September 29, 2015
Origin : Honduras
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadoran Corojo
Binder : Connecticut Habano
Filler : Dominican & Nicaraguan
Price : ~$7 each
Today we’re publishing you a review by Joshua, who just joined the team – he brought a special grading system with him, check out his author page for more details!
The Punch Signature is a four-cigar collection, handcrafted in Honduras. It includes these frontmarks: Robusto (5” x 54, SRP per cigar is $6.79); Gigante (6” x 60, SRP per cigar is $7.39); Rothschild (4.5” x 50, SRP per cigar is $5.39) and Torpedo (5.75” x 52, SRP per cigar is $6.99).
To create Punch Signature, Master Blender Agustin Garcia and his team kept true to the original Punch blend by using tobaccos from the same countries of origin. Agustin Garcia said, “Punch Signature is inspired by Punch original blend. Think of it as a brother who has a lot of fire in him, but also respects tradition and the family name.”
Development of the Punch Signature blend began in 2012. Agustin and his team found a small batch of Ecuadoran tobacco they wanted to use, but had to ensure that they would have enough to make Punch Signature a full-time addition to Punch. They worked with a grower to cultivate a special Ecuadoran Corojo wrapper exclusively for this cigar. The wrapper is related to the original Cuban Corojo seed. The tobacco was aged, sorted and prepared for launch three years later.
The Punch Signature is encased in a dark brown wrapper that is criss-crossed with small veins and is oily to the touch. The pack is pretty firm with only a slight give when squeezed. It has a very weighty feel in the hand. The pre-light aroma is a mix of hay, nuts, coffee, cocoa and a touch of wine on the foot. There is a definite pepper because it gives me a few sneezes. The cold draw is a touch snug with intonations of pepper, almonds, cocoa, and a caramel sweetness but the almond certainly dominates the equation.
The Punch starts with a worrisome snug draw but it slowly opens up moving towards the quarter inch mark and produces a decent volume of smoke; certainly enough smoke to carry flavor. A mouth-tingling black pepper coats the entire mouth to the back of the throat and tickles the lips. Not only does it linger between puffs on the palate but really settles in the sinuses heavily after a retro-hale. Underneath the dominant pepper is a flavor that sits right between wood and almonds. Further below that are undertones of light cocoa and caramel sweetness. The burn-line isn’t perfect, wavering around the circumference of the smoke, but it’s almost to be expected with such an oily wrapper. While the pepper is quite full the richness of the other flavors hover around medium along with the strength. There is a definite, albeit small, amout of harshness but it actually kind of works to add oomph and mixes well with the flavors.
The nuttiness and caramel really start to shine as the first third segues into the second. The sweetness ramps up and a really nice roasted nut pairs with the softening pepper on the retro-hale. The smoke is fairly chewy texture-wise even with the snug draw (the snug draw actually creates a softer profile). At points coffee notes come through clearly and occasional earth, florals and cocoa add complexity. The concrete colored ash is full of deep cracks but manages to hang on for an inch at a time, flaking slightly ever so often. The strength begins to show its face near the middle of the cigar leaving a bit of a lump in the chest and flavor jumps up to medium-full.
The cigar smooths out considerably at this point with black pepper practically dissapearing on the retro-hale and leaving only the slightest tickle in the throat. The tart floral flavor lingers almost exclusively on the long finish with touches of coffee. Still, the mix of nuts and wood remain king as I hold the smoke in my mouth. Meanwhile, the caramel sweetness of the previous two thirds transitions to a thicker molasses note. The draw is still a little too snug for my liking but since the cigar isn’t lacking flavor I can’t complain too much. I was finally able to correct the uneven burn-line that plagued the first two thirds without having to use my lighter, simply by rotating the cigar throughout smoking. Near the end, the tart floral and coffee take the helm and carry the cigar to the end. Everything finishes up around medium-full.
Dominated by black pepper, roasted nuts, caramel (later molasses) and wood this was an easy cigar to peg and fits comfortably in the Regal Class. Florals, coffee and occasional cocoa notes round out the experience.
The Punch Signature Robusto was a surprisingly tasty smoke from start to finish. Any cigar that consumes the palate in a predominantly nutty profile is a big hit with me and the Signature delivered that in spades. Perhaps it starts a little too peppery, carrying a distinct harshness, but fortunately it smooths out considerbly by the halfway point. While I don’t often mention price-point in my reviews I’ve smoked cigars double the price that didn’t come close to the complexity and richness that the Signature provides. A solid addition to the Punch portfolio that brings just enough of that classic taste in that fuller-bodied package so many smokers have come to expect.
September 30, 2015
Hey Josh…I’ve missed Cigar Memoir! I check it every few weeks to see if you came back. So are you now on Cigar Inspector permanently? So glad to see you back reviewing cigars! Although I will miss Memoir I’m happy to see you brought your rating system with you!
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