Brand: Sancho Panza Country: Cuba
Size: 5 x 42 Wrapper: Cuban
The Label Factor:
This label is a lesson in missed opportunities. How do you not make a reference to Don Quixote with a cigar named Sancho Panza? I think they could have easily put a windmill in the background just to make fans happy. If it were up to me, I would have just made a label out of Wishbone and called it a day. But hey, the label says Cuba so you can’t be too upset.
Label collectors beware: I couldn’t remove the band without it tearing.
What We Liked:
Having only smoked one Cuban before, the Montecristo No. 2, I still get excited simply by knowing I am about to smoke one. Unless the embargo gets lifted, I’m not sure this will change. There is something about the forbidden fruit that gets me hopeful for crazy unique flavors not available outside of Cuba.
After the initial disappointment of not getting waves of chocolate and caramel on the palate, the Sancho Panza Non Plus opened up with a very mild, unoffensive and sweet leather flavor. Where I detected no spice for the first half, a very slight pepper rolls in with a generic earthiness at the halfway point. Towards the end, I got a little saltiness, which I can’t say I have ever experienced before and found interesting. Nothing really blew me away but nothing upset my palate either. If I had to sum the entire stick up with one word, I would say “unoffensive.”
I’ve talked about my love for the root beer pairing multiple times but I had forgotten to place a root beer in the fridge so I was stuck with beer. For this, I only had a Yazoo Hefeweizen available. Everything worked out pretty well, as the saltiness I mentioned was balanced out by the sweet fruity flavors of the Yazoo.
I really love the size of the Non Plus. A 5 x 42 is perfect for when I am smoking alone or don’t have a ton of time. Not only did I like the size, I also thought it was a very attractive cigar with plenty of visible veins but none that had me worried. Unfortunately, it wasn’t without it’s problems…
What We Didn’t Like:
I initially grabbed the Sancho Panza from my humidor because I was looking for something quick to smoke. I didn’t have an hour or two to kill but the weather was nice and I really wanted to smoke. Unfortunately, I got burned by a crazy tight draw and it ended up taking an hour and a half anyway!
I started off with a punch cut which seemed perfect for the smaller ring gauge. After having to relight an inch in, I straight cut hoping to really open things up but to no avail. By the end of the stick, I was getting frustrated at how much work I had to do to keep it going and my jaw was tired from sucking so much.
Should You Try/Buy It:
If you have access, and the price is right (note: cheap), then yes. I am certain an easy draw would improve my opinion of this stick. However, if you are thinking about trying to import Cuban cigars through U.S. customs, this certainly wouldn’t be the stick I’d recommend risking seizure on. The flavors just didn’t do anything for me. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to revisit this one down the road with a draw that actually works.