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11
Feb

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Factory name : Robusto Extra
Size : 120mm (4 3/4 inches) x 54
2016-2017 new current production
Hand-Made
Price : 29 pounds per cigar in UK
More info about purchasing H. Upmann cigars…

He did it again! Luca G. reviewed for us the very awaited new release of H. Upmann, the Magnum 54. If you have smoked it, leave a comment below to tell us what you think of this new cigar.

Background
Founded in 1844 by a German banker, Mr. Herman Upmann, who gives the name to the Brand, he loved cigars so much to move in Havana and set up a factory producing fine cigar. H.Upmann cigars are light to medium in strength, totally handmade using long filler with all leaves sourced from Vuelta Abajo in the Pinar del Rio, region of Cuba also known as one of the finest region in the world for tobacco growing. The Magnum 54 was launched in March 2016 at the 18th Festival des Habanos. However we had to wait until 2017 to finally see it on the shelves of our favorite cigar shops and lounges.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
The Magnum 54 wrapper shows a stunning Colorado maduro color, quite veiny, with two bands, the classic H.Upmann white, red and gold band and a second red band that proudly show the Magnum 54 signature serie. Almost with no oil in the wrapper the cigar is still soft and velvety, revealing a very high quality leaf has been used to wrap it.

Construction : 5 out of 5 stars
Perfectly rolled in a very trendy and appealing vitola. The cigar is extremely eye catching straight away and is impossible to resist not to fire it up.
The cold draw confirms the excellent construction of the cigar as it is smooth and broad.
Once lit the cigar burns evenly and consistently, the ash is of a dark gray color, solid and compact, and the density of smoke produced is quite high. What a pleasure to smoke this awaited H. Upmann!

Flavor : 4 out of 5 stars
The first third of the cigar is of a light to medium strength, with lovely flavor intensity and a nice creamy texture. The flavors linger directly in the middle of the palate giving a sense of harmony and equilibrium. The element I first came across is the lovely sweetness of this cigar which is well balanced by the acidity due to the youngness of the smoke. Following, notes of coffee beans and cocoa like flavors with some sweet spice and cedar wood starts to develop through, leaving a pleasant nutty after taste reminding of almond.

As we continue to smoke the ash stays on for almost half of the cigar, cooling down the heat caused by the smoke and allowed me to appreciate entirely the complexity of the stick without over heating my palate. Short smokes with bigger ring gauge tend to overheat if we draw to much on it which reduces the flavors complexity and subtility. I always allow my cigars to cool down a bit more towards the end to avoid any overheating effect.

During the second third the strength move to medium, creaminess and sweetness increases, and the draw becomes slightly tighter but still very enjoyable. The burn is incredibly consistent and takes no skills to keep the cigar lit. The dominant flavors are still sweet notes of honey and vanilla with some coffee and cocoa. Leathery feeling and earthiness takes more place in the palate, which gradually expand taking more and more of the palate.

As we get closer to the end the cigar gets fuller and shows its maximum flavor intensity with sweet notes accompanied by woody and spicy flavors, velvet and creamy on the palate but still balanced and never overwhelming.

Value : 3.5 out of 5 stars
As we all know cigars are slightly more expensive in the UK than anywhere else due to the market high taxation. However this is a fine cigar well made, with high complexity and a great expression of flavor. Considering all this factors I believe that the stick was worth its price .

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars
The H.Upmann – Magnum 54 is certainly a great cigar. The size makes it very enjoyable and does not take long to smoke. It is a cigar that can be lit at any time of the day, as a medium strength smoke its perfect for your afternoon or even as a pre-dinner cigar.

I would recommend it to occasional and assiduous smokers because of its complexity, elegance and balance you will be able to find an easy smoke if you want to and if you concentrate a bit more it will reveal a solid development with many changes.

Not your usual H. Upmann, slightly stronger probably due to the young age of the smoke but the flavors are here and should be increasing and more distinctive over the next few years.

You might be interested in these articles too:

H. Upmann Magnum 54

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02
Feb

19th Habanos FestivalFollow the Inspector’s live diary from Havana.

Latest news, cigar reviews and trends will be shared with you on a daily basis. Don’t miss out and stay tuned…

In a few weeks, 24 days to be precise, many of us will be in Havana attending the 19th Habanos Festival.

I am always very pleased to see the number of participants growing every year to attend the Festival. When looking at the tobacco industry being the target of our governments, with strange laws sometimes, to reduce the cigarette consumption without differentiating the beautiful world of premium cigars. The Festival keeps growing and attracts more and more Habanos lovers, HOURAAA!!!

So far, nothing has been announced for a potential release celebrating the 20th anniversary of Vegas Robaina, I think I know why and I will tell you as soon as I get the confirmation!

From what we know the Gran Reserva release for this year will be the H. Upmann Sir Winston. Habanos S.A. will also present new vitolas increasing the Montecristo selection, with a new range called 1935 (year of creation of Montecristo), and French’s favorite marqua, Quay d’Orsay.

The inspector will be in Cuba during the Festival and will be your reporter sharing all the news and insights in “almost live”, so make sure you check out everyday my diary and as well reviews of all the cigars we will be enjoying.

Coming back to the awaited H. Upmann Sir Winston Gran Reserva, we will post a review of the current production Sir Winston just before flying to Havana and will share the Gran Reserva review from Havana. So let’s see the difference.

Happy Smokes everyone.

You might be interested in these articles too:

It’s That Time of the Year – Final Countdown – 24 days!

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29
Jan

Origin : CubaEl Rey del Mundo
Factory Name : Hermoso No. 4 (Robusto)
Size : 127 x 19.05 mm (5 x 48)
Weight : 14.26 g
Hand-Made
Box year : OCT 2016
Factory Box Code : OMS
Price : $13-£19 each
More info about purchasing El Rey del Mundo cigars…

Background:
Founded in 1882, by the already existing factory Antonio Allones, who decided to launch a new brand for fine cigars.
Without modesty, the brand was named “El Rey del Mundo” which literally means “The King of the World”, specialized in Tripla Larga, Totalmente a mano production (long filler completely handmade), sourcing tobacco grown in the premium Vuelta Abajo zone in the western part of Cuba.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
The Choix Supreme (a pre 1960 release) show a beautiful Colorado claro color with the classic red and yellow El Rey del Mundo Band. The wrapper is of a high quality, modestly veined, well rolled as the cup has been applied perfectly. The cigar is soft and pleasant to touch even if the wrapper does not contain much oil.

Easy to cut, and with a good smooth pre- draw, which confirm the fact that the cigar is well rolled.
Once lit the ash is very compact and solid of a light grey color, allowing to smoke 3cm to 4cm without falling.

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
The pre-draw reveal very little or almost none of the potential of this cigar, just a little feeling of woodiness and a touch of green pepper.

The cigar is very easy to light. The Draw is smooth, does not take much effort to puff and the combustion is constant.

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
During the first third of the cigar we can perceive mainly woodiness, with a hint of spice, a touch of earthiness coming through, and the perception that the cigar is a bit young, as it may need to age more.

The body is light in this first stage, and the flavors lay entirely at the bottom of the palate, vanishing quite quickly and not being very persistent. There are no trace of acidity, just a mild and pleasant bitter aftertaste.

The second third start to get more interesting; the flavors are getting more defined as the strength of the cigar moves from “light” to “light to medium” until the end of the cigar. The burning speed is medium and consistent, allowing the cigar to stay perfectly lit thorough the entire smoke, certainly does not take to many skills to smoke such a cigar. Avoiding you to constantly relight it.
Woody, with pepper and almond notes with that earthiness now persistent as the smok’s density increase and takes more of the palate. We can start to feel some creaminess that was missing at the first part, making feel the cigar much smoother on the palate with a richer structure.

At last, the cigar is at his strength peak, it gets creamier and heartier revealing his flavor at his best, but still burning nicely and smoking evenly also at this stage. The heat increases as we get closer to the end without this burnt overheat feeling, allowing the flavors to linger into the palate with a long finish.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
As we all know cigars are slightly more expensive in the UK than anywhere else due to the market high taxation. However for a habanos of less than £20 the pleasure is here. Flavours, textures aromas are delivering. Considering this cigar can be purchased for less dans $12 on the continent I believe the value for pleasure is rather high.

Overall Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars
The El Rey del Mundo – Choix Supreme is certainly a decent lovely cigar which is possible to get for a fair price.

It is suitable for all kind of smokers, from the regular afionados to the beginners, and is definitely a good cigar to smoke for whoever wants an easy, not to complex with distinctive flavors and aromas. The cigar’s strength will allow you to either enjoy it for a pre diner smoke or a great afternoon one.

It has a great aging potential, and should be stored in the humidor for several years before releasing its full potential.

You might be interested in these articles too:

El Rey Del Mundo – Choix Suprême

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23
Jan

Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach

When you think of Bunnahabhain distillery, you usually think specifically of not peat. So many Islay distilleries specialize in peated whisky that Bunnahabhain is remarkable precisely because it doesn’t. Now and again, however, Bunnahabhain does introduce a peated whisky, and Ceòbanach is a perfect example.

There is no age statement on the bottle, but the word is that Ceòbanach is 10 years old. The name translates to “Smoky Mist.” The goal with Ceòbanach was to create an old-fashioned whisky which might taste similar to what you would find for sale around the turn of the 20th century. Being as the distillery was founded in 1881, this whisky would hearken back to its beginnings.

Despite being a limited edition release, it isn’t that hard to get your hands on Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach. I purchased mine for around £60.

The bottle which Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach comes in is very dark, so it is impossible to see the color of the liquid until you pour it into your glass. It comes out a pale golden color.

On the nose, you pick up smoky peat along with brine and salt—a classic Islay scent. There are also strong notes of tar and a hint of coconut and vanilla. Almost no sweetness comes through. It is a dark and heavy profile, reminiscent of the sea.

On the palate, the flavors are very similar to what I detected through scent alone. The peat is there along with the tar and the lemon. Along with those notes, there is also oak and spices. I no longer really detect any vanilla, and again, there is no sweetness.

I’m not sure if I was surprised to note that Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach isn’t all that “strong” with respect to the peat. On one hand, it is most of what I smelled when I opened the bottle, so I had initially guessed the flavor might be stronger. But on the other hand, this is in line with what Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach usually produces. Since Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach usually steers clear of peat altogether, we should expect them to go easy on it when they do use it. Most of their regular customers are in the market for a break from peat after all.

If you are interested in a peaty whisky that isn’t going to totally overwhelm you, I think that Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach is an excellent choice. It is the classic Islay peat experience, just mellowed out to a level which allows the other flavors to shine through.

Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach : Review Summary

Color: Pale gold.

Nose: Smoky peat, salt, brine, tar, coconut, vanilla.

Palate: Light peat, tar, lemon, oak, spices.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Whisky Review: Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach

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08
Jan

Ramon Allones Club Allones (2015 Limited Edition)

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Grand Corona
Size : 114 x 19 mm (5.3 x 47)
Ring : 47
Released in : 2015
Hand-Made
Price : ~$20 each
More info about purchasing Ramon Allones cigars…

The Ramon Allones Club Allones was released in 2015 as a limited edition by Habanos S.A. I heard a lot of great things about this cigar, so I was excited to give it a try. How did it measure up? Well … honestly it wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. Read on to find out what my experience was like.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
These cigars have oily maduro wrappers which are a deep saturated brown color. And when I say they are oily, I mean very oily. There are more than a few prominent veins—in fact, the appearance of the leaf is kind of “wrinkly.” Whether you see that as a plus or a minus is pretty subjective, but to me it was a visual detractor. The gold band is a nice accent to the overall look of the cigar. I noticed with mine that it felt a bit tightly packed, but I wasn’t all that concerned about it given the great reviews I’d read.

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
Initially, I wasn’t expecting to have any problems with this cigar. In fact, the beginning was very pleasant all around, both in terms of flavors and construction. Draw wasn’t bad, actually. I thought it might be tight given how hard the stogie felt, but it was actually pretty close to ideal.

It was the burn that was the problem. I’m used to having to make a few minor adjustments—that is typical with any cigar. But I had to make multiple major adjustments. Worse, the cigar actually went out, and it did it twice no less. This is far from impressive, especially given the cost of this cigar.

Ramon Allones Club Allones

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
It’s strange; I’ve heard so many other reviewers say that the Ramon Allones Club Allones Limited Edition 2015 has strong and complex flavors, but my experience was far from that.

On the contrary, to me the flavors were mixed and muted. At the very start, they were fairly enjoyable with notes of brown sugar, chocolate, natural tobacco, and lots of fruit. As the smoke progressed, some spicy notes came into play, and the others faded into the backdrop.

The problem was that they never came back—and even the spicy notes seemed muted. Worse, an ammonia flavor started creeping to the foreground, which thoroughly put me off of the Ramon Allones Club Allones. The last third was the worst.

To me it is pretty clear that what is going on here (with the flavors at least) is just that this is a very young cigar. That is why the flavors have not really had time to develop any strength, and that is exactly what is responsible for the ammonia taste as well. It is possible that with age, these flavors will improve. As it is, with the construction issues, I cannot be bothered to find out.

Overall Rating : 3.25 out of 5 stars (3.25)
I hate being hard on a smoke, especially one which I was highly anticipating and which other people seem to like. I have seen mixed reviews for the Ramon Allones Club Allones; some people love it while others hate it. A lot of people seem more forgiving than me, but they didn’t report the construction flaws I experienced. Maybe that was a one-off; I don’t know.

But other reviewers do report the same experience I had with the flavors being too muted and young for their taste. If you do try this cigar, I recommend you wait a few years and give it some time to age. Right now, it is a disappointment for the price tag.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Ramon Allones Club Allones (2015 Limited Edition)

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H. Upmann Magnum 54
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