Perdomo Reserve Criollo 10th Anniversary Wednesday, Apr 21 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Cuban-Seed Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Celebrating 10 years of the Perdomo Reserve line of cigars, Tabacalera Perdomo released the 10th Anniversary Edition sometime last year (if memory serves).  Dressed in a smooth and oily cuban-seed Criollo wrapper the 10th Anniversary is a good looking cigar.  They are available in five sizes:

  • Figurado 5.75″ x 56
  • Robusto 5.0″ x 54
  • Epicure 6.0″ x 54
  • Churchill 7.0″ x 54
  • Torpedo 7.0″ x 54

Today I am smoking the beefy little robusto.  The ring gauge is a little large for my tastes and feel awkward to smoke, but the draw was excellent.  I don’t normally think of a five inch cigar as being all that short, but this one felt shorter than it was because of the HUGE 10th anniversary band.  It was so big I had to take it off before I started smoking it.  Luckily it came off very easily and did no damage ot the wrapper.  Upon lighting the cigar I am greeted by a creamy and decadent aroma the goes perfectly with the smooth, creamy, and buttery flavors of toasted almond, cafe au lait and wood.  The flavors were a contradiction, rich yet at the same time mild in body.  All this was nicely balanced with a light spice on the finish.  The smoke builds in body as I progressed through the cigar.  Eventually the creaminess subsided replaced by more woodsy flavors and spice.  Disaster struck in the last third when I heard a “crack” and the saw the wrapper begin to fall apart.  I don’t know what happened because up to this point the smoke was perfect in almost every way, draw, burn, ash, flavors, you name it.  I did what I could to hold the cigar together so I could finish it.  I was really enjoying it and I managed to keep it smokable until I was done with it.  I have smoked my share of Perdomo cigars and construction has never been an issue so I’d just chalk this incident up to a bit of bad luck and I consider it a fluke.

There have been a few occasions lately where I have found myself very pleasantly surprised by Criollo cigars and I can add this one to that list.  I thought it was an excellent, very smooth and enjoyable cigar that starts off mild and builds into a nice medium bodied smoke.  This one is definitely worth a try.

Redux: Cruzado Marelas Friday, Jun 19 2009 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Perfecto 55/8″ x 46 ring

My first experience with the Marelas was a little disappointing.  However, I decided to hold off giving the cigar a rating and planned to revisit it because I could see a lot of potential in it, plus all the other vitolas I have tried in the Cruzado line have been stellar, especially the Elitas.  The first specimen I tried had an odd bitterness to it that tainted my experience.  This time things were much different.

Right from the start this cigar was smooth and yet powerful, much more like the other Cruzados I have smoked.    It started off with notes of spice and fruit.  As I worked past the bulge of the perfecto it really started to pickup.  Strong robust flavors of coffee and spice mingle with a rich tobacco flavors.  It still wasn’t the power house I found the Elitas to be, but it was much fuller this time, its body on the full side of medium.  As the cigar tapers down it gets spicier and with lots of chocolate and coffee.  it never gets harsh though remaining smooth with a creamy finish that lingers nicely on the palette.  This is more like what I was expecting the first time I smoked this cigar.  An excellent smoke that I highly recommend.

Rating – A

Cruzado Marelas Tuesday, Nov 25 2008 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Perfecto 55/8″ x 46 ring

The Cruzado is brought to us by the same people who make the Illusione line of cigars.  I previously reviewed the Cruzado Elitas which I found to be an amazing smoke.  In that review I laid out all the details of the Cruzado line so rather than repeat all that in this review, just click here if your interested in those details.  Today I am smoking the Marelas.  The Marelas is a perfecto and a skinny one at that.  I mentioned before one of the things about the Cruzados is that not a single stick in the entire line tops a 48 ring size and that includes this perfecto, which at its thickest is just a 46 ring.  I am partial to the thinner ring gauges.  In my opinion the 42-48 range for ring size is an ideal size for a cigar allowing for the best balance of flavors between wrapper and blend.

After having such a great experience with the Elitas I smoked a few more of them and each was equally impressive, so when I lit the Marelas I was a little surprised.  Two things account for this.  The first was an initial bast of metallic bitterness on the first few puffs.  The second was that this cigar seems a bit milder in strength and body.  Thankfully the metallic taste went away quickly.  It was replaced by earth and leather.  The aroma is rich and earthy as well.  It has a Delicious sweet finish.  Once I worked past the bulge near the foot, the flavors became rich and creamy, full of sweet spice and a hint of pepper.  This was the best that it would get though.  Unfortunately it became a bit bitter again.   The bitterness kept coming and going in between pleasant notes of earth and leather and this continued all the way until the end of the smoke.  I’m not sure what happened here.  Although the size and shape of a cigar can effect the flavors of a blend, I was expecting this to be at least similar to the Elitas but it was not.  It showed promise when the bitterness was absent, but because of it I didn’t enjoy this vitola nearly as much as the Elitas.  My hope is this was a fluke, and I’ll give the Marelas another try.  If my experience is any different I’ll report back on it.  For this reason I am going to hold off on giving this cigar a rating for now.

Cruzado Elitas Tuesday, Nov 11 2008 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Corona 6.0″ x 44 ring

The Cruzado is the newest creation from the man behind the immensely popular Illusione cigars, Dion Giolito. This new line is billed as being medium-bodied/medium strength in comparison to the full-bodied, powerful Illusione. Apparently to tone down the blend Dion chose to use the viso leaf instead of using ligero. Viso is the priming right below ligero on the tobacco plant.  The Cruzado is made at the same factory as the Illusione, at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. They are available is six sizes:
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  • Avalitos 4″ x 46 – petit robusto
  • Dantes 5″ x 48 – robusto
  • Domenicos 5 5/8″ x 46 – corona gorda
  • Elitas 6″ x 44 – corona
  • Marios 7″ x 47 – churchill
  • Marelas 5 5/8″ x 46 – perfecto

One thing about this line that immediately jumps out at me is the ring gauges.  Not a single one of these cigars breaks 48 in ring size, not even the perfecto.  I applaud this.  In an age where big, fat, jaw breaker cigars with 50+ ring gauges seem to be all anyone wants to make, I am happy to see a line of cigars made in more traditional sizes.  I happen to think that cigars in the 42 to 48 range of ring sizes is ideal, allowing for an optimal marriage between the filler blend and the wrapper leaf.  I am very excited to see the smaller ring gauges in this line of cigars and I look forward to trying all of them.

First up is the Elitas.  A 6″ x 44 corona, this seemed like the perfect place to start.  Afterall, you can’t get more traditional than the Corona.  I am going to use a word, probably more than once, that I am beginning to feel I over use a bit, but it is the best word I can come up with in those situations that I use it.  Rustic.  The Criollo wrapper on the Cruzado is very rustic looking.  It is rumpled looking, dark, and bumpy.  It has a strange little pigtail on the head.  It almost looks like a half-pigtail.  Like they started to give it a pigtail cap and then just decided, “nah, never mind” and clipped it off leaving just little stub of the tail behind.  The band has a medieval look too it.  The silver looks more like steel and it is trimmed in gold that looks more like riveted brass.  The font used to spell out Cruzado looks like it was lifted off of a knights coat of arms.  All told it is a cool looking stick.  I feel like I should be wearing some shades to be cool enough to smoke it, ha ha.

My initial draw delivers a blast of pepper and spice.  This is supposedly a medium bodied cigar which makes me chuckle because this cigar has the volume turned up to 10, full bodied at least at the start.  As I worked my way into the smoke it does settle down a bit but this is still a full bodied smoke and it packs a nice little punch in the strength department as well.  The flavors are spicy with a slightly sweet finish, full of earth and leather.  There are flashes of chocolate and something else I can’t identify.  Maybe a slight tinge of citrus.  What a complex flavor bomb.  Not even half way through the cigar and I am blown away by this smoke.  Chocolate, spice, earth, and a sweetness I cannot place keep swirling in and out with each puff all capped off with a long satisfying, citrusy finish.  I have never smoked a cigar like this.  It is truly unique.  This is as good as any super premium cigar I’ve tried.  Thick clouds of smoke billow out with each draw and the aroma is rich and decadent.  The Burn and draw were perfect.  The only negative thing I can say about this stick is the that the ash splits and curls off.  tapping it frequently is a must to keep the ash out of your lap.

From start to finish this is an amazing smoke.  This is nothing like an Illusione which is an outstanding cigar in its own right.  Dion has come up with a completely different cigar with the Cruzado and it is a spectacular cigar.  The Cruzado was billed as a medium bodied cigar, flavorful but a little less robust than the Illusione.  If you ask me this is as full and strong as an Illusione if not more so.  This may be the best cigar of 2008 and is possibly the best cigar to come out since the Tatuaje Brown Labels hit the scene.  It is a MUST try.

Rating – A+

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