Mark Swanson

Cigar Review | Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo (Toro)

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Straight into the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo (Toro) I notice dark chocolate as probably the most distinguished chocolate I have ever tasted in a cold draw. Holding the cigar in my hand is like holding a warm hockey puck, with almost a tacky sticky soft plastic feel. Not suggesting it tastes like a puck, but using it as a distinction.

Part of the fun of reviewing cigars is the creative writing process and having some fun with flavour profiles.

Medium to Tight Resistance on the Draw

Taste so strong I literally began to chew, and the wrapper kept well, it’s thick and sturdy, well constructed. Upon lighting it up, the smoke swirled in the air making an “s-shape” for Superman or for strong, I don’t know? I’ll tell you by the end of the cigar.

This cigar has a mouth watering salt, with thick spicy rooftop spice. Its savory profile is that of “red hot, peppery, cumin seasoned thick stew” that is heavy on the nose with lots of tingle. It’s hard not to want to bite into the cigar as it feels like it’s solid and squishy in a rather delightful way. I find myself gnawing on the head of the cigar. Gladly, it’s holding up to my assault.

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On a side note, England’s prices on cigars are some of the highest in Europe and I’m looking at the New York Mets schedule and wonder how I can get some baseball on TV in England without paying dearly for it (like buying cigars)? Let me get back to the cigar, I get some overall hints of some left-fielder leather, not a starter’s glove, but a back up player’s mitt or kind of fresh like a new glove.

The cigar is burning decently, with a proper cherry, however it has a crown like burn, not a smooth coastline. The cigar is flaking a bit with a powdery sponge-like ash. I noticed once the ash dropped off with a little help, the burn has corrected itself. I figured tapping off the ash would assist stopping it from flaking. Oddly, once doing that the leather subsided slightly making way to a cedary long finish.

Smooth Serious Strength

The letter “S” has been a bit of a theme here, with the overall smoothness of the cigar increasing. The cigar seems to be burning slowly,even though I kept stoking it too often. I’m letting it cool off to make sure that it doesn’t overheat, even though I salivate as I think of the next puff. Despite my continued pulls off this cigar, I believe it would be hard to overheat this cigar, because of the resistance. Even then I’m not going to try.

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo El Martillo Round 2

The strength of the cigar is medium to full and has similar tastes that were discussed in the first portion of the cigar. They have blended well and intensified leaving a longer finish.

By the way, I decided to download the games off the internet, I’ll have to pay for it, but at least the games aren’t blocked in the United Kingdom, I guess there aren’t many baseball fans here in England.

Again back to the cigar, it’s a dream-like experience, very pleasurable and a construction to admire. Its fat juicy appearance is backed up by thick and juicy smoke and a long finish.

At The Band of The Cigar

I’m near the band and the spice is building and I’m noticing tastes of earth on the retrohale, as it tastes and smells muddy like morning dew.

I had some trouble with the band, couldn’t find the seam, was panicking that it couldn’t be taken off , it had no seam? I slid it off rather than peeled it. Made me a bit worried about damaging the cigar. Then later, curious, I looked at the band and found the seam, go figure.

Final Thoughts on This Cigar

It’s enjoyable on the strong side cigar with a deep rich taste. There was no sweetness at all. It is probably one of the most prominent leather tasting cigars I have ever had. Make sure you’re ready to take a ride on the strong side, it’s a ninety-plus minute smoke.

I hope you enjoyed the cigar review, I had sports on my mind when I wrote this as it was the the first game of the season.

– Mark


While taking a trip to Germany, I picked up this cigar from CigarWorld.de You can’t find good prices on cigars in England (full stop). Flights are cheap enough that even then you still come out getting great cigars for low prices. – Mark

Cigar Review | Alec Bradley Black Market Toro

Alec Bradley Black Market Toro

I’ve been holding off on smoking the Alec Bradley Toro in my humidor for quite some time now even though I’ve been really keen to order one and try it. I’ve heard great things about this cigar from a Twitter friend and read the rave reviews on cigar forums. However, none of this compelled me to to try it more than its appearance.

The Alec Bradley Black Market Toro has a showstopper look and feel to it. Straight away any cigar enthusiast will notice the unique footer band that stretches from the foot to a little passed the halfway point. It’s a nicely textured band that surrounds an even more beautiful cigar underneath.

So let’s get to the review…

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The First Third Thoughts

The first few puffs made me think that this cigar was going to be a fast burner, even though it had a snug draw, it was trailing down quick.

Oh how wrong I was, you’ll see what I mean.

My first thought, was “wow, you can taste the quality…” A nice creamy, long finish with hints of cocoa and cherry wood lingered on my palate long after a light blue soft smoke disappeared into the air from the foot of the cigar. The air became filled with a pleasant aroma and within 20 seconds virtually no smoke came from the cigar whatsoever.

This is a good sign of a perfectly stored, well-rolled and finely crafted cigar.

At first, looking at this cigar with its massive band, sleek logo and now smooth brown wrapper with little veins made me think, “we eat with our eyes and perhaps we enjoy cigars with our eyes too…”

Whether illusion or reality, I don’t care, I want to be a believer and Alec Bradley cigars are not magicians, this is the work of masters.

Not The Second Third

The duration of the enjoyment of this cigar lasted way longer than I could imagine. A this point, I’m sort of into the second part of the cigar but I imagine it’s going to be just as long to get through to the last part. So let’s just say, “Where at the quarter point.”

So far the flavour has not changed much and that’s a good thing. I have noticed it is starting to burn slightly faster and it has a beautiful smooth coastline ash developing even though it has a flaky flowery ash at the end. Each puff grabs more of a cherry wood sweetness that has picked up as the draw loosened a little. A pleasant long finish remains and my palette is filled with everlasting flavour.

The Last of the Alec Bradley Black Market Toro

The cigar continues to perform well with almost a perfect black and grey ash. The finish remains deep and long with heaps of flavour. I’ve noticed the finish and the aroma has become somewhat dry where as before it was tacky. I’m not saying dry in a bad way, just a note of a difference. As we go to the end of he cigar it has remained cool, however the smoke output is down to a minimum and tinges of vanilla and tea have become present. This is a welcomed and unexpected transition, where normally at this point, most cigars pick up peppery notes and spice.

I just checked the clock, we’re at 120 minutes!

I highly recommend this cigar, it’s interesting, complex and affordable. Be careful to set aside a lot of time and enjoy this cigar by taking a puff or two every three minutes.

– iROBUSTO
Someone said to me the other day, “…a cigar is just a cigar…” or something like that. I don’t understand what they meant


Watch this Cigar Review on YouTube.

Cigar Review | Tatuaje P Series P1

This Tatuaje P Series P1 blend was created back in 2006. This is a 60/40 combination of Medium Filler to Long filler also know as a “Cuban Sandwich” blend. It comes in at about $2 or $3 bucks. Cuban Sandwich cigars usually combine many different blends of leaf and are short filler and long filler combo.

The case in this cigar is the combination of Medium Filler and Long Filler. At some point in the video I describe the flavour as bitter, let me say, I meant the taste was bitter. You may want to see my other article on iROBUSTO about flavours and tastes and how we perceive them in a cigar.

Vitola: Corona Gorda
Name: Tatuaje P Series P1
Length: 5 5/8″
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Made in Nicaragua by Jaime Garcia at My Father Cigars SA

In my series of cigar reviews I’ll be judging cigars on the following attributes:

  • Presentation
  • Vim and Vigor
  • Draw, Smoke Output and Finish
  • Zest
  • Dimensions and Balance
  • Price and Value

Tatuaje

Presentation of the Tatuaje P Series P1

It’s a combination of classic and swank with a band that is not going to impress anyone. But who cares, it’s a $3 stick max. I do like the emblem and the label was put on with care and came off very easily, that is if you really felt like you wanted to smoke it down passed the band.

Vim and Vigor

This is a medium bodied cigar that if smoked quickly could get real hot and full bodied. At times I felt like the spice tipped it to the strong side.

Draw and Smoke Output

The cigar had an extremely light draw from the loosely spongy packed tobacco. The room was filled with copious amounts of smoke that had a rather pleasant aroma. No one is going to accuse you of smoking a stink bomb here. Because of some bitterness the finish was long.

Zest, Flavours and Tastes

I had mentioned butterscotch in my description, please don’t think it was sweet, it was very savory and the cigar had earthy and mineral undertones that seemed to leave an acidic bitter taste around the mouth.

Dimensions and Balance

This cigar is straight forward tobacco taste with little complexity and leaned more to the spicy side. I would say it was a bit unbalanced, but not enough to make the experience completely unpleasurable. It’s not great, not bad, just average.

Price and Value

Anything more than $3 is too much, at the price it’s good if you just want to puff on the cigar in the backyard while you’re mowing the lawn or if you have a short amount of time. You could smoke this cigar for about an hour if you wanted to.


If you’re ever in Germany and want to get some very competitively priced Cuban Cigars or New World Cigars you can check Cigar World. Their prices on Tatuaje Cigars are excellent. Imagine this, I was all the way in Germany and got a $3.00 cigar, go figure…

Cigar Review | Suenos Oro Double Toro

Suenos Oro Double Toro

In this cigar review I’m doing the Suenos Oro Double Toro. This cigar changed its taste and complexity quite quickly. The cigar has tobaccos from Ecuador, Costa Rica and Nicarugua. This is a huge impressive cigar that could make most people’s hand look small with a size of 6.5 X 56.

I keep saying this, “it’s a huge stick” that’s because it is. The wrapper is a Habano of Ecuador, fillers are Nicaraguan Habano from Jalapa and Costa Rica the binder is made up of three different tobaccos from Nicaragua: one each from the regions Esteli, Condega and Ometepe Island.

At the first impression it was extremely mild and sweet. The wrapper smelled of sweet tobacco, earth and wood. Considering the composition of the cigar I was expecting something unique but that didn’t come into play. That’s not a problem as we can see later. Just a quick thought, it might only be possible to get this cigar if you live in Europe. I know you’d have to travel to get it if you’re in England, but it’s possible.

Suenos Oro Double Toro

The cigar continues with a medium prelight draw and simple sweet tobacco. Considering this was the first time I ever tried a Suenos I was getting a bit nervous. This cigar was given to me on recommendation while in Germany at the EU Cigar Shop, Cigar World, so I suppose I wasn’t too nervous, but I was a little. I expected it to be a lot more, so maybe my expectation was too lofty.

As expected the cigar began to take on a new flavour. The cigar lit very well, the draw loosened ever so slightly and again I was impressed by its size. There was a sweet fruity feel surrounded by medium smoke output. At first it wasn’t very spicy with mostly earth and wood. I was surprised by this and expected it to be super strong.

15 Minutes In Things Begin

Spice starts to pick up wickedly with leathery undertones and cinnamon, a transition came and it was great. The strength picked up with a medium retrohale that produce wood and must. Now I’m starting to realise why it was chosen for me, I like it!

35 Minutes And I’m Innit

I realised I was smoking a cigar from Isthmus, a brand created by German native, Kurt Brandt. In the video review I said I would go back and check the profile of the other Isthmus I smoked. This cigar was completely different the only thing that remained true was the construction. This cigar was well packed full of tobacco and burned evenly throughout for an hour and forty-five minutes.

Suenos Oro Double Toro

At One Hour I Got the Power

The flavours remained consistent through and through, cinnamon, earth, leather and a perfect burn. Kurt Brandt should be proud. This cigar was engineered and crafted to perfection and for the price, I’m ordering it again. In fact, I would get it again even if it costed much more.

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If you enjoyed this cigar review, make sure you give the video a thumbs up and don’t forget to watch the Meet in the Middle Cigar Show.


Here’s the link the link to the YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/irobusto


This is a very big German Cigar from manufacturer Kurt Brandt. We admit his Suenos Oro Double Toro isn’t quite as large as the Asylum 13 Ogre featured in that cigar review, however a 6.5 X 56 isn’t a small cigar.

Touching Up A Cigar

Are you in the habit of touching up a cigar or is it not necessary?

Every now and then even the best cigars will suffer from an improper burn. There might be reason to throw away a cigar if it gets too out of control. In my opinion it’s always best to try and correct a funky ash on a cigar before tossing it. Here is my way of correcting a cigar.

Step One – The Heat

In the demo video attached to this post, I’m using a match. Light the match and let it burn off the igniting element by allowing the match to burn for about 8 to 10 seconds. Hold the match at a 90 degree angle so the flame will burn the head of the match and not necessarily the wood. You can vary the angle and the time depending on the size and flame of the match.

Slowly burn the wrapper using heat from the flame and not the flame itself to mend a wounded cigar.

Step Two – Scrape Off The Ash

I suggest using cedar to “cut” and shape the ash and wrapper so that it looks as if the cigar burned perfectly. If possible hollow out the foot a little to get rid of the dark burned tobacco. In the video, I use a piece of cedar that I got at the Mayfair Hotel in London. It is a neutral wood that won’t influence the flavour of the cigar and also won’t ignite if the cigar is still hot on the end.

Step Three – Purging and Pulling

Blow gently through the cigar and use the heat whether it be a torch or a match, do not touch the foot with the flame. Then draw in very slightly and then blow that same amount of air through the cigar. If you notice an abundance of blue flame, you can continue to blow through the cigar ever so gently until it almost disappears. Generally for me, it only takes three or four “reverse puffs” and light pulls to clean the cigar and get it relight.

This is the method I have been using for years, if I’m wrong, please let me know by making a comment. The key to the exercise is to never let the flame touch the cigar and use the heat to burn the wrapper and then ignite the foot. This can be a bit more difficult with a match than using a torch lighter, but the concept is the same in the correction.


Watch cigar reviews on iROBUSTO YouTube.


In Germany in the Düsseldorf? Considering visiting Cigar World for an excellent selection of New World cigars. This is a great way for British cigar smokers to get great cigars that match or rival expensive Cuban cigars.

Cigar Review | Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Robusto Blend

In the recent months, I’ve done two Alec Bradley cigar reviews. I’ve enjoyed both of them and each had similar flavour profiles. The Alec Bradley American Sun Grown Robusto Blend is a simple cigar that packs some flavour.

Upon taking it out of the humidor, how could I not be impressed by the presentation of the cigar. All of the tobacco in this cigar is from Nicaragua. The wrapper, binder and filler are all classified as Nicaraguan tobacco, so where does the American Sun Grown bit come in? It’s just a name, I reiterate all of the tobacco is Nicaraguan. This cigar uses the same tobacco as the Alec Bradley American Classic. The reference to American is simply the use of the word in a well-managed marketing campaign that distinguishes Alec Bradley cigars from others.

…no fault of the manufacturer… Instead, it was the fool with the match.

Right when you pull this one out of the box and get it close to your nose, it produces spice nestled up against dark chocolate. The prelight draw, gives generally the same profile with hints of sweetness and the first few pulls create an aromatic smoke that fills the air with a pleasant aroma. I should add it was not extraordinary, but better than average.

I enjoyed this cigar for almost 80 minutes, because about 20 minutes in dark, spicy retrohale combined with a matching profile in my mouth allowed me to slow down the amounts of puffs and stoke this cigar to a cool burn.

Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

Unfortunately, I don’t think I lighted it very well as the cigar began to burn poorly. After easily touching it up, one could see that it was no fault of the manufacturer, Alec Bradley. Instead, it was the fool with the match. You can see it in this cigar review here.

As I ventured further into the cigar, any hints of spice or pepper subsided making way for earthy tones, not graphite, but more of soil from a well maintained garden. The cigar consistently burned after the touch up for another 45 minutes and probably about 25 of it was below the band.

The total time of enjoying this cigar was about 90 minutes and I have to admit, it was decent, not mind blowing, but good.

Cigar World Review

On the “Would I Purchase It Again Scale?” Yes, I’d get it again as it has enough resistance on the draw and a medium cocoa flavour with cool hints of spice and earth. A good combination of flavours.

I can see myself sitting at the Bristol, UK Harbourside, watching albatrosses and tourist boats while hanging back cherishing three or four of my “Yank” cigars like the Alec Bradley American Sun Grown when most Brits will not get one Cuban for the same price. Call me silly, but this cigar isn’t cheap, it has value, it’s not expensive either. Where can you get a good Cuban for under a fiver, plus some pence? You can’t so Nicaragua gets my cash this time and time again.


In Germany in the Düsseldorf region? Visit Cigar World for an excellent selection of New World cigars. This is a great way for British cigar smokers to get great cigars that match or rival expensive Cuban cigars.


This cigar review is featured on the iROBUSTO YouTube Channel home to the “Meet in the Middle” Cigar Show.

Cigar Review | Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro

The Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro has an amazing orange tint to it and a huge ring gauge of 56 and a standard toro length of 6 inches. The wrapper harnesses tightly packed tobacco. The Casa Magna Colorado makes a real appearance in the humidor with its colour and mass. It has that bold “Colorado” wrapper and an attractive golden cigar band.

The Cigar Details:

Wrapper: Ligero Colorado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Ring Gauge: 56
Length: 6 inches
Color: Orangy Brown (I had to add this)

Casa Magna

The draw starts off as a tight draw and right away you can taste the ligero tobacco, there is a lot of flavour with peppery notes at the back of the throat. The cigar is a full bodied mammoth. Sporting a tight draw and low smoke output. This titan of a cigar burned well, and perhaps the tight draw was intentional as the strength of the cigar is very high right from jump.

The flavours I detected were a musty, tea, almond taste and a sticky nutty feel that coated my mouth. The finish is very short and then it subsides and then the finish comes back with a musty, tea, almond burst of flavour. This lead to a head rush, so be careful and pull accordingly.

At about ¾ of an inch in the ash dropped off, revealing a flowery foot, hiding the cherry. The spiciness almost disappears, making way for prominent tea and nut tastes. The experience smoothed out and perhaps that was because I was getting used the cigar.

As you can see in the cigar review video, Ligero tobacco plays a big role in this cigar. It’s not that cherry red hot taste that one gets from double ligero cigars, it jumps up over a very strong tea flavour and musty barnyard aromas and flavours. As I continued to get through the cigar, carefully, I might add because of the strength, I found the sweetness like sugar in tea. A quite welcomed flavour indeed.

Half Way

Can someone say, “toast” no, not cheers, toast as in charred bread, as in toast that one might have with tea. The flavours just run rampant on the palate as the finish is eternal from one puff to another. The cigar has toast and tea like bread and a smell of what it’s like being next to a bread factory. This is a must retrohale, to get these flavours..

Added Notes:

I had to double puff this cigar to the cigar to continually be stoked. I think I do that out of habit, not sure it was necessary.

This cigar burned oddly at times, but due to what I felt was a good constructed cigar, I left it alone and it always corrected itself; there was no need to touch this cigar up.

Near the Band

At about 60 to 70 minutes, earthy tones have picked up and the tea, almond and spice are all present. With all this flavour, it was very smooth. Much like the band and how easy it was to be removed. Very easy, but intricate in look and feel. After the band the Casa Magna Colorado held its own, it started to loosen up and the flavours intensified as you would expect as a cigar comes to a crescendo.

Final Thoughts and Challenge

Experienced cigar smokers only, this is not for rookies. The cigar is full bodied and full of flavour. I think a lot of critics held it to a high standard because it won cigar of the year 4 to 5 years ago. So their perception of expectation was way too high, if they can take themselves off their pedestal, try it again, I dare you.

Having said that, this is a very good cigar that needs to be enjoyed more than once before making any assumption. If you’ve had it and didn’t get the same flavours I did. I’d love to know, leave me a comment below in the comment box and let’s share our enthusiasm for cigars.


In Germany in the Düsseldorf region? Visit Cigar World for an excellent selection of New World cigars as well as classic Cubans.