Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

H. Upmann Magnum 50

October 18, 2008

H. Upmann Magnum 50
Size: 6-3/8 x 50
Box Code: LSO JUN 08
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba

Date: 10/17/08
Smoke Time: 98 minutes

Prelight:
This is a very nice looking cigar.  It is well-constructed with no hard or soft spots, and the wrapper is very smooth and has a deep reddish-brown color.  Prelight aromas were spicy and leathery with a hint of jasmine.  Prelight taste was mainly cedar and black tea.

1/3:
The cigar started off with some pleasant leathery and spicy flavors.  They blended well together, and there was not a harsh edge or bite at all.  The draw was perfect, and I got nice, thick clouds of smoke every time.  As this third continued, I began to detect a slight touch of hay at the back of my palate.

 

2/3:
The great flavor combination continued, and the spiciness became a little more pronounced.  The leathery flavors still created a nice background to the cigar.  The hay flavors in the back of my palate from the first third evolved into a creaminess – this really rounded out the flavor profile nicely.

 

3/3:
The flavors intensified slightly with the spiciness concentrating a bit, and the leathery flavors becoming a bit sharper.  I was able to smoke this cigar right to the nub without it heating up excessively, and without any harshness or bitterness at all.

 

Overall:
An excellent cigar that was enjoyable to smoke.  The flavor combinations and evolution were right up my alley.  The nice leathery and spicy flavors were consistent throughout, and provided a nice foundation to some evolving flavors that I found at the back of my palate and in my nose.  With this much character at such a young age, I will look forward to trying these with a few years on them to see how they develop!

H. Upmann Monarcas (2001)

October 5, 2008

H. Upmann Monarcas
7 x 47
Box Code: SLA MAY 01
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Date: 10-03-08
Smoke Time: 110 minutes

Prelight:
A beautifully constructed cigar covered with a smooth light-brown wrapper.  There was a small tear in the wrapper at about the halfway point of the cigar, and not other defects or major veins.  The cigar had a pretty fair box press – likely due to a 7+ year nap in a dress box.  Prelight aroma was dominated by a pleasant spicy mustiness.  There were also hints of salt and cedar.  Prelight taste consisited of raisins, a touch of sweetness, and leather.

 

 

1/3:
The draw was a touch tighter than I prefer, but it was not distracting at all.  The cigar started right off with some very pleasant leathery flavors that filled my mouth.  There was also the slightest hint of the saltiness that I found in the prelight aroma.  This third is very smooth and well-balanced.

 

2/3:
The leather flavors became a little more subdued, with a subtle grassiness moving to the forefront.  A very slight spiciness also mixed in with the grassiness as this third progressed.  It was very subtle – just barely noticable – and it was a great compliment to the grassiness.

 

3/3:
The spiciness intensified just a little bit, but it is still a small overall part of the flavor profile.  The grassiness has transitioned back to the leather of the first third, but this time it is a very smooth wet leather flavor.  It is not heating up at all, and the cigar is still very tasty.

 

Overall:
I really enjoyed this cigar!   It was a very smooth and refined smoke, with an interesting evolution of flavors that certainly kept my interest.  I think that the age has really made this into a smooth and enjoyable cigar without any bite or twang at all.  Definitely recommended!

Down for the week…

September 21, 2008

Well…   I was hoping to get a review in, but it just doesn’t look like it is in the cards.  I am feeling the beginnings of some kind of head cold/sickenss, and I need to try and fight it off.  My palate won’t be much good for a review for the next few days at least.

I hope to get a RASS in tonight for good measure though…    🙂

Keep reading the other cigar blogs I have linked, and I will start reviews again as soon as I get through this!

Thanks to those who read this little blog, I appreciate it!

~Bill

Punch Robusto 2005 Edición Regional Suiza

September 14, 2008

Punch Robusto 2005 Edición Regional – Suiza (Switzerland)
Size: 4.9” x 50
Age: (Box code unknown.)
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Date: 09-13-08
Smoke Time: 73 minutes

Thanks go to Alex of CCF for the opportunity to try this cigar!

Prelight:
A light caramel-colored wrapper with no major veins or defects at all.  The cigar appeared to be well packed with no noticeable hard or soft spots.  Prelight aroma was light and cedary with some floral and sweet elements.  The balance was great, and the aroma was very pleasing.  The prelight flavor was light and refreshing – there were light tobacco flavors complimented by a honeysuckle sweetness and touch of cinnamon.


1
/3:
Though the draw was a touch tighter than I prefer, it did not present any problems or distraction at all.  It started with pleasant mild flavors – cedar with a smooth creaminess and straight tobacco flavors.

2/3:
The smooth cedary and creamy flavors continued.  Additional flavors developed as this third did – toast and a touch of grass.

3/3:
The light and smooth flavors continued, and a slight butterscotch-like sweetness developed just as I reached the band.  There was a slight intesnification of flavors in the last inch or so – there was a very slight bite of spice, but it did not become anything significant.  I was able to smoke this cigar to the nub without it heating up much at all.

Overall:
A pleasant mild cigar that would be excellent in the morning or at lunchtime.  The delicate and mild flavors would not be able to stand up to a full-flavored meal or beverage.  Well worth a try for a change of pace.

Gran Habano 3 Siglos Gran Robusto

September 7, 2008

Gran Habano 3 Siglos Gran Robusto
Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Shade Grown)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia
Date: 09-06-08
Smoke Time: 76 minutes

Prelight:
A very nice looking cigar.  The dark brown wrapper had a nice oily sheen.  The head was triple capped and very flat.  The wrapper was very smooth to the touch, with no major veins or defects at all.  Prelight aroma had lots of hay with some toast.  At the foot, the aroma was candied fruit and straight tobacco.  The prelight taste was dominated by straight tobacco and grass, with a touch of mint.

 

1/3:
The cigar started right off with thick volumes of smoke and a dose of pepper, though not the spicy bite that is normally associated with peppery flavors.  This was very subtle, with just the slightest hint of a bite at the midpoint of my palate.  There were some nice woody flavors with bitter chocolate as well.  Overall, it started off as a very smooth cigar with no harsh flavors at all.

 

2/3:
The flavors in the second third were remarkably similar to those in the first third.  I guess this wasn’t so bad, as the flavors in the first third were pretty good.  The cigar remained smooth, and the subtle peppery flavor remained in the background.  A slight sweetness did develop at the midpoint of the second third, along with some cinnamon and allspice flavors.

 

3/3:
The flavors finally started to change in the last third.  The spiciness moved to the forefront, but it was still not overpowering at all.   The rest of the flavors did intensify a bit, but to be honest it was not that exciting or different than the first two thirds.

 

Overall:
A good cigar.  The blend provided with a nice flavor profile that had a solid medium body.  My only complaint is that it remained relatively flat throughout just about the whole cigar, with the only major change occurring in the middle of the last third.  I would like to try the Gran Corona (6 x 44) and see how the smaller size works with this blend.

Padilla Series ’68 Lancero

September 1, 2008

Padilla Series ’68 Lancero
Size: 7 x 38
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo)
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Date: 08-31-08
Smoke Time: 70 minutes

I picked up a few different Padilla Lanceros at a Padilla event at Cigar Monkey in Merced, CA on Thursday, August 28.  They were sampling the Series ’68 Toros that night…   I enjoyed the cigar, and was curious to see how the blend would be in a Lancero.  I was not disappointed!

Prelight:
A well-constructed lancero with no knots or soft spots.  The wrapper was an oily medium brown with no major veins or defects.  The cigar had a pigtail cap.  Prelight aroma had lots of cedar with a little barnyard and a touch of spice.  Prelight flavor had pungent spice flavors and notes of top soil.

1/3:
The cigar started off right away with thick, billowing clouds of smoke.  It opened up with a pleasant medium-bodied woody flavor with some spiciness at the back of my palate and creeping up into my nose.  There were also some notes of hay.

A nice peppery spiciness started at the end of the first third.  It was just at the tip of my tongue and not overpowering at all.  This peppery bite was a great compliment to the flavor profile.

2/3:
The peppery spiciness maintained its level, and actually widened out from the tip of my tongue to include my lips and the front of my palate at well.  The woody flavor became deeper, almost to the point of earthiness.  A slight touch of grassiness also developed as well.

3/3:
The final third was much different than I was expecting.  I am accustomed to the final third building in intensity and strength.  This cigar actually smoothed out in the final third.  All of the woody, spicy, and earthy flavors were still there, but they were smoother with a creamy-like overtone.  Very nice.

Overall:
A very enjoyable lancero.  It had a solid medium body and a good blend and balance of flavors.   It never became overpowering or harsh, and actually became smoother and more refined in the final third.  At approximately $5-7 each, it is definitely worth considering for a future purchase.

Kristoff Criollo Robusto

August 26, 2008

Kristoff Criollo Robusto
Size:  5-1/2 x 54
Wrapper:  Nicaraguan Habano Criollo
Binder:  Dominican Republic
Filler:  Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Date:  08-25-08
Smoke Time: 62 minutes

Manufactured by Exclusive Cigars.

Prelight:
A seemingly well-filled cigar with a slight softness at the head and foot.  The wrapper is deep brown in color with some dark splotches.  The cigar has a pigtail cap and a shaggy foot.  The only real wrapper defect I could find was that the application at the foot was a little sloppy and wrinkled.  Prelight aroma was deeply earthy with notes of spiciness and cardamom.  There is also a slight sweetness in the aroma that reminds me of that sweetened pipe tobacco that the tobacconist used to keep in those clear jars when I was younger.  Prelight taste had a lot of dried fruit flavors – specifically apricot and raisin.  There were also light cedar flavors.

 

1/3:
I found it interesting that the first few puffs had none of the prelight dried fruit flavors that I found.  The cigar opened very dry with pleasant hay flavors with a healthy spice in my nose and on my palate.  As the first third progressed, there was also a slight sweetness that developed on the wrapper as well.

2/3:
Though it appeared relatively well-filled before lighting, the foot developed a soft, under-filled feeling during the second third.  The head became similarly soft, and it was not able to easily hold its shape.  This issues at the foot also caused an uneven burn that I ended up correcting throughout the rest of the cigar.  The sweetness on the wrapper continued, and the hay flavors and spiciness continued and began to intensify, and were complimented by earthy flavors.

3/3:
The earthiness continued to develop, and the hay evolved into what I can best describe as a mahogany-type hardwood essence.  The spiciness intensified and increased in overall fullness.  There was a tiny bit of a harsh edge that developed that may indicate the presence of just a touch of youthfulness.

Overall:
A good evolution of flavors and a solid medium-bodied smoke.  The earthy and woody flavors were well-complimented by the spiciness, and the strength was not at all overpowering. The loose pack in the head and foot proved distracting, as did the uneven burn that needed correction constantly in the final two thirds.

I have a maduro sample of the same vitola that I am looking forward to trying to see if there are similar construction and burn issues.  With the resolution of these issues, I would certainly consider including this cigar in my regular rotation.  I look forward to trying other Kristoff vitolas as well.