Länge: 13.02Durchmesser: 1.83 TAM
This is my first cigar from Ecuador and it wasn't bad at all. Hand made it has an Ecuadorian wrapper and binder but is filled with tobacco from the Dominican Republic. It measures in at 13cm long with a diameter of 1.83cm. The label is smart and modern in red and silver with an extra band on the foot. It is very nicely constructed and the wrapper is very smooth and a chocolate brown colour. The wrapper smells faintly of leather and the initial cold draw is definitely earthy. It took two goes to light it and the first taste was creamy and smooth with no pepper at all, the exhaled smoke was fruity and rich. Like a lot of NC cigars the ash dropped at about a centimetre when I first put it down. The overall taste for the first third was tannic and leathery but mild. I noticed a tendency to burn a bit lopsided but found that if I put it down with the unburned side up it corrected itself nicely and it never required any relighting. Into the second third and it started to get a little peppery but to my surprise just after the half way mark it went back to the smooth and creamy taste again. After an hour and a quarter I could feel the nicotine starting to kick in so I let it go but it would have gone a good hour and a half. This would be a nice cigar for fellow newbies wanting to try something non-Cuban but I probably won't buy another.
Länge: 10.16Durchmesser: 1.35 HAM
This little cigar from the Dominican Republic actually costs more than a Quorum Robusto but thank goodness mine was free because I won't be buying any that's for sure. It is hand and machine made and measures 10cm with a diameter of 1.34. The wrapper is Connecticut Shade and the best thing about it. It has a delicious chocolate smell and the cold draw is similarly chocolaty. It lit very easily and from the start all I got was tobacco, it produced loads of smoke and tasted like a big cigarette. It burned very tidily and the end always kept a healthy glow but this was not what I took up cigars for. Strangely enough the exhaled smoke had a quite pleasant fruitiness to it but that was where it ended. It got peppery and rough after the first third so I abandoned it and had to have a mint to clear my mouth of the cigarette taste. Reckon on getting about thirty minutes worth if you want to try one but why would you bother if you could have a Quorum?
Länge: 11.43Durchmesser: 1.47 TAM
I was sent these in error instead of the Maduro version but decided to smoke them anyway. The construction is excellent, the outer is slightly veined but the cigar is very well packed with a slight bounce when squeezed. It burns very well with a compact light grey ash that didn't drop till it was half way through. It has a definite peppery taste that increases as it burns. If you take it all the way to the end it will last about 45 minutes and at 1.5 euros each these are great for an everyday smoke. I still prefer the sweetness of the maduro wrapper though.
Länge: 13.80Durchmesser: 1.51 TAM
As the name suggests its a maduro through and through (although a light version) and it looks gorgeous. It measures 13.8cm in length with a diameter of 1.51. After my last two disappointing smokes I was hoping for something good and I wasn't disappointed. The wrapper is smooth and dark with no trace of the oiliness I have read about from maduro wrappers. The label is very attractive indicating that it is hand made and it has an extra sleeve to indicate that it is the 2011 limited edition. The wrapper has a very slight scent of chocolate to it but the cold draw is slightly earthy. It lit very easily from the first match and the early indication were wood and spice and leather with the exhaled smoke having a definite fruity edge to it. It burned nicely with an even edge that never needed correcting and a very light ash, the first time I put it down it dropped its ash with a centimetre on it. It needed two relights, one at half way and then again at two thirds through but relit easily. A slight peppery taste began to develop around halfway and that got stronger towards the end but overall it was a good ninety minute smoke. The ash got denser in the final third and didn't drop so easily.
Länge: 12.38Durchmesser: 1.59 TAF
If you haven't seen one of these they are quite unusual in that they come in a cedar sleeve with the label round that. A nice looking hand rolled Cuban it measures 12.3cm with a ring gauge of 40. Removing the sleeve I found a few spots of greenish bloom on this one that wouldn't rub off, is that mould? As you would expect the wrapper has a delicate scent of cedar which carries on into the cold draw. When I punched this one I was alarmed to notice a slight loosening of the wrapper on the cut edge (brand new and sharp cutter). Unlike my Jamaican this corona lit first time and burned nicely giving off just the right amount of smoke. The taste remained dry; almost tannic, and woody with no hint of pepper. It continued to burn very well until the wrapper started to unravel. I carried on keeping the loose end in place with the tip of my finger but eventually it became so loose that it all came off. I persisted to smoke it naked but it was turning into a really raggedy arsed smoke by now and the binder was starting to go so I bailed out at 30 minutes. The overall impression despite the mishap was that it was unremarkable overall but okay if you wanted something really mild and the taste never developed or changed.
Länge: 10.20Durchmesser: 2.10 TAM
When I saw a Jamaican cigar I just had to try it but this particular stick was a major let down. Hand made and coming in at just over 4" its a chunky little stick with a light brown 'dusty' wrapper a bit like the Quorum and a discrete label. The wrapper had no distinctive scent to it but it punched nicely and the cold draw was slightly earthy with a salty taste on the lips. The big disappointment with this was that it just wouldn't stay alight. After using three cigar matches on it I blasted it with my jet flame and the bloody thing still went out again. It wasn't a case of needing to keep it going, it just didn't want to burn. As for taste it was bland with nothing that stood out from what smoke I actually got into my mouth.
Länge: 10.16Durchmesser: 1.67 TAM
This petit corona from the Honduras is definitely marketed for the American market but who can resist a cigar called a 'punk'? I couldn't and I was definitely not disappointed. If you like something mild and smooth then this is an hour of pleasure for you, I smoked it further than any other stick and only stopped because the smoke got in my eyes because it was so close. This hand made cigar comes in at 4" with a ring gauge of 42. It has a large label covering most of the cigar with a regular label underneath. The wrapper is dark brown and the cigar is firmly packed. The wrapper has a rich tobacco scent and the cold draw is earthy. It took two matches to get it started evenly but once going it burned very evenly and the first ash drop was about half way through. Even then I feel it would have kept going but I was indoors and getting dirty looks. The exhaled smoke is mild and spicy with a hint of smoke and the inhaled taste is definitely mild and leathery. There was no trace of pepper at all and it remained smooth and cool to the very end. When I tapped it off at half way it needed relighting once but it wasn't a problem.
Länge: 15.24Durchmesser: 1.75 TAM
This is a really nice looking cigar measuring in at just under six inches with a ring gauge of 54. It looks identical to the Cohiba pictured on their match box if you have one, a lovely milk chocolate wrapper, smooth and nicely packed with no looseness. The wrapper has no definite scent, its just pleasant to the nose. I punched this one and I don't know if my cutter is blunt but it loosened off the whole cap leaving the wrapper lose at the end resulting eventually in a soggy bottom. The draw was very free and the pre-lit draw was a definite chocolate taste with a very slight hint of chilli, good things seemed imminent! It took two matches to light and the initial draw was slightly peppery but that soon settled down to a mild and slightly bland flavour with a lot of smoke. I was surprised to see the ash drop at half an inch when I put it down but it burning very evenly. As it went on the smoke became more aromatic and a taste of leather developed but it never seemed to have a lot of identity which was such a pity. This was a very slow burning cigar and after an hour it was still only a third of the way through but disaster was afoot. I noticed that the wrapper had become loose and before I know it I had the whole thing in my hand. I carried on smoking it naked but when it went out on me I just couldn't be bothered any more and left it. Such a disappointment as I was even thinking of getting a box of these if it had been as good as it was sold. The box does look nice does it not. I realise that the poor construction could have been a one off but the experience didn't make it worth repeating to find out.
This is a lot smaller than it looks in the photos, in fact it is tiny at 2.5cm high and 2.5cm long but I bought it as an easel to support my cigars when I take photos for reviews on a forum so for that it is perfect.
Länge: 12.07Durchmesser: 1.98 TAF
I've seen these mentioned before so nothing new here for the old hands but definitely a recommendation for the rest of us newbies. Hand rolled as you would expect and beautifully constructed it comes in at 12cm long with a ring size of 51. The wrapper is cocoa coloured, smooth and matte and has a rich scent of chocolate, where is that coming from? It is not a flavoured cigar after all. Cuts nicely and the pre-lit taste is definitely leathery and has a dryness to it. That lasts for the whole cigar; its not dry in that it has dried, out rather it has a tannic dryness to it like a cup of tea. The flavour remains leathery and woody all the way to the end. This is a very easy cigar to smoke, it burns evenly and needed no relighting despite being put down several times, it never got hot and the smoke remained mild and smooth all the way to the end. I smoked mine for fifty five minutes but it would go over an hour if you're going down to the nub. I could feel the nicotine effect just starting to rise so erred on the side of safety. This is definitely going to be a repeat purchase.
Länge: 11.11Durchmesser: 1.67 TAM
This is my first ever Brazilian and I was very pleasantly surprised at what a nice smoke it was. It had an attractive chocolate brown wrapper with a few raised veins. I bought a nice ashtray from Ebay last month and it came with a complimentary punch cutter so I decided to try that as well as its quite a small stick. It cut very neatly and the pre-lit draw was perfect. The wrapper had no real definable aroma to it but the draw was definitely leathery. This cigar lit very nicely and burned beautifully all the way to the end, the first ash drop was over an inch in. Looking at the tip as it burned you can see how well this has been rolled and the ash stayed firm all the way to the end. The initial lit draw was slightly peppery but it soon settled down and the overall flavour was mild and woody and that didn't change until the end when it started to get a hint of tar. The exhaled smoke had a definite fruity scent and it burned perfectly with no relighting required even when I put it down a couple of times. It never got too warm and had a very clean after taste in the mouth. This cigar is probably a bit boring for the aficionados but a great smoke for us newbies and it lasted forty minutes.
Länge: 13.97Durchmesser: 1.67 TAM
This is a hand rolled stick and the wrapper has a nice lustre and a spicy scent to it before lighting. It is well packed with no hollows and has a nice smooth finish to it. For a budget cigar it looks very good. Once clipped it draws freely with a distinctive flavour of leather. It lights easily and produces a decent amount of smoke. As you can see from the photos it burns very easily with a good solid ash but it required a little work. It went out about three times in all but relit without any problems. I didn't get any distinctive flavours from this cigar although I have read reviews describing it as 'earthy', the exhaled smoke had a rich and pleasant fragrance however. It was bit peppery in the last third and towards the end I was definitely getting a slightly chemical taste. Consistent with its previous behaviour it went out very quickly when I decided I'd had enough. It was a decent enough smoke for a budget cigar but it won't be joining my humidor.
Länge: 11.43Durchmesser: 1.47 TAM
The first two of these I smoked had a distinctly sweet wrapper that made them very attractive to a newbie like me but this one was completely different. It was very nicely wrapped with no imperfections but it seemed firmer packed than usual with very little bounce when squeezed. Pre-lit it drew air freely with a hint of earth in the taste. I spoiled myself and lit it with a cigar match and it lit up very easily and started to burn very evenly, the exhaled smoke had that hint of sweetness I remembered but the overall taste of the cigar was woody but mild. This was the first time I have actually tasted a woody cigar. The little buggar started to burn unevenly at about the half way mark and went out. When I relit it, it continued to burn unevenly and after the next ash drop I noticed a hollow through the centre. It started to get warm for the last third and the taste changed to peppery so I bailed out at about the twenty minute mark. I've got another two of these as well as a corona and a toro so it will be interesting to see how they turn out.
Länge: 15.24Durchmesser: 2.06 TAM
The well read amongst you will recognise this as Cigar Aficionado's cigar of the year 2012 which was the reason I wanted to try it. At 15.24cm long and 58 ring size this box pressed cigar is the biggest I have smoked so far and the square shape did feel a little odd in my mouth at first. The cigar is a little overdressed in its presentation, it is cellophane wrapped and as well as its label it has a burgundy satin ribbon around the tip like a Rocky Patel. I have to say the label is beautiful and the first I have been inspired to remove and keep. The wrapper is very smooth with one or two visible veins and when moist it appeared that it has at least two caps. It was very well packed with a nice bounce when squeezed and the pre-lit draw was very free. I don't have that developed a palate yet but the pre-lit scents were definitely coffee and chocolate, a real mocha blend. I didn't get any of that when it was alight though. That easy draw made lighting it simple and my initial impression was that it was quite peppery but after the first inch that disappeared and the smoke was very smooth and mellow all the way to the end. I didn't really get any predominant flavours from it but what I did register was that it was a very clean and light taste and the smoke was very fragrant. The burn produced a nice firm ash but it didn't burn that neatly and required a little correction at first. After a while I just thought 'what the hell' and let it go how it wanted. I didn't notice any change in flavours and I'm glad to say that it didn't get hot but after 45 minutes and about 5cm from the end the damn thing went out. Now here's a contradiction, I think that I smoked this too fast but the ash drop was ragged and uneven which suggests it was too slow, opinions invited there guys. The RyJ Mille Fleurs that I had on holiday lasted well over an hour and was a smaller stick and burned much more evenly. One thing I will say is that it produces a massive nicotine hit so have something sweet to hand to contradict it. The jury is still out on whether to buy another.
Länge: 13.02Durchmesser: 1.67 TAM
A nicely constructed cigar that burns evenly despite my initial uneven lighting! It rectified itself from the first ash drop. The wrapper had a few visible veins but they were well smoothed down. I found this one quite peppery from lighting and it got stronger as it neared the end. The leather was more obvious in the scent of the exhaled smoke than the taste but it was a very fragrant burn.