Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago

Vegas de Santiago, Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica

Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Maria la Gorda

Over the almost fifteen years that I’ve been smoking I have smoked a lot of brands, a lot of variety cigars, some I liked, some I didn’t like but one of the brands that I smoked almost from day one and still like today is the Costa Rican brand Vegas de Santiago. And they like me, they know my blog and at the Intertabac trade show they asked me to come over and handed me some samplers including this Gran Reserva, a blend unknown to me and I can’t find it on their website either.

 


I did found some information on the website of a German retailer and it turns out that it’s a very budget friendly bundle cigar, less than 5 euro for this 6×60 and the, now discontinued torpedo with the same blend once scored 94 points for Cigar Journal and earned the “best buy” title. I can’t find any information about the blend though.

 


The milk chocolate colored wrapper has a mild reddish glow but no oil. It feels a bit like velvet. The ring is copper colored with dull golden edges and white letters, very simple. The cigar feels well constructed and the shape is good, the cap is nice. The medium strong aroma is typical barnyard.

 


Because of the big ring I decided to grab my punch instead of a cutter. The cold draw is great, the flavor is mild savory. After lighting I taste a sweet flavor with a mild coffee bitterness. Due to the big ring gauge the flavors are muted. A quarter of an inch in I taste pepper with cedar. After a third I taste cedar, pepper and honey. The flavor doesn’t change much, only the pepper grows stronger.

 


The draw is good. The light gray ash is firm. The smoke is medium thick and in volume. The burn on this medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is straight. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not in this ring gauge, that’s for sure.

Score: 84

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Categories: 84, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , ,

Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro & Conchita

I have smoked and reviewed several Vegas de Santiago cigars and I like that I see more and more cigars coming from Costa Rica. I thing that there are some good things happening south from Honduras and Nicaragua and the more choice we have, the better, as long as the quality is good. And I never had a complaint about Vegas de Santiago.

The Don Luis line is named after the Cuban cigar master Don Luis Santana Lamas, who cured the tobacco for Vegas de Santiago and rolled some of their production. The filler is undisclosed Caribbean tobacco while the binder and wrapper both are from Ecuador, the binder is a Habano 2000 and the wrapper a Connecticut.

Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro


The wrapper is smooth and oily but has a thin vein popping out which should have been flattened or put on the back side of the cigar. The ring is super simple, just white with gold and a logo, well printed though. The cigar feels like its evenly packed and well constructed. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of barnyard and old wood.


I used my butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great and I taste pepper and raisin. After lighting I taste coffee with a little salt. The flavor changes to a slightly salt wood, smooth and nice, with a little vanilla. Halfway the cigar is all about cedar with a little salt and a mild acidity. I also taste a little nuts, pepper and sweetness. The nut flavor is getting stronger with a nice mix of pepper, vanilla, sugar and cumin.


The draw is fantastic, nothing to complain about. The ash is light gray and very firm. The smoke is medium to full in thickness and volume. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is well balanced and smooth. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again?  Yes

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Conchita


This 5×35 sized cigar looks like something I should enjoy, I love thin ring gauges. The wrapper is Connecticut but with a reddish, almost rosado, glow and quite oily. The ring is simple and the cigar feels well made. The aroma is faint barnyard.


The cigar is so thin that punching isn’t an option, so I grabbed my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is on the good side of tight. I taste a little tobacco. After lighting I taste a very pleasant, sweet and balanced coffee. Halfway I taste a mild milk chocolate with the coffee and sweetness. In the aftertaste I get some black pepper. At the end I taste some nutmeg and cumin too.


The draw is just a little tight but not tight enough to create problems. The smoke is a little thin because of the draw. The light colored ash is firm and the burn is straight. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will.

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago D8 serie

In july I wrote a review on the Vegas de Santiago D8 robusto. I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars back before I started working in the industry, ordering straight from the factory in Costa Rica and always liked the cigars especially when you looked at them from a price quality point. And when I consulted for a small cigar importer in The Netherlands I pointed them to Vegas de Santiago as we lack Costa Rican cigars on the Dutch market.

At Intertabac I spoke with Marc Nieman, the owner of Vegas de Santiago and he told me that their cigars will be available on the Dutch market soon and thanked me for my help. He gave me a bunch of cigars to review too, including a couple of sizes of the D8. Instead of writing separate reviews I decided to combine all reviews in one.

Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto


This is the smallest of the cigars I recieved, a 4×50 short robusto that I can’t find on the Vegas de Santiago website. The ring is white with a red square and golden details and letters that quite pop, a nice ring. The wrapper is dark, oily and smooth. The construction looks and feels good. The cigar has a mild straw aroma.

I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect, I taste a mild raisin flavor.
After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a mild citrusy coffee. After a few puffs the cigar is floral. After a third I taste the floral flavor but with a mild peanut flavor and a tiny bit of salt. Halfway it’s floral and vanilla with some wood. In The final third I taste some red pepper too.


The draw is fantastic. The burn is equally fantastic. The salt and pepper ash is firm. The smoke is full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar with a smoke time of seventy five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice cigar, if the price is right I will.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto


The corto is a nub sized cigar, 4×60, a size I don’t smoke often because I’m not a fan of big ring gauges. The ring is the same as on the short robusto but the wrapper looks a shade lighter in color and a little less oily. The construction looks and feels good, while the aroma is mild and reminds me a bit of sawdust.


I get a good cold draw, grassy, spicy and raw tobacco flavored. The cigar is so thick that I used a jet flame to light it. I taste toast, cinnamon, chocolate and some honey sweetness. After a third I taste honey cedar. Halfway some mild red pepper shows up in the aftertaste. Near the end the pepper gets stronger but not overpowering.


The draw is good and the light gray ash has nice thin rings, it’s firm and dense. The burn is razor sharp but the smoke is thin. The cigar has a decent evolution for a big ring gauge cigar but it’s not as dynamic as the corona. The body and flavors are medium. The smoke time is a hour exactly.


Would I buy this cigar again? I actually liked the sweetness a lot, I disliked the ring gauge.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona


I love the corona size, a vitola that doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves and is blown away by the thicker robusto, toro and gordo sizes but it remains in my top 5 of favorite vitolas. Again, the ring is the same and the wrapper has the same shade as the court, yet it has a little tooth to it and feels more leathery because of that. The cigar looks good and the construction feels good too.  A mild acidic aroma with some straw is what I smell.


I decapped the cigar with a flat cut. The cold draw is a little tight and quite peppery. After lichting I taste sweet coffee with pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar, lime, pepper and toast. After that I taste nuts, toast and some pepper. Halfway Its wood with herbs and a rocket salad pepper.


The draw is a little tight. The smoke is good, nice volume, nice thickness, beautiful white color. The ash is light gray, dense and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Apart from the tightness in the draw this is a very pleasant cigar so yes!

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Canonazo


A classic toro size, 6×52, yet it has a double name on the Vegas de Santiago website, Canonazo and Toro but ‘m fine with either, call it what you like, a cigar is a cigar. Same ring again and a leathery  chocolate brown wrapper with a beautiful reddish glow. The construction feels good and the cigar looks well rolled. The aroma is mild, its a bit of a barnyard aroma.


I cut the cigar and found a great draw with a mild acidic and raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a mild and creamy coffee. After a few puffs I taste walnuts with coffee. After an inch i taste a creamy vanilla with some honey. Halfway an acidic flavor is dominant with some honey and a little cream. The final third starts with a honey cedar.


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick and white. The burn is pretty straight. The light gray ash is coarse. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to the robusto.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, 89, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto

When I was a novice cigar smoker I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars from Costa Rica and always liked them. I reviewed quite a lot of them too but due to finding a job in the industry and having more cigars to smoke than is humanly possible and Vegas de Santiago not being available on the Dutch market I haven’t smoked one in years. Until now that is, I’m going to review the D8, made with undisclosed filler and an Ecuadorian binder and wrapper.


Why I went to the bottom of my humidor to grab this cigar? Pretty simple, I was talking with another cigar distributer in The Netherlands about employment and they asked me what brand I would suggest if they wanted something different and reasonably priced. I got them in touch with Vegas de Santiago and earlier this week I saw a post which suggested that Vegas de Santiago is coming to the Dutch market. Maybe I should have asked for a commission but that’s too late now (now please remind: this review has been written a few months ago, on may first, but I have a lot of unpublished reviews waiting to be published so there’s always a delay.


The Habano 2000 wrapper looks great, a medium dark brown but smooth looking wrapper with one medium flattened vein. The construction feels great with a nice cap and a beautifully rounded head. The ring is classic, white with a red centre, golden and black lines and letters but well printed. The cigar had a nice, medium strong, manure aroma.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping a cigar. The cold draw is perfect with a raw tobacco and mild peppery taste. I immediately taste a nice dose of full coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame. After a third I taste a buttery, creamy wood with pepper. Halfway I taste wood, herbs, spices and a little pepper, all mild creamy. Soon after it’s buttery wood with pepper. The final third star with walnuts and pepper, still a little buttery creamy.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke could be a little thicker but the volume is good. Later the smoke gets thicker. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with good evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked this cigar a lot.

Score: 91
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Vegas de Santiago Palmas torpedo

I thought I had smoked all Vegas de Santiago cigars in the past, but when Rudi send me this sampler that I’ve smoked the last couple of days I discovered the Palmas, a blend I never heard off and couldn’t find on the website and that made me very curious. I had the power to give the cigar quite some rest but today I just had to smoke it. I expect it to be something different from the other Vegas de Santiago smokes, as the band is completely different.
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The wrapper is a bit pale and has a lot of veins, but it is also oily. The construction feels good and the cigar has a pretty strong smell of wood. The predraw is fine and I taste tobacco.
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I taste a peppery and dry wood flavor with coffee and after half an inch some creamy but dry chocolate joins the party while the coffee disappears. After a third I taste a strong herbal flavor, mild creamy and quite spicy.

Halfway I taste wood and herbs and some time later some chocolate again. The chocolate disappears after two thirds and all I taste after that are wood and herbs.
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The smoke time of this 6×52 torpedo is an hour and a half. I got a decent amount of smoke, which is very thick. The draw is good just like the burn. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I liked these, but can’t find them on the website. It all depends on availability and price.

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

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Vegas de Santiago originales torpedo

And yet another revisit of a Vegas de Santiago torpedo that I smoked about 3 years ago, the 6×52 Originales. This cigar was also part of the sampler that I bombed about 20 of my friends and that showed up at my doorstep, courtesy of Vegas de Santiago owner Rudi. These Originales are a blend of Costa Rican ligero with Nicaraguan tobacco.
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The wrapper is mocha colored, oily, shiny and has a few thin and long veins. The construction feels good but the predraw, which tastes like dry raisin, wood and a mild pepper, is too loose.

I taste a spicy but dry wood, full flavored, which slowly gets spicier. After a third I taste more herbal flavors with wood, spices and a sweetness.
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Halfway I taste some earth too with the flavors mentioned before. Near the end the cigar gets a pepper flavor that grows strong, really strong.

Due to the loose draw, this cigar only lasted for an hour. The smoke was reasonable thick and I got it in a reasonable amount. The light colored ash is quite firm. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I like the puros and chaman better, but I might order some of these too.

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

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Vegas de Santiago secretos del maestra torpedo

I used to smoke a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars but hadn’t ordered in a while, so owner Rudy send me a 2 cigar sampler of his latest blend, Don Luis “los maestros del secretos” with a H2000 wrapper to renew my interest in these Costa Rican manufacturers.
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This 6 x 53 torpedo has a nice chocolate brown, smooth and oily wrapper with a few thin veins. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma. The band is nice and simple, black & gold (there is also a Don Luis with a black & white band but that’s the Ecuadorian Connecticut version, the black & gold has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper). The construction feels good and so is the peppery predraw.

I taste dry hay and a faint metallic flavor with some freshness and a hint of chocolate. After an inch the flavors change to dry wood with earthy notes and a mild chocolate aftertaste. Halfway the flavors change to a full chocolate flavor with some herbs on the background.
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At ⅔ I also get some pepper with the chocolate and herbs. The herbal flavors take over and become dominant. The pepper disappears after purging and the chocolate changes into a mint like freshness.

Smoke time: 1 hour and 45 minutes. The smoke is a bit thin, but I get enough smoke from the cigar so I won’t complain about that. The draw and burn are good. The light gray ash is quite firm. This cigar is medium to full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, these cigars are nice and very friendly priced.

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

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , ,

Vegas de Santiago Chaman torpedo

And yet another Vegas de Santiago revisit, this time I revisited the Vegas de Santiago Chaman, which I reviewed back in 2007. I revisited it because I decided to break open the sampler Rudi send me, as explained in yesterdays review of the Vegas de Santiago puro torpedo. This cigar has the same size as the Puros, 6×52.
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I like the band, simple but stylish. The wrapper of this cigar is smooth and silky, light colored and only has a few thin veins. The construction feels good. The predraw is fine too and I taste raisin with a mild pepper. The cigar has a wood smell.
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I taste coffee with some pepper on the top of my tongue. The coffee turns into an earthy flavor. The pepper disappears and I taste a mild chocolate on the background. The flavors remind me of a Cuban cigar. If this was a blind tasting, this part of the cigar would definitely put me on the wrong track. The flavors are dry and almost powdery, both the earth flavor and the chocolate.
100831vegasdesantiagochamantorpedo3The dry powdery earth and chocolate flavors don’t change for a while and then, somewhere between midway and two thirds the flavors change into wood and earth, the chocolate has gone and the cigar doesn’t taste like a Cuban anymore, although it is still very nice (I don’t go with that ‘Cubans are better than non Cubans’ stigma). Near the end the cigar gets more spicy and peppery.
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The smoke time of this torpedo is an hour and twenty five minutes. I got lots of smoke that was reasonable thick. The silvergray ash is quite firm. The draw is good and the burn is even better. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I might, seems like I like them better now then I did 3 years ago

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

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Vegas de Santiago puros torpedo *revisited*

This Vegas de Santiago puros torpedo was one of my favorite daily cigars when I started smoking and I reviewed back in the day. I still light one every now and then. They are affordable and nice. And about a year and a half ago I exchanged some mails with Rudi about sampler, when I decided to bomb 18 of my American friends with a Vegas de Santiago sampler. Rudi gave me a great deal on the sampler, which contained torpedo of all the 5 different blends that Vegas de Santiago released so far. Much to my surprise, one of those samplers arrived at my doorstep as Rudi found it appropriate to thank me for bringing business to his company and sending his cigars to my friends of whom most never heard of Vegas de Santiago before.
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The cigar is a 6×52 torpedo with a maduro wrapper, packed in cellophane. The torpedo has a nice shape and contains a few veins. The construction feels good and the cigar has a deep barnyard smell. I like the simple band, nothing fancy but it tells you all you need to know. The predraw is good and I taste a mild spicy tobacco.
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I taste a pleasant but dry wood flavor with some mild bitter coffee. After an inch the coffee turns into an earth flavor.

Some time later I taste mainly wood, dry but pleasant with a mild chocolate in the aftertaste and some herbal spiciness. Halfway and further it is only herbs and wood, the chocolate has gone and won’t return.
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The smoke time of this cigar is an hour and a half. The draw and burn are good and I get a decent amount of medium thick smoke. The ash of this full flavored and medium full bodied cigar is firm
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Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few left, but once they are gone I will order a new bundle.

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

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , ,

Vegas de Santiago secretos del maestro corona

Rudy from Vegas de Santiago had sent me this new cigar to review, a corona with a golden band which said “secretos del maestro”. The wrapper looks rough & raw with some veins and some green spots on it. The aroma is full & heavy and reminds me of a stable, while the construction is good, no hard or soft spots in it. The predraw is fine and leaves a spicy aroma on the palate.

The flavor is full and tastes like dry leather but the leather is replaced soon by spices, but also a bit dry. The leather makes a comeback with a little pepper and halfway there is a quick appearance of something sweet, but it disappears just as quickly as it appeared. Unfortunately, the cigar mellows out towards the end instead of taking it to a climax.

The burn and the smoke are fine, but the ash is frayed and not really firm.

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will stick to the Vegas de Santiago puros, although I would like to try a robusto from this secretos del maestro blend too.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 9 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: ,

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