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Espinosa Especial #5

Overall - Bought these cheap online, was hoping for a decent everyday smoke for the price. Was pleasantly surprised at the quality.
Beginning - Decent tobacco flavors at the start.
Middle - Transitioned into grassy cubanesque flavors, but with a peppery mouthfeel.
End - No real changes from the middle, just more grass/hay with a bit of heat.
Body - Medium/Full
Strength - Seems to be a bit stronger than average on the nicotine. Get a buzz from these, got a bit sick from the first one i smoked but slowed down on subsequent smokes.
Overall - 9/10, pleasantly surprised.
 
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thanks! i figured I could both contribute to the site and have a record that won't get lost.

now i really want to try the espinosa reggae blend. not sure if I've seen the brand in my local B&Ms though, although I really wasn't looking for it before.
 
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Yeah, a b&m near me had a Habano and I think a Connecticut blend maybe a year ago. I think they were about $4-5 retail and were little treasures in a huge sea of Macanoodles, and such. I have not seen Reggae but that sounds like something up my alley lol.
 
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Greycliff 30 year vintage

Overall - First ever pack of Greycliffs, bought fairly cheap on cbid out of curiosity because of how expensive these normally are. Decent milder stick, didn't take it to the nub because there was a slight hint of sour/off notes in the final third, which I've noticed in others from the same pack. Decent quality and construction otherwise.
Beginning - Mild tobacco and maybe some bread like flavors at the beginning.
Middle - Got a bit stronger in the middle, but no real changes otherwise.
End - Faint sour/off notes appeared toward the end. Didn't ruin the experience, but put it out with about 2'' left.
Body - Mild/Med
Strength - Seems to be lighter on the nicotine, no buzz.
Overall - 7.5/10, fairly enjoyable but I usually go for more full bodied smokes.
 
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Padron 1926 Serie Maduro - No 1 Churchill

Smoked 5/1/2020. Paired with Bodegas Infinito red wine blend.
Overall - One of the best, every aspect is straight up quality, nuff said.
Beginning - Roasty tobacco, maybe some bread flavors.
Middle - Bring on the baking chocolate.
End - Settles down to a more basic tobacco flavors at the end with baking chocolate notes becoming more faint.
Body - Med/Full
Strength - Fairly average
Overall - 9.5/10
 
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Oliva Serie V Churchill

Smoked 5/2/2020. Paired with Bodegas Infinito red wine blend.

Overall - My personal favorite Non Cuban at the moment. I intentionally smoked this one day after the Padron 1926, one of my other favorite Non-Cuban blends, to compare. Both are remarkable, but I think this is my favorite of the two. The draw is pretty snug, so I avoid the many torpedo shaped vitolas that are interestingly available. Cigar juice seems to be unavoidable.

Sadly, back in the 2013 era when I leaned more towards "boutique" brands like Viaje and Illusione, I avoided Oliva after trying a few series G's and deciding it wasn't my thing. The draw was too snug, the veinless wrappers were a little too perfect, and they were sold by the "old guy" cigars at the B&M. I gave the brand another shot in recent years and realized my mistake.

Took this one down to the label. The only reason I didn't nub it is because it was a Churchill and I had smoked enough cigar for the night.

Beginning - Distinctive roasty notes of nutmeg and ginger. Razor sharp burn, nothing even close to offensive.
Middle - More of the same,
End - More of the same. Not a lot of transitions with this one, and that is fine by me. Nice finish, and has me smelling my fingers for hours afterwards.
Body - Med/Full
Strength - Above average, noticeable buzz with these.
Overall - 10/10
 
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I'm a big fan of both the 1926 and Serie V. I know what you mean about about avoiding tapered cigars. Something that may help if you you're not already doing it is to angle your cut. So instead of this | you cut it like this /. It provides a larger cut without getting past the shoulder.
 
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that's a good idea. i use a cuban crafters perfect cutter. i am NOT a fan of a certain cigar reviewer on youtube, you know the one, but i have watched a few dozen of his videos because they autoplay after cigar videos I do like. the one thing he sold me on was the cuban crafters cutter. excellent quality, and i love how I can just put a cigar in there and it takes off the perfect amount. i'm probably set in my ways there, not sure I could do an angled cut using one of these cutters.
 
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Manowar Ruination

These cheaper AJ Fernandez cigars remind me of new apartment complexes I would see in lower income areas when I lived in Houston. They looked deceptively nice because they were new and had some stylish accents to them, but at the end of the day they were cheaply made and you knew they would be showing their true colors in 5 years.

manowar, diesel, ave maria, last call, etc... cheap cigars that all have deceptive stylish accents that mask their cheapness. Whether it’s the multiple huge bands plastered all over them that conveniently hide any flaws in the wrapper, the complex tobacco flavors that remind me of something off a much more expensive cigar before fading into offensive notes of vinegar or ashtray, or the inconsistent construction. hell, the cap on the manowar ruination I just smoked came right off when I cut it, but then it proceeded to have the most razor sharp burn I’ve seen in a long time. Reminded me of old drew estate smokes from the early part of the last decade. I wish this cigar would make up its mind.

the flavors were complex, toasty, chocolaty and intense, reminding me of one of the lesser padron blends, before fading into something not quite as nice on the finish. which I can’t fault it for, this cigar cost me less than 4 bucks. I guess if you have to go cheap, it may as well be the cheap option that has a few glimmers of something a little nicer here and there as opposed to a total 100% dog rocket.

body- full
Strength - avg
rating- 6/10
 
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ramon bueso genesis the project

this cigar was really good at the beginning. transitioned to kinda average in the middle/end. reminded me of the DE Nica Rustica, or some of the old, cheaper Tatuaje blends that are still on the website but I can't seem to find anywhere. bought it off the devil's website dirt cheap, and it came with an ashtray. really decent smoke for the price. if I had a 2 cigar a day habit, I would be buying dozens of these.

beginning - notes of tobacco, leather, cedar. got a blast of chocolate for a few minutes as it started to hit the middle. blown away at first, thought i found a hidden gem but...
middle - got a bit dull towards the middle. nothing offputting and still decent, especially for what I paid for it.
end - didn't ramp back up at the end. however, the burn was pretty sharp and definitely a smoke bomb if you're into that.
body - medium/full
strength - average
rating - 7.5/10
 
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cabaiguan guapos

cabaiguan was way over $10 a stick at the B&M back in the day when the standard tatuaje brown labels were 7-8 and change, so I haven't tried many of them. can find them a bit cheaper these days. tons of smoke, nice draw, razor sharp burn, no touch-ups needed. amazing cigar, could easily buy a box of these. paired with red wine for starters, followed up with walker black label after the wine ran out.
beginning - lots of nutty and earthy flavors at first.
medium - a bit of chocolate started to come thru.
end- nutty flavors are gone, and took on "musty" stalk cut qualities towards the end (not sure if it's stalk cut or not), with more of the chocolate coming thru. great transitions, took it down to the nub. still smelling hints of peanut butter on my fingers an hour later.
body: med/full
strength: average
rating: 9/10
 
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tatuaje tattoo caballero

are you serious? tried one of these "discount" cigars for the first time tonight. had low expectations because I tried a "Series P" back in the day and wasn't impressed. glad i did, this was an amazing cigar. frequent smokers should get the box of 50 right now. only downside was the time, fairly quick smoke that took less than 1hr. paired with coke (the soft drink), tighter draw, razor sharp burn, no touchups required, ash held on until the halfway point (when I tapped it off).

beginning - nutty flavors familiar to the brand
middle - transitioned somewhere around the middle to cubanesque grass/earth with a faint hint of baking chocolate
end - lost the chocolate and ramped up the grass and earth
body - medium
strength - low
rating: 8/10
 
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Tatuaje Reserva Cojonu '09 (Belicoso)

This was my first Cojonu and a really good cigar, but not what I was expecting. It reminded me of a Liga Privada, which isn't fair because this line predated the Ligas, but makes sense because it lacked the nutty characteristics I am used to from the Tatuaje line and, to be honest, tasted exactly like a Liga.

Even some of the Monster Series cigars that I've been lucky enough to smoke have had underlying Tatuaje notes hiding below their intense flavors. I have learned (from doing some research after the fact) that cojonu means "ballsy," and I think that is pretty spot on. It was also a smoke bomb, and pretty high on the nicotine, so heads up for that.

Beginning - Had a syrupy tobacco sweetness at first to go along with the intense flavors, with notes of leather and cedar.
Middle - By the middle it had been cranked up to 11, with pleasant notes of straight shots of espresso and kicks to the face. By about 1/3 of the way in it tasted like an entry in the Unico Series.
End - More of the middle. Great stick, but no nutty flavors, robustness, or complexity to be found, just blunt intensity. Just know what you are getting before you spend 15 bucks on one of these.

body - full+
strength - high
Rating - 8.5/10
 
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tatuaje havana vi

i smoked plenty of these back in the day, but didn't get around to my first cc until last year. hence, i was unaware of how cuban the flavors of the havana vi's are until I smoked one this weekend. i guess it makes sense given the name, but then, I think they are actually named after a dog. *shrug* they seem to lack the peanut butter flavor I get from a lot of the tats, but great earth/hay/cuban-like notes to make up for it, just without the cuban mouthfeel. Really enjoyed it.

beginning: a bit of a bread note at first along with grass, earth, hay flavors
middle: more of the earthy stuff. the bread note has disappeared
end: a bit of sweetness appearing towards the end. took it down to the nub.
body: medium
strength: average
rating: 8.5/10
 
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Oliva Series V Melanio Robusto

Oliva Series V is the Sam Adams Boston Lager of cigars: readily available, your grocery store may even sell them, nothing special or limited to be found, you can find them on Halloween, Christmas, or March 12th, frequently on an auction site for reasonable prices, but I'll be damned if they aren't top notch cigars.

The Melanio came along after the standard Series V, and I'm puzzled as to why they released it with the "Series V" moniker. Outside of being medium to full bodied Olivas, they are completely different. The Melanio has a loose draw, the standard has a snug draw. The Melanio is box pressed while the standard is not. The Melanio has none of the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice notes of the original, just balls to the wall "toasty" tobacco flavors. But whatever, I'm just glad they released it because it is a fine smoke.

It's natural to want to judge which is better, the standard or the Melanio, but they are so different i think it all comes down to what you prefer on a given day.

Beginning - Had a toasty, smoky flavor that almost brought a smoked cheese to mind, possibly even bacon, in addition to coffee. Go ahead and laugh. Maybe this is what hardcore smokers mean when they talk about "breakfast" smokes. (yeah, I know, I know.) The 2012 Corojo by Oscar had a similar note, but this really nails it.
Middle - More of the same smoky goodness.
End - The roasty aspect tapered off a bit and I noticed a bit of a cocoa flavor. Really enjoyed it.

body - med/full
strength - Med
Rating - 9/10
 
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illusione ultra robusto

pretty bad. started out decent with rich flavors of dark chocolate, and something vegetal on the finish, carrot maybe? gave my tongue a good coat, which i've noticed seems to be a trait of cigars with higher nicotine content. the burn was uneven from the start and required a few touch ups pretty quick despite my meticulous 5-match toasting. but if that was the only defect it would have been a solid smoke.

about 20 minutes in things took a turn for the worst. plugged up and I couldn't get a draw despite the glowing cherry that covered the entire foot and eventually went out a few times. i re-lit a few times and worked with it as best as I could like i was giving it CPR, but then the flavors got nasty. the ash flaked up and little pieces fell on my shirt. put out about 1/3-1/2 way in. i have one more, maybe I'll give this another chance as my mid week smoke at some point. I'll be sure to keep a ramon bueso genesis nearby as a backup. hopefully it was just a dud, i haven't had much experience with illusione and i'm not sure what is par for the course.

rating - dud
 

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illusione ultra robusto

pretty bad. started out decent with rich flavors of dark chocolate, and something vegetal on the finish, carrot maybe? gave my tongue a good coat, which i've noticed seems to be a trait of cigars with higher nicotine content. the burn was uneven from the start and required a few touch ups pretty quick despite my meticulous 5-match toasting. but if that was the only defect it would have been a solid smoke.

about 20 minutes in things took a turn for the worst. plugged up and I couldn't get a draw despite the glowing cherry that covered the entire foot and eventually went out a few times. i re-lit a few times and worked with it as best as I could like i was giving it CPR, but then the flavors got nasty. the ash flaked up and little pieces fell on my shirt. put out about 1/3-1/2 way in. i have one more, maybe I'll give this another chance as my mid week smoke at some point. I'll be sure to keep a ramon bueso genesis nearby as a backup. hopefully it was just a dud, i haven't had much experience with illusione and i'm not sure what is par for the course.

rating - dud
I find that when the draw of a cigar tightens up and the flavors start getting nasty I can usually solve that problem by trimming 1/4" or so from the cap. I don't know if it's a cause or an effect, but there's usually tar blobs there, and removing them fixes everything right up. Nothing worse than getting those on your lips out tongue, though.
 
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