Origin : Honduras
Format : Grand Robusto
Size : 5.5 x 54
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler : A 50/50 blend of Nicaraguan Corojo and Honduran Corojo
Binder : Mexican San Andres Maduro
Price : ~$10 each
More info about purchasing J. Fuego Connoisseur cigars...
The cigar is made by J Fuego Cigar Company and owner Jesus Fuego promotes it as their top of the line brand. It uses aged tobacco in the entire blend and at 6 years old, the binder is the youngest tobacco in the cigar. With such a mix of aged tobacco I was expecting something packing a lot of flavor. This particular line “The Connoisseur” is a very new release that only started shipping to stores this past April 2013 and, according to my research, most stores started receiving their batches in May and June. I’ve never tried a cigar from this manufacturer so while in Chicago recently I happened to come across it and decided to give it a shot. It’s always good to venture out of one’s comfort zone in the hopes of finding something new.
Mild to moderate veining is noted with tight but somewhat visible seams. The J Fuego Connoisseur comes in a cellophane wrapper and comes double banded with the primary logo dominating the cigar and a smaller very thin band around the foot of the cigar listing the company name. There is certainly no pretentiousness evident in this cigar and, unless you knew this cigar was a manufacturer’s top of the line cigar, you wouldn’t tell by the appearance.
The grand robusto was firm to the touch with good give-back. The cigar was nicely packed and consistent on inspection. No soft spots or lumpy areas noted. The draw was a bit tight for my liking, especially for a cigar with such a large girth. However, the cigar never felt plugged or tight and smoke output remained consistently good. The burn was outstanding. It burned super straight the whole way through. It stayed lit and once lit I never needed to reach for my lighter again. The ash was firm, holding on for a good two inches before falling off and only minimal flaking was seen near the halfway point. The deductions were for the draw and the secondary band around the foot. Too much glue was used to secure the band at the foot which led to the cigar’s wrapper cracking as I removed it. The Connoisseur held up well to my guillotine cut with no cracking of the wrapper.
Pre-light aroma had notes of sweet wood with a touch of earthiness as is usually expected with Ecuadorian Sumatra wrappers. There was a very slight hint of citrus on the nose with a mild floral bouquet. I could not tell that this cigar had been manufactured just recently. The use of aged tobacco throughout the entire blend certainly has much to do with this. The pre-light draw provided pleasing sweet coffee, natural tobacco, a touch of salt and spice on the lips with some sweet wood notes.
On lighting you are greeted with very good smoke output. The first few draws reveal a pleasant sweetness with hints of dried fruit and sweet woodsy tones. There is a touch of salt on the front end of the palate with medium long spicy finish. There are nice aromas of fruity oak with mild hints of dark coffee discernible on the tongue in between puffs. Most of the first third goes from fruity to woodsy with fantastic smoke output. The spice can be felt at the back of the palate on every puff and is best described as a cayenne like heat as opposed to a black peppery spice. You definitely know it’s there but it never overpowers the cigar.
As I started the second third I noticed a pleasing caramel-like sweetness to the finish. The spice had mellowed a tad but was still present. The cigar offered a nice balance of salt and sweet on the lips and the cigar was primarily woodsy and earthy. The cigar’s flavor profile continued to surprise with occasional hints of sweet fruity oak, mild earth tones, some leather, cocoa and unsweetened coffee flavors dancing around my palate. The finish was sweeter and had just enough spice. At times I had to take two or three consecutive puffs to get a good mouthful of smoke simply because of the firm draw. I don’t like doing that though as it has a tendency to warm up the cigar hotter than it should, leading to bitterness and an unpleasant hot smoke. While this was a minor issue, it was a notable one nonetheless.
The smoke, while thick, did not have as creamy a texture to it as I had anticipated. Instead it was a ‘dryer smoke’ with very little in the way of texture or palate residue to it but it did offer up some occasional pleasing hints of caramel. The cigar offered up some bold flavors that at the same time remained subtle with no one flavor overpowering the cigar. It was a very pleasing blend. The aged tobacco definitely helped in this regard.
As I passed the halfway mark a touch of bitterness was noted. Hints of dark unsweetened chocolate and roasted unsweetened espresso came through. The spice at this point became much milder. The flavors morphed into more natural tobacco with more earthy notes dominating the cigar and the palate. There was still a touch of salt on the front of the palate that balanced the earthier, less sweeter tone that the cigar took on.
The cigar continued to surprise with subtle but noticeable flavor changes yet again as I worked my way towards the final third towards the band. The aforementioned bitterness subsided and the cigar became sweeter again with hints of fruity oak, cedar, caramel and sweeter cocoa along with the underlying earthy and leather notes. The heat at this point was more of a familiar black pepper spice.
This J. Fuego Connoisseur should be smoked after a full meal. It definitely has some strength to it.
The flavors became significantly more muted as I neared the band with the cigar almost instantly morphing into a bitter plain tobacco smoke. Maybe it was the cigar’s cue that it wanted to be put down. I was unable to knuckle burn this cigar as the cigar became quite bitter and harsh rather quickly. With approximately 1.5 inches left and well over an hour into the smoke I laid it to rest so as not to let it ruin my experience. By the end it was mainly an earthy grassy cigar with some very mild bitterness and leather notes. The sweeter oak and occasional cedar notes had long since disappeared but I did pick up some faint toasted nuttiness with some lingering black pepper spice.
Overall a flavor score of 4 is well above average and warrants purchasing a few more. A little more age in my humidor should do it wonders.
For $10.00 MSRP and actual cost paid, you get a very good cigar that will last for approximately 90 minutes. They ship in singles or boxes of 12 and the boxes can be had for $108.00 bringing the cost of the cigar down to $9.00 per cigar. Admittedly, finding them might be a bit difficult given my experience with smaller boutique labels but you would do yourself well to seek them out because they are a very enjoyable cigar and will give many of the better marketed cigars a run for their money at a slightly more competitive price. Certainly the company has tried to keep the cigar priced competitively by introducing pretty plain packaging and foregoing all the glitz and gimmicks.
Overall Rating : (4.25)
For the most part, the cigar was a pleasure. It had everything a cigar smoker wants. Thick clouds of smoke, an exceptional burn and many nice flavor changes. It was certainly complex, full bodied and medium to full strength. I will review one of the other sizes in the near future to see if the size affects the flavor.
The J. Fuego Connoisseur Grand Robusto has made it to my shopping list. I would highly recommend this cigar. It looks like master grower and blender Jesus Fuego got this one right. He’s gained a new fan.