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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua 5.5x54
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Gary (headfirst)
87
Cigar Geeks Rating

Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique.  This one has been generously sponsored by our member bstessl (Brian).  This particular round was run as a blind review.  Each member received the exact same stick and none of them knew what it was.  So without further ado, the stick that was reviewed was the Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua 5.5 x 54.

The Hype:
Nothing short of a flavorful, this Nicaraguan handmade at General Cigar’s HATSA factory in Danlí, Honduras. Wrapped with a dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf and brimming with Nicaraguan binder and long-fillers. Medium to full-bodied, you can expect to be met with a deep earthiness nuances with a hint of leather and a slight spice.


Length:
5.5
Ring Gauge:
54
Country Manufactured:
Nicaragua
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Connecticut Broadleaf
Color:
Maduro
Strength:
Medium-Full
Shape:
Robusto

This cigar was enjoyed with Crown Royal Reserve and Pepsi

Pre-Light: 17 Points of 20 Possible

This is a blind review so I had no idea what to expect.
The vitola looks to be in the robusto grande range or maybe a small double toro, I’d guess 5.5x54 or 6x55, somewhere in there.  The wrapper is a dark maduro color, not quite an oscuro but close.  The wrapper has a medium sheen and fairly smooth texture.  I also catch some crystal bling-bling when I rotate it under my iphone flashlight so I’m guessing this has had some age put on it!  Not much of an aroma, I get a little sweet hay on the wrapper, and add in a little spice to that on the foot.  The cap is so well applied I can barely make out the edges.

Light & Burn: 12 Points of 15 Possible

It lit ok, a little tough to get going but nothing too bad.  The burn is a little uneven to the first inch but it corrects itself.  The ash is tight and light grey and hangs on in solid chunks for 1.5 inches.  The burn was performed well throughout, not a single correction needed.  I love the fact that there’s no stoking needed on this cigar, pick it up for a puff and it’s delivering right away until maybe the last couple inches when I had to stoke it a bit to keep going.

Construction: 28 Points of 30 Possible

It’s a little heavy in the hand, but not overly so, and the pack on the foot seems about right, not overstuffed and not loose either.  No soft spots, tight invisible seams.  
The cap clips clean with a guillotine cut revealing a well packed head, a medium cold draw, and a yeast/grain type of cold draw flavor.  I'm a little apprehensive about the draw, I always have my perfectdraw tool at the ready but I didn't need it, the draw was right down the middle the whole way and didn't take anything away from the experience.


Flavor: 30 Points of 35 Possible

First flavors are more of the yeast/grain core with some leather and then a white pepper spice develops long after the puff on the tongue and my lips even sting a little.  Fairly full-bodied right out of the gate.  Foot aroma is similar to the cold aroma but with a little floral added in.  After the first few puffs coffee joins the profile.  Plenty of spice in the retrohale, a little too harsh for me to retrohale beyond a small puff.  This thing is full flavored, full bodied, and full strength and definitely needs something strong to pair with it so I settled on whiskey over a beer.  A subtle sweetness joins the party about ¼” in and I pick up a little charred oak in the retrohale.  There’s a strong tobacco kicking in around the 1st inch and the oils are now coating the pallet.  The coffee, leather, yeast, spice, and ligero tobacco are the dominant players in the flavor profile through the first half, this thing has to be Nicaraguan.  In the second half the cigar actually seemed to settle down to something that was a little easier to handle.  The ligero backed off, the spice backed off, the smoke also smoothed out, and the retrohale became a smooth enough for me to exhale completely through the nose; it had a nice mix of charred oak, honey sweetness, and baking spices.

Summary

Thanks to Brian for sponsoring this one.  I'm glad I chose to smoke this at the end of the day, it was a pretty strong mother that had a nice transition at the halfway point from kicking my butt to something smooth enough to savor.  Can't wait to hear what it was I smoked.



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