Posts Tagged With: Churchill

Viking Valhalla Churchill

Viking Valhalla Churchill. This is a cigar with a little bit of history. For more than 20 years, sigar.com is a distributor for cigars in Norway. The company had private labels such as Amero and Chess before discontinuing them. A new private label was released. One that celebrated the Nordic history. Viking Cigars. The fourth blend, released in 2018 is the Viking Valhalla. And that’s when things get confusing. Viking Cigars is not American Viking Cigars, so that’s already a very similar name. But when it comes to Valhalla, things are more complicated. Scandinavian Tobacco Group owns the Valhalla trademark. Viking sells a cigar named Valhalla. Freyja sells cigars under the Valhalla name. And Royal Danish sells cigars with Valhalla on the ring. 

All Viking cigars for sigar.com are produced in the Dominican Republic. At La Alianza, the factory of industry veteran Ernesto Perez Carrillo. For the Valhalla, Perez Carrillo and Hakon Aanonsen from sigar.com used an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The duo never disclosed the filler and binder. There are four vitolas available. You can read several other Viking reviews on the site. For this review, the 6½x54 Churchill is selected.

The cigar looks great. A thick, dark, greasy, oily wrapper. The pigtail fits the look. The dark ring, black with gold and typical Nordic design. The cool thing about this ring is that it isn’t paper. It’s a metal alloy. Not sturdy, so you can bend it around the cigar. The only thing is that this ring isn’t as detailed as the rings on the other three Viking lines. But still, unique and pretty. The cigar feels well constructed. There is a strong barnyard aroma with hay and straw.

The cold draw is good. A mild wood flavor with some floral notes. Lit there is a mixture of herbs, coffee, sweetness, leather, and earthiness. Quickly after some salty wood shows up, which disrupts the balance in the cigar. The salty wood isn’t the most pleasant experience. It’s a little rough. The mouthfeel is thick and sticky. A walnut flavor slowly starts to come through. The salty flavor disappears, and the balance returns. The flavors are more rounded now. Black pepper shows up too. The pepper and walnuts are more pronounced. The walnut is persistent, the pepper changes from black to red chili. The mouthfeel remains thick, meaty, and creamy, like a mousse. There is some leather in there as well. In the final third, the cigar gets slightly rough again. There is a red pepper tongue bite.

The draw is great. The white ash is firm. Thick white smoke in large quantities. When it comes to those aspects, this cigar delivers. The burn is straight as a ladies man. This cigar is medium-bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I will stick to the Viking Viking or Viking Nordic Warrior.

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Luis Martinez Silver Selection Churchill

Luis Martinez Silver Selection Churchill. A brand with a history going back to 1876 when Don Luis Martinez opened his cigar factory in Cuba. And now, almost 150 years later, the brand still remains. Not as a Cuban brand though, but as part of the portfolio of J.C. Newman. And as a budget brand, both machine-made and hand-made. The machine-made cigars are produced in Tampa. The handmade cigars hail from J.C. Newman’s PENSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.


The Luis Martinez Silver Edition is the premium line of this budget-friendly brand. It is made in several different sizes, and some of the sizes come in beautiful glass tubes. Like this 7×48 Churchill. The blend consists of three year aged Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. The binder comes from Nicaragua. The wrapper is a Sun Grown leaf from Ecuador.


The beautiful and colorful ring is on the outside of the glass tube. The cigar isn’t completely straight, that’s the first thing noticeable when taking the cigar out of the tube. The color of the wrapper is beautiful, but it feels and looks a bit dry. It’s not oily, but there aren’t any ugly veins. So looks-wise, this cigar isn’t good, but it’s not bad either. The aroma is bad though, think fish market mixed with urine. And all quite strong. My wife smelled the cigars and said “these stink like unwashed private parts”.


The cold draw is great and very peppery. A mix of white pepper and chili pepper. Once lit, it’s dark roast coffee, pepper, earthiness, and sourness. The first puffs aren’t promising much for the rest of the cigar. The sourness takes control, and it’s not a pleasant sourness. Some sweetness shows up too, but not enough to neutralize the sour flavor of the cigar. The sourness slowly tones down a little, giving the sweetness and the pepper some more space. Slowly a little wood flavor shows up as well. But the sour flavor, like milk that has gone bad, ruins everything. At the end of the first third, some vanilla shines through. Which is an improvement? The second third is less sour. It starts with a sweet, old book taste and wood. Sweet chocolate comes in play halfway in the cigar. It’s not as bad anymore. There are hints of citrus and vanilla as well. Near the end, pepper grows.


The draw is great. Construction-wise there is nothing wrong with this cigar. The light-colored ash is pretty, yet not too firm. The smoke is plenty in volume, but not very thick. This is a cigar that directly competes with J.C. Newman’s best selling bundle cigar Quorum. It delivers the same, yet is more expensive than Quorum. As much as I love J.C. Newman, this cigar won’t get much love from us. It’s medium-bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is a little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no!

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Categories: 86, Luis Martinez, Nicaraguan cigars, PENSA | Tags: , , , , ,

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE

Romeo y Julieta Churchill FAKE. Last year, Ministry of Cigars asked for some fake Cuban cigars for one of the Soil to Soul videos. And it turned out that one of our readers and friends, Onno, had a few. Well, so he thought. He was very suspicious about a certain box he had in his possession. After having some pictures analyzed by very knowledgeable people, including Mike Choi, they were confirmed fakes. We met up with Onno at the Dutch Big Smoke last September. Onno prepared 5 cigars, 5 fake Romeo y Julieta Churchills. And we did a video with that cigar, which you can see on Ministry of Cigars.


After doing the video, I had second thoughts about reviewing the cigar for ministryofcigars.com as it was a horrible cigar. Yet, we decided to suffer and to do a proper review. That was the promise we made to Onno, and we like to keep our word. So here we go, smoking a fake Romeo y Julieta Churchill. Of course, the first of the five cigars was cut open to see what was in the cigar. And it looked like a very well made cigar, with real tobacco. Here are stories out there of fake Cubans with hair, banana leaves, floor sweepings and other garbage inside. But this cigar is made with real tobacco.


The cigar doesn’t look that bad at first glance. The wrapper isn’t pretty, but the shape is good. The color of the wrapper is nice. The triple cap is like it should be. The gold and black ring looks legit. Although, to the touch, the embossing is missing. The wrapper itself has many veins, which make it look rustic. The cigar feels well made, without any plugs or soft spots. The aroma is mild and musty.


The cold draw is a bit tight and tastes very salty. Once lit, there is a nice mild sweetness. But also a not so nice bitterness. Slowly some cedar shows up too, but wet, moldy cedar. Flavors such as cardboard show up too, with a hint of pepper to spice it up. All flavors seem to disappear yet there is a flavor in my mouth that is best compared to the aftertaste after you puked. Later on, there is some wet grass, a little spice, and again some cedar but all moldy with slight pepper. In the final third, there is some vanilla as a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. It makes the cigar bearable for a bit. Add some pepper, and the cigar is moving in the right direction. It’s still not enjoyable though. Somewhat later, a mild hazelnut paste flavor shows up. Not Nutella, but a cheap Nutella knock-off. The finale is very peppery.


The ash drops quickly. The draw is decent. The burn is reasonable. The cigar is mild to medium in body, mild in flavors. And that the flavors are mild is a good thing in this case. The smoke time is three hours.

 Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no

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Categories: 57, Cuban cigars | Tags: , , ,

A.J. Fernandez New World Cameroon Churchill

I love Cameroon wrapper, that is my favorite wrapper in the world. And I love all cigars made by A.J. Fernandez. So when I heard that Fernandez was releasing a new cigar with a Cameroon wrapper, I was over the moon. Unfortunately, it took some time for them to reach Europe. And by that time, I had left Europe.

I was happy to see the cigars pop up at the webshop of a Malaysian cigar shop. I decided to drop a few dollars on this cigar. The price was a little higher than what I would pay in Europe or America, but I figured it would be worth it. And I know that the Malaysian tobacco tax is high, so I wasn’t being ripped off by the shop. They charged a fair price and carried some more rare cigars. Time to light this Nicaraguan filler, Nicaraguan binder and Cameroon wrapped 7×48 Churchill.


Let’s start with the ring. It is the regular New World ring with the classic artwork of boats arriving into the new world. The outside of the rings is green, instead of red that’s used on the regular New World line. And green fits, when I think of Africa, I think of green. The secondary ring is gold with green, and red letters. It fits the theme. The wrapper has a nice even color, it doesn’t look as rough and brittle as most Cameroon wrappers, it’s quite pretty actually. The construction feels flawless. The cigar has a dry aroma, dried wood, a little charcoal, those kinds of smells.

The cold draw is perfect. The flavor of the cold draw is plain and pure raw, well fermented, tobacco. After lighting, I taste some licorice, tobacco, and leather. Then the signature Cameroon spice joins green herbs and spices. That comes with coffee and pepper. There’s still some wood too, softwood like pine. And then I also taste some hay, with a mildly creamy mouthfeel. After a third, it is all spices and green herbs, with some citrus and sweetness. The mouthfeel turned to dry. The strength in body and flavor is medium so far. The sweetness reminds me of milk chocolate. In the final third, I pick up some pepper again with oak, spices, herbs and roasted coffee. Suddenly the pepper picks up and becomes the dominant flavor. I was waiting for that to happen. Near the end, I taste licorice through the pepper again, making the flavors go full circle

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The draw is perfect. The light-colored ash is coarse though. The burn is flawless and the smoke is thick. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. It has that typical Cameroon spice and herb profile which I love. The smoke time is two hours and twenty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while

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Categories: 91, New World, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | 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
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Categories: 94, La Jugada, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Ave Maria Barbarossa

Now when you read the sales pitch of this cigar you’re expectations will be raised since a few other cigar manufacturers, not affiliated with either this brand, Meier & Dutch, or A.J. Fernandez praised this cigar. So my curiosity led me to buying a few of those cigars including this 7×48 Churchill that is named Barbarossa.


The cigar, made in Esteli at the A.J. Fernandez factory, is created with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler and an Habano wrapper from Ecuador. The cigar comes in ten different vitolas, ranging from a corona up to a 7.1×60 salomones and everything in between, parejo’s, figurados, a range so wide that most people will find a vitola to their liking.


The medium brown, smooth wrapper has a reddish glow, something I like. There is also a little tooth. The ring is amazing, a nice shape, a knight in a white shirt with a red cross, like the knights from the crusades, detailed, high quality prints, its great. The cigar feels evenly packed, the triple cap is well placed. The aroma is medium strong, hay, straw with a little ammonia is what I smell


After cutting I taste a very spicy and peppery cold draw, which is a little loose. After lighting I taste nutmeg, cinnamon and cedar. After a third I taste wood with white pepper and herbal flavors. The wood becomes stronger, the pepper gets milder. In the final third I taste a flavor that I can’t place, it’s a warm, creamy flavor that is a little woody but not full on wood.


The smoke is amazing, thick, full, voluminous. The draw is a little loose, but not too much to complain. The ash is light colored. The burn is not great but not bad either. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad cigar, I won’t turn one down but buying? There are more and better options out there for me.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Ave Maria, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

La Flor de Rosa Churchill

Now when we are talking budget, this cigar falls right into the category. Dirt cheap, mixed filler, unknown in what factory it’s made, all I know it that its a Nicaraguan made cigar with a Sumatra EMS wrapper from Ecuador and a Nicaraguan binder. When I was a sales rep, I did sell these but even I didn’t know which factory produces these budget cigars.


In Europe the cigars are sold as La Flor de Rosa yet in America they are called Rosa Cuba. Why a different name in Europe? Well, the Cuba name is trademarked, just like Habano (that’s why the type of tobacco is called ‘Sun Grown’ in Europe). Trademarks are also the reason why San Cristobal is sold under the name Paradiso and La Aroma de Cuba is La Aroma del Caribe.


The wrapper is brittle, medium brown. The cap is placed sloppy but the construction feels good. The ring is simple, brushed gold with black in a busy patters and white lettering. The cigar has a mild aroma that reminds me of burned wood, like three days after a building burned down.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. I taste mild leather. After lighting I taste some warm leather with a little gravy like spice. Then the flavors fade and change to an earthy, leathery and slightly rough. The flavors are very mild. After a third I taste wood with some pepper, slightly harsh. The final third is a bit musty, a bit peppery, a little sweet and with a little lemon.


The draw is great. The ash is almost white. The smoke is white and medium in thickness and volume. The burn is good and I would call this cigar mild to medium bodied and and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 82
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Categories: 82, La Flor de Rosa, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Sultan Churchill

In 1990 a certain Mr. Yan decided he would create a cigar for diplomatic use of the Sultan’s Palace in Jogjakarta, a place that I visited on the same trip that started my cigar passion back in 2005. I didn’t see this cigar though. The cigar is an Indonesian puro and the tobacco comes from within the walls of the Java kingdom, is aged for five years and being rolled at the oldest factory of Java that was established a century ago. And I decided to publish this review on the day that the Dutch government declared defeat in the Indonesian independence war back in 1949 after a bloody 4 year war, a part of the Dutch history that we cannot and should not be proud of since the Dutch behaved like animals.


Tobacco cultivation and cigar manufacturing is staple in Indonesia, but most of the tobacco is ment for short fillers, dry cured cigars that are still very popular in western European countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. Only a little of the tobacco is used for longfillers but one of the strains of tobacco made its way to Latin America and is being grown locally and used in premium longfillers after all, that tobacco is named after the Indonesian island it came from: Sumatra.


The cigar is 7×50 but for some reason it looks a bit thicker. The wrapper is smooth and soft and has a bit of a green glow to it, but its smooth, the one visible vein has been rolled flat. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice look to it. The ring is nice, its not a glossy ring but matte and starts with a black ring on the bottom with green letters saying ‘hand made long filler aged tobacco’, then a golden ring with black letters saying ‘original’ and then a white square on a green background with green wings and a black crest with golden letter Sultan. On the green there are some figures in a language I don’t recognize in a golden print. On the side the ring says “Cigar van Java” which means ‘cigar from Java’ in golden letters. The mild aroma reminds me of a walk through the forrest.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is great and i taste a spicy herbal flavor. I lit the cigar with a jet flame. I taste herbs and cinnamon. After an inch I taste dry soil, herbs, pepper and lemon. After a third the cigar gets a little harsh with a strong pepper flavor but a different flavored pepper than for example a Nicaraguan cigar. Halfway I taste a nasty tar flavor so I cut a piece of. The tar is gone but the cigar remains harsh and unpleasant.


The draw is flawless and the light colored ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is too thin and too low in volume for my liking. The burn is alright. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the $13 msrp. This cigar doesn’t fit my profile but it’s nice to try it and taste the difference in tobaccos between Asia and Latin America.

Score: 78
number78

Categories: 78, Indonesian cigars, Sultan, Taru Martani | Tags: , , , ,

Micallef Reserva Churchill

This is the last of the four cigars from the Micallef family at the intertabac trade show, and the largest one, a 7×52 Churchill made with tobacco that have been aged for a minimum of eight years. The wrapper is San Andres Habano from Mexico, the binder is from Nicaragua while the filler comes from Nicaragua, Honduras and Peru. After rolling the cigars have been aged for an additional year.


If you read my previous reviews, you have read something about the history of the Gomez Sanchez family but not that even the third generation was born on Cuba, way aft the revolution, and that they started working in the cigar industry on Cuba on their own, so it’s not like they rolled into the world of tobacco because their grandfather owned a factory. Only in 1994 and 1998 Joel and Edel managed to leave the island of Cuba and join their family in the factory.


As this is a Micallef cigar, the ring is that eastern European ring again, lots of gold and silver with bold red letters and a golden foot ring with red letters. Well printed, good quality, but not my taste. The dark wrapper is shiny and oily, smooth too. The cigar feels well constructen with a nice flattened head. Even though the cigar is made of age tobaccos and has been resting for a year after rolling, the aroma is still a little acidic, ammonia, but not too strong though.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is great and tastes herbal. After lighting I taste a gingerbread cookie flavor, sweet and with some spices like gingerbread is supposed to be. After half an inch I taste pepper with wood. After an inch I taste that gingerbread again with a little more pepper. Slowly some powdered sugar sweetness shows up too. The flavors remain the same until the final third when the pepper becomes real strong.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The color is white. The ash on the other hand is dark. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium in flavor and strength. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? For the right price.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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