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Sangre de Toro robusto by J. Fuego

Punch and Draw talk shop while enjoying a Sangre de Toro.

Punch: Well, Draw, looks like it’s time for another of our weekly reviews.

Draw: Yeah, but who says our reviews are weak?

P: Heh. According to the number of comments this web site gets, apparently, no one. I know, we should offer a prize to our first commenter.

D: Yeah, that’s a great idea. We’ll give them First Prize.

P: Hmmm. Maybe we should stick to cigars. I picked up this Sangre de Toro robusto at Big Sticks where I also interviewed Jesus Fuego. It is a 4–7/8 x 49 Robusto. It was awarded a 90 rating from Cigar Aficionado magazine in 2012.

D: Sangre de Toro translates as “blood of the bull”, I believe. This has a wonderful clean scent for a cigar. Invoking images of good ol’ fashioned lye soap.

P: A strong aroma; I’m getting some cherry. I could get a lot of satisfaction just smelling this thing. But that wouldn’t yield much of a review, would it?

D: Maybe; who nose? The appearance is a rich, ruddy brown with a dark burnish. The effect makes the leaf structure of this Nicaraguan Colorado really pop, and gives it a very distinguished visual character.

P: The cap on mine gives me some concern because it has an edge lifting around it 180 degrees.

D: Mine, too. There are two layers, offset, similar to the Serie O, but the smaller cap on mine has crinkles around the edges. It’s the only part of the construction which causes me concern.

P: On the pre-light draw I’m getting nice dark chocolate and a hint of that cherry. I could get a lot of satisfaction out of just cold-drawing on this thing. But that wouldn’t yield much of a review, would it?

D: That might leave readers with a chill. I’m tasting bitter dark chocolate, and for me that cherry leans toward cherry blossoms, or a vague sweet floral bouquet. Toasting the wrapper at the foot begins to unlock a new flavor, but there’s not enough of it for me to identify yet. Let’s light ‘er up!

P: I had to resort to using a match as my lighter seems to have just  run out of fuel.

The first draws come across rich and strong. Leather… pepper… I just plucked the cap off. It was barely hang on — like a four-day-old scab.

D: My first impressions are “rich”, but I’d go with a medium body. It’s a harmonious concert from the get-go, definite dark cocoa as the major theme, but well supported by other notes, which are hard for me to distinguish from the entire movement. After my experience with the Serie O yesterday, this is distinctly different.

I notice that it does tend to smoke a bit while idle. The smoke has a blueish cast, and again, it’s not entirely unpleasant; I’d be interested in hearing the opinions of non-smokers. The draw is quite tight, and I have to work to get smoke to the back of my mouth. The dark cocoa remains the principal flavor, but I’m beginning to find floral notes in the finish.

P: After a few tokes I’ll rescind my previous perception of “strong”. It is now medium — and I just detected a faint cedar.  Wow, the ash just dropped, unprovoked, after 12 inch.

Leaning back and crossing my legs to enhance the tasting experience… definite cedar… no longer any spice or pepper to speak of.

D: I’ve built up a great relationship with my local beer vendor. Last year, he introduced me to Modelo as an alternative to Corona. When I stopped in today, he reminded me that the “Negra Modelo” had arrived, and I picked up a sixer. It’s a darker and creamer Modelo, and it rinses the floral notes from the throat, and also cuts the bitter from the chocolate (I think this is the same as Punch is calling cedar) allowing more toasting and woodsy flavors to separate from the flavor fuge.

P: My burn is getting ragged with a 12 inch differential. I’ll let it go a while longer… Okay, fine: touching up. Here, starting the second third I’m getting the peppery burn on the back of my throat like at the very beginning.

D: For me, “pepper” is that flavor, the characteristic, that creates a stronger-bodied cigar. And, this is turning into a stronger-bodied cigar!

P: Time to crack open another Kirkland Signature. This time it is the pale ale. And I’m using the opener that came with the Punch gift-pack Draw gave me for Christmas. Nice floral notes from the hops — a nice pairing with the Sangre de Toro — it cleans up the pepper burn in the throat and emphasizes a different range of flavors… but I’m not sure how to define it.

I worked so hard at determining that flavor shift from the beer, that now I have to have a few Peeps to fend off the nicotine sickness I feel coming on… and that emphasizes a different range of flavors… but I’m not sure how to define it. (I hope you, the reader, perceive that quick call back as humor.) Did I ever mention how I like my peeps aged to a chewy consistency?

D: For me, in the middle of the cigar, the floral sweetness has moved to the middle, with pepper beginning to dominate the finish. This doesn’t mean that the cedar in the middle has changed, but the dark chocolate is starting to take on second fiddle. So, Punch, how are those video projects coming along?

P: Thanks for asking. I have three editing projects on my plate. One is helping a friend with a multiple video teaching course which includes a lot of After Effects work. Another is DVD of a homeschool drama presentation. This was a four camera shoot, which adds a different degree of complexity. And the third is to edit down the two hours of footage I took at a body-building competition my 22 year-old daughter was in, yesterday.

And that body building event was quite interesting.

D: How so? I’ve never watched one.

P: yada, yada, yada and my daughter took forth — she was pleased with that result from her first competition.

D: I’m sure! I’m going to be busier over the next few weeks, as I’ve taken a chair position on a committee evaluating the rules of the national Senate. The committee is composed of members from across the country, so we’ll be meeting by teleconference, for free, using

The Sangre de Toro is idling well for me, coming back to life immediately after resting while writing. I am beginning to tire from the firm draw, though.

P: I’m a bit reluctant to take many hits, right now…

D: Now I’m beginning to feel this cigar. I don’t want a repeat of the Oliva experience, so I’m munching some leftover Holiday Snickers mini. I received word via e‑mail about a Punch Deluxe show at Churchill’s at Topeka on Saturday, April 18. (I’d include a link, but they don’t have a web site yet — I may need to do something about that.) We reviewed several Punch gars earlier, and this may be the time to stock up on Deluxe. Also, [NAME] tells me she’s having an H. Uppman event at the Cigar Room (Lee’s Summit) on Thursday, April 15, to celebrate the release of the [CIG NAME]. (Huh… They don’t have a web site, either. If only I knew a web designer…) I think I’ll schedule a chiropractic appointment early that afternoon, then hang around for the event.

P: Is my backyard supposed to be spinning around? I may be losing the nicotine battle. Went out and leaving it out while I recover a bit.

I’ll miss our session next weekend because I’m heading up to New York City. I have a magician-friend who has a big show and he want’s me to come up and help him with it. Believe it or not, I’m am a rather valuable commodity behind the scenes in the magic/illusion show community due to my many years of experience in the field.

D: I’m sure his show will be much better for having you help him. I’ve got about two inches left on this thing, and I’m upgrading this to a medium-to-full bodied cigar. This thing, entering the last third, is full of pepper and spice. The subtlety of the attack is gone; it’s all middle and finish. Cedar woodsy flavors dominate, with espresso and somewhere some floral bouquet. The finish is all pepper. I’m definitely feeling it.

P: I would agree on the strength. In fact, due to my nicotine reaction, I’m reluctantly going to let it go out at the 2 inch mark.

D: The spend-thrift in me can’t put it down so soon. I’ll note that it did go out after about five minutes idle, but it relit readily. My burn has been very consistent until now, with an easily touched-up peninsula. The flavors as I smoke it down are woods and kitchen spices — sage? paprika? — with a strong pepper finish. I am getting lip-tingle, and the physical heat is easily manageable, right up to three-quarters of an inch… when I’m finally putting it down.

Burn it or spun it?

D: This may simply be too strong of a cigar for my level of sophistication. This is a big surprise for me as I was not expecting such strength from a Colorado wrapper, so there’s something to the binder and fillers to be sure. If you are looking for a full-body, definitely give the Sangue de Toro a try. And please let us know how it sits with you.

P: The flavor is fine, and fairly consistent. It has a predominant cedar theme with various additional notes of interest. Recommended for someone who smokes more than the one a week I have. The cost is a bit rich for me, in the $9–10 range, so even if I were to get accustomed to the nicotine it wouldn’t be a regular in my rotation.  I’ll definitely have another, with caution, and after eating a 14-inch pizza.

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