Others’ Picks for 2016: Punch Gran Puro

  • PunchGranPuroVitola: Pico Bonito (Toro)
  • Size: 6″ x 5o ring gauge
  • ~$6.49
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

After seeing a few of the choices of the “big lifestyle magazine” for their 2016 Top 25, I decided that perhaps I needed to re-smoke (or “first smoke”) some of these. Plainly put, some of the choices were just not that impressive on the surface of it. So I have at least 3 short reviews to share with over the next few weeks…and maybe some others after that.

I couldn’t quickly get my hands on the Santa Rita vitola that was named the #10 Cigar of the Year, but the shop I work at carries two other sizes, so I opted for a Pico Bonito, a 6″ x 50 toro. The Gran Puro line is a Honduran puro, highlighted by a San Agustin Valley grown Havana seed wrapper. General calls this a connoisseur’s cigar, though not so strong that it will overpower a newer smoker. It was introduced in 2003 and was previously honored with a Top 25 ranking in 2012.

The aroma from the wrapper was a straight natural tobacco, with a little bit of inherent sweetness. The foot had more cedar to it. I found the cold draw very good with sweet hay and natural tobacco notes. Initial lighting of the Gran Puro brought out light earthy notes, along with plentiful hay and wood. The retrohale had a touch of pepper. The finish was very short and clean.

As I moved through the second third, the body picked up from a mild-to-medium start to a true medium body. The pepper increased, especially on the retrohale. Overall the cigar was still mostly earthy and woody, with a touch of sweetness and lots of natural tobacco flavor.

In the last third, the Gran Puro mellowed out a bit, exhibiting just a nice natural tobacco flavor with a little sweetness to it. The pepper was toned down and cedar and earth notes took a back seat. Overall, I’d call this a “good, solid smoking experience,” but definitely not “great” and not something I’d put anywhere near my Top 10 cigars of the year on any year.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

  • Timothy Andersen

    Agree with your conclusion. The question I have, among others, is why it made a list in 2016?

    • dmjones1009

      I’ll be the first to say I don’t agree with one of Cigar Aficionado’s basic criteria…they collect cigars and review them regardless of whether they are new to the market or not. Therefore, they tend to always have a mix of new and old cigars in the Top 25. We (and most other internet-based reviewers) generally focus more on new releases. I can accept that some people would find this a “great” cigar, but I just find it “good.”