Posts Tagged With: 93

Orchant Selección by Drew Estate Lightweight

Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate Lightweight. Mitchel Orchant is the managing director of C.Gars Limited, the leading cigar retailer in the U.K. With several shops, a great online presence and regular auctions of hard to find, aged, and vintage cigars. And he has loaned his name to the Orchant Seleccion series. It started with limited numbers of boxes with Cuban cigars that were handpicked by Orchant in cooperation with the U.K. Habanos distributor. But in recent years, Orchant worked with Davidoff, Regius, Oliva, and Alec Bradley for limited editions carrying his seal of approval. And the 2019 release is a collaboration between Orchant and Drew Estate. The cigars will be released soon, in three sizes. Ministry of Cigars will review all three of them, starting with the 3½x46 Lightweight.

The Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate comes in three sizes. At the moment of reviewing them, the cigars have not been released. Our samples came with factory rings. Yet in our article of July 13th, some artwork is shown that might end up being used on the ring. All three cigars share the same blend and have the same 46 ring gauge. And it’s refreshing to see a full line with small ring gauges and only small ring gauges. The cigars are made in Nicaragua and will be sold exclusively by C.Gars LTD on their website and in their Turmeaus shops all over England. The blend consists of Indonesian, Dominican, Nicaraguan and American grown tobacco. The binder comes from the Indonesian island Sumatra. The wrapper is grown in Connecticut. It’s a Habano variety, harvested with the Stalk Cut method which is also used for the Liga Privada.

The cigar looks good. Small yet dark, with a leathery toothy wrapper. The wrapper is quite oily as well. No thick veins are visible and the shape is good. The cigar feels evenly spongy. The aroma is strong, oak and hay.


The cold draw is good, raw tobacco with a little bit of black pepper is the cold draw flavor. The first puffs are Cuban coffee, strong and sweet. The cigar is spicy, peppery. The flavors remain in the wood, animal, coffee, and pepper part of the flavor wheel. There’s even a very mind dark chocolate flavor, on the background. Halfway the cigar gets some floral and vanilla notes, with strong pepper and a mild fresh aftertaste. The wood is still there with some nuts. In the final third, the pepper becomes really strong.

 

The draw is flawless. The ash is white as snow. And the smoke is typical Drew Estate. Thick, full and plentiful. The burn is razor-sharp. The cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. Don’t let the lightweight name fool you, there is nothing light about this cigar. It’s strong. The smoke time is one hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like more yes.

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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Orchant Selección | Tags: , , , , , ,

Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig

After the huge success of the Liga Privada offspring Undercrown, Drew Estate decided to build on that brand. So a few years later, the Undercrown Shade was released. I reviewed that cigar a few days ago.

So it wasn’t a question if there would be a third Undercrown blend. The question was “what will it be?”. And the follow-up question was “when will it be released?”. Well, it became the Undercrown Sun Grown. And it was released in 2017.

Just like the Liga Privada blends and the regular Undercrown, the Sun Grown utilizes stalk-cut tobacco. That means that the leaves are not picked from the plant. The whole plant is cut down and then hung to try, upside down. Only the Undercrown Shade doesn’t use stalk-cut tobacco. A flying pig in the new Undercrown blend was a must. So the rollers at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate made the signature shape for the new blend as well.

The cigar looks amazing. The shape is cool. The pigtail is the icing on the cake. The ring is beautiful. And just like with the shade, the color scheme fits the wrapper. The Colorado colored wrapper matches well with the burgundy and gold rings. The wrapper has a mild shine from natural oils. A few thin veins, and it’s a looker. The aroma is strong. It smells like hay, straw, and sheep.

The cold draw is easy. With a spicy fried grass flavor. Once lit its classic espresso, leather, and pepper. All with a drop of citrus. The flavors then change to hay, leather, wood and some nutmeg. The mouthfeel is dry. Caramel like sweetness on the background. When the burn reaches the wider part of the cigars, the flavors burst out. A nice lemon acidity, pepper, toast, wood, and leather. And then some dark chocolate with pepper. And later even some nuts. The flavors are full but refined. No harshness, well rounded. After a third, the mouthfeel becomes a little creamy. The sweetness is mild. With the pepper, it supports the nutty flavor.

The draw is great. The cigar is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Don’t smoke this cigar in an unventilated room. The light-colored ash is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an amazing two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Father La Opulencia Robusto

My Father Cigars is one of my favorite factories. Most of the cigars they make, whether it is for their own company, for Tatuaje, for Ashton, for Crowned Heads or other I like them. And I have been lucky enough to have visited the factory on multiple occasions. And I had an amazing dinner on the hacienda of My Father Cigars, surrounded by tobacco fields. Sweet memories that make me only appreciate their cigars more.

The La Opulencia has Nicaraguan Corojo, Criollo, and Habano as filler. There’s a double binder, Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo. The wrapper is from Ecuador, it’s a Rosado Oscuro type of leaf. I smoked the robusto and my expectations were high. Since I’m a fan, and I had never smoked this one before, I was really looking forward to it. The artwork on the box comes from the old La Opulencia brand, which is a discontinued Cuban brand. The artwork is from the late 1800s and it fits with the themes My Father chose for Antiguedad, Flor de Las Antillas and La Gran Offerte which are also discontinued Cuban brands. For those lines, the original artwork was used too.


The cigar looks good, with its dark wrapper. The wrapper feels like velvet. The aroma is strong, soil, barnyard, forest kind of aromas. The cigar has a green, cloth, food band to protect the foot of the cigar. The regular, pinkish, my father ring is on top with a secondary ring in the same style. The secondary ring carries the name La Opulencia. The construction feels great, the triple cap is beautiful.

The cold draw is perfect. The cigar has a little spice, yet a quite dry tobacco aroma. Straight from the start, I taste coffee, leather, chocolate, soil, and oak. This is full flavored. The chocolate is getting a little stronger. But the leather is lingering around, just like roasted coffee beans, some citrus freshness, and hay. There is a nice, spicy, fruity sweetness that compliments the milk chocolate flavor. After a third, the classic My Father/Don Pepin Garcia pepper starts to shine through. After a third, I still taste the chocolate, although it’s turning into dark chocolate. The pepper is still there on the background and aftertaste, with some hay and leather. The mouthfeel is buttery, creamy. Halfway, I taste roasted coffee with chocolate, pepper, some sweetness, and leather, all well balanced and tied together with some citrus. In the final third, I taste more roasted coffee beans, pepper, some oak and leather with citrus. The nuances are great, so there is evolution even though the base flavors are constant. Near the end, I taste more nuts, still that chocolate, pepper, and leather with that buttery mouthfeel.

The ash is salt and pepper colored. Flaky but firm. The burn is good, not perfect but good. The ash is medium thick and full. This cigar starts out medium bodied, full flavored but creeps up to full bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes yes yes

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Categories: 93, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Alec Bradley Fine & Rare RS10=(86) 2018

For the last couple of years, Alec Bradley is releasing a limited edition. Well, two actually, the Filthy Hooligan and the Fine and Rare. Where the Filthy Hooligan is more of a gimmick for St Patrick’s day, the Fine & Rare is an ultra-premium cigar. The first release utilized 9 or 10 different kinds of tobacco. And every year, Alec Bradley is making something special from their Fine & Rare release.

For the 2018 release, they used a size that was used before. A 6½x56 Parejo Toro Gordo. And all they disclosed about the cigar was the origin of the wrapper. The wrapper comes from Honduras. The binder and filler are undisclosed.

Where not much of the blend is revealed, there are still a lot of details known. The ring reveals a lot. It has the roll date. In this case that’s between March 26 and April 1st of 2017. The number of boxes, 2500, is mentioned on the ring. The total production of the week van 638. The release date of 24 October 2018 is printed on the ring. As well as the names and signatures of the rollers Juan Carlos Artica and Wilmar Jose Valerio. But that’s not all, supervisors and quality control also signed the ring.

he Colorado colored wrapper looks great. Thing veins, a little shine of the oil. The construction feels great too but what do you expect when the rollers, supervisors and quality controllers are mentioned by name on the ring. They can’t afford to deliver a plugged cigar. And as mentioned in the intro, the ring tells a lot. The rolling date, the weekly production, who rolled it, the number of boxes. The aroma is medium strong and would be best described at barnyard.

The cold draw is great. Yet it doesn’t have a lot of flavors. Mild raw tobacco is all that is noticeable. The cigar starts with a nutty, toasty flavor. And a little bit of coffee. The cigar is very creamy. With some fresh acidity on the background that comes close to green apple. Slowly some leather and pepper shine through, while the green apple disappears. The flavors are all subtle and smooth so far. The sweetness in the cigar is best described as caramel, salted caramel as there is a salty flavor too. The nut flavor returns, with leather, pepper, and salt as backing vocals. After a third, the sweetness and the pepper are the stronger flavors. But they remain smooth, soft and complex. There’s also a grassy undertone. Slowly a minty freshness shows up in the aftertaste. The sweetness changes from caramel to powdered sugar. In the final third, there is a distinct milk chocolate flavor with hay and pepper. The sweetness turns to caramel again. Near the end, I taste nuts again, with sweetness and leather. There’s also a hint of coffee in the last few puffs

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The draw is great, the perfect amount of air flow resistance. The ash is light colored. The burn is beautiful. The smoke is thick and white. The cigar is smooth and complex. Medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is four hours

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for 25 euro, although it’s a good smoke. Yet if I have to choose between a Cohiba BHK or this Alec Bradley Fine and Rare, I know I’ll get this one.

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Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , ,

Ave Maria Divinia

Another Ave Maria, this time the DIvinia, that makes the third Ave Maria review this month and the final one but that doesn’t mean I reviewed all Ave Maria cigars, there are more out there still like the Argentum and the Immaculata that I still hope to try some day.


The Ave Maria Divinia has just one vitola, like the Reconquista but this time its a 6×54 toro. And just like the Reconquista, the cigars come individually packed in coffins and have a premium price tag compared to other cigars from A.J. Fernandez and Meier & Dutch. The cigar is made from Nicaraguan Cuban Seed tobacco topped with a Sun Grown Habano wrapper.


The coffin immediately catches your eye due to the deep blue color and the white logo. When you open the tube you will find a box pressed, cellophane wrapped cigar. The wrapper has a nice brown color, deep but not too dark, a leathery structure and touch. The ring is top notch, beautifully shaped, the Ave Maria knight and a nice secondary ring in blue but the outlines are fantastic, like a fading silver with a white undercoat, so much detail, amazing.  The construction is great and the cigar looks well finished. The aroma is pleasant, a rich barnyard smell.


After cutting I taste an citrus flavor with a perfect resistance in the draw. After lighting I taste a perfect mix of sweet, sour and spice, all coated in coffee. After half an inch I taste more of a mocha flavor than that sweet coffee. The flavors change to a spice sweetness with cedar. Halfway I also taste some chocolate, white pepper shows up in the aftertaste. The pepper slowly grows to the dominant flavor and is very strong near the end.


The burn is sharp, couldn’t be more straight. The light colored ash had thin rings, it’s firm. The draw has the perfect amount of resistance. The smoke has good volume but it’s thin. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No doubt

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Ave Maria, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | 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: , , , , , , , , , ,

Reserva Miraflor Robusto

The last of the reviews for my friend Andrew for this year, unfortunately I must say, because I enjoyed each and every cigar he send me to be reviewed, even the Connecticut Shade ones. Not that I would buy all blends, since Connecticut Shade isn’t my wrapper of choice, but I enjoyed them. And the other blends, Goviado, Don Fernando and Reserva Miraflor are cigars I would buy boxes from if I had the cash and storage, and if I wasn’t moving to another part of the world soon, where importing tobacco is super expensive.


I reviewed the Reserva Miraflor before, but not this vitola from the new batch, the resurrected Reserva Miraflor as I call them. I told the story about the brand, how I got to know them, how I got to know Andrew, how the cigars vanished from the earth, how they suddenly returned again, so I won’t go into that again. If you missed the story, read the old Reserva Miraflor reviews and you’ll find out.


The wrapper is dark, it feels a bit dry and looks like thin leather with a few veins. The ring is glossy black with gold. The cigar feels heavy, dense and well packed. I can’t detect any soft spots or plugs. The shape and cap are nice. The cigar has a full barnyard and manure aroma.


I took the cigar to Thailand so no gabby cutter, just a simple free cutter that I dared to take on a ‘carry on only’ flight. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some gingerbread in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a syrup sweetness, gingerbread and an earthy flavor. The well balanced flavors remain until after an inch a nice acidity joins the earthy, sweet gingerbread flavor. Then the flavors slowly change to a sticky mild milky chocolate with still some some spices, more like the Dutch speculaas cookies though. In the finale I taste toast, cinnamon and gingerbread again with dark chocolate bitterness and a hint of vanilla.


The draw is great, the smoke is light blue, medium thick and full. The dense ash is light colored and quite firm. The burn is razor sharp, especially considering that I’m smoking outside with a breeze that could potentially effect the burn. The cigar is medium full in both body and strength. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? With the discount on untoldcigar.com that I mentioned in earlier reviews it’s a no brainer, I have to have more.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars, Reserva Miraflor | Tags: , , , , , ,

El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserve Cameroon

The cosy little factory on the corner of 8th and 11th in Little Havana, Miami, might be my favorite factory in the world. Not only because they produce great cigars but also because of the warm welcome I get every time I step in the door. Owner Sandy and her family are great people, I met them in 2009 when I was on vacation, I was expecting a 10 minute tour but spend over 2 hours talking tobacco with Sandy and much to my surprise she immediately recognized me when I came back 18 months later, 90 pounds lighter.

The Gran Reserve Cameroon is a Cameroon version of their El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserve line and it’s made with filler from the Dominican and Nicaragua, a binder from Ecuador and my favorite wrapper: Cameroon. The line exist out of 4 sizes (Churchill, Toro, Robusto, Corona) but sometimes, when possible more vitolas are adde like torpedo, robusto gordo, short robusto, belicoso, corona gorda and two different perfectos. In this three vitola review I will share my thoughts on the toro, torpedo and the belicoso.

Toro

 

 

The 6×52 Toro has a toothy, almost sanding paper like, medium dark wrapper with only one thin vein but with a waterspot on the back. The ring is nice, very simple, just black with a copper outline, a curly font saying El Titan de Bronze and in normal letters gran reserve. On top and bottom it repeats Cameroon. Simple yet well printed. The construction is awesome, as always, I have not had an El Titan made cigar with less than an impeccable construction. And the aroma is strong, a rich and deep manure but also with some floral notes. In the final third I taste a mild salty peanut flavor, with mild spices and some floral flavors.

 


I cut the cigar with a flat cut. The draw is great yet quite tasteless, just a hint of floral sweetness. After lighting I taste the same floral sweetness with a little bit of cinnamon. Mellow but nice. After a third the cigar become less sweet, more herbal with something nutty too, very subtle and mellow. The strength is picking up.

 


The draw is great. The cigar is very mellow, mild to medium in body, medium in flavor. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The firm, light gray, ash looks like a stack of coins with the nice thin lines. The burn is straight. Smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Mellow, mild but very tasty.

Score: 91
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Torpedo

 


Another vitola that isn’t always available is this 6 1/2×54 torpedo. You can see that this wrapper must come from another batch as it doesn’t have the same tooth and the shade is a little lighter too with even some changing colors from the head of the cigar towards the foot. The wrapper also has more veins. The ring is identical as the others and so is the flawless construction. The aroma is just as strong but not as deep and less manure, not floral but more herbal with even some ground pepper aroma.

 


I cut the cigar with a double guillotine cutter and the cold draw is just perfect. I taste spicy tobacco with a little pepper. I decided to light the cigar with a long matchstick. Straight from the start the herbal spices of the Cameroon wrapper shine. After an inch I taste herbs and spices, of which pepper is dominant and I also taste some lime. Halfway I taste a strong cinnamon flavor and I love it! Slowly the flavor changes to cedar but still with a cinnamon and spicy peppery undertone.

 


The draw is fantastic and the ash is white and firm. The smoke is quite thick, quite voluminous but a little gray instead of white. The burn needed a little touch up. This cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The evolution is subtle yet clearly noticeable. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? When I get back to Miami I’ll buy a box.

Score: 93
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Belicoso


This 4 1/2×54 vitola is one of the ‘when available’ vitolas of the series and I guess I was lucky to be able to get one. I like the size, the cigar looks so cute, short and chubby. The ring is exactly the same as the toro, and the wrapper has the same color and tooth, but it feels a little oilier, a little sticky even. There are not waterspots on this cigar. The construction is flawless again, it feels evenly packed, the shape is gorgeous, it’s quality work. The aroma is almost the same as the toro, but a little more manure and a little less floral.


I cut the cigar, the draw is phenomenal. I taste a little bit of a floral flavor with some spice.  After lighting I taste earthy yet spicy flavors. Soon I taste a salty, spicy flavor with wood and licorice. Halfway I also taste a bit of floral sweetness with the other flavors, and a slightly growing pepper. The final third is very peppery and spicy.


The draw is perfect. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is a bit off, but just a little bit. The smoke is white, reasonably thick and medium in volume. The cigar is medium full bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? Next time I’m in Miami.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, 93, American cigars, El Titan de Bronze, Tabacalera El Titan de Bronze | 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

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

Espinosa Maduro Corona Gorda

Erik Espinosa doesn’t come from a long line of cigar makers, in fact, he started his career as a UPS driver bringing deliveries to cigar shops, thats when he got introduced to cigars. That led to working in a cigar shop, which led to owning a brand with Eddie Ortega and when they decide to part ways he started his own factory, La Zona, in Esteli. A factory that is now quite renowned and makes a few high rated, well received blends, not just for his own company but also for others like Moya Ruiz, Cornelius & Anthony and La Sirena. And I’ve had the pleasure to sit on the deck of the factory with cuban style coffee and a nice Hector Alfonso blended cigar, I wouldn’t mind doing that every day. Oh and Happy Birthday Hector!!


The Espinosa Maduro is one of the lines that Espinosa makes for his own cigar company, the name is a clear sign of that, but he also produces 601, Murcielago and the award winning Laranja for Espinosa Cigars. The line consists of four vitolas, three of them are box pressed (the robusto, toro & belicoso) while the 5 5/8 x46 Corona Gorda is round and has a pig tail. I’m smoking that particular cigar for a review today.


The Mexican maduro wrapper is very dark and leathery with a few veins, it’s not the best looking wrapper but for some reason I like it, the color and the texture just match up perfectly. The rings are gorgeous, beige with golden outlines, a red dot with the Espinosa logo and a light blue banner with the Espinosa name in red letters, and a smaller banner saying ‘hecho en la zona’ and then a deep blue detail. The foot ring brings back the deep blue with a golden edging and the same letters as the Espinosa name but now saying Maduro. The cigar looks a little crooked but the construction feels great and the triple cap with pig tail is placed perfectly. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of cocoa, I live in an area with several cocoa factories so I know that smell all too well. I also smell a bit barnyard too.


I cut the cigar with my xikar guillotine. The cold draw is fine, I taste raisin and dark, creamy chocolate with some pepper. After lichting the cigar I taste coffee and dark chocolate with a hint of white pepper. After half an inch I taste dry grass with cedar and pepper. After an inch I taste oak with some rucola. The second third starts peppery with some fresh wood on the background. Halfway I also taste a little lime. Right before the final third I get a mild cocoa with a little mint and a strong yet balanced pepper. The final third starts meaty with some pepper. I taste some sweetness and it’s perfectly balanced with some acidity and pepper. Slowly some dark chocolate and cocoa shows up with some white pepper.


The draw is perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is thick and white. The ash is white too and very dense. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is full flavored, medium to full bodied. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they get introduced to the Dutch market soon.

Score: 93

Categories: 93, Espinosa, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

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