Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

Origin : CubaRomeo y Julieta
Format : Wide Churchill / Montesco (Robusto)
Size : 5.1 (130 mm) x 55
Release : 2010
Box code : RAE JUN15
Hand-Made
Price : $283 for a box of 25
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Recently I had the opportunity to finally sample a branded cigar that is readily available in my market, but typically supplied from different countries in Central America (editor's note: non-Cuban Romeo y Julietas, some of them are reviewed here). Typically these smokes have been dry, grainy and more akin to puffing on a pile of sawdust than a true fine quality cigar. I am happy to say that the Cuban Romeo y Julieta rose to the occasion and has offered a stout cigar with plenty of taste that should satisfy most any avid Cubano lover and beginner alike. It is a nice smoke at an economical price for a Cuban.

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Montecristo No. 2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005

Montecristo No. 2 Gran Reserva Cosecha 2005

MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 (152 mm) x 52
Released in : 2011
Box code : SUB OCT 11 (1110/5000)
Hand-Made
Price : $1500 for a box of 15 cigars
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After giving Montecristo a hard time in a previous review, I felt it only fair to find another cigar of their issue that was somewhat close in age to the one I dealt with so harshly to see if the box I consumed was an aberration, or if the issues I encountered with the other product continued with this limited edition release. I am happy to say that in this case the latter applies, not the former. What one is left to wonder is how something so wrong could turn into something so right. By its taste profile, it would SEEM that this outcome was what Montecristo was shooting for with their 2008 Sublime release. Here they are using 2005 tobacco, which on its face would indicate that the stock was somewhat similar in age to the Sublime (it used 2006 tobacco). This is a conundrum I do not think I can figure out by the time this review is over. Where such utter failure turns into such utter bliss leaves me dumbstruck, but I will take them as they come.

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Montecristo Sublime (2008 Edicion Limitada)

Montecristo Sublime (2008 Edicion Limitada)

MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Format : Sublime (Double Robusto)
Size : 6.5 (164 mm) x 54
Released in : 2008
Box code : NOV 08
Hand-Made
Price : ~$575 for a box of 10 cigars
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If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Montecristo lover, you might want to stop reading right now. Yes, I am a huge fan of Montecristo, but this review will not be flattering, not in the least. You might want the children to leave the room on this one. In many communities in my country, we have a colloquial saying “You dance with the lady that brought you to the party”, which loosely translates to “You stick with ideas where you excel”. Montecristo would have done well to have heeded this idiom before foisting this product upon the cigar loving public. They tried to copy others by an attempt to make a “kinder and gentler” cigar. Failure. Absolute and total failure.

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H. Upmann Naturals (Vintage Review)

H. Upmann Naturals

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Panetela
Size : 6.1 x 37 (155 x 15 mm)
Box date : 1970's
Discontinued in the 80's
Machine-Made
Price : roughly $20-25/cigar
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There is an excitement that portends the smoking a Cuban cigar that has aged in a tube for roughly 40 years and the natural bias to presume this will be a spectacular smoke, one is shocked by the plain ugliness of this cigar. For comparison purposes, I took a photo of the H. Upmann Naturals next to a current production H. Upmann Royal Robusto.

H. Upmann Naturals and Royal Robusto

H. Upmann Naturals were machine-made cigars always sold in tubes. Discontinued in the early 1980s. Not sure of the box year, but I’d guess late-1970s.

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Juan Lopez Ideales (Regional Edition Austria)

Juan Lopez Ideales (Regional Edition Austria)

Juan LopezOrigin : Cuba
Format : Petit Robusto
Size : 102 x 19 mm (4 x 50)
Ring : 50
Released in : 2011
Hand-Made
Price : ~9 EUR each
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Juan López is an old cigar brand in Cuba, dating back to somewhere around 1870, but it is not a very well-known brand. There are three regular production sizes: the Petit Corona, the Selección No. 1, and the Selección No. 2. Until 2006, Juan López also manufactured the Panatelas Superba and a Corona. In the recent years, Juan Lopez was mostly known for its regional editions, and we've reviewed quite a few of them on the blog: the Don Juan (Benelux, 2014), the Seleccion No. 3 (Benelux, 2010), the Maximo (Switzerland, 2008), the Short Torpedo (Caribbean, 2008)...

Back in 2011, three regional editions were released: the Distinguidos for Germany, the Supreme for Canada, and the Ideales for Austria. I had a chance to try the Austria edition, which I paid a bit less than 10 EUR per stick on my recent trip to Vienna.

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Bolivar Poderosos (Regional Edition Benelux)

Bolivar Poderosos (Regional Edition Benelux)

Origin : Cuba
Format : Double PyramidBolivar
Size : 180 x 22 mm (7.1 x 54)
Released in : 2013
Box Code : MUR OCT2013
Hand-Made
Price : ~$20 each
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Last month I took some well-needed healing time from a medical procedure done in late summer. While recuperating, I tasked my favorite tobacconist to find a good “value” type cigar, that embodied the spirit of the traditional Cuban while giving the average hobbyist the opportunity to indulge themselves without cleaning out their bank accounts to pay for it. Quite frankly, Bolivars are a brand that I often overlooked, but after consuming the box I just did, I certainly can say that I would be more open-minded to them being suggested to me in the future. Did the Bolivar Poderosos meet my expectations?? You bet they did, and then some. This smoke offered expected standards for a Cuban torpedo, but tossed in a few pleasant surprises to boot.

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Partagas Serie E No. 2

Partagas Serie E No. 2

Origin : CubaPartagas
Format : Robusto Extra / Duke
Size : 140 x 22 mm (5.5 x 54)
Released in : 2011
Hand-Made
Price : ~$15 each
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The Partagas Serie E No. 2 was officially released at the XIII Habanos Festival in Cuba in February of 2011. Distinctive features include a large ring gauge and simple but beautiful packaging. It took me about an age to try one of these (they have been resting for over 1 year in my humi), but now I am so glad I did. This cigar is not cheap, but it is a real treat.

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Cohiba Piramides Extra

Cohiba Piramides Extra

Origin : Cuba
Format : Piramide ExtraCohiba
Size : 6.3 x 54 (160 x 21.43 mm)
Released : 2012
Hand-Made
Price : $30+
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The Cohiba Piramide Extra is a relatively new vitola (released in 2012) which measures 6.3″ inches in length by 54 ring gauge. Although it is considered to be part of the “Linea Clasica”, it bears a different band. The cigar is presented in 3-packs of aluminium tubes and semi boite nature boxes of 10.

The Cohiba Piramide Extra is a handful! The wrapper is light brown with a reddish hue, similar in shade to the Classic line, and has a moderate amount of veins but no imperfections. Its brand new shiny band has inherited the holographic security markings of the Behike, but unlike it, it only has one side (face). The bunch is firm and a close look to the foot of the cigar reveals that there are plenty of leaves packed in it. However, none of these leaves is Medio Tiempo, as the Piramide Extra uses the recipe of the Classic Line blend. The aromas are mild, with notes of flowers and a little bit of pepper. The prelight draw is perfect… Time to light up!

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