Search results: "Review: Punch"

Cigar Review: Punch Diablo Scamp

31 Oct

Diablo kicks off with the accelerator mashed to the floor. After getting your attention and numbing your lips, the devil backs off from pedal-to-the-metal to a little over the speed limit.

Announcing the Punch Diablo earlier this year, General Cigar said it “wanted to make the fullest-bodied Punch to date.” They turned to frequent partner A.J. Frenandez to create the blend, which is made at his factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

He worked with a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The wrapper, aged for six years, has a dry, gritty feel with almost no visible veins and a nice, deep cap. Pre-light, it has a campfire aroma, while the filler is sweet.

After the strong start, Diablo presents lighter spice and woodiness. I also pick up some floral notes in the first half. And that sweetness from the pre-light is present throughout, with greater prominence in the second half. On the downside, it is a dry smoke, and I’d recommend accompanying it with a large container of your favorite beverage.

Performance in those I smoked was excellent: near-perfect burn and draw, a light ash, and thick, rich smoke.

The line comes in only three sizes. The Scamp I sampled is a 6.125-inch, 50-ring gauge toro. It comes 25 to a box with a single stick MSRP of $7.17. The Diabolus (5.25 x 54) also comes in boxes of 25 and has an MSRP of $7.79, while boxes of the Brute (6.25 x 60, $8.19) hold 20.

Diablo features what General says is “the brand’s new look and feel.” New, indeed. The bands, for example, bear almost no resemblance to those on the traditional Punch, which echoed the the ones from Habanos. The boxes also are unlikely to be mistaken for anything coming out of Cuba.

I’ve enjoyed quite a few Punch cigars over the years, including some of the limited-release Rare Corojos, the Champion, and the Signature Pita. Diablo joins their ranks. I rate this cigar three and a half stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Punch Signature Robusto

31 Mar


I don’t usually pay much attention to cigar peripherals. But some, like the extraordinarily detailed band on EPC’s La Historia, simply demand closer inspection. The Signature’s band (above) is one of those.

punch-signature-robustoAn eye-catching white background showcases old-style lettering reminiscent of a nineteenth century poster, raised printing and varied typefaces, sealed with an illustration of Punch and his dog. A standout on any tobacconist shelf.

The cigar itself is also quite a fine specimen. The wrapper is smooth, oily, and displays no large veins.

This addition to the Punch lineup is getting a big push from General Cigar. There are lots of ads, giveaways, and an interactive website.

The Signature cigars for this review were supplied by General, which sent me five Robustos. They have an MSRP of $6.79 and measure 5 inches long with a ring gauge of 52. There are three other sizes: Gigante (6 x 60, $7.39), Torpedo (5.75 x 52, $6.99), and Rothschild (4.5 x 50, $5.39).

Mindful of the smokers these days who want to know not only details of the blend but the story of the cigar as well, General provided considerable information in its press release. Blender Agustin Garcia says the Signature was inspired by the original Punch blend. Work began in 2012 when he “found a small batch of Ecuadoran tobacco they wanted to use” and teamed with a grower to produce enough of the Corojo wrapper leaf to ensure fulltime production.

The Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers are those used in General’s original Punch blend, with some having been “very aged” and others younger. “The aged leaves bring flavor and balance, and the newer leaves deliver more strength,” according to the press release. The binder is a proprietary Connecticut Habano.

Over the years, has had good things to say about many Punch cigars. This posting marks a dozen Punch reviews, and there have been numerous Quick Smokes and Gold Star mentions.

I have to say I didn’t find the Signature as enjoyable as some of the others, primarily due to a sharpness that scratched at the back of my throat for much of the cigar.

Throughout the stick, there was little change in the flavors, and what there was just wasn’t enough to hold my interest by the halfway point. Smoking farther down, though, did offer a reward: By the final third, the sharpness was finally almost gone and that was the most enjoyable part of the cigar.

Signature is certainly not a bad cigar. Construction, as you’d expect from General, is spot-on with an even burn, tight ash, and lots of smoke production. I did find the draw a bit loose and, after a straight cut on the first, used a punch or a V-cut for the others, which helped.

I would certainly recommend giving the Signature a try. For me, the Punch Signature Robusto rates three stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Punch Rare Corojo El Diablo

9 Mar

This cigar isn’t so much a smoke as a commitment.

Rare Corojo El DiabloWith a whopping 66-ring gauge and measuring 6.5 inches long, you’d be forgiven for worrying that El Diablo might become El Aburrido. Not a problem; it’s not a boring cigar, though it is certainly a long-lasting one.

The multi-nation tobacco blend leads to a complex, enjoyable smoke. The wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra, the binder a Connecticut broadleaf, and Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican leaves comprise the filler.

Each year General Cigar tweaks the lineup for this annual release, and for 2014 it added two sizes: El Diablo for the regular cast and the Rare Lapiz figurado as a limited edition.

The price for El Diablo is $8.25, tops for the line. Online discounters advertise 20-count boxes for about $120. General provided two samples for this review.

Both performed excellently, though getting an even, thorough light takes considerable time and attention, as it often does with big-ring cigars. El Diablo, packed with tobacco and heavy in the hand, had a fine draw, even burn, and great smoke production.

The oily, reddish wrapper is smooth, displaying few veins and giving off a sweet pre-light aroma. The first flavors I got were the leather and earth I often associate with Honduran tobacco. They were joined by a light coffee taste and a bit of spice. Along the way, there are also hints of cocoa, nuts, and burned sugar.

I’d rate the strength as medium. Aging potential would seem to be good in the short term, though I wouldn’t be inclined to let them go more than a couple of years for fear too much might dissipate.

While I can’t claim to have smoked the Rare Corojo annually since its 2001 reincarnation, I have sampled them off and on through the years. The 2015 El Diablo strikes me as perhaps the best I can recall, smoother and more complex than in previous years.

Combined with its relatively low price, El Diablo’s easy to recommend. I know I plan to try other sizes as well. I rate El Diablo three and a half stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Punch Sucker Punch King Hit

2 Mar

Most of us think of a sucker punch as an unannounced or unexpected attack, usually a closed fist to the face. “Sucker Punch” is not a bad name for a cigar, especially for one loaded with Ligero and bearing the name of a brand with a longstanding reputation for full flavor.

Sucker PunchSucker Punch debuted in June 2014, made by General Cigar exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop. (Full disclosure: Famous sent me a sampler pack of Sucker Punch cigars to make this review possible. As always, the samples Famous provided in no way impact my assessment of the cigar.)

The Sucker Punch blend includes an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around a Cameroon binder and Nicaraguan Ligero long-filler. It is crafted by Augustin Garcia Lainez, Central American Tobacco Operations Manager for General Cigar. “[Augustin] divides his time between Honduras and Nicaragua,” reads the General Cigar website. “He was instrumental in creating Hoyo de Monterrey Reposado in Cedros, CAO OSA, and CAO Concert, and continues to work diligently to ensure the quality of cigars for all brands under the GCC Central American portfolio.”

There are four Sucker Punch sizes, all of which sell in the affordable $5.57 to $6.80 price range: Critical Condition (7 x 52), King Hit (6 x 54), Lights Out (5 x 52), and Smash Face (6.1 x 60). I smoked a five-pack of King Hits for this review. This thick toro has a clean, pale exterior leaf, pre-light notes of honey and hay, and an interesting band of blue, gold, and red that features a female boxer.

The cold draw is easy and airy with the wrapper imparting a slight sweetness on the lips. After setting an even light, this translates to above average smoke production. The initial profile is similar to what you’d expect from a Connecticut-wrapped smoke, albeit with a little more kick: butter, nut, oak, and sweet cream.

After the first inch, the Ligero starts to make its presence known, imparting notes of black pepper and transitioning from medium-bodied to medium-full. The result is not necessarily heavy, rich, or dense (as I suspect this cigar would taste with almost any other wrapper type). Instead, it smokes like an amplified version of a typical Connecticut. It’s like a bold, full-flavored stick that still leaves room for subtlety. Then the final third is a huge dose of nicotine and spice—the sort of experience you don’t want on an empty stomach.

True to General Cigar form, the physical properties are outstanding. The gray ash holds well off the foot, the burn line stays straight from light to nub, and the draw is smooth.

I give the Sucker Punch King Hit bonus points for being a truly unique Connecticut that’s affordable, full-flavored, and definitely not boring. Save this as an after-dinner companion with your favorite bourbon or scotch. In my book it earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Punch Rare Corojo Rare Salomones

24 Mar

There are two ways to get your hands on this new limited edition smoke. You can either buy one for the suggested retail price of $7.99, or you can enter to win one of 13 boxes General Cigar is giving away between now and May 31.

Rare SalomonesEither way, if you want to try the new Rare Salomones vitola (7.25 x 57), you’ll need to act pretty quickly. While the Rare Corojo line is released every March—and has been since 2001, the year it was reintroduced after a wrapper shortage caused a hiatus—Rare Salomones is a 2014-only size. Once the figurado is gone, it’s gone.

While supplies last, Rare Salomones is joining the portfolio of seven other Rare Corojo vitolas, all of which are made in Honduras: Champion (4.5 x 60), Double Corona (6.75 x 48), El Doble (6 x 60), Magnum (5.25 x 54), Pita (6.1 x 50), Rothschild (4.5 x 50), and Elite (5.25 x 55).

Unlike its predecessors, which have the familiar double bands of bright red and gold, the Rare Salomones has cream-colored bands that impart a subtler, more exclusive look. Beneath are Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Dominican tobaccos, bound with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and wrapped in a reddish Sumatra leaf from Ecuador.

Truthfully, the Rare Salomones is one of the more beautiful cigars on the entire General Cigar roster. The difficult-to-roll shape is executed very well, and the wrapper has an oily sheen with minimal veins. Notes of earth and black cherry are apparent off the foot. The sharply pointed cap clips easily to reveal a smooth draw.

Even before the figurado gets to its widest point, the smoke production is solid and the flavor is well-developed. The profile includes dried fruit, hay, cocoa, and a little cedar spice. The texture is leathery, and it isn’t uncommon for the aftertaste to linger on the palate for a noticeably long time between puffs.

Towards the midway point, a black coffee flavor emerges. This can be misconstrued as a bitter component by those who smoke too quickly; but I find slowing the pace of my puffs (as I so often recommend) results in a much better experience.

With outstanding construction—this wouldn’t be a bad choice for a long ash competition, considering the fortitude of the ash and the remarkably straight burn—the Punch Rare Corojo Rare Salomones is a good value at $8. I fired up four for this review. If I get my hands on more, I’ll be saving them for the warmer months to accompany me to the golf course. Overall, this limited, medium-bodied smoke is worth seeking out and worthy of a solid rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys