Team Cigar Review: Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro

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Cigar Details: Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Nicarguan Habano
  • Binder: Nicarguan Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Honduras
  • Factory: HATSA
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $5.49
  • Release Date: March 2020
  • Source: Punch

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro is medium brown and has a couple of prominently raised veins that have a lighter color to them. There is also some darker marbling. The seams are easily visible due to the vein placement and that they are raised in some areas. The head is finished off with an adequately applied double cap. The band is navy blue, silver and gold and denotes the brand and line and sports a set of brass knuckles. The aroma from the wrapper is a musty barnyard funk while the foot brings wood and sweet tobacco. The pre-light draw brings lightly sweet cedar along with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro comes with an oily wrapper and the coloring is that of milk chocolate. There is some marbled coloring present with the cigar and it is somewhere between a dark Natural and Maduro. It is firm throughout and I am picking up aromas of rich earth, strong spices, damp wood and tobacco on the foot and wrapper.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro has a chocolate brown wrapper, and indicates ‘Habano’ in gold lettering on the band. For aromas, I was able to pick up a pleasant barnyard, coffee, baking spices and wood combination. From the foot, there is stewed plum at a light plus level.

Pre-light Experience

The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro has an attractive oily medium brown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper showing some nice traces of fine tooth. Veins are neatly pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head well capped off. Aromas from the wrapper give jasmine flowers, herbal tea and cedar. Aromas from the nose tell cayenne pepper, must and cedar. Cold draw is pretty muted with namely dry red pepper spice and cedar.

First Third

The cigar begins with bitter wood and light mustiness. At a half inch in, the profile is straddling the line of bitter wood or walnut shell. At three quarters of an inch in, the mustiness increases a bit. The retrohale is slightly charred wood and mustiness. At an inch in, the profile is now charred and bitter wood slightly ahead of the mustiness. There are still hints of walnut shell from time to time. At an inch and a half, a light dry earth joins in. As the third comes to a close, the profile is charred wood with light bitterness, mustiness and dry earth. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third opens up with flavors of mushrooms, leather, oak and herbal spices. There is this peppery quality present as well, and it has touches of salted wood and ginger snaps. It is a complex first third with a lot going on. I would say it is a solid medium in strength, body and flavors. Really a delightful and surprising first third.

First Third

My first few puffs are comprised of graham cracker, cedar and wood with a dry lingering finish. There is some light leather in the middle of the profile, as I find light pepper lingering on my lips. The wood is intensified through the retrohale. Post draw cedar steps up to medium strength by the halfway point of the first third. Hay joins the retrohale shortly after. The first third was fairly linear throughout.

First Third

The first third is a bit thin on flavors. There’s some subtle dry red pepper spice, cedar and roasted nuts. Retrohaling gives depth to the same flavors. The finish is fairly short with some tannins and dry red pepper spice. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the profile is charred wood, dry earth and mustiness. At a half inch in, the wood gains a bit of a toasted note to go along with the char. The retrohale is now dry earth and mustiness. At an inch in, the char is now quite heavy and the toasted note is no longer detectable. As the third comes to a close, the profile is heavily charred wood, dry earth and mustiness. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Second Third

The second third shows some transitioning as a cigar while also capturing some core flavors from before. Coffee notes have begun to make a presence in the cigar and they are pairing with the herbal spice, leather and oak notes. There are some nutty qualities present now as well, and I am getting bits of almonds and salted cashews with pepper on the finish. Like before, the cigar is medium in body, strength and flavors.

Second Third

Dry wood takes the cigar into the second third. That same flavor combination sits on the post draw between each puff. Some light toasted earth joins the post draw shortly after. There were no other flavor transitions through the second third.

Second Third

The second third bumps up the nicotine to medium-full (body still medium). In terms of flavors, it’s not as thin but more so monotone. The dry red pepper becomes more noticeable while at the same time having less cedar and roasted nuttiness influence.

Final Third

As the final third begins, the heavily charred wood, dry earth and mustiness continues. The retrohale remains dry earth and mustiness. At three quarters of an inch in, the charred wood is now very light in the background as the dry earth and mustiness are up front. The profile maintains itself through to the end. The strength remained at slightly above medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third now and finding it to be somewhat similar to that of the second third. There hasn’t been much transitioning, but the flavors delivered are complex and very enjoyable. I am picking up coffee, herbal spices, oak, leather and earth. The almond notes are present as well and there is a bit of pepper on the finish. Like before, medium in strength, body and flavors.

Final Third

Toasted earth takes the cigar into the last third, with a sweet wood middle. Cedar lingers on the post draw as the last third settles in. No other flavor change ups for the remainder of the review.

Final Third

The final third picks up a harshness to the overall profile, making it just spicy (dry red pepper spice) and harsh. The finish also has the harshness on the rear palate. Strength and body finishes medium-full and medium.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy throughout. The cigar went out once and required a re-light. The ash held on in near two inch increments.

Burn

The burn was a little off from time to time with the cigar and I believe that is due to the oily wrapper. Besides that, it smoked well from beginning to end.

Burn

The cigar started out relatively straight, with the ash holding on in 1-1/2 inch increments, up to 2 inches at times. The cigar went out at the halfway point requiring a re-light. The cigar went out again in the last third requiring another re-light.

Burn

The burn had one main issue. Two complete re-lights because the cigar just decided to go out on me. Aside from that, no other complaints.

Draw

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

Overall

The cigar began with bitter wood and light mustiness. Char joined the wood and some dry earth also joined in. The bitterness drops out going into the second third and a toasted note joined for a bit before the char became very heavy. The final third saw the charred wood move to the background about halfway in. Construction was OK and strength was slightly above medium most of the way. The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro wasn’t very pleasurable as the bitterness played a big part in the first third and then heavy char was present most of the rest of the way. I understand the price point is low, but the flavor profile was just not good. I can’t see coming back to this or recommending anyone to even give it a try.

Draw

The draw was very good on the cigar and it had a nice bit of resistance.

Overall

I was completely shocked by the Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro. The flavor profile delivered was unique and complex. I did not expect any of this from the cigar, and I wasn’t expecting a profile of this nature from Punch. The flavor combination was very enjoyable and one that I have not come across that often in my years of smoking. It delivered this profile that I would consider old-school and rural. It is a major departure from a lot of heavy Nicaraguan tobacco cigars and I would love to smoke all the tobaccos on their own to see what they each bring to the cigar. On top of that, the price is right for this cigar. I would not say it is a cigar I would go to often, but it is definitely one that I would smoke again and love to see how they age. There is something about this cigar that has me believing it will age really and if you dry box them, will smoke even better.

Draw

The draw had some resistance to it, roughly 1-1/2 to 2 notches.

Overall

The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro was a fairly linear experience, with none of the flavor components harmonizing to provide distinct or memorable combinations. The draw was very good but the burn struggled at times with 2 re-lights through the review. Total smoking time was a generous 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Draw

Despite the head unraveling upon initial cut, the draw was actually pretty good. A bit loose for my liking, but that’s really a non-issue.

Overall

The Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro is unfortunately an easy pass for me. The cigar was lackluster, starting off with a muted subtle profile, then shifting to dry red pepper spice, and ultimately ending with just spice and harshness. Coupled with an unraveling head and two complete re-lights, it’s honestly hard to recommend. The Punch portfolio of General Cigar really needs to step up their game.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
AveragePre
Light
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Very Good
SubparFirst
Third
Very GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Average
SubparSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
SubparFinal
Third
GoodFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Subpar
GoodBurnGoodBurnAverageBurnAverage
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawVery GoodDrawVery Good
SubparOverallGoodOverallAverageOverallSubpar

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

3.98

Cost/Point

$1.38

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

7.17

Cost/Point

$0.77

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$1.04

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

4.58

Cost/Point

$1.20

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: Punch Knuckle Buster Habano Toro

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