90

Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF

There are cigars out there that you save for special occasions, maybe because the cigar is discontinued, maybe because it’s a unicorn, maybe a limited edition from a year that has special meaning to you, maybe because it’s very hard to find or maybe because the price tag is insane. I’ve been lucky enough to smoke a few unicorns and very expensive cigars like the Daniel Marshall 24k torpedo, but today I’m reviewing this Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF because I got great news, my wife who’s from Singapore just got her MVV, that’s a permit to move to The Netherlands to stay with me and build a new life here. Now if that’s not a special occasion worthy of smoking the most expensive cigar from my stock then I don’t know what is.


Fuente shocked the cigar industry with the Opus X, the first Dominican puro, while everybody said that no wrapper could be grown on the Dominican Republic and the Opus X became a legendary cigar, the flagship of the Dominican cigars. Fuente branched off the Opus X with the Anejo and with limited edition with extreme names as chili pepper or pussy juice, weird shapes like footballs and they combined it in this perfecto with a shaggy head and the name Big Bad Mother Fucker aka BBMF. Its a Dominican puro, completely out of Sun Grown Rosado grown on the Chateau de la Fuente and if you can find these cigars the price tag is insane, I haven’t seen them cheaper than $275 online.


In my ratings the cigar scores points for the ring and the construction and with the high quality, very detailed, distinguished ring and the awesome shape of the cigar, with the beautiful maduro tip and the crazy head that looks like a masai haircut this cigar scored incredibly high on that department. The wrapper, chocolate milk brown, is flawless with one vein at the back. It feels a little oily and has a deep reddish glow. And the aroma, which is medium strong, has a complexity to it which is unique. I smell some ammonia but also spiced and herbs.


Due to the head I have no option than to cut. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and pepper and the initial draw is tight but that’s probably because of the shape. And indeed, once I am passed the Maduro foot the draw opens up. The flavor changes to toast then too with pepper and herbs. The pepper grows strong, with toast as a supporting flavor. Halfway the toast gets a little stronger and now with a little acidity but pepper is still the main flavor. The final third starts with a mellowed out pepper. The pepper gains strength again though.


The draw starts difficult but opens up soon but it’s hard to keep the cigar lit in the beginning and the burn is uneven and keeps giving me issues.  The silver gray ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium at max and the burn and smoke rating completely destroy the high rating the cigar got for looks. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. Insane price, too many burn issues.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indian Motorcycle Habano Robusto

In 1995 Rocky Patel partnered up with Philip Zanghi, who’s father owned Indian Motorcycles and together they started Indian Tabac. In 2002 Zanghi sold the rights to Rocky Patel to focus on other parts of the cigar business and Rocky Patel slowly faded out the Indian Tabac name, converting the company to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. late 2014 Zanghi announced that he bought back the rights to the Indian Tabac name and would bring a new line of cigars to the market, Indian Motorcycles, in cooperation with the current owners of the Indian Motorcycles company.


I got this cigar at the HQ of the Dutch distributer where I had a meeting with the owner. He gave me a few samples to smoke, so here’s a review of the Indian Motorcycles Habano Robusto, a cigar made with Central American filler, including Dominican, a Dominican binder and an Ecuador Habano wrapper. The cigar is made at the Del Los Reyes/Debonaire House factory on the Dominican Republic and measures 5×50.


The wrapper is has a nice, dark brown color and is oily and glossy with a few thin veins and just an amazing looker. The construction feels good and the cap is nice. The ring is great, its a smudgy beige, like someone who’s been working on a motorcycle grabbed the ring with a little oil on his fingers and then wiped it off, a very nice detail. It has a gray circle with the name Indian Motorcycles 1901 and the a shiny red circle within and the famous Indian head in beige. On the bottom theres a golden banner with white letters saying premium cigar. This is a cigar I would grab from a humidor just because of the looks and the ring if I didn’t knew it. The aroma is very strong, barnyard with hay and ammonia.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and I taste raw tobacco. After I lit the cigar I taste a nice mildly sweet espresso. After a few puffs the espresso gets accompanied by a little acidic earth flavor. After a third I taste wood with a little salt in the back of my throat. I also taste some peanuts and pepper. Halfway I also taste some lemon, nice and refreshing. Slowly I taste more nuts, more pepper and some spices.


The draw is good. The ash is silvery gray, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow and very slow. The smoke is medium thick, personally I would have liked it a bit thicker. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I will get a few more.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Del Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santiago Habano Toro

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Santiago Saturday – Santiago Habano Toro

Last september at Intertabac I met the guys from Santiago de los Caballeros cigars, a private label cigar company that have their cigars made in Esteli by the Plasencia Family. They gave me a few samplers and last January I reviewed the Santiago Maduro Robusto, last month I reviewed the Santiago Connecticut Robusto and today I’m reviewing the Habano blend in a 6×50 Toro shape. The cigar has a blend of Nicaraguan and Mexican tobacco as filler, a Nicaraguan binder and a Ecuadorean Habano wrapper. I don’t know what the MSRP for these cigars are or where they are for sale. To be honest, before I met the guys I never heard of the brand.


Now the Maduro was a pretty decent cigar, that raised my expectations for this habano. The wrapper is beautiful, very dark, mild shiny with a dry appearance. I see a few veins. The ring is beautiful, its a dark green, close to grey, with golden linings and white letters Santiago de Los Caballeros Nicaragua but what makes the band stand out is the shiny, black and slightly raised cross. The bottom ring is the same greenish gray with golden lining and blue letters Habano, something I would have done in white to make it matching. The construction feels evenly, but a little soft. The triple cap is gorgeous. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of stray on the barn floor right before it’s cleaned out after being peed on by cows all night. Now that sounds disgusting, but cigar smokers know what I mean and that its not a bad thing.


I decided to punch the cigar and I’m glad I did as the cold draw is loose, cutting it might have made the draw even easier. I taste pepper and some cocoa. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and the start is bitter. After half a centimeter the bitterness tones down to a tolerable level and I also taste some sweetness and coffee. After an inch it’s still coffee but with cocoa. Halfway the flavor reminds me of roasted nuts. The flavor remains but after two thirds it get company from pepper, mainly on my lips. With an inch and a half to go I clearly notice the turning point and I toss the cigar.


The smoke is thick, white and luscious. The draw is a little too loose for my preference. The ash is silver gray and you clearly see the layers. The ash is frayed but firm. The burn is straight. This medium plus bodied cigar is medium bodied and the smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Depends on the price, it’s a good cigar but there are many good cigars comparable to this one so the price would be a factor.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Tatuaje Thursday – Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva

In 2003 Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars released a cigar with the name Cojonu, which is slang for ‘balsy’ according to my friends of Halfwheel, and that fits the whole Tatuaje brand if you ask me. Now because the cigar had a year on it you could suspect it to be a yearly limited but no, Johnson decided to make a regular release with a new edition every three years, with the Tatuaje Cojonu 2006, Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 and also a regular production under the name Gran Cojonu in big ring gauge and no bands. Now for the 2012 Cojonu Johnson did something special, he not only released the Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 with the regular Ecuadorean Habano wrapper but also a box in the shape of a book with Cojonu 2012 with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Sumatra wrapper aka Capa Especial. And its all in the detail, a book contains 24 cigars, 12 Tatuaje Cojonu Broadleaf and 12 Tatuaje Cojonu Capa Especial, to keep the ’12’ theme going, even the cover of the book says it “The Cojonu two 12’s”.


Sadly there was no Tatuaje Cojonu 2015 edition, next time I see Pete I’ll ask why and if there will be a 2018 Cojonu. In retrospect, of all the times Pete and I talked we never spoke about any of the Cojonu cigars as I can recall. And I never heard about them online either, so that might be the answer to the question why there wasn’t a Cojonu 2015. Back to the cigar, which is also called Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserva. It has a 6 1/2×50 size and is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper is dark, it feels like velvet and has a little spark of minerals, the veins are hardly noticeable and it gives the cigar a great appearance. The construction, which is slightly box pressed, feels good and the triple cap is very well made. The rings, well, it has the standard brown Tatuaje ring with the flor de lis and white, swirly lettering on thin paper and even though its not fancy, I like the simplicity of the Tatuaje rings. Unfortunately it doesn’t match with the second band which is shiny and black with golden outlines and a straight font saying Cojonu 2012. I wouldn’t have used shiny paper, golden print and a straight font because it doesn’t match the simple style of the regular ring. Now the aroma of the cigar isn’t very strong and much to my surprise a little minty.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and spicy, woody and peppery. Once I lit the cigar with my soft flame lighter I taste coffee with pepper. After three puffs I also taste some sweetness. A centimeter later I taste toasty wood with spices, some pepper and a little bit of sugar. Slowly the sweetness disappears, it’s all toasted wood with pepper and herbs.


After a third I still taste wood, with a toasty touch but also some chocolate. There are also some spices and herbs. Halfway it’s a little burned toast but not in an unpleasant way with pepper, citrus and a little bit of mint. There is still a little hint of cocoa, mildly sweet. Slowly the pepper and spices grow on the tip of my tongue.


The smoke is quite thick and a nice amount of it. The draw is good, not perfect but very good. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight and slow. This is definitely a balsy blend, full bodied and full flavored. There is enough evolution and the balance is good. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few and I enjoy other Tatuaje cigars better, but it’s still a very good cigar.

Score: 90

90

 

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

The cigar market has always seen new blends pop up, some of them stick around, others disappear after a time. Alec Bradley has been one of many companies that have released quite some new blends in the last few years and retired a few too. Only in the last 3 to 4 years we have seen the Mundial, Tempus Nicaragua, Nica Puro, Flithy Hooligan, Fine & Rare, Family Blend, Family Blend Lineage, Coyol, Texas Lancero, Post Embargo and the Sanctum show up plus a re blended and rebranded Maxx. I probably missed some and since Alec Bradley hasn’t been on the Dutch market for so long, only a few years, I don’t now what blends they retired.  Now new lines or brands, I have mixed emotions about that. As a cigar geek I love it, because I always want to try new stuff. And as a cigar salesman I loved it, since its pretty easy to sell something new, easier than building a brand to stay in the market long term but on the other side I hated it too as a cigar salesman because you simply can’t carry all brands, customers request cigars that are not in your portfolio and as a consumer I sometimes got tired of it as well. For example, when Viaje was introduced I hunted down all new releases until there were so many small batches I couldn’t keep up and lost interest, same with a Tatuaje, too many special releases so I couldn’t bother anymore and even Rocky Patel overdid it with his seasonal ‘spring, summer, autumn & winter’ releases. Its a shame because all mentioned brands I love.


Back to Alec Bradley, I worked for a cigar distributer and Alec Bradley didn’t have an importer when they were chosen to be the cigar of the year. The second that happened, I remember sitting at a parking lot refreshing my screen franticly as the #1 is announced late on the working day for us and close to the x-mas period where the company was closed, if one of our cigars was #1 I had a short time frame to push the sales up at the end of the year. Well, Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, not one of ‘our’ cigars so no nice added turnover that week but we did reach out to them that afternoon and a few days later we were the official Alec Bradley distributer for The Netherlands and in the years after we built a good relationship. I always liked most Alec Bradley cigars but considered them to be a ‘middle of the road’ cigar, good but not fancy, except for the Mudial and the Tempus Nicaragua that I loved. I parted ways with my employer and decided to reboot my review blog, but reviewing demands a different approach to smoking, one with way more attention to the cigars than how I smoked for the past few years and when I did, it changed my mind on Alec Bradley a bit, the ‘middle of the road’ Black Market for example it a much better cigar than I always thought, but I only smoked it casual before. And that happened with more Alec Bradley sticks, so I can’t wait to try this Sanctum Robusto.


The Sanctum is made from Honduran, Colombian and Nicaraguan filler with a Costa Rican binder and a Honduran wrapper and its made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. When I release the cigar from the cellophane jacket it feels silky. The wrapper looks good but has a long, thin vein, straight in the centre that I personally would have hidden on the back pure for the looks in a humidor. The construction feels good and the cigar is well finished. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me most of the kitchen when I’m boiling cauliflower and its quite strong. The ring is big, covers at least a third of the cigarand maybe even more. It’s black with white and a red Alec Bradley logo in the centre, surrounded by golden details and the test Sanctum in a beautiful font. At first glance the logo with the golden decoraction made me think of a fire department crest.


I punched the cigar and the predawn is a little tight on the good side. The flavor reminds me of old dark chocolate. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nice coffee flavor with some cedar and far in the back even a little bit of dark chocolate. After a centimeter the cedar has completely taken over from the coffee, with some pepper and some milk chocolate with some vanilla. The overall flavors are creamy. Halfway I taste wood with a honey sweetness. Slowly the pepper gets stronger and I also taste a little nutmeg Abe cinnamon like spices. After two thirds I mainly taste the spices and some pepper.


The smoke is quite thick and the volume is fine. The ash is light gray. The draw is great, the little too much resistance I had in the cold draw isn’t noticeable after lighting the cigar. The ash is firm and the burn is pretty darn straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar but I prefer the Mundial, Coyol and Tempus Nicaragua over this blend.

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto

While I usually review cigars in the evening, after a good meal, sitting in my man cave with the TV on, this cigar I reviewed in the morning after a nice breakfast, an hour long workout and a shower. Right after Alec Bradley won the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 in 2011 the company I then worked for started to distribute the Alec Bradley brand in The Netherlands and much to our surprise our best seller wasn’t the blend that won the number #1 spot that was the best seller, but the Black Market was. We just couldn’t keep up with the demand, the cigars just flew of the shelves. And it still surprises me, I smoked quite a few of them and my impression was always that it was a good smoke but nothing spectacular. Now in the summer of 2014 we released a one time only business to business magazine for the Dutch retailers and we included a top 25 cigars from our portfolio, all tested blind by a panel of 10 cigar aficionados and the Alec Bradley Black Market came out as number one.


Last september at Intertabac 2016 I ran into George Sosa again, and I must say, over the last few years George and I formed a real friendship. As I had left the company George said “let me give you some cigars so you won’t be without” which is funny since my stash holds 5000+ cigars anyway. Including the hand full of cigars he gave me was this Black Market robusto and since I hadn’t smoked it in a long time (my go to Alec Bradley is the Tempus Nicaragua robusto) and never reviewed it before I decided not to smoke it on the spot but review it. The blend of this cigar consists of Honduran and Panamanian filler, a Sumatra binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and the cigars are being produced by Raices Cubanas in Honduras. The size of the cigar is 5.2×52 and the wrapper is quite dark, like a 72% dark chocolate bar with some minor veins. The ring is huge, it covers the bottom half of the cigar but when you remove it you’ll find a small separate ring just past the midway point of the cigar. The construction feels good, the cigar is evenly filled and has a medium strong spicy barnyard aroma. The cold draw is fine and I taste a raisin flavor.


As you can see I used my trusted combination of a Xikar Xi2 butterfly cutter and my vintage Ronson varaflame to cut and light the cigar. Straight from the start I taste spice, some pepper and a mild coffee flavor with some sugar like sweetness. After a centimeter the flavor changed to wood with some spice on the back of my tongue and some sweetness too. After a thirds I taste some pepper again.


The flavor changes to wood with lemon, a nice and refreshing lemon. It changes quickly to a hickory wood without the lemon though but with sweetness again, a sugary sweetness. After two thirds I taste a mild milky chocolate with spices. Later the flavor changes to a mild peanut butter but still with the sugary sweetness. Near the end I taste a nice fresh aftertaste.


The ash is light colored, beautifully layered and firm. The smoke is light gray and nothing more than medium thick and medium in amount. The draw is fine, just a tiny bit on the tight side but still fine. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored, it’s well balanced with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s been a while since I smoked it and it’s a nicer cigar than I remembered, combined with the price it’s a cigar I will buy more often.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jas Sum Kral Maduro Toro

Jas Sum Kral might be the most talked about cigar of 2016 on social media. It’s the brand of Riste Riatevski and he uses the social media like nobody else in order to get his brand name out and sell his cigars. His Red Knight is blended together with Noel Rojas and made in Noel’s factory Tabacalera NOA. Riste is from Macedonian decent and the name Jas Sum Kral means “I am king” in his native language. The first release was just a 6×52 toro with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a double binder, one Mexican San Andres and one Nicaraguan Jalapa and undisclosed filler. I’ve been in touch with Riste on Facebook for some time and got my hands on one of this original release Red Knight toros through an account of mine, Hans van de Wittenboer from Piet van Kuyk Cigars in Eindhoven, and it blew me away. So much that I asked my then employer, the largest independent premium cigar importer in The Netherlands to take on this brand, which he initially denied.


When the new vitolas came out, a lancero, lonsdale and robusto, I asked Riste for the international wholesale prices, called a few of my Facebook savvy accounts to see if they were interested, wrote a nice order and got back to my employer with everything worked out, the fixed retail prices and the biggest order Riste had until that moment. With so many boxes pre-sold my employer couldn’t say no any longer and The Netherlands became the first international market where the Jas Sum Kral brand was available. A few months later I parted from that employer and in my last week I used the company discount to buy some Joya Red Half Corona for my wife, her favorite cigar, and Jas Sum Kral Red Knight in all sizes for me. A review of the lancero can be found here (in my old scoring method, maybe I’ll do one in my new 100 point method later this year).


I finally met Riste in person at Intertabac 2016 last september and he gave me a new Jas Sum Kral Maduro toro, a cigar (6×52) that will only be released for international markets since it wasn’t ready for the dreaded august 8 deadline and can’t be introduced to the American market unless the FDA ruling is changed. I smoked one right at the show and decided to keep one for a review, this review. The ring is the same as for the Red Knight and is designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim who makes the most beautiful photos for his Instagram. The design is very detailed with great us of black, burgundy, gold and white letters on a good quality thick paper. The wrapper is beautifully dark, with some even darker spots, and two veins on the side and it’s leathery to the touch. The shape of the cigar is a bit off, it’s not completely round, the sides feel a little flattened but it feels evenly filled. The cigar has a dark aroma, a little bit charred and a wet dog with a hint of ammonia.


I decided to cut the cigar with my xi2 cutter from Xikar instead of punching it. The draw is fine and cold I taste dry raisin with a little spicy and peppery aftertaste. As almost every time when smoking indoor I lit the cigar with a soft flame and straight away I taste coffee, strong, bold and bitter. Soon I taste meaty and peppery flavor. The pepper is becoming really strong, maybe even too strong. Even the smoke smells peppery. After a centimeter I also taste some dark chocolate but with a lot of pepper.

Soon after a cedar flavor shows up as a backdrop for the pepper and after a third I taste a mild metallic flavor. The pepper is still the main flavor although it’s not too overpowering anymore. Halfway the cedar and metal get accompanied by chocolate as support to the jalapeño pepper. The background flavors change to wooden notes towards the ⅔rd mark. The aftertaste has some mint in it. After the ⅔ point I taste more of a salty walnut flavor with that metal and still the pepper. The final puffs are a toasty, nutty flavor with a lot of pepper.


The smoke is great, thick and luscious but I don’t like the gray color. The ash is white and dense. The draw is great. I had to touch up a few times to correct an uneven burn, I blame the thickness of the wrapper for that, but it does effect the score. This cigar is definitely full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half. Unfortunately I didn’t get to use my awesome Jas Sum Kral nub tool.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pepper bomb, a few years ago I loved pepper bombs but my preferences changed a little. This is a great post barbecue cigar so I’ll buy a few for the summer season. But for other occasions I will grab the red knight.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

CLE Corojo 11/18

CLE, Christian Luis Eiroa. For those whom that name doesn’t ring a bell, Christian Eiroa and his father were the masterminds behind Camacho, a brand they bought in 1995 five years after the death of brand founder Simon Camacho and they build the brand up using the knowledge and experience they head as tobacco farmers for generations. In 2008 they sold the brand and the factory to Davidoff but they didn’t leave the tobacco industry since they kept the farms. A few years, in 2012, later Eiroa entered the cigar making part of the business again with a new factory, based in the old movie theatre of his grandfather in Danli, Honduras and he is doing it his own way. Tabacalera Unidas is the mother company with several cooperations like Wynwood (started as a cooperation with Robert Caldwell before he dropped out), Asylum Cigars with Tom Lazuka, EH Cigars with Edgar Hoill and of course his own Eiroa cigars.


When the company just started my then employer went on a trip to Florida with his family. One unsuspecting afternoon he calls me all excited and tells me “man, I was at the Island Smoke Shop on Key Largo and your buddy Bill (who worked there at the time) gave me this cigar, Asylum 13, its a $5 cigar but its amazing”. Now I never heard from that cigar so I made a few calls and got in touch with Tom Lazuka and Christian Eiroa. To cut a long story short, it didn’t take long before we started distributing Tabacaleras Unidas in The Netherlands. After the release of the Asylum 13 line, including the ogre, and the Schizo bundles we released the CLE Corojo. This cigar is a Honduran puro with the leaf that made Camacho and the Eiroa family famous. And it also came out in the unique 11/18 shape that Eiroa created for Camacho. It’s a 6 inch long parejo with a little thicker part (ring 54 instead of 50 at the foot and the head) in the middle, unique.


The wrapper of the cigar looks nice, milk chocolate colored, few thin veins, a beautiful triple cap and its mild oily. The band is simple yet stylish. a nice mat black with shiny silver lettering CLE Corojo and a red 2012. I feel a little soft spot near the head of the cigar, but I can only imagine how difficult it is to roll this uniquely shaped cigar. The aroma is strong and its a barnyard aroma, manure and horses. The cold draw after the flat cut is easy and I taste a cedar with raisin flavor with a peppery flavor on my lips.


After I lit the cigar with my soft flame, I’m smoking inside so I don’t need a jet flame, I taste a mildly sweet and bitter coffee flavor, slowly I taste more cedar with a little citrus tang with a little pepper. After an inch I taste some cedar and wood. After a third I also taste some chocolate and the citrus has grown in strength. Halfway a honey like sweetness shows up. The flavors are quite dry. The chocolate is still mildly around with some nutmeg and cinnamon.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful. The draw is easy, maybe a little too easy but just a little. The ash is gray and a little frayed. The burn is good, no correction needed. The cigar is medium to full bodied and equally flavored. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the robusto.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Eiroa, El Aladino, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santiago Maduro Robusto

Santiago Cigars is a new brand from Nicaragua and I met the owners at the largest tobacco trade show in the world, intertabac in Dortmund, last September. Online there is not a lot of information about the brand, just that it’s named after the first capitol of Nicaragua and that the cigar is made by the Plasencia family. Now that last piece of information is interesting for the cigar geeks among us that know the Plasencia’s and recognize their importance in the cigar industry. They are amongst the largest tobacco growers and cigar producers in both Nicaragua and Honduras, they make cigars for a lot of brands like several Alec Bradley lines, Casa Magna for the Quesada family and many more next to a few lines for themselves and in Honduras they have a joined operation with Rocky Patel. That’s just the cigars they produce but their tobacco is sold to almost everybody. That’s how important the Plasencia family is and why my friend Jonathan Drew calls them ‘the octopus’ in an endearing way. And even though they are so important it’s still a humble and down to earth family who does a lot of charity for the less fortunate.


Now about the cigar, it’s a 5×50 box pressed robusto with a double band. The wrapper is a San Andres Maduro from Mexico with a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco from both Mexico and Nicaragua. The ring is nice and detailed but the 2nd ring is so off color with the regular band, the red just isn’t a match and I would never have picked that color scheme. The wrapper is beautiful though and the cigar is beautifully made with a well rounded top. The construction feels good and the cigar has a mild barnyard aroma. I decided to punch the cigar instead of cutting it. The cold draw is great with a mild pepper and raisin flavor.


I used my trusted vintage Ronson lighter to light this cigar and due to the thick leave it takes some effort. First hit is sour but it disappears right away. After that it’s a mixture of coffee, lime and wood, a quite unique flavor combination. After a centimeter it turns into a charred wood flavor with a mild citrus aftertaste. After an inch the charred part disappears, it’s now wood with a citrus that’s growing stronger.


After a third it’s a mild barbecue with wood and citrus. Halfway the smoky barbecue is gone and replaced with sweetness. After two thirds I notice some spice slowly growing with some wood, the aftertaste is mildly sweet and the citrus is almost complete gone. The wood is getting stronger too.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful and again my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great. The ash is salt & pepper colored with beautiful rings and quite firm. The burn is beautiful, slow and straight. This cigar is full bodied, full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time was about 75 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I’d like to give it another try but I won’t buy a box.

Score: 90
90

 

Categories: 90, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cain F Lancero

The people that know me and my cigar preferences know that I’m a big fan of thinner ringed cigars and that my favorite vitola is probably the lancero. I have a decent selection of lanceros in a dedicated ‘lancero humidor’, an old 50’s refrigerator turned humidor. My collection currently has about 600 (petit) lanceros. Now because it’s a cigar that requires a lot of attention, I don’t smoke it when I have company, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a game, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a move, I only smoke them when I really want to focus on the cigar. And maybe because it’s such a hard cigar to smoke, smoke too fast and it gets bitter, smoke to slow and you get to relight it often, it’s not a popular size but boy, do I love them. For me the wrapper filler ratio is the best there is, a lancero or any other thin cigar has so much more dynamic than the large ring gauge sticks that are so popular nowadays. My goal for this year is to review at least one lancero each month and post my findings on the 15h of every month, at the end of the year I will not only make a top 25 but also a top 12 of the lanceros I smoked.

The first lancero I will review this year is the 7×38 Cain F lancero. I had this Nicaraguan puro in my humidor for years, I smoked several in the past and always quite enjoyed them. The Cain F was designed by Studio Tobac, Oliva’s think tank, in the hay day of the strong cigars and it contains a lot of ligero tobacco and the body flavor ratio in the thicker sized was way off because of it. The wrapper has a nice color with three small water spots but I’m not bothered by that. The veins have been rolled flat, like Oliva always does, before the wrapper is applied and that gives a smoother appearance of the cigar, the bands are simple, the regular Cain F foot band with an added skinny Studio Tobac band. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice yet very faint cedar aroma. The cold draw is flawless with a mild peppery flavor to it.


Since it’s a small cigar there is no way to punch it, so I used my xikar cutter and Ronson lighter to decap and light the cigar. It’s a thin cigar so lighting is quick and easy. Straight from the get go I taste coffee and pepper with soon a little nutmeg. After a centimeter there is also a little sweetness and a mild acidic aftertaste on my tongue. After an inch the cigar loses the coffee and gets spicier with a sharp pepper on the tip of my tongue. Slowly but surely the cigar gets spicier and more peppery. The ligero strength also kicks in. The flavor doesn’t change dramatically but in little nuances every few puffs, just like you can expect from a thin stick. Halfway the strength toned down a little and I taste a lot of pepper with some licorice on the background. After two thirds i also taste sweetness with the pepper and the licorice changed to an earthy flavor.


The smoke is a little thinner than I would like, but still reasonably. The amount of smoke is fine and it’s white. The ash is beautiful, colors range from dark to light gray and it’s firm for such a thin cigar. The burn is razor sharp. This cigar is full full bodied and medium full flavored. Just like it’s bigger brothers the body flavor ratio is off, but not as bad as the thicker versions of the Cain F. I suspect this Cain F line was blended for strength with flavor as a second priority. Now I don’t mind a strong cigar, but it has to be balanced. I didn’t have to relight the cigar and it lasted me for almost two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a limited edition so that is impossible and I still have plenty.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Cain, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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