JohnS

JohnS' Smoking Diary 2019

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Juan López Selección No.2 MEL Dic 2016

The Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2 has been a forum favourite in the last 2 years, having enjoyed a resurgance only bettered by the re-branding of the Quai d'Orsay marca. I tend to find them a little too strong for my liking when in their youth, although today's example seemingly 'turned-a-corner' from this box.

Despite being two-and-a-half years old, the first third of this cigar was the first time I got such a strong orange citrus and chocolate flavour from the 'get-go' out of four cigars smoked from the box. My palate very much connected with this profile. Towards the end of the first third I got an uneven burn develop in the wrapper and unfortunately it didn't self-correct this time, so I touched it up, but thankfully I needed no more re-lights. At this point I picked up strong notes of white pepper and espresso coffee, although still with a little orange citrus and chocolate. The final third was all toasted tobacco and it got a little more intense in flavour delivery, yet I still had no issue smoking this down, I didn't finish it early as overall it was a good smoke.

With a quarter of the box consumed (as I have given away three for other cigar enthusiasts to enjoy), I can safely say that these need more time down for me as the cigar was medium-full to full in strength in the back half and I much prefer them milder. I look forward to re-visiting them in a year or two.

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H. Upmann Half Corona EOT Nov 2016

I had a little time today so I desired something smaller as I had not had H.Upmann for a little awhile I thought the Half Corona would fit the bill nicely. These are around 2-and-a-half years old and after today's cigar I only have one left in this box code.

This had your typical H.Upmann shortbread, espresso coffee and white pepper, was just under medium and had no signs of that youthful toasted tobacco you can get from this vitola when smoked young. In fact, after smoking this, I checked my inventory to find that only around 1% of my humidor is H.Upmann and these sticks are all over three years old. That makes sense to me, as I do like that H.Upmann shortbread flavour and more so when aged a little. Thankfully I have some more H.Upmann in my OLH!

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Vegas Robaina Famosos AEM May 2015

This is the third Famosos I've had from this box and I must confess that this cigar, at this stage of its maturity at just over 4 years of age, is starting to grow on me. Before we get to discussing how it smoked, a caveat I need to share is the fact that the cigar came out of the box with no cap...yes, I repeat, no cap. At first I thought that someone had clipped it for me, but upon closer inspection, I could see that a cut was not applied to the head. The tobacco indicated no signs of being sliced and was rough and loose. As they say, "Cuba being Cuba", accept it, despite it making no sense, and move on.

The flavours were very similar to the last one I had. There was minimal milk chocolate and raisin sweetness and a core 'pure tobacco' or grassy flavour, but not like Cohiba-type grass, and baking spice with a hint of floral notes. The flavours were one-dimensional, there was little complexity or change through the thirds, but this is not a criticism, I didn't mind it being this way.

I nubbed the cigar as far as I could go and surprised myself at how long the cigar took me to smoke, perhaps 80 to 90 minutes, which for a Hermosos No.4 I would reckon my average time would be around the 70 to 75 minute mark.

After smoking this today, I reflected on the fact that this year I consider the Sancho Panza Non Plus to be the most unique Habanos cigar in my rotation, at the moment. After having a few of these I believe this mid-term aged Vegas Robaina Famosos could be a candidate to join the SP Non Plus in terms of offering something different from other Habanos vitolas, when it comes to flavours.

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Diplomáticos No.2 EML Ago 2014

This is my third from this box and as its now right on 5 years rested I got some nice flavours out of this cigar and a little complexity between the two halves. I think smoking this on a sunny winter's afternoon really helped as it was both smooth and there was plenty of smoke output per draw.

The first half gave me some wondrous sourdough and light coffee, perhaps the best sourdough flavour I've ever got out of a Diplomaticos cigar, excepting the 2014 Bushido of course. Toward the beginning of the second third I reflected on the lack of capsicum (or bell pepper) and spice, but by the middle of the cigar the capsicum flavour took over and towards the end of the second third I got a nice strong hit of paprika spice.

There was no issue nubbing this and the aftertaste on my palate resonated for quite a few hours thereafter!

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Sancho Panza Non Plus ABR Sep 2011

This is the first Sancho Panza Non Plus I've smoked since the 2019 deletions have been announced through 5ta Avenida and I feel some mixed emotions. Firstly, a little mournful that yet another Petit Corona is getting the 'chop' and secondly, completely unsurprised that the Non Plus will leave the Sancho Panza marca down to one vitola (the Belicosos) as it has never been a big seller. Heck, I doubt it's ever been a 'average sales' cigar either.

This was thankfully 'spot on' in regards to the draw and construction was fine, there were no issues with the burn. The cigar was mainly wood and salt and in terms of strength, it had plenty of legs in it, there was no hint of floral notes or creaminess one associates with aged Sancho Panza.

I'm down to my last few now and I envisage I will pick up another box for prosperity sake quite soon.

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La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No.4 ETP Ene 2016

This has been my fourth stick from this box and my best thus far. I made sure to smoke it slowly, of course! There was some nice fruit, wood, herbal notes and a hint of almond nut throughout. The draw was perfect and there was no burn issues, the ash was a consistent length of around one inch all the way.

One thing of interest was the lack of pepper (or spice) which made this remarkably easy to retrohale. I'm not inclined to savour cigars through the nose unless they are milder and this didn't disappoint, there was no tingle to it all. If you don't have the La Gloria Cuban Medaille d'Or No.4 in your rotation, make sure to add it as it is a long and skinny worthy of your time and attention, in my opinion.

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Por Larrañaga Montecarlos LGR Ago 2018

If you've followed my reviews this year you'd know that I've rated the Por Larranaga Montecarlos as one of the best, if not the best, value-for-money Habanos cigars currently available. This LGR Ago 18 PLMC has just hit the 12-month mark and it has been showing promising signs of developing caramel, but the wood in this today was just as dominant. It wasn't 'toasty' or honey-sweet, but the balance between the caramel and woody flavours suggests to me that a little more time will benefit this box in a big way, say perhaps six to twelve months.In addition, the retrohale left quite a bit of a tingle to the nose which supports my emphasis to let these get a little milder, in the hope that they develop more caramel and recede in their 'woodiness'.

In the meantime, I think I'll re-visit my LGR Oct 17 box as these have practically all been caramel-bombs and have smoked beyond my expectations on a consistent basis.

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El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse MLU Dic 2018

Oh my...another one from this box that I needed to reach for my PerfecDraw tool! I am so grateful for having the ability to unplug cigars, but it has been disappointing that I've had to do this twice from the first four cigars smoked from this box.

Despite this, the flavours were there again, shortbread, citrus and honey all perfectly balanced and pleasant. Where would I have been without my PerfectDraw?

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Bolívar Belicosos Finos LMB Feb 2019

If you've followed my reviews this year you'd know I'm not a Bolivar acolyte but I'll gladly make am exception for the BBF as these have been stellar, especially in the last year or two. I think I connect with the maltiness or bitter stout-type flavours in this cigar, which I do favour.

This cigar did have that bitter stout or dark ale malt beer flavour together with a creaminess that makes it distinctive for me and from the very first puffs. It also had a cocoa and soft marshmallow like texture, similar to previous BBF's I've had this year, which gave way into the middle third as some nutmeg spice took over. The final third saw the usual build-up of earthy flavours come more to the fore.

One thing of note is the way I cut the head with my Colibri V-Cutter. I use this cutter on all my torpedo-type cigars due to the consistency of cuts and the ease it provides with smoking the cigar. In comparison to a straight cut on a torpedo, for me, it prevents wetting the head of the cigar during drawing and so induce any possible bitter flavours from excess moisture.

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Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Prince SOM Jun 2016

Can you believe that it's been two-and-a-half years since these have been discontinued? And can you remember how popular this cigar was on our forum during 2015 and 2016? It seemed that every time they came out on a 24:24 listing they were snapped up in a proverbial blink! There's a reason for this, I think, and it lays in the fact that this cigar, although an almuerzos at 40 ring gauge x 130 mm and not quite a petit corona (42 ring gauge x 129 mm), offers a nice change-of-pace in the petit corona range. How are they after 3 years? Frankly, still good but 'boy-oh-boy' does this have legs to age!

This was cream and vanilla from the 'get-go', but soon settled into typical forest floor or earthy and heavy wood flavours common with the Le Hoyo range. I got more of that vanilla spice coming into the middle third and the heavy oak flavour took over. Although the strength was a little over mild, the flavours were quite full and continued to do so into the last third. The final third saw the oak and forest floor/mushroom flavours get even more intense. The cream dissipated into the last third but the vanilla spice remained.

In comparison to the recent Le Hoyo releases of the de San Juan (a Geniales at 54 ring gauge x 150 mm) and Rio de Seco (an Armorosos at 56 ring gauge x 140 mm), those cigars are different to this du Prince box in that those cigars have more crispy, toasty flavours when young, can have a distinctive tea flavour, and in my opinion, are more approachable when young.

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H. Upmann Half Corona EOT Nov 2016

Have you ever considered smoking these with a little time down on them? This cigar was three months short of three years old and it was very different to the many varieties I've had of this vitola at 18 months or younger. Those samples tended to dominate in toasted tobacco and emphasise the espresso coffee that is characteristic of this cigar. This cigar today was much more prevalent in shortbread and cream, and together with its medium-mild strength, proved to be more synonymous with the milder-flavoured H.Upmann vitolas such as the Connossieur A and Connoisseur No.1 than the more intensely-flavoured Magnum 46 and Royal Robustos.

It goes without saying that I really, really enjoyed this. What a shame it was my last one!

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El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse MLU Dic 2018

This was my fifth from this box and thankfully it wasn't plugged like my last one. It was a little tight on the draw though, however, I could live with it as the cigar was interesting flavour-wise.

This was all fruity sweet and lemon-citrus with shortbread and maybe a tiny hint of nut. It proved to be a nice smoke over twenty to twenty-five minutes on a pleasant winter's afternoon in the warm sunshine.

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Cohiba Espléndidos PLM Oct 2006

Thank you @Trevor2118 for gifting me this incredible cigar! This cigar comes from late 2006, and at 12 years of age, it didn't lack in any way in terms of flavour.
 
It was a touch over mild in strength, which is where I'd like it to be for its age. Some very typical Esplendidos flavours, consistent with the Cohiba Clasica line, such as milk coffee or mocha, butter, honey and vanilla. There was no real spice nor Cohiba grass/hay, which you can get in these Clasica line cigars at times, but which I find more consistent in the Siglo line. It goes without saying that I nubbed it as far as the safety of my fingers allowed me to!

If you are a Cohiba fan, then this is the type of cigar that would appeal to your senses, especially when it smokes like this one did!

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Montecristo No.4 UEB May 2018

Thanks to Cuban Cigar Website's excellent Smoking Diary Feature and my 2019 Smoking Blog, subjective considerations in regards to timing and cigars can be now easily quantified. Let me explain...this box has been stellar thus far and after checking my Smoking Diary today I could easily see that I smoked two within a week and once a month on average thereafter. I can happily report that 6 of the 7 I've smoked to this point have been absolutely stunning, with one sub-average.

The superb quality of this box has been exemplified by their distinctive softer nut and citrus flavours rather than stronger cocoa, coffee and cream flavours, although the latter flavours were still evident here. This cigar was much stronger in that nut and 'citrus on the edges' profile, which for me, is a pure delight when it comes to Montecristo. Let's see how the next one pans out next month!

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San Cristóbal de la Habana El Príncipe TOS Jun 2016

Again, I was wondering how it's been awhile since I've had a San Cristobal de La Habana El Principe. Don't fret though, these have been a strong 'go-to' cigar for me and are still very much in my rotation but honestly speaking, I've been pre-occupied with the Por Larranaga Montecarlos these last few months. And so thanks to Cuban Cigar Website's excellent Smoking Diary feature my suspicions were confirmed today, it has indeed been a little over two months since I had my last El Principe. After smoking this one, perhaps I should have another soon as this was superb.

At a touch over three years of age the flavours in this cigar have melded into a pancake-sweet cocoa and molasses combination, with a hint of light coffee and just a touch of spice. Simply perfect for my tastes, this is how I like them.

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Punch 48 2016 - Especialista en Habanos Exclusivo LGR Ene 2018

I've been most pleased with the past two or three Punch 48 I've had this year and so it was time to light another. When I first tried this cigar (when it was first released) I noted the roasted nut profile in it that was so dominant, after around 18 months the peanut profile is still there, but it doesn't taste roasted anymore.

A Hermosos No.3, at 48 ring gauge x 140 mm (or 5½ inches), the size now seems more akin to a coronas, especially since the Robustos (50 ring gauge) is now the average-sized Habanos vitola these days. The wrapper on this was a deep rosado colour. In fact, it was so reddish-brown that I think the only other cigar that I've sampled in the last five years that was close to this wrapper shade would be the 2014 Partagas Privada Limited Edition. The nut profile was definitely there, but as I stated above, it wasn't roasted because the sour citrus twang that intermingled with a gorgeous light cream was the main flavour I picked up in the first third. In the middle third I got a pick-up of spice, however the sour citrus twang was still there and made the cigar so intriguing. In the final third the spice very much took over, like in a youthful Partagas Serie D No.4 and I had to let it go just past the band.

I'm curious now about that spice as it's the first time I've had so much of it in a Punch 48. I wonder if my next Punch 48 will be much the same? I think I'll find out soon.

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Cohiba Siglo V REG Nov 2017

The Cohiba Siglo V is possibly my second favourite of the Linea 1492 range after the Cohiba Siglo III. At 43 ring gauge x 170 mm (or 6¾ inches), a dalias, it represents a vitola that is only shared by the Partagas 8-9-8 currently in regular production, and both these cigars have been periodical lately in their availability. For those of you who are experienced enthusiasts, do you still remember the Bolivar Inmensas (discontinued in 2009) and the La Gloria Cubana Medaille d'Or No.2 (discontinued in 2014)?

I wanted to celebrate my son's birthday so I pulled this out of the humidor and we smoked one together. I was well-pleased at how good this was both flavour-wise and construction-wise for its age, two months short of two years. This was your standard Cohiba grass or hay, honey, a little cream, a hint of coffee but no spice or citrus. It was very easy to smoke and a great choice to mark a milestone.

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El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse MLU Dic 2018

I had a 20-minute window so this was perfect for a quick smoke. Shortbread, honey and citrus mainly, with a little hint of fruit. In comparison to the others I've had from the box this was the least 'fruity' in flavours but at least the draw was okay. Construction and burn was fine. I think I've smoked a little over one-quarter of this box. I may go a few more and than leave the rest for long-term aging.

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Romeo y Julieta Churchills ASO Nov 2016

The Romeo y Julieta Churchill has enjoyed somewhat of a revival on our forum in the last few years. In the past 12 months that reputation has grown to the point where it is now regarded as one of the top ten Habanos cigars currently. Judging by the many different box-coded offerings I've had of this cigar in the past 24 months, I can't help but agree with this assessment.

Tonight's Churchill was two months short of three years and at this point of its development I noticed that it wasn't as sweet as previous RyJ Churchills I've had aged 12 to 24 months since 2016. So, no strong turkish delight or anise-type licorice sweetness, but rather a more softer coconut/cream and cherry flavour that remained consistent throughout, even well into the last third. This was a no-brainer to nub and if you are new to Romeo y Julieta as a marca, or simply don't like it due to its propensity to offer up toasted tobacco blandness from time-to-time, don't discount giving some recent RyJ Churchills a go. I wouldn't be surprised if you were glad you did.

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Trinidad La Trova 2017 - La Casa del Habano Exclusivo RAG Ago 2017

What cigar would you offer your dear cigar enthusiast buddies to celebrate your son's 21st birthday? For me this isn't a hypothetical question as I needed a quality cigar to commemorate the actual occasion for my own son...you know, the type of cigar that your dear friends talk about for years to come. Thankfully the Trinidad La Trova 'fit the bill' perfectly.

The La Trova is a recent addition to the Trinidad line-up, albeit it's not technically regular production, but an LCDH exclusive release I'm hoping and I'm confident that like previous LCDH releases in other marcas (such as the Partagas Culebras and Salomones, H.Upmann Noellas and Royal Robusto, Ramon Allones Superiores, Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure de Luxe and Bolivar Libertador for example) will be around for years to come. At 52 ring gauge x 166 mm (or 6½ inches) in length, it's a big cigar which will take you a good 2 hours to smoke at least, but what a smoke it will be!

The main flavour that dominated this cigar was butter...it literally screamed "butter" from the 'get-go' and did not let up. Likewise, at only two years old, it was remarkably refined and mild and these characteristics made the cigar so overwhelmingly appealing to the senses. El Pres has stated in his 24:24 listings that this cigar is like a slightly burnt butter and golden oats cookie and I would heed that this is a good way to describe it. Together with the butter, there is a savoury or umami aspect to flavour, like salt or succulent well-cooked steak as well as your quintessential Trinidad milk coffee and dough, although these two latter flavours are much more subtle in the blend. As I smoked through the cigar there was some notes of leather which again, made this very easy to nub.

The difference in this La Trova tonight in comparison to the one I smoked around 4 months ago was that this lacked the spice of its predecessor and it was nowhere near as 'earthy'. However, there was spice on nose through the retrohale, and more so after the first third.

The consensus from our friends, who shared in smoking this cigar from this box tonight, was universal and overwhelming, effusive praise. Yes...it will be a cigar event that will be long-remembered fondly!

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11 hours ago, JohnS said:
The consensus from our friends, who shared in smoking this cigar from this box tonight, was universal and overwhelming, effusive praise. Yes...it will be a cigar event that will be long-remembered fondly!

Where was I? Did I attend? :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Fuzz said:

Where was I? Did I attend? :rolleyes:

Yes, you were there...in the corner! 😂

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5 hours ago, JohnS said:

Yes, you were there...in the corner! 😂

Nobody puts Fuzz in the corner!!!

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Por Larrañaga Petit Coronas circa 2014 (thanks @jay8354)

I've been so enamored with the Por Larranaga Montecarlos lately that one may wonder why I haven't sampled the Por Larranaga Petit Coronas (or Picadores, for that matter) in recent times? I think there are two reasons; firstly, the quality-to-cost appeal of the Montecarlos and secondly, it takes more time for Petit Coronas to develop the caramel profile I prefer in that cigar. Thankfully, @jay8354 gifted me this PLPC from circa 2014 and at that age, it did not let me down, let me tell you!

Whereas a PLMC may typically take 1 to 3 years to develop a dominant caramel characteristic, the PLPC may take 5 to 8 years to do so. This Petit Coronas certainly had a smooth and soft caramel flavour to it, together with honey and baking spice notes. It was a superb cigar, the type that 'rewards you in spades' for the patience you give it.

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