The purveyor of this stick, General Cigar, bills the Gran Puro as ”a new experience in smoking … a medium-full bodied no-nonsense cigar.” To a degree, General Cigar is right: This was a new experience in smoking, insofar is this is the first time I’ve ever experienced a premium cigar that was so inconsistently rolled that I could only enjoy about 40 percent of it before I gave up the will to try.
In fairness to the manufacturer, reviews on a number of other sites suggest that my experience was unique; other smokers seem to give high marks to the Punch Gran Puro’s even burn. For that reason alone, I will go easy on this complaint.
I purchased this cigar on March 11 — just two days ago — for $9.15 at Buffalo Tobacco Traders, and stored it in my humidor, which remains within appropriate humidity and temperature ranges. The Punch Gran Puro Pico Bonito is 6 in. long with a 50 ring gauge; the dark-brown wrapper made of Honduran leaf (Havana seed) is slightly oily and veiny. The cap was well-rounded and cut easily. The initial aroma was of a sweet spice — difficult to pin down a specific analog, but the impression was highly favorable. The cigar had a single, nicely designed band. The binder and filler are both Honduran.
The initial light was easy but uneven; for the entire 40 minutes I spent with this cigar, the stick burned unevenly, sometimes approaching a 45-degree burn (see photo, above). The burn rate was slow; I got through 1 inch in 25 minutes. The ash was flaky and uneven, and colored a tannish grey. Resting smoke was white and copious, with a delightful aroma.
My diagnosis of the uneven burn: The tobacco leaves were rolled too tightly. After a few minutes of ash, the problem became evident — the serpentine nature of the rolling left one side loosely packed and the other side so tightly packed that the burn rate was wildly out of sync. Where the leaves doubled over, the burn rate was much slower. In fact, I cut the foot at about 1.5 inches down and saw that one side of the stick had burned whereas the the other side hadn’t even started to toast.
I enjoyed the consistency of the draw — this was a “three puff” cigar. The first puff brought in nothing, the second puff brought in a little smoke, and the third puff brought in a full, rich plume. Since I am a three-puff smoker, the draw character of this cigar satisfied me.
I concur with General Cigar’s assessment that this was a medium-full bodied stick. I truly enjoyed the flavor, which was more complex than I expected. There was a spicy-sweet undertone that reminded me a bit of chocolate, almonds and clove.
In the end, the uneven burn left me enjoying about two inches of this cigar. The unfortunate thing is that I genuinely enjoyed the flavor and the smoke characteristics; were it not for the rolling problem, this would have been a first-class cigar experience for me. Given the lack of complaints on other review sites, I will chalk this up to bad luck and would be quite willing to try another at some point.
OVERALL SCORE: 80%
- Appearance & Presentation: 20/20
- Lighting & Burning: 5/15
- Construction: 20/25
- Taste: 30/30
- Consistency: 5/10