I got this little guy as a gift from Seasick Sailor (Mike), because I wanted to try some Philippine cigars, and he wanted to share some. I definitely got the better end of the deal.
I don't have pictures of the smoking process, but here's a picture of the original bomb. This cigar is one of the two little guys in the photo:
Little guys, indeed - according to the web site, these are 3.75 x 24. Here's a little of the advertising copy from their site:
Don Juan Urquijo is La Flor de La Isabela's newest brand and most premium blend. Filler from the Dominican Republic and Brazil, combined with a Philippine binder and Connecticut wrapper create a medium-mild aroma with a smooth creamy, and sweet taste. This brand has been noted by some connoisseurs as "the perfect morning cigar."
-- most complex (flavor) in the world because of the different tobaccos used in the cigar - from 5 origins and made perfect by Mr. Alfredo Salinas, a master cigar maker.
OK - that part about "most complex flavor in the world" is probably advertising hype. I will say, however, that this cigar far and away exceeds any other cigarillo I have tried, when it comes to complexity. More on this later.
The filler is a blend of Brazilian, Dominican, and Philippine tobaccos. The binder is listed as "Isabela, Philippines," and the wrapper is Connecticut.
A sniff of the cigar before lighting yielded strong earthy notes. I toasted the foot with my trusty Ronson (Thanks, Gahdzilla - Cliff!), then V-cut the head. First puff confirmed the unlit hints of earth - strong earthy flavor, with a powerfully creamy aftertaste that coated and lingered slightly sweetly in my mouth.
These two were the main flavors throughout the smoke. The earth held fairly steady, while the creaminess increased as I went along. But as I smoked, flirty little hints of pepper and spice and wood and something grassy and almost minty danced in and out of the smoke, making each draw an adventure. I swear to you, I alternated between staring at that little stick in surprise, and examining it as though it would give me a clue as to what was coming next.
The burn was 99% perfect. There was one vein in the wrapper that burned a little bit slowly at one point, but it corrected itself quickly.
Even though I used a cheap V-cutter on this small cigar, the head held together very well, and I didn't get a mouthful of tobacco crumbs. Also, the draw was very nice - easy enough to get plenty of smoke, but not like sucking on an empty straw. Although I'm not an expert, or anything close to an expert, or anything in the ballpark of anything close to an expert, I think this says something positive about the quality of construction.
The second one I have is going into the coolidor for a year. Check back then to see my review of the rested model.
Meanwhile, I think it would be very interesting to try one of the larger vitolas to see how the flavor profile plays out with more tobacco and longer smoking time. They make a panatella ...
I smoked this after lunch - I'm not a morning cigar guy, generally. Great way to take a break from the hectic office.