Mari's Picks

Mari
MARI
FOLLOW
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
Oscar Valladares Altar Q Toro 6 * 52
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
The Altar Q has a very impressive look. The packaging and labeling are very well done and they tell a story. One about Mayan kings and rulers, about divinity and ancient monuments so fascinating and interesting as the cigar itself. An oily Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper gives cover to Honduran binder and fillers. Very attractive, silky to the touch with some small veins and a small pigtail on the cap. The aroma is a pleasant combination of citrus, subtle leather, hay and some pepper. Starting out, the Oscar Valladares Altar Q is so creamy and have this sweetness mixed with some woody notes, citric flavors, and white pepper giving the final touch to this array of flavors making one palate to rejoice, In the second third of the Altar Q, the creaminess note actually gets stronger, I would say that in this level flavors are more plants oriented. I can taste more cedar and more tobacco notes with hints of salt and some spice. At this point the cigar is a solid medium-plus. strength continues to increase during the final third of the stick, the creamy cedar still there along with the white pepper and the same spice since the beginning. The cigar has become very nutty, the citric notes have receded and its more leathery now. I got a lot of smoke since the beginning, a beautiful even burning line and an excellent draw. Construction wise the cigar is perfect. I could easily smoke this cigar every single day, it is so easy to enjoy, so creamy and satisfying, It has become for me one of those cigars you smoke when you are looking for comfort, when you don’t want any surprise and you are sure at the end you will be happy with the selection you have made. Picked on 03/21/2021
Crowned Heads Mil Dias Corona Gorda 6 * 46
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Mil Dias translates into A Thousand Days, a reference to the nearly three years it took the company to develop and perfect this blend. This is the result of Crowned Heads’ second collaboration with Tabacalera Pichardo in Nicaragua, along with Don Eradio Pichardo and Luciano Meirelles. Their first release together was Juarez. I have smoked at least 6 Crowned Heads Mil Dias Corona Gorda’s along with 3-4 of the other sizes and hands down this is my favorite size. I don’t even know how to describe it, this cigar is fantastic!! Mild to medium in strength, the Mil Dias allures the palate right from the beginning. The cigar opens up very fruity, almost sweet, accompanied by biscuit and cedar notes. A gentle bit of black pepper touches the palate, bringing a little intensity to the retrohale but just as a complement in the background, I also picked up some zesty and salty notes in the second third. The cigar started off as a mild cigar and after a mere five minutes started picking up on strength reaching a medium at its peak. The last third is as flavorful and complex as the second one, caramel and biscuit flavors blended so well with a mild spice and that subtle sweetness that makes me want the cigar to last another ½ an hour. I will happily say, the cigar becomes more rich and complex by the minute. The burn line was perfect, the ash not too firm or too flaky, just right, Everything in the Crowned Heads Mil Dias is the way it’s supposed to be: flavor, construction, draw, appearance, and fortunately, an excellent price. Picked on 02/09/2021
Fratello Bianco IV 61/2 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
It is amazing the way different flavors blend together to create a new flavor with different and unique nuances and notes.This is exactly the case with the Fratello Bianco IV, a tobacco from five countries: a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, Dominican binder and Nicaraguan, USA Broadleaf and Peruvian fillers. The contrast between the white label and the dark wrapper makes this cigar very attractive to the eye, it smells sweet and woody, kind of like a wet forest.  The first puffs smell of pepper and some dark chocolate notes that make my palate rejoice. The first third is all about mocha and cocoa notes. In the second third of the cigar the coffee flavor becomes the star of the show. Kind of salty and sandy and moving forward in strength, at this point it is a full body cigar. It goes from bold to a subtle sweetness that move the chocolate front and center with some steady pepper in the background.   The final third continues to display notes of rich chocolate,. The coffee stay around , and the aroma of the cigar is that of wet soil. The pepper continues being an important part on the mix.  I would describe the Fratello Bianco IV a complex, satisfying, medium plus to full cigar. Perfect for after dinner with a dry rum or a nice espresso coffee or if you are bold like me, a cup of java mint Tea...or just because Omar like Imperfect Pairings! Picked on 01/21/2021
Mombacho Cosecha 2015 6 * 52
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
A range and Variety of Tastes, good construction, a good looking solid ash, an even burn and of course a good draw are some of the characteristics of an excellent Cigar. It should start off mild and have changes of flavor and strength to keep the palate interested. I was thinking about all that when I decided to smoke the Mombacho 2015, I have smoked some Mombacho cigars before and they were very enjoyable being the Mombacho Diplomatico one of my favorites from their catalog. Featuring 100% Nicaraguan tobacco from a single year crop the cosecha 2015 promises to be a great experience. I would say I had some doubts, you know?. The cigar is pricey, Mombacho is a young cigar company; should I go with something I know for sure I’m going to like? At the same time Claudio is a great guy, he’s been in the cigar business for a long time, he knows what he is doing and the cigar was calling out for me to smoke it. What the heck…it looks great and enticing. Once lit, the first puff was like heaven, very earthy and cedary with a subtle saltiness. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and creamy it is. A few puffs later a dash of pepper and the strength start to increase to plain medium to medium plus. At some point I taste some sweetness in the background and after 2-3 inches it develops leathery and grassy notes and becomes more peppery, the strength increases a bit and it taste and smell of hay and tobacco. It reminds me of the first time I entered an aging room. The last part is an array of flavors, kind of oaky, definitely the strength is medium to full at this point but somehow still smooth and silky. I have no regrets. Consistent, flawless construction, the flavors blended and play very well together. Beautiful solid ash and even burn line, good draw, Mombacho 2015 delivers the whole package. Perfect for an special occasion or as your everyday cigar if you can afford it. Picked on 12/04/2020
La Aurora TAA Exclusivo Toro 6 * 50
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Making a TAA cigar is a big compromise and a very demanding task. It needs to have the look and of course the flavor of an special cigar. La Aurora TAA is a wonderful surprise for the senses. Aromas that take you to the tobacco farms, scents of rain and wet soil with a touch of citrus. The cigar has a beautiful Ecuador wrapper, a Dominican binder and Dominican and pennsylvania broadleaf as fillers; It may sound more simple and unpretentious that what in reality is. An elegant brown and gold band worthy of an special cigar ornate this stick, a special blend made for the TAA. After lighting it up and taking the first puff a subtle unidentified sweetness take over my palate, following for fairly strong woody notes. What a contrast! this notes accompanied each other without interfering, or without one overpowering the other one. The cigar starts as a medium, very creamy and soft, gaining strength after the first third. Those aromas from the beginning become flavors and one can feel hints of earth and cedar, the sweetness still but it develops some peppery notes here and there, In the last third the strength has increase a bit more but flavor has done it as well and is almost a full bodied smoke. Good draw and a perfect burn…It is a fact, La Aurora never disappoint. Picked on 08/28/2020
Kristoff San Andres Box-Pressed Toro TAA 2020 61/4 * 54
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Being the first Kristoff San Andres box press cigar I can surely say I’m impressed with the results. Hands down I like it better than the original round vitola. Yes, this is the same blend of the Kristoff San Andres  but in a different presentation. I can attest the cigar is delicious, tasty and smooth as velvet. Don’t get me wrong, the cigar is a solid medium to medium plus at some point when the pepper reach its higher point and the flavor gets full develop but still smooth and creamy. With a mix of light pepper, earthy notes and a sweetness that to be honest caught me by surprised.  I was waiting for the wrapper to be predominant here and to apport more pepper to the mix, while this might be disappointed for other cigar smokers waiting for that San Andres to show up in full mode I found it great, both, full body and mild to medium smokers can smoke this cigar and be pleasantly satisfied. Excellent draw performance, the ash is a little too flaky to my taste but it keeps an even beautiful burning line. I would say wood, earth and mild to medium pepper are the predominant notes of this stick. The creaminess goes all the way to the end and it makes the cigar so easy to smoke and so enjoyable that I am sure you are gonna smoke more than one. A Dominican rum is perfect to pair with this cigar but let me know your ideas of pairing, I am open to try them all! Picked on 06/14/2020
RoMa Craft Intemperance WR 1794 McFarlane 5 * 50
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
I just can’t have enough of the Roma Craft Intemperance Whiskey Rebellion. It’s been a regular in my weekly rotation since I tried it, packed with flavor, great construction… this cigar is on point in every sense. An Ecuadorian Habano ligero wrapper, Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers make the perfect combination for a full body cigar that is perfectly well balanced. When one flavor does not subjugate the others but complement each other. Once fired up you won’t be disappointed. Even though the cigar starts up with strong spicy notes one can feel rich cedar and earthy flavors, hints of coffee and lots of pepper. Don’t be scared, all this is surrounded by a cloud of creaminess which is a delight to the palate. The second third is all about coffee and cedar with a dash of pepper that intensifies on the last third. It doesn’t mean it overshadows the rest of the flavors but it does dominate the last part with coffee/chocolate and cedar notes creating a balance around it. The cigar is beautiful, flawless construction, nice even burn line and it stayed lit the whole time. I’m a slow smoker and I really take the time to enjoy my cigars and I get annoyed when I have to relight a cigar too many times. I haven’t had this problem not even once with the Intemperance. Excellent price…so, what are you waiting for to try it? Picked on 04/13/2020
Davidoff Millennium Robusto 51/4 * 50
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Davidoff has been one of my favorite brands for some time now. High quality and luxury is associated with this brand, and one does not always realize all the little details and uncompromised effort that make this possible. The soil, the seed, the leaves, are all meticulously selected, and the entire process of aging the tobacco, making the cigars, transporting and distributing them is as scrupulous and precise as a Swiss watch. I once had the privilege to visit their factory and I have seen first-hand how important it is to deliver a high end product. The respect and appreciation I have for this brand is on another level now. Having tried most of the Davidoff lines, I can say for sure that the Millenium is my favorite. The complexity, the strength and the flavor profile is always satisfying and perfect for my palate. The dark brown Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper creates a beautiful contrast with the pristine white Davidoff label. The Millenium starts with nutty and cedary notes, with some sweetness and some spice that gives the cigar an interesting twist; they compete and compliment each other at the same time. The second third is all about coffee, wood, and caramel, bold but smooth and subtle like a powerful symphony created with the most delicate notes. In the last third the sweetness remains, with the pepper and the nuttiness upfront accompanied by cedar in the background. Flawless construction, perfect draw, beautiful burn line... As perfect as only Davidoff can be. Picked on 02/05/2020
Edition One Cloud Hopper No. 485 5 * 48
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
Edition one has become a stapler on my cigar rotation. It impressed me the first time I smoked it and still doing the trick 10 or 15 cigars later. Medium in body and complex in flavor profile, this stick delivers plenty of earth, fruit, floral and cedar notes. Opens up strong and flavorful. My palate encounter hints of dried fruits, pepper and right up front. The party of flavors continue on the second third. Adding to the mix a dash of pepper and the cedar becoming more a grassy note than combine with the fruity flavors make for a delightful smoking experience. On the final third Earthy notes accompanied by a sudden sweetness makes its way upfront with some underneath cedar to give a perfect finish to this cigar. Satisfactory from beginning to end. You would never imagine that such a simple looking cigar is capable to give so much joy to the smoking experience. I pair the Edition Cloud Hopper no. 485 with a cup of Hibiscus tea and it was a combination made in heaven. A whole new level of enjoyment. Picked on 12/04/2019
AVO Unexpected Tradition 6 * 50
Appearance
Draw
Burn
Aroma
Taste
I think the Unexpected series is one of AVO’s best releases ever. l confess I love them all, they are good looking, well balanced… and even though it’s almost a whole new terrain for this brand, which started with the Avo Nicaragua and then Avo Ritmo, one has to admit it has reached a new level of expertise with the Unexpected Series. The Tradition is my favorite blend. It appeals to my sight, my sense of smell and my palate, it has everything I like and look for in a cigar: flavor, strength and complexity. With a mix of pepper and wood the cigar starts very promising. Some vanilla and fruity notes appear to make the smoke a lot more interesting by leveling and adding different nuances to the mix. I can taste sweet and some subtle saltiness that balances and add to this wonderful array of flavors. The cigar is delicious from the