J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Original

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Original

Origin : HondurasJ. Fuego Cigars
Format : Original/Cheroot
Size : 5 x 44
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Colorado
Filler : Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
Binder : Nicaraguan Criollo
Price : ~$2 each

J. Fuego is one of a number of relatively new, “boutique” cigar brands that are taking the cigar world by storm. Founded just a few years ago in 2006 by Jesus Fuego (whose familial involvement in the cigar industry extends all the way back to 1876 in Cuba), the J. Fuego brand has quickly expanded to include five different lines, as well as the spin-off 777 brand. Sangre de Toro (which translates to “Bull’s Blood”) is the newest line, released in Spring 2011, and the Original is the newest vitola, released at ICPCR 2011. Jesus Fuego has described the tobacco used in the Sangre de Toro line as “heavy and well-aged stuff,” and the Original vitola showcases all the richness that this tobacco can deliver. The Originals come five to a soft pack, and the very attractive design on the pack mimics the design on the Sangre de Toro bands; however, the Originals themselves are unbanded.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Sangre de Toro line was named for the reddish hue of its wrapper, which someone in the marketing department apparently thought was similar to blood. While the wrapper color is striking, it’s the only part of this cigar that has any visual appeal. The Original is a rustic cheroot, and a visual inspection reveals a number of bulges, veins, noticeable seams, and a mottled wrapper. The wrapper is also torn in one place, but it is the only tear out of the five cigars in my soft pack so I’m not downgrading the cigar just for that. I would be tempted to give just one star for appearance, but the Originals showcase an innate skill hidden behind their rustic appearance–these cheroots are free-rolled by hand without any molds, and their taper, from about 30 at the head to 44 in the middle to about 34 at the foot, evidences rollers with a remarkable degree of skill.

Construction : Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Original had a very loose draw, and since the Originals come pre-cut, there wasn’t much I could do about it. The packing at both the head and foot also looked very loose. This looseness resulted in the ability to only take small sips while smoking in order to avoid overheating. However, even with the small sips, the smoke was plentiful. The cigar burned generally straight and never required a touch-up, but the ash was flaky.

J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Original

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
One word sums up the flavors: RICH. The word “rich” shows up seven times in my tasting notes, and it should probably be in there even more. Pre-light, the cigar smelled very strongly of earth and tobacco, and the cold draw was pure tobacco. After lighting, the first puffs filled my mouth with plentiful smoke that tasted of extremely rich tobacco and earth with a hint of white pepper on the retrohale. As the cigar developed, rich leather and wood joined the profile as well, always with a touch of pepper. The smoke remained thick and plentiful throughout. About halfway in, an intriguing burnt marshmallow taste flitted in and out of the profile, complimenting the rich earth and wood. The marshmallow eventually transformed into a rich butter towards the end of the smoke. The body hung right around a medium+ for the entire smoke.

Value : Rating: ★★★★½
A soft pack of five Originals will set you back about $10 or so. At around $2 a stick, the price-to-richness ratio is off the charts! The loose draw forced me to smoke this stick slowly, and it lasted me almost exactly an hour.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½
If you’re looking for a “pretty” cigar, look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for what may be the richest cigar you’ve ever smoked, the J. Fuego Sangre de Toro Original should be your next purchase. The construction and appearance issues, other than forcing me to smoke slowly, did not affect the pleasure of smoking this cigar. This stick is among the best short smokes I’ve ever tried.