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Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Gearhead Gary Crankshaft


September brought us the Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary Crankshaft, a 6×52 torpedo with a Habano Maduro wrapper from Ecuador over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The wrapper has the color of autumn leaves and is oily. The ring fits the rest of the series and the cigar feels well packed, the shape of the torpedo is flawless. The cigar doesn’t only have the look of autumn leaves, it even smells like a forest in the fall, I imagine an early morning hike and smelling this.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side. I taste a mild spicy hay with a peppery aftertaste. After lighting I taste a full coffee with cedar and some sweetness. The sweetness is getting stronger quickly. After a third I taste spices and herbs with a little metallic aftertaste. Halfway the cigar gets a nutmeg and fennel flavor. The final third starts sweet again but with cedar and spices. Near the end I get a dry feeling in my mouth with dried herbs as flavor with some floral notes.


The draw is a little easy but within margins. The smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is quite firm. The burn is straight. I would call this cigar medium full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, but I would like to.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Wild Bill Cheroot

Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

 

Wild Bill Cheroot


Wild Bill Cheroot is a 6×46 Corona Gorda with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan filler and binder. The ring is in the same style and with an ace of spades between Wild & Bill at the bottom banner. The wrapper is nice dark with a thin vein, quite oily and a velvet feel. The cigar feels well packed and the little pig tail makes the cigar a looker. The aroma is quite strong and smells a lot like a spice mix that you smell when you’re walking passed Asian street food in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is flawless and mild spicy. After lighting I taste a nice spiced coffee. The flavor changes to a pleasant toast with spices, pepper and vanilla. The flavors are very smooth and balanced. Halfway the pepper grows in strength. Slowly a mild acidity shows up too. The pepper becomes really strong and overpowering, that it disturbs the balance.


The draw is amazing and it results in a thick full smoke. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The burn is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a nice cigar and if I would be able to get a few I would, but would smoke them in the morning.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

Last march I published a review of the Undercrown Flying Pig, original release, and it became the Cigar of the month march. Soon after that someone with ties either to Drew Estate or their local distributer Royal Agio contacted me (I of course know who he is and for whom he works, but I won’t disclose that information on his request) and asked me if he could use that review since the cigar was being re-released in The Netherlands and that was fine by me, as it would help promote my blog too so a fine win-win.


During our chat he asked me if I had smoked the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and since they haven’t been released in The Netherlands I could only reply negative. He offered to send me one as a thank you which I gladly accepted. A few months earlier I would have declined due to the wrapper but recently I’ve been starting to enjoy Connecticut Shade wrappers and this cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Sumatra binder and filler from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Not too long after a package arrived with 2 Balmoral Anejo Lanceros (cigar of the month May), two Kentucky Fire Cured Robusto and two of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pigs.


Lets start with the construction, it is immaculate and there are bonus points for the unique shape.  I love the little bomb size with the pig tail. The name is an inside joke, when Drew Estate started a lof of people in the industry said that “this company will make it when pigs fly” so after Drew Estate became an established company JD decided to name a cigar ‘Flying Pig” as a nod to the people that expected him to fail. The wrapper is pale with quite some shine and a few veins. I love the ring, I like the color scheme better than on the original Underground. The ring is white with the logo and all the details in gold and a second white ring with a golden outline and golden letters Shade. The ring print quality is high too. The aroma quite strong for a Connecticut Shade cigar with hints of straw, hay, leafs and grass.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter since punching wasn’t an option due to the pig tail. The cold draw is fantastic and tastes like raisin and hay. After lighting I taste a earthy flavor with a hint of pepper. I also taste some freshness and sweetness. After a third the cigar gets spicy and quite strong for a Shade cigar. I still taste the earthy flavor but with a little mustiness that belongs to Connecticut Shade wrappers with some lemon, salt and a strong pepper aftertaste. These flavors stick with the cigar till the end.


The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick and a lot of it. And I love it. The draw is great, almost perfect. The burn needed a little touch up though. The white ash is firm and beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, stronger than I expected from a Connecticut Shade cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? They aren’t available here, and I prefer the Undercrown Flying Pig but this is a good stick.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto

Imagine, you’re fifth generation in a certain industry, you and your ancestors have done really well and your company is making good money but for the last two decades health organizations and lobbyists have been bashing your industry, legislation has become heavier and heavier over the years, the numbers of consumers are on the decline worldwide what would you do with possibly industry ending legislation in the future? Keep on going the path you’re on now and possibly see the company vanish in two or three generations or expand into a growing segment of the industry, a segment that has less of a stigma and less legislation? That was the question Steven Bailey from S&B Brands was facing, his family has been farming tobacco for roll your own tobacco and cigarettes for 150 years but with current and pending legislation that is now becoming dangerous ground to depend on. So he made the choice to enter the premium hand made cigar industry as well with a new brand called Cornelius & Anthony, a tribute to the first Bailey to grow tobacco, Cornelius Bailey and Anthony is Steven’s second name.


The brand came out with four lines, the Cornelius, which I was the first review I posted this year, the Daddy Mac (will make you jump jump) named after his father Mac, who everybody in the company calls Daddy Mac, the Meridian and the Venganza. The first one is produced in Miami at the famous El Titan de Bronze factory on SW 8th street, ala Calle Ocho in the Cuban district Calle Ocho in Miami, the other three lines are made in Eric Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. I consider myself a lucky man that I’ve been to both factories, I spend quite a few hours at El Titan de Bronze and have sat on the balcony at La Zona, overseeing Esteli, with a great cigar, good coffee and the entertaining company of Hector Alfonso.


This 5×50 Robusto, made with Nicaraguan filler and binder wrapped into an Ecuadorian wrapper, was a gift from Steven, Courtney Smith and Todd Vance when I met them at Intertabac 2016. I knew Courtney from her stint with La Palina and we talked about cigars and she gave me a handful of the Venganza, Daddy Mac and Cornelius to try. When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I feel a smooth wrapper, which is medium dark with a nice oily shine to it. The cigar feels well packed but at the top, where the beautiful triple cap ends, I feels a soft spot all around the head of the cigar. The ring is beautiful, very detailed with gold, white and black on an olive green background and a secondary ring in red with gold with the venganza name on it. The cigar has an aroma that comes close to the dry food we fed the sheep when I was a kid. Not that I was a farmer, we had a farm field behind our house and the farmer that owned that land had sheep and cows, in the spring when the sheep had lambs he gave us a 100lbs bag of dry food and asked to give that to the sheep every evening so he wouldn’t have to come by every day and me and my sister loved feeding those fluffy friendly walking bundles of wool.


I punched the cigar and found a very easy cold draw with a mild bitter cocoa and tea flavor. I taste a mild bitter wood with coffee and earthy notes. I also taste some chocolate. Slowly I start to taste a growing pepper too and a little sweetness. After a third I taste nuts with pepper, very nice. The pepper grows stronger.


The draw is too loose, so loose that it will effect the rating in a negative way but only with half a point as the draw gets better along the way. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is a little off but I didn’t have to correct the burn. The pepper and salt ash is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The cigar is well balanced and has depth. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! They will be available in Germany.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Joya de Nicaragua Rosalones Reserva Robusto

A few years ago, during one of the Intertabac trade shows, Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua offered me a Rosalones. It was a cigar I had heard of, I had seen pictures of, but never seen, touched or smelled as the only information I had came from Poland where they were being sold. Now it is important to know that I was working for the Joya de Nicaragua distributor for The Netherlands at that time. I was at the Joya de Nicaragua booth, I lit the cigar up, looked at the price sheet, did my calculations and placed an order right there and then. I was the sales representative, I wasn’t the one doing the purchases or at liberty too but the price quality was out of this world. I took another sampler, went to my employer, said “light this” and after he did that I said “these are the prices per size, and this is how much I ordered”. He just looked at me, took another puff on the cigar and said “go back and double the order”.


So at the last Intertabac trade show, in September 2016, I ran into Juan, Mario and Ivan from Joya de Nicaragua in their booth, which they shared with Steve Saka from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and Omar de Frias from Fratello and even though I parted ways from that distributor they will welcomed me like an old friend. Juan handed me a spin off from the Rosalones serie, the Rosalones Reserva, a Nicaraguan puro with the same very affordable price range according to them (I didn’t ask for prices as it’s none of my business anymore). Since Juan knows that I prefer smaller ring gauges he gave me a 6 1/2×46 Corona instead of the Robusto or Toro.


After I release the cigar from the cellophane I instantly smell a nice aroma, woody with a little raspberry vinegar. The construction feels good and when I take a good look at the velvety feeling wrapper I se that its medium dark, quite dry looking with a few small veins. The double ring is brown and gold, quite simple. The bottom ring is brown with golden outlines and golden text saying reserva in bold letters while the top ring is golden with a brown flower, thin brown letters saying Rosalones and Nicaragua with a brown outline.


I cut the cigar with the Joya branded Xikar cutter and to keep it all in theme I’m using my Stinky ashtray that has been hand painted by Subculture Studios with Joya logos. The cold draw is perfect and I taste raisin and a little citrus. Since I don’t have a Joya lighter I used my vintage Ronson and straight up I taste a nice coffee with chocolate in the retrohale. After a few puffs it’s a little bitter coffee with some spices and cocoa. After a third the bitterness is gone, just like the coffee. I now taste wood, nutmeg and a little cocoa. The cocoa is slowly growing stronger towards the midst of the cigar. The chocolate is a great partner for the mild pepper and the hint of cedar. Near the end I taste nuts with a mint freshness.


The smoke is full, thick and white. The ash is dark gray, layered and firm. The burn is a little off, but not too much to grab the lighter to correct. The draw is just perfect. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, great budget cigar!

Score: 91

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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Royal Danish Regal Blend Queen #1

Danish cigars? Yes! But not made in Denmark though! The Danish have a long tradition with tobacco, dating back from the time when they traded with the West Indies as merchants and up till today Denmark is a major player in the pipe tobacco business, but back in the day the tobacco that the merchants brought from the West Indies was used for cigars too. And in the recent years two Danish entrepeneurs decided to go back into history and create their own brand & blend. I reviewed the Dominican made Splendid earlier this year and this exact same Royal Danish Regal Blend belicoso back in 2016, but since I now work with a 100 point scoring system I decided to do another review.


Royal Danish has cigars made in two different countries, Costa Rica and Nicaragua and as far as my knowledge goes, the Regal blend is made in Nicaragua at an undisclosed factory. The cigar should pack some punch as it has double ligero wrapped in a dark maduro wrapper. There is an ultra luxury edition of the same cigar with gold leaves and swarovski crystals but in my opinion, and without having smoked it, that is just a gimmick like the Daniel Marshall 24k gold torpedo that I reviewed last year too. I got this cigar as a sampler from the brand owner when my previous employer showed interest in distributing the brand, but the prices of these blends were just crazy high especially compared to other private labels made by the Plasencia family, so we said ‘no’. Another small distributer took Royal Danish on and Royal Danish added a few reasonable priced blends to the portfolio.


The first thing I notice when I want to release the cigar from the cellophane is how the cellophane is closed, not with a simple bar code sticker but a nice round, silver colored sticker with hologram and the text ‘2014 Royal Danish Cigars”. The rings and how the cigar is presented is so different and beautiful that in a shop it would worry me and would give me a Gurkha feeling. With that I mean that the packaging and marketing are more important than the cigar itself, and combine it with the ‘rare tobacco blah blah’ marketing of Royal Danish which I don’t fall for. But since I don’t score on marketing that won’t effect the score. The inch long foot ring is brown with red curly letters saying ‘Danish West Indies’, golden letters ‘Regal Blend’ and then a marketing story in black on a brown wrapper. On the bottom the roller had to put his initials. The oval top ring is black with the Danish crest and a golden crown. The crown has a crystal in it, which is unique, but what is most unique is the red ribbon running over the cigar from the foot to the top and then back to the foot. The construction feels good and the belicoso has a very sharp point. The wrapper is dark with one thin vein on the side of the cigar. The aroma is strong and I smell a mixture of barnyard, a dusty old abbandoned house and a foggy forest.


Punching is not an option with a belicoso so I used my Xikar to cut. The cold draw gives a bit more resistance than I prefer and I taste raisin and red pepper. After lighting it with my preferred soft flame I taste dark roast coffee with cane sugar. The sugar is quite strong. The sweetness is the strongest flavor but after half an inch i taste cedar and nutmeg too, with some white pepper on the background. Then out of the blue I taste a strong vanilla flavor. After a third I taste coffee with creamy vanilla and cedar. Halfway I taste nuts with still a little coffee, vanilla and a slowly growing pepper. The final third begins with cedar, vanilla, pepper and nuts, very flavorful and tasty.


The draw is fine, better than in the cold draw. The ash is salt & pepper colored and quite firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with plenty of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? If it was a third of the price, yes, but with the close to €20 price tag, nope!

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Royal Danish | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Sagrada Familia Toro

Last april I posted a review of the La Sagrada Familia, the brand of Dutch cigar aficionado Tom Mulder. The line, made by Joya de Nicaragua, comes in three sizes (so far?), a 5×50 robusto that I reviewed, a 6×50 toro, that I’ll be reviewing now and a 6×60 gordo that I will ignore due to the ring size that I hate. Too much flavorless filler in a big ring cigar compared to the flavorful wrapper, the ratio is gone and that makes almost all big ring gauge cigars flat, undynamic and boring to smoke in my opinion. Ofcourse, there might be gordo sized cigars out there that are specially blended for the size that might not be so boring and flat, but I haven’t had one yet and I’m not eager to try such big cigars anyway.


I really liked the robusto, I have high hopes for the toro too. I haven’t talked to Tom in a while so I don’t know if his cigars will be distributed in other countries than just The Netherlands but if not, and you are dying to try these cigars, there are a few Dutch retailers that will ship to wherever you want them too. Just shoot me a message, here or on Facebook, and I’ll send you in the right direction. And trust me, you want to try these Nicaraguan tobacco filled cigar with the Ecuadorean habano wrapped cigars. The robusto is €8 and the toro will set you back €9, I don’t know the price of the Gordo.


The cigar looks good, reddish brown with a few veins that give it character. The construction feels good and the triple cap is placed perfectly. The cigar has a strong aroma, a mixture of a smoldering fire pit combined with manure. That doesn’t sound to appealing, but somehow it is a pleasant smell. The ring is blue, white and silver. A blue background with silver grayish lining and a silver grayish band in the middle and a crown in the centre, I call it a Rolex crown. There are also two white lines and white lettering La Sagrada Familia and smaller letters hand made Nicaragua. Oh, and in case you haven’t read it, Tom is donating $ 0.10 of every cigar sold to a local charity in Nicaragua, find out more on the website www.bepartofthefamily.com


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect and gives me a rye bread flavor. I lit the cigar with my vintage Ronson. I taste coffee with some bitter chocolate and something metallic. After an inch I taste leaves with a little bit of caramel sweetness. The cigar gets a little spicy too and after two weeks I taste a strong perfumed floral flavor with the autumn leaves, and some toast too. The aftertaste is pepper. After two thirds I taste cinnamon and nutmeg but the flavors give me a dry feeling in the back of my throat and I still taste some floral notes.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful. The draw is perfect. The burn is good, nothing to complain about. The ash is light colored and firm. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored with some interesting flavors and a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Robusto, even though the floral notes in this vitola are stronger.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, La Sagrada Familia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Natural

There are three different Illusione ~HL~ blends on the market, this one, the original Illusione ~HL~, the ~HL~ Candela and the ~HL~ Maduro. And I have reviewed all three of them by the time you read this review, but I may or may not have published the reviews yet. I always have a bunch of reviews in stock so that if I cannot review for a while due to a busy schedule, a vacation with wife & kids, health issues of what other reason, I can still update my blog. So if you can’t find the reviews of the other Illusione ~HL~ blends yet, check back soon.


The Illusione ~HL~ is the 5 1/2×40 lancero from the Illusione brand, a brand created by Dion Giolito, and most of the cigars have names that are either numbers of have something to do with history or conspiracy theories. The ~HL~ stands for Holy Lance and refers to a lance that pierced Jesus his side when he was on the cross and later carried by the first Christian emperor of Rome, as the myth goes the lance gave him protection and special powers and therefore it was holy. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro although it classified as a Honduran cigar as it’s made by Raices Cubanas, a factory known for Illusione, La Palina, Viaje and most of all Alec Bradley.


The cafe colorado wrapper looks pretty with a few thin veins and a silky touch. The construction feels good and the tiny pigtail fits the slender cigar. The cigar has a very faint aroma, I had to sniff a few times before it hit me: dog poo on a barnyard, and trust me, that’s different and less gross than dog poop under your shoes. The small ring is white with gothic letters in golden print and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter, the cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin flavor and a mild peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my Ronson and taste coffee and leather. After half a centimeter I also taste cocoa and some pepper. After an inch the cigar turns to wood with nutmeg and pepper and for a short while the cigar was a little harsh. Halfway the cigar gets more spicy and peppery. The pepper still gains strength. After two thirds I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, a little cocoa and pepper with just a little lime in the aftertaste. Soon after I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and reasonably firm. The burn is straight but not razor sharp. I usually don’t notice but this cigar has a very pleasant smell. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes a mixed box with the others would be nice.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Puros de Hostos Churchill & Box Pressed Toro

I’ve not written about the Puros de Hostos Lancero before and thats a surprise. This Dominican boutique brand that I came across while being part of the tasting panel for the Belgian/Dutch cigar magazine El Gusto blew me away. It had such an amazing palate that I brought a cigar to my then employer and even though the price was relatively high we decided to start carrying the cigars, and for a while they sold like hotcakes. For this review I will smoke two cigars, the Churchill and the Box Pressed Toro.

The unique thing about the Puros de Hostos Commendador is that the tobacco is fermented four times, while usually tobacco is fermented twice and Habanos prides themselves for fermenting the Cohiba tobacco three times. Yet Gustavo de Hostos, who’s also a crooner, diplomat and businessman, wanted to ferment to tobacco four times before the cigars were made and so it is done. As a proud Dominican he wanted a Dominican puro, so all tobacco used is Dominican.

Puros de Hostos Comendador Churchill

I just love the look of a Churchill sized cigar, long and du to the length the cigars look thiner then they are. This one measures 7×48. The wrapper is a milk chocolate brown with hardly any vins, it looks thin and fragile but it isn’t. The rings are very busy with a lot of patterns in gold on a black label and the foot ring has the same, a nice golden lettering but the decorations make it information overload. The construction has the right amount of sponginess and a beautifully formed cap. The aroma is very mild and is a mixture of mild chocolate and mint.


Since it’s a Dominican puro I decided to cut the cigar with the xikar cutter from the procigar festival 2014, that came with the gift box. The cold draw is great, a perfect amount of resistance. I taste spicy raw tobacco and a hint of mint. After lighting I taste a mild acidic earthy flavor. Slowly the lime like acid gets a bit stronger, with the earthy flavor and some black pepper. After an inch the lime fades a bit and is replaced with a little bit of honey. After a third I taste a beautiful, well balanced, mixture of citrus, pepper, wood, earthiness with a hint of spices and if I snowed this cigar blind I wouldn’t have guessed it’s Dominican. The flavors grow in strength without losing the smoothness. The pepper turns to white pepper and is predominant. Suddenly the honey returns, with some fresh wood, dill and the white pepper. The final third starts with chocolate with wood, honey and pepper. Then the flavor gets nutty for a bit with a lime and pepper aftertaste. Near the end the cigar turns woody with a nice sweetness.


The draw is just perfect, nothing less. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume but it’s getting thicker and thicker along the way. The light gray ash is beautifully layered and quite firm, but it’s crooked though. The burn is pretty straight. I would call this cigar medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? I want more, the flavor profile is unique.

Score: 91
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Puros de Hostos Comendador Box Pressed Toro

Now this cigar didn’t made it to the market in The Netherlands if I remember correctly, but I might be mistaken. Box pressed, some love it, some hate it and I am impartial to it as long as its a good cigar. This Puros de Hostos looks great, intimidating because of the length and ring gauge of 6 1/2×54 and the dark brown colored wrapper with a lot of oil. I see one vein on the left side of the cigar but that doesn’t make the cigar less of a looker. The construction feels good, well packed and most importantly, evenly packed. The ring is the same as the Churchill and the aroma is medium strong, its like standing in a hay stack.


Because of the 54 ring I opted to punch the cigar. The cold draw is a bit loose, I taste black pepper and raisin. After lighting I taste coffee and oak, with a little hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste spicy oak with cinnamon and a little sugar. After a third I taste lemon, oak, spices and a little white pepper. At the end I taste minty chocolate.


The draw is a bit on the loose side. The smoke is great, thick, white and a lot in volume. The ash is light gray and beautifully layered. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied, yet smooth, complex and has depth. The smoke time is exactly two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Del Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Puros de Hostos | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduro Sublime

On July 22nd of 2007 Jerry Cruz from the famous Stogiereview website had a son, JJhis little robusto as he called him, but only three and a half months later tragedy hit and little JJ passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The first cigar Jerry smoked after little JJ was born was the Don Pepin Garcia series JJ and for the first few years stogiereview had a “Smoke a JJ for JJ” day on july 22nd. I don’t know if that still takes place, but I felt I had to smoke and review this cigar on JJ’s 10th birthday even though I have never met Jerry, we are still part of a community and I hope he finds comfort in the knowledge that little JJ is not forgotten. Jerry, brother, this is for you and your wife.


I had this cigar in my humidor for years, so it is aged and depending on your definition of vintage it might even qualify for that. The cigar is made by My Father cigars ofcourse, and it is a Nicaraguan puro, with a Nicaraguan maduro wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo filler and a Nicaraguan binder. The JJ comes from José and Jaime, the father & son team from My Father, José ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and his son Jaime. By the time this cigar was released it was the first maduro wrapped cigar under their own name and still, up to today, the Garcia family doesn’t use a lot of maduro wrappers for their own production, the only other line I can think of is the Flor de Las Antillas Maduro but correct me if I’m wrong. They do use and have used maduro wrappers on cigars they produce for other companies though.


Once I take the cigar out of the cellophane, that started to discolor, I see a beautiful dark wrapper with lots of tooth, that makes it feel like leather and a sparkle from the minerals. The wrapper is gorgeous, nothing more nothing less. The same goes for the rings, instead of full white as My Father used for the regular JJ series, the maduro series uses the same rings but then in beige. Like I said, this cigar has been aged so it has the older rings. The bottom ring is small and just says “Series JJ Maduro” in beautiful golden letters on a beige ring with a thin red line and golden dots as decoration. The other ring is curved, it has a beautiful curly font saying Don Pepin Garcia with golden and red decorations around it. On one site there is a small image of the Cuban flag and a Cuban shield while the other side has the American flag and the statue of liberty. Behind that there is a decorative figure with the letters DPG that remind me of Pete Johnson’s logo after he learned he couldn’t use the Flor de Lis no more. The print quality of the rings is immaculate too. The cigar feels quite hard, but that doesn’t have to be an issue and the triple cap is nicely done. As for the aroma, as a teenager my little sister was having horse riding classes and sometimes I had to pick her up from the stables, the aroma of the cigar reminds me of those stables and it is medium strong.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great and tastes like a mix of raisin, milk chocolate, pepper and lemon. As usual I used a soft flame to light the cigar and I taste a mellow coffee with a little lemon. After just a few puffs I also taste some leather and slowly the coffee disappears. After an inch it’s all leather with some lemon and added pepper. After a third the pepper gets stronger while the lemon turns to lime. Halfway the leather gets weaker while cedar shows up, the lime and continuously growing pepper are still there too. Halfway the leather replaces the cedar again, although the cedar lingers around in the aftertaste. After two thirds it’s leather with pepper, a hint of vanilla and a minty aftertaste. The final few puffs gave me nuts.


The smoke is medium thick. The ash is white, dense and firm. Even in the ash you can see some sparkles of the minerals. The draw is excellent. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is medium full bodied and equally flavored, there is a good balance between flavor and body and enough evolution. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I still have a full box of these puppies.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Don Pepin Garcia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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