Posts Tagged With: figurado

Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico

Last year, when I smoked the Balmoral Anejo XO Lancero, I told the story on how the Balmoral Anejo line surprised and shocked me. I never thought highly of the Balmoral longfillers but that Anejo 18 and the Anejo XO that followed the Anejo 18 made me completely change my mind, great cigars. When I was a novice cigar smoker the short filler Balmoral Dominican Selection was one of my go to cigars though, and it’s a great company, but the Anejo 18 & XO elevated the company.


Now maybe you’ve seen the video of my mancave, and every now and then friends come over for an evening of cigars. Last time I had friends over, one of them handed me the latest limited edition of the Balmoral Anejo XO series, the Gran Magnifico, a 6×56 figurado made with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, Dominican binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, all aged tobacco and after rolling the cigars get a minimum of six months to rest so the flavors can get married. Only 14,000 cigars were made, 1400 boxes of 10.


The clean ring is great, just three colors, gray and white, with some gold in the lettering, high quality printing with a matching foot ring to protect the foot of the cigar. And the construction is fantastic too, the foot has a 46 ring, then the cigar gets to a 56 ring at a third of the length to end in a torpedo shaped head. Unique and probably very difficult to roll, yet the construction feels flawless. The coffee colored wrapper is glossy and dull at the same time with a few veins but then again, Brazilian wrappers are never the best looking wrappers but the taste matters. The cigar has a strong and deep aroma of straw, hay, barnyard and manure.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is peppery and perfect. After lighting I taste chocolate, pepper and an earthy flavor.  The balance is great. After an inch I still taste that dark chocolate with straw, hay and wood. Slowly a mild pepper shows up. Halfway it’s straw, pepper and with that dark chocolate on the back. I also taste some peanuts. Later I taste some natural sweetness. The final third starts nutty, walnuts and hazelnuts with pepper.


The draw is great, could be a little touch tighter but only a very little touch. The smoke is white, thick and full. The layered ash is light gray and firm. This cigar is subtle and well balanced. I would say it’s medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they are still to be found, yeah!

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month December

The final month of 2017 so the final ‘cigar of the month’, tomorrow I’ll be posting my top 25 but for now I focus on what December 2017 brought me.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generacion V Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) C.A.O. Amazon Basin Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Bespoke Tradicional Cottontail (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Punch Platino Double Corona (Cuba) 90 points
7) Xiphos Habano Lonsdale (Costa Rica) 90 points
8) Colon Lancero (Panama) 89 points
9) C.A.O. Angry Santa Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Manowar Virtue Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) C.A.O. Evil Snowman (Nicaragua) 87 points

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Plasencia Alma Fuerte Generación V

Up until recently, if you weren’t in the industry the name Plasencia would probably not have rung a bell, yet without doubt you have been smoking a cigar they made or at least tobacco they grew. Five generations of tobacco growers, owners of three major factories and an octopus in the industry as Jonathan Drew calls them endearingly, since they have their hands in anything. Everybody and their mother buys their tobacco, a lot of brands have cigars made by Plasencia and now they are ready to make their name a household name for cigar smokers.

 


Nestor Plasencia sr never produced cigars under his own name because he didn’t want to compete with his customers which is a noble idea but almost any factory produces private labels for others and still produce cigars for their own company too and why not? It’s double the margin. Plasencia tested the water in Europe with the 1898 and the Reserve Organica lines and decided to hit the American market too with a few new blends, of which this is the first to hit the shelves.

 


I love this box pressed figurado and it’s huge, 7×58 , with a dark, chocolate like, wrapper that has a little oil. The thick rings, there are three in total, are well printed. Lets start at the foot, a small golden ring with black outlines and black letters saying Alma Fuerte. The gold really pops, that is very difficult to print and it shows its a high quality job. Then the normal ring, matte black with the same popping golden letters in a P logo and the name Plasencia. Then a small ring above that, black with the golden P logo in a circle around it. The shape is awesome, the cigar feels evenly packed, it’s just mouth watering. The aroma is mild, it reminds me a little of saw dust.

 


I cut the cigar to find a perfect cold draw. The taste I get is spicy, herbal tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee, earth and spicy herbs like nasturtiums. The cigar is very peppery, strong Nicaraguan pepper.  After a third I taste the pepper but underneath I taste a little bit of chocolate. Halfway I taste also some wood and herbs with the pepper, the chocolate has gone. The final third starts a bit floral but with spices, pepper and a faint vanilla. All of a sudden the pepper gains strength again.

 


The draw is flawless and the light gray ash is firm. The smoke is white, thick and there is plenty of it. The burn is nice and straight. This cigar is well balanced, it’s a medium full bodied cigar, full flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s expensive so it won’t be a every day cigar but for special occasions yeah, it will rival with an Opus X or Padron 1964.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Bespoke Traditional Cottontail

Even though we have so many mutual friends and we have been Facebook friends for a while, I never met Jeremy Casdagli in person until my friend Nasier introduced us at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. We chatted a little about tobacco and Jeremy was so kind to give me the Bespoke Traditional Cottontail for a review on my blog, well, as promised, here’s the review.


The cottontail is a vitola that was extinct for over half a century until Bespoke started making this vitola again, its a 5 inch long cigar that starts out with a ring 52, a robusto you might say but at the foot it’s 62 ring gauge and that makes it a figurado. Now I’m no fan of big ring gauges but because of this shape I’m intrigued on how it smokes and what it does for the development of flavors since the filler to wrapper ratio changes from start to finish.


The moment I take the cigar out of the cellophane I am hit by a strong aroma, hay and straw, very nice. The shape of the cigar and the closed foot are very unique and I love it. The wrapper has a nice coffee color, a little oil and no real visible veins, its a smooth looking cigar. The green and golden ring is very traditional, as the name suggests, not specifically my taste but of a good quality printing.


I used my Xikar double guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is crazy hard but that’s because of the closed foot. I taste spices and pepper. I used my vintage lighter to light the cigar. After lighting the draw opens and I taste a nice, smooth coffee with some nutmeg and a honey sweetness. After a third I taste creamy buttery toast and cedar with cinnamon and nutmeg. A bit lily French toast. Halfway I taste a creamy vanilla, like melted vanilla ice cream with some toast. The final third is more like a five spice mix with a little bit of pepper and some vanilla in the aftertaste.


The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn started a little off, it’s hard to get an even burn with a closed door but it corrected itself. The smoke is thin though, unfortunately. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar.  The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind smoking it more often.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Bespoke, Dominican cigars, KBF | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month November

It’s the end of the month again, so as in every month before this year I will rank the cigars I reviewed this month from best rated to lowest rated. This month I rated 14 cigars, some old, some very new and with a spread of the four most prominent cigar countries.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Joya Red Half Corona with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Joya Red Half Corona (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Tatuaje RC233 Figurado (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Long Live the King my style is jalapeño Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Alec Bradley Lost Art Robusto (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Sagrada Familia Maduro pre-release Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Todos Las Dias Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserve Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserve Torpedo (Nicaragua) 90 points
9) Viaje Zombie Antidote (Honduras) 90 points
10) A. Flores El Trovador Petit Belicoso (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Davidoff 702 #2000 (Dominican Republic) 88 points
12) Partagas Serie D#5 (Cuba) 87 points
13) San Pedro de Macoris Ecuador Robusto (Dominican Republic) 87 points
14) San Pedro de Macoris Brazil Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points

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Tatuaje RC233

A lot of times people ask me ‘what’s your favorite cigar’ and that is always a hard question to answer as it depends on the moment of the day, the mood I’m in, what I smoked recently and other variables, as cigar smokers you will recognize this, but my answer is always the Tatuaje RC233, not just because its a great cigar but also for a sentimental reason and I’m going to tell why. Back in 2009 I visited the United States for the first time, a road trip all along the east coast and a few days in Las Vegas. And as a cigar aficionado what do you do when you’re in Miami? You go to 8th SW street, aka Calle Ocho, the Cuban quarters of Miami and stroll around the cigar factories, the shops and watch the Cuban seniors play dominos as the Maximo Gomez park. Now back in 2009 La Gloria Cuban was still a working factory, so right there you had a hotspot with El Titan de Bronze, La Gloria Cubana and El Rey de Los Habanos, the factory of Don Pepin Garcia. Now I must say, El Titan was the highlight for me as Sandy Cobas, the owner, took a few hours of her time to show us everything, not just the work floor but also the tobacco storage and the aging room for the fresh rolled cigars but at El Rey de Los Habanos I bought some cigars too including a cigar I had only heard about: Tatuaje RC233.


Now the story goes that only Jaime Garcia and José ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia roll this cigar due to its complicated size. The RC stands for Retro Cuban and the 233 stands for the millimeters length of the cigar, 233 mm is 9.17 inch, and the cigar is perfecto shaped. Its not a cheap cigar either so I was waiting for the perfect moment to smoke the cigar, it had to be something special. That special day came later that year, november 15th, when my first (and only) nephew Simon was born. I smoked the Tatuaje RC233 that night. My next trip to the States I bought a 10 count box and I’ve been smoking one a year, always on november 15th and once he turns 21 I hope he joins me. I smoked one yesterday and decided to write a review even though its not a Wednesday or Sunday, just like I did on a few other special dates.


As I said, the cigar is a figurado, a double perfecto to be precise with a length of 9.17 inch and the thickest part of the cigar has a ring gauge of 55. It is a Nicaraguan puro, but rolled in Miami, even to this date, in very limited numbers. So limited that 3 years back they didn’t even had them in the humidor of the beautiful My Father headquarters. Now the looks of the cigar, apart from the size, makes it stand out in any humidor. The upper part is covered in shiny silver foil, with a simple yet stylish ring, white with a light blue lining on the bottom, black letters TATUAJE RC SERIES and the Pete Hassel Johnson logo and a red and orange lining on top.  The construction is flawless and that feeds my believe in the story that these are only rolled by Don Pepin of Jaime themselves, they are level 9 rollers and I don’t see a lot of people roll a cigar this shape and size so beautifully. The color of the wrapper reminds me of the old dark oak cupboard my grandmother had in her living room, but then with a little tooth and the aroma is a medium strong barnyard aroma.


Because of the shape I had to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine and i taste some raisin but with some pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar with my soft flame vintage Ronson.  The cigar has a coffee flavor with a little pepper, but it’s mild. After the small tip I taste leather with some herbs and pepper. After an inch I taste some chocolate too but leather is the main flavor. After a third it’s a nice, not too strong, pepper with a little freshness. Slowly the leather changes to cedar, but the mild chocolate, the pepper and the fresh aftertaste still remain. Halfway the chocolate is getting a little stronger but so does the pepper. I taste some leather again too. The chocolate then drops, it’s leather and pepper with some herbs. The cigar makes my mouth dry. Some cedar joins the leather, the herbs and the mild pepper.


The smoke is medium thick at the start but it gets thicker. The draw is perfect. The burn is straight as an arrow. The ash is firm, dense and it’s salt and pepper colored. This cigar is medium bodied, not the full body you expect from Tatuaje but it’s well balanced. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? In 3 years I need to get a new box, anybody has an idea on where to get them?

Score: 93

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Categories: 93, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Viaje Zombie Antidote

Well, halloween is behind us, we need an antidote against the zombies that have been plaguing us for the last week and Dr. Andre Farkas came up with a vaccin, the Viaje Zombie Antidote. I just love this cigar, a syringe shaped cigar that comes in a plastic medicine bottle with a funny label mimicking a real prescription bottle with all warnings and all, rewritten of course for the cigars and zombies. Unique packaging with a lot of humor and I like that. The cigar that I’m smoking comes from the original 2014 release.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro yet it classifies as a Honduran cigar since it’s made at Raices Cubanas in Danli. It’s the first skinny Zombie cigar from Viaje with a 44 ring and a 6 1/2 inch length and as a lover of skinny cigars I dig that vitola. Because of the tempered foot it’s not a lonsdale but a figurado, yet it has lonsdale length and ring. My previous employer carried Viaje for a short time and I met Andre Farkas because of that, we hung out in The Netherlands for a few days with Abe Flores from PDR and we met at Intertabac a few times. Once we got these Zombie Antidotes in I bought a jar just because of the way it looks, it’s a nice showpiece


Once I release the cigar from its cellophane I smell a feces smell, not a barnyard aroma but human feces and its medium strong. The cigar has a few soft spots and it looks like the cigar is a little under filled. The wrapper is beautiful though, quite dark, mild oily, smooth with a thin long vein running over half the cigar. The ring is simple, its about an inch high, white with a red cross, blood spatter and blue letters “Zombie Antidote” on one side and the words “single dose” and Viaje Pharmaceuticals on the backside. The cigar has a triple cap that is placed neatly.


Since the tapered end is at the foot I could use my punch to prepare the cigar for smoking. The predate is great, more resistance than I expected with the soft spots in the construction. I taste hazelnut with some pepper in the cold draw. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nutty espresso with some nutmeg. The flavor changes to wood with some cinnamon and a chili pepper aftertaste. After a third I also taste a faint sweet chocolate on the background, far on the background. Halfway I taste more spices like nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon with some oak and citrus. The cigar gets darker in flavor with a nice mix of spices and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts, lemon and pepper, quite strong.


The smoke is white, thick and full. The ash is coarse, frayed and covered with black smears but firm. The draw is close to perfect, just like the burn. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. With a better construction the cigar would have scored a point higher. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have three quarters of a jar.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas, Viaje | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month September

It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to publish my list. What’s the best cigar I rated this month and what’s the worst?

The cigar with the highest rate in September  is:

My Father Commemorate 911 Rosado Habano

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) My Father Commemorate 911 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Alec Bradley Fine & Rare Torpedo (Honduras) 93 points
3) La Flor Dominicana Airbender Lancero (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Rocky Patel Royale Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Undercrown Shade Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF (Dominican Republic) 90 points
8) H. Upmann Mag 46 (Cuba) 89 points
9) Bunch Toro (Nicaragua) 88 points
10) Vega Fina Summum 2013 Toro (Dominican Republic) 87 points
11) Bunch Robusto (Nicaragua) 84 points
12) Amero Short Robusto (Dominican Republic) 82 points
13) Bunch Short Robusto (Nicaragua) 82 points

 

 

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Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

Last march I published a review of the Undercrown Flying Pig, original release, and it became the Cigar of the month march. Soon after that someone with ties either to Drew Estate or their local distributer Royal Agio contacted me (I of course know who he is and for whom he works, but I won’t disclose that information on his request) and asked me if he could use that review since the cigar was being re-released in The Netherlands and that was fine by me, as it would help promote my blog too so a fine win-win.


During our chat he asked me if I had smoked the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and since they haven’t been released in The Netherlands I could only reply negative. He offered to send me one as a thank you which I gladly accepted. A few months earlier I would have declined due to the wrapper but recently I’ve been starting to enjoy Connecticut Shade wrappers and this cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Sumatra binder and filler from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Not too long after a package arrived with 2 Balmoral Anejo Lanceros (cigar of the month May), two Kentucky Fire Cured Robusto and two of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pigs.


Lets start with the construction, it is immaculate and there are bonus points for the unique shape.  I love the little bomb size with the pig tail. The name is an inside joke, when Drew Estate started a lof of people in the industry said that “this company will make it when pigs fly” so after Drew Estate became an established company JD decided to name a cigar ‘Flying Pig” as a nod to the people that expected him to fail. The wrapper is pale with quite some shine and a few veins. I love the ring, I like the color scheme better than on the original Underground. The ring is white with the logo and all the details in gold and a second white ring with a golden outline and golden letters Shade. The ring print quality is high too. The aroma quite strong for a Connecticut Shade cigar with hints of straw, hay, leafs and grass.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter since punching wasn’t an option due to the pig tail. The cold draw is fantastic and tastes like raisin and hay. After lighting I taste a earthy flavor with a hint of pepper. I also taste some freshness and sweetness. After a third the cigar gets spicy and quite strong for a Shade cigar. I still taste the earthy flavor but with a little mustiness that belongs to Connecticut Shade wrappers with some lemon, salt and a strong pepper aftertaste. These flavors stick with the cigar till the end.


The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick and a lot of it. And I love it. The draw is great, almost perfect. The burn needed a little touch up though. The white ash is firm and beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, stronger than I expected from a Connecticut Shade cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? They aren’t available here, and I prefer the Undercrown Flying Pig but this is a good stick.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF

There are cigars out there that you save for special occasions, maybe because the cigar is discontinued, maybe because it’s a unicorn, maybe a limited edition from a year that has special meaning to you, maybe because it’s very hard to find or maybe because the price tag is insane. I’ve been lucky enough to smoke a few unicorns and very expensive cigars like the Daniel Marshall 24k torpedo, but today I’m reviewing this Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF because I got great news, my wife who’s from Singapore just got her MVV, that’s a permit to move to The Netherlands to stay with me and build a new life here. Now if that’s not a special occasion worthy of smoking the most expensive cigar from my stock then I don’t know what is.


Fuente shocked the cigar industry with the Opus X, the first Dominican puro, while everybody said that no wrapper could be grown on the Dominican Republic and the Opus X became a legendary cigar, the flagship of the Dominican cigars. Fuente branched off the Opus X with the Anejo and with limited edition with extreme names as chili pepper or pussy juice, weird shapes like footballs and they combined it in this perfecto with a shaggy head and the name Big Bad Mother Fucker aka BBMF. Its a Dominican puro, completely out of Sun Grown Rosado grown on the Chateau de la Fuente and if you can find these cigars the price tag is insane, I haven’t seen them cheaper than $275 online.


In my ratings the cigar scores points for the ring and the construction and with the high quality, very detailed, distinguished ring and the awesome shape of the cigar, with the beautiful maduro tip and the crazy head that looks like a masai haircut this cigar scored incredibly high on that department. The wrapper, chocolate milk brown, is flawless with one vein at the back. It feels a little oily and has a deep reddish glow. And the aroma, which is medium strong, has a complexity to it which is unique. I smell some ammonia but also spiced and herbs.


Due to the head I have no option than to cut. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and pepper and the initial draw is tight but that’s probably because of the shape. And indeed, once I am passed the Maduro foot the draw opens up. The flavor changes to toast then too with pepper and herbs. The pepper grows strong, with toast as a supporting flavor. Halfway the toast gets a little stronger and now with a little acidity but pepper is still the main flavor. The final third starts with a mellowed out pepper. The pepper gains strength again though.


The draw starts difficult but opens up soon but it’s hard to keep the cigar lit in the beginning and the burn is uneven and keeps giving me issues.  The silver gray ash is dense and firm. The smoke is medium at max and the burn and smoke rating completely destroy the high rating the cigar got for looks. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. Insane price, too many burn issues.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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