back to top

More Reviews By Bryan

Showing 1-10 of 28 Reviews   Back To Expert Reviews
Bryan |
La Aroma de Cuba’s Noblesse is pretty legit. This blend was definitely filed under “office favorite” after we got a couple of samples from IPCPR. But what surprised me about the cigar was how lackluster the dull, Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper looked when I took the cello off. There are some blends that look so appealing I start to fumbling around with my lighter and cutter because I can’t wait to start smoking. Noblesse is not one of those blends. Frankly, I even debated passing on it for one of the many other new cigars from IPCPR.

Thankfully, I went ahead with the review. From the very first puff, I knew I had something special. The draw was effortless. And even though it’s packed with some potent Nicaraguan fillers, the cigar remained incredibly balanced. I was surprised, for a Pepin blend, there wasn’t as much spice as I expected. Noblesse has a dry, smooth flavor and I experienced notes of cedar, leather, and earth. The flavor built as the burn progressed but I wouldn’t say its complex. The only real complaint I have is the price tag but that’s what you get when only 3,000 boxes are made. Definitely try to pick one of these up before they’re gone.
La Aroma de Cuba’s Noblesse is pretty legit. This blend was definitely filed under “office favorite” after we got a couple of samples from IPCPR. But what surprised me about the cigar was how lackluster the dull, Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper looked when I took the cello off. There are some blends that look so appealing I start to fumbling around with my lighter and cutter because I can’t wait to start smoking. Noblesse is not one of those blends. Frankly, I even debated passing on it for one of the many other new cigars from IPCPR.

Thankfully, I went ahead with the review. From the very first puff, I knew I had something special. The draw was effortless. And even though it’s packed with some potent Nicaraguan fillers, the cigar remained incredibly balanced. I was surprised, for a Pepin blend, there wasn’t as much spice as I expected. Noblesse has a dry, smooth flavor and I experienced notes of cedar, leather, and earth. The flavor built as the burn progressed but I wouldn’t say its complex. The only real complaint I have is the price tag but that’s what you get when only 3,000 boxes are made. Definitely try to pick one of these up before they’re gone.

Bryan | | Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover
Talk about a cigar I never thought I would purchase. Don Tomas may have been an industry giant at one point in time, but in the 10+ years I’ve been enjoying cigars, ‘The Don’ has remained pretty quiet. Maybe it’s the band that reads ‘Don Tomas’ or is it ‘Don’t Omas?’ My subconscious has always replied, ‘Ok, ok, I won’t.’ Until two weeks ago anyway, when I was offered one Don Tomas Clasico free of charge and prepared to step into uncharted waters.
 
Construction
The wrapper looks a bit marbled and it’s a thinner leaf than most of the newer Habano-seed wrappers on the market. With a gentle squeeze, the cigar felt firm to the touch with no soft spots. The cold draw was perfect and I knew at the very least this cigar would burn properly. At these early stages of my experience with Don Tomas Clasico, I was still a skeptic.
SCORE: 11/15

Flavor & Body
Upon first light, I’m hit with notes of hay, cedar, and leather. It’s rich, it’s delicious, and the finish is light and clean. It’s immediately apparent that the tobaccos inside have had some serious age on them, and that is a good thing. As I get about halfway in, the blends sweetness begins to shine which adds a nice balance into the mix. With each puff, the cigar gets creamier and the flavors are melding together well. Here I am, completely confused, and borderline upset. My intuition has deceived me; Don Tomas Clasico is a wonderful medium-bodied blend.  It has plenty of subtle flavors without all the strength.
SCORE: 23/25

Smoke & Burn
This cigar was built to burn well and it shows. What I mean – today’s full-bodied blends are so loaded with thick ligero leaves that you need to either re-light them frequency, draw on them constantly until they burn too hot, or smoke the cigar on the dry side. Don Tomas requires none of that. The thinner Habano-seed wrapper burns razor-sharp along with the rest of the tobaccos. The ligero center of the fillers keeps the cigar lit even when you set it down for a minute. This allows the cigar to burn cool and evenly, and the flavor really shines as a result. The ash is white and a little flaky, but it doesn’t detract from the experience one bit.
SCORE: 24/25

Impression
I like Don Tomas Clasico. Enough to purchase a whole box in fact. Is it my favorite blend of all time? No. Have I started thinking about replacing my morning Connecticut with Don Tomas to accompany my coffee? Yes, absolutely. In an industry dominated by extremes (the mellowest or the strongest), it’s rather difficult to pin point a good medium-bodied blend that you can rely on. Don Tomas makes quick work of filling that need. Clean, crisp, balanced, and highly flavorful, that is Don Tomas Clasico.
SCORE: 32/35

OVERALL SCORE: 90/100

This cigar was rated Cigar Aficionado Best Bargain in 2006 and now I know why. If you goal is strength then you’ll probably want to sit this round out. If you are a looking for a hearty, medium-bodied no-nonsense blend at a fair price, take a look at Don Tomas Clasico. Pick up a single or 5-pack and let me know what you think.
Talk about a cigar I never thought I would purchase. Don Tomas may have been an industry giant at one point in time, but in the 10+ years I’ve been enjoying cigars, ‘The Don’ has remained pretty quiet. Maybe it’s the band that reads ‘Don Tomas’ or is it ‘Don’t Omas?’ My subconscious has always replied, ‘Ok, ok, I won’t.’ Until two weeks ago anyway, when I was offered one Don Tomas Clasico free of charge and prepared to step into uncharted waters.
 
Construction
The wrapper looks a bit marbled and it’s a thinner leaf than most of the newer Habano-seed wrappers on the market. With a gentle squeeze, the cigar felt firm to the touch with no soft spots. The cold draw was perfect and I knew at the very least this cigar would burn properly. At these early stages of my experience with Don Tomas Clasico, I was still a skeptic.
SCORE: 11/15

Flavor & Body
Upon first light, I’m hit with notes of hay, cedar, and leather. It’s rich, it’s delicious, and the finish is light and clean. It’s immediately apparent that the tobaccos inside have had some serious age on them, and that is a good thing. As I get about halfway in, the blends sweetness begins to shine which adds a nice balance into the mix. With each puff, the cigar gets creamier and the flavors are melding together well. Here I am, completely confused, and borderline upset. My intuition has deceived me; Don Tomas Clasico is a wonderful medium-bodied blend.  It has plenty of subtle flavors without all the strength.
SCORE: 23/25

Smoke & Burn
This cigar was built to burn well and it shows. What I mean – today’s full-bodied blends are so loaded with thick ligero leaves that you need to either re-light them frequency, draw on them constantly until they burn too hot, or smoke the cigar on the dry side. Don Tomas requires none of that. The thinner Habano-seed wrapper burns razor-sharp along with the rest of the tobaccos. The ligero center of the fillers keeps the cigar lit even when you set it down for a minute. This allows the cigar to burn cool and evenly, and the flavor really shines as a result. The ash is white and a little flaky, but it doesn’t detract from the experience one bit.
SCORE: 24/25

Impression
I like Don Tomas Clasico. Enough to purchase a whole box in fact. Is it my favorite blend of all time? No. Have I started thinking about replacing my morning Connecticut with Don Tomas to accompany my coffee? Yes, absolutely. In an industry dominated by extremes (the mellowest or the strongest), it’s rather difficult to pin point a good medium-bodied blend that you can rely on. Don Tomas makes quick work of filling that need. Clean, crisp, balanced, and highly flavorful, that is Don Tomas Clasico.
SCORE: 32/35

OVERALL SCORE: 90/100

This cigar was rated Cigar Aficionado Best Bargain in 2006 and now I know why. If you goal is strength then you’ll probably want to sit this round out. If you are a looking for a hearty, medium-bodied no-nonsense blend at a fair price, take a look at Don Tomas Clasico. Pick up a single or 5-pack and let me know what you think.

Bryan | | Flor del Valle by Warped Cigars
It’s easy to get wrapped up with how good these cigars look. The packaging and bands are top notch and the cigars show off an impeccable construction. But like most seasoned enthusiasts, I’ve been burned by all these attributes before only to fall victim to a lackluster blend. This is not the case Flor del Valle.

Produced at the Casa Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, this blend packs a ton of flavor with all the balance you’d expect from high-priced stick. Slight hints of cedar and honey are detected up from while a light spice and earthy note hit you on the finish. The only knock I can find on this blend is that they’re a little pricey. But as soon as you fire one up, you’ll know its well worth it.
It’s easy to get wrapped up with how good these cigars look. The packaging and bands are top notch and the cigars show off an impeccable construction. But like most seasoned enthusiasts, I’ve been burned by all these attributes before only to fall victim to a lackluster blend. This is not the case Flor del Valle.

Produced at the Casa Fernandez factory in Nicaragua, this blend packs a ton of flavor with all the balance you’d expect from high-priced stick. Slight hints of cedar and honey are detected up from while a light spice and earthy note hit you on the finish. The only knock I can find on this blend is that they’re a little pricey. But as soon as you fire one up, you’ll know its well worth it.

Bryan | | Tatuaje 10 Year
Belle Encre (5.4”x48, Perfecto): Full disclosure: I’m not a big Tatuaje fan. Don’t get me wrong, the cigars are made with supreme tobaccos, construction, and an incredible attention to detail. After going through a big Tatuaje phase two years ago, it’s hard for me to get excited about another blend from this brand. With Tatuaje 10th Anniversary, I was peer-pressured into picking one up. Immediately upon lighting it up, I knew this was something different; something special. While the perfecto isn’t normally my size of choice, any enthusiast will enjoy this straight down to the nub.

Bon Chasseur (5.4”x52): I found this size to be where the blend really shines. Even on both sizes, once you light it up, you can tell how much time and effort went into fermenting the perfectly even Nicaraguan tobaccos. Strong notes of coffee, earth, leather, and spice provide a thick, chewy smoke that saturates your palate in the best way possible. After enjoying cigar after cigar for my profession, this blend was a breath of fresh air and one of the finer cigars this reviewer has had in a while.
Belle Encre (5.4”x48, Perfecto): Full disclosure: I’m not a big Tatuaje fan. Don’t get me wrong, the cigars are made with supreme tobaccos, construction, and an incredible attention to detail. After going through a big Tatuaje phase two years ago, it’s hard for me to get excited about another blend from this brand. With Tatuaje 10th Anniversary, I was peer-pressured into picking one up. Immediately upon lighting it up, I knew this was something different; something special. While the perfecto isn’t normally my size of choice, any enthusiast will enjoy this straight down to the nub.

Bon Chasseur (5.4”x52): I found this size to be where the blend really shines. Even on both sizes, once you light it up, you can tell how much time and effort went into fermenting the perfectly even Nicaraguan tobaccos. Strong notes of coffee, earth, leather, and spice provide a thick, chewy smoke that saturates your palate in the best way possible. After enjoying cigar after cigar for my profession, this blend was a breath of fresh air and one of the finer cigars this reviewer has had in a while.

Bryan |
Toro (6.0"x50): A complex flavor profile shines through the well-blended, well-aged blend. With a smoky, toasty character throughout, this stick is simply unique and delicous. Perfectly constructed, there's so much to experience here that you'll never tire of burning this stick.Impressive. 91/100 [Buy Now]

XO (6.0"x60):
Looking for an even more complex experience? The XO will serve you well. The size shoots out plumes of thick smoke with a fantastic aroma that won't offend even the most discerning enthusiasts. You really taste the changes in flavor here with more of the whiskey aroma on the finish. 91/100 [Buy Now]

Robusto (5.0"x52):
Not as enjoyable as the other sizes since it lacks the same amount of complexity. But still, this size is great for a quick preview as to just how boldly complex the blend can get. 90/100 [Buy Now]

Corona (4.0"x46):
Really zesty with very little sweetness. Nearly tastes like a completely different blend. Not for everyone, but those who love a really quick smoke in a super bold, robust format will die for this corona.
Toro (6.0"x50): A complex flavor profile shines through the well-blended, well-aged blend. With a smoky, toasty character throughout, this stick is simply unique and delicous. Perfectly constructed, there's so much to experience here that you'll never tire of burning this stick.Impressive. 91/100 [Buy Now]

XO (6.0"x60):
Looking for an even more complex experience? The XO will serve you well. The size shoots out plumes of thick smoke with a fantastic aroma that won't offend even the most discerning enthusiasts. You really taste the changes in flavor here with more of the whiskey aroma on the finish. 91/100 [Buy Now]

Robusto (5.0"x52):
Not as enjoyable as the other sizes since it lacks the same amount of complexity. But still, this size is great for a quick preview as to just how boldly complex the blend can get. 90/100 [Buy Now]

Corona (4.0"x46):
Really zesty with very little sweetness. Nearly tastes like a completely different blend. Not for everyone, but those who love a really quick smoke in a super bold, robust format will die for this corona.

Bryan | | San Lotano Habano
Robusto (5.0"x54): A great size to start this line off with. A nice mixture of cream and spice right up front will instantly get your palate’s attention. The size is good for about 45 minutes of enjoyment; just enough for a nice break in your day.

Toro (6.0"x54): The Toro builds on what the Robusto started. This size is definitely one of the best cigars that have come out lately. Rich spice and cream floods your palate with notes of cedar throughout.

Toro Gordo (6.0"x60): The hefty 6.0”x60 will water down the blend a bit and won’t be as gripping as the smaller sizes. This cigar is still perfect for a long summer day where you can casually smoke one of these while barbecuing in your back yard.

Torpedo (6.5"x54): Pretty nice size. The ring gauge still offers the notes you’d get from the Robusto or Toro. The longer size makes the blend start to burn a little hot though. But that’s just being nit-picky.

Churchill (7.0"x54): Suffers from the same problem the Torpedo has. But at this point, we’re just trying to look for issues. Still an excellent cigar.
Robusto (5.0"x54): A great size to start this line off with. A nice mixture of cream and spice right up front will instantly get your palate’s attention. The size is good for about 45 minutes of enjoyment; just enough for a nice break in your day.

Toro (6.0"x54): The Toro builds on what the Robusto started. This size is definitely one of the best cigars that have come out lately. Rich spice and cream floods your palate with notes of cedar throughout.

Toro Gordo (6.0"x60): The hefty 6.0”x60 will water down the blend a bit and won’t be as gripping as the smaller sizes. This cigar is still perfect for a long summer day where you can casually smoke one of these while barbecuing in your back yard.

Torpedo (6.5"x54): Pretty nice size. The ring gauge still offers the notes you’d get from the Robusto or Toro. The longer size makes the blend start to burn a little hot though. But that’s just being nit-picky.

Churchill (7.0"x54): Suffers from the same problem the Torpedo has. But at this point, we’re just trying to look for issues. Still an excellent cigar.

Bryan |
Belicoso (5.5"x54) In our opinion, this is the best size of the blend. The maduro wrapper and the zesty fillers blend harmoniously to form a well-balanced cigar with mixtures of chocolate and a spice that lingers on your palate.

Magnifico (6.0"x52) Similar to the Belicoso, this blend features a well-balanced smoke with excellent construction. The smaller ring gauge, however, makes the cigar burn a little hotter and thus makes it less smooth than the Magnifico size.

Valentino (5.7"x58) The 58 ring gauge dilutes the richness of this blend. If you’re looking for a lighter version of this blend, this is the perfect size.

Churchill (7.0"x50) The longest vitola of the blend, this cigar suffers from the longest smoking time and lack of complexity of the blend.

Robusto (5.0"x50) Excellent size and fantastic construction. Unfortunately, when the blend starts to really get exciting, the cigar is almost done.
Belicoso (5.5"x54) In our opinion, this is the best size of the blend. The maduro wrapper and the zesty fillers blend harmoniously to form a well-balanced cigar with mixtures of chocolate and a spice that lingers on your palate.

Magnifico (6.0"x52) Similar to the Belicoso, this blend features a well-balanced smoke with excellent construction. The smaller ring gauge, however, makes the cigar burn a little hotter and thus makes it less smooth than the Magnifico size.

Valentino (5.7"x58) The 58 ring gauge dilutes the richness of this blend. If you’re looking for a lighter version of this blend, this is the perfect size.

Churchill (7.0"x50) The longest vitola of the blend, this cigar suffers from the longest smoking time and lack of complexity of the blend.

Robusto (5.0"x50) Excellent size and fantastic construction. Unfortunately, when the blend starts to really get exciting, the cigar is almost done.

Bryan | | Java Mint
Just when you thought Java couldn't get any better! Enter Java Mint, a sweet treat from the Drew Estate team that combines the pleasantly rich cocoa flavors from Java with a unique touch of mint and sweet vanilla.

Drew Estate is certainly one of the most unique cigar makers and Rocky Patel remains one of the top enforcers of quality control. Together, Drew Estate and Rocky Patel collaborated to create this excellently constructed and equally tasty blend. Their use of infusions and rare small batch productions enables them to make cigars unlike anyone else in the world. Drew Estate is best known for their ACID line, but have since created hundreds of blends that have a cult like following while Rocky Patel is noted for his 90+ rated blends.

Java Mint sports a premium Brazilian Mata Fina maduro wrapper, aged 3 years, concealing long fillers from Nicaragua's premium growing regions. This medium-bodied blend experiences the same infusion process as Java but premium mint was added to create a cigar unlike any other. You'll almost feel like you're eating mint chocolate chips as you draw the smoke into your palate. The finish is refreshing, leaving a crisp, cool feel with hints of vanilla left over. If you enjoyed Java or if you're just discovering this brand, you'll agree it is not only one of the best-tasting infused cigars on the market, but it also offers some of the most unique cigar flavors you'll ever experience.
Just when you thought Java couldn't get any better! Enter Java Mint, a sweet treat from the Drew Estate team that combines the pleasantly rich cocoa flavors from Java with a unique touch of mint and sweet vanilla.

Drew Estate is certainly one of the most unique cigar makers and Rocky Patel remains one of the top enforcers of quality control. Together, Drew Estate and Rocky Patel collaborated to create this excellently constructed and equally tasty blend. Their use of infusions and rare small batch productions enables them to make cigars unlike anyone else in the world. Drew Estate is best known for their ACID line, but have since created hundreds of blends that have a cult like following while Rocky Patel is noted for his 90+ rated blends.

Java Mint sports a premium Brazilian Mata Fina maduro wrapper, aged 3 years, concealing long fillers from Nicaragua's premium growing regions. This medium-bodied blend experiences the same infusion process as Java but premium mint was added to create a cigar unlike any other. You'll almost feel like you're eating mint chocolate chips as you draw the smoke into your palate. The finish is refreshing, leaving a crisp, cool feel with hints of vanilla left over. If you enjoyed Java or if you're just discovering this brand, you'll agree it is not only one of the best-tasting infused cigars on the market, but it also offers some of the most unique cigar flavors you'll ever experience.

Bryan |
An elegant, super premium that competes with OpusX, God of Fire, and even Graycliff's most expensive sticks, Ave Maria Reconquista will change your perception of super premium cigars - we guarantee it.

Ave Maria Reconquista is simply the real deal packed in beautiful boxes of 12, each cigar in an individual coffin for the ultimate experience in quality, presentation, flavor, and aging. Only 16,000 boxes have ever been created, as the blend's Brazilian Habano Oscuro wrapper is so limited that this is the only cigar in the world to feature it. That's right, no other cigar in the world sports a Brazilian Habano Oscuro wrapper - which puts Ave Maria Reconquista in a league of its own.

Lift the heavy lid of this special box and you'll find a stunning presentation of 12 individual coffin boxes under a beautiful, hand-drawn vista. Inside each coffin lay a Reconquista - a Cuban-seed beauty packed full of premium Nicaraguan tobaccos from Condega, Jalapa, and Esteli - the country's most premier growing regions. To finish the blend, a dark, oily, toothy, rich and potent Brazilian Habano Oscuro leaf rests on the outside, concealing a premium Honduran leaf as a binder.

What should you expect with Reconquista? A whirlwind of complex flavors that intermingle with every single one of your taste buds. You'll find tons of different spices, a core of tobacco flavors, earth, pepper, some sweet nuances and a toasty finish - just for starters. This blend is so complex and well-aged that you could have a slightly different, yet unique experience with every different Reconquista you light up. Expect only the finest in quality as this tasty, balanced, full-bodied blend tantalizes your palate and soothes your mood. If you had to choose one cigar as your final smoke - something you've never even tried before - we promise you that Ave Maria Reconquista will not only surprise but thoroughly satisfy you to your core.
An elegant, super premium that competes with OpusX, God of Fire, and even Graycliff's most expensive sticks, Ave Maria Reconquista will change your perception of super premium cigars - we guarantee it.

Ave Maria Reconquista is simply the real deal packed in beautiful boxes of 12, each cigar in an individual coffin for the ultimate experience in quality, presentation, flavor, and aging. Only 16,000 boxes have ever been created, as the blend's Brazilian Habano Oscuro wrapper is so limited that this is the only cigar in the world to feature it. That's right, no other cigar in the world sports a Brazilian Habano Oscuro wrapper - which puts Ave Maria Reconquista in a league of its own.

Lift the heavy lid of this special box and you'll find a stunning presentation of 12 individual coffin boxes under a beautiful, hand-drawn vista. Inside each coffin lay a Reconquista - a Cuban-seed beauty packed full of premium Nicaraguan tobaccos from Condega, Jalapa, and Esteli - the country's most premier growing regions. To finish the blend, a dark, oily, toothy, rich and potent Brazilian Habano Oscuro leaf rests on the outside, concealing a premium Honduran leaf as a binder.

What should you expect with Reconquista? A whirlwind of complex flavors that intermingle with every single one of your taste buds. You'll find tons of different spices, a core of tobacco flavors, earth, pepper, some sweet nuances and a toasty finish - just for starters. This blend is so complex and well-aged that you could have a slightly different, yet unique experience with every different Reconquista you light up. Expect only the finest in quality as this tasty, balanced, full-bodied blend tantalizes your palate and soothes your mood. If you had to choose one cigar as your final smoke - something you've never even tried before - we promise you that Ave Maria Reconquista will not only surprise but thoroughly satisfy you to your core.

Bryan | | Nica Libre Potencia
Double Robusto (5.0"x54) Incredible. Super full and superiorly balanced. Burns cool while expelling thick smoke and maintains a fantastic aroma. Very complex with a ton of spice through the nostrils.

Torpedo (6.0"x56) Best way to describe this size compared to the others? Elegant. Instead of blasting your palate with robust flavors from head to foot, the blend seems to build in this 6"x56 frame. Past the 3-inch mark, you'll find a mellowing cedar flavor with an earthy finish. Perfect draw with a strong finish.

Double Toro (6.0"x60) We recommend this double toro for those who want to experience a true, well-balanced, full-bodied blend that could last 2 hours. This bulbous cigar releases an intoxicating aroma and a plethora of complexities. Definitely a jaw breaker, you may not be able to feel your lips when you're finished.

Churchill Extra (7.0"x52) Interested in strength, complete strength, and nothing but strength? If so, you'll love the churchill extra. This stick tastes about the same from head to foot: tons of pepper and tons of earth with light complexities throughout. Be warned, the last two inches may burn hot and create an incredibly hearty finish.

Belicoso (5.0"x54) Great 60-minute smoke in terms of flavor and balance. Not quite as strong as the churchill extra yet just as flavorful as the double toro. Don't cut too much off the head - you'll find yourself with a very loose draw and the stick could burn unevenly.
Double Robusto (5.0"x54) Incredible. Super full and superiorly balanced. Burns cool while expelling thick smoke and maintains a fantastic aroma. Very complex with a ton of spice through the nostrils.

Torpedo (6.0"x56) Best way to describe this size compared to the others? Elegant. Instead of blasting your palate with robust flavors from head to foot, the blend seems to build in this 6"x56 frame. Past the 3-inch mark, you'll find a mellowing cedar flavor with an earthy finish. Perfect draw with a strong finish.

Double Toro (6.0"x60) We recommend this double toro for those who want to experience a true, well-balanced, full-bodied blend that could last 2 hours. This bulbous cigar releases an intoxicating aroma and a plethora of complexities. Definitely a jaw breaker, you may not be able to feel your lips when you're finished.

Churchill Extra (7.0"x52) Interested in strength, complete strength, and nothing but strength? If so, you'll love the churchill extra. This stick tastes about the same from head to foot: tons of pepper and tons of earth with light complexities throughout. Be warned, the last two inches may burn hot and create an incredibly hearty finish.

Belicoso (5.0"x54) Great 60-minute smoke in terms of flavor and balance. Not quite as strong as the churchill extra yet just as flavorful as the double toro. Don't cut too much off the head - you'll find yourself with a very loose draw and the stick could burn unevenly.

Reviewed By
Bryan
Bryan
Preferred Cigar Profile
100% satisfaction guaranteed
Get the Latest Deals!
Sign Up for email