91

Nicoya Fuerte Robusto

In January I wrote a review about a new brand, Nicoya, and I smoked the Nicoya Medio, the milder of the two lines that the Australian entrepreneur and cigar aficionado Gerard Hayes has made by A.J. Fernandez in the Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. As for the name, as I wrote back in January, according to Hayes the name is chosen to praise the Nicaraguans yet there are others that claim that Nicaraguans aren’t called Nicoya but it’s a piece of Costa Rica that used to be Nicaraguan. As I said back then, I’m not an expert and not knowledgable enough to pick sides so I’m just gonna leave it there.


The Nicoya Fuerte only comes in one size 5×52 that Hayes picked because its the most popular size when it comes to sales and it can be smoked is a reasonable time. The filler is all Nicaraguan while the binder and wrapper are Ecuadorean habano, or Sun Grown as we call that in Europe since the Cubans were able toe trademark “habano” and “cuba” even though international laws clearly state you can’t trademark a country. As I take the cigar out of the cellophane I smell a very strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia. The wrapper, that is dark like dark oak feels very silky. The construction feels good with a beautifully rounded single cap. The ring is amazing, very simple, 2 smaller and one bigger purple circle with a white N in the middle circle and white lions in the smaller circles and white lettering Nicoya Cigars Esteli Nicaragua on the silver borders. The back of the ring are wing shaped and thats a nice detail.


I punched the cigar, the ring gauge is 52 so big enough to punch. The cold draw is surprisingly easy and has a little raisin and a lot of pepper. After I used my trusted Ronson to light the cigar I taste a strong coffee with pepper. After a centimeter I taste coffee, less strong as in the beginning, with some leather, spice and a little citrus. After an inch I also taste cocoa and the pepper is back full force. The citrus gained more strength. Halfway it’s leather, cedar, pepper and now a mild citrus mix of flavors. Soon after I taste dark chocolate, like the 72% dark chocolate and the pepper is habanero. Every now and then I also taste hints of vanilla. The finish is a solid coffee again, more towards espresso to be precise.


The smoke is amazing, so thick, so full and so much, the maximum amount of points there and my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great, just a tiny bit loose. The ash is light gray and firm, it’s dense too. The burn is good, not perfect but also not touch ups needed. This cigar is full bodied, no question about that, and full flavored. The flavors also linger around for a long time. The smoke time is a solid hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, although the Nicoya Medios is a bit more balanced. This is an after barbecue cigar.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicoya, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind half a box.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

La Flor de Cano Casanova RE Italy

I worked in several industries from pharmaceutical to the entertainment industry and the cigar industry. While in most industries its just work and once you’re gone you’re out of sight and out of mind, the cigar industry is different. You form friendships and connections that last even when you leave the industry, weather its on free will or not. And this cigar is proof of that. How you might ask? Well, I got this cigar from Yuri Dijkstra, owner of the La Casa del Habano Almere, probably the most beautiful shop in The Netherlands and trust me, I’ve seen them all. I’m not a big fan of Cuban cigars, so me saying this about a La Casa del Habano means a lot. But him giving me a cigar isn’t proof of the bonding you do in the cigar industry. Oh, and to add, the day he gave me the cigar this Regional Edition of Italy was only released a few days before.


I saw Yuri at the funeral of Berry van Nugteren, owner of Van Lookeren Cigars in Amsterdam (if you’re ever in Amsterdam, visit them, great people, fantastic lounge). Berry was not just a shop owner but always looking for ways to elevate the whole game in The Netherlands, helping others, having a vision for the future and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He kept fighting, not just for his health, but also to grow the market for everybody. I met Berry years before, as an account, but I visited him at home to smoke a cigar when he was ill and unable to go to the shop, he lend me his Porsche Cayenne when I had to drive Andre Farkas, Abe & Judy Flores and myself with our luggage to Intertabac and hardly fit into my Volvo V40, he visited me at my private lounge in my home to smoke a few cigars and even though I lost my job in the industry we stayed in touch and I visited his funeral where I ran into Yuri. Yuri is very partial to Cubans while I’m all about Nicaragua, yet we formed a friendship too that exists even after he sold his shop and started a La Casa del Habano where I had nothing to sell to, so it’s not about business and that makes the cigar industry so great.


Even though this cigar was released mid april 2017, it is the 2016 Edicion Regional for Italy, a petit robusto, 4 1/3×50 sized for the La Flor de Cano brand and is dubbed Casanova after the legendary ladies man. The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a spark of minerals, a mild shine and no big veins. I can see a big vein on the binder though. When I look at the foot of the cigar it looks very well packed and it feels the same way which makes me worry about the draw, something I do anyway with Cuban cigars. The ring is a new design, much better than the old one. A white ring with golden details and a red circle with the old logo in gold. It looks clean, sharp and is very clear. I am digging this new ring a lot. The secondary ring is the regular exclusivo ring we have seen for the last 12 years. Much to my surprise I don’t smell ammonia in this young cigar but pure manure.


I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight so I decided to cut instead which only improved the draw by a little bit. I taste a sharp and spicy raisin flavor. One I lit the cigar I taste a mildly harsh leather with a mild chocolate sweetness. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and a faint chocolate. Halfway I taste nuts, salt and pepper. The cigar is gaining strength with an almost Nicaraguan, original Don Pepin twang pepper.


The draw is good, better than the cold draw and the tightly packed construction suggested. The smoke is medium in body and volume. The ash is quite dark and firm and there are white spots on the dark ash. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored, strong for a Cuban.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a Cuban that I would love to smoke more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Flor de Cano (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristoff Classic Blend Toro

Last september, at the Intertabac trade show I ran into Glen Case and Ward from Kristoff, a brand that I used to represent when I was still employed at my previous employer and Ward gave me their new release for the European market, the Kristoff Classic Blend. Now my American readers might think “I don’t know that one”, well, its just the Kristoff Habano but somehow the Cubans got Habano trademarked so that can’t be used. A lot of brands like Oliva, Perdomo and many others use ‘Sun Grown’ instead but Kristoff decided to go with Classic for this Brazilian Habano wrapped cigar with the Brazilian Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The brand won an award at the Cigarjournal dinner too, so it was a succesful trip for the company.


Ever since I smoked my first Kristoff cigar I loved the brand, the cigars look good, taste good and are budget friendly priced but unfortunately we can only get a few blends in The Netherlands and this isn’t one of them so I saved the cigar that Ward gave me for a review and today I decided it was time to light it. The cigar, like all but one Kristoff cigars, are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory in Santiago, DR and I guess they are the best client of Charles Fairmorn as I don’t hear a lot about that factory. I know they make Epic cigars too, but that is just a very small brand here in The Netherlands and judging from the Social Media information I get Kristoff if a much bigger brand in the USA too than Epic.


The cigar has the same look as all other Kristoff cigars, that means a closed foot, which I love, and a nice pigtail. The construction feels good and the pigtail and closed foot, combined with the dark, shiny and oily wrapper make this cigar a looker. The ring is silver colored with brown details and beige letters saying ‘hencho a mano dominicana’ and ‘Kristoff’ while the smaller bottom ring says ‘classic blend’ in the same colors. The aroma is a bit manure, a bit horse and a bit freshly plowed farmfield, medium strong.


Because of the pigtail I had no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is very good and I taste raisin and pepper. I used my vintage Ronson to light the cigar and I taste a mild coffee. After a centimeter I still taste the coffee but now with a nice metallic aftertaste. After an inch I taste wood with a little bit of nuts and some lime, in the aftertaste I taste a mild pepper. After a third the main flavor is lemon with some cocoa, cedar and vanilla, the flavors are subtle. The lemon gets a little less stronger while the cocoa turns into chocolate. Later the cigar turns full cedar with pepper and just a little lemon. A few puffs later I taste some lightly salted peanuts too. Slowly the pepper gains some strength. Near the end I taste nuts with autumn leaves and a nice dose of pepper.


The draw is a bit too loose and that leads to a poor amount of thin smoke in the beginning but after a few puffs the draw improved and with that the smoke too. I had to correct the burn too in the first centimeter but after that it was straight and easy going. The ash is beautifully white. I would call this a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes. Especially the last third is fantastic.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Kristoff Pistoff Corona Gorda

When I heard that Kristoff came out with a new cigar under de name Pistoff I couldn’t do anything but smile, what a great name. And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them even thought this Kristoff blend isn’t available in The Netherlands yet. But luckily I had to meet up with Ward Hall from Kristoff Cigars at the Intertabac trade show anyway and I mooched one of these cigars in a 5 3/4×48 corona gordo vitola with the blend of Nicaraguan fillers, an Indonesian binder and a Mexican San Andres wrapper.


At my previous employer I was responsible for selling Kristoff on the Dutch market and I love some of the Kristoff blends, they are very well made and flavorful cigars for a very decent price here and because I like the brand the Pistoff was high on my “to try” list. Now I admit, I’m a cigar geek and everything I haven’t tried yet is on my “to try” with the exemption of Connecticut shade wrapped cigars and the big ring gauge sticks, it’s only a matter on how high the cigar on that list is, this one was pretty high. The cigar looks good, the classic closed foot that all Kristoff Cigars, either made in the Charles Fairmorn factory or the PDR factory, have and a nice and pretty long pig tail. The wrapper is dark and quite intimidating because of the darkness of the wrapper and the placement of the thin veins. The ring is pitch black with red lettering on a good quality paper, if I want to nitpick I can say that the back of the ring was cut crooked, but hey, its a piece of black paper, no lettering at that spot, so it doesn’t matter.


The construction feels flawless and due to the closed foot its hard to determine the exact aroma of the cigar, I would say a mild barnyard aroma. Because of the long pig tail I had no choice but to use my flat cut. It creates a smooth cold draw with just a little raw tobacco flavor. I used my soft flame vintage Ronson to light the cigar. I taste a strong bitter yet sweet coffee, very bold. The sweetness is nice and counter effects the bitterness. After a centimeter I also taste a mild milk chocolate taste.


The bitter coffee has gone, the flavors are now earthy with a spicy sensation on the tip of my tongue, a little tangy too. I also taste a wood and nutmeg flavor, and the flavors are quite dry. Slowly the wood gets stronger, the spices tone down and the tangy turns into a more recognizable citrus. Halfway the nutmeg is back with some cinnamon and some sweetness.


The smoke is a lot, it’s thick too and white. The ash is light colored and well layered. The draw is a little on the loose side but not too bad. The burn is pretty straight. This cigar is full bodied yet never too strong and full flavored. The smoke time is the only thing that could be improved since it’s only little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once they come to the Dutch market.

Score: 91

91

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

Casa Magna Colorado Lancero

Let me start by saying that even though this cigar will count as my lancero review of the month and will be a contestant in the ‘lancero of the year’ list that I will compile at the end of the year, officialy this is not a lancero. It’s called a lancero, it looks like a lancero, and it comes close to a lancero but the size is not a classic lancero size with a length that is an inch longer and a ring gauge that’s also slightly thicker than what’s considered industry standard for a lancero (7 1/2×38 vs 8 1/2×40 for this Casa Magna Lancero). It’s actually an old size used by Manolo Quesada and back then the name was ‘largo delgado’ which translates to “long skinny”. I still count it as a lancero because the size differences are only minor unlike the Alec Bradley (‘everything is bigger in’) Texas Lancero (7×70).


Casa Magna is a cooperation between the Quesada family, who are well known and respected cigar makers from the Dominican Republic and the Plasencia family from Nicaragua. That Manuel Quesada got the Cigar Journal Lifetime Achievement award last september at the award dinner at Intertabac is a testament to their accomplishments and knowledge. In 2008 they shook the world by becoming the no.1 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 with this blend and that for a cigar that would usually be featured on the yearly ’top budget cigars’. This all Nicaraguan blend hit the right spot and became an international hit, with offsprings as the Casa Magna Oscuro (from Honduras), Casa Magna Domus Magnus series and most recently a Dominican made Casa Magna. The Casa Magna Lancero was released in 2011 but with a MSRP that was much higher than the other Casa Magna vitola’s at $12.95 and came in boxes of 7 to keep the box price below $100. I reviewed the cigar back in 2011, when it wasn’t for sale in The Netherlands and with my old scores in my old apartment, time for a new try, this time in my man cave, with my 100 point scoring system and cigars legally bought in The Netherlands where they were for sale for a limited time.


The cigar looks great, a nice dark and oily wrapper with a few minor veins, a closed foot and a lovely little pigtail. A well printed ring with quite some details on thick paper. If you scan the ring it looks simple but when you pay more attention you notice all small details and since I started paying more attention to the cigar rings I seem to enjoy the cigars a little more, maybe because of the appreciation of the pieces of art that cigar rings can be. The aroma is amazing, its like walking deep inside a forest in the fall with the smell of fermenting leafs, moss, animals and the aroma is quite strong. Construction wise I don’t have any complaints either, the cigar seems evenly filled and since a lancero is one of the harder vitolas to roll I take my hat off to the roller responsible.


The cigar is too thin to punch so I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is a little tough with a little bit of wood and quite some pepper. I used my soft flame to light the cigar. Right from the start I taste coffee with some salt and plenty of pepper. After a few puffs I also taste a little honey sweetness. The coffee goes away, I now taste earthy flavors and some chocolate with chilies. The flavors are very vibrant as you can expect from a cigar with a great filler wrapper ratio as a lancero. Just like the aroma, the flavors remind me of autumn.

After a third I still taste the earthy flavors with pepper but now with something I would describe as autumn leafs. I also taste some salt and a little licorice. The pepper gets stronger and is now the main flavor. On the background I also taste some vanilla. Slowly I also taste a nice wood flavor, oak. Some puffs later I also taste some citrus. The pepper is still the main flavor though, strong and powerful.


The draw is great, better than in the cold draw and since the lancero is so difficult to make again my hat off to the roller. The smoke is white, relatively thick and a decent amount of it. The ash is salt and pepper colored, a bit frayed too. The burn is quite good, not razor sharp, but still good. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored. I really enjoyed this cigar for almost 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once I’m out I’ll try to find another box, I still have a full one though.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Casa Magna, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Oliva serie V Maduro Short Robusto Edición Europa 2010

In 2006 the Nicaraguan cigar producing and tobacco growing family of Oliva and their Oliva Cigar Company, not to be mistaken by the Oliva Tobacco Company who are also tobacco growers but not related, released their strongest cigar to their portfolio, the Oliva Series V and with succes, the torpedo made it into the top 25 of Cigar Aficionado the next year and the blend has been voted in that top 25 for 6 years in a row, an industry record. In 2008 Oliva released a limited edition maduro version of the Series V in a torpedo shape and a Broadleaf wrapper and repeated that in 2009 with a different wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano Maduro this time. In 2010 they changed the size to a 6×54 with yet another another wrapper, Mexican San Andres Maduro and they not only released a limited edition for the USA but also a different size just for the European Market. For Europe they picked a 4 1/2×50 Short Robusto, 1500 boxes of 10 cigars were made. I really loved the 2008 release but wasn’t impressed with the later releases until I smoked this one.


Now this review is not the only one this cigar. I gave a few to Brooks from Halfwheel.com a few years back and he posted a review. The prices mentioned on Halfwheel come from U.K. based websites and the U.K. has crazy taxes. In The Netherlands the cigar had a fixed price tag of €8,50. The cigar has been aging for a minimum of 6 years so the cellophane is discolored from the inside. The band is the normal Oliva serie V band, big, beautiful and printed in my home country of The Netherlands at Vrijdag Printing. The wrapper is dark, toothy, rough and leathery with some veins and it feels leathery. It is not a good looking wrapper when you base it on esthetics but it’s beautifully intimidating. The construction feels good. After a punch I had a tight draw so I made a cut with my xikar butterfly cutter and then the mild spicy cold draw was good. The aroma is thick, rich and deep, reminds me of a horse stable.


I managed to lit the cigar with the last remaining gas in my vintage Ronson and straight away I taste espresso with a lot of cane sugar, it’s like Cuban coffee. After a centimeter the espresso becomes a little milder and the sweetness also toned down a little. The flavors are getting a little toasty though.


Halfway I still taste sweetness but now with more earthy flavors and a little bit of pepper. This Maduro wrapper surely lives up to the ‘Maduro is sweeter’ people always say but it’s not overpowering. After two thirds I get more of a woody flavor with some pepper and the sweetness, which now reminds me of honey.


The smoke from this small cigar is medium thick, not as thick as I like and not as much as I like either so there go some points. The ash on the other hand is amazing, white and very dense. The burn is a little bit off but not enough to correct. The draw is great, but I always expect good draw from Oliva. This cigar is medium plus bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time of this enjoyable cigar is close to 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are nowhere to be found, its been over 6 years since they were released but I’m glad I bought all the boxes I could find.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario #3

In my walk-in humidor I like to keep every cigar in the box it came in but in reality that’s impossible due to a few reasons including the space that I would need and because I have lots of single sticks that I either bought as a single, traded or got gifted without the box. So those cigars are in a few ‘miscellaneous’ boxes and today I grabbed a cigar from one of those boxes with my eyes closed. Turned out I grabbed the 6×50 Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario #3.


To be honest, Davidoff never really was one of my favorites, most of them are too mild and plain boring to my palate and way to expensive when you compare value for money. Yes, I did enjoy the Millennium Blend Lancero a lot but all the regular stuff isn’t my cup of tea but since they woke up and revamped the brand with the Nicaragua, Escurio and Yamasa the brand came back on my radar. I really liked the Nicaragua, the Escurio was good too and I have yet to try the Yamasa. I still think that they overcharge though but maybe i’m just cheap. Now back to this Davidoff Colorado Claro, it didn’t ring a bell so I went to the Davidoff website but no mention of the Colorado Claro at all. Time for a google search and I found a little bit of information. It turns out that the Colorado Claro is a rare sight, a small batch production with a sun grown Ecuadorean Colorado wrapper and Dominican filler and binder. The cigar has a feisty price tag of more than 20 USD and therefor confirms my prejudice on the price point of Davidoff cigars. Lucky for Davidoff I don’t score on value for money.


The reddish brown wrapper looks beautiful and is silky to the touch, the classic Davidoff ring is accompanied by a second ring in the same white with golden lettering but with a burgundy detail. Simple yet classy. The construction feels good, but hey, it is a Davidoff and they do know how to roll a well made cigar otherwise they wouldn’t be so famous right? The cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma, very pleasant. I decided to punch the cigar, which led to a great cold draw with a little raisin and pepper.


I taste a nice espresso with a little pepper. This is much spicier than I expected from an offspring of the classic Davidoff series. After a centimeter I taste wood with a little metallic flavor on the background and a little hint of pepper. After an inch the pepper gets stronger again, the metallic flavor mellows out. After a third the cigar has a nice mixture of wood, pepper and a little bit of that metallic flavor. Slowly the metallic grows stronger and I also taste a tiny hint of dark chocolate. Halfway all of a sudden the flavor turns to nutty with pepper and far far on the background some dark chocolate. After the two thirds mark the main flavor is pepper and the pepper keeps growing with the nuts as a supporting flavor.


The draw is a bit loose, which caused the smoke to start out thin but it got better quickly, thick and white. The ash is white, dense and thick. The burn is pretty sharp, not razor sharp but close enough. This is a medium full cigar, full flavored. This cigar gave me two hours of enjoyment.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might, for a special occasion but the hefty price tag makes it impossible for me to smoke it on a regular basis.

Score: 91

91

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

Padron 1926 #1

If you have read my reviews the past month you may have noticed that all of them, except for the limited edition Cain F Lancero, are all releases from the latest IPCPR or Intertabac trade shows so you might think that I only like to smoke the new stuff, be hip and fast but let me assure you, i’m not. It just happens that I’ve gotten the cigars at Intertabac and put them all aside in one box, my “to review” box. And yes, when I grab something else to review from my collection I often think “what lesser known cigar would my readers like to read?”. So yes, I am a curious human being with a passion for cigars so I love to try new stuff, but I also love the classics and the neo classics. Today, when I noticed the list of new cigars I reviewed and was browsing through my humidor, I realized myself why I started this blog approximately 10 years ago. I was quite new to cigars back then and was trying out all different cigars I could find, just to explore the world of cigars. Little did I know that 10 years later I’m still exploring and only scratched the surface, but that aside. I wrote down weather I liked a cigar or not, but knowing myself and knowing I would lose those notes I decided to store them online for easy access and with automatic backups, and if you do that, why not make them public? But basically I started the blog for myself. So why not smoke a classic, a cigar that you can find many reviews off, and review it for myself? I picked the Padron 1926 #1 Maduro, a 6 3/4×54 Double Corona with a maduro wrapper around Nicaraguan tobacco.


Now Padron, I don’t think they need any introduction. I think that they are the highest rarest Nicaraguan cigar manufacturer, the Nicaraguan Cohiba or Opus X, the flagship of the whole country and the 1926 and 1964, named after the birth year of Padron founder Jose and the year he started Padron Cigars, are the most praised lines with a huge reputation. I have smoked them and always loved them, even reviewed some but never this 1926 #1.


The cigar has an added band, specific ring tells me it was distributed in The Netherlands and is at least a few years old. It’s the Dutch tax band that got replaced by a new system a few years back so the cigar has had a minimum of three years of aging on tip of the minimum of five years the tobacco aged before the tobacco was used for rolling the cigar. It also tells me that back then the cigar had a price tag of 22 euro. The wrapper is dark, rough with some veins and is leathery to the touch. The construction feels good and the cold draw is a bit loose. The band, which are actually two bands, are beautiful, no corners are cut on the quality there and classic classy. A deep and rich barnyard aroma is what I smell from the cigar.


I taste a lot of coffee with red pepper. Soon I also taste a little sugar and the pepper mellows out. After an inch the cigar slowly changed to earthy with a little pepper. After a third I also taste a little citrus acidity while the pepper is just lurking on the aftertaste. During puffing i taste a sugary sweetness. A little before halfway I taste a sweet woody flavor with spice and pepper. Halfway I get the earthy flavor again and the pepper is getting more prominent again.


The draw is a little loose due to a ripped wrapper close to the head of the cigar which got fixed by removing the complete triple cap, that fixed the draw. The smoke is thick, white and there is plenty to go around. The burn is reasonably sharp. The ash is white, dense and firm. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar but with a great body flavor ratio and a nice evolution. The smoke time was around an hour and 40 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I think that every cigar aficionado should have a few of this in his or her humidor.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Cubanica, Nicaraguan cigars, Padron | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Splendid Robusto

A few years ago my friend Kolja introduced me to Jesper Petersen during a dinner hosted by Rocky Patel. At the time I was working for the Dutch Rocky Patel importer/distributer while Jesper is the Danish importer/distributer for a handful of brands including Rocky Patel. He started his distributing business approximately 7 years ago, after doing cigar events in restaurants and bars for a few years. And now Jesper decided to bring his own brand to the market, first in Denmark, then Germany and slowly take over Europe in true viking style.

The brand is named Splendid after his company and there are two vitola’s, a 4.75×54 Robusto Grande and a 5×52 Torpedo. Today I’m smoking the Robusto Grande that Jesper gave me at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. The sample I got came without a band but on Jesper’s Facebook page I saw pictures of the bands so I could include those in my rating. Jesper told me it took him three years to create this blend of Dominican tobaccos from the Navarette y Mao region and the Cuban seed wrapper from the Los Reyes family to create the smooth medium cubanesque he wanted to introduce to the Danish and European market. The expected retail price of the cigars will be between 9 and 10 euro per stick.


The wrapper looks great, dark and oily without big veins. The head is well rolled and quite flat so this is the perfect cigar to be punched. There is a strong hay aroma coming from the cigar. The construction feels good, no soft spots or plugs, all evenly packed. The cold draw is a little on the loose side and except for a very mild pepper on the tip of my tongue I don’t taste much.


You have read this before but I grabbed my trusted vintage Ronson, older than both me and Jesper and probably still in a better shape, to light this cigar. It’s easy to light the cigar and I taste a very nice and full coffee flavor with a hint of red pepper. After half an inch I taste a dark wood with a little pepper. The cigar gets a little spicier too with walnuts on the background, very mild though.


After a third the walnut flavor is growing stronger, well matched with the equally strong wood and a little pepper. Halfway walnut is the dominant flavor. After two thirds I taste a strong citrus with the nuts, overpowering the nuts a little.


The smoke is thick and luscious and white as can be. The ash is also very light colored and quite firm. The burn is good and the draw is better than during the cold draw. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time was little over 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a very nice smoke

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Splendid, Tabacalera Palma | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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