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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

Plasencia Reserva Organica Edicion Limitada 2001 Torpedo

Plasencia is a very big influence in the cigar industry, the company is now in it’s 5th generation and is one of the biggest tobacco growers in both Nicaragua and Honduras and has factories in both Nicaragua and Honduras. Only a few months ago they came out on the American market with cigars of their own, instead of just making private labels for everybody that wanted private labels done (they make cigars for Alec Bradley, Casa Magna is made by Plasencia but also different other smaller boutique brands like Wilson & Adams and many many more). Jonathan Drew calls them ‘the octopus’ in an endearing way, as everybody has got something to do with the Plasencia family. In Europe however they’ve been on the market with cigars produced under the Plasencia label for a while now and one of the two lines they had out was the Reserva Organica, the brain child of Nestor Andres Plasencia who wanted to make a cigar the way his ancesters did so without chemicals for pest control and no artificial fertilizer, 100% organic tobacco and so the Reserva Organica was born.


When the company I worked for started to distribute Plasencia cigars we got them with the beige ring, as pictured above. When I parted ways with my employer last june I had the time to catalog my huge stash of cigars, sort them out and put them in my online humidor at stogierate.com and much to my surprise I found 2 very old Plasencia Reserva Organica Edicion Limitada 2001. Now don’t ask me how I got them because I wasn’t even a cigar smoker back in 2001. The ring is completely different and the wrapper is darker than the current production. It’s like a nice medium roasted coffee bean. The cigar is 6 1/4 inch long with a 52 ring. The cigar has 2 rings, one simple black band with a bright yellow ring and white lettering saying “edicion limitada 2001’ and the a bigger yellow ring, slightly darker than the yellow used on the bottom ring, with the Plasencia Reserva Organica name written in curly letters and 3 drawings, the vulcanos, the sun and the sea and I think that is ment to represent Nicaragua, since this cigar is 100% Nicaraguan.


The construction feels good, no soft spots noticeble upon touch, there is very little aroma coming from the cigar and it makes me wonder if there is any flavor left since the blend is mild and the cigar is 15 years old, it could be way passed its prime. But I guess I’ll find out quick enough. Because of the shape I can’t punch so I have to cut. The cold draw is perfect but I don’t taste much.


I light the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a mild coffee flavor and a charcoal flavor. I also taste a little bit of sugar. The coffee and sugar disappear and I’m stuck with the mild charcoal flavor. After a third I taste a dry bark. Halfway the flavor changes to cedar but with a bitter yet mild creamy sensation on the tip of my tongue. Slowly but surely the cigar gets more bitter and it’s really unpleasant.


The draw is perfect and the smoke is medium thick and medium in volume, I’m not to impressed with it. The ash is beautiful, white, layered and firm. The burn is beautiful too, straight as an arrow. The cigar is mild bodied and mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is little over 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I love the idea of an organic cigar, less workers exposed to chemicals and less chemicals being smoked is nice, but the cigar was way passed its prime. And I hate giving such a low rating, I love the Plasencias, had great cigars from their factories so it sucks rating one of their cigars so low.

Score: 77

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Categories: 77, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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