I’ve reviewed families of rums in the past, but this is my first multiple cigar review. The cigars here aren’t a family and don’t much resemble one another in any respect other than their price. They all cost about $4/stick (box price) and they are all pretty good if not “great” cigars. The reviews will be short, just the basics. These are good cigars for their price, but they’re not going to compare to more expensive Padron, My Father, Drew Estate, and many others that are two or more times their price. All of these sticks are pretty one dimensional. There isn’t much point in describing their flavors inch by inch, but they do all have decent flavors, and all of them good budget smokes.
Sancho Panza long corona from Honduras.
5.75″ x 46 box press
Binder/Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominical Piloto.
Of the three sticks reviewed, this is the sweetest. Wrapper is smooth medium brown in color. Cold smell is barnyard and sweet wood. The cold draw is salty and sweet at the same time. I’ve smoked a half a box of these and encountered no construction issues. Draw is firm but not fighting you and stays that way throughout. Lots of smoke all the way along, burn line is good. Burn time is about an hour and fifteen minutes. I am very impressed with these.
Flavors are sweet wood, nut, and leather. There is little pepper, sometimes some floral notes and an occasional hint of vanilla. Paired with a dark sweet rum the cigar comes up with a very sweet wintergreen note in response. Even on the retrohale there is little pepper here but the leather and sweet wood smoke notes stand out. Strength is a solid medium. All in all this is the smoothest as well as the sweetest of the three cigars. For about $4.25 this is a very good smoke I can take all the way down to less than an inch.
HOYO La Amistad robusto from AJ Fernandez, Nicaragua
5″ x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaragua (Esteli, Ometepe, Condega, Jalapa)
This is a pretty elaborate blend for a $4 cigar. Anything AJF does is worth trying. Most turn out pretty good, and for the price I’m not going to complain if it doesn’t taste like a Padron or OpusX.
Cold smell is light barnyard, fresh hay, grass. Cold draw doesn’t present much but a little hay and saltiness. The cigar seems well made. Wrapper is light brown in color and looks nice, clean cap. Draw is light on these, maybe too light even for me. Pack is nice and even though. In a whole box I’ve had no construction issues. Burn line is clean with a few minor corrections now and then. Smoke output is excellent all the way through the stick. Burn time about an hour.
Reading reviews of this you would think it cost $12. Yes there is flavor, a little hint of floral sweetness, earth, cedar, and barnyard. But flavors aren’t very strong. Mostly you get a nice thick smoke carrying minimal, but otherwise nice flavors. Some pepper presents itself all the way along, especially on the retrohale where the flavors come forward a bit also. Other reviewers have talked about a lot of pepper, but I just don’t get that myself. Really you only get anything substantial from this cigar on the retrohale. Nothing in the flavor profile is outstanding, but there are no sour or off putting notes either. The cigar is pleasant. Many of you have tried AJ’s “Puro Authentico”. This cigar has the same sort of manly earthiness to it, but the flavors are less full bodied and the flavors mostly disappear by the last inch. Light to medium in strength, of the three cigars reviewed here, this one is the lightest in strength and flavor, but I recommend it as a good change away from sweet.
Illusione Rothchilds Short Robusto.
4.75″ x 50
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Commonly to be found at $3.65 or so (box of 50) this is the strongest and also the least expensive of the sticks reviewed here. Illusione blends are almost always good but tend to be in the $8 – $12 range. This low-ball offering is superb at the price.
Cold smell is mostly manure and floral. Taste is a little salty and dry chocolate. Like the others reviewed the construction of this cigar is excellent. Nice dark brown wrapper, slightly bent cap, a good hefty stick for its size. Of the three cigars this is the most densely packed and very evenly. Draw is medium. Sometimes needs a little burn correction but mostly it’s fine and produces great smoke. Strength is medium to full, burn time about an hour or a little more.
Flavor here is earthy, barnyard, dry chocolate, with a little pepper throughout. Stronger flavor than the HOYO and not as sweet as the Sancho Panza. The retrohale is particularly earthy and full of burning wood with more pepper. Flavors stay with the stick down to less than an inch. Of the three sticks I like these the best. Flavors are similar in strength to the Sancho Panza but more earthy, a cigar man’s cigar.
All three of these sticks are worth their price and make a good rotation for one another. In connection with this price point I should mention a fourth stick reviewed elsewhere on the blog, the Drew Estate Papas Fritas. At about $4.35 only a few cents higher than the Sancho Panza, it is by far the most flavorful cigar of the group but it is also smaller than the others. All to be enjoyed though. See what you think. I know that many of my readers have a larger discretionary budget than I do. I once did myself, but no longer. Discovering so many good cigars in the under $5 range has been a delight.