Posts Tagged With: 94

Henk Maori Haka Gaudi

Henk Maori Haka Gaudi. Now the Maori Haka part of the name is known. We explained that in our previous Henk Maori Haka review. But where the Gaudi name comes from is a mystery to us. It’s probably named after the famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. And most likely that has something to do with the odd shape of the cigar. It’s a perfecto yet different. It is more of a combination of a torpedo and a perfecto. A rounded head, then slowly getting a thicker base to be ended with the classic salomones tip. Remarkable, unusual, just like Gaudi’s designs. (Edit: HENK owner Heiko Poerz confirmed the cigar is named after the architect)

The cigars are made at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez with vintage, aged, and rare tobaccos from the tobacco library of Abdel Fernandez. The Belgian master blender Didier Houvenaghel and HENK owner Heiko Poerz worked together to create something special for HENK. The tobaccos are all Nicaraguan and this figurado measures 5×56. The cigar is yet to be released and it will be released in porcelain jars.

A cigar with a tattoo instead of a cigar band is always an eye-catcher. Especially when the tattoo has a Maori design. Add a pigtail and an unusual shape and you have a cigar that everybody wants to smoke. That is until they see the price tag. Due to the limited production, the extra aging, and the rare tobaccos, the cigars aren’t cheap. The oily wrapper looks sharp. Colorado colored with one thin, sharp vein. Beautiful shape. A strong aroma of hay and spices.

Due to the shape of the foot, the cold draw is a bit tight. Plenty of spice in the cold draw though. Red pepper, nutmeg but also raw tobacco. Once lit, there is a nice bitter coffee flavor with cedar and spices. Then a whole range of subtle, complex flavors shows up. All perfectly balanced. Pepper, sweetness, leather, soil, still with coffee. The flavors are intense, deep, and balanced. Yet slowly, coffee and sweetness tend to become the dominant flavors, with spice and pepper as the strongest of the supporting flavors. The cigar gets more intense in the second third. Stronger, more outspoken. Some dark chocolate, a little bit of salt and citrus to enhance the flavors, wood, leather, coffee. It’s all there, in a beautiful mix. In the last third, the missing link shows up: nuts. With more pepper, creamy chocolate, spice, leather, and wood.

The draw is great. The cigar produces white, dense ash. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke is decent, it could be a little thicker though. The cigar is balanced yet characterful. Smooth yet powerful. It starts medium-bodied but ends medium-full. The same goes for the flavors. The smoke time is three hours, and we had to break out a nub tool to enjoy every possible minute of this fantastic cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Even with the high price tag, I will

Categories: 94, Henk, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

Liga Privada 10 Anniversario

Liga Privada 10 Anniversario. A cigar released late 2018, which actually makes it the 11th year of Liga Privada as the first boxes were sold in 2007. But the packaging changed to the well known 24 count boxes in 2008. Plus new sizes were added that year. For two years, the cigar was a hidden gem, but then it took off to become the household name it now is. With many offsprings to come. T52, Unico series, Undercrown, Undercrown Sun Grown, Undercrown Shade. And that’s without going into all the different blends in Flying Pig sizes, a vitola reinvented by Drew Estate for the Liga Privada series.

Not being based in the United States, we never expected to be able to smoke this cigar. Only 1000 boxes of 10 cigars were released. Yet when we met up with Jonathan Drew in The Netherlands, he passed us a few cigars to smoke. And that included this unicorn. Made with a Criollo wrapper grown in the Connecticut River Valley. The binder is a rare Mexican San Andres Otapan Negro Último Corte. The fillers come from Honduras and Nicaragua. The cigar measures 6×52.

When it comes to looks, this cigar is a perfect 10. A dark, smooth, and oily wrapper. The closed foot. The unique cap, which is a hybrid of the classic pigtail and a flag tail. Add a skinny, contemporary, and slick black and silver ring and you have the best-looking cigar possible. The construction feels great too. And the aroma, it’s like walking into a leather store. Not overwhelmingly strong, but undeniably a leather aroma.

The cold draw is actually pretty good considering the closed foot. The flavors are toasty and spicy. Once lit, it’s coffee. Strong, black coffee, almost like espresso. But there is some leather too and some earthiness. There is a salty undertone. Slowly but surely toast and cedar comes through as well. The coffee remains the base flavor of the cigar, but now with some green herbs as well. Wood and sweetness get stronger, the mouthfeel becomes buttery. There is also a strong dark chocolate flavor. In the second third, the chocolate becomes stronger, it’s smooth, creamy, yet with spice and pepper. The final third still have that chocolate, with some earthiness. But it’s no longer creamy. There is a mild pepper, some spice, some wood, and a little hay. The wood is slowly taking over, but with sweetness. Suddenly the coffee returns, with dry wood, and spices. Sweetness and pepper completely disappeared.

It is a Drew Estate cigar so the smoke is copious. Thick, full, and voluminous. The draw is great. The white, dense ash is firm. The burn is sharp. The flavors are full and strong. The cigar is strong too. But it’s complex, intense, balanced, and full of character. A testament that full body and full-flavor can still be smooth. The smoke time is four hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible

Categories: 94, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

My Father Fonseca Robusto

My Father Fonseca Robusto. A Nicaraguan Fonseca, only available in the United States and possibly the Dominican Republic. Because the trademark that My Father Cigars acquired from Quesada Cigars in December of last year is only valid there. Cubatabaco owns the trademark for the Fonseca brand in the rest of the world. And now the new cigar is released. It’s highly anticipated, as My Father Cigars has been making fantastic cigars for years. The company won the Cigar Aficionado Top 25 list twice in the last decade. Not many companies can say that.

The new blend is all Nicaraguan. And all the tobacco comes from the farms of the Garcia family. The wrapper is a shade-grown Corojo ’99 Rosado variety. For this review, I smoked the 5¼x52 Robusto. Other sizes available are a 5½x54 Belicoso, 5⅜x42 Cosacos, 4¼x40 Petit Corona, 6×55 Toro Gordo, and a 6¼x52 Cedros. The last one is wrapped in cedar. The Cosacos come with the iconic Fonseca wax paper. The brand is 130 years old, but since the Cuban revolution, there are two versions. One Cuban, owned by Cubatobaco for the international markets. And one new world version for the American market. Fun fact is that Don Francisco Fonseca, the founder of the brand, moved to New York and became an American citizen in the early 1900s while still operating the factory in Cuba.

The cigar looks great. The ring is fantastic. The designers managed to merge the iconic Fonseca logo and the style that My Father Cigar uses perfectly. It is detailed, beautiful, and printed on high quality. It’s immediately recognizable as both a My Father Cigars product and Fonseca. The wrapper is smooth and oily. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is surprisingly floral with hints of wood.

The cold draw is very good. Mild spicy with wood. Once lit, the cigar gives coffee, spice, wood, and soil. With a little bit of citrus acidity and sugary sweetness. There are some cinnamon and nutmeg in the retrohale. Soon the Corojo wrapper starts to release the signature nut flavor, with wood, pepper, and leather. There is still a little sweetness that balances everything out. After a third, the spice mix is almost like gingerbread. With wood, leather, and a little bit of nuttiness. The cigar has a nice spice sweetness undertone all along. Not sugary sweetness, but more the sweetness you get with cinnamon rolls, without tasting like a cinnamon roll. Halfway the cigar gets a little darker flavor profile, with more oak. The pepper slowly grows to that classic, strong pepper that made the Don Pepin Garcia cigars so popular and famous. The final third is more wood, even with some barbecue flavor, and pepper. Making it a great cigar to smoke during or after a barbecue.

The draw is fantastic. The cigar produces a lot of smoke. Thick, white smoke. The ash is light-colored and dense. The burn is straight and slow. The cigar is very balanced, smooth yet with plenty of character. The cigar starts out medium but slowly grows to full-bodied. It’s full-flavored. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want boxes, boxes, and boxes.

Categories: 94, Fonseca, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Arturo Fuente Opus X 20th anniversary Father & Son

Arturo Fuente Opus X 20th anniversary Father & Son. In 1995, Arturo Fuente released a new cigar. The Arturo Fuente Opus X. It was a prestigious project for the Fuente family. Against all odds, they grew wrapper in the Dominican Republic. Where everybody said it couldn’t be done, Fuente did it. They grew Habano seed tobaccos under a cloth and created a rich and beautiful wrapper. The Opus X was the first premium Dominican puro. It became a highly sought after cigar, available in limited quantities. And now, 25 years later, that is still the case.

In 2015, Carlito Fuente released his tribute to the original Fuente Fuente Opus X. He said he wanted to blend something that made his grandfather and father proud. Something that brought him to his childhood, something that made him happy. And that was the 20th Anniversary. Available in four different vitolas. A 61/2×52 Figurado with the name God’s whisper is the most prolific. But there’s a torpedo as well, 6⅜x52, with the name power of the dream. Then there’s a 5¾x52 Robusto called Believe. And the fourth cigars is the one being reviewed. The 6¼x49 Father & Son.

The cigar has a Colorado Claro colored wrapper, hidden from the eye with a piece of cedar. Once removed, the wrapper is clear, smooth, yet it looks a bit dry. The aroma is quite mild, sawdust and wood. The cigar feels good, well packed and evenly packed. The shape and cap are perfect. And then the ring. The classic Opus X ring in blue instead of red. A secondary ring in the same colors, on the same high-quality paper, says 20 years. 100 out of 100 points for the ring. The foot of the cigar clearly shows different tobaccos, with different colors.


The cold draw is just perfect. Mild spicy with some sweetness in the flavors. After lighting, a very balanced and smooth mixture of spice, coffee, and sweetness is tasted. The flavors then turn wood, with spices, and leather. There’s also some faint vanilla and grass. All smooth flavors, balanced, like an aged cigar. After a centimeter, a nice fresh lemon flavor binds everything together. The sweetness is molasses, and it’s getting a bit stronger. The mouthfeel is creamy, buttery. The spice and pepper get some strength after a while. The main flavors turn to wood and sweetness, but the sweetness is different than the molasses tasted earlier. After a third, the cigar gets meatier in mouthfeel, with wood and vanilla as main flavors. Halfway the coffee returns, with gingerbread spices and vanilla. The flavors remain smooth and balanced all the way through the cigar. The strength does pick up in the final third though.

The draw is great. The smoke is good too, not spectacular but good. The light-colored ash is firm and dense. The burn is sharp. The cigar is very smooth and balanced. Medium-bodied, medium-full flavored without any harshness at all. The smoke time is three hours, fifteen minutes. Nubbed it till my fingers and lips burned.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, even with this price, I want to smoke it on special occasions
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Categories: 94, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , ,

Sin Compromiso Intrepido

Even though I smoked and reviewed some expensive cigars, I am quite cheap. Whenever I go to a lounge to buy some cigars, I pick medium priced cigars at most since there are some fantastic cigars under 10 euro or dollar. So getting a 16 euro cigar is something I rarely do. Yet for this cigar, I made an exemption, just because it’s made at Joya de Nicaragua by no other than Steve Saka.


The wrapper, Mexican, is grown by removing the bottom leaves time after time making sure that all the nutrients go to the top leaves. And the filler and binder are grown on farms, specially selected by Saka himself. Those farms only grow tobacco for the Sin Compromiso line. Those four factors combined made me pull the trigger.

The cigar comes without cellophane, pretty unusual for Nicaraguan cigars. But the bottom half is wrapped in cedar with the text ‘sin compromiso’ printed on it, The ring is a Celtic looking cross in black and white. No mention of which company is behind it, no country, no names whatsoever making it a cigar for the in-crowd. I like that. The dark leathery looking wrapper is intimidating. The cigar comes with a little flag tale and it’s slightly box pressed. The wrapper feels like velvet. The aroma isn’t very strong, it reminds me of cow poop and charred wood.

The cold draw is flawless, with hints of red pepper on the top of my palate and a dry flavor that I know, recognize but can’t remember what it is or how to describe it. After lighting, I’m hit with coffee, sweetness and some bitter young wood. After a few puffs, I taste some lime with green herbs. There is pepper on the background, still a sweetness up front with some leather and cedar. After an inch its slightly bitter, a combination of wood, leather, mushroom, and sweetness. Halfway it’s the nice sweetness with pepper and leather. There’s some earthiness too. This is a much more subtle cigar than I expected, but halfway the pepper picks up by a lot. The final third is sweet leather, cedar, and quite some pepper.


The draw is phenomenal. The ash is almost bright white but not very firm. The smoke is thick enough, but for my liking, it could be a bit thicker and more in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, not as a daily smoke but yes.
number94

Categories: 94, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sin Compromiso | Tags: , , ,

La Jugada Nunchuck

When I started working in the cigar industry as a sales rep, one of the retailers I connected most with was a retailer in Amsterdam. I had seen him once or twice before my employment but I heard that he had a terminal illness. It wasn’t long before he was my best customer, I would even come in on days off to smoke a cigar with him. His illness went in ups and downs, in his down I visited him a couple of times at home, in a period of up he came to my mancave to smoke a cigar. One of the last things I said to him was “on your next up, I have a cigar, or actually two fused together, that I want to share with you”. Unfortunately the next ‘up’ never came. Today would have been Berry’s birthday, so I’m smoking this cigar for him now.


The cigar I was talking about is the La Jugada Nunchuck, a 7×54 Nicaraguan puro that is fused together like a nunchuck, as the name would suggest. The cigar is made at La Zona, the small yet beautiful factory of Erik Espinosa in downtown Esteli. The brand however is Moya Ruiz. As I said, it is a Nicaraguan puro with a Habano Oscuro wrapper and the cigar was released in 2014 as a limited edition of 10.000 cigars.


The appearance is unique, with a huge white ring binding the cigars together, gray lines, a red ‘splash’ star and then La Jugada Nunchuck written on top of that. The H in nunchuck are actually nunchucks. The foot of the cigar is protected with red cloth.  The wrapper s dark, yet smooth. The cigars feel well packed. I smell a mild cocoa aroma when I sniff the cigar.


After cutting I try the cold draw, which is a little on the loose side but within margins. I taste pepper. Immediately after lighting I taste an earthy, coffee and leather mix with pepper. After half an inch I taste chocolate in the aftertaste. After an inch i taste pepper, wood, milky chocolate with s nice acidity. The flavors are strong but smooth, you can taste that it’s a well aged cigar. After a third i taste wood with pepper, the strength is picking up. The pepper is getting stronger. There’s also a little acidity to keep all flavors balanced. Halfway I taste a kind of peanut flavor with the wood, pepper and acidity. Then, a little before the final third, I taste coffee again. The final third has less pepper, more coffee and more acidity, without turning sour. The finale is woody with herbs and pepper.


The draw is within the ‘good’ margin but on the easy side of it. The ash is quite dark yet firm. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is smooth, full flavored and medium full bodied. The smoke time is almost two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish

Score: 94
number94

Categories: 94, La Jugada, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project Skull Crusher

One of the four side projects, next to the Phalanx, 52C and the Little Devil, yet the Skull Crusher was the latest to be released. Where the others saw daylight in march of 2012, this Skull Crusher was born on january 2013. I have smoked a few before and this is my favorite ‘after BBQ’ cigar, because it’s so strong and full flavored you can still taste the cigar even after all the spicy BBQ food and sauce.


The cigar, which is a figurado, 5 3/4×56 and ‘club shaped’ according to Meier & Dutch. I would call it a perfecto, but that’s just me. The cigar is packed with ligero tobacco, Nicaraguan in the filler and an Honduran Habano ligero as binder. The wrapper is Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro.


First of all, I love the shape, it reminds me a bit of a feral flying pig, yet a tad less fat and without the pigtail. The dry leathery toothy wrapper has a nice dark soil color with a few veins. The secondary ring, black with gray and golden letters, fits the regular Man O’ War ring. The cigar has the aroma of dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar, the tobacco is a bit salty. There is no cold draw because of the glued closed foot. It takes a few puffs to get passed the closed foot and get a draw. I taste some sweetness, a mild vinegar and some cedar with a hint of pepper. After a quarter of an inch I taste honey with cedar. An inch in I taste a little honey, oak and cedar plus a growing pepper. After a third pepper is the main flavor, with cedar and honey on the background. The changes are now subtle, the wood, honey and pepper constantly change in strength.


After the first quarter of an inch the draw is fantastic. The smoke is white, thick and full. The salt and pepper colored ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The evolution of this full bodied full flavored cigar is good. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes! Yes! Perfect as an after (vegetarian) barbecue smoke.

Score: 94
number94

Categories: 94, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

San Lotano Oval Pigskin Super Smoke Figurado XLVIII

A few years ago A.J. Fernandez released this 6×60 figurado version of the San Lotano Oval for two retailers, one in New York and one in New Jersey as a gimmick for the Superbowl that was being held in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. And I happened to get this cigars a few years later from a Dutch BOTL who got his hands on a box. And what better day to publish this review than on another Superbowl Sunday right?


Now the San Lotano Oval is a well known line and you would expect that this cigar has the exact same blend, but a review by William Cooper taught me that the blend is different and actually one of the many test blends of the Mayimbe, a cigar that I loved. The cigar has filler tobacco from Nicaragua and Honduras, a Nicaraguan binder and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.


I love the shape of this cigar, its a piece of art. It’s a fat perfecto but then oval pressed too, very unique. The head is pointy while the foot is blunt. The wrapper is oily, coffee colored and with a silky feel. The cigar has the regular San Lotano Oval ring, the black with golden letters and the yellow banner ‘by A.J. Fernandez’ yet there is a secondary black ring with the AJF logo in red and golden letters on a white background. The aroma is strong, I live in a small town with plenty of farm fields surrounding a lake. The aroma of the cigar reminds me of early morning walks through the fields, a smell of fresh grass, cows, herbs and the dawn of a new day.


The only way to decap this cigar is with a cutter due to the shape. The cold draw is surprisingly easy, I expected a tight draw due to the pointy foot. I taste a tangy peppery cedar. After lighting I taste a beautiful mix of acidity, nutmeg, espresso and wood. The acidity mellows out and the cigar gets spicier and stronger with more pepper. After half an inch I taste more cedar with some spices.  After a third the cigar is mellow, warm flavors, wood with warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon,very pleasing. Halfway the cigar becomes stronger with a hefty pepper on a base flavor of wood.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is thick and full. The burn is straight and the gray ash is firm, with nice rings. The cigar has a lot of dynamic and evolution, especially for a 60 ring cigar. The cigar ranges from medium but grows to full, just like the flavor. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible.

Score: 94
number94

Categories: 94, Nicaraguan cigars, San Lotano, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month August

August was a month of 12 published reviews, including one with the name I used as a nickname on forums like Club Stogie and Cigar Asylum when forums were still the place to be.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

La Preferida 452 with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) La Preferida 452 (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Ave Maria Argentum (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Guayacan Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Leon Jimenes Don Fernando (Dominican Republic) 92 points
5) Xiphos Habano Robusto (Costa Rica) 92 points
6) Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) E.L.V.I.S. Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) El Titan de Bronze Gran Reserva Maduro Churchill (USA) 91 points
9) Casa Magna Domus Magnus Tiberus (Nicaragua) 90 points
10) Winston Churchill by Davidoff The Artist (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Ahuriba Light Corona (Aruba) 90 points
12) Swag Lancero (Dominican Republic) 88 points

 

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

Ave Maria Argentum

Before I started to work for a Dutch cigar importer & distributer, I used to order online from the USA and one of the cigars that I ordered a lot was the Diesel Unholy Cocktail. When I started to work for that importer & distributer I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore since it was not a legal thing to do as its considered tax evading, you are only allowed to import tobacco if you have a license with the exemption of 50 cigars that you carry across the border in person and because all my accounts were cigar shops that feel the pain of this import. But I did miss my Diesel Unholy Cocktails. So I kept asking my employer if there was a way to import these but everytime he would reply “these are made for the wholesaler that is part of Cigars International so they probably won’t sell to us anyway”. Well, after three years of nagging he finally decided to mail Meier & Dutch and much to his surprise and my happiness they were open to the idea. On top of that I ran into the responsible person a few weeks later at Tabacalera Oliva in Esteli, Nicaragua and that sealed the deal.


We started with the Diesel, Manowar and a few other cigars and slowly expanded our business with Meier & Dutch but right before the Cigaragua shop was opened I got fired as my employer had his doubts if I would be a good shopmanager. He’s wrong, but as an employee you don’t always get a chance to prove that. Too bad, because a lot of new items came in just to be sold in that shop and nowhere else in The Netherlands. Amongst those cigars is this Ave Maria Argentum, just like the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and the Manowar made by A.J. Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua. I have been to the factory and its very impressive, huge, clean and I could roam free without a chaperone, something that didn’t happen anywhere else. I met Abdel too a few times, now that his English improved we can actually hold a conversation, something that was impossible before because of my lack of Spanish.


What I notice first is the shape and the color, It’s almost a flying pic but there is just a tiny difference in shape. The cigar is a 5×58 perfecto. The color is striking because its almost black, I have never seen a wrapper this dark and you can see that the sun did its work as the surface of the toothy wrapper looks like leather. Well, thats as far as you can see the wrapper because the ring is huge, and to add to that they added a second ring too. The second ring is black with big silver lining and the word Argentum written in font that makes me think of medievel times and knights. The real ring has the same black & silver theme going on with a knight, the english crest and a banner with silver letters ave maria. On the back the ring has a red cross. I like the look of the ring. The cigar feels rock hard I just hope it doesn’t have a tight draw and the strong aroma reminds me of a hay stack in a field surrounded by some cows and an angry bull.


I couldn’t punch the cigar so I had to cut it with my flat cut. The cold draw is great with some pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar carefully, expecting a tight start but from that the start the draw is good and I taste coffee with chocolate. Once the burn gets to the thicker part the flavors open and I taste cedar, pepper, cinnamon and a hint of cacao. I also taste a little sweetness, icing sugar like sweetness. The sweetness is getting a little stronger, just like the cedar. After a third I taste a nice spice mix with sugar and pepper, this is the sweetness I expect from a Maduro wrapper like this. Halfway the base flavor becomes nutty with pepper and a little bit of sweetness. Slowly but surely the cigar gets stronger and so does the pepper, the nuts change to wood.


The draw is wonderful. The ash is light colored, dense and firm. The burn had to be corrected once but that always happens to me when lighting a cigar with a foot like that. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume. The cigar starts out medium bodied but evolved to full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a great cigar!

Score: 94
94

Categories: 94, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

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