Posts Tagged With: lancero

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind half a box.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month May

Over the last month I reviewed 14 cigars and the cigar of the month may is:

Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero with a 95 score.

This month I smoked a unicorn that scored high, something I never expected to smoke, I smoked the best lancero I had in a long long time, and the best cigar I’ve smoked this year and the three worst cigars I rated for my blog since my new rating system came in place. So the reviews were all over the board.

1) Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero (Dominican Republic) 95 points
2) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) 93 points
4) JSK CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
5) Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro Robusto Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Santiago Connecticut Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
7) Macanudo Inspirado Mareva (Honduras) 88 points
8) 708 Juniors Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 85 points
9) Antonius Red Label Robusto (Dominican Republic) 85 points
10) Romeo Y Julieta Gran Reserva Wide Churchill (Cuba) 84 points
11) 708 Shaggy Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 82 points
12) Macarena Maduro Toro (Mexico) 75 points
13) Macarena Naturel Toro (Mexico) 73 points
14) Gasparilla Pirate Fest Churchill (USA) 73 points

 

Balmoral is a Dutch company, so as a fellow Dutchy i’m happy that we still master the art of making great cigars.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero

From 2010 till 2015, when the Dutch FDA closed us down, I was one of the people behind the Dutch Big Smoke. One day, in the early summer of 2012, I went to the zoo with my nephew and my phone rings, unknown number, I pick up and it was the marketing manager of Royal Agio telling me that they wanted to introduce a new Balmoral cigar, the Balmoral Anejo 18, and asked me of we could fit them in at the Big Smoke mid september. Now Balmoral is mainly known for their shortfillers that, in The Netherlands, are sold in convenience stores, gas stations etc and their line of longfillers are dated and way under the radar of the cigar geeks like me, the only Balmoral I liked at the moment was the Balmoral Dominican Selection, a short filler dry cigar with Dominican tobacco and its a very good cigar for a short filler. So my response was blunt “why do you think we want a gas station cigar on the Big Smoke?”. Boy, was I wrong there!


A few weeks later Jaco de Kramer, who now owns Jacks’ Cigar bar in Rotterdam, tells me that he was at a barbecue and one of the Wintermans (owners of Agio) was there and he smoked that unreleased cigar, according to him it was great. I decided to call the Agio Marketing manager and told him to meet me, my employer, my Big Smoke co-organizer and Ed van Dalen, a well known cigar retailer, in the Van Dalen Lounge in Rotterdam the next Friday with some samples so we could try them and make up our minds. So that Friday he showed up, we all cut the cigar, lit it and after 3 puffs I look at the Agio guy and go “ok, how do you want to proceed from here?”, that cigar was great, and like I was so wrong to shut him down on that first phone call. Now the Anejo 18 had an 18 year old wrapper, so after 2 years of production they ran out of it and the follow up was the Balmoral Anejo XO, which came pretty close to the Anejo 18. I jumped for joy when I heard Agio would do a limited run of my favorite vitola, a 7×40 lancero. First they were released in the States but then 750 cigars (75 boxes of 10) came to The Netherlands. I managed to buy two at Primera Lelycentre, the shop of Ronald Riecker, a very passionated tobacco retailer in Lelystad.


I just love the size, not just because a Lancero has a beautiful wrapper to filler ratio, the wrapper gives most of the flavor, because of the low amount of filler the cigar gets more dynamic, its also an elegant cigar due to the length and the slenderness of the ring gauge. For the blend Agio used Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler, a Dominican Olor binder and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper and as expected from Brazilian wrappers it is a bit rustic yet it also has a mild oily shine. A nice detail is the small pig tail. The construction feels good. The cigar has a deep, dark and relatively strong barnyard aroma, like walking into a stable with some cows but before they pissed all over the floor. The cigar has a double ring, a gray foot band with a white and gold line at the bottom and golden letters saying Anejo XO and in smaller letters Lancero FT. The normal band is white and gray with gray and golden letters. It says Balmoral on top in white and the B logo in gold, near the bottom it says Lancero FT in gray and underneath edicion 2016 limitada in white and god. The band is simple but tasteful, no coloring, its very clear what it is and I like it.


Because of the ring gauge and the pig tail I cut the cigar and this time I used a cutter from the Spanish company HF Barcelona. The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is mild spicy. After I lit the cigar with my Ronson lighter I taste a very pleasant full coffee flavor. After a few puffs I also taste some dark chocolate. Soon after I also taste pepper, it’s all balanced.

After in inch the coffee is gone and I taste spices, chocolate and some herbs. A third in I taste herbs, cedar and some nuts with a peppery aftertaste. Every few puffs I taste a faint chocolate too. Halfway there is a little citrus flavor too. When I review I don’t eat anything and I only drink water but I think this cigar would be spectacular with some dark chocolate. Slowly but surely the cigar gains strength and becomes more peppery. After two thirds pepper is the main flavor but every now and then I still taste the chocolates.


The draw is perfect, 100 out of 100 points. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is frayed, light gray with dark spots but it is firm. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is full bodied and full of strong full flavors yet well balanced and full of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m afraid they are all sold out, I would by a box or two, or three, or four, or five if possible.

Score: 95

95

Categories: 95, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bolivar Especiales No.2 Exclusivo Alemania

This is the fourth lancero review and it’s a Cuban cigar, a German regional edition. When I started to smoke cigars and was uneducated I smoked a lot of Cubans and my favorite brands were H. Upmann, Bolivar and Punch. And I fell for the marketing too, hunting down regional editions even though it’s not made with limited tobacco, alternate blends, it’s just the regular blend is a limited made vitola, nothing special and nowadays Cuba seems to produce more limiteds than regular production cigars with the anejados, limiteds, gran reserva and regional editions. Once I realized the bull shit of the regional editions I stopped chasing them but when I read about the Bolivar lancero aka Especiales No.2 as a regional edition for the German market in 2009 I knew I had to buy a few as I love that vitola.


So once they were released I got in my car and drove all the way to Dusseldorf, to the biggest lounge in Europe with the biggest selection in Germany including a lot of shop exclusive cigars. Cigarworld is more than just a shop with a huge selection and a beautiful and big lounge, on the second floor they have a smaller lounge and a smaller humidor that is reachable either by a stair from the lounge or from a separate entry on the side of the building and that humidor and lounge are an official La Casa del Habano with all the unique LCDH releases. Since I’m not into Cuban cigars a lot it doesn’t mean a lot to me but I can understand that it’s a great move from owners Marc & Patricia Benden to include a LCDH at their location because it still appeals to a lot of people and now they get all the LCDH releases and way more of the limited editions than non LCDH shops. Completely off topic, but if you are traveling to visit a LCDH, check out the one in Almere, that is most likely the most beautiful shop i’ve seen in my life, their downstairs lounge is the bomb.


Now the wrapper is a nice milk chocolate brown with a few veins and a mild reddish glow, some parts have an oily shine while others don’t. It’s not the most beautiful wrapper I have ever seen but also not the worst. The construction feels good but the proof is in the pudding, especially with Cuban cigars and double with hard to roll vitolas like the lancero. The rings, printed by Vrijdag printing in Eindhoven (NL), are well known amongst cigar smokers, a yellow circle with the picture of Simon Bolivar with a golden dotted outline. The golden outline continue to the back while the inside is red and white striped and covered in the medaille d’or that Bolivar won in the past. The second band is silver colored with a white dotted line on both bottom and top, a big red band with white lettering exclusivo Alemania. The cigar measures 7.6 inch with a ring of 38. It has a triple cap like all Habanos hand made cigars. I cut the cigar with a straight cut and I just took the cap off. The cold draw is good and taste hay with a mild freshness and some spices. The cigar has a mild barnyard aroma.


I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson soft flame. The first flavor is a spicy yet sweet coffee. It’s a little bit bitter. After a few puffs the flavor changes to a little cedar with far far on the background some milk chocolate but the chocolate disappears quickly. I now taste cedar with dried grass soon to be followed by a cumin flavor. This cigar is dynamic to the extreme and a testament of why I love these thin sticks. After a third I taste spicy wood with a very mild cumin and a little bit of honey. The cumin changes into nutmeg and the wood loses its spice. In the aftertaste I get some black pepper. Halfway I taste spices with caramel and there’s a mild pepper on the back of my throat. Sometime later the flavor changes to salty nuts with some pepper. That is to be replaced with oak and pepper a few puffs later. After two thirds the salty nuts are back with a little bit of lemon.


The draw is surprisingly good, I was expecting the worse. The smoke is thick and abundant, nice and white colored too. The ash is salt and pepper colored and you can see the layers. The ash isn’t too firm at the start, later it is. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a medium to full bodied cigar and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was a regional edition, they can’t be found anywhere unless you go to the collectors market and pay more than top dollar. But this is a great Cuban cigar and it shows that they still can make great cigars.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month March

Over the last month I reviewed 9 cigars and the cigar of the month march is:

Undercrown Flying Pig XLR with a 92 score.

March was the first month I rated a cigar below 80 points, but then again, the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR was a very pleasant surprise so overall it was a good month with two cigars that let me down.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I smoked in March for Cigarguideblog:

1) Undercrown Flying Pig XLR (Nicaragua) 92 points
2) Rocky Patel Super Ligero Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
3) La Flor Dominicana NOX Toro (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Kristoff Pistoff Corona Gorda (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
6) Don Labalet Robusto (Netherlands) 89 points
7) Fratello Boxer Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
8) Viaje Circa 45 #1 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 83 points
9) Plasencia Reserva Organica Limitada 2001 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 77 points

The Undercrown Flying Pig was a huge surprise as it was not the gimmick I suspected it was.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rocky Patel Super Ligero Lancero

A few years ago I ran into Rocky Patel at the Intertabac trade show and at the time Rocky didn’t have distribution in The Netherlands so over dinner with Rocky (and Abe Flores from PDR and Courtney Smith from La Paling whom we already distributed) I convinced Rocky to go with us instead of with the other distributer that showed interest. Soon after we introduced Rocky Patel Premium Cigars on the international market and we hit the market hard, with a lot of events with Rocky’s European marketing guy Kolja Kukuk and me. Kolja always brought other Rocky Patel cigars for us to smoke on each of his trips to The Netherlands so I smoked a lot of Rocky Patel cigars that weren’t and still aren’t available in The Netherlands.


One day he brought the Super Ligero, a cigar that made me frown my eyebrows for two reasons, first of all because with that name I expected it to be blended for strength and not for taste and second of all because I automatically thought “that is a twist to the double ligero name La Flor Dominicana uses”. Now the latter was quickly covered as false, the strain of ligero used in this cigar is simply called ‘super ligero’ so the cigar is named after the type of tobacco and the first was countered after I smoked the cigar, it was full bodied but not too strong and it became the Rocky Patel cigar I loved most. On the next trip Kolja surprised me with a handful of Rocky Patel Super Ligero lanceros, a 7 1/2×38 version of this Honduran made cigar with a blend consisting of a Honduras habano wrapper and binder and a filler of Nicaraguan and Costa Rican super ligero. I’m down to my last few so I need to write a review before they are all gone.


The cigar has a nice, quite dark, wrapper with a little shine to it and only a few minor thin veins running over it. The head of the cigar is topped with a single cap. The band is modern shaped with the round RP logo on the back and the words Super Ligero written in the length of the cigar, the ‘super’ is written in a very Miami Vice color green, Ligero is written in bigger letters in white on the black band. Next to that you’ll find a red banner with the name of the factory “El Paraiso Honduras”. The band is beautiful, modern and stands out in a humidor. The construction feels good but since Rocky Patel has every cigar tested before they leave the factory I expect nothing less than perfection from the brand. The aroma isn’t too strong and has hints of a stable with a cow urine drained hay. I use a flat cut to cut the cigar and the cold draw is nice and taste peppery with a raisin like sweetness. I light the cigar with my Ronson varaflame.


First I taste a medium strong coffee flavor with some pepper in the front of my mouth. The flavors soon changes to lime with some spicy flavor I can’t describe. Slowly the lime fades away and the spice changes to spicy green herbs. After a third it’s an earthy flavor with some pepper. Slowly I also taste some cedar too, with some nutmeg a little before I’m halfway. Right after midway the lime returns and makes a nice combo with the earth, cedar and pepper. The nutmeg disappeared. Somewhat later i taste some walnut too that slowly gets stronger. At the two thirds mark the nut flavor is less strong and then main flavor is pepper again with lime. Near the end the pepper gets really strong.


The smoke is medium thick and a medium amount but it gets thicker and more once I passed the halfway point. The ash is pepper and salt colored and quite firm. The draw is a little bit to tight for my liking but not too much to complain. The burn is straight but I had to relight once. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored. The cigar is dynamic, that’s why I love the thinner ring gauge cigars so much. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Unfortunately they aren’t for sale in The Netherlands or surrounding countries so when I travel to the USA again I’ll treat myself to a box.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, El Paraiso, Honduran cigars, Rocky Patel | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Casa Magna Colorado Lancero

Let me start by saying that even though this cigar will count as my lancero review of the month and will be a contestant in the ‘lancero of the year’ list that I will compile at the end of the year, officialy this is not a lancero. It’s called a lancero, it looks like a lancero, and it comes close to a lancero but the size is not a classic lancero size with a length that is an inch longer and a ring gauge that’s also slightly thicker than what’s considered industry standard for a lancero (7 1/2×38 vs 8 1/2×40 for this Casa Magna Lancero). It’s actually an old size used by Manolo Quesada and back then the name was ‘largo delgado’ which translates to “long skinny”. I still count it as a lancero because the size differences are only minor unlike the Alec Bradley (‘everything is bigger in’) Texas Lancero (7×70).


Casa Magna is a cooperation between the Quesada family, who are well known and respected cigar makers from the Dominican Republic and the Plasencia family from Nicaragua. That Manuel Quesada got the Cigar Journal Lifetime Achievement award last september at the award dinner at Intertabac is a testament to their accomplishments and knowledge. In 2008 they shook the world by becoming the no.1 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 with this blend and that for a cigar that would usually be featured on the yearly ’top budget cigars’. This all Nicaraguan blend hit the right spot and became an international hit, with offsprings as the Casa Magna Oscuro (from Honduras), Casa Magna Domus Magnus series and most recently a Dominican made Casa Magna. The Casa Magna Lancero was released in 2011 but with a MSRP that was much higher than the other Casa Magna vitola’s at $12.95 and came in boxes of 7 to keep the box price below $100. I reviewed the cigar back in 2011, when it wasn’t for sale in The Netherlands and with my old scores in my old apartment, time for a new try, this time in my man cave, with my 100 point scoring system and cigars legally bought in The Netherlands where they were for sale for a limited time.


The cigar looks great, a nice dark and oily wrapper with a few minor veins, a closed foot and a lovely little pigtail. A well printed ring with quite some details on thick paper. If you scan the ring it looks simple but when you pay more attention you notice all small details and since I started paying more attention to the cigar rings I seem to enjoy the cigars a little more, maybe because of the appreciation of the pieces of art that cigar rings can be. The aroma is amazing, its like walking deep inside a forest in the fall with the smell of fermenting leafs, moss, animals and the aroma is quite strong. Construction wise I don’t have any complaints either, the cigar seems evenly filled and since a lancero is one of the harder vitolas to roll I take my hat off to the roller responsible.


The cigar is too thin to punch so I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is a little tough with a little bit of wood and quite some pepper. I used my soft flame to light the cigar. Right from the start I taste coffee with some salt and plenty of pepper. After a few puffs I also taste a little honey sweetness. The coffee goes away, I now taste earthy flavors and some chocolate with chilies. The flavors are very vibrant as you can expect from a cigar with a great filler wrapper ratio as a lancero. Just like the aroma, the flavors remind me of autumn.

After a third I still taste the earthy flavors with pepper but now with something I would describe as autumn leafs. I also taste some salt and a little licorice. The pepper gets stronger and is now the main flavor. On the background I also taste some vanilla. Slowly I also taste a nice wood flavor, oak. Some puffs later I also taste some citrus. The pepper is still the main flavor though, strong and powerful.


The draw is great, better than in the cold draw and since the lancero is so difficult to make again my hat off to the roller. The smoke is white, relatively thick and a decent amount of it. The ash is salt and pepper colored, a bit frayed too. The burn is quite good, not razor sharp, but still good. The cigar is full bodied, full flavored. I really enjoyed this cigar for almost 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Once I’m out I’ll try to find another box, I still have a full one though.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Casa Magna, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cain F Lancero

The people that know me and my cigar preferences know that I’m a big fan of thinner ringed cigars and that my favorite vitola is probably the lancero. I have a decent selection of lanceros in a dedicated ‘lancero humidor’, an old 50’s refrigerator turned humidor. My collection currently has about 600 (petit) lanceros. Now because it’s a cigar that requires a lot of attention, I don’t smoke it when I have company, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a game, I don’t smoke it when I’m watching a move, I only smoke them when I really want to focus on the cigar. And maybe because it’s such a hard cigar to smoke, smoke too fast and it gets bitter, smoke to slow and you get to relight it often, it’s not a popular size but boy, do I love them. For me the wrapper filler ratio is the best there is, a lancero or any other thin cigar has so much more dynamic than the large ring gauge sticks that are so popular nowadays. My goal for this year is to review at least one lancero each month and post my findings on the 15h of every month, at the end of the year I will not only make a top 25 but also a top 12 of the lanceros I smoked.

The first lancero I will review this year is the 7×38 Cain F lancero. I had this Nicaraguan puro in my humidor for years, I smoked several in the past and always quite enjoyed them. The Cain F was designed by Studio Tobac, Oliva’s think tank, in the hay day of the strong cigars and it contains a lot of ligero tobacco and the body flavor ratio in the thicker sized was way off because of it. The wrapper has a nice color with three small water spots but I’m not bothered by that. The veins have been rolled flat, like Oliva always does, before the wrapper is applied and that gives a smoother appearance of the cigar, the bands are simple, the regular Cain F foot band with an added skinny Studio Tobac band. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice yet very faint cedar aroma. The cold draw is flawless with a mild peppery flavor to it.


Since it’s a small cigar there is no way to punch it, so I used my xikar cutter and Ronson lighter to decap and light the cigar. It’s a thin cigar so lighting is quick and easy. Straight from the get go I taste coffee and pepper with soon a little nutmeg. After a centimeter there is also a little sweetness and a mild acidic aftertaste on my tongue. After an inch the cigar loses the coffee and gets spicier with a sharp pepper on the tip of my tongue. Slowly but surely the cigar gets spicier and more peppery. The ligero strength also kicks in. The flavor doesn’t change dramatically but in little nuances every few puffs, just like you can expect from a thin stick. Halfway the strength toned down a little and I taste a lot of pepper with some licorice on the background. After two thirds i also taste sweetness with the pepper and the licorice changed to an earthy flavor.


The smoke is a little thinner than I would like, but still reasonably. The amount of smoke is fine and it’s white. The ash is beautiful, colors range from dark to light gray and it’s firm for such a thin cigar. The burn is razor sharp. This cigar is full full bodied and medium full flavored. Just like it’s bigger brothers the body flavor ratio is off, but not as bad as the thicker versions of the Cain F. I suspect this Cain F line was blended for strength with flavor as a second priority. Now I don’t mind a strong cigar, but it has to be balanced. I didn’t have to relight the cigar and it lasted me for almost two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a limited edition so that is impossible and I still have plenty.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Cain, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My decicated Lancero humidor

On instagram I promised to make a little video of my dedicated lancero humidor, a converted 1950’s refrigerator.

My father and I ripped out the engine, cleaned the inside and added simple shelves. I bought a Cigar Oasis to humidify the cigars and humidity beads that I put in the trays in the door. The final result can be seen on youtube on this link

Categories: Misc | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Monthly lancero review

Starting the new year I will post a lancero review every 15th of the month. Why? Because I love lanceros and there are way to little lancero reviews out there!

Feel free to post your comments on this subject, I would love to hear what you think of this.

0050_a_lancero-mild-sweet-new-generation-38x6

Categories: Misc | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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