Posts Tagged With: robusto

Nicoya Fuerte Robusto

In January I wrote a review about a new brand, Nicoya, and I smoked the Nicoya Medio, the milder of the two lines that the Australian entrepreneur and cigar aficionado Gerard Hayes has made by A.J. Fernandez in the Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. As for the name, as I wrote back in January, according to Hayes the name is chosen to praise the Nicaraguans yet there are others that claim that Nicaraguans aren’t called Nicoya but it’s a piece of Costa Rica that used to be Nicaraguan. As I said back then, I’m not an expert and not knowledgable enough to pick sides so I’m just gonna leave it there.


The Nicoya Fuerte only comes in one size 5×52 that Hayes picked because its the most popular size when it comes to sales and it can be smoked is a reasonable time. The filler is all Nicaraguan while the binder and wrapper are Ecuadorean habano, or Sun Grown as we call that in Europe since the Cubans were able toe trademark “habano” and “cuba” even though international laws clearly state you can’t trademark a country. As I take the cigar out of the cellophane I smell a very strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia. The wrapper, that is dark like dark oak feels very silky. The construction feels good with a beautifully rounded single cap. The ring is amazing, very simple, 2 smaller and one bigger purple circle with a white N in the middle circle and white lions in the smaller circles and white lettering Nicoya Cigars Esteli Nicaragua on the silver borders. The back of the ring are wing shaped and thats a nice detail.


I punched the cigar, the ring gauge is 52 so big enough to punch. The cold draw is surprisingly easy and has a little raisin and a lot of pepper. After I used my trusted Ronson to light the cigar I taste a strong coffee with pepper. After a centimeter I taste coffee, less strong as in the beginning, with some leather, spice and a little citrus. After an inch I also taste cocoa and the pepper is back full force. The citrus gained more strength. Halfway it’s leather, cedar, pepper and now a mild citrus mix of flavors. Soon after I taste dark chocolate, like the 72% dark chocolate and the pepper is habanero. Every now and then I also taste hints of vanilla. The finish is a solid coffee again, more towards espresso to be precise.


The smoke is amazing, so thick, so full and so much, the maximum amount of points there and my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great, just a tiny bit loose. The ash is light gray and firm, it’s dense too. The burn is good, not perfect but also not touch ups needed. This cigar is full bodied, no question about that, and full flavored. The flavors also linger around for a long time. The smoke time is a solid hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, although the Nicoya Medios is a bit more balanced. This is an after barbecue cigar.

Score: 91

91

Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicoya, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RomaCraft Wunder|Lust Robusto

Back in early 2014, on a Flor de Cana infused night at the infamous club Cigar Zone in Esteli, Nicaragua my friend Pedro Gomez Rodriguez from Drew Estate introduced me to a friend of his, Skip Martin from Roma Craft, a company that was very under the radar for me back then, I mean read about the atlatl but that was about it. Skip gave me one of his cigars, the La Campaña de Panamá Sombrero, and instantly I was a fan. Little over a year later I returned to Esteli and contacted Skip, but he was in the hospital in Managua and wouldn’t return to Esteli in the time I was there. But on my last night in Nicaragua I was staying in a hotel in Managua and much to both Skip’s and my surprise I ran into Skip, his girlfriend and his daughter the moment I walked out my room. It goes without saying we ended up smoking a few great cigars that night.


Later that year Skip send me a message he was coming to Amsterdam and Germany the last few weeks of the year and he would arrive in Amsterdam on the 24th. Now I live very close to Amsterdam so that evening I picked Skip and his beautiful girlfriend up, we went for dinner and smoked a RomaCraft Wunderlust pre-release cigar. The next day his German distributer, Annemarie Schuster, joined us and since it was impossible to find a restaurant and a place to smoke on Christmas we ended up with takeaway Chinese at my place and spending the night smoking cigars in my man-cave. It was probably the best Christmas ever, not spending it with an official dinner at the in laws but just chilling with 3 like minded people enjoying a few drinks and a lot of cigars.


And Skip left some Wunderlust pre release cigars for me to enjoy.

Now there has been some talks about the cigar on the internet, mostly about the undisclosed filler. Skip admitted using tobacco from the storage of the Schuster family, that not only distribute premium cigars on the German market (next to RomaCraft they also distribute La Flor Dominicana and Casa Turrent) but they also produce dry cigars for several European countries, for the filler and rumors are that he is using Cuban tobacco for it, something Skip doesn’t admit or deny. The binder and wrapper are no secret, as a binder Skip uses a Indonesian Besuki and the wrapper is a Brazilian Mata Fina.


The wrapper is beautiful, dark, oily and with some tooth, the triple cap is one of the most beautiful I have seen and the construction feels flawless. The aroma is a deep, characterful manure aroma, medium strong. The cigar has the pre-release ring, and I must admit, I haven’t seen pictures of the cigar without the ‘pre-release’ lettering, so I can only rate this ring. Its a simple ring like you see more often at pre-release cigars but instead of a simple piece of paper RomaCraft decided to go for a better quality of paper with, if you look closely, a structure with millimeter thick squares. On the back they printed the RomaCraft logo in black and on the front it ways Wunder|Lust pre-release. For those that wonder what the name is about, its a mix between the german “wunder” what means wonder and wanderlust.

I punched the cigar to find a good cold draw with a dark chocolate, mint and raisin flavor. Now if I would do this cigar Skip Martin style I would simply write ‘I taste well fermented tobacco’ but I’ll do it my way. I lit the cigar with my Ronson soft flame and taste coffee with a little citrus. There is a toast flavor too, a little harsh but in a pleasant way. Pretty quickly the cigar becomes peppery with a hint of mild chocolate. Halfway it’s more of the same pepper, not overpowering though, with a little citrus and some leather. And the leather could be the reason why people suspect Cuban tobacco being used. The leather is getting stronger and I also taste some toast, the pepper is still there.
The smoke is thick and white, there is a lot of it too. The draw is perfect. The dense ash is very white. The burn is razorsharp. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and 10 minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Only for sale in Germany, so I guess I’ll have to step in the car soon and drive to Cigarworld in Dusseldorf or the Whisky & Cigar Salon in Gronau and get myself a box

Score: 93
93

Other RomaCraft reviews:
09-13-2015 RomaCraft La Campaña de Panama Sombrero

Categories: 93, Nica Sueno, Nicaraguan cigars, RomaCraft | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

00 Series, full line review

Now this is a kind of unusual review, not of one cigar but of 5 different cigars, all from one factory, series, but different vitolas. You might wonder why I don’t write separate reviews, well, I thought about that too, but I know too little about these cigars to write 5 full reviews and to be honest, the public opinion and sales numbers about these cigars were so poor that my expectations aren’t high at all so why waste 5 posts to these cigars instead of 1 long one with 5 ratings? And it’s a medium filler anyway, not worthy of 5 full reviews. So this will be a long read, but its 5 reviews at once.
00series1
I remember years ago that my then employer said “we have a new product, very cheap, medium filler and I expect a lot from these cigars because of their price”. Well, he was wrong! It’s simple to assume that price is the only reason for success, in this case the price was the only thing that was right but all the other reasons for success we missing. First of all I didn’t have any information, except that my employer got these cigars via Meerapfel in Belgium, so no manufacturer, no blend information, no factory information so I couldn’t give my retailers any information either. Then came the unappealing plain boxes, the cheap looking labels and the terrible name, add that there is completely no information found on the internet and even if there was, the name makes it impossible to find, I mean is the cigar called 01 as in all number ‘zero one’ or O1, as in the letter O and the number 1. Needless to say, I sold all the boxes to several retailers but they had a hard time selling them and I only got one re-order, Carlo from Rokado in Uden had a customer that liked them enough to order two more boxes of the number 3 size.

01

The 01 is the skinniest of the bunch, it measures 5 1/8×36 so that makes is a (short) panatela. The wrapper is a bit dull and feels a bit like very fine sandpaper. The ring is well printed but too simple to stand out, way too simple. Its just a regular shaped ring, dark blue with golden lettering, 2 horizontal stripes broken up by the number 01 (or the letter O and number 1). The construction feels a little soft, a little squishy but the cap is put on with skillful hands. The aroma is faint, but after a few sniffs I smell a manure aroma without any ammonia or acidity.


Due to the small ring gauge I can’t punch the cigar so I opted to cut it. The cold draw is surprisingly easy I though but then I remembered this being a medium filler. The cold draw is pretty tasteless, only a mild pepper taste. Lighting the cigar is pretty easy and I taste a musty earthy and coffee flavor. Too musty for my liking. The cigar gets a little harsh and the harshness grows to a level where I would have tossed the cigar if I wasn’t smoking it for a review.


The draw is fine, the smoke is oke, reasonably full but gray instead of white. The ash is fine, light gray and firm for a medium filler. The burn is straight as an arrow. The smoke time of this medium bodied mild flavored cigar is forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 72
number72

02

The 02 is the nub of the family, 4 inch long and a ring gauge of 62. Studio Tobac started with the nub, a lof of companies followed and I still don’t understand why and more, why these sizes are selling as I find all of them dull, boring and they lack dynamic due to the filler vs wrapper ratio.  The wrapper is identical to the wrapper on the 01 and the same goes for the ring with the difference in color, where the 01 has a dark blue ring, the 02 has a pitch black ring, shiny though. The cigar feels evenly packed but the head has a bump. The mild to medium strong aroma reminds me of a barn at a petting zoo.


Due to the big ring gauge I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a little on the loose side with a mild musty raisin flavor. After lighting the cigar taste musty, Connecticut Shade musty but the wrapper doesn’t look like shade grown. It’s musty cedar with some nutmeg, it’s not bad. After half an inch it’s just musty cedar, musty with a capitol M. After a third the cigar gets peppery and spicy but not in a great way, it’s better than the first third but there is no nuance or complexity just harsh wood and pepper. Near the end it’s musty again.


The draw is a bit on the loose side. The smoke is good though, not the thickest I’ve seen but still good and a better color than the 01. The ash is white and firm. The burn is oke. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is about 50 minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
number77

03
The 03 is a fat robusto, a 5×60 and the wrapper is a lighter color than the 01 and the 02. The binder must not be very pretty either because I can see pimples under the wrapper, if this cigar was a teenager it would surely grab an acne lotion. The ring is boring like the 01 and the 02, just a shiny, bright green with golden 03, no fancy stripes like on the 01 and 02, just plain and boring. The construction feels good, the cigar is evenly packed although at the head of the cigar I feel a piece that doesn’t feel round but flat instead. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of hay and a barn before the hay of the night before is cleaned out.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is a bit loose, but then again, it is a medium filler. I taste almost nothing, only a little harsh tobacco. After lighting I taste a little nutmeg and cinnamon, the flavors feel warm. The flavor isn’t bad nor great, and there is no evolution. Halfway the nutmeg and cinnamon becomes a bit musty. Near the end the cigar gets a little harsh.


The draw is good. The smoke is also very good, plenty and thick. The ash is light gray but not too firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a medium bodied cigar medium flavored with poor evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
number77

04

The 04 is the first one with a regular size, 5×50 robusto and the wrapper looks the same as the 01 and the 02 but a little rougher because of a vein. The ring is burgundy red with golden letters and just like the 03 without the stripes on the side. This is the first of the series where I can’t comment on the construction, it feels good and looks good. The aroma is mild and smells like straw and hay, clean straw and hay.


After my experiences with the first 3 I am reluctant to smoke number 4, but you should finish what you start so I cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine, a little spicy. I taste a mild coffee with some acidity after lighting the cigar. Halfway the cigar is all citrus with spices. The cigar slowly gets a little harsh.


The draw is great. The smoke is a bit thin. The light gray ash is layered and firm for a medium filler. The burn is straight. The evolution is almost non existent again. This is a medium  bodied medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 77
number77

05

The 6×60 gordo has the roughest wrapper of them all, a shade darker than the 01, 02 and 04 but still dull, dry and with a sandpaper touch and a little roughness on the appearance. The cigar feels well packed and looks fine. As for the ring, I think the designer went on a bender during the weekend and designed this on monday morning while still intoxicated. Come on, I can handle the diamond shaped squares with the golden outlines but the color combination? What is this, a carnival cigar? Alternating purple and orange with gold? What was the designer thinking? And then using the same purple to write 05 in an orange square? People are fired for less. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of hay that has been used in a barn, but I also smell a little mint.


After the first 4 cigars I’m dreading this one, bad scores and flavors overall, and the final cigar is a size I hate so that combination makes me not want to light the cigar. I punched the cigar and the cold draw is great but tasteless. After lighting I taste a musty earthy flavor. Halfway I taste a little pepper.


The draw is a bit loose with a decent amount of medium thick smoke. The ash is light gray and coarse. The burn is decent. The evolution is non existent. This is a mild to medium bodied and mild to medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No.

Score: 76
number76

Categories: 00 Series, 72, 76, 77, Nicaraguan cigars | 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

Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova

Mid september 2015 George Sosa from Alec Bradley came to The Netherlands for the Dutch Big Smoke, which is not related to the American Big Smokes hosted by Cigar Aficionado due to our laws, but at the Dutch Big Smoke 10 cigars were introduced to the Dutch market. We as the Alec Bradley distributer decided to go for the Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Terra Nova, a 5×50 Nicaraguan puro produced in Honduras. I picked George up from the airport and his first question was if I ever smoked the Tempus Nicaragua. My answer was no, he pulled one out of his bag and we lit up. Straight away I loved the cigar, without thinking twice I told George it was the best Alec Bradley I had ever smoked, it was a great fit for my palate.


The Big Smoke was very successful and the days after the event we drove around, visiting accounts and smoking nothing but the Tempus Nicaragua, even on the long drive to Dortmund, to the Intertabac trade show we lit those babies up.  So its safe to say that this isn’t a review where I don’t know what to expect, but more of a review where I wonder how high the score will be. The cigar has a nice dark and rustic looking wrapper, you know its not going to be a mild cigar just by looking at it. The construction feels good and the cigar has a beautiful triple cap. The ring is exactly the same as on the Tempus and the Tempus Maduro but in a different color, just like the Tempus and Tempus Maduro differ in color. The foot ring is brown with golden lining and white letters Nicaragua while the regular ring, which is quite big has the red & white Alec Bradley logo with crown surrounded by silver and golden circles, a black banner with the Alec Bradley name and a brown bottom with beautiful Roman style lettering saying Tempus. The gold and silver really pop, beautiful printing quality. The aroma is medium strong, but it has a deep and pleasant aroma of a barnyard, horses and a little bit of dark chocolate.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw, which is perfect, gives me a little spice and raisin. I used my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar. The first puffs are a full coffee, a little bitter, with some cocoa and spices. After an inch I taste spices, herb and a very mild citrus. Soon after I taste a spicy, pleasant bitterness with a little sugar like sweetness. Halfway it’s all spices and herbs with a little sweet chocolate. A few puffs later the cigar becomes meaty, not a meat flavor but a feeling. After two thirds it’s a beautiful mix of spices, sweetness, a little pepper, well balanced. Near the end I also taste nuts with the mentioned flavors and a mild acidic citrus flavor.


The draw is great, smooth and easy. The smoke is thick, luscious and abundant. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is a little bit crooked but it corrects itself quick. The strength I would call medium plus, both in body and in flavor.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this was my last one, need to get a new box.

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santiago Connecticut Robusto

At Intertabac 2016 I met the guys of Santiago cigars who shared their booth with Gerard from Nicoya. As we were talking about cigars, about their brand, a private label made by Plasencia as so many others they gave me a few of their cigars to review. I had very good cigars made by Plasencia, I had bad ones and I probably had a lot of Plasencia cigars without even knowing they are made by this very influential family that are the biggest growers of tobacco in Nicaragua and Honduras with huge cigar factories on both sides of the border too. If you ever happen to be in Esteli, try to visit the cathedral of tobacco as the Plasencia factory is being called by everybody and do yourself a favor, peek at the daycare centre Plasencia founded across the street too, if you’re lucky the kids will sing a song and do a dance for you, its adorable.


Now Roberto from Santiago handed me their three blends, a habano, a maduro and a Connecticut. I warned Robert as I hate Connecticut. To me it’s a demonic invention and I picture hell as a huge hipster filled cigar shop with nothing but Connecticut shade cigars, an alcohol free bar and only vegan food. But, and I have heard this from many manufacturers including some big names, Roberto swore me that their Connecticut shade is different than all other. None of the manufacturers that said this to me were right though, there is something about Connecticut shade that makes me despise it, the musty taste, the pale look, its not my thing but the same tobacco grown broadleaf is a whole different thing though, that I love.


The Santiago Connecticut Robusto is a 5×50 box pressed cigar, made in the Nicaraguan factory of Plasencia with Nicaraguan filler, a double binder, both from Nicaragua and a Connecticut Shade wrapper from the Talanga region of Honduras. The wrapper is typical Connecticut shade, pale, thin and it has a few veins. The construction is flawless though with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is beautiful, its a dark green, close to grey, with golden linings and white letters Santiago de Los Caballeros Nicaragua but what makes the band stand out is the shiny, black and slightly raised cross. The bottom ring is the same greenish gray with golden lining and red letters Connecticut, something I would have done in white to make it matching. This is the exact same comment as I made for the Habano version of the cigar btw and I do understand why they didn’t do it in white but in different colors to make the cigars stand apart more in a humidor, but I think the different colors of the wrapper should already do that. The aroma is a like walking into a dry barn where the farmer just put down some fresh hay before the sheep or cow come back in.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is great. The flavor is mellow except for a strong pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar with my vintage Ronson, my favorite lighter. The flavor is actually quite nice, sweet coffee with some cinnamon except I also taste a little bit of the typical Connecticut Shade mustiness. After a centimeter I taste some cedar with a little bit of salt and sweetness but unfortunately the mustiness gets stronger too. After a thirds the mustiness is getting to the level I expect from a Shade cigar but surprisingly I also taste a pretty strong red pepper. Halfway the mustiness tones down, I now taste cedar again with cinnamon, some sweetness and a nice amount of pepper. Near the end I taste the mustiness again with some pepper and nuts.


The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The ash is light colored, dense and firm. The draw is just perfect. The burn is fine, not razor sharp but also not crooked. The cigar is mild bodied but medium plus flavored. The smoke time is an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? No but if someone gifts me one I will smoke it again and that I don’t say about a lot of Connecticut Shade cigars. Roberto was right when he said that this cigar isn’t the same as other Shade cigars.

Score: 89

Categories: 89, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro Robusto

When I started smoking Perdomo wasn’t available on the Dutch market, but I read about the brand a lot on Facebook, Club Stogie and later Cigar Asylum. Then I got bombed a few times so I had my chance to smoke a few Perdomo cigars but the brand didn’t impress me much and even after my first trip to the USA, back in 2009, where I tried a bunch of other Perdomo cigars it was just an okay brand for me. But then I smoked the Lot 23 maduro and I liked it a lot, and in my memory it is the best Perdomo cigar that I have smoked. Now in the most recent years Perdomo became available here, the company I used to work for distributed them so I tried several new Perdomo lines and even though its been a long time since I smoked that Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro, in my mind it’s still a great cigar. I wonder if I still like it so much, so I grabbed one for a review.


Now, what I remember from the conversation I had with Nick Perdomo about this cigar at Intertabac years ago, is that all the tobacco comes from a specific piece of one of his fields, lot 23, and the line started as an experiment. I guess the experiment was a success since the line had been available on the market for years and with three different wrappers, a Connecticut Shade, a Sun Grown (or Habano as its called in the USA) and this maduro wrapper and in an array of sizes. I picked the last 5×50 robusto I had in my stash, I still have a toro that I may or may not review in the future. As all the tobacco comes from Lot 23, which is on a farm in Nicaragua this is automatically a Nicaraguan puro.


In the cellophane and with my humidor lights the cigar didn’t look at that dark but once I get it out of the cellophane and in good light I notice how dark and oily the wrapper is, it’s almost black. It has two medium thick veins on the back of the cigar and a leathery feel to it. The construction is great with a neatly placed triple cap. The ring is about an inch in height, it’s pretty simple with a thick brown ring at the top and bottom and beige in between. On the top brown line it says Perdomo in beige letters, the bottom says Esteli, Nicaragua. On the beige there is a simple black drawing of a tobacco barn and a few palm trees. The paper is quite thick and has some embossing. The aroma is medium strong and all I can say is barnyard.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is great. I taste a mild pepper with some cocoa. Right after carefully lighting the cigar with my Ronson varaflame I taste Cuban coffee, strong yet sweet. After a quarter of an inch i taste caramel with oak. After half an inch chocolate shows up too, dark chocolate. After a third I taste caramel, some citrus, wood and some toasted bread. Halfway I taste wood, toast and a little black pepper. Slowly the wood gets stronger with spices like nutmeg and a little cumin. A little later, but still in the second part, I start to taste nuts, walnut and hazelnut to be more precise. The final third starts with the nuts, cedar and a little bit of pepper. A few puffs later I taste peanuts with a little salt and more pepper.


The ash is almost white with darker smears, it’s firm too. The smoke is white, thick, full and it makes my air purifier work at full speed. The draw is flawless but all Perdomo cigars undergo a draw test before the wrapper is applied so that’s no surprise. The burn is pretty straight. This medium to full bodied cigar is very flavorful. The cigar has a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, this is a medium priced cigar yet very flavorful and good.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Perdomo, Tabacalera Perdomo | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Antonius Red Label Robusto

Antonius is made at Intercigar, the factory of the Dutch cigar manufacturer Maurice Koks. His grandfather used to make Dutch dry cured shortfillers in The Netherlands back in the day and Maurice decided years later to step into his grandfathers footsteps and make cigars too. He packed up all he had and moved to the Dominican Republic and that’s something I admire and respect, moving away to another country to chase your dreams takes balls especially when you downgrade when it comes to luxury, social security, safety, healthcare and income, although when moving to the Dominican you upgrade in climate and relaxation I guess. It’s something I always wanted to do but never had the guts to do, and when I finally had the balls and the reasons, after I married my Asian wife, she decided she rather lives in The Netherlands instead of me coming to Singapore so here I am. Not that I’m complaining though, I have a nice house with my man cave, walk in humidor, waterfront garden, little speed boat and friends & family close so life is good.


Well, Maurice created a cigar and named it after his grandfather Antonius. For The Netherlands he signed a deal with a group of retailers, all independent retailers but they work together in a cooperation, called Compaenen and at my local Compaenen shop I saw these new cigars years ago, I guess its 7 or 8 years ago by now. There were two different blends available, both in 3 packs for €12 per pack, which made it a €4 cigar. I bought them, smoked one of each and gave the others away with a warning that they were horrible. And I guess I wasn’t the only one with that opinion as it took the Compaenen group years and years to get rid of their order, they couldn’t even give them away, that’s how bad they were received by the Dutch public. I found the red label in my humidor recently and decided to see what age did with it. The wrapper is a habano rosado over Dominican and Nicaraguan filler and it’s made at the Dominican Republic.


The cigar comes wrapped in both cedar and cellophane which is a nice way to protect the cigar and I hope that the cedar rubbed of after all these years and improved the flavor of the cigar. The downside of the cedar is that the cellophane didn’t turn yellow, something I always like when I unwrap a cigar that has been aging for a long time. The wrapper is quite pale but smooth and oily. The construction feels good although at the head I can clearly see a vein of the binder sticking out like a pimple on a teenager. The aroma is nice, manure with some cedar and quite strong for an aged cigar. The ring is nice, burgundy top with a crest that has the logo of Den Bosch, the Dutch city where Koks grew up, and the logo of Santiago , where he spends his time now. All with golden details. The bottom is yellow with a red banner and white letters Antonius.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw good, I taste dried raisin and some pepper. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a musty flavor that reminds me of Connecticut Shade wrapper with some pepper. After a few puffs I taste fried egg (!?!?) with lemon. After a centimeter I taste sugar, harsh cedar, pepper and lemon. Halfway I taste cedar with some chocolate and a metallic lemon flavor. After two thirds the mustiness is back, some harshness is still around and the pepper grew stronger.


The smoke is good, thick and plentiful. The draw is great, no complaints there. The ash is white with black smears and firm. The burn is crooked though. It’s a medium bodied, medium plus flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I won’t. I wish I could write something different but I can’t. It got better over the years but it’s still not good enough for me.

Score: 85
number85

Categories: 85, Antonius, Dominican cigars, Intercigar | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cornelius & Anthony Daddy Mac Robusto

The cigar I latest highest this year so far is the Cornelius and Anthony Cornelius Toro, a pretty new brand that I got introduced to by my friend Courtney Smith, who’s working for them, at the Intertabac trade show last september in Dortmund, Germany. I smoked a few of these cigars during the show and actually when we were clubbing on friday night with Courtney, Steven & Todd fro C&A, Tony Gomez from La Flor Dominicana, Riste Riatevski from Jas Sum Kral and the ultimate party guy Rocky Patel I just lit up a Daddy Mac when the DJ started a 90’s hiphop set including Kris Kross Jump “The Mac Dad will make you jump jump, Daddy Mac will make you jump jump”. Gotta love the irony there right? But to cut a long story short, the Cornelius Toro is the best cigar I reviewed so far this year, lets see what the Daddy Mac does.


The Daddy Mac is named after Steven Bailey’s father, Mac, and everybody at the company calls him Daddy Mac. The cigar comes from another factory than the El Titan de Bronze made Cornelius since this cigar, just like the Meridian and Venganza lines, are produced by Erik Espinosa in his La Zona factory in downtown Esteli. For those who know Esteli and know La Zona probably agree with me that there is no better place to sit down and smoke a cigar than on the rooftop terrace at La Zona, with the overview of the city and the mountains on the background, watching the crazy traffic, sipping on a great Cuban style coffee or an alcoholic beverage and listen to the great stories told by Mr. Warmth Hector Alfonso. The 5×52 robusto is made with a Brazilian wrapper, Ecuadorean binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar has a dark oak colored wrapper with a beautiful triple cap and just like the Cornelius it has a double ring, one brand name ring that is just drop dead gorgeous, white, black, gold, grey and very detailed with a second, smaller, black ring with gold lining and golden letters saying Daddy Mac.


The construction feels good and the triple cap finishes the looks of the cigar. The cigar doesn’t have a strong aroma, its a mild to medium hay aroma at best. I used my punch to cap the cigar. The cold draw is good, a little on the tight side but just a little. I taste a wooden and peppery flavor. At first I taste cedar with a little coffee. After a centimeter I taste spicy yet citrusy wood. It’s all a bit musty though, reminds me of Connecticut shade but it isn’t.


After a third cigar is spicy, yet a little musty with a base flavor of cedar. Halfway I also taste a little sweetness. I taste a bitter flavor on the tip of my tongue, which I don’t like too much. When I take a sip of water I taste a flavor that I can’t describe but I like it and it tones down the bitterness on my tongue. The overall feeling of the flavors are creamy. Close to two thirds I taste licorice, a flavor I like. The cigar also gets some pepper. Passed the two thirds mark taste more of the sweetness. The cigar finishes strong with nutmeg, cedar and pepper.


The smoke is thick and more than decent in amount. The ash is light gray, dense in structure and firm. The draw is good, not perfect, it’s slightly to tight for my liking. The burn is great, slow and quite straight. This cigar is medium to medium plus bodied cigar and medium plus flavored, well balanced and with sufficient evolution. The smoke time is about 100 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Cornelius

Score: 88

88

Categories: 88, Cornelius & Anthony, La Zona, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alec Bradley Sanctum Robusto

The cigar market has always seen new blends pop up, some of them stick around, others disappear after a time. Alec Bradley has been one of many companies that have released quite some new blends in the last few years and retired a few too. Only in the last 3 to 4 years we have seen the Mundial, Tempus Nicaragua, Nica Puro, Flithy Hooligan, Fine & Rare, Family Blend, Family Blend Lineage, Coyol, Texas Lancero, Post Embargo and the Sanctum show up plus a re blended and rebranded Maxx. I probably missed some and since Alec Bradley hasn’t been on the Dutch market for so long, only a few years, I don’t now what blends they retired.  Now new lines or brands, I have mixed emotions about that. As a cigar geek I love it, because I always want to try new stuff. And as a cigar salesman I loved it, since its pretty easy to sell something new, easier than building a brand to stay in the market long term but on the other side I hated it too as a cigar salesman because you simply can’t carry all brands, customers request cigars that are not in your portfolio and as a consumer I sometimes got tired of it as well. For example, when Viaje was introduced I hunted down all new releases until there were so many small batches I couldn’t keep up and lost interest, same with a Tatuaje, too many special releases so I couldn’t bother anymore and even Rocky Patel overdid it with his seasonal ‘spring, summer, autumn & winter’ releases. Its a shame because all mentioned brands I love.


Back to Alec Bradley, I worked for a cigar distributer and Alec Bradley didn’t have an importer when they were chosen to be the cigar of the year. The second that happened, I remember sitting at a parking lot refreshing my screen franticly as the #1 is announced late on the working day for us and close to the x-mas period where the company was closed, if one of our cigars was #1 I had a short time frame to push the sales up at the end of the year. Well, Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill, not one of ‘our’ cigars so no nice added turnover that week but we did reach out to them that afternoon and a few days later we were the official Alec Bradley distributer for The Netherlands and in the years after we built a good relationship. I always liked most Alec Bradley cigars but considered them to be a ‘middle of the road’ cigar, good but not fancy, except for the Mudial and the Tempus Nicaragua that I loved. I parted ways with my employer and decided to reboot my review blog, but reviewing demands a different approach to smoking, one with way more attention to the cigars than how I smoked for the past few years and when I did, it changed my mind on Alec Bradley a bit, the ‘middle of the road’ Black Market for example it a much better cigar than I always thought, but I only smoked it casual before. And that happened with more Alec Bradley sticks, so I can’t wait to try this Sanctum Robusto.


The Sanctum is made from Honduran, Colombian and Nicaraguan filler with a Costa Rican binder and a Honduran wrapper and its made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. When I release the cigar from the cellophane jacket it feels silky. The wrapper looks good but has a long, thin vein, straight in the centre that I personally would have hidden on the back pure for the looks in a humidor. The construction feels good and the cigar is well finished. The cigar has an aroma that reminds me most of the kitchen when I’m boiling cauliflower and its quite strong. The ring is big, covers at least a third of the cigarand maybe even more. It’s black with white and a red Alec Bradley logo in the centre, surrounded by golden details and the test Sanctum in a beautiful font. At first glance the logo with the golden decoraction made me think of a fire department crest.


I punched the cigar and the predawn is a little tight on the good side. The flavor reminds me of old dark chocolate. After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a nice coffee flavor with some cedar and far in the back even a little bit of dark chocolate. After a centimeter the cedar has completely taken over from the coffee, with some pepper and some milk chocolate with some vanilla. The overall flavors are creamy. Halfway I taste wood with a honey sweetness. Slowly the pepper gets stronger and I also taste a little nutmeg Abe cinnamon like spices. After two thirds I mainly taste the spices and some pepper.


The smoke is quite thick and the volume is fine. The ash is light gray. The draw is great, the little too much resistance I had in the cold draw isn’t noticeable after lighting the cigar. The ash is firm and the burn is pretty darn straight. The cigar is medium plus bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a good cigar but I prefer the Mundial, Coyol and Tempus Nicaragua over this blend.

Score: 90
90

Categories: 90, Alec Bradley, Honduran cigars, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.