Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Lonsdale
Size : 170 x 16 mm (6 1/2 x 42)
Wrapper : Habana-2000 Nicaragua
Filler : Dominican Republic & Brazil
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$10.00 each in Canada, ~$4.00 each in the US
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this cigar. I bought a box of these last August and I’ve smoked quite a few of them; however I have never been able to form a clear opinion about them. I picked up this particular box in the US and I have not been able to find them since. I am not very familiar with this brand and from what I can tell from when I purchased them, the red band is indicative of the H-2000 line (different wrapper) and was meant for the European market.
I like the appearance of the Director. It has a brown, Colorado shaded wrapper with small veins running through it. The wrapper combined with the long, slender Lonsdale format makes the cigar look classy and reminds you of something that may be served after an extravagant dinner. What I really like about their appearance is the consistency of each cigar. There is never a flaw in terms of the application of the wrapper and a nice triple cap seals each one. This one has a small nick at the foot but nothing major. I always take time to smell the sweet tobacco scent before lighting.
What the cigar has in appearance it lacks in construction. Investigating the foot of the Director reveals inconsistent use of filler. This discovery is confirmed during smoking as the burn of each cigar requires constant adjustment. The draw starts out firm but opens up as the cigar burns.
The cigar starts out mild with a distinctive oak woodiness on the palate. At about an inch in, you can detect sweet notes however that characteristic quickly vanishes as the strength builds up. Oak still dominates the palate and at halfway the cigar is almost too harsh to be pleasant. This doesn’t last too long and then it settles into a medium-full bodied character. At this point there is a distinctive flavour that I have trouble naming but after some thought I place it as walnuts. I can never decide if I like this bitterness or not. With about 2 inches left there is a nice change in the aroma and taste as light notes of cherry enter. These flavours exit and I decide to let the Director sleep with about an inch left.
I wouldn’t consider these cigars a bargain. I tried to base my prices as well as I could with some research. I happened to purchase this box in the US at a closeout price but otherwise I wouldn’t make the purchase again. If I were to find them in Ontario I think they would cost around 10 dollars a cigar. At this price I can find many other cigars that I would prefer to smoke.
Overall Rating :
These are not the most enjoyable cigars however I periodically find myself in the mood for one. They look great and the flavour is not bad. The Santa Damiana Director has complexity but lacks balance. It goes from one extreme to the other without a smooth transition in between. They could make an acceptable gift for the introductory cigar smoker. I usually enjoy these cigars with just a glass of water or a cup of tea. I find this mellows the smoke and cleanses the palate making the cigar more enjoyable. If you are in the mood for something stronger I suggest trying either a balanced rye or an oaky scotch. These have also been good choices for me in the past. I always have mixed feelings about these cigars and they have been sort of a mystery for me. If anyone else has experience with these I would like to hear about them.