Punch Spring Roll | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: U.S.A. Broadleaf
Filler: Colombian, Dominican, Mexican, U.S.A. Broadleaf
Size: 4.5 x 50 Petit Robusto
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $5.99
Released: Feb. 1, 2023
Cigars Released: 5,000 – 25 Count Boxes

Every reviewer is on the General Cigar Blogger Program list and they send us free cigars. I’ve only had my sticks for a couple weeks. I saw that Halfwheel reviewed the cigar two days ago on the 27th. Granted, they probably got their sticks a little sooner than I did, but still, it was a quick turnaround. They liked the cigar so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Why? Who cares? It is a budget cigar. I don’t believe you are that interested in the made-up mythology of the name and the bona fides. But if you do want to know, Halfwheel does a nice job of explaining that story.

The cigar has a shaggy foot. Don’t see that often on budget cigars. I guess it boosts saliva appeal for smokers. For me, I know it will always cause a brush fire when I light the cigar. And then possibly an uneven burn for a bit.

The cigar is very light. Airy. Akin to a handful of toothpicks. I clip the cap and the airflow is as wide open as a plastic straw. This won’t take long. Do not need my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool this morning.

Aromas from the wrapper are ones I’ve smelled a thousand times…and so have you.

Small cherry bombs are expelled from the brush fire scenario. Fortunately, no toilets nearby that can explode.

Speaking of cherries, I taste cherries. And in random order, black pepper, malt, cedar, dark chocolate, burnt toast, creaminess, and charred oak.

There is something there going on. The cigar’s character doesn’t necessarily taste like a budget cigar. It teases with some minor complexity. A scoche of depth. An inexpensive cigar normally tastes like hay at the start up and then transitions to corn feed.

Strength is a solid medium…but going places. At 4-1/2”, it can’t spare a luxurious waiting time.

Creaminess is king. The spiciness settles down and helps develop a nice balance of flavors…although, the savory portion dominates a minor sweetness that lays in the background. The finish is interesting…a malty chocolate along with a nicely unsalted buttered piece of sourdough toast.

The complexity is on the rise. Color me totally surprised. Not a bad cigar at all.

The burn is semi-OK. Touch ups are on the horizon.

I would need a digital caliper to divide this cigar into thirds.

This cigar would benefit from being a larger size. But then the designers may have tried that and discovered the tobacco works best at this petite size.

Due to the underfilled condition of the cigar, this is going to be a 25-30 minute smoke at best. I need to remember it is just a $6 stick.

I remove the cigar band and Punch has something written on the backside: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but not this one.” Alrighty then…

Strength remains at medium with 1-1/2” burned at the 15-minute mark. I retract my estimate on its death sentence. Could be a 40-minute cigar.

The blend is by no means a flavor bomb. Just a solid smoke whose depth and complexity rise to the occasion with every puff. Once again, the cigar is better with puffs being interrupted by 2-3 minute layoffs.

Sips of water give the experience a mini rush.

And the cigar has only been in my humidor for a couple weeks. I am duly impressed.

The malt is enhanced by an excess of creaminess. The black pepper recedes and the finish is lip smacking. I need a Liva Snap.

A very smooth trip. The cigar quickly transformed itself into a more eloquent excursion.

I believe Halfwheel nailed the experience and the rating.

Strength hits medium/full at the halfway point…20 minutes in.

Amazon Music. “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. I hate that song. Every band I played bass in, during the 60’s, was required to play it at gigs. I napped nearly every time we played it.

The surprising complexity is the star of this burlesque show. Significant flavors are missing in action as they are so verklempt that they hide in the bushes. The spiciness returns and my mouth is afire.

A nice morning cigar. I have my doubts that this blend will make a big leap with extended humidor time. I believe it is giving all its got right now after a short nap at my house.

Due to being underfilled, unwanted heat shows up. Nubbing is not an option. And if it continues, I may cut the outing short.

The burn has behaved like a trained seal.

Strength hits a potent medium/full on its way to full tilt. Nicotine shows up as my vision becomes blurry.

A strange dichotomy as the cigar has depth and an interesting complexity but distinct flavors are lost in the fire.

1-1/2” to go and the cigar is just emitting too much heat.
The heat destroys the complexity. Stick a fork in me.
I finish early at the 30-minute mark.


And now for something completely different:

My apologies. But it’s one of my favorites and a couple new readers may not have been exposed to my indulgent ramblings.

This thing with Americans getting busted in foreign countries, thinking that they could bring drugs in with them, makes me slap my forehead. How can you be so stupid? The arrogance of this act leaves me with no sympathy for the devil. This is a related story that reflects that even I nearly faced the consequences 50 years ago.


We young lads were on an adventure. We bought plane tickets and decided to take our instruments to Europe and try our wares on unsuspecting cultures. Skip and his wife left two weeks early so they could visit her relatives in Denmark.

Then we would leave and meet up in Florence Italy. I arrived with my bass guitar, a speaker cabinet, and an amp. It took up all the plane’s luggage weight allowance, so our clothing was carry on.

Skip and Debbie landed in Amsterdam first. So did we. We all left our gear at the luggage storage area and got claim tickets so we could pick them up later. Skip was supposed to stop in Amsterdam and snag our gear. And then meet up in Florence.

But upon meeting him in Florence, he told me the gear was missing!

Holy shit! I had my speaker cab custom made for the trip. 18″ Altec Lansing speaker encased in 24 ply Swedish wood on wheels. And my Peavey bass amp.

We grabbed our Eurail Passes, left the women, and jumped the train to Amsterdam. Skip wanted to bring some hashish along in his ruck sack, but I told him no. We’d be going through Germany and there are lots of police jumping on and off the train looking for drugs…laser focused on long hair Hippies like us.

We found a compartment full of people and they made room for us. That evening, as we passed through Germany, the Gestapo crashed into our compartment with automatic weapons and sneers…and a desire to send me to Buchenwald. The leader immediately pointed his weapon at Skip and yelled, “HASHISH! HASHISH!!”

We all stood up and Skip shook his head no. The leader used his FMC automatic to point at the rack above our heads used for storage and specifically at Skip’s ruck sack. Skip grabbed it and brought it down. The leader screamed in German for him to open it. (I took 2 years of high school German).

Skip carried a high school 3 ring binder with one of those zippered pouches for carrying pencils and erasers. It was milky opaque, but you could see everything in it….and within it, was a nice big, hash pipe… with hash in it…not even wrapped in foil or anything to conceal it. I fumed.

We were standing in the compartment like the Marx Bros’ “A Night at the Opera.” Couldn’t move. But then I began flapping my arms thinking we were going to German prison.

The SS leader points at Skip’s binder gesturing to open things. My arms were flapping hard enough that if there was an air current, I could attain lift off. Right in front of my eyes, with the Gestapo leader standing a foot away and watching intently, Skip grabs the hash pipe out of the floppy container and put it in his back pocket. With the cop staring right at what he was doing!

I thought I’d pass out. All I could think of was the movie, “Midnight Express.” And how I would be some Turk’s bitch. No more teeth for Philly.

And then with a “whoosh”, the German Polizei left the compartment. No one was rushed to jail.

We all stood there staring at Skip in horror and amazement. What just happened? He removed hidden hashish, a foot from the SS leader who somehow didn’t see it.

Skip reached around to his back pocket and brought out the pipe with a shit eatin’ grin on his face.

I snatched the pipe away, opened the moving train’s window, and tossed it. Skip screeched in horror. I responded with: “Are you fucking insane?” Do you know how close we came?”
Everyone sat down with a huge sigh.

I could only glare at Skip the rest of the trip.

We changed trains and it was packed to the gills. Not a single place to sit. We stood in the corridor for hours before Skip ventured towards the area between the trains and plopped himself down on the moving platform where there where thunderous noise lived. Conductors walked past him and said nothing; even though they knew it was illegal to sit between train cars.

The train stopped again, and we had to transfer. We found a car with no one in it and grabbed a seat. Just before the train left, a conductor asked us if we knew we were on a train heading for East Berlin? (The wall was still up back then in those days).

We ran to the correct train and, again, had to stand in the corridor. The train brought us into Amsterdam about 18 hours after we departed. No sleep. No food. Hardly any money.

We headed to the train storage area and, there, in the middle of the room, was our fucking equipment! Just as pristine as we left it. I looked at Skip thinking it would only take an ounce of encouragement from his mouth that would make my next move to strangle him.

He then began flapping his wings and puffing out un-intelligible sounds. I was pissed off. We snagged some food before we headed back to Florence an hour later. We figured that someone who worked in the storage facility “borrowed” our shit and had some fun. But luckily managed to get it back in time for us to show up and claim it.

Skip said he wanted to go to the Paradiso Club to buy more hash to take to Florence. I all but karate chopped him in the neck.

The trip back was uneventful other than the fact that Skip developed a bad cold and sat the entire journey between cars with snot hanging from his sagging head to the floor. A perfect example of Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung.” I, on the other hand, stood for about 16 hours.

Thank goodness we were young.
It’s funny now…sort of.

Photo taken at a park in Amsterdam during a music magazine interview. Notice who is posing for the camera and who are just casual.


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