87

San Lotano The Bull Robusto

I’ve always been a fan of A.J. Fernandez, from the day he emerged as master blender and manufacturer for a lot of the Maier & Dutch private labels, sold only through cigarsinternational and affiliated sites. I mean the Diesel Unholy Cocktail is one of my favorite cigars, I love most of the Man O Wars, Ave Maria’s etcetera and I’ve liked almost everything he made for himself too like the San Lotano lines, Last Call, New World and Enclave. But for some reason the San Lotano didn’t do much in The Netherlands. I guess that’s because we started with the weirdly shaped Oval line and that vitola didn’t went well with the Dutch public and tainted the San Lotano name for a lot of consumers.


San Lotano is an old Cuban brand that was owned by A.J. Fernandez grandfather but after the revolution th brand disappeared. Abdel brought it back with the San Lotano Oval, and later the round Maduro, Habano and Connecticut lines and a few years later this new The Bull, which is box pressed since that’s the best format for this specific blend according to Fernandez.  The cigar is made in Esteli with Nicaraguan filler and Binder and an Ecuadorean habano wrapper and comes in boxes of 10. I smoked the 5×54 robusto.


The cigar comes cedar wrapped and in cellophane. The cedar wrapping has the image of a bulls head printed on the wood. Once I remove that I see a dark and square pressed cigar, it looks like a mars bar, with one vein, which is also flattened. I see some mineral sparkles on the wrapper too and the cigar looks mighty tasty. And I immediately smell a quite strong aroma that is a mixture of a smoldering bonfire, cow dung and fresh pepper. The ring is of a thick paper, a black square with golden outlines, golden letters San Lotano and at the bottom a yellow and red banner with ‘by A.J. Fernandez’. Simple yet effective.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is perfect, a little citrusy with some bitterness. I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson and taste espresso with some oak and a little sugar. A few puffs later I taste sweet and toasted oak flakes and some citrus. After an inch I taste black coffee, very dark chocolate and citrus. Halfway the cigar becomes less bitter, the bitterness was nice though, and a little more peppery. No more coffee but still oak with the bitterness of dark chocolate, a little sweetness, some pepper and citrus.


The white ash has some black smears and is firm. The smoke is thick and plentiful, just how I like it. The draw is flawless. The burn is good but not completely straight. This cigar is medium to full bodied, full flavored yet there isn’t a lot of evolution. The smoke time is little over and hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to other AJ Fernandez cigars.

Score: 87

number87

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: 87, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

E.P. Carrillo La Historia Regalias d’Celia

When the news broke that legendary cigar maker Ernesto Perez Carrillo ended his 10 years contract at Swedish Match, a contract he signed as part of the sale of his La Gloria Cuban and El Credito brands to General Cigars, to start his own company again the cigar geek in me was enthousiastic, I mean, a legend starting up a new company? That could only be good news right? But then I smoked the so highly anticipated Inaugural and for me that was a let down. Not that it was a bad cigar, but it just didn’t do anything for me. And I smoked more cigars that were just middle of the road to me, not bad but not my kind of cigar.


A few years later my then employer, the biggest independent cigar importer & distributer of The Netherlands, said he had reached an agreement with Ernesto do distribute his cigars in the country so we carried a few lines and especially the inch sold, but that didn’t make up for the stupid international sales president Carrillo had at the time that completely destroyed the relationship and resulted into my boss dropping Carrillo. So the brand fell a bit of my radar, I noticed that the La Historia got a lot of praise but that’s it. But smoking the Viking earlier this year made me want to try this cigar and the German distributor helped me out.


So I got this 5⅞x58 cigar made from Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, Sumatra from Ecuador as a binder with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The cigar looks huge, even bigger than it is because its box pressed with a dark, little marbles wrapper that looks intimidating. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of manure and urine drenched staw. The construction feels good but the wrapper had a weird wrinkle at the head of the cigar. The rings are beautiful though, first there is a bright blue cloth ring to protect the foot of the cigar, then a small red ring with decorative golden linings and golden letters Perez Carrillo and to top it off there is a big ring with the same golden lining, a red square on a golden throne that says Perez Carrillo la historia and the blue returns as the sky. Beautiful design and great print quality.


Due to the size I had to cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste a little toast with some pepper on my lips. As usual I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste spicy coffee with leather. After a centimeter I taste cocoa powder with spices. After a third it’s more of nutmeg with toast and pepper. Slowly the pepper picks up and after two thirds i taste wood with a little lime and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts too.


The smoke is medium plus thick and medium in volume. The draw is fantastic. The burn is a little off. The gray ash is firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not this vitola but I’d like to try a smaller ring version.

Score: 87
87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, E.P. Carrillo, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , ,

Casa de Alegria Criollo Corona

It’s not hard to figure out where I got this cigar, that must be Cigarworld in Dusseldorf Germany since this cigar is made in Esteli in cooperation with Cigarworld, the biggest lounge in all of Europe as far as I know. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with ligero from Jalapa, Condega and Esteli in the filler and a Colorado Criollo wrapper.


The cigar is a little short for a corona, it measures 5×44 but I’m surprised by the price which is €3,60 at the time that I am writing the review. And that’s cheap, very cheap, for a longfiller cigar. It also makes me worry, can it be any good for that price? Time to find out.


The wrapper is dark and oily but has a waterspot. The construction feels good and the overall looks of the cigar are good too. The ring is simple, its black with a brushed gold ring and shiny golden outlines, black letters saying Casa de Alegria and golden letters saying Criollo on a decent quality print. The aroma is strong, manure, urine, typical barnyard as you could say.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great. I taste some sweetness with quite some pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste a nice coffee with vinegar, quite sour but not unpleasant. I taste some pepper and nutmeg too after half an inch. After a third it’s a mix between a little harsh spicy and herbal flavor balanced with some powdered sugar and lemon. The final third is slightly harsh with wood, lemon and spices.


The draw is great, just like the thick smoke. The light colored ash has a bit of brownish taint. The ash is firm. The burn is beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Casa de Alegria, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

La Gloria Cubana Duke Exclusivo Países Bajos

This cigar was released in september 2017 but it’s in the book as a 2016 release. I guess that’s the Cuban calendar. This cigar is a Duke size, 5.5 inch by 54, a robusto extra as some others would call it. And this cigar was a gift from my friend Nasier, who works at Van Lookeren, a tobacconist in Amsterdam with the nicest lounge in speakeasy style underneath the shop. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, go visit Nasier and the lounge, you won’t be disappointed.


I said it before, the marketing genius that came up with the regional editions is worth his weight in gold, and probably several times. The same, normal blend, just a different vitola, and added ring with the region it’s exclusive to and a limited number of boxes and the whole world goes crazy, everybody is hunting down these cigars. Even I fell for the scheme when the first regional editions hit the market and I’m not a Cuban cigar smoker.


The cigar looks good, the shiny wrapper looks good, light brown, brittle but tasty. The ring is yellow with a drawing of a lady in a red cape, golden outlines and a secondary ring in red and silver with white lettering. On one hand I like the consistency of the Cubans that they use the same design for the edicion regional rings, on the other hand, they don’t fit with the regular rings most of the times. The cigar has a flat head, feels evenly packed and even though it looked like the foot was crooked, the cigar stands up straight. The aroma of the cigar tells me it’s still very young, probably too young.


I used my double blade cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste a mild acidic raisin flavor with some pepper on the background. After lighting I taste coffee with nutmeg, a little pepper and dry cep. After half an inch I taste vanilla, nutmeg and leather. After a third I taste leather with a little vanilla and cedar. Halfway I taste cinnamon. The final third starts with a sharp and strong pepper with a citrus and vanilla base flavor. The wrapper tears and I had to remove it. The aftertaste is peppery with a minty undertone.


The draw is great, the smoke is thick and full. The ash is white with black smears, it’s a bit coarse. The burn is classic Cuban, all over the board and I had to correct a few times. This is a mild to medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, burn issues, wrapper issues at the final third and the cigar is too mild for me.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, La Gloria Cubana (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

Gurkha Celler Reserve Edicion Especial Koi

At the intertabac trade show, Juan Lopez from Gurkha cigars, gave me this small and fat perfecto, 4×58, from the Gurkha Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial blend and after a quick glimpse on the Gurkha website I learned that it’s made with an eighteen year old corojo wrapper of which only a 1000 boxes were made for each of the four vitolas, a pretty small release.


The Cellar Reserve Edicion Especial is a follow up for the Cellar Reserve Limitada, a limited edition version of the regular Cellar Reserve with a 15 year old wrapper. This Edicion Especial was released in 2014 and was followed by the Cellar Reserve Platinum and the Cellar Reserve 21 years. So if I like this one, I will have to start looking for the other blends too.


I love the shape, a shape made famous or popular again by Drew Estate with their flying pigs and if this was a Drew Estate cigar it would be a flying piglet due to the size. The wrapper has a nice latte color and a little shine from the oil in the leaf. The ring is huge, copper colored with golden and black text, very detailed, including batch number and I like it. The shape is great, including a small pigtail and the cigar is evenly packed. The cigar has a medium aroma of manure and barnyard.


I cut the cap off, the cold draw is tight so just to be sure I grab my draw poker but I hope the tight cold draw only is because of the shape. I taste pepper and some citrus.  I lit the small foot, i taste some mild coffee. The draw opens up right after I pass the tip. The cigar changes to pepper, sweet wood and herbs. Halfway I taste sweetness and a mild harsh leather and wood combination. The flavor doesn’t change much from there.


The draw is great passed the small pointy tip. The smoke is medium thick and full. The ash is firm and light gray. The burn is pretty straight. There isn’t much evolution. This is a medium bodied and medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, Tabacalera Las Lavas | Tags: , , , , ,

Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo

For years I’ve seen raving testaments about the Famous Nicaragua 3000 series on my favorite cigar forum www.cigarasylum.com but since Famous doesn’t ship outside the USA and I buy in local stores when I’m in America I never paid much attention to it. Now I read people guessing where the cigars were made, theories about what factory including the theory that Oliva made a Series X, sold them for a few weeks before Carlito Fuente talked to Jose Oliva about the X, since Fuente is famous for the Opus X and Oliva agreed to take them off the market and sold them as private label to Famous, creating the Famous Nicaraguan 3000 blend but thats a story I have never been able to confirm.


Well, in 2015  I was at Tavicua, which is the factory owned by Rocky Patel in Esteli, Nicaragua and I thought I solved the mystery when I saw Famous Nicaraguan cigars being made. But just now, while looking up some information on the cigar, I found out that there are several series of the Famous Nicaraguan line and the 6000 series is made at Tavicusa, so the mystery of the series 3000 continues.


The box pressed 6×56 cigar looks intimidating due to the sheer size and shape, but that might be me, since I don’t like big ring cigars. The cellophane started to discolor a little bit and I guess I have had this cigar in my humidor for about 5 years after a friend gave it to me at a cigar meeting in Ocala, Florida. The medium dark brown wrapper is very leathery, it looks like leather, it feels like leather and the cigar has a strong aroma of forrest smells and soap. The construction feels good although the cap is applied a little hasty as it seems. The ring is simple, two tone green with the Famous logo in golden, Nicaragua Selection in golden too and golden 3000 on the side. The print quality is good.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter. The cold draw is fine. I taste spicy sultanas and black pepper. After lighting I taste coffee with extra sugar. After an inch I taste spicy greens like rucola with extra added black pepper. After a third I taste minty leather with lemony spice. Halfway the cigar is spicy with wood and pepper. The final third starts with mint, wood and nuts.


The draw is a little loose yet it doesn’t influence the amount or thickness of the smoke which is great. The dark ash isn’t very firm. The burn is straight. This is a medium bodied medium flavored cigar and the ring gauge makes it a not dynamic cigar. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not in this vitola, a Robusto or thinner I would try.

Score: 87
number87
Don’t forget to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram

Categories: 87, Famous, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro

At my previous employer we carried a lot of brands, including Casa Magna and years ago that used to be selling like hot cakes, six years ago they made up 40% of out annual sales that year, it was crazy. But because of the high demand, not just in our country but anywhere, Quesada and Plasencia couldn’t keep up with the demand and we were out of stock for a long time, the brand never recovered from that long period of no stock even thought there is now a steady supply of Casa Magna. It’s not dead, not by far, but the sales are way less than they used to be. But back to that dry spell, one morning my boss calls me and says “I have a great replacement for the Casa Magna, there is stock in Germany so we have it next week so start selling and taking pre orders, I will email you the details now”.


So within minutes I get an email with the name of the brand J. Fuego Sangre de Toro, the sizes and prices, that were actually very low with less than €5 for the 6×50 Toro and some details like “Made by Plasencia in Nicaragua”.  Now thats where it went wrong, the cigars are made by Tabacos de Oriente, which is in fact Plasencia but not Nicaragua, its their factory in Honduras. But the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, only rolled in Honduras (same as Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua for example) with a blend of Corojo and Criollo fillers, a Criollo binder and a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper. Oh, and if you wonder if this cigar ever came close to Casa Magna sales? No, it took a long time to sell out the shipment we got in and it wasn’t even a lot. The feedback wasn’t that good, lets see what a few year age have done to it.


The wrapper looks beautiful, its dark with a few thin veins, nothing wrong with it. The construction though has a soft spot under the ring and the first layer of the triple cap is huge, which is not aestheticly pleasing. The rings are quite simple, the thin foot ring is black with silver and golden lining and silver writing which says J. Fuego Cigar Co. The main ring is a two tone red with yellow lettering Sangre de Toro in a paint like typography and the J. Fuego logo in gold on a black tobacco shaped spot and a not to well printed dotted golden outlining. Now the flavor is quite strong but also quite weird, its like opening a jar of pickles, now I like pickles and I eat them daily so this could be good. I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and I taste black pepper with dry tobacco.


I taste a dry, roasted and smoky wooden flavor, slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. After a centimeter the cigar has a bit of chocolate, honey and toasted wood that isn’t too pleasing, it’s not bad but also not good. After a third the flavor gets better, autumn leaves and toast with a mild dark and creamy chocolate. Some puffs later I taste a peppery aftertaste. Halfway it’s oak with some freshness. After a third the cigar changed to peppery cedar and actually pretty nice.


The draw is great and I get a lot of thick white smoke from the cigar. The ash is flaky, its white with black smears and not too firm. The burn isn’t good but also not bad. This is a medium plus bodied cigar, medium plus flavored too. The smoke time is little less then an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No but I won’t mind smoking the half box I have left.

Score: 87

87
Don’t forget to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram

 

Categories: 87, Honduran cigars, J. Fuego, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , , ,

CAO La Traviata Maduro Evil Snowman

In 2013 CAO releases two limited edition versions of their La Traviata line, one of the only CAO lines that I like. I found both of the limited editions, Angry Santa and Evil Snowman, at Corona Cigars in Orlando, at the downtown location in February 2014 and I bought one of both 6 1/2 x52 Toro sized cigars just to try, as I do with every new CAO line as I do love their creativity in lines, packaging etc although most of their lines turn out to be a disappointment for me. But La Traviata was a good one, so my expectations for this limited edition is quite high.


The Evil Snowman is based on the La Traviata Maduro line, the cigar is made at the STG factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The wrapper is a Connecticut broadleaf, the binder is from Honduras while the filler is from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Only 21.000 cigars were rolled so I guess I was quite lucky that I was able to buy one of the last singles Corona had lying around in their huge humidor and that for the very reasonable price of 7 dollar even though that was little over the MSRP of $6.60


The wrapper is dark, smooth, oily but the construction is a bit wrinkly, yet evenly firmed and the head is beautiful. But lets not kid anybody, the ring catches the eye first. Donald Trump would say “it’s huge” and he’s right because the ring is over 3 inch long. Its shiny black with an image of an angry, evil snowman that could come straight out of a Tim Burton movie and the snowman is smoking a CAO La Traviata. The smoke forms the letters CAO. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of dark chocolate and hay.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a very mild raisin flavor before lighting the cigar with my vintage Ronson. After lighting I taste a full coffee. After half an inch I taste spicy, peppery wood with a little citrus. Soon after it’s wood with a pepper on the back of my tongue and a metallic flavor. After a third I taste pepper, wood and a faint cocoa powder with a soil flavor. Slowly the cocoa gets stronger and a little more of a chocolate flavor. With an inch and a half to go I taste nuts, spices, pepper and wood with a little lime.


The draw is almost perfect. The light gray ash isn’t really firm but it sure is pretty. The smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The burn is straight, no touch up needed. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but I never found the CAO la traviata Maduro worth getting again so that’s no surprise.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , ,

San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador Robusto

Yesterday I wrote about Agio cigars latest release, the San Pedro de Macoris line and I reviewed the Brazil blend. Today I’ll be smoking the second blend, the Ecuador blend, made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in Ecuador, Dominican Olor as a binder and filler consisting from Brazilian tobacco and Dominican Olor and Piloto Ligero. I got this cigar at the same shop as the Brazil version, Piet van Kuyk in Eindhoven


I don’t know if this budget friendly cigar, €4.50 in The Netherlands, is available on the American market or will be available on the American market. Agio used to be distributed by Drew Estate but recently they parted ways and Agio is on its own now on the American market, although they still distribute Drew Estate in several European countries. I can only imagine that Agio will release these San Pedro de Macoris in the USA too once their office is up and running.


As with the Brazil blend, the designers of the ring made good use of the colors of the flag. The rooster logo is in yellow, the lines on the ring are in red and blue so the Ecuadorean flag is represented, add the silver letters and you have a slick modern ring. The wrapper is slightly pale but still quite dark for a Connecticut shade cigar. I see one vein on this well shaped cigar. The cigar has a strong smell, quite ammonia rich like a stable in the morning when the cows just were released from a night in the shelter and before the farmer cleaned out the sawdust and straw that covered the concrete floor.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, the flavor is mildly acidic with white pepper. After lighting I taste earthy coffee with a sharp edge. There is a woody flavor too and spices. The coffee disappears. After a third I taste lemon with cedar and herbs. Halfway I taste lemon, a mild musty cedar, a little cinnamon and sugar.


The draw is a bit easy.  The smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a bit off. The thin wrapper cracks halfway. The cigar is medium bodied medium flavored. There is little evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s better than the Brazil but still not a cigar for me.

Score: 87
number87

Categories: 87, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris | Tags: , , , , ,

Partagas Serie D No.5

I reviewed this cigar before, but that was the 2008 limitd edition, when this specific size of 4.3×50 and name showed up for the first time. I guess the demand for this short robusto was so high that Habanos decided to put it into regular production as in 2011 the Partagas serie D #5 showed up again in boxes of 10 and 25, the limited edition was only available in boxes of 25, and in 2013 the cigar even became available in cardboard boxes of 3. Now I looked at my old review and noticed that the limited edition price of 2008 is 10 cents higher than the regular price late 2016 which further proves my point that I made in the past that the Cubans are producing more and more limited and regional editions to get us, the consumers, to pay more for nothing but a different vitola of a regular production blend. Nothing wrong with a limited if its limited due to the availability of the tobacco, but when its just a regular blend in a different vitola? That doesn’t make it special enough to justify a hiked up price in my book.


Now I want to review at least 10 Cuban cigars this year to make a ‘top 10 cubans’ at the end of 2017 and that turns out to be tough. When the year started I had over 5500 cigars in my stash but not a lot of Cubans and actually, I only came to 11 different types of Cubans. Most of them didn’t get high scores so far, as they just aren’t my thing anymore. When I look at my old reviews I realized that my preferences changed, instead of thick cigars I tend to like smaller cigars, I read an old remark that maduro and I never would be friends but now I like that wrapper and liked quite a few Cubans that when I smoked them in the last few years did nothing but disappoint me. These things happen slowly so you don’t realize it, but when you are able to read a 10 year history on your own thoughts of cigars you can see a huge difference. Not only in preferences, but also in the pictures, from a small apartment in a deteriarating neighborhood to that same apartment but after a paint job, to the house I bought and the men cave I built, to the garden how it was when I bought the house to what I did with it. And to top it, the style of writing a review and since January first the way of rating a cigar. Its been a long journey, and in 10 years things might look different again.


Now the cigar, because of the small size it actually looks thicker than the 50 ring it is. The reddish brown wrapper isn’t the prettiest I’ve ever need, its quite veiny, bumpy an rough looking. I feel a little soft spot right under the ring so the construction isn’t top notch either. The ring is a often copied one, simple red with golden lettering Serie D No.5 Partagas – Habana and a double golden line under and above the writings. It is printed on nice red glossy paper though and the gold pops. The cigar hardly has any aroma, what I smell is the classic Cuban barnyard aroma.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine but quite tasteless. If I try hard I can taste a very mild milk chocolate. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and I taste leather, dry leather. After a few puffs I also taste some nuts and a metallic citrus flavor. After a third I also taste some chocolate for a bit. Halfway I taste leather, some sweetness and pepper. The cigar gets very hot and a little bit bitter because of the heat. After two thirds I still taste leather but the nuts take the main stage.


The smoke is very thin, unfortunately with a gray blue color but halfway the cigar the smoke gets a nice thickness and volume. The draw is fine, nothing to complain about. The ash is quite dark and frayed but yet also firm. The burn is ok, not razor sharp but also not too crooked to correct. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored, there is some evolution but not too much. The smoke time is an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah! For €10 + I can get better cigars.

Score: 87
87

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Partagas (Habanos), Partagas Factory | Tags: , , ,

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.