85

Lempira Puros

This is a brand that I know nothing off, yet I have several different blends in my collection that I probably got from one of the Intertabac trade shows I visited. All I know, after a visit to my friend google, is that it is a Honduran brand, that the cigars are made in Danli and there are 8 different blends.

Now I don’t have all 8 blends, I have five and I will review them all in this one big review, I’m reviewing the Cachique, Minister, Patuca, President and Princess so the Lempa, Live and Payday are missing.  If I ever get my hands on those cigars I will review them too and add them to this review.

Lempira Puros Minister Toro


The Lempira Puros Minister is a blend of Honduran Tobacco with a Mata Fina wrapper and it only comes in a 6×52 toro size, so guess which vitola I am reviewing today: the toro. The wrapper doesn’t look Brazilian to me, it’s to smooth and thats a good thing. Its medium dark with a mild reddish glow, a few thing veins and a leathery feel. The construction feels good, well filled with a flawless triple cap and a well rounded head. The ring is simple, it’s red with golden outlines and the simple Lempira Puros logo in gold, the foot ring has the same color scheme. The gold doesn’t really pop. With a better design and better print quality the cigar would look more desirable. The aroma is quite mellow but also dusty, like walking into a wood working shed that has been abandoned for a few years.


I decided to go for a punch this time. The cold draw is good, mild spicy. After lighting I taste a sweet spicy coffee. The sweetness is slightly chemical. After half an inch I taste a little chemical floral sweetness with an unrefined edge. Soon after some pepper shows up too. Halfway I taste wood and a floral sweetness. The final third starts peppery.


The draw is great. The light gray ash looks nice. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume. The cigar lacks evolution. It’s medium bodied, medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 87
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Lempira Puros Patuca Robusto 


This Honduran puro has a Habano seed wrapper that is so dark it could easily pass as oscuro. The Patuca blend comes in two robusto sizes, 4 3/4×50 or 4×56 and I’m smoking the thinnest of the two. The wrapper is dark and extremely toothy. Just touching the wrapper reminds me of touching my weekend beard. I can’t complain about the construction, just like the Minister the cigar has a beautifully placed triple cap, a well rounded head and feels evenly packed. The ring is the same set up, just now with black instead of red, but same dull gold. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of tar.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter. The cold draw is great. The wrapper is quite sweet, the flavor from the cigar is more herbal. After lighting I taste coffee. The cigar is spicy, peppery with a little bit of a Maduro sweetness. After half an inch the cigar tastes a little harsh. After a third I taste sweet but dry wood. The final third is dry wood, harsh with a splash of lemon.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is good, pretty straight. The cigar is medium full flavored and bodied. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Score: 85
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Lempira Puros Princess Corona


This 5 1/2×42 Corona has a Habano wrapper which has a nice medium brown color and a leathery touch. I see two thin veins running over the leaf and it’s just a good looking cigar. The well placed cap, the even construction and the contrast with the rings help too. The rings are the same as the others but in white, which makes them pop a little more and look just a little bit better. The aroma is mild and smells more like a classic barnyard then any of the other Lempira Puros cigars.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good with a mild floral, mild harsh and acidic. After lighting I taste the same flavors as in the cold draw. Slowly the cigar gets more acidic, a citrus acidity but with a weird harsh flavor on the background. Halfway I taste more of a woody flavor with some floral sweetness. Near the end the cigar gets more peppery and stronger.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, white, the volume is great. The light gray ash is quite firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nope.

Score: 86
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Lempira Puros Chachique Torpedo


The Cachique is a puro with fillers from Jamastran and a Honduran Habano wrapper. The cigar is only available in a 6×52 torpedo.  The wrapper is medium dark brown but has a thick vein that doesn’t help the esthetics of the cigar. The construction feels good, evenly filled, with a nice cap and a good shape. The ring is purple with a dull gold,  just like the foot ring. If the gold popped a little more I would rate it higher, but the color combination is nice. The cigar has a strong hay smell with a little manure to it.


I used a cheap cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is great, it’s pepper with wood. After lighting I taste wood with a little cinnamon. After a third I taste wood, with a chemical vanilla and some nutmeg. I also taste some peanut. The flavors take a turn to unpleasant wood and cumin.


The draw is great. The ash is light with darker smears. The white smoke is thick and voluminous enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 85
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 Lempira Puros President Corona

 

I love this 6×42 vitola and I hope this Honduran blend with a Mata Fina wrapper is just as nice as the vitola. The wrapper feels like leather, is medium dark brown and has no big veins. The construction feels good and again, the cap is placed perfectly, the cigar is evenly filled, the torcedor is well trained. The ring is the same as the others, but this time in a blueish silver color. The medium strong aroma is acidic, like fresh urine.


After cutting I try the cold draw. I taste a slight harsh wood with great resistance. After lighting I taste some sharp wood and a little coffee. Soon it changed into some moldy sweetness with a little cayenne in the aftertaste. The cayenne disappears but now I taste that sweetness with musty, moldy and sharp wood. Halfway I taste some bitterness with a slight acidity. The final third starts harsh with spices, pepper and wood.


The ash is coarse and light colored. The draw and burn are flawless. The smoke is thick and full. This is a medium bodied and flavored cigar. Thank god the smoke time is just an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No no no.

Score: 84

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Categories: 84, 85, 86, 87, Honduran cigars, Lempira Puros | Tags: , , ,

Schizo Robusto

A few years back, when I was still working as a sales rep, my employer went to Florida for his holiday and he called me. He said “I smoked a cigar, price quality is amazing, I have never heard of the brand, what do you know?” and he was talking about Asylum 13. That brand was brand new back then and I quickly found out it was Christian Eiroa’s come back in the cigar industry. So I reached out to Christian for prices and a possible distribution agreement for The Netherlands and then waited on an answer.


That answer came a few days later. My employer was back in the country, it was a national holiday so he and his family, a mutual friend and his family and I went to a beach club in Bloemendaal to drink champagne on the beach on a sunny day when I got an email from Christian with the prices. The price sheet included the Schizo bundles and we we looking for a good bundle cigar, so I did my calculations right there and then, said “no, this can’t be”, did the math again and said to my employer “no brainer, this is so dirt cheap, we can sell this like hot cakes”. We ordered and weren’t able to keep enough stock, the bundles were hot.


The cigar looks good, the wrapper is quite dark and leathery. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar, as well as the cap, are fine. The ring is white with glossy silver and dark copper skull, plus silver letters schizo. Well printed, but not my kind of style. The aroma is medium strong and has a stable smell, like cow manure and hay.


I used my butterfly cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is good, with a little spice. After lighting I taste coffee with some Maduro sweetness and pepper. After an inch I taste a musty spice with some muted sweetness, like an old gingerbread. After a third I taste sweetness but a little harsh. Halfway I also taste some dark chocolate. At the end the cigar turns slightly harsh.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is quite straight. The gray ash is coarse yet reasonably firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Maduro

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars, Schizo | Tags: , , , , ,

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
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Categories: 85, Miami Mafia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Cuba Libre Epicure

This is the last of the Cuba Libre cigars I have in my possession and I must have had this for at least 6 years. I bought a box from an online source in the United States years ago to try out some budget cigars and included in those ‘let’s see if this is a good steal’ shipment was a box of this Honduran made Cuba Libre. The cigars are produced at the Plasencia factory in Danli.


There is not a lot of information available online, except for the wrapper, which is corojo and that the filler is Honduran with a Nicaraguan binder. There are a few vitolas, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Toro en Torpedo and I’m smoking the 6×50 box pressed toro. I have no idea if the other vitolas are box pressed too. And the cigars are still on the market and still a bargain with $65 for a box of 20 cigars.


The corojo wrapper of this box pressed cigar is great, a nice even milk chocolate color with one flattened thin vein. The wrapper feels silky and the cigar has a strong aroma which is a mixture of light minty and chocolate aromas and darker smells like grass and charred wood. The construction feels good yet the wrapper is a little pinched at the cap. The ring is nice a thick golden edge on a blue backdrop and white tobacco leaves. In the center there’s a burgundy circle with golden dots and a golden, dotted, outline. The centre is white with blue letters Cuba Libre. And I hope that Cuba will be liberated soon, but that has got nothing to do with this cigar though.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and I taste raisin and leather. After lighting the cigar with a single jet flame I taste leather with some cinnamon and honey. After a third the cigar gets a little spicy, still with a leather flavor as a base. Halfway I taste a fresh minty, almost toothpaste like flavor with leather. Near the end some pepper shows up too and grows to a nice strength.


The smoke is a little thin, and the color is quite dark for cigar smoke. The ash is very fragile. The burn is decent but not fantastic. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a slow but certain evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m looking for a budget cigar I’ll consider this, it’s a $3 stick. The flavors are good, with a better draw, burn and smoke the score would be a few points higher.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Cuba Libre, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

CAO Osa Sol Lot 54

Another CAO, and there it goes again. I so want to like this brand, they have cool concepts, I like Rick Rodriguez, I love their artwork and creativity but almost every time I’m disappointed by what they produce. I guess being part of General Cigars doesn’t help either, almost all of the products of General Cigars don’t get my seal of approval and I have a theory about that. It’s all about passion that’s being put into the product.


For example, if you taste a hamburger with meat from a small farmer, butchered by a real butcher, grilled by a real chef who all put love and passion into the product, stick it on a bun made by a small local baker you get a much better product than a McDonalds or any chain burger. And that goes for everything, not just food but also cigars and companies as big as General and Altadis are being run by bookkeepers who outnumber and overrule the passionate tobacco people in the company, creating bland, middle of the road, products.


The cigar, made in Honduras, measures 6×54. The filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras while the binder is Connecticut broadleaf. The wrapper is special though, it comes from the Olancho San Augustin valley in Honduras and it’s a sun grown wrapper, hence the name OSA Sol. The river that runs through the area is the inspiration for the artwork, the green S on the rings and boxes is the shape of the river. The white background is actually a map of the area and the bright green letters are a nice contrast color. The wrapper is quite dark, oily and smooth. The construction feels hard, but evenly hard and the cap is done well. The aroma is mild, but deep and quite dark, like manure from a scary animal deep inside the woods.


I had cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, i taste dry tobacco, raisin and something spicy on my lips. After lighting I taste dry dirt, pepper and coffee. There’s a bit of nutmeg in the flavor too. After an inch I taste dry tobacco, quite meaty, with a growing pepper. Halfway the flavors turn a little to brown spices, autumn flavors, with a little pepper. Near the ends the flavors pick up, pepper, nutmeg, five spice and a little sweetness. And I like this last part.


The draw is a bit loose. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke is thin and quite low in volume. The burn is straight. This is a medium bodied medium flavored cigar that lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure

Now even though Hoyo de Monterrey sounds Cuban, is a Cuban brand and is named after the plantation at San Juan y Martinez there is also a non Cuban copy, owned by General Cigars, which is part of the STG group and they make their Hoyo de Monterrey cigars in Honduras.


This Hoyo de Tradicion line is made with fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic wrapped in a Honduran rosado wrapper from Jamastran. The cigar that I am smoking was a gift from an American friend and comes from 2006, so it has been aged for over a decade.


The reddish wrapper looks a bit dry but beautiful with thin veins. The construction feels good, the cigar has the right amount of resistance when I gently squeeze it but the cap isn’t very pretty, then again, it’s not horrible either. The ring is simple, white with red and gold and I would have liked it if there was any mention of Honduras on the ring.  The medium strong aroma has a bit of a manure smell, no ammonia though after more than a decade of aging.


The cold draw is great, mild sweet but also a dry tobacco flavor. Directly after lighting I taste a very sweet coffee. After just a few puffs the cigar turns peppery and a little harsh. And it keeps getting worse, the harshness is growing. There is also a saltines going on. After a third I taste a harsh, young wood flavor, sharp, unrefined and harsh. There’s also a little pepper. Halfway a lemony acidity shows up with the flavors I tastes before. The harshness fades in the final third, I taste pepper with some floral flavors.


The draw is good. The light gray ash is dense and tight. The smoke is thin though, and not a lot in volume. The burn is all right. Medium bodied and medium flavored is what I call this cigar, with an hour and a half smoke time.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I won’t.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Hoyo de Monterrey | Tags: , , ,

Gomez Sanchez 1RA Generacion Leyenda #2

This cigar is part of the Micallef brand yet its called Gomez Sanchez after the family that the Micallef’s partnered up with to create their cigars. The 1ra generacion leyenda No.2 is blended by Don Pedro F. Gomez, the patriarch of the family before his death and his grandsons make the cigar now in his honor. I got this cigar at the intertabac trade show in September 2017.


The blend consists of aged Nicaraguan, Dominican, Honduran and Ecuadorian tobaccos, of which the Ecuadorian Habano the wrapper is and after rolling the cigars are aged for another year before they are shipped out to distributers and/or retailers, something Cubans should pay attention to. The blend is only available in one vitola, a torpedo, which they like to call a tempered figured, and I just realized that all Micallef and Gomez Sanchez blends are available in one vitola.


The first thing I see is the shape, its a torpedo but with a very long and pointy head. The second thing I notice is the ring, that is so different from the ones with the Micallef names, instead of that eastern European feel this feels much more Spanish influenced, darker colors, brown, orange, red and golden with open parts in the ring, which is a nice detail. The Gomez Sanchez name in gold on an orange ring, over a brown bottom. Then just underneath that another brown ring with golden outlines and the leyenda no.2 name and a footing in the same colors with Micallef family, Gomez Sanchez Family. The wrapper is smooth and very dark, like dark chocolate. The shape is unique and the cigar feels well made. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of a barnyard.


Even though the skinny head of the cigar, the cold draw is great after a cut with my double guillotine cutter. I taste a sticky, thick, sultana flavor. After lighting I taste a weird, meaty and sticky flavor. The flavor doesn’t change much except that it turns a little sweeter and a little pepper shows up. After a third I taste that meaty, sticky wood, sort of like a wood paste, with some sugar. The final third is woody, sweet, a little spicy and peppery. The final puffs are peppery.


The draw is great. The ash is white and dense. It’s not too firm, it breaks easily. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is decent. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Because of the premium msrp of 20 dollars I had high expectations that weren’t met, not by far.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Don Ibarra Black Label

A few years ago I was visiting one of my accounts in my previous job as a sales representative and the owner of the shop, Marjolein Hartman from Hartman Cigars in Amsterdam (and now also co-owner of the La Casa del Habano in Amsterdam) said she received some samples from a cigar manufacturer looking to break into the Dutch market called Don Ibarra with a white ring. Now is it not allowed to sell straight to shop owners due to the Dutch tobacco law so I was surprised by this tactic. She said she smoked one and gave me two of the other cigars to try to see if the company I worked for would be interested. I never gotten around to smoke the samplers though and I knew that my then employer wouldn’t be interested anyway since he didn’t like unknown brands.

Years later I see the brand pop up again, this time distributed by a competitor of ours, so through the right channels but I forgot all about the samples I still had laying around in my 5300+ cigar stash. I only found out about them when I lost my job and inventoried my stash in my online account at stogierate.com.  A few weeks later I happen to be at the office of the said distributer for some consulting work and the owner gave me a Don Ibarra to smoke, a belicoso, and this is the review. As far as the blend I have to admit, I don’t know, all I know is that Don Ibarra is a Dominican made cigar. The belicoso is 5 inch long with a ring gauge of 50. I also have a robusto and a gordo and I will review them all in this one review.

Don Ibarra Black Label Belicoso


The wrapper looks good, medium to dark brown and a bit leathery with just one visible and not too thick vein. The part above the ring is a bit shiny, while the bottom part of the cigar is quite dull. The ring itself is made from shiny paper, the background is black with white gothic lettering around a white colored crest and thick golden outlines, all too shiny for my personal preference but the color combination is good. The construction feels good, no complaints there. The cigar has a strong and pleasant raw tobacco flavor with a tiny bit of ammonia. I cut the cigar to find an easy cold draw with a harsh raw tobacco flavor that fits the aroma.


I used a soft flame to light the cigar. The first hit of flavors is a little harsh, bitter coffee and some ashy flavor. The harshness gets a little less strong quickly and the coffee turns to more of a wooden flavor with a bite. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with a little harsh pepper and some cedar.


The draw is very good, a little loose from being perfect. The ash is white, full in volume and there is plenty of it. After lighting the cigar and a few puffs only one side kept lit so I had to relight the other part which caused a crooked burn. The ash is white, dense and firm. There is some evolution in the cigar and the flavor to body ratio of the medium bodied cigar is good. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No this is not a cigar for me.

Score: 86

86

Don Ibarra Black Label Gordo


The wrapper has a nice, even, dark brown color with little tooth and it is quite oily. It’s one of the most beautiful wrappers I have seen in a long time. The construction feels great, the cigar is beautifully finished, its just astonishing. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay, just like the robusto, but with some wood added to it. The ring is exactly the same as the other cigars in this line up.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste raw tobacco. I taste dirt and coffee after lighting. Not a lot changes in the first inch, but that’s to be expected from a thick ring gauge cigars. Halfway I taste wood and dirt with a little lime. Near the end some pepper shows up.


The draw is fine and the smoke is white, thick and a good volume. The white ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about ninety minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad tasting cigar, just too boring for me. It would have scored much higher with a better evolution.

Score: 85
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Don Ibarra Black Label Robusto


The wrapper is very oily, very shiny but has discolorations, like darker smears on a medium brown color and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head if flat as can be. The ring is identical as the belicoso. The cigar has a strong hay smell, like you’re standing in a hay barn.


I punched the cigar and the thickness of the wrapper stands out. The cold draw is great and I taste a little raisin. I taste soil, cedar, nutmeg and the flavors are a bit harsh and unrefined. After a third the cigar tastes like fresh wood with a faint milk chocolate. Halfway it’s that soil flavor again, sticky, thick and buttery. Near the end I taste a lot of pepper.


The ash is quite dark and frayed but still reasonable firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume and the draw is great.  The burn needs help staying straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 86
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Categories: 85, 86, Dominican cigars, Don Ibarra | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , ,

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