Posts Tagged With: 89

Cigar of the month January

Since the end of the year is an expensive month for most of us, I decided to smoke and review some budget cigars for the month of January. I wish I hadn’t though, even though some budget cigars preformed really well, and others had a good price-quality ratio, I rather pay a few dollars extra and have an almost guaranteed cigar enjoyment.

As for this month, the cigar with the highest rating is:
Diesel Unholy Cocktail with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Diesel Unholy Cocktail Belicoso (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Calixto Lopez Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
3) Nica Libre Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
4) Blue Ribbon Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
5) Joya Black Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
6) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corona (Honduras) 89 points
7) Flor de Oliva Lancero (Nicaragua) 88 points
8) Benchmade Toro (Nicaragua) 87 points
9) Schizo Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 87 points
10) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano (Honduras) 87 points
11) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural (Honduras) 86 points
12) Cuba Libre Epicure (Honduras) 85 points
13) Schizo Robusto (Nicaragua) 85 points
14) Miami Mafia Torpedo (Nicaragua) 85 points
15) Chincalero Fuerte Picadillos (Nicaragua) 84 points
16) Non Plus Ultra Maduro Toro (Honduras) 84 points
17) Berger & Argenti Mooch Maduro Corona (Nicaragua) 84 points
18) Reposado Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 84 points
19) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 83 points
20) Jose L Piedro Cazadores (Cuba) 83 points
21) Nestor Reserva Maduro Torpedo (Honduras) 82 points
22) La Flor de Rosa Churchill (Nicaragua) 82 points
23) Don Tomas Clasico Robusto (Honduras) 80 points
24) Reposado Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 79 points
25) La Rica Churchill (Nicaragua) 78 points
26) Cucaracha Nub (Nicaragua) 77 points
27) JR Edicion Limitada Robusto (undisclosed) 77 points
28) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 77 points
29) Quorum Toro (Nicaragua) 73 points

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Joya Black Toro

Earlier I wrote a review on the Joya Black Robusto and it scored a decent 89 and with that score it won’t make my top 25 of 2017, that’s for sure. I did smoke a few other Joya’s too this year like the Red Half Corona, original release Cuatro Cinco and the Rosalones Reserva plus La Sagrada Familia, Fratello and Sobremesa that are made at the Joya factory and they all scored good ratings from 89 and up. And I must say, from all the factories I visited in Esteli I like the peace and quiet at Joya best, the place has a tranquility and an atmosphere that is unique and that I haven’t found at any of the other factories I visited (including Oliva, Padron, La Zona, My Father, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, A.J. Fernandez, Plasencia and Aromas de Jalapa). Now I’m not saying the other factories aren’t nice, every factory has their own vibe and charm, but to me Joya stands out.

 


The cigar is the first Joya de Nicaragua cigar with a Mexican San Adres Negro wrapper and the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan. According to Mario Perez the idea behind the blend is to mix the Nicaraguan filler and binder with the specific characteristics of the Mexican wrapper without the cigar becoming overpowering and be like a little stronger version of the so popular Joya Red, the cigar that broke with the classic tradition of the Joya brand to catch a new, younger & hipper crowd and succeeded so well.

 


I smoked the 6×52 toro that I got at Intertabac 2016 and once I unwrap the cigar from the cellophane I smell dark chocolate with some pepper, very unusual but nice. The construction is beautiful although at the back of the cigar the triple cap is a bit uneven.  The dark wrapper is shiny from the oil and has a long vein running along the side of the cigar. The ring is modern, just like the Joya Red ring actually and they remind me of each other, except for the color, which is pitch black with a silver lining and Joya logo, blue lining to break the black and white letters saying Joya Black. Modern, sleek, clear, simple, I like it.

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is just fine. I taste some mild mixture of hay, dark chocolate and raisin. After I lit the cigar with the last bit of butane I had left in my Ronson I taste a mild acidic and sweet coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste coffee with pepper. The cigar name is black but the flavor is also dark. Slowly the cigar gets a little spicier with earthy flavors. After a thirds it’s still a very earthy cigar with a little lime, some salt, pepper and peanuts. The pepper slowly gains some strength and I also taste a faint hint of dark chocolate. Halfway the pepper slows down again, the peanuts have gone and I’m back to earthy and citrusy flavors with a hint of dark chocolate. After that the cigar slowly get more sweetness. At the end I taste nuts again.

 


The smoke is medium thick and a bit grayish. The ash is beautiful, white, dense and firm. The draw is great. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The burn is slow and straight. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, but only in the fall or winter.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Brun del Re Colonial Robusto

Brun del Re is a Costa Rican cigar company that focusses mainly on the European market but they do have a small presence on American soil too. Their factory is in San Jose, Costa Rica and I don’t know if they grown their own tobacco, but they use Costa Rican tobacco in their cigars for sure.


According to Brun del Re this Colonial is the strongest offering they have. Made with a Costa Rican maduro wrapper, an Indonesian binder and filler from Nicaragua and Costa Rica this cigar is supposed to please experienced smokers. I think I got this cigar at one of the Intertabac trade shows, but I can’t recall what year. I know I have aged this cigar for a minimum of two years in my own humidor.


The wrapper is dark, but that’s no surprise when you know that its a maduro cigar. It feels leathery and isn’t the best looking wrapper I’ve seen. The ring is red with gold and tiny, white letters in a curly font. The combination of the colors, the font and the size make the label hard to read and the details are too fine for the print so it looks like a gold blob. The construction feels good, the cap is reasonable, all by all with the construction, ring and wrapper this cigar isn’t the prettiest cigar I’ve seen, but flavor could make up for that. The cigar has a mild smell of dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is good, relatively spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste earthy and coffee flavors with a hint of cocoa. The flavor is quite consistent in the first third. Halfway some citrus acidity shows up, it reminds me of yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit. I also start to taste oak, and with the yuzu and earthy flavors it’s actually very pleasant. In the final third I taste more cocoa.


The draw is good. The firm ash is gray and black. The smoke is good, nice, white and thick. The burn is great. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it. The lack of evolution caused the score to be low but the flavors are nice.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Brun del Re, Costa Rican cigars | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month July

July was a month of 21 published reviews, here’s the list from best to worst, with a surprising winner

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Gurkha Havana Blend Toro with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Gurkha Havana Blend Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Maduro Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco OR Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) El Centurion Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Bucanero Z Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Wilson Adams Mr. Wilson Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Mbombay Vintage Reserve Salomon (Costa Rica) 91 points
11) Bucanero Z Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) El Criolito Half Corona (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Don Pepin Garcia Blue Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
14) La Antiguedad Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Punch LE 2013 (Cuba) 90 points
16) Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
17) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
18) E.P. Carrillo Encore Robusto (Dominican Republic) 89 points
19) Royal Danish Havana Blend Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
20) Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Gordo (Costa Rica) 84 points
21) Navarre Petit Robusto (France) 82 points

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E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic

I have met Ernesto Perez Carrillo a few times, both at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund and once in Nicaragua where we ran into him at the A.J. Fernandez factory while interviewing A.J. and taking pictures for the Cigaragua book. Ernesto came walking in with Gilberto Oliva, so there was a lot of tobacco knowledge on a few square meters there. And last september at the Intertabac trade show I walked passed the booth, Ernesto called me in and said “I would like you to try this cigar” and handed me this Encore.


Now when I see that the encore is a Nicaraguan puro, even though its made on the Dominican Republic, I think “maybe I ran into him when he was buying tobacco for this line”, I mean, he was with Gilberto Oliva, Angel from ASP and came to visit A.J. Fernandez and those are three tobacco growers. But I could be wrong. The cigar comes in four vitolas and I smoked the 5 3/8×52 Majestic.


The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane and has a cloth band to protect the foot of the cigar. When I release the cigar from the cellophane I notice that it’s slightly box pressed. The cigar has a double ring, a secondary ring in brown with copper colored, dry detailed outlines and white letters saying Perez Carrillo and then a main ring in the same brown with the same copper detailed outlines, different shades of brown and white to detail the ring and the Perez Carrillo logo in the center with encore in white letters. The ring fits perfect with the dark, little rough but oily wapper. The cigar feels evenly packed, the shape is good, the cap is good. And the aroma is great, freshly baked whole grain bread and bell peppers, with a little manure.


I cut the cigar for a very loose cold draw, which tastes mild spicy. After lighting I taste a dry and strong espresso, bitter in a positive way. After a third I taste cedar with a faint cocoa, slightly bitter and harsh. The flavors don’t change after, except for a little pepper at the end.


The smoke is amazing, thick, white, full and a lot of it. The draw is a little loose. The ash is light gray with black stripes. The burn is straight. The evolution lacks a little. I would call it medium bodied and medium flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like to try one with a draw that is less loose, I expect that the flavors are more refined then due to a lower combustion temperature and it will also lead to a longer smoke duration.

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, E.P. Carrillo, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month June

In June I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Xiphos NR Habano Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Reserva Miraflor Corona (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Don Lino 1898 Robusto (unknown) 92 points
6) MUWAT Baitfish Gary (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Cornelius & Anthony Meridian Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) Viking Viking Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Herrera Esteli Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 90 points
11) El Baton Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Desconocido Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
13) H. Upmann Magnum 54 (Cuba) 89 points
14) Quesada Reserva Privada Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
15) Casa de Alegria Criollo Corona (Nicaragua) 87 points
16) Gomez Sanchez Leyenda Figurado (Nicaragua) 85 points

 

 

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H. Upmann Magnum 54

I started to smoke cigars on a vacation to Singapore and Indonesia, on the way there we bought some cigars at Changi Airport to smoke in Indonesia and on the way back I maxed my creditcard with Cohiba, Montecristo, Upmann, Romeo y Julieta and other Cuban marca’s. When I was out, and more knowledgable and learned more of what I liked and not liked, my first purchase was a box of the H. Upmann corona major in tubes and back then the tubes were silver instead of yellow. Digging deep in my memory I recall that the box date was may 2003.


So because of that I still have a soft spot for the H. Upmann brand even though I drifted far from Cuban cigars and call Nicaragua my favorite cigar country for over a decade now. But when my buddy Nasier offered me this aged H. Upmann Magnum 54 my memory drifted back to that box of corona major. Nasier by the way, is the shopmanager of Van Lookeren in Amsterdam, and they have the coolest ‘speakeasy’ lounge in the basement under the shop, I recommend checking it out if you’re ever in Amsterdam.


The shape of the cigar is good and the cigar feels evenly packed, I can’t feel any plugs. The milk chocolate colored wrapper feels brittle but looks decent. The ring is red with golden outlines, a golden logo and white letters and that goes for the secondary ring too. The stable aroma is mild.


I cut a thin slice of the cap. The cold draw, sweet and raisin flavored, is great. After lighting I taste soil with some sweetness. There is a bit of nuts and quite some pepper for a Cuban cigar too. After half an inch I taste cedar with mild pepper. After an inch I also taste the nuts again. Halfway the pepper is really strong, if I smoked this cigar blind I would have guessed it was Nicaraguan. It’s also a little harsh, like the tobacco isn’t fully fermented. At the end I taste cedar with a little pepper and floral flavors.


The draw is great, and the smoke is thick and full. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The burn is a bit off, I had to correct a few times. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos), H. Upmann Factory | Tags: , , ,

Quesada Reserva Privada Toro

The Quesada family has honored the previous generations before, in the Tribute series, but this cigar is a tribute too, first and foremost to the father of Manuel Quesada who planted and picked the tobacco for this cigar back in 1997, a year before he passed away, but also a tribute to the new generation in the shape of modern boxes and a hologram logo. And the new generation, in the shape of Raquel Quesada gave me this cigar at the Intertabac trade show.


So the filler is a Dominican San Vincente leaf with Pennsylvania broadleaf ligero, the binder is that vintage, 18 year old, Dominican Criollo with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper in a 5 5/8×54 size. All the cigars are aged an additional year after rolling before they are shipped to the shops. And I wonder, what happens when the vintage binder is gone? Is there a new stash of a 1998 harvest to continue the blend or will the cigar just disappear?


The mocha colored wrapper looks beautiful yet brittle, with a few thin veins. The ring is amazing, simple, stylish, modern with a black back drop, the Quesada Q logo in golden hologram style and glossy silver ‘Quesada’ and ‘reserva’ prints on the sides. Very tasteful, very well printed. The cigar feels well constructed, evenly packed and the triple cap is flawless. The medium strong aroma is typical manure, Cubanesque manure.


I cut the cigar with my butterfly cutter. The cold draw is perfect and I taste a mild sweet floral yet herbal flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet mild musty and floral coffee. After an inch I taste sweetness, Connecticut mustiness and cedar. The sweetness fades, a white pepper shows up with a mild floral sweetness. The cigar gets stronger.


The draw is great. The white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That darn Connecticut Shade, still not my wrapper.

Score: 89
number89

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Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Cigar of the month May

In may I published 19 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale with a 96 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale (Nicaragua) 96 points
2) Goviado Lancero (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Viaje Platino Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
5) Goviado Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Eiroa the first 20 years Prensado (Honduras) 91 points
8) Alec Bradley Post Embargo Robusto (Honduras) 91 points
9) Mayimbe Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) La Sirena Merloin Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Aging Room Solera Fantastico (Dominican Republic) 89 points
12) Brick House Connecticut Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
13) C.A.O. Pilon Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
14) La Gloria Cuban Duke (Cuba) 87 points
15) Don Ibarra Natural Belicoso (Dominican Republic) 86 points
16) Don Ibarra Natural Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
17) Undercrown Shade Gordito (Nicaragua) 86 points
18) Don Ibarra Natural Gordo(Dominican Republic) 85 points
19) Gurkha 125h anniversary Rothschild (Dominican Republic) 79 points

 

 

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Aging Room Solera Sungrown Robusto

Aging Room is part of the portfolio of Boutique Blends, a company founded by Rafael Nodal. Well, not exactly, Boutique Blends is the new name of the old Habana Cuba Cigar Company, founded in 1996 during the cigar boom and famous for the (then flavored) Oliveros brand. Nodal, who had been selling the cigars in Miami through the internet decided to buy the company in 2002, and over the years released new cigars like Swag, Aging Room and King Habano decided to rename the company and steer away from flavored cigars in 2012, thats when the name Boutique Blends was born.

 


Aging Room is the biggest seller of the company, famous for the small batches but the solera cigars, made with the same solera method as used for liquor, is a regular production cigar that comes in four blends, a shade, a maduro, a sun grown and a corojo. I’m smoking the sun grown version. The cigar is a Dominican puro, with Dominican Habano as both filler and binder with a Dominican sun grown wrapper. I’m smoking the Fantastico, a 5 1/6×54 very blunt torpedo.

 


The wrapper, as far as I can see it, is quite dark, it has some oil but I can’t see much of it because the secondary ring is huge, add that to an average primary ring and two thirds of the cigar is covered. The rings look nice though, yellow with black letters, simple yet tasteful with the golden details. I like the unusual shape, its not really a torpedo because the head it too blunt, yet its not a parejo either because the head isn’t straight. The aroma is faint and floral.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is good. The flavors I get in the cold draw is are sweet yet with a little lemon. After lighting it’s straight up coffee, a nice tasting coffee with a hint of pepper. After an inch I taste more lemon, some herbs and a little coffee. I get a bit of a bubbling sensation, like I’m drinking a carbonated soda. After a third I taste a stronger pepper with lemon but that carbonated sensation is gone. There’s also a herbal flavor, green herbs. The final third starts very peppery with a little vanilla.


The draw is great. The ash is dense, white and firm. The smoke could be thicker though. The burn is good. I would call this cigar medium full bodied and also medium full flavored with a decent balance. The smoke time is and hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe a single once in a while

Score: 89
number89

Categories: 89, Aging Room, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Palma | Tags: , , , , ,

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