The Yellow Cello – Punch London Club (EMS)

large punch london club
large punch london club

The Cigar:  Punch London Club

Manufacturer: General Cigars
Location: Cofradia, Honduras

Purchase date: 8/2009
Smoke date: 8/3/2013
Age: 4 years

Size: Petit Corona (5” x 40)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra-seed (EMS)
Binder: US Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua

In production?  Yes

The very yellow cello of the Punch London Club EMS cigar

I love collecting premium cigars.  For me, the cigar passion includes not only the enjoyment of smoking a fine premium cigar, but also the joy of finding an aged beauty nestled deep in my collection that has matured with class.

When I’m shopping for cigars, in addition to features such as a specific wrapper, binder, and filler combination, I also evaluate each cigar on four additional criteria: size, strength, quality, and aging potential.  Factor in cost, and you have my equation for selecting cigars to add to my collection.

It’s not often a cigar hits on every single criteria, but it does happen, and those are the cigars I most truly appreciate. The Punch London Club (EMS) is one of those rare cigars which does.

I’ll always remember my first London Club, actually a maduro by the way, not because of the smoke, but because of the circumstance.

My mother and I had driven to Grand Rapids, Minnesota to attend the funeral of my aunt.  What started as an uneventful trip began to deteriorate when I was asked to be a pall bearer, a task I lost my taste for years before.  Grudgingly I agreed, moved alone by a sense of responsibility being the only first degree male relative present.  Just as the service was to begin, a older gentleman from the church came rushing to the front of the church where my fellow load-bearers and I waited patiently.  Breathless, the man told me I was needed in the basement right away, something had happened to my mom.  Rushing to the basement, I found my mom sitting on the floor cradling her wrist having fallen on a loose tile on the stairs I had just descended.  One look told me it was broken.

I got out of being a pallbearer in exchange for several hours in the tiny local ER listening to the stories told to me by the middle aged woman seated next to me and suffering from a “hog bite” to her hand.  Are those banjos?

This happened years ago when I was still a newbie feeling my way through the world of fine cigars.  After getting back to the hotel and getting mom comfortable I wanted a cigar.  I mean I really wanted a cigar!

Grand Rapids, Minnesota isn’t quite the center of the cigar industry, but I was able to locate one shop open past six on a Saturday and proceeded with as much haste as the local law enforcement would allow me.

Entering the shop I was instantly taken by the inventory, or lack thereof.  Toward the back of the shop in a glass display case were some Hoyos, Macanudo, and other common brands among them a few boxes of Punch cigars.  I didn’t see any brands that I hadn’t previously sampled, with the exception of the Punch.  Up to this point, I had foolishly dismissed the brand due to what I thought was a goofy name.  But, there was one box of the London Club size with the maduro wrapper which looked like it would fit my intended smoking time.  So I grabbed two sticks, paid the man, and headed back  to my hotel to try what I hoped would be a passable smoke.

Long story short, I loved the cigars and wound up smoking both cigars back to back.  Back home, I found the London Club again, this time in the English Market Selection (EMS) wrapper and since my first, I’ve never looked back. I make certain I always have a box in the humidor.

For their English Market Selection Punch cigars, General Cigar uses some of the finest Ecuadorian grown, Sumatra-seed wrapper around.  The wrapper is a gorgeous colorado maduro tone with a slight tooth and great oils.  Under this lies a US Connecticut Broadleaf binder that adds a touch of sweetness to the taste and a hint of woody depth to the aroma.  The filler blend consists of Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan tobaccos all grown from Cuban seed which impart a rich, savory taste to each cigar.

The razor edge burn and white ash of the London Club EMS.

Smoking the London Club is effortless.  The construction of these cigars is great allowing for easy puffs, a flawless burn, and a cool smoke, if not rushed.

When I bought this box in 2009 the cigars had a significant amount of spice in the opening puffs and first third which has been tempered with age.  Don’t get me wrong, the opening puffs remain quite potent, but are not in the least unpleasant or harsh.  Characteristic Honduran spiciness and Nicaraguan richness are present on the retro-hale throughout the cigar, with a pleasant sweeter tone likely contributed by the Dominican fillers.

The finish the London Club (EMS) produces is rich, mouth-watering, and quite persistent.  As the cigar progresses the finish transitions from sweet tobacco to an oaky flavor with a distinct bourbon-like taste.

The Punch London Club takes somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes to smoke, depending on your voracity, which is decent for a petit corona.

Priced under $50 for a box of 25 or a paltry $2.45 for a single, the Punch London Club is hands down my favorite bargain in Cigardom.  Premium through and through, tasty and aromatic, with amazing aging potential I recommend this cigar to everyone I know that favors full bodied cigars and great cost savings.

Seriously, what other cigar can deliver so much for so little?

by Martin Klausmeier, Contributor

Smooth Classic Cigar Combo


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