Tag Archives: Don Juan Urquijo

Natural from Drew Estate, Imperia, Don Juan Urquijo and Padilla Cigars

Drew Estate_Natural_NDBAll I really wanted to do this week was smoke some old favorite cigars, you know how everyone has that comfortable old shirt that is worn out but you can’t get rid of, and wear every chance you get?  I have one, I wore it yesterday. Anyway, I wanted to, but I ended up smoking cigars I hadn’t smoked before instead, I kept thinking, if I just smoke familiar cigars, what am I going to blather on about in my Sunday post? So I started out with a Drew Estate Natural “NDB”, a cool 7″x 44 shape. I’m sure I had smoked something from the Natural line in the past, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t infused or anything, but I knew it used some unique tobaccos. It looks like there’s tobacco from Syria, Turkey and St. John’s Parrish (Perique) and Nicaragua. Toar Campbell of CigarSmoke.net made a comment on Facebook, simply saying “desert?”, which I found a very fitting description for this cigar. It had a sweet cap, which doesn’t thrill me, but I can get past it, and the overall flavor of the cigar was rich and sweet in the sense that a German Chocolate cake is rich and sweet. I quite enjoyed the cigar to tell the truth, I can see this working itself in to my “go-to” list. The flavors were varied and interesting and I found it to be a satisfying cigar. It looks like the blend varies by size, so perhaps some more sampling is called for, but I liked the 7″x 44 size. I think I have a couple in a robusto size floating around somewhere. This was probably my pleasant surprise of the week.


Imperia_PitaFriday night I ventured into another new-to-me cigar which came courtesy of George, my secret Santa this year. George has been healing from a surgery and part of me feels bad for smoking his cigars while he has been taking a break to heal, but part of me thinks he’d want me to enjoy the cigars so he could enjoy them vicariously. I prefer to think the later, because it would be douchey to throw it up in his face and I try not to be a douche.  Anyway, I had really been looking forward to trying the Imperia by Mike Belody, of MLB Cigar Ventures, since I hear it advertised on quite a few podcasts, and have heard Mike on some shows and almost feel like I know him. Unfortunately, our paths haven’t crossed yet, but I hope they do soon. Anyway, the Imperia was a corona size, which was perfect since I was getting a late start, forgoing my evening walk for just sitting on the porch. Unfortunately, winter decided to make a return and it was cold and windy, and I don’t like walking in the wind with a cigar. The porch is enclosed, reasonably warm and windless. The Imperia is made at the Quesada factory, with  High Priming Dominican Havana Vuelta Arriba (HVA) wrapper, Dominican binder and
fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.  This was an amazing cigar! Full of great flavors and performed perfectly with a punch cut,  giving me a very relaxing hour of delicious smoke. For a cigar with a blue band this was pretty darned great! I got some dark coffee flavors with a little pepper and or citrus zing. Quite a great cigar and I thank George again for sharing it with me! Have to vent a little about one of me pet peeves though, please, manufacturers, put the available sizes on your website! I searched for this information for too long and almost gave up (couldn’t find an online retailer with it either) but I did finally find a 2014 Halfwheel post with the sizes, the corona is called the Pita listed at 5½” x 44.


DonJuanUrquiro_Perique_toroYesterday I selected a Don Juan Urquijo Perique from a recent sampler from Daughers & Ryan, the US distributor for Tabacalera in the Philippines. I really like the 1881 Perique blends from this company, and I was surprised with the Don Juan Urquijo Pyramid I smoked last November. So I figured this Don Juan Urquijo Perique toro might be a good bet. Let’s circle back to preconceived notions for a bit. I had a bias against Filipino cigars for a long time, but I gave them another show and found these, at least, to be pretty darned good (the Don Juan Urquijo and 1881). In what I’m told was a factory error which has been addressed, this Don Juan Urquijo Perique came in cellophane with a convenient tear strip, which, to my admittedly jaded and cigar snobbish mind signals a less than desirable cigar. Is it wrong to feel this way?  I don’t know, but perception is reality to some, and for me it was hard to get past, despite reassurances that this it was a premium, hand-made product wrapped by machine. I hate to admit that it took me some time to talk myself into pulling the ripcord on this one (literally and figuratively), but I did. Just goes to show how much packaging and presentation can play into one’s perception of quality. Anyway, I kinda liked the cigar,  not quite as much as I liked the 1881 Perique or the Don Juan Urquijo Pyramid, but it was a pleasant cigar with that little bit of an extra exotic spice the Perique tobacco adds.  Not bad…not bad at all.


Padilla_small batchI found myself with an hour to kill last night so I went searching for another shorter smoke and came across the five-pack of Padilla Single Batch Perfectos that I bought several months ago when  Cigars International offered them for $1 delivered. That’s right, this was a 20¢ cigar, how often do you admit to smoking a 20¢ cigar? I’ve bit on a couple of the five cigars for $1 deals, I can’t figure out why they do this since it obviously costs more than $1 to ship the things to me, heck it costs them way more than that to pay someone to put them in a box, not to mention the cost of the box…this is a loser for CI for sure,  and since they are out of stock of these my mentioning them here isn’t doing them any good. Either way, it’s worth a dollar to me to see what these are all about, if I lit each one with a dollar bill I’d still be ahead of the game. The little bowling pin shaped perfecto burned better than some $10-15 cigars I’ve smoked, it had a perfect draw and straight burn. Very impressive. The flavor was OK, I found it to be on the “floral” end of the spectrum, I’ve tasted a lot worse. Surprisingly, the blend is an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Honduran binder and Brazilian, Dominican, Honduran, and United States fillers.  So, it is possible to get a pretty good cigar cheap! I feel a little guilty buying these, like I’m stealing…


Anyway, that’s enough from me for now, stay tuned for another contest coming up featuring a ticket to an upcoming Philadelphia area cigar festival!  More on that later, but until the next time,





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Smoking Cigars from Tabacalara Incorporada in the Philippines

Many years ago I wrote off cigars from the Philippines, as well as cigars with Indonesian wrappers. When I heard that the folks at Daughters & Ryan, famed for distributing pipe tobacco, RYO, shisha and e-liquids, were the exclusive US distributor for Philippine company Tabacalera Incorporada, I was skeptical. I looked over the portfolio and saw mostly blends of Indonesian and Philippine tobaccos. Still, keeping an open mind, and trusting that things have changed since the ’90s when I decided I didn’t like these tobaccos, I figured I’d try some of the offerings of this 130+ year old company. I was quite curious about the 1881 Perique Maduro, the Tabacalera Gran Reserva and the Don Juan Urquijo, so I smoked a few of them over the last couple days.


1881PeriqueMaduro_ToroYou know well enough by now what I went for first, I strive to be consistent. The 1881 Perique Maduro in the toro size was the blend that piqued my interest in giving this companies cigars a try. The cigar has a Dominican maduro wrapper, binder form the Philippines (from a 1997 crop), and the filler is 18% Perique from a farm in Louisiana owned by Daughters & Ryan and Philippine leaf. Perique is typically a pipe tobacco, it’s usually blended because it’s very strong, and has a distinctive flavor. This type of tobacco was being cultivated in Louisiana by the local Native American tribes when Europeans wandered into the area in the 1700s. The cigar was outstanding, I really enjoyed the heck out of it. That interesting Perique spice was a welcomed difference and made for a very interesting hour and a half or so. I’m not sure  how to describe it except that there is a bit of a fruityness along with the rich sweetness of the maduro wrapper. Loved it in to toro, looking forward to trying it in other sizes ( it comes in the toro, torpedo and torpedito, robusto and short robusto).  After enjoying this so much, my skepticism is fading.


DonJuanUrquiro_PyramidLater in the evening I took a walk in the company of the dog and a Don Juan Urquijo Pyramid. Short tangent: I’m finding that my go-to sizes recently are the toro and torpedo or pyramid sizes, somewhere in the 6″-6½” x 50-54  range. I don’t know if these sizes best fit my attention span, or if I like to have that amount of time to relax with a cigar or what. I’m sure it’s time related, sometimes a robusto (of which I have a great many), just isn’t long enough…anyway, back to the cigar. The Don Juan Urquijo is a four country blend, it has what I consider to be an ugly colored Java wrapper, the Isabela binder from the Philippines, and fillers from the Philippines, Dominican Republic and Brazil. Going back to the wrapper color. When I see this wrapper color it’s a turn-off, it’s a babycrap kind of olive/brown that just doesn’t appeal to me. A few years ago Villiger made their 125th Anniversary with a similar colored wrapper and had the good sense to put it in a tube. However, this was one tasty cigar. It’s on the mild side, but loaded with complex flavors that were both creamy and spicy with a nice sweetness. Never judge a book by its cover. It was perfectly balanced, well made, and a delight to smoke. This would be a great cigar to have with coffee in the morning, but it was perfect after a nice dinner of leftovers from the previous day’s feast. I kinda regret being so hard on the wrapper color, it was so good. It would have been a shame to have passed this by on a tobacconist’s shelf. My preconceived notions continue to be dashed.


Tabacalera_GranReserva_RobustoYesterday I selected the final cigar of the three I had. There are seven lines now from this factory, with eleven new lines expected soon. (that’s my understanding, maybe there are four new lines coming to expand the selection to eleven?). Anyway, the last one was a robusto in the Gran Reserve line. This is the only size in this line,  and it boasts a 16-year-old Brazilian wrapper, and twenty-two year old Isabela binder and filler from the Philippines. It’s amazing that they have tobacco this old, twenty years ago everyone was buying whatever tobacco they could and rolling cigars because there was a huge cigar boom. Tobacco was scarce, good cigars were scarce, it’s a wonder I stuck with the cigar hobby! Anyway, the Tabacalera Gran Reserva Robusto definitely tastes like well aged tobacco, with a core of sweet cedar flavors. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of care goes into the production of this cigar, as well as the others I smoked. There were occasions that I sat one down for ten minutes and it didn’t need a relight, and none of the three I smoked required any corrections. These are very nice cigars with a little something for everyone.  As far as where to get them goes, They do have some available for sale on their website, and I suspect they will be available in brick and mortar retailers. As I said in the intro, Daughters & Ryan based in North Carolina are the US distributors. The aren’t a cheap date, but well worth the price.


Thanks to Mike Rubish, the National Sales Director at Daughters & Ryan for facilitating the sampling of Tabacalera Cigars from the Philippines! On another note, after Thanksgiving dinner was cleaned up and all the guests were gone, I walked off dinner with a Drew Estate Liga Privada Serie Unico L40 that was five years old (original release). It was a fantastic smoke! With that I think I’ve smoked all of the regular production Unicos and this might have been my favorite right behind the Feral Flying Pig. That’s all I have for today, until the next time,





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