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Puro Express

A Snowball's Chance in...

When the air turns crisp Holy cow, it's been cold out there. Can we please talk about something else? For instance, the odds of three random people all having similar impressions of a cigar that each has probably never smoked before. Well, in the case of Smoke's constantly changing cigar review panel, such group-think happens about as often as it doesn't. In other words, taste and impressions are truly subjective, and while one group of three smokers might have similar impressions of one cigar, the next group of three could have divergent feedback on a different cigar. This makes decoding Smoke's cigar reviews a far more dynamic process than merely looking at the final score. Two reviewers might have scored a cigar higher, while the third may not have been feeling the love, and the final average reflects that range of feedback. But how might your own tastes compare? Closer to the more-impressed majority, or closer to the less-impressed minority? And what if one panelist loved it, and the other two only liked it? It sounds a bit like Olympic scoring; only an across-the-board stellar performance wins the gold. But at the end of the day, the best cigar is the one you like the most. Among this issue's top scorers was one of Sam Leccia's new entries, Leccia White Robusto (93).
SMOKE Cigar Ratings
RatingQuality
96-100Superior
91-95Excellent
86-90Very Good
80-85Good
70-79Average
60-69Fair
Under 59Poor
Sam, a driving force behind the creation of Oliva Cigar Company's wildly successful nub and Cain cigars, returned to the industry last year after a hiatus and debuted a pair of blends. Leccia White is made in Nicaragua with a Cameroon wrapper and a touch of Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler blend; it edged out the Dominican-made Leccia Black Robusto (89), which has a Mexican maduro wrapper and drew plenty of its own accolades. Total Flame FTW Robusto (93), another first-time entry in the review, was solidly pegged across the board as a well-balanced medium-bodied blend. It features three aged Nicaraguan ligeros in the filler blend and is the strongest of the Total Flame cigars, a newer brand founded by motorcycle and cigar enthusiasts Vladimir Roshchin and Maxim Privezentsev. Proving that specialty boutique blends aren't the only ones generating excitement in the humidor, Altadis U.S.A.'s Juan Lopez Seleci˘n No. 1 drew this issue's top score (94), called out for its "classic," "complex," and "consistent" profile. Finally, Sublimes Double Robusto (93) from Sublimes Cigars, a medium-bodied Nicaraguan blend with an Ecuadorian wrapper, impressed panelists with its peppery flavors and copious amounts of smoke. Read on for plenty more illuminating insights - and happy smoking!
-E.E.H.

Want more? For the full details of each review, including all the panelists views on aesthetics, construction, flavor, and more, subscribe now - or pick up a copy of SMOKE Magazine at a Tobacconist near you!

C&C MADURO Gigantor
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
C&C Cigars
Size:
6 1/2 x 60
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1Enjoyed early with espresso around 9 AM. For a large ring cigar, this is a good buy.
91 Excellent
Panelist #2Didn't burn as well as I had first anticipated, but overall this was an enjoyable cigar.
86 very good
Panelist #3Excellent, solid cigar-but dedicate the time you'll need to smoke it. Pairs well with XO cognac. Recommended.
94 Excellent

LA PALINA MADURO 50
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
La Palina Cigar Co.
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Honduras
Wrapper:
Mexico
Panelist #1I would definitely recommend this cigar with this advice: "Enjoy it with a good Scotch."
91 excellent
Panelist #2A superb cigar with great complexity and balance. I enjoyed the flavor profile and would purchase these.
90 very good
Panelist #3The smoke began dry, but the cigar opened up and built to a smooth, rich finish. Very nice.
91 excellent

ALEC BRADLEY TEMPUS MADURO Terra Nova
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
Alec Bradley Cigar Co.
Size:
5 1/2 x 50
Filler:
Hon, Nic
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Mex
Panelist #1This smoke was like a great cup o' joe in the morning. It was a nice way to begin the day.
91 excellent
Panelist #2A good cigar, but for another smoker. I would not necessarily buy these for my humidor.
82 good
Panelist #3Yes! A tasty cigar with complexity and balance. The vanilla cream and other flavors compensated for the burn.
90 very good

LECCIA BLACK Robusto
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Leccia Tobacco
Size:
5 x 52
Filler:
Nic, DR, USA, Brazil
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1This cigar is all about dynamics...it starts slowly and builds to a big finish. Paired with a great red Zinfandel.
90 very good
Panelist #2Good complexity and balance but it burned so hot that I smoked slowly to savor the flavor. Recommended.
90 very good
Panelist #3Paired this cigar with scotch and enjoyed it thoroughly. A very good cigar that I would purchase.
86 very good

TABLE 36 FELLOWSHIP Corona Gorda
Country:
Hon
Manufacturer:
Table 36
Size:
5 1/2 x 46
Filler:
Hon, Nic
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
Hon
Panelist #1A fine smoke overall, but it needed to age a bit longer. It was reminiscent of a young Cabernet.
89 very good
Panelist #2A nice, average cigar that I enjoyed, although the samples varied from one to another.
89 very good
Panelist #3A tasty cigar. Complexity and balance are good. Burns hot, so smoke slowly to taste the flavors. Recommended.
89 very good

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PDR A. FLORES SERIE PRIVADA HABANO SP 52
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
PDR Cigars
Size:
5 x 52
Filler:
Nic, DR
Binder:
Nic
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1Ideal for a long drive, especially since there is no better diversion from the traffic. Plus, it's nice therapy.
92 excellent
Panelist #2The nature of the samples stood out. The flavor and finish were satisfying. Recommended for consistency!
91 excellent
Panelist #3Plenty of complexity and a smooth balance. The wonderful finish lingered on the palate. Recommended.
91 excellent

JM DOMINICAN CLASSIC MADURO Robusto Grande
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
JM Tobacco
Size:
5 1/2 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
USA
Wrapper:
USA
Panelist #1Wakes your taste buds! A great cigar to enjoy while sitting by the fire pit. Pair with a single-barrel bourbon.
93 excellent
Panelist #2The smooth draw and mild aroma were consistent in all the samples. A pleasant, enjoyable smoke.
85 good
Panelist #3An attractive cigar with good qualities. Pairs nicely with an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. I could smoke it anytime.
91 excellent

HERMITAGE NO. 1 ST. PETERSBURG Toro
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Hammer + Sickle
Size:
6 x 54
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Ecuador
Panelist #1I would buy this and gift it to some friends. Even better, I might receive some as a gift myself!
92 excellent
Panelist #2Enjoyed this with a scotch! A delicious cigar that I would recommend to my friends.
91 excellent
Panelist #3A fantastic smoke with nuances of flavor and balance. Lots going on in the flavor profile. Recommended.
91 excellent

TRINIDAD Ingenios Edición Limitada 2007
Country:
Cuba
Manufacturer:
Habanos S.A.
Size:
6 1/2 x 42
Filler:
Cuba
Binder:
Cuba
Wrapper:
Cuba
Panelist #1Pleasant but not terribly complex flavors, capped by a slightly spicy finish. Good value if moderately priced.
91 very good
Panelist #2Mild-medium in strength and flavor, kind of one-dimensional. No real negatives, just a bit underwhelming.
88 very good
Panelist #3Very rounded flavors, medium-bodied and medium-strength. Not a thriller, but a solid, mature smoke. Send more!
94 excellent

ALEC BRADLEY CONNECTICUT Toro
Country:
Honduras
Manufacturer:
Alec Bradley Cigar Company
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
Hon, Nic
Binder:
Hon
Wrapper:
USA
Panelist #1Any mild cigar lover might really enjoy this, but I would already be out looking for more complexity.
86 very good
Panelist #2A nice cigar that would definitely be great for someone just beginning, or who usually enjoys a mild smoke.
90 very good
Panelist #3Enjoyable cigar, all the way through. This is a stick that I would highly recommend to friends.
92 excellent

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LECCIA WHITE Robusto
Country:
Nicaragua
Manufacturer:
Leccia Tobacco
Size:
5 x 52
Filler:
Nic, USA, DR
Binder:
Ecuador
Wrapper:
Cameroon
Panelist #1Worthy of being in anyone's humidor. A consistent, no-surprises cigar that puts a smile on your face.
92 excellent
Panelist #2Really loved this stick, and if you enjoy a great morning cigar, this will meet your expectations. Five stars!
96 superior
Panelist #3This bold cigar could be a little rough for beginners. I'd enjoy it more during a snowstorm-for the spicy warm up!
91 excellent

KISMET Luck
Country:
DR
Manufacturer:
Royal Gold Cigars
Size:
6 x 50
Filler:
DR
Binder:
DR
Wrapper:
DR
Panelist #1An interesting cigar with a sweet, almost salty flavor that intensified towards the end. Recommended.
90 excellent
Panelist #2The cigar opened up in the last half but it required almost as much attention as my ex!
85 good
Panelist #3The long finish of spicy leather topped this excellent tasting cigar with added complexity and balance. Enjoyed it!
92 excellent


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