Dominican cigars

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

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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: , , , , ,

Tino Platinum Z-Class 550R

Davidoff and Zino cigars were known as milder smoked and with the Zino Platinum Z Class Davidoff wanted to tap into the market of cigar aficionados that like a fuller smoke. They made a blend with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Peruvian Pelo de Oro binder and a Yamasa Rojiza wrapper from the Dominican Republic.


Now I have no idea how, where or when I got this cigar. I can’t imagine that I bought it myself so it must have been a gift. Why am I so sure of that? Because I never in my life have bought a Zino cigar for the exact same reason why Davidoff made this blend, I like my cigars a little fuller bodied and flavored than the old Zino and Davidoff blends although I must admit that in the last few years Davidoff made a leap forward with the new blend. And since today is the birthday of Zino it’s only fitting to publish this review today.


This cigar has a wrapper that is not up to standard that I hold Davidoff too, I mean, the coffee colored wrapper has an awesome color but is rough, the veins are thin but rough, the wrapper feels like sandpaper, the looks are just off. The construction is a bit spongy, and it looks like the cigar isn’t evenly filled either, way below Davidoff standards again.The ring is nice, pitch black with silver details and a big silver Z in the middle. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a farmfield and wood.


I used a cheap cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, yet not very flavorful, only a little citrus acidity. After lighting I taste a pleasant sour marzipan. Quickly I taste a mild harsh wood with a strong citrus flavor. The flavors don’t change much.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick and white. The ash is medium dark gray, it has beautiful layers with nice rings. The burn is decent. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The cigar lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Cigars Davidoff, Dominican cigars, Tino | Tags: , , , ,

Leon Jimenes Edicion Alemania

Today I’m reviewing a Dominican cigar that was made just for the German market, the Leon Jimenes Edition Alemania. And I picked this day because its the birthday of the German reunion, when East and West Germany became Germany again, 28 years ago. This cigar was a gift from a friend who came by to smoke a few cigars in my lounge a few months ago and right then and there I knew I would smoke this cigar on this date.


The cigar was released at the end of last summer and it was a thank you from La Aurora for the German market as the Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro sold very well there. The robusto sized cigar is made from tobaccos all harvested in 2006. The wrapper comes from Ecuador, the binder is Brazilian and the filler is a combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos. The total production of the Edicion Alemania was 1000 boxes of 10 cigars, with a fixed sales price of € 7.60


The dark wrapper has a mean looking vein on the front but the tooth, the color and the oil make up for it. I’m not a fan of the ring, brushed gold with a burgundy square with the logo and a brushed gold colored ring with that same red color print, yet the print quality is low. The cigar feels rock hard and the head is a bit uneven. The aroma is nice, medium strong and it reminds me of dark chocolate with pepper.


I used a butterfly cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, a bit meaty. After lighting I taste an oily, meaty coffee. After half an inch I taste a meaty, slight harsh, wood. The flavors slowly change to a more herbal flavor with a little pepper. Near the end I even taste some nuts.


The draw is fine, the ash is quite dark and a little frayed. The smoke has a little grayish tone and is medium in thickness and volume at most. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope, too mild for me and I didn’t like the flavors.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Dominican cigars, Leon Jimenes, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , ,

Onyx Mini Belicoso

I know I smoked this cigar years ago, after I got bombed with these by a friend from Cigar Asylum, but I don’t really know anything about this cigar so I google. I found that this is a Dominican made cigar with tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and that you can find this 5×52 mini belicoso for about 5 dollars a stick if you buy a box at the big online retailers. After doing a search on my own blog I found this review from 2009, and this cigar came from the same bomb so it is well aged.


Now my experiences with Peruvian cigars isn’t that positive so I hope that the Peruvian part of the filler isn’t very dominant. I guess it won’t be as most flavor comes from the wrapper anyway and Connecticut Broadleaf ranks very high in my list of favorite wrappers. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The name is a bit confusing as most belicoso that I know are about 5 inch long, torpedos are usually longer so I don’t get the ‘mini’ part of the name. I also have no clue on who makes these cigars.


When I get the cigar out of the cellophane I notice the box pressed shape and the dark oily wrapper with hardly any veins. The construction feels good and the cap is secure and neat. The aroma is quite strong and barnyard with manure all the way. The ring is simple yet beautiful, a vertical oval with a golden edge, black line and then a white base. Inside there is a smaller oval in black with golden outlines and golden letters Onyx in a vertical way. The white with black and gold theme is continued on the side where it says ‘handmade’ and ‘reserve’. The print quality is great.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter and the cold draw is fine. I read some bad stories about the draw but it looks like I’m lucky. I taste some wood and pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame. I taste earthy flavors, coffee beans and chocolate. After a few puffs I taste cinnamon with chocolate which changes to cedar with some lemon and pepper after half an inch. Halfway I taste cedar with pepper and a little bit of chocolate. The final third is cedar with nutmeg, cinnamon, a little pepper, some lime and chocolate.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is a little thin though. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen pleasant minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a box.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Onyx | Tags: , ,

La Palina Lancero

Years ago, when I was still working for the biggest independent cigar distributer in The Netherlands a few of the brands we distributed asked us to look into La Palina, so we reached out to Courtney Smith who was their VP of Sales back then but has moved on to Cornelius & Anthony since then (a good move in my opinion, both for Courtney and for Cornelius & Anthony). To cut a long story short, we decided to give two La Palina lines a try run.


Courtney came to Intertabac and flew into Amsterdam a few days early. I picked her up and she gave my employer a box of the La Palina Classic Lancero to sample, yet my employer hates lanceros and is the only cigar smoker at the office so when I saw that box at the office a few months later, with just one cigar missing, I asked if I could have it. These cigars are made at PDR on the Dominican Republic with a Brazilian wrapper, a binder from Ecuador and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.


The wrapper is smooth, very smooth for a Brazilian wrapper which usually are darker and rougher than this one. Its shiny because of the oils in the leaf yet the cigar feels a bit like sandpaper. The ring is simple, off white with black letters with golden outlines, just saying La Palina classic in an old fashioned font. The cigar feels well constructed, no hard of soft spots, and the cap is decent. The cigar has a nice stable aroma, manure, some acidity and hay.


I used a flat cut to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great, cedar and spicy. After lighting I taste sweet and savory spices. After half an inch I taste cedar with pepper. Then I suddenly taste a nasty bitter flavor that I recognize, the cigar is bleeding and that after just an inch. An easy fix, just cut off some of the head, but still. After I fixed the cigar I taste some sweetness, cedar and some hay. Halfway I taste a sharp cedar, just cedar. The last inch gets a little stronger but still the same flavor.


The draw is good. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The smoke is quite thick and white. The burn is quite straight. There isn’t much evolution, which is rare for a lancero. This cigar is medium bodied at most, mild to medium flavored. And the smoke time is less than ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Dominican cigars, La Palina, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

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