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19
Mar

DavidoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Petit Panetela
Size : 4 1/8″ x 34 ring gauge (105mm x 13.49mm)
Origin : Dominican Republic
Hand-Finished mid-filler (long & short combination)
Price :P rice : ~ € 4.50 / $ 5.50
More info about purchasing Davidoff Nicaragua cigars…

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

Tasting

The Davidoff Escurio Primeros is a small, spicy, medium-strong cigar with a Brazil theme, offering interesting changes throughout the smoke, tho it is more spicy & leathery than Brasil-sweet, given its Ecuador wrapper over a Brasil Cubra binder and Brasil plus Dominican filler.

For me this is the best of Davidoff’s several Primeros offerings, tho I think it falls short of the Escurio promise to combine both spicy and sweet in its cigars. I love the Bahia Brasil sweet cigar wrappers, and am surprised Davidoff did not choose one of them to cover the spicy Brasil Cubra tobacco – a Cuban-seed Criollo – that forms this cigar’s binder and part of the filler.

A little more sweetness here and this could have been a stunning stick. There is some sweet Bahia Brasil Mata Fina tobacco in the filler but it doesn’t take a strong enough presence here.

The Escurio name means roughly ‘dark Rio’, combining the Portuguese word ‘escuro’ meaning ‘dark’ plus the shortened name of Rio de Janeiro, suggesting a lively night in that fabled city.

Should say a word here about the ‘hand-made’ label here for the Primeros and many other cigars. ‘Hand-finished’ is a more accurate label for these Primeros, the short-filler Habanos Cubans, and many other sticks. Today’s machines can rather nicely bunch even some long-filler tobacco, and place them inside a tobacco binder, with the ‘hand-made’ part being the torcedora applying the cigar wrapper and cap.

With the Primeros, there is both long and short-filler tobacco used to create them. So you not only have a traditional cigar cap you need to cut or punch, you also often have a burning cigar showing a nice pointy ash from its long-filler centre. If the tobaccos are well-chosen, you have a quality experience that can rival a modest (if not exceptional) fully hand-rolled cigar … tho the cigar is not really ‘hand-rolled’ as one might think of it.

Davidoff sells its Primeros in groups of 6 in metal tins, tho sometimes the Davidoff shops have a few out of the tins you can buy individually. The look and feel of the Escurio line is very elegant, and the Ecuadorian Havana seed wrapper chosen for these is a dark blackish one, quite suggestive of the similarly dark Brasil cigar wrappers that I wish Davidoff had used here.

Pre-draw is very spicy, along with some sweet and a sense of leather, the sweet part unfortunately less prominent in the actual smoke. After lighting up, you get an entertaining cycle of changing cigar tastes as the level of spiciness dials up and down. The evolution is very quick and keeps your attention.

As is typical with Davidoff, these sticks are a pleasant and fuss-free draw, the burn even. though slightly to the quick side, with ash holding well on some of these, well over an inch and sometimes with a nice point.

Much of the time spice and pepper is dominant, with the spice palette changing a bit too. Sometimes there is some sophsticated bitterness, as of dry fruit seeds, and there are glimpses of citrus here and there.

There is a certain amount of that characteristic Davidoff toasty flavour, which becomes more prominent in moments when the spice fades. There is also a certain amount of dryness that is a side characteristic of Brasil tobaccos, and overall in this cigar a frequent leathery sense, not too unpleasant but not something I seek.

The strength of the cigar comes and goes a bit too, tho there is an overall build-up, the cigar giving some rewards in terms of quality headiness despite the small size.

The sweetness is often there in a mild hint from the Brasil Mata Fina in the filler, but just not strongly enough for me.

The Escurio Primeros does offer a distinctive spicy and changing experience with a bit of kick from a short smoke, and at its price point it has some merit.

Cigar Review – Davidoff Escurio Primeros

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15
Mar

Format : Julieta No 6 señorita petit panetela
Size : 4 3/4″ x 33 ring gauge (120mm x 13.10mm)
Brand strength : Medium
Hand-Made
Cuba
Price : ~ € 5.00 / $ 6.15
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars…

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

Tasting

The Julieta from Cuba’s storied Romeo y Julieta brand, is the true señorita petite cigar from Habanos, offering good construction, and some changing & at times sweet flavour interest, provided you puff lightly and don’t overheat this cigar’s small frame.

Sold in lipstick-red tin metal boxes of 5, the Julieta was introduced at the beginning of the 2010 decade, a more delicate counterpoint to the several ‘Romeo’ vitolas in the RyJ line-up. It is an elegant and lovely-looking small cigar, the Cuban perhaps most likely to catch a lady’s eye in a varied-stock humidor.

The Julieta turns out to be quite a nice stick to smoke, usually with some special moments of sweetness, along with some of the traditional RyJ rustic, outdoors, heather-and-meadow flavours & scents.

The catch here, tho, is that you really need to hold back on how strongly you puff this one. For most of us usually smoking sticks at least a little thicker, it’s a little too easy to puff more strongly or quickly, unfortunately turning the nice Julieta flavour profile into something harsher.

But it’s a well-made cigar and provides real value for money in a small Cuban. Tends to look very nice with its medium-colour just-oily-enough wrappers, and the Julietas usually burn evenly, with surprisingly fewer draw problems than one would expect from a thin Cuban stick like this, tho they do occur.

Usually a nice pre-draw after punching / cutting, sometimes with appealing coffee & caramel. The first third of the Julietas can be especially engaging, a little sweetness that is greatly pleasing, and some freshness, like a garden after a rain, with an airy, almost ‘menthol’ character.

The second third tends to be more of the traditional Romeo y Julieta flavour profile, garden, farm, heather and hay, tho not so much spice here, and a bit more strength, just fitting Habanos ‘medium’ designation. One thing nice is that these Julietas tend to avoid the overly grassy character that sometimes intrudes on the larger RyJ sticks.

With the final third, one is often rewarded with more of those very special sweet moments, even some cocoa, alternating with the outdoorsy sense, a bit of toastiness added at times. The sweet parts of this stick are delicate and light and briefer, the outdoors heather tends to be longer and fuller. But the cigar tends to stay quite interesting for a Cuban stick in this price range.

One really needs to puff gently throughout. Purging (exhaling thru the cigar) helps if you overheat, but above all a good pause, 45 seconds or a minute, and you can coax the flavour back with an intake that is more of a ‘sip’. The Julieta has refinement but is not as ‘solid’ of a cigar as the Cohiba Exquisitos in the same ring gauge (33 x 126mm) at more than double the price.

You can get some nice flavour in the Julieta, but even as a panetela guy myself, I find myself wishing for a little ‘more’ cigar than this petite one, and I would tend to choose the slightly larger & cheaper Romeo y Julieta Belvederes (39 ring gauge x 125mm) over the Julieta, even tho the Belvederes lacks some of the Julieta’s sweet and refined highlights.

For a couple I know who smoke cigars together sometimes, this RyJ Julieta is ‘her’ Cuban, which the gent ensures is always available in the humidor for her. She also enjoys pointing out that, in the charming Romeo & Juliet graphic on the Habanos red-and-white tin, as you see in the photo, Shakespeare’s lover Romeo is wearing white tights as he romances Juliet on the balcony … a Renaissance male fashion which she says might look good on men again.

Beneluxor

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Cigar Review – Romeo Y Julieta Julieta

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14
Mar

DavidoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Petit Corona
Size : 4 1/2″ x 41 ring gauge (114 mm x 16.27 mm)
Ring Gauge : 41
Origin : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~ € 10.50 / $ 12.80each
More info about purchasing Davidoff Nicaragua cigars…

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

Tasting

The Winston Churchill Petit Corona, is a clear winner of a cigar for Davidoff, with excellent if not so variegated flavour, a great draw, good strength, and an unusual-for-Davidoff slow burn giving good value, one of the most satisfying and well-balanced short coronas out there.

This cigar, subtitled ‘The Artist’ in Davidoff’s Winston Churchill line-up, commemorating how ‘ol’ Winnie’ did landscape painting to relax, is made with an Ecuadorian wrapper, a Mexican binder, and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The blend is a clear hit for Davidoff in taste and aroma.

Kudos to Davidoff for introducing this short corona vitola into several of their lines. A few millimetres longer than the Cuban Minutos cigars, it is a pleasing vitola to the eye and for the impulse to have a short-medium smoke. Short sticks satisfy more in corona thickness, I find, whereas panetelas do better when longer.

Recognising how shorter cigars tend to roll a bit thinner, and longer ones get chubby, Davidoff has a nice habit of labelling their short coronas as 41 ring gauge, and the longer ones as 43, instead of the generic corona 42.

The Winston Churchill Petit Corona wrapper is soft to the touch but has a somewhat rough-hewn look which seems to fit the cigar’s namesake personality, here with a prominent bulging vein near the cigar’s foot. A lovely aroma as the cold cigar is held to the nose, hay and maybe a bit of molasses, a glimpse of how good the taste is going to be.

Pre-draw after punching brings out a bit of leather, tho not there much in the lit cigar’s flavour. Initial draw after lighting is quite delicious, a sense of toasted-grain richness that I don’t really have the words to describe, and that good taste is there throughout nearly all the cigar.

It’s said that the historical Winston Churchill often liked Cuban Romeo y Julietas, and to me this stick gives a better, enhanced version of that somewhat farm-and-nature, vegetal RyJ flavour palette. Here too there is hay and woodiness, but much less grassiness, along with some mild tinge of sweetness. There is a bit of spice at the beginning, and some occasional pepper and spice throughout, but that is the primary variation.

Which points to the cigar’s ‘problem’, in that tho the flavour and aroma are excellent and satisfying, there is a surprising lack of progression, tho the flavour is so good I didn’t care all that much. The first and second thirds were not all that different. The final third began with the toasty flavour fading and a bit of nuttiness coming forward, but then the stick’s habitual flavour returned, along with more spice than earlier.

The flavour is rich and strong enough that a Churchillian dram of fine whisky goes just great with the cigar.

A bit of harshness intruded at points, but a little purging (exhaling thru the cigar) quickly brought the flavour back to full freshness. Ash in the first half was a little flaky, not so pointed or elegant, a minor matter.

The strength of the cigar hit the spot, with increasing headiness in the last half. Davidoff’s website says this cigar is strength level 4 out of 5, but that seems overstated to me …I would say more 3 or 3.5 overall out of 5, or 4 of 6, with a somewhat mild start. Very satisfying in total.

The most striking thing about this cigar as a Davidoff, was the high-quality slow, even burn, like a high quality Cuban, this short stick lasting over a half hour for my slow-puffing self. Davidoff strives mightily to have an easy draw, leading to sticks that often burn too fast … but here the draw and burn are very well balanced, with just enough resistance in the draw, and the cigar lasts as long as you would hope.

Enjoyed the flavour and quality of the cigar so much, I wound up nursing the nub a bit ridiculously, finally saying good-bye with reluctance.
This is such a nice stick I will buy more of these, and I have tried a lot of short coronas. It’s true it’s a number of pesos more than some fine heady Cuban short coronas, like the Minutos from Ramón Allones or Bolivar … but the Winston Churchill is just such a thoroughgoing and fuss-free pleasure I will pull out the extra coins out for it.

Given the place of Winston Churchill (1874-1965) in recent history, and that he is still controversial to some regarding some of his war-time decisions, domestic policies in Britain, and actions in British overseas dominions, some people have questioned naming a cigar line for someone whose career is still a matter of impassioned debate.

But one can look at this as similar to the way that, regardless of politics, people enjoy smoking Cuban stogies, and appreciate the iconic photos of Fidel and Ché smoking their sticks. Ultimately, with Fidel or Ché or Churchill, these were all intensely involved people who were changing the world, but also enjoying a few moments with their cigars, and that is something that transcends the politics of particular individuals who are famous smokers. Winston Churchill and Ché Guevara maybe never had a cigar and a drink together in this life, but perhaps in the next world they are doing just that.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Davidoff Winston Churchill Petit Corona

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21
Feb

Origin : CubaQuai d'Orsay
Format : Petit Robusto
Size : 110 mm x 50
Ring : 50
Hand-Made
Price :~ € 8.00 / $ 9.80-

Draw : 3 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavours : 2 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 3 out of 6 stars
strength : 3 out of 6 stars

The new Quai d’Orsay No 50 Petit Robusto, is an attractive but quite un-even cigar, offering some pleasant patches of Hoyo de Monterrey type light flavour, unfortunately mixed with some dull segments that rather spoil its value for the premium hand-made tariff.

After having been very positively impressed by a box of the new Quai d’Orsay France Exclusive Secreto Cubano small sticks (40 x 110), I was motivated to sample this also new 50 ring gauge petit robusto of identical length from Quai d’Orsay. But I have the feeling they overall rushed to production with something for today’s robusto-centred cigar market, with a little too much insubstantial ‘filler’ to make a really good cigar.

It’s an appealing-looking stick in this length – a vitola shared with the Serie D No 5 Partagás – being I think perhaps perfect for a robusto, neither too stubby, nor too much given the added tobacco in the thicker vitola. The light tan wrapper has a lot of smooth surface that seems carefully selected, suggesting a mild and subtle smoke for which I was prepared, tho I wound up disappointed that at multiple points in the smoke including the beginning, there was just not much flavour there, even of the subtle kind.

Quai d’Orsay is a brand created at the initiative of French government officials back in the 1970s – the Quai d’Orsay in Paris being the physical location of France’s diplomatic service headquarters – with the idea of a marque offering sophistication and delicacy. The Quai d’Orsay classic corona (42 x 142), has long been favoured by some as fulfilling that goal, amidst the Habanos ‘light flavour strength’ brands alongside Hoyo de Monterrey.

At the start of this petit robusto, my initial complaint was that the band was fastened a bit too high – 2cm from the head instead of the usual 2.5cm or one inch. Like many smokers I tend to leave the band on until it is naturally loosened by the cigar heat well into the smoke, but here I unpeeled it quickly. Pre-draw here was a bit too mild and over-subtle, a sign of problems ahead.

Tho I was certainly prepared for a ‘mild and light’ cigar, this stick was overboard in that direction. Accompanied by only some nice French wine as befits the Quai d’Orsay concept, I was disappointed in the first minutes after lighting.
One aspect was that the initial draw was too tight, suprising me given the robusto thickness, tho this is a common experience with the more slender Cubans I usually smoke. A poke with a cigar tool, got things underway, but then the quest for flavour began. I am open to very subtle and gentle flavours, but here at first I really had to dig a bit to feel some sensations.

There were tiny hints of things, but at first the cigar was really without character, and I found myself wishing I had lit up one of my ol’ reliable Cuban short-filler José L. Piedra cheapies instead, not sophisticated but generally delivering some good taste in the modest package.

For the first ten minutes I struggled to find some deeper flavour here, tho I could detect very slight traces of cream and chestnut and woodiness. Later in the first third the flavour finally arrived, and it was good when it came – nice and woody and fairly full, a good bit of spice and some bite upon the tongue, rather like a Hoyo de Monterrey. Even some little bits of fruit taste. Flavours still subtle, but stronger, and very well balanced.

At the start of the middle third, flavour faded away again, and I was a bit too aware of just ‘smoking tobacco’, and I began organising some ice cream dessert to pass the time. Some quality bitter notes began to show up, and then the flavour came back again.

The final third began more strongly, and there were indeed some very fine moments of nuts, wood, cream and honey … but unfortunately this was only part of the time. Flavour faded in and out till it was time to say good-bye.

There was some decent headiness in the cigar from the thickness, tho given the flavour shortages it was not so satisfying. Burn was decently slow, tho given the lack of flavour at points I was wishing for faster progress. White-grey ash held on for more then 3cm at first, tho flat-faced, and it fell off more quickly toward the end. The rolling sense of flavour being there, and then being AWOL, was regrettable. My feeling is that despite the attractive looks, this will not be the shorter robusto people are seeking.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Quai D’Orsay No.50

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14
Feb

Can you believe that it’s already 2018? 2017 sure went by in a flash! Let’s take a look at some of the top stories from the industry this year.

Personnel Changes at Major Cigar Companies

Let’s start by talking about major personnel changes. There were quite a few staff changes at the top of major cigar companies this year.

For starters, in January, Drew Estate’s co-founder Jonathan Drew became the company’s president.

At Davidoff in August, Andreas Schmid and CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard both made their departures while Domenico Scala Beat Hauenstein took over as new chairmen for the company.

Meanwhile, Mark Pursell departed his role as CEO of IPCPR in September. In October, Janelle Rosenfeld left her post as VP of Marketing for Altadis U.S.A. Terence Reilly, National Sales Manager at Quesada, departed his company as well.

That same month, Michael Giannini joined Ventura Cigar Co. as Creative Director. In November, Swisher International selected John Miller as President.

Miscellaneous Industry News

  • We lost several industry greats this year. Gilberto F. Oliva Sr. passed away at age 86 this December, as did José Orlando Padrón at age 91. This March, we also lost Avo Uvezian, who died just two days after his 91st birthday. While we lament the passing of these legendary men, their legacies will live on through their celebrated brands.
  • This year marked the 25th anniversary of Cigar Aficionado, the industry’s most prominent publication.
  • On a related note, Apple Inc. decided this year that it has a beef with cigars. The company decided to remove Cigar Aficionado’s popular Where to Smoke app from the App Store. Apple argued that the app was in violation of its TOS despite the fact that it does not promote or sell specific products.
  • Room101 branched out into spirits in November. The famous cigar brand now has its very own gin label.
  • Hurricane Irma took its toll on cigar companies in Florida in September. Many were forced to temporarily shut down their operations until the storm passed. Nonetheless, the industry was very generous with helping out the broader community in the wake of the storm. Both Tabacalera USA and a boutique cigar company called EPC Cigar Co. donated substantially to relief efforts.
  • A few companies made notable expansions this year. Casa de Montecristo has new locations in Arizona and Florida. Davidoff opened up a brand new Camacho Factory. La Flor Domincana expanded its Tamboril factory in the Dominican Republic.

Cuba

Now that we’ve gone over some general industry news, let’s talk a bit about developments concerning Cuba in 2017. Let me go over the timeline:

  • First, let’s put things in perspective. In 2016, 4 million tourists visited Cuba. The Ministry of Tourism in Cuba reported that was a jump in 13% over the prior year. It was also a record. Many of those travelers came from the USA. After Obama opened up relations with Cuba, there were finally flights scheduled between the US and Cuba on a regular basis again.
  • Early in 2017, a number of airlines decided to either restrict their flights to Cuba or end them altogether. These included American Airlines, Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue, and Silver Airways.
  • In June, Trump announced a new set of limits on trade and travel relations between Cuba and the US.
  • In September, unusual circumstances at the US embassy in Havana resulted in the State Department culling back personnel so that only emergency staff would remain on hand.
  • In November, yet more restrictions were announced by Trump’s administration. You can still transport cigars from Cuba to the United States, but you must “fit into the revised travel categories” in order to do so.

So while the doors are not totally closed, they are moving in that direction. It has once again become challenging to find flights to and from Cuba, and many hotels in Cuba no longer accept US citizens.

On top of that, you can only visit Cuba if you fit into one of the previously mentioned “travel categories.” These include:

  • Family visits
  • Government business
  • Journalism
  • Business-related travel
  • Education
  • Religious travel
  • Public performances
  • Support for the people of Cuba
  • Humanitarian ventures
  • Private foundations
  • Information-related imports and exports
  • Other select exports

So can you still take a flight to Cuba, get off and buy cigars, and return home with them? Sure, but you will need to have a legal excuse for your presence there.

On the Legal Front

The easiest way to go over legal highlights from 2017 is just to review them chronologically as well. Here’s the rundown of major events:

  • April saw the publication of a scientific research study in The New England Journal of Medicine. The FDA provided funding for the study, which demonstrated that kids are not smoking premium cigars. Yes, we all knew this—but the FDA didn’t, so this research is important.
  • Several states raised their legal smoking age to 21 years. This included New Jersey in July, and Maine and Oregon in August.
  • In August, it was announced that the cost of cigars in New York City is set to increase significantly.
  • There was some actual good news in September in the House of Representatives. An act called “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 3354)” would prohibit the FDA from regulating the premium cigar industry. It passed in the House, but still needs to pass in the Senate.
  • In October, International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers, the Cigar Association of America and the Cigar Rights of America all filed motions against the FDA concerning product labeling rules. The FDA filed back on October 24th. On December 15th, the case went to court, and is still awaiting a ruling. The case is titled, Cigar Association of America, et al. v. United States Food and Drug Administration.
  • Also in October, the FDA clarified that free samples of cigars are not completely banned. They simply cannot be given out until a customer purchases a cigar.
  • 29 Republican congressmen submitted a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in December. The letter requested that premium cigars be removed from the FDA’s regulatory sphere. There is also a relevant bill in Congress (Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2017 (H.R. 564) which has garnered 133 bipartisan co-sponsors. It has yet to be passed by either the House or the Senate.

Now you are up-to-date on all the biggest events to shape the cigar industry through 2017. While there have been some losses on the legislative front, particularly with regards to Cuba, the industry overall has been strong. There are a lot of exciting cigar releases awaiting us in 2018, so it should be a great year ahead!

You might be interested in these articles too:

2017 in Review: Cigar Industry Highlights

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