87

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

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

Ortega Wild Bunch Iron Mike I-Beam

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Iron Mike I-Beam


Iron Mike was the february release and the blend of this 4 4/7×54 robusto gordo is made out of all Nicaraguan tobacco with a Habano Oscuro wrapper. The cigar is made at My Father Cigars in Esteli. The cigar is dark and smudgy with a lot of tooth, it feels like sandpaper and leather. There is a small dent in the construction after a third but the cigar looks well shaped with a nice cap. The rings are all great, created by cigars, rd with a silver banner with the name of the cigar at the bottom and a cartoon Iron Mike in the centre. The medium full smell is a little acidic, ammonia with straw.


I decided to punch. The cold draw is perfect and tastes like well fermented tobacco with a little spice. After lighting with a cheap flame classic soft flame lighter I taste coffee. After half an inch the coffee is gone and I taste pepper with cream. The flavors are mild and feel muted, like there is something holding them back. Halfway the pepper turns mild with some cilantro and chocolate.


The draw is a little on the loose side. The white smoke is thick and full. The grainy ash is light gray, close to white, once the ash breaks it becomes very flaky. The burn is great, straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minu


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but if I could I wouldn’t.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

VegaFina Sumum 2013

VegaFina, a brand owned by Altadis and made on the Dominican Republic at Casa de Garcia. Now I did smoke a few of the regular VegaFina cigars and was totally unimpressed by those mild and boring Connecticut Shade wrapped cigars that had nothing to offer for me so when someone handed me this 6×55 Sumum 2013 limited edition it ended up in my humidor as I steered away from it just because of the brand name. But now that I’m smoking from my humidor, assorted box by assorted box, for review purposes I ended up with this VegaFina Sumum 2013 as one of the last cigars from the box I wanted to be empty. So here it goes.


While googling the cigar for some information I read something that sparked my interest, the wrapper of the cigar is Cameroon and that is probably my favorite wrapper on the market. I just love the spiciness of it. The binder comes from Nicaragua and the filler is from both Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Only 20.000 of these cigars were made, 2000 boxes of 10 cigars, so on hindsight it was a very nice gift that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. I’m sorry for that.


The cigar has a medium brown wrapper with very fine tooth and a few veins. Like all Cameroon wrappers it is quite thin. The construction feels good but the head isn’t perfectly round and the cap is a bit sloppy. The aroma is quite strong and all I can say is: manure. The cigar has two rings and they don’t match, the main ring is silver gray with a black lane and gray letters on the side. The front has a black circle with VegaFina logo in silver. The second rind has the same gray outlines with a black line added but the rest of the ring is a dark orange with black letters and doesn’t fit the main ring. The print quality is high though.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is fine without a real flavor. After lighting I taste coffee with some pepper and sugar. After half an inch I taste a nice mild nutty flavor with spices and a faint vanilla. After an inch I taste the herbal spice that the Cameroon wrapper is known for with some wood. Halfway it’s cedar with a lot of pepper. The final third starts with nuts and pepper.


The draw is is great. The ash is amazing, light colored and very dense, also firm. The smoke is medium thick, could be thicker. The draw is fantastic. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even a Cameroon wrapper can save a VegaFina.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Capadura Series Robusto (808, 848, 858 and 898 Extra Ligero Series)

I don’t know a lot about this brand, I don’t know how I got the cigars, when I got them, where I got them and why I got them, but I have a 808 series, a 848 series, a 858 series and a898 extra ligero series in my humidor, all in the 5×50 robusto size and decided to do another series review instead of 4 separate reviews, just like I did with the 00 series. A google search taught me that the cigars are made on the Dominican Republic and that the brand is owned by the Luba Corporation which is owned by Ruth Elizabeth Baptista. Google also told me it is a very old brand, dating back to the 1800’s and was once part of the General Cigars portfolio.

Capadura 808 Series Robusto

 


The Capadura 808 Series are supposed to be the mildest from the series and the Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador is a tell tale sign that it is a milder cigar. The binder is from the Dominican Republic just as the four types of Olor and Piloto filler. I’m not the biggest fan of Connecticut Shade wrappers although I have started to appreciate the wrapper in the last few months so who knows, I might enjoy it.


When I release the cigar from it’s cellophane I see a shiny, greasy and pale wrapper with a bunch of small veins, as is often the case with a Connecticut Shade wrapper. The rings are beautiful, a brown foot ring with golden outlines, white letters saying 808 series and a beautiful detailed ring with several shades of brown, gold and white with medals. The brown coloring doesn’t look to good on the pale wrapper though, but the ring itself if pretty and the print quality is high. The cigar feels evenly packed, the head is nice and round but the cigar feels a bit oval on the touch. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of chocolate, hay and pepper.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good and I taste a musty and mild harsh raisin. After lighting the cigar I taste a musty hay and coffee. After a few puffs I also taste some sweetness and a little chocolate. After an inch I taste a mild musty nutty flavor with a hint of chocolate. The chocolate is getting stronger but the mustiness too. Slowly I start to taste pepper in the aftertaste. Halfway I taste a medium strong nuts flavor but the mustiness is gone. The nuts and pepper get to full flavored and I like it. The flavors mellow down a bit to medium to medium full, but are still very tasty.


The draw is on the tough side. The burn is straight as an arrow. The light colored ash is beautiful, firm and dense. The smoke is a little thin and low in volume. There is a slow but good evolution. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not mind smoking it again, the flavors are good, the looks, draw and smoke need work though.

Score: 88
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Capadura 848 Series Robusto


There is not much to tell about the Capadura 848 series and that’s because I don’t know a lot about it and can’t find a lot of information too. I can tell that the filler is made from four different tobaccos and that the wrapper is a Havana 2000 from Nicaragua. According to the description I found its a medium bodied cigars but I’ll be my own judge about that.


The top ring is identical to the Capadura 808 Series ring but the foot ring is a shade lighter, just a tiny shade and you have to hold the cigars together to spot is and has different numbers on it of course. The wrapper has a nice light to medium brown color, its not very shiny or oily and only has one thin vein. The construction has a clear soft spot right below the ring but the shape feels better than the oval 808 Series. The mild aroma is a bit soapy.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is great with a spicy raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet earthy flavor with a clove but a little rough, flavors aren’t well rounded. After half an inch I taste an unpleasant dirt flavor with rotten wood. Slowly the cigar is turning harsh, just dirt and wood but harsh.   After two thirds the cigar is still harsh but a little less and the dirt and wood change to metallic nuts and pepper.


The draw is perfect. The ash is frayed, the color is light gray. The smoke is gray, thin and medium in volume. The burn is oke, not completely straight but still reasonable. The medium full bodied and flavored cigar doesn’t have much balance and complexity. The smoke time is an hour and I tossed it with an inch to go.

Would I buy this cigar again? Brrrrr no.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80 

Capadura 858 Series Robusto


As for the google search, all I find is information on the 808, 848, 898 and the 898 extra ligero blends but nothing on the 858 blends except for a forum post in Dutch and some information on an Austrian webshop. It could be that this is a Europe only blend, but I can’t recall seeing the cigars in a humidor in the European shops I have visited. And the Austrian site mentions that this is a evolution of Capadoro cigars, another brand with little much googable information. But at least I know the blend now: Dominican and Brazilian tobacco as filler, a Dominican binder and Arapiraca from Brazil as a wrapper.


The wrapper is typical Brazilian, it’s dark but a little rough on the eye and it has a mild oily shine. The construction feels good but the cigar doesn’t feel completely round but a little egg shaped and the cap is a single cap, not a Cuban style triple cap. The rings make up for it, the foot ring is bring with golden outlines an white letters saying 858 series while the regular ring is brown with black and gold and a white C and white Capadura. Very detailed, well printed, cigar ring. The aroma is strong and is a mix between dark chocolates some pepper and a barnyard, but the dark chocolate is the main aroma.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste some mild raisin, lemon and chocolate. After lighting I taste a strong espresso with pepper flavor and some sweetness.  After half an inch the cigar is more earthy with some lemon and pepper, the flavors lost some strength. After a third the cigar turns salty with some green herbs and lime with still a peppery aftertaste. Halfway I taste earthy notes and a little nutmeg. The final third starts nutty with a little cilantro. Its getting hard to keep the cigar lit.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is thick and white. The light colored ash is firm. The burn needs a few touch ups though. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. After and hour and a half i tossed the cigar with an inch and a half to go because I couldn’t keep the cigar lit.

Would I buy this cigar again?  It’s a decent cigar but no, not exciting enough.

Score: 87
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Capadura 898 Extra Ligero Series Robusto


The 898 series comes in two versions, a regular Capadura 898 Series and a stronger Capadura 898 Extra Ligero series. Now the blend is exactly the same with a filler consisting from Dominican Pilato Cubano and Nicaraguan Corojo and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper but for the extra ligero series they used the highest primings of the tobacco to create a little extra kick.


The first thing that I notice when I release the cigar from the cellophane is the extra ring, not just the regular ring and a foot ring (which is a shade lighter than the 848 and the 858) but in between a beige to brown fading ring with the same golden outlines as the foot ring and white letters saying Extra Ligero. The wrapper is dark and it looks a bit dry and typical Brazilian rustic. The construction feels good, evenly packed, nice shape and a beautiful round head. The aroma is medium strong and dark, like after heavy rainfall in the woods in the fall mixed with manure.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a faint raisin. After lighting I taste dirt, coffee and some dark chocolate. The flavors are unrefined, no subtlety at all. After half an inch I taste a musty leather with some pepper and green leaves. Halfway I taste wood, harsh and metallic, with pepper. The harshness is getting stronger.


The draw is a little on the loose side but the smoke is great, full and thick. The ash is light colored with a dark smear. It is dense and firm. The burn is quite straight. This is a full bodied medium flavored cigar with not a lot of evolution. After an hour with an inch and a half to go I had to toss the cigar, I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

Score: 72
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Categories: 72, 80, 87, 88, Capadura, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Padilla Habano Artisano

Last year I lost my job, very unfortunate not only because I was unemployd but my it happened 2 weeks before my then girlfriend now wife, who’s from Singapore, had the results of the language test she had to do at the embassy before we could apply for her access to the country and I need to have a job to get her here. That was a major setback, but that has nothing to do with this review though. But because I lost my job I had time to reorganize my walk-in humidor, which was a huge mess and bugged me a lot, put everything into a database on stogierate.com and in the process I found a lot of hidden gems that I didn’t know I had anymore. Including this wonderful Padilla Artisan Perfecto.


I remember buying these cigars at the Padilla factory & shop in Miami on Calle Ocho when it was the Padilla factory, nowadays its no longer a factory or owned by Padilla but just a beautiful shop called Little Havana Cigar Factory. Padilla made these cigars for events and later sold them at his own shop and at cigarsinternational. I bought a pack just for the looks and I did a review years ago, but now that I found one in my humidor, my last one, I will do a redux and see if I still like it and what a 8 extra years of age have done to it.


The cigar looks amazing, I mean, have you ever seen a cigar like this on the market and for a reasonable price of around 8 dollars? I mean, I have seen some exhibicion sticks from La Flor Dominicana and Fuente with this form of art but haven’t seen any of them on the market like this one used to be. The Connecticut Shade, Habano and Connecticut Broadleaf wappers are wrapped around the cigars in a perfect pattern that its more like art than a regular cigar and it shows the skills of a highly trained roller. The construction feels good and even after 8 years the cigar still has a medium strong barnyard aroma. Too bad the ring isn’t of a high quality, the golden Padilla letters are a bit blurred just like the habano letters under the red & golden logo on a yellow background. The rest of the band is brown with golden decorations but the gold print is of a low quality. Too bad as a cigar with these looks deserve a much better looking ring.


Because of the shape I had to cut the cigar and I used a flat cut. The cold draw is a bit tight but that has to do with the shape of the cigar. I taste some pepper and some raisin, and the flavors feel a little meaty. I lit the cigar with my vintage varaflame as I usually do.  I’m surprised by the flavor right from the start, coffee with dried chilies and some cocoa beans. Slowly the flavors turn to fresh wood and pepper and the amount of pepper surprised me for a 9 year old cigar that was never known for its strength. The wood changes to a mild bitter kind and the pepper is now on my lips and I’m not exactly liking the flavors a lot to be honest. Probably because Connecticut Shade is used more than I prefer. Halfway the cigar gets a little better with a little salt, some pepper and wood but it’s still not a flavor I like. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.


The draw is great, after the first puff I felt something pop and the draw opened up immediately. The smoke is quite thick and plentiful. The ash has a bit of a brownish gray color. The ash is light gray with some darker smears. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied at most and medium plus flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s impossible but if I got the chance I wouldn’t.

Score: 87
87

Categories: 87, Nicaraguan cigars, Padilla | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Romeo y Julieta No.2 Tubo

I started to smoke in december 2005 on a vacation to Asia. One of my closest friends is married to an Indonesian woman, they were going to Indonesia and Philip asked me to come along so he didn’t have to spend 4 weeks at his inlaws. So on december 14th we jumped on a plane to Singapore, spend 3 days in that beautiful city (where 11 years later I would get married to my Singaporean wife, but thats a whole other story) and before we got on the plane to Jakarta we bought a bottle of good whisky and a handful of premium Cigars. Cohiba, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. In Indonesia we would smoke a cigar every night with a glass of that whisky and I loved it so I decided to keep smoking cigars once I got back to The Netherlands. On the flight back I maxed out my creditcard at the cigar shop at Changi Airport on singles to have a wide variety and back in The Netherlands I started to sample. The cigar that really sparked my interest in the world of premium cigars was the Guantanamera Cristales, that might sound weird but I’ll explain. That cigar was so horrible that I realized that there is a lot off difference between cigars, that a cigar is not just a bunch of rolled up tobacco and I wanted to learn more.

 


I joined a Dutch board which I later owned and turned into the #1 source for premium cigars, news, reviews in Dutch until I had to give it away due to Dutch laws since I started to work in the industry and it would be considered advertising.  But that’s a side step, when I was new on that board someone joined and he bought a bankrupt cigar shop but he bought it so he could sell the cigarettes in his supermarket and he needed to unload the cigars cheap. I got a few boxes from that sale like a box of Partagas deluxe tubes and a few boxes of Romeo y Julieta No.2 tubos with a box date of december 2006 and I will be smoking one of those cigars now for a review.

 


The cigars are probably one of the first batches with the ‘new’ designed tubes, instead of the aluminum colored tubes that Habanos used before these tubes are white with a red cap, the Romeo y Julieta band printed on the tube as well as the name and the type ‘romeo no.2’. I twist off the cap and I find a medium brown, think milk chocolate, wrapper with a thin yet high veins but also here and there a sparkle of the minerals that the wrapper contains. The construction feels great and the cap is nicely finished. The ring is small and red with a white outline, golden decorations and white lettering saying romeo y julieta habana and in the centre rodriguez aguelles y Co. The cigar has a nice, quite strong, deep and dark soil and manure aroma.

 


I cut the cigar and find a little tight draw with a fresh but peppery hay flavor. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and straight on i taste coffee with a little freshness. After a few puffs the flavors change to a more leather flavor with a hint of chocolate. After a third it’s a mix of leather, wood and something metallic. In the aftertaste I taste a faint chocolate. After two thirds I taste leather, some nuttiness and pepper, and the pepper slowly gets stronger.

 


The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume but beautifully white. The draw is just a little tight and I really mean a little. The ash is gray with dark smears but firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored but lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have over half a box left, so for now I won’t but its a decent cigar after 10 years of aging but the lack of evolution and the less than perfect draw play a big part in the score.

Score: 87

87

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos), Romeo y Julieta Factory | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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