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Punch Champion Double Maduro perfecto

Today Punch and Draw give a short, no-nonsense review of the first of several sticks from a Punch Tailgate variety gift pack: the Champion Double Maduro perfecto.

Punch: I punched this Champion Double Maduro instead of cut, possibly a bad choice considering the small size of the foot. The cap came off immediately, and began unraveling for a third of the length. Although, the result could have been the same from cutting since this end is so narrow. I need to keep “pasting” it down with my tongue to keep the whole wrapper from unraveling.

Draw: I don’t know if I’ve ever cut a cigar, and my cap popped off too when I plugged mine, but I’m not seeing an unraveling. The cigar has a pleasing shape and size, and seems to be very firmly wrapped — this could be a dry-stick issue from a poor humidity control. My cold-draw suggests the flavor of fresh fish: suggestive of Omega‑3 flavors.

P: I lit it after warming the wrapper with the lighter. Toasting the end, I got the burn going by blowing, not drawing. I like the result and will probably adopt this as my default lighting routine in the future.

D: Me, too. The wrapper toasting released some of the oils in the wrapper, and gives a hint of the flavor of the wrapper without the additional notes from the binder and filler, and without pepper from the flame. Even if the sophistication of the technique is simply pretense, I do enjoy the result.

P: My initial impression is pepper – somewhat harsh – although, after the first quarter-inch the pepper diminishes significantly. Perhaps I’m just acclimated to it?

D: I’m getting a thick, white smoke. There is a tartness to the draw, but a sweet finish. The top third is dominated by cappuccino, I’d say. Punch Cigars of Honduras are a holding of General Cigar Company. According to the Punch Web site, the Champion Double Maduro perfecto – one of two Champion cigars in this vitola – consistently receives high marks in international reviews. I’m beginning to see why.

P: At about an inch into this 4.5‑inch cigar – the widest part of this perfecto, at a 60 ring gauge – it is very leathery.

D: I agree. Leather, and more earthy, as it rounds the bulge. It’s very rich, and still a pleasant tartness on the draw. I notice that the smoke from the tip has a corn tortilla flavor, er, scent. Mmmm…as it burns past the bulge, the flavor profile is moving to a milder leather. The attack tartness is fading, and more… bitterness? …is coming into the finish.

P: Apparently I have not adequately humidified this one, as it is splitting and starting to expand. A problem I’ve experienced before, possibly aggravated by being in the Sonoran Desert. In the last third it has lost all the pepper, but still predominantly leather with a bit of cedar.

Punch makes a broad variety of cigars with slightly different frontmarks. As a result, discovering the details about a particular vitola can be a challenge. According to one source, the Champion Double Maduro is a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and binder, with Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan filler.

D: I find that the draw is really opening up in the last third, to the point where I just questioned if I was getting my lips sealed around the tip. The bitter finish is mellowing, much as the tart attack did, letting leather flavors bloom with more hay. It is also getting more smoky again — it backed off a bit in the middle third. After losing the cap, I’m also starting to experience some unraveling from the tip, but nothing like what Punch describes.

P: Near the nub the pepper is back, with a general re-intensification of flavor, as expected at this phase, and particularly with this vitola.

D: Agreed! Everything is funneling down toward the tip, both the good and the pepper. Every puff brings more flavor.

Spurn it or Burn it

Punch: I’d say it is a burner. I’m not a big fan of all the pepper, so will move on in search of something more to my personal liking, but there is nothing about it that I would warn others away from it.

Draw: I agree, burn it. Especially if you are a fan of pepper. The Punch Champion Double Maduro perfecto is a relatively quick-smoke, with the satisfaction of a longer cigar. I particularly like this vitola, and will be looking to try other Punch cigars in the perfecto shape, as well as from other vendors.

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