Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 152 x 21 mm (6 x 52)
Ring : 52
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Special Habano seed Maduro
Filler : Nicaraguan Habano
Binder : Nicaraguan Habano
Price : ~$6 each
Recently while strolling through my local tobacconists walk in humidor (a quintessential shrine to quality leaf) seeking inspiration for my next review, I discovered two rather loud looking lemon yellow boxes protecting some beautiful stogies. The bands provided only 2 clues, 1 that these are handmade and 2, they were produced in Esteli, Nicaragua. Based on those findings my curiosity was definitely piqued. Closer examination of the box stamp revealed these were manufactured by Tabacalera Tropical. My muse was found! Being a huge fan of their JFR (Just For Retailers) blend I was excited to expand my experience with this band.
Formerly known as ANGANORSA of Esteli, Nicaragua, possessing some of the largest and most productive holdings in Nicaragua in terms of agricultural and manufacturing, its 10,000 bale per annum production was supervised by its President and owner, former New York City financier, Eduardo Fernandez. Its substantial agricultural holdings are in the critically acclaimed regions of Esteli, Ocotal, and Jalapa Valley. The Jalapa region is blessed with a micro-climate that has been likened to that of the renowned Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, where all types of leaf are effectively grown, but only the finest of leaves are selected for Habanos S.A. production.
2001 saw the addition of Don “Pepin” Garcia as Master Blender. For those who may not know “Pepin” is a renowned blender and master roller from Havana, his influence being seemingly everywhere in the cigar business over the last 8 years. His prolific blends have received the highest of accolades. This step, no doubt, afforded them the opportunity to begin to effectively capitalize on the exceptional tobaccos they continue to grow.
In 2002 Eduardo Fernandez acquired Tropical Tobacco of Tampa, Florida, thus creating Tabacalera Tropical, and with that acquisition the additional blending and cigar business expertise of Pedro Martin. This step created the cornerstone of their Vertical Integration process, what they refer to as “From Seed to Ash”. This concept provides Tabacalera Tropical with unprecedented control throughout the production, manufacture and distribution of their products, thus securing a consistent and high quality experience for the enthusiast.
Upon first introductions this cigar has a very Cuban appearance. Its unique triple banding provides a dramatic contrast to the Nicaraguan Habano Maduro wrapper. The color is uniform from its toe to its triple cap. Its wrapper is finely veined and toothy with an oily sheen, quite stunning. Its third band, located at the foot, is an obvious interpretation of the Edicion Limitada bands used by Cuban marcas (Habanos S.A.) to signify the best quality production for a given year. This practice was adopted for the 2000 production year and continues today. Overall a well thought out and brilliantly executed premium cigar presentation.
This is a well constructed cigar, with no detectable soft spots. It provides tactile satisfaction in both the hand and mouth. The triple cap accepts a clip nicely and offers a near perfect draw for a Toro Vitola; it provides ample volumes of gray smoke with an aroma of charcoal. The burn required periodic minimal intervention to remain true, a minor annoyance, and as such, is reflected in my rating. Ash is a dark gray and holds strong to the body, remaining intact for over 2”.
The flavor profile of this cigar, while not being very complex, and offering little evolution, does receive high marks for its versatility. It is balanced, full flavored and medium to medium full bodied. Interestingly it does not offer a typical Maduro flavor profile, as this experience had no flavors, aromas, or notes of sweetness, however; it does present a wonderful Serrano chili pepper spiciness on the first palette, providing a savory roasted Ancho chili and Mesquite briquette flavor on the second palette. A wonderful thing as this profile affords many exciting and festive pairing opportunities! It represents a welcomed addition to the complete food, drink and smoke experience. A few pairings where this cigar would perform exceptionally well would be with Cuban cuisine, or Caribbean Jerked meats with Mojitos. I feel that a dark beer, i.e. Negro Modella, would be a counterproductive selection, as it would put its flavor profile in conflict.
At roughly 6USD retail, and having stellar distribution, it provides a quality experience that is accessible to most enthusiasts.
Overall Rating :
This cigar is unmistakably and eerily Cuban in its character. Not just in its appearance, but in its flavor profile as well. The fact that this cigar so closely echoes Habana is not all that surprising though, when considering Eduardo Fernandez‘s ubiquitous and skillful use of the very finest tobacco professionals to have ever emerged from Habana, growing only the finest Nicaraguan Habana seed tobaccos, it is no coincidence how the heart and soul of that fabled region is so accurately and intricately reflected in their work. This cigar has unequivocally secured its position as a premium offering. I give this cigar a Buy recommendation.
Live well my Friends!