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HR Signature Belicoso

HR Signature Belicoso. The Robaina name is legendary in the cigar industry. And all because of one man, Alejandro Robaina. The only person who ever had a brand named in his honor by Habanos, the marketing and distributing arm of the Cuban cigar industry. That’s how famous and well-respected he was. Now, he was not a cigar roller, he was a tobacco farmer. But he made the best tobacco in Cuba, and not just occasionally, but year after year, decade after decade. And his grandson Hiroshi Robaina is keeping the family tradition alive.


But Hiroshi took it a step further. He is also growing tobacco outside of Cuba. And in 2014, he created his own brand. Made in Esteli, with Nicaraguan and Ecuadorian tobaccos. The HR brand took off, then went silent for a bit but is now back full force with a new team and a new company name: La Familia Robaina. This HR Signature Belicoso is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder. The wrapper comes from Ecuador, and it’s a sun-grown Habano.


The cigar has a nice Colorado to Colorado Maduro colored wrapper. The closed foot makes the cigar look even better. The ring is a carbon copy of the Cuban Vegas Robaina ring, brown and gold. But this time it says HR instead or VR. The wrapper feels old looks leathery. The construction seems good. The cigar has the aroma of wood and hay.


The cold draw is good, with a leathery, spicy raw tobacco flavor. After lighting the cigar gives plenty of pepper, spice, and grass. The flavors then turn a little burned. Then it turns to wood, soil, and pepper with a hint of chocolate. The cigar gets more power, more pepper, and some sweetness. And then, in the final part of the first third, it’s sweet coffee. The second third starts with an amazing combination of coffee, leather, sweetness, spices, and pepper. In the final third, the cigar gets more wood and leather. All with a nice dose of Nicaraguan pepper.


The draw is good. The burn is great and the cigar produces the right amount of smoke. This cigar is full-flavored and full-bodied. The ash is white and dense. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Most definitely

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Categories: 92, HR, La Corona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Flor de Selva Year of the Rat Toro

Flor de Selva Year of the Rat Toro. A few years back, Davidoff started with an annual limited edition based on the Chinese zodiac calendar. And several companies followed, including Maya Selva for her Flor de Selva brand. We know of at least 7 companies that release cigars based on the Chinese zodiac calendar now. But being born in the year of the rat, married to someone with Chinese heritage and living in South East Asia, this year is special. That’s why I will be reviewing several ‘Year of the Rat’ cigars this year.


The Flor de Selva Year of the Rat is a 6×52 Toro. It retails for 19 euro in Germany, Europe’s largest cigar market. The cigar is made from tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua. The wrapper comes from Honduras. The binder is Nicaraguan. And the filler contains tobacco from both countries.

The cigar has two rings. The simple faded yellow and greenish Flor de Selva ring. But the foot ring sets the cigar apart from the rest of the Flor de Selva lines. It’s red, the Chinese color of prosperity. And it combines the image of the rat with Mayan hieroglyphics, merging Honduran and Chinese cultures together in this cigar. The wrapper is Colorado colored, with a sharp thin vein on the side. It isn’t the best looking cigar out there, but it’s also not the worst looking cigar. The construction feels great. The nose is nice. A warm aroma of hay and wood, medium strong.


The cold draw is nice, with a nice tobacco flavor. After lighting it’s a mellow and sweet coffee with soil flavor. There is some toast and a nice mix of gingerbread spices as well. The flavors are mellow, smooth and well balanced. There’s a slow evolution to cedar with the spices, toast, and sweetness. The aftertaste has a hint of white pepper. The sweetness is pure honey. The mouthfeel is creamy. Slowly the pepper gains more strength but the honey toast with cedar remains the base flavor for the cigar. In the second third, leather shows up and it’s a beautiful combination with the growing white pepper, toast, spices, and honey. In the final third, the cigar gets stronger, with more pepper, leather, and wood. The toast is dissolving, just like the honey. And the balance starts to disappear as well. And then the sweetness returns. The cigar now has a flavor profile of pepper, sweetness, and cedar with leather.


The draw is phenomenal. The light gray ash is a bit flaky. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is good in volume but could be a bit thicker for a higher score. This is a medium-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The balance was spot on in the first two thirds, with a silky smooth flavor profile. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive but I wouldn’t mind a few more
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Categories: 92, Flor de Selva, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , ,

Tatuaje Fausto IT MM19

Tatuaje Fausto IT MM19. This is a release exclusively for Italy, in a limited production of 4000 cigars. And this is the second year in a row that Italy received an exclusive Tatuaje. The Fausto line saw the light in 2011, even though the blend was released as a store exclusive limited edition in 2009. Pete Johnson created the Tatuaje T110, a short robusto, for a shop in Hawaii. The T stands for thermonuclear and it was the strongest Tatuaje ever made. The cigar became such a hype that the limited edition turned into a regular production line with the Fausto name. But the T110 size never re-appeared with this blend.


The Fausto blend consists of Nicaraguan filler and binder. The regular production Fausto sports an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper but for both the Italian exclusive releases, Johnson went for a Mexican San Andres wrapper.

The cigar looks fantastic. A very dark Mexican San Andres wrapper with a nice triple cap. The red & black Tatuaje Fausto ring is the main ring. The secondary ring is a ring that Tatuaje uses for the Mexican Experiment and other limiteds. White with red and green. The two rings don’t match together, which is aesthetically not appealing. The Fausto IT MM19 feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, pepper with barnyard and charred wood.


The cold draw is good. Except for some pepper, the cold draw doesn’t have much flavor. With the reputation of Fausto, you’d expect a punch in the face but the cigar starts mellow. Smooth coffee, almost like a latte with a little bit of spice and pepper. After a few puffs, there is some citrus, leather, spice, toast, and pepper. The cigar then evolves with a little more sweetness and dried grass. Slowly the cigar transforms into a leathery, peppery cigar with some wood and spices. After a third, the cigar has a sweetness that is hard to describe, almost vegetal. There are pepper and leather as well. At this point, the strength of the cigar isn’t hidden anymore. It starts to live up the reputation. Halfway it’s pepper with wood and leather. And there is also a little chocolate in the background.


The draw is flawless. The light gray ash is dense and beautiful. The burn is straight. The Tatuaje Fausto isn’t a smoke bomb, but the cigar produces a nice amount of medium thick smoke. It’s a full-bodied cigar, but because of the balance, it doesn’t feel that strong in the first third. But then the power really picks up. This is a full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I could

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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , ,

Skel Ton Robusto

A few months ago, we saw a picture of a cigar on Facebook. And that picture intrigued us. The ring of the cigar was the most unique we had seen in a while, and one of the best we had ever seen. It turned out that it was a cigar by a German aficionado, Tonio Neugebauer. He released the cigars in 2016. Ministry of Cigars published about the cigars last month. Neugebauer and Han Hilderink, owner of the Whisky & Cigar Lounge in Gronau, decided to send us a sampler. As cigar nerds, we are excited to smoke new cigars so here we go.


The cigars are made in Nicaragua, at one of the factories of Plasencia. The cigars are made with an H-Blend wrapper from Ecuador. Two binders are used, one from Indonesia and one from Nicaragua. And the filler comes from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. There are only three sizes available. Those are a 6×44 Corona, a 5×54 Robusto, and a 6×52 Toro. For this review, we are smoking the 5×54 Robusto. The retail price is very reasonable at €6,90.


This cigar scores points on the looks. The ring is amazing, high-quality gold printing, a very detailed skeleton. And a cloth foot ring with the test ‘live your dreams’. 100 points for the ring alone. The wrapper looks great too, Colorado to Colorado Maduro in color. Evenly colored with thin, sharp veins. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is deep manure, earthy smell. It’s medium-strong.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the cold draw is quite dry, dry cedar, hay, and raisin. The first puffs give me that dry flavor again, earthy, leathery with coffee. There’s also a pleasant, spiced sweetness and freshness which comes close to anise. To all changes to gingerbread spices with a mild sweetness and some citrus. Combined with cedarwood. The sweetness gets stronger, it’s like powdered sugar. The spices and the wood are still noticeable too. The mouthfeel is dry. After a third, it’s sweet coffee again. Halfway the flavors are a mix of leather, grass, spices and a little pepper. All with a pleasant dose of sweetness and a little citrus acidity. In the final third, the wood returns and it’s strong. With pepper and leather. But still smooth and balanced. Coffee returns too, all with sweetness and even a little custard creaminess. The gingerbread spices, pepper, sweetness, and wood are the dominant flavors in the last part of the cigar.


The draw is great. And the ash is white and firm. The burn is razor-sharp. The smoke is thick and white. This cigar is medium-bodied, medium to full-flavored with a pleasant smoothness. The flavors are balanced all the way through the cigar. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Skel Ton, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig

Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig. Ever since the launch of the Flying Pig series, the cigars have been extremely popular. So popular that they became a regular production cigar. It started with the Liga Privada #9 Flying Pig, then the Liga Privada T52 Flying pig and in 2012, Drew Estate released a bigger version. That’s the Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig. A 5⅜x60 version of the Flying Pig with a blend of his own. That’s why it’s part of the Unico series. Unico cigars are Liga Privada blends, tweaks from the #9 and T52 blends but still belong to the Liga Privada family.


Nowadays, almost all Drew Estate blends come out with a flying pig. The three different Undercrowns have Flying Pigs. I reviewed the Undercrown Shade, Sun Grown and Maduro Flying Pigs. But there are Flying Pigs for the Kentucky Fire Cured series and Herrera Esteli blends as well. But there is only one Feral Flying Pig, all the others are much smaller than this Feral Flying Pig. There’s only one illusive Feral Flying Pig Basher, which is a regular Feral Flying Pig with a different ring. That one was released for the wedding of Marvin Samel, one of the Drew Estate founders.

The cigar looks great. The shape is amazing and the pigtail finishes the cigar in style. A thick, oily, toothy, Colorado Maduro colored wrapper with a simple yet clear ring. Just a simple white with light gray backdrop for a dark gray FERAL print. Simple, effective, stylish. On the back of the ring, the Liga Privada logo is printed. There are also a few veins on the backside of the cigar. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is medium in strength. Dark wood, sawdust, and some dark chocolate aromas are coming from the cigar.

The cold draw is great. The flavors from the cold draw are raw tobacco and dark chocolate. At first, the mouthfeel is dry. The bitterness of coffee and soil, with some acidity. The coffee gets stronger while the mouthfeel gets a bit creamy. The Nicaraguan pepper shows up too. Once the burn passes the thinner part of the foot, other flavors start to emerge. The coffee and pepper remain, but there are hints of wood, leather, spices, and sweetness as well. After an inch, a metallic flavor shows up with leather and pepper. The flavors then evolve to oak, leather, tobacco, and coffee. And a slight hint of chocolate in the background. After a third, a mild sweet candy flavor is noticeable for a little while. A rare flavor that I never tasted in cigars before. It’s hard to pinpoint what it resembles, but puffy rice candy comes close. That flavor disappears soon though. Halfway it’s back to espresso, leather and some sweetness. The coffee, leather, and pepper remain the same until the end. The sweetness slowly turns into marzipan.

The draw is great. And the smoke is Drew Estate famous. Thick, full, copious amounts. The burn is pretty straight. The light gray ash is quite firm, yet a bit flaky. This is a full-flavored, full-bodied cigar. But balanced, so it’s not overpowering. The smoke time is four hours exactly

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

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Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Dalay Affentanz Affezibel Belicoso

Dalay Affentanz Affezibel Belicoso. Dalay Zigarren is a German cigar shop. It’s located in Saarbrucken. It’s a La Casa del Habano but also a cigar shop with non-Cuban cigars. And they have their own distribution plus lines of cigars. In 2017, two limited edition cigars in the Dalay range showed up. The Dalay Affentanz Affezibel and the Dalay Affentanz Hell. Made in the Dominican Republic, blended by Michael Grossklos Jr. That’s the shade version of the Affentanz. This is the review of the broadleaf Affentanz.

The cigars are made at Tabacalera Zauberberg. The later Dalay limited edition release was also made at that factory. The blend leans on Dominican tobacco for filler and binder. With some Brazilian in the filler as well. The wrapper is American grown Connecticut Broadleaf. And it’s oily, as the cellophane already started to color. Even though the cigars are less than two years old.

The cigar looks great. A rustic looking wrapper yet velvet to the touch. There are a few veins, but it fits the darkness of the leaf. Affentanz means monkey dance in German, and the white ring has an image of banana peels. And a monkey face on the back. The secondary ring says limited edition in German, 2017 and Sauberberg. The cigar feels well constructed. And the aroma is strong, very strong. Dirt, manure, and mud are what comes to mind.

The cold draw is great. The cigar gives a raw tobacco flavor with pepper and sweetness. Once lit, it’s all about spicy coffee. A few puffs later, the leather shows up too. The mouthfeel is quite dry at this stage. There’s also a nice sugar sweetness. The flavors then bounce from grass to leather, spice, sweet, and pepper. All balanced, all smooth but with a pleasant bite. It has character. After a third, it’s dry wood with chocolate. Still with a dry mouthfeel. The flavors remain in the same spectrum, but with a lot of dynamics. Sometimes leather is leading, other times it is a tobacco flavor. Then wood. All with a nice balance. There’s a mild pepper on the background. And the flavors are all nicely toasted. Including the strong chocolate flavor that shows up every now and then. The mouthfeel changes to creamy. In the final third, the pepper picks up a lot.

The draw is great. The burn is razor sharp. The ash is white and has the shape of a stack of dimes. The smoke is good, a nice thick, voluminous white smoke. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The flavors are balanced, rounded and smooth. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box
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Categories: 92, Dalay, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Zauberberg | Tags: , , , ,

Illusione Rothchildes

Illusione Rothchildes. Dion Giolito launched this cigar in early 2013. And it was one of the first Illusione projects coming from Nicaragua. Not the first, but it was the start of a massive shift from Honduran Illusione cigars to Nicaraguan Illusione cigars. And nowadays, most Illusiones are made at TABSA Tabacalera Valle de Jalapa SA. That’s the factory owned by Aranorsa Leaf. They are big tobacco growers and cigar manufacturers. Not only for their own brands, such as Casa Fernandez, but also for others including Illusione.


The Illusione Rothchildes comes in a 4½x50 size and is reasonably priced. It’s all Nicaraguan filler and binder. The wrapper is a dark, Mexican, San Andres Maduro wrapper. A few years ago, Illusione released a Connecticut Shade offspring in the same size. And also only available in cabinets of 50, just like the original.


The cigar looks good. Even though it was purchased less than a year ago, the cellophane is already golden. That shows the amount of oil in the wrapper. The wrapper is dark, toothy and kinda scary. Intimidating because of the darkness and the pimples. With a nice, simple, classic ring. The shape is good, yet the cap is sloppy. The aroma is strong. Wet soil, wood, and charcoal.


The cold draw is good. It has flavors of raw tobacco, sweetness, and spice. Straight from the start, strong yet sweet espresso. With toast, spices, and pepper. The sweetness is quite strong. After a few puffs, some leather and grass join the flavor wheel. The mouthfeel is slightly buttery. The pepper and sweetness become the predominant flavors. Then suddenly the pepper is gone. The cigar is sweet with leather, toast, and spices. Halfway, the cigar has a nice floral and mild chocolate flavor, balanced with some pepper and spices. Then wood shows up, with the spices. The floral flavor is a nice finish, and the pepper gives it a nice kick.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is thick and amazing in volume. The ash is white, yet not to firm. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is one hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m thinking of a 50 cab box.

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Categories: 92, Illusione, Nicaraguan cigars, TABSA | Tags: , , , ,

Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer

Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer. Last February, Ministry of Cigars broke the news that Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust would make their first international store exclusive for Cigaragua. He would make 200 boxes of 13 Bullet Head Gordos called Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer. The name of the cigar is a tribute to the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, where Cigaragua is located. And citizens from Amsterdam are Amsterdammers. The cigars were released yesterday at a launching event, which was Steve Saka’s first-ever international event for Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.

The wrapper for this cigar is grown in Mexico in the same way as Japanese fruit growers grow their crops. The bottom leaves are removed, forcing more nutrients to the top. That creates bolder wrappers. The binder comes from Ecuador and the fillers from Nicaragua. The cigar is made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

The cigar has a Celtic looking ring and a cedar sleeve. The cedar sleeve says Sin Comprimoso but that’s all the info. If you don’t know anything about this cigar, the ring and packaging won’t tell you anything either. The bullet head looks great and the wrapper is dark and smooth. It’s actually quite intimidating to see. The cigar is also slightly box pressed. It feels good, with the right amount of bounce. The aroma has hints of charred wood.

The cigar starts out with a very unusual wooden flavor, with some sweetness. And some barnyard flavors, soil. The flavors evolve to more wet soil with some orange peel. It changes to burned wood. It burns a little on the tongue, a slight harshness but it’s not unpleasant. Some dark chocolate shows up too, and it makes the mouthfeel a bit creamy. The burned wood stays the predominant flavor in the first part. After a third, I taste some peanuts with the burned wood. Halfway it’s all soil with almond paste or marzipan sweetness. Rustic is a great word to describe this cigar. The sweetness gets stronger. The burned wood remains the main flavor, but now with nuts. Walnut and hazelnut. And finally some pepper too. There’s some vanilla in the retrohale.

The ash is beautifully white and firm. The burn isn’t quite perfect but doesn’t need correcting yet. The draw is amazing, perfectly rolled. The smoke is good. This cigar is full-flavored, heavy flavors but in fact, this is a medium-bodied cigar. The smoke time is one hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it, it’s unique for sure. But I don’t like the size, so no.

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

Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve Maduro Robusto

Years ago, Rocky Patel released the Olde World Reserva. Both in a Maduro and a Corojo blend. Both were Honduran cigars, and both became very popular. So popular that Patel ran out of tobacco. And there wasn’t enough tobacco of the right quality available, so the cigars disappeared.

Last year, the cigars returned. This time the Corojo was made in Honduras, the Maduro made at Rocky’s factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The blend was tweaked, it now contained Costa Rican and Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler, instead of being an all Nicaraguan filler. The binder is Nicaraguan, the wrapper is a Costa Rican Maduro. I smoked the 5½x54 robusto.

The wrapper is dark, very dark. I notice a lack of oil. The wrapper is also quite rough. There is a huge contrast between the darkness of the wrapper and the white and golden ring. The ring is also very detailed, which contrasts the rough wrapper. I like those contrasts. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is very strong. It reminds me of hay and charred wood, two days after a fire.

The cold draw is perfect, with a sharp, strong and spicy flavor of tobacco. After lighting, I taste a strong espresso flavor. There’s also some sweetness but the flavors are quite unique though. There is clearly a raw, fermented tobacco flavor in there as well, and spicy herbs. Not really peppery, but spicy herbs. After a few puffs, the flavors change to tobacco with almond and soil. They then evolve to more pepper, roasted coffee beans, and some chocolate sweetness. In the second third, I taste that earthiness with a lot of pepper and some Maduro sweetness. In the final third, I taste some wood, leather, earthiness and a lot of pepper. All with a mild Maduro sweetness. In the aftertaste, I get some minty freshness.

The draw is fantastic and the cigar produces a lot of smoke. The ash is salt and pepper colored. The burn needed to be corrected once. This cigar is full bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes!

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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , ,

Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Habano

A few days ago, we smoked and reviewed the Jas Sum Kral Toothpick 2.0 Maduro. This is a medium filler from Tabacalera Aragon and Jas Sum Kral. It uses small pieces of tobacco in combination with long leaves, creating a medium filler. Or Cuban sandwich as it is called as well. The cigar comes in one size only, a 5×50 robusto. But in two blends, that Maduro version and a Habano version.

This is a review of the Habano Toothpick 2.0.

The blend for both cigars is exactly the same. But the wrapper is not. This Habano version has a Habano wrapper from Ecuador. And these two cigars are exactly the cigars to give to somebody who claims that cigar wrappers are only aesthetic and don’t do anything for the flavor. Because they do, and when they smoke these two cigars, they will know


The wrapper isn’t even in color. It has a gradually changing color from dark to lighter, which is clearly seen around the edging where the wrapper overlaps. It looks like a thin wrapper, with clear, fine veins. The cigar feels good, looks good and this time, the white part of the ring is on top. That and the lighter shade of wrapper indicates that this is the Habano version. The cigar has a leathery smell, like a horse saddle. That combined with hay and wood.

The cold draw is a bit tight and spicy. I taste pepper on my lips. After lighting, I taste leather, wood, soil with pepper and sweetness. Soon the sweetness turns to sugar, with wood and pepper. After a third, I taste hazelnuts and chocolate, almost Nutella like. With pepper. Very nice and flavorful. The cigar than evolves to more pepper, less chocolate. Some wood is noticeable too, with leather.

The draw is a bit on the tight side. The smoke is a little thin because of that. The burn is great though, as well as the ash. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. There is a nice evolution in the cigar. The smoke time is one hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have a box of 50, so, for the time being, I have enough stock.

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

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