Posts Tagged With: budget

Reposado 96 Estate Habano Robusto

I love the Diesel Unholy Cocktail and used to order them a few times a year from the USA. Now technically, importing tobacco without a license is illegal here in The Netherlands but most of the times the packages were delivered to my doorstep with no issue. But then I started to work for a cigar distributer and felt like I shouldn’t do that anymore, yet I still wanted to smoke Diesels. So after pushing my employer long and hard and reaching out to Meier & Dutch, who owns the brand, we were able to start distributing the Diesel and some other M&D exclusive brands.


A year later I walked into Alex Svenson from M&D at Intertabac and we talked about the Dutch market. He said his goal was to create a bundle cigar with a €1 price tag, so I grabbed my calculator and came up with what the cigar should cost us. Alex replied that he had something that came close and would send me some samples. A few weeks later I got some Reposado Estate Blend cigar in the mail, both a natural and a maduro blend and the robusto size would have a retail price of €1,25. I remember being quite impressed for that price but admit, I haven’t smoked it in years so time for a review.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane it feels meaty and a bit greasy, but in a good way. The wrapper is line, medium dark with some veins. It’s not a bad looking cigar, especially considering the price. The construction feels good, but the head is uneven and the cap isn’t nice and smooth. The ring is pretty nice, simple but well printed. A classic round shape, white and blue with a black circle which says the name. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of hay and dried manure.


I used a cutter to take the cap off, at the cold draw I get a lot of loose tobacco in my mouth. The cold draw is a little loose. I taste herbs. After lighting I taste coffee. The flavor is mild. After a third I taste a little chocolate. The final third I taste wood and herbs but not in a pleasant way, sharp and unrefined.


The dark ash is coarse. The smoke is medium thick and full. The burn is good. The cigar is medium bodied and mild flavored. The draw is loose. The cigar lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Never again. It’s not disgusting but overall it’s below par, just as the price though.

Score: 79

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Categories: 79, Nicaraguan cigars, Reposado, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural Robusto

Two days ago, in the review of the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano, I mentioned prejudice and named a few of my cigar related prejudices. And this cigar ticks not one but two boxes, being a budget cigar and having a Connecticut Shade wrapper. And that combination makes me wonder why I punish myself with this whole month of budget cigars and even adding Connecticut Shade to the mix.


The cigar has a Connecticut wrapper but the Alec Bradley website doesn’t specify where it is grown. The binder is Nicaraguan and the filler comes from both Nicaragua and Honduras. This is the final blend from the Spirit of Cuba series. I also notice that only a 5×50 robusto is mentioned on the website where before there were other vitolas too.


The wrapper is quite dark for a Connecticut but it has an ugly and long vein all over the front of the cigar. The ring is the same as the others with a red base color this time, its not as cool as the black from the Corojo but better than the yellow from the Habano. The construction seems good, no plugs of soft spots. The aroma reminds me of cedar, white pepper and dog poop.


I used a cutter to take the cap off. The cold draw is good, with a mild sour and sweet flavor. After lighting I taste sweetness with a hint of pepper. After a third the sweetness is gone, I taste a little wood with allspice, muted though. Halfway it’s acidity with that musty Connecticut Shade flavor. Slowly the cigar gets a little harsh too. The final few puffs are wood with powdered sugar bad a bit pepper.


The draw is perfect and the smoke is thick. The ash is white and firm. The burn is great. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope

Score: 78
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Categories: 78, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano Robusto

We all have our prejudice, also when it comes to cigars, and I’m not different than any other cigar smoker, I have them too. Some are prejudice towards cigars not coming from Cuba, others are prejudice towards vitolas, towards certain wrappers or brands in general. I admit, I have a prejudice against big ring gauges, certain brands and I used to have a prejudice against Connecticut Shade wrappers although in the last year and a half I smoked a few that I liked a lot which changed my attitude against Connecticut Shade. Another prejudice? Budget cigars, I think most of them are not worth the little money they cost.


So when I was working for the Alec Bradley distributor and we got the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba series in I flat out refused to try them, I sold them and sold them good but hadn’t smoked them, now for budget month I will and I start with the Habano. Made in Honduras as a Cuban sandwich with a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras and when I was selling these the retail price was €2,50 for a robusto


The cigar actually looks good, a smooth and dark wrapper, no visible veins and a nice head. The construction feels good too, yet the well printed ring looks a little cheap though. Its soft yellow with a sun in the centre and gold printed letters Spirit of Cuba plus a small green banner with the Alec Bradley name. The aroma is medium strong and smells like poop.


I cut the cigar which led to a great cold draw with a mild lemon and spicy flavor. The first puff after lighting is a powdered coffee flavor. There is also a lemon flavor. The first third the flavor doesn’t change but then a little spice shows up. Halfway I taste nutmeg, spice and a little lemon. The spice picks a bit up a bit but that’s it.


The draw is great. The ash is dark but with nice rings. The smoke is white and thick. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? nah, price quality is great but  I rather pay double and get something better.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flor de Oliva Lancero

I was looking for a budget lancero since I’m publishing a long list of budget reviews and I found a Flor de Oliva lancero in my lancero humidor, a perfect candidate for a budget lancero review, since you can get these 6 1/2×44 cigars for less than 2 dollars per cigar on the internet. And that’s cheap! Now some sites call these cigars lonsdale, some call them lancero, some call them panatela but for the sake of publishing a lancero every 15th of the month I will consider it a lancero.


The cigar is made in Nicaragua, in the Oliva factory in Esteli where prize winning cigars like the Series V and the Melanio lines are being produced too yet the Flor de Oliva series are in a completely different price range. There is a Maduro serie with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper but I’m smoking the natural, a cigar with Nicaraguan filler and a Sumatra wrapper.


The wrinkly wrapper has a latte color and a mild shine from the oils. The ring is very simple, thick white outlines, a blue top part and a red bottom part, white letters Flor de Oliva in the Flor de Cano font and golden tobacco leaves at the bottom. The construction feels good, the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is decent, it reminds me of a spice rack, different spices mixed together.


I used a guillotine cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is good. All I taste is tobacco with a little sweetness. After lighting I taste wood with a little allspice. The cigar has a mild sweetness but also a a mix of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin. In the final third I taste some wood too, but the flavors get a little mean.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is thick and white. The ash is light gray, but it’s not very firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s the best flor de Oliva natural, but I would not buy it again.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

La Finca Figurado

La Finca, all I know is that this cigar is made in Nicaragua because it says so on the ring, but who makes it, who owns it, if it’s still made and how I got it, all big questions for me so I googled and found a review at Stogiereview with some information about the brand which seems to be established in 1972, which is a wonderful year, and made at the same factory as Jose Marti and a few other brands I don’t know, NATSA, which as far as I know is part of STG nowadays, but I’m not 100% sure. I also found that the cigars are still sold at JR Cigars for dirt cheap.


I only read the intro of the review for the general information as I didn’t want my opinion being influenced by reading another review. I did read the comments though and they went from “worst cigar I ever smoked” to “I buy them by the ammo case, I love them and they are my favorite bargain cigar” so I still don’t know what to expect. I’m curious what this cheap bundle cigar tastes like, especially since it has some age to it. I am only confused about the wrapper as Stogie Review says it’s a Nicaraguan wrapper while JR claims it’s an Ecuadorean habano. Even though this 6 3/4×54 sized cigar would usually be called a torpedo, La Finca calls it a figurado, which of course isn’t wrong as every non parejo cigar is a figured.


The cellophane started to discolor, a sign of aging and once I release the cigar from the cellophane I feel a velvety wrapper that is brown but with a pale glow to it, and a rough appearance with a lot of small veins. The construction feels good and the cigar has a sharp head. The ring is simple, red with simple golden details and a black banner with golden letters La Finca. The print quality of the gold isn’t too high though, it breaths budget. The aroma isn’t very nice either, acidic and musty, medium strong. Just based on smell and looks I don’t have high hopes for this cigar.


Due to the shape I had to use my cutter. The cold draw is great but it leaves a bitter peppery flavor on my lips. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and the cigar makes a cracking noise. I taste a mild bitter and harsh coffee. After half an inch the cigar is a little harsh wood with some pepper. Halfway some citrus joins. The pepper grows too. After two thirds I taste some nuts too.


The smoke is thin, it has a nice white color though. The draw is good, a little tighter than I like but still good. The burn is off, I needed to correct a few times. The ash is white and firm. There is not a lot of evolution. This is a medium bodied yet full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t.

Score: 77
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Categories: 77, La Finca, Nicaraguan American Tobacco SA, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Ribbon Robusto

A few years ago I was at Corona Cigar in Orlando smoking cigars with friends and one of them said “you like Drew Estate right? Try this one” and hands me a cigar I had never heard of, Blue Ribbon, and says “these are bundle cigars by Drew Estate, they are nice” but somehow this cigar ended up in my stash instead of being smoked, that will change today as I’m about to review the cigars.


I googled them to see the blend, which is all Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and I’m shocked by the price. A bundle of 20 of these 5×50 robusto cigars will set you back little over 30 dollars, that’s $1.50 each so if these cigars score high they are a great humidor filler.


The wrapper is dark, it almost looks like a maduro wrapper, oily and smooth. This looks much better than the average cheap bundle cigar. The construction feels good with a nicely placed cap. The ring is simple yet nice, blue with silver, rigged edges, clear silver letters and a nice print quality. Just based on the looks these cigars could be boxed up and sold for more than a $1.50 a piece bundle. The aroma is strong, mint, tar and manure.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter to decap the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. The flavors I taste are quite sour. After lichting I taste lemon, coffee and icing sugar. The sugar is becoming the dominant flavor with pepper on the background. After a third it’s sweetness, wood and a little pepper. Slowly the cigar gets spicier and stronger. The final third starts with more wood, the icing sugar is less strong. The end is very peppery.


The draw is perfect. The light colored ash is white and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume, very unlike the smoke bombs Drew Estate usually drops. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored too. The evolution is subtle and the balance is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them! Fantastic budget cigar.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Blue Ribbon, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | 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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Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto

Oliva is, for me personally, an underrated factory. When you ask me about my favorite factories I won’t spit out Oliva because they are never on top of my mind even though I visited the factory twice, met Jose Oliva and Gilberto Oliva several times and worked for the European distributor for years. Yet, every time I smoke an Oliva cigar, it doesn’t matter if its an O, O Maduro, G, V or Melanio cigar I am impressed and I know I am smoking a great cigar.


And within the range of Oliva cigars there is one cigar that is underrated more than any other cigar and it’s the Flor de Oliva Maduro. I had so many people tell me “I won’t smoke this because it’s a budget cigar and it can’t be good” but when I gave them one they were all impressed by the flavor and quality of this budget cigar. And to be honest, I don’t smoke them often but when I do this cigar, in combination with the low price, surprises me time after time.


The wrapper is dark and oily with some clear veins. It looks much better than some maduro wrappers on premium cigars of other companies. The ring is brown on glossy paper with a shaded Oliva logo and the Flor de Oliva name, in the Flor de Cana font in gold. The details on the edges of the ring are in gold too. Now although the overall look of the ring is much better than the old ones, it does seem to stand out a little less than the old one. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. From what I understand these cigars are rolled by the most inexperienced rollers in the factory but the one that did this one can be promoted. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of a stable with a mixed aroma of straw, urine, animals and manure.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a bit tight. I taste nothing. After lighting I taste a mild coffee with chocolate. After half an inch I taste a nice chocolate and wood flavor with some sweetness. That flavor remains until the final third, when the flavors turn to herbal, the sweetness disappears and a very mild white pepper shows up.


The draw is good. The smoke is white, quite full and I get a decent amount of smoke. The white ash is firm and dense. The burn is flawless. This medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is nice yet not very dynamic. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great budget humidor filler.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , ,

Flor de Oliva Naturel Torpedo

When I was a novice cigar smoker, little over 10 years ago, someone handed me a Flor de Oliva. I think it was a robusto, but I’m not sure. I was shocked to see that a cigar could be so cheap as my experience back then was mostly with Cuban cigars. But boy, I was in for a surprise because back then Flor de Oliva was a sweetened cigar, instead of pectin Oliva used sugar water to glue the Flor de Oliva cigars, maybe to mask the harsher tobacco used for this budget cigar?


Oliva stopped using that method years ago, they updated the whole line with new rings but I am smoking an old one. Unsweetened but still with the old ring so it must have some age to it by now. Not only the ring is a sign that it’s an older cigar but also the tax stamp that has been changed from a single cigar stamp to a box stamp a few years back.


The wrapper isn’t a looker, it has some veins, it looks a bit rough, it feels like dry leather but then again, it is a budget cigar so you can’t expect Oliva to use their best wrapper leaf for this line. The ring is simple, blue and red with thick white borders, golden tobacco leaves in the red part and white letters Flor de Oliva in the blue part. The font is exactly the same als de Flor de Cana font, Nicaragua most famous rum. The construction feels good but the head of the cigar has a weird tip. The cigar has quite a strong aroma of hay and straw.


When I wet the cap before cutting I taste sweetness and that makes me think this is a vintage one. About 7 years ago Oliva changed from sweetened to unsweetened tips and this might be an oldie. After cutting I don’t taste the sugar anymore. The draw is easy and I taste raw tobacco.  After lighting I taste a muted, slightly musty, cedar with cinnamon. The mustiness disappears immediately, I taste nutmeg and cinnamon, slightly harsh. After a third the cigar turns harsh. After I cut a little piece off the cigar is still harsh but now with the nutmeg and cinnamon.


The draw is loose, the smoke is thick, white and full. The burn needed a few touch ups. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I love Oliva but this one not so much.

Score: 83
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Categories: 83, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , ,

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