oday a recommendation from our trusted retailer: “You can’t go wrong with this one”.
A Don Diego Classic Torpedo. Don Diego was the first brand established in the Canary Islands after the Cuban embargo. The exiled Cuban families Menéndez and García, founders of Montecristo, developed it and then moved to the Dominican Republic in the early 1960s, where it is now produced by Tabacalera de Grande. This company belongs to the Franco-Spanish tobacco group Altadis, and produces, among other cigars, Santa Damiana, VegaFina and the American-Dominican variants of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, Partagás and Trinidad.
Our torpedo has a ring gauge of 59/64″ with a length of 6″. The beautiful, almond-colored Shade wrapper comes from Connecticut, USA, the binder from the Dominican Republic and the filler is a blend of Brazilian and Dominican tobaccos.
A mild but very aromatic 70 minute smoke. We could identify aromas of honey, nuts and pepper. Our dealer was right!!!
A Nicaraguan Sunday afternoon.
Nicaragua has only had its own national drink since 2006 – the Macuá! Named after the native, tropical and most importantly lucky bird Pajaro Macuá. The cocktail was invented by Dr. Edmundo Miranda, a pediatrician from Granada. How to mix it: 2 parts white rum, 2 parts guava juice, 1 part lemon juice and some cane sugar. All shaken well and served over ice.
And what goes better with that than a Davidoff from Nicaragua. Our Robusto has a 50/64” ring gauge and a length of 5″. A Nicaragua Puro with a flawless H 2000 Rosado wrapper, a Jalapa binder and a Ligero filler. A perfectly made cigar, albeit too mild for a Nicaraguan cigar to our liking. Perfect burn and draw resistance, as expected from Davidoff.
A perfect combination, you should try it!
The name 8–5‑8 and the silky, shiny, almost black wrapper of this Arturo Fuente Flor Fina Maduro made us curious.
Carlos Fuente Jr.‘s grandfather — Arturo Fuente — lived to be 85 years old. Arturo was instrumental in the development of this cigar and so the cigar was named in his honor after the age at his death. And in such a way that it can be read from both sides: 858.
Already in 2011 the 8–5‑8 was counted among the “Best Bargain” cigars by the Cigar Aficionado. And that still applies today.
Our Corona Grande has a ring gauge of 48/64″ and a length of 6″. The African wrapper comes from Cameroon, the binder and the filler from the Dominican Republic.
A mild and aromatic 1 hour smoke with aromas of tea leaves, honey, cedar and pepper. A well-constructed cigar with an optimal draw and straight burn, rated 89.
Today we would like to introduce you to the third inexpensive Cuban cigar. After the two short fillers, we have a completely handmade medium filler from Rafael Gonzales.
In 1928, Spanish nobleman Marquez Rafael Gonzales founded the “Flor de Marquez” brand exclusively for the British market. In the 1930s, the brand was acquired by the Rey del Mundo Company. It was only after the Second World War that the brand was renamed Rafael Gonzales. Zino Davidoff already recommended this brand in one of his books for the private humidor, which should not be missing under any circumstances. At the beginning of the 1960s, the brand disappeared from the market and was not produced again until 1965, reaching an export share of 3% in the 2000s.
The cigars from the Vuelta Abajo by Rafael Gonzales are ideal for an inexpensive entry into the world of Cuban premium cigars.
Unfortunately, we were only able to find three cigars. We will try them in the next few days and of course report back to you.
We already introduced the pre-revolutionary Cuban brand Rafael Gonzalez. Now we have also tried the small Panetelas Extra.
A delicate format with a ring gauge of just 37/64″ and a length of 5″. It is a completely hand-made so-called medium filler. A medium filler is qualitatively classified between short filler and long filler. The short filler consists of very small tobacco residues, while the medium filler consists of the torn, imperfect leaves from the production of long fillers. Long filler and medium filler hardly differ qualitatively.
In the first half the cigar struggled with an uneven burn, which however corrected itself. One of our cigars had a very strong draw resistance, the other two were heavy but acceptable. The smoke development was moderate in the first half, but then satisfactory.
There were earthy and nutty flavors to taste. A 20 minute smoke that whets the appetite for Rafael Gonzalez’ larger formats.
8. Juli 2022
Today a cigar from one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the world. Plasencia is primarily a manufacturer for more than 30 major brands with an annual production of over 50 million cigars. It was produced for Rocky Patel and Alec Bradley, but Casa de Torres also came from there.
The checkered and dramatic history began in 1865 when Eduardo Plasencia emigrated from the Canary Islands to Cuba and began growing tobacco.
In 1963 his farm was confiscated by the Castro regime. The family fled first to Mexico and then to Nicaragua in 1965. When the Nicaraguan revolution swept the country, the fields of the Plasencias were also burned down and the family had to flee again in 1978. This time to Honduras. So far only tobacco has been grown. In 1986 the family started cigar production.
In 1990 the family returned to Nicaragua but kept the farms in Honduras.
In 2017, their own cigar brand “Plasencia” was launched.
We will try them and report!
This Monday morning we smoked our La Vega Robustos 149 Cosecha from Plasencia. We have already reported on the dramatic history of Plasencia.
Our Robusto is an annual cigar and is rolled from the tobaccos of the 149th harvest (149 Cosecha) of the family. The 149th harvest comes from 2014 and matured 7 years before it was rolled in 2021.
This Honduras Puro is a blend made exclusively from the tobaccos of their own Honduran plantations and has a ring gauge of 52/64″ with a length of 5″. We particularly liked the dark, silky, flawless wrapper.
It was a very spicy, medium-strong 45-minute smoke that burned optimally with a good draw. We could taste both earthy and roasted aromas paired with a nice sweetness.
A well-made cigar that we really enjoyed. We will certainly also try the Toro (Azacualpa) from this series when we have the opportunity.
Cheap Cuban cigars, do they exist? Yes, albeit with scarcity value!
Of course there is a difference with the big expensive brands. We have found three for you and will present them to you in the next few days and then of course also test them.
Today the cheapest makes the beginning. It is the Cristales from Guantanamera from the ICT factory (Company Internacional Cubana de Tabaco) in Havana, which went into operation in 2001. The Guantanamera was amazingly launched by Habanos SA for the first time in 2002 at the Inter-Tabac trade fair in Dortmund, Germany. In 2005, the Guantanamera was removed from the Habanos SA program and has since been manufactured and distributed by ICT directly under the Habanos S.A. license.
This cigar should not be confused with the cigar of the same name from Miami, USA. The US version is a hand-rolled longfiller premium cigar that was launched in 1997.
We will report whether this very inexpensive Cuban cigar is worth trying. Stay tuned!
Today we tackled our first machine-made (Mecanizado) Havana. It comes in a transparent plastic tube. It’s the Guantanamera Cristales. We introduced you to the manufacturer of this cigar, the Internacional Cubana de Tabacos (ICT), a few days ago.
It is actually a Cuban Puro, albeit a short filler, with tobaccos from the Vuelta Arriba area, central Cuba. It has a ring gauge of 41/64″ and a length of almost 6″.
So how was it, the cheapest Cuban cigar available on the market? The cold smell is surprisingly sweet, like honey, so typical of Cuba. The draw was light and the burn was very straight with very good smoke development. We found earthy and woody aromas, becoming more intense and floral towards the end.
A mild, typically Cuban, 50-minute smoke at an unbeatable price. Neat but of course not comparable to the Longfillers of the big brands.
Today the second inexpensive Havana cigar that we chose for our test: the Cazadores by Jose L. Piedra.
The Piedra family arrived from Spain in the 1880s and settled in the city of Santa Clara in Cuba, in the Remedios region in the tobacco-growing area of the Vuelta Arriba, where tobacco has been grown since the 16th century. In the second generation, José Lamadrid Pietra developed the brand that bears his name today. All formats are short filler and are made entirely by hand. Our cigar is named after the special format Cazadores that can also be found at Romeo y Julieta.
J. L. Piedra cigars were extremely popular in the United States until the American trade embargo against Cuba in 1962. In 1990 the brand was completely discontinued due to the embargo. In 1996 it was reintroduced and in 1999 it was also launched on the German market.
If you have smoked a Piedra before, how did you like it? Let us know. We will also try them in the next few days and report to you!
A few days ago we already reported about the manufacturer of our Cazadores — Jose L. Piedra. Now we have tried them too.
This inexpensive Cuban Puro with a 43/64” ring gauge and 6″ in length gave us a 3/4 hour smoke.
The filler with the binder are machine-made in this short filler. The wrapper then rolled by hand.
The draw was quite challenging for some of our cigars, but still acceptable. The burn was absolutely straight and even. For a short filler, the dark ash was very solid and took a third to fall.
The peaty and sweet flavors become more and more intense towards the end.
A smoke that is suitable for everyday use, quite powerful and also extremely inexpensive.
A dealer we trust recommended something special to us. Here it is: the Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King T Tubo.
Also known as Chateau de la Fuente, the famous family farm of the Fuentes is located in the heart of the Dominican Republic. This outstanding cigar series now bears its name: Chateau Fuente.
Handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, these cigars come in 3 varieties: Natural, Maduro and Sun Grown. Our “King” in the format of a Churchill has a golden natural wrapper.
We also liked her straight away because of her magnificently designed tubo. Just an eye-catcher. We are curious to see if it justifies the presentation and the price. We will burn them up and report to you. Stay tuned!
Now we have devoted our full attention to this rather expensive example of a premium cigar: the Arturo Fuente King T Tubo, the largest cigar from the Chateau series of the same name. Until the “King T” Fuente had not released any cigars in a tube apart from the limited God of Fire series.
The King T, a Churchill format with a ring gauge of 49/64″ and a length of 7″ is manufactured at Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The flawless, shiny Connecticut Shade wrapper comes from the USA and encases the Dominican tobacco leaves of the binder and the filler.
It is rolled tight and still has a very good drawing behavior. We could guess aromas of oak and cedar, a certain honey sweetness and pepper.
The elaborate tube, not the cigar itself, is probably responsible for the high price. Nevertheless, an aromatic, mild smoke for almost 1 ½ hours from a really flawlessly made cigar.
Our Vechhhia Romagna Brandy from Italy went perfectly with this.
With an annual production of over 50 million pieces, the Tabacalera de Garciá in La Romana in the Dominican Republic is probably the largest cigar factory in the world. Among other brands, the non-Cuban versions of Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo are rolled in it.
When José Seijas left the company in 2012 after 40 as managing director, he founded his own company, the La Matilde Cigar Company, in 2013. The name goes back to the 19th century cigar factory “La Matilde” in Santiago. The factory closed when founder Simeon Mencia died in 1910. José Seijas acquired the rights to this then important brand.
In 2014 the Matilde Serena came onto the market. Serena means calm and peaceful, making it a mild medium-bodied cigar. The Serena has a wrapper from Ecuador. The great success of this series and to ensure access to these wrappers, led the company to move production to Ecuador.
We will test them and report!
A few days ago we already reported on the origin of the Matilde Serena series. Now we have also smoked the “Matilde Serena Toro Bravo”.
The quite impressive piece has a ring gauge of 54/64″ and a length of 6 ½”. Very few veins are visible in the silky Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The binder and the filler come from the Dominican Republic.
The cigar gives very little when squeezed. The aroma of the wrapper is a combination of sweetness, pepper and espresso and promises a good smoke.
The draw was too light for my taste, but that is of course a purely subjective perception. The burn was straight as a candle with a lush development of smoke. The first third was very mild and we could only detect a hint of flavors. From the second third it became significantly stronger and more aromatic with notes of green pepper, hay and a certain sweetness reminiscent of bananas.
A good 90 minute smoke at a very good price-performance ratio.
Something nostalgic today. We were able to find a box (boxing date 1980) of Exquisit Sublimes from the Dingelstädt cigar factory in the former GDR.
In 1910 the Berlin cigar factory Neumann set up a branch in the Dingelstädter Mühle. In the 1930s, 2,500 people were already employed there, making it the largest company in the German tobacco industry. In 1938 the company was “aryanized” by the National Socialists and taken over by the Martin Brinkmann company for 1.2 million Marks, in order to be immediately passed on to the Gildemann cigar factories.
After the Second World War, the factory was now in the Soviet-occupied part of Germany and was expropriated and became a state enterprise. Initially, domestic tobaccos were processed until the import restrictions were lifted at the end of the 1950s. In 1961 the manual work was abandoned and the cigars were now mostly machine-made. We will test it.
After a few days in the humidor, we dared to try the Exquisit Sublimes from the VEB Cigar Factory Dingelstädt from the former GDR.
We were able to date it to 1980 as the box had a boxing date. From 1961, cigars were no longer rolled by hand, but made by machine. Our Sublimes is therefore a machine-rolled short filler, as you can clearly see from our cut example.
It has a ring gauge of 26/64″ and a length of just over 5″ and is box pressed.
Tobacco has been imported from the GDR again since the early 1960s. Our research showed that it is in all likelihood Brazilian tobacco. But that’s just a guess. Maybe one of our followers knows more.
The cigar is rolled tightly, draw, burn and smoke development were good. We couldn’t guess any more aromas. It was definitely an almost half-hour history-charged smoke.
Our member Sven @der_lorenzi visited us and brought us a very rare cigar of the year 2013 limited edition from John Aylesbury.
We didn’t know the cigar and wanted to know who this John Aylesbury is.
We researched and came across a group of currently 48 owner-managed tobacco retailers that have given themselves this name. This group was founded in 1974 by then 5 owners of well-known tobacconists from Germany. Among other things, this association exclusively carries a range of pipe tobaccos and cigars from the John Aylesbury brand. But who was this John?
The first tobacco that this group brought to the market came from the renowned family company Johann Wilhelm von Eicken, i.e. from John. This company had a production facility in Aylesbury, England.
Voila, John from Aylesbury !
As soon as we have completed our smoke we will report on this cigar. Stay tuned!
This afternoon we destroyed it smoking, the John Aylesbury 2013 limited edition. Each year the group chooses a cigar maker to make a special cigar to celebrate the group’s anniversary. A small batch of this cigar turned up at Pfeifen Huber @pfeifenhuber in Munich. So the cigar is 9 years old.
We measured it and came up with a ring gauge of 54/64″ and a length of 6″. It is a Dominican puro with a filler blend of Corojo, Criollo and Negrito, a Negrito binder. The wrapper was grown from Cuban seeds according to a secret source.
The cold smell exudes a pleasant sweetness. The draw was extremely light and it tended to burn crookedly, but this corrected itself each time. For a Domimican Puro, a very strong, peppery smoke that our member Sven @der_lorenzi brought us. Thanks!
Here is a truly stately cigar, the “Big Johnny” by Oscar Valladares with a ring gauge of 66/64″ and a length of 8″.
It was only the second line from Oscar and contains the same blend as “The Leaf Maduro”. This blend was originally created for a good Pittsburgh client. The customer’s name was Johnny and he gave his name to this truly gigantic vitola. Here, too, Oscar Valladares has come up with something new and special. The cigar band is made from paper made from the fibers of tobacco leaves.
Valladares refers to his eccentric as “Triple Toro”. That should definitely correspond to the amount of tobacco used. So not for the faint of heart. As soon as we have enough time, we will destroy this giant and of course we will tell you about it!
Last night we took our time and lit this giant: Oscar Valladares’ “Big Johnny”.
This huge vitola with a ring gauge of 66/64″ — that’s actually more than 1″ — and a length of 8″ saw the light of day in 2015. It is wrapped in a Jalapa wrapper from Nicaragua. The filler and the binder come from Honduras. So the same blend as the Leaf Madura by Oscar, just everything more and bigger!
We had almost three hours of fun on this smooth, flavorful giant stick. The aromas were varied, from roasted aromas to coffee and nuts. The smoke was huge, the burn and the draw behavior were flawless.
We also had an ice-cold Raki from Turkey. The Raki is distilled twice. The first distilling of grapes and raisins, then aniseed are added and the whole thing is distilled again. Ours then came into oak barrels for another 5 years.
Something specially packaged today: the Honduras Puro “The Leaf Connecticut” from Valladares.
Oscar Valadares worked in the tourism industry. One day he was supposed to pick up some “gringos” from the airport. One of those “gringos” was Rocky Patel. That was the beginning of a friendship. After realizing what a cigar connoisseur Oscar was, Rocky Patel then persuaded him to work for him. After nine years, Oscar founded a trading company for cigars in 2012 together with his brother Hector. When he met Bayron Duarte, who had worked Oliva and others, the now three companions decided to set up their own manufactory.
They initially wrapped their cigars in another wrapper. This serves as protection during transport and is intended to promote the maturing process at the same time.
With his remarkable ideas, Oscar Valladares has quickly become one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the industry.
Of course we will taste the Leaf and report about it.
It was with great excitement that we defoliated it today from its tobacco leaf, which serves as packaging instead of a cellophane wrapper: Oscar Valladares’ “The Leaf Connecticut”.
It is a Honduras Puro with a very nice, silky, shiny Connecticut Shade wrapper. This Toro has a ring gauge of 52/64” and is 6” long.
It feels tight and evenly rolled. It burned very evenly with optimal draw behavior and gave us an enjoyable one-hour smoking experience.
We could taste citrus aromas and a nice sweetness in the first third. Leather and wood aromas then dominated in the second third. The enormous creamy smoke development during the entire smoke is to be emphasized.
If you see this cigar, which is rather rare in Germany, grab it! Worth it!!
Today something Swiss from the Dominican Republic: a Patoro VA Salomones.
In 2001, the Swiss Patrick J. Martin, the former product manager of the Davidoff Group, established the Patoro cigar brand. The brand name Patoro is made up of the first three letters of the founder’s first name and the Italian word for gold — Oro.
From the very beginning, Martin had his cigars made in the Reyes Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic. The Reyes family began growing tobacco 160 years ago. Cigars were not produced until 1992. In 2012, the then 23-year-old Nirka Reyes took over the management of the company in the 6th generation and switched the entire production from the mass production of inexpensive cigars to premium cigars. In Navarrete, Leo Reyes, Nirka’s uncle, grows the rarest tobacco in the country: the wrapper.
We will taste this special cigar and report to you.
Yesterday evening it was her turn, an absolute Sunday cigar, the Salomones VA by Patoro. The “VA” stands for “Very Aged”.
It’s arguably the best Patoro has to offer. A Dominican Puro from 9–12 years matured and specially selected tobaccos from Leo Reyes’ plantation. Leo’s father brought the seeds from Cuba when he left the island.
This Salomones looks gorgeous, has a ring gauge of 60/64″ and is 7″ in length. So we lit them with care. A full, creamy smoke developed immediately and lasted until the last puff. The burn and draw were absolutely perfect and stayed consistent.
We have to say, one of the best — and unfortunately also one of the most expensive — cigars that we have smoked so far with fine, complex aromas of dark chocolate, nuts and nougat. An almost 1 ½ hour mild treat..
Today, on the recommendation of our regular lounge, a Series V Melanio Robusto Maduro — Gran Reserva Limitada by Oliva.
Oliva was founded in Cuba in 1866. Gilberto Oliva left Cuba in 1966 and finally found a new home for his company in Nicaragua in 1994. With the opening of the new factory in 2003, the Series V was launched and was named the best cigar of the year in 2014. In 2016 Oliva was bought by the Belgian J. Cortès and in 2021 became part of Frederik Vandermarliere’s cigar dynasty.
Our boxpressed Maduro has a very fine, silky wrapper from Mexico, while the binder and insert of the 5″ long Robusto with a ring gauge of 52/64″ come from Nicaragua.
A very good hour long smoke where we could identify earthy and peppery flavors with hints of nuts, coffee and cocoa.
Today we want to try two Cusano cigars. The brand was founded in 1990 by two Americans with Italian roots. Davidoff bought the brand in 2009 to add cheaper cigars to its portfolio.
Here we have chosen the Dominican variants.
A dark Maduro Toro with a ring gauge of 50/64″ and 6″ in length. It has a San Andrés wrapper from Mexico, a Connecticut binder from Ecuador and an insert from the Dominican Republic.
The light Robusto has the same ring gauge and is slightly shorter at 5″. The wrapper and binder this time both from Ecuador and the insert again from the Dominican Republic.
We are very excited about these affordable “Davidoffs”. We will report.
Two days ago we introduced you to the two Cusanos. Now we’ve let the two go up in smoke. Both formats are technically perfect and clearly show the relationship to the Davidoff family. The silky wrappers are flawless. The draw and burn are also perfect, as with the much more expensive relatives. The milder Robusto was aromatically very balanced without being peppery. We could still taste light sweet aromas. An excellent cigar for this price.
The Toro, which is almost the same price, is very mild for a Maduro but more aromatic and peppery than the Robusto.
Both good cigars for a decent one-hour smoke at an almost unbeatable price-performance ratio.
Two days ago we introduced you to the two Cusanos. Now we’ve let the two go up in smoke. Both formats are technically perfect and clearly show the relationship to the Davidoff family. The silky wrappers are flawless. The draw and burn are also perfect, as with the much more expensive relatives. The milder Robusto was aromatically very balanced without being peppery. We could still taste light sweet aromas. An excellent cigar for this price.
The Toro, which is almost the same price, is very mild for a Maduro but more aromatic and peppery than the Robusto.
Both good cigars for a decent one-hour smoke at an almost unbeatable price-performance ratio.
The dealer we trust here in Berlin showed us something very special in terms of shape and presentation. A Viva la Vida Diadema by A.J. Fernandez.
Brothers Billy and Gus Fakih ran several small tobacconists and cigar lounges in New York. In 2015, the two sold their lounge business to industry giant JR Cigars. In 2019, the two busy brothers founded their own cigar distribution company, Artesano Del Tobacco. The first line they had made for their distribution was the Viva la Vida. These elegant Nicaragua Puros in the beautiful paper cover are actually not A.J. Fernandez cigars, but are made on behalf of the two brothers for their distribution.
We will soon try our treasure chest and of course report about it. We are very curious.
Yesterday evening we finally tried it, the Viva la Vida Diadema by A.J. Fernandez from Nicaragua.
After we have removed the beautiful and elaborately printed paper tube that completely encloses each individual cigar, the perfectly crafted Diadema shows itself with its beautiful dark brown, oily wrapper.
So here we have a Nicaragua Puro with an Oscuro wrapper, a Corojo binder and a Criollo filler. It has a ring gauge of 52/64″ and a length of 6 ½”.
After lighting, a lush, creamy and sweetish smoke developed immediately. It started out slightly peppery but not unpleasant. From the second third we could taste beautiful intense espresso aromas. The burn and very good draw were even over the entire length.
This unfortunately not exactly cheap cigar was worth every penny. We enjoyed a good 60 minutes with this beautiful stick.
Today on Sunday for the second breakfast a Rocky Patel Number 6 Robusto. After a good twenty years, Rocky Patel, a lawyer from Los Angeles and a career changer, has developed his cigars into a very respected brand. However, it is difficult to keep track of over 200 series with different names. We chose number 6. The number of the blend from the creation phase became the name of the series simply for the sake of it.
This typical Robusto with an insert from Honduras and Nicaragua and a binder and wrapper also from Honduras has a ring gauge of 50/64″ and a length of 5 ½”. We found them medium strong and quite spicy. Chocolate and cocoa flavors were particularly prominent. As befits a premium cigar in this price range, the draw and burn were very good. We enjoyed it for a good hour.
We wish you all a restful Sunday.
One of our members was in Cuba and brought us some Cohibas:
“A real bargain at $6.00 direct from our tour guide.”
Well, these “Cohibas” are real fakes: no hologram on the Taino head, neither holograms on the upper and lower gold rim, only 8 rows of white squares instead of the 9 rows, all white squares in the original are complete and not cut, like our squares above the word “COHIBA”. However, a very good forgery, since the word “COHIBA” is embossed.
The cigar also looks good and is rolled very tightly. Our “Cohibas” have a ring gauge of 55/64” and a length of 6″. The cap on the head is twisted into a tail like the Lanceros. We could not find a corresponding genuine Cohiba with these characteristics.
We will be brave and of course we will also smoke this sample. We are very excited and will report to you.
Three days ago we already told you about the origin of this “Cohiba”. Also about the counterfeiting features of the cigar band. Now we’ve let them go up in smoke. The cold smell was fragile but fruity-sweet, just like tobacco from Cuba. The draw was flawless and remained so even after lighting up.
Unfortunately, an uneven burn developed immediately, which also could not be corrected. The smoke development was good. We couldn’t taste any aromas. It wasn’t strong but uncomfortably peppery and very hot. We discarded them after 1/3. We cut the rest (see photo): it was a long filler after all. Not a treat, and definitely not worth the $6. It’s a pity really, we had promised ourselves more.
Now we wish all Ashholes and our worldwide followers a blessed Easter with some good smokes.
Neither of the two: it’s a pipecigar!
The family company Schuster from Buende, Germany, founded in 1909, has had its own label “Casa de Torres” manufactured in Estelí, in northern Nicaragua, since 1998.
We thought the “Pipa” from this line was fun and really wanted to try it, especially after a member asked if we had smoked the Pipa before.
The Pipa is probably the most unusual cigar in the Casa de Torres range. They are Nicaragua Puros with Ecuador wrappers that are grown in Nicaragua. The binder and filler are rolled from Piloto Cubano, a Havana seed that has long been cultivated in Nicaragua. Rolling this very special cigar requires great skill and experience.
An ice-cold Jägermeister will probably go best with this pipe cigar.
We will try them in the next few days and report to you.
Yesterday evening it was the turn of the “pipe-cigar” adventure: the Casa de Torres Pipa. After lighting up, a great creamy smoke developed immediately, which lasted until the last puff. After the head of the pipe was smoked away, the secret revealed itself. Where the transition from the head to the linear part was to be made, a V was punched out so that the head could be bend. This crease was then fixed by the wrapper. This can be seen very nicely in our photo of the right cigar. After the head fell off, the cigar continued to burn at an angle, analogous to the V‑cut, only to correct itself as if by magic in a short time. The draw remained optimal over the entire length. We found the first third mild and could recognize aromas of pepper and grass. The last third became much spicier and enormously strong.
A good 40 minute smoke that was fun.
Can German Engineers design cigars? The two Hamburg engineers Jan-Klaas Mahler and Oliver Nickels mean “yes”. “As German engineers, two things are essential for us when it comes to a cigar: processing quality and sensory experience”. The cigars of the current RVGN collection that they “engineered” are handmade in the Dominican Republic in a traditional way. They founded their company in 2015 and initially called it “Rauchvergnuegen” (smoking pleasure). In 2020 they renamed themselves “German Engineered Cigars”. The plan: “manufacture cigars like we Germans construct the best technology in the world”. Probably a marketing gimmick intended to exploit the worldwide reputation of German engineering for their multinational expansion plans. The abbreviation of “RauchVerGnuegeN” RVGN will remain as a brand.
We want to try the Toro from the series with our Berlin members. We will report. Stay tuned!
Now it was her turn, the RVGN Toro #62 from German Engineered Cigars. The 62 stands for the volume of the cigar in cubic centimeters. We did the math: length 15.24 x area 4.15 = 63 Maybe we need to subtract some more for the rounded head
The rustic wrapper features strong leaf veins. The cigar feels very tightly rolled. The cold smell is reminiscent of hay and has a certain sweetness. When lit, it immediately develops a nice rich creamy smoke. One of our cigars tended to burn crookedly in the first third, but this corrected itself halfway through. We were able to discover pepper and fruity aromas. The draw was optimal and the burn of our other three was perfect. A light, well-made cigar that builds in strength over the last third. A decent one hour smoke.
Conclusion: Nothing is too difficult for the engineer. These Hamburg ones can also do cigars!
And then we discovered another completely German cigar. This cigar comes from Baden-Wuerttemberg and is very similar to the “Herr Lehmann No. 5” cigar we presented earlier. Both in shape, style and tobaccos used.
It is the “Heimatzigarre” (“home cigar”) from the small town of Massenbachhausen, the place where the large and flourishing cigar factory Hochherr existed from before 1900 until the Second World War.
Two years ago, Jan Scheeder, whose grandparents were tobacco farmers, and his friend Moritz Schwarz launched the new regional cigar, the “Heimatzigarre” (home-cigar). Their grandparents were able to teach them the traditional way of handling tobacco leaves. The secrets of cigar rolling were revealed to them by an 80-year-old couple from the region who were still rolling cigars.
Of course we will try this exotic one soon and tell you about it. Stay tuned!
Today after breakfast we tried the German “Heimatzigarre” No. 8 from southern Germany. The filler and the binder made of regional, “Baden Geudertheimer” tobacco covered in a Sumatra wrapper. This short filler with a length of 4 ¾” and a ring gauge of 47/64″ comes in a glass tube with a natural cork closure. Our cigars felt very dry upon arrival. This could be due to the hygroscopic natural cork, which draws moisture from the cigar. So ours came into the humidor to acclimatize.
The draw resistance was optimal throughout, as was the burn, as to be expected from a short filler. The cigar starts out very mild, only to get a little stronger in the last third. In terms of aromas, we could only taste some pepper in the last third. She rewarded us with a voluminous, creamy smoke.
A mild, properly crafted morning cigar for a good 30 minutes smoke.
However, this exotic cigar also has an exotic price of more than € 13.
Through the social media, we became aware of the cigar club “Nordlicht Zigarren” (Northern Lights). This club was founded by Sascha Prieser in 2011. In 2018, Prieser then created his own club cigar, made for him in Nicaragua, based on the ideas of his Facebook community. It was a Toro with a ring gauge of 52/64” and 6” in length.
Sascha Prieser, who ran a fitness studio until then, his father Holger Prieser and Denis Stute founded their joint company after the success of this first cigar and expanded the portfolio with other formats: Short Torpedo, Robusto, Gordo, and Perfecto.
We absolutely wanted to find out more about these “northern lights” and ordered the sampler with 2 x 4 vitolas each. The price of this sampler is slightly higher than the sum of the individual cigars. This is probably due to the complex box.
We will report shortly whether the content can keep up with the beautiful box.
Today it was their turn, the two Magnum from our “Nordlicht” (Northern Lights) sampler. The Magnum is a Nicaragua Puro with a ring gauge of 54/64″ and a length of 6″. It feels very tightly rolled. That’s probably because the rollers use two crossed binders, as we’ve heard. The cold draw was flawless and the fruity aroma was reminiscent of figs. The Magnum took the fire very well and burned absolutely perfectly and straight with good creamy smoke development. The ash was very solid and stayed for a long time. We could very well distinguish the aromas of wood, cocoa, espresso and a slight sweetness. A mild cigar that gets stronger towards the end.
All in all, a perfectly crafted cigar that we liked and that was fun for 80 minutes.
Yesterday evening we tried the second vitola from our Nordlicht sampler, the two Short Torpedo Maduros.
This small torpedo is again a Nicaragua Puro with a Colorado wrapper, a ring gauge of 50/64″ and a length of 4 ½”.
The cigar took the fire well and evenly. The burn was amazingly straight again, especially with very good smoke development and the white ash was firm and lasted a long time. A well-constructed and perfectly rolled cigar.
I had to cut again once in the first third because the draw was a little too hard. I must have cut off too little. After that, the draw was smooth and perfect.
We could find the typical Maduro roasted flavors like bitter chocolate and espresso beans. In the last third, the otherwise mild cigar became pepperier and stronger.
A good 40 minute smoke that we can also recommend to newcomers to the world of maduros. We had fun again.
In some video, Sascha Prieser, the maker behind the “Nordlicht” brand, once chatted about the flavors of his cigars. Among other things, he said he tasted the aromas of coffee and aniseed. It reminded him of the taste that comes from chewing the coffee beans on a sambuca.
Since we wanted to try another cigar from our sampler, we tried this combination out in person.
It was the “thick” turn, the Gordo with a full ring gauge of 60/64″ and a length of 5½”, so good for 1½ hours of enjoyment. Another Nicaragua Puro with a very nice, even Colorado wrapper. The draw and burn were also impeccable on this vitola.
We tasted fruity flavors, as well as pepper wood, coffee and yes it could be aniseed. But maybe it was also the scent of our drink, which incidentally went perfectly with it. Many thanks to Sascha Prieser for this tip.
Last night we continued exploring spectacular formats: a Flying Pig from the Liga Privada No. 9 manufactured by Drew Estate of the two New York company founders Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel. The two ran a small kiosk in the World Trade Center. They began fulfilling their dream of running their own cigar factory in Estel, Nicaragua in 1998 and moved to Miami in 2004.
Our Flying Pig has a ring gauge of 60/64″ and a length of 4″. The filler comes from Honduras and Nicaragua, the Mata Fina binder from Brazil and the Connecticut wrapper from the USA, which is twisted into a ring tail at the top.
The draw, the straight burn and smoke development were impeccable, as can be expected in this price range. We found aromas of leather, cedar, dark chocolate and hints of pepper.
We had 75 minutes of fun with this ringlet pig.
We don’t want to withhold a very exotic gift from one of our members from you:
The Fuma em Corda by CAO, a Toro with a ring gauge of 58/64” and a length of 6”.
The Portuguese words “Fuma em Corda” describe the special preparation for fermentation and mean “tobacco on a rope”. It is a method used by the indigenous people of the Brazilian rainforest. The tobacco leaves are twisted into thick strands and then wrapped around sticks to ferment.
Instead of a banderole, this particular cigar has a crossed string of tobacco symbolizing this type of fermentation that is meant to be smoked.
The insert comes from the Brazilian rainforest and completes the blend from Honduras and Nicaragua. The binder comes from Cameroon and the Colorado wrapper from Nicaragua.
This cigar owes its unique taste to the special fermentation process. We will definitely try this exotic one and report to you.
We already reported last week about the “Fuma em Corda” from CAO and its exotic style with its Braganca tobacco leaves from the Brazilian rainforest. Now we’ve let them go up in smoke, too.
This mild to strong cigar gave us a good hour of exotic pleasure. The somewhat irregular burn could always be easily corrected. The draw resistance was consistently good. We could guess aromas of leather, pepper and earth. This was accompanied by quite sweet notes of caramel and chocolate.
A really exotic looking and rare cigar that we got the chance to taste here. We think it’s definitely worth grabbing one if you can find it. A good smoke to remember.
Here we present recommendations from our members. If you have an insider tip or want to recommend a special cigar, write to us.
Today a cigar recommended because of its special format:
The Asylum Cigars 13 6ixty 9ine by 4our. As the name suggests, this stub has an enormous ring gauge of 69/64” that is more than an inch with a length of only 4”.
The initiators of Asylum Cigars are Kevin Baxter and Tom Lazuka. Tom previously worked as a representative for Colibri Accessories and then Camacho Cigars before starting his own cigar business.
This one is a puro made from Nicaraguan tobaccos that Christian Eirora has it roll in his Tabacalera El Aladino. The cold smell of figs suggested fruity aromas. However, the cheroot surprised with sweet chocolatey aromas.
A great tip this cigar and an absolute eye-catcher.
Today there is an Italian brandy with the Asylum 13.
The Buton family has been running a distillery in France since the beginning of the 18th century. The high quality of their brandy made the family purveyors to the court of Napoleon I. After the fall of Napoleon, the family fled to Emilia Romagna in Italy. In 1820 Jean Buton opened his new distillery in Bologna, Italy. This is where the “Cognac Buton”, now made from Italian grapes, began its triumphal march around the world. In 1939 the family had to rename their cognac. From now on it was no longer called Cognac but “Vecchia Romagna Buton Brandy”. In 1943, during the Second World War, the distillery was destroyed down to the cellar with its valuable barrels. The intact casks with the old brandy allowed a quick new start after the war.
We thought this brandy was excellent with the Asylum 13.
The Black Forest Torpedo: The “Herr Lehmann No. 5”
We discovered a short filler made in Germany from German tobaccos, except for the wrapper.
In 1924, Oskar Lehman founded a cigar factory in the Black Forest. In 2014, for reasons of age, the descendants handed over their life’s work to Gregor Grüb and Dr. Klaus Harisch.
The tobacco “Badischer Geudertheimer” is air-dried and used for the filler and the binder. These tobacco plants have a high tolerance to extreme weather conditions and on the other hand are easy to care for, easy to process and achieve a high harvest yield.
A Sumatra leaf from Indonesia serves as the wrapper. The cigar rollers were trained by the Lehmanns.
The No. 5 is just 4 ¾” in length and has a ring gauge (according to our measurement) of 46/64”.
We will taste this exotic product at the next opportunity. Stay tuned!
Yesterday evening it was her turn: the completely German cigar “Mr. Lehmann No. 5″ from the Black Forest.
The locally grown tobacco species “Geudertheimer” serves as filler and binder for this hand-rolled short filler.
The matte Sumatra wrapper wraps Mr. Lehmann tightly. A cap is missing, here the cover sheet is simply folded over a few times. But that doesn’t detract from the cigar. The cigar takes the fire well and — as to be expected with a short filler — the draw resistance is consistently good. Surprisingly, it begins very mildly and only becomes stronger and spicier in the last third. We were able to discover nice peppery notes, which didn’t become unpleasant towards the end, after a good half hour.
A decent cigar for in between. It gets a place in our club humidor to offer our foreign visitors something extraordinarily rare.
A cigar from Dresden, Germany. Yes, it has actually existed since 2013. We chose a cigar from the series that was first rolled in Dresden. It is the flagship of this series. The strongest and also the most expensive. Yes, the price is enormous and the same price as the top products from Cohiba, Fuente or Davidoff. So she has to compete with these premium cigars.
The trained Torcedor Lazaro Javier Herrera Cabrera, who came from Cuba, rolled them in the small Dresden cigar factory. Our one is the Cabrera Amistad 407. A Toro with a length of 6 ½” and a 54/64” ring gauge. The filler and binder come from Nicaragua and the wrapper, a Colorado Maduro, from Ecuador.
The cold smell of fruit aromas and honey reminds us a little of a Monte. We will test them at the next opportunity and of course report here. Stay tuned!
Yesterday evening it was her turn, the German cigar made in Cuban style, rolled in Dresden from South American tobaccos.
The flawless wrapper from Ecuador, the good cold draw and the fruity scent of honey promised a good smoke.
This unusually created cigar took the fire easily and developed an extraordinarily full and creamy smoke from the first puff. This enormous smoke lasted until the last puff. The draw was consistently good over the entire length. The burn was extraordinarily even. This all spoke for a cigar made with excellent craftsmanship. The flavors were peppery but not spicy. A cigar that I enjoyed smoking to the non-bitter end.
If it weren’t for the high price, it would have a permanent place in my humidor. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the price is justified. For me personally, this price category is a step too high. What a pity!
Today we’re going to try something curious and special: the Toscano Antico, which Clint Eastwood already appreciated and which he always had in the corner of his mouth in his Dollar trilogy.
Made from tobacco leaves grown in Italy from Kentucky seeds and grown up in the Tuscan sun, these are machine-made after 12 months of aging. This cigar owes its high nicotine content and thus its tremendous strength to the fire drying before fermentation.
Following tradition, we have divided the 13 cm long cigar in the middle. This is how you can enjoy the Toscano for two for a good 20 minutes. Smoking a whole one at once would definitely blow your mind! It takes three men to smoke a Toscano Antico — one smokes, two hold him, according to legend.
The taste reminds a little of smoked ham. The rustic looking cigar doesn’t compare to anything we’ve smoked before.
The Toscano is not stored in a humidor!
Today we’re meeting with some members for a Clint Eastwood night. We’re going to watch all three movies of the Dollars trilogy. In addition, of course, the cigar that Clint Eastwood made famous in these films and that always hangs in the corner of his mouth: the Toscano. For tonight we have chosen the Antico.
The Toscano owes its existence to an accident in 1815. During a violent summer storm in Tuscany, Italy, a load of Kentucky pipe tobacco was soaked through. When the storm was over and the summer heat was back, the tobacco fermented. After it was dried again, the cigars made from it soon enjoyed great popularity — the Toscano was invented.
Have a nice Sunday everyone!
We have discovered another cigar for our newbies: the Casa de Torres Churchill. Casa de Torres is a brand of the cigar manufacturer Schuster from the city of Buende, Germany. The company, founded by the baker Hermann Schuster in 1897, developed this cigar series in the 1990s together with a producer from Nicaragua, where the cigars are still made exclusively for Schuster in a small tabacalera.
This 7” long Churchill has a ring gauge of 50/64”. The filler as well as the binder come from Nicaragua, the immaculate wrapper from Ecuador. We smoked this cigar for 60–75 minutes with wonderfully creamy smoke development. A very mild cigar with aromas of wood and coffee. A recommended cigar for the beginner as well as for the price-conscious occasional smoker.
A new and thoroughly German cigar: the Vaholago Petit Corona. Only 3 years ago the cigars of the two company founders Vincent Maurer and Rainer Wedelich saw the light of day. The Caribbean tobacco varieties are grown in the very south of Germany on the lake Bodensee island of Reichenau and rolled by hand by Cuban torcedores into real long fillers.
Our Petit Corona has a ring gauge of 42/64” and a length of nearly 5”. The wrapper shimmers slightly oily and the cold cigar smells pleasantly of hay.
With a smoke duration of a good 30 minutes, we had the impression of a Dominican cigar. She was very mild and we tasted aromas of chocolate. All in all a well-made cigar that will certainly not be our last.
he Chinese New Year under the sign of the tiger is celebrated every twelve years. This year it’s that time again. And since our President was also born in the year of the tiger, what could be more fitting than to give him a cigar for his birthday that was created for this special year.
So we got the VegaFina Year of the Tiger 2022, a Toro Extra.
A really impressive format with a ring gauge of 52/64” and a length of 6 5/8”, it should be good for a birthday smoke of a good two hours. Under the very beautiful band you can see a flawless wrapper, the origin of which, like that of the binder, is unfortunately kept secret. The filler is a blend and comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico and Ecuador.
Of course we tried it first: in contrast to most other VegaFinas, this is a very strong and spicy tasty, a presidential cigar.
Something “aged” today: the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Deluxe Toro Tube.
It is the second aged cigar from the “Vintage” series by Rocky Patel from 2002. The name “1992” is based on the wrapper, which had aged 10 years in 2002 and was from 1992. She was probably launched in Germany in 2014. She convinced us with her strong, sweet taste and a combination of espresso and cedar wood aromas. In particular, the 10-year-old Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador and the 7‑year-old binder from Nicaragua give the cigar a distinctive aroma. The filler comes from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
As a drink with the cigar, we decided on a pisco, the Chilean national drink. Pisco is a distillate made from Muscat grapes. In the case of our El Gobernador, Moscatel Rosada and Moscatel de Alejandra were used. These grape varieties grow in northern Chile, in the Valle del Limari. We enjoyed it as a “sour”.
Addendum to our (subjective) opinion on cigars for beginners. Today we tasted a very inexpensive Havana for you. The Quinteros weren’t originally “Havanas” at all, as they had been made in Cienfuegos, a city on the south coast of Cuba, since the 1920s. Company founder Augustin Quintero only moved his factory to the capital, Havana, in 1940.
The Favoritos are hand-rolled medium fillers, i.e. the wrapper and binder consist of whole tobacco leaves, only the filler consists of smaller pieces of tobacco. The format is a smaller (petit) Robusto with a ring gauge of 50/64” and a length of 4 1/2”. Draw and burn were good throughout the smoke duration of 30–45 minutes. In order to taste the woody and nutty aromas, this cigar should be smoked very slowly.
A cigar for beginners: small in price, big in flavor and not too strong.
Rum or not rum, that is the question. This is not a question Hamlet asks himself, but rum manufacturers have been asking themselves since last year if they want to sell their rum in the European Union.
Since 2021, a rum can only be called rum if its sugar content does not exceed 0.7 oz per 33.81 us fl oz (previously 3.4 oz). Many of the well-known variants of brands such as Botugal (Diplomatico), Plantation, Zacapa and Don Papa are around 1.0 – 1.4 oz. These rums are no longer allowed to call themselves rum. Now the manufacturers have two options: they lower the sugar content and thus change the taste, or they change the name.
That’s why we don’t find the word “rum” on our bottle of our Don Papa Baroko from the Philippines. It’s just called a “spirit drink”.
We find a mild sweet “rum” that goes well with the cigar. Especially after a good meal. Rum is rum, whatever you have to call it!
The newbies among our members ask from time to time which cigars are particularly suitable for beginners. First and foremost, this is of course a matter of taste and there are many answers.
We would recommend Arnold André’s Montosa. A smooth and light cigar from the Dominican Republic with an Ecuadorian wrapper, a Mexican binder and a Dominican filler.
And the Churchill now lets the beginner feel the right feeling of the sublime and he can definitely distinguish the different sections during the long smoking time of up to 80 minutes. The first half is characterized by the harmonious aromas of wood, while the second half is dominated by nutty aromas. A well-made cigar at a very reasonable price.
If the nicotine is too intoxicating, there is a tried and tested “antidote”: sugar, most palatable in the form of a Coke – with or without rum.
The right cigar for all football fans is now also available in Germany for the Superbowl on February 13, 2022. Each dealer was supposedly only allowed to order 5 boxes. Of course we had to strike immediately.
In 2013, Ray Lewis and Rocky Patel met at a company event and planned to create a cigar together. This is how the Ray Lewis Legends 52 Toro limited edition by Rocky Patel was born.
Ray Lewis, perhaps the greatest middle linebacker of all time, two-time Superbowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens and MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the XXXV. Super Bowls assisted Rocky Patel in blending this cigar. Since Ray was a real edge on the field, a box-pressed came out.
Of course we will tell you about our tasting.
We promised to tell you about our Rocky Patel Toro Ray Lewis Legends 52 smoke.
The beautiful chocolaty wrapper comes from Ecuador. Then there are two binders: one from Brazil and one from Mexico. The filler comes from Nicaragua and Honduras. A true South American blend. The “Cigar Snob” gave this cigar a total of 90 points. We were excited.
This box pressed cigar had an excellent draw that was maintained over its entire length. The burn was also perfect. We enjoyed this cigar for over an hour, Tim even a full 80 minutes. It is a wonderfully aromatic and mild cigar. Flavors ranged from cedar to chocolate and a variety of spices. Super Bowl can come. We have found a real surprise to enjoy the night of February 13th to the fullest.
After several attempts with tobacco from Bavaria, Marcel Polzmacher decided on South American tobacco. Now the production takes place in a small factory in Costa Rica. The insert blend of our La Bavaria Salomones comes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Peru. The binder from Nicaragua and the wrapper from Ecuador. The cigars are aged for at least 3 years. The format with a ring gauge of 54/64“and a length of a little over 7” looks really impressive and is perfectly crafted. Our Salomones were delivered in a mason jar. We will report on this smoke.
Our rum, Rumult Signature Cask Selection, is distilled from sugar cane juice by the Lattenhammer distillery in Bavaria at Lake Schliersee and matured there for several years in high-quality barrels. With its 86° proof it is a strong yet silky rum with aromas of dried fruits, raisins and vanilla.
We promised to tell you about the La Bavaria Salomones, which we tried on Friday. We lit the cigar, which tapered to a point at the foot, with a bit of skepticism. But she accepted the fire perfectly and surprisingly immediately developed a great creamy smoke. The draw resistance was optimal from start to finish. We have already reported on the origin of the tobacco used. We found the cigar to be medium strong and could find earthy aromas and coffee notes from halfway through. The ashes held up surprisingly well — until the photo session 🙁
Unfortunately, one of the cigars tended to develop uneven burn, but this could be corrected well. A well-made cigar that is easy to smoke and fun.
Unfortunately the bottle of the Bavarian Rum was much too small with 12 fl oz. An extremely tasty rum that went well with the cigar.
Last evening in Bavaria. Only Bavarian to say goodbye. A Salomones from “La Bavaria” and a “Bitter Truth Pink Gin” from Pullach near Munich. The tradition of mixing gin and bitters was first introduced by members of the Royal Navy to cure seasickness, and pink gin began as a seafarers’ breakfast, drunk to fortify a man against the treacherous ocean. This gin is a delicious blend of traditionally made gin and a blend of bitters.
A Mediterranean bouquet for the nose. Aromas of juniper, fresh lemons and spices. Amazingly smooth on the palate.
The company founders Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck received the bronze medal at the “San Francisco World Spirits” for this gin in 2013.
Last day at Lake Tegernsee and our supply of cigars is smoked. So we went looking. In Rottach-Egern, directly on the lake, we found “Sepp’s Tabakinsel”, a slightly larger kiosk with newspapers, cigarettes, snacks and cigars.
Completely unexpectedly, we discovered a well-stocked walk-in humidor. Sepp, the owner, was able to give us extremely expert advice. He told us about the recent visit from the cigar salesman and a new cigar in his range. We took a few with us. It was a Leon Jimenes Series 300 Cameroon Robusto.
The dark brown, slightly oily, fine-veined wrapper is immediately noticeable. Very good cold draw with a slightly wooden note. The burn was also flawless. The strong aromas increased significantly in the last third. All in all an flawless cigar.
If you are at Lake Tegernsee, a visit to “Sepp’s Tabakinsel” is definitely worth it.
Second day in Bavaria. Today we’re going to try a really big format. The L‑Granú from the Ligero series by La Flor Dominicana. A real “fat boy” with a ring gauge of no less than 64/64”, i.e. a whopping 1” and a length of 6″. We have read that you should take your time with this model and, above all, eat well beforehand. Now we are in Bavaria and the Bavarians consider their beer as a basic food item and not alcohol. So we ordered a “Maß” (1 qt.). That should be a good base!
This cigar, with a wrapper from Ecuador, a binder and a filler from the Dominican Republic, had a perfect draw, as one would expect from the ring gauge. It dominated earth and wood aromas. A special treat for over two hours. However, we each needed one more “Maß”.
Today again the L‑Granú from the Ligero series by La Flor Dominicana.
Accompanied by a cask strength Captain Morgan Jamaica Rum with 156° proof. This rum, specially bottled for Germany, is a real rarity as production was discontinued in 2005. Nevertheless, we were able to find a 1 qt bottle from a private cellar. A magnificent dark rum from the good old days. If you have the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of this overproof rum: grab it immediately!
This very full flavoured and very Jamaican rum with its strong aromas went perfectly with the L‑Granú.
In 2016 Tonio Neugebauer from Lower Saxony founded Tonio’s Tabaco and developed his first cigar brand: Skelton.
A beautiful cigar with a flawless wrapper from Ecuador and a very aromatic insert blend from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.
We found an unusual drink that was perfect both in appearance and, surprisingly, in taste: a Tequila Blanco from Espolòn in Mexico. The label shows the two skeletons Guadalupe and Rosarita. They pay homage to the graphic artist José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican holiday of the dead. This tequila is handcrafted in the highlands from the blue weber agave. It has a delicate scent of sweet agave and sweet fruit notes. In 2011, Espolòn Tequila Blanco won the double gold medal of the World Spirits Awards.
Both together were a taste explosion and a special kind of experience.
After the Skelton Robusto and that good Smoke last week, we plan to test the next larger Vitola, the Toro today. And again, our captain suggested a drink that is certainly unusual for cigar smokers, a “Jägermeister Cut”. You need a glass from the freezer and 1 oz of Jägermeister — in our case the special bottling “Berlin” — and 1 oz of bourbon.
Our Toro, with a ring gauge of 52/64″ and 6″ in length, was also perfectly made. The wrapper again from Ecuador, the binder again from Indonesia, the filler comes from the Dominican Republic and from Nicaragua — compared to the Robusto, Honduras is missing.
A very balanced, mild cigar with a full, creamy smoke. We could detect aromas of cocoa and coffee. The burn and draw were consistent good, as a premium cigar should be.
Oh yes — the drink was perfect — you should try it.
A few weeks ago, after we thoroughly tried out a box of Robustos from the Skelton family and found them to be good, we received a beautiful white, high-gloss box of the Toro today. Only 4% more expensive, but 11% more cigar. The blend is almost identical to the Robusto, only the leaves from Honduras are missing in the insert.
The silky, shimmering, dark and oily wrapper, again from Ecuador, is very finely structured. Draw resistance and burn again, as expected, good with a very full, creamy smoke. This Toro tasted a little more intense than the Robusto, especially the coffee aromas. Towards the end — after 70 minutes — chocolate flavors were added.
A good choice in terms of looks, taste and price.
Today an American cigar that is not available in America. From the Liga Privada Unico series the “Bauhaus” by Drew Estate — a Short Robusto. This cigar was created exclusively for the European market. Drew Estate boss Jonathan Drew is a fan of the famous architect, designer and cigar smoker Walter Gropius, founder of the German Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, a college of art, design, architecture and crafts established in 1919. With this cigar, Drew pays homage to the philosophy of Gropius and the Bauhaus movement of the 20th century.
Rolled in Nicaragua, this Short Robusto has a Connecticut wrapper from the USA, a binder from Brazil and the filler leaves are specially positioned and come from Honduras and Nicaragua.
She immediately develops a lot of smoke and we could detect aromas of wood, caramel and spices. A great, albeit very expensive, smoking experience.
I will try today what Santa brought.
From my friends a beautiful box of Winston Churchill Robustos by Davidoff from the “The Late Hour” series. The making of the cigar is just like the dark wrapper from Ecuador a feast for the eyes. The 52/64” ring gauge is the correct one for my age and is my favorite format. I think it’s the best cigar in this series.
And a bottle of eight-year-old Jamaica rum from the Hampden distillery from my daughter. The special thing about this strong (92° proof) single rum is that no sugar is added, neither for coloring nor for sweetening. An elegant fruity rum with no frills
In Germany today we are celebrating the Three Kings’ Day. So what could be more expected than to celebrate this event royally. Our VP Tim donated us 3 kings in the form of a Robusto Maduro each from Philipp Kugler’s CigarKings from Munich.
According to the manufacturer, this beautiful cigar with a 50/64” ring gauge and a length of 5” is made using the Entubado process. This is an old Cuban rolling style, here the Nicaraguan insert sheets are placed individually in small rolls next to each other and formed into a bundle. The individually rolled filler leaves ensure unhindered passage of smoke in the cigar. The smoke has to pass through all the leaves and thus transports more aroma and taste. Philipp Kugler keeps the location of his factory in Nicaragua a secret. The wrapper comes from Ecuador and the origin of the binder is not revealed.
These two kings were absolutely on par. The two Robusto kings — the Maduro and the Sun Grown — were absolutely equal opponents. Both kings come from the same noble family from Nicaragua. The armor of the kings is partly secret. It was therefore an exciting duel between equal opponents and it was a pleasure. There was no winner, but neither was there a loser. It won’t be the last round!
Everything arrived for our next tasting. Many thanks to our dealer Tabaccohouse Brinkmann for the fast and perfectly packaged delivery. This time we want to try a five-year-old long filler from Costa Rica, the Don Vito from Il Padrino. We will report.
We had promised to report on our Il Padrino tasting.
First of all, of course, the beautiful black lacquered box catches the eye. If you open the box, the 15 even Don Vitos come to light. The Don Vito is a Robusto Gran Gordo with a 58 ring gauge and a length of 5”. The cigars appear to be perfectly crafted. The Colorado wrapper is fine-veined, velvety soft and perfectly rolled. The cold draw is perfect and tastes rather neutral. The first puffs already reveal the full aroma of the well-made blend of the insert from Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic. The burn was surprisingly even to the leathery end. Overall, we 3 Ashholes really liked this cigar. It won’t be the last box.
The 2 different rums, the Il Padrino and the Nordlicht Reserve, convinced with their very similar strong spice aromas and went well with the cigar.
Already 4 weeks ago we tasted the Robusto Don Vito from Il Padrino. We already really liked this Gran Gordo stick! So we ordered the next vitola in the series. Brinkman Finest still had a few in stock and again delivered promptly. A box of Il Padrino Omerta arrived, a Toro with the same ring gauge of 58/64” as the Robusto but just 1 inch longer. The wrapper, binder and filler were also the same and even from the same 2017 harvest.
So we were excited for that extra inch. The outer finish was flawless again, as was the draw behavior and the burn. We found them more aromatic and a bit milder. This shows that the format is decisive for the intensity and the interaction of the aromas. We smoked it at different speeds and enjoyed between 65 and 80 minutes. We really enjoyed it and we’re looking forward to the rest of the box.
Another highlight of our Christmas party at Zigarren Herzog in the Berlin harbor on the Spree with my friends from the Berlin Fumadores were the new La Libertad Robustos. The company Villiger Sons from Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany has given this traditional cigar brand a new look and has relocated production to its new plant in Nicaragua. The wrapper and the filler come from Nicaragua, the binder from the Dominican Republic. I have to say, this cigar is a real alternative to Cuban cigars.
The Puerto Rican rum Don Q Double Cask, named after “Don Quixote”, went well with it. Double Cask, as one rum was first distilled in 2009 and another in 2012 and then matured separately in American white oak barrels. In 2017 the rums were married and transferred to sherry barrels. The rum had matured a second time in these barrels by 2019. A great result!
Today a reverse pairing. What goes well with a Martini extra dry. And what is an extra dry martini. I had an American friend explain it to me. A martini cocktail consists of gin (2 oz) and dry vermouth (0.34 oz). A dry martini consists only of gin and the bottle of vermouth is just next to it. With an Extra Dry Martini, the bottle of vermouth is not even in the same room! The drink is stirred with a lot of ice and not shaken, only James Bond lets it shake, but then it becomes cloudy.
I treated myself to a VegaFina Year of the Ox 2021 (Gran Titan) with my drink. For me it fit perfectly with a ring gauge of 56 (7/8″). Their Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco leaves have a very intense aroma and distinctive taste and go very well with a hard drink.
Our trusted dealer delivered. My first Rocky Patel, I have to admit. In this case a Toro. The inscription “CIGAR SMOKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP” on the box.
After some research, we found out what this label is all about. The Mareva Cigar Club in the Croatian Split organizes an annual world championship in slow smoking. This competition has been supported by Rocky Patel Cigars since 2020; accordingly, this Nicaraguan cigar is now being fought with!
A pleasant to smoke cigar that harmonized very well with the 8 year old Calvados. The only point of criticism is the loop at the end of the cigar. It is a real fiddle to remove these.
Today we want to test the grappa fraction from Joergs little house bar with a few Members. Which one goes best with the Havana H.Upmann Connossieur No.2 ? We have to say the simple Nardini was best for our taste. Sometimes the simple is just good.