Tabacalera del Oriente

Tabacalera del Oriente, Tarapoto, Peru

Flor de Selva Year of the Rat Toro

Flor de Selva Year of the Rat Toro. A few years back, Davidoff started with an annual limited edition based on the Chinese zodiac calendar. And several companies followed, including Maya Selva for her Flor de Selva brand. We know of at least 7 companies that release cigars based on the Chinese zodiac calendar now. But being born in the year of the rat, married to someone with Chinese heritage and living in South East Asia, this year is special. That’s why I will be reviewing several ‘Year of the Rat’ cigars this year.


The Flor de Selva Year of the Rat is a 6×52 Toro. It retails for 19 euro in Germany, Europe’s largest cigar market. The cigar is made from tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua. The wrapper comes from Honduras. The binder is Nicaraguan. And the filler contains tobacco from both countries.

The cigar has two rings. The simple faded yellow and greenish Flor de Selva ring. But the foot ring sets the cigar apart from the rest of the Flor de Selva lines. It’s red, the Chinese color of prosperity. And it combines the image of the rat with Mayan hieroglyphics, merging Honduran and Chinese cultures together in this cigar. The wrapper is Colorado colored, with a sharp thin vein on the side. It isn’t the best looking cigar out there, but it’s also not the worst looking cigar. The construction feels great. The nose is nice. A warm aroma of hay and wood, medium strong.


The cold draw is nice, with a nice tobacco flavor. After lighting it’s a mellow and sweet coffee with soil flavor. There is some toast and a nice mix of gingerbread spices as well. The flavors are mellow, smooth and well balanced. There’s a slow evolution to cedar with the spices, toast, and sweetness. The aftertaste has a hint of white pepper. The sweetness is pure honey. The mouthfeel is creamy. Slowly the pepper gains more strength but the honey toast with cedar remains the base flavor for the cigar. In the second third, leather shows up and it’s a beautiful combination with the growing white pepper, toast, spices, and honey. In the final third, the cigar gets stronger, with more pepper, leather, and wood. The toast is dissolving, just like the honey. And the balance starts to disappear as well. And then the sweetness returns. The cigar now has a flavor profile of pepper, sweetness, and cedar with leather.


The draw is phenomenal. The light gray ash is a bit flaky. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is good in volume but could be a bit thicker for a higher score. This is a medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The balance was spot on in the first two thirds, with a silky smooth flavor profile. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive but I wouldn’t mind a few more
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Categories: 92, Flor de Selva, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , ,

Skel Ton Robusto

A few months ago, we saw a picture of a cigar on Facebook. And that picture intrigued us. The ring of the cigar was the most unique we had seen in a while, and one of the best we had ever seen. It turned out that it was a cigar by a German aficionado, Tonio Neugebauer. He released the cigars in 2016. Ministry of Cigars published about the cigars last month. Neugebauer and Han Hilderink, owner of the Whisky & Cigar Lounge in Gronau, decided to send us a sampler. As cigar nerds, we are excited to smoke new cigars so here we go.


The cigars are made in Nicaragua, at one of the factories of Plasencia. The cigars are made with an H-Blend wrapper from Ecuador. Two binders are used, one from Indonesia and one from Nicaragua. And the filler comes from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. There are only three sizes available. Those are a 6×44 Corona, a 5×54 Robusto, and a 6×52 Toro. For this review, we are smoking the 5×54 Robusto. The retail price is very reasonable at €6,90.


This cigar scores points on the looks. The ring is amazing, high-quality gold printing, a very detailed skeleton. And a cloth foot ring with the test ‘live your dreams’. 100 points for the ring alone. The wrapper looks great too, Colorado to Colorado Maduro in color. Evenly colored with thin, sharp veins. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is deep manure, earthy smell. It’s medium-strong.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the cold draw is quite dry, dry cedar, hay, and raisin. The first puffs give me that dry flavor again, earthy, leathery with coffee. There’s also a pleasant, spiced sweetness and freshness which comes close to anise. To all changes to gingerbread spices with a mild sweetness and some citrus. Combined with cedarwood. The sweetness gets stronger, it’s like powdered sugar. The spices and the wood are still noticeable too. The mouthfeel is dry. After a third, it’s sweet coffee again. Halfway the flavors are a mix of leather, grass, spices and a little pepper. All with a pleasant dose of sweetness and a little citrus acidity. In the final third, the wood returns and it’s strong. With pepper and leather. But still smooth and balanced. Coffee returns too, all with sweetness and even a little custard creaminess. The gingerbread spices, pepper, sweetness, and wood are the dominant flavors in the last part of the cigar.


The draw is great. And the ash is white and firm. The burn is razor-sharp. The smoke is thick and white. This cigar is medium-bodied, medium to full-flavored with a pleasant smoothness. The flavors are balanced all the way through the cigar. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Skel Ton, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Don Duarte Reserva Pyramid

About a decade ago I met up with a now retired cigar distributer in Amsterdam who was introducing a new cigar brand, Don Duarte, and the owner of the brand, señor Duarte, was there as well at the beautiful shop of Hajenius. I smoked a few cigars and I did like them. The brand never took off, I haven’t seen them in shops for a while now and when I look online I can only find them on German webshops.

 


A few years back I was helping an account to re-arrange his humidor and found this Don Duarte Reserve Pyramid. The account said “I had it for so long, it’s the last one, take it” so I did. And now it’s time to review this Plasencia made Nicaraguan puro with the H-2000 oscuro wrapper.

 


The thick wrapper is dark, it looks and feels like leather. The cigar has the right amount of sponginess, the shape of the cigar is great too. The ring is brown with silver and golden details, a classic crest and a knights helmet. The cigar has a vegetable and wooden aroma.

 


After cutting the cigar I taste some raw tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee and leather with some spice and pepper. After a few puffs I taste a mix of spices with sweetness and a little pepper, well balanced. After a third I taste wood and spices, it reminds me of a forest in the autumn. Halfway the cigar is more leathery, woody and spicy. The flavor remains like this till the end.

 


The draw is perfect. The smoke is perfectly white, thick and full. The ash is light gray and coarse. The burn is good. This is a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them I get some.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Cuba Libre Epicure

This is the last of the Cuba Libre cigars I have in my possession and I must have had this for at least 6 years. I bought a box from an online source in the United States years ago to try out some budget cigars and included in those ‘let’s see if this is a good steal’ shipment was a box of this Honduran made Cuba Libre. The cigars are produced at the Plasencia factory in Danli.


There is not a lot of information available online, except for the wrapper, which is corojo and that the filler is Honduran with a Nicaraguan binder. There are a few vitolas, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Toro en Torpedo and I’m smoking the 6×50 box pressed toro. I have no idea if the other vitolas are box pressed too. And the cigars are still on the market and still a bargain with $65 for a box of 20 cigars.


The corojo wrapper of this box pressed cigar is great, a nice even milk chocolate color with one flattened thin vein. The wrapper feels silky and the cigar has a strong aroma which is a mixture of light minty and chocolate aromas and darker smells like grass and charred wood. The construction feels good yet the wrapper is a little pinched at the cap. The ring is nice a thick golden edge on a blue backdrop and white tobacco leaves. In the center there’s a burgundy circle with golden dots and a golden, dotted, outline. The centre is white with blue letters Cuba Libre. And I hope that Cuba will be liberated soon, but that has got nothing to do with this cigar though.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and I taste raisin and leather. After lighting the cigar with a single jet flame I taste leather with some cinnamon and honey. After a third the cigar gets a little spicy, still with a leather flavor as a base. Halfway I taste a fresh minty, almost toothpaste like flavor with leather. Near the end some pepper shows up too and grows to a nice strength.


The smoke is a little thin, and the color is quite dark for cigar smoke. The ash is very fragile. The burn is decent but not fantastic. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a slow but certain evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m looking for a budget cigar I’ll consider this, it’s a $3 stick. The flavors are good, with a better draw, burn and smoke the score would be a few points higher.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Cuba Libre, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo

I bought these cigars years ago, at least 9 years, at Cigars International when I was trying out all kinds of budget cigars and this Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo came in dirt cheap bundles, the price per stick was about $2 and with a very favorable euro dollar conversion rate at that time they were a steal. I remember that I liked them back in the day so when I found one lingering in an assorted box in my humidor I decided to light it for a review.


I know that the cigars are made by Plasencia in their Honduran factory, but I don’t know a lot about the blend. I guess they are discontinued as I can’t find them anywhere anymore, I did find a cigar with a similar ring but with an added ‘vintage’ to the ring and these were all sold out too. I did find some old reviews, usually I don’t read them to prevent being influenced but I started reading to find out the blend and I found it. A maduro wrapper from Honduras, a Cameroon binder which isn’t a type of leaf used as a binder a lot because it’s expensive tobacco, so to find it in a budget cigars is quite a surprise. The filler is made from tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.


This cigar is intimidating, especially with the cellophane removed. It is big, with a length of 6 1/2 inch, box pressed but what makes it intimidating is the almost pitch black wrapper which is smooth yet oily and looks amazing. The construction feels good and the pointy head is reasonably straight. The ring is simple, shiny white with a golden N and a banner saying Nestor. It fits the budget price of the cigar. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of charred wood after a fire mixed with hay that has been in a stable with sheep or cow overnight and is soaked in animal urine. Now when I write it down like that it sounds absolutely nasty, but it’s not that bad.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is fantastic. The flavor is just a little sweetness. After lighting I taste a strong espresso like coffee. After an inch I taste a metallic fresh wood flavor, harsh on the tip of my tongue. Halfway I still taste a harsh, strong wood with some lime and now with some pepper on the inside of my lips. The final third starts with dry nuts, pepper and cumin, less harsh than before. At the end it’s a harsh pepper again.


The draw is perfect. The burn is a bit off though and needs a few touch ups. The smoke is grayish and medium thick. The ash is a bit frayed. The medium full cigar is medium flavored with some evolution but no complexity. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. I remembered these as chocolate bombs but I didn’t get any of that now.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, Honduran cigars, Nestor, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

Candela, the green wrapper, has lost a lot of the charm and popularity over the years. If you go back to World War II, most cigars were candela wrapped due to the high demand. Farmers in the Partido region of Cuba used fires to cure the tobacco in the barns but the temperature raised too high, curing the tobacco in 3 days instead of the usual long process that naturally turns the wrapper yellow and then brown. So a lot of farmers started to use that method, those cigars were distributed to the American soldiers and that’s what they wanted to smoke after the war too.


Nowadays the tobacco is more of a gimmick and that’s exactly the way Alec Bradley thought of it when they decided to use a Candela wrapper for a limited edition of the Black Market. And they picked the green themed St. Patrick’s day as the occasion for this cigar to b released. The cigars, made at the Plasencia factory in Honduras instead of Raices Cubanas, were a hit and the Filthy Hooligan became a returning release, with tweaks in the blend and eventually even becoming a barberpole cigar. But this cigar is from the original 2013 release, a 6×50 toro with a Nicaraguan Candela wrapper, Nicaraguan and Honduran double binder and filler from Nicaragua and Panama.


I wouldn’t buy this if I was a regular consumer in a cigar shop, just because of the look. The wrapper is a pale grayish green with a clear vein, it looks dry and brittle. The ring is cool, just like the regular Black Market but with some green, a clover and the Filthy Hooligan name. The cigar feels well constructed, the triple cap is nice and the overall shape is good. For a supposedly mild cigar that aged for 5 years, the aroma is strong yet grassy, not green grass but mowed wet grass.


After cutting the cigar I taste a surprisingly peppery cold draw. After lighting I taste a sharp, metallic flavor over some grassy base flavor. There’s a little pepper too, white pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets harsh, I taste a little pepper, cedar and some salt. Halfway I taste the metallic flavor again, with salt and still that harshness on the tip of my tongue.


The draw is fine. The dark ash is coarse and not very firm. The smoke is thick. The burn is straight. This is a mild to medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, just as I remembered the OR was the Filthy Hooligan I liked least.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro

At my previous employer we carried a lot of brands, including Casa Magna and years ago that used to be selling like hot cakes, six years ago they made up 40% of out annual sales that year, it was crazy. But because of the high demand, not just in our country but anywhere, Quesada and Plasencia couldn’t keep up with the demand and we were out of stock for a long time, the brand never recovered from that long period of no stock even thought there is now a steady supply of Casa Magna. It’s not dead, not by far, but the sales are way less than they used to be. But back to that dry spell, one morning my boss calls me and says “I have a great replacement for the Casa Magna, there is stock in Germany so we have it next week so start selling and taking pre orders, I will email you the details now”.


So within minutes I get an email with the name of the brand J. Fuego Sangre de Toro, the sizes and prices, that were actually very low with less than €5 for the 6×50 Toro and some details like “Made by Plasencia in Nicaragua”.  Now thats where it went wrong, the cigars are made by Tabacos de Oriente, which is in fact Plasencia but not Nicaragua, its their factory in Honduras. But the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, only rolled in Honduras (same as Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua for example) with a blend of Corojo and Criollo fillers, a Criollo binder and a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper. Oh, and if you wonder if this cigar ever came close to Casa Magna sales? No, it took a long time to sell out the shipment we got in and it wasn’t even a lot. The feedback wasn’t that good, lets see what a few year age have done to it.


The wrapper looks beautiful, its dark with a few thin veins, nothing wrong with it. The construction though has a soft spot under the ring and the first layer of the triple cap is huge, which is not aestheticly pleasing. The rings are quite simple, the thin foot ring is black with silver and golden lining and silver writing which says J. Fuego Cigar Co. The main ring is a two tone red with yellow lettering Sangre de Toro in a paint like typography and the J. Fuego logo in gold on a black tobacco shaped spot and a not to well printed dotted golden outlining. Now the flavor is quite strong but also quite weird, its like opening a jar of pickles, now I like pickles and I eat them daily so this could be good. I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and I taste black pepper with dry tobacco.


I taste a dry, roasted and smoky wooden flavor, slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. After a centimeter the cigar has a bit of chocolate, honey and toasted wood that isn’t too pleasing, it’s not bad but also not good. After a third the flavor gets better, autumn leaves and toast with a mild dark and creamy chocolate. Some puffs later I taste a peppery aftertaste. Halfway it’s oak with some freshness. After a third the cigar changed to peppery cedar and actually pretty nice.


The draw is great and I get a lot of thick white smoke from the cigar. The ash is flaky, its white with black smears and not too firm. The burn isn’t good but also not bad. This is a medium plus bodied cigar, medium plus flavored too. The smoke time is little less then an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No but I won’t mind smoking the half box I have left.

Score: 87

87
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Categories: 87, Honduran cigars, J. Fuego, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto

Years ago, while working for my previous employer, we released the Alec Bradley Black Market in The Netherlands and we couldn’t keep up with the demand, it was insane. Of course the demand dropped a little after a few months but it was still a good selling cigar, nice priced and it scored a 90 when I reviewed it earlier this year. Now there is a new Black Market, the Black Market Esteli.


I got this cigar from George Sosa, VP of Sales for Alec Bradley during the Big Smoke Amsterdam weekend, George and I have worked well together and he always hooks me up with plenty of cigars. He gave me this Nicaraguan cigar with a Nicaraguan wrapper, a double binder, one from Nicaragua and one from Honduras and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.


The packaging is similar to the regular Black Market, so with a three quarters long paper wrapping on the cigar. That was designed because Alan Rubin, the owner of the brand, didn’t want the cigars in cellophane yet still wanted to protect them from  damaging, hence the huge ring. Eventually the cigars were packed in cellophane too, but the big paper rings remained. The wrapper is smooth, oily, quite dark and pretty. The construction feels good, nice triple cap, evenly filled. The aroma is quite strong and smells like a sheep farm, but not in a filthy disgusting farm, a clean farm with healthy clean animals.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect with a mild minty and raisin flavor. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a sweet coffee and toast. The sweetness stands out, with an earthy undertone. After an inch I taste that earthy flavor with still a sweetness, a cake like sweetness but also a little black pepper in the aftertaste. Halfway I taste some milk chocolate too. Soon after I taste pepper with the earthy flavor and a little bit of a metallic taste. All of a sudden the cigar changed to earthy toast with some pepper.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is white and layered. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium plus thick. I would say this cigar is medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Much to my surprise, considering my love for Nicaraguan cigars, I prefer the Honduran Black Market.

Score:  90
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your reviewer with George Sosa and Bradley Rubin (Alec Bradley Cigars)

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

Inca Secret Blend Crystals Lonsdale

I got this cigar from a cigar distributer that asked me for my opinion so he can decide weather to carry these cigars or not. So I went online to learn something about the brand as I never heard of them. I did know that there is some tobacco cultivation being done in Peru, I once met a Dutch pensionado that made cigars in Peru with his Italian business partner, his cigars were okay but way to expensive for what you got. So the claim on the Inca Cigars website that they are the only Peruvian puro on the market isn’t true, Polman Recency is also a Peruvian puro.


What I read on the website is that Inca Cigars is partly owned by Mitchel Orchant, a name that a lot of European cigar aficionados will know as he was (or is) the face of C.Gars LTD and the factory is owned by Gennaro Lettieri which to me sounds quite Italian and what are the odds that two Italians own a cigar factory in a non traditional Cigar producing country? So I expect that the Polman Regency that I mentioned and smoked before is produced in the exact same factory. While browsing for information I got a little confused as the cigars are sold in the UK under the name Inka with a K and in the US under the name Inca with a C and Alec Bradley is handling the distribution in the US.


As for the cigar, its a 6×40 lonsdale btw, once I took it out of its cellophane wrapping I saw a very rustic wrapper with veins in a Connecticut shade like light color. The cigar has a pig tail which I like but the cap is huge and that combined with the rough appearance of the wrapper doesn’t make the cigar appealing. The construction feels good although all along the back I feel a ridge that probably comes from the cigar molds and as I wrote in the previous sentence, the cap looks horrible. The ring is beautiful though, with a nice blue background, white lettering, a picture of an Inca and golden details. It also says 100% puro and the back says “rich, smooth and satisfying’. The cigar has a very pleasant and quite full hay aroma.


I cut the cigar with a flat cut, the cold draw is a bit tight. I taste salty raisin with a spicy aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste a spicy coffee with a citrus sour aftertaste. After a centimeter it’s mainly lemon like acidity. After an inch I taste some dry wood and a little bit of chocolate. After a third the cigar turns musty, like I’m smoking a Connecticut shade cigar. I also taste some acidity. After two thirds i taste some nuts, a little bit of pepper and still the acidity.


The draw is a little tight. The ash is silver gray and dense, but it isn’t firm. The smoke is medium thick and medium in amount. The burn is straight. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored at most. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it might be appealing for the lovers of the milder Cubans but it isn’t a cigar for my palate.

 

Score: 82

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Categories: 82, Inca, Peruvian cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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