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Sancho Panza Cigars Taste Test

Sancho Panza Gigantes
Reviewed by Chris Ross (July 2003)


Luck was with me that evening in Monte Carlo. All eyes were upon me as I lay a monstrous two dollar bet on the next deal. The cards were dealt, and lo, two jacks were thrown my way.

"Hit me," I said.

The dealer was incredulous. "But sir, you have two face cards! Are you sure you want another? Are you sure, Mr.........."

"Bomb. James Bomb," I replied.

"But you're showing twenty Mr. Bomb"

"And the game is called 'Twenty One.' Hit me"

By my expert card counting and calculations, I surmised that this would be the Ace of Spades. Needless to say, I was not non-plussed when conjecture became reality.

"Twenty One," said the dealer as I nonchalantly sipped my diet Coke with a lime twist.

My calculated gamble paid off handsomely with a princely three dollar and fifty cent payout. As the crowd burst into spontaneous applause, I nodded in acknowledgement. And almost immediately, a gold digging vampress approached.

Her hair was the color of a freshly opened box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Her eyes were moist, sultry, sleepy and somewhat closed, reminiscent of a farmer's eyes after has he walked through his ammonia-pungent manure field.

"Quite impressive, Mr. Bomb," she said.

I said nothing, but proceeded to pull from my vest pocket a well-aged Sancho Panza Gigantes.

"Oooh, Mr. Bomb, you're such a man," she cooed.

"So, you like my Panza Gigantes?" I replied. "This cigar is a delightful balance between strength and taste," I continued. "Notice the silky sheen of the wrapper. It appears almost luminescent, which, my dear, can only be attributed to the vigor and strength of leaves grown in the fabled tobacco Eden known as Cuba."

"Oooooooooh," she replied. "You ought to write that description down and submit it in some kinda cigar competition Mr. Bomb."

"I just may, Miss........"

"Recht, Dixie Recht," she said.

"Yes, I'm quite sure," I said

I clipped the head of the cigar with my guillotine cutter in a quick, definitive, yet stylish motion. A quick pre-light puff exhibited a medium draw, not too tight, but enough to let me know that this cigar had some meat to it and would require proper attention to keep it going.

As I toasted the foot of the cigar, its essential oils carmelized, giving off a rather pleasing coffee-like aroma. The odor wafted through the air.

"Ohhhh, Mr. Bomb," she said, "I just love a man who loves a good cigar."

"Look, Miss Recht, before we go any further, let's get something straight between us," I replied. I'm not your steppin' stone, I'm not the kind who uses pencil or rule, I'm not your father's Buick, and I'm not the Walrus. So don't love me because I smoke a good cigar and don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

"Oooh Mr. Bomb, I just love your humour," she said as she added (in typical British fashion) an extra vowel to the word 'humor'.

We walked out of the Casino hand in hand. I took a draw on the Panza Gigantes and relished the taste of cocoa and pepper. This little bad boy had a pleasing kick which intensified noticeably after the first inch. Not harsh, not pungent, but strong, like a Lithuanian female weight lifter.

We strode to the parking lot and we stopped when we came to the sleek and racy Aston-Martin convertible. My Dodge Neon was parked right next to it.

Another draw from the Panza produced thick blue velvet smoke upon exhalation.

"Oooh, Mr. Bomb," she said, "that thick blued velvet smoke that you produced upon exhalation smells wonderful. Reminds me of a woodsy fire in a Swiss chalet."

"Thanks baby. Can I use that description in a taste test challenge?"

We sped off in my slightly rusted yet mechanically sound Dodge Neon.

As I puffed on the final stages of the Panza Gigantes I detected yet another twist in its flavor. It was still peppery but became decidedly earthy as well. A great, great marriage of two distinct flavors on the palate.

"That's 'flavour'," Miss Recht corrected as she read my thoughts.

Yes, flavour, I thought to myself in apology.

I took Miss Recht to my pad where we wiled away the evening eating some bad Chinese food and watching Animal Safari on BBC 1. The morning found me alone again, naturally. Dixie Recht was gone, but hopefully, we'll always have Panza Gigantes.

This review fell short of what I think a cigar review should be, about the cigar! Whilst the author of this spoof on Ian Fleming may have enjoyed this cigar, he did not portray that enjoyment to me. A little too much story and not enough review.
Score: 7/10
Rated by Frodo

Brilliant, Mr. Bomb! This review as an excellent blend of humorous fiction and cigar information.
Score: 9/10
Reviewed by Van55

Good effort with a different style. I felt that it missed the mark in actually decribing the dimensions of the cigar, however.
Rating: 6.5/10
Reviewed by James R aka John Shaft


Sancho Panza Belicosos
Reviewed by Jack Schonhaut (June 2001)

I didn't know I was going to be a taste tester until these beauties arrived with my order from MO. I have smoked this vitola before and found them to be pleasant with a mild to medium flavor. These looked darker than any Sancho Panza I have previously seen with almost a maduro hue. There was also a beautiful oily sheen that made them look like they were going to try out for the Mr./Ms Universe pageant. I grudgingly put them in the humidor to rest for a week before I started my tasting.

The first candidate was smoked after lunch. It was a nice sunny day, perfect for a leisurely smoke on the deck. There cigar looked perfect. Smooth, no veins and firm to the touch. The cut was clean and the pre-light aroma was a smell of cedar.

Upon lighting there was an easy draw with a medium to full flavor that included tastes of cedar and coffee. I'm not talking about a latte, I mean fresh ground Columbian, in a big cup. This was not the taste of the Sancho Panza I've had before. This continued through the first third of the smoke as a firm dark gray ash developed.

After the first third there arrived a definite taste of honey with more of a sweet cedar flavor. The coffee flavor subsided at this point and the flavors just mellowed out. Clouds of smoke, smooth draw, never harsh or dry all the way to the finish. This was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Candidate Number two was smoked after dinner the following evening. There was the same oily sheen but the cigar seemed soft to the touch. As I feared this one was too loosely rolled. The coffee flavor was there in the beginning and some cedar at the end. It just wasn't a smoke you would linger over because it smoked hot and harsh towards the end.

The had the third the following evening. It mirrored the first in appearance and flavor. I would not suggest this pyramid for enjoyment after a heavy dinner. It does seem best to help while away a spring or Summer afternoon.

Thank you MO for these wonderful smokes.

Sancho Panza Molinos
Reviewed by Jerome Culet (Januay 2001)

It was with no small degree of anticipation that I awaited the familiar footfall of my neighborhood Mailman. I had been selected as one of this Month's "Taste Testers" for C.Gars LTD. I was told that I would be given three Sancho Panza "Molinos" to evaluate. Needless to say, this is like telling a Child he has been chosen to taste ice cream, but never the less I had convinced myself that this was indeed a higher calling.

The package arrived as promised and I withdrew from it three perfectly matched, nicely box pressed Molinos. They all had nearly perfect reddish colorado wrappers with no noticeable blemishes. I carefully placed them in the humidor to "rest' after their long journey.

No.1) After five day's in the humidor I took one Molino at random and clipped the cap with my Zino cutter. The cap yielded cleanly and crisply. A test draw revealed a non-bitter tobacco taste but also foretold of an over tight roll. I toasted the foot evenly and took the first draw, yes much to tight. Suffice it to say that this was not the low point of this cigar. It had every problem a cigar could have. Had it not been part of a taste test I would have simply thrown it out the window

No2.) A week and a half had passed and another Molino fell gracefully victim to my Zino. I toasted the tip and the first draw while a bit tight held promise. The volume of smoke was quite meager at first and lacking in taste. Hints of earth and leather became apparent but always just out of reach. An uneven burn began to develop, but after my struggle with No.1, I made no attempt to correct it. It quickly evened out however and revealed a firm, even, dark gray almost black ash with smatterings of gray spots. A third of the cigar had vanished before the Molino revealed it's flavor potential to me. The taste of freshly rained upon earth came to mind as well as the familiar taste of fine saddle leather. The experience was fleeting for as the last third of the cigar began to burn the taste grew harsh and bitter.

No.3) I hoped those three weeks in the humidor had given the last of the Molino's enough time to recuperate. Once again the cut was clean and crisp and a test draw revealed a roll on the tight side of normal. I toasted the foot and my draw was greeted with a more substantial volume of smoke as well as increased taste. Although the amount of smoke produced was less than I prefer, it was adequate. The taste and flavor as well came through with more authority and a voice in the back of my mind whispered, "at last". The burn was even and cool with an ash reminiscent of No.2's. Leather and rained soaked earth flavor's developed early in the first third of the cigar's length and continued to develop with the addition of oak wood flavors by mid point. The Molino began to grow harsh early in the last third as did No.2, a sign that in my opinion more age was needed on these cigars.

To sum up, any box of cigar's can have a bad stick like the first one I smoked. And No.2 while missing the mark gave some degree of satisfaction if only fleeting. The final Molino convinced me that these cigars simply fell victim to their youth and at eight months they were in my opinion very young. I think that given six more months to develop they will certainly loose that harsh finish and gain more depth and flavor.

Thank you C.Gars LTD for this wonderful opportunity.

Sancho Panza Belicosos
Reviewed by Steve Pulizzano (February 2001)

Named for the rustic squire to Don Quixote in Cervantes' novel of the same name. The Sancho Panza is generally admired for its two larger cigars, the Belicoso and Sancho which is a formidable 9¼ X 47. All are handmade and are mild to medium bodied. The Sancho Panza is one of Cubas oldest marques.

A very well made Habanos of the vitola: campanas. A smooth, finely veined capa that covered a well packed and slightly boxpressed figurado with no hard or soft spots to its length. Of the three samples sent only one was subpar in its taste with an acrid and dry finish especially for the first ¾ to 1". The following notes are for the other two: Prelight draw gave rich ripe fruity overtones that were mellow and refined without any harshness and that unmistakable Habanos tang to the tobacco. Postlight taste and aromas of subtle honey/floral, spice, a touch of roasted coffee and cedar that were subdued yet left sweet and aromatic tones on the palate. The torpedo shape tends to condense the smoke and leave a heavy prescence in the mouth but is mild yet wonderfully rich. A very well rounded smoke. They all smoked very evenly with a good draw and nice volumes of creamy smoke on each pull with a dark gray and solid ash that held well. I smoked the two past the band to the nub where I placed them on a toothpick to get every puff I could muster from them. A very nice Habanos for anytime of the day although you might not want to follow a heavy dinner of beef with this subtle yet involving cigar.

Thanks C.GARS Ltd for allowing me the honor of being in your first ever Taste Test Challenge and for your generosity in sending three of the Sancho Panza Belicosos.

Sancho Panza Molinos
Reviewed by Joe Gellman

This is not a cigar to be smoked immediately upon receipt from the dealer. I made this mistake and was not very happy with the cigar. Knowing that aging can help the flavor of many cigars, I laid the rest of the box down and returned to smoke another cigar about 5 months later. I was floored by the results. As an aside, I find that aging seems to add to most of my cigars though only a few really change, greatly; this cigar is one of the later.

At an exacting 16.5 cm x 1.7 cm, the cigar is rolled to perfection. Each example in the box had nary a blemish on it, and all looked inviting. This is a lonsdale or Cervantes shape, and it is really rather elegant in appearance. The wrapper is a deep rich brown, similar to all the cigars from Sancho Panza. My selection was dated 9/99 and were made in the Briones Montoto factory, in Havana.

The finish was smooth, without any soft spots or veins, and had only a little oily sheen to it. I have noticed that the oil never really shows up on this brand, and will have to ask someone more knowledgeable, why. Before lighting the cigar you can smell a light leather-wood from the box and there is a hint of sweetness to the individual cigar. The presentation, in the box, is picture perfect, and all the cigars were exactly the same shade.

The cap was solid and so was the foot, though the cut at the foot of some of the cigars was not laser sharp. You could see that the cigar was packed to an conscientious standard, and that there was an anticipation of an even and smooth burn.

Upon lighting the cigar the first impression I had was of being in the woods just after a late Summer rain. The draw was easy, throughout, and there was ample smoke with every puff.

The ash adhered to the tip for about 1 ½ inches before I knocked it off for testing. It was a deep dark gray and quite firm to the touch. Even swirls on the ash were evidence of the care given to production of the cigar. The ash was brittle when crushed and revealed a complete burn from all levels. The ash came off evenly which is an important factor to me. How many times do you notice that, when the ash falls off, the foot reveals a conical end? To my understanding, this reveals that the cigar is not burning evenly - not so with the Molino.

This cigar provided full aromatic, fruity and honeyed flavors from the first puff to the last. The aroma was ambered and very open, and the woodiness remained, but it was subtle, not to overshadow the light, yet rich, sweetness of the cigar.

Towards the last third of the cigar the intensity of flavors produced more rich sweet-honeyed aroma and taste. The cigar burned cool and was simply a delight to smoke. The body of the cigar remained firm and the cap never unraveled of became mushy.

I smoked another Molino an hour later and the experience was equally pleasant.

Sancho Panza Sanchos
Reviewed by Joe Gellman

Do not be put off or frightened by the size of this cigar. It is properly classified as a Gran Corona but know as an Especial or diademas. The cigar is presented in boxes of 10 and the box I bought, dated from March 1998 looked as if it were made for someone who was going to write a critical review, i.e., perfect in every respect. At $27.00 USD a cigar I expected something that would be memorable - I was neither surprised nor disappointed.

At an impressive 9 1/4 x 47 (235 mm x 18.65), the cigar has an elegance to it, perhaps due to the color. It is 1/4 inch shorter than a Monte "A", but is the same weight. Do not expect the draw to be difficult, however, due to being packed a bit more firmly that the "A". It was clear that quite a bit of care was used in rolling this cigar, and each one could have been cloned from the other.

The cap was tight, smooth, and even, on all 10 cigars. The foot evidenced swirls of evenly blended filler and binder, all of exacting color. The head, body and base were of a uniform firmness, and the wrappers on all were unblemished but for a few tell-tale green spots.

Holding the cigar (no, not with both hands) left me with the impression of smoothness, and almost rich and silky, but not fully developed vis-a-vis oils on the wrapper. The cigar was well balanced, like a professional throwing knife.

I cut the cap and noticed a small dimple at the center. The cigar had a vegetal taste before lighting with a hint of sweetness. The cigar lit up without a second thought and, with careful management, I was able to enjoy this cigar without having it go out on me right to the finish.

The first draw brought a light taste of wild flowers and a hint of sweetness. The smoke was bountiful and was easy to puff on. The smoke coming off the foot had a lovely woody aroma and, belying its size, would be acceptable to smoke indoors. After a few minutes the aroma reminded me of being in my wife's kitchen when she was cleaning out the herb drawer. I guess that is a pleasant herbal scent that does not mar the palate as many stronger cigars are want to do.

The ash was a medium to dark gray and held fast. I was able to produce a firm ash for about 2 inches, and would have kept it on but for the fact that I jerked my head around at the shrill sound of a police siren outside my house. The ash was very firm but upon testing, became powdery and of a single hue in the ashtray. The ash came off evenly and the cigar never gave thought of running.

From the first, the cigar smoked cool, and did not falter in this important aspect. My experience was quite nice, not having to draw heavily and never experiencing other than mellifluent tones from this giant. The aroma and taste did not falter nor grow unpleasant, at any time during the 2 1/4 hours it took to smoke the cigar. The cigar is a tad lighter than medium bodied, and remains fresh to the end. The sweetness dissipated after about 40 minutes and there was a hint of warm wood fires stoking somewhere in the soul of this cigar.

I would have liked a stronger finish, akin to the no-longer produced Dorados, but such is the burden memory makes. The flavors did not linger in the air but, fortunately, it did linger on my palate for some time after the last embers said good night.