November 10, 2018

Tuataje The Bride (7 1/4 x 48)











Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Pete Johnson and Tatuaje Cigars showcased the thirteenth blend in its popular Monsters Series, Tatuaje – The Bride. It’s a character that pays homage to the classic horror film character, The Bride of Frankenstein.

The Monsters Series made its debut back in 2008 with Tatuaje – The Frank, paying homage to the character of Frankenstein. Since then, each October (just before Halloween), a different blend has been released in an elongated cigar format such as a Double Corona or Churchill.

As for the blend, The Bride consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. While it is the third Monsters cigar to utilize the Connecticut Broadleaf (Frank and JV13/Jason were the other two), the Bride is utilizing a Rosado Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper as opposed to a maduro Connecticut Broadleaf.

The Bride is a 7 1/4 x 48 vitola. It will come packaged in 13-count boxes with each cigar priced at $13.00. As in previous years, the cigars will be offered in dress boxes and non-dress (cedar) boxes. The dress boxes will be offered up to thirteen “Unlucky 13” retailers while the non-dress boxes will be made available for more general distribution.


Blend Profile
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country Of Origin: Nicaragua (My Father Cigars SA)


Vitolas Available
Churchill: 7 1/4 x 48



For a Connecticut broadleaf the wrapper is rather light; a medium brown. The cigar has a nice feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a tangy, sweet orange citrus, lots of brown sugar, a little cinnamon, nutmeg bridging over to light chocolate fudge and an earthy black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Nice start.




At the first third (23 minutes) I got more of the earthy black coffee. The fudge notes remain subtle and you get them right before the coffee notes. The tangy citrus seems to be wanting to morph over to a sweet cedar. You still have the brown sugar and a little cinnamon, and nutmeg. I have also noted some smooth, sweet caramel in the mix. The cigar is nice and sweet. You get the most darker notes when you retro hale. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is low levels of fudge, caramel, and nutmeg with a minor amount of lingering black pepper. The first third was impressive. I rated the first third at a 93.




At the midpoint (38 minutes) the flavors are really jumping. In the last segment I noted that the flavors seem to be morphing over to a sweet cedar but they are back to a pronounced, sweet, tangy citrus with plenty of brown sugar, cinnamon, and caramel. The cigar is very sweet at this point. It's almost like that flavor you get in an orange baby aspirin. The nutmeg is more elevated but it does not detract from the other flavors. The darker notes still remain in a low level amount. But, the fudge flavor lingers in the same amount from the front end all the way through the finish, along with the nutmeg and caramel. The lingering black pepper is up. The cigar is still medium bodied. The cigar is very impressive at the midpoint. I rated the midpoint at a 95.




At the second third (57 minutes) the flavors have not changed but the fudge notes are elevate somewhat. The massive sweetness is still there but it is slightly decreased by the elevated fudge notes. The coffee notes have increased slightly. The finish flavors are unchanged but I got a little more fudge on the finish. The cigar is medium bodied leaning toward medium to full. With the elevated fudge notes and the slight decrease in sweetness I lowered the second third score to 94.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 22 minutes. Nothing changed in the cigar from the second third through the end. It has the same flavors. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. This is a very good cigar. If not for the price point I could smoke this cigar every day. I very much enjoyed it. I rated the final third at the same 94. These are on shelves now and you should put them on your must-try list. You can purchase these cigars HERE.


Overall Score: 94

November 04, 2018

Espinosa 20th Anniversary (6 x 46 Corona Larga)





Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Espinosa Cigars showcased the Erik Espinosa 20th Anniversary Cigar. It’s a cigar that pays homage to company owner Erik Espinosa’s 20 years in the cigar industry.

The blend to the Erik Espinosa 20th Anniversary consists of a Habano Rosado wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The cigar is available in one size – a 6 x 46 Corona Larga. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes and production is limited to 500 boxes.

Prior to launching Espinosa Premium Cigars and becoming an owner in the La Zona factory, Espinosa was a partner in EO Brands with Eddie Ortega. He also worked on the sales end of the cigar business for many years.



Blend Profile
Wrapper: Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler; Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)


Vitolas Available
Corona Larga: 6 x 46



The cigar has a shiny chrome band with black lettering. It looks nice. There is also a gray cloth band at the foot. The cigar has an average feel in the hand for a corona larga.





The cap is finished with a small pigtail.






 The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were pink grapefruit and caramel as your primary flavors. But, they are just about dwarfed by the massive amount of black pepper. I rated the black pepper initially at 8 1/2. When you retro hale you might say the black pepper is a 10! It's (again) massive! As you know, I like black pepper. So, that's the way the cigar starts.




At the first third (26 minutes) the cigar has settled down nicely. The flavors now are dry cedar, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a black coffee base. The pepper has actually toned down quite a bit to around a 7 to 7 1/2. There are hints of graham cracker on the front end but I really get them on the finish. Along with the graham cracker I also get caramel and nutmeg. There is quite a bit of lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied at this point. The cigar is very good at this point. It's right in my alley; dead center. I rate the first third at a 94.




At the end of the second third (52 minutes) I am still waiting on the graham cracker to increase on the front end. As of now it has not. I still get it on the finish, however. The nutmeg is very creamy which gives the cigar a smooth flavor. There is still a lot of sweetness coming from the caramel notes. The cedar is still a dry type cedar. There is also a lot of caramel on the finish making it very pleasing. The finish also has graham cracker and nutmeg and a nice amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is full bodied now. The cigar remains very good but with the graham cracker notes not increasing as I had hoped I am lowering the second third score to a 93. Still a very good cigar.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 13 minutes. In the final third the cigar seemed to lose some it's appeal. While you still had the main flavors; dry cedar, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black coffee, it seemed to taste quite ordinary instead of extraordinary, as it was in the first third. The cigar is still full bodied and the finish is unchanged. Overall I enjoyed this cigar a lot but the final third took away from the overall experience somewhat. I rated the final third at 91.  But, overall the cigar scores out at 93 and I believe that's appropriate. Don't let the final third sway you from trying this fine cigar.


Overall Score: 93 (92.67)

November 03, 2018

Nestor Miranda Collection 75th Anniversary (7 1/4 x 57 Salomon)










Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Nestor Miranda’s 75th birthday cigar is getting ready to hit the shelves. (The cigar pays tribute to Nestor's birthday rather than the age of the company, which is only 22 years old. Nestor's birthday is on Valentines Day) On Friday, September 28, 2018, the Nestor Miranda Collection 75th Anniversary cigar had a national launch at Cava Cigars in Miami, Florida. Members of the Miami Cigar and Company team, including Miranda, was on-hand for the celebration.

“We’re so excited to introduce this exquisite cigar to cigar smokers,” said Miranda in a press release. “Angel has done an amazing job at Cava, and we’re honored to introduce my 75th Anniversary cigar at his store.”

Produced at the My Father Cigars factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, the Nestor Miranda Collection 75th Anniversary cigar is a 100% Nicaraguan puro. It is available in one size – a 7 1/4 x 57 salomon. The cigars are packaged in 15-count boxes with total production is slated to be 1,000 boxes. The cigar was showcased at the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show.


Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua



The cigar is absolutely beautiful. I love the salomon vitola. The cigar has an average feel in the hand for a cigar of this size.





The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a candy-like orange citrus with a lot of brown sugar and cinnamon attached. Those three mix well and are in about the same percentage. There is a touch of nutmeg bridging over to a modest amount of black coffee. There was white pepper initially which I rated at a 7. The cigar has a nice sweet start.




At the first third (28 minutes) there are a lot of caramel notes giving the cigar even more sweetness. The pepper has changed over to a black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. There are still a lot of sweet notes in this cigar; candy-like orange citrus, brown sugar, cinnamon, and caramel. The nutmeg is still at a low amount, as well as the black coffee. The finish is one of caramel and nutmeg with a minor amount of lingering black pepper. The cigar is very sweet, which I like, but I am looking for it to develop more darker notes to balance it out. For the first third I rated the cigar a 92.




I decided to come back at the midpoint (50 minutes) because the things I was looking for are starting to happen. The black coffee, black pepper, and nutmeg are elevated giving the cigar more balance. I am including the black pepper as a lower level flavor in this case. You still have the massive sweet flavors but with the elevation of the darker notes the cigar is better and more balanced. I rated the midpoint score at 94.




The second third (1 hour 10 minutes) had light leather notes combining with the nutmeg. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The cigar has an effervescence to it, somewhat like you would get from a carbonated drink. The main flavor is more of a sweet cedar now instead of an orange citrus. Still plenty of caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon notes. And, the nutmeg, light leather, and black coffee are nice lower level flavors. The cigar seems to be changing, although I would not call it complex. The finish is unchanged and very sweet with more lingering black pepper. The flavors mix very well and they are quite enjoyable. I rated the second third score at 95.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 32 minutes. In the final third I lost the effervescence and the black coffee notes increased a bit. The leather remains light but it combines with the nutmeg nicely. The sweeter notes are unchanged and still very nice. The cigar reached full bodied in the final third. The finish is unchanged and very good. The black pepper is very good in this cigar, on both ends. For a high priced, anniversary cigar this has been very good. Is it worth it? Probably. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Due to the loss of effervescence I lowered the final third score to 94. But as you can see I very much enjoyed this cigar. You can purchase these cigars HERE and they are available in singles.


Overall Score: 94 (93.75)

October 28, 2018

Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52)










Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Aganorsa Leaf unveiled its Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection. It’s a project worked on by Aganorsa Leaf Owner Eduardo Fernandez and his son Max. Aganorsa Leaf is the formerly named Casa Fernandez.

The Aganorsa Leaf Signature Selection is a Nicaraguan puro utilizing the company’s signature Aganorsa farm tobaccos. The wrapper utilizes a Jalapa grown Rosado Claro Corojo ’99 wrapper. The binder and filler consist of Aganorsa grown Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98 tobaccos from Jalapa and Estelí. The filler also utilizes a half a leaf of the rare high priming Medio Tiempo the Aganorsa farms are known for.

In a press release, Eduardo Fernandez, owner and founder of Aganorsa Leaf, commented: “Signature Selection is blended with our best refined aged tobaccos selected from our most exclusive lots in our farms in Nicaragua. It’s a cigar that we have thoroughly enjoyed in our Nicaraguan blending room amongst family and friends.  We are very excited to now share it with tobacco enthusiasts in the marketplace.”

Max Fernandez added, “Aganorsa Leaf is traditional in its essence; it’s a company that my father created to grow premium Nicaraguan leaf in the best tradition of taste, flavor and aroma of the Cuban cigars of old. This cigar is our greatest expression of that dream. I feel like we’ve made something unique that people will truly appreciate.”

Terence Reilly, VP of Sales and Marketing, commented, “Signature Selection allows the cigar smoker to experience the entire spectrum and flavor of Aganorsa leaf.  Sweetness from our Corojo ’99 Jalapa farms as well as body and spice from our Criollo ’98 tobaccos from Estelí combine perfectly together to create an experience unlike any other. Signature Selection is a true representation that our leaf is our Strength. We are excited to see the reactions of our consumers and retail partners when they light this incredible blend.”

As for the cigar, it will be a limited production release, available in four sizes presented in 25-count boxes. The sizes include a Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 52), Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52), and a Corona Gorda (6 x 44). The Belicoso will feature a Cuban style 109 cap while the Corona Gorda will have a butterfly cap. Aganorsa Leaf says production for 2018 is limited to 500 boxes per size. Pricing is set at $9.00 to $12.00.



The cigar is well made with a rather simple white and black band with a gold foil sheet running from the bottom band to the foot.  The gold foil sheet is closed at the foot. The cigar has a nice feel in the hand.





The test draw after cutting the belicoso cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were spiced apple, caramel, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon, and black coffee. There was a nice amount of black pepper which I rated at an 8. This is a great start. Plenty of sweet flavors with ample amounts of a semi-dry but creamy nutmeg and a nice black coffee base.




At the first third (33 minutes) the cigar already has a great burn time. The spiced apple is slowly transferring over to a spiced cedar. You still have the nice cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel as your sweet flavors along with the elevated amounts of nutmeg and black coffee. This cigar has the typical elevated nutmeg flavor but it also has plenty of sweeter notes to counteract those. The black coffee base rounds out the cigar. The cigar is medium to full bodied at this point. The finish is one of brown sugar and nutmeg with a modest amount of lingering black pepper. As you know if you follow my reviews I love nutmeg if it's balanced with ample sweetness and darker notes. This cigar has that. This cigar is very much in my wheelhouse. I rated the first third a 94.




At the second third (1 hour 32 minutes) the cigar is burning slowly and pretty evenly. What a nice burn time for the 2/3 point. The cigar is still very sweet with plenty of nutmeg and black coffee notes. The cigar is now full bodied. The finish is now more of a caramel with nutmeg. The lingering black pepper has increased. The pepper is very good on both the front end and the finish. This cigar is very enjoyable. For the second third I maintained the score of 94.




The cigar lasted a whopping 2 hours 7 minutes! That's a fantastic burn time. Not much has changed in the cigar. It's still very sweet with tons of nutmeg and black coffee. The flavor notes are still the same; sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, nutmeg, and black coffee. The cigar is still very full bodied and the finish is unchanged. This has been a very good cigar from start to finish. If your tasted happen to align with mine you will love this cigar. But in any event go by the description of the flavors to determine if you want to give these a try. As for me, I loved this cigar and it's definitely of a box purchase consideration. For the final third I maintained the score of 94. You can purchase these amazing cigars HERE.


Overall Score: 94

October 21, 2018

Balmoral Anejo XO Gran Toro (6 x 52)










Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
The Balmoral Anejo XO is a follow up to the limited Balmoral Royal Selection Anejo 18.  The original Anejo 18 was a limited production that was gated by the availability of a rare 18 year old Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. In order to continue Anejo a line based on aged tobaccos, Royal Agio has now introduced the Balmoral Anejo XO.  The main difference between the two is the Anejo XO features a different Brazilian wrapper.


Blend Profile
Wrapper: Brazilian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican Olor
Fillers: Brazilian, Nicaraguan, and Dominican Republic
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic


Vitolas Available
Lancero FT: 7 x 40
Corona: 5 7/8 x 42
Gran Toro: 6 x 52 REVIEWED TODAY
Rothschild Masivo: 5 x 55
Mk52 (Torpedo): 6 1/4 x 52
Petit Robusto FT: 4 3/8 x 48

The FT stands for “Flag Tail” which is on the cap of the Petit Robusto.



The cigar is medium brown and has a fairly nice weight in the hand. 





The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were anise, cream, cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, leather, and black coffee. There was black pepper noted at a 7. Interesting start. There are a lot of heavy flavors in this cigar. 




At the first third (21 minutes) there was a little more cedar and quite a bit of leather notes. The other notes are about like they were originally. The flavors make for an interesting combination. The finish is one of anise and a buttery leather. There was a nice amount of lingering black pepper. Again, the cigar has some heavy flavors. The cigar is not really hitting on all cylinders with me at this point. I rated the first third at 87.




At the second third (53 minutes) the cigar is burning evenly. The front end flavors are now more of a cedar with lighter notes of anise. There is a nice amount of brown sugar and cinnamon. The leather has gotten smoother and almost buttery. There are now dry roasted nut flavors. The strength of the cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is a buttery leather with touches of anise and nice lingering black pepper. To me this is an acquired taste-type cigar. That being said the cigar improved in this segment for me. I rated the second third at an 88. 




The cigar lasted 1 hour 23 minutes. I lost all the anise notes in the final third. The sweet cedar remains. The cigar has decent sweetness; brown sugar and cinnamon. The leather is more subtle but the roasted nuts are elevated. The black coffee holds the base. I no longer have any buttery notes attached to the leather. The cigar is a low grade full bodied. The finish is leather, cedar, and roasted nuts with a very nice amount of lingering black pepper. Hopefully I have described the flavors accurately for you. This is not a cigar I would typically gravitate to. I'm sure there is a market for them and if this sounds like a cigar you would like please try it and let me know what you think. The final third did not lose anything so I maintained the rating of 88. If you would like to try these cigar you can go HERE.


Overall Score: 88 (87.67)

October 20, 2018

H. Upmann Connecticut Grupo de Maestros Toro (6 x 50)






Video review HERE.


(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
2019 will mark the 175th of H. Upmann, the brand founded by Herman Upmann in Cuba and the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Altadis U.S.A. is releasing a cigar to commemorate the occasion called the H. Upmann Connecticut Grupo de Maestros. It’s a cigar that not only pays homage to the brand, but also has a very contemporary kick to it.

The H. Upmann Connecticut Grupo de Maestros is a cigar that was spearheaded by Altadis Director of Product Capability Rafael Nodal in conjunction with Altadis’ famed Grupo de Maestros team of cigar makers. The blend for the H. Upmann Connecticut consists of an Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrapper over a Dominican binder and filler. The cigar is finished with a maduro cap. Production is out of the Dominican Republic at the Tabacalera de Garcia factory in La Romana.

The cigar is also intended to be a bolder Connecticut Shade offering in the Altadis portfolio. According to a report by Cigar Aficionado, the boldness stems from the fact it contains Pilotico tobacco. It’s a seed varietal grown by the Mendez family that Altadis has used before – most notably on the Montecristo Pilotico Pepe Mendez.

It was in 1844 when Herman Upmann, a banker from Germany, founded the H. Upmann brand. He had gone to Havana, Cuba that year and invested in a cigar factory and that became the genesis for the H. Upmann brand.



Blend Profile
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera de Garcia)


Vitolas Available
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50 REVIEWED TODAY
Belicoso: 6 1/8 x 52
Churchill: 6 3/4 x 48




The cigar is a golden brown and well made. It has a nice feel in the hand. The cap is finished with a maduro cap.







The test draw after cutting the cap was pretty good but slightly firm. The initial flavors were a very tangy, almost citrus-like flavor but I'll go with a tangy cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, white chocolate, and a light black coffee base. There was black pepper which I rated at 7 1/2. The cigar is very sweet and tangy with the smoothness from white chocolate.




At the first third (28 minutes) the cigar is still very tangy. Even though it has no Nicaraguan tobacco this is very close to a sweet, tangy orange citrus, much like the candy-like baby aspirin flavor. The added sweet flavors of brown sugar, cinnamon, and white chocolate make this a very nice, sweet cigar. The coffee is a background flavor and not that noticeable at this point. The cigar is medium bodied leaning toward medium to full. The finish is a peppery white chocolate with some influence from the tangy cedar. The cigar is very good. I rated the first third at 92.




At the second third (1 hour 3 minutes) the only thing that has changed is the strength. I'd say it's now medium to full bodied. And, the black coffee notes are more noticeable now. They do not hurt the cigar at all. In fact, they help round out the flavors and give it more balance. I love the candy-like baby aspirin flavor combined with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and white chocolate. I moved the second third score up to a 93.




The cigar lasted 1 hour 36 minutes. A very nice burn time. Not much changed in the final third. A little more of the white chocolate notes came out. It's still medium to full bodied and the finish is unchanged. This is not a typical Connecticut cigar, which for me is nice. You have fantastic sweet flavors and some strength. Rafael Nodal did a great job with this cigar. The final third is also rated at 93. These are on shelves now and should be on your must-try list. You can purchase these cigars HERE.


Overall Score: 93 (92.67)