Posts Tagged With: toro

Joya Black Toro

Earlier I wrote a review on the Joya Black Robusto and it scored a decent 89 and with that score it won’t make my top 25 of 2017, that’s for sure. I did smoke a few other Joya’s too this year like the Red Half Corona, original release Cuatro Cinco and the Rosalones Reserva plus La Sagrada Familia, Fratello and Sobremesa that are made at the Joya factory and they all scored good ratings from 89 and up. And I must say, from all the factories I visited in Esteli I like the peace and quiet at Joya best, the place has a tranquility and an atmosphere that is unique and that I haven’t found at any of the other factories I visited (including Oliva, Padron, La Zona, My Father, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, A.J. Fernandez, Plasencia and Aromas de Jalapa). Now I’m not saying the other factories aren’t nice, every factory has their own vibe and charm, but to me Joya stands out.

 


The cigar is the first Joya de Nicaragua cigar with a Mexican San Adres Negro wrapper and the rest of the cigar is Nicaraguan. According to Mario Perez the idea behind the blend is to mix the Nicaraguan filler and binder with the specific characteristics of the Mexican wrapper without the cigar becoming overpowering and be like a little stronger version of the so popular Joya Red, the cigar that broke with the classic tradition of the Joya brand to catch a new, younger & hipper crowd and succeeded so well.

 


I smoked the 6×52 toro that I got at Intertabac 2016 and once I unwrap the cigar from the cellophane I smell dark chocolate with some pepper, very unusual but nice. The construction is beautiful although at the back of the cigar the triple cap is a bit uneven.  The dark wrapper is shiny from the oil and has a long vein running along the side of the cigar. The ring is modern, just like the Joya Red ring actually and they remind me of each other, except for the color, which is pitch black with a silver lining and Joya logo, blue lining to break the black and white letters saying Joya Black. Modern, sleek, clear, simple, I like it.

 


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is just fine. I taste some mild mixture of hay, dark chocolate and raisin. After I lit the cigar with the last bit of butane I had left in my Ronson I taste a mild acidic and sweet coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste coffee with pepper. The cigar name is black but the flavor is also dark. Slowly the cigar gets a little spicier with earthy flavors. After a thirds it’s still a very earthy cigar with a little lime, some salt, pepper and peanuts. The pepper slowly gains some strength and I also taste a faint hint of dark chocolate. Halfway the pepper slows down again, the peanuts have gone and I’m back to earthy and citrusy flavors with a hint of dark chocolate. After that the cigar slowly get more sweetness. At the end I taste nuts again.

 


The smoke is medium thick and a bit grayish. The ash is beautiful, white, dense and firm. The draw is great. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The burn is slow and straight. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe, but only in the fall or winter.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

CAO Osa Sol Lot 54

Another CAO, and there it goes again. I so want to like this brand, they have cool concepts, I like Rick Rodriguez, I love their artwork and creativity but almost every time I’m disappointed by what they produce. I guess being part of General Cigars doesn’t help either, almost all of the products of General Cigars don’t get my seal of approval and I have a theory about that. It’s all about passion that’s being put into the product.


For example, if you taste a hamburger with meat from a small farmer, butchered by a real butcher, grilled by a real chef who all put love and passion into the product, stick it on a bun made by a small local baker you get a much better product than a McDonalds or any chain burger. And that goes for everything, not just food but also cigars and companies as big as General and Altadis are being run by bookkeepers who outnumber and overrule the passionate tobacco people in the company, creating bland, middle of the road, products.


The cigar, made in Honduras, measures 6×54. The filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras while the binder is Connecticut broadleaf. The wrapper is special though, it comes from the Olancho San Augustin valley in Honduras and it’s a sun grown wrapper, hence the name OSA Sol. The river that runs through the area is the inspiration for the artwork, the green S on the rings and boxes is the shape of the river. The white background is actually a map of the area and the bright green letters are a nice contrast color. The wrapper is quite dark, oily and smooth. The construction feels hard, but evenly hard and the cap is done well. The aroma is mild, but deep and quite dark, like manure from a scary animal deep inside the woods.


I had cut the cigar. The cold draw is great, i taste dry tobacco, raisin and something spicy on my lips. After lighting I taste dry dirt, pepper and coffee. There’s a bit of nutmeg in the flavor too. After an inch I taste dry tobacco, quite meaty, with a growing pepper. Halfway the flavors turn a little to brown spices, autumn flavors, with a little pepper. Near the ends the flavors pick up, pepper, nutmeg, five spice and a little sweetness. And I like this last part.


The draw is a bit loose. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke is thin and quite low in volume. The burn is straight. This is a medium bodied medium flavored cigar that lacks evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 85
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Categories: 85, C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , ,

Camacho Double Shock Toro 2014 Limited Edition

When Davidoff took over Camacho they restyled and reblended the whole brand and possible took it to a new factory, or they renamed the factory, that I don’t know but instead of Rancho Jamastran these cigars come from Agroindustria LAEPE S.A according to Halfwheel. Included in the restyle was a yearly limited edition and in 2014 they went for the Double Shock, a barber pole cigar, and then 2 together in a big ring. the only difference is a red or a black foot ring, I hoped it meant that the two cigars had a different blend but no, and I think that is a bit of a miss by the Davidoff development team, it would have been so much more exciting if the cigars were different.


Now all the excitement has to come from it being a limited edition, a 1000 boxes with 10 pairs, were made in the sizes robusto, toro, Churchill, figurado and toro and I got my hands on a pair of toro’s which had an msrp of $11.50 but I don’t know if that’s for the pair or for a single cigar. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I got the cigars as a gift. They never made it to my side of the pond commercially so I’m fortunate to have gotten these and i’m actually looking forward to smoking this 5 country blend with Ecuadorian Habano and Mexican San Andres wrapper, a Criollo binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and the USA (Pennsylvania)


The cigar certainly stands out in the humidor, the only other “pair in one ring” I can think of is the La Jugada Nunchuck. The double wrapper is another eye catcher especially since the wrappers used aren’t the usual Maduro and Connecticut Shade or Candela but a Maduro an a Habano. The San Adres wrapper is nice dark and toothy while the Habano wrapper is a bit more brittle. The construction feels good on both cigars. I love the ring, the foot rings are red or black, nothing printed on it but there is some embossing so they aren’t boring. The big ring is black and red with a black scorpion in a red circle. Much to my surprise I found a bright embossed and a red embossed ring underneath the combined ring with a shiny metallic logo. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. I smoked the black label one, but not that it matters since they are both the same.


I punched the cigar, the draw is fantastic. I taste a mild cedar and a little raisin in the cold draw. I lit the cigar with my Ronson varaflame and I taste a nice, mellow coffee with a hint of pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar with a spicy grass flavor. After an inch I taste draw wood, like saw dust, with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste cedar, cilantro, nutmeg with a peppery aftertaste. The final third is a white pepper with cedar and some spices.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is beautiful and firm. The smoke is thin and the volume is poor. The burn is quite straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a moderate evolution. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will smoke the other one but wouldn’t buy new ones if I could find them. I expected more from a cigar called double shock.

Score: 86
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Categories: 86, Agroindustria LAEPE S.A, Camacho, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

A. Turrent Traditional Toro

I met Alejandro Turrent a few times at the Intertabac trade show and the Mexican parties they threw were legendary, I still get hungover just thinking about them years later but their cigars are a hit and miss to me. I do like the triple maduro they made, but that one was made in Honduras. The budget line World Selection Series had a few decent but also a few not so decent cigars, but then again, that was a budget line and their revolution was a cigar I could not stomach at all, just like the Macarena bundles they produce.


Now I don’t recall how I got this Traditional toro, a 6×50 Mexican puro packed with Criollo tobacco from the San Andres valley. I probably got it as a sampler as I used to work for the company that distributed Turrent in The Netherlands back then, but I no longer work there and Turrent no longer has representation there.


The medium brown wrapper had a shade that it just a little darker than milk chocolate and has a leathery feel. There are a lot of thin veins which make the cigar look rustic. The construction feels good though, no soft spots and a nice flat head, the triple cap is applied decently. The aroma is strong and it’s like walking into a stable. The ring is big and bright, red with a really popping and shiny gold, a beautiful color blue and a big Turrent logo in the middle.


I cut the cigar to find a little loose draw. There isn’t a lot of flavor in the cold draw. After lighting I taste a slightly bitter wood and coffee flavor. After a few puffs it changes to a mild spicy cedar. After a third I taste a mild musty cedar. I’m not liking it. The musty flavor disappears, it’s now wood with a mild nuts and quite some pepper.


The ash is dark and coarse. The draw is a bit loose. The burn is straight. The smoke is beautiful in color, clear white, medium in thickness and volume. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half. 

Would I buy this cigar again? I like the people at Turrent, yet I won’t be buying this cigar again.

Score: 84
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Categories: 84, Mexican cigars, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos, Turrent | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month July

July was a month of 21 published reviews, here’s the list from best to worst, with a surprising winner

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Gurkha Havana Blend Toro with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Gurkha Havana Blend Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Espinosa Maduro Corona Gorda (Nicaragua) 93 points
4) Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco OR Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) El Centurion Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Bucanero Z Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
8) Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
9) Wilson Adams Mr. Wilson Lancero (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Mbombay Vintage Reserve Salomon (Costa Rica) 91 points
11) Bucanero Z Churchill (Nicaragua) 91 points
12) El Criolito Half Corona (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Don Pepin Garcia Blue Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
14) La Antiguedad Toro (Nicaragua) 90 points
15) Punch LE 2013 (Cuba) 90 points
16) Alec Bradley Tempus Naturel Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
17) Don Payo El Baron Toro (Nicaragua) 89 points
18) E.P. Carrillo Encore Robusto (Dominican Republic) 89 points
19) Royal Danish Havana Blend Robusto (Nicaragua) 88 points
20) Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Gordo (Costa Rica) 84 points
21) Navarre Petit Robusto (France) 82 points

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Don Pepin Garcia Original Toro

The final review of the My Father Selection Toro sampler is the Don Pepin Garcia Original aka the Don Pepin Garcia Blue series, on of the first or maybe even the first release under the Don Pepin name. Back then the Nicaraguan puro was made at the El Rey de Los Habanos factory in Miami’s Calle Ocho but nowadays the cigar is produced in Esteli, Nicaragua.


Although the blend, hundred procent Nicaraguan tobacco with a Corojo Oscuro wrapper, hasn’t changed, the rings did get an upgrade once of twice just like the related Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic/Black, which was my first ever Don Pepin cigar and I’ve loved the brand since. And I’m not the only one, since this cigar has been available for over a decade, scored 93 in Cigar Aficionado and reached the top25 in 2008 plus the Garcia family won that Top 25 list in both 2012 with the Flor de Las Antillas and 2015 with the My Father Le Bijou. With that under their belt, plus many more entries for their own brands but also for other My Father made brands like Tatuaje, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal you can say that My Father Cigars equals quality.


The wrapper is a dark mocha color, its smooth and oily with no dominant veins. The foot of the cigar is protected by a piece of blue cloth and the cigar has two rings. The main ring is exactly like the Cuban Classic and the Series JJ, except where the Cuban Classic is black and the JJ is white, this one is blue. So a blue oval with golden curly letters saying Don Pepin Garcia and references to Nicaragua, Cuba and America on the sides. Then there is a secondary ring, blue with golden letters saying Original. The cigar feels and looks good, nicely finished, no soft spots. And the aroma reminds me of hay and those stock cubes you can use for soups, medium strong.


I used my xikar cutter to cut the cigar. The cold draw is flawless and I feel the pepper burn on my lips. After lighting I taste spicy and strong coffee. There is also a metallic freshness. The cigar is spicy, peppery and woody. After half an inch I taste cedar with a lot of pepper. After a third I taste some citrus acidity and some nutmeg with the cedar and the strong pepper. Halfway the pepper is less strong and the cigar is better balanced. I also taste a bit of chocolate milk. The chocolate milk disappears and the pepper grows stronger again.


The draw is great. The smoke is thick, full and voluminous. The ash is white. The burn is beautiful. This cigar is full bodied and full flavored with a smoke time of an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I smoked my first Don Pepin Blue a decade ago and I will keep smoking them.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toro

Another cigar from the 5 count Toro sampler is the acclaimed Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial, a blend that saw the light in 2009 as a single store cigar without a name but when the feedback was so positive Jaime Garcia decided to turn it into a regular production cigar with his own name to it. And it’s been a success since, it made Jaime step out of the shadow of his father and turned him into one of the three faces of the family run business.


The cigar is made with a broadleaf wrapper that surrounds a Nicaraguan Pelo d Oro binder and Nicaraguan fillers, both from the own Garcia owned tobacco fields and tobacco bought from the Oliva Tobacco Company, not to be mistaken with the Oliva Cigar Family, which is a completely different company and family that only share the same name and happen to be in tobacco too.


The wrapper is different shades of dark, like it has darker smears but I can also see a sparkle from the minerals in de leaf. There is one distinct vein on the bottom half of the cigar. The ring is broken with with silver and blue lettering, simple yet tasteful. The cigar does’t have any soft spots and the head looks good with a perfect triple cap. The cigar has a stable aroma, a smell that I remember from my youth, growing up in a small town and a few farms close by that I sometimes visited as a kid. The aroma is quite strong.


I decided to cut the cigar instead of punching it. The cold draw is easy yet spicy on the lips. After lighting I taste coffee with a little bitterness of dark chocolate. After an inch I taste a mild coffee, spices and dark chocolate. Halfway I taste wood with a icing sugar sweetness and a white pepper in the aftertaste. In the final third the cigar gains some strength and a lot of pepper.


The draw is a little loose but maybe because of that the smoke is extra thick and there is a huge amount of it. The light colored ash is medium firm, the burn is straight. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The cigar is well balanced and smooth. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, box worthy cigar.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Jaime Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , ,

Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Toro

As part of the My Father Toro Selection I’m smoking the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Toro and I timed the review on this date, July 22nd for the exact same reason as last year. I’m doing it for Jerry Cruz, on the birthday of his son, JJ, that would have been 11 today if he didn’t tragically pass away from sudden infant death syndrome after just three and a half months old.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, made with Nicaraguan filler and a Criollo binder and wrapper from Corojo tobaccos. The cigar was blended by Jose ‘Don Pepin’ Garcia and his son Jaime together and that’s where the JJ comes from. This was actually the first blend that was released under the Don Pepin name. In 2011 My Father actually released a limited edition of this blend in a Short Robusto size in honor of Jerry’s son who he nicknamed ‘Little Robusto” and the proceeds went to charity, 300 boxes were made and even though I wish I could do a review on that specific cigar I don’t think I’ll be able to get my hands on it.


The wrapper is latte colored and a little wrinkled, with a vein on the front bottom half. The rings are nice, white with white gold lettering, on the side it shows details of America, Cuba and Nicaragua and the secondary ring is in the same style, saying series JJ. The construction feels good with a nice triple cap. The foot of the cigar is protected with a little piece of cloth. The aroma is strong, a little acidic stable aroma, animals, hay and cow urine.


The cold draw after the cut is great and it’s flavorful, pepper, sweetness, a little lime and raisins. After lighting I taste a tangy blackberry flavor. After a few puffs I also taste a little cinnamon. After half a centimeter I taste the cinnamon and blackberry, dry and subtle. I remember this cigar to be much bolder, but a few years of rest mellowed the cigar out and I like it. After an inch I taste wood, a little spice and still that blackberry. Slowly I taste a subtle pepper too. Near the end the blackberry flavor returns with a lot of pepper.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and full. The light gray ash is a bit coarse. The burn is good. The cigar is subtle, smooth and flavorful. Medium bodied and flavored.  The smoke time is close to two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m getting a box just to age them.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, Don Pepin Garcia, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Centurion Toro

This is the second cigar that I’m smoking from the My Father Selection 5 Toros, after the first La Antiguedad Toro which I published yesterday. El Centurion has a beautiful history, released as a limited edition of 850 boxes in three sizes at the trade show in 2007 the cigar became legendary in the American cigar society, it then returned as an event only cigar and I got to smoke one when I did an interview with Jaime and Janny in Miami back in 2009 but in 2013 the cigar was finally released as a regular production cigar.


The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro with Criollo, Corojo Habano & Sancti Spiritus tobacco as filler and a Sun Grown Criollo 98 tobacco as a wrapper. The cigar measures 6 1/4 x52 and as I said yesterday, it comes from a My Father sampler with 4 other My Father blends in toro size. The blend is made by José “Don Pepin” who said it reminded him of old style Cohiba cigars.


I love the look of the wrapper, dark, toothy like sandpaper, thin veins. The ring is beautiful, high quality paintwork with different shades of yellow, red lettering and golden details. The construction feels good and the medium strong aroma is quite herbal with some charred wood.


I cut the cigar with my xikar cutter. The cold draw, which tastes spicy with some sweetness, is great. I taste coffee. After a quarter of an inch I taste oak with pepper. There’s also a mild milk chocolate flavor taste. After a third I taste oak, pepper, pepper and some vanilla sweetness. Halfway the flavors mellow out, the wood changes, I get a more herbal flavor with white pepper. The flavors are quite meaty. The pepper is getting stronger. Near the end the cigar is typically Nicaraguan with plenty of pepper and that Pepin twang they got famous for.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is white, dense and firm. The smoke is medium full in thickness, the amount is good too. The burn is good. The cigar is medium plus bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Great cigar, I will smoke this more often.

Score: 92
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Categories: 92, Centurion, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

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