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  1. Purchased a 10ct box a few years ago. First time trying one of these in a while. Appearance: Dark colorado wrapper. Slightly rustic, but plenty of sheen. Appears to be a bit of plume. First third: Rich Cohiba flavor with some darker chocolate and cream notes. Tuscan leather, espresso, and cedar undertones. The richness is akin to the richness found in some ELs (e.g. HdM Magnum 48 & RA Club Allones). Medium bodied at the moment. Picking up a lot of complexity on the retrohale. Second third: Progressing into a medium-bodied smoke. I'm surprised the cigar is somewhat Cohiba-esque given most people say these don't have any Cohiba DNA in them whatsoever. I'm picking up more espresso bean notes and mocha notes with cream/barnyard undertones. Very complex smoke and anything but boring so far. Excellent burn and nice even ash. Final third: Flavors have become a bit more intense. The mocha note is moving toward bitter chocolate (70-90%). Pure chocolate with a hint of bitter orange. I'm starting to see a few similarities between the 2010 Montecristo Grand Edmundo 2010 Edicion Limitada, although I think the Grand Edmundo is a better smoke. Was able to smoke this down to about 2cm. Final impressions: Great smoke in its own right. I haven't smoked that many cigars that offer such a rich chocolate flavor. Interesting smoke, but I'd honestly go for a current production Cohiba Robusto of Siglo IV instead as I do prefer the classic Cohiba flavor through and through. Some European vendors have these in stock for 40 euros a stick...definitely a pass at those prices. The cigar offers a nice change of pace, but I think you can get more bang for the buck elsewhere. Final score: 93-94
  2. Cigar: Fonseca No.1 Box Code: UME NOV14 Review Date: April 18, 2016 (Age: 1yr, 5mo) Appearance: This box smells incredible! A really great barnyard aroma. This is a box I picked up on a 24:24 a little while ago and it’s PSP grade in my estimation. A perfectly crafted cap with a dark Colorado wrapper that has some nice sheen and splotchiness to it. First third: Honey, cream, a nice balanced pepper, and some subtle floral notes. Second third: The sweetness fades to the background, the pepper picks up a tad. There’s a slight leather note coming in. Third third: Body increases a tad, the leather asserts itself more, as does the pepper. The honey and cream have faded almost completely and have been replaced with a nice black tea flavor. Smoking time: Forgot to measure. I think about 1.5 hrs. Conclusion: So glad I jumped on these when they were available. They're considered discontinued by most, so it was a nice surprise to see them available. Aside from this box I’ve had one other example, a nicely aged stick that I got in a trade. It was equally as impressive. Fonseca may not get as much love as the other marcas, but I’d buy another box (or two!) in a heartbeat if they showed up on a 24:24 again. Rating: 95
  3. Cigar: Montecristo No. 4 Box Code: TUP ENE 14 Review Date: 4/4/2015 (Age: 1yr, 3mos) Appearance: This is a good looking Monte. The wrapper falls into the medium-dark end of the spectrum and has a slight sheen to it. I believe this box is graded HQ. First third: Lots of youth present here. The typical Monte profile of creamed coffee and hazelnut is present, but it is overshadowed by some “mongrel youth” (to use Rob’s words) that comes across as orange zest. The draw is just a bit too restrictive for my taste. It forces me to puff a few times before I get a good mouthful of smoke, which unfortunately makes the cigar burn a little hotter and does nothing to help the flavor. Second third: Not much change. The nostril-singeing youth still makes itself known. There’s a pleasant woody and savory quality coming through at times though, which is nice. The room note reveals some ammonia at times. The burn has gone a bit wonky and needed some correcting. Third third: Finally getting some of those classic Monte flavors, and boy is it delivering. The draw has even opened up a bit, too. The rich coffee flavor is shining through, and the flavor is now more of a citrus-flavored coffee. This is how I like my Monte 4’s to taste. Smoking time: About an hour Conclusion: I usually like my Monte 4’s with about 18-24 months on them. The competition called for 2014 stock and unfortunately I don’t have much 2014 that is ready to smoke. In fact, this box has only been sitting in my humidor for 26 days, and I don’t think it has had enough time to fully rest. However, this cigar showed promise, especially at the end. With another 6 months-1 year the rough edges will be rounded out and I can tell that rich Monte profile is just lurking under the surface, ready to be enjoyed. Rating: 85. Though I’d expect this box to be in the 92-93 range once it matures a bit more.

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