Posts Tagged With: lancero

Illusione ~HL~ Natural

There are three different Illusione ~HL~ blends on the market, this one, the original Illusione ~HL~, the ~HL~ Candela and the ~HL~ Maduro. And I have reviewed all three of them by the time you read this review, but I may or may not have published the reviews yet. I always have a bunch of reviews in stock so that if I cannot review for a while due to a busy schedule, a vacation with wife & kids, health issues of what other reason, I can still update my blog. So if you can’t find the reviews of the other Illusione ~HL~ blends yet, check back soon.


The Illusione ~HL~ is the 5 1/2×40 lancero from the Illusione brand, a brand created by Dion Giolito, and most of the cigars have names that are either numbers of have something to do with history or conspiracy theories. The ~HL~ stands for Holy Lance and refers to a lance that pierced Jesus his side when he was on the cross and later carried by the first Christian emperor of Rome, as the myth goes the lance gave him protection and special powers and therefore it was holy. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro although it classified as a Honduran cigar as it’s made by Raices Cubanas, a factory known for Illusione, La Palina, Viaje and most of all Alec Bradley.


The cafe colorado wrapper looks pretty with a few thin veins and a silky touch. The construction feels good and the tiny pigtail fits the slender cigar. The cigar has a very faint aroma, I had to sniff a few times before it hit me: dog poo on a barnyard, and trust me, that’s different and less gross than dog poop under your shoes. The small ring is white with gothic letters in golden print and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter, the cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin flavor and a mild peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my Ronson and taste coffee and leather. After half a centimeter I also taste cocoa and some pepper. After an inch the cigar turns to wood with nutmeg and pepper and for a short while the cigar was a little harsh. Halfway the cigar gets more spicy and peppery. The pepper still gains strength. After two thirds I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, a little cocoa and pepper with just a little lime in the aftertaste. Soon after I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and reasonably firm. The burn is straight but not razor sharp. I usually don’t notice but this cigar has a very pleasant smell. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes a mixed box with the others would be nice.

Score: 91
91

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

My lancero collection

I love lanceros and I even have a dedicated lancero humidor, as you might have seen on a video I posted a while back. While updating my inventory on stogierate.com I took pictures of the content of the dedicated lancero humidor, why not show them off? Almost 400 lanceros, including some unicorns.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , | Leave a 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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Illusione ~HL~ Maduro

After releasing the Illusione ~HL~ natural Dion Giolito, owner of the brand, had some empty boxes left over and instead of letting them go to waste he decided to create the same vitola in the candela and maduro blends he already made for other vitolas of Illusione. As a certified lancero whore I’m not complaining about this decision.


Like the other lanceros from Illusione, this one is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras too. So it classifies as a Honduran cigar even though the wrapper is from Mexico and the filler and binder are Nicaraguan, no Honduran tobacco is used for this 7 1/2×40 elegant cigar. The Mexican San Adres wrapper is stalk cut, a technique where not the individual leaves are picked but the whole plant is cut down and hung to dry upside down.


The wrapper has a mild oily shine to it and is beautifully dark, like a thin chocolate bar. Unfortunately the cigar wasn’t wrapped in cellophane and that caused a little damage at the foot. The tiny pigtail is a nice detail. The construction feels great. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. The ring is identical to the regular Illusione ~HL~ ring but only in a different color, brown with golden letters and black outlines instead of white with golden letters and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a little pepper and a little citrus before lighting the cigar. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee. Soon I also taste chocolate. After a centimeter I taste spices with cedar and a little pepper. I also taste a tiny bit of chocolate sweetness. After a third I taste cedar with some spices and a little white pepper in the back of my mouth. Slowly a chocolate flavor returns. The flavors then change to toast with pepper and citrus. The flavors don’t change much anymore but become stronger and only some citrus shows up. Especially the pepper grows in strength.


The draw is just fine, no complaints at all. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is fragile and light colored. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied yet full of flavor. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like this one the best from the three blends and all three are worthy of another purchase.

Score: 92
92

Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month June

I reviewed a lot of cigars for the month of June, more than you are used to but that’s because of two reasons. The first is the ‘series review’, a review in which I reviewed 5 cigars from the same line yet rated them individually and the second reason is the ‘day – name of the cigar connection’ week in which I published a review every single day. I did that because I had too many unpublished reviews drafted.

Well, here’s the list for June, with a close finish but the cigar of the month is:

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro with a 95 score.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in June:

1) Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Warped Little Havana Corona Gorda (USA) 95 points
3) RomaCraft Wanderlust Prerelease Robusto (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Fuente Añejo Shark (Dominican Republic) 92 points
5) Murcielago Churchill (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) La Flor de Cano Casanova (Cuba) 91 points
7) Nicoya Fuerte Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Illusione ~hl~ Candela Lancero (Honduras) 91 points
9) Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Reserve Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
10) Santiago Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
11) Sosa Auric Perfectum Wavel (Dominican Republic) 88 points
12) Ramon Allones 898 (Cuba) 86 points
13) Taboo Sumatra Churchill (Honduras) 79 points
14) 04 (Dominican Republic) 77 points
15) 03 (Dominican Republic) 77 points
16) 02 (Dominican Republic) 77 points
17) 05 (Dominican Republic) 76 points
18) 01 (Dominican Republic) 72 points

 

 



All I can say: if you haven’t had the pleasure of smoking any Jas Sum Kral then ask your local shop for them or order online straight from the source.

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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: , , , , | 1 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.

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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.

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