Honduran cigars

Illusione ~HL~ Natural

There are three different Illusione ~HL~ blends on the market, this one, the original Illusione ~HL~, the ~HL~ Candela and the ~HL~ Maduro. And I have reviewed all three of them by the time you read this review, but I may or may not have published the reviews yet. I always have a bunch of reviews in stock so that if I cannot review for a while due to a busy schedule, a vacation with wife & kids, health issues of what other reason, I can still update my blog. So if you can’t find the reviews of the other Illusione ~HL~ blends yet, check back soon.


The Illusione ~HL~ is the 5 1/2×40 lancero from the Illusione brand, a brand created by Dion Giolito, and most of the cigars have names that are either numbers of have something to do with history or conspiracy theories. The ~HL~ stands for Holy Lance and refers to a lance that pierced Jesus his side when he was on the cross and later carried by the first Christian emperor of Rome, as the myth goes the lance gave him protection and special powers and therefore it was holy. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro although it classified as a Honduran cigar as it’s made by Raices Cubanas, a factory known for Illusione, La Palina, Viaje and most of all Alec Bradley.


The cafe colorado wrapper looks pretty with a few thin veins and a silky touch. The construction feels good and the tiny pigtail fits the slender cigar. The cigar has a very faint aroma, I had to sniff a few times before it hit me: dog poo on a barnyard, and trust me, that’s different and less gross than dog poop under your shoes. The small ring is white with gothic letters in golden print and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter, the cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin flavor and a mild peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my Ronson and taste coffee and leather. After half a centimeter I also taste cocoa and some pepper. After an inch the cigar turns to wood with nutmeg and pepper and for a short while the cigar was a little harsh. Halfway the cigar gets more spicy and peppery. The pepper still gains strength. After two thirds I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, a little cocoa and pepper with just a little lime in the aftertaste. Soon after I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and reasonably firm. The burn is straight but not razor sharp. I usually don’t notice but this cigar has a very pleasant smell. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes a mixed box with the others would be nice.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Illusione ~HL~ Maduro

After releasing the Illusione ~HL~ natural Dion Giolito, owner of the brand, had some empty boxes left over and instead of letting them go to waste he decided to create the same vitola in the candela and maduro blends he already made for other vitolas of Illusione. As a certified lancero whore I’m not complaining about this decision.


Like the other lanceros from Illusione, this one is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras too. So it classifies as a Honduran cigar even though the wrapper is from Mexico and the filler and binder are Nicaraguan, no Honduran tobacco is used for this 7 1/2×40 elegant cigar. The Mexican San Adres wrapper is stalk cut, a technique where not the individual leaves are picked but the whole plant is cut down and hung to dry upside down.


The wrapper has a mild oily shine to it and is beautifully dark, like a thin chocolate bar. Unfortunately the cigar wasn’t wrapped in cellophane and that caused a little damage at the foot. The tiny pigtail is a nice detail. The construction feels great. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. The ring is identical to the regular Illusione ~HL~ ring but only in a different color, brown with golden letters and black outlines instead of white with golden letters and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a little pepper and a little citrus before lighting the cigar. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee. Soon I also taste chocolate. After a centimeter I taste spices with cedar and a little pepper. I also taste a tiny bit of chocolate sweetness. After a third I taste cedar with some spices and a little white pepper in the back of my mouth. Slowly a chocolate flavor returns. The flavors then change to toast with pepper and citrus. The flavors don’t change much anymore but become stronger and only some citrus shows up. Especially the pepper grows in strength.


The draw is just fine, no complaints at all. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is fragile and light colored. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied yet full of flavor. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like this one the best from the three blends and all three are worthy of another purchase.

Score: 92
92

Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Taboo Sumatra Churchill

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

Taboo Thursday – Taboo Sumatra Churchill

Years ago, and I mean years ago, a minimum of seven years at least, the private label of the Taboo Cigar Bar & Lounge in Texas, was quite popular for a brief time at my favorite cigar forum Cigar Asylum and I did a group buy for some friends and myself when I still did illegal imports, something I now oppose too as I learned how bad it is for the local cigar importers and retailers, and in the end they make it possible for us to enjoy cigars, gain more knowledge, make it possible to try cigars before you buy boxes and in some cases provide a nice lounge to smoke and events to meet fellow aficionados and people from the industry. So in retrospective I regret buying so many cigars online from overseas. But having said that, today I saw a Taboo cigar in my humidor and decided to light it.


The cigar that everybody went mad about was the Taboo Twist, a barber pole cigar. It is a private label, yet the factory where they were made was undisclosed, rumors say it was Oliva but they hardly do private labels so I don’t think that’s true. Actually, when I just checked their website it says the cigars are being made in Honduras, so that makes it certain that it’s not Oliva. Well, at a certain moment Rob, the owner of Taboo, not only sold the Taboo Twist but also a few other blends and even a few limited editions. I grabbed this 7×52 Sumatra from my humidor to smoke. This specific blend isn’t available anymore on their website, but the Twist is just like the Taboo HSG.


The cellophane this cigar came from is staring to discolor as a sign of aging. The Sumatra wrapper is medium dark in color but still has an oily shine and looks pretty and tasty. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is a bit tacky, the round logo looks like fire with silver letters Taboo cigars and the side and back are like diamond plating. The ring is clear, it’s different but it doesn’t score high on my personal scale on how I like a cigar ring to look. The aroma is mild and reminds me of hay and straw.


When I wet the cap I notice a sweet flavor, but the wrapper doesn’t taste sweetened though. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine with a little sweetness on the lips and some dry hay and raisin in my mouth. I taste sweetness and I start to wonder if the wrapper is sweetened after all as it’s a little chemical sweetness. The other flavor is a little musty wood. After an inch I taste some nuts and wood, the sweetness is gone. After a third I taste some pepper with a little metallic flavor and a little nuts. Halfway it’s musty wood again, with a little bit of that metallic flavor and some pepper. After two thirds the pepper gains in strength a bit, with the musty and slightly sweet wood as a base.


The draw is good, but not fantastic. The smoke is medium is volume and thickness. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is good, again not fantastic but good. The strength is medium, just like the flavor. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are not for sale anymore and even if they were I wouldn’t.

Score: 79
number79

Categories: 79, Honduran cigars, Taboo | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

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

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Macanudo Inspirado Mareva

Macanudo, still rumored to be the best sold brand worldwide, but never has it been one of my favorite brands. I tend not to like cigars from the big companies as to me those cigars lack soul and character. I mean, compare it to McDonalds vs a one off hamburger joint with quality products and passionate staff, its a world of difference. Brands owned by the big companies tend to be the same, instead of making great cigars and earning a living with them its making as much money possible with tobacco no matter what, to satisfy the shareholders. Those companies have no pride in what they are doing, while the family owned companies pride themselves in the quality they produce. I mean, look what Davidoff did with Camacho, it was a great product, Davidoff bought it, rebranded and reblended it and now its nothing but a marketing product without a soul. The moment Imperial Tobacco took a 50% stake in Habanos the quality went down considerably and now its all about limited editions, regional editions etc but the quality and the soul of the cigars dropped or are lost. Scandinavian Tobacco, owner of General Cigars, is the worst and I lost all my respect for them when I found out that they supported the FDA ruling about premium cigars.


Now I’m not saying that everybody in those accountant & marketing managers run company have no passion about tobacco, I had the pleasure of talking with Benji Menendez while he was still working for General Cigars, I met Rick Rodriguez on several occassions and those guys have a passion for cigars, I bet there are more people like that but they don’t run the company. Ernesto Perez Carrillo sold his La Gloria Cuban to General Cigars and was contractually stuck there for 10 years but the moment the contract expired he started his own company again where he makes cigars with a soul, with character. Now there are always exemptions, a company like Gurkha is small and privately owned yet for me they fall into the categorie of the soulless cigars as its nothing but a marketing scheme and Hantosia doesn’t even smoke cigars as far as I know, thats a company without passion either.


Now on the cigar, a few years ago General Cigars released a new blend, at first just for the European market, Macanudo Inspirado. The blend consists from a mixture of Nicaraguan, Honduras and Dominican filler with a Jamastran, Honduras binder and a posada wrapper from San Augustin in Honduras. It later got released in the United States too, there were line extentions, a second and a third Inspirado line were released but this 5 1/8×42 mareva was created especially for the ‘cigar smoking world championship’ organized by my friend Marko Bilic. Now I see cigar smoking as relaxation and for me a competition with cigar is an absurd idea, but the world championship is a success so I’m probably in the minority with my opinion and that’s okay.


The cigar comes in cellophane and once unwrapped I see a medium brown but pale wrapper. The wrapper looks fine when it comes to veins and all, but the color is a little pale as I said. The construction feels good and the cap is beautifully constructed. The ring is fine, its a reddish orange with golden outlines, a golden macanudo logo and lettering over some faded white text, the gold print is actually very well done. The cigar has a pretty strong aroma that I can only compare with cow manure but I couldn’t smell any ammonia so thats good.

I cut the cigar guillotine style, the cold draw is very easy and I can’t imagine people being able to smoke this cigar over two hours. I taste some raisin, hay and a lot of pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste bitter coffee with a chocolate aftertaste. After a few puffs it’s bitter coffee with sugar aftertaste. The bitterness disappears and makes place for a mild freshness and a woody yet sweet flavor. After a third the flavors are sharp and a little harsh. Halfway the flavors are less harsh, I now taste cedar with herbs and spices. The sugary sweetness is still there too.


The draw is easy but not too loose. The ash is medium gray and layered. It’s also quite firm. The burn is a bit uneven. The smoke is plentiful and medium thick. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The body flavor ratio and the evolution are good. The smoke time for me is about an hour so if I competed I wouldn’t even be close to the top of the charts.

Would I buy this cigar again? I love the vitola, I don’t love the cigar though as it lacks soul and character.

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Macanudo | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova

Mid september 2015 George Sosa from Alec Bradley came to The Netherlands for the Dutch Big Smoke, which is not related to the American Big Smokes hosted by Cigar Aficionado due to our laws, but at the Dutch Big Smoke 10 cigars were introduced to the Dutch market. We as the Alec Bradley distributer decided to go for the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova, a 5×50 Nicaraguan puro produced in Honduras. I picked George up from the airport and his first question was if I ever smoked the Tempus Nicaragua. My answer was no, he pulled one out of his bag and we lit up. Straight away I loved the cigar, without thinking twice I told George it was the best Alec Bradley I had ever smoked, it was a great fit for my palate.


The Big Smoke was very successful and the days after the event we drove around, visiting accounts and smoking nothing but the Tempus Nicaragua, even on the long drive to Dortmund, to the Intertabac trade show we lit those babies up.  So its safe to say that this isn’t a review where I don’t know what to expect, but more of a review where I wonder how high the score will be. The cigar has a nice dark and rustic looking wrapper, you know its not going to be a mild cigar just by looking at it. The construction feels good and the cigar has a beautiful triple cap. The ring is exactly the same as on the Tempus and the Tempus Maduro but in a different color, just like the Tempus and Tempus Maduro differ in color. The foot ring is brown with golden lining and white letters Nicaragua while the regular ring, which is quite big has the red & white Alec Bradley logo with crown surrounded by silver and golden circles, a black banner with the Alec Bradley name and a brown bottom with beautiful Roman style lettering saying Tempus. The gold and silver really pop, beautiful printing quality. The aroma is medium strong, but it has a deep and pleasant aroma of a barnyard, horses and a little bit of dark chocolate.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, which is perfect, gives me a little spice and raisin. I used my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar. The first puffs are a full coffee, a little bitter, with some cocoa and spices. After an inch I taste spices, herb and a very mild citrus. Soon after I taste a spicy, pleasant bitterness with a little sugar like sweetness. Halfway it’s all spices and herbs with a little sweet chocolate. A few puffs later the cigar becomes meaty, not a meat flavor but a feeling. After two thirds it’s a beautiful mix of spices, sweetness, a little pepper, well balanced. Near the end I also taste nuts with the mentioned flavors and a mild acidic citrus flavor.


The draw is great, smooth and easy. The smoke is thick, luscious and abundant. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a little bit crooked but it corrects itself quick. The strength I would call medium plus, both in body and in flavor.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this was my last one, need to get a new box.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

The cigar market has always seen new blends pop up, some of them stick around, others disappear after a time. Alec Bradley has been one of many companies that have released quite some new blends in the last few years and retired a few too. Only in the last 3 to 4 years we have seen the Mundial, Tempus Nicaragua, Nica Puro, Flithy Hooligan, Fine & Rare, Family Blend, Family Blend Lineage, Coyol, Texas Lancero, Post Embargo and the Sanctum show up plus a re blended and rebranded Maxx. I probably missed some and since Alec Bradley hasn’t been on the Dutch market for so long, only a few years, I don’t now what blends they retired.  Now new lines or brands, I have mixed emotions about that. As a cigar geek I love it, because I always want to try new stuff. And as a cigar salesman I loved it, since its pretty easy to sell something new, easier than building a brand to stay in the market long term but on the other side I hated it too as a cigar salesman because you simply can’t carry all brands, customers request cigars that are not in your portfolio and as a consumer I sometimes got tired of it as well. For example, when Viaje was introduced I hunted down all new releases until there were so many small batches I couldn’t keep up and lost interest, same with a Tatuaje, too many special releases so I couldn’t bother anymore and even Rocky Patel overdid it with his seasonal ‘spring, summer, autumn & winter’ releases. Its a shame because all mentioned brands I love.


Back to Alec Bradley, I worked for a cigar distributer and Alec Bradley didn’t have an importer when they were chosen to be the cigar of the year. The second that happened, I remember sitting at a parking lot refreshing my screen franticly as the #1 is announced late on the working day for us and close to the x-mas period where the company was closed, if one of our cigars was #1 I had a short time frame to push the sales up at the end of the year. Well, Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, not one of ‘our’ cigars so no nice added turnover that week but we did reach out to them that afternoon and a few days later we were the official Alec Bradley distributer for The Netherlands and in the years after we built a good relationship. I always liked most Alec Bradley cigars but considered them to be a ‘middle of the road’ cigar, good but not fancy, except for the Mudial and the Tempus Nicaragua that I loved. I parted ways with my employer and decided to reboot my review blog, but reviewing demands a different approach to smoking, one with way more attention to the cigars than how I smoked for the past few years and when I did, it changed my mind on Alec Bradley a bit, the ‘middle of the road’ Black Market for example it a much better cigar than I always thought, but I only smoked it casual before. And that happened with more Alec Bradley sticks, so I can’t wait to try this Sanctum Robusto.


The Sanctum is made from Honduran, Colombian and Nicaraguan filler with a Costa Rican binder and a Honduran wrapper and its made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. When I release the cigar from the cellophane jacket it feels silky. The wrapper looks good but has a long, thin vein, straight in the centre that I personally would have hidden on the back pure for the looks in a humidor. The construction feels good and the cigar is well finished. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me most of the kitchen when I’m boiling cauliflower and its quite strong. The ring is big, covers at least a third of the cigarand maybe even more. It’s black with white and a red Alec Bradley logo in the centre, surrounded by golden details and the test Sanctum in a beautiful font. At first glance the logo with the golden decoraction made me think of a fire department crest.


I punched the cigar and the predawn is a little tight on the good side. The flavor reminds me of old dark chocolate. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nice coffee flavor with some cedar and far in the back even a little bit of dark chocolate. After a centimeter the cedar has completely taken over from the coffee, with some pepper and some milk chocolate with some vanilla. The overall flavors are creamy. Halfway I taste wood with a honey sweetness. Slowly the pepper gets stronger and I also taste a little nutmeg Abe cinnamon like spices. After two thirds I mainly taste the spices and some pepper.


The smoke is quite thick and the volume is fine. The ash is light gray. The draw is great, the little too much resistance I had in the cold draw isn’t noticeable after lighting the cigar. The ash is firm and the burn is pretty darn straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar but I prefer the Mundial, Coyol and Tempus Nicaragua over this blend.

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Rocky Patel Super Ligero Lancero

A few years ago I ran into Rocky Patel at the Intertabac trade show and at the time Rocky didn’t have distribution in The Netherlands so over dinner with Rocky (and Abe Flores from PDR and Courtney Smith from La Paling whom we already distributed) I convinced Rocky to go with us instead of with the other distributer that showed interest. Soon after we introduced Rocky Patel Premium Cigars on the international market and we hit the market hard, with a lot of events with Rocky’s European marketing guy Kolja Kukuk and me. Kolja always brought other Rocky Patel cigars for us to smoke on each of his trips to The Netherlands so I smoked a lot of Rocky Patel cigars that weren’t and still aren’t available in The Netherlands.


One day he brought the Super Ligero, a cigar that made me frown my eyebrows for two reasons, first of all because with that name I expected it to be blended for strength and not for taste and second of all because I automatically thought “that is a twist to the double ligero name La Flor Dominicana uses”. Now the latter was quickly covered as false, the strain of ligero used in this cigar is simply called ‘super ligero’ so the cigar is named after the type of tobacco and the first was countered after I smoked the cigar, it was full bodied but not too strong and it became the Rocky Patel cigar I loved most. On the next trip Kolja surprised me with a handful of Rocky Patel Super Ligero lanceros, a 7 1/2×38 version of this Honduran made cigar with a blend consisting of a Honduras habano wrapper and binder and a filler of Nicaraguan and Costa Rican super ligero. I’m down to my last few so I need to write a review before they are all gone.


The cigar has a nice, quite dark, wrapper with a little shine to it and only a few minor thin veins running over it. The head of the cigar is topped with a single cap. The band is modern shaped with the round RP logo on the back and the words Super Ligero written in the length of the cigar, the ‘super’ is written in a very Miami Vice color green, Ligero is written in bigger letters in white on the black band. Next to that you’ll find a red banner with the name of the factory “El Paraiso Honduras”. The band is beautiful, modern and stands out in a humidor. The construction feels good but since Rocky Patel has every cigar tested before they leave the factory I expect nothing less than perfection from the brand. The aroma isn’t too strong and has hints of a stable with a cow urine drained hay. I use a flat cut to cut the cigar and the cold draw is nice and taste peppery with a raisin like sweetness. I light the cigar with my Ronson varaflame.


First I taste a medium strong coffee flavor with some pepper in the front of my mouth. The flavors soon changes to lime with some spicy flavor I can’t describe. Slowly the lime fades away and the spice changes to spicy green herbs. After a third it’s an earthy flavor with some pepper. Slowly I also taste some cedar too, with some nutmeg a little before I’m halfway. Right after midway the lime returns and makes a nice combo with the earth, cedar and pepper. The nutmeg disappeared. Somewhat later i taste some walnut too that slowly gets stronger. At the two thirds mark the nut flavor is less strong and then main flavor is pepper again with lime. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.


The smoke is medium thick and a medium amount but it gets thicker and more once I passed the halfway point. The ash is pepper and salt colored and quite firm. The draw is a little bit to tight for my liking but not too much to complain. The burn is straight but I had to relight once. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The cigar is dynamic, that’s why I love the thinner ring gauge cigars so much. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Unfortunately they aren’t for sale in The Netherlands or surrounding countries so when I travel to the USA again I’ll treat myself to a box.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, El Paraiso, Honduran cigars, Rocky Patel | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto

While I usually review cigars in the evening, after a good meal, sitting in my man cave with the TV on, this cigar I reviewed in the morning after a nice breakfast, an hour long workout and a shower. Right after Alec Bradley won the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 in 2011 the company I then worked for started to distribute the Alec Bradley brand in The Netherlands and much to our surprise our best seller wasn’t the blend that won the number #1 spot that was the best seller, but the Black Market was. We just couldn’t keep up with the demand, the cigars just flew of the shelves. And it still surprises me, I smoked quite a few of them and my impression was always that it was a good smoke but nothing spectacular. Now in the summer of 2014 we released a one time only business to business magazine for the Dutch retailers and we included a top 25 cigars from our portfolio, all tested blind by a panel of 10 cigar aficionados and the Alec Bradley Black Market came out as number one.


Last september at Intertabac 2016 I ran into George Sosa again, and I must say, over the last few years George and I formed a real friendship. As I had left the company George said “let me give you some cigars so you won’t be without” which is funny since my stash holds 5000+ cigars anyway. Including the hand full of cigars he gave me was this Black Market robusto and since I hadn’t smoked it in a long time (my go to Alec Bradley is the Tempus Nicaragua robusto) and never reviewed it before I decided not to smoke it on the spot but review it. The blend of this cigar consists of Honduran and Panamanian filler, a Sumatra binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and the cigars are being produced by Raices Cubanas in Honduras. The size of the cigar is 5.2×52 and the wrapper is quite dark, like a 72% dark chocolate bar with some minor veins. The ring is huge, it covers the bottom half of the cigar but when you remove it you’ll find a small separate ring just past the midway point of the cigar. The construction feels good, the cigar is evenly filled and has a medium strong spicy barnyard aroma. The cold draw is fine and I taste a raisin flavor.


As you can see I used my trusted combination of a Xikar Xi2 butterfly cutter and my vintage Ronson varaflame to cut and light the cigar. Straight from the start I taste spice, some pepper and a mild coffee flavor with some sugar like sweetness. After a centimeter the flavor changed to wood with some spice on the back of my tongue and some sweetness too. After a thirds I taste some pepper again.


The flavor changes to wood with lemon, a nice and refreshing lemon. It changes quickly to a hickory wood without the lemon though but with sweetness again, a sugary sweetness. After two thirds I taste a mild milky chocolate with spices. Later the flavor changes to a mild peanut butter but still with the sugary sweetness. Near the end I taste a nice fresh aftertaste.


The ash is light colored, beautifully layered and firm. The smoke is light gray and nothing more than medium thick and medium in amount. The draw is fine, just a tiny bit on the tight side but still fine. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored, it’s well balanced with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s been a while since I smoked it and it’s a nicer cigar than I remembered, combined with the price it’s a cigar I will buy more often.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CLE Corojo 11/18

CLE, Christian Luis Eiroa. For those whom that name doesn’t ring a bell, Christian Eiroa and his father were the masterminds behind Camacho, a brand they bought in 1995 five years after the death of brand founder Simon Camacho and they build the brand up using the knowledge and experience they head as tobacco farmers for generations. In 2008 they sold the brand and the factory to Davidoff but they didn’t leave the tobacco industry since they kept the farms. A few years, in 2012, later Eiroa entered the cigar making part of the business again with a new factory, based in the old movie theatre of his grandfather in Danli, Honduras and he is doing it his own way. Tabacalera Unidas is the mother company with several cooperations like Wynwood (started as a cooperation with Robert Caldwell before he dropped out), Asylum Cigars with Tom Lazuka, EH Cigars with Edgar Hoill and of course his own Eiroa cigars.


When the company just started my then employer went on a trip to Florida with his family. One unsuspecting afternoon he calls me all excited and tells me “man, I was at the Island Smoke Shop on Key Largo and your buddy Bill (who worked there at the time) gave me this cigar, Asylum 13, its a $5 cigar but its amazing”. Now I never heard from that cigar so I made a few calls and got in touch with Tom Lazuka and Christian Eiroa. To cut a long story short, it didn’t take long before we started distributing Tabacaleras Unidas in The Netherlands. After the release of the Asylum 13 line, including the ogre, and the Schizo bundles we released the CLE Corojo. This cigar is a Honduran puro with the leaf that made Camacho and the Eiroa family famous. And it also came out in the unique 11/18 shape that Eiroa created for Camacho. It’s a 6 inch long parejo with a little thicker part (ring 54 instead of 50 at the foot and the head) in the middle, unique.


The wrapper of the cigar looks nice, milk chocolate colored, few thin veins, a beautiful triple cap and its mild oily. The band is simple yet stylish. a nice mat black with shiny silver lettering CLE Corojo and a red 2012. I feel a little soft spot near the head of the cigar, but I can only imagine how difficult it is to roll this uniquely shaped cigar. The aroma is strong and its a barnyard aroma, manure and horses. The cold draw after the flat cut is easy and I taste a cedar with raisin flavor with a peppery flavor on my lips.


After I lit the cigar with my soft flame, I’m smoking inside so I don’t need a jet flame, I taste a mildly sweet and bitter coffee flavor, slowly I taste more cedar with a little citrus tang with a little pepper. After an inch I taste some cedar and wood. After a third I also taste some chocolate and the citrus has grown in strength. Halfway a honey like sweetness shows up. The flavors are quite dry. The chocolate is still mildly around with some nutmeg and cinnamon.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful. The draw is easy, maybe a little too easy but just a little. The ash is gray and a little frayed. The burn is good, no correction needed. The cigar is medium to full bodied and equally flavored. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the robusto.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Eiroa, El Aladino, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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