Dominican cigars

El Coyote Robusto

El Coyote Robusto. A cigar that appeared in December of 2019. First only in Belgium and Luxemburg, but the cigars are slowly available in more markets such as The Netherlands and Switzerland. The Belux importer and distributor, Central American Trading is the owner of the brand. And the cigar is the work of three people, Abe Flores, Marc D’Argembeau, and Phillipe van Wilderode.

D’Argembeau is de founder of CAT, but Van Wilderode is the owner for a few years. D’Argembeau’s logistical company is the worldwide distributor for Flores’s cigars. The trio created a three-size line with Nicaraguan filler and binder. The wrapper comes from an undisclosed country “which has become a must for quality wrappers” according to El Coyote cigars. That could be Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, or the Dominican Republic. The robusto for this review measures 5½x54.

This is a sexy-looking cigar, an intense colored wrapper, not extremely dark but the wrapper looks rich and oily. The band is stylish, gray with a silhouette of ‘El Coyote’ Phillipe van Wilderode in black, and the name in copper print. The cigar feels solid and has a nice triple cap. The cigar has an unusual aroma, strong green herbs such as lovage and parsley.

The cold draw is fine, quite dry with raw spicy tobacco as the flavor. And a little pepper on the lips. The cigar has a nice dark spice flavor, with cedar and nuts. There is a thick, creamy, dark sugar sweetness. Almost like almond paste, but with some dark sugar as a supplement. There are still dark spices, and the mouthfeel slowly becomes dry again. A little leather is a reason for the dry feel. Near the end of the first third, the cigar gives pepper. The second third starts with the almond paste again, with oak, leather, and a bit of soil. The paste flavor makes it quite a unique smoke. The retrohale is pleasant with some mild spices. The dark spices, wood, and pepper make a wonderful combination. There is balance. At the end of the second third, there is hay with pepper. In the end, it’s wood with pepper and a minty freshness. And peanuts, a surprising flavor.

The smoke is very nice, thick, white, and plenty in volume. The ash is light in color and a little frayed. The burn is nice. Straight and slow. The construction is good. This is a medium cigar in body but full in flavor with plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Most definitely

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, El Coyote, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Papi Toro by David Ortiz

Big Papi Toro by David Ortiz. A name that will probably not ring a bell for cigar enthusiasts outside of countries where baseball is a big sport. But David Ortiz is a baseball hall of fame star with the nickname Big Papi. He’s Dominican and a lover of the leaf. Whenever he was in the Dominican Republic, he was often hanging out at Tabacalera El Artista after being introduced to the Rodriguez family. Smoking cigars at the factory one day the idea came up of a Big Papi cigar and that’s when things start to happen.

The Big Papi Toro is a 6×54 Toro. It comes with an Ecuadorian Habano Claro wrapper. The binder is Dominican grown Criollo 98. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Tabacalera El Artista makes the cigars in a collaboration with the former Boston Red Sox star. There is also a 7×60 version with the name The Slugger. That’s another reference to his baseball days, where Ortiz was a hard-hitter aka a slugger. And the most famous baseball bat is the Louisville Slugger.

The cigar looks impressive, thicker than the ring 54 it is. The wrapper has an even color with a few sharp veins. It is slightly oily with a perfect triple cap. The ring is red and white, a tribute to the Boston Red Sox where David Ortiz played for so long. And his classic pose is on the ring as well. The foot ring is red cloth. The construction feels good. The cigar has a medium-strong stable aroma.

The cold draw is fine with a flavor that comes close to a cinnamon roll with some pepper. Once lit there is some sweetness, leather, spice but mostly dark roast coffee. Strong and bitter, but acceptable bitter. The first flavors fade away to a wood and nut flavor. Cedar gets stronger with a hint of honey. Yet there is a lack of balance and a little harshness in the flavor. The second third starts with wood, nuts, leather, and pepper. Slowly more sweetness, pepper, and spice take over. Wood and leather are the main flavors, with pepper as support. The mouthfeel is a bit dry. The final third has some soil with a hefty dose of pepper. There is still a little unbalance in the cigar.

The draw is fine. The ash is white and dense. One big white cone, not even layers with ash. The cigar gives a good amount of smoke. The burn is good. The cigar has a little unbalance and a little harshness. It almost tasted like the cigar was a bit too dry, even though it’s stored in 67% humidity. The smoke time of this medium-full bodied, medium flavored cigar is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like El Artista cigars but this one isn’t my favorite

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , ,

EPC Pledge Prequel

EPC Pledge Prequel. A little over a year ago, a new cigar from Ernesto Perez Carrillo hit the market. The EPC Pledge. It is part of the Perez-Carrillo series, a series where the generations before Ernesto Perez Carrillo jr are honored. The other cigars in the series are the critically acclaimed Encore and La Historia. “With each sample of the six different blends for Pledge I worked on, I asked myself, ‘Is this cigar worthy to follow La Historia and Encore?” said Perez-Carrillo in a press release. “And I was very pleased when I found the one.”

The cigar comes from Perez-Carrillo’s factory in the Dominican Republic, La Alianza. For the blend, the cigar industry legend uses a Connecticut-grown Habano wrapper over an Ecuadorian binder. The filler is all Nicaraguan. For now, there are only two vitolas available. Those are the Prequel, a 5×50 Robusto, and the 6×52 Sojourn. The prequel became the #1 cigar of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2020.

Let’s start with the box, deep blue with a beautiful tattoo style print. But when you open the box up is when the magic happens. The cigars, one row of ten pieces, lay on blue fabric, creating a very luxurious presentation. The cigars come in cellophane with a ‘cigar aficionado cigar of the year 2020, rated 98’ sticker on the foot. The foot ring is gold color fabric. Then there are two blue rings. The top one has different types of blue, with gold and white while the secondary ring mentions Perez Carrillo in clear white letters. Just in looks and packaging, this cigar looks great. The wrapper is oily, and Colorado Maduro in color. The oil gives it a shine like it’s lacquered. The cigar itself is a soft box-pressed with a fairly round head. It is leathery to the touch, but without noticeable plugs. The aroma is strong. Chocolate, barnyard, and the smell of horses.

The cold draw is fine. There is a mild spicy hay flavor with cinnamon. The first puffs are leathery and earthy. Those flavors remain for a while, but with some dark roast coffee and dark chocolate as supporting flavors. The chocolate turns more into cocoa, with a dry mouthfeel. And it gets stronger as well. There is an earthy flavor in the retrohale. Slowly some spice and pepper show up as well. The cocoa remains with some toast and a little bit of natural sweetness. The flavors so far would pair well with a dark stout, such as Guinness. Halfway the cigar gets too strong to retrohale pleasantly. There is still cocoa, pepper is growing and there is some acidity. The flavors are mild creamy. There is also some cedar and a spicy flavor that comes close to smoked paprika. There is a caramel-like sweetness in the aftertaste with a strong pepper, almost like chili padi, or bird’s eye chili as it’s called in the United States. But the chili isn’t overpowering, the rest of the flavors, especially the cocoa and earthiness keep it in check. There is a mild peanut flavor as well. A little more sweetness and acidity, with creaminess. Cocoa is the dominant flavor from start to finish. The peanut flavor gains some strength. The end is that earthiness again, with cocoa, peanuts, and green herbs.

The draw is great. And the natural oils in the wrapper make this cigar very smoky. Thick white smoke. The burn is straight. The ash is medium in color. It isn’t very firm, this isn’t a cigar for a long ash contest. This cigar is full in both body and flavor, with an intense start. The palate is quite unusual and you can taste that this cigar is made with well-aged tobacco. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes. Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of EPC cigars, but this one is very enjoyable.

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, EPC, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , ,

ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Robusto

ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Robusto, a cigar from ADV & McKay Cigars. ADV & McKay Cigars are Henderson Ventura and Marcel Knobel. They came up with a beautiful story of an adventurer, ADVentura, and his companion McKay who set sail to the new world in 1490. And with every release, another chapter of that story is written. The Royal Return is the 4th chapter.

The Royal Return is available in two blends, Queen’s Pearls, and King’s Gold. The King’s Gold comes in a Robusto and a Toro, this is a review of the 5×52 Robusto. It is made with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the United States. The binder comes from San Andres, Mexico. And the filler comes from the United States, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Tabacalera William Ventura is responsible for making the cigars. ADVentura is also a sponsor of the Project Piece of Heart charity.

The thick and dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is oily, greasy almost. The backside is beautifully marbled due to a thin, but visible vein. The band is not a paper band but a metal alloy. It is rare, but not unique. The Norwegian brand Viking and Chinook Cellars Terroir use something similar. But it is rare, and it looks great. It’s like an old, weathered seal including patina. The construction feels good with a pretty flat head. The aroma is strong, wood and spices. It’s like walking on a souk, past one of those spice stalls.

The cold draw is fine. It leaves both a salty and a sweet flavor on the lips, with spice on the tongue. After lighting there is a bitter and salty taste, burned nuts. But that is gone after three puffs, leaving a nice muddy clay flavor with pepper behind. It’s quite a spicy start. But then it mellows out, the spices and pepper are still there, with coffee and caramel. But much milder, calmer. Like when you enter the safe and calm harbor during a storm. The mouthfeel is even a little creamy. The clay flavor is quite unique. At the end of the first third, the sweetness turns to honey. The second third starts with wood and spices. There are also some nuts. Halfway the flavors are sweet wood with spices and cream. Very interesting, smooth, and completely in balance. The final third sees the return of soil, with wood and lingering pepper. The cigar feels hot in the last third.

The draw is fine. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The burn had to be corrected once or twice, but that was no surprise with such a thick and oily wrapper. The thickness of the wrapper also makes it a slow-burning cigar, it lasts long. The ash is white as snow. This cigar has balance and plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It is quite interesting so yes, and I want to explore more ADVentura

Categories: 92, ADVentura, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera William Ventura | Tags: , , ,

Kristoff Shade Grown Robusto

Kristoff Shade Grown Robusto. This blend was released in 2019 but there are rumors that it’s actually an old blend that made a return under a new name. Yet those rumors are unconfirmed and thus I won’t say that it is the same cigar unlike one of the largest cigar retailers in the USA. Their website claims “This cigar has received a packaging & name update. Previously known as Brittania Reserva, the Shade Grown is the same exact blend under a new name.”

The blend consists of a Honduran Connecticut Shade wrapper. The binder is Cuban seed tobacco from the Dominican Republic. The filler is all Cuban seed, from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The robusto measures 5½x54 and it’s made at the Von Eicken Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic. The factory is better known under the previous name: Charles Fairmorn.

The cigar starts off with bonus points for looks. It doesn’t get any better than with a pigtail and a closed foot in my book. This cigar has both. Add a simple yet sophisticated band and you’re halfway there. That the velvet-like smooth wrapper isn’t very oily and a bit pale in color doesn’t even matter anymore. The wrapper is not very light in color for a Connecticut Shade wrapper though. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is mild and quite woody.

The cold draw is fine, yet quite flavorless. The first five minutes of smoking give a mild flavor. The typical mustiness of Connecticut Shade, much like old books, with some sweetness. But it is Honduran Connecticut, and that means that the mustiness isn’t as distinct and strong as with Ecuadorian of Connecticut grown Connecticut Shade. After a third, some young wood shows up, with some spice, and leather. But the musty Connecticut flavor is still around. The retrohale gives a bit of a nutmeg and cinnamon flavor. There is a herbal spice noticeable on the back of the tongue. Halfway a hazelnut flavor shows up. Which is a pleasant change of pace, but not unexpected. Honduran Connecticut Shade often has a nutty flavor as well. The sweetness gets stronger. In the final third, there is a spicy yet sweet cedar flavor with a tangy acidity.

The draw is flawless. The ash is quite dark and the burn had to be corrected a few times. The smoke is fine. When it comes to construction, there are no complaints. Yet this is a cigar mild to medium in body and mild to medium in flavor. The classic Connecticut Shade mustiness is the dominant flavor and if you don’t like that, this is not your cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. There are plenty of Kristoff cigars that I love but this isn’t one of them.

Categories: 88, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , ,

Cimarron Maduro Robusto

Cimarron Maduro Robusto. Cimarron is an area in the south of America. It runs from Colorado to Oklahoma. But this cigar doesn’t come from that area, nor does it contains tobacco from the area. It is a cigar by Tabacalera El Artista, a Dominican cigar manufacturer & tobacco grower. Ministry of Cigars did a review of the Cimarron Connecticut before.

Tabacalera El Artista is around since the 1960s. As tobacco growers and as cigar manufacturers. But up until a few years ago, most of the cigars El Artista made were private labels for others. With the new generation coming in, things change. Brands for themselves, plus the return of some ancient tobaccos. Tobaccos with low yield, but specific flavors that were almost eradicated such as Dominican Negrito. And newly developed varieties such as T13, completely crossbred and developed by Tabacalera El Artista. Both of these tobaccos are in the Cimarron Maduro. The wrapper is Mexican though. And the filler also has some Colombian tobacco to create the necessary acidity for balance.

The cigar looks amazing. A toothy, dark, almost black wrapper. It is oily, and it feels like fine sandpaper. The construction feels great. The fresh green, white, and gold band stands out on the dark wrapper. The aroma is deep, a mixture of dark chocolate with barnyard.

The cold draw is fine and the flavor of raw tobacco with spice and roasted coffee shops up on the palate. Straight from the start, there are flavors such as coffee, earth, and dark chocolate, balanced by some sweetness and acidity. The coffee, acidity, and sweetness remain and are in perfect balance. In the background, there’s some spice. Toasty flavors show up as well, and they bring back the dark chocolate. After the first third, the main flavors are oak and dark chocolate. There is white pepper as well. A little dry licorice shows up in the background. The retrohale gives a peppery flavor. Oak and dark chocolate are the flavors in the mouth. The cigar remains dark in flavor. Oak, soil, and dark chocolate with some support of acidity to balance things out, sweetness, and pepper. In the last third, leather makes a comeback. With the previously mentioned flavors still in the mix. Wood, acidity, and pepper are getting stronger. Oak to be more precise than wood in general. The finale is very peppery.

The draw is good. The ash is very light in color, creating a beautiful contrast with the dark wrapper. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is plentiful and thick. This is a full-bodied cigar, full of flavor as well. It could use more evolution, but it’s still a pleasant cigar for a very reasonable price. The smoke time is three hours

Would I buy this cigar again? A fiver maybe.

Categories: 90, Cimarron, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , ,

Casdagli Club Mareva Gran Mareva

Casdagli Club Mareva Gran Mareva. A cigar that found its origin in 2010, when Marko Bilic opened his cigar club in Split, Croatia. The name of the club is Club Mareva. And to celebrate the opening of the now-famous club, Jeremy Casdagli created a cigar line for that special event. The Club Mareva line. Fast forward to 10 years later, there are 5 sizes in the line, of which some regular productions. Others were temporarily available.

The cigar, as most of the Casdagli lines, hail from the Dominican Republic. From the small Kelner Boutique Factory. The rollers use Brazilian Cubra tobacco as the wrapper. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the United States. The cigar measures 5½x42.

A pigtail and a closed foot are always bonus points when it comes to looks. The cigar has a nice chocolate-brown wrapper with very few veins for Brazilian tobacco. The simple black ring with gold print is decent but it would not make us be drawn to the cigar in a humidor of a good tobacconist. The construction feels great. The aroma might not be strong, but it has depth. Musky with spices.

The cold draw is fine, mildly spicy. The first puff is s slap in the face, but a good slap. An explosion of flavor. Wood, spices, pepper, and leather. But immediately complexity and depth. This cigar doesn’t waste time. After that first explosion, the flavors do mellow out a bit. Grass, green herbs, and a little salt. Still very pleasant. The mouthfeel is quite dry. The dryness makes the cigar spicier, with a hint of chocolate. There is an earthy tone with some wood. The cigar gets more hay, more pepper, and a little leather. The last third has more of a wood flavor, with some sweetness and pepper.

The draw is fantastic. The smoke is plentiful and the thickness is very nice. The ash is white as the hair of an old sailor. The burn is uneven though. This is a medium-full cigar, both in body and flavor. Well balanced, but front-loaded. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a good value for money cigar.

Categories: 90, Bespoke, Dominican cigars, KBF | Tags: , , , ,

Diamond Crown Maximus Toro

Diamond Crown Maximus Toro. In 1995 the oldest premium handmade family-owned cigar manufacturer in America, J.C. Newman, released the super-premium Diamond Crown line. That was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company. And it was a shock back then as all cigars came with a ring gauge of 54. That was considered insanely big back then. Now 60 seems to be the norm, unfortunately, and 54 is a pretty regular ring gauge.

In 2003, the Diamond Crown Maximus followed. Stronger, bolder. As with all Dominican made cigars for J.C. Newman, they come from the Tabacalera Fuente factory. This time with Dominican filler and binder. The wrapper is sun-grown El Bajo from Ecuador. The No.4 is a 6×50 toro. This cigar was a gift from Bobby Newman when we met a few years ago.

The wrapper is dark, oily, but has some wrinkles reminiscent of old skin, wrinkled under the relentless sun. Yet it helps to give the cigar character when it comes to looks. It’s needed because the band is slick and fancy. Colorful, shiny with plenty of gold. The construction feels good, the cigar seems evenly filled. The aroma is strong, dark chocolate with barnyard aromas.

The cold draw is good. Hay and the complex bitterness of dark chocolate are the flavors in the cold draw. The first puffs are earthy with dark chocolate. The earthiness intensifies. There’s also a hint of leather. Suddenly there is coffee as well. Later on, there’s also some pepper. But the first part of the cigar is mainly soil, leather, coffee, and chocolate. After a third, the cigar opens up. Now there is more sweetness, nice citrus acidity and the flavors aren’t so dark anymore. There is wood, licorice to be more precise. In the final third, the cigar gets more sweet wood and more spice. Yet the earthiness and coffee remain. The spice really picks up. It becomes a pepper bomb at the end.

The draw is good, slightly tight but all within limits. The white ash isn’t all too firm, the handheld vacuum did come out once or twice during the review. The smoke can be thicker and there could be more volume. The burn is slow and straight. The cigar doesn’t have much evolution, but it is solid all the way. The smoke time is three hours. This is a strong cigar, full in flavor and body.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like it a lot but I’d pick the Black Diamond over this one.

Categories: 90, Diamond Crown, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , ,

Pachuche Liga Azul Tronco

Pachuche Liga Azul Tronco, a big cigar hailing from the Dominican Republic but it’s a Swiss cigar brand. And strongly enough, there are quite a few cigar brands with roots in Switzerland. Davidoff is the most famous one. But brands as ADVentura, Gilbert de Montsalvat, Vegas de Santiago, El Sueno, Patoro, Cavalier Geneve, and Skull 77 all have their roots in the Central European country. So does Pachuche.

The Liga Azul is the third blend that the company released. There are four blends available at the moment, all made at Tabacalera William Ventura. This Liga Azul is the mildest and smoothest with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. All the other tobacco is from the Dominican Republic. The artwork on the cigar is designed by the half Mexican, half Swiss artist Patrick Küng, a childhood friend of brand founder Camillo Bazzell. Küng used his Mexican heritage as an inspiration

The wrapper is pale, yellowish-brown like autumn leaves. The greenish right with the Cinco de Mayo kind of skull is a big contrast with the bright metallic blue foot band that says Liga Azul in big, white letters. For the size, the cigar feels very light. Yet there are no soft spots or signs of underfilling of the cigar. The head is quite flat. The cigar has this manure aroma, which is quite strong.

The cold draw is quite loose and brings sweetness to the palate. Once lit, the cigar gives hay and immediately that musty old book flavor of Connecticut Shade wrappers. There is a mild sweet creaminess to the cigar as well. Slowly some acidity shows up with a hint of white pepper. Slowly the flavors change to cedar and earthiness. Still with that typical Connecticut Shade mustiness though. The cigar is very smooth and mild. The mouthfeel is very creamy, which is pleasant. The flavors remain the same until halfway when a little bit of leather and green herbs show up. But it’s all mellow and smooth. There is a hint to toasted bread every few puffs as well. In the final third, the cream and sweetness return. But with some pepper and nuts.

The draw is a bit on the loose side. But it is still within acceptable margins. The ash is like a stack of dimes, beautifully layers of ash in different tones of gray. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is razor-sharp. This cigar does have balance and a lot of smoothness. It is a mild to medium smoke in strength, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s still a Connecticut Shade cigar.

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Pachuche, Tabacalera William Ventura | Tags: , , ,

Mustique Blue Robusto

Mustique Blue Robusto. Earlier we did a review on the Mustique Red Robusto. A value cigar from the Dominican Republic. And guess what, we did not care much for it. And that’s an understatement. If every cigar was like the Mustique Red, we would quit smoking cigars today. But fortunately, there are many good cigars out there as well. Today it is time to try the brother of the Red, the Blue.

Just as the red version, this cigar comes from Tabacalera de Garcia. The largest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, and possibly even the world. It has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Dominican filler and binder. It measures 5×50.

The Colorado-colored wrapper has a nice shine to it. It looks a bit leathery, especially at the foot. The appearance is much better than the red version. The cigar feels a lot better as well, not as spongy. But the aroma is not as good. It smells a bit like lovage after someone emptied his bladder on the plant.

The cold draw is good. There is a little spice in the flavor, with green herbs. That lovage that’s also in the aroma, fortunately, the pee aroma isn’t in the taste too. Once lit there is leather, wood, herbs, and pepper. The flavors slowly change to cedar with a mild walnut flavor and black pepper in the background. Not unpleasant. Halfway the cigar gives cedar, soil, leather, and hay. With some black pepper in the background. For the price, this isn’t a bad cigar. It is so much better than the red version. The nuttiness picks up, hazelnuts with pepper. The flavor intensifies with more wood and black pepper. But there is earthiness and leather too.

The draw is a bit tight. The burn is straight. Due to the tight draw, the smoke isn’t big either. The ash is light gray and quite strong. The construction of the cigar is decent. The body of this cigar is medium-full with medium flavor. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a decent budget cigar.

Categories: 89, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, Mustique | Tags: , , , ,

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