Punch Medalla de Oro - Cuban Cigar Review
Launched at the Hunters & Frankau Summer Party, the Punch Medalla de Oro is one of the finest looking Cuban Cigars you will likely to see.
Table of Contents
First released at the Hunters & Frankau Summer Party on Thursday 31st May, The Punch Medalla de Oro has been a long time coming. Initially planned to be released sometime in 2011 as part of the United Kingdom Regional Edition Series, we have only now seen the release of this Country exclusive Cigar.
Only a month after the release of the Bolívar Británicas, the Medalla de Oro will have a tough act to follow. I gave the Bolívar Británicas four stars; I found the Bolívar an intriguing, complex smoke. Can the Punch Medalla de Oro be another successful release for Hunters & Frankau?
Presentation & Construction
The Punch Medalla de Oro is a limited edition run of 3000 boxes, each containing ten Cigars. The packaging of the Punch Medalla de Oro is first class. From the varnished, numbered box to the Cigar itself being covered in embossed gold foil, everything has been thought through; the smallest detail considered. I'm not sure if this is the first Regional Edition that has the year of release embossed in the foil. It's a classy touch and finishes the presentation beautifully.
The box code the Punch I am reviewing today is AME MAY 2012. This doesn't mean that the Cigar is a month old however, word is that all three thousand boxes of the Punch Medalla de Oro have been ageing in Cuba since sometime last year. The Cigar however only made it into the United Kingdom a few days before the Hunters & Frankau Summer Party. The Cigar I'm smoking today has only been in my humidor for just over a week. I'll be looking forward reviewing the other Punch Medalla de Oro that I bought as a single in a few years to compare reviews to see if the Cigar has progressed in anyway.
Both the Punch and Exclusivo Gran Bretana bands are positioned neatly over the gold foil. Another small, nice touch that helps round the presentation of the Cigar.
The Price Point
The Punch Medalla de Oro is the most expensive UK Regional Edition to date. At a RRP of £28, the Cigar is over ten pounds more expensive than the Bolívar Británicas. At around £16 a single Cigar, I'd say the Bolívar is reasonable value for money. With the Punch Medalla de Oro however, the question of is the Cigar worth the money not so clear cut. Setting the presentation aside, a lot must go right in the smoking of the Medalla de Oro for the price to be justified.
With a RRP of £28, the Medalla de Oro has broken into price bracket of some of the more expensive Cohiba's, including the Maduro 5 Genios and Behike 52 amongst others. These Cigars are excellent, well worth spending twenty five to thirty pounds on. The Medalla de Oro needs to deliver at this high a level for the Cigar to be worth purchasing.
Draw & Burn
After cutting the Cigar with my Paleo Cutter, I inspected the draw. A little bit looser than I expected. I expected the firm draw that you'd expect with a Cuban Cigar, however it just wasn't but the draw wasn't airy either.
I had a few burn issues while smoking the Punch Medalla de Oro at different points in the Cigar. None were drastic, a quick touch-up and I was away again.
Flavour Profile & Smoking characteristics
After my eyes got their workout from inspecting the Punch Medalla de Oro, my sense of smell then got it's fair share - opening the grip seal bag that housed the Cigars during delivery, I was greeted with an aroma of light cocoa and chocolate. The Cigar itself looks to have been well constructed. The Colorado Colour wrapper looks appetizing and there are no pronounced veins.
The first flavour I detected when I lit the Punch Medalla de Oro was a prominent leather characteristic. Once I started getting into the first inch properly I could start to detect a sweetness, somewhat reminiscent of Caster Sugar. I'd place the Punch Medalla de Oro firmly as a medium strength Cigar.
Throughout the first and second third of the Medalla de Oro, the leather and sugary sweetness that I detected at the start of the smoke I felt that the Cigar could have done with some flavour progression somewhere around the second third mark. The Punch Medalla de Oro is a big Cigar; although flavourful, the one dimensional flavour profile meant that I started to lose interest with a good three or four inches left.
Towards the last two to three inches the strength did pick up to a point where it was getting somewhat harsh and unenjoyable. Persevering a while longer, I finally let the Cigar rest.
Conclusion & Scoring
Overall, I enjoyed smoking the Punch Medalla de Oro. The sweetness along with the leather was rather agreeable; but it just didn't keep me as excited throughout smoking the Cigar. With an overall smoking time of one hour and fifteen minutes, the Punch Medalla de Oro needed more complex flavours for it to be the length of the Cigar that it is.
For £28, the Punch Medalla de Oro is a difficult Cigar to I would suspect that a Cigar like this would be more of an investment than a Cigar you'd smoke from time to time. It's much too early to say how the Medalla de Oro will age. If you have the funds available to buy this Cigar, I would suggest buying a few singles and a box. Age those singles along with the box, and smoke one of the singles to see how the Cigar has developed. If you like what you're smoking, then by all means keep the box of ten you have squirrelled away. If at this point the Punch Medalla de Oro is not to your taste, then sell the box on.
The Por Larrañaga Magnificos for example, are already extremely difficult to source. If you were lucky enough to squirrel away a box of the Por Larrañaga Magnificos when they were released back in 2007, I would suspect that your box has already doubled in price. Whether the Punch Medalla de Oro will follow suit is difficult to predict.
If I had to choose between the Punch Medalla de Oro or the Bolívar Británicas as my only United Kingdom Regional Edition purchase for the year, I wouldn't hesitate to go for the Bolívar Británicas. I found the Bolívar to be a much more complex, enjoyable and all together rounder smoke.
Medalla de Oro - United Kingdom Regional Edition
Originally intended for release in 2011, the Punch Medalla de Oro was released in June 2012, to commemorate the Summer Olympics comes wrapped in a embossed gold foil. Released in a limited run of 3,000 boxes, each containing ten Cigars.