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San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona

San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona. Royal Agio Cigars has a factory in the Dominican Republic. In San Pedro de Macoris. And to pay tribute to the home town of their factory, and all the hard-working employees, the created a line bearing that name. It’s set up as a budget-friendly line with different blends. Currently, there are four. San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador, Brazil, Sun Grown, and Nicaragua.


On our recent visit to Royal Agio, we had the opportunity to take the San Pedro de Macoris Nicaragua Corona for a review. This cigar is made with Dominican and Brazilian fillers. The binder is Dominican. The wrapper comes from Nicaragua, as the name of the cigar suggests. The cigar measures 5⅞x42 and retails in Germany for only €3,70

The cigar is okay looking. A Colorado brown wrapper, slightly leathery. Not the smoothest, but also not the ugliest wrapper out there. The ring is nice, matte black with blue and silver. Clean, clear. The cigar feels good, it’s evenly spongy everywhere. There is a very mild aroma of damp hay.


The cold draw is fine. The flavors from the cold draw are mild, almost nonexisting. There’s a faint tobacco flavor. Once lit, there is more flavor. Dry coffee with spices, leather, and leaves. Slowly more spices show up. Cinnamon, nutmeg, those kinds of flavors. With pepper on the background and aftertaste. Sweet yet peppery gingerbread with a hint of hay is the next flavor pattern. The mouthfeel is dry but creamy. After a third, the gingerbread is still there with the pepper. But now with toast and leather. There is some harshness in the second part too though, a bitterness. The final third is more peppery, with wood, spices and more bitterness.


The draw is on the easy side of good. Still acceptable but a little more resistance would have been nicer. The light gray ash looks like stacked dimes. The smoke is thick and good in volume. The cigar is smooth, balanced. It doesn’t have a lot of character, but enough to be a pleasant smoke. The burn is straight. The smoke time is one hour and thirty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once in a while.

number88

Categories: 88, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Dominican cigars, San Pedro de Macoris

CAO Consiglieri Associate

CAO Consiglieri Associate. Formerly known as the CAO Soprano Associate. When the HBO Series The Sopranos was a hit, CAO managed to get the rights to create a Soprano’s cigar. And released the CAO Sopranos. Just like the TV Show, the cigars were very popular. When the contract with HBO ended, both parties opted not to renew the contract. But since the cigars were in high demand, CAO kept making the cigars. With the exact same blend, the exact same logo, just with a different name. CAO Sopranos became CAO Consiglieri. And now that HBO didn’t have to be paid for the name, the price of the cigars dropped as well.


Just like the original release under the Sopranos name, this cigar uses a Maduro wrapper from Brazil. Mata Fina tobacco to be more precise. The binder comes from Honduras. The fillers are a mix from Nicaragua, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. The only thing that changed is the foot ring. The original Sopranos release had a big red foot ring with the Sopranos logo, the CAO Consiglieri doesn’t have a foot ring. From the three sizes available, we reviewed the smallest. That’s the 5×52 Associate.

The cigar isn’t the best looking cigar. But that is to be expected from Brazilian wrappers. Brazilian wrappers always have a rustic, rough look to it. It’s dark, it has some veins. It feels like dried leather. The glossy black and red ring stands out because of its shape. The cigar feels well constructed. The head is a bit wonky though. The medium-strong aroma is a mixture of manure and charred wood.


The cold draw is easy. There’s some sweetness, some spice, and pepper in the aftertaste. Straight from the start, the cigar releases warm spices and coffee. With sharp, black pepper in the aftertaste. The flavors remain in the warm spice region. Nutmeg, cinnamon, five-spice, those kinds of flavors. With some sweetness. The pepper remains in the aftertaste. The flavors are nice, but the cigar is tame. Halfway it’s dry wood, spices, sweetness, and toast. The final third starts with the spices, soil, and some dark chocolate. The pepper is still in the aftertaste. This continues to the end. The last few puffs are harsh.


The draw is superb. The light-colored ash drops quickly though. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is thick and full. The cigar is smooth, well balanced yet tame, almost boring. Medium-bodied, medium flavored. But with the association with the badass Sopranos and the mafia, a little more character had to be expected. The smoke time is short with one hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

number88

Categories: 88, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua

Talu Signature Toro

Talu Signature Toro. Indonesia has a long history of tobacco. And a long history in cigars, yet not in premium handmade longfillers. Most of the cigars hailing from the South East Asian country are machine-made dry-cured shortfillers. And of the cigar tobacco that’s being imported, most is used for those machine-made cigars as well. These kinds of cigars are extremely popular in Western Europe. But there are a few premium handmade longfillers from Indonesia, and the number of brands seems to be growing. Most are produced in Yogyakarta, at Taru Martani.


Taru Martani translates to the leaf that gives joy to life. The name was given to the factory by the Sultan of Yogyakarta after the independence war with The Netherlands. In the past, the factory produced roll your own tobacco as well. We are not sure if that is still the case. But we do know that there are several Indonesian premium cigar brands made at the factory.

The cigar has a typical Indonesian wrapper. The look and feel are slightly different than its Caribbean cousins. It feels a little more sandy, and the color is a shade that you won’t find anywhere else. The cigar is finished with a pigtail. The ring is beautiful. White, gray and copper. The logo and the brand name are clear. Nothing bad to say about the looks of this cigar. The construction feels good. And the aroma is different too, sawdust and lovage are what comes to mind. Medium-strong.


Just twisting off the pigtail is enough to create a good draw. The cold draw tastes dry, dusty with wood. Sawdust is a good description. Once lit, there is a lot of earthiness with some black coffee and spices. After a few puffs, a heavy, thick old leather flavor shows up. There is some pepper too. But the flavors aren’t balanced and taste charred, burned. The pepper and leather are the strongest flavors of the bunch. The burnt flavor fades away, instead, the cigar now tastes like leather, coffee, pepper, and sweetness. Somewhat later, the cigar turns to toast, leather, wood, pepper, all with a hint of sweetness and hay. In the second third, the cigar turns more to dried leaves with spices, pepper, and sweetness. That mixture continues to last into the final third. But then some hay and milk chocolate join the leaves, spices, and pepper. That’s what lasts until the end.


The draw is great. The ash is white as can be, dense and firm. The smoke is decent. Not very thick, but still sufficient to be pleasant. The burn is pretty straight. The Tambolaka tobacco boosts the strength of the cigar to medium. Flavors are medium too. This is a rare cigar, only a very limited number of boxes were made. It’s nice to have had the chance to smoke it, but our palate is so accustomed to the Caribbean tobacco that this is not a cigar for us. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope!
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Categories: 88, Indonesian cigars, Talu | Tags: , , ,

Brun del Re 1787 Rainforest Short Robusto

Brun del Re 1787 Rainforest Short Robusto. Brun del Re is a Costa Rican cigar brand, founded in 2006. Carlo Corazzo is originally from Switzerland but has been living in Costa Rica for the longest time. In 2001, he was introduced to the art of cigars on a trip to Cuba. He opened a shop and lounge in San Jose after his trip and a few years later he started making his own brand of cigars. At first with just a roller outside his shop. But in 2007, Corazzo and his business partner opened their factory in the Costa Rican capital and have been making cigars since. Brun del Re cigars are available in over 20 countries worldwide.


Even though Costa Rica doesn’t have the reputation of Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, or the Dominican Republic, the country has a huge tobacco history. The first recorded tobacco export from Central America was from Costa Rica. 1787 in the name has to do with a historical fact in Costa Rican tobacco history. And the Rainforest addition comes from the charity that is supported by this cigar. Brun del Re donates 20% of the proceeds of the cigar to The Rainforest Foundation of Costa Rica. The cigar is one of the few Costa Rican puros on the market.

The cigar looks cute. Short, and because of that kind of chubby even though it’s just as thick as a regular robusto. A pigtail and a foot that is folded close around the edges complete the look. The dark wrapper is oily and smooth. Add a green ring for the rainforest theme and a tropical frog as an emblem and the look is finished. The cigar feels well constructed and beautifully rolled. The aroma is medium strong and smells like hay.

The cold draw gives the right amount of resistance. The flavors are spicy raw tobacco with pepper. The first flavors are coffee, soil, pepper, and sweetness. Then a dark flavor shows up, earthy leather, slightly oily but with sweetness. The cigar then evolves into earthy bitterness such as dark chocolate, with sweetness and vegetal flavors. The mouthfeel is slightly buttery. Slowly more wood shows up, but the cigar is a little rough now as well. The wood is slowly replacing the earthiness as a dominant flavor, although soil never disappears. The pepper remains, yet the sweetness fades. The pepper grows in strength and becomes the main flavor. The earthiness keeps fading away.

The draw is great. The burn isn’t perfect but good enough. In the beginning, it looked like a crooked burn but it corrected itself. The ash is dark, very dark. This is a medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The flavors are not rounded, not balanced. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

number88

Categories: 88, Brun del Re, Costa Rican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Skull 77 El Unico

Skull 77 El Unico. The El Unico is the toro size of the Skull 77 by Cigare 77. The brand is made in Costa Rica, at the Vegas de Santiago facilities. But it is Swiss-owned. Laurent Taha is the owner, and he picked the 77 number for a very special reason. He is born on January 1st, 1977. And launched his brand on July 7, 2014. The double seven comes back several times. For now, only three sizes are available. The blends are mostly the same, although a little tweaked for each specific size. None of the three vitolas is thinner than a 58 ring though, the thickest is a ring 66.


For the wrapper, Taha picked a Habano 2000 leaf from Ecuador. Cigare 77 didn’t disclose the binder. For the filler, tobaccos from Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic are used. As mentioned before, the blends vary per size, to create the optimal flavor experience in each of the vitolas. The brand is currently expanding it’s distribution and recently added Sweden as one of the new markets. And from January, the brand will be available in the United Kingdom too.

The cigar looks good. A nice, smooth, Colorado colored wrapper. Oily and there are no ugly thick veins visible. The ring, designed by Taha and his close friend & artist Claudio Capuano, is a nice looking, cigar-smoking skull. The glowing red eye did remind us of Terminator. Even though it’s a big and thick cigar, it feels quite light. The little pigtail cap is a nice detail. The aroma isn’t very strong, it’s both floral and a classic barnyard aroma.


The cold draw is very light, very easy. The flavors from the cold draw are sweetness and sultana at first, with a strong and spicy raw tobacco aftertaste. After lighting, it’s coffee, leather, and soil. Quite dry flavors. The flavors then turn spicy and grassy, still with some coffee though. The flavors then evolve to wood, spice, leaves and mild marzipan sweetness. The flavors are a little rough around the edges. The sweetness is that of powdered icing sugar, with grass and leather after a third. Very mild milk chocolate shows up too, with grass, wood, and leather. In the final third, there’s pepper, leather, and young wood. Still a little rough and the mouthfeel is dry. The harshness grows a bit too. In the end, the coffee returns.


The draw is a bit loose, but not too loose that it’s a problem. The burn is a bit wonky, but again, not too bad that it’s a problem. The smoke is quite full and has a decent volume. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. It’s a little unrefined and unbalanced. The white ash is flaky yet reasonably firm. The smoke time is two hours exactly, then it turned so bitter it had to be abandoned.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m sorry but the answer is no

number88

Categories: 88, Costa Rican cigars, Skull 77, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , ,

Dunhill Signed Range Corona

Alfred Dunhill opened his shop in London in 1907. In the 1930s he used his name for a cigar brand too, coming from Cuba. From that, he built an empire. Cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarettes, pipes, you name it and it carried the Dunhill name. But an era has come to an end. The current owners of the Dunhill name, British American Tobacco, discontinue everything except for the cigarettes. BAT is one of the worlds biggest players on the cigarette market and decided to focus on that completely.

 

These cigars, made in Esteli by General Cigars, were introduced in 2014. Or reintroduced is a better word, with a new blend. It’s got a Nicaraguan wrapper, Cameroon binder, and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. I smoked the 5½x42 corona.

 

The cigar has a boring looking ring, old and in dire need of an upgrade. This ring does not appeal to younger cigar smokers at all. The cigar has a nice triple cap but the feet is cut at an angle. The cigar won’t stand up straight. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong. I smell barnyard with some musty hay.

 

The cold draw is perfect. I taste a fruity citrus acidity with some nutmeg and cardamom seeds. After lighting, I taste that citrus nutmeg and spice combination, with a little added pepper. It’s a mild start, but pleasant. After half a centimeter, I taste some leather and nuts, with nutmeg and a little citrus. There’s also faint vanilla. The flavors are all mild and a little dusty. After an inch, I taste more leather and spice. The mouthfeel is dry. The second third starts with leather, hay, and some pepper. At the halfway point, I taste toast with leather, dried leaves, and some sweetness. The final third starts with grass, hay, and pepper. The finale has some nuts and pepper.

 

The draw is great, the burn is good and the smoke is medium thick and full. The light-colored ash is flaky but firm. This is a medium bodied cigar, mild to medium flavored but there is evolution and the cigar does grow in strength. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes

.

Would I smoke this cigar again? No, it’s too boring for me

number88

Categories: 88, Dunhill, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , ,

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

By now, the story of the Flying Pig is probably known. When Drew Estate started making cigars, people said that they would only become successful when pigs would fly. And successful they became. Then Steve Saka, back then CEO of Drew Estate, found the Flying Pig vitola. He was in Tampa and found a 100-year-old catalog from an old cigar factory., That catalog had the Flying Pig vitola, but under another name. Saka decided to make the cigars, in the Liga Privada #9 blend as a limited edition. And as a salute to the naysayers, the cigars were called Flying Pigs.

The Liga Privada lines were so popular that Drew Estate asked the rollers to stop smoking them. So the rollers switched some tobaccos, leaving out the rare ones. That line became the Undercrown. And the Undercrown got so popular that offshoots appeared. The second Undercrown blend to be released was the Undercrown Shade. That’s a milder version of the Undercrown blend, with a Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador. The binder is Sumatra. The fillers come from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Drew Estate released a sampler with three different Undercrown Flying Pigs. Royal Agio, the distributor of Drew Estate in several European countries, provided me with a sampler.

The cigar looks great. The shape is unique and the pigtail is the icing on the cake when it comes to looks. The cigar feels good. The Connecticut Shade wrapper has a mild shine. The veins are thin. The white with the gold color scheme for the rings are well chosen. It fits the color of the wrapper. The logo is great too, an upside-down crown with a lion’s face. The aroma isn’t mild. It’s spicy, herbal and strong. But also smells like straw.

The cold draw is good, with a raw tobacco flavor. Once lit, a mild coffee and leather flavor is tasted. With salt that is. There’s also some cedar wood. But the flavors are smooth like the volume isn’t cracked open. Elevator music in a cigar, that idea. After a few puffs, there is some acidity and grass. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. Once the cigar opens up when the burn is passed the small foot, the flavors get stronger. Nutmeg, a bit of pepper, leather but also that Connecticut Shade mustiness. And that last part is the downside of all Connecticut Shade cigars. After a third some marzipan sweetness shows up, faint and on the background. The final third packs a little more power. Sweetness, pepper, leather, and wood. But still creamy with a little salt. The mustiness tones down a lot.

The draw is good. The burn is great. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is nothing like other Drew Estate products. Drew Estate is known for its smoke bombs. But this Undercrown Shade Flying Pig produces just a medium volume of smoke. It is not very thick, and gray instead of white. The cigar is mild to medium flavored. It’s also medium bodied. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will never buy any Connecticut Shade cigars again.

number88

Categories: 88, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , ,

Kings Cigars Conde Robusto

The last couple of years you see a rise in the use of Mexican San Andres wrappers and one of the companies that has been utilizing this wrapper in one of their lines is the boutique brand Kings Cigars. I met Pete from Kings Cigars a few years back in Cigar Cellar in Miami and he handed me a few sticks to bring to my then employer, who wasn’t interested but of course I kept a few sticks for myself to enjoy too. Amongst them this Conde Robusto, which I’m publishing on Kings day in The Netherlands


As I said, the cigar used a San Andres Maduro wrapper from Mexico but the cigar is made in Nicaragua in 5 different vitolas, 5×52 robusto, x650 toro, 7 1/2×50 double corona, 7×52 Churchill and a 6 1/2×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the robusto for this review. The binder is a Nicaraguan habano while the filler is completely Nicaraguan too. According to the website Kings Cigars has two factories but I wonder if they own factories or if they have their cigars made by others, my request for information never got a reply.


The wrapper is dark, oily, velvet but also has a few veins, but because of the darkness of the wrapper the veins don’t bother me. The cigar feels evenly packed and looks well finished. The ring is nice, green and blue with a golden crown and a black eagle on good quality paper. The cigar has a distinct, medium full, aroma that you get when you walk into a stable that’s used for cows.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy, lemony and a little mint. After lighting I taste some coffee with powder sugar sweetness. Soon it changes to a chili vanilla melted ice cream flavor. After a third I taste some pepper with a creamy chocolate. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with some oak and pepper.


The draw is great. The burn is good too and the pepper and salt colored ash is alright. The smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. This cigar is medium bodied and flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think so.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Kings Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Connecticut Coffee Break

There was a time, back in the day, that I used to be an avid bomber, but also got bombed a lot. And for a while I added rings to cigars of who bombed me and what date I received the bomb. This was one of the cigar that still had the ring, even though is says “Slavac, 10/20/2009”. So that means that this cigar is at least a decade old but I also read that the cigar was only introduced in 2012 as a regular production. I have no idea if this was a regular production, or where information got mixed up.


I probably never smoked it because of the wrapper, as I have written many times before, I am not a fan of Connecticut Shade wrappers. I tried many, and the number of Connecticut Shade cigars I like can be counted on the fingers of one hand. All I can hope is that this My Father Cigars made 4½x50 Short Robusto aka Coffee Break, with its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and filler from the Dominican, Nicaragua and Honduras is to my liking.


The wrapper has a light, yellow brown color. It also has a few clear veins, I don’t like the color much. The ring is much better, two tone gray and white with copper colored linings, special selection written in that copper color and Nestor Miranda special selection in red. On the back, where the ring is glued together you can find the Miami Cigar & Co logo. The cigar looks well made, it feels well made too. The aroma is mild peppery and manure.


After cutting I taste nothing actually with a good draw. After lighting I taste the classic Connecticut shade mustiness with sweetness, sugar sweetness. Halfway I taste the mustiness, with a sharp edge, sugar and a mild salty peanut flavor.


The draw is great, the light colored ash is firm and the burn is quite alright. The white smoke is thick and full. This is a mild cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That Connecticut Shade still isn’t my kind of wrapper.

Score: 88
number88

Categories: 88, My Father Cigars, Nestor Miranda, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Maria Mancini Edicion 2016

Maria Mancini, I had seen the brand in Germany and I knew it was made in Honduras as the ring says so, but I don’t think I ever smoked one until now. I started digging around, and to my surprise, this brand has a history of over 20 years. The owner of the brands are the German cigar manufacturers Schuster Zigarren but the cigars are handmade in an undisclosed factory in Honduras.


Maria Mancini is prominent in a book of a German writer, Thomas Man, but she was also a real-life aristocrat in from Italy, with a troubled arranged marriage in France, causing her to flee back to Italy. Later she returned to France to become an important fighter for women’s rights. And now she has a cigar named after her, which makes the circle round since most factory workers are females. And jobs give them the chance to some independence.

The dark wrapper is oily and smooth. The cigar has a bright red footing with bold golden lines and the number 2016. The regular Maria Mancini ring is classic, white it brushed golden outlines and details. In the middle, there’s a drawing of the historical Maria Mancini and it says ‘Honduras’ and ‘Hechos a Mano’. The construction feels good, the head is beautifully rounded. The aroma is quite strong, a little pepper, a faint tar and farm animals is what I recognize.

When I wet the cap before the cut, I taste a lot of salt. The cold draw is perfect, I taste sultanas, pepper, and dry tobacco. After lighting, I taste coffee and leather with plenty of pepper. Soon I taste a woody flavor with some lime and sugar. After a centimeter, it’s leather, soil, and pepper. I also taste some nutmeg. After a third, I still taste the leather. The pepper grows, yet the sweetness is still there. The final third starts with some nutty flavors. The finale is noticeably stronger, with charred wood, pepper and a bit of cream.

The smoke is medium in thickness and volume, it has a brownish-white color. The burn is a bit uneven. The ash is fine. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Yes, I won’t buy a box, but a few singles I wouldn’t mind smoking again

number88

Categories: 88, Honduran cigars, Maria Manchini | Tags: ,

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