Posts Tagged With: toro

Jas Sum Kral Red Knight Toro

I knew Riste, the man behind Jas Sum Kral, from Facebook and when he released his first batch of the Jas Sum Kral Red Knight, just in a toro size back then, he send a few to Hans van de Witteboer, the owner of Piet van Kuyk Cigars in Eindhoven with the instruction to give me one the next time I visited Hans’s shop. So my next visit as a salesman Hans gave me the cigar and it blew me away, what an amazing cigar. I talked to my boss about this, he didn’t like the story on the Jas Sum Kral website and wasn’t even close to being interested in importing and distributing the cigars. I did though, so once Riste decided to do some line extensions I calculated the fixed prices for The Netherlands based upon his export prices, pre-sold 40+ boxes in just 5 shops and went back to my employer who then quickly made a deal with Riste.


Now I won’t bother you with the story on the name of the cigar, how it was blended, as this cigar has had so much buzz on social media that everybody will probably know it and if not, google is your best friend. And all the social media buzz is well deserved considering all the ‘top 10/25’ lists of 2016 as Jas Sum Kral is mentioned in a lot of them which is quite remarkable for such a new and small brand, thats not being sold in a lot of shops yet, but if the FDA doesn’t screw the cigar industry up that will change, mark my words and it his slipstream other cigars rolled by Noel Rojas in his Tabacalera NOA in Esteli, like Ohana and Prendelo will follow. Now I don’t mention Rojas his own brands Rojas Reserva, Guayacan and Sabor de Esteli because they already have a wider spread in location. Even though the cigars are rolled at Tabacalera NOA, Riste blended the Jas Sum Kral himself.


When I release the 6×52 toro from the cellophane coat I feel a leathery Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that has a few veins and some sparkling from minerals. The construction feels great and the cigar has a close foot and a very pretty pigtail, this shows some skills from the rollers at the NOA factory. The ring, designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim is a piece of art, burgundy with gold, very detailed with lions and lots of small decorations.  When you think of it, the cigars are blended by a Macedonian American, rolled by a Cuban that has a company in Nicaragua and the ring is designed by a Singaporean, this cigar is the epiphany of globalization. The aroma is medium strong and has a little charred wood mixed with manure smell.


Because of the pigtail I decided to cut the cigar. The cold draw is fine considering the closed foot and I taste mild black tea and a stronger pepper flavor. Once I lit the cigar I taste some leather with blueberry and pepper, with a little fresh aftertaste. After a few puffs I taste some spices with the berries and the fresh aftertaste. After half an inch i taste a little more pepper with toast, some sweetness and a little spice. After an inch i taste more toasted bread with some cinnamon. I get a dry feeling in the back of my throat and still a bit berry and pepper. Then the berry changes into creamy chocolate. After a third I taste cedar with toast, pepper, chocolate and herbs with the creamy chocolate as the strongest. Halfway it’s chocolate with pepper and herbs. Slowly some spices show up again. The chocolate disappears and I taste cedar with spices and pepper, the flavor is amazing. The pepper is gaining strength but the background cedar and spices are still amazing.


The draw is good, just a little bit tight but all within margins. The smoke could be a little thicker but there is enough smoke. The ash is white, dense and firm. The burn is as straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored, well balanced with a lot of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would not complain if this was the only cigar I was allowed to smoke for the rest of my life.

Score: 95
95

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Categories: 95, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cigar of the month May

Over the last month I reviewed 14 cigars and the cigar of the month may is:

Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero with a 95 score.

This month I smoked a unicorn that scored high, something I never expected to smoke, I smoked the best lancero I had in a long long time, and the best cigar I’ve smoked this year and the three worst cigars I rated for my blog since my new rating system came in place. So the reviews were all over the board.

1) Balmoral Anejo XO FT Lancero (Dominican Republic) 95 points
2) Undercrown Manifesto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Alec Bradley Tempus Nicaragua Robusto (Honduras) 93 points
4) JSK CRNA NOK Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
5) Perdomo Lot 23 Maduro Robusto Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Santiago Connecticut Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points
7) Macanudo Inspirado Mareva (Honduras) 88 points
8) 708 Juniors Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 85 points
9) Antonius Red Label Robusto (Dominican Republic) 85 points
10) Romeo Y Julieta Gran Reserva Wide Churchill (Cuba) 84 points
11) 708 Shaggy Barber Pole (Dominican Republic) 82 points
12) Macarena Maduro Toro (Mexico) 75 points
13) Macarena Naturel Toro (Mexico) 73 points
14) Gasparilla Pirate Fest Churchill (USA) 73 points

 

Balmoral is a Dutch company, so as a fellow Dutchy i’m happy that we still master the art of making great cigars.

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Jas Sum Kral Crna Nok Toro

I am fluent in two languages, Dutch and English, I can manage myself in German and I can handle most of the Spanish cigar names like Antiguedad, Sobremesa, Guayacan, Mi Querida and other Spanish names but leave it to that Riste Riatevski guy to mess that up by naming his cigars in Macedonian. Now Jas Sum Kral is doable and his first blend that was released has an English name (Red Knight, see a review of the lancero here), then he came out with a limited edition for a herf in Minnesota that was just called the maduro (review here), so far so good. But then he started messing with everybody out there and decided to call his Connecticut Shade cigar the Zlatno Sonce (review here), a limited edition coffin with 2 A sized cigars the Da Cebak (review next month) and this Connecticut Broadleaf one the Crna Nok, which to me sounds like something Mr. Worf, the Klingon from Star Trek, would say right before battle.


I fell in love with Jas Sum Kral the minute I smoked my first Red Knight toro, a cigar that I will review later this year, I promise and met Riste at Intertaback 2016 after being Facebook friends for a long time and helping him to get his cigars distributed in The Netherlands. Riste send me a package with some Zlatno Sonce, Crna Nok and a coffin Da Cebak and I promised to review them. This cigar, just like all other Jas Sum Kral cigars, except the Da Cebak, is blended by Riste and made at Noel Rojas’ factory Tabacalera NOA, which is becoming one of my favorite factories in Nicaragua. The cigar has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over a Mexican binder and a filler that has some ligero and piloto cubana corojo amongst others. On www.jassumkral.com the description says “while this cigar is smooth as fuck, I can feel the nicotine” so I my anticipation of this cigar is high.


I love the ring, as I have said in my previous Jas Sum Kral reviews, the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim did an awesome job. The only thing changed for this Crna Nok is the background color, where the Red Knight has some red in it, this ring is completely black with the golden logo and details, so very well designed and printed, beautiful ring. The cigar has a closed foot, a detail I love and it fits with the rustic, toothy dark and leathery wrapper that has a few sparkles of minerals in the leave. The construction feels good and that closed foot gives it some bonus points. The cigar has a strong charcoal smell, like its been fire cured, but mixed with dark chocolate and fresh toast.


I couldn’t find my punch so I grabbed my xikar cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste pepper, raisin and some spices. After lighting it with my Ronson lighter I taste coffee with cedar and nutmeg. After a few puffs I also taste honey. After half an inch i taste toasted wood with pepper and honey. I also taste some licorice a few puffs later and the cigar is very dry, I will probably drink a lot of water during this review. After an inch I taste that toasty, smoky wood with pepper and a faint chocolate. Every few puffs I taste some sweetness and a little lemon too. The final third starts with charred wood, sweetness, some pepper and a little lemon. The charred flavor is getting stronger but balanced well with the lemon.


The smoke is thick and full and the draw is fabulous. The ash is frayed but firm and salt & pepper colored. The burn is a little off but not so bad that it needs correcting. This medium full to full bodied cigar is smooth indeed, but still full flavored and with plenty of evolution and a great balance. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would, great cigar!

Score: 93
number93

Categories: 93, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kristoff Classic Blend Toro

Last september, at the Intertabac trade show I ran into Glen Case and Ward from Kristoff, a brand that I used to represent when I was still employed at my previous employer and Ward gave me their new release for the European market, the Kristoff Classic Blend. Now my American readers might think “I don’t know that one”, well, its just the Kristoff Habano but somehow the Cubans got Habano trademarked so that can’t be used. A lot of brands like Oliva, Perdomo and many others use ‘Sun Grown’ instead but Kristoff decided to go with Classic for this Brazilian Habano wrapped cigar with the Brazilian Sumatra binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The brand won an award at the Cigarjournal dinner too, so it was a succesful trip for the company.


Ever since I smoked my first Kristoff cigar I loved the brand, the cigars look good, taste good and are budget friendly priced but unfortunately we can only get a few blends in The Netherlands and this isn’t one of them so I saved the cigar that Ward gave me for a review and today I decided it was time to light it. The cigar, like all but one Kristoff cigars, are made at the Charles Fairmorn factory in Santiago, DR and I guess they are the best client of Charles Fairmorn as I don’t hear a lot about that factory. I know they make Epic cigars too, but that is just a very small brand here in The Netherlands and judging from the Social Media information I get Kristoff if a much bigger brand in the USA too than Epic.


The cigar has the same look as all other Kristoff cigars, that means a closed foot, which I love, and a nice pigtail. The construction feels good and the pigtail and closed foot, combined with the dark, shiny and oily wrapper make this cigar a looker. The ring is silver colored with brown details and beige letters saying ‘hencho a mano dominicana’ and ‘Kristoff’ while the smaller bottom ring says ‘classic blend’ in the same colors. The aroma is a bit manure, a bit horse and a bit freshly plowed farmfield, medium strong.


Because of the pigtail I had no other option than to cut the cigar. The cold draw is very good and I taste raisin and pepper. I used my vintage Ronson to light the cigar and I taste a mild coffee. After a centimeter I still taste the coffee but now with a nice metallic aftertaste. After an inch I taste wood with a little bit of nuts and some lime, in the aftertaste I taste a mild pepper. After a third the main flavor is lemon with some cocoa, cedar and vanilla, the flavors are subtle. The lemon gets a little less stronger while the cocoa turns into chocolate. Later the cigar turns full cedar with pepper and just a little lemon. A few puffs later I taste some lightly salted peanuts too. Slowly the pepper gains some strength. Near the end I taste nuts with autumn leaves and a nice dose of pepper.


The draw is a bit too loose and that leads to a poor amount of thin smoke in the beginning but after a few puffs the draw improved and with that the smoke too. I had to correct the burn too in the first centimeter but after that it was straight and easy going. The ash is beautifully white. I would call this a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, simply yes. Especially the last third is fantastic.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Charles Fairmorn, Dominican cigars, Kristoff | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Kilo Toro

Yes I know, almost exactly 2 years ago I reviewed this cigar too, so lets call this a redux. I wanted to review this cigar with my 100 point scoring system before they were all gone so this was my last chance. Here’s the story, years ago I met Barry Stein when he worked for Miami Cigar & Co when I went to visit Nestor Miranda and Jason Wood at the office and we stayed in touch, actually, everytime I went to Miami Barry and I made time to smoke a stick or two so when I saw him post on Facebook that he was brining back his brand that he was working on before he joined Miami Cigar & Co I asked for more information.


All Barry said that the cigar was being made in Esteli, a town I would visit soon after the conversation and after a little push Barry told me who made the cigars but I had to promise not to tell before he publicly announced it. It was Noel Rojas, back in his old factory Aromas de Jalapa, nowadays Noel works from Tabacalera NOA and Barry was kind enough to get me Noel’s contact information. This all led to the introduction of the Rojas, Sabor de Esteli and Guayacan brands in The Netherlands 18 months later but that’s a side step. I visited Noel at the factory and he gave me a bundle of the Kilo Toro and Barry asked me for pictures because he had not seen the complete cigars with the rings.


Now I can’t tell you anything about the blend as I simply don’t know, but I can tell you all about the looks. The cigar looks cool, the wrapper is has a deep dark brown color with a light oily shine and no noticeable veins, the construction feels great and you can see Noel’s Cuban heritage with the triple cap. The cigar ring is one of the best i’ve seen, high glossy paper, pitch black with a thick golden outline that really pops, white chemistry drawings and KILO in golden letters. On the back you will find the United Cigars logo, think Route 66 with 3 white stars in blue and the classic American red & white stripes. The aroma is great, deep and it reminds me of the rolling tobacco my father used to smoke when I was a kid and before his health made him stop. There is absolutely no acidic aroma at all, no ammonia, nothing.


I decided to punch the cigar. The cold draw is fine, I taste a little raisin with a little spice and honey. I lit the cigar with a soft flame as usual. I taste coffee with some leather and jalapeño pepper. On my lips I taste a very mild honey. After a few puffs I taste pepper, a mixture of spices and some honey with a leathery aftertaste. After a centimeter I taste some cedar too.

After a third I taste some pepper, some cedar, some honey and a little cocoa. Halfway the cigar gets a little bitter on the tip of my tongue and I taste some spices, a little nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and also a little citrus. The flavors are quite dry, I need to drink a lot of water with this cigar. The cigar also gets a little peppery again. Near the end I also taste some freshness and the pepper is gone. There is also a mild nutty flavor


The draw is fantastic and the smoke is too, thick, plentiful and white. The ash is firm, dense and light colored. The burn is a bit crooked though but not too bad, so I don’t need to correct. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and 50 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? That would be impossible as Barry has sold the rights to the name and the cigar has been discontinued.

Score: 94

94

Categories: 94, Kilo, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cigar of the month March

Over the last month I reviewed 9 cigars and the cigar of the month march is:

Undercrown Flying Pig XLR with a 92 score.

March was the first month I rated a cigar below 80 points, but then again, the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR was a very pleasant surprise so overall it was a good month with two cigars that let me down.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I smoked in March for Cigarguideblog:

1) Undercrown Flying Pig XLR (Nicaragua) 92 points
2) Rocky Patel Super Ligero Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
3) La Flor Dominicana NOX Toro (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Kristoff Pistoff Corona Gorda (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
6) Don Labalet Robusto (Netherlands) 89 points
7) Fratello Boxer Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
8) Viaje Circa 45 #1 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 83 points
9) Plasencia Reserva Organica Limitada 2001 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 77 points

The Undercrown Flying Pig was a huge surprise as it was not the gimmick I suspected it was.

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La Flor Dominicana La Nox

Now here I will talk about my previous employer and job again as mentioned in so many of my recent reviews and that’s because I met a lot of great industry people and learned a lot in my 5 years at The Longfiller Company. One of the people I met are the ultimate gentleman Litto Gomez and his son Tony. First time I met Litto was when he came to The Netherlands when The Longfiller Company was distributing La Flor Dominicana and on my yearly vacation to Florida I always went for lunch with Litto, who made time in his weekends just for me & my friends even though his weekends are sacred family time, something I am grateful for. On one of those lunches he brought his sons Litto Jr and Anthony. Tony just started working for his father at the factory in the Dominican and wasn’t involved in the blending process when we met. We had a great lunch at the rooftop of a nice restaurant somewhere in Miami, it was a memorable lunch.


Now for some reason the La Flor Dominicana sales came to a stop, it was like hitting a brick wall and both me and my boss didn’t have a clue why. The quality of the cigars was good as always, the price didn’t change so why the sales came to a stop was a huge mystery and my employer decided not to order anymore, the last new release of La Flor Dominicana we ordered was the Chapter one. The whole sales stop killed the professional relationship, that was so good before that Litto even made a limited Meaner Digger for The Netherlands. Now on a personal level, the relationship stayed intact and I always have a great time with Tony and Litto at Intertabac. As a cigar geek I was bummed that I didn’t get to try all the new releases, and that’s why my former employer is a better professional as me because the geek in me would have ordered anyway and would end up with a warehouse full of cigars just so I could try them myself. Now truth be said, the last few months I worked for The Longfiller Company I did sell all our remaining La Flor Dominicana stock and the demand was definitely up from the consumer and therefore also from the shopowners. Time for La Flor Dominicana to get back on the Dutch market.


Since I read about the La Flor Dominicana La Nox, and seeing the mouthwatering pictures of this stunning cigar, I wanted to try it and at the Cigar Journal Cigar Trophy event at Intertabac, where the cigar won the award for best Dominican cigar of 2016, I had the chance to grab one. Instead of smoking it on the spot I restrained myself and kept it to review it. Today is the day of the review. The cigar looks amazing, the super dark and oily Brazilian wrapper is flawless and the double ring, black with light blue “La Nox” lettering on the bottom ring and the white moon and LFD lettering on the light blue clouds on the top ring are a perfect match to that dark and oily wrapper. The combination is just a 10 out of 10, if I only judged the cigars on their appearance this would be the cigar of the year for many years to come. The rest of the blend consists of a Mexican San Andres wrapper and Dominican filler from their own fields. The construction feels good, no complaints here either. The cigar has a salty aroma to it with some wood, not too strong and not the barnyard aroma that I smell so often in cigars.


I punched the thick wrapper and tested the cold draw, which gave me quite some resistance and a peppery oatmeal with a mild minty freshness. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste a medium strong coffee flavor with sweetness you can expect from Brazilian tobacco and some oatmeal. After a few puffs I also taste some herbs and spices. After a centimeter I also taste a mild chocolate for just a second with herbs and some pepper. I also taste a little sweetness from the Brazilian wrapper. The flavors are thick, meaty and sticky just like I expected just from the looks.

After little more than an inch I taste the sweetness with oak and some citrus and some spicy herbs. Every now and then I also taste some cocoa. The backdrop of the flavors are earthy. After a third I get a flavor that reminds me of slightly salted peanuts with some citrus. The sweetness is gone, I still taste some pepper in the aftertaste. The pepper grows stronger. The cocoa shows up every now and then, just for a puff or two. After two thirds I also taste a mild nutty flavor on that still earthy undertone with some citrus. After two thirds the nutty flavor grows in strength.


The smoke starts out thin but plenty in volume but after a few puffs the smoke gets to a medium plus thickness. The draw is a little on the tough side, probably would be better if i had cut the cigar from the start as it improved greatly after I cut it with my Xikar xi2 cutter. The ash is white and firm. This cigar is full bodied, full of nicotine and full flavored. The burn is good, but I needed to touch up once to correct a little. The body to flavor ratio is great and there is plenty of evolution. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If they become available on the Dutch market I’m definitely picking up a few and I want an empty box just as a piece of art for my man cave.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, La Flor Dominicana, Tabacalera La Flor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jas Sum Kral Maduro Toro

Jas Sum Kral might be the most talked about cigar of 2016 on social media. It’s the brand of Riste Riatevski and he uses the social media like nobody else in order to get his brand name out and sell his cigars. His Red Knight is blended together with Noel Rojas and made in Noel’s factory Tabacalera NOA. Riste is from Macedonian decent and the name Jas Sum Kral means “I am king” in his native language. The first release was just a 6×52 toro with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a double binder, one Mexican San Andres and one Nicaraguan Jalapa and undisclosed filler. I’ve been in touch with Riste on Facebook for some time and got my hands on one of this original release Red Knight toros through an account of mine, Hans van de Wittenboer from Piet van Kuyk Cigars in Eindhoven, and it blew me away. So much that I asked my then employer, the largest independent premium cigar importer in The Netherlands to take on this brand, which he initially denied.


When the new vitolas came out, a lancero, lonsdale and robusto, I asked Riste for the international wholesale prices, called a few of my Facebook savvy accounts to see if they were interested, wrote a nice order and got back to my employer with everything worked out, the fixed retail prices and the biggest order Riste had until that moment. With so many boxes pre-sold my employer couldn’t say no any longer and The Netherlands became the first international market where the Jas Sum Kral brand was available. A few months later I parted from that employer and in my last week I used the company discount to buy some Joya Red Half Corona for my wife, her favorite cigar, and Jas Sum Kral Red Knight in all sizes for me. A review of the lancero can be found here (in my old scoring method, maybe I’ll do one in my new 100 point method later this year).


I finally met Riste in person at Intertabac 2016 last september and he gave me a new Jas Sum Kral Maduro toro, a cigar (6×52) that will only be released for international markets since it wasn’t ready for the dreaded august 8 deadline and can’t be introduced to the American market unless the FDA ruling is changed. I smoked one right at the show and decided to keep one for a review, this review. The ring is the same as for the Red Knight and is designed by the Singaporean designer Nuzli Hakiim who makes the most beautiful photos for his Instagram. The design is very detailed with great us of black, burgundy, gold and white letters on a good quality thick paper. The wrapper is beautifully dark, with some even darker spots, and two veins on the side and it’s leathery to the touch. The shape of the cigar is a bit off, it’s not completely round, the sides feel a little flattened but it feels evenly filled. The cigar has a dark aroma, a little bit charred and a wet dog with a hint of ammonia.


I decided to cut the cigar with my xi2 cutter from Xikar instead of punching it. The draw is fine and cold I taste dry raisin with a little spicy and peppery aftertaste. As almost every time when smoking indoor I lit the cigar with a soft flame and straight away I taste coffee, strong, bold and bitter. Soon I taste meaty and peppery flavor. The pepper is becoming really strong, maybe even too strong. Even the smoke smells peppery. After a centimeter I also taste some dark chocolate but with a lot of pepper.

Soon after a cedar flavor shows up as a backdrop for the pepper and after a third I taste a mild metallic flavor. The pepper is still the main flavor although it’s not too overpowering anymore. Halfway the cedar and metal get accompanied by chocolate as support to the jalapeño pepper. The background flavors change to wooden notes towards the ⅔rd mark. The aftertaste has some mint in it. After the ⅔ point I taste more of a salty walnut flavor with that metal and still the pepper. The final puffs are a toasty, nutty flavor with a lot of pepper.


The smoke is great, thick and luscious but I don’t like the gray color. The ash is white and dense. The draw is great. I had to touch up a few times to correct an uneven burn, I blame the thickness of the wrapper for that, but it does effect the score. This cigar is definitely full bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half. Unfortunately I didn’t get to use my awesome Jas Sum Kral nub tool.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pepper bomb, a few years ago I loved pepper bombs but my preferences changed a little. This is a great post barbecue cigar so I’ll buy a few for the summer season. But for other occasions I will grab the red knight.

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, Jas Sum Kral, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera Noa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cigar of the month January

Over the last month I reviewed 9 cigars with my new 100 point rating system and the cigar of the month january is:

Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius Toro with a 94! score

I’ve been rating cigars with my 100 point rating system for a month and I must admit that I was worried it wouldn’t work after my first two cigars because both rated high in the 90 but then the third cigar proved that my rating system is spot on for me. Ofcourse its new to me so it needs a little fine tuning but overall I can say that it works quite well and I’m happy I changed to this 100 point system.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I smoked in January for Cigarguideblog:
1) Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius Toro (USA) 94 points
2) Sobremesa Short Churchill (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Padron 1926 #1 Double Corona (Nicaragua) 91 points
4) Nicoya Medios Robusto (Nicaragua) 91 points
5) Splendid Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Cain F Lancero (Nicaragua) 90 points
7) Paradiso (San Cristobal) Quintessence Epicure (Nicaragua) 90 points
8) Santiago Maduro Robusto (Nicaragua) 90 points
9) Joya Black Robusto (Nicaragua) 89 points

El Titan de Bronze made a great cigar for Cornelius & Anthony and Sandy Cobas and her team live up to the reputation they earned over the years as top quality cigar manufacturers.

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Paradiso Quintessence

About 25 years ago Robbie Levin decided it was time to start his own cigar brand, next to the family tobacco business that already existed for a few generations. So he bought English pipe tobacco brand, Ashton, and made a private label blend with one of his long term cigar suppliers Arturo Fuente and the cigar brand Ashton was born. After more than a very successful decade and a few high praised and good selling cigar lines, all under the Ashton name, all made by Fuente in the Dominican Republic and all ‘old style’ it was time for something new, something that would attract the new generation of cigar enthusiasts, something with a little more edge and so 3 new brands were born. Benchmade, La Aroma de Cuba and San Cristobal, all made in Nicaragua by My Father Cigars. And like all Levin does, they became successful, so successful that we now can choose from a few LADC and San Cristobal blends.


Due to copyright Ashton can’t use the La Aroma de Cuba name outside of the USA, so they changed the name to La Aroma Del Caribe and for San Cristobal, a name that they could use in some markets but not in others, they picked Paradiso. The blends are identical, the labels and boxes are identical just the name on the labels and boxes changed. I used to work for the Dutch distributed of Ashton and had the pleasure of meeting Robbie, his daughter Meera and their vp of sales Chip Goldeen on several occasions and even though there is no professional relationship at the moment I met them at intertabac Chip handed me their latest release for the European market, the Paradiso Quintessence. The cigar is made from Nicaraguan tobacco grown by the Garcia family with an Ecuadorean Habano wrapper. I smoked the 6×52 epicure.


The wrapper is nice, oily and shiny with a few minor veins and the band is top, the recognizable parrots with the gold medals but this time an added name underneath the picture that says ‘quintessence’. The construction feels good but at the left side, right where the ring is, the cigar feels flat, box pressed, but just on one side while the rest of the cigar is round. That will of course effect the final score, but how much will depends if it effects draw, smoke and ash characteristics. The aroma is deep, mild acidic and reminds me a bit of autumn, like fallen leaves without smelling fallen leaves. The cold draw is fine, I taste some pepper on my lips. I used my cigar xi2 cutter to decap the cigar and my Ronson varaflame to light the cigar.


I taste coffee with some spices and a little bit of sweetness. The coffee remains the basic flavor but the spices tone down. The cigar makes my mouth dry. After a third I taste s little more sweetness and a little bit of lime with a little bit of red pepper in the aftertaste. After a third I taste some cinnamon with wood and lime. The lime is purely in the aftertaste though. After two thirds I taste a nice nut flavor, with a little bit of spice. No more lime, no more sweetness. Near the end this cigar is getting spicier and I taste a lot of pepper, especially on my lips. This all on a base of nuts.


The smoke is thick, it’s white and it’s plentiful. The ash is silver gray with black stripes. It’s not too firm. The burn is good, not razor sharp but I don’t have to correct either. The draw is great. This medium full, full flavored cigar have me 100 minutes of smoking pleasure.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, once in a while but I prefer the Paradiso Revelation

Score: 90

90

Categories: 90, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Paradiso - San Cristobal | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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