Posts Tagged With: Ilja

Cigarguideblog Top 25 cigars of 2017

On January first of 2017 I switched from the rating system I had been using for 10 years to a 100 point scoring system for three main reasons:

– I could compare scores for myself
– The companies I reviewed cigars from could use the scores to promote their cigars, and that would make my number of visitors grow too
– I could make a top 25 at the end of the year.

The old system I’d been using for so long came from an old (I think it was Hungarian) website, an online humidor, that is no longer online and now that I’ve been using a 100 point score system for a year I no longer want to go back to my old system. How I come to my 100 point score is explained here (insert link)

The last few years I also updated my blog very irregularly due to my work, as part of the industry and the strict Dutch laws it could be considered advertising and I didn’t want to take any risk, even though my reviews are in English and I reviewed a lot of cigars that I didn’t represented. I just did a few reviews to keep the site alive but since parting ways with my then employer in June of 2016 I did a weekly review until the end of the year. To make a new start on the blog I decided to change a few things, like the set up of the review to make it a bit more personal, the 100 point score and a review every Wednesday and Sunday. As a lancero lover I also decided to write a lancero review every 15th of the month, even if the 15th wasn’t a Wednesday or Sunday and to top it off I also wrote a few special reviews on special dates or a series of reviews.

Out of the 156 cigars I reviewed, here’s my top 25 cigars of 2017:

1) Jas Sum Kral Kralot Pre-release Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
2) Balmoral Anejo XO FT127 Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 95
3) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 95
4) Warped Little Havana Toro (USA) with a score of 95
5) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Oliva Masterblend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
6) Don Fernando Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
8) Kilo Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
9) Oliva Masterblend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
10) Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius Toro (USA) with a score of 94
11) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) Mi Querida Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
11) My Father 911 Commemorate Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) La Sagrada Familia Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) Ilja VIII A by My Father (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
14) 601 La Bomba Napalm (Nicaragua) with a score of 94
17) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) with a score of 93
17) Joya Red Half Corona (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
19) Tatuaje RC233 Figurado (USA) with a score of 93
20) Plasencia Alma Fuerte Figurado (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
21) Oliva Classic Natural Churchill (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
22) RomaCraft Wunderlust Robusto (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
23) Viking Viking Robusto (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
23) Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Jas Sum Kral CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) with a score of 93
25) Puros de Hostos Commendador Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93
25) Long Live the King my style is jalapeño Lancero (Dominican Republic) with a score of 93

Now you might think “hey, that’s 27 cigars” and you’re right but the Jas Sum Kral CRNA Nok, the Puros de Hostos Commendador and the Long Live the King scored exactly the same rating on my 1000 point system so they share the 25th spot, just like the Oliva Masterblend 1 and the Don Fernando share the 6th spot, the Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak, Mi Querida and the My Father 911 commemorate cigar share spot 11, La Sagrada Familia, Ilja VIII and 601 share spot 14, Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua and Joya Red share spot 17 and both Viking cigars share the 23rd spot brotherly. Maybe for the next year I need to come up with a divider, if you have suggestions, please let me know.

The breakdown

So I scored 156 cigars in 2017 and the average score is 88,6 so 89 but to end up in the top 25 you had to score at least 92,8 and the average of the top 25 is 93.7

Now looking at the countries, Nicaragua rules the top 27 with 19 entries, the Dominican Republic scores 5, then a surprising number three with 2 entries from the USA and 1 Honduran cigar. That means no Cuban, Costa Rican, Panamanian, Mexican, Peruvian and Dutch cigars made the cut.

Cigars smoked: 156
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

Now broken down per country:
Flag USA
America:
Cigars smoked: 5
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 89

 

flag costa rica
Costa Rica:
Cigars smoked: 3
Highest score: 91
Lowest score: 90
Average score: 90

flag cuba
Cuba:
Cigars smoked: 12
Highest score: 92
Lowest score: 84
Average score: 88

flag dominican
Dominican Republic:
Cigars smoked: 38
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 72
Average score: 82

 

Flag honduras
Honduras:
Cigars smoked: 15
Highest score: 93
Lowest score: 79
Average score: 90

 

Flag Mexico
Mexico:
Cigars smoked: 7
Highest score: 86
Lowest score: 73
Average score: 90

 

flag nicaragua
Nicaragua:
Cigars smoked: 73
Highest score: 95
Lowest score: 77
Average score: 91

 

flag netherlands
Netherlands:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag panama
Panama:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 89
Lowest score: 89
Average score: 89

 

flag peru
Peru:
Cigars smoked: 1
Highest score: 82
Lowest score: 82
Average score: 82

Now what do these numbers say? It is too simple to say that the average per country is which country I like best because I haven’t smoked an equal amount of cigars per country. But it is safe to say that my preferences are more met by Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars then by any other country.

If you look at the average scores between the Dominican Republic and Cuba you might say I prefer Cuba over the Dominican but I reviewed a lot of Dominican budget cigars and only premium cigars from Cuba so if I cut those budget cigars out, the average of the Dominican Republic shoots back to 90, all those budget cigars definitely effected the average for the Dominican Republic.

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Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ilja VIII

For the last few months I’ve been posting my reviews every wednesday, sunday and 15h of the month plus on april 17, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my blog. So today shouldn’t be a review day but I decided to review a special cigar, the Ilja VIII. Now those of you that don’t know the story behind the Ilja cigars, it is a sad story. Ilja van Horssen was a third generation tobacco wholesaler, his grandfather started a wholesale company in dry cigars and roll your own tobacco, his father build the company further up and Ilja and his younger brother Sasja started working for the Van Horssen BV company too. About 20 years ago they saw the future of the cigars in The Netherlands and decided to start a new source of income for the company: premium longfiller cigars from the Caribbean. So they started ‘Longfiller Company’ under the J. van Horssen BV umbrella. A few years later Ilja left the company to start his own retail store, Cuesta Rey, in The Hague and also bought the famous Dutch Brand G. de Graaff and the shop with the same name. Ilja created a huge reputation for himself because he was able to find many hard to get cigars that even his brother Sasja, as the official distributer for those brands like Fuente and Padron, couldn’t even get his hands on. Sounds like a success story right? Here’s the downer, Ilja got sick and died way too young at age 36 on july 14 2006, leaving two young children and his wife behind. His widow ran the shop for a number of years before she turned into the first La Casa del Habano in The Netherlands, the LCDH The Hague.


To commemorate his brother Sasja decided to release a hard to find cigar every year, 36 boxes as Ilja only made it till 36, and the proceedings would go to charity. After a few years the concept changed a little, the cigars are now released on a special event, invitation only and you can only buy one of the boxes if you’re invited to that event by Sasja personally, the proceedings still go to charity though, to Pronica. Now I’m not part of the family, but I’ve worked close with the family for some years and was even involved with some of the Ilja cigars, like the Ilja VI (Liga Privada A), this Ilja VIII and the Ilja IV. If you’re afraid that I’m bias because of this, don’t worry, I wasn’t involved in the blending process, I only asked the manufacturers what they could do for the Ilja cigar and picked sizes. When I was in Nicaragua early 2014 I had a meeting with Rosa Vilchez, our contact within My Father Cigars, and I asked her if My Father Cigars could do something for the next Ilja. She called Jaime, who was in Miami at the time and immediately they agreed, they were actually honored to be asked and came up with a new blend and in an 9 1/4×48 A size like I requested. The cigars are all bunched and rolled by Jaime and his father Don Pepin self. I wanted to review this cigar for a while and what date is more suitable to post than the 14th of july, the day Ilja moved on. If you want a full list on the Ilja releases, check out Halfwheel (and add a Joya de Nicaragua twist on the cuatro cinco blend to the list as Ilja IV).


The cigar has a dark chocolate color with beautiful small veins and a triple cap, just the looks of the wrapper makes my saliva work. The wrapper feels leathery and the cigar has a strong barnyard aroma with a little acidity and ammonia even though it’s 2 years old. The construction feels good and the band, what can I say? The ring is so personal for the family, the picture of Ilja, the quality of the printing is great, and I mean, I know the family so well, I know how much this ring means to them, how hard it was for Sasja to do see the rings roll of the press the first time and color proof it, I can only give it the full amount of points available in my rating system. The cold draw is great and I taste raisin in the front of my mouth and spices in the back of my throat.


The first flavor I get is a nice sweetened coffee and I smell a nice pepper without breaking out in a sneeze. I also taste some honey and some vanilla. After a centimeter I taste chocolate, dark chocolate like I’m sucking on a small piece and the flavor is sticking to the top of my throat. After an inch I still taste the chocolate but now with cedar and a little bit of chili. Slowly the flavors change to a charred woody barbecue flavor with a hint of lime but still with a little bit of chocolate although is fading away.

After a third the chocolate is back, a bit sweeter this time and with some spicy toast on the back. The overall feeling of the flavors is meaty. There is also still a lime flavor, slowly that acidity grows a little bit. The flavors are now creamy, like ice cream with a hint of vanilla and some chocolate. The aftertaste is still a bit barbecue like. The spicy barbecue flavor is the main flavor after I reach the halfway point but I taste a nice honey and chocolate flavor every time i take a sip of water and over the duration of this cigar I almost drank a liter of water. After two thirds I get a lot more pepper with a smoky flavor soon to be accompanied by a raspberry vinegar. I’m still having that tasting chocolate after water experience. Near the end i also taste spices and herbs with an oaky aftertaste. The last few puffs give me salted nuts, macadamia and hazelnut with a nice dose of pepper.


The draw is great, the smoke is cool due to the length of the cigar. The smoke starts out relatively thin, but beautifully blue white and decent amount. The smoke slowly gets thicker. The ash is light colored and firm. The burn is straight as a line. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. It’s a long smoke but it never gets boring. The cigar lasted me 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Unfortunately that’s no longer possible but I know Sasja has plans to release this blend in a robusto and gordo size in the near future.

Score: 94

94

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

Ilja 2015 test blend by Joya de Nicaragua

In 2006 Ilja van Horssen died, only 36 years young. Since his passing away, his brother Sasja uses his connections as the major independent cigar importer in The Netherlands to release 36 boxes of hard to find cigars in memory of his brother on an invite-only event. All the proceeds go to charity.

I’ve been lucky enough to be invited the last few years and Sasja gave me a test blend for the 2015 release. It’s a cigar made by Joya de Nicaragua, based on their Quattro Cinco blend but with a different size (7×52). The cigar was rolled on 28 October 2014 as shown on the band and I smoked it March 7 2015.

Afbeelding

The predraw is fine, I taste some sharp flavors like straw and some pepper. Just from the predraw alone I get the feeling this cigar needs more time. The looks are great, nice chocolate brown wrapper but I smell ammonia. The construction feels good.

Afbeelding

The first flavor is acid and soon I taste some wood too. There’s clearly still a lot of ammonia in the cigars and the lemon like acidity is overpowering. After half an inch I taste some wood again. There isn’t much going on.

Afbeelding

Halfway the wood and the lemon grow stronger, this cigar isn’t hitting a home run yet, its clearly too young but it has potential. After ⅔ the wood grows stronger than the acidity but soon after that changes again. It’s like drinking a lemon drink.

Afbeelding

I got a lot of thick white smoke, the burn is flawless and the silver-gray ash is firm. From start to finish this cigar lasted for 2 full hours.

Afbeelding

Would I buy his cigar again? Yes, but then I’d age it for another year.

Appearance: 8
Construction: 8
Draw: 9
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 6
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 6

Categories: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: ,

Opus X shark Ilja van Horssen

Ilja van Horssen was an important man for the Dutch longfiller society, together with his brother Sasja he started The Longfiller Company, which is now the biggest independent cigar importer in The Netherlands with Fuente, Oliva, Ashton, Padron, Don Pepin Garcia, La Flor Dominicana, Tatuaje and many other brands in its portfolio and later opened a cigar shop in The Hague and bought a second. Without Ilja the longfiller wouldn’t be as popular as it is nowadays in The Netherlands. A couple of years ago Ilja died at age 36 from cancer and since then his brother Sasja honors him by releasing 36 numbered boxes of hard to find cigars as the “Ilja van Horssen edition”. This years Ilja cigar will be the Opus X shark, a really hard, almost impossible to find Opus X. The shark is a pyramid, 5¾x54 with a round top and a completely square foot end. The cigar is made with the Opus X blend with a rosado binder and wrapper.
111029opusxshark1
The wrapper is chocolate brown with a lot of oil and a big vein running over it. I smell speculaas, a Dutch cookie with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. The construction feels good, the predraw is just fine and I taste some raisin.
111029opusxshark2
I taste leather, herbs, pepper and the cigar is quite spicy. After a quarter of an inch the cigar gets a bit of caramel sweetness, pepper, herbs and wood. I also taste some chocolate. After half an inch I taste sweet cedar with a herbal aftertaste. The sweetness is still caramel like. Soon after I taste spicy herbs with some caramel far on the background. I also taste some wood. After an inch I taste herbs with a little bit of citrus and some chocolate.
111029opusxshark3
Halfway I taste spicy herbs with some pepper and some leather. I also taste something sweet and sour on the background and in the aftertaste. I also taste some chocolate on the background. The flavors change to hazelnuts with a little bit of a salty flavor. After two thirds I taste nuts with some herbs and a little bit of pepper. Near the end I taste more herbs and pepper.
111029opusxshark4
This cigar lasted me for two hours and five minutes. The draw is great and I got a lot of smoke. The light colored ash is compact and firm. The burn started a bit crooked but corrected itself. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
111029opusxshark5
Would I buy this cigar again? HELL YEAH!

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

Categories: Arturo Fuente, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , ,

Padron 80th anniversary maduro Ilja IV edition

This cigar requires some explanation. Ilja van Horssen was a well known man in the Dutch cigar society, he was one of the founding members of The Longfiller Company, distributer of a lot of Non Cuban brands in The Netherlands like Oliva, Don Pepin Garcia, Tatuaje, Fuente, Padron, Liga Privada and more. He left The Longfiller Company to start the Cuesta Rey cigar shop in The Hague and later he bought the shop and brand G. de Graaff, also in The Hague. A few years ago Ilja was diagnosed with cancer and at the age of 36 he lost the battle and he is still missed by many. The shops in The Hague are still run by his widow Yvonne. Ilja’s brother Sasja, current owner & CEO of The Longfiller Company honors his brother with a limited release hard to find cigar dedicated to Ilja and the proceeds of the cigar goes to charity. The first Ilja cigar was an Opus X A in a handmade box of Italian leather, the second release was an Opus X double robusto, last year the Ilja III was an Oliva V maduro (not in regular distribution in Europe back then) and this year Ilja was remembered with a Padron 80th anniversary maduro, a cigar that never made it to Europe too. Only 36 boxes are released, as Ilja died at that age. The bands on the cigars carry Ilja’s portrait.
101226iljaiv1
The cigar has a beautiful dark wrapper, like dark chocolate, with a stylish band. The wrapper is quite oily and I don’t see any real veins. The shape is pretty, a box pressed double perfecto with a great construction. The cigar is 6¾x52 long and thick. The predraw is fine, I taste a spiceless tobacco.
101226iljaiv2
I taste a sweet coffee, smooth, with a hint of chocolate. The flavors are full but smooth. After half an inch I also taste some herbs. The cigar slowly gets a bit spicy while the coffee disappears. The chocolate gets stronger and tastes like dark chocolate.
101226iljaiv3
I love what I taste and I don’t mind that the flavors don’t develop much. I mean, any development would only destroy the close to perfect flavors. Slowly I also taste some spices, not spicy or peppery though. The balance of the flavors is fantastic, chocolate, herbs and spices.
101226iljaiv4
This cigar lasted me for an hour and forty minutes, and if it was up to me, it would have lasted eight hours, what a cigar. The draw was fantastic and the burn was great. I got a lot of thick white smoke. The ash is light colored, almost white and very firm. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
101226iljaiv5
Would I buy this cigar again? I am looking for a job, my first paycheck will be spend on a box of these

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

Categories: Cubanica, Nicaraguan cigars, Padron | Tags: , , ,

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