Recently I purchased an aged variety of cigar readily available in the US market to see if there other cigars out there that the average US aficionado could enjoy at reasonable prices. Macanudo has always been a popular smoke, and I went on Cigar.com’s website to make my choice. I give a tip of the cap to Sean O. and Andy D. at Cigar.com for their assistance in processing my order. Customer service was impeccable and these guys were immensely helpful in processing my requests. I purchased all three vitolas available — Perfecto, Toro and Robusto, and since they all were basically the same cigar, my comments are directed at all three configurations.
Today we are publishing a guest quick smoke review from our long-time reader, Beneluxor! Enjoy.
Dutch company Balmoral dates back to the 1890s, and is distinctive in Europe for having both very popular ranges of short-filler machine-made slightly upscale cigars - like their 'Sumatra' line using Indonesian Java - Sumatra, Brazilian & Havana Remedios tobaccos - but also 5 lines of hand-rolled premium cigars, including this Royal Selection Maduro, which has quite won me over as a great favourite, one of the most satisfying maduro cigars out there.
A long-filler cigar hand-rolled in the Dominican Republic (Balmoral is part of Agio now), the wrapper is sweet dark Arapiraca from Brazil, the binder Dominican Olor, and the filler from both Brazil & the Dominican Republic.
The Balmoral Royal Maduro Panatela here is a unique elegant vitola, 37 ring rauge (14.68mm), and 139mm (5 1/2 inches) long. A great virtue of slender cigars is that the flavour impact of the wrapper can be heightened dramatically, as happens in smoking these lovely sticks.
It's an exciting cigar, rewarding with wonderful explosions of flavours suggesting dark chocolate & espresso, rich but not over-strong, and tends to be very tasty well into the final third. It draws easily and makes nice ash. The amount of flavour burst can vary during the smoke and cigar-to-cigar, but generally stays in the upper end of flavour richness for maduros. The Balmoral Royal is for me, the top maduro value.
A singularly stylish & good-looking cigar too with the wrapper, the well-balanced sizing & the striking green cigar band, it's not too pricey (around € 6,50 in my neighbourhood). With tobacco from their former Indonesian realms, the Dutch became great masters of the cigar business, and with this stick it's clear that they still organise the making of great cigars today.
Just to keep up with what is out there, I have been known to stumble across a diamond in the rough. Such is the case with the Montecristo NY Connoiseur Edition. This stick is available in the US market at quite reasonable prices. If you want to see what all the commotion is about regarding fine Cuban cigars, this smoke is just about as close as you can come to the “real thing” without going through the risk and expense of ordering from overseas and paying through the nose to do so. Were the bands removed from this smoke, I would have been hard pressed to distinguish it from its Cuban cousins. That sealed the deal for me in regards to this issue.
La Flor Dominicana showcased a number of exciting new cigars at the 2015 IPCPR, but the brand’s focal point cigar this year was definitely La Flor Dominicana La Nox. This cigar was created by Tony Gomez, owner Litto Gomez’ son. You may have already tried Tony’s other creations in 2013 and 2014, Chapter One and Capitulo II respectively.
I’d heard a lot of great things about this cigar, so I was thrilled to get a chance to try it. As it turned out, it more than met my expectations.
Famous Smoke Shop recently announced that Crowned Heads would be producing a special line of cigars exclusively for their shops. Called the Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle, the new cigar is an amped-up version of the original Four Kicks. Where the old Four Kicks used a Habano Ecuador wrapper, this one comes with a Connecticut Broadleaf.
In case you’re curious about the name, it comes from a song by the Kings of Leon. The lyrics go like this:
Huff men don’t take no nonsense He’s here to rectify He’s got his black belt buckle And the red man’s fire in his eyes.
This cigar is brand new—it’s been available to order since December 3. I’ve finally had a chance to give it a try.
The EP Carrillo Seleccion Oscuro was unveiled at the last year’s IPCPR. It is the first time the brand has ever made use of a San Andres Oscuro wrapper. You can buy it in six different sizes: Robusto Gordo, Nacionales, Small Churchill, Especial No. 6, Pirmades Royal, and Dinamicos. For this review, I tried the 5 ½ x 44 Nacionales.
A nice dark oily plug of a cigar. I was instantly drawn to this cigar because of the sheer amount of oil this cigar has on it and the size is quite interesting as well. The wrapper is a deep brown color with absolutely no color variation whatsoever. The cigar seems packed well and is pretty solid with a slight bounce, which is usually the norm. The roll is seamless and has an expertly applied cap. One thing I think they could have done differently is shrink the band down. The band covers damn near a third of the cigar and is a shame considering the beauty of this cigar.
The Double Ligero #452 has a nice easy draw and it produces a ton of smoke. The burn is a little wavy while the ash is nice and compact with some slight flowering. The body of this cigar is full and you can definitely feel this one in the belly, almost like you just got done eating a huge meal. The strength is full with a good nicotine kick.
The La Flor Dominicana DL 452 starts off with a deep rich earthy sweetness with some coffee and citrus flavors along with some peppery spice. In the second third the spice backs down and really gives way to the flavors from the first third. The final third is much of the same but adds a hickory flavor almost reminiscent of a nice smoky barbeque sauce. The finish of the cigar is slightly dry so make sure to have beverage handy while smoking this one.
This cigar is a winner in by book. The flavors are fantastic and they are so rich and complex. I really didn’t expect this much complexity out of a $6 cigar but this cigar definitely performs. Also the cigar is a slow burner. I was expecting to polish this baby off in less than an hour but it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to finish this guy up which is typically how long it will take me to finish a regular robusto.
This is an average looking cigar with a smooth feeling, light brown colored wrapper. There are a few moderate sized veins in the wrapper but they should not be a problem. The cigar seems packed very well with tobacco and there are no noticeable defects with the cigar.
The Litto Gomez Diez Cubano has a nice draw with some resistance that produces an average amount of smoke. The burn was even with no touch-ups needed and the ash held well but was farily flaky. The body of this cigar starts off medium to full but mellows down through the cigar and dips down to the lower end of the medium spectrum. The strength of this cigar is medium to full.
The Cubano has a nice woody core with some floral notes, black pepper and a bit of leather. Some may think this cigar is a bit dry on the palate but there is just enough sweetness on this cigar to balance things out a bit. As the cigar progresses, the pepper backs down and is thrown in the background. Other than that there are no major changes throughout the cigar.
When all is said and done I did enjoy this cigar. The flavor profile was a nice change of pace but I got a little bored with it. For a $10 cigar, I was expecting there to be a little more complexity and a little more of a roller coaster ride but there was none to be had.