Don Kiki Limited Reserve Brown Label “Botella”

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The starting point for some cigars, the detail you notice first, is the wrapper. For others it’s the construction. For the Don Kiki Brown Label, the first thing you notice is the price. This is a bargain cigar: at 36.99 for a box of 25, or about 1.50 each, this is a decent smoke.

According to the Cuban Crafters website, the leaves for this cigar are aged for three years, and after the cigars are rolled they are aged for an additional three years. The wrapper is a fairly dry colorado maduro, Nicaraguan sun-grown criollo. The binder is Nicaraguan corojo (which gives the Brown Label some strength) and the filler is also Nicaraguan.

Kiki Berger developed the original blend, this one, in 2003. The following year he released two other less powerful lines, the Green (medium body) and the Red (mild to medium.)

The “Botella” is true to its name and is shaped like a bottle, the kind you might expect a genie to pop out of. It’s short at only 4 and half inches long, and flares to a 48 ring gauge at its thickest point. The foot of this perfecto is finished with a cap-like construction, a narrow piece of leaf wrapped around the foot. I thought this might present some construction problems — it looks like it might easily unravel, but it never did.

The head narrows to about a 32 ring gauge, but it still feels fairly well balanced. This cigar is pressed, so even with its unusual shape it’s still sort of boxy. It’s also a bit spongy with an occasional soft spot. It lights easily with a good draw and burns slowly with a nice volume of smoke.

The main flavor is straight forward tobacco, a little bit earthy, but mostly tobacco. Almost like Virginia pipe tobacco or untreated cigarette tobacco, but stronger. On top of this is a distinctive flavor of chocolate or cocoa. It’s a fairly heavy smoke and at times can be harsh. There’s another flavor in there that is somewhat cloying, a bit waxy, and not exactly my cup of tea. I can’t identify it precisely, but I’ve tasted it before… One of these days I will be able to identify and name all the tastes and aromas of a cigar and where they come from. Alas, that day is not today.

I found I had to touch this one up at least once during the smoke, and none of them burned straight. Not down the side, not problematically, but not straight either.

Overall, I think this is not the best cigar from the Cuban Crafters stable. It burns a little lopsided, it’s a little inconsistent, and it’s a little harsh. But when you take the price into consideration, it’s a full flavored stick that you can toss after twenty minutes with no regrets.

In keeping with my original Pass/Fail system for Bargain Cigars : PASS.

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