Nicaraguan cigars

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto

I told the story about this brand a few times in my previous reviews of the Cornelius, Venganza, Daddy Mac and the Señor Esugars so I won’t repeat the story of five generations and why the name Cornelius & Anthony is chosen. I also won’t repeat how I got to know the brand, that I knew Courtney Smith from her previous company. I will just tell that when she gave me the first batch of cigars in 2016 it was just the Daddy Mac, Venganza and Cornelius (that eventually made my top 25 of the year) but at intertabac 2017 she gave me the other blends, the Señor Esugars, the Meridian and this Aerial.

The aerial is made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the La Zona factory of Erik Espinosa. The blend consists from Nicaraguan fillers, a USA grown binder and a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. And even though my preferences changed the last year and I dislike Connecticut Shade less than before it’s still not my favorite wrapper. But as always I go in with an open mind, maybe this is the Connecticut shade that will wow me.

The wrapper is latte colored, relatively dark for a shade grown Connecticut wrapper and it has a soft sandpaper feeling. The ring is amazing, detailed, very well printed but the secondary ring is orange with white letters and doesn’t fit with the Cornelius and Anthony ring because of the color in my opinion. The construction feels good but the triple cap has a bit of a color difference. The cigar has a strong smell, its manure all over.

I used my Xikar butterfly cutter and decapped the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin flavor with some spice on my lips. The trusted vintage Ronson took care of the lighting. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. After a centimeter I still taste the sweetness but now with wood and spices. The sweetness reminds me a bit of marzipan. The cigar lacks the Connecticut Shade mustiness and that’s a plus in my book, it’s quite spicy and sweet. Halfway the spices tone down, the sweetness remains with wood. A mild pepper shows up too. The flavor slowly changes to a vanilla sweetness on wood with a bit of lime and pepper.

The draw is great, the smoke is medium on volume and thickness. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a balanced, medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yea, this gets my seal of approval and made a very small list of Connecticut Shade cigars that I enjoy.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

El Baton Double Torpedo

So, as you probably know, I used to be a cigar sales rep but i no longer do that kind of work. I still have my contacts though and one of them, a sales rep for Davidoff, reached out to me recently. Davidoff also sells J.C. Newman cigars here and he visited them in Tampa, brought some cigars and asked me if I was willing to write a review. It won’t surprise you much that I said yes, so he came by and dropped of four cigars, of which this is the first one.

El Baton is an old brand, it was founded in 1914, made out of Cuban tobacco with a price tag of a nickel. Then the brand disappeared but it returned to the market in 2010 as a Nicaraguan puro made by J.C. Newman in their Puros de Esteli Nicaragua SA aka Pensa, factory in Esteli.

When I take the 6 1/4×56 cigar out of the cellophane, something that J.C. Newman introduced and is now an industry standard, I notice how dark the Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper is, it’s almost maduro and darker than the Double Toro which I will review later this year. The wrapper looks oily too and a few thin veins run over the upper part like scars on the face of a classic movie thug. The simple ring is classy, different shades of blue with silver colored lettering, just saying El Baton, on a high quality print. The construction feels good. Add a strong and dark stable aroma and I’m actually quite looking forward to light the cigar.

I cut the cigar. The cold draw is easy and spicy. After lighting it’s clear coffee, earthy and strong, with a little spice, yet balanced. Soon after I taste coffee with cocoa and pepper. After an inch I taste some nuts too. After a third I taste salty peanuts with licorice and spices. Near the end I taste salt, pepper and a hint of flowers.

The draw is a little loose and at the start I had an uneven burn, after correcting the burn is good. The smoke is very thick, full and white. The firm ash is gray. This cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I’d like it better in a smaller ring.

Score: 90


Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fratello Bianco II

The first time I ran into the Fratello brand was when I was in Nicaragua in 2015 with my then employer, journalist Marcel Langedijk and photographer Jesaka Hizkia for the Cigaragua book. At the Joya de Nicaragua factory I saw cigars being packed that I never heard of, Fratello, and asked about them since I’m a cigar geek and new brands spark my interest. It turned out Joya de Nicaragua makes those cigars for Omar de Frias.

Last year at Intertabac I met Omar, a huge guy, who used to work for Nasa. I think he launched satellites into space with his bare hands, that’s how tall and strong he is. He handed me one of his Fratello cigars which I reviewed and this year at intertabac he handed me his second line, the Fratello Bianco, a 6×50 Teachers Pet aka Fratello Bianco II. The cigar is made with filler from the USA, Peru and Nicaragua, a Dominican binder and wrapper from Mexico.

While the name Bianco might make you think this will be a Connecticut Shade wrapper, as was my first thought when I heard the name, it is not. The Mexican San Andres wrapper is dark. There is some oil to the wrapper but it’s dry on the tough with a few veins. The unusual shaped white ring with red letters and silver details fits the dark wrapper. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar looks good, but I have to add that I can’t remember if I ever had a cigar made by Joya that didn’t have great construction. The cigar has a medium strong, vegetable like, aroma, cauliflower, broccoli kinda smell.

I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect. I taste dry tobacco with a hint of dark chocolate. After lighting, with matchsticks this time, I taste chocolate. After half an inch some dry vegetable taste joins the chocolate as a supporting flavor. After a third I taste some cinnamon too. Halfway I taste chocolate, pepper and nuts. In the final third I taste wood, a bit charred, vanilla and pepper. The pepper grows near the end.

The draw is perfect and the white ash is firm. The white smoke is thick and medium full in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Oh Yes, oh yes. I used a nub tool, that’s how good it is.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Fratello, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto

Oliva is, for me personally, an underrated factory. When you ask me about my favorite factories I won’t spit out Oliva because they are never on top of my mind even though I visited the factory twice, met Jose Oliva and Gilberto Oliva several times and worked for the European distributor for years. Yet, every time I smoke an Oliva cigar, it doesn’t matter if its an O, O Maduro, G, V or Melanio cigar I am impressed and I know I am smoking a great cigar.

And within the range of Oliva cigars there is one cigar that is underrated more than any other cigar and it’s the Flor de Oliva Maduro. I had so many people tell me “I won’t smoke this because it’s a budget cigar and it can’t be good” but when I gave them one they were all impressed by the flavor and quality of this budget cigar. And to be honest, I don’t smoke them often but when I do this cigar, in combination with the low price, surprises me time after time.

The wrapper is dark and oily with some clear veins. It looks much better than some maduro wrappers on premium cigars of other companies. The ring is brown on glossy paper with a shaded Oliva logo and the Flor de Oliva name, in the Flor de Cana font in gold. The details on the edges of the ring are in gold too. Now although the overall look of the ring is much better than the old ones, it does seem to stand out a little less than the old one. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. From what I understand these cigars are rolled by the most inexperienced rollers in the factory but the one that did this one can be promoted. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a stable with a mixed aroma of straw, urine, animals and manure.

I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a bit tight. I taste nothing. After lighting I taste a mild coffee with chocolate. After half an inch I taste a nice chocolate and wood flavor with some sweetness. That flavor remains until the final third, when the flavors turn to herbal, the sweetness disappears and a very mild white pepper shows up.

The draw is good. The smoke is white, quite full and I get a decent amount of smoke. The white ash is firm and dense. The burn is flawless. This medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is nice yet not very dynamic. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great budget humidor filler.

Score: 88

Categories: 88, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Oliva Naturel Torpedo

When I was a novice cigar smoker, little over 10 years ago, someone handed me a Flor de Oliva. I think it was a robusto, but I’m not sure. I was shocked to see that a cigar could be so cheap as my experience back then was mostly with Cuban cigars. But boy, I was in for a surprise because back then Flor de Oliva was a sweetened cigar, instead of pectin Oliva used sugar water to glue the Flor de Oliva cigars, maybe to mask the harsher tobacco used for this budget cigar?

Oliva stopped using that method years ago, they updated the whole line with new rings but I am smoking an old one. Unsweetened but still with the old ring so it must have some age to it by now. Not only the ring is a sign that it’s an older cigar but also the tax stamp that has been changed from a single cigar stamp to a box stamp a few years back.

The wrapper isn’t a looker, it has some veins, it looks a bit rough, it feels like dry leather but then again, it is a budget cigar so you can’t expect Oliva to use their best wrapper leaf for this line. The ring is simple, blue and red with thick white borders, golden tobacco leaves in the red part and white letters Flor de Oliva in the blue part. The font is exactly the same als de Flor de Cana font, Nicaragua most famous rum. The construction feels good but the head of the cigar has a weird tip. The cigar has quite a strong aroma of hay and straw.

When I wet the cap before cutting I taste sweetness and that makes me think this is a vintage one. About 7 years ago Oliva changed from sweetened to unsweetened tips and this might be an oldie. After cutting I don’t taste the sugar anymore. The draw is easy and I taste raw tobacco.  After lighting I taste a muted, slightly musty, cedar with cinnamon. The mustiness disappears immediately, I taste nutmeg and cinnamon, slightly harsh. After a third the cigar turns harsh. After I cut a little piece off the cigar is still harsh but now with the nutmeg and cinnamon.

The draw is loose, the smoke is thick, white and full. The burn needed a few touch ups. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I love Oliva but this one not so much.

Score: 83

Categories: 83, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Las Antillas Benelux

In 2012 My Father Cigars released their, what I suspect is their best seller and most praised cigar yet, the Flor de Las Antillas. A Nicaraguan puro that was the first ever My Father Cigars cigar that made the #1 spot on the Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year list. The cigar got released during the 91st birthday of Federal Cigars but it wasn’t ment to be a limited edition, just a pre-release.

Due to the success a few vitolas were made as limited editions, like a lancero but also a 5 3/8×58 gordo for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) when the two distributers Marc (Belgium and Luxemburg) and Sasja (Netherlands) requested a limited edition of the same blend for their countries. As I was working for Sasja I sold these and they sold well. I have one left in my collection, I guess that’s worthy of a review in ff’in february right?

The cigar comes packed in cellophane and has the regular Flor de Las Antillas ring, the very detailed, century old, oricinally Cuban artwork, high quality paintwork and a foot ring made of of cloth, burgundy colored with golden letters BENELUX to show it’s a limited edition. The mocha colored wrapper is clearly sun grown, not only because it’s mentioned on the ring but you can see that the sun did its work on the wrapper. I see some veins too. The construction feels good and the cap is placed decent. The aroma is strong and barnyard or stable before it’s cleaned.

When I cut the cigar and try the cold draw I taste a quite spicy and peppery raisin and dry tobacco flavor with a close to perfect draw. I also notice my dislike to big ring cigars but that aside. After lighting I taste a peppery vanilla cream. After half an inch I also taste some lime with the creamy vanilla but the pepper is gone, instead there is some dry herbal flavor in the aftertaste. After an inch the pepper returns. Halfway I taste more pepper with some wood and some lime, on the back there is some licorice. I also still taste some creamy vanilla. The final third is creamy vanilla, nuts, pepper and herbs. The pepper fluctuates in strength.

The draw is fantastic. The ash is gray and has clear rings. The ash is firm too. The light gray ash is medium thick and medium in volume. The burn is a little off but no need for corrections though. The cigar is medium full in flavor and strength with a decent evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? The cigar is too thick for me, love the blend but in a different size.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Flor de las Antillas, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fumadores Churchill

This is a discontinued brand, made by My Father Cigars exclusively for the famous Philadelphia based Holts cigar shop which is owned by the Levin family, owners of Ashton, Benchmade, La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe and San Cristobal/Paradiso of which the last three are also made by My Father. And this Fumadores I bought while I visited the shop back in 2009.


The cigar is a medium filler, which means that the cigar isn’t completely made with full leaves but with the smaller pieces left over from producing the premium longfillers. Using the left over tobacco makes it possible to create very cheap cigars and I believe that I paid less than 50 dollars for a box of 20 Churchill sized cigars. The blend is a mix of Nicaraguan Corona, Habano and Criollo tobacco with an Ecuadorian wrapper.


The cellophane has a nice golden brown glow to it because the oils of the wrapper have been staining it for almost a decade. The wrapper is nice medium brown, mild oily but wrinkly and brittle. The ring is simple, beige with dark brown and it says Fumadores, imported, hand made and the initials JPG which stands for Jose Pepin Garcia. The cigar feels well rolled with a nice triple cap. For an almost 10 year old budget cigar the strong manure and barnyard aroma blows me away, just from the smell it could pass as a fresh cigar.


When I wet the cap to cut it the saltiness of the wrapper surprises me. The cold draw is fine but I get small pieces of tobacco in my mouth along with a peppery flavor. After lighting I taste pepper, herbs and salt. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and licorice. After an inch I taste salt with honey and herbs. Halfway I taste salted peanuts with herbs and a honey like sweetness. The flavor then changed to a salty and mild sweet toast. The last third starts with vanilla and pepper, wood and herbs.


The draw is a bit off, a bit loose. The smoke is thin and low in quantity. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The evolution is good. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Funny to see how my preferences changed, in 2009 I said ‘hell yeah’ today I say ‘no’. However this would be a nice humidor filler for guest who want to try a cigar but aren’t regular smokers.

Score: 83

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Categories: 83, Fumadores, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Gonzalez Torpedo

A brand I know nothing about except that they had some buzz about their 90 miles line, a blend I know nothing about so I went down to google and found on that this is a Nicaraguan cigar with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Sumatra binder and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. And that the size is 6 1/2 x52. And that their own website is down at the time of my google search.

On the website of Famous Smoke I found the story about the brand, founded in 1993 in Florida by Arnando Gonzalez who fled Cuba in 1980. In 1997 he opened a factory in Nicaragua where most of his cigars are made nowadays. The factory is now run by his daughter while Arnando operates farms in Ecuador where he grows different kinds of tobacco including the Sumatra and Connecticut Shade used for this cigar.

The wapper is a pale Connecticut shade and even though I am slowly changing my opinion on Connecticut Shade wrappers I still don’t like the pale look. The wrapper, except for the color, looks fine though, smooth and it has a velvet feel to it. The ring is boring and simple, yet of good printing quality. White with silver lining and silver green letters saying Flor de Gonzalez cigars, simple as can be. The construction feels good and the head of the cigar is very pointy, I like that. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of a mix of tarred wood baking in the sun and charcoal, not a very usual smell, but also not completely unpleasant.

I cut the cigar, guillotine style, double blade. The cold draw is loose with a mild spicy and minty flavor. After lighting it with a jet fame I taste coffee with lemon. After a few puffs I taste a spicy harshness too, the flavors are not very refined. The flavors change to sweet, slightly harsh, wood and coffee. After a third I taste a minty fresh and sweet wood with a harsh edge. Halfway the cigar is peppery and still a little harsh. The final third starts with cedar, spice and a little honey.

The draw is a little loose but the smoke is fantastic, thick, full and a lot. The ash is light gray, firm, dense. The burn is a bit uneven though. The evolution is good and this is a medium bodied yet medium to full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Even though this cigar doesn’t have the Connecticut mustiness I still won’t smoke it again. Harsh, unrefined, there is much better out there.

Score: 82

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Famous Nicaragua Robusto

A few days ago I posted a review of the Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo and while browsing through my humidor for more cigars starting with an F I also found this Famous Nicaragua cigar but there’s nothing on their website that remotely looks like this one. Maybe it’s an old cigar, a limited edition, old blend or old ring, I simply do not know.


Here’s what I do know. It was gift from years back, it’s a robusto with a 5×52 size, its a Famous Smoke house blend, it’s from Nicaragua and it has two rings, it’s made by Tabacalera Tropical, the factory from Aganorsa and best known for the Casa Fernandez cigars. Now you might wonder how I know that? That’s simple, the secondary rings says “tropical tobacco”


The wrapper is a medium brown, slightly dry wrapper with two thin veins. It’s actually quite attractive. The construction feels good with a beautifully placed triple cap, the roller must be very skilled. I tried applying a cap once while visiting a factory and it’s hard, very hard. The cigar has two rings, a top ring in red with the Famous logo on a copper color, copper outlines and a darker red on the sides where it says ‘hand made’ and ‘imported’. The secondary ring is green with golden lines and golden letters saying NICARAGUA and white letters saying ‘medium to full bodied blend’ on one side and ‘tropical tobacco’ on the other side. The aroma is faint and reminds me of cocoa powder and saw dust.


I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw that has a dry leathery flavor with some mild minty aftertaste. After lighting I taste a leathery flavor. After a third I still taste the leather but now with spices like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Halfway I taste leather with a little lime and some nutmeg and cocoa. The final third is woody with leather and nutmeg. The cigar gets spicier, stronger and even a little bit harsh. The final puffs also have some nutty and peppery notes.


The smoke is thick and full. The ash is coarse. The burn is reasonable straight. I would say this is a medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, decent cigar but I had better.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Famous, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Tropical | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon

I bought this Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon at Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, there is no other option since its one of their house blends. And the thing isn’t cheap with a 10 dollar price tag but it’s huge. But I don’t think it was a big success since the cigars aren’t to be found on their website anymore so I guess they stopped production of this brand.

As I said, the cigar is huge, 7×58 in a huge perfecto size. From what I found online the cigar is rolled in Miami’s little Havana, but the tobacco is cured and fermented in Nicaragua. That makes me wonder what factory in Miami rolled these cigars.

The ultra dark wrapper is very oily and that caused the cellophane to become yellow. The wrapper looks awesome, only on thin vein, beautiful color and add that to the size, that makes this cigar look impressive and probably the reason why I bought this a few years ago. The ring is yellowish with a copper colored text Flor de Cielo in a typography that reminds me of Flor de Cana, the same way as Flor de Oliva does. The cigar feels evenly packed and knowing that this is a difficult vitola to roll I’m taking my head off to the torcedor. The cigar has a mild aroma of wood, hay and barnyard.

Due to the shape I had to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste some hay, raisin and chocolate. Right after lighting I taste coffee. Soon I taste cedar, a little lime and a mild peppery spice. After an inch the cigar gets a little stronger in the citrus. Halfway I taste dry cedar with still a lemon. There is an overall Maduro sweetness and I’m digging it. The final third gives a little black pepper with the cedar and the lemon. Near the end I taste spicy, peppery carrots.

The draw is great. The smoke is thick and white. The salt and pepper ash is quite firm and the draw is straight. The evolution is good and the cigar is medium full bodied, full flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? if Corona still has these I will on my first trip stateside.

Score: 91
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