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Te-Amo World Selection Series Robusto

A few years ago, while working for a Dutch cigar distributor, we released the Te Amo World Selection series in the robusto size on the Dutch market, dirt cheap premium cigars (premium as in hand made longfiller cigars).. They came in 5 different blends, a Cuban, Dominican, Honduran, Mexican and Nicaraguan blend, all with some tobacco from that country except for the Cuban blend, they used some Cuban seed tobacco for that. Boxes of 15 cigars and we mixed them up at our office so customers could get 3 cigars of each blend.  A box came at 33 euro, making the cigars €2,20 each. And they sold like hot cakes until Turrent decided to raise the price by 40%, that killed the line and caused my (by then ex) employer to say goodbye to all Turrent products. I will be reviewing all 5 blends in one big review, in alphabetical order

Te-Amo World Selection Series Cuba Blend Robusto

 

Cuba, the birth place of the modern day cigar industry and once by far the best cigar producing country in the world. But that changed when Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries gained power and nationalized everything. A lot of knowledge fled the country and started making cigars in the Dominican Republic, Canary Island, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the USA. Without the revolution the cigar industry wouldn’t be as big there as it is today, but also the condition of the Cuban cigars would be much higher as then there would be competition so companies would push each other to great heights instead of a decline you see nowadays in the quality of the construction, the quality of the tobacco, the lack of rest, the under fermentation and mono culture. Cuban cigars are no longer the best in the world and haven’t been for a decade, which is a shame as the Cuban soil is unique when properly taken care off. But this cigar doesn’t contain Cuban tobacco, only Cuban seed but grown in Mexico.


The wrapper looks dry, feels silky and it would have been more aesthetically pleasing is the veins were rolled before applying the wrapper. The ring is nice, it looks like two rings but it is one, one regular ring in beige with the Te Amo logo in red and a brown outline to it with some text in white and then what should look as a ring underneath in yellow with vertical red stripes and the letters Cuba Blend. The construction feels and looks good, no complaints there. The aroma is quite strong, hay, barnyard and wet autumn leaves come to mind while smelling the cigar.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, with a mild dry vanilla and raisin flavor, is fine. After lighting I taste a mild harsh and musty coffee and dirt flavor. After half an inch the harshness grows in strength with musty cedar and spices. Halfway I taste vanilla and nuts but still a butt harsh, very unrefined and unbalanced. Near the end I taste pepper too.


The draw is fine. The smoke is white, thick and good in volume. The ash is almost white and quite firm. The burn has some issues but corrects itself. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is very short with forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It is safe to say the answer to that question is NO.

Score: 79
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Te-Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto


This is the one I fear most, because of the Connecticut Shade wrapper in combination with the price, I mean, you can’t expect a top shelve product for this price and then with my least favorite wrapper, that’s a combination that won’t make me jump up of excitement on forehand. The filler is Dominican.


Oh boy, that wrapper, even though its quite dark for a Connecticut Shade it is butt ugly. Big fat dry veins and a very dry touch. The ring is the same as from the Cuba blend but with the same beige on the bottom where it says Dominicana blend as on the rest of the ring, where the Cuba blend had a dark yellow band. The construction feels good, the right amount of elasticity and a nice rounded head of the cigar. The aroma is quite strong and very ammonia or urine like.


I punched the cigar and cold draw great, I taste a mild musty and very faint chocolate with raw tobacco. After lighting, with a xikar jet flame this time, I taste a sweet, musty and peppery wood. A quarter of an inch in I taste a harsh nutmeg and herbs with a hint of chocolate. After a third I taste a harsh, musty, peppery walnut flavor that is not very nice. The final third is very peppery, chili pepper with cayenne.


The draw is fine, nothing to complain about. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is off though, uneven and after an inch I notice a burn spot halfway the cigar so there is a tunnel burn. The ash is dark, layered and ugly but still firm. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is relatively short with just an hour, the tunnel burn has got to do with it.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, not a chance.

Score: 76

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Te-Amo World Selection Series Honduras Blend Robusto


The Te Amo World Selection Series Honduras Blend is made of Honduran filler, a Mexican binder and a Honduran Wrapper. Like all others the cigar measures 5×54. If I would have had to make a prediction in which order I would rate the cigars before smoking them, this would probably be my number two, behind the Nicaragua blend. But let’s see how the list turns out after I reviewed all five of them.


The wrapper isn’t the prettiest wrapper I have seen to put it mildly, rough, big vein but a nice deep brown with even darker smears. The construction feels good, evenly packed, just the right amount of sponginess and a all rounded head. The ring is just like the others but with a brown backing color for the text Honduras blend. The aroma is quite strong and is a acidic stable, like a urine drenched hay floor after the cows went outside for the day.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and I taste raisin and wood. After lighting I taste nutmeg, oak and a little pepper. After half an inch I taste dull oak, very muted, with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets a bit of a nasty flavor, kind of like a dry vomit flavor but thankfully that flavor changes quick to a mild harsh oak and a faint cocoa powder. The final third starts out with a full blown pepper, good flavor.


The smoke is thin and low in volume. The draw is good though. The ash is light colored and dense, but flaky. The burn is okay, not good and not bad. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If the middle part wouldn’t be so disappointing I would. The finish is really strong and good.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Te-Amo World Selection Series Mexico Blend Robusto


This cigar is made competely with Mexican Criollo 98 tobacco according to the Te Amo website, and all from the San Andres region according to other sources online so I’m going with that. It’s been years since I smoked these cigars and in my memory this is the one I liked most even though my experience with Mexican puros isn’t that good, so I am wondering if my memory might be wrong. Only one way to find out……


The wrapper is dark and rustic, it could pass for a Brazilian wrapper with the thick veins and the dark yet dry looking wrapper. The cigar looks mean and tough. The ring is simple, the same as the other rings but this time with a green bottom part saying Mexico Blend in white letters. The construction feels good, the cigar is a bit hard but evenly hard with a nice rounded head. The aroma is mild to medium strong and is a bit of a musty barnyard aroma.


I punched the cigar and the draw is loose, very easy. I taste raw tobacco and hay. The first thing I notice while lighting the cigar is the unpleasant smell. The first puff is a coffee flavor but not very refined with some sweetness. The sweetness is getting strong after a few puffs, it’s confectioners sugar. After a third I taste a harsh sweetness with nutmeg and pepper. Without the harshness it would be really nice. The harshness disappears halfway, I taste wood, nutmeg, honey and pepper.


The draw is easy but the smoke is thick and full. The ash is a little coarse, but light colored and beautifully layered. The burn is good. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, with a decent evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? As a cheap yardgar yes.

Score: 85
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Te-Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto

Nicaragua, my favorite cigar country, most of the cigars that I like are coming from Esteli and I visited the town twice so far. Not that I dislike cigars from other countries, just look at the Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius from Miami or the Balmoral Anejo Lancero from the Dominican that both scored high this year, but if there is one country that has more hits in my book than any other, it’s Nicaragua. So the expectations are high, higher than the other blends. The cigar is made with a Corojo wrapper from an undisclosed country, a Mexican binder and Nicaraguan filler.


The wrapper isn’t a looker, its not bad either but just a dry, medium brown wrapper with a few thin veins. The ring is equal to the others but I have to say, the red used to recognize the Nicaragua blend from the others is the best looking color of the whole series. The cigar feels hard but evenly packed everywhere. The aroma is strong, but not the nicest smell I ever smelled, like the toilet of a mall after hours.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is a bit tight so I decided to cut instead. The cold draw is peppery with some raisin. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste chocolate with toast. After a quarter of an inch I taste wood and spices, but not the best I ever tasted. After a third I taste an ashy, salty flavor with some musty wood and a hefty dose of pepper. Halfway I taste mostly pepper with some wood. The pepper is getting stronger and stronger.


Due to the cut the draw is good. The burn is pretty straight. The ash is pepper and salt colored with nice layers and pretty firm. The smoke is too thin to my liking. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? As a cheap BBQ cigar, why not?

Score: 86
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Categories: 76, 79, 80, 85, 86, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Te Amo | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

00 Series, full line review

Now this is a kind of unusual review, not of one cigar but of 5 different cigars, all from one factory, series, but different vitolas. You might wonder why I don’t write separate reviews, well, I thought about that too, but I know too little about these cigars to write 5 full reviews and to be honest, the public opinion and sales numbers about these cigars were so poor that my expectations aren’t high at all so why waste 5 posts to these cigars instead of 1 long one with 5 ratings? And it’s a medium filler anyway, not worthy of 5 full reviews. So this will be a long read, but its 5 reviews at once.
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I remember years ago that my then employer said “we have a new product, very cheap, medium filler and I expect a lot from these cigars because of their price”. Well, he was wrong! It’s simple to assume that price is the only reason for success, in this case the price was the only thing that was right but all the other reasons for success we missing. First of all I didn’t have any information, except that my employer got these cigars via Meerapfel in Belgium, so no manufacturer, no blend information, no factory information so I couldn’t give my retailers any information either. Then came the unappealing plain boxes, the cheap looking labels and the terrible name, add that there is completely no information found on the internet and even if there was, the name makes it impossible to find, I mean is the cigar called 01 as in all number ‘zero one’ or O1, as in the letter O and the number 1. Needless to say, I sold all the boxes to several retailers but they had a hard time selling them and I only got one re-order, Carlo from Rokado in Uden had a customer that liked them enough to order two more boxes of the number 3 size.

01

The 01 is the skinniest of the bunch, it measures 5 1/8×36 so that makes is a (short) panatela. The wrapper is a bit dull and feels a bit like very fine sandpaper. The ring is well printed but too simple to stand out, way too simple. Its just a regular shaped ring, dark blue with golden lettering, 2 horizontal stripes broken up by the number 01 (or the letter O and number 1). The construction feels a little soft, a little squishy but the cap is put on with skillful hands. The aroma is faint, but after a few sniffs I smell a manure aroma without any ammonia or acidity.


Due to the small ring gauge I can’t punch the cigar so I opted to cut it. The cold draw is surprisingly easy I though but then I remembered this being a medium filler. The cold draw is pretty tasteless, only a mild pepper taste. Lighting the cigar is pretty easy and I taste a musty earthy and coffee flavor. Too musty for my liking. The cigar gets a little harsh and the harshness grows to a level where I would have tossed the cigar if I wasn’t smoking it for a review.


The draw is fine, the smoke is oke, reasonably full but gray instead of white. The ash is fine, light gray and firm for a medium filler. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke time of this medium bodied mild flavored cigar is forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 72
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02

The 02 is the nub of the family, 4 inch long and a ring gauge of 62. Studio Tobac started with the nub, a lof of companies followed and I still don’t understand why and more, why these sizes are selling as I find all of them dull, boring and they lack dynamic due to the filler vs wrapper ratio.  The wrapper is identical to the wrapper on the 01 and the same goes for the ring with the difference in color, where the 01 has a dark blue ring, the 02 has a pitch black ring, shiny though. The cigar feels evenly packed but the head has a bump. The mild to medium strong aroma reminds me of a barn at a petting zoo.


Due to the big ring gauge I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side with a mild musty raisin flavor. After lighting the cigar taste musty, Connecticut Shade musty but the wrapper doesn’t look like shade grown. It’s musty cedar with some nutmeg, it’s not bad. After half an inch it’s just musty cedar, musty with a capitol M. After a third the cigar gets peppery and spicy but not in a great way, it’s better than the first third but there is no nuance or complexity just harsh wood and pepper. Near the end it’s musty again.


The draw is a bit on the loose side. The smoke is good though, not the thickest I’ve seen but still good and a better color than the 01. The ash is white and firm. The burn is oke. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is about 50 minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
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03
The 03 is a fat robusto, a 5×60 and the wrapper is a lighter color than the 01 and the 02. The binder must not be very pretty either because I can see pimples under the wrapper, if this cigar was a teenager it would surely grab an acne lotion. The ring is boring like the 01 and the 02, just a shiny, bright green with golden 03, no fancy stripes like on the 01 and 02, just plain and boring. The construction feels good, the cigar is evenly packed although at the head of the cigar I feel a piece that doesn’t feel round but flat instead. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of hay and a barn before the hay of the night before is cleaned out.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a bit loose, but then again, it is a medium filler. I taste almost nothing, only a little harsh tobacco. After lighting I taste a little nutmeg and cinnamon, the flavors feel warm. The flavor isn’t bad nor great, and there is no evolution. Halfway the nutmeg and cinnamon becomes a bit musty. Near the end the cigar gets a little harsh.


The draw is good. The smoke is also very good, plenty and thick. The ash is light gray but not too firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium bodied cigar medium flavored with poor evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
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04

The 04 is the first one with a regular size, 5×50 robusto and the wrapper looks the same as the 01 and the 02 but a little rougher because of a vein. The ring is burgundy red with golden letters and just like the 03 without the stripes on the side. This is the first of the series where I can’t comment on the construction, it feels good and looks good. The aroma is mild and smells like straw and hay, clean straw and hay.


After my experiences with the first 3 I am reluctant to smoke number 4, but you should finish what you start so I cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine, a little spicy. I taste a mild coffee with some acidity after lighting the cigar. Halfway the cigar is all citrus with spices. The cigar slowly gets a little harsh.


The draw is great. The smoke is a bit thin. The light gray ash is layered and firm for a medium filler. The burn is straight. The evolution is almost non existent again. This is a medium  bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
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05

The 6×60 gordo has the roughest wrapper of them all, a shade darker than the 01, 02 and 04 but still dull, dry and with a sandpaper touch and a little roughness on the appearance. The cigar feels well packed and looks fine. As for the ring, I think the designer went on a bender during the weekend and designed this on monday morning while still intoxicated. Come on, I can handle the diamond shaped squares with the golden outlines but the color combination? What is this, a carnival cigar? Alternating purple and orange with gold? What was the designer thinking? And then using the same purple to write 05 in an orange square? People are fired for less. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of hay that has been used in a barn, but I also smell a little mint.


After the first 4 cigars I’m dreading this one, bad scores and flavors overall, and the final cigar is a size I hate so that combination makes me not want to light the cigar. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is great but tasteless. After lighting I taste a musty earthy flavor. Halfway I taste a little pepper.


The draw is a bit loose with a decent amount of medium thick smoke. The ash is light gray and coarse. The burn is decent. The evolution is non existent. This is a mild to medium bodied and mild to medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 76
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Categories: 00 Series, 72, 76, 77, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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