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Everything posted by JohnS

  1. Por Larrañaga Petit Coronas LGR Oct 2019 When it comes to the Por Larranaga Petit Coronas there seems to be two leading views as to what profile the cigar represents; one, the aged, refined caramel-laden variety or alternatively, the young potent coffee-and-spice version. Is it possible to like both types of these PLPCs? I would advocate that indeed it is possible, but consequently I find enthusiasts seem to favour one or the other. As for me, I don't mind them in their youth but yes, I do favour them aged, especially if they are strongly mild, caramel and baking spice in their smoking. This quarter box of LGR Oct 2019 PLPCs that I acquired from our host have been almost universally excellent despite been under two years of age. I've been pleasantly enamoured by how strong they've been in caramel at such a young stage and how little spice they've had. Today's PLPC had some lovely caramel, toffee and honey until the middle third when the cigar exhibited a quality toasted tobacco into its flavour profile, together with some herbal flavours. I'd categorise these herbal flavours as being not quite 'woody', nor overly 'toasty'. When a Por Larranaga Petit Coronas can smoke this well at this age, it doesn't necessarily require long-term aging to enjoy to an exemplary standard.
  2. Sancho Panza Non Plus ABR Sep 2011 I've smoked enough Sancho Panza Non Plus cigars to know that I much prefer them aged than youthful. The reason is simple...for me, they are more interesting flavour-wise as they age than what they tend to be in their youth. Like many of you no doubt, I stocked up on some Sancho Panza Non Plus when they were discontinued in 2019. After smoking some 2018 SP Non Plus cigars from 2019 to 2021 and comparing them to be this 2011 box I was smoking immediately prior, the toasted tobacco which can render the SP Non Plus one-dimensional when young recedes with age (although it can still be there in the background) and in its place one can decipher floral or herbal notes and even some creaminess to the cigar. Unfortunately, this last one from the box today was a tad tight and this was no exception. How tight? Well, not plugged but I had to draw hard to get a decent amount of smoke. At the same time I had to make sure that I didn't wet the tobacco leaf at the opening and make the cigar bitter, as is very easy to do. The flavours were also one-dimensional, just simple salt and wood. There wasn't any real floral or herbal notes of cream texture to this cigar at all. So, in general, this was a disappointing way to finish the box but overall that is what the Sancho Panza Non Plus was known for being capable of delivering prior to discontinuation. I still maintain, however, that if you picked up a box or two of Sancho Panza Non Plus around the time they were deleted in 2019 or immediately thereafter, take note to leave some aside for long-term aging. You'll be glad you did in the long run!
  3. Montecristo No.4 UEB May 2018 If I were to ask you, a few years ago before the Covid-19 pandemic, if you could contemplate a scenario whereby there'd be a distribution shortage of Montecristo No.4 around the world in the future surely you'd laugh such a possibility off. Yet, here we are and yet still, stranger times have been known to exist and may yet be in front of us. This Montecristo No.4 therefore made me wary, prior to lighting it, of the likelihood of my impending difficulty in acquiring such a quintessential vitola for my humidor in the near future. Then again, this feeling is much more exacerbated when I think of my Cohiba and Trinidad stock. I could go on but please let me get back to this Montecristo No.4. As you may know, the Montecristo No.4 is another one of those vitolas has been been smoking well post-2019. The thing that has stood out for me has been the Citrus 'twang' and nuttiness that I have got in my Monte 4s for some time now, in varying degrees, and of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This Monte 4 started in this fashion, with a lovely hit of nut and citrus 'twanginess' that was simply delectable. This lasted into the beginning of the middle third when I got more of that Montecristo coffee and cocoa we all know (and sometimes love) and it ended into the final third with a toasted tobacco which dominated the other flavours. It's not normal to have such variance or complexity in a Montecristo No.4 over 65 minutes, but I didn't mind. I would have preferred more of that citrus twang dominating the cigar into the middle period of it but overall I was well-satisfied.
  4. Montecristo No.5 ESL May 2018 The Montecristo No.5 was of course one of the original five cigars of the Montecristo line first introduced in 1935 along with the No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4. It's a 40 ring gauge x 102 mm (or 4 inches) in length perla. The typical smoking time for a small cigar like this would be around 30 to 45 minutes. The last Montecristo No.5 I had was a RUP Sep 2020 specimen smoked only last month. It had a slightly creamy texture and was more dominant in its citrus twang, which is just the way I like it. This ESL May 2018 example was the first cigar of a 10-count box (you wouldn't believe how tiny the box is!) I acquired three months ago and it was very different to my last Monte 5, but every bit as good! At four years of age this was replete in cocoa but it had no harsh edges to it, the coffee was mellow and it was not cream-textured in any way. It didn't have any citrus twang either. So, in summary, even though it was very much different to my last Montecristo No.5, this Montecristo No.5 was constructed well, smoked well and most importantly, was quite impressive in its balanced flavours. I can only hope the next Monte 5 from the box is like this one!
  5. Partagás Serie D No.4 ROP Feb 2020 This is the first Partagas Serie D No.4 from a 10-count box I acquired three months ago. In case you didn't know it, modern consensus in the Habanos community suggests that the number one selling Cuban vitola in the world is no longer the Montecristo No.4, but rather the Partagas Serie D No.4. That's not bad for a cigar that because of its size (50 ring gauge x 124 mm or 4.9 inches) sold only 5000 boxes annually as recently as the mid-1980s. This is another one of those common regular production cigars, which for some reason, I haven't had in over eighteen months. I must say that, in general, I prefer Partagas on the mild side and well-rested, unless it's a Lusitanias because these Double Coronas are usually big on sourdough, light on spice or pepper and medium-mild or less in strength, even when young. This Party D4, at just over two years of age, was simply outstanding and similar to a young Lusitanias; this was big on sourdough, coffee and leather flavours, had no spice or pepper whatsoever and was medium-mild in strength. In hindsight, this was probably one of the best Partagas Serie D No.4 I've ever had. I could easily smoke this cigar much more regularly if they are like this. It's a 'no-brainer', therefore, why they sell so well!
  6. Punch Punch RAT May 2020 Perhaps you are aware (or even perhaps not) that a 2019 Friends of Habanos forum poll relating to inconsistent cigars listed the Punch Punch, unfortunately, negatively for being prone to blandness. Ironically, in the last few years since they've enjoyed a somewhat enhanced reputation on our forum. In that 2019 poll, Punch alongside Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo was noted as a brand that cigar enthusiasts pointed out for its inconsistency. This is true, when they are ordinary they can be bland and woody. However, I would counter that when they are smoking well no other brand encapsulates the essence of Cuban twang within a cigar quite like a Punch cigar. If you could ask one question of the current co-presidents of Habanos S.A, Inocente Núñez Blanco and Luis Sánchez-Harguindey Pardo de Vera at the present time, it probably wouldn't be, "Why call this cigar the Punch Punch Punch?" I mention this because you'd think that the moniker of a cigar being repeated three times would bring it attention over the years, but ever since the Punch 48, Asia-Pacific Regional Edition Punch 8-9-8 and the new regular production cigar, the Punch Short de Punch came out, I can't help but feel that the Punch Punch Punch has lost a little (or a lot) of its limelight. The Punch Punch is a Corona Gorda, 46 ring gauge x 143 mm in length. I find this medium ring gauge ideal (or even a little lower as I consider 42 ring gauge, which coincidentally is 2/3 of an inch, perfect). The last Punch Punch I had was a little over eighteen months ago and frankly, I couldn't believe it was that long. In my write-up on that cigar I noted that in 2020, within the Punch marca, it had been superseded by the Punch 8-9-8, Punch 48 and that new regular production addition, the Punch Short de Punch. Let me reassure you, a good Punch Punch still packs a 'punch' (yes, the pun is intentional) and is worthy of your attention if you are a Punch fan. And as I mentioned already, Punch Punch at the present time is worth your attention as things have changed since, in my view. Now, I'm not here to denigrate those three aforementioned new releases to the Punch marca. On the contrary, the Punch 48 and Punch 8-9-8 have a quality light chocolate (at times) and peanut profile to them whilst the Punch Short de Punch is more dominant in sour cream and leather notes, to me, the Punch Punch (Punch) is always a cedar and classic 'Cuban Twang' affair when its at its best. This Punch Punch did have notes of sour cream and leather, and they certainly didn't overwhelm the blend, but the cedar and that quintessential sour citrus 'Cuban Twang' we all know and love when it comes to Punch was far too nominal to render this cigar anything but 'run-of-the-mill' in comparison to other far better examples of this vitola I've enjoyed in the past. Still, I smoked it down of course and pondered on my next opportunity to smoke this cigar, confident that it will turn out better.
  7. When the increase is highlighted by putting up this type of comparison, in bold, then it's not really a comparison. You can't help but feel that the Trinidad Reyes (and by extension the Cohiba Siglo I) will fast become a curious anomaly.
  8. That's wonderful to hear. I'm gladdened to hear of the inspiration for smoking this sadly-deleted Double Coronas!
  9. Yeah, Sir Paul and Nirvana proved you can really rock on a Cigar Box Guitar...
  10. It's an interesting topic worthy of discussion in the General 'Water Hole' Forum. If the topic initially had image/s of suspect cigars then yes, it would belong in the Suspect Cigar Forum. My thoughts on this matter is yes, there will be more counterfeits and more so of Trinidad than probably in the past. I mean, as an example, counterfeit Rolex watches remain as popular as ever, don't they?
  11. 9 out of 10 because, like the Beatles, I like the earlier Led Zeppelin stuff but invariably I listen to their classic albums from Led Zeppelin IV onwards. "Good Times, Bad Times" floored me the first time I heard it, I mean that drumming is incredible!
  12. From Cricinfo, this is too hard to believe but sadly such is life. Andrew Symonds dies in car accident aged 46 Former Australia allrounder involved in fatal accident in Northern Queensland ESPNcricinfo staff 15-May-2022 Andrew Symonds played 26 Test, 198 ODIs and 14 T20Is • PA Photos/Getty Images Andrew Symonds, the former Australian allrounder who played in 26 Tests and 198 ODIs in an international career spanning from 1998 through 2009, has died in a car accident in Queensland. Symonds was 46 and was involved in an accident outside Townsville where he lived in retirement. In a statement, Queensland police said: "Police are investigating a single-vehicle crash in Hervey Range, around 50 kilometres from Townsville that's taken the life of a 46-year-old man last night. "Early information indicates, shortly after 11pm the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled. "Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries." Symonds was a two-time World Cup winner during both of Australia's undefeated title runs in 2003 and 2007 as well as a key member of the Test side in the mid-2000s. His death is the third one of an Australian cricketer in 2022, following the passing of Shane Warne and Rodney Marsh in the first week of March. Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That's Roy — Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) May 15, 2022 "Australian cricket has lost another of its very best," Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson said. "Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia's success at World Cups and as part of Queensland's rich cricket history. "He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends. On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew's family, team-mates, and friends." Queensland Cricket chair Chris Simpson, who played alongside Symonds at domestic level, said: "On behalf of Queensland Cricket, we express our deepest sympathies to his family and will do whatever we can to assist them "It is a shattering loss to those nearest to him, and his wide circle of friends which extend to all corners of the cricketing world." "His untimely passing will also resonate deeply with the many fans who thrilled to his efforts with bat, ball and in the field. He stood out for his skill, courage and determination, and the fans who saw him at his best will never forget his impact on a game." "We are all hurting and will miss him greatly. His former teammates will remember his loyalty to the playing group and recall the fun times with great fondness, and sorrow that he is gone." Symonds was the ultimate allrounder - a fearsome striker of a cricket ball, a bowler capable of brisk medium pace and offspin plus one of the greatest fielders in the game. Born in Birmingham, he could have played for England but turned down a call-up to the England A team in 1995. His first Australia selection, to the ODI side, came in 1998 but for a long time it appeared he would not make the most of his huge talent. This is so devastating Roy was So much fun to be around Our Thoughts are with Symonds family #RIPRoy — Damien Fleming (@bowlologist) May 14, 2022 That changed in spectacular fashion in Australia's opening match of the 2003 World Cup when he walked in with Australia 86 for 4 against Pakistan and crunched 143 off 125 balls. He would go on to make five more ODI hundreds. His Test debut came in 2004 and while there were a couple of half-centuries in the early matches, it was the Boxing Day Test against England in 2006-07 that provided the breakthrough when he made a blistering 156. He scored a career-best 162 against India at Sydney in 2008 in a match that would also become one of his most controversial moments of his career when he was involved in the lengthy race row with Harbhajan Singh. Off-field issues were never too far away for Symonds. In 2005 he was suspended, turning up drunk ahead of what became Australia's historic loss to Bangladesh at Cardiff and his international career was brought to a close by further run-ins including going fishing in Darwin when he should have been at a team meeting in 2008. A breaking of team drinking rules led to his exit from the squad in England on the eve of the 2009 T20 World Cup and his Cricket Australia contract was soon cancelled. With his career having met the start of the T20 era - he struck a 34-ball hundred for Kent in 2004 and earned USD1.35 million at the first IPL auction in 2008 - he became a traveling T20 player with spells at Queensland, Deccan Chargers and Surrey before retiring in 2012. He later moved into the media and was a regular in the commentary box in Australia. At Kent, where Symonds played 49 first-class matches, 62 List A games and ten T20s between 1999 and 2004, he was voted the Spitfires' greatest overseas player in 2020. Simon Philip, the Kent Cricket chair, said in a statement, "Andrew Symonds remains one of the most popular Kent players of the modern era. He contributed greatly to the Club across all three formats and his rare talent left many extraordinary memories with those who saw him play." David Fulton, who skippered Symonds during his time at Kent, said, "He was a brilliant, combative cricketer who could win a game with bat, ball, in the field or with his sheer will to win and presence on the field. Simply, a fantastic teammate." SOURCE:
  13. Walter Becker wrote the song with Donald Fagen, but it was Elliott Randall who did the amazing solo on this.
  14. A 10-count of RAT May 2020 Punch Punch Tubos...
  15. I've found them more complex if they've had some spice element to them. Otherwise, I've still enjoyed them with a simpler, straight strawberry, hay and cream texture blend.
  16. You mean the 24:24 for this week on Tuesday? Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robustos - BST Ago 2021 Partagas Shorts - TUE Sep 2021
  17. 10 out of 10 for me. In my mind, the Godfather Part I and Part II are one movie.
  18. The Trinidad Robustos Extra were indeed pretty good. I lamented smoking my last one in September 2020.
  19. Just to be clear, I am not the John referenced in the e-mail above. I don't intend to smoke them any more or less than I used to in the past, but I have been steadily rationing over the years due to incremental price changes and annual increases in Australian Federal Government tobacco duties. In the last five-and-a-half years Cuban Cigar Website lists 12.5% (or one in eight) of my Habanos cigars smoked or gifted as been Cohiba. Last year it was around 9%. This year it's been a whopping 25%! Maybe I'm getting sentimental? (Remember HabanaMike's old adage, "smoke 'em while you've got them!") For the future, I don't see myself acquiring further boxes. Perhaps a few singles here and there...we'll see!
  20. La Flor de Cano Grandiosos 2013 - Edición Regional Asia Pacifico ROL Oct 2013 The La Flor de Cano Grandiosos is a 2013 Asia Pacifico Regional Edition with a 52 ring gauge x 135 mm (or 5⅜ inches) length. I opened this box once it had approached the seven year mark and I've had seven of them (or just under three-quarters of them) in the last year and eight months, with the last one smoked about six months ago. If you aren't aware, the thinking on our forum behind Asia Pacifico Regional releases is that they generally need 5 years to 'open up'. The only recent exception to this maxim that I can recall could be the 2014 Diplomaticos Bushido, which was exemplary from the 'get-go' when it finally came out in 2015 or perhaps even the recent 2019 Punch 8-9-8 (although one could argue that this dalias-sized cigar can benefit from aging too). I've had this cigar around the four and five-year mark and I've found it to be a combination, at that time, of butter cake and cream, floral notes, almond nuts and spice. Around the six-year mark the cigar progressed to a flavour profile of floral notes, citrus, almond nut and light cocoa 'on the edges' with a bit of spice to it. This LFdC Grandiosos smoked today was eight-and-a-half years of age and it smoked like one of the most complex examples of a Habanos cigar I've encountered yet! It started off in the first third as a combination of shortbread, strawberries, cream, progressed in the middle third to a flavour profile of hay, almond nut and floral notes and it was joined in the last third by some wonderful, mild cinnamon spice. This La Flor de Cano Grandiosos was so full of flavour, yet so easy to smoke. I know that I only have two left from my original 10-count box, but I guess I will enjoy them sooner rather than later as I don't envisage them lasting beyond the ten year mark!
  21. Trinidad Topes 2016 - Edición Limitada TOS Sep 2016 The regular production Trinidad Topes was released in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Trinidad marca (according to Habanos S.A). However, it was previously released in late 2016 as a Limited Edition in a large 56 ring gauge x 125 mm (or 4⅞ inches) length. And yes, it's not the first time a Limited Edition cigar has been brought back as a regular production cigar (e.g. Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial and H.Upmann Magnum 50). The 2016 version of the Topes was such a great seller and well-reputed amongst aficionados that in my view, it wasn't to much of a surprise to see its re-release. Incidentally, the Montecristo Dantes and Romeo y Julieta Capuletos were also released in early 2017 as 2016 Limited Editions. Do we still remember them? I've mentioned previously that the 2019 regular production Trinidad Topes that I've sampled since their release have tended to be a combination of spice, coffee and butter pastry, some slight gingerbread-type sweetness and even some salt. The Trinidad Topes 2016 EL had more cocoa and sweetness to it upon its release in its youth. This TOS Sep 2016 specimen was similarly sweet. It had a touch of woodiness to it, together with a consistent coffee-cream cappuccino and dough core flavour that I've found quite appealing in these Topes LEs thus far. I mentioned in my last review that the maduro-shaded Limited Edition wrappers, which still carry some hefty sheen on every cigar from this box, has definitely imparted a lovely and subtle sweetness that is no longer cocoa-heavy, if you get what I mean. It's quite unlike the core savoury flavours I've gotten out of a variety of Trinidad cigars I've smoked in the last two or three years. This was a pleasure to smoke and even more so considering that it took a whopping 110 minutes to finish! The impending price-correction (or should I say large increase?) by Habanos S.A to the Cohiba and Trinidad premium marcas made it even more enjoyable to smoke today!
  22. Cohiba Siglo VI ARG Jun 2015 This is the now the fifth Cohiba Siglo VI I've smoked from this ARG Jun 2015 10-count box (I've gifted two). Overall, I've only smoked twelve or so Cohiba Siglo VIs in the last four or five years, including these five smoked from this box. There are a few good reasons for this; one, I prefer Cohiba Siglo VIs in the five to ten-year window, two, the expense of this vitola at around $US40 to 45 or $AUD80 to $90 at the present time (not to mention that the market cost will most likely double in price very soon due to Habanos S.A's price re-structuring of its premium brands, Cohiba and Trinidad) precludes me smoking more and three, these weren't freely available for a eighteen to twenty-four month window from 2017 onwards anyway. My last Cohiba Siglo VI I had, a little over six months ago, was quite muddled in its flavour delivery, the ash was flaky and it did not burn ideally. In summary, it was quite forgettable. From the get-go, from the very first puff I took of this Cohiba Siglo VI, I immediately lamented how expensive these cigars have now become as a consequence of how 'other-worldly' this smoked in the first third. In simple terms, it smoked like I was eating a cream and honey-flavoured biscuit (or cookie). In the middle third I got more mocha coffee and refined hay to compliment the honey sweetness and vanilla in the edges. Construction was absolutely spot-on as ash-lengths were more or less perfect, ridges were uniformly parallel and there were no need of any re-lights or touch-ups. The final third continued in much the same vain as the middle third. It goes without saying that this Cohiba Siglo VI was nubbed as far as it could go. And so, thankfully this Cohiba Siglo VI ironically reminded me to forget the last 'forgettable' Siglo VI I had from this box. I'm sure the next time I reach for one, I will long-remember how good this Siglo VI was!
  23. Yeah, well I still can't believe it. And you're right, being down 6 runs at the top of the 9th gives you a 0.2% of victory, usually. This game, plus the comeback against St Louis where 5 unanswered runs were scored in the 9th after being shutout and of course the combined no-hitter has made it a fun April. But I'm not counting anything yet. Let's just see how May turns out!
  24. All good. As Alexander Pope said (in the 18th century), ‘To err is human; to forgive, divine’. You did well here El Pres, only two errors that I needed to fix and it was my pleasure to do so. What do you say to some Ron Zacapa XO and Pol Roger Champagne on me the next time we catch up to have a laugh about it all?

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