Posts Tagged With: habanos

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: , , , , | Leave a 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

Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto *revisited*

3 years ago I reviewed this 4×50 Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto but forgot to take pictures. This is my first Hoyo de Monterrey petit robusto since, I bought it to update my old review with pictures and decided to review the new cigar too.
071106hoyodemonterreypetitrobusto1
The wrapper is silky, somewhat dark and it has quite some veins. The cigar smells of leather and barnyard. The construction feels good and the predraw is fine. I can hardly taste anything in the predraw. The cigar has a € 8.40 price tag in The Netherlands
071106hoyodemonterreypetitrobusto2
I taste peppery leather and coffee, quite full and strong and after half an inch the pepper disappears and the leather becomes mild sweet. Soon after the cigar flavors change to an earthy flavor with some leather and quite some herbs on the background with some pepper.
071106hoyodemonterreypetitrobusto4
Halfway the leather disappears, I taste an earthy flavor with herbs. After two thirds the sweetness returns with the herbs and some leather. The earthy flavor has gone. Near the end I even taste a licorice like flavor.

 

It took me an hour to finish this short stogie. I got a lot of smoke which was reasonably thick. The silver-gray ash is firm. The draw is great but I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
071106hoyodemonterreypetitrobusto5
Would I buy this cigar again? I might, I am not as impressed as I was 3 years ago

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

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

Bolivar Simones RE Canada

In 2007 Canada got their first Regional Release from Habanos SA with the Bolivar Simones, a 5×48 Hermosos #4. I was able to get my hands on a few due to some trades and a group buy.
101110bolivarsimones1
The cigar has a pale brown wrapper with some spots and one vein. It is a Cuban cigar, so it’s triple capped. The construction feels good but the cigar doesn’t have a lot of aroma. I have to try hard to smell a bit of wood. The predraw is fine and leaves a soft, mild spicy, nut flavor on my palate.
101110bolivarsimones2
I taste a mild bitter coffee flavor and some leather, but the coffee is clearly the dominant flavor. The feeling in my mouth is dry. After half an inch the bitterness disappears and a hazelnut flavor joins the party, but the nuts taste mildly burned.
101110bolivarsimones3
After an inch and a half the flavors change to earthy tones, leather and a hint of the hazelnut. Halfway the leather becomes stronger and the dominant flavor, the earth favor becomes the support and the hazelnuts are just an aftertaste. At ⅔ the nuts become a bit stronger, but still a support for the leather and the aftertaste.
101110bolivarsimones4
I got a lot of smoke during the 55 minutes this cigar lasted. The draw is good, just like the burn. The ash is quite dark. I would rate this cigar medium to full flavored and medium bodied.
101110bolivarsimones5
Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few, won’t buy them again. They are nice, but there are better Bolivars out there

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

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

La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’or #3

I usually steer away from the small ring gauge cigars, because a guy with a fat face like me smoking a thin cigar looks pretty gay, but the owner of one of my favorite B&M’s kept advising me to try this La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’or #3. She kept telling me it was one of the best cigars she smoked in the last few years, and because she knows what she is talking about and I respect her opinions I bought one.


This really thin cigar has a length of 6 ¾ inch and a very small ring of 28. The wrapper is nice light brown and smooth. The aroma is mild and reminds me of a barnyard. This cigar is elegant and slender. Even though it is a thin cigar, the triple cap looks amazing. The predraw is good, mild peppery. The cigar had a box date of June 02.


I get a full sweet leather flavor with a mild chocolate aftertaste and a hint of pepper, all with a mild creamy feel to it. I am impressed. After an inch the sweetness become a little bit more dominant. The flavors stick to the palate. Halfway the cigar becomes a little less sweet and the leather tones down a bit too. Creamy chocolate is now the dominant flavor and slowly some spices join the party. The chocolate, spices and leather are perfectly in balance. After 2/3rd I get a dose of spices, mild peppery with a creamy chocolate aftertaste. This is the flavor that sticks around till I burn my fingers.


The cigar gave me a great 75 minute smoke. The smoke was medium thick and there was plenty of it. The ash is quite dark but there are weird white grains on the ash. The burn is sharp, but unfortunately the burn dies quite easily, which is annoying when you have to smoke slowly to prevent the cigar to become bitter and harsh. This little stick is full flavor and medium bodied.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, ordered 2 boxes straightaway. I fell in love with this stick. Marjolein (the owner of the B&M) was right, this is an amazing smoke.

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

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

Bolivar Fabulosos RE Benelux

Bolivar is my favorite Cuban marca, so you can imagine how happy I was to hear that one of the two Benelux RE’s would be a Bolivar, and in my favorite vitola too, a robusto with a size of 5.3 x 52.
090921bolivarfabulososbeneluxre1
The cigar has a nice light colored oily wrapper with some minor veins. The classic triple cap and the full barnyard aroma confirm that this is a Cuban cigar. The construction feels good, no noticeable plugs or weak spots.
090921bolivarfabulososbeneluxre2
I get a full and spicy leather flavor, and on the background I can discover some nut flavors although that flavor comes and goes. After an inch I also get a creamy chocolate flavor, but instead of sticking on the palate, which creamy chocolate usually does, this flavor doesn’t stick in the mouth. The leather disappears completely but the spicy pepper is still noticeable while the chocolate disappears.

Halfway the chocolate makes a comeback and the pepper grows in strength. The nuts return at the 2/3rd point and that flavor grows slowly in strength towards the end. After 85 minutes I drop the nub in the ashtray.
090921bolivarfabulososbeneluxre3
I get enough smoke, although the smoke is somewhat thin and the color isn’t very attractive, it’s a bit gray. The ash is quite dark but firm. The burn was great until midway, after that I got some burn problems and had to correct a few times. This is a full flavored full bodied cigar.
090921bolivarfabulososbeneluxre5
Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt about it. This is a very nice and enjoyable cigar right now and it has a lot of aging potential. I am impressed that a Cuban cigar this young can be this nice.

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

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

Blog at WordPress.com.