Posts Tagged With: 88

Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto

Oliva is, for me personally, an underrated factory. When you ask me about my favorite factories I won’t spit out Oliva because they are never on top of my mind even though I visited the factory twice, met Jose Oliva and Gilberto Oliva several times and worked for the European distributor for years. Yet, every time I smoke an Oliva cigar, it doesn’t matter if its an O, O Maduro, G, V or Melanio cigar I am impressed and I know I am smoking a great cigar.


And within the range of Oliva cigars there is one cigar that is underrated more than any other cigar and it’s the Flor de Oliva Maduro. I had so many people tell me “I won’t smoke this because it’s a budget cigar and it can’t be good” but when I gave them one they were all impressed by the flavor and quality of this budget cigar. And to be honest, I don’t smoke them often but when I do this cigar, in combination with the low price, surprises me time after time.


The wrapper is dark and oily with some clear veins. It looks much better than some maduro wrappers on premium cigars of other companies. The ring is brown on glossy paper with a shaded Oliva logo and the Flor de Oliva name, in the Flor de Cana font in gold. The details on the edges of the ring are in gold too. Now although the overall look of the ring is much better than the old ones, it does seem to stand out a little less than the old one. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. From what I understand these cigars are rolled by the most inexperienced rollers in the factory but the one that did this one can be promoted. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a stable with a mixed aroma of straw, urine, animals and manure.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a bit tight. I taste nothing. After lighting I taste a mild coffee with chocolate. After half an inch I taste a nice chocolate and wood flavor with some sweetness. That flavor remains until the final third, when the flavors turn to herbal, the sweetness disappears and a very mild white pepper shows up.


The draw is good. The smoke is white, quite full and I get a decent amount of smoke. The white ash is firm and dense. The burn is flawless. This medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is nice yet not very dynamic. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great budget humidor filler.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , ,

Fuente Crucet Habanero 87

Now this is a cigar I had to google to be honest, because I never heard of the brand and that’s no surprise because their Facebook hasn’t been updated since 2009, they have no website and the latest review on a blog that I can find is from 2008 as well. So I guess this boutique brand disappeared as quickly as it emerged to the market.


From what I read this was a mom & pop cigar factory in Miami where mom was in charge of the blend and their two cigars, the habanera 78 and habanero 87 were inspired by their offspring Desiree and Jeyson, who were born in Havana (hence the Habanera & Habanero name) in 1978 and 1987. The filler and binder are Dominican and the wrapper is Cameroon.


The Cameroon wrapper has a dark, coffee, color with some thin veins and feels like dry leather. The construction feels good, the single cap is positioned good and the cigar has a simple yet nice ring, brown with golden print and a backdrop with the map of Havana. The aroma is strong and all I can say is manure.


I cut the cigar, the draw is perfect and I taste a peppery yet mind hay flavor. After lighting I clearly taste the Cameroon wrapper, mild sweet and pretty herbal and spicy. Now the flavor is very nice yet hasn’t changed halfway. After that a mild milk chocolate joins the herbs just like some salt. Slowly the flavors change to cinnamon stick that I used to buy at the candy booth at the carnival when I was a young kid. The cigar also gets more strength.


The draw is great and the white ask is dense and firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume, the ash is white. The burn is great. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Won’t be possible. And if I could I wouldn’t, fine tasting cigar yet very one dimensional

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, American cigars, Fuente Crucet | Tags: , , , ,

Famous Nicaragua Robusto

A few days ago I posted a review of the Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo and while browsing through my humidor for more cigars starting with an F I also found this Famous Nicaragua cigar but there’s nothing on their website that remotely looks like this one. Maybe it’s an old cigar, a limited edition, old blend or old ring, I simply do not know.

 


Here’s what I do know. It was gift from years back, it’s a robusto with a 5×52 size, its a Famous Smoke house blend, it’s from Nicaragua and it has two rings, it’s made by Tabacalera Tropical, the factory from Aganorsa and best known for the Casa Fernandez cigars. Now you might wonder how I know that? That’s simple, the secondary rings says “tropical tobacco”

 


The wrapper is a medium brown, slightly dry wrapper with two thin veins. It’s actually quite attractive. The construction feels good with a beautifully placed triple cap, the roller must be very skilled. I tried applying a cap once while visiting a factory and it’s hard, very hard. The cigar has two rings, a top ring in red with the Famous logo on a copper color, copper outlines and a darker red on the sides where it says ‘hand made’ and ‘imported’. The secondary ring is green with golden lines and golden letters saying NICARAGUA and white letters saying ‘medium to full bodied blend’ on one side and ‘tropical tobacco’ on the other side. The aroma is faint and reminds me of cocoa powder and saw dust.

 


I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw that has a dry leathery flavor with some mild minty aftertaste. After lighting I taste a leathery flavor. After a third I still taste the leather but now with spices like cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Halfway I taste leather with a little lime and some nutmeg and cocoa. The final third is woody with leather and nutmeg. The cigar gets spicier, stronger and even a little bit harsh. The final puffs also have some nutty and peppery notes.

 


The smoke is thick and full. The ash is coarse. The burn is reasonable straight. I would say this is a medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, decent cigar but I had better.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Famous, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Tropical | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month January

In 2018 I will do a cigar of the month again and here’s the list for january, 15 cigars, in order from most liked to least liked.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Drew Estate Undergrown Sun Grown Flying Pig with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) C.A.O. Fuma em Gorda Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Plasencia Alma del Campo Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Quesada 40th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Gurkha Ghost Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Kristoff CG Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Epic Maduro Lancero (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
10) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Esperiencia Prominente (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto (Costa Rica) 89 points
12) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto (Costa Rica) 89 points
13) Vegas de Santiago D8 Toro (Costa Rica) 88 points
14) Xiphos Connecticut Robusto (Costa Rica) 88 points
15) Romeo Y Julieta EL 2016 (Cuba) 86 points

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Xiphos Connecticut Robusto

Last year I reviewed two of the three Xiphos cigars that are made in Costa Rica, today I will tell you about my experience with the third Costa Rican offering from Xiphos, the Connecticut robusto. And there is a danger in having me rate a Connecticut, even though my dislike for the wrapper is decreasing, its still at the bottom of my wrapper list, even below Candela.


The cigar is made from a Peruvian binder, filler from Peru and the Dominican Republic and a wrapper from Ecuador, a Connecticut as the name suggests. The 5×50 robusto is made at the Tobaccos de Costa Rica factory, just like the other CR cigars from Xiphos.


When I remove the cellophane I notice the shine on the light colored wrapper. The wrapper is beautiful, it feels like velvet and its smooth yet a little too light for my liking. The ring is fantastic, like I wrote on the other Xiphos reviews, these rings are just perfect. In the middle of the cigar I feel a softer spot and the head of the cigar is uneven and the cigar has that typical musty Connecticut shade aroma, medium strong, like in an old, abandoned hay shack that has been empty for years.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is very good. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of flavor unlit. After lighting I taste a mild coffee. After half an inch I taste a mild cedar with a little bit of the Connecticut Shade mustiness that I don’t like a lot. There is some white pepper in the aftertaste. After a third it’s a slightly acidic cedar. Halfway the acidity is gone, the cigar is more herbal now with a cedar undertone. The final third is mild nutty with some acidity.


The draw is phenomenal, the right amount of air flow. And the smoke is great too, thick and plentiful, the only thing that would make it better was if the color was white. The light colored ash is layered and firm. The burn is straight. This is a mild cigar, medium flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. But if you like mild cigar and/or Connecticut Shade wrappers you will probably like it. It is a good cigar, just not for my palate.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Costa Rican cigars, Puriscal Factory of Tobaccos, Xiphos | Tags: , , ,

Vegas de Santiago D8 serie

In july I wrote a review on the Vegas de Santiago D8 robusto. I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars back before I started working in the industry, ordering straight from the factory in Costa Rica and always liked the cigars especially when you looked at them from a price quality point. And when I consulted for a small cigar importer in The Netherlands I pointed them to Vegas de Santiago as we lack Costa Rican cigars on the Dutch market.

At Intertabac I spoke with Marc Nieman, the owner of Vegas de Santiago and he told me that their cigars will be available on the Dutch market soon and thanked me for my help. He gave me a bunch of cigars to review too, including a couple of sizes of the D8. Instead of writing separate reviews I decided to combine all reviews in one.

Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto

 


This is the smallest of the cigars I recieved, a 4×50 short robusto that I can’t find on the Vegas de Santiago website. The ring is white with a red square and golden details and letters that quite pop, a nice ring. The wrapper is dark, oily and smooth. The construction looks and feels good. The cigar has a mild straw aroma.

 

I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect, I taste a mild raisin flavor.
After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a mild citrusy coffee. After a few puffs the cigar is floral. After a third I taste the floral flavor but with a mild peanut flavor and a tiny bit of salt. Halfway it’s floral and vanilla with some wood. In The final third I taste some red pepper too.

 


The draw is fantastic. The burn is equally fantastic. The salt and pepper ash is firm. The smoke is full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar with a smoke time of seventy five minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice cigar, if the price is right I will.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto

 


The corto is a nub sized cigar, 4×60, a size I don’t smoke often because I’m not a fan of big ring gauges. The ring is the same as on the short robusto but the wrapper looks a shade lighter in color and a little less oily. The construction looks and feels good, while the aroma is mild and reminds me a bit of sawdust.

 


I get a good cold draw, grassy, spicy and raw tobacco flavored. The cigar is so thick that I used a jet flame to light it. I taste toast, cinnamon, chocolate and some honey sweetness. After a third I taste honey cedar. Halfway some mild red pepper shows up in the aftertaste. Near the end the pepper gets stronger but not overpowering.

 


The draw is good and the light gray ash has nice thin rings, it’s firm and dense. The burn is razor sharp but the smoke is thin. The cigar has a decent evolution for a big ring gauge cigar but it’s not as dynamic as the corona. The body and flavors are medium. The smoke time is a hour exactly.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? I actually liked the sweetness a lot, I disliked the ring gauge.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona

 


I love the corona size, a vitola that doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves and is blown away by the thicker robusto, toro and gordo sizes but it remains in my top 5 of favorite vitolas. Again, the ring is the same and the wrapper has the same shade as the court, yet it has a little tooth to it and feels more leathery because of that. The cigar looks good and the construction feels good too.  A mild acidic aroma with some straw is what I smell.

 


I decapped the cigar with a flat cut. The cold draw is a little tight and quite peppery. After lichting I taste sweet coffee with pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar, lime, pepper and toast. After that I taste nuts, toast and some pepper. Halfway Its wood with herbs and a rocket salad pepper.

 


The draw is a little tight. The smoke is good, nice volume, nice thickness, beautiful white color. The ash is light gray, dense and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Apart from the tightness in the draw this is a very pleasant cigar so yes!

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Canonazo

 


A classic toro size, 6×52, yet it has a double name on the Vegas de Santiago website, Canonazo and Toro but ‘m fine with either, call it what you like, a cigar is a cigar. Same ring again and a leathery  chocolate brown wrapper with a beautiful reddish glow. The construction feels good and the cigar looks well rolled. The aroma is mild, its a bit of a barnyard aroma.

 


I cut the cigar and found a great draw with a mild acidic and raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a mild and creamy coffee. After a few puffs I taste walnuts with coffee. After an inch i taste a creamy vanilla with some honey. Halfway an acidic flavor is dominant with some honey and a little cream. The final third starts with a honey cedar.

 


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick and white. The burn is pretty straight. The light gray ash is coarse. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to the robusto.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, 89, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Davidoff 702 Series 2000

At the Dutch Big Smoke, which took place in the weekend of 16 & 17 september in Amsterdam & Almere, Davidoff introduced their 702 series to the Dutch audience. Now I was involved with the first 5 Big Smokes before the Dutch FDA shot us down, and my former Big Smoke partner decided for a different set up after a year of absence, a set up that is allowed within the strict Dutch regulations. I wasn’t involved and I didn’t like the set up. I was at one of the participating shops though with Riste from Jas Sum Kral and Juan Martinez (Joya de Nicaragua), Tom Mulder (La Sagrada Familia), Alex Svensson (Cigars International) and George Sosa (Alec Bradley) were there too.


Anyhow, on the second day of the event the Davidoff rep walked in, I have known him for years, and I jokingly say “hey, you didn’t bring me the new cigar?”. He reached into his pocket and handed me the Davidoff 702 series 2000. The binder and filler are the same as the regular production Davidoff as far as I know but the wrapper is a tobacco created from different Cuban strains and grown in Ecuador and it’s the same as the 2009 limited edition, but now in a regular production setting.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I notice how dark the wrapper is and it’s thick, creating a wrinkle at the foot because of a vein. The ring is Davidoff quality, classic but well printed and the secondary ring uses the same white and gold by being split in a golden top with white letters 2000 and a white bottom with golden letters 702 series. The cigar has the right resistance when I touch it, the shape is pretty, so the rollers did a good job. The aroma is strong and is definitely a stable aroma, hay, manure, urine, straw, live stock. It sounds disgusting but in a cigar its exactly what you expect to smell.


I decapped the cigar with a Xikar guillotine cutter from the Procigar gift box from a few years back. The cold draw is good, quite spicy. The first puff is coffee and a little chocolate. The chocolate disappears immediately and is replaced by a peanut flavor, still with the coffee. After half an inch i mainly taste a salty peanut flavor. Halfway the peanuts turns earthy and peppery. The final third starts salty again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn needed a touch up twice to correct. The ash is a little frayed yet firm. I would call this cigar medium at most, both in flavor and body. The smoke time is and hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not for my palate, technically a very good cigar though.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Cigars Davidoff, Davidoff, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Montecristo ‘A’

Years and years ago, before I discovered that Cuban cigars and me aren’t a match made in heaven and that I prefer Nicaraguans better I ran into this Montecristo A in a shop in Antwerp, Belgium. It was Huis Verloo, a very renowned shop that is now part of the Davidoff group but back then it was independent and a must visit for every cigar and liquor aficionado due to their huge collection in both items. Now as I said, it was a long time ago and even though I wasn’t a knowledgeable as I am nowadays I knew I had to buy that cigar as it was pretty rare and hard to find as this was pre La Casa del Habano in the Benelux era. I don’t have the box code for the cigar as I did not understand the importance of that either back then, but it is at least 7 years old and I haven’t had the courage to smoke it but today that’s going to change. I’m going to light it and review it.


The cigar is the longest Habanos in production I think as this Gran Corona measures 9.3 inch and it has a 47 ring gauge. Now I smoked a few ‘A’ sized cigars before and I always liked the size. The construction feels ok, there is a little bit of a soft spot at a third but not too much too really complain about, the overal look is good also due to the nicely glued triple cap. The ring is the classic, simple Montecristo brown ring with white letters that has been copied so often. The wrapper is a nice medium brown with tooth and due to the tooth it feels like fine sanding paper. I smell a mild vanilla and wood aroma.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw surprised me, guess this is a lucky day because the draw is flawless. I taste a spicy and peppery hay flavor before I lit the cigar with a soft flame lighter. Those flavors are gone the moment the flame hits the tobacco, it’s all leather then. Due to the size the smoke feels cool in my mouth. After a centimeter I taste leather but with a tiny hint of orange. The structure of the flavors feel creamy. The leather is slowly getting stronger and the orange is gone in a few puffs.  Still in the first third I get a minty flavor with the leather. The draw starts to get a little tight so I cut the cigar to widen the opening compared to the punched hole and that solves the issue. It’s still mainly leather and the minty flavor now also has a hint of orange again.


After a third I the leather fades away a bit and I taste a mild chocolate with the leather. The cigar also has some pepper and a fresh aftertaste. Halfway I taste toast with leather and pepper. Soon after the toast changes to wood, with still leather and pepper. After two thirds I taste nuts with a good amount of pepper.


I’m very happy with the great draw, I’ve had lesser experiences especially with Cuban cigars. The smoke is thin though and low in quantity too. The ash is salt and pepper colored, you can clearly see the layers in the ash and it’s reasonable firm. The burn is straight and slow. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied with a full flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, and that has nothing to do with this cigar but I’m not taking a risk of buying a very expensive cigar with my bad experiences with Cuban quality control. On a regular priced cigar I’m willing to take a risk but in crazy €50 or more price tags I won’t.

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Montecristo (Habanos), Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month September

It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to publish my list. What’s the best cigar I rated this month and what’s the worst?

The cigar with the highest rate in September  is:

My Father Commemorate 911 Rosado Habano

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) My Father Commemorate 911 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Torpedo (Honduras) 93 points
3) La Flor Dominicana Airbender Lancero (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Rocky Patel Royale Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Undercrown Shade Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF (Dominican Republic) 90 points
8) H. Upmann Mag 46 (Cuba) 89 points
9) Bunch Toro (Nicaragua) 88 points
10) Vega Fina Summum 2013 Toro (Dominican Republic) 87 points
11) Bunch Robusto (Nicaragua) 84 points
12) Amero Short Robusto (Dominican Republic) 82 points
13) Bunch Short Robusto (Nicaragua) 82 points

 

 

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Bunch Robusto, Short Robusto & Toro

Bunch is a private label made for a Portuguese cigar importer & distributer that imports several brands from Nicaragua and decided to have a label of his own. He ended up at Plasencia for his cigars, like many other people that want a private label, from retailers that want a house brand to big names that want something else they can’t make at their own factory, like the Casa Magna for the Dominican cigar family Quesada or at their regular factory like Alec Bradley who uses Raices Cubanas in Honduras for most of their productions except the Nicaraguan made Alec Bradley’s that are produced by Plasencia. And Rocky Patel’s operation in Honduras is actually a Plasencia factory dedicated to Rocky Patel, under supervision from Rocky Patel but still Plasencia owned.

I smoked the Bunch Petit Corona late 2015, today I’m reviewing the Robusto and I will review Toro and a Short Robusto in this series review too. The Petit Corona had a good start but a poor finish, let’s see what a little more length and the thicker ring gauge will do to the cigar.

Bunch Robusto


The wrapper looks amazing, dark, smooth, oily, shiny, the veins were obviously pressed before using the wrapper to create an even smoother look and it works. This wrapper is gorgeous. It doesn’t fit the ring, unfortunately, because the ring is simple and without class. Just a pale yellow to beige with a light brown letters Bunch and a simple tobacco leaf on each side and vertical stripes in two brown/green colors both on top and bottom of the cigar. The ring should elevate the cigar, persuade me to buy it but this one doesn’t. If I would buy this cigar it would be because of the wrapper. The construction is flawless, on the touch it feels evenly packed and the head is beautifully shaped, round and even. The aroma is quite strong, barnyard, stable, a little manure so typically a well fermented tobacco aroma.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is good. I taste a bit of a raisin flavor, mild spicy. After lighting I taste a mild salty coffee and peanut flavor. After half an inch the flavor changed to a mild chocolate soil flavor with some acidity. After a third I taste pepper with some lemon and a little bit of nuts. The final third starts with a strong pepper over the soil flavor.


The draw is great and the smoke is voluptuous, thick and full. The ash is quite dark and with clear layers. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored at most. The evolution is non existent though. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? No. It’s not an unpleasant cigar but boring because of the lack of evolution.

Score: 84
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Bunch  Short Robusto

The short Robusto measures 4½ x52 and has the exact same ring as the Robusto. The dark wrapper is oily, smooth and pretty. The construction feels good and the cigar looks well made. The aroma is  quite strong and a classic barnyard smell.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is a bit tight. I taste raisin with some spice that I can’t identify. After lighting with a single jet flame I taste a mildly acidic dirt flavor. After a few puffs I also taste a decent amount of sweetness. After half an inch the acidity, which is lemon like, grows a bit in strength. After that there is no real evolution which makes the cigar quite boring. The flavors are not fantastic either, a bit rough around the edge. I don’t know the price of the cigar but it tastes like a budget cigar.


The smoke is thick and full. The draw is fine, but the burn is a bit crooked and I had to relight twice. The dark ash is quite firm. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No, boring cigar.

Score: 82
number82

Bunch Toro


The 6×50 toro has a nice, shiny, medium dark wrapper but I feel a few soft spots in the construction. The ring is the same as the other vitolas, so not too pretty. The cigar looks good when it comes to shape and triple cap. The aroma is strong and is a classic barnyard smell.


I cut the cigar with a xikar guillotine cutter and I taste spicy, peppery sultanas with a perfect cold draw. I lit the cigar with a single flame torch and taste coffee with wood. After half an inch I taste a mild bitter cedar with black pepper and some minty nutmeg. Halfway the cigar gets very peppery, classic Nicaraguan with a base of cedar and a little nutmeg. This is the best Bunch so far. The final third starts with strong pepper and dry wood and toast. The pepper is growing in strength and is overpowering all other flavors.


The draw is great and the smoke is full and thick. The ash is a little flaky, quite dark. The burn needs some correction. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is the best Bunch but there are better cigars available.

Score: 88

Categories: 82, 84, 88, Bunch, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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