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Doc's Analysis - K by Karen Berger Maduro Toro

There are plenty of Nicaraguan puros available in the market, but very few are Estelí puros. That's what you get though with the K by Karen Berger. All of the tobacco comes from a farm located in Estelí, Nicaragua which is known for its rich, fertile soil. One could be forgiven for thinking the "K" is to represent Karen, but in fact it stands for Kiki, as in Don Kiki which the line is produced by. In 2016, Karen introduced the K in two versions, habano & maduro. Later the cameroon and connecticut versions would join the line. Today we're going to take a look at one of the originals, the maduro. Let's PSSITA and see what's up.


Simple, yet orderly cap. Quality ornate bands

Some say chocolate bar?


Yeah, that's not ideal...

The Deets

Cigar: K by Karen Berger Maduro Toro

Origin: Estelí, Nicaragua

Factory: Don Kiki

Size: 6 x 52

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro

Binder: Estelí

Filler: Estelí


Appearance  9.5/10

 From the few pictures I've seen of Karen Berger, it's clear that she enjoys wearing elegant & unique outfits. She obviously brought that style into the look of the K also. The bands are vibrant, ornate, and have a raised-up texture . The dark maduro wrapper has a fair amount of oils and it feels like a strong piece of leather. Seams are invisible, as are the veins. Uniformity is excellent and the cap, while a simple one, is orderly. A very impressive looking cigar.


Draw  9/10

 Giving it the squish test, I went with a double punch. Things were tight, but I could see there was a decent size piece of lumber right down the center. I was able to pull that out and then it was puffing nicely. There was ample smoke output and I didn't need to mess with the draw any more after the pre-light tweeze.


Burn/Construction  8/10

 I wasn't thrilled with the performance in this category. I used a ridiculous amount of fuel trying to correct a burn line gone bonkers. The ash didn't play nice either since it was always flaking and making a bit of an annoying mess. By the last 2 inches or so the cigar seemed to run out of steam and the tantrum stopped, giving me at least a few minutes of hassle-free smoking.


Taste  9/10

 1/3 - Out the gate I get damp oak, dark green grass, and some potent green tea. The retro is an odd flower pedal with a salty finish. The finish makes its way onto a note of salted pretzel. Moving inward some black pepper and leather rise up. The finish at times can have a meaty taste. Yum!

2/3 - Aunt Annie is working overtime with lots of salted pretzel now. Leather and black coffee make their way to the front of the pack. No more green tea or grass. The oak has evaporated the dampness while still leaving a very present wood note. Cocoa bitters in the back. Wow, the retro has become a very rich chocolate pastry.

3/3 - A gentle spiciness rolls in. The transition here isn't as bold from 1st to 2nd. The finale is very similar to the 2nd third, except the retro is more spicy dark chocolate and without the pasty vibe. Salty pretz, leather, black coffee, and a bit of spice.


Overall  8.9/10

 Despite the annoying burn line and flaky ash, I did still enjoy this cigar. It has a great look, but more importantly, has an interesting flavor profile with some transitions that change the experience. I only had 1 sample, so perhaps some of the issues I encountered were rare. We are talking about an organic, hand-made product after all. I certainly liked a lot of the other aspects of the cigar and intend to smoke more.


**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 1






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