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19
Jun

MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Size : 7“ (178mm) x 47
Format : Julieta No.2
Brand Strength : Medium to Full
Hand-Made
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

Introduction
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.

Overall
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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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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24
Jul

DavidoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Ecuador – Habano Marron Oscuro
Binder : Mexico – Negro San Andres
Filler : Dominican Republic – San Vicente Mejorado Visus / Piloto Seco / Olor Visus
Nicaragua – Esteli Visus / Condega Visus
Hand-Made
Price : ~$17.5 each
More info about purchasing Davidoff Nicaragua cigars…

Davidoff is one of the most famous cigar brands worldwide. The brand was first famous for its Cuba cigars until 1991-1992. Then for their Dominican cigars. But in the past few years we have seen them exploring the world with new complex blend such as this Winston Churchill Late Hour.

Draw : 6 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
strength : 3.5 out of 6 stars

Appearance
One has to admit, Davidoff has done a fantastic marketing job when it comes to the visual aspect of its brand in general. The Winston Churchill line, just like the man itself, has so many different profiles and each well designed.
This new Late Hour band, highlights a deep gold embossing over a black lacquered type of finish band. This colour scheme really express the luxurious time you will spend with this cigar.
The wrapper is maduro from Ecuador. The cigar looks greatly rolled (typical for Davidoff), with a nice feeling to it.

Tasting

1st Part
As expected when is comes to a fine Davidoff cigar, the draw is great and the there are noting to say about it.
Te cigar starts medium, developing an intense caramel flavour profile with a slight spiciness at the beginning that slowly disappears.
As the cigar burns, the ash doesn’t stay long on the cigar and is rather loose. I would expect nice and ling ash to follow this great flavour profile but instead it falls like powder in the ashtray…

2nd Part
Not much development on the second third. You still have this great sweetness being very present. Hints of cocoa and dark coffee are present as well. The Late Hour Robusto doesn’t over heat and this second part gets lighter than the first. The density of smoke is high and the aroma very peasant.

3rd Part
If I had to describe this last third with one word it would be “SWEET”. The sweetness intensity high high however the flavours gets really complex and very enjoyable.
A woodiness appears melted with hints of nuts and roasted coffee. The finish is long and this sweetness lingers on the palate. The cigar is really well balanced in terms of strength and flavours.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour Robusto

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03
Jul


Origin : Cuba

src="http://www.cigarinspector.com/images/brand/romeo-julieta.gif" alt="Romeo y Julieta" width="140" height="97" />
Format : Julieta No.2
Size : 178 X 47
Brand strength : Medium
Hand-Made
Cuba
Price : £17
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 3 out of 6 stars

Tasting

The high score might be due to the sentimental value of this cigar. This is the very first cigar I ever tried & smoked when I started smoking cigars many years ago. I was very hesitant to try it again because i always hear people saying that it’s very mild. And personally i’m not one for mild cigars.
I revisited it a couple of days ago and I have to say it’s not as mild as expected. The nostalgic smooth & creamy smoke came back to me, I now remember why I really enjoyed this cigar.
I get dry cedar flavours as the main notes throughout this cigar. A rich nutty feeling gives this cigar a great character and makes it much interesting than I remembered to be. It may be mild, but boy oh boy it is a delicious stick.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Romeo Y Julieta Churchill

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23
Feb

Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

Origin : CubaRomeo y Julieta
Format : Wide Churchill / Montesco (Robusto)
Size : 5.1 (130 mm) x 55
Release : 2010
Box code : RAE JUN15
Hand-Made
Price : $283 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars…

Recently I had the opportunity to finally sample a branded cigar that is readily available in my market, but typically supplied from different countries in Central America (editor’s note: non-Cuban Romeo y Julietas, some of them are reviewed here). Typically these smokes have been dry, grainy and more akin to puffing on a pile of sawdust than a true fine quality cigar. I am happy to say that the Cuban Romeo y Julieta rose to the occasion and has offered a stout cigar with plenty of taste that should satisfy most any avid Cubano lover and beginner alike. It is a nice smoke at an economical price for a Cuban.

Appearance : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Packed in a moderately brown wrapper, the Wide Churchill gives you the impression that you are about to enjoy a stout cigar, and the product does deliver on that promise. Were this cigar graded on appearances, it would be an upper tier cigar in my book. However, there are some issues with this smoke. Spines were sparse and small and no signs of oiling or blooming.

Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills - Box

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
I found a number of construction problems. The burn was not consistent and most of the cigars I smoked had major burn issues requiring corrections, some successful—some not. Draw was effortless, but the wrapper separated on just about every cigar at the point of clipping. Canoeing and gopher holing was almost a constant, with all cigars having some sort of an issue.

Flavor : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Taste is where this cigar redeems itself. Effortless lighting yields billowing columns of smoke with woody and oftentimes fruity and even melon-like notes. Taste was a very pleasant surprise, with these notes carrying themselves throughout all thirds of the cigar. Aging of this cigar could only amplify what is an already strong flavor package.

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
Simply put, this is a great cigar for the price paid. It gives something to just about everyone at EXTREMELY reasonable cost. A great value for what you pay for.

Overall Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Though not what I would consider a top-tier smoke, this Romeo y Julieta definitely piques my interest in looking to see just what other goodies this company has from Cuban origin. If their more restricted releases can pack the power and taste this cigar did, they might just have something to offer the aficionado in all of us.

Enjoy!!!

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Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

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22
Sep

Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchill

Origin : CubaRomeo y Julieta
Format : Petit Robusto
Size : 102 x 19.84 mm (4 x 50)
Release : 2012
Hand-Made
Price : ~$8 each
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars…

Since the release of the Hoyo Petit Robusto in 2004, the Petit Robusto size has proven a great success for Habanos. Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas (Serie D No. 5 and No. 6) and Trinidad also jumped on the wagon, with similar variations but same characteristics. A short, stout cigar that combines a short smoking time with the coolness and comfort of a larger ring gauge. The response was great, so it was only a matter of time before another brand came up with a petit robusto.

The Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchill, released in 2012, is a classic petit robusto, measuring 4” in length with a 50 ring gauge. Initially available in dress boxes of 25, 3-packs of tubos were to follow in 2013. My Petit Churchill had some time to rest after the long trip from Cuba and I am really looking forward to see what it has to offer.

Appearance-wise the Petit Churchill is almost flawless. The wrapper is smooth and shiny, with a moderate amount of veins and almost no imperfections. The bunch is firm and consistent and the triple cap is rounded and perfectly applied. Strong scents of wild flowers and walnuts emerge from the foot and the wrapper of the cigar and the prelight draw is perfect. Time to light up…

The Petit Churchill kicks off with strong, rich creamy flavours of vanilla, honey and a touch of wood. The body is medium and the flavours are well balanced. Smoking in the first third, the cigar shows a great deal of complexity; flavours of coffee, fruits, leather and dark chocolate are sharp and dominant, with hints of cedar on the background and the slightest touch of ammonia. The burn is good and the cigar produces clouds of smoke. So far so good…

In the second third the cigar settles down. The hints of ammonia have now disappeared, and the Petit Churchill is now sweeter. Honey, vanilla and coffee are the main flavours, with some cedar and earth still in the background. The body is still medium and the cigar draws well. It burns slightly unevenly, which is not a problem so far.

In the last third the body changes to medium to full and the flavours are now sharper again. Bitter chocolate, earth, leather and cedar are now the main flavours, with the sweeter flavours now subsiding. It is not as sweet and complex as in the first two thirds, but still enjoyable nevertheless. The Petit Churchill smokes well until the end, without getting hot or harsh at any stage. With less than an inch left, it is time to put it to sleep.

Overall, a great progression for a cigar of its size. With a bit of age on its back, it will surely refine its flavours more and discard the tiny bit of harshness from the start and the finish. I am a fan already!

Overall Rating : 5 out of 5 stars

Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchill

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19
Jul

Punch Churchill

Origin : CubaPunch
Format : Churchill (Julieta No. 2)
Size : 148 x 19 mm (7 x 47)
Box code : OCT 2005
Discontinued : 2010
Hand-Made
Price : $12+ each
More info about purchasing Punch cigars…

Punch is one of the oldest brands comprising Habanos S.A., founded clear back in 1840 in Havana by Don Manuel Lopez. The brand was created with the European market of cigar buyers in mind, and named for the puppet Mr. Punch from Punch and Judy. This particular cigar, the Punch Churchill, was discontinued in 2010, so the only stogies you can find today have been aged several years. My particular box is from 2005 (4 cigars were smoked for this review). Despite the fact that this cigar has been discontinued, you can still find it for a reasonable price online.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The wrapper is medium brown in color with a nice sheen to it from the oil. There are a few fine veins, and it appears to be packed evenly (dense, but not hard). All in all, a near flawless looking cigar.

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
There are a couple of minor issues with construction. The draw is slightly tight at times, but opens up as you smoke. The burn was sometimes a little off, but required few minor adjustments, and otherwise burned pretty straight. These issues barely registered; otherwise, construction was great.

Flavor : 4 out of 5 stars
I would classify this cigar as medium in strength. It produces plenty of rich aromatic smoke. The flavors themselves are smooth and mild for the most part, and the notes I detect are largely wood and something floral. I may also be picking up something like tea, and later on, a hint of vanilla. There are no major twists or turns; the experience is a consistent one. The cigar is never remotely harsh or bitter.

Value : 4.5 out of 5 stars
While I would normally expect to pay less for a cigar like this one (particularly with the construction issues, as minor as they ultimately were), I cannot complain about the cost at all in light of the fact that these are discontinued. They will become more and more of a rarity as time goes on, so the price may not stay as low as it is.

Punch Churchill

Overall Rating : 4.25 out of 5 stars (4.25)
Construction issues were minor in an otherwise very good cigar. While the Punch Churchill threw no surprises at me, sometimes I like something simple, consistent, and well executed. This cigar will be a real winner for those who enjoy mild, smooth flavors, the ones you’d expect in a classic old-style Cuban cigar (just remember that it is a medium-strength cigar). I recommend picking up a box of these while you can still get them. If you enjoy mild flavors, you will be very happy with your purchase.

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Punch Churchill

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20
Nov

Commercial

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14
Sep

Romeo y Julieta Churchill

Origin : CubaRomeo y Julieta
Format : Churchill
Size : 178 x 18.65 mm
Ring : 47
Hand-Made
Price : ~$19 each in Canada
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars…

The Romeo y Julietta Churchill is as classic as classic gets. It is quite popular amongst occasional and seasoned smokers. A pre-1960 release, it has been in vogue since then. As some of you know, I do not hold the Romeo y Julieta marca in my heart but I was advised by a real hardcore aficionado that the new batches were up to par with the Churchill heyday.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is a smooth looking wrapper with little to no veins showing. The cigar is soft and the wrapper is very pungent. I can smell sweet and tangy tobacco.

Romeo y Julieta Churchill

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
The Churchill has a firm touch and seems to be filled perfectly. The foot is nice and tight without looking over-packed. The triple cap is lying neatly and tightly on the head of this cigar.

It gives me a clean punch cut and a great draw with a slight resistance. In my opinion, this is the best draw one can get.

Flavor : 4 out of 5 stars
There are light aromas of tobacco and citrus at cold.

1st third
This is starting very lightly but it is a treat. The smoke seems to be thin in the mouth but it is very tasty. The smoke is also pungent and sweet smelling. There are a lot of sweet flavors. I can taste honey, caramel and some coffee. The after taste is very clean and short. There aren’t any flavors left in mouth. The caramel flavors are really well defined. I am really enjoying this.

2nd third
The second part is very similar to the first one. It changes slightly and adds some toasted bread flavors. The sweet honey/caramel aroma is turning into a strong defined sweet cherry flavor. That’s pretty unexpected but quite good. There is more smoke and still no aftertaste lingering in the mouth. Past the halfway point, I can feel the nicotine build up. The body is light-medium.

3rd third
The sweetness that I tasted on my lips is now leaving. The Churchill stepped up to medium body and you can feel the power building up. I can’t nub this one as it is giving me a lot of nicotine.

Value : 3.5 out of 5 stars
I think if these were constantly as good as these, they would be worth investing in a few boxes to keep a steady stock of. Their lack of consistency and price point make them of poor value in my eyes. I have limited humidor real estate and these won’t make the cut unless they start being consistent.

Romeo y Julieta Churchill

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars
This particular cigar was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be looking for more new Romeo y Julietta Churchill because they have their place in a regular rotation if they keep this type of quality.

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Romeo y Julieta Churchill

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24
Jul

Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill

Origin : HondurasAlec Bradley
Format : Churchill
Size : 7 x 48
Wrapper : Honduran 2006 Corojo (Maduro)
Filler : Honduran/Nicaraguan blend
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : ~$10-11 each
More info about purchasing Alec Bradley Prensado cigars…

Any cigar enthusiast knows that Cigar Aficionado magazine has become the cigar industry’s standard when it comes to cigars. Cigar smokers and manufacturers alike refer to it as the bible when it comes to the cigar lover’s lifestyle and culture. A high rating in this publication can make your sales soar, while at the same time negative feedback can often leave your cigars collecting dust on the back shelf of the walk-in humidor.

Perhaps no list is as eagerly awaited each year than their list of the year’s best cigars. One cigar gets to be crowned “Cigar of the Year” and, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been making it a point to ensure that I get my hands on the number one so that I can see for myself what the hype is about. On some occasions I had already smoked their top rated cigar while on others I hadn’t. The last cigar to be crowned Cigar Aficionado’s cigar of the year was the Alec Bradley Prensado. Many ‘aficionados’ found this selection surprising/controversial. In fact, I had never paid much attention to this cigar before, having tasted some of Alec Bradley’s other offerings and not being too pleased with them. However, because this cigar won 2011’s cigar of the year, I was compelled to give it a go. I often agree with the magazine’s overall impressions. While I may not think as highly or as lowly as they do in some of their ratings, usually, I can agree on a good smoke or a bad one only disagreeing with the rating itself. Can we really crown something “the best” given that taste is so subjective?

Needless to say, the winning cigar, especially if it is a non-Cuban, can pretty much be assured of selling out their supply in short order. Cuban cigars are different because they cannot be purchased in the United States, one of the biggest markets for the aforementioned publication.

Having set my eyes on the Prensado, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one during my frequent visits to the United States. Thankfully I live a short drive to the border and normally pick up a few non-Cuban cigars when I cross the bridge. Living in Canada, the demand for non-Cuban cigars is not that great but we also have to contend with some hefty tobacco taxes. I was uneasy about spending over $20.00 one of these cigars here in Canada so I waited until one of my trips to the U.S. to pick up a stick.

I picked one up in early February, paying $10.75 for it. Buying them by the box will save on the per-cigar price, a practise that is against the law here in Canada. That is, you cannot offer a discount if you buy the box but instead must pay the actual cigar price multiplied by the number of sticks.

With all that said and out of the way, the other night was a perfect mild evening with little to no humidity and no breeze. It was the perfect outdoor condition to enjoy a cigar, and a Churchill at best given that I would need some time to get through this 7 inch smoke. Therefore, enough rambling… time to dig into the review. Is the reigning champion worthy of the its title?

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
This box-pressed cigar measures 7 inches long with a 48 ring gauge. The cigar is manufactured in Honduras and is composed of both Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. The main feature of this cigar is the lush and well aged (2006) Corojo wrapper grown in the Trojos region of the Honduran Jalapa Valley. The binder is Nicaraguan tobacco and the filler is composed of approximate equal parts of Nicaraguan and Honduran long leaf. The cigar looks rich. It has fabulous eye appeal sporting a beautiful band and a very oily looking Maduro wrapper. It sports a triple cap.

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
As noted, the cigar is box-pressed and comes wrapped in cellophane. The Prensado was firm with a couple of spongy spots near the band. The cap on my sample was slightly crooked. The draw was effortless and, for the most part, every puff of the first half rewarded me with a very thick cloud of smoke. The smoke remained cool as was expected with a 7 inch cigar and the burn was less than impressive. I found myself fighting the burn and I needed to correct it on 3 occasions. The cigar needed to be re-lit twice. If you aren’t puffing this cigar often it will go out on you. The volume of smoke remained consistent for the first half of the cigar with the amount of smoke declining as I approached the band. The draw remained consistent but as I said, it had a tendency to want to go out on me if I did not take frequent draws. The first re-light was required approximately 2 cm above the band and the second one just beneath it. Deductions were given for the very uneven burn and the re-lights.

Flavor : 2 out of 5 stars
This is where I disagree with the aforementioned publication and with many of the reviews I have seen since the crowning.

The pre-light draw gave me a very typical maduro tobacco taste. It had no resistance and provided woodsy and earthy tones. The foot of the cigar had a deep earthy aroma as did the body of the cigar itself.

I toasted the foot and proceeded to light the cigar at which time I was immediately greeted with a very full-bodied spice with exceptional smoke volume. I tasted hints of wood and leather. The spice was strong with a very noticeable, almost distracting “heat”. It was not a typical peppery spice but was a longer lasting heat, best described as cayenne pepper or even a jalapeno spice. The draw had a long finish with the spice overshadowing the leathery, woodsy flavours. I noticed hints of thick cocoa, bitter chocolate and to be quite frank, I was reminded of burnt espresso like when it is simply served too hot causing the coffee to go very bitter. The best way to describe the flavour I got out of the first couple of centimetres was a burnt, unsweetened espresso with hints of wood and thick cocoa. There was certainly a lot going on. The spice remained constant and perhaps was a bit over the top. The burn started to go wavy at approximately 1cm.

The cigar remained very spicy for the first third. The finish remained long. It continued to offer hints of wood and leather especially noticeable in the finish. Hints of bitter espresso remained. The ash was typical of maduro cigars, dark and toasted grey. It remained firm and fell off on its own at approximately 1.5 inches into the cigar. It was at that point that the burn became very uneven. As the first third ended so did the overpowering spice. That is not to say that the spice disappeared but it became less of a distraction.

The cigar mellowed out a bit at the start of the second third at which point the burn needed a correction. Much of the overwhelming spice and bitterness subsided and gave way to milder hints of earth and wood. I started to feel some very faint hints of salt on my lips at this point. No longer was the spice lingering at the back of my throat.
At the halfway mark the volume of cigar smoke declined. The burn got away from me again and required its second correction. I was not getting the harsh bitterness anymore and the intensity of the spice subsided to a palatable level. Hints of musty wood with tobacco and roasted coffee emerged. The overall intensity of the flavour declined noticeably.

Past the halfway mark the flavours became much more muted and the burn again started to waver. I could start to feel the nicotine at this point and the spice became more like a cracked pepper heat. The smoke volume decreased and the bitterness was replaced with a more palatable sweetness. I picked up hints of cocoa and slight citrus with some coffee tones that were balanced by mild saltiness on the lips.

During the final third of the cigar there was much less spice/pepper. The cigar became much smoother and sweeter/creamier. The harsh bitterness disappeared and I was starting to taste hints of sweet chocolate and thick coffee. The cigar needed to be re-lit just before removing the band and again just past it. It wants to be smoked and long pauses will cause the cigar to go out. The volume of smoke noticeably dimished in the last 2 inches. The ash became flaky following the halfway mark falling off more frequently, perhaps every cm or two, perhaps because of the uneven burn.

The cigar started off as a very full-bodied cigar ending more medium-bodied. It was a medium/strong strength. The cigar flavours were very complex. However, complexity is only a good thing if the flavours accompanying that complexity are pleasing. Unfortunately, I found that for the most part they weren’t. The cigar did not become really enjoyable for me until long after the halfway mark of the cigar and that is just too long for me to wait for the cigar to balance out. I can’t imagine having to wait 5 inches into a 7 inch cigar to finally experience balanced flavours. If I was not intending to review it I would probably have put the cigar to rest much earlier. Most of the time I was fighting the burn and battling bitterness and harsh spice. The predominant flavour was that of a woodsy/earthy cigar. I do love peppery cigars but this spice was just overwhelming, like someone sprinkled cayenne pepper into the cigar. It offered short hints of lush cocoa at the start but these were very short lived. The lush cocoa and coffee sweetness that I normally get from maduro cigars re-emerged later on into the smoke but simply took too long to develop. The cigar lasted almost an hour and 45 minutes with the last 2 inches becoming difficult to draw and stay lit.

Value : 3.5 out of 5 stars
$10.70 for the cigar of the year (cheaper if bought by the box in the U.S.) and for a 7 inch smoke lasting 15 minutes shy of 2 hours is amazing value. If you enjoy the cigar then the cost of the cigar is not an issue. It offers exceptional value for such a long lasting smoke. However, I did not particularly enjoy the cigar and will not be buying another. I find it hard to rate value because much of what I deem to be of value must be accompanied by a reason or desire to spend the money to begin with. As I did not enjoy the cigar I cannot honestly say that it has any value for me. However, on a general level, I must admit that this 7 inch Churchill is priced right for those that enjoy it. It certainly won’t bust your wallet unless you are buying it in an unfriendly tobacco tax market like Canada.

Overall Rating : 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t agree with the Cigar Aficionado tasters/rating. I can think of many more cigars that I found exceptionally more appealing than this one. I think their tasters were being somewhat generous. Maybe they tasted something I didn’t or perhaps I had a bad sample. This is not the first time that the number one cigar caused controversy in the smoking world. I am not going to like this cigar simply because a publication thought it was the best of the year. Too many people simply follow the leader and play along in that regard, having their initial impressions swayed by the knowledge that they are smoking the cigar of the year.

I don’t think I recall seeing reviews of this cigar before the rating was released but since being crowned the best of 2011 I’ve seen many which is why I couldn’t wait to taste it for myself. I am often left wondering if people like the cigar because of its crown or if they actually find the smoke pleasing.

Much of my positive rating for this cigar was based on appearance. The cigar really looked sexy and I really wanted this cigar to be better. I absolutely loved its appearance. The photograph was taken by me and the cigar in the photograph is the actual cigar I smoked. I really wanted for its taste to match its looks. Unfortunately it failed miserably in the only area that counts: taste. This goes to show that beauty is truly only skin (wrapper) deep.

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Alec Bradley Prensado Churchill

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