Origin : Peru
Format : Pyramid (No. 2)
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Peru
Filler : Peru
Binder : Peru
Price : $10.00
Back in the summer I was visiting a Houston B&M that I frequent called Smoke Ring which is pretty notorious for stocking some very good but rare boutique cigars. The owner Larry and his manager Chris asked me if I have ever smoked any Peruvian tobacco. I stated I had but that I had never smoked a puro. Chris then pointed to this particular cigar and told me to try it. The cigar was the San Martin, and the size was one of my favorites, a pyramide or No.2. If you have never smoked a Peruvian puro, I totally recommend it. You will notice that the tobacco is of very high quality and lends a very cubanesque flavor profile to some very popular brands such as the Guillermo Leon line of cigars.
The San Martin presents with a perfect pyramide shape by Cuban standards. When I compared this to one of my Partagas Serie P2’s or Montecristo No.2’s they are all identical in size and shape. The San Martin has a much lighter wrapper though, dark tan with a light orange-yellow hue. They are a few veins but they are very thin and do not appear to present a problem. I really dig the classy band with eye catching gold and red accents. The boxes are just as beautiful with hand painted Peruvian nature scenes in the inside lid. There is a slight sweet sugar cane smell to the wrapper and cedar box and leather to the foot.
The one thing immediately noticeable is the lack of oils on the wrapper; it appears quite dry. Although dry, the cap cuts cleanly with a guillotine and the draw is quite impressive with a nice tightness. The burn puts out a great amount of smoke that is thick and delicious and yet very creamy. The ash is a tanned grey. The burn line is wavering throughout the smoke but usually self corrects itself up until the last third. In the last third, the construction mimics Cuban construction and is a headache for the smoker because of the uneven burn and myriad of touch ups (Sorry, I am a believer that Cuban construction is poor compared to their Nicaraguan/Dominican counterparts).
1st Third: The initial puffs don’t really bring a bevy of flavors but the retrohale displays sweet hay, cedar, and vanilla flavors. When palatable flavors appear, they are mainly nuts and cream. Even some vegetal flavors make an appearance later on in the last part of the 1st third. But ultimately sweet hay rules the day in the introduction of this cigar. You can even add a tinge of orange rind to the flavor profile as well. So far, the pyramid is medium bodied and becoming increasingly complex.
2nd Third: The second third culminates into a little less complex spectrum of flavor. A more nutty profile appears but the creamy texture has never disappeared. A lively citrus acidity makes flavors pop in a nice way. The San Martin then picks up some body and some sneaky strength near the last part of the 2nd third.
3rd Third: White pepper, charred hay, and now closer to full bodied. The nicotine content is quite high and has me a little staggered. Concludes with a combo of masa/waxy/marzipan-ish flavors.
The San Martin is a unique cigar and I believe the only Peruvian puro on the market. This is a pretty large cigar with a good amount of smoke time. At $10, it doesn’t sound too highly priced compared to Cuban cigars, but it is a little high for those going out of their way to try a new stick. I would like to have seen this stick closer to the $8 mark.
Overall Rating : (3.75)
I was surprised by the San Martin’s cubanesque flavor profile and the fact they actually make a traditional pyramide/No.2 sized cigar. I loved the fact that much like my favorite Cuban, the Bolivar Belicosos Finos, the funneled shape starts out medium bodied and then builds intensity to become a powerhouse of strength and flavor. One thing I neglected to include in the flavor portion of the review was that the flavor delivery is very erratic and is not as polished as I would have wanted. Possibly additional aging may help these come around much like its Cuban counterparts with good aging. After smoking this cigar I found out why I love the Guillermo Leon line of cigars so much,… because of the Peruvian tobacco. I need more Peruvian in my life! Pair with a Flor de Cana cuba libre for the perfect afternoon capper. Keep smoking my friends,…
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