Posts Tagged With: Plasencia

Hiram & Solomon Shriner Robusto

Hiram & Solomon Shriner Robusto. One of the seven blends available within the Hiram & Solomon portfolio but the only one without the Freemason logo. The recipe is the same though. Made in Nicaragua, blended by Fouad Kashouty and George Dakrat with the help of David Blanco. And produced at the renowned Plasencia Cigars factory in Esteli. And as true freemasons, Hiram & Solomon donate parts of the proceeds of the cigars to charity. The brand started as a fundraiser. The idea was to create a one-off cigar for an event, but the cigars became so popular that it resulted in one of the fastest-growing family-owned cigar brands on the market nowadays.

The size of the cigar caused some confusion. The sticker on the cellophane mentions 5×52. That is also mentioned in the vitola list on the website, yet, at the pictures of the cigars, another size is mentioned. 5½x50 instead of 5×52. Cigar nerds as we are, we grabbed our Herics cigar measuring tape to see which information is correct. The cigar measures 5×52. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra. The binder comes from Indonesia, maybe even the real Sumatra but the specifics have not been disclosed. To make this a five-country blend cigar, fillers from Brazil, Dominican Republic, and two tobaccos from Nicaragua were selected.

The Colorado colored wrapper has a water spot. Quite a large one. But that doesn’t matter and it would be unfair to deduct points. Why? Because we have a few more of these that don’t have ugly spots. Cigars are a natural product, and a water spot can happen. It doesn’t alter the flavor, it is just aesthetically not the best look. The ring, compared to the other Hiram & Solomon cigars, this is lacking the Freemason logo. But the sword and the crest probably have a meaning in the Masonic world. The maroon colored ring is decent yet pale in comparison to the other Hiram & Solomon rings. The wrapper is silky without veins and has some tooth. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, barnyard, and hay.

The cold draw is fine, with a dry raw tobacco and raisin flavor. Sweetness with spices, coffee, and earthiness are released from the first puff on. With some red pepper. The flavor has hints of straw and hay, but with some sweetness, spice, and earthiness. There is a little cinnamon in the retrohale, with cedar. After an inch, there is a salty flavor, with honey sweetness, hay, and some slight white pepper. After a third, the flavor turns to sweet, young wood with milk chocolate. The cigar keeps giving that slight woody flavor with sweetness, spice, milk chocolate but now with some leather as well. The sweetness turns to marzipan. Add in a little nuttiness, gingerbread spices, and some white pepper and you have the start of the final third. The last few puffs, nut flavors are strong.

The draw is good and the burn is straight. The ash is quite firm even though it’s frayed. The smoke is white, reasonably thick and the volume is good too. It’s a smooth cigar, no rough edges. But at the same time, it’s lacking some character, it’s pretty middle of the road. Perfect for a cup of coffee late morning. The cigar is smooth, medium-bodied, and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will pick the Hiram & Solomon Fellow Craft over this.

Categories: 90, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto

Don Duarte Reserva Robusto. A brand that may not ring a bell with many cigar smokers. But it has a history to it. About a decade ago, the brand had some traction in Europe. But due to health-related reasons, Roger Duarte Rodriguez had to put everything on hold. Now the brand is back and available in a few countries. The Nicaraguan puro with the H2000 Oscuro wrapper that we are reviewing is from the personal stash of Don Duarte and has been aged for a decade.


The great grandparents of Don Roger Duarte Rodriguez, Don Rafael Rodriguez, and Juana Lanuza de Rodriguez, were one of the founders of Esteli. Don Rafael Rodriguez was a tobacco grower and one of the first to export tobacco out of Nicaragua. And his great grandmother on the Duarte side, Dona Maria Duarte Boza, owned a small tobacco manufacturing plant in Masaya. They processed tobacco from Ometepe and turned them into small cigars called Chilcagres. So tobacco runs through the blood of the Managua born entrepreneur. He acted as President of Tabacalera Tropical, which is now known as Aganorsa Leaf. That’s where he met the legendary Evelio Oviedo who blended the Don Duarte cigars.


The cigar has a closed foot. That always gets a cigar a few bonus points for aesthetic reasons. The wrapper is dark, leathery, oily and beautiful. The brown ring fades away on the dark wrapper. The secondary ring is gold with black text. The triple cap is beautiful. And even after ten years, the cigar still has a nice, medium-strong aroma of wood and barnyard. The construction feels good.


The cold draw is tight, due to the closed foot. But there is flavor in the cold draw. Gingerbread comes to mind and black pepper. The first flavors after lighting the cigar are wood, leather, spices, and a pleasant sweetness. Some pepper and coffee show up as well but mellowed out after a decade of aging. The aging also makes the cigar easy to retrohale. In the second third, there is more pepper but again mellow. With spices, leather, and even a hint of chocolate. Slowly there are coffee flavors, spices, leather, and even a little fruity acidity. Near the end, the cigar gains a lot of pepper, spice, but there is also some sweetness, wood, and leather.


The draw is great. The ash is white. The white blueish smoke is sufficient but could be a little thicker. The cigar is mellow, smoothed out due to the decade of aging. It’s still medium-bodied, medium flavored though. The cigar is well balanced, it has character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, no doubt

number92

Categories: 92, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Plasencia | Tags: , , , ,

Skel Ton Robusto

A few months ago, we saw a picture of a cigar on Facebook. And that picture intrigued us. The ring of the cigar was the most unique we had seen in a while, and one of the best we had ever seen. It turned out that it was a cigar by a German aficionado, Tonio Neugebauer. He released the cigars in 2016. Ministry of Cigars published about the cigars last month. Neugebauer and Han Hilderink, owner of the Whisky & Cigar Lounge in Gronau, decided to send us a sampler. As cigar nerds, we are excited to smoke new cigars so here we go.


The cigars are made in Nicaragua, at one of the factories of Plasencia. The cigars are made with an H-Blend wrapper from Ecuador. Two binders are used, one from Indonesia and one from Nicaragua. And the filler comes from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. There are only three sizes available. Those are a 6×44 Corona, a 5×54 Robusto, and a 6×52 Toro. For this review, we are smoking the 5×54 Robusto. The retail price is very reasonable at €6,90.


This cigar scores points on the looks. The ring is amazing, high-quality gold printing, a very detailed skeleton. And a cloth foot ring with the test ‘live your dreams’. 100 points for the ring alone. The wrapper looks great too, Colorado to Colorado Maduro in color. Evenly colored with thin, sharp veins. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is deep manure, earthy smell. It’s medium-strong.


The cold draw is perfect. The flavor in the cold draw is quite dry, dry cedar, hay, and raisin. The first puffs give me that dry flavor again, earthy, leathery with coffee. There’s also a pleasant, spiced sweetness and freshness which comes close to anise. To all changes to gingerbread spices with a mild sweetness and some citrus. Combined with cedarwood. The sweetness gets stronger, it’s like powdered sugar. The spices and the wood are still noticeable too. The mouthfeel is dry. After a third, it’s sweet coffee again. Halfway the flavors are a mix of leather, grass, spices and a little pepper. All with a pleasant dose of sweetness and a little citrus acidity. In the final third, the wood returns and it’s strong. With pepper and leather. But still smooth and balanced. Coffee returns too, all with sweetness and even a little custard creaminess. The gingerbread spices, pepper, sweetness, and wood are the dominant flavors in the last part of the cigar.


The draw is great. And the ash is white and firm. The burn is razor-sharp. The smoke is thick and white. This cigar is medium-bodied, medium to full-flavored with a pleasant smoothness. The flavors are balanced all the way through the cigar. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

number92

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Skel Ton, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Blanco Above & Beyond Unwilling

Blanco Above & Beyond Unwilling. David Blanco, the CEO of Blanco Cigars, has a background in the military. Just as his father. And that background prompted them to create a cigar for the heroes that sacrificed all. For those that paid the ultimate price. Not just in the armed forces, but also in the civil service. As a former deputy sheriff and Chicago Fire Department paramedic, David Blanco knows first hand about those sacrifices. On top of his civil service, he served close to 30 years in the American Army. Both in active duty, National Guard and Reservist. He served 18 months in the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom which brought him to Afghanistan. And at the same time, his father was serving in Iraq. Currently, Blanco is still an active jumpmaster for the United States Army Reserve. He joins veterans at World War II memorial jumps over Europe every chance he gets.


The Blanco Above and Beyond cigars honor those heroes. Part of the proceeds of the cigars goes to charities that help families of fallen service members, or survivors of tragedies while serving. And the cigars represent that. When a service member gets killed, the family members get an American flag, neatly folded into a triangle. All for sizes of the Above & Beyond are torpedos so that the head of the cigars can get a triangle-shaped blue ring with white stars. That resembles the American flag that the family members of fallen servicemen and women get. The cigar itself is a rebranded classic from Blanco Cigars, the American Legion cigar. The wrapper comes from Nicaragua. It’s a Rosado Habano wrapper. The binder is Honduran. The fillers come from both Nicaragua and Honduras.


The cigar has a beautiful reddish-brown wrapper. The point of the torpedo is extremely pointy and sharp for a cigar, The black and silver ring has the American flag. The Blanco name is written in the colors of the fire brigade, police and paramedics. Their logos are on the back of the ring as well. There is a text printed as well, probably the pledge of alliance but since we are not American, we don’t know for sure. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. Wood, horses and a little ammonia comes to mind. After a third, it’s pepper, toast, spices, sweetness but now with wood as well. The mouthfeel is quite dry.


The cold draw is loose. The pre-draw is a little dry, with nutmeg and slightly wet hay. But those flavors are faint. Once lit, there is a bitter grassy flavor with spices and pepper. Not unpleasant, but quite unrefined. Soon, the cigar gets more balanced and the flavors get more rounded. The nutmeg and spices start to shine through. When some sweetness shows up, the bitterness fades away. After half a centimeter, the cigar has a sweet toasted flavor, with cinnamon and pepper. Halfway the cigar has a salty, licorice flavor with toast, spices, and pepper. The cinnamon-like sweetness returns, with wood, salt, licorice, and toast. The licorice flavor remains strong, with spices, wood, and pepper.


The smoke is thick and plentiful. The draw is good. The burn is a little off but doesn’t have to be corrected. The cigar is medium to medium full-bodied. The flavors are medium-full as well, with enough evolution to keep the cigar interesting all the way. The smoke time is two hours fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, once in a while

number90

Categories: 90, Blanco Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , ,

Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto

Rocky Patel LB1 Robusto. Rocky Patel makes cigars in Honduras and Nicaragua. And even though he started out in Honduras, last few years he focussed on Nicaragua for production. Almost all of the new blends came out of his Tavicusa factory in Esteli. That factory is owned by Rocky Patel and his partner Amilcar Perez. The Honduran production is made at El Paraiso, a factory owned by Plasencia. But Patel has a special relationship, which allows them to use his own methods, his own people and his own standards for his brands. It’s sort of a lease deal.


This Rocky Patel LB1 is made at that El Paraiso factory. And it’s one of the two new blends that were recently released, made in Honduras. It’s quite normal for cigars to have a factory code during the blending process, and for the LB1 Patel decided to keep that factory code as the name. The cigar is made with tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua in the filler. The binder is also Nicaraguan. The Nicaraguan tobaccos come from Patel’s farm in Esteli. The wrapper is a Habano wrapper from Ecuador.

The cigar is a looker. A very dark yet smooth wrapper. But the foot has been cut by a drunken torcedor. When placed on a table, foot down, it leans like the Tower of Pisa. The wrapper is evenly in color and smooth. The white and copper-colored ring contrasts the darkness well. The ring is quite simple, yet a little too overwhelming. There’s too many lines, stars, shapes so it makes the ring distracting. The barnyard and manure aroma is quite strong.


The cold draw is a bit though. The flavors are leather and pepper, spicy. But it feels a bit like wet leather, making the draw a bit draggy. Once lit, its pepper and cinnamon toast with espresso. The flavors then evolve to a mixture of soil, leather, coffee, sweetness, and a hint of citrus. The cigar is mellow, and the flavors settle for cinnamon toast with a little pepper, sweetness, and grass. Halfway some wood, more soil, and leather show up, but still with the spiced toast and sweetness.


The draw is good. Better than the cold draw. The white smoke is thick and plentiful. The salt and pepper colored ash is quite firm. The cigar is mellow and well balanced. Where the darkness of the wrapper would suggest it’s a strong, full-bodied cigar, it’s actually not. It’s a medium-bodied, medium flavored, balanced and smooth cigar. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, I think so.

number91

Categories: 91, El Paraiso, Honduran cigars, Rocky Patel | Tags: , , , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man Gran Toro

Hiram & Solomon Traveling Man Gran Toro. Hiram & Solomon is the brand of Fouad Kashouty and Nasir Dakrat. The couple met during freemason gatherings. And they became friends. Both cigar aficionados were surprised that they could not find any freemason cigars. So they decided to create a brand that uses the freemason shield in the logo. And in freemason spirit, parts of the proceeds will flow back into the community through charity.


The Traveling Man is made at the Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. David Blanco from Blanco Cigars was involved in the blending of the cigar. And the blend is interesting because of the use of Indonesian Sumatra. Most Sumatra tobacco used comes from Ecuador. Yet for the Traveling Man, Hiram & Solomon use Sumatra from the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Add an Indonesian binder. And Brazilian, Dominican and Nicaraguan wrapper and you have the Hiram & Solomon Travelling Man. The Gran Toro size is 6×60.

The cigar looks good. I like the purple ring with the Freemason logo. The cigar has a nice shade of color and just two thin veins on the backside. The construction feels good. The aroma is strong. I smell hay and straw.

The cold draw is great. The hay and grass flavor is strong in the cold draw. After lighting, the first flavors are best described as dusty and earthy with some sweetness. There’s also a slight hint of pepper. The marzipan sweetness is fantastic. After a few puffs, some leather shows up too. And some grass. The mouthfeel is a little buttery. In the first third, the flavors stay consistent but that’s expected with a big ring cigar. The flavors maintain in the second third, although I taste some licorice too. There are slight changes, subtle, with some vanilla showing up every now and then. Same goes for pepper, but overall this is a consistent cigar. The final third is much better. The pepper picks up, allspice shows up and it’s good.


The draw is flawless. The burn is straight. The ash is light colored and firm enough. The smoke is quite thin. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Only in a thinner version

number89

Categories: 89, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Duarte Reserva Pyramid

About a decade ago I met up with a now retired cigar distributer in Amsterdam who was introducing a new cigar brand, Don Duarte, and the owner of the brand, señor Duarte, was there as well at the beautiful shop of Hajenius. I smoked a few cigars and I did like them. The brand never took off, I haven’t seen them in shops for a while now and when I look online I can only find them on German webshops.

 


A few years back I was helping an account to re-arrange his humidor and found this Don Duarte Reserve Pyramid. The account said “I had it for so long, it’s the last one, take it” so I did. And now it’s time to review this Plasencia made Nicaraguan puro with the H-2000 oscuro wrapper.

 


The thick wrapper is dark, it looks and feels like leather. The cigar has the right amount of sponginess, the shape of the cigar is great too. The ring is brown with silver and golden details, a classic crest and a knights helmet. The cigar has a vegetable and wooden aroma.

 


After cutting the cigar I taste some raw tobacco. After lighting I taste coffee and leather with some spice and pepper. After a few puffs I taste a mix of spices with sweetness and a little pepper, well balanced. After a third I taste wood and spices, it reminds me of a forest in the autumn. Halfway the cigar is more leathery, woody and spicy. The flavor remains like this till the end.

 


The draw is perfect. The smoke is perfectly white, thick and full. The ash is light gray and coarse. The burn is good. This is a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them I get some.

Score: 91
number91

 

Categories: 91, Don Duarte, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month January

Since the end of the year is an expensive month for most of us, I decided to smoke and review some budget cigars for the month of January. I wish I hadn’t though, even though some budget cigars preformed really well, and others had a good price-quality ratio, I rather pay a few dollars extra and have an almost guaranteed cigar enjoyment.

As for this month, the cigar with the highest rating is:
Diesel Unholy Cocktail with a 95 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Diesel Unholy Cocktail Belicoso (Nicaragua) 95 points
2) Calixto Lopez Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
3) Nica Libre Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
4) Blue Ribbon Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
5) Joya Black Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
6) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Corona (Honduras) 89 points
7) Flor de Oliva Lancero (Nicaragua) 88 points
8) Benchmade Toro (Nicaragua) 87 points
9) Schizo Maduro Robusto (Honduras) 87 points
10) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Habano (Honduras) 87 points
11) Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba Natural (Honduras) 86 points
12) Cuba Libre Epicure (Honduras) 85 points
13) Schizo Robusto (Nicaragua) 85 points
14) Miami Mafia Torpedo (Nicaragua) 85 points
15) Chincalero Fuerte Picadillos (Nicaragua) 84 points
16) Non Plus Ultra Maduro Toro (Honduras) 84 points
17) Berger & Argenti Mooch Maduro Corona (Nicaragua) 84 points
18) Reposado Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 84 points
19) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 83 points
20) Jose L Piedro Cazadores (Cuba) 83 points
21) Nestor Reserva Maduro Torpedo (Honduras) 82 points
22) La Flor de Rosa Churchill (Nicaragua) 82 points
23) Don Tomas Clasico Robusto (Honduras) 80 points
24) Reposado Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 79 points
25) La Rica Churchill (Nicaragua) 78 points
26) Cucaracha Nub (Nicaragua) 77 points
27) JR Edicion Limitada Robusto (undisclosed) 77 points
28) Oro de Esteli Robusto (Nicaragua) 77 points
29) Quorum Toro (Nicaragua) 73 points

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cuba Libre Epicure

This is the last of the Cuba Libre cigars I have in my possession and I must have had this for at least 6 years. I bought a box from an online source in the United States years ago to try out some budget cigars and included in those ‘let’s see if this is a good steal’ shipment was a box of this Honduran made Cuba Libre. The cigars are produced at the Plasencia factory in Danli.


There is not a lot of information available online, except for the wrapper, which is corojo and that the filler is Honduran with a Nicaraguan binder. There are a few vitolas, Churchill, Corona, Gordo, Robusto, Toro en Torpedo and I’m smoking the 6×50 box pressed toro. I have no idea if the other vitolas are box pressed too. And the cigars are still on the market and still a bargain with $65 for a box of 20 cigars.


The corojo wrapper of this box pressed cigar is great, a nice even milk chocolate color with one flattened thin vein. The wrapper feels silky and the cigar has a strong aroma which is a mixture of light minty and chocolate aromas and darker smells like grass and charred wood. The construction feels good yet the wrapper is a little pinched at the cap. The ring is nice a thick golden edge on a blue backdrop and white tobacco leaves. In the center there’s a burgundy circle with golden dots and a golden, dotted, outline. The centre is white with blue letters Cuba Libre. And I hope that Cuba will be liberated soon, but that has got nothing to do with this cigar though.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is fine and I taste raisin and leather. After lighting the cigar with a single jet flame I taste leather with some cinnamon and honey. After a third the cigar gets a little spicy, still with a leather flavor as a base. Halfway I taste a fresh minty, almost toothpaste like flavor with leather. Near the end some pepper shows up too and grows to a nice strength.


The smoke is a little thin, and the color is quite dark for cigar smoke. The ash is very fragile. The burn is decent but not fantastic. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a slow but certain evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I’m looking for a budget cigar I’ll consider this, it’s a $3 stick. The flavors are good, with a better draw, burn and smoke the score would be a few points higher.

Score: 85
number85

Categories: 85, Cuba Libre, Honduran cigars, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo

I bought these cigars years ago, at least 9 years, at Cigars International when I was trying out all kinds of budget cigars and this Nestor Reserve Maduro Torpedo came in dirt cheap bundles, the price per stick was about $2 and with a very favorable euro dollar conversion rate at that time they were a steal. I remember that I liked them back in the day so when I found one lingering in an assorted box in my humidor I decided to light it for a review.


I know that the cigars are made by Plasencia in their Honduran factory, but I don’t know a lot about the blend. I guess they are discontinued as I can’t find them anywhere anymore, I did find a cigar with a similar ring but with an added ‘vintage’ to the ring and these were all sold out too. I did find some old reviews, usually I don’t read them to prevent being influenced but I started reading to find out the blend and I found it. A maduro wrapper from Honduras, a Cameroon binder which isn’t a type of leaf used as a binder a lot because it’s expensive tobacco, so to find it in a budget cigars is quite a surprise. The filler is made from tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.


This cigar is intimidating, especially with the cellophane removed. It is big, with a length of 6 1/2 inch, box pressed but what makes it intimidating is the almost pitch black wrapper which is smooth yet oily and looks amazing. The construction feels good and the pointy head is reasonably straight. The ring is simple, shiny white with a golden N and a banner saying Nestor. It fits the budget price of the cigar. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of charred wood after a fire mixed with hay that has been in a stable with sheep or cow overnight and is soaked in animal urine. Now when I write it down like that it sounds absolutely nasty, but it’s not that bad.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is fantastic. The flavor is just a little sweetness. After lighting I taste a strong espresso like coffee. After an inch I taste a metallic fresh wood flavor, harsh on the tip of my tongue. Halfway I still taste a harsh, strong wood with some lime and now with some pepper on the inside of my lips. The final third starts with dry nuts, pepper and cumin, less harsh than before. At the end it’s a harsh pepper again.


The draw is perfect. The burn is a bit off though and needs a few touch ups. The smoke is grayish and medium thick. The ash is a bit frayed. The medium full cigar is medium flavored with some evolution but no complexity. The smoke time is an hour and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No. I remembered these as chocolate bombs but I didn’t get any of that now.

Score: 82
number82

Categories: 82, Honduran cigars, Nestor, Tabacalera del Oriente | Tags: , , , , ,

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