Kristoff Corojo Limitada Churchill

This Corojo Limitada Churchill has a rich, dark leather appearance and at 7” x 50 is stunner. It kicks off with wood, cocoa and spice flavors flowing through the easy draw. The burn is fairly even with loose ash. An easy-to-take roasted nuts and wood aroma swells out of this solid Nicaraguan. Coffee, nutmeg and chocolate flavors swirl into a tornado of taste-bud fantasy, building in intensity towards the midway point. A faint bit of cinnamon and clove add to the ever-changing complexity of the final drive. This Kristoff is a full-flavored adventure, but never overwhelming and is truly a joy to smoke. It was a pleasant surprise to be sure. Highly recommended.

Avo Classic No. 2

Made by Davidoff, this Avo Classic is a handsome cigar that just screams “creamy” while the aroma entices with hints of cedar and cocoa. The No. 2 is nicely sized at 6″ x 50 and lights easy and even. The initial flavor is a bit grassy with burnt wood, but as it settles in, the smoke turns to a smooth mocha and spice flavor. The burn is consistent as one would expect from Davidoff and the draw is just right. Coffee and cocoa flavors build in strength along the way with a consistent woody character, but this tasty treat never goes beyond mild-to-medium. Café Mocha wrapped in a Connecticut-shade leaf, it is a lighter, but flavorful cigar that will satisfy most looking for an easy-going smoke. The Avo Classic is a great accompaniment to that first cup of joe in the morning.

Diamond Crown Maximus No. 3

Not the prettiest cigar in the world, the Diamond Crown Maximus does, however, have the pedigree for greatness. The blotchy wrapper leaf is accompanied by a colorfully busy cigar band. Lighting up this 6 3/8” x 50 Pyramid was easy and the draw easier still. Charred wood and toast are the first flavors to hit, but gradually evolve into more pleasant range of spices. Pepper and hints of cocoa find their way to the palate, while the strength builds from medium to full-bodied. A slight sourness joins in the last third, as the oils begin to funnel down the pyramid. A somewhat underwhelming cigar, the Maximus is a good smoke that should be a whole lot more. The Maximus will be a favorite for some who want rich and spicy, but considering its lineage and price, there will also be those who are sorely disappointed.

Headley Grange Corona Gorda

Headley Grange is a modest enough looking cigar, quietly poised and awaiting its fate. One senses, however, that there is a wilder, more rebellious side to this unassuming stick. The first light unleashes a mighty phalanx of flavors that pulse across the taste-buds in a flurry. Coffee, roasted nuts and wood accompany the easy, yet firm draw for most of the smoke. Faint hints of nutmeg and cinnamon emerge here and there, but do not linger. The perfectly-sized 5 5/8” x 46 Corona Gorda burns evenly down to the very end, all while maintaining a full-bodied, but never overdone richness. Silky smooth and perhaps a tad milder than touted by the makers, the Headley Grange is a very smooth and pleasing smoke that is jam-packed with flavors and substance. Recommended to all.

Tatuaje Reserva Noellas 2013

The 5 1/8” x 42 Reserva Noellas 2013 is classic Tatuaje. A rich, oily leaf envelopes this firmly made little Nicaraguan star. Leather kicks it off, with a nibbling taste of pepper and cocoa. After coaxing more smoke from the firm draw, the flavors begin to hit their stride. The second third begins with a booming hit of dark roasted coffee that lays siege to the mouth with a glorious gusto, perfectly complimenting the bold richness. The final stretch is a bit strong and peppery, but worth the trouble to extract every last bit of flavor. Full-bodied, bursting with tasty goodness and expertly constructed, the Noellas is a no-brainer.

Winston Churchill Chequers

The Winston Churchill line of cigars is yet another elegant offering from Davidoff. The 5 ½” x 46 Chequers is a handsome looking cigar emblazoned with the Churchill family crest on a rich red and gold cigar band. A woody taste and aroma begins the journey, leading into a fusion of coffee, nuts and cream. The smoke is mild and the draw firm with a fine, white ash that droops and drops with the slightest of movement. Some burnt chocolate finds its way to the palette as the intensity builds to more of a medium smoke, but the creaminess endures. The smoke is never harsh, yet the good flavors frustratingly never quite reach the level of expected complexity. On its own, the Winston Churchill cigar is easy to like. A pleasant easy-going smoke in honor of a great man and made with Davidoff’s expert flair. When the price becomes a factor, however, there are other cigars that might do the job and do it better.

Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. I

The Excalibur, likes its namesake, is a legend that endures. The old standard, No. I, weighs in at a hefty 7 ¼” x 54 and is a time-slayer to be sure. The English Claro (Connecticut-shade) wrapper shields a complex blend of Honduran, Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. The first light is an explosion of cedar and spice. As the burn settles in for the long journey ahead, the wood flavor is enhanced by nuts and faint cocoa with a slight herbal bitterness. The construction is solid, but tends to run a little uneven. Ash is a little too loose for comfort, but it sticks long enough to do the job. This full-flavored Honduran is, as always, a good “anytime” cigar suited for those who desire a smooth Honduran with a full-bodied richness.

Chateau Real Magnum 46

The Chateau Real is a traditional smoke from the most unconventional of cigar makers, Drew Estate. The 5 ¼ x 46 Magnum 46 has a clean, slightly sweet aroma and sturdy construction. A simple, but elegant red and gold band melds perfectly into the Connecticut-shade wrapper. A dry, grassy taste kicks it off, but quickly gives way to a pleasant nuttiness with hints of cocoa and creamed honey. An easy going, straightforward smoke maintains a pleasant mildness throughout. The burn is even with solid ash, making for a truly quality smoke. The final stretch does add a hot, dried leaves taste to the profile, but that is not entirely unexpected nor is it overpowering. A great little smoke that is both mild and flavorful. The ideal morning cigar, but will satisfy anytime.

Oliva Serie V Double Robusto

The Serie V Double Robusto is a fine looking 5″ x 54 cigar, rich and textured. The first light is perfect and the flavors immediately flood the mouth with nutmeg, coffee and cocoa. The burn is even and firm with grey-to-white ash. The strength gradually increases, as pepper begins to drown out some of the coffee. Enough spice and cocoa though to maintain a tasty excursion from beginning to end. Weaving in and out along the way is a pleasant wood character that only adds to another fine effort from Oliva. The Serie V has good construction, great flavor and is still a great value. This is a good choice for anyone in search of a full-bodied Nicaraguan.