I rarely smoke non-Cuban cigars. Not because they aren’t good cigars, but simply because they are so hard to come by. Most of the best online cigar stores in the United States won’t ship to Malaysia, and the really rare stuff that can only be found in a few stores, won’t even ship to anywhere near Malaysia. Haha.

So, over the years, i’ve relied on the generosity of my readers to share with me cigars they think i should try, cigars that they want a second opinion on, or cigars that i’ve expressed an interest on either here on My Cigar Blog, or over my many email exchanges with them, or over on one of the cigar forums i frequent.

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The cigar i smoked over the weekend, the Tatuaje Verocu 5 is one such cigar, donated by the goodwill of Kevin P, his “favourite small format cigar”. Props and thanks to you for this, mate!

It’s about the size of a minutos, a Partagas Shorts or Ramon Allones Small Club Corona. But the wrapper is far studier, far toothier, and very much darker, maduro even. Not surprising since it’s a Nicaraguan puro; where the dark, rich soil there lends itself to the growing of some pretty intense tasting tobacco. I’ve had some fantastic cigars made from Nicaraguan tobacco in years past, the legendary CAO Brazilia Samba chief amongst them.

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Despite the hard surface and unforgiving heft, the cigar draws well, no tightness at all. Perfect. The first few puffs are extremely rich — a full, bittersweet cocoa with grounded dark almonds. What a lovely pleasure. I love my Shorts, and this is a completely different experience, but similarly powerful from the first draw.

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The cigar quickly evolves into something really spicy, peppery and prickly to the lips and palate. A nice way to start the day, if there ever was one. Would pair very well with a very sweet espresso. Each draw is luscious and luxurious, the smoke volume is epic. The room is smoked out very quickly, despite the open windows.

The final third is more of the same, albeit even more intense. It becomes hard to take full draws at this point, the flavour is so full bodied and bitter. I was served better by taking small sips of smoke, to balance out the fullness. Very leathery now, like a very well done steak with deep charring. It’s been so long, but now i remember the analogy — smoking Nicaraguan tobacco is like smoking the dark meat of the earth. Very filling, very satisfying.

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Verdict: 83/100. A powerful, occasionally overpoweringly so, cigar. But it has many redeeming points — the flavour is unforgettable, with a long, hearty finish to the palate. Construction is perfect. Delivery is immaculate. But ultimately, a tad bit one-dimensional, and after the initial shock and awe, predictable too. Doesn’t make it a bad cigar, not by a long shot.

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