Posts Tagged With: toro

Big Papi Toro by David Ortiz

Big Papi Toro by David Ortiz. A name that will probably not ring a bell for cigar enthusiasts outside of countries where baseball is a big sport. But David Ortiz is a baseball hall of fame star with the nickname Big Papi. He’s Dominican and a lover of the leaf. Whenever he was in the Dominican Republic, he was often hanging out at Tabacalera El Artista after being introduced to the Rodriguez family. Smoking cigars at the factory one day the idea came up of a Big Papi cigar and that’s when things start to happen.

The Big Papi Toro is a 6×54 Toro. It comes with an Ecuadorian Habano Claro wrapper. The binder is Dominican grown Criollo 98. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Tabacalera El Artista makes the cigars in a collaboration with the former Boston Red Sox star. There is also a 7×60 version with the name The Slugger. That’s another reference to his baseball days, where Ortiz was a hard-hitter aka a slugger. And the most famous baseball bat is the Louisville Slugger.

The cigar looks impressive, thicker than the ring 54 it is. The wrapper has an even color with a few sharp veins. It is slightly oily with a perfect triple cap. The ring is red and white, a tribute to the Boston Red Sox where David Ortiz played for so long. And his classic pose is on the ring as well. The foot ring is red cloth. The construction feels good. The cigar has a medium-strong stable aroma.

The cold draw is fine with a flavor that comes close to a cinnamon roll with some pepper. Once lit there is some sweetness, leather, spice but mostly dark roast coffee. Strong and bitter, but acceptable bitter. The first flavors fade away to a wood and nut flavor. Cedar gets stronger with a hint of honey. Yet there is a lack of balance and a little harshness in the flavor. The second third starts with wood, nuts, leather, and pepper. Slowly more sweetness, pepper, and spice take over. Wood and leather are the main flavors, with pepper as support. The mouthfeel is a bit dry. The final third has some soil with a hefty dose of pepper. There is still a little unbalance in the cigar.

The draw is fine. The ash is white and dense. One big white cone, not even layers with ash. The cigar gives a good amount of smoke. The burn is good. The cigar has a little unbalance and a little harshness. It almost tasted like the cigar was a bit too dry, even though it’s stored in 67% humidity. The smoke time of this medium-full bodied, medium flavored cigar is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like El Artista cigars but this one isn’t my favorite

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , ,

Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Limitada 2020

Oliva Serie V Melanio Edicion Limitada 2020. For the 4th year in succession, Oliva released a limited edition Oliva Serie V Melanio. According to the story, round versions of the normally box-pressed cigars have been aging in the factory for years. And every year, Oliva is releasing a new vitola. It started with the Double Toro, then the Robusto, Diadema, and now the 6×54 Toro. Only 3000 boxes of ten cigars are available globally.

The blend is exactly the same as the regular production Oliva Serie V Melanio. That means an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The only difference is that this cigar doesn’t get the box-press treatment and remains a round cigar. Although, to me, it looks like this cigar was rolled specifically for a special release as there is no 6×54 vitola in the regular production series.

The cigar looks good. The Ecuadorian wrapper is nice, evenly colored, and feels silky. It’s got enough oil. The color of the wrapper fits perfectly with the brown, red, and gold rings on the cigar. The red cloth band with the glossy golden 2020 on the foot pops. The triple cap is pretty. There are no hard nor soft spots noticeable in the cigar. The aroma is strong, raw tobacco and barnyard.

The cold draw is fine, quite spicy to taste with a little hazelnut as well. Once lit, it’s black pepper with dark roast coffee and an earthy flavor. A dried berry sweetness appears. There is also a lemon-like freshness. The berry flavor and lemon acidity remain, but there is a nice dose of white pepper as well. The spice, sweetness, and acidity keep each other well balanced. The second third still has that peppery yet sweet blackberry flavor, but now with toasted nuts, leather, coffee, and soil. The flavors are complex yet there is a nice, delicate balance. A mild hint of dark chocolate shows up halfway through the cigar. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. The berry sweetness is quite constant though out the cigar. The final third has oak, berry, and pepper with leather.

The draw is phenomenal. The light ash is dense and firm like a stack of quarters. The burn is fantastic too. The smoke is decent in volume and thickness. This is a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 92, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , ,

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro

Don Kiki Platinum Label Toro. This is a cigar that is not an annual limited edition but also not a regular production cigar. Cuban Crafters, the retail outlet that is part of the Don Kiki Berger emporium describes this as ‘only available once in a while. There are several sizes when available, but for this review, we are selecting the 6×50 Toro. The Don Kiki Berger empire includes tobacco plantations, Tabacalera Esteli, Cuban Crafters, Don Kiki Superstore, and K by Karen Berger. Karen is Don Kiki’s widow and she’s one of the leading ladies of the cigar industry.

The Don Kiki Platinum Label came on the market in 2015. Currently, it’s available in a select number of countries but Karen Berger is expanding international distribution. When the cigar was first available, the label was different but the blend of the cigar is still the same. It’s all Nicaraguan tobacco with an Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. The filler is a mixture of tobacco from Esteli, where the factory is located as well.

The label is all silver and platinum. Either matte or glossy. The background is matte, with the Don Kiki logo and the words limited edition in glossy. The foot ring has a bit of a diamond plate look with Don Kiki 1957 embossing. The wrapper is oily and dark, hearty. The cigar feels very well constructed with a nice triple cap. The aroma of the cigar is medium-strong. Dark wood with some barnyard aroma is the best way to describe the smell.

The cold draw is fine with a little nutty flavor, but a bit dusty. After lighting the cigar opens with straw and sweetness. There is a hint of spice in the retrohale. A few puffs later a little leather shows up with some pepper. The sweetness is close to confectioners’ sugar. Slowly there is some wood and nuttiness. The nut and sweetness become the main flavor. The sweetness in the retrohale is almost cinnamon. There is still a bit of leather. The cigar is buttery creamy. Slowly more pepper and wood show up. And there is a hint of citrus to tie all the flavors together. The sweetness is still there. There are also more green herbs. Wood is still there, as the base flavor. The leather gets a bit stronger and the flavors turn a bit Cuban. Then the nuttiness is coming on strong, with a hint of coffee.

The draw is good, maybe a little too good, but all within margins. The smoke is thick and lush. The light gray ash is like a stack of dimes. The burn is straight and slow. This cigar is medium in body but full in flavor. The smoking time is three hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

Categories: 91, Don Kiki, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Esteli | Tags: , , ,

Rocky Patel ALR Second Edition

Rocky Patel ALR Second Edition. Back in 2012, Rocky Patel was working on a blend at his Nicaraguan factory. And that blend had an amazing promise. So Patel made the cigars but decided to let them age at the factory for several years before releasing them in 2015. The extra aging gave the cigars more depth and complexity. The ALR (Aged, Limited & Rare) was sold out in a heartbeat and was highly praised. So in 2016, Patel made a new blend following the same concept. The Rocky Patel ALR Second edition came out in 2019.

The cigars are only available in a 6½x52 Toro and by the time you are reading this review you are lucky if you can find the cigars. They have been sold out on a wholesale level for 9 months by now. But I snagged some at Cigaragua Amsterdam last March. The cigar comes from Patel’s Nicaraguan factory, Tavicusa. The wrapper is Mexican San Andres. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan.

The looks of the cigar are amazing. A pinkish copper, a metallic-looking ring with curly ALR logo, and then the rest of the cigar covered in white paper with the blend and the concept of the cigar. Just for the looks, this would be a cigar that we would buy at a cigar shop. Once the bottom ring, which covers more than 50% of the cigar, is gone you can see the Mexican San Andres wrapper. It looks good for a Maduro wrapper and feels like velvet. The triple cap is perfect and there are no soft spots of plugs noticeable. The cigar has a medium-strong aroma of cocoa beans.

The cold draw is fine and leaves a dry, raw tobacco flavor in the mouth. The first puffs give soil, leather, coffee, and dark chocolate with pepper. Chocolate is getting stronger, with some sweetness. Deep and complex flavors. That’s what Rocky Patel tried to achieve by aging the cigars, and it works out, at least in the first third of the cigar. The second third starts with some added sweetness over the dark chocolate. There is also a hint of coffee. The sweetness gets stronger, and there is a bit of wood as well. The retro has some herbal spice. Coffee and dark chocolate remain the main flavors. The bitterness of the flavors is pure bliss, and it’s countered by some citrus. Flavors are full, and there’s a little saltiness as well.

The draw is great. The ash is light gray and like a stack of dimes. The white smoke is medium in thickness and plentiful in volume. This cigar packs a lot of complex flavors. The burn is good, it was a little uneven in the beginning but corrected itself along the way. This cigar is full in body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and forty-five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s sold out everywhere

Categories: 93, Nicaraguan cigars, Rocky Patel, Tavicusa | Tags: , , , ,

Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect Toro

Hiram & Solomon Grand Architect Toro. When Hiram & Solomon introduced the Grand Architect in 2019 the company had something to say. “It is appropriate that a society founded on the principles of architecture, which symbolizes the terms of that science to moral purposes, and whose members profess to be architects of a spiritual temple should view the Divine Being, under whose holy law they are constructing that edifice, as their Master Builder or Great Architect. Sometimes, but less correctly, the title Grand Architect of the Universe is found.”

The cigar, like all regular production Hiram & Solomon cigars, comes from Nicaragua. They are made at Plasencia Cigars and David Blanco from Blanco Cigars is part of the blending team. The tobacco from Paraguay is pretty rare. It is part of the filler, together with tobacco from Esteli and Jalapa. The binder is Habano Seco from Jalapa. The wrapper is Nicaraguan Corojo. There are several sizes available but for this review,I smoke a 6×52 Toro.

The cigar has a bit of a reddish glow on the wrapper. It is smooth and mild oily. The ring is different than other Hiram & Solomon rings, it doesn’t have the Masonic logo. But it is in the same style and recognizable as part of the Hiram & Solomon line. Baby blue with gold, high-quality print work. The cigar feels well constructed. The barnyard or petting zoo aroma is pleasant and strong.

The cold draw is a bit tighter than perfect. It leaves a mixture of raisin and white pepper on the lips. The cigar gives coffee, herbs, sweetness from the start. There is also a bit of leather. There is a strange but pleasant salt flavor as well. After a few puffs, leather, herbs and wood take over. The flavors are smooth, but with a little edge. The balance is there, but a bit more character would have been nice. The second third starts with wood, leather, herbs, white pepper, and a bit of sweetness and hay. The sweetness is very distinct while the pepper grows a bit. Right before the cigar moves in the third the cigar gives wood, leather, soil, pepper, and a bit of cinnamon. There is more character now. Wood and leather getting stronger, with cinnamon and white pepper as support. The finale is full of strength, very nice in flavor with cinnamon, leather, pepper, and wood.

The draw is fine. The ash is salt and pepper colored, it is also a bit frayed. The cigar produces a good amount of medium-thick smoke. The burn had to be corrected once. This cigar is medium to full in body and in flavor. The cigar starts out mellow and easy, but slowly there’s more character. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I enjoyed it.

Categories: 91, Hiram & Solomon, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacos de Oriente Nicaragua | Tags: , , , ,

Diamond Crown Maximus Toro

Diamond Crown Maximus Toro. In 1995 the oldest premium handmade family-owned cigar manufacturer in America, J.C. Newman, released the super-premium Diamond Crown line. That was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company. And it was a shock back then as all cigars came with a ring gauge of 54. That was considered insanely big back then. Now 60 seems to be the norm, unfortunately, and 54 is a pretty regular ring gauge.

In 2003, the Diamond Crown Maximus followed. Stronger, bolder. As with all Dominican made cigars for J.C. Newman, they come from the Tabacalera Fuente factory. This time with Dominican filler and binder. The wrapper is sun-grown El Bajo from Ecuador. The No.4 is a 6×50 toro. This cigar was a gift from Bobby Newman when we met a few years ago.

The wrapper is dark, oily, but has some wrinkles reminiscent of old skin, wrinkled under the relentless sun. Yet it helps to give the cigar character when it comes to looks. It’s needed because the band is slick and fancy. Colorful, shiny with plenty of gold. The construction feels good, the cigar seems evenly filled. The aroma is strong, dark chocolate with barnyard aromas.

The cold draw is good. Hay and the complex bitterness of dark chocolate are the flavors in the cold draw. The first puffs are earthy with dark chocolate. The earthiness intensifies. There’s also a hint of leather. Suddenly there is coffee as well. Later on, there’s also some pepper. But the first part of the cigar is mainly soil, leather, coffee, and chocolate. After a third, the cigar opens up. Now there is more sweetness, nice citrus acidity and the flavors aren’t so dark anymore. There is wood, licorice to be more precise. In the final third, the cigar gets more sweet wood and more spice. Yet the earthiness and coffee remain. The spice really picks up. It becomes a pepper bomb at the end.

The draw is good, slightly tight but all within limits. The white ash isn’t all too firm, the handheld vacuum did come out once or twice during the review. The smoke can be thicker and there could be more volume. The burn is slow and straight. The cigar doesn’t have much evolution, but it is solid all the way. The smoke time is three hours. This is a strong cigar, full in flavor and body.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like it a lot but I’d pick the Black Diamond over this one.

Categories: 90, Diamond Crown, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , ,

Cubo Sumatra Toro by Dapper Cigars

Cubo Sumatra Toro by Dapper Cigars. Dapper Cigars. Dapper Cigar Company is an American cigar company. Their home base is Fresno, California. Not a place where you would expect a cigar company to be honest. But that’s just their base, as the cigars are all coming from Nicaragua. Dapper Cigar Company has several brands, La Madrina, Siempre, El Borracho, Cubo, and the brand new Desvalido. And I reviewed a few cigars, thanks to the Dutch distributor, Kelch Trading.

The Cubo Sumatra re-visits the original release of the Cubo brand. Blended nearly five years later, the Sumatra line builds on a half-decade of further work with premium Nicaraguan tobaccos. This version uses more other Nicaraguan tobacco than the original and more American grown Connecticut Broadleaf. The Sumatra Rosado wrapper and the Nicaraguan binder remain from the original blend. Raul Disla oversees the production at NACSA in Esteli, Nicaragua.

The aroma of the cigar, once it’s released from the cellophane, is fantastic. Strong, musky, with freshly roasted coffee. The cigar has a beautiful, silky, and leather looking wrapper. The construction feels good, with no soft spots or plugs noticeable. The ring is pretty, a lot of black and gold with a white chapel on a purple and pink background. But it’s a little too crowded, too many details on such a small piece of paper.

The cold draw is good. With just a raw tobacco flavor and some black pepper. After lighting the palate gets hits with spices and milk chocolate. There is also a nice sugary sweetness. Slowly leather shows up as well with some wood. The mild chocolate makes a comeback. Halfway the wood gets stronger, still with a hefty dose of sugar. But well balanced. In the final third, there is also a macadamia nut flavor with leather, wood, and sweetness. The finale is leather with a hint of black pepper.

The burn is good, just like the draw and the smoke. Nothing out of the ordinary. A reasonably thick smoke, enough in volume. Good air resistance in the draw. And a straight burn that needs no correcting. The cigar is smooth with some complexity and depth, although the complexity fades a bit. The ash is dark gray. This is a cigar medium to full in body, medium in flavor. The smoke time is three hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, a good price-quality ratio

Categories: 90, Dapper Cigars, Nicaraguan American Tobacco SA, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro

Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro. When the first rumors about this release surfaced, the name was a mystery. At first, the suggestion was made that it is a cigar for the Buffalo Cigar Festival. But in a conversation with Ram Rodriguez from Tabacalera El Artista, the truth was revealed. The name is chosen because it’s a cool sounding name. Of course, the people behind Buffalo Cigar Festival love the name, but they are not the inspiration. Rodriguez wanted to make a value cigar, one size, simple packaging, and simple artwork. The 10 in the name comes from the first proposed packaging. Bundles of 10 cigars. But eventually, the cigars were released in bundles of five cigars.

The cigar measures 6×52 and is box-pressed. Almost rectangle, much like the Factory Press from La Flor Dominicana. Very sharp edges. This is a five-country cigar blend, with a Mexican wrapper. A Maduro from San Andres. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the USA. The Colombian tobacco is used for the slightly acidic flavor, that helps to bind all flavors together. But the tobacco that is most rare is the binder. It’s a Dominican Negrito. Very dark tobacco that was popular 50 to 60 years ago. But it disappeared. Tabacalera El Artista and the Dominican Agricultural Society brought it back to life. It’s hard tobacco to grow, with relatively low yields. So it’s not used often.

The cigar looks amazing. Not just to smoke, but also to eat. The sharp box-pressed shape and the dark chocolate color make this cigar look like a candy bar. Add a simple, clean, and slick white ring and you have an amazing looking cigar. The wrapper is Colorado Maduro colored, with one flattened vein. It’s toothy and feels like fine sandpaper. The ring is white, simple, clean with print in the same color as the wrapper. The two components on itself look fine, yet the combination is extremely pleasing on the eyes. The box press is so sharp, it is almost as sharp as the La Flor Dominicana Factory Press cigars. The construction feels good. The aroma is earth and leather.

The cold draw is flawless. The flavor is earthy. Once lit, the cigar has coffee, soil, sweetness, and herbal spices. The flavors then change to soil, leather, chocolate, pepper, and spice. Leather gets stronger with cedar and pepper. The mouthfeel is dry. The second third starts with cocoa powder. Dry. Add some leather and a hint of acidity to bind everything together. The flavors slowly change to more leather, spices, soil, and wood. With still a hint of chocolate, pepper, and acidity. The final third starts with that dry chocolate or cocoa flavor again. Pepper, leather, and wood are there too. With a hint of sweetness. The mouthfeel is still dry now, but also sticky. There is a spice flavor that is hard to describe, with wood, pepper, and chocolate.

The draw is fantastic, the right amount of airflow and resistance. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar produces plenty of thick white smoke. The ash is almost white as well. Firm also. The cigar doesn’t have a lot of evolution. But it is balanced and flavorful. The Buffalo Ten Maduro Toro is a medium-bodied, medium flavored cigar. The smoke time is three hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? A 92 rated cigar for a value price? Damn right!

Categories: 92, Buffalo Ten, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera El Artista | Tags: , , , , ,

Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro

Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro. A cigar that as far as we know is only available in the United States, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic. And it’s a relatively new brand yet not a new family. The Cuevas family is growing tobacco and making cigars for decades. Since 1890 to be exact. In the early 2000s, the Casa Cuevas brand was sold for a while. But then the family returned to making cigars for others. Until 2016, when the Casa Cuevas line returned. In a way, the story of the Cuevas family is similar to the El Artista brand and even Plasencia. All three are around for a long time, but only recently started making cigars for themselves instead of just producing for others.

This Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro is made with a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The binder is Piloto Cubana from the Dominican Republic. The filler contains tobacco from Ometepe, Nicaragua, and from the Dominican Republic. For this review, I smoked the 6×50 Toro. Other sizes available are a 5×52 Robusto and a 6¼x52 Torpedo.

The cigar looks good. The wrapper is dark, very dark. But evenly dark, and a bit on the dry side. The blue, white, and silver ring is similar to the new world Romeo y Julieta ring. The construction feels great and the triple cap is flawless. The cigar smells like dark chocolate and soil. Bittersweet and intense.

The cold draw is a bit tights. Quite spicy yet with a dark chocolate undertone. After lighting the cigar gives dark chocolate, earthiness, coffee. Bittersweet flavors with black pepper. In the second third, the dark chocolate is still the main flavor, but now with hay, coffee, and soil. The pepper tones down a bit. There is a hint of citrus. The cigar is balanced, yet not smooth. Halfway it’s still possible to retrohale without too much spice in the nose. The mouthfeel is still dry. In the final third, more wood shows up with some leather. But the spice and the dark chocolate are still going strong as well.

The draw is good, better than in the cold draw. The smoke is thick, white, and full. The burn is straight. The ash is almost white, yet it breaks quite easily. This cigar isn’t very strong, but the flavors are bold. The cigar is balanced. The evolution isn’t spectacular, but the overall flavors are good. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera Las Lavas | Tags: , , , ,

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro

Gilberto Oliva Reserva Toro. A tribute to the man who started the Oliva Cigar Company in Nicaragua in 1995. But that doesn’t mean that the family wasn’t in tobacco before. It all started with Melanio Oliva in 1886. Melanio Oliva, the family patriarch, grew tobacco in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Gilberto, Melanio’s grandson, fled to Spain and later Nicaragua after the Cuban revolution and after his family’s plantations were taken from them by the thieving Cuban regime. In Nicaragua, he became a tobacco grower again. With his sons Gilberto, Carlos, and José, he created Oliva Cigars. In 2017, at age 86, Gilberto Oliva passes away. Ministry of Cigars was lucky enough to have sat down with this industry legend at the Tabolisa factory in 2014.

To honor their father, Jose, Gilberto Jr, and Carlos created the Gilberto Oliva Reserva line. In the same way, as they did with their great grandfather Melanio. For the Gilberto Oliva Reserva line, they turned to an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper. The binder is from Ecuador. The filler is Nicaraguan, with at least some but probably all coming from the Oliva family farms. Besides producing cigars, Oliva also grows tobacco in Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa. The Oliva Cigar Company is now part of the Belgian family-owned J. Cortes brand.

The cigar is quite good looking. A smooth and oily Colorado Maduro colored Indonesian Sumatra wrapper. At first glance, cigar smokers might not recognize this as an Oliva cigar. The classic logo with the big O is missing from the ring. Dark red, gold, and brown create a more classic looking logo. The construction feels immaculate. A nice triple cap finishes the look. The cigar has a mild spicy aroma.

The cold draw gives a bit more resistance than desired. After the cigar is lit, there is a beautiful mixture of sugar, grass, and dark spices. Full, rounded, smooth. Slowly a little pepper and leather show up too. Black pepper. The spice is a mixture of nutmeg and cinnamon. It is more pronounced in the retrohale. After a third, cedarwood shows up as well. The dark spices remain, with sweetness, and there is even a hint of vanilla. If there is any cigar that makes resembles Coca-Cola in a dry form, this is it. But better. Because there is also cedar, black pepper, and some earthy flavor. The Final third has all of the flavors mentioned above, with some citrus and floral flavors. These flavors remain until the end. Only the mouthfeel changes and becomes a bit dry.

The draw is good. The ash is white as ash can be, a sign of tobacco from potassium-rich soil. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke is thick. It’s white and there is a lot of it. This is a cigar medium in body yet full in flavor. Well balanced and very pleasant, yet the cigar could use a little more character. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

Categories: Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , ,

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