La Corona

La Corona, Habana, Cuba

Punch Platino Exclusivo India 2009

If you are a regular visitor of my blow, or if you know me personally and talked to me about cigars, you may have noticed that Cuban cigars aren’t my favorites. Now we are not talking vintage stuff, vintage Cubans are a world of difference with post 2001 production as its completely different tobacco and Cubatobacco has screwed up since, screwed up big time, under pressure of the Cuban government that needs money flowing in. For example, they lack quality control causing quality issues, there is a fertilizer problem so the soil isn’t replenished enough and there is a big monoculture problem where the soil doesn’t get any rest. Were Cubans the best before 2000, no doubt there, do they have the potential to be the best again? Yeah, but they need to change a few things and that will cause a temporary decline in turnover, but Cuba will benefit from it in the end.


Now enough with the criticism, I have to take my hat off for the Habanos marketing program. First of all, they don’t sell just a cigar, they sell the complete country, the vibe, the music, the rum instead of brand x or brand y, and they do an amazing job. Secondly they came up with the yearly limited edition, which was a huge success and is now widely copied by cigar manufacturers in Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and anywhere else they make cigars. Third best marketing idea was that whole Behike scam, I mean, after 2000 years of cultivating tobacco a new, very special leaf is discovered? And its used to make a new Cohiba. Everybody buys it, nobody thinks “hey but that leaf was used in the regular Cohiba before, they have taken it out now so my regular Cohiba is less”, I mean, brilliant marketing right? But their best idea was the Exclusivo series, a concept that has been tried by a few copycats, I know General Cigars tried it and Tatuaje, but not to much of a success. And the idea is so brilliantly simple, distributers can choose a brand, pick a vitola that is not made for that brand, have an x amount of boxes made, add a second ring saying “exclusivo” and the name of the country and boom: it’s a collectible cigar that people hunt for. It’s not even a new blend, its just a different vitola. Chapeau Habanos marketing department, you guys are genius, and if marketing was the deciding factor for my reviews this would be a 100 point cigar.


Now the marketing is so genius that I fell for it too and I hunted this Punch Platino Exclusivo India down. I wanted this 7.6×49 Double Corona and found an online vendor that could get me a box. I wasn’t sure if the vendor could be trusted, I had never done business with him in the past so to reduce the risk I turned it into a box split. The vendor was thrustworthy but Dutch customs was paying attention and refused the parcel, we were just lucky that they returned to sender and didn’t confiscate and destroy it. The vendor shipped it again and this time it got through. The ring of the cigar is somewhat different, the top three quarters of the cigars are wrapped in a silver colored foil with a five pointed star embossed in it, the classic Punch ring, golden outline with white surrounding a red circle with white letters saying Punch Habana Cuba. The classic burgundy ring with silver lining and white dots saying Exclusivo India is attached to the foil too, so you can only see a small part of the cigar. Somehow it all fits together though. Once unwrapped I see that the wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban but its beautiful, it feels silky and has a mild oily surface but on the backside it has a more rustic look, and close to the head of the cigar you can feel and see bumps, must be a vein in the binder. The aroma is pretty mild, milder than I expected, and its barnyard, no ammonia though but then again, the cigar is about 8 years old.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is good, the flavor is medium strong and I taste raisin and some pepper. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and I taste a nice mix of chocolate and coffee. After a centimeter I also taste some citrus. The coffee disappears and I taste a mild chocolate with a little bit of leather. After a third I taste some wood with some spices but all very mellow, I can even taste some pepper on the back of my tongue. Halfway i taste a nutty flavor with a little pepper. The nuttiness gets more refined and it tastes like mildly salted peanuts now. I taste some chocolate too and the pepper slowly gets stronger. Near the two thirds mark the peanuts get stronger.


The draw is great, I’m always concerned about the draw when I smoke a Cuban cigar but this one is great. The ash is gray with black stripes between the layers and it’s reasonable firm. The smoke is medium thick at most and medium in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The cigar has a very good finish. The smoke time is two hours and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not falling for the whole marketing trick again, plus this specific cigar can only be bought from collectors for extremely high prices. But if this was a regular production cigar it would be a Cuban i would smoke more often.

Score: 90

90

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Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Flor de Cano Casanova RE Italy

I worked in several industries from pharmaceutical to the entertainment industry and the cigar industry. While in most industries its just work and once you’re gone you’re out of sight and out of mind, the cigar industry is different. You form friendships and connections that last even when you leave the industry, weather its on free will or not. And this cigar is proof of that. How you might ask? Well, I got this cigar from Yuri Dijkstra, owner of the La Casa del Habano Almere, probably the most beautiful shop in The Netherlands and trust me, I’ve seen them all. I’m not a big fan of Cuban cigars, so me saying this about a La Casa del Habano means a lot. But him giving me a cigar isn’t proof of the bonding you do in the cigar industry. Oh, and to add, the day he gave me the cigar this Regional Edition of Italy was only released a few days before.


I saw Yuri at the funeral of Berry van Nugteren, owner of Van Lookeren Cigars in Amsterdam (if you’re ever in Amsterdam, visit them, great people, fantastic lounge). Berry was not just a shop owner but always looking for ways to elevate the whole game in The Netherlands, helping others, having a vision for the future and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He kept fighting, not just for his health, but also to grow the market for everybody. I met Berry years before, as an account, but I visited him at home to smoke a cigar when he was ill and unable to go to the shop, he lend me his Porsche Cayenne when I had to drive Andre Farkas, Abe & Judy Flores and myself with our luggage to Intertabac and hardly fit into my Volvo V40, he visited me at my private lounge in my home to smoke a few cigars and even though I lost my job in the industry we stayed in touch and I visited his funeral where I ran into Yuri. Yuri is very partial to Cubans while I’m all about Nicaragua, yet we formed a friendship too that exists even after he sold his shop and started a La Casa del Habano where I had nothing to sell to, so it’s not about business and that makes the cigar industry so great.


Even though this cigar was released mid april 2017, it is the 2016 Edicion Regional for Italy, a petit robusto, 4 1/3×50 sized for the La Flor de Cano brand and is dubbed Casanova after the legendary ladies man. The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a spark of minerals, a mild shine and no big veins. I can see a big vein on the binder though. When I look at the foot of the cigar it looks very well packed and it feels the same way which makes me worry about the draw, something I do anyway with Cuban cigars. The ring is a new design, much better than the old one. A white ring with golden details and a red circle with the old logo in gold. It looks clean, sharp and is very clear. I am digging this new ring a lot. The secondary ring is the regular exclusivo ring we have seen for the last 12 years. Much to my surprise I don’t smell ammonia in this young cigar but pure manure.


I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight so I decided to cut instead which only improved the draw by a little bit. I taste a sharp and spicy raisin flavor. One I lit the cigar I taste a mildly harsh leather with a mild chocolate sweetness. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and a faint chocolate. Halfway I taste nuts, salt and pepper. The cigar is gaining strength with an almost Nicaraguan, original Don Pepin twang pepper.


The draw is good, better than the cold draw and the tightly packed construction suggested. The smoke is medium in body and volume. The ash is quite dark and firm and there are white spots on the dark ash. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored, strong for a Cuban.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a Cuban that I would love to smoke more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Flor de Cano (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Hoyo de Monterrey piramides

A friend gave me some Cuban piramids, including this 6.1×52 Hoyo de Monterrey piramid, a vitola that is not in regular production. It was released in 2003 for a ‘seleccion piramides’, a box with 5 piramids, the mentioned Hoyo de Monterrey but also Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Partagas.
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The wrapper is dark for a Cuban cigar and oily with a few veins. The cigar has a strong barnyard smell. The construction is a bit inconsistant. The predraw is great and I taste tobacco with a spicy aftertaste.
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I taste a peppery spice on the tongue but also mild fresh and some wood, but the wood tastes different than anything I ever tasted before in a cigar. After half an inch I also get some citrus and sweetness.
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A few puffs later the cigar turns peppery again with a sour flavor on the background and that strange wood flavor. After an inch I also get some chocolate. Halfway I mainly taste citrus with a very spicy aftertaste. This flavor is what sticks with me till it is time to rest the nub in the ashtray.
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Even though this is a six inch cigar, it only lasts me for sixty-five minutes. I got a decent amount of medium thick smoke. The draw is good, just like the burn. The ash is silvergray, coarse, frayed and firm. I got a huge flame when I purged. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? No, Hoyo just ain’t my marca.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 5 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Punch Superfinos Regional Edition Italy

Browsing through my humidor I found this tiny 4.3×42 minutos from Punch that was the 2005 regional edition for Italy. Now I don’t know if this cigar is from the original 2005 release or from the re-release in 2006. All I know is that the Punch Superfinos is a cigar that had been discontinued but made a comeback as this limited released Italian regional edition.
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The cigar is small and thin and has a reasonably dark, mild oily wrapper with lots of veins. The construction feels good and I smell a strong barnyard smell. The predraw is fine and tastes mild sweet.
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I taste coffee, mild sweet but that sweetness disappears almost immediately. I still taste coffee but now with leather and earth. The sweetness makes a comeback though and after half an inch I taste wood with nuts, with a tiny bit of leather and sweetness.
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Halfway I still taste the nut and wood mix, both mild sweet and the wood flavor is the main flavor. Near the end the sweetness disappears.
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Even though this is a small cigar, it lasted me forty-five minutes. I got a decent amount of reasonably thick gray smoke. The ash is dark. The draw is great but I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is full flavored yet medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them, I should give them another chance.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Punch Ninfas

On the boards that I visit, the Punch Ninfas, a 7×33 slim panatela, is one of the most praised and sought after discontinued Cuban cigars. I never thought I would get my hands on one, as they have been discontinued since 2002, years before I started my journey into the world of hand rolled cigars. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember how I got this specific cigar, it was probably one of the many gifts and bombs I got since joining Club Stogie (R.I.P.) and Cigar Asylum. So thank you, whoever gave me this cigar.
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The wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban, dull and full of thin veins. The cigar has a mild barnyard smell. The construction feels good but the predraw is a bit hard.
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I taste leather with some pepper and after three quarters of an inch the flavors get less strong, but I still taste leather with pepper in the aftertaste. The pepper fades away and now I taste leather and a bit of an earthy flavor.
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After a third I also get some nuts with the leather and halfway the flavors are smooth leather only, quite dry though. After two thirds the nuts make a comeback and the cigar gets a mild spicy, peppery aftertaste.
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This long thin stick lasts me about eighty minutes. The smoke is thin, and there isn’t much of it at all. The draw is good, but close to too hard. The ash is dark, coarse and not firm. The cigars is medium flavored and mild to medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? That’s close to impossible

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , | Leave a comment

San Cristobal de la Habana Muralla

The San Cristobal de la Habana Muralla was released in 2004 as a special release to commemorate the fifth birthday of the marca, but in 2006 the vitola got into regular production as a La Casa del Habana exclusive cigar. A friend gave me this wonderful 7.1×54 rodolfo. The second band makes it clear that this is a La Casa del Habana exclusive.
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The cigar has a nice shape with a mild oily, chocolate brown wrapper that has some darker smears and some big veins. The construction feels good, but the cigar has no smell. The predraw is fine.
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I taste coffee with a mild pepper and after half an inch some leather. The flavors are smooth and get some extra depth as the nut flavor shows up. After an inch I even taste some chocolate. After a third I taste toast and leather with a hint of sweet chocolate.
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Halfway I taste leather and nuts with a sweet tone. The flavors stay smooth and balanced, the feeling in my mouth is mild dry. The leather is the main flavor with the sweetness and the nut flavor is the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste cedar with leather and some pepper in the aftertaste.
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This cigar lasted me for an hour and three quarters. The draw was great. I got a decent amount of fairly thick smoke. The ash is light gray, frayed and firm. I had to correct the burn in the beginning. This cigar is full flavored yet medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it, but it is a little bit on the mild side for me.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, San Cristobal de la Habana (Habanos) | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto *revisited*

3 years ago I reviewed this 4×50 Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto but forgot to take pictures. This is my first Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto since, I bought it to update my old review with pictures and decided to review the new cigar too.
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The wrapper is silky, somewhat dark and it has quite some veins. The cigar smells of leather and barnyard. The construction feels good and the predraw is fine. I can hardly taste anything in the predraw. The cigar has a € 8.40 price tag in The Netherlands
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I taste peppery leather and coffee, quite full and strong and after half an inch the pepper disappears and the leather becomes mild sweet. Soon after the cigar flavors change to an earthy flavor with some leather and quite some herbs on the background with some pepper.
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Halfway the leather disappears, I taste an earthy flavor with herbs. After two thirds the sweetness returns with the herbs and some leather. The earthy flavor has gone. Near the end I even taste a licorice like flavor.

 

It took me an hour to finish this short stogie. I got a lot of smoke which was reasonably thick. The silver-gray ash is firm. The draw is great but I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I might, I am not as impressed as I was 3 years ago

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Punch Royal Selection 11

This cigar was gifted to me by a Dutch friend on a herf at my place, so I don’t know the exact box code, all I know is that the cigar is a few years old and that Habanos is discontinuing them, so if you like these my advice is to stock up.
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The silky wrapper is nice and smooth but pale brown. I notice a few water spots and veins on the wrapper. The cigar has the classic Cuban barnyard smell. The construction feels good although the predraw is on the hard side. I taste dry tobacco.
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I taste that recognizable Cuban leather flavor with some sweetness. The sugar like sweetness slowly gains some strength. Halfway I also taste an Earth flavor and the sweetness gets a little weaker. This cigar is typical Cuban.
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The sweetness disappears all together and the classic Cuban mixture of earth and leather flavors grows in strength. I also taste some toast, which slowly becomes stronger. Near the end I also taste something fresh, a herbal freshness and some mild spice.
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This 5½x46 cigar lasted me for an hour and twenty minutes and I got plenty of smoke, even though it was thin. The draw is good and I can’t complain about the burn either. The ash is medium dark gray and not very firm. I would say that this cigar is medium to full flavored and medium bodied. When I purged it, I only got a small flame.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Depends, if I see a good deal, I might get a box. If I don’t see a good deal, well, then I won’t get a box.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Por Larranaga Largos

I can’t remember where I got this Por Larranaga largos, but it was just looking at my from my humidor, begging to be smoked. It is 159 mm long with a ring of 33.
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This sweet honey smelling cigar has a nice light colored spotty wrapper. I can’t feel anything wrong with the construction and the predraw confirms my inspection, it is just fine. I can taste a bit of wood and some pepper.
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I get a full warm leather flavor which is mild spicy. The leather slowly loses some of its power and the spiciness grows a bit in strength.
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Right before I am halfway through the cigar the pepper disappears and I can taste leather and wood. The pepper returns as a supporting flavor and as the aftertaste. After 2/3rd the leather disappears and the wood becomes the dominant flavor with support of the pepper.
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The draw is fine and I get a reasonable amount of smoke that smells a bit peppery. The burn is straight as an arrow and the light gray ash is quite firm.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I think it will be hard to find these, as they are discontinued since 2001.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, Por Larranaga (Habanos) | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Hoyo de Monterrey double corona

I found this 7 x 48 Double corona in my humidor and thought “well, I have some time to kill, why not smoke a large stick today” so I clipped it with my Palio and lit it. The wrapper of this Cuban cigar was pretty light colored and had lots of veins. The construction felt a bit under filled but the predraw was fine and left me with a very peculiar flavor of chewing gum, something I have never experienced before. The cigar didn’t have a lot of aroma. As it was a single I don’t know the age of this stick.
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I could taste leather, dry leather, typical Cuban leather though, just dry and a mild creamy feeling in my mouth with a hit of chocolate. After an inch I get some pepper too, but leather seems to be the main and strongest flavor. At 1/2nd the cigar gains some power and at 2/3rd some nut flavor joins the party. I could also taste something fresh, but can’t describe what it was.
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The smoke is thin but there is enough of it. The ash is frayed and light gray. I would rate this cigar medium bodied medium flavored.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Possibly yeah.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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