Mari's Picks

Mari
MARI
FOLLOW
Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve Toro Corojo 6 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Presentation is everything and it is the first thing that stands out about the Rare Leaf Reserve. the classic look, the band, the oily wrapper. The pre-light aroma transmits power, a mix of spices with sweet notes of cinnamon and cedar. First puffs are all about almonds, very nutty and creamy with some pepper. This cigar feels heavy in my hands, it is packed and I like it, construction is solid and the draw is perfect: not too tight, not too loose. After about an inch of smoking, the pepper is all gone and the creaminess takes control: latte, leather notes show now, the aroma is a perfect reflection of the flavors I’m getting on my palate. The second third is sweet with some floral/citrus notes. The creaminess and nuttiness have been the highlight of the entire smoke experience of this stick, they’ve been always there on the background. The pepper and the spices reappeared on the last third, there not predominant but to make the blend more interesting. I loved every inch of this cigar. No relights and no draw or construction issues. I paired it with a café con leche but with some Rum Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros might be even better. Picked on 10/29/2022
Sin Compromiso Seleccion No. 2 Torpedo 6 * 52
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Sin Compromiso is absolutely my favorite from the Dumbarton Tobacco portfolio, and it has been Long before Esteve Saka stated it is his favorite blend. Don’t get me wrong on this, I think Mi querida, Todos las dias, Triqui traca and Sobremesa are solid (I smoke a lot of those by the way) as the other lines of Dumbarton Tobacco are too… but there is something about Sin Compromiso that gets me smoking this cigar a lot. The dark wrapper contrast beautifully with the cigar band and the packaging is a hint of how good it is the cigar underneath all that. The first few puffs gave up flavors of wood and earth with a touch of pepper spice. I also got very solid and noticeable notes of espresso when retrohaling. As the first third star heating up, I pick up a little honey kind of sweetness. The second third, I tasted some cedar with earth and cocoa, chocolate and espresso notes. I would say this cigar is a medium-plus in body so far. The final third of Sin Compromiso featured cocoa and coffee notes along with some flavors I was not able to identify. It looks like I have too smoke more in order to perfect my palate. Mildly sweet notes and a little pepper spice, classic from the San Andres wrapper. The espresso flavors seemed to pick up and the pepper stayed right there boosting and supporting the flavor profile and making all them to increase the closer I get to the end. It was very difficult to me to put it out and even more difficult not to smoke another one right away. My humble opinion: this is a great smoke with a high amount of complexity and a real pleasure from the beginning till the very end. I enjoyed its complexity; the flavors; the sweetness; the perfect burn and its excellent draw. I paired it with Glenlivet 18, and I couldn't have chosen better. It truly was a match made in heaven…Salud!! Picked on 09/05/2022
Illusione Cruzado Churchill 63/4 * 48
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
The Illusione Cruzado features a corojo wrapper Grown by Aganorsa. It is an excellent example of a Nicaraguan puro…It shows in the wrapper, the aroma and of course the performance. Cedar, spicy, sweet, and natural notes is what I get right up front. This cigar is on point…A dash of pepper and hints of coffee to complete the parade of flavors playing in my palate. The profile is complex, well balanced, with lots of flavor and the perfect medium strength making for a very enjoyable smoke until this point. The flavors don’t change as I approach the halfway point, but the strength has gone from medium to medium plus. The earthy notes are upfront now, very rich and well balanced. Even though the pepper continues to be strong there is a unmistakable creaminess on the cigar, all the flavors colluded to make the smoke very pleasant and satisfying. The burn line is not as perfect as I prefer and I have a bit of a mess here…too flaky and does not hold more than half an inch but nothing major, just a small detail. I paired it with a Cuban Cafecito…nothing more than good things to report here. Picked on 08/04/2022
Guardian of the Farm Cerberus Toro 61/4 * 52
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
The Guardian of the Farm Cerberus is a beautiful looking cigar…Just the name causes an impression and makes you want to know a little bit more about it. The Cerberus is the most recent addition to the Guardian of the Farm line, and of course pay tribute to the dogs in charge of guarding the fields at the Aganorsa plantation. Is a Nicaraguan puro that utilizes tobaccos that were all cultivated on Aganorsa farms. Like its name, this is a powerful blend. And I’m not talking about strength here, the power of this cigar resides on how flavorful, complex and easy to smoke it is. The wrapper leaf is a Corojo 2012, underneath, a group of ultra-premium tobacco leaves, medio tiempo leaves among them to add some deepness on flavor and strength. Everything combines for a flavorful medium-bodied experience. Upon lighting, you are met with notes of cocoa, walnuts and espresso and some white pepper that complement really well the flavors, enhance the aroma and give a new dimension to the retrohale. These flavors intensify throughout the smoke. In the second third some toasted almonds notes appeared and espresso notes are stronger and more dominant now. The second third is all about the same predominant notes but with some added spice. Easy draw and perfect burn line, I paired with Zafra Rum and I can say they go really well together. Picked on 06/30/2022
Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970 Belicoso 6 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
A truly Nicaraguan. The wrapper, the cold draw, the aroma, everything is there. This is one of my favorites cigar ever, When I feel overwhelmed by all the cigars out there, I always come back to this one. Even the first puffs, the cigar has an array of flavors. The first notes and one can feel the sweetness and the strength…chocolate, some pepper and a few minutes later, a dash of floral joins in the notes. The sweetness tone down and a subliminal tone of dates/raisins maybe, which then change into a spicy sweetness at the end of the first third. all this flavors melting on one that balance the pepper in the background The second third presents the same set of flavors but with more richness and body. At this point, the cigar is full-bodied with all of the richness of a Nicaraguan Puro. The final third of the cigar is an explosion of flavors, very bold and satisfying. There’s fruity, pepper, chocolate/cocoa and there is some creaminess as well. Picked on 05/07/2022
RoMa Craft CroMagnon Aquitaine Cranium 6 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Dreams become reality in Nica Sueno factory in Nicaragua. Roma Craft has a reputation of making cigars , they have created this amazing blends with such interesting names. When one think about innovators in the cigar world Roma Craft Tobacco is always in the list. In just a few years they have acquired a huge numbers of followers. A variety of blends that has something for every type of smoker out there. The Aquitaine features a beautiful Ecuador Habano Ligero wrapper with a Cameroon wrappe. I have to say this is quite an interesting combination. The look is very simple but powerful, the cigar has a very imposing look. The wrapper is very oily and kind of rough, with some visible veins. The aroma of Coffee and chocolate is so provocative and promising. I can’t wait to light it up!. First puffs and I was inundated with an array of rich flavors, a wonderful bouquet of coffee, chocolate, and leather notes consistent all the way through the first and second third. Some nutty notes appeared in the transition to the last third for a delicious balance. The strength intensifies and the flavors became bolder and richer on the end. Flavors are consistent, body and strength as well. Construction is flawless and the smoke experience was delightful. Picked on 02/28/2022
Mi Querida Gordita 41/4 * 48
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
I am obsessed with this little cigar. 4 inches only, but packed with only good flavors, I’ve been smoking mi querida gordita almost every other day for the last month and has yet to disappoint me. Medium to full in strength the cigar is very earthy with red pepper tones from the beginning till the nub. Dark chocolate notes start dancing around the second third but just as a complement of the earthiness and the pepper. At this point the pepper is just a secondary source and chocolate and coffee beans come forward, this is the moment I want to eat instead of smoke this cigar. The last third is glorious, it is all about flavors: the pepper still there but not as predominant as it was, the chocolate, earth and coffee flavors melt together and there is some zesty or flower notes lingering around. I can only think and how much I love this cigar and how being so small is such a satisfying smoke… Nice burn, firm ash, no draw issues. A 45-minute smoke that you are going to love. I'm a Steve Saka fan and love both lines of Mi Querida, Triqui Traca 648 is an amazing smoke but from the regular line Gordita its the best and more flavorful size. I paired it with a cup of hibiscus flowers tea and it was delicious. Picked on 01/06/2022
La Galera Imperial Jade Toro 6 * 52
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
The Cameroon Tobacco leaf have been always known for being a challenge to work with. It is expensive and difficult to grow and even more difficult to use. Jochy and Tabacalera La Palma were ready for the challenge and decided to take the risk...Now, after tasting the cigars, I'm sure, you will agree with me. When the final product is a cigar like La Galera Imperial Jade, the risk was well worth. This cigar features every quality a cigar with a Cameroon wrapper should have and more. Hints of leather, and a toasty, woody tone...surely enhanced by the Dominican Criollo Binder; mild pepper that intensifies in the second third but recedes in the final third, never overpowering, just enough. This cigar is smooth, almost buttery with a natural subtle sweetness and nuttiness surrounding all these notes and flavors. The Cameroon wrapper and the Dominican tobaccos used for the Binder and Fillers give this cigar another level of flavor deepness. No burning or lighting issues and a solid ash are testimony of a flawless construction. A Beautiful green band honoring the semi-precious stone the cigar was named after. The wrapper is as beautiful as a Cameroon wrapper can be, one thing that called my attention: I didn’t see the almost invisible pockets of oil the Cameroon wrapper usually have. My sticks were perfectly smooth and even in color, making the cigar very attractive to the eye. In my humble opinion, Jochy Blanco has another winner here!!! The fact he though in every smoker out there when he decided to make 5 different sizes to choose from, surely going to help this cigar to become a favorite. I paired with Rum Zacapa Centenario 23, they complemented each other perfectly. Picked on 12/03/2021
Hoyo de Monterrey El Torcedor Selectos Regalo 71/4 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
I love perfecto or Salomon shapes. The flavor, the burning, the whole smoking experience is different with them and this specific one starts out just as I expected. This cigar is all about flavor, The Sumatra wrapper gives it some sort of sweetness and cocoa that goes really well with the subtle spice from the Nicaraguan binder. Let’s not forget the Dominican fillers that contribute adding earthy tones to the blend. The more I smoke this cigar… the more I like it, I can taste Cedar and a smooth natural tobacco flavor and some…citrus? Maybe, I’m not sure but there is some sort of it. The burn line for the most part is even, I got some sort of wave but corrected itself as I was approaching the end of the second third. The ash is actually very compact and holds for almost half of the cigar. Maybe has something to do with the fact that only the factory best rollers are the ones in charge of making this cigar, and, the number of cigars made is very small in comparison with other lines. Extremely enjoyable, I paired it with a glass of French sparkling water with lemon and Jalapeno slices. I have to say it was perfect. Picked on 11/02/2021
ADVentura the Navigator Pinzon 51/2 * 50
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Are you ready to discover “the unknown pleasures of the world.”? Take a puff and explore this magnificent cigar. A harmonious blend of four different types of tobacco put together by the experts hands of the best Rollers in Dominican Republic. A cigar with the right amount of spice and cream, with a mouthwatering intense yet smooth aroma. Right from the beginning notes of almond and pepper take over my palate, the flavor is exquisite. Upon lighting a hint of spice that blends perfectly with mocha notes which leads into a very creamy almond finish that lasts the entire smoke, Don’t get me wrong the pepper gets more intense but not overwhelming, just to keep it interesting with underlying cocoa notes from the beginning to the end, Well balanced and flavorful, solid construction with a solid white ash and even burn. No relights needed, This cigar is medium to full in strength…definitely full in flavor, Perfect to be paired with some nice Dominican Rum! Picked on 10/04/2021
Recluse Amadeus Los Cabos Kanu No. 3 8 * 58
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
When you have an oily Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper covering a Sumatra binder and a filler made of Dominican Republic, Dominican Ligero, and Nicaraguan Criollo tobaccos you would think of a very strong cigar or at least in the medium plus strength range…. This cigar is a box of surprises. Smooth and creamy with a variety of flavor notes that certainly will rejoice the palate of the most experienced cigar smoker and really teach a lesson about flavors to the novice smoker. First thing that caught my eye is the unusual shape: its kind of a rectangle round shape firmly press on the ends with a very long neck and almost a flat head. At first it was kind of a weird feeling to smoke it, but then one just adapt and feel even comfortable in the mouth. Wooden and pepper followed by toasty hazelnuts notes start this array of flavors, very balanced since the beginning to the end and by the halfway point, the profile is velvety chocolate and very cedary. Added to this mix are a subtle sweetness that gives the cigar a nice mellow finish. Medium strength all the way, without construction or lighting issues, a gray almost white ash and a very even burning line. This cigar is fantastic! You can smoke it at any time of the day with a hot cafecito in the morning or a shot of Harry Blu’s Gin at the end of the day…Cheers!!! Picked on 08/12/2021
Nat Sherman Epoca Reserva Corona 51/2 * 42
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
No doubt 2020 will be remembered as a challenging year. Covid19 occupied every minute of our lives for the last 18 months or so, lots of business didn’t survive the economic impact of the pandemic. Among those, the Iconic and legendary Nat Sherman international, it was shocking for all us cigar aficionados since the name was synonym of quality and luxury. For ninety years Nat Sherman was a favorite of the American cigar aficionado and one of the most followed and trend creating names in the cigar business. I enjoy the classics. I like reading about old times and traditions. Today I wanna smoke one of those classics: Nat Sherman Epoca Reserva Corona The cigar is a long corona made in the Dominican Republic. A Dominican wrapper holds an equally Dominican binder and Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. This cigar delivers a complexity of flavors that includes cedar, earth, and natural tobaccos with notes of pepper…The Epoca is a very beautiful cigar. The wrapper is light with a smooth soft feel in the mouth. The first third starts off on the mild side with Woody and Cedar notes and a touch of sweetness so subtle that is almost unnoticeable I can also taste some mild spice in the retrohale. The second third is consistently more of a mediun smoke loaded with spice, leather, cocoa, well balance and keeping an overall smoothness to the blend but at the same time makes it very rich and interesting to the palate. The final third, it is only a confirmation that the Epoca is very consistent in its profile. The mild spice sensation and the richness of flavors was a constant. At this point the finish had become long and lingering with a richer and stronger earthy tobacco flavor. The burn was very good, even and I would add that was slow and steady. No need to relight it The ash was gray in color, it was also firm and tight. The smoke volume was very good. The draw, I found it to be light and very easy. Overall, I consider Nat Sherman’s Epoca to be a medium bodied, medium Picked on 06/10/2021