Nicaraguan cigars

RoMa Craft Wunder|lust Petit Belicoso

I met Skip Martin from RoMa Craft back in 2014, at the legendary Cigar Zone club in Esteli, Nicaragua where our mutual friend Pedro Gomez Rodriguez introduced us. We met again in 2015 in Managua where we shared the same hotel. Late 2016 Skip came to Europe, to my backyard of Amsterdam and we hung out at my man cave with his girlfriend Arlen and Annemarie Schuster, from Schuster Cigars.

At that time, Skip handed me some prerelease cigars of his project for the Schuster family, the Wunder|Lust. Those cigars are only available on the international markets, and some of the tobacco comes from Schuster Cigars. Rumors say that there is some Cuban tobacco used in the blend, and that’s why the cigars aren’t for sale on the domestic market. Both RoMa Craft and Schuster won’t respond to that rumor, but since RoMa Craft is an American company using Cuban tobacco is prohibited and I don’t think the company would take such a risk.

The wrapper is dark, quite oily but a little rough looking, like almost all Brazilian tobacco does. Leathery almost, with some tooth at the top. RoMa Craft uses a double band on all their cigars, first a white band slightly larger than the printed band. The printed band, in this case, is baby blue, a color not often used in cigars and it has a fresh look. The word
Wunder|lust is printed in a playful font. Clean, simple, fresh with the Roma logo at the backside of the ring as a finishing touch. The cigar has a little spongy feel, it isn’t overfilled, feels quite right. The aroma, stable and barnyard, is quite strong.

Because of the shape of the cigar, I had no option but to cut. I used a butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the predraw is spicy, mildly bitter and leathery. The cigar starts leathery and earthy. Soon after I also taste a toasty and herbal flavor. After a centimeter, I taste some mild vanilla sweetness, mild creamy too. After a third, I taste an earthy flavor with some licorice. Halfway I get more smooth cedar, the vanilla still lingers around too with a little fresh cut grass, slightly metallic aftertaste. Slowly some sour flavor shows up. The final third starts peppery then a nice smooth cedar shows up too with some walnut. In the dying puffs of the cigar, I taste some sweetness underneath the spice and pepper.

The cigar produces a lot of smoke, blueish white, quite thick. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn is slow and didn’t need touch ups as it is straight. The evolution is great in this full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke times is a whopping two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt.

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Balmoral Dueto Robusto

Being Dutch, I have always seen Balmoral cigars, but until a few years ago, my opinion of them wasn’t that good. They were for sale everywhere, tobacco shops, supermarkets, gas stations, convenience shops, everywhere. But those were their short filler cigars, they had some premium Long fillers too, but even those weren’t my cup of tea. The only Balmoral I liked was the Dominican Selection, a dry-cured short filler with Dominican tobacco and I smoked a lot of those in my early cigar smoking days.

My view on Balmoral changed with the Añejo, that completely changed everything, what an amazing cigar and all the premium cigars from Balmoral since were fantastic. So when I heard that they would do a signature series in which they work with other big names in the industry, I was excited. Being a cigar geek it’s always fun to see great minds working together. And the first one is a collaboration with Ernesto Perez Carrillo, the Balmoral Dueto. I smoked the robusto.

The wrapper, grown in Jalapa, Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras is quite light colored. Because of the large foot ring and the large main ring it’s hard to see the quality of the wrapper. Judging from the back, I see a lot of small veins and the wrapper isn’t the prettiest I have seen. The rings are cool though, not straight but curvy. A grey, white and golden Balmoral logo, very recognisable but with a curly red addition , black details and in golden letters the name of Ernesto Perez Carrillo. The foot ring is the same red and black, with the EPC crest in gold. The cigar has a good spongy feel. The aroma is a spicy hay smell, quite strong.

The cold draw, after cutting the cigar, is perfect. The flavours are dry, dried wood, raisin and dried grass. In the first puffs I taste leather and caramel sweetness. The sweetness is probably from the Brazilian tobacco. After a quarter of an inch I taste some gingerbread like spices. But the leather is the strongest flavour. After an inch I taste some dark chocolate too. After a third I taste more herbs, with some sugar and still leather. I also taste a little pepper. Overall the flavors are a bit dry. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger, I also taste cinnamon. The final third starts with a hint of vanilla underneath the spices. The sweetness is growing in the last part, with a mild yet pleasant bitterness and some earthy flavours. The final few puffs have a nice hazelnut flavour.

The ash is pepper and salt coloured. The ash isn’t very firm though. The burn is straight as an arrow. And the smoke is plentiful and thick. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The draw is perfect. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s a great cigar.

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Don Duarte Reserva Pyramid

About a decade ago I met up with a now retired cigar distributer in Amsterdam who was introducing a new cigar brand, Don Duarte, and the owner of the brand, señor Duarte, was there as well at the beautiful shop of Hajenius. I smoked a few cigars and I did like them. The brand never took off, I haven’t seen them in shops for a while now and when I look online I can only find them on German webshops.

 


A few years back I was helping an account to re-arrange his humidor and found this Don Duarte Reserve Pyramid. The account said “I had it for so long, it’s the last one, take it” so I did. And now it’s time to review this Plasencia made Nicaraguan puro with the H-2000 oscuro wrapper.

 


The thick wrapper is dark, it looks and feels like leather. The cigar has the right amount of sponginess, the shape of the cigar is great too. The ring is brown with silver and golden details, a classic crest and a knights helmet. The cigar has a vegetable and wooden aroma.

 


After cutting the cigar I taste some raw tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee and leather with some spice and pepper. After a few puffs I taste a mix of spices with sweetness and a little pepper, well balanced. After a third I taste wood and spices, it reminds me of a forest in the autumn. Halfway the cigar is more leathery, woody and spicy. The flavor remains like this till the end.

 


The draw is perfect. The smoke is perfectly white, thick and full. The ash is light gray and coarse. The burn is good. This is a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them I get some.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Graycliff G2 Toro

Graycliff, I always thought they were made on the Bahamas but I was wrong. Some are made on the Bahamas indeed, but it turns out some are made in Nicaragua too. I think, but I am not sure, that these are made by A.J. Fernandez. Well, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is: is it any good?


I got this cigar from a Dutch friend, since the brand isn’t available on the European market it’s a mystery to me where he got them as he has never been to the USA or the Bahamas, yet he shared this Nicaraguan made cigar with me. The filler is Dominican and Nicaraguan, the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Connecticut.


The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade cigar with a few very clear and relatively thick veins. The bright yellow ring has 5 black stars, the Graycliff G and a 2. Those two things combined wouldn’t make me grab the cigar in a store humidor. The construction feels good though, the shape of the cigar is fine. The aroma is quite like hay, grass and straw.


I used a plastic cutter to take off the cap. The cold draw is great with a mild salty flavor. After lighting the salt remains with some spices. The flavor doesn’t change much. After a third the cigar gets a little rough. The flavors are still salty and mild, but have a little mean edge. The cigar also gets more grassy and green in flavor, like green leaves. Near the end I taste a pleasant oak flavor.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is bending to the left. The burn is decent, it’s not straight but not so bad that I had to correct it. The smoke is quit thick. The cigar, with a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes, is mild in body, flavor and evolution.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar doesn’t do it for me.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Graycliff, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Nestor Miranda Art Deco Robusto Grande

I have not seen this cigar in a few years, and I got this one from Nestor Miranda at one of the Intertabac trade shows five or six years ago. The cigar, which was released in 2010 in the USA is made at the My Father Cigars factory in Nicaragua and the cigar has Dominican and Nicaraguan both in the filler as in the binder, as the cigar has a double binder. The wrapper is Nicaraguan Corojo.


Nestor Miranda is the founder and owner of Miami Cigar & Co, a Miami based company and I think that the name and ring design were inspired by Miami’s most iconic area: Miami Beach! Even though it’s officially another town as Miami, most see it as part of Miami. And Miami Beach is famous for it’s art deco scenery, the hotels, the art, it all comes from the Art Deco area and a lot of details are still seen on the streets.


The wrapper is bitter chocolate brown with some lighter smears, a thin vein runs over it. The wrapper is a looker. The ring is typical art deco style, pastel green, red, art deco silver letters. It fits the theme. The cigar looks and feels good and has a strong leather aroma.


I sliced a thin part of the cap off. The cold draw is great, I taste tea and raisin. After lighting I taste earthy flavor and coffee. After half an inch I taste earth with spices and a very faint cocoa. After a third the cigar has a woody base flavor with spices and a little pepper. Halfway the pepper is replaced by cinnamon. Later a flavor best described as raw carrot shows up.


The draw is great. The white smoke is pretty full and the burn is good. The ash is medium dark and not very firm. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nestor Miranda, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

La Imperiosa Dukes

La Imperiosa is the regular production version of the limited edition Las Calaveras. That’s a cigar made by My Father Cigars for Crowned Heads, a company that rose from the Nashville ashes of CAO, when it got sold to General Cigars and had to move to Virginia. A few people from the old management didn’t want to leave the Nashville community and started Crowned Heads.


The Las Calaveras limited edition was so popular, customers kept asking for more so Crowned Heads decided to release it as a regular production under a different name and in different sizes than any of the limited editions. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder wrapped in an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper.


The wrapper is dark, it looks almost black and its a nice contrast with the maroon and gold ring. The cigar feels well constructed with a perfect triple cap. The aroma is quite mild, I smell ammonia   sawdust plus vegetables and herbs.


After cutting a thin slice of the head I taste raw tobacco, with a close to perfect draw. After lighting I taste some nutmeg with mild leather. Soon I taste hay with a little pepper. There’s also some sticky honey sweetness. After an inch the pepper is strong, with honey and leather. The flavors remain but after midway I taste something fresh too, and more pepper. In the final third I taste wood while the cigar gets hot. There’s also a lot of Nicaraguan pepper.


The draw is perfect. The white ash is dense. The smoke is full and thick. The burn is fine, a little uneven, but within margins. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar, I expected a little more after all the raving reports I heard about it though.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, La Imperiosa, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

La Jugada Nunchuck

When I started working in the cigar industry as a sales rep, one of the retailers I connected most with was a retailer in Amsterdam. I had seen him once or twice before my employment but I heard that he had a terminal illness. It wasn’t long before he was my best customer, I would even come in on days off to smoke a cigar with him. His illness went in ups and downs, in his down I visited him a couple of times at home, in a period of up he came to my mancave to smoke a cigar. One of the last things I said to him was “on your next up, I have a cigar, or actually two fused together, that I want to share with you”. Unfortunately the next ‘up’ never came. Today would have been Berry’s birthday, so I’m smoking this cigar for him now.


The cigar I was talking about is the La Jugada Nunchuck, a 7×54 Nicaraguan puro that is fused together like a nunchuck, as the name would suggest. The cigar is made at La Zona, the small yet beautiful factory of Erik Espinosa in downtown Esteli. The brand however is Moya Ruiz. As I said, it is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Oscuro wrapper and the cigar was released in 2014 as a limited edition of 10.000 cigars.


The appearance is unique, with a huge white ring binding the cigars together, gray lines, a red ‘splash’ star and then La Jugada Nunchuck written on top of that. The H in nunchuck are actually nunchucks. The foot of the cigar is protected with red cloth.  The wrapper s dark, yet smooth. The cigars feel well packed. I smell a mild cocoa aroma when I sniff the cigar.


After cutting I try the cold draw, which is a little on the loose side but within margins. I taste pepper. Immediately after lighting I taste an earthy, coffee and leather mix with pepper. After half an inch I taste chocolate in the aftertaste. After an inch i taste pepper, wood, milky chocolate with s nice acidity. The flavors are strong but smooth, you can taste that it’s a well aged cigar. After a third i taste wood with pepper, the strength is picking up. The pepper is getting stronger. There’s also a little acidity to keep all flavors balanced. Halfway I taste a kind of peanut flavor with the wood, pepper and acidity. Then, a little before the final third, I taste coffee again. The final third has less pepper, more coffee and more acidity, without turning sour. The finale is woody with herbs and pepper.


The draw is within the ‘good’ margin but on the easy side of it. The ash is quite dark yet firm. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is smooth, full flavored and medium full bodied. The smoke time is almost two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish

Score: 94
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Categories: 94, La Jugada, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Maduro

Yesterday I wrote about the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Habano Ligero and the same story goes for the maduro. Originally a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez who released the cigars commercially after years of begging from Meier & Dutch.


The blend consists of the same tobacco as the natural, yet with another wrapper. Instead of using a Nicaraguan Habano ligero A.J. Fernandez chose a Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro to wrap around the Nicaraguan Habano binder and the Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler for this 5×44 corona.


The wrapper is dark, almost black, dry and a little rough. The ring is simple, just a glossy black with the silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. I love closed foots and a pigtail, so this cigar fits right up my alley. The aroma is medium strong, like dark chocolate in a farm field.


After cutting the cigar I try the cold draw. Surprisingly it’s good, even with the closed foot. I taste a little sweetness and a lot of spice. After lighting I taste a sweet earthy leather flavor. Soon I taste spice and pepper. After an inch I taste sweetness and pepper. Slowly the sweetness disappears while the pepper gets stronger and an earthy flavor shows up too.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, beautiful white of color. The ash is white too. The burn is great. The cigar is strong, full bodied yet medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Score: 89

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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Ligero

The Puro Authentico from the Man O’ War series were actually created as a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez and it took Meier & Dutch three years to convince A.J. to release these small cigars, a 5×44 corona, commercially. Both the natural, which I’m reviewing today, and the maduro, which will be reviewed tomorrow, are for sale nowadays in ten count boxes.


The natural version of the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Corona is made from Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The blend is the same as the maduro version, the difference is in the wrapper, which in this case is a Nicaraguan Habano ligero.


The oily wrapper is dark, if someone gave me this cigar and said it was the maduro version, I would have believed it. Only when I put it next to the maduro I see a slight difference. The ring is different from the other Man O’ War cigars, just a small glossy black ring with a golden silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. The cigar comes with a closed foot and a small pigtail, so that’s a plus. I smell a mild, peppery chocolate aroma.


The cold draw is non existing because of the closed foot. I taste chocolate and marzipan. After lighting I taste espresso, strong, bold espresso. After a few puffs I taste sugar. After an inch I taste an earthy flavor, coffee and wood. After a third some cinnamon joins the flavors. Halfway it’s earthy, with a little sugar and quite some pepper. Near the end it’s just earthy and peppery.


The draw is good, the medium thick smoke is white. The ash is dark, it’s not firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium flavored, full bodied. Even though it’s a thin cigar and not too long, the smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They come in the sampler, I want a few samplers so yeah.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project 52C

I’m guessing the C in the name stands for Chisel, although brand owner Meier & Dutch talkes about a wedge, and the 52 refers to the ring gauge. Maybe they cannot use the name chisel because it’s trademarked by La Flor Dominicana, who invented the shape and to my knowledge even have the patent to the shape.


The cigar, a 5×52 figured, is made with Nicaraguan Habano and ligero tobacco in the filler, a Nicaraguan Habano under and Ecuadorian Habano ligero as a wrapper. It was released together with the Little Devil and the Phalanx in march of 2012.


The wrapper looks smoother than the other side projects, less dry with more oil. It also looks like the head is a lighter shade than the foot. The shape is great and the cigar is well finished, the rings fit the wrapper.  The medium barnyard aroma is quite pleasant.


I cut a little slice of the chisel like cigar. The cold draw is a little tight, with a spicy raw tobacco aroma. After lighting the cigar is earthy with coffee and leather. After a centimeter I taste love licorice with some sweetness. The flavors change to earthy with cumin, burner and a little cinnamon like spices. The flavors are mellow and balanced. Halfway I’m getting a very unsuspected and unusual flavor that reminds me most of thick potato chips. That flavor disappears quickly and I taste pepper and sweetness. The final third is herbal and spicy with powdered sugar.


The draw is good. The white smoke is medium thick and full. The light colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

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