Nicaraguan cigars

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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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: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project Little Devil

Released in march of 2012, almost four years after the birth of the Man O’ War base line and together with the Phalanx and 52C was this Little Devil. The cigar, I would consider it a corona, measures 5 1/2×44 and with that it’s the thinnest of the side projects. As a fan of thinner cigars, I’m looking forward to reviewing this, it’s one of the few Man O’ War cigars I haven’t smoked yet.


The cigar is made from extra fermented sun grown Habano tobacco from Ecuador as a wrapper, an Habano binder from Nicaragua and as filler A.J. Fernandez came up with an Habano ligero from Nicaragua and ligero from Honduras.


The wrapper is clearly sun grown, you can see that from the leathery look, the veins and the tooth. The ring is great, the regular ring with the classic side projects ring. I love the closed foot and the tiny pigtail. The cigar just feels good. I smell a mild barnyard aroma.


After cutting the cigar I find a great cold draw. I taste a mild sour and peppery aroma. After lighting I taste powdered sugar, coffee and some lime. After an inch I taste lime and pepper with an earthy base flavor. Halfway I get that powdered sugar flavor again and the pepper changed from black pepper to a strong spicy red chili. The final third has done cedar, a mild sweetness, earthiness and pepper.


The draw is great and the white smoke is thick and luscious like a beautiful curvy woman. The salt and pepper colored ash is flaky though. The burn is pretty good. The cigars is full bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is an hour in twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project Skull Crusher

One of the four side projects, next to the Phalanx, 52C and the Little Devil, yet the Skull Crusher was the latest to be released. Where the others saw daylight in march of 2012, this Skull Crusher was born on january 2013. I have smoked a few before and this is my favorite ‘after BBQ’ cigar, because it’s so strong and full flavored you can still taste the cigar even after all the spicy BBQ food and sauce.


The cigar, which is a figurado, 5 3/4×56 and ‘club shaped’ according to Meier & Dutch. I would call it a perfecto, but that’s just me. The cigar is packed with ligero tobacco, Nicaraguan in the filler and an Honduran Habano ligero as binder. The wrapper is Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro.


First of all, I love the shape, it reminds me a bit of a feral flying pig, yet a tad less fat and without the pigtail. The dry leathery toothy wrapper has a nice dark soil color with a few veins. The secondary ring, black with gray and golden letters, fits the regular Man O’ War ring. The cigar has the aroma of dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the tobacco is a bit salty. There is no cold draw because of the glued closed foot. It takes a few puffs to get passed the closed foot and get a draw. I taste some sweetness, a mild vinegar and some cedar with a hint of pepper. After a quarter of an inch I taste honey with cedar. An inch in I taste a little honey, oak and cedar plus a growing pepper. After a third pepper is the main flavor, with cedar and honey on the background. The changes are now subtle, the wood, honey and pepper constantly change in strength.


After the first quarter of an inch the draw is fantastic. The smoke is white, thick and full. The salt and pepper colored ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The evolution of this full bodied full flavored cigar is good. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! Yes! Perfect as an after (vegetarian) barbecue smoke.

Score: 94
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Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Ruination Torpedo

Less than a year after the so successful release of the Man O’ War series, Meier & Dutch and A.J. Fernandez came with a new blend, even stronger and bolder than the original. A blend that would blow you away, kill you and leave you ruined so the name Ruination was picked for the second Man O’ War release.


The cigar, of which I’m smoking the 5.7×56 Belicoso featured in the Anthology Sampler, is made from Honduran and Nicaraguan ligero with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The wrapper comes from Ecuador and is of a Habano ligero kind.


The cigar looks tough, the dark, bitter chocolate colored wrapper with a leathery touch, the Man O’ War wing in darker colors, the fat yet pointy shape, well finished, it all makes this cigar look bad ass yet cool. The aroma is medium strong, it smells like manure and wood.


I used my butterfly cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, I taste a little pepper and well fermented tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, mild spicy, with some acidity and pepper. After a centimeter I taste soil with some sweetness. The sweetness slowly grows. Halfway I taste wood, cinnamon, sweetness and soil. The sweetness is balanced perfectly with the other flavors. The final third starts with vegetable flavors, a strong flower flavor, some wood and soil, all balanced and very nice.


The draw is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The light gray ash is dense, firm with nice rings. The burn is good, quite straight. The cigar is medium full bodied, full flavored. The flavors are well balanced. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, loved it.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Torpedo

In the first part of 2008 Meier & Dutch together with A.J. Fernandez released what would become one of their success stories, the Man O’ War line, that has sprouted in many more lines and side projects in the last decade, but this blend with Nicaraguan filler, Honduran Habano binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper started it all.


The cigar comes in six different vitolas, from a 6×44 corona to a 7.1×58 salomon with a 7 1/2×52 double corona 5 1/2×50 robusto, a 6 1/2×52 toro and a 6.1×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the torpedo as that was the one in the Man O’ War anthology sampler.


The wrapper is a nice, medium dark, brown, in between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. The ring is the regular Man O’ War ring like described two days ago. The cigar feels good and is well finished. It has a medium strong, deep, spicy and peppery aroma.


Due to the vitola I have no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste a little peppery raising flavor. After lighting I taste wood, coffee and a little nutmeg. After a centimeter the basic flavor is wood, with nutmeg, cinnamon and ground black pepper. The pepper is getting stronger with a bit of vegetable flavor joining the wood as a base aroma. After a third I taste soil with some sweetness too. The cigar gets stronger, more woody, more peppery.


The draw is great. The smoke, with a little brown glow, is thick and full. The ash has that same brown tarnish as the smoke. The burn is straight, the cigar is full bodied and full flavored. I smoked slow and it took me two hours to finish the cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, if they are on sale.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Virtue Torpedo

Last year, in september, I reviewed the same cigar. I did that before I came up with the idea to review this complete sampler but I’m not going to change my plans because of that older review, let’s just call this a quick redux.


The Man O’ War Virtue line was releases only two years after the Man O’ War brand came to life, and it was the third blend that got released. The regular Man O’ War and the Man O’ War Ruination were strong cigars, this Man O’ War Virtue, with the Nicaraguan Habano filler and binder and the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper was in a different league, the league of mild to medium cigars.


The light colored, almost pale, wrapper looks dry and brittle. The ring is the same as the other Man O’ War rings but in white and silver, making it more difficult to see what the picture is. The cigar is well made, it feels good and looks good. It has a medium strong hay and ammonia aroma.


The cold draw is fine, I taste dry, mild sweet and mild acidic raisin and tobacco. After lighting I taste a metallic dirt aroma. There’s also that classic Connecticut Shade mustiness. After the metallic dirt disappears I taste cedar, mild sweet, with that classic mustiness and a bit of black pepper. The flavors remain practically the same all around, except for a little metallic flavor returning at the end and the pepper grew in strength. In the dying seconds I taste some nuts too.


The draw is a bit loose and the cigar produces a lot of smoke. The salt and peppered colored ash is firm and pretty. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s a classic Connecticut Shade, which I don’t appreciate

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

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