t released till 2004 though due to delays at the factory and the right wrapper not being available, well, not in the quality the blenders wanted. The cigar was made with tobacco from 1996, all Dominican.


The demand was so high that in 2012 La Aurora did a small re-release of the blend, with a 4 year old Dominican Corojo wrapper. And with small I mean 20.000 cigars of the Belicoso, 20.000 Robustos and 20.000 Churchill sized cigars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing probably comes from the second release, the 2012 release and I got it as a gift from a friend at my favorite cigar forum Cigar Asylum.


The 6 1/4×52 Belicoso has a silky Dominican Corojo wrapper that is oily but also rough looking with a few major veins that haven’t been flattened before being used, too bad as that would made the cigar much better looking. The construction feels good yet the cap isn’t applied very neatly. The ring is beautiful, beautiful beige and brown colors with a detailed drawing of a lion and the factory name and line name in a modest font and color. Underneath is a second ring with a production number, much like Padron does with their 1928, 1964 and Family Reserve lines. I’m smoking #166571, but unfortunately there is no website where you can check the numbers for the batch #, the roller etc, that would be extremely cool. The aroma is still strong, dry hay, barnyard, stable and a little bit of ammonia like acidity.


I cut the cigar, as usual with my Xikar XI2 cutter. The cold draw is fantastic and leaves a spicy cedar flavor with some pepper on my lips.  After lighting I taste a smooth coffee and nutmeg flavor, very tasty. After a few puffs I taste coffee with spicy green herbs. After half an inch the coffee disappears and the cigar bites a little on my tongue. After an inch o taste leather with pepper, strong bold flavors. After a third I taste carrots with pepper, it’s a flavor I taste every now and then in a cigar but it’s rare. I also taste a very faint chocolate. The final third starts with the carrots and an earthy flavor with pepper on the background and aftertaste. That’s also the flavor combination till I lay the cigar till rest.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is great, it’s thick, white and a good volume. The light colored ash is beautiful and firm. I had to touch up the burn a few times. There is a lot of evolution. The cigar is medium bodied but full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible I guess, unless there is another release. And I would get a fiver then.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Royal Selection Maduro Corona

Balmoral, probably the most famous Dutch cigar brand nowadays, but in The Netherlands not just famous for their longfillers. Their short fillers are everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations, and their longfillers never impressed me until a few years ago. I was the host of the Dutch Big Smoke and Balmoral contacted me to see if they could release their new line, the Anejo at the Big Smoke and my first reaction was “why do you think we want to introduce a gas station cigar?”. Well, I met up with the marketing manager anyway, smoked the cigar and had to apologize for my blunt reaction, what a great cigar and I smoked a lot of them since and reviewed them before on my blog too.


But I have to admit, I didn’t smoke their other offerings ever again, not even their Dominican Selection shortfiller that I smoked a lot and loved a lot as a novice cigar smoker. I found a Balmoral Royal Selection Corona in my humidor and this 5 7/8×42 cigar is made in the Dominican Republic with Brazilian and Dominican filler, a Dominican Olor binder and Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Time to let the prejudice go and review this cigar.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark and typical Brazilian with thick veins, dry to the touch but also oily. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is old fashioned and in need of an update. Two colors green with white and golden lines, a shield with the beautiful B in the centre and Balmoral on top, since 1895 on the bottom. The print quality is great, the ring is clear but the design is too old fashioned for me. The aroma is a mixture of barnyard, manure and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin and a little pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, and I taste coffee, earthy flavors, a little lemon and some sweetness. The flavors changes to earthy flavor with wood and some chocolate. Halfway I taste peanuts, some salt, a little chocolate and pepper. The final third starts with a hazelnut chocolate butter flavor, Nutella like with some vanilla. The flavor changes to nutty with pepper and a hint of cocoa.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is good. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not as good as the Anejo series but better than I remembered.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

Headley Grange Drumstick

When STG bought the independent brand CAO and incorporated it into the General Cigars portfolio one of the things that changed was the base of operations. CAO was always based in Nashville, Tennessee but after the take-over the brand had to move to the General Cigars offices in Virginia. A few of CAO executives, including Jon Huber and Gary Hyams, decided against the move and promised to take care of the Tennessee employees, thus they started a new company, Crowned Heads.


Their first release was named after a Kings of Leon song that they would make a reference to their second release as well, calling it Headley Grange, a famous music studio where a lot of great artists recorded. And they took one of those songs, when the levee breaks by Led Zeppelin as inspiration, especially the pounding drum in the intro. So in 2012 they released this cigar, made at the La Alianza factory of E.P. Carrillo with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder and the line up included this limited edition lancero aka drumstick.


The wrapper is quite rustic, it has a nice, deep brown without being very dark. It’s almost like a piece of cinnamon. The simple ring is stylish, black with golden outlines and clear white letter saying the brand name and smaller, golden, letters Republica Dominicana. The printing quality is good too. The construction feels great, the head of the cigar is amazing, a slightly raised tip yet not enough to speak of a torpedo shape head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of milk chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. The cold draw taste is quite spicy and peppery. The flavor I get after lighting is a strong and peppery coffee. After a few puffs I taste a sweet cinnamon instead of the peppery coffee. Then the flavors change to herbal flavors with a citrus acidity. And before the first third is over the flavors change again to dry cedar with lime. After a third I taste a milky chocolate with lemon. After this the cigar mellows out, cedar with herbs, spices and sweetness with subtle changes in strength. Ever few puffs I taste some pepper too. In the final third I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The ash is white. The smoke is ok, not thick, not thin, volume just enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Headley Grange, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , ,

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