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Pappy van Winkle Tradition Coronita

Pappy van Winkle Tradition Coronita. A cigar by Drew Estate in collaboration with the famous bourbon brand Pappy van Winkle. Where the fermented cigars are exclusive to the Pappy van Winkle shop. But then the two released the Pappy van Winkle Tradition. It’s available to all Drew Diplomat retailers. There are five sizes available, plus one event only vitola. And a seventh vitola just for Jonathan Drew to hand out.

The 4×46 Coronita is one of the five regular production sizes. The cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. The binder comes from Indonesia. The Dominican Republic and Nicaragua take care of the filler tobaccos. Willy Herrera is responsible for the blend. The cigars come from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Most of the cigar is hidden with a large ring. A ring with an old picture of a cigar-smoking gentleman. Could it be Pappy himself? The same picture is on the Family Reserve bottles of bourbon. The part of the wrapper that is visible is beautiful. Dark, oily, and smooth. The construction feels good. The aroma is quite strong. Dark, musky, and wood.

The cold draw is great. The flavor is leathery. The first puffs after lighting are strong, leathery with some sweetness, hay, earth, and wood. The mouthfeel is thick. The retrohale is very nice. The cigar has a sweetness that pairs well with bourbon I guess. The sweetness is gaining strength with some spice and a hint of dark chocolate. There is still that slight alcohol flavor as well. The final third has more cedar and a little spice. There is still some leather.

The draw is amazing. The smoke is classic Drew Estate, full and a lot of it. The burn is straight and the ash is reasonably firm. The cigar is medium in body and flavor. There is not a lot of evolution, but then again, it is a short cigar so there isn’t much room for that. It is well balanced and smooth. The smoke time is one hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I really liked this cigar, but 15 dollars for a petit corona is a bit much.

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras

Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, a cigar for the Chinese zodiac calendar. For the Year of the Ox. It is the second official Habanos release for the Chinese zodiac calendar after the Romeo y Julieta Maravillas. Although the Spanish distributor tested the water a year earlier with a Cohiba Robusto in special packaging. Since the Ox is a strong animal, it is kind of surprising that Habanos went for one of the milder cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey, and not for a bold Bolivar. My expectations are low, as I never liked Hoyo de Monterrey.

The size is a Hermosos No.1, a size that is not used for any regular production. I received the cigar from Pacific Cigar Company after being invited to the world wide virtual premiere of the cigar. The special packaging for this even included a beautiful cardboard tube with Chinese prints. But the cigars for commercial release come in a stunning box. A box worthy of a display and up to par, or even better looking, than the Behike packaging.

There are rumors that Cuba has a problem with growing wrappers for the last few years. And that that is the reason why larger cigars are so hard to find, as production numbers are low due to the shortage of wrappers. And looking at the wrapper of this Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras, it could be true. The wrapper isn’t what you’d expect from a limited, expensive Habanos release. It’s a little rough, with lots of small veins. The wrapper also lacks oil. It has the classic Hoyo de Monterrey band with a red and golden ‘Year of the Ox’ foot band. The cigar feels a little spongy. The aroma is mild, wood and sawdust are the smells.

The cold draw is good. It has a bit of a salty peanut flavor. The first puffs are typical Cuban. It’s that Cuban leather that you can’t get in any cigar from anywhere else. There’s also a little bit of coffee in the flavor profile and some honey. Slowly some herbal and peppery flavors introduce themselves. The cigar slowly gains some strength. For a Hoyo de Monterrey, this is quite a strong cigar although it’s still nothing compared to full body Cubans such as Bolivar, Partagas, or even Cohiba. For the fans of Nicaraguan cigars, this is a medium body at max. The second third starts with that Cuban leather again, with a little soil, coffee, and pepper. here is also a wood flavor, but it’s not cedar. And a mild sweetness that comes close to honey. In the final third, the sweetness gets more pronounced and there is a nutty flavor. Slowly more pepper shows up as well. The cigar also has a herbal freshness. The finale is strong, much stronger than any regular production Hoyo de Monterrey.

The ash is silver-gray like the hair of an elderly gentleman. It’s not too firm though. The draw is fantastic. It is obvious that Cubatabaco and Habanos really invested in improving the quality of the rollers and quality control in the last few years. Plugged Habanos aren’t as common as they used to be. The burn is a little wonky but corrects itself every time. The smoke is good. The cigar is medium in body and flavor with a strong finish. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes

Would I smoke this cigar again? No, even though this is an enjoyable Hoyo de Monterrey, it is too darn expensive.

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , ,

La Sagrada Familia Maduro Robusto Extra

La Sagrada Familia Maduro Robusto Extra. The second blend of the Dutch cigar brand La Sagrada Familia. Dutch cigar enthusiast Tom Mulder fell in love with cigars on a trip to Cuba. Back home he became a regular at the Van Dalen Cigars shop in Den Bosch where he met Sasja van Horssen. After many years of friendship, Mulder approached Van Horssen with a question. That question was “can you introduce me to cigar manufacturers that can produce a cigar for me?”.

Mulder and Van Horssen talked to Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua. And with Joya on board as a manufacturer, Mulder flew to Nicaragua. The first blend, a Habano version, was a success. It sells well in The Netherlands so a second blend was waiting to happen. And it is this La Sagrada Familia Maduro. Made with filler from Esteli, Nicaragua. Add a Dominican binder and an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper, and you have the La Sagrada Familia Maduro line. I did review the pre-release many years ago.

The cigar looks good. A slightly rough, yet evenly dark wrapper. Oily and a bit weathered under the scorching sun during the growing process. The black, gold, and white ring pop on the dark background. The aroma is deep and strong. Complex barnyard aromas. The triple cap is perfect. The cigar feels packed, hard.

The cold draw is good, with a mild honey flavor and a little kick in the aftertaste. The first flavors are dark, earthy, and leathery with the bitterness of dark chocolate. But not the flavor of dark chocolate. And there’s a hint of white pepper. The pepper gains power, and some honey supports it in the background. At the end of the first third, there is a bit of a liquor flavor, almost like rum-soaked dark chocolate. The Maduro sweetness kicks in during the second third. But not overwhelmingly. Nicely balanced with spice, wood, and leather. There’s even a milk chocolate flavor noticeable. The flavors become more complex. Wood, hay, chocolate, leather, and spices. Wood becomes the main flavor, with hay, white pepper, and honey.

Due to the thickness of the wrapper and the fact that the cigar is packed, it takes a little effort to get the burn going. But once it goes, it’s beautifully straight and slow. And the draw is fine, even though the cigar feels hard. The ash is light in color and firm. Not firm enough to survive a drop from the ashtray on the desk though. But that’s a user error, not a cigar error. The smoke is good. The strength is medium-full, just as the flavor. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it, but I like the Habano blend better.

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

Liga Privada #9 Flying Pig

Liga Privada #9 Flying Pig. The fourth cigar from the Liga Privada Year of the Rat sampler for the Chinese zodiac Year of the Rat. I smoked several year of the rat cigars during the year of the rat. But this sampler wasn’t in my possession back then. It is now, so I will smoke the complete sampler now.

The unique shape of this cigar comes from an old, turn of the century, cigar catalog. Steve Saka, then CEO of Drew Estate, found that and decided to use it. The Liga Privada #9 blend is connected to Saka, as it was blended for him as well. He is the jefe mentioned on the ring. The cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the United States. The binder is Brazilian Mata Fina. The filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras. This fat, short perfecto measures 4⅛x60.

Even after more than a decade, this weird looking cigar stands out. Short and fat, but in a perfecto shape with a pigtail. The wrapper is dark and it contrasts the simple black, silver, and white ring. The wrapper is dark and rough, but it fits the shape. Leathery and toothy, like the previous Liga Privada cigars that Ministry of Cigars reviewed. The construction feels good. The cigar has a medium-strong cedar aroma.

The cold draw is good. With a slightly wooden flavor. After lighting the cigar releases leather, earthiness, coffee, and wood. There is also some acidity and a little bit of dark chocolate. The cigar turns more to coffee and soil but with a little hay and a tiny splash of pepper. The chocolate remains and becomes thick and sticky in the mouth. There’s also a nice dose of pepper in the background. Halfway the cigar gives more wood, earthiness even though there is still a coffee flavor with pepper. Chocolate makes a comeback. And even though there is pepper in the flavor profile, it remains subtle so far. Then a honey sweetness shows up as well. Wood, coffee, and chocolate are getting stronger

The blueish smoke is of epic proportions. But that’s the case with every Liga Privada or the related Undercrown. Due to the thickness of the wrapper, the burn has a few issues staying even. The ash is light colored but turns brownish. It’s frayed but firm. This is a cigar full in body, and medium-full in flavor. The cigar is well balanced. The cigar is perfect to smoke to the nub with a nub-tool. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like it, but I rather smoke a Ratzilla or Velvet Rat

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva

Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva. In the last decade, Marko Bilic created a monster. From the first Cigar Smoking World Championship event to a series of worldwide qualifiers and a finale in Split, Croatia. And even though, in our humble opinion, cigars aren’t meant to be competitive, it’s a cool event. Last year, we entered the qualifier in Kuala Lumpur and had a great time. It’s fun, it’s all about camaraderie, friendship and having a good time with like-minded people.

Since this year, Rocky Patel is the cigar provider for the CSMW. With a blend created especially for the event. Rocky Patel, Marko Bilic, and the Rocky Patel team use a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The filler tobaccos are from Honduras and Nicaragua. The official event cigar is a 5¼x42 Mareva, but the cigars are also available in Robusto and Toro. Rocky Patel’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, is responsible for manufacturing. The factory name is Tavicusa, Tabacalera Villa de Cuba SA.

The wrapper is a bit rough, with some veins. It looks a bit dry. But the dark color is a perfect contrast for the metallic copper-colored ring with the white letters. The cloth foot ring is orange in color. The cigar feels well constructed. The ring is actually glued to the cigar, so competitors can’t cheat the competition rules. The aroma isn’t very strong. It’s earthy and vegetal.

The cold draw is good. Slightly sweet raw tobacco on the palate. Once lit, dark chocolate is the first thing to hit the palate. Creamy dark chocolate. Slowly some leather, earthiness, and black pepper show up as well. In the second third, the cigar gets more complex. There are more flavors. Still that dark chocolate, but now with green herbs, a little more pepper, leather, and some wood. Slowly the cigar gets more wood and sweetness. But that dark chocolate remains the main flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy. In the final third, the flavors are quite similar, just more intense.

The draw is great. The ash is light-colored and firm. Which is good, as there is a penalty for breaking the ash in the first half-hour of the competition. The burn is good, although I had to relight once. The smoke is fine. Enough in volume, decent in thickness. Nothing out of the ordinary though. The cigar has a nice complexity, without being overly aggressive. With its medium strength in both body and flavor, this is a cigar that everybody can stomach. The evolution and built-up are great. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet Monarch

Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet Monarch. In 2018, Hiram & Solomon released this cigar as a limited edition. Only 500 boxes were produced of the 6×54 Veiled Prophet Monarch. Back then, the Grand Monarch was the only regular production cigar from the line. A 7×60 monster. But the feedback was so positive, that the Monarch vitola became regular production as well. And there is even a third size nowadays, a Lancero.

The cigar is made in Esteli, Nicaragua. Just like all other blends from Hiram & Solomon, the cigars are made at the Plasencia Cigars factory. The cathedral of tobacco as the locals call it. For the filler, tobaccos from Peru and two regions of Nicaragua are used. The binder comes from Indonesia. The wrapper is Arapiraca from Brazil.

The Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper is dark and oily. For a Brazilian wrapper, it’s good looking. Usually, Brazilian wrappers are a little rough on the eyes. The Masonic logo is present on the ring. Silver-colored on a nice burgundy backdrop. The ring never reveals the veiled prophet name. The cigar feels soft though, slightly underfilled. The aroma is intense, not strong but intense. Sawdust, dark chocolate, and wood.

The cold draw is very easy. Most likely due to the soft construction. It is spicy though, slightly bitter raw tobacco. The first puffs are full of coffee with spice. There’s also a nice sweetness to it, almost like candy. Add earthiness and that’s the flavor profile in the first fifteen minutes. Then a very nice nut flavor shows up. Macadamia, hazelnut, cashew, that kind of nuttiness. With wood, pepper, sweetness. Complex and interesting. Then a milk chocolate flavor shows up with leather and wood. Halfway that is replaced by roasted coffee beans and more spice. The nuttiness returns, but this time the pepper is the dominant flavor.

The draw is a bit loose, but not to the extent that it’s bothering the performance. The smoke is great. The burn had to be corrected a few times. The cigar has plenty of evolution but is well balanced all along. Medium to medium-full in strength. Medium-full to full in flavor. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I want to try the lancero too

Categories: 91, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , ,

Davidoff tasting cigar figurado

Davidoff tasting cigar figurado. Pre-release cigars or test blends leak into the hands of cigar enthusiasts from time to time. But the Davidoff tasting cigar figurado isn’t either of them. Yet, it is a cigar that is not for sale. Honestly, I don’t know the story behind this cigar. All we know is that it comes from Davidoff. The cigar doesn’t have a ring but the sticker on the cellophane is clearly Davidoff and says “tasting cigar, not for sale”.

Davidoff Distributors managing director Roy Sommer is a friend of me. And he is responsible for gifting this unique cigar. A cigar of which we know nothing. The blend is unknown and there is literally no information to find online. The Herics Cigar Tape is useful so that at least the correct size is known. 6¾x52 in a figurado shape.

The Colorado to Colorado Maduro colored wrapper looks a little rough for a Davidoff cigar. But then again, this isn’t a cigar for sale so aesthetics aren’t part of the deal. The cigar also lacks a ring. The shape is wonderful, with an almost closed foot and all capped head. This cigar comes from a skillful roller, that is for sure. The construction feels great. The strong aroma is Cubanesque. The manure and barnyard aroma that you would expect from a good, slightly aged Habanos cigar.

The cold draw is surprisingly good. It gives pepper and chocolate. One lit, those flavors are gone. A dry sweetness with hay is the flavor profile at the start of the cigar. The sweetness remains, but now with leather, coffee, and earthiness. Sweet licorice shows up as well. After a third, there is some pepper too. But the main flavor is still sweet licorice. The leather gets stronger, but still with a lot of sweetness. In the retrohale, cedar is noticeable. Halfway the sweetness mellows out. It is still there, but not as strong anymore. In the final third, wood is the dominant flavor. Wood with peanuts and sweetness.

The draw is amazing. The white ash is pretty but not very firm. The burn is straight and slow. The flavors are smooth, balanced, and well rounded. The tobacco is probably aged. The smoke is plentiful, thick, and white. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes. The cigar is medium in body and flavor.

Would I buy this cigar again? Well, it is not for sale.

Categories: 91, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , ,

Tobacco Lords Signature Wide Robusto

Tobacco Lords Signature Wide Robusto. It’s the third release of the Tobacco Lords series. And the fourth blend, as the original release, is available as a Connecticut Shade and a Maduro version. The Connecticut Shade Cunninghame and the Maduro Speirs are reviewed by Ministry of Cigars as well. Just as the limited edition 145th Anniversary blend that was released last year. The Tobacco Lords is a private label for the British liquor and tobacco retail store Robert Graham 1874.

For the single-sized Tobacco Lords Signature, extra-aged tobacco is used. The filler consists of Nicaraguan tobacco. Then there is a Dominican binder and a Mexican wrapper from San Andres. The cigar comes in a 5×52 robusto size. It’s made at Joya de Nicaragua, just as the Tobacco Lords Maduro and Connecticut lines.

The cigar looks great. A Colorado Maduro colored wrapper from San Andres, Mexico. Smooth, velvet in touch, and oily. A beautiful black and golden ring, with a small ring to protect the foot as well. All in the same style. Beautiful to look at. Well rounded head with a triple cap. The cigar feels good to the touch. It has a strong musky aroma with dried wood.

The cold draw is a bit tight. But the flavors are strong, spicy peppery sultanas. Once lit, the cigar has some citrus, some sweetness, some mild leather. The sweetness gets stronger, with wood and floral flavors as support. Then there is some spice, wood, earthiness with the flavors mentioned before. All mellow and well balanced. The cigar slowly gains more strength. The second third starts with a little spice, coffee, a faint chocolate flavor, and leather. The mouthfeel is a bit dry. The chocolate becomes more predominant. It is slightly creamy. And a little bit of white pepper shows up too. The final third has a strong wood flavor, but balanced and well rounded.

The draw is good but on the tight side of good. The ash is almost completely white. It’s dense and firm. The burn is straight. The cigar produces a good amount of thick white smoke. The cigar is subtle and complex. Medium in body and strength. The extra aged tobacco really makes a difference. The flavors are well rounded and not harsh at all. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Categories: 91, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Tobacco Lords | Tags: , , , ,

Casdagli Daughters of the Wind Calico

Casdagli Daughters of the Wind Calico. A line inspired by the Casdagli Family history. In the early 1900s, the family acquired Sheykh Obeyd stables just outside Cairo. The Casdagli family became celebrated breeders of Arabian racehorses. Big races were won. It’s that history that Jeremy Casdagli wanted to highlight with this line. The name comes from a 6th-century Arab poem. The Daughters of the Wind poem is inspired by the beauty of the Bedouin horses.

The IGM factory in San Jose, Costa Rica produces the cigars for Casdagli. The blend consists of rare tobaccos from Peru, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador along with the tobaccos from the factory’s own plantation in the mountains of Costa Rica. The wrapper is from Ecuador. The binder is Costa Rican. The cigar that I reviewed is the 6⅒x52 Calico, a pyramid.

The wrapper is very oily. Colorado colored and smooth. Like well-greased leather. A closed foot is always bonus points. The shape of the head is perfect and the cigar feels well constructed. When the cigar was first released, it has a different ring. That ring fitted more in the overall look of the brand. The new ring is more generic and flashy with thick golden outlines. But if you know the history of the Casdagli family, there is a lot to see. The horses that the family used to breed in the Middle East for example. The print quality is high. The aroma is strong, barbecue, hay, and a little ammonia.

The cold draw is a bit tight, but that can be expected with a closed foot. The raw tobacco flavor is spicy. Once lit the cigar is dry. Green herbs sawdust, earthiness, and leather. A hint of caramel shows up, with spice, when the leather gets stronger. After an inch, nuts and more sweetness support the leather. Then the leather fades away and is replaced with wood and nutmeg. The caramel sweetness is still there as well. The leather returns halfway, with spice, pepper, sweetness. The mouthfeel is dry. The leather, nuts, and wood keep replacing each other as the dominant flavor with pepper as a supporting flavor. The finale has a strong pepper, which becomes dominant.

The draw is a bit tight, but when a little bigger opening was cut the draw became great. The smoke is decent in volume but could be a little thicker. The ash is dense but breaks easily. The burn is straight, but the cigar had to be relit a few times. The cigar is smooth and balanced. There is no roughness, the flavors are round. It’s medium-bodied, medium flavored. Yet with a strong and full finish. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while

Categories: 91, Bespoke, Costa Rican cigars, igm | Tags: , , , ,

VegaFina Fortaleza 2 Andullo

VegaFina Fortaleza 2 Andullo. A limited-edition release from VegaFina. Limited to little less than 5000 boxes of ten cigars. As the name suggests, it’s the second Fortaleza release for the 22-year-old brand. The brand was founded by Tabacalera, which was the Spanish tobacco monopoly. That’s why the brand is strong in Europe and not in the United States.

This cigar is named after a traditional fermentation process in the Dominican Republic. Andullo. That’s when tobacco is rolled up in tubes very tightly. That’s how the tobacco gets fermented. This is different than the regular fermentation using pilones. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra. The rest of the tobaccos are all Dominican, including some Andullo. The same kind of fermentation is practiced in Indonesia under the name Tambolaka. And in the Amazon, CAO Amazon Basin utilizes some of that tobacco.

The cigar is good looking. A nice Colorado colored wrapper, thin yet sharp. The simple matte black ring with the glossy VF logo in red. Add a handwritten font Andullo in white, and you have a contemporary ring. The construction feels good. The cigar has a very pleasant aroma. Hay with chocolate.

The cold draw is flawless. With spices and herbs as flavors. After lighting the cigar releases flavors of grass, dirt, cinnamon with dry leather. Lots of dry leather. Some hay and acidity show up too. Vinegar, and a little too sour. Normally a little acidity brings flavors together, this is just a little too sour. Not much though. The mouthfeel is dry, the acidity works well with the spices. Spices like nutmeg and cumin. And then a peanut flavor shows up. Unusual flavor for cigars, but deniable peanuts. With some white pepper. The acidity is still there, but now in a way that it enhances the flavors instead of overpowering them. The peanut flavor gets stronger, with some spices and pepper. In the final third, it’s peanuts, powdered sugar, and dry leather. It creates a dry mouthfeel. The flavors remain peanuts, sweetness, spicy with some acidity to bind it all together. In the finale, there is an even more unusual flavor. Something that we haven’t discovered in 15 years of cigar smoking. Fried egg. With peanuts, leather, and pepper.

The draw is fine, and the smoke is thick, white, and plentiful. The burn is beautiful. The white ash is firm. The cigar is medium-bodied and reasonably smooth. Although there is some roughness in the second third of the cigar, it’s minor. It’s a medium-full bodied cigar with plenty of flavors. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy these again? With such limited stock, that might be impossible.

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

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