Posts Tagged With: Habano

Cigar of the month June

In June I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Soloman (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Xiphos NR Habano Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Reserva Miraflor Corona (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Don Lino 1898 Robusto (unknown) 92 points
6) MUWAT Baitfish Gary (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Cornelius & Anthony Meridian Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
8) Viking Viking Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Joya de Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Herrera Esteli Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 90 points
11) El Baton Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Desconocido Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
13) H. Upmann Magnum 54 (Cuba) 89 points
14) Quesada Reserva Privada Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
15) Casa de Alegria Criollo Corona (Nicaragua) 87 points
16) Gomez Sanchez Leyenda Figurado (Nicaragua) 85 points

 

 

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Cigar of the month April

In April I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Guayacan Corona Gorda with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Guayacan Corona Gorda(Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Reserva Miraflor Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo (Honduras) 92 points
6) Kristoff San Andres Robusto (Dominican Republic) 92 points
7) Alec Bradley Nica Puro Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) A.J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Perla Del Mar Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro (Costa Rica) 90 points
11) Casa Pineda Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
13) Cohiba Lancero (Cuba) 89 points
14) Cavalier de Geneve Toro (Honduras) 88 points
15) Gurkha Reserva Edición Especial Koi (Dominican Republic) 87 points
16) Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado (Nicaragua) 84 points

 

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Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado

Early 2014 I went to Nicaragua but spend a few days in Florida afterwards and in a cigar lounge in Miami I met Pete from Kings Cigars. Now I can’t recall the name of the shop, but it was a hangout for a lot of industry people as Barry Stein (Cigar Authority, but back then employed by Miami Cigar & Co), Juan Lopez (Gurkha) and a few reps from other companies were there on their night off too. And Pete handed me a few cigars to try and to see if I could convince my then employer to import the cigars to The Netherlands. And what better day to post this review than on kings day?


I smoked a few cigars but a few ended up lost in my huge stash of cigars. After losing my job I took some time to reorganize my walk-in humidor and put my complete stash in stogierate so I know what I have and can actually find the cigars in the humidor. And I started to pick cigars from one assorted box to review, once that one is empty I’ll go to the next and so on and on. Today I grabbed the Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado, a box pressed 6×64 and all I know about this cigar is that it’s made in Nicaragua with Nicaraguan filler and binder and a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and the Cuadrado is the only vitola with this blend.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I feel a smooth, almost silk, wrapper. The wrapper has a few thin veins and a medium dark color, like a cafe latte. The construction feels good, evenly packed. The ring is all printed, dark with gold and red, a golden crown over a crest and a banner with “king of kings”. The ring is not special though, it won’t really stand out in a humidor. The aroma is strong, its a mix of hay, straw, barnyard and fresh wood.


I punched the cigar since it’s so thick. The cold draw is on the loose side. The flavor of the cold draw is raw tobacco and hay with a spicy undertone. I lit the cigar with a soft flame but a jet flame would be more effective with a 64 ring gauge. I taste coffee, earthy flavors. After half an inch I taste a mild musty sweetness. It’s a Connecticut Shade mustiness but much milder. The aftertaste has a lingering pepper. Halfway I taste nutmeg, chili and honey. Before the final third I taste pepper and wood with a little honey.


The draw is too loose for my liking. But the smoke is plentiful yet medium thick. The ash is a bit coarse, light colored with dark smears. The ash is firm too. This medium bodied cigar is also medium flavored. The evolution is what I expect from a big ring cigar, not spectacular, not a lot of dynamic. The smoke time is an hour and thirty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again?  if there was a smaller version I would consider it but this is too much for me.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Kings Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , ,

Espinosa Habano Toro

La Zona is quite a new factory but it’s easy to say that I’m a fan. Not only for the great cigars they make, but it’s also a cozy factory downtown Esteli and with the best spot to sit, have a cup of coffee and a cigar on the balcony, overlooking the city with the mountains in the background and just enjoy life. It was one of my highlights of my second trip to Nicaragua, the time that I went for the Cigaragua book.


This is not the time where I bought this 6×52 Espinosa Habano Toro though. I bought it a year earlier when I spend a week in Florida after traveling to Nicaragua. I guess I bought it at one of the Smoke Inn locations or otherwise at the Island Smoke Shop on Key Largo. it’s, as far as I know, Nicaraguan puro with, as the name says, habano wrapper.


When I take the cigar out of the cellophane I see an oily, smooth, glossy wrapper with thin veins. I love the ring, broken white background, golden details, the Espinosa logo in white on a red background, a light blue banner saying Espinosa and a small white banner ‘hecho en la zona’. The foot ring has the same text but with red letters on a light blue background. The cigar feels evenly packed, is squishy in a good way. The cap is decent but not perfect. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of barnyard with a little black pepper.


I used my xikar cutter, the cold draw is great. The flavor is spicy, some lemon, mild peppery. After lighting I taste a nice coffee, smooth and tasty. After half an inch I taste spices, all spice, very nice. The flavors are smooth. After a third I still taste the spices but now with some vanilla and pepper. The final third is more woody, still with the spices and a bit pepper.


The draw is great. The light gray ash is firm and pretty. The smoke is white, thick and great in volume. The burn is straight. The cigar is smooth, medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is almost two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 93

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Categories: 93, Espinosa, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Guayacan Habano Corona

Years ago, on one of my yearly vacations to Florida, I was invited to visit Nestor Miranda & Jason Wood, whom I met at several Intertabac trade shows. I dropped by the office and met Barry Stein, a former cigar blogger turned cigar industry professional (like me) as the multimedia guy for Miami Cigar & Co. and we developed a friendship. Barry left the company and decided to re-release his own cigar brand he was working on before he joined Miami Cigar & Co. named Kilo. I read about this on Barry’s Facebook I think March or April of 2015 so I send Barry a message asking him who’s making it. Barry’s reply was “since I haven’t announced it yet, I won’t tell but its made in Esteli” to which I reply “That’s why I’m asking, I’ll be there soon and hopefully I can mooch some as they won’t be available in The Netherlands”. So after promising I wouldn’t disclose the factory before Barry did it himself he said it was Noel Rojas, whom I never heard of by that time but Barry praised him for his blending skills. Barry got me in touch with Noel and after a few calls and text messages we made an appointment in Esteli during my stay there where Noel handed me a bundle of Kilo and Barry asked me to send pictures of the cigars with rings as he had seen the rings and smoked the cigar but never seen them together. Call me a geek, but I think it’s cool to see the finalized product before the brand owner sees it. By the way, by the time you’re reading this: Barry is now working for 2 guys smoke shop and the cigar authority and has sold the Kilo name.


So I meet up with Noel, he shows me his factory Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa, which is now his old factory as he built a new one with his business partner called Tabacalera New Order of the Ages aka NOA, we go to dinner at Restaurant Cohifer in downtown Esteli and we talk about the possibilities for Noel’s brands in The Netherlands and Belgium. Ofcourse I was only an employee so I couldn’t say yes or no there and then, I had to consult with my employer and Noel said he would send us a bunch of samplers. A few weeks later a huge box shows up from the USA and inside I found a few boxes of cigars made by Noel, some Guayacan, some Sabor de Esteli and some test blends just for fun. I had a few to my employer, hand a few to friends and kept a few for myself. Everybody agreed, good cigars, value for money so to cut a long story short: Noel’s brands are now distributed in The Netherlands but unfortunately I don’t work for that employer anymore so I can’t get them at a discounted price. The cigar I’m reviewing today is the Guayacan Habano corona, a 6×42 long cigar made from a Ecuadorean Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder (’98 Aganorsa Corojo) and Nicaraguan fillers. I promise, later this year I will also review the Guayacan Maduro, Sabor de Esteli, Kilo, Jas Sum Kral and previously I reviewed the Jas Sum Kral Maduro that are also made by Tabacalera Noa.


The cigar looks great, long and lean, with a wrapper that is colored like dark oak wood. The ring is colorful, printed on thick paper and not with a straight edge. The edge of the paper is printed in a bright and beautiful gold, which is one of the hardest things to print as I’ve been told by people from Vrijdag Printing in Eindhoven (NL), one of the premier cigar ring printers in the world, there is a black backdrop with a golden crown on top and a red banner with the brand name beneath the crown and a smaller red banner with ‘by Noel Rojas” at the bottom. In between there is a scenic picture of a tobacco barn and a tobacco field underneath a beaming sun. The construction feels great and you can see that Noel learned the trade in his home country of Cuba, which he fled on a raft in 2007, because of the beautiful triple cap. The cigar has a nice barnyard aroma, medium strong, without the ammonia. Since it’s a smaller ring cigar I decided to cut instead of punch and the pre light draw aka cold draw is great. I taste some cedar and plenty of spice and pepper. I light the cigar with my soft flame and taste a medium strong coffee with a little spice and some pepper in the aftertaste. After two puffs the pepper gets strong but there’s also a bit of sweetness.


After a centimeter I taste some milky chocolate with pepper and a little caramel, it’s mild creamy. Slowly but surely the pepper is replaced with some oak and green spices. Every few puffs I taste the chocolate again. Right before the two third mark I taste some nutmeg too. The chili peppers make a comeback too. The oak is still the base flavor and the flavors are all well balanced. After two thirds there is also a little mixed nuts flavor with a tiny bit of salt. There is a strong peppery flavor on my lips for a while. The nutty flavor is hardly noticeable anymore, oak is back as the base. At the end I taste a mild mint flavor in the aftertaste.


The draw is just simply great, just the right amount of resistance. The smoke is medium plus thick and with a decent amount. The ask is salt and pepper colored, it’s quite firm too. The burn is straight, no touch ups. This cigar is medium full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, they are available in the Netherlands now and once I’m out I’ll get some more.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Guayacan, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month February

February was a special month, the shortest month of the year but also because I turned it into a full month of F reviews, so there is a top 28.

The cigar of the month is a shared position this month, identical scores for:

Casa Fuente Lancero/Flores y Rodrigues CRV Azul Robusto

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Casa Fuente Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
2) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Azul Robusto (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) Fratello Bianco II (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Falto Lonsdale (Dominican Republic) 92 points
5) Falto Gran Reserva Especial Perfecto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Flor de Cielo Maduro Salomon (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Flores y Rodrigues Cabinet Seleccion Maduro Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Flor de Las Antillas Benelux (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Flores y Rodriguez 10th anniversary Figurado (Dominican Republic) 90 points
10) Flores y Rodriguez CRV Roja Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
11) Falto Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
12) Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Seleccion Habano Canonazo (Dominican Republic) 90 points
13) Fonseca 30th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
14) Falto Delirio (Dominican Republic) 89 points
14) Flor de Selva Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 89 points
16) Flor de Oliva Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
17) Famous Nicaragua Robusti (Nicaragua) 88 points
18) Fuentes Crucet Habanero Toro (USA) 88 points
19) Famous Nicaragua 3000 Gordo (Nicaragua) 87 points
20) Fuego Sangre de Toro Toro (Honduras) 87 points
21) Fonseca Classic Robusto (Dominican Republic) 86 points
22) Felipe Gregorio Dos Capas Churchill (Dominican Republic) 83 points
23) Flor de Oliva Torpedo (Nicaragua) 83 points
24) Fumadores Churchill (Nicaragua) 83 points
25) Flor de Gonzales Torpedo (Nicaragua) 82 points
26) Funadores Corona (Jamaica) 80 points
27) Flor de Filipinas Corona (Phillipines) 77 points
28) Flor de Canaria Corona (Canary Islands) 71 points

 

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Micallef Experiencia Habano Prominente

At the intertabac trade show my buddy Nasier introduced me to a brand that was completely new to me, Micallef. He knew them because they visited the shops he works at to find out if there would be place for their brand on the Dutch market, so when Nasier saw them at the trade show he introduced me. I got some cigars for a review and this Experiencia Habano Prominente is my first try of any of the Micallef cigars.


I went to their website to get any background on the cigars and this cigar, 5 1/2×58 is made with a four year old Nicaraguan habano wrapper, a four year old Mexican San Andres Habano wrapper and filler from Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. As far as I understood from the website, the family has two factories, one in Esteli, Nicaragua and one in Veracruz, Mexico and this cigar seems to be made in Esteli. The msrp for this cigar is $13


The wrapper is a nice, medium brown color, like a coffee with a little splash of soy milk, it has a little bit of tooth. The construction feels flawless and the head is flat as can be. The ring, well, that looks kinda eastern European to me, and let me explain that. There is another brand, Bossner, Russian owned and they have these over the top designed ring, very Russian stylistics and this ring has a bit of that but in a more modest way. The red and gold letters, the crest, the golden medals and yes, maybe its a prejudice because of the name too, I will admit that. The ring is nice though, just not something I would design or have designed for my brand if I had one. The ring is in two parts, the eastern European top with a greenish blue bottom that just said Gomez Sanches Family. The foot ring is in the same color with golden and white lines saying experencia. The cigar has a medium strong smell of horses.


I cut the flattened head. The cold draw is good. I taste raw tobacco and herbs. After lighting the cigar with my vintage lighter I taste sweet coffee. Soon some walnut shows up too. After an inch I get sweet wood, red pepper and nuts. Halfway the cigar gains in strength and the flavors are getting cleaner and stronger. The honey sweetness, the pepper and the wood are also more balanced. The cigar turns more full bodied in the final third. The honey like sweetness is still there with some soft wood, a hint of truffle creamy chocolate all with a little rough edge. The flavors are becoming a little creamy too. The end is very peppery.


The draw is good enough not to complain but not perfect either. The grayish smoke is thin and low in volume but the smoke is getting thicker and white along the way. The ash is light gray with dark smears. The ash is dense and firm too. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored in the beginning but the second part is more full on both accounts and more to my liking. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for $13, shave a few dollars off and I’ll be happy to light one again, the last part was very enjoyable.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Xiphos CR Habano Lonsdale

Late october I smoked and reviewed my first Xiphos cigar and today I’m reviewing my second Xiphos. Same brand, same factory but a different size and blend. This 6 1/2×42 Xiphos Habano Lonsdale is made in Costa Rica with an Ecuadorian hybris Habano wrapper, a Peruvian binder and filler from Peru and the Dominican Republic. The factory is the Tobaccos de Costa Rica in Puriscal where a few other well praised brands are made too.


Now Xiphos doesn’t only do business in Costa Rica, the brand also has two lines made at Order of the New Ages factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. That is the factory of Noel Rojas who owns the Guayacan brand too and the factory of Jas Sum Kral, a brand that I recommend highly and will be in my top 25 without a doubt. Both Nicaraguan made Xiphos lines will be reviewed in 2018.


Once I release the cigar from the cellophane prison I find a smooth and silky, chocolate brown wrapper with a nice glow and thin veins. The rings are gorgeous, a deep blue with silver letters and details and Greek styled letters. The construction feels good and the cigar is well shaped with a nice round head and a good triple cap. The cigar has a strong and dark aroma, barnyard, horse, hay, straw and manure.


I cut the cigar since it’s too thin to punch. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin. After lighting I taste espresso, full flavored and strong. After half an inch I taste oak with a little lemon and cedar. Halfway the flavors tone down a little in strength. I taste some wood, a mild pepper and herbs. The final third lacks pepper but I do taste a hint of vanilla with the wood. At the end I taste nuts too.


The draw is fenomemal, the smoke is medium plus in thickness and volume. The light gray ash is flaky. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and flavored, with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Much to my surprise I would go for the short panatella instead of the lonsdale, but I would not mind smoking this one again either.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Costa Rican cigars, Puriscal Factory of Tobaccos, Xiphos | Tags: , , , ,

Montecristo ‘A’

Years and years ago, before I discovered that Cuban cigars and me aren’t a match made in heaven and that I prefer Nicaraguans better I ran into this Montecristo A in a shop in Antwerp, Belgium. It was Huis Verloo, a very renowned shop that is now part of the Davidoff group but back then it was independent and a must visit for every cigar and liquor aficionado due to their huge collection in both items. Now as I said, it was a long time ago and even though I wasn’t a knowledgeable as I am nowadays I knew I had to buy that cigar as it was pretty rare and hard to find as this was pre La Casa del Habano in the Benelux era. I don’t have the box code for the cigar as I did not understand the importance of that either back then, but it is at least 7 years old and I haven’t had the courage to smoke it but today that’s going to change. I’m going to light it and review it.


The cigar is the longest Habanos in production I think as this Gran Corona measures 9.3 inch and it has a 47 ring gauge. Now I smoked a few ‘A’ sized cigars before and I always liked the size. The construction feels ok, there is a little bit of a soft spot at a third but not too much too really complain about, the overal look is good also due to the nicely glued triple cap. The ring is the classic, simple Montecristo brown ring with white letters that has been copied so often. The wrapper is a nice medium brown with tooth and due to the tooth it feels like fine sanding paper. I smell a mild vanilla and wood aroma.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw surprised me, guess this is a lucky day because the draw is flawless. I taste a spicy and peppery hay flavor before I lit the cigar with a soft flame lighter. Those flavors are gone the moment the flame hits the tobacco, it’s all leather then. Due to the size the smoke feels cool in my mouth. After a centimeter I taste leather but with a tiny hint of orange. The structure of the flavors feel creamy. The leather is slowly getting stronger and the orange is gone in a few puffs.  Still in the first third I get a minty flavor with the leather. The draw starts to get a little tight so I cut the cigar to widen the opening compared to the punched hole and that solves the issue. It’s still mainly leather and the minty flavor now also has a hint of orange again.


After a third I the leather fades away a bit and I taste a mild chocolate with the leather. The cigar also has some pepper and a fresh aftertaste. Halfway I taste toast with leather and pepper. Soon after the toast changes to wood, with still leather and pepper. After two thirds I taste nuts with a good amount of pepper.


I’m very happy with the great draw, I’ve had lesser experiences especially with Cuban cigars. The smoke is thin though and low in quantity too. The ash is salt and pepper colored, you can clearly see the layers in the ash and it’s reasonable firm. The burn is straight and slow. The cigar is medium to medium plus bodied with a full flavor. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, and that has nothing to do with this cigar but I’m not taking a risk of buying a very expensive cigar with my bad experiences with Cuban quality control. On a regular priced cigar I’m willing to take a risk but in crazy €50 or more price tags I won’t.

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Montecristo (Habanos), Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

My Father 9/11 Ecuador Rosado Habano Robusto

As we all know, on september 11th 2001 the western world got shocked by an attack on our freedom by terrorists. The World Trade Centre in New York City was targeted by two airplanes and in the chaos 3000 people lost their life, including 343 brave fire fighters who came to the rescue. 10 years later My Father Cigars and Casa de Montecristo teamed up to commemorate their brave offer with a limited edition box, 343 made, with 9 Ecuadorean Rosado Habano and 11 Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapped cigars and all the proceedings from this box went to charity. I was lucky enough to buy a box of a fellow aficionado in need of some cash a few months later. I had smoked a few but never reviewed one, and there isn’t a more appropriate day than today.

 


The box, white with a custom logo that looks like a fire fighters batch with the twin towers on the shield says “we will never forget” both on the top as on the front of the box and it is hand numbered. My box in box 233 of 343. inside there is a piece of paper with the following text: ‘In tribute of the fallen heroes o 9/11 and in the spirit of remembrance, honor and hope My Father Cigar Company and Casa de Montecristo join to comemorate the 10th anniversary of the 343 fallen firefighters of 9/11. Presenting our special limited production blend of My Father Cigars with 9 Ecuadorian Habano Rosado and 11 Nicaraguan Habano Oscar in each box. 343 boxes are produced to honor the 343 fallen firefighter heroes’.

 


The cigars are naked, and with that I mean that except for cellophane, they have no rings. Now usually I give points for rings too, that is impossible now so instead I gave points for the box and the whole thought behind this limited edition and just because of that I have given it the full 50 points. The cigars can only be kept apart by the color of the wrapper, and thats only a slight color difference. The wrapper is quite dark with a little tooth, a long thin vein and some oil, it looks beautiful but a ring would have finished it. The construction is immaculate, the triple cap is flawless and the cigar has a strong barnyard aroma, even after 6 years I still smell some ammonia.

 


I punched the cigar and when I try the cold draw, which is flawless, I taste a very spicy, peppery and acidic flavor. The first flavors I taste after I lit the cigar with my soft flame are dark roast black coffee with some toast. Quickly some sugar appears with spices. After an inch the flavors have changed to coffee, nutmeg, pepper, a hint of cocoa and some citrus. Then all of a sudden the flavors change to toast, pepper and chocolate with a citrus aftertaste. And after that I taste nuts with pepper. After two thirds the pepper becomes the main flavor.

 


The draw is great, quite flawless. The ash is rough, silver gray in color with black smears but it’s firm. The burn is a little crooked. The smoke is quite thick and plenty in amount. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish! I hope My Father releases this blend as a new regular line.

Score: 94
94

Categories: 94, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

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