La Aurora Para Japon Sumo

Today it’s seven years ago that Japan got hit by a huge tsunami, killing over 15000 people and up till today over 2500 people are reported missing. More than 400,000 people were evacuated and over 150 square miles of Japan was flooded by the 65 feet waves that ultimately caused a nuclear disaster at the nuclear electricity plant at Fukushima.

Within a few weeks after the disaster La Aurora came up with a cigar of which the proceeds would go to the relief foundation and they had the perfect cigar for it. There was a limited amount of cigars of a new blend that had been aging for three years, Guillermo Leon quickly created a ring, called the cigar the Para Japon Sumo Robusto and two months after the tsunami the cigars were shipped to shops in America. Somehow I got one, I don’t know if I bought it or if it was a gift. The cigar is made with Cameroon, Brazilian and Dominican filler, Dominican binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and only comes in one shape, a 5×50 robusto.

The milk chocolate colored wrapper is thin but looks good with a nice vein on the side. It feels like fine sanding paper. The ring is great, white with the rising sun of Japan, then a Japanse hand written font saying Para Japon and small La Aurora. The cigar seems well constructed with a good round head and a triple cap. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a horse stable.

I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a mild spicy, herbal flavor, soft and balanced. I lit the cigar with my trusted soft flame lighter. After lichting I taste a smooth five spice with dry leaves flavor, well balanced, with a little acidity on the back of my tongue. The cameroon tobacco is dominant in the flavor profile. The spices, a mild sweetness, some wood and dry leaves. After a third I think this cigar tastes like Christmas, if you know what I mean. The cigar is so smooth  I could retrohale, something I usually can’t. Halfway I get some vanilla too.

The draw is great. The smoke is thick, white and full. The light gray ash is dry, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. There isn’t much evolution in this medium bodied, medium flavored, smooth and well balanced cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible

Score: 91


Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Selección Maduro Robusto

Just as the Habano Cabinet Selección, the maduro version of this Cabinet Seleccion all comes from the same tobacco seed originally cultivated in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba but now grown on the Dominican Republic, and that makes this cigar a Dominican Puro too, something that was said to be impossible before Arturo Fuente managed to grow wrappers for their Opus X on the island.

The wrapper on the maduro version is of course darker, but also thicker because it has had more sun hours and opportunities to grow. There is more natural sugar in the leaf because of the extra sunlight so I expect this cigar to be a little bit sweeter but it can’t be a one on one comparison with the Habano since I’m smoking a different vitola for this review, the 5×52 Magicos.

The first thing I notice when I get the cigar from the cellophane is that the wrapper is thicker and more leather like than the velvet wrapper on the Habano. The veins are thicker and this cigar looks more manly. The rings are exactly the same. The cigar has a nice aroma of dark chocolate, quite strong.

I punched the cigar, I taste raw tobacco, a little cocoa and pepper with a great draw. I lit the cigar with a torch because my soft flame ran out of gas. I taste coffee with some chocolate bitter sweetness. The coffee disappears but the chocolate gets stronger. Halfway I taste spicy fresh Wood with still a hint of dark chocolate. The final third is woody and peppery with a little bittersweet flavor on the background.

The draw is flawless and the smoke is white, thick and voluminous. The salt and pepper colored ash looks good. It’s very firm and the burn is straight. This is a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I like this one more than the Habano.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Las Antillas Benelux

In 2012 My Father Cigars released their, what I suspect is their best seller and most praised cigar yet, the Flor de Las Antillas. A Nicaraguan puro that was the first ever My Father Cigars cigar that made the #1 spot on the Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year list. The cigar got released during the 91st birthday of Federal Cigars but it wasn’t ment to be a limited edition, just a pre-release.

Due to the success a few vitolas were made as limited editions, like a lancero but also a 5 3/8×58 gordo for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) when the two distributers Marc (Belgium and Luxemburg) and Sasja (Netherlands) requested a limited edition of the same blend for their countries. As I was working for Sasja I sold these and they sold well. I have one left in my collection, I guess that’s worthy of a review in ff’in february right?

The cigar comes packed in cellophane and has the regular Flor de Las Antillas ring, the very detailed, century old, oricinally Cuban artwork, high quality paintwork and a foot ring made of of cloth, burgundy colored with golden letters BENELUX to show it’s a limited edition. The mocha colored wrapper is clearly sun grown, not only because it’s mentioned on the ring but you can see that the sun did its work on the wrapper. I see some veins too. The construction feels good and the cap is placed decent. The aroma is strong and barnyard or stable before it’s cleaned.

When I cut the cigar and try the cold draw I taste a quite spicy and peppery raisin and dry tobacco flavor with a close to perfect draw. I also notice my dislike to big ring cigars but that aside. After lighting I taste a peppery vanilla cream. After half an inch I also taste some lime with the creamy vanilla but the pepper is gone, instead there is some dry herbal flavor in the aftertaste. After an inch the pepper returns. Halfway I taste more pepper with some wood and some lime, on the back there is some licorice. I also still taste some creamy vanilla. The final third is creamy vanilla, nuts, pepper and herbs. The pepper fluctuates in strength.

The draw is fantastic. The ash is gray and has clear rings. The ash is firm too. The light gray ash is medium thick and medium in volume. The burn is a little off but no need for corrections though. The cigar is medium full in flavor and strength with a decent evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? The cigar is too thick for me, love the blend but in a different size.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Flor de las Antillas, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Falto Gran Reserva Especial Prominent

I got this 4 1/2×4.7 perfecto in a sampler from Luis Falto a few years back and they came unbanded in a ziplock, written what cigars they were on the ziplock bags. But i’s unfair to judge them on the ring because this lacks one so I took a good look at the other Falto cigars, that had rings, and to the pictures on the internet to rate them.

The cigars are made at La Aurora with filler and binder from the Dominican Republic but with one of my favorite wrappers, Cameroon. I just love the herbal spiciness from that specific type of wrapper, I don’t think I ever had a Cameroon wrapped cigar that I didn’t enjoy so I have my hopes up for this cigar. Actually, when I think of it, the best cigar that I had from La Aurora was wrapped in Cameroon too.

As I said, I am judging the ring on internet pictures and other cigars and I love the ring. The blue and gold match, the logo is playful but classy, the highlights are perfect. This is one mighty good looking ring. The wrapper itself is typical Cameroon, the greenish brown wrapper with the small tooth, the veins, the brittleness. The construction feels great, the cigar is well packed, the cap and the little opening at the foot are great, this has been done by a skilled roller. There is a mild aroma of herbs when I smell the cigar.

I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fantastic. The flavor is a bit sweet and minty. After lighting I taste soil and herbs. After a few puffs I get that Cameroon spice but with honey and pepper. After a third I taste nutmeg, cumin, lemon and some pepper.

The draw is perfect, straight from the start. The ash is white and firm. The burn is quite straight. The smoke is good, medium full. This is a medium bodied full flavored cigar with a smoke time of an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have some but I would buy them if they were available here.

Score: 91

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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Falto, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon

I bought this Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon at Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, there is no other option since its one of their house blends. And the thing isn’t cheap with a 10 dollar price tag but it’s huge. But I don’t think it was a big success since the cigars aren’t to be found on their website anymore so I guess they stopped production of this brand.

As I said, the cigar is huge, 7×58 in a huge perfecto size. From what I found online the cigar is rolled in Miami’s little Havana, but the tobacco is cured and fermented in Nicaragua. That makes me wonder what factory in Miami rolled these cigars.

The ultra dark wrapper is very oily and that caused the cellophane to become yellow. The wrapper looks awesome, only on thin vein, beautiful color and add that to the size, that makes this cigar look impressive and probably the reason why I bought this a few years ago. The ring is yellowish with a copper colored text Flor de Cielo in a typography that reminds me of Flor de Cana, the same way as Flor de Oliva does. The cigar feels evenly packed and knowing that this is a difficult vitola to roll I’m taking my head off to the torcedor. The cigar has a mild aroma of wood, hay and barnyard.

Due to the shape I had to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste some hay, raisin and chocolate. Right after lighting I taste coffee. Soon I taste cedar, a little lime and a mild peppery spice. After an inch the cigar gets a little stronger in the citrus. Halfway I taste dry cedar with still a lemon. There is an overall Maduro sweetness and I’m digging it. The final third gives a little black pepper with the cedar and the lemon. Near the end I taste spicy, peppery carrots.

The draw is great. The smoke is thick and white. The salt and pepper ash is quite firm and the draw is straight. The evolution is good and the cigar is medium full bodied, full flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? if Corona still has these I will on my first trip stateside.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Flor de Cielo, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quesada 40th Anniversary Toro

This cigar, a 6×49 toro, was created to celebrate the 40th year of Manuel Quesada in the cigar business. Now some of you might think “why did I only hear the name Quesada the last few years?” and the answer to that is that before you probably smoked cigars from their Matasa factory before but none of those cigars carried the Quesada name, I think they were most famous for the Dominican Fonseca brand.

I met Patricia and Raquel Quesada at the intertabac trade show, and in the following week after in Amsterdam where we partied with Rocky Patel and a few others and at the trade show Raquel gave me a sampler with four Quesada cigars to review. The Quesada 40th Anniversary is the first in the series. The cigar has Nicaraguan and Dominican ligero filler, a Habano ligero binder and a beautiful Mexican San Andres wrapper.

This cigar is a looker, a dark, almost black, oily wrapper with beautiful veins and a soft leather touch. The ring fits the cigar, the black and gold ring with the gold and silver tobacco leaf in a Q shape that is the Quesada logo and a shiny black ring with a golden 40. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is good, the triple cap is good and there are bonus points for the closed foot, something I like in a cigar. The cigar has a strong manure and barnyard aroma.

I cut the cigar, I used my doubly guillotine cutter. The cold draw has a decent resistance and the flavor is quite peppery on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee and chocolate. Soon the flavors change to earthy flavors and herbs. There is still a little sweetness too. After an inch I taste pepper and wood with a minty aftertaste. Slowly the cigar is getting more peppery, with a dry wood and a little raw carrot. The aftertaste is a fresh, minty chocolate. Halfway I taste a lot of pepper with a little wood. This cigar has Nicaraguan tobacco and it shows in the pepper. The final third is wood, a lot of pepper and a little mint.

The draw is perfect. The burn needed a little correction. The frayed ash is gray and black. The ash is firm though. The burn is razor sharp. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. I would call this cigar medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two full and enjoyable hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope this cigar is released in the Netherlands soon.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Kristoff GC Robusto

I met Kristoff owner Glen Case a few years ago at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany right after my then employer decided to distribute the brand. And it sold, like hotcakes, due to the cool look with the closed foot and the pigtail, the packaging with the loose tobacco, the quality of the cigars, the flavor and the price. It was a home run and ever since we always have a little chat even though I no longer work for that company.

The GC series never made it to The Netherlands though, so I was glad that Glen gave me a robusto at the most recent intertabac trade show to review and he said that it was his favorite Kristoff offering. Now I haven’t smoked all of them and so far the Cameroon blend is my favorite but maybe this one will change that, keep reading and you’ll find out. The cigar is available in four vitolas, a robusto, torpedo, churchill and a gordo.

The Brazilian maduro wrapper looks great, dark and a little rough but the roughness fits the color. The pig tail and closed foot are Kristoff signatures by now and add that to an evenly packed cigar for a great construction. The ring is burgundy with golden letters and a silver & white banner. The medium strong aroma reminds me of charred wood and manure.

I cut the cigar since punching isn’t an option with the pigtail. The cold draw is fine, I taste licorice, raisin and pepper. After lighting I taste a strong and full coffee with earthy tones and a sugar sweetness. After half a centimeter I taste wood, sweetness and a hefty pepper. Halfway I taste a wood with a little licorice, some pepper and a little lemon in the aftertaste. The flavors are very meaty and peppery. The final third is peppery with a great dose of lemon.

The draw is good. The smoke is a little thin, light gray but the volume is good. The silver gray ash has beautiful rings, is dense and is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar with a perfect burn. The smoke time is an hour and fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope this cigar makes it to the Dutch market.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gurkha Ghost Shadow

I have done a handful of Gurkha reviews and to be honest, most weren’t that impressive to me. I think the problem with the brand is that they don’t have DNA, their cigars are all made in different factories, the brand focusses on marketing and does crazy stuff with super expensive cigars dropped in super expensive alcohol and other marketing tricks. That doesn’t help the reputation of the brand amongst serious cigar smokers like me. But this Gurkja Ghost, I always thought that one was quite enjoyable, maybe because it’s made at PDR, a factory I like.

Now, even though most of the cigars are a miss, I can’t say the same about their sales manager Juan Lopez, I met him years ago in Miami in a cigar bar, the next day me and my friend went to the Gurkha office and that’s beautiful. From the outside its a boring office building, the first floor is just cubicles but then upstairs a beautiful lounge, like you’re back in 1800’s Asia, with a huge bar full of expensive liquor and a secret room where all the blends are kept. And Juan hooked us up with cigars, backpacks, knives and all sorts of cool items. So it was cool to see Juan at Intertabac this year, where he handed me a few cigars to smoke.

The wrapper is typical Brazilian arapiraca, a bit rough to look at with sturdy veins, not thick but sturdy. The color is dark and even though, so that makes up for it and the ring fits the wrapper. It is black and silver, with the Gurkha logo and scary lettering saying ghost. The ring is different than what you usually find in humidors. The construction is great, the triple cap is straight. The cigar has a strong earthy smell, earthy as if you’re walking in nature, early in the morning after a good rainfall.

I cut the cigar with a butterfly cutter from Xikar. The cold draw is good. I taste tobacco and some pepper. I taste a strong coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter. A few puffs later I taste a mild acidic oak with cocoa bean. Halfway I taste a mild pepper with some lime and wood. A little later some honey sweetness shows up too. The final third I taste a nice, mildly sweet, wood with some spices, all balanced though. The flavors become very nice, wood, mocha, sugar, chocolate all in a creamy way.

The draw is great, the light ash has beautiful rings and it’s firm. The smoke is medium thick, medium full. The burn is close to perfect. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pleasant cigar, not the best I had but enjoyable.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bespoke Traditional Cottontail

Even though we have so many mutual friends and we have been Facebook friends for a while, I never met Jeremy Casdagli in person until my friend Nasier introduced us at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. We chatted a little about tobacco and Jeremy was so kind to give me the Bespoke Traditional Cottontail for a review on my blog, well, as promised, here’s the review.

The cottontail is a vitola that was extinct for over half a century until Bespoke started making this vitola again, its a 5 inch long cigar that starts out with a ring 52, a robusto you might say but at the foot it’s 62 ring gauge and that makes it a figurado. Now I’m no fan of big ring gauges but because of this shape I’m intrigued on how it smokes and what it does for the development of flavors since the filler to wrapper ratio changes from start to finish.

The moment I take the cigar out of the cellophane I am hit by a strong aroma, hay and straw, very nice. The shape of the cigar and the closed foot are very unique and I love it. The wrapper has a nice coffee color, a little oil and no real visible veins, its a smooth looking cigar. The green and golden ring is very traditional, as the name suggests, not specifically my taste but of a good quality printing.

I used my Xikar double guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is crazy hard but that’s because of the closed foot. I taste spices and pepper. I used my vintage lighter to light the cigar. After lighting the draw opens and I taste a nice, smooth coffee with some nutmeg and a honey sweetness. After a third I taste creamy buttery toast and cedar with cinnamon and nutmeg. A bit lily French toast. Halfway I taste a creamy vanilla, like melted vanilla ice cream with some toast. The final third is more like a five spice mix with a little bit of pepper and some vanilla in the aftertaste.

The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn started a little off, it’s hard to get an even burn with a closed door but it corrected itself. The smoke is thin though, unfortunately. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar.  The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind smoking it more often.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Bespoke, Dominican cigars, KBF | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Gran Reserva Robusto

Yesterday I published my review of the 2005 limited edition Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Gran Reserva, a name that surfaced again in 2017 as a new release by Joya de Nicaragua, not as a limited edition this time but as a full, three vitola, line with an updated blend and updated artwork. The blend is all Nicaraguan tobacco, all aged for a minimum of five years.

A week before the Intertabac trade show I ran into Juan Martinez at the Cigaragua store in Amsterdam, a shop that sells only Nicaraguan cigars, a concept that in my opinion can grow bigger than the La Casa del Habano franchises and Juan handed me the new Joya Antano 1970 Gran Reserva and a Todos Las Dias by Steve Saka, which is made at the Joya factory too. I will review the Todos Las Dias in a few days.

There is a difference in rings, the new version has a slightly clearer picture but the Antano name is easier to read and the sides of the ring are cleaner, the secondary ring is golden with red and white line and black letters and looks so much better than the old ring. The dark wrapper, with a vein running over the front, feels velvet like to the touch. The cigar is evenly packed and beautifully finished. The cigar has a strong aroma, hay, straw and some smokey barbecue aroma.

I cut the cigar and how else than with my Joya de Nicaragua branded cutter. The cold draw is great, it’s a little peppery. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste coffee, pepper and herbs. After a few puffs the flavor changes to an earthy chocolate with some creamy sweetness. After a third I taste a strong pepper bit a vanilla cream background and a minty aftertaste. Halfway it’s pepper, cream and a little earthy flavor, smooth but strong. With little over an inch to go I taste a nice charred wood, with a mellow pepper and the flavors are creamy.

The draw is good and the smoke is plentiful but only medium thick.  The color is grayish. The burn is straight as an arrow. The ash had a yellowish glow but its firm. Even though this is a strong cigar, full bodied and full flavored, it’s balanced so the strength isn’t out of range with the flavor. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a treat, new to the market and I have no doubt it will do great.

Score: 91

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

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