Editorial: Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival 2023 Blind Tasting Results

Editorial: Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival 2023 Blind Tasting Results

Smoker Friendly Hosted the 14th Annual at the end of August, just over two weeks ago. This also meant the fourth annual Blind Man's Puff Blind Cigar Tasting Event. In 2019 we did the first ever Blind Cigar Tasting Event for every attendee of the festival and we have done it every year since, except 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we handed out more cigars and had more reviews submitted than any previous year. We would also like to thank our sponsor Drew Estate for making this possible.

The idea of this event is to give the everyday smoker the experience of what it's like to review a cigar when you don't know what you're smoking, just like we do everyday on our site. We partnered with 11 different cigar manufacturers and by hand, un-banded 1,500 cigars one at a time and replaced them with our own bands with just our logo and a number on it. Every attendee of the festival was given a coupon book in their swag bags to come redeem for their blind cigar, along with instructions on how to review it and find out what it was. Everyone that filled out the form during the festival got to spin our prize wheel where we gave away hundreds of awesome prizes including cases, backpacks, luggage, ashtrays, lighters, and much more! We also gave attendees a week after the festival to submit their review to be entered to win a box of cigars. The winner of the box of cigars this year was Alan G., and has been contacted through email.

At the first event (2019), we had 117 reviews submitted total for the event including the weeks afterword. Last year, we had 207 people submit their reviews during the festival, and another 68 after for a total of 276. This year we had 353 people submit their reviews during the festival, and another 128 after for a total of 481. As you can see, each year the number of people submitting the reviews both during and after the festival is steadily increasing, and the event is becoming a staple of the festival itself that people looks for each year.

Below you will find the results summary for each cigar entry did, sorted by average score. In the raw data we are able to sort by 100ths of a decimal place, we have also rounded to the nearest whole number to give a final score comparable to what we do on the site. There was one tie, for 14th . If you would like to see the raw and more detailed data of how each cigar did, you can go here. At the bottom of this page, you can find more details about each cigar that was entered in the tasting. The cigar that ended up with the highest score this year was the J.C. Newman Perla del Mar Corojo Double . Congrats to the Newman Family and the whole J.C. Newman team, if you didn't get a chance to try these at the show, go and find some!

Final
Placement
Cigar NumberCompanyCigar NameScore (average)Final
Score
16J.C. NewmanPerla del Mar Corojo Double 90.4990
211DieselVintage 90.3990
35Aganorsa LeafCasa Fernandez Reserva Maduro 90.1690
412West Tampa Tobacco Co.Red Robusto89.9590
516Alec BradleyDouble Broadleaf89.9290
614Ferio TegoSumma89.7590
715La Flor DominicanaAir Bender Matatan Natural Robusto89.6890
82PunchGolden Era Robusto89.5690
97Miami Cigar & CompanyDon Lino Africa Duma89.4589
103CAOCameroon Robusto89.2589
111EspinosaCrema No. 4 Robusto87.9488
1210Drew EstateUndercrown 1087.2287
138Paper Boy Maduro87.2187
139La Flor DominicanaLa Nox87.2187
154Miami Cigar & CompanyNestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break86.6087

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Below are the details for all of the cigar in the Blind Tasting Event. These are in order of the number on their bands, NOT their final placement in the scoring.

Cigar #1 Information Espinosa Crema No. 4 Robusto

The ​Espinosa Crema is the first offering in the Espinosa Portfolio, launched in 2016. The Crema is made with Nicaraguan binders and fillers and wrapped in an Ecuadorian wrapper. The cigar is described as creamy, with a nice balance of nuts and spices.​

Vitolas: No. 1 (7×48), No. 4 (5-1/2×52), No. 5 (6×56), Rabito (6 x 46, Corona Gorda)

Pricing ranges from $8.00 – $10.00 MSRP. Presented in boxes of 20

Cigar #2 Information Punch Golden Era Robusto

Punch Announces Golden Era - Cigar News

General Cigar released a new regular production line to the Punch brand in April of 2023. Punch Golden Era was designed to celebrate corojo tobacco that had a starring role in the “golden age” of cigars. Corojo had been used as the wrapper of choice on many cigars until tobacco diseases and mold brought the tobacco to the brink of extinction.

The Cuban seed Corojo used in the Punch Golden Era was grown on a 650-acre farm in Honduras by the Eiroa family. The blend uses Honduran-grown, Cuban seed Corojo wrapper and binder, and its filler is comprised of Honduran-grown and Cuban-seed Corojo tobacco.

The blend is described as mild-to-medium-bodied and is rolled at Fabrica de Puros Aladino SA in Honduras. This factory is home to the JRE (Aladino) brand. The cigars will come packaged in boxes of 20 and are going to ship to retailers on May 1. The line will launch with three sizes: Robusto 5 x 50 MSRP per cigar $9.99, 6 x 52 MSRP per cigar $10.49, and Churchill 7 x 48 MSRP per cigar $10.99.

Cigar #3 Information CAO Cameroon Robusto

The CAO Cameroon cigar line was developed in honor of the 30th anniversary of CAO cigars. The Cameroon Series is the second addition to the highly successful CAO Maduro La Anniversaire Series.The blend is comprised of a brown Cameroon wrapper from Africa and premium Nicaraguan long-fillers and binders. The result is a medium-bodied smoke with a good hint of spice & nuts, additional notes of coffee, cocoa and wood flavors are present. The CAO cigars are beautifully boxed pressed and come in boxes of 20 cigars.

The line was launched in 1999 under the name CAO L'Anniversaire 1968-1998 honoring CAO's 30th anniversary as a company. In 2004, Aficionado gave the CAO L'Anniversaire Robusto a 92 score and it also made the zine's “Top 25 Cigars” of that year. Additionally, those first CAO Cameroons were blended by Nick Perdomo and made at his Estelí, tabacalera. Today they're made at General Cigar's STG factory in Estelí and continue to be one of CAO's most highly consumer-rated cigars.

The CAO Cameroon is offered in a wide array of sizes: CHURCHILL – 6.875 X 48, BELICOSO – 6 X 54, – 5.5 X 55, ROBUSTO – 5 X 50, PERFECTO – 4 X 48. Prices range from $5-$8.

Cigar #4 Information Miami Cigar & Company Nestor Miranda Special Selection Coffee Break

Miami Cigar & Company brought back the Nestor Miranda Special Selection in 2019 in celebration of their 30th anniversary. The original cigar was sold in the mid-2000's and with this new version, it is again made at the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli, .

The blend uses a Nicaraguan Rosado wrapper, Nicaraguan criollo 98 binder, and fillers from the Condega, Estelí and Jalapa regions of . It is offered in three sizes: Coffee Break (4 1/2 x 50) — $6.95, (5 1/2 x 54) — $7.50, and Gran (6 x 60) — $7.95.

Cigar #5 Information Aganorsa Leaf Casa Fernandez Reserva Maduro Toro

The Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Maduro, from Aganorsa Leaf, is a line extension of the popular Miami Reserva. The blend uses a Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper, along with Nicaraguan long-fillers including a rare Medio Tiempo leaf, which is a higher priming than ligero.

Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva comes in two sizes: (6.0″x54) and Titan (Gordo) (6.0″x60), pricing ranges from $11.00 – $12.00.

Cigar #6 Information J.C. Newman Perla del Mar Corojo Double Toro

J.C. Newman is relaunched their Perla del Mar line of cigars in 2020. The handmade cigars, rolled at J.C. Newman PENSA in were first released in 2012. This relaunch included not only a new look, but new blends.

The Corojo blend was a completely new line for this relaunch that uses an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper. The cigars now come in a classic Tampa-style press in traditional bands and boxes. Each blend comes in four sizes at a very reasonable price of between $6 and $7.

Perla del Mar is a historic cigar brand that traces its roots to Cuba. In 1905, four Cuban brothers started hand rolling cigars using tobacco grown on their family's farm in Cuba. They named their company Perfecto Garcia Brothers and called their cigars “Perla del Mar” because of the beautiful Caribbean waters that surround Cuba. As the popularity and demand for their cigars grew, the brothers built a large cigar factory next to J.C. Newman's El Reloj factory in Ybor City, Florida. Perla del Mar was one of the leading premium cigar brands in the early 1900s. J.C. Newman's new Perla del Mar cigars honor the brand's historic legacy.

Cigar #7 Information Miami Cigar & Co. Don Lino Africa Duma

Blind Cigar Review: Don Lino Africa | Duma

Miami Cigar & Company announced in May of 2019 that the Don Lino Africa line would return to shelves. It was shown off at IPCPR. The re-release of this cigar was part of the companies 30th anniversary celebration. It started shipping on November 18th, 2019. This time around, the cigar is blended by AJ Fernandez and rolled at his factory Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de in Estelí, .

Don Lino Africa uses an Ecuadorian  2000 wrapper, African Cameroon binder, and Piloto Dominicano, Ometepe, Jalapa, and Esteli fillers. It comes five sizes, all box-pressed, Robusto “Duma” 5×50 ($9.00 MSRP), Belicoso “Kifaru” 6.25×52 ($10.50 MSRP), “Punda Milia” 5.5×54 ($10.00 MSRP), Gran “Tembo” 6×60 ($11.00 MSRP), and Petite Corona “Kudu” 4×44 ($5.98 MSRP).

Cigar #8 Information Artista Paper Boy Maduro

showed off the first cigar in their Studio Works line at of 2022: Paperboy. Studio Works is a line focused on creative or one-off endeavors. The first items to come out of Studio were humidors and artwork.

ASW Paperboy is comes in one size, a 4×44 Petite Corona. There are two wrapper options: Ecuadorian Shade and San Andres Maduro. Both use the same binder and filler, which have not been disclosed. MSRP is the same for both $24.50 for each 8-CT bundle.

Cigar #9 Information La Flor Dominicana La Nox

La Nox was first shown off at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and was the brainchine of La Flor Dominicana's Tony Gomez. After training in both the U.S. and the , Litto Gomez let the younger Gomez begin to take charge of certain projects for the company. It started with the successful Chapter 1 in 2013, which was followed up in 2014 by Capitulo II, two limited cigars in the company's iconic chisel shape.

ILa Nox is Latin for “the night”. The release is known for its unique packaging which is a round, black circular box that uses magnets instead of hinges. As for the cigar itself, it's a 6 1/2 x 50 extra with a dark Brazilian wrapper, binder and Dominican fillers from the company's La Canela farm.

At launch it came in just one size, the original 6 1/2 x 50 , but in in 2016, Petite La Nox was added measuring 5 x 40.

Cigar #10 Information Drew Estate Undercrown 10

Drew Estate Undercrown 10 Toro - Blind Cigar Review

Drew Estate back in May, during it's Freestyle Live event, announced a new version of its Undercrown line to celebrate 10 years since the launch of the original: Undercrown 10. This was also the mystery cigar included in the Freestyle Live Event Packs. Undercrown 10 joined the existing lines of Maduro, Shade and Sun Grown.

The blend for Undercrown 10 starts with a Mexican San Andres wrapper, Broadleaf binder and Nicaraguan fillers. It will come in four regular production sizes: (6 x 52) $12, Robusto (5 x 50) $11.75, Corona Viva (5 x 43) $10.50, and Corona Doble (7 x 50) $13.50. All come in boxes of 20. There will also be a limited-edition “Factory Floor Edition” which is a 6 x 46 $13.60 lonsdale . This also comes with 20 cigars, but in addition will include a “tobacco leaf library,” meaning a sample of each individual leaf comprising the blend. Lastly, there will be an event only size, the Undercrown 10 Tuani Belicoso (6 x 52). This will only be available at event hosted by Pedro Gomez and will comes in boxes of 2 similar to the Liga Privada “A” and Undercrown Manifesto.

Cigar #11 Information Diesel Vintage Toro

Diesel announced a new regular production cigar during the convention this year: Diesel Vintage. Like the rest of the Diesel brand, the Diesel Vintage Series is made by AJ Fernandez in with this blend using a wrapper over a binder from Estelí, and fillers from Jalapa, . As the name would suggest, the tobacco in the blend has been aged; the company says that the fillers have been aged for 5-8 years.

It is sold in five regular production vitolas: Diesel Vintage Series Gigante Nub (4 1/2 x 60) – $8.79. Diesel Vintage Series Robusto Gordo (5 x 56) – $7.79, Diesel Vintage Series (6 x 52) – $7.99, Diesel Vintage Series Double Corona (7 3/4 x 49) – $8.79, Diesel Vintage Series Rabito (6 x 46) – $9.29. The Diesel brand is distributed by STG's Forged Cigar Co.

Cigar #12 Information West Tampa Red Robusto

West Tampa Tobacco Company announced the third core line for the company earlier this year, West Tampa Red. The blend uses the same Mexican San Andreas wrapper used in their limited edition Attic Series release. The rest of the blend is completely different and uses all-Nicaraguan binder and fillers.

West Tampa Tobacco Company Red started shipping in May and is available both in the US and international markets. It comes in three vitolas all in boxes of 20: Robusto (5X50)- $8.99 MSRP, (6X52)- $9.99 MSRP, and Gigante (6X60)- $10.99 MSRP.

Cigar #14 Information Ferio Tego Summa

Up until now, Ferio Tego's new cigars (not originally Nat Sherman) were limited to annual limited releases, Elegancia and Generoso. Now, the company has announced their first core line under the flagship brand, Ferio Tego Summa.  The word summa means a ‘comprehensive work', a ‘summary or a synthesis of the body of work' thus far. The Ferio Tego Summa is described as full flavored and full bodied with an intensity that is present, but graceful.

Ferio Tego Summa is rolled in the , with a blend of tobaccos from three countries. The wrapper is an Ecuador-grown Corojo wrapper, followed by an Ecuador grown Sumatra binder. The double Ecuador wrapper/binder is said to enhance the viscous mouth feel and finish. The fillers combine Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, utilizing the relationship of leaf position and aging to lead with flavor and body while balancing strength and avoiding ferocity. The initial four vitolas are Corona Gorda (5.75” x 46, $18.00 per cigar), Robusto (5” x 50, $19.00 per cigar), Torpedo (6.25” x 52, $20.00 per cigar), and Gordo (6” x 60, $21.00 per cigar). Each format is presented in hinged, Okume boxes of ten cigars.

Ferio Tego Summa started shipping at the end of June and was featured at the 2023 Convention and Trade show in Las Vegas in July. Ferio Tego is distributed by USA throughout the United States.

Cigar #15 Information La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Matatan Natural Robusto

The Air Bender was originally an event only cigar, then in 2010 Litto Gomez made it a regular production cigar in four sizes. A notable change in the wrapper from Brazilian to an Ecuadorian wrapper occured during the switch to the regular production. The fillers are still Dominican tobaccos from the company's La Canela farms, as is the binder.

Air Bender comes in four vitolas that retail between $7-8.25: Matatan (5 x 50), Guerrero (6.25 x 54), Maestro (5.25 x 52), and Valiente (6.25 x 60). Each one is named after a kung fu warrior as Litto is enamored with Chinese culture.