Cigar Review: Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas 2019

16 Sep 2019

Fourteen years ago, General Cigar Co. released a limited edition Partagas called Decadas. Spanish for “decades,” the line featured a ten-year-old Cameroon wrapper. The annual Decadas release was repeated until 2009, when General reportedly ran out of aged Cameroon.

But the 2009 Cameroon harvest was a very good one, according to General. This year it turned ten years old. Decadas has therefore been revived.

The Partagas Decadas 2019 comes beautifully presented in a green, ten-count box that’s protected by a white sleeve. Inside, each robusto extra (5.5 x 49)—the only size offered—is housed in a glass tube. Only 2,500 boxes were made, for a total run of 25,000 cigars.

Out in the open, you can take the measure of the precious Cameroon wrapper, which is surprisingly dark. It’s slightly oily with thin veins and a well-executed cap. The pre-light notes at the foot remind me of molasses. The cold draw is effortless, even if you only snip the very tip of the cap.

Once lit, the Honduran San Agustín binder and filler tobaccos (Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan Ometepe) combine to yield a medium-bodied flavor that places the Cameroon sweetness centerstage. Sweet cedar comes to mind, as does the oft-repeated “warm tobacco sweetness” phrase. I don’t want to give you the impression this is simply a straightforward sugar stick, though. It’s not overly sweet, and there’s plenty else going on, including black pepper spice, red pepper heat, cereals, and oak.

I am not picking up a ton of changes at the midway point. Here, the cedar is a bit spicier and a little less sweet. I also believe the profile is earthier and more bready. This carries through to the final third, which is characterized by a slight increase in spice and intensity—still staying solidly in the medium-bodied range, though.

Throughout, the combustion properties are superb. The burn line is straight and requires no touch-ups along the way. The ash holds well, the draw is easy, and the smoke production is wonderful.

I honestly can’t recall if I experienced any of the previous Decadas releases. But that’s neither here nor there. This is a new cigar with a new blend (no previous Decadas employed Nicaraguan tobacco, for example); it deserves to be judged on its own merits. And while some will surely regret the lack of strength and relatively subdued body, I’ve always enjoyed mixing up my rotation with milder smokes and can appreciate their subtlety.

If you share this appreciation, I would suggest picking up a Partagas Limited Reserve Decadas 2019. It retails for $14.99 and shipped to retailers on July 14. And it’s worthy of a very admirable rating of four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Punch Diablo Scamp

15 Sep 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

As noted by my colleague, the Punch Diablo, introduced last year, is billed as “the fullest-bodied Punch to date.” Made by A.J. Fernandez, it uses a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra oscuro wrapper, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a combination of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos. The profile is pleasant with plenty of earth, spice, and coffee, although I didn’t find it to be the full-bodied flavor-bomb its marketing materials suggest. Still, with excellent construction, it’s a cigar I wouldn’t hesitate to smoke again.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Paul Garmirian Soirée Robusto

13 Sep 2019

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar.

About a decade ago, PG launched Soirée. The line is the result of company patriarch and cigar legend Paul Garmirian’s quest for “new blends reminiscent of the great Cuban cigars [he] enjoyed in the 1950s and early 1960s.” Soirée sports a Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. It is full-bodied, in a somewhat sneaky way. Yet it’s also smooth, exquisitely balanced, and well-aged. In addition to the trademark PG mustiness, it boasts good combustion qualities and interesting flavors ranging from cedar spice and white pepper to toffee and floral notes. The Robusto (5 x 50) retails for $306.40 for a box of 25 ($12.26 per cigar) at the PG website. It’s obviously not inexpensive; it’s also obviously worth every penny.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Cigar Spirits: Rhum Barbancourt Estate Reserve

11 Sep 2019

The best aspect of rum might be the variety of styles. Broadly speaking, the three major styles are English, French, and Spanish (associated with the countries that make up the former colonies each country).

Haitian distillery Rhum Barbancourt is proof of this colonial influence. Haiti may be on the same island as the Dominican Republic, but the techniques they use to make rhum (note the “h” as used in French) are closer to the distilleries of Martinique and the Guadeloupe Islands.

As opposed to the English and Spanish styles, which rely on molasses, Rhum Agricole is made by distilling fresh-squeezed sugar cane juice. At Barbancourt, it is distilled in a pot still to 90% ABV (considerably higher than most agricole) before being brought down in proof prior to aging in multiple sizes of barrels.

Barbancourt produces a range of rums with the 15-year-old Estate Reserve being the oldest. Unlike some producers which use suspicious age statements, every drop of spirit in the bottle (which sells for around $50) is reportedly aged at least 15 years.

The 43% ABV rhum pours a deep walnut brown color, which unfortunately is obscured by the black frosted bottle. The nose features cinnamon bread, fresh cut lumber, and butterscotch.

On the palate, Barbancourt reveals a delicate combination of oak tannin, brown sugar, butterscotch, tea, and cherries. The finish is long with wood, leather, orange peel, and the slightest hint of pepper spice.

Between the rhum’s age or Barbancourt’s distillation technique, it lacks the some of the characteristics traditionally associated with agricole, like grassy or floral notes. Still, it’s highly enjoyable, even though though it is far from quintessential French agricole style. In fact, in many ways it is more similar to a Bajan rum like Doorly’s than a fellow Argicole, like Rhum JM.

It’s a rhum to be enjoyed neat, with or without a cigar. I’d lean away from full-bodied cigars that might overpower the delicate notes of this complex spirit. Recommended pairings include: Cabaiguan, Cohiba Siglo, Davidoff Colorado Claro, and Illusione Epernay.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Powstanie Broadleaf Toro

9 Sep 2019

Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been a huge fan of RoMa Craft Tobac for years. In my estimation, the entire RoMa portfolio is well-made, expertly blended, and relatively easy on the wallet. The Intemperance BA XXI A.W.S. IV, especially, has long been a favorite of mine.

I tend to think of the RoMa Craft Tobac family extending beyond the core RoMa blends (Intemperance, CroMagnon, Neanderthal) to all cigars made at Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. in Estelí. While technically inaccurate, this frame of mind is not wholly inappropriate since, in my experience, I’ve yet to run across a NicaSueño cigar that wasn’t satisfying, tasty, and well-constructed.

Fable is one non-RoMa cigar made at NicaSueño. Powstanie is another. It is made for Pospiech Cigars, a distributor owned by CigarHustler.com owners Mike and Greg Szczepankiewicz. The name (pronounced poh-stahn-ya) honors the Warsaw Uprising—a 1944 underground operation aimed at liberating the city from German control. It comes in three blends: Habano, SBC16 (barber pole), and Broadleaf.

The Powstanie Broadleaf is available in four vitolas: Toro (6 x 52), Perfecto (5 x 50), Robusto (5 x 50), and Belicoso (5.5 x 54). In addition to a Broadleaf wrapper, these cigars feature Indonesian binders and a filler blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos (Estelí Ligero, Jalapa, and Pueblo Nuevo).

The Toro retails for about $10 and is packaged in boxes of 21. It is an oily, firm cigar with zero soft spots and attractive dual bands of red, white, and silver. The logo and colors are clearly a nod to the “anchor emblem” of the Polish resistance. The thickness of the Broadleaf wrapper results in noticeable seams and a few prominent veins.

The cold draw is slightly stiff with a pre-light flavor of dried apricot. At the foot, there is surprisingly little aroma, save for molasses and an earthy mustiness.

It’s amazing how quickly the draw opens right up as soon as an even light is established. The ensuing smoke production, which is voluminous, has a medium- to full-bodied profile of cereals, roast cashew, green raisin, and some warm tobacco sweetness on the finish. The texture is bready. As the finish lingers, I notice black pepper spice on the tip of the tongue.

As the Toro progresses, the spice remains somewhat muted, yet the body swings more decidedly towards the full-bodied spectrum. The fundamental flavors remain unchanged. Throughout, the combustion properties are solid. I would only add that the ash tends to fall off a bit prematurely, and the burn line does require a touch-up here and there to stay even.

Whatever minor shortcomings the Powstanie Broadleaf Toro has in the physical department, though, are more than made up for in flavor. This cigar has balance and complexity, and—despite the 90-minute plus smoke time—does not overstay its welcome. And here’s the kicker: For over a decade I’ve said the highest compliment I can pay a cigar is wanting to smoke another once I finish it. I feel that way about this one, which is ultimately why I’m awarding it four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Villiger La Vencedora Churchill

8 Sep 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Produced at Joya de Nicaragua’s factory, La Vencedora (Spanish for “the victor”) is a Nicaraguan puro that employs a dark, oily Habano Oscuro wrapper. It has developed nicely with over a year of aging, featuring bready notes, oak, and cocoa along with hints of citrus fruit, licorice, and smoked meats. Construction is excellent on the $10 medium- to full-bodied cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: REO Robusto

6 Sep 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I remember smoking REO and Vibe 15 years ago, shortly after the two were introduced by EO Brands (before EO teamed up with Don José “Pepin” Garcia for its 601 line). REO is short for the blend’s original collaborators: Rocky Patel, Erik Espinosa, and Eddie Ortega. Later, after EO was split between its founders, the REO mark (along with Vibe and Cubao) became Ortega’s, who brought back REO a couple years ago as a bundle offering. The cigar features an oily Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper around Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. After fruit notes pre-light, the cigar reveals medium-bodied tastes of oak, black coffee, and sweet earth. With adequate construction and a most approachable price (bundles of 20 Robustos sell for around $2 per cigar), it’s perfect for budget-conscious cigar smokers.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys