Posts Tagged With: Intertabac

Plasencia Alma del Campo Guajiro

Last december I did a review on the Plasencia Alma Fuerte, the first cigar they release world wide under their own name after testing the waters in Europe with the 1898 and the Reserva Organica and straight after the second installment was released, the Alma del Campo, a Nicaraguan puro, and again the cigars are priced premium, the msrp starts at $13.50


The line is made in five vitolas, and of the five I was handed the 5 1/2×52 Guajiro by the European marketing director Rodrigo during the Intertabac trade show last september. Now it says 52, but it looks and feels thicker, even though my chart disagrees with me and it’s really a 52. My eyes are deceiving me I guess. Just like the Alma Fuerte it’s wise to buy a 10 count box instead of a single cigar because the lid of the box doubles as a beautiful ashtray.


The wrapper is beautiful, a nice mocha color, smooth and with a velvet feel to it. The three rings are beautiful, from top to bottom a small gray ring with a white circled P, then the bigger main ring in the same gray color with the white P again, the Plasencia name and in smaller letters Alma del Campo and then a white foot ring with gray outlines and Alma del Campo in gray letters, very classy, modern and clean. As for the construction, well, the cigar feels well constructed, evenly filled but its crooked. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me again just like with the ring gauge so I put a ruler next to the cigar and it has a curve to the right. The cigar has a slightly acidic aroma with hints of hay too.


I used a cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is very spicy, acidic and peppery, but with a great airflow. After carefully lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a medium strong, slightly acidic coffee. After a few puffs both some sweetness and some pepper shows up, and a spiced biscuit flavor, speculaas as we call it in The Netherlands. After an inch I taste coffee with sweetness and the spices, all balanced and smooth. Halfway it’s a woodsy, spicy and a little pepper with a bit of sweetness. Slowly the flavors change to a smoother version of wood with some raspberry vinegar, spices and sweetness, there is some pepper in the aftertaste.


The draw is perfect. The almost white ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The smoke is medium full in thickness and in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is little over hundred minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No doubt!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Micallef Experiencia Habano Prominente

At the intertabac trade show my buddy Nasier introduced me to a brand that was completely new to me, Micallef. He knew them because they visited the shops he works at to find out if there would be place for their brand on the Dutch market, so when Nasier saw them at the trade show he introduced me. I got some cigars for a review and this Experiencia Habano Prominente is my first try of any of the Micallef cigars.


I went to their website to get any background on the cigars and this cigar, 5 1/2×58 is made with a four year old Nicaraguan habano wrapper, a four year old Mexican San Andres Habano wrapper and filler from Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. As far as I understood from the website, the family has two factories, one in Esteli, Nicaragua and one in Veracruz, Mexico and this cigar seems to be made in Esteli. The msrp for this cigar is $13


The wrapper is a nice, medium brown color, like a coffee with a little splash of soy milk, it has a little bit of tooth. The construction feels flawless and the head is flat as can be. The ring, well, that looks kinda eastern European to me, and let me explain that. There is another brand, Bossner, Russian owned and they have these over the top designed ring, very Russian stylistics and this ring has a bit of that but in a more modest way. The red and gold letters, the crest, the golden medals and yes, maybe its a prejudice because of the name too, I will admit that. The ring is nice though, just not something I would design or have designed for my brand if I had one. The ring is in two parts, the eastern European top with a greenish blue bottom that just said Gomez Sanches Family. The foot ring is in the same color with golden and white lines saying experencia. The cigar has a medium strong smell of horses.


I cut the flattened head. The cold draw is good. I taste raw tobacco and herbs. After lighting the cigar with my vintage lighter I taste sweet coffee. Soon some walnut shows up too. After an inch I get sweet wood, red pepper and nuts. Halfway the cigar gains in strength and the flavors are getting cleaner and stronger. The honey sweetness, the pepper and the wood are also more balanced. The cigar turns more full bodied in the final third. The honey like sweetness is still there with some soft wood, a hint of truffle creamy chocolate all with a little rough edge. The flavors are becoming a little creamy too. The end is very peppery.


The draw is good enough not to complain but not perfect either. The grayish smoke is thin and low in volume but the smoke is getting thicker and white along the way. The ash is light gray with dark smears. The ash is dense and firm too. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored in the beginning but the second part is more full on both accounts and more to my liking. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not for $13, shave a few dollars off and I’ll be happy to light one again, the last part was very enjoyable.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Micallef, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristoff GC Robusto

I met Kristoff owner Glen Case a few years ago at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund, Germany right after my then employer decided to distribute the brand. And it sold, like hotcakes, due to the cool look with the closed foot and the pigtail, the packaging with the loose tobacco, the quality of the cigars, the flavor and the price. It was a home run and ever since we always have a little chat even though I no longer work for that company.


The GC series never made it to The Netherlands though, so I was glad that Glen gave me a robusto at the most recent intertabac trade show to review and he said that it was his favorite Kristoff offering. Now I haven’t smoked all of them and so far the Cameroon blend is my favorite but maybe this one will change that, keep reading and you’ll find out. The cigar is available in four vitolas, a robusto, torpedo, churchill and a gordo.


The Brazilian maduro wrapper looks great, dark and a little rough but the roughness fits the color. The pig tail and closed foot are Kristoff signatures by now and add that to an evenly packed cigar for a great construction. The ring is burgundy with golden letters and a silver & white banner. The medium strong aroma reminds me of charred wood and manure.


I cut the cigar since punching isn’t an option with the pigtail. The cold draw is fine, I taste licorice, raisin and pepper. After lighting I taste a strong and full coffee with earthy tones and a sugar sweetness. After half a centimeter I taste wood, sweetness and a hefty pepper. Halfway I taste a wood with a little licorice, some pepper and a little lemon in the aftertaste. The flavors are very meaty and peppery. The final third is peppery with a great dose of lemon.


The draw is good. The smoke is a little thin, light gray but the volume is good. The silver gray ash has beautiful rings, is dense and is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar with a perfect burn. The smoke time is an hour and fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope this cigar makes it to the Dutch market.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gurkha Ghost Shadow

I have done a handful of Gurkha reviews and to be honest, most weren’t that impressive to me. I think the problem with the brand is that they don’t have DNA, their cigars are all made in different factories, the brand focusses on marketing and does crazy stuff with super expensive cigars dropped in super expensive alcohol and other marketing tricks. That doesn’t help the reputation of the brand amongst serious cigar smokers like me. But this Gurkja Ghost, I always thought that one was quite enjoyable, maybe because it’s made at PDR, a factory I like.


Now, even though most of the cigars are a miss, I can’t say the same about their sales manager Juan Lopez, I met him years ago in Miami in a cigar bar, the next day me and my friend went to the Gurkha office and that’s beautiful. From the outside its a boring office building, the first floor is just cubicles but then upstairs a beautiful lounge, like you’re back in 1800’s Asia, with a huge bar full of expensive liquor and a secret room where all the blends are kept. And Juan hooked us up with cigars, backpacks, knives and all sorts of cool items. So it was cool to see Juan at Intertabac this year, where he handed me a few cigars to smoke.


The wrapper is typical Brazilian arapiraca, a bit rough to look at with sturdy veins, not thick but sturdy. The color is dark and even though, so that makes up for it and the ring fits the wrapper. It is black and silver, with the Gurkha logo and scary lettering saying ghost. The ring is different than what you usually find in humidors. The construction is great, the triple cap is straight. The cigar has a strong earthy smell, earthy as if you’re walking in nature, early in the morning after a good rainfall.


I cut the cigar with a butterfly cutter from Xikar. The cold draw is good. I taste tobacco and some pepper. I taste a strong coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter. A few puffs later I taste a mild acidic oak with cocoa bean. Halfway I taste a mild pepper with some lime and wood. A little later some honey sweetness shows up too. The final third I taste a nice, mildly sweet, wood with some spices, all balanced though. The flavors become very nice, wood, mocha, sugar, chocolate all in a creamy way.


The draw is great, the light ash has beautiful rings and it’s firm. The smoke is medium thick, medium full. The burn is close to perfect. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pleasant cigar, not the best I had but enjoyable.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C.A.O. Fuma em Corda

I love CAO and I hate CAO. I love their creativity, how everything comes together with the cigars and the packaging, the names and all but somehow their cigars aren’t for my palate. No complaints about construction, not even about the quality of the tobacco, everything is good, they are just not for my palate. Until Rick Rodriguez gave me the Amazon Basin, now that was a cigar that I did like and I rated it with a 92 score.


Now at Intertabac I met up with Stijn Elbersen and Rick Rodriguez and they handed me the rest of the trilogy, the Fuma em Corda, named after the way the farmers fermented the tobacco, rolled up like a rope and the Anaconda. The cigars are made in Nicaragua, where the arapiraca tobacco was blended with Brazilian Braganca tobacco and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler. Add a Cameroon binder and a Honduran Corojo wrapper and you have the CAO Fuma em Corda. I smoked the toro, the vitola that was exclusive to the online retailers.


The wrapper is dark brown but not evenly brown, some darker smears here and there but it fits the whole look with the piece of rolled up tobacco as a ring, with a little imagination you can see yourself smoking this cigar in the rainforest. Where the Amazon Basin had the string as a ring, the Fuma em Corda has it crossed over the front.  When you walk into a cigar shop, this is the cigar that will stand out. The cigar feels evenly filled, firm to the touch and the cap is nice, something I always look at. The cigar has a strong smell, poop and some minty freshness is what I get from sniffing the cigar.


I wanted to punch the cigar but I just sat down with a bottle of water, my preferred drink while reviewing, the latest episode of The Walking Dead was loaded and then I realized my punch was at my desk, I had a cutter in my reach so I cut the cigar instead. The cold draw is a bit loose. After lighting the cigar I taste coffee with a very spicy, peppery aftertaste. After half an inch i taste herbs and spices with a little sweetness. After a third the flavor completely changes to wood with licorice and herbs. There is still a peppery undertone with a little citrus. Halfway the licorice and pepper are the dominant flavors. Slowly the wood returns. Near the end the pepper grows in strength and overpowers the other flavors.


The draw is a little loose yet the smoke is thick, full, white and plentiful, it made my air cleaner work overtime. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. There is a lot of evolution, a lot of flavor changes in this medium full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope there will be a new batch of these or that the trilogy will be a standard offering.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Toro

Last year, right before intertabac, my friend Courtney Smith contacted me and asked me if I would be there. Turned out she was coming to the trade show with her new company, Cornelius and Anthony. We hung out a bit and she gave me the three blends they had at the booth, the Cornelius, the Venganza and the Daddy Mac. This year Courtney and her co-worker Todd Vance were at the trade show again and I came home with the other blends, Meridian, Aerial and this Señor Esugars plus some artwork for my man cave.


I love the artwork on the cigars, we talked about how Cornelius looked like H.H. Holmes even though it’s the real Cornelius who’s the brand named after and also on the artwork of this Señor Esugars. It’s the dog of brand owner Steven Bailey, he was holding her while Courtney took a picture. The artist who made the Cornelius artwork took the picture to the next level and the artwork of the Señor Esugars was born.


The Mexican wrapper on this cigar is dark, rustic and a little rough to the touch but it fits the cigar. The sample I had only came with the beautiful Cornelius & Anthony ring, very detailed, well printed but without a secondary ring like all the other blends did. The construction is good with a clear triple cap, the rollers at La Zona did a good job. The aroma is strong, sweet and acidic with a hint of charred wood after campfire in the forest.


I cut the cigar with a double blade guillotine cutter. The cold draw is perfect, the cold draw leaves a peppery flavor on my lips but on my lips only. I lit the cigar carefully with a soft flame and taste coffee with some lemon and herbs. After a few puffs the coffee turns to dry wood with pepper in the back of my throat. Halfway it’s wood, herbs and pepper, balanced but it gives me a dry mouth. The pepper is no longer in the back of my throat but more to the front. Slowly a spice mix shows up, cumin and nutmeg come to mind. The pepper grows a little and so does the lemon. The final third is strong, full of flavor, wood, spices and pepper all balanced out by a little acidity.


The draw is flawless, the smoke is voluminous, thick and white. The burn needed a little correction once.  The salt and pepper colored ash is frayed but firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is close to two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Damn right I will!

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bespoke Traditional Cottontail

Even though we have so many mutual friends and we have been Facebook friends for a while, I never met Jeremy Casdagli in person until my friend Nasier introduced us at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund last september. We chatted a little about tobacco and Jeremy was so kind to give me the Bespoke Traditional Cottontail for a review on my blog, well, as promised, here’s the review.


The cottontail is a vitola that was extinct for over half a century until Bespoke started making this vitola again, its a 5 inch long cigar that starts out with a ring 52, a robusto you might say but at the foot it’s 62 ring gauge and that makes it a figurado. Now I’m no fan of big ring gauges but because of this shape I’m intrigued on how it smokes and what it does for the development of flavors since the filler to wrapper ratio changes from start to finish.


The moment I take the cigar out of the cellophane I am hit by a strong aroma, hay and straw, very nice. The shape of the cigar and the closed foot are very unique and I love it. The wrapper has a nice coffee color, a little oil and no real visible veins, its a smooth looking cigar. The green and golden ring is very traditional, as the name suggests, not specifically my taste but of a good quality printing.


I used my Xikar double guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is crazy hard but that’s because of the closed foot. I taste spices and pepper. I used my vintage lighter to light the cigar. After lighting the draw opens and I taste a nice, smooth coffee with some nutmeg and a honey sweetness. After a third I taste creamy buttery toast and cedar with cinnamon and nutmeg. A bit lily French toast. Halfway I taste a creamy vanilla, like melted vanilla ice cream with some toast. The final third is more like a five spice mix with a little bit of pepper and some vanilla in the aftertaste.


The draw is fine. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn started a little off, it’s hard to get an even burn with a closed door but it corrected itself. The smoke is thin though, unfortunately. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar.  The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind smoking it more often.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Bespoke, Dominican cigars, KBF | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Viking Nordic Warrior Churchill

Years ago, I’m guessing five or six years ago I met Hawk, a Norwegian gentleman with his own Dominican cigar brands, Hawk and Amero, made by Willis Cabreras, who briefly had his own brand before he had to close his factory down. I tried some of the cigars, they weren’t for my palate but you can’t like them all can you? Then all of a sudden, three years ago, no Amero/Hawk booth at intertabac, just like two years ago. No mentions of the brand anymore so I thought Hawk gave up.


Last year, tucked away in a corner of hall 4 at the Intertabac trade show I saw Hawk, he was busy but his German distributer told me that they parted ways with Willis and teamed up with the legendary Ernesto Perez Carrillo for a new brand, Viking, honoring the history of Hawk’s fatherland. And I smoked the Viking Viking robusto which amazed me, I really liked that cigar. This year I had the pleasure to talk to Hawk again and his business partner Arnt and they handed me a few cigars, the Viking Viking but also the two blends I hadn’t tried yet, the Norseman and the Nordic Warrior, which I am reviewing now.


This 7×54 Churchill is made with Nicaraguan binder and filler and a smooth Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador that feels like velvet to the touch. The color is mocha and the ring is amazing. Its a metal alloy folded around the cigar and its in the shape of a viking with a classic viking helmet. The metal is gold colored with black letters and details. Absolutely unique and a nice touch. The cigar feels well made and the little pigtail on top is always nice to see. The aroma is strong and very spicy and herbal like, cilantro, parsley, those kinds of aromas.


Because of the pig tail I decided to cut the cigar. The cold draw is surprisingly easy for a Churchill and quite peppery. I lit the cigar with a vintage soft flame, I taste a full coffee with nutmeg and spices. After a centimeter I taste lemon with soft wood and five spice, balanced and smooth. I even retrohale without a burning sensation in my nose. After a third I taste pepper, herbs and wood, all balanced. Slowly the pepper tones down a little, the wood gets a little stronger. Halfway it’s just wood with herbs like nasturtium, spicy and full of flavor. The final third sees the return of the pepper. With an inch and a half to go I also taste some floral notes, with the wood, herbs and pepper.


The draw is great resulting in a full, thick, white smoke. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they become available in The Netherlands soon, I love this cigar.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, Viking | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Viaje Zombie Antidote

Well, halloween is behind us, we need an antidote against the zombies that have been plaguing us for the last week and Dr. Andre Farkas came up with a vaccin, the Viaje Zombie Antidote. I just love this cigar, a syringe shaped cigar that comes in a plastic medicine bottle with a funny label mimicking a real prescription bottle with all warnings and all, rewritten of course for the cigars and zombies. Unique packaging with a lot of humor and I like that. The cigar that I’m smoking comes from the original 2014 release.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro yet it classifies as a Honduran cigar since it’s made at Raices Cubanas in Danli. It’s the first skinny Zombie cigar from Viaje with a 44 ring and a 6 1/2 inch length and as a lover of skinny cigars I dig that vitola. Because of the tempered foot it’s not a lonsdale but a figurado, yet it has lonsdale length and ring. My previous employer carried Viaje for a short time and I met Andre Farkas because of that, we hung out in The Netherlands for a few days with Abe Flores from PDR and we met at Intertabac a few times. Once we got these Zombie Antidotes in I bought a jar just because of the way it looks, it’s a nice showpiece


Once I release the cigar from its cellophane I smell a feces smell, not a barnyard aroma but human feces and its medium strong. The cigar has a few soft spots and it looks like the cigar is a little under filled. The wrapper is beautiful though, quite dark, mild oily, smooth with a thin long vein running over half the cigar. The ring is simple, its about an inch high, white with a red cross, blood spatter and blue letters “Zombie Antidote” on one side and the words “single dose” and Viaje Pharmaceuticals on the backside. The cigar has a triple cap that is placed neatly.


Since the tapered end is at the foot I could use my punch to prepare the cigar for smoking. The predate is great, more resistance than I expected with the soft spots in the construction. I taste hazelnut with some pepper in the cold draw. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nutty espresso with some nutmeg. The flavor changes to wood with some cinnamon and a chili pepper aftertaste. After a third I also taste a faint sweet chocolate on the background, far on the background. Halfway I taste more spices like nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon with some oak and citrus. The cigar gets darker in flavor with a nice mix of spices and pepper. Near the end I taste some nuts, lemon and pepper, quite strong.


The smoke is white, thick and full. The ash is coarse, frayed and covered with black smears but firm. The draw is close to perfect, just like the burn. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. With a better construction the cigar would have scored a point higher. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I still have three quarters of a jar.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas, Viaje | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The mancave

I mentioned my mancave a few times, in posts about the swag I received for example and when I showed off my lancero humidor and a few people reached out to me to show the mancave.

The last two days I’ve been rearranging all the swag because I needed to give Cornelius & Anthony the proper prime real estate after the bomb they send me. And because now everything is nice and tidy I took the opportunity to make a little video and shoot some pictures.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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