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Stogie Reviews: Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid

5 May 2011

Say what you will about the big cigar companies. But even the most loyal devotees of small, family-owned outfits have to be impressed with the low prices that are made possible only by high-volume cigar businesses.

Sancho Panza, a brand that was launched in 2001 by tobacco giant General Cigar, is a great example. Named in honor of Don Quixote’s sidekick—and not to be confused with the Cuban brand of the same name—Sancho Panza cigars can be found for $3-5 apiece when bought by the box. They are offered in three different blends: the Connecticut shade-wrapped original Sancho Panza, the Connecticut broadleaf-wrapped Double Maduro, and the Honduran-wrapped Extra Fuerte.

The latter, a Honduran puro that’s available in six vitolas, was introduced in 2004 as the latest edition to the Sancho Panza portfolio. It is marketed as “extra bold and made for the seasoned cigar smoker who wants a kick from his smokes…It is a cigar that you can always rely on for an excellent draw and a decidedly full-bodied, but never harsh, smoking experience.”

The Extra Fuerte Madrid measures 6.25 inches long with a ring gauge of 54. It is an interesting specimen with a rough cap, a spongy feel, an oily texture, and an enticing pre-light aroma of dark chocolate. The cold draw is smooth and easy.

After toasting the foot and establishing an even light on the box-pressed cigar, a medium-bodied profile of dry wood, cayenne spice, and leather emerges. Some cocoa-like sweetness can be found in the aftertaste. The aroma from the resting smoke, interestingly, is decidedly creamier and nuttier than the actual flavor. At the midway point and beyond, black pepper becomes the dominant force, elevating the Madrid towards the fuller end of the medium-bodied spectrum.

It’s worth noting that the Extra Fuerte has its fair share of devotees, some of whom even say that it reminds them of a less sophisticated version of the Padrón Anniversary Series. I’m not that enthusiastic. This fine cigar, which burns well from light to nub, offers great bang for the buck, and I can see why many cigar fans keep it on hand as a reliable, everyday smoke. But a complex treasure it is not.

It would be unfair to expect too much from a cigar that only costs about $3 per stick when bought by the box. What you can expect, though, is an enjoyable experience and a great value. That earns the Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid three stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Sancho Panza Extra Fuerte Madrid”

  1. Mike Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    I think your rating is at least 1 stick short, Patrick. For the price, these are great. Good construction, a sweet-spicy taste different than a Pepin and a flavor that evolves, giving it some complexity.

    One of the relatively small number of brands I would buy a box of. And the fact boxes start at under $40 online for the smallest size is a big plus.

  2. Ethan K Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    You commented that very low prices for good cigars are only possible for big companies. I wonder at what point one reaches the economies of scale.

    For supermarkets, a chain of 200 stores has many some advantages over bigger chains, such as being able to run a promotion for some items that could not be obtained in enough quantity for 2000 stores.

    I would imagine that some great tobacco is available in small quantities that is not expensive, that small guys could….

    I note that you refer to the aroma while smoking. I hardly ever can smell a cigar that I am smoking. I hope I'm not missing too much.

    I like the Doble Maduros of Sancho Panza.

    Thanks for another great review.

  3. The MLM Ninja Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I have had some in a cedar lined humidor going on a few years now and they are FANTASTIC. Definitely underrated and deserving of another stick.