Posts Tagged With: Don Kiki

Don Kiki Brown Label Figurado

Don Kiki Brown Label Figurado. For those that are unaware of who Don Kiki is, read the article on Industry Legends: Don Kiki Berger on Ministry of Cigars. It is a story about a second-generation Polish Cuban who came to America and built a retail empire in Miami. But also became a cigar manufacturer and a tobacco grower in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, Enrique ‘Don Kiki’ Berger is no longer with us but his widow Karen Berger continues to dominate the Miami retail scene and runs the cigar imperium. With Don Kiki cigars, but also her K by Karen Berger line.

This Don Kiki Brown Label Perfecto is a small, funny-looking Figurado. Almost a Perfecto size, but with a semi-box press and not exactly a perfecto shape. Thus figurado is the perfect name. As for the term figurado, all non parejo shaped cigars are figurados. So every torpedo, perfecto, pyramid, etc is a figurado. And this specific one is a Nicaraguan puro. But all the tobacco comes from Cuban seed. Some of the tobacco comes from the farm located right next to the factory Tabacalera Esteli in Esteli.

This is a cute-looking cigar. A nicely figurado shape. Very thin at the head and then a perfecto shape at the foot. The head is flat, and the wrapper looks a bit lighter at the foot. The cigar is partially round and partially box-pressed. The Colorado Maduro color of the wrapper is good. The ring is very dark brown, almost black. There is also a Don Kiki Black Label line, but the Brown Label has golden letters, where the black label uses silver. So that makes the lines easy to differentiate. The unique shape makes this cigar score high on looks. The aroma isn’t very strong. It is a stable aroma.

The cold draw is fine and leaves a citrus flavor on the lips. Almost sparkling, like Sprite. After lighting there is a lemony sweetness with coffee, earth, and leather. There is a hint of vanilla in the retrohale. The cigar remains fresh with that lemon-like acidity and a nice sweetness. There is also some dark spice and some leather. Suddenly, below the sweet and sour lime, there is a hint of walnuts. The balance between sweetness and citrus is perfect. Add the walnuts and some black pepper and this cigar exceed expectations. The second third starts with that sweetness, leather, citrus, and baking spices. The baking spices are stronger in the retrohale. Slowly the cigar gets a bit more of a leather and leaves flavor. There are subtle changes in the flavor, but it all remains smooth and mellow. In the last part, there is more of a nutty flavor. The lemon and sweetness tone down a lot. Leather returns. The final puffs have a nice dose of pepper and a hint of wood.

The draw is great, especially for such a hard vitola to roll. The stack of dimes ash is great to look at. It’s salt and pepper in color. The smoke is good in both volume and thickness. The burn is straight and slow. This is a medium body and medium flavor cigar. Smooth, subtle, and delicious. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s delicious and cheap so the answer can only be ‘hell yeah’

Categories: 91, Don Kiki, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , , ,

Calixto Lopez Torpedo

When I met the late Don Kiki Berger I thought he was living the life, I mean, the guy had his own factory in Nicaragua and most of what he produced he sold to his own shop, Cuban Crafters, where he had busloads of Asian tourists stop, clean the place out like a flog of locusts and then move on (I saw this with my own eyes). He didn’t have to deal with sales reps, shops owners etc etc, and every time I saw his he was hanging out with his friends playing domino at the shop or having a good time at the lounge.


One of the cigars he made is the Calixto Lopez, named after a famed old Cuban brand, and made with filler from Esteli, Jalapa and Ometepe in Nicaragua, a Sumatra leaf from Ecuador as a binder and a five year aged Cuban seed maduro wrapper from Nicaragua. And they are cheap, one $4.50 if you buy them by the box. Now I didn’t buy a box, I bought a few singles to try and this is the last one I have left so time for a review.


The wrapper is dark, but feels dry and the touch reminds me of old velvet. There are hardly veins and the wrapper just looks good. The ring is classic, red circle with golden outlines, white letters and logo. Simple and not of the best quality, yet clear. The construction feels good and the shape of the cigar is nice. The aroma is strong and deep, an intense barnyard aroma mixed with dark stained wood found on a barn that has been baking in the sun for years.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. It tastes a little like a raisin. After lighting I taste a mix of leather, coffee and dates. Slowly it changes to leather with sugar. Then it changes to gingerbread with some pepper and all within the first half inch. The leather is back with pepper and some floral sweetness. The leather constantly varies in strength, with herbs, pepper and a coconut sugar. The final third is dry leather, less sweet, more pepper.


The draw is good yet it’s hard to keep the cigar lit. The smoke is medium thick and full. The evolution is great. The light gray ash isn’t that firm I thought at first, as it broke quickly but then it got firm. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?  Next time I’m in Miami I’m getting a box.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Calixto Lopez, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

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