Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild

Sunday, December 30, 2018 and I am at the Owl Shop in New Haven, watching the final Pats game of the regular season.  Brady & company are hosting the NY Jets and playing for a first round bye in the playoffs.

Today’s cigar is the Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild.  It’s a short 4.5” 50 ring gauge stick with a dark, oily and somewhat toothy sun grown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The cigar features a distinctive foot band.  Construction is nice and firm from foot to its neat double-cap.  Inside the Bareknuckle contains Honduran and Nicaraguan long fillers, laced with flavorful ligeros. 

Today’s Bareknuckle smoke is my second.  I purchased a pack of five from cigar.com for $24.00 which makes this a darn good value at $4.80.

Other online reviews of the Bareknuckle that I consulted note that this full-flavor offering from Punch is a welcome return to the label’s previous reputation as most of their offerings have become far milder in recent years.  For what it’s worth, I typically favor a milder cigar, however will enjoy medium to full body sticks from time to time.

I cut today’s cigar with a straight cutter; typically, I prefer a punch or a notch cutter. The cold-draw is very flavorful, and I pick up strong notes of cocoa, fruit and earthiness.

The first third.

Appropriately enough, the Bareknuckle starts off with a flavorful “punch” from the very first draw.  The initial flavor is a strong woodiness that initially tastes oaky to my palette but quickly develops into a nice cedar.  Also notable at the start is a good amount of pepper.  The draw is just about perfect, and the burn is good, although a bit uneven.

Ash is a nice salt & pepper but broke off just over the half inch mark.

Flavor remains cedar, pepper with a slight hint of vanilla at the end of the first third.

At the end of the first quarter, the Pats are up 7-3 over the Jets.

The second third

Draw remains very good and the burn has even upped on its own without touching up.

The vanilla notes are getting stronger, with the nice cedar and spice still predominant.  By the midpoint the vanilla starts taking the lead.  It’s distinctly vanilla, not the creaminess experienced in most cigars – it’s very nice.

At the mid-point the draw suddenly became much looser and the cigar needed re-lighting.  This also happened with the first Punch Bareknuckle I smoked a few weeks ago.

At the mid-point the draw suddenly became much looser and the cigar needed re-lighting.  This also happened with the first Punch Bareknuckle I smoked a few weeks ago.

The last third

The last third starts off with the cedar giving way to the vanilla notes accented by pepper.  Throughout the entire cigar, these three flavors – cedar, pepper and vanilla – were balanced nicely.  At the very end, the cigar needed touching up again.  Despite the good and even burn, the cigar wanted to go out again.

Overall impressions

As I stated above, I generally prefer milder cigars, but the Punch Bareknuckle is a wonderful medium- to full- bodied choice.  I enjoyed my first Bareknuckle with a double-shot of Jack Daniels on the rocks, and today’s stick was enjoyed with a pot of Lapsong Souchong, my go-to non-alcoholic beverage choice to enjoy with a fine cigar as the tea’s smoky flavor pairs well with most sticks.

Total smoking time was about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I rate the Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild a solid 9 out of 10, and will definitely be keeping some in my humidor for when I am craving a cigar with more intense flavor. 

© 2018 James M. Surprenant

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Ham radio operator and electronics hobbyist.

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