Review of Revamped Sancho Panza Cigars
By: Gary Manelski
In July 2022, an entire new line of “modernized” Sancho Panza cigars began shipping to retailers. The relaunch of Sancho Panza was spearheaded by Matt Booth, who joined General Cigar as a creative director in June 2022, and who was tasked with developing three new blends. In addition, a new Sancho Panza logo was created by Matt Booth, which can be seen on the bands (and is also on the 20-count boxes) of these revamped Sancho Panza cigars:
For more information about these cigars, please refer to the press release.
Although I enjoyed smoking a few occasional cigars back in my college days, I began to smoke them on a more regular basis during the mid 90's. I started with cheap machine made brands, but quickly graduated to premium handmade cigars. One of the early premium brands that I enjoyed was Sancho Panza, especially the Double Maduro. Those cigars were less expensive than many other premium brands at that time, but my level of enjoyment was still comparable. Without a doubt, Sancho Panza cigars were much more satisfying than machine made stogies. There was just no comparison – not even close! It has been a while since I've smoked a Sancho Panza cigar, so I was more than anxious to see (and taste) what Matt Booth and his team have accomplished.
Sancho Panza Original Robusto
Sancho Panza Original cigars are made with Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Brazilian Matafina filler tobaccos, a Mexican San Andres binder, and a Honduran-grown Connecticut wrapper. The sample cigar began with a naturally sweet tobacco flavor along with notes of citrus and spice. The smoke was mild-to-medium bodied, and very smooth. After about 20 minutes, a modest nutty flavor emerged which helped to enhance the overall taste of the cigar.
The Samcho Panza Original was well-made and had a very good draw, even burn, and held a long ash. No relights nor touch-ups were needed during the 50 minutes that it took me to smoke the cigar down to 1½ inches remaining.
Sancho Panza Originals are not quite as complex nor as full as the other two new blends, but they would make a good choice for neophytes as well as mainstream cigar smokers who enjoy an occasional lighter smoke, especially in the morning or on a hot day with an ice cold bottle of pilsner. I rate it with a good enough 3.5 points on a 5-point scale.
Sancho Panza Double Maduro Robusto
Sancho Panza Double Maduro cigars are made with a sungrown Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaraguan Esteli binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. The first few puffs of the sample cigar had a sweet earthy flavor along with hints of spice and citrus. The smoke was medium-plus bodied at this point. After about 10 minutes, a caramel flavor emerged, which complimented the other flavors which were gradually becoming less predominate. The overall flavor of the cigar was fuller and more complex than the above Original cigar, as well as the original Sancho Panza Double Maduro that it replaced. The strength of this new Double Maduro began to increase beyond the half-way point, but not enough to ever become overpowering. The body also inched up a bit into the medium-to-full range.
The Sancho Panza Double Maduro was very well made and had a good draw, even burn, and held a long ash. No relights nor touch-ups were needed during the 45 minutes that it took me to smoke the cigar down to 1¾ inches remaining.
Sancho Panza Double Maduro cigars would make a good choice for connoisseurs as well as most mainstream cigar smokers. It would not be the best choice for new cigar smokers. I rate the sample Robusto with a very good 4 points on a 5-point scale.
Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Robusto
Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte cigars are made with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. The sample cigar began with pepper and spice, along with some sweetness. The smoke was medium-to-full bodied. After the first few puffs, the texture of the smoke became very smooth and enjoyable. The pepper backed off within the first 10 minutes, leaving a pleasant tobacco flavor with just a modest amount of spice. The texture of the smoke was now extra smooth, smoother than usual for a typical fuller bodied cigar. After 25 minutes into the smoking session, the strength (extra fuerte) of the cigar became more noticeable, and gradually continued to increase until the end.
The Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte cigar was very well made and had a great draw, even burn, and held a long ash. No relights nor touch-ups were needed during the 50 minutes that it took me to smoke the cigar down to 1¾ inches remaining.
Although the flavors were not quite as pronounced as in the Double Maduro (above), they were perfectly balanced with the body and strength of the smoke, especially during the first half. Even though the strength (nicotine level) increased during the second half, the cigar did not cause any ill side effects, at least in the smaller Robusto size. Regardless, I do not recommend smoking this cigar on an empty stomach, on a hot day, nor too fast.
All considered, I rate the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte cigar with a superior 4.25 rating on a 5-point scale during the first half, and a very good 4-point rating during the last half. This is not a cigar for beginners, and would be most appreciated by connoisseurs as well as some mainstream cigar smokers.
The revamped Sancho Panza line of cigars do live up to the hype. They are more complex than their predecessors and are still relatively value-priced, although a bit more expensive than before. All three cigars smoked perfectly and were very well made. No relights nor touch-ups were needed while smoking any of these revamped cigars, and all had a very good draw, held a long ash, and all three burn lines were nearly perfect.
However, instead of adding these three new blends to the existing lineup of Sancho Panza cigars, the manufacturer decided to re-blend and replace the entire line. Although the old line was a bit outdated for today's market, those old-school cigars still had some appeal to certain cigar smokers who will surely miss them, after remaining supplies disappear from retailers' shelves.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.