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K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero - Blind Cigar Review

K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review

Cigar Info

Following the passing of Cigar Industry legend, Enrique “Kiki” Berger in 2014, his widow, Karen Berger, launched her own cigar line two years later. That line is called K by Karen Berger. It has continued to grow in popularity since then and at the 2021 PCA trade show, they added lancero vitolas to their three existing core lines: K by Karen Connecticut, K by Karen Habano, and K by Karen Maduro. The K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero is what we will be looking at today.

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. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.

Once of the differences in the lanceros from the rest of the line is that they come in boxes of 20, not 10. The blend uses all Nicaraguan tobacco, and that is the only info given. Each lancero has a retail price of $11.50.

Vital Stats:

Vitola: Lancero
Length: 7″
Ring Gauge: 38
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Factory: Esteli Cigar Factory S.A.
Blender: Karen Berger
Number of reviewers: 4 Alan (Eulogy) Ryan H. (Ryan H.) John A. (Bostoneo) Doug S. (Unpossible_1)
Price: $11.50
Age: 6 Months
Release Date: July 2021
Contributed by: Don Kiki Cigar

Initial Impressions – K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero

Appearance: 91

“A long and slender lancero, this cigar is wrapped in an oily almond brown wrapper with plenty of micro veins to give it an interesting texture with a sandpaper feel.” –John A. (Bostoneo)

Aroma: 91

“Wow, nothing but heavy barnyard. So much that I look around for Old McDonald because I feel like I’m on a farm.” –Doug S. (Unpossible_1)

First Third
K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review

First Third

Flavor: 93
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Big charred vanilla oak barrel flavors come out in spades with a lingering marshmallow char note that lingers puff after puff. Feeling the draw hold back some of the flavor of the cigar, I begin to puff a bit more aggressively to pull out more flavor. More and more sweetness comes out of the cigar as it turns to a more earthy profile after half an inch in and carries until the end of this third.” –John A. (Bostoneo)

“Oh boy as soon as you light it you are greeted with the fabulous taste of a spicy cookie. A little leather is present also a little misplaced but there. The draw is pretty amazing, I am going to reserve my notes on burn presently because I am not quite sure which way it will go.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)

Second Third
K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review

Second Third

Flavor: 91
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“Unfortunately, the second third kicks off with a bit of tar build-up. Guess I’m overdoing it with the dainty lancero. You really need to smoke these with some finesse and sometimes I get carried away. I get that all cleared out with a clip of the cap and get back to it. Great thing is that the warming chai comes back without fail. Yay.” –Doug S. (Unpossible_1)

“The flavors are still very bold but a little different from the first third. There is still a fair amount of char but I think it feels less heavy-handed since I’m acclimating to it. I’m starting to pick up notes of grain and something floral occasionally. The core flavors of red pepper, tobacco, leather, and oak are still the dominant notes though.” –Alan (Eulogy)

Final Third
K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review

Final Third

Flavor: 93
Strength: Medium
Body/Complexity: Medium

“As the wonderful cookie flavors dissipate a charry wood flavor takes the front seat definitely not an improvement in my opinion. Cigar strength increases to medium-plus. A little bitter as well.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)

“Chai notes taper off and leave me with where I started, almond biscotti and coffee. How interesting that it came full circle and a nice ending for a solid smoke.” –Doug S. (Unpossible_1)

Overall Impressions – K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero

Draw: 89

“The head of the cigar was a bit spongy so it inhibited the draw a little bit. If you’re someone who clenches cigars this would be a problem. Being mindful not to crush the head it smokes very well with thick clouds of smoke. ” –Alan (Eulogy)

Burn: 92

“This stick seemed to burn very evenly throughout.” –John A. (Bostoneo)

Construction: 93

“Well constructed throughout, complete with the right amount of tobacco inside.” –Doug S. (Unpossible_1)

Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall: 92

“Once the char evened out around the second third it became really enjoyable. The smoke output is fantastic and the core flavors were very bold. I was kind of craving a bit of sweetness to come in but other than that I can recommend this.” –Alan (Eulogy)

“A wonderful cigar. The last third kinda slipped a little and became bitter but the first and second third were dreamy.” –Ryan H. (Ryan H.)

“This lancero started out with promise, however, it fell quite short at the halfway point. It was exuding wonderful wood, cream, and white pepper notes in the medium-bodied range, then it just fell flat on its face with sour harsh notes. Unfortunately, it had to be put down early. I hope my friends had a better experience with this sample.” –John A. (Bostoneo)

“I was pleased with this cigar and what it had to offer. Once I gave it the proper respect, the flavors really came together to reward my efforts. Between the chai spices and almond biscotti, I would seek this out again no question.” –Doug S. (Unpossible_1)

Smoking Time (in minutes): 85

ReviewerAppear.Aroma1/32/33/3DrawBurnConstr.Overall
Experience
Alan 959292929590929595
Ryan H. 889295929095929290
John A. 929090807083908378
Doug S. 909092889288889090

To view the complete scores and notes, click here.

K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review

K by Karen Berger Habano Lancero – Blind Cigar Review
Summary
"I was pleased with this cigar and what it had to offer. Once I gave it the proper respect, the flavors really came together to reward my efforts. Between the chai spices and almond biscotti, I would seek this out again no question." -Doug S. (Unpossible_1)
Appearance
91
Aroma
91
First Third
93
Second Third
91
Final Third
93
Draw
89
Burn
92
Construction
93
Overall Experience
92
91
Very Good