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Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro

Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro. A cigar that as far as we know is only available in the United States, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic. And it’s a relatively new brand yet not a new family. The Cuevas family is growing tobacco and making cigars for decades. Since 1890 to be exact. In the early 2000s, the Casa Cuevas brand was sold for a while. But then the family returned to making cigars for others. Until 2016, when the Casa Cuevas line returned. In a way, the story of the Cuevas family is similar to the El Artista brand and even Plasencia. All three are around for a long time, but only recently started making cigars for themselves instead of just producing for others.

This Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro is made with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder is Piloto Cubana from the Dominican Republic. The filler contains tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua, and from the Dominican Republic. For this review, I smoked the 6×50 Toro. Other sizes available are a 5×52 Robusto and a 6¼x52 Torpedo.

The cigar looks good. The wrapper is dark, very dark. But evenly dark, and a bit on the dry side. The blue, white, and silver ring is similar to the new world Romeo y Julieta ring. The construction feels great and the triple cap is flawless. The cigar smells like dark chocolate and soil. Bittersweet and intense.

The cold draw is a bit tights. Quite spicy yet with a dark chocolate undertone. After lighting the cigar gives dark chocolate, earthiness, coffee. Bittersweet flavors with black pepper. In the second third, the dark chocolate is still the main flavor, but now with hay, coffee, and soil. The pepper tones down a bit. There is a hint of citrus. The cigar is balanced, yet not smooth. Halfway it’s still possible to retrohale without too much spice in the nose. The mouthfeel is still dry. In the final third, more wood shows up with some leather. But the spice and the dark chocolate are still going strong as well.

The draw is good, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is thick, white, and full. The burn is straight. The ash is almost white, yet it breaks quite easily. This cigar isn’t very strong, but the flavors are bold. The cigar is balanced. The evolution isn’t spectacular, but the overall flavors are good. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Las Lavas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

H. Upmann Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Royal Robusto. A cigar that was first born in 2011 and exclusively available at the La Casa del Habano franchise stores all around the world. It’s a staple since and has a good reputation within the world of Habano lovers. And it was about time that review another H. Upmann cigar, this Royal Robusto seems a good choice.

Like all Habanos, this is a cigar entirely made of Cuban tobacco. A puro, with wrapper, binder, and filler from the beautiful Caribbean island. It measures 5⅜x52 and that makes it an Edmundo. In Cuba, cigars have a factory name and an “outside” name. For the outside world, this is a Robusto, yet in the factories, it’s an Edmundo. A size that is best known for the Montecristo.

The wrapper is wrinkled like an old lady. Or your fingertips after spending too much time in a bathtub. But it has some shine to it from the oil. Even though the red of the secondary ring isn’t exactly the same as the red in the classic H. Upmann logo, the rings don’t clash. The construction of the cigar feels good. The aroma is mild floral.

The cold draw is good and has a b.t of a floral flavor. Lit the cigar releases sweetness with floral flavors and creamy coffee. There is a little salty undertone as well. The sweetness turns to vanilla. But there is also a little bit of pepper. After a third, some nutty flavor is the most dominant. There is also cedar, floral notes, and sweetness. Close to the final third, sweetness and cedar grow in strength.

The draw is fantastic. The burn is good and the cigar releases a nice amount of smoke. The ash is quite dark but relatively firm. The cigar is well constructed. The flavors are balanced, well rounded, and smooth. This is probably a cigar with a few years of age on it. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cimarron Connecticut Robusto

Cimarron Connecticut Robusto. In 2018, Tabacalera El Artista released the Cimarron. And not just in one blend, but in three. Once with a Connecticut Shade wrapper, one with a Maduro wrapper. And a third one, with a Habano wrapper exclusively for Germany. Recently, a soft box-pressed toro was launched as a Dominican exclusive. Ram Rodriguez, the third generation to work at Tabacalera El Artista, was heavily involved in the blending process. And as he is not a fan of Connecticut Shade tobacco, blending the Connecticut version was hard to do. In a Zoom conversation, Rodriguez said he feels like he succeeded. And that the Cimarron is a Connecticut Shade blend that is suitable for the smokers that don’t like Connecticut Shade wrappers. That includes me, I dislike Connecticut Shade with a passion.

Tabacalera El Artista is around since 1965, but most of the time, they have been on the background. Going and trading tobacco, making private labels, and no-name bundle cigars. But the last few years, Tabacalera El Artista is coming in strong with great blends under their own brands. And as tobacco growers, they are innovators. The filler of the Cimarron uses T13 tobacco, a hybrid. Created by Tabacalera El Artista. The company is also responsible for bringing back Negrito, an old tobacco variety. It was very popular in the mid-1900s but lost popularity. Ram Rodriguez brought it back as a tribute to his grandfather. Tabacalera El Artista uses Dominican Negrito in many of its blends. The wrapper on this 5×54 Robusto comes from Honduras, which is different from Ecuadorian or American Connecticut Shade.

The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut Shade. It has a thin, long, vein on the side. The classic looking ring is clean and clear. White, green, and gold are a color combination that works well. The cigar has a beautiful triple cap and feels well constructed. The aroma is medium strong, the aroma is that of a freshly cut down apple tree mixed with straw.

The cold draw is fine with a mild wooden flavor. Once lit, the cigar has a spice, oak, sweetness, but also a little bit of that old book Connecticut flavor. The cigar does have some bitterness that is classic Connecticut Shade as well, but all the while it’s creamy too. There are pepper, cedar, and leather. The sweetness is almost marzipan like. Halfway the first third, there is a slightly nutty flavor as well. After a third, the cigar is woody with nuts, some sweetness, soil, and leather. Halfway, the nuttiness of the flavors is enough to fool the smoker into thinking it’s a Corojo wrapper. There is no sign of the classic Connecticut profile, just a nice and spicy nuttiness that fits more into a Corojo profile. The final third is a beautiful mix of different woods, soil, leather, and nuts. The pepper is still there but balanced and on the background. The finale is peppery and strong.

The draw is fine while the smoke is thick and nice. The burn is straight. The grayish ash is firm. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. There is a nice evolution in the cigar. All along with the cigar, there is a little roughness that gives the mildness some edge. Without that roughness, the cigar would be boring. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s one of the few Connecticut’s I enjoyed.

Categories: 90, Cimarron, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Viking Valhalla Churchill

Viking Valhalla Churchill. This is a cigar with a little bit of history. For more than 20 years, sigar.com is a distributor for cigars in Norway. The company had private labels such as Amero and Chess before discontinuing them. A new private label was released. One that celebrated the Nordic history. Viking Cigars. The fourth blend, released in 2018 is the Viking Valhalla. And that’s when things get confusing. Viking Cigars is not American Viking Cigars, so that’s already a very similar name. But when it comes to Valhalla, things are more complicated. Scandinavian Tobacco Group owns the Valhalla trademark. Viking sells a cigar named Valhalla. Freyja sells cigars under the Valhalla name. And Royal Danish sells cigars with Valhalla on the ring. 

All Viking cigars for sigar.com are produced in the Dominican Republic. At La Alianza, the factory of industry veteran Ernesto Perez Carrillo. For the Valhalla, Perez Carrillo and Hakon Aanonsen from sigar.com used an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The duo never disclosed the filler and binder. There are four vitolas available. You can read several other Viking reviews on the site. For this review, the 6½x54 Churchill is selected.

The cigar looks great. A thick, dark, greasy, oily wrapper. The pigtail fits the look. The dark ring, black with gold and typical Nordic design. The cool thing about this ring is that it isn’t paper. It’s a metal alloy. Not sturdy, so you can bend it around the cigar. The only thing is that this ring isn’t as detailed as the rings on the other three Viking lines. But still, unique and pretty. The cigar feels well constructed. There is a strong barnyard aroma with hay and straw.

The cold draw is good. A mild wood flavor with some floral notes. Lit there is a mixture of herbs, coffee, sweetness, leather, and earthiness. Quickly after some salty wood shows up, which disrupts the balance in the cigar. The salty wood isn’t the most pleasant experience. It’s a little rough. The mouthfeel is thick and sticky. A walnut flavor slowly starts to come through. The salty flavor disappears, and the balance returns. The flavors are more rounded now. Black pepper shows up too. The pepper and walnuts are more pronounced. The walnut is persistent, the pepper changes from black to red chili. The mouthfeel remains thick, meaty, and creamy, like a mousse. There is some leather in there as well. In the final third, the cigar gets slightly rough again. There is a red pepper tongue bite.

The draw is great. The white ash is firm. Thick white smoke in large quantities. When it comes to those aspects, this cigar delivers. The burn is straight as a ladies man. This cigar is medium-bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I will stick to the Viking Viking or Viking Nordic Warrior.

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Villa Zamorano Reserva Robusto

Villa Zamorano Reserva Robusto. A budget cigar released in the summer of 2018 by Maya Selva. It’s a brand extension for the already established Villa Zamorano cigars that are available all over Europe. The line was released in 2018 and won a cigar trophy from Cigar Journal a year later. The best value Honduras award went to Villa Zamorano Reserva

The Villa Zamorano Reserva is a Honduran Puro. Made with exclusively Honduran tobaccos. The wrapper comes from Jamastran, from the Habano strain. The robusto is a classic 5×50 size. With a Cuban triple cap. Other sizes available are the Intenso, Expreso, Corona, No.15, El Gordo, and Churchill. For this review, we chose the Robusto vitola.

The cigar is good looking. A nice, evenly colored wrapper. Colorado Maduro in color. And quite smooth looking, without big veins. The triple cap isn’t perfect though. The ring could use an update. This is a budge cigar and the ring shows it. Simple, not flashy at all. The secondary ring is bright red with white. The main ring is brown, black, and orange with white letters. The rings don’t match. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong. Wood, hay, and barnyard with a mild pepper tingle in the nose.

The cold draw is good. Earthy with green herbs is the taste of the cold draw. Once lit, the cigar releases a nice smooth coffee flavor. The coffee remains but with green herbs, salt, and a little grassy flavor. The flavors then change to soil with cinnamon sweetness, nutmeg. There is still a grassy or hay flavor on the background as well. Slowly the cigar turns toasty with nuts and sweetness. But all a little rough around the edges. The spice flavor is very nice, and after a third, it’s accompanied by leather and wood. There was a bit of a flavor that made the cigar less enjoyable. But halfway that layer is gone. The cigar gets more spices with a little pepper. There is a slight harshness in the back of the throat. The final third starts with spice and floral notes. The cigar gets creamy as well. Some pepper shows up in the last part. The finale has pepper and nuts.

The draw is great. The flavors are balanced and smooth. Yet a little rough around the edges. The smoke is nice and thick. The burn needed a touch up once. It’s a medium-bodied cigar, medium-flavored too. With a good construction and firm, light-colored ash. The evolution in this cigar is remarkable for a budget cigar. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? For €3,90, yes probably I would

Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente, Villa Zamorano | Tags: , , , , , ,

Barreda O21 Toro

Barreda O21 Toro. Until a year ago, this brand wasn’t on our radar. We had never heard from it. But at Intertabac 2019, we met Oscar & Stephanie from Barreda Cigars. Barreda Cigars is a small boutique factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. They provided us with a few samples. We reviewed and liked Don Chico Ecuador. Art Garcia’s Antigua Esteli is made at the Barreda factory as well. That cigar also scored high when we reviewed it.

The next cigar from Barreda is this O21. It comes in three sizes, we have the 6×52 Toro. It’s made with Nicaraguan fillers. The binder comes from Indonesia. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano, Sun Grown. The cigars come in boxes of 21. Another play with the O21 name. You have to be 21 to legally smoke a cigar in many American states and many other countries around the world.

The cigar looks good, very good. A dark, oily wrapper. Smooth, almost no veins. The triple cap looks great. But the color on the wrapper makes the cigar look cheap, to be honest. The purple and silver just don’t work on this cigar. The name is good though, as in many countries or states you have to be 21 to smoke. The cigar has a good aroma of hay, straw, and barnyard.

The cold draw is great. The flavors in the cold draw are vegetal with coarse black pepper. Once lit, the cigar releases a mild coffee flavor, creamy but also with some leather. The cigar slowly moves towards more wood and earthiness but still with creamy coffee. The next flavor that shows up is honey roasted almonds. Sweet yet roasted nuts. The second third starts with coffee, honey, black pepper, leather, and earthiness. Those flavors remain until the finale when pepper becomes the main flavor.

The construction is good. Good draw, good burn. Nice white yet coarse ash. Enough smoke, and it’s thick enough too. The cigar is balanced, smooth yet could use a little more character. This is a medium-bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would pick the Don Chico Habano/Ecuador if I smoke another Barreda.

Categories: 90, Barreda, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Barreda | Tags: , , ,

H. Upmann Noellas 2009 LCDH

H. Upmann Noellas 2009 LCDH. Up until the early 1980s, H. Upmann produced the 5⅜x42 Noellas as a regular production. And the packaging was unique. The cigars didn’t come in wooden boxes. Instead, they came in glass jars. In 2009, Habanos brought those jars back in a limited edition. 5000 glass jars were made to be released to the La Casa del Habano franchises worldwide. As is often the case with Cuba, the cigars were only available late 2010, yet are considered a 2009 release.


In 2013 another batch was released in glass jars. Yet with the lack of communication from Habanos, nobody knows for sure if those were another re-release. It could just as well be part of the 2009 release that just wasn’t shipped to the La Casa del Habano tobacconists three years earlier. The cigar that we are reviewing comes from the 2009 release and has been aged in the jar in a humidor for a decade.


The cigar looks good. A Colorado colored wrapper. The wrapper is oily and looks quite smooth. The regular Upmann ring and the secondary La Casa del Habano ring aren’t a match. The triple cap looks good. The cigar is spongy, yet some spots are slightly softer than others. The aroma is mild, with the scent of hay and animals.


The cold draw is good, with a salty leathery flavor. From the get-go, it’s coffee, soil, leather, and some salt. The flavor then slowly evolves to more leather, some wood, and even a hint of chocolate. But the earthiness and salt never disappear. Suddenly the mouthfeel becomes creamy. The flavor remains salty and leathery, with wood but now also with grass. Halfway the flavors change, the cigar gets a hint of pepper, cumin, and a nutty flavor. Still slightly salty, although less pronounced. The leather is still there as well. In the last third, there is nuttiness, spice, pepper, and leather. The final few puffs bring wood, a lot of pepper, leather, and some sweetness.


The draw is great, no complaints about that department. The ash is quite dark though, and not very firm. The smoke is thick and voluminous. The cigar had to be relit a few times though. But the burn is pretty straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If it was 5 euros cheaper, I would
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Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

Gurkha Marquesa Toro

Gurkha Marquesa Toro, a cigar released by Gurkha Cigars in 2018. In three sizes, 5×52 Robusto, 6×54 Toro, and 5×54 Belicoso. All that Gurkha revealed about the production is that the cigars are made in the Dominican Republic. But since Gurkha doesn’t have a factory, they have to be made at a third person facility. Yet, that facility has not been disclosed. Gurkha uses a lot of producers, and by knowing who’s responsible it’s easier to weed out the bad Gurkha cigars from the good ones. Without knowing the manufacturer, smoking the Marquesa Toro is a gamble.

Gurkha is a very old brand, but the Gurkha brand we know now has been around for 30 years. It started when Kaizad Hansotia bought the brand for a few hundred dollars while enjoying a vacation. He met a guy making the cigars on the beach and bought the whole stock, including the brand name. And in thirty years, he built the brand into a powerhouse with many fans and even more haters. But one thing can’t be denied, if you haven’t heard of Gurkha cigars, you’re not a real cigar smoker. Whether you like them or not is a different question.

This is a beautiful cigar. A smooth, dark wrapper, oily, with little to none imperfections. A beautiful, vintage-looking ring finished this 6×64 Toro. This is an eye-catching cigar. The cigar feels well constructed, with the right bounciness when squeezed gently. The cigar doesn’t feel plugged or underfilled. The aroma is medium in strength. It has manure and a damps forest smell.

The cold draw is great. The taste of the cold draw is dry hay with red pepper. The first puffs give dried out leather with a little vanilla. Some nutmeg shows up too, with a very dry mouthfeel. Some powdered sugar sweetness is there as well. A charred wood flavor is next with lemon-like acidity. After a third, there is a flavor of low-grade chocolate on the back of the palate, with something that comes close to old paper. A very dusty flavor with a little bit of white pepper. The final third starts with softwood, black pepper, and some mild sweetness. The pepper grows in strength, with some herbal sweetness as a supporting flavor.

The draw is good, good resistance in airflow. The burn is straight and slow. Even after the cigar dropped from the ashtray on the desk to the floor. The smoke is good. There is enough volume although the smoke is a little thin. The light-colored ash is firm. The Gurkha Marquesa Toro is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, it scores high due to the construction and the looks, but flavor-wise it’s a middle of the road cigar at best

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Gurkha | Tags: , , ,

Undercrown Dogma 2019 Toro

Undercrown Dogma 2019 Toro. This box-pressed toro was released in 2019 to commemorate the 5th birthday of the collaboration between Drew Estate and the online cigar community Cigar Dojo. In 2014, the two teamed up for the initial release of the Undercrown Dogma, and that collaboration has been repeated several times since. The cigars are expected to be released in The Netherlands soon, as a limited-edition. Although the coronavirus pandemic may cause some delay in the planning.


The cigars are box-pressed. It’s a 6×56 Toro made at Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. The cigars use a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder comes from Connecticut. It’s a Habano binder, harvested using the stalk-cut method. That means that the whole plant is cut at the stalk, instead of leaf by leaf. And then hung upside down to dry. For the fillers, Mata Fina from Brazil is used in combination with Nicaraguan tobacco.


The box-pressed cigar has a rustic, rough-looking wrapper. Dark and oily. The rustic look and the darkness make the cigar look very tasty. The rings are impeccable. Dark blue and gold, all printed in high quality. The cigar feels a little soft though. But box-pressed cigars are made with less tobacco than round cigars, so that’s no surprise. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor is a mixture of raw tobacco and dusty milk chocolate. Very unusual. Once lit, the cigar has a sour coffee and wood flavor. Slowly pepper and sweetness come into play as well. The sourness fades away and is replaced by soft floral notes. There’s even a hint of milk chocolate. The cigar balances out with coffee, sweetness, and wood. But it is a bit rough in the back of the throat. There is also a flavor best described as old leather. The roughness in the back of the throat fades away. The cigar gets more pepper, wood, and leather. But the sweetness hasn’t disappeared either. The second third starts with leather, pepper, and more milk chocolate. American milk chocolate, which is a world apart from European milk chocolate. The cigar moves to a more woody flavor profile, with some acidity soon after. In the last third, the mouthfeel is dry. There is a distinct nut flavor, with leather, wood, and pepper.


The smoke is superb, as is always the case with Drew Estate. Thick, full, and enough to make the fire brigade drop by. The draw is great. The ash is white and firm. And the burn had to be corrected once or twice. The smoke time of this full-bodied, full-flavored cigar is two hours and fifty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, I will stick to the regular Undercrown Maduro

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Categories: 90, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , ,

Rauchvergnügen Gran Corona #64cm2

Rauchvergnügen Gran Corona #64cm2 . That 64cm2 is the cubic capacity of this gran corona from the Dominican Republic. The owners and founders of Rauchvergnügen are three German engineers, who combined their passion for engineering and cigars. They launched the brand in 2016, but last year they released their latest creation. A unique ashtray, 3D printed with the structure of a tobacco leaf. Ministry of Cigars wrote about the 42K ashtray before.


As for the cigar, there are several sizes of the Rauchvergnügen. And all have a number as size name. That number is the cubic capacity of that specific cigar. The cubic capacity of a 9¼x47 cigar is 64cm2. Therefore this cigar is named 64cm2. It’s made in the Dominican Republic, at Intercigar S.A. That factory is owned by another Western European. Maurice Koks, originally from The Netherlands, continued the family tradition of making cigars by moving to the Dominican Republic. His ancestors made cigars in The Netherlands. Together with the Rauchvergnügen guys, he blended this cigar with Ecuadorian tobacco as the wrapper. The binder is Dominican. For the filler, three tobaccos were selected, coming from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Pennsylvania, USA.


The Colorado colored wrapper has a lot of thin veins, but that is unavoidable on a cigar this size. But it’s a fine-looking wrapper, slightly oily. The triple cap looks great. The cigar feels evenly filled as well. The aroma is spicy with hay. There are two rings on the cigar. Both blue, with the foot ring as a very thin one. It just says ‘Gran Corona’ with the Rauchvergnügen logo. The main ring is about an inch long. It says on the ring that the cigars are engineered to German standards.


The cold draw is a bit tight, but that could be the length. It’s spicy with a raw tobacco flavor. Once it, the cigar tastes like coffee with some sugar and a bit of spice. The flavor then turns to hay with a sweetness that is comparable to honey. There is a hint of chocolate in the flavors too. The flavors then change again to grass with sweetness and soil. The next change brings leather, more pepper, spice, and even a little cream. The leather and wood are gaining in strength, with more spice and pepper. In the second third, the leather is stronger with a hint of coffee and spice. There’s some sweetness as well. Halfway the cigar gets a walnut flavor as well, with coffee, leather, and spices


The draw is good, and that on a long, relatively thin cigar is a testament of a great roller. The ash is fine, salt and pepper colored. Relatively firm. The smoke is decent, both in thickness and in volume. The burn had to be corrected a few times, and due to the length, the cigar needed a few touch-ups. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. Smooth, well balanced, with enough evolution to keep it interesting. The smoke time is four and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it, but the smoke time is too long.

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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Intercigar, Rauchvergnugen

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