Posts Tagged With: toro

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
number91

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: , , , ,

La Antiguedad Toro

In 2015 I visited Nicaragua for the second time, this time with my then employer, journalist Marcel Langedijk and photographer Jesaja Hizkia to write the Cigaragua book. And amongst the factories we visited for the book was the My Father factory from the Garcia family. It’s one of the brands that we distributed in The Netherlands and my then employer saw a stack of samplers, a toro sampler and a torpedo sampler that looked great, so he ordered a stack without checking the price. Big mistake as the price per cigar was much higher than the regular boxes and so it took me more trouble to sell the sampler than expected, but I succeeded thanks to Christmas and Father’s day. In the next 5 days I’ll be publishing a review of each of the cigars from the Toro sampler, which contained this La Antiguedad, Don Pepin Garcia series JJ, Don Pepin Garcia Blue, Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial and a Centurion toro.


I start with the La Antiguedad, a cigar that saw the light in 2014 as a follow up to the very successful Flor de Las Antillas. The idea behind the cigar was the same, an old Cuban brand with the original artwork and to get that artwork took years, the blend was done but it took the Garcia family four more years before they could release it due to the search of the original artwork. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder wrapped in an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper.


The smooth and oily wrapper feels soft and delicate, its has a dark color with a little reddish glow. The foot is protected by a piece of red cloth and the ring is little over an inch long with a drawing of what looks like a musketeer at a wedding, very detailed with bright glossy golden outlines. Construction feels good and the triple cap looks nice. The aroma is strong, I clearly smell ammonia even though the cigar has been aging in my humidor for three years. It has that ‘stable early on the morning before the floor is cleaned” smell.


I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste a sweet, dry, straw flavor. After lighting I taste an aspartame sweetness with coffee. After a centimeter I taste cedar with a sweet milk chocolate flavor.  Halfway the cigar gets a little more spicy but still with a sweet flavor as a coating. Halfway I taste some more wood. The cigar gets more woody with a mild pepper and still that sweetness, that reminds me of sugared rice puff candy from my youth.


The draw is great. The white ash is dense and firm. The burn is good yet the smoke could be more in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, the sweetness in this cigar isn’t to my liking.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, La Antiguedad, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco

When I was working for the largest independent cigar importer & distributer of The Netherlands one of the brands we handled was Joya de Nicaragua, and the best sellers were the very inexpensive Clasico, Rosalones and Cabinetta series, way better than the still very affordable Antaño and Antaño Dark Corojo lines. So when Joya de Nicaragua released their Cuatro Cinco to celebrate their 45 years in the industry my employer just looked at the prices and said “an 8 euro Joya, lets not do that, that price is way off compared to the 3 euro Clasico of 5 euro Antaño.”. Now a few weeks later I went on my first trip to Nicaragua and one of the factories I visited was Joya de Nicaragua. Juan Martinez welcomed me, we sat down in the conference room where a box of each of their offerings was displayed and asked “do you want to smoke something?”. I said “I don’t see the cuatro cinco, I would love to try that one and I would love a sample for my employer”. Juan got me a box, and the day I got back home, I drove to my employers shop, handed him the box, he smoked one and ordered every box that Joya still had in stock, not that that was a lot, only 80 boxes of the 4500 made were left so I handed him that sample right on time. Today is The Sandinista Revolution day, and since the factory has so much history with the rise of the Sandinista’s, it feels like a good day to publish this review today.


The cigar is a 6×54 toro extra, slightly box pressed and made completely from Nicaraguan tobacco, a true puro. The cigars were so popular that the company tweaked the blend a little, going from a all Nicaraguan cigar to a mostly Nicaraguan cigar with barrel aged ligero fillers, a Dominican volcano binder and the same wrapper as the original release. The new cuatro cinco reserva especial isn’t a limited edition, but will be produced in low numbers on a continues basis and is available in four vitolas instead of the just one in the original cuatro cinco release. I will be reviewing one of the reserva especial too in a later stage.


The ring is something special, they are actually two rings but on top of each other. The bottom ring is a bit bigger than the upper ring so you can see the golden ring with the white Joya de Nicaragua logos stick out on both the top and bottom side of the black ring. Now in the reserva especial this has changed to a silver bottom ring. The black ring has a golden Joya de Nicaragua logo with 4 horizontal lines on each side, one side says 1968 and the other one 2013. Above the logo is says edition limitada in cursive letters and underneath the logo it says cuatro cinco in big letters. This also changed with the reserva especial into white letters and a white logo with some golden details. This is how you can tell the difference when you see the cigars in the shop, and if you find the golden one, get it! On the inside of the ring, and I know this from previous cuatro cincos I smoked, you will find a drawing of either some vulcanos as a tribute to Nicaragua, hands as a tribute to the rollers or the factory. The clark wrapper feels silky and looks amazing with no visible big veins. The construction feels very good and the barnyard aroma is quite strong.


I punched the cigar and got a great cold draw with a pretty strong raisin flavor. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste some earthy flavor, leather, coffee and cocoa. After half a centimeter I taste cedar, spices and a little chocolate. After half an inch it’s cedar with a little nutmeg and pepper. After a third I also taste a mild sugar. Halfway I taste walnut with pepper. Slowly the pepper is getting stronger. At the end I taste cedar with the pepper.


The draw is close to perfect, just the right amount of resistance. The ash is dense and firm, dark gray in color. The burn is good although I needed a touch up halfway. The smoke is thick and great in volume. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, well balanced and plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible but I’ll settle for the reserva especial instead.

Score: 92
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Categories: Nicaraguan cigars, 92, Joya de Nicaragua, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua | Tags: , , ,

Bucanero Z Toro & Churchill

A few years ago Robert Spoden from Bucanero Cigars send me a sampler of cigars and a few of them I reviewed for the blog, but two of them got lost on the bottom shelve of the humidor. I found them while organizing my humidor last year and have been meaning to review the remaining cigars but there is so much to review. Today I was browsing my inventory on my stogierate account and saw the name so I decided to pick the Bucanero Z for a series review.

This Nicaraguan blend is made with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers and a Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador. I remember enjoying the Canon Cubano and the Treasures of Costa Rica quite a lot, so my expectations for this Bucanero Z are high, and I always root for the underdogs, the small companies that do things their own way like Robert Spoden does with his family owned, veteran run, company that sells their cigars on his own website and doesn’t have sales representatives trying to push the cigars into every humidor in the country.

Bucanero Z Toro


The 6×50 box pressed cigar looks great, a nice milky chocolate wrapper with a few veins and a mild shine from the natural oils. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. The ring is of high quality paper and printing, pitch black with a golden Z and golden outlines and then white letters with a red outline saying Bucanero. The ring is clean, clear and beautiful. The aroma is medium strong after all these years and have a barnyard smell.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a little raisin, dry tobacco and some white pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors with a nice amount of sweetness. After a quarter of an inch I still taste the earthy and coffee flavors but now with a marzipan like sweetness, soft and creamy, and a peppery aftertaste. After an inch the pepper grows stronger, the marzipan and the coffee have disappeared and the earthy flavor has a little lemon in it. Halfway I get a hint of chocolate too, with the lemony soil and the strong black pepper. There is a mild nuttiness too, peanuts to be more precise and the flavor is getting stronger. Near the end the soil and pepper are flavors I taste with a little salt on the background, the chocolate and peanuts disappeared.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is full, both in volume and thickness, with a beautiful white color. The ash is light gray, past dense and part beautifully layered. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes and I recommend everyone to check out this brand.


Score: 92
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Bucanero Z Churchill


The 7×50 Churchill looks thinner due to the box pressed shape and has a nice  light brown wrapper with only a few thin veins. The touch is velvet like. The construction feels good, the cap is placed nicely, all in all this is a good looking cigar with a very pretty ring as described above. The cigar has a mild woody aroma.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is fine. I just taste a bit of a salty tobacco flavor. After lighting I taste a coffee, dirt, lemon and herb flavor. After half an inch I taste herbs, licorice, lemon and sawdust. After a third I taste a nice red pepper. Halfway i taste wood and herbs with a little pepper. The final third starts peppery and with five spice, a little sweetness and lemon. The pepper grows in strength with cinnamon and a bit of a carrot flavor that I happen to like.


The draw is fantastic. The light gray colored ash is layered and dense. The smoke is nice and thick. I would call this cigar medium plus bodied and full flavored. There is enough evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer the Toro.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, 92, Bucanero, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Toro

Last month I wrote a review on the Quesada Reserva Privada Toro, made with a vintage Dominican Criollo binder. A year after the original release in 2015 the Quesada family released another blend using that same vintage leaf and the same Reserva Privada name, the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper.


Now I am a fan of Connecticut broadleaf, one of my favorite cigars is the La Casita Criolla from Pete Johnson, a cigar completely made with Connecticut broadleaf and I like the La Duena by My Father a lot too so I have high expectations from this cigar. I mean, vintage binder, one of my favorite wrappers and all from a great company. I got this cigar at the last intertabac trade show in a sampler from Raquel Quesada.


The ring is the same as the regular Reserva Privada, black, stylish and gorgeous. The wrapper is very oily, dark and smooth. Halfwheel wrote that the cigar won’t win any beauty contests but this wrapper would certainly catch my eye in a humidor and it screams “i’m delicious, smoke me”. The cigar has a nicely, almost perfect, rounded head, a beautiful triple cap and it feels evenly packed. I live in an area with quite a few cocoa processing plants and when I sniff the cigar that’s what I smell, raw cocoa.


I used my butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine, woody and earthy with a mild pepper. After lighting I taste coffee. Soon after I taste wood, a mild pepper, a little lemon and all in a buttery, creamy way. The pepper grows and becomes the dominant flavor while the creaminess disappears. After a third I taste pepper with salt and some wood. Halfway I taste charred dark wood with pepper. The final third is charred wood, pepper and floral flavors. The floral flavor tones down, the pepper gets stronger near the end.


The draw is great while the smoke is very pretty and white, with a great thickness. The light colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Quesada, Quesada Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Payo El Baron Toro

A few days ago I smoked and reviewed the Don Payo El Baron Toro and now I’m smoking and reviewing it again. That might look like overkill, but it’s not. The big difference between the cigars is the age, the one that I smoked a few days back was an old one, probably close to ten years old while this cigar is pretty fresh, smoking it a few days apart will really show the difference and what age did to the blend.


Don Payo El Baron is a cigar made by Guillen Cigars and the cigar, just like their other blends, disappeared for a few years but are now back, exclusively for the website Untold Leaf (use ‘CIGARGUIDE’ for 30% off). The batches are still small, just like a decade ago, and the cigar is hard to find, yet under 6 dollar if you use the 30% off code.


The wrapper is not to my liking when it comes to color, a yellowish brown wrapper, with thin veins, quite oily though. The ring could use an overhaul but I do like the fact that Guillen Cigars sticks to the glossy black & gold for all their cigars except for the Don Fernando, which is in the colors of The Netherlands. The cigar feels good, no hard or soft spots, the shape is fine too. The aroma is quite strong, herbal like rocket salad.


After cutting the cigar I taste a mild spicy and grassy flavor with a cold draw that is a little bit tight. After lighting I taste grass with cinnamon and cedar. After a centimeter I taste some cedar with pepper and a mild musty Connecticut Shade flavor. After a third i also taste a honey sweetness. Halfway I taste a bit of marzipan with green herbs and pepper. The final third is cedar with a little pepper again. There is also a mild acidity.


The draw is great. The white ash is medium in thickness and volume. The white with black spots ash is firm. The burn is great. This medium bodied and flavored cigar has a smoke time of an hour and a half approximately, I don’t know exactly since I was forced to take a break, due to the fire brigade evacuating the whole block due to a gasoline smell.

Would I buy this cigar again?  I’m not liking the Connecticut Shade myself, so I won’t, but it you like that wrapper, please order.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, Don Payo, Guillen Cigars/GDW, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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