You are probably familiar with the Edición Regional program from Habanos S.A. This is a program where Cuban cigar brands create unique limited-edition cigars for exclusive distribution to retailers in particular countries. One interesting aspect of this program is the fact that all the release ideas must be initiated by the distributors, who must also provide the financial underwriting.
The program first launched back in 2005, and since then many Cuban brands have participated (except for global brands like Cohiba, which are prohibited from participation). One which did not until 2013 was Rafael González.
Rafael González’s entry is an exclusive for Germany. Having heard good things, I decided to give it a try. Let’s check it out.
If you ask a random cigar smoker about the Nub Cameroon 358, you may get any of a wide variety of responses. This is a cigar which seems to inspire love or hate reactions. They were quite popular when they were originally released, but since then, interest in them seems to have ebbed a bit.
Nub Cameroon 358 cigars are manufactured by Oliva Cigar Co. and marketed under the Studio Tobac name. The motto for the cigars is, “Just the sweet spot.” Nub Cameroon 358 is designed to be a relatively quick smoke with ideal flavors from start to finish. Does it measure up? I decided to find out.
Origin : Dominican Republic Format : Short Robusto Size : 4 x 52 Wrapper : Connecticut Ecuador Filler : Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Peruvian Olancho Binder : Dominican Republic Hand-Made Price : ~$8 each More info about purchasing Avo Syncro cigars...
If you are an Avo fan, then you know that Avo Uvezian has his roots as a jazz pianist. Calling on that background, he has named this blend the Avo “Syncro” after the concept of musical synchronization. The goal with this cigar was to “synchronize” the experience of smoking Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The cigar also contains tobaccos from Ecuador and Peru. The Nicaraguan tobacco is of particular interest as it comes from a volcanic island in the center of Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe. Is the Avo Syncro Nicaragua truly a “synchronization” of tobacco flavors? I smoked the Short Robusto to find out.
Origin : Nicaragua Format : Toro Gordo Size : 6 x 60 Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf Filler : Nicaragua, Dominican Republic Binder : Ecuador Connecticut Hand-Made Price : ~$8-9 each More info about purchasing CAO Flathead...
Usually when you think about cigars, you think about Central and South America, where premium cigars usually are made. If cigars are going to have a regional theme, usually it is going to reflect some aspect of South or Central American culture.
CAO Flathead V660 cigars are made in Nicaragua, but they are an exception to the rule. Thematically, they are designed with a box-press shape which is intended to hearken to the engine blocks in classic American hot rods. You will notice the same theme reflected in the stylish retro design of the red and white bands as well as in the packaging (which even includes a cool vintage-style pinup). It is the kind of clever branding you might mistake as a gimmick, but these are definitely not just “novelty” cigars.
As of late, I had taken a bit of a break in reviewing some of the vast array of offerings that had recently hit the market. I even went as far as to branch off into some of the supposed finer Dominican and Nicaraguan sticks that were more readily available in my homeland. I had reviewed a Davidoff Chateau Margaux 1986 this past spring—a delightfully orgasmic Cuban smoke – here on Cigar Inspector and thought that there were no further mountains to climb, nor seas to sail; as that smoke was as technically perfect as they come –bar none.
Oh, how I was wrong… DEAD WRONG. I had reviewed the Ramon Allones 225th Anniversary stick here last fall, and proceeded to drain my favorite tobacconist’s stock of every box he could get his hands on. It would appear that I now have a new target in my sights to scarf up----evil grin----. Before I get into the meat of the review, I want to disclose that I tried every trick I knew to get this smoke to fail. I tried to light it unevenly, smoke it too fast, smoke it too slow, clip it incorrectly, and even let it douse itself and then relit it multiple times. Nothing I did caused this stick to fail—NOTHING. This is going to be a glowing review. This manufacturer has garnered very little notoriety and respect in our hobby, and I certainly hope that changes. They have earned it in my book.
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.
The Alec Bradley Sanctum uses tobacco from four different countries to deliver an experience which is fairly unique in the Alec Bradley catalogue. Whereas most cigars in the brand’s catalogue have an earthy flavor profile, this one is distinctly different. It was developed under the direct supervision of executive vice president Ralph Montero. The name “Sanctum” is meant to indicate that this is a cigar which is best enjoyed in solitude. An experience with Sanctum is a way of “getting away from it all.” Does it live up to its name? Let’s find out.
La Pilar was a new line unveiled at the 2015 IPCPR by Padilla Cigars. For this blend, Ernesto Padilla returned to Honduras to produce the cigars at Tabacalera Aguilar, which was the same factory that produced the Padilla Series 68. There are three different sizes available: the Toro, measuring 6 x 52, the Robusto, measuring 5 x 54, and the Churchill, measuring 7.5 x 57.