JohnS' Smoking Diary 2021


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Trinidad Esmeralda GEM Nov 2019 A brilliant, complex and quality premium cigar. Quality cookie dough/cake and coffee to start with in the first third. In the middle third there was some more wood

Cohiba Siglo VI circa 2014 This is the first Cohiba Siglo VI I've had since I had a '99 to 100-point' aged 2009 one in November 2020. As the rating suggests, it was about the best one I've ever s

Trinidad Topes MUP Oct 2019 It doesn't seem that long ago that the Trinidad Topes was released as a Limited Edition cigar in 2016. It continued the trend of highly reputable large ring gauge  Lim

4 hours ago, JohnS said:

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Por Larrañaga Montecarlos LGR Oct 2017

Looking over my Cuban Cigar Website Smoking Diary, whilst I've had a number of Por Larranaga Montecarlos in the last twelve months, this LGR Oct 2017 example is just my third from that box code in that time. The previous two were quite ordinary and quite good (in that order). Thankfully this was quite brilliant, much like how this box has been in the 12 to 18 months prior to mid-2020.

Despite being slightly underfilled, like my last Por Larranaga Montecarlos, this dominated in caramel and honey from the beginning and continued throughout the life of the cigar until I nubbed it. Along the way I got some wood and toast but no spice whatsoever, unlike my last one, which meant I didn't need to compensate and smoke the cigar slower this time.

This Box Code of Por Larranaga Montecarlos has been noted on our forum for being of sound quality and recently there's been speculation that the box has peaked and taken a downturn. My previous two examples would support that hypothesis but today's example was outstanding and suggests that I still have six sticks left that potentially will smoke as good as this one today.

This has spurred me to try one today from my Jul LGR 17 box. They have all been stellar and just a handful left. Haven’t had one for a bit so hopefully there has been no downturn

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1 hour ago, Chucko8 said:

This has spurred me to try one today from my Jul LGR 17 box. They have all been stellar and just a handful left. Haven’t had one for a bit so hopefully there has been no downturn

Yes, I will be eager to follow the outcome when you post it up on the Daily Smoking thread. 😉

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16 minutes ago, JohnS said:

Yes, I will be eager to follow the outcome when you post it up on the Daily Smoking thread. 😉

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Choose a beautiful looking example. Will let you know 

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Juan López Malecon 2015 - Edición Regional Andorra ROM Oct 2015

The Juan Lopez Malecon is a 2015 Andorran Regional Edition release. It is a Montesco-sized cigar with a 55 ring gauge x 130 mm length (or 5⅛ inches). Since 2015 there's been eleven Regional Editions released in this size, a Gran Reserva (the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill in 2015) and of course, the 2019 Limited Edition Montecristo Supremos. Prior to 2015 we only had the regular production Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill, released in 2010 and the 2013 Limited Edition Hoyo de Monterrey Grand Epicure so it's gained quite a bit of popularity in the second half of the last decade!

As for the cigar's name, Malecon, of course it's a tribute to the famous eponymous promenade located on the waterfront north of Havana. In English, Malecón means "the pier". Dunhill had a Lonsdales-sized cigar (i.e similar in size as the Montecristo No.1 - 42 ring gauge x 165 mm or 6½ inches) in its marca also prior to its discontinuation in 1991.

Juan Lopez is known for its fuller strength with notes of coffee, toasted tobacco, orange citrus, chocolate and cedar or wood. I smoked a JL Malecon around two months ago and it was stupendous. This one was every bit as good. I mainly got notes of cedar, shortbread, orange citrus and Cointreau with a creamy texture throughout.  There was no white pepper notes this time. Flavours were well-balanced and the construction was fine.

Again, this was a great example of a superb Juan Lopez cigar and worthy of its fine reputation since release. If Juan Lopez cigars were like this in general, I wouldn't hesitate to seek them out and stock up, despite my aversion to cigars of this size.

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4 hours ago, JohnS said:
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Ramón Allones La Palmera 2016 - Edición Regional Emiratos Arabes Unidos SOM Dic 2016
The Ramon Allones La Palmera is a 2016 U.A.E Regional Edition which was released to market in early 2018. According to Cuban Cigar Website, this cigar made first use of a new regional band for the United Arab Emirates with the text Emiratos Arabes. Previous releases wore a band with E.A.U.
With a 54 ring gauge x 164mm length (or 6½ inches)  the RA La Palmera is a Sublimes vitola, the same size as the 2004 Cohiba Sublimes and 2008 Montecristo Sublimes Limited Editions and LCDH Bolivar Libertador. It comes packaged in a 10-count semi boite nature box.
Like my last one sampled around two months ago, this cigar was a touch under mild-medium, so nothing like a youthful Ramon Allones Specially Selected in strength or body, more like an aged Ramon Allones Superiores. Again, I felt the flavours were also unique to the marca, it smoked like something akin to the 2017 Montesco-sized Asia Pacifico Regional Edition Silver Jubilee. It had no cocoa whatsoever but it did have a delightful combination of baked bread, walnut, apple and pear citrus and some wood notes.
This was a long cigar to smoke, easily over two hours. Again the ash was extremely flaky and white-grey but this time I had fewer re-lights and the ash held together a bit better. Like my last one, it proved to be a fine cigar nevertheless. I wouldn't call this a complex cigar but its simple concoction of flavours resonated well with my palate. I could reach for another one right now just thinking about it!


Great review John. The last time you did one on this cigar I mentioned to you that I had some boxes with the same code. What is your feeling on how they will age and how they are now vs what you anticipate they may become.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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7 minutes ago, LLC said:

Great review John. The last time you did one on this cigar I mentioned to you that I had some boxes with the same code. What is your feeling on how they will age and how they are now vs what you anticipate they may become.

Thank you. I think that they are excellent right now, yet I have no hesitation, based on experience with cigars of similar blend in this marca, that they will become milder (naturally) and potentially develop more baking spice notes. Those citrus-type flavours will probably become more prominent too as the other nut and wood flavours recede.

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On 3/21/2021 at 6:39 AM, JohnS said:

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Cohiba Siglo VI ARG Jun 2015

This is the second Cohiba Siglo VI I've smoked from this ARG Jun 2015 10-count box and it was even better than my first one, which was superb. I shared one each with @Luca, paired with some Yellow Chartreuse and this was easily a 95-point cigar.

@Luca stated that his example was a combination of butter, toffee, hay and some mocha coffee. That's good enough for me as later on we both were trying to smoke our Siglo VIs way past their safe 'nubbing point' and endangering our fingers!

Again, I hope to smoke another Cohiba Siglo VI from this box quite soon. One thing I'm now sure of: I don't think this box will see even another twelve to eighteen months of aging, judging by how good the first three from the box have been!

I almost burnt my fingers!

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On 3/27/2021 at 5:47 AM, JohnS said:

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Juan López Selección No.2 MEL Dic 2016

I'd like to thank @Luca for this Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2. It's been six months since my last JL2, also kindly gifted by @Luca. At the time I wrote that the cigar had some Cointreau orange, citrus and chocolate in the first third but it soon settled into a stronger espresso coffee, toasted tobacco and spice offering towards the end of the first third and stayed that way until the end.

In summary, it wasn't too different to the JL2s from my box these past few years. For me, I felt that I needed some more time for those orange and chocolate flavours to come more to the fore and for those espresso coffee and toasted tobacco flavours to recede. How long? At the time I indicated that I will sample another one in the next six to nine months to see how they were coming along.

Fast forward six months and this four-and-a-third year-old Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2 was the kind of cigar that makes you perform a complete 180° turn in your wish list. I make no secret of the fact that I haven't had the best time with young Juan Lopez in the past, I haven't loathed them, but I haven't loved them either. This was all orange peel citrus right from the word go, with a combined light coffee and milk chocolate core and most importantly, it was medium to medium-mild in strength the whole way.

It's been explained to me in the past, from a dear and sage friend, that the key to a quality Juan Lopez Seleccion No.2 was letting them rest and develop, and this was why I guess this cigar today connected so favourably with my palate. 5 out of 5, 10 out of 10, a 95 point cigar, however you want to rate it, it was superb!

Thank you John. Great review and I agree with your tasting notes. I'm actually smoking one right now! 

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El Rey del Mundo Petit Cayo 2018 - Edición Regional Andorra SMA Nov 2018

The El Rey del Mundo Petit Cayo is a 2018 Andorra Regional Edition released in early 2019. It is a 52 ring gauge x 110 mm (or 4⅜ inches) in length Petit Edmundo and it came packaged in a 25-count slide lid box. The last time I smoked this cigar, around two months ago, I was significantly disappointed. This time it was a lot better; alas, it's still no Juan Lopez Malecon!

This time the light colorado claro wrapper thankfully remained intact and did not split. Also, it was much more true to the El Rey del Mundo profile. El Rey del Mundo is known for its mild strength and softer attributes such as floral notes, a touch of citrus, shortbread, hay, almond nut and perhaps toast. My last ERdM Petit Cayo was mainly burnt almond, toast and black pepper. This example had no burnt flavours nor black pepper. Instead it was basically hay, toast and some citrus and it was much easier to smoke! It was also much milder and less intense.

Last time I mentioned that I wouldn't be reaching for another one of these soon. Let's just say I wanted to clear up space in my humidor today. Needless to say, this was my last one I have and no, I won't be seeking out another box or stick for acquisition. Let's just leave it at that!

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Bolívar Byblos 2016 - Edición Regional Líbano SMA Dic 2017

The Bolivar Byblos is a 2016 Libano Regional Edition which hit the market late in December 2017. It's named after the Phoenician city of Byblos, the oldest continuously inhabited city in modern history. It is a Magicos vitola, with a 52 ring gauge x 115 mm (or 4½ inches) length and comes packaged in a 25-count semi boite nature box.

The last Bolivar Byblos I had around two months ago was a full-bodied smoke with notes of dry wood, earth, leather along with sweet hay and pepper. If I didn't have to touch it up a few times due to bunched leaves, which induced an uneven burn, I would have rated that cigar higher.

This Bolivar Byblos was medium-mild in the first half and much fuller in the second. It was mainly dry wood, leather and sweet hay to start with and much more 'earthy' to finish off. In summary, it was fine but I'd much rather reach for a 2019-20 Bolivar Belicosos Finos or Bolivar Petit Coronas before I were to reach for this Petit Robusto again!

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Ramón Allones No. 2 2019 - Edición Limitada GEM Jul 2020

The Ramon Allones Allones No.2 (yes, that is its full name but I can foresee that it will be quickly re-monnikered the Ramon Allones No.2 amongst aficionados) is a 2019 Limited Edition that is packaged in a 10-count ornate, green box and was launched with much fanfare by Habanos S.A in conjunction with Hunters & Frankau in London in August 2020. Habanos S.A invested heavily in its marketing campaign by releasing a technically slick video advertisement and 600 guests at the launch party were gifted packs including the new cigar; a small bottle of Hine Cigar Reserve Cognac and a glass; chocolates especially designed for the event by London club, 5 Hertford Street, a cutter, matches and a detailed informational booklet.

The Ramon Allones No.2 is a campanas; a torpedo-shaped cigar with a 52 ring x 140 mm or 5½ inches length which has the identical dimensions of a Bolivar Belicosos Finos. This is the second Ramon Allones No.2 I've had and once again, upon lighting, I noted that this was a quality, refined cigar. The flavours were typical for Ramon Allones such as cocoa and cherry fruit. The last Ramon Allones No.2 I had in early-December 2020 contained hazelnut and soft baking spices on the edges and this RA No.2 LE was much the same upon smoking around four months later. The flavours were not delineated; rather they were melded at this point (again, pretty much like my last RA No.2 LE) and I still feel that this cigar will require a good 2 or 3 years to start opening up to fully appreciate. Then again, if we compare the 2009 Ramon Allones Celestiales Finos Asia-Pacifico Regional Edition and the 2015 Ramon Allones Club Allones, those special releases took some time to settle so saying this does carry precedence.

The cigar took me 75 to 80 minutes to finish and yes, I did enjoy it but for me, it's a full-bodied cigar with refined, conflated flavours at this stage. You're best to let this cigar settle three to five years.

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Cohiba Siglo VI ARG Jun 2015

It's often said that the best very cigar-smoking experiences are the ones enjoyed with good company rather than just by judging via the usual criteria of construction and flavours. Today's Cohiba Siglo VI was exactly like that; mind you, there was a little sentimentality attached to the cigar and that made it even better in my mind than the fact that it was a wonderfully flavoursome cigar.

Over many years I've enjoyed a cigar or two with the founder of Cuban Cigar Website, Trevor Leask when we catch-up every few months or so. Whilst we've enjoyed many varied regular production and special release cigars, invariably the ones we've enjoyed the most have been the aged Cohiba examples. We've had some spectacular aged Cohiba Siglo VIs in the past and this near six-year old Siglo VI was every bit as good as previous ones we've enjoyed together.

Usually I place most emphasis on the quality of flavours in Habanos cigars when I rate them but this ARG Jun 2015 Siglo VI transcended that because it just seemed to smoke so well in every category I could think of. This meant that I actively stopped myself from discerning specific flavours and just simply enjoyed the cigar for what it was...that is, a superlative specimen of an aged Cohiba Siglo VI.

I could tell you that this had mocha coffee, refined hay, honey sweetness, vanilla and a smooth butter texture but I may be understating the cigar in describing it. Both Trevor and I nubbed our cigars as far as we could go over 95 to 100 minutes of pure cigar-smoking enjoyment on a gorgeous April Autumnal day. It's this memory that will linger in my mind, I would think, when the time comes to light up my next Cohiba Siglo VI in the future.

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Montecristo Leyenda LGR Sep 2018

The Montecristo Leyenda is part of the Linea 1935 series, a group of three cigars (the others are the Dumas and Maltes) which are the Montecristo version of the Cohiba Behike series. Its dimensions are identical to the 2015 Montecristo 80 Aniversario release, that is big...a Maravillas No.2 cigar with a 55 ring gauge by 165 mm (or 6½ inches) length. These have been marketed as been fuller in strength (or is it flavour, or possibly both?), but I consistently found these to be suitably medium to medium-mild. This Leyenda wasn't as light as an Especiales No.2, for example, but it was nowhere near as strong as some Petit Edmundos or even Montecristo No. 4's I've had.

Unlike my last Leyenda smoked six months ago, this had a pleasant marshmallow-textured creaminess to it which is something I actively look for in this cigar and appreciate. It also had notes of light cocoa, cedar and almond nuts but again it didn't have any sign of white pepper like the last few Leyendas I've had in 2018 and 2019. This time the cigar did not get intense into the last third and I enjoyed it well past the band. It took a good two to two-an-a-quarter hours to finish.

This was as excellent as the best Leyendas I have had in general, mainly because it had a marshmallow-textured creaminess to it and had plenty of smoke per draw. Whilst I have stated in my last review on the Montecristo Linea 1935 Maltes that overall I feel the Linea 1935 is a disappointing release, due to its premium marketing and price point, I will continue to laud the virtues of the Leyenda and I will continue to seek it out and enjoy it on occasion, unlike the Maltes and Dumas.

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Montecristo Dantés 2016 - Edición Limitada MEL Dic 2016

The Montecristo Dantes 2016 Limited Edition is a Hermosos No.1 which came out in early 2017. At 48 ring gauge x 167mm (or 6⅝ inches) in length, it is indeed a rare vitola not seen since the 2003 Romeo y Julieta Limited Edition and the three special release San Cristobal de la Habana Mercedares releases last seen in 2009. A commemorative Hoyo de Monterrey Primaveras 18 release is due in 2021, which will see the return of this vitola size.

At the time of release Rob and Ken reviewed this cigar and commented that it needed a three to five year window to peak. This Montecristo Dantes, at around four-and-a-half years of age, justified in my opinion this view.

In 2017 initial reviews stated that the Dantes honoured the Montecristo cocoa or chocolate and coffee profile and had a bit of fruit and white pepper to it, although it was a little one-dimensional. Fast forward to 2021 and this Dantes today had your classic Montecristo cocoa, coffee and cream core intermixed with some baking spice, marshmallow, leather and wood (but nowhere near what you'd get in a good Montecristo Leyenda cigar) but little to no hints of white pepper.

It was still mild-medium in strength and quite flavoursome. I have an unopened 10-count box of this Limited Edition cigar resting away and I intend to smoke from it in the next six to twelve months as I feel that they are coming along quite nicely right now at this stage.

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