Punch Cigars have been around for more than any one of us has been alive. One of my first cigars that I had when I went from smoking cigars to enjoying cigars was a Punch Champion. The Punch London Club maduro is still one of my go-to smokes that never lets me down when I am looking for a short smoke with good flavor at an inexpensive price. The Signature is one of the latest releases from Punch. Sadly, this cigar was up for review last year when it was new & fresh off the truck. But with my big move into a new house it got put to the backburner (along with many others). Luckily I found this cigar in my “review cigars humidor” and thought I’d give it a go with almost a year of age.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Price*: $6.79 (per 5pk @ JR Cigars)
The wrapper of this cigar is no beauty contest winner by any means. The seams aren’t as tight as they could be, its not as smooth as many other Punch and the cap could be better applied. Other than that, I don’t see any real issues; overall a somewhat spongy feel with areas harder than others. The 54 ring gauge is about the biggest ring gauge cigar I typically will grab off the shelf. The robusto vitola they give this cigar is somewhat odd to me that most “robustos” are a 5×50. I would almost call this a “Gran Robusto” seeing the abnormally larger ring gauge. The foot has aromas of cedar, nutmeg, some spice and dark wood. The wrapper has a creamy woodsy note to it with hints of nuts. The cold draw has notes of a spicy cedar and nutmeg with hints of an herbal tone I couldn’t decifer. The band is about the same size as the Uppercut band, but has a classic look to it. For the first time that I can remember, the Punch guy appears on the band. For a plain and simple white band, its pretty eye catching and stands out amongst the other brighter bands in my humidor.
Right from the get-go when I cut the cap, I notice a piece of fuzzy string sticking out from the head of the cigar. Now I know the rollers roll hundreds of cigars a day, at pennies a cigar, but a little more attention should be given to their job. They had a few chances to catch it; when bunching the leaves, rolling or capping the cigar. It was most likely a piece of string left over that held the bunches of filler leaves together during fermentation that snook past inspection. Not a good way to start off the cigar experience if you ask me. I am not griping (too much) about the string issue; I’ve came across metal shavings in a cigar years ago from a well known manufacturer that people rave about and didn’t make a fuss over it.
The draw started a bit looser than what I typically would prefer, but it thickened up some as the cigar progressed. From the toasting of the foot, the burn wasn’t too razor sharp. It took a watchful eye to keep it under control, it wasn’t a real big issue. The first ash dropped quite quickly and was barely 3/4 of an inch which really caught me off guard. Afterwards, the ashes lasted significantly longer with nice rings and a few flakes of a dirty white and gray mixture. The cigar produced a good amount of smoke and had a pretty bold room note to it.
Right from the start, this is not your run of the mill Punch. There is a nice beefy earthiness along with a salt and peppery spice that laid thick on my palate as the smoke lingered in the area. The flavor and body of this cigar is in the upper range, is quite more than many Punch cigars and quite honestly I like it! A ways in, I start to get notes of a spicy leathery flavor with a creamy finish of a bitter vanilla flavor. I really like the leathery flavor in the smoke, but wish the spiciness was toned down a tad.
During the middle portion, the spice did ease off as well as some of the strength of the smoke. The spice mellowing off allows a nice black pepper to show through as well as some of the herbal notes I got in the cold draw; just not as pronounced. Around the middle of the cigar, the earthiness takes a step up in strength and a bit of the bitter vanilla flavor leaves the finish and moves into the initial smoke. The finish now has a salty “bitey” flavor to it that almost takes away from the memories of the initial drawn smoke.
The final portion of the cigar has taken on a chalky aspect to the flavors and the black pepper from before has a bitterness aspect to it. The leather and earthiness has slacked off some more. The body seems to have gone back up in strength to almost from where it first started off at. The saltiness in the finish starts to leave my mouth a little dry and leads me to grab a drink of Coke. The sweetness of the Coke lessens the dryness and actually seems to strengthen the black pepper in the smoke. The chalky aspect is now in the finish of the smoke and doesn’t last as long as before. Ending the cigar, the flavors get a bit darker. The earthiness eases off much more, a dark chocolate flavor arises and combines quite well with the leather notes from before. With about a little over an inch, the flavors start to get “off” to me. It could be from the high humidity, too much heat or other things. After a quick purge, it was good to go for a little more. I am happy to say the cigar ended well with notes of dark chocolate, slight spice, some black pepper and a chalky finish.
Overall I enjoyed the cigar. Besides the initial construction “issues” there were no other issues presented that affected the cigar. The flavor was complex enough to keep me interested, yet not too much to loose track of flavors. I liked the leathery, earthy notes and the spice when it settled down. It started off pretty bold, yet settled down a bit once into it.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from General Cigars for this review. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this cigar!