Tuesday, May 06, 2008

1. 6 x 50 (Pico Bonito)
2. 5.5 x 54 (Rancho)
Wrapper: Sun Grown from San Augustin Valley in Honduras
Filler: Honduras
Price: approx. $3 (box price), $5 (single)

I figured I enjoy Nicaraguan puros so much, like Padrons, that I ought to give Honduran puros a chance as well. They sport thick, dark, toothy, veiny wrappers that look like they can beat you up and steal your milk money with brute force.

After smoking two cigars in different sizes, I am still on the fence. I can't decide if I really, really like them- or if I don't care for them at all, That may seem odd, but it's like a guy at the poker table once said to me, "From the look on your face, I'd say you're about to go all-in or else fold." (Funny how often that happens to me, and how easy I am to read).

StogieGuys.com said of this cigar: "I think old school smokers who prefer the raw taste of natural tobacco will enjoy Punch’s Gran Puro line more than those of us who grew up in the Rocky Patel era." The cigar's flavor is heavy, raw, and robust, although it seems to lessen as the cigar progresses rather than intensify. The taste certainly does not 'wow' you up front, ala RP Edge, or stay with you long afterwords. However, it's a dinstinctive taste that somehow I remember and respect.

CI Legends by Rocky Patel (Orange Label)
Size: 5.7" x 54
Tobacco: Honduran (Corojo wrapper)
Price: $3.00

A thick cigar with a slow, slightly tight burn. Good draw, good construction. Medium-to-full body with a distinct burnt coffee flavor, hints of spice on the finish. Very little aftertaste.

Recommended for warm nights when conversation with friends, not to mention single malt scotch, are flowing freely; this makes a very decent 2nd cigar, one of my favorite follow-ups to an RP Edge.

CI Legends by Graycliff (Purple Label)
Size: 5.7" by 54
Tobacco: Dominican, Nicaragua, Brazil, Indonesian wrapper
Price: $3.50

I had a Legends Purple (Graycliff). Tasted very similar to the Profesionale: yummy. good draw, no burn problems, medium body, lots of spice.

I thought the cigar was soft in spots, and I noticed some very small leaves near the cap when I clipped it. Made me think this might be a sandwich cigar, not long filler.

Easily the best of the CI Legends I've tried so far.

Famous Dominican 4000 Torpedo
Size: 6.5 x 50
Tobacco: DR, with Connecticut Wrapper
Price: $1.52

Two of these cigars were given to me by Triolent (Ian), a poster on the Club Stogie forum who responded to my post asking about Famous Smoke's house blends. The blend was created by Juan Rodriguez at Don Leoncio, a boutique tabacalera near Santiago, DR. This figurado was medium-bodied, with a clean, sharp taste and a spot-on precision burn. It held a nice 1.5" almost pure white ash.

Famous Honduran 1000 Double Corona
Size: 7 x 50
Tobacco: Honduras, with Connecticut wrapper
Price: $1.95

This cigar was also given to me by Triolent (Ian), a poster on the Club Stogie forum who responded to my post asking about Famous Smoke's house blends. Famous Honduran 1000 hails from Nestor Plasencia's factory in Honduras.

I was expecting this cigar to have a raw, pungent tobacco flavor like the Punch Grand Puro, the only true Honduran puro I've come across. What I got with this cigar was something entirely different--and surprisingly good. While medium in body, it was characterized by a slightly sweet taste on the lips and tongue, followed by a heavy, robust finish that stayed in the back of the mouth. Paired well with Lagavulin single malt on a cooler-than-expected night, reading on the back porch.

The best description I can come up with is actually one I happened to see for another cigar (the Evelio, also made in Plasencia's factory): It tastes almost like vanilla ice cream going down, then punches you in the gut at the bottom.

Updated 11-20-08: I purchased a bundle of these double coronas and, unfortunately, none of them have lived up to the first one. At just $1 per cigar, it's a decent mild smoke, but none have repeated that "heavy, robust finish" that I enjoyed so much.

Famous Nicaraguan 1000 Robusto
Size: 5 x 50
Tobacco: Nicaraguan with Indonesian wrapper
Price: $1.15

This cigar was also given to me by Triolent (Ian), a poster on the Club Stogie forum who responded to my post asking about Famous Smoke's house blends.

Well, what can I say? You can't win them all. This cigar sported a very light brown wrapper (it almost looked green, fooling me at first into thinking it might be a candela). It burned hot and very bitter. Not recommended.

Gran Habano #3 Pyramid
Size: 6 1/8 x 52
Tobacco: Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica
Wrapper: Habano from Nicaragua
Price: $3.10 (single @ Tobacco Corner)

Although I was hoping for the complexity and taste of the Gran Habano #5 Corojo (without the superhuman strength), I was still satisfied with this blend. It was smooth, creamy, and a little nutty, with a easy draw. In fact, I thought this cigar is a dead ringer in taste to the 5 Vegas Classic (red label).

Postscript 04/20/2009:

Just want to amend my review (nearly a year later).

I've recently been smoking the GH#3 blend, in the robusto size, after 7 months aging in the humidor. As they've aged, these cigars have picked up strength and a spicy bite, especially near the beginning and end of each stick. Also, now noticing a nice array of flavors and aromas that weren't there before.

Funny about my comparison to 5 Vegas cigars, though, because 5 Vegas does the same thing as it ages.

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