Punch Sucker Punch
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
As Summer winds down – and it is showing it with much cooler temperatures and wetness here this week in Seattle – I figured it was time to get in a cigar that is a bit more fitting for the fading warmer temperatures than those that will be more in my wheelhouse as thing cool down further… or maybe not. We shall see.
The cigar in question is the Sucker Punch, made as an exclusive for Famous Smoke Shop by General Cigar’s Punch division. I can’t tell you why, but I have not smoked more than a small handful of Punch cigars prior to this, but when I found out about this line, and saw what the components were and how they were priced, I knew I had to give the cigar a shot, so I ordered up a five pack from Famous. Touted as a Connecticut wrapped stick with a surprising “punch”, the Punch Sucker Punch was concocted by General Cigar’s Central American operations manager, Augustin Garcia Lainez and made in Honduras. The Sucker Punch comes in four sizes: Lights Out 5×52; King Hit 6×54; Critical Condition 7×52; and Smash Face 6.125×60.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan (ligero)
Size: Lights Out (robusto) 5×52
Price: $5.56 for singles, less for five packs and boxes
Smoking time: One hour, 25 minutes
Pairing: Anchor Porter (ABV 5.6%)
The Punch Sucker Punch come swathed in a satiny and lightly oily absolutely uniform yellow-tan wrapper with one or two small veins and a tight, firm roll leading to a nicely applied double cap. The foot has a bit of a box-pressed look to it, but that seems to be a result of how the cigars were packaged more than anything. The large band of blue manila (picked up from Tony’s descriptions, but spot-on for the color J), red, and gold depicts a cigar smoking female boxer in fighting position, with the word “Sucker” placed above the traditional Punch logo. Under the word “Punch” is a closed fist bearing a ring, which my aging eyes couldn’t make out until Famous Smoke Shop’s Gary Korb sent me an enlarged graphic.
The wrapper aroma is light and dissipates rapidly as I try to discern the scents I pick up – mostly tobacco with faint tangy earth. The foot shows grass, earth and tobacco. Clipping the cap, the Sucker Punch reveals an ideal draw with just a bit of resistance, producing a sweet tobacco flavor and a hint of earth.
The initial draws present sweet grassy tobacco, cedar, earth, and slight pepper in a smooth mild body. The pepper quickly disappears along with the sweetness, replaced by leathery and earthy flavors. The somewhat thick burn line is for the most part even with just bit of waviness and is rapidly evening itself out, leaving behind a solid white ash, while pumping out a rather hefty volume of stationary smoke with a pleasant sweet wood aroma. Nearing the end of the first third of the Sucker Punch, the flavors have been very consistent with just a few fleeting sweeter notes playing amongst the predominant earthy cedar.
The ash has finally fallen at 1-3/4” into my lap and onto my porch floor with an audible thud and the body of the Sucker Punch has climbed to a low-medium. A bit of bread has come into play, even as the earthiness has pushed itself further into the picture… or maybe not, as it quickly fades back as the cigar suddenly becomes much smoother, and a bit of sweetness begins to linger on the palate. Although I was beginning to feel a bit of nicotine kick at the halfway point, that too has dialed down.
Tapping off the ash – this time into my ashtray – at another 1-1/2+”, the Punch Sucker Punch continues to be a smooth, yet a bit edgy, smoke. Wood, earth, and now lightly toasted bread are the primary components with a faint sweet baking spice in the background. Pungent black pepper again rears up, as does a bit of nicotine, but it’s definitely more of a soft left jab than a strong right hook. As the flavors begin to thin out a bit and a peppery bite makes itself felt on my lips, it’s time to send the Sucker Punch to its corner after over an hour and twenty minutes, ending at a solid medium body.
I found the Punch Sucker Punch to be a pretty solid medium bodied smoke, and one that will provide a viable alternative to smokers who want a little more of an edge to the traditional Connecticut wrapped, mild cigar. Contrary to its marketing, it is not, in my opinion, an ass kicking strong smoke, but it does carry some slap to it. I would have liked a little more of the sweetness that a Connecticut stick usually provides and was a little surprised that the Cameroon binder did not for the most part provide that, but I still enjoyed it, and the price is certainly rather easy to take, especially since it can frequently be found on sale at Famous Smoke and on Cigar Monster at substantially lower prices (even their regular box price for the Lights Out comes in at about $4.28 per stick). It will not make me forget about the EP Carrillo New Wave, Emilio Suave, Nomad Connecticut Fuerte, or even the AVO Domaine, but it is still a cigar well worth considering if you are looking into a Connecticut with more to offer than the usual suspects at a budget friendly price. Although the appearance of some individual cigars can be a bit spotty (the two I smoked prior to this review had respectively a crack and a lump near the cap, neither of which affected the smoke negatively), the overall construction, draw, and burn were great with no re-lights or corrections necessary.
I wanted to match the Punch Sucker Punch up with a beer that had enough of a presence to stand up to what the cigar offers, but not so much that it would overpower the Connecticut and Cameroon leaves, and especially wanted to avoid anything too bitter, so I decided to go with Anchor Brewing’s Porter. A smooth, lightly sweet and mouthful, complementing it with malty and chocolate-y flavors and just enough bittering hops on the finish to deep things balanced. Of course, a sweetened coffee would also be ideal, and a White Russian* would also seem to be a perfect match with the Punch Sucker Punch. *Disclaimer: I usually hate sweet cocktails, and I don’t know that would go this far, but I think this pairing would be great, lol!