Posts Tagged With: 85

Don Ibarra Black Label

A few years ago I was visiting one of my accounts in my previous job as a sales representative and the owner of the shop, Marjolein Hartman from Hartman Cigars in Amsterdam (and now also co-owner of the La Casa del Habano in Amsterdam) said she received some samples from a cigar manufacturer looking to break into the Dutch market called Don Ibarra with a white ring. Now is it not allowed to sell straight to shop owners due to the Dutch tobacco law so I was surprised by this tactic. She said she smoked one and gave me two of the other cigars to try to see if the company I worked for would be interested. I never gotten around to smoke the samplers though and I knew that my then employer wouldn’t be interested anyway since he didn’t like unknown brands.

Years later I see the brand pop up again, this time distributed by a competitor of ours, so through the right channels but I forgot all about the samples I still had laying around in my 5300+ cigar stash. I only found out about them when I lost my job and inventoried my stash in my online account at stogierate.com.  A few weeks later I happen to be at the office of the said distributer for some consulting work and the owner gave me a Don Ibarra to smoke, a belicoso, and this is the review. As far as the blend I have to admit, I don’t know, all I know is that Don Ibarra is a Dominican made cigar. The belicoso is 5 inch long with a ring gauge of 50. I also have a robusto and a gordo and I will review them all in this one review.

Don Ibarra Black Label Belicoso


The wrapper looks good, medium to dark brown and a bit leathery with just one visible and not too thick vein. The part above the ring is a bit shiny, while the bottom part of the cigar is quite dull. The ring itself is made from shiny paper, the background is black with white gothic lettering around a white colored crest and thick golden outlines, all too shiny for my personal preference but the color combination is good. The construction feels good, no complaints there. The cigar has a strong and pleasant raw tobacco flavor with a tiny bit of ammonia. I cut the cigar to find an easy cold draw with a harsh raw tobacco flavor that fits the aroma.


I used a soft flame to light the cigar. The first hit of flavors is a little harsh, bitter coffee and some ashy flavor. The harshness gets a little less strong quickly and the coffee turns to more of a wooden flavor with a bite. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with a little harsh pepper and some cedar.


The draw is very good, a little loose from being perfect. The ash is white, full in volume and there is plenty of it. After lighting the cigar and a few puffs only one side kept lit so I had to relight the other part which caused a crooked burn. The ash is white, dense and firm. There is some evolution in the cigar and the flavor to body ratio of the medium bodied cigar is good. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No this is not a cigar for me.

Score: 86

86

Don Ibarra Black Label Gordo


The wrapper has a nice, even, dark brown color with little tooth and it is quite oily. It’s one of the most beautiful wrappers I have seen in a long time. The construction feels great, the cigar is beautifully finished, its just astonishing. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay, just like the robusto, but with some wood added to it. The ring is exactly the same as the other cigars in this line up.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste raw tobacco. I taste dirt and coffee after lighting. Not a lot changes in the first inch, but that’s to be expected from a thick ring gauge cigars. Halfway I taste wood and dirt with a little lime. Near the end some pepper shows up.


The draw is fine and the smoke is white, thick and a good volume. The white ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about ninety minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad tasting cigar, just too boring for me. It would have scored much higher with a better evolution.

Score: 85
number85

Don Ibarra Black Label Robusto


The wrapper is very oily, very shiny but has discolorations, like darker smears on a medium brown color and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head if flat as can be. The ring is identical as the belicoso. The cigar has a strong hay smell, like you’re standing in a hay barn.


I punched the cigar and the thickness of the wrapper stands out. The cold draw is great and I taste a little raisin. I taste soil, cedar, nutmeg and the flavors are a bit harsh and unrefined. After a third the cigar tastes like fresh wood with a faint milk chocolate. Halfway it’s that soil flavor again, sticky, thick and buttery. Near the end I taste a lot of pepper.


The ash is quite dark and frayed but still reasonable firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume and the draw is great.  The burn needs help staying straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 85, 86, Dominican cigars, Don Ibarra | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month July

Late 2016 I had the plan to post a review every Wednesday and every Sunday in 2017 with an added review on the 15th of each month as a series of Lancero reviews but I reviewed so many cigars that I had to post more, so for a few cigars I did a ‘full series review in one’, I added a few special dates to commemorate certain people, celebrate birthdays, last month I did a full week of review and this month I posted two extra Oliva Master Blend reviews so that the 1, 2 and 3 were posted in line. So, just like last month, there are more cigars rated this month than I expected to do. And the first 4 cigars all came very close to each other, with just tenths of a points in difference.

The cigar with the highest rate in July is:

Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill with a 94 score.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in July:

1) Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Oliva Master Blend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) 94 points
4) Ilja VII by My Father A (Nicaragua) 94 points
5) Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Sumatra Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Oliva Master Blend 3 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Illusione ~hl~ Maduro Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
8) Lars Tetens Steampunk Toro (USA) 92 points
9) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Puros de Hostos Box Pressed Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
       Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto (Costa Rica) 91 points
12) Puros de Hostos Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Romeo y Julieta #2 Tubo (Cuba) 87 points
14) Padilla Artisan Perfecto (Nicaragua) 87 points
15) Te Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto (Mexico) 86 points
16) Te Amo World Selection Series Mexican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 85 points
17) Te Amo World Selection Series Honduran Blend Robusto (Mexico) 80 points
18) Te Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Robusto (Mexico) 79 points
19) Te Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 76 points

 

 

 


The first 12 cigars all rated 91 or higher, with two cigars with the exact same score on the 10th spot. The complete top 12 I would smoke again with pleasure. Number 14 on the list is one of the best looking cigars I ever smoked though but the top 6 are all limited editions that cannot be bought anymore.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Te-Amo World Selection Series Robusto

A few years ago, while working for a Dutch cigar distributor, we released the Te Amo World Selection series in the robusto size on the Dutch market, dirt cheap premium cigars (premium as in hand made longfiller cigars).. They came in 5 different blends, a Cuban, Dominican, Honduran, Mexican and Nicaraguan blend, all with some tobacco from that country except for the Cuban blend, they used some Cuban seed tobacco for that. Boxes of 15 cigars and we mixed them up at our office so customers could get 3 cigars of each blend.  A box came at 33 euro, making the cigars €2,20 each. And they sold like hot cakes until Turrent decided to raise the price by 40%, that killed the line and caused my (by then ex) employer to say goodbye to all Turrent products. I will be reviewing all 5 blends in one big review, in alphabetical order

Te-Amo World Selection Series Cuba Blend Robusto

 

Cuba, the birth place of the modern day cigar industry and once by far the best cigar producing country in the world. But that changed when Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries gained power and nationalized everything. A lot of knowledge fled the country and started making cigars in the Dominican Republic, Canary Island, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the USA. Without the revolution the cigar industry wouldn’t be as big there as it is today, but also the condition of the Cuban cigars would be much higher as then there would be competition so companies would push each other to great heights instead of a decline you see nowadays in the quality of the construction, the quality of the tobacco, the lack of rest, the under fermentation and mono culture. Cuban cigars are no longer the best in the world and haven’t been for a decade, which is a shame as the Cuban soil is unique when properly taken care off. But this cigar doesn’t contain Cuban tobacco, only Cuban seed but grown in Mexico.


The wrapper looks dry, feels silky and it would have been more aesthetically pleasing is the veins were rolled before applying the wrapper. The ring is nice, it looks like two rings but it is one, one regular ring in beige with the Te Amo logo in red and a brown outline to it with some text in white and then what should look as a ring underneath in yellow with vertical red stripes and the letters Cuba Blend. The construction feels and looks good, no complaints there. The aroma is quite strong, hay, barnyard and wet autumn leaves come to mind while smelling the cigar.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, with a mild dry vanilla and raisin flavor, is fine. After lighting I taste a mild harsh and musty coffee and dirt flavor. After half an inch the harshness grows in strength with musty cedar and spices. Halfway I taste vanilla and nuts but still a butt harsh, very unrefined and unbalanced. Near the end I taste pepper too.


The draw is fine. The smoke is white, thick and good in volume. The ash is almost white and quite firm. The burn has some issues but corrects itself. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is very short with forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It is safe to say the answer to that question is NO.

Score: 79
number79


Te-Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto


This is the one I fear most, because of the Connecticut Shade wrapper in combination with the price, I mean, you can’t expect a top shelve product for this price and then with my least favorite wrapper, that’s a combination that won’t make me jump up of excitement on forehand. The filler is Dominican.


Oh boy, that wrapper, even though its quite dark for a Connecticut Shade it is butt ugly. Big fat dry veins and a very dry touch. The ring is the same as from the Cuba blend but with the same beige on the bottom where it says Dominicana blend as on the rest of the ring, where the Cuba blend had a dark yellow band. The construction feels good, the right amount of elasticity and a nice rounded head of the cigar. The aroma is quite strong and very ammonia or urine like.


I punched the cigar and cold draw great, I taste a mild musty and very faint chocolate with raw tobacco. After lighting, with a xikar jet flame this time, I taste a sweet, musty and peppery wood. A quarter of an inch in I taste a harsh nutmeg and herbs with a hint of chocolate. After a third I taste a harsh, musty, peppery walnut flavor that is not very nice. The final third is very peppery, chili pepper with cayenne.


The draw is fine, nothing to complain about. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is off though, uneven and after an inch I notice a burn spot halfway the cigar so there is a tunnel burn. The ash is dark, layered and ugly but still firm. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is relatively short with just an hour, the tunnel burn has got to do with it.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, not a chance.

Score: 76

number76

Te-Amo World Selection Series Honduras Blend Robusto


The Te Amo World Selection Series Honduras Blend is made of Honduran filler, a Mexican binder and a Honduran Wrapper. Like all others the cigar measures 5×54. If I would have had to make a prediction in which order I would rate the cigars before smoking them, this would probably be my number two, behind the Nicaragua blend. But let’s see how the list turns out after I reviewed all five of them.


The wrapper isn’t the prettiest wrapper I have seen to put it mildly, rough, big vein but a nice deep brown with even darker smears. The construction feels good, evenly packed, just the right amount of sponginess and a all rounded head. The ring is just like the others but with a brown backing color for the text Honduras blend. The aroma is quite strong and is a acidic stable, like a urine drenched hay floor after the cows went outside for the day.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect and I taste raisin and wood. After lighting I taste nutmeg, oak and a little pepper. After half an inch I taste dull oak, very muted, with a little pepper. After a third the cigar gets a bit of a nasty flavor, kind of like a dry vomit flavor but thankfully that flavor changes quick to a mild harsh oak and a faint cocoa powder. The final third starts out with a full blown pepper, good flavor.


The smoke is thin and low in volume. The draw is good though. The ash is light colored and dense, but flaky. The burn is okay, not good and not bad. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If the middle part wouldn’t be so disappointing I would. The finish is really strong and good.

Score: 80

Red balloons with ribbon - Number 80

Te-Amo World Selection Series Mexico Blend Robusto


This cigar is made competely with Mexican Criollo 98 tobacco according to the Te Amo website, and all from the San Andres region according to other sources online so I’m going with that. It’s been years since I smoked these cigars and in my memory this is the one I liked most even though my experience with Mexican puros isn’t that good, so I am wondering if my memory might be wrong. Only one way to find out……


The wrapper is dark and rustic, it could pass for a Brazilian wrapper with the thick veins and the dark yet dry looking wrapper. The cigar looks mean and tough. The ring is simple, the same as the other rings but this time with a green bottom part saying Mexico Blend in white letters. The construction feels good, the cigar is a bit hard but evenly hard with a nice rounded head. The aroma is mild to medium strong and is a bit of a musty barnyard aroma.


I punched the cigar and the draw is loose, very easy. I taste raw tobacco and hay. The first thing I notice while lighting the cigar is the unpleasant smell. The first puff is a coffee flavor but not very refined with some sweetness. The sweetness is getting strong after a few puffs, it’s confectioners sugar. After a third I taste a harsh sweetness with nutmeg and pepper. Without the harshness it would be really nice. The harshness disappears halfway, I taste wood, nutmeg, honey and pepper.


The draw is easy but the smoke is thick and full. The ash is a little coarse, but light colored and beautifully layered. The burn is good. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, with a decent evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? As a cheap yardgar yes.

Score: 85
number85

Te-Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto

Nicaragua, my favorite cigar country, most of the cigars that I like are coming from Esteli and I visited the town twice so far. Not that I dislike cigars from other countries, just look at the Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius from Miami or the Balmoral Anejo Lancero from the Dominican that both scored high this year, but if there is one country that has more hits in my book than any other, it’s Nicaragua. So the expectations are high, higher than the other blends. The cigar is made with a Corojo wrapper from an undisclosed country, a Mexican binder and Nicaraguan filler.


The wrapper isn’t a looker, its not bad either but just a dry, medium brown wrapper with a few thin veins. The ring is equal to the others but I have to say, the red used to recognize the Nicaragua blend from the others is the best looking color of the whole series. The cigar feels hard but evenly packed everywhere. The aroma is strong, but not the nicest smell I ever smelled, like the toilet of a mall after hours.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is a bit tight so I decided to cut instead. The cold draw is peppery with some raisin. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste chocolate with toast. After a quarter of an inch I taste wood and spices, but not the best I ever tasted. After a third I taste an ashy, salty flavor with some musty wood and a hefty dose of pepper. Halfway I taste mostly pepper with some wood. The pepper is getting stronger and stronger.


Due to the cut the draw is good. The burn is pretty straight. The ash is pepper and salt colored with nice layers and pretty firm. The smoke is too thin to my liking. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? As a cheap BBQ cigar, why not?

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 76, 79, 80, 85, 86, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Te Amo | Tags: , , , , ,

708 Barber Pole Shaggy & Juniors

Recently I was visiting the headquarters of a company that is thinking about going into cigars and the owner gave me a few cigars to try, amongst them were these 708 Shaggy & Juniors Barber pole by Brothers Cigars. I knew nothing about the brand so I googled and it turns out it is a Dominican made cigar named after the area code of Chicago where the brothers Zaid & Firas Eid have their shop.

As I said, the cigar is made on the Dominican Republic and I’ve seen and smoked several barber pole cigars, mostly with two kinds of wrappers. This cigar is actually made with three wrappers, Connecticut Shade, Habano and Maduro, so that sets it apart from the others. The Shaggy Barber Pole measures 7 1/2 inch but the bottom part is shaggy, and the ring gauge is 52 while the Juniors Barber Pole is a 4×44 petit corona.

708 Shaggy Barber Pole


I like the look, 3 different color wrappers of which the Connecticut shade has the least appealing look because of a vein. In the shaggy foot I can see different colors of tobacco too. I wouldn’t call it a real shaggy foot though, just uncut, as it is pressed and firm, not shaggy. The construction feels great, the head is well rounded and the cap is applied perfectly. The only comment I can give is that the different tobaccos aren’t all applied in an even thickness, the Babano wrapper is a smaller strip than the Maduro or Connecticut. The ring is simple, Beige in the centre fading to brown with a simple brown logo saying 708 cigars in a handwritten font. The secondary ring has the barber pole style and says Barber Pole, just in case you hadn’t noticed. The rings are printed on nice glossy paper. The aroma is very strong, hay, straw and barnyard.


When I wet the cap to punch it I notice the sweetened cap, that’s not a positive in my book. The cold draw is fine and all I taste is that chemical sweetener. After carefully lighting the cigar I taste that sweetness with a little coffee, but it’s so overpowered by that naar sweetness that it’s almost not detectable. After the shaggy foot I just taste that nasty sweetness, I’m afraid this will be a long and painful review. The sweetness is fading a little bit and instead I taste a harshness of poor quality tobacco and a hint of chocolate. After a third the sweetness has faded to an acceptable level and I taste cheap chocolate and some soil. The flavor doesn’t change much, the second third starts out with the earth flavor and the chemical sweetness. Halfway the sweetness is finally gone, I taste green herbs, spicy, like rucola salad. The final third it’s wood with earth, pepper and herbs. The final few puffs are spicy and peppery.


The draw is fine. The smoke is white but too thin for my liking. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is good, quite straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, the evolution picks up halfway. The smoke time is three hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? I still have one, guess I’ll have to cut the whole sweetened tip off before lighting it. The sweetened tip caused the score to be at least 5 points lower than it would have gotten without that nasty sweetness.

Score: 82
number82

708 Juniors Barber Pole


The day after, the next 708 Barber Pole but this time the 4×40 Juniors. Just as the Shaggy this cigar has three different wrappers, Connecticut Shade, Habano and Maduro and again the strips of tobacco are different in size, the maduro is way thinner than the others. The ring is a carbon copy of the Shaggy and the construction is equally good. The aroma is just as strong as the shaggy, very strong for a petit corona, and again hay, straw and barnyard.


Due to the thin size I cut the cigar instead of punching it. I’m smoking outside in an almost wind free spot of my garden for a change due to the perfect summer weather, so I will light the cigar with a jet flame. The cold draw is a bit loose and I taste some of the sweetness from the sweetened tip but not as strong as on the shaggy and some raw tobacco. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with just a hint of sweetness, the first puff is so much better than the shaggy. After a quarter of an inch the cigar gets a little harsh. After a third I don’t taste any sweetness just a sharp, spicy and mild salty fresh wood flavor and some earth. Slowly the cigar gets a little harsh again with more pepper. Near the end I taste more wood.


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick, white and there’s a lot of it. The ash is salt and pepper colored and firm. This is a medium bodied medium full flavored cigar with not a lot of evolution but then again, it’s too short to have a lot of evolution. The smoke time is forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I would pick this over the shaggy but won’t pay for it.

Score: 85
number85

Categories: 708 Cigars, 82, 85, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , , , ,

H. Upmann Half Corona

In 2011 Habanos released a new H. Upmann vitola, and since H. Upmann is my favorite Cuban brand I was excited to hear the news, especially since it wasn’t a 55+ ring release but a small cigar, a 3 1/2×44 Half Corona. At first they came in dress boxes of 25 cigars but the big boom came a year later when they released the same cigar in beautiful tins of 5 cigars each. The tins were perfect to take cigars with you and fitted right into your shirts pocket. The tins were so popular that they sold out quickly and it took a long time for Habanos to restock the Dutch market.


Now I don’t smoke a lot of Cubans, there is too much to complain about when it comes to the aging of tobacco, the quality of the rollers, the quality of tobacco and especially the myth that the Cuban cigars are the best in the world. They used to be, there is no denying that and yes, Cuban tobacco has a specific flavor you won’t find in tobacco elsewhere just like Ometepe tobacco has specific characteristics, like Pennsylvania Broadleaf has specific characteristics and so on, but hardliners only talk about the characteristics of the Cubans like Cuban tobacco is divine and I happen to have another opinion. My take is that yes, Cubans used to be the best and I even think that Cuban cigars have the potential to be the best again but right now they are not and if the regime and mentality on Cuba doesn’t change they won’t be the best ever again. They rush the tobacco and cigars out, the fermentation of the tobacco and the aging of the cigars are not properly done, the quality control is poor (only 4% of the Cuban cigars are tested for quality) and the land is depleted due to mono culture and a lack of fertilizer. And it’s a shame, the quality of Cuban cigars could be out of this world if everything was done right. I could write a whole editorial about this if I want, but then again, this is a review blog so let stick to reviewing and hope that that Habanos sees their problems and deals with them accordingly.


The Half Corona that i’m smoking for this review comes from a box with the box code of april 2013. Now stamping the boxes with a code is something I love about the Cuban cigar industry. If I owned a factory or brand I would do the same, of go even a step further with a stamp that mentions the month and year the cigars are rolled but also the year of the crop of the wrapper, binder and filler just to inform the consumer on the age of the tobacco and cigars. The wrapper is a nice medium brown, like milky chocolate, with few minor veins and the triple cap is beautiful. What I do notice about the cigar is the way the foot has been cut, its not straight, if I put the cigar on its foot the cigar had the same tilt as the leaning tower of Pisa as you can see in the picture above. When I touch the cigar I feel a soft spot at the head of the cigar, which actually doesn’t surprise me considering the low quality control on Cuba. The band is the regular H. Upmann band, not fancy, very classic. The cigar has a manure aroma to it, medium strong. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is a bit on the tough side.


I light the cigar with my trusted Ronson varaflame which is older than I am.  I taste coffee and a wooden flavor but it’s mild to medium. After a short time I taste a very mild peanut flavor, unsalted peanuts. Slowly the flavors are a little bit stronger and I taste now some earthy flavors with the peanut. After two thirds I taste earthy flavors with some white pepper on my lips. The flavor than changes to nuts. At the end i alsof taste some citrus.


The draw has a little more resistance than I like, but I’ve had worse, especially in Cubans. The smoke is thin, gray and not a lot in volume. The ash is light gray, firm and dense. The burn is quite good, not razor sharp but good enough. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about 50 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have half a box and even though I love the size I rather smoke the Joya Red Half Corona if I want this vitola.

Score: 85

85

Categories: 85, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos), H. Upmann Factory | Tags: , , ,

La Estancia Robusto

In 2014 a new cigar came to the market, amongst many others, but this one had a story that made cigar aficionado’s very excited and the cigar was highly anticipated. Why you might ask? Well, for two different reasons, first of Meerapfel family all it was a cigar from the Meerapfel family, a well known and respected family in the cigar industry with a 140 year old history. If you smoke Cameroon tobacco, it is most likely grown by the Meerapfel family and they also distribute brands like Padron and Fuente in Europe for decades now. The second reason to be excited was the tobacco used. The Meerapfels are not just tobacco growers but also tobacco traders and since they are not an American business they have been able to buy Cuban tobacco not bothered by the embargo, and they did! The older generations of Meerapfels stored the tobacco to sell once the embargo was lifted but the new generation, Joshua & Jeremiah, decided it was time to use that tobacco.


They found a Honduran factory, undisclosed to the public, and created a blend of a Nicaraguan wrapper and filler tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and aged Cuban tobacco, dating back to the 1970’s. Now call me a cigar geek, but just that fact makes me excited and curious. Jeremiah Meerapfel did state that they used a Nicaraguan wrapper instead of a Cameroon wrapper from their own farms because of the price of Cameroon tobacco, which is much higher than Caribbean tobacco.


The box is cubanesque, styled after the Partagas boxes but just a little nicer finished, and the ring is also very Cuban inspired with the same star you find on the Cuban flag on the ring. If you look further you will see a drawing in the style of old maps of Cuba and a picture of Havana, add that to the text ‘Tabacco Cubano’ and you almost forget that this is in fact a Honduran cigar with some Cuban tobacco. The ring is very detailed though and much nicer than you think at first glance. The wrapper is medium brown, mild shiny and not the best looking wrapper ever with the long veins but it’s also not an ugly wrapper. The construction feels good, no hard or soft spots. When it comes to aroma this cigar scores bad, I hardly smell anything.


I decided to go with a straight cut with my Xikar x2 cutter and use my Ronson soft flame to light the cigar, I prefer a soft flame over a torch except when smoking outdoors. Right from the start this cigar is spicy with espresso, all quite dry tasting though. After a few puffs the espresso turns to coffee with pepper. The pepper is getting a little stronger but after a centimeter the aged Cuban tobacco shows up and a very subtle flavor you only find in Cuban cigars shows up. It’s not easy to describe it, but it’s something I only tasted in Cuban cigars.

Soon after the coffee is replaced by some chocolate. Halfway I taste oak with a little chocolate, pepper and a citrus aftertaste but still with that Cuban touch. Slowly the pepper is getting stronger. After two thirds the proper slowed down again and that aged Cuban tobacco shows up again. At the end I taste a nice nutty flavor.


The smoke is ok, white and plentiful but it could be a little thicker. It was too much for my cat though, she was sleeping on my lap, saw the smoke and went outside. The ash is pepper and salt colored and beautifully layered. The burn is good but a little crooked. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time was about 80 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I really liked these when they just came out but age didn’t do the blend good.

Score: 86

86

Categories: 86, Honduran cigars, La Estancia | Tags: , , ,

Santiago Maduro Robusto

Santiago Cigars is a new brand from Nicaragua and I met the owners at the largest tobacco trade show in the world, intertabac in Dortmund, last September. Online there is not a lot of information about the brand, just that it’s named after the first capitol of Nicaragua and that the cigar is made by the Plasencia family. Now that last piece of information is interesting for the cigar geeks among us that know the Plasencia’s and recognize their importance in the cigar industry. They are amongst the largest tobacco growers and cigar producers in both Nicaragua and Honduras, they make cigars for a lot of brands like several Alec Bradley lines, Casa Magna for the Quesada family and many more next to a few lines for themselves and in Honduras they have a joined operation with Rocky Patel. That’s just the cigars they produce but their tobacco is sold to almost everybody. That’s how important the Plasencia family is and why my friend Jonathan Drew calls them ‘the octopus’ in an endearing way. And even though they are so important it’s still a humble and down to earth family who does a lot of charity for the less fortunate.

 


Now about the cigar, it’s a 5×50 box pressed robusto with a double band. The wrapper is a San Andres Maduro from Mexico with a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco from both Mexico and Nicaragua. The ring is nice and detailed but the 2nd ring is so off color with the regular band, the red just isn’t a match and I would never have picked that color scheme. The wrapper is beautiful though and the cigar is beautifully made with a well rounded top. The construction feels good and the cigar has a mild barnyard aroma. I decided to punch the cigar instead of cutting it. The cold draw is great with a mild pepper and raisin flavor.

 


I used my trusted vintage Ronson lighter to light this cigar and due to the thick leave it takes some effort. First hit is sour but it disappears right away. After that it’s a mixture of coffee, lime and wood, a quite unique flavor combination. After a centimeter it turns into a charred wood flavor with a mild citrus aftertaste. After an inch the charred part disappears, it’s now wood with a citrus that’s growing stronger.

 


After a third it’s a mild barbecue with wood and citrus. Halfway the smoky barbecue is gone and replaced with sweetness. After two thirds I notice some spice slowly growing with some wood, the aftertaste is mildly sweet and the citrus is almost complete gone. The wood is getting stronger too.

 


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful and again my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great. The ash is salt & pepper colored with beautiful rings and quite firm. The burn is beautiful, slow and straight. This cigar is full bodied, full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time was about 75 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I’d like to give it another try but I won’t buy a box.

Score: 90
90

 

Categories: 90, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , ,

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