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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: , , , , | Leave a comment

Orchant Selección by Drew Estate Heavyweight

This is the third size of the Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate and it’s called Heavyweight. The line is a limited edition, exclusively for C.Gars Ltd and will be sold online and in their Turmeaus shops. Managing Director for C.Gars Ltd is Mitchell Orchant and he’s been giving his name to hand selected boxes of Cuban cigars for a few years. And since 2014, a Non-Cuban limited edition is made for the Orchant Seleccion. In the past, Oliva, Davidoff, Regios, Alec Bradley and now the Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate. In three sizes, all with a 46 ring. The Lightweight was reviewed two days ago. Yesterday Ministry of Cigars reviewed the Mediumweight. And this is the review of the Heavyweight.

The cigars are made at the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua. That’s the same factory that’s used to make the highly-rated Liga Privada lines as well. For the blend, Drew Estate and Mitchel Orchant sourced tobaccos from Latin America, North America, and Southeast Asia. The wrapper is a stalk-cut Habano from the United States. Stalk Cut means that the leaves aren’t harvested separately but the whole tobacco plant is cut down and hung to dry. The binder comes from the South East Asian Indonesia, from the island of Sumatra. For the filler, some USA grown and some Indonesian tobacco was blended with tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The cigar looks great. It has a dark, oily wrapper, which looks like leather. It feels good when touched, with the right amount of bounce. No real veins visible so the cigar looks smooth, yet dangerous due to the color. The aroma is quite strong. It has hints of soil, wet soil, and barnyard. The cigar that we are smoking has the factory ring, not the rings that they will be sold with.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are raw tobacco with some spice and sweetness. In the beginning, there is coffee, leather, and salt. The flavors are quite mild. Even the pepper isn’t ‘in your face’. After a few puffs, the flavors get more pronounced. And that’s when some hay and cinnamon show up too. Slowly some leather shows up and the pepper is dominant. After a centimeter, the cigar turns to toast, leather, wood, and pepper. The toast, with some slight cinnamon, and lots of pepper are the dominant flavors now. The cigar leans heavy to the leather, toast and pepper part of the flavor wheel, yet with very mild citrus and sweetness to balance it out. Halfway the toast turns to coffee, the cinnamon disappears. Coffee with pepper and a slight leathery flavor. In the final third, a nutty flavor shows up under the pepper.

The smoke is super thick and plentiful as you can expect from Drew Estate. The draw is good, a little tighter than the two other Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate sizes. The ash is light-colored with darker smears. The burn is good. The cigar is full-bodied, full-flavored yet balanced. And it doesn’t feel as strong as the lightweight. The smoke time is two hours fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box

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Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Orchant Selección | Tags: , , , ,

Undercrown Flying Pig

This cigar was released in 2012, in The Netherlands. The name was Undercrown Flying Pig XRL. XLF stood for Extremely Rare Limited. Less than 200 boxes of 12 were released. And flew off the shelves like hotcakes. it was a release for Compaenen. Compaenen is a cooperation of independent tobacco shops in The Netherlands. They combine their buying power to negotiate exclusive releases for the participating shop. Pre-releases, private label cigars and limited editions such as the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR.

Two years later, Drew Estate released the Undercrown Flying Pig in the United States. And the cigar has been a hit there as well. And everywhere else where it’s been released. At first, it was a limited edition, now it’s a regular production cigar. The wrapper is a Mexican San Andres Maduro leaf. The binder is a stalk cut Habano from the Connecticut River Valley in the United States. The fillers come from Nicaragua and Brazil.

The cigar looks great. That shape, as we mentioned in the reviews of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and the Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig, is a favorite. And again, the color scheme of the ring fits the wrapper like a glove. The dark, matte, blue with the gold on that dark wrapper is a perfect match. The pigtail is a nice touch. The wrapper is leathery. The aroma is of dark chocolate and spices.

The cold draw is perfect. It has a flavor of raw tobacco. Once lit, it’s leather, chocolate, green herbs, and coffee. After a few puffs, leather and pepper are the main flavors. But on the background, there’s still faint dark chocolate as well. The flavors open up and become stronger. Pepper, wood, leather, chocolate, and hay. The flavors are spicy and full, with a mild buttery mouthfeel.

The draw is great and this is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Thick, white, full smoke. Enough to get a response from the fire department. The burn isn’t perfect, but also not bad. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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

Oliva Baptiste Toro

A friend gave me this cigar and said: “I think you will like this one”. He knows that I love Oliva cigars. And I had never heard of this one before, even though at my previous job we distributed the brand. And we were warehousing Oliva for all international accounts. Plus I’ve been to the factory twice. So my curiosity was sparked.

The cigar is made exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop. It’s a Nicaraguan filler, Nicaraguan binder, and Ecuador Habano wrapper cigar. The cigar is in between box-pressed and oval. The one that I smoked is a 5½x54 Toro and they are dirt cheap. If you buy them by the box, you only pay 4 USD per cigar, for a premium, hand-made stick and that’s a bundle price yet they come in boxes.

The wrapper is dark, a bit rustic with one big vein on the bottom front. The backside of the ring reminds me of the Oliva series V. The shape of the front too, but red instead of brown. The aroma has burned notes, charred woods with something floral. The shape is in between oval and box pressed. The construction feels good.

The cold draw is perfect with raw tobacco as the flavor. After lighting, I taste sweet coffee, strong though. There’s also soil and pepper. Soon a faint leather shows up too, with a minty freshness. After a few puffs, I taste roasted nuts, caramel, cinnamon, spicy green herbs, and some pepper. The leather lingers around on the background. After a third, I taste sweet grass with some leather and citrus. The caramel sweetness is the dominant flavor, very pleasant, smooth with some spice coming from green herbs and pepper on the background. The flavors are well balanced. I get some toast too. The flavors are mild creamy with a hint of vanilla. There’s a little bitterness on the tip of my tongue. Halfway I taste some oak, with pepper, roasted nuts, coffee beans, and caramel. The flavors slowly change to a more spice based flavor. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin with a little minty freshness. There’s also a little earthy flavor with some oak. The sweetness has disappeared, the pepper turned to white pepper. The cigar has a little oak, leather, pepper, sweetness, spices, nuts, coffee. So many flavors, all balanced and smooth.

This is a cigar that I could smoke every single day, over and over again.

The draw is great. The ash is quite dark and not firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium bodied, full flavored cigar. It just fits my flavor preferences like a glove. With a better-looking wrapper and a better burn, I could have scored a 95. I thoroughly enjoyed it for exactly two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I ordered a box before I was done typing this review.

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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , ,

Iron Shirt Robusto

I heard about this cigar at Intertabac 2018, and because of my friendship with Annemarie Schuster, I managed to mooch a few. Annemarie is the latest generation Schuster to be involved with the Schuster Cigars company, a 100-year-old family business from Bunde, Germany, where they still make dry cured shortfiller cigars. But Schuster cigars also have cigars made in Nicaragua and Honduras, plus they distribute a few brands in Germany and handle the international sales for RoMa Craft.


This Iron Shirt is a limited edition, made from a few bundles of rare tobacco, so it’s not limited just for the sake to make it limited. It’s limited because the tobacco was only available in a low quantity. The wrapper is Brazilian, the binder Nicaraguan and the filler is a mix of Brazilian and Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar only comes in a 5×50 vitola.


The cigar is something that sticks out in any humidor. The long pigtail, the closed foot, the silver shiny oddly shaped ring with the Iron Shirt name. Add that to the dark, oily wrapper with tooth and veins and the mystique of no other brand or information on the cigar. It’s something that would tickle my curiosity as a cigar smoker. The cigar feels evenly packed. There’s a medium strong hay flavor.


The perfect cold draw gives me a raisin flavor followed by some white pepper. After lighting, I taste a leather, cedar and earthy coffee flavor with a mild metallic undertone in the first puff. After a few puffs, I taste nuts with that metallic flavor, some lime, pepper, and leather too. After a centimeter, I taste leather with a vanilla sugar sweetness and dried leaves. The metallic flavor is gone. After a third, I taste leather and nuts, with some spices. The mouthfeel is quite dry. Halfway I taste spices, a little vanilla, leather and some spicy green herbs with grass. The herbs remind me of rocket salad, that kind of spice. In the final third, the leather is strong, with a mild citrus flavor and dried leaves. Red pepper flakes show up too, hot and spicy. Near the end, I taste the metallic flavor again, with pepper and nuts.

The draw and the smoke are almost perfect. The right amount of resistance in the draw, nice thick smoke coming from the cigar. The ash is white, which indicates that the tobacco was grown on potassium-rich soil. This is a full flavored, full bodied cigar. No subtlety, just in your face flavors which I like. The smoke time is one hour and fifty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I wish German webshops would ship internationally *Dalay Zigarren does, but they don’t have this in stock anymore*

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Categories: 92, Iron Shirt, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Indian Motorcycle Maduro Toro

Indian Motorcycles is part of House of Debonaire, owned by Philip Zanghi. He entered the cigar business in the mid-1990s with his business partner Rocky Patel but in 2002, he sold his shares to Patel and focussed on other parts of the tobacco industry. In 2012, Zanghi returned with Debonaire cigars and in 2015 he was able to purchase the rights to Indian Tabac from Patel and released the Indian Motorcycle Cigars.

 

Made at De Los Reyes in the Dominican Republic.

The cigar is made with American grown Connecticut Broadleaf as a wrapper, a Dominican binder and tobaccos from Central America as filler. As a side note, Zanghi’s father used to own the Indian Motorcycle trademark for a while in the past, so there is family history to the brand. And it seems fitting that Zanghi relaunched the Indian name into the cigar industry.

 

The cigar looks good, a dark leathery wrapper, which also feels leathery. The construction seems flawless. The wrapper is beautiful, although the binder has a few bumps that you can see underneath the dark wrapper. The ring is one of the best in the business with a feel that fits the Indian Motorcycle brand. A faded, beige and yellow ring with the Indian face on a metallic red background. It just stands out and I love it. The cigar also has a strong aroma of animals, pepper, and hay.

 

The cold draw is flawless and reminds me of Dutch chewy spiced honey cake rolls. After lighting, I taste leather and soil, with a little bit of the ginger that I had in the cold draw. On the background, there’s a faint metallic and citrus flavor with cane sugar sweetness. But those flavors are mild. After a centimeter, the metallic flavor and the leather are leading, with some caramel and gingerbread on the background. After a third, I taste spice, leather, some wood, and pepper. The mouthfeel is quite dry. Halfway I taste leather, caramel, dark chocolate, and some hay. Pepper is slowly getting stronger. Somewhat later that pleasant gingerbread returns too. The pepper with the gingerbread and cinnamon are the start of the final third. The finale is pepper and wood

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The draw is close to perfect with a straight burn and white dense ash. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume at first but becomes thicker and fuller along the way. This is a medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a smoke time of two hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box

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Categories: 92, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Indian Motorcycles | Tags: , , ,

Rocky Patel Tavicusa Robusto

I visited Nicaragua twice, two years in a row. Once with a friend, just visiting cigar factories to see how the process takes place and to learn about tobacco growing, drying, fermenting and rolling cigars. In a week time, we learned a lot, yet we only scratched the surface. And we only got to see a few factories, Oliva, Drew Estate, Joya de Nicaragua and My Father Cigars.

A year later, I went with a journalist, photographer and cigar distributor to write a book. And we visited the mentioned factories plus La Zona, Padron, A.J. Fernandez and Rocky Patel’s Tabacalera Villa Cuba SA aka Tavicusa. And that’s where this cigar is blended, rolled and named after to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the small factory in Esteli.

The moment I saw the cigar, I knew it was a Rocky Patel. The label and typography gave that away immediately. The white with blue and gold ring has the TAVICUSA name in Roman style letters, the secondary ring is blue with white and gold and has the RP logo. The wrapper is dark, with a few veins, leathery. The triple cap looks great and the cigar feels well packed. The aroma is strong, barnyard, stable, that kind of work.

I used a butterfly cutter to cut the cigar.

The cold draw has a strong milk chocolate flavor with raisin and dry tobacco. After lighting, I taste that chocolate with some earthy flavors. I taste a mild peanut flavor too with some pepper. It’s actually more peanut butter than peanut, sticky and creamy. Then the cigar turns to a mildly sweet, more vegetal flavor profile with a bit of leather. After an inch, I taste dry leather, some nutmeg, and a metallic sweetness with some mild pepper. The sweetness gains some strength, just as the pepper, and that peanut butter returns for a short few puffs. After a third, I taste some nuttiness too. Halfway its pepper and sweetness, with some mild nuts and leather. Some herbal flavors show up too. I also taste some oak. The pepper is strong in the final third, very strong, with a little sweetness to go with it and some wood.

The ash is white, relatively firm. The smoke is decent, could be a bit thicker though. The burn is great and the draw is flawless. This cigar, with a smoke time of two hours and thirty minutes, is full bodied and full flavored

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

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

Anoranzas Robusto

I had to google this cigar and learned that the line was released in 2012 by Miami Cigar & Co, that part I knew as Barry Stein from the Cigar Authority used to work for Miami Cigar & Co and gave me a shirt of the brand once when I visited him in Florida. But since the Miami Cigar & Co website doesn’t mention the brand anymore I think they are discontinued.


What I learned was that this line, who’s name is something like nostalgia in Spanish, is a tweaked version of the Nestor Miranda Grand Reserve 2011. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, made at My Father Cigars, from all Nicaraguan tobacco, including a double binder and a Habano Oscuro wrapper. I don’t know how I got this cigar and how old it is, but it’s a few years old a least.


The box pressed cigar has a dark chocolate wrapper, slightly oily and I have to look closely to see the seems. The ring is bold, white with gold and some green at the bottom, simple classic decorations and the name written in golden letters and a hint of green. The cigar is slightly box pressed with a flattened head. The construction feels good. I smell a medium strong toasted aroma with some barnyard.


After cutting the cigar I find a perfect cold draw. I taste some spices. After lighting I taste coffee with some mint and nutmeg with a velvet and creamy feeling in my mouth. The nutmeg, some citrus and pepper replace the coffee, the minty flavor only exists in the aftertaste now. The pepper slowly grows. There is also a sugar sweetness. Halfway I taste cocoa too, with some wood and a mild pepper. In the final third the nutmeg is back with some cinnamon. The finale has the cocoa with pepper.


The draw is fantastic. The color of the smoke is light gray, medium full in volume, medium in thickness. The ash is gray with a yellow brown touch. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I could find them

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

Saga Short Tales Tomo VI

To be honest, in my early days as a cigar aficionado, I smoked some cigars from the Reyes family and I never liked those. Then I smoked Puros de Hostos, a private blend made at the De Los Reyes factory owned by the Reyes and I loved that one. Then Indian Motorcycle and Debonaire and those are great cigars too. So my prejudice against the factory has disappeared.


I got this Saga Short Tales Tomo VI at an event in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The Saga brand honors the story of the 5 generations Reyes working in the family and the Short Tales is a series of cigars, all with different blends that commemorate the tobacco and the cigars. The cigars are packed in boxes that look like books.


The cigar is almost a 6×60, a size I don’t particularly care about, yet somehow, the cigar doesn’t look that big and thick. Maybe it’s the dark, oily wrapper, with the big vein which makes it look like a prison-hardened criminal from a Hollywood B movie. Maybe it’s the golden ring, with the brown dots and brown letters Saga, accompanied by a green ring with golden squares and golden lettering saying Short Tales, but the cigar looks only slightly bigger than a regular robusto, yet the 5½x58 is correct as proven by our Heretics measuring tool. The cigar feels good, pretty tightly packed but no plugs of soft spots. The aroma is strong, it’s like walking into a stable full of horses.


The cold draw is great, with a dark chocolate and pepper taste to it. Straight from the start, the main flavor is a strong coffee flavor with some pepper soon to be followed by some caramel. There’s also a leather taste. After a centimeter, I taste some dark chocolate with the leather and a little spice. After an inch, I still taste the leather, but now with pepper and an earthy flavor. The bittersweet flavor of dark chocolate is still lingering around. After a third, I taste hay. A few puffs later I taste nuts too, walnuts. Some wood shows up too, reminds me of oak. The final third starts leathery again, with pepper and herbs. The walnut is getting stronger. Near the end, the pepper grows a lot in strength.


The ash is quite dark, yet firm. The draw is great, not too loose, not too tight. The smoke is medium thick and full. The cigar is full flavored, medium-full bodied. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? I want a box

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Categories: 92, De Los Reyes, Dominican cigars, Saga | Tags: , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project 52C

I’m guessing the C in the name stands for Chisel, although brand owner Meier & Dutch talkes about a wedge, and the 52 refers to the ring gauge. Maybe they cannot use the name chisel because it’s trademarked by La Flor Dominicana, who invented the shape and to my knowledge even have the patent to the shape.


The cigar, a 5×52 figured, is made with Nicaraguan Habano and ligero tobacco in the filler, a Nicaraguan Habano under and Ecuadorian Habano ligero as a wrapper. It was released together with the Little Devil and the Phalanx in march of 2012.


The wrapper looks smoother than the other side projects, less dry with more oil. It also looks like the head is a lighter shade than the foot. The shape is great and the cigar is well finished, the rings fit the wrapper.  The medium barnyard aroma is quite pleasant.


I cut a little slice of the chisel like cigar. The cold draw is a little tight, with a spicy raw tobacco aroma. After lighting the cigar is earthy with coffee and leather. After a centimeter I taste love licorice with some sweetness. The flavors change to earthy with cumin, burner and a little cinnamon like spices. The flavors are mellow and balanced. Halfway I’m getting a very unsuspected and unusual flavor that reminds me most of thick potato chips. That flavor disappears quickly and I taste pepper and sweetness. The final third is herbal and spicy with powdered sugar.


The draw is good. The white smoke is medium thick and full. The light colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

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