Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

French Collection (by Jochy Blanco) Cardinal Mazarin
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: junglepete

Cigar Geeks Rating

Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique generously sponsored by our member tuck0411 (Todd). The cigar provided for this round is the French Collection (by Jochy Blanco) Cardinal Mazarin.

Jochy Blanco is a fourth-generation tobacco grower, a second-generation cigar maker, and the the CEO of Tabacalera Palma. Jochy visits France from time to time to explore vineyards and 300-year-old churches. On a trip about 5 years ago he visited an art gallery, and noticed many Old Master painters focused on religious figures as their subject matter. He was intrigued and started to research these figures, mostly cardinals. He became inspired to make cigars named after a few of them, that would pair well with wines. Art inspiring art. His ode to France and its rich history of wine, art and culture. No one could understand the branding, so he decided against selling them as a line, but these cigars were so damn good Jochy didn't mind taking up some space and aging them for his own stash. Privada Cigar Club came along and was able to get their hands on these to sell.

French Collection (by Jochy Blanco) Cardinal Mazarin

French Collection (by Jochy Blanco)
Cardinal Mazarin
Ring Gauge:
Country of Origin:
Dominican Republic
Colorado Maduro
Toro Gordo
Average Member Purchase Price:
Average Member Rating:
4.5 star rating based on 1 Review(s) (1 Review(s))
Pre-Light: 8 Points of 10 Possible

Well, the dressing certainly looked Cardinal-like with its powerful purple waistband and its long flowing golden robe. Beneath it all was an average looking cigar with a few prominent veins. It was neither dry nor oily to the touch or look. The application of the cap seemed a little sloppy and cockeyed, but it held up well to the straight cut from the guillotine. A mild barnyard aroma came off the foot and the canon had a few soft spots.

Lighting and Burn: 4 Points of 15 Possible

Unclothed and set aflame at the foot, this prominent Pope's pendent did not stand up well to the heat. While the cigar lit up easily enough, it required many relights and kept going out far too fast in-between. The only way to keep it from going out was to draw on it much more frequently than I'm used to doing. The canoeing issues in the first and last third of the race had me paddle worn. On a more positive note, the smoke volume was good when it was there.

Construction: 16 Points of 30 Possible

Although the bunching appeared even, the draw fluctuated between good and a little too open at times. When the draw was good there was plenty of smoke, but the few times that it was too open, the smoke was lacking and the cigar had difficulties staying lit. The cap held up well for the entire event. I think this particular stick did not cut the muster in the rolling regiment.

Flavor and Aroma: 36 Points of 45 Possible

First Third: Started out tangy, almost citrus like and milder bodied. Wood notes were mostly tasted.

Second Third: Cedar and oak tastes took the lead with a tinge of bitterness following. A medium body developed and a little pepper came in to play.

Final Third: The citrus notes ramped up, though not in a bad way, and blended nicely with some nuttiness. Some earth notes crept in near the end, but so did some of the bitterness. The body remained medium for me.


The lineage and breeding of this venture had me quite interested, but is was a tough cigar to evaluate. The construction issues surely diminished the overall experience. I liked most of the tastes, but felt they could not flourish properly because of the frequent relights needed. Based on potential of flavours, I think this blend deserves another chance and I would smoke it again in the future. A big thanks to Todd for providing a unique cigar with an interesting profile.

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