Cigars by factory

Rocky Patel Summer 2008 Lancero

About a decade ago Rocky Patel decided to launch a limited release every season of the year, and the Summer 2008 series came with a lancero, that’s the only lancero made for the seasonal collections, which were discontinued in 2009, except for a one time return in 2012. I must have gotten this cigar in a trade or a bomb of some kind, but I couldn’t tell you with or from whom if my life depended on it.


The Summer 2008 collection was rolled at the old factory of A.J. Fernandez as Rocky didn’t have a Nicaraguan operation back then, and A.J. didn’t have the huge factory that he runs nowadays. The other offerings, next to this 7×38 lancero, were a robusto, toro and toro grande.. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler, a binder from Cameroon and a Sumatra wrapper grown in Ecuador.


A nice, latte colored, toothy wrapper with a sandpaper touch and an unique ring make this cigar stand out. The ring looks like a piece of diamond plate with a golden strip with red outlines and a red round RP logo. The secondary ring is golden with black lettering and a red outline. The construction feels good, no soft spots and the pig tail is a nice detail. I smell a mild yet dark barnyard aroma, almost like a freshly ploughed piece of farmland with natural fertilizer.


After I cut the cigar I taste pepper and some blackberry with the perfect cold draw. After lighting I taste the blackberry with cedar. There is also some sweetness and the mix is perfect. On the background I taste some pepper. Halfway the cigar gets spicier and stronger.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick, full and good in volume. The light gray ash with dark smears. It’s reasonably firm. The burn is good, pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavor is very nice. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish

Score: 92
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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, 92, Rocky Patel, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Casita Criolla HCB

Years ago, I hadn’t even start to work for my later (and now previous) employer who’s one of the major cigar importers & distributers in The Netherlands, Pete Johnson released both the La Casita Criollo and the Fausto and I got a call from my later employer who told me the cigars showed up on the international price list, he didn’t know what they were, he gave me prices and asked weather he should order them or not. I knew about the cigars, I smoked the Tatuaje T110 where the Fausto is based upon, and read about the La Casita Criolla too and thought it was an interesting concept, the prices were fine so I advised him to order both lines. And he did. Today is also Pete’s birthday, so happy birthday my friend.


The La Casita Criolla is made with a 100% American Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar is an American puro. Now Connecticut broadleaf is known as a wrapper or sometimes a binder but it being used as a filler isn’t something known to the general public, it happens as not all Connecticut broadleaf is dark enough or of the quality needed to be a wrapper. And that’s the kind of leaf Pete Johnson uses for filler in this La Casita Criolla, the lighter colored, the esthetically lesser quality leaf but still flavorful. The only thing I don’t like about it is the naming of the vitolas, why not just go with corona, robusto, torpedo, churchill but with a HCB, HCBC, HFBF, HCR which to me, and not just me alone, very confusing and I think it hurts the sales. I am not a 100% sure but I think the La Casita Criolla name comes from an old Cuban brand.


I grabbed the HCB out of my humidor, which is a 5 1/8×42 corona sized cigar. The cigars are naked in the box, no cellophane to protect the wrapper during transport. The wrapper is dark, juicy and oily with here and there a glittering of minerals, the veins make it look rustic and with the dark color combined it looks a bit intimidating. The ring is very simple, just like the packaging, brown with a white square and red letters La Casita Criolla, then a red square with white letters Tatuaje Cigars Esteli and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a drawing of a small house, the native cottage that the name refers too. The construction feels great and the cap is beautifully glued onto its place. The aroma isn’t very strong, just tobacco, barnyard and a little chocolate.


I cut the cigar, xikar butterfly style, and that creates a perfect cold draw with a spicy and peppery touch. I taste a full and nice sweetened coffee. After half an inch the cigar turns to chocolate, coffee and pepper. The chocolate is getting stronger after a third with wood and a little bit of pepper. The pepper fades away a little, I taste caramel with oak, a little chocolate and some spices.


The draw is perfect and the white ash is dense and firm. The luscious smoke is white and full. The burn is close to perfect as well. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavors are, right up my alley. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I had to pick 10 cigars that I could smoke the rest of my life, this cigar would make the cut.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, La Casita Criolla, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heisenberg Robusto

Imagine being a theoretical physicist, doing great discoveries like the uncertainty principle and winning a nobel price when you’re just 31 and all you will be remembered by is a fictional meth dealer with terminal cancer and your field of science is mocked by one of the most popular comedy series ever where a total but brilliant nut job named Sheldon Cooper is playing a theoretical physicist. I bet Werner Heisenberg, born on this day in 1901, would be turning in his grave if he knew.


But some people still remember his uncertainty principle, people like the Quesada family, and they created a cigar around this theory. The only thing they revealed was the size, nothing more nothing less, no blend whatsoever, nothing, so that people had to smoke it completely blank and without prejudice. A quote from the original press release said “The Heisenberg project is named after the scientific formula of the same name that proves the fundamental limits of precision: in other words, no matter how much we know about something we will never know everything; the more we focus on one aspect, the less we know about another. The Heisenberg project has two intentions: to dispel the stereotypes that limit our ability to enjoy a cigar and remind aficionados that sometimes its best to sit back, relax, and just enjoy a smoke without over analyzing it. To put it simply, “Embrace Uncertainty!” Before writing this review I googled Werner Heisenberg and his theory but even the simplest of explanations gave me a headache, so I quit reading and decided to focus on the cigar en embrace the uncertainty.


The cigar is a tad thin for a robusto with a 48 ring, but it does have the classic 5 inch length. I do like thinner cigars so i’m not complaining though. The wrapper is dark, smooth and oily and the black ring with silver edges and the formula for the uncertainty principle in silver compliments the wrapper. On the back the name Heisenberg is written in small letters. I’m glas Quesada didn’t pick blue for the colors. The construction feels good, the cap is placed nicely too. I smell a quite dark, yet not to strong, wood aroma.


I punched the cigar to find a great cold draw with a slightly salt and raisin flavor. The first puff after lighting is coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch i taste some nuts, a faint chocolate, some sweetness but all muted and slightly harsh. After an inch I taste salty lemon with some wood. Halfway the lemon grows strong with wood and pepper. After two thirds it’s just spicy oak.


The draw is great and the smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The ash is light gray and dense, firm too. The burn is pretty straight. I would call this cigar medium to medium full bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time if an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar didn’t hit the spot for me.

Score: 88

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Categories: 88, Dominican cigars, Heisenberg, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ashton Symmetry Prism

In the close to 30 years that Ashton has been on the market they have not been releasing line after line, limited edition after limited edition but they gradually build the brand unlike so many companies nowadays. I mean, they have the Ashton Classic, Aged Maduro, Puro Sol, Cabinet, VSG and limited release ESG series and then it went quiet for about 10 years until Ashton released their latest new line, the Symmetry. Now to be fair, Ashton does have two Nicaraguan brands that join in the rat race to release a new cigar every year, San Cristobal/Paradiso and La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe, but those are made by My Father Cigars while all Ashton named premium cigars are made by Arturo Fuente on the Dominican Republic. Today it’s Meera Levin’s birthday, a good day to publish this review. Happy birthday.


That was in 2014 but the production numbers were just enough to supply the American market so us Europeans had to wait till september 2015 where the cigar would be introduced at the Intertabac trade show. But we persuaded Ashton to supply the Dutch market a week early so we could debut the cigar at the Big Smoke we hosted a week before the show. So since Ashton is a classic company, with a classic reputation so we opted for the Prism, a 5.625×46 Corona, a classic size.


The cigar, made out of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, looks great when you get it out of the cellophane. The silky wrapper is quite dark, not maduro dark but still and has a few small veins that give it character. The ring it classic, and that fits Ashton like a glove, and I figure the ring is printed by Vrijdag in Eindhoven due to the extremely high quality of the gold print, they are the best in the world when it comes to that. The ring has a lot of gold on a white background and a light blue and red centre with golden letters Ashton, and underneath that a red banner with golden letters saying Symmetry. The construction feels good and the cap has been applied beautifully by a skilled roller. The cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard but mixed with the aroma of a spice stall at a farmers market.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and the cold draw is great. There is not a lot of flavor in the cold draw, just some dry raisin with a little pepper. After I lit the cigar with a soft flame I taste some metallic coffee. After a few puffs the flavors are sweet and sour, lemon with sugar and some wood. After a centimeter I taste some pepper too and a little bit of chocolate. After a third I taste lemon with sugar and spices and a hint of pepper. Halfway I taste wood with some pepper and a little bit of spices.


The smoke is thick and the amount is great. The light colored as is dense and firm. The draw is great, flawless. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, it could just use a little more evolution and it would be in my top 25. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since they are no longer be sold in The Netherlands as the distributor felt they didn’t sell good enough I am forced to order a box online soon.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Ashton, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Leave a comment

CAO MX2 Robusto

CAO and me, it’s not a good marriage. I love the creativity of the brand, they always find a good theme to build a line around, cars, music, opera, it doesn’t matter, they always take the theme to the next level with the packaging, the names and the advertising yet most of their cigars are a let down to me, even the ones that get a lot of praise by the general public. And that’s also part of the fun of this cigar smoking hobby, everybody has their personal preferences. By the way, happy birthday Rick Rodriguez.


This MX2 is a highly praised line, a lot of my friends love this cigar, and I have had one years ago that didn’t made any impression so now I’m revisiting it after a few years to see if some aging did do the cigar good or that my preferences changed. Both are possibilities, I mean, if you browse old reviews of mine you’ll see I loved the big ring gauges and even wrote that me & maduro wrappers would never be friends, now I love the thinner cigars and the maduro wrapper, more recently I had to change my “I hate Connecticut shade” phrase since I smoked a few that I enjoyed, so maybe that will happen with CAO in general or at least this MX2 robusto.


The dark Connecticut Broadleaf looks dark and oily with hardly any veins. I see some lighter colored smears and I wonder if this is a boiled or painted wrapper. Underneath the Connecticut Broadleaf is a Brazilian binder, also maduro which explains the Mx2 name (maduro x 2) and fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru and the Dominican Republic. This 5×50 robusto seems well made with a well rounded head and a perfect  cap and it feels well constructed. The ring is unique yet nothing special, they are two black rings connected in the middle with silver lines and silver CAO MX2 writing on nice paper with a good printing quality. The aroma is medium strong and quite dark, manure with some moist wood.


I cut the cigar with a double bladed guillotine cutter and the cold draw is fine. At first I don’t taste a lot but then I clearly get a spicy taste on my lips with raisin and fresh wood. After lighting with my $2 single key flame that I bought in Singapore I taste coffee with a very mild sweetness. After half an inch I taste fresh wood with a little pepper. Soon after I taste some dark chocolate bitterness too, which I like. Halfway the cigar is just mildly bitter with a dirt flavor and pepper. The final third starts with dark chocolate and pepper. The flavors go back to the dirt and pepper again towards the end.


The draw is fantastic, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is quite dark, layered and firm. The smoke is reasonable in thickness and volume. The burn is fine. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 87

Categories: 87, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Danno 2012

In 1989 Miami Cigar & Co was founded by a few people including Daniel Miranda and his father Nestor Miranda.  They are distributers of several brands, including La Aurora, and also own some brands like Tatiana and the Nestor Miranda cigar brands. Unfortunately in 2005 Daniel got diagnosed with brain cancer and in 2008 he passed away. So in 2009 Miami Cigar & Co released a memorial cigar, in both rosado and oscuro, a limited edition not only to commemorate Daniel but also to celebrate their 20 years in business.


In 2010 another double edition of the Danno was released but in 2011 there was no release. In 2012 the Danno returned as a 7×56 Double Corona made at the My Father Factory in Esteli. The blend consists of Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Nicaraguan binder and a Mexican San Andres wrapper. In total 30.000 cigars were released with a MRSP of 10 dollar. As far as I know only one more Danno was released, in 2015, but in a maduro, habano and Connecticut version so that can count as three.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark, almost black with some thin, flattened veins, a nice shine, some sparkles from the minerals. The construction feels good and I just love pig tails. The rings are simple yet of high quality and they match. The foto ring is black with a quite dark, almost copper like, gold edge and a Danno 2012 instricption while th normal band is black & gray, with the same golden edge, a small font in red saying Nestor Miranda Collection and in bigger, white, letters Special Selection. The cigar has a mild, almost fresh, smell.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good, a little spicy and peppery. After lighting with a single jet I taste a nice, sweet, coffee.  After an inch I taste a beautiful mix of pepper, sugar and a nice cinnamon roll. Slowly the cigar becomes more spicy, even though the sweetness and the cinnamon still stick around but now with more spices and some green herbs. I also taste a mild acidity to keep everything balanced. The final third starts with wood, a hint of vanilla, some herbal freshness but it’s not minty, and some pepper. Near the end I taste more vanilla and some powdered sugar.


The draw is great. The burn needed correction a few times. The light gray ash is beautifully layered. The smoke is thick enough and enough in volume. The balance is great just like the subtle evolution. This cigar is medium to medium full bodied and equally flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, this cigar is a great tribute.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nestor Miranda, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Di Fazio Maduro Robusto

First of all, I don’t know how I got this cigar, where I got this cigar, what the msrp of this cigar is, how long I had it. All I know is that it’s made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas and that I know because I googled the cigar. And it turns out that it’s made by a TV executive from Venezuela with Italian roots, Carmelo di Fazio and that the brand saw the light in 2009. I don’t know if they are still in business, I haven’t seen their name later than an announcement that they became an advertiser on cigarobsession but their own website is offline, so I guess Carmelo is back to making TV again.


The article I read on the Cigar Aficionado website mentions that the blend of this cigar is Honduran and Nicaraguan filler with a Honduran binder and a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper. Further google searched learned that they had cigars made in Nicaragua too but no online shop has stock or sells the cigars anymore, and I guess that confirms my expectations that Di Fazio cigars is out of business.


The wrapper is almost black and so evenly black that I suspect this to be a cooked wrapper, a process where the wrapper leaf is dipped in a tea brewed with leftover tobacco and veins, making the wrapper turn darker. It’s a beautiful wrapper though with thin veins. The ring is pretty too, white with golden details and a yellow and brown shield and a black banner with golden letters saying Di Fazio. The cigar feels evenly filled, the cap is placed immaculate, the torcador knew what he or she was doing. The cigar has a mild aroma that reminds me of chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is fine, a little taste right but within margins. I taste mint, wood and pepper. After lighting I taste wood and coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a mix of spices like cumin and nutmeg with some caramel, wood, peanut shells and white pepper. Soon I taste peanuts, wood and a little lime and mint. Halfway I taste wood, some licorice, pepper and a flavor I can’t identify but like a lot, quite meaty. The meaty flavor with a smokey barbecue flavor and some pepper mark the start of the final third. Near the end I taste wood with some peanuts an hazelnuts.


The draw is great, no complaints. The silver gray ash is firm and the burn is straight. The smoke is thick and full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, I liked it.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Di Fazio, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

MUWAT KFC Fat Molly

Early 2014 I flew to Nicaragua to visit some factories and to get to know the country a little. I went to visit Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Oliva and we visited Drew Estate too. It was a memorable trip, we went to Condega with Gilberto Oliva, partied at the hotel with Jose Ortega (My Father Cigars) and had a great time in Esteli. During our visit to Drew Estate Jonathan asked me if I had tried the then quite new Kentucky Fire Cured and I said no, since they weren’t available outside the USA and I didn’t have time to visit a cigar shop during my transfer to Nicaragua.


Jonathan said to me “don’t give your opinion after one cigar, smoke a few before you say you like it or not, because it is something special, something different” and he handed me a hand full of the 5×56 cigars, that are actually made for Drew Estate at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I smoked a few while in Nicaragua and smoked another one at the sun deck of my hotel in Fort Lauderdale a week later and made up my mind, this is not my cigar. A year later JD gave me a Pappy van Winkle cigar at Intertabac, and said “light it in front of me, I want to see your reaction” and the moment I lit the cigar I yelled “you MF, this has that fire cured leaf in it”. Why are you still reviewing this cigar you might ask? Well, it was a gift, it’s a few years later now and maybe my preferences have changed, I might find it enjoyable now. I used to hate Connecticut Shade, now I like some, maybe my palate tolerates fire cured tobacco now too.


The wrapper is dark, thick, leathery with some tooth and a few veins that fit with the dark and mean theme. The construction feels good with a nice cap, that has a darker smear on the wrapper. The ring is simple yet effective, brown paper, simple and clear black lettering which, again, fit the theme. And then the aroma, ultra strong the moment you release it from its wrapper. Hickory, barbecue, meat, smoke, fire, tar, those kinds of aroma come from the cigar and that makes the looks of the cigar, the simplicity of the ring and the aroma all fit together. Big points for that.


I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste barbecue, smoked ribs with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After lighting I taste barbecue, like the cigar has been dipped in a barbecue spice rub. After half an inch I taste sweet boiled peanuts with some barbecue spices. Halfway I taste wood, pepper and the typical smoke flavor of fire cured tobacco. The pepper grows in the final third, the wood and barbecue flavors are still going strong too. Near the end I taste peanuts again with a hefty dose of pepper.


The draw is just great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and a smokescreen big enough to hide a house from satellites. The white ash doesn’t hold very well. The burn is okay but needed one touch up halfway. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might for after a barbecue, I guess my preferences have changed.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, MUWAT, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro Ambassador

The Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro Ambassador is a 4 1/2×38-60 figured and I can hardly find any information on the internet except a lot of German webshops that sell them, they must be very popular there but nowhere else. Or maybe they are a country exclusive? I don’t know. The whole line, consisting of a short robusto, robusto, double perfecto, corona, Churchill, a 7×58 Gigante and this figured is very reasonable priced from €6,50 till €8,20. Mine is bought a few years back at Cigarworld in Dusseldorf.


The double fermented wrapper on this cigar is a rare maduro, a Cuban seed Brazilian tobacco called Cubra and its a Colorado Maduro and gives the dark maduro wrapper leaf a reddish glow. The binder in Brazilian too and the filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil and Peru. The cigars are part of the La Aurora family and made at their factory on the Dominican Republic.


I love the funny shape, it’s exactly the reason why I bought this cigar and not any of the other vitolas. And I guess you have to be a skilled roller to make a cigar in this shape and make it look beautiful with a flawless cap and an evenly filled construction. The reddish glow on the dark wrapper, that has some smears and a little tooth, make the cigar look even better. Too bad the Leon Jimenes rings are so dull. Red with a pale golden lining, a lion and a crown logo over the Leon Jimenes name but all blurry, the artwork needs an upgrade. The secondary ring is in the same color scheme and says Doble Maduro. The cigar has a medium strong barnyard and wood aroma.


I cut the cigar due to the small ring gauge at the head of the cigar. The cold draw is great, I taste some pepper and a little mint. After lighting I taste coffee with wood chips. Soon after I taste leather, chocolate and a little metallic flavor. After an inch I taste pepper with a little metal. After a third I’m tasting an unexpected mild orange flavor, something I never tasted in a cigar before. The feeling is a bit sticky. The final third starts with chocolate.


The burn is a little crooked. The ash is quite dark and firm. The draw is perfect. The smoke is thick and plentiful. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?

Score: 87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, Leon Jimenes, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , ,

PDR 1878 Capa Oscura Lancero

Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers, started their company on the Dominican and the first time I heard of them was with the PDR 1878 line, the Habana and the Oscura. I liked both lines and met Abe years later when the company I worked for back then started to distribute his cigars. And for some reason, unknown to me as my then employer hates lanceros, we gotten a few boxes of lanceros in, of which I still have a few single cigars.


Now I don’t think the lancero is a regular offering, or maybe it’s discontinued since it’s not listed on the PDR website. I do see the robusto, toro, torpedo, Churchill and double magnum listed but no lancero. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sun Grown Oscuro with a Dominican Habano binder and two different Dominican Corojo tobaccos as a filler.


The wrapper is dark, as oscuro should be, shiny and oily and smooth to the touch. The simple rings, bright red with white letters and silver outlines, really pop and look good. Just like the cigar itself with the little pig tail and the closed foot. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong, a bit like dusty wood.


After cutting the cigar I get an awesome cold draw, herbal and spicy. After lighting I taste a strong coffee with some sweetness. Quickly the cigar turns to dark chocolate, creamy and bitter, with herbs. After a third the cigar is earthy, the bitterness from the cocoa is still there, just as some pepper. After a third I taste an earthy, peppery flavor but now with some peanuts instead of cocoa. Halfway I taste a salty bitter chocolate with some pepper, but salt is the dominant flavor. The finale is very peppery with a hint of floral.


The smoke is so thick that it could be vape smoke, white and voluminous. The draw is almost perfect. The dense ash is white. The burn is straight as an arrow. I would call this a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

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