Honduran cigars

Non Plus Ultra Maduro Toro

Non Plus Ultra, as far as I know this cigar was only sold in The Netherlands and it was a private label for the Non Plus Ultra Cigar Shop in Den Bosch, which is now called Van Dalen but still owned by the same owner who’s also a distributor and owner of Van Dalen Cigars in Rotterdam and Cigaragua in Amsterdam. The same cigars are still available in The Netherlands under the Davila name at the Compaenen group.


Now these cigars were made by Carlos Torano in Honduras before Torano was acquired by STG, although the origin of the cigars goes way back. It’s actually an old Cuban brand that has ties to both Hoyo de Monterrey and Ramon Allones. If you google the brand you will find old rings, of the early 1900’s that are similar to the current Hoyo de Monterrey ring and the old Ramon Allones ring.


Now this cigar is aged, at least a decade old but the dark wrapper still looks very tasty. The ring is simple, just glossy paper with red and blue squares and a brushed copper name. The construction feels good, the shape looks good, the cap is nice. The cigar has a mild wood and tar aroma.


I cut the cigar, the cols draw is a little tight. I taste a little pepper. After lighting I taste a dry, old coffee flavor. After half an inch I taste cocoa with a musty taste. Halfway I taste dry toast with nutmeg and pepper, quite dry. The final third starts with some marzipan sweetness, low grade marzipan though with some harshness and mild musty. The cigar gets stronger with more harshness at the end.

Hond
The dense ash is white. The draw is decent. The gray smoke is thin and low in volume. The burn is razor sharp. I would say this is a medium bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s a firm no!

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Nicaraguan cigars, Non Plus Ultra | Tags: , , , ,

Schizo Maduro Robusto

After the success of the Schizo, with a Habano wrapper, it was no surprise that Asylum Cigars, the company owned by Christian Eiroa and Tom Lazuka, builded on that brand and released a Schizo Maduro. Unlike the normal Schizo, which is made at the Nicaraguan NACSA factory, most famous for Steve Saka’s Mi Querida, this Schizo Maduro is made in Honduras in Eiroa’s own El Aladino factory.


The cigar is a so called Cuban sandwich, which means that it contains part longfiller and part scrap that was leftover. Not that it means it’s inferior product, just smaller pieces of tobacco. The filler and binder are Honduran, but the wrapper is a Mexican San Andres maduro


The cigar looks a little rough, dark and even a little intimidating. The construction is good, just like the finishing. The ring is the same as the regular Schizo but with an added mint green ring with the word Maduro. The aroma is quite mild, a bit floral and minty.


The draw is quite loose after a cut with a guillotine cutter. The cold draw is a bit minty, but faint. After lighting I taste coffee with chocolate and mint. After a third the mint disappears, I still taste coffee but the dark chocolate gains some strength and I taste some vinegar too. In the final third I taste wood and pepper too.


The draw is a bit loose, but the smoke is thick and white. The gray ash is coarse. The burn is good. I would call this cigar medium at most, both in flavor and body. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s not a bad budget cigar though.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, El Aladino, Honduran cigars, Schizo | Tags: , , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural Robusto

Two days ago, in the review of the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano, I mentioned prejudice and named a few of my cigar related prejudices. And this cigar ticks not one but two boxes, being a budget cigar and having a Connecticut Shade wrapper. And that combination makes me wonder why I punish myself with this whole month of budget cigars and even adding Connecticut Shade to the mix.


The cigar has a Connecticut wrapper but the Alec Bradley website doesn’t specify where it is grown. The binder is Nicaraguan and the filler comes from both Nicaragua and Honduras. This is the final blend from the Spirit of Cuba series. I also notice that only a 5×50 robusto is mentioned on the website where before there were other vitolas too.


The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut but it has an ugly and long vein all over the front of the cigar. The ring is the same as the others with a red base color this time, its not as cool as the black from the Corojo but better than the yellow from the Habano. The construction seems good, no plugs of soft spots. The aroma reminds me of cedar, white pepper and dog poop.


I used a cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, with a mild sour and sweet flavor. After lighting I taste sweetness with a hint of pepper. After a third the sweetness is gone, I taste a little wood with allspice, muted though. Halfway it’s acidity with that musty Connecticut Shade flavor. Slowly the cigar gets a little harsh too. The final few puffs are wood with powdered sugar bad a bit pepper.


The draw is perfect and the smoke is thick. The ash is white and firm. The burn is great. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope

Score: 78
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Categories: 78, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corojo Robusto

Yesterday I posted a review of the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano robusto and today I’m publishing the second offering from the three blend Spirit of Cuba series, a Cuban sandwich style cigar from Honduras which is very budget friendly. And I hope I like this one better because I only want to write good things about Alec Bradley, since they are great people, a great company and have been nothing but good to me. Yet, with my experience with budget cigars and the Spirit of Cuba Habano I’m afraid that smoking this cigar isn’t going to be a ride to heaven.


Just like the habano, this cigar is a Cuban sandwich style cigar, that means both longfiller and shortfiller as a filler. And the filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras, the binder is Honduran and the wrapper, corojo as the name suggests, comes from Nicaragua.


When I grab the cigar I noticed that the ring is almost the same but black instead of soft yellow and that makes the ring look much better, classier and more expensive. The wrapper is even a shade darker too with a nice shine from the oils. The cigar feels like velvet and it is well packed. The aroma is medium strong and it reminds me of dark chocolate with a little bit of pepper.


I used a dual blade guillotine cutter to open the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste dry herbs. After lighting I taste coffee. Slowly it changes to cedar with herbal aromas. The final third is more vegetable with pepper, quite nice. Near the end I taste salted peanuts.


The draw is great, but then again, it’s a medium filler so that’s not a surprise. The ash is quite dark. The smoke is medium full. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The evolution is what I expected from a budget cigar, not too much. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is not a bad budget cigar.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano Robusto

We all have our prejudice, also when it comes to cigars, and I’m not different than any other cigar smoker, I have them too. Some are prejudice towards cigars not coming from Cuba, others are prejudice towards vitolas, towards certain wrappers or brands in general. I admit, I have a prejudice against big ring gauges, certain brands and I used to have a prejudice against Connecticut Shade wrappers although in the last year and a half I smoked a few that I liked a lot which changed my attitude against Connecticut Shade. Another prejudice? Budget cigars, I think most of them are not worth the little money they cost.


So when I was working for the Alec Bradley distributor and we got the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba series in I flat out refused to try them, I sold them and sold them good but hadn’t smoked them, now for budget month I will and I start with the Habano. Made in Honduras as a Cuban sandwich with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras and when I was selling these the retail price was €2,50 for a robusto


The cigar actually looks good, a smooth and dark wrapper, no visible veins and a nice head. The construction feels good too, yet the well printed ring looks a little cheap though. Its soft yellow with a sun in the centre and gold printed letters Spirit of Cuba plus a small green banner with the Alec Bradley name. The aroma is medium strong and smells like poop.


I cut the cigar which led to a great cold draw with a mild lemon and spicy flavor. The first puff after lighting is a powdered coffee flavor. There is also a lemon flavor. The first third the flavor doesn’t change but then a little spice shows up. Halfway I taste nutmeg, spice and a little lemon. The spice picks a bit up a bit but that’s it.


The draw is great. The ash is dark but with nice rings. The smoke is white and thick. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? nah, price quality is great but  I rather pay double and get something better.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Tomas Clasico Robusto

I have several assorted boxes of cigars in my humidor, and I dedicated one box as ‘review box’. I sorted one of the assorted boxes out and if I had just a single cigar of a brand it would go into the review box, if I had multiple cigars in the box one would go into the review box while the rest stayed in the assorted box. And every time I go for a review I pick one from the review box. Today it was the Honduran Don Tomas Clasico Toro, a cigar made by General Cigars.


Now the cigar is named robusto but the 5 1/2 inch length is actually right in between a 5 inch robusto and a 6 inch toro. The ring gauge is 50, just as with a classic robusto or toro. I must have had this in my humidor for a few years since the cellophane started to discolor but I have no recollection on how old the cigar is, where I got it and how much it was. I know its a cheap cigar though.


The wrapper is a nice medium brown and quite oily, on the back I see one thick vein though that should have been flattened. The rest of the wrapper is flawless. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard and because of the big vein I mentioned the head of the cigar isn’t beautifully rounded. The ring is very simple, black with golden edges, a yellow ring around it with black letters Don Tomas, topped with a golden crown and at the bottom yellow letters clasico on a black back. The ring is glossy and looks a bit tacky, the print quality isn’t the best I have seen. The aroma is quite strong, barnyard and lemon, that’s what I smell.


I punched the cigar and the raisin flavored cold draw is fine. After lighting I taste coffee with some grass. After half an inch I taste salted peanuts. After a third the cigar turns a little harsh. I taste some cinnamon and vanilla. The final thirds is mildly salted peanuts again with vanilla and some mint.


The smoke is decent, in thickness and volume. The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is medium in body and flavor with a low evolution level. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even though it’s a budget cigar I won’t.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Red balloons with ribbon – Number 80

Categories: 80, Don Tomas, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA | Tags: , , , ,

Cuba Libre Epicure

This is the last of the Cuba Libre cigars I have in my possession and I must have had this for at least 6 years. I bought a box from an online source in the United States years ago to try out some budget cigars and included in those ‘let’s see if this is a good steal’ shipment was a box of this Honduran made Cuba Libre. The cigars are produced at the Plasencia factory in Danli.


There is not a lot of information available online, except for the wrapper, which is corojo and that the filler is Honduran with a Nicaraguan binder. There are a few vitolas, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Toro en Torpedo and I’m smoking the 6×50 box pressed toro. I have no idea if the other vitolas are box pressed too. And the cigars are still on the market and still a bargain with $65 for a box of 20 cigars.


The corojo wrapper of this box pressed cigar is great, a nice even milk chocolate color with one flattened thin vein. The wrapper feels silky and the cigar has a strong aroma which is a mixture of light minty and chocolate aromas and darker smells like grass and charred wood. The construction feels good yet the wrapper is a little pinched at the cap. The ring is nice a thick golden edge on a blue backdrop and white tobacco leaves. In the center there’s a burgundy circle with golden dots and a golden, dotted, outline. The centre is white with blue letters Cuba Libre. And I hope that Cuba will be liberated soon, but that has got nothing to do with this cigar though.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and I taste raisin and leather. After lighting the cigar with a single jet flame I taste leather with some cinnamon and honey. After a third the cigar gets a little spicy, still with a leather flavor as a base. Halfway I taste a fresh minty, almost toothpaste like flavor with leather. Near the end some pepper shows up too and grows to a nice strength.


The smoke is a little thin, and the color is quite dark for cigar smoke. The ash is very fragile. The burn is decent but not fantastic. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a slow but certain evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m looking for a budget cigar I’ll consider this, it’s a $3 stick. The flavors are good, with a better draw, burn and smoke the score would be a few points higher.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Cuba Libre, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo

I bought these cigars years ago, at least 9 years, at Cigars International when I was trying out all kinds of budget cigars and this Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo came in dirt cheap bundles, the price per stick was about $2 and with a very favorable euro dollar conversion rate at that time they were a steal. I remember that I liked them back in the day so when I found one lingering in an assorted box in my humidor I decided to light it for a review.


I know that the cigars are made by Plasencia in their Honduran factory, but I don’t know a lot about the blend. I guess they are discontinued as I can’t find them anywhere anymore, I did find a cigar with a similar ring but with an added ‘vintage’ to the ring and these were all sold out too. I did find some old reviews, usually I don’t read them to prevent being influenced but I started reading to find out the blend and I found it. A maduro wrapper from Honduras, a Cameroon binder which isn’t a type of leaf used as a binder a lot because it’s expensive tobacco, so to find it in a budget cigars is quite a surprise. The filler is made from tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.


This cigar is intimidating, especially with the cellophane removed. It is big, with a length of 6 1/2 inch, box pressed but what makes it intimidating is the almost pitch black wrapper which is smooth yet oily and looks amazing. The construction feels good and the pointy head is reasonably straight. The ring is simple, shiny white with a golden N and a banner saying Nestor. It fits the budget price of the cigar. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of charred wood after a fire mixed with hay that has been in a stable with sheep or cow overnight and is soaked in animal urine. Now when I write it down like that it sounds absolutely nasty, but it’s not that bad.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is fantastic. The flavor is just a little sweetness. After lighting I taste a strong espresso like coffee. After an inch I taste a metallic fresh wood flavor, harsh on the tip of my tongue. Halfway I still taste a harsh, strong wood with some lime and now with some pepper on the inside of my lips. The final third starts with dry nuts, pepper and cumin, less harsh than before. At the end it’s a harsh pepper again.


The draw is perfect. The burn is a bit off though and needs a few touch ups. The smoke is grayish and medium thick. The ash is a bit frayed. The medium full cigar is medium flavored with some evolution but no complexity. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. I remembered these as chocolate bombs but I didn’t get any of that now.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, Honduran cigars, Nestor, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

CAO Osa Sol Lot 54

Another CAO, and there it goes again. I so want to like this brand, they have cool concepts, I like Rick Rodriguez, I love their artwork and creativity but almost every time I’m disappointed by what they produce. I guess being part of General Cigars doesn’t help either, almost all of the products of General Cigars don’t get my seal of approval and I have a theory about that. It’s all about passion that’s being put into the product.


For example, if you taste a hamburger with meat from a small farmer, butchered by a real butcher, grilled by a real chef who all put love and passion into the product, stick it on a bun made by a small local baker you get a much better product than a McDonalds or any chain burger. And that goes for everything, not just food but also cigars and companies as big as General and Altadis are being run by bookkeepers who outnumber and overrule the passionate tobacco people in the company, creating bland, middle of the road, products.


The cigar, made in Honduras, measures 6×54. The filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras while the binder is Connecticut broadleaf. The wrapper is special though, it comes from the Olancho San Augustin valley in Honduras and it’s a sun grown wrapper, hence the name OSA Sol. The river that runs through the area is the inspiration for the artwork, the green S on the rings and boxes is the shape of the river. The white background is actually a map of the area and the bright green letters are a nice contrast color. The wrapper is quite dark, oily and smooth. The construction feels hard, but evenly hard and the cap is done well. The aroma is mild, but deep and quite dark, like manure from a scary animal deep inside the woods.


I had cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, i taste dry tobacco, raisin and something spicy on my lips. After lighting I taste dry dirt, pepper and coffee. There’s a bit of nutmeg in the flavor too. After an inch I taste dry tobacco, quite meaty, with a growing pepper. Halfway the flavors turn a little to brown spices, autumn flavors, with a little pepper. Near the ends the flavors pick up, pepper, nutmeg, five spice and a little sweetness. And I like this last part.


The draw is a bit loose. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke is thin and quite low in volume. The burn is straight. This is a medium bodied medium flavored cigar that lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 85
number85

Categories: 85, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , ,

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

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

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