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Noob Reviews #6: Sancho Panza Dulcinea

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Noob Reviews: A new smoker’s guide to the best beginner smokes

Since reading Jason’s recent post “Top 5 Bang-For-Your-Buck ‘Daily’ Cigars”, I’ve had a nagging itch to find out what the Sancho Panza cigars are all about. I’m always on the hunt for a good daily cigar myself. At work I have a warehouse-sized humidor to swim through ala Scrooge McDuck, and I’ve found that there is no shortage of inexpensive, tasty smokes to go ‘round. I lit up a Sancho Panza Dulcinea Torpedo (6 1/4 x 54) and it quickly entered my roster of cigars to cut the lawn with and get my noob friends started on.

These Honduran sticks are filled with Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran tobacco, covered in a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and Connecticut shade wrapper, and then pressed into a sturdy box shape. The light brown wrapper seems very delicate and thin, but also elastic and forgiving under my probing fingers. My nose pulls in aromas of honey and rich tobacco while my palate grabs a dry sawdust and paper flavor from the cold draw.

sancho panza dulcinea 2It’s always nice when a cigar just lights right up without the need for constant fiddling on stubborn patches, and the Dulcinea, as if it couldn’t wait to be smoked, didn’t waste a moment. The first thing I noticed was a general, light earth flavor. It slowly developed into soft mushroom and leather on the front, changing into a nice cedar halfway through the exhale. I love it when cigars change like this mid-exhale; there’s something to be said for subtly, but stark contrast is a nice change of pace as well. On the foot it created a soft, bulbous and puffy ash, like gray marshmallows squashed on top of each other.

sancho panza dulcineaWhen I started to smoke my way into the second half a very slight sweetness accompanied by baking spices showed up. The cedar slowly but steadily became smoother and smoother. Cedar is one of the most common flavors in a cigar, but it’s fascinating to see the different ways it expresses itself in the variety of blends. The near-four-inch ash that built up is a testament to the immaculate construction of this cigar. Perhaps it had something to do with the no-touch-up burn. Eventually I started trying to make it fall off, but it was as resilient as they come. Finally it gave in as our photographer Ron snapped over 1000 photos in an effort to get the elusive ash-drop shot. Before the cigar finished up, it had one last trick up its sleeve: creamy roasted nuts. A perfect finale.

The name Sancho Panza comes from the tale of Don Quixote. In the story of the famous man of La Mancha, Dulcinea is only a simple peasant. But Don Quixote sees her as a strikingly beautiful woman of royalty. Sancho Panza chose the perfect name for this stick. With its skimpy band and unassuming look and price point it isn’t given the stature of Padron, Liga Privada, and Opus X. But any savvy smoker will detect the quality and depth that often hides behind a simple facade. Reignite your passion for chivalry here.