91

Rocky Patel Quarter Century Robusto

Rocky Patel Quarter Century Robusto. And as the name suggests, it celebrates the 25th anniversary of Rocky Patel as a cigar manufacturer. In 1995, the 35-year-old entertainment lawyer set his first steps in the industry with Indian Tobac. Nobody would have imagined that twenty-five years later, the Rocky Patel brand would be so strong and one of the best-selling cigar brands in the world. The Indian-born Patel had no background in tobacco, and people were expecting him to fail.

But now, 25 years later, he’s a rockstar in the industry. And to celebrate Patel created the Quarter Century. With Nicaraguan filler that has been aging for a decade. A Honduran binder to bind it all together. And then a dark Mexican San Andres wrapper. After rolling, the cigars age at the factory in Nicaragua for an additional two years before being released on the market.

The dark wrapper looks a bit dry. But the color is great and there aren’t any ugly veins. The two rings match, red with light yellow lettering. The construction feels good. The head is a beautiful round shape with a perfect triple cap. The aroma is amazing, deep, strong, like standing in a barnyard early in the morning before the world comes back alive.


The cold draw is perfect. Dry in flavor, a bit earthy with hay. The first puff is coffee, dark roast. The cigar holds the coffee flavor but adds soil, leather, spices, and pepper. There is also a hint of extra dark chocolate. At the end of the first third, there’s also wood with some sort of nuttiness. The smoke is tickling the back of the throat. The rough edge is gone in the second third. There is a bit more red pepper. The cigar is more earthy now, but the coffee is still lingering in the background. The Maduro wrapper is also releasing its sweetness. The earthiness grows, with sweetness and spice on the tip of the tongue. The earthiness is the main flavor but in the end, a very strong pepper overpowers it.

The draw is great. The ash is light gray and reasonably firm. The burn is great. The smoke is good, thick enough, and enough volume. It is a full-body cigar, full of dark flavors as well. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? A fiver every now and then.

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

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia

San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia. That is a mouth full. Earlier this year Pacific Cigar Company, the second-largest Habanos distributor in the world, released this cigar. It is the first regional edition for Malaysia ever. And only the fourth time that Pacific Cigar Company made a regional edition for one country in their territory instead of an Asian Pacifico regional. Only Taiwan and Hong Kong had that honor, Hong Kong twice. And it is also the first time that Pacific Cigar Company is using San Cristobal de la Habana as the brand for a regional edition.

The cigar itself is a format only used for one other cigar, the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill. The factory name is Montesco, with a 5⅛x55 size. Habanos and PCC have released 8888 boxes of 10 cigars. And while that may sound like a weird number, it is not. There is a large Chinese population in Malaysia and in Chinese culture 8 is a number that stands for prosperity and wealth. Plus the cigars are also available in Hong Kong, where Pacific Cigars has its headquarters and a few lounges.

The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a thin vein. The triple cap is placed perfectly. The cigar has the brown, yellow, and gold San Cristobal de La Habana band with the classic red, white, and silver exclusivo band. As we understand that Habanos likes uniformity in the exclusivo bands we get that they all have the same design. But often they don’t match with the regular ring, as is the case with this cigar. The construction feels good. For the last few years, Cuba has been improving the construction quality and it pays off. The cigar has a mild, yet deep aroma of manure and barnyard. There is no ammonia smell, which was kind of expected since it’s a young cigar.

The cold draw is fine and quite spicy. The first puffs are typical Cuban, old school. Soil, leather, and coffee. Then a strong wood shows up, not cedar but a stronger wood flavor. There is also a hint of citrus. Then there are spices, gingerbread spices, with cedar, soil, and leather. The leather and earthiness remain. But some salt, pepper, and nuts show up too. All quite nuanced and refined for a young cigar. There is no harshness at all. The second third has more power and strength. More pepper, with wood, nuts, and leather. The cigar gets more of a bite. One or two years of aging would improve this part of the cigar. The retrohale brings dark spices to the front. The final third has a nice mixture of spices, with nuts, soil, and leather. All in balance. The aftertaste has some pepper. Towards the end, pepper picks up a lot.

The draw is fine, but as said before, it’s been a focus of Cubatabaco for the last few years. Draw issues are less common than a few years ago. There are some burn issues though. The ash is dark but firm. It leaves a nice cone. The smoke is okay but could have been a bit thicker. The cigar is young and will improve with some aging. But this isn’t a cigar to age for more than 5 to 7 years is our expectation. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the insane price they are asking

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, San Cristobal de la Habana (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro. This is a cigar that is not an annual limited edition but also not a regular production cigar. Cuban Crafters, the retail outlet that is part of the Don Kiki Berger emporium describes this as ‘only available once in a while. There are several sizes when available, but for this review, we are selecting the 6×50 Toro. The Don Kiki Berger empire includes tobacco plantations, Tabacalera Esteli, Cuban Crafters, Don Kiki Superstore, and K by Karen Berger. Karen is Don Kiki’s widow and she’s one of the leading ladies of the cigar industry.

The Don Kiki Platinum Label came on the market in 2015. Currently, it’s available in a select number of countries but Karen Berger is expanding international distribution. When the cigar was first available, the label was different but the blend of the cigar is still the same. It’s all Nicaraguan tobacco with an Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. The filler is a mixture of tobacco from Esteli, where the factory is located as well.

The label is all silver and platinum. Either matte or glossy. The background is matte, with the Don Kiki logo and the words limited edition in glossy. The foot ring has a bit of a diamond plate look with Don Kiki 1957 embossing. The wrapper is oily and dark, hearty. The cigar feels very well constructed with a nice triple cap. The aroma of the cigar is medium-strong. Dark wood with some barnyard aroma is the best way to describe the smell.

The cold draw is fine with a little nutty flavor, but a bit dusty. After lighting the cigar opens with straw and sweetness. There is a hint of spice in the retrohale. A few puffs later a little leather shows up with some pepper. The sweetness is close to confectioners’ sugar. Slowly there is some wood and nuttiness. The nut and sweetness become the main flavor. The sweetness in the retrohale is almost cinnamon. There is still a bit of leather. The cigar is buttery creamy. Slowly more pepper and wood show up. And there is a hint of citrus to tie all the flavors together. The sweetness is still there. There are also more green herbs. Wood is still there, as the base flavor. The leather gets a bit stronger and the flavors turn a bit Cuban. Then the nuttiness is coming on strong, with a hint of coffee.

The draw is good, maybe a little too good, but all within margins. The smoke is thick and lush. The light gray ash is like a stack of dimes. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is medium in body but full in flavor. The smoking time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Categories: 91, Don Kiki, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , ,

K by Karen Berger Habano Salomon

K by Karen Berger Habano Salomon. Karen Berger is born and raised in Esteli, Nicaragua. And Esteli is the epicenter of the largest cigar exporting country in the world. But she wasn’t born in the industry. Her late husband, Don Kiki, was. And together Karen and Don Kiki were building an empire. With a factory and farms in Nicaragua, plus a multi-million dollar retail outlet in Miami. But then Don Kiki passed away. Karen continues the legacy up until today and even has her own brand now: K by Karen Berger.

This is the all Nicaraguan Habano version of the K by Karen Berger. And in a wonderful vitola, a 6x52x58 Salomon. To make it even more special, the cigar is box-pressed as well. There is also a Maduro version of the K by Karen Berger and a Connecticut Shade version. Both lines will be reviewed at a later time.

The cigar is a looker. The shape, the oily Colorado color of the wrapper. The beige secondary ring and the detailed yet fresh-looking main ring. This cigar is something to look at before cutting and lighting it. The box press feels good. The aroma is mild though, sawdust.

The cold draw is good. It is very spicy though. The first puffs are straight in your face. Leather, coffee, dark spice, and sweetness. The spice and sweetness, with the leather, remain. But then the flavor turns more to cedar with a faint milk chocolate flavor. The later part of the first third goes back to leather with a nice mellow sweetness. Halfway the cigar has a nice balance between spice, sweetness, and acidity. The sweetness is almost marzipan, the acidity is a mild lemon, with white pepper spice. Slowly the dark spices return. The cigar gets a little stronger. The sweetness is more honey-like. With wood, spice, and pepper.

The draw is very good, even from the start. Often the burn and draw are an issue at the beginning with a vitola like this. The burn is good. The smoke is light gray, it’s a little thin but the volume makes up for it. The light gray ash is frayed but firm. This cigar starts out medium in strength but grows to be full. The flavor is medium-full too. There is balance. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I like it

Categories: 91, K by Karen Berger, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , , , ,

Sobremesa Brulee Blue

Sobremesa Brulee Blue. A Corona Gorda with a Connecticut Shade wrapper from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. According to Steve Saka, this is a cigar for the cigar geeks. And that intrigues the cigar geeks in me. The cigars are limited in production, only 13.000 cigars, and only available in the United States. It is a tweaked version of the Sobremesa Brûlée regular production blend.

Two years ago, Dunbarton came out with the Sobremesa Brûlée. Quite a shock for the fans of Steve Saka, as he is known for bold yet balanced blends. But as he said back then “Sobremesa Brûlée is a recreation of the milder, shade-wrapped ligas of my early years. Somewhere over the last three decades, many of the classic shade cigars have become wispy, uninspiring, and rather dull to my palate. I wanted to share with others the way I remember these blonde cigars being,”. And the line is a success. Let’s see how this Sobremesa Brulee Blue is.

The cigar looks good. A light-colored wrapper, but not pale as many other Connecticut Shade wrappers. You can see it’s a delicate wrapper with some slight veins. The pigtail is always a nice touch. The ring is a piece of art, it looks very simple but it has a lot of details. The original ring won an international award. This version has a beautiful baby blue color added. The construction feels good. The medium-strong aroma has hints of sawdust.

The cold draw is very sweet. This is probably where the “sweetened wrapper or not” debate comes from. The airflow is perfect though. The first puffs are spicy and sweet. The spice feels a bit like tongue bite when you smoke pipe tobacco too fast. There’s also some toast. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. There a slight wood flavor as well. It’s subtle though, like everything on this cigar. Steve Saka’s goal was to blend a cigar to mimic the old school Connecticut cigars. He succeeded. In the second part, there is some marzipan sweetness. The pepper picks up. The finale is spicy and woody.

The construction is great. The draw is fabulous. The gray smoke is quite full. The light gray ash isn’t very firm. The burn is sharp. The cigar is mild in body, but medium in flavor. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I am a fan of Steve Saka’s cigars but not of Connecticut Shade. I’ll get something else from Dunbarton instead.

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

Don Kiki Brown Label Figurado

Don Kiki Brown Label Figurado. For those that are unaware of who Don Kiki is, read the article on Industry Legends: Don Kiki Berger on Ministry of Cigars. It is a story about a second-generation Polish Cuban who came to America and built a retail empire in Miami. But also became a cigar manufacturer and a tobacco grower in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, Enrique ‘Don Kiki’ Berger is no longer with us but his widow Karen Berger continues to dominate the Miami retail scene and runs the cigar imperium. With Don Kiki cigars, but also her K by Karen Berger line.

This Don Kiki Brown Label Perfecto is a small, funny-looking Figurado. Almost a Perfecto size, but with a semi-box press and not exactly a perfecto shape. Thus figurado is the perfect name. As for the term figurado, all non parejo shaped cigars are figurados. So every torpedo, perfecto, pyramid, etc is a figurado. And this specific one is a Nicaraguan puro. But all the tobacco comes from Cuban seed. Some of the tobacco comes from the farm located right next to the factory Tabacalera Esteli in Esteli.

This is a cute-looking cigar. A nicely figurado shape. Very thin at the head and then a perfecto shape at the foot. The head is flat, and the wrapper looks a bit lighter at the foot. The cigar is partially round and partially box-pressed. The Colorado Maduro color of the wrapper is good. The ring is very dark brown, almost black. There is also a Don Kiki Black Label line, but the Brown Label has golden letters, where the black label uses silver. So that makes the lines easy to differentiate. The unique shape makes this cigar score high on looks. The aroma isn’t very strong. It is a stable aroma.

The cold draw is fine and leaves a citrus flavor on the lips. Almost sparkling, like Sprite. After lighting there is a lemony sweetness with coffee, earth, and leather. There is a hint of vanilla in the retrohale. The cigar remains fresh with that lemon-like acidity and a nice sweetness. There is also some dark spice and some leather. Suddenly, below the sweet and sour lime, there is a hint of walnuts. The balance between sweetness and citrus is perfect. Add the walnuts and some black pepper and this cigar exceed expectations. The second third starts with that sweetness, leather, citrus, and baking spices. The baking spices are stronger in the retrohale. Slowly the cigar gets a bit more of a leather and leaves flavor. There are subtle changes in the flavor, but it all remains smooth and mellow. In the last part, there is more of a nutty flavor. The lemon and sweetness tone down a lot. Leather returns. The final puffs have a nice dose of pepper and a hint of wood.

The draw is great, especially for such a hard vitola to roll. The stack of dimes ash is great to look at. It’s salt and pepper in color. The smoke is good in both volume and thickness. The burn is straight and slow. This is a medium body and medium flavor cigar. Smooth, subtle, and delicious. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s delicious and cheap so the answer can only be ‘hell yeah’

Categories: 91, Don Kiki, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , , ,

Condega Serie S Masaya Epicure

Condega Serie S Masaya Epicure. Condega is a Nicaraguan cigar brand from Aganorsa Leaf. Although the international distribution rights are with the Spanish company Gesinta. And they are expanding the brand at a rapid rate. Just a few weeks ago, a new limited edition was announced. Just like the previous Condega Serie S limited, it is a tribute to a Nicaraguan volcano. This time to the Masaya volcano.

As this is a tribute to the volcanic soil of Nicaragua, it is only fitting that it is a 100% Nicaraguan cigar. Only Nicaraguan grown Corojo and Criollo 98 is used. All grown by Aganorsa Leaf.

The cigar looks great. The cardboard tube looks great and an impressive cigar is inside. A smooth, oily, dark wrapper. A black and golden ring, bright and shiny. A flat pigtail and a closed foot. This is a looker. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. It smells like sawdust from dark wood.

The cold draw is good. Pepper and raisin are hitting the palate. The cigar opens strong. Pepper, dark spices, cedar, and sweetness. It mellows out soon, with some leather and earthiness. The sweetness is getting a tad stronger. The second third still has sweetness and cedar, but more dark spices and some toast. The flavors are balanced. The spices shine best in the retrohale. The flavors continue into the third part. The mouthfeel is dry. The wood is getting a little stronger.

The draw is great. The cigar gives a good about of smoke. The light gray ash is firm. And the burn is straight. This is a medium full cigar, full of flavor. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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

The Circus Twister Torpedo

The Circus Twister Torpedo. A barber pole that represents the knowledge and know-how of the cigar blenders. It is related to El Viejo Continente, as Daniel Guerrero is the owner and blender of both brands. Previously I did a review of the Circus Maduro Lancero. But today we smoke the barber pole Twister. Unlike the Lancero, the Twister is part of the line since the original release.

The cigars are made at the brand new El Viejo Continente Cigar factory. Previously El Viejo Continente and Circus came from American Caribbean Cigars. The series is a tribute to all the people that worked with master blender Daniel Guerrero during the creation of this cigar. It took Guerrero and his people four years to make the blend. The first four sizes were named with the team in mind. The Magician represents the ingenuity of the team where the Harlequin is the fact of always wanting to make it. The Twister stands for the knowledge and the know-how of the blenders. And the Canon is the final shot, an explosion of flavors

This cigar is a looker. The two-tone wrapper is cool. The head of the torpedo is immaculate. The bright, colorful ring stands out. This is a cigar you will notice in a full humidor. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong and dark, pure manure.

The cold draw is a bit loose, with a dry sultana flavor. The first puffs are dried leaves with a little bit of a clove flavor. Slightly toasted as well. There is also a mild sweet flavor, almost like agave syrup. The cigar gets a bit of a sweet floral flavor, with dried leaves. Slowly the sweetness gets stronger, almost cotton candy-like although not as overpoweringly sweet as those. The second third welcomes some cedar, leather, and more dark spices to the palate. The cigar is smooth and edgy at the same time. The toast makes a comeback with just the right amount of sweetness and a little cream. It’s almost like having a piece of toast with butter and cane sugar. Later on, there is a dark chocolate bitterness. The final third has an acidity with hay. The finale has a blast of pepper.

The draw is fine. The smoke is plentiful, yet the color is gray. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is beautiful. This is a well-balanced cigar, medium in body, medium-full in flavor. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I smoke this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 91, American Caribbean Tobacco S.A., Nicaraguan cigars, The Circus | Tags: , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect Toro

Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect Toro. When Hiram & Solomon introduced the Grand Architect in 2019 the company had something to say. “It is appropriate that a society founded on the principles of architecture, which symbolizes the terms of that science to moral purposes, and whose members profess to be architects of a spiritual temple should view the Divine Being, under whose holy law they are constructing that edifice, as their Master Builder or Great Architect. Sometimes, but less correctly, the title Grand Architect of the Universe is found.”

The cigar, like all regular production Hiram & Solomon cigars, comes from Nicaragua. They are made at Plasencia Cigars and David Blanco from Blanco Cigars is part of the blending team. The tobacco from Paraguay is pretty rare. It is part of the filler, together with tobacco from Esteli and Jalapa. The binder is Habano Seco from Jalapa. The wrapper is Nicaraguan Corojo. There are several sizes available but for this review,I smoke a 6×52 Toro.

The cigar has a bit of a reddish glow on the wrapper. It is smooth and mild oily. The ring is different than other Hiram & Solomon rings, it doesn’t have the Masonic logo. But it is in the same style and recognizable as part of the Hiram & Solomon line. Baby blue with gold, high-quality print work. The cigar feels well constructed. The barnyard or petting zoo aroma is pleasant and strong.

The cold draw is a bit tighter than perfect. It leaves a mixture of raisin and white pepper on the lips. The cigar gives coffee, herbs, sweetness from the start. There is also a bit of leather. There is a strange but pleasant salt flavor as well. After a few puffs, leather, herbs and wood take over. The flavors are smooth, but with a little edge. The balance is there, but a bit more character would have been nice. The second third starts with wood, leather, herbs, white pepper, and a bit of sweetness and hay. The sweetness is very distinct while the pepper grows a bit. Right before the cigar moves in the third the cigar gives wood, leather, soil, pepper, and a bit of cinnamon. There is more character now. Wood and leather getting stronger, with cinnamon and white pepper as support. The finale is full of strength, very nice in flavor with cinnamon, leather, pepper, and wood.

The draw is fine. The ash is salt and pepper colored, it is also a bit frayed. The cigar produces a good amount of medium-thick smoke. The burn had to be corrected once. This cigar is medium to full in body and in flavor. The cigar starts out mellow and easy, but slowly there’s more character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I enjoyed it.

Categories: 91, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Connecticut Robusto

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Connecticut Robusto. Yes, Connecticut Shade and I know I said I would stop reviewing Connecticut Shade wrappers. It just doesn’t fit my profile. But the guys as Cigaragua in Amsterdam really sold this cigar to me, claiming it is a must-try Connecticut Shade. We heard it before, but trusting their judgment I am going to give it a try.

For this blend, Nick Perdomo grew Cuban seed filler and binder on his farms in Nicaragua. The filler and binder are all higher priming leaves And he uses Connecticut Shade from Ecuador as the wrapper. But he ages the wrapper 8 years and then an additional 8 months in bourbon barrels. This to ensure the creamy and rich flavor complements the high priming filler and binder. This Robusto is 5×56.

The cigar looks good. As with any Perdomo band, the quality is outstanding. Detailing is good, embossing is fantastic, beautiful color schemes. The wrapper itself is not so pale for a Connecticut Shade wrapper. It is smooth. The cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is strong, spice and wood.

The cold draw is a bit loose, with that typical old book flavor that is Connecticut Shade. But with cinnamon this time. At first, there is creamy coffee with white chocolate and sweetness. The old book or library flavor from the cold draw is nowhere to be seen yet, which is a positive. That distinct flavor is always the letdown of Connecticut Shade cigars. This cigar doesn’t have that flavor at the start. The cream is thick, with sweetness and cedar. Slowly some spices show up too, but it’s mainly cream, cedar, and a hint of white chocolate. The aroma of the cigar has a little bit of a toasty smell. The cigar is pleasant to retrohale. Halfway there is a mild peanut flavor with sweetness, cream, mild white pepper, and a little bit of pepper. And there is a little bit of salt. The cigar gets more cedar and caramel, a little leather, spices, and pepper complement these main flavors. Near the end, there are nuts and pepper. And as a farewell also a nice coffee flavor.

The draw is great. The light gray ash is firm. The cigar releases plenty of thick smoke. This is a mild to medium cigar in body. But more than that in flavor, medium for sure. The burn is decent. This is a smooth cigar, with balance. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I think this is the first traditional Connecticut Shade cigar that I really like

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Perdomo, Tabacalera Perdomo | Tags: , , ,

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