Feel free to contact me with any questions about my commentaries, cigar reviews or cigar hunting in Costa Rica.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
One of the nice things about living in Costa Rica is that it has developed a cigar culture that did not exist before. Not only do we have access to the most Cuban cigars, but also there are a variety of cigar factories and brands produced right here in Costa Rica.
Some are better than others- but there are really 4 categories in my opinion; Bad, Smokable, Good, and Great. Unfortunately most of the cigars are in the first two categories, and only one is in the last (that I have found); however it is always a pleasure to find another good cigar.
Habanos Hernandez is defiantly one of these good cigars.
I received an email from a nice couple here in Costa Rica that have been working on the development of their cigar brand, and they asked me to give it a try. As things are here in Costa Rica, in the end we knew several people in common, and I gladly looked forward to trying their cigars.
The presentation that I saw was crisp with that simple elegance I prefer.
All of the cigars has a similar construction and blend, however for the sake of the review I used the Extra Robusto.
The cigar was lightly rolled, but was not missing material. It's wrapper was light and delicate with an attractive shine.
The cigar was a smooth cigar with an easy draw. I expected it to be a little stronger for it's ring gauge (52), however it was not that it lacked strength, rather it was just a lighter smoke; easy on the throat and lungs...
It has a light aroma and a natural flavor. The nut, wood and spice characteristics came through from the first puff and carried through until the end. I am happy to report there was none of that damp-earthy flavor that I despise.
The burn was even and consistent, and I did not have to relight it.
Habanos Hernandez is one of the cigars that exceeds the run-of-the-mill reputation that has defined many of Costa Rica's other cigars.
Their website is growing so check back often. For more information visit them at:
Monday, August 11, 2008
Nevertheless, I welcome the cigars- I like to see what is happening out there. Several months ago I got an email about Black Patch Cigars, that included some tobacco grown in the USA. I am not talking about Connecticut seed wrapper, I am talking about actual "Kentucky Broadleaf ligero."
I was quick to show interest in this cigar because to my knowledge I have never seen or tried this type of tobacco. Eric, the marketer, distributor and perhaps inventor of this cigar, was kind enough to send me a handful of cigars that I received when I was States-side... importing cigars to Costa Rica is a painstaking and expensive process.
The actual cigars looked good. Simple construction, attractive wrappers, and a clean smell when unlit. I smoked a couple after my return, and I was immediately impressed. It is not that they are the best cigars that I have ever smoked, maybe not top 10... remember I smoke A LOT of cigars... but this cigar was a total surprise and a real treat.
There are two things I despise about most non-Cuban cigars 1) a damp grassy flavor, and 2) an aftertaste; Black Patch Cigars have neither of these. They were really clean.
I reviewed a Classic Toro... at least that is what I think it was. It was an easy smoke. A great draw, clean taste and a very even burn. All of the cigars including the Toro has a special tang that is accounted for in the True Cigars Puff Chart as spice. Some of the other noticeable flavors that I noticed were wood and peat.
Just slightly less then a medium smoke, it was easy on the lungs. I did not experience any discomfort inhaling the normal bit I take in. Again, this is not characteristic for many non-Cuban cigars that try to compensate a lack of aroma with added strength. The aroma was light, but not pungent.
The ash was light and flaky- maybe even weak, however I kept a good inch on the cigar after I lit it and I did not lose it. It's simple construction gave it this characteristic that reminded me of cigars I smoked rolled in super-small productions.
This is a cigar than any proud North American should try. As I always say, tobacco is something distinctly American (in terms of it coming from the New World), but to have a cigar with some North American leaves in it's blend, it is even a more unique experience. Kind of like that first sip of bourbon or corn whiskey- maybe it is not the best tasting thing you have ever tried, but it is good- and it is ours.
For more information you can visit their website: Black Patch Cigar Co.
A "thank you" to Eric, and I wish him the best of luck.
Black Patch (Classic Toro)
Overall Score: 87/100
Monday, September 10, 2007
Origin: Costa Rica Construction: Hand(?)
Purchased: N/A Price: See Website
Smoked: Living Room Accompanied by: Old Parr 12 (Scotch)
Some months back a nice fellow by the name of Lynn contacted me about blogging his cigar on my site. He offered to drop off the cigar next time he was in San Jose, and some weeks later he stopped by and dropped me a sample.
At first glance, I saw a well built cigar with a flawless wrapper- dark in color. It did not appear to be rolled too tight, so I knew the draw would be easy; easy draw is a plus for me.
I did not waste any time, and I opened one up. I had a hard time distinguishing the seco from the ligero, but that might just be part of the blend. It was rolled slightly different that I have seen many other cigars, the leaves were slightly more curled, but since it did not appear to be rolled to tight, that did not affect the draw.
For my review, I smoked the Espendido, a 6 inch by 50 ring cigar. I unique vitola that is like the uncommon Cuban "double." The cigars smoked well, proper coning, no significant runners.
Every smoke had a sense of peat in it, and when the smoke first hit the tougue, a tickle of spice come through. "Earthy," would be the term I use to explain this cigar, but do I mean earthy, not grassy. A strong woody flavor mixed with significant hints of roasted coffee passed through my pallet with every draw.
The smoke was thick and less pungent than many Nicaraguan cigars. Overall the cigar lacked aroma, but this was not a show stopper. No overheating, and no relights. The wrapper, although delicate, complimented the cigar well by burning evenly.
Overall, I enjoyed them. And, for being a 100% Costa Rican cigar, I was surprised and happy smoke it.
For more information on Don Leon Cigars, visit their website: http://www.purosdonleon.com
Lynn is a real gentleman, and I appreciate his effort with this cigar in Costa Rica.
Overall Score: 75/100
Saturday, September 08, 2007
The characteristics that I use are: Honey, Berry, Nut, Wood, Peat (earthy), Coffee, Cocoa, and Spice. These are the most common tastes that I have found related to cigars. The scale goes from 0 to 10. See the example below.
I hope that this will help readers visualize my comments a little better.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Find Cigar Aficionado's review of the Partagas Culebra in the October issue. Click here for a preview.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Origin: Honduras Construction: Hand
Purchased: N/A Price: See Website
Smoked: Porch Accompanied by: Glenmorangie 10
The name Gomez alone is a good start for me. It is a family name on my wife's side- but let me get back on track. A distributor from the Western part of the US contacted me sometime back asking if I would be interested in reviewing their cigars.
From the onset, I laid it out frank- I can be rough- however, fearless, they sent me the cigars. I have been working on this document for a while, and apologize to the R.D. Gomez distributors for my lateness.
I smoked a sample of robustos and piramides/torpedos that were noted as ?Reserves.? The robustos had both a proper and maduro wrapper, and the reserve had only the proper wrapper. No problem by me, I am over the whole maduro thing as you know.
The presentation of these cigars is sharp. Well constructed, simple ring, and an attractive wrapper. The Reserves come with a cedar band.
All of the cigars drew well, one was probably drawing "too well," but it didn't get too hot- but it did burn fast.
The blend was very similar from cigar to cigar. I opened up a robusto and a reserve, and noticed that there was a good amount of short filler in the robusto. The reserve had full leaves throughout. The robustos did not smoke as equally as the reserve, but it was not unmanageable. I only needed a "catch up" light once or twice per cigar max.
The aroma was a little flat but they have a nice spicy flavor. It was not mild, but not as harsh as many other cigars from Honduras. I especially noticed that there was almost no aftertaste.
My overall impression was that this is decent cigar. It was not a high-end cigar, but it is not carrying a high-end price tag either. I would defiantly recommend some added time in the humidor to let it mature, but for a reliable smoke at a good price, you can not go wrong. In addition, go with the reserve if it is available.
Overall Score: 78/100
For more information, visit: http://www.rdgomez.com
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Name: Cohiba Size: Siglo VI
Origin: Cuba Construction: Hand
Purchased: Gift Price: ?
Smoked: Office Accompanied by: Nothing
I have been a fan of the canonasso size cigars for some time, but never tried the Cohiba Siglo VI until now. This is an impressive cigar just to look at. Sliding this large tobacco out of the tube, with the name Cohiba wrapped around a fat ring size, makes even the most seasoned smoker take a deep breath.
The fragrance of the unlit tobacco was impressive, sweet and complex. The brown wrapper reminded me of the Montecristo #2 that I recently picked up in
I lit up the massive cigar with one match and a few puffs. Wow! What a flavor- literally typing my notes is making my mouth water for another. The creamy smoke had such a full flavor that you didn‚??t even notice it‚??s strength until you inhaled it or passed it through your nose.
The cigar burned steady with a even ash all the way down. The flavors were natural and deep- like taking a deep breath in the forest just after a rain. This was a very pleasurable cigar, although knowing what they go for, probably not an everyday smoke for everyone‚?¶
Those of you interested in a hearty Cuban cigar, should get your hands on one of these. This is a cigar that I will remember for a long time.Overall Score: 96/100
A special thanks to Dave for the gift...
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Name: Trinidad Size: Cervantes
Origin: Cuba Construction: Hand
Purchased: Gift of Manager
Price: ?? Smoked: Case Del Habano - CR
Accompanied by: Coffee (Americano)
Trinidad has been known to be a "stronger" cigar. In other occasions, I have noticed that the term "stronger" is often used when cigars lack a complete, or full, flavor- not the case here.
The construction was excellent, although I was interested to see that the head of the cigar was twisted instead of capped. This, of course, is not an issue; it is just surprising based on the superb presentation. In addition, it seemed a bit longer than many of the other Cervantes that I have smoked- again no problem there.
The cigar had an excellent pre-smoke aroma that was complimented by it's honey colored wrapper with a delicate taste of raisins, but no spice. My first draw was exceptional; the smooth and creamy smoke perfectly rolled into my mouth. It burned fairly well with no real problems. The flavor was full and consistent throughout.
I enjoyed every minute of this fine cigar, and would recommend it to anyone that likes a medium to strong cigar. It's complex flavor makes it a desirable cigar for any serious smoker.
Overall Score: 93/100
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Name: Cohiba Size: Siglo I
Origin: Cuba? Construction: Hand
Purchased: Gift; Davidoff Store Hong Kong?
Price: 119 Hong Kong Dollars ( 15 USD)
Smoked: Home Accompanied by: Water
This small cigar was picked up by a brother of a friend while on business in Hong Kong. Ironically, he wanted the Siglo VI, but his brother probably saw the Siglo VI price and when with the petaca of these.
On first glance I questioned the authenticity of this cigar because of the dullness of the wrapper and because the way it was wrapped was not normal Cohiba style. That being said, the unlit aromea was intense and very pleasant- defiantly Cuban.
The cigar lit well, and from the onset I was impressed with its strength. It burned evenly, although it is dot have the perfect 'crown' that I would have expected. It flavors started with a woody bite that transformed into spiciness with hints of grape leaves. I hate to say this again, but I was again impressed with it deep flavors throughout the smoke.
This little stick of dynamite, although expensive, is a delicious cigar for smoker that is short on time and prefers a stronger smoke.
Overall Score: 88/100
Friday, April 15, 2005
Name: Jose L. Piedra Size: Cazadore
Origin: Cuba Construction: Machine Made
Purchased: Casa Del Habano, Pinar del Rio
Price: 1 convertible peso (1.10 USD)
Smoked: Home Accompanied By: Dark Rum with Ice
It was purchased in a bundle of 25, and several of the cigars in the bundle were damaged. Overall the construction was noticeably poor; heavy veins, discolored wrapper, etc. I smoked several of these and would recommend a 'punch cut.' Any other cut could leave you with a mouthful of picadura. The wrapper is a very thin Conneticut.
Flavor is medium, but harsh, although no mistake that it is Cuban. After a few deep smokes, the lack of depth of the machine blend is obvious; 90%-95% of the filler is picadura.
That being said, it was about $1.10 for the cigar. Don't be afraid to give it a try.
Overall Score: 55/100