Honduran cigars

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

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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: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo

I used to live in a small apartment with more cigars than I could store properly in regular humidors so I had several coolers filled with five finger bags full of cigars so when I was looking to buy a house I specifically searched for a house where I could build a man cave and a walk-in humidor. And I bought that house in February 2014. I don’t know if I should be proud of should seek help, but the man cave and the walk-in humidor were the first room to be ready. That’s when I started to unpack my coolers and found some hidden gems that I didn’t knew I had. And because this is the 11th birthday of my blog, I decided to publish a review of one of my vintage cigars.


One of the hidden gems were a handful of the Alec Bradley Prime Gold Series torpedo, and I did know nothing about these so I reached out to my friend George Sosa, whom I spend many hours in the car and on events with, and he told me that this was from a limited edition from 2004 and only 1500 boxes were made. That only made me wonder where I got these cigars from as I lit my first cigar December 2005 on a trip to Singapore & Indonesia. Well, to cut a long story short, on George’s next trip to The Netherlands I picked him up from his hotel and surprised him with one of these cigars that he hadn’t smoked in a long time. Now that I am down to my last one, why not say farewell to this line with a beautiful review?


The cigar comes wrapped in ceder for the bottom two thirds, with a cloth foot ring in a beige yellow color and a print saying gold series on the cedar. When I remove the cedar I find a beautiful, mild oily Ecuadorean ligero wrapper with one thin vein. The construction feels goor and the head of the cigar is so pointy that it’s almost considered a weapon. The ring is great, yellow and purple colors with a colorful crest in the middle and a banner saying pryme. Only on the side there is mentioning of Alec Bradley in a beautiful but small purple font. After all these years the aroma faded, so all I smell is a mild wood aroma.


Due to the shape of the cigar I have no other option than to cut, for which I use my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect and gives me a nice and spicy raw tobacco flavor with pepper on the lips. How else could I light this cigar other than with my Alec Bradley Burner? Straight from the start I taste a very nice coffee flavor with cedar. After a quarter of an inch I taste green herbs too and a bit of a citrus flavor. After an inch I taste citrus, wood, some nutmeg and a little pepper. After a third it’s green herbs like basil, parsley and thyme that I taste with a nice dose of pepper. Halfway I taste spicy cedar with a very faint cocoa powder. Slowly I taste more spices and with an inch and a half to go I clearly taste cinnamon with cedar, lemon and pepper.


The draw is immaculate. The smoke is medium plus is volume and thickness. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. There is a complexity and depth you can only find in vintage cigars. The cigar is still medium full to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That won’t be possible but this cigar is pretty flavorful for a cigar with this age. I would not mind Alec Bradley bringing this blend back.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , ,

CAO Amazon Anaconda

The final release of the CAO Amazon trilogy is the CAO Amazon Anaconda, made in Honduras with a rare Brazilian wrapper leaf, a Habano from the Bahia region, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the two rare Brazilian tobacco’s used in the Amazon Basin and Amazon Fuma em Corda, namely the Braganca and Guma em Corda tobacco. And because of the rarity of the tobacco, this will be a limited run again.


As I wrote in the review of the CAO Amazon Fuma em Corda, this cigar was handed to me during the Intertabac trade show and I was happy to receive both the Fuma em Corda and the Amazon Anaconda because I really liked the Amazon Basin. I’m looking forward to smoking this 6×52 toro, and I hope I like it as much as I liked the Amazon Basin.


The wrapper has a nice, evenly, dark wrapper with a reddish glow and it’s got the rustic look you’d expect from Brazilian tobacco. To me, Brazilian tobacco always is a little rough on the eyes, or rustic might be a better description. The ring, which is a string of tobacco wrapped around the cigar like an anaconda wraps itself around a tree, finishes the look of the cigar. The construction feels and looks good although there is a little dent in the cigar where the wrapper string starts, I think the roller pressed too hard on that spot. The aroma is fresh, peppery and acidic, medium in strength.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw, which tastes like leather, pepper and raisin, is great. I taste leather after lighting, thick, fat, juicy leather. After a few puffs I also taste sweetness. After an inch I taste that juicy leather but now with sweet milky chocolate. After a third it’s leather and pepper. Halfway I still taste those flavors but now with a lot of floral sweetness. The final third starts with floral and vanilla sweetness, a little bit of leather, pepper and licorice. An interesting combination, quite unique. Near the end the leather gains more strength abs becomes a little dry, the pepper picks up too.


The draw is fine, the smoke it white, thick and plenty in volume. The light colored ash has nice rings. The burn is good, not perfect but good. The cigar is medium in body and strength. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is the Amazon I like least.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

Candela, the green wrapper, has lost a lot of the charm and popularity over the years. If you go back to World War II, most cigars were candela wrapped due to the high demand. Farmers in the Partido region of Cuba used fires to cure the tobacco in the barns but the temperature raised too high, curing the tobacco in 3 days instead of the usual long process that naturally turns the wrapper yellow and then brown. So a lot of farmers started to use that method, those cigars were distributed to the American soldiers and that’s what they wanted to smoke after the war too.


Nowadays the tobacco is more of a gimmick and that’s exactly the way Alec Bradley thought of it when they decided to use a Candela wrapper for a limited edition of the Black Market. And they picked the green themed St. Patrick’s day as the occasion for this cigar to b released. The cigars, made at the Plasencia factory in Honduras instead of Raices Cubanas, were a hit and the Filthy Hooligan became a returning release, with tweaks in the blend and eventually even becoming a barberpole cigar. But this cigar is from the original 2013 release, a 6×50 toro with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran double binder and filler from Nicaragua and Panama.


I wouldn’t buy this if I was a regular consumer in a cigar shop, just because of the look. The wrapper is a pale grayish green with a clear vein, it looks dry and brittle. The ring is cool, just like the regular Black Market but with some green, a clover and the Filthy Hooligan name. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice and the overall shape is good. For a supposedly mild cigar that aged for 5 years, the aroma is strong yet grassy, not green grass but mowed wet grass.


After cutting the cigar I taste a surprisingly peppery cold draw. After lighting I taste a sharp, metallic flavor over some grassy base flavor. There’s a little pepper too, white pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets harsh, I taste a little pepper, cedar and some salt. Halfway I taste the metallic flavor again, with salt and still that harshness on the tip of my tongue.


The draw is fine. The dark ash is coarse and not very firm. The smoke is thick. The burn is straight. This is a mild to medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, just as I remembered the OR was the Filthy Hooligan I liked least.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

Casa Fernandez Lancero

Back in 2009, before facebook groups were so popular, I used to hang out at Cigar Asylum, which was created from the ashes of Club Stogie after it merged into the horrible puff.com board. And I made a lot of friends so in the spring of 2009 four of us, two Dutch and two Americans from Gainesville, decided to do a little road trip all along the east coast and then fly to Las Vegas and we would herf every night in a different state. It was an epic trip.


The day we landed in Orlando one of my American friends (who actually had the Casa Pineda named after him) hit me with a cigar that was hot on that moment but hard to get, a Casa Fernandez lancero. And much to my surprise I hadn’t smoked it yet, it was still laying around in my humidor so I consider this an aged, maybe even vintage, Nicaraguan puro made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas. Casa Fernandez is from the Aganorsa/Tabacalera Tropical family and named after owner Eduardo Fernandez, who also helped the Pepin family get started in America at the now closed El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami.


When I grab the cigar I suddenly hear The Beatles in the back of my head singing “they call me mellow yellow” because of the yellow cello after 9 years wrapped in the packaging. The corojo wrapper feels like very fine sanding paper, it still has a little oil and a nice dark wood color brown, with thin veins. It looks good. The ring has different colored gold, black outlines and a red curly F in the middle, on top it says Casa Fernandez and on the bottom Nicaragua, even though the cigar is made in Honduras. The cigar is straight, feels evenly packed and has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is quite dark, like dog poo with some wood.


The cold draw is great with a mild lemon and raisin flavor. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee with a little marzipan sweetness. After an inch I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and a little pepper. After a third I taste a mild salty nuts with some sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to herbs, spices and sugar.


The draw is great and the white smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. The light gray ash is not very firm but the burn is razor sharp. The years of rest really smoothed the cigar, it’s mellow yet flavorful, smooth and tasty. I can even retrohale, something that I usually can’t. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have a few oldies, now I want more to age.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Casa Fernandez, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro

At my previous employer we carried a lot of brands, including Casa Magna and years ago that used to be selling like hot cakes, six years ago they made up 40% of out annual sales that year, it was crazy. But because of the high demand, not just in our country but anywhere, Quesada and Plasencia couldn’t keep up with the demand and we were out of stock for a long time, the brand never recovered from that long period of no stock even thought there is now a steady supply of Casa Magna. It’s not dead, not by far, but the sales are way less than they used to be. But back to that dry spell, one morning my boss calls me and says “I have a great replacement for the Casa Magna, there is stock in Germany so we have it next week so start selling and taking pre orders, I will email you the details now”.


So within minutes I get an email with the name of the brand J. Fuego Sangre de Toro, the sizes and prices, that were actually very low with less than €5 for the 6×50 Toro and some details like “Made by Plasencia in Nicaragua”.  Now thats where it went wrong, the cigars are made by Tabacos de Oriente, which is in fact Plasencia but not Nicaragua, its their factory in Honduras. But the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, only rolled in Honduras (same as Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua for example) with a blend of Corojo and Criollo fillers, a Criollo binder and a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper. Oh, and if you wonder if this cigar ever came close to Casa Magna sales? No, it took a long time to sell out the shipment we got in and it wasn’t even a lot. The feedback wasn’t that good, lets see what a few year age have done to it.


The wrapper looks beautiful, its dark with a few thin veins, nothing wrong with it. The construction though has a soft spot under the ring and the first layer of the triple cap is huge, which is not aestheticly pleasing. The rings are quite simple, the thin foot ring is black with silver and golden lining and silver writing which says J. Fuego Cigar Co. The main ring is a two tone red with yellow lettering Sangre de Toro in a paint like typography and the J. Fuego logo in gold on a black tobacco shaped spot and a not to well printed dotted golden outlining. Now the flavor is quite strong but also quite weird, its like opening a jar of pickles, now I like pickles and I eat them daily so this could be good. I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and I taste black pepper with dry tobacco.


I taste a dry, roasted and smoky wooden flavor, slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. After a centimeter the cigar has a bit of chocolate, honey and toasted wood that isn’t too pleasing, it’s not bad but also not good. After a third the flavor gets better, autumn leaves and toast with a mild dark and creamy chocolate. Some puffs later I taste a peppery aftertaste. Halfway it’s oak with some freshness. After a third the cigar changed to peppery cedar and actually pretty nice.


The draw is great and I get a lot of thick white smoke from the cigar. The ash is flaky, its white with black smears and not too firm. The burn isn’t good but also not bad. This is a medium plus bodied cigar, medium plus flavored too. The smoke time is little less then an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No but I won’t mind smoking the half box I have left.

Score: 87

87
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Categories: 87, Honduran cigars, J. Fuego, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

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