Monday, April 4, 2016

Cigar Review: Punch Super Selection No.2 (1999)

The last time I smoked a Habanos from the 1990's, it was in the 1990's in Eastern Europe! At the time those were young Habanos, they had not been aging the way this Habanos has, so I am pretty excited and lucky to have the opportunity to smoke this offering. This Punch release, the Super Selection No. 2 is no longer in production either, so this is a cool experience. Thinking about the age of this cigar, it really brings me back to my days when I was living in Eastern Europe. The Cold War had been over for less than ten years, and and I was living in a world much different than America. Digging into the memory banks right now. Enough of that though, let's take a look at a Punch Super Selection No.2 from 1999.

Habanos: Punch Super Selection No.2
Country of Origin: Cuba
Factory: Probably the Partagas Factory
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Length: 143 mm
Ring Gauge: Vitola: 46
Production: Pre-1960's release but discontinued in 2002. 

The Punch has a great aroma and it is showing some salted caramel, wood, and barnyard qualities on the wrapper. The foot has a hay, grass and barnyard aroma, and for being 17 years old, it still has a lot to it. The color on the wrapper is that of a dark Natural and light Colorado, and it has an aged look to it. There are some veins present throughout, and the wrapper is silky overall.

The Habano opens up by showing these flavors of salted caramel with some vanilla bean sweetness on top of that. There are some pepper notes present as well, and it has a wood and barnyard quality also .I am picking up some faint stone fruit notes, and it has a lot going on in terms of flavors. It is complex and balanced, and for being as old as it is, has quite a bit of life. I would classify it as being medium overall in terms of body and strength, but the flavors are around medium-full. The construction is top notch and I am getting a razor sharp burn line with a cool draw. The ash is holding on firmly to the end and it has a dark charcoal color to it.

When I get into the second third, the first part is showing a flavor profile that is fairly similar to the beginning. It has that salted caramel flavor profile with a touch of vanilla beans. But, as I enter into the later part it becomes a little bit more natural. I am getting some wood and barnyard qualities with a nice solid spice level. It is not over the top but present enough to get your attention. As mentioned earlier, the Habanos is balanced and is producing a medium flavor profile now. The body and the strength remain at that medium level and it is quite lovely. The construction remains top notch in this third as well and I am getting a razor sharp burn line with a dark charcoal ash that is near black in coloring. The ash is holding on firmly and the draw is cool on the end.

The final third has a smooth finish and it is showing some lighter and simpler flavors. I am getting a nice barnyard quality with some wood and hay notes, and there is a slight bit of pepper present also. There is a faint hint of vanilla bean with the Habanos, but it is light and just on the smooth finish. I would classify the experience as being medium all around in this third, and with that came great construction. The draw was smooth and cool, and I had a nice solid burn line as well. The ash was nearly black in coloring, but it held on firmly all the way to the end. Overall, a nice finish to an enjoyable and aged Habanos. 

Whenever I smoke an aged Habanos like this, something with at least ten years of age, it is likely I did not have the opportunity to smoke it when it was young or even with at least five years of age. Because of this, I am always curious to know how the Habanos smoked when young and where it has come over the years. The Punch Super Selection No.2 is such a flavorful Habanos after 17 years of age, and it makes me wonder what this was like when it first hit shelves. More than likely it was a flavor bomb with some strength and body, but it could have been a little rough as well. Regardless of how it was though, the Punch Super Selection No.2 smoked great, delivering a lovely flavor profile with some transitioning throughout. The construction was top notch and it had a body and strength level that was right between medium and medium-full. Finding a Habanos or non-Cuban cigar that would smoke this well after 17 years of age would be difficult, and that is what makes this smoke special. I am giving the Super Selection No2. a rating between 95 and 97, and what an experience this was.

Young Rating: Inconclusive
With Age Rating: 95-97