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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Punch Gran Puro Nicaragua 5.5x54
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Mautrak
90
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 Jefferson's Reserve bourbon, Ardberg OA scotch

Pre-Light: 18 Points of 20 Possible

It looked strikingly like a Liga Privada #9, one of my favorite cigars.  A good looking oscuro wrapper and no obvious flaws.  I was happy just with the appearance as I figured the cigar would be in my wheelhouse.  However, it was not a LP#9.  The appearance of the wrapper was a bit more mottled than the LP, and the veins may have been a bit more pronounced.  It felt very firm.  So firm that before lighting I have to wonder if it will draw well.  It doesn’t have the pre-light smell of the LP.  This one is less sweet than the LP, and more earthy, more barnyard.

Light & Burn: 10 Points of 15 Possible

I cut it with a Xicar V-cutter, and it cut cleanly.  Lit it, and it produced quite a bit of smoke.    It kept producing smoke at rest, and big clouds while puffing.   The burn ½” in was a bit wavy, but not problematic.  I got interrupted by the UPS guy and visited for about five minutes, and when I came back to the cigar it was still lit and ready to go.  However, about 45 seconds later the ash fell when it was sitting in the ashtray and only a hair past ½”.  I figured the ash would hold on longer than that.  It was also a bit flaky at the time.  The burn stayed wavy and the ash kept falling off, never getting longer than about ½”.   By the halfway mark I was a bit disappointed in the evenness of the burn, as it would start to get a bit wacky.  But by the halfway mark I had not touched it up, and it corrected itself when it would get out of line.  The ash would fall off often, and would fall off unevenly giving the impression that the quality wasn’t good or that the roll wasn’t done right.  But I can’t say that’s the case as it kept burning and just kept going.   At one point if you looked at the cigar from one angle, the ash was about 1-1/4”.  But if you looked from the other side, the ash was barely ½” long.

Construction: 30 Points of 30 Possible

I have no complaints with the construction of the cigar.  It was rolled tight.  There were no holes or separations in the leaves on the wrapper.  The cap was well applied.  The draw was just right.  The cigar felt very tight before lighting, but the draw couldn’t have been better.  During smoking the wrapper never started to unravel.  I only had it in my humidor for a couple of days.  I credit Brian for shipping the cigar with a Boveda pack included so the humidity was on point and it burned correctly.

Flavor: 32 Points of 35 Possible

It lights up like a full cigar.  It’s not shy.  Initial flavors were quite dark, which was to be expected.  It almost reminded me of the Kentucky Fire Cured, but without the smokiness if that makes any sense.  The retrohale right after lighting was surprisingly light.  Some light cedar, no real pepper noted.  Though I’m not sure if this is a quality of the cigar, or the fact that my allergies have dulled my senses and I just couldn’t detect the flavors on retrohale.  The primary notes early on were earthy and dark.  Almost like overcooked coffee, but not bitter, or perhaps like too dark toast but not in a bad way.  I was looking for a dry dark chocolate flavor that I enjoyed long ago in the CORE cigars, but didn’t notice any chocolate.

Summary

This was my first blind review, so I was looking forward to it.  I don’t have a sophisticated palate, and can’t tell if a cigar is from Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic just by the flavors, construction, and burn quality.  I just know if I like a cigar or not.  I will admit that my allergies have been kicking my butt lately, so I’m probably not at my best for detecting flavors and nuances.  

I was very happy with the construction, smoke volume, and flavors.  The only disappointment in this cigar was the burn, and that was probably just because I’m picky.  It remained lit, so there were no issues there.  But the ash kept falling off far more often than I thought it would.  Plus, when the ash fell off it was often very uneven, falling off one side of the cigar going back ½” inch, while staying connected on the other side of the cigar.  My primary complaint there is more cosmetic and appearance, though, rather than to do with burn quality.  

On the whole, I really enjoyed this cigar.  I’d be happy to buy more, if I knew what it was!  Drumroll please . . . .




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