Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoCigar Info

The Master Blends Cigar Company with Tabacalera El Artista debuted their boutique brand, Hand Rolled Cigars, at the 83rd Annual IPCPR Convention & International in 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.The official release of Handmade Cigars marks the team of and Juan Carlos Rojas’ first foray into the cigar industry following their initial role as purveyors of fine premium cigars at their tobacconist shops, Ash Fine Cigars.

This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed.

After a long and spirited smoke-filled journey in pursuit of the world’s greatest cigars, co-founders and Juan Carlos Rojas have teamed with Tabacalera El Artista in Tamboril, Dominican Repúblic to create a collection of master blends that is worthy of their Cuban family legacy. The result of that relentless sojourn is Handmade Cigars.

This line pays homage to the time-honored Cuban craftsmanship of both Rojas and Gutierrez’s families having hand-rolled premium cigars for more than three generations. The Cuban Heritage Line includes three premium blends including the Gran Fino , Serie 32 Habano and the Heavyweight Maduro.

Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoVital Stats:

Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Country of Origin:
Wrapper: Shade Broadleaf
Binder: Criollo 98
Filler: Dominican-grown Ligero, Nicaraguan Estelí, and Pennsylvania
Factory: Master Blends Cigar Company
Number of reviewers: 4Matt C. (Big Matt) Mickey T. (irratebass) Adam B. (Bushboy) Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)
Price: $6.49
Age: 7 Months
Release Date: July 2015
Contributed by: Manolo Estate Cigars

Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoInitial Impressions

Appearance: 92

“Flawless construction. with a perfect pre light draw. Light, sweet flavors eluding to a spectacular mild event. Can hardly wait to toast.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

Aroma: 92

“Light notes, easy on the nose, typical of a . Nutty, touch of sweet and overall enjoyable pre light draw. This cigar is rolled with precision and definitely shows signs of aged tobacco.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoFirst Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Mild-Medium
Body/Complexity: Light-Medium

“Fermented tobacco, honey, cream and roasted nuts hit my palate and the retro is straight cream. Very enjoyable. Citrus is dancing around in the background maybe giving me the hint that it will become more prominent as this cigar progresses. A very mild maybe white pepper tingles on the tongue.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“1st puff I got peanut butter, and dry roasted peanuts. I do believe this is a , but it has a lot of flavor….not boring at all. This would be a nice morning w/coffee cigar. 1/2 way into the 1st third and it’s turned quite boring & dry unfortunately. There is still hints of PB & Peanuts, but not up in the front as much. I hope this transitions as I continue.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)

Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoSecond Third

Flavor: 89
Strength: Mild-Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Honey, cinnamon, roasted nuts, cedar and the citrus is building. The retro is still straight cream with no pepper in sight. The finish is delicious and I’m only in the second third and I’m already thinking I could smoke this cigar back to back. Apricot and toast now join the party on my palate.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“No real transition of flavor, although the compliment to the seafood from the first third is delightful. Slightly sweet, almost fruity flavor that leaves the palate refreshed. Definitely a mild smoke with flavors remaining constant.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

Blind Cigar Review: Manolo Estate | Connecticut Gran Fino RobustoFinal Third

Flavor: 90
Strength: Mild-Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Cream, cedar, and rich aged fermented tobacco are in the forefront in the final third. The citrus that I thought would make a presence is as we progress is gone, along with the apricot and nuts. White pepper is now on the retro with the cream. Strength finally hits the medium mark after flirting with it in the second third. The draw is cool and smoke production is copious.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“I was ready to put this stick down early when I detected a drastic change foe the better. The charcoal notes faded away and the sweetness returned. In addition there was a bit of a citrus zest on the finish. Hesitantly I exhaled through my nostrils and was pleased to note that the smoke was smooth and easy. It’s like a totally different cigar.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)

Overall Impressions

Draw: 93

“The draw was just firm enough to be noticed but open enough to produce clouds of smoke. No problems here.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)

Burn: 94

“For the most part the cigar burned evenly and slowly. I did require one relight for an inexplicable reason…it just went out. Otherwise quite acceptable.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)

Construction: 92

“No issues regarding construction. It looked nice and performed well…hard to complain about that!” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)

Overall Strength: Mild-Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Overall Experience: 89

“This is definitely a first cigar of the day type of smoke. I would even smoke this cigar on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, as the flavors present are so damn good, I digress. The honey, cinnamon, cedar and nut notes makes this a cigar aficionados dream and it is right in my wheelhouse. Bravo. I put the cigar down with less than an inch left.” –Matt C. (Big Matt)

“The initial aromas on the prelight were great and the 1/3rd was good after that it went downhill. I do not recommend it.” –Mickey T. (irratebass)

“Should have sampled over breakfast. Mild smoke with limited flavor transition. Nothing unpleasant throughout, however never presented that wow factor. If i had a few more, i would let rest, and enjoy with a cup of coffee.” –Adam B. (Bushboy)

“Construction, burn, and draw were all positive aspects of this cigar. Unfortunately, for me it has to taste good too, and this one didn’t cut it. The finish was quite good, but if I were smoking this for leisure I would have tossed it early on. I hope my experience was the exception for this one. Not something I would smoke again or recommend.” –Jason H. (Jokey Smurf)


Smoking Time (in minutes): 60

  • Appearance 92% 92%
  • Aroma 92% 92%
  • First Third 89% 89%
  • Second Third 89% 89%
  • Final Third 90% 90%
  • Draw 93% 93%
  • Burn 94% 94%
  • Construction 92% 92%
  • Overall Experience 89% 89%

Total Score - Very Good


Matt C.Big Matt)889090929095858890
Mickey T.irratebass)959788787090959580
Adam B.Bushboy)909290909090959090
Jason H.Jokey Smurf)959288859095939588

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

Blind Cigar Review: | Gran Fino