Posts Tagged With: Vegas de Santiago

Skull 77 El Unico

Skull 77 El Unico. The El Unico is the toro size of the Skull 77 by Cigare 77. The brand is made in Costa Rica, at the Vegas de Santiago facilities. But it is Swiss-owned. Laurent Taha is the owner, and he picked the 77 number for a very special reason. He is born on January 1st, 1977. And launched his brand on July 7, 2014. The double seven comes back several times. For now, only three sizes are available. The blends are mostly the same, although a little tweaked for each specific size. None of the three vitolas is thinner than a 58 ring though, the thickest is a ring 66.


For the wrapper, Taha picked a Habano 2000 leaf from Ecuador. Cigare 77 didn’t disclose the binder. For the filler, tobaccos from Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic are used. As mentioned before, the blends vary per size, to create the optimal flavor experience in each of the vitolas. The brand is currently expanding it’s distribution and recently added Sweden as one of the new markets. And from January, the brand will be available in the United Kingdom too.

The cigar looks good. A nice, smooth, Colorado colored wrapper. Oily and there are no ugly thick veins visible. The ring, designed by Taha and his close friend & artist Claudio Capuano, is a nice looking, cigar-smoking skull. The glowing red eye did remind us of Terminator. Even though it’s a big and thick cigar, it feels quite light. The little pigtail cap is a nice detail. The aroma isn’t very strong, it’s both floral and a classic barnyard aroma.


The cold draw is very light, very easy. The flavors from the cold draw are sweetness and sultana at first, with a strong and spicy raw tobacco aftertaste. After lighting, it’s coffee, leather, and soil. Quite dry flavors. The flavors then turn spicy and grassy, still with some coffee though. The flavors then evolve to wood, spice, leaves and mild marzipan sweetness. The flavors are a little rough around the edges. The sweetness is that of powdered icing sugar, with grass and leather after a third. Very mild milk chocolate shows up too, with grass, wood, and leather. In the final third, there’s pepper, leather, and young wood. Still a little rough and the mouthfeel is dry. The harshness grows a bit too. In the end, the coffee returns.


The draw is a bit loose, but not too loose that it’s a problem. The burn is a bit wonky, but again, not too bad that it’s a problem. The smoke is quite full and has a decent volume. The cigar is medium-bodied, medium flavored. It’s a little unrefined and unbalanced. The white ash is flaky yet reasonably firm. The smoke time is two hours exactly, then it turned so bitter it had to be abandoned.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m sorry but the answer is no

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Categories: 88, Costa Rican cigars, Skull 77, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago | 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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Vegas de Santiago Gran Reserva Maria la Gorda

Over the almost fifteen years that I’ve been smoking I have smoked a lot of brands, a lot of variety cigars, some I liked, some I didn’t like but one of the brands that I smoked almost from day one and still like today is the Costa Rican brand Vegas de Santiago. And they like me, they know my blog and at the Intertabac trade show they asked me to come over and handed me some samplers including this Gran Reserva, a blend unknown to me and I can’t find it on their website either.

 

 


I did found some information on the website of a German retailer and it turns out that it’s a very budget friendly bundle cigar, less than 5 euro for this 6×60 and the, now discontinued torpedo with the same blend once scored 94 points for Cigar Journal and earned the “best buy” title. I can’t find any information about the blend though.

 

 


The milk chocolate colored wrapper has a mild reddish glow but no oil. It feels a bit like velvet. The ring is copper colored with dull golden edges and white letters, very simple. The cigar feels well constructed and the shape is good, the cap is nice. The medium strong aroma is typical barnyard.

 

 


Because of the big ring I decided to grab my punch instead of a cutter. The cold draw is great, the flavor is mild savory. After lighting I taste a sweet flavor with a mild coffee bitterness. Due to the big ring gauge the flavors are muted. A quarter of an inch in I taste pepper with cedar. After a third I taste cedar, pepper and honey. The flavor doesn’t change much, only the pepper grows stronger.

 

 


The draw is good. The light gray ash is firm. The smoke is medium thick and in volume. The burn on this medium bodied and medium flavored cigar is straight. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Not in this ring gauge, that’s for sure.

Score: 84

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Categories: 84, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , ,

Cigar of the month April

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

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Guayacan Corona Gorda with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

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

 

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Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro & Conchita

I have smoked and reviewed several Vegas de Santiago cigars and I like that I see more and more cigars coming from Costa Rica. I thing that there are some good things happening south from Honduras and Nicaragua and the more choice we have, the better, as long as the quality is good. And I never had a complaint about Vegas de Santiago.

The Don Luis line is named after the Cuban cigar master Don Luis Santana Lamas, who cured the tobacco for Vegas de Santiago and rolled some of their production. The filler is undisclosed Caribbean tobacco while the binder and wrapper both are from Ecuador, the binder is a Habano 2000 and the wrapper a Connecticut.

Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Toro


The wrapper is smooth and oily but has a thin vein popping out which should have been flattened or put on the back side of the cigar. The ring is super simple, just white with gold and a logo, well printed though. The cigar feels like its evenly packed and well constructed. The cigar has a medium strong aroma of barnyard and old wood.


I used my butterfly cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great and I taste pepper and raisin. After lighting I taste coffee with a little salt. The flavor changes to a slightly salt wood, smooth and nice, with a little vanilla. Halfway the cigar is all about cedar with a little salt and a mild acidity. I also taste a little nuts, pepper and sweetness. The nut flavor is getting stronger with a nice mix of pepper, vanilla, sugar and cumin.


The draw is fantastic, nothing to complain about. The ash is light gray and very firm. The smoke is medium to full in thickness and volume. The burn is razor sharp. The cigar is well balanced and smooth. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.


Would I buy this cigar again?  Yes

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago Don Luis Conchita


This 5×35 sized cigar looks like something I should enjoy, I love thin ring gauges. The wrapper is Connecticut but with a reddish, almost rosado, glow and quite oily. The ring is simple and the cigar feels well made. The aroma is faint barnyard.


The cigar is so thin that punching isn’t an option, so I grabbed my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is on the good side of tight. I taste a little tobacco. After lighting I taste a very pleasant, sweet and balanced coffee. Halfway I taste a mild milk chocolate with the coffee and sweetness. In the aftertaste I get some black pepper. At the end I taste some nutmeg and cumin too.


The draw is just a little tight but not tight enough to create problems. The smoke is a little thin because of the draw. The light colored ash is firm and the burn is straight. This is a medium bodied, medium full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour.


Would I buy this cigar again? I think I will.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , ,

Cigar of the month January

In 2018 I will do a cigar of the month again and here’s the list for january, 15 cigars, in order from most liked to least liked.

The cigar with the highest rating last month is:

Drew Estate Undergrown Sun Grown Flying Pig with a 93 score

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published:

1) Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig (Nicaragua) 93 points
2) C.A.O. Fuma em Gorda Toro (Nicaragua) 93 points
3) Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Magnifico (Dominican Republic) 93 points
4) Plasencia Alma del Campo Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
5) Quesada 40th Anniversary Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
6) Gurkha Ghost Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
7) Kristoff CG Robusto (Dominican Republic) 91 points
8) Epic Maduro Lancero (Dominican Republic) 90 points
9) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona (Costa Rica) 90 points
10) Micallef Gomez Sanchez Esperiencia Prominente (Nicaragua) 89 points
11) Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto (Costa Rica) 89 points
12) Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto (Costa Rica) 89 points
13) Vegas de Santiago D8 Toro (Costa Rica) 88 points
14) Xiphos Connecticut Robusto (Costa Rica) 88 points
15) Romeo Y Julieta EL 2016 (Cuba) 86 points

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Vegas de Santiago D8 serie

In july I wrote a review on the Vegas de Santiago D8 robusto. I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars back before I started working in the industry, ordering straight from the factory in Costa Rica and always liked the cigars especially when you looked at them from a price quality point. And when I consulted for a small cigar importer in The Netherlands I pointed them to Vegas de Santiago as we lack Costa Rican cigars on the Dutch market.

At Intertabac I spoke with Marc Nieman, the owner of Vegas de Santiago and he told me that their cigars will be available on the Dutch market soon and thanked me for my help. He gave me a bunch of cigars to review too, including a couple of sizes of the D8. Instead of writing separate reviews I decided to combine all reviews in one.

Vegas de Santiago D8 Short Robusto

 


This is the smallest of the cigars I recieved, a 4×50 short robusto that I can’t find on the Vegas de Santiago website. The ring is white with a red square and golden details and letters that quite pop, a nice ring. The wrapper is dark, oily and smooth. The construction looks and feels good. The cigar has a mild straw aroma.

 

I punched the cigar. The cold draw is perfect, I taste a mild raisin flavor.
After lighting the cigar with a soft flame I taste a mild citrusy coffee. After a few puffs the cigar is floral. After a third I taste the floral flavor but with a mild peanut flavor and a tiny bit of salt. Halfway it’s floral and vanilla with some wood. In The final third I taste some red pepper too.

 


The draw is fantastic. The burn is equally fantastic. The salt and pepper ash is firm. The smoke is full. This is a medium bodied and medium flavored cigar with a smoke time of seventy five minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice cigar, if the price is right I will.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corto

 


The corto is a nub sized cigar, 4×60, a size I don’t smoke often because I’m not a fan of big ring gauges. The ring is the same as on the short robusto but the wrapper looks a shade lighter in color and a little less oily. The construction looks and feels good, while the aroma is mild and reminds me a bit of sawdust.

 


I get a good cold draw, grassy, spicy and raw tobacco flavored. The cigar is so thick that I used a jet flame to light it. I taste toast, cinnamon, chocolate and some honey sweetness. After a third I taste honey cedar. Halfway some mild red pepper shows up in the aftertaste. Near the end the pepper gets stronger but not overpowering.

 


The draw is good and the light gray ash has nice thin rings, it’s firm and dense. The burn is razor sharp but the smoke is thin. The cigar has a decent evolution for a big ring gauge cigar but it’s not as dynamic as the corona. The body and flavors are medium. The smoke time is a hour exactly.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? I actually liked the sweetness a lot, I disliked the ring gauge.

Score: 89
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Corona

 


I love the corona size, a vitola that doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves and is blown away by the thicker robusto, toro and gordo sizes but it remains in my top 5 of favorite vitolas. Again, the ring is the same and the wrapper has the same shade as the court, yet it has a little tooth to it and feels more leathery because of that. The cigar looks good and the construction feels good too.  A mild acidic aroma with some straw is what I smell.

 


I decapped the cigar with a flat cut. The cold draw is a little tight and quite peppery. After lichting I taste sweet coffee with pepper. After half an inch I taste cedar, lime, pepper and toast. After that I taste nuts, toast and some pepper. Halfway Its wood with herbs and a rocket salad pepper.

 


The draw is a little tight. The smoke is good, nice volume, nice thickness, beautiful white color. The ash is light gray, dense and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is and hour and fifteen minutes.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? Apart from the tightness in the draw this is a very pleasant cigar so yes!

Score: 90
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Vegas de Santiago D8 Canonazo

 


A classic toro size, 6×52, yet it has a double name on the Vegas de Santiago website, Canonazo and Toro but ‘m fine with either, call it what you like, a cigar is a cigar. Same ring again and a leathery  chocolate brown wrapper with a beautiful reddish glow. The construction feels good and the cigar looks well rolled. The aroma is mild, its a bit of a barnyard aroma.

 


I cut the cigar and found a great draw with a mild acidic and raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a mild and creamy coffee. After a few puffs I taste walnuts with coffee. After an inch i taste a creamy vanilla with some honey. Halfway an acidic flavor is dominant with some honey and a little cream. The final third starts with a honey cedar.

 


The draw is fine and the smoke is thick and white. The burn is pretty straight. The light gray ash is coarse. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time is two hours.

 


Would I buy this cigar again? I stick to the robusto.

Score: 88
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Categories: 88, 89, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The mancave

I mentioned my mancave a few times, in posts about the swag I received for example and when I showed off my lancero humidor and a few people reached out to me to show the mancave.

The last two days I’ve been rearranging all the swag because I needed to give Cornelius & Anthony the proper prime real estate after the bomb they send me. And because now everything is nice and tidy I took the opportunity to make a little video and shoot some pictures.

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cigar of the month July

Late 2016 I had the plan to post a review every Wednesday and every Sunday in 2017 with an added review on the 15th of each month as a series of Lancero reviews but I reviewed so many cigars that I had to post more, so for a few cigars I did a ‘full series review in one’, I added a few special dates to commemorate certain people, celebrate birthdays, last month I did a full week of review and this month I posted two extra Oliva Master Blend reviews so that the 1, 2 and 3 were posted in line. So, just like last month, there are more cigars rated this month than I expected to do. And the first 4 cigars all came very close to each other, with just tenths of a points in difference.

The cigar with the highest rate in July is:

Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill with a 94 score.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I published at Cigarguideblog in July:

1) Oliva Master Blend 1 Churchill (Nicaragua) 94 points
2) Oliva Master Blend 2 Robusto (Nicaragua) 94 points
3) Jas Sum Kral Da Cebak A (Nicaragua) 94 points
4) Ilja VII by My Father A (Nicaragua) 94 points
5) Tatuaje Cojonu 2012 Sumatra Toro (Nicaragua) 92 points
6) Oliva Master Blend 3 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 92 points
7) Illusione ~hl~ Maduro Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
8) Lars Tetens Steampunk Toro (USA) 92 points
9) Don Pepin Garcia series JJ Maduro Toro (Nicaragua) 91 points
10) Puros de Hostos Box Pressed Toro (Dominican Republic) 91 points
       Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto (Costa Rica) 91 points
12) Puros de Hostos Churchill (Dominican Republic) 91 points
13) Romeo y Julieta #2 Tubo (Cuba) 87 points
14) Padilla Artisan Perfecto (Nicaragua) 87 points
15) Te Amo World Selection Series Nicaraguan Blend Robusto (Mexico) 86 points
16) Te Amo World Selection Series Mexican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 85 points
17) Te Amo World Selection Series Honduran Blend Robusto (Mexico) 80 points
18) Te Amo World Selection Series Cuban Blend Robusto (Mexico) 79 points
19) Te Amo World Selection Series Dominican Blend Robusto (Mexico) 76 points

 

 

 


The first 12 cigars all rated 91 or higher, with two cigars with the exact same score on the 10th spot. The complete top 12 I would smoke again with pleasure. Number 14 on the list is one of the best looking cigars I ever smoked though but the top 6 are all limited editions that cannot be bought anymore.

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Vegas de Santiago D8 Robusto

When I was a novice cigar smoker I smoked a lot of Vegas de Santiago cigars from Costa Rica and always liked them. I reviewed quite a lot of them too but due to finding a job in the industry and having more cigars to smoke than is humanly possible and Vegas de Santiago not being available on the Dutch market I haven’t smoked one in years. Until now that is, I’m going to review the D8, made with undisclosed filler and an Ecuadorian binder and wrapper.


Why I went to the bottom of my humidor to grab this cigar? Pretty simple, I was talking with another cigar distributer in The Netherlands about employment and they asked me what brand I would suggest if they wanted something different and reasonably priced. I got them in touch with Vegas de Santiago and earlier this week I saw a post which suggested that Vegas de Santiago is coming to the Dutch market. Maybe I should have asked for a commission but that’s too late now (now please remind: this review has been written a few months ago, on may first, but I have a lot of unpublished reviews waiting to be published so there’s always a delay.


The Habano 2000 wrapper looks great, a medium dark brown but smooth looking wrapper with one medium flattened vein. The construction feels great with a nice cap and a beautifully rounded head. The ring is classic, white with a red centre, golden and black lines and letters but well printed. The cigar had a nice, medium strong, manure aroma.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping a cigar. The cold draw is perfect with a raw tobacco and mild peppery taste. I immediately taste a nice dose of full coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame. After a third I taste a buttery, creamy wood with pepper. Halfway I taste wood, herbs, spices and a little pepper, all mild creamy. Soon after it’s buttery wood with pepper. The final third star with walnuts and pepper, still a little buttery creamy.


The draw is great and the light gray ash is firm and dense. The smoke could be a little thicker but the volume is good. Later the smoke gets thicker. The burn is straight as can be. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored with good evolution. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked this cigar a lot.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Costa Rican cigars, Tabacalera Vegas de Santiago, Vegas de Santiago | Tags: , , , ,

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