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Juan Clemente Classic & Club Selection Small Robusto

I found two almost similar looking cigars in my humidor, the only difference is a little bit of a color difference on the rings and the wrapper so I thought it might just be discoloration of the ring due to aging, but who googling I found out that they are actually two different blends, the Juan Clemente Club Selection and the Juan Clemente Classic, both in a small robusto size of 4 1/2×48.

Juan Clemente is the brain child of the Frenchman Jean Clement who started his brand in 1975 at the state owned La Tabacalera factory. His focus was mainly on the European market back in the day but even though Jean Clemente passed away a few years ago, his cigars are still available worldwide, including the United States.

Juan Clemente Club Selection Small Robusto


The cigar looks good, a beautiful medium brown, smooth wrapper with one noticeable vein and a silky feel. The construction feels good but the head has two pimples like a teenager. The aroma is quite grassy and fresh to my surprise but it fits the white greenish ring. I say white greenish because the ring looks like it was white once but has a discoloration problem. The top ring is small, curvy and says Juan Clemente in golden letters while the foot ring says the same, but not in a curly font, with two golden lines, one above and one below the text.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great and has a fresh taste of raw tobacco. After lighting I taste nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon all in a well balanced mix. I taste some pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste a harsh wood, nutmeg and pepper mixture. Halfway I taste a creamy, mild vanilla flavored wood with a little lime, though with a harshness that I don’t like. Near the end the harshness grows with sweet cinnamon.


The draw is fine, the smoke is thick and good in volume. The ash is white and firm. The burn is beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is fifty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No!

Score: 82
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Juan Clemente Classic Small Robusto


The ring of this cigar is identical to the Club Selection, only in bright, glossy white instead of the strange color of the latter one. Compare the pictures and you can understand why I wasn’t convinced that it were two blends instead of one blend with a slightly discolored ring. The wrapper is a lighter shade, mild oily with a few minor veins. The construction has some softer spots, not too soft though but a little inconsistent with the rest of the cigar. The medium strong aroma is cocoa with fresh wood.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is fine but quite tasteless. While removing the foot ring the wrapper cracks as the ring was stuck to the wrapper, I hope that doesn’t influence the burn. I taste toast, nutmeg, chili flakes, vanilla and lime. Now that sounds like a flavor bomb but the flavors are muted. After half an inch the flavors aren’t muted any longer and I taste a sharp birch wood with chili flavor, a little on the harsh side. Halfway I taste toast with some walnut and a slightly harsh peppery birch.


The draw is fine and so is the smoke, which is thick enough, enough in volume and a nice white color. The almost perfect white ash is beautiful. I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is about an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No, I’ll pass.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, Dominican cigars, Juan Clemente, La Tabacalera | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

708 Barber Pole Shaggy & Juniors

Recently I was visiting the headquarters of a company that is thinking about going into cigars and the owner gave me a few cigars to try, amongst them were these 708 Shaggy & Juniors Barber pole by Brothers Cigars. I knew nothing about the brand so I googled and it turns out it is a Dominican made cigar named after the area code of Chicago where the brothers Zaid & Firas Eid have their shop.

As I said, the cigar is made on the Dominican Republic and I’ve seen and smoked several barber pole cigars, mostly with two kinds of wrappers. This cigar is actually made with three wrappers, Connecticut Shade, Habano and Maduro, so that sets it apart from the others. The Shaggy Barber Pole measures 7 1/2 inch but the bottom part is shaggy, and the ring gauge is 52 while the Juniors Barber Pole is a 4×44 petit corona.

708 Shaggy Barber Pole


I like the look, 3 different color wrappers of which the Connecticut shade has the least appealing look because of a vein. In the shaggy foot I can see different colors of tobacco too. I wouldn’t call it a real shaggy foot though, just uncut, as it is pressed and firm, not shaggy. The construction feels great, the head is well rounded and the cap is applied perfectly. The only comment I can give is that the different tobaccos aren’t all applied in an even thickness, the Babano wrapper is a smaller strip than the Maduro or Connecticut. The ring is simple, Beige in the centre fading to brown with a simple brown logo saying 708 cigars in a handwritten font. The secondary ring has the barber pole style and says Barber Pole, just in case you hadn’t noticed. The rings are printed on nice glossy paper. The aroma is very strong, hay, straw and barnyard.


When I wet the cap to punch it I notice the sweetened cap, that’s not a positive in my book. The cold draw is fine and all I taste is that chemical sweetener. After carefully lighting the cigar I taste that sweetness with a little coffee, but it’s so overpowered by that naar sweetness that it’s almost not detectable. After the shaggy foot I just taste that nasty sweetness, I’m afraid this will be a long and painful review. The sweetness is fading a little bit and instead I taste a harshness of poor quality tobacco and a hint of chocolate. After a third the sweetness has faded to an acceptable level and I taste cheap chocolate and some soil. The flavor doesn’t change much, the second third starts out with the earth flavor and the chemical sweetness. Halfway the sweetness is finally gone, I taste green herbs, spicy, like rucola salad. The final third it’s wood with earth, pepper and herbs. The final few puffs are spicy and peppery.


The draw is fine. The smoke is white but too thin for my liking. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is good, quite straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, the evolution picks up halfway. The smoke time is three hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? I still have one, guess I’ll have to cut the whole sweetened tip off before lighting it. The sweetened tip caused the score to be at least 5 points lower than it would have gotten without that nasty sweetness.

Score: 82
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708 Juniors Barber Pole


The day after, the next 708 Barber Pole but this time the 4×40 Juniors. Just as the Shaggy this cigar has three different wrappers, Connecticut Shade, Habano and Maduro and again the strips of tobacco are different in size, the maduro is way thinner than the others. The ring is a carbon copy of the Shaggy and the construction is equally good. The aroma is just as strong as the shaggy, very strong for a petit corona, and again hay, straw and barnyard.


Due to the thin size I cut the cigar instead of punching it. I’m smoking outside in an almost wind free spot of my garden for a change due to the perfect summer weather, so I will light the cigar with a jet flame. The cold draw is a bit loose and I taste some of the sweetness from the sweetened tip but not as strong as on the shaggy and some raw tobacco. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with just a hint of sweetness, the first puff is so much better than the shaggy. After a quarter of an inch the cigar gets a little harsh. After a third I don’t taste any sweetness just a sharp, spicy and mild salty fresh wood flavor and some earth. Slowly the cigar gets a little harsh again with more pepper. Near the end I taste more wood.


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick, white and there’s a lot of it. The ash is salt and pepper colored and firm. This is a medium bodied medium full flavored cigar with not a lot of evolution but then again, it’s too short to have a lot of evolution. The smoke time is forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I would pick this over the shaggy but won’t pay for it.

Score: 85
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Categories: 708 Cigars, 82, 85, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inca Secret Blend Crystals Lonsdale

I got this cigar from a cigar distributer that asked me for my opinion so he can decide weather to carry these cigars or not. So I went online to learn something about the brand as I never heard of them. I did know that there is some tobacco cultivation being done in Peru, I once met a Dutch pensionado that made cigars in Peru with his Italian business partner, his cigars were okay but way to expensive for what you got. So the claim on the Inca Cigars website that they are the only Peruvian puro on the market isn’t true, Polman Recency is also a Peruvian puro.


What I read on the website is that Inca Cigars is partly owned by Mitchel Orchant, a name that a lot of European cigar aficionados will know as he was (or is) the face of C.Gars LTD and the factory is owned by Gennaro Lettieri which to me sounds quite Italian and what are the odds that two Italians own a cigar factory in a non traditional Cigar producing country? So I expect that the Polman Regency that I mentioned and smoked before is produced in the exact same factory. While browsing for information I got a little confused as the cigars are sold in the UK under the name Inka with a K and in the US under the name Inca with a C and Alec Bradley is handling the distribution in the US.


As for the cigar, its a 6×40 lonsdale btw, once I took it out of its cellophane wrapping I saw a very rustic wrapper with veins in a Connecticut shade like light color. The cigar has a pig tail which I like but the cap is huge and that combined with the rough appearance of the wrapper doesn’t make the cigar appealing. The construction feels good although all along the back I feel a ridge that probably comes from the cigar molds and as I wrote in the previous sentence, the cap looks horrible. The ring is beautiful though, with a nice blue background, white lettering, a picture of an Inca and golden details. It also says 100% puro and the back says “rich, smooth and satisfying’. The cigar has a very pleasant and quite full hay aroma.


I cut the cigar with a flat cut, the cold draw is a bit tight. I taste salty raisin with a spicy aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste a spicy coffee with a citrus sour aftertaste. After a centimeter it’s mainly lemon like acidity. After an inch I taste some dry wood and a little bit of chocolate. After a third the cigar turns musty, like I’m smoking a Connecticut shade cigar. I also taste some acidity. After two thirds i taste some nuts, a little bit of pepper and still the acidity.


The draw is a little tight. The ash is silver gray and dense, but it isn’t firm. The smoke is medium thick and medium in amount. The burn is straight. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored at most. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it might be appealing for the lovers of the milder Cubans but it isn’t a cigar for my palate.

 

Score: 82

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Categories: 82, Inca, Peruvian cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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