Joaquin's Picks

Joaquin
JOAQUIN
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TASTE:Natural
HOBBIES:Diving, tennis, the beach, boating, music & computers
STRENGTH:Medium-Full
Illusione 2 Belicoso  51/4 * 52
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The Illusione Original Documents 2 Belicoso is a beautiful light-dark cigar, with a Nicaraguan wrapper, filler and binder. This cigar has a gorgeous, oily brown wrapper with a fair number of large veins and noticeable seams that telegraphs notes of milk chocolate and spice. From the first puff of this full-bodied cigar you can taste roasted nuts, coffee, leather and a hint of sweetness. It’s well balanced and creamy stick. During the second third, you can feel the spice and pepper pick up, but it was not overpowering. It still maintained its smoothness and sweet nuttiness. In the final third, the mix of flavors continued with a little more leather taste. This stick has a solid burn with an impressive white-gray ash. In conclusion, the Illusione Original Documents 2 Belicoso is a good cigar with complex flavors and a rich blend. I recommend it if you like full-bodied cigars and want to try something different. Enjoy! Picked on 12/09/2019
Aladino Connecticut Robusto 5 * 50
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When I saw the Aladino Connecticut Robusto for the first time, what called my attention was its light-tan color and perfect shape. It has an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper with a Honduran filler and binder. It is a medium bodied stick with a nice oily wrapper. Upon first light, a dot of light spice came through, but mostly notes of leather, burnt toast, and mild pepper. The same notes carried into the second third, but the last third continued with lots of wheat and oat notes. The draw was perfect with a light gray smoke, and a big chunk of ash. If you are a Connecticut fan put this stick on your list, because it is a great cigar to smoke in the morning while enjoying a coffee. Picked on 12/05/2019
Mombacho Cosecha 2014 Toro 6 * 52
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The Mombacho Cosecha 2014 Toro is a medium bodied cigar that has been aged in a specially designed room since 2016. It is a Nicaraguan puro from wrapper to filler that is handmade in Nicaragua. The Mombacho Cosecha 2014 has a medium brown color with a subtle rosado tint to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper, which had some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams. Went I lit the Mombacho Cosecha 2014, it started out with a mix of sweet cedar, natural tobacco, earth, and a combination of white and red pepper. Early on the cedar and natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. There was an orange-rind component that also was joined at-the-hip to the cedar notes. For the most part, I found the natural tobacco to be more prominent on the draw, and the cedar more prominent on the finish/after-draw. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered additional notes of red pepper and cedar. Later in the first third, some of the earth notes developed into more of a classic coffee bean flavor. This flavor moved up into the forefront and alternated in intensity with the natural tobacco. The cedar/orange rind note also remained grounded in the forefront. Meanwhile, there were still hints of pepper in the background. The last third saw the coffee bean notes increase in prominence, again rejoining the natural tobacco in the forefront. The draw was perfect, and the ash was also on the firm side and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. If you are looking for a cigar that emphasizes flavor over strength, this is going to be the cigar for you. Picked on 11/13/2019
Macanudo Inspirado Red Robusto 5 * 50
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To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, Macanudo released the Inspirado Red. It is a full-bodied Nicaraguan cigar with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. The Macanudo Inspirado Red Robusto is a beautiful, dark, box-pressed cigar that is a complete departure from what we normally expect from this famous brand. At first light, I felt a big array of coffee, roasted nuts, pepper, a touch of sweetness and some lingering dark chocolate. The second third had more earth, almond and cocoa notes than the preceding part. Pepper and spice backed off a bit, but never really went away. Wood, caramel, and some leather made appearances as well. The draw was smooth and clean with a beautiful light gray ash. I would recommend the Macanudo Inspirado Red Robusto to anyone wishing to try a full-bodied cigar at a very good price. Enjoy! Picked on 09/06/2019
Alec Bradley Project 40 Robusto 5 * 50
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Expertly hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragua at the J. Fuego Cigar factory, the Project 40 sports a reddish almond-colored Nicaraguan wrapper with a heavy vein that covers a Habano binder from Brazil, which houses premium, long-filler Nicaraguan tobaccos. It is the latest project from Alec Bradley. Went I light the Alec Bradley Project 40, I feel a mix of creamy leather, cedar and a throat punch of raw cinnamon spice. During the second half, the flavor remains predominantly woodsy with a nice balance of rich cedar and raw walnuts. The Project 40 is a medium-bodied cigar that has a consistent combustion with a wide open draw, and a salt and pepper-colored ash. I really love this stick. If you want a flavorful smoking experience that will positively put a smile on your face while leaving cash in your pocket this is the cigar for you. Enjoy. Picked on 08/30/2019
Aging Room Quattro Maduro Espressivo 5 * 50
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The Aging Room Quattro F55M Espressivo is a rich, full-bodied Dominican box-pressed robusto which takes the hugely successful Quattro F55 and replaces its Sumatra wrapper with a gorgeous, leathery Mexican San Andres wrapper. The combination of a dark Mexican San Andres wrapper with a Dominican Habano binder and Dominican Republic filler represents what a premium cigar should be. When I first saw this stick, its dark coffee bean color gave me the impression it was going to be a strong cigar. The first draw revealed a warm mix of cocoa, earth, cedar, and mocha. I found the Quattro F55M Espressivo to be a solid, full-strength cigar from start to finish. The burn line and burn path remained relatively straight and the resulting ash had a light grey in color with some dark speckling. The ash was also on the firm side and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. There was plenty to hold my interest in this cigar from beginning to end. This cigar maintained its excellent flavor all the way through. The draw was flawless. I would recommend this stick to experienced cigar enthusiasts. If you are looking for a cigar that emphasizes flavor and strength, the Aging Room Quattro F55M Espressivo was crafted specifically with you in mind. Picked on 08/16/2019
Alec Bradley Coyol Gordo 6 * 60
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According to the Alec Bradley website the inspiration for the Coyol line came from La Vega Coyol, which “is one of our exclusive farms in Honduras, named after the majestic Coyol palm tree that stands at its entrance. Sharing the same fertile soil of the palm, the tobaccos cultivated from La Vega Coyol exhibit great flavor and wonderful aromatics. I blended Alec Bradley Coyol for the cigar enthusiast who appreciates rich flavor and aroma.” The Alec Bradley Coyol Gordo is a medium-strength toro that is handmade at the world-famous Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. The Coyol features a Honduran wrapper that is deftly draped over a binder and long-filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras. This unique blend gives the Coyol its distinctive taste and pays to tribute to the tobacco that is grown in the La Vega Coyol farm. The Coyol I smoked had an appealing light-brown wrapper with barely visible seams, minimal veins, and it was a little bumpy. In the first third, the level of pepper initially was pretty aggressive, but at about a quarter of an inch in, the pepper took a back seat and allowed the leather and cedar notes to shine. There was an occasional nuttiness that popped in, which added an unexpected but pleasant dimension. The retro-hale had a nice floral note that wasn’t overpowering. In the second third, there was a nice transition from the leather and cedar to a slightly bitter black tea that I found surprisingly enjoyable. There was still a hint of pepper in the back of the throat, and the retro-hale had a bright blast of pepper. In the last third, the leather began to dominate as the cedar pushed out the toast. The draw was perfect, with a nice good burn line and a solid light-gray ash. Overall, I enjoyed the Alec Bradley Coyol so much that I added it to my favorites list. Enjoy. Picked on 05/09/2019
Flor de Selva Maduro Toro 6 * 52
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Maya Selva’s Flor de Selva Maduro Toro is a medium-to-full bodied stick that sports a Habano Maduro wrapper, a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and a Honduran filler. This stick’s wrapper has an oily complexion and a rich chocolate color to it. The Flor de Selva Maduro wrapper has a few visible veins and its seams are barely noticeable. The cold draw provided a mix of mocha (which I would describe as a combination of coffee and chocolate), cream, and a slight cedar note. During the first third, the mocha remained in the forefront. At times the mocha exhibited more of a classic chocolate flavor while at other times it was more like cocoa powder. Meanwhile the cedar, pepper, and nut flavors lingered in the background. During the second third, the Flor de Selva Maduro Toro transitioned to more of a classic coffee note. At this stage, the chocolate component did diminish somewhat, but it didn’t totally dissipate. By the last third, the coffee notes remained primary. The cedar notes had also made their way into the forefront. The burn of the Flor de Selva Maduro performed perfectly and created a beautiful light gray ash. The draw was excellent. If you’re looking to make a move from medium to full body in terms of strength, the Flor de Selva Maduro is a very good option because it delivers excellent flavor, provides plenty of complexity, and it has a super constructed. This cigar is that total package. Picked on 04/19/2019
Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta Toro 6 * 52
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Back in 2010, Joya De Nicaragua, the oldest cigar manufacturer in Nicaragua, introduced the Cabinetta Serie cigar. For some, it was a unique cigar in that there were two different wrappers on it, the bottom 2/3 had an Ecuadorian Shade and the top 1/3 had a Nicaraguan Criollo leaf with a Nicaraguan filler and binder. The initial taste was that of spice and cedar. Smoking into the first quarter of the cigar, the spice picked up along with the cedar and a creamy bread flavor. At the halfway point, things started to get interesting, the spice began to diminish and became more of an underlying taste. The creamy cedar, and bread were still dominant, but a pleasant, sweet flavor emerged. The third quarter which was the last part of this Ecuadorian shade-grown wrapper still had the creamy cedar with a slight spiciness. Up until this point, the finish was long with cream, cedar and spice, and sweet. The Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper dramatically changed the Cabinetta Serie’s flavor profile during the last quarter. Flavors of earth, leather, spice, and an enjoyable sweet molasses taste became more pronounced and remained throughout the last quarter of the cigar. The finish shifted to leather, spice and molasses. Construction was good, the burn was crooked with a flakey ash, and the draw was perfect with copious amounts of smoke. Overall, the Cabinetta Serie Cigar offers an intriguing smoking experience that can be enjoyed anytime of the day and pairs well with a rich cup of sweet espresso or a perfectly aged dark rum. Picked on 03/19/2019
Crowned Heads Luminosa Toro 61/2 * 52
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Crowned Heads Luminosa was released in 2016, that’s translates from Italian to Bright in English. The cigar is the latest from Crowned Heads and is made at the Tabacalera La Alianza which is owned by Ernesto Perez Carrillo. This cigar is a dark Ecuador Connecticut wrapper with some subtle oils present and with Nicaragua Filler and Binder. When I begin to smoke the first third of the Luminosa the draw was perfect and smooth in which I taste notes of citrus and elements of peanuts and earth. There retrohale of the cigar offers pepper, but there is a sugary sweet finish to the cigar after pushing the smoke through your nostrils. In the second third, the citrus notes disappear as nuttiness becomes the primary taste. Around the halfway point the nuttiness slides into the background as some notes of coffee. In the last third of the Crowned Heads Luminosa sees nuts and coffee, but notes of pepper remains strong on the retrohale and on the aroma while a subtle sweetness remains. Overall Luminosa is a mild-to-medium bodied Connecticut Shade smokes are your thing, you really should get this cigar, I suspect you won’t be disappointed. Picked on 03/15/2019
Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro Robusto 5 * 50
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The Rocky Patel Special Reserve Sun Grown Maduro Robusto is a beautiful dark, box-pressed USA Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a Nicaragua filler and binder. This cigar has a gorgeous, oily brown wrapper that telegraphs notes of tropical fruit, dark black-raisins, spice, rich dark-cocoa, exotic coffee beans, and cedar. The Special Reserve’s excellent construction provides a draw that is practically flawless. From the first puff, you can taste chocolate, coffee, creaminess, cedar, and fruit. During the second third, you can feel it shift in strength from medium to full with a sweet nuttiness and a little spicy pepper taste but still smooth. In the final third, the mix of flavors continued with a little more cedar taste. This stick has a solid burn with an impressive white-gray ash. In conclusion, the Rocky Patel Special Reserve Sun Grown Maduro is a good cigar with complex flavors and a rich blend. I recommend it if you like medium to full-body cigars and want to try something different. Enjoy! Picked on 03/11/2019
Perla del Mar Perla TG 6 * 60
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Perla del Mar by JC Newman My favorite wrapper is the Connecticut. In my opinion, it is smooth and easy to smoke. It is why whenever I see a new cigar with a Connecticut wrapper, I have to try it. When I saw the Perla del Mar by JC Newman the first thing that caught my eye was that it was box-pressed, which gives the cigar a longer burn and a more consistent flavor. Next, I was attracted to its beautiful golden wrapper that even though it had some veins and the cap was a bit sloppy, it had nice oily sheen to it. I sniffed the Perla del Mar and detected some wonderful aromas of creaminess, citrus, spice, sweet hay, and cocoa. The initial impression is that of sweetness and creaminess, a bit of nuttiness, earthiness and little bit of red pepper with a good draw. The char line is practically flawless. At the half inch mark, the pepper ramps up. A leathery and woodsy combo starts to show itself as the creaminess increases. Smoke just pours from the foot. The pepper starts to lead the charge in the flavor department. It is a nice offset to the mild strength giving the impression of it being a stronger cigar. As I enter the second third, some vanilla is added to make the creaminess even more luscious. This cigar is smooth. It is nicely balanced with a long finish due its creaminess. The nuttiness is hazelnut because of the sweetness. The last third is delicious, and I can now taste the Nicaraguan cocoa. The JC Newman Perla del Mar is a pleasant cigar that ends smoothly without harshness or any trace of bitterness. The nub stayed cool to the end. The flavor profile never stopped increasing its impact. The JC Newman Perla del Mar is the perfect choice for a newbie or inexperienced cigar smoker. It is also a great morning cigar. Picked on 02/21/2019
Davidoff Escurio 60x6 6 * 60
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This review was a big challenge for me. It was my first Davidoff, and I chose the Escurio. The name says it all. Escurio is composed of two words. The first word is Escuro, which is Portuguese for dark. The cigar’s wrapper falls into this category. The second word is Rio, which is short for the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The city that inspired this enchanting stick. The Davidoff Escurio sports a dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with a Brazilian Cubra binder and a mix of Dominican (San Vicente, Piloto and Olor/Piloto Seco), Brazilian (Cubra and Mata Fina) fillers. The Davidoff Escurio has a beautiful presentation with a cross between chocolate-brown and a reddish Colorado hue. The surface of the wrapper had barely visible veins and slightly oily. The Escurio started out with an interesting mix of chocolate, sweet grapefruit, wood, and red pepper notes. During the first third, the chocolate and grapefruit notes alternated in intensity. The wood and red pepper notes settled in the background. By the second third, the chocolate took over as the primary note in the forefront. The grapefruit receded to a close secondary. By midway point, there were some earth notes that were mixed in with the chocolate notes in the forefront. When I moved into the last third, the chocolate and earth notes held in the forefront. In the background, there also was a little more in the way of sourness from the citrus/grapefruit notes present. The Davidoff Escurio is a complex cigar. The burn line was perfect and even. The resulting ash was on the firm side and it had a nice silver color. The draw performed quite well. It made for an enjoyable smoking experience from start to finish. In general, this is a blend I would recommend to a seasoned cigar enthusiast, but it’s not one I would discourage a novice from smoking either. As for myself, the Davidoff Escurio is a cigar I’d smoke again, and it’s one worthy of purchasing multiples for the humidor. Picked on 02/19/2019
My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo 6 * 60
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As you know, I’m a huge fan of Connecticut wrappers. It’s why I tried the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo. This premium cigar features a handsome Connecticut wrapper, with a Nicaraguan Corojo binder and a specially blended filler composed of Nicaraguan Criollo and Habano tobaccos. A very attractive cigar, the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo’s wrapper has barely visible veins and seams. A pre-light sniff of the foot offered up an interesting aroma of cedar and aged tobacco with a slight hint of freshly ground pepper. Once lit, this fine cigar greeted me with a pleasant taste of toasted nuts and an exciting peppery sensation. During the first third, I picked up notes of aged tobacco and cinnamon. The second third was consistent with the first although the peppery notes had mellowed out a bit. The cigar’s intensity picked up considerably in the final third. At one point, there was a shift in the profile, which added richer notes of white chocolate and French bread with a buttery texture. The My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo’s has a nice and easy draw, and the flavors are easy to pick out. Overall, the My Father Connecticut Toro Gordo is a very smooth Connecticut shade smoke with strong and prevalent notes. This is definitely a beautiful, medium-bodied cigar that can be enjoyed by a both the veteran and novice cigar aficionado. Picked on 12/31/2018
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Natural 4 * 49
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Some time we don’t have a lot of time for smoke or are you looking for a small cigar for walk your dog, this is the cigar that you need to smoke. The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story is a part of the the Fuente Hemingway line from the Fuente Family. This stick is a mild to medium body little perfecto with Cameroon wrapper and Dominican Republic binder and filler. It has a fairly light brown wrapper which as a gorgeous hue with very little veins, a nice oil gloss, and it is very smooth to the touch. When you begging to smoking has notes of grass, nuts, some earthy tones and some natural tobacco. The draw is excellent, easily providing a medium body of the rich, cool, dry smoke. The burn, nearly razor sharp, blends right into the firm ash and takes some effort to drop off when desired. During the second half you can find some notes of roasted nuts, toasted flavors, and grass all remain as well. The finish on the palate is still a bit oily and rich, but also has a nice savory feel to it. Definitely is a delicious little short smoke, which is wonderfully pleasing. Picked on 12/23/2018
Plasencia Reserva Original Piramide 63/16 * 52
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The Plasencia Reserva Original Pyramide is a cigar blend that According with the company is the world's first and only organic cigar made completely with tobacco certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), with 100% of its components aged an additional five years after curing and fermentation. So you can be assured that nothing artificial has found itself into the leaf you are about to Smoke. It is just not the brand owner stating it, you are assured that the fields and processes have been inspected and certified. The blend of the Reserva Original is described by Plasencia as 100% Nicaragua (a puro indeed). They keep it simple, a Nicaragua wrapper, Binder and Filler. Looking over the Plasencia Reserva Original, you can help but notice the beautiful marbled, medium brown wrapper that is light on veins and has a slight sheen in the light. The cigar is solid to the touch and is finished with a well applied triple cap. Running the Reserva Original across the nose I picked up a distinct fermented leaf aroma along the barrel and a fruit and cracker aroma off the foot. We I begin my smoke I feel pleased the palate with a notes of earth and fruit along with a growing peppery spice on the lips. This cigar had a medium to full body of flavor with excellent nuances in both flavor and aroma. I especially enjoyed the smooth of sweetness and vanilla cream notes, at the beginning, after haft of the cigar you can feel notes of nuts and roasted oak aroma but the best part was after the second third a light spice taste. This cigar have a very good draw and amazing big and even light gray ash. This is a very complex cigar that you need to smoke and enjoy with a good glass of wine. Picked on 12/16/2018
Micallef Herencia Habano 51/2 * 52
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Micallef Herencia Habano is Nicaragua Habano Wrapper with a Ecuadorian Sumatra Binder and Nicaraguan and Honduran Filler. This is a natural, practically vein-less and beautifully marbled cigar. It is neatly boxed pressed and with simple cap that seems to be a different color than the wrapper itself. Examining closer you can see the beautiful vein network and the light oily sheen to the wrapper. His first aroma are rich earth and cocoa, but went you burn you can feel pleasing introductory notes of earth, pepper, and cocoa. In the first third you can taste salt and pepper notes but Earth and cedar enters as it moves into the second third. Spice ratchets up in the final along with a pleasant spicy nut aroma. This Medium Body Cigar offered pleasant and consistent flavor notes throughout the pristine burn. The perfect draw and nice smooth taste made this cigar one of my favorites. Picked on 11/30/2018
Caldwell Hit and Run Super Toro 6 * 54
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Caldwell Hit and Run Toro size create by Robert Caldwell and Matt Booth and manufactured by AJ Fernandez in Dominican Republic has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper combined with the Indonesian binder and Dominican filler. Is a nice medium-bodied blend with a nice brown wrapper with visible veins, invisible seams and a double cap. Went you smell the stick has a light aroma of sweet tobacco and tea note. From the beginning I taste a slight pepper with sweet tobacco and cedar note, but after the second have appears some caramel, roasted almonds, and pepper notes. At the end of a nice smoke I feel a few notes of chocolate but the woody flavor was strong. With a very good draw this cigar has a nice burn line with white and big ash but my favorite part was the cedar aroma throughout the burn. This cigar is perfect for a morning smoke with a cup of coffee. Enjoy Picked on 10/21/2018
Balmoral Anejo XO Connecticut Torpedo Mk52 61/4 * 52
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Went I saw for first time the Balmoral Anejo XO Connecticut Torpedo call my attention the light-tan color and perfect shape. This USA Connecticut Shade wrapper with Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and Brazilian, Dominican, and a USA Pennsylvania fillers blow my mind. The Balmoral Anejo XO is a Medium body with a nice oily wrapper. Upon first light, a dot of light spice came through, but mostly notes of vanilla, toasted caramel and white pepper. Same notes carried into the second and last third, but extremely enjoyable. The cigar finished with a sweet nutty flavor. This cigar has a great construction while it burns, very good draw with white and big chunk ash. If you are a Connecticut fan put this in your list, because it is a great cigar for any occasion. Picked on 10/08/2018
Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown R556 5 * 56
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The Perdomo 20th Anniversary Sun Grown is a soft box pressed with a reddish-brown Nicaraguan Sun Grown wrapper and Nicaraguan Binder and Filler. There are virtually no veins present and the cigar is rolled to perfection, with the classic Perdomo logo band with 20th Anniversary. This Cigar have a perfect draw in which you can feel the wood notes, a well-defined oak, with some coffee and citrus thrown into the mix. Through the nose, there is a nice amount of spice but there is also a nice nutty aroma that compliments the notes from the stick. The burn is even with a nice carbon line. The ash was white in color and big chunk. If you are a smoker that like medium to full body cigars you need to try this one. Picked on 09/27/2018
Villa Zamorano No. 15 51/2 * 54
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Flor de Selva Villa Samorano made by Maya Selva. This cigar with Sumatra Wrapper, Jamastra Habano Binder from Honduas and a mix of Jamastran from Hondura and Jalapa from Nicaragua Filler. I smoked Flor de Selva before and they made pleasant cigars but went a smoke Villa Samorano was a different experiences. First went I saw the cigar the wrapper has a nice golden brown color with a very nice aroma with minimal veins and the lines are clean. The draw offered just the right amount of resistance with earth, smoked, wood and pepper taste. As the Villa Zambrano progresses, hints of coffee are introduced along with roasted peanuts and dark chocolate. At the end I find some cappuccino, red pepper, leather and oak taste. The ash held very well and fell off with a resounding thud on the porch. The strength of the cigar never really goes beyond medium bodied for me. The Villa Zamora was an enjoyable ensemble of subtle flavors, balance and aroma. The smoke is elegant and leaves a clean finish on your palate. The construction was impeccable. I really love this Cigar and I recommended to every body. Picked on 08/24/2018
Alec Bradley Medalist Toro 6 * 54
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The Alec Bradley Medalist Toro consists of a Honduras wrapper with Honduras Binder and mix of Hondura and Nicaragua Filler. This cigar has a nice soft light wrapper it may look like a Connecticut with some oil to be found, while veins are small and generally few. The foot offers a seeming plethora of aromas to dissect, from buttered popcorn to a bit of tangerine, cereal grains to vanilla ice cream, all accented by just a bit of pepper. The cold draw is firm but not challenging, with a base note of dinner rolls and fewer accents than that of the aroma, with a bit of wood, cream and just a pinch of pepper being most notable. The strength begins to taper off past the midpoint, though it’s not lacking in any flavor or body, as both are comfortably a bit under medium, now with a bit of cedar and ballpark pretzels leading the descriptors. The cigar turns a bit rough in the final inch, but overall the cigar finishes well and on a flavor and strength level just under medium. Overall this is a great cigar with tons of flavors to it. Alec Bradley did it again. Picked on 07/27/2018
La Gran Llave Maduro Robusto 5 * 54
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La Gran Llave is Spanish for “The Big Key” is a beautiful cigar made by AJ Fernandez. The combination of Dark Mexican San Andres wrapper with Ecuatorian Habano Binder and Nicaraguan Habano Filler represent what a premium cigar used to be. When I first see the stick the dark coffee bean color make look that a strong cigar but the first draw was a flavor quickly provided a mix of black pepper, earth, cedar, and mocha. I found this to be a solid medium cigar from start to finish. The burn line and burn path remained relatively straight and the resulting ash was nearly white in color with some dark speckling. The ash was also on the firm side and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. I found this cigar had excellent combustion as it maintained an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature. There was plenty to hold my interest in this cigar from start to finish. I found this cigar maintained excellent flavor from start to finish I would recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. If you are looking for a cigar that emphasizes flavor over strength, this is going to be the cigar for you. Picked on 07/27/2018
Espinosa Crema No. 5 Toro 6 * 56
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The Espinosa Crema is produced at the company’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. In addition to an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, the blend also incorporates Nicaraguan tobaccos. The Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Espinosa Crema Toro had a light brown color with a slightly weathered look. At the same time, the wrapper was still quite aesthetically pleasing also with some visible veins. This Cigar have an open draw with cream and wood flavors early on. The sweetness settled into the background and had a slight orange citric component. I also detected a subtle black pepper note on the tongue. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. This ash was on the firm side and came off the cigar in clean chunks. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. This is a cigar that started out mild in strength. There was a short spike in strength during the last third and progressed into mild to medium territory. Meanwhile the body started out mild to medium and by the last third had moved into medium territory. I still found this Connecticut Shade to be more on the traditional side in terms of flavor profile, strength, and body. This is a cigar I could recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar experience looking for a mild, yet flavorful cigar. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again. Picked on 07/27/2018
Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro TAA Robusto 43/4 * 52
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The Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto TAA is medium to full in strength. The wrapper is a Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro, covering Dominican San Vincente Binder and Filler. In my opinion it has a coffee bean color to it. There was also a moderate amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. While there were some visible veins and thin wrapper seams, I still found this to be a smooth wrapper. What I love from this cigar is that delivered a mix of cocoa powder, earth and white pepper. I found the earth notes remained grounded as the primary flavor. The cocoa notes receded into the background joining the white pepper and also picked up some cedar in the background. The burn of the Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto maintained a straight burn path and never was in danger of tunneling or canoeing. It is a very good cigar. If you enjoy bold, spicy tobaccos I suggest you give this one a try. Picked on 05/28/2018
La Galera 1936 Box Pressed El Lector Toro 6 * 54
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This cigar made in Dominican Republic by Tabacalera Palma sports an Ecuatorian Habano Wrapper, Dominican Criollo Binder and Dominican Piloto Cubano/Dominican Criollo Filler. Excellent medium-sized cigar with a medium brown wrapper that is mostly consistent in color, but with some dark, nearly black splotching. What I love about it is how incredibly smooth it is and that the wrapper is oily. Great flavors that well together and are well balanced, with a nice spicy edge to the smoke and a hint of saltiness, and an earthy finish. The burn is even and the burn line is thick with a white ash. This cigar got an 86 rating in Cigar Aficionado and was positioned number 23 for the year on Cigar Snob. It is one of my favorites, perfect for any occasion! Picked on 03/27/2018
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