Cigars by factory

Headley Grange Drumstick

When STG bought the independent brand CAO and incorporated it into the General Cigars portfolio one of the things that changed was the base of operations. CAO was always based in Nashville, Tennessee but after the take-over the brand had to move to the General Cigars offices in Virginia. A few of CAO executives, including Jon Huber and Gary Hyams, decided against the move and promised to take care of the Tennessee employees, thus they started a new company, Crowned Heads.


Their first release was named after a Kings of Leon song that they would make a reference to their second release as well, calling it Headley Grange, a famous music studio where a lot of great artists recorded. And they took one of those songs, when the levee breaks by Led Zeppelin as inspiration, especially the pounding drum in the intro. So in 2012 they released this cigar, made at the La Alianza factory of E.P. Carrillo with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder and the line up included this limited edition lancero aka drumstick.


The wrapper is quite rustic, it has a nice, deep brown without being very dark. It’s almost like a piece of cinnamon. The simple ring is stylish, black with golden outlines and clear white letter saying the brand name and smaller, golden, letters Republica Dominicana. The printing quality is good too. The construction feels great, the head of the cigar is amazing, a slightly raised tip yet not enough to speak of a torpedo shape head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of milk chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. The cold draw taste is quite spicy and peppery. The flavor I get after lighting is a strong and peppery coffee. After a few puffs I taste a sweet cinnamon instead of the peppery coffee. Then the flavors change to herbal flavors with a citrus acidity. And before the first third is over the flavors change again to dry cedar with lime. After a third I taste a milky chocolate with lemon. After this the cigar mellows out, cedar with herbs, spices and sweetness with subtle changes in strength. Ever few puffs I taste some pepper too. In the final third I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The ash is white. The smoke is ok, not thick, not thin, volume just enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Headley Grange, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cubao Robusto

You know that the cigar you grabbed is old when the cellophane is almost golden because of the years of soaking up oils from the cigar. Add to it that the company behind the cigar was split up and both owners went their own way more than 5 years ago and you know you have a aged, maybe even vintage, cigar in your hands, and that’s what’s the case with this EO Brands Cubao Robusto.


Back in the day the cigar was made by Don Pepin Garcia and was from Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, Ortega got the name in the split up and the cigar is now sold as Ortega Cubao with an almost identical ring, only change is the Espinosa & Ortega has changed to Ortega Cigar Co. The new cigars, I don’t know if the blend is still the same, is still made at My Father Cigars while Espinosa started his own factory, La Zona, and is one of the more reputable boutique brands.


As I said, the cigar comes in a yellow, almost golden, cellophane and when I release the cigar I see a reasonable dark, smooth and oily wrapper with a leathery feel to it. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard with a beautiful triple cap and a flat head. The aroma is strong, wood and barnyard, that what comes to mind. The ring is simple, it reminds me a little of a Montecristo ring because of the brown ring with white letters but bigger. The ring says “Espinosa y Ortega” on top, “CUBAO” on the bottom and in the middle a white tobacco flower.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is very good that tastes like raisin and black pepper. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice coffee flavor with the perfect amount of bitterness and a faint hint of cocoa. After a few puffs it’s coffee with chocolate butter, almost Nutella like. The second third starts with a mild chocolate butter flavor, with green leaves or fresh wood, and a little bit of cinnamon on the back of my throat. The cinnamon slowly grows stronger and is not just on the back of my throat anymore. The final third starts nutty with some chocolate sweetness and pepper.


The smoke is very thick and there is plenty. The burn is a bit off though. The draw is close to perfect. The ash is white and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, especially the first third is great.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Cubao, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Tino Platinum Z-Class 550R

Davidoff and Zino cigars were known as milder smoked and with the Zino Platinum Z Class Davidoff wanted to tap into the market of cigar aficionados that like a fuller smoke. They made a blend with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Peruvian Pelo de Oro binder and a Yamasa Rojiza wrapper from the Dominican Republic.


Now I have no idea how, where or when I got this cigar. I can’t imagine that I bought it myself so it must have been a gift. Why am I so sure of that? Because I never in my life have bought a Zino cigar for the exact same reason why Davidoff made this blend, I like my cigars a little fuller bodied and flavored than the old Zino and Davidoff blends although I must admit that in the last few years Davidoff made a leap forward with the new blend. And since today is the birthday of Zino it’s only fitting to publish this review today.


This cigar has a wrapper that is not up to standard that I hold Davidoff too, I mean, the coffee colored wrapper has an awesome color but is rough, the veins are thin but rough, the wrapper feels like sandpaper, the looks are just off. The construction is a bit spongy, and it looks like the cigar isn’t evenly filled either, way below Davidoff standards again.The ring is nice, pitch black with silver details and a big silver Z in the middle. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a farmfield and wood.


I used a cheap cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, yet not very flavorful, only a little citrus acidity. After lighting I taste a pleasant sour marzipan. Quickly I taste a mild harsh wood with a strong citrus flavor. The flavors don’t change much.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick and white. The ash is medium dark gray, it has beautiful layers with nice rings. The burn is decent. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The cigar lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Cigars Davidoff, Dominican cigars, Tino | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

San Lotano The Bull Robusto

I’ve always been a fan of A.J. Fernandez, from the day he emerged as master blender and manufacturer for a lot of the Maier & Dutch private labels, sold only through cigarsinternational and affiliated sites. I mean the Diesel Unholy Cocktail is one of my favorite cigars, I love most of the Man O Wars, Ave Maria’s etcetera and I’ve liked almost everything he made for himself too like the San Lotano lines, Last Call, New World and Enclave. But for some reason the San Lotano didn’t do much in The Netherlands. I guess that’s because we started with the weirdly shaped Oval line and that vitola didn’t went well with the Dutch public and tainted the San Lotano name for a lot of consumers.


San Lotano is an old Cuban brand that was owned by A.J. Fernandez grandfather but after the revolution th brand disappeared. Abdel brought it back with the San Lotano Oval, and later the round Maduro, Habano and Connecticut lines and a few years later this new The Bull, which is box pressed since that’s the best format for this specific blend according to Fernandez.  The cigar is made in Esteli with Nicaraguan filler and Binder and an Ecuadorean habano wrapper and comes in boxes of 10. I smoked the 5×54 robusto.


The cigar comes cedar wrapped and in cellophane. The cedar wrapping has the image of a bulls head printed on the wood. Once I remove that I see a dark and square pressed cigar, it looks like a mars bar, with one vein, which is also flattened. I see some mineral sparkles on the wrapper too and the cigar looks mighty tasty. And I immediately smell a quite strong aroma that is a mixture of a smoldering bonfire, cow dung and fresh pepper. The ring is of a thick paper, a black square with golden outlines, golden letters San Lotano and at the bottom a yellow and red banner with ‘by A.J. Fernandez’. Simple yet effective.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is perfect, a little citrusy with some bitterness. I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson and taste espresso with some oak and a little sugar. A few puffs later I taste sweet and toasted oak flakes and some citrus. After an inch I taste black coffee, very dark chocolate and citrus. Halfway the cigar becomes less bitter, the bitterness was nice though, and a little more peppery. No more coffee but still oak with the bitterness of dark chocolate, a little sweetness, some pepper and citrus.


The white ash has some black smears and is firm. The smoke is thick and plentiful, just how I like it. The draw is flawless. The burn is good but not completely straight. This cigar is medium to full bodied, full flavored yet there isn’t a lot of evolution. The smoke time is little over and hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to other AJ Fernandez cigars.

Score: 87

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Categories: 87, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Father Le Bijou 1922 Boxpressed Torpedo

A few years ago My Father released the My Father Le Bijou 1922 series, it was the follow up to the regular My Father line, the line Jaime & Janny Garcia created to honor their father Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and he in his place honored his father with this Le Bijou 1922 blend. At that time I was working for the Dutch distributer of My Father Cigars and we added this line to our portfolio in several different vitolas, including the Box Pressed Torpedo.


Now for some reason the line didn’t sell, it is a great cigar but I guess time wasn’t right to compete with the Cubans in their price range I think because quality and flavor wise I would pick this Nicaraguan puro with the beautiful Pelo de Oro wrapper over any Cuban cigar any day but the sales numbers changed when Cigar Aficionado picked the Box Pressed Torpedo to be the #1 cigar of the year 2015. Since we stopped carrying the cigar we quickly had to order a few hundred boxes and even with a €13 price tag I wrote a record number just in pre-orders and the week they got in we received another shipment of highly awaited cigars too so it was a madhouse at the office, the boss was in Nicaragua on a business trip and I spend all week helping our warehouse staff to get all shipments out to break the company record with a landslide.


Once I release this 6 1/8 x 52 box pressed cigar from its cellophane packaging I smell a strong barnyard aroma. The construction feels good and the pointy tip of the cigar stands out, it looks more pointy than most torpedos I have seen. The dark wrapper looks leathery because of the tooth, the thin veins and the mild shine, you can see that the sun did its work. The rings are pretty, I like the fact that the bottom ring has a gap on top where the pointy bottom of the upper rings fits in. The bottom ring has a golden background with curly black letters saying Le Bijou 1922 while the bitter top ring has a pink white circle with the golden My Father logo, golden decorations and a pink banner underneath with golden letters. I don’t think these rings are printed by Vrijdag, their gold is a bit more shiny and of a higher quality but the rings are still beautiful.


I cut the cigar with a flat cut since punching is no option with a torpedo. The cold draw is great with a very peppery flavor, the famous Pepin twang from his old days is back. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee and leather with a very tiny bit of chocolate. After a centimeter i taste a meaty charred wood, which is nicer than it sounds with some spice and pepper. Slowly the flavors change to wood with a bit of metal and pepper. After a third the pepper gets stronger with a little wood as a base flavor. Halfway I had to cut the cigar a little more, i had cut it really small and that caused some tar build up. After cutting a little more I taste nuts, lime, wood and pepper, a very Nicaraguan flavor profile. The pepper gets stronger towards the two thirds and become the dominant flavor by far but I also taste a little nuts.


The draw is great. The smoke is reasonable thick and medium plus in amount. The burn is straight. The ash is white, dense and firm. This well balanced full bodied cigar is full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have over half a box left. It’s a great cigar but not my number 1

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reel Grande Torpedo

Now this is a cigar that lives up to its name, it’s huge. And i’m not a fan of huge cigars. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind long cigars but I do mind thick cigars as 99 out of a 100 times it’s a waste of good tobacco and I never understood the appeal of the ‘big, bigger, biggest’ rat race that was going on in the land of cigars the last few years.


I don’t know much about this cigar, except that it was given to me a few years ago by a friend and that it’s made in Nicaragua by Plasencia. I don’t know if they released it themselves, if it was a private label and if so, for who it was made. I don’t know the filler, the binder nor the wrapper, all I know is that it was a budget cigar and that I had it in my humidor for a minimum of 8 years.


The Real Grande Torpedo is a 7×60 pyramid with a rough, thin, sun grown wrapper that feels dry. The shape is a little off, the cigar won’t stand up straight on a flat surface. The ring is decent though, burgundy with black, yellow and gold. It says it’s a limited edition.  The cigar has a mild smell that reminds me of a vanilla lemon cake.


Well, due to the vitola my only option is to cut. The cold draw is good, tasteless though. After lighting I taste a mild coffee, very mild. The flavor is unrefined and slightly harsh. After half an inch the cigar is harsh with a very musty cedar. Halfway I taste bitter wood with some floral sweetness.


The draw is fine. The dense ash it light gray. The smoke is thin and low in volume. The burn is decent. This medium bodied, medium flavored cigar has hardly any evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. And why do cigar manufacturers release cigars like this with horrible tobacco? Where is your pride? What is your goal? Cigars like this will not sell and kill your reputation!

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Red balloons with ribbon – Number 80

 

Categories: 80, Nicaraguan cigars, Reel Grande, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Leon Jimenes Edicion Alemania

Today I’m reviewing a Dominican cigar that was made just for the German market, the Leon Jimenes Edition Alemania. And I picked this day because its the birthday of the German reunion, when East and West Germany became Germany again, 28 years ago. This cigar was a gift from a friend who came by to smoke a few cigars in my lounge a few months ago and right then and there I knew I would smoke this cigar on this date.


The cigar was released at the end of last summer and it was a thank you from La Aurora for the German market as the Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro sold very well there. The robusto sized cigar is made from tobaccos all harvested in 2006. The wrapper comes from Ecuador, the binder is Brazilian and the filler is a combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos. The total production of the Edicion Alemania was 1000 boxes of 10 cigars, with a fixed sales price of € 7.60


The dark wrapper has a mean looking vein on the front but the tooth, the color and the oil make up for it. I’m not a fan of the ring, brushed gold with a burgundy square with the logo and a brushed gold colored ring with that same red color print, yet the print quality is low. The cigar feels rock hard and the head is a bit uneven. The aroma is nice, medium strong and it reminds me of dark chocolate with pepper.


I used a butterfly cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, a bit meaty. After lighting I taste an oily, meaty coffee. After half an inch I taste a meaty, slight harsh, wood. The flavors slowly change to a more herbal flavor with a little pepper. Near the end I even taste some nuts.


The draw is fine, the ash is quite dark and a little frayed. The smoke has a little grayish tone and is medium in thickness and volume at most. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope, too mild for me and I didn’t like the flavors.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Dominican cigars, Leon Jimenes, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A. Turrent Traditional Toro

I met Alejandro Turrent a few times at the Intertabac trade show and the Mexican parties they threw were legendary, I still get hungover just thinking about them years later but their cigars are a hit and miss to me. I do like the triple maduro they made, but that one was made in Honduras. The budget line World Selection Series had a few decent but also a few not so decent cigars, but then again, that was a budget line and their revolution was a cigar I could not stomach at all, just like the Macarena bundles they produce.


Now I don’t recall how I got this Traditional toro, a 6×50 Mexican puro packed with Criollo tobacco from the San Andres valley. I probably got it as a sampler as I used to work for the company that distributed Turrent in The Netherlands back then, but I no longer work there and Turrent no longer has representation there.


The medium brown wrapper had a shade that it just a little darker than milk chocolate and has a leathery feel. There are a lot of thin veins which make the cigar look rustic. The construction feels good though, no soft spots and a nice flat head, the triple cap is applied decently. The aroma is strong and it’s like walking into a stable. The ring is big and bright, red with a really popping and shiny gold, a beautiful color blue and a big Turrent logo in the middle.


I cut the cigar to find a little loose draw. There isn’t a lot of flavor in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a slightly bitter wood and coffee flavor. After a few puffs it changes to a mild spicy cedar. After a third I taste a mild musty cedar. I’m not liking it. The musty flavor disappears, it’s now wood with a mild nuts and quite some pepper.


The ash is dark and coarse. The draw is a bit loose. The burn is straight. The smoke is beautiful in color, clear white, medium in thickness and volume. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half. 

Would I buy this cigar again? I like the people at Turrent, yet I won’t be buying this cigar again.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Turrent | Tags: , , ,

Manowar Virtue Torpedo

I had this Manowar Virtue in my humidor for some time now but always left it alone because of the Ecuadorean Connecticut Shade wrapper, a type of wrapper I used to hate. Yes, you read it right, used to hate because since a few months I find myself enjoying the Connecticut shade wrapper more than I ever did, much to my own surprise so tonight I decided to finally grab this Manowar Virtue.


I do have some experience with the Manowar brand, made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua in a state of the art, huge & modern factory of which I had the pleasure to visit once. I smoked the regular Manowar, the Ruination and some of the side projects but as said before, never this Virtue which is supposed to be the smoothest of them all due to the wrapper.


I still don’t like the look of Connecticut Shade, it’s pale and looks like a cigar turned sick.  The construction of this 6 1/2×52 torpedo looks and feels good though although the cap isn’t placed completely straight. The ring is beautiful, the mask that’s on all Manowar cigars but this time in silver and white with dark blue letters Virtue. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a barnyard and a hay stack.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter and get a fabulous cold draw. I taste some mint with dry tobacco and pepper on my lips. After lighting the cigar with my soft flame I taste the classic mustiness from Connecticut Shade but with some sweetness and a bite. The sweetness is pure cane sugar and I also taste autumn leaves but with some harshness in the back of my throat. The harshness disappears soon and I taste nutmeg instead. After a third I taste some dry hay with white pepper and still a little sweetness, but no longer that strong cane sugar anymore but more like a mild stevia sweetness. Halfway I taste mild spicy and sweet wood and peanut shells, which is pretty nice. The sweetness turns sugary again and grows in strength


The draw is perfect, smooth and open. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The salt and pepper colored ash looks flaky but is still quite firm. The burn is quite straight. LThe cigar is smooth indeed, mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it’s not a bad cigar though and it is a confirmation that Connecticut Shade is growing on me but not enough to justify buying more.

Score: 89

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

Reserva Miraflor Robusto

The last of the reviews for my friend Andrew for this year, unfortunately I must say, because I enjoyed each and every cigar he send me to be reviewed, even the Connecticut Shade ones. Not that I would buy all blends, since Connecticut Shade isn’t my wrapper of choice, but I enjoyed them. And the other blends, Goviado, Don Fernando and Reserva Miraflor are cigars I would buy boxes from if I had the cash and storage, and if I wasn’t moving to another part of the world soon, where importing tobacco is super expensive.


I reviewed the Reserva Miraflor before, but not this vitola from the new batch, the resurrected Reserva Miraflor as I call them. I told the story about the brand, how I got to know them, how I got to know Andrew, how the cigars vanished from the earth, how they suddenly returned again, so I won’t go into that again. If you missed the story, read the old Reserva Miraflor reviews and you’ll find out.


The wrapper is dark, it feels a bit dry and looks like thin leather with a few veins. The ring is glossy black with gold. The cigar feels heavy, dense and well packed. I can’t detect any soft spots or plugs. The shape and cap are nice. The cigar has a full barnyard and manure aroma.


I took the cigar to Thailand so no gabby cutter, just a simple free cutter that I dared to take on a ‘carry on only’ flight. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some gingerbread in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a syrup sweetness, gingerbread and an earthy flavor. The well balanced flavors remain until after an inch a nice acidity joins the earthy, sweet gingerbread flavor. Then the flavors slowly change to a sticky mild milky chocolate with still some some spices, more like the Dutch speculaas cookies though. In the finale I taste toast, cinnamon and gingerbread again with dark chocolate bitterness and a hint of vanilla.


The draw is great, the smoke is light blue, medium thick and full. The dense ash is light colored and quite firm. The burn is razor sharp, especially considering that I’m smoking outside with a breeze that could potentially effect the burn. The cigar is medium full in both body and strength. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? With the discount on untoldcigar.com that I mentioned in earlier reviews it’s a no brainer, I have to have more.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars, Reserva Miraflor | Tags: , , , , , ,

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