93

RomaCraft Wunder|Lust Robusto

Back in early 2014, on a Flor de Cana infused night at the infamous club Cigar Zone in Esteli, Nicaragua my friend Pedro Gomez Rodriguez from Drew Estate introduced me to a friend of his, Skip Martin from Roma Craft, a company that was very under the radar for me back then, I mean read about the atlatl but that was about it. Skip gave me one of his cigars, the La Campaña de Panamá Sombrero, and instantly I was a fan. Little over a year later I returned to Esteli and contacted Skip, but he was in the hospital in Managua and wouldn’t return to Esteli in the time I was there. But on my last night in Nicaragua I was staying in a hotel in Managua and much to both Skip’s and my surprise I ran into Skip, his girlfriend and his daughter the moment I walked out my room. It goes without saying we ended up smoking a few great cigars that night.


Later that year Skip send me a message he was coming to Amsterdam and Germany the last few weeks of the year and he would arrive in Amsterdam on the 24th. Now I live very close to Amsterdam so that evening I picked Skip and his beautiful girlfriend up, we went for dinner and smoked a RomaCraft Wunderlust pre-release cigar. The next day his German distributer, Annemarie Schuster, joined us and since it was impossible to find a restaurant and a place to smoke on Christmas we ended up with takeaway Chinese at my place and spending the night smoking cigars in my man-cave. It was probably the best Christmas ever, not spending it with an official dinner at the in laws but just chilling with 3 like minded people enjoying a few drinks and a lot of cigars.


And Skip left some Wunderlust pre release cigars for me to enjoy.

Now there has been some talks about the cigar on the internet, mostly about the undisclosed filler. Skip admitted using tobacco from the storage of the Schuster family, that not only distribute premium cigars on the German market (next to RomaCraft they also distribute La Flor Dominicana and Casa Turrent) but they also produce dry cigars for several European countries, for the filler and rumors are that he is using Cuban tobacco for it, something Skip doesn’t admit or deny. The binder and wrapper are no secret, as a binder Skip uses a Indonesian Besuki and the wrapper is a Brazilian Mata Fina.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark, oily and with some tooth, the triple cap is one of the most beautiful I have seen and the construction feels flawless. The aroma is a deep, characterful manure aroma, medium strong. The cigar has the pre-release ring, and I must admit, I haven’t seen pictures of the cigar without the ‘pre-release’ lettering, so I can only rate this ring. Its a simple ring like you see more often at pre-release cigars but instead of a simple piece of paper RomaCraft decided to go for a better quality of paper with, if you look closely, a structure with millimeter thick squares. On the back they printed the RomaCraft logo in black and on the front it ways Wunder|Lust pre-release. For those that wonder what the name is about, its a mix between the german “wunder” what means wonder and wanderlust.

I punched the cigar to find a good cold draw with a dark chocolate, mint and raisin flavor. Now if I would do this cigar Skip Martin style I would simply write ‘I taste well fermented tobacco’ but I’ll do it my way. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame and taste coffee with a little citrus. There is a toast flavor too, a little harsh but in a pleasant way. Pretty quickly the cigar becomes peppery with a hint of mild chocolate. Halfway it’s more of the same pepper, not overpowering though, with a little citrus and some leather. And the leather could be the reason why people suspect Cuban tobacco being used. The leather is getting stronger and I also taste some toast, the pepper is still there.
The smoke is thick and white, there is a lot of it too. The draw is perfect. The dense ash is very white. The burn is razorsharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and 10 minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Only for sale in Germany, so I guess I’ll have to step in the car soon and drive to Cigarworld in Dusseldorf or the Whisky & Cigar Salon in Gronau and get myself a box

Score: 93
93

Other RomaCraft reviews:
09-13-2015 RomaCraft La Campaña de Panama Sombrero

Categories: 93, Nica Sueno, Nicaraguan cigars, RomaCraft | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova

Mid september 2015 George Sosa from Alec Bradley came to The Netherlands for the Dutch Big Smoke, which is not related to the American Big Smokes hosted by Cigar Aficionado due to our laws, but at the Dutch Big Smoke 10 cigars were introduced to the Dutch market. We as the Alec Bradley distributer decided to go for the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova, a 5×50 Nicaraguan puro produced in Honduras. I picked George up from the airport and his first question was if I ever smoked the Tempus Nicaragua. My answer was no, he pulled one out of his bag and we lit up. Straight away I loved the cigar, without thinking twice I told George it was the best Alec Bradley I had ever smoked, it was a great fit for my palate.


The Big Smoke was very successful and the days after the event we drove around, visiting accounts and smoking nothing but the Tempus Nicaragua, even on the long drive to Dortmund, to the Intertabac trade show we lit those babies up.  So its safe to say that this isn’t a review where I don’t know what to expect, but more of a review where I wonder how high the score will be. The cigar has a nice dark and rustic looking wrapper, you know its not going to be a mild cigar just by looking at it. The construction feels good and the cigar has a beautiful triple cap. The ring is exactly the same as on the Tempus and the Tempus Maduro but in a different color, just like the Tempus and Tempus Maduro differ in color. The foot ring is brown with golden lining and white letters Nicaragua while the regular ring, which is quite big has the red & white Alec Bradley logo with crown surrounded by silver and golden circles, a black banner with the Alec Bradley name and a brown bottom with beautiful Roman style lettering saying Tempus. The gold and silver really pop, beautiful printing quality. The aroma is medium strong, but it has a deep and pleasant aroma of a barnyard, horses and a little bit of dark chocolate.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, which is perfect, gives me a little spice and raisin. I used my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar. The first puffs are a full coffee, a little bitter, with some cocoa and spices. After an inch I taste spices, herb and a very mild citrus. Soon after I taste a spicy, pleasant bitterness with a little sugar like sweetness. Halfway it’s all spices and herbs with a little sweet chocolate. A few puffs later the cigar becomes meaty, not a meat flavor but a feeling. After two thirds it’s a beautiful mix of spices, sweetness, a little pepper, well balanced. Near the end I also taste nuts with the mentioned flavors and a mild acidic citrus flavor.


The draw is great, smooth and easy. The smoke is thick, luscious and abundant. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a little bit crooked but it corrects itself quick. The strength I would call medium plus, both in body and in flavor.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this was my last one, need to get a new box.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok Toro

I am fluent in two languages, Dutch and English, I can manage myself in German and I can handle most of the Spanish cigar names like Antiguedad, Sobremesa, Guayacan, Mi Querida and other Spanish names but leave it to that Riste Riatevski guy to mess that up by naming his cigars in Macedonian. Now Jas Sum Kral is doable and his first blend that was released has an English name (Red Knight, see a review of the lancero here), then he came out with a limited edition for a herf in Minnesota that was just called the maduro (review here), so far so good. But then he started messing with everybody out there and decided to call his Connecticut Shade cigar the Zlatno Sonce (review here), a limited edition coffin with 2 A sized cigars the Da Cebak (review next month) and this Connecticut Broadleaf one the Crna Nok, which to me sounds like something Mr. Worf, the Klingon from Star Trek, would say right before battle.


I fell in love with Jas Sum Kral the minute I smoked my first Red Knight toro, a cigar that I will review later this year, I promise and met Riste at Intertaback 2016 after being Facebook friends for a long time and helping him to get his cigars distributed in The Netherlands. Riste send me a package with some Zlatno Sonce, Crna Nok and a coffin Da Cebak and I promised to review them. This cigar, just like all other Jas Sum Kral cigars, except the Da Cebak, is blended by Riste and made at Noel Rojas’ factory Tabacalera NOA, which is becoming one of my favorite factories in Nicaragua. The cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Mexican binder and a filler that has some ligero and piloto cubana corojo amongst others. On www.jassumkral.com the description says “while this cigar is smooth as fuck, I can feel the nicotine” so I my anticipation of this cigar is high.


I love the ring, as I have said in my previous Jas Sum Kral reviews, the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim did an awesome job. The only thing changed for this Crna Nok is the background color, where the Red Knight has some red in it, this ring is completely black with the golden logo and details, so very well designed and printed, beautiful ring. The cigar has a closed foot, a detail I love and it fits with the rustic, toothy dark and leathery wrapper that has a few sparkles of minerals in the leave. The construction feels good and that closed foot gives it some bonus points. The cigar has a strong charcoal smell, like its been fire cured, but mixed with dark chocolate and fresh toast.


I couldn’t find my punch so I grabbed my xikar cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste pepper, raisin and some spices. After lighting it with my Ronson lighter I taste coffee with cedar and nutmeg. After a few puffs I also taste honey. After half an inch i taste toasted wood with pepper and honey. I also taste some licorice a few puffs later and the cigar is very dry, I will probably drink a lot of water during this review. After an inch I taste that toasty, smoky wood with pepper and a faint chocolate. Every few puffs I taste some sweetness and a little lemon too. The final third starts with charred wood, sweetness, some pepper and a little lemon. The charred flavor is getting stronger but balanced well with the lemon.


The smoke is thick and full and the draw is fabulous. The ash is frayed but firm and salt & pepper colored. The burn is a little off but not so bad that it needs correcting. This medium full to full bodied cigar is smooth indeed, but still full flavored and with plenty of evolution and a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would, great cigar!

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oliva Classic Naturel Churchill

You might think “hey, it’s a monday so there shouldn’t be a review today” but when I upgraded my blog to a 100 point score and a set schedule of reviews I noticed that my first review I ever posted was on april 17 2007, so its exactly 10 years later and that deserves a vintage review. Years and years ago, it must have been 2008, the Oliva distributer for The Netherlands was blowing out old stock of Oliva Classics in several sizes, and by blowing out I mean literally dump prices. I snagged a few boxes in different sizes and still have a few of the Churchills left. And such an old cigar seemed the perfect fit for a review celebrating the birthday of the blog.Now the Oliva Classic might not ring a bell, but here’s the story. In 2001 Oliva released the Oliva Bold, a Nicaraguan puro in both natural and maduro with a embroided cloth ring. Those bands changed to paper rings and later the name changed to Oliva Classic. A few years later they renamed and repackaged the cigar into the Oliva Series O that we can buy at local retailers nowadays.  I actually have one of the cloth banded maduros in my collection and the infamous “toilet seat’ box with 6 natural and 6 maduro Oliva Bold churchills.


This cigar is so old and rare nowadays that even my friend Maria Jose, who’s the factory manager at Oliva in Esteli, Nicaragua has never seen them. I told her about those while at the factory and she was very jealous, I haven’t been back to Nicaragua since but I promised to save her one of these 7×50 Nicaraguan puros that are at least 10 years old. The cigar has a nice medium brown, mild shiny and oily wrapper with the veins flattened from the inside like Oliva always does, creating a smooth surface of the wrapper. The cap is nicely placed and the double ring looks great on the cigar when it comes to colors, its a brownish red ring with a double golden lining, a thick line and a thin line on both top and bottom of both rings and then a curly golden print on both, the bigger top ring has a golden O and Oliva Cigar Family and the smaller bottom ring says Classic. The back side of the main ring says hand made. Simple yet tasteful, beautifully printed on good quality paper.


The construction feels flawless and once I release the cigar from its cellophane jacket I instantly smell a barnyard manure aroma, when I smell more precisely It smells more like a horse. The cigar has a strong aroma for its age. I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw with a little peppery but sweet hay flavor. And what better way to light a vintage cigar with a vintage lighter? I’m tasting a pleasant, not too strong coffee flavor with sugar and a little woody bitterness. After a centimeter I lost the coffee. The flavors are dry and some nutmeg.


After a third I taste dry wood with a little milky chocolate and the nutmeg. Slowly the flavor changes to the ice tea I make with the Malaysian tea dust I bought in Singapore and that’s not because I’m drinking it as I drink water while reviewing. I also taste white pepper. Soon I also taste some sweetness. After two thirds I taste spices, a little pepper a little lime on a base flavor of cedar. You can tell this is a vintage cigar, the flavors taste old but in a positive way. With 2 inch to go it’s all nuts with white pepper and a little lime. The pepper is building up near the end to a very nice and strong Nicaraguan signature.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is beautiful light gray and dense. The smoke is medium plus thickness and a medium plus amount too, beautifully white. The burn is good, not razor sharp but even enough. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied and medium flavored. The cigar is well balanced. The smoke time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible, even at Oliva they don’t have these anymore

score: 93

93

 

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lars Tetens Greenwich Torpedo

I think it was late 2008 or early 2009 when I did a box split with another cigar aficionado from The Netherlands. Now that was something I did more often but this was a special box, the Lars Tetens Gorillafinger and it might be the worst cigar I have ever smoked, although the Cremosa Cubana is a close competitor. And I handed these cigars out as jokes, I have seen people puke after just one puff or turn pale with every puff they took. The Lars Tetens chocolates were good though, but those Gorillafingers were horrible. Then I heard he left the cigar business but the last few months I see his brand pop up on social media again, with new blends, both infused and non infused. Then I got approached by Josh Allison from urbanluxlife.com who’s involved in the distributing of Lars Tetens cigars. He told me that my review of the gorillafinger was giving them a lot of trouble, which was very nice to hear for me as it means that my blog is read, and asked me if I was willing to try the new blends and give Lars Tetens a chance to redeem himself. As a firm believer in second chances I said yes, but I also said that if I didn’t like the cigars I would write that too.


Josh send me both the Greenwich and the Steampunk, the first cigar that I’m reviewing is the Lars Tetens Greenwich Torpedo, a 5 1/2×54 American puro with filler from Georgia, Kentucky and Virginia, a Connecticut Shade binder of high grade and a Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper. As far as I’ve been told the cigars are rolled in Pennsylvania, in an undisclosed small factory run by Lars Tetens himself. The only other American puro I smoked, as far as I know, is the La Casita Criollo by Pete Johnson and I like that one a lot, so the expectations are rising. Josh also offers a 10% discount on his Lions of Luxury website with the code ja10, I hesitated to post this offer because I used to be working as a sales rep in The Netherlands and in that position I always opposed to order online abroad since its against the Dutch law and I am pro supporting your local B&M, but most of the visitors of my blog are based in the USA anyway. If you’re not from or living in the USA, please check your countries regulations first, I am not responsible for any confiscations of legal issues! And support your local shops too, they are the ones enabling our hobby with their knowledge and hard work.


Now the cigar, which is slightly box pressed and comes protected by cellophane. Once I remove the cellophane I get hit by a strange smell. The aroma reminds me of applejuice, or even more apple cider, and it is that I know this is a non infused cigar otherwise the aroma would make me think otherwise. The aroma is strong. The cigar has two rings, the top ring is beautiful, a metallic shiny colored ring with red metallic lines and golden colors letters, on top is has a latin text and my latin is non existing so I can’t tell you what it says and the main text is Lars Tetens in a curly font with a handdrawn logo that looks like a cartoonesque version of the Rolex logo on one side and a crest with swords on the other side. The backside has a gray embossed and a red dragon printed. I love the band but unfortunately the big foot band doesn’t match up to it and that one looks like a photocopied ring with the same Latin text, a white square with the name and a logo and some full color pictures of art. If it was my brand I would change that bottom ring immediately. The dark wrapper is flawless, no big veins, just beautiful. The construction feels good and I like the point on the torpedo, which is sharp.


Because of the torpedo size I had to cut the cigar, punching is no option, so I grabbed my Xikar and then got a great cold draw. I do taste some sour apple, a flavor I smelled too, but the taste isn’t as strong as the aroma. I also taste some pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, I taste a nice sweet earthy flavor with a little bit of that apple, the combination is unique but pleasant. The subtle sourness of the apple makes the cigar refreshing and a great mix with the nutmeg and cinnamon that I taste after a few puffs. After an inch I taste some cocoa and I little pepper. Halfway I still taste some of the apple with the spices. The flavors evolve into more peppery with sweetness, oak and spices.


The draw is great and the smoke plentiful yet medium thick while i like very thick smoke. The gray ash shows beautiful layers and is quite firm. The burn is straight and slow. The cigar is flavorful, full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This cigar is quite unique yet the hefty $19 price tag is too hefty for me to purchase a box. But a single every now and then if possible I would. I have to say, Lars Tetens has redeemed himself. I wasn’t expecting a cigar of this quality from his hands to be honest but credit is where credit’s due, hats off.

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, American cigars, Lars Tetens, Lars Tetens Factory | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Viking Viking Robusto

A few years back I met a Norwegian guy, nickname Hawk, at the Intertabac trade show who had his own brands of cigars named Chess, Hawk and Amero. These cigars were Dominican made and for some reason his factory manager in the Dominican Willis Cabrera added me to Facebook. Now the last 2 years I didn’t see the owner of the brand Hawk at the show, neither did I see a booth and Willis disappeared from my Facebook friend list too, why I don’t know. Much to my surprise I saw Hawk again this year, not with Chess cigars but with a new brand: Viking Cigar. Now Hawk was busy so we didn’t have time to chat but I did get a cigar to try from his German distributer who told me all the Viking Cigar lines were made by the legendary Ernesto Perez Carrillo, who at that exact moment dropped by the booth.


I went to the Viking website to see which line of cigars I got, to get some details for this review but much to my surprise I couldn’t find details of the blend, just a story about Leiv Ericsson, a legendary viking around the year 1000 and according to the saga he discovered America almost half a century before Columbus did. I also googled Willis Cabrera and discovered he now has his own brand of cigars too but thats something for another day. What I did get from the website was that I got a sample of the Viking line, one of the three lines they have, the others are Norseman and Nordic Warrior. On the Viking Facebook page I found a short video where Ernesto explains a little about the cigar, it contains Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers with a USA broadleaf wrapper.


The first thing that you notice, except for the beautiful dark, thick, oily wrapper, which feels quite leathery, is the beautiful ring. Now its not a ring of paper but its made of tinplate, which makes it quite unique. The design has a viking helmet, the word Norway is on top and Dominican Republic is printed at the bottom. The band is just awesome and the coolest novelty i’ve seen at the Intertabac trade show this year. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma, not too strong and quite pleasant. The construction feels good, the cigar seems evenly filled.


After i cut the cigar with the xikar xi2 I get a good cold draw with some pepper on my lips. The cigar tastes sweet with some coffee and earthy tones right after I lit it with a soft flame. The sweetness reminds me a lot of caramel, and it pushes the coffee completely away, I still taste some pepper on the background though. After an inch I taste more of an earthy flavor with some spices while the caramel just tones it down a little. After a third i feel the cigar in the back of my throat but that feeling disappears quickly too. After that I taste toast but still with a great caramel flavor. Slowly but surely I feel a nice pepper in the aftertaste with a little bit of earthy notes. The caramel slowly loses part of its strength while the pepper and spice slowly gains a little strength without becoming overpowering. At the end I taste a nice mixture of nuts, caramel and spices, so nice I grabbed my nub tool to enjoy every last puff.


The smoke is medium thick but I get plenty of it. The ash is light colored, dense and firm. The burn needed to be corrected once. The cigar is medium plus bodied but full of flavor, the balance is great. The draw is flawless. The smoke time is about an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this might be the best cigar from the Perez Carrillo factory I’ve smoked so far.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sobremesa Short Churchill

Back in 1996, years before I smoked my first premium cigar (that was a Cuban Cohiba in Indonesia late 2005) Steve Saka started what was most likely the first consumer oriented website on cigars ever. As I mentioned, it was years before I lit my first premium cigar so I missed that Steve started working for JR Cigars as a dedicated consultant for sales, marketing and product development. Actually, the first time I ever heard his name was after he moved to Drew Estate and created the cigar that was a game changer for Drew Estate, Liga Privada no.9, and the follow ups like the T52 and undercrown lines.

After leaving Drew Estate Steve took a hiatus before returning with his own company, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and his first line: Sobremesa. This cigar is made by Joya de Nicaragua but the blend is made by Saka and he actually owns the tobacco himself instead of using Joya’s tobacco. I heard and read a lot of the cigar and finally met Steve at intertabac last September. We chatted a bit and he gave me two cigars, his new blend Mi Querida and this 4 3/4 x48 Sobremesa short Churchill.

The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano rosado with a Mexican Matacapan binder and a filler consisting from Nicaraguan tobacco and Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The band is awesome, the shape is unique, it’s a crown, not a picture of a crown but completely shaped as a crown, very detailed and the brown of the ‘gaps’ in the crown matches the color of the wrapper perfectly. The simple yet matching foot band spells the name Sobremesa is beautiful curly letters. The wrapper is beautiful, shiny and I only see one vein. The construction feels good and the cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma with also a hint of burned wood. I punched the cigar and found a great cold draw with some pepper and raisin.

After lighting the cigar with my Ronson varaflame I taste espresso with a woody background and a little sweetness. Soon the sweetness is stronger with wood, the espresso is gone.

After a third the sweetness is gone, the cigar now tastes like smooth oak with a little citrus aftertaste. Halfway I taste a little bit of sweetness again. The wood also changed a bit in flavor but it’s still wood. I also taste a very mild dark, mildly sweet, chocolate but is disappears quickly.

The smoke is white, thick and I get a medium amount of it. The burn starts of a bit crooked but it’s corrected itself. The ash is silver gray and beautifully layered. It’s also firm. The draw is great, no plugs and the right resistance. This is a great medium bodied yet full flavored cigar. The smoke time is about 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah!

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sobremesa | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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