Posts Tagged With: Epicure

Cuba Libre Epicure

This is the last of the Cuba Libre cigars I have in my possession and I must have had this for at least 6 years. I bought a box from an online source in the United States years ago to try out some budget cigars and included in those ‘let’s see if this is a good steal’ shipment was a box of this Honduran made Cuba Libre. The cigars are produced at the Plasencia factory in Danli.


There is not a lot of information available online, except for the wrapper, which is corojo and that the filler is Honduran with a Nicaraguan binder. There are a few vitolas, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Toro en Torpedo and I’m smoking the 6×50 box pressed toro. I have no idea if the other vitolas are box pressed too. And the cigars are still on the market and still a bargain with $65 for a box of 20 cigars.


The corojo wrapper of this box pressed cigar is great, a nice even milk chocolate color with one flattened thin vein. The wrapper feels silky and the cigar has a strong aroma which is a mixture of light minty and chocolate aromas and darker smells like grass and charred wood. The construction feels good yet the wrapper is a little pinched at the cap. The ring is nice a thick golden edge on a blue backdrop and white tobacco leaves. In the center there’s a burgundy circle with golden dots and a golden, dotted, outline. The centre is white with blue letters Cuba Libre. And I hope that Cuba will be liberated soon, but that has got nothing to do with this cigar though.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and I taste raisin and leather. After lighting the cigar with a single jet flame I taste leather with some cinnamon and honey. After a third the cigar gets a little spicy, still with a leather flavor as a base. Halfway I taste a fresh minty, almost toothpaste like flavor with leather. Near the end some pepper shows up too and grows to a nice strength.


The smoke is a little thin, and the color is quite dark for cigar smoke. The ash is very fragile. The burn is decent but not fantastic. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a slow but certain evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m looking for a budget cigar I’ll consider this, it’s a $3 stick. The flavors are good, with a better draw, burn and smoke the score would be a few points higher.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Cuba Libre, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Hoyo de Tradicion Epicure

Now even though Hoyo de Monterrey sounds Cuban, is a Cuban brand and is named after the plantation at San Juan y Martinez there is also a non Cuban copy, owned by General Cigars, which is part of the STG group and they make their Hoyo de Monterrey cigars in Honduras.


This Hoyo de Tradicion line is made with fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic wrapped in a Honduran rosado wrapper from Jamastran. The cigar that I am smoking was a gift from an American friend and comes from 2006, so it has been aged for over a decade.


The reddish wrapper looks a bit dry but beautiful with thin veins. The construction feels good, the cigar has the right amount of resistance when I gently squeeze it but the cap isn’t very pretty, then again, it’s not horrible either. The ring is simple, white with red and gold and I would have liked it if there was any mention of Honduras on the ring.  The medium strong aroma has a bit of a manure smell, no ammonia though after more than a decade of aging.


The cold draw is great, mild sweet but also a dry tobacco flavor. Directly after lighting I taste a very sweet coffee. After just a few puffs the cigar turns peppery and a little harsh. And it keeps getting worse, the harshness is growing. There is also a saltines going on. After a third I taste a harsh, young wood flavor, sharp, unrefined and harsh. There’s also a little pepper. Halfway a lemony acidity shows up with the flavors I tastes before. The harshness fades in the final third, I taste pepper with some floral flavors.


The draw is good. The light gray ash is dense and tight. The smoke is thin though, and not a lot in volume. The burn is all right. Medium bodied and medium flavored is what I call this cigar, with an hour and a half smoke time.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I won’t.

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, Honduran cigars, Honduras American Tobacco SA, Hoyo de Monterrey | Tags: , , ,

Paradiso Quintessence

About 25 years ago Robbie Levin decided it was time to start his own cigar brand, next to the family tobacco business that already existed for a few generations. So he bought English pipe tobacco brand, Ashton, and made a private label blend with one of his long term cigar suppliers Arturo Fuente and the cigar brand Ashton was born. After more than a very successful decade and a few high praised and good selling cigar lines, all under the Ashton name, all made by Fuente in the Dominican Republic and all ‘old style’ it was time for something new, something that would attract the new generation of cigar enthusiasts, something with a little more edge and so 3 new brands were born. Benchmade, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal, all made in Nicaragua by My Father Cigars. And like all Levin does, they became successful, so successful that we now can choose from a few LADC and San Cristobal blends.


Due to copyright Ashton can’t use the La Aroma de Cuba name outside of the USA, so they changed the name to La Aroma Del Caribe and for San Cristobal, a name that they could use in some markets but not in others, they picked Paradiso. The blends are identical, the labels and boxes are identical just the name on the labels and boxes changed. I used to work for the Dutch distributed of Ashton and had the pleasure of meeting Robbie, his daughter Meera and their vp of sales Chip Goldeen on several occasions and even though there is no professional relationship at the moment I met them at intertabac Chip handed me their latest release for the European market, the Paradiso Quintessence. The cigar is made from Nicaraguan tobacco grown by the Garcia family with an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper. I smoked the 6×52 epicure.


The wrapper is nice, oily and shiny with a few minor veins and the band is top, the recognizable parrots with the gold medals but this time an added name underneath the picture that says ‘quintessence’. The construction feels good but at the left side, right where the ring is, the cigar feels flat, box pressed, but just on one side while the rest of the cigar is round. That will of course effect the final score, but how much will depends if it effects draw, smoke and ash characteristics. The aroma is deep, mild acidic and reminds me a bit of autumn, like fallen leaves without smelling fallen leaves. The cold draw is fine, I taste some pepper on my lips. I used my cigar xi2 cutter to decap the cigar and my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar.


I taste coffee with some spices and a little bit of sweetness. The coffee remains the basic flavor but the spices tone down. The cigar makes my mouth dry. After a third I taste s little more sweetness and a little bit of lime with a little bit of red pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste some cinnamon with wood and lime. The lime is purely in the aftertaste though. After two thirds I taste a nice nut flavor, with a little bit of spice. No more lime, no more sweetness. Near the end this cigar is getting spicier and I taste a lot of pepper, especially on my lips. This all on a base of nuts.


The smoke is thick, it’s white and it’s plentiful. The ash is silver gray with black stripes. It’s not too firm. The burn is good, not razor sharp but I don’t have to correct either. The draw is great. This medium full, full flavored cigar have me 100 minutes of smoking pleasure.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, once in a while but I prefer the Paradiso Revelation

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Juan Lopez Epicure #2

Someone kindly gave me this Nicaraguan puro cigar to try a while ago, a box pressed robusto with a 54 ring and about 125 mm long. Nice oily spotted wrapper and a very pretty, stylish band. The predraw was fine and left me with a smooth but yet undefined flavor on my palate.

There isn’t really much to say about the flavors of the cigar except that it was quit sweet with a bit of a liqueur feel to it and a soft smooth leather flavor, but I must say I didn’t pay full attention on the palate smoking this cigar and writing this review, so I might have to smoke another to clear my views on this smoke.

There was more than enough smoke but unfortunately the burn was crooked and I had to light the cigar several times.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, on occasion.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 9 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 9 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Casa de Garcia Nicaragua, Juan Lopez, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #1

Yet another review of a Cuban cigar, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure 1, 143mm long and ring 46. The wrapper is pretty even though it has quite some veins and spots.
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The predraw is easy and I can already taste a light raisin flavor, just like but not as strong as at the Hoyo de Monterrey epicure 2. After lighting the cigar I can’t taste the raisins anymore but I taste tobacco and smooth leather, at a quarter of the cigar there is a brief hint of cacao on the background which disappears soon. Halfway the leather grows stronger, the cacao returns but the tobacco still wins the battle of the flavors. It’s is a perfect mix of flavors.
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I didn’t discover lots of flavors or a complex palate but the constant taste is very nice, smooth and full. The cigar gives a medium to full, white and pretty smoke and a dark frayed ash. The burn is nice and steady, even though the cigar had to be relit halfway because it stopped burning.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, definitely.
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Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , ,

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2

The 125mm long ring 50 Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2 is the ‘cigar of the month’ at sigarenliefhebber.nl and so here is my review.

It is a beautiful cigar, nice oily wrapper, the color is great and even, it looks smooth and the pretty band finishes the looks. You can clearly see that the manufacturer took good care of this cigar

Cutting the cigar was very easy and the predraw was fine, not too hard but not too easy to. I could taste a sweet flavor at the predraw which reminded me of raisin. The raisin flavor was clear and strong when I lit the cigar, sweet, raisins and a hint of leather. What a disappointment, I don’t like raisin. Grapes should be used to make wine, not to dry them and turn them into raisin. As the cigar progressed I could also taste some wood flavors, but the raisin sweetness is still the lead singer of the flavor band. At a third of the cigar the sweetness steps a bit back and a hint of cacao shows up, with a light pepper on the background, but I can’t say that it’s a full flavor. Actually, the flavor seems to weaken more and more, only at the end the cacao makes a bit of a comeback. Lack of flavor, that is my opinion about this cigar.

The smoke is medium, it could and should have been a bit thicker and the ash is terrible to see, very frayed and it has some color differences. One part was dark gray and then there was a part light gray.

Would I buy this cigar again? Definitely not!

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Hoyo de Monterrey (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , ,

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