Cigars by rating

Leon Jimenes Doble Maduro Ambassador

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


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


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


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


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

Would I buy this cigar again?

Score: 87

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

PDR 1878 Capa Oscura Lancero

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


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


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


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


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

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

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uppercut by Punch Robusto

In 2008 or 2009 Punch had a competition between test blends they released and the winner would be officially released. And this Uppercut by Punch was the winner. As far as I know the cigar is made in Honduras with Nicaraguan filler, including some Ometepe, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Since I don’t see them being sold anywhere and the special website is offline I’m guessing it was either a limited edition or not the success that General Cigars hoped for.


I love the name, for two reasons. First a punch is a hit and so is an uppercut plus that it’s won a competition between test blends, another ‘fight’ reference. Knock Out by Punch could have been a great name too, or a follow up. I don’t know where I got or bought this cigar, I don’t know when but I know it must have been a few years ago since the cellophane is starting to discolor and become yellow. I’m smoking the 5 1/2×50 robusto sized cigar. There were two other vitolas too.


As I said, the cellophane is starting to turn yellow from the oils in the dark and rustic Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, which is quite bumpy. The construction feels evenly packed with a nice flat head and beautifully placed triple cap. The cigar has two rings, the foot ring has a panoramic picture of the Ometepe volcano in Nicaragua with a black band underneath saying Ometepe with golden letters and golden linings on both sides of the black band and above the volcano. The top ring is dark blue with thick golden outlines, then a golden crown and the word Uppercut above a small red circle with golden letters Punch. The cigar has a mild dusty chocolate aroma.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raw tobacco and dried grapes. After lighting the cigar with my torch (single jet) I taste coffee with sugar and some lemon. After a quarter of an inch I taste some peanuts. After an inch all I taste is salt, peanuts and some chocolate. The flavors slowly change to salty peanuts with lemon and pepper, quite a lot of chili peper. The final third starts with cedar and nuts with quite some pepper. I get dark chocolate with pepper some puffs later.


The draw is amazing and the smoke is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. This is a medium full bodied and full flavored cigar with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This was a decent cigar and I read it was cheap so I would get a few.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Punch | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Montecristo Monte Gordo

Montecristo is a household name in the cigar industry and the Montecristo #2 is one of the best known cigars around the world. But that’s the Cuban Montecristo! There’s also a non Cuban Montecristo, like a lot of Cuban brands with non Cuban copycats, although calling them copycats might not be fair as some of the brands were started by the owners of the Cuban counterparts after they had to flee the island when the Castro regime took over. By now all those brands are in the hands of the big players Altadis and General Cigars, which is a part of STG.


This Monte by Montecristo is made in the Dominican Republic for Altadis, owner of the brand. The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano, the cigar has a double binder coming from both the Dominican and Nicaragua and Dominican filler tobacco. I don’t know where I got this cigar, it must have been a gift as I would never buy a 6×60 and would stay away from non Cuban counterparts as my experience with those isn’t too favorable, except for the Partagas Spanish Rosado.


The cigar looks good, the size is impressive, intimidating and the medium brown, mild glossy wrapper has a beautiful structure, it looks great. The cigar feels evenly packed and well rolled. The aroma is strong and its like standing in a haystack, dried grass, straw, hay. The ring is glossy brown with a golden line and a flor de lis in the middle, a white circle around it and the letters Montecristo. It looks like the Cuban ring but on glossy paper, a little bigger and the Habana is changed for a curly MC. There is a second ring, glossy black with golden outlines and a red font with golden shadow saying Monte. I feel that the black and the brown don’t match, if I was the designer I would have turned the black into the same brown as the regular Montecristo ring.


Due to the big ring gauge I opted for a punch and the cold draw is fine. I taste a dull sultana flavor with a hint of white pepper. After lighting I taste a honey dipped oak with some fresh chili. The flavors are a bit weak and flat. The honey is the strongest flavor and that’s still mild and muted. After a third the still muted flavors are oak, some pepper, some toast all with a tiny honey twist to it. After a third the pepper grows a bit, the oak is still there with a little bit of lemon.


The draw is fine, a little loose like expected with this 60 ring gauge. I still don’t like this size, anything over 54 is too thick for me. The ash is beautiful, dense, firm and white. The smoke is on the thin side of medium. The burn is a bit off. The cigar is flat, not dynamic but that’s expected of a big ring cigar. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. After two hours and ten minutes I still have over an inch left but I’m so bored with this cigar that I tossed it.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, no dynamic, muted flavors. I’d try a smaller ring of the same blend though.

Score: 79
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Categories: 79, Dominican cigars, La Romana, Montecristo | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

La Aurora 100 Años Belicoso

La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory, founded in 1903 and they wanted to celebrate their century long existence with a limited edition cigar, the cien años, of the 100 años for the non Spanish speaking cigar enthousiasts. The cigar wasn’t released till 2004 though due to delays at the factory and the right wrapper not being available, well, not in the quality the blenders wanted. The cigar was made with tobacco from 1996, all Dominican.


The demand was so high that in 2012 La Aurora did a small re-release of the blend, with a 4 year old Dominican Corojo wrapper. And with small I mean 20.000 cigars of the Belicoso, 20.000 Robustos and 20.000 Churchill sized cigars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing probably comes from the second release, the 2012 release and I got it as a gift from a friend at my favorite cigar forum Cigar Asylum.


The 6 1/4×52 Belicoso has a silky Dominican Corojo wrapper that is oily but also rough looking with a few major veins that haven’t been flattened before being used, too bad as that would made the cigar much better looking. The construction feels good yet the cap isn’t applied very neatly. The ring is beautiful, beautiful beige and brown colors with a detailed drawing of a lion and the factory name and line name in a modest font and color. Underneath is a second ring with a production number, much like Padron does with their 1928, 1964 and Family Reserve lines. I’m smoking #166571, but unfortunately there is no website where you can check the numbers for the batch #, the roller etc, that would be extremely cool. The aroma is still strong, dry hay, barnyard, stable and a little bit of ammonia like acidity.


I cut the cigar, as usual with my Xikar XI2 cutter. The cold draw is fantastic and leaves a spicy cedar flavor with some pepper on my lips.  After lighting I taste a smooth coffee and nutmeg flavor, very tasty. After a few puffs I taste coffee with spicy green herbs. After half an inch the coffee disappears and the cigar bites a little on my tongue. After an inch o taste leather with pepper, strong bold flavors. After a third I taste carrots with pepper, it’s a flavor I taste every now and then in a cigar but it’s rare. I also taste a very faint chocolate. The final third starts with the carrots and an earthy flavor with pepper on the background and aftertaste. That’s also the flavor combination till I lay the cigar till rest.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is great, it’s thick, white and a good volume. The light colored ash is beautiful and firm. I had to touch up the burn a few times. There is a lot of evolution. The cigar is medium bodied but full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible I guess, unless there is another release. And I would get a fiver then.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

601 Oscuro La Punta

601, its not an old brand but in its short existence it has build up quote a following and a history. The brand was started by EO Brands, the company of Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, blended by José ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and made by My Father Cigars, first at the El Rey de Los Habano factory in Miami and later in the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Then EO Brands split up, 601 disappeared, but then returned as part of Espinosa Cigars, reblended, new design box and ring, made at La Zona and in december 2016 the news broke that the production will be moved from Espinosa’s own La Zona factory to the San Lotano Factory from A.J. Fernandez in Ocotal Nicaragua, which he recently bought from Fidel Oliva. And that’s the short version of the 601 history.


Back to the cigar, the 601 Oscuro La Punta is a perfecto, 5 1/2×52 in size and I am smoking an old one with the oldest label know so I think it must be about 10 years old. It is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Oscuro wrapper. I think this cigar was given to me at one of the EPIC herfs in Ocala Florida, a yearly weekend herf which originated from Cigar Asylum, my favorite cigar board.


The cellophane on the cigar has a nice golden brown color from the oils from the wrapper that have been leaking into the cellophane for years. Let me start with the ring, I wonder if I should score on the ring since the line has been revamped with new design rings, but I’ll score it anyway. I like the shape, the green color is a nice contrast with the white 601 and the white banner uses the same green for the word obscure. The golden lines make it all pop. The design is a bit outdated but Erik Espinosa took care of that. The wrapper is dark, very dark and leathery with hardly any visible veins.  The construction is flawless, I have never seen a perfecto with a cap so beautiful as this one and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of straw and manure.


Because of the shape I decide to cut the cigar xikar style. The cold draw is a bit tight but that could be because of the shape. I taste a spicy and peppery raisin flavor. The moment I light the cigar I taste pepper with dark coffee and a little sweetness. After a few puffs I taste some raw unrefined cocoa powder. After an inch I taste wood with a little lime and far on the background a little cocoa. Halfway the flavors are dry, I taste wood and a little cocoa. Right before the final third starts I taste the pepper again and it’s the Pepin pepper that was his signature back in the day. I still taste wood too and a little walnut. The final few puffs are very peppery and I’m loving it.


The draw is fine, better than the cold draw. The smoke is quite thin though. The burn is fantastic. The light colored ash is firm. The cigar is medium bodied at best and medium flavored too. The smoke time is a little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to try a reblended one.

Score: 90
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Categories: 601, 90, La Zona, My Father Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Reinado Habanito

Every year you see a few boutique blends pop up, gain a lot of publicity and popularity in the social media bit most of the times those brands fade away into oblivion too. I guess your cigars have to be extremely well to keep the cigar aficionados coming back to your cigars and your online presence has to be on top of everything to keep customers loyal and tied to your brand. A few brands know how to do that and grow, but most fade away after a short while and that’s exactly the case with this Reinado brand that was the hottest new kid on the block for a few months and is now the missing kid on the back of a milk carton.


The Reinado line is or was a Nicaraguan puro and the tobacco underwent a unique fermenting procedure according to the brand, but I can’t find any explanation online what made their fermentation unique. All the tobaccos used are aged minimum of five years, but that’s also not unique. The whole story reminds me of Puros de Hostos, a brand that was very popular for a short time in The Netherlands, with a story about quadruple fermentation, aged tobaccos and yes, those cigars were amazing but such marketing stories only last for a short time.


I am smoking the Habanito today, a petit corona, 4×38 short and thin. The habano rosado wrapper looks great, medium dark brown with a mild reddish glow and it feels a bit leathery. The construction feels good with a beautiful shaped head of the cigar. The ring is a bit of a “why copy a Cuban ring again?” kinda thing, its a straight up copy from the Ramon Allones ring, burgundy with gold, a golden logo in the centre and white letters. It’s something I dislike, stop copying Cuban rings, Nicaraguan cigars are way to good to need to resort to this kind of thievery. But since I’m not rating on sentiment but on how the ring looks, the color scheme, the print quality the ring still gets a good grade. I smell a mild aroma, an almost dusty wood with a little floral smell.


I cut the cigar since it’s too thin to punch. The cold draw is good with a mild raw tobacco flavor and a little pepper in the aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste a great coffee flavor, smooth yet full with a very mild honey sweetness and some pepper in the aftertaste. After a quarter of an inch I taste a nice oaky nutty flavor but with a nice minty and vanilla on the background. After a third I taste a nice mix of cumin, nutmeg, black pepper with some cedar. I also taste a little bit of cocoa. Soon after I taste a strong pepper with a minty freshness and some nutmeg. The final third starts spicy with notes of wood, spices, a little lime and some vanilla.


The draw is close to perfection and that leads to a lot of thick smoke from such a small cigar. The ash is almost white and nicely dense and firm. The burn is beautifully straight. The evolution is amazing. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great short smoke, I would love to.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Agros Tobacos Industriales, Nicaraguan cigars, Reinado | Tags: , , ,

Camacho Double Shock Toro 2014 Limited Edition

When Davidoff took over Camacho they restyled and reblended the whole brand and possible took it to a new factory, or they renamed the factory, that I don’t know but instead of Rancho Jamastran these cigars come from Agroindustria LAEPE S.A according to Halfwheel. Included in the restyle was a yearly limited edition and in 2014 they went for the Double Shock, a barber pole cigar, and then 2 together in a big ring. the only difference is a red or a black foot ring, I hoped it meant that the two cigars had a different blend but no, and I think that is a bit of a miss by the Davidoff development team, it would have been so much more exciting if the cigars were different.


Now all the excitement has to come from it being a limited edition, a 1000 boxes with 10 pairs, were made in the sizes robusto, toro, Churchill, figurado and toro and I got my hands on a pair of toro’s which had an msrp of $11.50 but I don’t know if that’s for the pair or for a single cigar. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I got the cigars as a gift. They never made it to my side of the pond commercially so I’m fortunate to have gotten these and i’m actually looking forward to smoking this 5 country blend with Ecuadorian Habano and Mexican San Andres wrapper, a Criollo binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and the USA (Pennsylvania)


The cigar certainly stands out in the humidor, the only other “pair in one ring” I can think of is the La Jugada Nunchuck. The double wrapper is another eye catcher especially since the wrappers used aren’t the usual Maduro and Connecticut Shade or Candela but a Maduro an a Habano. The San Adres wrapper is nice dark and toothy while the Habano wrapper is a bit more brittle. The construction feels good on both cigars. I love the ring, the foot rings are red or black, nothing printed on it but there is some embossing so they aren’t boring. The big ring is black and red with a black scorpion in a red circle. Much to my surprise I found a bright embossed and a red embossed ring underneath the combined ring with a shiny metallic logo. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. I smoked the black label one, but not that it matters since they are both the same.


I punched the cigar, the draw is fantastic. I taste a mild cedar and a little raisin in the cold draw. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a nice, mellow coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a spicy grass flavor. After an inch I taste draw wood, like saw dust, with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste cedar, cilantro, nutmeg with a peppery aftertaste. The final third is a white pepper with cedar and some spices.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is thin and the volume is poor. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a moderate evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will smoke the other one but wouldn’t buy new ones if I could find them. I expected more from a cigar called double shock.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Agroindustria LAEPE S.A, Camacho, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Carlos Toraño Single Region Series Jalapa Robusto

In 2010 Carlos Toraño jumped the bandwagon of cigars made from tobaccos from a certain area, like Plasencia does with the Reserve Organica, Perdomo with the Lot 23 and the Cubans with Pinar del Rio (or at least they claim …) but didn’t stick to one plantation as Plasencia and Perdomo do but widens the parameters by making it a single region instead of a single lot. Still, I like the concept as an experiment to see what you can do with tobaccos from one region. Toraño chose to do this in Jalapa, the most northern tobacco region in Nicaragua, close to the Honduran border.


Now the cigar is a Nicaraguan pure, of course with a name and concept like that, but made in Honduras. The size of the cigar I smoked is a 5×52 robusto but there are several other vitolas. I have no idea if the cigars are still being made after General Cigars purchased the brand a few years back. I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years now, I can’t recall when I bought this but it must have been on one of my trips to the USA so 2014 or earlier. And I don’t think that this concept was a success for Toraño since there were no other Single Region lines introduced, even though there are plenty of options like Esteli, Condega, Ometepe, Jamastran and several Dominican regions.


When I release the cigar from the cellophane I notice some discoloration and the top ring gets stuck in the cellophane, so I have to rip it open to put the ring back on the cigar. The wrapper looks good, a deep brown color with some oil and just one vein, quite a nice looking cigar. The rings compliment the wrapper very well, the top ring is white with burgundy outlines and with the Toraño family logo on each side of the burgundy text single region. The second ring is smakker, burgundy with golden embossed lines and white letters saying serie Jalapa. The cigar feels well packed and evenly packed too with a nice round head. The aroma is medium strong and a mixture of lemon and dog poop.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste peppery raisin. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors with pepper. The coffee is replaced by green herbs like rucola with earthy flavors and pepper. After a third the flavors mellow out a bit to soil, nutmeg, a little salt and a peppery aftertaste. Halfway I taste wood, soil and mild salty nuts. The wood and soil slowly disappear and I’m struck with the nuts and pepper but after two thirds I taste raw carrots too, and I like carrots. The carrot flavor disappears quickly too and the pepper gets stronger.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium full in both volume and thickness. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn is slow but uneven. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with a nice slow evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe a single when I am at a shop but no box for my humidor.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Latin Cigars de Honduras, Torano | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Royal Selection Maduro Corona

Balmoral, probably the most famous Dutch cigar brand nowadays, but in The Netherlands not just famous for their longfillers. Their short fillers are everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations, and their longfillers never impressed me until a few years ago. I was the host of the Dutch Big Smoke and Balmoral contacted me to see if they could release their new line, the Anejo at the Big Smoke and my first reaction was “why do you think we want to introduce a gas station cigar?”. Well, I met up with the marketing manager anyway, smoked the cigar and had to apologize for my blunt reaction, what a great cigar and I smoked a lot of them since and reviewed them before on my blog too.


But I have to admit, I didn’t smoke their other offerings ever again, not even their Dominican Selection shortfiller that I smoked a lot and loved a lot as a novice cigar smoker. I found a Balmoral Royal Selection Corona in my humidor and this 5 7/8×42 cigar is made in the Dominican Republic with Brazilian and Dominican filler, a Dominican Olor binder and Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Time to let the prejudice go and review this cigar.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark and typical Brazilian with thick veins, dry to the touch but also oily. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is old fashioned and in need of an update. Two colors green with white and golden lines, a shield with the beautiful B in the centre and Balmoral on top, since 1895 on the bottom. The print quality is great, the ring is clear but the design is too old fashioned for me. The aroma is a mixture of barnyard, manure and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin and a little pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, and I taste coffee, earthy flavors, a little lemon and some sweetness. The flavors changes to earthy flavor with wood and some chocolate. Halfway I taste peanuts, some salt, a little chocolate and pepper. The final third starts with a hazelnut chocolate butter flavor, Nutella like with some vanilla. The flavor changes to nutty with pepper and a hint of cocoa.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is good. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not as good as the Anejo series but better than I remembered.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , ,

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