Posts Tagged ‘Review’

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!

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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.

San Cristóbal de la Habana La Punta

August 22, 2008

San Cristóbal de la Habana La Punta
5-1/2 x 52
Box Code: FEB 07
Date: 08-22-08
Smoke Time: 60 minutes
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba

Prelight:
A leathery-textured medium brown wrapper covered the evenly-filled cigar.  The only defect was a slight split at the foot.  The cigar had a slight box press.  I was happy to see a few sparkles of plume visible on the wrapper.  Prelight aroma was beautifully light and floral with cedar notes.   Prelight flavor had elements of green tea with straight tobacco flavors.

1/3:
The cigar started off right away with great smoke volume and a perfect draw.  It started off with dry cedar flavors.  There was also a hint of a spicy bite at the middle of my palate.  There was also an overall creaminess that really did a good job of tying all of the other flavors together.

2/3:
There was a slight uneven burn, but this was likely due to the slight breeze outside in the backyard where I was smoking.  The strength built a little bit at the beginning of this third.  The spiciness also built, and the creaminess evolved into a deep leathery flavor.

3/3:
The flavors of the second third continued to build and intensify.  A nice peppery tingle developed at the tip of my tongue.

Overall:
A great smoke with flavors that evolved and built throughout the smoke.  The middle third really kicked in some great leathery and spicy flavors that were very tasty.  As usual, this cigar did not disappoint.  It presented a more intense and concentrated flavor profile than the La Fuerza, another favorite of mine.

Tobaccos Baez Favoritas

August 17, 2008

Tobaccos Baez Favoritas
5-1/2 x 52
Date: 08-16-08
Smoke Time: 74 minutes
Wrapper: Connecticut Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Prelight:
A smooth reddish-brown wrapper covered the cigar.  There were no major veins or defects.  There was an interesting construction issue that I noticed – the cut at the foot was not perpendicular.  The cigar was nice and spongy to the touch with no hard or soft spots.  Prelight aroma was toasted hay with a pleasant musty spiciness.  The aroma at the foot of the cigar added a slight hint of barnyard and pencil shavings.  Prelight taste was cedar and white pepper with a touch of spearmint.

1/3:
The cigar started off with a pleasant medium body.  There were creamy and grassy flavors with the typical “Pepinesque” peppery spiciness at the very back of my palate and throat. 

2/3:
The spiciness in the back of my throat moved about halfway forward into my palate and began to overtake the creamy and grassy flavors.  There were also slight notes of cinnamon.

3/3:
The spiciness mellowed out leaving a peppery bite on my tongue, and allowing a slight sweetness to emerge.  As the final third continued, the flavors intensified.  The strength also kicked up a notch and there was a mild nic kick.

Overall:
This was a very enjoyable cigar.  Aside from the first third being a little bit harsh , the flavors really blended and evolved well.  The spiciness was a nice counterpoint to the milder flavors.  My favorite part of the cigar was definitely the middle third.  I think that some age will do these some good – especially in calming down the attack in the first third.

Cubao #5

August 16, 2008

Cubao #5
6-1/8 x 50
Date: 08-15-08
Smoke Time: 80 minutes
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

 

Prelight:
The wraper is a deep brown color with some black mottled patches.  It was smooth and evenly packed with no major veins.  There were a couple of small bumps near the head.  The prelight aroma was wonderfully spicy with heavy woodiness and a slight sweetness as well.  The prelight taste gave me hints of dried fruit and sweetness with a heavy and aromatic spiciness.  There was already a cayenne-like peppery bite at the tip of my tongue.

1/3:
There were super spicy flavors at the forefront right from the first puff.  There was also an underlying smoothness that was almost creamy.  It was almost a little odd in that the initial spicy blast at the front of my palate has no real backing flavor to “hold it up”.  Though the creaminess is nice, it does not stand up to the tongue-tingling spiciness and almost leaves it a bit “thin” for lack of a better term.

2/3:
I started to get a slight sweetness from the wrapper.  The spicy flavors mellowed out a bit, and a deep and robust woodiness joined the flavors that really balanced everything out well.

3/3:
The flavors from the second third continued.  The strength really started to kick in here, and the spiciness became deeper and fuller throughout my entire mouth.

 

Overall:
A strong cigar.  Fortunately, the strength was accompanied by a good array of spicy and woody flavors.  The first third paled in comparison to the blending and building of strength and flavors in the second and final thirds.

Montecristo Platinum No. 2

August 8, 2008

Montecristo Platinum Habana No. 2
6-1/8 x 52
Date: 08-06-08
Smoke Time: 76 minutes
Wrapper: Mexican Habana 2000
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru

Disclaimer: This cigar was a gift from Altadis USA.

 

Prelight:
A well-constructed torpedo with no soft spots or bumps.  There were no major veins but there was a small blemish about a third of the way up from the foot.  The application of the cap appeared a little rough.  Prelight aroma was cedar and leather with a touch of nutmeg.  Prelight flavors were dried apricots with a touch of hay.

1/3:
The draw was a touch tight for me, but I was still able to get plenty of smoke from the cigar.  It started on the mild side with hay flavors and a vegetal undertone.  There was also a slight astringent quality to the flavor that I experienced in my sinuses.  The burn became slightly uneven in the middle of the first third.  The ash was white and some dark striations, and was very solid.

 2/3:
The burn issue from the first third got a little worse, so I had to make a correction with my torch.  There were still vegetal undertones, and a pleasant leathery flavor came to the forefront.  The near ammonia-like astringency subsided in the middle of this third.  As the second third finished, the vegetal characteristics evolved into a buttery creaminess.

 

 

3/3:
The flavors have finally blended together in a somewhat harmonious manner.  It is on the medium side of mild with leathery flavors at the forefront with the buttery creaminess and a slight floral hint in the background.

 

Overall:
Though not a close fit to my usual preferred flavor profile, this was a mild-medium some with some okay flavors.  If the whole cigar had the profile of the last third, it would certainly move up a notch or two in my book.  I am thinking that more time to age would help the cigar immensely with the marriage of flavors in the first two thirds and with the reduction of the astringent-like flavors.