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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua 5.5x54
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Jeff (Cap10_Morgan)
92
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 Black coffee

Pre-Light: 17 Points of 20 Possible

Beautiful dark oily maduro wrapper, with one slightly large vein running the length.  The stick felt firm and well packed, with no soft spots.  Cap and seems were tightly sealed and the cap cut perfectly clean.

There was no earthy/hay aroma like I get from most maduro wrappers.  In fact, the wrapper itself didn't seem to have a strong smell at all.  Maybe a very faint sweet tobacco smell.  But sniffing the foot revealed a rich dark roasted coffee aroma, accompanied by a light sweetness that had me anxious to light.

Light & Burn: 15 Points of 15 Possible

Toasting the foot took longer than usual, but nothing too out of the ordinary for a darker stick.  The burn was razor sharp throughout, with no touchups required.  Ash was dark gray and held firm for over an inch at a time before I gently rolled it off.  Thick velvety clouds of smoke were abundant from start to finish, with never a need to double take a draw.

Construction: 30 Points of 30 Possible

The wrapper and cap were very tight and neatly rolled.  The cap clipped exactly how you like it too.  It felt firm in hand, and no soft spots to speak of.  Cold draw was perfect.  Just a bit of resistance and not too loose.  The draw remained perfect throughout.  The construction on this stick was a thing of beauty.  Almost hard to believe it was hand rolled, as perfect as it was.

Flavor: 30 Points of 35 Possible

The initial draws of this stick were a little perplexing.  It was "tasty", but hard to nail down any particular flavor.  (Great, as this is a blind review and I'm completely lost, I thought)  I couldn't name anything, but just knew I really liked it.  Not useful for a review.  But flavors slowly started to reveal themselves.  It seems the confusion was due to a lot of flavors that were all well balanced, not a lack of flavor by any means.  They were all blended together by a heavy cream.  The earthiness I expected (but didn't smell prelight) started  to show up, and the coffee I did smell really kicked up a notch.  There was a mild sweetness lingering in the background.  Nothing sugary sweet, but deep and rich.  Almost like a cherry nougat flavor, but light on the cherry.  This flavor was stronger on the retrohale, but also accompanied by a creamy cashew flavor with a kick of peppery spice.  (It got difficult to avoid retrohaling every draw, because I really enjoyed the taste)

After about an inch, the sweetness died down and some leather and spice joined the party.  The cherry nougat flavor is still something I can't get over as I still taste it on the retro, with the cherry fading as the 2nd third started.  Instead of the sweetness, the spice was really starting to take center stage.  Not a peppery spice, but savory cooking spices like nutmeg and VERY light clove. (I hate clove, but this wasn't bad.  May not be the right spice, but that's what it reminded me of) This spice flavor was even stronger on retrohale, as there was no longer any sign of sweetness or creaminess in retro, only spice and a bit of pepper.  There was still a nice richness to the tobacco flavor, but it could no longer be classified as sweet at all.

As the final third started, things remained mostly the same, with a slight bitterness starting to appear.  It wasn't off-putting, but more like burnt coffee with the spices really starting to get stronger.  There was a nice classic leathery tobacco flavor throughout, but not very strong.  The retrohale added a touch of salty peanut butter.  The cherry nougat flavor mentioned earlier did not appear while smoking, but a hint of it always lingered on my nose a breath or two after each draw.  (Like some flavors cling to your lips, but this was only while breathing through my nose a few seconds after exhaling)

Summary

This was one of the most well-constructed cigars I have ever smoked.  It looked perfect, felt perfect, and burned perfect.   Some of the flavors reminded me of pipe tobacco at times, while still tasting like a good old classic cigar.  Things started out a little sweet, but transitioned nicely to a well-balanced classic flavor.  I look forward to learning what this cigar was (this was a blind review) so I can add a few to my humidor in the future.  Thanks, bstessl for letting me participate.  This was a fun experiment that really forced me to focus on the experience, not having any idea what I was smoking.



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