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Stogie Reviews: Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita

2 Apr 2008

Maybe I’m wrong about generational cigar preferences, but I think old school smokers who prefer the raw taste of natural tobacco will enjoy Punch’s Gran Puro line more than those of us who grew up in the Rocky Patel era.

Punch Gran Puro Santa RitaAs the name suggests, this blend is Honduran through and through. It boasts sungrown binder and filler tobaccos and a dark, granulated Havana-seed wrapper from the San Agustin Valley. You’ll notice some sizable seams and a few large veins but, all in all, this stick is pretty easy on the eyes.

The four and ½ inch by 52 ring gauge Santa Rita is a short and stubby vitola that was introduced in 2003. It retails for as low as $2.30 when bought by the box of 25 and as high as $4.60 for a single. I should mention here that the two Santa Ritas I smoked for this review had been aging in my humidor for over two years.

You’ll find a number of reviews on the web that say this smoke starts with a full, spicy flavor and mellows into a lighter creaminess. Interesting, especially since this is said to be Punch’s “punchiest” line.

But that’s pretty much what I found. The first inch is dominated by a warm, peppery spice with notes of clove – consistent with what I consider a typical Honduran tobacco taste. The second third is earthier with a light, smooth flavor that’s akin to sour cream. This strikes me as a very particular taste that some will love and others will hate (personally, I prefer the preceding fuller-bodied spice). I was happy to discover the cigar ends as it began with more spicy notes.

With an appearance similar to the profile of a mountain range, the burn is uneven but also not disruptive. The gray and flaky ash holds surprisingly well in breezy conditions, and the draw is just right.

All things considered, I won’t say I’m too young to enjoy this 45-60 minute smoke. There’s nothing spectacular here, but it makes a nice midday break or golf course companion. I give the Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita three out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

12 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Punch Gran Puro Santa Rita”

  1. Hank S Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 3:57 am #

    As a 60-year-old, I know exactly what you mean by "generational cigar preferences." Some of the newer stuff tastes artificial and chemical to me.

    I find this particular cigar to be exactly as you described: nothing special, but a nice little break with raw Honduran spice.

    Keep up the good work, Stogie Guys!

  2. Jon N. Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Punch is definitely an old-school kind of brand, and I happen to dig that about it. Punch cigars are always very reliable. You know what you're gonna get: uncomplicated, pure, old-fashioned tobacco without the frills and fancy packaging of the boutique brands.

    Punch was one of the first brands I ever smoked, and perhaps nostalgia plays a big part in influencing my appreciation for this manufacturer. Even still, I'd like to think that Punch holds up very well in today's increasingly eclectic and newfangled cigar selection.

  3. jackson Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    Agree very much with this review. Only thing I'd add is that I think this cigar is particularly attractive… The wrappers are usually dark, vein-free and oily.

  4. cigarfan Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm #

    If this is what old guys like, consider me a geezer. One of the best Hondurans out there.

  5. Lisa Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 5:21 am #

    I guess cigars aren't immune from going "retro" like everything else. I enjoy your reviews not just because you give accurate observations but because your stories are very entertaining and informative.

  6. Thai Starkovich Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 2:10 am #

    If I had to choose only one cigar to smoke for the rest of my life, the Punch Gran Puro Rancho (5 1/2 x 54) would be the one. I have experienced a decent variety of cigars, with Maduros being at the top of the list. But this smoke is just about perfect, in my opinion. I smoke 1 to 2 cigars a day here in Iraq, and this one never disappoints me with its great flavor and simple beauty. I also agree with the earthy spiciness and hints of cinnamon, but the creaminess has escaped my pallette. Perhaps the power of suggestion will kick in next time I light up a Gran Puro and I will detect it. The initial taste of the wrapper has semi-sweet cocoa notes that are undeniably present, yet I have not seen anyone comment on that aspect of the cigar in any reviews that I have read. Overall a great review, except that I would have to give it a personal rating of 4 1/2 out of 5. Again, this is just my vote.

  7. Craig Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    My best friend Chad loves these Gran Puros and I have avoided them due to my previous experiences proving to expose some construction issues (falling apart half way through or so) and poor burn characteristics. But I smoked one tonight and was very pleased. A raw, true “tabbaco flaovor” and a nice even burn and perfect draw. This is my opinion a nice 1 hour “real” cigar lovers smoke. It smells great on my fingers an hour after the smoke. Don’t pass on giving it a try. I suspect a number of aficianados will love it.

  8. rookie Monday, February 23, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    had my first one last night. very good cigar, all the way to the end. pleasant aroma and tatste when finished as well

  9. Lou B. Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    i'm 44. but have only been smoking ciggys for 2 years or so, so i don't know if that qualifies me as a geezer or not?? i smoked the big Sesenta, 6×60 and my review was very favourable. i ordered a box and they look fantastic, and what a great price for all that product. i enjoyed mine in the hot-tub. perfect draw, smoke and flavs. excellent burn. no touch-ups or relights. that's impressive for a big cigar. keep up the good work boys!!!

  10. Mike C Monday, July 20, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    I just bought a box of thie Sesenta's. I've smoked about half of the box and I have to say I am very dissapointed. It has decent flavor, but it does not burn correctly, and I had many relights. I even put a couple of them in a dry humidor for two days without any correction. My other cigars in my humidor burn fine, so I think its these cigars.

  11. DustoffDan Friday, September 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Just finnished a Gran Puro. Here are my thoughts. First let me start by saying the first Punch I ever had was a Rare Corojo el Double reccomended and given to me by a friend who owned a cigar shop, a really good smoke in my opinion. since then I have sampled a few others in the Punch line hoping for the same. The Gran Puro starts off really nice, spicy and with the signature punch flavor, but it all happens in the fist inch. After that the taste strangely dissapears and I found myself pulling hard to get something out of it. By the last third it turned bitted and tarry and I left it on my deck. In all fairness, this was a 6 dollar (retail) smoke, so let's judge accordingly, but for the cash I would stick to the Rare Corojo. This would be a good smoke for the golf course or poker night when your attentions are elseware. BTW I smoked a Don Peppin My Father last night and WOW what a great smoke!! A little pricy but I nubbed it and wished they made it in a larger size! Happy smoking.

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