Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic & Philippines
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Don Juan Urquijo before I lighted up. There I was in Makati City in the Philippines at one of the many Shoe Marts (SM) (a major department store similar to our Macys/Hechts but with a wine/liquor/tobacco section) and my opportunity to try a Filipino cigar. Now some of the people I met in the Philippines had warned me that most of the Filipino cigars were very harsh and not enjoyable. If I was going to try a brand that I had to try the best, that being the Don Juan Urquijo made by La Flor de la Isabela in their warehouse in Paranaque City in Metro Manila. I also got the countless stories on how Magellan brought Cuban seeds to the Philippines in 1521. I was actually offered to take a trip to Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu to see where Magellan was killed, but I came to the Philippines for cigars and not a history lesson.
As I cut the tip and lighted up my very first Don Juan Urquijo I was a bit thrown off with the texture of the cigar. The texture seemed too smooth, like it was a machine made stick and not one made by hand. The wrapper had some sweet hints to it as it sat in my mouth for the first few puffs. It took awhile for me to feel comfortable with the texture but shortly I started doing what I do best and the air filled with my puffs of smoke.
I definitely have to agree with the few reviews out there. The taste of the cigar is very unique. You had the strong spicy characteristics that you find in the CAO Brazilia but evenly paired with the smoothness of a Montecristo. You end up with a very interesting smoke that should be more well known.
Very solid construction! I had no problems with the wrapper and the humid conditions in the Philippines kept the cigar burning nice and even. I didn’t like the texture. I’m use to cigars having a certain “feel” when I hold them and it felt awkward holding this guy.
Outside of the texture and “feel” of the stick, I really enjoyed the Don Juan Urquijo. Its definitely a sleeper cigar that if they fall into the hands of the right distributor, they could find a loyal following and its the first cigar I have ever given a perfect score for its lighting and burning properties.
From an earlier post you will know that I ended up purchasing 3 boxes of 25 (along with other boxes). It took me a few days to get my hands on them as Shoe Mart had to order them directly from the manufacturer. What I didn’t expect was when I went to pick up my order all the boxes were date stamped for the day before and included a note from the cigar roller (my Tagalong is a bit off) saying that I shouldn’t smoke them right away (that’s how I translated it at least). I asked around a bit and it turns out they actually had to make my order at the La Flor de la Isabela warehouse especially for me since cigars are so expensive (3,000 pesos…$60 a box) the average Filipino (who makes 300 pesos a day…$6) can’t afford them.
I can’t wait to get some of these out in the mail and see what others think of them.
My Rating Sheet – 86.5/100
Cigar Aficiando Rating – 88/100