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Rocky Patel Summer 2008 Lancero

About a decade ago Rocky Patel decided to launch a limited release every season of the year, and the Summer 2008 series came with a lancero, that’s the only lancero made for the seasonal collections, which were discontinued in 2009, except for a one time return in 2012. I must have gotten this cigar in a trade or a bomb of some kind, but I couldn’t tell you with or from whom if my life depended on it.


The Summer 2008 collection was rolled at the old factory of A.J. Fernandez as Rocky didn’t have a Nicaraguan operation back then, and A.J. didn’t have the huge factory that he runs nowadays. The other offerings, next to this 7×38 lancero, were a robusto, toro and toro grande.. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler, a binder from Cameroon and a Sumatra wrapper grown in Ecuador.


A nice, latte colored, toothy wrapper with a sandpaper touch and an unique ring make this cigar stand out. The ring looks like a piece of diamond plate with a golden strip with red outlines and a red round RP logo. The secondary ring is golden with black lettering and a red outline. The construction feels good, no soft spots and the pig tail is a nice detail. I smell a mild yet dark barnyard aroma, almost like a freshly ploughed piece of farmland with natural fertilizer.


After I cut the cigar I taste pepper and some blackberry with the perfect cold draw. After lighting I taste the blackberry with cedar. There is also some sweetness and the mix is perfect. On the background I taste some pepper. Halfway the cigar gets spicier and stronger.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick, full and good in volume. The light gray ash with dark smears. It’s reasonably firm. The burn is good, pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavor is very nice. 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, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nestor Miranda Special Selection Danno 2012

In 1989 Miami Cigar & Co was founded by a few people including Daniel Miranda and his father Nestor Miranda.  They are distributers of several brands, including La Aurora, and also own some brands like Tatiana and the Nestor Miranda cigar brands. Unfortunately in 2005 Daniel got diagnosed with brain cancer and in 2008 he passed away. So in 2009 Miami Cigar & Co released a memorial cigar, in both rosado and oscuro, a limited edition not only to commemorate Daniel but also to celebrate their 20 years in business.


In 2010 another double edition of the Danno was released but in 2011 there was no release. In 2012 the Danno returned as a 7×56 Double Corona made at the My Father Factory in Esteli. The blend consists of Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Nicaraguan binder and a Mexican San Andres wrapper. In total 30.000 cigars were released with a MRSP of 10 dollar. As far as I know only one more Danno was released, in 2015, but in a maduro, habano and Connecticut version so that can count as three.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark, almost black with some thin, flattened veins, a nice shine, some sparkles from the minerals. The construction feels good and I just love pig tails. The rings are simple yet of high quality and they match. The foto ring is black with a quite dark, almost copper like, gold edge and a Danno 2012 instricption while th normal band is black & gray, with the same golden edge, a small font in red saying Nestor Miranda Collection and in bigger, white, letters Special Selection. The cigar has a mild, almost fresh, smell.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good, a little spicy and peppery. After lighting with a single jet I taste a nice, sweet, coffee.  After an inch I taste a beautiful mix of pepper, sugar and a nice cinnamon roll. Slowly the cigar becomes more spicy, even though the sweetness and the cinnamon still stick around but now with more spices and some green herbs. I also taste a mild acidity to keep everything balanced. The final third starts with wood, a hint of vanilla, some herbal freshness but it’s not minty, and some pepper. Near the end I taste more vanilla and some powdered sugar.


The draw is great. The burn needed correction a few times. The light gray ash is beautifully layered. The smoke is thick enough and enough in volume. The balance is great just like the subtle evolution. This cigar is medium to medium full bodied and equally flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, this cigar is a great tribute.

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

PDR 1878 Capa Oscura Lancero

Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers, started their company on the Dominican and the first time I heard of them was with the PDR 1878 line, the Habana and the Oscura. I liked both lines and met Abe years later when the company I worked for back then started to distribute his cigars. And for some reason, unknown to me as my then employer hates lanceros, we gotten a few boxes of lanceros in, of which I still have a few single cigars.


Now I don’t think the lancero is a regular offering, or maybe it’s discontinued since it’s not listed on the PDR website. I do see the robusto, toro, torpedo, Churchill and double magnum listed but no lancero. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sun Grown Oscuro with a Dominican Habano binder and two different Dominican Corojo tobaccos as a filler.


The wrapper is dark, as oscuro should be, shiny and oily and smooth to the touch. The simple rings, bright red with white letters and silver outlines, really pop and look good. Just like the cigar itself with the little pig tail and the closed foot. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong, a bit like dusty wood.


After cutting the cigar I get an awesome cold draw, herbal and spicy. After lighting I taste a strong coffee with some sweetness. Quickly the cigar turns to dark chocolate, creamy and bitter, with herbs. After a third the cigar is earthy, the bitterness from the cocoa is still there, just as some pepper. After a third I taste an earthy, peppery flavor but now with some peanuts instead of cocoa. Halfway I taste a salty bitter chocolate with some pepper, but salt is the dominant flavor. The finale is very peppery with a hint of floral.


The smoke is so thick that it could be vape smoke, white and voluminous. The draw is almost perfect. The dense ash is white. The burn is straight as an arrow. I would call this a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Reinado Habanito

Every year you see a few boutique blends pop up, gain a lot of publicity and popularity in the social media bit most of the times those brands fade away into oblivion too. I guess your cigars have to be extremely well to keep the cigar aficionados coming back to your cigars and your online presence has to be on top of everything to keep customers loyal and tied to your brand. A few brands know how to do that and grow, but most fade away after a short while and that’s exactly the case with this Reinado brand that was the hottest new kid on the block for a few months and is now the missing kid on the back of a milk carton.


The Reinado line is or was a Nicaraguan puro and the tobacco underwent a unique fermenting procedure according to the brand, but I can’t find any explanation online what made their fermentation unique. All the tobaccos used are aged minimum of five years, but that’s also not unique. The whole story reminds me of Puros de Hostos, a brand that was very popular for a short time in The Netherlands, with a story about quadruple fermentation, aged tobaccos and yes, those cigars were amazing but such marketing stories only last for a short time.


I am smoking the Habanito today, a petit corona, 4×38 short and thin. The habano rosado wrapper looks great, medium dark brown with a mild reddish glow and it feels a bit leathery. The construction feels good with a beautiful shaped head of the cigar. The ring is a bit of a “why copy a Cuban ring again?” kinda thing, its a straight up copy from the Ramon Allones ring, burgundy with gold, a golden logo in the centre and white letters. It’s something I dislike, stop copying Cuban rings, Nicaraguan cigars are way to good to need to resort to this kind of thievery. But since I’m not rating on sentiment but on how the ring looks, the color scheme, the print quality the ring still gets a good grade. I smell a mild aroma, an almost dusty wood with a little floral smell.


I cut the cigar since it’s too thin to punch. The cold draw is good with a mild raw tobacco flavor and a little pepper in the aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste a great coffee flavor, smooth yet full with a very mild honey sweetness and some pepper in the aftertaste. After a quarter of an inch I taste a nice oaky nutty flavor but with a nice minty and vanilla on the background. After a third I taste a nice mix of cumin, nutmeg, black pepper with some cedar. I also taste a little bit of cocoa. Soon after I taste a strong pepper with a minty freshness and some nutmeg. The final third starts spicy with notes of wood, spices, a little lime and some vanilla.


The draw is close to perfection and that leads to a lot of thick smoke from such a small cigar. The ash is almost white and nicely dense and firm. The burn is beautifully straight. The evolution is amazing. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great short smoke, I would love to.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Agros Tobacos Industriales, Nicaraguan cigars, Reinado | Tags: , , ,

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: , , ,

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