Posts Tagged With: Corona

Cigar of the month February

I decided to make February Fernandez month, all cigars I reviewed for this month are made at the A.J. Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, a factory I have visited in 2015 and a factory that produces some of my favourite cigars.

The cigar with the highest rating last month are two cigars with the exact same score:

San Lotano Pigskin & Man’o’war Skull Crusher with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) San Lotano Pigskin (Nicaragua) 94 points
1) Man’o’war Skull Crusher (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Ave Maria Divinia (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Ave Maria Reconquista  (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) San Lotano Maduro Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) San Lotano Habano Lancero (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Man’o’war little devil (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) San Lotano The Bull Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
10) Man’o’War 52C (Nicaragua) 92 points
11) Man’o’War Ruination Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) Reposado Habano Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
13) La Herencia Cubana Perfecto (Nicaragua) 91 points
14) Reposado Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Man’o’war Phalanx (Nicaragua) 90 points
16) La Herencia Cubana Fuerte Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
17) Ave Maria Churchill (Nicaragua) 90 points
18) Man’o’war Torpedo (Nicaragua) 90 points
19) Man’o’war Virtue Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
20) Puro Autentico Maduro (Nicaragua) 89 points
21) Puro Autentico Ligero (Nicaragua) 89 points

 

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

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Maduro

Yesterday I wrote about the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Habano Ligero and the same story goes for the maduro. Originally a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez who released the cigars commercially after years of begging from Meier & Dutch.


The blend consists of the same tobacco as the natural, yet with another wrapper. Instead of using a Nicaraguan Habano ligero A.J. Fernandez chose a Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro to wrap around the Nicaraguan Habano binder and the Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler for this 5×44 corona.


The wrapper is dark, almost black, dry and a little rough. The ring is simple, just a glossy black with the silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. I love closed foots and a pigtail, so this cigar fits right up my alley. The aroma is medium strong, like dark chocolate in a farm field.


After cutting the cigar I try the cold draw. Surprisingly it’s good, even with the closed foot. I taste a little sweetness and a lot of spice. After lighting I taste a sweet earthy leather flavor. Soon I taste spice and pepper. After an inch I taste sweetness and pepper. Slowly the sweetness disappears while the pepper gets stronger and an earthy flavor shows up too.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick, beautiful white of color. The ash is white too. The burn is great. The cigar is strong, full bodied yet medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Meh

Score: 89

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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Puro Authentico Ligero

The Puro Authentico from the Man O’ War series were actually created as a personal blend for A.J. Fernandez and it took Meier & Dutch three years to convince A.J. to release these small cigars, a 5×44 corona, commercially. Both the natural, which I’m reviewing today, and the maduro, which will be reviewed tomorrow, are for sale nowadays in ten count boxes.


The natural version of the Man O’ War Puro Authentico Corona is made from Nicaraguan Habano ligero filler with a Nicaraguan Habano binder. The blend is the same as the maduro version, the difference is in the wrapper, which in this case is a Nicaraguan Habano ligero.


The oily wrapper is dark, if someone gave me this cigar and said it was the maduro version, I would have believed it. Only when I put it next to the maduro I see a slight difference. The ring is different from the other Man O’ War cigars, just a small glossy black ring with a golden silhouette of the Man O’ War mask. The cigar comes with a closed foot and a small pigtail, so that’s a plus. I smell a mild, peppery chocolate aroma.


The cold draw is non existing because of the closed foot. I taste chocolate and marzipan. After lighting I taste espresso, strong, bold espresso. After a few puffs I taste sugar. After an inch I taste an earthy flavor, coffee and wood. After a third some cinnamon joins the flavors. Halfway it’s earthy, with a little sugar and quite some pepper. Near the end it’s just earthy and peppery.


The draw is good, the medium thick smoke is white. The ash is dark, it’s not firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium flavored, full bodied. Even though it’s a thin cigar and not too long, the smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They come in the sampler, I want a few samplers so yeah.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Manowar, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Manowar Anthology Sampler: Side Project Little Devil

Released in march of 2012, almost four years after the birth of the Man O’ War base line and together with the Phalanx and 52C was this Little Devil. The cigar, I would consider it a corona, measures 5 1/2×44 and with that it’s the thinnest of the side projects. As a fan of thinner cigars, I’m looking forward to reviewing this, it’s one of the few Man O’ War cigars I haven’t smoked yet.


The cigar is made from extra fermented sun grown Habano tobacco from Ecuador as a wrapper, an Habano binder from Nicaragua and as filler A.J. Fernandez came up with an Habano ligero from Nicaragua and ligero from Honduras.


The wrapper is clearly sun grown, you can see that from the leathery look, the veins and the tooth. The ring is great, the regular ring with the classic side projects ring. I love the closed foot and the tiny pigtail. The cigar just feels good. I smell a mild barnyard aroma.


After cutting the cigar I find a great cold draw. I taste a mild sour and peppery aroma. After lighting I taste powdered sugar, coffee and some lime. After an inch I taste lime and pepper with an earthy base flavor. Halfway I get that powdered sugar flavor again and the pepper changed from black pepper to a strong spicy red chili. The final third has done cedar, a mild sweetness, earthiness and pepper.


The draw is great and the white smoke is thick and luscious like a beautiful curvy woman. The salt and pepper colored ash is flaky though. The burn is pretty good. The cigars is full bodied, full flavored. The smoke time is an hour in twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 92
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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, 92, Manowar, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , ,

Jose L Piedra Cazadores

This brand is considered one of Cuba’s budget brands and it’s one of the major brands in the Habanos portfolio, with a worldwide distribution except for the United States of course. The brand was started in the 1880’s, it was discontinued 100 years later but within a few years it came back to the market. No limited editions of the Jose L Piedra were ever made.


Everything about this brand screams budget, the packaging in cardboard, the rings, simple in color and design without any embossing, this is just a lower end Cuban cigar and I used to smoke them when smoking was still allowed in bars. It’s a waste to smoke good cigars when you’re drinking with buddies, the Jose L Piedra brand was perfect for those moment.


The wrapper looks rough, the color is nice but a lot of veins and some shading. The ring, which is an old ring that was used between 2002 and 2007, is simple, a brown grayish color ring with white logo and lettering. The construction feels reasonable and the cigar has a below average finish. The aroma is mild, a little bit of a barnyard smell.


The cold draw after cutting the cigars is good, mildly sweet and a little sharp. After lighting I taste a sweet leather flavor. I also taste nutmeg. The flavors are mild. After a third I taste a mild salty peanut flavor with herbs. The flavors slowly change to a salty licorice flavor.


The draw is good. The smoke is thin and low in volume. The light gray ash looks nice and is firm. The burn is decent. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 83
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Categories: 83, Cuban cigars, José L Piedra (Habanos) | Tags: , , , ,

5 Vegas Classico, Gold, Gold Maduro & A

I have four different 5 Vegas cigars in my stash and I wanted to review them, but ran into the problem that I just don’t know enough about the cigars to write individual reviews. The information on internet is also confusing, but what they all have in common is that th brand is owned by Cigars International or Meier & Dutch, which is the wholesale division of Cigars International and that they have the cigars made, probably by several different factories as some are said to be Dominican and others are said to be Nicaraguan.

As I said, I have four different blends, but also four different vitolas, so it will be hard or impossible to decide what’s the best blend after reading the four reviews, that would only be fair if the vitolas would have been the same. Don’t draw any conclusions on the results of my testing, just read them as entertainment and maybe get some of these cigars if my review made you curious.

5 Vegas Classic Torpedo

This Nicaraguan made cigar has Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, and a medium brown Sumatra wrapper with tooth and a leather feel. The shape of the head is amazing, never seen a torpedo so pointy. The ring is classic, simple but printed on high quality, glossy paper. Its a red circle with white and golden outlines, some details in gold and 5 Vegas in white. The construction feels great, and that shape, awesome. The cigar has a strong aroma to barnyard with milk chocolate.


Because of the shape I have no option but to cut the cigar and I used my Xikar butterfly cutter for it. The cold draw is fine and I taste dry, well fermented tobacco, mild spicy. After lighting I taste coffee, a nice tasty coffee. After a few puffs I  taste fresh wood with coffee and cinnamon. After a third I taste cinnamon with a little citrus and some wood and a carrot like flavor. Then the flavor changes to a mild milk chocolate with cedar, cinnamon, lime and honey. The final third starts with nuts and pepper. Then all of a sudden a floral flavor shows up with some white pepper.


The draw is great. The dense ash is white. The burn is good. The smoke is medium thick and full. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I might, depending on the price.

Score: 90
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5 Vegas A Artisan (Robusto)


The 5 Vegas A is a bit of a confusing name, since A is also a vitola but this line, which is made in Nicaragua with a Costa Rican Maduro wrapper, comes in different vitolas, including an A. The wrapper is dark and oily with one fat vein at the back of the cigar. The construction feels good and the cap is nicely placed. Both rings look goo, the foot ring is gold with a white square with triple A on it while the regular ring is like the classic 5 Vegas logo but black and gold instead of red and gold and the ring is bitter making room for an additional A underneath the logo. Classy. The cigar has a nice, medium strong aroma that reminded me to my last trip at the zoo, when I walked into the primate encounter.


I cut the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy tobacco is what I taste. After lighting with a single jet I taste coffee. And after a few puffs I taste pepper too. Slowly some caramel shows up with pepper while the coffee fades away. There’s also a little acidity. After a third I also taste some wood. Halfway I taste a nice dark wood with a toffee flavor and some pepper. I also taste some dark chocolate. The flavors slowly turn to wood with spices and pepper, the mouth feeling is dry.


The draw is good. The smoke is good too, medium full in thickness and volume. The ash is decent, medium gray. The burn is straight. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The evolution is good.


Would I buy this cigar again? I should.

Score: 91
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5 Vegas Gold Maduro Corona

 


Now this is a cigar of which I know a little more, it is made by Plasencia in Nicaragua. The cigar is made with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, a Honduran binder and Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper is sturdy, thick, dark and rustic. It looks rough but in a good way, like you know you’ll get flavor from it. The construction feels good. The ring is great, great quality printing on beautiful glossy paper with nice colors. I see copper, gold, shades of brown and white, very detailed and it fits with the rustic wrapper. The aroma is a mixture of fresh wood chips and barnyard.


I used a butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is nice, mild acidic yet peppery. After lighting I taste coffee and chocolate powder. Soon the flavors change to a dark wood with herbs and some Maduro sweetness. After an inch I taste wood with some Maduro sweetness and a bit of a vanilla floral flavor. The flavors are dry. The cigar gets more herbal, more peppery yet the mild vanilla floral flavor remains on the background.


The draw is great and the smoke is thick and full. The light colored ash is a bit frayed. The burn is good, pretty straight. This is a medium bodied and medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again?  Meh, decent cigar but nothing more than that.

Score: 88
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5 Vegas Gold Toro

This 5 1/2×55 box pressed Toro is made in Honduras with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Honduran binder and Honduran fillers. The wrapper looks pale but smooth. The ring doesn’t help much to lift up the pale color of the wrapper because the wrapper is a two tone gold with just a tiny bit of white and red and makes the appearance of the cigar even more bland. The construction feels good and the cigar is nicely finished. The medium strong aroma reminds me of a flog of sheep that just took a dump.


I used a xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The draw is great, I taste dry grass with a little kick. After lighting I taste a mild coffee and dirt flavor. After half an inch I taste a floral flavor with a little salt. After a third I taste a salty cedar, very mild and smooth, with just a hint of the Connecticut Shade mustiness. Near the end I get more pepper.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is nice and thick. The light gray ash is firm. This is a mild to medium bodied and flavored cigar with a nice burn. The cigar is smooth yet lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is too mild for me.

Score: 87
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Categories: 5 Vegas, 88, 90, 91, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

La Casita Criolla HCB

Years ago, I hadn’t even Tatuajestart to work for my later (and now previous) employer who’s one of the major cigar importers & distributers in The Netherlands, Pete Johnson released both the La Casita Criollo and the Fausto and I got a call from my later employer who told me the cigars showed up on the international price list, he didn’t know what they were, he gave me prices and asked weather he should order them or not. I knew about the cigars, I smoked the Tatuaje T110 where the Fausto is based upon, and read about the La Casita Criolla too and thought it was an interesting concept, the prices were fine so I advised him to order both lines. And he did. Today is also Pete’s birthday, so happy birthday my friend.


The La Casita Criolla is made with a 100% American Connecticut broadleaf, the cigar is an American puro. Now Connecticut broadleaf is known as a wrapper or sometimes a binder but it being used as a filler isn’t something known to the general public, it happens as not all Connecticut broadleaf is dark enough or of the quality needed to be a wrapper. And that’s the kind of leaf Pete Johnson uses for filler in this La Casita Criolla, the lighter colored, the esthetically lesser quality leaf but still flavorful. The only thing I don’t like about it is the naming of the vitolas, why not just go with corona, robusto, torpedo, churchill but with a HCB, HCBC, HFBF, HCR which to me, and not just me alone, very confusing and I think it hurts the sales. I am not a 100% sure but I think the La Casita Criolla name comes from an old Cuban brand.


I grabbed the HCB out of my humidor, which is a 5 1/8×42 corona sized cigar. The cigars are naked in the box, no cellophane to protect the wrapper during transport. The wrapper is dark, juicy and oily with here and there a glittering of minerals, the veins make it look rustic and with the dark color combined it looks a bit intimidating. The ring is very simple, just like the packaging, brown with a white square and red letters La Casita Criolla, then a red square with white letters Tatuaje Cigars Esteli and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a drawing of a small house, the native cottage that the name refers too. The construction feels great and the cap is beautifully glued onto its place. The aroma isn’t very strong, just tobacco, barnyard and a little chocolate.


I cut the cigar, xikar butterfly style, and that creates a perfect cold draw with a spicy and peppery touch. I taste a full and nice sweetened coffee. After half an inch the cigar turns to chocolate, coffee and pepper. The chocolate is getting stronger after a third with wood and a little bit of pepper. The pepper fades away a little, I taste caramel with oak, a little chocolate and some spices.


The draw is perfect and the white ash is dense and firm. The luscious smoke is white and full. The burn is close to perfect as well. The evolution isn’t spectacular but the flavors are, right up my alley. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I had to pick 10 cigars that I could smoke the rest of my life, this cigar would make the cut.

Score: 95
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Categories: 95, La Casita Criolla, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Corona Dominican 10th Anniversary Phatty

When I made my first trip to the USA in the spring of 2009 I landed in heaven when I walked into Corona Cigar Company at their West Sand Lake store in Orlando, I had never seen so many cigars in my life, and a lot of them were unknown for me coming from a country that has limited room for brands and back then most of the cigars sold were Cubans, something that changed dramatically in the years after though. And the shop has been a stable hang out for me every time I visited the USA since. Since it’s the owner Jeff’s birthday I’m publishing this review today.


During one of my trips, and I am guessing it was the 2011 trip, I bought a sampler of their 10th anniversary cigars, a sampler with a variety of different blends and sizes and amongst them was this Corona Dominican Selection 10th Anniversary Phatty, a 6×60 Connecticut Shade wrapped cigar. And I never touched it for two reasons, the 60 ring gauge and the Connecticut Shade wrapper, but lately I started to enjoy the latter so why not light it? If it doesn’t meet up to my prefered taste then at least I get a review out of it and will light a cigar I love later.


The wrapper feels very silky but also bumpy like a klingon queen, so I guess the binder was very rough. The wrapper has a mild shine to it. The construction feels good but the head has a weird bump on it, it almost looks like the binder had a pig tail and the wrapper was rolled over it. The aroma is strong, much stronger than I expected, and reminds me of a sour hay with a little hint of ammonia. The ring is nice, golden with an embossed 10 at the bottom, red stripes on the top part with the Corona logo in red on a white background.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter and the cold draw is easy with a mild straw and raisin flavor. Right after lighting the cigar, with my soft flame of course, I taste coffee, hay, a little honey and some pepper but with the classic Connecticut shade mustiness. After a centimeter I taste musty cedar with pepper. After a third I taste nuts with some cedar with a bit of salt and pepper, the flavors are a little harsh but not in an unpleasant way. Slowly the pepper gains strength and a cedar flavor joins the flavor palate. After two thirds I also taste quite a strong lemon flavor.


The draw is a little bit loose, for my personal preference it could use a little more resistance but I guess the big ring gauge is part of the cause. The smoke is full and thick, just as I like it. The light gray ash is a bit coarse but pretty dense and firm. The burn is pretty straight for the first inch but then starts to get a little crooked. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since you can get them for just $3 this is a great humidor filler. And they make great cigars for the non smokers or incidental smokers.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Corona, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Royal Selection Maduro Corona

Balmoral, probably the most famous Dutch cigar brand nowadays, but in The Netherlands not just famous for their longfillers. Their short fillers are everywhere, from supermarkets to gas stations, and their longfillers never impressed me until a few years ago. I was the host of the Dutch Big Smoke and Balmoral contacted me to see if they could release their new line, the Anejo at the Big Smoke and my first reaction was “why do you think we want to introduce a gas station cigar?”. Well, I met up with the marketing manager anyway, smoked the cigar and had to apologize for my blunt reaction, what a great cigar and I smoked a lot of them since and reviewed them before on my blog too.


But I have to admit, I didn’t smoke their other offerings ever again, not even their Dominican Selection shortfiller that I smoked a lot and loved a lot as a novice cigar smoker. I found a Balmoral Royal Selection Corona in my humidor and this 5 7/8×42 cigar is made in the Dominican Republic with Brazilian and Dominican filler, a Dominican Olor binder and Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Time to let the prejudice go and review this cigar.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark and typical Brazilian with thick veins, dry to the touch but also oily. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is old fashioned and in need of an update. Two colors green with white and golden lines, a shield with the beautiful B in the centre and Balmoral on top, since 1895 on the bottom. The print quality is great, the ring is clear but the design is too old fashioned for me. The aroma is a mixture of barnyard, manure and dark chocolate.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin and a little pepper. After lighting the cigar, with a torch this time, and I taste coffee, earthy flavors, a little lemon and some sweetness. The flavors changes to earthy flavor with wood and some chocolate. Halfway I taste peanuts, some salt, a little chocolate and pepper. The final third starts with a hazelnut chocolate butter flavor, Nutella like with some vanilla. The flavor changes to nutty with pepper and a hint of cocoa.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The light gray ash is dense and firm. The burn is great, almost completely straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The evolution is good. The smoke time is almost an hour and a half

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not as good as the Anejo series but better than I remembered.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican 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
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Categories: 92, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , ,

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