Posts Tagged With: 93

Reserva Miraflor Corona

Reserva Miraflor, I wrote reviews about the old batch, aged or even vintage Nicaraguan cigars, about 8 years old. But they are back, made by the same Nicaraguan blender, Raphael Guillen, and again, in cooperation with Andrew Wood, who’s a tobacco broker nowadays and just started his new webshop where brands from small, independent cigar manufacturers will be sold. And with the code ‘CIGARGUIDE’ you will get 30% off on www.untoldleaf.com


The cigar, 5 1/2×42 in size, is made with a wapper from Ecuador, a Habano variety. The binder comes from Indonesia while the filler is all Nicaraguan. I have smoked a lot of Reserva Miraflor in the past, but I don’t think I ever smoked this particular vitola, I did smoke a lot of the robusto and toro though.


The wrapper is dark, almost maduro, with a dark reddish glow. It has a leathery feel to it, probably because it is a sun grown wrapper. The ring is simple, gold on black, glossy. The cigar looks well constructed, the shape and triple cap are perfect and the cigar feels evenly filled. The aroma is strong, barnyard with hay and cows.


I cut the cigar with a guillotine cutter. The cold draw is good, quite peppery in taste. After lighting I taste toast with a hint of cocoa. The flavor changes to spices, herbs but still with that bitter sweetness of cocoa. The cigar is spicy yet balanced, no harshness, it’s a smooth spice bomb. In the final third I also taste a little vanilla. 


The draw is perfect and so is the thick, white smoke which fills the room. The ash is dark though and not to firm. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. There isn’t a lot of evolution but in this cigar I don’t mind, since I like the flavors so much. The burn is straight. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes.

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

Goviado Lancero

Goviado was the second blend that Andrew Wood and Rafael Guillen released when they were running GDW Cigars, after their first success with Reserva Miraflor. Now you may think “success, never heard of it?” but we are talking pre-social media era and on Cigar Asylum these cigars were very populair and sold pretty good. And so did the Goviado.

 


I reviewed several Goviado vitolas in the past, but never this 6 3/4×40 lancero, and I wonder why. I mean, I love the blend and I love the vitola, so this blend in this vitola should have been on my radar way longer. Or it could be that this vitola wasn’t being made back then, only now that it resurfaced for the website untold leaf. When I speak Andrew I should ask him.

 


The wrapper is stunning, a deep chocolate brown, smooth wrapper. The black and gold ring has a nice design but the whole printing could have just be done a little better to make it look a tad more professional. The cigar itself though, it not only looks amazing but the construction feels good too, the right amount of resistance when I gently squeeze it, the shape, the head, it’s perfect. The cigar has a strong aroma, a little hay, a little manure, a little ammonia, a little dirt, a little wood all combined in one bold aroma.

 


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is a little tight. I taste a peppery raisin. After lighting I taste leather and pepper. The flavors are full, strong, bold. After a centimeter I taste a little bit of sugar too. After a third I taste wood with a little nutmeg. Halfway the cigar is smooth, wood with a little pepper. The flavor slowly progresses into a mild marzipan with a little salt. The flavors are perfectly balanced.

 


The draw is great, and the smoke is full, white and thick. The ash is a little coarse, light gray. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they are still available after I moved to my new home country, I’ll get a box with my 30% CIGARGUIDE coupon.

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

Cigar of the month April

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

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Guayacan Corona Gorda with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Guayacan Corona Gorda(Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Reserva Miraflor Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo (Honduras) 92 points
6) Kristoff San Andres Robusto (Dominican Republic) 92 points
7) Alec Bradley Nica Puro Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) A.J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Perla Del Mar Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro (Costa Rica) 90 points
11) Casa Pineda Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
13) Cohiba Lancero (Cuba) 89 points
14) Cavalier de Geneve Toro (Honduras) 88 points
15) Gurkha Reserva Edición Especial Koi (Dominican Republic) 87 points
16) Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado (Nicaragua) 84 points

 

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Espinosa Habano Toro

La Zona is quite a new factory but it’s easy to say that I’m a fan. Not only for the great cigars they make, but it’s also a cozy factory downtown Esteli and with the best spot to sit, have a cup of coffee and a cigar on the balcony, overlooking the city with the mountains in the background and just enjoy life. It was one of my highlights of my second trip to Nicaragua, the time that I went for the Cigaragua book.


This is not the time where I bought this 6×52 Espinosa Habano Toro though. I bought it a year earlier when I spend a week in Florida after traveling to Nicaragua. I guess I bought it at one of the Smoke Inn locations or otherwise at the Island Smoke Shop on Key Largo. it’s, as far as I know, Nicaraguan puro with, as the name says, habano wrapper.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I see an oily, smooth, glossy wrapper with thin veins. I love the ring, broken white background, golden details, the Espinosa logo in white on a red background, a light blue banner saying Espinosa and a small white banner ‘hecho en la zona’. The foot ring has the same text but with red letters on a light blue background. The cigar feels evenly packed, is squishy in a good way. The cap is decent but not perfect. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of barnyard with a little black pepper.


I used my xikar cutter, the cold draw is great. The flavor is spicy, some lemon, mild peppery. After lighting I taste a nice coffee, smooth and tasty. After half an inch I taste spices, all spice, very nice. The flavors are smooth. After a third I still taste the spices but now with some vanilla and pepper. The final third is more woody, still with the spices and a bit pepper.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is firm and pretty. The smoke is white, thick and great in volume. The burn is straight. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 93

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

Guayacan Habano Corona

Years ago, on one of my yearly vacations to Florida, I was invited to visit Nestor Miranda & Jason Wood, whom I met at several Intertabac trade shows. I dropped by the office and met Barry Stein, a former cigar blogger turned cigar industry professional (like me) as the multimedia guy for Miami Cigar & Co. and we developed a friendship. Barry left the company and decided to re-release his own cigar brand he was working on before he joined Miami Cigar & Co. named Kilo. I read about this on Barry’s Facebook I think March or April of 2015 so I send Barry a message asking him who’s making it. Barry’s reply was “since I haven’t announced it yet, I won’t tell but its made in Esteli” to which I reply “That’s why I’m asking, I’ll be there soon and hopefully I can mooch some as they won’t be available in The Netherlands”. So after promising I wouldn’t disclose the factory before Barry did it himself he said it was Noel Rojas, whom I never heard of by that time but Barry praised him for his blending skills. Barry got me in touch with Noel and after a few calls and text messages we made an appointment in Esteli during my stay there where Noel handed me a bundle of Kilo and Barry asked me to send pictures of the cigars with rings as he had seen the rings and smoked the cigar but never seen them together. Call me a geek, but I think it’s cool to see the finalized product before the brand owner sees it. By the way, by the time you’re reading this: Barry is now working for 2 guys smoke shop and the cigar authority and has sold the Kilo name.


So I meet up with Noel, he shows me his factory Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa, which is now his old factory as he built a new one with his business partner called Tabacalera New Order of the Ages aka NOA, we go to dinner at Restaurant Cohifer in downtown Esteli and we talk about the possibilities for Noel’s brands in The Netherlands and Belgium. Ofcourse I was only an employee so I couldn’t say yes or no there and then, I had to consult with my employer and Noel said he would send us a bunch of samplers. A few weeks later a huge box shows up from the USA and inside I found a few boxes of cigars made by Noel, some Guayacan, some Sabor de Esteli and some test blends just for fun. I had a few to my employer, hand a few to friends and kept a few for myself. Everybody agreed, good cigars, value for money so to cut a long story short: Noel’s brands are now distributed in The Netherlands but unfortunately I don’t work for that employer anymore so I can’t get them at a discounted price. The cigar I’m reviewing today is the Guayacan Habano corona, a 6×42 long cigar made from a Ecuadorean Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder (’98 Aganorsa Corojo) and Nicaraguan fillers. I promise, later this year I will also review the Guayacan Maduro, Sabor de Esteli, Kilo, Jas Sum Kral and previously I reviewed the Jas Sum Kral Maduro that are also made by Tabacalera Noa.


The cigar looks great, long and lean, with a wrapper that is colored like dark oak wood. The ring is colorful, printed on thick paper and not with a straight edge. The edge of the paper is printed in a bright and beautiful gold, which is one of the hardest things to print as I’ve been told by people from Vrijdag Printing in Eindhoven (NL), one of the premier cigar ring printers in the world, there is a black backdrop with a golden crown on top and a red banner with the brand name beneath the crown and a smaller red banner with ‘by Noel Rojas” at the bottom. In between there is a scenic picture of a tobacco barn and a tobacco field underneath a beaming sun. The construction feels great and you can see that Noel learned the trade in his home country of Cuba, which he fled on a raft in 2007, because of the beautiful triple cap. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma, medium strong, without the ammonia. Since it’s a smaller ring cigar I decided to cut instead of punch and the pre light draw aka cold draw is great. I taste some cedar and plenty of spice and pepper. I light the cigar with my soft flame and taste a medium strong coffee with a little spice and some pepper in the aftertaste. After two puffs the pepper gets strong but there’s also a bit of sweetness.


After a centimeter I taste some milky chocolate with pepper and a little caramel, it’s mild creamy. Slowly but surely the pepper is replaced with some oak and green spices. Every few puffs I taste the chocolate again. Right before the two third mark I taste some nutmeg too. The chili peppers make a comeback too. The oak is still the base flavor and the flavors are all well balanced. After two thirds there is also a little mixed nuts flavor with a tiny bit of salt. There is a strong peppery flavor on my lips for a while. The nutty flavor is hardly noticeable anymore, oak is back as the base. At the end I taste a mild mint flavor in the aftertaste.


The draw is just simply great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is medium plus thick and with a decent amount. The ask is salt and pepper colored, it’s quite firm too. The burn is straight, no touch ups. This cigar is medium full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, they are available in the Netherlands now and once I’m out I’ll get some more.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Guayacan, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month February

February was a special month, the shortest month of the year but also because I turned it into a full month of F reviews, so there is a top 28.

The cigar of the month is a shared position this month, identical scores for:

Casa Fuente Lancero/Flores y Rodrigues CRV Azul Robusto

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Casa Fuente Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
2) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Azul Robusto (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) Fratello Bianco II (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Falto Lonsdale (Dominican Republic) 92 points
5) Falto Gran Reserva Especial Perfecto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Flores y Rodrigues Cabinet Seleccion Maduro Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Flor de Las Antillas Benelux (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Flores y Rodriguez 10th anniversary Figurado (Dominican Republic) 90 points
10) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Roja Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Falto Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
12) Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Seleccion Habano Canonazo (Dominican Republic) 90 points
13) Fonseca 30th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
14) Falto Delirio (Dominican Republic) 89 points
14) Flor de Selva Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 89 points
16) Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
17) Famous Nicaragua Robusti (Nicaragua) 88 points
18) Fuentes Crucet Habanero Toro (USA) 88 points
19) Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo (Nicaragua) 87 points
20) Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro (Honduras) 87 points
21) Fonseca Classic Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
22) Felipe Gregorio Dos Capas Churchill (Dominican Republic) 83 points
23) Flor de Oliva Torpedo (Nicaragua) 83 points
24) Fumadores Churchill (Nicaragua) 83 points
25) Flor de Gonzales Torpedo (Nicaragua) 82 points
26) Funadores Corona (Jamaica) 80 points
27) Flor de Filipinas Corona (Phillipines) 77 points
28) Flor de Canaria Corona (Canary Islands) 71 points

 

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Casa Fuente Lancero

In 2009 I went to the United States for the first time, for a three week trip. The first two and a half weeks were all about a road trip on the east coast, all the way from Key Largo to Rochester in Upstate New York with a herf with people from Cigar Asylum each night. It was a great trip and made friends for life. For the final few days we flew from Albany NY to Las Vegas where about 30 BOTL and SOTL showed up and we smoked a lot. Now as a cigar aficionado you cannot visit Las Vegas without visiting Casa Fuente, which we did every day while we were there. And I bought a sampler of their house blend, the Casa Fuente that is sold only there and back then not available online but I recently saw them for insane prices at an online retailer.


Now back then I wasn’t in love with the lancero vitola yet, that came later when I had more smoking experience, which in my opinion you need before you are able to fully enjoy a lancero so I didn’t look for them. But a few years later I met Charlie Minato from Halfwheel at Intertabac in Dortmund and he hit me with a few cigars that weren’t available in Europe, including some Roma Craft and as a final surprise he says “I know you love lancero’s” and hits me with a Casa Fuente Lancero. Now am hardly ever at a loss for words, but this time I was. What a gift. I mean, Opus X filler and binder with a Cameroon wrapper, which is a wrapper I love, in my favorite vitola, hallelujah! And since I didn’t like Las Vegas and I never want to go back unless I have a very good reason I never expected to get my hands on these.


The cigar is partly wrapped in cedar with a nice orange piece of cloth on the foot. When I take the cigar out I see a nice, medium brown wrapper with tooth, a small water spot and minor thin veins. The construction feels good and the pig tale is always a nice extra touch. The ring is amazing, a beautiful dark brown, like a dark chocolate mousse color with thick golden outlines, very detailed and orange pin striping. The letters Casa Fuente are in gold and orange in a curly font with a black shadow. The ring is very detailed. As for the aroma, since the cigar has been wrapped in cedar for a few years that’s what I smell, cedar.


I cut the cigar since it’s too small to punch. The cold draw is great and I taste hay with a pepper aftertaste. It’s easy to light the cigar with a soft flame and I taste Cuban coffee right from the get go. After a few puffs it’s coffee with lemon. The coffee disappears and I taste a metallic flavor with some unsalted peanuts. After an inch I taste spicy cedar with some chocolate. After a third the spices disappear, now it’s cedar with some herb and lime. It then turn ashy, which is not very pleasurable to say the least, then I realize it’s because tar build up.

To get rid of the tar I cut off a little extra piece of the cigar. That helps ofcourse the flavor is now nice bitter like 72% dark chocolate. Soon some lemon and cedar shows up too. I also taste some spices again, nutmeg and pepper. After three quarters I taste nuts with spices and a little citrus. The spices are a mix that consist of nutmeg, cinnamon and more, the nuts are still there with some cocoa.


The draw is great. The cigar gives me a lot of smoke. The ash is white and very dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow and slow. The cigar is medium bodied. There is a lot of evolution and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Since Las Vegas is not in the plans it will be close to impossible.

Score: 93

93

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your reviewer with Jeremiah Meerapfel, Cynthia & Liana Fuente

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Categories: 93, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut River Valley Azul Robusto

I’ve known Abe Flores for several years, since my previous employer started to distributing PDR cigars and every time Abe was in the country I would drive him around and do events with him. Actually, when I left my employer, which by the way wasn’t my choice, Abe was one of the few people from the industry that reached out to me. So I was happy to see Abe at Intertabac in Dortmund, which I went to visit even though I wasn’t in the industry anymore and Abe gave me a few cigars, including this one.


So I come home, select the cigars that I have gotten there and want to review in the months to come. One of these cigars was the Flores Y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve but with a blue ring and I couldn’t find any information on them online. Because I needed the information I reached out to Robbie Streitz on Facebook and his reply was that I’m very lucky to have gotten this cigar, since its a cigar that hasn’t been released yet (i’m writing this review late 2016, I work ahead) and will be released early 2017 in a very limited amount of 150 boxes and 250 jars of each size. The broadleaf rosado wrapper is beautiful, dark, oily, only one very thin vein with a beautiful triple cap and a great construction. The rings are quite simple, lets start with the blue cloth on the foot, just a piece of blue cloth to protect the cigar, then the 2nd ring, which is dark brown with a triple golden line, the middle one small white dots on both and in the middle of the cigar it says Connecticut Valley Reserve in golden lettering. The top band is a regular Flores y Rodriguez band with a golden logo in a golden dotted circle, white lettering and a golden outline. The blue used to fill the background is a vibrant medium dark blue and I must say, the printer did an awesome job as the gold and the blue really pop.


The cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia and white pepper. I punched the cigar and notice that the wrapper is quite thick. The cold draw has the right amount of resistance and I taste raisin with a mild pepper in the aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my soft flame. I taste coffee with cinnamon and five spices. After a centimeter the cigar is a bit sour with wood and a mild bitterness at the back of my throat. In the front of my mouth it feels smoky.


After a third the cigar has a herbal and mild peppery flavor profile with a little bit of citrus and sweetness. Halfway it’s a cedar flavor with a little bit of pepper on the background. I also taste a mild cinnamon again. Slowly the citrus returns and gets stronger. The cinnamon gets a bit stronger and it’s mixed with nutmeg and citrus. Near the end I taste a strong nut flavor with some spice and citrus and a peppery aftertaste.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful, just how I like it with a close to perfect draw. The ash is almost white, firm and beautifully layered. The burn is great, quite straight. The cigar is medium full to full bodied and full flavored, well balanced with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since it’s such a limited release that will be impossible but maybe I get lucky.

Score: 93

93

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Categories: 93, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month January

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

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Drew Estate Undergrown Sun Grown Flying Pig with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

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

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Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig

When I was at the intertabac trade show Willy Herrera, whom I had not seen in a few years, the last time was at El Titan de Bronze in Miami in 2014, handed me one of his latest creations, the Undercrown Sun Grown in a belicoso format (review will follow in a few months) but the next day one of my sources gave me the same blen
d in the legendary Flying Pig format. I thought of keeping the cigar in my humidor, with the other Flying Pigs I have but decided to light it anyway since cigars are meant to me smoked.


The Undercrown Sun Grown is made from Nicaraguan filler, a stalk cut binder from the Connecticut River Valley and a Sun Grown Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador. It’s the third line under the Undercrown label, the first was created by the rollers at the Drew Estate factory after they got told that they couldn’t smoke Liga Privada no more, the second was the Shade. I wonder what the next will be, a Maduro? Oscuro? Cameroon? Rosado? Time will tell.


The shape of the cigar is ace, a little bomb shape with a pig tale, it looks funny and even though other companies use the same shape, everybody recognizes it as “that flying pig shape”.  The wrapper is oily and smooth, dark brown with a reddish glow that’s being enhanced by the red and golden rings. It’s the same ring as on the regular Undercrown and on the Undercrown Shade but in red instead of blue or white. The foot ring is in the same colors and says sun grown. The aroma is quite strong, I smell herbs, straw and some barnyard.


I cut the cigar, punching was no option because of the pigtail. The cold draw is good, i taste spicy raisin, portobello and pepper. After lighting I taste a nice, fresh citrus with coffee. After a few puffs I taste the citrus but now with cedar, nutmeg, a little cinnamon and some dried chilies. After a third I taste vanilla, cedar, the red skin that you find on peanuts and toast, with a citrus and peppery aftertaste. Halfway the cigar is cedar with nutmeg and cumin again. The final third is woody with a sweetness that is best described as icing sugar.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick, plentiful. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The burn is uneven, not too much though but it’s not straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. There is a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they will become available again.

Score: 93
number93
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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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