Posts Tagged With: Ashton

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Benchmade Toro

I remember that close to a decade ago people were raving about the new La Aroma de Cuba, blended by Don Pepin but owned by Ashton but back then the cigar wasn’t available in Europe. When it finally got released, under the name La Aroma del Caribe due to copyrights, Ashton simultaneously released their budget medium filler Benchmade, also made at the My Father Cigars factory and I remember that I didn’t dislike them, which is rare for a budget cigar. But I haven’t smoked them in years, time to revisit the cigar for this budget month.

The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, from filler to wrapper, everything comes from Nicaragua. There are 5 sizes, a 5×50 robusto, a 5 1/2×54 gordo, a 6×50 toro which I’m smoking, a 6 1/2×46 cazadores and a 7×50 churchill. And even though it’s a budget cigar, they don’t come in bundles but in boxes, which make them look worth more than what you pay for.

The cigar has a dark wrapper with some black smears and spots, it looks very tasty. The construction feels good and I like the little pig tail. The broken white ring shows a bunch of drying tobacco leaves and the name benchmade in golden letters. The aroma is faint, I smell a bit of a barnyard aroma.

I just twisted the pigtail off and the cold draw is good, it’s quite spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste spicy strong leather. The leather remains with a little sweetness yet the spice never disappears. After a third I taste cinnamon with still some leather. Halfway I taste some French toast with leather and pepper. The final third is peppery with a hint of sugar and cinnamon. The finale has the leather flavor again.

The draw is good, as can be expected from a mixed filler cigar. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness, it has a brownish color. The ash, with wide rings, has that same brown color. The burn is nice, the cigar isn’t boring due to the evolution. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a nice snack cigar.

Score: 87

Categories: 87, Benchmade, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Paradiso Francisco

I love the classic sizes with a lancero as my favorite vitola, closely followed by the lonsdale, the corona and if I really want to treat myself, the A size cigars. Unfortunately, the last decade we have seen cigars getting fatter and fatter, where a robusto was considered to be a big cigar, nowadays with the gordo, extra gordo, extra extra gordo or how manufacurers call these donkey dick sized vitolas a robusto is almost considered a skinny stick. And what is most surprising, most industry people don’t like big ring gauged cigars at all. And I agree with them, I prefer skinny cigars too as stated above. The wrapper to filler ratio is much better and since the wrapper gives the most flavor a skinny cigar has so much more dynamic, nuances, evolution and flavors compared to the big ring cigars that I really don’t get the big ring hype.

But as always, the market dictates and the market demands big ring gauges, the smaller rings don’t sell so we don’t see that many lanceros, lonsdales or coronas, especially on my side of the ocean. Heck, when I worked for Longfiller Company, the only way to persuade my boss to order lanceros was if I pre-sold an x amount of boxes, he would order that exact amount of boxes and that’s it while he would just order loads and loads of robusto and gordo sized cigars. The only corona we had in our portfolio was the Paradiso Francisco, known as the San Cristobal Francisco in the United States, a cigar made by My Father for Ashton Cigars and when my boss told me he was discontinuing this vitola I quickly bought a few because I like the cigar and the vitola.

The wrapper is dark with two thin veins running over the back and a rough leathery feel to it. The ring is awesome, a bright red parrot with green and blue wings on a light colored ring with lots of gold, and the gold really pops, high quality printing. The construction feels good, but then again, it is a My Father Cigars made cigar and that counts for quality. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me of when I’m boiling cauliflower, and it’s medium strong.

I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw is a little tight and I taste some raisin, mint and pepper. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste coffee, not too bitter, and a little sweetness with some chocolate. After an inch I taste a pleasant cedar with some nutmeg. The flavors are very subtle yet medium full in strength. Halfway I taste vanilla, honey and some jalapeño pepper. The vanilla is the main flavor and there is a little mint in the aftertaste. The jalapeño changes to black pepper. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.

The ash is almost white and pretty firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The draw is great, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is medium to full thick and enough in volume. This cigar is medium bodied yet medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a good stash, but once they are gone I will need more.

Score: 92

Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , ,

Paradiso Quintessence

About 25 years ago Robbie Levin decided it was time to start his own cigar brand, next to the family tobacco business that already existed for a few generations. So he bought English pipe tobacco brand, Ashton, and made a private label blend with one of his long term cigar suppliers Arturo Fuente and the cigar brand Ashton was born. After more than a very successful decade and a few high praised and good selling cigar lines, all under the Ashton name, all made by Fuente in the Dominican Republic and all ‘old style’ it was time for something new, something that would attract the new generation of cigar enthusiasts, something with a little more edge and so 3 new brands were born. Benchmade, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal, all made in Nicaragua by My Father Cigars. And like all Levin does, they became successful, so successful that we now can choose from a few LADC and San Cristobal blends.

Due to copyright Ashton can’t use the La Aroma de Cuba name outside of the USA, so they changed the name to La Aroma Del Caribe and for San Cristobal, a name that they could use in some markets but not in others, they picked Paradiso. The blends are identical, the labels and boxes are identical just the name on the labels and boxes changed. I used to work for the Dutch distributed of Ashton and had the pleasure of meeting Robbie, his daughter Meera and their vp of sales Chip Goldeen on several occasions and even though there is no professional relationship at the moment I met them at intertabac Chip handed me their latest release for the European market, the Paradiso Quintessence. The cigar is made from Nicaraguan tobacco grown by the Garcia family with an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper. I smoked the 6×52 epicure.

The wrapper is nice, oily and shiny with a few minor veins and the band is top, the recognizable parrots with the gold medals but this time an added name underneath the picture that says ‘quintessence’. The construction feels good but at the left side, right where the ring is, the cigar feels flat, box pressed, but just on one side while the rest of the cigar is round. That will of course effect the final score, but how much will depends if it effects draw, smoke and ash characteristics. The aroma is deep, mild acidic and reminds me a bit of autumn, like fallen leaves without smelling fallen leaves. The cold draw is fine, I taste some pepper on my lips. I used my cigar xi2 cutter to decap the cigar and my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar.

I taste coffee with some spices and a little bit of sweetness. The coffee remains the basic flavor but the spices tone down. The cigar makes my mouth dry. After a third I taste s little more sweetness and a little bit of lime with a little bit of red pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste some cinnamon with wood and lime. The lime is purely in the aftertaste though. After two thirds I taste a nice nut flavor, with a little bit of spice. No more lime, no more sweetness. Near the end this cigar is getting spicier and I taste a lot of pepper, especially on my lips. This all on a base of nuts.

The smoke is thick, it’s white and it’s plentiful. The ash is silver gray with black stripes. It’s not too firm. The burn is good, not razor sharp but I don’t have to correct either. The draw is great. This medium full, full flavored cigar have me 100 minutes of smoking pleasure.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, once in a while but I prefer the Paradiso Revelation

Score: 90


Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , , , ,

La Aroma de Cuba Coronation Noblesse

A few years ago Ashton decided to release Nicaraguan cigars, made by My Father Cigars, under the name La Aroma de Cuba (La Aroma Del Caribe in Europe). The brand was a success and several offsprings were born, the latest is a limited release under the name Noblesse. The original release was called coronation and is a 6 ½x52 double corona made from Nicaraguan tobacco with an Ecuadorean Habano rosado wrapper.
The cigar looks great, a smooth reddish wrapper with one of the most beautiful cigar bands I’ve ever seen. The veins are thin and the wrapper has a nice shine although the flash makes the vein looks bigger on the pictures. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma. The construction feels good although there is a small dent in the middle. The cold draw is a little tight and gives me hay, pepper and raisin.
The first flavor I get is wood with a really mild pepper. The flavors are quite dry. The pepper slowly disappears, I only taste a nice woody flavor.
Halfway the cigar gets more spicy again with more red pepper to the wood flavor.
The draw is just fine, and the cigar has a nice aroma. The ash is silver gray and reasonable firm. The smoke is medium thick. The cigar is medium to medium full, both in strength and in flavor. The burn is slow and straight. The cigar is one dimensional but tasty. The smoke time is about 2 hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while.

Appearance: 9
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 8
Aroma second part: 8
Aroma third part: 8

Categories: La Aroma de Cuba - Del Caribe, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Ashton ESG 20th anniversary

The Ashton Estate Sun Grown, Ashton’s own Opus X. And if I am well informed this is actually Opus X filler and binder with a unique Dominican wrapper, grown by the Fuentes, and never been used on any cigar before. Like any cigar with the Ashton name, these cigars are made by Fuente.
The cigar looks great, a beautiful light brown colored wrapper with just one thin vein. The band is awesome and I smell a strong barnyard smell with some ammonia. The construction feels good and the band on the cigar is a piece of art. This 6¾x49 cigar had a great predraw with a nice tobacco flavor.
I taste coffee and an earthy flavor with some pepper and some caramel. The pepper is also in the aftertaste and it is strong, red pepper. Soon I taste leather, wood and pepper. After half an inch I taste leather with a nice acidic flavor, herbs and some pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste leather with wood and some citrus. The aftertaste is now mild creamy with a herbal flavor.
Slowly the herbal flavor grows in strength and become the main flavor with some creamy leather on the background. There are spicy herbs in the aftertaste with some citrus. I also taste some chocolate. The aftertaste slowly releases a red pepper flavor. The main flavor now changes to herbal leather with some citrus and pepper while the aftertaste is herbal. After two thirds I taste leather with wood, some citrus and herbs on the aftertaste. Near the end I taste mild creamy leather with herbs.
This cigar lasted me for a full and pleasant two hours. The draw is great and the light colored ash is compact and firm. The burn is good. This cigar is medium bodied but full flavored.
Would I buy this cigar again? I will, due to the price not by the box, but a single every now and then

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

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

Ashton aged maduro #20

The Ashton aged maduro is rare according to the Ashton website because of the limited availability of the Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that is used. Most of the crop doesn’t make it through quality control. I wonder if that is true, as I have no problems finding the cigars here in The Netherlands. Anyway, I smoked the Ashton aged maduro #20, a corona with a length of 5½ inch with a ring 44 which I bought years ago in a cigarshop in Den Bosch.
The wrapper is almost black, quite oily, mild shiny and it doesn’t have much veins. The band is simple. I smell a quite strong barnyard smell. The construction feels good and I get a good predraw, which tastes a bit like dry tobacco.
I taste chocolate and coffee with a little bit of wood. Half an inch later I taste leather with some pepper and after a third I also get some citrus. Halfway I still taste the leather with the citrus, pepper, nuts and even some cinnamon sharpness.
The peppery aftertaste becomes stronger and I even taste some chocolate. After two thirds I taste herb with citrus and wood. The cigar slowly gets bitter and unpleasant. Lots of pepper with some leather and citrus, but all burned flavors.
This cigar lasted me fifty-five minutes. I got a lot of smoke that was medium thick. The draw was good on the loose side of good. The ash is white, a nice contrast with the black wrapper, but not so firm. The burn is good. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? If I smoke Ashton, I will go for the VSG or the brands like La aroma de cuba, San Cristobal or Benchmade.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

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

Ashton cabinet pyramid

The Ashton Cabinet series has 10 different sizes, amongst which this 6×52 pyramid. The Dominican filler for this cigar has aged 4 to 5 years and the Connecticut Shade wrapper has aged for even longer. Six different kinds of tobacco are used to create the blend, which Ashton calls “the white burgundy of cigars” due to the complexity of the flavors.
The wrapper is pale and light colored with a few thin and sharp veins. The cigar has a mild barnyard smell. The construction feels good and the cigar has a great predraw, I taste a spicy and peppery tobacco.
I taste a smooth, mild spicy, peppery and bitter coffee flavor with some pepper in the aftertaste. After half an inch I taste herbs with pepper and a herbal aftertaste and a slowly growing cedar flavor. The mild sweet and sour herbs are nice, the sour flavor reminds me of lemon or citrus and I get some pepper in the aftertaste. Every now and then I also taste some chocolate in the aftertaste.
Halfway I taste something bitter and herbal with far on the background even some chocolate. The pepper has gone. Later I taste a full wood flavor with some herbs and after two thirds the flavors get company from a bitter and spicy pepper. The pepper grows in strength towards the end.
This cigar has a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw and burn are great and I got plenty of thick smoke. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. When I purged the cigar I got a nice big flame. This cigar is medium to full bodied and full flavored.
Would I buy this cigar again? I might, just a single every now and then.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

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

Ashton Heritage Robusto

The Ashton Heritage puro sol is made from all sun grown tobacco, hence the name ‘puro sol’ and was the first Ashton with a Cameroon wrapper. The cigar is made as a tribute to two important families in the Tobacco industry, the Fuentes and the Meerapfels. The wrapper is handpicked by Richard Meerapfel
This 5½x50 robusto has a nice mild shiny and quite dark wrapper with some veins. The construction feels good. I smell a mild barnyard smell. The predraw is good and I taste a dry bark flavor.
I taste a pleasant coffee flavor with a quite strong citrus. After a quarter of an inch, the coffee is gone and I taste a spicy flavor with still a strong citrus flavor. After half an inch I taste herbs, mild spicy and the citrus flavor moved to the aftertaste. The citrus and the spiciness grow in strength. After an inch I also taste some wood with the citrus and the spice. After two inch the spicy herbs lose some of their strength, I taste some wood too and even some mint in the aftertaste.
Halfway I get herbs with wood. The spice and the citrus have disappeared and I even discover a hint of chocolate. The herbs slowly grow in strength and the spice returns, but not as strong as before. The chocolate disappears and that’s what I taste until the final puffs, that bring me some pepper too.
This cigar lasted me for an hour and fifteen minutes. The draw was too loose and I had to correct the burn several times. I got a lot of thick smoke though and the firm but frayed ash is almost white. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.


Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will stick to the Ashton VSG

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 6 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

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

Ashton classic churchill

The Ashton classic series is a classic indeed, who hasn’t smoked or at least heard about and seen these cigars? They are made from Dominican tobacco which has been aged for a minimum of three years and the wrapper is a Connecticut shade. This cigar has a price tag of 9 euro in The Netherlands. The churchill is 7½ inch long with a 52 ring.
The cigar I had was aged pretty good under perfect conditions. The band and the cellophane were starting to get yellow. The Connecticut shade wrapper is light colored and oily with a lot of small veins. The band is really simple. The construction feels good and I smell a barnyard aroma. The predraw is on the firm side of good and I taste a mild tobacco flavor with some pepper.
I taste a mild coffee flavor with some pepper and soon some wood. The flavors are mild and smooth. After half an inch I taste grass with a hint of chocolate. After two inch the flavors are dry wood with some sweet milky chocolate.
The grass returns and after two thirds I also taste some herbs with the grass and chocolate. I even taste some pepper. After three quarters I taste a hint of nuts and some sharp pepper
The churchill has a smoke time of an hour and forty five minutes. The draw and the burn are good. I got an acceptable volume of smoke, but the smoke is very thin. The ash is quite dark, compact and firm. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. I got a huge flame while purging.
Would I buy this cigar again? No, it is too mild for me

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

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

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