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Juan Lopez Cigars Taste Test

Juan Lopez Selection No. 1
Reviewed by Bill Durkin


I recently received a cigar from a friend (Thanks again), that I have never had the experience of trying...a Juan Lopez Seleccion #1.

Prior to lighting I admired the cigar, to its "perfect" cap, then its wonderful construction and finally its perfect colour (Colorado Claro); the cigar was very well made to say the least.

Next, I clipped the end and took a pre light draw, to see what I was in for. The draw clean and free, and that point I knew I would have no troubles.

Upon lighting, the first three or so draws were extremely rough and tannic. At first, giving me a feeling of disappointment and then without notice quickly diminishing.

The first part of this cigar was extremely woody, then turning to a sweet woody flavour with a hint of honey. By the second third it transformed yet again to predominately woody flavour with a hint of floral and leather notes (quite minor) and then the final third was semi sweet wood and clean tobacco (which was present throughout but mainly hidden) with a hint of pepper and spice.

This cigar was an extremely good cigar; I compared it to a good book. As you know when reading a good book, there are parts or sections where the author has so vividly and descriptively taken you to that place of which he writes and for a moment you lose your place and need to regain your thoughts. This cigar was the same for me, at times (while driving to a business meeting), I too lost my place, I was taken away by it's enjoyable flavour and for a moment, I was peacefully sitting on the beach with the utmost peace and quiet and beauty of my natural surroundings, only to be slapped in the face upon "finding my place," LOL.

I however do not know the date of this cigar, yet I still try and test my ability only to be incorrect, but I would say it came from a box dated 2002, no later than the early part of 2003. Which, to my palate would indicate another two years of age will make this cigar a brilliant smoke?

I enjoyed the first part of the review. He did a good job describing the cigar and flavors. He had me uninterested in the "book" part of the review. Where he actually was talking about the cigar did make me interested in trying one.
Reviewed by: Dan Hanson
Score: 5 out of 10

I found the reviewers comments a bit confusing. After proclaiming it perfect, he states it's very well made. To me, if it's perfect, of course it's well made. Also, I did not understand how he knew the cigar would be trouble-free just because the pre-light draw was good. His descriptions seemed very repetitive, "extremely woody, sweet woody flavour, predominantly woody flavour, semi sweet wood." I get it, sweet and woody! Finally, the last two paragraphs of the review seem filled with illogical conclusions and a strange simile of comparing this cigar to a good book. Although I have heard good things about JL's, this review would not sell me on the cigar.
Reviewed by: Scotty J
Score: 5 out of 10

This was a pretty good review. It started with an effective visual description. The body of the review was more subjective than descriptive, relating the "experience" of the smoke more than straight facts. That's not my favorite kind of review, but it's useful.
Reviewed by: Steve S
Score: 7/10


Juan Lopez Selection No. 1

Reviewed by Bob Bentley (July 2000)

Imagine my surprise when I received the email telling me I was to be one of C.GARS Ltd taste testers. I couldn't wait to find that package sticking out of my mailbox. When it arrived only a few days later, I was like a kid on Christmas opening a gift. Out came three of the nicest looking unbanded cuban sized corona gorda's I've seen in a while. Very little veining, nice construction and firmly rolled. I put them down in my humidor to let them settle from their long journey over the pond. Well, the first one only made it about 3 hours before being sacrificed. Only one semi-visible vein running the length of it. Solid feel all the way down. Pre-light aroma was fantastic. Something about the smell of a cuban cigar excites me. Talk about aromatherapy. I was instantly relaxed, but anxious to give it a try. A clean clip of the cap with my Xikar and I'm off. Hmm, could be trouble. Looks like there might be a runner up one side. First impressions were of an earthy, deep coffee flavor with subtle hints of spice. Very enjoyable. As I make my way through this cigar, the coffee flavor mellows some, and the spiciness becomes more complex. Good, the runner doesn't continue. Burn is pretty even, with a dark, firm ash. Halfway through and the coffee has changed to more of a chocolaty taste, spiciness is still there. Smoked this one down to the nub, nearly burning my fingers in the process. All in all, what I would consider a mild/medium strength cigar, but with loads of flavor. Definitely a keeper. I hope the others hold as much promise.

Cigar number two was consumed a couple days later after returning home from work. Upon inspection, I noticed that wrapper by the foot had split in a couple of spots, which I attribute to shipping. It however did not affect the smoking of it. The first third seemed a bit one dimensional. Not much in the way of good flavor. The remaining two-thirds however smoked very much like the first cigar, if maybe a bit milder, exhibiting many of the same flavors.

Cigar number three was the best of the bunch. It started off with some fruity notes. That lasted for only a short while then exhibited the same characteristics of cigar number one. The burn was nearly perfect, I didn't need to once relight it. Ash was a medium dark gray and fairly firm. Even though it was kind of mild in strength, the flavors that it had paired well with the Guinness I was drinking.

Thanks you very much C.GARS Ltd

Juan Lopez Selection No. 2

Reviewed by Jack Schonhaut (October 2000)

The three cigars I had were all 4 7/8 x50 with a smooth firm feel, light brown EMS color, perfect cap and a foot that looked like it was cut by a laser.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when I took the first vitola outside with a dram of Springbank 25 year old single malt. The cut was clean and it lit without and problem. A puff was all it took to start a nice stream of smoke.

An easy draw, a nice breeze and a fine scotch. The only thing missing was any flavor from the cigar. The taste wasn't harsh, it wasn't mild, it just wasn't. The ash grew to around two inches before it fell off. In fact the remaining ash held until I finally put the cigar down with less than an inch remaining. There still was no flavor to be found.

Vitola number two went to bat the following Saturday accompanied by a dram of Bowmore 22 year old Islay malt. Another perfect cut and light. Another plume of smoke after an easy draw. Another disappointment, no taste.

Victim number three was smoked the following afternoon accompanied by a cup of black coffee. Sad to say the outcome was the same as its predecessors.

These were fine looking smokes that just didn't deliver.

Juan Lopez Selection No. 2 (4 5/8" x 52)

Reviewed by Kevin Schonhaut (October 2000)

No need to describe the appearance of the cigars again here. The cigar's pre-lit aroma was very subtle, enough to allow me to detect that there was, indeed something under my nose. When first applying a flame to the foot, there was a hint of mild spice. I had in my hand a very rich and complex single malt with strong, rather than subtle hints of chocolate, butterscotch and stewed fruit. With the first puff of smoke from the Juan Lopez No. 2, it was clear that the cigar was not going to be able to hold up against the onslaught of flavor offered by the scotch. I laid the drink aside and slowly tried to get a sense of the cigars character.

What can I say? Despite a perfect burn and draw, my first cigar was as bland as my brother's. It was like going to the beach and hearing the radio play on someone else's sand dune. It was like the sound of a train in the distance. It was like some neighbor down the block was burning leaves in his back yard. A couple of times, I sipped again at the scotch, just to remind myself that I still had a sense of taste and could still detect an aroma. The only appropriate beverage to accompany the first cigar would have been a glass of water. Out of sheer boredom, I left the last inch and a half unsmoked and then went inside to snatch another brand of cigar from the humidor.

I rested the remaining cigars in my humidor and tried the second one five days later. It was a beautiful, sunny Wednesday morning and I had just finished breakfast and filled a second cup of coffee. Things were very different this time around. The cigar was very enjoyable, with hints of cedar, honey, coffee (maybe that was because of the accompanying beverage) and white pepper. I did find myself relighting the cigar a few times. By the time I reached the last inch and a half, the strength had picked up considerably. I smoked the cigar until I could no long hold it between the edges of my fingernails. I was left with a sweet, nutty aftertaste that was very satisfying.

On the following Sunday morning, (again after breakfast with coffee) I smoked the third cigar and the experience was very much like the second one. After the first inch or so, I laid the cigar down and went inside the house and opened all the windows leading to the back yard. I turned on the stereo, put on a Beny Moré CD and cranked up the volume. Returning outside, I just smoked the cigar and savored the moment. My neighbor told me I was the picture of contentment. My wife asked me how soon I would begin to clean the house.

In summation, despite having started out with what was probably a 'sick' cigar, I found the Juan Lopez No. 2 cigars to be thoroughly enjoyable mild to medium smokes with a sweet, woodsy, nutty character and a substantial kick delivered at the end. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in this taste test experience.