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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: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristoff San Andres Robusto

All Kristoff cigars are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory on the Dominican Republic but when this San Andres blend, with the Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, Ecuador habano binder and Nicaraguan filler was released they were made by PDR. Production moved to the Fairmorn factory though, that’s what Glen Case told me at the intertabac trade show. The cigar I’m smoking for a review is from the latter factory, I still have some made by PDR, maybe I should do a back to back review.


Not only the factory changed, but Kristoff has been making changes, updating the rings and the packaging too, just an upgrade. The loose tobacco in the boxes disappeared, at least in Europe due to legislation where the loose tobacco, which was actually tobacco waste, would have gotten taxed too, increasing the price per cigar just because of packaging so the decision was made to stop using that. The rings all got a little nicer look to it, a little fresher.


The shiny, almost pitch black, and smooth wrapper looks amazing. The updated ring is brushed golden with off white lettering, all looking sharp and fresh. The cigar, with the classic Kristoff pigtail and folded foot, feels evenly packed and the cigar has a medium strong aroma, a mixture of campfire and manure.


I used my butterfly cutter and get an open draw, quite spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and spices. After a few puffs I also taste a caramel sweetness. After half an inch I taste more agave syrup like sweetness with a little leather and cumin. After an inch I also taste some peanuts and pepper. Halfway I taste a pleasant sweet chocolate hazelnut spread like flavor with a spicy and peppery edge. Soon after I taste vanilla and pepper. The final third is woody with spices and pepper.


The draw is a little open yet the smoke is plentiful and thick. The light gray ash and has nice rings. The burn is straight. This is a medium full bodied cigar, full of flavor and a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casa Fernandez Lancero

Back in 2009, before facebook groups were so popular, I used to hang out at Cigar Asylum, which was created from the ashes of Club Stogie after it merged into the horrible puff.com board. And I made a lot of friends so in the spring of 2009 four of us, two Dutch and two Americans from Gainesville, decided to do a little road trip all along the east coast and then fly to Las Vegas and we would herf every night in a different state. It was an epic trip.


The day we landed in Orlando one of my American friends (who actually had the Casa Pineda named after him) hit me with a cigar that was hot on that moment but hard to get, a Casa Fernandez lancero. And much to my surprise I hadn’t smoked it yet, it was still laying around in my humidor so I consider this an aged, maybe even vintage, Nicaraguan puro made in Honduras at Raices Cubanas. Casa Fernandez is from the Aganorsa/Tabacalera Tropical family and named after owner Eduardo Fernandez, who also helped the Pepin family get started in America at the now closed El Rey de los Habanos factory in Miami.


When I grab the cigar I suddenly hear The Beatles in the back of my head singing “they call me mellow yellow” because of the yellow cello after 9 years wrapped in the packaging. The corojo wrapper feels like very fine sanding paper, it still has a little oil and a nice dark wood color brown, with thin veins. It looks good. The ring has different colored gold, black outlines and a red curly F in the middle, on top it says Casa Fernandez and on the bottom Nicaragua, even though the cigar is made in Honduras. The cigar is straight, feels evenly packed and has a nice small pigtail. The medium strong aroma is quite dark, like dog poo with some wood.


The cold draw is great with a mild lemon and raisin flavor. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee with a little marzipan sweetness. After an inch I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and a little pepper. After a third I taste a mild salty nuts with some sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to herbs, spices and sugar.


The draw is great and the white smoke is medium full in thickness and medium in volume. The light gray ash is not very firm but the burn is razor sharp. The years of rest really smoothed the cigar, it’s mellow yet flavorful, smooth and tasty. I can even retrohale, something that I usually can’t. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have a few oldies, now I want more to age.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Casa Fernandez, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto

I told the story about this brand a few times in my previous reviews of the Cornelius, Venganza, Daddy Mac and the Señor Esugars so I won’t repeat the story of five generations and why the name Cornelius & Anthony is chosen. I also won’t repeat how I got to know the brand, that I knew Courtney Smith from her previous company. I will just tell that when she gave me the first batch of cigars in 2016 it was just the Daddy Mac, Venganza and Cornelius (that eventually made my top 25 of the year) but at intertabac 2017 she gave me the other blends, the Señor Esugars, the Meridian and this Aerial.


The aerial is made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the La Zona factory of Erik Espinosa. The blend consists from Nicaraguan fillers, a USA grown binder and a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. And even though my preferences changed the last year and I dislike Connecticut Shade less than before it’s still not my favorite wrapper. But as always I go in with an open mind, maybe this is the Connecticut shade that will wow me.


The wrapper is latte colored, relatively dark for a shade grown Connecticut wrapper and it has a soft sandpaper feeling. The ring is amazing, detailed, very well printed but the secondary ring is orange with white letters and doesn’t fit with the Cornelius and Anthony ring because of the color in my opinion. The construction feels good but the triple cap has a bit of a color difference. The cigar has a strong smell, its manure all over.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter and decapped the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin flavor with some spice on my lips. The trusted vintage Ronson took care of the lighting. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. After a centimeter I still taste the sweetness but now with wood and spices. The sweetness reminds me a bit of marzipan. The cigar lacks the Connecticut Shade mustiness and that’s a plus in my book, it’s quite spicy and sweet. Halfway the spices tone down, the sweetness remains with wood. A mild pepper shows up too. The flavor slowly changes to a vanilla sweetness on wood with a bit of lime and pepper.


The draw is great, the smoke is medium on volume and thickness. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a balanced, medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yea, this gets my seal of approval and made a very small list of Connecticut Shade cigars that I enjoy.

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

Fratello Bianco II

The first time I ran into the Fratello brand was when I was in Nicaragua in 2015 with my then employer, journalist Marcel Langedijk and photographer Jesaka Hizkia for the Cigaragua book. At the Joya de Nicaragua factory I saw cigars being packed that I never heard of, Fratello, and asked about them since I’m a cigar geek and new brands spark my interest. It turned out Joya de Nicaragua makes those cigars for Omar de Frias.


Last year at Intertabac I met Omar, a huge guy, who used to work for Nasa. I think he launched satellites into space with his bare hands, that’s how tall and strong he is. He handed me one of his Fratello cigars which I reviewed and this year at intertabac he handed me his second line, the Fratello Bianco, a 6×50 Teachers Pet aka Fratello Bianco II. The cigar is made with filler from the USA, Peru and Nicaragua, a Dominican binder and wrapper from Mexico.


While the name Bianco might make you think this will be a Connecticut Shade wrapper, as was my first thought when I heard the name, it is not. The Mexican San Andres wrapper is dark. There is some oil to the wrapper but it’s dry on the tough with a few veins. The unusual shaped white ring with red letters and silver details fits the dark wrapper. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar looks good, but I have to add that I can’t remember if I ever had a cigar made by Joya that didn’t have great construction. The cigar has a medium strong, vegetable like, aroma, cauliflower, broccoli kinda smell.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is perfect. I taste dry tobacco with a hint of dark chocolate. After lighting, with matchsticks this time, I taste chocolate. After half an inch some dry vegetable taste joins the chocolate as a supporting flavor. After a third I taste some cinnamon too. Halfway I taste chocolate, pepper and nuts. In the final third I taste wood, a bit charred, vanilla and pepper. The pepper grows near the end.


The draw is perfect and the white ash is firm. The white smoke is thick and medium full in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Oh Yes, oh yes. I used a nub tool, that’s how good it is.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Fratello, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Falto Lonsdale

A few years ago, like 7 or 8 years back, I got in touch with Luis Falto from Falto Cigars/La Garita Cigar Company and he shipped me a bunch of cigars in exchange for reviews. And he was very courteous as he send me 4 sticks of each blend & vitola he made. I reviewed quite a few of them but recently I noticed I missed a bunch of reviews on my blog, probably they got deleted when I tried to edit them or add a category and pressed a wrong button, it happened to other reviews too, usually a case of me being quicker than my internet connection and pressing ‘save’ before the edited data is actually on the screen. But that’s not important now, I’m just happy I have some Falto cigars left to revisit them and post a new review.


Falto started during the Cigar Boom in the 1990’s and the cigars are made by the oldest cigar factory in the Dominican Republic, La Aurora. Even though Falto uses the La Aurora factory he blends his cigar himself and he is using tobacco that is rare to La Aurora and his production is very limited, a choice he made consciously to ensure quality and to set the company apart from the rest. The lonsdale that I’m reviewing today measures 6 1/2×42 and is made from Dominican filler, Dominican binder and a Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador.


The cigar doesn’t come cello wrapped, I got them in sturdy ziplock bags, maybe the boxed cigars are cellophane wrapped but I’m not sure. The wrapper is a bit pale brown but has a little tooth, a little shine and a sparkle here and there from the minerals in the soils. The construction feels good and the head of the cigar is round with a pretty triple cap. The ring is beautiful, a thick golden outline and then a yellow and blue logo with a curly F. The aroma is pretty mild after all these years but I smell some hay.


I grabbed my xikar to cut the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and the cigar is quite spicy. After lighting the cigar, of course with my soft flame, I taste spices, fresh wood and some honey. After a few puffs, a quarter of an inch into the cigar I taste the fresh wood, honey, a spice mix and a hint of chocolate. After a third I taste nuts with a little cocoa in the aftertaste. The flavor then changes to a sharp wood with spices. The flavors are dry, a little harsh but not unpleasantly. After two thirds the cigar gets hot so I slow my smoking speed down to let the cigar cool a bit and prevent bitterness due to heat. I still taste the wood but now with some toast. The nuttiness is coming back but now with some pepper.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is almost white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume too but the further I get into the cigar the ticker and more it gets. The brittle wrapper rips in the beginning causing a bit of a issue with the burn but as soon as the ripped piece is burned off the burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I might, love the vitola, liked the flavors.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, Falto, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , , | 1 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: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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