Nicaraguan cigars

El Piño Blanco Corojo Robusto

Last year, Dutch tobacconist Mariska Kelch from Tabakado in Eindhoven, started her own brand. The brand is called El Piño Blanco and is made in Nicaragua. The brand is created in a collaboration with David Blanco from Blanco Cigars. Plasencia, related to Blanco by blood, is responsible for producing the cigars. They come in two lines, Maduro and Corojo.


I smoked this €5,50 robusto in the Maduro version and that was a nice, enjoyable budget cigar. I had the Corojo version too, so I wanted to see if that was just as nice of a budget cigar. Both lines come in three sizes, I do have the other vitolas but I’m not sure if I will smoke these or hand them out to other reviewers to give Mariska and the brand more airplay.

The wrapper looks nice, not too oily but certainly not dry. A single cap, with some pimples. A simple yet clean cigar ring, good quality print. I can see a few thin veins on the cigar, all rolled flat to give the cigar a nice, smooth look. The construction feels good. The aroma of the cigar is darker than expected, it’s a deep barnyard, swamp and forest smell.

The cold draw is good and has a spicy, raw tobacco flavor. Right from the get-go, I taste espresso with pepper and sugar. Cane sugar to be precise. After a few puffs, I also taste cedar and mushrooms. After half a centimeter I taste a musty flavor, with mushrooms. The sweetness and the coffee disappeared. The spice is still there though. The worst mustiness disappears, yet the flavor lingers around on the background. I now taste some saltiness with cedar and green herbs. After a third, I taste a dry cedar with some mild pepper and low-grade milk chocolate. The mustiness and mushrooms are getting stronger again. In the final third, cedar and sweetness return. The sweetness becomes the main flavor, with grass and green, spicy herbs as support. The pepper is growing in strength in the last inch as well.

Blna
The ash is white, strong and firm. The smoke is decent, quite full and thick. The burn is pretty straight. Evolution is decent. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I would not, I stick to the Maduro

number87

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Categories: 87, El Piño Blanco, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

El Piño Blanco Maduro Robusto

This cigar is only available in The Netherlands, and as far as I know, only in one shop: Tabakado in the city of Eindhoven. And that’s because the cigar is blended by the owner of the shop, Mariska Kelch. I have known Mariska for years, when I started visiting the shop as a sales rep, her father was in charge but he was grooming Mariska to be the chief of the shop and she’s doing great. I saw her progress from just a daughter and employee to a shot caller and I am amazed by her progress.

When the duo met David Blanco, they started talking about creating their own cigar. That resulted in the El Piño Blanco line. Unfortunately, Johan Kelch was not around to see the final product as he suddenly and tragically passed away three years ago, but I know he would be very pleased and very proud of Mariska’s achievements. And while smoking this cigar, I had to think of Johan a lot. He was one of my best accounts, one with a manual though and our conversations always had the same pattern, first Johan would complain about something, then we would have a hard but fair argument before we would do business. Good business, and even though the discussions were hard and heated, we had the utmost respect for each other and liked each other a lot. Johan was also the first retailer to call me and wish me luck on my future path after me and my employer parted ways. I hate that I will never get another chance to smoke a cigar with him.

The cigar looks very nice, the shape is perfect with a well-rounded head, triple cap. I have a feeling that the wrapper is cooked through, in a slurry of tobacco, to make it look darker. When I wet my finger and rub the cigar, my fingers will taint and you can see a lighter shade under dark spots. Now that doesn’t have to mean anything and could be just for aesthetic reasons. And honestly, the cigar looks great. The simple black, green and white ring is clean, the brand name is clear, the tobacco leaf on the ring looks nice. The cigar has a nice touch, I can’t feel any plugs. The smell is medium strong, sawdust and a little bit of manure are what I smell.

The cold draw tastes like raisin, the draw is good though. Right at the get-go, I taste coffee but also a chewy flavor, like portobello mushroom with some leather. After half a centimeter I still taste the mushroom with the leather and some very mild milk chocolate. After a centimeter, I taste hay, dried grass with a bit of American milk chocolate. After a third, the cigar still has the hay with American milk chocolate flavor, but now with some herbs and pepper. When I say American milk chocolate, think Hersey. That’s different than European milk chocolate, a little more chemical. Halfway the cigar gets woody, cedar, with the chewy flavor again and some pepper. In the final third the flavors aren’t muted anymore. I taste wood, milk chocolate, a mild pepper, some herbal flavor. The pepper is getting stronger, now it’s a full-blown Nicaraguan cigar.

The smoke is thick and white. The draw is great. The white ash is beautiful. I had to relight the cigar once, but the burn is sharp. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. This is a nice budget cigar that would is great to have around for the days where you smoke more than one cigar and don’t want to break the bank. This is a medium bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a strong finish. The smoke time is about two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good budget cigar, always nice to have a bundle in the humidor

number89

Categories: 89, El Piño Blanco, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

My Father La Gran Oferta Lancero

I still remember the first cigar from My Father Cigars that I ever smoked. That was before it was called My Father cigars and before they moved to Nicaragua. Back in the day, when they only had that small El Rey de Los Habanos factory on Callo Ocho in Miami. It was the first release of the Don Pepin Garcia Black Label and I’ve been a fan since. And lucky enough to have visited that small factory, the main factory in Esteli and the new small operation in the My Father HQ in Miami.


I bought this My Father La Gran Oferta Lancero in Amsterdam. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder, all grown on the My Father plantations. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado, a wrapper that is high on my favorite list. So this cigar already starts with +++, one plus for the factory, another plus for the wrapper and the third + for the vitola.

The dark reddish wrapper is oily, with some tooth. The triple cap is nice with a small pigtail. Contrary to the Flor de Las Antillas and La Antiguedad, the old artwork isn’t used on the ring, just on the boxes. The cigars have the regular My Father ring with a secondary ring mentioning La Gran Oferta. The foot is protected by a piece of cloth. The aroma is strong, hay and farm animals are what I get. The construction feels good.

The cold draw is good and reminds me of pepper and sultanas. After lighting, I taste a strong espresso flavor. Soon it’s more leather with green herbs. I get some nutmeg too with a little bit of black pepper. There is some hay in the flavor too. After an inch, I taste cinnamon sweetness with some mild pepper on the background. There’s also some dried leaves. After a third I taste a little leather again, sweet yet dry. Halfway it’s leather and cinnamon, some mild wood, pepper, and sweetness. In the final third, the pepper is picking up. I also taste some citrus and some cinnamon. Then some nuts show up, macadamia to be precise.

The ash is light colored. Not very firm though. The burn is good, just a few little touch-ups. The draw is flawless. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness but it gets thicker along the way. The cigar is medium at most, well balanced and rounded, mellow and smooth. The smoke time is two and a half hours

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it so yes

number91

Categories: 91, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Anoranzas Robusto

I had to google this cigar and learned that the line was released in 2012 by Miami Cigar & Co, that part I knew as Barry Stein from the Cigar Authority used to work for Miami Cigar & Co and gave me a shirt of the brand once when I visited him in Florida. But since the Miami Cigar & Co website doesn’t mention the brand anymore I think they are discontinued.


What I learned was that this line, who’s name is something like nostalgia in Spanish, is a tweaked version of the Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2011. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, made at My Father Cigars, from all Nicaraguan tobacco, including a double binder and a Habano Oscuro wrapper. I don’t know how I got this cigar and how old it is, but it’s a few years old a least.


The box pressed cigar has a dark chocolate wrapper, slightly oily and I have to look closely to see the seems. The ring is bold, white with gold and some green at the bottom, simple classic decorations and the name written in golden letters and a hint of green. The cigar is slightly box pressed with a flattened head. The construction feels good. I smell a medium strong toasted aroma with some barnyard.


After cutting the cigar I find a perfect cold draw. I taste some spices. After lighting I taste coffee with some mint and nutmeg with a velvet and creamy feeling in my mouth. The nutmeg, some citrus and pepper replace the coffee, the minty flavor only exists in the aftertaste now. The pepper slowly grows. There is also a sugar sweetness. Halfway I taste cocoa too, with some wood and a mild pepper. In the final third the nutmeg is back with some cinnamon. The finale has the cocoa with pepper.


The draw is fantastic. The color of the smoke is light gray, medium full in volume, medium in thickness. The ash is gray with a yellow brown touch. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I could find them

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Anoranzas, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sin Compromiso Intrepido

Even though I smoked and reviewed some expensive cigars, I am quite cheap. Whenever I go to a lounge to buy some cigars, I pick medium priced cigars at most since there are some fantastic cigars under 10 euro or dollar. So getting a 16 euro cigar is something I rarely do. Yet for this cigar, I made an exemption, just because it’s made at Joya de Nicaragua by no other than Steve Saka.


The wrapper, Mexican, is grown by removing the bottom leaves time after time making sure that all the nutrients go to the top leaves. And the filler and binder are grown on farms, specially selected by Saka himself. Those farms only grow tobacco for the Sin Compromiso line. Those four factors combined made me pull the trigger.

The cigar comes without cellophane, pretty unusual for Nicaraguan cigars. But the bottom half is wrapped in cedar with the text ‘sin compromiso’ printed on it, The ring is a Celtic looking cross in black and white. No mention of which company is behind it, no country, no names whatsoever making it a cigar for the in-crowd. I like that. The dark leathery looking wrapper is intimidating. The cigar comes with a little flag tale and it’s slightly box pressed. The wrapper feels like velvet. The aroma isn’t very strong, it reminds me of cow poop and charred wood.

The cold draw is flawless, with hints of red pepper on the top of my palate and a dry flavor that I know, recognize but can’t remember what it is or how to describe it. After lighting, I’m hit with coffee, sweetness and some bitter young wood. After a few puffs, I taste some lime with green herbs. There is pepper on the background, still a sweetness up front with some leather and cedar. After an inch its slightly bitter, a combination of wood, leather, mushroom, and sweetness. Halfway it’s the nice sweetness with pepper and leather. There’s some earthiness too. This is a much more subtle cigar than I expected, but halfway the pepper picks up by a lot. The final third is sweet leather, cedar, and quite some pepper.


The draw is phenomenal. The ash is almost bright white but not very firm. The smoke is thick enough, but for my liking, it could be a bit thicker and more in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, not as a daily smoke but yes.
number94

Categories: 94, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sin Compromiso | Tags: , , ,

Rocky Patel ALR robusto

Back in 2015, I visited Rocky Patel’s Tavicusa factory in Esteli, Nicaragua while visiting the country for the Cigaragua book. And there I and my partners got to smoke a few test blends. And one of those test blends could well have been this Aged, Limited & Rare since the cigars were produced later that year and then stored for three years.

The cigar, made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, was aged for three more years after rolling. And only 90% of the production of 100.000 cigars will come to market, as Rocky decided to keep 10% as a personal stock. So only 1500 boxes of 20 are available in three sizes.

The rings of the cigar look a lot like they are part of the vintage series, a simple top ring with the Rocky Patel logo on shiny white paper and a secondary right with the name of the blend in the same style and the same paper, just like the vintage lines. The wrapper is dark, oily and leathery. The triple cap looks great, the cigar has the right amount of bounce when I massage it. The cigar has a complex, deep aroma of earthy and vegetal origin.

The cold draw is flawless with a dry tobacco flavor. After lighting, I taste a spicy coffee and leather. After a few puffs, I also taste some hay, sweetness, and tobacco. Slowly the cigar changes to pepper, leather, wood, and nutmeg. After an inch, I taste hazelnut and walnut with pepper and hay. Halfway I taste a spicy mixture of hay, green herbs, pepper, and leather. Then mild bitter chocolate shows up on the background as well, and the peppers gain some strength. In the final third, I taste pepper, some wood, and the flavors are a bit creamy. A few puffs later I taste wood, cedar, and oak, again with pepper and a bit of hay. Near the end, I taste some carrot too, with hay and pepper. A strong pepper, Nicaraguan all the way.

The draw is fantastic. The smoke is good and the ash is pepper and salt colored, reasonably firm. The burn is good and slow. The cigar is full flavored, full-bodied. The flavors aren’t subtle, but well balanced and married well after being aged for several years. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Without a doubt.

number91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , ,

Kings Cigars Conde Robusto

The last couple of years you see a rise in the use of Mexican San Andres wrappers and one of the companies that has been utilizing this wrapper in one of their lines is the boutique brand Kings Cigars. I met Pete from Kings Cigars a few years back in Cigar Cellar in Miami and he handed me a few sticks to bring to my then employer, who wasn’t interested but of course I kept a few sticks for myself to enjoy too. Amongst them this Conde Robusto, which I’m publishing on Kings day in The Netherlands


As I said, the cigar used a San Andres Maduro wrapper from Mexico but the cigar is made in Nicaragua in 5 different vitolas, 5×52 robusto, x650 toro, 7 1/2×50 double corona, 7×52 Churchill and a 6 1/2×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the robusto for this review. The binder is a Nicaraguan habano while the filler is completely Nicaraguan too. According to the website Kings Cigars has two factories but I wonder if they own factories or if they have their cigars made by others, my request for information never got a reply.


The wrapper is dark, oily, velvet but also has a few veins, but because of the darkness of the wrapper the veins don’t bother me. The cigar feels evenly packed and looks well finished. The ring is nice, green and blue with a golden crown and a black eagle on good quality paper. The cigar has a distinct, medium full, aroma that you get when you walk into a stable that’s used for cows.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy, lemony and a little mint. After lighting I taste some coffee with powder sugar sweetness. Soon it changes to a chili vanilla melted ice cream flavor. After a third I taste some pepper with a creamy chocolate. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with some oak and pepper.


The draw is great. The burn is good too and the pepper and salt colored ash is alright. The smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. This cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think so.

Score: 88
number88

Categories: 88, Kings Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut Coffee Break

There was a time, back in the day, that I used to be an avid bomber, but also got bombed a lot. And for a while I added rings to cigars of who bombed me and what date I received the bomb. This was one of the cigar that still had the ring, even though is says “Slavac, 10/20/2009”. So that means that this cigar is at least a decade old but I also read that the cigar was only introduced in 2012 as a regular production. I have no idea if this was a regular production, or where information got mixed up.


I probably never smoked it because of the wrapper, as I have written many times before, I am not a fan of Connecticut Shade wrappers. I tried many, and the number of Connecticut Shade cigars I like can be counted on the fingers of one hand. All I can hope is that this My Father Cigars made 4½x50 Short Robusto aka Coffee Break, with its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from the Dominican, Nicaragua and Honduras is to my liking.


The wrapper has a light, yellow brown color. It also has a few clear veins, I don’t like the color much. The ring is much better, two tone gray and white with copper colored linings, special selection written in that copper color and Nestor Miranda special selection in red. On the back, where the ring is glued together you can find the Miami Cigar & Co logo. The cigar looks well made, it feels well made too. The aroma is mild peppery and manure.


After cutting I taste nothing actually with a good draw. After lighting I taste the classic Connecticut shade mustiness with sweetness, sugar sweetness. Halfway I taste the mustiness, with a sharp edge, sugar and a mild salty peanut flavor.


The draw is great, the light colored ash is firm and the burn is quite alright. The white smoke is thick and full. This is a mild cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That Connecticut Shade still isn’t my kind of wrapper.

Score: 88
number88

Categories: 88, My Father Cigars, Nestor Miranda, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

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.

number93

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: ,

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.

number93

Categories: Nicaraguan cigars

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