Dominican cigars

Puros de Hostos Comendador Lancero

A few years ago I was asked to join a tasting for the Belgian magazine El Gusto, that targets both the Dutch and the Belgian market. I accepted the invitation and drove to the beautiful old distillery of Rutte in Dordrecht, a town 20 minutes south of Rotterdam, where we were shown how the Rutte jenever was distilled and how they made their liquors (if you can find it: get their Cuban Coffee liquor, its amazing!) before we were divided into three groups, each group got three different, unbanded, cigars to review and one of them really confused us, it was a fantastic cigar but it none of us could identify where the cigar came from, it was clearly not a Cuban cigar but other than that we were lost. It turned out it was a Dominican private label, Puros de Hostos, made by the Reyes family for Gustavo de Hostos and the tobacco used was fermented four times instead of the regular two fermentations.


Now the cigar had no representation in The Netherlands so I took a few samples for my then employer to try and the international price list that was available. I told my employer about the cigars, calculated the prices on them and he immediately said “No, too expensive, unknown brand, not worth my time and effort” until I cut a cigar for him, lit it and made him smoke it, he was sold. Soon after we got the first shipment in and they sold like hot cakes even though it was an unknown brand (even up till now you hardly find information online) and the price was tough. But unfortunately after a year the sales dropped and the second shipment was of a lesser quality, still good though but not superb anymore. I liked hanging out with Gustavo de Hostos, a very jovial and energetic gentleman, proud to be Dominican and thats why all his lines are Dominican puros.


I still have a few 6 3/4×40 Puros de Hostos Comendador lancero cigars in my humidor and I’m lighting one to review today. As I said, the tobacco has been fermented four times, usually tobacco gets two fermentations, Habanos claims that they ferment the Cohiba tobacco three times but this tops it. The Habano criollo 98 wrapper is dark and oily but also rustic, it isn’t the smoothest cigar you have ever seen. The construction feels good and the cap with the tiny pigtail is placed perfectly. After all these years in my humidor, out of the box and without cellophane most of the aroma has disappeared and I only smell a faint barnyard aroma. The cigar comes with a regular and a foot band, both black & gold. The bottom ring is black with thick golden outlines, golden details and golden letters Comendador while the top ring is black with a thinner golden outline and the Puros de Hostos logo in golden letters. For such a small brand they made nice rings of a good quality.


Due to the small ring gauge punching the cigar is no option so I grabbed my xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin and stronger pepper flavor. Once lit with my Ronson varaflame I taste a nice, full coffee that lacks bitterness. After a few puffs I taste coffee with terroir, a little bit of nut and a hint of salt. There is also some wood, the flavors are all very balanced, the cigar has a unique profile. After an inch it’s terroir, vegetable flavors, wood, a little bit of salt, some citrus and a hint of cocoa sweetness. After a third the cocoa sweetness disappears and the citrus grows a little stronger. Halfway I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, cedar and a little bit of lemon. After two thirds the flavors don’t change but they do intensify.


The smoke is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored and very balanced and subtle. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I need to hunt down a box.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Puros de Hostos | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amero Short Robusto

Amero, a Norwegian brand made in the Dominican Republic. You might think, hey, that sounds familiar and you are right, its the same Norwegian guy that own Viking cigars and his first attempt to make it in the industry was a collaboration with Willis Cabrera of the now also defunct Cabreras cigars. Together they made Amero, Chess and Hawk cigars.


Before the collaboration fell apart I met Hawk at the Intertabac trade show and he gave me a few samples to try, this Amero short robusto is the last of them so why not say goodbye with a review right?  Since the cigar never took off and the company is defunct I can not find any information about the blend, except that they used 2 to 3 year old tobacco to produce the cigar.


I like the 4×50 size, the cigar looks so cute as my wife would say and the little pig tail adds to the cuteness. The medium dark brown wrapper looks okay, it has a few veins. The ring is nice, green with the image of the American dollar bill where all the conspiracy theories are about and then Amero written in shiny golden letters. The construction feels good and like I said, the pig tail finishes the cigar. The cigar has a mild aroma that is a mix between acid and cinnamon.


I cut the cigar with a double blade guillotine cutter. The cold draw is fine and taste like spicy raisins. After lighting I taste a mild bitter coffee flavor. After half an inch I taste a mildly harsh cinnamon. Halfway I taste cinnamon and peper, slightly harsh. The final third starts harsh with pepper and cedar.


The draw is good, the smoke is thick and huge in volume. The ash is medium gray, layered and reasonable firm. The burn is good. The cigar is medium, both in strength and in flavor. The smoke time is forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, Amero, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Cabreras | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

La Flor Dominicana Airbender Villano Lancero

My previous employer was, for some time that I worked there, the distributor of La Flor Dominicana and through my work I had the pleasure to meet Litto both in my home country of The Netherlands, in Germany during the Intertabac trade shows and in the United States where Litto went out of his way a few times and cut into his secret family time to meet me for a lunch. That’s where I also met his sons, Litto jr and Antonio, who’s now heavily involved in the business as a blender of the Capitulo, Chapter and La Nox lines
While I was employed with that company La Flor Dominicana released the ‘airbender’ series, some say its named after Litto’s favorite Avatar  cartoon character but according to Litto the name comes from the fact that we bent the air when we smoke.


We carried 3 sizes and once they released the lancero the begging started. Me begging my employer that is. I love lanceros while my previous employer hates them as they are hard to sell. Eventually he caved, ordered 40 boxes, which I all sold. Well, I sold 38 to accounts and bought 2 myself. The cigar is made of Dominican filler and binder, all from the La Flor Dominicana farms wrapped in an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper.


The wrapper is nice and dark, shiny with a leathery look. The construction feels good and the cigar is well made with a nice pigtail to top. There is a mild aroma that smells a bit like an open field early in the morning, right around sunrise when the dew is still lingering. The ring has a black oval in the centre with the curly LFD letters in gold surrounded by golden leaves on a medium brown background. On the bottom is says La Flor Dominicana in white and air bender in golden letters right above an Egyptian looking golden decoration. Next to the LFD logo, on both sides, there are two ninja swords in white and a small golden tobacco leaf. The ring is well printed on good quality paper.


Due to the small ring gauge and the pig tail I have no choice but to cut the cigar and I used my Xikar to do so. The cold draw is perfect and peppery. My trusted Ronson was used to light the cigar. I instantly taste espresso with a little chocolate aftertaste. After a centimeter I taste vanilla, cocoa, pepper and a little lemon. After a third it’s mainly pepper with just a little bit vanilla and some leather with a lemonade aftertaste. Halfway I also taste a little bit of sweetness but the pepper is still very dominant with leather as the main support. The pepper remains dominant but the leather disappears, just like the sweetness. Only the nice citrus flavor remains in the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste a little spice too, cumin to be more precise. Slowly I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and full but the ash is quite dark and a bit flaky yet still firm. The draw is perfect. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored and quite well balanced. The burn is sharp. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? It’s no longer available on the dutch market but I still have a box left.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, La Flor Dominicana, Tabacalera La Flor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

VegaFina Sumum 2013

VegaFina, a brand owned by Altadis and made on the Dominican Republic at Casa de Garcia. Now I did smoke a few of the regular VegaFina cigars and was totally unimpressed by those mild and boring Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars that had nothing to offer for me so when someone handed me this 6×55 Sumum 2013 limited edition it ended up in my humidor as I steered away from it just because of the brand name. But now that I’m smoking from my humidor, assorted box by assorted box, for review purposes I ended up with this VegaFina Sumum 2013 as one of the last cigars from the box I wanted to be empty. So here it goes.


While googling the cigar for some information I read something that sparked my interest, the wrapper of the cigar is Cameroon and that is probably my favorite wrapper on the market. I just love the spiciness of it. The binder comes from Nicaragua and the filler is from both Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Only 20.000 of these cigars were made, 2000 boxes of 10 cigars, so on hindsight it was a very nice gift that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. I’m sorry for that.


The cigar has a medium brown wrapper with very fine tooth and a few veins. Like all Cameroon wrappers it is quite thin. The construction feels good but the head isn’t perfectly round and the cap is a bit sloppy. The aroma is quite strong and all I can say is: manure. The cigar has two rings and they don’t match, the main ring is silver gray with a black lane and gray letters on the side. The front has a black circle with VegaFina logo in silver. The second rind has the same gray outlines with a black line added but the rest of the ring is a dark orange with black letters and doesn’t fit the main ring. The print quality is high though.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine without a real flavor. After lighting I taste coffee with some pepper and sugar. After half an inch I taste a nice mild nutty flavor with spices and a faint vanilla. After an inch I taste the herbal spice that the Cameroon wrapper is known for with some wood. Halfway it’s cedar with a lot of pepper. The final third starts with nuts and pepper.


The draw is is great. The ash is amazing, light colored and very dense, also firm. The smoke is medium thick, could be thicker. The draw is fantastic. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even a Cameroon wrapper can save a VegaFina.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF

There are cigars out there that you save for special occasions, maybe because the cigar is discontinued, maybe because it’s a unicorn, maybe a limited edition from a year that has special meaning to you, maybe because it’s very hard to find or maybe because the price tag is insane. I’ve been lucky enough to smoke a few unicorns and very expensive cigars like the Daniel Marshall 24k torpedo, but today I’m reviewing this Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF because I got great news, my wife who’s from Singapore just got her MVV, that’s a permit to move to The Netherlands to stay with me and build a new life here. Now if that’s not a special occasion worthy of smoking the most expensive cigar from my stock then I don’t know what is.


Fuente shocked the cigar industry with the Opus X, the first Dominican puro, while everybody said that no wrapper could be grown on the Dominican Republic and the Opus X became a legendary cigar, the flagship of the Dominican cigars. Fuente branched off the Opus X with the Anejo and with limited edition with extreme names as chili pepper or pussy juice, weird shapes like footballs and they combined it in this perfecto with a shaggy head and the name Big Bad Mother Fucker aka BBMF. Its a Dominican puro, completely out of Sun Grown Rosado grown on the Chateau de la Fuente and if you can find these cigars the price tag is insane, I haven’t seen them cheaper than $275 online.


In my ratings the cigar scores points for the ring and the construction and with the high quality, very detailed, distinguished ring and the awesome shape of the cigar, with the beautiful maduro tip and the crazy head that looks like a masai haircut this cigar scored incredibly high on that department. The wrapper, chocolate milk brown, is flawless with one vein at the back. It feels a little oily and has a deep reddish glow. And the aroma, which is medium strong, has a complexity to it which is unique. I smell some ammonia but also spiced and herbs.


Due to the head I have no option than to cut. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and pepper and the initial draw is tight but that’s probably because of the shape. And indeed, once I am passed the Maduro foot the draw opens up. The flavor changes to toast then too with pepper and herbs. The pepper grows strong, with toast as a supporting flavor. Halfway the toast gets a little stronger and now with a little acidity but pepper is still the main flavor. The final third starts with a mellowed out pepper. The pepper gains strength again though.


The draw starts difficult but opens up soon but it’s hard to keep the cigar lit in the beginning and the burn is uneven and keeps giving me issues.  The silver gray ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium at max and the burn and smoke rating completely destroy the high rating the cigar got for looks. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. Insane price, too many burn issues.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Indian Motorcycle Habano Robusto

In 1995 Rocky Patel partnered up with Philip Zanghi, who’s father owned Indian Motorcycles and together they started Indian Tabac. In 2002 Zanghi sold the rights to Rocky Patel to focus on other parts of the cigar business and Rocky Patel slowly faded out the Indian Tabac name, converting the company to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. late 2014 Zanghi announced that he bought back the rights to the Indian Tabac name and would bring a new line of cigars to the market, Indian Motorcycles, in cooperation with the current owners of the Indian Motorcycles company.


I got this cigar at the HQ of the Dutch distributer where I had a meeting with the owner. He gave me a few samples to smoke, so here’s a review of the Indian Motorcycles Habano Robusto, a cigar made with Central American filler, including Dominican, a Dominican binder and an Ecuador Habano wrapper. The cigar is made at the Del Los Reyes/Debonaire House factory on the Dominican Republic and measures 5×50.


The wrapper is has a nice, dark brown color and is oily and glossy with a few thin veins and just an amazing looker. The construction feels good and the cap is nice. The ring is great, its a smudgy beige, like someone who’s been working on a motorcycle grabbed the ring with a little oil on his fingers and then wiped it off, a very nice detail. It has a gray circle with the name Indian Motorcycles 1901 and the a shiny red circle within and the famous Indian head in beige. On the bottom theres a golden banner with white letters saying premium cigar. This is a cigar I would grab from a humidor just because of the looks and the ring if I didn’t knew it. The aroma is very strong, barnyard with hay and ammonia.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and I taste raw tobacco. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice mildly sweet espresso. After a few puffs the espresso gets accompanied by a little acidic earth flavor. After a third I taste wood with a little salt in the back of my throat. I also taste some peanuts and pepper. Halfway I also taste some lemon, nice and refreshing. Slowly I taste more nuts, more pepper and some spices.


The draw is good. The ash is silvery gray, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow and very slow. The smoke is medium thick, personally I would have liked it a bit thicker. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I will get a few more.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Del Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Capadura Series Robusto (808, 848, 858 and 898 Extra Ligero Series)

I don’t know a lot about this brand, I don’t know how I got the cigars, when I got them, where I got them and why I got them, but I have a 808 series, a 848 series, a 858 series and a898 extra ligero series in my humidor, all in the 5×50 robusto size and decided to do another series review instead of 4 separate reviews, just like I did with the 00 series. A google search taught me that the cigars are made on the Dominican Republic and that the brand is owned by the Luba Corporation which is owned by Ruth Elizabeth Baptista. Google also told me it is a very old brand, dating back to the 1800’s and was once part of the General Cigars portfolio.

Capadura 808 Series Robusto

 


The Capadura 808 Series are supposed to be the mildest from the series and the Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador is a tell tale sign that it is a milder cigar. The binder is from the Dominican Republic just as the four types of Olor and Piloto filler. I’m not the biggest fan of Connecticut Shade wrappers although I have started to appreciate the wrapper in the last few months so who knows, I might enjoy it.


When I release the cigar from it’s cellophane I see a shiny, greasy and pale wrapper with a bunch of small veins, as is often the case with a Connecticut Shade wrapper. The rings are beautiful, a brown foot ring with golden outlines, white letters saying 808 series and a beautiful detailed ring with several shades of brown, gold and white with medals. The brown coloring doesn’t look to good on the pale wrapper though, but the ring itself if pretty and the print quality is high. The cigar feels evenly packed, the head is nice and round but the cigar feels a bit oval on the touch. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of chocolate, hay and pepper.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good and I taste a musty and mild harsh raisin. After lighting the cigar I taste a musty hay and coffee. After a few puffs I also taste some sweetness and a little chocolate. After an inch I taste a mild musty nutty flavor with a hint of chocolate. The chocolate is getting stronger but the mustiness too. Slowly I start to taste pepper in the aftertaste. Halfway I taste a medium strong nuts flavor but the mustiness is gone. The nuts and pepper get to full flavored and I like it. The flavors mellow down a bit to medium to medium full, but are still very tasty.


The draw is on the tough side. The burn is straight as an arrow. The light colored ash is beautiful, firm and dense. The smoke is a little thin and low in volume. There is a slow but good evolution. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind smoking it again, the flavors are good, the looks, draw and smoke need work though.

Score: 88
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Capadura 848 Series Robusto


There is not much to tell about the Capadura 848 series and that’s because I don’t know a lot about it and can’t find a lot of information too. I can tell that the filler is made from four different tobaccos and that the wrapper is a Havana 2000 from Nicaragua. According to the description I found its a medium bodied cigars but I’ll be my own judge about that.


The top ring is identical to the Capadura 808 Series ring but the foot ring is a shade lighter, just a tiny shade and you have to hold the cigars together to spot is and has different numbers on it of course. The wrapper has a nice light to medium brown color, its not very shiny or oily and only has one thin vein. The construction has a clear soft spot right below the ring but the shape feels better than the oval 808 Series. The mild aroma is a bit soapy.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is great with a spicy raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet earthy flavor with a clove but a little rough, flavors aren’t well rounded. After half an inch I taste an unpleasant dirt flavor with rotten wood. Slowly the cigar is turning harsh, just dirt and wood but harsh.   After two thirds the cigar is still harsh but a little less and the dirt and wood change to metallic nuts and pepper.


The draw is perfect. The ash is frayed, the color is light gray. The smoke is gray, thin and medium in volume. The burn is oke, not completely straight but still reasonable. The medium full bodied and flavored cigar doesn’t have much balance and complexity. The smoke time is an hour and I tossed it with an inch to go.

Would I buy this cigar again? Brrrrr no.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80 

Capadura 858 Series Robusto


As for the google search, all I find is information on the 808, 848, 898 and the 898 extra ligero blends but nothing on the 858 blends except for a forum post in Dutch and some information on an Austrian webshop. It could be that this is a Europe only blend, but I can’t recall seeing the cigars in a humidor in the European shops I have visited. And the Austrian site mentions that this is a evolution of Capadoro cigars, another brand with little much googable information. But at least I know the blend now: Dominican and Brazilian tobacco as filler, a Dominican binder and Arapiraca from Brazil as a wrapper.


The wrapper is typical Brazilian, it’s dark but a little rough on the eye and it has a mild oily shine. The construction feels good but the cigar doesn’t feel completely round but a little egg shaped and the cap is a single cap, not a Cuban style triple cap. The rings make up for it, the foot ring is bring with golden outlines an white letters saying 858 series while the regular ring is brown with black and gold and a white C and white Capadura. Very detailed, well printed, cigar ring. The aroma is strong and is a mix between dark chocolates some pepper and a barnyard, but the dark chocolate is the main aroma.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste some mild raisin, lemon and chocolate. After lighting I taste a strong espresso with pepper flavor and some sweetness.  After half an inch the cigar is more earthy with some lemon and pepper, the flavors lost some strength. After a third the cigar turns salty with some green herbs and lime with still a peppery aftertaste. Halfway I taste earthy notes and a little nutmeg. The final third starts nutty with a little cilantro. Its getting hard to keep the cigar lit.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is thick and white. The light colored ash is firm. The burn needs a few touch ups though. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. After and hour and a half i tossed the cigar with an inch and a half to go because I couldn’t keep the cigar lit.

Would I buy this cigar again?  It’s a decent cigar but no, not exciting enough.

Score: 87
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Capadura 898 Extra Ligero Series Robusto


The 898 series comes in two versions, a regular Capadura 898 Series and a stronger Capadura 898 Extra Ligero series. Now the blend is exactly the same with a filler consisting from Dominican Pilato Cubano and Nicaraguan Corojo and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper but for the extra ligero series they used the highest primings of the tobacco to create a little extra kick.


The first thing that I notice when I release the cigar from the cellophane is the extra ring, not just the regular ring and a foot ring (which is a shade lighter than the 848 and the 858) but in between a beige to brown fading ring with the same golden outlines as the foot ring and white letters saying Extra Ligero. The wrapper is dark and it looks a bit dry and typical Brazilian rustic. The construction feels good, evenly packed, nice shape and a beautiful round head. The aroma is medium strong and dark, like after heavy rainfall in the woods in the fall mixed with manure.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a faint raisin. After lighting I taste dirt, coffee and some dark chocolate. The flavors are unrefined, no subtlety at all. After half an inch I taste a musty leather with some pepper and green leaves. Halfway I taste wood, harsh and metallic, with pepper. The harshness is getting stronger.


The draw is a little on the loose side but the smoke is great, full and thick. The ash is light colored with a dark smear. It is dense and firm. The burn is quite straight. This is a full bodied medium flavored cigar with not a lot of evolution. After an hour with an inch and a half to go I had to toss the cigar, I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

Score: 72
number72 

Categories: 72, 80, 87, 88, Capadura, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Juan Clemente Classic & Club Selection Small Robusto

I found two almost similar looking cigars in my humidor, the only difference is a little bit of a color difference on the rings and the wrapper so I thought it might just be discoloration of the ring due to aging, but who googling I found out that they are actually two different blends, the Juan Clemente Club Selection and the Juan Clemente Classic, both in a small robusto size of 4 1/2×48.

Juan Clemente is the brain child of the Frenchman Jean Clement who started his brand in 1975 at the state owned La Tabacalera factory. His focus was mainly on the European market back in the day but even though Jean Clemente passed away a few years ago, his cigars are still available worldwide, including the United States.

Juan Clemente Club Selection Small Robusto


The cigar looks good, a beautiful medium brown, smooth wrapper with one noticeable vein and a silky feel. The construction feels good but the head has two pimples like a teenager. The aroma is quite grassy and fresh to my surprise but it fits the white greenish ring. I say white greenish because the ring looks like it was white once but has a discoloration problem. The top ring is small, curvy and says Juan Clemente in golden letters while the foot ring says the same, but not in a curly font, with two golden lines, one above and one below the text.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great and has a fresh taste of raw tobacco. After lighting I taste nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon all in a well balanced mix. I taste some pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste a harsh wood, nutmeg and pepper mixture. Halfway I taste a creamy, mild vanilla flavored wood with a little lime, though with a harshness that I don’t like. Near the end the harshness grows with sweet cinnamon.


The draw is fine, the smoke is thick and good in volume. The ash is white and firm. The burn is beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is fifty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No!

Score: 82
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Juan Clemente Classic Small Robusto


The ring of this cigar is identical to the Club Selection, only in bright, glossy white instead of the strange color of the latter one. Compare the pictures and you can understand why I wasn’t convinced that it were two blends instead of one blend with a slightly discolored ring. The wrapper is a lighter shade, mild oily with a few minor veins. The construction has some softer spots, not too soft though but a little inconsistent with the rest of the cigar. The medium strong aroma is cocoa with fresh wood.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is fine but quite tasteless. While removing the foot ring the wrapper cracks as the ring was stuck to the wrapper, I hope that doesn’t influence the burn. I taste toast, nutmeg, chili flakes, vanilla and lime. Now that sounds like a flavor bomb but the flavors are muted. After half an inch the flavors aren’t muted any longer and I taste a sharp birch wood with chili flavor, a little on the harsh side. Halfway I taste toast with some walnut and a slightly harsh peppery birch.


The draw is fine and so is the smoke, which is thick enough, enough in volume and a nice white color. The almost perfect white ash is beautiful. I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is about an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No, I’ll pass.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, Dominican cigars, Juan Clemente, La Tabacalera | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Puros de Hostos Churchill & Box Pressed Toro

I’ve not written about the Puros de Hostos Lancero before and thats a surprise. This Dominican boutique brand that I came across while being part of the tasting panel for the Belgian/Dutch cigar magazine El Gusto blew me away. It had such an amazing palate that I brought a cigar to my then employer and even though the price was relatively high we decided to start carrying the cigars, and for a while they sold like hotcakes. For this review I will smoke two cigars, the Churchill and the Box Pressed Toro.

The unique thing about the Puros de Hostos Commendador is that the tobacco is fermented four times, while usually tobacco is fermented twice and Habanos prides themselves for fermenting the Cohiba tobacco three times. Yet Gustavo de Hostos, who’s also a crooner, diplomat and businessman, wanted to ferment to tobacco four times before the cigars were made and so it is done. As a proud Dominican he wanted a Dominican puro, so all tobacco used is Dominican.

Puros de Hostos Comendador Churchill

I just love the look of a Churchill sized cigar, long and du to the length the cigars look thiner then they are. This one measures 7×48. The wrapper is a milk chocolate brown with hardly any vins, it looks thin and fragile but it isn’t. The rings are very busy with a lot of patterns in gold on a black label and the foot ring has the same, a nice golden lettering but the decorations make it information overload. The construction has the right amount of sponginess and a beautifully formed cap. The aroma is very mild and is a mixture of mild chocolate and mint.


Since it’s a Dominican puro I decided to cut the cigar with the xikar cutter from the procigar festival 2014, that came with the gift box. The cold draw is great, a perfect amount of resistance. I taste spicy raw tobacco and a hint of mint. After lighting I taste a mild acidic earthy flavor. Slowly the lime like acid gets a bit stronger, with the earthy flavor and some black pepper. After an inch the lime fades a bit and is replaced with a little bit of honey. After a third I taste a beautiful, well balanced, mixture of citrus, pepper, wood, earthiness with a hint of spices and if I snowed this cigar blind I wouldn’t have guessed it’s Dominican. The flavors grow in strength without losing the smoothness. The pepper turns to white pepper and is predominant. Suddenly the honey returns, with some fresh wood, dill and the white pepper. The final third starts with chocolate with wood, honey and pepper. Then the flavor gets nutty for a bit with a lime and pepper aftertaste. Near the end the cigar turns woody with a nice sweetness.


The draw is just perfect, nothing less. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume but it’s getting thicker and thicker along the way. The light gray ash is beautifully layered and quite firm, but it’s crooked though. The burn is pretty straight. I would call this cigar medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? I want more, the flavor profile is unique.

Score: 91
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Puros de Hostos Comendador Box Pressed Toro

Now this cigar didn’t made it to the market in The Netherlands if I remember correctly, but I might be mistaken. Box pressed, some love it, some hate it and I am impartial to it as long as its a good cigar. This Puros de Hostos looks great, intimidating because of the length and ring gauge of 6 1/2×54 and the dark brown colored wrapper with a lot of oil. I see one vein on the left side of the cigar but that doesn’t make the cigar less of a looker. The construction feels good, well packed and most importantly, evenly packed. The ring is the same as the Churchill and the aroma is medium strong, its like standing in a hay stack.


Because of the 54 ring I opted to punch the cigar. The cold draw is a bit loose, I taste black pepper and raisin. After lighting I taste coffee and oak, with a little hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste spicy oak with cinnamon and a little sugar. After a third I taste lemon, oak, spices and a little white pepper. At the end I taste minty chocolate.


The draw is a bit on the loose side. The smoke is great, thick, white and a lot in volume. The ash is light gray and beautifully layered. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied, yet smooth, complex and has depth. The smoke time is exactly two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Del Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Puros de Hostos | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arturo Fuente Añejo 77 Shark

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Fuente Friday – Fuente Añejo Shark

Within a year after lighting my first cigar, which was a Cohiba Siglo II by the way, and reading a lot of information about the hobby I decided to smoke an Arturo Fuente Opus X because that was supposed to be the bomb. I can’t say that it was a bad cigar, because it wasn’t, but it was a let down, it’s an expensive cigar, the expectations were sky high and it didn’t give me the satisfaction that I thought it would give me so I stayed away from Opus for a few years until I was given an Opus X Shark. The size was intriguing, a box pressed foot with a torpedo top? How cool! And after smoking that cigar I was a believer, what a great stick, still expensive but worth the money. I guess I was just too unexperienced when I smoked my first Opus X.

 


And then you tell everybody that the Opus X shark is one of the best cigars that you’ve ever smoked until a few friends, who’s opinions about cigars I respect highly, say “nah, good cigar but the Fuente Anejo shark is better”. So the hunt began and I found some that I loved. About 3 years later my then employer got a lot of boxes is for a decent price of €22.50 per cigar so I bought a few and tonight I feel like lighting one for a review. Now if you don’t know the story about the Anejo, a hurricane left Fuente with a shortage of Opus X wrapper and instead of halting the production they decided to use a different wrapper, a 5 year old Connecticut Broadleaf that had been aging in cognac barrels and called the line Anejo. So in essence it’s an Opus X with a different wrapper.

 


The wrapper is beautiful, a flawless, dark, rustic wrapper with a silky touch and a little oil. The construction is unique and very good with that box pressed foot and the torpedo head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of a barnyard. The cigar has a cloth foot ring to protect the foot and a red ring with the golden Fuente logo and white letters A. Fuente Anejo. It surprises me that they went for the regular Fuente logo and not a twist on the Opus X logo as this cigar comes closed to Opus X than to a regular Fuente.

 


I had to use my xikar cutter instead of my preferred punch due to the vitola. The cold draw is fine and I taste a sweetness with some pepper and a bit of a cognac flavor, very mild though. I taste coffee with some metal and peanut shells.  After three puffs I taste coffee with some pepper and a little natural sweetness. After a centimeter I taste a caramel like sweetness with wood and a hint of cognac. Slowly the flavor changes a little with a little citrus added to dark oak, mild caramel and some black pepper. Halfway I taste caramel, lime, pepper and nuts, all subtle and soft yet not mild. A little later I taste coffee again with some chocolate and pepper. The final part is nice salty, nutty, peppery and woody.

 


The white ash is super dense and very firm. The smoke is medium thick, I prefer more smoke, but the draw is great. The smoke is great, slow and pretty straight. The cigar is flavorful yet subtle, a cigar for experienced smokers, not because of the strength but because of the complexity. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is a hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Every once in a while as a treat.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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