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21
May

Origin : CubaLa Gloria Cubana
Format : 109
Size : 50 x 184 (7.2″)
Ring : 49
Pre Release
Hand-Made
Price : $NA
More info about purchasing Gloria Cubana cigars…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 4 out of 6 stars

Introduction

We got very lucky to have the chance to review the new Gloria Cubana Orgullosos which will be the upcoming Swiss Regional Edition. In the last years we have seen Intertabak, the Swiss distributor for Habanos S.A, adding to their normal box release a collector humidor. We can’t wait to see what sort of beautiful piece of art they will release to highlight this amazing size.
As you can see on the picture, the cigar wears one band only as it is just a pre release tasting. I am sure the blend will evolve but the main idea is already present. The cigar will come out with red and grey double band indicating “Exclusio Suiza”, as we all know.

Tasting

At the very beginning, the cigar shows a great draw. Which is very important for such a long cigar to avoid puffing too hard and feeling dizzy towards the end of the smoke.
the burn is straight away very good. Some pre release are still very moist and can burn slowly this one feels like it has been sat in the warehouse for few months as it burns really well at the beginning.

The Gloria Cubana Orgullosos starts light and smooth becomes stronger very quickly. It develops the same dry feeling as the britanicas tasted few weeks ago (read the review here).

On the palate the flavours are not lingering much, I would say a medium finish but rather enjoyable as you do not wish the dry freshness to stay too long on the palate. Lots of woodiness, sweetness and dried fruit notes appears all of a sudden at the end of the first third. The whole melting in the palate reminds you of the finish of a cognac.

Beautiful grey ash is forming.

The second part Strat a bit bitter but not harsh. You would expect this notes of ammonia and bitterness from a fresh cigar.
The second part, for some reason is slightly harder to draw and the density of smoke if lower. I guess it is the accumulation of the first part and the cigar still being moist. However it increases slowly. The palate feeling is very dry with a nutty finish.
That leathery texture (signature of great La Gloria Cubana) appears slowly at the end of the second third. The development is slow but enjoyable the cigar isn’t boring, many changes al throughout the smoke.

The Orgullosos gets very strong half way. Very young with high acidity level.

Some amazing Vanilla, dark coco bean and creamy texture appears. I never felt this in a cigar as far as I can remember. It’s like an exposition of Vanilla notes all of a sudden. Really unexpected.

This vanilla flavours turns into aroma. Like you would try to burn fresh green sticks of newly harvested Vanilla.
I just love long cigar they have another rythmn, when there is a development it is a true journey. Some areas can be less exciting than another but during an hour and a half you could potentially experience few different cigars in one.

At the end I put the lighter in front of the cigar and blow in it. This is something you must try. Since I do it with long cigars I never have these notes of residue being accumulated. It feels that you have a brand new smoke to finish the last 20 minutes.

We stay on the sweet aromatic palate. With a creamy structure, dark chocolate notes, hints of caramel.

For a pre release I am a bit speechless. The cigar started dry and fresh which was normal. But this end isn’t a young cigar. No more dry feeling . all about the intensity of aromas and flavours. Still some bitterness at the back of the tongue but nothing very shocking as the vamilla takes over.

Cigar Review – La Gloria Cubana Orgullosos Swiss Regional Edition

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01
May

Origin : CubaLa Gloria Cubana
Format : Británicas Extra
Size : 5 3/8” (137mm
Ring : 48
Pre Release
Hand-Made
Price : $NA
More info about purchasing Gloria Cubana cigars…

Draw : 3 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 4 out of 6 stars

Introduction

The UK market has always been a historical cigar destination. Its distributor, Hunters And Frankau, constantly fight for the cigar smokers rights. When it comes to regional edition they have always designed great vitolas. The last Regional Edition in the UK was the fantastic Juan Lopez Selection Superba. This was the 2016 release. There the La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra is theoretically their 2017 release which should come out soon (2018).
In 2013 they have released the wonderful Bolivar Britanicas Extra which quickly became a collector item but more importantly a great cigar. I guess the success of this previous release convinced Hunters and Frankau on using the same vitola for this La Gloria Cubana.

Tasting

I really love this shape. So elegant visually and really enjoy smoking on a medium ring gauge cigar.
As I cut the cigar and tried the pre draw I noticed it was a bit tight. Not plugged but tight pre draw.
The first few puffs confirmed the pre draw. Not much smoke coming out of the cigar at the beginning. Slowly increasing and expressing a very sweet flavour and leathery texture.
The strength is medium to full, quite punchy to start. The finish is very dry but the flavours are developing really well. A big contrast between the flavours and the finish but of course this is to take with pinch of salt as this Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra is not released yet and will be release to the market with a bit of ageing. This will soften the blend hopefully.
As the cigar is a bit tight the amount of smoke is low.
The second part soften already, very smooth and soft on the palate. No acidity so the finish is not that long and the dry feeling from the beginning is almost gone. The leathery texture is present and flavours reminding me of salty caramels are developing. I really enjoy this salty feel on the tip of the tongue. You feel a big potential but as he cigar is young the flavours aren’t expressing themselves fully. The great hints being given during this tasting already gives me the envy to smoke that cigar again next year to see the development.
To finish off, not much development, shame the cigar was a bit tight as the flavours were slow to open and sometimes too subtle to be fully appreciated. On the other hand the cigar burnt perfectly well all throughout the smoke.

Overall I enjoyed the Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra but was frustrated it was too tight. Can’t wait to light another one soon and will review it as well to see if it changes.

Cigar Review – La Gloria Cubana Britanicas Extra (UK Regional Edition)

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27
Oct

Origin : Dominican Rep & Nicaragua
Format : Pyramide
Size : 50 x 5,5″
Hand-Made
Price : ~Euro12+ each

Limited to 650 boxes, with 15 Cigars in each box.

Tasting

Location: This review was made indoors in a cigar lounge.

Wrapper: Milk chocolate in colour, smooth and oily but with a slight rough texture of the veins.

Construction: Firm even feel.

Cold draw: Hay and gingerbread.

1st third:
Milk chocolate, medium roasted coffee, pencil wood. It’s like a sweet mild piece of wood, just resting in the mouth. It’s so friendly, innocent and enjoyable.

2nd third:
A slight peppery sting in the middle of the tounge. The flavours keeps steady from previous part.
It’s like a wooden straw dipped in a cup of Wiener Melange. Very interesting, so creamy and smooth.

The burn: Burns steady, sharp and the ash is white and firm.

Smoke: Voluminous, light to the touch and cool.

3rd third:
A little sting of the pepper on the lips, but still very enjoyable as before.

Conclusion:
This is one of my absolute favourite smokes of all time. So suave, creamy and perfect. This is ranked highly in my book. Unique flavours, you don’t need a coffee to make it any better it’s perfect as it is.

Result: In my book this is a 97 point cigar. Because for me this is not found anywhere else. Unique.

/Cigarmaster André

Cigar Review – Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato Limited Edition 2017

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26
Oct

Origin : Cuba
Format : Canonazo DobleCohiba
Size : 154mm x 21.4mm | 6″ x 54
Released : 2017 Limited edition
Hand-Made
Price : $40+
More info about purchasing Cohiba cigars…

Draw : 5.5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 4.5 out of 6 stars

I was very fortunate to crack one box of the awaited Habanos 2017 Limited edition: the Cohiba Talisman.
We have seen many of these cigars on the different social medias even though the launch event is on the 8th of November in London. Hunters and Frankau, the UK distributor of Habanos, got the opportunity to organise the official launch. That said we should all get worried about any Talisman around on the grey markets.
If I decided to write a review about this unofficial release, it is because I am 100% sure about the provenance of the box and we were few from the industry around the table to have the chance to taste it.

Tasting

The Cohiba Talisman comes in a varnished slid lid box of 10 cigars. One thing which is interesting to notice on the box is the stamp on the back of the box. We are all used to see the “hecho a Mano” and the factory code being placed in the middle of the back of the box. Because of all the new health warning taking more and more space on the boxes, the stamps are now located on the bottom so even the biggest health warning should not be covering these precious information.
The Cohiba Talisman is the very first limited edition being produced in the mythical factory of El Laguito.
This said, the construction of all the cigars from our box was impressive. The way it should be. Packed of tobacco with a very nice pre draw.

First Third

The first puff strikes me with the amount of smoke it develops and the the great draw. The flavours are fresh and vegetal and the aroma incredible, reminding me of a young cedar wood you would burn.
The burn remains perfectly constant all the way. The intensity of the blend is taking over the palate with a nice acidity and a long finish.
Towards the end of this first third a lot of nutty style sweetness develops. Very much a Chiba like flavours already. A slight bitterness appears.

Second Third
There is nothing to be mentioned regarding the construction. The draw and the burn are close to perfection. A great pyramid appears when you tap the long standing grey ash.
The flavours are very nutty and earthy. High intensity of in the blend like before. It doesn’t increase, the bend is well balanced in strength.
A nice grassy finish takes over the palate and still this wonderful aroma is very pleasant.
The flavours are really opening and I could not believe the sweetness the cigar developed… This is not what I was expecting for a fresh cigar. Already great to smoke. Strength is medium to full and the flavours are complex expressing many different version of the cigar.

Final Third
Very big development from the fresh vegetal beginning to the marzipan long finish in the palate. I was far away from expecting such a delicious cigar already. A true cohiba which reminded me why we love this brand so much even though the price point is very high.

That said a new question comes to my mind. If it is already that delicious, how will it age?

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Cohiba Talisman 2017 Limited Edition

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13
May

Origin : CubaTrinidad
Format : Topes
Size : 125 x 56
Hand-Made
Price : ~$22 each
More info about purchasing Trinidad cigars…

Draw : 4 out of 6 stars
Burn : 3 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 3.5 out of 6 stars

Overall : 3.8 out of 6 stars (3.8)

Introduction
Trinidad has always been one of my all-time favourite cigar. Just thinking of the old band fundadores (El Laguito factory production from 1998 to 2003) gives me goose bumps.
The story sets the creation of the brand in 1969 as a different blend used for diplomatic purposes. Only in 1998 a current production Trinidad was release to the public. This production was set in El Laguito (Cohiba factory), for the famous long and thin habanos: Fundadores. In 2003, the brand moved out from its mother factory to the province to grow the production.
Trinidad is known for very smooth and elegant blend with a slow and balanced development mainly characterized by its creamy texture.

Appearance : 4 out of 6 stars
The Trinidad Topes, Like all the limited edition cigars, wears a dark Maduro wrapper. The oiliness and silkiness of the leaf isn’t the finest one. However, considering the wrapper shortage from the mother land of cigars I am satisfied with the look and feel of the Topes. Let’s not forget the wrapper does not have an influence on the blend and is purely an aesthetic leaf.

Construction : 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Trinidad topes has a very consistent pressure all the way. The cigar doesn’t feel under filled or plugged whatsoever.
I did a straight cut on it and very shallow. On the pre-draw I could understand the construction was very well but the air flow seemed too easy to my taste.
When lit the cigar started fine with a dense and heavy smoke. However, the burn wasn’t consistent and I had to adjust the burn few time with my lighter. The ash therefore kept feel a bit apart during the second part of the cigar.
The lack of resistance didn’t allow an easy draw as I had to make effort to get the amount of smoke desired. Therefore, I smoked the Trinidad topes in 45mn when I usually take one hour for a Trinidad Vigia.

Tasting
For the first centimetre, I could clearly notify this was a young cigar. The factory code is “TOS’ and the date stamp is “DIC16”, December 2016.
The taste of fresh ammoniac was a bit to present during the first 5-10minutes for my taste and combined with an unusual sweetness did not please me.
Very quickly the flavour profile changed. The strength remained medium from the beginning to the end with a high intensity of coconut notes. Very surprising for a Trinidad. The aroma is incredible. Reminding me of fresh coffee beans.
I was expecting more complexity and changes due to the young age of the Topes however the evolution was smooth.
The last third expressed texture closer and closer to the creaminess, that made the brand so famous. Also, there is an explosion of coffee notes melted with this interesting sweetness reminding of coconut. It is very hard for me to fully understand the blend as I am not used to this flavour profile for a Trinidad.
That last part of a cigar always has my full attention. This is when we can observe how balanced is the blend. If it starts to overheat very quickly or not and if the accumulation of tobacco increases the strength. In this case the strength, as previously stated, remains medium. The accumulation of tobacco allows the draw to be more resistant, which is very enjoyable. The flavour profile remains constant and balanced highlighted a sweet blend with sometimes a bit of bitterness and acidity which is normal for such a young cigar.

Overall Rating : 3.8 out of 5 stars
The Trinidad Topes is clearly a different Trinidad experience. Unusual sweetness profile with a low smoke density and soft texture on the palate.
A pleasant cigar but probably not what I was expecting. It is amazing to see how new release cigars are already peasant to smoke after few month considering in the 90s we would never smoke a new release before 3 years of age as the cigars were too harsh. I strongly believe the cigar will evolve with time and in a short period of time. I wonder how these new soft blends will age in the next 10 to 20 years. Let’s stock up and we will see.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Trinidad Topes (2016 Limited Edition)

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04
May

MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Size : 48 x 167 mm
Brand Strength : Medium to Full
Box Year : 2016
Hand-Made
Price : €25.5
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars…

The Dantes was named after Edmundo Dantes, the lead character of Alexandre Dumas 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo which proved to be the inspiration for the name of the brand back in the 1930’s when the novel was read to and enjoyed by the torcedors of the day as they hand crafted their masterpieces, a practice still in vogue today. 
It is the first and only Hermoso N1 Vitola in the all Montecristo selection.
Specially selected tobacco leaves grown in the Vuelta Abajo zone which are all then aged for a minimum of two years have been used to create this beautiful stick.

Overall : 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
At first look the Dantes shows a stunning dark wrapper very elegant, uniform color without a single spot. Double bended with the classic Montecristo band, and an additional black and gold 2016 limited edition one. There are few veins but nothing that compromise the beautiful looking of the stick. On the finger is very silky and quite oily, luckily I have got a nice, soft and velvety stick of and even and uniform moisture.

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars

The cigar is well rolled, the cup old the stick tightly and is perfectly applied and come off very easily with a perfect cut, merit of the high quality leafs used to construct this beauty. The pre-draw is great and we can already feel the Montecristo nature with that hearty and woody flavor so present even if the tobacco is not burning yet. The hash is solid and of a dark grey with garnet rims due to the high presence of oils in the 2 years extra aged wrapper.

Flavor : 3 out of 5 stars
Once lit the Dantes is already an explosion of flavors. As I expected reveals a lot of heartiness, spices and cedar wood, the stick is of a medium strength at this stage and the smoke, that fill up the entire palate is of a very pleasant temperature, which deliver a bomb of flavors to my senses. Very subtle and gentle sweetness integrated in a nice and creamy texture. As I go further I get tested nuts, and coffee flavor with an hint of leafiness and kind of herbaceous flavor sign of youth, but also of aging potential, however does not interfere to much with the overall quality of the smoke, the strength has moved a little further and the flavor profile as all the rest of the elements remain constant and uniform. Going through the stick it required me some smoking skill to keep it lit and even at all time, and in more than one occasion I has to use the lighter. The last part as usual is the most intense, the smoke has become warmer and the strength that since the second third has increased to medium to full, give me a proper flavor journey in true Montecristo style, plenty of hearty flavors alongside spices wood and coffee with a nice complexity. That certainly was a great smoke!

Overall Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this smoke, the cigar was pleasant throughout the entire smoke showing complexity of flavors and good quality leaves. Beside the fact that the stick is quite oily yet and need to be relighted sometimes was however a very nice experience. Price is fear in my opinion considering that is a limited edition and shows and deliver great quality. I truly believe that this cigar can improve with a little bit of age, even if is quite difficult to resist the temptation.

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Cigar Review – Montecristo Dantes 2016 Limited Edition

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24
Apr

Origin : CubaEl Rey del Mundo
Format : Montesco
Size : 130 mm x 55
Ring : 55
Hand-Made
Brand Strength : Medium
Price :€17.7-
More info about purchasing El Rey del Mundo cigars…

NEW
6 categories review

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
Construction : 5 out of 6 stars
Consistency : 4 out of 6 stars

Overall Quality : 4.5 out of 6 stars

El Rey Del Mundo , translated the king of the world, was created in 1882 with a very modest vision. Since then, the marca has produced some of the finest habanos on the market.
Easily recognisable by its creamy texture, El Rey Del Mundo tends to develop very elegant blend with a massive ageing potential.
Lately it has been hard to find this brand on our shelves and the Medaille d’or No.2 or No.4 are just stunning smoke that I would die for.

Cubacigar, the Benelux distributor for Habanos, is about to release a cigar exclusively made for Belgium and Luxembourg. Despite their small territory surface, these two countries are important Cuban Cigars market. Especially Belgium, counting some 7 or more internationally known cigar shop including few franchises of La Cash Del Habanos. For such countries the brand for their 2017 regional edition was perfectly chosen.

The cigar will come in 6000 numbered boxes of 10 cigars. Cubacigar has chosen a very trendy vitola, the Montesco! With 130mm of Length and 55 ring gauge. This vitola is being seen on many regional editions lately and was originally made for the world known Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
As you may have realised, I love Claro to Colorado Claro wrappers. The El Rey Del Mundo CHoix du Roi, translated the “King’s choice’, wears a perfectly smooth light coloured wrapper. Its feeling is very soft but not that oily. Few veins are visible on the picture however nothing was shocking while holding it and no veins were popping up.

Construction : 4 out of 6 stars
Life is not like a box of Belgian chocolate, life is like a box of Cuban cigars, you never know what you will get inside! And thanks god the one chosen seemed perfectly fine. Ferm but not hard as a rock. A feeling of a perfectly tight and packed of tobacco cigar from the head to the foot.
However, half way through the cigar a slight crack appeared and the wrapper got damage. As you may know, Cuba is struggling lately with harvesting high quality and strong wrappers. Sadly this type of crack happens often on recent releases. Luckily not affecting the blend nor the smoke as I didn’t event have to adjust the cigar by burning a side or another. This shows that the cigar was perfectly rolled but with a weak wrapper and binder.

Flavor : 4 out of 6 stars
The first few puff develop an intense creaminess. It was actually positively surprising to me as I wasn’t expected such a smooth and elegant flavour straight from the beginning as the cigar is so young
The draw is excellent, the aroma coming out of the cigar is so rich and intense that it takes up the whole space with a phenomenal cuban cigar fragrance. Pleasing all your senses.
The El Rey Del Mundo Choix du Roi is starting very light and its flavours aren’t lingering much on the palate which makes is very easy to enjoy.

The burn is constant and doesn’t require any effort to keep the cigar lit. As you can see on the first picture, I was smoking it with my morning coffee and could easily leave the cigar on the ashtray for few minutes, it would stay lit for long.

Half way through it started cracking but luckily it was minor (and sadly usual) therefore it did not affect the smoke draws and flavours.
The second third started getting a bit stronger and slightly loosing its great creaminess for some cedar wood notes turning into woodiness and earthiness. Some may not like it I was actually intrigued by the strong turn of flavour.

The ammonia due to the youthfulness of the cigar starts to appear in the last third and overtakes sadly the beautiful flavours complexity that was built until this point.

I let it cool down a bit not to overheat it and the flavours can really express themselves again. The typical brand flavour profile comes back, creaminess with fresh vanilla aromas!

Towards the very end of the smoke, a slight sweetness shows up before the youthfulness of the cigar gives us its last notes of slight ammonia and medium strength cigar.

Overall Rating : 4.5 out of 6 stars
I love elegant bland and old school brands. Very pleased to see an El Rey Del Mundo in that format. Sceptical about the balance of the blend on the paper however, the cigar was very balanced all the way. Of course it showed few signs of youth and freshness, however nothing that would bother me and overtake the whole blend. Give it few years and this will be a beast of a smoke creamy all the way!
Bravo Cubacigar!

You might be interested in these articles too:

El Rey Del Mundo Choix Du Roi – Regional Edition Belgium & Luxembourg

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20
Mar

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Montesco
Size : 130 mm x 55
Ring : 55
Hand-Made
Price : CHF27-
More info about purchasing Sancho Panza cigars…

Sancho Panza appeared on a cigar in 1848. The brand takes it name from the novel of Miguel Cervantes: Don Quixote.

The marca develops intense medium strength cigars with a high ageing potential. If you have the chance to enjoy a Sancho Panza Sancho from the late 90s they are pure pleasure and they are still around on the market.

I was invited by Intertabak, the Swiss distributor for Habanos S.A., when in Cuba to pre taste the new Swiss Regional edition.

Since 2005, Habanos S.A. decided to develop a new marketing concept called the Regional Edition Series. Each market exclusive distributor has the right to work closely with Habanos to develop a cigar exclusively for their region market. This cigar must be coming from a local or multi-local brand (the 10 Major brands are therefore excluded from the concept such as Cohiba, Montecristo, Trinidad etc…) and its vitola must be a current production one but not used within the brand range. In this case the Montesco format is a very trendy format used for the Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill but not part of the official Sancho Panza selection. Nowadays, Habanos has set the minimum cigar order for this concept at 60 000 sticks (6000 numbered boxes of 10 cigars).

Appearance : 5 out of 5 stars
Every regional edition series cigars wear a double red and grey band indicating the market for which it has been produced. However this tasting of the Sancho Panza Valientes is part of the samples and do not have its final dress.
The wrapper leave is impeccable, soft as silk. Great feeling throughout the cigar. One more beautiful colorado claro which is to me the most elegant colour for wrapper.
Very little veins disturbing the visual.

Construction : 5 out of 5 stars
Just the way a cigar should be rolled. Packed of tobacco all the way with a nice smooth draw. Not too easy to draw like many under-filed cigars, just the right resistance. The burn was completely even all the way with a solid grey ash that could make people smoking long ashes very happy.

Flavor : 4 out of 5 stars
As previously mentioned the Sancho Panza Valientes is a freshly rolled cigar straight out of the factory.
The first third was very surprising. Round and smooth texture on the palate with a nice fresh feeling reminding of liquorice and mint. It starts off light to medium strength without any aggressive notes. The liquorice notes give a touch of sweetness on the lips. The acidity level of this “freshly rolled” Sancho Panza is surprisingly low. The flavours are rather short on the palate but the texture is so round that it makes the cigar very easy to enjoy.

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The middle of the second part of cigar sees an increase of sweetness with sugar cane notes reminding of the caramel crust on top of a creme brûlée (and I am not a pastry chef). The cigar increases as well in intensity and is more medium to full than medium as it should be.
Some vegetal and aromatic notes combined with a slight saltiness makes the Valientes very interesting.

Towards the end the strength goes a bit down and the fluctuation of strength is probably due to the fact that the blend isn’t fixed yet and each leaves still needs some times to blend between each other and not ‘clash’ with each other. The final flavour feeling is very woody with a long finish on the palate.

Value : 3 out of 5 stars
We are expecting the Sancho Panza Valientes to cost CHF25- in Switzerland. It may look like a high price for a cigar of less than an hour, especially when its brother the Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill cost 16CHF-, and compared to previous year’s Swiss releases. However if the rest of the production is as promising as the few I have smoked we are all expecting another massive success from the Swiss distributor!

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars
What a great surprise! I am not a big fan of current production Sancho Panza and the only ones I smoke are the vintage gran coronas. I cannot wait to get myself few boxes to put on the side as I strongly believe this will be a big boy (and girls of course) toy! Wait and see…

You might be interested in these articles too:

Review Sancho Panza Valientes – 2017 Swiss Regional Edition

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27
Feb

Saint Luis Rey Marquez

Origin : Cuba
Saint Luis ReyFormat : Robusto Extra / Geniales
Size : 150 mm (5 7/8) x 54
Box code : SGA OCT 16
Hand-Made
Price : 15 CUC each in Cuba
More info about purchasing Saint Luis Rey cigars…

I was fortunate enough to smoke few of the Marquez already but never in Cuba. Just landed and I got welcomed with one of them. To be fully honest the first two I smoked were powerful and heavy. But as they say: “every cigars taste different in Cuba” and you will see.

I believe the choice of Saint Luis Rey is a great move from Habanos S.A. to revive the slowly dying brand that tends to disappear from our Shelves. 7500 numbered boxes of 10 in today’s very trendy vitola.

Appearance : 5 out of 5 stars
The wrapper of the Marquez really pleases me. I am very old school in my choice of cigars and tend to find the light colored wrappers more elegant and subtle. This claro wrapper has a great texture and feeling, extremely smooth and pleases my eyes. Everything you would expect from a high quality wrapper leaf from Cuba.

Saint Luis Rey Marquez

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
Out of the three I have smoked this one is the tightest one. The draw requires some energy and makes it slightly complex to smoke. The burn is therefore extremely slow but strangely enough developing a large amount of smoke and stays lit for long.

I always say, life isn’t like a box of chocolate but more like a box of Cuban cigars: you never know what draw you will get. Sadly this one gives some resistance. The first two SLR Marquez I had were totally fine with an incredible construction.

Flavor : 3 out of 5 stars
The first third of the cigar is extremely complex and every puff is a new experience. The strength varies from medium to full with some very powerful areas. As explained before the draw is tight and requires some effort. The complexity of strength is reflected in the complexity of flavors and aromas. And this is clearly an unusual first third to me, but I enjoyed its complexity a lot. From strong freshness feeling of bitterness to very harmonious vegetal notes and a dark and intense coffee finish this start of the smoke is… interesting.

Talking about the second third of the cigar reminds me of the lesson I had recently by one of the world’s best sommeliers. It was about the fact that the acidity level of a wine doesn’t influence the sweetness of it. Some very sweet wines, like in Alsace or Germany, have an extremely high acidity level but they are true sweet wines. The acidity will create a mouthwatering effect generating a lot of saliva and will therefore enhance the flavor and the highest the acidity is, the longer the flavors will linger in the palate as the saliva brings them back to the palate. Long story short, the acidity level of the Marquez is very high and its finish is extremely long leaving a strong vegetal and fresh feeling on the palate that is very enjoyable.

The aroma of the smoke is a true delight. From far away you would recognize this smell as a high quality Cuban, the notes of roasted almonds and hazelnut in the air is truly magic!!!!

As we get closer to the end the draw gets way better and makes the cigar more enjoyable with less effort to puff. The burn is still consistent and the density of smoke remains high. Not surprised with the inconsistency of strength, that happens a lot with new Cuban cigars. Navigating from full bodied to medium to full requires a control of the draw not to feel overwhelmed.

However the flavors are completely different than the middle of the smoke as the cigar turned into a pure dark chocolate bar. The acidity is still very high, combined with the strength of the cigar is because a very masculine and “heavy weight boxer” smoke with lots of character.

As the draw was resistant it took me an hour and twenty minutes to smoke to big ring gauge cigar but the other ones I smoke took me a bit more than an hour.

Saint Luis Rey Marquez

Value : 4 out of 5 stars
You may be able to get it in Cuba if you are traveling there and therefore its value is great as I strongly believe that all this complexity is hiding a phenomenal smoke in few years. It is already smoking very well if you like “muscled cigars” that constantly changes.

I believe few shops in Europe have them for a fairly reasonable price especially for the size and the smoking time.

Overall Rating : 3 out of 5 stars
The Saint Luis Rey – Marquez will definitely bring back the Marca into my humidor as I like powerful smokes with complexity. You never get bored which is to me very important with a big cigar. It can be a bit too complex for some people. The high acidity and the strength of the cigar may overwhelm you if you are not used to fresh cigars but it is a great experience. And let’s be honest, when was the last Saint Luis Rey cigar you smoked? Mine was a vintage Lonsdale found in a small cigar shop of Covent Garden few years ago.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Saint Luis Rey Marquez (Cuba Regional Edition)

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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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