El Piño Blanco is a brand owned by Mariska Kelch. Kelch is not new to the cigar industry. She has been operating her own shop, Tabakado, in Eindhoven for a few years now. First under the wings of her parents Johan and Wil, but after Johan passed away way too young, she’s been running the retail outlet with her mother. She has the genes of her late father, who was a real entrepreneur. Mariska took the business to a new level, first by creating one of the best cigar events in The Netherlands. From that, she developed her own brand, El Piño Blanco with David Blanco from Blanco Cigars. And now she’s spreading her wings into the importing and distribution side of the business with Kelch Trading. Considering her young age, Kelch is one of the people that will lead the Dutch cigar community for years to come.

A few months ago, Ministry of Cigars reviewed the El Piño Blanco Maduro Robusto, a fine budget cigar. The second blend in the El Piño Blanco line up is one with a Corojo wrapper. The cigar comes in three sizes, the one used for this review is the 5×52 Robusto.

Name: El Piño Blanco Corojo
Country: Nicaragua
Factory: Plasencia
Size: 5×52
Vitola: Robusto
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Price: € 5,50
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: one hour forty minutes
Purchased at Tabakado

The Review

It is a nice looking cigar. The wrapper is not dry, yet also not very oily. The single cap has some pimples. The ring is clean yet simple. The print quality is high, but since Tabakado shares the hometown with Vrijdag Printing (who are responsible for the Cohiba rings, amongst others), nothing less was to be expected. The veins are smoothed out, leaving a good looking cigar. The construction feels good. The aroma is quite strong and dark. Think of barnyard, swamp and forest aromas


The cold draw is great with spicy raw tobacco flavors. From the start, this cigar goes into espresso with pepper and cane sugar. Followed by cedar and mushrooms. After half a centimeter, a strong musty flavor shows up, an amped up version of the classical Connecticut Shade mustiness. With spice and mushrooms. The sweetness and coffee disappeared. After a centimeter, the worst mustiness disappears although it lingers on the background. The cigar turns a bit salty with cedar and green herbs. After a third, the main flavor is cedar, supported by pepper and low-grade milk chocolate. The mustiness and mushrooms are growing in strength again. The final third sees the comeback of cedar and sweetness. The sweetness becomes dominant, with grass and green spicy herbs like rocket salad as support. The pepper starts to grow strong near the end.

The white ash is strong and firm. The smoke is medium to full in thickness and volume. The cigar has a decent evolution and can be considered medium in both flavor and body. The cigar lasted an hour and forty minutes.

Strength: medium

Flavor: medium

Ministry of Cigars El Piño Blanco Corojo Maduro