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El Piño Blanco is a budget line created for and by Tabakado, a shop in the city of Eindhoven, home to electronics giant Philips and the world-renowned printer of cigar rings Vrijdag premium printing, who are printing the Cuban hologram rings amongst a lot of other cigar rings. Owner Mariska Kelch went to Nicaragua with David Blanco of Blanco Cigars to create the brand which comes in Maduro and Corojo. And that makes it the third Dutch cigar brand made in Nicaragua, following La Sagrada Familia and the yet to be released Ilja cigars.

The team was in Nicaragua when the uprising started last year, and while headed to the airport, they drove right into a riot. Their small bus was attacked, and David Blanco, who was driving the bus, said that he felt like Jason Statham in The Transporter trying to get his passengers and himself to safety. His military training helped them all get to the airport in one piece, just with some broken windows of the bus caused by rocks that were thrown at them.

Name: El Piño Blanco Maduro
Country: Nicaragua
Factory: Plasencia S.A.
Size: 5×52
Vitola: Robusto
Wrapper: Honduras Habano Maduro
Binder: Indonesia Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Price: € 5,50 (The Netherlands)
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: Two hours
Sponsored by Tabakado



For a budget cigar, it looks really good. The shape is perfect, the head is perfect and it even has a triple cap. The wrapper looks as if it’s cooked, a process that makes the wrapper look evenly dark. That’s pure for aesthetic reasons and more companies use that technique to create a wrapper that has a nice, even, color. The ring is simple, yet clear. The construction feels good, with the right amount of sponginess. The cigar has a medium strong sawdust and manure aroma.

From the start, a strong coffee flavor is noticeable with a chewy, portobello mushroom flavor. After half a centimeter, the coffee is replaced with leather and mild American milk chocolate. After a few more puffs, the cigar has that American milk chocolate flavor, very different from European chocolate. But now with herbs and pepper. Halfway the cigar tastes like cedar with pepper and a chewy mouthfeel. The flavors are a bit muted in the first two thirds but that’s gone in the final third, where wood, milk chocolate, herbs, and a strong Nicaraguan pepper are the flavors.

The smoke is thick and white, with beautiful white ash. The draw and burn are great. This is a medium bodied, medium flavored cigar. Price quality wise, this is a great cigar. It’s always good to have a bundle of these in the humidor.

Strength: Medium
Flavor: Medium