Indonesian cigars

Talu Signature Toro

Talu Signature Toro. Indonesia has a long history of tobacco. And a long history in cigars, yet not in premium handmade longfillers. Most of the cigars hailing from the South East Asian country are machine-made dry-cured shortfillers. And of the cigar tobacco that’s being imported, most is used for those machine-made cigars as well. These kinds of cigars are extremely popular in Western Europe. But there are a few premium handmade longfillers from Indonesia, and the number of brands seems to be growing. Most are produced in Yogyakarta, at Taru Martani.

Taru Martani translates to the leaf that gives joy to life. The name was given to the factory by the Sultan of Yogyakarta after the independence war with The Netherlands. In the past, the factory produced roll your own tobacco as well. We are not sure if that is still the case. But we do know that there are several Indonesian premium cigar brands made at the factory.

The cigar has a typical Indonesian wrapper. The look and feel are slightly different than its Caribbean cousins. It feels a little more sandy, and the color is a shade that you won’t find anywhere else. The cigar is finished with a pigtail. The ring is beautiful. White, gray and copper. The logo and the brand name are clear. Nothing bad to say about the looks of this cigar. The construction feels good. And the aroma is different too, sawdust and lovage are what comes to mind. Medium-strong.

Just twisting off the pigtail is enough to create a good draw. The cold draw tastes dry, dusty with wood. Sawdust is a good description. Once lit, there is a lot of earthiness with some black coffee and spices. After a few puffs, a heavy, thick old leather flavor shows up. There is some pepper too. But the flavors aren’t balanced and taste charred, burned. The pepper and leather are the strongest flavors of the bunch. The burnt flavor fades away, instead, the cigar now tastes like leather, coffee, pepper, and sweetness. Somewhat later, the cigar turns to toast, leather, wood, pepper, all with a hint of sweetness and hay. In the second third, the cigar turns more to dried leaves with spices, pepper, and sweetness. That mixture continues to last into the final third. But then some hay and milk chocolate join the leaves, spices, and pepper. That’s what lasts until the end.

The draw is great. The ash is white as can be, dense and firm. The smoke is decent. Not very thick, but still sufficient to be pleasant. The burn is pretty straight. The Tambolaka tobacco boosts the strength of the cigar to medium. Flavors are medium too. This is a rare cigar, only a very limited number of boxes were made. It’s nice to have had the chance to smoke it, but our palate is so accustomed to the Caribbean tobacco that this is not a cigar for us. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope!

Categories: 88, Indonesian cigars, Talu | Tags: , , ,

Tambo Churchill

Indonesia has a long tobacco history. But most of the tobacco is used for dry-cured shortfillers. Premium cigars are scarce, yet there are a few brands out there. Tambo is one of them, and this was given to me by the Indonesian Tambo distributor when I met him in Malaysia for the CSWC Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur.

There are two sizes available, a 6×50 Toro with the name Churchill and/or Super Robusto and a corona with the name short corona.

The unique feature of this cigar is Tambolaka tobacco. That is Indonesian tobacco, and after drying it is rolled up tightly in ten feet poles. Those poles are then bound together tightly with rope so the tobacco can age. They age up to five years before being cut. Most of it is used as pipe tobacco, but some end up in cigars like Tambo.

The wrapper is amazing. Smooth, a beautiful color brown, smooth veins. If someone would have told me that this is high-grade HTL I would believe it. The cigar comes with a small pigtail. The construction feels good. The ring is a bit simple though, but it provides all the necessary information. The aroma is strong. I smell hay and straw. 

When I wet the cap to cut the cigar, I notice how salt the wrapper is.

The cold draw is great. The cigar is salty yet sweet. After lighting, I taste bitter coffee with sugar. Quickly the flavors change to leather, pine, soil and a little bit of pepper. Slowly some creamy chocolate shows up. After a third, I taste come citrus acidity as well, faint but still. The salt, pepper, and chocolate remain the main flavors, with some wood, tobacco, and leather on the background. Some nutty flavor shows up, with the lingering chocolate. I taste some hay too, while the salt loses some of its strength. The mouthfeel is a little dusty. The salt fades way even more in the final third. And secretly, the strength has grown from mild to medium in the beginning, to medium-full where I am now. Tambolaka tobacco is known for its strength, to that could be the reason.

The burn is great. The ash is white, firm and like a stack of coins. There is enough smoke, which is light blue to white. This cigar starts mild to medium but grows to medium-full. Both in strength and in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, not a box, but a fiver for sure.


Categories: 90, Indonesian cigars, Tambo | Tags: , , ,

Sultan Churchill

In 1990 a certain Mr. Yan decided he would create a cigar for diplomatic use of the Sultan’s Palace in Jogjakarta, a place that I visited on the same trip that started my cigar passion back in 2005. I didn’t see this cigar though. The cigar is an Indonesian puro and the tobacco comes from within the walls of the Java kingdom, is aged for five years and being rolled at the oldest factory of Java that was established a century ago. And I decided to publish this review on the day that the Dutch government declared defeat in the Indonesian independence war back in 1949 after a bloody 4 year war, a part of the Dutch history that we cannot and should not be proud of since the Dutch behaved like animals.

Tobacco cultivation and cigar manufacturing is staple in Indonesia, but most of the tobacco is ment for short fillers, dry cured cigars that are still very popular in western European countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. Only a little of the tobacco is used for longfillers but one of the strains of tobacco made its way to Latin America and is being grown locally and used in premium longfillers after all, that tobacco is named after the Indonesian island it came from: Sumatra.

The cigar is 7×50 but for some reason it looks a bit thicker. The wrapper is smooth and soft and has a bit of a green glow to it, but its smooth, the one visible vein has been rolled flat. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice look to it. The ring is nice, its not a glossy ring but matte and starts with a black ring on the bottom with green letters saying ‘hand made long filler aged tobacco’, then a golden ring with black letters saying ‘original’ and then a white square on a green background with green wings and a black crest with golden letter Sultan. On the green there are some figures in a language I don’t recognize in a golden print. On the side the ring says “Cigar van Java” which means ‘cigar from Java’ in golden letters. The mild aroma reminds me of a walk through the forrest.

I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great and i taste a spicy herbal flavor. I lit the cigar with a jet flame. I taste herbs and cinnamon. After an inch I taste dry soil, herbs, pepper and lemon. After a third the cigar gets a little harsh with a strong pepper flavor but a different flavored pepper than for example a Nicaraguan cigar. Halfway I taste a nasty tar flavor so I cut a piece of. The tar is gone but the cigar remains harsh and unpleasant.

The draw is flawless and the light colored ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is too thin and too low in volume for my liking. The burn is alright. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the $13 msrp. This cigar doesn’t fit my profile but it’s nice to try it and taste the difference in tobaccos between Asia and Latin America.

Score: 78

Categories: 78, Indonesian cigars, Sultan, Taru Martani | Tags: , , , ,

Sultan robusto

I got in touch with Frederiko Ferry from the Indonesian cigar maker Sultan cigar and he was so kind to sent me a sampler of Sultan cigars for me to try. Now some of you know that I actually started to smoke cigars on a vacation to Indonesia and the first review on my blog is from another Indonesian cigar. Sultan Cigar is located at the beautiful city of Yogyakarta, famous for the Borobudur and Prambanan temples and is worth a visit if you ever get the chance, I know I loved it, I fell in love with it, not just Yogyakarta but the whole country, the flora and fauna, the people, the food and I really need to get my fat ass back there soon.
This 5×50 robusto has a beautiful medium brown and oily wrapper with a nice band. The construction feels good and I smell a strong aroma of straw. The predraw is fine and I taste a dry tobacco flavor.
I taste a dry earthy and coffee flavor, quite full but very dry and tasted a mild bitter note with the flavors. I could clearly taste that this tobacco is different from the Cuban, Nicaraguan, Dominican and Honduran tobacco that I usually smoke.
The coffee disappears after at third and so does the mildly bitter flavor. The cigar gets a bit spicier instead and somewhat later I incidentally taste some cacao powder on the background. Halfway I also discover a herbal flavor with the earthy flavors, the spices and cacao powder. After two thirds I also taste pepper.
This cigar didn’t last me as long as I expected, just an hour and usually it takes me longer to smoke a robusto sized cigar. I got a lot of smoke from this full flavored medium bodied cigar and the smoke was reasonable thick. The firm and tight ash was light gray.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah I might, depending on price and availability. It is something different, which is nice every once in a while.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Indonesian cigars, Sultan | Tags: ,


This cigar was given to me by the employee of a cigarshop I frequently visited in the past. It is a 8 ½ inch long Indonesian cigar and a bit conically shaped, ring 40 at the mouth end of the cigar and ring 44 at the fire end. The cigar I smoked had the print “especially blended and hand rolled for Massimo” printed on the golden cellophane.
The aroma of this cigar was very dry hay. The wrapper was quite dark and had lots of veins and had a silky feel to it. The construction felt good. The draw was a bit hard and the ash turned out to be white. This cigar didn’t produce a lot of smoke, probably due to the hard draw. The smoke felt cool, due to the length of the cigar. The aroma of the lit cigar was terrible, harsh.

I could taste dry leather, not comparable to the Cuban leather though and after an inch there was a bit of chocolate noticeable. Later on the cigar became a bit sweet and the chocolate disappeared. The texture of the smoke left a creamy feel in my mouth. The flavor is very consistent, not a lot of depth in this cigar.
Would I buy this cigar again? No, even though it is reasonable priced
Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 6 / 10
Burn: 9 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma middle part: 6 / 10
Aroma last part: 6 / 10

Categories: Adipati, Indonesian cigars | Tags:

Bali Djanger panatela

Back in January 2006 my flight from the small Bali airport to Jakarta was delayed several hours so to kill the time I visited the only shop and I found a cardboard box with 10 cigars called Bali Djanger. The box mentions “hand made, pure Sumatra tobacco, made in Indonesia” I bought a box of those cheap cigars, just out of curiosity.
I had a few left when I got back from Indonesia and put them away and forgot about them completely, until a few days ago I was transferring al my cigars from my old humidor to my new big one and I decided to smoke it again, for sentiment’s sake. I could remember that I didn’t like them to much when I smoked them sitting on the porch of a friend’s house in Jakarta, but to my surprise the cigar was better than I could remember, maybe because it has aged another 15 months.
When I removed the plastic packing I could smell a distinct smell of hay, the cigar had a smooth and easy predraw, was easy to light and the burn was close to perfect. The smoke was rich and full and the ash was quite firm. There is nothing wrong with the construction of this cigar. It is a bit hard to name the flavors because the cigar is light bodied and I usually smoke medium to full bodied cigars, but I could taste a hint of leather and something sweet which at times became bittersweet, and when I reached the middle of the cigar there was a light cacao flavor noticeable.
This cigar isn’t a top class cigar, but it’s not bad at all. Nice to have smoked.
Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m in Indonesia again, I might buy it, just for the sentiment.
Appearance: 7 /10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: Bali Djanger, Indonesian cigars | Tags: , ,

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