Posts Tagged With: habanos

La Gloria Cubana Duke Exclusivo Países Bajos

This cigar was released in september 2017 but it’s in the book as a 2016 release. I guess that’s the Cuban calendar. This cigar is a Duke size, 5.5 inch by 54, a robusto extra as some others would call it. And this cigar was a gift from my friend Nasier, who works at Van Lookeren, a tobacconist in Amsterdam with the nicest lounge in speakeasy style underneath the shop. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, go visit Nasier and the lounge, you won’t be disappointed.


I said it before, the marketing genius that came up with the regional editions is worth his weight in gold, and probably several times. The same, normal blend, just a different vitola, and added ring with the region it’s exclusive to and a limited number of boxes and the whole world goes crazy, everybody is hunting down these cigars. Even I fell for the scheme when the first regional editions hit the market and I’m not a Cuban cigar smoker.


The cigar looks good, the shiny wrapper looks good, light brown, brittle but tasty. The ring is yellow with a drawing of a lady in a red cape, golden outlines and a secondary ring in red and silver with white lettering. On one hand I like the consistency of the Cubans that they use the same design for the edicion regional rings, on the other hand, they don’t fit with the regular rings most of the times. The cigar has a flat head, feels evenly packed and even though it looked like the foot was crooked, the cigar stands up straight. The aroma of the cigar tells me it’s still very young, probably too young.


I used my double blade cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste a mild acidic raisin flavor with some pepper on the background. After lighting I taste coffee with nutmeg, a little pepper and dry cep. After half an inch I taste vanilla, nutmeg and leather. After a third I taste leather with a little vanilla and cedar. Halfway I taste cinnamon. The final third starts with a sharp and strong pepper with a citrus and vanilla base flavor. The wrapper tears and I had to remove it. The aftertaste is peppery with a minty undertone.


The draw is great, the smoke is thick and full. The ash is white with black smears, it’s a bit coarse. The burn is classic Cuban, all over the board and I had to correct a few times. This is a mild to medium bodied and medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, burn issues, wrapper issues at the final third and the cigar is too mild for me.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, La Gloria Cubana (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Cohiba Lancero (vintage)

A few months ago a few friends came over to my place to hang out and smoke a few cigars in my mancave. One of them gave me a Cohiba Lancero with at least 15 years of age on them. Now as you know, I’m not the biggest fan of Cubans but I know that the vintage Cubans are a completely different animal. That’s because back then the tobacco got the time to ferment properly, the cigars got time to marry flavors, the soil wasn’t depleted yet and the strain of tobacco was better and stronger. Add that to my love of lanceros and you’ll understand that I was very pleased with his kind and generous gift.


In 1963 the blend was rolled for the first time and it became the   personal cigar for Fidel Castro and it was only available in this lancero vitola. It didn’t have a brand name until 1966 when the Cohiba name was chosen and it became the official diplomatic cigar for the Cuban government but in 1984 the brand was released officially and became available worldwide except for America. New lines were added and Cohiba became the flagship of the Cuban cigar industry.


This 7.6×38 lancero has a pale, veiny wrapper and it looks a bit crooked. The ring is an old version of the Cohiba ring, no gold, no embossing, no hologram and I bet that if I posted a picture of it in one of the many cigar groups people would scream FAKE. The cigar has a nice triple cap with a small pig tail and it feels evenly packed. I smell a faint hay smell, but there isn’t much aroma to it anymore.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is a bit tight. An elegant cigar deserves an elegant light, so I grabbed me vintage Ronson varaflame instead of desegregate the cigar by using a flaming hot torch. The flavor is a mild lemon with leather, old flavors, without question this is a vintage cigar. After half an inch I taste gingerbread and some sweetness. Halfway I taste pepper too, still with the sweet gingerbread and a vanilla like sweetness.


The draw is good, not perfect. The smoke is quite thin though, costing points in the final score. The light gray ash isn’t very firm. The burn is good, pretty straight and slow. This medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is very smooth and balanced, subtle as only a vintage cigar can be. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would love to smoke more, the low score mainly has to do with looks and smoke. Flavors were great. I nubbed it.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Cohiba (Habanos), Cuban cigars, El Laguito | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month March

Last month I reviewed 15 cigars and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst, and the worst was really terrible. One of the lowest ranking cigars on my blog ever!

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Don Lino Africa Kifaro with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Don Lino Africa Kifaro (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
3) Casa Fernandez Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Aurora Para Japon Sumo (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Liga Privada #9 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Montecristo Half Corona (cuba) 90 points
7) C.A.O. Anaconda (Honduras) 90 points
8) Viking Horseman Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
11) Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan (Honduras) 86 points
12) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Herencia (Nicaragua) 80 points
13) Avo XO Intermezzo (Dominican Republic) 79 points
14) Avo Dominant 13th Toro (Dominican Republic) 79 points
15) Di Grisogno For Women Only Corona (Dominican Republic) 73 points

 


 

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Montecristo Petit Robusto

Through a mutual friend I met Mike Choi at intertabac last september. Mike Choi is an authority when it comes to Cuban cigars, something which I’m not, my knowledge is in the non Cuban brands and more specifically Nicaraguan cigars. Mike opened his travel humidor and said “pick one, these are from the petit robusto selection” of which I never heard off. Anyway, I went for the Montecristo.


A search through google, and a little help from my friend, La Casa del Habano Almere owner, Yuri Dijkstra, pointed me in the right direction. It’s a sampler with five different Cuban brands all in the petit robusto size and I must say, the pictures look great. The brands included in the sampler are Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas and H. Upmann. Two cigars of each brand are included in the sampler. Maybe I should try to find one for a series of reviews.


The 4×50 cigars looks cute even though the wrapper is a bit rustic. The color reminds me of milk chocolate and the ring is the simple, regular brown and white montecristo ring. Well printed though, by Vrijdag printing in The Netherlands. The construction feels good and the cigar looks good too. Yet, when I set the cigar on its foot there is a resemblance to the leaning tower of Pisa. The cigar has that typical Cuban manure smell, medium strong.


After lighting I taste vanilla, coffee and hazelnut. After half an inch I get some more sweetness, a hint of vanilla and pepper, hazelnut and leather. Halfway it’s leather with a vanilla sugar flavor followed by a strong pepper in the aftertaste. Near the end I taste nuts again with a very peppery finish.


I cut the cigar and the draw is great. I taste a mild white pepper. The smoke is full, yet it has a bit of a brownish gray smoke. The ash is dense and has nice layers. The cigar is medium full bodied, medium flavored. The burn is pretty good and straight. The smoke time is fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked the cigar so I hope I can find that sampler for a fair price.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, Montecristo (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Romeo y Julieta Capuletos Limited Edition 2016

During my last visit to Singapore I met up the very talented designer Nuzli Hakiim, we’ve been Facebook friends for a while and he designed the fantastic Jas Sum Kral rings. He also posts the best pictures on instagram, so if you’re on instagram, follow him. I handed him some swag and a cigar and in return I got this Romeo y Julieta Edicion Limitada 2016, a cigar I have never smoked since I don’t buy Cubans.


In Singapore, where tobacco is very expensive and there is only a very limited cigar culture, Cubans are still the bulk of what’s being smoked and bought but it’s a new market and the more people get educated, the more knowledge they gain and the more non Cubans become available I am sure that people will start smoking better quality cigars in Singapore too. Yes, that is a bias statement but I’m not a big fan of overrated Cuban cigars, poorly fermented tobacco that’s being used without proper aging and all the bullshit Habanos keeps feeding the public. I do appreciate the gift though and smoke this cigar with that nice lunch at ‘Fumee by Habanos’ in Singapore in mind.


Back to the cigar. The wrapper feels soft and oily, it’s quite dark for a Cuban cigar with some discolored spots and a vein on the back. The cap is done perfectly and the cigar feels evenly packed with the same resistance or sponginess all over. The ring is the regular Romeo y Julieta ring with a secondary limitada ring added. The aroma is mild, very mild and smells like a barnyard.


I used a double guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fantastic, I taste raisin with sharp herbs. After lighting I taste a pleasant and full coffee with a little splash of nutmeg. After a third I taste cedar with pepper and nutmeg, the flavors are sharp. Little over halfway I still taste the sharp, harsh, cedar with herbs but now also with some nuts. The final inch is a vanilla cedar flavor, still a little harsh.


The draw is amazing, especially considering the reputation of Cuban cigars. The burn is not straight though. The smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The fragile ash is quite dark. This medium bodied, medium flavored cigar has a smoke time of an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nope!

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Cuban cigars, Romeo y Julieta (Habanos), Romeo y Julieta Factory | Tags: , , , | 1 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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Punch Platino Exclusivo India 2009

If you are a regular visitor of my blog, or if you know me personally and talked to me about cigars, you may have noticed that Cuban cigars aren’t my favorites. Now we are not talking vintage stuff, vintage Cubans are a world of difference with post 2001 production as its completely different tobacco and Cubatobacco has screwed up since, screwed up big time, under pressure of the Cuban government that needs money flowing in. For example, they lack quality control causing quality issues, there is a fertilizer problem so the soil isn’t replenished enough and there is a big monoculture problem where the soil doesn’t get any rest. Were Cubans the best before 2000, no doubt there, do they have the potential to be the best again? Yeah, but they need to change a few things and that will cause a temporary decline in turnover, but Cuba will benefit from it in the end.


Now enough with the criticism, I have to take my hat off for the Habanos marketing program. First of all, they don’t sell just a cigar, they sell the complete country, the vibe, the music, the rum instead of brand x or brand y, and they do an amazing job. Secondly they came up with the yearly limited edition, which was a huge success and is now widely copied by cigar manufacturers in Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and anywhere else they make cigars. Third best marketing idea was that whole Behike scam, I mean, after 2000 years of cultivating tobacco a new, very special leaf is discovered? And its used to make a new Cohiba. Everybody buys it, nobody thinks “hey but that leaf was used in the regular Cohiba before, they have taken it out now so my regular Cohiba is less”, I mean, brilliant marketing right? But their best idea was the Exclusivo series, a concept that has been tried by a few copycats, I know General Cigars tried it and Tatuaje, but not to much of a success. And the idea is so brilliantly simple, distributers can choose a brand, pick a vitola that is not made for that brand, have an x amount of boxes made, add a second ring saying “exclusivo” and the name of the country and boom: it’s a collectible cigar that people hunt for. It’s not even a new blend, its just a different vitola. Chapeau Habanos marketing department, you guys are genius, and if marketing was the deciding factor for my reviews this would be a 100 point cigar.


Now the marketing is so genius that I fell for it too and I hunted this Punch Platino Exclusivo India down. I wanted this 7.6×49 Double Corona and found an online vendor that could get me a box. I wasn’t sure if the vendor could be trusted, I had never done business with him in the past so to reduce the risk I turned it into a box split. The vendor was thrustworthy but Dutch customs was paying attention and refused the parcel, we were just lucky that they returned to sender and didn’t confiscate and destroy it. The vendor shipped it again and this time it got through. The ring of the cigar is somewhat different, the top three quarters of the cigars are wrapped in a silver colored foil with a five pointed star embossed in it, the classic Punch ring, golden outline with white surrounding a red circle with white letters saying Punch Habana Cuba. The classic burgundy ring with silver lining and white dots saying Exclusivo India is attached to the foil too, so you can only see a small part of the cigar. Somehow it all fits together though. Once unwrapped I see that the wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban but its beautiful, it feels silky and has a mild oily surface but on the backside it has a more rustic look, and close to the head of the cigar you can feel and see bumps, must be a vein in the binder. The aroma is pretty mild, milder than I expected, and its barnyard, no ammonia though but then again, the cigar is about 8 years old.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is good, the flavor is medium strong and I taste raisin and some pepper. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and I taste a nice mix of chocolate and coffee. After a centimeter I also taste some citrus. The coffee disappears and I taste a mild chocolate with a little bit of leather. After a third I taste some wood with some spices but all very mellow, I can even taste some pepper on the back of my tongue. Halfway i taste a nutty flavor with a little pepper. The nuttiness gets more refined and it tastes like mildly salted peanuts now. I taste some chocolate too and the pepper slowly gets stronger. Near the two thirds mark the peanuts get stronger.


The draw is great, I’m always concerned about the draw when I smoke a Cuban cigar but this one is great. The ash is gray with black stripes between the layers and it’s reasonable firm. The smoke is medium thick at most and medium in volume. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The cigar has a very good finish. The smoke time is two hours and twenty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not falling for the whole marketing trick again, plus this specific cigar can only be bought from collectors for extremely high prices. But if this was a regular production cigar it would be a Cuban i would smoke more often.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Partagas Serie D No.5

I reviewed this cigar before, but that was the 2008 limitd edition, when this specific size of 4.3×50 and name showed up for the first time. I guess the demand for this short robusto was so high that Habanos decided to put it into regular production as in 2011 the Partagas serie D #5 showed up again in boxes of 10 and 25, the limited edition was only available in boxes of 25, and in 2013 the cigar even became available in cardboard boxes of 3. Now I looked at my old review and noticed that the limited edition price of 2008 is 10 cents higher than the regular price late 2016 which further proves my point that I made in the past that the Cubans are producing more and more limited and regional editions to get us, the consumers, to pay more for nothing but a different vitola of a regular production blend. Nothing wrong with a limited if its limited due to the availability of the tobacco, but when its just a regular blend in a different vitola? That doesn’t make it special enough to justify a hiked up price in my book.


Now I want to review at least 10 Cuban cigars this year to make a ‘top 10 cubans’ at the end of 2017 and that turns out to be tough. When the year started I had over 5500 cigars in my stash but not a lot of Cubans and actually, I only came to 11 different types of Cubans. Most of them didn’t get high scores so far, as they just aren’t my thing anymore. When I look at my old reviews I realized that my preferences changed, instead of thick cigars I tend to like smaller cigars, I read an old remark that maduro and I never would be friends but now I like that wrapper and liked quite a few Cubans that when I smoked them in the last few years did nothing but disappoint me. These things happen slowly so you don’t realize it, but when you are able to read a 10 year history on your own thoughts of cigars you can see a huge difference. Not only in preferences, but also in the pictures, from a small apartment in a deteriarating neighborhood to that same apartment but after a paint job, to the house I bought and the men cave I built, to the garden how it was when I bought the house to what I did with it. And to top it, the style of writing a review and since January first the way of rating a cigar. Its been a long journey, and in 10 years things might look different again.


Now the cigar, because of the small size it actually looks thicker than the 50 ring it is. The reddish brown wrapper isn’t the prettiest I’ve ever need, its quite veiny, bumpy an rough looking. I feel a little soft spot right under the ring so the construction isn’t top notch either. The ring is a often copied one, simple red with golden lettering Serie D No.5 Partagas – Habana and a double golden line under and above the writings. It is printed on nice red glossy paper though and the gold pops. The cigar hardly has any aroma, what I smell is the classic Cuban barnyard aroma.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine but quite tasteless. If I try hard I can taste a very mild milk chocolate. I lit the cigar with my soft flame and I taste leather, dry leather. After a few puffs I also taste some nuts and a metallic citrus flavor. After a third I also taste some chocolate for a bit. Halfway I taste leather, some sweetness and pepper. The cigar gets very hot and a little bit bitter because of the heat. After two thirds I still taste leather but the nuts take the main stage.


The smoke is very thin, unfortunately with a gray blue color but halfway the cigar the smoke gets a nice thickness and volume. The draw is fine, nothing to complain about. The ash is quite dark and frayed but yet also firm. The burn is ok, not razor sharp but also not too crooked to correct. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored, there is some evolution but not too much. The smoke time is an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah! For €10 + I can get better cigars.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, Cuban cigars, Partagas (Habanos), Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month October

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

The cigar with the highest rate in October is  is:

Jas Sum Kral Kralot pre-release toro

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Jas Sum Kral Kralot pre-release Toro (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Puros de Hostos Commendador Lancero (Dominican Republic) 93 points
3) Ortega Wild Bunch Fast Eddie (Nicaragua) 92 points
4) Cigars of Habanos Custom Rolled 52 (Cuba) 92 points
5) Ortega Wild Bunch Wild Bill (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Ortega Wild Bunch Gearhead Gary (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Ortega Wild Bunch Da Byrdman (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Xiphos CR Short Panatella (Costa Rica) 90 points
9) Alec Bradley Black Market Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
10) Ortega Wild Bunch Dandy McCoy (Nicaragua) 90 points
11) Viaje Zombie Shotgun Shell (Honduras) 90 points
12) Ortega Wild Bunch Island Jim (Nicaragua) 89 points
13) Montecristo A (Cuba) 88 points
14) Tatuaje Monster Mummy (Nicaragua) 88 points
15) Ortega Wild Bunch Iron Mike (Nicaragua) 87 points

 

 

 

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