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Origin : CubaRafael Gonzalez
Format : Perla
Size : 40 x 102 mm (4 in)
Weight : 5.91 g.
Price : $8.00 each
More info about purchasing Rafael Gonzalez cigars…

Cigar Rating

Draw : 4 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 3 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
Strength : 2 out of 6 stars

Before you start reading our new quick review of the Rafael Gonzales Perla we want to share with you another review of the same cigar made few years ago by Sean, click here!


I was not very excited about this Rafael Gonzales cigar. The main reason is that I have always heard from great collectors this brand needs some ageing before really expression the blend’s full potential.
This cigar comes from a box of 2017.

At first the draw it not completely tight but not slightly resistant, in between these two feelings. The burn is actually very good and impressive for such a little cigar.
We always think this little cigar, forgotten by most of us are being rolled rapidly without care but the first part the construction just improved very quickly and the perfect burnt allowed a great solid ash to form.

The aroma is a bit harsh at the very beginning but loads of smokes are coming out of the puffs. It is very enjoyable. Some surprising notes of burn provençal herbs are coming out of this cloud.

On the palate, some great smoked spices are developing. Quite complex for such a little cigar. The strength is very light and density of smoke high. This makes it such a soft feeling.

The cigar evolves slowly to a woody structure. Sometimes hints of sweetness reminding you a the creaminess we all know in our cuban cigars come out.

The end of the first part shows very Hhigh ammonia taste unfortunately. Hope it will change as the beginning was great. The finish on the palate is extremely short. Almost with the feeling of not having smoked.

The second part doesn’t Strat very well. kind of flat flavours… It is hard to say and almost rude for the great Habanos that we love. Nothing very special slight roasted coffee bean.
The aroma is much more interesting with this grilled herbs notes. I never experienced such an aroma I have to say. Very confusing, in a good way.

The woodiness is well perceived but the finish is very short which makes it a very easy cigar to smoke.

The last third starts well with lots of oriental spices and the one I could recognise easily was the cumin. This is a surprisingly complex cigar.
The creamy structure comes and goes but when it’s here, makes it such a lovely cigar.

Not a bad little cigar, I wasn’t expected this. I have to admit the cigar isn’t really balanced and a bit of age won’t harm it. But having smoked some delicious aged cigar and now this fresh one I understand why they age so well. This Rafael Gonzales Perla is like young racing horse, going everywhere and hard to control.

A bourbon type of flavour appears in the very last part. Still with some bitterness on the back of the tongue though.
the last notes are extremely good, chocolaty and creamy texture, round not aggressive as it felt since the beginning.

Short smoke and getting tastier toward the end.

The problem I encountered with this cigar was 20 minutes after the after taste was really bad and this killed the entire enjoyment I had. Therefore I believe it should be an aperitif cigar before pulling out the big cigars.

Cigar Review – Rafael Gonzales Perla

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Origin : CubaQuai d'Orsay
Format : Grand Edmundo
Size : 135 mm x 54
Ring : 54
Price :12USD-

Cigar Rating

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 3.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
Strength : 2.5 out of 6 stars

Cigar Brand Overview

Quai d’Orsay was created in the 70s when the recently elected president at the time, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, asked his minister of economy to create a French cigar. As the former president explained “France is known for its perfume, champagne, foie gras but nothing in the world of tobacco”.
La Seita, company that had the monopoly of tobacco in France, was commissioned to create a cigar for the French market. Quai d’Orsay became the third brand at that time on the market with a non Cuban name, after Davidoff and Dunhill.

The marca was present in minor markets only. Over the past decade France was able to enjoy beautiful Quai d’Orsay regional editions that became collector items.

Since last year we can experience a “re-birth” of Quai D’orsay. 2 new vitola, a new look for the brand and a great blend. The n.50, already reviewed here and the No.54.

Cigar Appearance
I personaly love the new branding of Quai D’Orsay. The work Habanos S.A. and La Seita is great. Most of the Quai D’Orsay cigars will be claro to Colorado claro wrapper. The one reviewed has a stunning light shade of brown wrapper. Smooth and very elegant visually, matching perfectly with the new cigar band. I love the attention to detail to the band with the small gold spot in the letters for example. It is a great balance between simplicity and elegance.

Cigar Tasting

The Quai D’Orsay No.54 is a great big size cigar. Slightly shorter than the Behike 54. As described previously their wrappers are amazing. very good looking and of a high quality.
As I cut the cigar, or open the cigar as I sometimes like to say, the I see a great construction. Not to tight not to packed. The pre draw confirmed my thoughts.

The first few puffs were very light in flavours and aromas, very short finish and almost no structure on the palate. The density of smoke is immediately very high and very enjoyable.
As this is the first cigar of the day for me, with a coffee and nothing eaten before, I kind of like the fact that the structure is very weak. The flavours appear slowly with some nice sweet vanilla and a gentle nuttiness. Definitely not the most expressif blend so far but the amount of smoke and the light strength allow the very subtle flavour to stand out and being enjoyed.

During the second part the intensity slowly increase and the cigar vary between light and light to medium. Some moments are not balanced at all and express the ammonia left in the cigar too much. A slight bitterness appears on the palate but the flavours profiles from before increase with the addition sometimes of a Islay whisky finish on the palate. The feeling you have after having had a sip of a lagavulin 10 minutes ago. Very interesting. The structure is a bit more dense and allow the flavour to linger slightly more on the palate.
The aroma is great and intense.

The Last third is probably what you would really expect. Elegant and round would be enough to describe it. The moment of unbalanced is over.
However the blend is sometimes a bit dry on the palate and the flavours are good that we can feel a bit frustrated not to experience them more. It is a very light blend one of the lightest one I have experienced in months. Lighters than the corona claro and the No.50 but makes it a great Sunday morning cigar :)

Overall Rating

I enjoyed the No.54 as an easy smoke without any complexity.
If you are looking for a cigar rich and full of flavours it is certainly not the right one.
It makes it the perfect Brunch companion!

Cigar Review – Quai D’Orsay No. 54

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MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Size : 7“ (178mm) x 47
Format : Julieta No.2
Brand Strength : Medium to Full
Price : $25 – $30
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars…

Cigar rating
Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 3 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
strength : 4 out of 6 stars

The Montecristo Churchill Anejados is the second release of the linea Anejados. The Cigars released under this line are extra matured in the perfect humidity conditions of Cuba for a period of time between 5 to 8 years. This extra aging allow each part of the cigar to really melt together releasing the very full flavor potential of the tobacco leaves.

You can also read the great review of the Partagas Corona Gordas Anejados here!

Cigar Appearance
The Montecristo Anejados shows a double band, the traditional one plus a brown one which proudly said Anejados indicating the extra aging indeed. The size which I particularly like is elegant and its already a pleasure to old it in your hands. The color of the wrapper is Colorado and the quality of it is excellent with not many vein coming out and a crunchy feel which make me hope in a good draw.

Cigar Construction
The cigar is been rolled well, the cup was applied correctly facilitating the cutting procedure and the pre draw announce that is not going to be a tight one. During the smoke the ash was very compact and I almost went half way through before it went down, and when it did I could see the core of the cigar perfectly lit as I never had to use the lighter again.

Cigar Tasting

Like a first date, it is a shy beginning for the Montecristo Anejados, it felt quite light as a start but on the other side combustion and draw were really good. It shows since the beginning that the character of the stick is going to be woody with some spices hints, the classic Montecristo profile.
As we reach the second third the flavor intensity definitely picks up as the smoke gets warmer and denser, we can appreciate the lovely cedar and oak wood, vegetal notes with some cashew nuts feeling as well and a hint of spices occasionally.
Close to the end we can really appreciate the definition of the flavors, which are not changing much since the beginning, the only thing that evolves is the intensity of those, which is totally normal as the burning spot is always closer to our palate and the smoke is hotter; combustion and draw have been great during the entire stick.

The cigar was a bit lighter than expected, maybe because the extra aging which might have lower down the nicotine level, and make it smoother. It was very well constructed and I have to say that when a cigar doesn’t give any “inconvenient” is already half way to the success. Flavor wise the cigar didn’t show any complexity as the profile was the same from the beginning to the end, what I call a linear stick; but the definition of the flavors and aromas was good. This is a cigar which can be smoked anytime really, I enjoyed it with my coffee during the afternoon, and by the nature of it you can lit it and enjoy it without thinking about it too much.

Cuban Cigar Review – Montecristo Churchill Anejados

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MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Size : 165 mm X 55
Size : Montecristo 80th Aniversario
Brand Strength : Full (linea 1935)
Price : $30 – $35
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars…

The larger format of Montecristo’s new line has the exact same dimension as the Montecristo 80th Aniversario which was supposed to be released in 2015 but came out last year!

Draw : 6 out of 6 stars
Burn : 6 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4.5 out of 6 stars
strength : 5 out of 6 stars

As the Maltes and the Dumas, previously reviewed, the Leyenda wears a third band on the foot, a second band below the Marcas’ mentioning the name of the Line, Linea 1935 and the cigar’s name.
All cigars from the Linea 1953 come in a box of 20 stogies.
We have seen many shades of brown on the different boxes opened. Therefore we cannot say the Linea 35 are all Maduro or Colorado Maduro. Do not be surprised to have a shade difference between a box and another


1st Part

The pre draw is perfect, not too loose not too tight, this is already very exciting and promising.
As soon as I light the Leyanda the burn is as good as the draw and loads of sweet woody notes to Start. I love the long module as the first flavours a very fresh and soft “almost” cold when they reach the palate.
Intensity comes very quickly and the full strength of cigar is already present with a nice woodiness and reach texture. The density of smoke is medium.
Some nice touches of earthiness added to the woodiness develop a very good Montecristo flavour profile with a high intensity.
Very low acidity, don’t feel that the cigar is young. The flavour complexity shows you this is a great cigar with a massive potential already felt during the first part. Cocoa and roasted coffee bring the Leyenda to sweet flavour profile.

2nd Part

During the second part the strength soften a bit. The density of smoke is very high the cigar just keep on bringing flavours reminding you of a great Montecristo with some age. The flavours are very well balanced. At the same time you can enjoy a powerful cigar but yet its development is so smooth that you just appreciate the flavours and don’t feel overwhelmed by strength.
The ash is long and strong. Beautiful shape and grey. The combustion is very even, you do not need to light your cigar 10 times during the tasting even if you leave it on the ashtray for 5 minutes you will still have a great combustion.
The aroma is great as well. I start realising this Leyenda is my favourite out of the new 1935 lines. So rich and complex.

3rd Part

The last third is pretty similar and doesn’t have a massive change. However towards the very end the Montecristo Leyenda starts to be slightly shorter and the palate this is really to pick something a bit negative in this great hour and twenty minute smoke. Also it becomes a bit dry and looses its grassiness and rich flavours and aroma.

I enjoyed the three cigars from the Montecristo 1935 Linea, the Dumas, the Maltes and the Leyenda. Out of the three, the Leyenda was really an outstanding cigar with a massive potential of development and ageing a great addition to the Montecristo cigars line. Cuba has done a great job.
My only issue with this new line is the new look and feel of the box not to my personal taste. I love the authentic wood with details on it.

Cigar Review – Montecristo Linea 1935 Layenda

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Origin : NicaraguaVegaFina
Format : Dalia
Size : 170mm x 43
Price : $11.5
More info about purchasing Vegafina cigars…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 3.5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 5 out of 6 stars

I have been enjoying Nicaraguan cigars lately. They can be very rich and powerful developing lots of flavours. The blends are getting more and more complex for our enjoyment.
The short and fat module trend is a reality but thanks god some Marcas keep on bringing to the market elegant and thin ring gauge cigars, reminding us of the old school style.

As expected by a new world cigar, the pre draw was perfect. The right balance between resistance and loose. I don’t like a cigar being too loose with the feeling of being undefiled. I like a bit of resistance in my draws.

As briefly explained above I love this size. Thin to medium ring gauge and rather long. The same module is produced in Cuba under the Partagas 8-9-8 and is one of my all time favourite.

The first aroma is very enjoyable, soft and delicate smoke. Then the density of smoke becomes very quickly strong and rich with lots of new world oak woodiness.
The ash crystal white, not very strong, lightly loose and sandy. I like when the ash is structured, with lines expressing the draws and describing how you smoked it. Just like when you cut a tree and see the years accord to the layers of wood. Unfortunately in the case its more a packed loose ash forming on to of the cigar.

On the palate it is strong and rich with a nice spiciness and pepperiness challenging the flavours buds.
Even though I am not fan of the ash I can say anything about the burn and the draw being almost perfect.

The Vega fina Nicaragua 898 is well balanced. Its finish is long with strong notes of hay. The pepperiness became very shy but still present reminding you what you are smoking is coming from Nicaragua. This leads the blend to an interesting complexity.

The construction is extremely good and the tobacco used of great quality as the density of smoke is very high with an incredible aroma. It is very relaxing to have such a moment. Even better when flavours and aromas are present.

I am enjoying this sweet flavours. It is a very particular sweetness. Reminding you of chocolate made of high cocoa percentage. You recognise very well it is not cuban because if this slight bitterness in the back melted with a sweet wood. It is like drinking a new world chardonnay aged in new world barrels. The vanilla and coconut flavours will be much more pronounced than a chardonnay made in Burgundy. You have the same feeling with tobacco from the new world and the flavours are more distinct and pronounced than in Cuba.

The cigar burns very quickly without over heating nor the feeling of being frustrated it goes down too quick.

Some notes of smoked bacon linger on the palate. Once again very similar to the finish of certain wines.

The flavours are rich and harmonious. The bitterness described previously is not harsh it is really all melting down on the palate. Very surprise with this new world cigar. The complexity and richness of flavours are of a serious level.

Toward the end the Vega Fina 898 develops and amazing round texture with this velvet feeling, beautiful marzipan and sweet notes. Yet strong and high intensity of smokes. Make sure you eat well before enjoying this cigar as this is for sure not a smoke for a beginner.

I wasn’t expected such a development.

Cigar Review – Vega Fina Nicaragua 8-9-8

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