Partagas is amongst the oldest and most renowned cigar brands in Cuba, dating clear back to 1845. They are known for producing bold cigars, and the Partagas Serie C No. 3, the limited edition for 2012, is no exception to the rule. The tobacco used in the filler, binder and wrapper was aged for two years. This is a very strong cigar; unfortunately I did not find it very flavorful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I can sum up this review in four words, but since this is a family friendly site, I shall use only their acronym --- O M F G. I had my trusty tobacconist search for an out of the ordinary stick that was not widely distributed, and that did not cost a small fortune to purchase. He hit the mark on both counts with this one. It is without doubt in my mind, a STELLAR robusto, despite its young age and recent release this past spring. This smoke does not greet you with a warm “Hello”, but greets you at the door after a long day’s hard work wearing nothing but a smile with a spatula in its hand and asks you, “Hey stranger, want to flip my pancakes??“ There is a reason why this company (Hunters & Frankau - importer of Cuban cigars into the UK) has been around for 225 years, and this release is a prime example.
Recently I mentioned this smoke in a review I did for a different release from this same manufacturer. Where the other stick failed miserably, the Juan Lopez Don Juan redeemed this cigar manufacturer in my eyes. Care and craftsmanship were self-evident with this limited edition robusto. I want to reinforce my previous recommendation. This smoke would satisfy most palates and is quite a bit more economical than its limited edition competition.
I have been trying to recall whether I have smoked a Quai d'Orsay and I am almost certain I haven’t. I have been trying to get my hands on one for a while, but they are not easy to come by. We have all heard how great the Quai d'Orsay Imperiales are, but they are almost impossible to find in the cigar stores; unless your local cigar store is in France. The brand was created in 1973 by Cubatobaco for the French distributor Keita. The brand’s initial lineup had five vitolas, two of which are still in production; the Coronas and the Imperiales. The 2011 regional edition series though came to bring a breath of life in the brand, with two new vitolas, the only additions in the brands portfolio since its launch. One of these two vitolas is the Quai d’Orsay Superior, a classic robusto that was released for Pacific Cigar and the Asia Pacific region and it is the cigar I will be smoking today.
Although I wouldn’t call it “ugly” the Superior does not look the best, as it has a few flaws in its appearance. The wrapper is rough, with plenty of veins and a few green spots. The bunch is normal, but inconsistent, with some looser spots on both ends of the cigar. The triple car is rounded and sloppy, but there is plenty of floral aromas present on the foot of the cigar. The prelight draw is also loose. Time to light it up…