Cigars by rating

Orchant Selección by Drew Estate Lightweight

Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate Lightweight. Mitchel Orchant is the managing director of C.Gars Limited, the leading cigar retailer in the U.K. With several shops, a great online presence and regular auctions of hard to find, aged, and vintage cigars. And he has loaned his name to the Orchant Seleccion series. It started with limited numbers of boxes with Cuban cigars that were handpicked by Orchant in cooperation with the U.K. Habanos distributor. But in recent years, Orchant worked with Davidoff, Regius, Oliva, and Alec Bradley for limited editions carrying his seal of approval. And the 2019 release is a collaboration between Orchant and Drew Estate. The cigars will be released soon, in three sizes. Ministry of Cigars will review all three of them, starting with the 3½x46 Lightweight.

The Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate comes in three sizes. At the moment of reviewing them, the cigars have not been released. Our samples came with factory rings. Yet in our article of July 13th, some artwork is shown that might end up being used on the ring. All three cigars share the same blend and have the same 46 ring gauge. And it’s refreshing to see a full line with small ring gauges and only small ring gauges. The cigars are made in Nicaragua and will be sold exclusively by C.Gars LTD on their website and in their Turmeaus shops all over England. The blend consists of Indonesian, Dominican, Nicaraguan and American grown tobacco. The binder comes from the Indonesian island Sumatra. The wrapper is grown in Connecticut. It’s a Habano variety, harvested with the Stalk Cut method which is also used for the Liga Privada.

The cigar looks good. Small yet dark, with a leathery toothy wrapper. The wrapper is quite oily as well. No thick veins are visible and the shape is good. The cigar feels evenly spongy. The aroma is strong, oak and hay.


The cold draw is good, raw tobacco with a little bit of black pepper is the cold draw flavor. The first puffs are Cuban coffee, strong and sweet. The cigar is spicy, peppery. The flavors remain in the wood, animal, coffee, and pepper part of the flavor wheel. There’s even a very mind dark chocolate flavor, on the background. Halfway the cigar gets some floral and vanilla notes, with strong pepper and a mild fresh aftertaste. The wood is still there with some nuts. In the final third, the pepper becomes really strong.

 

The draw is flawless. The ash is white as snow. And the smoke is typical Drew Estate. Thick, full and plentiful. The burn is razor-sharp. The cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. Don’t let the lightweight name fool you, there is nothing light about this cigar. It’s strong. The smoke time is one hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like more yes.

number93

 

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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Orchant Selección | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercrown Flying Pig

This cigar was released in 2012, in The Netherlands. The name was Undercrown Flying Pig XRL. XLF stood for Extremely Rare Limited. Less than 200 boxes of 12 were released. And flew off the shelves like hotcakes. it was a release for Compaenen. Compaenen is a cooperation of independent tobacco shops in The Netherlands. They combine their buying power to negotiate exclusive releases for the participating shop. Pre-releases, private label cigars and limited editions such as the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR.

Two years later, Drew Estate released the Undercrown Flying Pig in the United States. And the cigar has been a hit there as well. And everywhere else where it’s been released. At first, it was a limited edition, now it’s a regular production cigar. The wrapper is a Mexican San Andres Maduro leaf. The binder is a stalk cut Habano from the Connecticut River Valley in the United States. The fillers come from Nicaragua and Brazil.

The cigar looks great. That shape, as we mentioned in the reviews of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and the Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig, is a favorite. And again, the color scheme of the ring fits the wrapper like a glove. The dark, matte, blue with the gold on that dark wrapper is a perfect match. The pigtail is a nice touch. The wrapper is leathery. The aroma is of dark chocolate and spices.

The cold draw is perfect. It has a flavor of raw tobacco. Once lit, it’s leather, chocolate, green herbs, and coffee. After a few puffs, leather and pepper are the main flavors. But on the background, there’s still faint dark chocolate as well. The flavors open up and become stronger. Pepper, wood, leather, chocolate, and hay. The flavors are spicy and full, with a mild buttery mouthfeel.

The draw is great and this is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Thick, white, full smoke. Enough to get a response from the fire department. The burn isn’t perfect, but also not bad. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

number92

Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig

After the huge success of the Liga Privada offspring Undercrown, Drew Estate decided to build on that brand. So a few years later, the Undercrown Shade was released. I reviewed that cigar a few days ago.

So it wasn’t a question if there would be a third Undercrown blend. The question was “what will it be?”. And the follow-up question was “when will it be released?”. Well, it became the Undercrown Sun Grown. And it was released in 2017.

Just like the Liga Privada blends and the regular Undercrown, the Sun Grown utilizes stalk-cut tobacco. That means that the leaves are not picked from the plant. The whole plant is cut down and then hung to try, upside down. Only the Undercrown Shade doesn’t use stalk-cut tobacco. A flying pig in the new Undercrown blend was a must. So the rollers at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate made the signature shape for the new blend as well.

The cigar looks amazing. The shape is cool. The pigtail is the icing on the cake. The ring is beautiful. And just like with the shade, the color scheme fits the wrapper. The Colorado colored wrapper matches well with the burgundy and gold rings. The wrapper has a mild shine from natural oils. A few thin veins, and it’s a looker. The aroma is strong. It smells like hay, straw, and sheep.

The cold draw is easy. With a spicy fried grass flavor. Once lit its classic espresso, leather, and pepper. All with a drop of citrus. The flavors then change to hay, leather, wood and some nutmeg. The mouthfeel is dry. Caramel like sweetness on the background. When the burn reaches the wider part of the cigars, the flavors burst out. A nice lemon acidity, pepper, toast, wood, and leather. And then some dark chocolate with pepper. And later even some nuts. The flavors are full but refined. No harshness, well rounded. After a third, the mouthfeel becomes a little creamy. The sweetness is mild. With the pepper, it supports the nutty flavor.

The draw is great. The cigar is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Don’t smoke this cigar in an unventilated room. The light-colored ash is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an amazing two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

number93

Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

By now, the story of the Flying Pig is probably known. When Drew Estate started making cigars, people said that they would only become successful when pigs would fly. And successful they became. Then Steve Saka, back then CEO of Drew Estate, found the Flying Pig vitola. He was in Tampa and found a 100-year-old catalog from an old cigar factory., That catalog had the Flying Pig vitola, but under another name. Saka decided to make the cigars, in the Liga Privada #9 blend as a limited edition. And as a salute to the naysayers, the cigars were called Flying Pigs.

The Liga Privada lines were so popular that Drew Estate asked the rollers to stop smoking them. So the rollers switched some tobaccos, leaving out the rare ones. That line became the Undercrown. And the Undercrown got so popular that offshoots appeared. The second Undercrown blend to be released was the Undercrown Shade. That’s a milder version of the Undercrown blend, with a Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador. The binder is Sumatra. The fillers come from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Drew Estate released a sampler with three different Undercrown Flying Pigs. Royal Agio, the distributor of Drew Estate in several European countries, provided me with a sampler.

The cigar looks great. The shape is unique and the pigtail is the icing on the cake when it comes to looks. The cigar feels good. The Connecticut Shade wrapper has a mild shine. The veins are thin. The white with the gold color scheme for the rings are well chosen. It fits the color of the wrapper. The logo is great too, an upside-down crown with a lion’s face. The aroma isn’t mild. It’s spicy, herbal and strong. But also smells like straw.

The cold draw is good, with a raw tobacco flavor. Once lit, a mild coffee and leather flavor is tasted. With salt that is. There’s also some cedar wood. But the flavors are smooth like the volume isn’t cracked open. Elevator music in a cigar, that idea. After a few puffs, there is some acidity and grass. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. Once the cigar opens up when the burn is passed the small foot, the flavors get stronger. Nutmeg, a bit of pepper, leather but also that Connecticut Shade mustiness. And that last part is the downside of all Connecticut Shade cigars. After a third some marzipan sweetness shows up, faint and on the background. The final third packs a little more power. Sweetness, pepper, leather, and wood. But still creamy with a little salt. The mustiness tones down a lot.

The draw is good. The burn is great. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is nothing like other Drew Estate products. Drew Estate is known for its smoke bombs. But this Undercrown Shade Flying Pig produces just a medium volume of smoke. It is not very thick, and gray instead of white. The cigar is mild to medium flavored. It’s also medium bodied. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will never buy any Connecticut Shade cigars again.

number88

Categories: 88, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tambo Churchill

Indonesia has a long tobacco history. But most of the tobacco is used for dry-cured shortfillers. Premium cigars are scarce, yet there are a few brands out there. Tambo is one of them, and this was given to me by the Indonesian Tambo distributor when I met him in Malaysia for the CSWC Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur.


There are two sizes available, a 6×50 Toro with the name Churchill and/or Super Robusto and a corona with the name short corona.

The unique feature of this cigar is Tambolaka tobacco. That is Indonesian tobacco, and after drying it is rolled up tightly in ten feet poles. Those poles are then bound together tightly with rope so the tobacco can age. They age up to five years before being cut. Most of it is used as pipe tobacco, but some end up in cigars like Tambo.

The wrapper is amazing. Smooth, a beautiful color brown, smooth veins. If someone would have told me that this is high-grade HTL I would believe it. The cigar comes with a small pigtail. The construction feels good. The ring is a bit simple though, but it provides all the necessary information. The aroma is strong. I smell hay and straw. 

When I wet the cap to cut the cigar, I notice how salt the wrapper is.

The cold draw is great. The cigar is salty yet sweet. After lighting, I taste bitter coffee with sugar. Quickly the flavors change to leather, pine, soil and a little bit of pepper. Slowly some creamy chocolate shows up. After a third, I taste come citrus acidity as well, faint but still. The salt, pepper, and chocolate remain the main flavors, with some wood, tobacco, and leather on the background. Some nutty flavor shows up, with the lingering chocolate. I taste some hay too, while the salt loses some of its strength. The mouthfeel is a little dusty. The salt fades way even more in the final third. And secretly, the strength has grown from mild to medium in the beginning, to medium-full where I am now. Tambolaka tobacco is known for its strength, to that could be the reason.

The burn is great. The ash is white, firm and like a stack of coins. There is enough smoke, which is light blue to white. This cigar starts mild to medium but grows to medium-full. Both in strength and in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, not a box, but a fiver for sure.

number90

Categories: 90, Indonesian cigars, Tambo | Tags: , , ,

Bolivar Super Coronas Edicion Limitada 2014

I don’t smoke many Cuban cigars anymore, due to the many issues with Cuban tobacco and cigars. But when I was still smoking cigars, my favorite brand was Bolivar. Not the best Cubans I have smoked, that title goes to the discontinued Punch Black Prince from the late 1990s. But a regular production favorite, that was Bolivar.

A friend gave me this Bolivar Super Coronas Edicion Limitada 2014 recently and I decided to do a review. I like the 5½x48 size, 44 would have been even better but I can live with a 48. And with five years of aging, this has the potential to be a great smoke, if the quality control is up to par.


The cigar looks good, a perfect triple cap on an even brown wrapper. No veins. The specific brown of the wrapper fits perfect with the Bolivar ring. And that ring is one of the nicer Cuban rings in my humble opinion. The gold comes back in the Edition Limitada ring, so it all fits. The cigar feels well constructed. Even though the cigar has been aged for a few years, I still smell some ammonia under the hay aromas.

The cold draw is Cuban. And I mean to say that the cold draw is tight, very tight. And that causes a mild cold draw flavor of just tobacco. After lighting, I taste sweet coffee and leather. The leather and sweetness become the main flavors, all nice and strong, yet smooth. On the background, I taste some minty green herbs, some freshness like lemon basil. About a centimeter in, I taste a mixture of leather, sweetness and white pepper. But the underlying complexity of fruity citrus acidity and fresh herbs make the cigar very interesting. Halfway the flavor is mainly leather, with some earthiness and a little spice. I taste a hint of hazelnuts and still that fruity vinegar. Then suddenly I taste roasted coffee beans. Then I get his with a nice dose of chocolate as well, but with that coffee flavor on the back. A few puffs later, there’s also a faint vanilla aroma off just a short while. The leather is getting a little bit stronger and the pepper turns from white to red. The pepper gains strength in the final third, with cocoa and roasted coffee beans on the background.

The draw is tight. And a tight draw affects the smoke, which was poor. The burn is good, and the ash is like a stack of dimes before it breaks off. The cigar is complex. The smoke time of this medium-full flavored and bodied cigars is two hours and twenty-five minutes

. It scored a 90 but could have been a 93 with better construction and smoke.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind a box, or two

number90

Categories: 90, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars | Tags: , , ,

Oliva Serie V Maduro 2018 Double Robusto

Since 2008, Oliva has released a Limited Edition Maduro version of their popular Oliva Series V line. In the first few years, the company changed the wrapper until they found the right Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper and they have used that one since. And in the past, there was a limited Oliva V Maduro exclusively for Europe too. I loved the 2010 Short Robusto, that might be my favorite Oliva Series V Maduro ever.

I bought this cigar in Cigaragua, Amsterdam. Sasja, the owner, said I should really try this even though he knows I usually think that the natural is better than the yearly Maduro when it comes to the Oliva series V. I know he wouldn’t advise this if it really wasn’t as good as the natural, so I am going to give it a try.

The first thing I notice, or not notice might be a better description, is an added ring with either limited edition or Maduro written on it. It would be nice if Oliva would add a second ring, instead of just a little mention ‘Maduro especial’ on the regular ring. Especially with a year on the ring, that might add collector value, especially since the 6×60 Double Toro size is used every year and it’s hard to see which year you have when you don’t keep them in their own box.

The wrapper is dark, toothy, and oily wrapper. It has a vein running over the face of the cigar like a scar but it fits the rough looking, leathery wrapper. The ring is the classic, brown and golden Oliva Series V ring, well printed, nice and shiny. The cigar feels hard. The aroma is deep, strong, manure and charred wood.

The cold draw is good with a peppery raisin flavor. After lighting, I taste coffee, herbs, and pepper. There’s also some powder sugar, mild though. Soon I taste sweet toast, a bit like cinnamon toast. After a centimeter, I taste that cinnamon toast, pepper, and grass. Suddenly I taste some dark chocolate too. The second third starts with wood, spices, pepper, and leather. The final third starts with a strong chocolate flavor.

The draw is good, the smoke is white and good. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite dense and firm. The cigar is medium-full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a decent cigar but I prefer the regular Oliva Series V double robusto.

number91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , ,

Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente have been working together for decades. And all of Newman’s Dominican cigars are made at the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cya factory. Including this Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant. It is a short robusto extra, where the short stands for the 4 ½ inch length, and the extra is in the 54 ring.

This cigar was given to me by a friend, who imports the brand in Malaysia. He said he wanted my opinion on the cigar before he pulled the trigger on bringing the blend in. That’s a lot of pressure, but I am up for the task. So here I go, smoking this cigar with Dominican filler and binder. The wrapper is a Havana seed wrapper from Connecticut. Broadleaf!

The wrapper is dark, smooth and oily. The big ring has a lot of silver which contrasts the darkness of the wrapper. The ring is bright, big and of good quality. The cigar feels good, the right bounce when I gently squeeze the cigar. And the aroma is good too, medium strong, barnyard and wood.

The cold draw is great. I taste an unsuspected gingerbread and pepper flavor in the cold draw. After lighting, I taste strong earthy and coffee flavors. But there is also gingerbread in the flavor and minty freshness. And I like that gingerbread flavor. The cigar is well balanced. The flavors go remain in the coffee, gingerbread, pepper, leather and soil profile, with sometimes some grass, sometimes some vanilla. All with a creamy mouthfeel, After a third, I taste high-quality dark chocolate in the cigar as well. Halfway the pepper gets stronger, with some leaves, chocolate, and spices.

The draw is good. There is a lot of smoke and the salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The burn is good too. This cigar is medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes

.

Would I buy this cigar again? Due to the price, it will be once in a blue moon. But I do like it, a lot.

number91

Categories: 91, Diamond Crown, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , ,

Joya Silver Robusto

I always had a soft spot for Joya de Nicaragua. Ever since I smoked my first Antaño 1970, which was one of the strongest cigars available back then. And that soft spot grew once I got to know the company better when we became the official distributor for The Netherlands. I even visited the factory in Esteli twice.

Now, this Joya Silver is the latest release. Nicaraguan filler, Mexican binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper make up this box pressed cigar. It’s the third installment of the ‘color’ series which started with the Joya Red, followed by the Joya Black and now the Joya Silver. I have not smoked this cigar prior to the review.


The box pressed cigar looks nice. The Habano wrapper has a nice color, even though the wrapper doesn’t seem very oily. The ring has a fresh, modern design. A white ring with silver letters and the Joya logo in red. Classy yet contemporary. The cigar feels well made. The aroma is strong, deep and complex. I smell leather, horses, soil and those kinds of aromas.


The cold draw is good, the flavors are pepper on the lips and raisin on the palate. I immediately taste cedar, leather, spices with a dash of citrus. There’s also some salt. The spices remind me of a bit of gingerbread. After half a centimeter I taste some sweetness too, mild though, with the gingerbread and the cedar. Halfway I also taste some pepper, wood, leather, and soil. The final third still has that nice gingerbread spice, with some leather and mild pepper. Later on, some spiced sweetness shows up too with some toast.


The smoke is incredible, so thick, so full. The draw is good. The ash is light colored but not firm. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, always good to have them around
number91

Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Viking Valhalla Robusto

Viking is the brand of the Norwegian cigar distributor Hakon Aanonsen. His company sigar.com has been distributing cigars for over two decades in Norway and previously Aanonsen owned the brands Amero, Chess, and Hawk. Those brands were made by a small factory in the Dominican Republic and the project failed.


Aanonsen tried again, but this time with a new concept and a new factory. Ernesto Perez Carrillo is the manufacturer of the cigars and with the Viking brand, the Norwegian heritage is celebrated. First, there were the Viking, Norseman and the Nordic Warrior. Now there is a new blend, Valhalla.

The ring is a tin alloy, just like on the other Viking cigars. It is just not as detailed as the other Viking rings. Black and gold, with a two-headed goat. The cigar has a small pigtail. The wrapper is deep dark brown with no visible veins. There is a medium-strong aroma. The smell is located in the animal section of the flavor wheel, horse, cow, leather, those kinds of smells.


The cold draw is a bit loose with raw tobacco flavors. After lighting, I taste cinnamon, coffee, and earth. There a faint vanilla flavor as well. I also taste dried leaves. Quite quickly the flavors turn floral with spice, a bit harsh though and unrefined. After a third it’s still a floral cigar, but with a lot of pepper and some vanilla. Still a little rough and unrefined. Halfway the cigar becomes less harsh, more balanced with some wood, pepper, spices, and grass. In the second third, I taste carrots, raw carrots. With pepper. And the cigar turns to a wood, earth and leather flavor profile, with a little bit of pleasant chocolate. The chocolate is creamy.


The draw is quite loose and I had to correct the burn several times. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is salt and pepper colored, it’s firm and dense. I would say this cigar is medium-full, both in body and flavor. The smoke time is about an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will stick to the Viking Viking blend or the Nordic Warrior

number87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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