CNY - Punch Punch - UTE OCT 15


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Before the Punch marca was decimated some years back there were at least 4 excellent Corona Gordas under the brand at one time, possibly five. But now, Punch Punch is the last remaining CG, which makes it a classic. I always preferred the ones that came in SLBs, specifically the SS2 and the RS11, but Punch Punch was never far behind. I've been reading about the revival of this vitola for a couple of years, so I've collected a few specimens for sampling dating from 2013-2016 in a few trades.  

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The one I pulled today had a distinct square press, and felt very stiff throughout, I was worried it might be a tent peg, but draw was only a little tight. The slightly reddish wrapper was a toss between pale colorado and somewhere between milk and dark chocolate. One thing is certain, this is a well rolled and very pretty cigar, nearly flawless wrapper, smooth even seams, minor veins, it almost glows. For pairing I poured a dram of Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, a beautiful 12-year old reddish single malt with a port finish, a truly excellent scotch. Over the years I have found a good scotch makes a perfect pairing with Punch CGs of the past, it seems to bring out nuances in the flavor and heightens the intensity of the cigar. 

First few draws after lighting confirmed the roll was excellent, and there were no restrictions. First impressions of taste were a solid toasted tobacco core, somewhat pure, refined and unvarnished. The aroma that filled the air was a pleasant woody tobacco aroma. Body was medium throughout the first third.

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As the first third expired there was no notable transition to the second. Body, flavor and aroma remained consistent, delivering rich, premium tobacco qualities throughout, with a thick creamy mouth feel. Although pleasant enough, I was expecting more depth, more variety to the flavor profile, and I kept thinking it would evolve and transition. But so far it has been pure premium tobacco throughout. The burn is nearly flawless, wavering a tad now and then, but pretty much self correcting. I may have touched it up once. 

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The second third came and went, and the final third continued in the same footsteps as the first two. Solid tobacco was omnipresent, with little variety or change in the flavor. There was a minor trace of baked bread in the smoke trail I inhaled through my nostrils as I dragged, and body amped up a tad but was still medium in strength. Beyond that the profile remained constant. I did sense I was getting a nicotine buzz, and felt a little light-headed as the final third came to close, which made me think I'd better get a little something to eat to calm my stomach. I did my best to nub the Punch, and laid the carcass to rest with little more than an inch of tobacco left. 

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Overall, I was not very impressed with this classic. Punch was a staple in my smoking rotation for over a decade, and I grew accustomed to the immense complexity and rich flavors that were the hallmark of the Super Selection and Royal Selection vitolas. This one, albeit just 2 years aged, was too one-dimensional. It seemed to have pedigree quality tobacco, but it just never developed beyond the basic tobacco core, there were no nuances or transitions of note, it just simply smoked like a cigarette - perfectly consistent and perfectly boring. I won't write these off on just one specimen, I'll give it another go in the near future. But if this is indicative of the new Punch profile, then I'll gladly move on to Montecristo which has been stellar for me in the past 2 years. Shame. I rate this specimen a 7 out of 10 on my personal scale, not a terrible cigar, not a cigar I would go too much out of my way to find.

 

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Great review!

I’m slowly working my way through a 50 cab of RAE Ago 15 PP’s. They seem to be plagued with a similar mediocrity, except that mine start off great, with notes of brown sugar and baking spices, but by the second third they sort of fall off a cliff flavor-wise. I’m hoping more time will help. 

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2 hours ago, Islandboy said:

Great review!

I’m slowly working my way through a 50 cab of RAE Ago 15 PP’s. They seem to be plagued with a similar mediocrity, except that mine start off great, with notes of brown sugar and baking spices, but by the second third they sort of fall off a cliff flavor-wise. I’m hoping more time will help. 

Thanks. I'm not sure if time will make much of a difference, but I'm sure it won't hurt. Sometimes it's a matter of taste, where I like single malt scotch, someone much prefers a gin or a rum. But tastes do adapt and change over time, so the average or poor tasting cigars of today may be your stellar winners in 10 years. Stranger things have happened.

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