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About Notsocleaver

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  1. I won this tin of 16 Vegueros Mananitas the last time Vegueros were up on the review contest slate here. Now that they are up again I thought it would be fun to review them so everyone could get a taste of just what they could win in this contest. I have given out quite a few of these since I received them for free myself and have been honestly surprised at how many converts I've won over. I do think they are better than any of the other volume brands coming out of Cuba right now, though how grand a claim that is is up to debate Full credit to Rob, this is about as good of a wrapper as you will ever find on a budget cigar. A little veiny, but dark with a good sheen, just a shade lighter than most of my ELs. The 16 count tins are plastic wrapped with a cardboard insert at the feet, making a further inspection pretty difficult, but this whole tin has been well rolled, though perhaps a touch loose on the draw. Just a small clip off the head gets all the draw you need. This little cigar packs a lot of flavor but only mid to low strength. Opening notes of bitter chocolate and earth. Playing in the background is just a bit of grass. The bitterness is a little too unpleasant for me. As it progressed a bit of sugarcane sweetness picks up and puts the profile into balance dramatically. The sweetness makes the other flavors work. The open draw makes the cigar burn hot if drawn too deeply or too often but as I find the rhythm of this cigar its a pretty enjoyable experience. As the cigar draws to a close the chocolate notes increase a little, a long with a strange oily note. I give this particular cigar a 84, but I think there is a some aging potential here. The blending consistency on these hasn't been the greatest. In this example, the earth notes dominated. In others the sugar cane or grass has lead. I think I prefer those examples. But its a budget cigar with three distinct notes and that is hard to complain about. Value on these is hard to judge, they tend to be just a hair cheaper per stick than your typical minuto, and smoke a bit longer. If the price point works for you I recommend them, but in a world where PL Montecarlos and H Upmann Regalias exist I'm not sure they go up to the top of my buy list. It will be interesting to see where the price point of the new Centrofinos settles. If it slips in under JL2 sale prices it could find a place in the budget spot in my rotation.
  2. I just checked and I'm dead out of RyJ. Thought I had a Churchill hanging around somewhere, oh well. Best of luck to ya'll.
  3. There have been a couple of gems in this box, so it hasn't been a total write off. Extensive dry boxing and draw tool work have saved a few more, this just wasn't one of them.
  4. The tobacco is good, and its not like the roller was a complete hack like some of those guys rolling in 99-00, they just weren't quite up to the task of producing a decent lonsdales. Just a little extra coaching or supervision and it could have been fantastic.
  5. The Rafael Gonzalez Lonsdales was discontinued in 2006, though it seems like it can still be sometimes found by intrepid travelers in dusty cigar shops around the world. Many have lamented the departure of the long skinny cigar in the Habanos portfolio, with this Lonsdale having a special cache with some on this very board. This particular lonsdales is nothing to write home about. Smooth and nondescript. Almost more like a prop than a real cigar. The draw on this cigar is tight, which is a bad sign. I hate tight draws. Rafael Gonzalez has always struck me as a Bolivar lite. Same sweet earth notes, but not the strength. Some floral notes play in there. RyJ meets Boli. There is a bit of a tang that is distinct to aged tobacco As the cigar progresses, we see some milk chocolate flavor develop, and some grainy, bread type flavor. Towards the end the firm draw sours the cigar, leaving the last inch and a half of sour dirt. yuck. I toss it early. I'm of two minds in regards to the loss of thin ring gauge cigars. On one hand, some of the finest cigars I have had were in that thin category, but rolling them well seems to be beyond the capabilities of the average roller employed by Habanos SA for most of the previous decade. This Lonsdale was simply too tight to be truly enjoyed, its nuances were strangled in the crib, a loss lamented 14 years later. I give it a 80, but a better roll would have given it another 7-10 points easy. If you stumble onto a well rolled box in your journeys, count yourself blessed.
  6. Consistency is the struggle for many of the exciting NC releases. The initial run uses fantastic tobacco but they struggle to source enough of the good stuff to keep it going. If you are in the US and looking for a cigar to smoke in the shop, I recommend checking the core lines of some long running brands, some of those have the best chance of having some shop age on them. La Flor Dominicana Coronado and Double Ligero have been around a long time, age well and are pretty post hype. Same with Don Pepin Garcia black and blue labels. Still around, still good, but mostly forgotten.
  7. If there was ever a marca that seems like it would be overwhelmed by EL style wrappers, this would be it...
  8. RyJ for me, which is weird because the cigar that hooked me on cubans was a RyJ Coronita. I had some well aged Short Churchill tubos that I loved too, but I just can't hang with the flavor profile. I think its the rosewater/floral aspect that kills it for me.
  9. Yeah, I'm feeling the same way about my 2016 Punch Punch. They still need more time.
  10. Punch and I have a strange relationship. Two of the of my top ten cigars from the past year have been punches, a Punch RS 12 and a Punch Corona. Both were over 10 years old and some of the most wonderfully complex cigars I have ever had. Yet most of the time I am strangely underwhelmed and left wondering why I don't enjoy Punch as much as I think I should. I have a couple of gorgeous boxes of '16 Punch Punch with the greatest wrappers and perfect construction. Yet every time its just not there. Whenever I read other's Punch reviews, I just don't get it. I simply don't taste notes anything like what I read. Peanut butter? seriously? This is my first Punch 48, so lets see if it helps me understand Punch any better Wrapper is a thin claro. Draw is firm but open. nothing to complain about construction wise The Punch 48 opens with ceder and clove, pretty typical Punch flavors in my experience. There is a little cream. Seems a little more rounded and smoother than most of my Punch Punch experience. Burn and construction remain fine, no touch ups or relights necessary. As the cigar progresses I pick up some other notes, a touch of odd herb and spice combinations like nutmeg and wormwood. A complex cigar full of flavors I don't particularly care for. The complexity is entertaining, but I can't say I'm finding it pleasant. Still, it feels like there is more going on in the background that age could refine. Punch remains a mystery to me. I would call this a mid 80s cigar at best. 86 maybe? Who knows, maybe someday in the far future I get to try to 10 year old sample and its a 100 point cigar, but I still haven't found a young Punch that does it for me.
  11. Surf or foil for an hour before work. Don't take in any calories until 6pm. Eat whatever you want till 10pm. Not optimized in any way but I've lost 40 lbs over 6 months on this plan and its pretty easy. Might look into adding a bit of muscle once I hit my target weight, but I'm not sure.
  12. I mostly listen to podcasts, stare at the stars and maybe take notes on the cigar for later review. I try to be somewhat diligent about the note taking, but too much and it feels like homework.
  13. It was the current run of ESL Mag 50s, which started late '18, but El Prez has been hyping them up as of late, so I don't know if that's true anymore. My box from Nov '18 has been my best box of the year.
  14. Monte has a lot of strike outs for me, but I love the #5. Fonseca does nothing for me, and I tend to like those mild cigars. RyJ is the most frustrating though. Reading the reviews and people talking about the flavor profile, it sounds like I should love the marca, but I just don't. Too much cedar and not enough black cherry I guess.
  15. I go back and forth. The Royal Robusto has had some poorer runs, but when the quality is good they are fantastic. A little more zing to them, where the Connie A is smoother. Why not both?

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