Origin : Cuba
Format : Ninfas (Slim Panatela)
Size : 33 x 178 mm (7”)
Box Date : EAR – April ’02 (Controlado Feb ’05)
Discontinued in 2002
Price : roughly $7/cigar in 2002
More info about purchasing Punch cigars...
Natural (Colorado Claro), flat sheen, few veins. Box pressed beyond any cigar I’ve ever seen with hard corners. The appearance is elegant by its nature. Generally white, grainy ash; flakey & not as dense as the tight draw would lead one to expect.
Tight but smokeable. Three quarters of this box were too tight to be smoked; this was the most pliable of the six or seven I pulled out of the box. In my opinion, boxes which have been stamped “Controlado” (meaning they have been re-inspected because of construction concerns) are quite often unsmokeable. Unfortunately, most vendors do not disclose the Controlado or Revisado status of a box ordered by mail. Heavy volume of gray-white smoke. Burn was pretty even, but required relighting if left unattended for more than a minute or two. Lasted about an hour.
Opened a little bitter/acrid and was dominated by black pepper, leather and earth. These have been terrific in the past so I wondered if it was my taste buds today; I cleansed my palate with a tiny sip of scotch. Better after that, same leather and earth flavors, but pleasant with a strong woody undercurrent. More experimentation, with a small piece of milk chocolate, but nothing new emerged. Flavors stayed fairly constant although cedar developed and I could discern a hint of cream. The black pepper gave way to unidentifiable spices about halfway through (“unidentifiable” because I’m not that good in the kitchen). This Ninfas had a classic Punch flavor profile. There was a bit of must reflecting the cigar's age. The finish was shorter than I expected. Towards the last inch, the flavor became a little bitter again.
Overall Rating :
I am generally not a big fan of the Punch line, but I’ve always thought of the Ninfas as exceptional (aside from draw issues). This particular cigar was more average. In a blind test, I would absolutely have determined it to be a Punch by flavor and, therefore, a Ninfas by the size. The flavor most closely resembled an aged RS (Royal Selection) 11. Other Ninfas have been a 4 of 5 to me, this one was not as good and only rated a 3 of 5.
As these are discontinued, I would recommend inspecting the cigar or box prior to purchase to ensure it is not too tight. I paid approximately $200 for a dress box in 2006; although hard to find, I would expect these to still be in the $10 – 15 range per single.