Monday, September 28, 2015

Cigar Review: Punch Descobridores Edición Regional Portugal (2011)

In my opinion, Punch is the brand that comes off as the mild child. It is not as successful as the Global Brands Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo, and not as fun or cool as Ramon Allones and Juan Lopez. Punch has been around for a long time, but it never made it to the next level like H. Upmann in terms of becoming a Global Brand or Bolivar with rating successes. However, with its lack of success, the brand has been able to be selected as a regional release for several years. It has even gotten a limited edition release! The Punch brand received two of the first four regional releases, and with these regional releases we saw larger Punch offerings. While I am not looking at one of the two 2005 regionals, I am looking a vitola that has come back multiple times for the Punch regionals. The vitola is the robusto, and today I look at the Punch Descobridores Edición Regional Portugal (2011).

Habanos: Punch Descobridores Edición Regional Portugal (2011)
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Length: 124 mm
Ring Gauge: 50
Vitola: Robusto
Production: 2,500 numbered semi boite nature boxes of ten. (25,000 Habanos)

The Habano sports a great triple cap and has a wrapper that showcases a variety of veins. Some of them are large and noticeable to touch while some are very small and barely noticeable. The wrapper has a nice balance between Natural and Colorado in coloring, and I would say it is leaning towards the Natural side of things. It has that faded wood color, and with that is a sweet spicy aroma while showing some fruity and woody qualities. The foot is producing some similar aspects, and it has a meaty and earthy quality with that.

The first third opens up by showing some terrific Punch flavors, and they are flavors that have a little bit of age with them. There is that great sweet spice present, which is typically the case with Punch, and it is paired with some awesome stone fruit notes and also some manure, cinnamon and leather qualities. It is a complex profile and truly enjoyable. I would classify the Habano as being medium in terms of strength and body, while the flavors are closer to a medium-full level. The construction meanwhile is top notch and it is producing an even burn line with that solid charcoal ash on the end. The draw is slightly firm, but nothing major and so far a great start.

When I get into the second third of the Habano, I find that it begins to deliver a flavor profile that is slightly different from that of the first. I am getting a berry flavor profile with the stone fruit notes from the first third, and it has a nice cinnamon and sweet spice flavor profile with that. There are touches of earth present as well and it has a nice sweet spice and cinnamon finish. The Habano continues to smoke at a medium level in terms of strength and body, and the same goes for the body. I am finding that the flavor profile is similar overall to the strength and body, and it has taken a step down in this third. The construction remains perfect in this third as well and it is showing that charcoal ash on the end which is firm as well. The draw is a little bit more open in this third, and it is showing some changes and improvements.

The final third shows a lot of similarities to that of the second third and it is a very smooth offering that is not delivering that much in terms of spices. It is still showing those stone fruit and berry qualities, and it is paired with some nice earthy and manure qualities. There is a very faint hint of cinnamon on the finish, but overall it is missing that sweet spice profile which is what makes the smoke really pop. The Habano finishes at a medium level for body, strength and flavors, and the profile has really decreased as it has progressed. The construction remains top notch however and it is producing an even burn line with that solid charcoal ash on the end. The draw is perfect and there is a great bit of smoke with each puff.

This is a regional release that I enjoyed for about the first third and then it let me down. I love that they released a Punch in a robusto format, but it is not something new they have done that before. They have had multiple regional robusto releases since the regional program was launched, three to be exact, and with no robusto offering in the regular production brand, it makes me ask the question; "why not make a regular production Punch robusto?" If you look at a lot of the regional releases for Punch, you will see that the offerings are robustos and robusto extras, so it is obviously a vitola in demand for this brand. With that being said, I believe the first third captured that Punch quality that I love, but as I moved into the second and final third it faded away. If that Punch strength and sweet spice was present throughout, the Habano would have done better and would make it more appealing for a box purchase. With that being said, I would rather go for a regular production Punch. I have not smoked young, but with age I give the Habano a rating between 86 and 88.

Young Rating: Inconclusive
With Age Rating: 86-88