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The Island Smoke Shop

Keep on Smoking

We’ve compiled the collective impressions and scores from our latest motley crew of professional tobacconists and amateur smokers who evaluated blind samples of cigars for the latest installment of the world-famous Smoke Cigar Review. Following are a sampling of this issue’s top-ranking cigars:

Ventura Cigar Company, a recently established California-based firm that’s partnered with Central American cigar maker Nestor Plasencia to launch several premium brands within the past year, makes its second appearance in our review with its Honduran-made Estilo Cubano, which was sampled in the 5 3/4 x 54 Toraso size. Panelists took a liking to its rich Honduran maduro wrapper, rabo de cochino (pigtail) cap, and three-nation filler blend, bestowing it a final score of 94. “Very much a smoker’s cigar - complex, no candy,” said one panelist. “This was a big, bold cigar that might not fare well with the newbies, but seasoned smokers will love it,” said another.

A.J. Fernandez, the young, Cuban-born-and-raised cigar maker who’s established new roots in Nicaragua, draws on two generations of farming experience - his grandfather first began growing tobacco in pre-Castro Cuba in the family’s hometown of San Luis. Today, the Fernandez family grows all of its own filler leaf in Nicaragua for the A.J. Fernandez blends, noting it uses only “proprietary, prized seeds.” Our panelists agree the results are worth the effort, awarding the San Lotano Oval Piramides a 94. “A delightful cigar to smoke with initial hints of caramel twisted with anise. Burns evenly, flavors of mint and cedar,” summarized one panelist.

SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
96-100Superior
91-95Excellent
86-90Very Good
80-85Good
70-79Average
60-69Fair
Under 59Poor
Buena Vista Cigar Company has its own intriguing story. A startup operation that created its first factory from scratch and staffed it with veteran rollers and supervisors from modern Cuba, company founders intruiginglu selected Cancun, Mexico as the location for their facility. Each step of the manufacturing process was meticulously established to adhere to the industry’s “best practices,” and then exceeded. The company farms all of the tobaccos used in the Buena Vista Edición Limitada line itself in Ecuador. “A little spice and a floral aroma,” noted one reviewer of the Presidente size sampled; “nice wood and spicy flavor,” added another.

The Aging Room series from Habana Cuba/Oliveros Cigars are limited production blends made in small batches, tapping limited-availability tobaccos. Reviewers sampled the first release in this series, M356, and liked the earthy, nutty flavors of this all-Dominican blend, which earned an averaged score of 93.

Venture on to read through our full results of this panel’s tasting, and enjoy a cigar, whether it’s during a quiet moment, or a festive occasion (like the Famous Smoke Shop Cigar Expo 2011 shown here). Happy smoking! - E.E.H.


Want more? For the full details of each review, including all the panelists views on aesthetics, construction, flavor, and more, subscribe now - or pick up a copy of SMOKE Magazine at a Tobacconist near you!

LA PALINA EL DIARIO Churchill
Country:
USA
Manufacturer:
La Palina Cigar Company
Size:
7 x 50
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Ecuador
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 Overall I loved this cigar. I would invest in a box if the price was right. It was consistent and enjoyable.
92 excellent
Panelist #2 A decent cigar with a good balance, but it lacked more complexity. A good middle-of-the-day smoke.
91 excellent
Panelist #3 All samples were consistent. Smoked with coffee would give them a try again. Very nice, but not fantastic.
88 very good

PAUL STULAC Skull Salomone
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Paul Stulac
Size:
7 x 58
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 Although it finished a tad bitter, I did enjoy this cigar. I would add it to my rotation if the price is right.
88 very good
Panelist #2 A very nice smoke! I enjoyed it with a glass of red wine. The combo worked perfect. Would recommend to others.
95 excellent
Panelist #3 A cigar that is worthy to give to your best friends. Would probably pair well with a good single malt Scotch.
91 excellent

ROLANDO REYES SR. LIMITED EDITION Toro Oro
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
Father & Son Cigars
Size:
6 x 53
Filler:
DR, Nic, Brazil
Binder:
Indonesia
Wrapper:
Indonesia
Panelist #1 Get past the unattractive appearance to a pleasant, mild smoke. Vanilla sweetness paired well with a morning coffee.
86 very good
Panelist #2 A fine after-dinner cigar accompanied by an XO Cognac. I nubbed this one down to my fingernails. Delicious.
93 excellent
Panelist #3 I would definitely buy more of these. Enjoyed with a Sierra Nevada IPA. Would definitely recommend. Well done!
95 excellent

AGING ROOM M356 SERIES Rondo
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Habana Cuba Cigars
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1 This one is a winner! I'll be interested if some humidor time could improve this cigar, although it won't take much.
94 excellent
Panelist #2 Once going, this cigar had earthy, woody flavor. Lots of tobacco flavor in the finish. Will certainly try again.
95 excellent
Panelist #3 Nothing really impressed me about this smoke, still I was fairly satisfied. Might be a good smoke for mowing the lawn.
89 very good

VILLIGER 1888 FUERTE Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Villiger Stokkebye
Size:
5 x 50
Filler:
not disclosed
Binder:
not disclosed
Wrapper:
Mexico
Panelist #1 This smoke was great. Consistent from start to finish. The taste was smooth all the way. A must-try.
97 superior
Panelist #2 A "lawn care" cigar for when you want a smoke as you cut the grass. A decent everyday cigar for me at best.
82 good
Panelist #3 This cigar did not disappoint. Definitely one I will smoke again. You'll want to sit and think about this one.
91 excellent

C-Gars Ltd.

PERDOMO ESTATE SELECCION VINTAGE 2002 SUNGROWN Epicure
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Tabacalera Perdomo
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Nicaragua
Panelist #1 This cigar had a very memorable second act, but wound up being more of a beast than initial impressions would indicate.
87 very good
Panelist #2 Paired with a single barrel Bourbon and it was the right fit. I would like to see what it would taste like with some aging.
91 excellent
Panelist #3 This is just what the doctor ordered. A nice robust, manly cigar that you could feel putting some fuzz on your chest.
94 excellent

SANTOS DE MIAMI Alma
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Jameson Cigar Co.
Size:
5 x 46
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1 I usually like a larger cigar, but this one still did the job. This made a great impression on me. A keeper for sure.
92 excellent
Panelist #2 Smokes beautifully, toasty tobacco and creamy smoke. Exquisite cigar. This would complement anything.
97 superior
Panelist #3 The lack of complexity was disappointing and at times the bitterness outweighed the strengths it had.
88 very good

DON CERVANTES PRESIDENTE Churchill
Country:
Ecuador
Manufacturer:
Achievement Cigar Co.
Size:
7 x 50
Filler:
Ecuador, DR
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 Enjoyed the hell out the cigar, and will be making a purchase real soon. This is one I would recommend to all of my cigar cult.
90 very good
Panelist #2 Nonstop enjoyment. Smoked cool with a full complement of tobacco and sweet spice. A must-have in your humidor.
96 superior
Panelist #3 Ended up being a pleasant, long lasting cigar. An excellent choice for a younger smoker looking to refine their pallet.
89 very good

CASA MAGNA COLORADO Sanchos
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Segovia Cigars / SAG Imports
Size:
4 1/4 x 60
Filler:
Nic
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Nicaragua
Panelist #1 I've enjoyed a lot of cigars and this one ranks near the top. I'd absolutely buy this again, no matter the price point.
95 excellent
Panelist #2 This cigar was great. Consistent smoke right up to the end. I would definitely recommend this.
96 superior
Panelist #3 Very slow burning. The draw seemed a little tight at times, but this never distracted me from enjoying this smoke.
93 excellent

ROOM101 LDT NAMAKUBI EDITION Tiburon
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
Room101 Cigars
Size:
6 x 44
Filler:
DR, Hon
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1 Beautiful looking cigar, but it was not quite what I usually look for in a cigar. Others might enjoy it more than me.
84 good
Panelist #2 Easy on the palate. I would smoke it again for a quick puff. I would only buy this cigar it if the price was right.
91 excellent
Panelist #3 I enjoyed this after a steak dinner with a cup of black coffee. I would definitely smoke this one again.
93 excellent

Made in America

PUROS INDIOS CIGARS 2012 SERIES Churchill
Country:
USA
Manufacturer:
Puros Indios Cigars
Size:
7 x 49
Filler:
DR, Nic
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Nicaragua
Panelist #1 All of the samples were very tasty and went great with seltzer water with a slice of lime; a keeper.
95 excellent
Panelist #2 The quality problems ruined this cigar for me. It's just not my cup of tea. I probably wouldn't buy these at any price.
88 very good
Panelist #3 Some good flavors, but had a bad draw. Still, despite its flaws, It would pair well with a Guinness on my back porch.
87 very good

SANCHO PANZA Molinos
Country:
Cuba
Manufacturer:
Habanos S.A.
Size:
6 1/2 x 42
Filler:
Cuba
Binder:
Cuba
Wrapper:
Cuba
Panelist #1 This was a very good cigar. But I have a hankering it would be even better with just the right amount of aging.
94 excellent
Panelist #2 This paired well with a smokey Scotch. I would definitely buy these again if the price wasn't too far out there.
92 excellent
Panelist #3 There was a lot to like about this cigar, but the tightness of the draw stopped it from being a true superstar.
90 very good


Cigar Rights of America


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