Punch Gran Puro
Founded in Cuba in 1840, Punch Cigars is among the oldest cigar brands on the market. After Castro’s regime took control of all the island’s industries, and the US Government subsequently placed an embargo on Cuba, in 1964 Punch found a new home in Honduras, where it still resides today under the banner of the General Cigar Company.
Not only is the Punch brand one of the oldest, but it was also among the first to set up shop in Honduras in the exodus from Cuba. It is only fitting that Punch creates a top-quality Honduran puro to honor its new home, and the result is Punch Gran Puro.
Originally released in 2003 to top-rated reviews, Punch Gran Puro eventually earned the #10 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s prestigious Top 25 of 2016 list. Recently, these gems underwent a face-lift with new bands and boxes, so today we will be looking at the Punch Gran Puro Sesenta and its new stylish look!
Country of Origin: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduran Havana-seed
Smoke Time: 100 Minutes
Punch Gran Puro Sesenta (6×60)
Punch Gran Puro Pico Bonito (6×52)
Punch Gran Puro Rancho (5.5×54)
Punch Gran Puro Sierra (6.5×48)
Cold Draw Impressions
Upon inspecting this stocky vitola, I cannot help but admire the milk-chocolate brown Honduran wrapper. It has a slick feel with a bit of tooth, giving off aromas of leather, hay, and barnyard from the foot and leather, earth, and hints of pepper from the cap. It is packed firm with just the right amount of giving, showing no discernable hard or soft spots.
I opted for two perpendicular V-cuts with the Punch Gran Puro Sesenta since it has a larger ring gauge, and I appreciate a more open draw. Cold draws present notes of leather, earth, and cream, with some hints of chocolate and cinnamon in the background.
First Third Impressions
After toasting the foot and taking my first couple of puffs, my palate is warmly greeted by a hearty dose of leather along with smooth sweet cream. I also pick up hints of cedar, baking spice, and cocoa backing the creamy leather.
Around halfway through the first third pepper starts to enter the profile, however, it is still fairly mellow behind the other flavors. The smoke is hovering just above medium-bodied, and I expect that to increase along with the peppery spice throughout the remainder of the smoke.
Being a larger vitola, I get plentiful smoke production from the Gran Puro Sesenta. The ash holds on firm, however, the burn has become slightly uneven and requires a quick touch-up before things run too far off course. Otherwise, the cigar is burning slowly and steadily and makes for a pleasant experience.
Second Third Impressions
The transition into the second third sees a steady increase in the pepper. The sweet cream of the first third has also become more savory and grown in richness, and the spice has become a more defined cinnamon flavor. Leather continues to be the major player in the profile, however, the pepper and cinnamon are not far behind.
In the background, the cedar and cocoa continue, being joined by some nuances of coffee. When performing a retrohale, the cinnamon and baking spice take center stage and have a faint sweetness that provides a surprising amount of complexity for a $7 stick.
The body is medium-full but still has a creamy-smooth quality. Despite the touch-up in the first third, the burn runs away a bit on one side and a second touch-up is required, but the overall experience is still pleasurable.
Final Third Impressions
Pepper, cinnamon, and leather now equally control the profile, backed by the cedar, coffee, and cocoa that remained consistent throughout. Pepper continues to grow along with bittersweet chocolate as the burn approaches the nub. Hints of cedar, leather, and cinnamon linger on the palate for a bold finish. As the heat builds passing the final inch, I take my final puffs and put the cigar to rest.
The final third is where this cigar truly shines in both flavor and construction. The rich flavors that developed throughout the experience came together for a bold finale with the cinnamon overcoming the consistent leather, cedar, and cocoa flavors. The burn was also top-notch in the final third with a perfectly even and slow progression. The final smoking time came to a lengthy one hour and 40 minutes.
While I went with my usual pairing of a glass of ice water, the bold flavors of cinnamon, leather, and pepper would make a fantastic duo with some cinnamon whiskey, if that is what you like. If you are more of a purist, bourbon whiskey or a spiced rum.
I also like to enjoy the occasional soda, and I imagine a root beer or Dr. Pepper would also pair well with the bold spiciness of the Punch Gran Puro. In any case, if you are enjoying this gem with anything besides a glass of water, I suggest you get a drink that is bold but also has some subtle flavors to compliment the creaminess of the first third.
A classic that has been on the market for almost two decades, after trying the Punch Gran Puro for admittedly the first time, I now understand how the brand has been around for so long. It provides rich flavors, and interesting transitions, and while it required a touch up here and there, overall burned steady with solid construction.
As a fan of Honduran tobaccos, Punch Gran Puro will definitely be a cigar blend I revisit for my own personal enjoyment. Going for just under $130 for a box of 20, $6.50 per cigar, it is hard to get a better smoking experience from an equally affordable smoke. I should have expected none other from one of the kings of Honduran tobacco, Punch Cigars!