91

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: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , ,

VegaFina Fusion Edition

VegaFina Fusion Edition. There are many collaborations in the cigar industry. Blenders working together. Factories working together. There are some well-known collaborations. Drew Estate making the coffee-infused Java for Rocky Patel. Or Drew Estate and Robert Caldwell working on the All Out Kings. And in the past, Drew Estate worked with Illusione for the Nosotros. A.J. Fernandez works with Jochi Blanco for the San Lotano Dominicana and with Altadis USA for some blends. The T is a project of Robert Caldwell, Matt Booth, and A.J. Fernandez. Many more collaborations happen. But last year, one was announced that piqued my interest.

The Spanish owned, Dominican made VegaFina brand is growing on us. And when they said they would collaborate with the largest cigar factory in China, Great Wall Cigar Factory, it was an immediate ‘must-try’. The cigars come from the rolling tables of the factory in Shifang. But the blend does not contain any Chinese tobacco. The wrapper and binder are Dominican. The filler is Dominican, Brazilian, and Indonesian. Indonesian tobacco is the only Asian influence in the blend. The cigar comes in a 6×52 Pyramid and will be available globally later this year. With the exploding demand for luxury goods in China, this is a very smart move from VegaFina owner Tabacalera.

The cigars came to me without a ring. That has to do with plain packaging rules. So I judge the ring with the pictures we have from the Ministry of Cigars article about the Fusion Edition. The ring has the VegaFina look but with added elements from Chinese culture such as a dragon and a painting of the Great Wall of China. The cigar itself has a beautiful, smooth, Colorado Maduro colored wrapper. It feels like velvet. There are little imperfections. The cigar feels well constructed. There is a nice, medium-strong aroma of a stable. Hay, musk, and leather.

The cold draw is good with an earthy profile. The earthiness is strong in the first puffs with pepper. There is a sweetness of dried fruits, but also leather and wood. The cigar starts with a flavor bomb. The cedar is more pronounced in the retrohale. Slowly the wood gets stronger with a little sour twang. The flavor palate gets more leather, more wood, and a little nuttiness. But there is still some dried fruit sweetness, earthiness, and citrus acidity as well. The cigar continues on the same path with the sweetness, and wood as the main flavors. There are hints of pepper, sometimes some slight dark chocolate shows up. Every now and then there is some leather or earthiness. All the way in the background there is that twang of acidity that binds everything together. In the final third, the aftertaste is slightly minty. With cinnamon that shows up, hay, leather, wood, spice, and sweetness.

The draw is great. The ash is white and dense. It’s firm and pretty. The burn is slow and straight. The amount of smoke and the thickness is good. This cigar is medium in body but full in flavor. There is character, and it’s a surprise that this Chinese made cigar is so pleasant. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

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

Categories: 91, Chinese Cigars, Great Wall Cigar Factory, VegaFina | Tags: , , , , ,

Diesel Whisky Row Robusto

Diesel Whisky Row Robusto. Who owns Diesel Cigars is a bit of a mystery to most cigar enthusiasts. Despite popular belief, it is not a brand from A.J. Fernandez although Fernandez is the manufacturer responsible for the brand. But the brand isn’t in the hands of A.J. Fernandez, it’s just blended by his skillful hands. And the production takes place at his factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The owner of Diesel cigars is Scandinavian Tobacco Group, through Meier & Dutch. STG is the parent of General Cigars, Cigar.com, Cigarsinternational.com Thompson.com, Cigarbid.com, and more. Last year, they acquired Royal Agio as well. Meier & Dutch is a wholesale company that operates under the STG umbrella. The original Diesel Unholy Cocktail was only available at STG owned internet retailers in the past.

The Diesel Unholy Cocktail is so popular that the Diesel brand spawned into a whole series. And not exclusive through the STG stores anymore, but everywhere. Some lines even made it across the ocean to Europe. For the Diesel Whisky Row, the Diesel brand and Rabbit Hole distilleries collaborate. Rabbit Hole distilleries, a bourbon manufacturer, sends used barrels to A.J. Fernandez. Fernandez uses those barrels to age Mexican San Andres leaves. He uses them as a binder under an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. For the filler, he uses aged Nicaraguan tobacco from Jalapa, Condega, and Ometepe. Ministry of Cigars reviews the 5½x52 Robusto.

The first thing that makes this cigar stand out is the shape of the ring. It’s big and diagonally placed over the cigar. But then there is a partially round part as well. Pastel blue, brown, and gray. It has the Diesel logo and the Rabbit Hole Bourbon logo. The foot ring is big as well that says that the cigar is bourbon barrel-aged and it has the names of both Diesel and Rabbit Hole prominently on the ring. The Colorado Maduro colored wrapper is smooth looking. Right below the head, there seems to be a softer spot. The aroma is strong, barnyard, and manure.

The cold draw is great. There is a bit of an alcohol taste in the cold draw, but that could be just a mind trick. There is some spice on the lips as well. Once lit, there is leather, wood, soil, and citrus acidity. There is also an alcohol flavor to the cigar, so the barrel aging does work. The barrel aging brings out more vanilla from the wood. There is a nice toasted flavor, floral, with wood, leather, nuts, and that alcohol right on the edge. Halfway there is also some nutmeg in the flavor profile, or is it cinnamon? Slowly the flavors change to wood, leather, and chocolate. All with that alcoholic mouthfeel and slight pepper. The sweetness returns, the pepper gains strength, and all on a base flavor of wood and leather.

The construction is great. A lot of thick white smoke. Beautiful light gray ash. A great draw and a straight burn. The cigar is smooth, well-rounded flavors. The cigar is medium to full in body, full in flavor. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? On my next order

Categories: 91, Diesel, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Bolivar Libertador Edición Francia

Bolivar Libertador Edición Francia. This cigar is released three times. First in 2006 as an edicion regional for France. A year later, another batch was released, also for the French market. This particular cigar hails from the second release. Those releases came in boxes of 10 or dress boxes of 25. The cigar that we smoke for this review comes from a dress box of 25. In 2013, the cigar returned as a semi-regular production but exclusively for the La Casa del Habano franchise stores. The La Casa del Habano version only comes in ten-count boxes though.

I was gifted this beautiful, fat cigar by a friend. We were smoking a cigar pairing it with Cohiba cognac by Martell at his beautiful home. He brought out a box of these beauties and said “why don’t you do a review of these”. A task we happily accepted. The 6½x54 Sublimes has a reputation, and we had never smoked one. So to be able to review a vintage version is an opportunity we could not pass.

The cigar looks good. A nice, evenly colored wrapper. Just one vein. But the wrapper looks dry. Not dry as in no moisture, but dry as in not oily. The triple cap is beautiful. The regular Bolivar ring, with the gold, yellow and brown looks good on the shade of the wrapper. As with most Cuban rings, the exclusivo ring and the regular ring don’t really match. The cigar feels quite hard. There isn’t a lot of aromas left after thirteen years of aging.

The cold draw is good. Lightly salty with a little bit of black pepper. Once lit, the salt and pepper are hardly noticeable. The cigar has a nice honey sweetness with leather. The flavor then turns to dry leather, sweetness, and cedar. Mellow and smooth, this cigar tells you it’s aged. The second third starts with a pronounced coffee flavor, with spices, leather, cedar, and honey. The flavors gain strength as well. The mouthfeel gets dry with coffee, earth, honey, and leather. The same flavors keep lingering around, one stronger than the other and then switching. The honey remains pronounced. Coffee keeps coming back, with leather. In the final third, the earthiness is getting stronger with some more spice and pepper. It has that typical flavor of an aged Cuban cigar that cannot be found in any other cigar in the world.

The draw is good. The light gray ash is pretty and quite firm. The flavors of the cigar are smooth and balanced. In the first third, it’s clear that this is an aged cigar. The cigar starts to show character in the second third, before that it was mellow at best. The smoke is now nice and thick. White and a good volume of smoke as well. This cigar starts mild and grows to medium-full. Both in flavor and strength. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Boxes with this age are impossible to find.

Categories: 91, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Muestra de Tabac Pennsylvania Connecticut Figurado

Muestra de Tabac Pennsylvania Connecticut Figurado. Earlier this year, Ministry of Cigars published a review of the Muestra de Tabac Brazilian Mata Fina & Sumatra. A thick perfecto with two wrappers. Not in a barberpole style, but half and half. The cigar is open at both sides, for the smoker to decide which side to smoke first. A patent-pending concept by Patrick Potter & Joey Febre from Tabac Trading Company. But it’s not the only blend using this concept. There are two more.

The blend we are reviewing today is the Pennsylvania & Connecticut Figurado. With on one side Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The other side is wrapped in Connecticut Shade. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan. This 5½x64 thick cigar. Patrick Potter is responsible for blending the cigar. It’s made at Tabacalera La Perla, a small Tabacalera in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Looking at the cigar, we are pleased that the Pennsylvania wrapped part of the cigar is a bit longer than the Connecticut Shade side. The comments on the ring remain the same. We love the idea that the ring can be read from both sides. Yet the idea could have been designed a little better. The Pennsylvania broadleaf looks manly and rough like broadleaf is supposed to look. It makes the Connecticut shade look even paler than it is. The shape is nice. The cigar feels good. No soft ends as with the Brazilian Mata Fina & Sumatra we reviewed before. The aroma is strong. A lot of spice, hay, soil, and barnyard.

The cold draw is fantastic. It delivers spice and pepper with a lot of hay. Immediately after lighting its spice, pepper, and soil that hits the palate. The classic Connecticut Shade mustiness is there, but faint and muted. Sweetness and dark chocolate bitterness replace the spice and pepper. The earthy flavor remains, but now with leather. The complexity and bitterness of the dark chocolate are delicious. There is still pepper on the top of the palate. Black pepper, and it’s growing in strength. The cigar loses some of the dark chocolate and turns more to hay with pepper in the final stages of the first third. The second third starts with that dark chocolate again, with pepper, leather, and wood. Once the cigar reaches the Pennsylvania wrapper, there is more black pepper. The flavors get a little rougher, yet also a little creamy. The intense dark chocolate flavor is a winner. A strong spice shows up too, almost like gingerbread. There’s also a faint hint of vanilla. The vanilla and cream disappear. Spices, pepper, leather, wood is what the cigar gives. With some salt in the finale.

The draw is fantastic. The burn is great too. The cigar produces plenty of smoke, although it’s a bit thin. The light-colored ash is fine. The cigar is balanced, the dark chocolate bitterness makes it complex and intense. This is a full-bodied, medium-full flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want more!

Categories: 91, Muestra de Tabac | Tags: , , , ,

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