Posts Tagged With: robusto

La Sirena Merino Robusto

In 2009 Arielle Ditkowich started La Sirena cigars with a cigar made at My Father Cigars in Nicaragua and three years later she released the second La Sirena line, the La Sirena Merlion made on the Dominican Republic at the La Aurora factory which isn’t a surprise because back then the cigars were distributed by Nestor Miranda’s Miami Cigar & Co, who’s the distributer of La Aurora in the USA, and has a few private labels made by My Father. So the connections are all there.


I met Arielle briefly when I visited Miami Cigar & Co a few years ago and she handed me this Merlion Robusto. I had smoked the My Father made La Sirena cigar but never this one and it’s time to do it now. The cigar is made with Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian filler, a Brazilian binder and a corona from Ecuador wrapper.  La Sirena released two more lines, the Oceano and the Old School, the last one is made at NATSA where the Oceano is made at Quesada on the Dominican Republic. Or at least, were made by? Since 2014 there have been stories that La Sirena would move production to La Zona, but the La Sirena website still mentions NATSA, La Aurora and My Father.


The wrapper is a nice reddish brown, soft to the touch with a nice shine and a few thin veins. The ring is amazing, only shaped and huge with lots of shiny silver and just a little red and blue with a drawing of a mythical creature, a mermaid lion mix, a merlion. And since my wife a native Singaporean I have a connection with merlions, as that is the most famous statue of Singapore. The cigar has a mild manure aroma and the construction feels good, evenly packed , the shape is good and the cap is nice.


I used my xikar cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is a little loose, mild peppery and woody. After lighting I taste a strong coffee flavor with a little cedar. After a third I taste cedar with a little spice and pepper. Halfway I taste cedar with a nutty flavor and a slightly stronger pepper. The final third is spicier, with more pepper and a hint of chocolate.


The draw is good. The smoke is white with a grayish glow, it’s medium thick and full. The burn is razor sharp. The salt & pepper colored ash is firm. The cigar had a few years of age and it shows, as it’s very mellow and smooth. Medium bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A single or maybe a fiver.

Score: 90

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Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, La Sirena, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAO Pilon Robusto

A few years back, while I was still working for The Longfiller Company, the largest independent cigar importer in The Netherlands, I walked into the office one day and my employer said “Stijn Elbersen was here and he left a box of CAO Pilon Churchill, I love them, try one”. I was surprised for two reasons, first that Stijn visited our office, Stijn is an important manager at STG, a company that we didn’t do much business with at the time, and that my employer, who’s very loyal to what he likes, only a few brands that he enjoys a lot, liked a CAO. I grabbed a cigar, lit it and I was under impressed.


At the last Intertabac trade show I ran into Stijn and Rick Rodriguez, we spend some time chatting and they gave me the Fuma em Gorda, Anaconda and this CAO Pilon Robusto. The Pilon is quite unique as a very old method of fermenting the tobacco has been used for the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Nowadays fermentation is done in huge, rectangle stacks, creating more heat than the Pilon style, which is done in smaller, round, stacks. Due to the smaller stacks the temperature is lower, so it takes longer for the leafs to fully ferment but it also leads to a bigger reduction of ammonia and sugar. Add some Nicaraguan filler and binder from Esteli and Ometepe to the wrapper and there you have the CAO Pilon.


The wrapper feels lacquered, its coffee colored with a nice shine and a long thin vein. The beige ring is big and simple, stylish with black letters pilon in the centre and the CAO logo. The size 5×52 is mentioned as well as Rick Rodriguez’s signature. The triple capped head is beautifully rounded and the cigar feels evenly firm everywhere. The aroma is lacking though, I don’t smell a lot when I sniff the cigar.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste a mild sweet raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a nice smooth coffee. Slowly the flavor changes to smooth cedar with floral notes. Halfway I still taste the cedar, with the floral notes, a little vanilla and pepper. The pepper fades, the floral and vanilla notes are getting stronger. Near the end I taste some toast and pepper.


The draw is great and the white ash is very dense. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is decent. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s better than I remembered but nah.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Don Ibarra Black Label

A few years ago I was visiting one of my accounts in my previous job as a sales representative and the owner of the shop, Marjolein Hartman from Hartman Cigars in Amsterdam (and now also co-owner of the La Casa del Habano in Amsterdam) said she received some samples from a cigar manufacturer looking to break into the Dutch market called Don Ibarra with a white ring. Now is it not allowed to sell straight to shop owners due to the Dutch tobacco law so I was surprised by this tactic. She said she smoked one and gave me two of the other cigars to try to see if the company I worked for would be interested. I never gotten around to smoke the samplers though and I knew that my then employer wouldn’t be interested anyway since he didn’t like unknown brands.

Years later I see the brand pop up again, this time distributed by a competitor of ours, so through the right channels but I forgot all about the samples I still had laying around in my 5300+ cigar stash. I only found out about them when I lost my job and inventoried my stash in my online account at stogierate.com.  A few weeks later I happen to be at the office of the said distributer for some consulting work and the owner gave me a Don Ibarra to smoke, a belicoso, and this is the review. As far as the blend I have to admit, I don’t know, all I know is that Don Ibarra is a Dominican made cigar. The belicoso is 5 inch long with a ring gauge of 50. I also have a robusto and a gordo and I will review them all in this one review.

Don Ibarra Black Label Belicoso


The wrapper looks good, medium to dark brown and a bit leathery with just one visible and not too thick vein. The part above the ring is a bit shiny, while the bottom part of the cigar is quite dull. The ring itself is made from shiny paper, the background is black with white gothic lettering around a white colored crest and thick golden outlines, all too shiny for my personal preference but the color combination is good. The construction feels good, no complaints there. The cigar has a strong and pleasant raw tobacco flavor with a tiny bit of ammonia. I cut the cigar to find an easy cold draw with a harsh raw tobacco flavor that fits the aroma.


I used a soft flame to light the cigar. The first hit of flavors is a little harsh, bitter coffee and some ashy flavor. The harshness gets a little less strong quickly and the coffee turns to more of a wooden flavor with a bite. Halfway the cigar turns herbal with a little harsh pepper and some cedar.


The draw is very good, a little loose from being perfect. The ash is white, full in volume and there is plenty of it. After lighting the cigar and a few puffs only one side kept lit so I had to relight the other part which caused a crooked burn. The ash is white, dense and firm. There is some evolution in the cigar and the flavor to body ratio of the medium bodied cigar is good. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? No this is not a cigar for me.

Score: 86

86

Don Ibarra Black Label Gordo


The wrapper has a nice, even, dark brown color with little tooth and it is quite oily. It’s one of the most beautiful wrappers I have seen in a long time. The construction feels great, the cigar is beautifully finished, its just astonishing. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay, just like the robusto, but with some wood added to it. The ring is exactly the same as the other cigars in this line up.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is fine and I taste raw tobacco. I taste dirt and coffee after lighting. Not a lot changes in the first inch, but that’s to be expected from a thick ring gauge cigars. Halfway I taste wood and dirt with a little lime. Near the end some pepper shows up.


The draw is fine and the smoke is white, thick and a good volume. The white ash is firm and dense. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is about ninety minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? It’s not a bad tasting cigar, just too boring for me. It would have scored much higher with a better evolution.

Score: 85
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Don Ibarra Black Label Robusto


The wrapper is very oily, very shiny but has discolorations, like darker smears on a medium brown color and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head if flat as can be. The ring is identical as the belicoso. The cigar has a strong hay smell, like you’re standing in a hay barn.


I punched the cigar and the thickness of the wrapper stands out. The cold draw is great and I taste a little raisin. I taste soil, cedar, nutmeg and the flavors are a bit harsh and unrefined. After a third the cigar tastes like fresh wood with a faint milk chocolate. Halfway it’s that soil flavor again, sticky, thick and buttery. Near the end I taste a lot of pepper.


The ash is quite dark and frayed but still reasonable firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness and volume and the draw is great.  The burn needs help staying straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.


Would I buy this cigar again? Nah

Score: 86
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Categories: 85, 86, Dominican cigars, Don Ibarra | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cigar of the month April

In April I published 16 reviews and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Guayacan Corona Gorda with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Guayacan Corona Gorda(Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Habano Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Reserva Miraflor Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Alec Bradley Pryme Torpedo (Honduras) 92 points
6) Kristoff San Andres Robusto (Dominican Republic) 92 points
7) Alec Bradley Nica Puro Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) A.J. Fernandez New World Puro Especial Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
9) Perla Del Mar Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro (Costa Rica) 90 points
11) Casa Pineda Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
12) Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
13) Cohiba Lancero (Cuba) 89 points
14) Cavalier de Geneve Toro (Honduras) 88 points
15) Gurkha Reserva Edición Especial Koi (Dominican Republic) 87 points
16) Kings Cigars King of Kings Habano Cuadrado (Nicaragua) 84 points

 

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Casa Pineda Robusto

Back in the day, before Facebook took over, cigar forums were the way that cigar smokers would socialize an I did that on Club Stogie (RIP) and the follow up of CS Cigar Asylum. That’s where I met Andrew, who had his own brands made in Nicaragua and Aldrin, a student from Florida, amongst others. Aldrin and I helped out Andrew a bit and as a thank you he released a limited batch of cigars bearing our names, Don Fernando for me and Casa Pineda for Aldrin. And the small batch is back, exclusively for Untold Leaf.


As I remember, this was my least favorite of all cigars coming from GDW and mainly because of the wrapper, a Connecticut Shade. And that’s my least favorite of all wrappers in the world. The binder is an Indonesian leaf and the filler is from Nicaragua. According to the website this cigar is the perfect cigar in-between a Connecticut and a Habano and that makes me want to revisit this 5×50 robusto


The wrapper is light, almost pale and the bumpy binder shows itself underneath the thin wrapper, making the cigar look a bit like a teenage girl. The ring, pitch black and glossy with golden letters, looks nice. As for the construction, no complaints, the cigar feels and looks well made, evenly packed, nice triple cap and beautiful in shape. The aroma is dry, like dry hay and straw on a dusty old hayshed.


I used a cheap cutter to take the cap of the cigar. I only received this cigar yesterday so it’s right of the truck. The cold draw is great, spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste a fresh wood with coffee, strong and bold. After half an inch I taste cinnamon with a mild pepper plus a Connecticut mustiness. After a third it’s more a classic Connecticut in flavor but spicier. Halfway I taste hay with a mild harsh mustiness, typical for Connecticut Shade, and an agave syrup sweetness.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is white, full and thick. The burn is straight as an arrow. The light gray ash is relatively firm. There is a decent evolution, the cigar is medium full bodied and flavored, quite strong for a Connecticut Shade. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Still not digging Connecticut Shade wrappers.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Casa Pineda, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Xiphos NR Maduro Robusto

So far I have reviewed three different Xiphos cigars, an American boutique brand, all those three cigars were all made in Costa Rica. But Xiphos offeres more than just Costa Rican cigars, there are two Nicaraguan cigars in their portfolio too, both made at Tabacalera Noa from master blender Noel Rojas. The Xiphos NR comes in a Habano and in a Maduro wrapper and both lines come in three sizes, a 5×52 robusto, a 6×52 toro and a 6×60 gordo.


Both lines share the filler, well aged Nicaraguan tobacco and the binder, which is Indonesian, but the wrapper is different. Either an Ecuadorian Habano or a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I have both cigars but today I’ll be focussing on the maduro. I will review the Habano too at a later time though.


The wrapper is dark and has even darker smears and spots. I see one thick vein on the back, about an inch and a half long. While the rings on the Costa Rican made cigars are silver and blue, which is a very Greek color scheme, the Nicaraguan made cigars have a blue and silver ring with red lettering in the same Greek style as the Costa Rica ones. The secondary ring is black with red outlines and red lettering saying maduro in a classic Greek font. The cigar has a dark smell of charcoal and manure. The cigar is well shaped, triple capped with a nice quite flat head.


I sliced a thin cap off with a Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste pepper and sultanas. After lighting I taste a full coffee flavor with wood and nutmeg. After a few puffs I taste a chalky vanilla sweetness with leather and cumin. Soon some toast turns up too. After a third I start to taste some pepper too. Halfway I taste pepper and chocolate with a little vanilla and toast. In the final third I taste the toast again but with a strong pepper.


The draw is great, the white ash is dense and firm. The smoke is white and quite thick and plentiful. The burn is good. The cigar is smooth, it starts medium bodied but grows to become full bodied and full flavored. There’s plenty of evolution in this cigar too. The smoke time is an hour and a forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they were available in The Netherlands I would get a box. I even grabbed my nub tool to enjoy this cigar as long as possible.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa, Xiphos | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kristoff San Andres Robusto

All Kristoff cigars are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory on the Dominican Republic but when this San Andres blend, with the Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, Ecuador habano binder and Nicaraguan filler was released they were made by PDR. Production moved to the Fairmorn factory though, that’s what Glen Case told me at the intertabac trade show. The cigar I’m smoking for a review is from the latter factory, I still have some made by PDR, maybe I should do a back to back review.


Not only the factory changed, but Kristoff has been making changes, updating the rings and the packaging too, just an upgrade. The loose tobacco in the boxes disappeared, at least in Europe due to legislation where the loose tobacco, which was actually tobacco waste, would have gotten taxed too, increasing the price per cigar just because of packaging so the decision was made to stop using that. The rings all got a little nicer look to it, a little fresher.


The shiny, almost pitch black, and smooth wrapper looks amazing. The updated ring is brushed golden with off white lettering, all looking sharp and fresh. The cigar, with the classic Kristoff pigtail and folded foot, feels evenly packed and the cigar has a medium strong aroma, a mixture of campfire and manure.


I used my butterfly cutter and get an open draw, quite spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste coffee, soil and spices. After a few puffs I also taste a caramel sweetness. After half an inch I taste more agave syrup like sweetness with a little leather and cumin. After an inch I also taste some peanuts and pepper. Halfway I taste a pleasant sweet chocolate hazelnut spread like flavor with a spicy and peppery edge. Soon after I taste vanilla and pepper. The final third is woody with spices and pepper.


The draw is a little open yet the smoke is plentiful and thick. The light gray ash and has nice rings. The burn is straight. This is a medium full bodied cigar, full of flavor and a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cigar of the month March

Last month I reviewed 15 cigars and this is the the list, ranking from best to worst, and the worst was really terrible. One of the lowest ranking cigars on my blog ever!

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Don Lino Africa Kifaro with a 94 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Don Lino Africa Kifaro (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto (Nicaragua) 92 points
3) Casa Fernandez Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
4) La Aurora Para Japon Sumo (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Liga Privada #9 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 91 points
6) Montecristo Half Corona (cuba) 90 points
7) C.A.O. Anaconda (Honduras) 90 points
8) Viking Horseman Toro (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Don Lino Africa Gorilla Knuckle (Nicaragua) 89 points
10) Quesada 70th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 89 points
11) Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan (Honduras) 86 points
12) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Herencia (Nicaragua) 80 points
13) Avo XO Intermezzo (Dominican Republic) 79 points
14) Avo Dominant 13th Toro (Dominican Republic) 79 points
15) Di Grisogno For Women Only Corona (Dominican Republic) 73 points

 


 

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La Aurora Para Japon Sumo

Today it’s seven years ago that Japan got hit by a huge tsunami, killing over 15000 people and up till today over 2500 people are reported missing. More than 400,000 people were evacuated and over 150 square miles of Japan was flooded by the 65 feet waves that ultimately caused a nuclear disaster at the nuclear electricity plant at Fukushima.


Within a few weeks after the disaster La Aurora came up with a cigar of which the proceeds would go to the relief foundation and they had the perfect cigar for it. There was a limited amount of cigars of a new blend that had been aging for three years, Guillermo Leon quickly created a ring, called the cigar the Para Japon Sumo Robusto and two months after the tsunami the cigars were shipped to shops in America. Somehow I got one, I don’t know if I bought it or if it was a gift. The cigar is made with Cameroon, Brazilian and Dominican filler, Dominican binder and a Nicaraguan wrapper and only comes in one shape, a 5×50 robusto.


The milk chocolate colored wrapper is thin but looks good with a nice vein on the side. It feels like fine sanding paper. The ring is great, white with the rising sun of Japan, then a Japanse hand written font saying Para Japon and small La Aurora. The cigar seems well constructed with a good round head and a triple cap. The mild to medium aroma reminds me of a horse stable.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a mild spicy, herbal flavor, soft and balanced. I lit the cigar with my trusted soft flame lighter. After lichting I taste a smooth five spice with dry leaves flavor, well balanced, with a little acidity on the back of my tongue. The cameroon tobacco is dominant in the flavor profile. The spices, a mild sweetness, some wood and dry leaves. After a third I think this cigar tastes like Christmas, if you know what I mean. The cigar is so smooth  I could retrohale, something I usually can’t. Halfway I get some vanilla too.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, white and full. The light gray ash is dry, dense and firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. There isn’t much evolution in this medium bodied, medium flavored, smooth and well balanced cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible

Score: 91

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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, La Aurora, Tabacalera La Aurora | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto

I told the story about this brand a few times in my previous reviews of the Cornelius, Venganza, Daddy Mac and the Señor Esugars so I won’t repeat the story of five generations and why the name Cornelius & Anthony is chosen. I also won’t repeat how I got to know the brand, that I knew Courtney Smith from her previous company. I will just tell that when she gave me the first batch of cigars in 2016 it was just the Daddy Mac, Venganza and Cornelius (that eventually made my top 25 of the year) but at intertabac 2017 she gave me the other blends, the Señor Esugars, the Meridian and this Aerial.


The aerial is made in Esteli, Nicaragua at the La Zona factory of Erik Espinosa. The blend consists from Nicaraguan fillers, a USA grown binder and a Connecticut Shade grown in Ecuador. And even though my preferences changed the last year and I dislike Connecticut Shade less than before it’s still not my favorite wrapper. But as always I go in with an open mind, maybe this is the Connecticut shade that will wow me.


The wrapper is latte colored, relatively dark for a shade grown Connecticut wrapper and it has a soft sandpaper feeling. The ring is amazing, detailed, very well printed but the secondary ring is orange with white letters and doesn’t fit with the Cornelius and Anthony ring because of the color in my opinion. The construction feels good but the triple cap has a bit of a color difference. The cigar has a strong smell, its manure all over.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter and decapped the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a mild raisin flavor with some spice on my lips. The trusted vintage Ronson took care of the lighting. I taste a spicy coffee and earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. After a centimeter I still taste the sweetness but now with wood and spices. The sweetness reminds me a bit of marzipan. The cigar lacks the Connecticut Shade mustiness and that’s a plus in my book, it’s quite spicy and sweet. Halfway the spices tone down, the sweetness remains with wood. A mild pepper shows up too. The flavor slowly changes to a vanilla sweetness on wood with a bit of lime and pepper.


The draw is great, the smoke is medium on volume and thickness. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is pretty straight. This is a balanced, medium bodied cigar, medium full flavored. The smoke time is ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yea, this gets my seal of approval and made a very small list of Connecticut Shade cigars that I enjoy.

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

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