Länge: 17.78Durchmesser: 1.59 TAM
For any of our readers that don't already know Drew Estate's Unico Series is what they do with their experimental cigars that don't fit in any other line but are too good to ditch such as the Feral Flying Pig. The L40 is John Drew's stab at a lancero which he doesn't actually favour. It is technically not a lancero as the ring gauge is 40 not 38 (hence L40) because he felt that he couldn't fit the blend he wanted into a 38 ring gauge. The length is 7" and the smoking time about two hours. This is billed as a strong cigar and not for beginners so take your time or greet the toilet. I did the former. The wrapper looks like a Maduro but it is patchy in colour almost like a bad dye job but apparently it is a Connecticut leaf. It was quite soft to the touch and had a sweet cocoa scent. Once cut the draw was very light and tasted of earth and pepper. This cigar lit easily and was soon producing lots of smoke and I mean lots. Even at rest it was billowing forth. The ash was a dense almost white and had the same texture as a Montecristo that I smoked a few weeks ago. The ash dropped at an inch and then every inch after that. The burn line was perfect and for the first five inches I could just walk away and leave this without fear of it going out like some that die when you look away from then. In fact it was so good that I sorted out all my packaging collection (boxes and bubble wrap) in the back of the garage. However when it got to the final two inches it wouldn't stay alight despite three relights so I let it go. As for the flavour? It started out mild with a nutty flavour and a hint of pepper on the finish. After the first inch it became more creamy with that same peppery finish. Into the second third and it developed a mineral like taste for a while until the creaminess reasserted itself at the half way mark. The pepper went away for a while and the nuttiness returned till the final third when the mineral taste and pepper staged a comeback necessitating a purge to take the edge off it. In summary this was a good cigar overall with transitions and interesting flavours but give me a Cohiba Lancero any day.
Länge: 12.70Durchmesser: 1.75 TAM
Known as Jesus Fuego's 'ugly little stick', I came across this unusual cigar in a 'Le Snob Guide to Cigars' that I got for Christmas and went looking for them. The story is that master blender Jesus and his father always tested blends by picking up a whole leaf and wrapping it round the blend of the day. This results in these ugly little sticks that are hand rolled without any form of press so no two are ever alike. He had the blend for his Natural range in his pocket in two of these samplers when a friend visited and this was all he had to offer him to smoke. The friend liked it so much he suggested that it should be the next vitola for that range. Great story don't you think? They are sold in packets of five in paper packets with a pull string at the top that rips it open. The cigars are 5" long with an average ring gauge of 44 and no cap, just light the fat end and stick the thin end in your mouth. They are very firm to the squeeze and the wrapper looks like a maduro with an oily finish and no raised veins. The wrapper is from Brazil, the binder from Costa Rica and the filler from Honduras and Nicaragua. The wrapper has no discernible scent other than tobacco and the unlit draw is very light and easy. It lit very easily and produced lots of smoke. It started off with a very mild and clean tasting tobacco flavour and burned very well indeed. The ash was a very pale grey; almost white, and was holding on at the inch and a half mark when it split in half length ways so I tapped it off. After about half way it produced a little pepper that came and went and the burn slowed down as it reached the fat bit. The flavour can only be described as like toasted walnuts with just a hint of bitterness and a clean mouth feel and it lasted a good hour for me with just one relight required. This is certainly one I shall be keeping for a short smoke and will probably attract some attention due to its unconventional look when everything else on the market is so tidy and regular nowadays.
Länge: 10.16Durchmesser: 1.59 TAM
I can't believe I paid for this nasty little cigar, ten minutes in and I binned it. This small corona from Panama comes in at just over 4" and at first inspection looks good. The feel is nice and springy and indeed it lit easily and burned perfectly. The wrapper was a light brown with a slight sheen to it and has a clean tobacco smell. Being quite small I cut it rather than punching it and the cold draw was dry and slightly earthy. Once lit it was peppery and had a slight tar like taste to it. It reminded me a lot of the RyJ purito and I don't like those either. I ended up having a mint to get rid of the taste, one to avoid.
Länge: 11.20Durchmesser: 1.11 MM
Being a fan of Romeos I decided to give these a try. When they arrived I noticed that they were identical to Quintero Puritos in size and shape but there ends the similarity. Right away I noticed that the cigar felt loosely made with hollows inside the construction. They burned very fast lasting only ten minutes and the smoke was harsh and soon became hot. Not recommended.
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: 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: 11.43Durchmesser: 2.38 TAM
With its oscuro wrapper and chunky shape this cigar is a butch little tyke. Coming in at 4.5" x50 it contains a combination of Mexican and Dominican fillers with a US wrapper. Mine was very firmly packed almost to the point of being hard and smelled earthy. What my lovely wife describes as dung. Once cut the draw was tight and tasted as it smelled. It lit nicely and burned dead straight and even but I just couldn't grow to like it. The overall taste was dry and earthy and to my amazement it had a hint of beetroot! Where the fuck did that come from, not my favourite vegetable I have to say. This cigar was turning me green at the gills so I just let it go out and looked for something else.
Länge: 8.89Durchmesser: 1.51 TAM
For such a long name one would expect a lot more than 3.5" x38 and added to that this cigar was the fastest burner I have ever smoked. I was actually watching the burn line move towards me. It was stored at 65% for those who like to know. This Davidoff is all Dominican with a Connecticut Shade wrapper that has a slight sweetness to it's scent. The cigar was quite springy and once cut had an easy draw that was dry and slightly earthy. The burn was dead straight and no relights were required in its 25 minutes of life. Flavour remained unchanged and was a slightly bitter roast walnut taste with a bit of a cigarette aftertaste. The smoke felt very dry and tannic and the last inch was too warm to smoke comfortably. Not one I could recommend or will buy again.
Länge: 13.97Durchmesser: 2.10 TAM
It's a good looking torpedo measuring 5.5" x53 with a slightly toothy Colorado Claro wrapper with a slight spring to it and a sweet Cuban tobacco smell. The construction looked perfect with a slightly splayed foot and once cut the cold draw was smooth and the wrapper had a little saltiness to it, not much in the way of flavour unlit. The cut end revealed a very tightly packed filler. It lit easily and was soon producing lots of smooth creamy smoke with a leathery flavour and the saltiness from the wrapper also persisted for a while. The ash dropped in my lap at around the inch mark and the burn needed correcting about half way down. This stick needed three relights and was getting quite soft but not hot towards the end. After the half way mark sone distinct toasted nut flavours developed along with a little pepperiness that increased into the final third. Overall a very nice cigar that lasted me a good ninety minutes but with so many more cigars to taste I wouldn't go so far as to get a box yet.
Länge: 10.16Durchmesser: 1.19 TAM
Having not enjoyed the RyJ Puritos I wasn't expecting much from this little 4" x 30 stick especially as the fill felt soft and loose. Nothing off the wrapper except a mild tobacco scent but then what a pleasant surprise. Once the initial burst of pepper from lighting it subsided it settled in to nice pecan flavours with a long creamy finish. The burn was perfect and it gave 25 minutes of smoking pleasure with plenty of smoke and nice fruity aroma when exhaled. The last inch got a bit warm and peppery but what do you expect from a little stick like this. Overall not bad at all and better than some big ones I've had.
Länge: 10.16Durchmesser: 1.51 TAM
The wrapper is a dark matte maduro and has a rich chocolate scent and the foot has a hint of pepper. The stick is well packed with a little spring. A lot of American reviews talk of a poor draw on these but I found this to be quite the opposite. The draw was spot on with just a little resistance and the burn was perfect with no correction or relights required. The cold draw tasted mildly earthy. There was no initial burst of pepper on lighting and I was soon enjoying plenty of smoke with a roasted nut flavour and a rich fruity smell. The ash held on well for such a small stick and dropped in my lap at an inch and a half. A little pepper and a spice I couldn't put my finger on made an appearance in the second third and built up in strength to the end. Previously my go to short smoke was the Quintero Purito but it has been deposed by this little beauty, and the tin is so cool once you've spent ten minutes removing the damned stickers.
Länge: 13.97Durchmesser: 2.26 TAM
The wrapper is a classic dark maduro colour which was oily with a bit of tooth to it. The scent was pure rich chocolate and the cold draw was very light and dry with a light mocha flavour. It took two attempts to light but humidity was very high in my garage which probably contributed to the need for frequent relights. Once lit and put down it smoked like an Autumn bonfire and smelt rich and fruity. For the first time I experienced an oily feel on my lips which was very pleasant and the smoke was light, sweet and clean tasting. After 25 minutes it started to develop coffee flavours too. The ash was a very light grey and compact and it held on well. The burn started to go slightly askew after the first inch but it corrected itself with no help needed. This cigar lasted me two hours and that clean mouth feel is still with me two hours later, highly recommended.
Länge: 13.02Durchmesser: 1.71 TAM
Here's a petit corona that will be known to a lot of you I suspect. Measuring 5.12" with a ring gauge of 43 this is a firmly packed little stick, no softies here though maybe a little springiness when squeezed. The wrapper was quite rustic looking with an oily look and the smell was simple good Cuban tobacco, I couldn't detect any flavour notes on this one. Once cut the unlit draw offered a little resistance and tasted peppery with a hint of caramel and gave my tongue a little chilli sting. The first few draws really surprised me because they were ever so slightly salty, haven't tasted that before. It settled down a very creamy and smooth smoke which needed a good drag to keep it going. This cigar wasn't plugged but she was going to make me work for it. The ash was a dark dirty grey and the burn was dead straight all the way but she needed a few relights, possibly due to the ambient humidity which was around 84%. The pepper increased throughout the hour and a quarter that it lasted and it started to get a bit bitter in the final third despite being purged. Not a cigar that I would turn down but equally not one that I would seek out.
Länge: 11.11Durchmesser: 1.59 TAM
I'm starting to develop a taste for maduros so I decided to see what the Cubans have to offer. At just under 4.4" with a ring gauge of 40 this is the smallest Maduro 5 and like any other Cohiba the construction is perfect. The wrapper is quite toothy and had a rich malty scent, the stick was very firmly packed, it was almost solid. Once cut the cold draw had a little resistance and an earthy taste. Once lit the initial taste was quite peppery but it soon settled down to almost tannic dry woody taste with none of the sweetness I have come to expect from a maduro. The burn was dead straight but it did require two relights, the ash dropped at about an inch which for me came at 20 minutes in. Around the 15 minute mark I had a little hint of liquorice which popped in and out occasionally and the pepper levels rose and fell as well but overall the flavour stayed the same. This cigar lasted me an hour and it left a lovely clean taste in my mouth but it didn't excite me. Sorry guys but when it comes to maduros the NCs have this one beat.
Länge: 11.43Durchmesser: 1.43 TAM
The fill on this corona was very loose and springy and the wrapper really had no discernible scent, not even the cedar lining of the tubo. Once cut the draw was light and easy but once again I couldn't make out any real flavour. It lit very easily and burned nicely all the way to the end with no need for a relight despite the humidity in my garage being at 91%. The burn line remained clean and sharp and the mid-grey ash dropped at about an inch. The initial taste was light and leathery and the exhaled smoke had a definite dried fruit scent to it. Into the second third and the taste became creamy with a hint of pepper at the back of the palate. The final third became more peppery and started to become bitter and with just over an inch to go it started to get warmer than I like so I left it there at 42 minutes. My initial thought was that this would be a nice reasonably priced stick to pick up if I was out and about but afterwards I noticed a cigarette like aftertaste that has put me right off.