Posts Tagged With: 90

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Manowar Torpedo

In the first part of 2008 Meier & Dutch together with A.J. Fernandez released what would become one of their success stories, the Man O’ War line, that has sprouted in many more lines and side projects in the last decade, but this blend with Nicaraguan filler, Honduran Habano binder and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper started it all.


The cigar comes in six different vitolas, from a 6×44 corona to a 7.1×58 salomon with a 7 1/2×52 double corona 5 1/2×50 robusto, a 6 1/2×52 toro and a 6.1×54 torpedo. I’m smoking the torpedo as that was the one in the Man O’ War anthology sampler.


The wrapper is a nice, medium dark, brown, in between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. The ring is the regular Man O’ War ring like described two days ago. The cigar feels good and is well finished. It has a medium strong, deep, spicy and peppery aroma.


Due to the vitola I have no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste a little peppery raising flavor. After lighting I taste wood, coffee and a little nutmeg. After a centimeter the basic flavor is wood, with nutmeg, cinnamon and ground black pepper. The pepper is getting stronger with a bit of vegetable flavor joining the wood as a base aroma. After a third I taste soil with some sweetness too. The cigar gets stronger, more woody, more peppery.


The draw is great. The smoke, with a little brown glow, is thick and full. The ash has that same brown tarnish as the smoke. The burn is straight, the cigar is full bodied and full flavored. I smoked slow and it took me two hours to finish the cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, if they are on sale.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Ave Maria Barbarossa

Now when you read the sales pitch of this cigar you’re expectations will be raised since a few other cigar manufacturers, not affiliated with either this brand, Meier & Dutch, or A.J. Fernandez praised this cigar. So my curiosity led me to buying a few of those cigars including this 7×48 Churchill that is named Barbarossa.


The cigar, made in Esteli at the A.J. Fernandez factory, is created with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler and an Habano wrapper from Ecuador. The cigar comes in ten different vitolas, ranging from a corona up to a 7.1×60 salomones and everything in between, parejo’s, figurados, a range so wide that most people will find a vitola to their liking.


The medium brown, smooth wrapper has a reddish glow, something I like. There is also a little tooth. The ring is amazing, a nice shape, a knight in a white shirt with a red cross, like the knights from the crusades, detailed, high quality prints, its great. The cigar feels evenly packed, the triple cap is well placed. The aroma is medium strong, hay, straw with a little ammonia is what I smell


After cutting I taste a very spicy and peppery cold draw, which is a little loose. After lighting I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and cedar. After a third I taste wood with white pepper and herbal flavors. The wood becomes stronger, the pepper gets milder. In the final third I taste a flavor that I can’t place, it’s a warm, creamy flavor that is a little woody but not full on wood.


The smoke is amazing, thick, full, voluminous. The draw is a little loose, but not too much to complain. The ash is light colored. The burn is not great but not bad either. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad cigar, I won’t turn one down but buying? There are more and better options out there for me.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte Robusto

Before I started working in the industry, I think that was about 2011, me and my cigar smoking friends from The Netherlands were always looking for the latest finds from My Father and A.J. Fernandez that weren’t available here in The Netherlands, and the La Herencia Cubana Oscuro Fuerte was one of them. One of my friends, Jan, ordered a box and shared some with me, I think this specific cigar is a few years old by now.


The cigar is made by A.J. Fernandez at his factory in Esteli, like all cigars that I’m reviewing this month. The cigar, in this case a 5 1/2×54 robusto, is made from Nicaraguan filler and binder with a Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. As the name suggests, the wrapper is very dark and the cigar is probably quite strong.


The cigar is dark, leathery and oily. The ring is white with light brown, gold and copper detailing and logo, and it says La Herencia Cubana. Then there is a secondary ring that looks like the classic Cuban regional edition ring yet in green and silver instead of red and silver as the Cubans do. The cigar feels kind of hard but without any soft spots, the shape and the cap look nice. Even after all these years, the cigar has a strong aroma of a barnyard and a stable full of cows.


I was in the mood for a bold cigar and I expect this to fit my needs. I used a cheap plastic cutter. The cold draw is a little tight, I taste a mild milk chocolate flavor with pepper. After lighting I taste a dry earthy flavor with coffee. The earthy flavor is the dominant flavor but there is also a hint of cocoa. After a third I taste a buttery, sticky yet mild and slightly bitter chocolate with some wood and herbs. Slowly I taste some mint too. Halfway I taste wood, oak, with a little acidity. The end has a little black pepper.


The draw is good. The ash is medium dark and a little flaky. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, La Herencia Cubana, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

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

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

Blue Ribbon Robusto

A few years ago I was at Corona Cigar in Orlando smoking cigars with friends and one of them said “you like Drew Estate right? Try this one” and hands me a cigar I had never heard of, Blue Ribbon, and says “these are bundle cigars by Drew Estate, they are nice” but somehow this cigar ended up in my stash instead of being smoked, that will change today as I’m about to review the cigars.


I googled them to see the blend, which is all Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and I’m shocked by the price. A bundle of 20 of these 5×50 robusto cigars will set you back little over 30 dollars, that’s $1.50 each so if these cigars score high they are a great humidor filler.


The wrapper is dark, it almost looks like a maduro wrapper, oily and smooth. This looks much better than the average cheap bundle cigar. The construction feels good with a nicely placed cap. The ring is simple yet nice, blue with silver, rigged edges, clear silver letters and a nice print quality. Just based on the looks these cigars could be boxed up and sold for more than a $1.50 a piece bundle. The aroma is strong, mint, tar and manure.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter to decap the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. The flavors I taste are quite sour. After lichting I taste lemon, coffee and icing sugar. The sugar is becoming the dominant flavor with pepper on the background. After a third it’s sweetness, wood and a little pepper. Slowly the cigar gets spicier and stronger. The final third starts with more wood, the icing sugar is less strong. The end is very peppery.


The draw is perfect. The light colored ash is white and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume, very unlike the smoke bombs Drew Estate usually drops. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored too. The evolution is subtle and the balance is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them! Fantastic budget cigar.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Blue Ribbon, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

5 Vegas Classico, Gold, Gold Maduro & A

I have four different 5 Vegas cigars in my stash and I wanted to review them, but ran into the problem that I just don’t know enough about the cigars to write individual reviews. The information on internet is also confusing, but what they all have in common is that th brand is owned by Cigars International or Meier & Dutch, which is the wholesale division of Cigars International and that they have the cigars made, probably by several different factories as some are said to be Dominican and others are said to be Nicaraguan.

As I said, I have four different blends, but also four different vitolas, so it will be hard or impossible to decide what’s the best blend after reading the four reviews, that would only be fair if the vitolas would have been the same. Don’t draw any conclusions on the results of my testing, just read them as entertainment and maybe get some of these cigars if my review made you curious.

5 Vegas Classic Torpedo

This Nicaraguan made cigar has Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and a medium brown Sumatra wrapper with tooth and a leather feel. The shape of the head is amazing, never seen a torpedo so pointy. The ring is classic, simple but printed on high quality, glossy paper. Its a red circle with white and golden outlines, some details in gold and 5 Vegas in white. The construction feels great, and that shape, awesome. The cigar has a strong aroma to barnyard with milk chocolate.


Because of the shape I have no option but to cut the cigar and I used my Xikar butterfly cutter for it. The cold draw is fine and I taste dry, well fermented tobacco, mild spicy. After lighting I taste coffee, a nice tasty coffee. After a few puffs I  taste fresh wood with coffee and cinnamon. After a third I taste cinnamon with a little citrus and some wood and a carrot like flavor. Then the flavor changes to a mild milk chocolate with cedar, cinnamon, lime and honey. The final third starts with nuts and pepper. Then all of a sudden a floral flavor shows up with some white pepper.


The draw is great. The dense ash is white. The burn is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I might, depending on the price.

Score: 90
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5 Vegas A Artisan (Robusto)


The 5 Vegas A is a bit of a confusing name, since A is also a vitola but this line, which is made in Nicaragua with a Costa Rican Maduro wrapper, comes in different vitolas, including an A. The wrapper is dark and oily with one fat vein at the back of the cigar. The construction feels good and the cap is nicely placed. Both rings look goo, the foot ring is gold with a white square with triple A on it while the regular ring is like the classic 5 Vegas logo but black and gold instead of red and gold and the ring is bitter making room for an additional A underneath the logo. Classy. The cigar has a nice, medium strong aroma that reminded me to my last trip at the zoo, when I walked into the primate encounter.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy tobacco is what I taste. After lighting with a single jet I taste coffee. And after a few puffs I taste pepper too. Slowly some caramel shows up with pepper while the coffee fades away. There’s also a little acidity. After a third I also taste some wood. Halfway I taste a nice dark wood with a toffee flavor and some pepper. I also taste some dark chocolate. The flavors slowly turn to wood with spices and pepper, the mouth feeling is dry.


The draw is good. The smoke is good too, medium full in thickness and volume. The ash is decent, medium gray. The burn is straight. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The evolution is good.


Would I buy this cigar again? I should.

Score: 91
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5 Vegas Gold Maduro Corona

 


Now this is a cigar of which I know a little more, it is made by Plasencia in Nicaragua. The cigar is made with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Honduran binder and Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper is sturdy, thick, dark and rustic. It looks rough but in a good way, like you know you’ll get flavor from it. The construction feels good. The ring is great, great quality printing on beautiful glossy paper with nice colors. I see copper, gold, shades of brown and white, very detailed and it fits with the rustic wrapper. The aroma is a mixture of fresh wood chips and barnyard.


I used a butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is nice, mild acidic yet peppery. After lighting I taste coffee and chocolate powder. Soon the flavors change to a dark wood with herbs and some Maduro sweetness. After an inch I taste wood with some Maduro sweetness and a bit of a vanilla floral flavor. The flavors are dry. The cigar gets more herbal, more peppery yet the mild vanilla floral flavor remains on the background.


The draw is great and the smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is a bit frayed. The burn is good, pretty straight. This is a medium bodied and medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again?  Meh, decent cigar but nothing more than that.

Score: 88
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5 Vegas Gold Toro

This 5 1/2×55 box pressed Toro is made in Honduras with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Honduran binder and Honduran fillers. The wrapper looks pale but smooth. The ring doesn’t help much to lift up the pale color of the wrapper because the wrapper is a two tone gold with just a tiny bit of white and red and makes the appearance of the cigar even more bland. The construction feels good and the cigar is nicely finished. The medium strong aroma reminds me of a flog of sheep that just took a dump.


I used a xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The draw is great, I taste dry grass with a little kick. After lighting I taste a mild coffee and dirt flavor. After half an inch I taste a floral flavor with a little salt. After a third I taste a salty cedar, very mild and smooth, with just a hint of the Connecticut Shade mustiness. Near the end I get more pepper.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is nice and thick. The light gray ash is firm. This is a mild to medium bodied and flavored cigar with a nice burn. The cigar is smooth yet lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is too mild for me.

Score: 87
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Categories: 5 Vegas, 88, 90, 91, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Uppercut by Punch Robusto

In 2008 or 2009 Punch had a competition between test blends they released and the winner would be officially released. And this Uppercut by Punch was the winner. As far as I know the cigar is made in Honduras with Nicaraguan filler, including some Ometepe, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Since I don’t see them being sold anywhere and the special website is offline I’m guessing it was either a limited edition or not the success that General Cigars hoped for.


I love the name, for two reasons. First a punch is a hit and so is an uppercut plus that it’s won a competition between test blends, another ‘fight’ reference. Knock Out by Punch could have been a great name too, or a follow up. I don’t know where I got or bought this cigar, I don’t know when but I know it must have been a few years ago since the cellophane is starting to discolor and become yellow. I’m smoking the 5 1/2×50 robusto sized cigar. There were two other vitolas too.


As I said, the cellophane is starting to turn yellow from the oils in the dark and rustic Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, which is quite bumpy. The construction feels evenly packed with a nice flat head and beautifully placed triple cap. The cigar has two rings, the foot ring has a panoramic picture of the Ometepe volcano in Nicaragua with a black band underneath saying Ometepe with golden letters and golden linings on both sides of the black band and above the volcano. The top ring is dark blue with thick golden outlines, then a golden crown and the word Uppercut above a small red circle with golden letters Punch. The cigar has a mild dusty chocolate aroma.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raw tobacco and dried grapes. After lighting the cigar with my torch (single jet) I taste coffee with sugar and some lemon. After a quarter of an inch I taste some peanuts. After an inch all I taste is salt, peanuts and some chocolate. The flavors slowly change to salty peanuts with lemon and pepper, quite a lot of chili peper. The final third starts with cedar and nuts with quite some pepper. I get dark chocolate with pepper some puffs later.


The draw is amazing and the smoke is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight as can be. This is a medium full bodied and full flavored cigar with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This was a decent cigar and I read it was cheap so I would get a few.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Punch | Tags: , , ,

601 Oscuro La Punta

601, its not an old brand but in its short existence it has build up quote a following and a history. The brand was started by EO Brands, the company of Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega, blended by José ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and made by My Father Cigars, first at the El Rey de Los Habano factory in Miami and later in the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Then EO Brands split up, 601 disappeared, but then returned as part of Espinosa Cigars, reblended, new design box and ring, made at La Zona and in december 2016 the news broke that the production will be moved from Espinosa’s own La Zona factory to the San Lotano Factory from A.J. Fernandez in Ocotal Nicaragua, which he recently bought from Fidel Oliva. And that’s the short version of the 601 history.


Back to the cigar, the 601 Oscuro La Punta is a perfecto, 5 1/2×52 in size and I am smoking an old one with the oldest label know so I think it must be about 10 years old. It is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Oscuro wrapper. I think this cigar was given to me at one of the EPIC herfs in Ocala Florida, a yearly weekend herf which originated from Cigar Asylum, my favorite cigar board.


The cellophane on the cigar has a nice golden brown color from the oils from the wrapper that have been leaking into the cellophane for years. Let me start with the ring, I wonder if I should score on the ring since the line has been revamped with new design rings, but I’ll score it anyway. I like the shape, the green color is a nice contrast with the white 601 and the white banner uses the same green for the word obscure. The golden lines make it all pop. The design is a bit outdated but Erik Espinosa took care of that. The wrapper is dark, very dark and leathery with hardly any visible veins.  The construction is flawless, I have never seen a perfecto with a cap so beautiful as this one and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of straw and manure.


Because of the shape I decide to cut the cigar xikar style. The cold draw is a bit tight but that could be because of the shape. I taste a spicy and peppery raisin flavor. The moment I light the cigar I taste pepper with dark coffee and a little sweetness. After a few puffs I taste some raw unrefined cocoa powder. After an inch I taste wood with a little lime and far on the background a little cocoa. Halfway the flavors are dry, I taste wood and a little cocoa. Right before the final third starts I taste the pepper again and it’s the Pepin pepper that was his signature back in the day. I still taste wood too and a little walnut. The final few puffs are very peppery and I’m loving it.


The draw is fine, better than the cold draw. The smoke is quite thin though. The burn is fantastic. The light colored ash is firm. The cigar is medium bodied at best and medium flavored too. The smoke time is a little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to try a reblended one.

Score: 90
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Categories: 601, 90, La Zona, My Father Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Headley Grange Drumstick

When STG bought the independent brand CAO and incorporated it into the General Cigars portfolio one of the things that changed was the base of operations. CAO was always based in Nashville, Tennessee but after the take-over the brand had to move to the General Cigars offices in Virginia. A few of CAO executives, including Jon Huber and Gary Hyams, decided against the move and promised to take care of the Tennessee employees, thus they started a new company, Crowned Heads.


Their first release was named after a Kings of Leon song that they would make a reference to their second release as well, calling it Headley Grange, a famous music studio where a lot of great artists recorded. And they took one of those songs, when the levee breaks by Led Zeppelin as inspiration, especially the pounding drum in the intro. So in 2012 they released this cigar, made at the La Alianza factory of E.P. Carrillo with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan filler and binder and the line up included this limited edition lancero aka drumstick.


The wrapper is quite rustic, it has a nice, deep brown without being very dark. It’s almost like a piece of cinnamon. The simple ring is stylish, black with golden outlines and clear white letter saying the brand name and smaller, golden, letters Republica Dominicana. The printing quality is good too. The construction feels great, the head of the cigar is amazing, a slightly raised tip yet not enough to speak of a torpedo shape head. The aroma is mild and reminds me of milk chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. The cold draw taste is quite spicy and peppery. The flavor I get after lighting is a strong and peppery coffee. After a few puffs I taste a sweet cinnamon instead of the peppery coffee. Then the flavors change to herbal flavors with a citrus acidity. And before the first third is over the flavors change again to dry cedar with lime. After a third I taste a milky chocolate with lemon. After this the cigar mellows out, cedar with herbs, spices and sweetness with subtle changes in strength. Ever few puffs I taste some pepper too. In the final third I also taste some nuts.


The draw is good. The ash is white. The smoke is ok, not thick, not thin, volume just enough. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Headley Grange, Tabacalera La Alianza | Tags: , , , , ,

A.J. Fernandez Last Call

If you were invited to wacht a NFL game at the home of A.J. Fernandez you got offered a small robusto, 4 1/2×48, with a closed foot called the Last Call, which refers to the sport games it was made for. Usually the guests would get it in the final quarter of the game. The cigars are made with Nicaraguan filler and binder and the tobacco is grown by Fernandez himself while the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Rosado Habano and the foot is closed.


I would love to write a story on how I was watching a game at Abdel’s house and got this cigar but no. I have been to Esteli twice, I have been to the factory and I have met Abdel on several occasions but we are not so close that he invites me over to watch a game of a sport that I don’t care about, don’t know the rules about and wouldn’t be able to name 5 teams if my life depended on it. I’m European, I watch football where the ball is actually round and played with the feet instead of the hands, and without 1980’s shoulder pats. And even then, I only watch games of my favorite team Ajax Amsterdam and not any other games.


The silky wrapper has a but of a dull appearance but I also see some minerals. During transport the wrapper got a little bit banged up but thats my fault so that won’t be factored in with the score. The wrapper is very smooth. The construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. the wing is simple, round beige with red outlines and red letters Last Call. The font reminds me of baseball for some reason. The ring also says ‘premium aged tobacco by a.j. fernandez’. The cigar has a mild manure aroma.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter and I expected a little tight draw because of the closed foot but it was surprisingly easy. I taste some pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame, my trusted vintage Ronson. I taste honey, coffee, leather and pepper direct after lighting the cigar. After a centimeter I taste a caramel sweetness with autumn leafs and a nice spice mix. After a third I taste a slowly growing pepper too. Halfway I taste a nice mix of spices with just the right amount of pepper. After two thirds I taste nuts with a little cumin.


The draw is great, but the smoke is thin and low in volume. The light colored as is dense and firm. The burn is slow and pretty straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, well balanced and with a nice evolution. The smoke time is five minutes short of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes this is a nice medium bodied cigar and with a better smoke it would have scored a point higher.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Last Call, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , ,

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