Honduran cigars

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

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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
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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: , , , ,

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: , , , , ,

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