Cuban Cigar Review: Punch Short de Punch

Punch is one of the most iconic, oldest, and recognized brands of cigars from Cuba. They are most notably known for the Punch Punch and the Double Corona, both of which have become increasingly hard to find. Punch has also been one of the most prolific Cuban brands throughout my journey into the world of cigars. The Punch Punch was the first cigar review I submitted at Simply Stogies, the Double Corona was my first Cuban box purchase, and the 2013 Limited Edition was the first hard-to-find box I scoured the dark web to find. Needless to say, Punch and I have a history, and the Punch Short de Punch has only strengthened that bond.

I’ll save you the fluff and flannel history report on the Punch pedigree, but if you would like a narrative of the brand check out my Punch Punch review. The Short de Punch is the first regular release from Punch in decades, originally released in 2019, but not available on the market until early 2020. It comes packaged in a semi-gloss box of ten cigars, a recent trend Habanos S.A. seems keen to stick with. All these trend setting characteristics, coupled with the profile, make the Short de Punch a cigar to keep your eye on in the future.

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Paraisos, Petit Robusto
SIZE:   4 3/4″ x 50

ORIGIN:   Cuba
FACTORY//BOX CODE:   EOS OCT 2019

WRAPPER:   Cuban
BINDER:   Cuban
FILLER:   Cuban

STRENGTH:   Medium to Full

SOURCE/ONLINE STORE:   
Gifted

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Back Patio

WHEN:   
Weekend, Morning & Afternoon

DRINKS:   
Coffee / Scotch / Water

WEATHER:   
Sunny and Cool spring desert morning

WHAT’S ON:   
YouTube, random shows as background noise

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Release

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  OR 2019 

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 10
Production Totals:  Unknown

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o  Short Robusto  (4-3/4″ x 50)

BAND DESIGN

Punch has one of my favorite band designs behind the old H. Upmann bands. There is an elegant and classical element they have maintained in all their years of production. The Band is the “Standard Band C,” which became part of the regular production line in 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

Punch punched

CONSTRUCTION

The construction of each cigar I smoked was above average for regular production habanos. Each cigar was firmly packed, with no overly firm or spongey areas. The color of each cigar was consistent with the next; it didn’t look like your typical shade wheel when you opened the box. The caps were applied well and none cracked or split as I punched each cigar. Overall, the box of ten was uniform and well made.

Punch with punch
Punch whole


AROMA

The wrappers on each of these cigars are beautifully scented. There is a malted barley character that really dominated the wrapper aroma. The foot has more of the cedar, floral, and chocolate note I usually associate with Cuban cigar aroma.

COLD DRAW

The cold draw is more simple than the wrapper. There are notes of cedar, earth, subtle sweetness, and a minerality. The minerality is not something I associate with the Punch brand, but it isn’t unwelcome.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW

Cut:  Xikar Punch, on the larger end of punch cutters
Fire:  Vintage S.T. Dupont soft flame, probably my favorite cigar purchase to date

No issues with the light on this Punch. Low and slow toasting the foot created a perfect base to start the cigar. Draw was more on the tight side, but I say that because many of our non-Cuban smoking readers may be used to a wind tunnel when comparing draws. I tend to like my cigars on the tighter side, and it also aids a bit in preventing overheating the tobacco.

SMOKE

This cigar puts out smoke in volumes from the initial light all the way through to smoldering in your ashtray. The smoke also leaves behind a pleasant, damp cedar, and mossy forest aroma.

FIRST THIRD
>> Peanut, Wood, Fruit

The initial mouth feel is dry and salty, not leaving much for the palate aside from some pepper tingle on the tip of the tongue. After the first half inch has burned down, some of the Punch staple characteristics start to show up. First and most notable is a nuttiness which reminds me of roasted peanuts–the very same peanuts you would find on the table at your favorite steak house. Following the peanut profile is cedar along with some dark bitter chocolate.

The last transition of the first third is an interesting medley of dried oak wood, dried fruits, and coffee. The smoke production has been great, the ash is solid with no flaking, and the burn line has been as straight as an arrow.

SECOND THIRD
>> Fruit, Earth, Nuttiness

Starting off the second third with some added nuances in the flavor profile. The oakiness has fallen off a bit, the dried fruit is less ambiguous and reminds me of dried peach slices, and the damp/mossy notes are more pronounced on the palate. There is still a black pepper tingle on the tongue, but the retrohale is as smooth as silk with some woody notes.

The nutty/peanut flavor is still noticeable on the back end of the retorhale, but it has fallen off the palate. This is a cigar you could retrohale each puff and not burn out your palate. (Not my suggestion, but I am not going to yuck the next person’s yum.)

Combustion is still spot-on with no touchup or relights. Smoke is still plentiful and the ash is holding on for dear life each time I tap the ashtray.

 

FINAL THIRD
>> Oak Tannins, Malt, Walnut

Moving into the final third is when I noticed the most dramatic shift in flavor. The oak tannins really move into the foreground and start to dry out the palate–much more so than the first third. There is still a savory quality to balance things with a bit of maltiness on the aftertaste. Also, a bit of new leather and honey begin to show up on the back end of the exhale. The retrohale is still beautiful with a velvety smoke and more of a raw walnut flavor.

Burn is still as sharp as before and the smoke output has been just as consistent throughout the entire burn of the cigar.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION

The flavor progression with each of these cigars was an absolute treat. Everything from savory to sour and a few others in-between. I really enjoyed the waxy walnut and roasted peanut quality to these cigars. I believe this would be the perfect digestif to pair with a heavily sherried whisky, directly after a hearty grilled steak meal.

BURN EXPERIENCE

Not much more to say that I haven’t throughout the review. If you properly store, light, and smoke this cigar you are going to have good experience. The ash held well past the third marks and had to be persuaded to lose any purchase. The amount of smoke was above average for a Cuban cigar, but still smooth and silky.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.80 / 0.70 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.45 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.45 … Lighting Process
7.70 / 5.75 … Smoking Experience
0.50 / 0.30 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

Steak, Scotch, & a Punch Short de Punch

The Short de Punch is the perfect cigar to reach for after enjoying that perfectly marbled ribeye and your favorite dram of whisky. The complex notes, prefect size, and overall profile make the perfect pairing. And with the price: grab a box, invite over some friends, and open that bottle of scotch you’ve been holding on to for years. 

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  7.65 / 10.0

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