Posts Tagged With: habanos

Punch Platino Exclusivo India 2009

If you are a regular visitor of my blow, 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

90

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Categories: 90, Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a 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
87

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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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: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

H. Upmann magnum 46

Some time ago my buddy Nasier, who works at one of the best tobacconists in Amsterdam and the one with the coolest lounge Van Lookeren, came to dinner (red lentil soup, chicken fajitas and a mango puree with whipped cream and roasted almond shavings if you wondered what I prepared) and we smoked a few cigars. He gifted me this H. Upmann 46 from July 2014 that I saved for a review and a Ramon Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto Edicion Regionales Paises Bajos which I smoked on the spot.

 


Now many of you don’t know this, and might not even expect this since I’ve shown a preference to Nicaraguan tobacco on almost every occasion I get, but I started out with Cuban cigars on a trip to Asia, at Singapore Changi airport I bought some Cohiba, Montrecristo and Romeo y Julieta cigars that I all smoked during my stay in Indonesia and on my way back I maxed out my creditcard on singles and fivers at the airport again on Cuban cigars. Once I smoked all them I went online and bought my first full box: H. Upmann Coroja Major, the ones in the silver tubes before they restyled them. I still have a soft spot for that brand, even thought I hardly smoke Cubans anymore and think they are overrated and overpriced. There is no denying that Cuban cigars once were the best but that ship has sailed for now and as a lover of the leaf I dislike that a lot, it would be better for everybody if the Cubans raised to the level they once reached.

 


Now back to this cigar, it has a milk chocolate brown colored wapper with a mild shine. And I am worried since there is a little bulge near the head of the cigar that could possibly be a plug. The aroma is faint, a bit of a forrest in the fall aroma with lots of intensity. The cigar has a double ring, the bottom ring is a bright red ring with white pinstripes and white lettering saying Magnum 46 and some gold colored decorative figures. The top ring is white with golden outlines and a red circle that shows the H Upmann logo with white letters and gold colored decoration. The gold really pops, its a well printed ring and since they used the same red in both rings they match very well.

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is good, a little on the tight side but still good so my fear that there would be a plug was unfounded. I can’t get a real taste from the cold draw. My trusted vintage Ronson helped me light the cigar. The first thing I taste is leather with some coffee. After a centimeter I also taste a honey like sweetness with the leather and the coffee.

The wrapper cracks open in one side which hasn’t happened to me for a long time, must be a construction error. The flavor has changed to cedar with leather and a herbal flavor. Halfway the cigar gets a little stronger with leather with a little spice and a fresh aftertaste. After three quarters I taste a mild chocolate and freshness on a bed of cedar and a little bit of pepper.

 


The cigar produces a medium amount of quite thin smoke. The ash is light gray with black smears. The ash is also dense and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar is subtle and well balanced. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Nah, it’s a good cigar but Cubans aren’t my thing anymore.

Score: 89

89

Categories: 89, Cuban cigars, H. Upmann (Habanos), H. Upmann Factory | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month August

Just like every month I post the list of cigars I published that month in rating order, highest to lowest and in August I rated 15 cigars

The cigar with the highest rate in August is:

Don Fernando Corona with a 94 score.
Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in August:

1) Don Fernando Corona(Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Mi Querida Sakakhan (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) 601 La Bomba Napalm (Nicaragua) 94 points
4) La Sagrada Familia Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
5) Illusione ~hl~  Lancero (Honduras) 91 points
6) Rosalones Reserve Corona (Nicaragua) 91 points
7) Royal Danish Regal Blend Belicoso (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Indian Motorcycles Habano Robusto (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) La Gloria Cuban Medaille D’Or #3 (Cuba) 89 points
10) Capadura 808 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 88 points
11) Capadura 808 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 87 points
12) Juan Clemente Club Selection #2 (Dominican Republic) 82 points
13) Juan Clemente Classic #2 (Dominican Republic) 82 points
14) Capadura 848 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 80 points
15) Capadura 898 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 72 points

 

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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: , , , , , , , , | 1 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.

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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

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