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Plasencia Alma del Campo Guajiro

Last december I did a review on the Plasencia Alma Fuerte, the first cigar they release world wide under their own name after testing the waters in Europe with the 1898 and the Reserva Organica and straight after the second installment was released, the Alma del Campo, a Nicaraguan puro, and again the cigars are priced premium, the msrp starts at $13.50


The line is made in five vitolas, and of the five I was handed the 5 1/2×52 Guajiro by the European marketing director Rodrigo during the Intertabac trade show last september. Now it says 52, but it looks and feels thicker, even though my chart disagrees with me and it’s really a 52. My eyes are deceiving me I guess. Just like the Alma Fuerte it’s wise to buy a 10 count box instead of a single cigar because the lid of the box doubles as a beautiful ashtray.


The wrapper is beautiful, a nice mocha color, smooth and with a velvet feel to it. The three rings are beautiful, from top to bottom a small gray ring with a white circled P, then the bigger main ring in the same gray color with the white P again, the Plasencia name and in smaller letters Alma del Campo and then a white foot ring with gray outlines and Alma del Campo in gray letters, very classy, modern and clean. As for the construction, well, the cigar feels well constructed, evenly filled but its crooked. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me again just like with the ring gauge so I put a ruler next to the cigar and it has a curve to the right. The cigar has a slightly acidic aroma with hints of hay too.


I used a cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is very spicy, acidic and peppery, but with a great airflow. After carefully lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a medium strong, slightly acidic coffee. After a few puffs both some sweetness and some pepper shows up, and a spiced biscuit flavor, speculaas as we call it in The Netherlands. After an inch I taste coffee with sweetness and the spices, all balanced and smooth. Halfway it’s a woodsy, spicy and a little pepper with a bit of sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to a smoother version of wood with some raspberry vinegar, spices and sweetness, there is some pepper in the aftertaste.


The draw is perfect. The almost white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium full in thickness and in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over hundred minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No doubt!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Toro

Last year, right before intertabac, my friend Courtney Smith contacted me and asked me if I would be there. Turned out she was coming to the trade show with her new company, Cornelius and Anthony. We hung out a bit and she gave me the three blends they had at the booth, the Cornelius, the Venganza and the Daddy Mac. This year Courtney and her co-worker Todd Vance were at the trade show again and I came home with the other blends, Meridian, Aerial and this Señor Esugars plus some artwork for my man cave.


I love the artwork on the cigars, we talked about how Cornelius looked like H.H. Holmes even though it’s the real Cornelius who’s the brand named after and also on the artwork of this Señor Esugars. It’s the dog of brand owner Steven Bailey, he was holding her while Courtney took a picture. The artist who made the Cornelius artwork took the picture to the next level and the artwork of the Señor Esugars was born.


The Mexican wrapper on this cigar is dark, rustic and a little rough to the touch but it fits the cigar. The sample I had only came with the beautiful Cornelius & Anthony ring, very detailed, well printed but without a secondary ring like all the other blends did. The construction is good with a clear triple cap, the rollers at La Zona did a good job. The aroma is strong, sweet and acidic with a hint of charred wood after campfire in the forest.


I cut the cigar with a double blade guillotine cutter. The cold draw is perfect, the cold draw leaves a peppery flavor on my lips but on my lips only. I lit the cigar carefully with a soft flame and taste coffee with some lemon and herbs. After a few puffs the coffee turns to dry wood with pepper in the back of my throat. Halfway it’s wood, herbs and pepper, balanced but it gives me a dry mouth. The pepper is no longer in the back of my throat but more to the front. Slowly a spice mix shows up, cumin and nutmeg come to mind. The pepper grows a little and so does the lemon. The final third is strong, full of flavor, wood, spices and pepper all balanced out by a little acidity.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is voluminous, thick and white. The burn needed a little correction once.  The salt and pepper colored ash is frayed but firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is close to two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I will!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

C.A.O. Amazon Basin

Back in 2014 C.A.O. released their new special project, the Amazon Basin which is made of an Ecuadorean Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua, Brazil and Colombia but the unique part of the blend is the rare Bragança tobacco that only grows in a small part of the Amazon and is only harvested every 3 years. Now I’m not a C.A.O. fan, I love their concepts, their innovative packaging and all but their cigars never did it for me, except for the La Traviata but still, as always I was intrigued.


In september of that year Rick Rodriguez from C.A.O. was one of the guests at the Dutch Big Smoke, of which I was one of the organizers. And Rick gave me one of the original release cigars, something I appreciate a lot but because of my huge stash of cigars and the C.A.O. brand the cigar got lost in my walk-in humidor. Earlier today I was talking to a friend and he was raving on about the cigar, that he has 2 boxes coming of the 2017 release, so I told him my experiences with C.A.O. but he kept on insisting I should try the cigar, so I dug it up (good thing about having your collection in stogie rate and taking the time to make different collections is that even though you have a huge stash, you can still easily find your cigars) and I’m ready to light it.


The first thing that I notice, and I think everybody notices, is the ring, or the lack of it. The cigar doesn’t have a ring but 4 tobacco leaves rolled into 4 separate wires and then wrapped around the cigar like a ring. It’s this kind of ingenuity that always makes me want to try new C.A.O. cigars anyway. The wrapper is nice, dark and shiny without a lot of veins. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. And then the aroma, that makes my mouth water, dark chocolate and the smell is strong too.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping and with a 6×52 vitola it’s easy to punch. The cold draw is perfect and I taste some raisin, pepper and a mild minty flavor with a drop of lemon, and that all before lighting it. After lighting it with my Ronson varaflame I taste coffee, chocolate, toast and cinnamon. After half an inch i taste cinnamon, nutmeg, toast, lemon and some pepper. After an inch I taste lime with cocoa and toast. After a third it’s spicy cinnamon with pepper and cacao, the evolution is great. Halfway I taste pepper with cocoa and a little lime and mint in the aftertaste. Every other puff I taste cinnamon too, nice and spicy.  After two thirds the toast returns with the flavors mentioned before. I wonder if the ring is smokable since it’s tobacco and what it will do for the flavor profile of the cigar and the answer is yes and mint, more mint but also some bitterness.


The draw is fantastic, nothing less than perfect. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is light gray and firm, with nice layers. The burn is straight and slow. The evolution is great. This cigar is full flavored and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? To my surprise: yes!

Score: 92
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Your reviewer with Rick Rodriguez (CAO cigars)

Categories: 92, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Robusto

When the Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill was picked as #1 cigar of the year by Cigar Aficionado I was surprised. Not that it was a bad cigar, but I never would have imagined it as a winner, it’s good but not that good. But then again, I disagree with reviews and top 25 lists more often than not, it’s all about personal preferences I guess, and I know that people disagree with my list too.


Last month George Sosa handed me a few new Prensado cigars, the Lost Art, in a robusto shape and the first one I lit I loved, I liked it so much better than the regular prensado so I kept one for a review too. And here it is.


The box pressed cigar is made in Honduras, at Raices Cubanas, where the majority of Alec Bradley cigars are made. The cigar has a Honduran corojo wrapper and binder plus filler from both Honduras and Nicaragua. The ring is the same as the Prensado ring, with the red AB logo in the middle, several colored rings around it in a Indian color scheme but with an add ring saying Lost Art.  The coffee brown wrapper has some veins and the head got a few wrinkles because of box pressing the cigar. The aroma is medium strong and it’s clearly a tobacco and barnyard aroma.


I cut the cigar with a double guillotine cutter. The cold draw is perfect, i taste raw tobacco with a little spice on my lips. After lighting with my trusted soft flame I taste a strong and spicy coffee with a soft cedar undertone. After a centimeter I taste a nice cedar with herbs and spices. The aftertaste has a hint of chocolate but very subtle. The whole cigar is subtle with a spicy and peppery layer over the subtle wood and toast flavors. The background flavors are a very delicate mix of flavors, subtle enough to taste but hard to identify since they are balanced and complex.


The draw is perfect, the smoke is thick, white and voluminous. The ash is light gray with dark smears. The burn is straight. This cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I love this cigar.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Todos Las Dias Toro

If you’re fluent in Spanish you might see the error in the name of the cigar, and brand owner/blender and industry legend Steve Saka explained in a facebook post a few months ago the story behind that name. Now I scrolled back on his Facebook posts but he’s so active that I couldn’t find it anymore, but it was a funny story about misunderstanding the language (which I, as a non Spanish speaker understand), trademarks and eventually using the wrong name as a tribute to a mentor and to bypass copyright laws.


Anyway, I was in Cigaragua in Amsterdam the day the cigars landed in The Netherlands and smoked one right out of the box. Since it was my third cigar of the day I could not do a review on the spot with my tainted taste buds but the next day Juan Martinez from Joya de Nicaragua gave me another cigar that I stashed away for a review, this one.


The wrapper is amazing, like dark coffee but with some sparkling minerals, oily and with only a few very thin veins, this cigar is a looker. That’s being magnified by the simple yet sophisticated rings, a diamond shaped ring in silver van black with a logo and beautiful decorations and a foot ring in the same colors with the Todos Las Dias name in a curly font. The cigar feels rock hard though, but without any softer spots so I figure that won’t be a problem. The head of the cigar is perfectly round. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of hay, grass and charred wood.


My Joya branded cutter is working overtime this week since it’s the 4th Joya made cigar in a row. The cold draw is on the tight side of good. I taste a sticky raw tobacco flavor with a little pepper. The cigar starts out smooth and a little sweetness and coffee. Slowly the flavors pick up, creamy chocolate with some pepper show up too. The cigar is smoother than I expected. After a third I still taste the creamy chocolate and pepper but now with a little splash of lime. Halfway I also taste an earthy flavor, still creamy. The final third starts woody with pepper and a mild salty flavor which is hard to describe. The pepper gets stronger and the dominant flavor.


The draw is great, the smoke is on the thin side though. The burn is straight. The ash is white with dark spots and firm. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored but still smooth. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Another winner from Steve Saka.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Todos Las Dias | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Sagrada Familia Maduro Robusto

Last year Tom Mulder, a cigar aficionado from The Netherlands, released his first cigar under the name La Sagrada Familia. I have known Tom for quite a few years and had we talked about his ideas years ago, and it was or is nice to see his dream come out. He partnered up with the oldest factory in Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua and released a three vitola series in The Netherlands, starting from there and will slowly but surely spread to other countries.


This year Tom will release a second line, the La Sagrada Familia Maduro and just as with the regular La Sagrada Familia there will be a small charity connected to the cigar, part of the proceeds go to projects in Nicaragua under the #bepartofthefamily hashtag. Last year it was a charity for single mothers that made a living by recycling paper, I don’t know what Tom’s next project will be. Anyhow, it’s good to see that some of the proceeds flow back to the people in Nicaragua that need our help most. If any of you out there want to help out in Nicaragua with a donation, please visit the website of my friend Asha who runs a charity in Nicaragua called Atrapa Suenos.


Back to the cigar, I smoked a pre-release but Tom told me the ring will be exactly the same as the ring on his core line, just black and gold, therefore I rate the ring the same as I rated the core line. The wrapper is dark and is leathery, both to the touch and to the eye. the triple cap is perfect but the cigar feels rock hard to the touch. Evenly hard though, so I don’t expect any problems with draw. The aroma is medium strong, earthy and leathery with something of a dark chocolate smell too.


I cut the cigar with my Joya de Nicaragua branded Xikar cutter which seemed appropriate considering the cigar is made there.  The cold draw is good and quite peppery. After lighting the cigar with my classic Ronson varaflame I taste peppery coffee, quite strong. After a few puffs it chances to chocolate with a little pepper though. After an inch the flavor is more toasty with a little cocoa. After a third I still taste some toast but with an earthy flavor and a very little lime. The final third is earthy with pepper. The cigar surely gets spicier, without becoming too spicy. The earthy flavor turns into something I would describe as carrot, that’s what comes closest.


The draw is great and the smoke is thick, full and white. The burn is straight as an arrow. The white ash is dense and firm. The cigar has a nice evolution. I would say this is a medium plus bodied cigar, full flavored. The smoke time is surprisingly long, almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt.

Score: 92
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your reviewer with Tom Mulder (La Sagrada Familia)

Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, La Sagrada Familia, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ortega Wild Bunch Fast Eddie Eight Ball

Ortega Wild Bunch
Eddie Ortega is a cigar industry veteran and in his years in the industry he met a lot of characters so in 2012 he came up with this idea of a limited edition each month for 2013, all named after one of the characters he met along his journey through the tobacco industry and he named them the Dirty Dozen. Then Drew Estate amicably asked him to change the name just as they did with Alec Bradley’s dirty hooligan because of their Dirty Rat cigar and just like Alan Rubin before Ortega decided to change the name into the Wild Bunch, but the idea stayed the same.

Now these were all micro releases and by the time I visited the USA a lot of them were sold out so I won’t be reviewing the whole series, just the ones that I was able to get my hands on and still have in my possession. I miss a few, namely Crazy Jack, Honest Abe, Tony the Boss, Warrior Joe and Big Bad John although I reviewed the Crazy Jack before in my old rating system. I will post the 7 other reviews in line, one each day, for the next week.

Fast Eddie Eight Ball


Is it a faith or just a stroke of coincidence that the Fast Eddie is released in August? I mean, August is my birth month and Fast Eddie is a 6 1/2×38 Lancero, my favorite vitola. Made with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler this cigar is the thinest of the series. The ring is in the same style as the others and has an 8 ball between Fast and Eddie on the banner. The wrapper has a sharp vein on the top half, a beautiful pig tail and a beautiful dark chocolate color with a leather look. The cigar feels well packed. The aroma is medium full, a little ammonia with dry grass and a hint of barnyard.


Due to the thin ring I could not punch the cigar so I cut it. The cold draw is fine, I taste spicy sultana. After lighting I taste a nice medium strong spice mix with a little pepper in the aftertaste. The flavor is smooth and slowly turns to toast, chocolate with nutmeg and a little pepper. Halfway the cigar gets a floral flavor with some toast and a mild pepper. Near the end the pepper grows.


The draw is good and the ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness.  The cigar is medium bodied and medium to full flavored, subtle and complex with a good burn. The smoke time of this smooth cigar is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? If only that was possible

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Ortega | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigars of Habanos Custom Rolled 52

As you might have read in a few of my older reviews, my wife is from Singapore so it’s natural that I’ve been to Singapore more than a few times and during my travels I met a few fine cigar aficionados there that I always try to meet up with and have a smoke or two when I’m in town. And since I have a huge stash of cigars and the prices here in Europe are much nicer than the insane prices in Singapore I always bring something to share, on my last trip it was a Undercrown Flying Pig, but one of the original releases, the limited edition for The Netherlands since my friend Jason had never smoked a flying pig.


Jason offered me a cigar in return that I had never smoked, a custom rolled cigar in the Cohiba Behike 52 size, made for the famous Hong Kong based webshop Cigars of Habanos. I guess they are so close to the management of Habanos and such good clients that they can have custom rolls made with Cuban tobacco to sell on their website. Since the best Cubans in general are the custom rolled or farm rolled cigars, because the rollers take time to create something good instead of rushing the cigars out, I am curious about this cigar.


Now the cigar, that comes in bundles and without ring to reduce costs, has no ring and that creates an issue since I rate the ring for my final score. So what I do is don’t rate it and divide the final number with 95 instead of 100 to offset the lack of the ring. The silky smooth and oak looking wrapper has a few veins. The cigar is well packed, quite hard to the touch but evenly hard and the tiny flag cap makes it a nice looking cigar. The mild aroma is quite interesting, it smells like sweet cookie dough with a little vanilla.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little on the loose side with a spicy sultana flavor. After lighting with a torch I taste coffee with some sugar. Soon after the flavors change to cedar and cinnamon with some icing sugar. After a third I taste some cedar with fresh cut green herbs, cilantro and basil. Halfway I taste cedar with cinnamon and vanilla, all subtle and balanced. Near the end the cigar gets sweeter and spicier again with a little pepper.


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick and white. The light colored ash is firm and the burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar is subtle and balanced. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it so yeah.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cuban cigars, Custom Rolled (Habanos) | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Rocky Patel Royale Robusto

Back in the day, while I was working for a cigar distributer I ran into Rocky Patel at Intertabac. At that time Rocky didn’t have a distributer in The Netherlands, a small player was interested but I snatched Rocky away from him and brought him to us. And we did quite alright, Rocky wasn’t our biggest selling brand but it was getting momentum and we did some great events with his European director Kolja Kukuk and even Rocky managed to do a few events in The Netherlands and it was always fun.


One of the cigars I smoked most was this Rocky Patel Royale, made in his Nicaraguan factory, a factory I visited, with an Ecuadorean Sumatra wrapper and filler tobacco from Nicaragua and Honduras. This cigar made it to the top 10 of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 a few years ago and I did do a review of the toro some time ago but have never reviewed the robusto and never done a review with my 100 point scoring system so here we go.


When I release the 5×52 box pressed cigar from the cellophane I notice a beautiful, dark, mild toothy and oily wrapper that just looks amazing. The construction fels great and the triple cap looks good too. The ring is beautiful, golden with a dark reddish brown color writing and RP logo although the print quality could be a little better around the letters. The second, smaller ring, is in the exact same style and says Royale. Simple yet tasteful. And the aroma is strong and a classic stable and barnyard smell.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect and flavorful. I taste hay, raisin and wood. After lighting I taste coffee and peanuts. Slowly I start tasting herbs and pepper too while the coffee disappears. After a third it’s spicy green herbs with some peanut, salt and pepper. Halfway there is a stronger nut, not just peanuts, flavor with a hint of chocolate and still the green herbs with some white pepper. The pepper slowly builds up to a nice and strong flavor.


The draw is fantastic, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is thick and full. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is good yet not perfect. This cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again?  Yes, I will always have some in stock.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Flor Dominicana Airbender Villano Lancero

My previous employer was, for some time that I worked there, the distributor of La Flor Dominicana and through my work I had the pleasure to meet Litto both in my home country of The Netherlands, in Germany during the Intertabac trade shows and in the United States where Litto went out of his way a few times and cut into his secret family time to meet me for a lunch. That’s where I also met his sons, Litto jr and Antonio, who’s now heavily involved in the business as a blender of the Capitulo, Chapter and La Nox lines
While I was employed with that company La Flor Dominicana released the ‘airbender’ series, some say its named after Litto’s favorite Avatar  cartoon character but according to Litto the name comes from the fact that we bent the air when we smoke.


We carried 3 sizes and once they released the lancero the begging started. Me begging my employer that is. I love lanceros while my previous employer hates them as they are hard to sell. Eventually he caved, ordered 40 boxes, which I all sold. Well, I sold 38 to accounts and bought 2 myself. The cigar is made of Dominican filler and binder, all from the La Flor Dominicana farms wrapped in an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper.


The wrapper is nice and dark, shiny with a leathery look. The construction feels good and the cigar is well made with a nice pigtail to top. There is a mild aroma that smells a bit like an open field early in the morning, right around sunrise when the dew is still lingering. The ring has a black oval in the centre with the curly LFD letters in gold surrounded by golden leaves on a medium brown background. On the bottom is says La Flor Dominicana in white and air bender in golden letters right above an Egyptian looking golden decoration. Next to the LFD logo, on both sides, there are two ninja swords in white and a small golden tobacco leaf. The ring is well printed on good quality paper.


Due to the small ring gauge and the pig tail I have no choice but to cut the cigar and I used my Xikar to do so. The cold draw is perfect and peppery. My trusted Ronson was used to light the cigar. I instantly taste espresso with a little chocolate aftertaste. After a centimeter I taste vanilla, cocoa, pepper and a little lemon. After a third it’s mainly pepper with just a little bit vanilla and some leather with a lemonade aftertaste. Halfway I also taste a little bit of sweetness but the pepper is still very dominant with leather as the main support. The pepper remains dominant but the leather disappears, just like the sweetness. Only the nice citrus flavor remains in the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste a little spice too, cumin to be more precise. Slowly I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and full but the ash is quite dark and a bit flaky yet still firm. The draw is perfect. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored and quite well balanced. The burn is sharp. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? It’s no longer available on the dutch market but I still have a box left.

Score: 92

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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, La Flor Dominicana, Tabacalera La Flor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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