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I've been in a quandary of late, I'm seeking a PC to fill a certain and specific void. I hesitate to ask for recommendations because a lot of times people recommend what they like or what may be popular, but for me smoking is an acquired taste and although I only smoke 2-3 cigars a week it is a passion that I enjoy in solitude like few other luxuries. As with scotch, I like certain flavors and have acquired a certain taste over many years. For example, I love Aberlour a'bundah and generally prefer the Speyside single malts in wine finish over just about any other whisky. I will drink others, of course, but when I want one tumbler that really finds that spot, I reach for my favorite dram. In cigars I've been a Punch whore for over two decades. Thankfully, I put hundreds of Punch cigars down years ago in my winefridgador and a couple of 300-count humis, which have lasted and carried me through some lean years. Now my supply is mostly exhausted, but thankfully I'm in a position to restock. My two favorite cigars of all time were the Punch SS#2 and SS#1, in no specific order though I am a sucker for the lonsdale format. Of course, it won't come as a surprise that the Punch Petit Corona del Punch was also my favorite PC, and I smoked a lot of them. The last 50 cab I had was from 2002, I bought two of them when they already had a couple of years of aging. I put one down for a long nap while I smoked through the other cab. I recently finished the second cab, after nursing them for several years since they went extinct. Now I am really aching for some more PCs. My other favorites (besides the rest of the Punch line - churchills, monarcas, RS11, RS12, coronas) are the MC Esp.#2, #2, #3, #4, #5, BBF, Inmensas and Party Lucys. Oh sure, I've smoked others, but my taste buds are happiest on a steady diet of these cigars. It's a longshot and I may be dreaming of a long-lost romantic period, but I would love to find another PC that has a similar rich almost rancid barnyard aroma profile. I know it sounds somewhat disgusting, but I find it intoxicating. I'll keep trying, but if you understand what sort of profile I am talking about I welcome your recommendations.
Very nice presentation box of 20 cigars. Fairly cheap. Machine rolled Cuban cigar with short filler and precut. Honestly, I bought these cigars on their price and the Corona in the name. Was surprised (but not shocked) when I found out that these are not Corona sized but Universales. Cooler name and very nice shape - perfect for winter. Comes with some hard plastic friction tubes with a rubber knob. Prefer it to the aluminium tubes as they're not crushable in my pocket. Oh how many times I've had to take wire snippers to a tube to save a cigar with the Jaws of Life. Prelight Ritual Moments ANYWAY, Back to the cigar: Took it out during work with a can of Schweppes Ginger Ale. We lit it up on my break in the heated shed which was very nice. Left the door open so my legs were freezing but the hot air was blowing continuously on my head. That thing could've heated an entire baseball stadium. ANYWAY, Back to the cigar. Very toothy wrapper as expected from a machine roll and very sweet, cedary draw that reminded me of the nectare of a Sprite. Kinda like what honey from heaven would taste like. Or if you licked Tinkerbell. I could actually feel a retrohale on the cold draw which was odd but pleasant. Enjoyed it very much. First Half Great first bit. Tasted like what San Pelligrino if they made a Marachino cherries flavour. Brilliant smoke and pumping out record smoke. I would be taking full draws without getting any sort of harshness. Mouthful upon mouthful of smoke later, you could feel a cedar taste creep up on your palate and tell you that there is SOME complexity with the cigar. It was absolutely brilliant. Flavour was on every time with no surprises or sudden changes of heart. Retrohale had no harshness but does bring out the woodiness more than the sweetness. Nearing the second quarter, the cigar started to really intensify with the flavours as all pistons were pumping. I can tell it has some nicotine/ tannic polymers/ nitrosamines that normally makes cigars harsh. But that was masked by the continous sweet aroma of the cigar. Tasted more like black forest cake near the end... Less like Maraschino Cherries. Second Half I wanted to review this cigar in quarters. But the subtle changes were too gradual to justify typing out these long winded paragraphs FOUR TIMES for this cigar. On top of that, I was with my supervisor who was talking for a bit. Lucky I even remembered to snap these pictures! ANYWAY, Back to the cigar: Still strong with sweet tang. I am really enjoying the hell out of this cigar. It's something that has produced an ass kicking which was surprising considering the sweetness. It was gradual so I didn't even notice. The strength came in the form of a woody zap that reminds me of engraving maple wood or cooling maple sap in the snow. As a child, I would take a stick, put it on a wooden board layered with snow, and pour maple sap over the board. The sap would harden and you would roll it around in the snow to create a lolly that was absolutely delicious. That's what it tastes like right now. Damn I missed those. The retrohale continued to bring out a strong wood taste that masked the sweetness. I stopped retrohaling because the nostalgic beauty of the cedary maple candies outweighed any sort of need to taste burnt wood. It gradually faded away, unfortunately and the cigar started to taste more like the retrohale. It got bitter near the end but not something I could taste. It was kind of like burning plastic... But it was a good kind of 'gasoline' taste. Something I can't describe too well in words. I didn't bother retrohaling at this point. It ended quite small and I would've nubbed it if my break didn't end 15 minutes ago... Final Thoughts A great, predictable, know-what-you're-getting cigar. I stocked up on vintage RA Belvederes for this winter but I think these will dominate what I'm going to smoke for the next little while. These are too good to put down. 45 minute smoke time and would've easily gone to 55 if I cared to nub it. If I was taking my time smokin this cigar, it would've stretched up to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Absolutely brilliant. Red Stagg bourbon has a taste profile very similar to the first half of this cigar. I would buy a bottle just to pair with this cigar. Call them 2013 heroine/crack/PCP/meth, etc. But I call them my winter smokes and perhaps even my summer smokes. Rating: 87/100. Only thing it lacks is complexity which is why I can't justify giving it a higher rating. Contest Part Will give 3 of these cigars (a whole whopping three!?!) to anyone who can guess the box code of this cigar. Date is not needed. But guess the box code. (CaptainQuintero... you're banned from guessing. And so is anyone who KNOWS the box code of this cigar!) Hint 1: They're not an old box code.