So, a review from this past weekend then, and then we’ll get “back to the future” with other posts…
Punch isn’t a big brand fave of mine. Punch as a brand is also not readily available in Canada, due to a particular distribution arrangement that doesn’t bring the Punch brand within our borders much – so I’ll admit that may definitely play a bit part in my impressions of the brand. That said, I used to love the older Punch Punch and Punch Black Prince sticks. So, with me trying to keep that in mind, I was actually looking fairly forward to trying this stick.
This cigar is a Punch Sir John 2012 Regional Edition out of Germany, a Hermosos No. 4. gifted stick from Ute / “Perla”, a kind friend from Germany whom I’ve done a number of trades and “cigar bombs” with now. Again, like many people in the online cigar world, I haven’t had a chance yet to meet her in person (but have a good friend who meets up with her regularly for cigars), but she seems like an absolute first class person, and is generous and ever thoughtful. In that, she passed this one along for me to try…
Reviewed Cigar: Punch Sir John 2012 Edicion Regional Alemania (Germany)
Box Date: Unknown (2012 production)
Factory / Manufacture Code: Unknown
Packaging: Dress boxes of 25-sticks
Price per cigar: Regional retail of ~11 Euros a stick (unk. cost though; gifted stick)
Length: 5″, or 127 mm
Ring Gauge: 48
Format: Hermosos No. 4 / Corona Extra
Weight: Shit, forgot to do this…
Construction / Appearance & Pre-Light: Well, to set the stage, this cigar was smoked on my 10th wedding anniversary day this past weekend (no pressure, Ute – it’s just a piddly little 10th wedding anniversary cigar, lol). I was able to enjoy the cigar on the back deck after watching my daughter play only her 2nd soccer game, crank up her goals to 4 already, and get player-of-the-game.
Due to everything else we had going on that day (as we just recently got back from St. Lucia, a trip for our 10th anniversary, and to the exact same resort we spent our honeymoon at), my sitting and smoking this cigar was a bit of a “gift” from my wife, as she wanted me out of the damn house, so she could get “things ready for an adults night”. Hmmmm. I gladly obliged! And, as you can see from the pictures, I had a paired wine bottle and a half with this smaller cigar, LOL! It was a wine gifted from my Mom and Dad, back just prior to our wedding – not really an aging type of wine, but something that was sort of aged and theme-appropriate for the evening. But damn-hard to fit into the stinkin’ fridge…
The cigar itself (oh yeah – THAT thing, LOL) was an absolutely beautiful stick. Flawless construction, beautiful coloured wrapper, which was kinda thick but not too much, and still was somehow silky smooth and flexible. A quick cut, a light, and I was rockin’ and rollin’…
Opening Impressions, then First, Second, and Final Thirds: Well, not too many notes. Except that this cigar was EXCEPTIONAL. I was totally revelling in the experience. I was revelling a bit in the backyard revamp work being basically done now after two years. Unfortunately (perhaps), the wine was less than stellar – it had a dry / cracked cork, and the wine itself had a dark beautiful colour but with no “pop” of flavour really; kinda tasted alcohol-free, and was extremely buttery and mellow, with no fruitiness really (all in all, kind of the OPPOSITE from what I was hoping for and expecting with this wine). HOWEVER, that said, the wine seemed to pair extremely well with this cigar. It only seemed to better accentuate the cigar’s positives.
The cigar had fairly viscous smoke, and was definitely on the lighter side of medium. Some main elements of buttered toast, slight sweet spice, and with a smoky honey sweetness. Each third had me correct a slightly wonky burn. Throughout, I was thinking of maybe a mild cinnamon-raisin toast, buttered and with a dark honey drizzle. I kept getting some light tones of leather through the middle, and the odd mild smoky woodiness too, though not from cedar or the usual suspects; to me, it almost seemed like a mild apple wood, or even a nice apricot tree wood, but smokey – almost kind of like using chips of that wood on the BBQ to slow rotisserie a nice roast. Mmmmm!
And all the while, I was making faces at Erin, trying to get her to lose her concentration while she was “trying to fly” while playing Alto’s Adventure on her iPad (it’s a VERY addictive but simple snowboarding game that’s smartly animated). Her concentration (and forced smile) was at it’s finest, while I was trying to distract her and type my notes…
Near the end of the stick, the smoke was lightening up even more in viscosity and density – while the flavours steered back to medium in the middle, the cigar was now becoming lighter…but more focused and refined in those flavours. I know – it’s a weird paradox, but for those of you who have had quality aged cigars in similarly-developing profiles (La Gloria Cubana, Quai d’Orsay, some Trinidad, etc.), you know what an absolute treat this is.
And to cap it off, my wife surprised me with a nice little gift certificate for cigars, just an “added little something” to go along with a few other things, as well as our recent trip to St. Lucia too. Very cool little added surprise to cap things off…
Finishing Comments / Overall Impression: Wow. What an under-the-radar cigar for me. I was really looking forward to trying it, for the gifting nature behind it, and the different experience it might give. But, I was not really expecting to have my attention focused so well by this stick, and so exceptionally rewarded for my time.
To me, this particular stick was a solid 93-94. There were some ever-so-slight hints of carbon on the aftertaste at the occasional point throughout the stick. But, it was strong, or really deviating from the main experience.
I was only disappointed…that the experience was too short, LOL! I know it was very much the blend and the format working together in harmony that gave me the experience that I had. But if this stick was a Churchill-sized smoke, with this same profile/blend/performance that I got, it would have been an ABSOLUTE shoe-in for a 96-97. And I don’t think I’ve ever gone over 95 or so before. It’s only a pity that these Sir John’s are on the pricier end of the spectrum for this format / size of cigar.
Final Score: 94
Total Smoking Time: 1 hour and 9 minutes
Date & Time Smoked: June 17th, 2016; lit up at 8:35 pm, done at 9:44 pm
Paired Beverage: 2003 “Gaetano D’Aquino” Garganega-Pinot Grigio wine, a giant 1.5 L cobalt-blue bottle, gift from our wedding
Last Meal: Can’t remember, but woulda been about 5:15 pm
Smoking Conditions: On the back deck, 23 degrees Celsius and 53 % RH outside, with an 11 kph slight breeze.
Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.