Bucanero Red Torpedo (NC)

(Size: 6″ x 52 — Time: 1hr 10mins)

On a trip to visit the parents I packed just one cigar, the Bucanero Red Torpedo – I’d planned to spend time in the garden doing some ‘yard work’ and just wanted a decent, value cigar. Having checked out the prices of this particular cigar, it certainly fitted the value tag, costing less than the excise duty alone would be in the UK…

So, is this a good value cigar, or is it just a cheap dog-rocket?

Appearance /15

The shade of this cigar’s wrapper is very nice – at the darker end of the Colorado range, like many quality Cubans. Unfortunately there are plenty of imperfections on the wrapper, highlighted by some fairly pronounced veins, some dodgy joins along the wrapper and a very scrappy foot end of the cigar. The ‘squeeze test’ also offers a mixed bag – generally a very nice firmness (with a little spring), but there were a couple of slightly soft spots. 11

Smoking Characteristics /25

This stogie is a short-filler – not something I’d usually seek out myself (though who can complain at around $3 a pop!). Given this, I was expecting some distinctly dodgy construction, burn and various other characteristics; however, I was pleasantly surprised. This wasn’t a fantastic example of how a cigar should smoke, but it wasn’t bad. The draw very good throughout (maybe a little loose for my liking, but still pretty nice). The cigar lit quite nicely on the first attempt and, despite a slight wobble straight away, the burn was quite even early on. The burn line had a couple of little wobbles, though nothing drastic – generally keeping reasonably straight. One slight instance of coning around half-way was fairly innocuous, though a case of ‘reverse canoeing’ towards the death was the only glaring issue which came to the fore. The ash was not great: quite inconsistent colour, a few splits/gaps and a flakey nature characterised this. That said, it was reasonably solid for a short-filler cigar (still couldn’t get it longer than an inch) and it clung on for dear life at the end! Overall, average construction which is pretty tidy for a cigar of this type. Pre-light aromas were nice and strong, displaying quite earthy qualities. Once lit, the smoke was pleasant: for the majority of the cigar it was reminiscent of a woodland floor in spring, then through the final third it developed towards fresh, running water. 21

Flavours /25

Straight out of the starting blocks you get some tasty vegetal flavours. Very soon you also start getting nice woody notes at the back of the mouth on the end of the draw, providing a nice depth to each draw. Just after a third of the cigar though, the woodiness faded away and the vegetal flavours at the forefront developed towards a slightly perfumed tea, such as an Earl Grey. This slight highlight lasted for a short while, before passing the baton back to the straight vegetal profile. This was again the predominant feature of the cigar until the burn reached the band – a brief hint of swimming pool/chlorine for a couple of draws (which, whilst not great, was not as bad as it sounds), soon made way for a sweeter, honeyish attributes. One final twist, at the nub, was a slight ‘green’ leather blast at the death (perhaps evocative of aniseed). The overall profile of this Torpedo was vegetal, with notes of wood, tea, honey and aniseed playing cameo parts. These appearances can hardly be used to suggest that it was a cigar with much development, but it did provide a few interesting moments – enough to keep me from actually doing any work in the garden… 20

Overall Impression /35

A Nicaraguan cigar of medium body and medium flavour, this was a surprisingly well made short-filler cigar (the construction certainly belying the appearance…) The flavours were fairly consistent, though a couple of little twists did add some interest. It was good enough that I became interested in it as I smoked it, and it is certainly an excellent value stogie (not a dog-rocket at all); but… it’s not exciting, nor has it got the remarkable smoothness of most Davidoffs and Cohibas. So, it’s really a so-so cigar, doing little wrong, but not much overly well either. 30

Grand total… 82/100

Thanks G-man for gifting me this cigar sometime last year!

Now, I’m going to concentrate on the rest of the Blue Jays match now – celebrating a huge homer by Buck with one of my Major League Robustos

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Diplomaticos No2

(Size: 6 1/8″ x 52 — Time: 1hr 25mins)

What a fantastic day it was when I decided to light up a Diplomaticos No2. I had a productive meeting in the morning, then went to a beer festival over lunch (even if it wasn’t fantastic) and then lounged around by the water during the afternoon with good company and a good cigar.

So it was, with decent weather (welcome to the world March 2010), that I suggested a cigar in the afternoon. Thankfully a suggestion which fell on receptive ears. So we headed to the Barbican, by the harbour, where I lit a Diplomaticos No2. My previous experience of Diplomaticos was a couple of really quite poor No4 cigars – would this turn my opinion of the brand around…

Appearance /15

This is a pretty large cigar. I love the torpedo shape, so that’s a good start! However, the wrapper was a little damaged (possibly due to multiple shippings and a potential incident with my humidor’s lid ). It was a reasonably light tan colour, from a brand known for slightly darker wrappers, but it was good. There were few and small veins and a very slight sheen. Overall, average looking stick, not helped by a bit of damage. 12

Smoking Characteristics /25

Pre-light, the aromas were almost archetypal cigar. That wonderful tobacco mustiness that just makes you think longingly of moments spent examining your humidor. The cigar lit first time and although it started burning a little unevenly, it soon straightened itself out. The draw was virtually perfect: easy, but with just the right amount of resistance. The smoke billowed from the cigar and it felt like a true smoking experience. It only needed relighting once, towards the end – quite good for a cigar this big, which I neglected on a couple of occassions for more pressing matters… 24

Flavour /25

This was a wonderful cigar to smoke – a nice stick which develops through stages of pleasant flavours. On lighting there was a wonderfully smooth pepperiness – like a good steak sauce. At about one-third of the way into the cigar, after I’d finished enjoying how magnificent the draw was, and how much smoke I was getting, the flavours started to change towards more earthy, vegetal and herby tastes. As the burn started to slow towards the final third, there was a switch towards a creaminess. This developed towards the typical leather undertones which so many cigars seem to have. Overall, this was a well flavoured cigar, good developments were appreciated and the flavours were a solid medium. 23

Overall Impression /35

Well, what can I really say, the rest of this review sums up what a marvelous cigar this was. I loved it, I’m sure my smoking buddy was getting fed up with the praise I was heaping upon it.However, as you approach the very nub of this cigar you have to be on your guard. It presumably felt that I was getting a little confident with such a big stick, and the last three or four draws (right at the nub) suddenly hit me for six… Until that point, I’d have called this cigar, which lasted just shy of an hour and a half, a medium bodied option. However, it’s got a powerful, donkey style kick at the death. Overall though, a damned good cigar. 32

Grand total… 91/100