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Aged Cigars Taste Test

Diplomaticos No. 2
Judged by Jeff (aka Ringo)

Diplomaticos No. 2My first-ever Diplomaticos. I will guesstimate that it is from 2001 but it may be older. I had two of them in my humidor that I received in a couple of samplers from a back in 2002. If I recall they were called aged samplers even then, so the cigar may be older. At the youngest it is three years old, so it has certainly been aged. Being that it was my first Diplomaticos, I had no preconceived ideas about it. Where and when - Northern Colorado. My back patio, near sunset. Temp in the sixties and falling as the sun went away. Reading material - Future Music and Sound on Sound magazines. Drink - None during the smoke. Coca Cola after.

The Look - First off, the Diplomaticos label is great. The Diplomaticos label enhances the look of the cigar . It's a nice label. The medium coloured wrapper showed a few veins but was far from rustic. It had a classic Cuban velvety feel to it, although not as velvety as some (like an SLR that I have) it had more of a shine to it than the really velvety ones do. Overall it was a fine looking cigar. It felt hefty and beefy in my hand and did not have any hard or soft spots.

Light and burn - It lit easily as I toasted the foot with my Bic (hey, it works). It came to life quickly and required one touch up shortly after lighting. It then went into a ten degree burn that straightened itself up perfectly with no help from me before the halfway point. The ash was classic Cuban in color and hung on by itself for about an inch and a half.

Draw - Just right. Not too loose or too tight.

Smoke - Plenty of it. No lack of thick, sweet smoke.

Flavour - Ah, the flavour. Now we get to the heart of the matter. I had said that I never smoked a Diplomaticos, so I did not have any preconceived notions. With that said, the flavour of this cigar was extraordinary. It came on immediately as a spicy, perfume-like sweetness. Delicious. I've never had a cigar that tasted quite like this one. There were some other flavours rolling around in there as well, but the perfumy sweetness held centre stage throughout and just became more pronounced. I've seen a couple of Diplomaticos reviews that noted that the cigar was relatively flavourless for the first 1/4, but this cigar did not exhibit that trait at all. It hit me with sweet spice from the get go and kept it up the whole way through, becoming "chewier" as the smoke went on. It was also extremely smooth. It had none of the overpowering harsh strength that is a trait of many Cuban cigars, especially young ones. Just a smooth, sweet, fragrant smoke. It is the type of cigar that makes you want to have another one as soon as it is gone.

Conclusion - I have to put this one in my Top Ten cigar list, and closer to the top than to the bottom at that. It's that good. It is a wonderful cigar. All of its characteristics are good ones - nothing even close to negative to report here. I am glad that I have another one of these in my humidor. I have seen these referred to as the Monte #2's little brother, but I enjoyed this more than any Monte #2 that I've had to date. If all Diplomaticos cigars are as good as this one, then I will certainly seek out more.

This review had a few abrupt/stacatto moments, but it was very focused and to the point. It definitely gave you the overall impression of the cigar, enough that you should be able to compare your own tasting notes and feel if this was accurate or not.
Score: 7/10
Judged by Adam Carlton

Over all this review was too mechanical, more utilitarian in description and lacked a feeling of the cigar. Then the flavour description was too over the top and description of the perfume-like sweetness was not appealing. It didn't make me want to give this cigar a try.
Score: 5/10
Judged by Chris Cacciotti

The review was too wordy for my liking. It took too much reading to get to the heart of the review. Although I understood what the reviewer was trying to say it was just too much work to figure it out.
Score: 5/10
Judged by Bill Liberman


Diplomaticos No. 4
Judged by John Goddard

Diplomaticos No. 4 CigarThis was my first Diplomaticos cigar and it appeared very well made, box pressed, with a smooth, dark tan wrapper.

The first few draws were very peppery, with a distinct hint of black tea which disappeared quickly. It tasted really quite hot to start with, but the aroma was beautiful: a mix of spice, wood and honey; a bit 'musty' but in a good way.

The hot pepper soon changed, first to dry wood with a touch of bitterness, then slightly milder with a faint hint of grass. In no time at all, the heat was gone and flavour filled out; the spice, wood and honey now a part of the taste, not just the aroma. The flavour was becoming creamy and there seemed to be a lot going on here. And all of this in the first quarter! This was no 'graceful ballet' of flavours, in fact it seemed a bit wild!

All of which was quite a surprise. I've read that Diplomaticos was conceived as a more straight forward alternative to Montecristo, and rightly or wrongly this left me expecting a 'dull but worthy' type of cigar. Far from it. It was full of wonderful Havana flavours. And if it was a little chaotic, I'm sure a bit of age would subdue the initial ferocity and pull together the different flavours into something superb and cohesive.

It continued to produce plenty of smoke and mouthfuls of flavour, varying between creamy-sweet and peppery-wood. I couldn't detect coffee or chocolate in the mix, but the earlier grassy taste made another brief appearance. There was an earthy quality, but not the 'tangy / pongy' variety. I can't find a better word than 'musty' that quality of damp earth carrying little jewels of Havana magic in its smoky folds! I think it's got to me!

All too soon it was gone. I thoroughly enjoyed this little cigar, it was character full and interesting. Perhaps the best compliment is that it has left me wanting to try more of the Diplomaticos range.

I enjoyed reading this review. His thoughts seemed well-organized and I thought he did a good job of debunking the "myth(?)" of Diplos being a poor man's substitute for Montecristo. His description of the flavours he experienced, particularly of it being musty in a good way, makes me want to try a few of these.
Score: 8/10
Judged by: Scotty J

This was a good and reasonably thorough review. The key to any review is does it leave the reader with enough information to determine if they want to buy or not. In this case, the apparent complexity of the cigar has me intrigued although "grassy" flavour leaves mw with some doubt. However, I do feel informed. I do think too much effort has gone into describing every nuance of the cigar flavour while forgetting the basics like draw, ash consistency, smoke volume and aroma. I have had too many Cubans with a bad draw, I want to know if this was perfect, loose, tight, etc. Overall, it was a good review but too much effort was made in describing the taste characteristics which I find very arbitrary at best.
Score: 7/10
Judged by Darryl Rose

I found this review to be very straight forward and compactly written. Hearing subtleties like green tea and how it changed in flavour made this review very interesting. I could sense the taste changes from what were described!
Score: 8/10
Judged by: Chris Cacciotti


La Gloria Cubana Piramides
Judged by Wynne Hunkler

Although this is not a cuban cigar (so I may not be eligible for a prize), I wanted to submit this review in honor of an outstanding member of cigar family who is no longer with us thank you. Although I had never met the man, I feel incredibly fortunate to have received a selection of cigars from Walt's (golfpro) collection, which Harris was kind enough to offer the CF membership to collect funds for Walt's mother. I have never heard a negative word about him, and several of our local Texas brothers knew him personally, so I have been able to hear a few wonderful stories in the past month ...

I received a 10-count box of LGC Piramides from the mid-90's, and I thought I might make a feeble attempt at reviewing this cigar in honour and memory of Walt...

Opening the box, I was greeted by the loveliest non-habano piramides I have seen. Each individual cigar was tightly-wrapped in flaky, yellow cellophane, revealing what looked to be lighter colored wrappers that have turned darker with age. splotchy, dark "age spots" were apparent down the length of each cigar and the aroma was spicy-sweet, with the faint honey-manure aroma of a nice habano ...

I selected my usual caffeine-free coke (no abuse from the crowd please) to accompany this cigar and headed out to the back porch. The pre-light draw was wide-open with a slight flavour of cedar. from the initial light, the cigar produced thick clouds of pillowy smoke. There was a cool breeze this evening, which whisked away each exhalation as it left my mouth and nose ...

The first flavours I noticed were a soft, spicy (not at all peppery) cedar. after the first inch or so, a more distinct (incredibly pleasant) sweetness, almost sugary, flavour caressed my palette. the underlying taste of soft cedar continued, ever present behind these other flavours I could not quite identify ...

Throughout the cigar, the burn remained even with an outstanding draw, demonstrating a flawless construction and quality. about at the half-way point of the cigar, the flavours began to build and the cedar taste became much more pronounced. the flavours at this point in the cigar were outstanding.

The last third of the cigar was sublime, becoming almost, habano-like in it's flavour, with a rich, cedary finish. I would like to thank Harris for providing me the opportunity to smoke one of these wonderful cigars. I hope this review has been worthy of Walt's memory and CF spirit.

P.S. During the writing of this review, I was forced to listen to my wine-drinking wife, her habano queeness, critique my review skills and continue to tell me how much my cigars smell like wheat manure from her grandma's barn. I am afraid she will just never grow to appreciate the enjoyment of a fine cigar.

This review gave a more direct and personal approach talking about golf pro. The descriptions of the cigar were, to me, very enticing . I give this review a 7.
Score: 7/10
Judged by: Jason

Not a bad review, I read it at least. Bit more of a eulogy to an old friend, which is ok I guess. I have smoked one of these, though admittedly a late 90s one (thought it pretty dull for such an excellent looking stick). I can concur that it took at least half of the stick to get any real flavour out of it. So yes, reasonably informative and to the point without too much choss.
Score: 6/10
Judged by: Asgard

This is more like it, punch and to the point! I'm certainly going to be giving this smoke a try.
Score: 6/10
Judged by: Cigar P


Jose L Piedra Nacionales
Judged by Dave Francis

Jose L Piedra Nacionales Cigar - Bundle of 25A hell of a lot of rubbish has been written about this cigar. I intend to add to it. For those of you unaware of Jose L Piedra as a brand - Piedras are marketed as "Cuban Country Cigars" - the "local smoke" in Cuba.

A mongrel rather than a thoroughbred, Piedras are somewhat poo-poo'ed by the cigar cognoscenti as they're both cheap - hence perceived as being non-exclusive - and not rolled to top class standards.

They are, however, a good honest smoke and possibly a degree better than a few other more "well connected" Cuban cigars I could mention.

As far as my tobacconist tells me, the various sized of Piedras all contain the same blend of tobacco - I usually smoke Nacionales - five and a half by forty two ring gauge. I first tried one of these out a year ago and they've become a regular favourite - the "daily smoke".. Enough of the preamble and on with the review.

Being the owner of a new Gentili humidor (thank you Mich) I decided, for a change, to let my regular purchase of Piedra Nacionales sit around for a month and enjoy the cedar architecture. What a difference. Piedras tend to vary in wrapper shade - my EMS selection ones had a slightly darker wrapper than usual. And, in line with normal Piedra thinking, the wrappers usually have a few veins on them. I normally think that this is due to the wrapper leaf not being ironed - as for what practical difference this makes, I have no idea - never had a runner on any Piedra, which is usually attributed to veins in the wrapper. And of course, the colour of a wrapper makes almost no discernable difference to the taste of the cigar. As we all should know.

If wrapper quality is a little down on a "standard Cuban" - are you going to smoke it or look at it ? - construction is just fine. The particular stick I smoked was well rolled - no hard spots - the foot displayed a good wrap and the head was as well rolled as most Cubans I've seen. Piedras are, let's face it, made to a price (and a price lower than most) but that doesn't seem to adversely affect the skill of the rollers. The general impression is one of a well constructed corona with one or two very minor veins on the wrapper, but very solidly put together. The draw on this particular stick (as with most Piedras) was just fine, by the way. Not too tight nor too loose.

The particular stogie I'd selected had languished for a month in my humidor at 70/70 and was a typical example of the five I'd bought. Time to apply a light. The Nacionale lit well, and the first few mouthfuls of smoke revealed light coffee / chocolate flavours. I hesitate to go overboard on flavour descriptions here as we should all remember that cigars are made of tobacco, not chocolate or citrus fruits. I've yet to find a lemon accidentally wrapped into a cigar, but - chocolate overtones there certainly were. The Piedra burning well- with a firm light grey ash, somewhat spotted in the manner of an Upmann, I decided to leave it alone and get on with a handy cup of coffee.

First third of the Piedra burned down with hints of chocolate and coffee. A pleasant enough smoke, and, of course, cigars rarely reveal their character until they get up to "operating temperature". The first third of the cigar was reasonably interesting if undimensional - life became a little more complicated (as it does) in the middle as the flavours intensified into a definite medium strength chocolate and coffee taste. Really, this is a non- complex cigar which tastes the same nearly all the way down - if you like the taste (I do) then a review is a question of how the strength varies during smoking. With the cigar cruising away, I was more than happy enough as the chocolate taste faded out to be replaced by flavours more of a "cocoa" nature.

With the last third approaching, some minor burn problems set in. Piedras usually seem to cone burn as I reach the end of them. Whether this is due to me smoking them too fast due to anticipation of the last few inches or problems with the binder, I can`t say, but I generally find that it becomes necessary to knock off the ash and relight with a few inches to go. This minor inconvenience is more than made up for by the final third of the cigar, where cocoa tastes - strong cocoa tastes - predominate. Flavours, which had previously been medium in nature, boil up nicely into a medium strong finish and I found myself with the usual Piedra induced grin (I smoke these for the hit of the last few inches) - and, with a grin on my face, the Nacionale was confined to the ashtray to die a heroes death with an inch or so to go. Well done, oh good and faithful servant.

In conclusion. Whilst the Piedra range may not be "top drawer Cuban", it makes no claim to be, nor does it charge the same admission price to the exclusive "top drawer Cuban club", either. The Piedra is a fine, honest smoke which can put some of it`s more expensive brothers to shame and it does this at a bargain basement price. Whilst not a supermodel in terms of wrapper quality, it remains an attractive enough stick with solid construction and an enjoyable (though non- complex) flavour which remains essentially the same all the way up, until the last few inches, when it really reveals the reason for smoking it. Up until that point, it`s still a fine, smokable stick and the price makes it more than a realistic proposal to distribute amongst friends. No, it`s not a connoisseurs` cigar, but yes, it`s a solid, honest Cuban cigar which can put other more prestigious names to shame. Recommended..

Jose L Piedra And of course, the colour of a wrapper makes almost no discernable difference to the taste of the cigar. As we all should know. This is where I lost interest in this review. The colour of a cigar's wrapper, the capa, is generally the key to it's flavour. The darker the wrapper, the more full-bodied and sweeter a cigar is likely to be. After struggling on though....it's an okay review - apart from the seemingly obligatory coffee, chocolate, cocoa references........yawn.
Score: 6/10 Judged by Kevin Reed

Initially I looked on in despair at the length of the review, but waded in even so. To my surprise I actually enjoyed reading it and do actually now want to try one of these cigars. So, yes good description, perhaps a little too much on the educating us side and could be pruned a tad, but hell I don't mind that in this case as it was well written enough and entertaining.
Score: 8/10 Judged by Richard Whitwell

Great review... bang on the mark... Agree wholeheartedly.
Score: 8.5/10 Judged by Smokeymo


Cuba Tobacco 25th Anniversary
Judged by Pete G (February 2004)

Cuba Tobacco 25th Anniversary cigarsA while back I had the opportunity to meet up with some internet friends I had come to know over the course of a few years. The event was a centennial celebration so the occasion was one to remember. Little did I know how memorable it would be. We met at a local steakhouse where we caught up on our rides into the city as well as future trips we will now be looking forward to. Dinner consisted of appetizers, salad, a huge rib eye and, of course, dessert fit for a king. A large king that is! A meal like that calls for coffee and a cigar and that's where the truly memorable part begins.

My newfound brother pulls out a cigar and says 'Why don't you try one of these.' I thanked him as I held it up for a closer look. The band said it all: 25th Anniversary Cubatobacco. This one deserved some extra attention.

Before I clipped it I enjoyed the feel of and weight of this corona. Construction was dead-on with a gentle firmness that spanned the entire length. The wrapper was a chocolate brown and showed no hint of flaws. The aroma was money. Pure money. Rich and almost too enjoyable to light! But it was meant to be smoked and who am I to argue with destiny? I clipped it with my trusty Palio and tried the draw. It was just a minute bit on the firmer side which is exactly to my liking. I actually sat with it for a few minutes before lighting it since this was going to be something special. I just wanted to savor as much of the total experience as I could! Lighting it with a DuPont Xtend and taking the first couple puffs proved to be as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

Since I was fairly excited to get into this cigar, I had to remind myself to go slow. Visions of Davidoff and Dunhill floated in my head but were quickly dispelled as I this cigar was like nothing I had ever smoked before. Describing the taste is somewhat of a dichotomy since it was an impressive mix of strength and smoothness. Complex would be a fair statement as it began with a bang. Peppery without being overpowering while still leaving a comfortably familiar aftertaste. Complimented by the coffee, I was in heaven. As it neared the halfway point it was more and more obvious this was more than just a special cigar. The fullness reached it's peak as this the taste could only be described as 'pure tobacco'. No floral undertones here. With a firm ash, a perfect burn and volumes of smoke, I had to be careful not to exhale too much so as not to shock my sinuses.

The last half of this cigar was the creme de la creme. The pepper tastes gave way to a creamy enjoyment of smooth cocoa. The word toasty comes to mind here. Oddly enough, at this point it was if I had been smoking these on a regular basis. It seemed to transform into an 'old friend'. As with all good things, however, this finally came to an end. I had smoked it to the absolute nub figuring my finger tips would feel better in the morning. I laid it in the ashtray and let it fade away into the distance.

Sometimes I find that enjoyment of a cigar comes not only from the cigar itself, but also with whom it is enjoyed with. This 25th Anniversary was the ultimate mix of a wonderful cigar and an even better friendship. While I may never see another one, I will still have the memories of the cigar and the evening of camaraderie that will last forever.

The first story on the 25th Aniv cigars, good story, however, if it were me I would have picked a better moment to enjoy this stick. Well written but I felt a cigar of this stature would have a definite WOW! If it did, I didn't get it.
Score: 7/10
Judged by FBCoacho

My choice for the winner is cigar review #1 Cubatobacco 25th anniv. I liked the way the review was written, and also the events around the cigar smoking. It was a special cigar on a great night. I could almost feel like I was there with the group of smokers.
Score: 9.5/10
Judged by ChrisECheck

Interesting story leading up to the event of the cigar ritual, putting one in the setting or the mood for an unusual smoke. The review was appealing as it described the cigar with details throughout the length of the cigar, however , the phrase that the aroma was "money" was a bit unusual as money is not very descriptive in terms of aroma, but that was made up for in the taste review. I enjoy a good story that builds my expectations that the cigar is going to be one in which I will search out and find for myself.
Score: 8/10


Fonseca Invictos
Judged by Migsheep (December 2003)

Fonseca Invictos Cigar I chose a tissue wrapped figurado, a Cuban Fonseca that arrived with the collection in the Princeton Humidor C.GARS sent me last year.

Having rested in glorious repose for the last year I expected a treat--albeit a gentle one since all Fonsecas I have known were calm, non-challenging smokes with little thrust and less oomph...

I was however to be surprised--pleasantly--when the first few puffs hit my palate with a roar rather than a wimper! The vitola smelled unremarkable on cutting, adding to my surprise at the unexpected palatal proficiency. The first third of the cigar oozed a variety of flavors, from a soft soapy taste to a non-bitter nearly carmellized flavor of flan...

The middle third settled down to a steady, strong, slightly earthy tone with a hint of leather (no whips, sadly....), then drifted into an increasingly strong final third crescendo of rich, full flavored smoke! My toes actually curled upward in pleasure and my wife enquired into the state of my heart and other vital organs..... Overall a 5 on a scale of 0-5, with 5 being heaven on earth! Frankly I would not have guessed this was Fonseca in a blind taste test.

A Gentle review of a gentle cigar. It was a very straight forward and telling review informing the audience that the cigar was good, without all of the cliches we have become accustomed to.
Score: 4 / 5 Judged by Jason Rhine

The reviewer's enthusiasm is noted, but occasionally is a bit forced (tastes of soap and flan...) Some hyperbole that clouds the effect of the reviewer's overall impression of the cigar. Overall a decent review.
Score: 3 / 5 Judged by Jeff Slatton

A short concise review that gives me an indication that these are well worth a try. I reached for dictionary on a couple of occasions before the 3 sentence... I liked this review. Perhaps could have said the brands that the reviewer normally went for to indicate strength then I would have thought this review spot on.
Score: 4 / 5 Judged by Tricky (asgard)


Dunhill Cabinetta 1988
Judged by Ted Hood (July 2003)

Dunhill Cabinetta 1988 Cigar This experience is not to be rushed, just as this cigar is not to be rushed, a silky smooth Colorado wrapper robusto. A cigar that for me was only a myth until a friend sent one as a get well gift. I started this experience out by lighting it up in a manner shown to me by my father many years ago, slowly with a cedar strip, after all a cigar like this has to be looked at and smoked with some knowledge that I was about to partake on a journey.

The flavor was mild and sweet as it started, but still had that Cuban twang (that indefinable essence) to it. Yes, mild, but the flavors were well married and it was difficult for me to pull out distinct flavors at first. I decided to pair it with some Santiago de Cuba rum, and I slowly inhaled (as opposed to the way I normally suck down a robusto). then an amazing thing happened about 1/3 of the way into the cigar, flavors started to pick up, now I am usually pretty good about picking out flavors, but these flavors were puzzling, hints of raisins and nuts; with a quizzical thought I continued on this journey as it entered on down to the half way point again I became aware of some more flavors, a nuttiness that had entered the taste spectrum, still no harshness or overwhelming strength, just a well balanced outstanding flavorful cigar.

I wish I had written down what I was tasting as I smoked, but it was so divine that it would have been a shame to do anything but sit and sip some rum and slowly enjoy this wondrous once in a lifetime treat. I was sitting underneath a large ficus tree amid the palms at my glass top wicker table, breeze slowly moving in as the cigar neared it end, tears began to well up in my eyes as I knew this was the end of a glorious masterpiece of cigar history, now I have smoked a few Davidoff's from the late 80's, some Punch's from the 70's , and a some Boil's from the mid 80's, but this cigar was completely different it was overwhelming every thought I had.

My mind was in that cigar, it took me away with it's unique mellow flavors of days gone by, I recalled the Cuba of the 80's when I first started visiting the island, I was transported back to that time and place, a slow pace, a slow puff, a simple sip of rum washing down the flavors, the smoke encircled me and it smelled glorious.

The Finish of the Dunhill was strong, but not like an SD3 strength (I like really strong flavorful cigars), but the strength of this cigar lay in it's symphony of flavors, its perfect balance of taste.

I would say that given the cigars I have had the pleasure of smoking over the years, this cigar blew smoke circles around them all, when the last of the cigar was but a memory, I was left with a smile that the angels must have, as I now know what a cigar that would rate in my book a perfect 100, tastes like.

In summary flavors I could identify in this Dunhill Cabinetta masterpiece were raisins, almonds, cashews, honey and an indefinable sweetness that was almost floral in essence. These flavors came together in perfect harmony to create a cacophony of richness and overwhelming delight.

There is really no accurate way to describe this cigar and give it the justice it deserved; I did the best I could, as I just was enthralled by it. Flavors that lingered long after the cigar and the remnants were gone. Ted K Hood aka ferdelance.

Author of this review took you on a ride back through time in the back seat of a cigar! The profile and tastes described were such, that I tasted the finish myself. Outstanding review.
Rated 9.5 of 10
Judged by Frodo

How do you describe an orgasm? It's nigh impossible, but Mr. Hood's effort is exemplary.
Score: 9/10
Judged by Van55

Overall great review by a seemingly experienced smoker.
Rating: 9.5/10
Judged by James R aka John Shaft


La Gloria Cubana
Judged by Brent Wagner (December 2003)

La Gloria Cubana Cigar Wavell Maduro 5 x 50 Lovely box of 25 Rated 86 by Cigar Aficionado - June 2003 I opened this box the day it arrived, and threw them into the humidor. The next day, I gave one to a friend, even before I had a chance to sample the goods. Is that nice or what?

After six frantic days of running all over Northern California on business ventures of one kind or another, I decided it was time for a break. I was exhausted, all my joints ached, and I didn't give a rip about the messages waiting on my voicemail.First thing, I opened the refrigerator and pulled out three leftover items:

Grilled marinated chicken with buttered rice and vegetables. I promptly threw this in the microwave. - Two slices of Mountain Mike's sausage pizza. These went into the toaster. - Three potato skins loaded with cheddar cheese, large chunks of bacon, sour cream and green onion. These went into the toaster next, and then went on a plate with the pizza.

I poured Crown Royal over the rocks and took all the food to the small table on my front patio. When I went back inside to the humidor, I grabbed the Wavell without hesitation. After resting in my humidor for almost a week, it was high time to test the merchandise!

This cigar was definitely box-pressed. Interestingly, a cross-section would produce a rectangle, not a square. The box was flat, with a wide girth... and made for a peculiar cigar shape. This was an advantage while smoking, as a rectangular cigar is easier to smoke than one which is perfectly squared.

The cellophane was difficult to remove. This was a fat, oily, box-pressed cigar which fit tightly into his plastic outerwear.

Upon removal, the cigar exhibited a nice sheen on his nearly black skin. Slightly bumpy, with normal-sized veins, it sported a beautiful lady on a band of red, yellow and black and gold. I was able to slide the band off intact. Another attractive emblem for the collection.

A pre-light sniff down the barrel did not even hint at the sweetness I expected from this maduro. "Hmmmm," I thought. "He's being mysterious." Not even lit, and I'm enjoying it already!

I moistened the cap in my mouth. My tongue was met with a salty, powdery taste of earth. "Hmmmm," I thought again. "You just keep up that ruse." Snip! His head came off neatly, and the filler was clean. No annoying shreds. Obviously, the tobacco in this cigar was firm and substantial.

The Colibri was used for this occasion. Nothing but the best for this afternoon Celebration of Freedom. As I toasted the foot, the surrounding air was suddenly full of aromatic promise. "Oh boy, this is gonna be good."

The first puff brought back to mind that all-too-familiar descriptive phrase. Yep, you guessed it... Dulce Pungeance. Richly complex elements of sweetness. "Dog Gone! It must be the maduros." I mused. "I must be going mad for maduro!"

Talk about an ash. A striking contrast of white against the dark brown exterior. The burn was perfectly even and slow, producing an ash that wouldn't quit. "My goodness, what a nice looking cigar." I was sitting pretty.

I scarfed the delicious leftovers in between puffs from this strong stick. The whiskey seemed like a little much by itself, so I went inside to grab a glass of cold water. "Ahhhhh, much better." I was set.

This was a nice start to the remainder of the day. Although, I was not long for wakefullness. After an hour of smoke and vitals, I was ready for bed. One distraction after another was not to deter me. I hit the hay very early, and slept for an eternity

The reviewer did a little too much talking to himself during the writing of said review. Overall, however, it sounds like a very interesting experience. The descriptions stayed with you and the taste descriptions actually made sense. Not a particular fan of this vitola, but it is encouraging to note that this review could entice me to try it once, maybe.
Score: 4 / 5
Judged by Jason Rhine

The reviewer spends entirely too much time describing the trappings to the neglect of the cigar. By the time the cigar is described, the reader has likely lost interest. Never truly describes the cigar, getting lost in the leftovers.
Score: 1 / 5
Judged by Jeff Slatton

Ah for Christ sake! 2/3 of the review is rambling on about the cut and smell before we even get to the first draw. Then, no mention of strength or comparisons to other smokes the reviewer likes (a common criticism of all reviewers here). The reviewer seems fixated with the ritual rather than the actual description of the smoke itself. Ok, I can empathise that this what a lot of the smoking game is about, but when I'm reading a review I don't want a missive about there smoking habits I want to know about the stogie!
Score: 1 / 5
Judged by Tricky (Asgard)


Dunhill Lonsdale Grande
Judged by Brent Wegner (July 2003)

Brewed up a pot of shade-grown, fine-grind, French Roast beans and headed for the backyard to enjoy this promising selection.

I remembered liking Dunhills in college, so my mouth was watering by the time I hit the porch. I can hear my downwind neighbor to the right working in her yard. Boy is she in for a treat!

Plopped one of those plastic white lawn chairs in the middle of the grass facing my expansive flower garden. I must have taken in a couple dozen shades of petals as I toasted the foot evenly. Ooooooooh, a nice white ash is starting to develop... a good sign of things to come. Just as I am preparing to indulge, I take note of the sturdy construction. This is one solid stick. At last the moment I had been waiting for. Two small puffs, and I fill my mouth with a cloud of perfume. THIS IS THE FLAVOR THAT I LONG FOR!!! The same delicious nutty creamy flavor persisted throughout the entire length of this cigar. It is the same flavor I've found in the H. Upmanns and the Arturo Fuente Perfecto that I smoked a while back.

As I contemplated the flavor, I examined the wrapper. Not too veiny, and pretty smooth. Light, light brown hue; and no visible flaws. The ash that developed was white as snow on the outside, with a mix of white and grey inside.

One thing I noticed after snipping the cap, was the thickness of the binder. It was one of the thickest binders I've ever seen, and probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Perhaps this was another factor contributing to the delightful taste and aroma.

Unlike the Montecristo #3 that I smoked on a trip to Oregon, which left a significant bitter taste on my palate, this stogie had none of the bitterness. In fact, there was a noticeable lack of noseburn from fumes coming directly to my nose. Could this be the effect of aging? This was some of the thickest, richest, creamiest smoke... but was extremely mild. Yummy!

Besides being nutty, creamy & mild, this baby was incredibly sweet. Astonishingly sweet for not being a Maduro. All told, it took me about 45 minutes to wrap things up. This cigar delivered everything I look for; and I smoked it down to a 1 inch nub before giving it a final parting glance as it sailed gracefully over the back fence.

Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow.

I would give this cigar an extremely high rating.

I'll definitely have to get a whole box of these!

While the taster tried to explain the whole experience of this cigar, which is a nice touch, he fell short of a perfect review of the cigar. There was, in my opinion, too much comparing to other cigars that were not being reviewed. Although not a great review, it was very nice.
Score: 7.5/10
Rated by Frodo

His description had me right there with him in his back yard; however I did not find the tasting notes nearly as evocative. Comparing a classic Dunhill to a Fuente? Come on! And the use of Shakespeare's "parting is such sweet sorrow" is trite.
Score: 6/10
Judged by Van55

Would have liked more of a concrete breakdown of the cigar's characteristics. Liked the description of the environment and the review's general overall style.
Rating: 7/10
Judged by James R aka John Shaft

OVERALL SCORE - 20.50/30

Belinda Corona 1998
Judged by Jason Rhine (May 2003)

The cigar was itself a medium colorado wrapper, well contructed, with a few veins present. The veins were not enough to distract from the wrapper at all. It was a slightly box pressed, corona (6x42).

The cut was clean with no hangers and the prelight draw was firm, but not tough, not to easy. Just right in my opinion. I proceeded to toast the foot and it was little windy, but this little guy lit like a champ and took off. A medium strength cigar. The first pull was a bitter. I didn't get anything but a taste of concentrated bitterness. However, after that the very next hit was very, very good, and didn't experience any tunneling at any time.

The first 1/3 was even burning, with strong dark grey ash. The taste was a citrusy/lemony flavor with a hint of wood. I felt that the flavor stayed towards the front of my palate, which I particularly enjoyed. The smoke was full, but not harsh. The second third had a more stronger flavor profile as it merged into each other. The citrus flavor was still present as strong as ever, but the wood came out more strongly and a very nice caramel flavor came out. I liked the middle of this boy most of all with those flavors. The end came about in kind of a bad way. I had to relight... other than that the whole thing stayed the course. I didn't lose any flavors, but it didn't get harsh and hot towards the end like so many do. It went down to the nub as I didn't want to put it down. I only had to ash 4 times as this held together very well.

All in all, I can say that I think this was a very, very good cigar and I wouldn't hesistate to get more of this brand.

Fonseca KDT Cadette
Judged by Scott Hensiek (May 2003)

Fonseca KDT Cadette Cigar I find these to be the best bang for the buck amongst most Cuban cigars. They are much stronger in flavor than the others in the Fonseca line.

Opened the new box and smelled it. Had that typical smell you expect from a Cuban cigar. Smelled sort of like a wet farm. Sort of musty but with that sweet tobacco smell also.

Clipped and toasted the foot. The smoke that rose from the cigar was like a fine cedar box. Sweet and aromatic. Also had a background smell of a new pair of leather shoes.

Draw was a bit tighter than I am used to but it produced a ton of smoke. The smoke was thick and chewy and had an intense earthy flavor. Sort of like sliding into home plate head first. As the cigar heated up it finally gave forth the wonderful peppery spice I love in these cigars.

Burn was perfect and never needed even the slightest of nudges. This is a very complex small cigar. Each puff seemed to give me a new flavor. Spice, leather and wood tickled my palette.

The only problem with this cigar? It's too small. I was left wanting more. I nubbed it till I had to use a toothpick to get the last bit of goodness out of it.

I give this cigar a 5 out of 5 stars.

Partagas 155th Salamones
Judged by Joe Gellman (November 2000)

Although this cigar was gifted to all the participants of the November 14, 2000 Partagas 155 celebration dinner, I smoked my first one, this evening. I opted for the Salomones. This is a giant of a cigar, measuring 184 x 57. Yes, that's the real measurement. Consider that there were 50 of these packed into the Special Humidor, along with the three other vitolas of this new blend, and you will understand that the humidor is a giant of Cuban craftsmanship.

Of Solomon, Milton wrote, in Paradise Regained, "For Solomon, he lived at ease, and full of honour, wealth, high fare, aimed not beyond higher design than to enjoy his state." Of Salomon, I write, It lived at ease, and full of flavor, depth, high spice, aimed on high for all to enjoy this state. OK, so I'm not Milton!

This cigar was brilliant. It shone like a dark star in the light. The oils on this new vitola from Partagas was beyond description. The deep, nearly oscuro wrapper, claimed my attention. The shape was an architectural delight, and its firm body a memory of nubile women. There was not a blemish on this cigar. It was the newest miracle from Cuba. If in the Olympics it would return with a gold medal.

I am always hesitant to light this type of tapered cigar for fear that it will burn unevenly. Not to worry with the Salomones. It lit, directly, and burned to the last without a run -- not a run is an understatement. The cigar kept a perfect burn, a most unusual find in any cigar of this shape, let alone this size.

The ash refused to release until I had smoked 3 1/3 inches away. The ash was a perfect deep dark gray and solid until I jerked my hand to show a fellow smoker the marvel in my grip.

It took a few minutes for the cigar to open up it's hidden pleasures. Gentle spice wafted through the room. All about noticed the unusual aroma, and all eyed me as I whittled away on this cigar. After about 10 minutes the cigar began to develop grand flavors. The peppery taste never left. The fruit I tasted lasted for about 15 minutes and grew into a subtle floral undertone. Hints of cedar were present, never obscuring the spice.

Spice is the word for this cigar. Stronger than most cigars I have smoked yet gentle enough to enjoy after a hearty meal. This evening the fare was Persian, and I found that the blend of the cigar after the repast, was excellent. Frankly, I would avoid this cigar unless the smoker has had a full meal. It is my opinion that a glass of Port would not serve well with this cigar but that a well aged Barsac or Sauterne should be sipped, slightly chilled. This is due to the strength of this cigar and the ever present spice.

After one hour my lips seemed numb! Thankfully, I had a 1924 Coutet a Barsac at hand, and it soothed my palate as I continued to enjoy the growing flavors of the cigar.

The cigar never lost its firmness, never smoked hot, and never let up on flavor.

Kelly Kimura was present and, in the spirit of the Good Smoker, I shared the cigar with him. After his eyes glazed over, I once again took command of the cigar. Another friend, Jesse, was to share the cigar towards the end. His first puff drew wide eyes and a plea for a "little sample."

Two and a half hours later I was down to the last life of the cigar. At no time was my smoke without rich spice, undertones of cedary/wood flavor, and, with about two inches to go, a sweetness that befuddled me as I thought the cigar would crescendo with a blast. No, the blenders knew what they were making. The last few minutes of the smoke were pleasant and the spiced waned to a creamy, unforgettable ending.

Words that come to mind: Aromatic. Peppery. Ripe. Robust. Floral. Enticing. Full. Generous. Rich. Lush. Silky smooth.

I do not think that I could smoke this cigar every day; I simply do not have the time (unless I retire). To ask for more is not too much...more cigars, not more from the cigar.

Hats off to the Partagas blenders for their thoughtfulness in bringing great joy to the cigar smoker's world. This cigar is destined to rank among the best Cuba has ever produced.