Posts Tagged With: habanos

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’or No.3

When I started smoking cigars I was a fat guy, 400lbs/180kg, and I liked big cigars, robusto or thicker and refused to smoke thin cigars as I didn’t have the skills to truly enjoy them yet and because of the way it looked, I had a bowling ball shaped face and a thin cigar just looked strange I thought. But the owner of the shop that I frequented all the time, Marjolein Hartman from Hartman Cigars & More in Amsterdam, kept saying I needed to try this Cuban slim panetela, the La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’or #3. I said no a few times but because I trusted her judgement and knowledge I finally bought one and lit it. That cigar was a game changer for me, so flavorful, so dynamic and thats when I fell in love with thin cigars. I smoked the cigar in the shop and brought the box home, the box date was June 2002. This review is the last cigar I had left from that specific box.


Now back the bigger vs smaller ring cigars. I keep hearing that the popularity of big ring gauge cigars is because people get more tobacco for their money but I disagree. At Intertabac 2016 I had an interesting conversation with Steve Saka as he disagrees too but we both have a slightly different reason. Steve says its because most of the modern cigars aren’t mild to medium but medium plus to full bodied the bigger ring gauges, that tend to be milder compared to the thinner cigars, are more popular because they are milder and thats still a major part of the consumer base. I say its because a thicker cigar is easier to smoke, the burning temperature is lower so the cigar won’t overheat and won’t turn bitter (exactly the same reason why I always direct novice smokers to a robusto or thicker). On the other hand, why do other people love thin cigars so much? Because the wrapper to filler ratio is much better, wrapper gives the most flavor to a cigar, up to 80% sometimes, and if you have less filler you taste more of the wrapper plus the cigar gets way more dynamic, more evolution but you have to smoke slowly to prevent the cigar from overheating. It takes experience and skill to truly enjoy a thin cigar.


Now the cigar itself, as I said, it is a thin cigar, thinner than my beloved lonsdales and lanceros, much thinner with a ring gauge of 28 while a lancero has a ring gauge of 38. If you don’t know how to measure that, it is measured in 1/64 of an inch, so this cigar is 28/64 of an inch wide which is less than 2/3rd of my pink and I have slim fingers. The length is Lancero size though, close to 7 inch. The wrapper has a bit of a rustic look to it, get the band of, leave it on the grounds in the woods and you might even think it belongs there due to the veins, but I guess thats part of the charm too. The wrapper is mild oily and chocolate milk colored. The cigar feels evenly packed, well constructed and its very hard to roll a cigar this skinny and to apply a triple cap. The ring is cute, a yellow circle with the portrait of a woman in a red cape, black letters La Gloria Cuban with a relatively big golden ring around it with at the bottom black letters Habana. The sides have the golden lining too with a red and white striped pattern and two golden medals on each side. Not a spectacular ring, but the tiny size makes it very cute. The aroma is quite mild and I smell a soapy flavor, some pepper and a little bit of a barnyard.


Due to the skinny size it is impossible to punch the cigar so I grabbed my Xikar cutter to find a tight draw that has a little pepper. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and straight from the start I taste a beautiful mix of leather, coffee and a mild chocolate. After a centimeter I taste mild salty nuts. After a third third I taste some cedar, some bitter herbs and a mild metallic flavors. Halfway I am surprised by the amount of pepper I taste. After two thirds a nutty flavor joins the pepper, I also taste some salt.


Due to the difficult draw the smoke is thin too and not too much either. The ash is quite dark gray, layered and reasonably firm. The burn is straight as a line. There is a lot of evolution, as can be expected from a skinny cigar. The cigar is medium in both body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are discontinued, Habanos is moving more and more into the big ring cigars. And my preferences changed I guess, I’m not liking this as much as I used to and that counts for most Cubans.

Score: 89
89

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, La Gloria Cubana (Habanos), Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month July

Late 2016 I had the plan to post a review every Wednesday and every Sunday in 2017 with an added review on the 15th of each month as a series of Lancero reviews but I reviewed so many cigars that I had to post more, so for a few cigars I did a ‘full series review in one’, I added a few special dates to commemorate certain people, celebrate birthdays, last month I did a full week of review and this month I posted two extra Oliva Master Blend reviews so that the 1, 2 and 3 were posted in line. So, just like last month, there are more cigars rated this month than I expected to do. And the first 4 cigars all came very close to each other, with just tenths of a points in difference.

The cigar with the highest rate in July is:

Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill with a 94 score.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in July:

1) Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Oliva Master Blend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) 94 points
4) Ilja VII by My Father A (Nicaragua) 94 points
5) Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Sumatra Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Oliva Master Blend 3 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Illusione ~hl~ Maduro Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
8) Lars Tetens Steampunk Toro (USA) 92 points
9) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Puros de Hostos Box Pressed Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
       Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto (Costa Rica) 91 points
12) Puros de Hostos Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Romeo y Julieta #2 Tubo (Cuba) 87 points
14) Padilla Artisan Perfecto (Nicaragua) 87 points
15) Te Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto (Mexico) 86 points
16) Te Amo World Selection Series Mexican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 85 points
17) Te Amo World Selection Series Honduran Blend Robusto (Mexico) 80 points
18) Te Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Robusto (Mexico) 79 points
19) Te Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 76 points

 

 

 


The first 12 cigars all rated 91 or higher, with two cigars with the exact same score on the 10th spot. The complete top 12 I would smoke again with pleasure. Number 14 on the list is one of the best looking cigars I ever smoked though but the top 6 are all limited editions that cannot be bought anymore.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romeo y Julieta No.2 Tubo

I started to smoke in december 2005 on a vacation to Asia. One of my closest friends is married to an Indonesian woman, they were going to Indonesia and Philip asked me to come along so he didn’t have to spend 4 weeks at his inlaws. So on december 14th we jumped on a plane to Singapore, spend 3 days in that beautiful city (where 11 years later I would get married to my Singaporean wife, but thats a whole other story) and before we got on the plane to Jakarta we bought a bottle of good whisky and a handful of premium Cigars. Cohiba, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. In Indonesia we would smoke a cigar every night with a glass of that whisky and I loved it so I decided to keep smoking cigars once I got back to The Netherlands. On the flight back I maxed out my creditcard at the cigar shop at Changi Airport on singles to have a wide variety and back in The Netherlands I started to sample. The cigar that really sparked my interest in the world of premium cigars was the Guantanamera Cristales, that might sound weird but I’ll explain. That cigar was so horrible that I realized that there is a lot off difference between cigars, that a cigar is not just a bunch of rolled up tobacco and I wanted to learn more.

 


I joined a Dutch board which I later owned and turned into the #1 source for premium cigars, news, reviews in Dutch until I had to give it away due to Dutch laws since I started to work in the industry and it would be considered advertising.  But that’s a side step, when I was new on that board someone joined and he bought a bankrupt cigar shop but he bought it so he could sell the cigarettes in his supermarket and he needed to unload the cigars cheap. I got a few boxes from that sale like a box of Partagas deluxe tubes and a few boxes of Romeo y Julieta No.2 tubos with a box date of december 2006 and I will be smoking one of those cigars now for a review.

 


The cigars are probably one of the first batches with the ‘new’ designed tubes, instead of the aluminum colored tubes that Habanos used before these tubes are white with a red cap, the Romeo y Julieta band printed on the tube as well as the name and the type ‘romeo no.2’. I twist off the cap and I find a medium brown, think milk chocolate, wrapper with a thin yet high veins but also here and there a sparkle of the minerals that the wrapper contains. The construction feels great and the cap is nicely finished. The ring is small and red with a white outline, golden decorations and white lettering saying romeo y julieta habana and in the centre rodriguez aguelles y Co. The cigar has a nice, quite strong, deep and dark soil and manure aroma.

 


I cut the cigar and find a little tight draw with a fresh but peppery hay flavor. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and straight on i taste coffee with a little freshness. After a few puffs the flavors change to a more leather flavor with a hint of chocolate. After a third it’s a mix of leather, wood and something metallic. In the aftertaste I taste a faint chocolate. After two thirds I taste leather, some nuttiness and pepper, and the pepper slowly gets stronger.

 


The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume but beautifully white. The draw is just a little tight and I really mean a little. The ash is gray with dark smears but firm. The burn is great. The cigar is medium bodied, medium full flavored but lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have over half a box left, so for now I won’t but its a decent cigar after 10 years of aging but the lack of evolution and the less than perfect draw play a big part in the score.

Score: 87

87

Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos), Romeo y Julieta Factory | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ramon Allones 898 RE Alemania 2014

The marketing manager from Habanos who came up with the regional editions idea was worth his weight in gold or even diamonds as the concept has proven to be a huge success for at over a decade with a growing number of releases every year and a peak in 2011. The number of releases now is a bit lower due to a few bad crops that caused a shortage of tobacco and therefore a lower number of cigars that can be made. It started in 2005 with Regional Editions for Italy and Switzerland but a year later France, Germany and Asia followed and then the ball really got rolling with a whole lot of cigar smokers chasing the Regional Editions from all over the world. And in the beginning I fell for the marketing too, chased a few before I realized it was nothing special, just another vitola for an added price and a whole lot of hassle to find then and get them into my humidor.


Now what I did notice is that Germany has had a few exclusivo releases that spark my interest due to the vitola. I like the skinny cigars and so far they had a Por Larranaga Lonsdale, Bolivar Lancero, Punch Sir John and this 2014 Ramon Allones 898 with ring gauges under 50. I reviewed the Bolivar No.2 (Lancero) earlier this year, now I’m going to review the Ramon Allones 898, a 6 3/4×43 Cuban puro that was gifted to me by my friend Kolja Kukuk from Cigar Consult International.


The cigar has a nice, mild shiny and oily, medium brown wrapper with a few thin veins. The construction feels good and the triple cap is esthetically well done. As for the rings, I said it before and I will say it again: I don’t like it that they use the same ‘exclusivo’ rings for every brand, even when it combines badly with the brand ring. I know some might say “but it makes it easy to recognize that its a regional edition” and I agree but then do a brand ring in the same colors for the regional edition instead of making it look like a carnival. I mean, every designer with just a little photoshop skills can change the color of the pretty nice Ramon Allones ring (a bright red circle with a golden logo surrounded by a bigger brown circle and white letters saying Ramon Allones Habana surrounded by a thick golden outline) so it would match nicely with the burgundy silver and white exclusivo ring and then the cigar would look 10 times better. It would also mean the exclusivo series are even more special. That is a missed opportunity. The quality of the rings is very good though, no complaints there, its just that they don’t match. The cigar has a mild aroma of barnyard with some fresh urine due to the ammonia.


I cut cigar with my Xikar. The cold draw has a little too much resistance and a quite peppery and spicy flavor. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste leather with pepper. The leather is growing stronger. The pepper fades a little and instead I taste honey with the leather. After a third it’s still leather with honey but the pepper is back in the aftertaste and it’s quite strong for a Cuban cigar. Once I passed the midway point I also taste a little chocolate. After two thirds I also taste some nuts and a little metallic flavor.


The draw is a little on the tight side but not too much to call it plugged. The ash is beautiful light gray and dense. The smoke is thin and only a little bit of it, I think it has to do with the tight draw. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, the flavors are good but the cigar lost a lot of points due to the lack of evolution, the minor amount of smoke and the tight draw. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah for a reasonable price. With a better draw this cigar would scored a couple of points higher. I did like the flavors.

Score: 86

86

Categories: 86, Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory, Ramon Alones (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

La Flor de Cano Casanova RE Italy

I worked in several industries from pharmaceutical to the entertainment industry and the cigar industry. While in most industries its just work and once you’re gone you’re out of sight and out of mind, the cigar industry is different. You form friendships and connections that last even when you leave the industry, weather its on free will or not. And this cigar is proof of that. How you might ask? Well, I got this cigar from Yuri Dijkstra, owner of the La Casa del Habano Almere, probably the most beautiful shop in The Netherlands and trust me, I’ve seen them all. I’m not a big fan of Cuban cigars, so me saying this about a La Casa del Habano means a lot. But him giving me a cigar isn’t proof of the bonding you do in the cigar industry. Oh, and to add, the day he gave me the cigar this Regional Edition of Italy was only released a few days before.


I saw Yuri at the funeral of Berry van Nugteren, owner of Van Lookeren Cigars in Amsterdam (if you’re ever in Amsterdam, visit them, great people, fantastic lounge). Berry was not just a shop owner but always looking for ways to elevate the whole game in The Netherlands, helping others, having a vision for the future and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He kept fighting, not just for his health, but also to grow the market for everybody. I met Berry years before, as an account, but I visited him at home to smoke a cigar when he was ill and unable to go to the shop, he lend me his Porsche Cayenne when I had to drive Andre Farkas, Abe & Judy Flores and myself with our luggage to Intertabac and hardly fit into my Volvo V40, he visited me at my private lounge in my home to smoke a few cigars and even though I lost my job in the industry we stayed in touch and I visited his funeral where I ran into Yuri. Yuri is very partial to Cubans while I’m all about Nicaragua, yet we formed a friendship too that exists even after he sold his shop and started a La Casa del Habano where I had nothing to sell to, so it’s not about business and that makes the cigar industry so great.


Even though this cigar was released mid april 2017, it is the 2016 Edicion Regional for Italy, a petit robusto, 4 1/3×50 sized for the La Flor de Cano brand and is dubbed Casanova after the legendary ladies man. The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a spark of minerals, a mild shine and no big veins. I can see a big vein on the binder though. When I look at the foot of the cigar it looks very well packed and it feels the same way which makes me worry about the draw, something I do anyway with Cuban cigars. The ring is a new design, much better than the old one. A white ring with golden details and a red circle with the old logo in gold. It looks clean, sharp and is very clear. I am digging this new ring a lot. The secondary ring is the regular exclusivo ring we have seen for the last 12 years. Much to my surprise I don’t smell ammonia in this young cigar but pure manure.


I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight so I decided to cut instead which only improved the draw by a little bit. I taste a sharp and spicy raisin flavor. One I lit the cigar I taste a mildly harsh leather with a mild chocolate sweetness. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and a faint chocolate. Halfway I taste nuts, salt and pepper. The cigar is gaining strength with an almost Nicaraguan, original Don Pepin twang pepper.


The draw is good, better than the cold draw and the tightly packed construction suggested. The smoke is medium in body and volume. The ash is quite dark and firm and there are white spots on the dark ash. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored, strong for a Cuban.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a Cuban that I would love to smoke more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Flor de Cano (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve

A few months ago I invited some friends over for a few cigars and one of them had actually never been to my new home, with man cave & walk in humidor, he had been to my previous apartment though. He is an avid Cuban smoker, but not snobbish about it and always willing to try non Cuban cigars. As a thank you for the invite he brought me a Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve. He knows that I’m not the biggest Cuban fan to say the least and he wanted to give me something he knew I would never buy for myself. And he was right. Tonight I’m going to review that 5×55 cigar, which is thick for a Cuban and thick for me.


The Grand Reserve series was first seen in 2009 and Habanos claims that they select special tobacco for the Grand Reserve series and that the tobacco ages a minimum of 5 years before being rolled. Now that might impress Cuban smokers, it doesn’t impress me nor does it impress anybody with knowledge about non Cubans as 5 years isn’t very long. The tobacco for this Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve is from the 2009 crop and was released in 2015. 5000 boxes of 15 cigars were released worldwide, so they are pretty rare.


The cigar has a brown reddish glow and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head of the cigar is very flat. The rings, Habanos have specific rings for special releases and use the same rings on whatever brand the release is and often those rings don’t combine very well. This is not the case with the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve, the three rings match. On top there is the classic red Romeo y Julieta ring with the white line, white letters and golden decorations, the second ring is the “old Romeo style” ring that is always used on the wide churchill as a nod to the original rings, golden with black letters and then there is what looks like a third ring but is actually still the second ring, the Grand Reserve ring, that is black with golden lining and golden lettering Habana Cuba and the Grand Reserve logo. The aroma is classic Cuban, barnyard with a hint of ammonia, mild to medium strong.


Due to the size I decided to punch instead of cut. Recently I prefer to punch anyway. The cold draw is tight, I might have to cut after all or worse, use my draw poker. I taste a mild bitter taste that I can’t describe, but it’s not unpleasant. The usual vintage Ronson is used to light the cigar. The first taste is bitterness on the tip of my tongue. The bitterness quickly fades and changes to some chocolate with some herbs. After a centimeter I taste some wood with a little bit of herbs. The chocolate is gone. After a third I taste a very mild pepper on the background. The cigar has a wood undertone but all the flavors are medium at max. After two thirds i taste some nice dark chocolate which i like. Slowly I discover some nuts too with some licorice.


The draw is on the tight side and that causes the smoke to be medium thick at most and not too big in volume. The burn is crooked and the ash is silver gray and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible within my budget, the cigars were priced crazy high when they were released and that price only has gone up. And even then, this cigar isn’t made for my palate. With a better draw the score would have been 2 points higher though.

Score: 84

84

Categories: 84, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos), Romeo y Julieta Factory | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Bolivar Especiales No.2 Exclusivo Alemania

This is the fourth lancero review and it’s a Cuban cigar, a German regional edition. When I started to smoke cigars and was uneducated I smoked a lot of Cubans and my favorite brands were H. Upmann, Bolivar and Punch. And I fell for the marketing too, hunting down regional editions even though it’s not made with limited tobacco, alternate blends, it’s just the regular blend is a limited made vitola, nothing special and nowadays Cuba seems to produce more limiteds than regular production cigars with the anejados, limiteds, gran reserva and regional editions. Once I realized the bull shit of the regional editions I stopped chasing them but when I read about the Bolivar lancero aka Especiales No.2 as a regional edition for the German market in 2009 I knew I had to buy a few as I love that vitola.


So once they were released I got in my car and drove all the way to Dusseldorf, to the biggest lounge in Europe with the biggest selection in Germany including a lot of shop exclusive cigars. Cigarworld is more than just a shop with a huge selection and a beautiful and big lounge, on the second floor they have a smaller lounge and a smaller humidor that is reachable either by a stair from the lounge or from a separate entry on the side of the building and that humidor and lounge are an official La Casa del Habano with all the unique LCDH releases. Since I’m not into Cuban cigars a lot it doesn’t mean a lot to me but I can understand that it’s a great move from owners Marc & Patricia Benden to include a LCDH at their location because it still appeals to a lot of people and now they get all the LCDH releases and way more of the limited editions than non LCDH shops. Completely off topic, but if you are traveling to visit a LCDH, check out the one in Almere, that is most likely the most beautiful shop i’ve seen in my life, their downstairs lounge is the bomb.


Now the wrapper is a nice milk chocolate brown with a few veins and a mild reddish glow, some parts have an oily shine while others don’t. It’s not the most beautiful wrapper I have ever seen but also not the worst. The construction feels good but the proof is in the pudding, especially with Cuban cigars and double with hard to roll vitolas like the lancero. The rings, printed by Vrijdag printing in Eindhoven (NL), are well known amongst cigar smokers, a yellow circle with the picture of Simon Bolivar with a golden dotted outline. The golden outline continue to the back while the inside is red and white striped and covered in the medaille d’or that Bolivar won in the past. The second band is silver colored with a white dotted line on both bottom and top, a big red band with white lettering exclusivo Alemania. The cigar measures 7.6 inch with a ring of 38. It has a triple cap like all Habanos hand made cigars. I cut the cigar with a straight cut and I just took the cap off. The cold draw is good and taste hay with a mild freshness and some spices. The cigar has a mild barnyard aroma.


I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson soft flame. The first flavor is a spicy yet sweet coffee. It’s a little bit bitter. After a few puffs the flavor changes to a little cedar with far far on the background some milk chocolate but the chocolate disappears quickly. I now taste cedar with dried grass soon to be followed by a cumin flavor. This cigar is dynamic to the extreme and a testament of why I love these thin sticks. After a third I taste spicy wood with a very mild cumin and a little bit of honey. The cumin changes into nutmeg and the wood loses its spice. In the aftertaste I get some black pepper. Halfway I taste spices with caramel and there’s a mild pepper on the back of my throat. Sometime later the flavor changes to salty nuts with some pepper. That is to be replaced with oak and pepper a few puffs later. After two thirds the salty nuts are back with a little bit of lemon.


The draw is surprisingly good, I was expecting the worse. The smoke is thick and abundant, nice and white colored too. The ash is salt and pepper colored and you can see the layers. The ash isn’t too firm at the start, later it is. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a medium to full bodied cigar and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was a regional edition, they can’t be found anywhere unless you go to the collectors market and pay more than top dollar. But this is a great Cuban cigar and it shows that they still can make great cigars.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

H. Upmann Half Corona

In 2011 Habanos released a new H. Upmann vitola, and since H. Upmann is my favorite Cuban brand I was excited to hear the news, especially since it wasn’t a 55+ ring release but a small cigar, a 3 1/2×44 Half Corona. At first they came in dress boxes of 25 cigars but the big boom came a year later when they released the same cigar in beautiful tins of 5 cigars each. The tins were perfect to take cigars with you and fitted right into your shirts pocket. The tins were so popular that they sold out quickly and it took a long time for Habanos to restock the Dutch market.


Now I don’t smoke a lot of Cubans, there is too much to complain about when it comes to the aging of tobacco, the quality of the rollers, the quality of tobacco and especially the myth that the Cuban cigars are the best in the world. They used to be, there is no denying that and yes, Cuban tobacco has a specific flavor you won’t find in tobacco elsewhere just like Ometepe tobacco has specific characteristics, like Pennsylvania Broadleaf has specific characteristics and so on, but hardliners only talk about the characteristics of the Cubans like Cuban tobacco is divine and I happen to have another opinion. My take is that yes, Cubans used to be the best and I even think that Cuban cigars have the potential to be the best again but right now they are not and if the regime and mentality on Cuba doesn’t change they won’t be the best ever again. They rush the tobacco and cigars out, the fermentation of the tobacco and the aging of the cigars are not properly done, the quality control is poor (only 4% of the Cuban cigars are tested for quality) and the land is depleted due to mono culture and a lack of fertilizer. And it’s a shame, the quality of Cuban cigars could be out of this world if everything was done right. I could write a whole editorial about this if I want, but then again, this is a review blog so let stick to reviewing and hope that that Habanos sees their problems and deals with them accordingly.


The Half Corona that i’m smoking for this review comes from a box with the box code of april 2013. Now stamping the boxes with a code is something I love about the Cuban cigar industry. If I owned a factory or brand I would do the same, of go even a step further with a stamp that mentions the month and year the cigars are rolled but also the year of the crop of the wrapper, binder and filler just to inform the consumer on the age of the tobacco and cigars. The wrapper is a nice medium brown, like milky chocolate, with few minor veins and the triple cap is beautiful. What I do notice about the cigar is the way the foot has been cut, its not straight, if I put the cigar on its foot the cigar had the same tilt as the leaning tower of Pisa as you can see in the picture above. When I touch the cigar I feel a soft spot at the head of the cigar, which actually doesn’t surprise me considering the low quality control on Cuba. The band is the regular H. Upmann band, not fancy, very classic. The cigar has a manure aroma to it, medium strong. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is a bit on the tough side.


I light the cigar with my trusted Ronson varaflame which is older than I am.  I taste coffee and a wooden flavor but it’s mild to medium. After a short time I taste a very mild peanut flavor, unsalted peanuts. Slowly the flavors are a little bit stronger and I taste now some earthy flavors with the peanut. After two thirds I taste earthy flavors with some white pepper on my lips. The flavor than changes to nuts. At the end i alsof taste some citrus.


The draw has a little more resistance than I like, but I’ve had worse, especially in Cubans. The smoke is thin, gray and not a lot of volume. The ash is light gray, firm and dense. The burn is quite good, not razor sharp but good enough. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about 50 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have half a box and even though I love the size I rather smoke the Joya Red Half Corona if I want this vitola.

Score: 85

85

Categories: 85, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos), H. Upmann Factory | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Partagas serie D #4 aged 2008

Before Habanos started with the anejados project, the distributer for The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg came up with that idea and they called it the aged series. They released a few vitolas form a few brands so far, I smoked the Partagas D4 aged 2008.
112215psd4aged1
The cigar has a little aroma which reminds me of a barnyard and I notice that the band is a bit wide, so it’s pretty lose around the cigar. The wrapper isn’t shiny at all but has a nice chocolate brown wrapper with just a few minor veins. The construction feels good and the predraw is fine, it’s pretty spicy with some black pepper.
112215psd4aged2
I taste leather, as you get with lots of Cuban cigars, and pepper, all quite full with a little refined sugar but the sugar disappears after a centimeter. That’s about the only thing that happens in the first third. After that the flavors change into caramel and pepper.
112215psd4aged3
Halfway I taste a lot of leather again with some chili pepper, the caramel is gone and it’s pretty much the same until I reach the last part of the cigar. That last part is very good, I taste nice spices with some chili pepper.
112215psd4aged4
The draw on this cigar was fine, which is a stroke of luck when buying Cuban cigars and the burn wasn’t bad either, only had to correct it a little bit. The light gray ash is reasonably firm. This medium flavored and medium to full bodied cigar lasted me for an hour and forty minutes.
112215psd4aged5
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a fine example of what Cuban cigars can be, in 2008 the crop was considerably better than current production as the soil wasn’t so depleted as it is today, the tobacco got time to ferment and the cigar got to age 7 years instead of being sold way too young.

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


Categories: Cuban cigars, Partagas (Habanos), Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Romeo y Julieta No.2

I don’t smoke that many Cuban cigars, I’m just not a fan of under fermented tobacco rolled by unmotivated rollers, hardly no quality control and full of lies about tobacco used. It’s a shame how the quality of Cuban cigars has declined in the last decade due to all the cut corners in the growing, fermenting, aging and producing the cigars combined with the mono culture and the lack of good fertilizer.


The cigar looks nice, a light colored but veiny wrapper. The cigar has a mild hay aroma. The predraw is surprisingly good and I get a fresh minty flavor, cigar doesn’t have knots or spongy areas, I might be lucky.


Toasty with some coffee is what I taste, but the cigar is also harsh. The flavors are a bit creamy. After a centimeter I get some pepper, some wood and all a bit harsh.


After a third a nasty chemical tar like flavor, it’s horrible, if it wasn’t for a review I would have tossed this cigar. Halfway it’s gets a bit better but it’s still not a pleasant smoke. I taste wood with still a bit tar and also mint.

Last third is missing that horrible flavor, which is a plus, but I can’t say that I really enjoy the cigar. Too harsh, some wood, some toast and pepper but way too harsh.

I get a nice amount of very light smoke, which is reasonably thick. The ash is silver gray and frayed. Burn is slightly crooked, but the draw is fine. The cigar lasted me 50 minutes.


Would I buy this again? No, another fine example why I hardly ever smoke Cubans.

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 8

Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 6
Aroma second part: 2

Aroma third part: 5

Categories: Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos), Romeo y Julieta Factory | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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