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Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur's Corner: A Perfect Punch

(From the April 2014 issue of Cigar Aficionado) Perfect smokes are very rare, and they take time to find. Cigar Aficionado has never given 100 points to a new cigar, only to ones that have aged gently, with the hands of father time smoothing the edges of superb cigars and slowly transforming them into something new. When all goes well, when everything is done properly, you just might end up with a flawless cigar. Such was the case with a Punch Double Corona from 1989. The late 1980s were superb years for Cuban cigars, and this large Punch has only gotten better after 25 years of aging. The rich smoke had a beautiful array of sweet spices and every element—the draw, burn and flavor—was ideal. Several other aged cigars impressed us, including a rare taste of a first release Fuente Fuente OpusX from the Dominican Republic.

 

Punch Monarca Tubo (1998)

92

Punch Monarca Tubo (1998)

Time has mellowed this Churchill, which spent a decade and a half in a silver tube. It has an array of of tea notes, ranging from oolong to green tea, before the cigar takes on a toast-and-honey character at its boldest. Still refined, but very light.

— Gregory Mottola

Davidoff No. 1 (1989)

94

Davidoff No. 1 (1989)

This is beginning to be a pattern. Whether these Cuban versions of the Davidoff are past their peak, or just in a dumb phase, it’s not clear. But the coffee and cocoa flavors are muted, and almost dominated by a dustiness. One of my favorite cigars that didn’t live up to my expectations. Still delicious, but not the delight it used to be.

— Gordon Mott

Fuente Fuente OpusX Perfecxion No. 2 (1995)

96

Fuente Fuente OpusX Perfecxion No. 2 (1995)

This comes from an original batch of the famed brand from the Dominican Republic. It has mellowed considerably since its early, full-flavored profile, but it has plenty of power and aging potential left. Solid cedar notes frame a core of peppery flavors. Long finish, with a distinct earthiness.

— Gordon Mott

Cohiba Siglo IV (1994)

96

Cohiba Siglo IV (1994)

This good-looking smoke eagerly swallows the flame when the lighter approaches. The smoke has a light dusting of truffle and is considerably rich, with an earthy quality and bold notes of coffee bean and roasted nuts, and an earthy finish. It’s delicious—not a powerhouse, but a cigar with balance, complexity and a long-lasting finish.

— David Savona

Hoyo de Monterrey Exclusivo (1995)

98

Hoyo de Monterrey Exclusivo (1995)

Another powerhouse double corona with a host of core Cuban tobacco flavors. The taste is rich, and backed up with a sweet spiciness that verges on cinnamon. It has a perfect draw.

— Marvin R. Shanken

Punch Double Corona (1989)

100

Punch Double Corona (1989)

A perfect cigar. The dark, luscious wrapper leads to a delicious combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and chocolate flavors on the palate. There is a deep richness to this cigar, and it performs perfectly—perfect draw, perfect burn, with an all-around smoothness. A home run.

— Marvin R. Shanken

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