Team Cigar Review: Punch Chop Suey

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Cigar Details: Punch Chop Suey

  • Vitola: Lancero
  • Length: 7″
  • Ring Gauge: 37
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
  • Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $5.49
  • Release Date: February 2020
  • Source: Punch

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Punch Chop Suey is medium brown with some darker splotches and a few raised veins present. It also stops an inch short of the foot where an unfinished, multicolored section protrudes. The seams are smooth and hardly visible while the head is finished off with a decently applied triple cap. The band is red and gold. The aroma from the wrapper is musty cedar while the foot brings a mushroom mustiness. The pre-light draw has a sweetness that borders on the point of grape/raisin as well as tobacco. There is also a decent spiciness present on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Chop Suey comes with an unfinished foot and has a shaggy foot that is a little bit over the top. I typically am a fan of shaggy foots, but I think it is too much with this thin ring gauge cigar. With that, the cigar is soft to the touch, appears to be underfilled and has a wrapper that is loosely applied. It is dark in color, dark Natural, and has a lot of bumpy veins present throughout. I am getting an aroma of cinnamon, black, leather and tobacco.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Chop Suey is a true Lancero format, with a rustic and somewhat lumpy appearance. Nosing the wrapper, I was able to pick up significant amounts of leather with some underlying sweetness. In the foot, sweet hay and cedar.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Chop Suey is a slender cigar with a unique inch of exposed binder. The wrapper color is near a Colorado Red. The cigar is loosely packed, lumpy, major veins decently pressed, seams tight and head finished off with a deep layered cap. Aromas from the wrapper give pungent wet barnyard and hay. Aromas from the foot tell rich nuttiness and cedar. Cold draw yields hay, roasted nuts, and dehydrated vegetables.

First Third

The cigar begins with musty cedar, cinnamon, black pepper and a light general sweetness. Just before the burn line hits the wrapper, the cinnamon has become very faint. At an inch and a quarter, the black pepper and cinnamon have both left the profile while the musty cedar and light general sweetness remains. The retrohale is musty cedar and a very full black pepper. As the third comes to a close, black pepper has returned to the profile. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The cigar begins by showing a lot of cinnamon and black pepper notes. Once the wrapper comes into play, I begin to pick up some cedar and damp barnyard qualities, and that is on top of the cinnamon and pepper flavors. I would classify the cigar as being medium overall, and that goes for strength, body and flavors.

First Third

The profile opens with leather and cedar. In the retrohale, spices with leather that leads into the post draw. As the cigar settles into the first third, some sweetness joins the retrohale. At roughly 2 inches in, some chocolate joins the profile, adding some much needed complexity. Dry cedar takes up the middle of the profile some time later.

First Third

Smoking through the exposed binder portion of the cigar, there are some good straight forward flavors of sweet bread (King’s Hawaiian bread comes to mind), vanilla, cedar and generic black pepper spice. Burning through all the leaves, the flavors become more elevated with especially deeper spice tones and sour cherries. Retrohaling gives more of the sour cherries as well as spicy minerals. The finish is the least exciting part, as it’s primarily a lingering cedar. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the profile loses the mustiness and sweetness while the cedar becomes a bit dry and the black pepper remains in the background and has a long finish. At an inch in, the black pepper has lightened up quite a bit but still carries a long finish. The retrohale is mustiness and slightly dry cedar. At an inch and three quarters, a light mustiness returns to the profile. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Second Third

The second third shows a lot of continuation from the first third wrapper profile and I am getting some damp barnyard, cedar, cinnamon and pepper notes. Like before, the cigar is medium in strength, body and flavors.

Second Third

The profile becomes a dirty earth and cedar combination moving into the second third. Dry cedar takes up the post draw. Earth begins to come through at the end of the draw, and lingerings heavily on the palate. As the second third progresses, that earth continues to step up in strength reaching medium minus.

Second Third

There’s less vanilla and sweet bread influence on the second third. Instead, it’s more focused on the spice and mineral components. With that said, I still enjoy the second third just as much as I enjoyed the first third. Strength is moving towards the medium plus mark while body stays medium.

Final Third

The final third continues with the dry cedar, light mustiness and black pepper. There are also random draws that show a light barbecue meat note. At an inch in, some char has joined the cedar. The retrohale is musty and dry cedar. At and inch and a half in, the char has picked up and has a long finish to it. As the cigar comes to a close, it has heated up and the profile is musty and charred cedar along with light black pepper and a vegetal note. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Final Third

The cigar gets hot in the final third and the cigar is smoking quickly, not at all my fault. It is smoking itself in my opinion. I am getting some hard wood, barnyard, cinnamon and pepper notes. Like before, medium in strength, body and flavors.

Final Third

Charred earth leads the profile moving into the last third. Dry cedar still maintains a hold on the middle, with lingering dry cedar on the post draw. The earth settles into a potting soil profile for the remainder of the cigar.

Final Third

The first half or so of the final third stays true to the second third. However, past that part, the cigar picks up an unwanted harshness to the profile, which drowns a lot of the flavors. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was straight the entire way. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments. The cigar did burn a bit faster than I expected.

Burn

The burn was good in that I did not have problems, but the cigar itself burned quickly from beginning to end.

Burn

The ash held on well, and ‘stacked dimes’ at several points. Unfortunately, the cigar went out and required a re-light at the halfway of the first third, at the end of the first third, and in the second third.

Burn

The burn performance was excellent. Even burn, solid ash marks, cool burning temperature and good smoke production.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with musty cedar, cinnamon, black pepper and a light general sweetness. The cinnamon and black pepper left but the pepper returned before the first third wrapped up. The second third saw the mustiness and sweetness leave, but the mustiness returned before the second third finished. The final third saw the dryness increase as well as char build up throughout. Construction was very good and strength was around medium the whole way. The Punch Chop Suey started out quite nice with a good combination of flavors. The second third saw some components leave which decreased enjoyment and the char in the final third knocked the enjoyment down even more. I was hoping that the profile in the first third would have remained throughout, but that wasn’t the case. For the price, it’s an easy try and still provides some value which may lead me to coming back to it on occasion. Being a Lancero, construction and price were also attractive components.

Draw

Really poor draw on the samples I smoked. Very loose.

Overall

Given that the samples I smoked for review appeared to be under filled and smoked themselves rather quickly, I did not have a positive experience with this cigar. I also believe this was not the correct blend to make into a smaller format. If you are going to make a small ring gauge cigar, you need to have a great wrapper in place and that was not the case for this cigar. I tend to be a fan of shaggy foots with cigars as well, it gives the smoker the opportunity to taste the filler blend before getting the wrapper and binder, but it was not a good experience in that sense either. I’ve never been a fan of the Chop Suey dish, nor the song by System Of A Down, and now I can say I am not a fan of the Punch Chop Suey cigar as well.

Draw

The draw was very good with some slight resistance at 1-1/2 to 2 notches.

Overall

The Punch Chop Suey was a disappointing experience from the pre-light through to the end. Dominant flavors of earth, at times carrying a heavy char, with leather as the only significant flavor to provide palate relief. I would not smoke the Chop Suey again if it was provided to me. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 34 minutes.

Draw

The draw was also excellent. The ideal air flow.

Overall

Although entirely different makes and flavor profiles, much like the way I felt about Punch Egg Roll, I feel the same about the Chop Suey. Meaning, for the outstanding price point of sub $6, the Punch Chop Suey delivers a punch of flavors. Nice flavors of King’s Hawaiian sweet bread, vanilla, minerals, cedar, black pepper in which some cigars that are 2 to 2.5x the price point can’t match up to. It’s only Q1 but I may have already found the value cigar of the year.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
SubparPre
Light
AveragePre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
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SubparSecond
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Good
SubparFinal
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Average
AmazingBurnGoodBurnSubparBurnAmazing
Very GoodDrawSubparDrawVery GoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallSubparOverallSubparOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.60

Cost/Point

$0.98

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

4.23

Cost/Point

$1.30

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

4.13

Cost/Point

$1.33

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.82

Cost/Point

$0.81

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Punch Chop Suey
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Punch Chop Suey

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