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  1. I was a big fan of the Punch brand, no secret about that, and I smoked a great many of them. The brand once had four different corona gordas; Black Prince, Punch Punch, Super Selection No. 2, and this Royal Selection No. 11. Back in the day when all four where in regular production, I favored the SS2 and the RS11 most. Although some claim all four are the same, just different packaging, I found the SS2 and RS11 more flavorful and satisfying than the others. Fast forward nearly 20 years and all but one have been discontinued, including this RS11. The cigar I pulled for this review has a lovely reddish colorado wrapper that feels slightly delicate, and is very nicely applied with a perfect triple seam cap. I carefully cut around the cap, peeling the top layer without removing any filler, to be delightfully introduced to a near perfect draw. For this review I decided to pair the cigar with a cup of expresso made from the distinctly Cuban Bustelo brand. No sugar, and just a dribble of half & half. I normally prefer Scotch with my Punch corona gordas, but I have some writing to do later so I don't want to dull my senses for my writing. It's very breezy outside as I smoke this cigar while watching the Falcons dominate the Packers in the NFC championship. Despite the wind, this RS11 is giving off a wonderful aroma of sweet cedar, with that distinctive down on the farm Cuban twang that I find irresistible. Right from lighting, this cigar finds the sweet spot of my taste buds and I am immediately fixated on savoring every aspect of this smoke. The first third burns evenly, and despite the wind shaking the trees, I am absorbing as much of the aroma as I possibly can. The flavor is loaded with elements of sweet cedar, basil and nuts toasting on an open fire. Although mild-medium in body, to my senses this is a truly fulfilling and satisfying cigar, so much so that I find myself chewing on the end of it refusing to put it down. As the first third burns away, the wind has caused the cigar to burn a little unevenly, requiring a lick from the torch to straighten it out again. The flavor has turned creamy and is now giving me a touch of semi-sweet vanilla, and that everpresent cedary tone is in full bloom. What a terrific sensation. This cigar has me so absorbed I barely noticed the Falcons have taken a 31-0 lead. Back to the cigar... Somehow, despite the strong wind whipping around, the cigar has managed to burn perfectly straight since the last minor touch up. The flavor has remained mild-medium, and superbly balanced. At the onset of the last third the flavor has started to impart some essences of Thai tea and sweet spices, a very pleasing and delightful twist in this complex cigar. Body has become a solid medium, and the aroma continues to throw loads of sweet cedar and Cuban twang. As the end approaches, I have started to reflect on the many years of satisfaction I have received from smoking Punch cigars. For a solid decade I smoked more Punch than any other brand, and at one point before I went on a self-imposed buying boycott, about 80% of my humidor was stuffed with Punch brand cigars. I only had a couple of cabs of RS11, as I preferred the SS2, which came in cabs of 50, over the RS11. But in terms of flavor they are more similar than not. At the moment, this 14 year old RS11 has reached the pinnacle in distinctly Punch flavor. In the closing puffs of this delicious vitola, I find myself painfully trying to hang on as the nub singes my finger tips and my lips. Although it is down to an inch, it has remained medium bodied and packed with flavor. The essence of Thai tea is still present, as are the vanilla, sweet spices and cedar. At last I had to lay the nub down as I savored the last bit of aftertaste and aroma. Again, I am mystified with HSA's decision to decimate this brand and terminate this great cigar in 2010. I find myself regretting not stocking up on this great corona gorda before it vanished from the lineup. On my personal scale I rate this a 9.5 out of 10, a truly fulfilling cigar experience. Thank you FOH for the opportunity to share this experience.

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