Punch Punch 2019 Review

Punch Punch 2019 Review

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Cuba
SIZE:   5.6″ x 46

ORIGIN:   Cuba
FACTORY/BOX CODE:   DEC 19

WRAPPER:   Cuba (Vuelta Abajo
BINDER:   Cuba (Vuelta Abajo)
FILLER:   Cuba (Vuelta Abajo)

STRENGTH:   Medium

SOURCE: 
Generous gift from a friend at simplystogies.club

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Open patio in my backyard

WHEN:   
July 6, 2020 @ 8:30 AM

DRINKS:   
Black coffee

WEATHER:   
Beautiful summer morning;
low-80s in the shade, light breeze

WHAT’S ON:   
Whiskey reviews on Youtube, as always…

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  Pre-1960 release

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:  Boxes of 10 in tubes, Boxes of 25 in natural box (not in tubes)


Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o Corona Gorda (Punch Punch) 5.6”x 46
    (only vitola available)

RESEARCH & BACKGROUND INFO

  • Just to preface the brand, Punch is one of the oldest Cuban brands still in extensive production today. Started in the mid-19th century (around 1840 depending on your sources) to corner the British cigar market.
  • The Punch Punch is a regular production cigar (starting some time pre-1960) that can be purchased in two formats: boxes of ten housed in tubes and natural wood boxes of 25. I personally prefer the non-tube presentation for most cigar. I think the extra material is not as functional today and a bit wasteful.
  • The Punch Punch was originally named “Punch Punch de Luxe” until the mid-1980s when the “de Luxe” was dropped.

BAND DESIGN

I want to start by saying that I am a sucker for Cuban band designs. They have managed to keep a nostalgic and elegant look for most of their bands and the Punch brand it no exception. The Band is the “Standard Band C”, which became part of the regular production line is 2009. The band has a gilded border embossed with four medallions, two flanking each side of the central Punch cloak and crown crest. Three simple colors of gold, red and white come together to create a simple yet refined design.

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION
The first thing you notice about these cigars are the unique rounded edges, almost like they thought about box pressing them but change their mind mid press. The overall weight of the cigar is on the dense side, packing as much leaf into the shape as possible. The wrapper has a soft brown appearance with a slight oily sheen and an almost unnoticeable toothy texture. It is an evenly packed cigar with no noticeable soft spots and minimal veins. The veins are small enough that they disappear with the wrapper as it spirals around the binder. The triple cap is nicely constructed. There are a few noticeable water spots on the wrapper, but nothing concerning.

AROMA

There is a nice density to the aroma of this cigar. The band has an old wood mustiness and sweet date aroma, while foot has the same sweet date with an added honeysuckle floral note.

COLD DRAW

Draw is firm but not overly tight, which is what you would expect from how firm the cigar is. It could be a bit more open but like everything handmade the product varies. There are some sweet honey notes on the cold draw but nothing else really stands out.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Xikar Xi3
Fire:  Cigar Matches

The first thing that comes to mind on the first draw is dried cedar, like the smell you get when you open a new humidor for the first time. The retrohale follows by delivering some slight black pepper and heavy cream.

The draw is perfect. I was a bit concerned on the pre-light the it was a bit tight but adding some heat has opened it up perfectly. Ash is a dark grey, burn is sharp, and the beginning is off to a good start.

SMOKE

The amount of smoke this vitola produces is amazing. Each puff is volumes of very dense, velvety smoke.

FIRST THIRD
>> Mesquite wood, heavy cream and dark chocolate

From the first puff of this cigar you are met volumes of smoke and it continues to bellow when you set it down. The density of the smoke helps create a velvety almost chewy texture, giving you plenty of opportunity to analyze the profile. The cedar I got on the first puff has transitioned into a mesquite wood on the retrohale.

Half of the way into the first third some construction issues started to reveal themselves, but the profile never shifted and the burn eventually self-corrected. In my experience, it is best to let the cigar run its course for a few puffs rather than attempting to correct small issue on the spot. Often, you will damage the wrapper or charr the cigar which only compounds your issues.

Ash is holding on nicely with a slight bend about an inch and a half into the cigar. Seems to have a dense dark grey ash, not quite a coin stack but close.

SECOND THIRD
>>Leather, dark chocolate and mesquite wood

The ash finally fell (luckily not on me) at the beginning of the second third. There is a fresh tanned leather flavor that has slowly transitioned in to the first part of the second third. The odd burn line I was experiencing in the first third has self-corrected and it currently razor sharp. Overall, this Punch has been a very pleasant medium bodied cigar.

The aftertaste on this cigar has been on the unique side: mild cedar, campfire ash and a marzipan sweetness but exceptionally clean. This is something I have come to appreciate about the general Cuban profile. There’s not a dense coating that lingers on the palate long after the smoke is gone.

The smoke is still voluminous and velvety with an enjoyable mouth feel. There is a drier palate experience, but nothing unpleasant.

FINAL THIRD
>> Bakers chocolate, leather and floral notes

The last third of this cigar saw the most transition in flavors. The rich dark chocolate notes evolved into a bitter baker’s chocolates. The leather is still present but with an added minerality of Sulphur. And the wood note disappeared almost all together being replaced with a sweet floral noted.

Halfway into the last third the body of the cigar really begins to noticeable heat up. Smoking required a bit more patience and time, as you need to slow down and give the ember time to rest. You start to get some younger Cuban notes, ammonia, some bitterness but there is an underlying honey sweetness in the background that keeps you engaged.

The retrohale is a bit disappointing here in the final third. Though you do get some of the floral notes the Sulphur dominates most of the experience.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION

The Punch Punch is a consistently medium bodied cigar with some unique and complex flavors. You begin with a very mild cigar with sweet cedar, chocolate and transition into a rich mixture of mesquite wood, dark chocolate and cream. Even though this cigar pair well with coffee I would almost rather have it has a desert cigar. Paired with a rich German chocolate cake and a small glass of scotch.

BURN EXPERIENCE

In all the burn was amazing, the ash held for over an inch each time and the issue I did experience fixed themselves.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.80 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.45 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.45 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.00 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.40 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

  • Tons of smoke production

  • Unique transition of flavor
  • Some water spots on wrapper
  • Final third was a bit lack luster

NOT CLOWNING AROUND.

Even though the Punch brand is famous for its iconic, cigar smoking clown mascot, this brand is not fooling around. It remains one of the oldest and most
recognizable Cuban brands and the Punch Punch is one of the reasons why. Not only does this blend have the availability but it also has the price. With an amazing overall profile of dark chocolate, wood, and leather the Punch Punch is, in my opinion, a must try. This cigar really shines in the first two-thirds, but with some age (1-2 years) it should be amazing

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  8.1 / 10.0

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