Cigars by rating

Flor de Oliva Lancero

I was looking for a budget lancero since I’m publishing a long list of budget reviews and I found a Flor de Oliva lancero in my lancero humidor, a perfect candidate for a budget lancero review, since you can get these 6 1/2×44 cigars for less than 2 dollars per cigar on the internet. And that’s cheap! Now some sites call these cigars lonsdale, some call them lancero, some call them panatela but for the sake of publishing a lancero every 15th of the month I will consider it a lancero.


The cigar is made in Nicaragua, in the Oliva factory in Esteli where prize winning cigars like the Series V and the Melanio lines are being produced too yet the Flor de Oliva series are in a completely different price range. There is a Maduro serie with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper but I’m smoking the natural, a cigar with Nicaraguan filler and a Sumatra wrapper.


The wrinkly wrapper has a latte color and a mild shine from the oils. The ring is very simple, thick white outlines, a blue top part and a red bottom part, white letters Flor de Oliva in the Flor de Cano font and golden tobacco leaves at the bottom. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is decent, it reminds me of a spice rack, different spices mixed together.


I used a guillotine cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is good. All I taste is tobacco with a little sweetness. After lighting I taste wood with a little allspice. The cigar has a mild sweetness but also a a mix of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin. In the final third I taste some wood too, but the flavors get a little mean.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is thick and white. The ash is light gray, but it’s not very firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s the best flor de Oliva natural, but I would not buy it again.

Score: 88
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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, 88, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Miami Mafia Torpedo

I think it was in 2012 that I went to Miami with some friends and we spend a few evenings at Cuban Crafters. I bought some singles of the cheap cigars that are made especially for them, probably at Kiki Berger’s factory as he owned Cuban Crafters too. One of these cigars was the Miami Mafia Torpedo, a 6×60 torpedo with a price tag of 3 dollars and 19 cents. Don Kiki passed away since and I don’t know if the cigars are still in production, the Cuban Crafters website doesn’t have them in stock.


The cigar is made with Cuban seed longfillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic with an Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The name is a knot to the rumors that the early cigar makers in Miami had ties to the organized crime, the mafia, and we all know that the mafia had a stronghold in Miami throughout history and that many mobsters enjoyed good cigars so there could be some truth to that urban legend.


The wrapper is dark for a Connecticut shade wrapper but light for a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper. It has a few thin veins. The cigar feels rock hard and the head of the cigar isn’t symmetrically correct. The ring is simple, black and yellow with just Miami Mafia printed on it in low quality. The aroma is good, medium strong and barnyard, some ammonia too.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is good. I taste a mild raisin with white pepper. After lighting I taste a mildly bitter coffee with some acidity. After an inch I taste a mild bitter wood with lime, pepper and sweetness. The final third starts with wood, cinnamon, vanilla, cilantro and pepper. Then all of a sudden I taste caramel with wood. The final third is great!


The draw is good, a little tight to be perfect but still good. The smoke is on the thin side and there isn’t much of it either. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is alright on this medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. Due to the big ring the evolution lacks. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? For 3 dollars this is surely a budget cigar to consider, especially the last part is very nice. It lost points on evolution, smoke and appearance but flavor wise it’s worth the money.

Score: 85
number85

Categories: 85, Miami Mafia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Nica Libre Torpedo

The Nica Libre brand is a brand created by A.J. Fernandez for Cigars International as a cheap alternative for the Padron anniversary series and they called it the Padron Killer. It’s pretty clear that they did everything to make it look like a Padron, box pressed, the San Andres maduro wrapper in the same shades as Padron and even the ring resembles the Padron band a little, but then with a $3 price tag on the 6×52 torpedo *note: i’m smoking an aged one, with the old ring*


I guess I bought this cigar about 7 years ago, when I still ordered cigars from overseas and when I was looking for a good quality steal. I went online and bought several boxes of cheap cigars on Cigars International, cigars of which I heard good stories and this was one of them. And with A.J. Fernandez behind this cigar I just had to buy it since I loved almost all the cigar that I had smoked with his signature on it.


As I said, the cigar has the same shape as a Padron, the dark, leather like wrapper looks great and the factory hid the vein at the back of the cigar. The ring has different brown and beige colors and it is almost a copy of the Padron anniversary bands, C.I. did everything to make this cigar resemble a Padron, a little more creativity would have been nice. The construction feels great and the cigar has a well finished head. The aroma is quite mild and I smell some wood and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with a xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect, I taste dry and spicy tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and green spicy herbs. Soon after I taste dried fruits. After an inch I also taste some pepper. Halfway I taste carrots, pepper and dried fruit, with pepper as a predominant flavor. The final third starts with a spicy wood, carrots and pepper.


The draw is a little loose from perfect but the smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The ash is close to white. The burn is great but the ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium plus flavored. The smoke time is short though, only an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a Padron killer but it’s a very good 3 dollar cigar.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Nica Libre, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

JR Edicion Limitada Robusto

Another mystery cigar to me, this JR Edicion Limitada. All I know it’s a house blend for the JR Cigar shops and judging from the pictures on the website and the size it could be the JR Edicion Limitada Alternative Behike 54, although this cigar is a little smaller than the advertised size, but then again, I must have had this cigar for years so it could be an old, no longer available version with a different blend at all. The size is 5 1/4 x54.


I had this cigar in my humidor for years, way before I moved into my current home with walk-in humidor, so it was stashed in a cooler for a long time without a blank ring with hand written information on how I got it, when I got it and where I got it, if it was a bomb, a trade or a buy, although I can’t imagine me buying this stick especially since I never ordered at JR in my life so it must have been a trade, a bomb or a gift.


The cigar has a nice dark wrapper, leathery with some tooth and one vein. The ring is simple, black with golden details and letters and the edicion limitada is a rip off from the Cuban rings, the gold is a bit dull and the paper quality isn’t that high. The construction feels good, no hard or soft spots and the head is beautifully rounded with a nice triple cap. There is a faint chocolate aroma to the cigar, thats all there is when I smell the cigar.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter and the cold draw is great. The taste is a little peppery with some oak. After lighting the cigar I taste dark oak, slightly burned. After half an inch i taste toast with some honey and tar, the tar makes the cigar not too pleasant. After an inch it’s oak with tar and pepper. I checked the head of the cigar but there is no tar build up to cause the nasty flavor. After two thirds the tar gets a little less and the peper is getting stronger.


The draw is fantastic, perfect. The smoke is fine but a little thicker would have been nice. The firm ash is white with black smears. The burn is reasonably straight. There isn’t a lot of evolution in this medium bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No! This cigar is boring and not very nice.

Score: 77
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Categories: 77, Dominican cigars, JR | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

La Finca Figurado

La Finca, all I know is that this cigar is made in Nicaragua because it says so on the ring, but who makes it, who owns it, if it’s still made and how I got it, all big questions for me so I googled and found a review at Stogiereview with some information about the brand which seems to be established in 1972, which is a wonderful year, and made at the same factory as Jose Marti and a few other brands I don’t know, NATSA, which as far as I know is part of STG nowadays, but I’m not 100% sure. I also found that the cigars are still sold at JR Cigars for dirt cheap.


I only read the intro of the review for the general information as I didn’t want my opinion being influenced by reading another review. I did read the comments though and they went from “worst cigar I ever smoked” to “I buy them by the ammo case, I love them and they are my favorite bargain cigar” so I still don’t know what to expect. I’m curious what this cheap bundle cigar tastes like, especially since it has some age to it. I am only confused about the wrapper as Stogie Review says it’s a Nicaraguan wrapper while JR claims it’s an Ecuadorean habano. Even though this 6 3/4×54 sized cigar would usually be called a torpedo, La Finca calls it a figurado, which of course isn’t wrong as every non parejo cigar is a figured.


The cellophane started to discolor, a sign of aging and once I release the cigar from the cellophane I feel a velvety wrapper that is brown but with a pale glow to it, and a rough appearance with a lot of small veins. The construction feels good and the cigar has a sharp head. The ring is simple, red with simple golden details and a black banner with golden letters La Finca. The print quality of the gold isn’t too high though, it breaths budget. The aroma isn’t very nice either, acidic and musty, medium strong. Just based on smell and looks I don’t have high hopes for this cigar.


Due to the shape I had to use my cutter. The cold draw is great but it leaves a bitter peppery flavor on my lips. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and the cigar makes a cracking noise. I taste a mild bitter and harsh coffee. After half an inch the cigar is a little harsh wood with some pepper. Halfway some citrus joins. The pepper grows too. After two thirds I taste some nuts too.


The smoke is thin, it has a nice white color though. The draw is good, a little tighter than I like but still good. The burn is off, I needed to correct a few times. The ash is white and firm. There is not a lot of evolution. This is a medium bodied yet full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t.

Score: 77
number77

Categories: 77, La Finca, Nicaraguan American Tobacco SA, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Cucaracha nub

I got this 4×60 Cucaracha nub as a sampler to try from one of our competitors when I was still working in the cigar industry. All I know is that the cigar is made for a Swedish company named GN Tobacco, were released in 2012 and that the cigars are made in Esteli, Nicaragua but I don’t know the msrp on these cigars, the blend or which factory they are being produced.


I read on a forum that the brand owner named the cigar after the famous La Cucaracha song but I would never name my cigars after a cockroach, it just sounds nasty and with that they made the same mistake as the Panamanian brand Colon, that means something different in English and doesn’t make the cigar sound appealing at all.


The wrapper has a milk chocolate color and looks decent, no real veins, evenly colored, just nice. The construction feels good, evenly packed but with a uneven head and not the best cap I have ever seen. The ring is very simple, burgundy sides and a white circle in the center with the GN Tobacco logo in red, cucaracha in black and hecho a mano in red again. Simple design. The aroma is strong and smells acidic like cow urine with some hay.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good but quite tasteless. After lighting I taste dusty soil with some acidity and sweetness. The flavors are musty, I’m not enjoying it much. Halfway is taste a mildly bitter wood with a muted honey sweetness.


The draw is fine and the smoke is medium thick and full. The darkish ash is compact and firm. Like almost all big ring cigars this cigar has got no dynamic at all. It is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The burn is straight. The smoke time is an hour exactly.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. Boring.

Score: 77
number77

Categories: 77, Cucaracha, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Don Tomas Clasico Robusto

I have several assorted boxes of cigars in my humidor, and I dedicated one box as ‘review box’. I sorted one of the assorted boxes out and if I had just a single cigar of a brand it would go into the review box, if I had multiple cigars in the box one would go into the review box while the rest stayed in the assorted box. And every time I go for a review I pick one from the review box. Today it was the Honduran Don Tomas Clasico Toro, a cigar made by General Cigars.


Now the cigar is named robusto but the 5 1/2 inch length is actually right in between a 5 inch robusto and a 6 inch toro. The ring gauge is 50, just as with a classic robusto or toro. I must have had this in my humidor for a few years since the cellophane started to discolor but I have no recollection on how old the cigar is, where I got it and how much it was. I know its a cheap cigar though.


The wrapper is a nice medium brown and quite oily, on the back I see one thick vein though that should have been flattened. The rest of the wrapper is flawless. The construction feels a bit hard, but evenly hard and because of the big vein I mentioned the head of the cigar isn’t beautifully rounded. The ring is very simple, black with golden edges, a yellow ring around it with black letters Don Tomas, topped with a golden crown and at the bottom yellow letters clasico on a black back. The ring is glossy and looks a bit tacky, the print quality isn’t the best I have seen. The aroma is quite strong, barnyard and lemon, that’s what I smell.


I punched the cigar and the raisin flavored cold draw is fine. After lighting I taste coffee with some grass. After half an inch I taste salted peanuts. After a third the cigar turns a little harsh. I taste some cinnamon and vanilla. The final thirds is mildly salted peanuts again with vanilla and some mint.


The smoke is decent, in thickness and volume. The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is medium in body and flavor with a low evolution level. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even though it’s a budget cigar I won’t.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Red balloons with ribbon – Number 80

Categories: 80, Don Tomas, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Oro de Esteli Robusto

Oro de Esteli, this is a bundle cigar and I can’t find a lot of information about the cigar online. It’s for sale in a few European countries like the United Kingdom, Italy. Sweden and The Netherlands. I got this cigar from the distributer just to try it, since I never smoked it. What I know about this cigar is very little, obviously the 5×50 size and that it’s made in Esteli, Nicaragua. I think its made by Horizon tobacco, but I’m not sure and according to an English website the cigar is made from Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadorian wrapper, Connecticut seed.


When I release the cigar from the cellophane I see a light brown wrapper with a few thin veins and it feels quite silky with a shiny yet simple band. The band is brown with golden outlines, an abstract drawing of tobacco leaves in gold and the words ‘oro de esteli’ and ‘totalemente a mano’ in white. The letters aren’t completely centered and the band looks a bit cheap even though its a nice paper quality. The construction feels good and the cigar has quite a strong aroma of manure, wood, hay and horses.


I cut the cigar with my Xicar cutter to find a loose draw with a mild tobacco flavor that leaves a spicy and tingly feeling on my lips. After I lit the cigar with a soft flame lighter I taste cedar and coffee with a hint of leather. After little over an inch I taste cedar with a mild nutmeg but it’s also mild musty but that must be the Connecticut shade that always gives me that mustiness. Halfway it’s more of a mild cocoa, nutmeg, cedar mix with a musty undertone. Soon after I also taste a little licorice. After two thirds I taste some nutty flavor with nutmeg and pepper. At the end the pepper is getting strong.


The draw is loose. The smoke is medium both in volume and thickness. The ash is white and dense. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No, it’s a typical easy bundle cigar, great for budget smokers or beginners but I’m far from a beginner. And since most cigar smokers aren’t cigar geeks that know and want more from a cigar I think this could be one of those cigar thats can be a good seller in any shop.

Score: 83

83

 

Categories: 83, Nicaraguan cigars, Oro de Esteli | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joya Black Toro

Earlier I wrote a review on the Joya Black Robusto and it scored a decent 89 and with that score it won’t make my top 25 of 2017, that’s for sure. I did smoke a few other Joya’s too this year like the Red Half Corona, original release Cuatro Cinco and the Rosalones Reserva plus La Sagrada Familia, Fratello and Sobremesa that are made at the Joya factory and they all scored good ratings from 89 and up. And I must say, from all the factories I visited in Esteli I like the peace and quiet at Joya best, the place has a tranquility and an atmosphere that is unique and that I haven’t found at any of the other factories I visited (including Oliva, Padron, La Zona, My Father, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, A.J. Fernandez, Plasencia and Aromas de Jalapa). Now I’m not saying the other factories aren’t nice, every factory has their own vibe and charm, but to me Joya stands out.

 


The cigar is the first Joya de Nicaragua cigar with a Mexican San Adres Negro wrapper and the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan. According to Mario Perez the idea behind the blend is to mix the Nicaraguan filler and binder with the specific characteristics of the Mexican wrapper without the cigar becoming overpowering and be like a little stronger version of the so popular Joya Red, the cigar that broke with the classic tradition of the Joya brand to catch a new, younger & hipper crowd and succeeded so well.

 


I smoked the 6×52 toro that I got at Intertabac 2016 and once I unwrap the cigar from the cellophane I smell dark chocolate with some pepper, very unusual but nice. The construction is beautiful although at the back of the cigar the triple cap is a bit uneven.  The dark wrapper is shiny from the oil and has a long vein running along the side of the cigar. The ring is modern, just like the Joya Red ring actually and they remind me of each other, except for the color, which is pitch black with a silver lining and Joya logo, blue lining to break the black and white letters saying Joya Black. Modern, sleek, clear, simple, I like it.

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is just fine. I taste some mild mixture of hay, dark chocolate and raisin. After I lit the cigar with the last bit of butane I had left in my Ronson I taste a mild acidic and sweet coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste coffee with pepper. The cigar name is black but the flavor is also dark. Slowly the cigar gets a little spicier with earthy flavors. After a thirds it’s still a very earthy cigar with a little lime, some salt, pepper and peanuts. The pepper slowly gains some strength and I also taste a faint hint of dark chocolate. Halfway the pepper slows down again, the peanuts have gone and I’m back to earthy and citrusy flavors with a hint of dark chocolate. After that the cigar slowly get more sweetness. At the end I taste nuts again.

 


The smoke is medium thick and a bit grayish. The ash is beautiful, white, dense and firm. The draw is great. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The burn is slow and straight. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, but only in the fall or winter.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diesel Unholy Cocktail

Before I got my job in the cigar industry, a job I’m no longer working in, I used to participate in ordering cigars from the USA even though that is legally not allowed in The Netherlands. It is allowed to bring in 50 cigars in person, but internet orders are prohibited. Yet I did it because of the huge difference in availability of cigars and the prices back then with a low dollar and a strong euro. And one of the cigars I bought often because I loved them for flavor and price was the Diesel Unholy Cocktail, made by A.J. Fernandez for Meier & Dutch, a wholesaler connected to cigarsinternational.com. But as soon as I landed my job I had to stop of course and hated that I could not buy these great cigars again.


After two years of nagging I finally got my employer so far that he said “ok, see if you can get in touch with them” and so happened, after a few mails and me accidentally running into my contact when I was visiting Esteli, Nicaragua, we agreed that we would distribute their cigars in The Netherlands. I made a selection from their exclusive cigars and of course I included the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and they were an instant hit in The Netherlands too, becoming a big part of our turnover. I just realized that I only have a few of these 5×56 belicosos left so I should do a review.


The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane and once I take the cigar out of that protective layer I see a dark  and rustic wrapper, very toothy and it feels a bit like sandpaper but the look fit the name and the flavor profile. The cigar only has a small foot ring, brown with a darker brown medieval font written Diesel and a smaller written diesel in a beige color. Simple but again, it fits the cigar. The construction feels great and the belicoso has a sharp head. The aroma is quite strong, I smell manure, a little ammonia and hay.


Since it’s a belicoso I have to cut the cigar and I do so with my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect. I taste a spicy, peppery raisin flavor. Once I light the cigar I taste cocoa powder, dry cedar and coffee beans. Soon I taste pepper, a faint cocoa powder and a strong earthy flavor. After little over half an inch I also taste some nuts. After a third the main flavor is earthy with spices, peanuts, a little lemon and pepper. Every few puffs I taste some cocoa powder too. Halfway the cigar has a dark chocolate sweetness and bitterness with nutmeg, wood and pepper. The pepper is getting stronger just like the wood.


The draw is fantastic just as the smoke, which is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is so full flavored and bold that it tastes like it’s a very full bodied cigar but truth is, it’s medium full. There is a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah!

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, Diesel, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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