Honduran cigars

CAO MX2 Robusto

CAO and me, it’s not a good marriage. I love the creativity of the brand, they always find a good theme to build a line around, cars, music, opera, it doesn’t matter, they always take the theme to the next level with the packaging, the names and the advertising yet most of their cigars are a let down to me, even the ones that get a lot of praise by the general public. And that’s also part of the fun of this cigar smoking hobby, everybody has their personal preferences. By the way, happy birthday Rick Rodriguez.


This MX2 is a highly praised line, a lot of my friends love this cigar, and I have had one years ago that didn’t made any impression so now I’m revisiting it after a few years to see if some aging did do the cigar good or that my preferences changed. Both are possibilities, I mean, if you browse old reviews of mine you’ll see I loved the big ring gauges and even wrote that me & maduro wrappers would never be friends, now I love the thinner cigars and the maduro wrapper, more recently I had to change my “I hate Connecticut shade” phrase since I smoked a few that I enjoyed, so maybe that will happen with CAO in general or at least this MX2 robusto.


The dark Connecticut Broadleaf looks dark and oily with hardly any veins. I see some lighter colored smears and I wonder if this is a boiled or painted wrapper. Underneath the Connecticut Broadleaf is a Brazilian binder, also maduro which explains the Mx2 name (maduro x 2) and fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru and the Dominican Republic. This 5×50 robusto seems well made with a well rounded head and a perfect  cap and it feels well constructed. The ring is unique yet nothing special, they are two black rings connected in the middle with silver lines and silver CAO MX2 writing on nice paper with a good printing quality. The aroma is medium strong and quite dark, manure with some moist wood.


I cut the cigar with a double bladed guillotine cutter and the cold draw is fine. At first I don’t taste a lot but then I clearly get a spicy taste on my lips with raisin and fresh wood. After lighting with my $2 single key flame that I bought in Singapore I taste coffee with a very mild sweetness. After half an inch I taste fresh wood with a little pepper. Soon after I taste some dark chocolate bitterness too, which I like. Halfway the cigar is just mildly bitter with a dirt flavor and pepper. The final third starts with dark chocolate and pepper. The flavors go back to the dirt and pepper again towards the end.


The draw is fantastic, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is quite dark, layered and firm. The smoke is reasonable in thickness and volume. The burn is fine. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 87

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Categories: 87, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Di Fazio Maduro Robusto

First of all, I don’t know how I got this cigar, where I got this cigar, what the msrp of this cigar is, how long I had it. All I know is that it’s made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas and that I know because I googled the cigar. And it turns out that it’s made by a TV executive from Venezuela with Italian roots, Carmelo di Fazio and that the brand saw the light in 2009. I don’t know if they are still in business, I haven’t seen their name later than an announcement that they became an advertiser on cigarobsession but their own website is offline, so I guess Carmelo is back to making TV again.


The article I read on the Cigar Aficionado website mentions that the blend of this cigar is Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Honduran binder and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. Further google searched learned that they had cigars made in Nicaragua too but no online shop has stock or sells the cigars anymore, and I guess that confirms my expectations that Di Fazio cigars is out of business.


The wrapper is almost black and so evenly black that I suspect this to be a cooked wrapper, a process where the wrapper leaf is dipped in a tea brewed with leftover tobacco and veins, making the wrapper turn darker. It’s a beautiful wrapper though with thin veins. The ring is pretty too, white with golden details and a yellow and brown shield and a black banner with golden letters saying Di Fazio. The cigar feels evenly filled, the cap is placed immaculate, the torcador knew what he or she was doing. The cigar has a mild aroma that reminds me of chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is fine, a little taste right but within margins. I taste mint, wood and pepper. After lighting I taste wood and coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a mix of spices like cumin and nutmeg with some caramel, wood, peanut shells and white pepper. Soon I taste peanuts, wood and a little lime and mint. Halfway I taste wood, some licorice, pepper and a flavor I can’t identify but like a lot, quite meaty. The meaty flavor with a smokey barbecue flavor and some pepper mark the start of the final third. Near the end I taste wood with some peanuts an hazelnuts.


The draw is great, no complaints. The silver gray ash is firm and the burn is straight. The smoke is thick and full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, I liked it.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Di Fazio, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Uppercut by Punch Robusto

In 2008 or 2009 Punch had a competition between test blends they released and the winner would be officially released. And this Uppercut by Punch was the winner. As far as I know the cigar is made in Honduras with Nicaraguan filler, including some Ometepe, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Since I don’t see them being sold anywhere and the special website is offline I’m guessing it was either a limited edition or not the success that General Cigars hoped for.


I love the name, for two reasons. First a punch is a hit and so is an uppercut plus that it’s won a competition between test blends, another ‘fight’ reference. Knock Out by Punch could have been a great name too, or a follow up. I don’t know where I got or bought this cigar, I don’t know when but I know it must have been a few years ago since the cellophane is starting to discolor and become yellow. I’m smoking the 5 1/2×50 robusto sized cigar. There were two other vitolas too.


As I said, the cellophane is starting to turn yellow from the oils in the dark and rustic Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, which is quite bumpy. The construction feels evenly packed with a nice flat head and beautifully placed triple cap. The cigar has two rings, the foot ring has a panoramic picture of the Ometepe volcano in Nicaragua with a black band underneath saying Ometepe with golden letters and golden linings on both sides of the black band and above the volcano. The top ring is dark blue with thick golden outlines, then a golden crown and the word Uppercut above a small red circle with golden letters Punch. The cigar has a mild dusty chocolate aroma.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raw tobacco and dried grapes. After lighting the cigar with my torch (single jet) I taste coffee with sugar and some lemon. After a quarter of an inch I taste some peanuts. After an inch all I taste is salt, peanuts and some chocolate. The flavors slowly change to salty peanuts with lemon and pepper, quite a lot of chili peper. The final third starts with cedar and nuts with quite some pepper. I get dark chocolate with pepper some puffs later.


The draw is amazing and the smoke is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. This is a medium full bodied and full flavored cigar with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This was a decent cigar and I read it was cheap so I would get a few.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Punch | Tags: , , ,

Camacho Double Shock Toro 2014 Limited Edition

When Davidoff took over Camacho they restyled and reblended the whole brand and possible took it to a new factory, or they renamed the factory, that I don’t know but instead of Rancho Jamastran these cigars come from Agroindustria LAEPE S.A according to Halfwheel. Included in the restyle was a yearly limited edition and in 2014 they went for the Double Shock, a barber pole cigar, and then 2 together in a big ring. the only difference is a red or a black foot ring, I hoped it meant that the two cigars had a different blend but no, and I think that is a bit of a miss by the Davidoff development team, it would have been so much more exciting if the cigars were different.


Now all the excitement has to come from it being a limited edition, a 1000 boxes with 10 pairs, were made in the sizes robusto, toro, Churchill, figurado and toro and I got my hands on a pair of toro’s which had an msrp of $11.50 but I don’t know if that’s for the pair or for a single cigar. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I got the cigars as a gift. They never made it to my side of the pond commercially so I’m fortunate to have gotten these and i’m actually looking forward to smoking this 5 country blend with Ecuadorian Habano and Mexican San Andres wrapper, a Criollo binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and the USA (Pennsylvania)


The cigar certainly stands out in the humidor, the only other “pair in one ring” I can think of is the La Jugada Nunchuck. The double wrapper is another eye catcher especially since the wrappers used aren’t the usual Maduro and Connecticut Shade or Candela but a Maduro an a Habano. The San Adres wrapper is nice dark and toothy while the Habano wrapper is a bit more brittle. The construction feels good on both cigars. I love the ring, the foot rings are red or black, nothing printed on it but there is some embossing so they aren’t boring. The big ring is black and red with a black scorpion in a red circle. Much to my surprise I found a bright embossed and a red embossed ring underneath the combined ring with a shiny metallic logo. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. I smoked the black label one, but not that it matters since they are both the same.


I punched the cigar, the draw is fantastic. I taste a mild cedar and a little raisin in the cold draw. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a nice, mellow coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a spicy grass flavor. After an inch I taste draw wood, like saw dust, with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste cedar, cilantro, nutmeg with a peppery aftertaste. The final third is a white pepper with cedar and some spices.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is thin and the volume is poor. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a moderate evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will smoke the other one but wouldn’t buy new ones if I could find them. I expected more from a cigar called double shock.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Agroindustria LAEPE S.A, Camacho, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Carlos Toraño Single Region Series Jalapa Robusto

In 2010 Carlos Toraño jumped the bandwagon of cigars made from tobaccos from a certain area, like Plasencia does with the Reserve Organica, Perdomo with the Lot 23 and the Cubans with Pinar del Rio (or at least they claim …) but didn’t stick to one plantation as Plasencia and Perdomo do but widens the parameters by making it a single region instead of a single lot. Still, I like the concept as an experiment to see what you can do with tobaccos from one region. Toraño chose to do this in Jalapa, the most northern tobacco region in Nicaragua, close to the Honduran border.


Now the cigar is a Nicaraguan pure, of course with a name and concept like that, but made in Honduras. The size of the cigar I smoked is a 5×52 robusto but there are several other vitolas. I have no idea if the cigars are still being made after General Cigars purchased the brand a few years back. I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years now, I can’t recall when I bought this but it must have been on one of my trips to the USA so 2014 or earlier. And I don’t think that this concept was a success for Toraño since there were no other Single Region lines introduced, even though there are plenty of options like Esteli, Condega, Ometepe, Jamastran and several Dominican regions.


When I release the cigar from the cellophane I notice some discoloration and the top ring gets stuck in the cellophane, so I have to rip it open to put the ring back on the cigar. The wrapper looks good, a deep brown color with some oil and just one vein, quite a nice looking cigar. The rings compliment the wrapper very well, the top ring is white with burgundy outlines and with the Toraño family logo on each side of the burgundy text single region. The second ring is smakker, burgundy with golden embossed lines and white letters saying serie Jalapa. The cigar feels well packed and evenly packed too with a nice round head. The aroma is medium strong and a mixture of lemon and dog poop.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste peppery raisin. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors with pepper. The coffee is replaced by green herbs like rucola with earthy flavors and pepper. After a third the flavors mellow out a bit to soil, nutmeg, a little salt and a peppery aftertaste. Halfway I taste wood, soil and mild salty nuts. The wood and soil slowly disappear and I’m struck with the nuts and pepper but after two thirds I taste raw carrots too, and I like carrots. The carrot flavor disappears quickly too and the pepper gets stronger.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium full in both volume and thickness. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn is slow but uneven. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with a nice slow evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe a single when I am at a shop but no box for my humidor.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Latin Cigars de Honduras, Torano | Tags: , , , ,

Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto

I have a man cave, the only place in the house where it’s allowed to smoke, even for my cigarette smoking wife. It’s a decent size room with a desk, a walk in humidor, my dedicated lancero humidor, a tv and four comfortable chairs. Once every few weeks some friends drop by for an evening of banter, cigars, booze and laughter and often they show their gratitude of me inviting them into my house by giving me a cigar. Now thats not needed, I have over 5000 cigars, but I appreciate the fact that they take time to either select a cigar from their stash for me or take the time to go out to a cigar shop and buy something for me, it’s the thought that counts even when I get a cigar that is way out of my comfort zone, like this Macanudo Inspirado Gold Robusto.


Now you wonder why this Macanudo Inspirado Gold is out of my comfort zone? Because of the brand and because of the wrapper. Let me start with the wrapper: Connecticut shade, the wrapper I hate more than any other wrapper. And then the brand, it’s a Macanudo and the best Macanudo I have ever smoked didn’t rank higher than “decent”, heck, anything from the General Cigar factories never ranked higher than decent in my book, decent or less. And I think that has to do with the sheer size of the company and the shareholders, the passion is not in the tobacco but in the money, now I’m not talking about everybody in the company, I know there are passionate tobacco people employed by General Cigars/Scandinavian Tobacco, but they are outranked by the bookkeepers, marketing managers and accountants. And when money is the main factor passion goes down and so does quality. I mean, go to a passionate ‘one off’ hamburger joint and the hamburgers are so much better than those McDonald’s or Burger King patties, a craft beer is so much better than a Heineken, Coors, Miller or Budweiser and a Flor de Cano rum is nicer than Bacardi because you taste the passion and craftmenship, the people behind the smaller companies take pride in their work and not only look at how much a product can make them.


The wrapper has a pale and brittle appearance, the wrapper is far from even, has unevenly placed pockets of tooth and just looks like its sick. The construction feels good but the triple cap is placed uneven and ugly too. The aroma is quite strong for a mild, Connecticut shade cigar but its not pleasant, an acidic ammonia and barnyard smell. The ring is simple, a matte gold ring with shiny gold outlines and the macanudo logo in shiny gold with red. The dull gold makes the wrapper even look more pale, the designers of the ring should have picked another color in my humble opinion.


Because the wrapper is so brittle and delicate I devoted to cut the cigar instead of punching. The cold draw is fine with a little chocolate flavor and a peppery aftertaste. The first puff give an unpleasant hay flavor, musty as all Connecticut Shade cigars and a little harsh. The harshness is only for a few puffs, after that I taste a mild but musty chocolate flavor and a little bit of pepper. After an inch I taste autumn leafs with some nutmeg and some sweetness. It’s not as musty as in the beginning anymore. It’s actually not bad what I’m tasting now. Halfway I taste sugar with the leafs, some nutmeg and cedar. The flavors then turn sweet and nutty with a little pepper on the background. The pepper is getting stronger while the sugar turns to caramel. Near the end the cigar gets harsh again so it’s time to put it in the ashtray and let it die.


The ash is silver colored and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The draw is perfect and the burn straight as an arrow. This cigar is mild in body and medium in flavor but well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but if someone gives it to me I’ll smoke it again on a Sunday morning. And this is why I like getting cigars that I would normally dismiss if I shop myself.

Score: 86
86

Categories: 86, Honduran cigars, Macanudo | Tags: , , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure

Now even though Hoyo de Monterrey sounds Cuban, is a Cuban brand and is named after the plantation at San Juan y Martinez there is also a non Cuban copy, owned by General Cigars, which is part of the STG group and they make their Hoyo de Monterrey cigars in Honduras.


This Hoyo de Tradicion line is made with fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic wrapped in a Honduran rosado wrapper from Jamastran. The cigar that I am smoking was a gift from an American friend and comes from 2006, so it has been aged for over a decade.


The reddish wrapper looks a bit dry but beautiful with thin veins. The construction feels good, the cigar has the right amount of resistance when I gently squeeze it but the cap isn’t very pretty, then again, it’s not horrible either. The ring is simple, white with red and gold and I would have liked it if there was any mention of Honduras on the ring.  The medium strong aroma has a bit of a manure smell, no ammonia though after more than a decade of aging.


The cold draw is great, mild sweet but also a dry tobacco flavor. Directly after lighting I taste a very sweet coffee. After just a few puffs the cigar turns peppery and a little harsh. And it keeps getting worse, the harshness is growing. There is also a saltines going on. After a third I taste a harsh, young wood flavor, sharp, unrefined and harsh. There’s also a little pepper. Halfway a lemony acidity shows up with the flavors I tastes before. The harshness fades in the final third, I taste pepper with some floral flavors.


The draw is good. The light gray ash is dense and tight. The smoke is thin though, and not a lot in volume. The burn is all right. Medium bodied and medium flavored is what I call this cigar, with an hour and a half smoke time.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I won’t.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Hoyo de Monterrey | Tags: , , ,

Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Terra Nova

Now Alec Bradley was one of those brands that for me was always ‘middle of the road’, never had any issues, they were all oke, none were unlikeable but also non wowed me. That was until George Sosa gave me a Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova on one of our trips through The Netherlands, where I worked for the distributer of Alec Bradley and some other brands. The Tempus Nicaragua and the Mundial stood out for me, but it made me sit down and really focus on some Alec Bradley cigars and that made me realize the Black Market is better than I had in mind. Now I’m going to focus on the Alec Bradley Tempus Natural Terra Nova.


Now the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua is a Honduran cigar because it’s made at Raices Cubanas, just like the Alec Bradley Tempus Natural. The Terra Nova is a 5×50 robusto and the blend consists from Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Honduran binder and also a Honduran wrapper. All the other vitolas have names coming from latin, like Centuria, Magnus & Magistri amongst others. Now my latin is non excisting so I couldn’t tell you more about it if my life depended on it.


Back to the cigar itself, once I release it from its cellophane jacket I see a quite dark wrapper with some veins and a shine from the natural oils in the leaf. The construction feels good and the triple cap is very beautifully placed. The cigar has a strong aroma of manure but without ammonia and charcoal. The ring is gorgeous. I will start with the small ring at the foot, its brown with golden outlines, small golden dots and white letters saying Natural. Then the real ring, its big, flashy with lots of gold, silver, a brown banner with white letters saying Alec Bradley and right in the centre the red oval with the AB letters in white. The quality of the print is amazing.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is on the tight side of good and I taste metallic raisins with a hint of pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste coffee with a caramel like sweetness. Half an inch in I taste chocolate, sweet tasty chocolate. After a third the cigar gets some spices, a woody flavor with a pepper aftertaste. The caramel is still around too. Halfway I taste lemon with some nuts, the pepper is getting stronger and slowly the chocolate returns.


The draw is good, the smoke is medium thick and in volume but it’s getting better along the way. Unfortunately the burn is crooked. The ash is dark gray, layered and firm. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes, shorter than usual for a robusto but I think that has to do with the corrections I had to make on the burn.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will stick with the Nicaragua

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas

Eiroa The First 20 Year Prensado

Little over 20 years ago Christian Eiroa entered the cigar business with his father Julio and the brand Camacho. They built the brand to be one of the famous Honduran cigars before they sold it to Davidoff, rumored for a whopping 40 million dollars, in 2008 with Christian being an employee and Julio retiring. But that last part changed. In 2012 Christian started his CLE brands and Tabacaleras Unidas, opening the El Aladino factory in Danli while Julio Eiroa kept growing tobacco and started producing cigars with his other son Justo under the names Aladino, Rancho Luna and Tatascan.


The tobaccos used for this Eiroa the first 20 years lines are all grown by Julio Eiroa in the Jamastran valley of Honduras and that makes this a Honduran puro. I’m smoking the 6×46 Prensado that Christian himself gave me at the Intertabac trade show. The binder is supposed to be a very special tobacco that hasn’t been used in over 50 years, and special tobacco was always a trademark for the Eiroa family, they used specific proprietary tobacco for Camacho too.


The wrapper feels like velvet and is very dark, it doesn’t have much shine and I can see a thin vein. The well printed ring is red with golden letters and some black details. It says the Eiroa name and salut, amor, pesetas that Eiroa uses for all his cigars. It looks very nice. The cigar feels well constructed and the medium strong aroma reminds me of manure.


I cut the cigar and I taste floral notes and pepper. The draw is great. After lighting I taste coffee, mild sweet and mild bitter, with a hint of pepper. After almost an inch I taste earthy flavors with pepper and a mild lemon. After a third I taste a mild sweet earthy flavor, a bit floral and vanilla like. There is pepper on the background. All of a sudden I taste salt too. The final third starts out stronger with more pepper and salt on a bit of earthy flavor.


The draw is great and the smoke is thick and full. The fragile ash is dark. The burn is good. The medium bodied cigar is nice, balanced and medium flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind smoking them more often.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Eiroa, El Aladino, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Viaje Platino Lancero

While browsing through my Lancero humidor to pick a lancero for this months “15th on the month” lancero review this Viaje Platino Lancero caught my eye and I decided that it would be the lancero of the month. I’ve had it in my possession for a long time so I don’t know if this is one of the regular release Viaje Platino Lanceros or if it came from the Trifecta release but anyway, its a lancero, it’s Viaje and it’s aged.


The cigar is made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas, where most Viaje cigars are rolled. It’s a Nicaraguan puro though, with a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper in a 7 1/2 x38 size. Now if this cigar is part of the Trifecta release, then the cigar was rolled in Februari 2011, if its from the regular release the cigar is even older so we can talk about an aged, almost vintage, cigar here, which will have an effect on the flavor, let’s find out.


The cellophane wrapper cigar has it’s foot protected with a piece of cloth. There are two rings, a beige ring with the green viaje logo and silver outlines and a secondary, beige ring with silver letters saying platino. The wapper is quite dark with thin veins all over, it feels like velvet. The cigar feels evenly packed, with the right amount of bounce when you squeeze it gently and it has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is deep and dark, like dark chocolate with some pepper and a muddy soil.


The cold draw is good, I taste sultanas and white pepper. After lighting I taste a spicy yet mildly acidic coffee. After a few puffs I also taste a honey like sweetness too. After half an inch I taste some soil with a lot of pepper. After a third I taste dry wood with pepper, herbs and a little floral flavor on the background. Halfway the floral gets a little stronger just like the pepper, and I also taste a little lemon. The cigar mellows out to the end.


The draw is great with a thick and full smoke. The dark ash is not very firm. The burn is good on this well balanced full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas, Viaje | Tags: , , , ,

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