Punch Signature | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Binder: Connecticut Habano (Proprietary)
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 5.8 x 52 “Torpedo”
Body: Full
Price: $7.00 MSRP
Number of Cigars Smoked Prior to Review: 0
Accompanying Libation: Water

Punch-Signature-Box

Mr-Punch-with-Signature

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Today we take a look at the Punch Signature.

HISTORY:
Punch Signature received a 93-rating from Cigar Aficionado saying: “Bold impressions of smoked meat, leather and mesquite are elegantly interwoven with sweet touches of dried stone fruits, caramel and a raw cocoa bean finish.”

Things started brewing back in 2012 when the folks at Punch threw out the notion of using a special, but unfortunately tiny, batch of Ecuadorian tobacco and moved on to a tobacco farmer who could bring about an interesting Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper for them. And just them. It took 3 years for the tobacco to be ready to roll.

The Punch PR says that this blend harkens back to when they cigars were first produced and that Punch considers this their finest cigar blend to date.
What is most startling is the new artwork for the cigar band. According to Punch, this is pretty much how they looked back in the 1800’s. You can see in one photo above a cartoon of Punch and his dog. I like it.

The Signature was released in March, 2015.

DESCRIPTION:
It is a very nice looking cigar. The wrapper has a mottled, oily, coffee bean color and very smooth to the touch. Seams are invisible. Some very large veins claim their territory. The cap is nicely done and, overall, it is an excellent job of rolling.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Rothschild 4.5 x 50 $5.39
Robusto 5 x 54 $6.39
Gigante 6 x 60 $6.78
Torpedo 5.8 x 52 $7.00

COLD DRAW:
The first sniffs are redolent with spiciness, coffee, cocoa, cedar, cinnamon, sweetness, and wood. That is a lot of potent things for the shnoz to accommodate.

FIRST THIRD:
A heavy woody essence begins the experience. Followed by a sweet tobacco element. The draw is excellent nearly blinding me with billow of smoke while I chomp and write.
Up next, is a small dose of lemon citrus. A familiar fruitiness appears but I cannot decipher it quite yet.

I am very impressed from the start. There is a nice moving carousel of interesting flavors.
The sun comes out and the wrapper shimmers. The color changes to more of a caramel color.
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Spiciness shows up next in the form of red pepper and black pepper. The fruitiness is a combo of berry components. Molasses joins the sweetness train.
The Punch Signature is just jam packed with tobacco. As a result, it is a very slow smoke. 10 minutes have passed and I’ve only gotten to the half inch mark.

This is turning out not to be your daddy’s Punch blend. I’ve smoked everything Punch has out there and this is totally different. Could it be that they have decided to compete with the New Breed of young master blenders?

The Punch Signature has already accomplished a nice complexity. A very nice balance but a short finish. I believe it is just warming up.
The char line is wavy but I’m going to leave it alone for a bit and just keep an eye on it.

SECOND THIRD:
At this point in time, there are only a couple of reviews. And both seemed to throw this blend away as yard ‘gar. Punch is an old school blend and needs plenty of humidor time. My local B & M gave me this cigar about 7 weeks ago and I haven’t touched it. But also had a lot of trepidation over reviewing it this morning. But the Punch Signature has proven that it has a lot more to do with the New Breed fellas than the old Punch.

Here are the flavors: Sweetness, earthiness, spice, fruity, chocolate, coffee, cedar, lemon citrus, cinnamon, and yeasty like sourdough bread.
The char remains wavy but acceptable.
6third

The flavor profile of the Punch Signature is on an upward trajectory. Flavors become more intense and find a wider spectrum of influence.
The spiciness gets a shot in the arm and I get a powerful blast of pepper with a little less than 4” to go.

More flavors join the fray: Caramel, smokiness, new leather, strong wood influence, creaminess, and vanilla. We now have the kitchen sink.

How someone could consider this a yard ‘gar is beyond me. Unless the cigar was smoked too early…like ROTT.

The citrus element surges to the front of the line. Nice offset to the creaminess.

HALFWAY POINT:
The Punch Signature blend is very complex now with so many flavors at play. They come zooming past my palate like a target at a shooting range. This is one of the more exotic blends I’ve tasted. Nothing ordinary or stereotypical about it.
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Instead of the chocolate, coffee, and creaminess being upfront, it is the citrus, smokiness, cedar, leather, wood, and spice that lead the charge.

I gotta’ admit I’m having a lot of fun with the Punch Signature. And once again, it destroys my hypothesis that only robustos and coronas can give you that uber intense flavor profile. Southern Classic Cigars sent me some Dujo sticks and these are huge…6.5 x 56. Two to three weeks of humidor time and they are rarin’ to go.
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Then, like flipping a light switch, the whole flavor profile changes: Creaminess, chocolate, coffee, citrus, smokiness, cedar, leather, wood, and fruit.

But now these flavors are super potent. The sweet spot just past the halfway point.
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Time to remove the band and it’s a bit of a bear. A little too much glue requiring cutting it off. I nick the wrapper.

The slowness of the burn has brought me to 45 minutes. This will easily be a 90 minute experience.

LAST THIRD:
I bought some sticks on Cigar Monster this weekend. I just checked status of shipping and I see they’ve included a Punch Signature promo pack. Score!
I am going to burn right past the nick I made while removing the cigar band.

The strength started out at medium. Near the end of the first third, it moved to medium/full. Now it is very full bodied. And Vitamin N is kicking in. Crash helmet time.

Some minor bitterness appears.
But so does a nice array of nuttiness.
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Speaking of which, my Atkins Shakes regimen was proving too expensive so I switched to making my own healthy smoothies. I’ve been using Almond milk. Yesterday, while at the market, I discovered that Silk also makes cashew milk. Out of this world. A trip to Trader Joe’s and I bought several bags of frozen fruits. I can’t believe how inexpensive everything is there.

Back to the Punch Signature.

The stick is on cruise control for the first time. A nice even keeled smoothness prevails.

The fruitiness becomes more distinct. Yes there is a berry component but also raisins, cherry, and orange zest…which replaces the lemon citrus.

The touch of bitterness is long gone. It continues to be very smooth. Even with the punch to the gut strength. Pardon the pun.

As predicted, the Punch Signature turns into a 90 minute experience.

PRICE POINT:
Just goes to show what a big cigar manufacturer can do that boutique brands cannot: Produce a cigar that isn’t attached to a double digit price.
From $5-$7 is just crazy for a cigar this good. On top of that, it is a regular production cigar. Once word gets out about the Punch Signature, it will become a very popular cigar. A lot of the big reviewers don’t bother with cigars like this. They tend to stick with the boutique blends. The expensive stuff. Making you wish you could get your hands on the cigars given to them by the manufacturer.

The price range is more than acceptable for this quality. On top of that, you are bound to see these cigars on the auction sites at some point.
For the price, you can easily afford to hand these out to your mooch friends.

SUMMATION:
The Punch Signature is an excellent blend. I wouldn’t mind having a box.

The only thing required is patience on your part. I wouldn’t touch the cigars with less than two months humidor time.
My only criticism is that there were several burn issues that required about 4 touch ups.

Punch is known for extremely full bodied blends and the Punch Signature does not change that reputation. But I haven’t smoked a Punch with this marvelous flavor profile.

The price point makes it extremely wallet friendly. I like the choice of the four sizes. Next time, I will try the Rothschild (4.5 x 50). I expect that to have an even more intense flavor profile.

When I’m done with the review, I shall place the Punch Signature on “The Katman’s List of 131 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$6.50 Range.” Making it a list of 132 great cigars.

One note is that this cigar is not for the faint of heart. It is clearly designed for the experienced palate and those with their own crash helmets. I highly recommend having some food in your stomach before lighting up.
I hope I didn’t miss any Daily Deals on this cigar.
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