Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne (Nicaragua)

reserve champagne epicure

Name: Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne
Rating:  ★★★★
Origin: Nicaragua  
Cigar details: The Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne is handmade using a Nicaraguan binder and filler, and, a Connecticut natural shade wrapper.  Being grown in the shade, the tobacco wrapper is intended to have few veins and an even surface for a delicate and smooth smoking experience.
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent, even if uneven at certain points
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Milder side of medium
Flavours: From the first puff the taste of creamy vanilla is prominent, entangled with pistachio, almond, burnt toast, cocoa, coffee and a soft bonfire burns at back palate with hints of cedar on the finish. An inch into the cigar, and the bonfire taste on the finish begins to fade. Tropical fruit starts to emerge, mostly lychee and fresh fleshy coconut, and a mild spiciness prickles the palate – hints of pepper and red chili especially. That bonfire taste on the finish, while fading, slowly morphs into bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee.  Zesty undertones form beneath the complex layers of flavour mid-way through, in particular lemon and soft citrus. The flavours remain consistent, and the cigar is very puff-able. 
Format: Epicure (Toro)
Match with: This cigar paired nicely with Bushmills 16 year old Irish whiskey, lychee beer and a number of rums, including Appleton Estate 21 year old, Havana Club Seleccion de Meastros and Pusser’s Blue Label.   
Bottom line:

Buy it, if you want a smooth and easy smoking cigar with layers of complex flavours packed within a big, bold yet silken tobacco smoke.

*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick! 

Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve (Nicaragua)

Name:  Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve
Rating:  ★★★
Origin: Nicaragua  
Cigar details: The Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve line is comprised on Nicaraguan and Honduran long fillers encased in a dark Nicaraguan wrapper. They are hand made in the Flor de Copan factory in Honduras.
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Medium, gradually becoming fuller as the cigar is smoked
Flavours: The first few puffs are hugely disappointing – burning paper and bonfire burn the back palate with rigid embers, though notes of cedar, wood, citrus and pepper come through the smoky haze of harshness.Without warning, the harshness mellows about two centimeters or so into the stick. The bonfire taste mellows, to the point where it fades completely. Magic happens. The cigar becomes extremely integrated and smooth, with pronounced citrus, cocoa, ground coffee, mild creaminess, hints of honey, cedar, edamame, dried parsley and a sweet peppery heart – capsicum, crisp fresh peppers and bull horn chilies, not cracked pepper. The tobacco smoke is moderately dense, but no means overbearing. It is very puff-able. This is the sweet spot, and the cigar smokes impeccably from a few centimeters to around the half way point.  Just this part of the cigar would easily score into the 90’s – superb. The sharp contrast from the harsh beginning makes this part of the cigar especially pleasant, because the taste buds seem so relieved to finally sit back and enjoy the party.At half way, the harshness returns. Bonfire embers burn the back palate, and sit in the upper throat with the nagging taste of burning paper.

Two thirds into the cigar, the bonfire harshness recedes and the cigar now becomes much more noticeably fuller – find hazelnuts, coal fire, wood, dark cocoa and perfumed soap infused in the dense tobacco smoke. The cigar quickly becomes hot to draw, however, and the revival is short lived.

Format:  Toro
Match with: Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve is a medium to full cigar with lots of varying temperaments. Try it with something that can douse those occasional harsh embers, but which will compliment the impeccable “sweet spot” – a Corona with lemon and similar style crisp lager is recommended.
Bottom line: Seriously consider buying it.  Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve took me on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs – a harsh start was followed by a sensationally smooth and flavourful experience which lasted until the cigar’s half way point, at which some harshness re-emerged until the cigar regained some full flavoured magic only to stumble again towards the nub of the cigar and become a tad too hot to handle. The cigar’s “sweet spot” and subsequent stint of full flavoured magic is, in my opinion, well worth buying this cigar and the long filler tobacco leaf tells quite an entertaining story of ups and downs.*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick! 

La Flor Dominicana Oro (Dominican Republic)

 Flor dominicana

Name: La Flor Dominicana Oro Tubo No. 6
Rating: ★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar details: The owner of La Flor Dominicana, Litto Gomez, was a jeweler before entering the cigar industry and the “Oro” (gold in Spanish) seems to pay homage to this past. According to Litto Gomez, the “Oro” line is a Coronado blend that makes use of a Nicaraguan Habano sun grown wrapper taken from the higher priming on the tobacco plant. The binder and filler tobacco are grown in the Dominican Republic, at La Canela farm.
Draw: Superb, this cigar had a loose draw and was easy to smoke.
Burn: Flawless
Construction: Superb
Consistency: Good, but I noticed some varying degrees of potency between some cigars – some were more mellow than others. 
Flavours: That veiny wrapper taken from the higher priming of the tobacco  plant can only mean one thing – some serious Nicaraguan punch! That is exactly what you get, for the entire horse-powered ride – the first puff prickles the palate with smooth spice including green peppercorn alongside buttered burnt toast, as the oily wrapper lingers on the lips and the back palate is nipped with notes of bonfire. Woody notes develop a quarter in, with black olives, dried rosemary and a somewhat meaty smoked flavour of crispy bacon. Notes of citrus rind then begin to shine – first lemon, then lime and then orange joins the party – as ground coffee comes through what is a constant earthy note. That dry grass and bonfire note is spectacular, and continues to bite the back palate on the finish with burning embers and a thick smoke. The oily wrapper begins to fade mid-way, as the smooth spice is gradually replaced with more sharp and rigid spice – cracked pepper, for instance, which bites the taste buds. The finish is consistently full flavoured, with lots of flavour from the wrapper and that bonfire nip at back palate. 

Overall, this is a potent and powerful cigar that is best enjoyed after a big meal and on a full belly. It is a heavy full flavoured cigar that offers nicely integrated flavours which are all infused into the smoke, but occasionally they leap out. This cigar strikes me as one for the intermediate to seasoned cigar smoker, because it may knock the socks off a beginner. It struck me as no where near as potent as, say, Rocky Patel Decades so I would say it errs to the milder and mellower side of a full smoke. 

Format: Toro

Match with:

This cigar seemed so versatile it was almost scary, because it matched almost anything I threw at it – from Japanese whisky to richer Scotch malts, it was a winner. I particularly enjoyed it with Hakushu Distillers’ Reserve, which offered leafy and minty notes that refreshed the palate between puffs. To bring the cigar to life, try it with some richer malty whiskies which really bring out the spice and nuances of the wrapper – Glenrothes 1995, Cutty Sark (Prohibition, Tam O Shanter) or Johnnie Walker Blue Label. 

You can buy La Flor Dominicana Oro at The Famous Smoke Shop, just click here to purchase.

Perdomo Double Aged 12 year Connecticut (Nicaragua)

Name: Perdomo Double Aged 12 year Connecticut
Score: 79/100
Origin: Nicaragua
Cigar details: This cigar is made from tobacco that has been aged for 12 years, first bale aged for 10 years and then in white oak bourbon barrels for a further two years.
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent, though it did burn quite evenly and it needed some touching up.
Construction: Excellent
Consistency: Excellent
Flavours: Very smooth, soft notes of vanilla and coffee soaked brown sugar underpin a mild dark chocolate infused tobacco smoke that fades into a woody finish that showcases the Connecticut wrapper. Bourbon flavours have certainly infused into the cigar. The flavours of wood are prominent, but they are softened by mild hues of caramel and the faint flicker of brown sugar as the sweet flavours of the Jalapa tobacco counterbalances the richer heavier tobaccos (such as from Esteli). With each draw the wood notes in the cigar evolve, from woody splinters into more nuanced and delicate wood spices as buttered burnt toast lingers on the finish, accompanying the woody notes. Half way through, and the strength of the tobacco smoke intensifies with more pronounced burnt hay/bonfire and soft notes of bitter dried herbs. A harshness then develops, which is too much for the sweet components of the cigar to counteract – that bonfire note remains on the palate, producing a mismatch with and almost spoiling the enjoyment of paired spirits. The first half of this cigar was sublime but unfortunately after the half-way point it became harsh and unenjoyable, ruined in my view by the taste of burning paper/bonfire. What a monumental change of enjoyment I experienced smoking this cigar, at first I could not get enough of it but after two thirds I had no desire to continue smoking it.
Format: Robusto
Match with:

The first half of this cigar was divine with some spirits, while the second half went off the rails and did not produce the same caliber of carefully balanced smoke that made it worthy of a pairing with a fine spirit. This will sound cliché, but the first half of this cigar paired beautifully with a bourbon – Eagle Rare 17 year old was my bourbon of choice with this cigar, a combination which released a lovely buttery note with seeded raisins and sweetened coffee. It also pairs nicely with whiskies that showcase delicately cultivated oak notes from careful aging, and I found it was delicious with Glenlivet 18 year old and Glen Grant 16 year old. A number of rums also brought a welcome shimmer of sweetness to the party, but the oak notes underlying them really brought to life the cigar’s wood infused heart – try it with Pusser’s 15 year old or Havana Club 7 year old.

 

Macanudo Estate Reserve Robusto (Dominican Republic)

Name: Macanudo Estate Reserve
Batch: 0290/1800 – 2014
Rating: ★★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar details: This cigar is handmade from Jamaican binder and filler tobacco and wrapped with a US Connecticut shade wrapper. The tobacco has been aged for at least 8-10 years.
Draw: Flawless
Burn: Flawless, with an even burn that did not extinguish even when the cigar was left alone.
Construction: Excellent
Consistency: Excellent
Flavours: This is an ultra-smooth cigar that errs to the milder side of a medium strength smoke. It can easily underwhelm an experienced smoker, but its subtle flavours are sublime for those who enjoy an elegant cigar with lots of nuances and complexity – find a foundation of cocoa, cappuccino, ground coffee, crushed nuts, vanilla and soft cream beneath the silken cedar infused tobacco smoke as it prickles the palate with hints of pepper.
Format: Robusto
Match with:

This is a very smooth cigar that can easily be dominated by some whiskies and spirits. The last thing you want with a cigar of this age and style is to lose its flavours to a tsunami of malt and oak. Try it with Glenmorangie Companta, Appleton Estate 21 year old rum, Glen Grant 10 year old or any Chivas Regal. This cigar also matches nicely with a mild espresso (try a Honduran single origin) or an iced coffee.

ACID Extra-Ordinary Larry (Nicaragua)

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Score: 81/100

Draw: Good

Burn: Good

Construction: Excellent  

Consistency: Good

Flavours: Big bursts of rich dark chocolate meld with earthy undertones, lightly buttered burnt toast (I mean burnt!) and black tea leaves with a mild underlying creaminess, almost yogurt-like with vanilla. Sweet flickers of orange rind then shine with cucumber as an oiliness lingers on the lips from the maduro wrapper

Origin: Nicaragua

Matched with: I found this cigar was enjoyable with a good quality silver tequila or a gin and tonic, though it did have a tendency to overpower.

Buy again?: No, I would not buy this cigar again.

Aging Room F55 Quattro

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Score: 85/100

Draw: Excellent 

Burn: Excellent

Construction: Good, though on smoking this cigar it literally fell apart and it was an extremely disappointing experience. Aging Room and the retailer from which I purchased the cigar has since noted that this is a rare occurrence, but neither offered to replace the cigar and cover postage.

Consistency: Very poor, the cigar I smoked fell apart!

Flavours: Despite falling apart, the Aging Room F55 Quattro was an extremely puff-able cigar offering roasted hazelnuts, earthy ground coffee and cocoa with mild woody notes of cedar, Brazil nuts and the curious aftertaste of shiitake mushrooms lingered for me with a drying burning hay-like ember at back palate and the tone of that dark leaf. Overall, this was an enjoyable well-rounded cigar with superstar qualities. Pity it began to shed its skin!

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Origin: Dominican Republic

Matched with: The cigar, before it fell apart, was delicious with a rich single malt, whether peated or not. It compliments an old Speysider nicely (Glenlivet 21 year old, Glenfarclas 21 or 25 year old) though it matches nicely with a mildly peated older malt (Bunnhabhain 25 year old). On the lower end of the price spectrum, I would puff it with a Jameson or Glenmorangie Original – two smooth but interesting malts that will not dominate over this cigar.   

Buy again?: I am not sure if I would buy this cigar again! It had a great draw, burn and flavour, but it did fall apart while smoking it. This meant that I did not enjoy smoking it because each time I touched the cigar it slowly fell apart. The producer, on being contacted, only said it is “rare” for this to happen and did not seem interested in replacing the cigar with no additional cost. Given this negative experience, I would not want to risk buying this cigar again when they are so expensive (at least here in Australia)!

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series (Nicaragua)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Draw: Exceptional

Burn: Exceptional

Construction: Superb

Consistency: Excellent

Flavours: The draw and initial flavours are woody with twigs and dry leaves, leather and a smoky note (think smoked meats) with a maduro rich finish, the slight bitterness of green olives and a mild oiliness. More roasted ground coffee, nuts and very dark chocolate evolves with each puff, with olive leaf undertones and dried oregano. This is an absolute classic cigar, one of the best burns and draws I’ve encountered in a cigar. Beautiful. I want a box of these. The tobacco has, apparently, been aged for four years and this is certainly noticeable in the complex yet smooth flavours offered by this box pressed cigar. Some tweezers might be advisable, because I found myself puffing it until it reached the width of my fingers!

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Robusto

Match with: Savour with espresso and a teaspoon of raw sugar, ginger beer or a Spanish style rum (Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros immediately comes to mind) or a Navy style rum such as Pusser’s Blue Label. It also pairs particularly well with an old cognac, with rancio notes in the eucalyptus and umami spectrum (DEAU Louis Memory).

ACID Kuba Kuba (Nicaragua)

ACID KUBA KUBA

Score: 89/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: OK.

Consistency: Good.

Flavours: A mild and very smooth smoke is softened by creamy vanillas and cut through by sweet honey, as the taste of that sugary honey remains lingering on the lips until the next puff. This is a very smooth cigar with mild tobacco notes that are secondary to the infused flavours which seem to dominate. This cigar would be ideal for the beginner smoker who does not want a lot of tobacco flavour, though be warned those looking for rich tobacco notes may feel underwhelmed. I would only recommend this cigar for people who want a sweet infused cigar without too much tobacco flavour.

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Robusto

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