Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Torpedo cigar (Dominican Republic)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Recommendation: Buy it

The Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (VSG) line is blended by Carlos Fuente Jr using Dominican tobacco which has been aged 4 to 5 years. The wrapper tobacco, grown on a private estate in Ecuador, is said to heavily contribute to the flavour profile of the cigars in the line. Taken from the higher primings of the tobacco plant, the theory is that the leaf matures slowly as sunlight is filtered through the layer of cloud which commonly covers the land.

The flavour of this cigar is robust and intense with heavy notes of splintered cedar, muddied bark, resinous wood and earthiness, sediment rich Turkish coffee, roasted coffee beans, the darkest chocolate, potent dried oregano, dried whole walnuts, and, a bitter chicory finish. Soapy suds form on the back palate, joined by mild floral notes. A sweetness balances the quite earthy and woody flavour journey, from first puff to last. This is a balanced and full flavoued cigar with a slightly oily touch to the lips.  Spectacular. 

Try it with a peaty malt, such as Ardbeg 10 year old or Perpetuum. 

A must buy for any cigar aficionado! Full marks.

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La Gloria Cubana (Dominican Republic)

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Name: La Gloria Cubana
Rating:  ★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar info: Almost a decade after Senator Ernesto Perez-Carrillo fled Cuba in 1959 he rekindled a bit of his homeland in Miami’s Little Havana in 1968, when he began to make La Gloria Cubana cigars. Needless to say, it seems they were a hit and production of these cigars continues to this very day in both Miami and the Dominican Republic.

La Gloria Cubana contains long filler tobacco from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Nicaragua, which means that this 7 inch Churchill is a bunch of long full leaves all lovingly rolled together and wrapped in a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper – that bad boy, as you will see from our tasting notes, is responsible for much of this cigar’s flavour. The ring gauge is a standard of 50.

Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Mild-Medium
Flavours: The dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper clings against my lips, coating it with an oily film and a sour taste that is pleasant and offers hues of woodiness. Dark chocolate and unsweetened espresso accompany the oiliness, with notes of mild campfire, charred twigs and a bitter finish of chicory infused within the tobacco smoke. Mid-way the cigar becomes fuller, gaining soapy notes for a few puffs which then recede and are taken over by a consistent woodiness and earthy sourness – that chicory bitterness remains, though the chicory is wilder and reddened with an intensified sourness while a puckering red wine cask finish reminds me of the woody dimension of some Pinot Noir wines.  The filler tobacco seemed to balance out the bitterness and sourness of the wrapper, to create an enjoyable and imminently puff-able cigar. This is an elegant cigar that is mostly consistent throughout, though the sourness intensifies towards the end. Excellent.
Format:  Churchill
Match with: This cigar pairs nicely with a soft red wine, such as a light Pinot Noir, or a wine cask finish whisky – try it with Glenmorangie Companta or Benromach Sassicaia
Bottom line:

Buy it, if you are after a balanced cigar with a bitter chicory finish and shades of earthy woodiness that showcase the flavours of a lovely Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper. These wrappers can sometimes be quite sour or bitter and thus overbearing on the palate, but La Gloria Cubana seem to have selected a wrapper that integrates nicely with the filler tobacco but which holds its own and becomes prominent on the finish. Superb.

*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick! 

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.