Preliminary Reviews of New 2015 Cigars
A number of cigars that were introduced at the IPCPR trade show in July are becoming available for sale during the second half of 2015. Here are my initial impressions of a few of those new cigars that are being distributed by the General Cigar Company. The following preliminary reviews/ratings are subject to revision after the cigars have more time to age and additional samples are evaluated.
Dunhill Heritage Cigar
Slated for release in August 2015, Dunhill Heritage cigars are made in Honduras and distributed by General Cigar. These cigars are constructed with a blend of aged Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos, Nicaraguan binders, and Ecuadorian Habano wrappers. Dunhill Heritage cigars are available in four sizes (see press release), including a box pressed Robusto (5 x 50) that was sampled for this review. The Robusto size is priced at $10.15 per single cigar.
The cigar began with a bold and full bodied natural tobacco flavor having a significant amount of pepper and spice. After about five minutes, the pepper tamed down a bit and the spice began moving into the background. At the 15-minute mark, the cigar was noticeably smoother and became more enjoyable, but still remained full bodied. The Dunhill Heritage Robusto had a great draw, a mostly even burn, and held a long ash. One minor touch-up light was applied about 25 minutes into the cigar, and a relight was required 20 minutes later. It took me 55 minutes to smoke the cigar down to two inches remaining. Since the Dunhill Heritage was the first new cigar sampled shortly after being received, my preliminary and rather vague rating of 4+/- points on a 5-point scale intentionally leaves some room for future tweaking, after the remaining samples have a chance to spend more time in a humidor.
For just one example of what a little aging can do for a cigar, check out my review of:
November 2015 Update: A second Dunhill Heritage Robusto was sampled 2˝ months after the initial preliminary review, and received a more definitive rating of 4 points on a 5-point scale. Both cigars smoked about the same, with only a few subtle nuances in flavor. The peppery taste was not quite as significant in the second sample, and the smoke had a more noticeable sweet tobacco flavor.
Foundry Bolivar Cigar
General Cigar's Foundry Tobacco Company created a new Bolivar cigar that is becoming available in September 2015. These new Bolivar cigars come in three sizes (see press release), including a Robusto 550 that was sampled for this review. The Robusto size measures five inches in length with a ring gauge of 50, and has a price tag of $6.49 per single cigar. These cigars are made with Havana Connecticut Maduro wrappers, Ecuadorian Sumatra binders, and a blend of various filler tobaccos from Dominican Republic, Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. The cigars are constructed with a pig tail cap and an unfinished foot.
I sampled a couple of these cigars within 10 days of receipt, so this evaluation is still preliminary until the cigars have a chance to spend more time in a humidor. Both samples had a very good draw, relatively even burn, and held a medium-to-long ash. Each cigar took around 40 minutes to smoke down to two inches remaining, and neither required any relights nor touch-ups. Both samples had a somewhat unimpressive start. The flavor was full with a combination of sweet, sour and peppery tastes. After 5-10 minutes, the small amount of bitterness and pepper receded and the flavor was mostly a semi-sweet tobacco taste with still a few sour notes in the background. The hint of sourness provided a little contrast to the sweetness, which is not necessarily a bad thing in small amounts. To put it another way, I could also say that the cigar had some citrus flavors. Anyway, the overall taste was more enjoyable after the first 5-10 minutes, and is worthy of a rating of 3.75+/- points (subject to future adjustment) on a 5-point scale.
January 2016 Update: After the remaining samples spent more time in a humidor, these cigars did not taste quite as bitter at the start, and the small amount of bitterness quickly faded after a few puffs. The sour flavor was gone, and the cigars tasted just good enough this time around to earn a 4-point rating. These cigars burned evenly, had a good draw, and held a long ash. And again, the cigars also lasted for about 40 minutes.
Foundry Ramon Allones Cigar
The new Ramon Allones cigar is similar to the new Bolivar (above) in several ways. Both cigars were reinvented by General Cigar's Foundry Tobacco Company, both will be available in the same three vitolas at the same prices (see press release), both are made in the same Dominican factory with pig tail caps and unfinished foots, and both will become available to purchase during September 2015. However, the new Ramon Allones cigars are made with a different blend of tobaccos. The fillers and binder are Nicaraguan, and the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro. The size sampled for this review was the Robusto (5 x 50).
As with the Bolivar, the flavors at the start of the Ramon Allones were not as good as the rest of the cigar, which was mostly due to the excess wrapper at the foot of each cigar. This design is intentional, to provide an appetizer before the main course. Although the appetizer should taste different, it should also be at least as good as, or better than, the bulk of the cigar (it's always important to make a good first impression).
Anyway, the start of the Roman Allones was not quite as harsh as the Bolivar, but it still had some similar flavors, although in different proportions and not as intense. The Ramon Allones cigar was definitely sweeter than the Bolivar at the start, and that natural sweet tobacco taste was the dominant flavor after about 5-10 minutes, along with some peppery notes in the background. I really enjoyed this cigar after the first few minutes, all the way down to 1˝ inches remaining. I would classify the Ramon Allones as a medium-to-full bodied cigar having a full flavor.
Again, as with the Bolivar, the Roman Allones Robusto had a good draw, held a medium-to-long ash, and had an even burn. No relights nor touch-ups were required during the 40 minutes that it took to finish. Beyond the first few minutes, the Ramon Allones Robusto was a very good tasting and smoking cigar that is a very good value at the price of $6.49 per stick. I rate it with a very good and solid 4 points on a 5-point scale. I definitely prefer the Ramon Allones over the Bolivar.
January 2016 Update: More time in the humidor did not help the Ramon Allones cigars as it did the Bolivars (above). This time, the Ramon Allones were more bitter at the start, and it took more than five minutes for the bitterness to gradually fade. Unlike the Bolivar, this cigar had an interesting and unique (but somewhat muted) spicy taste in the background, and one sample even smoked for 55 minutes down to 1˝ inches remaining. I am sticking with my initial 4-point rating, but I can no longer say that the Ramon Allones were more enjoyable than the Bolivars.
Luchador El Gringo Cigar
Leccia Tobacco's new line of Luchador El Gringo cigars will become available for sale during September 2015. These cigars were inspired by those masked Mexican wrestlers called luchadores, which should be obvious by just looking at the bands. Luchador El Gringo cigars are made with a Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano binder, and a blend of Pennsylvania Ligero, Nicaraguan Esteli Ligero, Jalapa Ligero, and Esteli Viso filler tobaccos. The cigars will be available in four vitolas (see press release), including the box pressed Frog Splash (4˝ x 70) priced at $8.25 per stick, and the subject of this review.
The cigar began with a very loose and open draw that let in a good amount of air, which “masked” the fullness of the smoke to some degree. However, the draw gradually continued to become less airy as the cigar was smoked, but not to the point of becoming firm. The flavors were actually very enjoyable, with tastes of some sweet toast along with a bit of pepper. The cigar became a bit stronger past the half-way point, but remained well balanced and not overpowering. Overall, the Luchador El Gringo was a very pleasant medium-to-full bodied cigar that took me 80 minutes to smoke down to 1˝ inches remaining. During that time, three touch-up lights were needed to keep the cigar burning evenly, but no relights were required.
The Luchador El Gringo Frog Splash is not the largest ring cigar that I ever smoked, but this cigar's very large ring size was not very comfortable in my mouth, despite being box pressed. And even despite the loose draw, especially at the beginning, I enjoyed the taste of the Luchador El Gringo enough to rate it with a superior 4.25 points on a 5-point scale. There is a possibility that one of the other vitolas could have earned a higher rating, but that determination will have to wait for a future review.
December 2015 Update: A second Luchador El Gringo Frog Splash cigar was sampled about 3˝ months after my initial review, and I enjoyed the second cigar even more than the first sample. The draw was not as loose as in the first cigar, and the smoke did not become noticeably stronger during the second half. I'm upping my rating to 4.5 points.
The Brick Cigar
The Brick cigar by Torano will be available in two new sizes (see press release) starting in October 2015, including the box pressed Robusto (5˝ x 56) that was sampled for this quick review. The Brick is made with a blend of Honduran filler tobaccos and an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The SRP of the new Robusto vitola is only $3.99 per single stick. All four vitolas will soon be available in 20-count boxes.
I found The Brick to be a well made cigar that had a good draw, mostly even burn, and held a long ash. The smoke was medium bodied and not very complex. Although the flavor was not bad, it was nothing special either. I rate it slightly better than average, 3 points on a 5-point scale. This is a value priced cigar that I did not enjoy as much as the Torano Brigade introduced back in 2010, which is priced even lower than The Brick. Try them both and let us know what you think.
January 2016 Update: After four months in a humidor, the second sample of The Brick cigar improved a bit. There was a mild peppery taste at the start, which faded after about five minutes. The cigar then became more smooth and mellow, but not as bland as the first sample. After 20 minutes, a few mild citrus notes became noticeable, but lasted for only five minutes or so. It took 45 minutes to smoke the cigar down to two inches remaining, without the need for any relights nor touch-ups. The cigar had a very good draw and held a long ash. I now rate it with a more respectable 3.25 points on a 5-point scale.
CAO Havana Daydreamin' Cigar
The new CAO Havana Daydreamin' cigar is part of the Margaritaville collection that will be available in October 2015. Unlike the new Pina Colada flavored Margaritaville cigar, Havana Daydreamin' is not an artificially flavored cigar, and is made with natural Ecuadorian Connecticut wrappers and a blend of Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos. These cigars will be available in three sizes (see press release), including the Robusto (5 x 50) that was sampled for this short review. Suggested retail price for the Robusto size is $6.99 per single cigar.
The CAO Havana Daydreamin' Robusto began with a slight toasty flavor with hints of spice, along with notes of a sour citrus taste that faded more into the background after 10-15 minutes. The smoke was mild-to-medium bodied and smooth. This cigar is somewhat comparable to the CAO Gold, not any better and not any worse. It took me only 30 minutes to smoke the cigar down to two inches remaining. During that time, the cigar had a very good draw, even burn, and held a long ash. No relights nor touch-ups were necessary. This would be a good cigar to smoke in the morning, and is also an appropriate choice for newer cigar smokers. I rate the CAO Havana Daydreamin' cigar with a respectable 3.25 points on a 5-point scale.
December 2015 Update: I sampled a second CAO Havana Daydreamin' cigar about 3 months after the original review, which confirmed my initial rating of 3.25 points. Although the sour taste was not quite as noticeable in the second sample, it was still present. There just was not enough of an improvement to warrant a revision to my initial rating.
Macanudo Estate Reserve Cigar
Read our review of the new Macanudo Estate Reserve Cigar.
Dunhill Signed Range Seleccion Suprema Cigar
Read our review of the new Dunhill Signed Range Seleccion Suprema Cigar.
Check out more New Cigars For 2015.
Disclosure: All review samples were provided by General Cigar.
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