Panacea Green Robusto Monday, Nov 8 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Habano
Filler: Triple Ligero Blend(Piloto Cubano, Olor Dominicano, and Nicaragua)
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 Ring

I have been working my way through a sampler of cigars sent to me by Paul Bush of the Flatbed Cigar Company that contained each of their four Panacea cigars. I chose to try them in the order that they were released since the inception of the company and the brand. I started out with the mild and delicious Panacea Black Connecticut, followed that up with it’s brother the Panacea Black Maduro, and then smoked the large and robust Panacea Red 560. So now I come to the last cigar in the sampler. The Panacea Green is the blend I have been looking most forward to. It is the newest edition to the Panacea brand. According to their website they worked on this blend for over a year before it finally debuted in February of this year.

The Panacea Green is a three ligero blend covered in a mottled brown Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper that has a nice oily sheen.  The band is a bright leprechaun green.  To be honest, it is not the prettiest of bands which detracts a bit from the aesthetics of the good looking wrapper leaf.  The cigar was firm and well filled and a test of the draw before lighting reveal a nice even pull.  From the very first puff on this cigar I was impressed and intrigued.  It has a wonderful spice to it that is very well balanced with notes of toasted tobacco and leather and a robust earthy finish.  he construction was impeccable.  The burn was nice and even and the ash seemed to hold on forever.  I only tapped the ash on this smoke 3 maybe four times and only for my comfort.  It seemed like it would have held longer than I was leaving it.   The flavors seemed to build in intensity as I progressed through the smoke.  There were notes of wood, leather, caramel, and tobacco.  In addition there was always that fantastic, unique spice that captivated me at the very start.  I cannot say for sure, but I am attributing it to the wrapper.  I wish I could be a better job at describing it.  Whatever that spice was and however it might be described, I really enjoyed it and the cigar as a whole.  I found it to be an excellent cigar, and one that I certainly want to smoke again.

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Panacea Red 560 Maduro/Habano Wednesday, Oct 20 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican Habano
Filler: Seco Cubano, Ligero Piloto Cubano, Ligero Olor Dominicano, & Ligero Nicaragua
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 60 ring

The Panacea Red is the second blend from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  Billed as a bolder more full bodied blend their website tells us we can expect all the great flavors of the Panacea Black Maduro only in a fuller, stronger experience. Read about my experience with the Black Maduro here, and if you are unfamiliar with the Flatbed Cigar Company and Panacea cigars, check out my review of the Panacea Black Natural here.  The Red changes things up a bit with the introduction of a Habano binder and plenty of Ligero tobacco.  The wrapper is the same dark Brazilian Maduro that is used on the Panacea Black Maduro.  The 560 is a big beefy cigar and the guys at Flatbed decided it needed its own band that is more appropriate for a cigar of this girth, “We also gave it a different style Black Label band better suited for a big-ole cigar.”

Now it is no secret I think a 60 ring gauge is just to damn big.  I don’t like it.  I find cigars this large awkward and uncomfortable to smoke.  At 5’11” and 225 lbs (the gym is paying off, I’m smaller than I use to be, but yet), I’m not a small guy.  I just think a 60 ring is excessive.  I also have found in my own experience that cigars often lose something when they are made this big.  Flavors become muddled, the subtleties of a blend get lost in the massive amounts of filler it takes to make a cigar this large.  I also acknowledge though that there are some examples of blends that just “work” in these larger formats.  I hope the Panacea Red is one of those blends, but we’ll see.  Regardless I think I may order myself a sampler of the reds in one of the more standard sizes to see what I think of the blend regardless of what my opinion turns out to be of this particular vitola.

The Panacea Red 560 has a noticeably “light” dark brown wrapper for a Maduro, especially for a Brazilian maduro.  It has a handful of small veins running across its surface.  The draw is excellent but predictably the ring gauge is a bit awkward.  It starts off very light and almost mild but quickly bolsters.  The flavors were medium-full with a light to medium strength.  It is a very well-balanced cigar with creamy notes of toasted wood and a hint of sweetness complimented nicely by more robust flavors of earth and coffee.  The finish is medium bodied and doesn’t linger long.  The flavors stay pretty consistent from start to finish.  What it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in just good solid flavors and a nice finish.  It did seem to pick up in strength a bit in the last third adding a bit of peppery spice to the mix.  I was surprised that this wasn’t a stronger cigar given all the ligero that is in the blend and the Habano binder.  I wonder if that was a side effect of the exaggerated ring size.  I really enjoyed this cigar and very much want to try this blend in a more traditional size like a corona or robusto.  If you are a fan of big girthy cigars than I think you’ll love this one.  It is an excellent smoke.

Panacea Black Maduro Torpedo Tuesday, Sep 28 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Olor Dominicano & Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 6.0″ x 52 ring

Panacea cigars are a product from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  I gave a rundown of the outfit recently in my review of the Panacea Black Natural that I posted recently.  Give it a read if you need or want to know more about them, or just visit their website.  The Black label line was their first, initially release with an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade wrapper.  The line was quickly expanded to include a maduro wrapped version of the blend.  That is what I am smoking today.

This Panacea Black actually is a torpedo as opposed to the Natural I smoke in which I thought it was a torpedo, but in actuality it was their version of a perfecto.  The Maduro is wrapped in a dark brown, mottled maduro leaf with some fine veins running across its surface.  The Maduro wrapper doesn’t do much to bolden this blend but it does have a bit more body than the natural.  What you end up with is a very nice, creamy, mild smoke.  Notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and earth are complimented by a subtle sweetness typical of a maduro smoke.  Again, like the natural it is a fairly simple and straight forward smoke with well defined and well balanced flavors.  It is consistent from start to finish.  There is a little spice that shows up in the last third giving the smoke a bit more oomph and that made for a very nice conclusion to what was a very good smoke.  Construction was excellent with a great draw and an even burn.

I think the Panacea Black is another fine cigar from the Flatbed Cigar Company.  I enjoyed it more than most maduros I’ve smoked, but of the two versions of the Black, I think I prefer the natural.  That said, I would certainly enjoy smoking another maduro anytime.

Panacea Black Natural Perfecto Wednesday, Sep 15 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian CT
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Olor Dominicano & Nicaraguan
Size: Perfecto 6.0″ x 51 ring

I was recently contacted by a gentleman named Paul Bush, owner of the Flatbed Cigar Company.  He asked if I had heard of and/or tried any of his cigars.  He also asked if I’d be interested in trying them if I hadn’t.  Informed Paul that while I had indeed heard of his cigars, I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of trying any of them.  He generously offered to remedy that and he sent me a sampler of his cigars.

The Flatbed Cigar Company is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and they make Panacea Cigars.  There are currently three lines of Panacea cigars.  The names are simple and direct and make it easy to know which cigars are which.  They are simply named after the color of their bands.  There is the Panacea Black which comes in a shade grown and maduro variety.  The Panacea Red is a bolder blend which sports a Maduro wrapper around a Dominican grown Habano binder.  Last but not least is the Flatbed Cigar Companies signature cigar, the Panacea Green which is finished off with a one of a kind Pennsylvania grown broadleaf wrapper.  I will be reviewing each of these cigars in the coming weekes so there will be plenty of details to follow on each of these.  Their very first cigar to market however was the Panacea Black Natural so I will be starting with this cigar first.  Before we get into the smoke, here is just a bit more on the company behind it.

I won’t be able to tell their story better than they can so I recommend checking out their website to learn all about them.  Just click here to read the story on how the Flatbed Cigar Company got started and what they are about.  I will give you the highlights here though.  They got started in 2007 with the Panacea Black.  The company was founded on the philosophy that they would focus on a few really good blends and use the best tobacco they could.  No gimmicks, no tricks, no fancy packaging.  Just good cigars made with good tobacco that hasn’t been messed with.  The cigars are made in the Dominican Republic, and Paul started off selling them out of the trunk of his car driving all over the northeast and mid-Atlantic building his client base.  Pennsylvania has a rich tradition in the cigar industry the Flatbed Cigar Company pays homage to that history with their Pennsylvanian grown wrapper that they use on the Panacea Green Label cigars.  The Green Label was a project that was a long time in the making that marries their heritage with their product.

As I mentioned earlier the Panacea Black was the Flatbed Cigar Companies very first cigar to market.  It is a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco wrapped in a dusky Ecuadorian grown, Connecticut Shade wrapper. This perfecto is very unique.  I originally mistook it for a torpedo with an unusual tapered foot.   I recently realized my mistake and updated this post.  It isn’t your typical perfecto because the taper is only at the head and foot of the stogie.  The body of the stick is straight like a standard parejo vitola.  It’s shape is unique and unusual which makes it interesting to me.  The cigar has an aroma of hay and tobacco and the draw seems to be just right.

This mild smoke starts off very nicely with creamy flavors like butter and nuts as well as some paper and hay notes.  All very typical of a a Connecticut shade wrapped cigar.  Not typical was the complete lack of harshness or youth.  The flavors while mild were well-defined and balanced.  It is consistent from start to finish.  Near the center there was the addition of some earthiness, and a bit of a barnyard? (hay and earth) aroma and in the last third there was some spice and black pepper that joined the party.  The burn, while not razor-sharp, was always even and demanded no attention from me which is the way I like it.  They claim to have the best rollers making their cigars and my sample lived up to that claim.  It was very well made.

I admit I have a soft spot for small boutique cigar brands, so I also have to confess that I really wanted to like this cigar going in.  I had concerns, because in my opinion there are a lot of sub par Connecticut Shade cigars out there and not many that I find to be good.  I had no idea what to expect from the Panacea but was very pleasantly surprised by it.  I found it be a very tasty, very well made, mild smoke that was really excellent from start to finish.  It would be a great morning smoke with a cup of coffee or even serve as a nice easy going mid-day smoke.  This one has me really looking forward to trying the other Panacea samples I have waiting for me.  If you’d like to give them a try, you can either look for a shop local to you that carries these cigars or order them direct online from the Flatbed Cigar Company.

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