5-28-15 been in humidor since 11-17-14
Punch Punch (5.6 x 46)
Box code: BMS FEB 14
This brand, and vitola, are a Cuban cigar staple. It is a classic. The brand itself has been around since 1840 when the name was first registered. Punch was named after a 17th century British wife-beating puppet named “Mr Punch” who is most often depicted in a traditional Jesters outfit. The Modern Punch Punch cigar box still has the image of this puppet lounging with a cigar and a pet dog wearing a multi-colored collar. That image is surrounded by four illustrations of the cigar making process.
The name “Manuel Lopez” appears on the box as well. This is not the name of the original owner of the cigar brand. It is estimated that he is the third owner. He is, however, the one who made the brand an icon of Cuban cigars. His full name is “Manuel Lopez Fernandez,” who is the brother Fernando Lopez Fernandez, operator of Juan Valle y Cia. cigar company. This is why the other name on the modern box is “J. Valle.” This name combo on the box can be dated back to the 1920’s.
The Punch Punch is a pre-revolution release and is still being sold. This is the Stereotypical Punch cigar. This is the vitola that is most commonly associated with the brand. Until the 1980s the Punch Punch had a slightly different name of “Punch Punch de Luxe.”
The band of this cigar is in a red, white and gold color scheme with typical Cuban cigar band styling. It is a classic look. The wrapper is a touch darker than a brown paper bag and has very few large veins. What veins are there, are well dispersed. There is a slight natural box press, almost unnoticeable unless looking for it, but realized when attempting to take the first cigar from the box. The wrapper and cap look applied flawlessly. There is an nice sheen on this cigar that is mirrored in the oily feel of it in the hand.
The Band comes off very easily, keeping the wrapper fully in tact, a touch that is always appreciated. When gently squeezed there is a very evenly distributed slight give. The scent unlit is a very mild barnyard with the slightest push to wood. A lick on the cap is much woodier in a balsa wood sort of way. Once clipped with the above pictured double guillotine there is a firm draw that has a dried stone fruit quality to it. This is on the sour side almost like the style of sour found in the Gose style of beer. This is a very unique quality.
Light with a soft flame.
The first few puffs are slightly sweet, woody and incredibly smooth. Through the nose there is a very mild version of the typical Cuban sharp earth. The finish is long and has a light oak to it and a slight desiccant feel. The sweetness is fruity, but in an extremely mild way, and is focused on the initial part of the draw. It is extremely balanced in this first quarter inch.
As the cigar settles in, the dried stone fruit style sweetness picks up a tick. This fades into an oak and white pepper taste on the palate. Through the nose the Cuban sharp earth flavors pick up.
The middle third has a much more umami flavor with a black tea impression that truly makes the mouth water. The spice on the middle and finishing flavors pick up while the fruity flavors fade to next to nothing. The cigar is still incredibly smooth, even through the nose. On this retrohale, the flavors are the same as the first third, nothing but the beautiful sharp earth with a slight oak. Through the middle third the wood notes increase. The body builds to a solid medium, making it very relaxing.
Though the burn is not a razors edge, it is quite good and corrects itself before any issues call for a corrective light.
By the final third the spice has turned on quite a bit. This is noticed heavily in the retrohale. It does not reach the level of being harsh, but it does throw the cigar ever so slightly out of balance. This should age out in 2-3 years. The oak flavor on the finish becomes more of a generic wood and it lengthens quite a bit. The initial flavors are not sweet anymore but have some of the wood that is found in the middle and finishing flavors while still retaining some of the tea flavor. This tea flavor dies out quickly after the draw on the cigar stops, when the smoke is held in the mouth. The body builds to the fuller side of medium in the non-Cuban sense but is full bodied for a Cuban cigar.
The very end of the cigar heats up and becomes spicy in a cinnamon way. It is very different than the rest of the cigar and enjoyable, but not as much as the rest of the cigar.
This cigar burns slowly. This is probably promoted by the slightly tight draw. The downside is that if it is let to sit for a moment it tries to go out. Either some heavy puffing is required or a very quick relight is needed.
Burn to the nub
time: 1 hour 50minutes
Age will put this over 9 within a few short years.