90

Casa Magna Domus Magnus Tiberius

I used to work for the Dutch distributer of Casa Magna, next to the Casa Magna Colorado we also carried the Honduran made Casa Magna Oscuro and the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Primus and Optimus and they sold, except for the oscuro. The Domus Magnus I smoked a lot too, great cigar for a great price. We even introduced it at the first Dutch Big Smoke in 2010. Fast forward to 2014, Quesada released a second Domus Magnus year with a few new sizes including this Casa Magna Domus Magnus Tiberius but they weren’t on the international price list so we couldn’t order them.


A year later I went to Nicaragua with Marcel Langedijk and Jesaja Hutubessy, a journalist and a photographer for the book Cigaragua they wanted to publish and I was the one that arranged the whole trip. If you write a book about Nicaraguan tobacco and cigars you cannot ignore the Plasencia family so even though we didn’t do any business with them I made an appointment. During our meeting there Nestor Andres Plasencia handed me a Casa Magna Domus Magnus Tiberius and explained me that the strange shape actually came from a Bic lighter, they made a mold out of the shape of the lighter to make this 6×54 figurado and they used nothing but Nicaraguan tobacco. I lit the cigar and fell in love.


Right after I returned from the trip we needed to place an order at Quesada, I requested the latest international price sheet and again, no Domus Magnus II mentioned so I started to push a little and within a few days Raquel Quesada got me prices and we placed a big order for The Netherlands. Now the cigar looks good, it has a medium brown wrapper, like dark oak, with a nice pigtail. The construction feels good and the wrapper looks nice with some marbling and hardly any veins. The cigar has two rings, a foot ring in black with small red vertical lines, golden outline and golden lettering D. Magnus II Limitada. The normal ring has that same red & black vertical striping and the golden outline on the sides and back and a big yellow logo on the from with a red banner. The brand name Casa Magna is printed in golden and on a small banner at the bottom it says D. Magnus II limitada. I smell a mild woody aroma.


Due to the unusual shape I had no choice but to cut and I used my Xikar XI2 cutter for that. The cold draw is good and I taste some woody and pepper flavors. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste a pleasant coffee flavor. After a few puffs I also taste cedar and a little metallic flavor. This is not how I remember the cigar when I first smoked it. After a centimeter I taste mild peanuts with still some metallic flavor. After a third i also taste a little bit of cocoa.

Right before I reach halfway the metallic flavor is gone, I now taste herbs, toast and wood. After two thirds I taste some faint cocoa again. After that the cigar gets spicier again and the metal flavor returns too, but faint. The finish is great.


The draw is flawless and the ash is light colored, dense and firm. The shape of the cigar doesn’t feel weird or unusual as you might suspect. The smoke is medium thick and medium in amount. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is full bodied and medium full to full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, even if it was just to see if this is a dud or that the one I smoked in Nicaragua stood out from the rest.

Score: 90

90

Advertisements
Categories: 90, Casa Magna, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winston Churchill by Davidoff The Artist

Winston Churchill is one of the most iconic and well known cigar smokers in history and for years Davidoff had a line of cigars in his name. But in 2014 they reblended and revamped the line with a new blend, consisting from Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, a Mexican binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and new rings and logos.


Someone gave me this 4 1/2×41 Petit Corona with the name The Artist. It is named The Artist because Winston Churchill was a passionate amateur painter who loved to paint rich landscapes and some of his paintings are in world renowned museums all over the world, although I guess that if he wasn’t such an iconic statesman and wouldn’t have won the second world war his paintings would not have been on display. But I’m not an expert on art, so I might be completely wrong here.


The chestnut brown wrapper is flawless, smooth and mild oily. The ring is fantastic, glossy white with a popping gold outline, a golden silhouette of Winston Churchill and the Davidoff name. The construction feels good, the cap is nice, the shape of the cigar is even and the aroma is nice, like walking into a stable with just born lambs and mother sheep.


After I cut the cigar I taste just dry tobacco with a great cold draw. After lighting I taste a sweet coffee with a splash of lime. After a third I taste nuts with a little lime. The final third is where the cigar turns to bitterness.


The draw is a bit loose but the smoke is top notch. The ash is light with darker smears. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For the cold winter months

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Terra Nova

Now Alec Bradley was one of those brands that for me was always ‘middle of the road’, never had any issues, they were all oke, none were unlikeable but also non wowed me. That was until George Sosa gave me a Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova on one of our trips through The Netherlands, where I worked for the distributer of Alec Bradley and some other brands. The Tempus Nicaragua and the Mundial stood out for me, but it made me sit down and really focus on some Alec Bradley cigars and that made me realize the Black Market is better than I had in mind. Now I’m going to focus on the Alec Bradley Tempus Natural Terra Nova.


Now the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua is a Honduran cigar because it’s made at Raices Cubanas, just like the Alec Bradley Tempus Natural. The Terra Nova is a 5×50 robusto and the blend consists from Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Honduran binder and also a Honduran wrapper. All the other vitolas have names coming from latin, like Centuria, Magnus & Magistri amongst others. Now my latin is non excisting so I couldn’t tell you more about it if my life depended on it.


Back to the cigar itself, once I release it from its cellophane jacket I see a quite dark wrapper with some veins and a shine from the natural oils in the leaf. The construction feels good and the triple cap is very beautifully placed. The cigar has a strong aroma of manure but without ammonia and charcoal. The ring is gorgeous. I will start with the small ring at the foot, its brown with golden outlines, small golden dots and white letters saying Natural. Then the real ring, its big, flashy with lots of gold, silver, a brown banner with white letters saying Alec Bradley and right in the centre the red oval with the AB letters in white. The quality of the print is amazing.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is on the tight side of good and I taste metallic raisins with a hint of pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste coffee with a caramel like sweetness. Half an inch in I taste chocolate, sweet tasty chocolate. After a third the cigar gets some spices, a woody flavor with a pepper aftertaste. The caramel is still around too. Halfway I taste lemon with some nuts, the pepper is getting stronger and slowly the chocolate returns.


The draw is good, the smoke is medium thick and in volume but it’s getting better along the way. Unfortunately the burn is crooked. The ash is dark gray, layered and firm. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes, shorter than usual for a robusto but I think that has to do with the corrections I had to make on the burn.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will stick with the Nicaragua

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas

Punch LE 2013

I have a lot of people on facebook and one of them, Victor King, I had never met before but when he came to Amsterdam I met up with him and Nasier, from tabaccoshop Van Lookeren to hit a few lounges in the city. When Victor walked in he handed me a Punch Limited Edition from 2013 and he said it was a great cigar. Me, not a big fan of Cubans, decided to accept it and save it for a review. Here’s my review.


The 2013 Edicion Limitada was called Serie D’Oro #2 and it’s a 5 1/2 x 52 Pyramid. It was the first limited edition for the Punch brand, in 2017 a new limited edition was supposed to be released but by the time I was writing the intro to this review (mid january 2018) those cigars weren’t released yet according to the Cuban Cigar Website, so for now I can say the Serie D’Oro #2 is the only Limited Edition of the brand that has been released so far.


The wrapper is quite dark, leathery and veiny. The cigar feels well constructed, I don’t feel soft spots or plugs. And the rings are nice, the regular red & golden Punch ring and the regular golden & black ‘Edicion limitada” secondary ring. The mild aroma is classic Cuban, barnyard and cow dung.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, quite spicy for a Cuban cigar. After lighting I taste a citrus coffee flavor. After half an inch I taste soil, coffee, a little spice and some citrus. Halfway I taste cedar with a little spice and pepper, a little nutmeg too. I also taste a little nutty flavor. The final third is peppery, woody with a floral sweetness.


The draw is flawless. The ash is almost white with a few darker smears. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness, the color is white. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Depending on the price I might want a fiver.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia Original Toro

The final review of the My Father Selection Toro sampler is the Don Pepin Garcia Original aka the Don Pepin Garcia Blue series, on of the first or maybe even the first release under the Don Pepin name. Back then the Nicaraguan puro was made at the El Rey de Los Habanos factory in Miami’s Calle Ocho but nowadays the cigar is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua.


Although the blend, hundred procent Nicaraguan tobacco with a Corojo Oscuro wrapper, hasn’t changed, the rings did get an upgrade once of twice just like the related Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic/Black, which was my first ever Don Pepin cigar and I’ve loved the brand since. And I’m not the only one, since this cigar has been available for over a decade, scored 93 in Cigar Aficionado and reached the top25 in 2008 plus the Garcia family won that Top 25 list in both 2012 with the Flor de Las Antillas and 2015 with the My Father Le Bijou. With that under their belt, plus many more entries for their own brands but also for other My Father made brands like Tatuaje, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal you can say that My Father Cigars equals quality.


The wrapper is a dark mocha color, its smooth and oily with no dominant veins. The foot of the cigar is protected by a piece of blue cloth and the cigar has two rings. The main ring is exactly like the Cuban Classic and the Series JJ, except where the Cuban Classic is black and the JJ is white, this one is blue. So a blue oval with golden curly letters saying Don Pepin Garcia and references to Nicaragua, Cuba and America on the sides. Then there is a secondary ring, blue with golden letters saying Original. The cigar feels and looks good, nicely finished, no soft spots. And the aroma reminds me of hay and those stock cubes you can use for soups, medium strong.


I used my xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is flawless and I feel the pepper burn on my lips. After lighting I taste spicy and strong coffee. There is also a metallic freshness. The cigar is spicy, peppery and woody. After half an inch I taste cedar with a lot of pepper. After a third I taste some citrus acidity and some nutmeg with the cedar and the strong pepper. Halfway the pepper is less strong and the cigar is better balanced. I also taste a bit of chocolate milk. The chocolate milk disappears and the pepper grows stronger again.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, full and voluminous. The ash is white. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I smoked my first Don Pepin Blue a decade ago and I will keep smoking them.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

La Antiguedad Toro

In 2015 I visited Nicaragua for the second time, this time with my then employer, journalist Marcel Langedijk and photographer Jesaja Hizkia to write the Cigaragua book. And amongst the factories we visited for the book was the My Father factory from the Garcia family. It’s one of the brands that we distributed in The Netherlands and my then employer saw a stack of samplers, a toro sampler and a torpedo sampler that looked great, so he ordered a stack without checking the price. Big mistake as the price per cigar was much higher than the regular boxes and so it took me more trouble to sell the sampler than expected, but I succeeded thanks to Christmas and Father’s day. In the next 5 days I’ll be publishing a review of each of the cigars from the Toro sampler, which contained this La Antiguedad, Don Pepin Garcia series JJ, Don Pepin Garcia Blue, Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial and a Centurion toro.


I start with the La Antiguedad, a cigar that saw the light in 2014 as a follow up to the very successful Flor de Las Antillas. The idea behind the cigar was the same, an old Cuban brand with the original artwork and to get that artwork took years, the blend was done but it took the Garcia family four more years before they could release it due to the search of the original artwork. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder wrapped in an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper.


The smooth and oily wrapper feels soft and delicate, its has a dark color with a little reddish glow. The foot is protected by a piece of red cloth and the ring is little over an inch long with a drawing of what looks like a musketeer at a wedding, very detailed with bright glossy golden outlines. Construction feels good and the triple cap looks nice. The aroma is strong, I clearly smell ammonia even though the cigar has been aging in my humidor for three years. It has that ‘stable early on the morning before the floor is cleaned” smell.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste a sweet, dry, straw flavor. After lighting I taste an aspartame sweetness with coffee. After a centimeter I taste cedar with a sweet milk chocolate flavor.  Halfway the cigar gets a little more spicy but still with a sweet flavor as a coating. Halfway I taste some more wood. The cigar gets more woody with a mild pepper and still that sweetness, that reminds me of sugared rice puff candy from my youth.


The draw is great. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is good yet the smoke could be more in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, the sweetness in this cigar isn’t to my liking.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, La Antiguedad, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

El Criollito Half Corona

Abe Flores created this blend as a European release, and if the FDA gets their way and their proposed policy on cigars doesn’t get overthrown by the senate and the house of representatives that will be something we will see a lot more, European releases. Even though I’m European and think it’s cool that there are some cigars that we can get that aren’t available in the USA instead of the other way around, I would hate to see that happen.


The El Criollito line is made out of a lot of Criollo tobacco, hence the name. Criollo 98 from the Dominican and Nicaragua as a filler, a Mexican San Andres binder and an Ecuadorian rosado criollo wrapper make this four vitola line. I smoked the 3 1/2 x50 Half Corona, a gift from Abe himself, but there is also a 5×54 Robusto, a 6×60 Double Magnum and a 7×70 Sentenial.


The smooth and oily wrapper has a mild reddish glow over the coffee colored wrapper. The cigar looks good and feels good although the triple cap isn’t glued straight. The ring is simple and small, brown with golden outlines and white letters El Criollito A. Flores. The aroma is very strong, it reminds me of horses that just came back from a run.


I cut the cigar the cleanest cut ever, literally just taking the cap off. I taste a slight salty and spicy cold draw, which has the perfect amount of resistance. I taste coffee with salt. The flavors are bolder and stronger than expected. After a few puffs I also taste nutmeg and cinnamon. The coffee disappears and I now taste a mild salt with wood. The flavor gets a little citrus halfway, with the wood and salt. The final third is stronger, with a lot of added pepper.


The draw is great. The light gray smoke could be a little thicker and more voluminous. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, El Criollito, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

Whenever I am in Miami, and that used to be once a year, I would always stop by El Titan de Bronze to say hi to Sandy Cobas. And every time I said I went to El Titan people would ask me “did you see Willy, their master blender?” and the answer would always be “no”. For some reason I always missed Willy when I went to that beautiful, cozy, wonderful and small factory on Calle Ocho that I love so much. And then Willy left, Drew Estate made him an offer he couldn’t refuse so he made the transfer. Then I met Willy, at the Drew Estate offices when I dropped by to say hello to Jonathan. Ever since, whenever I’m at El Titan de Bronze I run into Willy there too, it’s weird but funny.


Now back in february 2014 I went to Nicaragua and at the time my then employer had dropped Drew Estate, they didn’t sign with Agio yet so all the new stuff was not distributed in The Netherlands. While at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate JD gave me a box of the Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda with the words “you can’t get these, enjoy them”. Jonathan is a great and generous person and not just because he gave me a box of cigars. These Nicaraguan made cigars with an Ecuadorean habano wrapper didn’t do it for me so fresh but now that I aged them a bit they became much better, so it’s time to do a review.


The wrapper is actually quite mild for a habano wrapper, but I guess the clouds in Ecuador that make their connecticut naturally shade grown did their work on this habano too. I see a thin veil from the bottom almost to the top and it gives the cigar some character, like a scar can make someone more attractive. The aroma is quite strong, it reminds me of hay and a sweaty horse smell. The ring is simple yet beautiful, its a square, white with simple red letters saying Herrera Esteli imported from Nicaragua with a thick golden outline. On the sides there is a whole bunch of text about the cigar being made with the best tobacco at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and its too much to copy it all. If you want to read it, go buy a Herrera Esteli.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is good with a flavor of hay and quite some pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste a strong yet mildly sweet espresso. After a few puffs there is also a mild salty flavor to the cigar, which is quite nice. After an inch I taste a mild caramel, some nuts, pepper and cedar. There is a mild harshness to the flavors in the front of my mouth. Right before the halfway point the nutty flavor is getting a little stronger just like the pepper. After two thirds the nuttiness is gaining strength and is now up to par with the pepper. In the aftertaste I get a very mild minty flavor. The nuts are a mix of salted peanuts, walnuts and macadamia.


The smoke is fantastic, just like all Drew Estate cigar this Herrera Estelí has a lot of thick smoke. The ash is white too, dense and firm. The draw is flawless. The burn is good, not perfect though but good. The smoke time is a hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I know there is a limited edition lancero out there somewhere, I want one or two to try

Score: 90

90

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

El Baton Double Toro

A few months ago I was gifted four cigars made by J.C. Newman and it made me look into that company a bit more. Those cigars were the El Baton Double torpedo, Perla del Mar Maduro G, the Brick House Connecticut Toro and this one. There was a reason I was never really interested in that company and never even had visited them on my trips to Tampa and that was loyalty. My previous employer distributed J.C. Newman for a while in the past, sold more than they expected and instead of being happy and working with my employer J.C. Newman came up with crazy new demands, stopped the line of credit and it eventually ended up in a law suit that Newman lost yet the relationship was killed. Sales never bounced back up either, not with STG nor with Davidoff who have distributed them since.


While looking into Newman I learned that they have a huge history, in Tampa with their factory and a private cigar museum, close ties with the Fuente family and that they are the first people to pack cigars in cellophane which is now an industry standard expect for Cuba. I also learned that they started a factory in Nicaragua in 2010, where I was under the impression they had cigars made for them like many others. The company actually started in 1895 in Ohio with a home made table and $50 worth of tobacco. It took 60 years and two world wars before the company settled in Tampa, where it still remains.


Just like Oliva, J.C. Newman calls this 6×60 a double toro, while I would call it a gordo. It’s a vitola that I don’t like, never have and probably never will but I will try new cigars in that size anyway when asked. The ring is the same as on the previous El Baton review, but its the same blend so there’s no surprise. The wrapper is a bit lighter in color, yet its still quite dark with a few veins. Construction wise there’s nothing wrong, the cigar feels good, looks good, cap is good, just a well made cigar. The aroma is of dark wood and stable, like being inside an old wooden barn.


I used my cutter for this big ring cigar, mainly because I couldn’t find my punch. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild gingerbread with pepper. I taste gingerbread, coffee and sugar after lighting. After half an inch I taste nutmeg, spices, wood and pepper. After I drank some water I taste a lot of salt. After a third I taste salt, wood and pepper. Halfway the pepper is getting stronger and stronger. Then all of a sudden the pepper almost disappears and I’m left with salty wood. In the final third the pepper returns again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is medium full, it’s light gray. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is good. This cigar is full flavored and bodied. The cigar has a good evolution. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a great cigar, just a little too thick for me.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, El Baton, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , ,

Desconicido Corona

My friend Andrew Wood, who is a cigar broker and helps companies to bring their cigars into the USA and who’s on the forefront of the fight against the FDA, started his career in tobacco with GDW cigars, a small Nicaraguan factory that produces a few cigars including the Reserva Miraflor & the Don Fernando. One of the cigars they made but I had never smoked was this Desconocido. And now they are back, only for sale through www.untoldleaf.com so I finally had the opportunity to try one.


Andrew said that he loved this cigar and that it was likely his favorite, yet I see that it’s made with a Connecticut Shade wrapper and that makes me weary, that’s a wrapper I don’t care much about. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano and the filler is all Nicaraguan too. The size of the cigar is 5 1/2×42.


The cigar has an oily, yellow brown wrapper, a little more color than most of the Connecticut Shade cigars I have seen. I see thin veins and a bright red ring with black letters in a curly font. The construction feels good, the cigar feels evenly packed with a nice rounded cap. The aroma is relatively strong, it reminds me of fresh cut wet grass.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and sweet, marzipan like, with a spicy aftertaste. After lighting I taste a strong full coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste a sour flavor but also some vanilla. After a third I taste peanuts with a mild mustiness from the Connecticut Shade wrapper. Halfway I still taste peanuts with some pepper and honey. Near the end I also taste some vanilla again.


The draw is great. The smoke is light gray. The ash is medium gray in color. The burn is straight. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not my cigar but if you’re into mild cigars this is a must try, especially with 30% off if you use the CIGARGUIDE code

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Desconocido, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.