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Stogie Reviews: Punch Champion

30 Apr 2009

Punch’s original lineup of cigars has a tendency to get overshadowed by the brand’s more visible offshoots, such as Grand Cru, Rare Corojo, and Gran Puro. The exception to the rule, however, seems to be the Champion vitola, a short and quirky figurado that we named a Gold Star Smoke almost two years ago.

Punch ChampionWhile this four and a half inch stogie is said to look like a bowling pin, I think my colleague put it best in an old Quick Smoke when he said it resembles “a python swallowing a pig.” He refers, of course, to the fact that the Champion swells to a 60 ring gauge at about the one inch mark and then narrows to a 30 ring gauge at the head.

That unique shape has helped make this cigar an everyday favorite among enthusiasts. The price doesn’t hurt, either. JR sells boxes of 25 for just under $73 (including an Altadis-made Cigar Savor single-flame torch lighter). I capitalized on the same deal several weeks ago when the pre-SCHIP pricing was only $62.

Either way, the Champion, introduced by the General Cigar Company in 2001 and handmade in Honduras, is a steal. It features the same building blocks as the other vitolas in the original Punch blend—an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua—but is in its own class.

I smoked half a dozen Champions for this review (many more previously, including one right after a marathon) and all were terrific-looking sticks. Few veins, well-packed, shapely, and a tempting pre-light aroma of cedar, leather, and spice.

You only need to barely puncture the slender cap to establish a clear draw. The foot takes to a match nicely, yielding some vanilla, cherry, and a bit of typical Punch spice. The flavor of Honduran tobacco is more prominent after the burn passes its widest point, and the final third is characterized by a finale of medium-bodied spice.

Like many figurados, in my experience, the Champion also boasts outstanding combustion qualities, including a razor-sharp burn and an ash that holds strong for longer than you’d expect. Those characteristic undoubtedly enhance the enjoyment of this 40-minute smoke.

So, whether or not you’re impressed with other cigars that bear the Punch name, don’t dismiss the brand until you’ve tried the Champion. For its delicious taste, distinctive physique, and tremendous value, it earns a special place in my humidor and four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

7 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Punch Champion”

  1. furious Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    Very unique and quite tasty as your review indicates. I like this stick particularly in winter when I am relegated to my detached garage man-cave. The Partagas Short (Cuban) is also an excellent winter smoke, however, it is nowhere near as affordable.

  2. cigarfan Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    I'm not a huge fan of the original Punch line but the Champion is an exception. Well deserving of four stogies.

  3. Chris V Friday, May 1, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    I WILL NOT smoke other Punches… but I enjoy this cigar.

  4. raul Friday, May 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Great review of my favorite Punch. I was excited to find out that they also make a rare corojo version of the Champion, but unfortunately they dropped the bowling pin shape.

  5. doug Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    It's my favorite…period.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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