92

Paradiso Francisco

I love the classic sizes with a lancero as my favorite vitola, closely followed by the lonsdale, the corona and if I really want to treat myself, the A size cigars. Unfortunately, the last decade we have seen cigars getting fatter and fatter, where a robusto was considered to be a big cigar, nowadays with the gordo, extra gordo, extra extra gordo or how manufacurers call these donkey dick sized vitolas a robusto is almost considered a skinny stick. And what is most surprising, most industry people don’t like big ring gauged cigars at all. And I agree with them, I prefer skinny cigars too as stated above. The wrapper to filler ratio is much better and since the wrapper gives the most flavor a skinny cigar has so much more dynamic, nuances, evolution and flavors compared to the big ring cigars that I really don’t get the big ring hype.


But as always, the market dictates and the market demands big ring gauges, the smaller rings don’t sell so we don’t see that many lanceros, lonsdales or coronas, especially on my side of the ocean. Heck, when I worked for Longfiller Company, the only way to persuade my boss to order lanceros was if I pre-sold an x amount of boxes, he would order that exact amount of boxes and that’s it while he would just order loads and loads of robusto and gordo sized cigars. The only corona we had in our portfolio was the Paradiso Francisco, known as the San Cristobal Francisco in the United States, a cigar made by My Father for Ashton Cigars and when my boss told me he was discontinuing this vitola I quickly bought a few because I like the cigar and the vitola.


The wrapper is dark with two thin veins running over the back and a rough leathery feel to it. The ring is awesome, a bright red parrot with green and blue wings on a light colored ring with lots of gold, and the gold really pops, high quality printing. The construction feels good, but then again, it is a My Father Cigars made cigar and that counts for quality. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me of when I’m boiling cauliflower, and it’s medium strong.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some raisin, mint and pepper. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee, not too bitter, and a little sweetness with some chocolate. After an inch I taste a pleasant cedar with some nutmeg. The flavors are very subtle yet medium full in strength. Halfway I taste vanilla, honey and some jalapeño pepper. The vanilla is the main flavor and there is a little mint in the aftertaste. The jalapeño changes to black pepper. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.


The ash is almost white and pretty firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The draw is great, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is medium to full thick and enough in volume. This cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a good stash, but once they are gone I will need more.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , ,

Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Robusto

It’s almost time for Intertabac again and last year Courtney Smith gave me a handful of Cornelius & Anthony cigars that I enjoyed a lot. I did reviews on all of them, including the Señor Esugars but not on this vitola, only the toro. So with the trade show around the corner I thought it was a good idea to review this cigar in this 5×52 size.


Again this cigar has been made by Erik Espinoza at La Zona in Esteli, the most wonderful factory on a great location with a beautiful deck. If you happen to be in Esteli, drop by, if you’re lucky Mr. Warmth Hector Alfonso is there to entertain you with some great stories about how he came to work with Erik for example. And try the Cuban style coffee too while enjoying a cigar on their balcony, stare away into the mountains and enjoy life. This Señor Esugars is a great cigar to smoke while you are sitting there overthinking life. Enjoy the Nicaraguan filler, the USA grown binder and the Mexican San Andres wrapper while you soak in the atmosphere.


The ring, again, fantastic. Now the sample that I have didn’t have the secondary Señor Esugars ring but from pictures I’ve seen it fits the main ring. The very dark, like dark roasted coffee beans, color wrapper has a clear vein giving the cigar a mean look that fits the color of the wrapper, yet the dog on the artwork balances it out. The cigar is well constructed, great shape, evenly packed. The smell is medium strong and a mix of manure, charcoal, barbecue smoke and ammonia.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect, spicy and the flavors have a twang. After lighting the cigar I taste a spicy, earthy and peppery flavor with a little lime acidity. The pepper and acidity are a perfect match. After three quarters of an inch I taste some floral notes too, and green herbs. Halfway I taste more lemon but still with a lot of pepper and some wood. The pepper mellows out a bit at the start of the final third.


The draw is awesome, perfect. The smoke is thick, white and full. The ash is white, clear white. The ash is a bit coarse. The burn is good. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes yes yes

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Xiphos CR Habano Robusto

I did a series of reviews on Xiphos cigars, both of their Costa Rican offerings as well as their Nicaraguan offerings but I missed one. The Costa Rica made Xiphos CR Habano Robusto and I guess it’s time to smoke and review this 5×54 robusto now.


The blend of this cigar consists of Peruvian and Dominican fillers, a binder from Peru and a hybrid Habano wrapper from Ecuador. I liked all the Xiphos cigars that I smoked, even the Connecticut scored high for a Connecticut Shade cigar so I have some expectations for this stick.


The wrapper is gorgeous, a reddish coffee brown color, a few thin veins and a very nice glossy shine from the oils in the leaf. The rings are the blind and silver ones, as mentioned in the other reviews and the Greek theme fits the name. The finish of this cigar is great, a great cap, good shape, it feels evenly packed and well constructed. The aroma is strong, it reminds me of horses and spices.


I flat cut the cap, the cold draw is perfect. I taste some dry sweetness and pepper. After lighting I taste a smooth coffee, very flavorful. After half an inch the flavor changes to more woody with a little lime. Halfway I get spicy cedar with floral notes, some sweetness and a little pepper. The pepper slowly gets a little stronger.


The draw is great. The ash is beautifully layered, light gray in color and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium thick and full. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored, very smooth and nice. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a perfect morning cigar.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Costa Rican cigars, Tabaccos de Costa Rica, Xiphos | Tags: , , ,

Leon Jimenes Don Fernando

My nickname on several different cigar forums is Don Fernando, my actual name is Ferdinand so it seemed like a good nickname back then.  And when the opportunity rose to buy a couple of the illusive Leon Jimenes Don Fernando cigars I had to bite, I mean, with that name I just had to have them. It was the personal blend and vitola for Don Fernando León Asensio, someone we all know from La Aurora and who passed away in the spring of 2009.


The size of this corona is 5 5/8×42 and that makes it a #4 if you compare it to Cuban sizes, or you can just say corona. The cigar is made with Dominican tobacco and a Cameroon wrapper, which sets it apart from the regular Leon Jimenes Corona which has a Connecticut Shade wrapper.


The wrapper looks very smooth for a Cameroon wrapper and is clearly darker than Connecticut Shade so it is a Don Fernando for sure. There is only one thin, flattened vein on the back. The ring is the same as all other Leon Jimenes, red with gold but for some reason the print quality looks better than any of the other Leon Jimenes cigars I have seen and smoked. The construction feels great, the cap is good just like the shape of the cigar. The cigar has a mild aroma which smells very floral with lavender and other flowers.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is fine, I taste floral flavors. A classic vitola deserves a classic light so I used a match. I taste coffee with honey sweetness. The classic Cameroon spice and herbs shine in a cigar with this small ring gauge. After a third the cigar gets a little strength, I taste a little nut, herbs and pepper. Halfway the cigar gets very floral but with a little pepper.


The draw is awesome, the smoke is thick but not crazy thick and a good amount of it. The dense ash is white. The burn is flawless. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored but smooth, well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find the real deal, yeah.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, Leon Jimenes, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , ,

Centurion Toro

This is the second cigar that I’m smoking from the My Father Selection 5 Toros, after the first La Antiguedad Toro which I published yesterday. El Centurion has a beautiful history, released as a limited edition of 850 boxes in three sizes at the trade show in 2007 the cigar became legendary in the American cigar society, it then returned as an event only cigar and I got to smoke one when I did an interview with Jaime and Janny in Miami back in 2009 but in 2013 the cigar was finally released as a regular production cigar.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with Criollo, Corojo Habano & Sancti Spiritus tobacco as filler and a Sun Grown Criollo 98 tobacco as a wrapper. The cigar measures 6 1/4 x52 and as I said yesterday, it comes from a My Father sampler with 4 other My Father blends in toro size. The blend is made by José “Don Pepin” who said it reminded him of old style Cohiba cigars.


I love the look of the wrapper, dark, toothy like sandpaper, thin veins. The ring is beautiful, high quality paintwork with different shades of yellow, red lettering and golden details. The construction feels good and the medium strong aroma is quite herbal with some charred wood.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw, which tastes spicy with some sweetness, is great. I taste coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste oak with pepper. There’s also a mild milk chocolate flavor taste. After a third I taste oak, pepper, pepper and some vanilla sweetness. Halfway the flavors mellow out, the wood changes, I get a more herbal flavor with white pepper. The flavors are quite meaty. The pepper is getting stronger. Near the end the cigar is typically Nicaraguan with plenty of pepper and that Pepin twang they got famous for.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness, the amount is good too. The burn is good. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great cigar, I will smoke this more often.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Centurion, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco

When I was working for the largest independent cigar importer & distributer of The Netherlands one of the brands we handled was Joya de Nicaragua, and the best sellers were the very inexpensive Clasico, Rosalones and Cabinetta series, way better than the still very affordable Antaño and Antaño Dark Corojo lines. So when Joya de Nicaragua released their Cuatro Cinco to celebrate their 45 years in the industry my employer just looked at the prices and said “an 8 euro Joya, lets not do that, that price is way off compared to the 3 euro Clasico of 5 euro Antaño.”. Now a few weeks later I went on my first trip to Nicaragua and one of the factories I visited was Joya de Nicaragua. Juan Martinez welcomed me, we sat down in the conference room where a box of each of their offerings was displayed and asked “do you want to smoke something?”. I said “I don’t see the cuatro cinco, I would love to try that one and I would love a sample for my employer”. Juan got me a box, and the day I got back home, I drove to my employers shop, handed him the box, he smoked one and ordered every box that Joya still had in stock, not that that was a lot, only 80 boxes of the 4500 made were left so I handed him that sample right on time. Today is The Sandinista Revolution day, and since the factory has so much history with the rise of the Sandinista’s, it feels like a good day to publish this review today.


The cigar is a 6×54 toro extra, slightly box pressed and made completely from Nicaraguan tobacco, a true puro. The cigars were so popular that the company tweaked the blend a little, going from a all Nicaraguan cigar to a mostly Nicaraguan cigar with barrel aged ligero fillers, a Dominican volcano binder and the same wrapper as the original release. The new cuatro cinco reserva especial isn’t a limited edition, but will be produced in low numbers on a continues basis and is available in four vitolas instead of the just one in the original cuatro cinco release. I will be reviewing one of the reserva especial too in a later stage.


The ring is something special, they are actually two rings but on top of each other. The bottom ring is a bit bigger than the upper ring so you can see the golden ring with the white Joya de Nicaragua logos stick out on both the top and bottom side of the black ring. Now in the reserva especial this has changed to a silver bottom ring. The black ring has a golden Joya de Nicaragua logo with 4 horizontal lines on each side, one side says 1968 and the other one 2013. Above the logo is says edition limitada in cursive letters and underneath the logo it says cuatro cinco in big letters. This also changed with the reserva especial into white letters and a white logo with some golden details. This is how you can tell the difference when you see the cigars in the shop, and if you find the golden one, get it! On the inside of the ring, and I know this from previous cuatro cincos I smoked, you will find a drawing of either some vulcanos as a tribute to Nicaragua, hands as a tribute to the rollers or the factory. The clark wrapper feels silky and looks amazing with no visible big veins. The construction feels very good and the barnyard aroma is quite strong.


I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw with a pretty strong raisin flavor. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste some earthy flavor, leather, coffee and cocoa. After half a centimeter I taste cedar, spices and a little chocolate. After half an inch it’s cedar with a little nutmeg and pepper. After a third I also taste a mild sugar. Halfway I taste walnut with pepper. Slowly the pepper is getting stronger. At the end I taste cedar with the pepper.


The draw is close to perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is dense and firm, dark gray in color. The burn is good although I needed a touch up halfway. The smoke is thick and great in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, well balanced and plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible but I’ll settle for the reserva especial instead.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Bucanero Z Toro & Churchill

A few years ago Robert Spoden from Bucanero Cigars send me a sampler of cigars and a few of them I reviewed for the blog, but two of them got lost on the bottom shelve of the humidor. I found them while organizing my humidor last year and have been meaning to review the remaining cigars but there is so much to review. Today I was browsing my inventory on my stogierate account and saw the name so I decided to pick the Bucanero Z for a series review.

This Nicaraguan blend is made with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers and a Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador. I remember enjoying the Canon Cubano and the Treasures of Costa Rica quite a lot, so my expectations for this Bucanero Z are high, and I always root for the underdogs, the small companies that do things their own way like Robert Spoden does with his family owned, veteran run, company that sells their cigars on his own website and doesn’t have sales representatives trying to push the cigars into every humidor in the country.

Bucanero Z Toro


The 6×50 box pressed cigar looks great, a nice milky chocolate wrapper with a few veins and a mild shine from the natural oils. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is of high quality paper and printing, pitch black with a golden Z and golden outlines and then white letters with a red outline saying Bucanero. The ring is clean, clear and beautiful. The aroma is medium strong after all these years and have a barnyard smell.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a little raisin, dry tobacco and some white pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors with a nice amount of sweetness. After a quarter of an inch I still taste the earthy and coffee flavors but now with a marzipan like sweetness, soft and creamy, and a peppery aftertaste. After an inch the pepper grows stronger, the marzipan and the coffee have disappeared and the earthy flavor has a little lemon in it. Halfway I get a hint of chocolate too, with the lemony soil and the strong black pepper. There is a mild nuttiness too, peanuts to be more precise and the flavor is getting stronger. Near the end the soil and pepper are flavors I taste with a little salt on the background, the chocolate and peanuts disappeared.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is full, both in volume and thickness, with a beautiful white color. The ash is light gray, past dense and part beautifully layered. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes and I recommend everyone to check out this brand.


Score: 92
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Bucanero Z Churchill


The 7×50 Churchill looks thinner due to the box pressed shape and has a nice  light brown wrapper with only a few thin veins. The touch is velvet like. The construction feels good, the cap is placed nicely, all in all this is a good looking cigar with a very pretty ring as described above. The cigar has a mild woody aroma.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is fine. I just taste a bit of a salty tobacco flavor. After lighting I taste a coffee, dirt, lemon and herb flavor. After half an inch I taste herbs, licorice, lemon and sawdust. After a third I taste a nice red pepper. Halfway i taste wood and herbs with a little pepper. The final third starts peppery and with five spice, a little sweetness and lemon. The pepper grows in strength with cinnamon and a bit of a carrot flavor that I happen to like.


The draw is fantastic. The light gray colored ash is layered and dense. The smoke is nice and thick. I would call this cigar medium plus bodied and full flavored. There is enough evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Toro.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, 92, Bucanero, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Cornelius & Anthony Meridian Robusto

I have smoked and review all but one of the Cornelius & Anthony blends, I started with the Cornelius toro, then went on with the Venganza robusto, Daddy Mac robusto, Señor Esugars Toro and the Aerial robusto so all that was missing is the Meridian blend and here it is, a review of the 5×52 robusto.


As all Cornelius & Anthony blends, except for the Cornelius, this cigar is made at the La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Cornelius is made at El Titan de Bronze in Miami, a must visit if you happen to be in Miami. The Meridian is made of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and finished with an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper.


As in every Cornelius & Anthony review I rave about the ring and since its the same on every cigar I can only praise the ring again. This time I also praise the secondary ring as it used the same colors as the main ring, the off white and the gold and it makes it a perfect match. The wrapper is like a dark chocolate with a mild shine and a silky feel. The construction feels perfect and the triple cap is beautiful. The cigar has a manure and wood aroma, medium strong.


I decapped the cigar with a cutter. The cold draw is perfect. There is not much of a predominant flavor in the cold draw. After lighting I taste an earthy coffee with a tiny bit of cinnamon. After half an inch I taste a buttery, earthy flavor with a little sugar. Slowly some pepper shows up too. Halfway I just taste earth and pepper. The final third I taste wood with a mild vanilla buttery flavor and pepper, a little sharp on the tongue. The flavors and overall strength pick up.


The draw is perfect. The smoke it thick, white and full. The salt and pepper colored ash is a little frayed yet firm. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A 92 rated cigar, so yes!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

MUWAT Baitfish Gary

This undercrown spin-off was originally named ‘my uzi’ but when Jonathan Drew got his hands on the cigar he noticed the weight and said ‘my uzi weighs a ton’, which happens to be a song from fellow New Yorkers Public NME and that name stuck.


At first the line was ment to be a 60 ring gauge line with a 5×60, 6×60 and 7×60 but the market demanded thinner sizes to Drew Estate released a corona, named Corona Viva and a 4×44 named after JD’s father Gary, baitfish Gary. And I met Gary on several occasions, at Jonathan’s House in Miami, at the factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany where he gave me this cigar to smoke.


The wrapper is dark and feels leathery, it has a tough look on it. The ring is cool, black with silver text all over it, and a lot of text in different size fonts, vertical instead of horizontal. The cigar feels evenly packed, has a well rounded head and a a decent triple cap. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of wet woods after a rainfall mixed with stable aromas.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste a spicy, meaty raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet strong coffee. After a few puffs I taste a spicy dry cedar with cinnamon and vanilla. Halfway the cigar is spicy with some lemon, cinnamon, vanilla and pepper.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, full and extremely much. The burn is pretty straight and the white ash is dense and firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I have a few five packs.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Lino 1898 Robusto

This is a cigar made for Nestor Miranda’s Miami Cigar & Co, that’s one thing thats certain but where does it come from? Thompson says Dominican Republic, Cigar Aficionado claims it is an Honduran cigar. Thompson says the filler is Dominican, Brazilian and Cameroon while Cigar Aficionado claims its Dominican, Brazilian and Colombian, and I just don’t want to burn my fingers so I am going to admit that I don’t know.


I do know that I had this cigar in my humidor for a few years, since Nestor gave it to me at Intertabac when he and Jason Wood were trying to find European distributers for the Nestor Miranda, Don Lino and Tatiana cigar lines. I smoked Don Lino cigars before, but those were from the Africa line which I loved but are unfortunately discontinued, I hope these are as good as I have seen them online for 2 dollars a piece in a blowout sale.


The box pressed cigar looks great, the smooth wrapper is dark and oily and due to the shape looks like a dark chocolate bar. I would buy this cigar just for the looks if I walked into a cigar shop. The ring adds to the appeal, different shades of red with a beige banner, curly letters saying Don Lino, very fine copper colored details on a high quality print job. The construction feels good, the cap is placed neat, the shape is fine. The aroma is dark, autumn leaves and manure but in a good way.


I thinly sliced the cap of the cigar. The cold draw is a bit meaty with a hint of pepper. Construction is great. After lighting I taste a mild cocoa flavored coffee. After a third I taste a sweet, milk chocolate and herbal flavor with a little pepper. Halfway I taste spicy peanut with pepper, a growing pepper. The pepper keeps growing on a dirt background.


The draw is great. The smoke is full but the color is gray, I prefer a white smoke. The burn is a bit off, but it corrects itself. The ash is gray with a yellow shine. It looks flaky but it’s firm. The cigar is medium bodied, medium to medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a few more.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Don Lino | Tags: , , ,

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