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Davidoff Year of the Rat

Davidoff Year of the Rat. Of all those cigars using the Chinese Zodiac calendar, Davidoff is the original one. It is the Swiss brand that decided to release a limited edition for each of the Chinese zodiac years. And due to the success, other companies followed. Even the king of limited and region editions, Habanos, followed suit. But the most anticipated release every year is the Davidoff year of cigar.


For the year of the rat, the Davidoff blenders went with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Dark, oily and beautiful. They wrapped that around a Semilla B binder from Nicaragua. For the fillers, the blenders selected viso tobacco from Esteli and Condega in Nicaragua. And blended that with viso and second from the Dominican republic into a 6×52 sized toro.

The cigar looks fantastic. The dark, Maduro colored, Habano wrapper is mouth-watering. Beautifully colored, oily with a few veins. The shape is perfect, just like the cap. And the dark, oily wrapper is a beautiful backdrop for the glossy white, and classic, Davidoff ring. The secondary ring is red with gold and tells you it’s the cigar for the year of the rat. The barnyard aroma is quite strong. The cigar feels well constructed.


The cold draw is great, with flavors of pepper, the bitterness of dark chocolate, raw tobacco and leather. Immediately after lighting, the bitterness of dark chocolate is there. Complexed bitterness. With mushrooms, leather, and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. The nice bitterness of the dark chocolate remains, but now with sweetness, ginger and mushrooms. The aftertaste is a nice mellow pepper. The dark chocolate becomes even more pronounced, with pepper on the background. Other flavors are leather, mushrooms, hay, and pepper. Later on, the cigar has oak, pepper, ginger, and leather. The second third starts with coffee, hazelnuts, pepper, and a grassy flavor. There is also oak and leather in the second third. The final third has oak, coffee, pepper. The mouthfeel is a little creamy. The cigar then turns to leather, oak, and pepper.


The draw is great. The ash is light gray and looks like a stack of dimes. The smoke is good, not super thick but still thick enough. And the volume is nice too. The cigar is balanced but has character. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours. The burn is good as well.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive, but I enjoyed it

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Categories: 91, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Danish Cigars Weihnachten

Royal Danish Cigars Weihnachten. For those that don’t speak German, Weihnachten is Christmas in the German language. So this is the Christmas cigar from Royal Danish. Jan Vistisen, the owner and founder of the Danish cigar brand, trademarked ‘Christmas’ for cigars and this is the first time he uses the trademark for a commercial release. He showed the cigars at the Intertabac trade show last September and gave me a sampler to smoke during the holidays.

The Christmas cigar is a play on the Royal Danish Sangre Azul 2.0. And that cigar is a mediumfiller or a Cuban sandwich as some call it. It’s made with the clippings of the expensive Royal Danish Regal Blend West Indies line. But the clippings aren’t chopped up to smaller pieces, so it’s not a shortfiller. As far as our information goes, the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with a dark Habano wrapper.

 

The wrapper is dark, almost Oscuro. The box-pressed torpedo measures 6×50 but the head is a little uneven. The main ring is the black Royal Danish ring with the white letters, golden details and the Danish flag in the center. The secondary ring is the Cuban regional edition ring with the text ‘Weihnachten leckerbissen’ which translates to Christmas treats. The cigar feels good and looks good. The cigar has a medium-strong aroma of hay.

 

The cold draw is good. A slightly bitter flavor of dark chocolate and raw tobacco comes from the cold draw. That dark chocolate remains after lighting, but now with coffee and soil. The flavors are a bit muted. Dark chocolate, leather, pepper, and earthiness. Slowly a nutty flavor shows up too, with some sweetness. But then after a centimeter and a half, the cigar suddenly awakes. The flavors are no longer muted but crisp. The smoke gets thicker as well. The pepper grows and there is even a hint of vanilla. The chocolate flavors taste like old fashioned brownies, thick and delicious. In the final third, the pepper grows stronger. The cigar gets more wood now, with earthiness and pepper.

The draw is fine. The ash is light gray but not very firm. The smoke is thick and full. The burn had to be corrected once. This cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? To be honest, for €825 I would pick a premium Longfiller

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Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Royal Danish | Tags: , , , , ,

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT

Balmoral Añejo Oscuro Lancero FT. This is the 2019 limited edition for the Balmoral Añejo series. Balmoral launched the Ańejo a few years ago with an 18-year-old wrapper. The cigar was an instant hit and put the brand back in the spotlights. So when the Dutch cigar manufacturer ran out of the wrapper, they tweaked the blend and created the Balmoral Ańejo XO series. Slowly that series grew, with the addition of a Connecticut Shade version, an Oscuro version and a Nicaraguan version. Each year, the brand sees a limited edition. The Balmoral Añejo XO Lancero was a huge hit, so a few months ago, Balmoral released the 2019 limited edition. That’s a lancero for the Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro blend.


The cigar measures 7×40. And it has a flag tail, that’s what the FT in the name stands for. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Brazil. That last one is part of the Balmoral signature. All Balmoral Añejo XO cigars have some Brazilian tobacco in the blend. The binder comes from the Dominican Republic as well. That’s where the Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company factory is located. The hometown of the factory is in San Pedro de Macoris. Royal Agio honored the town by creating several blends with the San Pedro de Macoris name. The wrapper for this Balmoral Añejo XO Oscuro comes from the San Andres region in Mexico.

The dark wrapper has a few veins, but nothing too thick or ugly. The dark color is quite even. The rings are beautifully designed and it’s clear why the logo and design have won several design prizes. The ring protecting the foot is glossy black with a beautiful gold print. The regular ring is gray, with black, white and golden details. The flag tail is a nice touch to the cigar. The construction feels good. There is a mild barnyard aroma, with a little ammonia.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are a slightly spicy raw tobacco flavor. A warm flavor. Once lit, it’s a strong coffee flavor with spices and pepper. The flavors then turn to a milder coffee and more gingerbread spices. There’s also a vegetal flavor and creamy chocolate sweetness, although that last one is very mild. Slowly some leaves, leather and more sweetness join the palate. And then, after an inch, there is a nice sweet smokey barbecue flavor. The smokey wood flavor, with the sweetness, is the main flavor for the second third. But there is mild milk chocolate on the background as well. In the last third, the cigar gets less smokey and releases more spices. Green herbs and warm spices on toast with wood. Add a little pepper and that’s the flavor palate of the cigar in the final third.


The draw is great. But the light gray ash with dark smears is coarse and not very dense nor firm. The smoke is plentiful but could have been a bit thicker. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is smooth, balanced and smokes perfectly. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. But it smokes quite fast, even though lanceros are supposed to be smoked slowly. The smoke time is one hour and forty-five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to have a box or two

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Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Black Label Trading Company Royalty Robusto

Black Label Trading Company Royalty Robusto. A relatively new, edgy brand, that saw the light in 2013. James and Angela were tour operators in Costa Rica. But they took their clients to Nicaragua as well and where do you take visitors when you’re in Nicaragua? To tobacco plantations and cigar factories of course. James started to blend cigars and sell them. The feedback was so overwhelming that the couple decided to start a brand. To keep control of everything, they even started a factory of their own.


The Royalty is a core line for Black Label Trading Company and has been there from the start in 2013. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan fillers. The binder comes from Honduras and the wrapper is Ecuadorian. But not Connecticut Shade of Sumatra, Ecuadorian tobaccos that are used a lot, but Ecuadorian Corojo. The cigar is only available in three sizes, we reviewed the 5×54 Robusto.


The cigar is beautiful. Smooth, leathery with a few flats veins. Quite dark. The ring is very dark with a skull, very scary, macabre. The foot ring says Royalty in a font that fits with the skull. The cigar feels a little spongy but evenly spongy. The medium-strong aroma is that of wood, chopped wood.


The cold draw is great. The flavor is dry, spicy and slightly bitter raw tobacco. Once lit, there is coffee, there is some harshness from green herbs and spices. There is some pepper. Slowly wood and pepper show up too. The cigar has a little edge to it. Then honey sweetness comes into play, with more pepper. The rough edge in the flavor is gone. The second third starts with wood, pepper, and some honey. The wood, leather, and pepper are the main attraction. Near the end, the cigar becomes salty.


The ash is like a stack of dimes. Light gray, with beautiful layers. The burn is quite straight and pretty. The smoke is great. Thick and white. The cigar has plenty of character. This is a medium-full bodied cigar, medium-full flavored as well. With a smoke time of an hour and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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Categories: 91, Black Label Trading Company, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

VegaFina Year of the Rat Toro

VegaFina Year of the Rat Toro. In the last few years, more and more cigar brands are using the Chinese Zodiac Calendar as a reason to release a limited edition cigar. VegaFina is one of those brands. The Dominican cigars started releasing cigars for the Year Of series with the Year of the Dog. After the Year of the Pig, it’s time for the Year of the Rat. Altadis is part of Imperial Brands, although not for long anymore. Imperial Brands is selling its premium cigar division, which includes the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in the Dominican Republic, their portfolio of brands and their 50% stake in Habanos. According to rumors, a Chinese company acquired the premium cigar division yet by the time of writing this review, nothing has been confirmed.

The cigar measures 5⁹⁄₁₀x52 and it comes with a pigtail. The cigar is made in the Dominican Republic, at Altadis’s Tabacalera de Garcia. Tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are used for the filler. The binder comes from Nicaragua. Altadis did not reveal from which country the wrapper came. But they did mention it’s a Habano 2000 wrapper.

The cigar looks good. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, oily and smooth. There is one thin, yet very noticeable vein on the back. The regular silver and white ring is used, with the glossy metallic red VegaFina logo. Then there is a secondary ring, red with gold, which represents prosperity and wealth in the Chinese culture. The ring says ‘year of the rat’ and a rat is pictured on the ring as well. The cigar feels a bit hard. The foot of the cigar is cut in a slight angle, making the cigar a leaning tower of Pisa. Now even though that’s an imperfection, we have seen it before with several different brands. The aroma is that of manure and oak. It’s medium-strong.

 

Even though the cigar felt a bit hard, the cold draw is fine. With a flavor of spicy raisins. Once lit, the cigar releases a lot of sweetness, sugar water sweetness. With pepper, green herbs and some coffee. Slowly the cigar gets wood in the flavor palate too. The flavor evolves to nutty toast with soil, leather, pepper, and sweetness. These flavors continue through the first third, with a nice sweet and white pepper aftertaste. The mouthfeel is buttery, creamy. The pepper is very mild and distinct. Halfway the pepper gets more pronounced and a little stronger. The sweetness turns into milk chocolate. The final third is sweet and peppery, with leather, wood, milk chocolate, and grass.

 

The draw is great. And the ash is firm, dense, and white as can be. The smoke is thin too and lacks a bit in volume as well. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The balance of this cigar is spot on. This cigar would be a good match with a nice smooth sipping rum.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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Categories: 91, Casa de Garcia, Dominican cigars, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , ,

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro.

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. The first time we ever saw or heard the brand was on social media. At first, we figured it would be one of those private labels again that try to make a few bucks before disappearing into the swamp. The swamp where many other small private labels have been buried over the years. But the more we looked into Antigua Esteli, the more we were intrigued. And the more we wanted to try one of those cigars. We connected with owner and founder Art Garcia and learned more about the brand. It’s more than just a simple private label. Garcia runs his own crew at the factory, his rollers, blenders and buys the tobacco himself. In September we finally met at the Intertabac trade show and weaseled a few cigars so we could finally smoke them


We scored the Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. That’s a 6×56 cigar, made in Nicaragua. The fillers and binder are all Nicaraguan. The tobacco comes from four different regions in Nicaragua. The wrapper comes from the San Andres region in Mexico. The shape is unusual, it’s not fully box-pressed, it’s not round but it’s semi box-pressed.


The cigar looks beautiful. An evenly dark, smooth and oily wrapper. Great shape with a triple cap. The cigar feels well constructed. The ring is detailed, with tobacco fields, the logo. And both the American and Nicaraguan flags in a banner combining the two countries. The secondary ring says Segovias Maduro. The aroma is strong, barnyard, wood, and forest come to mind.


The cold draw is easy, and it leaves a peppery flavor on the lips. A tingling sensation. Add a raw tobacco flavor to it, and that’s what the cold draw tastes like. Once lit, there is a mix of coffee, leather, soil, spices, and pepper. The bitterness of the coffee is a nice contrast with the creaminess of the mouthfeel. Soon it’s more coffee with leather and spices. There’s also a bit of citrus, and the mouthfeel remains creamy. After a third, it’s a toasty coffee flavor with wood, spices, and pepper. Still creamy though. The creaminess makes the flavors feel silky smooth. The final third starts with ice cream without the numbing cold of ice cream. Vanilla sweetness, cream, and roasted coffee beans. Then the coffee returns, with way more pepper than before.


The draw is great, and the burn is straight as an arrow. The ash is white, but a bit brittle. The cigar produces a lot of smoke. The flavors are all smooth, round, and soft. Yet medium to medium-full in flavors, and medium in strength. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will
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Categories: 91, Antigua Esteli, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Condega Serie F Maduro Robusto

The Condega brand was founded by Eduardo Fernandez. He came into the business in 1998 as a tobacco grower and years later he founded the brand Condega. The brand was particularly popular in Spain because of the price-quality point, but it was also sold in the United States. But since Fernandez, famous for his Aganorsa leaf, is more interested in growing tobacco than selling cigars, the brand never really took off outside of Spain. And that’s where the Spanish tobacco distributor Gesinta comes in. Their premium cigar division, Casa del Tabaco, purchased the brand from Fernandez for the international markets. In the last few years, the brand is quickly expanding distribution to other European countries, Africa, and the Middle East. Fernandez still holds the rights for Condega on the American market.


The Serie F Maduro only comes in one vitola. That’s the 5×50 Robusto. And it’s the only Condega cigar that isn’t a Nicaraguan puro. The Maduro wrapper comes from Mexico. It’s grown in the San Andres region. The binder and wrappers are all Aganorsa leaf from Nicaragua. The Condega cigars are known for their great price-quality point. In The Netherlands this cigar is 5 euro, in Germany, it’s even cheaper with a price tag of €4,70. And that for a Maduro robusto, packed in a box instead of a bundle.


The wrapper looks good, beautiful Maduro darkness. And it’s natural darkness, as you can see darker smears, it’s not evenly dark. The cigar looks well constructed, with a triple cap. It has the right amount of bounce when squeezed gently. There aren’t thick, ugly veins on the wrapper, so the cigar looks smooth. And the aroma is medium strong with stable, barnyard and wood smells.


The cold draw is smooth. The flavors are pepper, wood, and hay. Right from the start, the cigar is sweet with coffee, pepper, and earthiness. But without the bitterness that often comes with a strong coffee flavor at the beginning of a cigar. There’s a hint of spices too. And then suddenly a lot happens, wood, coffee, spices, pepper, sweetness, and hay. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. The flavors are smooth yet full. After that, the explosion of flavors mellows out, it’s now wood with some spices and a bit of pepper. Halfway the cigar gets very nutty, with sweetness and pepper. There are hints of grass and wood too, but those are faint. The creamy nuttiness is the dominant flavor. The mellow, creamy nuttiness continues to be the main flavor of the cigar, with wood and sweetness. There’s also a faint leather flavor as well.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The cigar is full-flavored, yet medium to medium full-bodied. The light-colored ash isn’t firm. The smoke could be a little thicker though, but just a bit. The burn had to be corrected once. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes. The cigar is well balanced, smooth and full of flavor.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

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Categories: 91, Condega, Nicaraguan cigars, TABSA | Tags: , , , , ,

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon. Roberto P. Duran has been in tobacco all of his life, and so have his ancestors. The family roots in tobacco trace back to the 1920s in Cuba. The Robert P. Duran brand might not be one of the first brands that pop up when you speak to cigar smokers in Europe or the USA. But the brand is very popular in South East Asia. It has a strong fan base in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Ministry of Cigars joined the CSWC qualifier in Kuala Lumpur. Inclusive of the ticket was a 5 count cigar caddy and a few cigars. This cigar, the Neya F8 Gringo was one of the cigars included in the package. It’s made by Nicatabaco and Robert P. Duran.

The cigar has an Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro wrapper. The fillers and binders are grown in Nicaragua. The wrapper is most likely from Duran’s own Azan plantation. The Duran family grows tobacco in Ecuador. The line was released in 2014, shortly after the Neya Classic line. The F8 is supposed to be the amped-up version of the Neya Classic. It replaces the Ecuador Habano wrapper with this Corojo Maduro. There are seven lines available, we are reviewing the 5×58 Gringo

The cigar looks good. A dark leathery wrapper with tooth and some veins. A beautiful deep blue ring with golden details and the drawing of a lady. The secondary ring shows the F8 logo and says Ligero typhoon. That promises some strength. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. Barnyard and burned wood is the smell of the cigar.

The cold draw is fantastic. And gives a slightly sweet espresso flavor. After lighting, the espresso is strong. The right amount of bitterness softened with some sweetness. It’s a great start. There’s also a hint of leather. The flavors remind me of old school coffee-flavored candy that I used to like as a kid. There’s also a little bit of pepper and some fruity acidity. After a while, the flavors change to toast, coffee, leather with that fruity aftertaste. Slowly the flavors become a little less strong and a little spicier. After a third, a mild vanilla taste is noticeable next to the spice and pepper. The flavors are strong yet mellow and smooth. With a creamy mouthfeel. The vanilla disappears again. Due to the big ring gauge, the cigar isn’t very dynamic, but the coffee, leather, wood, pepper, sweetness, and citrus mixture is very nice.


The draw is fantastic. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness. The burn is good. This is a strong cigar, yet balanced. Full-bodied, full-flavored. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box
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Categories: 91, Neya, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicatabaco | Tags: , , , ,

Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto

Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto. Rocky Patel makes cigars in Honduras and Nicaragua. And even though he started out in Honduras, last few years he focussed on Nicaragua for production. Almost all of the new blends came out of his Tavicusa factory in Esteli. That factory is owned by Rocky Patel and his partner Amilcar Perez. The Honduran production is made at El Paraiso, a factory owned by Plasencia. But Patel has a special relationship, which allows them to use his own methods, his own people and his own standards for his brands. It’s sort of a lease deal.


This Rocky Patel LB1 is made at that El Paraiso factory. And it’s one of the two new blends that were recently released, made in Honduras. It’s quite normal for cigars to have a factory code during the blending process, and for the LB1 Patel decided to keep that factory code as the name. The cigar is made with tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua in the filler. The binder is also Nicaraguan. The Nicaraguan tobaccos come from Patel’s farm in Esteli. The wrapper is a Habano wrapper from Ecuador.

The cigar is a looker. A very dark yet smooth wrapper. But the foot has been cut by a drunken torcedor. When placed on a table, foot down, it leans like the Tower of Pisa. The wrapper is evenly in color and smooth. The white and copper-colored ring contrasts the darkness well. The ring is quite simple, yet a little too overwhelming. There’s too many lines, stars, shapes so it makes the ring distracting. The barnyard and manure aroma is quite strong.


The cold draw is a bit though. The flavors are leather and pepper, spicy. But it feels a bit like wet leather, making the draw a bit draggy. Once lit, its pepper and cinnamon toast with espresso. The flavors then evolve to a mixture of soil, leather, coffee, sweetness, and a hint of citrus. The cigar is mellow, and the flavors settle for cinnamon toast with a little pepper, sweetness, and grass. Halfway some wood, more soil, and leather show up, but still with the spiced toast and sweetness.


The draw is good. Better than the cold draw. The white smoke is thick and plentiful. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is mellow and well balanced. Where the darkness of the wrapper would suggest it’s a strong, full-bodied cigar, it’s actually not. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored, balanced and smooth cigar. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, I think so.

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Categories: 91, El Paraiso, Honduran cigars, Rocky Patel | Tags: , , , , ,

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Robusto

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Robusto. A motorcycle brand with history. And history in cigars as well, as this is not the first time the name is connected to cigars. The first time it appeared was in the mid-1990s when business partners Philip Zanghi and Rocky Patel founded Indian Tabac. Zanghi’s father was once the owner of the Indian Motorcycle brand, and Philip had the right to make cigars under the name. When Zanghi sold his stock to Patel and left the cigar industry, the name remained with Patel. When the company started carrying Patel’s name, the Indian Tabac cigars were slowly discontinued.


And then Zanghi came back in the scene. First with Debonaire and then he regained the rights for Indian Motorcycles when it comes to tobacco. There are currently three lines. The first in a Habano, the second a Maduro. And there’s also a Connecticut version, which is exclusively for Canada for now. The cigars are made at De Los Reyes factory in the Dominican Republic. The wrapper is Connecticut Broadleaf. The binder comes from the Dominican. The filler is a blend of Central American tobaccos.


This cigar starts with bonus points for looks. The wrapper is dark as night, oily, leathery and smooth. And the ring is amazing. Beige outwearing, smudged like a motorcycle mechanic with oily hands touched it. And then the Indian logo with a red glossy metallic background. This cigar is quite a looker. It feels well packed. The aroma is mud, hay and wet horses.


The cold draw is good. It’s spicy with a raw tobacco flavor. Right from the start, it’s coffee. Strong dark roast coffee. And some salty nuts as well. The flavor is very pleasant. There’s also some toasted wood in the flavor palate. After a few puffs, the coffee mellows out and the cigar gets a soil flavor, with some spices and pepper. And there is a slightly metallic flavor as well. After a centimeter, it’s soil with pepper, sweetness and some citrus. After a third, it’s still earthy with pepper, some sweetness and now I taste a hint of chocolate and leather as well. Halfway the cigar gets some more chocolate and a little hay, but those are supporting flavors for the earthiness and pepper. In the final third, leather is replacing the earthiness. And there is some walnut in the flavor too.


The draw is great. The smoke is good, not spectacular but good. The ash is flaky and splits a little bit. This cigar is medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored. The burn is pretty straight. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For 7,25 euro? Yes

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Categories: 91, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , ,

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