90

Fonseca 30th Anniversary Toro

You can consider this a vintage cigar since it was a limited edition release to celebrate Matasa’s 30th year in business. Now if Matasa doesn’t ring a bell, maybe Quesada does. And Matasa is the name of their factory on the Dominican Republic, Fonseca is on of the brands they make. And they celebrated their 30st birthday back in 2003, thats 15 years ago.

 


The cigar sports a Dominican wrapper. Now that doesn’t turn heads anymore but when it was released it was a novelty. Fuente just released the Opus X, the first cigar with a Dominican wrapper, and together with this Fonseca Matasa 30th anniversary La Aurora and La Flor Dominicana released cigars with Dominican wrappers and that was it. The cigar was released in two vitolas, a 6 1/2×52 Toro and a 5 3/4×54 Perfecto and in total 30.000 cigars were made.

 


The wrapper is dark and oily, leathery but beautiful. The construction feels good although the cap could have been placed a bit nicer. The ring is pretty, glossy black, popping gold, bright red and clear fonts. I like it. And then the aroma, strong and complex, like a Indonesian rendan spice mix.

 


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste some sweet raising followed by some pepper on my lips. A nice strong coffee is the first thing I taste after lighting. After half an inch I taste herbs, spices and a mild dark chocolate. After an inch it’s herbs and a mild peppery flavor. Every few puffs I taste some chocolate too. The flavors then change to meaty with a mild pepper. At the beginning of the final third the pepper gains a little strength. Slowly the pepper is getting stronger towards the end.

 


The draw is good. The white smoke is medium thick and full. The gray ash is dense and firm. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Don’t think that would be possible

Score: 90
number90

 

Advertisements
Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Fonseca, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Selection Habano Canonazo

In 2012 PDR Cigars introduced another Dominican puro during the IPCPR trade show and it was this Flores y Rodriguez Habano Cabinet Selection. The name Flores y Rodriguez comes from Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers and together they are responsible for the brand.


All the tobacco used in this cigar comes from the one Cuban seed from the Vuelta Abajo region, the best tobacco region of Cuba, that was brought to the Dominican Republic to be cultivated. And this cigar is the result, Cigar Journal rated it a 95 point cigar. I smoked the 6 3/4×58 Canonazo, the other vitolas in the series are a 5×52 Magicos, a 6×52 Genios and a 6 1/2×52 Unicos (Belicoso)


The milky brown chocolate wrapper has a few veins and feels like velvet. The cigar feels well constructed and the triple cap is placed nicely. The ring is simple, a classic shape with a oval on the front the outlines are gold, the sides are blue and white vertical stripes and the face of the ring is burgundy with white letters and a golden crest on a blue background. The medium strong aroma reminds me of horses.


I used a guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste spicy and herbal cedar and toast with some pepper in the aftertaste. After half and inch I taste toast with cinnamon and sweetness, caramel like. After an inch I taste French toast with a little sugar. After an inch I taste a mild wood and cinnamon flavor. Halfway it’s toasty with a mild peanut butter flavor, surprising but nice. After that I taste toast with sugar and a little nutmeg. Near the end the cigar is sweet but with a nice peppery aftertaste.


The draw is good, as to be expected from a big ring cigar. The smoke is full, thick and white. The salt and pepper colored ash has nice rings. The ash is firm too. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, well balanced and pleasant. Evolution is very good for a big ring cigar yet the flavors don’t pop. The burn is great, straight and slow. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? The blend yes, this vitola maybe, the smaller ones for sure.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Falto Robusto

Back in 2010 I reviewed three Falto cigars and earlier this month I reviewed the Falto Lonsdale and the Falto Gran Reserva Especial Perfecto, now its time for the Falto Robusto. All the cigars are from the same, very generous, sampler that Luis Falto send me back in 2010 so we can say that these cigars are well aged by now.


The 5×50 Falto Robusto is made at La Aurora Cigars from Dominican filler and binder with a Sumatra wrapper grown in Ecuador. When the Falto was introduced it was as a small batch cigar, only 160 boxes of this blend would be produced on a yearly basis, I don’t know if the limitation is still in place and where these cigars are sold. I guess with a limited production like that they will all be sold at the cigar lounge Luis Falto owns in Puerto Rico


The wrapper is quite dark, like black coffee with a thin long vein running over it. The construction feels great and the cigar is nicely shaped with a beautiful head. The blue, yellow and golden ring is gorgeous, I just like the color combination, the sharpness, the clean design. The aroma is mild and reminds me of hay.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. The flavor is of raw tobacco. After lighting I taste a nice, full, smooth coffee. After half an inch a perfectly balanced sugar sweet and lemon sour flavor takes over with coffee on the background.  After a third I taste I taste herbs with some acidity. Halfway done wood shows up too. The flavors then change to a nice mild spice mix with some sweetness and a little pepper. Near the end the cigar gets more peppery and sweeter.


The draw is fantastic, the burn crisp and straight, the smoke medium thick and gray. The ash is white to light gray, dense and firm. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar with a good evolution and a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a very pleasant first cigar of the day kind of stick.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Falto, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve Robusto

When you’ve been a cigar geek for some time you may recognize when certain manufacturers stepped their game up and it is a defining moment in the history of their company, raising them to another level. For Arturo Fuente that was the moment they released the Opus X, for Oliva it was the release of the Oliva Series V and later even an extra step up to the Series V Melanio and more recently you could really see and taste the development from the Garcia family when they released the My Father and My Father Le Bijou series. All of these lines were better, more refined and more expensive than what they previously did and it elevated their status in the industry and amongst cigar smokers. I have a feeling that this Flores y Rodriguez is that ‘stepping up the game’ cigar for Abe Flores from PDR Cigars.


For years PDR made good cigars, medium priced, good quality cigars but nothing extraordinary, nothing that could compete in the big leagues but early 2016 Abe released the Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve with completely other tobacco, well aged, in bolder packaging for a bolder price. After the initial release he even took the next step and released the cigars into beautiful jars and released a follow up line in the Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve Azul. I got both this regular Connecticut Vally Reserve robusto and the Azul robusto from Abe at Intertabac 2016.


The 7 year old Connecticut broadleaf wrapper looks amazing, it is oily, shiny and dark with some marbling but no real veins. The construction feels great and the triple cap is placed straight but it quite big though. Not that I mind, I punch a cigar with this ring gauge of 52 anyway so I won’t have unravel issues anyway. The cigar has a red cloth footband, then a brown ring with two golden outlines on the top and botton of which the inner one has white dots. In the ring you read Connecticut Valley Reserve in golden letters. The top ring is round and red with golden outlines, a golden crest in the centre, then a golden circle around it, then a red circle with the name Flores y Rodriguez, Tamboril in white letters. The cider have white and red vertical stripes and the text handmade. I smell a mild aroma of barnyard and straw.


Like I said I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and I taste some raisin, pepper and some spicy leather. I taste a pleasant coffee flavor after lighting the cigar with a soft flame. Slowly the flavors change to earthy flavors with some citrus and a little metallic flavor. Although the flavors are nice they evolve so slow it goes secretly and almost unnoticed. After a third I taste earthy flavors with some licorice, cocoa and nuts. Halfway I taste some chocolate too. After two thirds the cigar gets a sudden change of flavors, nuts, a little bit of pepper and a mix of herbal flavors. The flavors are dark, this is an autumn or winter kind of cigars. The pepper gets a little stronger and so does the earthiness.


The smoke is medium plus thick and full in volume. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and very firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The balance is great and the evolution very secretly until the final third. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, this is a nice cigar that fit the colder months of the year.

Score: 90
90

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

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Epic Maduro Lancero

A few years ago the Epic brand showed up in The Netherlands and to be honest, I did smoke a few and they weren’t to my liking. But a few friends of mine love the cigar and keep raving about the Epic Maduro line and the lancero in particular so I decided to give it another go and bought a lancero if this line. And I hope that I like it, because it means that I smoked a good cigar and I have met owner Dean Parsons a few time and wish him nothing but success.


Dean chose the Charles Fairmorn factory as his partner to make the Epic cigars and that’s not a bad choice, one of my favorite Dominican brands, Kristoff, is made there too. The Epic Maduro is made with Nicaraguan and Dominican filler, a Cameroon binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca maduro wrapper and just from that blend I expect some sweetness, spices and strength. The sticker on the back shows that it’s a little longer and thicker than the Cuban lancero size, which I see as the official size with an extra added 2 ring gauge and half an inch making this a 7 1/2×40 cigar.


The wrapper is dark but you can see a lighter color under the darker smears and that makes me wonder if the wrapper is cooked, the amount of oil and the way it shines enhance that feeling. The cigar feels well rolled, I do see a few veins and a little imperfection at the cap but I know from experience how hard it is to apply a cap, especially on a cigar so thin. The rings are nice, I like the fact that the black and silver Epic ring, with a nice red accent, isn’t a regular shaped ring but a cut out of the cursive Epic logo. The ring is well printed. The secondary ring has the same black and silver letters with a red accent and red rings on the top and bottom, I personally would have made the red lines smaller but who am i? The cigar has a medium aroma of manure but with a strong and surprising mint smell.


Due to the small ring I had no other option than to cut. The cold draw is fantastic. I taste a little toast, mild spicy. After lighting it’s a dark and earthy flavor profile with mud and coffee. The Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro wrapper provides some sweetness too, a sugar syrup like sweetness. After almost an inch i taste acidic wood with a creamy chocolate on the background and a faint vanilla. Before the first third ends I taste wood and toast with some herbs, all still with a acidic flavor but the chocolate cream is gone. The herbs are gaining strength and that’s probably the Cameroon binder weighing in. Halfway I taste wood with dirt again, no sweetness and a little vinegar. Soon the nuances change again, the dirt makes places for winter spices. The final third starts with pepper and gingerbread. Slowly I get more spices and pepper.


The draw is flawless and the ash is white, which gives a nice contrast with the dark wrapper. The ash is layered. The light gray smoke is thick and full. This is a medium plus bodied cigar, and the flavor is medium plus too. The smoke time is ninety five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? The construction is top notch, the cigar has plenty of evolution but it’s just not for my palate.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Epic | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Xiphos CR Habano Lonsdale

Late october I smoked and reviewed my first Xiphos cigar and today I’m reviewing my second Xiphos. Same brand, same factory but a different size and blend. This 6 1/2×42 Xiphos Habano Lonsdale is made in Costa Rica with an Ecuadorian hybris Habano wrapper, a Peruvian binder and filler from Peru and the Dominican Republic. The factory is the Tobaccos de Costa Rica in Puriscal where a few other well praised brands are made too.


Now Xiphos doesn’t only do business in Costa Rica, the brand also has two lines made at Order of the New Ages factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. That is the factory of Noel Rojas who owns the Guayacan brand too and the factory of Jas Sum Kral, a brand that I recommend highly and will be in my top 25 without a doubt. Both Nicaraguan made Xiphos lines will be reviewed in 2018.


Once I release the cigar from the cellophane prison I find a smooth and silky, chocolate brown wrapper with a nice glow and thin veins. The rings are gorgeous, a deep blue with silver letters and details and Greek styled letters. The construction feels good and the cigar is well shaped with a nice round head and a good triple cap. The cigar has a strong and dark aroma, barnyard, horse, hay, straw and manure.


I cut the cigar since it’s too thin to punch. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin. After lighting I taste espresso, full flavored and strong. After half an inch I taste oak with a little lemon and cedar. Halfway the flavors tone down a little in strength. I taste some wood, a mild pepper and herbs. The final third lacks pepper but I do taste a hint of vanilla with the wood. At the end I taste nuts too.


The draw is fenomemal, the smoke is medium plus in thickness and volume. The light gray ash is flaky. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored, with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Much to my surprise I would go for the short panatella instead of the lonsdale, but I would not mind smoking this one again either.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Costa Rican cigars, Puriscal Factory of Tobaccos, Xiphos | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Punch Platino Exclusivo India 2009

If you are a regular visitor of my blog, or if you know me personally and talked to me about cigars, you may have noticed that Cuban cigars aren’t my favorites. Now we are not talking vintage stuff, vintage Cubans are a world of difference with post 2001 production as its completely different tobacco and Cubatobacco has screwed up since, screwed up big time, under pressure of the Cuban government that needs money flowing in. For example, they lack quality control causing quality issues, there is a fertilizer problem so the soil isn’t replenished enough and there is a big monoculture problem where the soil doesn’t get any rest. Were Cubans the best before 2000, no doubt there, do they have the potential to be the best again? Yeah, but they need to change a few things and that will cause a temporary decline in turnover, but Cuba will benefit from it in the end.


Now enough with the criticism, I have to take my hat off for the Habanos marketing program. First of all, they don’t sell just a cigar, they sell the complete country, the vibe, the music, the rum instead of brand x or brand y, and they do an amazing job. Secondly they came up with the yearly limited edition, which was a huge success and is now widely copied by cigar manufacturers in Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and anywhere else they make cigars. Third best marketing idea was that whole Behike scam, I mean, after 2000 years of cultivating tobacco a new, very special leaf is discovered? And its used to make a new Cohiba. Everybody buys it, nobody thinks “hey but that leaf was used in the regular Cohiba before, they have taken it out now so my regular Cohiba is less”, I mean, brilliant marketing right? But their best idea was the Exclusivo series, a concept that has been tried by a few copycats, I know General Cigars tried it and Tatuaje, but not to much of a success. And the idea is so brilliantly simple, distributers can choose a brand, pick a vitola that is not made for that brand, have an x amount of boxes made, add a second ring saying “exclusivo” and the name of the country and boom: it’s a collectible cigar that people hunt for. It’s not even a new blend, its just a different vitola. Chapeau Habanos marketing department, you guys are genius, and if marketing was the deciding factor for my reviews this would be a 100 point cigar.


Now the marketing is so genius that I fell for it too and I hunted this Punch Platino Exclusivo India down. I wanted this 7.6×49 Double Corona and found an online vendor that could get me a box. I wasn’t sure if the vendor could be trusted, I had never done business with him in the past so to reduce the risk I turned it into a box split. The vendor was thrustworthy but Dutch customs was paying attention and refused the parcel, we were just lucky that they returned to sender and didn’t confiscate and destroy it. The vendor shipped it again and this time it got through. The ring of the cigar is somewhat different, the top three quarters of the cigars are wrapped in a silver colored foil with a five pointed star embossed in it, the classic Punch ring, golden outline with white surrounding a red circle with white letters saying Punch Habana Cuba. The classic burgundy ring with silver lining and white dots saying Exclusivo India is attached to the foil too, so you can only see a small part of the cigar. Somehow it all fits together though. Once unwrapped I see that the wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban but its beautiful, it feels silky and has a mild oily surface but on the backside it has a more rustic look, and close to the head of the cigar you can feel and see bumps, must be a vein in the binder. The aroma is pretty mild, milder than I expected, and its barnyard, no ammonia though but then again, the cigar is about 8 years old.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is good, the flavor is medium strong and I taste raisin and some pepper. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and I taste a nice mix of chocolate and coffee. After a centimeter I also taste some citrus. The coffee disappears and I taste a mild chocolate with a little bit of leather. After a third I taste some wood with some spices but all very mellow, I can even taste some pepper on the back of my tongue. Halfway i taste a nutty flavor with a little pepper. The nuttiness gets more refined and it tastes like mildly salted peanuts now. I taste some chocolate too and the pepper slowly gets stronger. Near the two thirds mark the peanuts get stronger.


The draw is great, I’m always concerned about the draw when I smoke a Cuban cigar but this one is great. The ash is gray with black stripes between the layers and it’s reasonable firm. The smoke is medium thick at most and medium in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The cigar has a very good finish. The smoke time is two hours and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not falling for the whole marketing trick again, plus this specific cigar can only be bought from collectors for extremely high prices. But if this was a regular production cigar it would be a Cuban i would smoke more often.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A. Flores El Trovador

Abe Flores handed me this 4 1/2×50 Petit Belicoso of El Trovador when he was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago and to be honest, I had never heard of the cigar. That’s not strange because they haven’t been available on the Dutch market yet even though the cigars were released on the American market over a year ago. The translation of El Trovador is The troubadour which is fitting since Abe Flores used to be a professional bass player when he was younger.


Even though the cigar is made at the PDR factory on the Dominican Republic, there is not a shred of Dominican tobacco in this cigar. The filler is vintage Nicaraguan, the cigar spots a double Nicaraguan binder and the wrapper is from Ecuador. And for the artwork Abe found inspiration in Cuba again, since this is a upgraded and updated version of the Montecristo label. The sad part is, and I told Abe, that his cigars are good enough not to need copied Cuban rings.


The reddish yet dark Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper looks great on this box pressed cigar, you can see the veins in the wrapper but since they’ve been flattened the surface is smooth. The cigar is well rolled with a beautiful top and a simple, clear and well printed dark brown ring with golden details and white lettering. The aroma is strong and dark, charred wood like with a little barnyard aroma.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is perfect, I taste tobacco and pepper.  After lighting I taste coffee and pepper. Soon it changes to leather with a tiny bit of dark chocolate. After a third I taste a carrot like flavor with pepper. Halfway I taste cedar with spices, pepper and a hint of cacao. I also get some floral notes.


The draw is perfect. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The smoke started out thin but turns thicker and filler quick. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour exactly.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice short smoke, I would get more.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, A. Flores, Dominican cigars, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Torpedo

I love Joya de Nicaragua and one thing I like is the different way they are perceived by different continents. In Amerika they are known for their strong cigars yet in Europe their mild Clasico blend is the one they are famous for. Yet they cover the whole spectrum, from mild with the Clasico and Cabinetta, to strong with the Antano and Antano Dark Corojo, from classic with the old lines to modern and fresh with the Joya Red and Black, from budget friendly with the Rosalones to ultra premium with the Cuatro Cinco and all without breaking the bank.


Back in 2005 Joya de Nicaragua released a limited edition of their acclaimed Antano 1970 line, the Antano 1970 Gran Reserva, don’t ask me how but I have one in my humidor, a 6×54 torpedo. And when Juan Martinez handed me the new release, which is a different blend as he said, I decided to review both the old one and the new one back to back, two days in a row, starting with the vintage one.


The wrapper is dark, oily and has a few veins, it looks like an Antano wrapper should look, intimidating. The ring is the recognizable Joya de Nicaragua ring yet an older version, the new line has an updated ring with some minor changes. The secondary ring is simple, red with black outlines and black letters. As always with Joya de Nicaragua, the construction is flawless. After 12 years most of the aroma is gone I guess, I smell a mild minty and peppery aroma.


How else can I decap this cigar than with my Joya de Nicaragua branded Xikar cutter? The cold draw is perfect, spicy but also fresh. After lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter I taste a pleasant smooth roasted coffee flavor. After a centimeter the cigar gets peppery and strong, just like expected. After a third the cigar is earthy with pepper and herbs. A very nice, balanced pepper, string but not overpowering. Halfway the pepper tones down, I taste an earthy dark chocolate. The final third is earthy, with a little pepper and some lime, very balanced and pleasant.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, it’s full and bright white. The burn needed a touch up, and the light gray ash is firm after it broke off at the start. The cigar is full bodied, very full bodied, yet very balanced and then strength isn’t too much of an issue. The flavors are full too. The smoke time of two hours is very long.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible since it’s a 12 year old limited edition.

Score: 90
number90

IMG_9529
your reviewer with Juan Martinez (Joya de Nicaragua)

Categories: 90, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Viaje Zombie Antidote

Well, halloween is behind us, we need an antidote against the zombies that have been plaguing us for the last week and Dr. Andre Farkas came up with a vaccin, the Viaje Zombie Antidote. I just love this cigar, a syringe shaped cigar that comes in a plastic medicine bottle with a funny label mimicking a real prescription bottle with all warnings and all, rewritten of course for the cigars and zombies. Unique packaging with a lot of humor and I like that. The cigar that I’m smoking comes from the original 2014 release.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro yet it classifies as a Honduran cigar since it’s made at Raices Cubanas in Danli. It’s the first skinny Zombie cigar from Viaje with a 44 ring and a 6 1/2 inch length and as a lover of skinny cigars I dig that vitola. Because of the tempered foot it’s not a lonsdale but a figurado, yet it has lonsdale length and ring. My previous employer carried Viaje for a short time and I met Andre Farkas because of that, we hung out in The Netherlands for a few days with Abe Flores from PDR and we met at Intertabac a few times. Once we got these Zombie Antidotes in I bought a jar just because of the way it looks, it’s a nice showpiece


Once I release the cigar from its cellophane I smell a feces smell, not a barnyard aroma but human feces and its medium strong. The cigar has a few soft spots and it looks like the cigar is a little under filled. The wrapper is beautiful though, quite dark, mild oily, smooth with a thin long vein running over half the cigar. The ring is simple, its about an inch high, white with a red cross, blood spatter and blue letters “Zombie Antidote” on one side and the words “single dose” and Viaje Pharmaceuticals on the backside. The cigar has a triple cap that is placed neatly.


Since the tapered end is at the foot I could use my punch to prepare the cigar for smoking. The predate is great, more resistance than I expected with the soft spots in the construction. I taste hazelnut with some pepper in the cold draw. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nutty espresso with some nutmeg. The flavor changes to wood with some cinnamon and a chili pepper aftertaste. After a third I also taste a faint sweet chocolate on the background, far on the background. Halfway I taste more spices like nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon with some oak and citrus. The cigar gets darker in flavor with a nice mix of spices and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts, lemon and pepper, quite strong.


The smoke is white, thick and full. The ash is coarse, frayed and covered with black smears but firm. The draw is close to perfect, just like the burn. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. With a better construction the cigar would have scored a point higher. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have three quarters of a jar.

Score: 90
number90

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

Blog at WordPress.com.