Way back in the day, many years ago, I was on a business trip to western Massachusetts, right off the NY border and after a long day of meetings and a massive dinner, supplier I was visiting asked my colleague and I if we like to smoke cigars. He did not have to ask twice as we both replied in unison, “yes we do!“. Now keep in mind, that was 30 or so years ago and my palate was barely mature. Our host proceeded to take out two Punch Double Punches (6.75 x 48 Double Coronas) from his jacket and presented them to us an said, “don’t smoke these now, for it is late and these will keep you up all night, enjoy them tomorrow on your drive back east” . We accepted them with gratitude and headed back to our hotel rooms.
These were beautiful cigars and the next morning, after breakfast, we go in the rental car, rolled the windows down, and headed back towards Lexington, MA. I will not bore you with the details but I will say, that 2 plus hour cigar changed my look at cigars for years to come and then on we looked for the best in premium cigars to treat the palate. Of course time moved on and I have enjoyed many cigar brands, some of which are not even around. Punch, on the other hand, has remained a cigar that you can find in most shops across the country, and the brand has stayed true to its branding (except for the Punch SIgnature), that is until this years IPCPR when General Cigar Co. unleashed the Punch Diablo to the market.
The Punch Diablo is known as “The Dark Side of Punch” and it is the result of a collaboration with ….. you got it… A.J. Fernandez. Is this man involved with everyone? Anyway, the Punch Diablo is a fresh, bold, new look for Punch – from the band, to the box design. Not only does the cigar have a new look for Punch, but it’s also the first time General has made a Punch outside of Honduras.
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro
- Binder – Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler – Honduras and Nicaragua
The Punch Diablo is available in 3 different vitolas and come packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Scamp (6 1/8 x 50) MSRP: $7.19
- Diabolus (5 1/4 x 54) MSRP: $7.79
- Brute (6 1/4 x 60) MSRP: $8.19
For this review I sampled the Punch Diablo Diabolus, which I received from the General Cigar Co. at this years IPCPR, for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
So, you want to dance with the devil?
Then keep reading, as I tear into the heart and soul of the Punch Diablo. Of course such a journey would not be right with out some awesome devil songs like Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones and Runnin’ with the Devil by Van Halen.
Now that we are in the mood, let’s talk about the Punch Diablo looks, and pre-light aroma and tastes.
The Punch Diablo is a dark brown, almost black, cigar that is double capped and has a slight oily sheen to it. It feels solid but the foot shows a small divot in the center. The wrapper has a few veins and a mild grit.
As I mentioned, the band is uniquely different on the Punch Diablo. It uses a black, red, and white motif with a much simpler Punch logo in the center and the bright red word “DIABLO” on the bottom.
There is not much aroma present along the barrel but the foot is where the you may pick out the soul of the Diablo with notes of pepper, that a few more sniffs actually tickle the nose, and also a baking spice note that couples with it.
I used a punch (get it?) to open the cap and took some cold draw puffs which further opens its soul with notes of black pepper and cocoa through a mildly restricted draw.
Well since the devil likes fire, then fire it shall be, as I took out my double flame torch to warm the foot to an even orange glow and set the Diablo free to take me deeper into its soul.
Cigar Review Notes
- The Diablo doesn’t mess around. It gets right to it, with cayenne pepper shots to the nasal and a warming of the cheeks
- The pepper tones down and gives way to a floral fruit aroma and sweet caramel like notes
- Toasted bread notes quickly join the mix
- A solid white ash forms resting on a medium char line
- Smoke is mouth fulling
- Smoke smooths out after an inch plus delivering a predominant natural sweetness
- Woody notes begin to evolve
- Slight off burn starts to show
- A distinctive mint note appears on the lips
- Wood is becoming more cedar like
- Off burn continues
- Ash held tight for about two inches before falling
- Pointed off centered cone is revealed
- Peppery spice re-enters midway through the burn
- Bitter cocoa notes enter
- Strength is medium
- Flavor becomes more muted near the final third with just a hint of lingering spice and a continued bitterness
- Total smoking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Point Deductions: (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Off centered burn cone; (-1) pointed burn cone; (-1) Bitter; (-2) Flavor fades at end (-1) Buy one again
Overall, we score the Punch Diablo a 89. This cigar had some decent flavors including some notes of mint and caramel, and early notes of heavy pepper, however the flavor faded in the final third and the notes got bitter. The burn started good for the first inch then started to run off till the ash fell revealing an off centered and pointed burn cone. I might buy one again if I saw it in a humidor, given that it had decent flavor and burned for a good hour before the flavor faded.