Posts Tagged With: 89

La Estrella Polar Robusto

La Estrella Polar Robusto. In may, Scandinavian Tobacco Group announced that they would start distributing a new brand in Europe. La Estrella Polar, the polar star. And two weeks later, during the TFWA Asia Pacific Trade Show, Ministry of Cigars sat down with Stephan Brichau. Brichau is the international sales and marketing manager premium cigars for the Danish tobacco giant. He sponsored some cigars, but said: “this is a cigar aimed for the budget smoker, it’s between the 3 and 3.50 Euro, keep that in mind while smoking”.

The cigar is available in this 5×50 Robusto or a 6×60 Gordo. The wrapper comes from Ecuador. The binder is from Indonesia. It is from the 2013 harvest. The fillers come from Nicaragua and Colombia. The cigars are made by General Cigars. General Cigars is part of the STG group. But since General Cigars has factories in Honduras, Nicaragua and on the Dominican Republic, it’s unclear where the La Estrella Polar is being produced.

The cigar has a nice, sun grown, wrapper. Quite dark although not Maduro or Oscuro dark. It ranks in the Colorado Maduro class. It’s quite oily, with just one thicker vein. The ring is a bit simple and screams ‘BUDGET CIGAR’. Big, white with mustard colored outlines, blue letters, and a red flag. The wrapper is too pretty for a simple ring like this. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong. Wet straw, a little ammonia and green herbs is what comes to mind.

The cold draw is great. The flavors are raw tobacco with spices on the tip of the tongue. And a mild gingerbread in the aftertaste. At first, there’s a slightly bitter, unrefined coffee with pepper. Quickly a powdered sugar flavor joins the coffee. The cigar is still unrefined, slightly harsh. There’s also some sourness. The sourness disappears quickly but is replaced by chocolate milk of a very low grade. Slowly some soil flavor shows up too, still with coffee as the base. The mouthfeel is slightly buttery. The sweet chocolate milk is getting stronger after a third. Halfway the flavors change to musty wood with pepper and leather. In the final third, the cigar starts to get more refined. The sweetness is strong with a leafy flavor and pepper. There’s even a little leather flavor at the end of the cigar, right before the pepper gains serious strength.

The draw is great. The ash is like a stash of dimes, but a short stack as it breaks off quickly. The smoke is nice and thick. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I’m too spoiled to smoke budget cigars. But for a budget cigar, this isn’t too bad.

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Categories: 89, La Estrella Polar, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

PDR Dark Roast Robusto

Coffee flavored cigars are popular. Several popular brands have a coffee infused cigar line in their portfolio. Drew Estate even has two with the Tabak Especial and Isla del Sol. Plus they produce the Java for Rocky Patel. The Nub Cafe from Oliva is a popular coffee infused cigar, but there are more. And last year, PDR decided to jump on the train as well. But their coffee infused cigars are different.

Where the other brands choose to sweeten the wrapper, PDR decided not to do so. So their ‘roast series’ are natural cigars, just infused with coffee. No other techniques, no sweetened wrapper, pure cigars, and coffee.

The PDR Roast series come in three blends, just like the Nub Cafe. The Natural Roast has an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. Then there’s the Medium Roast with a Sun Grown Claro wrapper from Ecuador. The version that Ministry of Cigars is reviewing is the PDR Dark Roast. That one has a Brazilian Maduro wrapper and is supposedly the strongest of the blends. There are three sizes available. There are a 51/4×44 Corona, a 6×52 Toro and the 5×52 Robusto that we are reviewing.

The cigar looks amazing. A dark oily wrapper. Closed foot and a knot on the head. A dark glossy ring, simple and clear. A huge glossy foot ring with the PDR logo. This cigar stands out. There are a few veins on the wrapper, but for a Brazilian Maduro wrapper, it looks smooth. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice bounce when you squeeze it. The cigar has a strong aroma of dark chocolate and coffee. More chocolate than coffee, which is quite surprising.

The cold draw is great, even with the closed foot. There is some artificial sweetness but it’s not on the lips as with other infused cigars. Once lit, there is dark roasted coffee as expected, with some artificial sweetness. The bitterness of the coffee is quite complex. Soon the artificial sweetness takes over, with coffee and chili pepper as supporting flavors. After a few puffs, there’s coffee with mud. That artificial sweetness does not do the cigar any favors. But at least it’s not stuck on the lips, something that happens with for example the Nub Cafe lines. Halfway the cigar gets spicier, the artificial sweetness is less. There’s coffee, pepper, herbs, leather, and wood. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. In the final third, the cigar turns a little bitter. With pepper, coffee and that artificial sweetness again. The pepper is strong. Near the end, there’s wood with the pepper. The sweetness disappears just like the coffee.


The draw is good, a bit loose maybe. And the smoke is fantastic, thick and white. The burn is wonky and had to be corrected. The light-colored ash isn’t very firm. This cigar is medium-full bodied. The flavors are medium. This cigar would have been better with less artificial sweetener. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I don’t think so

number89

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man Gran Toro

Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man Gran Toro. Hiram & Solomon is the brand of Fouad Kashouty and Nasir Dakrat. The couple met during freemason gatherings. And they became friends. Both cigar aficionados were surprised that they could not find any freemason cigars. So they decided to create a brand that uses the freemason shield in the logo. And in freemason spirit, parts of the proceeds will flow back into the community through charity.


The Traveling Man is made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. David Blanco from Blanco Cigars was involved in the blending of the cigar. And the blend is interesting because of the use of Indonesian Sumatra. Most Sumatra tobacco used comes from Ecuador. Yet for the Traveling Man, Hiram & Solomon use Sumatra from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Add an Indonesian binder. And Brazilian, Dominican and Nicaraguan wrapper and you have the Hiram & Solomon Travelling Man. The Gran Toro size is 6×60.

The cigar looks good. I like the purple ring with the Freemason logo. The cigar has a nice shade of color and just two thin veins on the backside. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong. I smell hay and straw.

The cold draw is great. The hay and grass flavor is strong in the cold draw. After lighting, the first flavors are best described as dusty and earthy with some sweetness. There’s also a slight hint of pepper. The marzipan sweetness is fantastic. After a few puffs, some leather shows up too. And some grass. The mouthfeel is a little buttery. In the first third, the flavors stay consistent but that’s expected with a big ring cigar. The flavors maintain in the second third, although I taste some licorice too. There are slight changes, subtle, with some vanilla showing up every now and then. Same goes for pepper, but overall this is a consistent cigar. The final third is much better. The pepper picks up, allspice shows up and it’s good.


The draw is flawless. The burn is straight. The ash is light colored and firm enough. The smoke is quite thin. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Only in a thinner version

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Categories: 89, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Pyranos Robusto

I don’t know anything about this cigar, nothing at all. It was sponsored by Schuster cigars for review purposes. After lighting, I googled the cigar just to find limited information. Just the price, the size and that it’s a Nicaraguan Puros. And that there’s also a corona and a toro available.


I used google to get as much info on this cigar as I could. But that was just a little. All I found was on a German website. The cigars are € 9,80 per piece and they are Nicaraguan Puros. So Nicaraguan filler, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan wrapper. The factory is undisclosed.


A fantastic oily, shiny, almost lacquered wrapper. Triple capped, beautifully shaped. At first, I thought the ring was a bit lame, but then I noticed the odd shape and I liked that. It’s a black ring, with yellow and red stairs on it, Pyranos in gold and yellow letters saying it’s a Longfiller. The Schuster logo is on the back. The construction feels good. The cigar has a medium strong, deep, almost charred, aroma.

The cold draw is perfect, with a strong raw tobacco flavor. After lighting, I taste an earthy coffee flavor with some spicy green herbs and a dash of mild pepper. The sweetness reminds me of nougat. Slowly the wood becomes the main flavor, but smooth with a smooth cane sugar sweetness. After a third, I taste fresh wood, with green herbs. Slowly the pepper is gaining some strength. Halfway I taste spices, nutmeg, allspice, that kind of flavors. Add in some grass and mild vanilla, and that’s what I taste. The final third starts with a nice, deep, wooden flavor with a strong pepper. The flavors slowly evolve to smooth wood with soil, and still that pepper.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick, full and plentiful. The light-colored ash is not too firm, it’s decent. The burn is straight. I would say this is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is one hour and twenty-five minutes.

Would I smoke this cigar again? It’s not a bad cigar, but I had better.

number89

Categories: 89, Nicaraguan cigars, Pyranos | Tags: , , ,

El Piño Blanco Maduro Robusto

This cigar is only available in The Netherlands, and as far as I know, only in one shop: Tabakado in the city of Eindhoven. And that’s because the cigar is blended by the owner of the shop, Mariska Kelch. I have known Mariska for years, when I started visiting the shop as a sales rep, her father was in charge but he was grooming Mariska to be the chief of the shop and she’s doing great. I saw her progress from just a daughter and employee to a shot caller and I am amazed by her progress.

When the duo met David Blanco, they started talking about creating their own cigar. That resulted in the El Piño Blanco line. Unfortunately, Johan Kelch was not around to see the final product as he suddenly and tragically passed away three years ago, but I know he would be very pleased and very proud of Mariska’s achievements. And while smoking this cigar, I had to think of Johan a lot. He was one of my best accounts, one with a manual though and our conversations always had the same pattern, first Johan would complain about something, then we would have a hard but fair argument before we would do business. Good business, and even though the discussions were hard and heated, we had the utmost respect for each other and liked each other a lot. Johan was also the first retailer to call me and wish me luck on my future path after me and my employer parted ways. I hate that I will never get another chance to smoke a cigar with him.

The cigar looks very nice, the shape is perfect with a well-rounded head, triple cap. I have a feeling that the wrapper is cooked through, in a slurry of tobacco, to make it look darker. When I wet my finger and rub the cigar, my fingers will taint and you can see a lighter shade under dark spots. Now that doesn’t have to mean anything and could be just for aesthetic reasons. And honestly, the cigar looks great. The simple black, green and white ring is clean, the brand name is clear, the tobacco leaf on the ring looks nice. The cigar has a nice touch, I can’t feel any plugs. The smell is medium strong, sawdust and a little bit of manure are what I smell.

The cold draw tastes like raisin, the draw is good though. Right at the get-go, I taste coffee but also a chewy flavor, like portobello mushroom with some leather. After half a centimeter I still taste the mushroom with the leather and some very mild milk chocolate. After a centimeter, I taste hay, dried grass with a bit of American milk chocolate. After a third, the cigar still has the hay with American milk chocolate flavor, but now with some herbs and pepper. When I say American milk chocolate, think Hersey. That’s different than European milk chocolate, a little more chemical. Halfway the cigar gets woody, cedar, with the chewy flavor again and some pepper. In the final third the flavors aren’t muted anymore. I taste wood, milk chocolate, a mild pepper, some herbal flavor. The pepper is getting stronger, now it’s a full-blown Nicaraguan cigar.

The smoke is thick and white. The draw is great. The white ash is beautiful. I had to relight the cigar once, but the burn is sharp. The cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. This is a nice budget cigar that would is great to have around for the days where you smoke more than one cigar and don’t want to break the bank. This is a medium bodied, medium-full flavored cigar with a strong finish. The smoke time is about two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good budget cigar, always nice to have a bundle in the humidor

number89

Categories: 89, El Piño Blanco, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Debonaire Habano Robusto

I had heard about Debonaire, yet I had never smoked one. I had smoked Indian Motorcycle cigars though, which are also owned by Phil Zanghi and made at the De Los Reyes factory. And that factory is growing on me with Puros de Hostos, Saga, and Indian Motorcycle, so I had high expectations from this Debonaire Habano.

 


The cigar was recommended to me by several people, people whose opinion matter to me in the cigar industry. People like Mariska from Tabakado for example, who had been trying to get Debonaire distributed in The Netherlands for a while, calling all distributors before one finally decided to pick up the brand and making both Indian Motorcycles and Debonaire available on the Dutch market.

 


The cigar has a nice Colorado colored wrapper that looks a bit rough on the cap though. The ring is big, gold and brown, with white letters. The print quality is high and it gives the cigar a luxurious look. The aroma, barnyard, and swamp, isn’t too strong. Construction wise, the cigar feels a bit hard.

 


The cold draw is a bit on the tight side, yet acceptable, quite spicy with raw tobacco and pepper. After lighting, I taste toast and leather, with a hint of cinnamon. After a few puffs, I taste wood, leather, and grass. After a centimeter, I taste a grassy and woody metallic flavor with a creamy mouthfeel. After a third, I taste a grassy and hay with nutmeg mixture. Halfway I taste toast with cinnamon again. Then the cigar turns to cedar, spice and red chili pepper. The final third its all about pepper and cinnamon, on full blast. Near the end, I also taste hazelnuts.

 


The draw is great. The ash is white and firm, yet the burn I had to correct. The smoke is good. The flavors, medium strength, are mellow and very suitable for Cuban cigar aficionados. The strength is medium too. The smoke time is two hours twenty minutes

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Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t. It’s a good cigar, just not for me. I would, however, suggest people to give it a try unless you are into strong, full-flavored, bold, cigars.

number89

Categories: 89, De Los Reyes, Debonaire, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Room 101 Series SA Robusto

Room 101, that is one of those brands that never really grabbed my attention. I know it is the brand of jewelry designer Matt Booth, who last year said goodbye to the cigar industry just to return a couple of months later in a collaboration with Robert Caldwell. Since the cigars never made it to Europe  I never got in on the Room 101 hype. I don’t know where and how I got this cigar.


The cigar is made in Honduras with a Mexican San Andres natural wrapper, a Honduran binder and filler from both Honduras and the Dominican Republic. If the information I read online is correct, than Christian Eiroa was involved in blending this cigar. I don’t know where the cigars were being rolled though, but I guess at the Camacho factory if Eiroa was involved indeed.


The wrapper is not as dark as you would expect from a San Andres wrapper, but this is not the usual San Andres maduro wrapper, its a natural wrapper. its leathery by look and by touch. The ring is something special, brown with brushed gold, just a face of an ancient Asian statue and the SA letters on the side. The cigar looks good and the head is perfectly rounded. The cigar has a strong smell of barnyard with sawdust.


After cutting the cigar I taste raisin and dry tobacco. The cold draw is fine. After lighting I taste cinnamon and allspice, quite strong. After a few puffs the flavors get smoother and I taste some honey. After a third it’s more a fresh cedar taste with just a little bit of cinnamon. The flavors are quite dry. Halfway I taste something sharp on the tip of my tongue but I can’t put my finger on the exact flavor. When the sharp flavor disappears I taste wood again, with honey, salt and a hint of cinnamon.


The draw is fine. The smoke is medium full in thickness, medium in volume and white of color. The ash is pepper and salt colored. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I was expecting more from this cigar.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Honduran cigars, Rancho Jamastran, Room 101 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Maduro

Yesterday I wrote about the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Habano Ligero and the same story goes for the maduro. Originally a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez who released the cigars commercially after years of begging from Meier & Dutch.


The blend consists of the same tobacco as the natural, yet with another wrapper. Instead of using a Nicaraguan Habano ligero A.J. Fernandez chose a Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro to wrap around the Nicaraguan Habano binder and the Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler for this 5×44 corona.


The wrapper is dark, almost black, dry and a little rough. The ring is simple, just a glossy black with the silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. I love closed foots and a pigtail, so this cigar fits right up my alley. The aroma is medium strong, like dark chocolate in a farm field.


After cutting the cigar I try the cold draw. Surprisingly it’s good, even with the closed foot. I taste a little sweetness and a lot of spice. After lighting I taste a sweet earthy leather flavor. Soon I taste spice and pepper. After an inch I taste sweetness and pepper. Slowly the sweetness disappears while the pepper gets stronger and an earthy flavor shows up too.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, beautiful white of color. The ash is white too. The burn is great. The cigar is strong, full bodied yet medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Score: 89

number89

Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Ligero

The Puro Authentico from the Man O’ War series were actually created as a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez and it took Meier & Dutch three years to convince A.J. to release these small cigars, a 5×44 corona, commercially. Both the natural, which I’m reviewing today, and the maduro, which will be reviewed tomorrow, are for sale nowadays in ten count boxes.


The natural version of the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Corona is made from Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The blend is the same as the maduro version, the difference is in the wrapper, which in this case is a Nicaraguan Habano ligero.


The oily wrapper is dark, if someone gave me this cigar and said it was the maduro version, I would have believed it. Only when I put it next to the maduro I see a slight difference. The ring is different from the other Man O’ War cigars, just a small glossy black ring with a golden silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. The cigar comes with a closed foot and a small pigtail, so that’s a plus. I smell a mild, peppery chocolate aroma.


The cold draw is non existing because of the closed foot. I taste chocolate and marzipan. After lighting I taste espresso, strong, bold espresso. After a few puffs I taste sugar. After an inch I taste an earthy flavor, coffee and wood. After a third some cinnamon joins the flavors. Halfway it’s earthy, with a little sugar and quite some pepper. Near the end it’s just earthy and peppery.


The draw is good, the medium thick smoke is white. The ash is dark, it’s not firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium flavored, full bodied. Even though it’s a thin cigar and not too long, the smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They come in the sampler, I want a few samplers so yeah.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Virtue Torpedo

Last year, in september, I reviewed the same cigar. I did that before I came up with the idea to review this complete sampler but I’m not going to change my plans because of that older review, let’s just call this a quick redux.


The Man O’ War Virtue line was releases only two years after the Man O’ War brand came to life, and it was the third blend that got released. The regular Man O’ War and the Man O’ War Ruination were strong cigars, this Man O’ War Virtue, with the Nicaraguan Habano filler and binder and the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper was in a different league, the league of mild to medium cigars.


The light colored, almost pale, wrapper looks dry and brittle. The ring is the same as the other Man O’ War rings but in white and silver, making it more difficult to see what the picture is. The cigar is well made, it feels good and looks good. It has a medium strong hay and ammonia aroma.


The cold draw is fine, I taste dry, mild sweet and mild acidic raisin and tobacco. After lighting I taste a metallic dirt aroma. There’s also that classic Connecticut Shade mustiness. After the metallic dirt disappears I taste cedar, mild sweet, with that classic mustiness and a bit of black pepper. The flavors remain practically the same all around, except for a little metallic flavor returning at the end and the pepper grew in strength. In the dying seconds I taste some nuts too.


The draw is a bit loose and the cigar produces a lot of smoke. The salt and peppered colored ash is firm and pretty. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s a classic Connecticut Shade, which I don’t appreciate

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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