Our Tastings

Don Diego Classic Torpedo
Don Die­go Clas­sic Torpedo

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!!!

Davidoff from Nicaragua
Davi­d­off from Nicaragua

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!

Arturo Fuente Flor Fina Maduro
Arturo Fuen­te Flor Fina Maduro

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.

Panetelas Extra by Rafael Gonzalez
Pane­telas Extra by Rafa­el Gonzalez

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.

Panetelas Extra by Rafael Gonzalez
Pane­telas Extra by Rafa­el Gonzalez

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.

Plasencia 149 Cosecha Privada La Vega Robusto
Pla­sen­cia 149 Cosecha Priva­da La Vega Robusto

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!

Plasencia 149 Cosecha Privada La Vega Robusto
Pla­sen­cia 149 Cosecha Priva­da La Vega Robusto

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.

Guantanamera Cristale from ICT
Guan­tan­ame­ra Cris­ta­le from ICT

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!

Guantanamera Cristale from ICT
Guan­tan­ame­ra Cris­ta­le from ICT

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.

Cazadores by Jose L. Piedra
Caza­do­res by Jose L. Piedra

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!

Cazadores by Jose L. Piedra.
Caza­do­res by Jose L. Piedra.

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.

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King T Tubo
Arturo Fuen­te Cha­teau Fuen­te King T Tubo

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!

Arturo Fuente King T Tubo,
Arturo Fuen­te King T Tubo,

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.

Matilde Serena
Matil­de Serena

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!

Matilde Serena Toro Bravo
Matil­de Sere­na Toro Bravo

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.

Exquisit Sublimes from the Dingelstädt cigar factory in the former GDR
Exqui­sit Sub­li­mes from the Din­gel­städt cigar fac­to­ry in the for­mer GDR6. Juni 2022

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.

Exquisit Sublimes from the Dingelstädt cigar factory in the former GDR
Exqui­sit Sub­li­mes from the Din­gel­städt cigar fac­to­ry in the for­mer GDR

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.

cigar of the year 2013 limited edition from John Aylesbury
cigar of the year 2013 limi­ted edi­ti­on from John Aylesbury

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!

The John Aylesbury 2013 limited edition
The John Ayles­bu­ry 2013 limi­ted edition

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!

Big Johnny" by Oscar Valladares
Big John­ny” by Oscar Valladares

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!

Oscar Valladares' "Big Johnny".
Oscar Val­la­da­r­es’ “Big Johnny”.

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.

“The Leaf Connecticut” by Valladares.
“The Leaf Con­nec­ti­cut” by Valladares.

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.

“The Leaf Connecticut” by Valladares.
“The Leaf Con­nec­ti­cut” by Valladares.

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!!

Patoro VA Salomones
Pato­ro VA Salomones

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.

Salomones VA by Patoro
Salo­mo­nes VA by Patoro

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..

Series V Melanio Robusto Maduro - Gran Reserva Limitada by Oliva
Seri­es V Mela­nio Robus­to Madu­ro — Gran Reser­va Limita­da by Oliva

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.

Cusano cigars
Cusa­no cigars

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.

Cusano Maduro Toro & Cusano Robusto
Cusa­no Madu­ro Toro & Cusa­no Robusto

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.

Cusano Bundles Dominican Republic
Cusa­no Bund­les Domi­ni­can Republic

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.

Viva la Vida Dia­de­ma by A.J. Fer­nan­dez from Nicaragua

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.

Viva la Vida Dia­de­ma by A.J. Fer­nan­dez from Nicaragua

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.

Rocky Patel Number 6 Robusto.
Rocky Patel Num­ber 6 Robusto.

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.

Fake Cohiba
Fake Cohi­ba

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.

Fake Cohiba
Fake Cohi­ba

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.

Casa de Torres Pipa
Casa de Tor­res Pipa

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.

Casa de Torres Pipa
Casa de Tor­res Pipa

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.

RVGN Rauchvergnügen German engineered Cigars #62
Ger­man Engi­nee­red Cigars:: RVGN Rauch­ver­gnü­gen (smo­king plea­su­re) #62

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!

RVGN Toro #62 from German Engineered Cigars
RVGN Toro #62 from Ger­man Engi­nee­red Cigars

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!

Heimatzigarre No. 8
Hei­mat­zi­gar­re No. 8

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!

Heimatzigarre No. 8
Hei­mat­zi­gar­re No. 8

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.

Nordlicht Sampler
Nord­licht Sampler

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.

Nord­licht Magnum

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.

Nordlicht Short Torpedo Maduro
Nord­licht Short Tor­pe­do Maduro

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.

Nordlicht Gordo paired with Sambuca
Nord­licht Gordo mit einem Sam­bu­ca IL Santo

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.

Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig
Drew Esta­te Liga Priva­da No. 9 Fly­ing Pig

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.

CAO Fuma em Corda
CAO Fuma em Corda

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.

CAO Fuma em Corda
CAO Fuma em Corda

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.

Asylum Cigars: 13 6ixty 9ine by 4our
Asyl­um Cigars: 13 6ixty 9ine by 4our

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.

Vecchia Romagna plus Asylum 13
Vec­chia Roma­gna mit einer Asyl­um 13

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.

Herr Lehmann (Mr. Lehmann) No. 5
Herr Leh­mann (Mr. Leh­mann) No. 5

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!

Herr Lehmann (Mr. Lehmann) No. 5
Herr Leh­mann No. 5

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.

Zigarrenmanufaktur Dresden: Cabrera Amistad 407
Zigar­ren­ma­nu­fak­tur Dres­den: Cabre­ra Amistad 407

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!

Zigarrenmanufaktur Dresden Cabrera Amistad 407
Zigar­ren­ma­nu­fak­tur Dres­den: Cabre­ra Amistad 407

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!

Toscano Antico
Tos­ca­no Antico

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!

The Clint Eastwood Cigar: Toscano Antico
Tos­ca­no Antico

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!

Casa de Torres Churchill
Casa de Tor­res Churchill

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.

Vaholago Petit Corona
Vahol­a­go Petit Corona

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.

VegaFina Year of the Tiger 2022
Vega­Fi­na Year of the Tiger 2022

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.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Deluxe Toro
Rocky Patel Vin­ta­ge 1992 Delu­xe Toro

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”.

Quintero Favoritos
Quin­te­ro Favoritos

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.

Don Papa Baroko
Don Papa Baroko

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!

Montosa Churchill
Mon­to­sa Churchill

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.

Rocky Patel Toro Ray Lewis Legends 52
Rocky Patel Toro Ray Lewis Legends 52

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.

Rocky Patel Toro Ray Lewis Legends 52
Rocky Patel Toro Ray Lewis Legends 52

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.

La Bavaria Salomones & Rumult Rum
La Bava­ria Salo­mo­nes & Rumult Rum

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.

La Bavaria Salomones
La Bava­ria Salomones

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.

Pink Gin with the La Bavaria Salomones
Pink Gin with the La Bava­ria Salomones

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.

Leon Jimenes Series 300 Cameroon Robusto
Leon Jime­nes Seri­es 300 Camer­oon Robusto

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.

La Flor Dominicana L-Granú
La Flor Domi­ni­ca­na L‑Granú

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”.

Captain Morgan Jamaica Rum 156° proof (78 Vol.-%)
Cap­tain Mor­gan Jamai­ca Rum 78 Vol.-%

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.

Tequila Blanco by Espolòn plus Skelton Cigar
Tequi­la Blan­co von Espolòn und eine Skel­ton Zigarre

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.

Skelton Robusto
Skel­ton Robusto

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.

Skelton Toro
Skel­ton Toro

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.

"Bauhaus" by Drew Estate
“Bau­haus” by Drew Estate

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.

Winston Churchill Robustos von Davidoff
Win­s­ton Chur­chill Robustos von Davidoff

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

CigarKings Robusto Maduro
Cigar­Kings Robus­to Maduro

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.

two Robusto kings - the Maduro and the Sun Grown
two Robus­to kings — the Madu­ro and the Sun Grown

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!

Don Vito from Il Padrino
Don Vito from Il Padrino

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.

Il Padrino Don Vito Robusto Gran Gordo
Il Padri­no Don Vito Robus­to Gran Gordo

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.

Il Padrino Don Vito
Il Padri­no Don Vito

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.

La Libertad Robustos paired with Puerto Rican rum Don Q Double Cask
La Libertad Robustos pai­red with Puer­to Rican rum Don Q Dou­ble Cask

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!

VegaFina Year of the Ox 2021 paired with a Martini extra dry
Vega­Fi­na Year of the Ox 2021 pai­red with a Mar­ti­ni extra dry

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.

Rocky Patel "CIGAR SMOKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP" paired with an old Calvados
Rocky Patel “CIGAR SMOKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP” pai­red with an old Calvados

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.

Grappa Tsting
Grap­pa Tas­ting — Wel­cher Grap­pa zur H. Upmann Con­nos­sieur No. 2?

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.