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  1. I'm a self-confessed Punch w-h-o-r-e, and throughout the late nineties and early 2000s I bought and stashed as many of my favorite Punch vitolas as I could with every spare penny I had. I have been smoking through those cigars throughout the past 10 years, and enjoying the beautifully developed flavors of aged Punch habanos. Today I spotted the lone remaining Punch RS12 in my winefridgador, it was dated 2004. The label on this cigar has turned yellowish with age, aided I'm sure by the oils from the cigar. For libation I opened a bottle of 2012 Clemente VII Chianti Classico. This wine is a tribute to Guilio de Medici, who became Pope in 1523. It is said to be produced on the very grounds where Pope Clemente VII lived before assuming the Papacy. I cut the cap very shallow, and cold draw was just perfect, not tight and not too loose. Nuts, cedar and barnyard aromas are evident. I torched the foot into a nice even cherry and took the first draw, producing ample thick, rich chewy smoke. Roasted chestnuts, cedar, leather and a hint of cinnamon are present. The flavor is medium bodied, very rich with a wonderful earthy and woody aroma from the smoke trail. The first third of the cigar burned perfectly, never needing a touchup. The silvery gray ash finally fell as the first third burned away. The flavor warmed up a bit more in the next third and I could taste a slightly sweet caramel on the finish. The flavor and aroma shifted a little and it reminded me slightly of meat roasting on a wood charcoal smoker, though I suspect I was picking up hints of smoked meat from a neighbor's BBQ, but it was quite pleasing combined with the woody, barnyard aroma from the cigar. The cigar and the wine where a fabulous pairing, complementing each other well. The fruity rich currant and cherry tones of the wine where deliciously blending with the creamy rich and toasty flavor of the cigar. As I smoked past the halfway mark I was amazed at how creamy, smooth and superbly balanced this cigar is. Nuanced hints of sweet spices, with woody characteristics and the rich plumes of smoke were so perfectly blended, it was like being in a dream. The flavors continued to emerge and improve throughout the last third, but body remained consistent and smooth. As I was approaching the nub I was again tasting chestnuts and now some hints of vanilla. Caramel came a went a couple of times, while oak and cedar wafted throughout the cigar. My wife came out to the patio at one point and commented on the pleasing sweet cedary aroma. At the nub I was quite heartbroken; I realized I had just smoked my last specimen of this spectacular cigar and probably the last of its kind since it hasn't been produced in several years. At the same time I was feeling blessed that I had experienced this wonderful and mind blowing cigar. I resisted putting the nub down as long as I could, with merely half an inch left I could not hold on any longer and finally laid it to rest among its ashes. To the last draw this cigar was superb in every aspect; perfect burn, voluminous smoke, and an exemplary complex medium bodied expertly balanced flavor profile that is rare and difficult to describe in words. Not a hint of harshness throughout the cigar. A moving experience to be memorialized. Again, I am distressed and disappointed that Habanos S.A. has decimated the Punch marquee. Superb cigars like these have a special and distinct character. They will be sorely missed. My quest to find an adequate replacement continues, but my expectations are tempered because I doubt there will be another as memorable as this cigar was. Enjoy your smokes my friends.

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