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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: , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , ,

Viaje Platino Lancero

While browsing through my Lancero humidor to pick a lancero for this months “15th on the month” lancero review this Viaje Platino Lancero caught my eye and I decided that it would be the lancero of the month. I’ve had it in my possession for a long time so I don’t know if this is one of the regular release Viaje Platino Lanceros or if it came from the Trifecta release but anyway, its a lancero, it’s Viaje and it’s aged.


The cigar is made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas, where most Viaje cigars are rolled. It’s a Nicaraguan puro though, with a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper in a 7 1/2 x38 size. Now if this cigar is part of the Trifecta release, then the cigar was rolled in Februari 2011, if its from the regular release the cigar is even older so we can talk about an aged, almost vintage, cigar here, which will have an effect on the flavor, let’s find out.


The cellophane wrapper cigar has it’s foot protected with a piece of cloth. There are two rings, a beige ring with the green viaje logo and silver outlines and a secondary, beige ring with silver letters saying platino. The wapper is quite dark with thin veins all over, it feels like velvet. The cigar feels evenly packed, with the right amount of bounce when you squeeze it gently and it has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is deep and dark, like dark chocolate with some pepper and a muddy soil.


The cold draw is good, I taste sultanas and white pepper. After lighting I taste a spicy yet mildly acidic coffee. After a few puffs I also taste a honey like sweetness too. After half an inch I taste some soil with a lot of pepper. After a third I taste dry wood with pepper, herbs and a little floral flavor on the background. Halfway the floral gets a little stronger just like the pepper, and I also taste a little lemon. The cigar mellows out to the end.


The draw is great with a thick and full smoke. The dark ash is not very firm. The burn is good on this well balanced full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas, Viaje | Tags: , , , ,

Goviado Belicoso

Many moons ago, and we are talking 2007/2008 era, I met Andrew Wood online on Club Stogie, which turned into Cigar Asylum and back then he wasn’t a tobacco broker but with two Nicaraguan friends, the Guillen brothers, he ran a little factory GDW Cigars. Back in the day I reviewed the Reserva Miraflor, Casa Pineda, Goviado and Don Fernando, a cigar he made for me as a thank you. The Don Fernando got another review last year and made my top 25. And now the cigars are coming back exclusively for the website untoldleaf.com ! Good news because that means that I can smoke the few remaining old ones that I have.

 


Now as far as I know these cigars are from 2010 or 2011 and made completely from Nicaraguan tobacco. It was rumored that some tobacco was even the same tobacco as used by Padron and that Padron took the Guillen brothers under their wings but I don’t know the details of that, or even if its just a rumor or the truth. All I know is that I liked the cigars back then and I can’t wait to try the new ones.

 


The cigar has a very pointy tip and that probably caused the roller to have a little trouble since the cap is not the best I have ever seen. The ring is black and gold, quite simple, just like the Don Mayo from the same factory and the Reserva Miraflor, although all the logo’s are different on each line. The construction feels good and the coffee brown wrapper looks good, with one thick vein running from the foot till about a third of the cigar. Even after all these years the cigar still packs a strong aroma, a stable like smell without any ammonia.

 


The cold draw is great. After lighting I taste a herbal coffee, smooth but with a little kick. Soon a nice sweetness shows up, like powdered sugar.  After an inch I taste a mild leather with a little spice and the powdered sugar. Halfway I get more pepper from the cigar. The final third starts a bit nutty, with a little pepper and sugar. There’s also a bit of a herbal flavor.

 


The draw is great, fantastic construction. The smoke is good, not super thick or full but more then enough. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke time of this smooth medium bodied medium full flavored cigar is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes. And it’s possible again. I will review the fresh ones soon.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Goviado, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman

Jas Sum Kral took the social media by storm and the Red Knight was a super hit amongst boutique brand cigars, and the follow up, the Zlatno Sonce was a hit too, even with me and I dislike Connecticut Shade cigars with a passion. But yet, I am going to try this 7×58 Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman limited edition, made for brand owner Riste’s yearly cigar weekend Ristevari, even though the box arrived at my doorstep today, so no rest, right of the truck.


The first cigars were made at the factory of Noel Rojas but under the supervision of Roniel Aragon. Now I don’t know what happened but Roniel left Tabacalera NOA, Riste left there some time later and now Roniel is making JSK in his new factory Tabacalera Aragon S.A., this is the first cigar that I smoke that comes out of that factory. Riste told me that the blend is a twist on the regular Zlatno Sonce blend, with a little tobacco from the Somoto canyon in Nicaragua as an added flavor. And rumor is that this blend might be used for the core line too. Somoto is an unknown area in Nicaragua, at the bottom of the canyon is one farm, owned by Carlos Javier Garcia Pereda. Riste and his partner Roniel Aragon visited the farm, late 2017, loved the leaf so much that they used it for the Soloman and maybe we will see more of the Somoto tobacco surface soon.


The cigar looks good, the wrapper is shiny, almost lacquered even though I dislike the yellow brown color. The ring is amazing, made by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim, is one of the best in the business. Very detailed, white and gold, lions, crest, just simply beautiful. The construction feels great, a really well made cigar. Since the cigars rested for 8 months before they got send to me I can’t smell any ammonia anymore, just a full smell of mud and hay.


I cut the cigar to find a perfect cold draw, spicy, peppery raisins. After lichting I taste a mild coffee with hay. After an inch I taste spice and herbs with a little buttery, meaty undertone. There is no hint of the mustiness that I usually get from Connecticut Shade. And the cigar is strong too for a Connecticut. Halfway I do taste it a little though but with spices and sweetness, I also taste some licorice. The final third also gets a hint of vanilla. Pepper shows up and it’s getting strong too.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is firm with beautiful layers. The white is a little thin. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium full bodied, the strongest Connecticut Shade I ever smoked. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Love the blend, this vitola unfortunately is a limited edition.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Aragon | Tags: , , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo

I used to live in a small apartment with more cigars than I could store properly in regular humidors so I had several coolers filled with five finger bags full of cigars so when I was looking to buy a house I specifically searched for a house where I could build a man cave and a walk-in humidor. And I bought that house in February 2014. I don’t know if I should be proud of should seek help, but the man cave and the walk-in humidor were the first room to be ready. That’s when I started to unpack my coolers and found some hidden gems that I didn’t knew I had. And because this is the 11th birthday of my blog, I decided to publish a review of one of my vintage cigars.


One of the hidden gems were a handful of the Alec Bradley Prime Gold Series torpedo, and I did know nothing about these so I reached out to my friend George Sosa, whom I spend many hours in the car and on events with, and he told me that this was from a limited edition from 2004 and only 1500 boxes were made. That only made me wonder where I got these cigars from as I lit my first cigar December 2005 on a trip to Singapore & Indonesia. Well, to cut a long story short, on George’s next trip to The Netherlands I picked him up from his hotel and surprised him with one of these cigars that he hadn’t smoked in a long time. Now that I am down to my last one, why not say farewell to this line with a beautiful review?


The cigar comes wrapped in ceder for the bottom two thirds, with a cloth foot ring in a beige yellow color and a print saying gold series on the cedar. When I remove the cedar I find a beautiful, mild oily Ecuadorean ligero wrapper with one thin vein. The construction feels goor and the head of the cigar is so pointy that it’s almost considered a weapon. The ring is great, yellow and purple colors with a colorful crest in the middle and a banner saying pryme. Only on the side there is mentioning of Alec Bradley in a beautiful but small purple font. After all these years the aroma faded, so all I smell is a mild wood aroma.


Due to the shape of the cigar I have no other option than to cut, for which I use my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect and gives me a nice and spicy raw tobacco flavor with pepper on the lips. How else could I light this cigar other than with my Alec Bradley Burner? Straight from the start I taste a very nice coffee flavor with cedar. After a quarter of an inch I taste green herbs too and a bit of a citrus flavor. After an inch I taste citrus, wood, some nutmeg and a little pepper. After a third it’s green herbs like basil, parsley and thyme that I taste with a nice dose of pepper. Halfway I taste spicy cedar with a very faint cocoa powder. Slowly I taste more spices and with an inch and a half to go I clearly taste cinnamon with cedar, lemon and pepper.


The draw is immaculate. The smoke is medium plus is volume and thickness. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. There is a complexity and depth you can only find in vintage cigars. The cigar is still medium full to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That won’t be possible but this cigar is pretty flavorful for a cigar with this age. I would not mind Alec Bradley bringing this blend back.

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

Reserva Miraflor Robusto

Reserva Miraflor, oh, I smoked so many of those cigars in the 2009/10/11 era before they were discontinued, after that I smoked them every now and then, not wanting to burn through all of them too quickly but now they are back so I grabbed the last robusto that I had and decided to review it while I send it to a fiery death.

 


This Nicaraguan puro is related to the Don Fernando, Don Payo and Goviado, all of these cigars were made and blended by the Guillen brothers at their GDW factory in Esteli, Nicaragua and the cigars, especially this brand, gained a lot of momentum on Cigar Asylum. They were spice bombs, lets see what age did to these cigars.

 


The ring is simple and not of the best quality, black and gold, but the wrapper looks good, nice and dark, with a few small yet mean looking veins. The construction feels good, evenly packed, with a nice shape. Just like the Goviado this cigar still has quite some aroma after all these years, its a stable aroma with a little of a floral smell too.

 


I used a butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great, spicy, peppery yet with some marzipan sweetness. After lighting I taste cinnamon, a flavor I love, with a little pepper. After a centimeter the pepper is getting stronger. After a third it mellows out again and near the middle I taste marzipan, pepper, spices and leather. Near the end the cigar is spicy.

 


The draw is amazing, the cigar is smooth and well balanced. The smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is firm and has nice rings. The burn is great. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The changes between this aged version and a fresh one are incredible and it proves that it’s not just Cuban cigars change with age. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yes. And it’s possible again, a new batch has been made for a new boutique webshop http://www.untoldleaf.com I will be reviewing the new batch soon.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars, Reserva Miraflor | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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