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Cigar Review | K by Karen Berger

First off, I must say that this K by Karen Berger is a beautiful cigar! It’s an exquisite sharp box pressed Solomon with a pleasantly dark and shiny marbleized Maduro wrapper. I mean it is flawless!

K by Karen Cigars Head

This will be my 2nd time smoking this beauty, so I already have a baseline of what to expect. The first experience however, was at a cigar lounge paired with good company, some silver screen entertainment and my 1st bottle of Havana Club Rum. The point being, I was a tad bit distracted. I enjoyed it so it was a no-brainer to purchase again.

On this go round, I am in my safe happy place at home where I can focus and hopefully dissect the nuances and characters at play in this cigar. The Dungeon, aka my basement, (which by no means is the place that most aficionados would call a smokers paradise) is where I will be enjoying this cigar. Think of it as one of those basements that my Brother Lee Mack describes when he talks about the musky aroma he gets from certain wrappers in his reviews. Minus the funk. Haha!

I have however created my own little Oasis [no pun intended] for smoking at home. To be honest, once I’m in my zone, vibing with a good cigar and a good bourbon or coffee, I soon forget the struggle and turmoil of Baltimore City, right outside my window. Cigars provide that escape for us as smokers and it doesn’t matter where we are in the world. I’m sure all my BOTL & SOTL can get behind that concept.

As a new writer to the iROBUSTO team, I just wanted to give you all a glimpse into what I’ve got going on as I’m doing my review. With that being said, let’s get into it.

Who Is K. and What is The K

Karen Berger is the mistress of the late Don Kiki (Enrique Berger), and she’s also known as the “Cigar Queen”. The nickname stems from her vast knowledge and experience from being submerged in the cigar industry for many years. She is a native of Esteli, Nicaragua, and this cigar is a Nicaraguan Puro. This particular vitola is the 6×54 Solomon Maduro and as I mentioned earlier, it is a total treat to look at. It also comes in a Habano wrapped version, housed in boxes of 10 and priced roughly between $11-$13.

Pre-Light: (I’m so ready!!!)

Again, this is a dark, oily and marble textured wrapper with a sharp edged box press. The creases were so sharp, one could assume this cigar was ironed. The cap is applied perfectly and the wrapper smells of fermented tobacco, hay and herbs. I was expecting barnyard and musky earth from the look of the cigar, but it was more of a grass and tea kind of thing going on. The foot however, was a whole other level. Because of the tapered foot of this Solomon, I damn near jammed the whole thing up my nose (LOL)! But when I did get a whiff…Wow! I still got the hay, but it was accompanied by a sweet cocoa and milk chocolate blast. [And I did remember this from the 1st time I smoked it] I’m excited and optimistic at this point.

1ST THIRD: (Dessert before Dinner)

Right out of the gate, it was as delicious and sweet as the foot aroma premeditated on the cold draw. This cigar was super smooth too. Honestly, I don’t get my hopes up too often concerning actual palate taste by what I get on cold draws. Especially when there’s sweetness involved, or when the cigar is labeled as full body. It was a perfect match in this case. The tobacco core was almost as if the sweetness was added in some way or another. The chocolate was in cahoots with something that just kept telling my brain, “warm cookies”!!!

I’m puffing away at this gem and I start to notice a transition in flavor as the burn reaches the end of the tapered foot and gets into the body of the cigar. It made perfect sense because there’s no way that sweetness was gonna hold up. I mean, as I said, I’ve smoked this before and I would have remembered smoking a 6 inch candy bar and sure enough, change has come.

As the chocolatey dessert like sweetness mellows, a subtle spice starts to move in. It’s hinting more towards an allspice or cinnamon as opposed to a pepper spice. Then, low and behold, that herbal tea thing that happened during prelight has manifested itself and is peeking in and out, wanting to play along. I’m not mad at all.

2ND THIRD: (Construction, Complexity and Retrohales)

Before I ramble on about what I’m getting from this cigar, lemme just say that the draw and construction has been perfect. It’s not just pretty to look at and well made, it’s functional.

That whole sweet dessert factor has definitely toned down significantly but it has been replaced by a tasty nuance that I’m just gonna categorize as gingerbread since it’s a more subtle sweetness with a warm spice to it. I should also mention that this note is mostly experienced through the nose via retrohale and room aroma. (Sidebar- I’m the guy that retrohales probably 85-90% of the time because from my experience, the tongue and palate can only handle so much. I also prefer to smoke indoors or away from wind, fans, vents, etc., because I like to release clouds of smoke directly in front of me to actually smell the smoke. Not to inhale, but smell. This, paired with the retrohale and my palate, is how I pick up the notes in a cigar when I smoke.)

K by Karen Cigars Half

At this point, the herbal tea is leading the charge accompanied by dark roast coffee and some leather. This cigar is officially adulting now. I can now deem this cigar as complex.

Further along, the tea is morphing from what it has been to a floral lemongrass like note, then back again. The coffee and leather are still very much present while the gingerbread spice is more like a white pepper and cinnamon combo thru the nose. I can’t say that the power of the cigar has been evident before now but at this point it’s at Med+ for me.

FINAL THIRD: (Holy sh*t! She’s Back!)  

K by Karen Cigars Final third. The return of some of the great sweet nuances that dominated the 1st light.

The chocolate sweetness has returned, and here I was waiting for a peppery bitter finale. Not only has the chocolate returned, but the gingerbread is back as well. I’m pretty positive that this is a direct result of the shape of the cigar. The Solomon is tapered at the foot and the head. This means less baccy in these sections, which is where the sweetest most dessert like experiences were. Note to Self…we need a lancero version!!!

As the cigar comes to a close, the coffee has come down to a medium roast. The strength has definitely reached med to full and there is a minerally soil flavor coming thru. As enjoyable as this ride has been, it’s time to put this nub to bed and call it a night.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There were so many welcomed yet unexpected moments with this cigar. I would have never expected such a sweet comeback in the 4th quarter. I’m used to coffee notes getting stronger towards the end of most sticks, not the other way around. I was also expecting some black pepper blast. Although there were spicy moments, they were more of an allspice, cinnamon and maybe a touch of white pepper type of deal.

I was super impressed by the burn as well. We all know how spot on you gotta be when toasting and lighting solomones and figurados, but she burned like a champ from start to finish.

K by Karen Cigars was super complex and delicious down to the nub!

I’d like to Thank You guys for joining me for this ride. I look forward to sharing many more of my cigar adventures with you and I’m also hoping to hear some of your experiences with the same cigars. Please feel free to comment and share this post.

Cheers & Salute BOTL & SOTL

Oasis

Cigar Review | MBombay KeSara

It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I give the MBombay KeSara in the Salomon size a try. This 6×58 double perfecto features an Ecuadorian wrapper, Ecuadorian binder, and fillers from Peru and the Dominican Republic. It has a rather large but classy label and appears to be expertly rolled.

MBombay KeSara

The wrapper gives off a sweet hay aroma, while I smell more of a fruity hay out of the foot. On the cold draw, I pick up a light cedar flavor. Once lit, I get buttery toast with black pepper and cedar. Through the nose, the cedar comes through. The finish gives me black pepper with leather and cedar.

MBombay KeSara

Thirty-five minutes in, the first third comes to a close. On the draw, I pick up hay with toast and black pepper. Through the nose, sweet cream and cedar come together. The finish offers black pepper and a very creamy earth. Strength and body settle in at the mild-to-medium mark.

MBombay KeSara

The second third gets me to one hour. I find more toast and black pepper on the draw. On the retro-hale, earth makes an appearance alongside more cedar. The finish gives me a distinct butter note on top of black pepper and smoky cedar. Strength and body jump slightly to the medium mark.

MBombay KeSara

The final third closes out at one hour and twenty-five minutes. On the draw, I pick up grass and black pepper. Through the nose, I continue to get cedar with the addition of sweet toast. The finish offers a blend of nutmeg, black pepper, and smoky cedar. Strength and body finish out at the medium mark.

The MBombay KeSara offers some nice flavors and never gets out of hand on strength or body. It’s not super complex, but it burns well and would be a nice option for someone looking for a cigar that’s simple yet enjoyable. I recommend giving it a shot, especially if you prefer more mild cigars.

Thank you to Mel from MBombay for sending this in for review. I really appreciate it!

Smoke on!
-Noah (CutLightSmoke)

Cigar Review | Curivari Buenaventura BV560

The Curivari Buenaventura cigar review touches on the facets of a finely constructed cigar. The Curivari Buenaventura is a relative newcomer in the industry as it has only been in the US market for about two years. Sporting a Nicaraguan binder, wrapper and filler and a triple-cap head this cigar has a tranquil look and feel.

This stick’s name reminded me of European car manufacturers like Ferrari for example. As you’ll see in the cigar review this cigar has an understated elegance and an interesting flavour profile. It has great aromas right from the start and an ash that will impress anyone.

Right away when I did an inspection of the essence of this cigar I was impressed by its chocolatey, creamy, citrus-like smell. The cigar band/label is stark and “old skool” unlike other cigars that flaunt a more intricate, angelic or dramatic label. It’s a touch of class and that’s what I think, Andreas Throuvalas, the owner of the company was going for.

Curivari Buenaventura BV560

The pre-light checkup shows that we have a light to medium draw and some salt where I expected it to be very sweet. A very interesting, defining feature of this cigar. Upon further review, the wrapper is one of the thinnest, most smooth cigar wrappers I have ever seen.

It’s very glossy and the girth of the cigar at a 56 ring gauge is perfectly tempered by box-pressing as to not make it feel as thick when performing the pre-light draw. I find that I like the feel of box-pressed cigars when they’re a bit thicker.

On the first draw, it has a long finish with tastes of salty Cuban-like musty, hay, grass tastes and flavours. I’m sure, the manufacturer, Curivari, intended this as they wanted to pay homage to Cuba. Most of the flavours sparked up some nostalgia of playing a good round of golf with a special treat of having that first perfect shot on the first hole. What a great feeling and that’s what cigar enjoyment is all about.

Cigar Coastline

At 20 minutes in, the burn is superb and the finish is short only lasting about a second. I would describe the feel of the smoke in the mouth as dry and tingling notes of spice on the lips. Its very impressive ash is something awe inspiring. Once a person gets into the cigar they will notice that when the spice finish subsides their palate will sense some mild sweetness similar to dry cinnamon.

In retrospect, it’s a welcoming and innovative approach to cigars.

I commend Curivari on being able to produce a cigar in a flavour profile that is not currently popular amongst the masses. At about half way in 35 minutes or so, the cigar burned with a perfectly salient coastline and the flavour profile remained exactly the same with no transitions whatsoever. I noticed the flavour intensity picked up and it remained smooth as the tobacco blended together and the volume of smoke went up very much. It’s a smooth, light to medium body cigar with white pepper spice.

Cigar Review Haywire?

At about 14 minutes into the video cigar review, I was having a bit of fun and was enjoying myself, so take it for what it is, this cigar does some things in flavour that I’m not used to. In retrospect, it’s a welcoming and innovative approach to cigars. As an advocate of cigars and expression of all tastes for cigars, this is a very bold taste to put to the public especially when you’re a newcomer.

As seen in the cigar review, Curivari has accomplished what it set out to do, which is stand out from the crowd while retailing for under $5.50. Have a try and enjoy a round with the BV560.


Watch this Cigar Review on YouTube.


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