Posts Tagged With: belicoso

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

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Diesel Unholy Cocktail

Before I got my job in the cigar industry, a job I’m no longer working in, I used to participate in ordering cigars from the USA even though that is legally not allowed in The Netherlands. It is allowed to bring in 50 cigars in person, but internet orders are prohibited. Yet I did it because of the huge difference in availability of cigars and the prices back then with a low dollar and a strong euro. And one of the cigars I bought often because I loved them for flavor and price was the Diesel Unholy Cocktail, made by A.J. Fernandez for Meier & Dutch, a wholesaler connected to cigarsinternational.com. But as soon as I landed my job I had to stop of course and hated that I could not buy these great cigars again.


After two years of nagging I finally got my employer so far that he said “ok, see if you can get in touch with them” and so happened, after a few mails and me accidentally running into my contact when I was visiting Esteli, Nicaragua, we agreed that we would distribute their cigars in The Netherlands. I made a selection from their exclusive cigars and of course I included the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and they were an instant hit in The Netherlands too, becoming a big part of our turnover. I just realized that I only have a few of these 5×56 belicosos left so I should do a review.


The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane and once I take the cigar out of that protective layer I see a dark  and rustic wrapper, very toothy and it feels a bit like sandpaper but the look fit the name and the flavor profile. The cigar only has a small foot ring, brown with a darker brown medieval font written Diesel and a smaller written diesel in a beige color. Simple but again, it fits the cigar. The construction feels great and the belicoso has a sharp head. The aroma is quite strong, I smell manure, a little ammonia and hay.


Since it’s a belicoso I have to cut the cigar and I do so with my Xikar cutter. The cold draw is perfect. I taste a spicy, peppery raisin flavor. Once I light the cigar I taste cocoa powder, dry cedar and coffee beans. Soon I taste pepper, a faint cocoa powder and a strong earthy flavor. After little over half an inch I also taste some nuts. After a third the main flavor is earthy with spices, peanuts, a little lemon and pepper. Every few puffs I taste some cocoa powder too. Halfway the cigar has a dark chocolate sweetness and bitterness with nutmeg, wood and pepper. The pepper is getting stronger just like the wood.


The draw is fantastic just as the smoke, which is thick and full. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is so full flavored and bold that it tastes like it’s a very full bodied cigar but truth is, it’s medium full. There is a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah!

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, Diesel, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , ,

La Aurora 100 Años Belicoso

La Aurora is the oldest cigar factory, founded in 1903 and they wanted to celebrate their century long existence with a limited edition cigar, the cien años, of the 100 años for the non Spanish speaking cigar enthousiasts. The cigar wasn’t released till 2004 though due to delays at the factory and the right wrapper not being available, well, not in the quality the blenders wanted. The cigar was made with tobacco from 1996, all Dominican.


The demand was so high that in 2012 La Aurora did a small re-release of the blend, with a 4 year old Dominican Corojo wrapper. And with small I mean 20.000 cigars of the Belicoso, 20.000 Robustos and 20.000 Churchill sized cigars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing probably comes from the second release, the 2012 release and I got it as a gift from a friend at my favorite cigar forum Cigar Asylum.


The 6 1/4×52 Belicoso has a silky Dominican Corojo wrapper that is oily but also rough looking with a few major veins that haven’t been flattened before being used, too bad as that would made the cigar much better looking. The construction feels good yet the cap isn’t applied very neatly. The ring is beautiful, beautiful beige and brown colors with a detailed drawing of a lion and the factory name and line name in a modest font and color. Underneath is a second ring with a production number, much like Padron does with their 1928, 1964 and Family Reserve lines. I’m smoking #166571, but unfortunately there is no website where you can check the numbers for the batch #, the roller etc, that would be extremely cool. The aroma is still strong, dry hay, barnyard, stable and a little bit of ammonia like acidity.


I cut the cigar, as usual with my Xikar XI2 cutter. The cold draw is fantastic and leaves a spicy cedar flavor with some pepper on my lips.  After lighting I taste a smooth coffee and nutmeg flavor, very tasty. After a few puffs I taste coffee with spicy green herbs. After half an inch the coffee disappears and the cigar bites a little on my tongue. After an inch o taste leather with pepper, strong bold flavors. After a third I taste carrots with pepper, it’s a flavor I taste every now and then in a cigar but it’s rare. I also taste a very faint chocolate. The final third starts with the carrots and an earthy flavor with pepper on the background and aftertaste. That’s also the flavor combination till I lay the cigar till rest.


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is great, it’s thick, white and a good volume. The light colored ash is beautiful and firm. I had to touch up the burn a few times. There is a lot of evolution. The cigar is medium bodied but full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Impossible I guess, unless there is another release. And I would get a fiver then.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , ,

Onyx Mini Belicoso

I know I smoked this cigar years ago, after I got bombed with these by a friend from Cigar Asylum, but I don’t really know anything about this cigar so I google. I found that this is a Dominican made cigar with tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and that you can find this 5×52 mini belicoso for about 5 dollars a stick if you buy a box at the big online retailers. After doing a search on my own blog I found this review from 2009, and this cigar came from the same bomb so it is well aged.


Now my experiences with Peruvian cigars isn’t that positive so I hope that the Peruvian part of the filler isn’t very dominant. I guess it won’t be as most flavor comes from the wrapper anyway and Connecticut Broadleaf ranks very high in my list of favorite wrappers. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The name is a bit confusing as most belicoso that I know are about 5 inch long, torpedos are usually longer so I don’t get the ‘mini’ part of the name. I also have no clue on who makes these cigars.


When I get the cigar out of the cellophane I notice the box pressed shape and the dark oily wrapper with hardly any veins. The construction feels good and the cap is secure and neat. The aroma is quite strong and barnyard with manure all the way. The ring is simple yet beautiful, a vertical oval with a golden edge, black line and then a white base. Inside there is a smaller oval in black with golden outlines and golden letters Onyx in a vertical way. The white with black and gold theme is continued on the side where it says ‘handmade’ and ‘reserve’. The print quality is great.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter and the cold draw is fine. I read some bad stories about the draw but it looks like I’m lucky. I taste some wood and pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame. I taste earthy flavors, coffee beans and chocolate. After a few puffs I taste cinnamon with chocolate which changes to cedar with some lemon and pepper after half an inch. Halfway I taste cedar with pepper and a little bit of chocolate. The final third is cedar with nutmeg, cinnamon, a little pepper, some lime and chocolate.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is a little thin though. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen pleasant minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind a box.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Onyx | 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso

As I wrote in my review of the Undercrown Sungrown Flying Pig, this cigar was given to me by the man himself, Willy Herrera, at the intertabac trade show last year. I met Willy years ago, when he just started working for Drew Estate and have met him several times since mostly at the factory of his inlaws and the place where he got his claim to fame: El Titan de Bronze, a must see if you’re ever in Miami.


I have been to the Drew Estate HQ in Miami a few times, I have been to the factory in Esteli a few times and I can only say that I have mad respect for the company that Jonathan Drew built, starting from a push cart at the World Trade Center to one of the biggest and most modern factories in the world, from just cigar sales to being a major manufacturer and then rebranding yourself from a infused cigar manufacturer to a well respected and loved brand by serious cigar smokers, all the while being different then others with incorporating art, the style, the culture and of course the immense social media coverage. Kudos.


As the cigar, its a 6×52 Belicoso. The Ecuadorian Sumatra sun grown wrapper has a little tooth and a little oil. Maybe because the wrapper is bigger than on the Flying Pig, but it looks a little rougher and less smooth. The ring is the same, the classic Undercrown logo in gold on a red background and the foot ring is in the same color scheme. The construction feels good with a nice round head on the belicoso. The aroma is barnyard with manure, medium to full in strength.


Due to the shape cutting the cigar is my only option. The cold draw is great, with quite some pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee. I also taste a little citrus and wood. After a quarter of an inch I taste more cinnamon and lemon, the coffee is gone. Some pepper shows up too. After a third it’s wood, pepper and some lime. Halfway I taste a mild peanut with lime and pepper. The final third is wood with pepper and a mild floral flavor.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and plentiful. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn is straight. The cigar starts medium bodied but turns full bodied, full flavored along the way. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month May

In may I published 19 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale with a 96 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Lonsdale (Nicaragua) 96 points
2) Goviado Lancero (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce Soloman (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Viaje Platino Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
5) Goviado Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Eiroa the first 20 years Prensado (Honduras) 91 points
8) Alec Bradley Post Embargo Robusto (Honduras) 91 points
9) Mayimbe Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) La Sirena Merloin Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Aging Room Solera Fantastico (Dominican Republic) 89 points
12) Brick House Connecticut Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
13) C.A.O. Pilon Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
14) La Gloria Cuban Duke (Cuba) 87 points
15) Don Ibarra Natural Belicoso (Dominican Republic) 86 points
16) Don Ibarra Natural Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
17) Undercrown Shade Gordito (Nicaragua) 86 points
18) Don Ibarra Natural Gordo(Dominican Republic) 85 points
19) Gurkha 125h anniversary Rothschild (Dominican Republic) 79 points

 

 

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Don Ibarra Black Label

A few years ago I was visiting one of my accounts in my previous job as a sales representative and the owner of the shop, Marjolein Hartman from Hartman Cigars in Amsterdam (and now also co-owner of the La Casa del Habano in Amsterdam) said she received some samples from a cigar manufacturer looking to break into the Dutch market called Don Ibarra with a white ring. Now is it not allowed to sell straight to shop owners due to the Dutch tobacco law so I was surprised by this tactic. She said she smoked one and gave me two of the other cigars to try to see if the company I worked for would be interested. I never gotten around to smoke the samplers though and I knew that my then employer wouldn’t be interested anyway since he didn’t like unknown brands.

Years later I see the brand pop up again, this time distributed by a competitor of ours, so through the right channels but I forgot all about the samples I still had laying around in my 5300+ cigar stash. I only found out about them when I lost my job and inventoried my stash in my online account at stogierate.com.  A few weeks later I happen to be at the office of the said distributer for some consulting work and the owner gave me a Don Ibarra to smoke, a belicoso, and this is the review. As far as the blend I have to admit, I don’t know, all I know is that Don Ibarra is a Dominican made cigar. The belicoso is 5 inch long with a ring gauge of 50. I also have a robusto and a gordo and I will review them all in this one review.

Don Ibarra Black Label Belicoso


The wrapper looks good, medium to dark brown and a bit leathery with just one visible and not too thick vein. The part above the ring is a bit shiny, while the bottom part of the cigar is quite dull. The ring itself is made from shiny paper, the background is black with white gothic lettering around a white colored crest and thick golden outlines, all too shiny for my personal preference but the color combination is good. The construction feels good, no complaints there. The cigar has a strong and pleasant raw tobacco flavor with a tiny bit of ammonia. I cut the cigar to find an easy cold draw with a harsh raw tobacco flavor that fits the aroma.


I used a soft flame to light the cigar. The first hit of flavors is a little harsh, bitter coffee and some ashy flavor. The harshness gets a little less strong quickly and the coffee turns to more of a wooden flavor with a bite. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with a little harsh pepper and some cedar.


The draw is very good, a little loose from being perfect. The ash is white, full in volume and there is plenty of it. After lighting the cigar and a few puffs only one side kept lit so I had to relight the other part which caused a crooked burn. The ash is white, dense and firm. There is some evolution in the cigar and the flavor to body ratio of the medium bodied cigar is good. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No this is not a cigar for me.

Score: 86

86

Don Ibarra Black Label Gordo


The wrapper has a nice, even, dark brown color with little tooth and it is quite oily. It’s one of the most beautiful wrappers I have seen in a long time. The construction feels great, the cigar is beautifully finished, its just astonishing. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay, just like the robusto, but with some wood added to it. The ring is exactly the same as the other cigars in this line up.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste raw tobacco. I taste dirt and coffee after lighting. Not a lot changes in the first inch, but that’s to be expected from a thick ring gauge cigars. Halfway I taste wood and dirt with a little lime. Near the end some pepper shows up.


The draw is fine and the smoke is white, thick and a good volume. The white ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about ninety minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad tasting cigar, just too boring for me. It would have scored much higher with a better evolution.

Score: 85
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Don Ibarra Black Label Robusto


The wrapper is very oily, very shiny but has discolorations, like darker smears on a medium brown color and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head if flat as can be. The ring is identical as the belicoso. The cigar has a strong hay smell, like you’re standing in a hay barn.


I punched the cigar and the thickness of the wrapper stands out. The cold draw is great and I taste a little raisin. I taste soil, cedar, nutmeg and the flavors are a bit harsh and unrefined. After a third the cigar tastes like fresh wood with a faint milk chocolate. Halfway it’s that soil flavor again, sticky, thick and buttery. Near the end I taste a lot of pepper.


The ash is quite dark and frayed but still reasonable firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume and the draw is great.  The burn needs help staying straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 86
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Categories: 85, 86, Dominican cigars, Don Ibarra | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Goviado Belicoso

Many moons ago, and we are talking 2007/2008 era, I met Andrew Wood online on Club Stogie, which turned into Cigar Asylum and back then he wasn’t a tobacco broker but with two Nicaraguan friends, the Guillen brothers, he ran a little factory GDW Cigars. Back in the day I reviewed the Reserva Miraflor, Casa Pineda, Goviado and Don Fernando, a cigar he made for me as a thank you. The Don Fernando got another review last year and made my top 25. And now the cigars are coming back exclusively for the website untoldleaf.com ! Good news because that means that I can smoke the few remaining old ones that I have.

 


Now as far as I know these cigars are from 2010 or 2011 and made completely from Nicaraguan tobacco. It was rumored that some tobacco was even the same tobacco as used by Padron and that Padron took the Guillen brothers under their wings but I don’t know the details of that, or even if its just a rumor or the truth. All I know is that I liked the cigars back then and I can’t wait to try the new ones.

 


The cigar has a very pointy tip and that probably caused the roller to have a little trouble since the cap is not the best I have ever seen. The ring is black and gold, quite simple, just like the Don Mayo from the same factory and the Reserva Miraflor, although all the logo’s are different on each line. The construction feels good and the coffee brown wrapper looks good, with one thick vein running from the foot till about a third of the cigar. Even after all these years the cigar still packs a strong aroma, a stable like smell without any ammonia.

 


The cold draw is great. After lighting I taste a herbal coffee, smooth but with a little kick. Soon a nice sweetness shows up, like powdered sugar.  After an inch I taste a mild leather with a little spice and the powdered sugar. Halfway I get more pepper from the cigar. The final third starts a bit nutty, with a little pepper and sugar. There’s also a bit of a herbal flavor.

 


The draw is great, fantastic construction. The smoke is good, not super thick or full but more then enough. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke time of this smooth medium bodied medium full flavored cigar is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes. And it’s possible again. I will review the fresh ones soon.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Goviado, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Liga Privada #9 Belicoso

I remember getting my first Liga Privada, that was back in 2009 on a road trip along the east coast. We had a herf at every stop and one of the guys in Fayetteville, NC, handed me a Liga Privada and said it was one of his favorite cigars. I saw ‘Drew Estate’ on the ring and said NO! NO! but he persuaded me, said it wasn’t infused and a great stick. I smoked it and loved it, a lot. Although it seems that the flavor and quality changed a little over the years due to different years of crops.


There are only a few pairs of rollers that are allowed to roll these cigars and only in a limited quantity per day. If you have been to the Drew Estate factory you probably have seen them sitting in a room apart from the main factory floor. That room is only used to roll the Liga Privada #9 and T52. The #9 is made out of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, a Brazilian binder and Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The Belicoso is 6×52 sized.


The wrapper looks amazing, dark, oily, leathery, its just a pleasant cigar to look at. The ring is simple yet tasteful, on one side there is the lion shaped Liga logo in silver on a black background while the rest of the ring is off white with gray lettering saying Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and then in a curly, almost hand written, font in black letters Liga Privada #9. The cigar feels well constructed and the shape is beautiful with a little flat head on the belicoso shape. The aroma is unique, its like a fence that has been tarred a week ago, you still smell a bit of the tar but it’s not overpowering anymore.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great, spicy and peppery. The first flavors after lighting are coffee and cocoa. After half an inch the cigar is spicy and meaty. The flsvors are dark with a little red pepper. After a third I taste meaty wood with some sweetness, spices and pepper. The cigar taste different than how I remember Liga Privada. A title chocolate shows up too. Halfway the cigar tastes like cedar, herbs and peppery, just like I remember. The final third is cedar, herbs, pepper and carrot. The pepper fases away.


The draw is great and the smoke, I don’t know what Drew Estate is doing to their cigars but they are all smoke bombs, thick, full and white. The dense and firm ash is white as can be. The burn is pretty straight. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I have some stashed away

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Liga Privada, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

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